Thursday, February 28, 2013

Information Overload

Too. Much. Information.

That's my takeaway at the end of this long day.

There's just so much stuff coming at us these days, it's hard to process it. Actually, most of it doesn't even get to the point of being processed, it's hard just to actually see it all.

I'm working on a project at work and we've been disappointed by the response rate. Someone questioned if we have the right email addresses for our contacts. We confirmed the contact list a few months back before starting the project so for the most part, I feel confident that the messages are making it to people's inbox. But that doesn't mean they are being read.

I get so much email in my personal inbox, newsletters, discount services, event info, etc. The vast majority of it are things I want to receive but I've completely given up on trying to read it all. I scan the subject lines for Living Social and Groupon but that's about it. Most sales emails I get just get deleted, or languish in my inbox for me to seek out if I happen to be doing some online shopping. There are a few local events newsletters I try and keep up with, like Sixth and I synagogue, but even on that one I'm failing, as today I saw a Facebook post that said Emily Bazelon, author of Sticks and Stones spoke there last night and I had no clue.

I don't have an answer. A magical way to keep up with everything and not miss those great opportunities right there on my screen. Just something to think about, adding a bit more information to what you are likely already overloaded with today.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Music Monday

I know, it's been AGES since I've done a Music Monday, but I woke up with this song it my head this morning, I was going to post it then but my internet didn't cooperate and now many, many, many hours later, the song is back in my head.

So.... here you go...

Happy Monday.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sticks and Stones

Lately whenever I hear about a book that sounds interesting - whether in an email from GoodReads or B&N, a tweet from an author I love, during a news magazine like Rock Center or from a guest on The Daily Show - I immediately just add it to my library reservation list. I don't usually do much additional research like reading reviews or in some cases even looking up what it's about. I just search the title on the library website, add it to my list and wait for it to arrive. Of course, this is how I ended up picking up seven books at the library last night, but that's a story for another day.

My method of reserving it all leads to a good number of misses, books that end up not really being all that appealing, but sometimes it ends with me finding something great that I never would have sought out, like Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.

The author, Emily Bazelon, is a reporter for Slate and her research for articles lead her to so much information and so many stories, it grew into a book. She strikes a really good balance between storytelling and presenting research and facts. She talks to bullies and kids who have been bullied. She talks to parents, teachers, school administrators, guidance counselors, law enforcement, elected officials and a lot of academics who have focused their careers on understanding the causes behind bullying and figuring out how to prevent it.

The book was eye opening for me and I'm not a parent or teacher. If you are either of those things - especially one who has/works with tweens or teens, I'd say this is a must read.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I'm just not that into it.

My iPad arrived today.

Yup. I finally ordered it on Sunday night, around midnight and it got here today! The one bright spot in an otherwise crappy day.

But then I opened it up and was all 'meh'.

I had to go buy a case, and a screen protector, and I am pretty sure I want a keyboard. Which meant spending more money.

And it's big! I almost wonder if I would have been better off with a mini.

I got a case that's cute, but it doesn't seem all that functional. Like the iPad doesn't seem securely snapped in, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to get it to fold back and prop up the right way.

I know it will all be ok. I'll figure out my accessories and will get used to using it and be a happy girl. I am notorious for being slow to adapt to my new tech toys. I should have expected it, but I thought this would be different.

I was hoping for love at first sight.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Little Cherry Blossoms

I've previously documented my love of Redskins' Tight End Chris Cooley.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw a post on Facebook last month that his art gallery would be hosting a painting class with Chris as the instructor!

Yes, you read that right. NFL player by day and gallery owner/artist by night, with pottery as his primary medium. He put the clay aside for this event and picked up the paint brush. 

The event was Friday night and my friend Sarah and I went and had SO. MUCH. FUN.  

The class was limited to 20 people and the price included all of the supplies needed for painting, snacks and wine. The goal - to recreate this painting that Chris knocked out that afternoon:

Um, yeah. 

Since paint your own pottery heavily assisted by the use of stencils and bedroom walls are the extent of my painting experience, I did not have high hopes of my finished product even remotely resembling the Tidal Basin in April. 

But, we settled in to give it a shot and surprisingly ended up with good results! 

First Chris demonstrated what to do, then we followed his instructions. 

Chris, painting some happy little clouds
Sarah, working on her own happy clouds

Sometimes it didn't quite go as he explained, like my gigantic, blob like clouds or the huge, yellow blob that was supposed to be a sunset effect.

Cloud blobs to the left, yellow blobs to the right.
Me with no clue how to fix them, standing front and center!

But the awesome thing about getting stuck? Was when that happened I got to say "Chris - can you come help me?" And he did!!

On the outside I was cool and calm. On the inside I was all ***SQUEEEEEEE***

And then, at one point when he was walking past and I was standing in the aisle he touched my back and said "excuse me babe". Swoooon

Surreal is really the best way to describe it. 

At times it was easy to forget that the person instructing at the front of the room was a football player I've cheered for on the field for years now, and enjoyed watching and listening to off the field on the local sports reports, weekly check ins on the radio and the hysterical YouTube videos he and others used to put together. 

And at times I could not believe I was standing there with Chris Cooley teaching me how to fix the yellow blob and make it actually look like a sunset. 

But I was. And thanks to Chris' instruction and assistance our finished products weren't so bad! 

My painting
Sarah's painting

The best part is, it would have been a really fun night even without the famous completely adorable football player leading the class. I got to hang out and laugh with one of my best friends, try something new and different and have a cool addition to my art collection as a result. 

Even better - it actually was with the famous and completely adorable football player leading the class! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wants vs Needs, Frivolous vs Frugal

I've been thinking about getting an iPad for close to a year now. Last spring when I got my bonus at work I put the money into savings, mentally earmarking it for the purchase.

The purchase I still just can't get myself to make.

I want the iPad.

But I don't need it.

I have the money to buy it.

But it's expensive.

I travel a good bit - for work, and personally to visit friends and family. Having the iPad would be SO much easier than lugging my laptop on trips. I pay all of my bills, I don't have any outstanding credit card debt, and the money is sitting in savings, waiting to be spent. So I can afford to buy it. It would be practical and make my life easier at times. And I want it. Suze Orman would totally stamp this purchase as a yes if I asked her permission. 

But I'm still dragging my feet.

And there's nothing logical about it.

How do I get past this? How do I convince myself it is perfectly ok to splurge on a pricey toy just for me?

(Those aren't rhetorical questions people. I need a push!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Best. Spontaneous. Purchase. Ever.

I ended up going to the show on my own Sunday night. None of my friends were willing to splurge on the good seats, and, I wanted a good seat. And as you can tell from the photo above, I got it!

While it would have been nice to have a friend or two along with me there was something kinda freeing about being there on my own. I was less self conscious about singing along or screaming at the top of my lungs. When Jon wanted us to clap, I clapped. When he wanted our hands waving above our heads with a bit of jazz hands, I immediately joined in. I'll even admit to a fist pump or two. Basically anything Jon asked of us, I did. Now, those who have been to concerts with me in the past wouldn't say I usually just sit or stand in silence, nor am I claiming that, but it still just felt different to be there and not know anyone around me. 

A few other things to note.... 

1. Bon Jovi has been around for 30 years! And they are still rocking out night after night. Jon looked SO happy to be on that stage and was so energetic. 

2. Tico looks old, old, old. He was still smiling, but wow. He looks old. 

3. Years ago, quite possibly at my first Bon Jovi show, one of my friends made the mistake of telling us that when she was in middle school she had a crush on David Bryan. Um, yeah. I spent the show attempting to get photos of him for her and sending her texts about his dance moves and out of control hair. Hehe. She will NEVER live that down. 

4. Because of my good seat I was able to see something I've never seen at a concert before - an interpreter signing the lyrics. There were actually several of them, I think three different people, who would rotate through after each song. Has anyone else ever seen this before? Is it a Verizon Center thing? A Bon Jovi thing? Or something pretty common but that I've just not noticed previously? Either way I thought it was very cool!

5. They kicked off the show with You Give Love a Bad Name and ended with Livin on a Prayer. I really couldn't have asked for more!

The past two days have returned me to a bit of the grumps on the work front, but the constant soundtrack of Bon Jovi hits still running through my head is definitely helping my mood!

Which proves that ticket purchase was money well spent. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Coping Mechanisms

I'm having a bit of a stressful week.

What with all the crying and a fairly mountainous amount of tasks on the to-do list at work. It's a lot.

I'm plugging along, trying to just stay positive and know that the crying will get better and I'll get through the work, but at times I'm just grumpy and sad and overwhelmed and annoyed and frustrated and.... blah.

It was during one of those times yesterday afternoon that I glanced at my gmail on my Blackberry and noticed an email, subject line "Bon Jovi in D.C. This Sunday: Great seats still available"


So I decided I'm going.

I haven't purchased my great seats yet, I'm waiting to hear back from a friend if she and her hubs want to go with me, but even if they don't, I'm going. And, if they don't I think I'm going to splurge on some really great seats. But not really really great ones because I'm just too cheap for that, even though....

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bittersweet Victory

The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl last night. Making so many of my friends and family members really really happy.

And I'm happy too. I cheered each touch down and interception, cringed when the 49ers fielded a comeback and was on the edge of my seat as the Ravens defense stopped the 49ers from scoring in the final seconds of the game.

But really, I knew they were going to win. Even when it looked pretty bad, I knew it.

Because of course, after making it to the playoffs for the past five years and the AFC Championship game for the second year in a row, this would be the year they'd win it all. The year when my dad wasn't here to see it.

I think this will always be hard for me. Whether they win it again next year or in 10 years or even 20 years, it's still going to make me think of my dad and really miss him.

But this year, just four months after he died. I am a wreck. A blubbering, sobbing, irrational wreck.

The tears started with the Divisional Championship game, when they beat Denver. I was watching the game at home and was so excited at the end of the game. It was quite a game too. Double overtime, a field goal kick to win it all. I was cheering their victory and then all of the sudden realized I was crying. While my head was in a happy, excited place, I knew those tears weren't happy ones.

I watched the AFC Championship game in Richmond with friends, so that kept me distracted enough to stop the tears. Until I got in the car to leave their house. And turned into a sobbing, irrational wreck.

Yesterday the tears came with each touchdown. And then with all of the news coverage afterwards, that or course, I couldn't turn away from. Today, they came at work when my coworkers commented on how excited I must be about the win, some acknowledging that the Skins are my favorite team but knowing the Ravens are my number two, others commenting on the win in relation to my dad. Either way, I cried.

I just keep coming back to the thought that it's not fair. That game last night was exactly the kind of game my dad would have been fired up about. An early lead from the Ravens would have made him happy, the comeback from the 49ers would have had him ranting that the Ravens were just trying to lose it. He may have even changed the channel at that point. But he would have turned it back, been pulled back in, and been so happy with the win.

I know so much about life isn't fair. And I know there are going to be so many other times in my life that I'm going to miss him SO very much.

But this one, I wasn't expecting it. It took me by surprise and continues to just completely overcome me. I think I've cried more in the past 24 hours than I have in months.

I hate that something that would have made my father so happy is bringing me so many tears.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

NFL Football: My Mother's Perspective

In honor of it being Super Bowl Sunday I thought I'd post some of my favorite comments from my mom during this football season:

As the ball is intercepted by the Redskins, "Let go of his leg and let him run! That's not nice"

"They are messing up the picture on the field!"

"Is that our team doing a good job?"

Mom: Well, the other team has to score soon
Me: No, they don't
Mom: But they're going to be mad if they don't
Me: We don't care!!

"I think it would be good sportsmanship if they picked that guy up after they knock him down"

When RGIII got injured against the Ravens, "Which one of those meanies on the Ravens hurt that little guy?"

Mom: Are they going to play against us anymore?
Me: I don't understand, who is "us"?
Mom: The Ravens.
Me: What?!?! I thought your team was the Redskins
Mom: Oh, yeah. Well are we going to play the Ravens again so we can show them who's boss?

While it would have been nice for the Skins to "show the Ravens who's boss" again I have to say I'm pretty glad we're not settling in for a Battle of the Beltway today. Because if we were, I wouldn't be able to say Go Ravens!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Brian Williams + Puppies = Best News Story Ever

I felt compelled to share this, in case you missed the adorableness:

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