Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Old

(Disclaimer: Apologies for lack of blogging recently. It's not that we are too busy, it's that we just aren't happy with our creative expressions :-)... 2010 promises to be a fun year with new ideas, new posts and possibly even a new blog for the sports animal in me [Will])
On to the topic at hand: Getting Old. No, this isn't one of of those posts where I complain about being older. Outside of the pain in my back (seriously, that has to stop), aging has been a wonderful experience. Granted, we're only 28 (maybe the back pain gets worse!!!), but the end of 2009 has really led me to reflect on a past decade more than I ever have. Age has given me the gift of reflection, patience and (thankfully) gratefulness. Life was a half empty cup for me up until an unknown period of time when I suddenly realized that the same cup was half full.

Back to the decades thing. I am wrapping up (almost) my third decade here. New Years Eve 1990 was nothing to me. Y2K? I remember where I was and what I was doing, but at 18-years-old, I didn't reflect on the 90's and grasp the immense changes in life.

So, here we are. On the doorstep of 2010. I think about my mindset and life in general since cheering on the ball in the wee hours of 1999 and hoping the computers wouldn't melt and eat me when the clock struck 2000 (remember that fear? It made conficker worms seem like chia pets)

In the past decade, I have been with my girlfriend/fiancee/wife for every moment. Okay, not every moment, but our lives are shared in all of it. It still feels like we are dating in moments. Not in a bad way, but in a "is this for real" type of way. I am still learning about her and interested in getting more connected.

In the past decade, I graduated from college, got my first apartment, bought my first house, got married, got a dog and climbed Mt. Everest. (All but one of those is true, but all seem as magnificent)

In the past decade, I have had three full-time employers. (Mandy is winning with 4 in that span!)

In the past decade, I have become aware of my place in the world and how my own values shape my beliefs. Yeah, I know, heavy stuff. But think about it. In 2000, I could vote, but I didn't know for who and why. Now, I know what I believe in and I am comfortable in my ability to rationally understand the news and how it affects me. I think, in many ways, September 11th shaped that for most in my generation. We instantly grew up and understood that there was a big, harsh world out there we live in.

Most importantly, the past decade all is "important" in my memory. Friends became true friends. Experiences all had lessons. And the fun was REALLY fun. The recent reflections by most media outlets on this topic really got me thinking about this whole arrangement and I am excited to move forward. I never felt like I was striving for acceptance or "my place" in life, but now I feel like my speck in the universe has a history, and that is really cool.

So, see you later 2000's! Let's build a big spread, make some festive drinks and celebrate the dawn of a new tomorrow. Happy New Year from the Haskett family, and here's hoping your next decade is the best one yet!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts for a Wednesday

Oh hey there, Blog! Will and I are in the process of re-thinking this whole blog thingy, and we've got some fresh ideas. So stay tuned- we're gonna shake it up a little. In the meantime, I stumbled on this through another blog and thought it was a nice reminder of the way I'd like to live my life. Some are more true than others. Today... really thinking about #18, #13, #21, #26 and #28 multiple times everyday.

50 Life Lessons

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you're loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The newest addition to the family

No, Mandy is not pregnant, and I should have titled this blog entry as the temporary addition to our family. This past Monday, I was participating (for the final time this year) in my church golf league at Sahm Golf Course on the city's NE side. When I got there, I noticed this little guy walking around the outside of the pro shop and welcoming golfers on the putting green:

He was a really friendly little guy, and unfortunately the person working behind the counter really didn't have much of a plan for how to deal with a stray (unmarked) dog that randomly showed up on the golf course. Being the tree-hugging, animal protecting, improving human being that I think I am, I immediately thought of a rescue. The little fella was still loitering on the property when my match ended, and followed happily to my car where he hopped in the back seat like a seasoned pro.

After a good scrub at home, he quickly welcomed himself into our home and showed off his adorable little charm. He couldn't be any cuter.

Mandy and her mom papered the neighborhood around Sahm with 'FOUND' posters and we set up every conceivable website bulletin we could find.

Meanwhile, 'Buddy' (as he has been named by us; okay, me) has really been the best houseguest with four legs we could have asked for. He walks with us, sleeps peacefully is Grace's puppy crate and has a healthy appetite for food, napping and tummy rubs.

As for the big member of our family, Grace took a day to get used to him, but she is still trying to bring the inner Golden Retriever out of him and hopes for a game of tug or a chase around the dining room table at any point.

Mandy and I have toyed with the idea of a 2nd dog for a while now. Grace could use a buddy, pardon the pun. But Buddy really isn't the answer. He is not the aggressive, playful type, and we believe he is a little older than Grace. We will eventually get another puppy, and our experience with Buddy has reminded us about what struggles we faced with a new dog, and shown us what the daily routine (walks, bathroom breaks, feeding) would be nice with another animal. But, in the end, it has been magical to watch these two coexist, and eventually share...

