Wednesday, December 31, 2008


i know i've thrown a bunch of posts at you today...sort of an amuse-bouche clean sweep, getting ready for oh-nine.

there is a method to my madness, however. because that down there?


that is post number 500!

happy new year!!

wordless wednesday

in lieu of gingerbread

the gingerbread wasn't going to happen this year. (do you know how i really feel about gingerbread houses?!? if not, you can read about the gingerbread escapades here and here.)

in fact, not much holiday *baking* was done at all. well, aside from the gorgeous loaf of herbed cheese bread i made. have i mentioned the herbed cheese bread yet? (note to self: track down photo of gorgeous herbed cheese bread...)

never one to be swayed from his routine, jack *settled* for another project. he got out his cookbook and landed upon the *perfect* holiday dessert... shortcake. in december. really, i couldn't have been more thrilled. (never mind that it called for out-of-season fruit, and for more of that covering-the-counter-AND-my-hands-with-that-awful-flour stuff.) it was to be shortcake. (thank goodness my recent triumph over the herbed cheese bread had me feeling like i could handle the flour thing again!)

slicing the fruit (this kid has serious knife skills.)

sprinkling the sugar.

here he is, ladies and gentlemen, your next food network star!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


this is the third year i have wrapped up with this particular meme. it's become a way for me to close the book on the outgoing year, celebrate what i've accomplished, find inspiration for what is yet to come...

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? finished a 10K run

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? my word of the year, "open" was with me every step of the way. it reminded me to open my mind, my heart, my core. i am looking forward to sharing my word for 2009.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? no

4. Did anyone close to you die? Grabbie

5. What countries did you visit? hah! i think i only left NC once, and that was a quick trip to atlanta. (this WILL be remedied in oh-nine. quickly.)

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2008? willpower

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? december 16, the day we lost our Grabbie

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? seussical!

9. What was your biggest failure? gaining weight and losing myself within myself

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? no

11. What was the best thing you bought? my "open" necklace from lisa leonard designs

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? my staff

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? anyone who *chose* not to vote in the presidential election

14. Where did most of your money go? house

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? seussical!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? "i miss my family" naked brothers band, "over you" daughtry, "no air" jordin sparks, "viva la vida" coldplay

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer? a little sadder, a little fatter, a little poorer (sad, but true)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? exercising, vacationing

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? snacking

20. Did you fall in love in 2008? i think so

21. What was your favorite TV program? the biggest loser, good eats, the hills (ssshhhh....)

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? no

23. What was the best book you read? Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (A Year of Food Life); Firefly Lane (and thank goodness for Goodreads, because i would never have remembered a single book i read!)

24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Without a Net!!

25. What did you want and get? useful space

26. What did you want and not get? an iPod

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Mama Mia

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? had a 90 minute massage, ate thai food and turned 39.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? making a commitment to my health

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? whatever is still fitting!

31. What kept you sane? blogging. absolutely - blogging. (sic.)

spt - my holiday is filled with hope

the time is now, the place is here.
stay in the present.
you can do nothing to change the past,
and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for.
dan millman

we were late pulling our Christmas cactus out of it's dark hiding place. it sort of sat on the counter all season, taunting us. "i'll show you!" it seemed to say, every morning as i savored my coffee. "i can be stubborn, too," it pouted every evening, as i put away the dinner dishes.

despite it's best efforts of defiance, on Christmas Day we were welcomed with tiny buds. this morning, there are more, and i couldn't resist the message in those hopeful pink flowers.

the time is now, the place is here.

happy new year!! may you awaken each day with the promise of hope in your heart.

