Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Change Will Do You Good

In the past 3 weeks, nearly every aspect of my life has changed, or will shortly.

To recap:

- I started working full time for Thread, LLC, a social venture I have been with since it was an idea.  In true start up fashion, this means I have been working harder than I ever have, but am essentially unemployed.  Funding is coming, but it takes time, and we want to be sure all the legalities are correct. This means that I have stepped back into a socio-economic status I have not been in since I was a student.

- Being broke, means a whole new lifestyle outside of work.  Luckily, I live in a city where 10 bucks means a night out, and I have adventurous friends who are happy to re-visit places we haven't frequented since being students.  The artist, her boyfriend, and I went out last week and had 3 beers and 30 pierogies for $7.50. God bless Polish Hill.  It also means I've spent a lot more time running, and cooking for myself. (I may start working on a book, which I will entitle "The Start-up Diet".)  Being poor is actually making me healthier.

- My and Chris's landlord raised our rent by 10% this year, despite having done nothing to improve the apartment.  This came after a similar hike last year.  We love the space, but cannot justify the price increase, especially since the place is so expensive to heat and cool. Also, our landlord is largely absent, hard to get a hold of, and takes forever to fix anything. Anyway, this coupled with the fact that Precisely is ready to take on the world of adulthood by living alone, means that I needed to find a new place to live.  It also made me realize, that I am not ready to live alone.  So, at the end of next month, I will be moving to Highland Park.  I'll be renting a room in a house owned by a couple, who have a puppy.  There is also another tenant, who is a pastry chef.  Just to reiterate, I am going to be living with a puppy I don't actually have to take care of and a pastry chef! It's just about the best temporary fix I can think of.

- I also celebrated my 25th birthday! woo! Which I guess means that I can rent cars more cheaply now, so who wants to go on a road trip?

Here's the thing though.  April has brought a lot of unexpected tumultuous change. And while it has certainly come with a TON of uncertainty and A LOT of feelings, I have also never felt more at peace; with myself, with what I am doing, and with the knowledge that things will sort themselves out.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Conversation with my Mother

As I was walking to meet potential new roommates for the first time, I was on the phone with my Mom.

Mom: "Don't like them, just because you want to like them. Be sure to look for anything that could be creepy!"

Me: "You mean, creepier than the girl who will be moving in with a bow and arrows?"

Mom: "Good point.  That is kind of creepy..."

They seemed cool though.  And I didn't mention the bow and arrows.  So in a month, I'll be moving to Highland Park.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Family Mottos

I grew up with 5 of them.

1. There's a place for everything, and everything in its place.

2. Take care of your equipment, and your equipment will take care of you.

3. Always dance when you've got the chance.

4. Measure twice, cut once.

5. Don't get mad, get even.

My Mom sent me an email with the following poem, saying This is why you should dance when you've got the chance!

The Dancers Inherit the Party
by Ian Hamilton Finlay

When I have talked for an hour I feel lousy—
Not so when I have danced for an hour:
The dancers inherit the party
While the talkers wear themselves out and
           sit in corners alone, and glower.
Here's to dancing this weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

25 Things I am Grateful for at 25.

1. Incredibly supportive friends and family.  People who sit down with me, and stay on the phone, and tell me they're proud of me, even when I feel like I'm losing.

2. A job I wake up excited to go to.

3. Running buddies who force me out of bed early, up hills, and through an extra couple of miles.

4. Creative and fun birthday gifts that make me feel like a bad ass.

5. A city I love living in.

6. Good health.

7. The 5th Season of Mad Men.

8. Fashion and design blogs.

9. Hula hoops.

10. Opportunities to travel.

11. Communities I feel connected to.

12. The fact that boxed wine stays good for a long time.

13. Continuing education.

14. Mega Bus.

15. Hair Dye.

16. Celebrating small victories.

17. Optimists.

18. Birch Box.

19. A flexible schedule.

20. Food. Eating it, cooking it, hopefully someday growing a little bit of it.

21. Dog sitting for a lovable Basset Hound which gives me a puppy fix, without actually having to get a dog. A responsibility I am not ready for yet.

22. Orange lipstick.

23. A place at the end of the day that I am happy to come home to.

24. Public Libraries.

25. Blogging/Twitter/Instagram and the other ways we can connect with one another and share our stories around the world.

