Thursday Ten: It’s Been Awhile Edition

1. I haven’t posted much lately – and it’s not because I have nothing to say – it’s never because I have nothing to say. I have tons to say. I just don’t know how to say it. And sometimes I feel a bit negative. Okay, a lot of times I feel a lot negative. I’m sure that’s normal but it’s not the happiest feeling in the world and it’s hard to write about and y’know, it is what it is.

2. And so somehow we’re almost in the middle of July and how the heck did that happen? This summer is flying and before I know it, we’ll be stuck in February under three feet of snow.

3. The girls are with their dad this week – it’s always hard to adjust to the times when they’re not here. Miss them like crazy. The workweek has been absolutely bonkers so I’ve been going in early and trying to make a dent in my project list – which helps, but… I’ll be glad when they come home. It’s an adjustment – the summer schedule. I guess the good news about it being halfway through July almost is that in a month and a half, the normal schedule will be back.

4. I have hit the realization lately that I’m really bad at some of this being-a-grownup stuff. Stuff like budgeting for home renovations. I keep saying to myself, “UGH I want to get rid of this living room carpet.” If I had just started saving when I first started having that thought, I bet I’d have saved enough to actually do the freaking project. Here’s to actually setting up savings accounts and planning for all the things i want to do – things like hardwood flooring and Spain.

5. They’re FINALLY going to open a Trader Joe’s in Grand Rapids this fall and I’m kind of pretty much excited. What’s your favorite thing at TJ? (They’re also apparently opening a Chik-Fil-A and while Chris is excited, I tried it on a recent trip to Ohio and found it thoroughly underwhelming. So there’s that.)

6. After a week of “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”, I’m wondering just how many gymnastics floor routines this season will feature the Whip. Apparently two, so far.

7. My eyebrows are in dire need of waxing.

8. For the past two days, I have had my air conditioning off and my windows open and it’s just absolute bliss. I know people are ticked because this doesn’t feel like summer, and it’s too cold for pools – to which I say TOO BAD FOR YOU! THIS IS MY BRIEF BIT OF HEAVEN.

9. Things I’ve bought this week that I love: The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor and Joy Williams – VENUS. Neither of these is a paid or sponsored review – these are things I saw and wanted and purchased with my own moohlah. I haven’t made anything out of the cookbook yet – but there are so many great looking recipes (lots of yummy latin-inspired recipes so I’m stoked!). And Joy Williams – I know there’s quite a few bloggers doing reviews of her stuff, but I decided on my own to purchase her album because I have loved her voice and The Civil Wars and I have basically been humming the whole album for days. Good stuff.

10. The good thing about Thursday is that it’s almost Friday. Have a good one, y’all.


Thursday Ten: #DieGroundhogDie Edition

1. Mother Nature is not winning any points with me this winter. I am fed up with her nonsense and I have been saying that for a few months now but THISTIME I REALLY MEAN IT.

2. February is usually the month where I’m so fed up with Michigan that I’m ready to bolt for warmer climes, but I’ve been feeling that way for over a month now,so who knows what February will bring.

3. It is good to know, when times are tough, that you have people cheering you on and wishing you well. Conversely, it’s disheartening when times are tough thatthere are those who still can’t seem to behave like human people. What I’ve found over the past few weeks that compassion is both in great supply, yet it is extremely rare.

4, That thing where you’re waiting for an important email and instead you keep getting emails from Victoria’s Secret and the Gap. Ugh.

5. So, I watched parts of the SuperBowl last weekend even though it’s not really my thing and you know I learned a few things: a) I don’t go all gaga over Bruno Mars like nearly every other person I know; b) I don’t rage about commercials, even dumb ones.

6. The Top Chef finale – did anyone else watch? What did you think?

7. Today? Newborn portraits for the nephew! I need some fun work after a gruesome week.

8. This week has TRULY been gruesome. Training people to do your job after you go? Man. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and I’m struggling with it. I have some very low moments sometimes and it’s tough because I cannot do anything about it. It just IS so I have to let go…if only letting go were easier.

9. Having a chance to spend some time with Chris this weekend will help. Our plans include not really having plans (yet making and eating amazing food). I’m looking forward to a bit of unstructured time to just relax and decompress together, to
10. New music from Ingrid? Yes please.

