Just an FYI

I know I'm neglecting the post, but I have excuses reasons.

-BIG first exam in my Chemistry class tonight (PLEASE wish me luck!)
- finishing my application for PA school to turn in by Friday 8am (PLEASE wish me luck!)
-getting through two weeks worth of samples at work that I have to have done instead in 4 days (no time at work for quick posts.....no time really even to write this post)
-Planning Napa.....ok well lets face it, this ones a ridiculous reason to not put up posts, but it's all I want to do right now!!  10-day countdown!

Thurs/Friday: Prepare for Post Explosion!  So many things to update!! (Cardinals game, Sarah's Family visit, Bathroom 99% DONE!!!, Painting Fiasco, The Help Book review)  Oh it's gonna be good!


5 Year Anniversary Date

And here's to 60 more!
We had dinner at Cielo, The Four Seasons Rooftop Restaurant.  The sunset was stunning.  So was my date:

And a happy 5th it was...


Hot Air Balloon Festival

This past weekend was St Louis' annual Hot Air Balloon event and Race.  I've been wanting to go the past two years but shocking as it may seem, Terry had positively no interest in attending.  This year though, luckily, Sarah's mom has been in from the UK and they were both itching to get out and do something, so they came downtown Friday evening for the Balloon Glow.  They have a large open field set up with 30 hot air balloons and they are all blown up but kept grounded through the evening, where the crowds can walk around amongst them.

Probably my favorite shot of the night

It very much felt like a fair with the swarms of people and the cotton candy/gyro/funnel cake/brats stands everywhere.  Not to mention it was hilarious being there with 2 Brits, one of which had never heard of Funnel Cake before, but devoured almost every bite like it was this ingenious creation.  All the balloons together though and being able to walk around in the middle of them all was absolutely beautiful.


The Bathroom's closed in, primed and grouted!

The bathroom is very quickly inching in towards completion.  Terry was even so bold as to say that it would be functional by our anniversary (next weekend).  

My typical perch of pictures is gone for good now.  Where I had been standing in this doorway (which is on our hallway that previously was the door to our hall closet).....

...to take full view of the bathroom shots and progress...

...is now closed up, taped, mudded, sanded, and primed!! (This view is now from standing in the entrance to the bathroom from our master bedroom)

Our current view of the hallway

Once the drywall is up in the hall.....man that is going to be a long hall wall to fill with art!

Other work recently completed: Grout is in.  (Don't worry, it is in desperate need of still being scrubbed down and sealed.  Lots of dirt and wash still needing to get rid of)

I've gotten a few complaints of not being able to keep track of where the angles are coming from in pics and a bit of difficulty with layout, so I will for now still refer you to Our House Plan, and the bathroom currently being worked on is the only bathroom that has a closet (what used to be the hall closet) attached to it.  Please note, as of now, that hasn't been updated since April.....oops?  Suppose I have a new thing to add to my to-do list.  Wow, even for me just looking at this right now, it's amazing how much has changed since then!

So the last kick to the finish consists of:
Installing the Vanity
Purchasing/Installing the Sinks (we are about 99% sold on these vessel sinks)
Purchasing/Installing the Faucets (we are about 99% sold on these faucets)
Installing the Toilet
Installing the Shower Head / Handle
Terry building the built-in....but that's not pertinent for the bathroom to be functional so I imagine that's still going to be a while.

GAHHHH, so close!!


Wedding Photo Weekend, and 10 years ago

I'm not a wordsmith, so bare with me as I jump around a bit through this post, but meaningful in the end.

What a weekend!  Friday, I left work a little early to head up to Chicago for the weekend to help assist Jordan with a wedding shoot.  I got up there around dinner time and we met up with our friend Mike for a few drinks.  I've been missing my friends quite a lot here recently, so it was very soul-filling so-to-speak.  We had a very relaxed night and went to bed early to prep for the fun mayhem to come.

Saturday started with Breakfast at Toast right near her house and it was the perfect way to start the day! Little did I know that it was nothing in comparison to the amazing day ahead.  We met the bride at her downtown hotel and beauty billowed from every inch of her.  From the formal Chinese Tea Ceremony, to the Trolley ride with the bridal party all around town for Chicago Themed photo ops, to consistently noticing the smallest of details that were so intricately crafted for their special day, it was so overwhelmingly abundant how much love we were being surrounded by.  That kind of love that you can just tell destiny played its part.  It made my little role for the day so easy; effortless almost but in a burnt to a crisp, dog-tired, yet still smiling ear-to-ear kind of way.
Photo from Jordan Quinn Photography

Billy picked us up after the shoot and took us to his house where he had tacos for late night dinner waiting for us. (We've got such good boyfriends) We instantly devoured them. Apparently I hold tacos like a Raptor. Good times. We reflected on our favorite parts of the day, watched a little TV, then promptly headed home for bed.

I woke up Sunday morning on Jo's couch still in a photo haze.  It was one of those sleeps where I crashed out in complete exhaustion, slept for only 6 hours, but woke feeling rejuvenated, both in my mind and my body.  Words can't really express how much I needed to spend Saturday with her.  I knew I was missing my friends, but not to the extent that I felt once I was back with them. The Midwest and it's closed off circles of friends is finally making me crack.

It was still rather early, so I came out of my sleep coma slowly, eventually turning on the TV.  It was 7:46 in Chicago.  The only sound coming through was a bell tolling, and the image was of the American Flag, followed by Ground Zero. A headline came across the screen; A moment of Silence: 8:46EST- Flight 11 crashes into World Trade Center's North Tower 1. I instantly thought back to where I was 10 years ago; Driving to school and about to go to my Photography class my Senior year.

