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So we got a dog

2014 October 28
by Laura

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When Someone and I were talking about moving in together, one of the things we kept talking about was that our new apartment had to be dog friendly. And not just dog friendly as in, “yeah, dogs can live here,” but as in “there’s enough space for a 4-legged creature and her crate” and “an apartment without elevators or stairs.”

We hit the jackpot with our current abode, as it is on the first floor of a garden-style apartment complex, and the first spot for a pup to “do their business” is about 10 feet out our front door.

After we moved in, I wanted a dog, like, yesterday. We started to look at different rescue organizations and were pre-approved by several after home visits and phone interviews and really, really intense application questionnaires. (Seriously, college application style, with essays.) We went to a few adoption events here and there and even got thisclose to adopting two different doggies.

Those two didn’t pan out, though: one had a severe anxiety problem and needed to go to a family with another dog; the other required us to adopt “right off the truck,” sight unseen, which made us very nervous. A few weeks ago I gave up. I couldn’t handle the hours of perusing online adoption sites like dating websites, judging photos and getting a terrible feeling of sadness that all these dogs needed good homes.

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We went to Maine. I stopped looking. I thought we would wait until the spring and maybe start researching breeders.

And then, two Sundays ago, I was browsing Facebook and saw that one of the rescues* had posted a picture of a dog they had found as a stray in NC. Her name was Lucy, and she was some sort of corgi/sheltie mix who looked adorably vulpine and had freckles on her nose. I had a weird feeling in my gut about her. Her face was so sweet in the photograph, and I had to know more.

(*A girl I went to high school with ran into my mom and had told her about a rescue she adopted from in Chester Springs, PA, called All 4 Paws. She told me they had no problem adopting out of state and that they did not require a home visit. I added it to the list of rescues I searched every week.)

I sent my friend a message that afternoon. “Lucy. I want her.” I listed her as a reference, I filled out my application, and I sat back to wait. I figured it would take a few weeks to hear back. That evening, we were approved!

Lucy’s transport date from North Carolina to PA was Saturday, 10/25. We went up to my parents’ house for the day and drove the short distance to the farm where we were picking her up. We brought Gracie the golden to help vet her, too, since Grace has a calm and submissive personality that offends no other dog.

When we pulled up we were shocked at Lucy’s size. She was so much smaller than we thought! The pictures online made her look like a giant long thing. In reality, she is a tiny 23 pounds. She looks way more like a sheltie/papillon than a corgi, too.

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You guys. I’m OBSESSED with her. Obsessed. I had to go to work on Sunday night only hours after we got home with her, and I physically missed her. I want to pick her up and force cuddle her all the time.

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She is SO good, and so smart. She is eager to please and easy to train. She’s well behaved on a leash, loves walks, has a great energy level for me and Someone (aka, she is perfectly content to sleep with me after night shifts and still ridiculously excited to go on a walk), and she is practically perfect in every way. I cannot get enough of her. Her name is Rennie, because the French word for fox is “renard.”

Our first night at home, we put her in the crate but left the door open. She stayed there for about an hour before leaping onto the bed and curling into a tiny ball between me and someone. And there she stayed.

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We have a little work to do: She is terrified of construction noises, very tall men, and busy intersections. She also hates the UPS truck. (I do too, Rennie!) Already we are making progress, and she is as sweet as can be.

Even Riggins likes her, although he was unbelievably jealous when we brought her home. Nothing a little love couldn’t fix!

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Welcome to our little family, Rennie!

Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine

2014 October 28
by Laura

One evening in June, before we moved in together, I sent Someone an e-mail with four skeleton itineraries for fall trips. One was to a villa in St. Thomas that I found on Air BnB. Another was to Nashville, TN; the third, Charleston. And the fourth? An autumn getaway to Bar Harbor, Maine.

I was secretly hoping Someone would pick the fourth one, and he did not disappoint. Neither did Maine in October.

