Inventory: October 2018

Before I hop in, HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Papa Bear!! Check out a quick little love letter to him from years past here…can’t wait to call him and serenade him (badly) with my froggy/phlegmy cold voice!

Making: time this weekend to write in earnest, per yesterday’s personal call to arms.

Cooking: soups and chicken in the Crockpot – hopping back on the meal prep train with a vengeance. 

Drinking: green tea with honey and lemon by the quart trying to kick/ameliorate this heinous cold.  

Reading: “Everyone Brave is Forgiven” by Chris Cleave, and it’s luminous. (I’m on a serious World War II fiction kick right now…why has all my reading lately felt so thematically driven?)

Wanting: more hours in the day, or fewer lines on my to-do list. Either’s fine with me.

Looking: forward to catching “Waitress” and maybe “Tosca” this weekend – I caught the performance bug again after Tuesday’s spontaneous trip to “Miss Saigon” with Dave!

Playing: catch-up on life in general after the frenetic September and October I’ve had so far.

Listening: lately, to a playlist I call “morning music” that’s heavy on Norah Jones, Lake Street Dive, The Lumineers, The National, Josh Ritter, Okkervil River, Bon Iver, and The Oh Hellos, among others.

Wishing: that I was a morning person.

Enjoying: NorCal’s temperate fall weather.

Waiting: for the chesterfield of my dreams to be delivered sometime this week – hurry up, Pottery Barn!

Liking: the quiet of a blissfully empty, cool, clean, unpacked and (mostly) settled apartment.

Wondering: why I perpetually put off the un-fun tasks – I have a bunch of random shit I planned to do yesterday, didn’t do, and that I now have to deal with on Monday…oops.

Hoping: that my “Dear Evan Hansen” novel (they made it into a novel!!) comes on time YAY Amazon same-day ordering!

Marveling: at Amazon same-day ordering, duh. How lucky we are to be alive right now.

Needing: to get my ass in gear and hang my gallery wall as soon as it’s socially acceptable to wield a hammer.   

Smelling: Target’s Pumpkin Bourbon candle – I’ve already burned through a whole big jar and we’re well into our second. It’s insanely scented olfactory crack and SO cheap and festive, pick one up!!

Wearing: hilariously oversized pajama pants, thick cozy socks, and my grandpa cardigan. Very sexy Saturday morning over here.

Following: #frenchiepuppy and #dogsonswings on Instagram – the happiest inundation of preciousness, several times a day.

Noticing: silver linings everywhere.

Knowing: that I need to stop having cheese and crackers for every meal…thank god we finally have pots, pans, and a Crockpot to break the endless cycle of Brie.

Thinking: about packing for Italy – less than a month, less than a month!!

Bookmarking: Christmas gift ideas – how is it already late October?

Giggling: at what an absolute idiot I am over certain things.

Feeling: better about a lot of the stress/angst/frustration I’ve dealt with lately.

 

Let's try this again...

A few weeks ago, I was talking to Dave about a whole variety of angsty, annoying, stressful things, when all of a sudden I interrupted myself mid-thought and said, “Also, I think my blog died. Or maybe I killed my blog. I might be done writing.”

His immediate reaction was an effusive, comical “NO! You can’t do that!,” which led us down a wandering rabbit hole of conversational tangents and sidetracks. As we pulled into our garage, his always-sage advice put a nice, neat period on the end of the conversation: “I think you should just try it again. Write a little bit, a few times, and see where it goes and how you’re doing, and just give it another chance.” As usual, Dave was a voice of reason in the shitstorm of my over-analytical, Type-A control freak mind…and so here goes.

In the weeks (months, really) that I’ve been away/checked out/off the blog grid, I:

  • had a brutal year-end at work

  • served jury duty (a disappointment of epic proportions, ugh)

  • dealt with car issues

  • took an off-the-record weekend trip

  • moved

  • threw several unwarranted tantrums

  • lost 15 pounds (mostly due to stress/lack of regular eating)

  • and now have my annual mid-October brutal head cold.

I’ve been kind of a nightmare to be around, frankly, and haven’t really been myself for awhile. The circumstances above have conspired to make me doubt a lot of things - why I’m here in California, what I’m doing with my life, how others treat me and what I deserve from them. I’m actively trying to live up to my oh-so-failed New Year’s intention for the year - “be open” - and realizing how hard that is for me.

