December 30, 2009

a year in review

a year in review....2009 through my eyes

2009 through my eyes....

it's funny looking back at it this way - has on only been this year that i learned about textures, the beautiful of pola coloring and the wonderful light a window can bring? it also appears that i'm rather fond of diagonal lights, the close-up instead of the faraway, and a lot of blue.

thanks to all of your for your unflagging support and suggestions during the year. i am inspired by you (as you can see in some of my 'lookalike' shots) and am in awe of the talent we have in our circle of friends (and their friends and their friends' friends...and so on). i look forward to more inspirations and laughter with you.

December 29, 2009

a journey

the only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind.
the only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind...

i stared at that statement for a while as i thought about what it meant...but then the meaning took flight in my heart. i smiled. as the year draws to a close i've been pondering what it has meant to me - what will i leave behind as i kiss 2009 goodbye? what will i carry in my heart?

the endurance of trying times. the lesson in charity and faith. the love of friends and the luxury of a support network that has loved me throughout. the gift of new friends flung far and wide across the globe. my heart is very full.

but there remains room for more if we open our hearts, then that miraculous organ expands...and expands...and even expands more. even when we think it might burst - it always has room for more love and more joy and, sadly sometimes more pain. and even when it feels crushed and broken, if you leave it open - it has room for healing. wonderful heart.

and i wonder what 2010 holds for me. i've got to hold the rudder firm and the sheets as they struggle in my hand when the wind whips around me. (sailing talk there - a bit of drama there as i love a good sailing metaphor) i'm not one for resolutions. i make it up as i go along and do mini-resolutions throughout the year - tweaks (sometimes major repairs). yes, there are changes i would like to make...i've already started working on them. just as 2009 brought changes, like clockwork, so will 2010.

dani has challenged me, and you too - to a one-word resolution in 2010. in light (and celebration) of that challenge, i've decided to go with 'journey'. because i see my life as the journey - the path - the adventure. may it be a happy one that leads to many more happy discoveries.

December 28, 2009

the aftermath

(taken by iPhone this morning)

i took the weekend off - celebrating the holidays and all of that. we do not do big holidays in my family, i just don't really see the need for it and it's not what the holidays are about to me. instead, i got a few heartfelt gifts and those were just perfect. we went to see 'a christmas story' play at the shakespeare festival (i thought it was adorable but i feel a feeling the boys were very bored). we went to church and i was moved to tears by the message. and the children's choir sang - who can be untouched by a children's choir? not me. we had our dinner together and i tell my oldest niece (she's five) almost wet her pants in excitement over opening presents. how knew a 'littlest pet shop' purse could be not me. and the stocking was a big hit...of course now others in the family want one. maybe that's a project for next year.

then there was the obligatory after-christmas shopping for discount decorations and i finally made my christmas dinner last night. ham, chicken and dressing and pecan pie. i even have leftovers. (the leftovers are the very best part)

coming back to work, the halls are quiet (i wish i could say the same for the construction outside my window today). i have music playing quietly and i'm plowing through the e-mails that are coming in now that people are slowly coming back to work. christmas came and left in a hurry for me. and that's okay, i enjoyed its brief visit.

December 24, 2009

peace be unto you...


may this holiday season bring you the peace that your heart seeks, the balm that heals all, the love that binds us together, and all the dreams you wish to come true.

may this christmas bring you the joy of a child and the happiness that only true contentment can bring.

may it be the most beautiful of holidays and the harbinger of many more beautiful holidays to come.


December 22, 2009

88 days and counting

winter came quietly, if officially, yesterday at 12:47 p.m. it didn't yell or draw attention to itself, it just settled in and wrapped my world in bright blues and chilly air. no snow (that's okay with me), no drama (also okay too), just a sweet knowledge at this the shortest day brings on additional minutes of light each day. it started it's icy crawl towards the equinox just 88 days away. 88 days...isn't that like piano keys (or is that 82? i forget). the flats and sharps of the season.

welcome winter - i'm happy to have you because you bring along your friend spring soon enough. in the meantime, i will love your aquamarine skies, lacey frost on the leaves, and the pink tips to everyone's nose. the faster steps, the crunch beneath my feet and the feel of a warm coffee mug in my cupped hands all make me glow. the barren branches shape a lattice against the sky and the branches take on a special grace. all the things i love for you this season - reminders of when that cold wind blows and i despair that i will never see green again, that you do bring in the green season. if not for the cold, the flowers would not blossom as bright. so welcome, even if i don't always make you feel at home.

December 21, 2009

the weekend was a whirl indeed, a very nice whirl. in it i learned:

:: how small the world really is when connected by brothers and day care,
:: the beauty of making new friends,
:: my sister doesn't quite have the art of mixing a cocktail down (teasing),
:: the humbling feeling of walking into a house and seeing your artwork on the wall,
:: you can get a lot of shopping done in a short time if properly motivated,
:: people who claim innocence about a subject maybe card sharks in disguise,
:: a simple meal with a dear friend tastes better than lobster,
:: cheap alcohol bought at a home store tastes like baby formula (ick),
:: however, good quality stuff sipped over a few ice cubes can be perfection,
:: that i will always giggle and perhaps tear up when seeing children playing the nativity,
:: my nieces are completely charming...i swear...,
:: that 'i don't like it' can sometimes mean, 'i'll eat it anyway',
:: there is definitely a difference between guy and girls wrapping paper tastes,
:: i can cook dinner and two pies, almost simultanteously...almost,
:: that barilla's three-cheese tortelli is a fantastic meal starter,
:: and is the greatest temptation to bake christina's crostada without taking a bite.

one of the best lessons i practiced this weekend was being present in the moment without expectations. in being present, i had the best time ever. the surrender was gentle and did not take any prisoners. sometimes, i discount lessons like this when i listen to my negative inner chatter, but this weekend, i refused to listen to her. it was a fantastic weekend and as a result, i got a lot accomplished. i highly recommend putting ms. sour apple in the closet again.

