Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ice ice baby

© photo credit: everythingmedinaohio.com

Last weekend was also the much-anticipated Ice Festival.

People have been telling us about this event since we first arrived in Medina, and I had it marked on our calendar since the beginning of the year. The schedule of events said the festival would begin on Friday and go through Sunday.

Friday was the only day Chris and I could attend, so after a nice relaxing dinner at home, we decided to walk to the townsquare. The festival started at 5pm, we arrived at 7pm. Everyone knows a party doesn't really start until at least an hour in and goes late in to the evening, right?

I forgot we're not in Seattle anymore.

When we arrived, folks were still milling about, but the only hint of ice were some broken chips on the ground. Clearly we had missed everything.

According to friends of ours who went, and an article written in the paper, the ice festival was something to see. Thankfully, the sculptures were left up for a week, which meant I could gawk at them as I drove to my office.

That is one nice thing about below freezing temperatures lingering during the winter months here: an ice festival makes sense and the art pieces last for days.

Better luck next year, Holowatys.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

blankets


In response to our youth pastor's challenge of becoming more involved in community outreach, my junior high small group from church agreed that we would find projects we could do together throughout the year to bless others.

The first of these happened last weekend.

I had the girls over to my house for a blanket-making party.

It should be noted that my co-leader (Anna) and I presented ideas to the group, but they made the decision together, followed by one of the girls (Britt) taking the lead. Not two days after we decided to make blankets, Britt called to tell me the fabric store where her mom worked was having a sale on fleece. So, I met them there the next morning and we bought enough panels to make sixteen lap blankets for the elderly.

The girls arrived at 12noon on Saturday and left at 5pm. What happened in those five hours was similar to a circus act, minus the trapeze artists and elephants.

If you recall, last October I hosted a slumber party. Three of those girls are also in my small group, so they showed up full of energy and eager to recount all of the things that happened at the sleepover to the others who weren't there, including a tour of our spooky basement and the prank we pulled on Chris.

So naturally, the first order of business had to be pranking Chris (again).

Since we were short on time, the girls quickly devised a plan to have it look like, instead of me having killed them, they killed me. They all grabbed kitchen utensils (serving spoons, a whisk, spatula, tongs and a turkey baster (??)) and hovered over my 'dead' body. When Chris walked in the door, all he could see were them standing in a circle looking down and then running away, with me laying on the kitchen floor holding my breath and trying not to laugh. We didn't have as much time to rehearse, so it was a spontaneous effort that ended in a fit of giggles.

Then came lunch. I fed them grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and the snacks they each brought from home. We had fun talking about girl stuff and followed our nosh with.. what's that you say? Making blankets? Oh no, that didn't happen until after the girls decided to paint my husband's fingernails.

Yes, all ten of them. Yes, with all the colors of nail polish I could find in my house. It would have taken a week to dry.



Chris was such a good sport, but quickly made his exit post-manicure.

The blankets came next and the girls did well to organize the operation, working in partners and showing me how it was done. We made small versions of the fleece tie blankets that have become so popular (Chris and I received two large ones during the holidays this year - they have helped get us through our first Ohio winter), but cut only one panel for each and created knotted ends instead of tying two pieces together. After we had all of the blankets cut, we sat in a circle in the livingroom and chatted while we tied. At church, the girls only have a few minutes to tell me stories from their week, but on this day they had a few hours.

I can assure you they had more than enough words to fill up the time.

Could they be any cuter?

There was one other break in the afternoon that involved a communal pitcher of Hawaiian Punch, strawberries dipped in sugar, Britt's homemade chocolate, ice cream, fresh baked cookies, about ten minutes of a movie we ended up abandoning for conversation, and squealing.. lots of squealing.

By the time 5 o'clock rolled around, the girls were pooped. They may have talked themselves into fatigue or perhaps they suffered from a serious sugar crash.  Either way, I have a feeling they all slept well that night.

(I sure did.)

Part of the entertainment for me was when the parents picked up their children and each gave me a look of gratitude mixed with concern. I don't think they realized they were doing it, but I suspect they have become accustomed to showing sympathy to anyone else who braves the company of junior high kids for an extended period of time. It's really sweet.

I just love parents and admire them for their strength in the midst of tween/teen drama and raging hormones.

The blankets are perfect and our hope is that the residents of Elmcroft Assisted Living Community will receive them with all the love that went in to making them.. and maybe some of the laughter, too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

neighborly


We have new neighbors!

Let it be known that we tried persuading several friends from the west coast to buy the yellow house to the right of us.   Even the wagon wheel by the front door and the wall-to-wall wood paneling in the basement weren't enough of a draw.

That's okay, we forgive you.

After months of anticipating who would buy the empty house, we started hearing from our Valley City friends that a young couple they knew had put an offer in.  The rumors turned in to reality and, sure enough, the couple who moved in are as 'cool' as we were told.

