Thursday, February 28, 2013



Arrived in Denver early. Met two of my girls when they arrived a short time later, and we decided 10 am is not too early for margaritas. In our defense, it was noon in the time zones we left.

4 hours sleep Tuesday night + 2 hours sleep Wednesday night + flying + margaritas + catching up = 1 exhausted girl.

Snowshoeing tomorrow, so rest is in order.

Vacations are exhausting!



She keeps me going. And she keeps me smiling. Which is good, because I am perilously close to losing my shit.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013



Odd title for this post, as I have very little time to reflect on anything but my to-do list these days.

It'll get better, right? It has to. This is what we keep telling ourselves and each other. The meltdowns, by both of us, are happening nearly daily now. I'm not entirely sure just how much more we can take.

Sometimes the end looks like it's right there. And other times it still feels as though we are a year away. As blessed as we are, living in a state of transition for 394 days is stressful.

But who's counting?

Monday, February 25, 2013



Zoe and I found Nemo at her dentist today. I love her dentist's sense of humor, and the irony. Zo has a great dentist, and she loves going. This is good because girlfriend is going to be seeing a lot of him, and his orthodontist friend, when she is nine or ten. The pano x-rays today verified that she'll follow in both her parents' footsteps and wind up at some point with a mouthful of metal.

Stopped by The House today and other than nearly leaving my Merrills in the muck I saw great progress. More tile, more finish work, and vanities hung in all four baths. Plus one toilet! Drop ceiling grid completed in the basement, and faucets delivered to the site.

Just keep building, just keep building, just keep building...

(to paraphrase Dory)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

sick day


Hunkered down today and did nothing but rest and recuperate.

Sick days suck when you're actually sick.

Saturday, February 23, 2013



The long-awaited tile is going in. The guys are moving at lightning speed these days, focused on that March 15 deadline.

They aren't the only ones.

Friday, February 22, 2013



The monastery is such a peaceful place. I love being there.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

snow day


Days like this, I prefer to go dark and quiet.

It's just better that way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

sleep tight


Goodness, what a day to put things in perspective. Feeling very blessed and content this evening.

And this little girl is a huge part of that.

M had to be away at bedtime, so we made a nighty-night picture for him.

I'm off to bed, to dream of big blue eyes and a million questions a day and the best hugs a mama could ask for.

Monday, February 18, 2013



Home. Tired.

Upon arrival we...
visited the job site
shopped for project room furniture
unloaded the car
made, ate and cleaned up dinner
reviewed never-ending House list
ordered furniture for project room
went to a retreat meeting (M)
reviewed cabinet specs & created spreadsheet to track cabinet pull order
reviewed closet specs and pulled together closet organizer order
reviewed family budget
sorted mail & shredded junk
emptied trash cans
cleaned litter box
cleaned guinea pig box
cleaned fur off bedspread (damn cat)
vacuumed house

Home. Tired. And cranky.

Sunday, February 17, 2013



Ikea today, among other things.

I love Ikea. And not just because I finally got a new teapot there. (Isn't it cute?!)

We purchased all our bathroom mirrors there today. Plus got a boatload of other ideas for The New House. Few things solved - so exciting!

Also, Downton Abbey stunk it up tonight. Well, the final 60 seconds or so, anyway. Stupid Matthew Crawley.

Saturday, February 16, 2013



Great day in Cincy. Skyline Chili. Seeing Clare & Tony's wonderful home (which provides this incredible view!). Hitting the Cincinnati Museum Center, then Findlay's Market (Belgian waffles to die for, and lemondrop tea which is my new favorite so I bought a whole tin, and local heaven), then a FLLW house and a driving tour of the city, then pizza dinner and drinks and hanging with the cousins...

I'm whupped. And very happy and content. I had a blast AND made a boatload of images today. Bliss.

Friday, February 15, 2013



We saw some snow on our way to Cincinnati today. Not much, but enough to grab this image. That alone would have made me happy, but seeing our cousins and their spouses (and kids in one case!) sent me over the edge. I'm blissfully happy.

I'm not quite sure how on earth I managed to get such a great group of people to be part of my family, but I sure am thankful. Those of us who married in have labeled ourselves "the outlaws" instead of the inlaws, but that title couldn't be further from the truth. We are all so different, in so many ways, and yet we are all alike in the most important way that matters: love.

