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My Blate With Betsy

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I almost feel rude calling it just a blate. Goodness. Let’s call it what it is. On Saturday I spent the afternoon with an awesome, new friend.

I think I’ve mentioned this before. I didn’t ever expect, nor particularly care, to foster friendships through blogging. Maybe I was too egocentric? I don’t know. I kind of didn’t think much past the whole “I need an outlet to write” part of the plan. But I’ve “met” (and really met) some amazing friends in blogland. And now… well, regardless of how much I love using this as an outlet to write, it’s really all of you that make it worth my time each day. 

My blate with Betsy was far too short. In fact, we probably could’ve had an old school sleepover (complete with the pj’s and face masks and all) and still it would’ve been too short. Isn’t that how it is with friends, though? It’s always a bummer when the time’s up.

So Alex and I do this part time job (that really is cooler and way more fun than our full time jobs) where we select teachers to join an alternative route program to teach in DC. We interview on Saturdays and it leaves us in DC for the rest of the day or evening. Usually we just call it a date and hit up our usual (Matchbox…. go there now). But recently it dawned on me that Betsy and I probably have enough in common to keep the conversation going well past the socially appropriate length of a Disqus feed. So we set ourselves up a little blate!

We met over at Union Market, which is probably the best hidden gem I’ve (errr, Betsy) found in DC this far. We ate awesome food, devoured some local ice cream, and caught up on life. You know, the important stuff. Alex was there, too. He held his own. Poor kid, stuck with two bloggers all afternoon. Whatever, I told him he could drive himself home. But Betsy’s everything you would expect from her blog and then some. You know, the kind of friend you meet and think, why haven’t we met sooner? And, oh, Jon sounds pretty awesome, too!

This is where you realize that this post is more of a tease than a recap. I figured if I tried to fit Union Market in with Betsy in one post, I couldn’t do both justice.

After dropping Betsy back off at home, I had this major aha moment on the beltway realizing that this is all so silly. We live less than thirty minutes from each other (well, maybe not in rush hour), and at a certain point you have to realize that the whole reason we’re here, building friendships and putting in all of this time, is because it is the real deal. We might not ever meet, or if we do, it’s possibly no more than a few times or maybe even once if we’re lucky. So what? Some of the conversations I’ve had through blogging I wouldn’t dare begin with the majority of my “real life” friends. And the connections, visions, beliefs… all of this stuff on how we see the world, well, if we’re going to leave it at “oh, this blogger thinks the same as me”… hello? I would die to have all of you as my next door neighbors!

I guess what I’m getting at in a ridiculously roundabout way is that Betsy and I practically are neighbors. And that certainly won’t be the last time we meet up. But next time, I’m not calling it a blate.

I’ll just be meeting up with one of my friends.

The Blogging Balance: Revisited and Syndicated

A week ago I had it in my head that I’d be spending my spring break rising early, packing my morning with all things productive and wonderful before setting out on fabulous, fun adventures each afternoon. Instead I’ve let myself rest. Morning’s are beginning closer to 11:00 and I’m okay with that. I’m packing those first hours of the day with kitten snuggles and a few extra dreams. And because of those sleepy hours, despite our awful week of house projects, I feel rested and calm. I think vacations are supposed to do that to you.

This morning I woke to a fabulous email from BlogHer. An old Love Notes post was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for today. I find it fitting, that on my spring break when I’m aiming desperately to find a healthy balance of rest and productivity, the post I wrote on struggling with a blogging balance is syndicated. I’m incredibly honored and stupidly bashful about the whole thing but, I suppose, deep down I am bursting at the seams excited. You can click on the screen shot below to read it for yourself.

The sun is finally shining and my husband is taking me on a hot date today. And since Easter and spring are all about renewal and rebirth, I am taking this weekend to focus on my own renewal. My new balance. My new lens of focus. Easter is good for that; a moment to sit back and reflect. I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed weekend.

