forty things that made a day brilliant

hello, friends.

{some blurry},

what a week.
what a day.
i feel as though i've hit a wall.
i'm really very exhausted and wiped out.
and i feel so behind in every way.
and to be honest, i think i'd have to say today was quite difficult.
i'm feeling so very tired.
but also very emotional... on the verge of tears all day.
i think it's partly because i have had such a busy and fun past week,
and i am coming down off of a high from that...
plus, i miss the visitors that came to see me.
it was a wonderful time of interacting with friends
and getting to know them more...
something i crave now-a-days while i am home alone with isaac
and lacking adult conversation and company.

and please don't laugh,
but i think a big part of it has to do with the fact that i turn 40 tomorrow.

not that i am sad to be hitting this life milestone... not that i feel old {although i do}.
but more because it seems like it should be such a wonderful time
of celebration,
and here i am feeling like i've never been more exausted in my life...
never more achy and sore.
i've never had less money in my life.
i've never been more heartbroken in my life {except for when my dad died}.
and not only that, because i am not working,
i've never been more starved for human interaction and connection in my life.
and tomorrow is a friday,
and everyone i know will be working {except maybe my mom and a couple of other people}
and i feel like it will be an anti-climactic way to end the decade of my 30s.
there will be celebrating the day after my birthday.
but it still just feels weird.
it's going to be so different from the majority of my last 39 birthdays.

all i have to do is take a walk over into the next room
and peek in on my napping little boy
and all the pain, heartache, or exhaustion i just wrote above seems to evaporate into thin air.
that son of mine is the best birthday present i have ever received.

in fact, i had the nicest day with him today.
it was quiet.
we did not do anything special.
but it was a truly special day...
because there were many times that i sat and held him
and felt such intense love and gratitude that he is in my life.
we spent several minutes together where he was just laying on his back
on the nursing pillow in my lap
while i held him and said "boo" and made a bunch of other silly noises
and got the sweetest giggles and smiles in return.

broken relationships,
the physical manifestations of aging,
lack of resources {time or money} to be able to do all that i want,
and being worn out...
all things that melt away and don't even phase me
when my little isaac is in my arms... in my life.

so today was good, as well.
even though much of it was cloudy and gray,
today was good.
other than the number 40,
i don't know what tomorrow will bring.
but on this last full day of 39,
i am grateful.
i am
in love.
and for those things, i celebrate.

okay... now for the part i really wanted to get to yesterday {actually, the day before},
but couldn't for reasons mentioned above...

my blogger/photographer friends and their visits!

i'll post all the photos from the entire three days,
but i'll also write about the main day in the form of a list... 
which is the second to the last list in my thirty days of forty series...
it's a list of "40 things that made a day brilliant"
{last monday, being the day}.

one... i got to spend it with three bloggers/photographers... two of which have been dear friends for a while.
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{caroline, beth, claire and me}

two... one of those friends is originally from south africa,
so she always uses the word "brilliant" to describe things that she likes or that are good...
and always in that wonderful "i-could-listen-to-that-voice-all-day" south african accent.

three... we all gathered at a favorite chicago {wicker park / bucktown} coffee shop... ipsento.

four... i got to sit on a door.
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well, i guess you can't see it's a door in these shots.
but trust me... it was a door... and a vintage one, to boot!
it was turned sideways and made into a bench that was attached to the wall.
how fun is that?
such clever seating... one of the many things that makes this place so charming.
i tried to snap the photo of us sitting there with my free arm,
but had a difficult time getting us both in it,
as i could not see what i was doing.
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still no luck, but at least isaac isn't blurry.
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"mom, what in the world are you doing?"
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there... finally!!!

five... isaac was a gem of a boy while we were there... so content and well behaved.
he never fussed once the entire time there.
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here he is being held by caroline.

and six... he looked like a little nineteen-sixties beatnik, hangin' out with a bunch of artists at a cafe.
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seven... i took pictures of people taking pictures {one of my favorite things to photograph}.
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one of caroline and claire shooting me.
one of caroline and claire shooting each other.

