In my mind, the perfect playlist is essential for every occasion. Particularly, I love my workout playlists. It’s another tool in the chest that helps me stick to my routine and keep my pace if I’m running. My go to music for my running playlist has been Metallica, The Offspring, Green Day, God Smack and Bush. The opening rif to For Whom The Bell Tolls is perfect pushing through a difficult run. I love it!
When I strength train there’s still plenty of Metallica and company, but it’s a broader playlist. Lately, I’ve been listening to a 90’s playlist that Apple Music built based on our music library. It’s a great collection of music albeit not all of the songs work well for working out. I don’t know about you, but REM’s Everybody Hurts isn’t my favorite hype song. Obviously I love the song, but it doesn’t work in the gym.
The largest collection music on my phone is my hockey playlist. After ten years of playing music at the boys’ hockey games, I’ve got over 300 songs on there. Clearly, there’s a lot of overlap between my lists, but the hockey one is quite diverse. I got everything from the Beatles to Britney Spears and Rammstein to Daddy Yankee. Anyway, music makes my world go round. It brings joy and color to life and keeps me focused on my runs, which is not an easy feat. What’s your go to pump up song? Let me know in the comments.
We had a great Christmas even if it was a little more low key than previous years. My Christmas started when I rolled over in bed and the Mayor was there to wake me up. As soon as I rolled over, he asked if it was time to open up gifts. Spoiler alert, he also did the same thing the next morning only that time he was asking to go to Dunkin’. Eventually, the Mayor was able to coax me out of bed, so he could open gifts.
The bigger hurdle in the early morning wasn’t me, but Goalielocks. Unsurprisingly, he took awhile to wake up. Once up both boys were excited to open their gifts. Honestly, it was a weird holiday since they opened some accessories, but their main present was still in transit. This year we bought to big family gifts, a squat rack and a new tv for the loft. Naturally, the boys were excited for both.
Our annual Christmas brunch was an absolute success. Fortunately, we had very little leftovers, which is great. I certainly don’t need to eat caramel rolls for a week. We put Anakin in his crate since he gets aggressive when people come into the house. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do well with very little kids, so he stayed in his crate until Ava left. Meanwhile, Athena was showered with lots of sweet love and attention by Ava. Athena was so patient and loving with her.
Some how we started watching the Best of the Crocodile Hunter, so that was the background music to our brunch. I forgot how much I loved Steve Irwin and his show. He had the best energy and was just a riot to watch. Shortly, after I told my brother Jake probably wouldn’t be able to c due to work, Jake called. Honestly, Jake’s call home was the best gift ever. After company left, we napped and relaxed before heading to the Kennedy’s for dinner.
Dinner at the Kennedy’s was wonderful. As always, Hanh cooked an absolute feast for everyone. She’s an amazing cook! After dinner, we had some drinks before deciding to play some games. Note to self, the games may have gone better sober. We had an absolute blast playing Heads Up and Scattergories. I’ll tell you one lesson the Hubby and I took away from the evening, the Mayor isn’t allowed to play Scattegories with the grandparents. All in all, Christmas was a wonderful reminder of how blessed we are.
As the name Prosecco parfaits suggest, this truly is the perfect dessert. It’s simple to prepare, but big on elegance and flavor. Truly, you can make it your own by playing around with the wine selection and the accompaniments. For the parfaits I made on Christmas eve, I used Martini & Rossi Asti. I dressed the parfaits with fresh mint and raspberries, which was a great combination. Here’s the recipe:
Combine the wine, 1/2 cup of sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for five minutes to cook some of the alcohol off. You can adjust the simmer time here depending on how strong you want your jello to be. Five minutes, however, produces a well balanced jello shot with plenty of alcohol. Next remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the the gelatin until its completely dissolved. Once the gelatin has been stirred in and dissolved completely, pour it into a 9×11 or 9×13 baking dish and cool to room temperature before placing the jello in the refridgerator to setup for at least four hours.
