Friday, September 16, 2011


Everybody thinks they know what love is at some point in their lives... and usually the first time (or few) that love turns out to be wrong. It's not to say that the two people "in love" don't care deeply for one another, but circumstance tends to play more of a role than genuine love. Whether the two people have fallen into a comfort zone which they are afraid to leave, or some other outside reason keeps them together... Regardless, the love isn't true.

I should know. I've been in enough bad relationships to write a book. Hell, I even have a past marriage to add to that list. Since hindsight is 20/20 I can clearly see that the "love" was merely misplaced emotions, convenience, and fear of being alone. Perhaps my ex-husband would tend to disagree, but for me it wasn't real. That wasn't where I was meant to be in life, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself otherwise. So I left. And now... I've found love.

Every relationship starts out with that feeling in the pit of your stomach. The butterflies when you see the other person and the desire to spend every second of everyday with them. Everything is fun, and good, and right with the world. People will tell you that this fades over time, and that it is "normal" for this to occur. From the things I've been told in my life, that's just how love grows. It turns from puppy dogs and butterflies, to sitting on the couch and being pleasant to each other, almost out of courtesy. I hate to break it to everyone, but THAT ISN'T TRUE LOVE!

How can I be so sure? Because I've been there. I've had the complacent, lackluster, supposedly "normal" love. You don't need to settle for that! Now I'm not telling everyone to break it off and go find someone else if you happen to fit into this general description. Some people are okay with that kind of love, and that's fine... but that's not me. I want the love story, the happiness, the constant butterflies. And thank God, I found it.

Do you know what's it's like to look forward to the end of the day because you can't wait to see your love again? And no, it's not because you need him to do something around the house... you just want to be with him, and talk, and laugh, and hug him until your arms are tired. That is every single day of my life, and I love it. I love, love.

Love is easy to maintain, but difficult to find... I understand that. Like I said, I've settled before. Then I was knocked off my feet at the most unexpected of times. Everything was so wrong in my life, but there was this love just shining like a beacon that I couldn't ignore. And it hasn't flickered or faded, it just grows stronger with each passing day. It's like nothing I have ever experienced before, and I just know that this is it. This is real. This is what love is meant to be.

Love is going to give me horrible wrinkles from laughing everyday. Love is going to tear me apart when he's gone. Love is going to make my heart nearly burst out of my chest with the simplest of gestures and words. Sounds terrible, right? It's not. It's the most wonderful, amazing, unexplainable, feeling in the world and I am lucky enough to live it every single day. That is what love is meant to be.

I'm not entirely sure what I meant to accomplish with this post. I think I intended for it to be about how hard these past two weeks have been while I've been in TX and J has been in NJ. The whole thing about love was just going to be my opening, but see how love just takes over sometimes? While these past two weeks have truly been a long, and arduous test for me, it has opened my eyes to how important J is in my life.

Now that's not to say that I'm entirely unable to be independent and/or function on my own... but J and I have had a very unconventional relationship from day one. We have been able to spend nearly every day together since the beginning. While this would cause an unhealthy dependence for some, for us it has just worked. Maybe it's because we both knew what we were looking for after negative life experiences. Maybe we just agreed on more than we disagreed about. Maybe we were just meant to find each other when the timing was right. Whatever the reason, it works for us.

I've known for a long time that he is who I'm meant to be with, but this extended absence has served to firmly reinforce that in my mind. This is not to say that from now on we'll never fight or argue because I have validation of our love... I'm sure that couldn't be farther from the truth. We're human, we will have disagreements. That's life. But being able to take a step back and look at our lives separately, versus our life together, has served a much greater purpose than him simply finishing up another couple weeks of work back in NJ.

I can't fully explain what it has done, but it's good. As difficult as it has been for me, in the end it will be a positive experience. One which I may not see the full extent of until much later on... Or at least until after he comes home tomorrow.

All in all it has been a rough couple of weeks for me. New home, new state, new job, new life... all starting at once without my rock, my support system, my other half. Sure we talked and used FaceTime everyday, but it's not the same. I'm counting the hours until he comes home, the solo part of this journey is over. However, the experience isn't.

I never once doubted our love, but I think the old saying is true, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." And now I really understand why. Sometimes it takes more than the 8 hours each day that we're apart due to work, to really make me see just how important he is to my daily existence. This might not change how much I love him, or how I've always known this was meant to be, but it has provided me with a reaffirmation of my feelings and a sense of respect for our life together. It's not something to ever be taken for granted, because I now know how much it hurts when he's not around.

