Monday, October 29, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* having Hurricane Sandy coverage on most local stations this morning. I slept with the TV on last night and woke up several times to hear the storm was progressing. After 9am I switched to CNN and was horrified to see how aggressive this hurricane is going to be.
* a late breakfast at Cindi's New York Delicatessen, Restaurant & Bakery. I took the time to reflect on my feeling about this hurricane and my being so far away.
* the brave reporters from Seven Mile Times in Avalon, NJ. They were out all day reporting on the hurricane and uploading pictures to Facebook. I think it was really helpful for home owner's to be aware of what was happening. It was heart wrenching to look at these pictures, but at least people now know what to expect.
* peeling myself away from the news and going out to pick up Halloween treat bags and candy for my office visits this week. I will be stapling my business card and handing one out to each adjuster.
* TCBY for lunch. I sat outside and answered some emails. I was still pretty full from breakfast so I didn't really need lunch today.
* spending some time by the pool after I finished work for the day. It was already pretty chilly but I draped a towel over me and enjoyed some fresh air. I talked with Kelly, Mom & Dad. 
* forcing myself to get my butt to the fitness center. I've fallen off the wagon with both eating healthy and exercising and it's not good. I can't believe we leave for Aruba in less than two weeks. 
* Andy having power all day and not losing power until 11pm EST. 
* a really great dinner at Ravenna Italian Restaurant. I had bruschetta, chicken florentine and two glasses of (much needed) cab. I feel like I've overdosed on hurricane coverage to make up for the fact that I'm not there. 
* Aunt Kathy's email today saying she was thinking of the Roth family and Avalon. I told her we felt the same way about Brian's house and so many others too. 
* everyone I know staying safe (as I far as I know) during this horrific storm.                                                                           

Hurricane Sandy (from a distance): Part I

I am eating at a place in Dallas called "Cindi's New York Delicatessen, Restaurant & Bakery". I finally peeled my eyes off the TV coverage of Hurricane Sandy. I slept with the TV on last night, and didn't really sleep much at all. It feels weird to be in a sunny, warm place.  In fact, you couldn't ask for a more  beautiful day. Everyone is acting normal, no panic in TX. 

I am used to watching hurricane coverage from afar, because they just don't directly hit the northeast. This time it's different, this time the hurricane is coming for us. The victims that lose their homes, pets, businesses---they will be our friends, family and neighbors. I remember what it felt like to watch the coverage of Katrina, Irene, Gustav, Felix, etc. Sitting there watching the reporters on TV---seeing people in shelters, not knowing whether their homes would survive, or where their pets were, or even the whereabouts of some family members. It was heart-wrenching, there was nothing I, or anyone else could do. Mother Nature is one of few things we as humans, have 0% control over. 

I am 1,500 miles away, but my heart is at home. I'm thinking about my sister in New York City, the Roth family beach houses in Avalon, the Hensler's in LBI, Vanessa & Keith near the water on Long Island, Brian's house in Sandy Hook, and so many more. I'm hoping and praying our loved ones stay safe, and that our homes can weather this storm. I feel helpless, and being this far away makes the helplessness that much more intense. I realize I wouldn't be able to do anything more if was home than I can do here. But, I'd be with Andy, I could help make sure everything was secure and help waterproof our things in the basement. And in some weird (and maybe twisted way), I kind of feel like I'm missing out on the experience. I feel like years from now, people will be reminiscing about Hurricane Sandy and everything that came with her---I won't be able to relate. I ran out of town, being left with news reporters to deliver the updates on the destruction and loss where we live. 

The pictures coming in from Avalon are leaving me speechless. I don't know what to say. They resemble the same hurricane pictures we've seen over & over again, but now we can relate to them. We know the street signs, the floating benches, broken docks. We can imagine what that streets will look like when people are able to return and access the damage. 

