What a lovely weekend

This weekend has been one of those rare times where every day has been beautiful in its simplicity and surprises. Back when I was working at the Park, I wrote more about the simpler aspects of my life and I think I should get back to doing some of that. Here is my awesome weekend at home.

Friday was the surprise beginning. Due to situations beyond our control, the Guru and I decided to head out early and just rearrange our hours in the coming week. Thus, I had a half day on Friday. Handsome and I decided to go out for dinner and we happened to be craving Mexican. I had heard of a spot called Alto Cinco, so we headed for there. Aside from the stupidly long wait due to their tiny dining area (supposedly they are expanding soon) the food was completely worth the wait. The dishes were executed with simplicity and truly incredible flavor. Plus the beer selection found Handsome and myself quite happy. I then closed the night with a long overdue phone chat with the lovely Persephone which often puts me in good spirits.

The morning started off with another wondrous surprise. If you read the previous post, you know that I just recently finished a scenic design for a show. Well, Saturday morning, I opened my facebook to a message from someone I did not know. The message came with a link and a simple “thought you would want to read this.” Turns out the link was to a review of the show in DCMetro Theatre Arts and that review happened to have a whole paragraph of positive words about my set!!!! This is my first review and to have my work so clearly understood and celebrated nearly made me cry. Upon reading the entire piece I was also happy to see that the writer was very balanced in her opinions. She did not inflate everything with flattery, nor did she tear the production apart with nastiness. She dealt with the production fairly and with intelligence. I am deeply moved that she found my work effective.

Armed with that star of warmth, Handsome and I went off to run errands. Errands are excellent fun when they include the Army Surplus Store (yay new work drab and a Mussette bag to replace my broken backpack), the farmers market (delicious and cost effective), and Target (new shoes for both). The day was kind of icky, so I convinced Handsome to go see Disney’s Frozen. Although I did not think the music was as stellar as usual, the animation was absolutely stunning and the story heart warming. The theater was in a huge mall and upon our exit Handsome suggested we go into the Apple Store. I was hesitant at first, because although I’m in the market for a new computer, I have not saved up quite enough. Such a state can make me grumpy in the Apple Store because I just want my new stuff now!! Still, Handsome cajoled, persuading me that looking at machines now rather than later would help me do a better cost analysis. Upon entering, I was greeted by a fellow coworker from the Stage. I knew he worked at the Store, but I did not know he would be working that day. Turns out I gathered a lot of excellent information from both him and the lovely young lady he was training. I am a person who uses her technology into the ground. Thus, good information about a future purchase (especially when that information is about excellent discounts) is as precious to me as the item itself. We ended that day with an egg and lemon soup that was surprisingly delicious and a light compliment to the previous evening’s gorging.

Today, a simple and productive day. Went to another church (cross your fingers, we’re gonna try it a few more times) and spent the rest of the day cleaning and restoring the apartment to pre-Christmas look. Do you want to know the best part of the day? Handsome and I cuddling under a blanket and dozing on and off for a few hours. In fact, this weekend was mainly wonderful because Handsome and I got so much time together after a long stint of being separated/only being together for a day or two/seeing each other in between craziness etc. I love him, I love living with him, and this weekend was everything and more because we got it completely to ourselves.

It’s interesting that whenever I find myself at my sister’s place, I am always inclined to post. Not much of a leap considering I am usually spending large chunks of time on my own with narry a thing to chew away at my attention. November has surged onward to this holiday and I am winded, but still running. Work has loaded in a show that gave everyone one or two (billion) things to grumble over, but we prevailed. The highlight for me was that I got a chance to do some teaching. You see, the Stage has a symbiotic relationship with the big university in this town (shall henceforth be known as the University. I know, my originality is stellar) and thus the staff cross over as instructors in such classes. I got to teach what’s known as a “lab” portion of a generalized technical theatre course. The students receive a lecture portion, then they get lab sessions to accomplish projects that apply the things that they are learning in lecture. I have another session in December and I could not be more excited. I was so nervous about the first portion. I mean, I did some teaching in undergrad, but I had never been fully left alone to teach a whole lesson (on my own, no other adult in the room…debatable whether I should actually be considered an adult considering how much Disney music populates my playlists). However, the first session went supremely well. The day completely galloped away and I got to experience a most joyous ride. The students appeared to grasp the concepts that I demonstrated and they also seemed legitimately enthused by their progress. I personally felt a deep happiness at seeing them go through the first stages successfully. I know the next portion will prove a little trickier because there is more fussing during the process, but they are capable. I just hope I continue to present the information in a way that is accessible.

