Monday, July 13, 2009

A New Home (the news I've been alluding to)

I'm not much for beating around the bush, so I'm just going to come out with my news...

This will be the final post on Carretta's in Chicago! *sighs, smiles, feels a nervous flutter in tummy* I've loved sharing with all of you here over the past 2+ years, and I sincerely hope you'll visit me at my new online home. Often. Also? Tell your friends.

Without further delay...I give you my new online digs... BOPRIL - please go check it out. I'll see you there.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why Does this Site Look Weird?

Please forgive any technical issues with the site - working on some behind the scenes stuff to update (and much improve) this space, and will be back with more specifics very soon.

Come back ya'll!! Thanks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Love is a Picture

I am unfailingly amazed at the power of photographs to instantly transport me to a specific place and time. One glance and I'm back in that moment, remembering clearly the sounds, sights and smells. If it is someone else's shot, I'm there too - seeing in my mind my own version of what they saw through the viewfinder.

I think it is one of the reasons I am so in love with this particular medium, its unique ability to capture moments in time: places, memories, life.

While doing some photo clean-up and organization, I came across a series of images I took back in February on our trip to LA. Instantly, I'm back there, and I see the gorgeous homes that line the boardwalk, the seagulls flying in their flocks, hear the crash of the waves against the smell of salt in the air...home, sweet seaside home.

Happy Love Thursday; here's to your own methods for capturing and savoring life's sweetest moments.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

For Father's Day

I was probably the furthest thing from any plan he had for his life; in those days his interests were tennis and skiing, poker and golf. He worked hard and he played hard, and I think a family of his own was probably entirely foreign to him. It's interesting how life works out sometimes, because I am not sure there is another person in all the world who understands me quite like he does. This is because, planned or not, we are cut from precisely the same cloth.

He came from the humblest of beginnings, was the first in his family to complete college, leave the circle, explore a bigger, different dream. Work has defined his entire life, from a young age to this very day; I know for sure that I've never seen a work ethic rival his. I would like to think I have inherited at least a small portion of it to call my own.

Emotion is hard for him, expression of it even harder. I understand this because it is my reality too. And yet, my heart is the deepest, most complicated vessel and I do love completely, fiercely and without fail. The same is true of him. I've always been a Daddy's girl, and even when we didn't see eye to eye, I've never doubted his faith in me, his pride or his love. It is such an honor to be able to recognize that for the special gift it is, to understand my blessings, know my heritage.

I close my eyes and I can see us back then: a blonde little girl  and her hero, running after tennis balls, splashing in the ocean waves, ordering my favorite strawberry dessert at Famous Recipie, and riding first in "Big Red," and then in "Old Blue." And I remember kissing him goodbye each night before bed when he faced the night shift so I'd never have to. 

When I was a girl scout, he would take my cookie list to work with him and I'd always claim the prize for selling the most. 

When I was in high school, there was a time when we lost our way, couldn't see eye to eye. I know now how fiercely he loved me and that there was no line he wouldn't have crossed if he believed it was in my best interest. Even when the days were dark, I knew deep down that we'd find our way back; there was no other option. The connection has always been that deep and that lasting.

In college, he wrote me what would be the first of many cards; I have treasured it for years and it still sits, smeared and worn in a special memory box. I turn to it when I need encouragement, when I forget that I'm exactly who I am supposed to be. He was there for advice, he never allowed me to stop at rest areas when I'd come home to visit, and he drove a U-haul more than seven hours each way to move me in and out of dorm rooms and apartments, (almost) without complaint. :)

After college, he reluctantly supported my decision to move West and paid my rent until I secured a full time job. In a crisis, a medical emergency or the regular drama with "Connie the Contour," he was always my first call. Thousands of miles separated us in those days, but I never felt it because he was as close as I needed him to be. 

On January 20, 2007 he walked me down a lengthy aisle and he gave me away. But not really; he told me that he agreed only to share me, that he would never, ever let me go. And at the reception, I danced with him to It's a Wonderful World. And it was. He gave me the wedding of my dreams, a fairy tale that came true because he'd have it no other way. 

