D and E: Part 1

So, a few posts ago, I wrote about how Danny and I have some differences. I read comic books on the beach, and he drinks exotic coffee and eats pie on the beach. I thought that was an interesting blog post, so I’ve decided to highlight more differences between us, every once in a while.

Danny and I have different tastes in beverages. Basically, Danny is never without a cup of coffee in his hands. And, I have never had a cup of coffee in my entire life. On a daily basis, if you were to see us in our daily lives, we would probably be holding these in our hands.

This is Danny’s thermos.

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Danny puts cool stickers and stuff on his thermos. He represents his love for NPR, books, and music that he likes. I think this is the epitome of a hipster teacher thermos.

This is my Tervis cup.

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I usually don’t drink anything other than water, and thanks to my parents, I have a fun cup from which to drink it. Because this cup is colorful and has polka dots, I think it shows my whimsical side. And, it showcases my love for the Cincinnati Reds (home of my future next husband, Joey Votto).

Isn’t it funny how two drink vessels showcase our personalities so well?

Look for the next installment of this series soon!

Progress

Things are really hard around here. For the past three years, Danny and I have worked together. Those years were hard at times, but I, especially, got used to having a lot of time with Danny. Because we spent so much time together on a day to day basis, our time together didn’t have as much pressure. We could spend time on the couch at night, not talking, because we had already talked all day long. But, now that we aren’t spending tons of time together, I am feeling that pressure feeling again. I feel like the time we do spend together needs to be fantastic because we don’t get as much time together. And, the start of the school year is really hard right now–well, actually, all of Danny’s job has been hard. So, we are both tired, and we didn’t get as much done around the house as we wanted to this summer.

This weekend, we did cross one thing off our list: power washing.

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We have lots more to do (weird shrubs, I’m looking at you), but it was nice to power wash this weekend.

What are some things you guys are doing to find joy these days? I am in the market for some joyful things these days.

Unfinished projects

We are knee deep in unfinished projects over here. I am full in project mode, and I can barely sit still because I have project energy coursing through my veins. However, Danny is in beginning of school mode, so he has no energy at all running through his veins. So, we have lots of projects just sitting around our house. They will be great when they are finished, but for now, they are a bummer. But, let’s dream together about what could be, shall we?

Exhibit 1:

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This is a grown-up, huge print that I bought when we were in Michigan. It will eventually hang over the fireplace, but for now, it just sits on the floor next to it. Frames are expensive, you know? I just got a Michael’s coupon, so this might be finished up this weekend.

2. Exhibit 2:

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Once upon a time, we had some track shelving in our back room. However, this week, it all decided to collapse. So, we are hanging more sturdy shelves. These are the brackets that will hold our shelf in place. Right now, they are lying on the floor, right next to all of the frames and such that were on the shelves. But soon, they will be on the wall. We can only hope.

Exhibit 3:

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Finally, I bought this huge bookshelf at the Goodwill, and it is currently waiting a paint job. It’s also waiting to hold all of my chapter books, lovingly handed down by my father. Currently, it’s in the doorway of the office–partially because I want to paint it soon, and partially because I couldn’t get it farther in the door. The floor is currently blocked by all of those aforementioned chapter books.

The mess and chaos is currently closing in on me, but I will bravely continue on. I have dubbed tomorrow “project day,” even though I am working at the library, so, hopefully, some of these will be finished soon! I’ll report back with the details as soon as they occur!

Differences

Take one look at me and Danny, and you will notice that we are different. Danny is brown and brown eyed, and I am pale and blue eyed. He has squinty eyes, and I have tons of freckles. He never stops talking about Michigan, and I never stop talking about Frasier. We are obviously different.

Remember how I said that we went to Michigan a little while ago? It seems like a distant memory now, but today, just to assure myself that it really happened, I looked through some photos and reminisced. And, I found two pictures that show how different Danny and I are.

Here are two pictures that I feel represent the most relaxed we both were while lounging on the beach.

When I am on the beach, I like to read books and feel the wind in my hair.

