Friday, August 31, 2012



In Chicago. Rehearsal done. Rehearsal dinner done. Catching up with Cinci cousins next.

Exhausted. Completely totally utterly exhausted and drained. Spent, but oh so happy.



Got distracted with packing and birthday clean-up and work, etc last night and forgot to post.

She screamed when she opened her door in the morning and discovered the decorations. Totally worth staying up late to get it done. I think she had an awesome seventh birthday. It involved three cupcakes, two helpings of ice cream, two of cheese pizza, doughnuts, and chocolate milk. Happy birthday sweet girl! We love you so very much!

Half day of work, then off to Chicago for wedding festivities. Gonna be a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012



M said to me tonight, "I think we aren't getting enough sleep."


He wanted to go to bed early. I told him I'd go to bed when I had all my stuff done. My stuff tonight included making rainbow cupcakes, wrapping gifts, finalizing a Girl Scout invite/info letter for the 1st grade parents of girls, taking said letter to Kinko's for copying, writing the note to Zo's teacher asking her and the other teacher to stick 'em in all the girls' take-home folders, icing the cupcakes, decorating Zoe's door with crepe paper, and cleaning the dining room table for gift and cupcake staging.

He fell asleep on the couch about an hour and a half ago, just like last night.

Today was another one of my insane days, but for some reason I felt much better equipped to handle it. Maybe it's because M was with me at the architect/carpenter meeting this morning (after he helped me get Zoe ready for school). Maybe because I had only two scheduled meetings at work today and was able to get some stuff done. (I say scheduled meetings because the number of colleagues who stop by my office daily is astounding. I had three interruptions in one 30 minute meeting this morning. I am loving it after working in near isolation at my last job.)

Maybe it's because our awesome girl turns seven tomorrow and I want to do everything I can to make her day the very best possible. She is a pretty powerful motivator!

My image today is of the rainbow cupcakes right before they went into the oven. I like how shiny the batter looks. They turned out great - well, they look pretty cool anyway. We'll see how they taste tomorrow. I iced them with white icing and sprinkled rainbow sugar confetti on top. I think she'll love them.

And I hope she knows how much I love her.

Happy Birthday Eve to my incredible daughter!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012



Yeah. I hit 11 pm after a day full of meetings and soccer practice and editing a few hundred pictures from two recent work events and creating galleries on the site and realize, "Oh crap. I didn't make an image today."

Farted around with a glass of water for a few minutes, got nowhere and said "f*ck it, where's a cat?"

And so we have The Tachi, who looks thrilled to be my subject once again.


Must. Shoot. Tomorrow.

Monday, August 27, 2012



Sunday, August 26, 2012



Went over to the new house today and walked around, just the three of us.

Imagining. Dreaming. Hoping.

Saturday, August 25, 2012



One of our monks made his solemn profession today. It was a beautiful mass.

Lots happened today, but I'm not feeling particularly chatty tonight. And I don't know that any of it is particularly interesting to anyone but me. Overall, though, it was a very good day.

No. 2

She lost her second tooth tonight. I'm honestly not sure how in earth it was still in there. It was really looking gross with how much she could move it around, and the dentist told me two weeks ago it needed to come out. We discussed and debated, I pleaded and cajoled and bribed, and she wouldn't let me near it.

Finally, I resorted to my daddy's trick.

"Let me just wiggle it a little, to see how loose it is."

She let me in and I went for it. It was simultaneously so easy and just about the most disgusting thing I have ever done.

She, of course, was thrilled. Very proud of her new gap. She called and left a voicemail on M's cell, as he's somewhere between Tokyo and Detroit tonight, plus we texted him photos. He'll land, boot up his Blueberry, and be bombarded with news.

This little tooth is so tiny. It blows me away.

Getting ready to sneak in to play TF. Really hoping this goes better than last time when I was sure I had been totally busted.

This time she's getting two bucks and a Euro coin. It has two metals in it so it's pretty cool. It'll go with the Danish coin she got for the first tooth. The two bucks? Yeah, I've been hoarding that in my wallet for weeks now to avoid being stranded with nothing less than a five-spot like last time.

TF brought her A-game tonight, baby!

