Friday, December 30, 2011

I read somewhere recently that you shouldn't make new years resolutions, because if you want to do them you should already have begun.  But I disagree.  Any runner knows that you have to wait for the shotgun to go off.  You need a starting line, a mark, bearings.  Besides, there's nothing like the feeling of your heart racing, feet braced to charge, or set in your blocks, waiting for the whistle to blow, or for a curtain to rise.  Every game I've ever played, my stomach has filled with butterflies as I take the field.  My legs tingle.  My face a mix between a smile and a stare.  I'm ready.  I'm waiting.  I'm happy and nervous and about to win or completely spend myself on that field trying.  One of the best parts of a game is the minute right before the first whistle blows.  At least, that's how it is for starters. ;)  Those sitting on the bench might not know how good the field feels when you know your opponent is watching your face, sizing you up, and you know they don't have a clue what's coming.  You might even let them think you're weak, unready, an easy defeat.  You're already playing because games are won first in your mind, second in your training, and last in the 90 minutes on the field.  (yep sorry, lost all ambiguity and fell into soccer.)

I'm starting to get those pre-game jitters.  The sort where I don't want anyone to talk to me.  When my face becomes that puzzle, the only time in my life it's not telling exactly what's going on inside.  Somehow, then, it's nothing showing but resolve.  :) 

So I'm all about resolutions, about writing lines and giving myself start marks, because I know the wait really is what sets us apart.  The wait can beat a person before they ever even get in the game.  It's those moments before the curtain rises when you're standing on a dark stage doing your best to remember your first line, and not show the thousand thoughts in your head.  It's when I think to myself "OH my God, why am I doing this?!" And then, I make the decision.  I'm here.  There's nowhere else to go but through. :)  And I'm going to enjoy it.

I guess what that writer was trying to say is, new years resolutions won't work if they're just last-shot attempts at being something you don't have the drive to become.   You don't win a game if you don't warm up.  You just end up with a pulled groin, limping off a field and a little embarrassed.  ; )  But just because you were taking shots before the whistle blows, doesn't mean they count.  Nope. Nope.  Now can we get to 25 so I can start counting my books toward my darn next annual goal!?  (Yeah, that's totally all this was about.)
A goal for 25:  Ride on a sailboat.
Work has gotten really slow. It's as if they've just made a decision to behave as if I've already left. But I'm still here. That, or they've decided to make me suffer by giving my sister a ton of work and me none, so I can see what it will be like when I'm gone. You know, really get to see her pain from a front row. :/

So I'm doing my best to find things to organize, clean, outline and otherwise leave this place a little better for whoever follows behind.

That said, when I fail to find something to do, I finally turn to what you've all been telling me about for months. That's right. I opened Pinterest. And you're all right. Then again, I never doubted you were, it's just that until now, I didn't really need another distraction. Now, I guess I do, because work days are rolling by at the speed of a penny down a mountain.

I've been giggling quietly in my corner at little pictures like these, and storing up craft ideas, and oowing and awwing over amazing homes.

Cinnamon rolls, coffee, Elmo and cuddles with this muffin were just about enough to make me call in sick today. Don't know how I ever left, but I was definitely a few minutes late to work today. I love this little girl to pieces. This morning, I laid there waiting for her to wake up and the first cry I heard I snuck in and grabbed her. I thought perhaps it might freak her out to have someone besides her parents wake her, but turned out I got nothing but smiles and was dully rewarded with cartoon cuddles. I can't get enough of little miss Finleigh and I'm definitely looking forward to baby Rowles #2. I've officially extended the offer for the next one to be named either Katrina or Hope. Turns out Finleigh was almost Fineleigh Hope... I think that explains why we love each other so much. ; )

See you next week Fin. Hers will most likely be the first face I see on my 25th. And I couldn't think of a better way to start my day.
I LOVE this.  I even find the chosen words fitting. ;)

[teehee. For the Keiths.]

[For Megsy... feel better and come back.  Praying for you today]

Goodbye my friend, Allie Snyder.

See you soon Mrs. Allison de Craen!!

Congratulations today to Allie & Sam! 
Love you and celebrating with you from afar.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. 

The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

-Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
"...I feel a deep sadness growing inside, like smoke filling a gentleman's room.  And while it is nothing more than smoke, I feel it steal my air and know to breathe is to die." 
Ready to discover how truly little I have read?

[Per Esther]  The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety. Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray 80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchel
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo  (the modern version, so sort of a cheat)

And the saddest part is, I'm above average!  I think our lack of reading is ruining our generation. 
You can always tell when I've been catching up on Esther's blog... because I reblog half of it!  Or am tempted to.   Here's my favorite find on there today: this is my wish for each of us this year.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
Neil Gaiman
(Source: boxofoctaves, via bookmania)
I've posted it a couple times already, but every time I scan through my photo library, I stop at this one and smile for a while. I think of what has been, and is and might be. I think of this little girl's mommy, and her mom and my mom, and me, and who might one day call me "mommy" and this tiny little face "friend." I've been resisting the urge all morning to write about my friends.
Why, I'm not sure. Perhaps because I know I've written most of it before, perhaps because I'm afraid to make what's most special to me seem old to you. But it is old. It's as old as anything in my life, in my heart. And that's the best part. It still invades my thoughts and overcomes me. I love these people. I love this little girl. I love her mom. And as I'm surveying the past and posturing for the future, I just keep thinking how grateful I am for the friends and family that walk beside me. And for the new stories this little girl will one day tell, and the stories that have yet to be and become her parents "old tales". I can't wait to tell her stories about her mom and me and E.T.
I'll be 25 in one week. :)  


It will be a good year.  And a good day.  The end of much and the beginning of more.
Dear Friends and Family,  This is a formal announcement. 