In a large bowl, whip the cream to medium stiff peaks. This took me about 4 minutes, but can vary based on the equipment used. Medium stiff peaks are just stiff enough to stand up, but the top will curl over (see pic below.). Place the bowl with the whipped cream in the fridge to keep cool. If you live up North, you can skip this step. I live in Florida, so I need to put it in the fridge to keep it from getting too warm. Next, in a separate large bowl, mix the marscapone cheese and remaining sugar (1/4 cup) untli smooth. Fold in 1/3 of the cool whipped to the marscapone cheese mixture. Lastly, once combined add the marscapone cheese mixture to the rest of the whipped cream.
After the jello is set, you can start assembling the parfaits. I used parfait glasses I purchased from Amazon. Cut the jello into 1×1 squares using a cookie or bisquit cutter and place in the bottom of the parfait cups. Next cover the jello squares with 1/2 of the cream mixuture. Repeat with two or three more layers (depending on the width of your parfait cups) leaving enough cream for a dollop on top.
For a non-alcoholic version, you can use the sparkiling grape or pear juice found at most grocery store and can skip the five minute simmer.
If it’s warm where you’re at, keep the bowl and the beaters in the fridge to keep them cool.
If your whipped cream starts to look grainy, you’ve beaten it too long. You can try to fix it by adding a couple more tablespoons and whisking it in by hand. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to start over.
Today I left work full disappointment for no real good reason. Truly, I had a magnificent and super successful day at work. However, I came up just short of my stretch goal for the day. Normally, I would have stayed late to take more calls, but I had to bring The Mayor to hockey practice.
The Hubby is at a hardwood trade show in Orlando, so it’s just me and the boys the next two days. Hopefully, he’ll get sometime to relax without the constant harassment from the boys or dogs. As soon as he gets home at night, the dogs are all over him. In fact, he can rarely sit without being interrupted or harassed by someone or something. He definitely deserves some time away and some peace and quiet.
Last night the Lightning won the Stanley Cup finals. Im happy to keep the cup in Florida, but not happy that hockey season is officially over. However, unlike Habs fans, I’m not nursing the disappointment of defeat. Also, Kucherov’s presser was the stuff off legends. Although, the Habs fans are nursing hurt feelings because of it. As for hockey’s fortunately, we shouldn’t have to wait too long for the regular season. Hopefully, it’s back to normal with minimal restrictions. I’m definitely looking forward to attending more games next year.
Here’s a list of our day’s activities:
*I read Demons, by Dostoevsky. I am really enjoying this book so far.
*I thought about running, but decided to rest my knee again. Instead I looked for great photos of us.
* I ate the rest of the peach crisp today. This time I mixed in one white peach for a little of variety. Honestly, I didn’t notice a difference.
*The family and I are watching the Stanley Cup Finals in lieu of continuing our Thirty Rock binge. Thankfully, our power is flickering now that the storm has passed. Consequently, it knocked out the wifi too. Apparently, technology is my nemesistonight.
*I spent my day with the puppies. This evening I worked with Anakin on some training skills. He did a great job. Of course, I rewarded him with kielbasa, which is his favorite.
*My favorite surprise on the underwater cams, I watch during work, is seeing an octopus. Today I watched the safari cam, which never disappoints.
*I’m back to work and Elsa is long gone, but we had some strong storm this afternoon. Thankfully, the tropics are quiet.
*Today’s word of the day is destiny. It was definitely the Lightning’s destiny to win the Cup.
*I took my puppies including sweetAnakin for a walk. Did I mention I hate gnats, flies, and mosquitos? It’s definitely much worse in the morning and am. Fortunately, it’s not too bad at lunch.
“A life well-lived is the most exquisite form of art,” wrote Erwin McManus. This weekend my family lost our matriarch, my great Grandmother. As I contemplated her passing, I kept coming back to a life well-lived. Her life, while never easy, exemplified this axiom. My great grandmother Nellie Brown (nee Reynolds) and her twin sister Zella (Caroyln) were born on May 16, 1916, in Long Prairie to Florence and Andrew Reynolds. At this point, there were only 3.3 million cars registered in the entire US while only 11% of the population had a telephone. When she was just a toddler, the Great War was winding down, but the Spanish Flu epidemic was in full swing. She began her life as the Spanish flu pandemic took hold and her life ended as we continue to contend with COVID. Can you imagine how different the world is now compared to 1916?
