Kings and Queens

"Excuse me. Excuse me? What is your name." 

I had pulled over when I saw the Whole Foods sign so I could empty some trash from my back seat and grab some lunch.  With my arms full of old magazines and gum wrappers I said, "My name is Alexa."

"Oh, well Ms. Alexa, I'm trying to save up for a meal, do you have any - "  

I cut him off.  "Bummer. I don't have any cash on me. But let's go inside, I'll buy you something to eat." 

"Oh, nah that's alright. I don't know what's all in there." 

I laughed as I looked him in the eyes. "I'm pretty sure you're allowed inside, my man. Come in with me, I'll buy you lunch. What's your name?" 

"People call me Junior." 

I'd never talked to a homeless person before. Or asked them their name. Or bought them lunch. Or gave them money. Somewhere along the bottom row of the Philosophy section, I stopped acknowledging struggle. But this was different -there was no obligation in that moment. There was no moral right. In that moment, he and I were the same. We were both hungry, and one of us had money. The difference was that I had spent my day working for that money, and he had spent his day - 

I didn't know how he had spent his day. I didn't know if he had forgotten his wallet, or if he ever even had a wallet. I didn't know anything about this man, except for his name. 

"So, Junior - what are you in the mood for?" 

"This is a fancy food store, right?" 

"Mmhm." ..... I mean, yeah, Whole Foods does get pretty fancy with their prices.

"One time I had a salad that had a lot of fancy cheese on it. Sheep cheese, or somethin'. That stuff was good." He said that with the biggest smile on his face. "Something light for now, though. Something light." He grabbed a banana as we walked past the stand on the way to the lunch buffet. 

I was looking at the meal deals trying to figure out which two sides I would get with my meat portion when I saw Junior walk up with a small package in his hand. I figured in my indecisive nature, it would be better for the both of us to check out and for me to come back.

We got to the check-out stand and I see "Goat Cheese" pop up on the screen in front of me.

$5.61 well spent.

A Toast, To You and I

Seven days from today, the little town of Allenspark will be buzzing with excitement as the event we've been planning for over a year starts into motion. One of the guys will straighten Dylan's tie before he walks out the door, and I'll add extra bobby pins in my hair on my way out, just in case. 

But even more than that, we will walk towards each other as completely different people than who we were when he asked me to be his wife.

Planning our wedding completely changed our lives. We learned so much more about each other, our families, and our friends during this process than we evercould have known we would have. The stress was so unexpected in the ways we experienced it, and the details... there were so many details. And I'm so grateful for all of it because that's exactly what changed us. This year highlighted cracks in the foundations of our personal lives and our life together, and without that, our relationship may never have been as strong as it is in this very moment. 

Seven days from today, Dylan and I will celebrate the journey we've been on for the last five years, in a room filled with incredible amounts of love. We will toast to our vows and dance in honor of the years we have ahead of us. And when the night comes to an end and we find ourselves tangled up in bed sheets, my hope for us is that we never forget how happy we were in the days before we got married.

Because  baby, I am so happy with you.

We Bought a Home

More like we bought a condo, but this little 780 square foot beauty is definitely our home.

We have a yellow vinyl pattern for our kitchen floor, and flower tiles surrounding our wood burning fireplace - one that I'll use like a daily routine once fall rolls back around. Not to mention that our chandelier came straight out of the 1990's, and that mud room? Wallpaper. Everywhere. There's something about it, though. Something that makes it so lovely because of how quirky it all is. 

Of all the places that Dylan and I have lived together, apartment living has definitely been my favorite. Sure, there are plenty of downsides if you look hard enough, but there's a sense of permanency that comes with living in a small space that I never really felt in the houses we lived in. There was always the opportunity to buy more stuff to fill the empty rooms, or to switch rooms because we had a second living area, or a third bedroom or what have you. All in due time. There's been talk of little ones (mostly by my mom, but we're starting to join that conversation) after we get married and of course, we'll need to upsize. We knew that was in our near future when we chose to buy small. But for the time being, all we have to worry about is one bedroom and one bathroom and one living space. We're so very excited to decorate these white walls with the memories we've made so far. 

And so, that's how it goes. You meet someone, you fall in love, you buy a condo and you start painting walls.

For us, anyway. 

 

Colorado


Copper Mountain, January 10th - January 11th. 

Life {n}: The existence of an individual human being. 

