Well, my 2010 has wrapped up fairly nicely...my house has been scoured (I love to start the new year with a spanky clean house...it means I'm off the hook for the rest of the year!), I have a small gathering planned for this evening for which I'll no doubt make way WAY too much food, the sun is shining and the temperature is supposed to get above 50 degrees.

Lovely, right? Right!

And, while 2010 hasn't been my best friend, it's been one of those buddies who offers amazing insight at what seems to be totally inopportune times. I do wish that she had been nicer to many, many of my friends. (She was a bit of a beeyatch.) But I feel pretty lucky to be where I am, to have such great friends and family, to be blessed with interesting work and good colleagues, to be safe and (a little too) well-fed and comfortable.

Life is good!

Here's hoping that 2010 has been kind to you. And here's wishing you a ridiculously happy 2011 filled with joy and bacon and lurrrrrve.

My 2010 five:
  1. Being loved.
  2. Being challenged.
  3. Being healthy.
  4. Being content.
  5. Being amazingly grateful.


a new year's wish

This is a hard time of year. And it's been a hard year for many of my friends and family...

Major health concerns.

Crumbling relationships.

Loved ones lost.

There was a time when it seemed like everyone was getting married, having kids, celebrating. We tried to figure out how to buy enough presents for all the occasions we were invited to,  juggled our schedules to make it to the various parties and weddings and showers, and once or twice threw our very own bridezilla fits. (Ahem.)We figured out how to make small talk with people we likely wouldn't ever see again, how to sit in that dress that was a wee bit too tight in the wrong spots, how to walk across grass in stilettos. We tried to support the people we loved, even when money and time were both tight.

Boy, those were nice problems to have, eh?

I miss those days. Even though I wouldn't go back for anything, the older-but-wiser me would like for 2011 to have WAY more celebration than we were allotted in 2010.

Less grieving, less strife. Less sickness. Less hopelessness.

More transformation.

More excitement.

More magic.

More joy.

What are you hoping to find in 2011?


the blog is dead! long live the blog!

Hi All,
So, I've been writing in this little corner of the interwebs for almost five years...and while I'm not lighting any narrative fires here, I love it. I love that I feel like I know so many of you, even if we've not met IRL. I love that I have a place to share stories and music; that I get good advice and support from so many of you. And I love that I don't have to censor very much....sure, y'all pay the price in the amount of drivel and nonsense that scrolls past, but you are a very accepting, permissive bunch.

(I love that about you.)

Anyhoo, I'm increasingly aware of how many folks read this, and how many of those folks I don't know...and it freaks me out a little bit. Because I don't believe in anonymity. But mostly because little bits of my blog are ending up in other places, and I can't control it. 

So I'm leaving this up until the end of 2010. I'll still be writing, and in fact I'll likely still be writing here...but the site will be password protected.

I'd LOVE to take you with me into Double Secret Blogation. Email me and I'll send a password.

(Ssssshhhhhhh! DON'T TELL ANYONE.)

Happy 2010, kittens. And here's to an even happier 2011!!!

My five:
  1. Fuzzy hats.
  2. Watching pieces fall slowly into place.
  3. Wrapping presents while watching bad tv. (Hello, my evening plans!)
  4. VERY FUN LUNCHES! (Thanks JR!)
  5. Hanging with the extended families. Can't. WAIT.


masochism lives!

I'm obviously finally feeling better. How else to celebrate than with a trip to the Galleria on the Saturday before Christmas??

I'm nuts, I know.

But hear me out: it's the smaller of the 2 malls (the other being Tysons, which is HUGE and a total madhouse on normal weekends), the Macy's is tidier and more thoughtfully curated that at the other location, and there are always fewer people because of the plethora of really expensive stores.

And they have indoor snow. Seriously!

(It makes the incessant carols totally bearable.)

I was just trying to find a cute holiday outfit for Christmas day...we get together with hubby's side of the family, and they're all teeny and super-stylish. (After 10 years? Yep, still feeling pressure to look good at the in-laws.) And, after scouring the mall, I still don't really have anything to show for it, other than a new appreciation for peppermint mocha lattes. And a bag full of candy for the in-laws.

(And maybe a candy bar for myself.)

