Monday, December 31, 2012

366 Adios 2012

Ah... 2012 is basically in the books, eh?  A few goals were made on New Year's Day for the year and I think I did alright.

Goal 1 - Do another 365 Project.  Check!  In addition, I signed up for some awesome photography classes and I did learn a few things -- though I still have a lot to learn.

Goal 2 - Run 1000 miles.  Check!  As of this morning, I ran 1054 miles.  Over the course of this year, I ran 2 half marathons and one full marathon.  I'm glad I like running (at least most days) because I've dedicated a lot of time to it.

Goal 3 - Read 50 books.  Check!  I actually went crazy with this one and read 112 books.  Some were short.  Some were not.  Some were great.  Some were awful.  But I read and I read and I read -- and I stopped watching some stupid stuff on the TV.

Goal 4 - Wear more orange.  This is a hard one as I actually don't have any data to support this.  I did buy two pairs of orange shoes and an orange dress this year so maybe I wore more orange.  Maybe.

Overall, 2012 was a big year for me.  I did these things and more: survived gall bladder surgery (and being in the hospital for 4 days); changed my eating habits and became vegan; got up enough courage to take a step back at work; changed schools along with that new position; had two kids graduate from college; traveled to New York and New Haven and Florida; helped run a campaign for a friend (and he won!); and spent a lot of time eating, talking and visiting with friends and family.

2013... I'm ready for you!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

365/366 A hurtey back

Last night, Mr. Peabody was frisky and playful.  While out in the yard answering nature's call, he accidentally jumped too soon to jump up the step to the patio.  He banged his back legs and stomach on the step.

I could tell by the look in his eyes that it hurt.  But he wagged his tail and licked my face when I went to pick him up as if he were telling me that he was ok.  I placed him up on the sofa to cuddle with Dalton.

This morning, he wasn't in his bed.  I didn't worry about it since he sometimes likes to sleep on the sofa -- which is where I found him.  When he couldn't jump down, I knew he really was hurt.

Judging by the way he is walking, it looks like he has hurt his back.  Hurt backs in dachshunds is a BIG deal!  I called his mom and let her know.  She was very understanding and we worked out a plan of keeping him contained for the day until she can get him tonight.  He has had back issues in the past and rest and medicine has done the trick.

Pea is such a good patient, too, and he has tolerated the ice on his back all day.

We've all been sending healing thoughts to Peabody.  Even Mili has come up to kiss him and has left his Nylabone alone.  As much as she barks at him when they play, I think it has worried her that he is so still and quiet.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

364/366 "Life stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." ~ Brian Andreas

I did get dressed today.
Dressed enough to go on a short run.
And then I took a shower and put my pajamas back on.

Friday, December 28, 2012

363/366 Camellia love

The day was spent purging and cleaning the kitchen cabinets.  Since the camellias are blooming, I put the camellia bowl to good use.

It makes me ridiculously happy when everything is in it's place.  And when there are fresh flowers inside.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

362/366 How does it know?

Each year, both of the Christmas cacti that live on the porch start blooming right around Christmas.

Really... how do they know?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

361/366 Hickcockian Moment

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that some large hawk-like birds have begun to roost on a cell phone tower.  I pass this tower in route to and from work but haven't been able to stop to take any pictures.

Today, Mallory and I drove out to the tower and braved the cold wind (it has been super windy today).  There were lots of birds on the tower and circling around us.  I took a few pictures but wasn't able to get as close as I would like since that cell phone tower was so very tall. 

At one point, Mallory asked if I thought they knew we were looking at them.  Judging by the amount of bird crap on my car, I would say yes.  

I have no idea what specific kind of bird this was.  I don't think it was a hawk since they tend to be loners.  There were at least 50 birds on the tower and circling around.  Maybe more.  Perhaps a falcon?  

This was as close and clear as I could get without my tripod and in the wind. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

360/366 Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas on this rainy day in Georgia!

Monday, December 24, 2012

359/366 Dreaming of a white Christmas...

Mr. Peabody is staying with us for the next few days.  And he is probably dreaming of some quiet time with his Nylabone now that Mili has become fascinated with it.

Merry Christmas!  I hope it is a peaceful and happy one.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

358/366 Holiday baking

Lemon cookies (in the picture), Oatmeal Raisin cookies, White Chocolate Cranberry Nut cookies... Got the baking done today for my part of desserts on Christmas day.

