November 28, 2013


The hubs has safely returned from Honduras, and today will be a day of family-- I am very thankful for that. We are starting this morning off with a small fun run, then off to my true homeland of Long Island to see our wild, wonderful relatives. My grandmother is also spending a few days with us, and it feels so good to see her. Thanksgiving may be devoted to recognizing the treasures in our lives and acknowledging our gratitude, but let's try to do that every day. There are so many precious things life has to offer, so many special moments and experiences, and it is so comforting to realize what we already have.

"Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados.
Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos,
Playas y desiertos, montaƱas y llanos,
Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio."

"Thank you to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me the steps of my tired feet.
With them I have traversed cities and puddles
Valleys and deserts, mountains and plains.
And your house, your street and your garden."

--"Gracias a la Vida," sung by Violeta Parra

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November 25, 2013


A few weeks ago while the hubs and I were in Detroit, we took a walk down the street to check on an old house that had been foreclosed upon last Thanksgiving. We had discovered it while talking a post-feast stroll, and I haven't been able to entirely forget it since then. It ignited my curiosity and my daydreaming ways, and it was calling me to come back.

The house is still empty. It used to belong to a preacher's wife who was unable to care for the home after his death, and the house fell into a bit of a ruin before the foreclosure. The hubs and I tiptoed around the front windows and peeked in, and I felt my breath catch in my throat as I cupped my hands around my eyes and pressed my nose to the glass. This house was alive.

I could imagine family gatherings taking place in the living room, quiet nights reading on the couch in front of the fireplace, sweeping entrances made at the top of the grand staircase. I could smell the scent of cut grass from the balcony out back, taste the barbeque out on the patio, and hear the laughter of kids running around the backyard and out into the golf course.

This house had probably seen all of that, been a part of all of that, and yet it was so still on that day. Shutters partially drawn, leaves strewn about the bricks, and paint peeling inside. It had been left all alone.

It was sad to see such a place so empty, but at the same time, it really did feel as though the memories of all it had seen were still drifting along quietly inside.

It's a beautiful home. It needs love, and I just know that it's waiting and humming until the right family comes along. I wish so badly that we were that family because I had goosebumps and chills and dreams, and doesn't that mean something? I don't know what will happen to it, but I do know that when we go back for Christmas, I'm going to visit my house down the street. I need to know how it's doing.

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November 24, 2013

Sunday Currently : 46

There's something about the cold that makes me think more clearly. I love that feeling of walking through the city with my scarf wrapped around me, making my way downtown past the empty office buildings. There are some stretches that are so quiet, as though the tourists can't see those streets and therefore leave them completely untouched. I love those moments, when it's just me and my thoughts, which have slowed their pace to match my footsteps. Then the wind blows a chill my way, but because the sun is still shining overhead, I smile and notice the fallen leaves at my feet, and I feel so happy to be alive in this city on this day.

reading : On the Road, though I'm trying to save it for my bus ride on Wednesday. This reminds me that I should probably pick up another book for our return train ride! 

writing :  Pretty Little Liars observations and clues on Tumblr. :) I can't help it, you guys, sometimes you just have to spend some time on the couch wrapped in blankets and watching Netflix... and being a nerd. 

listening :  To the wind howling outside! It's cold outside, and the wind is sending leaves flying everywhere. 

thinking :    That I might not have been posting a lot here lately, but I think it's been good to give myself some relaxation time. I'll be back in the swing of things after Thanksgiving!

smelling :   Coffee. Mmmm. 

wishing :   For snow! We had a few flurries last night, and they gave me hope for real snow this winter. 

hoping :   That the hubs stays safe. He is currently in Honduras as an election observer, and other members of his group have experienced intimidation by immigration officials, including a group in the capital city who were intimidated by masked men with machine guns. It's scary stuff, and I just hope that he doesn't run into any trouble. 

wearing :   Fleece sweatpants and a t-shirt, though I'm planning to rock a jeans and sweater combo when I eventually make my way upstairs to showed and get dressed. 

loving :    Friends. :) This weekend has been filled with so many, all from different parts and times of my life, and I feel really happy about that. 

wanting :    To find some good things at J. Crew Factory today! I am headed out there this afternoon with another friend, and I really need to remember not to just buy things for myself but to actually do some Christmas shopping. 

needing :   Some brekkie. Eggs and fake bacon?

feeling :     Happy! I've been having fun this weekend, and it's not even over yet! :D

clicking :   On some blogs this morning, but I plan to do the bulk of my catching-up later today. Food first!


