12.29.2009

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

Oh the year is ending and a new one is beginning. And that means it's time to examine how I would like to start off this new year and new decade. In no particular order or significance, here are a list of a few things that we will call 'small aspirations.' Not sure I want to call them "goals" mostly so that I don't feel like a failure when I fail to achieve such lofty goals.

  • Less TV, more reading. And I'm not just talking about trading in my closet addiction for TMZ, E! (yes, I'm watching it right now), and Chelsea Handler for People, US Weekly and other celebrity gossip magazines. I mean bulking up on real reading - like the pile of books that is slowly collecting around my house - Blink, Eat.Love.Pray, Have a Little Faith and more!
  • Less couch time, more trail time. My running hibernation period is coming to a sad, heart-wrenching close. I will mourn the loss of my yoga pants, slippers, furry blanket and remote and embrace tighter glutes, increased energy and aerobic capacity and Garmin usage. My fav running partner, Donna, and I have decided that this is our year. We have auspicious plans for running several races - the first of which is in April. Eeeck! That is only a few months away, better get started soon!
  • Less alcohol and bar food, and more fresh and healthy food. ugh. That doesn't even sound fun, does it? Where would I be without Applebee's spinach and artichoke dip and a beer on a random Wednesday night? Or my special after-work-treat of Wendy's frosty and french fries? I can tell already that this is gonna be my toughest aspiration.
  • Less spending, more saving! Ha - we can only hope, right? We have big plans for 2010 - including G&M's wedding in Costa Rica, my 30th birthday celebration (poor S has no idea that I'm planning a big hooplah!), Seth wants a warm vacation sooner than later not to mention the new fence for the backyard and carpet in the basement, etc. It's gonna take some dedication, but I think we can do it!
  • Fewer excuses, more phone calls. To stay in better touch with friends means weekly phone dates. No more lame excuses (cuz laying on the couch has really taken it out of me the lst few months...yeah, right!)
  • That's all I can think of so far...

A big bum


Today is my girlfriend's birthday. And I'm a big fat bum. I didn't get her a gift this year. Bum. I didn't even send her a card. Big Bum. Last year I got her an hour and a half massage. Awesome friend award - ding, ding ding! And I was home to go out to dinner with her and her husband and my substitute husband. We even convinced her parents to keep the kids overnight so we could party it up downtown to celebrate. Emmy nomination, puhleese?! This year, I'm in a different state sitting on the couch still in my workout clothes from this morning cuddling with one dog and the tupperware of chocolate chip cookies starring me in the face.

I feel like a bad friend.

Not just today, but in general. I feel like the older I get the harder it is to stay in touch with friends from my past. And the sad thing is ....I don't even have KIDS that I can use as an excuse! Of all my friends I have a lot of time on my hands. Apparently, I just don't know how to take advantage of it! Being in a different state than many of my good friends is tough. Not sharing in the same phase of life (read: kiddos) can be a little challenging.

I realize that the days of sorority living and seeing my H.S. friends every day including Saturday and Sundays is long gone. But I miss those days of "closeness" with girlfriends. Whereas we used to have endless conversations, now we are lucky if we can get in the quick 15 minute phone call every few months.

If I had unlimited financial means, I would swoop up the ladies and their families and take a multi-family vacation (with nannies!) to wine country! And we would relax, have fun and enjoy each other like we used to!


That would be an awesome birthday gift for all of us! If only...

12.11.2009

Ironic - or my new gig?

With all this frigid cold weather lately - single digits most days this week - the dogs have been going absolutely stir crazy! And I honestly can't blame them. At least I get to go to the gym for a run on the treadmill. But that means the poor little princesses don't get their afternoon 3 mile walk or even any backyard time. Kirby can barely stand to walk out to the grass to do her business preferring instead to walk two steps onto the concrete patio and do it there!

It's just too darn cold!


I mentioned this on facebook and had a few people respond that a solution would be doggie day care just so they could get some indoor activity and socialization.

