Monday, December 31, 2012

It's my blogiversary!

I meant to write a whole year-in-review, 1st anniversary, well thought out kinda post.

Then I spent the past few days playing nursemaid to my mom who hurt her back and reading, reading, reading so I could win the competition of who would read the most books in 2012. (I won!)

So, the year-in-review post and the book recap post will come soon. Cause, I'm thinking January is going to yet again be my own personal NaBloPoMo.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My favorite little cow

I can't help but share this adorable post about Bug and her performance in her church Christmas story. She didn't want to be an angel like the other girls, she wanted to be the Cow. I'm familiar with the basics of the nativity story, but this was the first I heard about the cow. Who was, in Bug's world at least, a very, very important witness to the big event!


You can read all about it on her mom's blog:

She's such a fun kiddo!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 25: It's was just a Tuesday and/or Living the Sterotype

I grew up celebrating Christmukkah.

My mom is Jewish, my dad was not and we did it all.

I have childhood memories of tromping through the woods to cut down our Christmas tree, opening one present on Christmas Eve and excitedly waking up on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought. On my mom's side of the family only one of her siblings married someone Jewish, so Christmas Day was spent on the road, visiting both sides of the family. First stop was my dad's parent's house for a short visit and present opening with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Then back on the road to my mom's brother's house, for a big meal and more grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and gifts. Usually on the way home we'd stop back by my dad's parents house, sometimes for dessert, sometimes just to visit a little longer with them.

And on those years when Hanukkah coincided, we'd get home from all of that and light the candles and I'd be handed one more, differently wrapped, present.

Sometime during my teenage years I told my mom I just wanted to do Hanukkah. The only religious upbringing I had centered around Judaism, the christian holidays we celebrated were in completely secular ways. I didn't need the mountain of presents I was getting between the two holidays and really, it just seemed like too much.

We kept celebrating both for the most part, shifting from the back and forth with family to just spending time as a family of three at the beach, mostly because my mom was afraid it would hurt my dad's feelings if we didn't do Christmas as well.

Anyway, fast forwarding to the present, I spent last weekend with my mom and her side of the family, finally celebrating Hanukkah. I'm spending next weekend at the beach with my mom, up until New Year's Day. So with that in mind, I really wasn't that interested in driving back up north on Monday after work, after just having returned home on Sunday night. When my mom spoke of Christmas, I responded with "you mean Tuesday?" and she realized that it wasn't really necessary for me to make the return trip home.

So I stayed home and loved it.

My office closed at 2 pm on the 24th so I got a yummy late lunch in my neighborhood, ran a few errands and was home by 4 pm, curled up on the sofa with a pile of books. Yesterday I slept in, read, watched Home Alone and a House Hunters Marathon, went to the movies, picked up takeout in Chinatown* and then came home and read some more.

It was a pretty perfect day and a half. No schedule, no expectations, no talking. Just doing what I wanted, when I wanted.

I hope you had a great day as well - whether you were celebrating Christmas or just enjoying a nice Tuesday off like I did!

* insert Jew on Christmas sterotype here

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The year that I forgot Hanukkah

Well, forgot might not be the right word.

I know it happened last week, but I skipped it.

I'm not really sure why, other than I was out of town on the first night and meant to take the menorah and candles with me and then I forgot. By night 2 I was home, I had candles and there was nothing stopping me from lighting them.

But I didn't.

And from there it was pretty much ignored.

Usually my mom sends me a present to open each night (because she still thinks I'm an 8 year old), and she was fully prepared to do so, but I said I'd rather wait and open gifts with her in person.

I still fully intended to light the candles.

But then I didn't.

I've been having fun buying gifts for people, so it's not like I'm in a bah humbug mood (yeah, yeah, yeah, I mixed my holidays), but I'm just not in an excessively celebratory mood either.

I think it's a combination of things. Work stress and uncertainty. Missing my dad. Indecision and uncertainty about plans over the next few weeks.

Usually I want to make decisions and plans. I am ALL about the planning. This year.... meh. I just want a fast forward button and/or the ability to hibernate for a bit.

I think I'd change teams at this point if Santa wanted to drop down my chimney and leave either of those behind.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Surprise Surprise

Today was a hectic Monday. 

My team at work was doing our strategic planning for 2013 and while it was only on the calendar for 3 hours I had a strong feeling it would go longer. 

Today was also the local business association's holiday meeting/luncheon/awards presentation and my friend who coordinates the neighborhood music festival was being honored. I'm on the planning committee and the association wanted to have the whole committee there when she was presented with her award. Of course the luncheon was starting just as my work meeting was supposed to end. 

I said I'd do my best, but honestly didn't have high hopes of making it to the luncheon. 

As the meeting was in process I realized my odds of getting out on time were diminishing so I emailed and texted a few friends to let them know. I got responses back like "no rush, it will be networking for awhile, just get here as soon as you can" and one asking if I'd say a few words about the honoree and really, really, it would be great if I could attend. 

Then about 20 minutes later I got a text from the honoree, telling me "Hey dude, you really NEED to come :)"

First thought: she's being nice, wanting me to enjoy the fun lunch and skip out on work. 
Second thought: maybe the whole planning committee is being honored and she doesn't want me to miss it. 

Never, ever did my mind go to the actual reason I NEEDED to be there. She wasn't the honoree.

I was.

Apparently the business association gives an award to a citizen volunteer each December and this year they selected me.  

Maybe had I known the award existed I would have been suspicious, but I was pretty much clueless right up until they said they had to trick the honoree to get her there. 

I am so lucky that when I moved to this area nearly four years ago I ended up where I did. I live in a great neighborhood, with so many wonderful events and an incredible business community that is responsible for many of them and their support integral in the success of others. When I think about my volunteer commitments I'd say I help out more than most but certainly not as much as many. 

Having my time and efforts noticed and appreciated really is awesome. It certainly made my day!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friendship

I spent this weekend with so many of my friends.

Friday night was dinner with the work bestie and her husband and munchkin and then Saturday I hit the road to spend the rest of the weekend visiting friends out of town. I shopped. I went to dinner at my favorite restaurant. I played with adorable kiddos. All with some of my friends who know me best. I watched the Redskins beat the Ravens in the company of the friend who turned me into a Skins fan about a decade ago. I had a traffic free drive home (amazing!) and was here for 10 minutes when the phone rang. It was yet another of my closest friends, who happened to be in my neighborhood and wanted to know if I wanted to come meet her and her daughter for hot chocolate.

It was really the busiest weekend I've had in ages and filled with so many people who are important to me.

Then I got home and started going through the mail and found my first holiday card of the season. From an old friend. Someone who used to rank pretty high on that list of people who are important to me.

Until he dropped me.

Completely disappeared from my life.No phone calls or emails returned, not even an acknowledgement when he heard my dad passed away this fall. His wife on the other hand is still quite friendly. She'll comment on my Facebook updates, wishes me a happy birthday, and I'm guessing is the one that added me to their card list.

It's something I guess. But in this case I'd much rather have nothing.

I'm ok with casual friends drifting in and out of my life. But I have a really hard time losing the people who once held such a huge role in my life, who helped me grow up and be the person I am today. I hate letting go of those people. I hate it even more when I don't know why it happened. And even more yet when it's not an entirely clean break. When a reminder of the friendship lost shows up in my mailbox.

