Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

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Check this out

January 15, 2014

Googling “decluttering” or “home organization” yields a mind-boggling number of results with very few novel concepts.

A comment on a post on Apartment Therapy had a link to a post on Zen Habits which led me to click on the author’s bio which listed his other blog.

Follow me? ūüėČ

mnmlist is blowing my mind.

When you aren’t up to your eyeballs with OMGWTFSTUFF!!!!!!! you don’t need to organize. When you learn to honestly assess your needs vs. wants and be happy with enough you can quit the Googling about things you don’t need – like decluttering and organizing your home.

May seem like a big fat DUH … but if that’s your response you’re probably not thinking deeply enough.

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What a difference a day makes

April 25, 2013

Yesterday I did not have anyone to record Chloe being the biggest drama llama ever. She ran herself around on the lunge line for close to an hour, screaming her head off. We did end lovely and relaxed but drenched with sweat.

I hoped today she’d come around to her senses a little quicker – and she sure did!

It's hard not to be a drama llama! Someone has to be on guard!

It’s hard not to be a drama llama! Someone has to be on alert! (I am the one on alert, Chloe – you just chill!)

Snuggles make everything better

Snuggles make everything better. Perhaps it’s ok to not be zombie patrolling all the time.

Relaxed and straight - SUCCESS!

Relaxed and straight – SUCCESS!

Chloe learned right away that it’s much nicer to just¬†relax and stretch and get lots of “Good Girl!!” I have no worries about this one… in a few more rides we can actually work on real dressage work. Once we have this chillaxing thing down-pat ūüėÄ

And then FINALLY I got my Magic out – and of course he was lovely and sensible and just the coolest horse EVER.

Forward and into the contact - can ask for much more from a baby!

Forward and into the contact – can’t ask for much more from a baby!

And, more importantly, Magic is officially a family horse. He did not disappoint!

The 6'2" Husband looks right at home on the 15.2hh Dark Horse... :D

The 6’2″ Husband looks right at home on the 15.2h horse.

Clearly, Magic was not too concerned about The Husband’s less than centered seat ūüėČ We’ll work on that another day.

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Two weeks

April 18, 2013

The state of affairs summed up in one picture:

image

Thank you Kitty, Hoyt, Scott and Molly… I owe you all forever…

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Weekend Update

April 15, 2013

To say this weekend was busy would be an understatement.

Friday night was date night. Just me, my husband, two friends and four thousand rowdy hockey fans. We hoped our beloved San Francisco Bulls would stay alive in the playoffs in their inaugural season… but it didn’t happen. We still had fun – and GO BULLS next year!

Next weekend I am running in my first ever race. It’s a 5k but I’m not smart and starting off with just a plain 5k – I’m going a trails challenge. Why? I have NO IDEA. I blame Janette ūüėČ

So I got up bright and early for my long run. I intended to run four miles. I was positive¬†that Lake Merced was 4 miles around, on the dot, if I didn’t take the short-cut bridge. Whoopsie – it was almost 5.

I survived. Barely.

I survived. Barely.

The Husband picked me up and we headed out to breakfast.

Ok - that really looks good despite all the animal inconvenience.

Ok – that really looks good despite all the animal inconvenience.

Then we met Ronda and Richard for a double-date at the driving range. We are a funsome foursome, for sure!

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After lunch I took The Husband back home so he could watch MOAR¬†HOCKEYS and nap before his graveyard shift – then I headed to the barn with Jess. It’s so great – she has a great interest in learning the training part of riding and wanted to be my shadow at the barn. She’s the very best kind of sponge and I get to raise a mini-me that will allow me to take a weekend off with my family and know that my horses are under her loving guidance ūüėÄ

Magic continued to blow me away.

After that full day it’s really no surprise I was out cold by 9p ūüėČ

Sunday was a slightly later start. I stopped in Vacaville and took my hand-me-down Tony Slatter¬†dressage saddle (it’s brown!) to a saddle maker to be restuffed¬†and repaired. I had decided I only wanted to put $300 into it – otherwise I’d just buy a used Wintec. The lovely man talked some sense into me. Spend $600 for a used Wintec¬†that has 10 years in it – or put $600 into a saddle that’s got 30 years left in it. Ok – fine. I will be the proud owner of a totally rebuilt and classic BROWN saddle in 6-8 weeks. (The thought of a brown saddle on my sable brown gelding – or chestnut mare – is totally swoonable!)

