Keep Saying Yes

St. Patrick’s Day was epic this year, but not in the ways that it tends to be epic, at least in a college town. My housemates had invited people over for brunch, but many of them didn’t come, and so we found ourselves with a number of bottles of champagne, a gallon of orange juice, and a whole lot of leftover bacon and waffles on a 75 degree day in the middle of March. I sat on the porch and wrote letters. Chris took a conference call. Rachel played video games. The two of them spun poi while I sat on the sidewalk and took photos. We drank all of the champagne, texted Kat to come home, ended up in a cuddle pile on the couch with the dog and the cat. The next day, Chris emailed me to say:

Seriously, you’re amazing. I’m glad you’re in our lives, regardless of how short the waltz. Keep saying yes, yes, yes to drunken nights and beautiful people.

I’ve taken that to heart in the months since, and have been saying an emphatic yes as often as possible. This has included:

  • Yes to a movie on an impossibly hot day. And so I saw The Cabin in the Woods, which I would’ve never seen otherwise but really enjoyed – and had the occasion to go to the gorgeous Logan Theater for the first time in very good company. The same thing would happen later in the summer with Your Sister’s Sister (at the State with Shana and Javan) and The Hunger Games (at the Logan with Carrie).
  • Yes to seeing the jellyfish at the Shedd with Karina and her adorable cousin, who later listed ‘meeting Elizabeth’ among her favorite parts of her weekend in Chicago.
  • Yes to fancy lady sleepovers where we lounge around in vintage slips with martinis and ridiculous movies. These weekends at the Uptown Beach House were some of the highlights of the summer.
  • Yes to biking around the city to meet friends for cocktails – and hopefully much more of this to come now that Orange and I are back together.
  • Yes to going to shows. I don’t care who it is. And so I saw Café Tacvba with Karina and had a great time even though I speak basically no Spanish and even though someone dropped a beer on my head. And I saw Cameron McGill with Carl for the first time in ages, and experienced an intense – and intensely wonderful – flashback to 2005. And I went to Lollapalooza as Karen’s +1 and we wandered the grounds and saw some music but mostly just enjoyed the free drinks and the beautiful day.
  • Yes to borrowing books and long bike rides and neighborhood walks and free ice cream from sympathetic vendors.
  • Yes to nights out when my bad mood made me inclined to stay in (thanks, Annette).
  • Yes to being Carl’s +1 for Leah’s wedding, which gave me the excuse to buy an exceptionally incredible dress.
  • Yes to last minute dinners in, to bánh mì sandwiches, to drinking my dinner around a table with random and exceptional people.
  • Yes to future travel: potentially Hawaii and Italy in the next year, as well as solo trip(s) to be determined. And to day trips on lazy rivers, and to visits with good friends.

So many amazing experiences in the last six months thanks to taking that advice. Chris Tom, I hope I’m making you proud.

Librarians on the Farm

About 6-7 months ago, my friends and I started kicking around the idea of a girls’ weekend away. I think the idea had been in the ether even longer, but after I read an article about a group of women who take yearly trips to all kinds of places (sorry – I can’t remember where I read about it OR any of the specifics) and THEN read this post about another group’s “lovebomb”, I really wanted to make something like this happen for us.

So after months of planning, the announcement of two pregnancies, one home purchase, and one rescheduled wedding, 5 out of 6 of us found ourselves en route to southern Illinois last week, where we spent two days at a cabin and another day in St Louis. I wish I could bottle up and send you the essence of the weekend, but pictures and bullet points will have to do.

Making Friends

– weather in the mid-70s, driving through the country with the windows down and classic rock on the radio, the joy of driving up to a cabin and finding kitties on the porch waiting for us

– walking outside to find horses, dogs, and assorted fowl making their way up the hill to greet us, then spending the waning afternoon talking to the farmers/innkeepers about their flock and herd while a peacock cried for his mama

– being presented with a dozen of the most beautiful eggs I’ve ever seen – after debating whether we wanted duck, goose, or chicken (as said animals milled around near us)

Farm-fresh free range eggs

– after a run in the muddy woods, having the hardest decision in the morning being whether to take our coffee on the front or back porch

– hiking in the woods in the sun, relishing the changing temperature as we moved in and out of the shadow of rocky outcroppings. Also finding any excuse to say ‘outcropping’. Ice cream in a tiny hippie town after.

– sunset, campfire, grill-out with the first asparagus of the year

Angie and Erin

– the most ridiculous drive ever on country back roads, some of which looked like they might have just been driveways, some of which led over one-lane wooden bridges and by the camps of folks living off the grid – resulting in lunch at a truly insane root beer saloon and a sneak peek at a building rehab in process

Alto Pass

– falling a little bit in love with St Louis as Erin took us to favorite spots in her neighborhood

View from the Top

– most of all, spending hours and hours and hours just talking and relaxing and reconnecting with dear friends

At the beginning of the trip, we said that if we weren’t driving each other nuts by the end of it, we should make this an annual thing.  By the end of it – and in many subsequent emails – we’ve affirmed this decision, as despite travel headaches and the inevitable indecision about how to make money issues the easiest, we all arrived home relaxed, with friendships recharged and bodies and spirits rejuvenated.  It is such a blessing to have the means and the friends to make this possible!  ❤ ❤

Why I Love Befriending Friends’ Kids

Our friend Mike’s daughter posted the following reviews on GoodReads, and I loved them so much that I’ve kept the email in my inbox for two days:

On Caddie Woodlawn, which I recall really enjoying:
“Oh my gosh! I know there are a lot of Newberry books i’ve read, but I really loved this one. READ IT, READ IT READ, AND READ IT AGAIN! THANK YOU, CAROL RYRIE BRINK FOR MAKING THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
On Island of the Blue Dolphins, which I know that I loved:
“I hate it I hate it I hate!I want to puke all over it and then throw sour milk on it and then flush it down the toilet and then let the sewer rats nibble on it! I. Hate. It.  What I don’t like is that it was so boring until she met the girl on the island and was saved”

Every time I read her posts, I’m reminded of the fact that our friends have awesome kids and that I really hope we can be around to watch them grow up into awesome adults.