I know I can't really 'fix'that situation. And I try really hard not to let it bother me. And after this weekend, I'm trying really hard to focus on all of those wonderful friends who are still in my life!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Owie

I went to the dentist today.

I left with a filling, a temporary crown and an incredibly numb half of my face.

It's been about 8 hours. The numbness has long since worn off, leaving me with pain.

Whining (i.e. blogging) about it makes me feel like a big ole baby but seriously, it hurts!

I feel like in general I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I've been dealing with migraines most of my life and I can power through a pretty intense headache without much problem. I had minor surgery a few years back and barely put a dent in the percoset prescription the doctors sent me home with.

But when it comes to my mouth it's like the exact opposite.

I have zero pain tolerance. And I know the dentist will lead to pain. So I get nervous and anxious and put it off until I have no choice but go.

The noise, the smell, the person with their hands in your mouth... :: shudders ::

And then you leave and 8 hours later your mouth still hurts!

Can dentists prescribe pain meds? Because I have to say, my Advil is not cutting it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Season of Asking

I'm a big fan of gift giving. And I'm also a big fan of supporting non-profit organizations. 

I have a handful that are important to me that I give to on an annual basis and I'm also generally pretty quick to support those that are important to friends and family when I hear about them participating in a fundraising walk, run, jumprope-a-thon, etc. I also always make a gift during times of greater need, like with Hurricane Sandy. In fact, I made several over the past month - both to the Red Cross and to smaller, community driven or personal fundraising efforts I was aware of. 

I'm not talking about major gifts, no one will be naming a building after me anytime soon (or ever) but I give pretty generously in my opinion, and have increased the amounts over the years as I've been able to. 

I'm not saying all of this to pat myself on the back, just trying to set the stage for the rant that is coming your way. 

I am so annoyed that I keep getting fundraising appeals from groups I've already given to this year. 

I used to work in a development office. Fundraising wasn't my role, but as part of that team I know that once someone made a gift that was it for the year in terms of asks. Sure, they'd still get our quarterly magazine and invitation to events so they had other opportunities to give, but the direct appeal letters came to an immediate halt once a gift was made. 

That doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I keep getting letters in the mail or emails in my inbox asking for a gift when I've already made one. The best was a few weeks ago, when I got two envelopes from an organization in the same day. The first was a thank for you for a gift I had sent, the second, a letter asking for more money. 

Come on. 

Then there are the organizations that have sold my name to other nonprofits. I'm not sure who it was, but I have gotten easily a dozen, maybe closer to two dozen, fundraising requests from organizations in the past few weeks that I haven't given to before, many of whom I've never heard of. I'm not sure how they got my name, but I do know they aren't getting my money. 

I know times are tough, and nonprofits are struggling to serve more people than ever before, but really, alienating those who are already your supporters isn't going to get you there. It just comes across as being unappreciative and greedy. 

And makes me question my giving choices to begin with. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sweeping declarations and baby steps

Last January I wrote a post where I declared 2012 "the year of making new friends."

And then I either promptly forgot about it, or at least forgot to act on it. Because here we are, days away from the start of December and I can't say that new friends has been what this year was about. 

But, I have taken a few baby steps in that direction, going outside my comfort zone a bit and accepting invitations, and in some cases, instigating them. 

In fact, now that I think about it, an invitation that I extended led to receiving one. Hmmm.... funny how that works. 

Pretty much immediately upon moving to my neighborhood almost four years ago I started volunteering for some community events. I met a great group of people who organize said events and we've become friendly acquaintances. I really only had hung out with one of them beyond committee meetings and at events, but last month I ended up suggesting that she and another girl and I get dinner. 

Calendars were hectic, things came up unexpectedly and dinner plans shifted to Sunday brunch a few weeks later. And it was fun. Good company and yummy food in a near by neighborhood I never actually venture to on my own. And, it was a restaurant whose owner had competed on Chopped on the Food Network awhile back, which was pretty cool as I'm a big fan of the show. 

I mentioned it while we were there, and that I heard another local chef was going to be on the show soon and, as luck would have it, one of my friends was going to the viewing party when the show aired and she invited me along.

The party was on Sunday night and as the designated hour approached I was so very tempted to cancel.

I wouldn't know anyone else there and the people I was going with would know so many people. I was tired. I wouldn't know anyone else there and the people I was going with would know so many people. I wouldn't get home until close to midnight and it was a work night. I wouldn't know anyone else there and....

Well, you get the point.

But, I went.

And it was a lot of fun. Both getting to know these acquaintances better and the party itself. 

Let's hope I remember this a little better than I remembered that initial declaration!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Calendar Check

I think I must have entered an alternate universe. It is the night before Thanksgiving, right?

I left work early today to head out of town for Thanksgiving. I got on the road a few minutes before noon and I was expecting to avoid some traffic, but still have a few back ups here and there.

There was no traffic. At all.

I got to my destination and hit the nearby outlets as I've learned over the years that most have their Black Friday sales minus a few 'door busters' up and running already without huge crowds.

The stores were virtually empty.

My last stop before coming to the house was the grocery store to pick up a few things. My mom will arrive tomorrow morning with the bulk of the Thanksgiving food, but I needed to get milk and stuff to make dessert. I pulled into the Giant parking lot and had my choice of parking spaces, right near the door. No shortage of carts inside and no more people in the store than any other week night.

I don't understand where all of the people are.

I'm not complaining mind you, I quite enjoyed my quick drive, stress free shopping and easy trip through the grocery store. I'm just feeling like I missed the memo, got my days mixed up and really am expected to be at work tomorrow, not enjoying yummy food and Redskins rivalry football.

Anyone else out on the road or in the stores tonight? What are things like for you?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stuff

I have way too much stuff.

I've always been a bit of a pack rat, but lately I swear my bedroom is looking more and more like it did during my teen years than any other time in the ensuing decades. Today I made a dent, but it's a tiny one. Tinier than the dents I put in my dad's car, while driving my mom's car shortly after I got my license.

The problem with getting rid of the stuff is that the easiest way to do it would be to just throw everything away without going through it. But, I know if I do that I'll be throwing away stuff I just don't want to get rid of.

But going through it takes time, effort and a place to actually put the stuff once I discover I want to keep it. I also struggle with the whole donating versus recycling versus garbage issue. Again, just throwing it all away is the easiest, but I know that's pretty irresponsible.

UGH.

I'm not willing to photograph the mess because, well, no. But here's a diagram of the current status:

This makes it look much better than it is.
Which is why diagrams >  photos. 


And that actually represents progress. We're not going to talk about all of the stuff that until today had made itself quite at home in much of that "actual clean floor space." We're also not going to talk about those few days a couple of weeks ago where I basically just had a pathway from the door to the bed.

I have friends coming to visit at the end of December and the goal is to have a neat, clean, organized room by the time I'm playing hostess. (Technically I'm playing hostess next weekend when my best friend comes to visit, but, we were roommates for three years, two of them in a 15 x 15' dorm room so she doesn't really count.)

The countdown to me actually having a neat, organized, grown-up person's room has begun.

Wish me luck. I'll need it.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lots of Motion

It's been a long week.

I can't believe it's only Thursday, though I did spend much of yesterday convinced it was Tuesday, so I'm all kinds of clueless.

