Merry Christmas 2012

I can’t believe Christmas is here already. This is the alternate year where we have the little girls Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It is such a blast to see all the excitement. It is also the first time in about five years that Sydney is home for Christmas. Normally, she goes to her Dad’s in Mississippi. But guess what? Her Dad moved back to Texas. Squeee!

This year, we are doing the Christmas tradition that I grew up with. That is the one where you open ALL the presents under the tree on Christmas EVE (today!). Then, Christmas morning Santa brings the “big” gift with more presents. The girls seem a little concerned. I think it must feel a little like cheating to open the presents Christmas Eve. But this is how I grew up and Sydney grew up, and honestly, it makes the most sense. The girls will be going to their Mom’s at Noon Christmas Day until the New Year’s Eve. This way gives them a little more time to play.

I have tons of photos and Christmas(y) things to post about, but I simply ran out of time this month. Too busy going, doing, and working.

So, I have decided to post my favorite photos in a slide show for you.

    (Click on any image to enlarge and display)

These are from our Christmas card shoot, St. Matthews children’s program, visit with my Mom in Oklahoma, and Hot Springs, Arkansas. All taken this month.

I’ve been busy!

Now, I need to clear a few memory cards to prepare for Christmas.

I just wanted to wish each and every one of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. I know I don’t do well with the awards, links, and ping-backs. But I promise, I am deeply grateful for every one. I hope you know how much I appreciate you all. This year hasn’t been easy for me, and you have brightened it in more ways than you know.

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

I parked the car as close to the house as I can listening to the voice in my head sneer, “It’s better to load you with, my dear.” I struggle to stack ONE more box into it. One more set of childhood photos, and drawings. One more heirloom punch bowl. One more antique secretary empty of the fantastic treasures it held in my childhood. I wish I could fit the Grandfather clock in the car too, but there is no way, even if I repacked everything. I have zero room.

Already, the long drive back to Texas, and the unload will take many hours. I look back at the house. The house I grew up in. Where I had many tea parties, birthday pool parties, and wild teen parties. The house where I saw my first car parked in the driveway. The place I would leave to explore. Across the street to the pond, among the big pine trees, or over the barbed-wire fence next door to Mr. Sliger’s pasture. I would dodge cow patties down to the river bed where I would find a big rock to sit on and pretend I was a girl in a storybook. But that was many, many years ago…..

Now, at forty-one years old, the cows are long gone, Mr. Sliger has passed away, and I am driving my Mom back to assisted living. I had to come here. I couldn’t just let it all go.

My brother said, “You better come get what you want before the house (and everything in it) sells. She doesn’t want to come home anymore.”

Earlier, when I told her where I was going, and she asked to come with me, I hesitated. I didn’t want to bring her here. I didn’t want to see her in her house with all the dogs gone, most of the rooms empty, and every cabinet cleared out. I wasn’t sure how she would react, but I needn’t have worried. This place is empty since her husband died, and her love of the things she kept for so long is no longer. This revelation is conflicting to me. I revel in sadness, gladness, and awe. I never imagined this day. But I am happy for it. And I am so glad she is not lonely anymore.

I look back. Just once more, and that is when I see it…….

I grab my camera. “I’ll just be a minute, Mom.”

“What are you doing?” She calls out. “Angie, we have to go. I have to get back. I can’t miss dinner.”

Her voice fades as I get closer and look through the viewer of my camera.

One solitary butterfly has landed on Mom’s butterfly bush.

One orange glimmer amidst the green and purple hues. It’s not hard to spot in the shadow of my childhood home.

I can’t help but click the shutter – just one last time.

My mom loves this garden. She labored many days over her plantings. Seems she was always making new garden beds. I wrote a post over a year ago (seems longer) Mother’s Garden. Her beautiful garden. So enchanting. So much part of her.

To see this butterfly bush grow from a small container plant to tree size…it reminded me of the past, and of the future.

My capture of it seemed a fitting good-bye.

But the magic is witnessing this lone butterfly.

Maybe it kept my heart in my chest. Maybe it spoke to me in a way that only nature can.

It’s not really good-bye… it?

Nothing can take the memories of home away.

Like the butterfly…life changes…it morphs…it grows…it becomes something beautiful.


It flies away.

So I go…..but I don’t forget.