My birthday was lovely. Life is good.  Here's hoping for many happy returns.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Coming Back

When I was a kid, like 8-10, I was spoiled by learning to ski out west in Breckenridge, Colorado.  While my parents were off skiing during the day, my sister and I were enrolled in ski school, which I loved. You got to make new friends, the teachers were all super cool, and there were levels you advanced through as you progressed as a skier, so you weren't assigned to a group based on age, but rather skill.

At one point during the week, your ski school group would go through a race course, and everyone would be awarded ribbons based on their time.  I always looked forward to this, and usually did fairly well, but there was one year I remember distinctly.

I remember flying down the hill, coming close to wiping out a few times, but catching my balance at the last second and sailing through the flags. When I came to a stop at the bottom of the hill, one of the boys in my group looked at me, "Whoa," he said. "Were you even in control?"

I came in first place.

And I was thrilled, not just because I had won, or had beaten the boys in my group, but because of that question were you even in control? Because I wasn't really. If I had leaned one more degree, picked up just a little more speed, taken a turn too early or too late, or thought about it too much, I would have fallen hard. Mostly, I was lucky.

But, I wasn't afraid of falling.  I wanted to win.

In just a few years I'd become a painfully shy middle schooler afraid of talking to people, then a frustrated high schooler, and eventually a college student who thought she had life figured out as most 19 year olds do, only to be thrown for a loop when the realization of knowing nothing came crashing down.  While all typical, and most certainly contributing to the process of growing, those iterations of myself were a far cry from the fearless girl who had confidently thrown herself over the side of a mountain as fast as she could to win a race.

I've been thinking about that girl a lot lately. I feel like I'm finally starting to come back to her. Not that I want to give people the impression that I am out of control.  Just that I am most definitely not afraid of wiping out.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Home Again

The Duomo, Milan

On Monday, when I woke up, I was in Milan.  Which at this point, almost doesn't seem possible.

The trip though. The trip was amazing!  If you haven't taken a proper, longer than a long weekend vacation in a while, I highly recommend it. And if you need to relax, well, Italy will make sure it happens.


The food! The wine! The trains! The art and architecture, and oh, my, gawd, the gelatto!!!!

Following Lynn in Rome. I'm sure she was talking about some Pope, or Emperor, or Columns or something significant here...

It was so wonderful to see my brave, beautiful sister. And we couldn't have asked for a better tour-guide in Rome.

Picnicking in Pisa

Carly, thank you for being an amazing hostess in Pisa. It was so fun to see this part of your exciting life, and I can't wait to see what you do next.

In Vernazza, Cinque Terre

To all of my new friends made on the trip, thanks for your openness and friendliness.  Thanks for the conversation, the wine, the champagne, and for taking us to a wonderful night club where we danced all night. Thanks for sharing your cities, or spending some time discovering a new place with us.

Photographing Bologna

Chris, there aren't many people I could have spent 12 solid days traveling with. Thanks for being flexible, for walking across the entire city of Milan with a back pack on no sleep, for whistling for that cab in Rome when it was after midnight and the subways were closed and we thought we'd have to walk back to the hotel, for having a great sense of direction and making sense of confusing maps, and of course for documenting the trip through thousands of photographs.

Hiking in Cinque Terre.

Some things I'm taking back with me from this trip:
- I want a pair of high-tops to tuck my skinny jeans into.
- I want a Fiat! Sorry Mini Cooper, but they're adorable, cheaper, and get great gas milage.
- I've talked about it for ages, but it's time to outfit Gladys (my bike) with a basket.

There was seriously a warning sign against wearing stilettos while hiking. I can't tell you how much this sign made me love Italy. Though honestly, after watching Italian women navigate ancient cobblestone in 5 inch heels like its no big thing, I bet they could hike in heels.

Traveling, however fun it may be, isn't real life though.  And sometimes coming back is hard.  But not so much this time. This week has been a blur of catching up with friends, rewarding work at a new office, and beautiful spring weather in Pittsburgh. Thanks everyone for the warm welcome home. You're what makes living here so special.

The artist drove us to the airport, house-sat, got our mail, kept my plants alive, and was the first to welcome us back. Isn't she the best?