Whether it's luck or happenstance or God's will or karma, I'm awfully grateful to have these people in my life.

Here's to a great weekend full of love and laughter!

Thursday, February 14, 2013



Delivered the Girl Scout Valentines to the seminary today. Turns out the seminary is a visual wonderland, but I had only on iPhone and no time (had to get back to work). Alas.

I got a few and then was on my way, happy to have at least seen something new.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013



Crammed day, but it all went without a hitch (except for one of our first graders vomiting at the end of the gospel reading at this morning's Mass, and the junior school boy dissolving in tears around noon when he was supposed to sell tickets to this week's musical, and the ear-piercing screams that are endemic of Daisy troop meetings).

Holy craziness. Somehow, through every minute, I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. After the child tossed her cookies and the teacher escorted her out, I slipped in to Mrs. F's spot and attempted to keep the remaining first graders focused on the homily until she returned. When the boy lost his shit in the theatre, where I had gone to purchase our tickets, I took the tickets and the cash box out to the front desk to sell so his teacher could console him.

And despite the fact that I want large amounts of alcohol and a nap after every Daisy troop meeting, I'm always so pleased and happy that I'm one of the two troop leaders and feel that we really are making a difference. Today we made Valentines for the seminarians. I figured guys training up to be priests probably don't get Valentines. (I'll deliver them to the seminary tomorrow, along with a cover letter explaining that they were created by first grade girls. Which should be loosely translated to read, "So be prepared for some, uh, creativity." My favorite cards included messages like "Thanks for praying for us. I'll pray for you, too." "I love my priest." and "I hope you're becoming a good person. And that your school is going good."

I had a shitload of work to do tonight, after getting home from Scouts. Dead on my feet after those meetings, I decided to muscle through. Work got done. The Valentines are sorted and enveloped and addressed. The Father/Daughter dance pix are enveloped and labeled for the teachers to distribute tomorrow. Four loads of laundry sorted, washed, dried and folded. (I'm drawing the line here...will put it all away tomorrow.)

Stopped by The House today, and it seems to be moving along at breathtaking speed now. All three garage doors installed today, plus many interior and pocket doors. The floating kitchen shelves are going up. Those are a huge relief. One of those crazy ass ideas I had that I went for, and then hoped and prayed they'd look as good in reality as they do in my mind. Same thing with paint colors, trim stain, cabinet stain, etc. You pick all this stuff out in a virtual vacuum, or with weensy samples that don't really give you a clue as to what it will REALLY look like, and what it'll look like altogether. The next big "hold your breath" moment will come when they install the red countertops in the kitchen.

What a great, great day. The universe knows exactly where I'm supposed to be right now, and here I am.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013



The librarian brought her pugs to work today for the junior school's annual dog party. They are adorable.

At least once a day, usually more, I see or hear something at work that makes me smile. I laugh every single day. Today I worked from 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and I didn't mind a bit. I have worked many evenings and weekends, and it doesn't matter because I can do things like leave at 2:15 tomorrow afternoon to run a Girl Scout meeting.

It is a good place to be. It is the right place for me. A year ago, I was starting to look for a new job. Tired of the travel and the instability, I wanted something solid that allowed me to stay home and watch my daughter grow up. I have no desire to climb the corporate ladder, but I do want to make a difference. I want fair compensation for a hard day's work, and I want to be not too exhausted at the end of the day. I got all that and more. And today I got pugs in the library!

Monday, February 11, 2013



Some days the road seems longer than others.

Cabinets delivered to the house today, and some installed in the kitchen. Big milestones like these make me happy. And make me feel as though it's just around the corner. It's right close I can almost touch it.

And then I return to the Winter Bungalow and watch as M is buried in an avalanche of crap just trying to get one thing out of the world's smallest linen closet. And I heave a sigh and the road feels long again.

We have been having this discussion lately:

"We need to put things AWAY."
"There is no away. We're all out of away."
"Well, we can't just give up."
"I did. I gave up. 1800 sq ft of stuff in 900 sq ft means I gave up a long time ago."