I was worried: I’ve spent many long weekends in Maine before, but only in July, when the highs are near 80 and the sun is shining brightly. How would it be to hike in chilly temperatures that barely reach 60, with morning lows in the 40s?

It would be wonderful, of course, because we were treated with “unseasonably warm weather” and happened to hit right at the peak of Maine’s foliage.

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Our first day we checked into the Acadia Hotel, a quaint little thing located perfectly in the heart of Bar Harbor. Although we laughed about the size of the room and the lumpiness of the mattress, it was affordable and a great value for the location and cleanliness of our accommodations. We will definitely stay there again (although next time, we might splurge for the Cadillac Suite on the second floor).

Day two was a focus on Jordan Pond: we did the 3.3 mile loop around the “pond,” had lunch at the renowned Jordan Pond House overlooking the lawn and Bubbles in the distance, and then hiked to the top of the South Bubble in the afternoon to see the famous Bubble Rock.

Someone and I could not believe our eyes. We kept pulling over to the side of the Park Loop Road to photograph more of the astounding colors. I’ve never seen nature look so spectacular.

 

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Our second day featured a hike to the top of Beehive, which is, as our guidebook described, “not for the faint of heart or weak of limb.”

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I was shaking (seriously), because at many times you’re climbing up and around boulders with nothing below you except sky. The last time I did this hike I was 19 and fearless. Now? Not so much. A few iron rungs and grates are there to support you, and it’s an easier go if you have a Someone to help you and say, so sweetly, “We can turn back at any time.”

Aww! But go back we didn’t. We kept on! In the afternoon, we hiked to the top of Beech Cliffs trail for some spectacular views and rounded out our hiking with a trek to the top of Flying Mountain.

A word about our food: A-mah-zing. We had incredible meals at Side Street Cafe, Mache Bistro, Cafe This Way, 2 Cats, and West Street Cafe. There were gluten free options (and not just options, but entire meals) at each of them, and the GF lobster macaroni and cheese from Side Street Cafe was to die for. I also enjoyed gluten-free rolls and sandwiches, cheesecake, pancakes, and toast with strawberry butter from 2 Cats. Bar Harbor is a gluten free mecca.

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On our final morning in nature’s paradise we got up at 6:00 and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise. We weren’t alone, but the reverence was palpable from the crowd around us. We watched the sky lighten and then redden as the sun peeked over the Atlantic, bathing the mountainside in soft, warm light.

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We were so sad to leave, and cannot wait to go back. I’m not sure I’ll ever want to go back in the summer again!

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Really really good chicken enchiladas

2014 October 5
by Laura

REALLY good chicken enchiladas. These will be added to the rotation, absolutely. Thanks, Cooking Light!

  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas (gluten free tortillas are fine, the big ivory teff wrap kind!)
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 (8-ounce) container fat free sour cream
  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle green taco sauce
  • Toppings: diced tomato, chopped avocado, chopped green onions, sliced ripe olives, chopped cilantro

Preparation

  1. Stir together first 5 ingredients. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over each tortilla, and roll up. Arrange in a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Stir together sour cream and taco sauce. Spoon over hot enchiladas, and sprinkle with toppings.

 

Enjoy!

Life lately

2014 October 5
by Laura

On the rare weekends when I have a moment off from work (bottom of the totem pole, wah), we’ve been trying to live it up, fall style.

Renn Fest: awesome. Turkey leg eaten, meade imbibed, lip prints read. Only the usual.

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My lip print reading was pure BS, but I enjoyed it when she said things that somewhat applied: I’m a “foodie on a diet,” I have a sharp and bitter tongue, I keep a lot of secrets for my job, I’m a great listener, need to get some sleep…

After Renn Fest we headed over to a pumpkin patch for some pick-your-own-pumpkin fun. Gourds everywhere! So basic fall white girl!

We enjoyed the Homestead Gardens and I restrained myself so much that I left with only this tiny little pumpkin.

