happy holidays and safe travels...

tis the week of holiday parties, travel, presents & time off of work (for most i hope!)

we have a combination of all of that here in our little abode.

but first, the big news.

cooper louis noll was born on 12.24.08 at 5:07am. he came in a just over 7 lbs and has really big feet for such an itty bitty thing :) must take after daddio already!

stacy called at 2am on the 24th to say 'hi jennifer'. (per my offer as her due date drew closer that if she needed anything, to call me. no matter what time.)

'hey stacy, how are you?' (a bit of knowing in my voice here)

'um, i'm pretty good. could you come over for a bit and stay with maddie til my mom gets here?' (madalyn is 2 1/2 and pretty much one of the cutest kids on earth with an amazing vocabulary as her pa loves ginormous words).

so off i go, finding non-pj clothing, spectacles, & make the 20 foot walk next door.

after a few hugs and 'have a good birth!' off they went to the hospital at nearly 2:30am and cooper arrived just after 5. stacy is very fortunate so far to bear children pretty efficiently and without complications...lucky girl from many other stories i've heard!

mark and i got to visit today for the first time and meet cooper at st johns. and he was, of course, adorable. stacy was very thankful for my being around to jaunt over as it likely made the difference in her being able to get the magic shot for pain...any time i can lend a hand, i'm glad i can help. and we love our neighbors/friends very very much. they are wonderful...

today's paper featured a local family who makes my day every time the visit the library. here's their story. a wonderful piece on a wonderful family.

last night we got to hang out with some friends we haven't seen much this year, but had a bang up time enjoying fondue with the 6 of us and one really really HOT oil pot! it was quite the sight and we all had good food & laughs through the evening...we took the dogs (aimee has 3 greyhounds as well) so even the hounds had a good christmas eve hanging with *their* friends :)

today, christmas day, was a mixture of laying low, visiting the new babe, and i was able to get a run in at como park with another friend/teammate of mine who met me there. seeing as i have a half marathon in maui one month from today, and i'm in the OFF season of running, any mileage i can get outside is a big deal. this race coming up by far will be my slowest, but i'm already okay with that. it's MAUI. so walk or slow pace be damned. it's another medal for this girl and that is the big payoff. did i mention it's MAUI? with my Gram. (mark will be traveling to texas and mississippi then...damn i wish he could be there...)

tomorrow i work some, as with the rest of the weekend, and then i know before i realize it it'll be a normal monday-back-to-the-routine week.

sorry i have no pictures for this post. i just haven't taken any lately.

so whether you are near or far, be safe, happiest of holidays and please use a designated driver if you're out celebrating and be safe. or call me. i'll fetch anyone who needs a ride.
peace, love & joy, ~jd

my new mantra...

well, it's not new.

it's been in my heart & mind for a long, long while.

and will carry me into 2009 which i feel will be a life changing year.

the mantra?

one word.


kind of fitting during thie time of year as well...

merry christmas to everyone near and far. ~Jen


i should learn from my dog. dig deep and get what you want. or something like that...

this comes on the heels of me finishing this book over the weekend...

great book, great story, many tears at the end, yes i'll see the movie..i related to some of the angst dogs can cause as...

i came home last night from some errands and found my formally zipped gym bag contents sprawled all over the floor.

quinn is our resident 'eater'. usually just paper (tp, newspaper, junk mail, $20 bills, etc)

when we leave the house, both hounds are muzzled.

usually to just put our minds at ease that they're not getting into mischief, but quinn is king of eating through his muzzle. he must have a tongue like a giraffe! but we still just try to keep things out of reach...

apparently last night he was bound and determined to find *something* to ingest so he found my energy gel that i use for really long runs in the training season. these are vacuum sealed and you tear into them to drink em up.

i found this *in* his muzzle when i got home:

nothing else had been touched. and seeing how much of the gel was still in the package despite it being completely open was my christmas miracle. because cleaning that stuff up (think corn syrup) out of carpet, couch cushions, etc, would have been horrible :(

dogs. can't live with em. can't live without them. (this coming after the cat helped me just knock a mug of coffee onto the floor into many broken pieces :( sigh...

don't mess with some librarians...

including this one.

i'd do the same thing...chasing this inconsiderate grinch >:-{

you go girl!

