The view from here.

view
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Clearly, I have been doing something other than writing here, right?

I started this blog on January 17, 2005. Ten years ago.

Ten.

My kitchen was green and white – country-style – as it was when we moved into it sight-unseen late summer 1999.

My business was growing, but I was unsure which direction it was going.

My sons were 9, 7, and 6.

I read bedtime stories every night. And loved it.

I was a little freaked out about being over 40.

I baked challah every week.

Andrew and I had time together every night after 7:30 pm. Except poker night. On poker night, I went out, bluffed, and laughed with my friends.

I blogged nearly every day.

This place. This blog. It’s been a wonderful escape and a way to express myself. Back then, it was a way to connect with the world outside my world before we all were so very, very connected. I’m grateful for so many things and so many people – and among them, my earliest ‘fake’ friends, Lori, Jenne, Leah. They, and so many others, made my world bigger. And better.

I think we all knew where this online thing was going… and that we’d be here – where we are now – at some point. Maybe we didn’t know exactly what was coming. But maybe we did.

So, I know what you’re thinking. “You’re quitting, right?”

No. Not right.

I’m just introspective. Ten years have passed and my life is unrecognizable.

My sons are 19, 17, and 16. The oldest is in his second year of college, the middle one starts this fall and the youngest will go fall 2016.

If I read at night, it’s to myself.

I’m sometimes a little freaked out about being over 50. Right now, I’m a little freaked out that my baby sister is turning 50 in a couple days.

I bake challah and pies and French bread and you-name-it all the time.

My kitchen – and my home – suit me. Perfectly. It’s a peaceful, happy place.

My business is growing and I’m learning and challenged every day.

Andrew and I get a little quality time each day, but as the boys get more and more independent, we have freedom we barely remember ever having before the kids were born.

And contrary to my expectations, I’m not sad that they’re independent and busy. I’m excited for them and love who they are and who they are growing to be.

My life has changed. That is true.

But it’s going swimmingly.

I’m not quitting my blog. I’m recharged.

Dresses. Boots.

This post was sponsored by the nice folks at Country Outfitters. Compensation covered the amazing Frye boots in these photos. If you know me at all or have ever read this blog, you know my love for boots did not start here and you know that my opinions are, and have always been, my own. This is also a great time to tell you that the photos were taken, edited and arranged by the fabulous Megan Evans, to whom I am very grateful for this and lots of other things. Love you, Megan!

I don’t consider myself particularly beautiful.

Nor do I consider myself particularly trendy.

I’m not saying this so you’ll comment that I’m beautiful and always look great. Seriously. Don’t. I love how I look and dress. Because, you know what? I look like me and no one else. wendy boots blue

 

When I was a teen, my brother (who was a year ahead of me in school) told my mother that I created trends. It may have been the most flattering thing I’d ever heard about myself. I did put things together a little differently. I did wear feather earrings before they were cool. (Were they ever cool?) I did make choices based on what made me feel good rather than what everyone was wearing.

And I wore boots.

Always boots.

If you want to see my 2006 boot collection, here you go. Just saying that my love of boots is not new. Not new, at all.

Last year, for Valentines’ Day, Andrew bought me the vintage red boots I’d been dreaming about. And I’ve worn them with jeans, skirts, slacks, and yes, with dresses. This is my favorite match-up.

red boots wendy And because I love this so darn much, here’s a little more of that goodness: 2014-07-10_0033

Let me talk about confidence and bare my soul. I was not a confident teen. I was scared and insecure. Maybe all girls feel that way. I don’t know. How would I know? But I remember like it was yesterday walking down the hallway and feeling conspicuous. And I remember my mom telling me I was special and that what I had was different and I should embrace it. And I tried. I tried to

    feel

special and different and stand out. Because it isn’t something anyone can give you.

And my brother (the one who said I started trends) told me way back then some of the wisest words I ever heard: act like it’s true and it will be true. (Years later, I’ve always attributed “fake it ’til you make it” to my bro.)

Boots. They made me stand out. They were different. I wore them with jeans. And with dresses. It was a little radical. At least where I lived in the suburbs.

I was the one who reached for the boots even in summer. Even if I’d never seen them worn quite like that.

Since and still, there is nothing that makes me feel as confident and as special as a fabulous pair of boots with a dress. A short dress. A long dress. A frilly dress.

 

2014-07-10_0014

Disclosure

Good night.

Goodnight Bear This night light is in the hallway to my bedroom.