Another highlight was seeing the movie Catching Fire. I try not to talk too much pop-culture on this blog, but I feel I must extend an honorary “hat’s off” to both movies that have been released thus far. I enjoyed the books, but I am so excited that, finally, there appears to be “book movies” that are actually aiming for an accurate adaptation of the words on the page to a cinematic experience. So many times, I am disappointed that a movie touts to be “based on” a novel when it should actually say “loosely inspired by some plot devices and character names in the novel…” Not so with the Hunger Games movies thus far. Handsome and I spent an excellent evening seeing a movie that gave me the same deep satisfaction that I experienced when watching its predecessor. Catching Fire is actually my favorite of the trilogy and I was genuinely relieved that it was handled so well. Plus, Katniss was wearing some absolutely amazing knitwear!!! Did anyone else notice all the fabulous knits? Please tell me someone did because if you didn’t, go watch it again an then come back and gush with me. (Handsome humors me God bless him, but he wasn’t nearly as excited by her super-chic cowl, or her hunting neck piece, or her cardigan in that scene…)

Now I am here, at my sister’s for Thanksgiving. We switch off with our family every year and my family in PA lives super close to my sister and it is their turn to host. I didn’t realize how much I was missing my family until I saw my sister. Despite the fact that I was unemployed while I was in New Jersey, one of the nice things was that I saw my family a lot more often. Now, they are just far enough to make a weekend visit just a hair too short for full quality time. I am used to that reality, but it strikes me more now because I had that time where they were so easily accessible. I do miss that. Thus, this holiday will be grand, if only for the sole reason that I get to see people that I am proud to say I am related to.

A weekend away

The whirlwind never ceases. It’s that time of year when anyone who has anything to do at all finds herself running around in the headless chicken fashion. In our theatre season, it is that last crunch of shows before the lull around the Christmas holiday. Twas not exactly the best time for me to go galavanting off to a wedding, but I was not consulted when the date was decided 😉 Thankfully, knowing the date a million years in advance allows a boss and her assistant to plan accordingly. Thus, this weekend found Handsome and myself in Maryland for the wedding of one of my good friends. The weekend began with a night full of good drink and good company because the lovely Herculine joined us for that night. I also got to see a few alum from my school that I have not seen in a very long time. One of the highlights was getting the chance to go grab a caramel apple spice earlier in the day with my mentor. Ultra-Umber (so named because of his penchant for always using ultramarine blue and burnt umber in any paint treatment he creates) is the man who was my advisor throughout college, both for my academic planning and my undergrad design work. Now, he is a friend and someone who holds a huge portion of my respect for just being a solidly incredible person. Whenever I am in town we try to meet for a spell and  I always feel enriched by the encounter. I also got to spend a surprising amount of time with Herculine. I mean, she was kind enough to put us up for the weekend, but we were expecting maybe one evening of hangout time. Turns out a good portion of Friday and Saturday evening were spent in the company of my lovely friend and I am saddened that I can’t have her in every state in which I live.

As for the wedding, there were multiple happy things. First of all, Handsome and I looked damn good. I fear I don’t have pictures, but try to picture a dapper bearded gentleman in a fine black suit, white dress shirt, and a wine-red tie. Then, imagine a lady in a pewter-gray, silken material dress that has a classy neckline and a skirt that sits at the knee in the front, only to swoop down to just above the calves in the back. The material smacks of liquid- metal- in- moonlight, and then couple the dress with slight pops of silver-crystal glitz to provide that sparkle. Oh yes, we were a very fine couple indeed. However, Princess P. (the bride) eclipsed all. She had that bride glow (coupled with a gorgeously beaded dress) that everyone whispers about when they speak of weddings. The whole affair was quite traditional and the couple seemed pleased with the proceedings. I got to see others from the Pack (group of us who lived on the same floor freshman year in college) which made my heart swell. There was dancing, silly photos, and much talk and catching up. Handsome was a lovely escort and the weather was fine in the way that only late-Fall blue sky can be. Now I am returned to a very attention starved feline and mercy am I glad to come home to this place.

