Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it. - Danny Kaye

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Little Rose

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This Christmas Eve we woke up to the passing of my parents’ 12 year old Yorkie, Rosie. She had been a super-sweet dog for over a decade and treated everyone who came into contact with her with respect, love and a calmness that we all should display more often. She had been going through a tough two years of up and down health and had tumors on her liver, so there wasn’t much that one could do for an elderly pup who just needed to enjoy her remaining days at ease. When she passed, we knew she was up in Heaven running and playing with our other past loving pets (Maggie, Molly & Abby)…but then we laughed and smiled to ourselves and remembered that Rosie didn’t really particularly like to run after toys or play with other dogs…instead she would relax often, snuggle some and love unconditionally all the time.  We know she will always be in our hearts but I think I'll often remember her most when I see a beautiful rose.  Until we see you in Heaven dear, Rosie…good night…and I love you.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Favorite Things...

(my living room mantle)
This time of year I love the sound of Christmas music on the radio and the Christmas CD that my sister made for me a few years ago for those moments when the radio stations go in and out.  And every year it never fails that another musician will come out with their own version of “These Are A Few of My Favorite Things” and so on… (although I have to say my favorite version is Barbara Streisand’s).  But I also have a few other “favorites” around the holidays and so there becomes a holiday blog post…


I thought I’d snap a few shots of my living room (the room most decorated in our house) to capture what I get to see each and every night during this time of year…doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy to come home and see the lights and decorations around your house?  It surely does for me.  Taking pictures each year is a way to go back and see how your d├ęcor has evolved…if at all.  But I’ve come to realize that out of all the decorations I put up each year I actually get the most excited about the one thing that I can’t plan or time…Christmas Cards!!!  They have been heavily trickling in over the past few days and I hope they continue (ours went out late last week).  I started hanging them up on the doorways in our home a few years back and instead of tearing up the paint again this year, I decided to hang glittery string down the wall and attach them to the ribbon…what do you think?  I love it and they tend to make me smile.  So although these don’t actually go up the day after Thanksgiving (or before Thanksgiving) like all the other Christmas decorations, I prefer to leave them up just a little bit longer than the rest so I can enjoy the feeling of love and comfort around me when my house becomes empty in early January.
Something else I rarely get to enjoy because I don’t normally think to buy or make it is eggnog.  I recently had a tasting while shopping in my local grocery store and it was really good…and pre-made!  I thought to myself, is it bad if I sit around one night and drink eggnog by myself…like if it was a glass of wine?  No judging as I haven’t done so yet, but I plan to before the 25th.  But my question is this: Bourbon or Rum?  Which is best?  I have heard either one, but do you have a good recipe to share?
Christmas movies…we all love ‘em.  A Christmas Story.  Charlie Brown’s Christmas.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Love Actually.  Which is your favorite?  I think I have many…
Rudolph (imdb.com)
And then I asked my husband…”What’s your favorite thing about Christmas?”…drum roll?  “PRESENTS!!!”  Of course, go figure.  But then he followed up his comment with “well, probably really and truly, time with family and friends”…which one would you believe?  Ha!
You know, when I think about it, I believe I have a lot of favorite things about Christmas, but two events today reminded me that it’s not all about the music, the decorations, the cocktails or the movies and gifts…it’s actually about giving to others and doing good. 
This morning on the way to work I stopped to get breakfast and as I walked in to order I watched a gentleman approach a military personnel, reach out his hand to greet him and ask him what he was having for breakfast.  The officer responded and the gentleman replied, “Thank you for your service.”  Wow… I hadn’t really thought about giving unto others in that way before, but it sure made an impression on me.
A second way I felt the true Christmas ‘spirit of giving’ was through my boss and our annual trip to Jubilee Academy to see the children of this very special school.  Usually one of my co-workers will dress up as Santa Claus and we’ll visit the children to deliver very small gifts and money.  Now I know you may be thinking it seems odd to give small children money, but you should really just see the reaction on their faces…the best remark when they open up their envelopes with the $50 dollar bill inside is “Ooh!  A Dollar!”  It makes your heart melt.  A few years back when we first started these trips at Christmas, we learned that this was a school started by a woman who had adopted a boy in need and through her love and devotion to helping and teaching children, she started this small, non-profit school…supported only by donations.  Each year as we prepare to go visit the school, I get a funny feeling about whether or not our visit will impact these under-privileged kids in a positive way or not…and then we go…and I leave with a smile on my face.  I believe now that the support my boss provides to these kids and his donations to the school really do help in so many ways.  Generally (or from what I’ve heard) once we leave and Santa says goodbye, the teacher takes up all the money from the children and keeps it for a special day.  One year they went to Wal-Mart and they used their money to buy gifts for other family members…grandparents, brothers, aunts and cousins... therefore giving to others.  It was amazing to hear how selfless even a small child could be at this time of year…when all they really want are a few of their favorite things.
(picture respectfully borrowed from heartworksministry.org)
So in the moments when I catch myself pouting that it may not be a Christmas filled with glitz and glam, I can remember these acts of gracious kindness and attempt to give my own version in some way to another person.
Merry Christmas!                                                 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cookies for everyone...