Friday, August 24, 2012



This is Abelard. He is named after a noted theologian and he lives on our campus. Only monks would name a swan after a theologian who died a couple thousand years ago. Cracks me up.

Abelard is quite lonely now. After his mate died a couple years ago he didn't know what to do with himself. He now comes up to the high school each night, after all the people are gone, and hangs out next to a window or door. He looks at his reflection and, we suppose, is comforted by the thought of not being entirely alone.

A lot of people are afraid of Abelard, and he knows it. He hisses and spits at passersby, and I think he's chuckling the whole time. He's the avian equivalent of the old geezer that screams at kids, "Get off my lawn!" and then after he dies gets a pediatric wing named after him because he donated millions to help children. Abelard is beloved by our students, faculty and staff. And some of the monks. The others tolerate him.

I feel sorry for him when I see him, imagining how lonely he must be without Heloise (I think that was her name). I talk to him and he doesn't hiss at me, so I think we're good.

When I left tonight, Sandy (one of our awesome custodians) was using a hot dog bun left over from the back-to-school picnic last night to lure him away from the door. He was grumpily partaking and reluctant to leave his friend reflected in the door behind him.

I know how he feels. I get grouchy when I'm lonely, too.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

up stairs


I bounce from one thing to the next, juggling monks and carpenters and faculty and architects and employees, bills and advertisements and e-newsletters, websites and sack lunches and litterboxes, laundry and building issues and emails and permission slips and the dishwasher and dental appointments and the window guy and hair cuts and the vacuum and Girl Scouts and invitations and coolers of beer for the job site on Friday...

And sometimes I feel frazzled, but mostly okay and fairly steady. I smile when people ask, and cheerfully quip, "Holdin' it all together with duct tape and bailing wire!" Try to reassure everyone (and myself) that I'm fine with his absence.

And then he calls to tell me that he'll be gone one more day. He will come home, and less than 48 hours later he will leave again. Because being gone five weeks out of six isn't enough.

And then I lose my shit and cry and feel sorry for myself.

Damn it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012



I see this every day and it doesn't get old.

My boss has walked through the doors over 10,000 times (a conservative estimation on his part) and said it still takes his breath away. I believe it.

I hope I love my new house even half as much. This would make me happy indeed.

Especially productive today. And happy though I miss M so much my heart hurts. It is worth it, though, because he enjoys his job and the new experiences. We are both growing every day in different ways, and we are both, for the most part, happy and content. Can't ask for anything more than that.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



Zoe had a soccer clinic at school tonight to kick off the season. She had a blast with her friends, and I got to hang out with mine. Love the mom who brought a cooler packed with ice pops for the kids and beer for the parents!

We miss seeing everyone over the summer. The kids are all in different camps, or no camps at all if they have a stay-at-home mom or dad. Vacations and family visits and all kinds of other stuff keep us all pretty isolated from one another.

The return of school, many benefits. The routine is just one of them, and seeing all our friends another. We have a phenomenal community there and I fully recognize how great that is, and how grateful I should be.

Missing M even more tonight; I know he'd have had a blast, too. (And our hurried evening would probably have gone a lot smoother with two parents to get things done!)

Already 9 and I am already beat. My good intentions to get things done tonight are evaporating. Zo's brushing her teeth now...we'll see if I can rustle up some energy after I get her into bed.

Monday, August 20, 2012



Went to bed too late, then was kept up by a furry pest who wanted to sleep on my head. Nearby wasn't close enough. Noooooo, he had to be ON me.

Overslept my alarm again, which makes me 2 for 2 so far this school year. Thankfully I have a rock star kid who is used to her mother being a mess and can fend for herself in the morning once I get her breakfast on the table and her sack lunch made.

Thought I'd go to bed earlier tonight but I caught up on more emails and just remembered that tomorrow is trash day and some other pressing tasks. I really wish I could function better on less sleep. Or that I could take a raincheck for sleep. "I will give you eight hours of sleep next Wednesday if you give me an uninterrupted night to get everything checked off my to-do list!" I don't really have time to sleep right now.

Girl Scouts is looming. First soccer practice is tomorrow. Homework has begun ("Dad! It was SO easy!"). And all my other assorted and sundry items. I'd say I just need a solid day but I had that last week and barely made a dent.