December 18, 2009


(via iphone)
isn't she pretty? a card that i got from kat. she loves her perch on my bookshelf.

it's a whirl this weekend. a day long party at work (i made potato soup and black bean salsa.) the soup was great but i stayed up past midnight getting it done as i had a late start last night.

tonight, i'm invited to two more parties, a dinner tomorrow night and maybe a visit with my favorite aunts on sunday. somewhere in there i have to buy christmas presents. luckily not much though.

what about you? you have something going on? short and sweet today - i though i had something profound, turns out i don't. sometimes it works out like that, right? be kind to each other.

December 17, 2009

requests, ruminations and rambles

what is that lyric about 'clouds in my coffee' from "you're so vain?" i never really understood the line - but this shot with the iphone reminds me of that.

i've had a difficult time this week with horrible, rude people and it makes enjoying the holidays so hard when you're faced with such awfulness. there is a special person that is going through a rough time - can i ask for your warm thoughts for that person? i'm sure that is descriptive of a lot of people you may know - let's all stop for a moment and offer warm thoughts, prayers and whatever else you have that you can send right now. thank you.

that being said, i've been overwhelmed with the beauty in my own life by wonderful friends i've made in blogland. did you see leslye's beautiful cards before i snapped them up to make them my very own? this iphone shot doesn't do them justice. and the sweet bookmark? i love it. it hangs from my book "making choices" by alexandra stoddard to remind me to have faith to make the right choices.

today i'm going to breathe in the holidays - they have arrived. co-workers have dropped off cookies to go with coffee, tomorrow is a day long 'goody day' and i'm making potato soup and black bean salsa. this weekend i will buy presents. a tree may or may not go up.

i have many more goodies to photograph and show you. this coming and going in the dark is a challenge to my photography...or a reasonable excuse. did you hear the one about the dog that walked into the saloon and said, 'i'm lookin' for the fella that shot my paw?' (groan) see, after that, you're sure to find something funny today.

December 15, 2009

no lords or ladies need apply

too much? *giggle* it made me chuckle. i heartily prescribe at least three chuckles, one belly laugh and perhaps a chortle or two per day, whenver possible. laughter makes the blues bearable.

heck, if you're hating on the holiday season, it will be over in a matter of three weeks. and, that flies by - right? (it does if you're as old as i am - i can't tell you where november got to so fast but it hit supersonic and was gone before i knew it.) maybe you can do a reverse advent calendar if you just have to. should we do that, invent the cynic's anti-advent? (teasing!! i promise) it makes me laugh to think what would be the daily 'treats' - certainly no peppermint or chocolate. (probably lumps of coals cut into pendants or switches for our vases?)

tomorrow, i'm kicking my grinch in the but(t) and getting him out. i'm going to check my christmas china to see what it needs to be ready for christmas breakfast. i'm going to finish the stockings and start helping santa stuff them. i'm buying my five or six presents and i'm going to be happy about them. i refuse to take on any projections of what christmas is 'supposed' to be. my parents loved christmas and even the years where we didn't have much, according to my mom, i can't remember wanting at all. i'm going to remind myself of that.

what in the heck would i do with all those calling birds and ladies dancing anyway - talk about obsessive (and excessive) behavior. who wants all that bird poo and men leaping about? and the noise of the drummers would just give me a headache. ugh.

so there funk, what cha' think about that ms. sour apple? (i have a feeling she's sitting in the corner smoking incessant salem's and bitching about her virulent hate of tinsel)

ps - ms. sour apple is me (goes without sayin').
pss - no geese, calling birds, partridges or other named fowl were harmed in the writing of this blog. i could not say the same if ladies came in my office dancing right now. i reserve the right to any gold rings left laying about.

December 14, 2009

musings and such

a fog has wrapped montgomery in a swath of dingy gray-white blankets and the hushed sounds of the city have me feelings as if i'm alone in the world. perched in my little office, looking down on the traffic, isolated in a sea of government workers, construction, and traffic. the world is moving around me as i sit here watching - a metaphor? a self-fulling prophesy? a stagnation? or just a moment? too much to ponder. i'm reminded with that thought of a quote from susan st. james, 'to reach the finish line is the beginning of another race.' today it feels as if the dash to the next race is weighted by the sandbags around my ankles. can you loan me a starter pistol?

ode to billy joe just came on my ipod - anyone remember bobbie gentry? her songs remind me of my childhood as mom had a few albums of hers - a duet album with glen campbell and then, 'fancy' (you know that song that reba made a big hit.) anyway, the song suits my foggy musings.

