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Friday, February 21, 2014

Experience Nature: Almost Snow

On my walk this morning, I came upon this beautiful tree, with its white blooms scattered all around.  Beautiful! 

I think this is the closest we're going to get to "snow" here.

What did you notice today that brought you happiness?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Life in Pictures: Virtual Home Tour

front of our house (slightly decorated for Valentine's Day)
Last weekend, we had our house blessed for the New Year by our priest.  It's one of my favorite Orthodox traditions.  It was also a good reason for me to clean the house! 

So I thought while the house was (briefly!) spic and span, I'd take some photos so those of you on the other side of the country can get a sneak peek into our home!  (Those of you on this side of the country are welcome to see it in person any time at all!) 
corner view of our house, with the garage in the back left
living room, complete with cute kiddo
our neat wood-burning fireplace that we have yet to need to use here in sunny CA

ikea media storage solution behind the couch, with storage for Flanna's racetrack underneath.  :)
arched entryway into the dining room is to the left of the front door
dining room

tile, tile, everywhere, in our kitchen--at least it's spacious!

laundry room off the kitchen
access to the side & back yard off the laundry room
back yard, with detached garage
back yard

more back yard, with a few fruit trees
garage, with Flanna's art displayed on our "gallery" wall
hallway from the laundry room
Flannery's room
Bedroom set courtesy Aunt Kathy & Uncle Mark!  Giant pink horse courtesy Aunt Kelley!
storage solution from Ikea, shag rug from Target, Doll house from Santa :)
dog painting by Flannery, jewelry hanger from Target
master bedroom (I haven't finished hanging pictures or art in here yet, but oh, well).
I love that I can see Flanna playing in the back yard through the window--that's her in the hammock.
hallway with storage and Flanna's chore/behavior chart
our one bathroom, just one!  But we make it work. :)
painting by moi, and yes, we are still using clearance Halloween Kleenex :)
Low mirror for Flannery to use; antique fork jewelry hanger by my aunt Debi
my office/our guest room/sunroom
the "guest room" section of the office, with a twin trundle that converts into a king.  Quilt made by Robi's grandmother for our wedding gift almost 15 years ago!   (I need to get cute pillows for this bed!)  

And that's all, folks.  It's not much, but it's home, and just right for us right now.

What do you love about your home? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What the Speechie Wore Wednesday

I'm trying to hold myself accountable for wearing more than just my basic black pants to work every day, and each Wednesday, I'm posting photos of my outfits from the week.  This week, I kept forgetting to photograph my outfits (things were crazy with the new dog!), but I captured a few! 

I forgot to get a photo on Wednesday, but here's a group shot from a coworker's baby shower that evening.  Fun!
me doing speech therapy--jean jacket over my dress for day time :)
Thursday - speech therapy and meetings;  purple dress, gray leggings, and gray ballet flats
scarf from Ann Taylor loft (a gift from my E.Coast BFF!)
Saturday - errands and cleaning; cotton pin-striped tunic and jeggings with my fave red shoes

my favorite red shoes

Tuesday- Speech therapy and meetings; tweed black/gray pants, a black shirt, and my favorite red shoes
 I think I could wear those red shoes every single day.  Especially since I'm at a different school each day of the week.  No one would know, right?  :)  They're super comfy.  I'm thinking about buying them in blue, too. 

What's your favorite pair of shoes?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We've Been a Little Busy!

Because...I found a stray dog on Friday (Valentine's day) and brought it home. 

Watching "Lab Rats" :)
I know, I am crazy.  But the poor thing was in the street when I went to lunch, and was still there at the end of my work day, and so I just had to stop and get him out of the street.  The funny thing was, all I had with me to coax him closer was a bag of cashews and a blue sour straw candy from a baby shower I had been to a few days before.  But the candy worked, thank goodness.  :)

And the little guy was really sweet and gentle. Covered in motor oil and a thick layer of dirt, but still sweet.  When I got home and gave him a bath, our tub literally had a ring of black grime in it afterward.  Poor baby. 

coming home from the vet
I took him to the vet to see if he was microchipped (he wasn't) and posted a "found dog" ad on Craigslist just in case he has a loving family out there.   We're trying not to get too attached in case someone is searching for him, in which case we would of course return him to his home. 