It has been hard for me to concentrate today. I didn't have appointments because I wasn't supposed to arrive until tomorrow afternoon. I tried to get as much work done as I could, but I will admit it wasn't a whole lot. I was glued to CNN and Facebook. Praying people are making smart decisions, that the damage isn't as bad as we think it will be and that we can quickly start rebuilding. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* sleeping in until 11am! The room was so dark from the gloomy weather outside and it was the perfect morning to stay in bed. I don't even feel guilty about it---I have a crazy week coming up and it's probably best that I got a really good night's sleep. 
* Steve & Kate still being able to go to the game even though we had to cancel on them. They loved the seats, too bad the Eagles lost again!
* Andy discovering the US Airways Silver Preferred program. It gives me Silver status until Jan, and if I fly 7,500 miles by then (which I definitely will) I will be Silver Preferred until Jan 2014. I also get to check bags for free and I was upgraded to first-class on my flight to Dallas!
* Andy filling both cars with gas while I packed for my trip. Who knows what chaos Hurricane Sandy will bring. It feels funny leaving town---like I'm abandoning our area or something. Praying all my friends & family stay safe and that our beaches are spared. 
* learning to adjust to all of the nuances of flying often. It is what it is...I thought we were so lucky to be leaving for Dallas on-time. Then the engine had a problem, we had to deplane, waited an hour in the airport, boarded the next place and then sat until 6:40, when we finally took off. We were supposed to leave at 3:55. I am thankful we weren't on an unsafe plane though. These little things can be annoying, but every time I get on a place I think "what if this is it?" I am not afraid of flying, but do realize freak things can happen and I say a little prayer for a safe arrival. 
* very nice flight attendants. I always feel bad for them when they have annoyed passengers because there's nothing they can do about delays, weather, mechanical problems, etc. No one was being rude to them that I noticed, but I'd imagine it's a trying job in general and they are usually still very friendly.
* being smart enough to ask for directions after I picked up my rental car because   lots of times GPS takes too long to work and I never know where to go leaving the airport. I'm glad I asked because the car charger wasn't working, my phone was 100% dead and I wouldn't have had any idea how to get to the hotel. I still wasn't exactly sure where I was going after I got off the highway and pretty much figured it out (amazing, because I have no sense of direction.)
* the chips and salsa with guacamole I ordered when I arrived to the hotel. The kitchen was closing in 10 min and I didn't want something too heavy. They were really good!
* talking with Andy when I got here for a bit, things are getting crazy at home with this hurricane!