Cats and Fresh Paint

I am shocked that it has been a month already since moving here. Life continues to be grand, although the spout of random humidity coupled with the heat have served me a dose of crankiness to be sure. Many a lovely thing has occurred. The job continues to go well (and by well I mean so totally perfect for me that I am humbled). Beyond work being a joy, a new joy has come into my current living space. Yes, ladies and gentlefigs, I finally have my cat with me. Kiki is a 9 year old of mixed breeding and she is truly a most excellent feline. Though she is an older cat, she still has the look and disposition of a kitten. She chose me as her human a long time ago and it has torn at my heart to not have her around constantly the last few years. Now, I am finally in a situation where I could be a responsible owner who could take care of her properly. I was scared that she would make the car ride hell, but she was actually rather mild. Then, I worried that she would be super-squirrelly because of being in a totally new place, but (again) my fears were mislaid. She has settled in beautifully. She has taken to being stupidly cute at every opportunity. My favorite new ritual involves waking up to my alarm, turning on my side, and within moments she is on the bed curled perfectly into my side for ten minutes of snuggling (as well as relating all of her nighttime adventures.) For those who don’t get the whole adorable-fuzzy thing, I apologize for not giving you a disclaimer before the entry.


Another lovely thing is that my room has been painted!!! I am not going to put up pictures just yet, because I am waiting until I get my shelving and artwork all squared away. Suffice it to say, my room upon arrival was reminiscent of a clinical situation, or perhaps the inside of a less than interesting booger. My room now is the most cheerful shades of creamy yellow (colors are called Spun Honey and Butterscotch Cream). I chose to make three of the four walls one color (Honey) and then go with an oh-so-slightly deeper shade for the fourth wall (Butterscotch). I originally thought of a bolder accent wall, but I felt more drawn to subtle depth in the midst of the cheer rather than a shout of color. Twas a good thing too, considering Handsome and I ran out of that deeper color and I had to go in and blend it with the main color around the edges. Huzzah for being a painter! Handsome truly was a trooper and we were able to complete the room in one evening. I cannot begin to tell you how much better it is to sit inside such a sunny hovel. I also sometimes feel like I am inside a stick of butter, but that only serves to make me smile wider considering how much I enjoy that particular food item. We are hoping to complete the living room soon and I promise yummy pictures on that front. Hopefully I will write again soon fair readers.


Best life

I have been in Syracuse for three weeks. I have been at my new job for three weeks. I have been living with Handsome for three weeks. The glorious part is that all three realities are in a good place. Again, I will not pretend that I spend my days skipping about through singing paint brushes that gayly do all the tedious base painting; nor do I have the luxury of coming back to a TV ready apartment where both Handsome and I talk to each other in dulcet tones about sweet nothings….  my life is so much better. I work. I sweat. He works. He sweats. We talk. We manage. We play. We love. We adventure. It is so funny to us that people consider our move to be almost crazy. “What, you just packed up and left? Moved somewhere you had never been before deciding to move there?” Yes. Yes, that is exactly what we did. The interesting part is that the decision felt so calculated. However, when I think about it, the main spur was the fact that I got a great job in the area. I was going to move for that reason alone. That does not feel crazy to me, but apparently others find it very bold. Handsome coming with me seems braver to me. He had to find a job, pick an apartment with me, and uproot himself from the town he lived in his entire life. In sooth, my decision to fly all over is due more to my nature than to any particular courage on my part. I admire Handsome far more in this case. He made a leap, and not just for my sake. He dove head first with abandon and fire into a whole new lifestyle after maintaining his place for so long. I am a blessed woman for all that I have, but having such a brave man in my life is really one of the brightest.

She’s Alive!

I think I should just accept that I am an intermittent blogger at best, but in my defense I have been zipping about doing all sorts of crazy life-shifting things. Shall we do one of my infamous summaries? Of course we shall!

Since I last posted, I have:

Moved yet again!  Are we really surprised? I seem to be moving about a great deal, so I am sure another shift does not come as a shock. I have moved to Syracuse New York and the move went a lot more smoothly than I anticipated. Though I have moved multiple times in the past, I moved with perhaps a third of the stuff that went with me on this trip. I am hoping that this move will be semi-permanent (at least 2-3 years) so I went ahead and grabbed most of the stuff that I was storing at my parent’s place as well as my bedroom furniture. Despite all the gak, the actual shifting of things in and out of spaces only took about two hours each time. The longest time was spent driving to our destination.

