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Re-Set Button

Happy Friday, friends!

This has been a good week, but a long one, for me.  I’m not really sure why, but I hit a wall of tired-unmotivated-and-feel-like-I’m-always-behind-the-ball.  Everything is going well, but this wall has just been right there frustrating and exhausting me all week.  I crashed in bed at 9:30 last night ready for a full night of hibernation only to lay there with my mind running for at least a hour.  

This morning I went for a 3.5 mile run, kept myself from giving in to self pity and letting the wall beat me, and I pushed through.  I ran it out, felt the breeze and the freedom and climbed over that wall.  My head is clear and I’m ready to end this week with a light heart and a positive attitude.

It’s amazing what a mind-clearing early morning run can do for me.  It’s like a re-set button, and, really?  We all need one of those from time to time.

What’s your re-set button?

 

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Love and Loss

I’ve spent the past few days in Florida with my family.  My maternal grandfather passed away suddenly on Monday evening.  He wasn’t ill.  In fact, he had golfed Friday morning and, the week prior, he played a 72 and a 76.  The 76 was a bad day for him.  He lived 80 years full of music, dear family, jolly laughter and a simple and sweet devotion to his Christian faith.  On Monday evening, he passed away peacefully as if he had just paused to rest. 

When I heard the news, I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut.  I lost my paternal grandmother nearly two years ago after a long fight and a slow decline.  That was hard.  The mourning seemed to drag on forever, even before she had gone.  In very different way, it’s just as hard when you don’t have the chance to prepare yourself for the impending end.  The sudden flood of emotion is so strong and truly caught me off guard.

It caught all of us off guard, and my grandmother has been struggling with the sense of feeling like she didn’t get to say goodbye.  It was a normal day.  Then he was gone.  That feeling that she’s experiencing – as close, but I’m sure inadequately, as I can understand it – truly is like being kicked in the gut.  The wind is gone.  Just suddenly not there.  

I know I risk sounding cliché in writing this, but that wind is like the breath of our lives that only flows because of the love in our lives.  The love we give and the love we receive.  And in those sudden moments of loss where we truly feel like the wind has been knocked out of us, it’s like the life breath of love created by that person we have lost is also lost.  There’s no more wind of love to give to or receive from that person.

That’s not to say that love and the imprints it leaves on us doesn’t live on.  But I write this to remind myself to bear in mind my parting words; to be sure that my cherished ones know my love and carry it with them; to act with love; to do all I can to create a wind of life that is full of love and to impart it on my dear ones as often as I can.

 

Wardrobe Updates

I recently found the wonderful Tiny Twig blog and have been thoroughly enjoying her “31 Days to a No Brainer Wardrobe” series.  I feel snobby even thinking this, but I’ve been most impressed by the fact that many of the wardrobe pieces she’s featured have been from Old Navy.  And they are ADORABLE!  I’m a […]

Washington – Part II

Hey Again, Y’all!  I’ve been working like crazy, but I’m finally getting around to posting the second part of our recent(ish) trip to Washington.  And let me just say, what is better than sitting on the couch in your PJ’s on a weekend morning – house quiet, coffee in hand – looking through pictures of fun memories?  Perfect morning, I’d say!  Now, on to Part II!

After we left Lake Quinault Lodge, we stopped at several beaches along the north-west coast of Washington.  Growing up in Florida and now living in Texas, I had actually never seen the Pacific coast before!  So different than the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, but amazingly gorgeous.  We spent several hours just wandering around, jumping from rock to rock, and looking at all the sea life.

At the Beach in Washington


Starfish

Hubs :)

Gorgeous!

And, of course, Hubs took lots of pictures!

When we got back to Port Ludlow, we spent a couple more days relaxing on the porch, wandering around Port Townsend, and stuffing our faces with Dungeness crab.  We also visited one of the awesome local farmers’ markets.  I’ve got to say that second only to the cool weather and mountains, my favorite thing about Washington is the farmers’ markets.  The fresh, local, organic food; the sense of community and self sustainability; the creativity and ingenuity of small, independent businesses.  I love it all.

Seriously, how could you not find this charming?!

In addition to the yummy food we bought, I picked up some handmade jewelry, lavender scented goats’ milk soaps, and a little ceramic banana slug (a rain forest souvenir).

Love our Washington trips, and can’t wait to go again next year!  Thanks, Mimi and Jay, for the hospitality!

A Note of Inspiration

“Did you realize
that whenever you gave anything, to anyone,
you gave to the entire world?

And did you realize that for every path
you’ve walked, for every stone you’ve turned over,
and for every door you’ve knocked on, you did so for everyone?

And finally, did you realize that whenever you felt
love, for any reason whatsoever, you irrevocably
lifted the entire planet higher into the light?

Thanks, from all of us.”

– from “Notes from the Universe” by Mike Dooley

Snippets

Hi, friends!  I’m adjusting to life back at work.  The transition has gone fairly well, although – clearly – I’m lagging a bit on blogging, writing back to emails and keeping up with people in general.  I hope that improves because I love, love, love keeping up with my dear friends who are scattered all over the country. 