the rain now has come and washed the fog away - isn't it amazing how fast things can change. i'm glad now that i ducked out the front door to shoot a couple of pictures of the capital. the pristine white marble against the soft whites of the fog were beautiful. sometimes i look at the dome though and thing about my uncle that i never met and how he lost his life keeping that dome in that pristine condition. (he was pressure washing the dome and his safety rope broke - it was in the 1960's and i never knew him.) i wonder if my cousin can look at the capital the same way?

across the street, the construction of the building goes higher and higher. men there weld rebar to the girders while hanging from safety harnesses. the sparks arc like blue dragonflies in the rainy greys of the afternoon. i can see the crane move steel branches back and forth and hear the machinery's slight hum of activity. below the traffic is slowed by watchers that hold yellow caution signs. dr. king's church sits on the corner - dark and lonely in the rain.

i've finished my last sip of coffee and the garish christmas cup sits on my desk as an indictment of my lack of decoration. around me are christmas trees and wreaths. daily 'goodies' have started their long slouch towards bethlehem and dooming my waistline to a purgatory of prayers until i reach the balance of indulgence and resistance.

i'll finish up with nick drake's 'poor boy', another good song for a rainy day. i hope you're having a beautiful day.

December 13, 2009

pretty pretty princesses

it's hard to believe that my oldest niece is five. today was her princess birthday and the best cinderella ever came to her party along with her friend belle. the girls were mesmerized. but we adult laughed the entire time - as cinderella was trying to tell her story of meeting her prince, all the girls chimed in on what happened next. i will hand it to her - she had the patience of a saint. both princesses sang songs and totally enchanted the girls.

all in all it was a very wonderful birthday - i was utterly charmed by all the hugs and smiles the princesses gave and how well they played together.

December 12, 2009

what you discover

today i discovered i had all but one ingredient for each of the following:

lemon pie
pecan pie
and santa fe soup

so...i bought the things to complete them. i'm happy to report the soup was very much loved on a cold, rainy, wintery day. it's nothing fancy but a quick put together for when you're in a hurry. (so good with fresh cornbread if you're so inclined - today we just had fritoes with it)

santa fe soup:
1 lb ground round, browned and drained of any excess fat
1 can rotel tomatoes (i used mild but i bet hot would be good if you like)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn (yellow or white, either one)
1 can green chilies, chopped
1 can pinto beans (i use chili beans for the extra flavor)
1 package taco mix
1 package ranch dressing mix

dump all ingredients together and simmer for at least 15 minutes. you can garnish if you like with cheese and/or sour cream. add jalapenos if you dare.

in a few minutes i'm going to get up and start on the pecan pies (and maybe an apple too). the lemon pies will be tomorrow...because, well, the lemons had to come out and play today.

December 11, 2009


for those of you with ipods and the holiday spirit, apple has a gift for you! a free album of christmas music. i must say, some of these artists are great! check it out.

a photographer friend has terrific free christmas textures available on her blog today. joy is a fabulous photographer and i love what she does with toning. if you don't know who she is, you need to check her out. (plus she's featuring molly for her model on the textures) go grab you some christmas fun!! :)

Christmas Angel

i used her texture to make my christmas cards last year. :)

December 10, 2009

December 9, 2009

delicious ambiguity

the last of it

yellow leaves clinging on to my frail little crepe myrtle. my last little bit of fall color. they have fought valiantly against the wind and rain this week, but i think by this weekend they will be gone. the oak tree has steadily dropped tons of leaves on the front yard, a carpet of russet and brown. next door, the camellias have started blooming.

i've erased at least five paragraphs that followed that opening paragraph. words haven't come easy today. i think about writers like hemingway who could say so much in six little words or marquez who took forever to express his intricate thoughts. (many years later, as he faced the firing squad, colonel aureliano buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.) how is it that those writers can so capture me?

hemingway later told one of my favorite writers, fitzgerald, that he wrote one good page for every 90 pages of crap (paraphrased there) and that his goal was to put the 90 pages in the garbage. in reading, 'the sun also rises' - i wonder how many pages he discarded to get the sheer beauty of that book.

so back to the question of many paragraphs do i need to discard to get where i want to be? mostly likely my answer is that i didn't have a clear idea of what i wanted to write today. and that is the way it is most days. i open a blank page and words sometime tumble out easily. not so much today. part if it is due to a lack of sleep - don't you really hate it when the weather forecasters predict really bad weather? then everyone is nervous and uptight - my brother made me swear to keep my phone by the bed in case he needed to call me to tell me to go to the basement. (maybe we've watched twister once or twice) so i kept waking up all night long thinking i heard tornado sirens (i didn't)

i think i'm on the trail of someone to teach me knitting and/or crochet. i think i would be better at knitting. crochet seems rather mysterious and confusing from what i've watched. all that looping and switching and....dropping and...what all else that needle does. i think i'm officially too blind to keep sewing with a needle - last night it took me ten minutes to thread a needle. (note to self - go buy a self threader)

i've been on a recipe hunt again - i tend to make things over and over until i'm sick of them (once i master it, that is). so lately i've worn out spaghetti, chili and beef stew. i'm going to dive into those great meatloaf recipes you all gave me and let you know how it turns out. i feel a cooking urge coming on.

since i've proved that i'm no hemingway, i'll leave you with a couple of thoughts from other writers that say it better than me...

"twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. so throw off the bowlines. sail away from the safe harbor. catch the trade winds in your sails. explore. dream. discover."
— mark twain

"i wanted a perfect ending. now i've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. delicious ambiguity."
— gilda radner

December 7, 2009

open letter to christmas

dear christmas
(because grown-ups don't write to santa, or do they?)

i'm writing today because i miss you. over the years i've let you slip out of my heart and, like all fairies, if i don't believe in them, they die. i haven't kept your light burning bright in my heart.

in my own defense, it's been a tough few years. there has been sadness and bad memories associated with christmas - but i fought through some of those. money's been tight - but some of my most fun memories are of times that i made christmas presents when i had nothing really to my name.

so what is it this year? i haven't been overwhelmed with you. i gave up on commercialism years ago when i realized i would not use credit for christmas. that's just a trap that some grinch set for that his heart has grown larger, he realizes that it was a mean thing to do. tell me oh sprite - i want my heart to be full of christmas cheer and not this infinite cold wasteland that it feels today.

i know you're there, waiting for me to come to you. you've never left me - not really. i know because when i think i'm over christmas, i remember beautiful memories and see the snapshots in my head. like, the year that uncle lee dressed up like santa and delivered our toys in a giant red sack? that was a good one. or what about the year i got my christmas china and even sat a place for the cat at the dinner table. that was very special. or the year it snowed when i got a special ring from a special guy. that was especially perfect. or my recent favorite, mom and watching ga opening santa for the first time.

and it's not that i don't like you. i think you're rather charming. red is a wonderful color on you and i like red, even on me. and some people say that dark green is one of my very best colors. (okay - that was mom, but i like it anyway) so what gives sprite? do you need to come knock me upside my feathery brain with the star that should sit on top of a tree of my choice?

could you whisper in my ear and let me know - use my right one, it hears better. until then, i'll quietly wait and see if i can figure it all out. because, i'll tell you a secret - you were always my favorite holiday. not because of the gifts, just because of the joy and goodwill that you spread. keep that part up, because it's like the very best part of it all.


December 6, 2009

whadda week.....

what is this you ask? this is the ending to a crazy week - helping my nephew finish up his science project. (determining which products are not biodegradeable - therefore we should recycle)

in this week i've had a family emergency, watching after nephews so my sister could work late, a fund raising event, grocery shopping (at least! we were getting low), a girl's day, fantastic football and now a science day. whew.

it's been a whirlwind of activity and i'm still going strong tonight in getting my clothes together for the week and cooking dinner. we've lived off fast food this week because i haven't had time for cooking or grocery shopping. it felt good to cook tonight.

the cold weather has arrived in alabama (did you hear about the snow in texas?) and i believe some flurries hit up north. we avoided that bullet for now, but had the first real freeze of this winter. brrrrr i've been working on making christmas stockings and another weekend has gone by and i didn't put up a tree. i think i have one more weekend before i just hang it up, right? *smile*

i feel as if i've been on a treadmill last week - hopefully it will be better this week. hope you get off to a good start too. gotta run change the clothes over to the dryer.

ps - i'm working catching up with blogs - if i miss one, please forgive me. also, if i check your streams on flickr, i'm way behind there. i still love ya, it's just been one those very little time week.

December 2, 2009

defying gravity

you may recognize this beautiful piece. one of my fabulous crafty friends made this and i've admired it on two different occasions when she blogged about hobbies. if you haven't met cinner, then you need to. she has the warmest heart and the best attitude in the world. she sent me this as a little surprise - imagine my joy when i opened it. now it sits in my office where i can admire it every day. thank you cindy - i will cherish. (please ignore the rather rude dinosaur in the background, he was trying to crash cindy's party)

so, thank you cindy. that was so sweet and generous.

the day started out dreary and dark. this afternoon it has blossomed into this glorious sky and the sun coming through my office window feels warm on the left side of my face.

there are simple things around me to do, yellow post-it notes scattered with purple ink. a coffee cup that has the last sips of cold coffee from this morning and printouts from various websites as i do some research for the office.

the day is good. the sun has made an appearance and even though i know it's cold outside, it warms the left side of my face. 'defying gravity' comes on my ipod and the message makes me smile. it's a good message...a very good message.

November 30, 2009

gratitude:: day 30 of 30

as i sit here and think about the last post and wonder what to say, it occurs to me that i've overlooked the simplest of things and the most important...i'm grateful to be alive. i'm so glad that when i go to sleep at night that i wake up the next morning. that although i have some minor health issues (like asthma and allergies) that it's nothing as major as it could be. with the price of health care in the states, that is a major thing to be grateful about.

i'm grateful for a roof over my head, clothes on my back, air to breathe and the blood that courses through my veins. i have a brain to think and a heart to love. i'm in possession of my fingers, toes and two eyes (even when they don't see as well as they used to). i have a full head of hair (even some extra that i'm not so grateful about) and feet that carry me around. yes, those are many things that we all can sometime take for granted.

and though the package is somewhat worn and tattered at times, it's still a bundle that i cherish having. and i'm grateful for the gratitude and the time this has given me to remind myself how very blessed that i am. i am rich beyond my wildest dreams and sometimes, a little nudge to remind me of that is just what i needed.

gratitude:: day 29 of 30

as the month is winding to a close (last post tomorrow), i am grateful for more than this little blog can contain. it's been a roller coaster ride the past two years, and i guess it may continue along those lines for a bit. the trick is finding a peace and contentment with the ride.

yesterday, while exploring, i found flowering plum trees blooming. in november. that's unheard of really (okay, i've never heard of it anyway). spring flowers so late in the fall. and that's what a sense of contentment will bring for you, the ability to bloom in the oddest of circumstances.

i hope you find that too.