 

This past weekend, we celebrated one of our near and dear’s 30th birthday winery style. Crisp fall air, wine, warm sunshine — check, check, check!

 

Has your fall been picture perfect? We slept with the windows open last night and it was the best night’s sleep I’ve gotten in months!

 

Childlessness

2014 September 19
by Laura

I found this article compiled by The Cut blog absolutely fascinating — it is 25 famous women’s quotes on why they never had or wanted children.

Although I fit in the “I knew that I wanted to be a mommy since I knew what a mommy was” camp, I have talked to friends and coworkers who were unsure, and who took that uncertainty to mean “no.” That makes sense to me. Everyone is different! Not everyone wants a dog, or a cat, or a child.

How unfair that we somehow make these women feel like they are alien or strange for making their own (very well-thought out, rational) choices. Woman does not equal mother, and mother does not equal woman.

I like Zooey’s response:

Is having children on your priority list?
“I’m not going to answer that question. I’m not mad at you for asking that question, but I’ve said it before: I don’t think people ask men those questions.” —Zooey Deschanel, Marie Claire, September 2013

Herbed pork chops with bean salad

2014 September 17
by Laura

I went out on a limb with this one, because it’s not something I would typically consider making. The flavor profile isn’t one I play with much in my kitchen, even though my new-found love for olives should definitely inspire me to cook with them more often.

These pork chops, from the new Cooking Light, paired specifically with the accompanying bean side dish, were delicious. They were somehow bright and tangy, with a very fresh flavor. Easy flavors that combined well—not too heavy, not too rich. Just simple. It felt like clean eating.

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I was skeptical about the instructions: cook the pork chops with just salt and pepper, and then place them on a platter that you’ve sprinkled with the herb mixture. The pork chops rest on the plate while soaking up the herb flavors, and it’s magical!

The bean salad is so refreshing with spinach, green onions, Castelvetrano olives, lemon, garlic, and parsley. This will definitely be a frequent meal for us this winter when we miss the flavors of spring!

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced sage
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • minced garlic to taste, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zet
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 12 Castelvetrano olives, pitted and finely chopped (2 ounces)
  1. Combine 2 teaspoons oil, 2 tablespoons parsley, sage, vinegar, rosemary, and half of garlic on a large plate or serving platter; set aside.
  2. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Place pork on cold pan coated with cooking spray; cook 4-5 minutes. Turn pork chops over; cook 3 minutes or until done. Transfer chops to serving platter; turn to coat in herb mixture. Let rest a few minutes. (Don’t overcook the pork chops!)
  3. Combine lemon rind, juice, remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beans, remaining garlic, spinach, green onions, and olives; stir to combine. Serve with pork chops. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley to garnish.

Bidding summer adieu

2014 September 16
by Laura

I didn’t want it to happen, and certainly not so soon into September. BUT, here we are, saying goodbye to summer.

We had a lovely weekend at the shore house in New Jersey (thanks again, Mom and Dad!) and crossed several things off our summer bucket list — miniature golfing, bike riding, crabbing, climbing a lighthouse.

(We actually had a physical bucket list this summer, and we loved crossing things off the list together. Sometimes you wake up on lazy Sundays thinking, “What should we do today?” and this list helped guide our weekends quite frequently!)

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The beach had that classic “September” look to it — a darker, wind-blown ocean with wispy clouds, long shadows, and stiff breezes.

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We went up to Barnegat Light and climbed the 217 steps to the view at the top.

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We ate linguine with clams, oysters, and drank a lot of coffee and wine.

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We said goodbye until next time, little house!

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So long, sweet summer!!

Happy Anniversary, LNE!

2014 September 2
by Laura

Guys!

Life Needs Edits is 5 years old!

It’s kind of insane to think I’ve been writing in this little web journal for five years. Who would have thought when I started writing from a lonely office in DC at the ripe old age of 24 that this would blossom into something I’ve poured feeling after feeling into, thought after thought, boring musing after boring musing.

