Monday, March 25, 2013

going dark

We're back from our lovely vacation with just a few days before we move!

In about 10 minutes I'm calling to cancel our cable and internet and I have to say, I'm a bit excited about  electronically going dark.

For the next week or so, we'll be playing music and packing and eating quick quiet meals and painting and eventually hosting easter dinner in our new place! It'll be busy but also kind of calming.

We have no idea when we'll get internet again but when we do, I'll be sure to post a picture of us sitting on our back porch with our feet up and a big smile.

Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful easter weekend! My wish is that you'll also find a good mix of hard work, and family, and peaceful quiet... only with less trips to Home Depot!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Self Imprisonment

Maybe I should be angry that our rascally dog keeps finding ways to eat inedible objects - a dvd, a shoe, a book, a sock, and most recently, a picture frame.

I call this puzzle reconstruction,
"How much can be missing before I seek medical help?"

OR maybe I should be thankful that he knows he's been bad, and he's directed his shame into self punishment... the open penalty box eye contact

...self imprisonment

note: these are from three (of many) separate occasions

Either way, I think the best (or worst. but maybe best) part of all this is his increased level of attachment after being willingly confined.

By "increased level of attachment" I mean, he just wont leave our sides

not for anything

I'm not kidding

Good thing you're so stinking cute Dixon.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recovery Care Kit

I've had a bit of time and distance from that really tough recovery period, and now I feel I can organize my thoughts. I received so so so many wonderful things during this time and the gifts really helped with my health and spirit. I would be remiss if I didn't share these things with you. They're great ideas for anyone in recovery (they'd even work for all those new Mom's out there)!

FOOD: Initially I think of the delicious meals given to us (a lasagne that knocked my socks off, and a whole foods bounty that I devoured), but I also had some trouble with appetite at times. Here are some great alternatives to prepared meals...

- Fruit Baskets. Again, I didn't have much of an appetite. When I ate, I wanted it to be filling and healthy. Buying and preparing fruit can be a lot, so this gift was amazing. I could just reach into the fridge for already cut watermelon and then shuffle back to the couch.

- Hand Held Snacks. Food preparation was at the bottom of my list and when Neil went back to work I spent even less energy on feeding myself. The piles of cliff bars sent to us were like bars of gold!

- Restaurant/Grocery Gift Cards. I was eating like a bird and I didn't know when I would crave something. Having these were fantastic, especially when this vegetarian said "I don't know why, but the only thing I want right now is a steak. I need red meat!" It was even better for the restaurants that deliver! It felt like getting to eat out while I was stuck in bed, and we could eat well at the times it worked best for us.

- Poopin Mix. Lets just get real here. Narcotics can mess you up. I was in a bad place until I discovered this magic mixture.... equal parts apple sauce, prune juice, and fiber one cereal. Big shocker here - it actually tastes good! (all new moms out there: you're welcome)

HEALTH: Here are a few things that were so wonderful, I began to depend on them for my healing.

- Ice/Heat Pack. This reusable gem became my new best friend. So simple but so necessary!

- Healing Lotion. Years ago I discovered this Anti-Stress Massage Lotion that works wonders on sore muscles. It functions something like icy/hot but its all natural (and doesn't smell so strong). I would use it on my legs after a long run or my low back when I felt achy. After the surgery, rubbing this on my neck and shoulders was a highlight of my morning.

- Advice. I couldn't see my incision and Neil couldn't deal with the pressure of deciding what looked "ok" so having nursing friends available for simple questions and spot checks was great.

- Pillow. Before surgery, Neil had his favorite T-shirt made into a small pillow for me. It was the perfect size for bringing to the hospital. It was a great for additional neck support. Plus it was so perfectly sentimental (and I was a swooning sentimental mess at the time.)

CLOTHES: I would have never guessed getting clothes would be important in my recovery time but having that new comfy item to wear really did make me feel better.

- Sweats. The gold standard. My easy, cozy, all the time wardrobe. I got everyday gray pants and basic t-shirts and some thoughtful hooded shirts (to cover up my neck). I also got a blue zip-up made from Alternative Earth, the softest cotton material in this world. I wear it almost every single day (still).

