Sunday, January 31, 2010

smile!

...evidently I am the easiest person in the world to surprise - not that I don't pay attention or notice things. more that I just was completely. totally. not expecting a party for me yesterday!

karen, lydia and sara schemed and planned, along with my bookclub friends to surprise me. they succeeded! and it was so much fun - great food (of course), plenty of wine (of course) and the list of thank you notes I need to write is getting way out of hand.

paula had my camera and got some great shots of me opening a huge pile of gifts. thought this might be a perfect time to try another digital layout (the first since I finished my december journal on january 1).
all of the supplies are from designer digitals. mostly their help haiti kit, except the staples and the notebook journaling edge which are from katie pertiet.

Friday, January 29, 2010

the end and the beginning.

(promise - my next post will not have beginning or ending or first or last anywhere in the title - can't promise the content won't recall those words, but at least the title will be original!)
...the packing up was a lot faster than I thought it would be. even with wrapping every picture frame, every momento (like the crazy-heavy marble hourglass to commemorate my work on y2k), every book and every sliderule (my dad gifted me his collection when he retired...and I'd love to regift the collection now that I'm retired, but I'm not really sure there's anyone left working who even knows what a sliderule is?!) in paper. with tape. I was done before lunch.

I did enjoy my exit interview. but I'm thinking the hr associate who did it probably enjoyed it more. I'm sure the career retirees just don't happen along that often in her line of work. I was pleased to learn that I'm coded as "retired" in the system (whew, because that's so much classier than "terminated"). she was impressed that I knew about the snow in new york yesterday. of course, I told her, my daughter works at 30 rock and I watch the today show so I know what it's like for her. and I'm hoping I don't need to email her or call her even though she said I could.

and my last lunch. jeff, janel, lisa and I went to boneheads. sorry, no photos, but trust me, we laughed a lot (socialist practices are fine if it's family, right?!) and they've promised to let me know about the next time they go.

and then I said my goodbyes, loaded up the car (3 boxes, 3 pictures and a stuffed briefcase) and.    left.

one quick stop at roswell high to signoff on the landscaping for the tennis courts (I have a feeling my RHS racquet club treasurer job is going to take a lot more time this year and thank goodness I'll have the time - and - note to self - NO MORE treasurer jobs. really!!!) and then to cast-on cottage to see when I might be working. big surprise! yep, I start Monday at 10am. I'm not one for too much time off. I vaguely recall that one week after I graduated college before I started this 27 year thing. my mom was visiting and we planned my wedding. so yeah, not like a real vacation week. but that was the last time I wasn't employed. the last time I wasn't collecting a paycheck.

so this all seems very strange to me right now.

but the weekend is full (birthday celebrations, two appointments with students to pick out yarn, knitting group, groceries) and I've got photos from last night's party to work through...thinking a digital scrapbook page...so maybe I can keep the strangeness at bay for a bit. and then maybe, I'll get absorbed into the new stuff, and the strangeness will pass before it really hits me. right, I'm sure that's how it will go. right?

beginning and ending.

I've blogged about my love of sunrises before. One of the things I am really going to miss after today is the southeast facing window by my desk that always provides the best sunrise views. I'm so glad I got to see one last one today. A suitable beginning to mark the ending.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

happy birthday.

...to katie.

she's grown into a beautiful young woman. and I've grown up a lot myself. it's been - and continues to be - quite a ride. honestly one of the best parts of my life is being the mama. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and the blessings my girls bring me.

katie - all the best, most wonderful wishes for today. and for your life. xxoo - m.

(p.s. not one for regrets, but I am very thankful I now take lots of pictures (and they're all dated!). and wow, the late 1980's and 1990's were bad for fashion!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

followed by firsts.

...thing one. my "first" (since they moved everything to computers) fulton county library card. and I checked out a book to make it all official. I've had my eye on this book because it has the pattern for this shrug that I heard about on never not knitting. the book is mine for 28 days and I'm hoping I can knit it - or at least figure out some kind of plan to knit it someday - before it's due.