Do I miss writing? Sometimes. A lot of the time, actually. I’ve been doing a lot of writing off the blog, mostly for me as I work through some of this self-analysis. But I miss the records I’ve created of the beautiful, positive, memorable things I do here. When I look back at the sparseness of the blog over the last year, it’s bittersweet - I know so many wonderful things have happened and I’ve done so much, but not seeing it here is both a testament to how full my life has been and an indictment of my own laziness and lack of effort. I’ve been writing here for five years now (as of last Sunday, actually!), and this has been my longest dry spell since the six weeks immediately following breaking up with Jon back in 2014, the infant days of Minneapoliz. So here we go - let’s call this a recommitment to, as Dave so aptly put it, “just trying it again.”

Thanks for sticking around, campers - more soon :)

On gratitude and pumpkin spice.

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I really need to work on noticing and actively appreciating all the wonderful little things that happen in my life from day to day – happy moments, spontaneous adventures, funny interludes, whatever. It’s such a necessary and impactful mindset shift for me – flipping from the stressed, harried getting-by of a day into this silver-lined, rose-colored glass-half-full perspective is always a good thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kindness of others since my adventure with the hydrangeas at Safeway, and today brought another random act of kindness my way. It’s year-end at work, and it’s been a frantic, rushed and demanding few weeks for me. One of the perks of year-end, however, is team coffee…we take turns collecting everyone’s orders, running to the closest Starbucks, and bringing back much-needed caffeine (and warmth – our office is glacial).

Today, my order accidentally got skipped in the ordering process, and I was crushed on the inside – the mid-day jolt has come to be something I look forward to all morning. Not one to make a big deal out of things like this, I went into a meeting in the one conference room in our building that is notorious for hovering around 62 degrees. An hour later I emerged, so cold my fingernails had turned that gross gray-blue color, to find a piping-hot grande skim no-whip pumpkin spice latte sitting next to my keyboard, courtesy of one of my coworkers. She had gone back to the Starbucks and picked one up for me, timing it to return right before my meeting ended so it would be waiting hot when I was done.

So here I sit, sipping a PSL and warmed all the way through with coffee and gratitude – for people who are willing to do such kind things for me, for the little good fortunes the universe chooses to sprinkle through my life – and I can’t help but be a little bit overwhelmed. I don’t really know how I’ve lucked into a life with such an abundance of riches in it, but I truly am surrounded by so much goodness and kindness and consideration.

I like to think that doing those sorts of things attracts goodness back in turn – I have a long memory (for better or worse), and it takes so very little to earn my perpetual goodwill. It’s too easy, though, to slip into a self-centered mindset where I not only don’t do kind things for others, but don’t always notice and appreciate the patience and kindness others extend to me. So here’s a baby list of things/people/actions for which I am grateful right here, right now:

-          My mama bear for listening with such patience to my regular rants about very technical and ridiculous work scenarios

-          Dave for keeping me fed (healthily, to boot!) and handling the lion’s share of cleaning/chores this week as I’ve entered a monogamous relationship with my laptop

-          My oldest team member, who has taught me a plethora of new tasks with extreme detail and meticulousness in the last few weeks

-          My sister, for always talking Broadway and boys and Bachelor with me despite the hour or randomness

-          Tessa, for teaching me how to text with Friendmojis (Google it, it’s so hilarious!)

-          The random couple at Alpha Acid who let me actually sit down on the floor of the brewery and play with their dog for a solid five minutes

-          My papa bear, for links to libraries of the world, a sense of humor that is the epitome of “dad-ish” and a new set of baby blue luggage for our Italy trip

And here’s how I’m going to pay it forward in the immediate future:

-          Sending snail mail to a few friends with whom a conversation is ridiculously overdue

-          In similar vein, passing a new book along to Wade for the next installment of our Transcontinental Book Club

-          Cleaning our apartment til it sparkles over the weekend

-          Asking and truly listening to how my roommates’ days were, with complete focus and attention

-          Sharing the last few Starbucks Graham K-cups with Dave, who doesn’t know I’ve been hoarding a secret box in the corner of our pantry

-          And, generally, and most importantly, having an overall better attitude, more patience, and a little more kindness toward everyone I come across these days.

 

 

Skills I have that you can't put on a resume...

I was thinking just now about how carefully wordsmithed resumes are, and how really, when it comes down to it, they do very little to capture the essence of a person. Like, sure, mine tells you where I went to school and what my work/philanthropic history has been so far, but I think such a big part of why a person succeeds or even is who he/she is can’t be put on paper.