eight... i didn't get us lost once. {something i tend to do when i am chauffeuring bloggers that i just met.}

nine... i had the best coffee drink in all of chicago... it's called "the ipsento". 
ipsent coffee
okay, are you ready for this?...
this coffee has coconut milk and cayenne pepper in it!
it's freakin' delicious!!!

ten... i was flooded with inspiration, being surrounded by so many gifted and creative people.

eleven... i was delightfully surprised by a visit from my brother, nate, and his new bride.
{he is a recent photography enthusiast and has a photo blog, too.}
he lives in bucktown... in fact, he is the reason i know about ipsento.
when i told him we were going there,
both he and his wife decided to stop by after work.
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here she {my sister-in-law, brooke} is in focus.
beauteous, no?
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even pretty in black and white...
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twelve... each one of us had a different camera brand... what are the chances?
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{and nate had his iPhone, which is how we got the shot of all of our cameras above.}

thirteen... even though many of us had only met for the first time
it was like we had all known each other for years.
and we all sat around and shared about our lives
and talked cameras and photography with enthusiasm
regardless of how many minutes, hours, days, months or years we had known each other.
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fourteen... the lighting in the coffee shop was a photographer's dream.
it made for some wonderful moods in the photos.
most of it was due to the daylight that came in through a small window.
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fifteen... the light fixtures were all so charming,
and also created some lovely lighting full of warmth.
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sixteen... the colors of the walls were also a photographer's dream.
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{doesn't claire look a little like natalie portman here?}

seventeen... isaac took a nap among all that noise and commotion in the coffee shop...
i love that he can sleep anywhere like that!
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eighteen... i took another reflection photo in the front window of the coffee shop.
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{except, i don't like it nearly as much as the one i took in this window last year.}

nineteen... i took some blurry pics... and you know how much i like blurry pics.
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twenty... all the decor in this coffee shop was way cool.
fun to photograph, too!
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i'm swooning over this wall of vintage windows!!
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twenty-one... i got a very unexpected shot in front of the coffee shop
that ended up being one of my favorite photos of the day.
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twenty-two... i would never been brave enough to take the above photo
but i was lucky enough to get it,
because miss beth is the brave soul that can go up to strangers
and ask to take their picture...
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because she recognizes when people and their settings
will make for some wonderful photographs,
so i just stood in the background and took a few of my own.
thanks, beth!

twenty-three... speaking of beth, she is such a sweetheart,
and she is a big part of why this day happened...
planning and coordinating...
she is one of those very energetic "let's get it done" kind of people
and she was so enthusiastic all along about making this happen...
starting a couple of months back in our e-mail planning/communication.brilliant day_39
{isn't she lovely?}
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see what she says about her age in her post about the day...
but i guarantee you won't believe it,
'cause she looks more like she's between claire's and my age.
i'm pretty sure she's lying {*wink*} when she tells me she has had two kids
and that they are college age and older.
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{love love love this girl!}

twenty-four... the other girl i love love love... miss claire.
like i said, she's got that to-die-for accent.
and she is pretty much a super model!
{if you don't believe me, look here.}
but more than that, she has a beautiful heart.
i've experienced it first hand.
here's a little "model shoot" i took of her that shows both types of beauty she possesses.
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so pretty, no?
i had fun snapping them all while beth was photographing
the james dean wanna-be in that photo i said was my favorite.

twenty-five... even though i was the only one there without a smart phone
that can take and process awesome photos,
i was inspired by all the conversation about them
and hopeful that i will own one yet!
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twenty-six... i had a sandwich that was called "the emily dickenson", and it was yummy!.

twenty-seven... ms. claire paid for my sandwich and my coffee.

twenty-eight... there was a parking space right smack dab in front of the coffee shop
so we didn't even have to walk any distance to our destination.

twenty-nine... though it rained for part of the day {while inside the shop},
the sun came out and warmed our faces {while we were out front taking pictures}!

thirty... one of the customers at ipsento was generous enough to switch places with us
so that we could have a big chunk of the space in the back
for all seven of us to hang out {car seat and all}.

