Wednesday, January 21, 2015

awake, my soul

I believe so strongly in girlfriends.  I truly think it's vital to my health (I'm not even being hyperbolic here) to have women in my life to connect with.  Every Thursday afternoon I have a Skype date with my high school best friend.  On Wednesday nights I go to Pie & Broad City Shpitty night, where my BFF Shpitty and I watch Broad City and eat pie (was that explanation necessary?).  One time I started crying on my way to lunch because I was so grateful to be on my way to see friends.  I've had times in my life that felt so desperately lonely, I just don't feel able to take these connections for granted any more.

In 2009 I tried out and got into my college's improv team.  I was shocked, intimidated, and so, so excited. Carrie was on the team with me and I was in awe that she wasn't just funny, you know, for a girl--she held her ground and proved time and time again to be just as clever as the guys on our team.  I'd seen her in Comic Frenzy shows before and was totally star struck and intimidated when I met her (that seems silly to admit now because Carrie is so down to earth and friendly that she probably wouldn't have blinked if I'd just hugged her that first day and been like "Be my new best friend?").  Carrie introduced me to Liz, a genius poet/actress, and Darcy, who is hilarious and always looks magazine-ready.  The four of us used to hang out at Panache every Friday at 2:00, which prompted the nickname F@2 for our group (is this high school? I don't care, I love it).

Right after I started doing improv, I met Brooke.  She worked in the office next to the store, so she would stop by and we'd talk about clothes and school and our husbands.  Brooke is one of those people that makes you feel at ease right away.  She's outgoing and genuinely interested in the things you're saying.  We got together with our husbands one evening and everyone hit it off, which is the unicorn of friendship in the married world.  The weekend of my first improv show, I casually mentioned to Brooke that I would be performing, and her and Nick actually showed up.  I was so touched and blown away by that.  We became instantly inseparable, they lived next door to us, and we would have dinner together almost every night.  When they moved away to Utah I cried for days.  Now, Brooke is turning her house into a magazine spread, it is so beautiful, and is on her way to becoming the world's greatest speech pathologist.
Brooke was the first of those friends to leave me in Rexburg, but everyone slowly trickled off, too.   Carrie went to Utah, then Denver, then Utah again, and Darcy went to Georgia, and Liz is in Salt Lake becoming a famous actress, but we've all kept in touch.  We have this group text that's almost constantly got some kind of dialogue going, and it's the perfect place to be like "Omg what if I kill my son today? I'm going to lose my mind," and then everyone rushes to text back and be like "You're an amazing mom! You'll be okay! Hang in there!" and it's so, so nice.
If you're still reading at this point, well, my hat is off to you ("and my HAND is off to YOU!" name that show).  I just wanted to illustrate how incredible it was when Darcy alerted us that she was going to be in Utah for the weekend, and Carrie decided to drive a couple hours, and Liz offered her apartment for brunch, and then I talked to Brooke and we arranged a sleepover...how could I not sprint down to to Utah for 24 hours?  I left on Saturday afternoon and came back Sunday evening--8 hours of driving in less than 24 hours.  It wasn't ideal, but I'm telling you, this is how much I believe in the power of women friendships.  I got In N Out twice, went on a Trader Joe's shopping spree, spent over 4 hours lounging around Liz's apartment talking, drove around talking Brooke's ear off, it was just the greatest.

I think it is so important to get out of the house after a long day of talking to a toddler to have a conversation with someone on an equal level, someone you can bounce ideas off of and exchange hair compliments with.  I love talking books and religion and feminism, and then I also love being like "Should I get a boob job?  Are my eyebrows too thick?  Did you see that weird blog post by that one blogger?" It's programmed in us to need to connect with other people, and I really think that there's a certain kind of sadness that forms when that need isn't being met.  I'm so used to feeling left behind living in such a transient town, and this weekend was a wonderful reminder that these women who have spread out across the country aren't gone from my life, they just don't live next door anymore.  We still care deeply about one another and that support system still exists, just in a different way than it once did.  It's also so good for my writing to pick a brain that isn't my own and to hear about how someone else sees the world.  It's just all so beautiful that I came home and organized a Galentine's Day party to celebrate the women in my life. I LOVE GIRLFRIENDS.

Friday, January 16, 2015

you're gonna sing the words wrong

8 Things I Love Right Now:
1. Uptown Funk, Riptide, and Your Lips Are Moving. High school Brandilyn would be so embarrassed and annoyed by how top 40 I am right now.

