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We’re headed to the Denver Art Museum for the afternoon, then Christmas Eve dinner at Steubens before we look at lights on the way home.

Low stress and non-traditional. Just the way I like it.

Wishing you a lovely holiday filled with love, laughter, patience and perhaps some valium if necessary.



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A Coyote Solstice Tale

While picking up presents at Tattered Cover, I stopped to peruse the holiday books.

I’m so bored with most of them and was delighted to find a creative alternative to the usual fare.


From School Library Journal:

Coyote is expecting Beaver, Bear, Otter, and Moose for a solstice dinner at his small house in the woods but a little girl in a reindeer costume shows up first. When the friends follow her tracks to discover where she came from, they discover a huge and frenzied mall just beyond the woods, where Coyote goes wild shopping until he discovers that he has to pay for the stuff. The humor is dry and affectionate, the rhyming text delights with sly turns of phrase, the watercolor cartoons are whimsical, and the small size of the book (a bit bigger than a DVD case) adds to the charm. This holiday treat will leave readers with no doubt that an evening spent at home with your buds is priceless.–

The kids love it, especially Finn, and we’ve been reading it every night.

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The kids’ winter break starts on Friday. I am mentally preparing as if I am going to war, which I am, sort of.

I am stock piling all of my patience and ideas for fun so that I can be a good mama instead of channeling Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest. Peter’s vacation starts on the 22nd so luckily I don’t have much solo time.


So, today I will finish (and by “finish” I mean “start”) shopping for Christmas. Shouldn’t be too bad. I am trying to shop local so I’ll hit up the local toy store and book store and call it a day. The kids are only getting a few things. They don’t need more crap. (Although, I would by lying if I said I wasn’t OVER THE MOON excited about Finn getting an Easy Bake Oven. I will be his best customer.)

Yesterday, I went to my usual lunch hour yoga class.  I felt murderous during the whole thing. Amped up and anxious. Tense. Ready to bite flesh or get in a fight.

This is not the norm.

The reason?

The instructor, a lovely woman who is a perfectly great yoga instructor, played FUCKING KENNY G THE WHOLE TIME.



Did I say the whole time?

An HOUR of Kenny G.

As I sat on my mat stretching and waiting for class to begin, I calmed myself down by saying ‘Surely, she’ll switch the music when she starts class. Don’t worry.” (The studio is known for great music that complements the practice.)

I have a physical reaction to Kenny G. I don’t find him relaxing or soothing or Zen.

That soprano saxophone gets into my brain and digs around like a raccoon in a garbage can, pulling out the most negative thoughts and riddling my body with malevolence. And then on some of the songs, he would sing. I audibly grunted a few times. My desire to flee was so strong that I almost grabbed my shit and left. But the class was super full and I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s practice.

At the end of class, I stayed in savasana all of 10 seconds before I literally sprinted from the class to the safety of my car.

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Kanye West’s 30 minute film, “Runaway.” Have you seen this? I was absolutely mesmerized. It’s beautiful.


Welcome to the week, my little candy canes.

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Turned the Corner

Hooray! I feel better. This fact is actually comical, considering my version of “feeling better” is still rubbish compared to healthy people’s version of “feeling better.”  But, I’ll take it. Gratefully.

Don’t take your health for granted, ladies and gentleman. Just don’t.

Even with all of my ridiculous health issues, I frequently compose little post-it love notes to my body.

Dear Body,

Thanks for 37 wonderful years together. You’re doing a great job! Keep it up.”

love, Emily

Ok, on a totally random note, I watched Love Actually the other day. Many people name it as a favorite holiday movie and I hadn’t seen it in a while.

I remember thinking it was really sweet the first time I saw it.

This second viewing?


Why is everyone referring to Natalie as “fat” in the movie? (Hugh Grant’s love interest) She’s clearly not. She’s stunning. There are 4 or 5 jokes about her being chunky, with tree trunk thighs and a huge arse. It started to irritate me. She’s clearly the most attractive girl amongst all of the naysayers. It just rubbed me the wrong way. And then at the end when she jumps into Hugh Grant’s arms he said ‘Good God, you weigh a lot.”