After picking up Haley I went back to the barn. Molly was aghast – she said Magic’s #4 ride looked more like #45. I think I agree!

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH5WUD5X5uc]

We are actually doing straight lines! And circles! And even some leg-yielding at the walk! Oh – and STANDING QUIETLY!!

I am convinced he’s pretty¬†much a super-genius super-athlete!! ūüėÄ

Then Jess got on – and he was totally unfazed by a change in rider. I schooled the Pones¬†some¬†and we all went out for a ride around the roads at the barn. You can see – he’s one of those totally crazy OTTBs – totally unsafe at any speed¬†ūüėČ

IMG_20130414_173448_272

Who’s more laid back? The OTTB or the Paint? I think it’s a toss-up!
(I know it was NOT the pony I was on! ūüėČ )

Yes – I am 100% positive this horse – a winning race horse – is going to be the poster child for life after the track.

Also – my life is goooooooood.

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Pinch me

April 11, 2013

I must be dreaming. The Husband asked to go to the barn. ASKED. Well, The Pony is pretty much his favorite pet but he wanted to spend time with me Рand the ponies. (SQUEEEEEEE!!!)

ANY WAY… he wanted to be sure I could get on Magic today and I felt like I still needed the option to have someone there to lunge me. He’s good that way…

Magic is pretty much the greatest green Off The Track Thoroughbred EVER. I’m not sure I’ve ever ridden a horse that so desperately wants me to be happy! He¬†tries.

So, after a 5 minute twirl around on the lunge line I just got on and went. And it went wellllll.

Please keep in mind this was his second ride…

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J0CAg_s4Uk&feature=youtu.be”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J0CAg_s4Uk&feature=youtu.be%5D

So steering still needs some work – but “round” will not be a problem for him at all! ¬†Also, at the walk to the right I thought he felt more like a drunken sailor but at the trot he was already listening to my inside leg and staying on the rail.

I was a good baby!!

I was a good baby!!

And while I was riding, The Husband and The Pony were enjoying each other’s company.

OMG they are adorable

OMG they are adorable

So after a successful ride in the outdoor arena without a lunge line or a lead, we headed out for a walk on the roads. He was perfect. We walked on the buckle and were all smiles… We were having so much fun that we got super brave and we decided to do a bit of work on the grass jumping court!

IMG_0167

The picture of relaxation – OUTSIDE!

The REAL subject of the photographer's eye ;-)

The REAL subject of the photographer’s eye ūüėČ

(zoom in to see Magic being amazing)

And then the BEST part of the afternoon…. SCOTT JUMPED FIONA!!!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWVw-lSKX5o&feature=youtu.be%5D

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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Sweet freedom

April 10, 2013

Magic is one happy little camper. He’s been released from quarantine and is a happy resident of the boys’ pasture.

IMG_0136

Bodie doing what Bodie loves to do: bite butts. Hopefully Magic will kick him in the face!

After a week of rain, this sun and wind is drying up the mud in short order!

I was a little worried that Magic would hate me. I stuck him in a terrible stall and made him work, after all. My fears were unwarranted – as soon as he heard me call him he knickered¬†and trotted right up to me. I am going to assume that’s because he loooooooves me and not just because he’s a darling, social little horse. ūüėČ

Just to reinforce that I do, indeed, love him to bits and I’m not just a big meanie who locked him in a cave – I just took him out for grooming and a bucket.

I brought Fiona out for the same and whilst admiring my gorgeous equine family it hit me…

I like big butts, and I cannot lie.

Seriously – look at those asses!

Wide Load 1 and Wide Load 2

Wide Load 1 and Wide Load 2

Dat ass! It’s made for flying over fences – high and fast!

I’m sure it’s some subliminal compensation for my own fatassitude. At Kitty’s suggestion I am founding Feed the Sandbags International where big bottomed creatures of all species can gather… and¬†EAT! ūüėÄ

I could stare at this horse all day long.