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And, yes, I do tend to wear long sleeves so as not to burn.

Danny likes to drink new kinds of coffee and eat pie while on the beach. He might read a couple of poems, but mostly, he savors the flavors and drinks in the nature.

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Ever since I was little, I have had a hard time putting down the book and actually experiencing the nature or scenery around me. But, Danny really soaks it all in. It might be the caffeine he drinks.

We are different, but I think we still go together pretty well. He reminds me to put down the book once in awhile, and I help him brush all of the pie crumbs out of his beard. We were meant to be.

Dear Heather…

This is the kind of letter that I never thought I would write. I never thought, in a million years, that I would get a phone call telling me that you had passed away. How could I expect that phone call? You were healthy and young–you were a beast at Muay Thai. It’s almost impossible to believe that this isn’t just some sort of sick joke.

In the past week, I have just been overwhelmed with memories about our friendship. Remember how you used to do that Family Guy impression, and you would yell, “It’s gonna rain,” and then dissolve in hysterical giggles?

Remember how you came home one day and announced that you had just gotten a ride from the nicest stranger?

Remember how when you drove, you turned the music up so high that the people in the back seat of your car practically went deaf?

Remember how you and Sonja made me that certificate of achievement when I went on my first date with Danny?

Remember how we had that one soccer practice where we were practicing juggling, and you told everyone that you juggled over 100 times?

Or, do you remember how you called me, in tears, telling me that you weren’t going to be able to come to my wedding because your boss wouldn’t let you get out of your shift at Babies R Us? You rushed to the reception, and we shared a hug and a couple of words, and that was the last time I saw you in person.

When I think back over our friendship, I just feel such an overwhelming sense of gratitude to you. I know we talked about this, but my freshman year was so hard for me. But, you were part of that core group that got me through that horrible time. You reached out to me and invited me to dinner, you invited me into your home, and you listened to me, even when I was awkward or anxious. You told me that I was “hot stuff,” and you listened to me talk about all of the boys that I had a crush on. Did you know that you and Bethany were the first ones I told that I liked Danny? Isn’t it weird that you were there even before my relationship with him began?

If I could talk with you today, I would tell you that I am so incredibly proud of the woman you became after graduation. You lived so far away from home, and you kicked butt at grad school. You had so many adventures, and you accomplished so many of your dreams. You were so brave, and I am so proud of you.

And, if I could talk to you today, I would tell you that I am so sorry for not keeping in touch with you. I am the worst at friendships, and since graduation, I have been even worse. I am so wrapped up in my sadness and my problems that I burrow down deep and don’t reach out. I hope you knew that I loved you, and I treasured our time together. I hope you knew that all of those late night talks or soccer practices, or movie nights helped me grow into the woman that I am today. I hope you knew that you were important and that you touched so many lives.

Even though it’s hard to understand why your life was cut short, I rejoice knowing that you made use of every day that you had on Earth. You loved fiercely, you worked hard, and you lived passionately. You were a gem, and I am so glad that our paths crossed during college. I don’t know what my time would have been like if you were not in my life. Thank you for being my friend, Heather.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of us.

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Remember this picture? I remember that you were bugged that you could see the gum in your mouth. Don’t be look like such babies?

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Remember how Bethany, you, and I had all of those crazy photo shoots? How many did we have over those four years? I have to say that this one is probably my favorite, though. I love that we laid in my back yard and covered ourselves with leaves. We were so weird and joyful.

Even though this time is full of sadness, and I have cried many tears over the past week, I am so glad that I have years of memories with you to bring me joy. I love you, Heather, and I know we will be reunited again some day.

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

Remember when I used to blog? I do. Those were fun times.

Since I have been gone, several things have happened. For one, I had a birthday. I turned 27, and suddenly, I feel incredibly old. I know that probably sounds silly, but lately, I feel old. It’s weird, and I don’t like it.

