Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Josh

Josh 4lbs 6oz 11-30-1983

Twenty seven years ago I went for a check up at my OB doctor. I had been having a back ache for a couple of days and it just wouldn't go away. When I called the office, they told me to come in and be checked just to be on the safe side. My due date was still six weeks away. Well...that back ache was actually very active labor! I was quickly whisked away to the labor floor and Josh arrived very soon after. He was precious, wiggly and immediately had us wrapped around his tiny finger.

Josh is now grown and a parent himself, and he is a fabulous father to his three energetic little girls. I have to smile when I hear him answering those same thousand questions that he and Jenni used to ask us all the time, or when he is reading Fox in Socks to the girls before bed. We must have read that book 1,000 times.
Here's a link to recent blog he wrote about answering strange questions. http://jahall.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/zombies/

Happy Birthday Josh - thank you for 27 exciting years. We love you and are proud of you!

Another fun post-it note Tuesday

Office visits

This week I had two doctor's appointments - Optometrist and Dentist. It was so nice to go to a check up and be able to keep my shirt on! My teeth are healthy and my eyes are holding steady with contacts.
Thank you to Dr. Ballard, Dr. Waggener and your fabulous staff!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday morning at the Pfunky Griddle

French Toast
I got a call Saturday morning from Chassi inviting me to join them at the Pfunky Griddle for brunch. Bryan was working and I was home alone, with a long list of chores. I happily put my list aside and headed on over. Lisa and Chadd also met us there and we had a great time making french toast and pancakes with all the fixings.
Aunt Lisa and Morgan

I know many of you are thinking...you are paying to make your own breakfast? The way I see it the restaurant supplies all the ingredients and cleans up the mess - Completely worth it!

Update on International City Swap 2010

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Great International City Swap this year!

Here are just a few of the comments about packages that flew back and forth across the world:

Goodies from Canada

"I just received the greatest parcel from Nashville.  It was filled with magazines, a deck of playing cards, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a CD with a selection of local artists, a bag of goodies from the Loveless Cafe, some beautiful postcards from a local design group, a print from Hatch Show, some guitar picks, and a brilliant letter detailing all of the goodies in the box.   Each item came numbered with a little tag and then the letter described each item in detail.   I was so pleased with the package."

"Mine was great!  I took pictures, but I haven't uploaded them yet.  Juliette is from Ottowa, Canada, and she is a photographer, so she sent me a really cool picture that she took herself.  She also sent candy and a magnet--always good choices.  It was such fun!  I really enjoyed getting to know her and reading her blog.  Definitely sign me up for next year!"

"Anelle sent me some goodies from her home country of Swaziland!  Rooibos tea, photos, info on Swaziland, handmade candles, yummy candy and a beautiful beaded necklace!"

Colorado swag!

"I received my package today from Jenni today, and I'll do a post on it later on. She sent Elvis coffee, lots of little knick knacks from the Loveless Motel, postcard, magazine, jam, and a Goo Goo Supreme which I have not had in ages!! Oh, and a cd and a bandana too. Lots of lovelies!"

Everyone seemed to have a great experience and many have asked to participate again next year. Lessons learned: 1. give everyone at least a month to gather their goodies 2. Post shipping rates

A question for all: What time of year do you think would be best to do the city swap? (fall seemed pretty busy)

Thanks again!

Stuffing Muffins

My friend Amy in Denver takes part in "Operation Turkey Sandwich" each Thanksgiving and it sounds amazing. They make bagged thanksgiving feasts and hand them out to people who have to work on Thanksgiving day. What a great idea!

Here's her recipe for Stuffing Muffins

4 oz unsalted butter
2 ea garlic, minced
1 medium onion, small diced
2 ribs celery, small diced
1 box Basic Chicken Stuffing Mix (the box may call for ingredients)
1 t ground sage
4 each large eggs, whipped
2 ea scallion greens, sliced thin

Sauté some garlic, onions, and celery in butter. Add to stuffing mix. Make stuffing according to package directions. Stir in sage. When stuffing is prepared, divide equally among 12 lined cupcake tins, slightly pressing them into the cups to minimize large holes yet keeping them light and fluffy. Pour the eggs over
the stuffing, again, dividing equally. Sprinkle cheese over each muffin, dividing equally. Garnish each with scallions. Bake at 350 ˚F until they begin to puff up and slightly brown.