Observations of a Traveling Nomad

10/28-11/2: Dallas, TX ~ Austin, TX
~ don't get too excited when your flight is miraculously on time even though there is a hurricane scheduled to pummel your city. Inevitably there will be an engine problem, you will have to deplane, wait 45 minutes, board a new plane and sit on the runway for another 45 minutes before you take off. 
~ it will take the counter attendant a minimum of 10 minutes to decide it will be ok to let the passengers go through gate A6 because the door to gate A8 is locked, and for some reason will not unlock. Your flight may already be running 2+ hours late and you will receive an apology saying "We apologize for the inconvenience and we are sorry you have to go out of the way" (by  a whopping 2 feet). Probably not the inconvenience they should be apologizing for. 
~ you may sit next to someone in the first row, in first class (AKA closest to the cockpit) that starts to creep you out because they keep staring at people but they don't say a word. Not even when everyone around them is talking about the pending hurricane, delay, lack of in-flight internet service, etc. You may start telling yourself your seat partner is the freak that's going to try to take down the plane or something like that. Then you may hear him on his cell phone speaking another language and realize he does not speak English.
~ getting your rental car can be an hour+ process on a Sunday night after 9pm, who woulda thought? Between waiting for the rental car shuttle, driving to rental car building, waiting in line forever (ok, probably more like 30 minutes but it felt like forever), inspecting the car with rental car agent and finding your way the hell out of Dallas airport. Dallas needs to figure out a way to have on-sight car rentals, just sayin. 
~ you may find your sense of direction just when you're about to lose any patience that may still be lingering within you. Your cell phone will be dead, your car charger won't work and you will have to figure out how to get to the highway and then the hotel without GPS. You always thought you born with no sense of direction, but now there is a teeny, tiny glimmer of hope. You will be thankful you have a 5% charge when you get off downtown, just enough to tell you you're only .4 miles away, yippie!
~  when in Texas, you will likely pass a huge billboard with bright while letters against a black background that say "GUN SHOW- GET YOUR GUNS BEFORE THE ELECTION" and pictures of guns. Now this just made me laugh, and I wish taking a picture wouldn't have put my life at risk (I was, in fact, driving) because evidently Texans don't know Obama's lenient (much too lenient in my opinion) stance on gun control. There goes that Obama guy again, taking all your rights away. 
~ after a trip like this you will arrive to your hotel hungry, but you will have no idea if you're in a "good" or "not so good" part of town, and either way, you probably aren't going to walk around alone looking for food. will order chips & salsa with guacamole to hold you over until tomorrow. While waiting for your order you will see the "chef" squeeze the 'fresh' guacamole out of a huge plastic bag. You are now convinced the majority of restaurants do the same thing (except for the authentic Mexican places that make it right in front of you.) Those Wholly Guacamole packets have always seemed "familiar" and now you know why! 
~ driving here is horrible, we'll just leave it at that. 
~ if you tend to have a lead foot you will surely enjoy the 75 mph speed limit along a good portion of highway. However, TX and VA both seem to think it's fun to change the speed limits (what feels like) every 4 minutes. It goes kinda like 75-->65--->70--->60--->75 and so one. So unless you are really focusing on speed limit signs, you never know if you're doing the correct speed limit. Also, you may want to use cruise control, I found it handy on my 6+ hours of driving in the last day. 
~ you will find it hard to tell if downtown is safe or not. Sadly there are a lot of homeless people, and I strongly feel everyone has a story and hate to see people so down on their luck. However, you will also see several crazies yelling out loud and dumping over garbage cans. This doesn't make anyone, especially a female, very comfortable. There are not a lot of people around so it's very different from NYC or Center City, Phila. So you will spend too much time trying to decide where to go to dinner while considering how close the restaurant is to the hotel, if there's parking nearby, if it's safe to walk and if there's something on the menu you actually want. So.....
~ you will go somewhere .8 miles from the hotel, but it's not safe to walk at night, so you drive, and it takes 45 freaking minutes to get back because all of the streets are one ways and merging getting on/off main road is a nightmare in this city!!!!
~ you learn dining at the Spaghetti Warehouse one time is more than enough and will actually take Yelp's review more seriously next time. I had to go for "the experience" since it sounded fun and it's the original location.
~ 5 days in Dallas is more than enough for a lifetime. Its best assets (for me) was Dealy Plaza and Sonny Bryan's BBQ.
~ your love affair with the ALoft will probably subside after being in one with a poorly lit parking lot in an unsafe area & broken elevators and another with no hot water. In light of everything that happened this week I didn't really even care that much but I don't know how long the fun decor will keep me coming back.

