Jan 29, 2009

Never Too Old

Today was my boss' birthday. She turned another year older. My coworkers - some very savvy girls - and I decided the idea celebrating with the same old tired lunch at a nearby restaurant was so, um, yesterday. Come to think of it, using the term "yesterday" for something that is tired and outdated is, um, well, yesterday.

I digress.

Early in the week, we told the boss lady (whom we'll call Betty) that we were taking her to lunch. Yesterday (you know, the actual day before today, not the outdated term for something outdated), she asked where we were going. I told her I couldn't tell her.

This morning we told her we were going to the monster truck rally. She wasn't buying. She's smart like that. Then we told her we were taking her to the zoo. She didn't bite. (Sorry. Seemed to fit...) She knew it was too cold out for a trip to the zoo. She also knew we were aren't THAT lame.

When the last visitor left the office this morning, we loaded up in the car and headed out. We drove. And drove. We neared Casa de Castro. She said, "We're going to YOUR house? Studly Man (well, she didn't call him that; she used his name) is cooking?" Although that would have been a treat since Studly is quite the cook, alas, that was not the plan.

We drove some more. She guessed some more. She was wrong some more.

FINALLY we arrived at our destination... a lovely little tea room in the back of a darling children's boutique housed in a 100+ year old building.

But it wasn't just tea or even just lunch. It was a feast fit for a princess.

There was even a gaggle of princesses waiting for us!

And WE got to don tiaras and jewels, too.

Betty loved it. (AND she was a great sport.)

And I give you.... PRINCESS BETTY!A girl is never too old to be a princess.

Lunch was just delightful, and we had a great time.

Here's a (blurry) picture of the four of us.

Happy birthday, Betty!

Jan 28, 2009

Then and Now

Today was interesting. I learned something new.

Actually, I learned something old... again.

The storm that has blanketed America covered our region with ice. Schools were closed. Even the schools that NEVER close were closed. Businesses shuttered for the day. Activities were canceled.

But my office was open.

I thought most people would cancel their appointments and opt to stay safe and warm at home.

And I was wrong.

No one canceled.

Everyone kept their appointments.

In fact, one person even called the office on a whim saying she unexpectedly had the day off from work because of the ice and was hopeful we'd had a cancellation so she could come in.

We did.

She did.

And ya know what?

I knew her.

Another lifetime ago, she was my friend. She was a beauty queen. She was talented and funny and popular. She was smart. She had it all figured out. And for a second, it felt like I was a teenager again, all insecure and unsure of my place in the world.

And then I remembered...

- She had come to MY office, a place I've been for 18 years.

- She was in my office because she, too, has insecurities.

- She has aged just like I have. She also isn't a teenager any more.

- Her life isn't perfect now. And it wasn't back then.

- I know a secret about her family that she doesn't know. When I was told, I was bound not to ever divulge my knowledge to her.

- She has challenges in her life that make mine pale in comparison.

All these years later, she's still beautiful. But so am I. And I know my place in this world. I know I am loved. The life God designed for me is more perfect than the path I would have chosen for myself if I'd given in to those insecurities so long ago. Because He knew me then as He knows me now, He didn't leave me to my own devices, but instead guided my steps to where I am today. He has given me more than I ever imagined and far more than I deserve.

He's given her a lot, too... more than she imagined and probably more than she deserves.

We're not so different after all.

Jan 22, 2009

And we said, "Yes, we'd LOVE to!"

It's good to have friends.

It's better to have friends with lake houses!

D & B, our dear friends, recently purchased a house at a nearby lake. Now D & B have been favorite travel buddies for a long time, and they're VERY generous people. When they asked us if we'd like to go and spend a long weekend at their new place, of course we accepted. (We could do that because I'm on vacation this week, so rushing back home wasn't an issue.)

We envisioned a little cabin near the water with rustic fixtures and dated plumbing. Perhaps the deck would need a little refinishing to keep our feet from getting splinters (when we walk barefoot on it in the summertime of course). Maybe the bathroom would be damp and cold, and perhaps the bedroom would be dark and creepy.


We. were. wrong.

Here's what we saw when we drove up.
And then another view with our vehicles in front:

We entered to find an awesome "great room."

Looking from the fireplace towards the kitchen:

Check. out. this. stone. fireplace.

Dining room. Seats eight. (Other chairs in front of window.)

Gorgeous HUGE kitchen with granite counter tops. (I don't have those in my regular house, much less my non-existent lake house!)

Pretty hand-painted tiles.
Cozy breakfast nook.

Master bedroom. View out the window just to my right is simply a.m.a.z.i.n.g. You'll see it below.

Part of the master bath. Marble Jacuzzi tub? Yes, ma'am!

These stairs lead down to a whole other adventure.

The game room with a big flat screen for the "Guitar Hero" players in the family.

The bar/kitchenette downstairs.

Downstairs bedroom #1.

Downstairs bath. Two-sink vanity with TONS of cabinet and drawer space (most of which is not pictured) and a great shower/tub.
Downstairs bedroom #2.
Each floor has its own laundry area. I'll spare you those photos (you KNOW I took them!) 'cuz I'm pretty sure you've all seen washers and dryers before.

But back upstairs, we went out on the looooooong deck that runs the length of the house. There's a brand new five-burner grill that Studly Man helped to assemble and inaugurate at the end of it.

And sweet Snickers joined us for the trip. Doncha just wanna hug him?

Snickers LOVES Uncle Studly Man.

But the best part?

What's that you say?

What's the very BEST part of the house?

Why, the view, of course!

And the view at sunset
D & B will retire here in a few years. For now, it is a lovely place to escape for the weekend or heck, for a whole week! Some furniture and accessories remain on order, so it will become more like home with every trip.

Now, here's some irony. The picture below is the house of D & B's new next door neighbors. Pretty, right?
Take a close look at that gorgeous double front door.
Yep, Studly designed and built that steel entry way about eight years ago. He even stood on the slab of what is now D & B's new lake house before it was completed and sold to its first owner. (Same builder built both houses.) How's THAT for a small world!?!?

We had a great time. We hung paintings and valances and cooked steaks on the new grill. We watched several movies and slept in late. I think between all the cell phones present, we collectively had three incoming phone calls the whole time. Ah.... the quiet.

And ya know what's even more exciting? We have some OTHER really dear friends who have recently bought a house on ANOTHER lake (not quite as nearby, but close), and we've been invited out there, too! In fact, we've tried to get out there, but got sick. SKay, get ready!! We're headed your way. ;)

Jan 16, 2009

Coughin' and Sneezin'


Cough. Cough.


Cough. Cough.

Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.

Sneeze. Sneeze.

Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough. Cough.

Sneeze. Sneeze.


CoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCough CoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCough CoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCough CoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCough CoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCough CoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCoughCough


That's my life. In a nutshell. Just ask my friend Suze who has listened to it every.single.day.

It's been a tough few weeks what with all that coughing and sneezing. Haven't felt like blogging. But now?


I'm better.


And I'm on vacation.

I don't have to work again until January 26.

Jealous much?

Perhaps I'll stop by here some this next week and REALLY write something worthwhile.

Until then...

Happy trails.