Moved in with my boyfriend Yup, it happened. We are in a lovely two-bedroom apartment, learning how to constantly co-exist. Thus far, we are getting along rather well. I can’t begin to describe how nice it is to live with a man who loves to cook fantastic meals and who works so hard to meet my needs while at the same time communicating his own desires. We are definitely hitting places where we irritate each other, but I have faith that we have a strong enough foundation to tease those tangles into a healthy existence together.

Started a new job So, the schedule between the ending of the Camp and the start of my job at the Stage ran thusly:

August 6th: Drove from Michigan to Ohio

August 7th: Drove from Ohio to CT (drop Handsome off and say hello to his family)

August 9th: Drove back to New Jersey to pack the rest of my stuff

August 10th: Moved

August 12th: Started work at the Stage

Did that make you tired just reading? If it didn’t then just try to empathize with actually experiencing that nonsense. However, I really love my work. The PaintGuru is an incredible boss and the work is what I have dreamed of doing every day. True the days do involve some boring work, but that work is apart of a larger process that has so many fascinating parts. I can’t quite express my delight to be within its workings. I am doing what I love with people who are a joy to work with. I could not be more pleased with my current situation.

Went to a giant farmers market If I thought Florida had an incredible farmers market, I clearly did not quite comprehend the true scale of an incredible market. There is a most magical place here that is an endless series of semi-enclosed buildings that house everything one could ever want in a market. And it’s year-round!!!!!!!!!! (I try to avoid multiple exclamation points as a rule, but sometimes they are warranted.) For two people who are attempting to be conscious of their food, such a place is a veritable playground.

That’s the basic premise for this next portion of my life. I am working an incredible job, I have a lovely apartment that I can actually invest in improving, and I live with the love of my life. I am blessed beyond measure and I hope to continue sharing such joy, even if it is intermittent ;).

Doing Well Here

Tis strange to think that I have been here for almost a month. Summer has always moved strangely for me. Every day seems long and labor intensive, only to suddenly find myself at the end of a week wondering how it snuck past me. In this month, I have painted an entire set (and not a simple color and a wash so please you), explored glorious places, and made connections with people whom I can only call it  blessing to know. Helena (formerly known as Lady Twin, but Helena suits her much better) and I were down by the waterfront this evening, chatting about books as the wind blew incessantly across the water. I knitted away happily as we talked and I could only languish in how happy I truly am right now. Not the happiness that is characteristic of  the circumstances of the moment, but rather truly well. True wellness is a strong desire of mine, something that comes from a well of joy that lives in the heart regardless of what life offers. There is a hymn called “It is Well With my Soul.” A song penned in the 1800’s by someone who had been hit with immense tragedy, the piece still captures the core of what I strive to achieve in the pursuit of this life. Particularly, the first verse:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,a
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

*a Often this lyric is “say” rather than “know,” but I rather appreciate this version.

Whether I be at peace as I was this evening, or frazzled by the various tasks thrown at me in a given day, or truly aching from pain that attacks me from past loss, I fight to maintain the wellness of my soul. It is days such as I have been having, surrounded by glorious natural beauty, engaging work, and genuine people that remind me why I have such joy. Such things I am blessed with, and I can never thank Him enough for those things. It is, indeed, well with my soul.

