THINKING ABOUT... GARDENING

Weeee, spring is finally here! And so many good things are happening to me, too, or not happening exactly, but there are so many little glimmers of hope, just little pinpricks like a starry sky where each star could explode Big Bang-style into an entire, beautiful universe at any given moment. Awfully enigmatic, I know, but I'm not ready to share anything more about those things – not just yet! Suffice it to say that spring is in the air and life is good.

We went two years living in apartments without outdoor space for plants, so I'm over the moon about our huge front porch, back deck, and little yard. No more re-potting houseplants in the middle of the living room floor, hooray!

We share a little house with our landlord, whose apartment is upstairs, and he's planning to build raised beds soon, where I'll put our vegetables and herbs. I would have had the hardest time choosing what to grow, but luckily some dear friends offered us their extra seeds, some in packets and some harvested from their own community garden plot. I had so much fun sorting through the little paper envelopes, taking stock of what promises to be a very colorful (and hopefully bountiful) garden.

Until we can begin planting outside, I'd like to pot some leafy plants for indoors. I took the photo in this post a year ago this week, when I filled our one-room, 500-square-foot loft with a dozen or so houseplants. It was such a tiny space that the effect was almost jungle-like, but our houseplant collection feels sparse now that we've spread our plants out in our new, more spacious home (and, let's just be frank here, killed a few of them, too.)

What are you planting this year, either indoors or out? In the past, I've gravitated toward succulents for indoors, which did well in our apartment without needing a lot of attention. Succulents are adorable, but I want bigger, more robust plants that will fill our rooms. I'd love suggestions for hardy large houseplants if you have any to share!

SALT WATER SANDALS

Have you ever worn Salt Water sandals? So many bloggers rave about them, and I'm considering trying a pair this summer. I have small feet, and thankfully can get away with ordering less expensive and more durable children's styles. I always hesitate, though, out of fear that they'll make me look, well, young.

Maybe I'll give it a go – they're so affordable and really cute! Would you try them?

(You can buy them here in lots of fun colors.)

THE LONG ROAD AHEAD

Every once in awhile, life plateaus. Former challenges have become easy, old hat. I coast along, going through the motions and succeeding without really excelling. It's at times like this that I need to push myself harder, to make new goals. To mix things up. I'm hungry for new challenges.

It hardly feels it, but spring's arrival is imminent. It's a natural season to think about change and renewal, but I need it especially badly. I catch myself feeling bored, which is a terrible feeling.

Eager to try something new, something truly hard, I registered for the Chicago Marathon in October. It's a daunting goal, finishing a marathon, but I'm actually excited to train, to test the limits of my discipline.

I don't have a target finish time, and I'm not living for the moment when I cross the finish line. For now, I'm just enjoying the journey, which is many miles longer than the 26.2 I'll run on October 12. It's not boring, and that feels good.

Of course, there are lots of other reasons to run a marathon. I'm also running to raise money for a very important cause, which I'll talk more about later.

I hope you'll follow my journey. If you've run a marathon before and have advice of any sort, I'd love to hear it.

NEW HOME

Sorry for the silence (again). The past couple of months have been an absolute whirlwind.

First, Colin and I traveled to Ohio for our first married holiday season, which we split equally between our hometowns. We rushed back to Chicago for our first anniversary, which we celebrated by checking into a hotel, unplugging (sort of), pretending to be tourists and playing lots of Yahtzee. 

As if we hadn't experienced enough excitement, we decided to move. 

I'll start by saying that we've loved the two years we spent living in downtown Chicago. The convenience cannot be beat, and our loft apartment was my favorite home to date. But the sad part of living in the downtown of most American cities is that one misses a sense of neighborhood. The local coffee shop, the corner bar, the cozy restaurants that define most of Chicago were conspicuously missing from our block (or the surrounding ones, for that matter). While we previously hoped to remain downtown dwellers for as long as possible, our determination started to fade. 

One snowy, sub-zero Sunday, we rode the Brown Line (an ode to which I'll write another time) to Lincoln Square to visit our friend Laura. Once we'd unzipped, unwrapped, and otherwise removed the dozens of layers lately sported in the city, and settled into a neighborhood coffee joint, we decided we should move. Just like that, iPads were whipped out and dealbreakers were agreed upon. In-unit laundry. Dishwasher. Two bedrooms. Close to transit. 

Four days later, we found our new home. Two days after that, I spruced up the loft and showed it to five people. All were interested in subleasing. Eleven days after we had the idea, we signed a lease. 

The better part of our belongings are still stowed in boxes, and the work ahead is tremendous. Nonetheless, we have a lovely, cozy new home in a neighborhood we love. I can't wait to tell you more about it soon!

HELLO AGAIN

You could hear a pin drop around here lately, that's for sure. 

I've been in a real writing rut lately, which is neither here nor there, really. While I was away, my brother Ethan moved from Marseille to Chicago, pounded pavement until he landed a killer job, and signed a lease on an apartment. I got a promotion. With lots of help from Ethan, Colin and I hosted our first Thanksgiving. I ran my first 8k race. It's been a very rewarding month.

I hope to have posts back in full swing soon, but in the meantime, here are a few snapshots from my time away. See you soon!