you’re so lovely, california

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^^ this trip might have been us two {ahem, three} ^^

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^^ and i might have had a whole lot of fun watching that one ^^

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^^ but it really was all about these two ^^

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i can’t even begin to describe how thankful i am that we were able to take these past two weeks to be with our friends. who knows if we’ll be able to do an extended visit like this again any time soon, since both girls will be in school and the new baby on the way might shift life for a while. we coined the term “european visit” last time around b/c europeans always seem to do the extended-length visit. i think they’re on to something. it was a long enough visit to settle into a rhythm of everyday life with just a bit of adventure spice added. i just hope these girls will remember these days.

california is soooo warm and sunny and pretty! i’ve had a bit of a weather shock coming back to below freezing temps this week. and i miss my friends. i want to thank them for making it such a memorable time for us. looove you!

but i am glad to be back in the way that i feel recharged and energized to take on life again. i feel revived by travel and new experiences. in actuality, it might just be the healthy dose of vitamin d. at any rate, i’m ready to take on spring. nesting urges may now commence.

and i’m ready to see all my columbus friends again. it’s time to come out from your hiber-holes, friendlies!

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weekending

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we made it. it was a whirlwind trip of driving 10 hrs friday and then again sunday. things were hairy for a bit but mostly it was a great, grand adventure.

see i have this theory about arkansas. my theory is that it’s the first state people forget is part of the united states. when people heard i was going to a wedding in arkansas most said “ooooohhhh yeah, arkansas. it exists!” ok, not really but that’s what i read from facial expressions and body language. but i was very pleasantly surprised by the town of hot springs where we spent the weekend for my baby cousin’s wedding.

this weekend i hiked a mountain in my boots and lipstick because i felt like it. i touched the dreamy, warm mineral waters in hot springs national park. i spent time chasing peacocks with my darla in a park that felt like i was visiting the elvish realms of middle earth. i visted with family. i hope you can tell by my writing how much i enjoyed these novel experiences.

in the name of transparency i’m going to put it out there that darla gave me a real run for my money this weekend. i don’t think you’re supposed to travel while mercury is in retrograde. i don’t think you’re supposed to travel with a willful 4.5 year old while mercury is in retrograde anyway. communicating with darla was difficult at times. bedtimes were late, candy and sweets were plentiful and well, it was travel, so those were all things throwing my little girl for a loop. the majority of the time she was sweet and loving but then something would come along and send her into a funk. i felt like i was living in a nursery rhyme: there was a little girl, who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead…

i’m not sure if i handled things well most of the time. in fact i know i didn’t handle things well at certain times. darla is almost 5 years old and i feel like i should have some concrete answers on how i should handle situations with her but i am still at a loss. is it like this always? like until they’re 18 and fly off on their own?

i also have to admit that this trip rekindled my desire to be a rubbertramp. plans and schemes have been forming in my head about spending months on the road, discovering places just like hot springs. there is so much of america i have yet to see and i’d really like to have a road adventure with my family.

maybe some day you’ll be reading a blog post about that ;-)

chicago is for forkheads

some latergrams of our mini-vacay in chicago, which was absolutely beautiful and perfect.

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oh how i love chicago.

i tried to take my picture-taking down a notch while there. at least i took fewer than i take of everyday life. i guess this is because i was trying to be present in the moment. and in part because i hadn’t planned on doing a post of the trip. but i decided to share because this will probably be one of the only vacations we’ll take this year so i’d like to record it. and because it might make you think i’m cool.

we travel to chicago for pitchfork almost every year. on the first day of the festival i was feeling like i’m just too old to hang with these hipster kids anymore. by the last day i remembered why i need to keep doing things like this. i need these excursions to keep me young. these trips reach back into my past and remind me of what my youth was about. they remind me of my interests and let the elaine that sometimes gets trapped under no’s, don’ts, stops and be carefuls!