For 30 years, his cool, collected demeanor has calmed me; his advice and vision for me have kept me grounded, and his unconditional love and unwavering pride have given me the strength to take chances, dream big and reach beyond my comfort zone. 

When I walk in a room, his eyes still light up and I know without fail that life is infinitely sweeter when you are lucky enough to be a Daddy's girl.

Happy Father's Day Dad. You're the real deal and I adore you.

I never met Hubby's Dad, but I do feel like I know him. I see him every day in the face and the memories and emotions of my husband.  I am grateful for the family man he was, and for the example he set for his sons. I know he watches over each of them, his treasured family, and that he's proud of the men and women they've become. I honor him today, on Father's Day, because my life wouldn't be nearly as blessed if not for his influence on his youngest son.

Happy Father's Day Mr. Carretta; I wish I'd had the honor of knowing you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blame it on the Rain (Yeah, Yeah)

I have lots of words, thoughts, stories, emotions, issues (heh) swirling around in the mind these days - like an always busy little hurricane behind my eyelids. All whirling at warp speed, but for whatever reason, nothing rising to the top in a way that I'm able to share here, with you. So for now, I'm content to be a little quieter, just for awhile. So I can listen and think and form thoughts that will eventually find their way to words.

Not sure what to think of this state of suspension - writers block? Some form of transition in my sub-conscious? Or, maybe less dramatic and philosophical...perhaps just the constant expanse of grey, rainy, dreary blah that seems endless these days? Or the middle of the night wakefulness due to a very anxiety ridden pup frightened to his core by thunder?

It's funny (ironic?) really: writing has been occupying a lot of space in my thoughts lately. Feeling a need to do more of it, exercise the muscle, find new forms of and outlets for expression.

So stay tuned, there's more to come. And in the interim? I'll leave you with fur baby Friday pics to kick off your weekend with epic cuteness.

Staring through the planks, hoping to get to the other side:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You Say OCD, I Say Organized and "Homey"

I can remember organizing things as a kid: I'd alphabetize my CD collection, line up my dolls perfectly, categorize my make-up drawer, jewelry cases, on and on. I was color coordinated, but never "matchy." I was pulled together and "on top of it," but definitely not OCD (shut up).

My need for organization and structure has colored literally every stage of my life and I love nothing more than giving in to its hefty pull, getting lost in the next project that helps scratch the itch. This weekend, we practiced a little worship in the house of IKEA and Momma got a brand new shelving unit. And prints for the wall. And a groovy floor lamp. And several other odds and ends. Total bliss I tell you. I'm geeking out on the complete transformation we created just by reorganizing. I have quite the home improvement list going on in my head, and I think I might make it a semi-regular feature here. Because internet, if you have ideas to contribute, rave reviews, or just need to tell me Martha would never approve, I want to hear it.

New organizational tools for the mail. Who's laughing now junk mail bastards??
My obsession with white ceramic ANYTHING continues...
New shelves...from the side and then full frontal. I LOVE.
Unrelated: I want to congratulate my good friends Adam and Becky on their engagement. It seems impossible that the boy I used to push in a stroller, torture with repeated games of "house," the boy that terrorized me with a very realistic looking rubber snake, the boy that is very much like another brother to me, could be getting married. But he is, and I'm thrilled (even if I'm feeling slightly old). I'm thinking of them tonight, and wishing them every joy as they begin this awesome journey together.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Outtakes from a Long Overdue and Much Enjoyed Vacation

