Monday, August 29, 2011

Love Is Love Is Love

I just signed up for Pinterest, and the first pin I saw on the home page was this:

Yes, I know "theydon't" is not a word, but for the sake of this post, I'm focusing on the meaning.  It is so true and so important to remember.  The timing couldn't be better for me. 

During my conversation with Mom and Dad this weekend, Dad was telling me about a conversation he had with an old friend of mine with whom I've been in and out of touch.  She was telling him that things have been rough in her personal life but she is working hard at putting her life back together.  Not knowing that my friendship has been strained recently, he said, "You know, you can call Lindsay too.  The thing about Lindsay is she is such a good friend.  She really wants the best for her friends, and she is very loyal."  Oddly enough, he continued with something to the effect of, "She chooses her friends wisely.  When she feels that a friend is not honest or that they're not a true friend, that person is gone."  This is interesting for two reasons:
  1. He said that to someone who, I think, needed to hear it.
  2. I've always liked to think of myself as someone who is fiercely loyal to my friends.  I felt happy knowing that even my parents have observed this and thought it to be true.
So back to this "pin."  People love differently.  As we grow up, we learn from those around us what love means, how it makes us feel, and how we convey that love to someone else, whether it's familial, platonic, or romantic.  This pin was a good reminder that some people are raised to say "I love you" daily and express how proud they are of each other constantly.  Others weren't.  (I was the former.)  Sometimes life gets busy and it's hard to find time to return a phone call or an e-mail.  Sometimes there are personal issues that I don't know about. 

I need to remember that I'm surrounded by good people who wouldn't "dump" me out of the blue.  We all love to the best of our abilities.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Artsy Fartsy

Today I could do without: CONTEMPORARY ART
** This annoyance is brought to you by the Menil Collection.
 (See post titled "Check, Check, aaaaaaaand Check" HERE.)

Just Checking In

I am thankful for: FAMILY
** Today's thanksgiving is brought to you by my parents.

Check, Check, aaaaaaand Check.

Yes, it's Saturday, but that doesn't mean I just sat around.  I must admit it was the most productive Saturday I've had since the Saturday before we moved to Houston.  In true Linn fashion, I had written out my list of activities yesterday.  I woke up at 7:45am when I heard Scott start his shower, and it was go time.  After a few things around the house, I was out the door at 9:30am.

First stop: Urban Harvest Farmers' Market
It was a small market, but it has good stuff.  A few plant booths, candles, teas & coffees, meat, a lot of produce, honey, oils & fragrances, and the like.  I was excited to find raw, unfiltered, unheated honey from a nearby farm!  It's so good for you, and it's delicious!  We've been resistant to buying any since we got here.  Scott had found a farm that shipped when we were in San Diego, but we were worried to buy from them again and have them ship it to Houston.  It is just brutally hot here, and we would hate for the honey to be ruined in transport.  But low and behold, we have found a new, local source!  I sampled a vegan "Everything Bar" (nuts, flaxseed, granola, etc.) and fell in love, so I bought one of those too.

Second stop: DSW
I had chosen the heels that I want to wear with my bridesmaid dress for SueEllen and Sam's wedding.  Unfortunately, the shoe is only available online, so they ordered them for me, and they should arrive next week.  I was so glad that they still had my size and in bronze.

Detour #1: I used my new Starbucks gold card for the first time today.  After registering all of those Starbucks gift cards from my last boss and reloading one of them twice, I reached the gold level.  And now I have a shiny card with my name on it, just like Caitlin.  :-)

Detour #2: I talked to Dad and Mom post-New Mexico trip.  It was good to catch up. 

Third stop: Alterations for bridesmaid dress
Without the actual heels, we couldn't hem the bottom, but she pinned the sides to take it in.  The smallest size that David's Bridal sells is a 2... which is still too big for me.  (How is that possible?!  I am convinced that women's sizes become more skewed as America grows.)  She'll have it completed by next Saturday, and then I'll go back with my BM heels to finish the dress.  I chatted with the owner, Nhu, for awhile.  We engaged in the usual customer service chit-chat, but then we really started to talk.  I explained that I just moved here from San Diego two months ago with my husband, and she told me about starting her own dress shop seven years ago and that her daughter is in college.  She seemed to really like me, and then I knew for sure when she told me the price for the dress, and I said, "Oh, and don't forget about my dress pants."  She said, "For you, free."  YES!

