Thursday, December 31, 2009

in review

i really REALLY tried to do the whole "best of '09" review, but found myself not remembering huge chunks of my year! what is that about?!? so here it is, my tried and true year-end review. all in all, it was the year that i took an amazing *journey,* a ride that i am not yet willing to get off!!

(for half a second i thought i might attempt a decade-in-review, but sweet hell, if i can't remember '09, then trying to remember '00-'08 might just put me in the little white room (although i did a bit of reminiscing on FB.) (so, if you're interested, i invite you to come by).

without further ado, may i present, the year that was:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? went on a destination family vacation with just the three of us.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? my word of the year, "journey," took me places i had not been before.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? yes! nephew Felix Daniel was born to my sister, Patricia on September 27.

4. Did anyone close to you die? a fellow hotel manager passed away shortly after being diagnosed with lung cancer. it definitely shook us up as we considered our own mortality. it is tough to lose a contemporary.

5. What countries did you visit? does EPCOT World Showcase count? it does for me!! in 2009, i visited NOLA, Philly, D.C., and Walt Disney World! Quick work trips took me to Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Raleigh and Charleston. what a difference "getting out of town" made for me this year!!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? a fitness routine

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? january 19th, the day i decided to take my life back.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? sailing this hotel through some very troubled economic waters.

9. What was your biggest failure? working to much, not walking away from my desk enough

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? no

11. What was the best thing you bought? can i say "the snuggie" that jack got for Christmas? (don't judge!) okay, really it was my pretty pink Dell laptop!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? matty quit smoking!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? the people responsible for trashing the pianos in the music hall at Ithaca College. SENSELESS DESTRUCTION!!

14. Where did most of your money go? house

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? meeting natasha and carlo and hoop

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? BOOM BOOM POW

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? 
b) thinner or fatter? 
c) richer or poorer? HAPPIER, the same, richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? blogging

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? butting heads with mat and jack over petty things that we won't remember!

20. Did you fall in love in 2009? YES!

21. What was your favorite TV program? Glee

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? absolutely not

23. What was the best book you read? i am re-reading childhood favorites with jack - currently enjoying "The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel.)"

24. What was your greatest musical discovery? NOTA

25. What did you want and get? an mp3 player and a smart phone

26. What did you want and not get? new hair color ;)

27. What was your favorite film of this year? did i see anything that wasn't PG-13???

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? turned FORTY in the Magic Kingdom!!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? losing 25 pounds

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? it was all about the underwear, baby!

31. What kept you sane? little getaways

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

omelets "boiling" away
individual omelets, cinnamon button bread and clementines
the boy who STILL believes
with full bellies and full hearts,
the ericksons wish you a

Monday, December 21, 2009

solstice solace

wow, today had some really stressful moments. jack, a child who *needs* routine, meandered and whined his way through the first day of vacation. our day started rough, and was heading right back to it as we arrived home to begin the business of dinner and downtime (fortunately, my mom assures me that he did NOT threaten them with his wrath while they entertained him this afternoon.)

thank goodness for solstice. thank goodness we have a tradition of eating foods that can don't need to be cooked and fussed over. thank goodness we sit together in the glow of the tree and candles and count our blessings. thank goodness i was able to keep it together and not let jack's temper tantrums propel us all into winter doldrums. thank goodness.

welcome winter. today is the darkest day of the year. we light candles and welcome the return of the sun.

the return of sunshine on our faces and smiles for each other.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"no snow" days

so, pretty much the rest of the east coast/mid-atlantic region is having the White Christmas of their lives. unfortunately for one 8 year-old, we live just a little too far east for the historic snowfall.

oh, we had precipitation. it rained and rained and RAINED on friday. literally put a damper on our third annual holiday drum circle. but that did not deter us from heading out with our festive finger foods.

i saw a link to this tree of pinwheels over at not martha. (you can see a snazzy photo from the Cook's website here.) i have to say that it took me a ridiculously time to stack the pinwheels so that it looked somewhat like a tree (and not a bizarre shrub.) the Cook's promo shot is decidedly more "Seussian" than mine.

after our clothes dried and our fingers unpuckered on Saturday morning, we went for the trifecta: oh, yes, we managed to sqeeze in "gingerbread house making" "Christmas cookie baking" and "turning all 1,000 pieces of the Christmas puzzle face up" in one day!

i've made a certain peace with gingerbread house making over the past few years. once again, i thought maybe we might "forget" about this little tradition. thank goodness i have jack to keep me on my game!! (if you need a laugh, or just a refresher on my gingerbread woes, might i direct you to '06 and '07.

i had the brilliant idea to have a little cookie exchange with my mom and sisters this year. i can't even tell you about the obscene amount of cookies we had to exchange. (i think next year we should all bring about one dozen cookies. period. end of story.) i seriously have no idea what i'm going to do with all of these!!

the puzzle is out, and ready for working. this year we set it up on our kitchen table. i have been drawn to it more than once today, and jack and i just finished up a good hour of puzzling together. ("mom, you have to double check that all of those border pieces are correct. IN ALL MY YEARS OF PUZZLING, that's been my experience...")

to recap: snow? no. sugar? yes.

