Sparrow in the Tree Top
Find your song and sing it
October 1, 2014

home

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Mostly because life has been busy, and also because my charger for my computer was broken and finally kicked the can for good a few weeks ago. I miss writing. I miss it because usually when I’m writing regularly it means I’ve got some semblance of a routine in my life. I looked back at what I’ve had time to process and write about these past few months and it’s not surprisingly been very surface level.  Obviously we’ve had some big life changes and I’m aware that life can’t always be the predictable 9-5, weekends at home, etc. etc. (I’m aware that might sound boring). But to be honest, right now to me that sounds glorious.

“When it rains it pours” I believe is the saying they use when you find yourself in life season where it’s one thing after another. Do you like these situations? Are you the kind of person who embraces chaos? Or are you like me and you just want to watch Harry Potter and avoid all the change going on around you?

Amongst the laundry list, Mike and I decided we’d like to move! Yay! Except, wait, really? Why, when in the midst of a whirling dervish of life events, did we decide to further uproot ourselves? I can’t explain it, I don’t have the answer, and yes sometimes we’ve be known to make impulsive decisions (that’s why we work well together :)) but even for us this hits on the extreme end of things. I mean… we’ve been married for just over a month? (Wow that really just hit home as I typed it..)

But I do know it just felt right. It felt right that now would be the time to start looking for a new house. Sometimes decisions are hard. Sometimes you belabour them forever and ask a million people for their opinion on what you should do. And then other times, you just feel that current picking you up and moving you in a direction you already knew you were headed.

So? What am I getting at? Separately from all of this house business and other stuff, I heard about 31 days, a month long topical blogging challenge initiated by The Nester. It felt like a fire I needed to start writing my life again. Within the 31 day challenge, there are a bunch of different topics to choose from, but since October is starting as the month of all things House and Home, it seemed an absolutely perfect theme to pursue. Real estate is a roller coaster; I hate the limbo it puts you in. To be honest, I’m not sure where I’m even supposed to take this. But for some reason Home is on my heart a lot lately so that’s what I’m going to write about.

 

September 29, 2014

DSC_0604sanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoon

(this was much harder to adhere to then you would assume ^^^)

sanfranciscohoneymoon

Fanciest I’ve ever felt in my life walking through this lobby. ^^sanfranciscohoneymoonWe did *not* proceed to jump on the bed after this ^^

sanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoon

I err on the side of safety.

sanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfranciscohoneymoonsanfrancisohoneymoonDSC_0431DSC_0411DSC_0414DSC_0416DSC_0422sanfranciscohoneymoonDSC_0403DSC_0401DSC_0398DSC_0397sanfranciscohoneymoon

These are some of the things I want to remember about our honeymoon:

We arrived in San Francisco without my luggage. We’d traveled through Phoenix and I had thought it important to ask the United Airlines hostess at the boarding gate to check and see our luggage had made it from our smaller flight in the short window of time we’d had since arriving in the Sunny city with a very air-conditioned airport.

“Why wouldn’t it have made it?” She asked me with that special rhetorical tone that makes you want to just reply with overly sarcastically sweetness.

But I didn’t. Because bag lady has bag power.  I just handed over my bag tag and waited for her to tell me that it was “with the other bags on the runway, waiting to be loaded.”

For the record, It didn’t make it. We were on the biggest airplane I’d ever been on. It probably had over 200 passengers. And for the record my bag was the only bag that did not make it onto the plane in Phoenix. Mike’s did. Mine didn’t.  We came from the same place.

I don’t want to be the first one to point out that I think I was sabotaged, but the odds are against me in this situation.  Lesson number one: Don’t tick United Airlines employees off.

Now. Here’s the part that I want to remember.

The honey-ness of the moon isn’t contingent upon the baggage. Life lessons from a newlywed. I whined for approximately 35 minutes, Decided I’d just go shopping and told the lady at the check in desk at Hotel Omni on California drive in downtown San Francisco that “don’t you know, we’re on our honeymoon and United Airlines is out to get me. However they’ve promised to drop it off, even if it arrives in the middle of the night. Would you be so kind as to send it up to the hotel room of Mr. and Mrs. Kelly.”

Because when do you let a chance slide to mention that you’re newlywed? And of course I slipped the Mr. and Mrs. in for good measure.

When we got back from dinner there was a chilled bottle of champagne on the TV stand!

And Mike for the first time in his life claims

“I’m actually impressed with the service in a hotel.”

It wasn’t the last time he said it during the trip in which every single thing went perfectly… above and beyond so. Because that’s how God balances it out if you’re willing to make the best of a situation wherein you have no clean underwear.