I've always enjoyed every day that we've had together, but now I have a much greater appreciation for that time. I'll still spend my days counting the hours until we get home and can be together again. And I'll still have butterflies, and want to hug him until my arms are tired... Like I said, THAT is true love. But now I'll cherish those moments together in a way that I couldn't before. Love has changed my life for the better, and I have to hold on to every moment...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Photo Home Tour

I consider us very fortunate with regards to our new home. As the "before" pictures will illustrate, there are very few changes that need to be made immediately. New kitchen appliances will be our first adventure, most likely followed by a new sink and countertops. Other than that, for right now the majority of other changes involve nothing more than switching light fixtures, faucets and knobs (too much brass, yuck!). Even painting can wait since we're kinda digging the neutrality of the current color scheme. It brings out our dark, hand-scraped wood floors. Of course we will be able to nit pick and find a long list of little changes that we'll make here and there, but overall we really lucked out. We can honestly live with the house as-is (white appliances and all) until we're settled and ready to tackle some projects.

So please enjoy this little photo tour of our new place before projects, before painting and even before furniture! I'll try to post pics in such a way that you can get a feel for the layout of the home, but it's a little difficult with a not so wide lens and a not so narrow floor plan. I'm hoping to get a short video tour up as well, but no promises with that just yet.

Anyway, here we go... A photo tour of our home:

Welcome to our new home!

Please come in, as you can see our living room is directly ahead.

If you turn around you will see our office to your left...

...and our dining room to your right.

Let's go down the hall, past the office, and check out our master bedroom...

...and our master bath (that door in the back is our walk in closet).

We're both thrilled to have a jacuzzi tub!

If we go back down the hall, past the dining room this time, you will see our guest bath...

...and our laundry room.

Let's slip through the doorway into the kitchen. (please excuse the mess!)

You'll notice our great walk-in pantry on your right.

If you walk towards the breakfast nook and turn around, you can really see just how much cabinet space we have...

...and the awesome double oven plus even more cabinets!!

If you go past the stairs, you'll be right back in our living room!

Now let's head upstairs.

At the top of the stairs, you can turn right and go into the first bedroom.

This room shares a full bath...

...with the second bedroom at the top of the stairs.

To the left of the stairs, you can see that we have a bright game room...

...and balcony overlooking our living room.

The game room shares this full bath...

...with the third bedroom upstairs.

Let's go back downstairs now...

...and take a quick peek at our backyard...

...and the detached garage with covered breezeway to the house.

If you walk down the driveway, you can really see how pretty our street is.

So that's it... Did you enjoy the tour? Please feel free to visit any time. We'll have plenty of room for guests once we're all settled. Thanks for stopping by! See y'all soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later

I've never really told anyone just how much 9/11 affected me. Maybe it's because it's not an easy thing to put into words, or maybe I just wasn't ready... maybe I'm still not.

I don't have immediate family or close friends who died that day. The people I knew were acquaintances at best. However, everyone that died that day was somebody's friend or family... and those are the people I know. People in my life lost parents, siblings, close friends and family members that day. Watching their suffering was worse than if I had to endure the loss of someone close to me. How do you console a person whose loved one died because of a so-called "religious war" in which they weren't even involved? How do you tell someone "it will be okay" after the entire foundation of our nation was rocked by a terror attack on our own soil? How can you make anyone feel completely safe again, when even you still cringe at the sound of a low-flying plane to this day?

I know I'm not the only one from the NYC area who feels this way. I also know that there are people who were affected in far worse ways than myself, so please don't think I'm saying "woe is me" or looking for pity. I was one of the lucky ones... as lucky as you can be in such a gruesome situation, I suppose. The pain I feel is rooted in empathy and fear, as opposed to physical pain or the loss of a loved one. This is my story of 9/11:

I was away from home at the University of Scranton in PA. It was the start of my sophomore year, and I had my first class of the day at 9:00am. I was meeting a friend who had class with me, and I was running a little behind since I woke up late. As I was rushing around my friend calls up to my room and tells me to put on the TV... He said that he saw on AIM (dating myself here), that a friend who went to school at NYU had an Away Message up saying that a plane hit the WTC. At this point I'm thinking it was a little Cesna that accidentally flew into one of the towers... then I turned on the tv.

I won't go into details about my emotions during the morning, as I'm sure you can all guess how I felt. I will say that it was a combination of sadness, shock, disgust and disbelief that I hope to never have to experience again. I will also leave out the details of the horrible things I saw that morning on the news, since it was being broadcast uncensored and in real-time. They are things that are seldom replayed because of their gruesome nature... as well as out of respect for the families of the now deceased.