In other news, I started my new job, weirdly, on my 27th birthday. I am a working librarian again, and it’s going well. I have developed a bad habit of checking out books all the time, so we are practically drowning in books over here. It’s hard not to check out new books, though, when I spend hours staring at them. I enjoy that my new job is low stress, but I have to admit that I really miss my kids. It’s weird thinking that they will be going to school soon, and I won’t be there to see them everyday.

When I am at the library, I have taken to wearing really bright colors and patterns. Yesterday, I wore this combo, and I think the little kids liked it.

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Finally, to catch you up to speed, Danny and I took a mini vacation last week. We went to Michigan, and it was wonderful. We relaxed, watched some sunsets, and at good food. Here we are looking relaxed.

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So, that is the past month in a nutshell. There have been other things going on, but that is all that I will share for now. I will leave you with this nice photo of a sunset.

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I hope to be back soon to share some great books that I have been reading this summer!

Why I Could Never Be a Professional Blogger

So, it’s summer time, so that means that I don’t sleep. The combination of not having anywhere in particular to go on a daily basis, and now, the worry about the new job that starts next week has had me staying up all hours of the night. And, when I stay up all through the night, I start to think about life and other things. Sometimes, I think about profound things, but tonight, I am thinking about really silly things.

Tonight, I am thinking about blogs.

Generally, I love blogs. I have several blogs that I read on a regular basis, and, obviously, I have a blog. In my mind, I have often thought that it would be cool to be paid to write in a blog. I like to write, and I like the idea of getting free things, so blogging seems like a pretty cool career. But, tonight, I decided that I could never really be a professional blogger. At least, I couldn’t be a lifestyle, fashion, or home decor blogger. Let me explain my reasons.

1. The appeal for blogging, for me, is the writing. When I think about writing in my blog, the things I think about are the words. My mind doesn’t think in terms of pictures–it thinks in terms of sentences and stories. But, on the majority of blogs that I read, the pictures and visuals are the main focus. Some fashion blogs don’t even have any words–just pictures. That would never work for me. For one, I hate getting my picture taken. Secondly, I am not a professional photographer. I wish I took really great pictures, but I don’t. I take fine photos for Instagram or for family photo albums, but I will never pretend that I take professional grade photos. So, for me, words take precedence. I would rather have a post without any pictures than a post that has pictures that I don’t find visually appealing.

2. I am not trying to sell anything. For many bloggers, blogs are a way to sell something. Some bloggers sell actual products, but many bloggers sell a way of life. They sell an idea through their clothes, houses, child rearing, or vacations. Lots of bloggers present an enviable lifestyle, and this translates into product endorsements or company sponsorships. But, I approach my blogging in a different way. I write as a way to allow others to get a glimpse of who I am. I struggle with loneliness, and I have documented how I am pretty introverted and have some social anxiety. So, I write things about myself and my life as a way to reach out. It’s a safe way to reach out, but it’s a way nonetheless. I hope, through each one of my posts, to help at least one person (whether it be someone I know in real life or someone I will never meet) get a better understanding of who I am. And, when I read back over my own posts, I get a better understanding of who I am as well.

3. I don’t have unlimited funding, and Danny and I are too committed to our future for us to make sacrifices for a silly blog. One thing that I often wonder, while reading blogs, is where bloggers get money for all of their projects. I have no idea how a house blog, for instance, can sustain a running budget that allows the writers to come up with new projects on a weekly basis. I’m sure that my blog could be more interesting if I were to put up decorating posts more often, but Danny and I save and save for the things we have. And, it would be silly for us to stop paying extra on student loans, just so I could post new house projects or buy new furniture.

4. I don’t have a stomach for negative comments. There are so many scary blog hate sites, and I have read too many articles talking about how terrifying blog comment threads can be to think that I could ever deal with a big blog. I just don’t have the disposition for that. I have too much negative language living in my head to start taking on the thoughts and issues of snarky blog readers.

So, after reading this list, I have definitely decided not to be a professional blogger. I’d better let all of the people who keep e-mailing me offers for free money know that I’m not interested!

I will amend my list–if someone wants to pay me to sell books, I would be all for that. I will always try to get other people to read things. That, I can guarantee.