Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

Today I have...

Dusted my bedroom, scooped the litter boxes, washed all of my bed linens, remade the bed, swept the floors in my room and the craft room, done three other loads of laundry, scrubbed my bathroom, organized and straightened some stuff, worked out with Matt*, cleaned up the kitchen, prepped a plate of goodies for going to a friend's house tonight, prepped all the veggies to go on the crock pot tomorrow for black-eyed pea soup, braved the hell that is WinCo Foods on a holiday, unloaded a bunch of groceries, walked down to get the mail, prepped two Etsy sales for shipping, fed the cats (twice), and taken the garbage can out to the curb for tomorrow's pick up.

Now, let's party.

To one and all, a safe and happy New Year's Eve celebration.


Meg of the Little Pink Blog

*Yeah, and said workout was the Fran again, and I beat my previous best by about 1:40, so go me.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Pictures, 2015

I don't take nearly enough pictures with my camera anymore, but I did manage to get some good ones this year. Here are some of my favorites from 2015!

Disneyland, April:

I love this because I timed it perfectly--the cars were right at the top.

Pomponio State Beach, January:

San Francisco, February:

Mom's Garden:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Moments 2015

What a year, in so many ways. I'll start with the saddest moment, because my Millie-Girl deserves to be remembered first...always.

The Saddest Moment of All

I had to say goodbye to my dear Millie Joyful this year...and God, it was so hard. Millie had been with me through so many homes, adventures--everything. She even waited patiently for me to get England out of my system. All pets are special, of course, but Millie was extra-special. It hurt so to let her go, but I don't regret that I listened to her, that I gave her what she needed from me, even though it broke my heart.

This picture is the last one I took of the two of us, a few short days before she took a turn for the worse, and I knew. She was painfully thin, but eating, and purring. I worried like any mama worries. I hoped for the just wasn't meant to be.

Dear Millie, you are so missed.

A Moment To Hold Back the Tears...and Be Silly

While my career path took a decided turn for the better after I left the Large Suburban High School, I still hated--HATED--saying goodbye to "my kids," and I still miss them. I'll never forget my two years there, but most especially that last semester, where I had 25 really terrific kids, and a group dynamic that left little room for drama...there was a lot of fun, and some great singing. Our Spring Concert was awesome, with Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" capping off our part of the evening in spectacular style.

On the last day of school, I struggled to keep my tears in check, and asked my colleague, Lynn, to take a picture of me with my awesome choir. After a couple of serious pictures, we all let loose, and the picture at right is one I will treasure for a long time.

A Proud, Grown-Up Moment

After twelve years, it was time. Rosie, my intrepid and awesome Mazda Protege, was showing her age. Every time I took her to get serviced, something else needed fixing. This year alone, it was a new engine block mount, and brake pad liners.

The money is better spent elsewhere.

So Rosie and I parted ways on Veteran's Day, and Sylvie came home with me. A glossy, shiny Mazda 3--driving her is like driving a rocket after twelve years in Rosie...but we're getting along just fine. :)

The best part? I did this by myself. No help, just a grown woman at the dealership, knowing what she wanted and knowing how to get it.

The OMG Moment to Beat All OMG Moments

And all of a sudden, she was going back to London.

Of course I've thought about going to London about twenty thousand times in the last ten years. I've looked at tickets and lamented the costs. I lost a job and went through unemployment and thought, "Well, I'll go back someday..."

Someday is here. The trip is booked, it's happening...and believe me, no amount of state department advisories will scare me off of this one. London's calling, and I'm so ready to see my old friend.

I am finally, finally, back in a place financially where I can splurge on something like this (having a random week off in February, when travel is super-cheap, helps, too). When I paid for the trip (No credit cards! No borrowing!), I actually had tears in my eyes. "Excited" hardly begins to cover it.

No, I'm euphoric.

A Hopeful Moment

I had three job interviews that  June day, and an ailing Millie at home. Stressed? You have no idea.

This was the first interview that day, and I surreptitiously took an Instagram photo in the main office while I waited, and wondered if this would be the kind of place I'd like to work.

I left a little while later, figuring I had just come across as a huge asshole...but whaddaya know, I got the job! And they were excited to have a VAPA teacher for the first time in the school's three-year history.

All I know is that my initial thought--that a school with toys and a huge rainbow rug in the main office has a kid-first approach to education--holds true. It's a good school, and I'm one lucky VAPA teacher.