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November 19, 2013

DC Winter Holiday Fun

I'm a list-maker. If I don't write tasks down, I risk forgetting them, and when it comes to making sure that I do all of the fun things I keep meaning to do but don't actually get to, it helps to have a visual reminder to keep me on track. So when I started to think of how to keep the upcoming winter season filled with enjoyable moments, I figured that it would be helpful to make an official list. Here's what I've compiled so far!

1. National Christmas Tree. I've lived here for a few years, but I never quite make it downtown to check out the tree. I don't have a ticket for the lighting ceremony, but I recently learned that in the evenings there are music performances open to the public. 

2. Lessons and Carols. I loved to sing in Lessons and Carols in college, and last year I enjoyed resurrecting my memories while at the National Cathedral for their service. I would love to return for their service, but I'm also considering checking out a new place. Georgetown University perhaps? 

3. Handel's Messiah. A couple of years ago, my parents came into town and treated us to a performance of the Messiah at the National Cathedral. It was beautiful, I cried, and honestly, can life really get better? I would love to go back for this!

4. Ice skating at the Sculpture Garden. I've never gone before, but doesn't this sound so cute? And if it turns out to be a disaster, there's always hot chocolate. :) 

5. Zoo Lights. This is easy, cute, and fun. The National Zoo is lit up at night with colorful holiday lights, and it's just nice to walk around on a not-too-cold night. We used to live in this neighborhood and could just walk a couple of blocks down the street to get to the zoo, so it was also a very easy outing to take. Even though we no longer live in the area, it would be nice to hop on over. 

These are nearly all things to do in anticipation of Christmas, so I'll need to revise in the new year and think of other wintery things I can do as winter drags on. Perhaps visiting a few more museums on my Project DC list?

Here's to hoping that this winter is filled with warm, happy moments that help us all find enjoyment in the months to come. :)

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November 17, 2013

Sunday Currently : 45

I wrote, deleted, rewrote, deleted, etc. this beginning of my post a few times before I finally just walked away to another room, looked around, and came back.

I'm ready now.

I'm feeling mentally restless. I don't know when it started or why it's here, but this feeling of restless anticipation is there in my mind. I want to do something. I've been thinking a lot about projects lately, and I'm realizing more and more that I love creating. Whether it's helping a friend brew beer, organizing a bookshelf, planting a garden, or whatever else crosses my mind, I love that feeling of actively doing something, of making a nice space or a final product. I love the process. I love the satisfaction, the fun, the excitement.

I love my moments assuming Blob Formation on the couch, but I realized just now that it was making me anxious. Being still can be wonderful, but sometimes I really need to get up and walk around. So that's what I must do. I'm stepping outside, marveling at the fact that roses can bloom in the cold, and having a windows-wide-open sort of day. 

reading : On the Road, though I must admit that I must have some form of ADHD because I have already starting reading another book so I can switch back and forth, not to mention my rotation of magazines that I am still working through (seriously, I found a stack of issues from March and April). Good to have options, though, right? 

writing :  Dissertation bits and pieces. For the rest of time. Mehhhh.

listening :  To the quiet. Mmmmm. The hubs is off at his uni doing some work, the cats are napping, and all I hear is the sound of my typing. 

thinking :   About the phone conversation I need to have with my advisor later this afternoon. I'm a bit nervous about it, and I just hope that it goes well. Wish me luck!

