December 30, 2010

acceptance and the obligatory new years post....(# 700)

totally cute from:  YeeHaw (on etsy)

as i end this year...this 2010...i wanted to say first that i am grateful for each of you with me. the talkers, the listeners, the headnodders and "uh-huh"ers. whether you say something or not, i'm grateful that you entered my little world. i do love you like biscuits and gravy - and for a southern gal that's a heck of a lot!! xo

as 2010 winds down and we anticipate 2011 - i wish you all peace and joy and hope you find what you're wishing for in the new year. and as you are searching - i wish you comfort and rest, because sometimes the journey is hard - i wish you trampolines and sidecars, because sometimes the journey is slow - i wish you lemonade and tea cookies, because sometimes the journey is taxing and exhausting - and i wish you dandelion seeds and balloons, because sometimes, when we're lucky and try really hard, the journey is fun and happy.

for me...well, it’s been a rough three years…that is no joke folks. and i could probably add to that it’s been a rough four years. mom’s illness, mom’s dead, the loss of a career, the finding my footing in another career. the last few years have tried to put their stamp on me.  and I say that not out the “poor me” aspect….though there were times that i have whined, “why me…why can’t life just be easy for once?” but, then again, i find that I’m most challenged and satisfied when I have to make my own way. when I’m not doing that, i find that i’m bored and complacent. *shrugs* maybe it’s the way i’ve programmed my life….maybe it’s too hard to change that now.

2010 was about that recovery. pulling myself up by the bootstraps kindly handed to me by an old friend and the dedication of my life to learning a new career, in a new setting, with a new cast of co-workers. and as i look back over the year i have floundered. due to circumstances out of my control -- i feel as though nothing much was accomplished. this is a difficult feeling - while acknowledging that it was out of my control, it still felt like a strike out. so...what will 2011 be about?

that leads me to "my" word. just a few letters, keystrokes…. a word that everyone has to for themselves. should I be a follower? do what the cool kids are doing? in the past when I’ve picked a word, that word has a bad habit of taunting me – being elusive and difficult to reconcile. so…”believe”, “soar” --- words like that are not good matches for me. i think i might be a bit too practical and a shade too pragmatic for the magical words (though I really want to believe in magic…yes, I do) therefore my word this year is acceptance. accepting my life “as is” and that changes to that are made through hard work and dedication to the “something” instead of just the hoping and dreaming. (walk the talk)

say it with me....ahhhh-ceptance....(emphasis on the "ahhhhhhhhhhh" i hope)

December 28, 2010

dc on the quick

two weeks ago, i was in dc for a series of meetings about health information technology and exchange - oooh, sounds fancy and boring right?  *smile*  due to the thin southern blood i have, the length of the meetings, and the bone chilling dc weather - my photography ops were rather thin.... here are the few i got.

you know, 6:00 a.m is pretty early in the morning if you ask me 
the view from 13A (i usually pick this row so superstitious people will leave the row empty - you would be surprised how often i have a row to myself)

breakfast at old ebbitt's (?) grill (daughter and niece of my co-worker)

looks like they were ready to go somewhere - see the snipers on the roof???  sorta scary!

the white house christmas tree - in the gray, flat light of the morning

later that day the clouds cleared and the wind howled...i decided not to wait to go up

waiting to hail a taxi - the view was beautiful

one of the days was an "un-meeting" - very new-agey and unstructured.  i learned to attend sessions as either a convener (leader), member, butterfly or bumblebee.  i also learned about the law of two feet.  very empowering in some ways and very....weird.  it was great to open dialogue but not so great in knowing what was going on in other groups.

kay-kay smiled no matter what - taylor on the other hand was rather miserable due to the cold.  i think i looked that way too.  this also was their second day without luggage so that added to the misery - the luggage was delivered later that day.

waiting on a taxi to get to reagan airport - the roads were slush and taxis were hard to come by

i worried that the flights wouldn't make it out - turns out mine was the only one that did on time.  another reason i prefer usairways to other airlines.

December 27, 2010

here comes the.....bride?

as i've said before, i rarely remember my dreams so when i do you can believe they will have some sort of message for me.  sunday morning i woke up laughing...laughing so hard that i woke me up.  i'm rather of the jungian school of thought on dreams in that i think they are a way for us to work through whatever issues that need to be resolved in our life and are largely symbolic. 

the dream...

i was at lunch with some faceless friends, one of which turned out to be intuitiative.  as we were chatting amongst the group i described a vision of a single woman laying on a chaise and asked what it meant.  the friend (female) said to me 'stay calm, it will all work out.'  then we chatted and laughed some more while sharing the meal when the friend again turned to me and asked, 'do you want to know the date of your wedding?'  i nodded, clearly skeptical.  she said, 'june 16, 2011 - that is the date.'  i laughed outloud and shook my head.  'no way - no way - there is not even a prospect out there.  i'm not dating, nothing.'  the friend smiled and nodded her head.  then she said, 'i'm just sayin' that is the date.  do with it what you will.' 