- Robe. It was summer so getting a soft, breezy robe was perfect. I took this to the hospital and it appropriately covered my backside while I walked the halls. When I was home, I could wear this and look presentable for visitors, while still laying around.

- Travel Bag. Okay so this isn't technically clothes, but its pictured above and its worth a shout out. I got this incredible travel bag from my mom on my birthday (shortly before surgery). Her intent was for me to pack what I needed for the hospital stay - knowing that soon I'd feel better and I'd be packing this bag for weekend trips with Neil. We are headed to Louisville in a week and as I pull this out, it will feel so good to remember how far I've come (not to mention its a fabulous bag)! *note Lo and Sons is a family owned company, and when they heard my story, they gave my mom a discount on the bag along with a really sweet note! That's unheard of these days!!

- Dress Up. After spending all my days in sweats (again, thank God for those!), there were times when I wanted to look better than I felt. There were days of doctor follow-ups when I still wasn't ready for "society pants" that button, but I was in the mood to look nice. My two favorite things to wear were a long cotton skirt and an activewear dress. The skirt made me feel like I was still in sweat pants but look like I had my sh*t together. The dress, oh man the dress. The women in Neil's family got this Lole dress for me and it has become my staple. It is from this website - which boasts 'activewear' clothing (which means it can look fancy but can even be worn exercising). Its wrinkle resistant and incredibly comfortable. I wore it when stuck on the couch. I wore it when we went out to eat for the first time. I've worn it to birthday parties and baby showers. And it will be my standard traveling outfit forever more!

SPLURGES: Like the clothing, technically these things weren't necessary for my recovery, but they sure did make a girl feel great!

- iTunes Gift Card. When I would take my walks each day, I began wearing my ipod and the music helped me pass the time. Getting this gift card was so fun because I really got to treat myself. I would contemplate which album to buy next and the soundtracks now remind me of an important time in my life.

- American Express Gift Card. We were so thankful for this for similar reasons as the itunes card. After spending all day (and night) consumed by our needs (physical and otherwise), it was such a joy to discuss our wants. We used this card to gift ourselves with something we would have never bought on our own and it was a blast to decide what to buy. We ended up with a TV stand (which sounds boring, but if you saw the rickety coffee table that used to be our TV stand, you'd understand why it was so delightful to change things up).

- Porch Furniture and Pillows. This bonus gift ended up becoming a life saver. When I was tired after walks, I could sit down and recover. When I was sick of being inside, I could comfortably breathe fresh air. It was the perfect change of scenery for me and now that I feel better, I can't wait to spend healthy days on the porch with our dog.

- Books and Movies. My dear friends, who know me so well, lent me a ton of books over this time period. I loved these hand picked items. I loved taking quiet time to read (or, in the beginning, having Neil read to me). I loved feeling connected with friends. I especially loved the escape of a good book.

SUPPORT: this is by far the most important one.

- Cards. Notes. Email. Calls. Texts. Comments. I never appreciated the power of these things until I found I NEEDED them. I had more than one day that dissolved into tears where I would tell Neil "I honestly don't think I'm strong enough." and without fail, I would get a text or a card that suggested otherwise. Sometimes it was just a funny picture and sometimes it was a long written sentiment - every time it helped tremendously. I would read and re-read my cards every single day. Without fail, I would begin to cry with thankfulness and comfort and joy. I never felt so loved and so well cared for.

Here's a get well card from a group of prisoners who were praying for me.
(beyond amazing, right?)

So that's my comprehensive list. I'm sure I forgot some things. Feel free to add to this with your own recovery care kit items.

I hope you never find the need to get these things for your loved ones - but in case you do, I hope this post helps. At the very least, for those of you reading this that had such a big hand in my healing - I hope you know how grateful I am.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Madly Dashing

This past weekend a group of energetic and lovely people ran a race in North Park...

Every month we have the habit of meeting in early morning to run our butts off then eat pancakes. This month's venture was the "March Mad Dash" a 5k, 5 Mile, and 10 Mile race.

Last year I ran the 5 mile in 48:47 (and Neil placed). This year, I went with the 5K seeing as it was my first time racing since the surgery.