A Sweet Moment

"What is that...?" I thought to myself as I ran up the hill just outside my neighborhood. "A duckling?!"

No, not a duckling, a quail chick. I'd recently seen families--Ma, Pa, and the kids--crossing streets in the area, and now, one...wait, no, two...hold on, three tiny chicks were darting around in the gutter, unable to boost themselves up onto the squared curb and get to the safety of the bushes beyond.

I had to help.

After considerable chasing, and a lot of high-pitched chattering--"I won't hurt you! Let's get you back to Mom and Dad!!"--I got three sweet quail babies onto the sidewalk, with the help of my bandana. (Turns out bandanas make handy elevators for lost and wayward wildlife.)

I like to think I earned some good karma that day.

The "When At Disneyland..." Moment

All I'm saying is that it doesn't matter that we did this last year. If I'm going to spend a weekend at Disneyland, in charge of a group of teenagers, and with all the responsibility that entails, I'm going to seek out Donald Duck.

And my own Duck, Cali Swimmy, is getting his picture taken with Donald.

It simply has to happen.

And so it did, again, this year. I was in a bit of a hurry, needing to leave the park with the kids to go perform, but the picture is adorable. I love Disneyland and it's cast members for being so wonderful to park guests...and for humoring the rubber-duck-toting weirdos of the world.

A Snoopwich Sandwich Moment

When Summer and I decided to see Ben Folds perform in Santa Rosa, there was no question we'd meet up at the best attraction that fine little city has to offer--the Charles Schulz Museum. But first, lunch at the Warm Puppy Cafe, where I could not turn down a simple PB&J "Snoopwich."

Summer and I had a great time exploring the museum again (she went to the grand opening with me way back in 2002), and wandering around the Snoopy Gallery and Gift Shop. My adventures with her are always great fun.

Then, in November, the Peanuts movie released, so this year was a good one for this Snoopy fan.

A Very Proud Moment

The picture at left was taken in my car, a few minutes after I finished taking the exam to be a Certified Personal Trainer...and learning I had passed.

I bit the bullet and paid for the program in April, but didn't start studying in earnest until June, when school was out. Several weeks of intense studying, and endless questions and texts to the ever-patient Matt, and I did it! It wasn't easy, either--a lot of memorization, and of material I had only minimal prior knowledge of.

Of course, with my career going back to full-time, I haven't had a lot of time to really use the certification, but I'm still learning a lot from working out with Matt and designing some of my own programs--especially in my running training.

A Moment of Hilarity

We all know how I feel about the dress.

I love singing with Sac Choral, and this particular concert--in October--reminded me just how much, after several weeks of thinking, "I'm just way too busy and tired for this." After an attitude change during that morning's dress rehearsal, I donned my "Goth Anne of Green Gables" dress and asked Dad to take a picture of me. He suggested a pointy hat and a broom.

We didn't have a hat on hand, but we did have a broom, and the result is a picture of me uninhibitedly laughing my ass off in my too-large, too-much-dress-in-this-dress frock.

Keep singing, Meg.

A Super-Strong Moment

This picture shows me dead lifting 120 pounds, which, at that time, was my new best. A week later, Matt would load up 150 pounds, and I would get it off the ground--one single, difficult rep--with him shouting encouragement all the way.

I still struggle--far too much--to feel proud of how my body looks, and my first thought when I look at this is, "Oh, I should trim my tummy down..." But then I look beyond the so-called (and self-perceived) flaws and think, "Look at those badass legs--four days later, they ran a half marathon!" Or I think, "Look at that strong body, that determined face...just look beyond all that to the girl inside who never quits."

Because I don't quit. I keep running. I keep lifting. I am worth it.

A Moment To Enjoy Family

I need to think about it more often--to take pictures of my parents, and with my parents. On Thanksgiving, we asked the waitress at the club to take a quick picture of us, and even though the lighting is odd and I'm in a strange and uncomfortable half-squat to be level with thm, I love this picture. That's us, Mom, Dad, and Meg.

It was a good afternoon, and a relaxing holiday. I'm so very lucky to have my parents, but especially to be so close to them.

Moments With Friends

So many moments. From seeing Shae for the first time in two years in November to every other good time I've had with my friends this year.

Dinners out, Halloween shenanigans, watching Sarah's daughter Julia cheer on Senior Night and marveling at how this young woman is the same human being that I held when she was two days old.

Endless side-by-side selfies, intentional duck face to mock those who think it looks good. Dancing in a very crowded bar and getting conked on the head by someone's elbow because I am just that short.