I have lectio tomorrow afternoon. It has become my one blessedly calm hour each week, which is only one of the many reasons I love it. And I am so thrilled that I have new resources to handle all the "stuff" going on. So far, the monks have given me way more than I've given them, yet they continue to pay me. It's really quite remarkable.

Amazing how I found exactly what I need when I didn't even know what I was missing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012



Saturday, August 18, 2012

show of love


This was my view for much of today. My energy was dedicated to creating a slideshow for the upcoming nuptials of two people I love very much. I had a block of time for it as Zozer was at a birthday party and M was at the Great Wall of China.

So I taught myself how to create one of these things and discovered it's pretty darn cool and a boatload of fun. I might have to make more. You know, in my spare time. (I had to learn this because the last time I made a slide show I used actual slides. And a copy stand, a 35mm SLR, four carousels and slide projectors, and cassette tapes. Senior slideshow for prom. Yeah, I'm dating myself but it freakin' rocked.)

I'm uploading this enormous file that needs a major editing to the bride and groom, who will call me with expletives after their computers take 15 hours to download, and I will snicker and say, "You got that list of images to cut yet?!"

It's 22 minutes long. Which is WAY longer than they asked for. But they were so darn cute as kids that I used nearly every image they sent me. And I used six of my favorite songs that I think captures their spirit, too.

Most of you know I am a ruthless editor. But that's only with my own images, or maybe the fine art images of fellow photographers. But no way can I go in and slash out the cherished family photographs of others. "I can't believe you cut Aunt Murgatroyd! She was my mom's ONLY sister and she DIED last year and that image of her holding me is the only photograph of her in the WORLD!" Yeah. I'm not going there.

Have fun, Bride & Groom! Don't blame me because you were adorable, well-photographed children!

Friday, August 17, 2012



Day one, grade one.

She had a phenomenal first day of first grade. I can only hope the rest of the year follows suit.

As for me, I pulled my head out of my rear end and stopped feeling sorry for myself for no damn good reason. My apologies for the angsty wallowing yesterday. Tsk tsk. Bad cookie!

My house should be done by the end of this year, or very early next, so I've already made my resolution for next year. 2013 shall be my Year of No.

No, I will not go back to school.
No, I will not build anything.
No, I will not volunteer to lead anything new.
No, I will not look for, apply for, interview for or start a new job.
No, I will not travel unless I want to.
No, I will not be anyone's "go-to" person for anything that takes more than 30 seconds to resolve.
No, I will not be the defacto team/class/party/yearbook photographer because I have the nicest camera in the parent body.

No, no, no, no, no.

Yes, I will sit at home on multiple consecutive nights and do absolutely nothing. And I will be lazy and sloth-like and my brain will atrophy and my only major concern shall be "what should I read next?"

If anyone has any ideas how to actually accomplish this, I would be much obliged.

Thursday, August 16, 2012



Today we dropped off Zozer's school supplies and met her teacher. We also dropped off her packet full of completed, by me, information forms, contact forms, permission slips, pizza day orders, hot lunch orders, home & school info, and corresponding checks.

Then I rushed to work and got .047% of approximately three different things complete before flying to an 11 am meeting for which I felt wholly unprepared. Upon completion of that meeting at 12:15 I ran back to my office across campus to check voicemail and email, which served only to add things to my task list.

Then I bolted to the dining hall where I ate with the director of finance and the director of operations, which meant we turned it into a working lunch like we always do (losers, all of us).

With lunch crammed down I ran back to my office, collected my items (notes, notebook, calendar, pen, pencil, cell phone, office key) and hastened to another building on campus for a 1 pm meeting. That finished at 2, just in time for my 2 pm meeting, which wrapped up at approximately 3:30. I then sloshed back to my office under a golf umbrella borrowed from a coworker since the storm rolled in just as we were wrapping up.

I got maybe an eighth of a percent of something done before it was time to rush out for an early dinner before Zoe's back-to-school haircut appointment.

Oh, and I also turned 39.

This year, between the new job and the new house and Zoe starting school and the back-to-school parties and preparations and M being halfway around the world, the whole birthday thing dropped so far down the list of priorities as to be almost nonexistent. In fact, the mere thought of my birthday was stressful. Just another thing to add to my list of things to think about, consider, ponder.