Thursday Ten: Cough Cough Wheeze Edition

1. I haven’t written much – at all – lately but I have spent the past week, plus, feeling like I’ve been hit by a train. I had a doctor’s appointment last Thursday. Seeing as how I don’t have health insurance , so I wouldn’t have gone for a cough, but I had a physical planned and I had budgeted for it like you do when you have no health insurance. Since I was there already, I mentioned I was feeling really awful and sure enough, I had a fever and “Your lungs could use some antibiotics.” Well, I’m done with the antibiotics and though I’m fever free, I still feel like garbage, so… I’ve got that going for me.

2. What do you think the grace period for not posting spoilers on the internet is? A day, two days? A week? It’s a funny thing, seeing people get peeved about having things “spoiled” – and sometimes I think they’re well within reason. Other times I think, Jeez so people are all supposed to keep quiet about the outcome of a major sporting event in case you can’t watch it for another few hours? Get over yourself.

3. “Did you get an Under Armour headband in your Birchbox this month?” asked The Princess. Uh…no. Well, she said, her friend did. Why does it annoy me that there are eleven year olds getting Birchbox, the one thing I do for myself, my splurge, my treat? That there are kids who just get this stuff – even if it is only ten bucks a month – annoys me.

4. By the way? I’m very easily annoyed these days. Like…very.

5.  And as long as I’m good and annoyed. Know what else is annoying? JANUARY AND PEOPLE ON DIETS. Facebook is filled with people on ridiculous diets, and while I applaud efforts of health, I know that most of these people are following such rigid regimes that there’s no way they’ll stick to it. And when I see people already talking about returning to their old habits once their diet is “over,” I can’t help but wonder why they’ve bothered in the first place. You drove 20 miles out of your way to buy a $9 loaf of bread made out of bird seed, all the while talking about cheesecake? Why bother, then, with the cycle of deprivation in the first place if you’re already scheming to negate all your efforts? The only thing that truly works when it comes to weight maintenance, best I can tell, is if calories expended are greater than or equal to calories consumed. Yes, math. No meat, no bread, no dairy, bird seed bread, only food eaten while standing on your right foot and listening to an eight-track tape of someone yodeling… it doesn’t matter. If it’s not realistic, if it’s not manageable, it won’t stick. Unless it’s medically necessary, what the hell is it with people and extreme diets? Gah. Glad their enthusiasm dies down by February because if I have to look at another Facebook picture of someone’s diet-stocked refrigerator, I’ll throw my buttered bagel at my laptop.

6. Speaking of bagels (ooh, nice segue…), I took over Chris’s kitchen Saturday and made the homemade onion bagel from the latest issue of Food Network magazine. They were surprisingly easy but there’s a lot of waiting involved, dough rise time, predominantly. It felt like it took ALL FREAKING DAY. But? So good. Next time? Half will be asiago bagels. Half will be everything bagels. All will be delicious.
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7. This week has kicked my butt. I’ve not been in a great place emotionally this week and I’m doing my best to dig out. Job hunting isn’t going well and I’m starting to feel like I might need to change course, and that’s…terrifying. I don’t know where to go from here or what I’ll end up doing, or even if it’s necessary, if somehow the course will right itself without me having to do anything differently. When you are in a career that approximately 590235% of the world is in, well, the odds aren’t exactly tipped in your favor if you’re trying to be impressive. I’m a little worn down right now. Hoping this fog lifts soon.

8. While we’re out of that whole polar vortex mess, it’s still freakin’ cold… and when I woke up to a cold house Monday morning, I was not a happy camper. My furnace has since been repaired – AGAIN – but dang. All of this makes me long for spring. That and my energy bill. Oof.

9. I caught myself the other day considering getting a puppy again someday. Shhh. Don’t tell my kids. By the way? Slap that idea out of my head.

10. This song has been stuck in my head for days. Love love love. So beautiful.

Day 25: Flavors of the Day

Song that has caught my ear today:
Sometimes shuffle leads me to discoveries of songs that have been on my iPod forever. Today? “Always You” by Ingrid Michaelson. It came on when I was driving to run some errands tonight – so then I listened to it three times and I’ve listened several more times this evening. I love me some Ingrid.

