We’re Moving!

I haven’t posted in a couple weeks, but thankfully it’s not because I haven’t been writing. In the past month, I’ve written about 10,000 words on two writing projects, which I’m hesitant to even talk about because I’m afraid it’ll shrivel up and die. Projects can be fragile things until they’ve grown up enough to survive opening their eyes, standing on their own legs, being seen. 

During this time, Tyler and I were also looking for a house. And just this past weekend, our offer on a house was accepted. The next month will be busy as we proceed with due diligence inspections, possible further negotiations, and packing. We wanted to start this process early so we’d have plenty of time to find out what we like and what we don’t, as well as a new home, before out apartment’s lease is up at the end of the summer. We didn’t expect to find a house we love our very first day viewing houses. We felt so immediately comfortable in every room. We love how the dining room, living room, and kitchen flow into one another. We love that, though the house is big, it feels cozy and inviting and warm. Visiting a second time not quite a week later, we were ready to offer. 

We’re learning a lot about the home buying process and are preparing our lives and budgets for this big change. Even if something happens and this particular house falls through, this is something we want to do this summer. We’ve started up our nonessentials. I’m stockpiling recipes and asking about Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. I’ve been researching bookshelves and rugs and decorations we currently lack, and which we’ll probably buy over time, since we currently only have enough furniture to fill a one-bedroom apartment, not a four-bedroom house. 

I’m making lists of cleaning supplies we’ll need and all the places I’ll need to call to have our address changed. I’ve downloaded a browser extension that shows me if the books I’m looking at online are available at my local library (to cut down on my book purchasing). We’ve already planning a small, weekend vacation and have agreed that that’ll be it for a while. We’re also planning to go back to a weekly game night instead of the weekly movie night (although we’ve seen some fantastic movies this summer). 

This will be my second move in less than a year and Tyler’s first in three years. It’ll be our first time moving together, and it won’t be particularly gradual. Last year, every time I went to Tyler’s apartment I brought something—a box of scarves or candles or mugs or something—to move. This time, we’ll both be moving, and will likely do so over the course of a weekend or a week. 

We’re excited. We’re busy. We’re a little overwhelmed. My writing will definitely suffer during this time. I’ll try to keep up the blog, but if I post erratically, you’ll have an idea why. Thanks for hanging in there. 

Another Katie

Sometimes I like to play a game. When I see something I really like but would not buy, be it a necklace or a wedding dress or a piece of furniture, I like to imagine the version of Katie who would buy it. After all, I do like it. With different life experiences, jobs, and relationships, I might have become a Katie who would buy it. 

For example, I saw this sofa in an Amazon ad on Insta last week. It only has one rating (and it’s one star), but I love the rainbow buttons, the smooth dark wood softening the black upholstery. I love the unique, enveloping shape. I imagine it in a number of spaces, but none of them resemble the home I currently have. I also don’t think that Tyler would go for it, both for the buttons and the black fabric and the rather thin-looking cushion.

So what sort of Katie would buy it?

She has a long entryway, rising to a sweeping curved staircase. She likes to restore old homes, and bought this one in the historic district as a 5-year renovation project. The crystal chandelier above the front door, visible in a half-moon window from the street out front, came with the house and she recently put it back up after cleaning it. The wood floors are original to the house, though she’s replaced more than a few boards. This Katie wants a fun piece where she can put on her shoes and lay her guests’ coats, while keeping the entryway from feeling too stuffy.  She likes that the buttons can pull in any accent color, so it looks fine next to the plethora of bags and coats she has hanging from the row of mildly tarnished hooks by the door. Beneath, she tucks her two favorite pairs of flats and her paint-spattered Keds.

Is there a version of you that’d buy this sofa? If so, what sort of person are they?

Dear Grad

I had the opportunity this year to write cards congratulating two recent high school graduates and wishing them well on their coming college adventures. The following is a longer version of my messages to them.