I have really found myself along the way, I’ve really figured things out. I stand by everything I ever said about life in your twenties: I found it frustrating, demoralizing, lonely, and scary. At 29.5 years old, it’s a little better.

I don’t post as much as I did in 2009, 2010, 2011…there’s a few reasons for that. One is that I no longer sit behind a computer all day. Another is that I no longer feel the strings of discontentment pulling me to write. These days, life is happy, simple, and kind of boring. I go to work, I play “stay at home girlfriend” on weekdays off. I don’t DIY craft and I’m not yet raising children whose photographs I could post and whose every blink wink and poop I write about (although I cannot promise those posts won’t someday come!). I do cook, I drink wine, and I work hard. That’s kind of it.

I have no idea how much longer I will blog. I suspect a long time, if for no other reason than to keep track of what I was doing at certain times for later. Honestly, it’s also sometimes hilarious to look back on yourself later (remember the epic diary of my middle school years?).

Happy birthday, little blog! I love you — I really do. I am glad and thankful every day that I have a place to write, and I am so, so glad I have a few people who like to read.

If you’re bored, click through some of the “Random Post” links on the right side-bar!

 

 [I just had the worst realization ever. I was looking back through some old posts and photographs and I kept thinking, "Wow, I looked so much better a few years ago. Was it something I was doing with my hair, my makeup? What is different? Was my face skinnier or something?" NOPE. It hit me: I was just five years younger. Fewer bags and fewer wrinkles. Youth. YOUTH is better. CRAP.]

A Day in the Life

2014 August 20
by Laura

I had three reasons for doing my own “day in the life” post: (1), I find these so fascinating when I read them on other people’s blogs (to be clear, they’re all mommies, and have like…real lives) and (2) I thought it might help me focus a bit on the present. Stay in the moment, you know, think about what I’m doing. Reason (3) is because I think when I finally do have a real life, kids, etc., I will look back on days like today and think to myself, “WHAT A LOSER. LOOK WHAT A WASTE OF A DAY SHE HAD! SHE WAS SO LUCKY.”

So here we go.

Fair warning: This post is long, and boring.

Context: The day is Tuesday, August 19, 2014. I am 29 years old. I live with Someone. I worked an overtime shift yesterday at the hospital; I work again Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. I have no children, I am not married, and I don’t have a dog.

7:15: Someone’s alarm goes off. “Waaahhhhh,” he moans. I say, “I thought we were getting up at 7:30?” He replies some grumbly mumbly business about hitting the 7:15 alarm instead of the 7:30 one. He tries to snooze, but I deny us the pleasure, ripping off the covers and getting up to make coffee while he showers.

7:24: Warm up leftover French toast for Someone, help him get his lunch together. Pour him coffee. Very Florence Henderson of me.

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7:48: Goodbye kiss from Someone. Gather towels to throw into the wash.

8-10ish: Waste a ton of time. At some point in here I do the following:

  • send some e-mails checking up on a parking ticket I am currently contesting
  • pay some bills
  • make oatmeal with nectarines
  • have a second cup of coffee
  • catch up on my blog reader
  • call Mom and try to cheer her up (knee replacements are, turns out, the big fat dumps)
  • make plans with Courtney for a friend date
  • write a daily errands list

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10:06: Realize Kathy Lee and Hoda have come on my TV, which is my cue to head out to get my car inspected. Walk outside into the humidity and rainclouds, realizing sadly that this will not be a good day for the pool. Check Timehop on my phone, send Someone a note about how one year ago today we were together in Lavallette, NJ. (“I fell very in love with you on that trip,” he replies. Awww.)

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10:18: Arrive at car inspection place. Walk inside with Kindle and cash in tow.

10:21: Walk back to car. No inspection for me today: There’s at least a two-hour wait, since the normal “inspection” guy is out sick. Figure out in my head how to make time to go back tomorrow.