I had no idea what my speed would be. Every single run I take is with the dog, and stopping to sniff every tree really messes with one's sense of timing. I told Neil that I would aim for a 10 minute mile, but I felt nervous to meet even that goal. I felt especially nervous about how I would feel.

I set out and things were good. I slipped past person after person. I climbed hills and my head felt fine. In the absence of pain, I noticed my breathing and the course and the people around me. I didn't have to walk to bring my heart rate down and relieve pressure and I didn't have to spike with pain after a mile.

I would check my time and think "wow this is fast. I should slow down so I don't start to hurt," but the hurt never came. And friends, get this, I finished under my goal of 31 minutes. In fact, after well over a year of trying to break that 9 minute mile mark, I sailed across that too. 

My final time was 27:02! (which calculates to an 8:42 min/mile)

I dashed across the finish and lept and hooted and hollered and even then I felt no pain. I wanted to kiss everyone on the face. So often I've heard of a 'runner's high', and now that's finally making sense. It must sound like I'm going on and on about this but I just can't express in enough ways how amazing it is to put in training miles and get subsequent results. Its so incredible for a race to feel fun and easy and not crippling. It's beyond my wildest dreams to end a race without the things going dark in my peripheral and my temples stabbing. After what felt like such an uphill struggle with everything running, on Saturday, I coasted down hill.

I even finished fast enough to watch Neil cross the finish line of his 5 mile at 35:05 (that's like a 7 minute mile folks!)

Despite his great time, he was even more happy for me. This joy might be rooted in the fact that I didn't snap at him during the early morning car ride, and I didn't cry at the finish, and I didn't make him escort me out of the noise and chaos to a place where I'd likely snap at him again. Nope, we both were happy and fine!

Is this how other people feel when they run? Is this what we have to look forward to? I could have never envisioned how madly great this would all be! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


My life has recently been full of any activities in which I can do somethings with my motor skills, but I have an unoccupied mind. So in the midst of cooking, packing, cleaning, and running - I'm happy to devote tons of time to podcasts. And I have to confess that the one I discovered just before surgery, has recently become an obsession:

Stuff You Should Know

This podcast is absolutely fascinating. It's funny and captivating and full of crazy facts. Actually, let me backtrack and explain it. Stuff You Should Know (SYSK, if you're feeling friendly) is a twice-weekly podcast that explores any topic in our universe. The hosts, Josh and Chuck, explain complex and odd things with surprising clarity and humor. Actually, let me just direct you to the website.

You can pick up any of the hundreds (actually over 500) of podcasts for free (free!!) on itunes. Or I just use the free podcast app on my phone.

Of course I'm drawn to "How Pizza Works", "How Beer Works", and "Coffee: The World's Drug of Choice" right off the bat.

But there are others that I didn't think would interest me, which have been so so good, like: "How Jet Lag Works", "How Meth Works", "How Daylight Savings Works", "How Cremation Works", "How McCarthyism Works", "What is Mountain Top Removal Mining", and "How Grow Houses Work", "

"How the Donner Party Worked" and "Why Ticks Suck" are both terrifying.

The one on hiccups is my favorite.

Lately, I find myself trying to divert conversation to accommodate my new knowledge. Its hard to work tips on outrunning an alligator into everyday discussions. Mostly I just want everyone to become as hooked on theses as I am and then we can get together and talk about flesh eating bacteria.

I should mention that SYSK is part of a larger program called "How Stuff Works" and within that there are many other informative podcast shows. The episodes from "Stuff You Should Have Learned in History Class" on Edgar Allen Poe and Van Gough are great.

Okay. that's my PSA. Do you already know and love SYSK? If so what are your favorites?

That's all. Now, I'm going to go back to learning about Saunas while I put picture frames into boxes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Big Announcement!

We've been keeping it somewhat of a secret but now it's officially official....we have a new addition to our family

ITS A...


Born: 1901
Size: 3 bedrooms
Weight: a lot

We did the very scary steps of signing our initials to the bottom of a quart of a million pages and we took a deep breath as our savings (which was built for this purpose) depleted. We felt the butterflies of making offers and countering and walking through a home inspection. We felt the joy of holding the paper in our arms.