it certainly helps that we were kid free for the weekend. {thanks parents!}

traveling is one of my favorite things we do as a family but it was nice to have a weekend between just husbeau and i. well, add our best friends to that equation but they were kidless as well so we all spent some much-needed quality time together…talking about our kids. no, not really. and that is what was great. we spent time talking about things other than our children. we were like real people for a few days.

some highlights from the weekend: daughn gibson, bike rentals down to the navy pier, phosphorescent, bjork, late night convos with our friends, belle & sebastian, solo walk through lincoln park & along the lake, r. kelly {even though i tried not to like it because he’s a perv} glazed & infused donuts, waxahatchee, m.i.a, sunshine, cool chicago breezes and feeling footloose and fancy free. shimmy shimmy shake.

i want to end this post with some thank yous: thank you to my parents for watching darla. thank you to robin for letting us crash on her floor, thanks to sarah and jeff for being such wonderful friends and attending numerous festivals with us over the years, thank you to mike for a wonderful, loving weekend and thank you universe for making chicago and the pitchfork festival exist in the first place. i heart you all.

Ace

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well, just add me to the long list of twenty-somethings that made themselves feel cooler by staying at the ace for our last day in palm springs. because it definitely made me feel cooler and somehow less cool. because everyone else was so cool. it was like a 7th grade dance all over again. complete with the fact that i was still donning a fake tattoo from the retreat and got really embarrassed at the pool feeling sure all the hipsters would think i had it on to try and fit in.

anyway, the vibe at ace was….pretty cool. i really dug it. even though people were making out in the hot tub the entire time. i hope my future will find me back there someday for a longer stay.

desert directive

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^^^^ i don’t even know where to begin ^^^

i guess i will start where this photo essay starts. the picture of ladies flowing from one space to another in brightly colored kaftans is what symbolizes this year’s Life(dot)next retreat for me. the locals thought we were a dance troupe.

i am longing to be back in that desert suspended in a space of self-improvement and introspection. there i was able to be california elaine. i was able to be desert elaine. i was able to be the elaine of my past and, hopefully, the elaine of my future. i was able to be warm. it’s cold here in ohio. reentry is not easy.

i’m finding it hard to write about this experience. there is so much i want to share with you, friends, but i am also feeling this deep, sacred bond and want to hold those events secret in my memory. in catchwords the weekend was filled with:

sun, warmth, laughter, windmills, torched smores, crafts, talismans, blanket forts, disco balls, kaftans, goddesses, vinho verde, connection, skill share, tutus, laugh-crying, hot tub confessions, origami fortune tellers, headbands, glow sticks, visualization meditation, exploration, walks, newness, cousins, MOUNTAINS & TACOS!!!

seriously, 75% of the meals i had while in palm springs were tacos.

for all of you fellow attendees- i fell head-over-heels in adoration of all of you. i’m forever thankful for all that you gave of yourself. that’s all we can ever give anyone.

already looking forward to the next one, whenever that may be, with much enthusiasm.

“if you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your life. there are no limits. there are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – bruce lee

senses

i’m catching up on the senses photo essay. my senses were extremely happy last week while attending the Life(dot)next Desert Directive. I have lots more to gush about but here’s just a little bit of my sensory stimulation last friday:

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^^^mountains. i want to see mountains, gandalf^^^

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^^^the sounds of women’s laughter & beautiful, intelligent conversations everywhere^^^
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^^^the feel of a kaftan from abu dabi is divine^^^

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^^^the taste of some vinho verde while crafting our goddesses project^^^

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^^^this had to make it in there. small smores fire. NBD^^^

Palmy

I’m having coffee and conversation with the mountains this morning. Life(dot)next Desert Directive kicked off yesterday and the weekend is going to be stellar. I mean, we’ve all been gifted kaftans from Abu Dabi already. Even if nothing else fruitful happens the retreat has already been a success.

BUT a lot more will happen.

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