Big Hurrah

In a few weeks, my sister is going on a long deployment. She’s almost done with her stint in the Navy, but there’s one more long trip out to sea in her future before it’s all behind her. We’ve gotten used to last minute trips between LA and San Diego to see each other. We’ve gotten used to being in the same time zone, and used to goofy mid-day texts about funfetti cake and Friends quotes and inside jokes.

I know she’s not going away forever, but she is going away for a while. And a while is too long for me.

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We needed a last hurrah before this long stretch – except not a *last* hurrah really, because we’ll hurrah again. Just a Big Hurrah. So, we planned a getaway.

We decided a few days in a cabin getaway would fit the bill, and boy did it ever.

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Julian Cabin Weekend 2014 - 5

 

As a family, we’ve never rented a cabin before, but twice this weekend, my dad called our cabin a “home run” and he was totally right.

It’s never a bad thing to see family, but if the gathering is at one family’s home, someone is always playing Host and someone is always playing Guest. Those little stresses can get in the way of everyone having the best time. This weekend, we all were playing Guest, and nobody felt the stress of playing Host. It was a good change of pace.

We headed to a little town in the mountains called Julian. I think their peak tourist season is mostly in the fall and the winter since they can promise apple picking and changing leaves and snow. But even in the summer off-season, we had a great time.

We did a big puzzle, and we taste tested the top two apple pie companies in town, and it rained (briefly), and we read books, and took walks to a nearby park, and saw deer, and listened to owls, and drank wine, and made meatballs, and ooooo, it was cozy.

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The week before we headed down was a really rough one for me. It took a lot of intentional “shake it off” moments for me to get in the groove of relaxing and enjoying. I wish I were the kind of person who can just decide to let something go. But I’m not. Or I’m not yet.

It takes time and space for me to get my head back on straight.

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Julian Cabin Weekend 2014 - 1

We’re already talking about making this a yearly thing. I’d love to spend a week in the mountains, closer to fall. And I’d love that to not be followed by months of separation from my seester.

Years of Noise

Sometimes, when the child is meowing during church (seriously), we duck in to this little room in back that is perfect for babies. It’s filled with toys and a couch and lots of space to run around. There also happens to be an old electric organ, perfect for baby fists to pound without making a sound (since it’s off. Or unplugged? Or dead? I’m not sure.) And without fail, I’m terrified that it’s accidentally going to turn on and interrupt the service.

Worse, I have this absurd fear that there’s some secret computer inside, or maybe a devious organ spirit has been quietly tracking all of the times a baby hand has smashed a chord, or an adult walked by and pushed some knobs (because they’re there), or someone set their bag on the keys for an hour — and the second that organ accidentally gets switched on, ALL of those sounds will happen at once.

There could literally be years of noise just waiting to escape from this poor misused organ. And we’ll all be sorry. It’ll show us, by gosh, how often you should turn on an organ and give it some attention.

I was going to turn this in to some sort of metaphor for how I feeeeeel or how creativity can pour out of you after dry spells or something.

But, I think it’s just an anecdote about an organ and how I speculate the existence of evil musical instrument fairies in church. So.

 

let it go

Sweet Spot

 

Girls NightQuiet bunnyBumpiesChurchChurch with Friends      Caprese Orzo Salad

 

Something magic happened in our house last week.

We hit this stride where things just sort of fell in to place. Bedtime routines became easier, stress levels fell, friends’ schedules lined up for ample hangout time, and our A/C window units were mostly cooperative.

I also took some time off of Facebook, which ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

Not to hate on Facebook. I enjoy Facebook for a lot of reasons (and I’ll probably share this post over there). I love that I can feel just a little bit involved in the lives of family who are far away. I love that it’s become a cool record of our lives for this window of time and I can look back through my timeline to see pictures of when James and I met, memories we created over holiday trips, funny stories people shared with me, exciting milestones for The Toddlah.

But I hit this frustrating moment one day last week where I knew I needed to take a step back. I really wasn’t enjoying real life as much as I could. And that’s a shame.

Because that’s one thing Facebook isn’t, right? It’s not real life. It’s a lens that we shine our lives through, projected on this wall for everyone to see, comment on, like, interpret as they will.

I guess this place is similar in a lot of ways, but it feels so different. This is my space. Longform Laura Jane. This is a place to dwell and journal and reflect and Be and invite people to my place, rather than get lost in a crowd.

I don’t know. Perhaps there’s more thinking to be done there.

