certified kindred

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My legs ache, my hands are blistered, and the goofy symbols on my wrists are making me laugh.  A certified FP+KS+BF came to visit, and memories of the blissful three days are stamped all over my body.
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Some confusion?  Leg pains from biking the city, blisters from paddleboarding the lakes, and ink marks from bouncers insisting we need an X-on-the-wrist to enter. Oh, and FP = Favorite Person, KS = Kindred Spirit, and BF = Best Friend.  Did anyone solve that equation without the explanation?
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Acronyms and text lingo get all kinds of negative press, but, more and more, I’m finding myself adapting the language to create new ways of saying things.  There might be some initial confusion, sure, but perhaps the new sayings become commonplace with time?  I mean, why not describe people as certified FP+KS+BF?
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I check Urban Dictionary every morning as part of my coffee+pandora+’check the news’ routine. I told Emily my favorite ‘new words of the month,’ and now I’m sharing them with you:Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 8.24.31 AM
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And now I’ve essentially gotten away from telling you about my dear friend, Emily.  The two of us met while nannying for neighboring families in Milan, and we’ve remained friends evvva since. Emily went to law school in California while I volunteered in Mexico, and then she moved to New York when I started grad school in Chicago.  A bit of jaunting around the country, and now she’s in Texas and I’m in Minnesota.
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We’ve managed to visit each other in all the cities I just mentioned, and the travel has me musing about the importance of commitment over convenience in friendship.  Yes, it’d be great if we could be BFF with the people in our town, but there’s something beautiful about committing to a friendship that travels around this great big world.

kindred spring

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I used to marvel at the likelihood of meeting a kindred spirit in a world that spins round with nearly 7 billion people.  Lately, however, the experience of meeting someone new and quickly feeling like I’ve known them forever and always is becoming… dare I say, normal?  There seems to be many more kindred spirits than I ever imagined – perhaps I wasn’t looking in the right places before?

Or maybe we get better at identifying similar souls as we grow older?  Our personalities solidify and then we attract people that recognize shared interests and values?  What do you think?  Does finding kindred spirits become easier as we age?
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Perhaps it’s something unconnected to age?  When I think about bonds that formed quickly, I can usually find a shared experience or unique interest that helped to solidify the friendship.  I’ve met close friends while traveling abroad and starting new ‘life-stages’ and moving to foreign places.  Sometimes its been as simple as happening upon a ‘you too!?’ moment in the middle of an otherwise ordinary conversation.
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And now, having pondered the connection between kindred spirits, age, and shared experience, I wonder what role location plays in the equation?  Do kindred spirits gravitate toward similar places where running into one another is not only possible, but likely?
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Kindred spirits were on my mind yesterday as I cut and stitched and sewed fabric of navy and pink into a new spring outfit.  You see my bucket list picture just above?  It’s the top of a suitcase that Jon and I used as a guestbook at our wedding.  We each listed 3 things that we wanted to do as individuals, and then we asked people to help us build our ‘married bucket-list.’  
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The third item on my individual bucket list was to sew a dress.  My mother-in-law gave me a sewing machine for Christmas, and ever since I’ve been doing little projects to prepare myself for the project.  I’m not gifted enough just yet, but I am getting pretty close: today I sewed a scarf and shorts.  

What do you think?  Should I try a dress next, or should I continue the baby steps and do a skirt?

opposites don’t attract

Jon and I didn’t get along the first three times we met.  Well, okay, he liked me just fine (he kept asking me out, after-all), but I went home and told my friends that he was ‘”a business-type who loved sports and never read books.”  I didn’t think we had much in common, and so I gently explained that ‘although you’re a really nice guy, this probably isn’t going to work’ right after our third day.

He likes caramel.  I like chocolate.  He likes movies.  I like books.  He likes sports.  I like theater.  He likes business.  I like art.  He likes planning.  I like spontaneity.  He likes staying home.  I like going out.

We ended up running into each other at a music festival a few (7) months later, and, despite my belief ‘that we were just too different,’ we ended up making jokes and laughing for nearly an hour.  I learned then that we had the same sense of humor.

He called me after the festival and asked me out to dinner.  I agreed, and we spent the entire meal talking about our brothers and sisters.  I learned then that we’re both extremely close to our family.