Nagging Thought of the Day:
I really really want to put my Christmas tree up. Like now. The only thing stopping me is that my girls are with their dad and I won’t put up my tree without my daughters.

True Flavor of the Day:
Cuban pork shoulder with beans and rice.  Chris and I started prep for this slow cooker meal around 9:30 yesterday morning and by the time the Lions choked and lost the game, it was nearly ready. This recipe leaves some room for improvement – I think the fact that we used California oranges instead of Florida made a huge difference (local store only had CA oranges — but Florida oranges are juicier and sweeter, and as the recipe states, have a thinner peel).

One Good Thought About Snow for the Day:
I love how a snowy night is never entirely dark. I don’t love snow, y’all know that, but there’s this hazy glowy light when it’s snowy.

Other Thoughts About Snow for the Day?:

Way to Avoid all the Yummy Food in the Breakroom Technique of the Day:
Sliced red and orange peppers from home, eaten at my desk while fantasizing about the cookies that are in the breakroom and waiting just long enough to go into the breakroom that all the good stuff is gone thus ensuring I’ll fit into my pants for another day.

Movie I Plan To Watch at the End of the Day:
Flight. I started watching last night. I’ll finish watching tonight. I’m skipping past that whole plane crash part though. NOT watching that sequence again. Also, don’t be surprised if I ask the pilot of every future flight if he’s drunk.

Fortune of the Day:
I’m kind of addicted to fortune cookies – and buy them in bulk from World Market. Today’s fortune: Contentment is just around the corner for you. Look forward!

Trip Down Memory Lane of the Day:
One of the awesome things about my 365 is that I can easily look back to see what I was up to a year (or two or three or four…) ago! Looks like a year ago today I bought flowers. Callas are my mom’s favorite – so odds are, I bought this one for mom and gave it to her eventually…after photographing it!

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Least Favorite Physical Feature of the Day:
Whaddup round cheeks?! Where did that come from? Of all the features I usually think are too big – my nose, my thighs, my feet – it’s been a long time since I thought my face looked round. Must be defective work bathroom mirrors because once I left the office I had cheekbones again.

Favorite Physical Feature of the Day:
My eyes. I have two of them. That’s awesome.

Copout Blog Post of the Day:
This one, but hey, at least I’m not whining about stuff. Right?

Day 4: Life Soundtrack

One of the questions I like to ask people is –

If you had to pick three songs to be on the soundtrack of your life, what would they be?

There are no rules – no guidelines. You can pick the songs based on their lyrics, you can pick your songs based on the actual significance in your life, you can pick your songs because that’s how you wish your life went. No rules. Three songs. What would you choose?

And I ask this question knowing that it’s a difficult question – knowing that there are people like me who love music so much they will chafe at the thought of having to narrow this massive list of songs that have moved your or meant something or defined moments – and narrow it down to three somehow.

Many people refuse to – won’t do it. And I can’t blame them, because… it’s hard.

And if you’re like me, and you are drawn to songs because of their lyrics – choosing your songs can also be quite revealing, and some people (like me) don’t like that. Bah.

I’ve never actually answered my own question. The first two songs are easy to choose but it’s that third one that about kills me. I have runners up for my runners up. But, I think… I think I’ve got it. For now. You never know – ask me again in a month and it could be totally different.

1. Sara Smile – Hall & Oates

My mom heard this a few weeks before I was born – and suddenly the other name contenders were out the window. (Can you imagine me as a Katie or a Sydney? Nope. I can’t either.) When I was younger, I hated this song tremendously. I hated that I was named after a song at all. But, you know what? It grew on me. This song was a part of me before I took my first breath, and so as far as inclusion on a soundtrack goes, it’s a pretty literal choice. Hey, a girl can be literal sometimes.

It was my love-hate relationship with this song that kept me from naming either of my children after a song, though two name possibilities for Pumpkin were indeed songs. Alexa was her name for quite awhile before eventually not seeming right and going out the window – “The Downeaster Alexa” by Billy Joel wasn’t the inspiration of the name, just a coincidence. Anna was another possibility, indeed coming directly from “Anna Begins” by Counting Crows. The song itself is not exactly something you want someone singing to your kid, I’m guessing – my interpretation has always been that it’s this fling of a relationship that feels all big and amazing in the beginning but it is just that, a fling and not really…love. (But that’s not why the name got vetoed.)  Despite the flingy-ness of the song, I guess I’ve always loved the lyrics to Anna Begins – and have always thought, even if it wasn’t really something bigger, I loved the way he described the feelings.