smelling :   Fresh, damp air from the open kitchen window. Sometimes you just need to air out the house to get a fresh start. 

wishing :   That the peplum top I recently purchased from J. Crew Factory had captured my heart, but honestly, it's probably better to save a bit of money. I have been on a spending spree lately! Maybe I should wish for less credit card/debit card activity...

hoping :   That I actually get to do some of the activities I have put on my wintery activities list. They are mostly centered around the Christmas holiday, so I should do some thinking about logistics and when I will be doing these things, but more than anything, I just would like to really take the time to enjoy another season in this city. Who says winter needs to be a downer?

wearing :   Leggings and a cotton shirt. I think I'm going to skip my farmers' market trip today so that I can tackle some more house projects, which means that I get to spend all day in super comfy clothes. :)

loving :   How much better I feel when I do something as simple as clear off a table, organize, and throw out junk. Life just feels so much more manageable when my living space is orderly. Also loving the new Sunday Currently button!!!

wanting :   Something warm and comforting for lunch. Soup? Hot sandwich?

needing :  To fix the button on my pink coat. It popped off last week (grr), and I need to sew it back on so that I don't look too raggedy. 

feeling :    A bit lazy today, and of course that restlessness is here, but after I hit "Publish," I am going to start tackling some projects, so hopefully I will feel more productive as the day goes on!

clicking :   On a recent post over at The Fresh Exchange. I love how Megan opens this post with simple statements that evoke so much imagery and peace. It reminds me of how rewarding it is to be mindful and to savor the beauty that exists around us. 


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November 13, 2013

So, About This Blogging Thing....

Does anyone else feel like life has been especially busy lately? I suppose that's to be expected when the lazy days of summer float away, replaced by the invigoration and of autumn. And that's okay, really. I love how this time of year makes me feel more motivated and less sluggish, and I really love what I do. I have so many moments of, "Wow, life is really freaking good" that make the tougher moments worth it, and I know I am lucky to be able to write that. I feel lucky.

But, damn, sometimes working full-time is hard, not so much because the work itself is hard (it is, but in a good way), but because I haven't quite figured out what I want my post-work hours to look like. I value self-care a lot, and I wouldn't be able to do the work I do without taking care of myself. That means having quiet time, drinking water, eating good meals, exercising every now and again, and having quality time with the hubs. It also means creating fun content to share on this blog, but as you may have noticed lately, that frequency has been dropping off the past few weeks. I have to admit that I'm stumped with this one-- How do I contribute to this outlet when sometimes all I want to do when I get home is enjoy a glass of wine over dinner with the hubs and extol the joys of wearing sweatpants?

Practically speaking, I'm learning that I need to write posts in advance. Writing after a long day of work just doesn't work for me, and it's more important to me to be present with the hubs rather than staring at a computer screen in silence. Now that I'm spending more time on my dissertation, however, I'm struggling to fit blogging in when I'm also trying to knock out a chapter so that, you know, I can finally earn my doctorate next summer (fingers crossed-- yes, you may call me Dr. Sarah). That is kiiiind of majorly important to me, too. So what's a chica to do?

I don't know, internet people. I just don't know. I suppose that I just keep trying to find balance, knowing that sometimes the scale will tip more towards the academic obligations, then back towards personal relationships, and then over to the recreational stuff for a while (clearly, this is a three-way scale-- obviously). And I'm okay with that, mostly. I still feel guilty when the spotlight dims over one of those areas, but I'm learning to accept it. I am human, after all, and I can't do everything. I'd love to, but... no.

I just needed to write this all out and share it. I know that this isn't a novel challenge for bloggers, and I have seen a lot of posts about this in recent months. I suppose I just want to say that I feel it, too, but because I value being mindful and present in my life, I am giving myself permission to let that list of half-written posts drag on for a little bit longer. I will still try to plan in advance and will aim to complete some of my ideas so that I can share them here, but it's a process, and I'm learning, and it's okay if I don't execute it perfectly.