As I enter the car, I pass my camera to my mom. “Did you get anything good?”

I display the screen with the orange butterfly alight on her bush and her breath catches. “Oh! That is beautiful. Can you make me a copy for my apartment?”

My heart smiles, “I can, Mom. No problem.”

I turn the car towards town. I take my mother home.

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

See more of the weekly photo challenge by visiting The Daily Post

Dear Office Space

I worked with you for many years.


Through traffic jams.


Down loooong underground hallways (between you and me…..I would always imagine running in terror down this hallway from something large and fierce, barely making it out the glass doors to the garage). And this is why you shouldn’t let your thirteen-year old read Stephen King books. And can I add? They pipe creepy elevator music down this tunnel making it seem like some kind of secret science project straight of Lost.


Up elevators to the fourth floor.


Riding the elevators would take forrrrrrever! Mostly on Mondays, and coming back from lunch late.


In my work suite, I would hide in my cubbie all day.


Popping up like a hamster to talk to fellow co-workers, or see who came in the door.

Being right next to the child support office, we had a lot of stragglers (not that the door didn’t say WHO we were), and rumor is……the waiting room at that government office had walls padded with Kevlar. Really!


My fourth floor window overlooked the Naval base. The high-sped jets, and the incoming storms were a sight to see.


I enjoyed the MOST amazing sunsets.

Oh, my dear, dear office space….I will MISS you.


NOTHING compares to the glorious office space of HOME.


It happened. I have joined thousands of workers, and employers that have implemented cost-saving measures (no rent, no gas, no commute) to office from home. After working in West Fort Worth, and commuting 30+ miles for over thirteen years, I am now working that same job in the comfort of my front room. I must say…’s different. I feel like I am playing hookey, but working harder than ever. I am sure I will get more used to it. I noticed last night, I did not have to sit in Ranger Game traffic to get home. My friends, that saved me over an hour of frustration. Oh yes, I think I will get used to this…..wouldn’t you?

See ya office space…it’s been great knowing you.

Now, I’m off to take my first shower in five days, and maybe I’ll change into a new pair of jammies….HA. I’m, of course, KIDDING.

Photos by iPhone 4S

Will I or Won’t I? (Just Write)

Have you ever been told something that seemed impossible to believe?

So, you sock it away and don’t think on it….because that can’t be true….can it?

But then, you are told it again, and ASSURED this is going to happen. And the worst thing happens to your heart….you get your hopes up. Way up.

Then, they get to come CRASHING down when the thing you got your hopes up for doesn’t happen……um…..yet…..?

See, I was told a few months ago that everyone at the office was moving home. Yes, work in your jammies from home.


It didn’t happen.

I SWORE I wouldn’t get my hopes up again. Most especially, I would not think of all the wonderful benefits that working from home would produce in my life.

No more driving thirty minutes each way (or more), running late, waiting at lights, and other mad rages of the road. In other words, getting to work ALREADY stressed.

No I wouldn’t miss that commute.

I wouldn’t miss leaving my Zumba bag at home whilst running late to work, and having to spend my entire lunch hour to run home and get it (or other forgotten thing – like Zumba shoes).

But I am NOT getting my hopes up about this.


Not when I heard the moving company giving quotes to the regional manager yesterday. Not when I overheard all the paperwork was in order now that the new leasers had signed. Not when the auditor from headquarters showed up to do final inventory of all the office items. Not when the regional VP stands at my cubicle and says, “Well, it’s happening. Maybe a little later than we thought, but we are getting there.”


Not gonna do it.

Not until my rear is in a chair at home on my work computer…..I will not believe that I will be working from home soon…..Will I?

Participating in JUST WRITE. I know it’s not a specific moment, or thing happening around me, but these are the thoughts dominant in my head right now (and I had to get them OUT). All around me this week things are being moved and listed. It’s all I can do NOT to get my hopes up…..which is kinda dumb. Duh. Our office is closing…..isn’t it?

And because I can’t leave you without a photo……I have a Facebook photography group called, Chics Who Click. Every Monday I post a photo challenge. This week is PETS. It is such a blast seeing all the wonderful photos. I took a few of a pet at Clark Gardens. BEAUTIFUL DOG with beautiful eyes. Here is one of them.

Isn’t she gorgeous?

Happy Tuesday!