(not the smartest place to set the table up i'll admit though...)

way to go, josie girl!

now back to your regularly scheduled programs...

on the fence....

trying to decide if i should ditch the blog.

i like that the folks and friends far away like to peruse it now and again and it makes me feel somewhat connected to them being across the miles.

but i really feel like i don't have that much to say, and that much of it revolves around running. which to most is not their thing or misunderstood.

but mostly i don't have much to say.

it *is* a great medium to share pictures and stories from trips that i might be fortunate to take...but there's sites like flickr for that.

hmmmm. well i guess if i do yank it down i'll just send one last 'the end' post.

while it's still here, just a brief update. this week was tough. it was awesome to have mark home and within a matter of hours he was explaining to me, quite painfully, that he'll miss the grandma's marathon next june in duluth. the biggest challenge of my life. really really not intending drama here, but how many of *you* have considered running 26 miles? heck, i hadn't until just a month ago or so. but to those who run races, of any distance, it's always important to have loved ones there. if at all possible. so to hear mark's news was just crushing. i know he's stuck. he loves to sing. i've loved to learn to run. and neither are very interactive with the other.

then there's the whole christmas thing. i have 3 jobs now, in order to pay down bills. and while i love love LOVE giving things to people, this year is just so tight. i am opting to go to maui in january to visit gram. she is VERY much looking forward to it, and being 35 and being fortunate to have a grandmother around, let alone one who travels on her own, is a big deal. i too am looking forward to it. (but again, mark can't join me due to singing.)

so i need to pay for maui, and pay for christmas, in limited capacity, for the family. i'm pretty crafty so i'm trying to make a lot of home-made gifts. and i also do things like sell items on eBay or consign clothing to pay for gifts. the little things.

i know i don't need to buy dad a lexus or anything (sorry dad ;) but when we have family in 4 different states, finding the right gift in a budget and shipping them on time becomes a challenge. i emailed my really close friends this week to say 'hey, you know what? in the past sometimes little gifts come my way at the holiday....and this year i'm asking kindly that you not buy me anything. friendship is the biggest deal to me. the talks. the coffee dates. the breakfast dates. the time spent together as my friend'. and i got many responses echoing my sentiments. so i know i'm not alone. still doesn't add to my sadness that i can't shower my friends (and their kids or pets) with kindness....it's what i love to do.

so this week was an up and down week. i was really ready to just have some quality time with mark and enjoy the holiday seasons spirit and then real world stuff hit and it's not as rosy as the movies always make life out to be.

that said, i did make some cookies last night to feel somewhat domestic and enjoy the spirit with a few girlfriends (one of whom is due with baby #2 in less than a month and i can't wait to meet the new little Noll...)

my thoughts are with another amazing friend of 30 years back in chicago who is going through the challenge of major marital problems....and it's hard to be so far away when she's hurting so much.

this weekend i am meeting with some friends, of which we 'adopted' a local shelter family to buy gifts for and I did spend some of my funds for christmas on this cause. a great one. so off i go to gather those few gifts together and walk some dogs as the sun sets...stay warm and for those nearby, hope your shovels are at the ready. again. tis the season ~ jd


como park, st paul, mn

i figured i'd update the blog a bit while i wait for mark to arrive.

he's due in sometime very late tonight, and after taking a very long nap this afternoon to get rid of a noreaster of a sinus headache, i'm not tired.

so i'll blog a bit and then keep reading. i just started 'marley & me' by john grogan. the movie hits theaters in time for that present-giving, buget-sucking holiday (ie i have barely shopped yet and am very low on cash...which equals this girl having 3 jobs..) anywho, the book is great so far, and i look forward to the film with ms. aniston & mr. wilson in it...

