Good Things in the Morning III

It's New Year's Eve, and this is my very last entry into the 365 Project for 2014.  And it's weird, because it really doesn't seem all that long ago that I took the first picture.

Not that a year is a long time, by any stretch of the imagination.  Well, not when you're 33, anyway.  But still.  I have at least 350 photos that I took for this project- and more when you start counting up all the ones I didn't use on a given day.  That's a lot of little moments for me to remember.  And if I didn't quite meet my goal of crowding out all the bad, well... maybe it was an impossible goal to begin with. At least I tried.  And as shitty as the worst parts of this year were (and I will say they might in fact go down as the absolute shittiest) (please dear stars let them go down as the shittiest) at least the best parts were mind-blowingly, joy-fillingly, sparkler-lightingly good.  We take the bitter with the sweet, and all that.

Speaking of sweet (and bitter) Nathan and I are now back in the 'Couve- but we had a wonderful family breakfast this morning before we took off, and my brother made us all smoothies using one of his Christmas gifts:

this is the rainbow I prefer to taste
I think the O'Richey-Os are going to ring in the New Year quietly on the couch (my voice is back, but not  necessarily strong yet), which is just fine by me.  And tomorrow will be a new day, and a new year, and I will take photos if I feel like it, or maybe I won't, but either way I'll be looking for those little moments to savor, and hopefully remembering to savor them.



toes like fat pink cushions



toes like little curly shrimp


Head Towards the Light

Most of today was taken up by driving to Spokane, and endeavor rendered positively enjoyable by a) our lovely new car and b) a Terry Pratchett audiobook.

Our appreciation of the comfort of our car was swiftly eclipsed by our appreciation of her traction, once we hit the east side of the state, because the snow and ice out here does not mess around.  The main roads in Spokane were all plowed, of course, but as we turned into my brother's neighborhood (which seems to be uphill both coming and going so how does that work?) we found ourselves driving on sheets of ice.  But our little goat-mobile took no notice, and kept right on getting us to the places we needed to go.

And now here we are!
and I still don't have a voice


Welcome Home

I spent most of today being pitiful on the couch again, but Nathan felt right as rain and was able to keep his ski-date with my uncle.  I myself kept a seven-hour date with a bunch of overly dramatic teenaged vampires, and quite frankly feel like I perhaps had the better end of the deal, since I stayed nice and cozy and no crazy snowboarders tried to assassinate me.

Maybe it was all the tea, or the chicken broth, or perhaps Ian Somerhalder's smolder, but I was feeling downright functional by the time evening rolled around, so I baked Nathan some (gluten free) cookies to welcome him home (since I still am incapable of actually vocalizing the sentiment).
nothing says "love" like chocolate chip, right?


Spin a Silent Story

It's official:
I am a plague monkey
And not only am I a plague monkey, laid up all pitifully on the couch with my medicines and my hot liquids and my tissues, I am also a plague  monkey who straight up has no voice.  It's one of the strangest, most frustrating experiences of my entire life, although I did get a good story seed out of it, so we'll see if that goes anywhere... maybe once I can think clearly again.



Merry Christmas, you guys.

I spent it in the company of various beloved friends, including one newly-trained carpet inspector:
might fine textures you have here



I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but Nathan does music at our church, which means he is there every Sunday for not one but two services.  I am decidedly not there every Sunday- once a quarter is more like it- but whenever I go I do enjoy it.
the slow creep of evening
There was a special Christmas Eve service tonight, all music and reading, which meant that Nathan was onstage for the entire time, and I sat contentedly alone in a pretty blue chair.  It was a lovely experience, both visually and aurally, although I always do feel distinctly out of place during Communion.

Afterwards we came home and, since we have no small children to teach discipline to, proceeded to open alllll our presents, and then drink up hot cocoa and hazelnut-infused rum.  Delicious!  Plus I am wearing my new, fleece-lined jeans and burgundy rabbit's fur collar, and feeling super cozy and contented with life.  And now we are watching Parks and Recs and Nathan is making me a pizza and life is so very good.  Plus I have a new nephew to meet next week, which brings the official nibling* count up to nine- count 'em, nine:

Mantis Shrimp

Now I'm sure you're looking at that list and thinking, "Mantis Shrimp?  Mantis Shrimp?  How did you come up with that code name?" and the answer to that, my friends, comes down to the fact that, at 7lb 10oz I declared him "shrimpy" compared to his brother, who was close to 11lbs at birth.  But shrimpy in a sizeable way.  Hence Mantis Shrimp.

(plus I am amused by the idea of a baby being the harbinger of blood-soaked rainbows.)

*(I have some unofficial niblings, too, including but not limited to Blue and Skully...)


But Who Will Hear the Prayers of the Earth?

rose colored dreams
(Just another fine Humblebug creation.)