But, no go.

Kid’s not named after a song.

She’ll find other reasons for hating her name later in life, I’m sure.

2. Rainbow Connection – Originally by Kermit the Frog

I’m using the Mraz version though, because while Kermit is definitely the authentic song for my soundtrack, I felt a little acoustic-y. My dad is a musician – he plays pianos and when I was a kid he worked nights a lot. He often played in bars and restaurants and at parties and so even when my brother and I would go to his house on weekends, he was often gone at night and we’d be with a baby sitter. This is the song he would play for me though – or at least, the song he said he’d played for me. He’d call home on a break and we’d talk to him and I’d ask, “Did you play my song for me?” and he’d say that he had. This was always the song I meant.

It’s the kind of song that when I hear it, I remember what was good about my childhood. I hear it and I feel loved. I hear it and I’m sitting in a house in Berkeley on the phone with my dad, happy that he’d thought of me while at work.

And now that I’m older? I just love the lyrics too. It just seems hopeful.

3. “Unfold” Marie Digby

I actually hope to not always be able to relate to this song but I find it’s been in my head a lot. I don’t know how I stumbled over this song, but I find its lyrics come back to me over and over – I don’t want to go on living being so afraid of showing someone else my imperfections…

Vulnerability and weakness – mine, not anyone else’s – has not traditionally been something I like, in fact I really REALLY hate it. I hate that side of me that hurts or needs or wants. I have a tendency to put on a happy face when things are rough – because I’d rather not appear weak, and I don’t want to show that side of myself.

It’s not perfect.

Nor is it healthy or even… “right”.

So when I ordered a bracelet from my friend Lisa this summer,  struggled for awhile to decide what to put on it. Choosing a word, y’all. It’s hard. And ultimately this song’s lyrics came into my head again.


The song is squooshy, mushy and odds are you haven’t heard it before. But these days, there are times when I’m really feeling it, trying to not showcase my vulnerabilities and instead letting people think that I’m tough or that I have it all under control.

We’re all works in progress, I guess.

I look forward to the day this song can be bumped from the soundtrack and maybe replaced with something else.  Someday “Three Little Birds” will earn back its rightful spot on my soundtrack, I just know it.

What three songs would be on YOUR life’s soundtrack?

Thursday Ten: Need A New Routine edition

1. I thought that the return of school would also bring a sense of calm and routine but what I’m finding is that no. Not so much. Gymnastics eats a good chunk of the schedule after school during the week. It’s chaotic and hopefully we’ll settle in just in time for the holidays to start and the snow to fly.

2. Among the many posts I’ve seen in recent days, one of the things I’ve loved the most is having been introduced to Brandi Carlile’s “That Wasn’t Me”: do i make myself a blessing to everyone i meet?

3. Around Grand Rapids, artists are getting ready for ArtPrize and I couldn’t be happier. I am not the biggest fan of West Michigan (sorry, but I’m not) but ArtPrize makes me love it a little bit. I love the vibe of the town when it’s filled with art and people are talking about what they’re seeing and the streets are full of people (okay, that part annoys me a bit).  I’m ready to see what is in store this year. BRING ON THE ART.

4. The Princess tried to stump me with a fifth grade social studies question last night but AHA AMERIGO VESPUCCI. Can’t fool me with your homework, kid. (Okay, maybe the math)

5. There’s a certain glow the sun has when it’s rising in the morning. I kind of love it. I pulled over on my way to work to get this shot – and one of these days, on the weekend when I’m in no hurry and I’m awake insanely early for no apparent reason, I’m going to go out and shoot more.
there's a bright golden haze on the meadow

6. I make no secret about not loving summer but you know what one of the perks is of the days getting shorter? Catching a sunrise on the way to work, and soon, catching the sunset. Yeah, I hate to drive to and from work in the dark – but my porch doesn’t offer the best view of a sunrise OR sunset (Stupid houses and trees). When I’m driving, the views are amazing.