Dear Grad,

Congratulations on your graduation. I almost added “from high school” but that feels inadequate. You closed the book on at least 14 years of mandatory, highly regulated schooling, much of which was in subjects you had little interest in and under people you may not have liked or respected. And you got through it. You completed your senior year while also making plans, leaping through flaming hoops, and establishing where you’ll be next. This is the part that begins to feel like adulthood, staying on top of what you’re doing while preparing to move somewhere else. Keeping your grades up and working. Working and getting a new job. Working and moving and making new friends. Working and planning a wedding and marriage. Working and raising a new puppy. You’ll have a lot of “working and” from now on. And you handled your first season of it successfully. Congratulations.

The person you’ll grow into in college and beyond will forever be changing. Sooner or later, you’ll challenge your own ideas of who you are and what you want. You might wake up one day and know in your core that your favorite color is no longer purple, that you love Brussel sprouts, that you’re brave or capable where you didn’t think so before. You’ll find all kinds of new activities you like and you’ll leave behind many others. One of the best parts of what’s to come is all the opportunities to just try things. Try that restaurant. Try that movie. Try that hobby. Try that trip. Try that sport. Your parents and the people who have known you practically from diapers aren’t telling you “that’s not you.” Don’t you dare do it to yourself. As long as it isn’t hurting you or anyone else (that’s my adulthood-required caveat), give new things a try.

When I was in the summer you’re in, planning for my college years and making lists and hiding my fears and enjoying every home cooked meal like I was moving to Mars instead of Georgia, I loved picking out things for my new room and my new life. I had choices where I never had before, like in my color of towels. I got to pick out whatever shower curtain I wanted. I chose decorations and colors that felt full of possibilities, that could hold all the new life I’d paint on them. You’ll need a lot of practical things, like spatulas and screwdrivers and a new pair of shoes. The gift I’m including can be for those things. Or it can be for something that feels frivolous but is also life-giving, like a succulent or a bird-shaped USB or a fuzzy pillow. I hope your choice, whatever it is, will feel full of possibilities. Why not have red kitchen utensils? Why not pick a lamp that looks like Medusa’s hair? Why not try a different color bedspread? Why not get a Game of Thrones cutting board or a tape dispenser that looks like a cat? Pick something that feels like you. 

You don’t have to have everything figured out. You don’t have to be accomplished or ambitious or successful in everything. You won’t be. That’ll feel really freeing in a few years, even if it’s making you sweat right now. There’s as much or more to gain from learning who you don’t want to be, what you don’t want to do, as there is in finding something that suits you. And even if it suits you, you don’t have to stick to it. No one is going to stand over your shoulder and glare or try to guilt you about it, thank goodness. 

Who you are now would be amazed at who you’ll be in a year. But college can be really lonely at first, especially if you don’t have friends going there with you, or when your friends are making other friends faster than you seem to be. Give it 3 months. In 3 months, you’ll have people to go to dinner with and plans for your weekends.

You’ll be okay. You’re building yourself into a whole new person in a whole new world, and you’ll be fine.

Congratulations,
Katie

A Day Off Is Saving My Life

“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

—Maya Angelou

Last year, I wrote about how poetry was saving my life. I put the question that sparked that post to myself this week and discovered that having a day off last Saturday made the biggest difference in my life. Prior to Mother’s Day, I’d traveled 3 weeks in a row. I was so tired. I was trying to recover from a cold. I was worn out. And as I looked around, I saw dishes piling in the sink, baseboards needing dusting, a tub needing scrubbing, and a mounting pile of laundry. Getting those things done would make me feel better, but they’d also leave me as physically exhausted as ever.  

So, on the first Saturday I’d had at home in a month, I sat down with my toast and reread passages of Aurora Rising, a book I’d recently read and loved. I washed my hair, then lay on the sofa with Tyler and watched a couple of shows on the science channel. I met my former roommate for lunch and then we went to see The Hustle. I ran a couple errands afterwards in the rain, both necessary for Mother’s Day the next day, and arrived home with my arms laden with bags. I dumped them all on the floor and fixed myself a bowl of ice cream. I enlisted Tyler’s help to wrap the presents for the next day. I checked on my plants. I dozed. After a frozen pizza dinner, I watched two Hallmark movies, then went to bed. 

