Monday, December 12, 2011

Bucket List

I have a short bucket list. This is it -

DC --> England


I recognize my good fortune in hitting 1 out of 2 items on this list, but folks, progress is our watchword. Onward and upward.

I would like to live in England and experience life there. The ups, the downs, the in-betweens. I have no idea how to make this happen. Bright ideas* welcomed.

That's it, for now.

*That do not include marriage. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

:::Utah, Part 3 -- Creative Friday!:::

{Photo credit either Michelle or Jill}

While I was in Utah I was lucky enough to be invited to Creative Friday with blogging friends Jill and Michelle. You have no idea how excited and nervous I was by this invitation. I have read Jill and Michelle's blogs for about four years now, and my life has duly been blessed. I admire both of these women so much. Through their writings I have found strength, courage, determination, perspective, but most importantly peace, comfort, hope, and joy in many hard and uncertain times. They have brightened my life.

The Creative Friday I was invited to actually took place on a Monday because Jill had a half day at her job. Though I was beyond excited to participate, I also felt a little bad for muscling in on their traditional get-together. But not bad enough to turn down their invitation. Ha!

Jill had emailed me a few days before hand to take my drink order for Sonic, ask my crafting preferences, and to get directions to Heidi's house. The day of, she kindly picked me up since I was without a car. It was great to finally meet Jill in person. She was just as I imagined -- Jill through and through. Strong, funny, sure, insightful. A woman who knows how to be a true friend and ally. I have always liked the Jill I knew through her blog, but in person she is even better.

On the ride over to Michelle's she asked me a lot of questions about my life, and it made me realize how guarded I am in my writing, and in life in general. I guess there are a lot of things people don't know about me, but at the same time, I don't really know what else to share. I have such a hard time talking about myself as an actual person, and when I do open up the information comes out all awkward in spastic fits and starts. I feel like such a weirdo when I have to talk about myself. Oh well. Anyhow, I loved talking with Jill.

Michelle came out of her house to greet us when we arrived. You know that part in the BBC Pride and Prejudice (1995) where Aunt Gardiner describes Jane as, 'such a calm, steady girl'? That is Michelle. I am always in awe of these types of women. Michelle is lovely, kind, and full of grace. She is a soothing, non-judgement presence.

I have to break here and tell you again how excited I was to be there with Jill and Michelle. I know I already wrote this at the beginning of this post, but truly, this was just too cool of an experience. Creative Friday! Jill and Michelle! Sadly, since I was such a stress-ball of nerves and uncertainty due to my general life upheaval, I wasn't really at my best. My mind was half in the clouds the whole time I was in Utah, and looking back now, it's hard to believe I was actually there. While I was at Michelle's house for Creative Friday I knew that as soon as our visit was over it would be like it never happened. Alas, this has turned out to be true. If I didn't have photographic evidence, I wouldn't believe that any of this ever happened.

Anyhow, back to Creative Friday. Michelle had supplies ready for me to make these paper flowers out of old book pages. Once you get into the groove they are so fast and easy to make. Once my life gets a little more settled I'll definitely be making some more.

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The Creative Friday table! I was there! Really, I promise!

Michelle and Jill asked me a lot of questions about my life, I tried to sound like a normal person, and they gave me advice and insight that buoyed up my spirits. It was much needed. 

{Photo by Jill}

Look! It's the rarely seen authoress of this blog! I call this photo, 'Don't Fold Your Arms Under Your Chest It Makes Your Boobs Look Like They're Trying to Swallow Your Face.' In another circumstance I might call it, 'Trying To Impress Gentlemen Callers.'

I barely took any photos due to my camera shame. Michelle and Jill have nice DSLRs, while I'm still sporting my point-and-shoot. They are also great photographers. Click on their hyper-linked names underneath our self-portrait to visit their photo galleries.

Anyhow, I did take a few snaps. This is a classic picture of Jill writing some Good Mail. Jill has a determination that I so admire. She has been writing Good Mail to people for years. Through all phases of life, different trials, domestic and international vacations, sicknesses, new jobs, time-consuming callings, she keeps writing and sending thoughtful Good Mail. I am so, so not that person (as evidenced by my spotty blogging of late). One disruption in my life, and I shut it down. Done.

This picture of Michelle just makes me so happy. She is wonderful. You would be blessed to have her in your life. She carries an increased portion of the Spirit with her. I felt instantly welcomed into her home without pretense.

Oh, Michelle just casually made muffins while we were there. I love that about her. She has a baking instinct that cannot be suppressed.

I got to meet the famous Jack! Oh, you big, hairy monster!

Not pictured...I was also able to meet the whole Chez Moi crew, including...

The one and only, the fabulous, the dynamic, Miss Eva. She was surprisingly shy, but I could tell that she's a little firecracker on the inside, and could be endlessly entertaining when she gets started.

Michelle's husband Marc made a brief but comical appearance. I think he could be one of the most interesting people in the world to talk to. He has a mind full of ideas and unending interests that he actively pursues. He has an idea, then he tries to execute it. It doesn't turn out the way he wanted it to? Oh well. He tries the next thing. What is that gene?

Also, ALSO, I got to meet Tall Max, who is possibly the world's most pleasant teenage boy, who actually engages in conversation with his mother in a real, honest way, and who does his homework without pestering or threat. Yep, this one is a keeper.

Sweet Lucas. Shy, shy, heart of gold. I can tell that he has Michelle's spirit, and I imagine that they are kindred spirits in many ways. Michelle really has the best boys, and she has unique but equally meaningful relationships with both.

Instead of asking everyone questions about their lives based on what I know about them from reading Michelle's blog, I decided to play it non-stalkerish and not scare anyone. Ha!

I only wish Jill's kids could have been there. I would have loved to ask Landon for life advice (the kid has a lot going for him), and connected with the artsy, free-wheeling, casual and easy-going Whitney. I think Whitney and I would be an awesome pair. I would validate every wild and fanciful idea she had. She would tell me to eat more cake and buy hot pink shoes. BFFs.

I had a great time crafting and talking with Michelle and Jill. I hope I was mildly entertaining, though I felt a bit like a wet mop personality wise. I was frustrated with myself for that. Nonetheless, I had a great time.

Eventually Michelle was like, 'Oh, I have to make dinner.' Then, like two seconds later, she had peeled and cut up a squash and was putting it into the oven to roast for squash quesadillas. Michelle is a natural homemaker and creator.

And then... was over.

And Jill drove me back to Heidi's house.

And I was sad that it was over, and wished that I could stay forever and feel safe. Oh, I could feel the imminent change coming, and I felt dwarfed by it. I wanted to linger in these Utah moments and hide myself for a while.

Do you know that these women are wonderful? That is what I'm trying to tell you. I owe them so much.