That night, fully bubbly from champagne and ceviche (we went to this restaurant here where the freshness was actually to die for) I woke up at 3 am because the bed was shaking.

Too much room for too many honeymoon jokes…. the comedic crassnes of the situation did not escape me.

Alas, it was just me awake as I came to realize we were in the middle of an earthquake. That’s right, Mike slept through the Bay area’s largest earthquake since the 1980’s. And me. I just chose to pretend it wasn’t happening on the basis of “This probably happens all the time in California.”

So our time in that beautiful foggy-morning city started with an earthquake. From there we ended up at the Fairmont San Fransico where we were blown away with the beauty and history of the building and we were honeymoon-upgraded to the fanciest suite I’ve ever been in, in my life. A corner room with more champagne, this time accompanied by strawberries and room-service.

And did you know, in the basement of this amazing hotel, is the most real-life-like James Bond bar you’ll ever step foot in? It’s true. Like a secret club, the guy who built the bar around the hotel’s original swimming pool worked for movie sets. You step into the place and you feel like you’ve gone back in time and you’re part of an elite club. It had better atmosphere then the snooty speak-easy we managed to finagle ourselves into in NYC. The band floated on the pool! There was a “rain shower” (with real water) at one point! You don’t make this stuff up people. It was magical.

And I mentioned this already but we were on the Kiss Cam at the Giants game. So yea. It was a pretty memorable trip.

PS. San Francisco is harder to spell then I imagined.

 

September 12, 2014

wedding2

We were at dinner tonight and someone made reference to an event that happened at the beginning of August. “Oh yea. That was before we got married,” I said.

“There was a time before we were married?” Mike said back.

It was meant as a joke of course. It hasn’t even been a month yet. But it’s just been such a whirlwind time in our lives. I’m in love with this time in our lives.

So. I just have to say for the the record. We planned our own entire wedding this summer – and much of the spring before that. And when I say we planned it I mean, every single detail, I mulled over. I don’t mean “it was all me,” I just mean: wow. We planned a wedding. And that’s something I’m never gonna downplay because as it turns out – it’s kinda a big deal to pull it off. Major event planning isn’t just something you do. I mean, I thought about the big stuff – the small details, the food details. All the details. I laboured over colours and baskets and vases and supplies from craft stores. I made about 100 trips to Michaels and 50 more to Dollarama. It was a bit *much* at times. I mean I’ll just come clean and fully admit to the complete meltdown I suffered in Ikea the wednesday before we got married. A vendor (who shall remain nameless because they are like Voldemort to me) completely left me high and dry. I’d fallen in love with these mercury glass candle holders and finally in May after months of searching, I found them for rent from a wedding decor supplier in the city. Obviously they fell through at the final hour, hence Mike standing there watching helplessly as I’m trying to lay out a mock-table set up in the candle and votive section of Ikea. Clearly nothing (at that moment) would be as good as the mercury glass I’d had my heart set on… which is why I was convinced that nothing in my life had ever gone right – and it all culminated in that moment in which I was being “forced” to purchase – gasp – Ikea votives that as I explained to Mike through tears “Everyone has.”

He was just looking at me like I might break – or worse, smash the votive I was holding in that candle corner all over the concrete basement Ikea floor. It took about 45 minutes before I came around. But that’s the one good thing about me. Once I make my mind up to get on with it, I do just that.

So we left that giant yellow and blue box, and I was smiling and I felt like basically there was nothing in the world that could wreck our wedding day. I was fairly certain it was going to be the best day of my life, mercury glass or no mercury glass. And that was my melt down moment in the time before we were married. I know it existed. It’s just slipping further and further into my memory at this point. The good stuff that’s left behind looks a bit like this:

mikeandI

Just two crazy kids about to say: this is us, forever, amen.wedding1

I posted a lot of my DIY project on my Instagram throughout the summer. I would normally say I have no crafty thumb, but I was genuinely happy with how things came together!DSC_0142 DSC_0148 DSC_0155 DSC_0145

My family and all the work they did. My daddy strung and lit up my sister’s back-yard. It was the prettiest sight. DSC_0164

This picture kills me every time I look at it. “What do you mean stressed? No. I’m not stressed. I’m fine.”

