27 May 2016

Celebrating My Birthday

Monday was my birthday and due to a very busy work schedule the past few weeks I didn't really take my usual time to make plans for my birthday. But I did make plans to take some time off from work this week. Yesterday was my floating holiday, today is for dental work and Tuesday is checkups on my foot and in the middle of that throw a three-day Memorial Day Weekend.

After work Monday evening I headed straight to my favorite nail salon for a manicure/pedicure. (Have I ever mentioned that for some reason I just hate the words mani-pedi?) I was bummed to get the guy/husband to do my feet. He is rough and I was extra sensitive about the broken, now mostly healed foot. But even when I told him to be gentle, he wasn't. Not even sure he heard me or cared.

Then when he did the callous removal he did is so hard I was squirming and wincing in my seat. Despite my obvious discomfort he just get going at the same pace, chatting away with the other employees. It was NOT the relaxing, spa-like experience I was hoping for! But at least I got my first pedicure since probably last November. Hooray for that. But I just can never have that man touch my feet again, EVER. Even on my way home the skin of my feet was hurting in places where I am sure he went a little too deep with the callous stone. He's done my feet once before and I noticed that my polish only lasted a couple of weeks. When the ladies there do my polish it lasts for a good three months, I kid you not. Thank goodness one of the women there did my manicure and for two seconds, after he'd left my chair, and she was massaging my arms and hands I got very relaxed.

I came home from work to see this beautiful package sitting on my desk. I could not imagine who would've sent me such a beautiful package! It was from my parents! So wonderful of them. Living far away we are getting good at using delivery services to send happy sentiments across the miles. We opened this cake up the night after my birthday and The Man's first response after one bite was "This is damn good cake!" Well done Mom and Dad and well done Nothing Bundt Cake!

For my birthday, The Man and Kiddo took me to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It just opened here in Albuquerque a few months ago and has been so popular we waited until things calmed down to reinstate one of our favorite family rituals -- dinner on the patio at Cheesecake Factory. This is a long-standing tradition that started when The Man and I first started dating. CF was the only place that was really open late when we tried to go to dinner at 10 p.m. It was just easy to know we could always get in there.

Meeting up in various places between San Diego and Los Angeles we became regulars at a LOT of CF restaurant locations and this carried through throughout the years. We were pretty bummed when the closed the location very close to our house in Los Angeles, even though there were at least five other locations within 20 minutes of our house.

I had a very surreal experience walking into Cheesecake Factory. I felt like I was "home." And that meant a multitude of things. It connected me with our family traditions and history -- so many wonderful memories. It connected me with California. For all the grousing one can do about cost of living and traffic in California, I do miss it. I miss our neighborhood and miss so much our many friends there that were made through most of my adult life. I miss my life there and who I was when I lived there. I miss our life with our little girl who is suddenly not so little anymore. I miss the ocean breeze, the beach and more.

In no way does that preclude me from appreciating life here in ABQ but it is very different here. There is lots to appreciate here, like being able to eat outside at Cheesecake Factory in the summer without needing a sweater. We ordered lots of our old favorites and I have to say we all felt that feeling that we were at home, someplace very comfortable that we knew. It felt so good to feel that deep knowing feeling, to be so deeply at ease in our new town. I think we are still missing that. (More on that when I talk about some design projects soon).

Dinner was just such a joy I couldn't have wished for anything else for us. It was a lovely day with sweet message from so many FB friends. Their kind words sunk especially deep into my heart for some reason on this birthday. I think I needed to see myself in their eyes for a little bit. We can be so hard on ourselves. It was nice to see myself reflected in their eyes for a few minutes. I wrote back each and every one a thank you and more of a note to some who sent a longer message. This was a great birthday gift for me.

The day after my birthday I made the happy purchase of two pair of these sandals. My feet have really been very painful over the past few weeks, which makes me feel 100 years old and walk like it too. I had been hoping to find some good Birkenstocks that would help my feet and I was lucky enough to find two pair in my size at a local shoe shop we frequent. Mission accomplished, sandals for the summer and hopefully less painful feet. That was my birthday gift to myself.

I have a little birthday money tucked in my wallet and I have a few wishes that I might use it for. I suddenly have a very strong hankering for a jig saw. I think I'm going to go buy one! It's about time I did and I certainly have the outside space to use it now! I have a project idea that I want to try. I also want some of these Piggy and Dirt stars. Also on my possible list were a solar pool blanket that heats the pool by the sun, a firepit, a hammock or maybe some turquoise jewelry. Fun stuff.

Since my birthday is always around Memorial Day Weekend I've decided I'm just going to celebrate right through the holiday. Have a great holiday weekend for those of you in the US and great weekend to all our friends abroad!

25 May 2016

Blooming With Joy and Creativity

It's been a very interesting 2016 with the broken foot and several other adventures all unfolding at the same time. Now that I've been out of my cast for a month, even though my foot is still incredibly painful and swollen every day, I am feeling a new burst of energy and excitement about life.

I have met some amazing people since we've moved and had the opportunity to work with some very inspiring folks around town. It feels like all those things are coming together this summer and I am really excited to see what can become of some of my ideas. It feels like the season of perfect storms and opportunities to do some really amazing things.

I have been scribbling and scrawling in notebooks like crazy, envisioning new creative projects from sewing to painting to photography. I have about 100 things on my Pinterest boards that I'd like to whip up in "my spare time." It felt like we were stuck in unending winter and early spring for a while and suddenly last week summer just decided to arrive overnight. Now we are having hot, windy days and I am looking forward to a dip in the pool,  weekend floats and sunning. Sounds heavenly.

I have been very inspired by my friends lately and have come to the realization that I have a lot of very incredible people in my life, amazingly good people -- friends from childhood, schools and many different jobs, church congregations and so many other activities. I am happily meeting the same caliber of people in my life here in New Mexico. These friends just blow me away and I find myself motivated to try to live up to their amazing examples and be a friend of equal caliber. It's a good yardstick and constant reminder of who I want to be. So grateful for that!

My friend in the photo up there is our first peony here in our backyard. I have to give Mother Nature totally credit for this photo -- late afternoon light, on the stem in the backyard. Crazy amazing! Our yard on three sides is landscaped in the "high desert style." That means some pines, sagebrush, natural grasses, rocks and cactus (even after The Man removed a few hundred pounds of it for the safety of dog and kiddo.)

In our walled back yard we have a little haven with the pool, mature trees, flower beds, grapevines, lots of lavender and lilacs, roses, lots of vines and a small round stucco gazebo, with large rock steps leading up and down to four different levels across the yard. There is nice space around the pool for lounge chairs and a small spot a few feet away for a small table with benches and sun umbrella. 

Above all that we have the lovely courtyard patio area where we put the big table for dinners under the cafe lights.The peonies are in a corner of the patio. Peonies always remind me of my grandmother who grew the most beautiful deep pink peonies. It is so nice to have a little garden setting in the desert. We are looking forward to putting the backyard to full use once this weekend hits. It's pool time and time to start eating dinners outside, inviting friends over and really enjoying every moment of summer.

Now that the warmer weather is finally hitting us here in the US, what are you excited for this summer? Looking forward to sharing it with you!


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