Ben Folds in concert with Summer, Katie and Tom, and dragging Summer around the Peanuts complex in Santa Rosa (she really doesn't mind).

Tea dates and bumming around San Francisco, days at the ocean, where Summer never acts (too) embarrassed at me taking the requisite duck-on-head selfie.

Sometimes I think I don't see my friends often enough--we just get so busy with real-world, grown-up responsibilities. I'm making an effort to push a little more, to get together with people as much as possible. Life is better with friends! And this lucky lady has some good ones.

Here's to the moments that made 2015 the beautiful roller coaster it was. I've grown, and learned. I've had some really great moments, and some crushing ones, as well. Here's looking ahead to 2016...may it bring good things to all of us.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Week in Instagram (Week #161)

What a lovely Christmas week it was!


After several days of feeling awful, it was nice to work
out, even it if it was really, really easy.

Sylvie's gas mileage in the average work week. About four to
five miles to the gallon better thatn RoPro.

On Sunday, I had several inches of hair chopped off. It doesn't
look like a lot, but it felt like about ten pounds of dead weight.

Love this.

I spent a lot of time making cards this week. Perfect "recover
from a sinus infection" activity!

I made these for Mom, using prints of Instagram shots I took of
her garden all spring and summer.

Fun with patterns and colors.


Sylvie and I drove to Emeryville--her first longer day trip.

We met Summer for brunch at Rudy's.

Then Summer drove us into the city.

Rainy day in San Francisco.

Our mission: brave the holiday crowds.

Happiness is the Macy's shoe department.

Snoopy from the other side.

Macy's Holiday Lane

Union Square

Every year, the Humane Society of San Francisco puts adoptable
cats and dogs in the windows. In the three weeks they'd been
there, there'd been 168 adoptions!

There's a teeny, tiny, adorable puppy in there. It's black and
white. The brown is a toy.

We stopped by Tiffany...sadly, they no longer sell Christmas
ornaments. I'm glad I have my candy cane.

Dinner at Boudin.


If you squint, you can just make out a world-famous bridge in
the fog and mist.

It took us two hours to get from Pier 39 to Market Street. If you're
not familiar with SF, that's a nightmare. And that's traffic.


I got a hula hoop for Christmas! 

I also got a really cute Snoopy card, which was above and beyond.

The ornament detaches. : )

Hot buttered rum. We didn't have the mix so I just put butter,
brown sugar, cinnamon, rum, and my special ingredient:
cinnamon imperials. It was amazing.


My first long walk in ages!! 

Came home and played with my new hoop. It matches my shoes.

Managed to take a window selfie while hooping.

Saw these at Safeway. LOVE.

Went out to hoop some more and got a few pics of the
garden in winter.

I had to make Grinch Crinkle Cookies.

"Maybe his heart was ten sizes too small..."

So this happened, and it was amazing. Mom agreed.

Christmas collage

Tree lights.

This is getting WAY out of hand.

Dad bought Mom roses. : )

I finally saw Star Wars (it was awesome).

Oops! Later, in the parking lot, I had to empty a piece out of
my boot. 

Dad liked the sweater I got him. 

Mom and Dad gave me two beautiful, special pieces: Mom's
original engagement ring (before Dad could afford a diamond),
and a gold and jade bracelet. They recently had a bunch of
Mom's jewelry cleaned and fixed (the bracelet's clasp had
been broken) and they wanted me to have these while they
are still around to watch me enjoy them. 

After gifts, I made more cards. Gotta thank people! (This one
ended up going to Matt, for the hula hoop and Snoopy card.)

We watched old episodes of Hill Street Blues.

Friday: Merry Christmas!!

I went for a long walk--about five miles.

Found this long the trail and loved the whimsy that inspired
someone to take a couple of ornaments out that far.

Incredible, gorgeous roast.


The table. Mom and Dad invited their long-time Air Force
friends, Vern and Claire. They have hosted us a few times in the
past five years, so it was our turn.

The ring. : )

Yours Truly

The roast came out GORGEOUS.

Excellent food, excellent company. 

Claire gives Mom a White House ornament every year. They're
really lovely.

Well, this was awesome.


I found an online countdown, which told me only 48 days (!!!)
'til I leave for London. 


A little creation of mine.

Saturday night--wine and cookies with Sarah.

At one point, she gently slapped my knee with one hand and
said, "I'm glad you live nearby." Me too, Sarah. Me too. <3 td="">