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Note the blue Ikea votives – the source of my pre-wedding melt-down. ^^DSC_0169

These girls. Florists when you want them to be. Best of friends. And family :)

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And then before we knew it, it was the day of:weddingfamily treewedding7wedding3

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^^ This was the morning of the wedding. Mike wrote me a “tiny binder” of big promises. It was pretty amazing.wedding6 wedding9 wedding10 wedding11 wedding14 wedding12 wedding15 wedding18 wedding16 wedding17 wedding30 wedding31 wedding34 wedding35 wedding36

I love, love, love looking at these pictures. They remind me of how excited I was. About how crazy beautiful this summer was. We were just so lucky to be supported by so many people. We couldn’t have even come close to this day without their love and support. It was such an amazing, amazing day. More to follow!!wedding50

And this was a picture of the yard the weekend before the wedding ^^ That perfect summer lighting that just said in so many ways: you guys can be crazy and young and in love forever. xoxo

 

September 8, 2014

turning30

For almost a week my computer wouldn’t start. I’d plug it in, hold the battery pack tightly in the magnetic connection, hoping for the green light of life to come on; nothin’. I’m just to the point where I think I’m going to have to bring it to the Apple store when Mike decides he’ll give it a try. He plugs it in: It starts up immediately.

“Healing hands” he calls it.

Whatever. I’m just happy I’ve got my own surface again. I’ve been biding my time, trying to process everything that’s happened in the past month:

- Mike finished culinary school

- We got married

- Went on a honeymoon

- I just turned 30

There’s just been so much to sift through. I’d love to share some pictures and thoughts of it all, but I can’t mentally commit to going through them – at least not tonight. I’m just getting the feel of this key board again.

When my computer first kicked it last Tuesday evening – it was my last night in my 20′s and I was really in the mood to do some writing, so I picked up a pen and paper and ended up with this:

As I’m writing this I can hear Cliff drinking out of the toilet. I’m at terms with it and I’m just gonna go ahead and let it happen.

I’m not sad to be turning 30 – I’m actually really excited for “what’s next.” If I’m sad about anything it’s about how fast time goes by (completely different then lamenting the fact that you’re getting older by the way). In my mind I just moved to Ottawa, just started grad school, just met Mike… but that was over 5 years ago already.

Last night I had crazy dreams. I dreamt I was swimming in this bay – I think it was supposed to be the ocean. All of a sudden I was completely surrounded by whales and sea turtles. The water was so packed I could see right in their eyes as they moved by me. When I got back to shore and tried to tell the story to people, they all thought I was crazy. It was one of those frustrating dreams where you can’t get people to understand what you’re feeling.  When I woke up I was left with that weird feeling like I’d been the part of the joke that everyone laughs at; a flashback high school feeling of vulnerability when you can’t get people to understand where you’re coming from.

So here I am, almost 30 and writing about my dreams…. which is basically how I’ve spent a good part of my 20′s.”

Welcome 30. Welcome back computer. And welcome back blog world; I’m excited to start writing again.

August 26, 2014

We’re married! (More on that later ;) ) and we’re winding up what has been probably the most incredible 20+ days of my life. First of all, I now have three first names. I’ll admit, I’m still sometimes confused when I hear it out loud (Mrs who?) but then I have to resist the urge to ask people to repeat themselves (because it hasn’t got old yet.) Second of all, we somehow in our pre wedding madness planned a hodgepodge honeymoon that has turned out to be the trip of a lifetime. Right now we’re in the beautifully temperate San Francisco (seriously the weather here is my dream) – this portion of the trip started with a bang… As in I arrived without my luggage (US airways left it in Phoenix womp womp!) and then on our first night I woke up as that Napa earthquake made our 9th floor hotel room sway. Luckily I thought it was normal (it wasn’t) and Mike slept through it (heavy sleeper!) otherwise I might have reacted less calmly :)

Anyway. It’s been nothing short of incredible. So many moments. For starters, last night we went to a Giants game and we made it onto the kiss cam!! Amazing!! We love you San Francisco!

August 11, 2014

wedding preparations!

(that’s the backyard we’re getting married in on SATURDAY!!! ^^^)

Has anyone seen the Disney commercial with the little boy who’s like “But I’m too excited to sleep” ? That’s how I feel right now (minus the fact that I’m pretty exhausted from a whirlwind of stuff leading up to the wedding.)

I read a quote this morning when I was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed:

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”

So much of “regular life” this summer we’ve given up to: “Well it’s the summer we’re getting married. What did we expect?” And it’s true. It was probably May when I relented and said, You know what? I don’t need to stay on top of an immaculate house. And we’re just going to have to say no sometimes. We can’t do everything and be in every place.

I know there are probably some people out there with a different school of thought when it comes to getting married – as in – why “waste” all that time and money and create so much stress for an event. Based on how many people I know who have had traditional style wedding ceremonies, I’m guessing there aren’t that many people out there who feel this way, but I think we’ve all thought it at some point. Like… is all this planning and stress worth it?