...thing two. chewie. aka "nicole's dog". I've worked with nicole for a few years. sadly the last few have been virtual - she's in new york and I'm.here. so I was glad that she managed a trip to atlanta to say goodbye. and more than especially pleased I got to meet her puppy. a very well behaved havanese named chewie. I think he liked the camera!


...thing three. [sorry, no photos] I had a fabulously energizing meeting with the development director of it's the journey (they're the parent organization that sponsors the atlanta 2-day walk) about volunteer opportunities. she's proposed a project that's a mix of community outreach and education. more to come. but to say I'm excited is an understatement.

T-3. and counting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

another last.

...this one is the last business trip. to our hunt valley office (my first time there, and to the baltimore airport - funny how first things and last things can go together). to facilitate a training class in manager effectiveness. this was the fourth time I've delivered the class, and it was hands down the best. the managers were all really glad to be there and I think they learned and had fun. it doesn't get much better than that!

but I won't miss the lonely hotel rooms and meals by myself (another first - room service dinner).

or the time in airports or on planes. time when I would much rather be home. with my family. I was really excited to catch an earlier flight. and I made it home in time for dinner with sara.

this next week is going to have a lot of lasts. and I am telling myself I need to take it slow. enjoy the moments. because it will be over before I know it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

announcing.

...a project with katie. a weekly photo collaboration inspired by  brian andreas' stories.

I wanted to call it some kind of ride, recalling this story:

(from the card katie included with my birthday flowers last year)

Each weekend, one of us picks a story, and then we have the week to take our photos. The next weekend, I put the two photos together and post them, along with the story, on the blog. So far, it's been fun, but - I think - a lot harder than we thought to find just the right photos.

Monday, January 18, 2010

a quick hello from hilton head.

...can't believe it's nearly time to say good-bye. these quick visits are always just too quick.

we went out for lunch.


and dinner.

walked on the beach.


watched two movies. countless football games. the golden globe awards (sara and I are wondering if we should see avatar?).

and we've talked. and eaten (more!). and shared photos. and then more wine and more talking.

it's been lovely.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

retirement lunch.

...as in oh my, it's real, isn't it?!

 click here to see who's who
my team treated me to my all-time-favorite maggiano's family style. we ate (lots...fried calamari, fried cheese, maggiano's salad, caesar salad, gnocchi, rigatoni d and cake and cookies) and shared stories. mostly about the past.

lisa and matt raided the closets and cubicles and dug up an NTRC marketing video (yes, a VHS tape from the mid-1990's I think) and a folder full of marketing brochures, client communications pieces and company newsletters. we shared stories about managers. about projects. about office space. about balancing family and work. about lunches out with teammates. about all the things that make up a career that spans 26+ years.

our waiter surprised everyone when he brought the cake - and don't kid yourself, it served everyone! and gave me a great opportunity for a wish... that I missed because it took me 4 (5?) blows to get all the candles out. but really - and I know this is corny beyond reason - what more is there to wish for?



and before we left for the restaurant, lisa gave me the team gift - a digital frame loaded with images of my team (I finally get to see what patrick and sunita look like) and clients - even my office. wonderful memories all of it and it will have a special place here on my desk at home come january 30.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

still cold.

...I was ecstatic about the 50 degree forecasts for today. shuffled my calendar so I could get to the park this morning for a walk. boy was I bummed when I realized it wouldn't be 50 degrees til late this afternoon and it was still in the 20's when I could walk this morning.

I couldn't bear to take a picture but I'll paint one in words - 2 layers on the bottom, 4 on top (and the toppest top - marc's coat that came just about to my knees and definitely covered my hands). plus a hat and mittens (not handmade, so kind of driving me crazy but that's a project for next winter...) point&shoot camera in the right coat pocket. ipod shuffle on the 3rd top layer. and a tissue. have it?

so I was warm (surprised even me...and those mittens came off a few times and I was still OK!). but I wasn't at all expecting the snow and the ice.