7. I am using my netbook to type this. My laptop was making some awful groan-y noises last night while I was editing photos and I know it’s a matter of needing to back up some photos and get them OFF my laptop (also, MEMORY)… That laptop is ollllld and it’s been a pain in the ass for awhile. If it was Old Yeller, I’d have taken it out back and put it out of its misery by now.

8. I finished reading Gone Girl this week for book club. OH MY GOSH. This book and The Fault in Our Stars are two of the best I’ve read in awhile. Gone Girl was suspenseful and well-written and just when I thought I knew what was coming next I was always way wrong (in the best way – it’s the worst when you can anticipate every plot turn!). The Fault In Our Stars is a young adult book but a well crafted one, and one that left me (and the two people I’ve loaned it to since) in tears.

9. I have not yet decided what I’ll be cooking up for Kitchen Through The Lens next week but want to be sure I thank those of you who are following the process and who are sharing those posts. My friend, Rachel (who is far better in the kitchen than I could hope to be) gave me an awesome shout out on her blog the other day, and I’m just glad that any one is along for this ride with me. So… thanks. And welcome. (Savory biscotti next week, maybe?)

10. Good morning, happy Thursday. Let’s go make this day magical, shall we? Have a good one!

Thursday Ten: Back to School Edition

1. Today is day THREE of the new school year. They seem quiet okay with being back – and the bonus is that bedtimes are a little easier to enforce, especially for Pumpkin, because when the day is over she is EXHAUSTED.

2. New music this week, well… You know, you have to realize I was probably just the right age when Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” came out in the mid-90s, so when I read a review of her new album “Havoc and Bright Lights” and saw that it was on sale on Amazon (remember, iTunes – you are dead to me), I just bought it sight unseen, or….er… song unlistened? Well… there are some pretty melodies but there are some lyrics in this collection of songs that make me think, “Uh, Alanis? What are you even talking about?” So, what I’m saying is… don’t buy this album in its entirety. Take a listen, pick up a track or two and then go back to her older stuff and think fondly of loudly singing “You Oughta Know” while driving with your windows rolled down.

3. If I had known when Lisa asked me to guest post on her blog that she was moving this week, I’d have devoted my post to begging her to stay. Instead I wrote about a few of my favorite things.

4. For a short week, it has been C-R-A-Z-Y busy. Admittedly, I prefer busy to bored… but I also kinda dig the feeling of accomplishment I get when I am able to complete my whole to-do list for a day. And, yeah… that isn’t happening these days.

5. The kids and I finally made the bruschetta and served it over pasta and it was our prelude to strawberry shortcakes and whoa-my-goodness I was feeling a bit rock-starry in the kitchen that day. We were definitely right about how yummy it was – and I’m gonna call it a good start to when my Kitchen Through the Lens project takes me into the realm of making my own pasta sauce.

6. While I don’t know if my cooking is getting any better, my comfort level with making new things is certainly higher. That’s kind of awesome. (It would be more awesome if my cooking was improving too, but I’m hardly impartial.)

7. I believe in signs.

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8. Two weeks until ArtPrize!

9. I was walking past the television at work the other day and Matt Lauer was on the Today Show and suddenly the thought that flashed through my head was, He reminds me of Ben Stein. Whut? I’m not sure if there is a real resemblance or if my brain just needed coffee at that moment. What say you?

10. Wrapped up one 365 last week, started a new one. Are you in?
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Thursday Ten: Playing an Ice Bucket in a Hotel Room edition

1. A few months ago when tickets went on sale, I picked up two to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals when they were in town. Figured it might be fun to have something to look forward to, and I love Grace Potter. And then my sister couldn’t go. So. I’m taking The Princess with me tonight to see the show. This won’t be her first concert – as we muddled through the Jonas Brothers/Miley/Hannah Montana concert a few years ago, and frankly… she’s a little underwhelmed about going (“Hey! Want to do something special and go to a concert with mom?” “Uh… do I have to?”), but… I’m hoping that ultimately she has fun. And if not, oh well, as long as I have fun. Here’s one of my favorite songs by GP – I love how the guy is playing an ice bucket and a hair dryer. It makes me giggle.