Normally I am a big celebrator of birthdays. They are special days...what could be more important than the day you were BORN for Pete's sake?

Apparently, this year, there are a lot of things more important. See list above and add in a rock concert with your buddies (that's for you, M).

I find it hard to be disappointed though, for all these things rising to the top are good things, things that I have hoped and prayed for and dreamt of. Except maybe the part about my husband seeing Def Leppard without me.

So I guess more than anything right now I am simply tired. And struggling to remain grateful for everything I have while wallowing in the pity pool and crying that my husband isn't here. Stupid. I should be stronger than this.


Tomorrow is another day, and I shall rise to meet it and do the best I can. Thank goodness I am not expected to celebrate anything.

(There were moments in my day that were extraordinary, like my little girl leaping into my arms and screaming, "Happy birthday, Mommy!" That rocked.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

holy day of construction obligations


Today being a Holy Day, I was instructed to not come in to work. The monks prefer one spend the day in contemplative prayer.

I did pray today. I prayed through meetings with my window guy, my lead carpenter and sub carpenters, and my general contractor. I prayed through multiple phone calls with my architect, my window guy, and my GC. I prayed for the two people I talked to at the water company and the three at the sewer district and the lovely customer service lady with the power company's construction customer service team. Then I prayed for patience during another phone call from Shanghai that once again doubled my construction task list. All this before 5:30 mass for the Assumption of Mary.

Mary is my patron saint. I prayed to her fervently when I was struggling with infertility and she came through for me. She is the mother of all mothers and I asked for her intercession once again today while struggling to juggle all my tasks. Who knew building a house was so much work? (I'm kidding, people. I knew what I was in for when we started this, it just gets a little more complicated with trans-Pacific calls thrown in.)

Anyway. Mary must be helpin' me again (along with a lovely dinner out courtesy of my in-laws...thank you!) because I feel relaxed and at ease and confident that everything will indeed work out just as it should. Somewhat.

We'll get the Kynar finish on the windows, and the garage will have six of them instead of five, and the new ceiling heights in the project rooms (10' 8") and the main garage (8' 8") and the Corvette bay (???) will be just fine.

I should review the plans and figure out where my Mary statue (inherited from my grandmother who was named Mary) will go in the new house.

Tomorrow. I'll put that on tomorrow's task list.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012



Since all the monks are in town for their annual meeting, we arranged a community photograph. I was in awe in the presence of all these holy men. We have nearly 30 monks in our monastery, which is wonderful, although they request that we all pray for, or continue to pray for, vocations.

In my short time here, I have come to know many of these monks well enough that I have a whole new respect for them, and for what they sacrifice to live a religious life. They really are incredible. I am so blessed to have this job, and I'm enjoying every hurried, frazzled moment. There is so much good work to do that I can barely keep my head above the water. It's a fantastic way to earn a living, and I almost feel as though I'm cheating for I am learning so much I ought to be paying them.

Who knew monks could be so cool?

Monday, August 13, 2012



Exhausted. And it's only the first day of single parenting!

Actually, I think the late night yesterday is more to blame. But my parmesan turkey meatloaf was an awesome dinner for us tonight and all I had to do was pop it in the oven and play Farkle with The Bug while it cooked, so it was worth it.

Missing M tonight, and not just because it's trash night and I had to clean up dinner by myself and feed the cats and clean the litterbox and help Zo with her shower...

I just really like having him around. He makes us laugh and his hugs are the best.

Sunday, August 12, 2012



M left this morning for his 2-week jaunt across China and Japan, and we got to work on having fun.

Within 30 minutes of his departure we were on the way to Dunkin Donuts, where we ran into some friends (always happens when I'm make-upless and hatted). Then we started cleaning out Zo's dresser drawers; her request since they were so jammed we couldn't easily find clothes that fit. How do the too-small outfits migrate to the top? I've had to request she change clothes several times in the last week so her father doesn't have a heart attack because she's in short-shorts.

Then we got cleaned up and were off to mass, where we saw more friends and retrieved our back-to-school packet, which gave the all-important info on which class she's in. We also got a rough idea who's in her section and who's not, which in one particular case is more important than who is her teacher.