Thanksgiving Day

Logan, Emri, Lauren, Anna Belle and Morgan
We always begin our Thanksgiving day by watching the Macy's parade and having a big breakfast. Jenni and Bryan were in charge of breakfast and made pancakes, bacon, eggs and potatoes. Yummy!

After breakfast we all got cleaned up and ready to head to Bryan's parents house for an afternoon Thanksgiving feast. Dan, Deanna, Logan and Lauren were there and the girls really enjoyed playing with their cousins. Bryan's parents are incredible cooks and we always have delicious holiday feasts.

Josh's super-girls

Chassi wasn't with us this year for Thanksgiving, she spent it in Atlanta at Scottish Rite with her two sisters and children. Caleb (I've blogged about before) is making progress and she really enjoyed spending time with all of them.

This year has definitely had it's challenges, but we all have plenty to be thankful for.

Emri, Raider and Deanna

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm loving post-it note Tuesdays! (and I love my family too, but I couldn't resist this quote!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What makes you smile?

Stop – grab a sheet of paper and write down 25 things that bring you joy, make your heart sing, or at the very least bring a big goofy smile to your face. Don’t stop and analyze the list, just jot them down quickly – straight from your gut!

I’ve done this exercise many times through the years, and I am always amazed at how many things I love that get pushed aside with the demands of every day life. I am also always amazed at how “hot fudge cake” always makes my list.

Now, add at least one of those things you wrote down to your to-do list for this week!


I've blogged about my best friend Amber before, and some of you have asked how she is doing. Amber was able to go back to her body pump exercise class on Monday. This is the first time she has been able to return since surgery and I know it felt great. When I talked to her on Monday night she was feeling strong and ready to get started on her chemo. Please join me in praying she will do well, and her treatments will be very successful.

I've been putting together a box of goodies to send Amber since I returned from her house. Things that I hope will make her smile during the not so fun days. I'm currently working on a cd mix. If you are reading this and you know Amber - please tell me what song you think of when you think of Amber and I'll add it.

I love you Amber!
don't you just love post-it note tuesday?

Ten years ago...

November 15th is always a sad day for me. It's the day my mother lost her battle to cancer. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of her death. Even though I feel her presence every day and I see so much of her in my family - it's hard not to have her here with us.

I love you Mom!

Weekend getaway to combat insufficient funs...

I read a very good article a few months ago about being cautious not to let fun slip out of your life. Scheduling time with those you love, those who make you to laugh and have fun may be the last thing you are thinking about in this high paced, stress filled world, when actually these are the things that should be at the top of our to-do lists.

This past weekend I went with a group of girlfriends to Atlanta for a quick overnight trip. When we all began working together we were in the same department, but years later we are scattered throughout the building. These women are the ones who supported me every day while I was battling cancer and trying to keep it together in the workplace. When we realized we all had a free weekend we jumped at the chance for a quick get away.

So, Friday at noon we all turned on our "out of office", loaded up two cars and left on our Hotlanta vacation. We checked in at the Artmore Hotel, an awesome boutique hotel, and walked down to Atlantic Station for dinner at a great steak and sushi place.  After dinner we walked back to the hotel and sat in the courtyard by the fire pit and talked for hours. Saturday morning we enjoyed Ikea, H&M and all the other great Atlantic Station shops. We finished up our trip with a great lunch at Rosa Mexicano and made it home before dinner time.

Great trip - awesome girlfriends!

Plastic surgeon follow up

It seems like I am always seeing one doctor or another. This week held a visit to my plastic surgeon. I am on a yearly schedule to have my implants checked. Most breast implants last 15 years or so and then have to be swapped out. Even though I have many more years before that is necessary the doctor likes to keep and eye on the integrity of the implant, evaluate the healing and check to make sure scar tissue is not forming around the implant itself. 

