Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Summer Diaries #12- A String Around Your Finger

"The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man."

Every so often, one finds herself reminded of delicate balance. A balance so extremely fragile, yet unbelievably strong.

Today, I soaked up life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Summer Diaries #11- A Wonderful Kind of Busy

"The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it."
~Marcus Aurelius

Dinner bakes in the oven, the sun sets behind the church steeple, my wet hair continually falls into my face, and the symphony of evening creatures has gradually become louder and louder. Soon the lightening bugs will glow and a damp mist will cover the lush grass. This is summer. This is sweetness.

Ninja is bowling tonight, so when he arrives home, we'll dine outside, in the dark, with Little Peep at our feet. She'll probably want a morsel or two of our meals, and because she's so gosh-darn adorable, she'll probably luck out.

But, what a day! A good run in the heat of the afternoon, a little shopping adventure that turned up some 50% off sales, some digging in the dirt, a finished knitting project, and a new experiment with popcorn. (I'll fill you in on that later). How will I ever deal with serious structure again? How? Someone, please tell me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Summer Diaries #10- Pockets of Sunshine

"We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery."
~H.G. Wells

The sun came in pockets today, and as clouds blew across that great ball of fire, little moments of pretty dotted the afternoon.

Interestingly, each time the sun landed upon these orange daisies, I found myself getting lost in their perfection...and perhaps my mind drifted to the Fibonacci Sequence...but I'll spare you, lucky reader, of hearing about my nerdish tendencies. wink.

Thank me later. Ha!

And, now, as my dad would say, "It's time for the eye-lid special."

Nighty night.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Summer Diaries #9- Bye Bye Carbon Footprint, Hello Awesome Find

"Continue to surprise those who would put you in a neat demographic. Be insistently curious."
~Gordon Gee

One never knows what the day will hold. As Ollie (the new bike) and I set out on our morning errands, we never expected to see a gumball machine wave at us from the shinny window of the antique store.

After doing a double take, almost crashing, and quickly looking around to make sure that no one had spotted us, we continued to frolic about the town, stopping at the bank, post office, health food store, and pharmacy.

"A real, vintage, old-fashioned gumball machine...could it really be?" I continued to wonder.

With all of our errands done, we stopped, Ollie and I, and made that nifty gumball machine ours. It's also worth noting that rather than toss my broken bicycle basket, I fixed it this morning with some strong binder's twine. Yay for making-do and saving myself $20.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Summer Diaries #8- Sweet, Sweet Sunday

"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
~Bob Dylan

Sunshine, breakfast, coffee and conversation on the patio combined to form the most perfect start to a fun Sunday. In fact, it was so fun that we sat there for quite some time, refusing to acknowledge that time was ticking by.

CT enjoyed some quality time with her Papa Bear, and although it looks as through she may attack at any moment, she was finishing up a yawn. It’s a “ruff” life that little one has.

Later on, it was a spur-of-the-moment happy hour with the neighbors, followed by walking to a local restaurant for dinner. Does it really get any better?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Summer Diaries #7- Stylin'

"My life is my message."
~Mahatma Gandhi

I surprised myself today by making a pink pompom. If you ask me, it makes the perfect topper for this sweet baby hat. Now, I’m rather afraid. I’m envisioning late nights with large cups of coffee…. making millions of pompoms in gazillions of different colors. This could be the start of something crazy fun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Summer Diaries #6- Rise and Shine

"Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas."
~Elizabeth Murray

There’s something quite wonderful about topping off my morning with a healthy and homemade breakfast sandwich. I headed off to yoga and pilates at 5:00 AM, came home, brewed some java, snipped some chives from my herb garden, and whipped up the perfect balance of protein and carbs.

The entire house smells like a little home-town cafĂ©. If only I had some yellow and white gingham curtains and scruffy wooden floors….

The Summer Diaries #5- Creative Play

"When I can no longer create anything, I’ll be done for."
~Coco Chanel

Time with my yarn remains one of my very favorite things in life. I spent the day outside; knitting a few booties, putting the finishing touches on this wreath, and beginning a baby hat. Oh yes, those creative juices were a flowing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Summer Diaries #4- Old Glory

"Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice."

This miniature flag has a rather funny story behind it. One day, you see, it magically appeared outside of our house, placed just so, in the flowerpot. I thought "The Flag Committee" was out and about. Ninja thought the same thing.

As it turns out, there isn't any such organization. The "Flag Committee" emerged as my mama, and of course, Mamoo's lovely spirit.

