Thursday, December 31, 2009
I want to do a 2009 recap and initially considered going month-by-month, but I think it'll be easier to follow Classy in Philadelphia's lead and do more of a listing of the highs and lows of the year.
So, please come along with me as I share my year (in no particular order):
The Highs: My best friend, Jamie, moved back to Denver for a year-long position at The Denver Zoo (January); I officially ended a bad relationship with my less-than-stellar Ex, 2 months after the break-up (February); I visited my Baltimore Bestie, Corey, and her fiance, Matt, for the first time since their move in 2008 (April); My love for history and museums was nurtured with a trip to D.C. (April); I celebrated my one-year anniversary at my beloved job (December); I went to Virginia Beach with 3 wonderful friends (September); Family vacation to Mount Rushmore (May); I bought my first original piece of artwork (December); I celebrated my 23rd birthday with friends, family, dancing and happiness (June); Saw Wicked, and loved it (October); Played hookie in Vail for a day (September); Went hiking with Jamie (April); Lost weight and started living healthier (all year); Incredible visit from Corey and Matt (May); Dancing in Denver with Olivia and Jamie (March); Got a new car (January); Corey came out for a visit (August); Moved into my own apartment (July/August); Went to The Molly Brown House (November); Finally got rid of the Ex *fingers crossed* (December); Corey and Matt got engaged, and I was asked to be Corey's Maid of Honor (July); my parents provided unconditional love and support through everything (all year); Cirque du Soleil (August)...and sooo much more, I'm sure!
The Lows: My car was totaled in an accident (January); My friend Justin died suddenly of heart failure (July); One-year anniversary of the death of a good friend who was killed by a drunk driver (July); Extensive hail damage to my poor car (July); My grandfather passed away (September); Baby Jake died (December); I was unable to attend my grandfather's funeral and am still bothered by this (October); The Ex proved just what kind of person he truly is and refused to pay the $400 in back rent he owes me (April-July); My grandmother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and while it was successfully operated on, still greatly changed her life (November); Great-Aunt Dode passed away (December)...
The highs of 2009 certainly seem to outnumber the lows, but the lows this year were pretty intense. There was a lot of death, which is always heartbreaking, but I certainly think makes a person stronger. And, the numerous battles with the Ex, while being redundant and frustrating taught me a lot about myself and really showed me exactly what I will not stand for in a guy. To say that my standards have been raised is certainly an understatement. I found myself this year more than in any previous year, and for that I will always be grateful! Even though 2009 has not been one of my favorite years, it was a year of growth. I know just how much I've changed in the past year, and I know that it's been noticeable to my friends and family. I do not regret a single choice that I made in 2009, and to me that means it was a successful year. Nonetheless, I am very excited to see what 2010 has in store for me!
I hope everyone has a very Happy New Year and a safe and fun New Year's Eve!!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I just felt the need to share this lovely ee cummings poem with you all. You may recognize it from the end of the movie In Her Shoes...I love it. I think it's romantic, truthful, heartfelt and simply lovely; plus, ee cummings' poetry always fascinates me.
Please tell me your inner sappy romantic sighed just a touch at this...
Anyway, the idea of WITWW is to post a picture of you someplace in the world...it doesn't have to be somewhere foreign or tropical. Just a picture of you somewhere that you consider traveling.
April 2009 - Washington, DC with the bestie for the Cherry Blossom Festival
Monday, December 28, 2009
Christmas in my neck of the woods was low-key and relaxing; absolute perfection. I was off of work from the 23rd until today, so it was a nice chunk of time to just spend with friends and family. My best friend, Corey, and her fiance were in town for the holiday (as I mentioned...ok, raved about earlier) and it was wonderful to get to see them and spend time with them over the past week. I miss having her around and Matt is one of the craziest, funniest kids I know! There was a lot of laughter, which is always a lovely thing in my book!
