where life is leading

Last week, I met my new life. For a first date, it was pretty stellar. New life and I had emailed and even briefly talked on the phone, and I felt fairly confident about our future successes. Yet nothing matches the intensity of getting on an airplane and staring at a a baggage carousel knowing that new life is standing outside of the door, waiting to meet you, loudly and inescapably.

We only spent a few short days together. We wandered around together a lot, in and out of buildings, eating meals, listening to each other, sharing truths about any life, and getting excited about the impending time when "new life" is just plain life. I stared off into space more than normal and wondered if new life will like me as much as I am liking it.

I was overwhelmed by the clear blessing new life has set out for me. New life has roommates full of zest and passion. New life has libraries galore. New life has short distances between home and school and work and play. New life is exciting, different, and humid (then again, so is current life. Sigh.).

New life has some serious challenges and does not set out to be a cake walk. I'm not entirely convinced that I deserve new life, but I've never been convinced that I deserve current life either. (Deserving is tricky word from the roots. I suppose I should I avoid it.) I bought a t-shirt declaring my entrance into new life, but when I put it on, it scared me. I never actually imagined new life actually happening. I imagined multiple others, but not this one. This one was a pipe dream, but now it isn't. It's real, happening in a few short weeks.

Deep breaths and prayer are my friends.


how to throw an artichoke party

I am certain, beyond a doubt, that you have been dying to throw an artichoke party. So anxious to do so, in fact, you have been lying awake in bed pondering the potential awesomeness of such a themed party.

Have no fear. I have all the party-planning details RIGHT HERE.

Step 1 Have awesome friends. Their awesomeness can been enhanced if you prime them with several years of inane themed parties (think: Caribbean Christmas! Godfather Movie Marathons! Port Party!).

Step 2 Develop a reputation as a reliably good cook. Where there is food, friends will come.

Step 3 Don't over plan. Truly insane ideas should come out of left-field and at the last minute so no one will have a chance to question the insanity.

Step 4 Send out crazy instructions. FriendAmie was responsible for ours:
Please bring the following:
  1. your favorite fact about artichokes - it will be required for entrance
  2. a dish that somehow involves artichokes and is delicious
  3. at least one play on word joke involving artichokes. please wait for the appropriate time to share.
  4. an artichoke inspired outfit (optional)
Please do not bring the following:
  1. disdain for themed parties. you should know by now that if you are friends with Alaina, you have to embrace themed events.

Step 5 Have truly great friends that will decorate cakes with artichoke effigies:

    Yes, that is an artichoke cake. Actually it was a delicious white cake filled with KUMQUAT icing!

    Step 6 Have hilarious friends that will drive around town to find rare Italian artichoke liquor.

    For the record, it was disgusting. But the stuffed artichokes in the background were pretty tasty.

    Step 7 Enjoy all of the stupidity and fun with those great friends. (Our hosts rigged up a backyard screen and projector where we watched The Wedding Singer. There weren't any artichoke references, but you can't beat root beer floats on a late spring night accompanied by the 80s best attempts at music and Adam Sandler.)

    We had such a good time laughing about artichokes that we are dreaming up our next odd food tribute party. Ideas? Best suggestion wins an opened bottle of Cynar!