Anywhodles, the weekend fell in to place pretty nicely. Our friend Lexi was in town visiting from Boston, which meant lots of wonderful time with friends just talking, laughing, hanging out, and enjoying good food. (PS, I was introduced to Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes a couple times this weekend and they are INSANE. I’m thinking about buying several packages of them and smooshing them together instead of baking myself a cake for my birthday this year.)

We had a lazy morning on Saturday, but we ventured out in the afternoon to see some friends and eat watermelon by a pool. That was followed by more friends at our place playing games and watching movies – it felt like college again. Staying up until 2 in the morning just because. It was gorgeous. But it hurt the next morning, hah!

I spent a lot of time after church admiring light. Was there something different about the light where you were on Sunday? Was it just me? There was so much of it and it was so warm and bright and happy. It spilled in to our new balcony/library space in the sanctuary, it climbed up the stairs, it poured in to my kitchen and on to my pasta salad.

It’s good to be back, blog. I’ve missed you. Let’s hang out like this more frequently, shall we?

Summer Aspirations

Oh, friends!

Oh, this summer is just shaping up to be delicious, don’t you think?

I’ve finally (finally) started embracing summer as a time to get excited about ideas and activities and being outdoors and trying new things, rather than dreading thigh sweat and frizzy hair. Everything’s a state of mind.

This year, we’re jumping in with both feet. I’m sucking the marrow out of this summer.

Slight tangent: I don’t know if you’re in to personality tests or anything, but I am. I love finding out more about how I work and how I can sort of… I don’ t know… hack the system. So, if I know my personality naturally leans in one direction, I can try to counterbalance and work harder to stand up straight.

In the Myers Briggs world I’m an ENFP, which means depending on which Buzzfeed quiz I take, I share personality traits with Ron Weasley, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Barney from the Simpsons.

In the real world, it means I like to start new projects, but I’m crap at finishing them. It’s been a long, intentional journey of mine to fight that tendency.

To that end, I’ve been making a concerted effort to do the following things when I take on a new project:

1) Ask myself whether it’s worth my time.
2) Take my time. This saves me so much time, in the end.
3) Do it well.
4) Complete it.

So far, results have been good.

One of these projects that I’ve taken on is a Podcast.

I know.

I’m so excited and proud of this partnership with my good friend Nik. Every other week, the two of us sit down (drinks in hand) and skype and talk about stuff that interests us. And maybe it interests other people, too.

(Back to the original topic, which was: summer.)

So, this week, we posted our latest ‘cast with each of our “Summer Aspirations” lists. We hated the term Summer Bucket List, so. We gave it a new name :)

You can see some of my summer aspirations on the podcast site where we post our show notes, but I wanted to share some of the things on my list that I didn’t mention on the ‘cast.

Nik and I will be tagging as many of these aspirations as we can on our Instagram feeds with the tag #tangentsummer14.

So, here we are. A hefty list for a hefty summer:

Kitchen:

Ice Cream Maker – I want one.

Farmer’s Market – Thursdays in South Pasadena. Magic. I want to go as often as possible.

South Pasadena Farmer's Market

Make Ketchup – We subscribe to a farm box through Muir Ranch in Pasadena and last summer they had LOADS of extra tomatoes near the end of the summer. Last year, I made marinara. This year, I want to tackle ketchup.

Veggetti Linguine – We got a Vegetti, which NEVER gets un-funny to say. This year, I want to make my favorite summer linguine sauce and use zucchini for noodles. 

 

Los Angeles/California:

Cinespia – We didn’t go last year and we need to make it happen this year. Though, with a toddler, we’ll see if this works out at all.

Rent bikes at the beach – Something I’ve always wanted to do and just… haven’t. Frownyface.

Griffith Observatory – I’ve never been. 9 years in LA and… not once. It’s shameful.

LACMA – Another LA thing I’ve not done.

Drive up the Coast of California – We did this on our way to our honeymoon and I would love to take a day and just drive up and down the coast again. So relaxing and beautiful.

 

Family/Self: 

Living Room Forts/Movie Nights/Backyard Camping – Our kiddo is getting to a really fun age where she gets that some experiences are outside of our norm, and that means they are special and fun. I want to create more special nights where we do fun things as a family. 

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Art – one of the new projects I’ve taken on is painting and drawing regularly. I forget how important a creative outlet is to me, and James and I have decided to carve out time in our week specifically for art time.

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Business – A friend and I have an idea for a potential business. I’m excited to see where it leads and how it changes from where we are now. This summer, I want to focus on doing more of what I love, and hopefully get paid to do it someday.

I’m kind of giddy. Excited to see what we’ve been able to do this summer, what will have to wait until next summer, and what surprises us that’s not even on our list yet.