and just like that, another month goes by

first things first, because i know you're wondering: 55 pounds gone forever.
self-portrait dec 08
and cleared to go back to the gym :) that starts up next week.

[deep sigh] so what's going on these days...
the season is well under way... we have the family tree up and rocked with all of our vintage ornaments (including the "hula bear" i made in kindergarten) - though this year we went to lowe's instead of the traditional options.
dad and the tree

not the most romantic way to go about it, but easy enough
getting a tree (at lowe's, meh)

and makes a perfectly fine backdrop for the 08 Family Photo
the family

it's been a good holiday season. i've been looking forward to it all year because i knew it would be a milestone - i knew that by now i'd be much closer to healed, at least a little on my way to the new normal. and my energy is back. it's crazy good.

and just in time too -
there's been the office party, featuring the antics of two of my favorite people :) these are some of my closest friends at work, dave and desiree and this photo is EXACTLY why i love them, it's always lighthearted and climbing up the walls and laughter
dave & desiree

so everyone's got their cutbacks this year, you know, and i'd heard that i'd be disappointed in this year's festivities, blah blah blah. nothing could be further from the truth - they took great care of us. we had a big brunch for the planning group, complete with a champagne toast (apparently a major LBCO tradition)
burnett breakfast 2008

and then went on to the hilton Chicago for some more fun: a year in review, and basically a pep rally led by our global leaders. it was actually very, very cool to see them in person. and they had a huge sense of humor about what we do, between speeches there were spoofs of our own commercials and heartfelt mentions of their grandchildren.
office party

THEN the SAME WEEKEND there were two other parties - saturday brought the annual, infamous sisters holiday party. what it comes down to is a guest list of 300 people fitting into one three-bedroom apartment. that's my mom, by the way, in the gold shirt...
JAC party 08

we are an all inclusive group, people. you can come next year and bring a friend, just give us a couple hours notice to put your name on the list
JAC party 08

so that was friday and saturday... sunday's party has also become an annual tradition, and is also all-inclusive :) some of the kids and i have started getting together and doing a gift exchange, and our new tradition has several factors we can take for granted:

• a location (lindsey's)

• a somewhat elaborate spread (including cassie's parmesean cheesecake)
fancy party food

• supplemented by a glorious bloody mary bar
(that i dutifully ignored)
bloody mary bar

• a sexy cassie
sexy cassie

• and of course, a secret santa gift exchange

my secret santa was tyler aka "big red" aka "T"

and this is just freaking adorable.
joe & cassie

and that, friends,
was the first half of december.

the second half has had a lot of family time, up at my parents' place (where i'm writing from now, obvi, it's 1am on Christmas morning)

our neighbor has been bringing her puppy around to play with my grandparent's puppy
neighbor dog

taffy and moxie
puppies playing tag

and in between visits to glenview, i've been hanging with my sisters and celebrating as anne finishes another semester of law school - only ONE LEFT! YAY ANNE! - and checking out some new haunts... the most recent being Crocodile in wicker park. highly recommended. bartender's awesome.

it looks a little dead in these photos but dude, it was 6pm on a Monday.

so anyway. that's december :) how's yours?