i awoke laughing but clearly remembering the entire dream.  the first part was easy - that was a message to myself that in the midst of chaos - things will work out.  i remind myself that only 15% of everything is in my control and that i need to deal with that.  the other 85% i need to make sure that i deal with what impacts me and then let the other go.  but the wedding thing threw me for a loop.  i couldn't figure it out.  so, i consulted the trusty internet dream dictionary....this is what it says (as close as to the situation i'm describing):  To dream that you are planning a wedding to someone you never met, is a metaphor symbolizing the union of your masculine and feminine side. It represents a transitional phase where you are seeking some sort of balance between your aggressive side and emotional side. The dream may also indicate that two previously conflicting aspects are merging together as one.

it makes sense as i am in a transitional place, trying to marrying together the new and old pieces of my job given the changes that have take place in the last few weeks.  it also works out that one side is very aggressive and uncertain, while the other side there is calm of knowing what is happening.  but i wonder about the date - the very specific date.  is it that i think it will take a while for it to work out?  i cannot think of another reason that the date would be significant. 

December 26, 2010

when it's all said and done...

it's over so quickly it seems.  oh, i know the consumerism is a slow build up and the hunt for the hot toy seems impossible, but when it comes down to the basic wonderful things about the holiday, they flee too fast.  like quicksilver through our fingers and motes that float away on a sunbeam. 

like another friend, i'm stopped taking a lot of family photos during different events because, well, it felt as though i was observing instead of participating.  and with time fleeting so very fast, i wanted to tight to the moments as they happened.  but i will admit there were times that i wished i had the camera in my hands during the night.  another reason i've put the camera down is most of the events lately have taken place at night and i really dislike fiddling with the flash attachment.  (an excuse....sort of)

but this moment had to be recorded as gigi pretended to take a bit of her gingerbread house.  this girl is a hoot and was hyped up with the promise of presents and sugar - - not necessarily in that order.  she's been such a fan of my camera that i bought her a camera for did her mom and dad and another aunt.  a quick swap with santa (aren't i lucky?) netted me a blizzard maker instead for her.  her sweet sister loved the dress-up clothes and she flitted through the house wearing her fairy wings.  the boys loved the cash -- of course the difference in ages means they no longer get toys.  *pouty lip*

the cold weather has put me into a cooking frenzy.  so far i've made hash brown casserole (for our dinner), santa fe soup (for comfort) and shrimp and grits (for yumminess).  if i had any room left, i would seriously consider a pound cake....however, there is some red velvet cake that still has my name on it.  snow flurries have fluttered all day - my brother was stir crazy enough to go out to the woods.  me?  i've been in my jammies and have considered naps today.  perhaps now? 

i hope you had a beautiful christmas.  mine was low key and perfect. 

December 22, 2010


hope is such a simple but beautiful word.  it is the essence of all things wanted, wished, and cherished.  it is an anchor in a storm and peace when in tormoil.  it is looking fear straight in the eye and still having something to hold on to. 

it is a gift.

in this blessed season, i wish for each of you to have peace, beauty, calm, love and yes, a bit of magic and seeing the holiday through the eyes of a child, the wisdom of the elders, and the joy in a warm heart.

i know i will be around later this week, but i like sending my wishes out a few days early so by the time the big day gets here, that i will be feeling some of the same things.  xoxo

December 20, 2010

the explanation

words cannot begin to explain the past few weeks.  images come to me in bursts of color and then shatter into shards of negative images of the previous colors.  it is up.  it is down.  it is 180 degrees in another direction.  suffice to say, life has been difficult lately.  in the past sixty days i've changed offices twice, been to dc and back, sat in all day meetings, worried, fretted, cried and sometimes laughed.  the best i can say is personally life is okay - i'm maintaining an even on the other hand has been terribly stressful and wearing.  it goes to show you that life can change on a dime - as someone told me last week, "life is hard, suck it up."  last week it was tears and worry - this week, i found my inner core again and am re-building after coming home to an office moved without my input, my unit's secretary taken without explanation, the entire agency network with a horrible virus leaving us no access to files, deadlines that are insane...and yes i could go on.  the office i moved into was apparently last occupied by pigs with the cubicle walls dirty, footprints on the wall beneath my window sill (apparently they sat talking with their feet propped up on the sill while staring out the window), and for some reason i cannot fathom - my top drawer is lied with black pepper.  *shrugs*  and...the thing is i really dislike it when i whine.  i do....but today as i unpacked boxes (don't get me started on how someone when through my personal belongings in my office which had access to my social security number and amex bills.) i would just get overwhelmed and would just stare off into space. 

dc was insanely cold - the day i planned for sightseeing was eaten up by airport delays.  the next day i got to walk by the white house christmas tree on the way to meetings.  i did get to the holocaust museum (wow - powerful) and walked by the washington monument.  at that point the wind was blowing so hard that i didn't go up - i don't do well with the swaying.  the rest of the meetings were inside from 8:00 until 5:00 or 6:00 then to my hotel room to deal with office e-mails and such.  the last day i sat in the airport and prayed the snow did not stop me from getting home. 

i shuffled back to work not knowing where my office was and without a key.....friday was not pretty.  this weekend i finally got to shop for christmas...luckily with a smaller family i only have two more presents to buy.  in fact, i may go to target after this typing - i have missed you guys terribly. 