2. Homemade brownies.  I used this recipe and they're every bit as good as that blog post says. Secret ingredient though: I chopped up a coffee crunch dark chocolate bar and mixed that in with 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips. Mmm. I delivered 75% of the pan to a friend so I wouldn't eat them all myself in one sitting.

3. Spark's No Preservatives class. I won a spot in the class in an Instagram giveaway (I AM THE LUCKIEST!) and it has been so much fun this week!  The Spark blog is a new favorite, and the class is just as thoughtful and inspiring as you would expect. I am so impressed by these women.
4. My Passion Planner. I have always been a paper planner person.  David has his stuff all on his desktop and phone, but I need a physical, paper copy.  I did their Use It Free option, getting it printed and bound at our local copy shop.  It's been fantastic and I have both our family agenda/meal plan in the same place as my school assignments (last year I was using separate planners).
5. Frost. Rexburg was a frosty little wonderland this week and just driving around on our daily errands was so beautiful.
6. Library time!  Joon and I get so sick of each other when we stay cooped up inside all day.  It's nice to have a free activity to entertain us--we check out the 5 different fish tanks (including the "ssh fish" in the quiet section), play with the toys in the kid section, and choose a few new books to bring home.
7. Vaseline...for my face. You guys, this is how dry Idaho is.  At night I wash and moisturize as normal, and then add a layer of Vaseline overnight. It's made such a big difference. It doesn't make me break out, since I'm putting it over clean skin, it just helps with the dragon lady dryness.

8. Jamba Juice's Citrus Kick juice.  It has ginger so it's got that little kick and it's so good. If I was a bajillionaire I'd get one every morning, but right now I get it like once a week. Maybe. It's $5! That's the cost of 3ish dirty Dr. Peppers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

your lips are moving


And now...another round of things my kid says! I think these are mostly funny to me because I've seen him evolve from a cute blob on my floor into a person with opinions and world views that are different from mine...he's a human being, you know? Like that's weird. Anyways, some little gems from recent days:

Going up the stairs: "Hey! Ow! MOVE!"
("Ow" = Meow = Cat = Tina)

Me: "Eat your mac and cheese, buddy!"
Him: "NO, Mom. No cheese."
Me: "If you eat your mac and cheese, we can get a cookie while we're out."
Him: "A shoo cookie?" (sugar cookie)
Me: "Sure. Now eat your mac and cheese."
Him: "NO."
Me: "Okay then, it's time to go and we can't get a cookie."
Him: "Mom! Mac and cheese! PLEASE."
--10 minutes pass, no mac and cheese gets eaten--
Me: "All right dude, we're leaving."
Him: "Oooh, a shoo cookie?"
Me: :::head explodes:::

After I opened the door for him at the post office, or do the self check out at the grocery store, or clean out Tina's litter box, or change a light bulb: "Good job, mom!"

Looking at a tractor picture: "Wow...tractor reeree cool, huh Dad?"

Passing the laundry room, where Tina was crunching on her dry food:
"Ow eat?  Ow eat crackers.  Good job, Ow. Good crackers."

Uses the palm of his hand as a cell phone, dials a number, and holds it up to his ear:
"Dad? Oh, hi dad! I frow train...and mama NO! NO, baby! And uh oh. Oh, no."

Monday, January 12, 2015

if we show up, gonna show out

I ended my first semester of grad school on a bad note.  All semester long I felt so encouraged and excited by the work I was doing, awed by the things my peers were writing and posting, so engaged in the whole learning process.  It had been over three years since I'd been in a classroom, and I'd forgotten what a thrill that can be.  I tracked my grades all semester and never received any indication that I was on track for less than A's all around, so I was shocked when the final grades came and I had a B.  I won't tell you exactly how much I cried, because it's embarrassing, but I went back and forth with my professor and the whole thing just left me feeling sad and discouraged.  I was so disappointed to end the semester on that note.
I've been kind of a sad sack about it all, which kept me from getting all giddy-excited about my second semester.  I kept looking at it with this kind of "Okay, gear up, back to school" kind of attitude, forgetting how this program makes me feel when I'm engaged in it.  This morning David suggested he take Clark to the arcade so I could have a quiet house for an hour or two to get my semester started.  It felt like such a gift.  I logged into Blackboard, opened my planner, started getting my week organized, and it all just kind of washed over me again.  I am so lucky!  I love this!  How did I forget about the soul-stretching effect this all has on me?  It felt so good to be in that mental space again, to be adding "Watch Sedaris videos" and "Read Ai poem" to my planner. I LOVE DOING THIS! If you're tired of blog posts like this, well, I'm sorry. I'm just so excited.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

