Tag Archives: Life

The weekend I tried out all-natural deodorant

22 May

A few weekends ago it was one of the first hot weekends in Atlanta, and we spent most of it outdoors. I had run out of deodorant, and while shopping for more I made a quick decision to try out aluminum free, all natural deodorant. Slowly but surely I’m headed toward being one of those crunchy, organic lovin’ mommies. But I guess some things are meant to be full of chemicals.

Luckily no one commented that I smelled yucky, except for my own nose. The first application I thought it was going to go well. By the end of the weekend, I was desperate to get to the grocery store to get my tried and true Secret Powder Fresh Invisible that I’ve used for almost two decades. What do they say? A leopard can’t change her deodorant?

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Braves Game. We had the whole section to ourselves and Walter just ran up and down the stairs for the most part.

Fin's first Mad Italian
Finley’s first trip to Mad Italian!

what we did at the Renaissance Festival
Renaissance Festival where Walter only wanted to play on the playground. Should have just gone to the one in our neighborhood!

Whitney and Aaron's baby shower
Baby shower! I stayed later than my boys (and most all the other guests) and took an Uber home. I love the freedom Uber gives.

new mulch bed
I built the house with Walt and then put in the charming mulch bed, since the yard there has been a dirt/mud pit for about 7 years. About time we added some landscaping!

Despite what my armpits said, it was an amazing weekend. Similar to all my weekends (and truth be told, weeks) lately. Thanks world, for being so awesome to me! What is it about spring that is so hopeful?

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#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

The Show

16 Apr

A couple weeks ago I decided last minute to go to the Hozier concert at Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points, which is a $7 Uber ride from our house. I asked Dave if he wouldn’t mind watching Walt and looked on Stub Hub. It felt good to be a little wild. Reminded me of what I was like in ’08, working and going out (to a lot of concerts) and, to be honest, the sense of freedom I’ve missed since I became a mom.

In 2008 I opened up my world. I wasn’t afraid to go somewhere by myself, whether it be around Atlanta or on a trip out of state. I knew I could count on myself to have a good time. I’d find the good time, or at least bring it with me.

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Dave convinced me to get there early enough to see the opening act — Variety Playhouse always starts their shows on time! — and I’m sure glad he did. George Ezra was playing, and he was phenomenal. For thirty minutes I was about 20 feet from him, and the music and show enveloped me.

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One of the really cool things in this place is the giant fan on the ceiling. It’s a really, really big fan.

I used intermission to buy a beer and a t-shirt, which I actually ended up exchanging during the Hozier show, because they stunk. They stood there on stage like soulless singers, unmoving, no visible emotion, and with no stage show either. The lead singer didn’t speak for the first four songs, and when he did, he was insulting to the audience, pointing out how badly they/we smelled. Um, thanks? So glad we paid to see you live?

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I sat in the balcony for a bit, sipping my beer, and texting Dave. Then I hung out with the merchandise guy who was much more entertaining than the band. I was honestly surprised, because their music is so awesome and the video to their hit “Take Me to Church” is pretty incredible too. But, the last minute price tag was totally worth it just to see Ezra. I would absolutely do it again.

It was great to be able to count on Uber to make this night happen in a safe way, even though I didn’t get drunk, but the door to door service is good. Especially since a couple guys got murdered in Little Five Points a few days later. It was in the middle of the night though, not 9pm like when I left the show.

I’m going to keep it up. Just because I’m a married mom doesn’t mean that “life is over as I know it”, am I right, ladies?

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.

Living in a staged house isn’t quite like Arrested Development, but close.

22 Jan

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The house is certainly the prettiest it’s ever looked, but all my books are packed away and most of my crafts placed inconveniently in the back of the guest room closet. There are barely any personal photos to find around the house and the garage is about to burst with “extra” furniture.

I left my sewing machine out but I either have to use my knee or one of my hands to press the foot pedal since it’s on an end table (that used to be Dave’s craft table when he was Walt’s age). I wanted to make some place mats for us to use at the kitchen table (to tie the room together!), and I must say that my little ones were quite helpful.

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Sensing that I needed to accomplish something…

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…Petra pre-warmed my fabric. While there was a sewing needle in it.

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And Walt tried out the pedal for himself.

But yeah, the place mats did turn out great, and I got some chuckles in the process!

Why I don’t ever have to make lemonade because it’s usually sitting right around the corner.

