Asides

Blown Away

I’m almost afraid to say it. Things seem to be going smoothly, people getting along, and I’m basking in the support of others. Support that I thought maybe had ended due to doors closing, differences in lifestyle choices, friends moving away. Funny how when you ask the universe for something sometimes you have to wait, and sometimes answers come flooding in faster than you can say thank you. I feel like it’s flooding, and I’m floating, today, on the good.

As you can imagine, planning a wedding is well, expensive. Even when you try to get family involved and do things yourselves. And, as a self admitted control freak about funds, this has been well, uncomfortable. Dylan, my mom, my loved ones continue to tell me to relax, to trust in God’s provision, and to allow myself to use my resources wisely. I’m trying. But in my freak out moments I scream (metaphorically of course) I can figure it out! And so I put out a call to some of my friends offering up babysitting services. And I got a response and this week had the most beautiful experience with two little girls – ages three and one.

It was Friday afternoon and I was pooped and regretting the metaphorical scream and call to action and wishing I had just said no so I could go home and drink a beer and relax because I knew the weekend would be full. I put on my big girl panties and drove across town to a family I hadn’t previously met, and settled in to babysit for the night. We went through the routine – some games, some books, some mac and cheese and I was having fun. But as I cleaned up dinner and took those little girls outside to play I was blown away by the simple pleasure of bubbles (no pun intended). Do you know how fascinating those little soap suds are to little kids? When is the last time you let yourself watch those magical orbs grow and expand and float like they have no cares in the world. We took the wands filled with soap and spun in circles, playing on the grass, pursing our lips and getting covered in spit. Up unto that point, that bubble blowing experience was the highlight of my week. I hope they invite me back. I think I want to add bubble festival to my bucket list – that’s got to be happening somewhere in this country right? If not, maybe I’ll start one.

Saturday was my bridal shower. I woke up early – I was nervous – about what I can’t exactly pin down, but you know, I don’t love being the center of attention. I was overwhelmed, however, by how many people showed up to share their love and support and advice during this time of preparation for marriage. Does anyone else ever have anxiety that if you invite people they might not show up? Like if you plan a birthday party with all of your favorite things and worry, just maybe, no one else will want to partake in what you love? I was a little nervous about that. Again, however, I was blown away by how many women from different stages of my life showed up to say, “we love you, we are thankful we get to walk with you through this time, and we love that you are so in love” WHEWWEEE – isn’t that what we all want? To be loved and accepted and showered with good wishes. It was a great day – to those who participated – thank you, thank you.

What came of this too, was freedom to extend myself to old connections and say even though we are in different places, with different schedules and priorities I still care about you. I said it to my friends, they said it to me, and even if we were together for just a few hours, I felt immensely loved. And surrounded by pink, and by cupcakes, and by accessories that will help build my new life.

And someone bought us the gnome! (Don’t know what I’m talk about? Click Here) We started a hashtag #hueygnome so you can follow his adventures.

What blows you away in good ways? What are you asking for from the universe? What do you wish you hadn’t asked for?

And for those looking for a laugh I strongly recommend this little clip – the song has been stuck in my head ALL WEEK:

 

Post Office Boxes

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Such potential these little boxes hold

 

I’ve found a new love for post office boxes. Not the boring rows of metal doors at the more contemporary post office locations in town, but rather the old, glamorous, gilded metal boxes that take up hallways of space in our downtown post office. This building has been around since who knows when – I’d like to think it has history –  I suppose it could have been built 20 years ago, but my goodness I just think I’m falling in love with that post office. What potential those boxes have – little doors full of secrets, and love letters, and handwritten notes that get flown across the country with a stamp. Maybe some magazines you look forward to every week, or perhaps too, these boxes contain boring things like bills and reminders to vote.

It doesn’t really matter what is actually in the box, but to me, they are starting to represent the ordinary in a beautiful package. We wait for this correspondence, and open the door, and peek with our big eyes and cram our little hands into mail boxes hoping for some connection with the world – that someone, somewhere, was intentionally trying to get a hold of me. Call me nostalgic, but I love snail mail, and I love connection with others – something that I feel is drastically missing for me right now. I guess I’m growing, my friends are moving, I’m getting married, and my tethers to things once so comfortable and familiar are changing. I’m being encouraged to make new connections, seek new sources, and tap into my own little golden box of secrets and waiting and promise of new, good things to come.

Why, you may ask, am I spending so much time at the post office? Well part of my job is to check our PO box for work – a small task that takes 2 to 3 minutes a week. But what is beautiful about this new ritual, is I get to conveniently take the walk 3 blocks down to the main building which takes me through the center of downtown and I get to interact with my community in a different way. Walk! You see so much more of this world. So this week, my beautiful things involve the post office. I set out today at about 3 pm.