So overall, autumn has motivated me to create and to connect, but it won't always involve the interweb. And that's okay! There is a 3-D life out there, and it is pretty darn wonderful. :)

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November 12, 2013

Morning Musings

It's one of those cold mornings where the cocoon of the flannel sheets could keep me there forever. Their softness soothes me, and I feel so warm and perfect that it's hard to think of a reason why I should leave my nest for anything.

The wind is swaying the tree branches, already bare and stark against the dim morning sky. When did that happen? It must have been yesterday. They look cold and stoic, those brave soldiers facing the front line of winter. It's coming, you know. 

This sky holds no snow yet, but I hope it comes. I'm waiting for the morning when I wake up, lured from my flannel nest by the cats' insistent meows, and glimpse those thick flakes falling from the sky. That won't happen today. But it's all coming. I can feel it.

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November 10, 2013

Sunday Currently : 44

Busy, busy, busy! Today has been one of those mornings that is filled with tasks. It feels good to knock out some projects and clean up a bit, but there is also so much more to do. Since I like to keep my Sundays relaxed, however, I am allowing myself to take a bit of a pause.

It's becoming winter. Sometimes the wind blows so fiercely that it makes its way through our drafty windows and makes the curtains dance. I'm still marveling at the beautiful foliage around DC, but it hasn't escaped my attention that some of my favorite trees are losing their leaves, and before long we will be surrounded by tree skeletons. I'm trying to savor the beauty of autumn before it leaves us. Why does it always leave so soon?

I have so many thoughts about the changing of seasons, but maybe I'll save them for another day. For now, I'm just going to admire our new bookshelf and soak up the satisfaction of knowing that these books are no longer haphazardly piled on the floor. 

reading : On the Road. I've just started it, so no thoughts yet... though this does remind me that I am two books behind in updating my book reviews for the 100 Best Novels list. 

writing :  More dissertation pages. It's making my brain hurt, but since I need to start submitting post-doc applications relatively soon, I need to make a bit more progress on this project so it doesn't seem so pitiful. Ugh, grad school. 

listening :  To the dryer running downstairs. The hubs and I were making quite a ruckus earlier this morning as we put together yet another bookcase and did a bit of vacuuming. It's nice to have a bit more quiet now. 

thinking :   About a few different things today. My mind feels busy, not in a stressed way, but in the way that means there are fun things coming up and various projects that I want to tackle. 

smelling :   Lemon Pledge from all the dusting we did upstairs. I have yet to tackle the living room, but I sense more cleaning supplies in my future...

wishing :   For less clutter. I feel so good when we clean up and throw out junk or pull items to donate.  It reminds me of how much I love to organize, and it's just so much easier to do that when there are fewer random items scattered around the house. 

hoping :   That we get some decent snow this winter. Perhaps even a blizzard? Our 10-day forecast keeps hinting at the possibility of rain-snow this week, and I am crossing my fingers for some flakes. 

wearing :   Jeans and a t-shirt, both of which are now covered in dust and cat hair. Lovely! I also sense a wardrobe change in my future...

loving :    Our new bookshelf in the guest room! The hubs and I swore that we would never buy Ikea again, but with a box of books in need of a home, we caved and got another Expedit. It helped us organize a little better, and I think the cats will like using it as a perch to look out the window. We all win!

wanting :    Hot chocolate and warm things. The hubs and I made a morning trip to Giant to pick up canned goods for donation, and I got a few ideas for baking projects while we were there. Brownies and pumpkin pie, anyone?

needing :    A proper winter coat! I have ordered about a million coats from J. Crew in the past month, but so far I have only been successful in finding a great transition coat. I still need a longer one for those cold February morning walks to work, and I thought I found it in the stadium-cloth captain coat, but now I think the one I kept is still a tad too big. Can't a girl catch a break? 

feeling :   Excited about this time of year. Just two more full weeks of work, and then a lovely little break for Thanksgiving. I love the holidays!

clicking :  All over the blogisphere before settling back in with my dissertation. Distractions are welcome! :)

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