This weekend I decided I would bake again, it’s something I’ve come to really enjoy…for some reason the ingredients that go into baking seem very feminine to me or just very easy-going.  Is that odd?  Well, although I am no perfectionist when it comes to baking, nor does it come naturally to me, I think I’m learning to have a new-found respect for bakers, dessert-makers and pastry chefs.  In a word, it’s “sweet”.  Nonetheless, I would not be having so much fun if it weren’t for my beautiful (that’s right, beautiful) KitchenAid Stand Mixer (thanks, Mom, Adrienne & Liz).  I got this as a gift at a “Kitchen Shower” during my engagement and before getting married.  It is definitely one of my favorite gifts and has surprisingly gotten a lot of use over the past 4+ months.  I feel like it’s sort-of a distant pet, if you will…where I feel the need to take it out of the corner of the kitchen on occasion, and put it to good use…so it doesn’t get rusty.
Well this weekend, my interest was slightly less selfish and a little more giving…after all, it’s that time of year.  This year I thought I’d make goodies for our neighbors, a sort-of domestic and appreciative gesture to the folks who live around us and treat us well (and keep an eye out on our home when we’re away).  I noted a few recipes and settled (for today at least) on three:  Alton Brown’s Chocolate Fudge recipe from The Food Network, and two from the Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook that was also a gift from my friend Pressly.  Those two recipes: Buttery Pecan Rounds and Peanut Crisps.  Everything went pretty smooth in the kitchen (as it usually tends to do when baking…you can’t really mess up most baking recipes too badly unless you’re just not paying attention to the time).  How’d they turn out, you ask?  Well, I think pretty good.  I wish I had a new memory card in my camera as I would’ve certainly loved to have shared my goodies with you all, but for now I’ll share pictures of what they should look like…
Chocolate Fudge (well, I do think mine looked this good)

Buttery Pecan Rounds

Peanut Crips

I guess tomorrow night I’ll get them wrapped up and delivered…one last recipe that I really wanted to try but may have to wait until next week is the Martha Stewart Candy-Stripe Cookie Sticks!  That might put me into the next level of “la patissiere”!
for another day...

Friday, December 10, 2010











This is the place where I dream big and dream small…
Having to figure out where my loves are and where my passions lie…
Even with search engines and internet websites, the possibilities are endless…



Sometimes I daydream that I’ll be a million different things in life…but
Eventually I come back to reality and realize I’m only dreaming.
Can someone go through an early-life-crisis rather than a mid-life-crisis?
Remembering to still be themselves and to live in the now…
Even if it’s not your true love or passion.
Today I am still searching, but tomorrow will be a new day…


Getting up each day to go forward is at least the first step,
And pushing forward to do what’s in front of one’s self.
Really I’m just in search of myself…
Do you ever really know for sure?
Eventually I will find myself and will know my direction to take…
Now I’m just going to go to sleep and dream.


