March 12, 2016: Just Another Saturday...

The cropped picture
A rainy Saturday in Omaha. I have experienced many of these over my 27 years of calling Omaha home. This March day that had bursts warmth along with the precipitation, held nothing of particular difference over the early spring days of past.

But that's exactly why it was such a great day. The ordinary days full of old friends, new faces, family, and the comforts of home rank high on my list.

With lots of recent travel and fun on the road, the rhythm of normalcy within the heartbeat of our Omaha home has been a welcomed haven. It truly is the little things in life that bring the the greatest pleasures.

Today's blog post is simply going to recap my ordinary day. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I am going to use my pictures from the day in telling my story (Instagram meets blog post??)...
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The original 'uncropped' picture. We obviously aren't good at photo booths.
The alarm rings at 6:00 a.m. The dog is nestled in the crook of my back and cat on my feet. My husband is in Denver with his kids. I'm in Omaha.

I awake worrying about the solo guinea pig living in a cage downstairs. He lost his companion last weekend and appears to be struggling with the illness of a broken heart.

After the other animals are fed and I am showered, wearing green from head to toe, I am happy to see movement in the guinea pig cage. Randy, the surviving pig, hides when I try to pet him under his ears and give him his food. But he is still moving. A good sign.

I walk out the door with coffee in hand to pick up my friend, Robbie, for our morning event, The Shamrock Run.

Robbie and I are training for a half marathon in May. In preparation, we have signed up for a couple of fun 5k's and are tracking our mileage for the year to reach 2016 combined miles in 2016. As Robbie logs these miles only on a treadmill, she has been worried how a run in the great outdoors would fare for her.

No worries needed. We did just fine. A solid morning run with a forever friend.

I used to introduce Robbie as my sister-in-law, and then she became my ex-sister-in-law. Introductions would then end with my simply saying 'it's complicated'. Now I just call her my friend. Just like she was in the mid-eighties when our friendship began.

We have been thick as thieves since that day we met on Westmar College campus in the fall of 1985. Fast forward 30 years and here we are running together in tutu's and drinking green beer on a Saturday morning. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Once the running part was checked off our morning list, we found a spot at the end of nearby bar to watch the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. For all the years we have lived in Omaha, neither Robbie nor I have ever taken in this annual festivity. This morning we chose to check it out from our indoor post.

And then we met a new friend. The same cute gal who we randomly met before we ran was now standing by us at the bar. Comparing notes on the race, we quickly found commonality with this very energetic young lady, so many years our junior.

We now know to find each other at our next scheduled 5k in a couple of weeks. Robbie and I are also planning on attending the race she will put on this summer, in the little town of Prague.

While talking to Linne, I was having flashbacks to my years as a young director of the Omaha Running Club. So many weekends, pre-kids, were filled at races just like this one and the one she will direct in Prague. She is a girl after my own heart.

Dropping off Robbie back to her home, it was decided that the tutu's would come out again for our next race. For the Fish Fry 5k, we would simply add some pink and they will be an Easter variation.

Motivated by the St. Paddy's Day festivities downtown, I was all about continuing the celebration at home. My grocery store run included flowers to fill three vases, a green balloon, and all the fixings for corn beef and cabbage.

A text from Ben indicated that he would be coming home from Lincoln for the night. Unexpected, but a welcomed surprise.

Note Abby on the stool
My animals welcomed my arrival home by waiting for me by the front door. Randy was still moving, but acting shy. Cookie, the dog, wanted a walk, but the rain dampened her fun. She followed me around the house instead.

A big part of my nestling ways on days like this is a lot of putzing around my kitchen. Today was no exception.

Ball jars of overnight oatmeal, overflowing with fresh blueberries and blackberries, were prepared. Chocolate chip cookies were baked. Three vases of flowers were arranged for display and enjoyment around the house.

And then the corned beef was heaped into my crock pot with a timer set for seven hours. The last add of cabbage would be for the final hour. The smell of this dish filling the house throughout the day is better than the best lit candle.

