Sunday, October 30, 2011

awkward halloween

From the new book Haiku for the Single Girl by Beth Griffenhagen. 

I may no longer be single, but I definitely identify. I'm the type of person that would show up at a hot, happening party as a banana. Or show up without a costume, but end up looking like this halfway through the night:

Photo of last Friday night, borrowed from a friend :)

Happy Halloween! And cheers to awkward.

Friday, October 28, 2011

watch this: jessica's daily affirmation // renegotiating

My mom recently sent this video. Have you seen it?

Some days, it's hard for me not to replace "I like" with "I miss". While I'm so grateful to be here and am learning tons, it can be hard to avoid dwelling in the gaps - you know, those spaces and places in your heart that nothing but home and family can fill.

I miss my room (with requisite mess)

I miss my stuff (created and collected over many years)

I miss my clothes (though this grey sweater and colorful scarf are still there waiting for me)

I even miss this (hopefully at Christmas - fingers crossed!)

The thing is, though, that's not my room anymore. My mom would often say, "This will always be your home." Even so, I think I'm struggling to process that I'm part of a new family now, and we must craft our own home. This requires a somewhat tricky renegotiation of roles. As I fumble through figuring out what it means to be a wife, I also feel like I'm sorting out what it means to be an adult. What does it mean to be someone who is (in a few years, anyway) getting ready to have children, as opposed to being the child? When Andy and I leave Abu Dhabi, it will be the first time in my life that I won't return to the safety and security of my parents' home. There is a grief for my childhood that I wasn't anticipating.

Please don't misinterpret: I love my husband, and I love my life. (I like my hair, I like my haircut, I like my house... :) ) Maybe it's an issue with our "fairytale culture" that we don't allow space for the muck and contemplation a life-altering transition entails. I don't think I had too many illusions about creating some larger-than-life, day-of-my-dreams event when it came to the wedding, and I never expected to be whisked away by some prince to the land of oblivion - I never wanted that. The trouble is, it's easier for people to understand when you do. Want that, I mean. Put a perfect bow on a perfect box containing your perfect life, and call it a day. But you know what? The sticky, messy, mucky part of life is where the actual living takes place. So I'm fine with getting my hands dirty; I just need a good bubble bath every now and then. And plenty of time to process.

You know? No? Well anyway. Funnily enough, I'm off to clean - have to get the apartment for our Halloween party. Maybe I'll find time to fit a bath in there as well. x

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

hocus pocus

Nothing like a holiday to make me feel like myself again! Halloween happens to be one of my favorites. Spent a little time this afternoon making a few decorations, and I'm sure I'll make a few more tomorrow.

Bat garland in progress (on our sadly empty bookcases - we're working on it!)

Cobweb curtains from cheesecloth

Our neighborhood (which consists of four giant high rise buildings at the moment) is having trick-or-treating on Friday afternoon. We'll be having some friends over later that evening to celebrate, too. If only pumpkins weren't so expensive (70 bucks each!), I'd be carving my little heart out!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

day of rest

Went to the doctor this morning, where it was confirmed that I have tonsillitis. I'm on meds now, but the doctor said I should come back in for an x-ray in five days, because he thinks it's chronic and that I should probably have my tonsils removed. Eek! Though this might explain why the lymph nodes in my neck generally feel like marbles. Plus, the doc I went to see was an ear/nose/throat specialist, and he seemed to know immediately that having a swollen, soar throat is a regular thing for me. While I'm not excited at the prospect of sucking on ice chips and eating nothing but jello for a week (if there's one thing I hate, it's jello), I do like the prospect of feeling ten thousand times better in the long run.

Oh, I'm sorry, of course - who wouldn't want to partake of this tastiness? YUM.

All this is to say, I've spent most of the day at home, working on my mess-making and surfing the internet. (These activities have been shown to improve the effectiveness of the antibiotics, especially the former.) And I came across this amazing article by Keri Smith, which has basically changed my entire day/possibly life. Is it weird that I'm a teacher who can't stand education? Go read the article (it's in three parts; scroll to the bottom for the first), and maybe you'll see what I mean.

Drawing by Keri Smith, as featured in the article. Now really, go read it!

Ok, folks, back to my mess....

Saturday, October 22, 2011

weekend therapy

I do know how to make a good mess.

Looking forward to sharing the end result with you, hopefully sometime this week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

oh, ok. good.

The reason I am signing up for another Sketchbook Project. And also working up the courage to, slowly slowly, take my next intuitive step...But more on that another day ;)

Enjoy, folks.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Monday, October 17, 2011

looking for light

In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.

Within herself,
Found loveliness
Through the soul's own mastery.

And now the world receives
Through her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.

Langston Hughes, "Helen Keller"

Photo by Abby (who, incidentally, was looking for calm).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

ani difranco - joyful girl

Note: The writing on this clip is not mine and has nothing to do with me (meaning, I have never thought of my grandma during this song). It just happened to be the only video I could find!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

i have to say:

Simple things make me so happy.

Not that it's any secret. But those small, quiet details, the ones most often overlooked, are exactly what I tend to love most about life.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

happy weekend

Since Friday is the holy day here, Fridays are sort of like Sundays, but on a Saturday. What I mean is, you can lounge around during the day and stay up late the way you might on a Saturday in the States, but the overall feeling of the day is much more Sunday-like: Shops have more limited hours, the roads aren't as busy, families can be found out strolling, and so on. It takes some getting used to, and I have to fight the urge to call home at least a dozen times, reminding myself that my loved ones are indeed at work.

Despite an inability to call my mom (which is a need I'm pretty sure you never outgrow), this was probably my favorite Friday so far. We didn't do anything earth-shattering or exceptional, and that, I think, is exactly the point: It was, finally, a weekend at home.

I spent the morning drinking coffee in bed

and reading Maira Kalman columns 

before Andy and I decided to venture out to an excellent cafe.

The cafe is hidden, of all places, in a furniture store (where we ended up buying handmade serving utensils, a gorgeous pillow, and a lamp for our bedroom).

Following was a sunset stroll at the Breakwater, where we browsed Heritage Village (we'd never been) and stared across the water at the twinkling Abu Dhabi skyline

But we didn't take any pictures.

Because we aren't photographers, and we weren't really tourists. Nope, just your ordinary expats, happy to return to their own apartment, order takeout, and watch some TV. Besides, the most important piece of the puzzle was not what we were doing, it was that we were doing it together. (It reminds me of a line from this song: "As long as I'm with you, I win.")

May your weekend also find you in good spirits and your favorite company. Cheers.