I'm so looking forward to having away again. People ask, "What's your favorite part of the new house?" They expect I will say the clerestory, or the distinctive brick, or the extra wide halls and doors, or the main floor laundry or the great room. All those things are wonderful, but the best part will be having the away again.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Oh, how I long for the away.

lasagna love


I finally had time to make M lasagna today. I've been wanting to ever since his birthday last month but didn't have a block of afternoon time to pull it together.

These final days of building are wearing us thin. I feel like we are shells of our normal selves, too consumed in all-things construction and not enough in the daily joys of life. Our average evening consists of sitting around thinking of things we need to ask the contractor. This, as you can imagine, does not lift the spirit. The soul does not soar with "who fixes the gap between the beams and the east/west walls" and "did you order the bathroom tile yet?"

In a vain attempt to make myself feel better I have begun packing small boxes of things I know we'll not need for the next couple of months. Doo-dads that decorate (read: clutter) my desk, candles, things like that. As a result, my desk is nearly clean for the first time in months. Zoe needs to take a photo of her baptism to school tomorrow so last night I sat at my computer to find it in my archives. She and M were at their second father/daughter dance and we were still a couple hours away from dodgeball and my friend/ride hadn't returned from dropping her son off at camp yet. This meant I had 20 minutes, a clean desk and a photography-related mission.

It was a homecoming. All I did was find an image, do some minor edits and upload to Walgreens for printing and it made me so damn happy.

I have said it before. I want my life back. I want my house back. I want my husband back. I want myself back.

One month. We are about one month away. I just gotta hold on.

Sunday, February 10, 2013



Last May, at Zoe's school picnic, it sounded like a great idea to register for the Drinks, Dancing and Dodgeball sign-up party. (Sign-up parties, for those of you who don't know, are parties hosted by parents who generously pick up the tab for enormous parties while allowing the "price" of the party, paid by guests, to go back to the school. We signed up for three this year: the First Grade Back-to-School Swim Party at which the children were present, the Red Solo Cup Party at which they weren't, and tonight's DD&D). Most of the first grade parents were going so we knew it'd be a good time.

I mainly signed up for the drinks and dancing part, figuring I'd leave the dodgeball part to M. I didn't want to stun people with my athletic prowess. We got an email last week, however, letting us know that unless we had a doctor's note we would be playing. Teams were already assigned. Since I didn't have enough chocolate to bribe the Ph.D. at work to write me a note, I was stuck.

I was somewhat relieved tonight when we arrived and discovered that couples had been split up. With M and I on separate teams, I could stop worrying about the health of our marriage. (For those of you who may not know, M is just a weensy bit competitive. And I'm not so great at dodgeball, or any other sport for that matter, except air hockey, go-cart racing and Wii fencing, at which I kick ass.)

Turns out we both had an absolute blast. My team miraculously came in 2nd, M's in 3rd. The people there were so much fun, as they always are. I am convinced one of the reasons God made us wait 2 years to have a baby was so our kid would be in the same class as the kids of all these other parents.

I escaped injury, had fun, and danced. All with my best friend and a ton of other people we like. What more could a girl ask for?!

Saturday, February 09, 2013



Last night wore on and I got tired and went to bed without posting. Thankfully, I did remember to make some photographs.

This is my favorite. Zo went to a friend's birthday party after school. The mom had retained the makeup services of several 6th grade girls from school, and the results showed. Zozer's eyes where ghastly...they're already deep-set, like mine, and the colors selected accentuated the pockets. Hilarious.

This, my friends, is why I never choose my own makeup colors. I have the style sensibilities of a 6th grade girl, at best.

Anyway, I watched her tonight as she laid on the couch reading a book. Makeup. Nail polish. "Face tattoo." (Her words, not mine.) Silently reading. She's growing up way too fast.

Friday, February 08, 2013



Today was mostly awesome. I'd say 99% awesome.

Zoe and I got to see the most amazing rainbows this morning, all the way from home to school. She was thrilled. Great start to the day.

Then there was Starbucks. Mmmmm. Mocha.

Once I got to work I had all sorts of visitors stop by to see how I was feeling. I felt very loved. I completed my major weekly Thursday project on time and with little stress, and knocked out a few other items to boot.

We had a 1 3/4 hour meeting with the GC at the house this afternoon, which went well. Progress on the hardwood floor and window trims since I was there last (and it's looking beautiful!).

Home to wolf down food before heading out to a neighborhood Girl Scout meeting where I learned all kinds of great info that helps me be a better leader. Good stuff.