good things that have happened since i talked oldest niece had a wonderful birthday party, complete with santa.  i got home to my own bed and have slept like a log.  i finally read "the girl with the dragon tattoo" (giving into peer 'book' pressure)  christmas is this week and all of my family are safe, warm and healthy - that is the biggest blessing of them all.  if i haven't said it...i missed you guys.  i think it took me this long to write because i just couldn't put it into words until tonight. 

i hope you all are safe, warm and healthy too.  i can't wait to see what you've been up to....(the few pictures i took in dc will be up soon)

December 12, 2010

crazy, insane and other related stuffs

it was a crazy week at it approaches the holidays and a new at work is insane.  i've taken pictures of my niece's birthday and immediately had to leave for dc.  after a 5 hour layover in charlotte, i'm safely in my hotel room.  of course it was dark when i got here so hopefully pictures tomorrow!

hope you all are doing well....


December 7, 2010


if i had a jersey shore kind of nickname, i would want something really cool like cPOW or something like that.  i wouldn't want to be stuck with a lame nick like ... say snarkie the like.  i don't know why that popped into my brain right now, except i'm running on four hours of sleep and for some reason the sound of "JWoW" is on a loop.  it just kinda rolls off the tongue and echoes. can't stop it.  it's really weird. 

last night/this morning i took my nephew to the local 'game stop'.  as an avid wow play (that's world of warcraft to the tragically unhip like me) and the new release came out at midnight.  actually it was a lot of fun - we drove out there - talking and laughing all the way.  he was able to be one of the 'normal' out of the bunch as he was not dressed up or talking about role play as he was standing in line.  he got his game and though he's 16 now, he reminded me of when he was little and was happy with a new toy.  *sound of my heart melting*  he even got a cool poster for his younger brother.  that's a good kid. 

the weekend was spent in mostly family related activities - babysitting and a birthday dinner.  and now, here i am back at work.  i did buy a christmas tree on sunday morning and plan on putting it up this week.  when i do that, it will be my first christmas tree in over 10 years.  it will be like opening my ornaments up new. 

next week i get to escape to d.c. for a few days - i'm excited as i'm flying in early enough to get to the smithsonian for a few hours.  national portrait gallery here i come!  the remaining days will be spent in endless meetings but for a bright and shining sunday afternoon, i will be lost among the best and most artistic....and i can't wait.  (of course my camera is taking this trip!)

December 3, 2010

getting the groove

hello all - wow, after the month of writing every day i needed a break.  also, i had felt bad all week with a little malaise of some sort but i woke up today and it seemed a little brighter, a little happier, and a little better.  isn't it weird how sometimes our bodies just take what it needs and if you don't give over to it, it will take it from you.  i think i wasn't listening so matters were taken out of my hands.  as a reward, i get to wake up on a friday in a fantastic mood and enjoying this gorgeous weather. 
as they get ready for the christmas tree lighting ceremony tonight, i ponder my own christmas plans.  i'm also thinking about christmas as santa paid my agency a visit today.  each year santa visits as the agency usually sponsors 8-10 familes that would not have a christmas.  it is so beautiful to see as everyone pulls together to make these families happy. 

what is funny after a month of very structured posts, i feel almost adrift on what to write here.  i haven't taken many photographs due to the work load and early nightfall but i am excited about picking up the camera again, something i haven't felt in about six months.  in fact i feel almost as if i've come out of a fog/funk/coma that has lasted about six months.  it wasn't the bad mood sort of funk, but instead the....what the heck am i doing with the rest of my life sorta funk....if that makes any sense whatever.  anyway....who cares - today is so darn beautiful that i want run up and down the street yelling at everyone to just sit back and look how blue the sky is, and aren't we blessed to have all of these gorgeous white marble buildings, and could you as for a better day to have a christmas parade?  it's cool enough to enjoy a chill but not so cold that the marchers will be miserable. 

today on my ipod - all i want (toad the wet sprocket), angel eyes (jeff healey band), angel flying too close to the ground (willie nelson), king of wishful thinking (go west), she talks to angels (the black crows), don't pull your love (hamilton, joe frank & reynolds), stuck in a moment (u2), bleeding love (leona lewis), the man that would be santa (vertical horizon)

November 30, 2010

comfort (30/30)

as i sit in my office on the last day of this month of gratitude the i-pod is playing the dixie chick's cover of "landslide" and the wind is blowing blustery last gasps of fall weather.  the colored leaves have about disappeared and we're left with the stragglers that are quickly fading away into browns and grays.  where our northern friends have beautiful fluffy blankets of white - we here are faced with the browns, taupes and grays of winter.  christmas is in 25 days and the new year is in 31.  overwhelming in many ways.

of all the seasons, winter is not my's cold and damp and though i love that the coldness allows the flowers to bloom in the spring and takes care of a rather large bug population, it leaves me feeling a bit isolated and alone.  but maybe that is its purpose - to allow us to feel those feelings so when we are with friends and family that we appreciate their company?  i tend to think in looking at both sides of the coin, the half full, yet half empty glass.  i'm not so much oppotomistic as i'm practical and firmly convinced that worry will not change anything. 