We spent almost every.single.day together after that dinner, and we began discovering how much we had in common: we were both sincere, motivated, loyal, and easy-going.  I began to realize that surface level descriptors like “business-type who loves sports and never reads books” doesn’t really tell you anything about a person’s core.  Soon enough, I learned that we were identical when it came to important things like values, believes, and, of course, a sense of humor.

Our differences allow us to step outside our comfort zone and try new things — little foray’s into the other person’s world, if you will.   I’ve always enjoyed making homemade chocolates, for example, but since Jon doesn’t like chocolate (IMAGINE THAT) I spent today learning how to make caramels.

My experiment is your gain — these caramels are soft, chewy, and delicious.   Trust me: even a chocolate-lover can appreciate this gooey goodness.  The recipe is below:
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Here is the recipe:
-2 cups white sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of water
-2 tbs of white corn syrup
-1 stick of butter
-3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

Mix sugar, water, and 1/2 stick of butter in a pan and bring to a low boil.  When the mixture is at hard crack (You could use a candy thermometer want wait for the temperate to reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit , or  you can wait use s a glass of water to test the temperature.  If using the glass of water, drop a few drops of the hot caramel into a glass, and if it sticks together you’re good to go).   Take the caramel off the heat and add the other half of the butter and the heavy cream.   Put back on the heat until boil reaches 240 degrees (or when you drop in water it forms a ball that feels soft but still holds together).   Finally, pour batter onto buttered parchment paper and let cool for an hour.   You’re done 🙂

Artwork by the lovely Rhianna Wurman.

the wisdom of the duck & the owl

ImageWe can do a little bit of good on our own, but surely, if we work together, we can do much more.  Unit yesterday, all my random acts of happiness had been simple projects intended to make strangers in Minneapolis smile.  That all changed on Friday when the rah rah rah projects went on a road trip to Milwaukee.

Kaitlyn and Sarah, also known as the TheDuck&TheOwl, reached out to me with a brilliant idea: why not expand the happiness projects across the Midwest?  Spread the cheer and goodwill just a bit further than Minnesota? The idea was excellent, but I worried the execution would be tricky: how would the rah rah rah projects make it out of Minneapolis?

This is where the wisdom of the duck (Kaitlyn) and the owl (Sarah) came into play: they suggested that we plan a rah rah rah experiment (code name for random act of happiness) and then execute on the project in our respective Midwest cities.  (See that delicious cookie up up up above? That was made by Kaitlyn and Sarah.  I know, I know, I want them to be my best friends, too.)

I had such a fun time making ice cream with strangers that I suggested that we do a similar project with cookies.  For the collaborative rah rah rah, we would both bring sugar cookies and frosting to the park, and then we would get strangers to decorate the treats with us.  Sounds fun and delicious, right?
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The Duck, the Owl, and the Apartment Wife may be the only people who think so.  I organized the cooking making station and then asked people if they wanted to join me. 30 minutes passed without any takers, and so I started using my phone to play on Pinterest.  I wondered how the project was going for Kaitlyn and Sarah. 

 And then.

 A nice man wandered over and asked if he could sit down with me.  He said that he was a painter, and I looked like an interesting subject: a girl sitting alone with cookies and frosting.  I giggled and asked him if he’d like to decorate a sugar cookie with me.  The man agreed, and we spent the next 30 minutes decorating cookies and talking about art.  A somewhat perfect afternoon, right?Image
After he left, I asked a couple girls heading to the beach if they wanted some cookies.  They said it sounded a little strange, but they were up for it.  We swapped stories and sprinkles, and then we hung out in the grass for a bit before they ran off to work on their tans.
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It was a pretty fun day in Minneapolis, but the best part was that Sarah and Kaitlyn were doing the same project in Milwaukee.  Their project went a bit differently, and you can read all about it on their blog, TheDuck&TheOwl.  They provide a revealing account of the trials&triumphs of doing random experiments with strangers.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes you improvise 🙂

The three of us want the projects to keep expanding, so if you’re interested in being involved in the next one, let us know and we’ll involve you in the planning.  It might be successful, it might be a flop, but it will definitely be interesting – and hopefully a little fun. 

 Have a great Saturday, everyone!