Back at home, I got caught up on personal email, sent an update to my troop's parents, and finished a work task that lingered from having to leave a bit early this afternoon for the GC meeting.

All of this adds up to a day of awesome.

Except for that point late this afternoon where the stomach issues went, "Oh no, no, no. Not so fast, missy. You think you're good to go? THINK AGAIN! Waaaa haaaaa haaaaa."

Not sure if this is a relapse, or a new round, or something else entirely, but it's not feelin' so great. Gurgles and other odd noises emanating from the abdominal region, cramping, and lots of running to the bathroom, which I don't really have time for. Stupid bellyache.

Seriously, though? A day that starts with incredible beauty simply can't be anything but extraordinary. Especially when God plants one end of the rainbow right in your church. I get it, Big Guy. I'm listening!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013



Bellyache appears to be gone. Let's hope so. I'm bored out of my mind and tired of being sore. And bored with snapping photos of the cats. I want OUT.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013



At least I had company while I spent the day on the couch.

Stupid stomach flu.

Monday, February 04, 2013



My favorite part of exercise is the stretching when it's over. It just feels good. Especially after four miles on a 6-7% incline. Stretching keeps me from feeling sore, too.

What is not feeling so good tonight is my belly. Here's hoping I don't have the agony that befell M all weekend. I ain't got no time for that.

Meeting with new lender went extremely well today. I was able to provide all documentation and needed only two more items that she couldn't have known about until she checked our bank statements. Found those tonight, closed out the January budget, paid bills, finished laundry, cleaned up dinner, emptied trash, scooped the litterbox, and fessed up to M just how much I spend on skin care, makeup and hair styling products. It's not pretty, my friends, but it can't be helped.

Work threw another curveball at me today, this one dabbling in morality. Or maybe relativism. Possibly both. This will be a hard part of my job, but I embrace it and honor it and use it to grow. Thank goodness it's not easy every day or I'd be bored out of my mind. No chance of that happening. I really do love my job. I can't imagine doing anything else now.

Life is so good, and I'm stretching in all new directions personally and professionally, but just for once I'd like to not be so completely exhausted by the end of the day.

Sunday, February 03, 2013



Just your average Sunday night, signing our names a frillion times for our new home's mortgage. I meet with our lender tomorrow. This is a new lender, highly recommended by several people we know and trust. Because there is NO WAY IN HELL we are going with the asshat who handled our construction loan. After the loan converts, we're also switching banks. Any recommendations on good, preferably national, banks are welcome.



The Kentucky Derby themed fundraiser went off spectacularly tonight, but the big surprise was discovering that it had begun snowing like crazy while we were all inside. And was piling up quickly.

Not a night to be outside in strappy sandals, a summer frock, and a fascinator, but there I was. One of my IT buds was kind enough to give me a lift to my car (I had parked rather far to give the close spots to our guests) and then brush off the snow for me.

Good night, although I did miss my date very much.

I'm tired and my dogs are barkin', so I'm going to hit the sack. Yawn.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

rockstar owls


To complete Catholic Schools Week, parents were invited to attend Mass with the kids this morning, followed by a small reception, then an activity in the classroom.

Our activity was to decorate a football jersey with our child's team, about which they wrote yesterday. Zoe's team is the Rockstars, and the team mascot is an owl.

Rockstar owls.

My daughter just kills me. I hope she knows how much I love her, and how happy she makes me.

In other news, M is battling either wicked food poisoning or the equally nasty norovirus. It's still up for debate...we'll see how he feels tomorrow. Today was shot for him, and it's very clear just how much agony he's in. Poor boy.

My organization is hosting its largest annual fundraiser tomorrow night, on which we've worked for months. Tonight was the preview party. It's an amazing event, as evidenced by a great party tonight.

The house made a lot of progress this week. Clerestory was wrapped and ceiling beams installed. Hardwood floor laid in the guest room and our bedroom, and Zoe's room has been fitted and is nearly ready for install. The carpenters hope to finish clerestory work early next week so they can break down the scaffold and the great room floor can go down.

We've started the process to convert the construction loan to a mortgage, which means we're discussing closing dates. This makes me giddy as that's a clear indication we are nearing completion.

So we have a few things going on.