Tomorrow, I make the less important sides -- green beans, some brown rice and vegetable casserole, and something else yet to be determined.

357/366 Brutus time

Yesterday morning, the boys and I traveled to my grandparents house for a cousins reunion of sorts.  My cousin, Becca, used to live near us with sweet Brutus.  It was a happy day with my grandparents, my parents, my children, my sister, my aunt, my cousins and their kids and dogs.

The chaos was just wonderful.

356/366 Our reward for surviving the traffic

Pizza was our reward -- vegetables with cheese for him... vegetables without cheese for me.  Plus, I got the beer since I wasn't driving.

Traffic on the way to Atlanta was atrocious. We were stuck behind a bad accident for 2 hours.  But we still had time to eat before getting to the Atlanta airport (the busiest airport in the United States) to pick up Alex.  She managed to score a few days off and booked a flight home.

We all talked into the wee hours of the morning as we headed back home.  Having her home for Christmas was worth the intense travel day and the loss of sleep.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

355/366 Fiery

All the warm weather is being kicked to the curb as we speak.  That is... unless it really is the end of the world.

354/366 Better late than never

We FINALLY had potato latkes last night.  Mallory and her dad cooked a big meal -- including the potato latkes we didn't get to make during Hanukkah.

It was a wonderful afternoon of preparation and just spending time together.  After the chaos of the last day of school for 2012, it was a great way to unwind.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

353/366 Healing moments

After work, Drew and I drove the 2 hours to the airport in Jacksonville, FL to pick up Dalton.  I was standing next to Drew watching the passengers file out into the atrium when I saw Dalton -- and was immediately overcome with emotion.

The tears welling up in my eyes and the tightness in my chest surprised me... and confused the boys.  I'm just not the mother who typically cries.  They hugged me and laughed.  And I laughed, too.

We went to a nearby Thai restaurant and talked and laughed and ate a delicious meal.  On the way home, I sat in the back seat -- content and listening to the boys banter back and forth with the sound of Drew's jazz music selections from his iPod playing in the background.

That moment, that music, and that much needed comfort being close to family brings will forever be written on my soul.

Monday, December 17, 2012

352/366 The Cookie Swap

I love being a part of this fabulous group of ladies.  Each year (this is our 2nd year), we bring homemade cookies to swap.  It is a great way to get a variety of cookies.  And it is a great way to get a little girlfriend time.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

351/366 Done with the marathon

Last year, I trained for most of the year just to prepare myself for running the Jacksonville Bank Marathon in December.  It was rough and I swore I'd never run another one.

Alas, a little time passed and I forgot just how hard... and how painful the experience was.  Kind of like forgetting what labor feels like.

So, I signed up to run the Jacksonville Bank Marathon.   Again.  And it was today.

I felt great at the beginning of the run.  The weather was cool -- not cold -- and foggy.  Then the sun came up and burned off the fog and warmed up the day.  Really warmed up the day.

Still, I felt good at the halfway mark.  I felt good at mile 15.  I didn't bring my iPod and I happily relied on a few mantras that played in my head.

Somewhere around mile 18 or 19, I felt a snap in my knee and felt a searing pain that ran up to my butt.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I tried to walk to stretch my muscles out.  Since it hurt to run and to walk, I just ran so that I could get finished sooner.

There were moments that my teeth were gritted.  My running pace was so seriously impaired that I was almost shuffling at times.  But I finished, and only 5 minutes or so slower than last year.  But I was smiling as I crossed the finish line.  Truthfully, I felt good still -- with the exception of the gimpy knee.

After the run, I iced my knee and hobbled back to the truck.  After a shower and some lunch... and a few Ibuprofen, I am feeling much better!

And guess what?  I'm never running another marathon.  Never ever.

350/366 The night before

The clothes are laid out and the alarm has been set. We are off to carb load and then sleep.

I'm ready for those 26.2 miles in the morning.

Friday, December 14, 2012

349/366 Emotional

Yesterday, I held a child who had a relative who had been shot.  Murdered. Leaving that child in a world-spinning situation.

School was his safe place.

There are no words for what happened today in that elementary school in Connecticut.

My emotions have bubbled inside my chest.  Pressed against my eyes.  Settled in my throat.

Once home, I searched for a way to capture a picture that summed up the day.  And I can't.

As I stood in the dining room, I saw this picture of my mother-in-law (may she rest in peace) and it made me smile.