Shortly after my grandmother’s birth, her father headed to Europe to fight in the Great War. After the war, her father left and her mother remarried. She grew up in Long Prairie, where she met her husband. In fact, she was telling Jake and me tales of watching Lindy practice while tending to the fields. In fact, they would wave as he flew over and he would tip his wings to them. Of course, Lindy was Charles Lindbergh and this was long before his famous flight across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis. As we drove back to my folks that day, Jake and I were trying to wrap our heads around the massive changes she witnessed in her 104 years. I would give anything to be able to sit with her again and listen to her stories.
One thing that was clear about my Grandmother is that change didn’t challenge her. Her generation was no stranger to loss having experienced both World Wars, the Spanish flu, the great depression, polio, the Korean and Vietnam wars. Perhaps that is why she was so adaptable and resilient. In fact, as the age of the internet broke, she didn’t run from it. She had an old computer that she used until she lost her eyesight. How many people can say they got emails and forwards from their Great Grandma? Not many, but I can. Undoubtedly, her adaptability and great genes played a role in her longevity, but it was more than that.
My Great Grandma lived her life according to three pillars: love, family, and God. As she held Jake’s hand that blustery October day, she shared the importance of rooting himself in love, family and God. I was struck at the moment by the power of her words, influence, and the moment. I was blessed to witness that moment. On that trip, she and Jake formed a deep bond that he’ll carry with him forever. We spent many weekends at my Great Grandmother’s house with our extended family. Our extended family is huge! Yet, she delighted in hosting all of us. Family really was everything to her. After my grandfather lost his mother to cancer in the mid 50’s, my great-grandma treated him as if he was her own child. She loved my Grandpa dearly.
She lived independently in her own house until the very end. After she suffered a stroke two weeks ago, my grandma and aunt stayed by her side. My heart aches for my Grandma, who just lost her mom. I took a picture of them together during our last visit. When I look at that picture, I realize no matter how old we get, we always want and need our mother. My Great Grandma was a woman, who lived according to her own terms. It is no wonder that she left this world exactly as she lived in it surrounded by love and family. Until we meet again Great Great Grandma, godspeed.
For the first time since early October, it’s been a normal Saturday for me. It’s nice not having to work and being able to relax and get stuff done. The Mayor and I started the day off at BJ’s picking up some groceries. Surprisingly, the store was pretty empty, which made the shopping experience quite easy. Normally, I find BJ’s to be utterly unbearable. This, of course, is why I only go there once a month. Also, I don’t think my freezers could hold all the food if I went there more often. Needless to say, I’m happy that I checked that trip off my December to-do list.
Yesterday we started working with a trainer for Anakin. It’s been hard to get him socialized and trained properly due to the pandemic, but Gari will be great for him. He did really well with her once he got comfortable. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of a nervous dog around new people, so it took a while for him to warm up. We quickly figured out, however, that as long as Maya was out of the crate with him, he was more comfortable. Our session yesterday was a consultation and to see how he would respond. I liked Gari’s style and felt that I learned a lot from her. We didn’t cover a lot of ground yesterday, but we’ve been practicing his new skills a lot today.
I had planned to run today, but my body is just not feeling it. After all, it’s my second week back to working out after a six or seven week hiatus. My goal is to get back to running every day for at least a mile. Additionally, I’m back to practicing yoga daily, which is helping a lot. BBG continues to deliver week after week of great workout. Since I took a break, I’ve definitely regressed a bit. Consequently, I’ll be repeating BBG 3.0 before moving on to 4.0. BBG 3.0 is significantly more difficult than 2.0, so I don’t feel bad at all about having to repeat it.
This afternoon, I mixed up some cookie dough for Christmas cookies and ordered more decorations. Like many Americans, I find myself decorating the house more this year. After all, 2020 has been such a gloomy year, why not brighten it up with some Christmas cheer. I’ve also been working on my memory book for Jake’s Air Force journey. It’s so fun to look back on the pictures from the past year. Hopefully, I’ll finish the book later today or tomorrow. This evening we’re headed to my brother’s for dinner. Again, since I’ve gone nowhere in like seven weeks, it will be nice to leave the house.
