i want love to be simple

I want love to be simple. I want to trust without thinking. I want to be generous with my affection and patience and love unconditionally. It is easier to love a person with their flaws than to weed through them. I want to love the whole person, not parts; and this is how I want to be loved.” – Jewel Kilcher

I think that making love the center of your life allows the every day pieces to fall into place a little easier.  Or, as Vicci Martiniez says, “Now that I’ve made the commitment to myself, to enjoy my ride, everything seems so effortless.  In a way, I think it has set me up to be ready for whatever may come and to welcome it with open arms.”

I suppose that’s a lot of rambling about love as a recipe for simple and good living, but it’s true, and it’s what this post is about.  Yesterday was nothing out of the ordinary, but it was such a wonderful day, just because of my gratitude for the little things.  

Anyway, one weekend a month, this abandoned warehouse downtown is taken over by artists, and I am always excited to go and see what they are painting, sculpting, composing, etc etc etc.  Not too many people know about the market, so it always feels like I’m part of a secret when I enter the warehouse and ascend the stairs to the artists’ studios:



When I got home, I baked some chocolate chip cookies inside oreos for Jon.



He loves these cookies almost as much as oreo stuffed chocolate chip, red velvet with white chocolate chip, funfetti with bluemoon frosting— eeh, I think the boy just loves cookies.  I was planning dinner as well, but he called and said it was the perfect day for a picnic.  Before he came home, I got a blanket and snacks ready, and then we rode our bikes down to the river. We played Lumineers Pandora and munched on wraps and salads while
watching the sunset.


home sweet view

in my last post i said that jon was my home. that’s true. in all sorts of sentimental ways, our relationship makes my abstract home sweet, but in a very physical sense, i believe that a view makes or breaks a home.  wouldn’t you agree? in chicago, i rented a restored 1890s mansion with a couple of friends, and the home was a stunner: hardwork floors, filigree details lining the walls, bay windows, fireplaces- a chicago hotdog with all the fixins’.  what was missing, however, was anything to look at beyond the curtains adorning that beautiful bay window.  my bedroom view was simply the redbrick that was my neighbor’s house, and that lackluster view kept the otherwise impressive mansion from being anything exceptional.

now, the apartment jon and i shared in chicago had a view for the books — facing west (an untraditional view in chicago where the most coveted view is east toward the lake), and overlooking all the activity of the city.  the two of us spent many o days sitting porchside with cream soda and chatting about what the neighbors were doing in the building across, who was going home with whom below, and which places we would visit when we descended the 28 flights of stairs…

well, enough of that.  this was our view in chicago:

now, we are living in the country (cheating a little bit since we’re living in an apartment building, but hey- it’s still a rural area), and we have this view:

this view doesn’t afford us too many opportunities to muse about the behavior of the city, but it does allow us to draw constellations, watch the sunrise, and observe the changing of the leaves.  
jon took work off yesterday, and with the help of the movers, he had all of our things in the apt by the time i came home:

i was ready to start unpacking and decorating, but he asked if we could just have dinner and watch a movie. ha, as if he needed to ask.  i made sausage tortellini, and then we shared a bottle of wine on the porch.  we laid there with kinzie for an hour or so, just chatting, and i had that feeling that we have ended up exactly where we needed to be.
oh? and for the movie? we went throwback with a beautiful mind.  it’s an oldie but a goodie.

home is wherever i’m with you

Jon and I were living in downtown Chicago when his job relocated him to rural Wisconsin.  When he told me where his new office was located, we had to pull out a map to find the town (population of 2,000), and we quickly realized that we were headed for adventure.  Luckily, the two of us are always game, so I quit my job, bought some boots, and jumped in his truck (or jeep to be exact).

Lucky us, developers had just started working on some new apartments 45 minutes from his office (the nearest town).  We decided we wanted to move in, but they weren’t going to be ready for a couple months, so we settled into a little house on Omaha Street.
Tomorrow, however, our new apartment is finally ready, and I couldn’t be more excited to move into the new home with my sweethearts.

Jon thanked me this morning for willingly following him from the city to the county, from the house to the apartment.  I responded that I would follow him to the stars, and I reminded him that HE, not an address, will always be my home.
Later today, I found this Rob Ryan print that perfectly expresses how I feel, and so I thought I would post:

cheers to 960 more months

Jon and I got engaged after four months of dating, and we’ve come to expect a bit of shock & disbelief when we explain to people that we’ve been together 5, 6, or even 7 months.  Most people answer with a tactful “when you know, you know,” but others chime in about the responsibility of marriage, and the importance of being “sure.”

well, we were both sure after 4 weeks, and we’re more happy today, 1 year and 2 days later, than we’ve ever been.  july 28 marked our one year anniversary since our first kiss, and we decided to spend the weekend together kayaking in Bayfield, Wisconsin.
Jon began the anniversary by sending roses to my office:
When I got off work, we drove north toward Lake Superior, and stayed at a quaint B&B in Bayfield, Wisconsin.  We had a nice dinner at Wild Rice on Friday night, and then ferried to Madeline Island to go kayaking on Saturday:

After we finished kayaking, we wandered through the town hand-in-hand, exploring mom&pop shops and specialty boutiques.  We had a lot of fun, and found these interesting things to entertain us:

Sunday we woke up early and went to a flower and berry farm outside the city.  I intended to come home with lots of fruit for pies and muffins, but we ended up passing out fruit to hitchhikers and homeless individuals on the way home.  

i do i do i do

jon and i traveled up to Minneapolis for a wedding (1 of 8 that we are going to this year) and watched our friends Ann & Dan tie the proverbial knot.  we’ve made a game out of wedding going: we’ve decided (actually it was jon’s idea) to incorporate something fun from each wedding into our own  — this wedding had an awesome candy bar and DIY wine corks as seating cards, so it’s a toss up which idea we’ll be taking…

exploring minneapolis is always a good time too (we think it combines our favorite parts of Chicago with what we love best about the country).  we took sunday to bike around lake calhoun and lake of the isles, and then we brunched at a little bistro called barbette (if i was a yelper this place would get five stars.)  as this blog  continues you’ll come to see that jon is a true midwestern boy — we sat down for our breakfast and he started commenting on all the cheeses — chevre, goat, ricotta, etc — and told me he was going order “bacon and cheddar eggs — i’ve had enough of these funny cheeses, jen.” haha. i giggled and told him to just try the goat cheese with ham and bacon.  he thanked me.

the weekend got even better when we returned to Eau Claire on Sunday afternoon and I got to see my puppy again (his parents had been watching her for the weekend).  Sweet Kinzie back in my arms.

the beginning

i’m engaged to my best friend and in love with my life (one implies the other, no?)  we just moved to the country (we’re talking backwoods, four-wheel drive, farm to table) from chicago, and having the time of our lives exploring the mountains & planning our wedding.

couldn’t let these days go by without a little blog.  so here it goes!