The Summer Diaries #3- Night and Day

"Freedom is nothing but the chance to be better."
~Ablert Camus

The previous day culminated with a little fire and the family on the patio. Once everyone left, we talked well into the night, that Chad-o and I.

And, happily, we started the next day with sunshine, blue skies, and a deathly hot run.

Holiday weekends, simply put, emerge as one of life's saving graces.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Summer Diaries #2- Fireworks Night

"Everything is created from moment to moment, always new. Like fireworks, this universe is a celebration and you are the spectator contemplating the eternal Fourth of July of your absolute splendor."
~Francis Lucille

The day started perfectly, with breakfast at my favorite little diner. Now, it's fireworks night and time for patriotic garb.

We'll be picnicking with friends while Little Peep hides under the bed. Sadly, tonight is not her favorite.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Summer Diaries #1- To The House of Books

"No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich."
~Louis Sabin

Little Peep decided to take me for a walk this morning. Together, we headed to the library—her choice. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

She proudly returned three books, and we headed home…stopping, per her request, every now and then to check out the yard sales.

The Summer Diaries- The Plan

"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop."
~Author Unknown

Allow me to explain this new little plan I have.

As I was walking with CT this morning, I was setting little goals for myself…a bit of this, a bit of that. I’m a goal setter, that’s for sure.

Since I’ve found myself enjoying every morsel of summer vacation, I realized that I want to document it all and capture the joy of each day. The problem—time. Yea, I know. Time constantly causes me problems. Simply put, there’s not enough of it.

But, I decided I could still do it. I’d keep it simple.

So, here’s the plan:

I’ll take at least one photo of something each day.
I’ll limit myself to 50 words of explanation (unless I feel overly moved or blessed with copious amounts of time-ha!).

We’ll see how it goes.

The Summer Diaries- June Edition

"What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.
~Gertrude Jekyll

Charlie T. and I just returned from a nice long walk. She's a trooper, that one. Now, I'm freshly showered, outside with my computer, sitting on the patio under the lovely umbrella. It's Heaven, really.

The perfection of this day is almost wrong-- the sun shinning directly upon the sweet faces of my orange daisies, my hair still wet from my shower, cool and refreshing against my back, a baby blue sky with not even the slightest hint of a cloud. This is just one of those wonderful days. You know them...the kind they write stories about. The books where the characters live these quaint lives, in charming towns, on beautiful tree-lined streets.

I've had a difficult time finding the time to write lately. Life's been busy and full and great.

Making time to perch and write about my days has been at the top of my list, but somewhere along the way it gets shuffled to the side as I take another bike ride or as Hubbo and I sit outside for hours and chat after dinner. And, at some point, I have to sleep. So, after those jam packed days of greatness, I slink off for my shower and snooze on the couch with CT, while Ninja reads his stocks and studies investment stuff and reads sports news. Then, he wakes me, and off we go-- to dreamland-- where the next morning the cycle repeats.

Looking back over the month of June, it's amazing to think of all that has filled those little squares on my calendar. From a beach vacation to random adventures, it's been eventful. I finished two more grad classes, wrote one too many research papers, studied A LOT, and, above all, learned that I am capable of more than I think. Those grad classes pushed me. They pushed me because they made me prioritize my life, and to be honest, I didn't appreciate that. In fact, I resented it-- like really resented it. I found myself mad that the things in life that brought me the most happiness were often being pushed to the bottom of my list. And, to be honest, that really made me mad. But, a few weeks ago, I got it, and I was able to see the lesson that had been hiding away, waiting for the time when I was perfectly ready to understand. How grateful I am now.

One early, beautiful morning, I decided to ride my bike up town to run some errands. I loaded my basket with my essentials-- the mail that needed stamps, my list for the fruit market, a few dollars, my house keys-- and off I went. What fun! My last stop was the fruit market, where I loaded up on veggies and fruits and the necessary ingredients I needed to make a new and improved version of pasta salad.

However, the best part of that day remains so vivid in my mind. As I was attempting to stuff all of my purchases into my bike basket, the nicest gentleman came up to me. He was so sincere and genuine as he packed my basket. He carefully ensured that the weight was evenly dispersed, taking his time and adjusting just so. He balanced my bike while I got on, and told me to be careful going home. It made my day. He didn't have to do that. Most people wouldn't have taken the time. I felt "taken care of," and it was really quite nice.