i wanted a big bang to finish up this month...but it seems that i'm going with a whimper - - - sorta.  so as the fall slips into winter and november slips into december, i will remember too that all downs are accompanied by ups.  today i'm grateful for warm beds, good coffee and things that comfort. 

today's gratitude - on this day, i'm grateful for blankets, wooly socks, coffee and tea, comfort, beds with fluffy comforters and soft pillows.  i'm grateful big picture windows that allow me to see the beauty that surrounds me, even when it's gray and brown.  and i'm grateful that i know cold winds will bring bright sunshine and warm weather in the spring.

today on my i-pod - landslide (dixie chicks cover), thank you (dido), i feel the earth move (carole king), have i told you lately (van morrision), champagne supernova (oasis), i wonder (chris isaak)

November 29, 2010

laughter (29/30)

there is no better sound in the world than the sound of children laughing.  none.  i swear.  you can quote me... oh wait, many people have said that.

but...when you hear children laughing - how can things be wrong?  well, unless they're laughing at i right?

last night i took the oldest niece to see "tangled" and we had a good time.  the movie was a treat - well written and the artwork is always amazing with disney.  so detailed.  though some of the subject matter was a bit over the head of a five year old (about to be six - eek!) i think it was great that big lessons such as sacrifice and honor were being taught through this medium.  and it also teaches well that "bad people" are not always in ugly packages.  so, thumbs up from me and GA. 

today's gratitude - i'm grateful that i can laugh - not only at something funny, but at myself when i mess up.  i'm grateful for having friends and family that make me laugh and who light up the room with their smiles. 

November 28, 2010

being authentic (28/30)

as i struggle through the last of the gratitude month, i have thought a lot about topics to post after thanksgiving.  as with any project, the beginning is full of promise, the middle is dedication and dutiful, and the ending is usually rather sad and sometimes a let down.  i tend not to pretty things up and believe in an authentic voice.  when i'm up - you know it.  when i'm down - you probably know that too or sense that when i'm not around. 

and what i need to let you know that i appreciate you letting me be authentic.  that you read even when i'm struggling with anger, sadness, confusion...i appreciate that friendship and closeness that develops after what, three years for some of you guys...perhaps longer for a few.  another reason i've been pondering the "authentic" is going to see the leibovitz exhibit at the museum this weekend.

i've been a leibovitz fan for a while - even though some would argue that she just "clicks" the camera now instead of doing all the things that we as struggling photographers do (dress the set, pose, light, process, etc.)  i was completely engulfed by the exhibit, "women."  susan sontag authored the book that accompanied the exhibit, but the portraits truly stand alone.  powerful, evocative, heartbreaking, and united by being female in all the various forms.  powerful women, unknown women, athletes, workers, artists, mothers, daughters...the gamut.  a celebration of the female...and the real.  while some would argue that the famous were portrayed in a more flattering light i would argue that they were treated the same - it's just that the famous are probably more used to being photographed.  blthye danner is not afraid to show her crowfeet.  but, the thing that stuck me most is that i doubt photoshop was used.  there were women with bruises, freckles, wrinkles, chin hair, pretty, not so pretty, muscular, skinny, overweight, pot bellies, jiggly underarms, smooth skinned, oily skin, dry skin.  they were women.  and i didn't judge them on their beauty - what i was struck by was the statement each of them made in their photograph.

i wanted to pull up a chair and sit and stare at each of the portrait for hours.  i wanted to crawl inside leibovitz's brain and suck up all the thoughts and ideas she had as she approproached the subjects.  looking at the framing and the composition - i heard instructors in the back of my head and then watched as leibovitz broke those rules (don't put someone in the middle of the frame, don't have such a shallow dof that the ears are not in focus, smooth out the skin so the chin hairs don't show...) 

the artist allowed the subject to be authentic.  you allow me to be authentic.  you are artists - you see the beauty even when it may be in different packages...and for that i am grateful.

today's gratitude - i'm grateful for each of my friends that take the time out of their day to read this little bit of my life. that support and guide me through my tough times.  that laugh with me when i need it and also hold my hand when i need it.  i could never say thank you enough.

today on my ipod - nothing really because i've been running to meetings all day....but, if i could - i would be listening to scratchy french records (circa 1940s) .... and would maybe be sipping on some tea because it's drizzling rain outside and looks very cold and dreary (even though it's only in the 50s.)