Other than Corey and Matt, I spent most of my time with my parents. We always do Christmas just the 3 of us, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Obviously, having grown up with quiet, intimate Christmases, I don't know any different, but I also don't desire anything else...I like our little family tradition. My mom and I browsed the stores on Christmas Eve so we would know which places we wanted to hit on the day after Christmas. This is tradition! I was able to meet Corey and Matt for lunch so I could see them one final time before they headed south to see Matt's family and then back to Baltimore after the holidays. This good-bye wasn't as bad as others have been, probably because I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll be moving back in 6 months...and, I plan to fit in another East Coast visit between then and now. Following lunch, it was back to my parents' house for drinks and hors d'oeuvres with my Dad's best friend. Another tradition! Anyone seeing a theme here...? This lasted most of the evening and then it was time to wind down with some TV and a book and off to bed to anxiously await Santa's arrival!
Christmas started off with coffee and quiche-making, followed by mimosa's and presents! We went through stockings and started in on the gifts while the quiche was baking, took a little break to devour some deliciious quiche and then finished up round 2 of presents. I got everything I wanted and more, including (finally) a new winter coat! But, jewelry seemed to be the theme this year, both for my mom and for myself. And, my Dad surprised my mom and me with gift certificates to get manicures together; he can be so thoughtful! After presents, the 3 of us just lounged around, took our sweet time fitting in showers, and basically munched our way through the day. Dad cooked an amazing beef tenderloin for dinner and made hot fudge for dessert...yum! All in all, it was the perfect day!
The day after Christmas began early for Mom and I with stops at Pier 1 (they have the best after-Christmas deals and are rarely busy in the am), The Cupboard and Perennial Gardner/ Sense of Place (amazing local stores here in my town). Obviously, we fit in coffee and a scone while waiting for a couple of the stores to open up. Going shopping with my mom on the day after Christmas has been a tradition (there's that word again!) for as long as I can remember. We used to hit more stores and end the morning by going out to breakfast with my dad, but we've gotten more low-key over the past couple of years. I love being able to re-stock my gift stash at amazing prices, but I find I am more controlled in my purchases, which is a good thing. After the shopping, things went back to being low-key. Mom, Dad and I ate a little lunch, I headed back home where I cleaned and did a few things around the house, then I hit the gym and settled in with my book. 'Twas lovely!
And finally, the highlight of yesterday was seeing "Sherlock Holmes" with my parents. It was a great movie and I highly recommend it! I read the Sherlock Holmes books when I was younger and have always enjoyed the characters. The story kept me interested, I liked the way the movie was filmed and the cast was superb!
How were all of your Christmases?! I hope this holiday was as wonderful for you all as it was for me!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
And, an added bonus to Miracle on 34th Street is the most perfectly gorgeous traditional house at the very end...how can you not want to call that place your own?
In case I don't make it back to blogland before Christmas, I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas filled with laughter and surrounded by loved ones!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
(in Denver back in August)
After lots of airline drama, Corey and her wonderful fiance finally made it to Colorado around 4 am Saturday morning, and as of 11:30 she was all mine! I dragged her along on a few errands with me, took her by my parents' place because they love Corey as much as I do and then we went downtown to our favorite coffee place, Starry Night. This is where we used to spend every Monday after classes, just gossiping and chatting away with our closest girlfriends. I still miss those Monday coffees every single week. After sipping on hot chocolate and catching up for over an hour, we moved on to a little last-minute Christmas shopping and then it was pedicure time! Heck yes! Corey went with a lovely, festive reddish-pinkish color and I went with a dark purple...not exactly festive. but still fun. Pedicures are just kind of our thing. We always get them when she comes to town and it's something I look forward to splurging on with her.