I could stare at this horse all day long.
(even if he does knock my phone in the dirt)

Can you tell that my barn life is very good right now? Thanks to my amazing family, my home life is even better! They have been SAINTS about not having dinner on the table and me being good for almost nothing other than offsetting some of the horse expense with a paycheck and creating laundry. So. Much. Laundry.

As good as things are, they are going to get even better… When The Husband lovingly put his foot down and told me that I was only “allowed” to ride for myself and follow my passion all kinds of good karma came rushing my way. Mostly in the form of HORSES!

In about 10 days, the equine family will grow to THREE! Eeeek! OMG! and YAY!!¬†Anyone looking for a nice little dressage mare should look me up… I’ll have a beaut for sale shortly!

IMG_20130409_171722_472

The new girl.

And again… because I really can’t do it too much… THANK YOU to The Husband and to The Child for loving me and supporting me and allowing me to do this thing that makes me so incredibly happy. Without you two, I am nothing.

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Pony playdate

April 1, 2013

The Child and I spent yesterday afternoon playing ponies with our dear friend, Erin. It was time well spent.

Also… if you want to learn to ride – ERIN IS THE BEST!

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Single pics below…

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Washington weekend

March 1, 2013

(It’s taking me far too long to get this posted, so I’m just posting pics!)

This last weekend I got to spend some seriously good time with two of my favorite girlfriends. Food, dogs, horses and lots of conversations about life and horses… yeah, it was pretty much heaven.¬†Oh, and then there was a tack swap from which I scored about $1,100 worth of tack for a measly $177. Yeah… HEAVEN.

Kelly and Kalisa… THANK YOU.

and thank you to Kalisa’s teenage girls who suffered through us out-teenager-ing them!¬†yes, there were giggle-fests and unladylike behavior!¬†ūüėÄ

* Please forgive about half of these pics… My point-and-shoot camera is pretty much a POS.¬†

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Scott’s forty-somethingish birthday

February 18, 2013

For Scott’s birthday I took him on a little trip down south: San Luis Obispo for lunch and diving off Anacapa Island on Saturday.

Except for Scott rupturing his ear drum, we had a BLAST. Then again, we always do. We play well together.

Happy birthday, Baby… I love you so much!

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The Husband and I met and live in San Francisco – and we love it – but there’s something about the weather, the devastating sunrises and sunsets, the real coastal living and the proximity to family who needs us closer… I feel like we’ll be landing there full-time in the future.

Individual pics…

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Pony Projects

February 13, 2013

My name is Emily, and I am a horse flipper. 

Not really – but I am super lucky in that I’ve accidentally stumbled on a pony project that makes me very happy…¬†Helping to resell very nice horses to very nice people.

I took the baby boy, Zanzibar, to his first show¬†on a Sunday and listed him for sale two days later.¬†¬†The next week¬†he belonged to someone else.¬†It was meant to be and I couldn’t have dreamed for a better home.

I delivered him to his new mom, Joan, on Saturday. He walked out of the trailer and into her happy arms as if he was always hers.

zan and joan

zan

Then I hurried back to the barn and found my new project, Spike, waiting for me.

Spike

He’s certainly a lovely mover and is wowing everyone¬†at the barn.¬†There is a trainer who has already expressed interest in him, is actively looking, and is going to try him next week.

He’s been out of work for a while so I’ll take him slowly. I’m not going to think about selling him for at least a month (except the trainer trial next week – I’d be stupid to put her off.)¬†I am, however, signing him up for his first show in March ūüėÄ

clermont

Have I shown you how lucky I am –¬†where I ride? It is pretty fantastic!

My horses live in an actual pasture but I have a gorgeous indoor arena to ride in at night. The horses there are happy and well cared for and the owners, trainers and boarders are all pretty much wonderful.

Also… you know what the BEST. MEAL. EVER. is after coming home from the barn and being cold and tired?

tots

TATER TOTS!

And they’re even kind of fantastically healthy when you smother them in garlic saut√©ed¬†kale, refried¬†black beans, enchilada sauce, a little Daiya cheese, diced yellow and orange peppers, and onions.

You’re welcome ūüėÄ

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Things

January 18, 2013

less

Ironically, I find I am happier when I have less…

Have you ever noticed how your possessions and your habits become you?¬† They become insidious life-snatchers until you are your wardrobe, your brand new car, your fine taste in single malt Scotch.¬†Or worse… you are that pile of clutter in your bedroom, your debts, your dead-end job.