This is where I get to live my life... then add in the love of a handsome man and time spent with friends and I'm really not sure if it gets any better than this. 

an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.


Reposted and edited from September 2012:  

I used to stare at that giant outside of my window for hours. 

I'd climb to the top of my roof and strategically sit at the highest point, measuring how much taller the top of that tree was even though I was basically on the top of the world. And then I'd daydream about flying right off that roof; about making a fold up airplane to fit in my back pocket; about falling in love; about building tree houses; about changing the world. Those childhood dreams of mine fueled the world around me - they were everything to me. They were the life before me and the life I would grow into. I would fly one day. I would fall in love with the most beautiful boy I'd ever seen. I would change the world. It would happen because I wanted it to happen. 

Then I'd find myself in the fort I had spent the morning building, hiding not-so-inconspicuously from the world around me, dreaming about the house I'd one day build. And then I'd probably put the kitchen here... windows here, here, and most definitely there... And soon after that I was bundled from head to toe, reading in a lopsided igloo in the backyard, intermittently pretending I was stranded and must. find. food. between the hot coco breaks.

I was a child looking to the future, pretending that I was in situations bigger than myself, then crawling into my warm bed for a sound night sleep because I really didn't have a care in the world. It was all just pretend... it was all eons into the future.

And now I find myself buying curtains for a house that's not yet mine, still planning out where I'd put the kitchen for the house I'll one day build. I find myself looking at the boy I used to dream about on top of that roof, now soon becoming his wife. I find myself lying awake at night thinking about how to turn the world upside down and skipping out on a good night sleep because it's not just pretend anymore - I mean really, I'm more than halfway to my ten year reunion by now.

But then I fall fast asleep because it's all still eons away; I'm just that much closer to it all. 

november 7th

Ironically enough, our place is still completely trashed. 

And on top of that, I haven't written a word in a month. A month, here and gone just like that. October pretty much ate me up and spit me back out (in all the good ways), but it's been a nice change of pace already, having all that dust settle. We no longer feel like frauds when we call venues to set up appointments because, yeah, we're getting married. And the word fiancé? Rolls right off the tongue now after a few obvious stutters to some grocery store clerks. 

All in all, things are just really good right now. Family dinners feel a little more complete, the bills are getting paid with a little left over, and we keep moving forward.

big fish

Our place is completely trashed. 

We left for Idaho Springs after work on Friday night, then Saturday morning happened and it didn't stop happening until Sunday morning. And Saturday morning started very early. 

October 4th - 2:17 am

As we were trying to sleep on the firmest bed we've ever dared to sleep on, we rolled over and looked at the clock: 2:17 am. After a few laughs and some cuddles, we rolled back over and braved the board beneath us. When 4:30 am finally rolled around, we figured we'd start the day in motion. 

Jeans. Sweaters. Hats. Gloves. Scarfs. Coffee - check. 

Dylan was quiet on our ride to Evergreen. We turned the radio on and started singing to songs we've heard a hundred times, me, smiling way too often and he, gripping the wheel and responding to my questions two seconds too late. 

6:30 am. We got to the lake. The sun's hue was outlining the ridge around us, the birds chirping, dew all around. We got out of the car and started walking around the lake. On our way back to what I thought was the car, we found a slab of day old concrete. Our initials now forever etched together at the place Dylan asked me to be his wife. 

Dylan told me he wanted to check out the deck on the west side of the lake, me now realizing that it would give us the best view of the sun as it rose over the ridge in front of us. We watched the ducks bathe while fish were snatching their morning meals; the birds now singing in the trees around us. I put my head on his shoulder, our arms intertwined. 

He asked me to be his wife as the sun was rising. He kneeled down in front of me, took both of my hands, and said words to me that I'll never forget. We both cried. I couldn't say yes enough times. 

We sat there for a little while longer, taking in the view and waiting for it to sink in (which it finally did, almost 12 hours later). Then right before we left, Dylan screamed at the top of his lungs: WE'RE ENGAGED!! The ducks nor the birds seemed to mind that this was the most important thing that they had ever witnessed, but it had to be known: he had asked me, and I had said yes. 

On our way back to the car we ran into a married couple in their 40's. Dylan, who now could not stop smiling, and I, who was answering questions two seconds too late, stopped to let them know the good news. They laughed as they said, "Oh, we thought you had caught a fish!"

