32 years

Today marks my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary. I already said it in a Facebook post, but that is a long time. In that time, they’ve moved more times than I can count in three states, built 2 houses, successfully raised 2 kids [jury’s still out on that third one ;)], fed tons of hungry teenagers and college kids, and shown everyone around them what true, unconditional love looks like.

I’m proud to be part of a family that has made it as a unit for this long. I’m thankful to have such a great example of love and selflessness, to have something so amazing to aspire to.

Happy anniversary, mom and dad! Without you, I wouldn’t be here.

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Suckers!

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Caught in the rain

When Dan and I moved to the city almost 6 years ago, we fell into an unofficial tradition of taking Sunday walks in the fall and winter. It was a good way to explore our new neighborhood, get some exercise, and have some time together. Over the years, that tradition has morphed from just going on a walk to going on a walk to a deli and getting lunch. We haven’t been home much on the weekends lately, so this past Sunday was really the first such walk we’ve taken this season.

The sun was bright, the sky was clear, and it was almost 70 degrees. Walking to the deli was a no-brainer. As we set out, I commented on how warm it was. It’s about 1.5 miles to the deli, and around the halfway point the wind seriously picked up. It was the kind of wind that flings dust and leaves into your eyes and stings your shins with debris. As I looked up, I saw it: a huge, ominous cloud, rapidly traveling toward us.

At first, it was a refreshing sprinkle. Nothing too intense, just enough to cool us off. But then the rain started coming down harder, the wind became violent, and, within a minute or so, we were soaked to the skin. Blocks from the deli, no shelter to be had.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

It reminded me of the crazy weather we’d get when we lived in New Orleans. My brother and I would take our giant golf umbrellas outside and jump up in the air, hoping the wind would carry us away.

Getting caught in that storm made me feel like a little kid again. My one and only worry was just trying to escape the rain. It was so simple, a problem with minimum consequences that could be easily solved.

We got to the deli in record time, sopping wet and ready for some food… and a beer.

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Yes, this was all for us. Yes, we ate it all.

By the time we ate and finished our beers, we’d gone from soaked to damp. The sky couldn’t have been clearer on the walk home, and we were dry by the halfway point. It was like none of it had ever happened.

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A tree in our neighborhood that blew over during the storm. I told you, it was windy!

This year has been pretty stressful for us, but I’m hoping that 2013 will be kind of like that storm. Intense, but over fairly quickly. It might leave behind a little damage, but nothing that can’t be fixed. And maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll feel like kids again for a minute.

A hint of organization

In case you haven’t noticed, Dan and I are constantly booked. I realized, after inadvertantly double-booking us on multiple occasions, that the month-by-month dry erase board on the kitchen wall wasn’t gonna cut it.

Enter: Moleskine Weekly Planner

I’ve always had an affinity for fancy notebooks and snazzy writing implements. For some reason, I ignored the fact that this obsession might mean I should work with words —  not fabric — for the first three semesters of my college career, but never mind that.

I’m of the school of thought that having the proper writing supplies can make or break a wordsmith. If you have that perfectly weighted pen that seems to meld with your hand and a sharp notebook with smooth, supple paper, you’re gonna want to find an excuse to use them both. Before you know it, the words will be pouring out of your brain and onto the page.

So, being a believer of this ideology, I thought the same principles could apply to organizing my time and life.

It seems to be working. Call me — I’ll pencil you in.

Weekend Warriors

Dan and I have had a crazy couple of weekends.  With all of the traveling, company coming into town and catching up we have to do from the aforementioned, we’ve hardly had time to breathe.

Last weekend, my sister came into town so we could take her to her first “real” concerts.  Friday night we hit up the Ting Tings, who were spectacular.  They played a nonstop, hour-plus set of booty-shaking, jazz-hand-inducing music.  I would highly suggest their music to anyone who likes Of Montreal and  Rilo Kiley.