Don't worry, there is a happy ending. Here we are, 72 hours after Buddy hopped into my car and we haven't heard anything from the owners. Unfortunately, I expected this, and fear that Buddy may have been the victim of a family that could not afford to take care of him anymore. Thankfully, the outpouring of support from friends and acquiantences has been amazing, and I think Buddy will be heading to his new (permanent) home tomorrow with a co-worker of mine, who along with her husband were recently talking about getting a dog... a beagle at that.

So, tonight (as Mandy flys off to San Francisco to visit her sister) will be the last night for Buddy in the Haskett household. He's been a great guest and I feel honored to have given him another chance at a loving and safe life.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Selective Memory

Now that tweeting has become the norm and your life's thoughts are captured in 140 characters or less (we are trying to have joint twitter feeds down the right-hand column and failing), what has happened to the lengthy narrative of our lives? The blog has already been rendered out-of-touch, likely because it is too thorough, too all-encompassing and (gasp) too much work.
We said we would welcome an August vacation and we did just that. The marriage of dear friends followed by the annual affair with Watervale. Now that we've reflected and recharged, it's time to greet autumn with a vengeance.

And while Mandy's post about tracking the past 10 years of her life (below) was only a month ago, today marks the opportunity to stretch another year, to mark the celebration of 11 years together. Yes, September 11th. 9/11. Of the 365 days we could've chosen to embark on our own adventure, we choose (unbeknownst at the time, of course) the darkest date of American history in the 21st century. And while 9/11/01 is painfully etched in our memories, the Haskett household quietly celebrates the better year for this date: 9/11/98

There is nothing romantic about the start of our relationship. It was 6 days after a forgettable (100% my fault) kiss, I was grounded, we were on the phone and we were questioning what had become of our suddenly complicated friendship. We were inseperable without being an item. Best friends ignoring any attraction. And then we realilzed that we loved each other. I really don't remember much about the phone call (remember, I was grounded), but when it was over with, I had a girlfriend, a steady, a 'going out' partner, a lover and the best person I could ever want to spend time with.

Sure, there have been our share of rough patches over the past 11 years, and we haven't been "together" for 4,017 consecutive days, but that doesn't change the fact that we made a decision on this night 11 years ago that altered my life forever and will always be the best decision I ever made. We were 17-years-old, ignorant little high school children. But somehow we knew something was special, and we've grown every minute with the other along for the ride.

It's only fitting that we are celebrating our 10-year high school reunion this weekend, merging the past with the present for a few hours to relive what was. And when it is all over, I still will be able to take the best thing from high school home with me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ten years come and gone so fast, I might as well have been dreamin'

I have never been any good at answering the 'Where do you see yourself in 10 years' question.

In fact, as I write this, I draw an honest blank at the prospect of my future 10 years down the line. This isn't to say that I don't have goals for myself, aspirations, a stack of journals that are a written testament to the type of woman I'd like to be today and throughout my life.... But as a smart young woman with lots of prospects on the horizon, I can't seem to draw upon a visual of myself at 38. Just typing the number seems strange. So it got me thinking....

I am all for planning...I have a retirement plan (or at least my bank accounts thinks I do), I have a plan for a baby, a plan for puppy #2, a plan for my (nonexistent) children to one day attend college, a plan for the presentation Monday morning, and we're planning our trip to Watervale in two weeks. These ideas are not lost on me. But if life really is what happens when we're making plans (as John Lennon put it), are we really just tricking ourselves into a false sense of control by making plans for time that's not truly our own?

There's got to be some balance here.

As I reflect on the past 10 years, for example, I recall the young woman I was at 18. Just entering college with a shaky sense of independence, rudimentary interests and a fresh (albeit slightly naive) perspective on the world. In a way, not much has changed. I'm still hopeful. I still believe that people are inherently good. I believe in peace. At 18, however, I couldn't have predicted this moment.

Still so many people ask this question, and assuredly find merit in knowing my plans for the next decade of my life. Most recently, I have felt real pressure to create a true visualization of that time, to write down my goals for the next 10 years and make sure I've accomplished them to live up to my answer.

I can't help but much planning is too much? Am I doing enough of it? And how will I know?

The recent 2-3 years of my life have been far and away the most eye-opening. I feel like I have learned an incredible amount (mostly about me) and grown up. These days are some of the most precious. And I am positive that I couldn't have made it here on my own accord or with my silly little list of plans. But I see God working in my life daily, and I surrender my plans to Him. Ten years time is a great gift; one I don't take lightly, and to plan it away would fly in the face of all I know to be true.

Here's what I will plan for: to be faithful above all else. I plan to work hard. I plan to be good to people and to animals and to our earth, and I plan to live as simply as I am able, knowing that I am already rich beyond measure for having been given this time at all. By the Grace of God go we.

This is a heavy perspective to keep on this rocky world, but one I'm going to try.... As I write this, Paul Simon's "Ten Years" lyrics ring in my ears. Have a listen and think about your past/next decade, and your plans if you like....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

There's no place like home...

