thanks and giving 2016

The last two weeks have been terrible. It was a snowball effect – every day got worse but it snuck up on me the way a zit does – the kind you think will easily pop, then you mess with it and it becomes this cystic monster threatening to take over your face. Each day you can take as it is – one day – we can all handle one day. Then, you wake up one morning and realize life is terribly overwhelming and you wonder, what the hell happened? Each day piled on the next is a bit much and this life, this being an adult thing…it’s the freaking worst. With all the terrible no good sadness happening around me, there is respite in focusing on the things that bring me Thanksgiving.

Micky – For every spontaneous dance party, no matter where we are, they’re the best. For watching me do yoga over and over and over and over again. For letting me talk over him because all I need to do is vent, then forgiving me for being incredibly rude and still making me a gin tonic. For being the better half of us in conflict, in trauma, and in our entire social life (which he swears I would not have without him). For letting me be quiet, no matter how long the silence lasts. On the rare occasion I cry – for sitting there and waiting for me to tell him I’m OK, that it’s OK to hug me – I promise not to start swinging. For the times I cannot cry, letting me know that’s OK too, and not discounting my hurt. For never putting himself above another human; for always loving, always caring. For helping me piece myself back together when torn down. For always knowing my heart is never as cold as it seems. For making me laugh day in and day out  – without fail he is the funniest person I know.

My friends – the ones who trust me with their darkness and their light. For letting me share their burdens and for doing their best to help me carry mine. 

Doctors who fight every damn day to cure cancer – who relinquish family and friends to stay in labs testing cells, loving patients, believing in LIFE.

The passionate hearts of those I love fighting for what they believe: whether boots on the ground protecting this great nation; dreamers believing change is possible, it just needs a voice; those who sacrifice time and space to care for the lost; and those who haven’t quite found their purpose but love greatly.

My family that is constant and far reaching.

My late grandma Anna Daisy who taught me to be me, no matter what, and to never, ever let anyone make me feel less than treasured.

A beautiful earth that never ceases to amaze me and a landscape that stirs the peace inside me.

For women who give things like grief and loss a voice far greater than I could hope to have.

Choreographed dances that make me look ridiculous yet bring me joy and the friends who enjoy being equally ridiculous.

A roof over our head, food on our table, blankets to keep us warm and puppy dogs to snuggle.

For Birdie, always, for Birdie.

love one another

I have paid little attention to our current election – cue judgmental gasps. I naturally shy away, or not so shyly, walk away when I feel bullied or demanded into anything. So much of the last year has been a constant assault of:

You have to! It’s your duty! You’re un-American if you don’t! It’s a privilege!  || He’s a racist and hates women! She’s a criminal and a liar!

I don’t have to list the rest because each of you have seen and heard the same pollution on TV, Facebook, Instagram, magazine covers, church sermons…etc., it’s out of control. 

My heart breaks for America – not because a man or woman may be elected who may be wrong for our great nation. My heart breaks because this popularity contest has ruined relationships, those between sisters and brothers, parents and children and the closest of friends. It’s created a chasm between the rich and poor, white and black, Muslim and Christian. It has broken the very people it claims to serve and protect. The conspiracy theorist in me would believe this to be deliberate, however, we choose our reactions. We dictate our behaviors – no one has forced us into this mindset of hate and fear. They may spoon feed the ammunition, but we choose to eat it up without a second thought.

Let’s not forget – it is just a woman. It is just a man; both flawed and broken human beings themselves. A woman and a man who, by no means, can save anyone. What is this power they have been given? They carry all your hopes and dreams and expectations ? They are no better than you or I. Our eternity does not belong to them.

We need to love one another better. We need to love ourselves LESS. We need to stop this madness, this rhetoric laced with hate and entitlement. We are no better than our fellow man/woman/race/religion – we are each blessed with one precious life; our greatest duty is to love and respect each other. Hug your friends and family, mend broken relationships and be kind to everyone. The world will not implode today, but if it did, would you be ok with the state of your life and relationships? Would you be proud of the way you treated your fellow American these last few months?

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three years later

Three years ago today (and what started this blog), after 40+ hours of driving, we arrived in Idaho – the Inland Northwest (Google it, it’s a thing). We are so incredibly thankful and happy to live in this place. It is breathtaking, the air smells like Christmas year round, we know and love the best people, and have never once looked back; hashtag blessed. Ironically some dear friends from Maryland will be here in three days and we are pretty pumped – you better get on that plane! Looking forward to celebrating another year in Idaho, but also showing friends our little corner of the world. Cheers!