But if no one claims him, we are thinking we will adopt him ourselves.  He is already fitting in pretty well.  The vet thinks he is 1 1/2 years old.  He's almost 12 pounds and is probably a rat terrier and cattle dog mix.  Flannery is in love and keeps saying he is the "sweetest dog she's ever met." 

The vet says after 2 weeks, if no one has claimed him, we can go ahead and declare him as ours.  So, we'll see!  Today is our first day back to work and real life since he has come to our home, so wish us good luck!  I am praying he is as calm when we are not home as he is when we are home. 

Have you ever rescued a pet?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why I Feel I Can do Anything

my dad, mom, me, my hubby, and my sis
I think I am a little ambitious.  I like to finish projects.  I like to create new things that are important and meaningful.  I like to take the lead at work.  I like to work toward goals and accomplish them.  I like to take on the challenge that's making everyone else throw up their hands and want to throw in the towel.  I like to solve puzzles and to figure out tough situations.

I think I'm pretty productive.  I can research, write, create, edit, and finish a project in a whirlwind of speed.  And I think the quality is pretty darn good.  

I don't know for sure what made me this way, up for tackling challenges, up for taking on more projects than I probably sometimes should.  

But I think it might be related to these facts:
  • I watched my dad design and build a house on his own (with a little help from his friends!) when I was growing up.  He did this on weekends and after work, while working full time hanging sheetrock-- a very physical and demanding job--and often working side-jobs, as well.  
  • I watched my mom work full time, long hours loading UPS trucks and delivering next day air packages, and then come home and care for us every day, and also care for her aging parents in their own home, and also cook spectacular meals and keep our house lovely and humming, and also have deep conversations with us regularly, and know our friends, and attend our endless plays and dance recitals and awards banquets.  
  • I watched my sister win "Student of the Year" for her whole entire school when she was a senior.  As in, she was the best student in the whole entire school from 9th through 12th grade.  She studied all the time and was in every extracurricular activity there was and worked part time and sang in the church choir and did community theater and taught dance to little kiddos and babysat, and still made time to let me play with her hair.  
  •  I watched my husband work FULL time through college.  He paid for his own undergraduate degree completely on his own.  And during that tim, he also played in a band, and went to church, and made time for me and his friends, and fixed every family member's computer in the tri-state area when they needed it, and went on to get a freakin' Ph.D., y'all.    
I remember one time when I was in grad school, my clinic supervisor pulled me aside and told me that she thought I might be working too much and that maybe it was taking me away from my studies too much.  At the time, I was a research assistant part-time, and I babysat some children after school several days each week, and I worked weekends as a receptionist in the Xray department at the local hospital.  I asked the clinic supervisor if she knew that I had a 4.0 GPA?  What more did she want?  She laughed and said, no, she didn't know that, and she guessed I should probably just keep on doing what I was doing.  (And also, I wanted to ask her if she wanted to pay my bills so I could spend more time on my studies, hah!) 

The thing is, that making my own way, even if it took working 3 jobs while going to grad school full time, was just what I had to do to get to my dream of being a speech therapist.  And so, like my mom and my dad and my sister and my husband before me, I did just that.  If I hadn't had good strong models of how to work hard for what you want and actually achieve it, I might have given up when that clinic director pointed out my frenzied pace.  I might have felt defeated or even embarrassed because no one else in my program seemed to have to work so much all the time.  But, heck, I knew I could do it.  I mean, no one I ever knew had failed.  I had good early models of persistence paying off.  

So, to all of you hard-working parents who might feel guilty that you're not home full time or volunteering every week at your child's school or baking cookies from scratch to serve to the neighborhood kids when they come over, I say:  

Work late now and then.  Bring work home.  Talk about neat projects you're working on.  Show your kids that you contribute to the world and that you're actually kind of amazing at what you do.  Let them see you stay up late to meet a deadline.  Let them see you get up early to squeeze in the cooking of pink pancakes for Valentine's day, and then rush off to a meeting looking professional and powerful.   Let them see you groan at the alarm clock but get up anyway and head off to meet the demands of the day.  The more we model for children what it looks like to set and meet goals in all areas of our lives, the more they believe that they can do the same.  