I sometimes talk about being socially exhausted as being “peopled out.” Saying this to my former roommate once, she quickly offered to leave me be, but I answered, “You don’t count.” Of course, she counts as a person, but she isn’t someone who tires me out, whose presence drains me of energy. This puts her in company with only a couple other people in the world. I can want nothing to do with all of humanity and still be happy to be in her company. She still holds that position, but now Tyler’s there too, along with my best friend and my brother. My ideal day involves a lot of quiet time to myself, or in the company of those few people who I can fully, completely rest around. 

On my ideal day, I don’t have to cook or clean. I don’t have leave the house at all. I nap. I eat something sweet. I read in the sunshine. I watch something funny. That Saturday was pretty close to perfect. But a perfect day off, a day of true rest, doesn’t happen on its own. It has to be planned for and it must be guarded. 

When I plan a day off, I make sure I have food for all my meals. I accomplish early or push back every possible chore, phone call, and obligation. Even if I have just one thing to do, it can feel like a burden until it’s over. At the very least, that one email or phone call distracts me from following my proverbial bliss. I let go of my expectations about the dishes and my hopes for the baseboards. I carefully choose who I’ll let into my day so I can spend my time recharging. I do simple, quiet things and let the simple quiet restore me. I set myself up for success by lowered my expectations for myself and focusing on my word for the year: enjoy. When I’m tired, I sleep. When I’m hungry, I eat. I’m kind to myself. I let myself heal.

I’m well aware that many people don’t have a whole day to set aside to do only the things they most want to do. For many people, keeping themselves alive for one day, doing the bare minimum, requires much more than my day requires. If nothing else, keeping another human or two alive, plus a couple of animals, requires effort I don’t have to put forth right now. And for many people, reaching that bar is all they’re capable of on a typical day. Our ideal days might very, very different be based on our season in life and who’s around us. 

What does your ideal day look like? And if that seems like too much to think about, what would you do if you had a morning or afternoon off to just rest? 

NYC Stories

Okay. I’m fessing up and giving up. The gaming series I’ve been working on for over a month just isn’t coming together. So I’m abandoning it for now and getting back into my weekly routine. 

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of the media I’ve consumed, but primarily books, are get in NYC. And as a consequence, I haven’t been able to get NYC out of my head. All the strings have pulled together and I’m seeing NYC in every direction I look. Even in places where it may not be, like in the Netflix series Umbrella Academy.

I’m happy with this proliferation of New York in how I perceive my world because I love the city, but it’s odd. And distracting, like a song you can’t get out of your head until you listen to it a few times. Except, I can’t pop up for the afternoon to have lunch with a friend, sit on a bench on the Brooklyn Promenade looking at the skyline of lower Manhattan, or walk out of The Strand bookstore and up the street until my legs burn. 

So, I’ve put together a list of some books and movies set in NYC. I hope you find a few new ones to try. If you can, enjoy them next to a vase of tulips or with a scooped toasted bagel and cream cheese—anything that means NYC to you.

Books

  • The Sun Is Also a Star
  • Before the Fall
  • Once More We Saw Stars (forthcoming)
  • Shadowshaper
  • Burn Baby Burn
  • Another Brooklyn
  • Roomies
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After

Movies

  • The Sun Is Also a Star (forthcoming)
  • Isn’t it Romantic
  • Spiderman: Homecoming
  • The Intern
  • Maid in Manhattan
  • 27 Dresses
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • You’ve Got Mail

If there’s a book or movie set in NYC you think I’d like, comment and let me know!

(En)joy

On New Year’s Eve, as we were reading in bed after watching the ball drop in New York City, I told Tyler that I thought my word for the year should be either joy or enjoy. In my mind I’d stylized it (en)joy, at least until one or the other became more apparent.

As with “believe”, my word for 2018, I wanted my word for 2019 to encourage me and remind me of my goals and hopes for this year. I want to relish it. A year without a huge party to plan. A year, hopefully, without last year’s stress. I just want to enjoy being married, spending time with friends, and following whatever whims come to me: wreath design, scarf creation, weekend-long read-a-thons, maybe a dance class. Instead of worrying or stressing, I want to enjoy this year. I want to find joy in all the little things around me. I even thought of a photo I could keep by my desk, a jumping picture in the desert from the same trip to Egypt as my 2018 photo.

So I find it ironic, and tiring, that I got sick on New Year’s Day with a sinus infection that laid me out for two weeks. I haven’t been that sick since I had the flu four years ago. Tyler was also sick. Many of the things that usually bring us comfort, like cuddling and going for walks, were out of reach. We struggled to find the energy to feed ourselves three times a day. We went to work when we felt well enough (which wasn’t often), went to Publix for orange juice and saltines and a different kind of decongestant that might help me sleep. We were in constant need of more Kleenex.

Enjoy? We were miserable.

And now I’m sick again. And things at work are complicated. And I’m still trying to get my name and address changed in all the necessary places. And once again I can’t seem to get enough sleep. And I’m thinking about my word and wondering How?

I have, of course, thought back to the many Sunday school lessons that focused on the differences between happiness and joy. Happy is a fleeting feeling based on circumstances. Joy is an abiding connection to God regardless of circumstances. I have tried to connect to joy by naming things I’m grateful for, like Tyler, blankets we’ve been gifted, sunshine, Gatorade, paid sick leave, health insurance, and money for plungers and Kleenex and pizza someone else made.

I’m stubborn, so I’m not changing my word now. But I am beginning to worry that this year will be a trying one in ways I cannot begin to comprehend. I know I’m tired and therefore prone to some fatalism. But if this year is going to be a difficult one, the joy and enjoyment I’m seeking will constantly be in spite of. Which sucks. But we aren’t guaranteed anything else in life. We aren’t guaranteed time where everything’s great, where the government isn’t shut down, where everyone I love is well, where Tyler and I each have the time to pursue our own interests, where we aren’t plagued by worries.

But neither are we promised a life with no enjoyment at all, no sweetness or fun. And we have had those times this year.

We’ll see what the balance will be.

Color Questions

A couple of days before my brother proposed to his girlfriend, I texted him to ask what her favorite color is. I wanted to send them engagement gifts in time for the big question and wasn’t sure what color to pick for hers.

He texted back, “Green (I think, double checking).”

I started to text back, “No wait! If you don’t know, you don’t want to ask outright!” But I didn’t. After all, I wouldn’t get upset if my husband didn’t know my favorite color. Actually, I was pretty sure he didn’t. I couldn’t remember us ever talking about it, and if we had it’d been years earlier. We’d known each other 9 years before we started dating, after all. We simply didn’t have as many of the expected “get to know you” conversations in our remembered past.

So I looked at my husband and said, “My favorite color’s red. I don’t expect you to have known that.”

His ears hadn’t been ready to listen, and I hadn’t given any context, so he asked me to repeat myself and then asked a couple of clarifying questions. Once done, he said thoughtfully, “I wouldn’t have guessed that.”

“I didn’t think so,” I told him. I don’t use it in decorating or wear a lot of red or anything. “But I wanted to tell you.” Then I asked, “What’s your favorite color?”

“It’s blue.”

“Okay,” I answered. “That’s what I would have guessed.”

The summer after I graduated from high school, my youth minister, his wife, and our head pastor took as many graduates from the church as wished to go (as I remember, there were 3 or maybe 4 of us) to a lake in TN for a long weekend. As we played cards after dinner the first night, one of my fellow grads sat forward.

“I want to confess something,” she announced, loud enough to attract the entire’s room’s attention.

We weren’t from a denomination where confession is done publicly or in a structured time/place, so no one seemed to know quite what to do.

“My whole life,” she continued after a moment, her face rapturous, “whenever someone’s asked what my favorite color is, I’ve said green. But really, it’s blue.”

The room fairly erupted into laughter and applause.

She hurried to explain, “Everyone always says their favorite color is blue, and I didn’t want to be like everyone else, so I said green. But it’s really blue.”