November 27, 2010

the art of longing (27/30)

there is an art to longing ... my friend mellie and i have discussed this.  longing is something different than the regular dreaming.  it takes on a life of its own and can move towards an ache - either in the heart or the stomach when we long for too long.  longing is the shy-er cousin of dreaming.  where dreaming are those things we hope for and work to make true... longing are those dreams that we dare not make come true.  they are the secret wishes of something that can swept us away from the life we are leading. 

i long for things that i can't whisper to myself (except in the dark of my room, late...late...late at night).  the dreams of say - taking off for a trip around the world with just my camera, a few books and whatever else an intrepid modern day margaret bourke white might carry in her backpack.  longings are the things that i feel that i've grown too responsible old to do ... or too poor.  and (pish...pish) i know if that was truly a dream i would fight to make it happen.  so is longing a fear....or a crutch?

i say no... i say that longing in this way is a way to allow ourselves to take magical adventures.  a way to take the dreams we have for a test drive before planning the plans of action.  when dreams manifest, you can bet longing had a hand in that manifestation. longing is the beginning of the promise that dreams urge you to keep.  promises that you are scared to hope for....promises that secretly nudge at you until hope finally wins. do you long?  do you laugh them away?  does longing make you feel as though you settled?  longing makes me feel alive and as long as i yearn, i know that i will continue to dream.  and as long as i dream...i'm alive.

today's gratitude - i am thankful for the ability to long - to yearn - to dream magical dreams.  and as i long, i take the time make plans for dreams to become actions.  longing allows my practical side to take flight and roam free.  it is a beautiful time.

today on my i-pod - fly me courageous (drivin' n cryin'), desire (u2), here comes the sun (the beatles), building a mystery (sarah mclachlan), i wonder (chris isaak), beautiful (india arie)

November 26, 2010

the aftermath (26/30)

today was about the clearing away of thanksgiving and paving the way for the next holiday - christmas around the corner. and as i move from the last of my gratitude blogs - i want to make sure that this exercise is making the course corrections that i intend it to make.  to examine things - both big and small and to be thankful.  for all of it - the good and bad/happy and sad/ups and downs... because it all part of being human.  and yes, this always makes me think of it.  so as i move forward into the new month next week - i think of the aftermath of this month.  i like it.  just as i like the clearing away after good times together.  i'm old enough and set in my ways that i adore everyone together and i adore the quiet after.  *smile*

i use the day to recuperate and relax - the football game is on this afternoon.  you know that one where the elephant will probably eating a lot of crow because tiger meat will not be available (alabama vs. auburn for those not familiar with the mascots).  i won't watch the game - i will know the results by the moans and groans of my brother watching on the flat screen.  this has not been alabama's year.

today's gratitude - having a clean house today to enjoy and relax in this afternoon.  the candles burning bright against the gray, sullen day.  the memories of the holiday and the planning for the christmas season.  now that the turkey has had his due, it's time for the christmas season.  now i gather my thoughts about a tree, presents and events at work.  it is a good time for the aftermath.

today on my i-pod (extended holiday version) - girl you'll be a woman soon (urge overkill cover), caramel (suzanne vega), son of a preacher man (dusty springfield), angel mine (cowboy junkies), hello it's me (todd rundgren), it's probably me (sting), rebecca (pat mcgee band), easy tonight (five for fighting), the weight (the band), i say a little prayer for you (aretha franklin), he went to paris (jimmy buffet), lover's cross (jim croce), broken (peter searcy), hallelujah (jeff buckley)

November 25, 2010

abundance (25/30)

i have a life of abundance - no, i'm not a real housewife or anything but i'm so blessed with family and friends that i really couldn't ask for more.  okay - i confess, i could as for more, but it's a short list.  like a true love.  or maybe i could add a couple more true loves for my sister and one of my brothers (the other is quite happy with his true love.)

but all things considered...that is not such a bad thing really.  and, when it gets down to it - we should all have at least one true love, the love of self.  so anyway - that list not being fulfilled at the moment - i'm pretty damn happy with my life as it is currently.

so, thanksgiving - and yes, i am so very thankful.  for all there is in my life - for the air i breathe, the job, the family, friends, a creative outlet, relatively good health, and the list goes on....

and tonight as we were eating the dinner we prepared together - there were more things that washed over me - the laughter of nieces, the deep voices of my nephews as they grow up, the closeness of my family, friends that are like family, good food, equally good company.  that's a lot of gratitude from this girl.

November 24, 2010

rain (24/30)

rain makes the flowers grow which in turn gives us beauty to sustain us through the dark fall.  though this shot was taken on a beautiful sunny day, on dreary days like today - i remind myself that rain falls for a nourish, to wash allow introspection or maybe just the sleepy morning.

today was spent preparing for tomorrow.  items were picked up, cleaning was done and the cooking has begun.  rain didn't stop us but allowed me the time to sit and make silly place cards for the table.  tomorrow is the time to gather.

as i prepare, i think about family and friends...and of course friends that seem like family.  they are like the rain - they nourish, heal...refresh - all wonderful things.  and when you need it - they allow introspection.

today's gratitude - i'm thankful for the cooler weather and rain...they make it seem like the holidays instead of the almost summer like weather we've been having with temperatures in the 80's.  i'm grateful for the rain that washes away the dust and dirt, leaving us with drenched reds and golds.  i count my blessings.

and to all of you...i hope you have the most beautiful of holidays - filled with joyous things that bring you peace, love and joy

November 23, 2010

anticipation (23/30)

sometimes the anticipation is better than the actual gift.  sometimes the gift is much better than you expected to receive.  sometimes it seems as though it will never arrive.  sometimes it arrives way too fast.

today gratitude -  as i prepare for the holiday, i am grateful to have the joyful anticipation of getting together with family and friends that are like family. 