Josh and Kelly last lived in Strongsville, and like us, bought their first home on Ridge Drive.  They have been together for several years, Josh is a pool shark and a production manager for an oil pipe-fitting company (or something smart like that). Kelly does physical therapy with seniors, and they parent two adorable cats.  Last night we had them over for dinner, and they had us over for dessert.

It's nice to no longer be the youngest couple on the street.  Don't get me wrong, living in a neighborhood with mostly retirees makes for a certain charm and ease, and quiet.

We have met several other residents since moving in last spring:

There is Earl who has a bright red lawn globe by his front walkway, wears his pants high, and likes to shuffle across the street to see what his neighbors are up to.  On warm days, you can find him sitting in his driveway, in a lawn chair facing the street, watching people pass by.  We always get a wave from Earl.

Then there is Dick, who lives next to Earl.  Dick is the designated snow plow guy.  He also drives a scooter (bigger than Chris's) and likes to stop by in the summertime to say hello.

John & Pat live to the left of us.  They travel, garden, and raise koi fish in their front yard.  John does the landscaping for a small church nearby, and Pat has a fondness for inviting Mormons in to their home and telling them why they need Jesus.

Dan & Sandy live next to Dick, they are friends of ours from church. Sandy was the one who tipped us off about the houses for sale on her block.  She is a dear woman who stands 5 feet tall, loves her grandkids and walking her dog.  Dan mowed our grass before we moved in, and gave us the lawn mower!

Chris has met the neighbors across the street from Josh & Kelly, but I haven't.  Since we live so close to the high school, it seems they are a hub of youth activity.  We always see several cars parked out front and their barbecue is constantly smoking during the summer months. Chris mentioned he's overheard some spirited arguments coming from their home as well - they must be a lively bunch.

We've also met the people directly behind us and two doors down from them, as the fencing in our yards act more as property line indicators than privacy walls.

Thank you Lord for giving us new neighbors we can laugh with, and who don't judge me for liking Justin Bieber.

Good times ahead!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I do



Chris and I got married twelve years, three months and one day ago.

In that much time, we have developed important skills, including communication and conflict resolution, and we have learned how to be married. Really, it's a union that takes time to get used to, especially if you met on the internet like we did.

While we agree that we make a good team, it has taken time to grow in to each other and learn how to support each other well.

My darling husband confessed to me in year two that he wasn't as in love with me as I was him, and.. well.. I was an internalizer. I had to be patient with him and help him love me, and he had to be patient with me and help me get comfortable with sharing my feelings, even if it meant we wouldn't like each other for awhile (cringe).

We have lots of good things going for us, including the fact that our personalities compliment each other, we 'get' each other, we talk lovingly to each other (manners go a long way), and we are genuinely for each other. Plus, we created a foundation of honesty and trust early on in our relationship.

So, we have a healthy marriage, right? For the most part, yes, but marriage is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised regularly or else it will get stiff or atrophy.

Due to scheduling conflicts, we've never been able to attend a full marriage conference before. So, when our church announced it was hosting Family Life's, The Art of Marriage, we were eager to sign up; even though I half-expected it to be cheesy and watered down.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

So wrong, in fact, I got my butt kicked a few times during those two days. Turns out, I still internalize some times, and I'm more insecure than I let on. Chris loves me really well, but even he has areas he can improve upon. We are each other's biggest fans, yet encouraging each other to become better and stronger in our spiritual identities takes time, and requires more than just a daily routine.

We are learning and forgiving and high-fiveing and hugging (some times crying) and not holding each other to past mistakes.

Vulnerability is powerful. I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

ah, love


This is the card I gave my husband today.
Inside it says, 'All yours.'
Sharing my heart and my life are way easier than sharing my fries.
Unless he goes for the crispy ones.
Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

west liberty street

© photo credit: washingtonpropertiesinc.com

I am at the end of my first week doing business in Ohio, and I'm still smiling.

My new office was originally a room in a motel. A few decades ago, the building was renovated and turned in to corporate offices. I quite like the motel-room-turned-office-suite layout. Here is the architect's drawing of my 244 square foot salon. It suits my needs (and budget) perfectly! Considering my last office was only 110 square feet, this space feels like luxury.

Liberty Row Plaza, pictured above, is the office building where I'm located. My studio is upstairs in the back. This facility is just a few blocks west of Medina's Historic Square and just east of the Root Company. This is considered the historic district, and you would be amazed at just how much history exists in this town.

East Liberty alone is worth investigating. You can go on a virtual walking tour of this end of the street, which is less than a mile from our house.

In 1869, Amos Root founded the A.I. Root Company in Medina as a manufacturer of beehives and beekeeping equipment, which caused the city to become a center for beehive manufacturing, and put Medina on the map. The Root Company is primarily a candle-making business now and advertises as having 'the best candle in America.' I don't know about that, but scores of people shop at their store throughout the year, which makes a convenient landmark for me to reference when directing new clients to my business.

