Tuesday, May 28, 2013

True Confession

I'm not exactly sure when it started but for the longest time my best friend and I have had "true confession" moments. We have a very open and honest friendship, but if either one of us starts a conversation with "true confession..." you know whatever the other one says is going to be extra juicy and revealing. It's our own little signal of sorts--prepare yourself girlfriend.

A few months ago my best friend Sarah got engaged. We live over 1,000 miles apart so I met her fiance for the first time only a few weeks ago when I was in town for two of our college roommates' weddings. 

True confession: For a brief period during my visit and a little bit afterward, I was angry at my best friend for being engaged.

I was thrilled to finally meet her fiance but quickly became annoyed by the new dynamics their engagement created. I found myself disappointed that we didn't get to spend more time together one-on-one during my visit. I didn't want to share her with him. In college none of us dated anyone seriously so we never had to balance time between friends and boyfriends. I kept thinking: I've been around longer than you, pal! (Sorry Roberto...I still love you!)  

I lost my perspective and made the situation more about my "loss" rather than focusing on the true joy I feel about Sarah's happiness. Upon returning home to Chicago, I spent some time reflecting on my feelings. I realized that my tendency toward anger and resentment were both normal reactions, but they were also toxic. I acknowledged what I felt, worked through it and decided to move on.

I'm grateful for the maturity that comes with age and experience. Had I been in this same scenario as a 21-year-old I don't think I would have been able to gain perspective so quickly, if at all. Sarah is a dear friend. She knows everything about me and loves me unconditionally, true confessions and all. I couldn't ask for more. I'm beyond excited to be a bridesmaid next week and to see her marry the incredible man who's won her heart.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! What are you doing during this long weekend?

I've got to get my lazy butt out of bed and go running. My 5K race is less than a month away and I haven't run in three weeks. Ahhh! 

Like many red-blooded Americans, I'm using the holiday weekend to go SHOPPING (sad but true). I started off this morning with some lovely purchases from the J. Crew Factory store (50% everything online today). 

dress / sandals
Once I get back from my run, I'm headed downtown to my favorite donut shop, Firecakes. I've been craving their lemon verbena meringue donut for weeks now. After that I'm on a quest to find a pair of brown flat sandals and some fantastic summer wedges. I'm going to try and sneak in a viewing of The Great Gatsby too. 

On a more serious note, I am incredibly grateful for my ancestors who have gone before me and the brave men and women who've paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom. It is important to reflect on past journeys if we are to find meaning and substance in our own. Be brave and fight the good fight. Those who have gone before you are cheering you on. I believe that with all of my heart.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Broham!

This picture is 20 years old, which means my little brother and I are in our 20s. How did that happen?

Today Spencer turns 23. In less than two months he'll be marrying his wonderful fiance, Ian. Just last week, after loosing our beloved Kootchi, Spencer and Ian adopted a smooth fox terrier named Aston. They're thrilled and exhausted. A puppy is definitely good baby prep.

I'm so proud of my brother--who he is and what he has accomplished. Spencer has always had a tender, enormous heart. He gives everything to the people he loves and never hesitates to help a stranger in need. When he was only 14, he courageously came out that he was gay. It hasn't been any easy road but he's always remained true to himself and recognized his individual worth. I admire his strength and tenacity.

Life has brought Spencer other trials that he's faced with resilient, positive determination. When he was a teenager, I used to worry about him and his future. I don't anymore. He has matured, and continues to mature, beautifully. We're adults now facing adult-size joys, triumphs, and heartaches.

I'm grateful that I've been blessed with such a wonderful brother. The world would be a better place if everyone had a brother like mine.

I love you Broham! Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: You Can Go Your Own Way

Lately, I've been working on embracing the uniqueness of my own story. Rather than being caught up in the past or future, I'm focusing on being engaged in my life, here and now.

In a month I'll be 26. I'm a very single grad student and young professional living in the great city of Chicago. I'm in a much different place--literally and figuratively--than most of my college friends. It's hard sometimes to feel like the odd man out, to not be able to fully relate to some of the people I care most about. But that doesn't mean we're not all exactly where we should be.

I've always tried to be brave and make my own path. It's ok, great even, to go your own way. I'm finding the trick is to fully embrace who and where you are.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

next month I'll be 26....so naturally presents are in order

Some people have a hard time coming up with gift ideas for their birthday. Me? Not so much. I love birthdays. I love giving gifts and I love receiving them. It's just fun. So even though my birthday is over a month a way, here's my little wish list.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Losing Kootchi


"It's not supposed to go like that. It's not intended to end that way." The lyrics of a Rascal Flatts song kept echoing through my head. Kootchi is only six-years-old. She's supposed to be with our family for another 10 years. I'm not ready to say goodbye. I wish Spencer was here. It's not fair that he doesn't get to see his dog one last time.

Last Thursday my family said goodbye to Kootchi, our sweet smooth fox terrier. A back injury a month earlier had stolen the function of her back legs, painful soars had developed on her hind quarters, and a lump on her abdomen was suspected to be cancerous. Our little girl went from healthy to decrepit in a matter of weeks. We weren't ready to let her go but seeing her in pain with no quality of life was too much to bear. She was already gone.

Kootchi came into our lives when my younger brother Spencer adopted her from his friend Lydia in Salt Lake City over three years ago. A series of events led her to live with my parents for a short time and once Spencer was ready to have her again, my parents couldn't give her back. His princess was now their princess too. I bonded with Kootchi the summer I lived at home before I moved out to Chicago. Like everyone else, I fell instantly in love with her.

I've said many times that I wished we could clone Kootchi. Her disposition, sturdy yet small frame, and playful personality were everything you could ever want in a dog. She charmed everyone she met. We affectionately called her Smootchala and Smootchi thanks to her constant need to kiss your face. The neighborhood kids even made up a song. 

Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy, especially when they're taken long before their time. We are all devastated. Because I was in town for two college friends' weddings, I was fortunate enough to see Kootchi one last time and be with my family when we took her to the vet to be put down. I pulled Spencer up on FaceTime so he could say goodbye. Oh the wonders of modern technology.

Despite the pain of losing Kootchi too soon, I am grateful she was a part of our family. She was a bright spot in the struggles that have beset us over the past several years. Kootchi and Brinkley were inseparable pals. Every time he comes inside he goes from room to room looking for his buddy. Seeing the sadness in his eyes starts the tears flowing all over again. You can't explain what happened to a dog, but I think he knows. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

a good day in chicago

April showers have given way to rising May temperatures here in the Windy City. Blossoms are everywhere. Yesterday the temperature was perfect. The essence of spring lifted my spirits. It was a good day.

Running along Lake Michigan the fresh air took my breath away. I felt alive and free. Chicago truly is a gorgeous city. Yesterday, instead of feeling alone and insignificant, I felt a part of something bigger.

Later in the evening I visited my friends Brooke and Elise. We hung out on their rooftop in the heart of downtown. Gazing east towards Millennium Park I felt the urge to swing from building to building like Spider Man. Twenty-three floors up the surrounding architecture took on a unique, tangible sensibility.

I'm grateful for days like yesterday that offer relief from the day-to-day stress of life. A brief escape and sense of satisfaction. Peace.