November 29, 2009

gratitude:: day 28 of 30

have i mentioned before you all are way too kind? and what on earth is 'too kind' and why is it we say that. sorry - i went george carlin there for a second. i guess that one can be so kind that it could be a detriment to you, if you didn't say no when needed. so...i will say it this way - you all are very kind. such a boost of encouragement in these waning days of the month when i'm flagging.

i was happy for a day of rest after the two-fer family days - i babysat the ever gorgeous GA and ME saturday night and they ran me a bit ragged. *smile* as only two and almost five year olds are likely to do. after four hours sleep (the two year old woke me at 4:30) i nursed a headache all day. so, i'm grateful for the medicines of today - it always makes me think as i pop headache remedies, how did people cope with the pain of migraines back in the day. chew willow root and take to their bed for days i'm sure. food for thought.

and have you see the news bit about the couple sneaking into the state dinner and not being ashamed about it? they're seeking six-figures to be interviewed? pbah... they should be shunned if you ask me. i've been to the white house before (not to a state dinner of course) and it is a thing of beauty - we should be proud of it and honored to visit, and not some attention seeking glory hounds.

so i'm also grateful for security and feeling safe in my home. i know there are many places in the world where that is true luxury.

November 28, 2009

gratitude:: day 27 of 30

i've sat here most of the evening avoiding this post because as the end of this month approaches, i'm happy and sad about this project. i'm happy that i've taken the time to examine things that i'm grateful for and the ability to post them out into the ether. i'm happy that you all read them and can find some relatibility in some of them. and, truthfully, i'm really glad about it coming to an end - and sad about it too. a daily commitment is a big thing for me outside of something like love or a job. so this has been an effort of posting everyday day. the only days i missed were the days i did not have access to a computer. (they have not build a blogger interface for the iphone yet - smile)

yesterday, i was grateful for a two-fer of family time this week. once on thursday for the holiday and the second for the other annual holiday, the iron bowl. let's take them one at a time. the holiday was good - we were together and even though the chaos of the actual eating wigged me a bit, it was good to see everyone's faces at the time...though i really missed one of my brothers. the afternoon of just hanging out was good too.

and then there's the iron bowl - the annual game for absolute bragging rights in this state. where choosing sides can be tantamount to a civil war or at least a 'feud'. it's a game when anything can happen just on the sheer emotion of the game...for example, my team went into the game as the #2 team in the nation and a 24-point favorite. they won in the last quarter by only five points. auburn played out of their head and alabama appeared flat and looking past the current game. though i'm glad bama won, except for a couple of plays, auburn deserved the win. that being said - roll tide. i'm a good and faithful fan.

so, the gratitude today is about fellowship, closeness and football. things that seem to go together when it comes to weekends in the fall. (and there you probably though i was going to go on and on about how adorable my nieces

November 27, 2009

gratitude:: day 26 of 30

i slept in today - a long luxurious sleep. and though i had very weird dreams - i dream a fellow blogger came to visit and she was wearing all red and had a beehive. we went shopping at a retro shop (circa 1960's) and she bought all red accessories for her home. on the way back to my home, she jumped in a swimming pool and dared me to jump in after her...which i did. as i did, the water felt heavy and pushed me down. i had to make an effort to push up...and as i broke the surface of the water, it was good. she disappeared and i fell back into a deep sleep.

sleep is a wonderful thing. i can't wait to hear more about your holiday doings but first i need to run to the grocery to buy supplies for the big game. (alabama vs auburn - major rivals) roll tide!

November 26, 2009

gratitude:: day 25 of 30

today, i'm grateful that no one has called me on constantly being a day behind. today, i'm grateful for sunshine and sweater weather. today, i'm grateful for a parade and traditions. today, i'm grateful for sweet friends that leave little 'happy' messages on all sorts of media. today, i'm happy for the media that gets people in touch. today, i'm grateful for safety and security even though it keeps a brother away from lunch as he was working to keep us safe while we slept.

today, i'm grateful for so many things...more than the blog can really say. today, i'm sending prayers for the fear some have, the sorrow that some cannot be rid of, and the bad things that haven't quite turned around. i'm sending love, warm thoughts and hugs to those that need them. who doesn't need a hug once in a while, right?

November 25, 2009

gratitude:: day 24 of 30


the holidays are upon us - everywhere there are people bustling to and fro - the scurry becomes frantic and at times, overwrought. even the parking spaces at work are being blocked off now for the parade that takes place tomorrow. it's too soon, too fast, and gone way too early.

i'm grateful that my family is laid back enough that we don't consume ourselves with the worry about topping the years before. we're going out for lunch tomorrow and though it's not my first choice, i've decided to enjoy it because the important thing is that we're together. i will sit and look at the faces around the table and i will be grateful.

so, give yourself a break. so what if you don't have five desserts and six vegetables, turkey and ham. be grateful for the holidays that bring us together in love. i know i am.

