Saturday, August 31, 2013



We made tie-dye cupcakes and frosted them. We made two large pans of lasagna, from scratch, and two giant bowls of salad. We cleaned the house. We picked up 30 soft pretzels shaped like the number eight.

Then we threw a birthday party and had loads of fun.

And now it is time to sleep.

Friday, August 30, 2013



She turned eight today. I'm still trying to figure out how that is possible when I feel like we just brought her home from the hospital yesterday.

We love her so much...I wonder sometimes if she'll ever know just how much we love her.

She turned eight today.

Love you, Doodlebug.

Thursday, August 29, 2013



tick tock


I need more time.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013



Monday, August 26, 2013



Sunday, August 25, 2013



I made an enormous pot of sauce today for next Saturday's lasagna at Zoe's birthday party. (Yes, I'm just crazy enough to attempt to feed a whole party of people homemade lasagna.) M painted. Then we cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned. Floors. Bathrooms. Guinea pig cage and litter box. Etc.

It was such a productive day that now I'm totally ready for bed.

This will be a great week. Insanely busy, but great. My baby turns 8 on Friday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013



We spent time here today, serving as prayerful witnesses to two monks ordained to the priesthood.

Seeing something like this is completely different when you know the holy men personally.

I know how Cassian likes to over-think just about everything, and how Francis had a few rough childhood experiences and still sometimes struggles in his relationship with his father. I know how nervous they were about today, and how they are terrified of celebrating their first Masses tomorrow. I saw the glances between them today, and watched how Father Dominic gently, and with great love for his brethren, guided them through. I cried when their monastic brothers embraced them in joyful hugs of congratulations.

It was a good day, not only for the Catholic Church but for us all. We have two new servants, dedicated to praying for us - ALL of us - each and every day, and ready to care for us pastorally when we need them.

It was a good day.

Friday, August 23, 2013



Thursday, August 22, 2013



I worked so hard and so long today that I had to consciously search for an image when I got home from work. A 13-hour work day will do that to a person. I think I touched my phone twice today, once to take a call from M and once to confirm with my MIL that she was indeed picking up my child from aftercare. (My brain was so frazzled by that point that I didn't trust myself to just trust that everything was lined up.)

Thankfully my beautiful birthday gerber daisies are still rocking it. They make me smile, even when I feel too tired to smile.

I did shoot with the Nikon today, but it was for work and therefore wholly uninspired and not very creative. Grip & grins, stage shots, etc. I went fully manual just to feel more connected. It made me happy.

I am very thankful tomorrow is Friday. I need the weekend. I still absolutely love my job...I just put in a helluva day and need to recharge the batteries.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013



I love technology. Except when I don't.

After working for a long time tonight (I originally thought it was an hour...upon reflection I think it was more) Firefox locked up and I lost all my work.

All of it.

There are times when you just want to chuck your MacBook into the gas fireplace, hit the remote to turn the flames on, and make yourself a Bailey's on the rocks.

But instead you sigh, pull up your big girl panties, and do all the work over again.

Stupid Firefox.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



Today is when the panic set in. Everyone is back in the office...and everyone needs help in communications...and I'm still a man down.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

It'll all happen. Eventually.

Trust the process.

Monday, August 19, 2013



Zoe started her regular school schedule today, and I started mine. We had a Day of Recollection led by a Jesuit. (This is big for the Benedictines for whom I work!)

All three of us had a great day, actually.

Sunday, August 18, 2013



Today was great. Today was wonderful in that it was perfectly, utterly normal.

We did some chores around the house, stuff we gotta do like laundry, grocery shopping, emptying trash cans, cleaning the guinea pig's cage, etc.

But we also did fun stuff. The stuff that feeds our souls. Photography. Stained glass. Christmas. Board games with Zozo. Soccer practice in the yard.

It was the kind of day I dreamed about during the long days of construction. It was the kind of day we are having with increasing frequency.

Tomorrow starts our school year routine. Zozer has a full day of school followed by aftercare. I have faculty week at work, which kicks off the start of school there. M...well, M's summer schedule doesn't really change, so he'll just be doing the same thing he's been doing.

We had some tea tonight. Well, I had some tea. He had a few sips and then passed out on the couch.

It was a good day. The perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

Saturday, August 17, 2013



40. and Yoko Ono.


I turned 40 today. And I embraced it because really, what choice do I have? It's gonna happen either way. Might as well make the most of it. And celebrating is always more fun than moping.