If I could write a real Lizzie resume, these things would definitely be on it:

  • excellent at getting neutral/antipathetic bystanders hooked on the “Bachelor” franchise shows

  • crafter of the perfect grilled cheese

  • has seen “Hamilton” four times and knows it word-perfect from front to back (fluent in various other shows including but not limited to “Les Mis,” “In The Heights,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Spring Awakening,” “Waitress”…)

  • actually loves doing laundry; hates anything pertaining to cleaning a floor

  • skilled baby-amuser; core competency in playing peekaboo across multiple tables in a restaurant with strangers’ offspring and gifted at the “mom-bounce” despite not actually being a mother

  • will laugh at just about anything

  • believes that most celebratory occasions call for a card and champagne

  • internalizes and sublimates all negative feelings; will persist in insisting that “we’ll get there” or “there’s never a dull moment” or “I’m fine, this is great!” in the face of most woes, issues, and personal problems

  • excellent “interested listening face,” equally excellent resting bitchface

  • highly esoteric/rarefied vocabulary

  • master procrastinator - once wrote a term paper four hours before it was due and got a professor’s first A+ in a thirty-year teaching career

  • afraid of the sensation of falling; exercises caution in all circumstances with such potential including but not limited to cliff edges, skydecks, and relationships

  • almost always willing to forgive, but when pushed too far will never look back

  • sees the best in people to a fault - currently working on a performance improvement plan to remove those rose-colored glasses

  • has a “candles” line in monthly budget

  • basic bitch who enjoys pumpkin spice lattes unashamedly

  • collector of books, wine corks, and Christmas ornaments

  • cares way too much about what other people think; marshmallow in a suit of armor

  • faking having it figured out every day - but really, who isn’t?

Five minutes of miscellany.

Badly in need of a mental break from year-end close, so here's a quick five-minute'r: 

- Grabbed coffee at the campus Starbucks this morning and overheard the following exchange: 

"Who was that DJ that died?" "Avicii. It rhymes with ceviche."

I laughed VERY hard. 

- It's peach season and I can't get enough of it. While I've been eating them plain for lunch daily this week thanks to a generous boss who shares her tree's bounty with our team every day, I'm thinking this weekend will have to include a remake of this salad, this cherry-peach cobbler (we had something similar at Café Latté in St. Paul on Monday), or maybe just the biggest and ripest, grilled, with a little mascarpone and balsamic (a winning combo). 

- I'm having a crisis of music taste, and it's Nicki Minaj's fault. Her collab with Jason DeRulo, "Goodbye," is an updated riff on the iconic Italian love song "Con Te Partiro." At first, I hated/was appalled by it. Then I started begrudgingly kind of being into it. Now it's become a total earworm and I've had it stuck in my head for a couple days. (Other recent loves: ODESZA and just about everything on this Spotify playlist.) 

- I need new jeans, and Gap has ONCE AGAIN discontinued my preferred fit (high rise, skinny, ultra-dark denim). I ordered a trial pair from J.Crew Factory but I'm very frustrated with the current denim trend of faded/destroyed/mom-jean etc. Not my deal. 

- Watched "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" on Netflix and it was super charming. Definitely planning to take a break from my Philippa Gregory binge to read the trilogy - it's young-adult, so it should be a quick, fun breeze. 

- As Dave and I prep to move in October, I've gone on a bit of an interior decorating spree (who's surprised? Nobody? Okay...). Recent purchases: this Pottery Barn chesterfield in the most gorgeous gray-blue, which has fulfilled every dream of my heart for the last five years, and this fun masculine-meets-feminine end table. Up next? A nice, neutral ivory area rug, some kind of wall organization system, and maybe something like this to store the obscene 76 bottles of wine currently in my collection...oh dear. 

- In the Twitterverse lately: thanks to the seven friends who felt the need to retweet the nasty-af photo of the spider that escaped from the Philadelphia Insectarium. Ancillary note: why is an insectarium even a thing? No thanks. Additionally, I love the speculation around "The Lodestar Op-Ed," as I'm dubbing it - can't wait for the eventual political thriller that will for sure come out of this insane White House. Finally, the Nike-burning that ensued post-Kaepernick ad is pathetic and hilarious. I always laugh (in horror) when I stumble into some sort of ultra-conservative Twitter hole - for the spelling mistakes and complete absurdity. 

 

Happy Thursday, campers! Almost the weekend!