Here’s a list of our day’s activities:
*I read The Idiot, by Fyodor Dosytoevsky
*It’s day 6 of BBG 3.0 week 4 and I’m doing nothing. I decided to rest on the 6th day because I’m a rebel like that.
*Today I thought about running a mile and decided to take the day off. It was good thought.
*Today’s word of the day is share, which is why I write this blog. To share my thoughts great and small with all of you.
*I’m enjoying my normal Saturday with absolutely nothing on my to do list.
*I’m headed to my brother’s tonight for dinner and board games.
*After today, my running streak stands at 0 days and I’m not mad about it.
*I love the footprints the puppies leave on the patio when coming back in every morning. Today’s footprints may have included some ashes since they knocked over the grill. There are, however, no kitties in this house.
*I took my puppies including sweetAnakin for a walk. Today Anakin is wearing his Christmas bow tie. He looks mighty dapper if I say so myself. Naturally, I bought all three dogs Christmas outfits. I can’t wait to share the pictures with you. You’ll love them!
Today’s song is Superheroes by The Script, enjoy!
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Maintaining a connection with the outside world during this time of quarantine isn’t always easy, but it’s super necessary. To be honest, I haven’t talked on the phone this much since I was a teenager. Okay, maybe I haven’t talked on the phone this much since the advent of the text message. In fact, if you know me well, you know I don’t typically answer my phone. Your best option to read me is to text me. Since I have a house of boys and three dogs, communicating via text is much easier since I often can’t hear myself think here.
Meanwhile, there will be plenty of connection starting next week as Palm Beach County Schools start the school year virtually. I fully expect my phone to be ringing off the hook with phone calls from our new victims. By victims, I mean my kids’ new teachers. Unlike last spring, this year the boys will be held to the bell schedule as if they were in the building. For me, this is a huge win. This brings structure to their day that was frankly missing in the spring. Naturally, Goalielocks will have to transition off of his third shift schedule back to a normal school schedule.
There is one major upshot to starting the school year virtually. I am saving so much money by not breaking the bank with back to school shopping. This is fabulous because for the first time both boys want fashionable (aka expensive) clothes. Truly, I’ve had it pretty easy these last several years. Since middle school, they have worn athletic shorts and t-shirts every day. At any rate, I do not miss the back to school shopping push. There’s nothing worse than hunting for a hyper-specific school supply in the bin after bin of school supplies. Naturally, I will have to take them school shopping, but for the moment I will relish skipping this ritual.
Today I spent most of my day nursing our sweet Maya. Fortunately, she seems to be doing a little bit better today. We were pretty worried last night as she wasn’t able to walk for a portion of the evening. Honestly, I was starting to think she’d be traveling over the rainbow bridge in the near future. Thankfully, she’s fully mobile today. Moreover, she’s been drinking a lot of water and has even eaten some food. This is the first time she’s eaten since Tuesday. Honestly, I’m relieved to see her having a much better day. Please pray that she continues to heal.
Here’s a list of our day’s activities:
*I read Mary Barton, by Elisabeth Gaskell. This book is more my speed.
Another day, another adventure. Such has been our trip here in Utah. I love it here. Every day we spend time exploring the surrounding national forests, canyons, and mountains. Each trail gives us a special gift. Whether its a realization about life, a pretty view, or shared memories. Regardless of the adventure, everyone has taught me something or given me something in return. For example, our first hike here taught me that you should save the hard hikes for after your body acclimates to the altitude. Meanwhile, the hike to Donut Falls showed me the beauty and vastness of God’s creation.
Yesterday was no exception. We got a late start to the morning, which was fine because the temperatures have cooled down a bit since the 100s over the weekend. Also I knew the trial we were headed to had a lot of shaded areas. Lastly, we all needed to get some rest as Tuesday was a very busy day. My day started with an early trip into Salt Lake City to drop Melody at the airport. Fortunately, the drive was super easy and I got another hour of sleep once back to our AirBnB. Yesterday’s adventures included the Green Pond Trail near Snow Basin and the Hill Aerospace Museum. Both of these stops on our adventure tour were well worth the time and effort.