Periodically life brings to my attention that my shit has gotten out of control – or more specifically, my shit’s gotten control of me. I kicked off the new year by taking inventory of what is important but yesterday I was reminded that it’s not an inventory, it’s life.

There is a lovely, lovely woman in my office who is a few years younger than me. She is smart as a whip and sweet as can be. She just returned from maternity leave and is the most devoted mother to her 3 month old and 3-year-old daughters. She is successful at work and a genuinely nice person. Her 35-year-old husband died yesterday Рmost likely a heart attack.

If that doesn’t make you really sit back and think about not only what is important –¬†but also ask yourself, “what am I doing about that??” – I don’t know what will.

If today were your last day of life as you know it Рwas it good? 

Did it fulfill your vision of a good life?

I love my family. The very best days are days spent having fun with two of the sweetest and funniest people I know – the two people I live with. No one plays together like we play together – whether it’s roller coasters, traveling or skiing. We genuinely enjoy being around each other.

The daily grind is a serious damper on fun and I will admit that I am the most susceptible to stress in the house. If it’s not fun, I can be difficult to be around. I am “intense”, rigid and painfully direct when I am not on vacation mode. I know this must suck for my family and I can only hope that they know that it really comes from a place of “ohmygod I just want to be having fun with them!!!” I am annoyed with life, not them, but I don’t think they know that.

Less is More

This is my new mantra. I promise myself that I will say this before I shoot off my mouth. 

… Because if today was the last day of life as they know it, would I really want to be Dragon Lady stressed over the clutter pile? Or would I want to be Loving Wife and Mother?

Servicing the things in my life causes me stress. The only two things that are really important are named Scott and Haley. Well, and Lucas and Fiona.

This weekend is going to be busy with the horse show – but I plan on taking advantage of the extra day off to see some City sights and divest myself of some things…

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Another year has gone by?

December 31, 2012

Logging in here I realized that the last time I posted was 364 days ago. How did that happen??

Well, it happens when you lack focus.¬† 2012 was another great year for us –¬†full of travel and visiting family and quality play time for our family.¬† We are all healthy, enjoy good jobs, have great people and animals in our lives and live in a beautiful house.

Yet… we totally lack intention.

This was brought to my attention in October by The Husband.¬† I spent all of 2012 very very involved in horse activity.¬† It seemed like¬†every free minute I had (and a whole lot of minutes taken¬†from my family) were spent in horse-related activities.¬† Ironically, this made me very stressed and unhappy.¬† Thankfully I hitched my wagon to a bright little star that said, “honey… what does this have to do with dressage?”¬†

* Light Bulb Moment *

I was spending so much time around horses and horse people – but none of it had anything to do with my passion.¬† The Husband told me that he only cared that I was happy and I didn’t need to spend so much time trying to make other people happy.¬† He freed me of my perceived obligation to make the horses pay for themselves, I registered as an amateur for the first time in my adult life and I can’t wait to get out to the barn¬†every day again.¬† Now that I have pared down all my horse obligations to just ME + DRESSAGE (or maybe eventing, I am contemplating a sport change!) lots of new opportunities have come my way that will help me further my riding goals and help me fulfill my¬†complimentary passion, re-careering ex race horses.

It’s amazing what can come out of refocusing.

In the spirit of refocusing and living more intentionally I am hoping to live a life less obligated and more gratifying.  The things that are important to me are:

  • FAMILY:¬† time spent with family is never wasted
  • TRAVEL:¬† adventures are the lifeblood of our family
  • HEALTH:¬† without it, we have nothing
  • HOME:¬† fewer things, more beauty
  • HORSES:¬† still my greatest source of life lessons and inspiration
  • INTENTION:¬† great things do not happen by accident and to achieve the above we must plan and leave less to chance

I will be blogging this year about the steps we take to keep these things top of mind at all times.¬† In order to travel more, decorate better, compete again and be healthier we will have to engage in some behavior modification – which should provide for good blog fodder. ūüôā

I wish you all a very happy 2013!

us

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Well, hello there, 2012!