Block number one – I pass a thrift shop which quite often displays its wares on the sidewalk – today a red velvet couch, a stroller from the 1980’s with a bright colorful pattern, and a sign that says “Hippies Use the Back Door” were going for a bargain. I have an odd fascination with other people’s stuff – someone, once upon a time loved that sign. What changed in their lives that made them want to give it up?

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Block number two – I pass by the Catholic Elementary School just as school is being released. The bus is waiting, parents patiently make eye contact with their eager little ones, and five and six year olds in plaid skirts and polos rushed out of the doors while the church bells rang. I was not raised Catholic, but I do have a great respect for their traditions, and those chiming bells were beautiful noises as they mixed with the laughter of little ones almost ready to embrace summer in full. The beautiful brick building and stain glass windows gleamed in the afternoon heat.

Block number three – I passed the walking post woman on the way to the office – her basket on wheels full of other people’s lives. She smiled, I nodded, and we agreed that 84 degrees is a little bit warm for the end of May. A small interaction, so much potential.

As I walked through the doors of the main building to seek out our own PO box I was taken aback by the new security guard at the front entrance. He was checking ids, and names on packages, and seeing who you are before you get in line at a federal facility. A quick, abrupt reality check that the world we live in can be scary and dangerous and disheartening.

We saw the movie, “Noah” this weekend, which I highly recommend. I could go on and on about the movie – but that would take this post in a whole different direction. Instead, I really liked the message that the movie sends. The character Noah says, and I’m paraphrasing here, that we are given the choice to “focus our energies on the temptation of darkness” or we can pay attention to the hope and “the blessing of light”. Each day the world’s negativity, the threats, the inequality, the terror tempts me to dwell in darkness. Instead I want to choose the blessing of light – celebrate the ordinary, say thank you for routine, my afternoon walk, and the mystery of human connection. I set my eyes on the little golden boxes, got our mail, and headed back to work. 

 

“Once”

I think I was six or maybe seven the first time I got to go to the theater. I remember a lot of details about my first outing to “The Nutcracker”. I went with my cousins, both of whom are close to me in age, and their nanny, who dressed us up and encouraged us to behave for the evening that would be very special. I wish I had a copy of the picture of the three of us, sitting on the top arm of the couch as we anxiously awaited our evening out. I remember what I wore, a floral velvet dress with a lace bib that had a lovely print of Snow White across the front. I remember holding hands with Lauren and Leah in the back of the car, and getting to order a special treat in the lobby. I remember the thrill I had as the sugar plumbs danced across the stage, and the way the music floated through the air and into my heart. And, I remember how I stepped on a Junior Mint,  and it melted all over my little Mary Janes and the nanny spent a lot of time scrapping the minty goo off of my shoes until she would let me back in that car so we could go home. For those of you who know me, this spilling, making a mess incident is nothing new – not surprising that while falling in love with theater and the stage I also had a “Spilling Incident.” For a couple of months whenever I encountered the nanny I would glare at her, hoping to communicate my shame and embarrassment at that spill directly into her heart. Not my fault I stepped on the chocolatey mess. Don’t you know that’s just what Katie does?

While I may have grown out of that Snow White dress, and am getting better at managing my spilling incidents…… I have not outgrown my love of theater. I have had the immense privilege of a few outings to the Buell Theater, shows on Broadway, and appreciation for the arts and singing and dancing and the wonderful creation of stories acted out on stage. This week I got to go to the performance of “Once” at the Buell Theater. The tickets were my Christmas present, and I had waited five months to see the show. What a wonderful demonstration of talents, acting and beautiful music. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, check out the documentary style film, and listen to the music and take any opportunity you can to acquaint yourself with a story that so many longing people can relate to. I don’t act, and don’t play instruments, and I was blown away by the small cast that not only acted, but performed all the music themselves.

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This story, too, has a little bit of back story in my life. A few years ago, when my brother was in the midst of turmoil with drugs and alcohol, and our family was on his roller coaster, I had the opportunity to see the band The Swell Season that performs this music. That one night brought life to my aching heart, and I could connect with the music in a way that was just what I needed for that time in my life. That is what is so wonderful about music and about stories isn’t it – it gives us something to connect to? This story will always have a special place in my heart; these musicians too portray every day live with amazing simplicity. Humor, love, desire, passion for life and owning one’s stories. I can get behind all of these things. I’m sure I’m not portraying the beauty well myself here, and so I turn, instead, to my heart, and let the joy bubble and simmer within itself in appreciation for what this story does for me. Check out the music, tap into the story, and see what “Once” can bring to you.

Below is the funniest clip of the music done by The Swell Season below. I love it… and hope you will too.