Today Is A Day

Most days we wake up and nothing really changes. Some days we wake up and everything changes with no warning. But then there are those rare days when you wake and know everything is changing, but you have no idea just how much or in which way. While you’re looking left at this shiny new experience, life blindsides you from the right by giving you a gift you didn’t ask for and never knew you needed.

Today is a very special day. Today is Jen Smiley’s birthday.

The first weekend I arrived on my new college campus 8 years ago was awkward. Now, when I am 18 and moving to a new city, there are two versions of this story evolving simultaneously. The first is visible from the outside: “I’m way too cool to care about this”. The second is what is actually happening behind the apathetic exterior and goes a little something like “ohmigodwhatamIdoinghereIjustwanttotellmymomtotakemebackhomesoIcancry”. So on my first day at Cal Poly while my inner turmoil and outward appearance were epically battling, the thought that the girl with big hair sitting across from me at the Family Welcome barbecue would be anything more than my freshman year roommate was completely out of the question.

Now she’s my best friend.

And number one confidante.

The person who makes me laugh harder than anyone else ever.

Did I mention she was my maid of honor?

Oh, and we warned my husband we were a package deal.

Let me break it down for you. She is the ketchup to my grilled cheese, the Redfoo to my Sky Blu, and the sea monkey to my sea horse. Worlds were rocked eight years ago, but don’t worry, ain’t no big thing.

Yeah, that’s not true at all. It IS a big thing. And today is a big day, because it’s a day to celebrate Jen and all the love and happiness and beautiful chaos that she has brought into my life. A day to celebrate wonderful friends who have been there through the boys and the classes and the late nights and the tears. Love you, girl. I hope you have the best birthday ever.

I mean it.

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A Spark of Inspiration

The best inspirations are those that jump out at you unexpectedly, surprising you with a spontaneous rush of excitement.

While reading House Beautiful this morning over organic granola and green tea, this tiny vignette whispered to me from page 112…

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And even though it took up approximately 1/20th of the full page photo it appeared in… My house will soon reap the benefits of its unexpected spark.

Interior design obsession? Well underway on this sleepy Thursday.

A Little Autumn Happy Dance

I woke up yesterday morning at 6:15 a.m., as per usual, and came downstairs for breakfast. Now, I live with this little monster I like to call Indy, and every morning just about the time I’m ready to sit down to eat, she comes tearing down the stairs like it’s Christmas morning. She stands in front of the door, doing a little happy dance, clicking her nails on the laminate floor, until I let her outside to relieve herself on the little patch of grass between the houses.

But this particular morning when I opened the door, it was different. In the dim dawn light, the wind was blowing, the leaves were rustling, and the air was electric.

Ahhh, FALL.

By far my favorite season, I can’t wait for that first fall day every year. Toward the end of September, I get the itch for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, boots and sweaters, and football on Sundays. There is nothing like the crisp air and the changing leaves that mark the last few months of the year. And working at a university, campus comes alive again at the end of September, filled with both new students and those returning to their four-year home. Walking around, you can feel the excitement of the new school year – the chance to make yourself over, get the grade (or the girl/guy), and make this year your year.

Now, where I grew up, you can see, feel, and smell that it’s fall. On the Central Coast, not so much. My autumn giddiness was soon replaced by slight panting and fanning myself while hiking up the hill that is campus in… 87 degree weather. Go ahead, call me a spoiled brat. I know people who would kill to live where I live, which is why I’m not complaining. After all, it’s not the weather or the clothes or the apple-picking that make or break the season (although I do loves all those things like Indy loves to pee outside in the morning, and by that I mean in a happy dance-inducing kind of way), it’s the feeling that comes along with the combination of all those things. Feelings of warmth, of comfort, of home. People say spring is when love comes out in full force? Honey, I say that’s just hormones. True love comes out in autumn, when every day gets a little chillier, and all you can do to keep warm is pull your loved ones a little closer.

So until the beaches sit lonely, until I can pull my scarf a little tighter around my neck, and until Pumpkin Spice Lattes take over my go-to Starbucks order… I’ll keep my friends a little closer, hold Bill’s hand a little tighter, and call my family a little more often.

And happy-dance that fall may be just around the corner outside, but it’s already here in my cheesy little heart.

Kind of like this.

20130925-082714.jpgThis picture is the view from my father’s house on Thanksgiving morning last year…

Soon, darling. Soon.

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Waiting for the Wedding

So I’ve been away awhile. Actually a whole summer’s worth of awhiles. A whole summer’s worth of awhiles full of, well, do(hot mess)ticating. So much has happened in the past three or four months that quite a few of the little things I love to do – like, say, blogging – got lost in the whirlwind, and I’ve spent a lot of time just trying to figure out where to start when it comes to processing and reflecting.

There are many wonderful things I can’t wait to post. So many, in fact, that I get really excited, then overwhelmed, then… oof. Lost. So I’ve decided to follow the lead of many of my favorite books and movies, and tell the stories of the Great Summer of 2013 by starting at the end before revisiting the beginning. So here it is:

I’m writing to you now as a wife (but don’t call me Mrs. Halter – that’s my mother-in-law), a professional (I just adore my job), and one of the seemingly high-brow-intellectual types with letters following my name (read: I 100% graduated from grad school, the prospective actuality of which seemed like an exercise in the careful maintenance of my sanity).

So there’s that. But look out, because I’m excited to say the rest is finally coming.