The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

January 1, 2010

So this is what it takes for me to write online again

A meme. And the same one I did this time two years ago, no less. But here I am, regardless, and I want to be here more often. I'm resolving to post twice a month to this online journal (can I still call it that? Must it be a blog?) this year. I started "The Purple of Life" back in 2002, and it brought me a lot of joy, and I so treasure my entries from those early years in Chicago... well, the ones that weren't swallowed up by Diary-X. There's no excuse to not keep doing this. So...

What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Sold a condo. Ran more than four miles without stopping. Reached the point where I really, truly wanted to become a parent. Spent lots of fun hours at the dog park and dog beach. Did a photo walk. Went to Lollapalooza. Rode a bike around downtown Amsterdam.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Somewhat. I did want to run more. But I didn’t focus too much on improving my photography, which is kind of inexcusable. (I think I tend toward laziness in some areas of my life.) I’m definitely making resolutions for 2010, the main one being that I want to run the Chicago half-marathon in September. I want to make time to read more books. I also want to do more photo walks and write online again, at least twice a month to start. And I want to really make the most of our new neighborhood and patronize its shops, bars, restaurants, and events.

What countries did you visit?
France and the Netherlands. Trips closer to home: Michigan, Wisconsin, and New York.

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
The ability to run 13 miles, and a dog who isn’t so afraid of things and truly enjoys her walks. Poor Stella—I’m not sure that’ll ever fully come to be.

What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory?
Probably the Friday evening in May when we sat on the Pont des Arts in Paris watching twilight fall over the river, drinking a bottle of wine surrounded by hordes of young, cool Parisians. And then the next night, a Saturday date night in Paris: wandering the narrow cobblestoned streets of the Marais, stopping at two cafes for drinks. Then an amazingly perfect dinner at Chez Janou, then gelato on the Ile Saint-Louis, overlooking the Seine… sigh. I still think about that night often.

Also the Friday afternoon in May that we spent cruising the Amsterdam canals with our Dutch friends in their little boat. A few hours in which we felt like we really lived in that dear, dear city…

And, of course, the September day that we moved into our new condo—the moment right after the movers left when John and I looked at each other and realized it was real. We really lived here!

What were your biggest achievements of the year?
Selling the condo, buying the dream place, making a firm decision about parenthood, spearheading various online-editing projects at work, and running farther and faster than I’ve run before. (I had a personal best of 26:37 in a 5k.)

What was your biggest failure?
Not taking more photos or seeking out opportunities to improve my photography skills. Not writing creatively at all, really.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, besides a few colds. I did pull a back/hip muscle while moving that hurt for about a week. I discovered that I get really pissed off when I can’t exercise.

What was the best thing you bought?
This is getting repetitive, but our new place. I also snagged a gorgeous pair of gray/green suede wedge booties. In Paris, I found a dishcloth with the Metro map printed on it, which makes me happy. And when we were in New York City, we bought four John Derian coasters at his shop in the East Village. I love them.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Obama, of course. I still clearly remember watching his inauguration at work last January. I really admire his wisdom, his nuance, and the time he takes to think things through.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The people who run Chicago and Cook County. Chicagoans, get out and vote this February!

Where did most of your money go?
The mortgage, savings, travel, and various real-estate buying-and-selling expenses.

What did you get really excited about?
Moving into our dream neighborhood. Having more living space, a huge deck, and myriad shops and restaurants just a few steps away. No longer seeing beer cans and other trash littering the ground while walking the dog, or having the opportunity to buy drugs at the corner.

What song will always remind you of 2009?
I can’t think of a particular song, but probably something by Rocky Votolato, Bon Iver, Heartless Bastards, or the Swell Season’s new album.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier, I think.
– thinner or fatter? Thinner, a little. I definitely have more muscle.
– richer or poorer? Pretty much the same.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Photography and writing.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about the dog.

What was your favorite TV program?
Big Love

What was the best book you read?
Thanks to, I see that I read only 13 books this year. The New Yorker takes up a lot of my reading time! I think I liked The Inner Circle and The Abstinence Teacher best.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Heartless Bastards and Bon Iver

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Hmm… I dress fairly conservatively for work, but I like color. I love reading about fashion, and I love dressing up to go out on the weekend—slim jeans, black or gray boots, a fun top. I am a huge sucker for handbags, coats, and interesting pieces of jewelry, especially long necklaces and big cocktail rings. This year I started wearing more bracelets—gold bangles and a brown plastic cuff that I just bought. I also bought more long sweaters and embellished T’s. Isn’t this exciting to read??

What kept you sane?
Late Sunday afternoons with a glass of wine and InStyle magazine, preferably on the deck. Summertime camping. Any stretch of a few days where I didn’t touch a computer.

What political issue stirred you the most?
Health care reform, definitely. The whole thing just makes me angry… I’m sick of people treating health care like it’s an option, a luxury, a commodity to be shopped around for. Everyone deserves cancer screenings. No one should go bankrupt because they get sick.

Who did you miss?
As always, my college girlfriends, none of whom live in Chicago. But I saw them more often than in past years, and I hope to repeat that in 2010!

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Blogger Jessamyn said...

I am looking forward to reading more of your writing this year! And of course to seeing more of your photography, too!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you're back, Ame! /Betsy

2:49 AM  

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