Life is Change.

Sixteen years ago I skipped swim practice to get an Italian soda with my teammate at Grounds For Coffee. At that time smoking was still allowed inside and there was a room where all the smokers sat to drink their coffee.

Thirteen years ago I started hanging out at that same coffee shop. Smokers had been relegated to the patio and that is where, for the next two years, I spent way too many hours drinking way too many cups of coffee and smoking way, WAY too many cigarettes. This is where I went to meet up with friends, to play backgammon, to solve crossword puzzles. My life practically revolved around GFC. My ex-boyfriend and I spent a lot of time there.

Eleven years ago I broke up with that boyfriend and quit going. I felt somehow out of place there. It's interesting how somewhere that was so comfortable, so familiar could become, almost instantly, cold. I felt great anxiety going there. I thought to myself, "What if I see someone I know? What if I see a friend of X's? What if I see X?" I quit going.

Eight years ago I started going back on Saturday mornings for coffee and bagels with T. We walked the four blocks downhill and the four blocks back up when the weather was good and drove when it wasn't. We shared 3 bagels because at the time I was pregnant and one bagel was not enough. I grew comfortable there. It felt so warm and familiar again.

After L was born, we continued to go on Saturdays for a while. Mostly when the weather was good and we could walk. Little by little L grew older and soon enough she was asking for her own cup of coffee. So we ordered her a "kid coffee". Which is really just a soy steamer with carmel syrup in it. She always requested extra whipped cream.

And then something happened. We quit going.

I'm not really sure what it was, but we just quit going. Sure, we would occasionally stop on the way to work or school and grab a cup but our Saturday routine had been altered. Perhaps our Saturdays became too full. We were too busy going to gymnastics or soccer games or running errands to continue this tradition.

One year ago T started going back on a semi-regular basis and has met a lot of people there. He has made a lot of friends. He stops in at least once a day now. Usually just to say hi or see what is going on. There may come a point when he quits going.

Over the years GFC has gone through a lot of changes too. The interior has changed several times and is now a more sophisticated place. The exterior has changed as well, from one with a sort of run down patio full of smokers to a patio with a beautiful wrought iron gate where smoking is no longer allowed. The back of the building now displays the most amazing, vibrant mural depicting a garden full of plants and animals. And the property will soon be home to several small thriving gardens.

A lot of the changes in my own life can be compared to those I've experienced at GFC. There have been times when I have felt really good in my own skin and other times when I have felt out of place and not so comfortable. And at times I've felt cold and anxious. I was too busy to realize these changes were happening. I think I'm at a place right now where I'm beginning to feel comfortable again. I feel like I'm beginning to grow and thrive. Perhaps in time I, too, will be like that mural. Vibrant.

Let's go fly a kite

Spring is officially here and to celebrate we flew kites on Saturday. We packed a snack (apples and nutella, tortilla chips and mini-french toasts) and headed to Big Dee Park.

We easily launched the box kite and away it went. We flew kites (or should I say a kite my stunt kite took a serious nose dive and suffered some damage) for close to two hours. It was so much fun. I'm aching to go again, but wouldn't you know it, it's snowing. Such is spring in Utah.

It was 73 degrees on Saturday and it's snowing today. This is how it will go pretty much until June when it will snow one last time and then it will be blazing hot and dry. But then it will be perfect weather for early morning hikes and camping (which I think about non-stop) and gardening. Visits to the downtown farmers market and swimming. I can't wait. This winter has felt especially long.

Our locally owned coffee shop, Grounds for Coffee, is hosting a community garden for the first time this year. They have painted a beautiful mural (I'll post pics later) and built the raised garden beds this last weekend. I'm so excited for this as I have a small spot in my "backyard" for a raised bed garden but it isn't quite big enough to grow everything I'd like.

And you may be wondering what I cleaned this weekend. I purged a basket full of junky odds and ends, cleaned the bathroom and did a lot of laundry. I'll admit, laundry does not give me the same warm fuzzy feeling that cleaning other things does. Something about sorting and bending and lugging around awkward baskets, then folding and putting away that just doesn't quite do it for me. But the house is now clean and tidy and that always feels good.

The lean bedraggled one

Our family adopted a stray kitten about a year and a half ago. She was too cute to pass up. She slept on our porch each night and every day when we got home from work she was outside ready to play. We swore that after our previous two cats died we would never have another one. I couldn't help myself, I fed her.

We named her Beline Autumn. Autumn because she is orange and brown and black and Beline because, well, are you ready for this? My husband is a nerd. You see, he enjoys watching a little television show called, Star Trek: The animated series. It's completely nerdy and it puts you to sleep right away (which is probably why he enjoys watching it). When we were trying to think of a name he said, "she kind of looks like this cat-human thing on Star Trek: The animated series who is named Beline the draggled one."

I liked it, it seemed to fit. So that's what we called her. Then it was time to take her to be vaccinated and "fixed" and I had no idea how to spell her name so I put the Star Trek disc in with the episode starring this character and turn on the subtitles. To my surprise the characters' name wasn't Beline the draggled one, but The Lean Bedraggled One.

She is still known as Beline some of the time. Mostly we call her Belinee. She plays fetch and eats a lot. She is gigantic. And she tries every tactic in the book to wake us at 5am to feed her (because she seriously just might be starving to death and we wouldn't even know it). She jumps, very loudly, from the bedside table to the floor over and over again. Then she rattles the garbage can. Then she jumps on the bed purring loudly. Then she might rattle the window shades (this is a new one she has discovered and the one that irritates me the most). Lucky for her I'm a light sleeper or she might wither away into nothing.

The first but definitely not the last

I'm not sure where this blog will lead but I hope it is a great adventure for myself and anyone who happens upon it. I have an image in my mind of what I would like this blog to be but I'm not sure exactly how to get there. It is a work in progress, as is life.

I first considered starting a blog years ago but always put it off because I figured I would never write as beautifully as some of the women whose blogs I had been reading. I'm sure some of those women have innate talents for writing and some of them have worked really hard to get express their feelings. Either way, they have all spent a lot of time making their blogs what they are. For each of them I'm sure that their content and writing styles have evolved over time as will mine. As for not being a great writer, well, I hope to overcome that.

The title of my blog is not the end of what I will post about but it popped into my head the other day while I was cleaning my kitchen. Most people enjoy a clean living space (I'm sure there are a few people who don't care either way), but I actually enjoy cleaning my living space. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an anal retentive clean freak. Sure, I like things to be a certain way and I like the pans to be stacked in the cupboard just so, but I'm certainly not obsessive about it. I do, however, find it extraordinarily relaxing to clean (or cook) something.

At first I didn't realize it but a few weeks ago after an exceptionally hectic day at work I drove home and all I wanted to do was cook something. Not eat it (I enjoy that too) but cook something. As soon as I started, I felt much more relaxed and the even weirder thing is that I enjoyed cleaning up afterward. I got into this zone where I was cleaning up and washing dishes and didn't have a care in the world.

This past Monday the same thing happened at work. I was frustrated with a project I was working on when the dirty sink area caught my eye. I couldn't stop myself, not only was I washing glassware that didn't belong to me(I'm a chemist and the lab I work at is currently without a dishwasher) I was throwing away old brushes and cleaning out from under the sink (which looked like WWIII, btw). I wasn't irritated doing it, but actually enjoying it. It calmed me and when I finished, I was able to focus on my project again.

Who knows, perhaps taking a walk would have had the same effect. Maybe it's the diversion that I need in order to find calm and I'm not so weird afterall. But these events prompted me to start this blog. To put these thoughts out there. To overcome my fear of being a horrible writer.