~ you will appreciate the extra room in first class, but will wonder how anyone can possibly eat the "meals" they serve on-board. The smell is nauseating and they look less appetizing than a TV dinner.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* my hot stone massage at Breathe Salon with Lori. I usually don't like talking at all during massages but we ended up chatting during the first half quite a bit. I enjoyed the two hot stone massages but I think I like regular massage better. 
* Kelley & Steve's gorgeous wedding ceremony. It was at the Catholic church in Conshohocken so we didn't have to go far. She looked so beautiful and was radiating with happiness. I liked the priest too, although he dragged things out a little bit. I also enjoyed thinking back to our ceremony and how perfect it was for us. 
* having time in between the ceremony and reception to go home, change and take the train into Philly instead of driving. 
* a fun time at Kelley & Steve's reception (at the Marriott downtown.) The ballroom was beautiful and did not feel like a typical hotel ballroom. There was also a balcony where you could go for fresh air. A special moment for me was when they played "You Raise Me Up" (Steve & his mom danced to it.) It made me think of dancing with Dad on our wedding day. 
* introducing ourselves to some of their friends and enjoying the people at our table. We felt a little funny because we didn't know anyone (well, I know Liz & Jen but they were both in the bridal party.) 
* taking the early train home (11:30). We thought about staying until the 1am but I was really tired and knew I had to pack for tomorrow's trip to Dallas in the morning. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* better #s today for work, yesterday's were awful!
* a great experience at Lovelies Nail Salon in Narberth. I bought a Living Social deal there and used it today for a manicure/pedicure for Kelley's wedding. I picked out a fun orange/red color for fall and love how it turned out! They also gave a quick massage while I had a wax moisturizer on my hands (that was new to me.) I always thought getting your nails done was such a waste of money (and do still think tips are) but to get your nails cleaned up and polished does bring a sense of self confidence, especially when meeting with clients. (My friend Lori told me once that's why she gets her nails done, it adds to her professionalism.)
* being able to change my flight from Tuesday to Sunday in preparation of Hurricane Sandy (without paying a fee.) It's pretty clear they will be canceling flights next week and as much as I'd love to stay home and brave the storm, I worked too hard to set these visits for work. 
* grilling hamburgers with really good quality 100% grass-fed, no antibiotic beef for dinner. You really can tell the difference and since I rarely eat burgers I really enjoyed it. 
* spending time adding pictures to my blog. I've slacked off and want to have them printed at some point, so I'm trying to go back and update all of my posts with photos. 
* watching 5 Year Engagement tonight with Andy. Oh my God, it was hysterical! It was much better/funnier than I expected and we both liked it a lot. I've been enjoying light hearted comedies lately, especially with all of the craziness in our world. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I have gratitude today for... 
* Kerry deciding to come to our house tonight. It was nice not having to drive and of course I love having friends visit. She made great timing too. We sat out on the front deck until Andy got home and I told her all about my job changes and the new car story. 
* being able to treat Kerry to Yangming. I'm going to miss our trade when it runs out! We did takeout and took the new car to pick it up. She loved the food, just like everyone else that I take there. 
* sitting outside on the front porch and then the back deck all night talking, laughing, philosophising, etc. We went through several bottles of wine and had one of our marathon girls' nights. I hadn't seen her since they came to Avalon the first weekend in August---that's just too long!
* the funny guys that were walking home from the bar when we were sitting out back. One yelled "my girlfriend loves your house" and then the other yelled "mine too." I yelled back "I do too!" Haha, our house is definitely one of the best in the neighborhood and I feel very lucky to have such a great place. 
* Andy. I found out about a couple of friends getting divorced recently and it made me think about my relationship with Andy. I can't imagine getting divorced, but who does? I know I'm not the easiest person, and we have our differences, and there are things he does/says that drive me absolutely crazy---but at the end of the day, I can't imagine life without him and I'm pretty certain he feels the same way about me. I am lucky to have a guy that tells me how happy he is to have me as his wife, that he thinks I'm beautiful, and thanks me for all that I do, on a regular (pretty much daily) basis. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* meeting Copley at her office and talking about different promotional items and ideas for work. It was great to see her. We grabbed a slice of pizza after too. 
* making plans to see Uncle Gary for dinner when I'm in Dallas next week. I completely forgot he's working in Dallas these days!
* another great session with Hannelore. I'm not sure of the long term effects of her treatments but I definitely felt energy moving today and felt refreshed at the end. 
* talking with Kerry for a little bit tonight and making definite plans for tomorrow. 
* watching a few episodes of The Office with Andy. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* finding out Brian & Mary are engaged! Another wedding for 2013!
* seeing the email Carrabba's sent out at 5:30pm about their complimentary wine tasting dinner tonight. I called to see what the details were and was told it was a 3 course dinner and wine tasting. I called Andy and we decided to go. We tried some things we've never tried before, tasted some good wines and met the owner (Dan) of the Exton location. It was really nice!
* Mason, our awesome landlord, letting us in the house tonight after we locked ourselves out again! Andy thought I had keys, I thought he had keys---damn bottom lock. We did kind of freak out at each other and it wasn't the greatest of moments, but oh well. We've decided we will not be using the bottom lock anymore, it's too easy to get locked out!