Speaking of hubby: those of you who know us know that he has a magical ability to thwart even my most thoughtful gift giving. Year after year I agonize over his presents (because there's less than a month between Christmas and his birthday, it's a double whammy), and almost every year he somehow divines out what I've decided to buy him, and tries to purchase it himself. Kayak lessons, bike gear, a laptop...all previous gifts that he tried to purchase for himself mere days before the holiday. (I am still indebted to the stalwart saleswoman at the kayak place who refused to let him purchase the lessons even after his browbeating. I'm glad he called the next day to apologize!)

This year's installment? An iPad. He tried to buy one Thursday night, even as the one that I had ENGRAVED to him sat upstairs in my nightstand.


I gave it to him today...so that he could play with it before his trip to Chicago on Monday.

(I'm getting him socks for his birthday. Nothing but socks. That'll teach him.)

My five:
  1. Feeling better. I HATE being sick!
  2. The Sing-Off. I seriously almost started to cry a few times - from joy! It's goooood stuff!
  3. Gray weekend days. Makes curing up with a book almost mandatory.
  4. Low-key family celebrations...I'm excited for the holidays!
  5. Chocolate and peppermint.


reasons I love snow part #27

Here's a secret that's not really a secret: the teachers are almost always happier about a snow day than the kids are.
Santa came to my office!

Old habits die hard, friends...the office closed early, and even though I was making some good progress I was out of there as quickly as my boots would take me. I'm happily ensconced on my couch, a dog at my feet, the tv tuned to my dvr'd episodes of Glee and The Sing Off. The cat is running around the house like crazy, watching the coven of crows that have roosted in our neighborhood. (I can't tell from the cawing whether they're enjoying the snow or are bitching about it...) I'm weighing my afternoon options...nap? Or making chowder & biscuits?

Both. Most decidedly.

The early dismissal is actually a really good thing, though. I'm still (!) struggling with getting better...the cold temperatures outside, the dog that needs walking in said frigid temperatures, the gimped up hubby, and the office that still hasn't reached above 65 degrees is making recovery a little more of a challenge than normal. I still totally sound like a phone sex operator! But there's still casting to be done, Christmas presents to buy and wrap, friends to connect with...all fun stuff that I'd like to really enjoy, not just get through. So maybe an afternoon on the couch before a busy weekend is just what the Dr. ordered, right?

Wait, he drives a green SUV? Where's Blitzen?
Nap. Then chowder and biscuits.

Yup. It's a plan.

My five:
  1. Fleece-lined pants. Such a brilliant concept, they should be awarded the Nobel Fleece Prize! (Thanks for the pun, Brenda!)
  2. Flameless candles - so cool!
  3. Unexpected free time.
  4. Time to reflect.
  5. New resolutions.


Puttering, interrupted.

Usually my weekends consist of a long list of little to dos...errands to run, chores, classes at the gym, new recipes to try, folks to visit. I'm good a spending an hour or so being lazy, but too much more than that and I get restless.

That restlessness is also my litmus test when I'm not feeling well. I started feeling a little pooky Wednesday night. By the end of our work holiday party I had almost no voice...which, when you don't have to sing for a living, is actually kinda fun. But I was still feeling ok when I went to bed after the party.

The next morning? A different story. I think it was the first time in a looong time that I actually succumbed to germs. (Usually I'm good at catching it early and preventing a full-blown case of the cruds. Not so much this time.)

I spent all of Friday on the couch. In my pajamas. Getting up only to fill my teacup and to occasionally let the dog outside. I threw a cheater's bolognese sauce in the crock pot in case hubby was hungry after work. And I napped and read and watched Bravo.

C'est. Tout.

So, between throwing myself into a pile of gravel and catching whooping cough (kidding!), I'm guessing that my body is asking me, oh-so-nicely, to slow the heck down for a bit.

I'm finally listening. Today's limited docket includes more Bravo TV (Top Chef reruns!), more reading, a puzzle or two, and putting up the Christmas tree. I think that's plenty.

My five:
  1. A good book. I'm enjoying this one right now.
  2. Tea.
  3. Warm socks.
  4. Soup.
  5. Permission to be lazy.


links o'GOLD.