I earned my 40 years. All of 'em. They made me who I am today, and I'm okay with who I am. I'm happy.

I thought about the last decade. I struggled when I turned 30. Had a hard time with the thought of growing older. "Thirty is respectable, thirty is good," someone told me. I didn't believe her.

But in the last decade, so much has happened.

I lost jobs, left jobs, found jobs.

I experienced the incredible pain of infertility.

And the miraculous joy of having a child.

I buried people I love.

I welcomed new people into my family through marriage and birth.

I lost weight.

I gained weight. (This repeats ad nauseum)

I went back to school and earned a Masters.

While working full time and raising a child.

I watched part of my family fracture and come together again (most of us), stronger in the broken parts.

I learned my home was so damaged we'd have to tear it down.

And then we tore it down.

We built a new home.

I made new friends. Many.

I learned to jump off cliffs by trying new things and being open to new experiences.

I learned how to snowshoe.

And make stained glass.

And that I could complete a sprint triathlon.

I rode my bike on a 4-lane highway.

I went on many, many trips. By plane, by car, by train.

I learned that I love sushi.

And that I can cook. Really.

I became a Girl Scout leader.

I sang "Livin' on a Prayer" as loud as I could.

I ordered a Corvette. Then took delivery at NCM.

I creamed my husband at Wii fencing, which, it turns out, is the only video game at which I excel.

I started a blog.

I photographed. Oh, how I photographed.

Today, as part of my birthday, we went to the art museum. I wanted to see the new, modern wing that recently opened, and there were Man Ray and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy prints on display.

The best part, though, was Yoko Ono's Wish Trees. Three trees on the south terrace, with bins nearby containing tags and pens. Each visitor is encouraged to write a wish on a tag and tie it to a tree. Hundreds of wishes fluttered in the wind. The museum regularly cuts the wishes down and deposits them into a large, acrylic container just inside the door. Yoko then collects them and puts them in her Imagine Tower, in Iceland.

Millions of wishes from around the world. Can you imagine?

We wrote our three wishes down and tied them to the trees. And I realized that no matter who we are, we all have wishes. Like belly buttons.

Tonight, my friends and family surprised me by celebrating my birthday together. There were a few people missing, but they were with us in spirit. It turns out my adorable and sweet husband has been hard at work planning this surprise, and many loved ones pulled together to pull it off.

It's enough to make a girl realize just how blessed she is.

Zozer started second grade today. After school (11:30 dismissal) the students were treated to music and the Bubble Bus and ice cream sandwiches. We parents caught up and swatted bubbles off each other. It was wonderful.

Today was the best 40th birthday. It was more than I could ever wish for.

Thursday, August 15, 2013



Time with the girl today, getting ready for the start of school tomorrow.

We dropped off school supplies and met her teacher. Piano lesson. Girl Scout store for the appropriate patches for her new Brownie sash. Haircut. Bank. Post Office.

And the new beer fridge was delivered, so we visited the market to stock it, because one should never run an empty fridge.

Holy Day of Obligation meant 5:30 Mass, followed by ordering pizza.

Also, it was my last day of being thirty-something.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013



I interviewed a Cardinal today. Not that all Cardinals aren't important, but this one is particularly important. He's got a fancy title that doesn't tell you what he really is, so I'll translate it for you: Chief Justice of the Vatican Supreme Court.

I mean, he hangs with the Pope and stuff. Seriously. He does. In fact, he was part of the super-secret conclave that elected the new guy. White smoke and everything. The guy has serious Vatican street cred.

He was charming. That could be because he was wearing kick ass Cardinal robes (red and white, of course) and is a lot shorter than I expected. He's opinionated as hell, which one probably has to be to hold down his job. We got along just fine and I got a lovely interview and his personal email address.

No, I won't share it with you. Because we're buds now, the Cardinal and I. And because he asked me not to share it with anyone as he receives too many emails already. I'll bet!

(Father Augustine proclaimed me 40% holier when I returned from my ACTS retreat last fall. I wonder how much extra holy I earned by spending 15 minutes with a Cardinal...)

The best part of the day, though, was M returning home from Nebraska a whole day early. Totally unexpected and a wonderful treat after putting in a 13-hour work day.

Blessings, indeed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013



I texted this image to her father. He responded by instructing me to call the builder and have him start constructing a moat around the house. He also told me to have him source fire-breathing water monsters.