2. So, my dog who has been crate trained and has never had a problem with said crate has recently occasionally been peeing in the crate. I called the vet yesterday – wanted to be sure it wasn’t some sort of infection. They told me I’d have to bring in a doggy urine sample. They gave me very little instruction as to just how to do that. Frankly, the dog was a little underwhelmed with me, but I AM THE BEST PET OWNER EVER. Waiting for a call back from the vet…

3. The Princess has been in physical therapy for a week now for the gymnastics injury to her shoulder. It still blows my mind that my ten year old needs PT. Last night, she texted me a picture of her shoulder which has started to bruise. The physical therapist has been kind of digging around the shoulder with her thumb to attempt to break up possible scar tissue – and it’s bruised my kid’s shoulder. Slightly underwhelmed by that all.

4. Despite how wretched my 35th birthday was, on the 16th of each month, I can’t help but think towards the next birthday. For those of you playing along at home, I’ll be 36 in exactly two months. I will have a better birthday this year. I am determined that there will be no crying this year and that I can start aging gracefully… at least until I turn 40.

5. We’ve got another few months until the election and I’ve gotta say that I think a good percent of y’all that I follow on Twitter and Facebook are going to drive me ABSOLUTELY bonkers before November. Even those of you on the same “side” as me. OY. I appreciate being informed and being passionate about your beliefs and your candidates. But beyond that, I’m just easily annoyed. (I also hate the people on Facebook who tell everyone else to work out. Like all of the sudden someone is going to read your status update and say, “OH? Exercise is GOOD FOR ME? I never knew that. Here! Let me put down this Twinkie and Mountain Dew and go for a run! Oh thank goodness someone was there to tell me how unhealthy I am!” Never happens. Be a good example, sure. Be a nagging pain in the ass? No.)

6. And I should just follow up that whiny rant with a video because FAT BABY FLAMINGO LEGS.

7. Just over two weeks until the kids begin a new school year. They’re ready. They are SO READY. A fight this morning over who got to hold the television remote went into dirty territory with one daughter insisting she is cuter, the other insisting she is smarter and funnier. And me ready to pull my hair out. All of it. They’ve had a smidge too much togetherness.

8. I’m still having fun with my cooking project. I thought for sure I’d be tired of it by now. Thinking it needs to be margarita week soon though before summer is gone. Do you have a favorite margarita recipe? My goal is to not use any mixes or yuck.

9. This is one of my favorite shots I’ve taken lately. I really love sunflowers, if you couldn’t tell.
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10. The plan for 2013 was to do the Avon Walk in Denver – as we were trying to do a different city every year. UNFORTUNATELY, the Avon Foundation decided to eliminate the Denver walk. Boo. My team and I will be walking in Chicago in 2013 (NYC in 2014!). I love Chicago so it’s not a total heartbreak – and since a trip to Chicago doesn’t require air travel, maybe I can start saving for a different trip somewhere else (I really really think I need a vacation). It’s going to be awhile, but I may just throw a dart at a map and see someplace new.

Thursday Ten: Midweek Holidays Are Not As Great As You’d Think edition

1. The Fourth of July being on a Wednesday means that here it is, July 5 and I’m back to life as normal, only now it’s a Thursday that feels like a Monday. Sigh.

2. So instead of doing the firework thing last night, I decided to go to a movie. I saw Moonrise Kingdom, based only on random posts I’ve seen on the internet raving about it. I went in with zero expectations. And actually? I kind of dug it. The cast was excellent, and it was a quirky story with a lot of truly funny moments. Never really a Bruce Willis fan, I loved him here. Ed Norton rocked the khaki shorts and knee socks as a scout leader. And Tilda Swinton? Well, Tilda was Tilda (I never know what to say about her – still really wanting to see “We Need To Talk About Kevin”. THAT may be an interesting role to see her in). The film is getting great reviews by people who know how to say things about movies that I don’t. But it was visually beautiful and human, and it was a lovely escape from life for 90 minutes.

3. Ugh. So, a forecasted high of 100 degrees? UNWELCOME. Sad when I see next week’s predicted 85 (still too hot) and feel relief.

4. A lot of new music this week thanks to Amazon and their album sales – $.99. Nice. Picked up Kimbra’s album Vows. I also purchased the Gotye album – I know people are getting pretty burned out on “Somebody that I Used To Know” but I was told the rest of it was good, and hey, if it’s not, I’m only out a buck. Also, the Lumineers. I haven’t listened to it yet. It may or may not be awful. I don’t know.