thirty-one... the time we spent at ipsento
was spent exactly the way i have always dreamed of spending time with friends.
i wish i could do something like this on a regular basis!

thirty-two... it was serendipitous that a close blogger friend of beth's {caroline}
should move back to chicago from california
right before beth's and claire's and my reunion
so that she could join us for our gathering...
and not just chicago, but the very neighborhood where we would be going
and where my brother and his wife live!

thirty-three... i left the coffee shop feeling so content and happy
to be alive,
to be an artist,
to be a friend,
to be able-minded and able-bodied,
and to be a photographer... no matter what level i'm at.

thirty-four... on our way home, we stopped at a trader joe's grocery store,
and sweet, {very} generous beth bought loads of delicious food
{like gourmet cheese and peppered sausage and artichoke dip and pistachios and bruschetta and wine and crackers and grapes and goat milk brie and cannolis and chips and queso dip and more... YUM}
for us to bring back to my house and enjoy for dinner.
thank you, beth!!!

thirty-five... mr. be was home when we got there,
and he partook with us in the food and conversation.
he also lent his wit and humor to the mix.
{i'm so glad he got to meet beth, and spend more time with claire,
as last year, he didn't get to see claire much during her visit.}

thirty-six... isaac survived a very long out-of-the-ordinary day
and passed it with flying colors!

thirty-seven... it was the one-year anniversary of when isaac was conceived. {see my last post}
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{can you believe he's not even four months old here?
he looks more like one-year-old... from birth, not conception!
he's one big boy!}

thirty eight... isaac laughed the longest laugh he's laughed yet while laying in my lap 
after we arrived home that night.

thirty nine... finding and reading the post stacey wrote about her visit
with me and isaac {last wednesday} right before i went to bed.
forty... brilliant became my new favorite word to say.

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. . .

oh, my! that was a lot of stuff!
my longest list yet!

well, here it is thursday {late}
and beth and claire have gone home.
beth drove back home tuesday afternoon,
and i drove claire to the airport on wednesday morning.

but the three of us spent some more time together before we had to part ways.
before beth left tuesday afternoon,
we all three {with isaac} went to a favorite crepes restaurant in woodstock.
as a trio, we had our last nice time of conversation and laughter...
and of course, picture taking!
there was so much to photograph in this quaint little french creperie
which is in the former jail house on the historic square.

mostly, i just wanted to photograph beth
as she held isaac to calm him down and keep him from crying.
she was so good with him
and so sweet to take him while i finished eating my lunch.
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but there were some other things to capture, too...
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like claire's lovely tea pot...
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and the sweet patio lights out the window.

and of course,
i had to get one last photo of beth and claire before beth got on the road.
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i had the best time yet with her... of the three times i've met her.
and i could REALLY tell that isaac loved her.
he just knows when he is being held by an experienced {good} mama.

after beth left,
claire spent the evening with me back at our home again...
taking pictures, chatting, sharing online websites and blogs
and photography inspiration with one another,
devouring a delicious pizza,
asking and giving each other advice.
though we missed the dynamic that beth brings to the group,
we had a very nice evening... just chillin'.
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{here she is taking pictures of some pistachios
for her food photography set... her new photography hobby.}

but it had to wrap up all too early,
for we both had to get up early to leave for the airport.
so i drove her back to her hotel
and then headed back home for a hopeful good night of sleep.
and that it was... isaac let me sleep for six hours straight!

isaac and i got up the next morning, loaded ourselves into the car,
and headed off to the hotel to pick up claire
and take her to o'hare.

one last photo of my dear friend... parked in the airport departures lane.
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okay, two.
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i miss them both tremendously, already.

let me just say right here... if you are a blogger and you have made dear friends with others through your blogs that you have not yet met in person and you ever have the chance to meet them in person... DO IT!!! it is truly one of the most special things i have ever experienced. and i have had the pleasure of experiencing it more than just this visit i've written about here. i met stacey last week. i met both beth and claire last year at this time. i met beth a few months earlier at a flea market. i've traveled and had a chance to meet other bloggers who live elsewhere.