Friday, December 26, 2008

all i want(ed) for Christmas

navigating the holidays after you've lost a loved one can be a tricky affair. i felt really prepared for this holiday in the early days of december. gifts were ordered and hidden, cards were created and mailed, singing engagements and parades filled my evenings and weekends. the first twelve days of Christmas were a whirlwind of festive activities.

but much of the past few weeks has been spent with dealing with *things*: preparing my parents house for the arrival of my grandfather, Pop-pop; wrapping the gifts i'd been hiding in my office; tying up loose ends at the hotel so that i could take some time off. *things* that kept me occupied, but not really engaged with anything that was going on around me.

so that when Christmas Eve arrived, i found we were kind of without a plan. what had been our routine over the past many years, was gone. there was no beach rental house for my grandparents and visiting relatives. my parents didn't show up on our doorstep with a gift for jack (even though i HAD cleaned the house!) there was no overly loud, fight-you-for-the-last-bit-of-turkey Christmas dinner planned.

there was an overwhelming urge to sleep, and yes, i did a lot of that. but there was more...

there were hours of Christmas music that soothed.

there was Christmas Eve service with jack singing Silent Night, Holy Night at the top of his clear, sweet voice (and how proud i was that he was able to read along in the hymnal.)

there was soup and a gorgeous loaf of herbed cheese bread i made from scratch.

there was finally peace and quiet.

there were Christmas nachos when we didn't have the inclination to cook the ham.

there was take-out Thai and bonfires and Mad Gab.

and there is a boy who Believes for one more year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O, holy night

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

spt *EDIT*

i know the holidays are JOYful, but i have just noticed that i listed JOY twice in our feng shui list. the challenge for this week should actually be PEACE.

if you've already created a second JOYous photo for your spt this week, then, by all means, post it. if, like me, you could use a little PEACE & quiet this week, then this is the perfect challenge!

we now resume our regularly scheduled blogging...

Friday, December 19, 2008

a stitch in time

when i was a little girl, my sisters and i spent a lot of time with my grandmother, my Grabbie. Grabbie always had extra knitting needles in her bag, and one of our favorite activities involved *conducting* the Boston Pops along with arthur fiedler. we would twirl about the living room and direct the musicians with wild abandon.

when we thought we had grown too old for PBS and classical music, Grabbie gave us yarn and tried to teach us the intracacies of casting on stitches. what seemed effortless in her skilled hands, was an insurmountable challenge for us. sitting and puzzling over dropped stitches could not hold our attention the way that Mr. Fiedler and his Pops had. those shimmering needles were tucked safely back into Grabbie's knitting bag, and my sisters and i got on with the busy-ness of being teenagers, young adults, mothers.

Grabbie passed away on tuesday, at the wonderful age of 93 and three quarters.

on wednesday, i bought a pair of knitting needles and cast on a row of stitches. i haven't stopped since then.

jack looks over my shoulder. he tries his hand at a few stitches, swiftly losing interest after a few moments. i don't have an extra pair for him to use as a conducter's baton. yet.

jack asks if i will be knitting forever.

i hope so, i reply. i wish i hadn't waited this long to start.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Heartache Can Wait
(Brandi Carlile)

You're talking about leaving
It's right about Christmas time
Thinking about moving on
I think I might die inside

I'm thinking about years gone by
I'm thinking about church at midnight
I'm thinking about letting go
I think that might finally be alright

But this is where we shine

Silver bells and open fire
And songs we used to sing
One more chance to be inspired
Is what I'm offering if love is not enough
Then stay with me because
The heartache can wait

It's not about hanging on
It's making my deal with God
If I could call one last truce
We've given it all we've got

Then I'm gonna catch my breath
And make it a long December
If we've got nothing left
This could be worth remembering
With a smile upon my face

Silver bells and open fire
And songs we used to sing
One more chance to be inspired
Is what I'm offering if love is not enough
Then stay with me because

Silver bells and open fire
And songs we used to sing
One more chance to be inspired
Is what I'm offering if love is not enough
Then stay with me because
The heartache can wait
it's going to be a long day for me, friends. good-byes are so very, very hard.

hello, life?

i'd really like my blog back.

and maybe a little more time to finish making presents.

and, if it's not too much trouble, could you run down to the post office and get the stamps i need to finally put my cards in the mail?

and don't think i haven't noticed how you interfered with my Sunday laundry schedule.

i'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

spt - my holiday is filled with joy

Christmas trees make me happy.

in the past week, i have:

performed with my vocal group (Without A Net) on live local television;
attended matty's company Christmas party;
rode on the cub scout float in the first of two parades;
had lunch with my dad and two sisters to plan "writing" a musical;
attended my own company party;
heard a high school Christmas concert;
and, yes, i've run out of gas.

it seems like a lot, but now we have 2/3rds of our holiday commitments behind us.

tonight, we will enJOY a quiet evening at home as we put the ornaments on our own tree... after which, i will curl up in my pyjayzees and finish up my Christmas cards.