Now, with the help of dear family, we can say we have a house. It feels both very real and very abstract. We don't actually move until the end of this month, but in every sense, its ours! From the roof shingles right down to the Pittsburgh Potty...

So I'll take just a second to gush about this property, since it's all I can think about. There's a front AND back porch! There's a fenced in yard (which means everything to me these cold mornings when I bundle up to take the dog out). There's a full basement - with a washer and dryer (what! no more laundrymat!?!?) There's a finished third floor. There's a big open kitchen. There's some minor face lift projects (hellooo wood panelling and drop ceiling) but we love that with a few upgrades, we can make it our own.

This is a house in a neighborhood we adore. We're blocks from our favorite people. We're next door to a library! We're super close to some of our favorite restaurants and coffee shops. Plus, Neil's bike to work is even easier.

More than anything, this is our place. For years moving was off the table for us, and now its as simple as a signature. We are literally building a future for ourselves that's brighter than we could have imagined.

I think its fitting that we move easter weekend. Its truly symbolic of our new start. I can't wait to pick up our keys and spend that first night in our new home (sleeping bags, dog bed, and a toothbrush). I can't wait to paint some cabinets and arrange some furniture and then have all of you (yes, all of you!) over to celebrate!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

welp, its monday

sometimes to get going on a monday is hard.

kind of like being two is hard.

or how ballet is hard.

here's a song to pick you up though...

We stumbled upon this band in a dive bar in Philly and it turns out they'll be in Pittsburgh this coming Saturday! Neil leans towards rock and I gravitate to blues... John the Conqueror is a great blend of both.

How wonderful that I can handle live music! And here's to the six days until that happens!

Any sleeper bands you love? Any songs you want to share for a rough monday morning?

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I must say I'm so excited for tonight's Oscars. Its my favorite of the awards shows and its always so much better when you have a group with which to judge everything.

With some chinese food and boxed wine (don't judge) and pj's and a filled in ballot, I will kick back and enjoy the show. My favorite parts are always the super excited people who win "lesser" awards (they show an unabashed joy and awe for the honor of winning). I also love the fun things people say on twitter. My least favorite parts are the musical numbers, both the forced one at the opening and the long instrumental ones throughout (during those parts I'll just zone out and eat cheese.)

I haven't seen nearly enough of the movies to have a strong opinion. In fact, with no other basis than "I'd like to hear her speech", I'll be cheering for J.Law. And for no other reason than "I liked the book", I'll root for Life of Pi or Les Mis.

If you're the kind of person that uses the winners to help decide which movies you'll put into your Netflix cue, here is a comprehensive guide to all the major movies. (it was written by my cousin Ryan who watched pretty much every single one - he is my number one authority on all things pop culture, so I trust his words.)

 Are you doing anything fun for the oscars? Did you see any great movies this year? Do you agree that there's no way Seth will do as well with the Oscars as Tina and Amy did with the Golden Globes? Why can't they just host every thing? In fact, I'd rather watch them giving commentary about the Oscars then view the actual show... lets make that happen!

Friday, February 22, 2013

6 Months!

Today is six whole months from my surgery! It feels like both a blink of an eye and an entire lifetime.

In that time I feel like life has catapulted forward. I went from struggling to walk a block to full on running. My most recent run was 5 miles at a 9:50 pace!

We got a dog that we love and adore. I have the ability to wake up in the morning and walk him, feed him, care for him. And our little over-attached shelter dog has finally become less anxious and more settled into life with us.

See how he no longer has to sit between my legs and the counter when I cook;
now he can handle laying an entire 2 feet away from me!

In that time I began volunteering and adding more to my schedule. When I'm watching a crying baby, I can take care of that baby. It doesn't compete with headaches. And each passing week I feel the things I've added are easier to accomplish, I have more energy, and I'm remembering what its like to get things done.

see... now we're unfazed by adorable crying babies.

