I can’t help it – I just can’t. Maybe it’s Elliott Smith, maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s just in the subtle changes at summer’s end – but this time of year gets me down. I have very very much to be excited about – a new apartment (I told my parents!), an encouraging job interview, lots of adventures coming up – but August means heartache for me, and I’m hoping that three times is the charm and that I’ll get by unscathed this year. The end of my marriage in ’03, the end of my relationship with S in ’04, what-the-heck-ever with C in ’05 – I’m ready for summer to end happily instead of with tears. I have a good feeling about ’06, though. I just do.

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vollapalooza

As of today, Shane and I will be wrapping up the music festival season at Lollapalooza. After the Lolla line-up was announced, I immediately regretted spending my festival money on things like Intonation and Bonnaroo. Now that it’s come and gone, I’m awfully glad I went to ‘Roo, but I was still drooling over tickets for Lolla – Iron & Wine, Sleater-Kinney, Gnarls Barkley, Stars, Aqualung, etc – but at $65+ fees for a single day and $150+ fees for the weekend, I just couldn’t swing it.

Enter a brilliant idea.

I signed up for the volunteer corps in late June, offering to help with recycling and various other trash-related things. At both ‘Roo and Intonation, Shane and I were disgusted by the amount of trash left on the ground, and spent a great deal of time picking it up. At ‘Roo, Sonya and I grabbed extra bags and collected trash after each band we watched. Add to that having just seen An Inconvenient Truth, and we’re all the more dedicated to saving the earth.

So imagine my delight when I got a call yesterday saying that they still needed people for the recycling team for ALL THREE DAYS of the festival! We’ll both be working three hour shifts, getting nifty Lolla volunteer shirts, and getting into the festival for free. What a way to end the summer!

my best friend’s wedding

My best friend got married this weekend.

I don’t remember when I first heard about Greg from her – they’ve known each other six years, and he swears he fell in love with her the day they met. I know he spent the 3 1/2 years until they got together pursuing her, but the time just wasn’t right. 2 1/2 years ago Sarah was dating a guy named Russ, and they decided to take some time off because they were living 4-6 hours apart, she was busy with school and helping her parents move, he was busy with work and drumming, etc. Greg came up to visit a week or two later, and I think everyone knew that this was it – for both of them.

Yesterday in the car on the way to the wedding, Sarah asked me (as she has many times about many things over the years) if I thought she was doing the right thing. My answer was yes – yes, because they love each other, and yes because they are and have been realistic about what marriage is, what marriage can be, and what marriage doesn’t have to be. Over the last 2 1/2 years I’ve watched them grow as individuals and as a couple, and I’m very excited to continue to be a part of their lives – individually and as a family.

cause for celebration

Yesterday evening Shane and I had a fabulous dinner at Bacaro to celebrate two things: six months together, and signing a lease on the above place, nicknamed “Basil Estates”. We had shrimp bruschetta with red chiles and limoncello, a bottle of Italian something-something that resembled a Pinot Noir and complemented my lamb and Shane’s hake, a cheese plate with little bites of wonderful, and an amazing pot of French press coffee ($3! a steal).Am I nervous about the future? Of course. Grad school is such a transitional period, and there are no guarantees that either of us are going to be here (or able to leave) in a year. Am I nervous about this commitment? Of course. I’ve only lived with one other person, and that was my ex. Things are very different (in so many ways) than they were when I was 18, and in some ways this is a bigger decision because it’s one of the most serious commitments I can ever imagine making with/to another person.

Am I sure I want to do this? Yes, for a variety of reasons – personal and financial. Am I sure I want to do this with him? Yes, for a variety of reasons – personal and terribly romantic. Mainly I’m just terribly thankful for a beautiful apartment that I can share with a wonderful partner and a very funny cat.

What did I do with my weekend?

Shane and I spent the weekend in Rockford cleaning out/up my house in preparation for listing it with a realtor. We pulled down vines, cleaned out a damp basement full of moldy things, bleached countertops, and made more than one trip to the landfill (very exciting!). My dad gets extra bonus points for dumping out a bucket of what we referred to as toxic waste, but was actually the contents of the fridge left to rot in the sun for untold days/weeks/months. Shane gets extra bonus points for being supremely awesome. The house was in better condition than I expected, though we had to deal with a great deal more stuff than I anticipated. I’m headed back to Rockford next weekend to do more work, then hopefully I’ll be able to turn most of the rest of it over to my realtor. Three cheers for getting things in motion – and for the tireless help of an awesome family and a wonderful boyfriend.