Tag Archives: lucky life

resurgens (the city you live in)

Our mailing address says Decatur, and we technically live in unincorporated DeKalb County, but we call Atlanta our home.  I’ve written about my love for this place before, but we’re always finding new things to appreciate. Here are a few photos of our recent adventures about town. 

 
    
    
    
  

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a year of thanks

I am not really into resolutions, though I am always trying to do and be better. I guess I tend to focus on an idea or concept as a year begins to blossom. Sometimes it sticks, sometimes not. Last year had a lot to do with survival. A bright spot for me in all that was November and the thankfulness posts I made here. This year, I am going to focus on being thankful all the time with this Gratitude Challenge you may have seen floating around. I’ll write here each week along these lines:  

I may not stick exactly to this list. I may also throw in a couple of 30-day photo challenges. We’ll see. But this is a start. Too often, I let daily upsets keep me from seeing how wonderful my days truly are. I hope to change that, at least a little. 

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merry happy

We spent a lot of time choosing Christmas cards this year.  We don’t like the ones with glitter, we don’t like them too glossy.  We didn’t want a specially printed We-Had-A-Baby! photo card.  The cards we chose were simple, smart and sparse, with a decent printed message and plenty of room for supplementing that with notes to our friends and family.

Those cards are still hanging in their bag by the front door, waiting for stamps, addresses, and special messages.  It’s Christmas-Eve-Eve.  There’s just no time, alas, no energy or patience for trips to the post office or to look for the address book.  It makes me a little sad.

JSTOR Daily had an article this week on the history of the American Christmas card tradition.  I always love to read things like this.  I was especially interested in this bit:

In “The Female World of Cards and Holidays: Women, Families, and the Work of Kinship,” Yale anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo explains that the practice thrived amid postbellum industrialization and the demise of the family farm. As relatives spread out geographically, women assumed responsibility for “the work of kinship” and became caretakers of extended family connections. Christmas cards were a convenient way for them to nurture relationships among their husbands, children, and distant relatives.

I suppose I knew this already, that Christmas cards are “the work of kinship.”  The thing I’m telling myself, this year, is that this blog is also doing some of that caretaking work.  Our family and friends are spread far and wide.  This website keeps us close to them…or tries to, at any rate.

And so, dear friends and loved ones, we wish you a very happy holiday, from our little family to yours.  May all your days be merry and bright.

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Photo by Devin Nutter Photography.  Snowflakes are purely wishful thinking, as the forecast for Christmas here is 75 degrees and rainy.

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in perpetuity

I always have a difficult time deciding on gifts for Michael…but then again, so does everyone else.  He’s the kind of person who buys what he wants.  That’s a fine trait in general, but it sends his mother and sister into fits around his birthday and Christmas.  I don’t have as much trouble with those gift-giving occasions as they do–I can spy on him in shops and see what things he doesn’t actually buy (I share that information with Judy and Melissa when I can!) –but when it comes to sentimental gifts I get a bit stuck.  I build occasions up in my head until they’re OCCASIONS, and then nothing seems quite good enough.  Even Valentine’s Day was difficult this year.  Our first married Valentine’s Day!  On and on and on.  After I made it through that small obstacle course, though, I had our anniversary to consider.  Our first wedding anniversary!  What ever could be good enough for that?

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Time.

The way I figure, anniversaries are about time.  Marking time, keeping time, measuring time.  They’re about paying attention, giving thanks, and congratulating each other on time well spent, time faithfully served, time that gives way to more and yet more time.  I thought of giving him a watch, but I dismissed that option for a few reasons.  First, Michael doesn’t generally wear a watch, and while I knew he’d wear whatever I got him, it’s not really his style.  Second, the watches I liked best were obviously the most expensive.  Finally, even if he wore a watch and money were no object, a watch would be about him rather than us.  He’d have to wear it (or not), and while he’d know I gave it to him, it wouldn’t be about our relationship.  It wouldn’t be something we shared.

And so, after lots of thinking and browsing the Internet, I got the idea for a personal perpetual calendar from Kate at Design Sponge.  (Likely via Pinterest, but let’s not talk about that particular budding addiction at this point.)  I really love the way that she’s done her “journal”–the little cardboard fruit basket, the vintage postcards–perfection!  So pretty!  But I wanted ours to be a little different.   Here’s what I came up with.