November 22, 2010

impossible things (22/30)

i watched alice in wonderland this weekend and agree, tim burton was genius in his treatment of this movie.  this old shot of mine reminds me of alice and how she plunges into the unknown - sometimes purposefully and then sometimes because she has no other choice.  isn't that a great story for how we live our lives too?  there is always so much that is unknown in our lives and for all the planning we like to do, the education we seek and, even for all my lists - there is never much suriety in our lives.  probably why we seek so much of it instead of fully embracing the unknown.  right?  or that is my thought about.  one of the things that i love in the movie....(close your eyes if you don't like spoilers ...)

i'll wait for you....come back tomorrow if you don't want to know...really - it's cool with me.

okay - don't say i didn't warn you though.  if you read on, then i'm thinking you're okay with knowing part of the movie (if you haven't seen it yet).... *taps foots while you debate if you're sure*

*whew*  anyway - my favorite part is at the end when she kills the jabberwock and how she preps herself for that victory (don't you just love the word, victory?).  she convinces herself of impossible things every day - that she can turn an impossible situation into a victory.

today's gratitude - i'm thankful for my skills that i put to use in seemingly impossible tasks to pave a road for the victories in my life.  i'm also grateful for the impossible tasks to prove that i can climb mountains and overcome "big deals" and have the self confidence to do these things.  and when it seems dark and i know that i "can't" that maybe i can channel alice and believe six impossible things today. 

today on my i-pod - pink moon (nick drake), harvest moon (neil young), your body is a wonderland (john mayer), the remedy (jason mraz)

November 21, 2010

roofs (21/30)

this morning i lay in the bed, trying to convince myself to get up and get to the grocery before the crowd got there.  as i laid there i heard the tiny acorns hitting the roof with a steady pattern interplayed from time to time with branches that the winds blows loose from the many trees we have surrounding us.  chinaberry trees whose delicate leaves rain down each time the wind rustles.  oak trees that give up their russet leaves a bit stringently at first and then as the days grow short, dump a constant ground cover to rake.  and finally the fiery leaves of the dogwood and crape myrtle trees, who are as spectacular in the fall as they are in the spring and summer.  and i think how lucky i am that i have a roof over my head that i do not have to worry about.

today's gratitude - i am thankful for that roof that keeps me protected and safe.  whens the winds blow, the rain comes and the cold weather persists - that roof is there for me.  i don't have to worry where i will be to be protected - it's just there.  there are so many people in this world that do not have protection or safety and there for the grace of god, could be me.  there is much to be grateful over this year and this is just one of the things.

today on my i-pod - the galway girl (sharon shannon), these are the days (van morrison), dance with me (orleans), take it to the limit (the eagles), iris (the goo-goo dolls), halo (beyonce)

November 20, 2010

convenience (20/30)

we live in a fast paced world these days - ones of our own making.  we fill our days with "musts" and "haftas" and the like - feeling guilty when we are not able to live up to expectations.  we treat our lives too often as disposable and if we don't like something then we ditch it and try something else - marriages, jobs and myriad of other things.  who cares - there is always something to replace that right?  we live a life of convenience - where too often the trouble it takes to check in with someone is not worth the effort.  *sigh*  and often, i'm grateful for that convenience - where i can hop in the car and buy something quickly, never thinking of the little time it would take giving from the heart instead of the pocketbook (does anyone say pocketbook anymore?)

today's gratitude - though i'm grateful for the convenience i have to live my life to my expectations, i'm also grateful that i recognize this and am trying to live "slower" with more deliberance and gratitude about what is not convenient.  like the time it takes to cook a meal instead of buying a meal, the time it takes to make cookies for the cookie swap, the sitting down to write a handwritten letter to a soldier.  this year, as i'm trying to put more "service" into my life - let me also be grateful for the ease i have in my life.  there are many that are not as lucky as i am and wish they could overcome their hardships to have a better life.  let me be truly grateful for that and the roles of others that have contributed to that for me. 

today on my i-pod -  hanging by a moment (lifehouse), breakin' me (jonny lang), runaway train (soul asylum), save me (aimee mann), feeling good (nina simone), let's stay together (al green)

November 19, 2010

lists (19/30)

it's no secret...i'm a listmaker.  in fact i have a favorite thing to make lists on...3x5 cards.  they are the perfect size to fit in my back pocket.  i always have a packet in my deck along with a fine point sharpie - clear and concise. 

this weekend i will making lists for the holiday - a grocery list, a menu, a list of who is doing what and when.  pick up the turkey and ham, pick up the cakes, get a card table....all the things that make the holiday fun instead of work.  i like my lists.

today's gratitude - as i prepare for the holidays, i'm grateful for the time to plan and enjoy.  the joy that we have in doing for others and the ability to relax enough not to make it work.  and i'm grateful for my lists.

November 18, 2010

books (18/30)

today's gratitude - there are many worlds in books - many places to visit and tarry a while...many things to learn...many things to relate to as we go through our lives.  i'm forever grateful to parents that encouraged me to read, to teachers that give me the ability to take these journeys and to authors that carry me along as i travel down their roads.

i'm grateful for libraries that have continued to give the gift of reading to all that take that opportunity.  some of my fondest memories of childhood were spent at the local library as i explored the world of nancy drew, the hardy boys and was inspired by biographies of great leaders.

today on my i-pod - the glee albums on repeat.