I had a 2 day board meeting at work, and a webinar with 200+ people registered. Both went really well, but added just a touch of stress to my week. And of course there was the election, which added more than a touch of stress to my easily worried brain. But, that went really well too. Really really well actually.

Either way, I'm tired. And I don't have much to say right now. But I felt compelled to post, so I figure I'll treat you to Ron Pope's latest music video for his song City in Motion.

It's wonderful, of course.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Good People

I've been reading Vince Flynn's books for easily five years now. I first heard him talking about a new book on Elliot in the Morning and was intrigued. A friend of mine heard the same segment and took the plunge and started buying the books. I borrowed the first one from him and was hooked.

If you aren't familiar, Vince's books are CIA/counter terrorism themed. They are suspenseful, engaging and in many cases frighteningly accurate in terms of similarities between the fictional world of his main character Mitch Rapp and what we hear on the news these days. They also aren't really a genre I generally read much of, but I really really love these books.

Shortly after I started reading the series I mentioned it to my dad as books I thought he'd like. I'm sure my mom started off getting them from the library, as my parents don't buy books as a general rule, but soon my dad was so hooked on the series as well he made it a point to buy all of the books, even ordering hardback copies of some of the older ones from secondhand bookstores online. I don't think he had ever made an online purchase before, but he was determined to have the full collection.

Luckily, that made shopping for him a bit easier for awhile, as I always knew the latest Vince Flynn book would be the perfect Christmas or birthday present.

This summer, while things were still pretty good with my dad's health, he asked when the next Mitch Rapp book was coming out. I checked the website and discovered it was scheduled for release in mid-November.

As the summer wore on my dad started going out less and less, his energy level was pretty low. So he was home all of the time and he was going through books at a pretty good pace. This was also around the time we discovered that his treatment wasn't working and they had to switch to a new, and their last, option.

I decided to try and get an advance copy of the book. Some google sleuthing turned up his publisher's name as well as her Assistant and Associate Editors. A bit more sleuthing and I figured out the email address format for their company, wrote my message and sent it off hoping I'd get a response, but not really expecting it to work.

I also emailed the producer of the Elliot in the Morning radio show, since Vince is a regular guest there, to see if he had any tips on how I could get an advance copy of the new book.

Within 24 hours I had responses from all three people I contacted.

Amazing.

The new book was still being edited so there weren't any ARC's available to send yet, but as soon as one was, I was assured I'd get it. And then a day or so later I got a follow up email - the Editor had shared my note with Vince and he wanted to send an autographed copy of his last book for my dad.


About two weeks later, the ARC of The Last Man arrived in the mail. And within a few days of that, a hardback copy of Kill Shot, with the inscription to the left came as well.

Both such awesome gestures. I couldn't believe my random plea actually worked.

The unfortunate part is that cancer sucks and the books came too late. While it was only a few weeks, from when my dad was relatively healthy and reading 3-4 books a week, waiting for the new one from his favorite author, til when the books arrived, it was enough time for the medicine to stop, the cancer to spread and us to lose him.

I got the ARC the day after he died. And the autographed copy shortly after the funeral.

I hate having to tell that part of the story.

I wish I could be writing that he got the books and got to read the new one himself. Or even that I got to read it to him (though, some of the rather... um, fiesty, language would have made that a bit awkward!). I hate the way this story ends. I hate it because I miss my dad so much. But also because I feel like the ending takes away from the really nice thing that these total strangers did. How they went out of their way to get this book to me because of a random email that showed up in their inbox on a Thursday morning.

So please, let your takeaway from this post be that there really are good, nice, caring people in this world. People who will go out of their way to give a stranger going through a tough time a pick me up.

And if you've never read Vince's books, I encourage you to check them out. My mom is even planning to start reading through the collection now, well, right after she finishes the latest from Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Little Things

I made it through the storm unscathed. Though, I have to say, the mental anguish of just waiting... waiting... waiting... got to be a bit much. We get SO much advanced info these days I felt like all I did all weekend was wait for the storm to arrive. And then when it did, on Monday, I was very lucky to have no impact.

That's not storm damage. That's actually how it looked pre-storm.
And is apparently "standing" enough for the landlords
I certainly wouldn't trade that for downed trees or power outages, but still, it's quite emotionally draining, even without impact. Oh, and I did want the crappy, rotten old fence in my backyard to come crashing down so it could be replaced, but nope. It's still (sorta) standing.

Anyway, I've been obsessively watching and reading the news over the past few days. I couldn't turn off the local news before the storm hit, and then once it passed us I switched over to MSNBC for the national news. While New York and New Jersey have been captivating, what I've been searching for online is news and photos from the Delaware beaches. It looks like they were spared the worst of it, and only had moderate flooding. Between Bethany and Dewey the dunes were compromised, but in Bethany, the dunes held the Ocean back.

I read that and started crying.

My parents have a house a few miles inland from Bethany. They bought it before the dunes were put in and during the project, and ever since the project, my dad would complain endlessly about those dunes and how they blocked the view of the ocean from the boardwalk. There were signs up all around town, showing what things looked like after a storm in '62 and the kind of flooding that the dunes were being put in to prevent. My dad's comment - well, if it only happens once every 50 or so years then why do we need them. I'd roll my eyes and tell him that he knew it was unpredictable and that the dunes were a necessarily evil. Saving lives and property trumped an ocean view as he strolled the boardwalk.

So when I read that the dunes did their job and kept the ocean out of downtown Bethany my first thought was "Ha!" And my second was "he missed it."

It's those little things that are so hard to deal with. Those conversations that wouldn't have any significance to anyone else. Those little things that just make this so real. And break my heart again and again.



Saturday, October 27, 2012

No Words

It's been radio silence around here for over a month now.

I've got a lot of words and thoughts and emotions swimming around in my head, but I haven't been able to get them out. I liked opening my blog and seeing Wiggles happy little face. I didn't want to follow that up with sadness. But I can't not write about it.

My father passed away at the end of September.

Every time I'd sit down to write this post the tears start pouring down my cheeks and my brain would just shut down.

I'd have no words.

Just emotion.

But really, there are a lot of words I should be trying to get out.

People keep asking if I want to talk, and I'm not sure what they want me to say. I know it's sincere, and they want to be helpful but all I can envision is the incredibly awkward attempt at a conversation with a co-worker, or cousin I see once or twice a year, or childhood neighbor who I haven't seen in decades. The conversation where I start snot sobbing and they tell me what? It will get better? Just give it time?

Or even worse, the conversation that I think is completely benign and then all of the sudden, the person comes out with "I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I know he was so proud of you."

Proud.

That word is my kryptonite. I can handle a lot of other comments, but as soon as someone tells me how proud he was I fall a part. (Side note: it's good I can type without looking at the keys because just typing the word proud has my eyes filled with tears again.)

I don't want to be writing about this. I don't want this to be my reality. But I also don't know that I can write abut anything else right now. For the first few weeks I was strictly a consumer of the internet, avoiding posting anything anywhere because I just didn't know what to say.

I never shared on FB anything about my dad's illness or his death. Part of me wishes I had, so more acquaintances and casual friends would know and I could avoid awkward conversations down the road. But much more of me couldn't deal with the thought of every time I opened Facebook, or got a notification on my phone it would bring on the tears. The sympathy cards that come in the mail are bad enough at triggering the water works, but at least I control when I see them. I make sure I open them when I'm alone in my room, with the box of tissues near by. But Facebook comments follow you around. I use it at work, on my phone, at home... it's unavoidable in my life and I needed to be able to avoid.