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10:24: While I was on my way back to the apartment, I hear a radio ad for Gold’s Gym. “Enrollment special! Join today for only $1!” Oddly, I’ve been waiting for an enrollment special for Gold’s — I quit the YMCA and have been waiting to join a new gym. I make a right turn and head toward the Gold’s.

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11:06: I am now a member of Gold’s Gym! Look over the group exercise schedule, get excited. Woo! Pick out a class to go to tomorrow.

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11:15: Arrive at the Bed, Bath & Beyond in Pentagon City. Time to use the million coupons I’ve hoarded for the apartment essentials I’ve been waiting to pick up!

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11:19: Quick detour. Sur La Table is near where I’ve parked and I just cannot walk by without going in.

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11:36: Walk out with only a rolling pin and a ravioli stamp, not too shabby.

11:41: Enter BB&B. Plan to get a few kitchen items I’ve been needing: a spice organizer, some grill tools, salad bowls, and a 4-cup pyrex liquid measure. I also need to get a new microwave cover since I melted our last one when I mistakenly turned on the wrong burner on the stove… (#thingsthatsmellgood).

11:59: Exit with those things (and beyond).

12:01: Walk into Harris Teeter: I need whipped cream and butter for peach cobbler and some GF rolls to go with the corn chowder I’m making tonight.

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I chuckle to myself when I’m getting back in the car because I remember when we dropped one of those Udi’s rolls on the floor in North Carolina. Riggins got to it first, went to take a bite, and then spit it back out. FM(GF)L.

12:36: Back home. Unpack my loot.

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12:42: Rearrange spices using new rack thinger.

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Muchhhhh better.

12:58: Answer phone call. I recognize that it’s a hospital number, so the second time, I answer. It’s the scheduler, letting me know what changes to my schedule she’s made. Great! Use my pen to scratch out and revise some of the dates. Get pissed, because this change might mean my Mom can’t come visit me while Dad is riding is bike in October. Grrrr. Decide to deal with this later.

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1:12: Walk into Someone’s Man Cave and frame the print I bought him last week. (We’ve been really into surpresents lately, since it’s my love language.) He’ll love it.

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1:18: My old roommate asks if I will meet her for coffee at 2, I respond enthusiastically. I love spontaneous coffee dates!

1:24: Fold towels, clean dishes, straighten up a bit. Throw in a load of sheets.

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1:37: Gchat with Ashley girl until it’s time to leave to meet M. Also find Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu and watch an episode. No shame.

1:55: Leave to walk to Bean Good coffee shop nearby.

2:04: M comes in, we order delicious coffee treats. I see a sign in Bean Good that makes me laugh, except I would totally revise the clock. No wine until 9? False.

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2:12: Mal and I sit down with our drinks. I have something iced and very caffeinated, and I am soon talking verrrryy quickly with few pauses. Mal keeps up.

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3:20: I take Mal back to my apartment so she can see my new digs. I realize how messy it is and when she leaves, I clean up for a bit.

3:24: Start to get out the ingredients for dinner. Turn on a few episodes of Friends.

3:39: Start to make the corn chowder. Read over the recipe and realize it’s more labor- and time-intensive than I remember. Oh well.

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4:04: Soup is finally on its first 30 minute simmer. It boiled over a bit, which was fun to clean up.

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4:15: I start to do the peaches. Cobbler, here we come. (I thought I might make pie after purchasing the rolling pin and all that jazz, but then remembered what a B it is to make pie crust and that I didn’t feel like getting angry this afternoon. Cobbler it is!)

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4:25: Stop for a delicious snack: one of dad’s garden tomatoes with sea salt.

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4:35: Finish up the soup, simmer the peaches and get the cobbler mix going.

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4:50: Quite the little mess I’ve made….dishes time.

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5:05: Someone walks in from work. He’s had a stressful day, and for some reason, we bicker about something stupid. He leaves for a run and the last thing I say as he leaves is something awful like, “FINE, I don’t want to talk to you right now ANYWAY!!!”

5:06: Immediately regret the comments, and decide we’ll start over when he gets home.