After mass we ate a quick lunch and then hit the grocery store. Zo has taken it upon herself to be the List Master, crossing off items as they are placed in the cart. I figure she's improving her reading skills and she gets a kick out of it, although today we had this conversation.

"Zo, you checked off goat cheese already. We haven't found the goat cheese yet! We need to not check off things early as that's how we forget things."

"Well, just go get the goat cheese now."

The "Duh, dumbass" was totally implied.

Tonight we ate dinner out and went for frozen custard and train spotting. Success for the former, a big negative for the latter. I did, however, make a lovely black-and-white of my favorite girl.

After she went to bed (missing Daddy), I went to work in the kitchen. Made an awesome meatloaf, green beans, mashed potato, salad and rice krispie treats dinner that we will not eat. Friends of ours in the parish are dealing with their eldest son (who is in grade school with Zoe) starting chemo and we've all jumped on the meal train. I'm tired and up late and so, so, so thankful that I am doing this for her (them) instead of being on the receiving end of a meal train. I did cheat a bit and make an extra meatloaf and potatoes for us this week, and I'm pretty sure Zo won't let it fly that rice krispie treats leave this house without any for her, but that's a project for tomorrow.

I'm done for the night and heading to bed, tired and happy. The kitchen is clean and ready for the new garbage disposal to be installed tomorrow. This looks to be an exciting week at work with a couple of great projects wrapping up and more starting. My meal train project is done. The carpets have been vacuumed and laundry is done. Brick for the new house has been selected.

Plenty more to do, but for now my work is done.

Saturday, August 11, 2012



Friday, August 10, 2012



So much to report, and yet so tired.

We walked through our house tonight for the first time. Interior studs are up, so we stood in bedrooms, bathrooms, closets...

It was awe-inspiring.

Today's pic comes from The Bug's last day of gymnastics camp, where she was pleased to show me her beloved foam pit.

She, too, is awe-inspiring.

All in all it was another pretty awesome day.



Forgot to post last night - d'oh!

We have walls!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012



Good stuff cookin' on many different fronts. Blessings abound, and I am so incredibly thankful.

Gratitude is one of the best feelings in the whole wide world.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012



When it's 11 pm and you realize you haven't photographed anything today, what do you do?

That's right. You go find a cat.

The first two shots were garbage, but I liked the third as I caught him mid-meow. Good boy, Max.

Heckuva day today. All good. Just extremely busy.

Work is fantastic. My house gets stud walls tomorrow. Caught up with all our Corvette Club friends tonight...first reunion since The Big Trip. Awesome to see them again. Much laughter ensued, as usual.

Was invited to, and so therefore experienced, Lectio Divina (Google it, yo!) this afternoon at work. Thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to participate again. Good stuff.

This job is good for me on so many different levels. And here I thought I just wanted something where I didn't have to travel!

Monday, August 06, 2012



She selected her own shoes for her upcoming flower girl appearance. I was off looking for flats or flat sandals or, apparently, footwear that was too young to suit her.

"How about these? I like these!"

I turned and saw that what she was holding would make her father's eyes bug out of his head.

Which is exactly what happened when he caught sight of them under her dress during her fashion show tonight. He shot me a look that was a mixture of confusion, awe, terror, and "what the f*ck." I just grinned.

She's growing up, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. Trust me, there's not. I've given it a lot of thought.

So when it came time to tuck her in tonight, I didn't just give her a kiss. I crawled in next to her and held her tight, breathed in her little girlness and kissed her hair and rubbed her back and noted her scrawny little arms and legs. And tried to commit every second to memory.

Sunday, August 05, 2012



Tonight we had ice cream for dinner. Just because.

Because it's delicious.
Because it sounded good.
Because we've all been on the run for too long.
Because we love ice cream.
Because we love each other.
Because it's summer.
Because it has been an abnormally hot summer.
Because we are temporarily displaced.
Because we didn't feel like cooking.
Because we didn't feel like cleaning up.
Because it's Sunday.
Because we got all the laundry done.
Because we got the Corvette washed.
Because life is too damn short to not have fun.

It was so good. Happy, happy family.

Saturday, August 04, 2012



With M in Chicago for his brother's bachelor party, Zo and I had Girls Day. This included lunch out between running errands. Where she ordered a cheese quesadilla. Of course.