In that time we took a weekend trip. Unlike any in the prior years, this one was so fully enjoyable. It was jam packed with activities (running, brunch, walking around town, fancy dinner, live music, late night speakeasy, etc, etc). Unlike all prior trips, I did not cry from pain. not during. not after. I was able to wake up on Monday and continue my week of activities. No bundle of days in bed paying the fun tax.



Of course the speakeasy had to be too dark to take a decent picture (otherwise you would see the hipster waiter and his suspenders)

Oh, and we have some very big news....another huge step was taken in these months. We began actively searching for a house, and just this week we found one! While things are still in the works, I feel confident that we'll be sharing pictures of our new home very soon! So what was once a dream is now a reality! (that's right -homeowners!!!!)

As for my health, things are going just beautifully...

My Headache
There are times where I have absolutely no pain in my head. (and it has yet to lose its wonder and amazement). Those times are more frequent and they last longer. When I do get a headache it has a different quality than my past head pain. When I do get a headache, I can handle it because I know it will end. I will get a break, if not today, tomorrow. That kind of hope (or rather, assurance) changes everything.

My Neck
I still feel quite achy in my neck and shoulders. Its worse in the morning and by afternoon I'm usually loosen up and don't have body pain (unless the freezing cold messes with me). I was told this is to be expected and honestly it improves with each passing week.

My Other Symptoms
I have seen a great difference in my other concussion symptoms. Its no big surprise that getting some sleep and relief from pain has helped my head feel more clear. I can access memories faster. I can block out background noise better. I can focus for longer periods of time. All of this makes me feel that a career in nursing can once again become an option for me (of course I'll still stay away from high stress areas like the emergency department)

So there you have the happy highlights from these last six months. I feel so blessed because I can dream about the next six, knowing that I'll feel well enough to make those dreams come true. I can say "we'll move into a home", and "I'll begin working" and it doesn't have that melancholy distant feeling of "if only" - its very real. In every way, I have a future again (and the present is pretty great as well).

I can't thank you enough for all of your continued support and love and kindness and prayers. These days its gratitude, and not pain, that brings tears to my eyes.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Racing Forward

Yesterday I signed up for my 4th (FOURTH!) official race. That's four times I'll wake up on a weekend before its socially acceptable. That's four times I'll look over a course map and plan out my post run meal. That's four times I'll feel the thrill of meeting my goals despite all the difficult days to get there. That's four times I'll finish my distance without crying in pain. I'm ready to go!

Just in case you want to huff and puff along with us, here's the breakdown. (I mean it, join us and register! its such a thrill when you click "confirm")

March 9th in Pittsburgh, PA (North Park Boat House): "March Mad Dash 10M, 5M, and 5K" I'm running the 5K and Neil is doing the 5M. We ran this last year so I look forward to meeting up with friends and facing it again!

March 23rd in Louisville, KY: "Rodes City Run 10K" This little leg stretcher will be the perfect addition to a basketball watching marathon

May 5th in Pittsburgh, PA: "Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon" I get to be a part of the Marathon Relay with my wonderful group of book club girls. My leg of the race (6.1 miles) even ends at the bottom of my street! If Neil weren't running with me for moral support, I'd have him waiting for me with a coffee.

May 25th in Chicago, IL: "Soldier Field 10 Mile" We get to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our friend's restaurant openings on the same weekend we run along lake shore drive and finish on Soldier Field's 50 yard line (oh and we get to see little Theo, the coolest newborn in Chi City)!

We also have an exciting trip planned to Colorado in August for a wedding and we are scheming on ways to sneak over to West Virginia at some point. That would bump our 50 in 50 by 50 goal from 9 states to 13 states!

Its been so wonderful to lace up my sneakers and run these last two months... and that's just doing my little jaunts with the dog and training miles, imagine when I do a race again! I think I may be watering the seeds of an addiction here.

That confession aside, any one have any race suggestions? Are you running anything fun this year? What's your favorite Pittsburgh race? And seriously, I can't be the only one out there with open window browsers of 'running in the usa', 'google maps', 'ical' calender, and 'great US breweries' - while obsessively planning out trips. right? someone? anyone?

Thursday, February 14, 2013


People have a lot of mixed feelings about Valentines Day (according to an official poll of facebook messages), but I have to confess that I love it! I always have. My sister has the motto "in life, celebrate as many things as you can." So I go all in for holidays - flag day, arbor day, etc. I just want a reason to be happy.