(at Lucky Joe's)
Jamie made her appearance after the pedicures and it was just like old times again. After Christmas gifts were exchanged and clothes were changed we headed back downtown to hit up our very favorite spot: Lucky Joe's. Once again, another tradition. This is by far my favorite bar in town, plus it has great food and a lively atmosphere. We gorged ourselves, indulged in a couple drinks, continued with the constant chit-chat and eventually made our way back to my apartment...after a quick stop at the liquor store and Target, of course. Jeans were quickly exchanged for pjs, Jamie played bartender and created some lovely mixed drinks and we settled in to play Partini for the first time. Technically, this game is meant to be played with at least 4 players in order for teams to be established, but we tweaked the rules a tad and had a fabulous time! I highly recommend giving this game a go at your next get-together!
The night ended with a bottle of vodka downed, half a bottle of wine enjoyed, therapuetic tears shed (Jamie's nephew did just pass, and it's only been 4.5 months since we lost our mutual friend, Justin), laughter and reminiscing shared and that comforting sense of a "forever friendship".
Next to nothing beats time spent with these 2 amazing gals, and I cannot describe to you all just how happy I was to have my 2 best friends home again. They are the 2 people who know me best and I cannot imagine my life without them.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
As promised, I'm happy to report that last night's first book club gathering was a success! Despite no one in our group knowing the best way to structure the discussion, we delved right into everyone's thoughts and opinions on the book and then went from there. I think it was great! It was nice to hear everyone else's take on the characters, ending and story in general. There were mixed reviews on the book and a lot of insight into the motivation(s) behind the characters' actions. I'm already looking forward to our next get together! We're read The Language of Baklava this time and I can't wait to pick up a copy and start reading this weekend!
Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to Lisa for the amazing sangria she made and for hosting last night's book club. Each lady brought an appetizer and/or wine. All of the food was wonderful and you all know I never say no to a glass of wine. Like I said yesterday, good food, good wine and good company make for a lovely evening!
Now, I'm settling in with my blanket, pjs and the 2nd disc of Roar. I do so love (and miss) Heath Ledger!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Having never been a part of a book club (despite always wanting to join one), I'm not quite sure how tonight will go, but I'll let everyone know tomorrow. What I do know is that there will be good food, good wine and good company, so I'm sure it'll be a lovely evening.
I'm having a skinny day! I am not a super skinny person, so keep it in context, but I feel good, I look good, I'm well-dressed today and I like it! I've lost roughly 30 pounds in the last year or so, and I always love days when I actually feel like I've lost that weight. Hooray!
That being said, I'm not having a fantastic hair day. I really, really should've conditioned it this morning, but I thought I could go another day or two...apparently not. Oops! Rather than looking nice and soft, it's shouting, "see this frizz? This is from your unhealthy love of your hair dryer and curling iron!" In my defense, I have kind of fine hair that, when conditioned too often, becomes weighed down and limp. Nonetheless, I will obviously be conditioning my hair tomorrow morning and I'm sure we'll be back on good terms then.
I cannot wait for Saturday!! Corey (my Baltimore bestie), Jamie and I are finally getting to hang out! Corey and her fiance are flying into town Friday night and she and I are going to have a girls day on Saturday. This means pedicures...hooray! And, once Jamie gets off of work, she'll be heading to my place and the three of us will be off for dinner, drinks and gossip. It'll be just like senior year of college all over again!
And, because I'm in such a good mood today:
Monday, December 14, 2009
Anyway, just a quick bit of excitement to share: Carol Goodman, one of my favorite authors, is releasing a new book in March! It's called Arcadia Falls and sounds quite good.
I've read all 6 of Goodman's novels and have been impressed with each one. She is, above all, a mystery writer, but there's always an overarching theme of family; often a single parent (typically a mom) due to the loss, either physically or mentally, of the other parent. The mystery in Goodman's novels usually require knowledge of a character's past so she frequently switches between present time and past vignettes, which I love. I'm intrigued when books have dual time periods and character's discover things about themselves with memory flashbacks. I guess it's just kind of my thing.
I highly recommend checking out any one of Carol Goodman's novels. They've been released for a while, so local libraries and used book stores typically seem to carry her work. No need to spend $15.00 on a book (unless it's a perfectly beautiful story that speaks to your soul and must have a place of honor on your bookshelf) when you can just hit up your local library!
Has anyone else read anything by this author?
ps- The Lake of Dead Languages was my first Goodman read and I was hooked immediately! The minute I finished it I hopped online and searched Amazon.com for any other titles by this talented author...so began my need (obsession...call it what you will) to read every one of her books.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Onto a happier topic: I was tagged for the Happy 101 Award by the lovely Ashley over at Kiwis and Cocktails yesterday! Thank you, Ashley! This absolutely made my day. If you haven't checked out Ashley's blog yet, I highly recommend you do so; she's extremely entertaining, has a husband with an accent and is Mama to an adorable dog! What's not to love?! Hers is definitely a daily must-read for me.
As for the rules to this award (everything has to have rules, doesn't it?), they are sweet and simple:
1. List 10 things that make you happy, and
2. Tag 10 fellow bloggers that brighten your day...
My 10 happy things:
1. My parents -- My Mom is my best friend, my #1 confidant, my biggest fan and my reality check (when I need it). My Dad is my protector, my go-to guy for questions that are far out of my realm of expertise, my giant bear hug when I really need it and one of my biggest supporters of sticking to my goals. My parents are my pillar of strength and the best example I've ever seen of what a loving, healthy marriage looks like.
2. Finding the perfect gift for someone. I get giddy like a schoolgirl and cannot wait to see the person's face light up when they open my gift.
3. That feeling after finishing an exceptionally good book when my soul sighs and all I want to do is go back and start from the beginning again!
4. The smell of freshly brewing coffee when I first wake up in the morning.
5. Rainbow sprinkles on frozen yogurt. How can you not feel happy when you're eating something smooth and delicious that is also sprinkled with little rainbow bits?!
6. The 6th floor of the old part of the Denver Art Museum -- I can (and do) literally spend hours just taking in the European Renaissance and 19th century French art pieces that fill this floor. I never fail to feel a sense of peace and awe when I visit this part of the museum. In fact, I have been known to go to the museum specifically to visit the 6th floor and then promptly leave (after a quick stop in the gift shop of course!) without seeing any other exhibits. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not only instilling in me a love and appreciation of art, but also for the DAM family pass that allows me free visits!
7. Drinking wine while wearing sweats and enjoying deep EJ conversations on the couch. EJ = Erin and Jamie, and our mutual love of wine and sweats, the fact that we are often on the same brain wavelength (scary!) and the amazing conversations I can only have with her make me very happy. I have 2 best friends and this one is pretty freaking awesome.
8. The fact that the other best friend, Corey, (often referred to here as the Baltimore Bestie and also pretty freaking awesome) and her fiance may be moving back to Colorado this summer!!!
9. My apartment. I love that this place is MINE! I love coming home to it, getting to decorate it, not having to share anything in it and proudly showing it off to visiting family and friends.
10. When my parents' neighbor's dog (did you catch all of that?), Lilly Pad, sees me drive up and can hardly contain her excitement until I get out of my car. She comes racing over from her house and just loves on me. It's the best feeling!
My fellow bloggers, whose lives I love to follow, that I'm passing this award onto are (in no particular order):
Brandi at Excess Baggage
Classy in Philadelphia
Kaylee at Kisses from Kay
Katie at Love and Peace
Caitlin at Love Life
My darling, B at Real.
Courtney at Starting Out
Lawgirl at Stumbling in Stilettos
Kaity at ambition never goes out of style
Brenna at Buzz de la Abeja
Each and every one of you has a fabulous blog that I enjoy reading and commenting on. Thanks, ladies!
Monday, December 7, 2009
The rest of the weekend consisted of relaxing and marking things off of my to-do list, such as starting to wrap Christmas presents, washing multiple loads of laundry, sending out sympathy cards, etc. We're in the middle of another winter storm here in Northern Colorado, so along with snow (started Saturday night and still hasn't stopped) came bitter cold temperatures. I had almost forgotten what it's like to step outside and feel your nose hairs start to freeze! Brrr! Obviously, avoiding having to go outside played a major role in the weekend as well.
I helped my Mom decorate the Christmas tree at my parents' house and gathered up all of my own decorations from the basement. I haven't tackled my decorating yet, but at least I have everything readily available now! As always, my parents' tree looks classy and gorgeous. My mother has quite the knack for decorating her Christmas tree and I have to admit I'm envious. I've picked up a few skills here and there and I really think my tree looks lovely and fun (it's a silver tree) every year, but it never quite compares to my Mom's...and, let's be honest, probably never will.
I think the highlight of this weekend came on Saturday evening. I'd been out running errands, still wasn't feel well at all, had a heavy heart over Jake and just needed some Erin time, which means: Barnes & Noble. B&N is my safe haven! This is where I go when I just need to lose myself a little. I always feel comforted by all of the books and conversations going on around me; there's a warmth to that store that I rarely find other than at my parents' house or in my own apartment. So, I bought a cup of extra hot coffee, picked a copy of Bright Star off of the shelf, settled into one of the comfy arm chairs and just indulged in some Me Time. It was wonderful. I was curled up in the chair long enough to read the entire book (a little over an hour), savor my coffee and get a few chuckles out of the conversations going on around me. By the time I vacated the arm chair, I was feeling much better and had a smile on my face. My throat and sinuses still hurt and my heart was still broken over Jake, but my soul felt refreshed.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I feel so helpless. I can bow my head and pray for Jake. I can think every single postivie thought that comes to mind. I can send my love and support. I can make Jamie laugh with little text messages because I know she needs to smile. I can talk with Mama A and get updates. I can post for prayers on Facebook and here.
...but I can't be there. I can't give my best friend a hug. I can't tell her that my shoulder is hers whenever she needs it. I can't send encouragement and strength through a smile to Mama and Papa A or Katie and her husband. I can't even keep the dogs out of trouble at Jamie's parents' house. I can't do anything that feels even remotely useful.
I know this has a touch of pity party to it, but I'm angry and frustrated that this is happening to such a wonderful family. I'm a strong woman and I am surprisingly good at handling stressful situations...until I'm alone and my walls break down. Well, here I am alone in my apartment looking at pictures of baby Jake and I've never felt so incredibly helpless in my entire life. I hate it; I hate this situation; and I hate that the people I love as much as my own blood family are in so much pain right now.
I just needed to get the words out of my head...
I don't have too much information yet this morning, but I can tell you that as of last night Jake's pH and CO2 levels were improving, but there is still a lot of concern as to the functioning of his brain and major organs. He is currently on a cold pad in order to keep his temperature down to 85 degrees in the hopes of preventing any further damage to his little body. After he's been on the cold pad for 72 hours, neurologists will run a full MRI to help determine what kind of, and how much, damage Jake has. We're all continuing to throw our miracle cards into the mix and praying that the little guy keeps fighting!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The prognosis for Baby Jake is not good. Due to the lack of a main blood supply and oxygen when the umbilical cord was severed, neurologists are pessimistic about Jake's brain and organ functioning. The family will know more once a full MRI has been completed, but it truly looks like a miracle is needed. Please, please, please keep Jake and the family in your thoughts and prayers.
Everyone's hearts are breaking right now...
Katie's water broke at 2 AM this morning and after getting to the hospital and realizing that the umbilical cord was showing, she was rushed into an emergency C-section. The placental tear that caused this was close to a vein and Baby Jake was losing blood. He was rushed to the pediatric ICU and from there transfered to the Children's Hospital. His father went with him, and doctor's are hoping to transfer Katie there some time this morning so the family can be together.
Jake is currently fighting for his life. So, please keep Baby Jake, Katie and the entire family in your thoughts and prayers this morning; they need it.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I'm not feeling overly attached to Colorado today, so being whisked away to Bellinter House in Ireland would be splendid!
And this handsome Scot is more than welcome to join me... (it is my wish list after all...)
Happy December, everyone!!!