All I can say is, "Good luck, buddy."

Monday, August 12, 2013



Ever get that creepy feeling that you're being watched? Yeah. I get that all the time from my CATS. Tonight it was Tachi.

Took The Bug with me to work today. I love doing that. She's a cool little officemate who draws pictures for me and delivers smoochies and steals lemon drops from the jar on my desk. Today she built a fort out of two office guest chairs, the pillows from my couch, and a fleece blanket I brought from home in case the air conditioning was on high. (Despite a thermostat in my office, I really have only two settings for both heat and air: off and turbo.) She spent much of the day in the fort, playing with Hootie and her Build-a-Bear of the day, the iPad and the iPod, and singing Christmas carols. The girl is, after all, her father's daughter.

She also made her birthday list which includes:

20,000 Build-a-Bear Gift Certickerfates


iPHONE [the phone was underlined; apparently her iPod Touch isn't enough because she wants to text people. Mainly the mothers of all her second grade friends so she can learn what class everyone is in because waiting until supply drop-off day Thursday is unacceptable.]

Bunny [Note: since I'm the one who primarily takes care of the guinea pig, I went ahead and nixed this right off the bat. No consultation with M was necessary.]

So her list is a little (okay, a LOT) unrealistic. But I do like that she thinks big.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

on track


Went to Gateway Motorsports Park today to see my dad's awesome Chevelle (and my Dad, of course). He picked up yet another award. Best of Class. Because my dad, and his car, kick ass.

The show was in the infield, and we crossed the oval track to get to it. And pit row, which is cool even with no cars there. This is where today's image comes from.

Zo and her dad built a model Corvette at the show. I don't remember there being cool things for kids at car shows and races when I was 7-going-on-8, but whatever.

I just like that we're breaking in the daughter to the whole "cars are awesome" thing early. We're a little family of motorheads.

Saturday, August 10, 2013



Lazy cats soaking up the sun.

I soldered today. Turns out I like soldering.

Friday, August 09, 2013



Some days I can see the gray easily. Some days I see only black and white. Today was a pissed off, upset, raging black and white day.

I hate it when I can't f*cking fix the problem.

Thursday, August 08, 2013



Stomach issues cleared up mid-morning.

iPhone replaced by Apple late afternoon.

Things improved today.

Zozer had her third piano lesson and is doing so well. I think she is going to quickly outgrow the keyboard and will need something that more closely resembles an actual piano.

Made Parmesan turkey meatloaf tonight. It was tasty.

I have to go back to watching The West Wing while I set up my new iPhone all over again. Long live wifi!

oh deer


Battling stomach issues all day and an iPhone that refuses to connect to wifi all night. (The latter issue has been occurring for weeks. I've tried to fix it. M has tried to fix it. Tomorrow an Apple genius will fix it or replace it. &#%*^!)

I'm done.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013



I'm nearly finished foiling my pieces. Next step is to solder. We have a session Saturday, and Brother Francis (our stained glass teacher) says that by the end I'll be able to hold it up and see light through it for the first time. This is pretty exciting.

I fully understand now why stained glass art is so expensive. The materials are one thing...but it's the sheer amount of time that ratchets up the cost. I've loved every minute of it, but holy cow.

There's also an art to it, I mean, beyond the obvious art itself. One small mistake early manifests itself in many ways again and again down the line. But it's amazing to feel this incredible sense of ownership over the piece. Because I have touched every piece of glass, over and over again, it is MINE.

Monday, August 05, 2013



Donated a pint today at the Red Cross blood drive at our church. I rather enjoyed the 20 minute or so that I sat there, by myself, without having to attend to anyone else's needs. Pretty good bonus on top of saving up to three lives.

Sunday, August 04, 2013



She wanders in and cries until one of us picks her up and puts her on the bed.



Friday, August 02, 2013



Unplanned visit to the vet. He's pissed at us, but he'll be fine.

Thursday, August 01, 2013



Over the past week, maintenance has been clearing trees off campus, most notably along the path that leads from my office in the high school to the abbey church. This saddened me, until I learned that the trees were diseased and needed to be removed to protect the health of he remaining trees. Now I'm enjoying the new summer views of the church, which disappeared with the greening of spring.

Time with my kiddo late this afternoon, after her (second) piano lesson, and dinner out with an old friend.

Sometimes it takes a series of small views to really see the bigger picture.