November 24, 2009

10 truths i wish i'd down sooner by amy bloom

you all know how much i love real simple magazine. every month i find something that really impacts my life - either an article like this, some photography, a recipe, a new way of doing is my crush. i don't know if this article will crystalize something for you the way it did for me...some are things i think i knew but didn't know how to put into words....some are things i knew and was nodding my head as i read them...some, well i should have know having reached this age and it would seem i would be a bit more wise.
i wanted to make sure i got the citation right so you know the author and the source. she has written some books that i want to check out.
As published in “Real Simple” December 2009

1. Events reveal people’s characters, they don’t determine them. Not everyone with divorced parents has terrible relationships. If two people are hit by a bus and are crippled for life, one may become bitter and the other a warm, outgoing person. It’s not about the bus, and a dreadful childhood is no excuse. You have the chance to be the person you wish to be; until you die.
2. Lying, by omission or commission, is a bad idea. I cannot shake my dependency on the white lie, because I was brought up to be nice. And I’ve never figured out a way to say, “I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than to come to your house for dinner.” But the meaningful lie, the kind that involved being untruthful or deceitful about important stuff to those you love, is like poison. Telling the truth sometimes hurts, but it doesn’t kill. Lying kills love.
3. Sex always gives you an answer, although not necessarily the one you want. It’s possible to have very good sex with a person that shouldn’t be in your life at all. Have fun, hide your wallet and your blackberry. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that a grown man, however nice, will become much, much better in bed than he was the first few times you slept with him. And if you sleep with a man that is unkind to you, there will be more of that; long after the sex is humdrum, the cruelty will be vivid.
4. Most talents are transferrable. If you can raise toddlers and teenagers with relative calm, you can be a CEO. If you’re a good driver, you can probably steer a cab, fly a plane, or captain a boat. My years as a waitress – serving food to demanding people in a high-stress environment without losing my temper – served me equally well as a mother, a wife, and a short-order cook for my family. And if you have the teaching gene, you can teach anything.
5. Fashion fades and style is eternal. Not only do you not have to wear torn jeans, a barely-there tank top and a fedora, but you probably shouldn’t. The point of fashion is to briefly indulge in something fun. The point of style is to have one – whether it’s a sheath and spikes or slouchy jeans and your husband’s teeshirt – and it should last you a lifetime. All you have to do is think you deserve to look and feel your best and then spend time figuring out how to do that. Don’t know? Find a woman who’s style you admire and ask for advice.
6. You can’t fake love. Staying in a love relationship when love is not what you feel isn’t likely to end well. If you know that what you crave is security/ disposable income/child care and not the person next to you, do the right thing. It’s true that one can learn to love someone over time and often through difficult circumstances. But, unless the two of you agree to wait until you’re old and all the storms have passed, in the hope that love will kick in, it’s better to bail sooner than later.
7. Mean doesn’t go away. Some people get better looking with age, some don’t. Some people soften; some toughen up. Mean streaks tend not to disappear. A person that demeans and belittles you and speaks of you with contempt to others is probably going to be that way for years. The first time it happens, take note. The second time, take your coat and go.
8. No one’s perfect. I knew I wasn’t perfect; I just didn’t realize this also applied to the people I feel in love with. The object of your affection will always turn out to have huge and varied faults. The smart thing is not to look for someone flawless, but to look for someone whose mix of strengths and liabilities appeal to you.
9. Ask for help. It’s possible you’ll get turned down. It’s even more likely that you’ll feel vulnerable and exposed. Do it anyway, especially if you’re the helpful sort yourself. Those of us who like to offer assistance and hate to take any are depriving other people of the opportunity to be generous and kind. We are also blinding ourselves to the reality of mutual dependence. You wouldn’t wear pink hot pants and pretend they were flattering. Don’t pretend you don’t need help.
10. Keep an eye on the prize and your hand on the plow. It’s easy to lose sight of what you want, especially if you haven’t gotten it. It know it’s less work to put the wish away, to pretend the wish itself has disappeared. But it’s important to know what your prize is, because that is part of you. Whether it’s financial stability, two children, a collection of poetry, or a happy marriage, take Churchill’s advice and never give in. Never give in. NEVER GIVE IN.

November 23, 2009

gratitude:: day 23 of 30

today i'm very grateful for mended fences and the ability to clear the air. it lightens the heart and makes for a wonderful night.

i hope all of your days are happy too.

sorry for the brevity tonight but it's been a long day and tonight was my big tv night (cbs comedies - gotta love 'em in my house)

i will catch up tomorrow if i missed you today. xo

November 22, 2009

gratitude:: day 22 of 30


along with the friendship comes great ideas and sharing. so today, i'm grateful for the sharing that friends do. i'm joining mary's mosaic monday and her idea to post a calendar for the day. it's based on a shutter sister's template for calendars. and it's made on flickr (another place for sharing). many of the shots were edited with free presets, textures, or other photoshop actions from the generous women that i've gotten to know in the blogging world.

today's post is definitely all about the sharing.

gratitude:: day 21 of 30

sunday is my favorite day of the week. there is a feeling to sunday that is not like the feeling of any other day.

a quiet serenity. a peace - even when i have many things to do. the pace is slower. and i like it.

where saturday can be demanding, sunday has a hush and reverence.

i'm grateful for the sundays in my life - it helps me remember that not everything has to be done now, now, now. for sunday tells me, slow, soon, and enjoy.