I've been walking in the park for over ten years. and I never remember the pond freezing.


or seeing snow.


I am very ready for spring. really.

Monday, January 11, 2010

a lesson in irrelevance.

...I honestly thought I was better than this. I *make to do lists, work those to do items and check them off as I complete them, start new lists, and then repeat* forever. (and yes, sometimes I do transfer those last few trailing items from one tired list to a shiny new list, but that's just to keep it fun).

so yesterday, when I cleaned out my bag and found this list, I was...surprised. and yes, a bit disappointed. I started using these particular lists after a very fun shopping spree in chicago last winter. so I know this list isn't more than a year old. and yet. I have absolutely no idea what it's about. I only know one sabrina (I met her last weekend). hoyt? and pasta, definitely familiar with pasta. but as a sub-heading for the unknown sabrina/hoyt? clueless.

and that is my lesson in irrelevance. there was obviously some moment - just in the past year! - where these words were important to me. I wrote them down. ...and then forgot what they meant. they no longer matter to me. and I can only hope that whatever importance they conveyed at the time was realized.

I pasted this card into my journal this morning. the journaling talks about how fleeting most of those "most urgent" items are. and a note to self to make sure my future notes to self are easier to deciper. and the bright green items I added? today's to-do's. topped by ruby red (I've decided to finish it for my retirement party on january 28th - yikes!!!), calls to clients about my retirement (four down, two to go. a part of this process I really underestimated), getting our act together for cooking brunch at sue & david's this weekend, and getting the last of my holiday photos into an album.

I'm off to knit....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

shadows.

...love the play of the leaves on the back fence.


and the sunshine.

not so much loving the cold. missing the park. very much looking forward to warmer weather (hopefully later this week).

happy sunday. stay warm.

Friday, January 8, 2010

a(nother) good mail day.

...yup, today was going to be the day. the first day since december 18, 2008 that I didn't take a photo. yes, that would be breaking a 390 day streak. and now that I've done the research and added up the days, I'm just as glad it didn't happen.

all because this lovely yarn arrived in today's mail. I have a huge thing about getting good mail (see here, and here, and here and here - and here) so of course I had to take a picture. and share it.

it's a retirement gift from my aunt & uncle who live in oregon. that pretty card says they're friends with the owners of the farm where it comes from. wow. friends with people who make cashmere. wow.

p.s. the yarn came with a pattern for a really pretty scarf in a simple 2 row repeat lace pattern. but I think this might be calling out to be a cowl. like this one, perhaps?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

welcome (snow).


(I seem to have another series in the making!)

...and still loving my new camera.

dinner.

...something new for this year - a "real meal" for dinner instead of three hungry folks rummaging through the refrigerator and pantry and piling whatever looks good onto plates (minimal preparation - really, sara was the only one of the three who will take the time to cook or chop) and eating whenever.

so I am trying to get something prepared, with the goal that we sit down together at the table. marc is wanting "healthy" (means limited fat and carbohydrates) and sara isn't eating meat. this week, that's meant salad.

and last night I tried for a little "hot food" and roasted the last of our grape tomatoes and sauteed the last of our mushrooms. grated a bit of parmesan, mixed up a half recipe of ina's caesar dressing and washed two heads of romaine. it was pretty good.

the photo a day habit is hard to lose! and I couldn't resist the mushrooms while they were sizzling away. sara taught me that you don't need to add anything else to the pan - just the mushrooms on a moderately high heat. (she's right of course - sara has great advice about cooking!)



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

new view.

(and an excuse to try out this great tutorial on rounded corners - thank you cathy zielske!)
...as seen from my desk chair, in front of my laptop. this was a popular subject with project 365. and I am happy to have new frames, new photos, and a very cute little bird (from nicole - a christmas gift that, thanks to my extended :-) holiday break, I just received yesterday). a new view.

Monday, January 4, 2010

beginning.