November 17, 2010

frivalous things (17/30)

as the month of gratitude reaches the mid-point i often find myself reaching for things to express gratitude about.  not because i don't have much to be grateful about but instead, you start second guessing yourself or thinking that it sounds silly to be grateful for things like ... coffee, the perfect lip gloss or comfortable shoes.  but face it - after we name the big things like love, family, health, happiness and the big ticket items, what are we left with but things that bring us comfort and some modicum of joy in our lives.  or is that just me (please don't say it is)

today's gratitude - just like tiny things last week. this week i am grateful for things that bring a sense of comfort to my life - a pillow top mattress and my dwell studio comforter (from target), good coffee (yum - dunkin donuts), and comfortable shoes (sketchers).  because if i don't have enough sleep, caffeine and happy feet i'm rather a grumpy grump.  and i also realize that i'm rather blessed to have these things.  now, about that lip gloss - it's not a necessity, but it just makes me feel good - my latest crush is the 'buxom' lip gloss from bare essentials.  i don't think that it really makes my lips fuller - but i love that minty cool feeling it gives my lips.  it also seems to fulfill my ridic habit of carrying around two tubes of lipstick and however many lipglosses - maybe i'm preparing for an upcoming kissing surplus?  (don't i wish! ha!)

today on my i-pod - songbird (eva cassidy), rihannon (fleetwood mac), landslide (the dixie chicks), silver springs (fleetwood mac), gold dust woman (covered by sister hazel)

November 16, 2010

taking charge (16/30)

matisse said that "creativity takes courage".  now i don't know if that is completely true or not, but i think creativity takes commitment and a good amount of time and energy (C=t+e2 perhaps?)  without those elements my creativity seems to flounder.  lately i haven't had much time or energy and as a result, my creativity muse seems to have taken a hike.  i know that i never felt like a better photographer than when i was without a seems that different talents ebb and flow as they are needed...or is that channeled. 

this year my sister and i have declared that we are taking back thanksgiving.  in the past three years we've been going to the country club as it was easier than coping with missing family members, but it's time now to rebuild those memories for the generations to follow.  i find myself excited about going shopping this weekend and thinking of making dressing while i watch the parade thursday morning.  it brings happy smiles to my day.

today's gratitude - having the memories to share with my nieces and nephews and making the new memories for them to carry forward.  though i may not be with them forever, they will carry my memory forward, just as they do with their grandparents and loved ones. 

today on my i-pod - lay lady lay (bob dylan), i'm like a bird (nellie furtado), feels like home (chantal k....i never can spell her name right), days like this (van morrison)

November 15, 2010

bounty (15/30)

as fresh dwindles down to the root vegetables and squash, i feel an ache knowing it will be next summer before i get to dive into the joy that is fresh vegetables and fruit.  i'm lucky to live in a largely agricultural state where many veggies are plentiful and oh so wonderful.  we are also lucky to have a long growing season.

today's gratitude - fresh vegetables and the abundanace that comes to my table from right were i live.  as i prepare for the holiday next week, i'm grateful to feed my family as we come together to celebrate.  and this gives me something to look forward to in the coming months - the anticipation of next summer's treasures of butterbeans, peas and okra.

today on my i-pod - interstate love song (stone temple pilots), 1979 (smashing pumpkins), hard to handle (black crows), all for you (sister hazel), push (matchbox twenty), time (hootie & the blowfish), clumsy (our lady peace), knocking on heaven's door (bob dylan)

November 14, 2010

color (14/30)

today's gratitude:  nature's paintbrush and fall color.  today i took a drive along highway 9 and highway 49 to mount cheaha, alabama's highest point.  though overcast and gray at the peak, i would enthralled with the golds and reds along the way.

November 13, 2010

sleep (13/30)

last night sleep eluded was the bed, it was staying up late, it was being was so many things.  my sister and i took a little weekend getaway to birmingham to see a friend play (see 12/30) and then wanted to get a bit of shopping in.  i took my camera with full intentions to get in some local seasonal color, but time just slipped away because i slept in (after falling asleep about 3:00 a.m.)

so...despite all good intentions, you get the spring shot of this beautiful garden instead of the fall shot.  see what a little excitement can do for you?  *smile*

toaay's gratitude:  i am grateful for sleep, especially when it eludes me.  i love the comfort of waking up refreshed and happy on weekends.  and though i started off on the wrong foot, i'm also grateful for a great weekend with wonderful company....i learned the ins and outs of being a wing-girl for a male friend and laughed at his dilemmas as four women vied for his attention.  the mysteries of dating, right?  *smile*

today on my i-pod:  a running soundtrack of 80's music as we shopped - laughing with how ridiculous we sounded as we sang along to the songs....and, also our silly, silly jokes about "no gas for you"

November 12, 2010

music (12/30)

a few years ago i went to a concert and met a musician's wife.  we became fast friends and as a result of that friendship, i helped with fan relations and sold merchandise for him - we also became friends.  over the years we've remained friends and i'm still a great fan of his has been a while since i've seen him perform and if you can tell my playlist, i think he's insanely talented.  his name is angie aparo.