  • The power of soft sand, the clear sea, mind-blowing sunsets and the company of good friends really cannot be over-estimated. They are the perfect cocktail to recharge your jets, re balance your energy, reset your sense of inner peace.
  • There are way more varieties of rum than I knew existed - and when mixed, they are tasty, but lethal. New favorites include the "no problem mon," and the "Booloo."
  • I am more in love than ever with my camera and capturing images, moments, memories and experiences.
  • Island life is 24/7 relaxation. It begins with a fabulous breakfast buffet, towel service and all day drink service poolside and lasts into the evening with scrumptious meals and more top-notch service. Yeah mon.
  • The people of Jamaica are warm and friendly and really transcend the reputation that proceeds them (except for that taxi drivers that offer various methods to "party").
  • High atop a mountain overlooking the Caribbean, there sits a spectacular house, golf course and restaurant...all haunted and all aptly named The White Witch (I fell in love as evidenced by the 3485732 photos I took up there).
  • A late afternoon thunderstorm that rolls in within minutes and is done within an hour is really awesome to watch. And also? A welcome relief from the intense heat of the island sun.
  • While I missed them tremendously, it turns out I can survive a week without the fur babies. And they can too - I dare say they even thrived on their weeklong stay at Nana's.
  • If you indulge in a few too many glasses of Pinot Grigio and go sailing/snorkeling the next day, be very careful not to swallow salt water. The combination is not pretty. Enough said.
  • My college friends rock. So do a few new friends I met on this trip. We all meshed instantly and were transported back in time as though years hadn't passed since our last adventure. There's nothing better and I loved every minute.
  • The Miami airport has been dubbed my own personal hell. This happens when you're stranded there for a combined 18 hours in one trip. Would it be too much to ask for one sit down restaurant where the menu doesn't consist entirely of pizza, fries and any variety of deep fried meat?
  • I'm back to reality (a cold and rainy reality), but can escape any time to the calm, relaxing island inspired paradise in my mind (or in my Flickr photostream, whichever).

Follow this path to bliss...
Hubby and I at sunset at The White Witch
Please take me back. Now. Thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fur Baby Adventure

I'm super excited for our vacation. Truly, I am. I just finished packing and we're all set to head to the airport at an ungodly hour.

But right now, tonight, do you know what I am doing?

I am missing this...

and also? this...

Huge shout out of thanks to my Mom and brother for the 8 hour round trip they made today to snatch these little guys up and keep them safe until Hubs and I return from our vacay. I miss them like crazy, but am so relieved to know they are getting lots of love while we're away.

And now...let the vacation begin!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good Stuff

Resorting to my trusted fall-back method of relaying news that is a) unrelated, b) random, and c) guaranteed to be way more exciting to me (I'm easy to please) than you. Yep, that's right Internet. Here are a few bullets of what's making my "good stuff" list these days:

  • After the constant complaining, the utter failure to understand people's obsession, the vow to never stoop so low, I've crossed over to the dark side. And embraced reality television. In all its tacky, non-celebrity and often non-talent way. Specifically, I could waste the rest of time (all of it - right through eternity) watching Donna Martin live her "real life" courtesy of Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. And also? Southern Belles: Louisville is just a delicious little treat. Good stuff, I tell you. What's your (reality) poison?
  • I am on the brink of an actual vacation. To a place that is neither home to family members or the next work inspired location. An honestly unplugged week away from the office, and email and voice mail. To an island. To Jamaica! To watch my dear friend get married, but also, to romp on the beach with my own hubs and vow that we won't go 2.5 years before our next official vacation. That's right - we haven't done a true vacation since our honeymoon. Pathetic, we know. Save your scolding for later. I can't hear it while daydreaming about my island adventures. Yeah mon!
  • The next iteration of this blogging thing is enticingly close...are you curious? I hope so...can't wait to be all "official" in the bloggy world.
  • In my constant drive to technology inspired bliss, the latest toy to which I am completely addicted is our new flip cam. He's a tiny little guy, completely portable and so easy to just pop into the computer to upload videos. Voila! And because I'm generous and always thinking of you, I will be posting videos soon and often. As a matter of fact, I would post one right now were my computer, wireless connection and fate in general not conspiring to make me LOSE MY MIND. 
With that, I'll leave you and head off to my island adventure - back soon with more adventures, ranting and cursing (just kidding) (kind of).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Fun

Clear skies greeted us on our first official trip of the season to Lake Gage - and told us that summer is finally here. As I type this, it is cold and rainy back in Chicago, but I am choosing to ignore that and focus instead on the great weekend just behind us.

We relaxed and read, ran the lake's perimeter, grilled yummy meals and ate them outside,  caught up with family and broke in the jet ski for yet another year of summer fun.

Looking back on our terrific weekend and precious time with family, I sit here thinking of the families who are sad today. Those who are missing special people, mourning what could have been. I hope that memories will bring them comfort today. I hope the same for you.

And also? Two little guys tested their swimming chops. We thought it would be best to just show you.