November 21, 2009

gratitude:: day 20 of 30

it's official....i'm crazy about love. you could say that i'm in love with love. that's right. i'm one of those weird creatures that is a practical romantic.

they say that everyone has two sides of their natures - my two sides are practical (reasonable, down-to-earth, problem solver) that is juxtapositioned with a romantic that wants to believe all fairy tales come true.

now...usually, my practical nature takes over because, well, it's just easier to live most days in taking care of business. but....i get girlish giggles when there is evidence that true love reigns.

i'm a sucker for the fluffy chick flicks with improbable happenings like a random late night phone call to a radio show leads to true love atop the empire state building - that someone can be captured by pirates and survive to rescue his true love from an evil prince....the tender trap that fairytales and barbies sets us up for to always be disappointed. *sigh*

yes...i'm a sucker for love. and though love hasn't always treated me kindly, i still hold a sweet spot for it in the very center of my heart. and i'm grateful that i've loved before...even though i've lost. when the time comes again, i'll be ready.

November 19, 2009

gratitude:: day 19 of 30

almost two-thirds of the way there and i'm feeling the home stretch. tonight was one of those beautiful nights, the tiniest sliver of the new moon, the purplish skies stretching on into the evening light. as i rode the elevator to the top of the parking deck, i decided that i was grateful really for a lot of things. the light, the colors, the incredible wealth of having a camera in my hand...i'm so blessed in having this way to express myself and nature provides me many things to see. and i realized, this world i had been disdaining and berating because it wasn't what i wanted, still holds many secrets for me. never had i looked down on the montgomery skyline. never had i seen the details of the stars on the light fixtures as i left the building. even the construction site made wonderful silhouettes as it crossed the sky. so many things to's all in the looking really.

tonight i'm grateful for montgomery and her secrets she revealed. she's been whispering that she has more....i was just not listening.

November 18, 2009

gratitude:: day 18 of 30

don't stand so close to me "don't stand so close to me" (inspired by glee)

i'm a music nut - almost any kind and you can find it anytime on my ipod. i have rap, country, country/western, reggae, jam, rock, alt-rock, alt-country, pop, folk, standards...about the only type you will not find is opera and classical. not because i wouldn't give it a try - just because those style do not lend themselves well to a randomized playlist. it's hard to go from "get back" by ludicris to "the emperor's concerto" by beethoven (isn't that right? or it mozart?) anyway. music is the thing.

music has been around for thousands of years and will probably be around long after i'm gone. i'm grateful to the talented people out there that keep my toes tapping and my head bobbing. the car next to me however, may not be as grateful.

(look at me actually posting on the correct day)

gratitude:: day 17 of 30

i will admit this series is difficult for me as i struggle to write every day. and the thing about gratitude is, it does not lend itself to whiny posts or vents...or any of the other things that human nature is wont to display on typical days. the series, as self described is about gratitude, and as such is to make the writer really take a bit of time to explore all the wonderful things to be grateful about...instead of you know, whining.

the last two mornings have been misty gray as i drive into work and as i crest the hill to my parking deck, i can see the faint mist rising from the alabama river that is a few blocks over. the trees lining the river have turned yellow and through the mist look like ladies spreading their skirts in a curtsy. the shadows shade the buildings as the sun hasn't risen high enough to overtake the shadows and the capital dome is still pink with the morning light. even with the hussle and bussle of traffic, the colors are soft and comforting.

in the evening, i reverse the trip. as i walk to the deck though, the colors are lavenders and pinks as the sun ebbs away from the sky. no reds in the sunset here - just a quiet passing of the day. and as i exit the deck, the sky is dark except for the hundreds of red tail lights in front on me.

i'm thankful for the softer colors of fall, the beauty that is amid all of the structure and hurly-burly ways of the working day. the time to slow and be mindful - grateful - and humbled. even when i fight it kicking and stomping in protest.

and mr. alligator here also reminds me, that it is a time for charity (love) in our hearts. in this time of seeking to find warmth, that maybe we can cast a bit of our warmth out into the universe. i hope you are met today with warmth,kindness, and - something (as the man wrote) there is just too little of.

November 17, 2009

gratitude:: day 16 of 30

i learned how to cook when i was quite young - mostly to help mom around the house. with five children, including one terminally ill child, she had her hands full. she taught me the secret of fried chicken and beautiful brown pan gravy. i watched her hands as she stirred in the flour and made a caramely roux and though i'm not as good at it as i used to be (a lack of practice and impatience for precisely the right moment to add liquid) i still make gravy the same way. i look at a plate and think "on wait, it needs something green". i'm probably one the few weird people that like green olives in their chicken a la king....wait, i'm probably one of the few people that know what chicken a la king is...isn't that a 50's dish?

today i find myself looking over recipes, reading some of them as though they were the most intriguing book ever. i wonder if everyone will like it - is it too weird for my brother with the very plain taste? will the nephews eat it or pick around it because they were raised politely?

i am glad that i learned to cook at a young age - it helped me stand on my own two feet and take care of myself...and as a result, my family and friends.