THAT’S supposed to be charming? I suppose it is English humor. And I WAS cranky when I watched it.


I was reminded of my deep affection for Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth and Liam Neeson.

Speaking of Colin Firth, have you seen A Single Man? I’m sure I’m the last on the planet not to have seen it.  Go see it.

Absolutely stunning. An astounding entre into directing by Tom Ford. Not to mention stellar performances by Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. It was really really moving. The juxtaposition of the agonizing grief he feels and the beautiful way the film is shot is mesmerizing.

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Thursday Loves


+This beautiful picture of Denver (from Dooce.com)

+ Haagen Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream – I buy two or three of these at a time because they are limited edition. I would buy more if I had more room in my freezer. It’s that good.

+ SmartWool socks – Because I have Raynaud’s Phenomenon, my hands, feet and nose are ALWAYS cold. These socks have saved me. I wear them all of the time. SO so so cozy.

+ Giving compliments to strangers – Try it. It’s fun. It’s a bit uncomfortable the first time but then it becomes second nature.  I’ve been doing this for a while now and even though I get strange reactions, most noticeable one time, silence and a dirty look, it makes me feel good. And I know, deep down, it makes the other person feel good too. (My sister does this too and when the two of us are together it gets comical, bombarding people with conversation and compliments)

Walking into Panera Bread the other day (side note: their mac n’ cheese is CRACK! so good) I saw a woman with a great dress on. I said “Hey, great dress!” She smiled sheepishly and said “THANKS!” I saw a woman in the produce section of the grocery with beautiful white hair (like my mama). I leaned over the cucumbers and said “Your hair is stunning.” She just grumbled and looked away.

Hm. Now this is what I call a “compliment ruiner.” I know I took her by surprise and I’m sure she thought I was a freak. But I meant no harm and was genuine when I said her hair was stunning. Take a note, people. Learn how to accept a compliment.

+House clothes – When I leave the house, I try to look presentable. Bra+real pants+clean shirt+real shoes. But the SECOND I return home, I have to remove all vestiges of constricting real life clothes to don what I call “house clothes”. House clothes = no bra, yoga pants, smartwool socks, cozy long sleeved T, slippers and usually throwing my hair into a bun. Does anyone else do this? The second I have on my house clothes I can exhale and let the busyness of the outside world melt away.

+Taking pictures with my new camera. I love the vintagey look of it and am getting more comfortable using it.



(The first pics are of HJ opening the door on her new Advent Calendar. The other is from this morning. Hadley had a krone Peter gave her from a trip to Norway and she decided to put it on a ribbon and wear it as a necklace. Clap clap, my beautiful, creative rare bird. Keep up the good work.)

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(yes, Finn’s enthusiasm is infectious. I wish I had a quarter of his energy.)

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Happy almost end of your week. Remember not to overschedule…and breathe.


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Gone away is the new bird

Trying to be festive and doing a pretty good job of it. Bay leaf wreath smells delightful. Tree up. Lights outside still need to be hung. (Not my department) Daily Christmas tunes. Fun plans for the blue eyed devils over Christmas break.

Reminding myself to breathe and not get stressed out. No reason to, really. After a busy Thanksgiving, I’m looking forward to an obligation free Christmas. 

I wish my body would play along and be more Holly Golightly rather than Holly Goleaden and fatigued.

I’ve been dragging myself through the days. Not many spoons to spare. Peter and the kids had a cold/flu last week and they have given it to me. I don’t get any of the same symptoms (sore throat, coughing, sniffles) or even a fever. I just get completely wiped out. Brain fog, achy, painful skin, etc. (I didn’t get the mail for three days because the thought of walking 4 houses down to our bank of mailboxes was too much.)

Add onto that nonsense is ongoing severe hip pain, which has me acting as a ping pong ball between a back doctor and my rheumatologist. Thinking it was my piriformis muscle, the back doc ordered an injection of steroids directly into that muscle, otherwise known as my ass. (interesting stuff. I asked for a DVD of the process, like a nerd.) Alas, this did nothing to alleviate pain but made me anxious and nauseous. Good old steroids.

I’m due to return to the back doctor to look at more options next week. And then the rheumatologist to see how lupus is involved. You get the picture.


No appetite but food is necessary, of course. Trying to juice everyday and eat healthy because that helps. All of this food prep takes energy though. Blah.

Lots of mini pity parties, where, when no one is around, I’ll slink to the floor in the kitchen and lay my head on the cool floor thinking I can’t possibly get up.

While lying there, I silently wish that I had more energy, more spoons, to get stuff done.

Pity parties aren’t long in these parts though. I won’t allow it. Wallowing isn’t productive. I’ll listen to myself think these thoughts, sometimes cry, tell myself I’m ok, acknowledge and move on.

Life is really really good after all and I have so much to be thankful for. SO much.

Plus, the countdown is on for our family trip to Sayulita Mexico with my three besties and their fams in January. That thought brightens many of my days.

More peppy post tomorrow. I promise.  XO

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Always Thankful

Been inspired lately and trying to be positive and surround myself with goodness. Frequent yoga is helping immensely. I love the body buzz and the mental high.

Thanksgiving was really lovely. I am completely depleted and my body hates me from overuse but I am so content. My cousin Brendan and his wife came and stayed with us for the holiday. I was initially nervous because hosting people is exhausting. My anxiety mounted. Turned out it was completely unnecessary. They were the perfect guests. Really really cool people. We miss them and want them to come back.

My brother Neil and his family came from Dallas so we were all together.

My mom made the evening so unique and special. She is like no other in the most loving way. Love is in the details. And there were so many details. We all had these little place cards.

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It was just SO good to be together to talk and laugh. There’s nothing like being with them. I laughed so much the whole time. Seriously. The WHOLE time. My sister said it perfectly when she said that we all have just accepted where and who we are and love each other unconditionally. So true. No stress or weird drama. Just togetherness. Dad is always missed but we be so proud of us. Especially Mom. 

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(the kids were so curious about Uncle Peter not having hair. I went and got a wig for him. Wigs are funny. And how normal does he look with it on??)

My favorite part is always seeing the cousins together. There are 9 of them and they were constantly playing together. Meg has a great post about the week too.

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This is Neil’s oldest Olivia and Hadley. How cute are they? And how much do they look alike? They are the redheads in the bunch. You can see Grace, Olivia’s sis in the background.

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As much fun as we had, I am happy to be back to the routine, where I feel most comfortable.

Yesterday ruled for no apparent reason. Clear head, minimal pain, more energy than usual. Yoga, eating well and laundry. It’s the small things.

Each night at dinner we cheers each other and clink glasses. Everyone says the best part and the worst part of their day.

Yesterday, I couldn’t think of a worst part. Not one thing. Love that.

Been avoiding negativity and “noise” lately, which helps my current state of mind. You know what I mean by noise….too much TV or internet, stores or bustling around, cranky people. Embracing stillness.

A while ago I stopped reading some websites and blogs because they were becoming toxic. Blogs that I had been reading for years…just because I read them every day. But when I started to evaluate what I got from reading them, I came up empty. The only thing keeping me going was voyeurism and that’s not good enough. Most of the time I would grimace after I read the post.

Not anymore. I won’t name names. No need.

Welcome to December, little birdies. I hope the month brings you good cheer.

The kids were so psyched to start their Advent calendars today. Hadley got the Amsterdam Calendar from Nouveau Designs. (We will discuss my desire and dream to move to Amsterdam at a later date. My mind is churning…)

Amsterdam Advent Calendar 

And Finn has the Brooklyn calendar. I love love love them.

Brooklyn Advent Calendar


Listening to Amos Lee on this Wednesday morning and contemplating plans for the day. Hope your week is going well.


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