17 Jan

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I love this photo for many reasons, most of all for the awesome photo bomb by dude in the chair. This photograph was taken by a random but cool Facebook friend of mine who just appeared in this particular restaurant in real life (I’ve only seen him one other time in the five or six years I’ve known him). Also, this is a great group of guys. My husband has known them for forever (since preschool and beyond), and I really appreciate how fun they are to hang out with. A couple extra friends came to brunch and they turned out to be psychologists and graphic designers and UX-ers, and it was very inspiring to talk to them about what I already love to do and would like to pursue career-wise.

Last weekend was really incredible. Following a recent blog post of mine about some of the serious things in life, a lot of people in my life came out of the woodwork to talk to me. And speaking of woodwork, my husband and our friend Lloyd built a beautiful privacy screen on our back porch this past weekend. They finished literally as the rain started, so I haven’t had a chance to stain it yet! I’m glad the sun was out yesterday to dry the wood. It looks extremely magnificent even unfinished though!

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Lloyd and his wife, my dear friend Leslie, also invited us to Morningside’s Couples Group dinner on Friday night where Dave and I were the youngest people by 25 years (except Leslie who is my oldest brother’s age), yet we really enjoyed chatting with everyone there. And they like to play a simple game every January where everyone writes a resolution for his or her spouse, and then everyone else at the party has to guess who it is about. It was silly and fun. I was talking with a wizened photo editor in the kitchen and could hear all the laughter in the background. He was telling me what I should do better re: the Christmas card I designed for our church. The whole night seemed to be about life, purpose, career, and calling, yet in a very fun delivery. Even the prayer about our current world unrest before our delicious pot luck dinner was beautiful.

Fast forward to Sunday brunch with our friends at Stone Soup Kitchen next to Oakland Cemetary, and I feel like the world is showing me my new path. There are constant signs in this world if you simply want to notice them. I personally like to pick out the good signs, the signs that bring me to calm and peace and happiness and art and adventure too. Otherwise the downward spiral is not fun. I’ve seen behind that curtain and try to avoid it as best I can.

Stone Soup Kitchen is by far the best breakfast place I’ve ever eaten at. Every dish looked amazing and I wanted my stomach to be big enough to eat the menu. After our table got all their beautiful looking meals, I got my plate and it looked like it was going to be disappointing. But I was rewarded for my choice by then devouring the best plate of eggs I’ve ever had in my life. Our table was in the hidden back porch and the ambiance was the coolest I’ve enjoyed at an in-town restaurant yet. I want to go back there every weekend until we move to the burbs.

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Time Travel: does it exist?

8 Jan

Me, to my family, because I am reading Outlander: “Do you think time traveling could be real?”

My dad: “No.”

My mom: “Yes.”

Walter continues playing with Lego’s.

Dave: “There was one time I was at work and I thought it was a Thursday only to find out it was really Tuesday, so in essence…”

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The Dreaded Facebook Syndrome

7 Jan

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Lately I think I’ve been bitten by the evil Facebook bug. The one that tells you that everyone else has it so easy (even when you know that’s not true). If I were telling this to my mother she would tell me that I was having a little pity party for myself, and that is true. But it doesn’t change the fact that sometimes it can be hard to look at the good tidbits of 150+ friends and then *gasp* compare them to my own life. And since I can barely handle my Facebook newsfeed, you can imagine the anxiety that The Daily Planet inspires in me. Evil is lurking around every corner these days, did you know that?

Dave and I have been trying to get pregnant again for the last 9 months. A lot of women have spoken up lately about how difficult it can be to be miscarry, and how they need to grieve. But what do you grieve when there never is a baby? How often are you allowed to feel grief? Every month? That gets exhausting and I don’t need to be depressed every single month. So then, is it only if you ever get pregnant and something goes wrong? Some months I don’t mind Aunt Flo but some months, the months that I have hope, that I think I am pregnant again, are the real killers.

Maybe every 9 months of negative tests and your monthly menses you can call that “the missing baby”.

I am so overjoyed when I see friends and family pregnant, but sometimes it feels like the universe is laughing at me. Over the last nine months I’ve had at least 30 friends either have a baby or announce a pregnancy. I know it’s just that time in my life when people are having babies, but sometimes I just want to say “Come on, really? Another one? What about me?”

And then the house. I’m sick of talking about selling our house and continuously working to improve it. To top it off, lots of friends have bought houses in the last year, and it seems to all work out for them so easily. They’re either renting when they buy, their condo sells in a weekend, or their jobs pay for their moves, and yet, for us, I don’t understand why we don’t have a hundred people on our front porch wanting to move in. Or at least one! Most real estate agents want to sell our house but not bring buyers by. They also want us to sell our house for so cheap that we’d be paying people (more) to take it off our hands, when the agents are the ones getting the easy profit. The economy isn’t that bad, folks. This is a great house. This shouldn’t be rocket science.