Approaching the End

And not just of the special gluten-free cookies, mind you...
Yep, there are less than ten days in this 365 project- although thanks to the Koopa's little drama-fit, it's technically only going to be a 351 project.  I think.  My math may be a little fuzzy on that, but I think we can all agree that it doesn't really matter.

Anyway, I've been trying to think about how I want to handle that- if I want to do an additional two weeks in the New Year, or just an extra 14 photos whenever I feel like it, or what.  I'm not sure yet- frankly I'm so relieved to be drawing close to the end that it's hard to care about technicalities like that.

Also I want more cookies.


The Broken One

this is what comes of my insistence re:decorating the outdoor trees


Let's Go

Sometimes things just work out.
vroom vroom
The first time I got pregnant, back in the summer of 2013, Nathan and I realized that we were probably going to have to do something about the Car Situation.  Namely the fact that we were a single-(small)car family with a large and boisterous pit bull, plus a baby on the way- and a propensity for driving out to to the wild to go adventuring, often with quite a bit of gear.  This realization, over 18 months ago, kick-started us into researching just what sort of vehicle we'd want, if we were to get a second one.  And by "us" I mean "Nathan", because in this marriage he is in charge of research, and I am in charge of making sure we can afford whatever it is he's researched.  Partnership, see?  We lost that pregnancy, obviously, but we kept right on looking at cars in the hopes that it might once again become relevant.

We didn't feel any real pressure, which is sort of the ideal circumstances under which to look for a new car- until, that is, I got pregnant again, and then the ante was summarily upped once more.  But again, that didn't pan out... but our desire for a new vehicle stayed piqued because, quite frankly, we realized we were ready for a grown-up car.  That is to say, a car that wouldn't send me into fits of sciatica on long trips, and that we could accelerate onto the freeway with, without sending up a fervent prayer to St. Christopher.  And also butt warmers, because damn technology is amazing, ya'll.

So we looked and we looked, and we agreed that what we'd really want, if only we had the money, was a 2015 Subaru Forester Limited.  Ha ha ha hah.  But we are (occasionally) patient people, and we knew that in a year or two we could probably get said vehicle for the price we were willing to pay.

As all of this was going on, we were also waiting on the outcome of my grandmother's estate, which has been puttering along since 2012.  We weren't depending on the money by any stretch of the imagination, but we did acknowledge that, should it come through, it would certainly make things easier.

And then, last week, it did come through- and literally the next day Nathan found an advertisement for a certified pre-owned 2015 Forester that had every last thing- right down to the color- we had daydreamed about, with only 55 miles on it.  And the asking price?  Almost exactly the amount of the check we'd received.  That's right: a new car for the price of a used car, for the amount my generous grandmother left me.

We took the hint.


Remember the Ghosts

My mother, as I have mentioned, sends lovely care packages, especially around the holidays.  She always includes things that may be opened immediately, and things that are not to be opened until Christmas Day.  Being adults (and perhaps somewhat dull) we did not actually open the "immediate" things until this evening, when we had a nice quiet moment to indulge.  Of especial interest were several flat, rectangular objects which whispered "book" to fingertips once deft at discerning contents based on shape and feel alone...
My heart squeezed when I unwrapped this particular gift, because one of my clearest memories of my father is of him reading aloud to me the words of this story when I was no more than six or seven.  It was Christmas Eve, and we were curled up on the couch in his parents' living room, surrounded by a quiet darkness made gentle by the rainbow shimmer of Christmas lights.  His voice painted pictures in that darkness, bringing to life the humor, the horror, and the hope of the tale.

I held this tiny volume in my hands tonight, remembering, and had the overwhelming urge to read it aloud to someone else, to pass along the magic of a quiet voice in the darkness.  But there is no small form to share with me this Christmas Present, and it seems less and less likely that there will ever be one to share it with me in Christmas Future.  And I realized as I sat there, staring at the red and gold cover, heart aching with those twin emotions of joy and sorrow, that what I really want is for someone to read it aloud to me, curled up tight in the light of Christmas Past.


Many Thoughts

the real reason we keep so many pennies in our house


Heart and Center

This is, obviously, an unintended image, but I like it nonetheless.
I like the feeling of speed.  It makes me think of that old saying, "The kitchen is the heart of the home."  It's so true- the way it pulls people in, then pumps them back out again, full of warmth and nutrients.


Special Delivery

My mom sends the best gift boxes:
seriously you guys: the best
(Please note the special tin of cookies just for me!)


The Eight-Year-Old's Delight

I went to an afternoon tea today, and it was so lovely.  My inner-eight-year-old almost swooned at the sheer delicate-pink-sparkly-elegant-tinyness of it all.
::insert high-pitched-shrieks-of-covetous-joy-here::
My outer 33-year-old was just glad that they were able to provide me with a good herbal.