...I have been so fortunate these past 10+ years to take off the entire two weeks for christmas and new years. but I only started taking off this "first monday" a year ago. and I've found that this day is the one that really gets me ready for the new year. all those beginnings need a few endings, items checked off my to-do list, and simply some space to feel right. like finishing the beginner scarf (it was off the needles blocking yesterday, and dry and picture ready today) so I'm ready for my first official knitting lesson tomorrow. and cleaning out both refrigerators (especially thankful it's so cold outside our garage is like a refrigerator and nothing even got a little warm during the process) so I know what we have and am just a little inspired to make something other than snacks and sandwiches. oooh like a salad! laundry done (and hopefully will be put away before bedtime) and the last of the holiday photos are printed (and likely won't be put into the album...but still...). bring on 2010!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

time.


thanks to ali edwards (again!) for the formatting idea - and to katie pertiet for the wonderful paper (this was included in the breast cancer awareness kit)

...this marks my fourth year participating in ali edwards' one word project.

my words for the past three years have been journey (2007), gratitude (2008) and experience (2009) - and one big lesson I've learned from all of them - or maybe just life in general these past few years?! - is how fleeting time is. I have some big changes coming up in my life this year (retirement and moving on to teach knitting, sara will graduate from high school and move away for college, katie will move across the country) and TIME is going to be my word. making sure I'm being intentional with how I use it...and making sure I enjoy the moments because they won't be coming back! although I completely LOVE the part in the definition above "seemingly irreversible" - note that not all the definitions I found included it.

and these two quotes really spoke to me when I was thinking about what TIME means to me:
everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life. -brian andreas (this one has been a favorite quote for many years; it was on the blog header back in february 2007 when I started mere-et-filles)
nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. we haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time. -georgia o'keefe

feeling like I fizzled a bit on last year's word experience. at least in terms of documentation - but having that definition and ee cummings quote on my blog sidebar all year definitely kept me focused on the word. so I'm taking a similar approach this year and have these two quotes on the sidebar along with the definition.

p.s. when I went to ali's blog to grab the link info for this post, I found a link to christine kane's toolkit for documenting your word. hoping it helps me for time in 2010!

p.p.s. I updated my blogger preferences to use the new editing tool - wow, it's a great improvement! this is the first post I've written in a very long time without having to use the "edit HTML" mode...nope, not even once!

Friday, January 1, 2010

project 365.

...big time mixed emotions about wrapping up this one .

having these daily views into my 2009 is beyond-any-word-I-know fabulous. whenever I need a quick pick-me-up, I go right to that folder and just scroll through it. reminds me how full this year has been. experiences abound, and the ordinary everyday can be beautiful. I have also learned a little bit about photography (bokeh? dof? cropping?) and am excited for 2010 to learn a bit more.

but I have decided to take a different approach for this year. no daily photos. wow! I may not take a photo today and it will be ok (not that I want this for today - it is the start of a new year, after all, or tomorrow when we have our family holiday gathering, but I am looking forward to that feeling for one day soon!). instead, katie & I are planning a weekly collaboration of photos and words (stay tuned - we're still working out the details) and I am going to continue with the digital scrapbooking, photos included. I also want to learn more about my wonderful new camera - group shots (in restaurants and/or with me in them!) are first up on the list!

and on my list for 2010 is to document this project. inspired by the year of mornings, maybe a book? or maybe simply making layouts of the "related" photos (like this one). first step is to catalog what I have - at least I know there are six shots of that tree! - and hopefully that will help me decide a format.

a favorite holiday memory (day 31).

...so glad karen & I were able to squeeze in our traditional holiday lunch in december (just barely). we had planned bistro vg, but they were closed (huh?!) and then we tried pastis (closed as well) and ended up at salt factory. at a table that looked out onto the street, still decorated for the holidays, and provided some of the best people watching. a lot of talk about the upcoming year, but also catching up on the past few months. I am really hoping we get to spend more time together in 2010.