Monday, October 22, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* Ben & Dave agreeing to sell us their N1 GA tickets for C'Ville. We got crap tickets for both nights. Now we have to try selling the N1's we got---uh. I don't even know why we pre-order anymore when you can always find tickets last minute. 
* getting a lot done for work today---I even worked my office upstairs. (First time in months!)
* making plans to hang out with Kerry on Thursday night. It's been too long since we last hung out.
* finding a good rate for the Aloft in Dallas---I love the Aloft hotels!
* the creamy chicken noodle soup I made in the crock-pot today. The house smelled amazing all day!
* watching last night's episode of Homeland with Andy before the debate. It was soooo good, the writers for that show are brilliant!
* watching the 3rd and final Presidential debate. Praying Obama can pull off the win in November!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* making all of the samples for Erin's Tastefully Simple party. I had fun making everything. 
* seeing Liam at Erin's house for a few minutes before Bill left with him. He's walking all over the place now---so cute!!
* Erin hosting the first Tastefully Simple party I've done in 2 years! I think everyone had a good time and it was nice to see Maria and some of Erin's girlfriends. It was almost a $400 party!
* trying to make Andy feel ok about both of our Blu-Ray players breaking today. They were too heavy for the shelf they were sitting on and the whole thing fell down. I felt so bad because he spent so much time finally hooking up the sound system and he was excited to have it all set up. I know how he felt, annoyed but helpless. When he told me he had a bad afternoon, I thought something really bad happened. So, I was thankful it wasn't something like a car accident, or bad news about a loved one. 
* going back to Plaza Azteca again for dinner. I can't believe we were there 2x in 3 days. Andy was in the mood for Mexican food and I didn't have anything thawed to cook. We both enjoyed our dinners again tonight. We'll definitely have to go back with friends and Mom & Dad. 
* watching a football, a few episodes of The Office and Revenge. I've started thinking Revenge was getting a little ridiculous, but this week's episode was really good. 
* sending out the Evite for New Year's Eve. I'm happy to be hosting the holidays this year. No running around and lots of cooking. I'm hoping we end up with a decent size group, but not too big for NYE. I think 12 people or so would be perfect!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* spending time this morning working on the house. Organizing, cleaning, de-cluttering, etc.
* finding out more about Samaritan's Purse and deciding to make and donate some boxes this year for Christmas. I sent the info to Megan and we're going to do it with the boys.
* going to West Chester for Homecoming. I wasn't going to go but decided in the middle of the week that I wanted to see everyone. I had the best time! Went to the house for about an hour. Met Megan & Jess there, and saw Kate Doe. Met some of the new girls and reminisced about my days living there. In many ways it's the same, just different people living there. Then we went to Alibi's and I stayed for a beer there and got to see Joe. From there I went to Barnaby's to saw Beckman, Abby, Lori P., her friend Trish, Steph & Lisa P. Adrienne and Megan came later. There was a guy playing acoustic guitar and we had a table. I'm so glad I went. 

WCU Homecoming 2012- Phi Sig
* Andy dropping me off and picking me up from West Chester. 
* leftover turkey dinner from Andy's mom's house. He brought home the leftovers which were perfect because I hadn't eaten anything since 11am. 
* Andy being reasonable when I finally lost it about politics, my views and why I have such concerns about Romney winning this election (primarily social/human rights issues.) I said some mean things and felt bad. Unfortunately most of what I said I've been feeling for quite some time and I finally let it all out. We certainly respect each other's differences but there are some issues that make me question how you could possibly vote for Romney. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* picking up a bunch of John's favorite candy and bringing it to him in a cute gift bag for his birthday. 
* an awesome lunch at Seasons 52 with John & Kathy. I hope it works out for Kathy to work at Suburban Life!
* talking with Sam about my adjusted goals and how I can reach them by the end of the year. 
* dinner at Plaza Azteca with Andy. Their food is so good, I wish they sold their salsa. 
* watching the movie "Friends with Kids". It was adorable and funny but not stupid and annoying. The baby in the movie might be the cutest baby I've ever seen. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* emailing back and forth a few times with Ashley (our across the street neighbor.) She is going to have a Tastefully Simple party and we got to know each other a little bit going back and forth. I'm excited to know some of our neighbors. We haven't made much of an effort over the last year.
* talking with Rachel, finally, today!! It's hard to believe we had not talked since she told me was pregnant in January!! I loved hearing about her experience going into labor and giving birth to her baby girl and catching up in general. 
* ordering my 2013 desk calendar and planner. We all know how excited a get for a brand new, clean, empty planner. 
* Tony Roni's tomato pie for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* booking a trip to Dallas for the last week in October. I've never been there so I'm excited to spend a few days there. I'm hoping to get cowboy boots. 
* the new Killers and Ben Fold Five albums arriving in the mail from the library. 
* finding a hot dress for Kelley's wedding at the mall tonight. I usually wear long gowns and I wanted to find something that was a little more fun and sexy. I already have shoes that will go well with it so I don't have to buy new ones. Andy will be happy. :-)

