Tag Archives: friendships

#LongLiveLove

2 May

The past two weekends I have been grateful to live some extraordinary experiences. Two weekends ago Dave and I were witness to two great friends getting married. Not only are they awesome, creative people, but the bride is Indian, and I got to experience my first Indian wedding. I am totally converted. I am also convinced that if you want a dance party, there better be Indian music playing. It’s better than booze to get people going.

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They had two events at the Howard House, which is right around the corner from us.

Everything about the weekend was extraordinary. Even the rain didn’t slow us down. Friday night was Mehndi night, which is typically when the bride and other female family members get henna on their hands (and feet). However, since it took the bride 7 hours, she had hers done the day before. But any guest could get henna, and it was so much fun. I had mine for about one minute before the groom smudged one of my fingers. I only gave him a little bit of grief about it since it was his big day.

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My father-in-law is convinced it’ll stay forever. I wish!

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I love all the color!

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Best Indian food ever, and at a wedding too! I suspect it’s because the bride and groom are foodies (as well as graphic designers and musicians). You can only imagine the party they threw. The first night was a wedding in itself, and then the real weddings — they had two — were the next day!

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I love that they’ve been friends since they were Walter’s age.

My only regret was not getting a sari to wear. I was colorful enough, but next time I will be all over that. Because there will be more Indian parties in my future.

Walter was, while we were gone, staying at home with our next door neighbor.  She is a kindergarten teacher nearby and really sweet, so I figure it’s almost like paying a tutor too! Walter still tells me, “I have fun with Julie.” I love it.

We got to cuddle in the mornings though.

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Saturday was both the Indian ceremony in the morning, which we did not attend, and the American ceremony in the evening followed by a reception at Piedmont Park. Where, of course, Back Street Boys was blaring in the background across the lake during the very emotional ceremony (yes, I did cry). There was also a little Scottish flair thrown in there as well, and when they spoke their own vows — during a Methodist ceremony — they were actually quite great. The food buffet was amazing, and they had cakes (with the icing on top drawn by the henna artists from the night before) from Murphy’s, where I am going immediately to buy another one because those bites were the closest thing to heaven you can imagine.

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We were seated with Alex’s cousins, near the bride and groom table. We were flattered, and also Alex’s family is really cool. During the ceremony we sat next to Ruby’s cousin Prnay, who danced an ancient Indian dance, during the Mendhi night shindig, that he has spent years studying. When Ruby started crying, so did I! The fathers of the bride and groom also spoke wonderfully at the reception, both with humor and wisdom. It was a weekend full of awesome people, and I loved it.

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#rubyandalex #longlivelove

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The Farm

8 Mar

Life is full of wonders. I have lived here for four or five years now and I never knew there was a farm smack dab in the middle of our neighborhood. A hero, Farmer Red, saved five acres of land in the heart of Ormewood Park, and he calls it UFO — Urban Farm Ormewood. It is my new favorite place, probably because it is a mile and a half walk away.

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Today was a glorious day outside, and our friends who found out about the farm took us there as a fun outing. Perfect weather. A little bit chilly so it made it great to run around. Walter is never bothered by the cold anyway, and baby Canon didn’t seem to care either. The sunshine was brilliant, and the calm open space a joy.

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Beautiful even in the winter. And there’s a tree swing!

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Never a better day was had.

The Party

7 Mar

Last Sunday we went to an old friend’s wedding kick-off event. It was a small group of really cool people our age, hosted by a really cool group of adults our parents’ age that all live in Ansley Park. We hired a babysitter for the night, a very sweet girl who lives literally across the street from us. This was the second time Walter has had a paid babysitter (besides preschool), and I have to say, it makes me feel like a grown up. Even though I haven’t babysat since Walter was born, it is an weird feeling to pay someone to do what you used to do for money.

Being around lots of other happy couples (mostly other couples had been invited) made me terribly glad that David has loved me so long. 6 1/2 years so far. It is incredibly powerful to know that someone has chosen to love you through thick and thin, no matter what, and then live up to that challenge. He’s from the hill people of Scotland. He sticks around and puts up a fight.

My only other relationship that has lasted longer than with my husband — besides with my parents and siblings and a few school friends — is with my cell phone number. I’m pretty sure I could make a legal case if someone tried to take that number from me. You’ve been able to reach me at that number since I was 16 — when I got my first cell phone. Man was that thing a giant, and all it did was call and text. I miss that.

For a while we had a second phone line growing up. It ran into the guest bedroom and was somewhat my dad’s number, but we all used it. One night as we were eating dinner, we let the machine pick up, and we heard “Hello, hello, are you there?” in what we thought was my late grandmother’s voice. Caller ID: unknown number.

I was chatting with a new friend at the party, and he was talking about how he had known his girlfriend since they were ten, but they just recently started dating. But the best part for him was that since they had known each other for so long, they didn’t have to get past the “representative”. He said something like, “That’s the worst part of dating. For the first couple months you meet someone’s representative, and then you finally get to know them.” And while I instantaneously thought that was true, I also realized that I think that’s what I’ve been doing for myself lately. Getting rid of my own representative. It’s as if a filter is shedding, and I am becoming free.