The Green Pond Trail is an easy to moderate trail near at the base of Mount Ogden. You do gain about 400 ft in altitude throughout the path, but it is a gradual ascent. The trail itself starts at an elevation near 6,000 feet. Honestly, this probably would have been the best trail for our first hike. Indeed, it is an excellent trail for mountain biking and for kids just starting to hike. Throughout the trek, the meadows and forest surround you. You can see the mountains through the canopy of the trees throughout, which makes for a beautiful vista. Overall, the hike took about an hour and burned nearly 600 calories.
Afterward we headed to the Hug-Hes Cafe in north Ogden. Since we’ve been here, I’ve been trying to take them to local spots. This one reminded me of Perkins as it had a bakery and a simliar lunch and dinner menu. Overall, the food was very tasty and inexpensive. This restaurant is also famous for its giant sugar cookies, so naturally I picked up three for the boys. Post lunch, we headed to Target to pick up some more snacks and a lot of water. We’ve already gone through more than 40 bottles of water throughout our hikes. Thankfully, they recycle here. I wish they had refill stations at or near the hikes as that would be much more efficient.
Once we had our supplies in hand, we headed to the Hill Aerospace Museum. It was awesome! We got there later in the day, so we didn’t have enough time to take in all of the exhibits. Consequently, I’m hoping to go back there today or tomorrow. Also the fighter wing was closed and the boys really want to peruse that exhibit. One thing that I loved about the museum is that it is staffed by retirees, who served in the Air Force and really have a passion for the history of aviation. Naturally, we also stopped in to the gift shop where I bought a rosewood model B-24 that will be displayed in our family room. They did have some wonderful sketches of the planes, but none featuring the B-24 on which my grandfather was a flight engineer.
As for our evening, we went back to the dealership to finish up the paperwork for Jake’s new car. That took way longer than it needed to, but this is always the case. For dinner, we headed back to In-N-Out burger so Jake could try it at last. After enjoying their burgers two nights in a row, we have all decided they need to come to Florida. Their burgers are phenomenal! We spent the rest of the night chilling at the AirBnB and were all in bed early. Today promises to bring more great adventures in the great outdoors.
Yesterday our adventures took us to the Snow Basin Resort, which is on Mt. Ogden. After a busy day Saturday, we all overslept. Consequently, we got a reasonably late start to our day. I was a bit worried that the heat and altitude would again be too much for us. Fortunately, I was wrong. We took the gondola up to the ski lodge, where the hiking trail to the summit of Mt. Ogden begins. Technically, you could hike up the entire mountain, but we were not about that life yesterday.
The scenery on the way up Mount Ogden was beautiful with mountains, valleys, and even a lake in the distance. It was a bit hot on the way up as the gondolas are fully enclosed. Once we reached the top of the ride, however, the temperature was significantly cooler, and there was a gentle breeze. The ski lodge was beautiful, with beautiful amenities and A/C. We took a brief respite in the lodge before heading up to the summit. Admittedly, I was quite nervous that this hike would be as challenging as Saturday’s. I think we were all pretty nervous.
Thankfully, this hike got off to a much better and more leisurely start. It wasn’t until the mid-point of our ascent to the summit that it became challenging. First of all, there were a lot of loose rocks on the trail, which makes it hard to find your footing sometimes. This was particularly true on the fringes of the path. Second of all, we were at an elevation of about 8,000 feet, which is a challenging environment for people not accustomed to the altitude. Nevertheless, I still felt much better throughout this hike than our first hike Saturday. The scenery throughout the entire hike was impressive. Moreover, while there were plenty of people and dogs on the hike, it remained quiet and serene. There was an incredible sense of peace on the mountain.