But I can honestly say, right now, I’m a bit dog tired. But not weary. And I’ve been run down, but I’ve had so much fun planning and crafting and organizing. I kind of feel like I’m in my element.

And yes it’s one day.

But it’s one day that we’ll surely be called to draw from countless times in our life – when things get tough, when Mike and I fight, when I feel alone, when I want to remember how important family is. I really don’t think you can put a price on that. But weddings are personal things – I have never been to two that are even close to similar. They’re all unique and special in their own way whether it’s at a court house or in the biggest church in the city. But in my life right now, I don’t mind the chaos. Because I am so, so excited.

July 30, 2014

I was nervous to have a bachelorette party. I’ve been to a couple but I was much younger and they were fun then but I was feeling a bit apprehensive that I’d feel too old for it all.

I was 15 at my sister’s bachelorette party (… uuggggh no! that was 15 years ago!). It was about 2 weeks after I’d gotten over Mono and my mom was a bit worried about me staying up late. If she knew what the plans were, she might have been more nervous. They got me into a bar by calling ahead:

No problem. We’ll just give her an underage ID bracelet.” (by the way, this would never happen in 2014.)

And so, before I was old enough to drink or vote, I got to see a drag queen show while sitting on a concrete floor of a Latino Salsa bar at one am. I’d never been in a bar until that point.

So this past weekend we took the train from Ottawa to Toronto. (side note: trains are amazing aren’t they? I see why the Victorians loved them. I need more train travel in my life.)

It was such a good weekend!! I can’t even really put it all into words, but it was just the best weekend. To hang out with such beautiful women – it felt like a gift to have all those pretty faces in one room.

We went to a women’s only spa (clothing optional and so the group of us reverted to 8 year old tendencies and spent the entire 10 minutes in the steam sauna trying to suppress our laughter. Luckily it was easy to avoid eye contact because of all the steam.)

And there was a handsome piano player who took our requests at dinner. Mine was Van Morrison (Crazy Love), my oldest sister’s: Elton John and the middle sister: Alison Krauss.

And my cousin. Can I just tell you about my cousin? She’s this beacon of light inside and out.

She brought a bachelorette travelling road show and set up the hotel room – it was a pink display of glory – cupcakes and candy bar and food and drinks and a photo booth. Including an Indiana Jones hat that I want to steal for regular life.

When the night was over we’d closed “Boots and Burbon” down and my voice was hoarse from singing.

Girls weekends are good for the soul. I had a few people ask me why we didn’t do a joint Bachelor/bachelorette party. This is why ^^^. Sometimes, it just needs to be you and the girls.

Getting home felt good though – especially when I saw that handsome devil waiting for me on the Train Station platform.

18 Days!!

 

July 25, 2014

I’m thinking back to a moment in my cousin’s kitchen about… gosh was it already 8 years ago? It’s the summer before she’s supposed to get married and we’re having some drinks and carrying on like the women in my family tend to do. (Which is amazing by the way and just the way I like it.)

We tend to move in pack formation. And this occasion was no exception.

Someone casually slid it into the conversation.

“So… are you going to change your name?”

And this is the part that I remember the most; about four of the older ones converging on my soon-to-be wed cousin (I think this included maybe my sisters and a couple of the eldest cousins who had already been married):

“Tell us you’re not going to change your name.”

You could tell from her expression she’d already made up her mind, and there wasn’t really a chance of mob-mentality swaying her decision. Although to her credit she did a good job of appealing to the masses with only non-verbal communication. They backed off pretty quickly.

I just kind of took it all in – too far from having to make my own decision to really be able to take a decision on it.

And now, nearly a decade later, weeks away from walking down the aisle myself and I’m still not much closer to the final call. (shhhh don’t tell Mike that though… ;) )

So I’m putting it out there; are you the product of your name, or is your name the product of you?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

I flip-flop back and forth; on one hand, I think that having spent 30 years with a title more or less, it’s become a part of me. History morphed around the notion of property rights (including of the person and of actual land tenure… which quite obviously is inalienable and able to be owned…) into a system that seemed straight forward and rational… if only for the reason that you could see who belonged where and to whom subsequent off-spring belonged.

As the feminists might say,

It’s not too pretty of a picture.

On the other hand, I’m a lot more than the name that was passed down to me through my dad’s side of the family. I’ve got a lot of different maternal names buried into the three that I sign on legal documents.

There’s my grannie on my mom’s side that was just this amazing collection of immigration from France and Germany.

And then my Grandma, my dad’s mom, she’s got German in her too – and apparently ties to the Alsace region of France. Which would explain my dad’s ability to have this amazing golden brown tan… (Consequently this was not something that I received in the strongly Scottish-Irish looking genes I sport on the outside.)