Life is short -- sometimes shorter than it should be.  Life is often unfair.  But all in all, life is still good.

Right now, my heart just aches for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.  May they find peace as they heal from this tragedy.

School should have been their safe place.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

348/366 "Books are uniquely portable magic." ~ Stephen King

After a busy day at work, I went to my parent's house and decorated for Christmas.  My step-father just doesn't have the stamina to pull the stuff from the attic anymore.  And my mother claims that she just can't decorate.

Truthfully, there is not much talent involved in plopping out the Christmas stuff from my mother's attic.  Except that she has too much stuff in her attic.  But that does not deter the lady from buying more stuff.  She just cannot resist a sale.

P.S.  I did not inherit the shopping gene from her.  I don't like shopping.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

347/366 His pie

My grandmother made a coconut pie for my husband.  He decided on some drastic measures to keep the oldest boy out of his goods.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

346/366 Finding Christmas

Long day at work today.
Decorated the tree in the front lobby.
Disciplined a few children who were acting a little squirrelly.
Met with a parent who has a struggling child.
Watched a very interesting bus video.
Filled in during lunch duty for two shifts.
Investigated an incident that happened at recess.
Helped make and serve hot chocolate and wassail at the Christmas program at school.


Thirteen hour days make for.... well, a long day.  At least it was a good one!

Monday, December 10, 2012

345/366 "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then I want to go where they went." ~ Will Rogers

Just another Monday.  And another day to be greeted by that crazy puppy.

She makes me happy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

344/366 Cookies!

A family friend invited my mother, sister, and I over to make cookies.  I learned how to make spritzer cookies with her recipe from Germany!  My husband and oldest son approve.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

343/366 Saturday morning

I rode with my husband to check out (and buy) some old stain glass windows.  It was a gorgeous ride out in the countryside.

Friday, December 7, 2012

342/366 Oh Hanukkah Bush, Oh Hanukkah Bush...

After work, the man and I got out the Hanukkah bush (a silver pre-lit tree) and we decorated for Hanukkah... which turns into Christmakah.

This is the first time in three years we've decorated.  It has been way too long.

The lights and the iridescent colors just make me happy.

Hanukkah starts tomorrow night!  That means potato latkes tomorrow.  Apple sauce and potato latkes.  Oh, yes!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

341/366 Juicy

Fruit is so satisfying.  Yet, I'm still seriously addicted to sugar.

Stupid dark chocolate that keeps calling my name....

There isn't an orange or pear alive that can win over dark chocolate.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

340/366 "One can never have enough socks." ~ Dumbledore

I love fun socks.  It is just physically impossible to have a terrible day in socks that make you smile.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

339/366 Home again

Mili had to spend the day at the vet due to a wicked double ear infection.  Last night and this morning, she couldn't even bark.  Now, she is home and curled up on my chest.  

We are just going to lie about tonight and watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer -- the Abominable Snowman rocks! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

338/366 "Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving." ~ Terry Pratchett

An intense meeting ended on a good note this morning.  Then the rest of the day felt downhill from there.  A month ago, the same parent didn't like any of my suggestions to help her son.  Today, she suggested some of the very things I had previously recommended.

Sometimes I need to remember that it is not my job to fill uncomfortable silences.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

337/366 Stealing a kiss

I love that man and we have a good life together.  He even poses for pictures with me.  And he makes me laugh.  It is always good to marry a man that makes you laugh.

336/366 Ho ho ho

My husband... my Jewish husband retired from the Santa gig a couple of years ago.  When a local Santa got sick, he stepped in and played the part yesterday.

He is a great Santa and loves to go "ho" around.

Friday, November 30, 2012

335/366 Lucky

At work this morning, as I stuck my hand in the pocket of my jacket to stash away my keys, I felt a piece of paper.  "A dollar," I thought.  It turned out to be a twenty dollar bill!

I love those kinds of surprises!

A little while later, I realized I had lost one of my earrings.  My new earrings that my husband bought me while we were in NYC.  The earrings he bought for me as a reward for not losing my diamond earrings for 6 months.

Damn irony.  I just can't have nice things.  I looked for the missing earring but couldn't find it.  How does one really retrace steps when they have been all over a school?

At the end of the day, I just happened to see something shiny on the floor that caught my eye.  My earring!