Wow. This is so stream of conscious and all over the place. I kept thinking this post would be eloquent. The eulogy I wanted to write but knew I had no hope of actually being able to deliver coherently. I guess I'll get there.

Right?

And I'll write about other things too. It doesn't have to be all or nothing around here. I know that. I do. I just have to let myself act on it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cuteness


Last weekend I was with that little munchkin. This weekend, I wasn't. That's just one of several reasons that last weekend > this weekend.

I miss that face. And those pigtails. And the nonstop babbling that little mouth does. And the adorable little run/walk those little legs do.

Sigh.

I made the most of a work trip that took me out west last week and spent a long weekend in Arizona visiting Wiggles and her parents. It was my fourth trip to their small military town in the past five and a half years so we didn't really need to do any touristy stuff, we just spent the weekend hanging out.

 We played on the playground...

 

Watched Rosh Hashanah services online while playing with her new Rosh Hashanah toy set,


Showed off her multi-tasking skills by identifying her tummy while focusing on her favorite music video


saved money in the piggy bank (I think she's saving for a trip to Baltimore)



and just had fun. I kept her home from daycare on Monday morning to get a bit more hanging out time in before I had to head off to the airport. She kept me entertained with her non-stop talking and playing. Oh, and her love of her dog. 

Here's a sample: 





Only 88 days til I get to see her again. Not that I'm counting or anything. 

Non. Stop. Motion. 


Friday, September 21, 2012

Technology is not my friend... and other news

I've been home for about 24 hours after a week on the road. The travel was a mix of fun and business, a mix of really good and super duper craptastic.

As blogs are really meant for whining, I'll fill you in on the ick.

I've been needing a new laptop for awhile. Mine was a hand me down, pretty basic model I bought off one of my cousins 2 years ago. I knew it was time for an upgrade so I had been doing some research and trying to narrow down my options. I even considered making a purchase last Wednesday night before leaving town, but I decided to wait a bit longer, at least til after my trip.

The first half of said trip was visiting my cousin and her family in Arizona. Her husband likes to take apart and rebuild computers as a hobby. So of course my laptop worked absolutely fine while I was there.

Once I left their house, turned my computer off for my flight and arrived in Denver for three days of work, I discovered that my laptop had gone on (permanent) strike and was not willing to turn back on. GRRRR!

I made this discovery around 8:30 Monday night. I used my iPod to figure out that there was a Best Buy three miles away from the hotel and I figured I'd try and make my way there between meetings the next day.

Late Tuesday morning I had a break in my schedule and discovered one of my colleagues was traveling with her husband and they had a rental car so I hitched a ride with them and begged the Geek Squad to come to my rescue.

They didn't.

Apparently my power button had somehow gotten misaligned and wasn't connecting when pushed. The only way to fix it - take the computer apart.

Gee... if only I knew someone who could do that for me. And if he wasn't like 900 miles away.

So instead, I bought a new computer.

I could have worked out sharing the laptop my boss brought from the office, but it was the kind of work meeting with long, long days and limited time at night to get the things needed done for the next days long, long day. And, as I tend to be indecisive this spontaneous need wiped out that ability. I thought it would be a win.

But... I don't like my new laptop.

I can't decide if it was a bad purchase or if I'm still just not used to it. The little things, like where the volume button is and how the keyboard is aligned slightly differently from the old one, I'll get used to.

But it's bigger. And heavier. And I keep having internet connection issues with it in my apartment even though my iPod had stayed connected to the wireless just fine.

I wanted to look up Best Buy's return policy, though I'm guessing the fact that the box is in a Denver area recycling facility could be a strike against me. Though the fact that I can't seem to maintain a connection to the internet long enough to get the Best Buy site to load is a strike against it.

I'm off to visit my parents in the morning so I guess I'll see how it does at their house before I make any rash decisions.

In the meantime, I'll take all of the prayers to the technology gods you can spare that this laptop and I live happily ever after. Oh, and if you don't mind, ask them to help my friend Stimey figure out her blog situation as the technology gods seemed to have turned their back on her as well.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Retail Rudeness

In the past week I've had several instances of either rude or just plain inappropriate behavior in stores and restaurants.

I just don't get it.

If the job market is so bad then why are businesses still employing people who obviously don't want to be there? Maybe it's cause the managers don't know. Because people like me don't want to be confrontational and complain, so we just go home and write about it anonymously on our blogs.

Something to ponder as I do just that.

First up was on my favorite restaurants at the beach. I went last Thursday night, effectively the 'off season,' a little before 6 pm. It was surprisingly crowded compared to most other places I encountered, but there wasn't a line for a table. I was by myself and when I asked for a table for one the host said he could seat me in the dining room or I could take a high top in the bar area. I thought about it, but I'm not the biggest fan of high tops so I asked for the dining room. He rolled his eyes and asked really? I said yes and he went off to check for a table. A few moments later the female hostess appeared and asked if I was sure I didn't want to eat in the bar.

Hadn't I already covered that? I thought we had.

So, I reiterated that I was sure I wanted a seat in the dining room and was reluctantly led to a table. I realized the reason for their hesitation - all of the two tops were taken.

But, there were four open four tops in the area of the dining room they took me too and when I came in there was no one else waiting on a table. Sure, you can make more when you seat more people at a bigger table but, I was the only one asking for a table and you can make more seating me at it than keeping it empty!

Sometimes I'm completely ok with eating out alone. Other times I feel weird about it and stick with counter service restaurants like Chipotle or Panera. It's staff like I encountered here that will make me hesitate next time I'm on my own.

The other two rude encounters were just plain old being ignored by the sales people. The worst was when I was shopping in a children's clothing store, mid-day on a weekday. When I entered the store I saw that I was the only customer in there. I headed to the back corner for the clearance section (Aunt Stacy likes a good deal!) and overheard what I first thought was a sales clerk and her (boy)friend but it actually turned out to be a male and female clerk. She was organizing clothes, he was just standing there chatting. Neither acknowledged me at all. They just kept up with their loud conversation that focused around their alcoholic beverages of choice and the word shit. Now, I'm not easily offended, but seriously - in a kids clothing store, this is what they are talking about? Surrounded by adorable onesies with duckies on the booty? No, just no. Not ok. If it were Spencers or Hot Topic, fine, sorta. But not where we were.

By the time I made my selections they were both behind the register, still primarily chatting with each other and only half paying attention to the transaction. Two more of their coworkers came out from the back and the attention to me, the customer who was trying to spend money in their store, was practically nonexistent. I had to interrupt and remind them twice when they were making errors in my transaction.

So, what would you do? Specifically at the kids store. Is it worth sending an email via their website and voicing my complaint or should I just move on and accept that customer service isn't what it used to be.

(And that I'm suddenly old for making comments like that.) 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Scanning...

I made a cardinal road trip mistake when driving home from the beach this weekend - my iPod wasn't charged.

I was ok for the first 45 minutes of the drive, but quickly hit the radio no man's land. Where the beach station's don't quite work anymore, but still too far for good reception from DC and Baltimore stations. So I hit the scan button on my radio and hoped for the best.

And for about an hour, it worked really well. Each time I hit the scan button for a new song I found something worthy of the sunroof open, windows down drive home I was having. Old songs that brought back great memories or new hits that despite my better judgement I sang along with at the top of my lungs.

Some of my finds included

The Calling's "Wherever You Will Go."  It may not be one you remember by name, but when you listen you'll remember it for sure and likely agree it's sing along worthy. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies - Coyote Ugly.


That was followed by an all time classic -


Then three times within the hour, on three different station's the radio landed on...


Yes, it's One Direction. Now, I honestly don't listen to much radio and when I do it's either country or rock. I don't even have a top 40/easy listening style station pre-set on my car, so I'm not sure how it is that I actually was able to sing along with this one as soon as I landed on it but, I could. I guess boy band pop has a way of permeating the brain, like it or not.

The fact that I couldn't seem to avoid that song reminded me of another, much longer road trip, and another song from years ago. On of of my breaks in college I drove from Virginia to Orlando with some friends. It was the Spring of '98 and Matchbox Twenty's 3 a.m. was SO popular. We were scanning our way through radio stations as we drove down the coast and we heard that song once an hour during our 12+ hour drive. The third time I heard One Direction that was all I could think about, so of course the next time I hit scan what did I hear?


It wouldn't have been a radio-filled road trip without it!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bits and Pieces

This weekend is the annual "fill the boot" campaign where firefighters stand at intersections and collect money for muscular dystrophy. They were set up at an intersection near my house and I saw them Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. 

I teared up both times. Tears may have even run down my cheeks. 

Seriously?

Can some one explain this to me? One time is kind of a fluke, it could have been attributed to something else and been coincidental. But twice? Does this happen to anyone else?

********************

I am addicted to SongPop. It's kinda like name that tune. I finally downloaded the app last week after seeing it pop up on FB and twitter for weeks. I've been playing nonstop since then and it made me realize just how many songs, especially from the 90's alternative genre, that I can sing along to with absolutely no clue of the title. Too bad singing along does not help me 'name that tune!'


********************

I'm on "vacation." I'm not sure why I keep feeling the need to use the quotes. Maybe cause I have no real plans, other than I'm at my parents' place near the beach. So, it's kinda more staycation, but without me actually staying at home. My mom has been here for the past two days but will head home tomorrow. I'm not sure how long I'm staying. I'm scheduled to be off work all week, but told my boss not to be surprised if I show up on Thursday. 

I can't completely check out of work because we have a big meeting coming up and I'm the point of contact for it, but I'm thinking I might take work email off my blackberry for the time being and just check it twice a day. I know I'm not really that important and that they can certainly live without me for the week. But, at the same time I feel like I have responsibilities and I don't want to drop the ball. 

So conflicted. 

So far I've been sleeping and reading. Two days, two books. I'm feeling optimistic I can keep this up for the week.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Am I ready for some football?

Tonight I had my last two fantasy football drafts.

I'm in three leagues again this year as well as a picks league at work.

I'm quite excited about the competition and am feeling cautiously optimistic* and not at all like I'm livin on a prayer* with my picks this year but... the thought of actually watching football has me a bit meh.

I'll probably shake the feeling once the season actually kicks off on Wednesday, and most certainly will be all about it next Sunday when the Redskins take the field for the first time in the regular season.

I'm pretty sure that will happen, but am the same time am bizarrely worried that it won't.

I've been a Redskins fan for about a decade now and an NFL fan in general for say the last 6 years. This is my fifth season of fantasy football.

I can't actually be losing interest, can I?

I guess only time will tell.

* my clever and adorable team names.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

S'Mores Please

I'm still playing catch up from my lull. This story is a month old so please forgive my tardiness.

I've well established the fact that I'm a night owl - during the week bedtime is usually between 12:30 and 1 and on the weekends it often ends up being even later, usually because I'm wrapped up in a book. Which is why it is perfectly ok that I was still in bed when I got a phone call from Bug at 10:15 a few Sundays ago.

She was calling to invite me to lunch. In 45 minutes.

Luckily lunch was in my neighborhood as she was on her way to hang out with her grandparents who live close by. I got my act together and managed to pull up at the house at the same time they arrived.

I told Bug how silly it was, that lunch for her would be breakfast for me. She gave me her well practiced "are you crazy look" as her mom told me she got up at 5:30 that morning.

I was hoping we could swing brunch, but the nearest options were a bit to fru fru for the munchkins, and also quite crowded so we rolled into Cosi for our 11 am lunch. Apparently lunch at 11 is normal because Cosi's breakfast menu ends then. I had (admittedly quite yummy) pizza for breakfast, followed by... S'mores!

Do you know that Cosi has make your own s'mores with a mini fire pit they bring to your table? It is so cool!





It wasn't quite the Sunday I had in mind - but a spontaneous and fun treat I'll take any time!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

#47

Today the Redskins released my favorite player - Chris Cooley. He's been with the team for eight years, roughly the same amount of time I've been a Redskins fan and NFL watcher in general.

So many athletes are out there setting horrible examples and doing ridiculous things with their fame and money. Chris Cooley is the exact opposite. Here's his announcement of the release below, where he is so kind and classy, and obviously emotional about this decision.


It amazes me, and yet it doesn't, that throughout this press conference he only has positive things to say - about the staff, coaches and team as a whole. Even though leaving wasn't his decision he still wants to see the team succeed and understands that their vision of success doesn't include him.

My dad asked me if this will make me "quit the Redskins." It won't. But I am surprised at just how sad Cooley's departure makes me and I know this season certainly won't be the same without him.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Talky Talky Toddler

I just realized that at least in part I've spent every weekend of August with kiddos.

I do need to catch up on old posts, mostly because I have fun pictures of making s'mores and fairy birthday parties, but for now I'm going to focus on this weekend.

He's not new to my world, but he is to my blog so I'd like to introduce you to Stompers.


His mommy and I have been friends for about a decade (wowzers!) and he'll be two next month. His nicknames are abundant, but I think my favorite is Silly Billy Stomper Wompers, so I'm going with Stompers.

I don't get to see them all that often since I moved to DC so a weekend at the beach was a nice treat. The three of us hit the road on Friday afternoon and that's when Stompers started talking. With the exception of a few poorly timed naps, he never really stopped.

Occasionally he'd take a break from talking to sing to us. The ABC song, Itsy Bitsy Spider and one he wrote himself, sung to a familiar tune:

(To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle)

No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No

Oh yes, no is most certainly Stompers' favorite word. We heard it often, mostly just in usual conversation, but occasionally in the midst of a tantrum, usually ocean induced. It's a rough life when you are both absolutely drawn to and absolutely afraid of the ocean. A rough life indeed.

While "No" may be his favorite word, my favorite was a conversation we had after he spent much of yesterday afternoon doing this:


Side note: I couldn't resist the adorable close up shot either. Somehow my crappy Blackberry camera actually made it look artsy.


Sorry, I got distracted by cuteness... and eyelashes. My goodness those eyelashes...  

Yesterday it rained. A lot. So after a brief jaunt on the beach we hit the road north for some indoor kiddie rides for Stompers and outlet shopping for his mom and I. Unfortunately for my little friend, he fell asleep within about 15 minutes of getting in the car and slept for HOURS. That meant the rides got skipped altogether and his mom and I took turns - one person shopping while the other read in the car. It made for quite an inefficient use of time, but neither of us really minded since we are both quite content to spend an afternoon with a book. 

By the time we finally pulled into the parking lot of Grottos to order some yummy take out for dinner, Stompers had spent the better part of 5 hours in his car seat. Granted, he was sleeping for about 3 1/2 of that, but still, the kid was over it. 

So we're waiting for his mom to come out with our dinner and I'm doing my best to keep him entertained with silly words and songs when he says "Wanna go Stacy's house. Go please. Drive Car." So completely adorable. I told him we couldn't leave til Mommy came out with dinner, to which he responded "Drive Stacy. Get Mommy. Drive!" 

Poor little buddy. And so polite! 

Finally today, our last stop before hitting the road home was Staples. Because nothing rounds out a good weekend at the beach like office supplies (don't ask). While his mommy tracked down what she needed I did my best to get Stompers ready for a long ride in the car. 


It involved running up and down the aisles and climbing on the sports themed desk chairs. Every time a staff member considered reprimanding us they just looked at that face and turned their frown upside down. My efforts paid off - sorta. Stompers slept for the last hour of our car trip, but I don't think it was the activity in Staples that tired him out. I think it was all of the nonstop talking he did for the first 90 minutes of the drive!

I do love that kid, and I had a great weekend, but I'm pretty happy that my cat doesn't ask any questions!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

The lull ends...

when I get home tonight and discover my internet has been fixed. Which, I think is true.

I meant to post over the past three days when I've been enjoying lovely, non-spotty connectivity, but, I've been too busy having fun with this lil guy:


He's got a bazillion nicknames and I need to settle on one for the blog. We'll see how the drive home goes in helping me decide. Leading contenders at this point are Pokey and Stompers. 

Be back soon!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lull

I've been going through a posting lull, as I'm sure you've noticed.

I'm not really sure why. I still have lots of posts floating around in my head, but getting them out has turned into a task that I just can't quite complete.

I wish I could quit you, you oh so
addictive silly silly game. 
Sometimes it's my still spotty internet service that gets the blame (I'm ready to write a post but, darn, internet is down again so it will have to wait). Sometimes I start it but the words just aren't coming out the way I want them to so I end up scrapping it. Sometimes I've just been so frustrated and grrr about things I start and then stop because I don't want this to be a rant filled unhappy space, but all I can do at the moment is rant and be unhappy. And more often than not lately I'm spending blog writing time wrapped up in a completely mindless, yet completely addictive game of Zuma.

So there's the lull.

The ending soon (I hope) lull.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Happy Day

I blew off work today for a day of hanging out with my cousin and her little munchkin.

We watched some Sesame Street, played with toys, walked up and down the driveway, took naps, went out to lunch and B&N, got snowballs and then walked up and down the driveway some more.

It was nothing special, but it was still pretty perfect.

Afterall, how could a day with this little face be anything but perfect?

bath time in the kitchen sink

But in addition to it being great to see the little one, it was really nice to hang out with my cousin. As an only child she's the closest thing to a sister I've got and I hate that she lives so very far away. 

They head back out West on Saturday, but I managed to fit in three visits with them during their time on the East Coast, taking the "early and often" approach. 

I've put a lot of miles on my car this summer visiting family, but every single one is well worth it - especially today!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

BlogHer Wannabe

Earlier this summer I thought about going to BlogHer '12. It was in NYC, I have a good friend who lives there that I owe a visit and I was intrigued by the idea of a blogging conference.

But then the idea fluttered on out of my head just as quickly as it fluttered in and I didn't pursue it.

Over the past week, seeing lots 'o tweets and now lots of BlogHer wrap up posts I'm pretty bummed I didn't go.

So I'm saying it now - next year in Chicago.

There are lots of reasons I can talk myself out it... I don't actually know anyone (IRL) that goes, I don't have a clue how I'd answer the "what kind of blog do you write?" question and I don't know that I write enough to really consider myself a blogger. I'm 8 months in and I'm still unsure if I want the world to even know this space exists (and, by the world I actually mean all those people I know IRL. You know, the ones that don't actually go to BlogHer which makes that argument quite counterintuitive).

But... I want to go. I think I'd really enjoy it. And going without knowing IRL people might be good for me. Or maybe in the next 11 months I can convince a friend to go too. And on a completely separate note, I've never been to Chicago and have wanted to go there for probably almost 10 years. So I feel like that's just a sign.

So, next year in Chicago.

Anyone want to join me?


Monday, August 6, 2012

Wonderland Memories

This summer has been pretty stressful so far. Between my dad's health challenges and a lot of changes and big projects going on at work there really has been none of the rest and relaxation that is often attributed to this time of year.

I'm guessing that's the reason I can't stop thinking about my childhood summers these days.

From age five to 13 my summer days were spent at Camp Wonderland.

I mean really, could there be a better name for a summer camp?

My mom worked as a counselor in the "Playhouse," with the four and five year olds so she was always near by as I spent my summers in bunks named after Native American Tribes - I was a Hopi, a Chippewa, a Biloxi and a Navajo.Our bunkhouses were old train cabooses and I can remember many a rainy day spent playing cards and giggling away. The camp featured a wide variety of activities to keep our days busy - swimming, horseback riding, gymnastics, arts and crafts, tennis, a pond for canoeing, a baseball diamond, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts and plenty of free time for kids to just run around and be kids.

Each summer we had Color Wars, complete with a bunk song competition. To this day when I hear California Girls my brain immediately switches the lyrics to Wonderland Girls. My final year as a camper I remember our song was to Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" but the lyrics escape me after all these years.

The more I've been thinking about those days the more memories that keep flooding back. My first time riding a horse, the time I signed  up for tennis as my elective and just how bad my hand/eye coordination was, the camp celebration day towards the end of the summer which included lots of games and faux wedding ceremonies.

As I got older my young cousins joined those summer days with me at Camp Wonderland. I remember my aunt telling someone that it was "nothing special to look at but the kids sure love it."

My last summer at Camp Wonderland was the summer I turned 12. I should have been in the "Junior High Bunk" but, well, they went on lots of camping trips and that was so not up my alley. So instead I was basically a CIT (counselor in training for you non-summer camp aficionados) and I helped out with the four and five year old bunk.

Maybe because it was my last summer at Wonderland, maybe it was because both my little cousins were campers by then and I spent a lot of time with them, but that is certainly the one with my favorite memories.

There's a lot about being 12 that I have no desire to go back and repeat. But, that last summer at Camp Wonderland - I'd do that again in a heartbeat.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Very DC Day

Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Things actually fell into place last week and I got to attend the White House meeting I was lamenting about.

It was in the beautiful old building pictured above, formerly known as OEOB (Old Executive Office Building) and now the EEOB. It's part of the White House complex and when the meeting started they did say "Welcome to the White House" so I guess it counts.

Indian Treaty Room. (thanks for the
photo Google!)
The building was seriously gorgeous - especially the room we met in, the Indian Treaty Room. Amazing tiled floors, gorgeous light fixtures and a really cool flower shaped skylight. According to the all knowing internet, it's the only room in the building with the original light fixtures.

As we were leaving I was taking note of the various offices we were walking by and when I noticed the White House Counsel's office I turned to my boss and said "Look, Oliver Babish's office!" Thankfully she's a West Wing aficionado as well so the comment was appreciated. :-)

After leaving the White House I hopped in a cab and headed up to Capitol Hill to attend two meetings with Congressmen.

Seriously?!?

Yup.

By no means was that a normal day in my world, but I have to say, it was a pretty cool day to have.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arts, Crafts and Birthday Fun


I had a belated birthday celebration with two of my favorite kiddos and their parents last weekend. It was great.

We had cupcakes. They were obviously very yummy!
Bug likes to get in on the present giving action, usually with some sort of craft project. Last year I got a paper plate/cardboard/construction paper dog sculpture that looked remarkably like a pig, but was most definitely a dog, so I was told. It still lives on my filing cabinet at work.

This year it was decided we'd work on the craft project together.

We made Pinterest-inspired melted crayon 'paintings' (minus the paint).

Before & after the magical hairdryer did it's job. 



All three finished products. The kiddos both had their initials, laid out by their mommy. Mine had an "obstacle S" designed by Bug. I do believe she meant abstract, which is absolutely what it is!



Friday, July 13, 2012

Another Missed Oppotunity

As I think I've mentioned before, I work for an organization that does a fair amount of public policy work but about 90% of the time that has absolutely nothing to do with me and my job.

I can recall shortly after I started working there overhearing one of my colleagues on the phone, saying "I just got a call from the White House and they want to know..... "

My thought: I work in a place that gets calls from the White House!?!?!?!

Well, that wonder has not ceased to be present over the years and this week an email brought it on full force.

A few nights ago I was checking work email on my Blackberry and saw a new message that had just come in, the subject line I could see said "INVITE: White House Discussion on..."

O.M.G.

Not only do I work at a place where people get calls from the White House, I've now become a person who gets invited to discussions at the White House!

The meeting is a forum/summit/bring a lot of people together to get them fired up about a topic kinda thing. And it's technically not even being held in the White House, it's in the Executive Office Building next door, but still. It was quite an exciting email to get, especially because it came right to me - not via my boss or our CEO or someone else.

Now for the bummer part - I can't go.

I know, right? So not cool.

But I'm already committed to participate in another work meeting that morning, one that is uber important and people are counting on me for. I've tried to find a sub for that but it doesn't look like it's going to work out.

Oh well. If I stick around DC long enough an opportunity like this is bound to come up again, right? Right??

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The one where I read too much

I manged to surprise myself tonight when I was updating my GoodReads list and realized that at 10 days in to July I've already finished seven books this month.

Wow, that's kinda a lot.

Granted, I'm into my summer fluff phase so that does help explain it, though two of the books were heavy memoirs. At the opposite end of the spectrum, one was the new Jodi Picoult book which she wrote with her teenage daughter and is technically a Young Adult book. But it was still like 300 pages, and, ya know, a book, so it counts.

I'm up to 63 books read so far this year, which means I'm averaging a book every three days. Or, 7 in 10 days if you just want to look at July.

Love'em or hate'em, I've got a compulsive desire to read lately. Sometimes I can't put the book down because I just want to know what happens next and I'm too absorbed in the people and the places and the story and other times I just won't put it down because even though I don't love it, I have to keep reading, I have to know how it ends.

I picked up five more books from the library tonight that were on reserve. Two of them are new releases which means I only have them for 2 weeks. The librarian warned me to 'keep and eye on those' and not forget their due date. I guess she thinks it will be hard for me to get through them in such a short time frame.

Little does she know I'll probably have them both finished by Friday.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Payback

Last weekend I completely missed the horrendous storm that hit the DC area. And, my apartment did too as I never lost power.

Tonight I guess the karma gods decided I had enough of the good and they needed to throw some trouble my way.

When I got home from work it seemed a little warmer than usual, but not horribly hot. I just figured the triple digit heat was too much for our A/C to handle effectively. I settled in to an exciting evening of reading/tv watching/internet surfing when around 7:45 my tv made a crackly, staticy noise and then the audio cut out. Cable still worked, channels still moved but no sound, at all. I turned it off and back on, I double checked the mute button and I turned the volume all the way up. I got a little static when I got to the max volume, but nothing else. I decided to turn it off for a bit and then try again. At 8:15 I tried again and... no luck.

Now, my dad has been eager to buy me a new tv for ages. Buying tvs is like a hobby for him. He loves to replace a perfectly good one with an even better one. In the past year he's upgraded at least 5 tvs. I kept telling him that mine tvs were fine and I didn't need a new one. But, that when one of them died, he'd be my first call. Coincidentally enough my parents had been asking what I wanted for my birthday and I had no suggestions to offer.

So I called them, while surfing the Best Buy site and broke the news. They were immediately on board with the plan, though I think my dad was a little disappointed he wasn't going to get the tv shopping experience this time. As he chatted about extended warranties and his favorite brand I located a 32' LCD on sale at Best Buy for a really good price, checked that they had it in stock, checked their hours and quickly realized I had to wrap up the call to go pick up my birthday present!

I left my apartment at 8:40 and was walking back in the door new tv (and new fan) in hand a few minutes after 9. My old tv was a huge, bulky monster. Both heavy and awkward. I brought one of my dining room chairs into my room, carefully maneuvered it forward and lifted it onto the chair to scoot out of the way. I'll deal with getting it out of my 2nd story apartment at some point in the future.

By 10 pm I had everything hooked up and in place and was watching tv. At 10:44, as I hung up from assuring my mother that I was home safe (because leaving the house at 8:30 is scandalous and something to be worried about. eye roll) and enjoying my new tv, the audio on the new tv cut out.

Um, what. the. hell.

Guess the problem wasn't the tv afterall. Again with the turning on and off, restarting the cable box, etc and nothing. Oh, well, nothing except the cable went out then too. And did I mention the internet has been spotty all night? And that as all of this was going on the temperature in my apartment was most definitely rising?

Not happy.

My roommate got home in the meantime and discovered that while it was set for cool and the fuses were fine the A/C unit was not running. GRRRR!

Luckily, during a similar outage many moons ago (long before I lived here) she invested in two window units for the bedrooms and deducted the cost from the rent. She rocks. I would have never had the balls to do that. Anyway, we dug them out of the storage closest, cut up the cardboard box from my new tv to cover the gaps they leave in the window frame and got them installed.

Between the necessary furniture moving, dusting, cutting, taping the whole process took about an hour. A hot, sweaty, gross hour.

But now, things are cooling off. My new fan is blowing cool air at me as opposed to the hot air I was getting earlier tonight and we'll be able to survive tomorrow's insane temperatures. I was brave and just tried the tv again and...cable and sound are back!

Despite the rocky evening it seems all signs point to my birthday being off to a good start!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Good Day!

I've been so grumpers lately I feel compelled to document a day that was filled with positives.

The work bestie took me out for a yummy birthday lunch which was the first win of the day. During lunch I caught a glimpse of a text from my mom. My dad has had some health challenges lately and he had a surprisingly good doctor's visit today. The news went from grim and no good at all to really positive. Really really positive. This was of course the highlight. 

But then, things continued on a high note! My replacement debit card and license arrived in only 3 business days, not the 5-15 respectively as predicted by by the various companies. Oh, why did I need a new license and debit card you ask? Cause when you accidentally throw your wallet in the trash at the beach you have to go through the big hassle of replacing it all. (sigh)


I also got my first birthday card of the year in the mail, complete with a Starbucks card. :-)

Then I capped things off with Skype with Wiggles who was sporting her very first pigtails and munching away on corn on the cob. Adorable!

So I'm focusing on the positive right now. No complaining about the fact that the forecast is calling for 106 degrees on said birthday. Or that I'm annoyed by people who try and impose their feelings on others.

Nope, no complaints here, just a happy girl who had a good day!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy, Busy... Not.

The past six weeks have been hectic.

The past week two weeks were insane.

We had my annual neighborhood music festival/music week, a great week of events that I happen to be the volunteer coordinator for. And when volunteers are in short supply, I filled in, going straight from work to the events several nights in a row. Then there was the festival.

Then it was the day after, when it hurt to move. My grand plan had been to get a mani/pedi that day but I hurt too much - especially my feet/ankle that I knew it would end up being more painful than pleasing so I skipped it.

Then I got up last Monday morning and went to work. And when I should have been heading home for the day I got on a plane. Then rented a car. Then drove to my work trip destination. Insert three days of meetings, schmoozing, meeting, meeting, sleep, repeat and then back to the airport to head home.

The airport we got to way early and ended up being in for waayyyy too long due to flight delays. I finally got home at 10:30 pm last Thursday night. And promptly left again at 9 am the next morning.

This time it was for a long weekend at the beach. I spent a bit of time with my parents, then my friends arrived for a fun filled weekend with their kiddos. We walked the boardwalk, played on the beach, in the ocean, in the pool and at the direction of a very imaginative almost four year old. (More on that weekend to come...).

I got home Sunday night around 8 and started back to work Monday morning, digging out from the travel, catching up on what I missed.

Today was a nice treat, a mid-week holiday and a day where I had no plans.

I slept in until 9:30. Read a book til 1. Ran a few quick errands and then returned home to clean my room (bye bye tote bags, suitcases and piles of books everywhere hello wood floors I can actually see!).

But then, the unthinkable happened.

By 7 pm I was bored. Completely, totally bored out of my mind. None of the books from my library stack seemed interesting. Facebook and twitter had nothing new to offer. It was my opponent's turn in WWF, Scramble and DrawSomething. I was so bored I ended up watching the Kardashians. (I know.)


So really, this doesn't bode well for the upcoming weekend. Saturday is my birthday and I've been relishing in the fact that I have no plans. It's been ideal that I could just take a break and enjoy some quiet time. Not drive for hours upon hours, get to do things on my schedule. 


But now, meh. 


I think I better come up with a plan.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

So very deja vu

The whole reason I started this blog was because I often found myself crafting blog posts in my head, yet I had no place to put them. 

The longer I have it (you know, all of 6 months) the more I find myself crafting the same post a second time. 

I'm traveling for work again this week and I woke up in my lovely hotel room this morning ready to complain about how the bed was amazingly comfy yet I got crappy sleep. Hmmm... that seems a bit familiar, no?

So I guess it's good I'm consistent, right? (Yes, I know, kinda a stretch.) I does make me laugh though, thinking about this post, where I complained that my business trips are all pretty much interchangeable. Right down to the comfy bed but crappy sleep equation apparently!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Feeling Conflicted

Yesterday was a big annual event in my neighborhood that I've been involved on the planning committee for since I moved here 3 1/2 years ago.

In the weeks leading up to the event I told several of my friends, "next year remind me that I just want to help day of - I don't want to help plan it."

During the day yesterday, which for me ran from 7 am until midnight, with a 2 1/2 hour break in the early afternoon, I kept telling myself this was it. It was too much effort to be out there all day. Too stressful. Too hot.

At 9:40 pm when we had done as much clean up as we possibly could before everyone left the event I was SO over it.

But then, at 10:10 as the headlining act, one of my favorites from my college/immediate post college years, closed the show with one of their most popular songs I made my way to the side of the stage to dance and sing along with some of the other event organizers.

And suddenly I was LOVING it and couldn't imagine anywhere I'd rather be.

Granted, even if I was just a day of volunteer I could have still been in that spot. So that doesn't justify the feeling that despite everything I said leading up to yesterday, I'll be right back there, in the midst of another 16 hour day again next June.

I think it's because I'm a people pleaser, and that event made so many people happy. Throughout the week leading up to it and all day yesterday we had people thanking us for putting it on. Saying how great it felt to live in a neighborhood that offered free activities that celebrated our community's talents and attracted young and old.

And for things like this to happen, there have to be people who volunteer to make them happen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The quest for friends part II

Back in January I wrote about a book I was super excited about - MWF Seeking BFF. I read it and immediately related to the author and just loved her book. Tonight I fell in love with it again when I went to her reading in DC.

In case you didn't read my earlier post, the book is a memoir from a woman who moves to a new city and settles into a quest to make new friends, something that is quite a challenge as an adult. The author, Rachel Bertsche, read from her book and then answered questions from the predominantly female audience. The women ran the gamut of ages but the head nods and laughs where pretty universal as Rachel shared her struggles and her story.

Trying to make friends is awkward. There are no real words in our vocabulary that can be used to explain the process of a building a friendship the way there are for romantic relationships. You feel silly saying you want to make new friends.

I'm not really saying anything different than I did back in January when I wrote about this book, but after seeing that room full of people responding to the stories tonight, and hearing from the author directly I just had to give it another plug.

Have any of you read it? Are you intrigued and plan to read it?

(hint: If you answered no to #1 then I hope you said yes to #2!)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Grumpers

I'm feeling kinda grumpy these days.

Not short tempered so to speak since I don't really have a temper, but easily annoyed and generally frustrated with the world.

So I'm staying quiet til I get over it.

Hopefully that will be soon.

In the meantime, to avoid being grumpers yourself, enjoy these absolutely adorbs polar bear twins:


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happiness is...

The absolute best part of summer in Maryland.


If you ask someone outside of Maryland what the state's biggest summer delicacy is they'd most likely say crabs. Ok, if you ask someone in Maryland they'd probably say the same thing, but I think my favorite summertime treat would be a very close second among Marylanders - the snowball.

Now before I continue, let me tell you what a snowball isn't:

It's not a snocone. A snocone comes in only a handful of flavors and has really hard, crunchy ice. You just bite into it a giant block of ice and the yummy flavoring runs out, collecting in the bottom of your silly paper cone.

It's not a slushy or a slurpee or any other concoction that comes out of a machine at a convenience store.

It's closest comparison is shaved ice, though I am often disappointed when I try 'shaved ice' as it pales in comparison to my glorious snowballs.

So that covers what it isn't... here's what it is:

Super fine, powdery ice and your choice of probably upwards of 50 different flavors. Served in a big cup and most frequently topped with yummy marshmallow sauce. In Maryland you'll find them sold mostly from roadside stands. Not quite a lemonade stand - think a wooden shed set up in a random parking lot serving the absolute best, most perfect summer treat.

I may not live far from the Baltimore area, but it's far enough away that snowballs are hard to come by. My parents know that May through September my first stop when coming to visit is a snowball and that was the case yesterday. They put their orders in as well - spearmint for dad, chocolate for mom and I and mine with marshmallow. Yum, yum, yum!

I've been on the road a lot lately and have more travel coming up but after that first taste of summer I have a feeling I'll be making a return trip to the Baltimore area as soon as I can for another snowball!