July 25, 2010

how to throw a great party.

After attending what may have been the loveliest wedding I have ever seen (and felt, inside & out) (sorry to be so gushy), it makes me wish I had done a handful of things differently at my own wedding. I mean, this is bound to change with the years passing and seeing so much creativity with each successive wedding I go to. But taking part in such a celebratory and meaningful ceremony, followed by a relaxed and meandering reception on the soft lawn of a family lakehouse, backed by cool woods and spilling down to Lake Michigan- it was perfectly lovely. The lanterns above the dance floor, the long communal dinner tables, the delicious variety of desserts that far exceeded the dry term of "cake", the pause in the checklist of events to soak in the sunset... rarely at a wedding does one get to savor each passing moment without spans of boredom or waiting for the next thing to get checked off the to-do list.

But this wedding and reception was not boring. It was sweet and loving and rich in so many ways. It's the kind everybody dreams up, one way or another, although if your budget is more than the cost of a car, maybe it's not for you. (there were a lot of bare feet before dinner was even served.)

The only thing I would have added, down on the beach after the sun went down, would be some of these:

(I first saw these in a festival in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but they seem to be common in Asia too, based solely on what I saw in YouTube videos. Also, at least one source makes 100% biodegradable ones, because it would suck to send a lot of flaming paper and metal and wax into the world.)

July 11, 2010

not in Kansas any more, Toto.

While making the 250 mile trek from Hamilton to Saginaw on Friday night (3rd weekend of 4 in a row!), I had a most unexpected Technicolor moment. And not just Technicolor for your eyes- the kind that hits your nose and ears and skin all at once, too. It happened in an unlikely place, too- after the border crossing in single-lane construction traffic as the sun was on its way down.

It was the whole mix of circumstances, I suppose... the first bearable car ride I'd had in a week, considering my car's air conditioning isn't in top form. (Anyone who loves summer should spend half an hour in my car with me, in rush hour traffic, in the kind of weather we had last week. It'll cure you.) A near-perfect mix of Ryan Adams, Eva Cassidy, and Sigur Ros. A miraculous 10-minute wait at customs, which has taken as long as 1.5 hours in the past. So looking forward to seeing my husband for the first time in a week, without a trace of the resentment I was braced to be feeling, since I had made the drive home & back alone, and worked long hours, while he spent the week reading and writing at his parents' house.

So, after cruising through the border, my trek more than halfway over, I was feeling grateful and calm. And even as we funneled down to one lane of traffic, flanked by orange barrel cones, somebody threw a switch somewhere, and suddenly everything was lovely. I couldn't remember the last time the air felt so cool and delicious. Every surrounding field was thriving with crops, hemmed in by lush woods as thick as brick walls. The sinking sun beamed rays of light through the dust stirred up by construction equipment earlier in the day.

And as fickle summer evening skies sometimes do, for the next hour, the slow sunset was epic in every direction. There's nothing like a little atmospheric upheaval to make summer sunsets some of the most dramatic and color-saturated of the year. I wish I had taken pictures, but I can hardly talk on the phone and drive at the same time, let alone operate a camera without killing anybody.

I suppose life is made up of endless subtle, pleasant moments like that hour was for me, but the gift of it was the simple beauty made so plain. A small portion of that loveliness slipped through my normal, flawed filters, and for a little while I could absorb and revel in it, rather than letting it pass by unnoticed as so many do.

July 6, 2010

Negative Nancy Epilogue (or, my husband is great)

My husband is in MI for the week for various and sundry practical reasons, but I have to work so I am not in MI. At least until this weekend when I go back to pick him (and the dog) up.

Yesterday, near the end of the work day, this image appeared in a text from him:

...with the accompanying words, "Christmas in July!"

He found it while rearranging his parents' kitchen cupboards, which means I must have used it a few times when we lived with them last fall. But he didn't know it was THE mug. He just thought it looked like me, okay not LIKE me, but you know what I mean, and checked if his mom recognized it. Which she didn't. Which makes it my hopeful-frustrated-longing-mug. I do love that wee (impractical) round handle and the irregular shape of the whole mug.

Yeah, I won this one. Or maybe he won it for me. Either way, it makes me happy.

July 3, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Sorry I failed to mention this sooner, guys- but I recently changed the privacy settings on this blog and on the Nomads one. Now when you leave a comment, I first have to approve it before it is posted publicly. Just a little heads up!

July 1, 2010

in which Negative Nancy shuts up for a second

There is a particular blog I have been stalking recently, and in a nondescript post in a slew of pictures of small children and shoes and things cooking, was a particular photo of whoknowswhat with a blurry mug in the background.

I have that same mug, which I bought in my last days at World Market last year, which is not in this apartment as we speak, which means it is hopefully hibernating deep in the other half of our belongings that resides in our attic storage unit, aka My In-Laws Who Are Too Nice.

At least, I hope it is in said storage unit, because it could easily have been lost along the path of our long and messy exodus from Colorado last year. This has been a source of much frustration and helplessness and even maybe a few tears for me (directly followed by crumpling to the floor, surrounded by taped and untaped and retaped boxes, in total defeat). If I had known how this whole series of moves was going to pan out, I would have planned differently. That statement can be applied to every event in life, probably, but you'd think something as strategic as moving could be a little more organized.

But it just didn't happen that way. We brought some things we needed which were packed along with nonsense like all the cards I saved from our wedding (ALL of them), 85 mugs (but not the one mentioned earlier), a camping lantern, our wedding china (without owning a dining room table with which to host, mind you), and so on. We also brought a few things that failed to fit down the stairs, instead of, oh, a vacuum cleaner or a kitchen trash can (using an office one now) and turned around and drove it all right back over the border.

This would not have been as big of a deal if it wasn't snow squall season along our route, and if we hadn't already made three full trips moving crap, and if my father-in-law's trailer pretty much threw in the towel and DISENGAGED ON THE HIGHWAY at 65 mph. You get the picture, I hope.

All this to say: half our stuff is not here. Which is remarkably easy in a way, and wicked annoying in several other ways. But this is not the point of this post.

The point of this post is: I scrolled through this other blog. Saw the mug. Identified the mug. Experienced a sense of longing and confusion for a few seconds. But THEN, instead of going the collapse-in-a-teary-tantrum-heap route, I thought: "It will be so great when we finally do settle down in a normal sized house, with all our stuff under one roof, because unpacking it will feel like Christmas." You know, when you pack belongings away and forget you have them? That's half my stuff! INCLUDING everything literally Christmas-related!

This is a big step for me. Believe it.