Hello, summer. Good to see you.

Ah July, and the Watervale Road has infiltrated my mind, spilling its delicious blues and greens into my dreams. Each day I awake hoping to find a bar of handmade soap on my vanity and blueberry buckle at my snap-dragon adorned breakfast table.... Nuts. It's still not time for vacation (our New Year.)

Let's reflect, then, on the year we've been given. All of us.

And while you're reflecting, however you may do so, peruse a few shots of our beloved old home. Here are a few of the inside. The garden is yet to come (two new zucchini today!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Rhythm

Summer is, obviously, the season that seems to go by the quickest, but Mandy, Grace and I are enjoying the middle of it right now about as well as you could. The yard is still green (thank you mild, wet weather) and the vegetables are taking off. Our first tomato will be ready for picking any day now with about a dozen more on the vine waiting their turn. We have the world's biggest zucchini plant with no zucchini. Same can be said for the watermelon, which has a vine that grows 3 inches a day in 4 different directions. And the little critters are devouring our first strawberries. While I don't enjoy digging in the dirt like the two ladies of the house, I certainly am fascinated by the daily watch of developing edibles.

I will go more than a month without travelling for any type of work, which is a first. My last trip was so enjoyable, I took some time off! Ah, Buffalo dorm life...

(Yep, that was my abode for a whole week with 3 roommates. I don't feel old, but I can not remember when I enjoyed sleeping in a place like that)

We finally got back to the little lake this summer (thank you, Laurent family!) and got a little R&R in the sun. More importantly, it gave us the opportunity to let the little fuzz practice her doggy-paddle stroke...

All in all, we've really had a chance to relax, which is great. Mandy continues to update the house as she channels the interior designer within. Friends are getting married, friends are having babies and we continue to realize that every day is an amazing gift. Grateful isn't a strong enough word for the life I have and the opportunities provided. The more people who can share that attitude, the better the country, in my opinion.

So, enjoy your summer, wherever you may be!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Broken, old, mossy stuff? Be still my heart.

I am an old soul. I love creepy old things—crooked old houses, creaky floorboards, old doors and closets, historic hotels, abandoned buildings, shacks on the side of the highway…anything with a past and a couple cobwebs. I am so fascinated with days gone by that I can’t help but daydream about the lives old objects led as they pass under my glance. The hands that must have held that bowl, the sink it was soaped up in, how it was used…. the picture unfurls in my mind.

When Will and I began shopping for our first home, I knew I wanted it to have some history. I dragged him through multiple dilapidated homes, all of which would have cost us a fortune in heat and repair, but swooned over the details: limestone fireplace crest, chipped French doors, stained glass basement door, and moss covered patios. A great sport, my husband is. After numerous “hard-hat tours” of potential homes, we fell in love with an oldie in SoBro that lets us live comfortably and without many dips into the “cookie jar.”

Still, I toddle on real estate sites scanning the homes for sale in historic parts of town, rummaging the Indiana Historical Society, and unraveling the history of our abode. Each year, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Indy, Woodruff Place, has a HUGE flea market, which lasts all weekend. We headed there for the festivities this month, and I snagged 5 pink crystal champagne glasses for $5, while Will picked up some good books and BU apparel. (That's my reflection in the picture above)

Check out the haunts I love so well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


For my birthday weekend this year, Will rented a cabin for us at Wasatch Lake, located in Poland Indiana, which turns out to be just a hop, skip and jump away.... The thunderclouds rolled in as we hit the highway, and the driving rain made us keep our hazards on for most of the trip. Still, we arrived safely and in one soggy piece-- our two friends, Kyle and Amanda, and big bear Grace in tow.

We had a great weekend-- relaxing, fishing, swimming, hiking and getting into trouble. Ah, the adventures we shared. Grace got to do lots of swimming too and test out her new lifejacket. It worked. She floats.

Multiple rousing games of Catch Phrase, bottles of wine, birthday cake, bonfires, bug spray, swims to the lake rafts, boat trips and three days later we packed up and hit the road for home with one small stop at the 24-hr vet for some temporary boots for our "Boots" who got a little toooo aggressive with the tennis ball fetching. All in all, the peace we felt there truly makes you think you may be miles and miles away from the world. And what better way to spend a 28th birthday than miles and miles away with the ones you love.

Enjoy some pics!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Here comes that rainy day...

What do you do when the radar looks like this?

Make a mess so your house looks like this! And tackle your long-awaited indoor projects!! Where there's a will (and electricity), there's a way. Crank up the weather channel and get to it!

We have had oodles of rain in Indiana the last few months, but it's been awesome for the garden-- the lillies are taller than me (literally) and the veggies have exploded! I have been dying to paint the kitchen for some time now, and got the opportunity one recent rainy day . Here's a before shot of the neutral decor:
And here's the finished product (just in time for the sunshine):