This morning I woke up more hopeful and more energized than I’ve been in weeks.

Part of it is because I went to bed early the last two nights, and sleep generally seems to mitigate a number of ills.

Part of it is because I’m still basking in the afterglow of my weekend at Asilomar, a too-quick three days spent seaside retreating with nine beauties whom I love and admire. Every year we stop for lunch at this European inspired home-turned-dining-nook called Casanova’s in unparalleled Carmel (brief inspiration . . . at Casanova’s instead of serving water in the restaurant-supply-store water pitchers, they bring de-labeled wine bottles to your table full of chilled water. The bottles add just the right little something to the tables and serve as both function and décor equally. I’m de-labeling wine bottles as we speak. A wire basket displays them beautifully. A clever reclamation project.) My incredibly innovative friend, Katie (www.katiegardnerphoto.com) created a tribute montage of the weekend: http://vimeo.com/9194506. Enjoy! I am entirely indebted for this memorializing.

Part of it is because I went to Pat’s (a strange collection of oddities available below! thrift store prices that can be painted and distressed any color you want) this past Friday. In the treasure-laden back lot, behind the store, I found myself co-digging with a man in a cashmere sweater who turned to me and said, “This place is a gold mine!” Couldn’t have said it better myself. I left with a white shelf that looks like it was made from distressed molding and an iron plant stand (with the perfect ratio of rust to paint) which I’ll be using to store art supplies. All the digging and finding helps me breathe.

Part of it is because I had an exceptionally fun evening with Steve this weekend. We went to Ponce’s, our very favorite authentic Mexican food eatery that has the limiest (and therefore most delicious) salsa verde you have ever experienced. Steve had chorizo and eggs, and I had tortilla soup and a grilled chicken salad with extra guacamole. Total heaven. After dinner, we walked around the mall, with decaf Americano in hand, and found ourselves on the floor in Anthropologie digging through the doorknobs until we found the perfect mercury glass pair for me to use for a little project I’m doing in my little creative space/art studio/writing room (and, in a rare turn of events, they weren’t even that expensive, unlike the first pair I held up that were $78. ugggh.). After the knob find, we headed to Trader Joe’s for coconut milk and wine bottles (after all, I had to get more supplies for my aforementioned project). For some reason, Steve and I had the space to really connect. All this in the pouring rain. Soul food, I tell you.

Part of it is because I have decided to take one moment in every day and put my eyes on my kids, one at a time, intentional like. Of course, I look at my kids all day, every day, between the shushing, and schlepping, and shuttling. But do I really see them? Looking and seeing are two very different things, I’m learning. They probably find the whole routine awkward, but I just lock onto them and practice the discipline of gazing. Sometimes I look right into their eyes. I want them to know I see them. And it’s making me a better mom, already. Seriously. Who knew?!?

So here’s to a few simple-yet-sensational S’s: sleeping, seaside-ing, salvaging, salsa-ing, and seeing.

Oh, and Steve. We can’t forget about him.

Sincerely yours.

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