One memory that I will share.... At the point when the first tower fell I was watching a news feed that showed the towers from the air, but the commentating reporter was on the ground. She kept saying that there was an explosion, but I clearly saw the tower fall. She kept repeating herself over and over to the point where I started nearly yelling at the tv, "It didn't explode, it fell! It fell..."

Everything went silent after that. We turned off the tv and walked up to the student center. I don't really know why. All we did there was go through the motions of trying to eat breakfast, while silently seated around the tv in the cafeteria. We were in PA, but a large amount of students were from the NY/NJ area around the city. The second tower fell while I was there. We all remained silent as we watched, trying to cry as quietly as possible... if the tears even fell at all. It was such a surreal experience that the sadness almost didn't even register. People either wept, or sat silent with a blank, vacant expression that is still haunting to this day.

The campus was silent that day. When people spoke it was in almost a whisper. It was as though we were afraid any noise would break the trance that we had all fallen into that morning. People walked around like zombies... some going through the motions of their daily routine, some just wandering or sitting and staring off into space. Most never went to class that day. I heard from those who did that some of their professors just stood up and dismissed everyone, but no one celebrated like they normally would when getting out of a class. Everyone just stood en masse and slowly filed out the door, barely saying a word.

I eventually got in my car and drove home. The school told people to not leave, but I really could've cared less at that point in time. The highways were littered with little American flags that had blown off of cars. Every house had an American flag hung out front, some on flagpoles, and some just attached by any means possible. There was still an eerie silence in the air.

I went down to Edgewater to visit the memorials along the Hudson river. I could still see the pillar of smoke climbing into the sky from the rubble. The area was usually filled with people smiling for cameras so they could get a nice picture with the skyline in the background. Even I had done it many times. That day there were people taking pictures, but no smiles... no one posing for the perfect shot. Just emotionless faces behind cameras with their lenses pointed toward the empty sky where the towers used to stand, now replaced by a plume of smoke. I have my photos from that day. I still don't know why I even took them. In the back of my mind I knew that it was history in the making, but I also knew that I would never look at them again... and I haven't. They sit in a box, developed and printed, but unseen.

Looking back, I can replay every minute in my mind. Stupid details of what I did that morning are crystal clear... so are the horrible things I watched unfold on my tv. To this day I cannot watch the footage without crying. The same nauseas feeling sits in the pit of my stomach as the second plane hits, then it remains even once the tears start as the first building falls. There is no way I can detach myself from what happened. I can't watch the footage without the feelings from that day coming back. I can't even begin to imagine how those who were there, and those who lost loved ones must feel. Simply seeing that many lives extinguished in seconds as the buildings fall is something I will never get over. I can't even begin to know how it must've felt to watch your spouse, child, family or friend perish that morning.

Now, 10 years later, I'm aware of many small miracles that also happened that day. Everything from people surviving the collapse, to friends oversleeping and missing their train into the WTC. However, the loss of life is still almost incomprehensible to me. All the death and destruction as a result of a terror attack on our own soil... It still frightens me in a way that nothing else ever has. All I can do is pray that others feel the same sadness, fear and disgust that I do, and that they turn it into a way to prevent this from ever happening again. If we do not know and learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. I cannot handle a repeat. So please... Never forget.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Moving is hard. Anyone that says otherwise is either a liar, or someone that can afford to pay people to pack, move, unpack and take care all the other billion moving-related details for them. Moving is even harder when relocating halfway across the country. Actually, that last sentence makes what I'm doing seem extra crazy...

Halfway. Across. The Country. What?! Have I really become one of those adventurous people that I always envied? You know the people that I'm talking about... The ones who pick up their lives, leave everything they know, follow their dreams and trust that their hearts will lead them in the right direction.

Actually, I guess that is me. After spending two and a half days driving from NJ to TX, I can safely say that we had an adventure. An adventure that ended with us turning a key to unlock the door of our new home, and then J carrying me over the threshold.

At present I have no TV, no phone, no internet, no furniture, no stuff, and most importantly... no J. He flew back to NJ the day after we arrived to finish up his last couple of weeks at work. So you can see why I've been MIA from my blog for a bit. I'll provide a more detailed post with plenty of pics after our internet is installed tomorrow. Until then, I'm going to get some sleep and hope I don't get carpal tunnel from typing this post on my iPhone.