5:11: Shower!

5:18: Chuckle to myself, put on a funny shirt my Mom got me that is supposed to warn him…

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5:19: Realize I’m a moron and took a picture into a mirror — the shirt says “Feeling Stabby.”

5:25: WINE TIME. BEST PART OF THE DAY!!!

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Spritzer city. I got really into these on vacation: I can drink twice as much (what?) and stay hydrated at the same time!!

5:45: Someone’s back. We both apologize before the other one even can. “Sorry for my tone,” he says, “Sorry for mine,” I say. He gets a beer and we cheers to Tuesday.

5:55: Someone finds his new Raven poster in his man cave. “I LOVE IT! OH MY GOD! It’s so awesome!” he says. Win!

6:10 Someone showers, and I set up Scrabble. We’ve gotten addicted. On the draw to see who goes first, I pull an “L” and he pulls “R.” WEIRD. He photographs it, I laugh.

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6:44: Still playing. I’m trying to teach Someone all the 2-letter words.

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7:10: Break for dinner. I warm up the chowder and throw two Udi’s rolls in the oven. Refill beverages. Let Someone take 9 minutes to play a word even though I threatened to break out the iPhone timer earlier. (He takes a long time to make a decision…)

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7:29: “This might be my favorite soup you’ve ever made me,” he says.

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7:45: Clean up.

8:20: We’re still playing Scrabble and talking. I switch Friends over to iTunes radio.

9:25: At some point I beat him at Scrabble, we put the board away, and snuggle for a bit (ew! Sorry.) We go make lunches for tomorrow and I set up the coffee pot. Time for bed!

9:40: Someone has put the clean sheets on the bed for me, which is delightful, since I forgot they were in the dryer.

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9:50: Teeth brushed, face washed. Time to play on my phone for a bit and then read. Someone sees me taking a selfie and says “I wanna be in one too!” Then remembers he’s supposed to be playing the Mr. Wilson game and hides everything except his eye.

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9:52: Why can’t I afford any of this beautiful stuff?

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9:52: Get pissed and turn off the phone. Pick up Kindle — reading the most wonderful story, The Invention of Wings. 

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10:something: Fall asleep.

The end. Yes, my life is that boring. But it was an awesome day, and I’m glad I took the time to document how I fill the hours these days. It will be fun to contrast someday!

True life: I live in the future

2014 August 18
by Laura

Has this ever happened to you: You run away with ideas about the future, you get carried away with planning, and you realize most of your thoughts circulate around what will be, what should happen, and life in the future?

Lately, I’ve had to instill a new mantra: “Today today today, now now now.”

The future looks AWESOME. I mean, we’re talkin’ “so bright I need shades” kind of future. A future with love and change and promises and, eventually, vows. Big purchases, beginnings of a new family, etc. And here I am again, getting carried away.

What exactly do I mean? Pinterest. DAMN YOU, PINTEREST. Way to ruin a perfectly productive hour of my life by making me look at pictures of crafts I can’t do in a house I don’t own, or ways to send out DIY invitations to a wedding I can’t plan because oh yeah, there’s about 20 steps I have to go through before we get to that point.

Logically, I can talk myself out of this. “The only time that we ever have is now!” “No day but today!” etc, etc, blah blah. Yeah, I get it — I totally know this is the only moment I will ever have in life, this one, right now. The time is now. There is no future, no past, and lots of other quotes from Rent. Yet I still find myself wrapped up in plans for a future that doesn’t exist.

Has anyone else ever felt this way? Have you planned how to decorate a guest bedroom in a house you can’t afford? Have you ever outlined a garden in your head that you’ll grow, a playroom you’ll design for your kids, or the menu at your future wedding?

:::crickets:::

I confess: I live in the future. It’s not even because the present is unbearable or unpleasant. The present is awesome, too. I just get lost in obsessive planning for things that cannot, and should not, yet be planned.

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Just me?

I’ll go listen to “No Day But Today.”