Wednesday, December 31, 2008

last morning of the year


I was awake at 6:30 a.m. this morning and could not fall back to sleep. The early sun spilled all this purple light into my yard, so I had no choice but to go outside and take photos.




Tuesday, December 30, 2008

what a feeling


I spent the morning in the basement, mopping, throwing stuff away, drying things out and repacking them in plastic bins, and doing loads and loads and loads of laundry.

Upstairs on a break, I saw that Sophie had somehow pulled one of her legs out of her sweater, and she looked so much like Jennifer Beals that I had to run for my camera. And then suddenly she was on the cover of a DVD.

Monday, December 29, 2008

here comes the flood

Me and my freakishly long toes, standing in the water in my basement near my infrared sauna this morning. 
You can see the water soaking into the sauna floor.

Today, I had planned to meet an old college friend for lunch in Ann Arbor. I haven't seen him since maybe 1992, so I was really excited to catch up with him and discuss how much has changed since then. I imagined a long, lingering lunch, filled with funny stories of the past, interesting stories of our lives today, maybe a bittersweet tear or two.

So I woke up, drank coffee, and hopped in the shower. Then I printed a map to the restaurant, cleaned out my purse, put on makeup, and got dressed. The final, easiest task was to get clean socks from the dryer in the basement, put on my shoes, and leave. I scampered down the steps . . . and into 4" of water. I couldn't process it right away. Why were my feet wet? Why was the bowl of cat food floating slowly past the doorway? When it finally dawned on me that my storm drain was clogged yet again (this happened to me five years ago, but I only got an inch of water that time), all I could do was scream "CRAP!!!!!"

Crap for being such a packrat and disorganized slob that 4" of water in the basement could ruin everything sitting in cardboard boxes on the floor. Crap that I had let the basement get so filled with stuff in the first place. Crap that I would have to call my friend and cancel, and then deal with the sloggy mess.

I called a plumber to come and snake out the drain, then made a claim with my homeowner's insurance. I am most concerned that my treadmill and my new infrared sauna will sustain the most damage. The other stuff - boxes of more Christmas decorations, boxes of whatever, and piles of laundry - can for the most part be washed or dried. Luckily, the water was clean-ish melted snow, flooding the basement after a few days of 50 degree weather and rain. Nothing bacteria ridden or disgusting. I'd post more photos of the waterlogged mess, but frankly, my basement completely embarrasses me.

Here's a New Year's resolution: I will no longer use cardboard boxes for storage!! As soon as I sort out what I'm saving or tossing, I'm taking my disorganized self to Target for plastic storage bins with lids. And the really important stuff, like photos, papers, and other memorabilia, will be stored in the attic. What is wrong with me? How did things get so bad? Oh! And the other resolution? Yearly appointments with the plumber to spin the roots out of my storm drain. It's either that or pay $4,500 to have my yard dug up and tiles replaced, and I really can't see myself getting all excited about that.

Although I'm dreading the massive cleanup of dirty water residue, and the mud, roots, and general yuck that got spun onto the floor during the drain cleaning, I really cannot complain. People have survived horrible floods and lost their entire houses and everything they own. I can't imagine that. I am just inconvenienced and forced to organize and clean something that should have been done a long time ago. I may have lost a boom box, carpeting, and a power drill, but those are replaceable items. On the positive side, at least I'll start the new year with a sparkling fresh basement.

And on an even happier note, please enjoy this photo of my nieces posing in a rare, sweet sisterly moment. They're wearing the flannel nightgowns I made them for Christmas.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

longest night of the year

blue sky

Happy winter solstice. I finally managed to put up my tree today. I seriously considered just taking the box back downstairs and skipping the whole thing this year, but I made my mopey self do it.

Then I made possibly the most depressing iTunes mix ever to be heard during the holiday season:

Breathe Me - Sia
Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own - U2
The Edge of the Ocean - Ivy
Farewell - Rosie Thomas
Living in Twilight - The Weepies
Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell (Love Actually version)
Prayer for the Dying - Seal
No Surprises - Radiohead
Into the Fire - Thirteen Senses
Mazzy Star - Dust
bird feeder
 Then I ate cupcakes. And took a nap. The windchill here was -20, so it was nice to hunker down on the couch while the wind blew snow against the windows.
 Here is my oldest ornament, given to me by my kindergarten teacher. It's a gold glass ball, with my name on it in red nail polish.
 And on the reverse, it says the year. Yikes, that was a long time ago.
 This is the neckline of one of the nightgowns I made for my nieces. I still have to do some finishing on the elastic wristbands, but they're almost done.
 And here is my tree.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

heap big snow

snow storm

We had a glorious snow storm here Thursday night. Most of lower Michigan got 9-12". I woke up to the above view of my street (and my neighbor's lonely lit tree) around 7 a.m., snow coming down an inch or more per hour.

Today I cleaned my house, shoveled my driveway, and finished more handmade Christmas gifts; photos to follow tomorrow. My tree is still not up, though it is in a box on my living room floor - so that's progress. Maybe I should just decorate the box with lights and leave it at that.

I've been wandering in and out of the holiday spirit, annoyed at being single yet another year, and missing my grandparents more than ever. But then I think of my nieces and my family and friends, my job, my pets, and my health, and I can't help but be grateful for what I have. I think as you get older, Christmas becomes more about taking stock of your life and remembering what's really important. Like this little cutie who arrived last spring:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


my house

We had about 4" of snow last night, and now everything looks more Christmasey. Here is the front of my house. I still don't have my tree up, but I was able to spend ten minutes hanging my wreath on the hook and decorating the windowbox with three trees and some berry garland. The snow hanging off of everything gives it a nice effect.