working with angie's team was great fun and through him, another friend has gone on and become deeply involved in the music industry.  the world of music is a weird little world when you pull back the curtain.  they work so hard and it's really almost serendipitous when they make their way.  it also chews people up and spits them out due to the quick turns and twists the public take.  we tease amongst ourselves that it pulls the curtain back from the wizard when you're a fan.  you learn that heroes are human.  that being said, if you're ever able to hear angie, i encourage you to do it - it's crazy how amazing his voice is.

but...he's not my gratitude is. today's gratitude: music is one of those things that gets me through the days and it suits my every mood.  it inspires me, lifts me soothes me, comforts me and keeps me great company. music of every kind...and yes, i have my favorites and my not so favorites.  lately, i've learned to eat my words about a lot of stuff that i never thought i would like....and i try to listen with open ears.  i always give you my list....what's yours' this week?

today on my i-pod:  cry, hush, gravity, hard woman to love, child you're the revolution, the american, free man, seed, caroline, american teenage tale, wonderland (originals by angie) and then some of my favorite covers that he performs -- rocketman/space oddity, fight for your right, midnight rider.

November 11, 2010

service (11/30)

in honor of all that have offered or given their lives for my freedom
thank you.  words cannot express my gratitude.

November 10, 2010

tiny things (10/30)

this photo has nothing to do with my gratitude for the day... i just think it's adorable.  that's the aunt's privilege, right?  *smile* but she does fit into my list of tiny things to be grateful for ....

today's gratitude - there are so many tiny things to be grateful about, i will do a catch all of the currents that i'm grateful for ... a good week, gorgeous weather, good health, happy siblings, and the discovery of dunkin donuts coffee.  the colors of fall apples and pumpkins and the wispy marestail clouds that freckled my bright blue sky - they turned into gorgeous reds as the sun sank on a good day.  homemade hamburgers with cheese and pickles served with ice cold soda and chips.  and a day tomorrow to enjoy being home.

today on my ipod - rotten (angie aparo), do you sleep (lisa loeb), everything you want (vertical horizon), volcano (damien rice), fast as you can (fiona apple), anyone else but you (moldy peaches), he thinks he'll keep her (mary chapin carpenter), window (guster)

November 9, 2010

quiet (09/30)

this week has been so different than the last two weeks.  weird how that can happen - you fight your way through the storm and then suddenly it's peaceful again.

today's gratitude - i'm grateful for the quiet time with my thoughts.  i shift through things to be done and slowly my desk takes shape again.  i have time to focus and clear away debris and other tasks that i haven't had time to take care of...and, there suddenly i find a bit of happiness and peace. 

my friends, i've been woefully behind on blog reading and checking out your photography on flickr.  my apologies and i'm planning to catch up this week.  i haven't ditched you...i've been held away by other duties.  i will catch up with you soon.

November 8, 2010

time (08/30)

i've finally noticed that the clock on the capital is much like the pivotal clock tower in "back to the future" - stuck at one time that is correct only twice a day.  which leads to me the beautiful day that awaited me after getting a full night sleep and waking up with the sunrise.  a sunrise that is at the correct time for my body clock.  typically by this time of year i'm really protesting getting up as it's still dark outside.

let's face it world...i'm an owl and not a lark.  i'm the first to admit it.

so when the time changes in the fall, i am - for a couple of weeks - happy to get out of bed and feel refreshed.  there is something for that piece of happiness.  it makes the days so much better.

today's gratitude - i'm thankful for that wonderful feeling of getting enough sleep and having the right attitude for getting back to work.  i'm grateful for the change in time that gives me a great way to wake up in the morning - that beautiful rose colored light.  it's small, but so very important.

today on my ipod - i'm savoring whole cd's today - so far:  tapestry by carole king, cracked rear view by hootie & the blowfish, and misguided roses by edwin mccain. 

November 7, 2010

time together/time alone (07/30)

last night my brother was "patched in" to his motorcycle club.  apparently this is a very big deal and involved lots of friends, family, drinking, teasing and some seriousness.  my sister and i attended and got to see a side of my brother we rarely see, him entirely in his own element - having a great time with his buddies.  you see, he frets from time to time, thinking that his buddies may be a bit "crude" for his sisters (isn't he just the best brother?)...sometimes i think he doesn't know our "other" sides know, the side where we are used to handling ourselves...and unwanted advances (when unwanted).  it all goes back to the roles that we all have in each other's lives, doesn't it?

anyway - it was a lot of fun and i got to see a couple of people that i haven't seen since high school.  i also learned a rather raunchy use for choroseptic (don't ask!)  it always pays to learn!  *laugh*

today's gratitude - i'm grateful for time with family and friends as i always feel welcome and loved.  and i'm also grateful for time alone when i need to decompress and reflect on the week's happening.  the weekend is always such a great time for both of these.

today on my ipod - seven bridges road (the eagles), sweet home alabama (lynard skynard), footloose (kenny loggins), the boys are back in town (thin lizzie), livin' on a prayer (bon jovi), jump (van halen)