it's hard to imagine that if i had never started blogging, i would have never known these people who i hold every bit as dear as the friends that i have initially met and made in person. and though i know they would be genuine friends regardless if we had a chance to meet in person or not, they became that much more dear and special to me by meeting them in the flesh.

it's a wonderful thing.

and so i hope it's a repeat next year at this time.
i have a feeling it's more than that...
i have a feeling it's now a tradition.

well, i hoped to post a list every day this month.
but it just didn't happen... even with the best of intentions.
it's actually the day before my birthday as i write,
but by the time most people read this,
it will be my birthday.

perhaps i'll return in the evening with one last list on my actual birthday...
i was thinking "forty things i want for my birthday" for my list.
we'll see.

if i don't return with my last list,
you'll know i'm out celebrating in style!!
or in celebrating quietly and intimately with just isaac and mr. b. at home.
either way, i know i will be celebrating.

forty full and blessed years.


beth said...

oh georgia...this is such a special post. not just because i'm in it, but because i can feel your heart and your gratitude all the way through it.

it truly was such a special time. this time. our third time to be together. our second time to be with claire.

friendships have been solidified. a baby has stolen our hearts and overall, a special comfortableness has settled amongst us.

thank you for all your words and the energy behind them even when i know how tired you are and how long it took you to put this post together.

thank you again for all your hospitality and love and warmth.

and you captured claire perfectly in the two celebrities she looks like the most often.....kiera and natalie. now if only we could get her to agree :)

thank you for keeping us entertained and now that i know you get lost easily, thank you for the brilliant job you did of getting us downtown and home again.

and like you, i hope it's a tradition that's been started. what a gift that would be !!

here's a special hug for you and a special gentle baby hug just for the little handsome man who keeps you smiling all day long.....


georgia b. said...

thank you, friend!

Jeanne said...

Loved your post, and what an inspiring story! Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Awwwww what a great post - Happy Birthday!!!!!!!! 40 is awesome!!! :)

Anyes said...

First of all Happy Birthday Georgia. 40 seems to bring you down but from it is a great decade to be in...Enjoy all of it :-)

Such a treat to be reading you and the week-end you had through this heartfelt written post, Georgia.
I wanted to thank you for sharing this.

I came from Beth's and I am so glad I visited. :-)

Stacey said...

Oh this is such a great post. Looks like you had a wonderful time with your friends.

Happy Birthday sweet Georgia!

Beth said...


I came over from Beth's blog...Loved your post, and would love to wish you the happiest of birthdays. Even though I have never met you or been to your blog before...as I read this post...I felt like you were sitting beside me reading it to me...I could feel all of your emotions and love you have for your family, photography and blogger friends. It was a very inspiring post and someday when my kids are all grown and on their own, I hope I will be able to have girlfriends to share an afternoon or a few days with like that. Enjoy your Birthday.
Beth H.

georgia b. said...

thanks, all!

and thank you for stopping by, anyes and beth h.!!

Candace said...

Happy birthday, Georgia. I have to say, I would love to be 40 again. Sigh.

Country Girl said...

I am suffering from an overdose of gorgeousness but it's a good kind of suffering. Your photos are out and out incredible. Which Nikon? And this lens? Ok, just wow.

Country Girl said...

After reading your sidebar, you took these with the D40? Seriously? Wow.

Jean said...

i am in love with photo #21!!

i love this! i always tell family and friends that you can meet wonderful people through social networking! i mean, after all, we are all human!

Caroline said...

Oh my goodness!!! This post just warms my heart. Loved meeting you and holding that darling little boy of yours! Yes, 40 blessed years! Wow. And that BW photo you took outside of the coffee shop...HOLY MOLY! That needs to be framed! I love that! Let's get together again soon! xo

Oliag said...

First of all Happy Happy Birthday!

Second...this post is fabulous! Love the list and the photos and your wonderful descriptions of your blogger friends...I hope someday to meet some of mine:)