Flowers are tough beasts

They represent strength and love
They’re color shines true

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Love Actually IS All Around...

The other night I asked my husband if we could watch “my movie” (we generally like to sit around and be lazy on Sunday evenings together…usually with any easy-fix dinner or take-out).  This past Sunday I was in the mood for Christmas…I had been out earlier in the day running errands to buy gifts for our families and was enjoying the holiday music on the radio while out and felt it should carry on into the night.  My pick for the night?  My very favorite Christmas movie (or maybe just favorite movie) “LOVE ACTUALLY”.  Yes, I’m sure there are many of you who would agree with me…I mean, how couldn’t you?  The movie that brings so many different characters together from so many different backgrounds, and gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  I think throughout the movie I said at least five times “this is my favorite scene” and then at the end I couldn’t really put into order which scene was my favorite or second favorite and so on…
But when watching that movie and seeing the love that is between a husband and his deceased wife, a mother and her children, a sister and her brother, a boyfriend with his girlfriend and then friends in general, it makes you remember to think about the relationships in your own life…and how you have to always remember to nurture those relationships, put effort into those relationships and basically feed those relationships…even though we all have a million things going on in our own lives.  So many times I find myself beginning an e-mail with a friend I haven’t corresponded with in a while by saying “I’m such a bad friend…sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written”…but isn’t it the same on the other end?  I think I like to blame myself for the lack of keeping in touch with family and friends sometimes, but I think it’s just something we all do without knowing it…and then it creeps up to us…like the holidays.
So maybe this year during the “season of giving” we should all try to make at lease one phone call to a friend we haven’t spoken to in a while or write an e-mail to a friend that we REALLY haven’t spoken to for an even longer time…and remember to be thankful for those friends and family members in our lives.  We forget sometimes to think positively about the people in our lives that give us love and support, especially during the day-to-day rush of the Christmas season.  But maybe this year we should all try to stop and give thanks for the ones you love…after all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?  Love?

my family over the Thanksgiving holiday

we made my parents do the "prom pose" for this one...

my sweet husband and me


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Conformity…

I haven't been to yoga in a few weeks, I think certain events have kept me away from my favorite Wednesday night class at the gym...'the daily grind'.  And by not going for a few weeks in a row your body can tell...in a major way!  Just an hour after returning home from the gym I felt the pain and soreness reach my legs, back, shoulders, etc...so there you go...yoga really does work.  Or at least it does something...otherwise I would be cleaning my house right now rather than sitting and blogging...oops!  But I digress… Besides the ache and pain I feel right now I also really took to the quote that was read during the opening and closing (Savasana) of my yoga session tonight..."the opposite of courage is not fear itself but conformity".  I wish I could credit the author and have tried to search for who said this (and will continue to do so), but it struck a chord with me.

I think I've been going through a bit of the 'I'm trying to figure out what my passion is in life' stance recently and the only thing that brings me comfort is to write about my feelings.  This blog is somewhat of a project for me and/or a diary of sorts.  I guess it's a place where I can question things from time to time and maybe even get a response or bit of good advice from a reader or follower... (so here's hoping!).  But lately I find myself enlightened by even the smallest things...like the quote tonight in yoga.  "The opposite of courage is not fear itself but conformity"...I think I may take my fear of writing about the unknown or expressing myself with words that may not sound studious and instead turn my feelings into blogs for a while so as to encourage myself to find my inner passion and to be original.  I think one can truly be happy with oneself if they have the courage to go into the unknown and excel or be happy at the attempt to excel.  Well for now, I think I'm going to try that route...for a while anyway.  When you feel like your true creativity is hidden away and you know it should come out, that might be the scariest part of changing the norm or 'non-conforming'. 

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Today I'm not going to 'conform', but instead I'm going to do the opposite of that and find courage...

...courage to not be in fear of myself...

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...courage to live my life.