A couple line items:  

I graduated to an actual domain – you can now read my ramblings via – http://www.misiesface.com

More importantly, Justin Timberlake’s documentary on Netflix is AMAZE. If you haven’t seen it already – DO IT! Seriously, do it right NOW. Do it.

house updates | bathroom

We are finally gutting one of our bathrooms!!! I don’t know that you can appreciate in letter form the amount of free form dance moves that occurred when Mick told me. I can never recreate it but trust me, it was epic. We have a nagging leak in the bathtub and it’s only worsening – fast tracking our remodel. Mick started by demolishing a built in cabinet – this was to check out the pipes because the previous owners did not create an access panel. They did almost all renovations DIY, however, lacked the knowledge and skill to produce quality and function. The built-in cabinet was made of seventeen year old plywood and painted what we thought was a horrible brown stain/paint mixture. When taking the remnants outside to Mick’s truck we realized the cabinets have been purple this whole time – Baltimore Ravens purple. Of course they were. Also, two words – drawer liners – blech. Without this cabinet we acquired an additional 10 square feet of usable space AND the tongue and groove ceiling was put in before that cabinet!

We picked out tile (see below) and are currently writing a pro/con list regarding free standing tub/shower combos. If the Pros outweigh the cons, that means even more usable space and taking out a wall which will make this bathroom feel twice as big (Pro). Cons so far: the shower curtain being it’s own animal since it will wrap 360 degrees – I hate when shower curtains touch me – ew. Another con: re-directing the plumbing to run through the floor instead of the wall (sounds expensive), and finally, the cost of a nice clawfoot/freestanding tub vs. a regular ole wall unit. Mick is going to build a vanity which I am super excited about – his furniture building skills are amazing. The design is traditional – an open concept, however, the fixtures will be modern.

I am so excited to be rid of tiled countertops, purple cabinets [who knew?!], poorly insulated windows, orange trim & doors [pocket door for the win!], and glued on mirrors. Other than the plumbing, we will be tackling everything else ourselves. And by we, I mean Mick. I may attempt to lay a tile or two and look forward to taking a sledgehammer to our current vanity, but mostly, I will work on all things design related. If anyone has experience with a free standing tub/shower combo – we are all ears – give us the good, the bad, and the ugly! This house has so much potential, we are excited to modernize it but keep its original character.

  1. the tile – we will likely extend this into our entry way as well – so in love.
  2. Before shots…and Maeby || that vanity is supposedly purple, I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Ignore our mess – 90% of our storage is gone with the built-in, another con.

All the feels

We went back east a couple weeks ago – we walked into all things familiar. My hair instantly frizzed upon exiting the airport, my ears were assaulted by car horns and sirens, and my nostrils filled with bus exhaust. It was oddly comforting. Every face looked and sounded the same and the hugs, although tighter and longer, felt the same. There were a few eerie moments – moments we were reminded that life has moved forward for everyone even if ours stopped back in 2015. It is entirely out of self preservation that we are here, this space of alienation. It has allowed us to function with little emotion and skirt by these last two years without crumbling. I recently read in an amazing [read: FREAKING AMAZING!] book that the first year of grief you walk along numb and unattached [check!]. The second year, all the shit you pushed down down down begins to surface. Not just a twinge here or there – more like bursting into hysterics because you can’t get the ice tray to crack, or screaming at inanimate objects for running into you when in fact they are in the same spot they’ve always been. My heart is colder than most so I’ve stretched it out an additional year. I rarely cry too which means my hysterics involve throwing things [like ice trays], cursing in patterns that make little sense, and kicking dressers that jump out of nowhere. To describe an ache for something, something you never really had is the most difficult thing. The yearning is powerful, it can be a monster dragging you down and around emotions you once thought hidden or absolved.

I once wrote how the dichotomy of death and life existing at once and altogether shared, is…surreal. It’s changing us – it’s changing our world and relationships. Relationships come and go – some run dormant for years only to be picked back up when needed most – it is all part of our story. The pain we experience, the ache of loss whether in relationship or in death – is an ache to explore. We chase moments and memories and seek familiar feelings but in a new reality. Every day is an opportunity to accept a new set of circumstances and be honest with ourselves, honest about the raw feelings, honest about the fear and the what ifs. There is always hope – there is always the idea that someday, even if we’re 80, loss and the reasons why, will finally make sense.