January 2, 2012

Unlike a lot of people, it seems, 2011 was a pretty good year for me. ¬†I got married, I enjoyed full employment the entire year, and got healthy (lost 42 pounds and learned to kind of actually¬†like exercise!). ¬†The only “trauma” my family suffered was our car going belly up – and the loss of our beloved ratties.

Considering I had no real beefs with 2011, I must say that 2012 is already off to a lovely start.

New Years Eve couldn’t have been better: ¬†sushi and an early night with The Husband.

After an EPIC 15 hours of sleep and I was ready to face the day! ¬†I sweated up a horse…

Caffeinated… (it was unusually warm, so a frosty coffee beverage was warranted)

Took the Lucas with me to play while I taught a lesson…

And then was off to pick up The Child after a week at her dad’s (yay! I miss her when she’s gone!)

I’d say that the first day of the new year was a pretty damn good day. ¬†While driving I turned off the radio and did some thinking about how I could turn this good first day of the year into a whole year of good days.

I won’t call these “resolutions” because that seems to inherently destine them for failure.

I want to make a concerted effort to be a better wife, mother and friend.  I think this comes down to communication.

  • I rely too heavily on Facebook to communicate with people.
  • I will overcome my aversion to the telephone. ¬†I need to reach out and have conversations with the people that I love and care about.
  • I need to think¬†before I speak. (duh) This is not something that comes naturally for me. ¬†I need to be more aware of how my words may be received.

I need to quit calling my sloth “me time”. ¬†It seems I always have so much to do, often for other people. ¬†Instead of better managing my time I burn out and end up just doing¬†nothing. ¬†It’s not really “rest” or “recharging” – it’s just being lazy. ¬†Days where I get stuff done (cleaning, organizing, errands) are the days where I actually feel like I have recharged. ¬†Marking things off my To-Do list make me feel infinitely better than sitting on my ass all day.

My life is really very good.  I want to remind myself every day to appreciate that we all have our health, a beautiful home, people who love us, good jobs and good grades.

2012 will indeed be a very good year.

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Love and marriage

August 3, 2011

Yesterday was our 1 month anniversay and today marks two years that we’ve been together.¬†

I am happy. I am content. And I am so grateful that we had a special day with out friends and family to celebrate.

I am also lucky to have had such amazing photographers. Candace and Kelly teamed up to deliver the best photos I have ever seen.  Check them out!

My life is blessed. Truly.

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These two…

June 24, 2011

… are super sneaky and super sweet.

The Child (and her grandmother) colluded with The Man, who bought me a freaking ridiculously awesome new camera!

I love them.

Look forward to UH-MAZE-ING pictures because I gots mad talent yo! (Well, I do in my own mind any way!)

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Showered

May 16, 2011

On Saturday some of my most favorite ladies in the world threw me a bridal shower. I know these types of affairs are supposed to be the start of stocking up the couple for their new life ahead, but being of the more “mature” variety of bride¬†it was really more about me feeling showered with love and good company.

My bridesmaids worked very hard to throw the nicest party.¬† Thanks especially to my Maid of Honor, Rachel, for an amazing effort; to Susan for providing her lovely home; to Marianne for coming all the way from Seattle; and to Haley for being such a big help and keeper of Rachel’s sanity!

There was quiche¬†and mimosas and red velvet cupcakes and fruit salad…

A ton of laughs and fun chit-chatting…. such a respectable ladies luncheon!

Then there was the making of wedding dresses out of toilet paper…. (yes, we saved it ALL so don’t look at me weird if you use our bathroom and there’s a huge¬†bag of wadded up TP next to the toilet! Just reach in a grab yourself a fist full¬†of wipeables!)

And the models were FIERCE (even as The Child’s train turned in to a mini-dress!)…

Of course, there were prezzies! (blush)

But best of all, there were beautiful ladies…

Well, maybe ladies isn’t entirely the right word ūüėČ

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“Unhappy People”

January 25, 2011

Words of wisdom from the dearly departed Jack LaLanne – may he rest in iron pumping, jack jumping peace.

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Creative license

December 3, 2010

I have always enjoyed drawing. When I was a little, tiny girl every free scrap of paper was soon filled with drawings of horses. Over time they got better and better and I even branched out to unicorns and pegasuses¬†(pegasi?). My parents were very good about encouraging me… they sent me to art class and I had a private art tutor for a while. Reading and drawing equids consumed most of my free time.