What I know for sure; marriage to me, is not about ownership. I know for a fact that this isn’t a universal belief, but it’s what I chose to believe.

So I’d say first of all it’s a choice; marriage is something we’ve chosen for each other.

And second of all, I think I’m already so much more than the name I have today. So while changing my name might change me a bit too, I think that my grandmothers (and even my mother might say) your name will never be able to completely outwardly tell your whole story; it’s only part of it.

Clearly however, my jury is still deciding… so I’m interested to know:

Would you change your name? Have you changed your name? If not why not?!

(P.S. I’ve got no judgement for either decision, like I said neither of my sisters changed their name – I just think it’s cool you can do whatever the heck you want!)

July 22, 2014

dock-at-cottage

Blogging has been frustrating me lately. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s summer and there’s so much else I’d rather be doing, but I’m finding it hard to sit down and hammer “it” all out.

Sometimes I get bogged down with the echo that a  blog has to “be” something… it’s like the Rat Race of the internet world. For me, that’s when it becomes overwhelming. To be honest, sometimes (especially when you know, Life) the thought of sitting down to create perfectly polished content takes the fun out of it for me.  Right now I’ve got a lot of really beautiful to-do items on my brain, but I don’t like the idea of blasting wedding stuff all the time – because I think that can come off as pretentious – and a bit “GETTING MARRIED IS THE ONLY THING.” And then otherwise I’m like… “Heyyyyy. Here are my half drafted thoughts.” TakemeasIam.)

You see this is me at my core; I’m a bit of a happy-go-lucky-pinteresty-photo-taking-cynic – because a good blogger doesn’t really show the un-composed side. Sure she might show the “real” side, but un-composed? Unedited. Never.  It’s a curse and a blessing in regular real life for me – because I’m really transparent which can either bring you waaaayyy down or it can let people know that you’re on the same side. As in, we’re all un-edited; I mean, I truly get that. And I like to think it keeps me grounded…It’s probably also why I have a small (but amazing!) circle of blog readers – I’m thinking I’m not main stream enough for the analytics kick-backs. (Funny story; one time I actually had analytics. (What? That’s the end of the story.)

And that’s ok because blogging doesn’t, despite what the “blogger-psychoanalysts” say (how are there all of a sudden so MANY of them), have to be about validation. It really doesn’t. That’s why, in my world, it’s a hodgepodge of stuff; it’s baking and DIY and long rants about life like maybe about changing your name or dropping out of school.

Sometimes I have fun editing pictures and being useful to someone out there in the great wide world, but much of the other time I like the idea that a blog is a blog – nothing more, nothing less. That’s probably why they called it a “blog”; the world’s most nondescript, sloppy, and arcane sounding name. I’ve never been the sort of blogger to fine tune content that “takes my readers into consideration” – when I get to that point, I always think to myself, it’s time to take a bit of a step back from the whole beautifully edited world that is the internet.  And so I did.

But I came back.

We always do, don’t we? (Except for “Project: Baby Blog” (remember!?)…. she’s been gone a long time now… it kind of makes me nervous… like you’ll never know where she’ll pop up. Kidding! #bloghumour)

So you see. This is the sort of random-ish rant piece you get when I don’t write regularly.  In the back of my head earlier today was like… “oh yea, you have all those posts you’re supposed to do.” Until the reality check kicked in and I remembered:

A blog is a blog.

And sometimes it looks a lot like this. ^^^

July 9, 2014

Pickled-Radishes

Radishes on their own aren’t my absolute favourite, but enter some vinegar, garlic and pickling spices? Something in the world happens and the end result is what has quickly become my favourite summer condiment.

This recipe is super quick and easy to throw together. I love how the colours bleed a bit when it’s all mingling in the jar. And because the colour is so rich this is a great little side for a summer plate – I love it with corn on the cob, sausages or a pulled pork sandwich.

pickled-radishes pickled-radishes pickled-radishes pickled-radishespickled-radishes

Pickled Radishes

Pickled Radishes

Ingredients

  • One bunch of fresh radishes (about 10 in total - thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons pickling spice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

Instructions

  1. Trim and clean radishes and garlic.
  2. Add to jar with vinegar, pickling spices, sea salt and sugar.
  3. Close Jar and shake to dissolve sugar.
  4. It's recommended to refrigerate and marinate for 3 days before serving, but we've eaten them within about 6 hours and the result is still pretty tasty!
  5. stays good in jar for about a month
http://sparrowinthetreetop.com/food-fare/pickled-radishes/

recipe is a variation of this one here on Epicurious.

What’s on your BBQ table this summer?

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