From MA to NY, an Adventure: Day 2

My next day, Friday, found me pretty slothful during the day. Although it was pleasant outside, I found myself more in the mood to not leave the comfort of my pajamas. The evening was a very different story. The three of us got ourselves all pretty and we went out to North Hampton, specifically, the Tunnel Bar. I fear that the space was too dark for pictures, but I hope my description will suffice. The bar is, quite literally, an old tunnel. Walking in, you find yourself looking down the length of a windowless, creamy tiled, arching interior that just seems to keep flying backward. We found ourselves some oversized leather chairs in the very back and set to the business of drinking while sharing excellent conversation. The lighting was dim, but the martini that I had (Gone with the Wind) was a delicious mix of whiskey and peach that quite satisfied my sweet tooth without being overtly sugary. Persephone had a strange blue concoction called the Tarantula, while SexyHistorian settled for something that I think had Hibiscus in the name. I happily sipped my drink, truly more elated to be in the company of two of my favorite people, such as I had not been for far too long. As is wont to happen after a good drink, we were all viciously hungry. SexyHistorian pointed us to Local which specializes in supremely delicious junk/drunk food cuisine. I myself consumed a most unbelievably good burger known as the Juicy Lucy. Rather than the burger having the cheese on top, the cheese is cooked into the burger. Thus, the consumer is faced with gooey, dripping puddles of fat-filled cheesy glory throughout the entire experience. Persephone attacked a basket of fries with understandable abandon, and SexyHistorian had some chicken fingers. Overall, we were satiated in that way that you can only be after greasy deliciousness on the heels of a strong drink. We made our way back to the apartment, and promptly fell into our respective sleeping receptacles because we all had an early morning for Saturday.

Two Happy (if unrelated) Things

Two things are currently making me really happy and considerate of that happiness. The first is space. I am extremely responsive to the space around me, and I am amazed at how easily I forget that fact. Like eating well, I definitely notice a significant mood change when I am operating in an organized space. The room that I live in currently was basically an utter disaster since my arrival. To be fair, I have not exactly been around much to fix that problem. However, I always felt anxious and disoriented when I stayed in this room, but yet this room is the most logical place for me to get the “alone time” I crave. Why so anxious and disoriented? Obviously, the fact that the room was a tiny disaster where I could barely move two feet without risking injury. Even knowing this, I still let the situation escalate. Finally, a rapid whirlwind of energy seized me from my stupor, and I restructured the space with a ferocity akin to a wild bird creating her nest. Despite knowing how a clean space would affect me, I am still stunned. I am soothed, tranquil and warm as a fresh cup of tea. I see the gorgeous new yarn and new painting I acquired, on a dresser that is only covered in things I wish to be displayed (rather than random bric-a-brac diminishing the fine surface). The floor is open, and the space can actually thrum with my energy as opposed to getting splintered and caught on all the crap I let build up.

The second thing is horses (grammar nazis, I am aware those subjects do not agree, please put the mental red pens away). I am in the unique situation of having an occasional opportunity to help  tend some horses. A woman in my father’s church, we shall dub her Epona, has multiple Thoroughbreds that she and her family board at a nearby stable. Seeing as how they do all the work themselves, Epona’s normal crew (namely her, her husband and daughters) are sometimes unable to make it to the farm every day. Thus, I am on call in case of such an occurrence. I love horses. Before I pursued the arts, I was fervently in love with riding and anything that had to do with taking care of such creatures. I dreamed of horses in waking hours, and rode them through the night in my dreams. A certain event caused me to voluntarily end my riding career, but over the years I have sorely missed being around the animals. Being in a barn, and grooming Epona’s fine (if somewhat feisty) steeds gives me a glow that absolutely consumes the whole of my torso. I don’t know if I could adequately communicate this deep passion for horses, but suffice it to say it is not something that went away just because I quit riding. The situation is further enhanced by the fact that Epona is a lovely woman who enjoys good conversation while the work commences. Being in a barn among good equine and human company is not a joy I expected to discover here in New Jersey, but the Lord’s surprises are endless.

Outakes (birthday goodness)

So what does one do with a rainy day birthday? Well….

First, one should enjoy at least one fun purchase in honor of the day.

This piece is called Cossette, painted by the amazing Amy Brown

This piece is called Cossette, painted by the amazing Amy Brown

Amy Brown is probably one of my favorite faerie artists ever, so I make it a point to purchase her work whenever I can. I got this from her Etsy shop, and I must have at least a couple dozen others in my favorites. Truly, her work brings me an insane amount of joy.

Secondly, eat an absolutely fantastic cake.

Yes, it's real

Yes, it’s real

My daddy made me a most scrumptious double-layer chocolate cake that most certainly tastes a thousand percent better than it looks (which is a feat because it looks utterly perfect)!

Finally, finish a piece that actually makes you proud to say it’s yours.


I painted this from a picture that I took in the Smokies (you can actually view the photo in an earlier post on this blog). I am extremely pleased with how well it finished, and most happy that I could claim its completion on this weekend. Mayhaps a not terribly eventful birthday, but turned out to be a very productive day none the less :).