Thanks, Amos!

This week, I had the privilege of giving facials to a mother of eight kids, a gal who owns an in-home senior care company, a 78 year-old bride whose 83 year-old husband sat nearby as I gave her a treatment, and a college student who aspires to open a surf shop in Florida. I've also fired up my wax pot and cleaned up the facial hair of a few young ladies, one who was born on Valentine's Day.

When I first walked in to the room that would become Sweet Face Skin Care, the air was stale and the space was uninspired. Now it is bright and full of life, and smells like essential oils. I am so in love with this, and am pleased to add joy and laughter and therapy and healing to the history of this neighborhood.

Monday, February 7, 2011

opening day


Sweet Face Skin Care is open for business!

After months of navigating through the Ohio State Board salon licensing process, countless trips around town to get the perfect paint colors and supplies I needed, hours of online research to find the best equipment, meetings with my bank and Dermalogica business consultant, hiring outside help for my flooring and other fixtures (thanks Jim!), putting everything together (including many "oh, babe, will you hang up one more thing in my office?" requests of my patient husband), updating my online presence and advertising, fighting anxiety, and holding my breath.. what started as this:


Is now this:


Today was my Opening Day and what a fabulous day it was!

Chris saw me before I left for the office and said, "Awww, I've missed Paul Mitchell black."  It made me smile, and reminded me of my undergrad season of taking night classes for nine months, while working full-time, and somehow managing to be present for my other life roles.  My husband supported me every step of the way, including the meltdown I had right before I started school, and the one that ended my first week.

Has it really been six years since I started this journey?

My undergraduate education was at Paul Mitchell the Skin Academy in Costa Mesa, CA, and the 'uniform' required us to dress neck-to-toe in black.  We weren't allowed to wear jeans, except on special occasions.  Now that I make my own rules, I still dress in black on top with my black vinyl apron (Paul Mitchell issued), but my bottoms are most certainly denim.

Although I'm still finding my new rhythm, my hands knew exactly what to do today and taking clients was as familiar as riding a bike. I have missed giving extended treatments and consultations.  It is good to be back.

Plus, I received a bounty of gifts and well wishes from loved ones.

What?  I wasn't expecting presents!

I'll admit, most of the time I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Not only do I get to pursue my passions, but I get to do so with a whole cheering section behind me.

Thank you, dear friends, for believing in me.


(Now, who wants to be next on SFSC's dance card?)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

polar bears



Chippewa's inaugural Polar Bear Jump happened last Saturday.

For those of you not familiar with the term, this type of event involves those who are brave enough to jump in to frigid water in the height of winter. Chippewa's event raised funds for the Chippewa Lake Lions Club, who donates time and resources to the community throughout the year, including area food pantries.

While we weren't able to attend, we knew some friends who did, including a few who took the plunge.

(Thanks for the great photos, Amanda!)

Firefighters cut ice blocks from the lake to make a swimming area:


Remember Nick & Rosie?:


What is it they say? The couple that shivers together, stays together?

Love the outfit, Nick! Wow.

The 61 participants included local residents, Medina County Commissioner Adam Friedrick, and the youngest jumper, an eleven year old boy.

Several people dressed up for the occasion, including costumes of Lady Gaga, Nacho Libre, and the emcee who resembled a sailor (and pretended he was being pulled in by a fish):

It sounds like a good time was had by all, and the $7000 raised is nothing to complain about; though some of the day's attire may have been.

To quote Amanda, there were "way too many people wearing Speedos."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

monster

© photo credit: freep.com

The Monster Storm is upon us.

We've been hearing about it on the news and all over the internet recently, and it finally hit. From where I sit, our little town is doing okay. Last night was particularly icy, and by 'particularly,' I mean ice was falling from the sky and the ground became deceptively slick. It seemed no surface was safe.

Even though it makes for shivering nights, chronic sore throats, dry skin, and risky driving conditions, I still love this weather.

When I looked outside this morning, it was indeed a blustery scene. I wish my camera could capture the blowing wind and snow fall, so you could get a better idea of what I'm seeing.

This growing icicle on the side of our roof is a beauty.


From the inside of the garage out, this is what our driveway looks like before it's cleared.


With temperatures in the single digits, you can actually see your breath inside your car. I have a grin on my face every time I put a Dum Dum sucker in my mouth that has sat in my car overnight. I get them from the bank and leave the extras in the console. When I put them inside of my mouth, after they've been freezing overnight, the heat and cold clash and I get the sensation of Pop Rocks. I told the postman about this the other day.

I think he's going to try it.

So, other than craving citrus, dealing with schedule changes and cancellations, shoveling the driveway a dozen times (or waving to the neighbors who do it for us with their fancy machines), scraping ice off windshields, businesses closed, and being stuck inside watching movie marathons, there is really nothing to report.

We are safe and sound, and marveling at this force of nature.

Here's hoping the power stays on.