Fourth stop: Library
I have had a public library card since first grade, probably earlier.  My mom would take my sister and I to the library for kids' events and contests, and checking out books was a summer activity that we loved.  The books may have been used and borrowed, but checking out books to bring home, if only for a few weeks, felt like getting something new.  And every time I've moved to a new city, I've always gotten a new public library card.  Chula Vista, New York City, Los Angeles, and now Houston.  I put it to good use immediately and walked out with two books on CD for my commute for work (at least 7.5 hours per week), two fiction, one non-fiction, and two language books.  I was so excited walking out of the library.  Who knew?  It's the little things in life, really.

Fifth stop: Menil Collection
There is a smorgasbord of museums in Houston.  Smorgasbord.  (Does that word make anyone other than Summer and I think of Templeton from "Charlotte's Web?")  The museum is on our street, maybe three city blocks away.  Scott had already gone with his MFA class last week, so I thought it would be the perfect solo adventure while he was at school today.  I only went into the main building, not knowing that there was a chapel and bookstore too.  The collection was separated into categories, so I strolled through each room.  I like art, but not the way a true art lover does, I guess.  I can appreciate the talent and skill that I see, but I can't stand in front of one canvas for ten minutes and then talk about how riveting, passionate, gut-wrenching, and violently poetic it is.  Abstract art just doesn't speak to me that way.  Yes, it may be beautiful or interesting, but I've never looked at an abstract painting and been brought to tears.  Call me unimaginative.  Photographs of real life and art forms depicting life as I know it are emotionally accessible to me.  I liked most of the collection, but I just don't see anything creative about wall-sized canvases painted in a solid color.  One single, solitary, lonely color.  Really?  I would feel more invested in my cats' paw prints on canvas.  Unfortunately, most of the Contemporary section was filled with these monochromatic pieces.   

Up side: The property is beautiful.  The museum is tucked away off the main road and enveloped in a neighborhood.  I took time to just sit on a wooden bench in the shade on a wooden deck, surrounded by grass and tall trees -- watching people quietly pass by and listening to birds, the breeze, all things natural.  It was amazing.  This was better than a park.  It's my new favorite hideaway.

Sixth stop: Home
And I cleaned the sweet daylight out of this place.  I committed to a major deep cleaning -- kitchen, bathroom (with the exception of the shower), laundry, vaccuumed, dusted (with the exception of the top of the bookcase which I cannot reach, even with a chair).  It feels good to be in a clean house.

Scott got home, we went out for dinner, and we ran a few errands.  And now, sleep.  Here is a picture of (some of the) fruits of my fun labor today:

Friday, August 26, 2011


I love wine. I love cupcakes. And red velvet happens to be my absolute favorite. AND the label is cute. How could I go wrong?

Smiles & Puppy Paws

I was overjoyed to see Erin and Travis and to meet Auggie last night!  I even got to see his new "tricks" that he's been learning.  Is he gorgeous or what?  He has good-looking parents too.  :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Soap Box

My quick and dirty way of ranting.  One word.  One sponsor.  Out of my system.

Today I could do without: TRAFFIC
** Today's annoyance is brought to you by inclement weather.

First Thanksgiving

Even on days that are crammed with things to do, I can at least list one thing I'm thankful for.  Shouldn't we all do this?

I am thankful for: SKYPE
** Today's thanksgiving is brought to you by distance.

First Snapshot

Who doesn't like to look at pictures?

Yes, I carry this in my purse.  And I'm pretty sure that it looks like I'm slipping something illegal into my drink everytime I use it at a coffee shop. 

Growth & Thanksgiving

In times of great change, I routinely start to feel out of control of things around me.  It's this silly little dance that I do with myself everytime I'm experiencing a lot of change in life.  At the time, doubts and frustrations seem so big and all-encompassing and defining.  It usually takes days for me to realize how miniscule said "doubts and frustrations" are, or even better, why I was so upset in the first place.

This year's theme for me has been growth.  Small word, big changes.  We started into the year with only one of us being employed and the other pursuing graduate school applications and auditions.  With the joy of his acceptance to an MFA program came planning to move, planning a wedding, and my job hunt... in another state.  This year has been nothing but change which has been fun but stressful.  All change is stressful, even positive change.

Bear with me as I mentally unfold this. 