Not a bad idea. And it made me think...

We are now a society that openly welcomes the idea of a doggie day care "to give us a break" as one friend said. It's like dogs have really become like to children. We send kids to daycare, and now we send our dogs to
daycare.

So if I follow the logic, does that mean that it would be acceptable in today's society to be a stay-at-home dog mom? I mean, women have been doing this with their kids for eons, right? So, if we as a society have progressed to accepting dog daycare as we did child daycare, wouldn't that mean that it would be perfectly acceptable to answer the age old question, "So what do you do?" with an honest and reverant, "I'm a stay-at-home dog mom."

Yes! My ideal job has just become socially acceptable - at least through my eyes!


12.10.2009

Christmas Wish List

In an slightly selfish way to work on our Serious Lack of Celebration - I'm creating a Christmas wish list. Not that anyone is going to look at it (or use it - or should they). I just thought it would be fun to pretend that I was 7 and send my wish list to Santa.

Dear Santa,

At first when I thought about making a wish list this year I didn't think there was going to be anything to put on it. But, then, little things popped into my head. So before I forget them, I
decided to write them down.

- A toaster!
Nothing fancy - just a simply toaster would do nicely. Yes, we registered for one when we got married. But if we did get one back then we returned it so Seth could get something else cool. So we've lived all these years without one. Not that its super important, but we've lived for 4 years (or more!) without toast in our lives. My only request is that it be stainless steal or black so it matches with our kitchen.

- Snowboarding socks!
Seth and I went snowboarding for the first time this season and his have a hole in the heel - so really socks would be a great idea for the both of us! As you know, snowboarding is "our" thing that we get to do together in the winter. It's often on these days that we get to spend the most time together, being active and enjoying the beautiful mountains of Colorado!

- Gloves!
Specifically North Face black gloves. I know - going for the name brand. But they are relatively inexpensive, durable, light weigh and just plain awesome. Plus, I only have ski gloves or soft yarn, brown gloves. So I could make a case of needing some light weight winter black gloves.

- Running clothes and gear!

Yes, I'm renewing my relationship with running. So far this week I've run 3 times, granted the most I've done is 4.5 miles. But I'm hoping to get back into running and train for another late summer / early fall marathon.

So I need more of these...
And these...
And maybe even some of these...
- Oh, and a great little gift that keeps on giving. A magazine subscription!

Something maybe like this..

- And finally, a Starbucks or Einstein Bagels gift card. Cuz Sethy and I like to have coffee and bagels for our Sunday morning "date."

PS Sorry there's no tree or stockings in our house - we're kinda lame when it comes to decorating for the holidays. Maybe next year we will have a tree.

E

A Serious Lack of Celebration

We have a little problem in our house - and it's called a "Serious Lack of Celebration." We don't have a Christmas tree, we don't have stockings hung let alone by the chimney with care, and we don't have anything that would even be considered a holiday decoration.

But yes, I did make sugar cookies (after I ate the entire tin that my MIL sent to us at Thanksgiving). Ever seen the movie Gone in 60 Seconds? Yeah, that's sorta what happened. Oops!

Why? Well, for one we just don't have holiday decorations. I remember my roommate in college would always dream about having a house one day where an entire room was dedicated to her holiday decorations. I wonder if she's got that room yet? But us - well, we just don't have any. And my reasons for not being able to justify spending money on decorations? well...

  • Seth is rarely around during the holiday season thanks to retail management. (Thankful for the job and income, hate the hours and expectations.)
  • Christmas is kind of a mixed bag of emotions for me. I have some really bad memories from holidays past but a deep longing for the Christmas that you see in movies, commercials and other advertising
  • We don't really do the whole "gift giving" thing anymore. I'm not sure when / how that started. Maybe the year that my brothers and I basically passed around a bunch of gift cards is when we realized that we were too old (and too poor) to be doing that anymore. Sure - Seth and I will probably get a little something for each other, but its probably not gonna get wrapped and sit laying around the house. Last year on our way to dinner for date nigh he reached around behind the car seat and brought out a bag from Macy's with some perfume in it and said "Merry Christmas." Actually, that could be a lie. I don't even know if he said Merry Christmas. And I just gave him the Dillards bag that had his Ugg slippers in it (with the receipt, just in case they were the wrong size or color). So exciting, I know!
So while I'm a little saddened by our Serious Lack of Celebration, I'm not quite sure what I'm gonna do about it.

Maybe I'll convince Seth to let us have some friends over for an ugly Christmas sweater party or something!

We Are Family....Soon to Be!

The news is out - my baby brother is getting MARRIED! And to this lovely lady, no less...
Way to go Greg! And welcome to our crazy family, Maria! (not that she hasn't already gotten a taste of our craziness over the last 4 years)
I think she'll fit right in! So happy for the both of you!

We've literally been waiting for the engagement to happen for...well, for quite a while. Secretly (or not so secretly!) Seth and I have been waiting because we knew that the wedding would be in Costa Rica - which means VACATION and CELEBRATION! Woot, woot!

We are so super excited for Greg and Maria - but, as with any wedding, there are already some "issues." On top of some legal documentation that needs to be addressed and the current economy, it seems there may be some concern about attendance at the Costa Rica celebratory marital union event. Personally, I'm just glad that I have 9-12 months to start pinching my pennies to save for the wedding (something that Seth and I did not plan for our wedding guests).

Seth and I have talked and we've decided that no matter what we will be at their wedding. Even if it means eating Ramen noodles for months to save enough for the plane tickets. We love these two and we know how important it is to support them in their new life together. But I also understand the concerns that they must be going through in planning a wedding of mixed culture, religion, language, etc, etc.

Which makes me think - with all the craziness that accompanies weddings and the planning process, what REALLY matters about a wedding? I mean, look at our family alone. My brother eloped in Las Vegas on an amusement ride, Seth and I basically called off our wedding due to stress and had a planned elopement (to which people were invited) in Mexico, and now my brother is facing the issues that come with wedding planning mayhem. I must applaud them for at least attempting a semblance of a traditional wedding. More power to ya, buddy. Cuz none of the rest of us could handle the pressures!

Back to the question - what REALLY matters about a wedding?
Is it the dress?
No, but it sure does seem to play an important role considering they make TV Shows about finding the perfect dress.

Is it the venue?
While this may be where many weddings spend the most cash, I don't think it particularly matters if you get married in your families barn or in the Botanic Gardens or the family church (that you probably haven't attended since you were 16 years old).

Is it the theme? or the flowers?
While I've heard a theme can make-or-break a good party, I don't really think that a wedding particularly needs much more of a theme than "union of two hearts and souls." And all I can say about flowers is if your gonna have them, make sure they are in season.

No - none of this hooplah means anything except to add to the specialness of the day for the couple.

What mattes is this -
That the couple respects the seriousness of their union in marriage
That family and friends are present to support and love the couple - and to model a lasting love relationship
and that families celebrate the union of two groups as one!

The number of bridesmaids, the music and flowers, even whether or not the wedding is held on a Tuesday or in a church has no bearing on the marriage. The catering will soon be forgotten along with the color of the centerpieces and the flavor of cake. What will leave a lasting impression is the love that surrounded the couple on their day, supported by those that they wanted to share this day with. This will set the tone for the beginning of their new lives together. Even if their family is a little crazy, the couple will remember that they were loved that day as they began their own family together from that day forward.

I am honored to have been included as a guest to celebrate Greg and Maria's wedding - no matter the circumstances, location, religion or culture. I am honored to love my brother and my new sister. Because however it happens, they will be my family forever.

11.16.2009

Thanksgiving traditions

It's my FAVORITE time of year - THANKSGIVING! It's probably my favorite holiday because I love to eat - and there is so much good food and good smells in the air during Thanksgiving.
This year we are (cross your fingers!) hoping that this is Seth's last holiday season working retail, but since he's still store manager it means no traveling for us again this holiday season. Instead, my SIL and her 3 kids are coming to us! And my brother and his soon-to-be fiance will also be joining us. It won't be the same but it will be good to be with family - at least some of them.

So the pressure is on for me to do the meal - and I feel like I'm forgetting something from the list of yummy Thanksgiving food traditions.
  • Turkey
  • Stuffing (mom's recipe!)
  • Green bean casserole
  • yummy yam stuff (mom's recipe!)
  • mashed potatoes and gravy for the boys
  • cranberry sauce
  • and pie
But I feel like I'm missing something - and it's the corn and oyster's that my poppa loves! I don't think anyone but me would eat it anyway.

We are also trying to think of some great traditions to start in our new home - I've got one from when I was still living at home that I might re-start with Laura's kids. We will make our place cards to decorate the dinner table (something for the kiddos to do while we are cooking!) but also so that we can each write something that we are thankful on the back of each person's card. I did this when I was in jr. high or high school a few times and I think it would be fun for the kids to do this year - and the adults! But I feel like we need to think about other traditions.

What are your family holiday traditions?

11.13.2009

It's a Friday

What a brutal week - and now its Friday at 2:30 and I am ready for the relaxing weekend to begin!

I had lunch today with some friends from my old job. I love seeing these ladies - and of course hearing about all the gossip going on at the old job. Always something new and entertaining to share giggles over!

But it was interesting to contrast and compare my previous work life with my current work life. Isn't sad that we spend the majority of our lives at work? It really makes you re-think your job especially if you are in a job that you don't like, aren't fulfilled or don't enjoy your co-workers. Isn't there a phrase (a-la Grey's Anatomy last night!) about "work wives" and "work husbands"? Think about it - we probably spend more time with our co-workers than our spouses, siblings and friends. If we don't like them, then it makes it an awfully painful relationship and probably an unsatisfying arrangement.

Anyway, the girls asked how I was liking the current j-o-b and in all honesty its not horrible, but its not fulfilling nor challenging. I could literally "work" for 3-4 hours a week and have everything done that needs attention. Not to mention that the progress of the work is constantly stagnated by certain upper level management's inability to make decisions. I feel as if I am whiling away my time simply satisfied to have the security of health insurance, a generous 401K contribution and a regular paycheck. We all know that now is not the best time to be a job seeker. So I should be satisfied with simply having my job, right? I suppose, but as my brother told me today "when you smile despite feeling miserable on the inside, you die a little bit because it doesn't feel right." Some days I feel like I'm atrophying (not quite as bad as dying) when I continue to do what I'm doing (or not doing).

But I lack the cohones to do as Wayne Dyer has said, "There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there's only scarcity of resolve to make it happen." This would also mean I would have to determine what it is I love.

On another note - great new song from David Crowder Band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJyW55AXJAk

11.05.2009

Disclaimer: I am not a fashionista!

I bough these boots almost two months ago, and so far I want to love them but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to wear them. I'm just not fashionable enough to put together a decent outfit with them...yet. But I'm trying!

So here's my thought - they would look so cute with the right dress. Maybe something like this that I just ordered from Old Navy for only $15 (plus s&h, which makes it $21).

From the reviews on Oldnavy.com, the dress is very simple and many suggested pairing it with a belt. So what about this...
And then since it is no longer sleeveless appropriate weather, I thought of pulling in the hot new color for a cardigan for layering...

Someone help me....is this even a good outfit?

Positivity

Lately it seems like the recession is taking a toll on people - and not just in their pocketbooks. I've talked to several people who seem unhappy at their current jobs. Although we all have to sit and be very thankful that we are in fact employed, it seems that it's not quite enough. With the down economy and fewer job opportunities out there, those that do have jobs feel stiffled. It's as if we feel trapped in our jobs. Even if we wanted to look for something else - whether it's because we have the two year itch or because we are genuinely not in a good place - there isn't anything out there for us. So instead we suck it up and stick with what we have, all the while feeling like a caged animal.

I wonder if the economy weren't so horrendous right now if some of us in this trapped mentality might not feel this way if we simply knew that we could go out and try on a different job if we felt like it. Is it just the fact that knowing that we can't so easily move between jobs the thing that makes us feel stiffled?

Meanwhile, I do know of some people who felt so stuck in their jobs that they have just quit. No other job prospects - they just QUIT. Granted, it's not a lot of people, but still! The mere idea of doing such a seemingly irresponsible thing makes me nauseous. I'm assuming that these individuals are financially prepared to survive for a time without a formal paycheck. Or at least I hope.

Anyway - so to mentally trick myself out of this self-induced cage called "work" I've come up with a short list of reasons why I like my current job.

Why I like my current job:
  • It's flexible - I come in around 8:30am (err, or sometimes 9) and I leave at 4:30pm (err, or sometimes 4)
  • I live close to work which makes for a short and traffic-free commute, and I get to go home for lunch and to see the dogs
  • I'm mostly autonomous - aside from the sometimes lengthy "chats" my boss likes to have about news headlines, what Steve Jobs said to buy from Apple, Jewish holiday commitments, the history of DU and how he single handedly saved it from the last recession, the absurdity of bureaucracy and red tape otherwise known as basic management policies and deadlines, etc
  • I like my co-worker, if I didn't I would probably have to quit since it's just the two of us most of the time
  • We have AMAZING vacation policy - including a full week off (paid!) between Christmas and New Years, and summers on a college campus ROCK
  • I happen to like most of our students-they are great people
  • My day is my time - I rarely have meetings or commitments, so I can control how and when I work and spend my time
  • yup - its not too bad around here I guess

11.04.2009

What did you do with your lunch break?

It's amazing what you can accomplish in a little over an hour. Today I ran home for lunch and found Seth surfing the internet in search of the perfectly sized fridge for our kitchen. I said, "Hey, wanna have a little fun while I'm home for lunch?" Little did he know what he was in for!

We started with this:
And this is what it looked like when I left to go back to work:


And this is what is going back it those plain white cabinets place:


Huh?

Sometimes in life there are things that just don't make sense. For example:
  • Jobs that our society places a lot of value on don't get paid nearly enough. Like teachers, social workers, etc.
  • When mean people win.
  • My parents moved far, far away to another part of the country right about the time that we moved into the wonderful world of a great adult relationship. Now how are they ever gonna get to see their grandkids?!
  • When bad things happen to good people. And when not nice people seem to catch all the breaks.
  • How my girlfriend who works for a health care organization doesn't even have maternity leave to be able to stay home after having her first baby. Not even for a few weeks.
  • And the one that brought to this here blog today, how I can run marathons for a straight year and not be able to fit into some of my dress pants, but today - after not working out for months and eating fried, greasy bar food and lots of beer those same pants look great.

11.03.2009

Oy!

It's only Tuesday
and I have a headache
and it's only 4:03 pm
I wish it were 4:35 pm
I wonder if I have a headache because of the Halloween candy sitting in our foyer of the office.
I see it every time I walk into or out of my office
and I've had two Kit-Kats and two Krackels already.
Does chocolate cause headaches?

Guess I won't make it to the gym again today.
Darn.
Eh, cuddling on the couch with these bums sounds like a great evening!



10.07.2009

Doozy

It's been a crazy and busy couple of weeks. Here are some highlights until I can get caught up on my little past time of blogging.

My mom came to visit! Yeah! No matter that we basically had to buy her plane ticket and force her to come visit for her belated-birthday gift. It didn't matter. I was in desperate need for
some "mom time." I may be 29 years old, but sometimes you still just need your mom. And secretly I think she need to come visit just as badly.

We had a great time over the long weekend and thankfully we had BEAUTIFUL fall weather. We spent a lot of time on the patio, drinking tea and enjoying the warm sun. And really, that's all I wanted to do.

We did get the Colorado family to go out for some great food. We took mom to Crepes N Crepes (below),
Snooze, and Greg and Maria's favority D'Corazon. We did a lot of eating, but it was fun!

I even took mom to get her first ever pedicure!
I convinced Seth to take me and the girls up to the mountains to check out the fall colors. And it was well worth it - even though it was cold and windy. The colors are extra vibrant this year! It's unbelievable!

I LOVE living in Colorado! And I LOVE fall in Colorado!

More to come soon...

9.18.2009

Buyers Remorse?

We found out that we saved a bunch of money with Geico (ha - not really, but I just couldn't help myself!) so we decided to take the plunge and spend some dough on a coffee table. Having a glass of water or whatever while sitting in the living room is difficult when you don't have anywhere to set it. And Seth has been known to fall asleep while holding a glass of water - only to wake up with a wet shirt!

Here's our new coffee table..
It seems a bit bigger in the space than we anticipated...
And a bit darker as well - almost black...
but unfortunately we cannot return it for "aesthetic" reasons per the receipt instructions...
So we'll continue to look at it for a while. Maybe we are just so used to not having anything there that it seems big and because that whole corner is a dark brown color that it just seems dark. Hmmm, maybe some new green pillows would lighten and liven up that space....

But it still doesn't answer the question - what to do with that darn corner?

Decisions, Decisions

I'm having such a dilema about what to do with our living room. One of the issues is the placement of the TV. The TV works best functionally angled in the corner of the room - provides more relaxed lounging opportunities on the couch and also decreases the glare from the window light on the screen.

But...it makes that wall feel so big and empty.
Placing the TV in the center of the wall feels right in a symmetrical sort of way (of course, I would need to find bookshelves or something to flank the TV and hide the cords as well as matching tall lamps). But it feels awkward when trying to lounge and watch a movie, etc.
What do you think? What is the best option?

And this is the new light and the new table runner that I bought that carries the green from the living room into the dining area.
And the beige curtains hung over the sliding glass door. At first I wasn't sure about the curtains, but I think they are growing on me. This isn't a good picture of the curtains, but you can see that we still have that LARGE EMPTY wall behind the dining room table.

Still looking for ideas on how to deal with the big empty wall...

One thing that we've done that I LOVE is replacing the old brown doors with white 6-panel doors and fancy aged bronze handles and hinges!
Aren't they just beautiful?!

Cookie Monster


I love after-school snacks. I'm sure it started when I was little and my mom would always have something yummy available for us to munch on after we got home from school. And now that I work at a University, I still enjoy my after-school snack!

Monday I came home after a busy day and went to the secret cupboard where I keep the "naughty" foods - like Oreo's, M&M's and my favorite Lay's Kettle Chips.

And this is what I found....
There's a cookie monster on the loose!

I think he's probably 6 ft. 3 in, bald and has a devilish smile. If you see him, and he has cookie crumbs on his lip, please call me immediately! My cookies have been stolen!


9.08.2009

Labor-Filled Weekend

This weekend was spent with a daily trip to Home Depot, daily trips to Starbucks for some home renovation motivation, a 5 mile run for me on Saturday, and an astonishing two days off in a row on a holiday (shock and awe!) for Seth.

So on Sunday we tackled a few home projects including changing out the dining room light fixture from this -
to this!Much more elegant, understated and stylish. It's an aged bronze finish with tan colored globes that match well with the latte colored walls and dark brown tones in the furniture. We are also working on replacing all the doors from the old wood doors to new white 6-paneled doors with the aged bronze handles.
The picture is a bit dark but this is the dining room with the new light.

and just in the nick of time, we made it to the McNeill wedding (we barely had time to shower and get ready!) and Seth is sporting his new fashion accessory - the colorful bandaid on his many blisters on his hands. Sometimes homeownership hurts.

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