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Love Notes: The Blogging Balance

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The scene: She was wired in, re-coding something stupid that got screwed up thanks to a lazy thumb dragging over the touchpad and causing everything to delete. He was on the couch, covered by snugly furballs waiting for her to join so they could watch Big Bang Theory together.

Two hours later, she’s still at the computer. The black hole of web design, social media and blogs having taken over yet again. He gave up long ago and turned on CNN to hear the latest news out of South Africa. The volume is just loud enough that she can hear the details and report out her own anecdotes on Pistorious’s stubs and the cricket bat.

At what point does something you love… a hobby, a creative outlet, an escape from the perils of the real world, your fostered friendships (albeit virtual)….. at what point does it become toxic? And you know it in your gut well before it festers into a head. You know it because it’s the first thing you do in the morning. No longer do you turn to face your husband. Instead, you’re running through Twitter at 6:30 in the morning because that’s totally normal. And you know it because you spend your lunch breaks scrolling through Bloglovin’- even when it’s your turn on Words With Friends with your husband. And you know it because you swear you’ll drop the screen down as soon as he walks in the house, unplugged and ignored until the next day. But when the door opens, you’re only halfway through your favorite blogs and you haven’t even begun to edit those pictures from the weekend.

But you don’t admit it, out loud, until your husband comes over to kiss the top of your head at 11pm  tells you he’s going upstairs and cracks one of those low-blow jokes that’s meant to make you think. “I think I’m gonna start dating again.”

End Scene.

As supportive, patient, loving, kind, understanding and gentle my husband is, he knows when he’s being taken advantage of. And why, why, why wouldn’t he feel ignored?

It’s so totally anything but simple and we both know it. This space, these words, this community… it’s transformed into one of the most joyful pieces of my heart. Little vignettes of the twelve year-old burning through a packet of lose leaf paper with a ballpoint at her desk at 4am on a midsummer’s dream, a penpal to a girl named Maggie who (though she lived all the way in Pennsylvania) became one of my closest confidants all the way through adolescence, the aspiring photojournalist capturing every imperfect detail of a family vacation to Paris in June, the PR major survived by espresso staying in the lab until it closes engrossed in layout and design…. this blog is a place for all of those girls to dance and dream and sing out loud.

But it’s not the best place to foster a marriage.

We both teach full time. And work part time jobs (plural, jobs plural). And then we try to keep fit and house keep and pay bills and stock a fridge and it’s just a lot before we even get to be together. And so we get to the priority part of this lovely post.

Blogging will stay; it will always stay in some form, large or small. It will stay for the therapeutic nature of writing and editing and crafting that my soul just craves. This is me. But then there’s my best friend, this guy who makes me laugh and shares in my adventures and writes the other half of our story. He is my priority. And what is love, truly, but the simple act of unconsciously putting someone’s well being before your own?

So I will love. And practice the art of balance.

(you can find the rest of the love notes series here)

A Blog-iversary

Once upon a time there was a girl who started a blog. She didn’t have any idea what she was doing. But she knew she wanted an outlet to write and exercise her creative juices. So this girl’s blog started as nothing really special at all. In fact, take a look at her first post. She had no idea what she was doing.

But time passed and people besides her husband, mom, and Aunt Maribeth started reading her crazy little rants and musings. In the meantime, she started to find her voice. And a few good friends along the way. ;)

It’s been one year since that blog entered the world wide web. What once was just a place to type and type and type with no cares in the world turned into much more. It may not be a fashion blog. Or a fitness blog. Or even a crafty, DIY blog. It’s just a lifestyle blog. Nothing fancy. Just an ordinary life with ordinary ups and downs, dreams and wishes upon shooting stars, good days and bad days. But between the horrible, no good, very bad days and the ecstasy of life’s greatest moments, this girl learned an ironic lesson from her blog that she never saw coming.

time (really does) stand still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life.

And so she continues to blog. To celebrate the haunting beauty found in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life. 

Now, we celebrate (<———— you really, really should click here if you want a chance to win a TON of free stuff….)

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program….