November 16, 2009

gratitude:: day 15 of 30 (simple things)

today, christina at soul aperture asked us to post the simple things that we love. (if you haven't found christina's blog - run, don't walk, over there - she is goodness and warmth wrapped up in calm beauty)

here is my simple list that i love and that i'm grateful for:

sunlight on my skin
cool, crisp air
a child's smile
happy tears
a pug's devotion
a cat's purr
being best friends with my sister and brothers
a hot cup of coffee cupped in my hands
a reliable car
a phone call from a good friend
the scent of cookies baking
when my fried chicken turns out crispy and juicy
honey in my tea
a sweet red grapefruit
the crunch of an apple when i bite into it
finding unexpected money in my pocket
wispy clouds
the sound of my name on my nieces' and nephews' tongues
bear hugs
the feel of creamy soap as i wash my hands
letting my hair air dry
making someone's day!
'i love you'

November 15, 2009

gratitude:: day 14 of 30

there are sparkles and there are sprinkles. all of them add to the yummy aspects of life. new friends are the sprinkles. you all have become some of my biggest cheerleaders in the world. you've supported me and nurtured me. you've held my hand in the darkness and have made me laugh when i needed cheering up.

that is surely the equivalent of chocolate sprinkles on my sundae, right. totally right.

i love reading your pages (though i'm a bit far behind this week) and seeing what is going on in your lives. the honesty, the realness, the questioning that we all do. the goodness and kindness that i see - it makes me realize that goodness remains in the midst of the chaotic world. i love that affirmation.

there are so many talented, wonderful people i've been introduced to and it makes me excited to know more about you. and those of you that also participate in the have blown me away with your words and your talent. it was a small idea that beth, dani and i had together and it amazes me as it see it grow from that small seed to almost 80 people on the blog. gratitude is for new friends. you are all amazing and i'm so happy to have 'found' you. and...thank you for your support of this project. there are days i cringe in writing them - not because i'm not grateful - i am. i worry sometimes that it's just too much and overdone. so, thank you.

November 14, 2009

gratitude: day 13 of 30

i have a friend that has been my best friend since we were 13 years old. through thick and thin, even when we've been apart, i have always known that i can call on her. that's a wonderful gift.

today, i went shopping and to lunch with her and her daughter. not that i bought anything really - it was just spending time with them, looking, chatting and perusing the stores was just the perfect way to spend a saturday morning. it was carefree. even when lunch was not that great. (it will be a while before i have mexican again) i'm grateful for old friends. the perfect sparkle for a saturday.

November 13, 2009

gratitude:: days 10, 11, 12

day 10 - i am thankful when the evening comes and i can slip into another facet of my life. the shift from worker bee to evening person that loves to cook dinner and watch television, read, the whatnot that comes my way. i'm grateful for all the facets of me that make my life balanced and whole. and though the balance sometimes shifts from one side to another, it's still the sum of thoese parts that is me.

day 11 - this shot looks like i'm grateful for cheesecake, doesn't it? and though, i am indeed thankful that someone in their divine wisdom thought to put together the lucious combination of cream cheese, sugar and eggs - what i'm really grateful for is the time to relax after a long day. this is takeout from the hotel restaurant in washington. i arrived wednesday evening, went immediately to dinner and was so exhausted that i wanted to fall into bed. instead, i relaxed in the fluffy recliner and enjoyed my cheesecake while watching 'glee' (how i love that show).
day 12 - i am grateful for a home and bed to return to....ever so grateful. though i loved the room at the marriott (much too grand), the bed with it's feathery goodness was killer on my bad. i woke up thursday morning and it felt as if 1,000 elves played kickball up and down my spine. ouch. the wind and rain from ida followed me to the dc area and the weather was gray and miserable. no sightseeing for me. it was an all day meeting and then immediate departure...well, semi-immediate departure. the airline allowed us to board at the appointed time and then kept us on the tarmac for 2.5 hours. instead of the leisurely 3 hour layover in philly - it was a mad dash through the airport from gate b3 to gate f37. yes....that far. luckily i arrived just in time for another delay - though not as long. after landing in birmingham and driving home, i got into my bed at 1:30 a.m.
i'm also grateful for a wonderful boss who told me to get to work when i could - so i got to work about 9:30 a.m. i have a sneaky suspicion that i will be early to bed tonight. and ever so grateful for beautiful weather tomorrow.

November 10, 2009

Gratitude:: day 9 of 30

golden glow

there is a light within all of us - it's the decision to make the best of a situation or to grumble, grumble and make the worse. i'm grateful that i have embraced trying to make the best of any situation - not that it's always easy or it solves it. it's just that decision helps me find the light within to see my way out of the dark place.

i used to laugh when people told me that happiness is a choice. i thought no one really understood me or got what i've been through. then suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks. everyone has burdens and life situations that were beyond their control, that they did not choose or want, things that were heaped upon them and i realized, i was nothing special. know what i mean. it meant, though my struggles were significant and were many others struggles. my light flipped on.

and having the light doesn't mean the situation is less than it is. nor does it mean you just sit there. it just helps me to imagine that light beaming to guide me through. seems silly maybe, but it helps.