 Next year, I am going to Spain. 

And I already have an excellent way to fund it.   Isn't that right, "B-Man"?  

Spain hasn't really been on the top of my list, but I think I could work it in to a nice travel itinerary, and seeing as it's on other friends lists, I'm willing to concede for the sake of the whole.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm going to make one of these. Eventually.
A goal for 25:  Visit a new city.


Good news: Today's choices help forge the you in tomorrow.

What we do on Christmas Holiday... 

Puzzles. (which I don't love.  somehow that gene missed me.)


Lots of games.

And movies.

And laugh at Jason.
Day after Christmas - Family Book Day
A couple years ago my parents gave us a 'family gift.' As our final Christmas present we each got to pick out a book at Barnes and Noble. To a family of bibliophiles, this was a great gift. The day after Christmas we drove over and spread out around the store, each quietly wandering until we found our perfect read. This year, we did it again, only we decided to head to the Elliott Bay Book Co. on Capitol Hill. I'm pretty sure we all found our books a lot quicker this year, which some could hold the smaller size of the store accountable for. I however believe it was due to the excellent display of the books. I added 10 books to me iPhone "book list."

After, we stopped at Oddfellows Cafe for a quick brunch. None of my family had been there, and I feel a bit poorly that their first taste was of lunch (which turned out to be only okay) rather than the delicious breakfast they're known for.
My thoughts this morning have been a constant dialogue with Collins.  I just keep telling her, "You better make this count, Collins.  Please make this count."  And yet, I'm approaching book three with a dread, as many people have now warned me... and I've yet to hear one person say "Aw, the end is so good!" Or, "Just wait 'til you get to the end!"  Nope.  It's like we're all on a long death march together, but we can't pull ourselves out.  So, instead I keep encouraging, or rather threatening Collins, make it count. 

Truly, I can't say enough, what she's accomplished up until this point is amazing.  And I just don't want her to let it suddenly simmer out in the end, never actualizing on all she's made the readers invest.  Never pulling us all through into something. When I think of 'teen fiction' and the topics and issues that saturate it, I want to hug Collins.  She's managed to create a compelling read for teens and adults that forces major issues and crisis that we never encounter.  She's drawing on the past, the future.  What's been and could be again, wrong as it is.  And she's drawing on those few with courage, or stubbornness, to fight.

You better make it count, Collins.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2am craving... for camping.  
And earlier today I was thinking: I haven't been fishing since high school graduation.  
I'd like for that to change.  

Actually... that probably is related to these books.  Which is a very odd reaction. 
It's nearly 2am and what better time to blog is there?  It's the second night (rather, morning) in a row that I can't put my book down and fall asleep.  No, not the same book.  Because last night, I finished the first one.  Today, I got my hands on book two of The Hunger Games.  I'm nearly halfway done.  And while I come across to some of you as a girl who tears through books, I'm not.  I read often, but the argument could be made that I don't read a lot.  Because reading a lot means reading fast, and that, I don't.  So unless some book raps me so up into it that I can't pull myself away from it's pages without a lot of paper cuts, it takes me weeks (at least!) to read them.  Not here.

When I finally read the final words of the first book of The Hunger Games, I was just thinking how happy I was that in a few hours I'd be in a book store and could grab the next.  It's painful.  I'm literally loving and hating them all at the same time.  My body was entirely tense, to the point that I was lying there shaking, for hours.  I don't think that's a normal reader's response, but it was mine.  I get invested.  That's just how I am.   To books, to people, to dreams.  And my physical body becomes affected by whatever is gripping my mind and thoughts.  So I shook and worried and wrestled through the pages, knowing all along that the end couldn't give respite.  Not to Katniss, not to Peeta, not to me.

I knew it so deeply that I dreamt for hours and hours about them, about District 12 and about The Hunger Games.  I woke up several times confused, and having to sort out what I'd read and what my mind had added in dreams.  If I've done that before, literally getting lost all night in a world of my own dreams, drawn by some other author's hands, it was many years ago.  The days when I'd regularly read until my eyes couldn't focus on one more word.  When I'd wake up with a book wide open, face down on the floor beside my bed, or on my face.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas with the Kellys
& Keiths
(This might be the first full-family shot, ever?  
At least first in two years) 
The Kelly Sisters. 
A. Same color 
Our hair is all almost the same color for the first time...maybe ever. 
B. Same Sassy. 
C. Same Silly.
D. Same three girls as always 
(same sick tradition that amounts 
to picking on the 'little one'!!)
Oddly enough, now that we're all in our mid 20's - early 30's and used to not looking anything alike... we finally look like sisters. 
 (Turns out our parents might have been telling the truth all along.)

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families and loved ones.  Hope you had as many laughs as we've been having, as many delicious treats, and as many wonderful moments.  (And perhaps even as many un-shared photos restricted to your hard drive as there are to mine.)  Love you all!