The adults fanned their faces and sagged with relief into their chairs. “I thought this was going to be something serious!” one exclaimed.

“Well,” said my friend, still in a very good mood, “it is. I’ve always known the truth about myself but I didn’t share it. And we’re talking about who we want to become when we go to college. I just want to be more myself, and have the confidence to say what’s true even if it’s the same as everyone else.”

I, meanwhile, did a gut check of my own favorite color. It’s red, isn’t it? I questioned, searching my feelings as I outwardly applauded. Yup. Definitely red. I didn’t have a cool revelation to share and shock everyone—which held a measure of appeal to me—but I knew my favorite color.

My brother soon texted back, “Her favorite color is blue and I sense I’m in a teensy bit of trouble.”

“Uh oh!” I answered. “Tyler didn’t know mine either if that helps.”

Except, now I’m wondering.

I just picked out colors for a wedding and a whole registry worth of household items. How much red had I chosen? I looked up from my brother’s texts and studied the room: a Christmas pillow on the armchair, the wreath on the door, the tree skirt. That was about it. The watercolors I’d bought for our home didn’t include red. Our quilt was mostly purple with stripes of neutrals and bold colors in the same palate. Our dinnerware wasn’t red. The clothes I’d bought that fall included 2 red sweaters, but I had many more neutral sweaters, and my closet hadn’t felt complete without a purple one. I never pushed for red towels and I’d originally planned to change the red, grey, and white shower curtain in one of the bathrooms, but it grew on me.

So how do I feel about red?

I still get a zip from it. The 2 red stripes on the quilt. Red cars. Red Christmas accents. My Atlanta United jersey. My car.

In general, I find red more imposing than I used to, and than I prefer. I don’t want to see red walls or red linens every day for the whole year. No red drinking glasses. No red towels. No red coats or art. A friend chose red as her accent color for her winter wedding, and I liked it, but I was glad I’d chosen sapphire blue, with a little peachy pink for variety.

What colors am I preferring these days? I looked around again. My coat, favorite long and short-sleeve shirts, much of the quilt, and new journal are all purple. Our towels, koi watercolor prints, cooler, bridesmaid dresses, bouquets, new cell phone, and favorite highlighter are all blue.

I don’t know that all this constitutes a change in my official favorite color. I don’t have to decorate with or wear a color for it to be my favorite. But I also know I’m not the same person I was as a child and teen and high school graduate. Gratefully so. It’s conceivable that one’s favorite color might change. And maybe that’s the case with me.

Why am I think about all this? It’s a new year. And at a new year, I tend to evaluate myself and my life. What’s working for me? What would I like to build differently or new this year? What do I know about myself that I didn’t a year ago? Some years I think about shoes, some years I think about colors. And, since I’ve been sick with a bad sinus infection since NYE, missing days of work on top of the holidays I already had off, I’ve had a lot of time to look around my apartment and wonder.

November Made

I’m planning a series of more reflective posts for Advent, which starts next week, but I didn’t want to get off schedule too much before then. So bear with me for a brief overview of my November creations.

I’ve been crafting again! Okay, I didn’t stop. In the past month, I’ve crocheted three pumpkins (orange, white, and green) and a turkey (Terence, my first foray into stuffed animals, as evidenced by the crooked tail feathers and oddly proportioned head). I turned a few empty ornaments into mini winter wonderlands and displays for our keepsakes like graduation tassels and a bracelet from our honeymoon. I have plans for a few more ornaments, if only I can get the right size and shape plastic ornaments.

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I made a banana pudding that only required me to go back to the store once. I chickened out on the meringue, as I’ve never made it by myself before and the pudding was intended for Tyler’s family Thanksgiving. Tyler and I made beef stew, taco soup, and a potato casserole together. The soups were experiments in our Instant Pot, both of which turned out well and froze well (important when you’re only feeding two at a time). We also baked whipped shortbread cookies and snickerdoodles. The snickerdoodles will definitely come out of our kitchen again.

Tyler created a gorgeous and highly delicious unicorn cake for my 30th birthday that I love too much to not mention here, though it certainly wasn’t my accomplishment.