* talking with Kelly for a while tonight. Catching up on how school is going for her and talking about wedding stuff. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* finding a mattress for the futon and ordering it on-line today. It will be delivered by 10/22!
* a great session with Hannelore today. I found it to be calming and I felt much more peaceful than last time. 
* finally going to get my hair cut. I cut a few inches off and had it angled to frame my face. I never know what to do with my hair. I always think other people's hair looks so good and I always feel like mine is so boring. 
* finding a great straightener at Marshall's for 1/2 price. 
* watching the 2nd presidential debate tonight. I can not understand how women, especially of my generation, can vote for Romney. He seems to have this attitude that a woman's place is that of the 1950's. I felt he came across is extremely out of touch and was appalled by his answer on immigration. Weren't our family members, the ones that came from Ireland, Italy, Germany and so on, all immigrants? I am nervous about this election---especially because the next president will likely appoint Supreme Court justices. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* my speeding ticket (that I got in August) being reduced to a 0-point violation. Honestly, I'm pissed I got the ticket at all. It was a speed trap and the officer that wrote my ticket was literally laughing and joking over walkie-talkie about how many tickets they were writing/people they had pulled over. I have all the respect in the world for police officers who risk their lives for all of us everyday, but to pull someone over going 7 mph over the speed limit and then laughing in their face about it is a little ridiculous. I so badly wanted to say something today to the officer, but feel we, the public, can't say anything. 
* experimenting with a new recipe for dinner. I tried the "better than fried chicken" recipe from Pinterest. It was, um, looked nothing like the picture and I probably won't make it again. On the bright side, it was healthy and low in fat---so, we had that going for us. 
* Jeff & Megan giving us their futon frame. We are going to buy a new mattress for it and we'll have a place for guests to sleep! Also thankful Jeff drove the van to our house and hung around while we figured out how to get it upstairs (we basically had to take it apart.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* Andy having fresh waffles made when I came downstairs this morning. 
* the pumpkin candle I bought from Reading Terminal Market back in the spring. It's made of bees wax and smells amazing. No black smoke too!
* getting a ton of work done in the basement. I cleaned the perimeter that was full of stuff from the old renters, paint cans and debris/dirt. Yes, it took me a year to do this but nevertheless, it's done. There is so much more room and almost everything is labeled and organized. 
* going through old Food Network, Eating Well and Everyday Food magazines. I pinned the recipes I want to keep on Pinterest and put them in the "for Kelly's classroom" pile. Getting rid of more stuff!
* an entertaining Eagles game even though they lost in overtime. They keep blowing close games, not looking good!
* another batch of stew turning out well---it was an easy dinner today. 
* going for a 30 minute run today with Andy. The weather was perfect---not sure how many more days we'll have like this. I found today's run to be challenging because I was really thirsty early on but I got through it.
* watching the first episode of Nashville--it was pretty good. Not sure I'm drawn to it the way I am some other show but I'll give it a chance. Especially because Private Practice is ending this year. :-(
* chatting with Mom on gchat tonight. I offered to host Christmas dinner and they said yes. I'm so excited to have my family at my home for Christmas and to cook dinner and desserts. 
* having lots of stuff to give to Kelly for her classroom. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* walking around the Philadelphia Premium Outlets with Andy today. We bought Andy a few t-shirts and a couple pairs of shoes at Bass. I got a new pair of brown "comfort" shoes for conferences (and they're actually pretty cute) from Bass and a couple pairs of running shorts from Reebok. It was a beautiful day to walk around. I forgot how many great stores there are! I'll be going back to do some Christmas shopping.
* a fantastic 90 minute massage at Cortiva. It was the first time I've had a 90 minute and it was wonderful! It was kind of weird because it didn't really feel like it was any longer than a 60 minute; they always go by so fast. I'm thankful for Cortiva because they are so reasonably priced!

* finally getting the stones replaced in my engagement ring, having the ammonium replaced on my wedding band, having all diamonds tightened and both rings cleaned. My engagement ring, especially, looks amazing! I was a little annoyed because the cost of the stones was $36, yet they charged me $80 total "to set them". I'm no jeweler but that seemed a little crazy to me. