March 31, 2011

Thoughts on a Thursday

Sorry it's been so quiet around these parts lately, life has gotten incredibly hectic as the wedding creeps closer and my blood pressure silently goes through the roof. Who knew that planning a "small" wedding could be so stressful? Every time I feel like I've gotten something major finished and I remind myself to keep breathing, someone reminds me about three more things that need to be done rightthissecond. My to-do list for the next few days looks a little something like this:
...and I started adding to the back of it this morning. As excited as I am about this wedding (and as sure as I am that it will all be worth it in the end), just looking at this list makes me want to crawl back into bed and ask Toby to breathe his awful cat breath in the face of anyone who comes close. Unfortunately, though, these things aren't going to cross themselves off... and as my father reminded me this morning, the excuse that the wedding "isn't until next month" only works for another 8 hours or so.
Thankfully, I'm not in this completely alone: my mother and best friend have been so wonderfully helpful, and I've had at least 15 other friends offer to help out with all kinds of things. Dan has been doing absolutely everything he can to help, despite the fact that he spends most of the week out of town and has a pretty serious day job with which to contend. Everyone else I've worked with so far -- the caterer, the people who are in charge of our "venue," the ladies who made and printed our invitations -- has been incredibly sweet and attentive. I am so grateful for all of this help and I know that without it, I probably would have already cracked under the pressure. At this point, though, most of the things left to do are not so easily delegated, meaning that the entire list up there is filled with things that I alone need to take care of... pronto.
As if this weren't enough to think about, I'm also in the midst of the "my wedding is in less than a month and I have to look fabulous in this dress or I'll never be able to live with myself" freakout. Add that to the "my soon-to-be-husband is leaving for a war zone in approximately two months and I have a tendency to eat my feelings" syndrome, and we have some major issues. I've been pushing myself really hard lately to eat right and work out as much as possible in an effort to combat both stress and pudge. I've never before understood how people could claim that running calmed them down (nothing about sweating profusely and struggling to breathe really says 'calm' to me), but now I'm starting to find that 45 minutes on the treadmill each day acts like mental housekeeping, sweeping up the mess left by the billion thoughts zinging around my brain. I leave the gym refreshed, relaxed, and simply too tired to think about anything important. There are other reasons (for another post) for the fact that I am pushing myself harder than ever before to get in these miles, but one of the biggest is that provides a much needed reboot to my weary head. That and because the more I work out, the more I can eat, even though we're rapidly approaching Def-Con 2 for wedding weight loss and toning.
Luckily, there is a big bright light at the end of this tunnel: I have an amazing best friend who has booked us massages and pedicures for this weekend. I am so incredibly excited to relax a little bit, spend time with her, and get cute toes out of the bargain!

March 29, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

I am buried in wedding craziness tonight, but I had to pause to share this furry adorableness:

This little face just melts my heart.... and the huge snores make me chuckle!

March 28, 2011

A Lovely Weekend

I am very much in denial about the fact that it is Monday again. It's just not possible. Unfortunately, this technique doesn't seem to be working so far: the alarm still went off, I still guilted myself into a morning run, and here I am at work. Looks like a Monday, smells like a Monday. Damn.
We had a pretty fabulous (if cold) weekend around here. I kicked it off with a Dunkin Donuts run after work Friday, since in my experience, it's impossible for a weekend that starts with iced coffee to be anything less than wonderful. I drove over to my in-law's house to see how the painting was going, and Dan's mom and I talked about the next stage of the project. It's going to look so great when we get done! Dan made it back into town and we headed out to pick up some electrical tape and also found a couple pretty, low maintenance, non-toxic-to-cats plants. I've been wanting a little one to brighten up our bathroom, and Toby has provided his seal of approval -- he's already gnawed off one of the leaves. Crazy cat. The other one looks great in our living room, and now we're just on the lookout for that spray that makes plants taste slightly less delicious. Speaking of things that taste yummy, Dan made my very favorite pasta for dinner, and shortly thereafter I slipped into a food coma while watching Say Yes to the Dress. I'd say that's a pretty good night.
Saturday I left my boys in bed while I went to the gym (it was freezing outside) for a really long run. More on that sometime later when I can write about it without my legs cringing in pain. After that, Dan and I drove a few hours to see my best friend and her boyfriend. The four of us went out for a great lunch and then the guys headed back to the apartment while we did some shopping. We all met up at this great little mexican restaurant for dinner, where we ended up waiting almost an hour for a table. I finished my second margarita from the bar just as we sat down to eat... and Dan convinced me to order my third. We spent the night on my best friends' couch: again, a pretty good night.
Yesterday was lazy -- I rehydrated and showered, we drove back to our hometown with another iced coffee in hand (it's a weakness), and took a nice long afternoon nap cuddled up with poor Toby, who acted like we'd been gone for weeks. Last night we went out for a high-carb italian dinner (the best kind) to celebrate Dan's dad's birthday. I ate one of these:

when we got home. That's right, another pretty good night.
Hope that everyone else enjoyed their weekend and got to take it easy and eat lots of good food. And maybe drank a margarita... or three. This week is going to be full of wedding prep, work craziness, gym time, and hopefully a little bit of fun, so I'm hoping it's going to fly by!


March 25, 2011

Friday Favorites

It's that time again, girls and boys! And thank goodness, because there were several moments this week that I thought the weekend might not ever get here. Here we are, though, and I am ever so grateful! These are just a few things that I am celebrating this week...

Nerd alert: I am completely addicted to NPR. It is usually on in my car (much to Dan's chagrin) and I also listen to NPR podcasts pretty often while I run. It's my favorite way to keep up with the news and I learn something new literally everyday. I can't count how many conversations in a week I contribute to by saying "Well I heard on NPR the other day...." I especially love Car Talk, even though I have no interest in cars whatsoever -- those guys keep me laughing through a whole hour of running and I'm sure that the people around me think I'm crazy. Also, don't tell my co-workers, but I cry almost every Friday morning on my way to work: I'm always in the car when they play the weekly StoryCorps and I swear I tear up at practically every little interview.

I love me some cashews, so when we were at Target recently and I saw honey roasted cashews on sale, I knew I had to try them. Oh goodness, these things are addictive. How did I not discover them before? I have the container on my desk at work and it takes an incredible amount of willpower not to eat them by the handful.

I picked up this cute little bowl at Pier 1 this week (full disclosure: I was actually shopping for birthday presents for my mother and best friend. It was on sale though!) Apparently I have a thing for bowls, and when I got home and tried to find a home for this one, I realized that I have amassed quite a collection of cute bowls of varying shapes and sizes. Do they stage interventions for that kind of thing?

Ok, so I googled "drinks with friends" and, amidst the pictures of sloshed 20-somethings waving their Solo cups, found this gem. I couldn't pass it up! Technically, this favorite is left over from last week, when I met up with an old friend of Dan's (and mine, since I've known her) for drinks and dinner. She is such a sweetheart and since most of my college friends live in other towns or states, it was so great to spend some time just catching up and talking with her. The cat is cute, but sometimes human interaction is just necessary, you know?
Can you hear the celebrating from where you are? As of this morning's run, I have officially made it 100 miles this year. To the seasoned runner, 100 miles sounds more like 2-3 weeks, but as a beginner who is trying doggedly to convince myself to like running and stick with it, this is a pretty huge milestone. Especially considering the knee pain that kept me from running for several weeks in January/February. At the rate I've been running recently (4 times a week-ish), though, my next "century" should go faster and, I hope, easier. By this summer, I hope to be ready for a few road races that have been on my radar but I've been too nervous to sign up for yet. This weekend, however, I know one thing for sure -- I'm celebrating my first 100 with ice cream!
I hope that you all have wonderful, exciting weekends lined up. Dan and I are heading to see my bestie and her boyfriend tomorrow, and I can't wait! It's been several weeks and I'm really excited to catch up with her. Then Sunday I'm hoping to get a few wedding-related items checked off of my to-do list!
Happy weekend, everyone!


March 23, 2011

Rhymes with Wednesday

This week has been beyond ridiculous... and even that's really an understatement. I've been super productive, but my to do list continues to grow at an alarming rate. We have less than a month until the little wedding, so I am scrambling to get all the details figured out, which could be a full-time job in itself. Add to that my actual full time job, plus family obligations, gym time, and taking care of the little furball, and we're running out of hours to sleep here. Anyone in my family can tell you that a tired me = a cranky me, so I'm working extra hard to suppress the crazy and embrace the phrase "I'll sleep when I'm dead."
Monday Dan picked me up from work a little early and we headed out to meet with our caterer. She was really sweet and so flexible, and we got to share two of the yummiest cupcakes I've ever devoured eaten. We're keeping it simple and going with hors d'oeurves (there will be smoked salmon, and that's all that really matters to me) and, of course, the cupcakes. My stomach is counting the days. After that, we headed to FedEx to work on our invitations (yes, it's a little late, but these are too adorable to pass up) and then grabbed dinner at Chipotle before grocery shopping. When we finally made it home, I spent about two hours cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen before collapsing into bed.
Dan had to leave really early yesterday morning, and I also got up over an hour early so that I had time to run, shower, stop by to check the invitation proof, get gas, and grab coffee before making it to work (early, no less). My department has been swamped lately, and yesterday my whole day revolved around three massive spreadsheets, so by the time I walked out my eyes had kind of glazed over. I then headed over to Dan's parents to help his mom paint her living room and ended up staying there most of the evening. It was exhausting but we got a lot done. I'm heading back over today after work to keep going -- I can't wait to see the finished product! I finally picked up the finished invitations on the way home and made it back to the apartment just after 10:30, at which point I parked myself in bed, ate a cupcake, and was asleep by 11:15. 
This morning I got up early again to fit in some time at the gym before work. I never thought I'd say it, but I've actually started to enjoy these early morning workouts -- the gym is always quiet and I sort of like watching the sun rise from the treadmill. The only problem is that if I do it too many mornings in a row, it starts to make me sleepy at work. Case in point: today. I need a nap.
The rest of the week looks like more of the same: more painting, more runs, more crazy days at work, more whirlwind wedding planning, more coffee. Tomorrow night my family is going out to celebrate my mom's birthday, at some point I need to find time to shop for wedding shoes. Oh how I wish I could afford a pair of these beauties:
{kate spade} and {louboutin via here}

Hope everyone else's week is going splendidly!


March 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

Spring in college was a magical time. During the winter, we all seemed to exist in a sort of frozen discontent, but as soon as the weather got warm the whole campus started to smile again. Even all the piles of work seemed a little more enjoyable. Springtime meant...
Pretty flowers all over campus (that's really a picture from campus) 
and fun with statues (Dan and Thomas Jefferson get a little up close and personal)
Wine and yummy sandwiches outside with friends here, the incredible stuffed sno-ball from hereway too many late night treks to Wawa, and wonderful coffee dates on the front porch here
More sunlight and classes coming to an end, which meant less time in the library's Starbucks 
and more time "studying" (ahem) outside with friends
Formals with lots of wonderful people

This spring, however, is going to be a little a lot different. I miss so much about college, but I'm looking forward to this season and experiencing spring out in the "real world," full of...
Adorable skirts (I'm kind of in LOVE with everysingleoneofthese)
Taking advantage of all the sunlight with lots of trail running and some serious spring cleaning
A wedding!
A teeny tiny vacation (think 4 days) with my hubby-to-be. I don't actually know where we're going yet, but I'm hoping it will be warm!
Unfortunately, my spring will end on a sad note, as my sweet first lieutenant and I will have to say goodbye for a while. Luckily, though, this means that I have the next few months to spend with him, and I'm hoping to enjoy every single moment that we can together. As Dan texted me about two months ago:
"I can't wait until the spring time.  I have so many ideas bouncing around in my noggin.  
This is going to be the best spring EVER."
Love that guy!

Happy spring, everyone!


March 19, 2011

The Twilight Bark

Remember this?

Well you'll be happy to know that American dogs, apparently, use it too. At least the ones in our neighborhood do.
One of our lovely neighbors seems to have made the brilliant decision to leave their puppy at home alone tonight. Said puppy has been barking since about 6:00 this evening. It's been a beautiful warm day here, so we've had our windows and back door open, meaning that we can hear this little guy as if he is sitting on our back porch. He has, in the past 5 hours or so, barked himself nearly hoarse, presumably attempting to alert everyone in the surrounding counties that he is lonely and would like for his family to come home now. What's even better, every other dog in the neighborhood has taken it upon themselves to help him spread this message. So we have been sitting here listening to the chorus of barking and watching the cat worry himself nearly to death over the noise. Dan has been contemplating various methods of doggy silencing. I'm just hoping the poor puppy decides to take a nap soon.
Happy Friday, everyone!



March 17, 2011

The Big Wedding Tell-All

It's been a long time since I talked about anything wedding related here around the ol' blog, and there is quite a lot to talk about. I've kind of been procrastinating because I didn't want to write about it until all the little details got worked out, but at this point I'm starting to wonder whether that will ever happen... there are so many balls up in the air right now and at some point they're all going to drop -- probably all at the same time. And I am not a juggler.
The other reason that I've been putting off writing about all of our plans is because they are slightly... untraditional. Life (and the Army) have thrown us a few curveballs as of late, and we are having to adjust and make the best out of things. While the "plan B" that we have come up with isn't quite what I always wanted, I'm pretty darn determined to make it work and to make it wonderful. Dan has been amazing and even though it's not exactly his first choice either, he knows that this is really important to me. 
We've gotten some conflicting opinions from those closest to us about the way we've decided to do things: most people have been incredibly supportive and understanding, but a very few have been slightly... less than that. Ahem. Because of this, the idea of writing to the world about our plans has made me a little nervous. It's hard to explain in a blog post all the thoughts and emotions that have gone into such a big decision. I am, however, constantly amazed by the things I read and the support I see out there in the blogging world, so I'm taking a little leap of faith and crossing my fingers that some of that support might find its way over here. So without further ado...

Dan and I are getting married twice. 

Yep, go ahead and let that sink in for a second. It's not normal, it's weird, it's ambitious, it's too much, it's pretentious, it's asking a lot, it's downright crazy. Trust me, I've heard it all. But what it comes down to? It's what works, and it's what we both need and want to do.
I was a little bit upset when I realized that my dream wedding (the gorgeous dress, the friends and family, the delicious food, the wonderful pictures, the singular ceremony) was not exactly going to be possible when Dan's deployment was added to the picture. To be fair, actually, it would have been possible, but we were faced with a few options: wait and have the wedding after he came home, try to cram planning into a few months and have it right before he left, or make some sort of compromise. The first two options came with their own sets of risks and challenges attached, and when it came down to it, I knew that two things were true. First, I knew that I did not want him to leave, however long he could be gone, without getting married. Neither of us wanted that. Second, I knew that I did not want to try to pull off the dream wedding in such a short time span. This was a little more selfish, but I could just picture it -- things wouldn't be perfect, we would have to make concessions because of time, and I would look back on the wedding as "nice, but if we had only had time to...."
So we made a compromise. We would get married before he left, officially. We'd have a tiny little ceremony with our immediate families and we'd make it legal. Then, when he came home, we'd have the "normal" wedding. The big one, with both of our (rather large) families and all our friends and the gorgeous dress and professional photography and massive amounts of food and amazing honeymoon. Call me selfish, but the little girl inside me who has been dreaming of that day for oh, about 23 years now was just not willing to give that up. And don't get me wrong -- even the big wedding is not going to be a massive, lavish, bank-breaking event. In the end, to get around the little minor detail of us already being legally married, it will probably be kind of like a renewal of vows. But it will be a day that we get to spend celebrating with everyone, and that's what counts.
But for now, the "big wedding" is kind of on the backburner (can you tell how I'll be keeping busy while Dan is overseas?) and planning for the "little wedding" is in full swing, because it is now (gulp) a month away. We are getting married April 16th, at a cute little neighborhood "pavilion" (which sounds so much better than clubhouse). It's an afternoon-type affair, with a short ceremony, some yummy hors d'oeurves, and our close families. My motto is "we're not doing anything twice," and with a few obvious exceptions we've been able to stick to that. The cocktail hour, dinner, professional flowers and photography, dress, wedding cake, dancing, and tropical (my fingers are crossed) honeymoon will be saved for the big wedding. We're keeping this one tiny (and affordable -- as it is coming from our pockets) by doing our own flowers, drinks, photography, and decorations. My dress is cute but casual. 
In the end, my concern is that I don't want to be accused of trying to benefit from having two weddings -- my goal was never to milk this for all it's worth or to act spoiled or entitled. This is simply a plan that seems to work the best for us, allowing us to be married when Dan heads out but also for us to have wonderful memories with our favorite people from both events. 
I am so thankful that I have a fiance and a family who have supported this crazy-wonderful idea and helped so much already. It is ridiculous to realize that in a month, I will be married, but I know that I couldn't be making a better decision -- I am marrying my best friend and the one person who can always make me smile. I'm just lucky enough to get to do it twice!

March 15, 2011

Kitchen Lust

I often open my laptop just to check my email quickly or to write a blog post, but I am so easily sidetracked that I end up spending an hour doing something unrelated (and typically unproductive). I start going through the blogs in my reader, click on a link, and the next thing I know I'm buried in more tabs than I can count, with articles and images and items to add to my ever-growing wish list. Tonight was no exception: I got online to write one email that I've been needing to send for days, and here I am, 45 minutes later, drooling over gorgeous kitchens. I wouldn't want to just waste all that effort, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites here. Prepare to be jealous (I certainly am):

left: I love the exposed beams on the ceiling, the arched doorway, and the fact that the oven is in a center island. I also like the chandelier, but I don't think it really works here.
right: I am in love with the hardwood floors and cabinets, as well as the counter above the stove (genius!) I also really like the oven and what looks like a huge refrigerator on the right. The sunflowers are the perfect touch! (Although what the heck is that thing in the top left corner?)

left: The white here is kind of overpowering, but I love the big window and the recessed lighting under the cabinets. Very chic, and not bad for a kitchen-in-a-hallway.
right: I really love the exposed brick in this kitchen: it makes the whole room so warm and comfortable. I also like the appliances here, but I'm not a fan of the cabinets -- I tend to prefer a little bit more modern look.

left: This is such a huge room, I would kill to have that much counter space! I think the white really works here, it looks clean and provides the perfect contrast to the dark countertop and hardwood. I love the glass-paned cabinets, the double oven, and the way that this one seems to stretch forever and ever.
right: I think the pale yellow light in this room is what does it for me -- a combination of lots of natural sunlight and the fixtures in the glassed-in cabinets. I also love the cabinet and countertop colors and the adorable low counter -- perfect for feeding kids dinner or a quick snack. I would probably set up my laptop right there and study/work.

I love my little kitchen and think it's pretty great for its size. Which is tiny... teeeeeny tiny. I (clearly) spend lots of time dreaming of owning a house with a huge, gorgeous kitchen.



via [1 2 3 4 5&6]
March 14, 2011

Weekend by the Numbers

6 trips back and forth from my apartment to Dan's parents' house to housesit/hang out with his brother while his mom and dad are in sunny Florida (I'm only a little jealous). Wouldn't be so bad, except we live on complete opposite ends of town. I tried so many different routes and they all took me at least 25 minutes. On the bright side, more time to roll the windows down and pretend it was really summer, since it was gorgeous outside this weekend.

2 classic movies that I was able to catch on tv (although I actually own one of them): Legally Blonde and Wedding Crashers. Laugh out loud funny and great to have on in the background while I cleaned, cooked, and did some very important relaxing on the couch.

8 pages read in the book I just started. Which brings me to a grand total of something like 17 pages. When I was young I could start and finish a book in less than a week. This one is a long one, but really? I definitely need to make more time in my life to sit down and read. There are so many books I want to start, but at this rate I don't stand a chance.

7 miles run on Sunday. As I try with all my might to get into running, I've so far been avoiding the apparent training staple: a long run on the weekend. My weekends are often jam packed with things to do, the weather has been cold and I don't have three hours to sacrifice to a treadmill, and, to be honest.... I'm a little afraid of what my definition of "long" might turn out to be. (Does 3 miles count?) This week, though, I worked on getting myself into a routine, where I ran before work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each morning I made it through 3.5 miles (and the plan is to increase gradually every week), so I figured if I could handle that, I could push myself to do a decent length this weekend. By no means did I run the entire 7 miles, but I ran more than I walked, and most importantly: it actually felt good. Plus I was seriously proud of myself by the end. The only problem is that a long run on Sundays messes with my MWF schedule because I need a day to recover, so I'm going to have to put some thought into that.

3.5 magazines browsed through. See, I told you I spent some serious time on the couch this weekend. My mom passed down two Cooking Lights and one Good Housekeeping, both of which I love even though Dan makes fun of me for being an old lady. I found a few yummy recipe ideas and dreamed a little bit about buying a house someday. I also made it part of the way through Martha Stewart Weddings:
but then I got sleepy. I love that yellow cake though!

1 guy with 4 wives: yep, you read that right. Last night I caught the TLC special and then the season premier of "Sister Wives." I think I'd heard of it before, but I'd never seen the show, and let me tell you: I was fascinated. It's a very real glimpse into the polygamist family (think Big Love, but true life) of one guy, four "sister wives," and something like 16 kids. I think what struck me the most was how normal they seemed -- aside from the major difference in way of life, the four wives and their husband really appeared down-to-earth, kind, incredibly normal adults and parents. I know that it's not something I would choose, but I thought the show did a great job of respecting their decision and portraying them not as bizarre oddities, but people who simply have differing views than most of the rest of the world. I will definitely be trying to catch more episodes this season!

24 devil's food cupcakes baked, with another batch of 24 still sitting in my fridge, just calling my name. I'm hoping I can hold off baking them until Dan gets home next weekend so that I have someone else to help me eat them. The first 24 are for my stepmom's birthday today, so between work and dinner I have to run home and whip up some of my very favorite cream cheese icing to frost them. I have chocolate sprinkles for some and raspberries for others. Can you spell yum? I got the recipe from this adorable blog and I may or may not have eaten one last night (every chef has to taste test first, right?). Absolutely delicious. We are going out for what is sure to be a fantastic dinner and then coming home for these. What a lovely night.

1 hour lost.... boo. It will be so nice to have the sun shining later every day, but I also kind of hate losing sleep. Even though I slept a little bit late to make up for it, so I suppose I should stop complaining.

That's how my weekend added up. Hope everyone else's was wonderful too!



March 12, 2011

Friday Favorites

This week has flown by like nobody's business. Work bordered on ridiculous, the evenings have been basically booked, and I am so thrilled that it is finally Friday and I have time to take a breath. And perhaps a nap. Once again, it's time to celebrate the end of a long week with a little bit of recognition for a few things that have kept me smiling since Monday:

I baked a batch of the most delicious banana muffins ever on Wednesday night. My mom has been making this recipe for a long time and it's the perfect balance of sweet-but-not-too-sweet-for-breakfast. They are also really easy to make, but they certainly don't stick around for long (hence the lack of pictures). Especially when you have a cat with an inordinate love for baked goods.... Toby may or may not have helped me eat one. 

I never thought I'd say this, but I have been so excited to have super sore muscles this week. I've been working my butt off (literally?) to make time for workouts recently, and I got myself to the gym a record four times this week. The crazy part is that three of those times were in the morning, at the crack of dawn -- I ran on the treadmill Monday, Wednesday, and today before work. I also managed a few days of ab work, and I'm planning to go on a "long" run on Sunday, since it's supposed to be warm outside this weekend. I've been proud of myself for getting up early to make sure I have time to fit in a run, and I hope I can keep it up for at least a few more weeks before I start to make excuses.

This little ball of fluff makes the list this week for being just downright adorable. The other afternoon I lay down to take a quick nap (a seriously rare occurrence in these parts), and Toby curled up next to me and literally purred in my ear until I fell asleep. I have never met a cat who was so willing to cuddle, but ours is so content just to snuggle up next to me at night. Every morning, he is stretched out in bed when my alarm goes off, and he gives me a "do I have to?" look when I start to get up. I don't know if he's affectionate or just lazy, but I choose to believe that he loves me. Probably just because I feed him.

These lovely items are all from one of my favorite places to browse: White House Black Market. I wish I could shop there regularly, but most of their items are just a little bit out of my price range. The top dress is just so classic and cute, and the sweater would really come in handy in my office, where it is kept at an "efficient" 20 below most days. The pants also look perfect for work -- they are cut so beautifully and seem very slimming. But it's the dress on the bottom that I'm really in love with. It's absolutely adorable and would be ideal for so many kinds of functions. Definitely high on my wish list! Also, did you know that WHBM sells shoes?! Seriously dangerous, because let me tell you: mama needs a new pair of heels. Or three. 

The above is a terrible picture of my lunch today. Unfortunately I forgot to take one until I was almost done with it... but trust me, it was fantastic. I've been really good all week about cooking and eating healthy stuff, so I decided I would treat myself to lunch out as a reward today. First I headed to my favorite little local kebob shop to pick up a side of the best hummus ever and some flatbread. Then, since Starbucks is just so close, I had to stop in to pick up a drink. The employees there were apparently under some sort of directive to drastically improve my day, because they were running a special and I got a little tiny red velvet whoopie pie free with my drink (It was delicious and oh so cute). The guy who made my frappucinno also screwed up and put whipped cream on top even though I always ask for it without, and I just didn't have the heart to let him scrape it all off. I know it's a ton of basically empty calories, but I swear the drink tasted better. All in all, lunch was a lot less healthy than I planned, but definitely worth it. After all, calories don't count on Friday, right? Don't answer that.

On a sadder note: About a year and a half ago, one of my good friends and teammates from high school was killed in a car accident. Everyone who knew him, even a little bit, knew that his favorite band was 311 -- he went to as many of their concerts as possible, always listened to their music, and talked about them all the time. Anytime I see that combination of numbers I am immediately reminded of him, and today, as I wrote the date constantly, was no exception. I am just sure that he is up there celebrating today!

Happy weekend, everyone!



March 10, 2011

Hello, Goodbye

It's nice every once in a while to be reminded of the balance of the world. To realize that life is full of good and bad, and that only by weathering the lows can we truly appreciate the highs. This is a tough concept to keep in mind most of the time: during a rough period it often seems as though life will never be as good again, and when everything is going right it's hard to believe that the sunshine won't last forever. My blog title, and hopefully its content, is an attempt to reflect this kind of balance and the emotions it sparks-- to celebrate the good and, in a way, the bad. This week has, for better and for worse, presented me with a perfect example of the way life tends to balance out in a fascinating and comforting way.

first, a hello...
My future sister-in-law, T, gave birth to a beautiful, perfect baby boy yesterday afternoon. Although she was scheduled to be induced, she went into natural labor early yesterday morning and baby C was born around 4:00. He was eagerly awaited by his parents, older brother and sister, and grandparents, and is, as all babies are, just gorgeous (even though my dad has always said that all babies look like Winston Churchill. Not entirely false. Although I have a thing for WC -- another post for another day -- so that just makes them all the more appealing) I cannot wait for the chance to meet and hold this new little one. When his siblings were newborns I was able to get in lots of quality snuggle time with their adorable sleeping selves, so I'm so anxious for their visit in May and some serious Aunt Meg bonding. Welcome to the world, baby boy!

 then, a goodbye...
When my dad married my stepmother, my family gained not one but 4 new members: B, her cat Nimbus, and her dogs Onyx and Bullet. At the time, Onyx was a 10 year old black lab and Bullet a 9 year old german shepherd mix. They both had bounding energy, insatiable appetites, and a deep love for human attention. Now, Onyx is 16 and Bullet 15, and their ages are beginning to catch up with them. Both have lost weight and Onyx's black fur has started to turn very gray. They both have a tough time getting up the stairs, and even sometimes getting up off the floor from a nap. They don't always make it outside to use the bathroom. They don't typically hear you when you call their names from across the room.
Onyx and Bullet went in for a check-up recently, and the vet told my stepmom that he was beginning to question their quality of life. The weight loss and their inability to move around easily, he said, led him to believe that they were no longer happy. It's never easy to hear that, even though it's hard to reconcile the vet's words with the 2 dogs that my dad and stepmom see everyday. Now they are having to struggle with one of the hardest decisions a pet owner can ever be asked to make: is it time to let go? They both (we all) love these dogs so much, and while they would never want to perpetuate an unhappy life, the thought of saying goodbye, especially to both at once, is overwhelmingly sad. As my stepmom reminded me a few days ago, these were the dogs who got her through a tough round of chemotherapy and cancer recovery. They have been with her for a decade and a half, longer than she has been married or even lived in our town. It is heartbreaking but oddly comforting, though, to know that whatever happens, these two will be together. As hard as it might be to lose both of them at the same time, I know that they would each be lost without the other. Sweet Onyx and Bullet, our world will not ever be the same without you.

In the end, I can only hope that the rest of my life will be filled with as many joyful hellos as difficult goodbyes, to remind me that no matter what, the world will alway finds its balance.




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