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I read two books: An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoof and Cancer Just Is by Morgan J. Bolt (this one was for work and I loved it). Both are excellent memoirs, the first about two years sailing the Caribbean and food, the latter about four years of cancer treatments and theology.

I didn’t participate in NaNo in a traditional sense this year, but I did use it to track the words I wrote on all my many writing projects, most of which are secret. I’m happy to report that I broke 10k words yesterday, which was my goal for the month.

I’ve seen 12 Hallmark Christmas movies so far this season, my top two favorites being “Road to Christmas” and “It’s Christmas, Eve.” (The full list is below.) Tyler hasn’t been very impressed with Hallmark movies so far, but he’s now seen 5 and has survived very well. I particularly enjoy when he starts shouting at the characters.

-Christmas at Pemberley Manor
-Christmas Joy
-Road to Christmas
-Let It Snow
-Christmas at Reindeer Lodge
-Christmas in Love
-A Bramble House Christmas
-Engaging Father Christmas
-Marrying Father Christmas
-It’s Christmas, Eve
-A Veteran’s Christmas
-Christmas in Graceland

We’re planning to put up our tree this weekend and I’m hoping to finish the ornaments and a wreath I have in mind by then. The calendar has really thrown me off this year. I’m used to transitioning directly from Thanksgiving to Advent, but we have a whole week in between. Whatever your week looks like, I hope it’s bright and life-giving.

Getting Crafty

I noticed the change about a month ago. I was in the midst of wedding chaos and moving chaos and the heavy presence of family and expectations and scrutiny. I didn’t have enough time. I didn’t want to write. I read to survive, mentally and emotionally, but I wasn’t particularly excited about any one book. What I did get excited about, though, was crafts.

Two weeks before the wedding, I went to Joann’s after work to buy a hot glue gun, scrap fabric, matching thread, and a small mason jar to make my own pin cushion. I had found an unopened box of straight pins and was returning my mom’s sewing kit, with pin cushion top, after 10-15 years in my possession. I’d noticed a lot of things I’d quietly pilfered from her over the years and I wanted to give them back. After doing so, I needed a pincushion. I could buy one online and it’d be delivered in a couple days (Amazon) or a couple weeks (Etsy). I could buy one in an actual store and save some shipping time. But I wanted to make one.

A few days later, I got together with a couple of friends, and we each painted a canvas. I created a spooky (spoopy) pumpkin on a black and grey streaked background, which I set on the bookshelf in the living room as soon as I got to Tyler’s apartment that night.

We returned from our honeymoon to actual fall weather, and I realized I had less than 10 days to take full advantage of the Halloween season.

A day or two later, I had an idea for a wreath while at work, and raced home on my lunch break to see what I could cobble together from materials I already had. I found a rope circle such a people use for macrame, and which I’d originally intended to turn into a spring wreath for my parents. I grabbed a length of off-white yarn and a pair of scissors and plopped down on the living room floor to spin a spider’s web.

Twenty minutes later, I clipped a black rose barrette, my makeshift spider, to the end of the string and hung my new wreath on the front door as I headed back to work. I remain really proud of it. Tyler’s dad makes wreaths for their house, so I showed him a picture of my creation and earned a “looks good.”

Sunday afternoon, I flipped through a magazine of winter holiday crafts at Tyler’s grandparents’ house and took pictures of the instructions for several projects I’m happily dreaming about.

Sunday, I crocheted a little sleeve to help protect my new phone until it’s case comes in.

This week, I intend to crochet a couple of pumpkins that I can also use to decorate through Thanksgiving.

I’m so happy with these projects, but the change still feels a little random, a little sudden. I didn’t spend a lot of time crafting before. I’d intentionally avoided Pinterest-ing any aspects of the wedding decorations so that my friends and I wouldn’t be rushing to fold enough paper roses or arrange the right number of silk flowers by the wedding date. So what’s with the sudden crafting passion?