I’ll have you know I am only on day 3 of 6 of our Whirlwind Cowboy Adventure to Texas. And we haven’t even gotten to my birthday and Phuongnhu’s wedding yet! It’s coming, I promise. But the house is getting dirty, and behind, and so today we’re playing ketchup. And mustard. Or simply “housekeeping”. Here we go….

1. Have you noticed my friends over there——————>? That’s my sisterhood. Except we don’t share traveling pants. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Kristin, from Kristin’s Veranda, is most likely the sweetest girl in blogland. I absolutely love her slice of internet paradise and I spend maybe a bit too much time on her blog. And did you see these? If you follow me on Facebook, you already know how much I’m in love with them!

Sheila, from The Failte House, is my other sister. It’s Gaelic, by the way. For “welcome”. Don’t you love it? The Failte House! My Irish heritage just squeals with excitement! She’s my go-to for positive energy and inspiration. Did I mention she’s a photographer? Yeah. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been harassing her a bit too much about my new toy….

So, anyway, these ladies and I have a busy month planned for you readers. So expect to be seeing some guest posts over here, as well as a giveaway. Giveaway?!?! I know everyone’s ears just perked up!

2. My 1 year anniversary is in a week and a half. So in T-minus 4 days, this blog is putting on it’s Halloween costume and becoming all wedding-y, gushy, mushy, and pretty. So if you like wedding posts, which hopefully you do, stay tuned. Not to mention… I’ve got a video or two as well as some never-seen-or-spoken-about before info from our big day to share! I hope you won’t mind. Oh, and you’ll be hearing multiple plugs for these people. Because they captured moments like this:

3. KELLY! This girl is amazing. I hope to be her when I grow up. So she was my Fall Friendship Swap partner and talk about luck of the draw! Hand sketched artwork that matches my house EXACTLY? Misha likes the squirrel the best. And that stack of recipes! My husband could take a hint from her on the way to my heart. :) My treasure box of fall goodies just came on Monday so I haven’t had a chance to be too domestic and utilize the recipes, but I’ll be letting you know how it goes. I’m especially looking forward to the butterscotch pudding and the pumpkin cheesecake. I have such a sweet tooth! Thank you, Kelly! The gift is perfect!

4.Lanaya! More thanks for my Liebster Award! The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers by bloggers. It is a way to acknowledge each other and say “you’re doing a great job”. She also gave me a few questions to answer, which I will get to later once my ducks are all in a row. She has another blog that I just love to explore and I can get lost wandering through everything it has to offer! Go say hello!

5. Stop over to Lauren’s blog and wish her the best on her nuptials this weekend. October weddings rule!

6. My big girl camera! So I’ve had it for a few weeks now. I promised myself the moment I bought it that I would not snap a single shot in auto mode. I’m doing alright and I feel like I made progress on our Texas vacation, naturally, but I know I’ve got a ways to go. Plus, I doubt I’ll see my wish-listed lens before I open my stocking Christmas morning. So, please, bear with me as I keep at it. I’m trying to keep it real, here. I mean, for every picture you see that looks like this (Haha, Baci is ridiculous! I had to show it to you!):

there are two pictures that look like this:

7. Link it up! Chelsea from Yours Truly has kindly asked me to co-host this week’s link up. So add your Twitter account and meet some new friends!

(Are you still with me? I told you I had a lot of housekeeping…)
Follow your host & co-hosts
Share the hop with others, whether it be via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc!
Come link up with @chelseaoliviaxo for the Twitter hop to find new friends! http://www.yourstrulyblog.com/2012/10/welcome-back-this-week-for-another.html
Feel free to copy the code for the button from above and put it up on your blog.
Take a couple minutes to visit some other people who have linked up and let them know you stopped by from the Return The Favor hop - and hopefully they will return the favor!

Chelsea from Yours Truly



Happy Hump Day. :)

A Lonely Me

Our evening walk went a little like this:

Alex: I just feel like, like a…. slug.

Me: Well you did sit in front of the TV all afternoon…. 

Alex: No, I mean, like, I don’t do anything. Besides work. I need a hobby. 