(although when I poured it into my cup and it turned out to be pink, the 8-yo nearly lost her damn mind again.)


Failing at Adulthood

This day has not been ideal.  In fact mostly it has been me failing at doing adult things, like keeping a lovely garden or a neat yard, or putting up Christmas lights with anything even resembling competence.
...as though a holiday fairy came along and vomited right on that poor tree...
I feel like I wouldn't be so frustrated by it, if I hadn't done a perfectly decent job in years past.  It's just that this year I don't have a tall enough ladder to put them on the roof, and it turns out that icicle-strands are not actually ideal for wrapping around tree trunks.

Guess I know what to put in my letter to Santa this year...


Seasonal Saturation

Now if only there was some snow to set it all off...
you can't handle the red


What Comes

High wind warning in effect tonight, and the afternoon skies were definitely heralding it.


Seeking Shelter

This is Heart Attack Squirrel:
Pleased to Meet You
I call him that for his habit of scaring the ever loving jeebers out of me on a semi-regular basis.  Please note how close I am to him.  That is because Heart Attack Squirrel knows no fear, beyond the fear he strikes in the hearts of those unwary fools who venture too close to the recycle bins when he's in a "popping out from nowhere" sort of mood.

After near-on four years in this office I am used to his shenanigans, but it was only today that I learned perhaps why he is so insistent with his scratching on the front door.  It turns out that one of the people who worked in the office before me had a habit of leaving the door open, to get fresh air, and the result of that was that squirrels made their nest in the shred box, which I find unbelievably hilarious and wish I'd been around for.  This revelation led me to the obvious conclusion that Heart Attack Squirrel must have been born in said shred box, and now all he wants is to get back to the place he belongs.

Poor little terrorist.


The Virgin

We bought Isis a new blanket today.
It's blue, and she loves it.


Hung Like Notes on the Boughs of My Soul

I could not have arranged a more seasonally-appropriate image if I'd painted it myself



I got out of bed at 1000 this morning only to shuffle my way downstairs and onto the couch, where I snuggled with the pig until 2000, and then shuffled my way back up to bed.  Nathan kept me pumped full of medicine (and delicious bone broth), so here's hoping I'll feel better by tomorrow.  In the meantime, here is one of my many blankets:
poor pitiful me


Don't Be Afraid

Today was a non-stop sort of day, beginning with my Office Holiday Party and ending with my Regional Holiday Party, both of which I had a hand in planning and implementing.

They were fun, but I'm super-amazingly glad they're done.

For the Office Party I dressed up as Mrs. Claus (for pictures with the kids), and to while away the time between groups of people showing up (it was sort of an Open House format) I partook in a suitably Mrs. Claus-y pass time, which is to say embroidering yet another bib:
...to fall for me

The friends I'm making this one for are climbers, hence the knot motif.  And just so you know, free-handing knot work remains a pain the petticoated-rear.



I've been pretty under the weather lately, so I decided to try my hand at making bone broth.  It's currently chilling in the fridge, in the hopes it becomes appropriately jello-like in consistency.  But when I took this picture, it was fully liquid and lovely:
the consistency of comfort


Where You Should Have Been

another ghost pregnancy come to term


The Unforgettable Fire

thanks for dragging me to the window this morning, husband.  you were right: it was worth it.


Snow Balls

We have a Christmas tree at the office, and today I took some time to add to the decorations that my boss had already put up over the weekend.
It's always weird to me when I see Christmas trees that are very... cohesive.  You know, thematic, or what have you.  Christmas trees that involve a lot of glass balls or other matched ornaments.  That is not the sort of Christmas tree I grew up with.  Our tree was much more... chaotic.  And definitely not even remotely match-y or color-themed or crafted to any specific aesthetic.  Our Christmas tree would never have looked right in a department store display window.

But what our tree had, was character.  A story to every ornament.  A memory for every glint, glimmer, or dull gleam.  A precedent for which bauble went where.  And that's why Nathan and I have such a very small tree (although at 3ft it's an upgrade from the tree we had when we were first married): we don't have enough ornaments built up yet to cover a large tree, and I refuse to buy ornaments "just because".

So now you know a bit about my Christmas tree, which is beautiful not because of how it looks, but because of what it is.

Now have the cool, inversed image of balls, because I like it:
so shiny!


Cast a Long Shadow

Here we are, in the final month of my 365 project.  Woo!
One thing I've learned to do is be a lot more aware of my surroundings, particularly what's on the ground, because I've so often found good images that way.  I expect I'll keep looking around, even when I'm no longer "committed" to getting a photo every day... and hopefully my life will be the richer for it.