Friday, December 05, 2008

photoless phriday

remind you to tell you the one about how i ran out of gas in the drop-off line at jack's school this morning...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

spt - my holiday is filled with love

getting my Christmas Card list together...

the holiday season, in my minds eye, has a soft glow around the edges. when i think about all there is to be accomplished in these few short weeks, i filter it with tree lights and fuzzy edges (sounds dreamy, doesn't it?)

this week, i am so happy to take moment to think about all of the people i love. i've been rereading cards from Christmas' past (it's sometimes hard to remember back to the days when cards were addressed to just me. or to just matty and i.) i've been thinking about the people i will be sending cards to this week. their families. their lives. i've been thinking about how our lives have become entertwined, even when our paths intersect only once or twice a year.

sharing cards, photographs, and journeys helps knit together the circle of those i love. i can think of no better way to embark on this wonderful season!

(o.k., kids, this is the second week in a row i'm having trouble with my good friend, Mr. Linky. hang in there!!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

the giving tree

as i was putting away the fall decorations yesterday, i stumbled when i came to our giving tree. this is the first year we have done one. it created a wonderful visual for us throughout the Thanksgiving season.

this is definitely a tradition we will carry on. although, it might become a more permanent addition to our decor!

Friday, November 28, 2008

spt - holiday feng shui

did you enjoy your Thanksgiving? did you get enough dessert? have you washed the dishes? walked off those extra calories?

yes?? good. now take a deep breath, because... here. comes. Christmas!

something about Thanksgiving falling late this year has me feeling very Christmas-y much earlier than i normally do. i have my cards already. i created my Snapfish book of holiday memories. i've been listening to holiday music since September (well, okay, there was a reason for that!) the sewing machine has been humming and the craft paint is drying.

i have two parades coming up. and three vocal performances. and Advent wreath making. and two company parties. and Little Christmas Eve to prepare for. so, what i'm saying is, no matter that i feel like i have a little bit of a head start: i have no doubt that december will bring it's own chaos!

you, too?

i don't want spt to add to the chaos. quite the opposite - i hope to continue to enjoy it throughout the holidays. to be able to find those moments throughout the season where i choose to be still. the challenge for us this month will hopefully give us an excuse to remember to care for ourselves while we are busy creating amazing holiday memories for all.

take deep breaths. channel your chi. don't sacrifice the small, still moments. enjoy them! and photograph them!

tuesday, december 2 love
tuesday, december 9 joy
tuesday, december 16 comfort
tuesday, december 23 joy
tuesday, december 30 hope

enjoy the season!

birthday good mail!

look at some of the goodness that came my way!!

natasha sent me perhaps the most thoughtful gift ever! she read my 100 list, and the gifts she selected were 100% me!! it gave me some serious warm fuzzy feelings!!

my highly-caffeinated friend, carlo, sent me this fantastic *scrabble tile* necklace with my word of the year on it!! again... i'm amazed at how well you women have gotten to know me through blogging. (isn't the wrapping paper adorable? a map of her "hometown.")

michelle sent me some of her wonderful tags, and jill gave me some of her self-designed note cards (jill, i LOVE the font. it's very *me!*)

i'm going to wrap up my birthday gift post with a shameless plug for joining facebook. if you are already using this social networking site, then you are familiar with how amazing it can be to reconnect with friends and family in an *almost* real-time venue. i received countless birthday wishes from cousins, school friends, camp friends and bloggers throughout the day. it was sort of like the gift that kept giving. check it out!

thank you, friends, for thinking of me on my birthday!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

thankful outside of the box

this year, our extended family members are all out of town. which leaves us behind in southport. to feed all of their pets...

this happens every few years. when you are the oldest of four girls who are all now married, there are times that your sisters go to spend a holiday with their *other* families. and i sort of enjoy the quiet holidays from time to time.

i started the day here, which is a really nice way to start Thanksgiving Day, especially when you don't have to go home and prepare a feast!

we had leftover turkey breast, and we struck upon the idea of skipping the feast altogether, and going right to the leftovers. (did you see that the Food Network did an entire show on leftovers?!?)

of course, we didn't have leftover "anything else." just the turkey. so i set about making some Thanksgiving dishes so that we would have the "leftovers."