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First, I wanted bigger cards.  Since this was to be a first anniversary gift, I wanted the calendar space to last at least a decade.  I also wanted a more permanent basket situation for keeping it all together.  While I love the cardboard basket, it won’t hold larger cards, and our cat’s love affair with cardboard will not be stemmed.  Finally, I wanted to make the month-divider cards significant for Michael and me.  We haven’t been diligent collectors of postcards on our journeys, but I wasn’t sure what else would do the trick.  Satisfied that I could decide that later on, I set out (with Michael along, actually) to buy the supplies I knew I needed.

600 4×6 ruled index cards (two packs of 300)
a date stamper (I hate arranging separate stamps, but you might not)
a black ink pad (or whatever color you prefer)
an 6×7 inch wooden box (the second largest of four nesting boxes, purchased together)
acrylic paint (in white and teal)

I worked on the calendar while Michael was at the office.  First I painted the white portions of the box.  As that dried, I started stamping dates.  After several mucked up cards, I decided it was best to cut the year band away from the stamper entirely.  Things went more smoothly from then on, date-stamping wise, but it’s good to have so many extra index cards.  I got through March, then painted the blue insides of the box and another coat of white on the outside.  While all that dried, I got through June, then I put away my things for the day and began to think of what I could do to make the calendar more personal.  It was pretty, sure, but it wasn’t yet us.  I decided I would go ahead and write in days important to us–our first date, concerts we’ve attended, the birth dates of our nieces, etc.–and wrote all those in chronological order on a separate piece of paper.  While I remembered occasions and anniversaries, it occurred to me that photographs would be the perfect way to separate months.  Even better, I realized that I could paste photos on the backs of individual date cards.  As we continue to add memories to the calendar, we can add photographs too.  Neither I nor Michael are great about albums, but we both love photos.  This seemed perfect.  (And still seems perfect.)

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Overall, I think it’s been a fairly successful gift.  It’s nice to fill in what we’ve done, when we find it meaningful, and see what’s happened in previous years.  I can only imagine it’ll become sweeter (and more hilarious, perhaps) as time goes on.

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lucky seven

It’s the seventh day of Christmas, so make sure you’ve gotten the appropriate swimming swans in order for your love.  Michael’s variation of this gift seems to be sitting with me while we watch episodes of Great Chefs focusing on French cuisine…which I suppose is fine, considering the familiar cumulative carol likely originated in that country and undoubtedly describes the preparations for a great Twelfth Night feast.

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I’m fairly new to this whole Christmas thing.  My parents celebrated with a tree and gifts when I and my brother were little, but  it wasn’t a religious holiday for us, and we fell out of the habit once neither of us believed in Santa.  Once my grandmother died, we didn’t visit her house for the holidays either, and so I planned to spend Christmas alone the year Michael and I began dating.  (I ended up driving to Mississippi to visit my parents.)  Michael could barely stand it–Christmas is a big deal for his family–and so, the next year, we put up a tree in my little apartment and I went with him to his family Christmas for the first time.  I was reluctant, but Michael won me over with promises involving smiling children’s faces, twinkly lights, and as many decorations as I could possibly stand to put up.  Since then, I’ve come to embrace the holiday season.  I especially love the idea that Christmastide carries joy and celebration beyond Christmas Day itself.  Since I also love our growing collection of decorations beyond measure, I refuse to take down our tree and lights until Twelfth Night.  Absolutely refuse!

Our Christmastide has been lovely so far.  We travelled to Tennessee to visit with Michael’s family for the few days leading up to and following Christmas Day.  We stayed with Michael’s mom, had a grand time playing with Caroline and Ella, and generally enjoyed ourselves.  Melissa and Michael cooked delicious meals for the festivities in Spring Hill on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the second day.  On the 27th we drove to Memphis for dinnerwith the extended family, hosted by Gramme and PopPop, which was delightful.  The next day we saw Josh and Suzanne, friends of ours who will marry in May, then drove back to Atlanta to greet my parents.  We’ve spent the last two days showing them around Atlanta–Dad especially liked IKEA and The Varsity–and finally, today, Michael and I are by ourselves.  We plan to slip into the New Year quietly, together, sipping Prosecco and enjoying the glistening of our Christmas lights.

This year has been especially kind to us, and I must admit, I’m a little sad to see it go.  We’ve been loved and lucky.

Lucky life isn’t one long string of horrors / and there are moments of peace, and pleasure, as I lie in between the blows. / … / Lucky life is like this.  Lucky there is an ocean to come to.  –Gerald Stern

Still, the coming year promises at least as much in the way of happiness and love, surprises and beauty, change and luck.  We’re glad to ring it in together, sweet and close,and maybe a little tipsy.

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