Here's Sophie in her festive snowman t-shirt. She's not a fan of the snow, probably because she doesn't have a lot of hair (but it's slowly growing in, finally).


Sadie, on the other hand, LOVES the snow. She runs big circles around the yard, spins around, kicks up her little paws, and dashes away again. Here she is in action.

I'm off to the theater for another rehearsal. Time to find something comfy to change into.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

album complete

Here's another sneak preview for Gracie & Derek. Their wedding album is all finished and at the printer's. Hooray!

Monday, December 15, 2008


The essentials: script, pencil, water, gum.

The directors, directing.

Members of the cast watch the opening scene.

Me, waiting to go onstage.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

reaching out to touch you

Who remembers Ice Castles from 1978? Growing up, it was one of my favorite movies, because it was about (of course) skating. Tonight it was on TV, and I watched it as I sorted through the piles of clutter in my living room. It's your classic athlete-falls-from-the-top-and-rises-again movie, complete with 70's melodramatic music, a supportive boyfriend, a loving dad, feathered hair, a possible career-ending injury, jumpsuits, and jealous fellow skaters.

My favorite part is when the audience starts throwing roses on the ice after Lexi's performance, not knowing she's partially blind. She trips and falls down, and loving Nick comes scooting out on the ice, helps her up, and whispers "we forgot about the roses." Lexi's kind and forgiving, while I would have been all "Nick, you are such an idiot. Why don't you just throw me down a flight of stairs while you're at it?" And we would have argued our way off the ice. Of course, that would have ruined the happy ending.

Now I have the theme song stuck in my head, and unfortunately I know all the words because we sang it in choir in high school. My poor dogs. Every time I come around the corner, I start bellowing "PLEASE! Don't let this feeling END!" and sing the whole verse through "looking through . . . the eyyyyeeesss, of looooooooovvve!" That song is a timeless classic.

Friday, December 12, 2008

feeding frenzy

The Black Apple doll I made for Gen hangs out with my doll before being shipped to Australia.

Today we had our departmental potluck Christmas party. My eating has been all over the place lately, with being busy with the play, taking road trips, and dealing with all the holiday food. I weighed myself this morning and discovered that I've pretty much broken even, which was shocking (considering, among other things, the Olive Garden feast last weekend in Pennsylvania). I've kept off the weight I lost this fall, which is good, but still have more to go.

I didn't want to totally stuff myself and then sit at my desk all afternoon, bloated and reeking of meatballs. So I decided that I'd have a scoop of everything I really wanted, skip the food that didn't look interesting, only make one trip, and only have one dessert. It worked out really well. Instead of feeling like I had to sample everyone's food and eat it whether I liked it or not, I enjoyed my favorite things and finished it off with a slice of raspberry cheesecake. When I was tempted to go back, I asked myself "do you really want to work off those calories in the new year?" The answer was no. I keep reminding myself that every calorie counts, and making little changes here and there is better than doing nothing at all.

Now I just have to survive the cookie exchange.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

anticipation is building

Sarah at her baby shower, holding up little booties from Donna. I love Piper's expression in the background.

Another quickie post here. I feel like I get up in the morning and don't stop moving until I go to sleep. I don't have my tree up yet, my house is trashed, and most of my meals come in a little Lean Cuisine box. But I'm having a great time!

I've been working all week on a Big Important Project that hopefully will be unveiled to you all sometime next week. Feel free to become giddy with excitement.

Monday, December 8, 2008

somewhere in pennsylvania . . .

Donna and I had a great time in Pennsylvania! Here are the highlights:
  • We dripped fast food all over our shirts just 10 minutes into the trip. 
  • Somehow we missed the exit for the correct freeway and ended up an hour off-course. This resulted in taking side roads through the mountains in total darkness while it was snowing, and arriving at Sarah's house at 10:30 p.m. 
  • At a gas station/store, I meant to tell Donna not to choose pizza to eat because Sarah's family was having it for us once we arrived and I didn't want her to eat pizza twice in one evening. It came out as "don't eat because Sarah is feeding us when we get there." Imagine her surprise when I came out with a big roast beef sandwich. 
  • The baby shower was fun! Such yummy food and great company 
  • A huge flock of birds fluttered over us and came to rest in them middle of our lane as we were flying 75 mph down the freeway. Donna screamed "GET OUT OF THE WAY" while I hid my face, both reactions very effective. And no, we didn't hit any birds. 
  • Donna spilled her entire container of fries all over the floor as she was driving. Then, after another rest stop, she tried to unlock the wrong car, and another motorist commented "you won't get home in that car." 
  • I lost the baby shower greeting card five minutes after I was asked to sign it. It ended up in my luggage and we brought it back home.
I'm sure there are plenty more, but it's late and I'm tired. Donna? Anything to add?

Friday, December 5, 2008

road trip

Sarah, six weeks ago.

I'm off to Pennsylvania tomorrow (or I guess: today! I can't believe I'm still up and packing . . . ) for Sarah's baby shower. I'll be back on Sunday. Photos, wacky stories, and adventures from the road to follow.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

making a list, checking it twice, gasping in horror

Dashing in here to post these photos of the Jersey girls from October. 

I just made a list of everything I need to get done before Christmas, and with rehearsals, work, craft projects, photography commitments, and a weekend road trip in the mix, I feel like curling up in a ball in my closet and hiding until New Year's Day.

If you lose all contact with me, you can find me huddled behind old bridesmaid dresses, a pile of shoes, and a basket of summer clothes. Bring beer.