merry christmas week!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

hello, blog

Advent and the Christmas Season are filled with precious moments as a family, quietly waiting for the birth of Christ, reveling in family memories, attending lavish parties in our very best costumes and baking trays upon trays of gorgeously decorated sugar cookies.

uh, yeah.

this is MY reality:
i got home from the wonder of Disney and half expected my home to have been decorated by those tireless imagineers. how wonderful it would have been to bask in the glow of my Christmas vision without having to sort through boxes and wrappings and THE GARAGE...

company parties were both the first weekend of the month, and we always consider ourselves lucky to "get that over with." following the Hampton party on Sunday night, I accompanied a handful of employees to the local Irish Pub. at 12:30 a.m., I realized that I was the only one left standing (not literally, but)! needless to say, Monday morning required some extra hydrating...

i declared a crack down on bringing any Christmas boxes into the house until I had a chance to declutter and clean. seriously, does anybody else bring in 4X the amount of stuff they already have just to make the place more festive?!? decluttering and cleaning projects move ahead s-l-o-w-l-y. boys sneak boxes into the house. now we're decorating the clutter (i absolutely rolled down the top of my desk last night. i'm considering nailing it shut until after the first of the new year.)

put up the tree(s), but felt too tired to fluff. let the boys start decorating without fluffing. stared warily at tree(s) for two nights, trying to get up the energy to fluff. Saturday morning loomed cold and bright, and I finally started fluffing. did not stop until 5 trees and 6 garlands were fluffed. and my hands were thoroughly chapped...

finally created a mantlepiece garland. i will show you a photo of it, if i remember to take one...

skipped the Christmas-by-the-Sea parade because it was raining. i love Cub Scouts cheerfully throwing candy off of a float as much as the next mom, but really...

skipped the festive outdoor showing of The Polar Express because it was 35 degrees out, and people, we here in Coastal North Carolina don't actually own enough clothing to keep us warm in 35 degrees...

"forgot" to print Advent activities for the Advent jar ("forget" being code for "i haven't bought printer ink in about 7 months.") have not lit the candles on the Advent wreath yet, and yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent. have not lit the candles in the menorah yet (we celebrate all kinds of light in my house) but have played several "spirited" games of dreidle...

Christmas cards?!?!?!?!

i think i'm hosting a cookie swap on Sunday...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


i've been knitting...

the best conference of 'o9

january was so long ago, that it almost doesn't qualify for 'o9.
january is often such an insignificant month, don't you think?
and yet, i've already mentioned my january trip THREE TIMES in this year-in-review.

it was THAT good.

the whole reason i went to New Orleans was to attend the annual Hampton Inn conference, a yearly gathering of GMs and executives and themed dinners. i *love* conference. i love the chance to get away from my little town at the end of the earth and play cosmopolitan girl. i love exploring new airports (okay, not really). i love missing my family a little bit.

conference has taken place in Las Vegas and D.C. and Orlando. and New Orleans. (any guesses for 2010? it's BIG. y'all.)

i am a bit of a conference dork, in that i love the general sessions and the motivational speakers. i love being recognized as one of the top performing managers in my brand. i love navigating buffet lines with my GM friends from all over north carolina and more.

the underlying theme of conference this year was "building your circle of friends." my circle and i have taken this idea and run with it this year. my circle had become my sanity, my sounding board, my mentors and best friends. i appreciate Hampton for lighting the spark that fueled even greater connections with contemporaries i already liked and admired. for creating friendships among acquaintances.

the best of 2oo9

the best night out of o9

it was a day that transitioned into a night.
it was a "college reuinion."
it was a creative Saturday.

the best of 2oo9

Thursday, December 03, 2009

the best article of o9

i can't recall one singular article that bore sharing this past year. i am an admitted "news snacker" - one who gets their news in snippets and tweets and sound bytes. what can i say? i've always loved the intro paragraph.

i will say that i spent the most time reading up on H1N1, and the pros and cons of vaccination. i am a child of Public Health Iliterally - my father retired from the Centers for Disease Control.)

i vaccinate.

the best of 2oo9

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

best restaurant experience of 'o9

small town living = limited "dining out" experience :( for three foodies like the ericksons, that can be a real challenge.


for the (almost) ten years that we've lived near wilmington, we've talked about stopping at a place called Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn. a few months back, jack was off at a birthday party, and matty and i found ourselves in Amy's neighborhood (sorry, jack!)

wow. the burrito barn did NOT disappoint. the burritos were the size of my head! and i could have subsisted entirely on their bottomless chips and salsa bar. oh, yes. a salsa bar. ginger lime salsa. wasabi salsa. black bean salsa. chipotle salsa.

and, for 45 minutes, matty and i relished a meal together. the two of us. no crayons or DS games at the table. no "finish your dinner," or "you have to go to the bathroom NOW?" (does anyone else have children who are fascinated with using restaurant bathrooms?)

Amy, we will be back. soon. with our 8 1/2 year old foodie in tow. after all, someone's got to help us get to the bottom of that bottomless basket of chips!

the best of 2oo9

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

the best trip of 'o9

i had two.

the first: new orleans. where i fell back in love with myself.
the second: walt disney world. where i fell back in love with my family.

the best of 2oo9