I started weeping, the big "Ugly Cry" kind of way.  I flashed back to a moment in the middle of the photo shoot the day before where I had warned Jo that I would try my best not to break down in tears during their ceremony. She had giggled at me and said, "You're so silly; you don't even know these people".  I thought about that and it helped me pull myself together on her couch as the tears were streaming down my face, unable to rip my eyes from the TV screen. (Lord knows she didn't need to be dealing with her blubbering friend on the sofa first thing on a Sunday morning :-).)  But I just couldn't help it.  I couldn't separate the raw sadness in the peoples faces coming through the screen from the sadness it created in me.  Much the same way the day before; I couldn't separate the raw happiness I was engulfed in throughout that wedding from the happiness it created in me. I suppose it's not really who it's about or how much or little you know of them, it's moreso what emotions it sparks within you. 

Jo got up a few hours later and we had a far too brief but always happy morning, then goodbyes and I was back on the road again toward home; towards Terry.  I couldn't wait to be with him, just to tell him how fortunate I am to be his; he to be mine.  Weddings always do that to me.  Yesterday 9/11 did too. I hate to think that it's only in times like 9/11 that make people stop to truly appreciate their lives and take a moment to not take things for-granted.  I try as often as I can to be thankful for who I have in my life, and make sure they know how much they mean. So if I call too often, it's just that I miss you and want to hear your voice.  If I text too often, it's just because you're on my mind.  If I tell you I Love You and you're not "an I Love You kind of person", that's ok so long as you understand what you mean to me and in my life.  I think everyone needs that from time to time.

I came across a great quote from a JMU Alum that sums everything up well, ""If there is a legacy that we as a nation should cherish from the tragedy of September 11, it is this: What separates us should always be secondary to what unites us."  I think this very much goes for life too; always find a way to stay connected, stay bonded, stay close. I'm certainly giving it my all.


My Piano: Goodbye old friend

A little known fact is that all through growing up, I played piano.  I started playing when I was 5 or 6, and played until I was 13 when I started High-school and couldn't fit everything in my life.  I was trained in strictly Classical music (there was a small stint where I went to a teacher who let me play what I wanted, but A)at that point I was just burnt out and B)looking back I'm pretty sure he was on drugs the whole time.).
I received my piano from my older brothers' mom, Susan.  I'm not sure the date that she purchased it, but from one of her hilarious stories about my brothers still being babies and her sitting facing the keys and one of them up-chucking all over it dates it to being in our family at least 40 years.  She lovingly gave it to me when she found out I was learning the piano on an outdated keyboard.  Having that piano really allowed me to love the music and love the instrument that is Piano.  I played, and at times I really loved it.  I think that those were the times that I was actually really good at it.  I did the typical high schooler thing  though and thought it was "so uncool" to play piano and "who wants to play Beethoven anyway?!", so I quit. I certainly don't regret quitting because it was the right thing for me at the time, but I think what I regret now is that I had a piano there to have an opportunity to re-learn it, and I took it for granted that it would always be there. 
Moms house Thanksgiving Eve 2002 (Meg...HILARIOUS, right?!)

The piano stayed at my Mom's house all through college and through my time in my apartment in Maryland. The right time finally came for it to be with me when I decided to move to Texas with Terry. We were renting a huge house, and frankly, it would make it feel like a home for me. 
It had the perfect spot in the house in Texas; a room all to itself with lots of daylight and lots of room for the notes to carry in the rare chances I played (or tried to play). 

Christmas morning in Texas, 2008

When we got it here to Illinois, even with all the love we have put in this house, it just never had a proper home here.  There was no place to showcase her; no place that would be perfect to show her off.  It's been sitting on our entryway to the house for close to 2 years now, but the conversation of selling it or donating it came back up when we were finishing the entryway.   I was at peace with moving it on with the stipulation that a child would have it as an opportunity to learn at a young age.  

All the moving around it's gone through definitely took its toll.  I mean, I get it that a piano is not supposed to move from Delaware, to Texas, to Illinois, and to who knows where for our next move.  Not to mention how much it would continue to cost for us to move it around as we move. Terry and I have discussed the options with my piano, and it came down to the point that it's just not feasible for us to keep moving it around the country. 
I posted it on Craigslist in the afternoon and by the end of the day, I had 7 people wanting it. I chose a man whose brother is a piano teacher who fixes up old pianos and gives them to his students who have keyboards or play at their churches to learn.  When I called him and we scheduled our time for him to come pick it up, I got really choked up and told Terry he may need to be prepared for me to be a wreck.

And Wreck I Was.  Wreck I still am I suppose, as I'm sobbing writing this post.

About an hour before he was to be here to pick it up, I just lost it.  While I understand it's just an inanimate object and I can't hold on to things forever, this piano has not only been a part of my life the last 20 years, but a part of my families life for the last 40 years.  It was by no means perfect, in fact some might say it was a wreck with it's horrible finish, in serious need of tuning, and 3 keys broken, but it was perfect to me.  
Terry was so good with it all.  He had been golfing and got home to me in the kitchen sobbing.  When the poor guy showed up, I was a wreck.  Terry had to take over and let me go back to our room because I couldn't keep it together.  I pulled it together as they were strapping it to the trailer to carry the piano bench out and just silently say goodbye (I know, so ridiculous, but I just wish I could describe the void). A friend from work compared it to a pet, "it's hard to let go of something you've had so many memories with, but there must come a point where it's for the best".  I know it's going to go to someone who can treat it better than I did, and hopefully some new family can have it for the next 40 years and get as attached to it as I didn't realize I was but have blatantly found out. I just hope the sadness eases up over time.

It just seems so empty now.