Then, without warning, a piano was delivered to the house and the TV was removed. Shortly thereafter, with a mouth full of braces, headgear and rubber bands, I was told I would also play the oboe. People in my family are incredibly gifted when it comes to music. I am not.

Struggling with piano and oboe took more and more of my time. My slow improvement was made all the more obvious by my brother’s apparent gift for guitar and sax. He excelled at technical drawing and my cutesy horses and landscapes seemed less and less a talent than a distraction.

In all fairness, my hard work and success riding horses was being encouraged and nurtured to the fullest extent by everyone in my family… I could not have asked for more unbridled (ha!) enthusiasm in that regard!

Over the years I have periodically carried a sketch book and pencils. Especially on vacations I like to really absorb myself in the surrounding landscape and capture it on paper.

But I don’t have that compulsion to express my creativity like some people who I admire greatly. I have neglected that part of myself to the point where I lack all confidence in expressing myself for beauty as opposed to function.

This blog started as entertainment for my mom and for Rachel as I dipped my toe in to expressing my creativity with my home. I am proud of what I achieved to that end. My apartment turned out beautifully and I gave my girls some laughs! I also met some really interesting, creative folks who were a great source of encouragement and motivation.

After a period of rest I am here again, and trying to reconnect to folks who are better nurturers of their creativity. Already I have discovered some new and beautiful forces.

Please visit the new additions to my Bloggy¬†Buddy links… many of them are craftspeople. Encourage them by being patrons of their art. Visit their shops… after all, it IS the holiday season. The things they make are much more interesting than what you may find mass-produced in a department store. The world is a better place because they create beautiful, unique¬†things.

It gives me great comfort to be spending time on creating beauty… something that I lose sight of when I don’t make an effort to surround myself with people who inspire me.

To my newfound Bloggy Buddies… welcome and thank you already!

p.s. photography has really been calling to me…. oh, my kingdom for a camera!

 

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Taking a moment

December 2, 2010

Last night was a whirlwind of wonderful! I could not ask for more fun and loving family and friends! It was certainly a birthday to remember.

This morning feels a bit like the last lull before the fun-storm that is about to consume my life. The next seven months are going to be non-stop.

It felt nice to be at my desk early, before anyone else was on the floor. I filled up my trusty Emily mug – a highschool graduation gift¬†from 1990¬†(ahem) – with piping hot Sumatra, and realized that this mug has been my “work cup” for every job I have held since 1992. (damnnnnn)

I even snuck a sliver off the leftover birthday cake I brought in for my co-workers. You wouldn’t believe how outrageously good it is!

The Breakfast of Champions and/or Newly 38 Year Olds

And tomorrow begins the whirlwind of…

  • Life
  • The Holiday Season and all its merriment
  • Christmas
  • New Years
  • MY MOM’S VISIT!!!
  • Scott’s birthday
  • Mom’s birthday
  • Opening Day at Wrigley Field
  • The Child’s end-of-school

… and…

THE WEDDING

I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself after we return from our honeymoon. Will we be able to submit to real life after?

That’s a lot to process, so I will go back to marvelling at my trusty Emily mug for a moment longer.

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38 is the new black

December 1, 2010

I am officially well on my way to 40. When I think of “38”¬† I think, “wow, really???” I don’t feel that old.

But then again, who said that’s old? (certainly not anyone older than 39! HA!) I don’t feel any different than I did at 26 even though I have a lot more gray and a lot more “character”.

37 was¬†a crazy, tumultuous year. It was pretty touch and go in the beginning but steadily got better up to its end, today. This morning when I woke up the first thought that entered my head was, “damn… what more could you need?”

I am madly in love…

I have the cutest family ever!..

Are you kidding? This is our dog?

The coolest house I’ve ever lived in…

What more could a girl ask for? Nothing!

But in addition to all this that is more than I deserve, I have the best¬†family and friends and horses and ratties and job… I could go on and on.

Thank you everyone for making my life so special! And it’s just going to get better and better because this summer will surely make 38 the BEST year… better than black ūüėČ

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