I think these last two years have made us homesick – not for a place but for the people that make a place, home. We realized we are parched – emotionally speaking. The amount of love that rained down on us in Maryland was incredible – we were watered and cared for and every last bit of us, dusted off. We left, our souls filled to the brim. Even the briefest of conversations left their mark and we are so thankful for our friends and family back east. You all know how to make two worn out people feel loved and missed in the most epic ways.

“it’s the tragedy of loving, you can’t love anything more than something you miss.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

Trials of an introvert – Freshman year

I had really high hopes for my freshman year in college. I attended a two week summer program prior to the first semester and knew a handful of incoming freshman. Initially, this was a good thing. I was also living out of state with one of my best friends in one of the oldest residential halls on campus and we had an awesome room [read: no A/C, this-end-up furniture, a mirror too tall for me to use, and a neighbor who did interpretive dance at night to Disney music – she clearly had a single…and was single]. Despite the recurring brown theme and plywood smell; we lofted our beds, had a mini fridge, microwave, tv/vcr combo…coolest kids on the third floor.

There are so many awkward meet and greets when a college freshman – aka organized torture created to crush the spirit of any introvert. There were nerds in collegiate sweatshirts overzealous about extracurriculars, selling used books, and telling you how much college was going to “rock!” no thanks. Keep your group activities to yourself, I’ve got friends already. Anyways – after getting all set up and going to a couple mandatory events, I set off to find the familiar faces I met over the summer. [Please note – I was 18 with an attitude problem]

The first few months went by great – my roommate and I made friends with the girls in our hall and heard all about the promiscuous soccer players. One day exiting class I ran right into one of the upper classmen who helped facilitate the summer program. We chatted and he told me where to get the best coffee on campus…and that he was a soccer player. At that night’s game I ran into two other summer program leaders and introduced them to my roommate and her boyfriend. All three really nice guys, all three happy to see me; I was clueless.

I would often receive a voicemail or two from one of these three guys…calls I never returned. I would randomly, or so I thought, run into them outside my residence hall, the cafeteria or hear them yell my name as I walked into class. One night while my roommate and I were studying, there was a knock on the door… “Yo…I was in the neighborhood, thought I would stop in and say hey…” Classic Misie response – “oh, hey. You don’t live in this neighborhood so that’s a weird thing to say.” We chatted briefly and I awkwardly let him know I was in the middle of an intense study sesh and needed to get back to it. The phone calls increased, as did the clandestine meetings at dinner and in common areas. One day a guy popped out of the woods while I was walking home from class, “I figured you’d be walking home around this time!” [How would you like a swift kick to the throat?!]  I began to freak out! How the hell did he know my class schedule/walking route? Since when is it OK to hide in the woods to see a girl? I began ducking behind columns and tall people, taking new routes to class and my dorm. One time I hid in a cabinet while my roommate’s boyfriend convinced them I was on a date. It was getting ridiculous and my flight or fight reflex was off the chart. I remember my roommate telling me, “Misie, just be nice!” Ha – yea, OK Liz…if I knew about human trafficking in 1999, I would have transferred out immediately. [I still love you and your kind heart Liz!]

One night there was a salsa dancing event and the girls on my hall really wanted to go. I begrudgingly attended, sitting in a corner scowling at anyone who dared make eye contact. As I attempted to leave, someone grabbed my waist and pulled me back onto the dance floor. I found myself mere inches away from one of my suitors/stalkers beady little eyes and almost mustache. Of course all three guys were in attendance and I spun back and forth between them. As my face grew hot and panic set it I scanned the room for someone, anyone, to save me. Suddenly I saw a hand reach into the crowd – I grasped tightly and was yanked out of said dance circle. It was a friend from high school – he didn’t know I was panicked – he just didn’t like that these jokers were all up in my biz. From that moment on I decided to never leave my dorm room except for class and the bathroom. I could easily live on saltines, pilfered bagels from the cafeteria and raisin bran. So, while most girls gained the freshman 15, joined every extracurricular, and created long lasting friendships…I lost ten pounds, hid out in dorm rooms, and became the invisible college student.

This sounds dramatic – and at the time – it was a bit over the top. Thankfully my stealth secret agent moves sent a clear message and eventually I was able to travel to class in peace. The phone calls and messages stopped and every once and awhile I would make a special trip to the cafeteria with my friends. By year end it became a running joke…and still is actually.

To Christian, Vern and Jelani*: if you ever read this – I know you guys weren’t total creeps – if it’s any consolation, I had a very cold heart and no intention of warming up to you. Today, I am mildly flattered. In 1999, I was sure you wanted to kidnap me and keep me in your basement.

*yup, these are real names…Philly represent