It’s had a long and useful life.

It was in my brother’s room when we were little. I had one just like it in pink.

It wasn’t bright. It just glowed.

I don’t know exactly why I have the blue one, but I do. It was plugged into the wall of my first baby son’s wall when he was born and until we moved east.

And then it was in the wall of the room he shared with his younger brother, while the baby slept in another bedroom.

There was a time when the boys wanted brighter lights. You know the kind with real bulbs and a plastic shield. Then, the little blue bear moved to the hallway in our old house.

Until we moved here 2-1/2 years ago. Then, the boys at 15, 13, and 12 did not want night lights. They were big, after all. So I plugged in the little blue bear in the hallway near my bedroom because I didn’t have the heart to put it away.

And now, it no longer glows. And no one needs it. But I don’t have the heart to throw it away. So I’ll tuck it into one of the boys’ memory boxes.

Bulb envy.


I’ve never had a Christmas tree. And I’ve never decorated my house with lights.

Growing up, there was only one house that decorated on our block. It was just how it was in 21208 those days.

I did get to see lights every year, though. We’d all load up in the car and my dad would drive us to Towson or Timonium or someplace out that way so we could drive through the beautifully lit neighborhoods. It took my breath away. The cold air and the sparkly lights. It was so peaceful. So pretty.

I know that there’s more to Christmas than shopping and commercials and incessant emails trying to get everyone to buy more stuff. I know that the holiday has deep meaning for so many. I just feel lucky that I get to enjoy the sparkly bits. Thanks for sharing. Really, I mean it.

And though Christmas is not my holiday, I do have two Christmas memories to share.

In college, a friend invited me to his parents’ house for dinner and to decorate the tree. I could barely wait. He and his parents were shocked that it was my first time. (They evidently didn’t know a lot of Jews.) I’ll never forget how they gingerly laid out the ornaments and chose the placement of each one so carefully. It was really sweet. It was clearly a special family time and though it was lovely to be included, I felt like an intruder. An outsider. Interloper. But here I am, more than 30 years later and I can picture the generations-old red and white painted santa on a sled that I was honored to put as the finishing touch on the tree. I can remember exactly how that made me feel.

And I remember that when my friend’s father died a few weeks later that I couldn’t shake the fact that they’d never have Christmas together again.

A few years later, I worked in a big advertising agency and had a wonderful friend and co-worker there. I was young and single. She was a couple years older and married. She and her husband had been through a terrible time; they’d had an overwhelming loss. The stress it had put on the relationship was more than they could handle and he’d moved out. But before he did, he’d smashed their Christmas ornaments in spite. The ornaments that they’d bought for each other every year they’d been together – each precious one carefully and meaningfully selected. Smashed.

And if that isn’t sad enough (and I’m tearing up remembering her face as she recounted the story), when they got back together, all that lovely history was gone. I wondered if she’d ever forgive him for that part. I’m not sure if she ever did.

Symbols are just symbols, right? Traditions are just traditions. But we attach so much to the traditions and symbols in our lives that it’s hard to separate the things from the people from the memories.

And that’s why I love seeing the shiny Christmas lights. The sparkle of it all brings back the time in the back of my parents’ car and the adventure and the cold and the wonder.

I had the worst dream last night.

photo credit to http://www.sxc.hu/profile/mzacha

In my dream, I took a bus trip with some of my friends and some respected colleagues. Some of you, maybe. All women.

It was a tour of many cities and we’d spend a few days in each. We’d explore and eat and see the sites. And then we’d hit the bus and go to the next stop.

I was in my room at the hotel. I think it was Philadelphia. Could have been anyplace. It was just a moderately dingy hotel from where I sat. It was time to go the bus. I couldn’t get up. Literally, I couldn’t make myself sit up. I tried. But I was so tired.

My good friend sat me up in bed and told me to put my shoes on. The bus would be leaving in 5 minutes.

PUT YOUR SHOES ON. You’re going to miss the bus.

But I couldn’t. I had a shoe in my hand, but couldn’t get it on my foot.

I was so tired.

She threw up her hands and said she had to go. Couldn’t miss the bus.

But I did.

Because I couldn’t get my shoes on.

It would be ok. I’d buy a train ticket home.

Except my purse with my wallet was on the bus.

I had my phone. I’d paypal. Except the battery was dead. And the charger? In my purse.

I wandered a while wondering how I’d get home. But I was having trouble concentrating.

I was so tired.