I know this firsthand.  Because my dad, and mom, and sister, and husband, modeled this for me.  

And that is why I feel I can do anything.  

Who in your life has modeled working hard toward success? 

Friday, February 14, 2014

What's more Beautiful than "I love you"?

I think one of the best things about loving someone is that we can be a comfort to one another.  It might sound trite, but when I'm having a bad day, it helps to remember that I'm going home to my husband at the end of it all.  My smiling, calm, funny, reassuring husband.  I hope that I'm as much of a comfort to him on his bad days.  

Sometimes, even more beautiful than "I love you," is:  "No matter what, don't be discouraged; I'm here for you."  

Here's a song by Patty Griffin, one of my favorite artists ever, that captures that sentiment eloquently.  I picture my husband saying it to me.  Sing it to your Valentine tonight!  :)  

                "Coming Home to Me:  by Patty Griffin, with Julie Miller                                                      

Anytime you say it with heart,
Anytime you're falling apart.
When you're washing the sheets,
Any stranger you meet.
When there's somebody waving goodbye,

You're coming home to me, just remember,
You're coming home to me.

It's a world full of bar rooms and alleys,
Of blue nights and red river valleys,
When you feel like a shirt and a tie,
Or like dirt,
Or a lion, and no one can see,

You're coming home to me, just remember,
You're coming home to me.

When you get to that place
That's just under the stars,
Hanging over the tree
At a quarter to three
When you get there you'll know
That's as far as you go
When you get there you'll see
You were already free
When you get there you'll la la la la la la

When you're lost and you're found,
And you're found and you're lost,
When you're dancing with no one around,

You're coming home to me, just remember,
You're coming home to me.

What's your favorite love song?  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Look for Beauty

a tree in my coworker's neighborhood, so bright!
This past week, it has begun to feel like spring here in San Jose.  There are trees and flowers blooming everywhere, and surprises of color around every corner.   I find that taking photos of beautiful things when I notice them really helps me pay better attention to the world and notice beauty around me.

What I look for, I find.

When I look for beautiful things as I go throughout my day, I find them.  

I think this applies to many other areas of life, too.  When I look for funny things my clients say, I find them.  When I look for kind things my coworkers do, I find them.  When I look for ways my daughter is helpful, I find them.  

So, go out and look for beauty this week.  I bet you will find it.

on our walking trail

blooms in our neighborhood

our neighbors' orange trees

beauty on a gray day -  a Sweet Gum tree down the street

beautiful bark on a tree trunk

What do you look for and try to notice as you go throughout your day?  My mom and sister often send me photos of sunsets and sunrises, and I love how they take the time to notice the sky.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What the Speechie Wore Wednesday

Wednesday:  speech therapy & meetings (this was taken at
the end of the day, so my hair is in a ponytail.  :)
Well, I'm still trying to add variety to my wardrobe, and taking photos of myself when I can remember, to help hold myself accountable for getting out of my "black pants rut."

What I realized this week, is that black/brown pants seem so easy to put on and to pair with a top when I'm hurried in the morning, and so mornings I had early meetings, it was almost always my go-to thought.  So maybe I need to start thinking the night before about what I will wear.  I haven't actually done that yet, but maybe next week.  :)

I do feel more confident (and even powerful!) when my outfit is a bit more "put together" than normal. Seems silly that something as superficial as an outfit can affect my mood like that, but it does.

Thursday:  Paperwork and testing (in the rain!)

Friday:  Speech therapy, testing, and meetings

I added brown/gold earrings from Anne Taylor Loft, a gift from my East coast BFF.  Fun!

Sunday:  Church day & cleaning

Monday:  meetings and report writing

Tuesday:  speech therapy, testing, and meetings 

What outfit do you love to wear that makes you feel confident and maybe even powerful?