All in all Dr. Wagstrom was very pleased with how I have progressed. So pleased in fact that they asked me to sign a consent to do photos to share with other women considering breast surgery options. I remember before my surgery looking at these photos. It's such an odd feeling to see before, during and after photos of someone with normal breasts, then no breasts, and then reconstructed breasts. When I stop and look back at the past two years I think... whew what a crazy ride this has been. (just in case you look - that's not me on her website)

So my chest (not my face) may just be famous! : )

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanks to Sam for introducing me to post-it note Tuesdays!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


photo by Bryan Hall
Last night we saw John Mellencamp at the Ryman Auditorium. John is 59 years old now, and we have seen him several times since the 80s and he always puts on an amazing show. One thing you can say about John is that he speaks his mind, stands up for what he believes and he makes music on his terms. Even though sometimes he is harsh, I respect his ability to completely voice his opinions. This album is very bluesy - it was recorded at the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia, Sun Studios in Memphis and the Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio. He wanted to go back to the roots of blues to summon the strength and spirits of the great musicians of the past.

I love seeing shows at the Ryman. Not only is it a beautiful building, but it has awesome acoustics and as you sit in those wooden bench seats you can just feel the vibes of all the great shows it has hosted through the years. As we were leaving I noticed how some people had discarded their used drinking glasses in the aisles of this incredible building. They had people standing by with garbage bags to clean all this up. This is one thing I don't understand. How can anyone disrespect such an amazing place, or actually any place by trashing it. We are so blessed in this country and we often totally miss that.

One of my favorite quotes from his new collection is "Life is short, even in the longest of days". So so true! Thank you John for another great album!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween weekend 2010

Halloween is a big holiday at Onlife. We have a costume contest each year and our department, once again, chose a theme. This year we were Disney characters, and I was Snow White.

Evil Queen, Sock Monkey and Snow White
 My friend Amy knitted her own sock monkey costume. It was amazing! She won our work costume contest, and also the contest at the Wildhorse on Halloween night.

Later that night (Friday) we attended a Halloween party at a friends, so I headed home and hung up my princess dress. For the evening party Bryan was Frankenstein and I was his bride.

On Halloween night (Sunday) we celebrated at the Spears. They host an annual Halloween chili dinner and night of trick or treating. It's always a great night for our families and friends to get togehter, and the kids look forward to trick or treating as a group. Thanks for another great fall celebration Mike and Lori!

Retro movie night

Our Carmike Cinema is hosting a Retro Movie series and it has a very impressive line up, and admission is only 5.00.

Last night we saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with several of our friends.  I remember all too well when it came out in 1981. My friends and I headed to the theater several times to see Indiana at his best. If you are in the Nashville area, you should check out the Retro Series.

Next week it's "Back to the Future!"
There are things you do because they feel right

and they may make no sense

and they may make no money

and it may be the real reason we are here:

to love each other and to eat each other's cooking

and say it was good.

~ Story People


I have loved the band U2 for many years, but I have never seen them in concert. They are fabulous musicians and seem like wonderful people as well. A band with this large a following rarely comes to this area, and when they do they usually sell out immediately.

Last summer when Jenni was on her European adventure, she emailed me and said she had the chance to buy a ticket to see U2 play a stadium show with some friends. She was undecided because she hadn't budgeted for it. I of course, said she HAD to go and offered to buy her ticket for her birthday. It was her 21st birthday and where better to celebrate than with U2 in Berlin! Jenni loved the concert, although I think she enjoyed the opening band as much as she liked U2. I was beginning to think the closest I would ever get to seeing them, was watching her video and looking at her photos from the show. Until a week or so ago...

The local media announced that U2 would be  playing at Vanderbilt's stadium this summer. I was determined to try and get tickets when they went on sale. As it happened, one of my co-workers is a Vandy alum and he helped me get tickets during the pre-sale. According to the stadium diagram our seats should be great and I am very excited.

Thanks Brad - I owe you!