I seriously thought about buying a lottery ticket but I chose to have a pedicure instead.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

334/366 "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." ~ Dr. Seuss

Dinner tonight just made me happy.  Besides being at my most favorite restaurant in town (Indian... they have the best food and the owner's kids run up to us for hugs), we were with good friends.

The conversation was divine and the laughter was loud.

And I have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

333/366 Happy!

There has been a lot to smile about lately.  A friend was able to adopt a baby.  Another friend who had just adopted two little boys found out that she was pregnant.  Every day this week, I've been teaching a Holocaust lesson to the 5th graders and I love getting to connect with these students.

Then there is the Hump Day fun.

Each Wednesday evening, I meet my running partner for speed work at a local track.  I'm such a morning person and most afternoons I'm dragging.  Still, I get excited about running on Wednesday because we always have so much to talk about.

We used to run a one mile warm up but now we run a two mile warm up.  I don't exactly remember why we changed it, but I glad we did because it gives us more conversation time.  Once the speed laps begin, we are running too hard to be able to talk.  In between laps, we are simply panting trying to catch our breath.

Then we run a mile cool down lap so we can end the run talking again.

I love Wednesday evenings!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

332/366 With bacon on top

Some friends of mine gave me bacon bandages a couple of months ago.  I swear they sort of smell like bacon when I get them out of the wrapper.

Do you ever have those conversations with your friends and family about being "normal"?  No?  Well, me either.

Some quirky... "not normal" facts about me:

1 - I sometimes pick at my hangnails until they bleed (hence the use of the bandage).  Once, I had a manicurist tell me that I had aggressive cuticles.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be scared or not, so now I pick at them to show them who is boss.  That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

2 - I organize the clothes in my closet by type and then by color.  Roy G Biv rules!

3 - Certain foods cannot touch or I won't eat them.  I am getting better about this though.  My sister has given me plates with dividers and that has made me very happy.

4 - When I get nervous, I smile a lot.  I do this when parents are yelling at me and sometimes they think I am smirking at them.  It is actually hard not to smile in those moments -- but I'm not smiling for happiness!

5 - All cabinets and drawers should be closed when not in use.  Always.  No exceptions.

6 - Speaking of cabinets, I love when the glasses of the same family are all lined up together.  They are happier that way.  And so am I.

7 - I often sing in the car.  When traffic is heavier, I hold up my phone so that it looks like I am having an animated conversation with someone and not singing.

8 - I never hit the snooze on my alarm.  Ever.  In fact, I don't even know how.

9 - I am deathly afraid of roaches.  Living in south Georgia means living where roaches live.  When they get inside the house, they must be found and punished.  There is no sleeping for anyone until this happens.

10 - My favorite color is orange.  Actually, I don't think that is quirky at all -- but other people seem to think so.  Orange is just a happy color and worthy of being a favorite.

I'm sure my family could tell you other quirky things about me -- but I find that unnecessary at the moment.  At least I own that I am solidly outside of the full on normal circle.  And I like it that way.

Monday, November 26, 2012

331/366 The evening routine

After work...
Dinner gets cooked.
Coffee for the next day gets loaded.. ready for the press of the button.
Work clothes and workout clothes get laid out.
Laundry gets done.
Dishes get washed.
An alarm gets set.

I'm such a creature of habit.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

330/366 Memories on a shelf

When my husband and I got married over 8 years ago, we went to the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, Florida for our honeymoon.  That was a fun trip.

My husband had called ahead to tell them that we'd be honeymooning.  They had champagne, these glasses, and some chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us in the room when we arrived.  When we got home, we dried the petite roses from the wedding and stored them in the glasses.  I love displaying things/pictures that remind me of happy memories.

We've been talking about doing that trip again after the kids have all graduated from college.  Just to relive the fun.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

329/366 Saturday Sunshine

I love having friends who have babies!  And I love that I get to go take pictures of those babies.  What a great way to start off a Saturday morning!

This sweet boy will turn 1 in a couple of weeks.  I can't believe how much he has grown since I last saw him.  He is already walking and running!

Friday, November 23, 2012

328/366 Slack Friday

Well, not totally a slacker day.  But close.

This morning, both my boys went to work out with me at the gym.  As I ran on the treadmill, I could see them spotting each other on the weights.  I played like it was sweat in my eyes but truthfully, I went all misty watching them help each other.  I'm glad they are close despite the miles that separates them most of the year.

