Last Friday evening my friends, Matt and Mel, came over for dinner. They won’t be able to attend our house warming party next weekend because they’ll be out of town so Shari and I knew we had to have them over sooner rather than later. Mel surprised us with a water color piece she did of my African violet plant. I am blown away. Not only did Mel take the time and supplies to create a piece of art for us but she also made it personal – she remembered I had an African violet, she remembered the color, and she knew Shari and I love plants. I am reminded over and over again about how privileged I am to have such amazing and wonderful friends. I am so blessed to have met Mel and to still have her in my life.

The next morning I met my friend, Robyn, right along the High Line Canal Trail and we walked a couple miles loop near where I live (she also lives off the trail, a few miles away). It had probably been at least 6 months since we had last seen each other, even though we only live 10 minutes away, so I’m so happy we got to connect again. Plus, it’s really hard to not feel relaxed, or at least less stressed, when you’re walking outside.

Sunday I went to a craft meetup with some of my comic book ladies where we go to sit outside because it was that nice none of us were cold! I had only planned on staying for an hour because of dinner plans but I relished the company of my friends and the sun that I had to stay a little longer. Gotta soak up the joys of the world when you can, right? Later that evening Andy, Jarred, and Elisabeth came over for dinner where we ate homemade seitan (I’m getting good at it now!) and gravy, potato casserole, and brussel sprouts. I tried another attempt at making vegan pavlova but it turned out just meh. It didn’t crisp up and it fell, it didn’t stay nice and poofy. Maybe I overmixed it? Maybe I didn’t mix it enough? I’m not knowledgeable enough about the science of baking to quite know what caused the less than perfect pavlova. I felt bummed but more determined than ever to keep at it until I can consistently make a vegan pavlova that I am proud of. Baking is finnicky, vegan baking even more so, but it’s a challenge I accept. The company of course was the main point of the night and that was lovely. We even got ourselves up and out, taking a walk along the trail after dinner to help settle our stomachs.

Yesterday Shari and I met back up with Robyn at The Roaming Gnome theater where we watched a production of The Twelfth Night put on by a small local group. I think this is the first time (at least as an adult) that I’ve seen a live Shakespeare play. I really enjoyed it (even though it took me an act or two to start to understand what the characters were saying). I laughed a lot. I was hesitant to go because it started at 7pm and was supposed to get done at 9:30pm and that’s when I’m in bed but Shari pushed me (in a good way) and I stretched my comfort level out and went. It was a “pay what you can” kind of event in a hidden space in Aurora and it was awesome. I hope I can watch some of their other productions in the future. Plus, I got to prove to myself that I could have a slightly later night out and still be ok. I might be a bit more tired today but not enough to regret the prior evening’s festivities.

I continue to struggle with feeling overwhelmed and stressed about work and the cats and just transitioning into this new part of my life in general so thank goodness for friends, therapy, and warmer days that allow me to go walking again. It feels like a constant grapple figuring out how to balance life and I can only hope my efforts to grow will allow me to do my best and be content. Life is always going to come at me and it’s how I react that matters most to me. I hope everyone is having a lovely week and that you all have something to look forward to in the coming days.

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