Ok, so half-marathon training is on hold while my knee returns to its original size. (Go big or go home, I say. And, as I was reminded today, I could've broken a tooth in my spill...so I'm still firmly in the "Lucky" camp.) To mourn the passing of several non-sweaty days and a holiday party or two, I've eaten the lion's share of a loaf of Italian bread slathered in butter, with a bit of stew as a chaser.

(Carb WIN.)

In other, possibly related news? Someone broke into my house when I was on the road! They took everything out of my closet and replaced it with the exact same item in a smaller size.

Sneaky bastards. Harumph. Lucky for me that January is a-comin', and with it smaller portion sizes and a renewed gym routine.

Lucky for you? I haven't posted a good link-o-rama in a looooong time. Let me remedy that STAT!
  • I love this little video - I'm only a little embarrassed that it made me cry.
  • Amen, my doodling friend.
  • Try this. You can call me DJ Rahree
  • Are you a daily autocorrect fan? This is for you.
  • WANT.
  • Having lost my father-in-law for hours in a Smithsonian museum makes this even more amusing.
  • Lisbeth Salander AND Sherlock Holmes? YES.
  • I made this with Thanksgiving leftovers...and it's super tasty.
  • Ow. Even if it is for art's sake...still, ow.
  • I can't tell you how much I love this series. Playful, fun and a bit disturbing. Good stuff!
  • A good reminder...
  • ...as is this.
  • And this? Well, you can see this at work all the time. (Guilty as charged...)
  • Agreed. Please??
  • Along with heated seats and flight capabilities? This is what my car needs.
That's all for now... time to whine about my poor beaten visage and knee for some sympathy from the hubs...hope he doesn't catch onto my antics too soon!

My five?
  1. Lazy evenings.
  2. Hot tea.
  3. Stew.
  4. ADD workdays.
  5. Early bedtimes.


a good day.

stuffing a giant wreath for Holiday Sing
I have to admit, I've been defaulting to "Grumpy Old Lady" mode more often than I'd like. Easily irritated, prone to poor-me-isms, with achy joints and a desire to wrap myself up in a fake illness and spend the day in bed.

But today? Well, today could've been more of the same. It's freakin' cold here, with winds that exemplify the word "rude." They cut through clothes, find those gaps between sleeve and glove, shirt and belt. I knew they were going to slap my cheeks silly this morning.

And they did. But only for the last half-block of the walk. A half-block...ok, totally doable.

And I got up early enough to get some stew into the crockpot before leaving for work.

And I remembered (and had time!) to get to the store before work for snacks...because snacks make the day suck WAY less. And this song was playing over the muzak at the store, but instead of making me feel old it made me totally happy.

And I got a lovely holiday boon at work. Two, actually!

And a situation for the summer was resolved in a most satisfactory (read: AWESOME) manner.

And I had two - count 'em, TWO - opportunities to make some fun music with work colleagues.

It was a good day.

So now I'm sitting here with a pot full of stew, a good candy bar and a tasty glass of wine...with catalogues for a little more holiday shopping...and with a big ol' bath fizzy to warm me up after walking El Diablo around the block in the wind. And I'm marveling that I've enjoyed today as much as I have. It's such a tricky time of year, fighting against the cold and the dark, without the discipline of January's resolutions. I'm looking forward to celebrating, but am simultaneously viscerally missing my dad.

(And I guess that's why Grumpy Old Lady's been around more...not because things are bad, but because I miss him, and there's just nothing to be done about it. So if I can't fight against it, wish it away, work it away or pierogi it away (7 dozen made! Watch out, Mrs. T!), I guess I'll just grump against it.)

But today? Well, I'd like to think that Dad's working a bit of holiday magic. And Dad? It was a truly magnificent Tuesday. 

(I can't WAIT to see what you have in store for Wednesday.)

My five:
  1. Polarfleece and down vests.
  2. Holiday Sing - carols and cookies? WIN WIN.
  3. Scarves. I'm living in a fuzzy black circular one.
  4. Trashing my kitchen. 
  5. The return of hat weather...my neighbors no longer have to hide their eyes from the lady with the scariest of all bed head.
edited to add: not ten minutes after posting this (and before the glass of wine, for the record) I totally tripped while walking the dog. Cue the fat lip and the subsequent flipping o'the bird at the universe. If you need me I'll be over here, picking the gravel out of my teeth.