Friday, August 03, 2012



At 6 o'clock tonight there was one lone person still at our site. He was in the basement, on a ladder, welding. You could hear the noise and see smoke or steam rising, but otherwise there was no sign of him until he poked his head above the floor joists and waved to us.

Re-entry from vacation was a little difficult this week (although it was helped in part by finding Moose Drool at the grocery store), but not horrific. I love that I didn't mind going back to work. Having so much fun at my job, and making real, visible progress on many fronts. I've worked hard to make my new office inviting, and it seems to work as I regularly have monks, faculty, staff, oblates and parents dropping in to discuss various projects and ideas. The lemon drops and caramels I keep on my desk help, I'm sure.

Late in the day, I'm one of the few people left besides the contracted custodial staff. They're great, too, and I always have nice chats with Sandy, Gregg, Mark and Gary. But except for Sandy's vacuum or Mark's carpet cleaner, it's quiet.

It's just me and my welding, working away under the floor joists to help build something great. And it feels good.

Thursday, August 02, 2012



Wood delivered to the site today. And steel and other building materials. I walked over and picked my way around the fence and supplies and mud and rock...and was immediately approached by who I can only assume is my lead carpenter. He introduced himself with a thick Irish name and a thicker Irish brogue and I thought it was damn cool that I have a carpenter from the motherland building my house.

Steel installed today, along with what I assume are a few floor joists. Can't wait to watch the progress now. It's a strange feeling to look at the foundation and know exactly what every part is, where every room goes, and all the thinking behind every square inch.

I suspect many of my POTDs will be building supplies or construction progress for while. I apologize in advance and promise to strive for at least a little variation. It's just kind of a big thing in my life right now.



Today rocked. Totally.

Started off with the awesome news from my sister that my BIL passed his paramedic exam. He has worked extremely hard to earn this, and the corresponding raise he deserves. The guy has more street experience than most of the medics out there, and now he'll be rewarded for it. (And add to his rich trove of hilarious stories gathered while serving St. Louis City's finest inhabitants. I want to ghost write his book some day. He's got some smoov tales.)

Status meeting with my monk went well. It always does, but given my experience with my last boss (who went out of his way to avoid me while simultaneously doing his best to get me to resign), I'm still pleasantly surprised each week. Near the end of our meeting, he looked around my office studiously. "I like the red couch...but would it look better on THAT wall? It would be better feng shui." I think my mouth was hanging open. A Benedictine monk espousing the virtues of Eastern mysticism? I said that it might be better; I haven't really had much time to consider it. "I'll give it a try later." "Want to move it now? I'll help!" And up he jumped with a grin on his face. "I LOVE moving furniture around!" So we ended our meeting by rearranging my office. He was right. His way is much better. He cracks me up.

Lunch with the best friend to celebrate her birfday. Always so great to catch up with her, and I love how she can so succinctly capture how I'm feeling and what I'm experiencing in new perspectives. Plus she calls me on my bullshit, which is the mark of a true friend. I miss her tremendously, and it's mostly my fault. Too much going on, and getting in the way of keeping in touch with her.

Tonight Zozer and I headed out to Dad's to retrieve the cats. M took some Indians out to dinner (Indian Indians, not Native American Indians) so we were on our own. We had a great dinner with Dad and Judy, caught up on everything, and then brought our sweet furballs home. I didn't realize how much I had missed them. My house feels complete again.

Zoe went to sleep straight away as it was past her bedtime, and I settled in with my credit card statements, checkbook, and budget spreadsheet. (Fun!) It's reassuring to see our savings growing again, since we've been digging in deep to cover new home expenses. And the kicker was when I realized that I feel more secure in my new position than I ever did in my old. It's hard to keep paying large bills (granted, they were one-off bills like architect fees, permit fees, utility disconnect fees, demolition services, etc, but still) when you feel like any day your asshole boss could call and say, "You know, this just isn't working out..."

Now, though, I feel like we're past the hard part. New job in which I fit well, am extremely happy, and have already received much appreciation, all of which adds up to a steady paycheck for a bit more than I was making. Stuffing a huge chunk into retirement. Most of the out of pocket expenses for the new house paid. A good handle on what's coming down the pike. Growing savings. Good stuff.

Whew. I need a beer!