(does that seem a little twisted to you? jack thought so. but, anyway...)

cranberry smoothies!

"turkey and green bean casserole" pot pies! (i didn't have puff pastry in the house. so... i made my own. i know!)

fried stuffing with cranberry pesto! (what is better than bread dredged in bread crumbs and fried to perfection?!? nothing, i tell you!)

all in all, a lovely, if not-so-traditional, day.

i am giving thanks for all of my wonderful blog friends today. thank YOU all for GIVING so much!


i'm really glad i got up and ran the Turkey Trot. even though it was really cold. even though they ran out of t-shirts. even though my time was worse than last years...

i'm really glad i got up and ran the Turkey Trot.

Monday, November 24, 2008

post season

we wrapped up our first soccer season with a round robin "tournament" on saturday. i finally got my sweater weather!! (and then some...)

both of my parents braved the cold to see their future-soccer-scholarship-winning grandson. he did not disappoint! (i think he scored eight goals between the different games that day.)

the kids got little trophies, and jack was over the moon! he came right home and put it on the mantle piece. then he took a step back and i think he was waiting for me to ask him to move it (i'm very protective of my mantle piece decor, i guess!) i told him it looked great there!!

this was such a great experience for jack. he was on a team with friends from his old school and his new school, so it definitely helped with transition. his coach had great comments for him, and even whispered to him that he was the high scorer for the team (we don't keep track of score at the U8 level.) (well, *some* people don't.) just look at the peace and confidence on that face!

way to go, jack! looking forward to next season!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


ooh... i got tagged by a new blogging friend!! this list of questions is the perfect diversion for my lunch break (who needs to finish the annual budget, anyway?!?)

Were you named after anyone? eleanor from a great-great-(maybe great) aunt on my father's side. anne is my mother's and my grandmother's name. lelly is a nickname my husband uses.

Do you still have your tonsils? yes.

Would you bungee jump? i don't think i'd ever be able to step off the little platform.

What is your favorite cereal? i love to mix cheerios and rice krispies, or cheerios and raisin bran. (this was a little trick we learned growing up to make cereal more *exciting.* no sugar cereals for us.) (how, then, did i develop a little love affair with lucky charms? i blame the Ithaca College dining hall...)

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? nope

What is your favorite ice cream? mint chocolate chip

What is the first thing you notice about other people? i notice how they speak (or, if i'm blogging, how they "read.") i notice accents, phrasing, sentence structure, vocabulary. is that weird??

Least favorite thing about yourself? my body image

What is the last thing you ate? whole wheat toast. i'm currently waiting for my BLT. what is taking my co-worker so long?!?

What are you listening to right now? The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs (thanks for the suggestion, kelly!)

What is the last movie you watched? Chocolate. what was that, like three weeks ago?

What did you dream about last night? my friend michelle was delivering her sweet baby boy, and i had numerous dreams about that. had i known that he was actually born at 11 pm, i might have slept more soundly. but i didn't find out until 5 this morning.

Summer or winter? winter!!

Do you have any special talents? i am quite musical, i enjoy acting, i craft & sew. i am especially good at trolling the blogosphere for inspiration.

Coke or Pepsi? caffeine free diet coke.

Word you would hate to describe you? shallow.

What TV shows are on your DVR? Top Chef, The Office, Wizards of Waverly Place, Good Eats

it's back to work for me! i tag carlo, natasha and ann. (girls, you are supposed to add one question of your own to the bottom of the list.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


*i'm not sure what happened to the links from this morning, but never fear! Mr. Linky is looking into it!!