To get you all up to speed, I thought I’d share some reflections on my experience returning to the professional world:

  •  I have a fear of heights.  My commute to work requires that I take the worlds tallest exit ramp.  Seriously.  The “hump” at the top is so steep that when you’re approaching the top, you can’t see where the road is going and you can totally imagine the road just dropping off.  It’s like Shel Silverstein all over again.
  • I bought my first pair of Spanx.  It has been pointed out to me recently that I complain about the size of my backside too frequently.  And apparently those who have pointed this out to me think this is an unwarranted (and annoying) trait.  So before anyone jumps on me thinking this bullet point is a butt complaint, let me just say that it’s not.  I’m just saying that every woman, no matter how small, has some amount of, ahem, not-so-taut skin.  And certain fabrics, even when they come on size 2 dresses, just don’t look so good over these areas.  So I bought Spanx.  And then I had a glass of wine.
  • We use Lotus Notes for email at work.  No further comments. 

And, on a food point:

  • Tonight’s dinner consisted of bagged lettuce topped with Parma, olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar and shrimp cocktail.  And half a bag of chocolate chips.  Cooking anything that requires much thought at the end of the work day just isn’t going to happen. So when I do cook, I’ve been making full recipes (for 4 to 8 people) and freezing the extra servings.  This has turned out to be a wonderful, wonderful way to have a hearty meal on a lazy night.  And while last month was apparently my Kale month, this month has been my pasta casseroles month.  These aren’t your mama’s tuna macaroni casseroles, either.  Here’s what I’ve been making:

 Multi-Grain Pasta with Butternut Squash, Ground Lamb and Kasseri – First of all, I love Mark Bittman, so I had to try this recipe.  Second, it’s a delicious and cozy dish.  When I make it, I double the amount of lamb in the dish and I use fresh Parmesan instead of Kasseri.  I’ve made it with the kasseri (sheep’s cheese – which is definitely good – don’t get me wrong!), but the Parmesan gives it a smoother, less exotic (more traditional?) taste.  Also, I’ve made it with sweet potato instead of butternut squash when the grocery store was out of the butternut.  You can barely tell the difference!

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch –  This one is major yum!  It’s rich and creamy, but it’s made with REAL FOOD, so for those who prefer rich and creamy, it’s a fantastic option.  I’ve only made this one once, but it was a huge hit with hubby.  Next time I make it, I’ll be doubling the veggies.  It seemed like a lot of veggies when I read the recipe and chopped all the produce, but the finished product is very pasta heavy. 

I hope you are all living big, laughing with gusto and loving with all you’ve got!  I’m so thankful you, my sweet, dear friends.

Furniture and Veggies

Although I didn’t watch as many chick flicks as planned this past weekend (okay, I actually didn’t watch any) while hubby was away, I did enjoy my quiet nesting time.  I organized files, played with produce and worked on a furniture project.  I also slept a lot and devoted all of my movie-watching time to food related documentaries. All I have to say about that is that I’m really glad I was eating a completely vegan meal while I watched Food, Inc.  But, anyway; about the furniture and veggies…

Shortly after we got married, hubby and I worked on the inside of this wonderfully whimsical antique china cabinet that used to be his grandmother’s.  The inside used to be that 1970’s pale mustard-ish yellow.  We re-painted it (including the under-sides of the shelves) and the stemware racks (which we installed – aren’t you impressed?!) a warm cranberry red to match the red panes of glass in the doors and we added mug hooks to the bottom of one of the shelves.

China Cabinet

 
That was our first furniture project, and since then, we’ve been relishing in learning about, acquiring and revitalizing antiques.  Lucky for us, hubby’s dad owns enough antiques – many of them just piled up in his attic! – to open several shops, so we can do our own “shopping” whenever we want.  We recently brought home a “lawyers shelf,” several layers of which supposedly belonged to this guy, an ancestor of hubby.  This is what I worked on this past weekend.

The Lawyer’s Shelf (Before) – dusty and dry

When we brought the shelves home (each layer is separate and stackable), they were covered in dust and the wood was very dried out.  We still need to replace one missing pane of glass and some hardware, but with the help of some trusty tools, more than a few rags and some good ol’ elbow grease, we now have a gorgeous piece of furniture in our living room ready to be filled with well-loved books and treasured objects.

Trusty Tools        
After
After
After  
After    

Aside from working on furniture, I also played around in the kitchen and experimented with making Kale chips.  They are super easy to make and very tasty, but my one piece of advice: Don’t over-salt them. 


Kale Chips
one head of Kale
olive oil
salt and pepper OR any variety of seasoning salt

Wash and thoroughly dry Kale.  Tear leafy parts into bite-sized pieces.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.  Using hands, toss Kale to coat leaves evenly.  Sprinkle (sparingly) with seasoning salt.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Enjoy immediately!