This year is the first year Neil and I can't celebrate by watching Pitt play WVU (booo). But I have my lucky stars to thank because its also the year Die Hard 5 comes out! Hats off to my Dad's Christmas gift - a movie gift card for this purpose. What foresight and knowledge of my loves! (he even got us a gift card for the restaurant across the street - to make our valentines day complete!)
Yippie Ki V-Day!!

So if this is not a joyful day for you, maybe you have a chocolate allergy and a blah girlfriend, I understand and you're not alone.

In fact, here's our bracket club series results for the top 64 break-up songs - even if we all dislike the fact that Phil Collins didn't win.

*Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt's first wife and mother died on the same day, in the same house, on Feb 14th 1884?!?* So I'll also add, it could be worse.

There's a lot of love out there - romantic and otherwise - so maybe its a great day to dig deep and share it. Considering all the people that have been so amazing to me this year, my list of Valentines is just endless. I love you all quite a lot.
Its true.

I didn't get things together to send personal cards but please accept the following as tokens of my adoration (and thanks to the facebook friends that post links I can shamelessly reuse)...

As always, Puritan humor cracks me up

These kid's honest valentines are even funnier.

Of course I can't forget to say "a Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day to us all!"

My personal favorite (Go Pens!)...

and here's the best one from last year. Love Yinz!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I grew up catholic and respectfully moved towards another church in my adult life. I still like a catholic mass now and again. I still love me a good fish fry. I still do something for lent. Maybe I'm double dipping my faith, but it makes sense to me.

Most years I try to add something beneficial to the 40 days, instead of giving something up. This year I have more time and more energy, so I chose several things...

1. Give up dessert. I don't eat a TON of sweets, but I do what I can. This seems as good a time as any exercise a little will power. Of course, with that in mind, I reveled in an all ice cream dinner last night.

What up Fat Tuesday!

2. Run (at least) a mile a day. There's a dedicated group of people who've long been a member of the RAMAD club. I'm just hoping on board for 40 days. I figure if I can enjoy going out even in the icy blistering cold, I can lace up through spring.

3. Read a chapter of the bible every day. Of all the things I do through my day that express my faith, this is one I let slip. Can't say why that's the case, but I can feel certain that this will end up being much less of a chore or check list and much more of a blessing.

As I run, as I read, and as I practice some restraint - I hope to keep my focus on what lent is about. I hope to hone in on the aspect of "self-examination and self-denial in preparation for Easter."

Do you do anything for lent? Have you found any great benefit from this practice in the past? My wonderful cousin once hand wrote a letter a day for the entirety of lent. Isn't that just wonderful? 

Monday, February 11, 2013

unexpected joys

I could tell you a whole list of all the things in life that get better when you don't have constant pain. If I think about it, everything, absolutely everything has improved. However, lately I've found myself reveling in a few small unexpected joys....

I used to dread getting into the shower. Something about the heat and steam and standing in place with my eyes closed that would make me feel terrible. I'd often get so woozy I'd have to sit down mid-way and get my bearings. NOW I don't get that sick, dizzy feeling. I can hop in and out quickly, or I can go for long and leisurely. Plus, I can get ready with plenty of time since I don't need to lay down in a bathrobe afterwards. So fear not for how dirty I used to be, I'm squeaky clean these days.

I would always be able to somewhat prep myself for fun weekends, but I was never prepared for how I'd feel when I got home. I would crash and crash hard. I would need four days to recover from one great night. I would come home from a trip and not get out of bed for a looong time, leaving tasks undone for weeks. NOW I have experienced the surprise delight in coming home from a action filled weekend, and unpacking immediately. Being able to walk in the door and face even the simplest task is such a vast improvement over crying in a dark room that I find I love it.