Then, the new stove and microwave we bought earlier this week were delivered and installed today.  I'm happy!  The inside of the oven is blue!  BLUE!  I love it!

Tonight, the boys joined us for Mexican with some of our friends.  The fajitas were spicy (and perfect)!

The day was perfect, too.

327/366 My Opa

It was a smaller crowd for Thanksgiving than usual.  My mother and I prepared all the sides, my husband smoked the turkey, and my grandmother made a couple of her famous desserts.  As we were warming up the food, my aunt went to get my grandfather.

He is stronger than the last time I saw him.  He sighed with relief to be able to sit down in the chair that has been his for more years than I can remember (it has survived several recoverings and repairs).  More than three weeks had passed since he'd last just sat in his chair.

My grandmother pulled up  a chair beside him and started to cry.  My grandmother who lost her mother at 5 years of age.  Who was given to the neighbors to be raised.  Who survived the Great Depression.  Who lost a husband during WWII. Who was a widow at 20 -- while she was 6 months pregnant.  Who married my grandfather three years later.  My tough grandmother who never cries... cried.

It makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

326/366 The kitchen is now closed

After an invigorating run, you know, for health reasons (to counterbalance all the calories I planned to consume today), I came home and baked and cooked.  I thought about taking a picture of the madness but I didn't want to get my camera all buttered and floured up.

After the kitchen had been cleaned, I picked up the dog and a book and plopped into a chair.  Ah.... I am thankful for chairs to plop into.  And for little cuddly dogs with smelly breath.  And for the husband and sons who hang out with me.  They didn't even mind salad for supper.

Tomorrow morning, we drive to my grandparent's house for Thanksgiving.  I can't wait to see my grandfather!  At this point, he'll get to be with us for a few hours.  And that is what I am most thankful for.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

325/366 Impulse buy

The sunflowers spoke to me at the grocery store today as I gathered items that I am cooking to take to my grandparents house.  For the sunflowers, I listened.  And I brought them home.

Earlier today, I went with my sister to take some blankets she had knitted for the animals at the shelter.  She is a kind soul.  And I listened to the dogs speaking... begging to go home with me.  And with a heavy heart, I turned away.  I wish I could bring them home.

I know they all can't be saved but I always hope that it could happen one day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

324/366 Better than Black Friday shopping

A good part of today was spent at a junk yard with my husband and a friend.  The stairs were a bit scary but not as scary as the floor on the top level (you could feel the floor sag with each step as you saw the ground through the cracks -- dizzy!).  But it was worth it to see go through all the old windows and doors.  It would be so cool to know the history those old doors and windows could tell.

Afterwards, we went to a thrift store where we browsed and laughed.  I am now the proud owner of a blinking Santa head.  I paid a whole quarter for it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

323/366 "It would be a terrible mistake to go through life thinking that people are the sum total of what you see." ~ Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You)

My youngest son flew home late last night.  My youngest step-daughter is home, too.  And my grandfather has been moved to a nursing home just until he gets his strength back and can go home.

Life is good.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

322/366 Life with a dachshund

The Supreme Leader loves to burrow.  The important part is that her majesty's head is covered.  Not so much with the rear end.

That girl can go from napping to yapping in 1.3 seconds flat.

Friday, November 16, 2012

321/366 Focused

The Japanese Maple in the backyard is finally showing a little sign of fall and a random thought hit me this afternoon -- I just love the repetition of the seasons. There is such comfort in the "coming around again" of life.

Happy Friday to all! Happy beginning of my Thanksgiving break to me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

320/366 Last leaf

Tis the season to be thankful.

I could write a long list but I'll stick with the thing I'm most thankful for today: water-resistant boots.

Technically, it didn't rain today.  Unless you count the puke-fest that was going on in the nurse's office.  Did I mention my office is right next to the nurse?  And that I was trying to help clean up a few pukified kids when one began hurling again?

Poor sick babies -- but it was a good day to be wearing boots!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

319/366 "To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone." ~ Reba McEntire

Sometimes parents call to complain about the dangers their children encounter in school.  Who knew that playing with the parachute during PE could lead to a urinary tract infection?

I have to wonder what that parent thinks we are doing with the parachute.

I'm thankful this conversation was over the phone.  I was not doing well with the poker face I have learned to use in many conversations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

318/366 Stir Fry

I came home from work to supper being cooked by the man.  It was delicious!