5. My iTunes is still broken, by the way.

6. Gave light-painting a try for the first time this year. While I know it can be done better, I was pretty tickled at how it worked.

7. Cuticles are stupid.

8. I went for a walk to get lunch and saw some black eyed susans along the path. Something about them makes me smile. Seems like they are usually around later in the summer, but they’re fun (And yeah, I like to take pictures of ’em).

9. Today I got a message from a friend I hadn’t talked to in a very long time – it was a lovely sweet message and I was happy to hear from her and I can’t help but think it’s amazing sometimes how, even if you go months, or even a year, without having any meaningful conversations with a person, your friends are your friends and they’re still there reminding you that you’re loved.

10. I have an itch to travel right now. Where would you go if you could go anywhere?
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Thursday Ten: Bloggedy Blogging Daughter edition

1. The Princess has started a blog. She asked, it was her idea – a friend of hers has one. This morning she published her first post. While I won’t be sharing the link here, I have to say I am so proud of my kiddo, and really do look forward to seeing where this takes her (Maybe she can start reviewing cool stuff too and give me her leftover swag – wouldn’t that be nice?). I’m a big believer in writing, though, and that the more you write, the better you get. Even if only family ever reads her blog, that’s cool – I love that she now has another outlet for expressing herself.

2. It’s staff appreciation week in my office. As you can imagine, after working from home for so many years – and before that for the same company (one that didn’t even have a holiday party), it’s kind of amazing to see the cool things they do to show us they care. A cookies and milk break the other afternoon, and yesterday a pretty nice luncheon (a great meal, fun dessert, and even a bar). I love that they do these things here – not only because it’s awesome to feel your work matters but because it really is fun.
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3. Pumpkin started talking about flowers dying the other day and it triggered my memory. “The flowers you gave me are just about to die…” I’ve had that old Tiffany song stuck in my head for a few days now. I have no qualms in admitting that yeah, it made me go to iTunes and download some of Tiffany’s greatest hits (NOT entirely sure how they managed to fill a whole album, but man, I hear those songs and I’m a kid again! I was probably about The Princess’s age when those songs came out!).

4. I have been dealing with the sinus infection from hell over the past week. As I type this, I’m coughing so hard that I think I’m going to develop six-pack abs from all the ab clenching. It’s been a pretty miserable go of it – I am feeling better than I was, but still not great enough that I risk spreading my germs to my lovely niece or to my friends new daughter – so I have not seen any of the babies in awhile. That’s no fun. When I saw my doc last week she said, “You have some bad luck with those sinuses, Sarah,” but when I asked her if she would surgically remove them she said no. (Do they even do that? It sounds awful, doesn’t it?)

5. Despite being sick, I went to shoot a family portrait session on Sunday and it was precisely what I needed at the time. It’s funny how I can feel like such garbage and then I pick up the Canon and… it helps. It was a fun shoot, with fun kids. I even managed to incorporate a John Deere tractor.

6. On the book front, being absolutely sick with cooties means that I missed Monday night’s book club meeting, which means that I didn’t vote in this month’s selection. To say I’m underwhelmed would be an understatement, but it is what it is and part of the thing that is supposed to be great about book club is to read things you wouldn’t otherwise, right? And I’m saying that no, I probably wouldn’t otherwise even look twice at The Aviary, this month’s book. I just ordered it, and as it’s a Young Adult book, I figure worst case scenario, The Princess may enjoy it when I’m done. Actually it seems like the exact kind of book MY NINE YEAR OLD WOULD ENJOY.

7. HOWEVER, if you want to read something funny, I urge you to pick up Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) which is (as you probably know) written by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. From her latest post, it’s currently #1 on the NYT Best Sellers List for nonfiction, so I’m sure you are all reading it already anyway. But if you’re not? It’s funny so do it.

8. Less than a month until Boston and the Avon Walk. I’m getting excited. It’s a lot of work, and I’m starting to get a little bit antsy about getting on a plane, but, yeah. Excited.

9. Playoff season was far too short for the RedWings this year. HUGE bummer.

10. I’m loving this cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that I saw posted a few days ago. I’ve always loved this song, but this version is beautiful and adds an element of haunting prettiness (listen, you’ll see what I mean) to the original lyrics.