A few months ago, Chad-o told me he was taking me on a surprise vacation. I knew when we were going, but I had no idea where were were venturing to. Eventually, he slipped and I pretty much figured it out, but, either way, I was excited to get back to my favorite vacation spot in the entire world-- Stone Harbor, NJ.

My family has gone to that beach every year since long before I was born, and because of that, it holds such a special place in my heart. It's a neat place; calm, and quiet, and full of families. There's no boardwalk or chain restaurants. Rather, kites dot the beaches, the tune of an ice-cream truck jingles in the distance, and beach cruisers take the place of automobiles. It's almost iconic and I simply love it.

However, due to the fact that I've done a lot of growing up in the past decade, and graduated college, and married, and started working, I had not been to my Stone Harbor in 11 years. Truthfully, I didn't really think I wanted to go back. It was a place reserved for my family of four. A place where I spent my summers building drizzle castles in the sand, eating fudge, and playing hard-core mini-golf at the Buccaneer. As much as I loved the place, part of me wanted to leave it at that. So, to be completely honest, I was a little "apprehensive" about going.

Imagine Chad-o's shock when we started unpacking and I burst into tears and cried for a solid hour. I felt badly, but the tears just kept on rolling, and those memories of my childhood grew stronger and stronger and kept coming to me in crashing waves. As I looked out onto the street that remained exactly the same, I swore I could see 20 years into the past.... There we were, waiting to cross the street, me in my purple and white bathing suit, my mom carrying that white plastic basket of sand toys, my dad juggling red,white, and blue beach chairs, a small cooler and his radio, my little brother in his water socks with a plastic dump was just too much. That was a place of a different time. A time when my whole life was ahead of me. A time when I dreamed of my future and who I would marry and how my life would end up.

It all worked out. I had my moment and my cry and my feelings of nostalgia and we ended up having the most wonderful vacation. Sharing my special place with Chad-o turned out to be even more special than I thought. But, it's hard for me to recognize that life's moving on. I probably sound silly, because obviously I caught onto that fact before going on vacation, but perhaps it was the idea that nothing at Stone Harbor had changed-- everything was the same. The shops were all there, the same restaurants continued to make dinners each night, and the sunscreen at Hoy's literally sat on the same shelf. Nothing had changed. Nothing. Yet, while nothing at Stone Harbor had changed, my entire life managed to unfold. Crazy.

We've biked and biked and biked. The trails around these parts have certainly seen their fair share of our faces. It's been beyond fun and those miles we've put on will forever hold a special place in my heart. On one particular trail, there exists an old stone wall, that probably stretches for a hundred yards or so. It was built by early immigrants to the area and I often get lost in thought thinking about how different their lives were from ours.

In their wildest dreams, they probably never imagined a leisurely bike trail passing their property. Funny how life works.

I've honestly inherited my mama's love of flowers. For some reason, this year I have enjoyed digging in the dirt and caring for my flowers more than ever. I've filled pots and containers and planted peony bulbs and organic herbs. Speaking of my mama, Jossie and I have had quite a few shopping and crafting adventures. We both agree that we need more hours in a day.

I managed to sneak in a visit with my dear friend, Greta Leigh. Spending time with her always inspires me to be a better person and makes me look at things with a new set of eyes. Having Greta is so good for me and I'm beyond blessed for the perspective she brings to my life. Watching her with her two little children made me so happy. She's such a fabulous mother. Her children are respectful and thankful and kind and loving-- not something I see enough of these days.

It's also important to note that I hosted my first ever picnic. Chad-o and I made all kinds of yummy foods and invited my dad and family over for Father's Day. All of the foods- shrimp cocktail included- turned out well, and everyone had a nice time catching up, chatting, and munching away.

And, for better or worse, my alarm clock has been going off at 5:00 am. I'm the one who sets it, so I truly have no one to blame but myself. But you see, if I don't get to the gym in the morning, I simply can't find the time to squeeze my workout in. It's good, though... I honestly love it. Being up so early makes me feel accomplished and kicks my day into gear.

Well, by now my hair has has pretty much dried. The curls and waves are rather out of control, and it's probably rather scary. But I'm OK with it. June, you see, has been a month of pony-tails, and flippies, and pink toes. It's been 5:00 am wake-ups for the gym. It's been laughs and a few tears and nurturing and love. It's been days filled with reminders of the blessings in my life.

The flowers might need a little drink, and I feel like a small snack might be calling my name.

Lately, I can't shake this feeling of being blessed. This is the good life.
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