This time we all made it to the end of the hike. The summit of Mount Ogden did not disappoint. As you looked east, you saw the Great Salt Lake and Ogden. We even saw where we had hiked the day before. As we looked to the West, we saw the lake, national forest and several mountains. A top the summit, it was breezy and comfortable. Goalielocks found the perfect place to soak in the majesty of the mountain, while we finished the hike. Naturally, we all felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in completing the hike. While this hike had some difficult points, it was well worth the views afforded at the top of the summit. We will be going back.
Afterward we headed back to the AirBnB to change, so we could head to the mall and grab some lunch. Comparatively speaking, the mall was rather lackluster to our malls in South Florida. Nonetheless, it provided a good indoor activity when the heat of the day was at its peak. We also explored several cool stores and boutiques that we’ve never seen before, which was fun. For dinner, we headed East to Taggerts, which has been an institution in the Morgan Canyon for over a century. The service was quick, my soup was delicious and the burger didn’t disappoint.
We ended our day by dropping Jake back off at base, so he could be ready for work today. Our night ended comparatively early last night because we were all utterly exhausted. In fact, two of the three kids traveling with me are still sleeping. It’s almost 11:00 am here, so I’ll probably wake them up in a few minutes. However, after all of our activities over the last two days, I’m glad they’re sleeping in and catching up on some rest.
He made it to his new home! That’s right my son left tech school early this morning to fly to his final duty station. We weren’t given many details as to the happenings aside from the day. In fact, I woke to a text from him that he had already taken off and was on his way. Of course, leaving is always bittersweet. He had a great BMT experience, I know it sounds crazy, and an equally wonderful Tech school experience. Fortunately, he had two great roommates. His first was never around as he was allowed to live with his wife in on-base housing. However, his second roommate has become a good friend. Undoubtedly, he left tech school with several new life long friends and will look back on these days with fondness.
Now back to my neurotic military mom’s mind, which was trying to figure out which flight and airline he was on before getting out of bed. Eventually, I heard from him when he landed for his brief layover in Dallas. While I was in yoga, he boarded his second flight of the day. By this time, I had figured out his flight number and was dutifully stalking him as I got my namaste on. Fortunately, I took today’s yoga class via Zoom, so I could stalk without distracting my fellow yogis. As for today’s yin class, it was absolutely delicious. I’m really loving the balance that this yin class has brought to my practice and my body.
Once yoga was over, I did my hair. I know, it’s amazing, right? I think it’s the first time I’ve plugged my flat iron on since 2019. Needless to say, I think it might be time for a larger flat iron as my hair is no longer short. Fortunately, my flat iron did the trick and my hair looked good. Once I finished my hair, I added some eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick a headed to work. Fortunately, the commute from my bathroom to my bedroom office was quite short and without traffic jams. While it may seem unlikely that there could be a traffic jam at my house, please remember I have two teenage boys and three dogs. Anything is possible with them!
Today was a really productive day for me work-wise. I made several new connections with really interesting people. One thing that I love about this job so far is meeting and connecting with extraordinary people. These folks have their ish together! It’s awesome! Truly, I think connecting with interesting people will feed my soul. For example, I connected with two women today that are doing extraordinary things in their communities. I can’t help, but feel empowered and inspired by their successes. It’s an exciting time, but also a grind. I worked on pitches for several hours today with mixed success.
Usually, I would run on Thursday, but my hips weren’t feeling it today. As Shakira so wisely said, “hips don’t lie,” so I skipped my run. Instead, I’ll log my runs on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully, I can get up early enough to run outside before the heat is too oppressive. I built a lot of momentum over the morning, so by skipping my run I kept my work productivity firing on all cylinders. It was a win-win situation. Also, I think this demonstrated huge personal growth for me as before I would always run through the pain – no matter what. Clearly, I paid a high price for that and have learned my lesson. Yay me!
Here’s a list of our day’s activities:
*I read Shirley, by Charlotte Bronte.
*Yin Yoga with Jennifer from Open Heart Yoga Studio
*Morning and afternoon meditation
*I cooked cheese smothered chicken served with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots. This HelloFresh meal is amazing. If you’d like to try it with no obligation, let me know.
*Took another gander at my garden today. The sweet potatoes continue to thrive, while the tomato plants have shriveled.