In all my packing and moving, I rediscovered a bunch of craft supplies I’d forgotten about, plus buttons. And I still have those seashells from the beach at St. Augustine last year. What can I do with all that? A crate full of yarn is hard to give away, so what can I do to whittle down what I do have? Yes, I intended to make a scarf from that skein and a hat from that one, but what can I do with it today?

I think the lack of a deadline (except Halloween or Christmas) is a big draw. I can do these projects casually, whenever I get the chance. And it’s something that I can finish. I can’t finish all the laundry in a day (though I tried). I can’t finish all the unpacking in a day (again, I tried). I’ve yet to finish this book I’ve been working on for 7 years or this scarf I’ve been crocheting all year. But I can create something I like, something I wanted, in just a few minutes or a few hours.

Plus, I don’t have many holiday decorations. The last five years, I’ve lived with someone who had her own decorations for the living room, kitchen, and other shared spaces before I got there. The decorations I did acquire were mostly for my bedroom and mostly Christmas-themed. I don’t have decorations for fall or for a whole apartment. I don’t know how Tyler will like the ones I do have. And I don’t want to spend a ton of money on ornaments or red pillows just to have ornaments and red pillows. I’d rather build our collection over time, but have enough this year to make things feel festive and homey for our favorite season of the year.

Do you have a favorite fall decoration? Have you been getting crafty lately? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Emails to My Senators

I haven’t been writing blog posts lately because
1. I’ve been planning my wedding,
2. I’m in the process of moving,
3. I’ve been calling and emailing my Senators regarding Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.

I believe sexual assault survivors of all genders. I’m sick to death of men deciding that crimes against women don’t matter, particularly if the culprits are straight white men, the wealthier the better. And I believe a great deal will be lost if Kavanaugh is confirmed. I am increasingly convinced that most people who support Kavanaugh’s appointment believe Dr. Ford. They just don’t care. They don’t think sexual assault matters. If they did, Trump wouldn’t have been elected. But he was, and Kavanaugh was nominated, and here we are. Women are still less than human. Powerful men can still shout and rant and interrupt Senators and lie under oath and be appointed for the highest court in the country. (Although I pray and pray that he won’t be.) Therefore, I have been contacting my senators, including Lindsey Graham on the Senate Judiciary Committee, multiple times a day.

Below are two of the emails I wrote to my Senators today.

To Senator Tim Scott:
I am calling on Senator Scott to demand the White House ask the FBI to reopen the probe into the three allegations of sexual assault brought by Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Ms. Swetnick against Brett Kavanaugh. This is a job interview process for a permanent position on the highest court in the country. We cannot risk putting an ill-qualified judge into that position.

Kavanaugh has already lied under oath during these proceedings. If his word cannot be trusted about the legality of his past actions—such as whether it was legal for him to consume alcohol in Maryland when he was a teenager—his overall character and all allegations against him must be subject to the closest scrutiny.

During the past few days, Senator Graham has demonstrated alarming partisanship while threatening to abuse his power in “revenge” against Democratic candidates. I am relying on Senator Scott to uphold the integrity of the Senate, the Supreme Court confirmation process, and South Carolina by demanding the reopening of the FBI probe. Until that time, I urge the Senator to call for the delay of all votes.

To Senator Lindsey Graham:
I have placed multiple calls to your local and DC offices over the past 24 hours and your voicemail inboxes remain full. It is obvious that you do not want to hear from your constituents. However, your outrageous displays of partisanship cannot go unanswered by the people you represent.

Considering your previous service in the Air Force, I expected you to put the interests of your country above that of your party. Considering your position as the senior senator representing South Carolina, I expected you to uphold the integrity of the Senate and our state. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I expected you to uphold the integrity of the confirmation process. Instead, you undid all your work with Senator Durbin on the Dreamers bill, impugned the reputation of our state, betrayed the best interests of the country to appease the Trump base, and threatened to abuse your power by taking “revenge” against Democratic candidates. In short, you have behaved shamefully.

The only way to begin to make this up to your constituents is to demand the White House ask the FBI to reopen the probe into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh and to delay all votes until that probe is complete.

Your state is watching. We will remember in 2020.