Grant sent a text around this time letting me know that he was no longer on foreign land, but back in the States. One more layover in Chicago and the world traveler would be back home. The animals and I were ready for his company. No Abby in my bed tonight. Her preference is with Grant. And I will be happy to hear his voice again.

The piano was luring me from the kitchen to the family room. I haven't spent near the time on the ivories as I thought I would over the last few months.
First vase behind kitchen sink

No better time than the present when thinking about such pleasures.

So I lit a candle for Josh Woodruff and played a couple of favorite classics. I need more practice. On the list for this week.

The second vase of flowers was placed on the left side of the piano. A reminder that will draw me to this simple treasure daily. With a warm weather forecast, I will likely be playing with open windows on Monday.

The next necessary part of my day is another favorite. A hot bath. Much needed and one of my favorite guilty pleasures is to fill up my big tub with bubbles or bath salts. I am still enjoying homemade salts that were gifted to me from a friend over the holidays. They are marked as 'stress away bath salts' and they do just that.

Another guilty indulgence is shoes (I need to stop revealing all my weaknesses). I love them in all of their glorious shapes, styles, and colors. I bought three new pairs last week when visiting Zach in Fort Collins.
Cookie in the foreground
Shoes in the background

We walked out his door to go on a hike last Monday, but it was raining. So we went to DSW instead. Of course. He got the 'best son' award as he walked beside me while I perused all the aisles of the store, inspecting their spring inventory.

Scoring on three pairs of different sandals with varying heel heights and design, the boxes are now on my bedroom floor awaiting their perfect spot in my closet. Cookie just wants me to get them out of her way.

Although not a fan of her own bath, Cookie does likes to rub up against the carpeted step next to the tub while I am in it. Usually a static-filled fur ball by the time I get out, but a happy dog.

The sandals and tub view to my toes were reminders that a pedicure was needed. Next stop was to the nail salon across the street from my house. Busy with the rain, I got an appointment for a later time. With toes all cleaned up, I selected a seasonal green for the polish color. Very fitting for the pronounced theme of the day.

I am now officially ready for our upcoming day of celebrating of the Irish.

Ben arrived home while I was pedicuring. Grant sent a text that his plane had taken off from Chicago. Ben and I headed out to pick up the youngest of the brothers from the airport.

Grant was happy to be back on home ground. He was also quick to point out that this was his last night of spring break. And the only one that will include his friends who weren't on the Europe trip.

I still got a hug and smile though. He missed me as much as his friends (or just letting me believe that).

He did come home bearing treasures and gifts. Of note was an antique gladiator helmet. Why, you ask? I haven't a clue. But Ben thought it was pretty cool too; trying it on before we even left the parking garage (pictures below). It did seem like an impressive piece of armor. I am sure it will hold some memories of the Colosseum, Grant's favorite site on his trip.

My gift was a beautiful turquoise rosary from the Vatican. It came in a small box bearing a picture of a waving and smiling Pope Francis. My newest treasure will join a black rosary that was given to me by my Grandma Gib when I was Grant's age.

That rosary was purchased at the Vatican during my grandma's trip to Rome in the early 80's. She told me the rosary was blessed by Pope John Paul II. I have always cherished it and am happy to have another. The beginning of a collection.

Exchanging texts and calls with Garrett throughout the day, his guilty pleasure of March basketball was enjoyed with his son. The game that never stops for a full month. And they can't get enough of it.

My favorite spot
So now I sit eating corn beef and cabbage in my favorite chair by the fire. Ben and Grant have long left, meeting their friends on a cherished Saturday night.

I can hear Randy chewing on his cage in the entryway. A good sign of life. Abby and Cookie have disappeared. Most likely snoozing in my bedroom. And I am blogging away about an ordinary day while thinking about soon joining the animals upstairs.

I will let you in on a little secret (because, really...what secrets do I have??).

Every morning when I wake up, I recite a simple Bible verse. I say it out loud and include it in my prayers.

"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

I then thank God for another day and put my day in his hands. As simple as that.

People often ask me how I always seem so positive. My answer is, how can't I? Every day is truly a gift, left to us to live to it's fullest. Even the ordinary ones.

Ben helmet pose #1
Ben helmet pose #2

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