Here’s a sampling:

Saturday, we went to the Art Museum to see the Ming Dynasty exhibit with my parents.  Dan and I are members at the Saint Louis Art Museum, which is a great deal. The museum is free, but the special exhibits cost to see. Our membership got all five of us in for free, which saved $50.  The exhibit was pretty cool– my favorite items were the jewelry and enamelware — but I’m glad that I didn’t have to pay the extra money to get in. I thought the exhibit was a little small when compared with previous ones, but it was a good cultural experience nonetheless.

Sunday, we hit the Pageant up for a second night to see Blue October. Dan said all there is to say about that experience here.

This weekend, Dan and I took Friday off to catch up on some shopping, etc.  We went on a minispree with some of our rebate money and finally got some stuff that we wanted/needed (underwear, t-shirts, shoes, glasses, etc.).

Saturday, we hit up Rolla for my grandma’s birthday/Easter. It was a short, but sweet visit, as all of us had to scurry off to other engagements later in the afternoon. We had some people over from Dan’s work to play Dungeons & Dragons (yeah, I know), then Mom, Dad, my brother and sister all showed up to watch “Band of Brothers,” etc. Sunday, of course, was church and lunch with my family, then dinner in St. Charles with Dan’s.

Basically, what I’m saying is: We’re not doing anything next weekend.

My life as of late

For those of you who care:

-Dan and I started working similar schedules and no longer have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get to work.

-I got a wicked raise.

-We went to Louisville and surprised our friends Zak and Sean so hard that their heads about fell off. While we were there, we: stayed up way too late because bar time in the ‘ville is 4 a.m.; ate some awesome local food; grilled; played and cuddled with Olive, the wonderpuppy; were overcharged to look at creepy dead bodies in a museum; played Apples to Apples; watched SNL; got food poisoning/the flu.

OK, to be fair, I was the only to get food poisoning, the flu, or something, Sunday. I felt like death and didn’t feel much better until Tuesday night. I’m all better now, though.

In other news, the shelf/bar in our closet fell down last night, causing complete disorganization of clothes, shoes and bags that were being held therein.

Guess what we’re doing THIS weekend. (There will be before and after photos)

Today is Valentines Day.

It’s a pretty sappy idea, really; a marketing ploy to get people to buy even more dumb stuff that they don’t need. Stuff like this.

I do want to take a moment, however, to say how thankful I am for my Valentine.

My life would be so completely different without Dan. Every day that we are together, no matter how bad other things are, is a blessing. He is always there to cheer me up, make me laugh, calm me down when I worry too much, cook me really delicious dinners and bring me Gatorade.

I love him, and I wouldn’t trade our love or friendship for anything.

Everyone loves free stuff

Dan and I spent about 20 minutes in the cat toy aisle of Target yesterday debating what do buy for our kittens. This is what we do now.

Losing my job when I did is like getting another stab at summer vacation, which is actually kinda cool. I always took classes and worked during my summer breaks, with the exception of last summer, during which I worked and traveled all the time.

Spending my summer in St. Louis has been really fun so far, mostly because there’s so much fun stuff to do. The best part is that a lot of it is free. You just have to get yourself there. Dan and I have decided that we’re going to do at least one, cool free thing in the city per week. This week, it was the zoo.

The St. Louis Zoo is awesome. It has all kinds of really neat exhibits, my favorite of the day probably being the penguin exhibit. It’s a wonderful combination of cuteness and relief from the summer heat. AND IT’S FREE.

The best thing about going to places like this during the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, is that they’re typically not too crowded. Most of the people there are stay-at-home moms or daycare leaders with groups of little kids. The little kids are hilarious; they get so excited about the simplest things and it always makes me laugh. You and I may have been to the zoo dozens of times; seeing an elephant or a tiger might not be a big deal to us. But for a little kid whose only exposure to those animals has been books or the Discovery Channel, seeing those creatures in person for the first time is something to get worked up about. Watching them experience the zoo was a reminder to look at things with fresh eyes sometimes.

Me feeding a giraffe. Jealous?

Me feeding a giraffe. Jealous?