oh, and mark's on his way back from a tour of the northeast...vermont, massachussettes & ny..with the ensemble of rose singers...

a few pictures to share from tonight's first significant snowfall of the season. looks like it *will* be a white christmas here in the mn...first, the one on the top of this post. and then this one...

i went out for short 3 mile run after work tonight. there's about 2" on the ground now (with 2-3 " more by morning) and when it snows at night it's so quiet and light out from the reflection of the freshly fallen white stuff. love that...

over the weekend, my runner girls and i got together to celebrate mary's 56th birthday. she's run 2 marathons (i think just two) and is one classy lady! So we all got out the required 'little black dress' and went downtown to celebrate. here's a few pics from that..

mary is the front right gal..

this is allycat & i. i watched her run grandma's marathon for the first time last summer. she looked like this...

she's the SMILING one in the middle. of her first marathon. about 1/4 mile from THE. END.
did i mention she was smiling??? like for real! she has made me believe. (and she is one of the funniest and true-est people i have ever met...)

another rock solid runner girl i'll profile is my neighbor cindy. (who lives about 3 blocks from me on the same grotto street) cindy, who turns 40 in May, and thinks that milestone would be a darn fine time to *also* run her first marathon. cindy, who i rocked the TC 10 with back in October. so i am very stoked that she's willing to declare she too will run Grandma's 2009 pretty much right next to me, and likely our coach ruth as well..

it's looking like i might travel to DC in april. to see my bff gail and family, and to run this. it's supposedly very hard to get into (filled in something like 4 hours last year) but they take 12,000 to run a 10 mile race around DC during the pretty pink flowering tree season. so what a good way to blend my travel with another cool race t-shirt ;) so first we'll see if i get in (registration is next week) and 2nd we'll see if northwest airlines has a seat from my frequent flyer miles...

lots to look forward to in '09 i suppose. 2008 had lots of great things happen in my running life. there were lots of challenges along the big road of 'regular' life, what ever that is, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. for the most part all things are good now, and i keep on moving on one day at a time...

so there's a post about all things random jd....as i still wait for dh to come home...

i have declared.

i will sign up, and barring any injuries or god's free will of kaboshing this plan for any reason, i WILL run the full 26.2 Grandma's Marathon on june 20, 2009 in duluth, minnesota.

am i freaked out? heck yes. i've gotten to the end of 13.1 miles pretty much staggering and feeling damn tired. so DOUBLE that? almost 5 or more hours of running? um....let's not talk about it quite yet. but if oprah, katie holmes and countless unknown novices complete marathons for the first time every year, well heck, i. can. too. i just have to work on it....and train. and train some more. and, that's right. keep on training.

and any and all friends, family or strangers who want to be there in the last 5-6 miles to help me get through it are welcome.

and if you seriously *do* want to come visit, you need to decide soon. lodging in the duluth area fills fast, and some places open reservations in january.

but first and foremost, i'm doing all i can to train my brain, along with my legs, that i *can* do this.

i absolutely can not thank enough allison, ruth, kim, karen, claudia, val and the rest of my run club teammates for helping me find my way this past year and become the runner and person i am now. And of course i thank mark from the bottom of my heart as well for supporting me along the way with my countless hours running and not being home on the opposite schedules that he sings around the country and world. i know we don't always see eye to eye on the topic of running, but i know he's proud of me...

and back to ally for a minute. THIS GIRL? she has really *really* made me believe. she keeps me grounded. she's honest. and she's run her first 3 marathons this year. grandma's being her first. and the 2nd two? within a WEEK of each other. one in san francisco, and one in wisconsin (how's that for a juxtaposition?) and she has become my role model. she? is magic. and a mere 10 months ago? we had not met. allison? you? are my runner girl hero. in true allison speak :)

peace & love through the miles...dream big. because if you do? anything is possible that you pu your mind to...

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