Yeah, I guess he did. 

:::


"Sometimes, the only way to catch an uncatchable woman is to offer her a wedding ring." - Edward Bloom, Big Fish 


 

a thousand times, yes


October 3rd, 2014 – 9:40 pm

This is my last night as somebody’s girlfriend. By this time tomorrow, I’ll be Dylan’s fiancé. Fiancé… 

I’ve always been a sucker for little milestones. Hell, I cried at my 10th birthday party (the one where my best friend gave me the pink flower lamp, the one I turned on twice before putting it into memorabilia. That was the first thing I opened as a double digit, as a decade old. Of course that would go in there.)

Yesterday, he told me to keep Friday night open: “Don’t make any plans, ok?” I didn’t think too much of it until he told me that I needed to pack a bag, that we were going somewhere a little closer to what he has planned for Saturday morning. October 4th. Part of me knew it was going to be this day for weeks now. I have no idea how I knew it; that day on the calendar just stood out to me as I looked at the month ahead. October 4th…the day I would become Dylan’s forever. Oddly enough, I was at complete peace at work all day today. I didn’t want to rush through this day, this little milestone: did I mention that this is the last day I’ll be someone’s girlfriend? Ever. If I could put this entire day in a memorabilia jar, I would. 

So instead, I’ll write about it. It wasn’t like that bright pink hue that filled my flower-covered room all those years ago. Really, today wasn’t anything special. I went to lunch with the girls at work, laughing about menial things. Work dragged on like it always does, but in that fantastic kind of way: “what can I do now to pass the time.” It’s been slow since the leasing season dropped off. And then, right before we all went our separate ways for the weekend, laughing over some beers in a giant circle like usual, Sam made it real: “So are you getting engaged this weekend or what? I’ve been wanting to ask you all day!” My stomach sank, the room immediately growing silent while simultaneously getting 10 degrees hotter. I’ve been smiling ever since.

Dylan took me to a little Bed & Breakfast called Miner’s Pick B&B. The owner’s name is Vicki, which is a little aggressive for Idaho Springs. Let’s call her Martha. Martha fits better in this little lodge that smells of the most delicious, homemade sausage gravy. Of course she’s making biscuits. That’s what Martha’s do.

After a low-key dinner at Tommyknockers, here we are. He reading in the soft light and I, stashing the day away in my memorabilia jar.  Some moments are just meant to be stowed away and kept for a rainy day.  

Today was one of those moments.

::: 

 

october 1st


I can't even begin to describe to you the passionate love I have for this time of year, for these next three months that are sure to bring crisp, early morning smells mixed with apple cider and pumpkin spiced everything. For the long tables with burnt orange tablecloths underneath our mom's homemade, 5 course meals. For all the decorations, lights, laughter and love that is sure to unfold during what, from here on out, will only be referred to as "The Holidays." I love The Holidays. 

I've been busy lately, but the good kind of busy. Planning upcoming events, making time for dinner dates with girlfriends and enjoying the constant ebb and flow that is this life of mine. I've been doing a lot of hot yoga (a lot of hot yoga) and finally crossing off books that have been on my list for quite some time. Those are the usual fall/winter rituals for me: hot rooms, heating pads and cozy blankets. I'm still trying to figure out how to break it to Dylan that from now until about mid-April, soup will be on the menu at least three times a week. 

They started playing Hocus Pocus on ABC Family last week and I've already skipped over that channel three times despite Dylan's "yes, let's watch THAT" face. I get a little crazy with October. I've been listening to Christmas music since July and would've put the Christmas tree up yesterday if Dylan was onboard with it, but all that is October is strictly confined to these next 31 days. (So yeah, we're definitely watching Hocus Pocus tonight.) 

I'm currently reading Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, the first piece of work from her that I've read so far. I'm hooked. Dylan and I went to see This is Where I Leave You in theaters on Sunday, which is where we saw the trailer for Gone Girl and were totally intrigued. So naturally that meant that I had to read the book first. There is a certain charm to books that almost never translate to the big screen (don't even get me started on the train wreck that was Atlas Shrugged); if the writer is talented enough, you're able to get lost in your own take on the world they've created before seeing someone else's creative on the big screen. I'm only 100 pages in, but I highly recommend the book if you're looking for a good read. 

That's pretty much everything going on in my world... what's going on in yours? Let's chat.