funk you up


I started doing this huge, long survey about 2014 in review, and about 75% through I realized I was just repeating the same things over and over.  2014 was a big year for me.  2013 was lonely and sad--it's taken me a long time to say that without feeling like a huge loser.  Our eighteen month move out of Rexburg shook me a lot more than it should have. Right after we left, all of my best friends moved away and I was in a new town and I just felt so sad all the time, and then I felt afraid by how sad I was capable of feeling.
2014 was so different.  It was bright and challenging and new.  We bought a house.  I committed to, trained for, and ran a half marathon.  I applied for, got into, and started grad school (GRAD SCHOOL, you guys!). I met David-freaking-Sedaris.  I survived parenting a 2-2.5 year old. I baked so many new things.  I went to Arizona and California and Montana and Florida.  We got Miss Tina the cat.  I found a happy place with blogging, even!
There were a few hard parts in this year, too, of course.  I lost my Grandpa Bum.  I've been surprised by how that's affected me.  I think about him every single day.  I still cry when I remember that I'm living in a world that he isn't in anymore.  I wasn't able to be with my sister when her mom passed away. I think about that a lot, too.

I ended the old year and started the new one on a really negative note.  My family all left town after awesome visits, the temperature dropped to -15*, I wrenched my neck, had cramps, and Clark and I were just grumpy with one another.  What a bummer.  A few days of space have given me some clarity, though (you should have seen the Negative Nancy post in my drafts), so here is what I want to say about the new year now:
I've been blogging long enough now that I roll my eyes at those posts that every single blogger writes every single year, so I'm refusing to do a New Year Resolutions! post filled with exercise and healthy cooking and books.  I'm just a grinch that way, it's whatever.  I hope 2015 is as bright and good-scary as 2014 has been.  I learned this year to do the things I wanted to do.  I realized that no one will go out and get me the things I want--I have to work for them myself.  Personality traits, education, physical achievements, friendships, they all start with a decision to act.  I want to keep thinking of new and scary things to act on, things I'm proud to tell people about, good stories to write down and remember.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

let love grow






1. I found out about a trampoline gym in Idaho Falls, and we went with my sister and niece, then again when my mom was in town.  You wouldn't believe the nap Clark takes after an hour jumping around.

2. He asked me to take his picture. What a ham.

3. Clark got a train table for Christmas! He loves all of his train tracks, and he also loves an empty table to push cars around and sort tractors.  I love taking a picture of his room every few months so I can look back and see how it's changed.  It's not all sparse and wooden and pretty, but it's filled with things he loves, which makes me happy to be in there.

4. Tina got a Kitty Cot for Christmas. Like kitty cat...but kitty cOt? Oh my gosh. She loves it. It's suctioned to the window!

5. Getting pulled around on a river raft after an insane snow storm. I think he wore both David and my dad out shrieking and laughing and loving his snowy life.

Monday, December 29, 2014

my rack

We've been on visitor overdrive lately.  I love it.  My sister and her family got her on the 23 and stayed through the 26, then my parents came on the 26 and are staying through New Year's Eve.  I spend so many days (and weeks and months) being homesick that it just feels so good to have those people I'm missing right here in my house for a couple days.

While my parents are here, my dad spent a half day making me this mug rack.  I pinned this inspiration photo almost a year ago and haven't been able to get it out of my head. I have a great mug collection and I wanted to display some of them on my wall.  My dad and I went to our local hardware store and had this piece of plywood (3/4" thick) cut to size, then he burned it slowly with a blowtorch to deepen the colors, and sealed it with a top coat.  We used hooks that he opened wider with pliers so they fit my mugs of all sizes. I'm so freaking excited about this dang mug rack, I can't even put words to it.  He even wrote on the back! "Hand made for David, Brandilyn, and Joon by your 'ole Dad 12-29-14."


...and in case my kitchen was getting too classy, I bedazzled Tina's special cardboard box throne that sits on the kitchen table: