SOL Day 30 – Dogs

This weekend I got to spend time with my parents’ dog and I was reminded how lovely having a dog is.

Since we had to say good bye to Dodger last spring, our life has been so different. In some ways it’s been easier. We can work long hours without feeling guilty. We can go on vacation without finding a house sitter or begging our parents to take him for the weekend. We can sleep late on Saturdays and Sundays if we choose. In short, we are free to do what we want, which has its perks. But in other ways it’s been challenging. No longer is there a happy face and wagging body waiting at the door to greet us. No longer is there nose in our laps checking to see if we have some pets to give away. No longer is there a friend to ensure we get out and exercise regardless of the weather or how tired we are. No longer is there a dog doing ridiculous things to make us laugh. No longer is there an intuitive dog there to make us smile when we’re having a bad day.

We will have another dog some day, of that I am sure. He or she won’t be Dodger but he or she will remind us to slow down, to smile, to seek out pets and tummy rubs, and to enjoy long walks.

SOL Day 29 – Soundtrack for Life

One of my favorite parts of taking longer drives is re-discovering the random compilation CDs that sit in my car. Whether I made them or one of my two best friends, I’m always tickled pink by what I find on each one. As I slip one in my CD player, I first wonder, what could be on this very aptly named disc – Random Disc 2?? And then I begin to smile as the first song begins because it reminds me of my first year living in the city I now call home. A song that got me through driving to and from work during my first year of teaching. Skipping ahead I find a tune that reminds me of college – a ski trip, a band performing in hideously wonderful 80s one-piece ski outfits, and my shirt that said “I lie to to boys.” Skip a little further and I find a Bare Naked Ladies song my sister introduced to me when she was in college that never fails to make me laugh.

I love how certain songs can take me right back to specific places, times, or people. Popping a CD in and heading out on the open road is definitely a drive down memory lane.

SOL Day 28 – Celebrate

Another short post today as I’m off to celebrate my good friend’s wedding. I’m so excited for her to begin this next phase in her journey. Gretchen is a rock star marathoner (seriously, blink and you’ll miss her), a true and honest friend, and is up for any adventure. I’m so happy she’s found a partner who values the beautiful person she is.  I cannot wait to be part of their special day.

And with that, I’m off. Can’t be late for the before ceremony pictures!

SOL Day 27 – Home

Taking on the see-saw structure from the “Be Inspired” on day 25.

Home. 20 minutes away.

Home. 2 and a half hours of driving.

The final descent offers beautiful views of snow capped mountains and a sparkling sea.

The final push includes three steep hills, tinged green in the spring, brown the rest of the year, ending in a big open valley.

A block away from the bay, with a perfect running path. Quiet in the winter, crazy in the summer.

A few blocks from the park where I once split my lip open sledding, hit endless tennis balls, and ran countless cross country races.

My fiance waits. The future is in front of us, memories waiting to be made.

My parents wait. In the house I lived in for 18 years, filled with countless memories.

Home. Where I will blossom and grow.

Home. Where my roots live.

SOL Day 26 – The Moon

I’m always amazed by the coming and going of the moon. I love watching it go from a small sliver in the sky to a full ball of light. Tonight as I looked at the moon and thought how quickly it had grown since I noticed it on Saturday, I was reminded of one of my favorite childhood books…The Bossy Hawaiian Moon. In the manner of great folk tales, the book explain why the moon only shines full on some nights. You see, there was a time when the moon was bossy and proud and wanted everyone to look in the night sky and notice his beauty. He pushed the stars out of the way, not letting them shine. The stars were very sad and went to the winds to seek help. The winds mustered up their strength and blew big billowing clouds to block out the moon’s light. Try as he might, he could not shine through. Finally, a very frustrated moon agreed to share the sky with stars. And so that he never got too proud again, it was decided that there would be times when he wouldn’t shine at all and the stars would fill the night sky. I love thinking about the stars and moon having to find a balance in the sky, a way to share the spotlight. I’m glad the bossy moon learned his lesson.

SOL Day 25 – Before That

Stealing a structure from my friend and colleague Adrienne over at Walking the Walk (adriennewiley.wordpress.com).

RIGHT NOW, I’m sitting in my overheated living room (we’re drying out our newly cleaned carpets), anticipating a sliced apple with peanut butter.

BEFORE THAT, I was doing the dishes from dinner.

BEFORE THAT, I was scarfing down the dinner I cooked.

BEFORE THAT, I was at the grocery store, figuring out what in the world I could make for dinner and then having a delightful conversation with chatty checker.

BEFORE THAT, I was shopping for a wedding present for my dear friend, Gretchen, anticipating her special day on Saturday.

BEFORE THAT, I was participating in my final learning experience with a group of great fifth and sixth grade teachers, reflecting on the learning we’d done this year.

BEFORE THAT, I was enjoying a great cup of coffee.

Thanks Adrienne, I needed the structure to get a post out tonight.

SOL Day 24 – Decisions

I am a terrible decision maker. Not in that I make bad decisions, but in that I’m incredibly indecisive and just flat out HATE making decisions.

I’m currently in the middle of a major life event that is testing the limits of my decision making skills – planning a wedding. The amount of decisions you have to make is staggering to me. And while I know that it will eventually all come together and whatever we end up choosing will work out fine, I’ve still agonized over what to do and making the “right” choice.

I’m not normally a list person. They’re just not for me. I lose them. I misplace them and find them weeks later. I make them and never look at them again. But I have to say, each time I check something off the list of wedding planning, I feel a little lighter.

Date – check

Venue – check

Caterer – check

Florist – check

DJ – check

Officiant – check

Wedding dress – check

Photographer – check

Invitations – check

I won’t include the list of those things left to do, as I don’t want to think of those unmade decisions today. Today I’ll just be happy that many things are decided and done and feel a little lighter.

SOL Day 23 – Mary Lou

When I first got Dodger he was pretty unruly on a leash. That age old question, “Who is walking who?” had an obvious answer. Dodger was definitely walking me. And while I worked to reverse our roles, I tried to give others on the sidewalk a wide berth.

However, we had a routine and we ended up often meeting the same people on our early morning strolls. The best of these people was Mary Lou. We saw her every morning without fail. And Dodger always was eager to great her…tugging at the leash, lunging towards her, looking back at me with a question on his face, “What can’t I just go say hi?” And I was always eager to try to control my crazy dog, to not cause any problems. For days Dodger and I played this tug-o-war game when we walked past her.

Finally, after watching us for several days, Mary Lou stopped us one morning and said to me, “Will you just let me say hi?!” Cautiously Dodger and I approached her and I managed to get him to sit and politely say hi. I will admit I was terrified he would knock this sweet, petite, older lady over. But he behaved. Mary Lou became part of our morning routine. Eventually she was always bringing treats in her pocket and Dodger could be counted on to spot her from blocks away. Mary Lou and I would have short conversations and we slowly got to know each other.

It’s fun how dogs enrich our lives in so many ways.

SOL Day 22 – The Early Morning

I went for a run this morning and at first I thought, “Wow, it’s so quiet.” There were very few cars and people out and the houses seemed to be asleep. But as I continued on my way I realized it wasn’t quiet at all. I heard small birds chirping, black crow cawing, seagulls squawking. I heard the gentle sound of waves lapping against the shore. There was the distant sound of trains working at the port. And of course my steady footfalls and evened breathing.

All the sounds were peaceful and I reflected on the calm of the early morning. I love the empty streets, the growing light, the stillness of it all. And spring mornings are the best. The flowers are blooming adding splashes of pink, yellow, red, purple, and white to the landscape. The air smells crisp and clean – it’s cool but not cold and wakes up the senses.

Some days it’s hard to convince myself to leave my warm bed and head out on a run. But I’m always happy once I’m out there and feel great when I return. Early mornings are wonderful.