And to top it off, the thing I was spending most of my spare time on, being a deacon at our church, has turned into such a bad scenario for me, so draining and infuriating, that I no longer want to darken their doorstep. It would be difficult to go into detail and not write a novella, so let’s just say I tried being a very involved member and it’s just not working out anymore. I would say that I don’t even know what I believe anymore, but that’s not true. I think I know now better than I ever have before what I believe. And I love the people at our church dearly, but maybe Groucho Marx/Woody Allen are right: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”

I’m trying not to lose hope here. I know someday soon that all the cards will fall in to place and I’ll be the person with all the great, happy stories… full belly loading the moving van… but some days, hope is simply hiding under a large, too-heavy-to-move rock. And I cry.

Being able to write this down and share this brings me closer to the constant knowledge that I have it good. Real good. I am amazed by our clean, running water. That we give away cell phones for free. Quick, cheap, and safe vaccinations. Choice. Freedom. My little boy.

Maybe there’s a line in the middle of all this, the line that signals peace.

A thoughtful little moment in my life.

16 Dec

I was driving home from my favorite church meeting of the year last night and thinking about how lately I’ve been all “I’ll be happy when this happens” or “Once that gets done I can be happy,” and that’s just not a good way to live. It is putting qualifications on my general enjoyment of life. And while lately it has been very stressful no matter what mood I’m in, I simply need to be happy in the present. I can’t say “Oh if our house sells everything will be OK” or “If I can just get pregnant again I won’t have to worry about that anymore.”

Christmas is just one more time of year that reminds me of what I have to be thankful for. A beautiful, healthy boy. A nice roof over my head. A lovely husband to share my mealtimes and accomplishments and sorrows with. Clean, running water. Lots of friends. The ability to dress as I want and study what I please. An annoying yet cuddly kitten. I could go on and on.

Our church’s Joint Session meeting is always in December, and the deacons and elders meet for supper and sharing of our faith stories. It is an introduction as well as a deepening of understanding among some of our fellow members. Two years ago I shared my story for the first time, and as I had looked around the table there were many I didn’t know. Last night there were so many familiar faces, it was wonderful to know what being a part of something can do to integrate you into a system. I could have stayed on the outside looking in, but being in the mix is much more exhilarating. I believe I’ve made friends for life through this church, no matter where I might fly off to.

For those of you who know me well, you might know that I am a skeptical yet trusting person. Those things might be contradictory, but hey, life is full of the unexpected. When I was a kid I was enamored by the phrase “Expect the Unexpected” (frequently bombarding my family with the acronym ETU). I don’t know what life will bring, whether it be glorious and glittering, or if I will be able to make lemonade with the lemons, but I hope I continue to be both trusting and skeptical. I think my skepticism keeps me on my toes, and I can also use my trusting nature (some might call it naivet√©) to make sure I don’t drown in the negativity that is so easy to wallow in.

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Mountain Bling

28 Oct

Walt and I went to music class last week after Dave and I got home from our retreat in North Carolina. I found out our music teacher, whom we love, was also in Black Mountain while we were there. She was at something called the Leaf Festival, where they play music, camp, join in on drum circles, and artists sell their wares. Sounds like a lot of fun, actually.

Adina brought back this very cool instrument that a man named Jonathan Rose had made out of used propane tanks. It makes a most beautiful sound. Who knew?

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I always love the small world feeling you get when you see all these coincidences in your life. My father is on the board of Blossman Gas, a fantastic family-owned propane business in the Southeast. I plan on at least attempting to connect these people together for retail purposes; it could be fun for them both!

And while Walter loves music class and has really blossomed there, Adina has played an even bigger role in our lives. I was struggling with Walter’s lack of talking and looking into speech therapy, but unsure if it was really necessary to spend the money when Walter seems so bright. I was on the fence of “every child develops differently” and “maybe he needs some help”. I mentioned this to Adina and she pushed me again to teach him sign language. My response was: I’ve tried a million times and he just smiles at me! But I’ll give it one more go I guess!

That week was the magic week. He picked up on signing a few words, and it must have flipped a switch in his brain. He went from 30 to 60+ words in the last couple weeks, copies sounds and words we make, speaks in phrases, and uses signs without prompting. He’s really getting it and it’s really fun to watch. I knew it was in there (I wasn’t worried about that part of it), but I wanted it to come out!

The best part has been when we went grocery shopping the other day, without any prompting ever on my part, he pointed to the wine section and said repeatedly, “Wine! Wine! Wine!” … That’s my boy!

“The opposite of spiritual is not material, but impersonal.” – Peter Hobbie