Upon arriving in Houston, we spent as much time together this summer knowing that graduate school would soon consume his life for two whole years.  Although busy with reading and preparing for the MFA program to start, he would always be home when I got home from my new job.  We had all evening to run errands, watch a movie, or go out to dinner and simply be together.  Fast forward to last Monday.  BAM!  As expected, his life has been consumed.  He is gone from 7:15am to 11:00pm, and say goodbye to his weekends.  But he's doing what he loves , and that makes me happy and proud!  However, I was quickly reminded that I don't know ANYONE ELSE in Houston.  Not yet, at least.  That made me sad.  Another thing that made me sad?  A long-time best friend of mine told me through text message that "we should cut ties for good.  Goodbye."  Ummm... did that just happen?!  We've had our ups and downs and accepted that our friendship had changed since 7th grade, but I felt like the decision was rehearsed -- prepared.  I was heartbroken.  And then confused when she followed up with an apology/retraction (I think) after seeing my dad and being reminded of the role that I have played in her life.  It's very confusing and still on-going.  I don't like to inadvertantly pit friends against each other, so I didn't call anyone to vent.  And my ever-present husband was unavailable.  Being the good sport that he is, Scott took the indirect brunt of my insecurities about people and their intentions and still loves me.  :-)

In the end, an experience is what you make it.  So I have five things that are important to me on this day of growth.
  1. I feel lonely that I don't have any friends or family within a 50 miles radius of home.
  2. I feel challenged to pursue activities that I'm interested in which may or may not lead to meeting people, but at least it's something I can explore on my own.  (Namely, I'm looking for a good dance, yoga, or pilates studio.)
  3. I look at my husband, think about what we have, and feel infinitely grateful.
  4. I am thankful for Skype.
  5. As I wade through my year of growth (and beyond), I really should focus on what I'm thankful for.
I think this will be the perfect place for my thanksgiving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Did They Do It?!

Change has arrived and completely turned the Kudia household inside-out!  I am almost through my first week as housewife (who also has a full-time job and 35-mile commute each way).  Scott started class on Monday and has been putting in 13+-hour days for “Hell week.”  As far as I can tell, it’s an accelerated period of getting to know each other, seeing each other’s styles, scene work, critique, and killer Suzuki movement sessions.  Needless to say, he’s exhausted when he comes through the door after 11:00pm but always with plenty to say about his day.

We came into this expecting that we wouldn’t be seeing much of each other since the program is condensed into two years AND presents long days.  Since moving here, we’ve seized every opportunity to go out together.  We literally soaked up every minute of “us” time that we could, knowing his life would soon be consumed by school.  It will take some time before we really figure out what our new routine will be.  I imagine that it must be easier than what this week felt like. 

There were so many errands to run and no one to share the load with.  I saw it as my chance to be the perfect little wife who conquered her to-do list and made home a better place.  I may have tackled that ideal too vigorously.  Better pacing next time!

I felt like I was constantly rushing to do the next task, and the heat and humidity were at an all-time high.  I felt wiped.  And then it dawned on me – my parents are heroes!  I thought about my parents and how much they did for three kids in addition to what I've done this week!  They afforded us every activity, camp, and program under the sun and actively participated.  They set the bar pretty darn high.  Although feeling kind of stressed, I found myself feeling incredibly thankful and jotting down parenting notes for when my time comes.  (Pace yourself, plan ahead, accept when said planning falls through, enjoy your family, etc.)  Good job, Dad & Mom!  I always hear that every parent wants better for his/her child, but I’m going to have to work extra hard to do that for Banjo!

I am also thankful that this week was graced with phone conversations with Kay and Summer!  It gave me some peace and joy just when I needed it.  And it was nice to have some sort of social life, even if only remotely.  And thanks to Kay, I was inspired to start a blog to keep in touch with those closest to me instead of relying on Facebook where, let’s be honest, I don’t need to be sharing life’s moments with 600 people.

It’s almost Friday, and for the first time in my life, I’m at a job where TGIF means something.  TGI(almost)F! And cheers to extraordinary parents!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Lost Art of Keeping in Touch

Inspired by one of my best friends, I stepped back to ask myself why I’m on Facebook. 

Keep in touch with friends. 
(What ever happened to e-mail and phone calls?)

Post pictures.
(Do all 600 Facebook friends really need to see them?)

It’s fun to read and comment on photos and witty status updates.
(But wouldn’t real life connection be more fun?)

It’s just fun to see what people are up to. 
(Like stalking? So… who is stalking YOU?)

Obviously, I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but they’re still valid reflections. As I age, I’d rather have real-life connections, and in an almost maternal way, shield those relationships from unnecessary “noise.” Does this mean sacrificing contact with hundreds of “virtual” friends? Yes. Will it mean that my time is invested in truer relationships? Yes, please. I’ll take the latter. And with that, my Facebook will gradually transition into another “e-mail” account while this blog will hold updates and stories for family, both biological and chosen.

So come on, y’all! Let’s be REAL friends. Check in for updates, but let’s keep the arts of letter writing, greeting cards, e-mail, and phone calls alive!