Me: Ohhhhh. Yeah. You should totally get a hobby. Ever since I started my blog, I am much happier. Maybe you should paint again. The oil paints are just begging to be used… or, you’ve been really interested in ancient history. Let’s go pick out a few books for you to read! 

…… And that is where I was cut off. With this:

Alex: Noooo. Not that type of hobby. I need to do something with people. Not by myself. I need to find something to do with people.

There it is. The great divide between the introvert and the extrovert. In one tiny, everyday word: people

I am married to the world’s greatest extrovert. I can’t take him anywhere. I lose him. He makes friends quicker than I can notice a new face in the crowd. He can strike a conversation up with the dullest of human beings. And he enjoys it. Hell, he survives by it.

I just don’t get it. (I say sitting in an empty Starbucks, alone, happy as a clam because nobody is around to bother me, James Taylor singing from above, the venti chai tea next to me, and my Toshiba.) People exhaust me.

Sometimes I think that the word introvert is misconstrued. It’s not that I’m shy- good gracious I’m not shy. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy company, and friends, and family. I do. It’s that I drain when I am around company. I recharge when I find time to be alone. And then, I can safely return to society to do it all over again.

Is it surprising that my hobby of choice involves me, a lonely me, without any people around? It shouldn’t. I love the social aspect of blogging. And I love writing- each one of these little posts is a love note to the world, I suppose. But I can do it quietly, free from distractions, right here in an 18th century basement sipping on my 21st century pumpkin spiced latte. Alone. And that suits me just fine.

*Filed under Personal Life*

Friday’s Letters Take 13

It is Friday, my loves! If you had a week like mine, Friday came 6 days too late. Here’s to the weekend!

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Dear new readers, Welcome! I hope you find yourself at home here on Like Ordinary Life. Don’t be shy! I love making new friends. So consider yourself a friend. Just, whatever you do, don’t read this post…… 

Dear Mother Nature, Thank you for finally giving me a long stretch of humidity free warm (but not hot) weather! You’re only 3 months late! Where have you been all summer?

Dear Patio, Yes. I am aware I’ve neglected you all summer. But see the letter above? Yeah. Someone forced me to stay in the air conditioning all summer and their initials may or may not be M.N. Either way, gosh, I missed you. We’ve got some great weeks ahead of us. I know blogging is your favorite hobby!

Dear Essie, Your new fall line of nail polish is pretty sweet. Like I needed another reason to buy nail polish….

Dear polka dots, Ummmmmm. I accidentally fell in love with you this season. But, I have to let you know, this doesn’t mean you can replace nautical stripes as my one true love. Sorry. I hope you understand. It doesn’t change the fact that I wore you twice this week:

Dear Summer, One last picture for memories sake. Say cheeeeessssseeeee! (P.S. That is my baby sister. She is going to absolutely love me for this picture!)

Okay. Off you go now. For real this time. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin spiced lattes, apple pies, football, my birthday (eeks!), our wedding anniversary (double eeks!), and last but certainly not least….. my homemade chili. 

Bring. It. On.

(Oh, and there’s still a few gently used clothes up for grabs. They are looking for loving homes.)

Gone on Hiatus

At the corner of Cayuga and Bridge, I sit with a sundried tomato quiche and an iced espresso. A mixture of rhythmic CSNY and thick midwestern, slow-town conversation fill my background void. The rush of the espresso machine turns on and off, on and off as Moka fills with regulars. The air is cool and crisp, the rays of the sun beating down on the early morning with patterns of good morning. My five minute walk across town refreshed my body, with gentle reminders of early morning walks to class through the dew and mist of Shenandoah back at JMU years ago. Despite my break from the reality of overpopulation, beltway rage and the grim frowns of commuters and beach goers on rt. 50, I type. I have much to write, little time and little patience as the air warms to a perfect, no humidity point of 75, Torch Lake glistens in the daylight, clear as glass, and Northern Michigan wakens with a friendly reminder that life goes on outside of Washington, DC. And it goes on well.

*Filed under Personal Life and Wanderlust Life*