I used to wake up so very many times each night. I used to dread bedtime because I knew all the day's distractors would be gone and I'd just lay awake with my pain. I knew I'd somehow made it through a day and now I'd have to start all over again. Add to it, the background music to every bad night was my darling husband's snoring. Often he'd be so loud he'd wake himself up... then fall asleep, snoring again in under 2 minutes. How? How does he sleep so fast and easily?!?! It would drive me crazy! That was then, NOW I have two log sawing guys (yes, its true, Dixon snores), yet these days I'm not heavyhearted at bedtime. I lay down knowing I'll find sleep and wake up in the morning rested. So I curl up and listen to two sets of overlapping snores, and for some reason I love it. It gives me a sense of feeling grounded and at peace. I have the assurance that they are right there. And then I quickly drift to sleep.

Thats just the tip of the iceberg when it comes new surprising joys. Of course its easy to find new adoration for date nights and sporting events. Its a whole other sense of amazement to enjoy doing the dishes, waking up early on the weekend, running (even when its less than 10 degrees), grocery shopping, making coffee at the start my day, and sitting in traffic - just to name a few.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

a vacation day

Well, its been a minute since I've posted. Sorry for any delay (those of you faithful readers, still checking in) - I can gladly assure you, my silence has been because of only good things in my life.

A few weeks ago I had a decadent two hour lunch at a french cafe, Paris 66. I sipped coffee and nibbled at the bastille galette and typed Neil's book. On the heated terrace, with my macaroon dessert, I didn't feel any pain.

When I confessed to Neil how I spent my indulgent afternoon, he said "it sounds like for the first time in years you had a 'vacation day' not a 'sick day'!" He couldn't have been more accurate and I couldn't be happier to move into a new phase in my life. Sure some days (or just parts of days) still feel like sick days, but I'm changing up that ratio with each passing week.

Not wanting to squander good feelings, I've been filling my schedule to the max of what I can handle. I started volunteering with a hospice organization. I babysit my beautiful god daughter. I walk some dogs for a friend. I keep a running schedule with daily work outs. I even clean the house here and there. (I know that may seem the bare minimum to you go-getters, but it really is a great deal more than what I used to do)

By the time I'm home for the evening, have walked the dog, and worked on dinner, I'm so wiped I can't begin to think of a post. Wow, hear that friends, I sound like a normal busy american again! So as I find a balance between doing more and resting some, I hope to add "posting more" to my days.

Also (and I realize this is a silly excuse), sometimes I sit down in the recliner and Dixon hops into my lap and my computer is juuust out of reach. Of course, I can never bare to wake the spoiled pup.

oh distractions.... where was I?...

This weekend we head out on the mega bus to visit some dear friends. Its the first time in AGES that I look forward to a trip in its fullness. This is the first time in so very long that I don't need to juggle happiness at the expense of how it will make me hurt.

Its a true Vacation Weekend!

And on Monday, instead of crashing, I'll go back to keeping busy... and hopefully sharing pictures of our dog (whether you ask for them or not)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

new year, new start

There is something wonderful about the first few weeks of January... it feels as though anything is possible. We can chat about this year's trips, work on new projects, form ideas about how we'll drastically change the world, catch the Biggest Loser premier, etc.

I especially love that you can feel as though you've reset the counter. No matter how the prior year happened to play out, you can shake it off and a begin again.

I recognize that this can be done any ol' date. I recognize that this is a lot like grace. Maybe I'd benefit from taking on that mindset much more often than once every 12 months.

Speaking of grace in the new year, here's a story for you...

We recently spent the entire morning running around. It was into the afternoon when we stopped at the pet store for errands. Maybe buying food for Dixon was the trigger, because we simultaneously remembered that we forgot to feed the dog. My first thought was "oh no, I hope he's not mad at us!" my second thought was "oh come on, Of course not! He's a dog not a person."

So we buy the food and (as a treat) we find a dog bed on sale and head home to feed the pooch.

We walk in to discover the mat in his cage has been shredded to pieces. We also find a dog that would not look us in the eyes.

(just cause you hide under the bed, doesn't mean we can't see you)

So now do we immediately give this bad dog his new bed? Was it just a little bit our fault for leaving a hungry puppy? Is it bad that we said "yes" to both of those questions?

Here you go pup. I'm sure you've learned nothing, but we can't help but give you a new start again and again... whether you deserve it or not. Its January, we'll all receive the same.