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Polaroids rock. So does this group of awesomeness. These guys have been friends since they were Walter’s age. And they have great arm candy now too.

And speaking of people that are awesome, have I mentioned lately how much I love Walter? Every day is an brand new experience of love like I never thought it could be. He’s absolutely my favorite person in all the world.

Fun Friday in Fall at the Farm

26 Sep

This week has been so perfect weather-wise that I knew I wanted to visit the Atlanta History Center soon. Going during the summer was great, but the farm got hot and has a few mosquitoes that also reside there.

We started off our morning with a delicious breakfast.

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That’s actually a fork in his orange juice.

Then we met my good friend Katina and her daughter A at the farm.

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We walked around talking about their vegetable gardens (where Walt left footprints in their perfect, raised beds), farm co-ops in the suburbs, and homeschooling. There was a homeschooling group there also that we chatted with a bit, and it only furthered my interest in doing that after Walt finishes preschool.

Then we learned a bit about blacksmithing. I cannot say enough how much I love the demonstrations and the 1864 character actors with their super Southern accents.

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Walter watched when he wasn’t playing in the dirt.

Tomorrow is their Fall Folklife Festival, and I can’t wait to fight the crowds to enjoy all the other things they’ll have to offer, like storytelling and food preserving for the winter and curing meats. The best part is, they’re actually doing this stuff, not just telling you about it. I bet the actresses in the kitchen with the open fire are enjoying the fall weather as much as I am. And I’m not even wearing vintage antebellum dresses.

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Maybe the best picture of our boy yet.

Play Dates

5 May

I see lots of other moms on social media whose children have “best friends”. They’re always so good about getting together with other moms and taking cute pictures of their kids having fun. With cousins living out of town and most of my friends sans kids, it’s been hard to get Walter some friends.

But luckily several months ago, one of our church friends decided to become a stay at home mom, and I was thrilled — play dates aren’t just for kids, you know. Her daughter, M, is a week older than Walt. It’s so fun seeing them interact together. We used to go to story time at the library before it was canceled, and now we attend a Music Class every week. Maybe swim lessons during the summer too? We have also started doing other things like going to the zoo and just playing at home.

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Walt was more interested in the trees and the mulch than the exotic animals.

Whenever M sees Walt, she points at him and says “Wal Wal”.

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Classic. He has no idea what to do with a girl’s attention.

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Aw, see? BFFs. Lots of good times ahead.

The Art of a Successful Party

8 Mar

Last weekend I threw a 30th birthday party for one of my best friends (“30, flirty, and thriving” already!?!?), and it was fabulous. I know we all have different versions of a successful party. But here’s a good recipe for one if you’re out there looking.

1. Make sure you have enough alcohol. I found a website that prescribed two drinks per person for the first hour of the party and one drink per person for every hour after that. Leftovers are never a problem in my book either!

We had wine – both red and white, – beer, vodka, gin, rum, killer kimonos, tonic, club soda, Coke, Diet Coke, ginger ale, Fanta, and tons of bottled water. We also had a champagne toast with the birthday cake. Don’t forget ice and cups.

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2. Decorations. I went simple yet it was more decorated than I’ve ever seen the house except for Christmas. We hung yellow streamers from the light fixture in the kitchen (reminding me that I need to look up high to dust), hung paper balls around the room, had a “Happy 30th Birthday” banner, had birthday confetti placed on the tables, and I made a centerpiece decoration out of birthday balloons that someone else brought over. Outside on the back deck I put out lights, and we had the fire pit going at one point. It was all very festive!

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3. Delicious Food. We wanted heavy hors d’oeuvres so people wouldn’t go hungry but also it wasn’t meant to be dinner. We had meatballs in a BBQ sauce, seven layer dip, buffalo chicken dip, chips, turkey pinwheels, cheese and crackers, and grapes. All the food was so good. I would have been happy if no one had come to the party so I could have eaten it all by myself, but I was glad at the end of the night when we had almost no leftovers.

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4. Dessert/Birthday Cake. The birthday boy’s favorite cake is red velvet cake (and who doesn’t like red velvet!?) so when I was looking up recipes, I thought that a simple recipe of red velvet cream cheese cake balls sounded just as easy as cupcakes, and a little bit more fun too. It turned out to be a bit more work than it looked (probably going to the store twice while making them didn’t help any), but they turned out DELICIOUS. I mean, one guest told me that the cake balls made him see Jesus. I don’t get those kind of compliments often on my cooking (especially my baking), and I never would have been able to do it without David. He finished up when I withered out at 1am. First of all, if you do normal size balls, the recipe will make 45 of them, not 20 like it says. Also, you’ll need two bags of baker’s chocolate chips and a little bit more than 8 oz. of cream cheese. Ours didn’t turn out quite as pretty as the blogger’s picture, but David did get creative with the leftover chocolate, making designs on the top like you would see on Godiva truffles. YUM. I can’t wait to forget about how hard it was to make them so that I can do it again.

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All in all, throwing a party for 30 guests was a lot of work, both in prep and in clean up, but it was worth it. And of course I loved the compliments on our house. It was a blast, and when everyone else has a blast too, you know you’ve done a good job.

Before you can sleep you must first live

26 Feb

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Last week reminded me of what it is to be human. Don’t get me wrong. I love every day of my life and every minute with Walter. But sometimes it’s nice to feel independent, to remember a time before I was constantly on baby patrol. To actually be interacting with adults. It was great, and it was also utterly exhausting!

Tuesday I grabbed drinks at Argosy in East Atlanta with a friend. I love that place. My favorite new bar.

Wednesday was an impromptu birthday celebration for one of my best friends. It took a million years to get dinner at Benihana’s on Peachtree, but I loved every moment – and glass of wine!

Thursday I went to a poetry reading at Georgia Tech with David. Thomas Lux et al. started the Poetry at Tech series (all free) back in 2002, and it’s a little known Atlanta treat. I, however, hadn’t attended a reading in probably close to 3-4 years. Poetry and I had fallen out of favor, but I’m so glad I sought them out again. The poetry kids and I used to be very close. This particular reading reminded me why I loved it so much. It is enriching to see someone stand up and reveal personal details of their lives, written in a way that is unique to them in a way prose can never be. And there is nothing like watching someone perform; not even reading the same words leaves the same impression. And then of course the after party, with Lux’s rooftop view, sitting around with new and old friends, chatting about whatever, was awesome.

Friday was another last minute invite. David’s oldest friend (David got his first school suspension for biting Alex in preschool. Why David is so proud of that story, I’ll never quite get. Maybe it’s a boy thing. I hope he didn’t pass that on to Walt.) had a pizza party. I thought they were going to be ordering in Papa John’s, but it was delicious homemade pizza with all sorts of fresh toppings. There were many cool people there and more of David’s childhood friends. When Dave first got the invitation, all of a sudden a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cassette tape appeared on our kitchen table. It took me a few days to ask David why it was there. I thought he had ordered it off eBay or something like that. But it was actually vintage, mint condition, cowabunga style music from one of Alex’s birthday pizza parties from a long, long time ago. It was really hilarious watching the boys stand around listening to it at the 2014 party!
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Saturday I was hoping to relax and get some work done, since I was given a big project on Friday that was due Monday, but David came down with a stomach bug, and I worked non-stop all day and night, pretty much, for the rest of the weekend, interspersed with more fun activities. We haven’t even had time to finish House of Cards season 2!

Sometimes being so very busy makes me feel so very alive.

And then it’s time to sleep like the dead!

A heavy heart burdens the mind

11 Apr

It’s not always fun in the sun, projects that need to get done, and friends to hang out with. Sometimes you get a sunburn, you spill the paint everywhere, or your heart gets broken. Or as my mother says, your ego takes over, and your ego isn’t interested in happiness. It’s out there to get you.

Lately I’ve been a bit down. I don’t like when this happens, because it is very true that negativity drains you. It gives you nothing in return except obsessive thoughts, a downhill spiral into a land I am not interested in visiting anymore. When I was younger I spent a good chunk of my life sharing my body and mind with crippling depression. I say this because it affected every aspect of my life for almost a decade. From 1999 – 2008 I don’t think I was fully myself.

Despite that significant portion being a bit of a mess, I have had a great life. I have experienced a lot, I have accomplished many things, and I have loved greatly. But sometimes I can understand people who suffer mid-life crises, because when you look back and see things you’d like to change, and yet you know that you absolutely cannot do that, the damage is done, that part of your life has already been lived… well, it’s a scary feeling. To know that you are only headed in one direction, for better or worse.

And that’s what has gotten me down: forgetting about the numerous good things and focusing on what I don’t have. There are many people that I used to be very close to that I am not friends with anymore. So many, in fact, that a friend once said, “Well, if they’re all doing the same thing to you, maybe you’re the problem, not all of them.” Which made me mad, because who wants to know that they are the source of their problems?

When I went off to college, my only mission was to find myself. I needed to be in a place where my first thoughts weren’t about depression. It took a long time, a lot of searching, and a lot of pain to extricate myself. And during that time, my high school friends moved on. They were able to get it together quicker than I was. I didn’t get fantastic grades my first time in college, I missed the boat on getting into a lucrative career (at least for now), and I gained and lost a lot of friends. In retrospect there are many, many things I could have done differently. And when I tried to make up for my past transgressions, I was not treated with reciprocal respect.

Yes, the piercing sword hurts. But what would hurt worse is if I continue to dwell on these things I cannot change, these friends I will not have again. I have many other friends, and I shouldn’t put them aside to chase after the past. High school, no less. Haven’t I grown up since then? It’s very similar to my romantic relationships. If I had treated David the same way I treated my other boyfriends, we would not be happily married with a marvelous child to lavish our attention over. I choose to make every day the best day I can for our family. I can’t forget to do that for the rest of my world too and know that the laughter and imagination isn’t over yet.

Life isn’t really about what you have and don’t have. It’s about the images you create of the things you think you want.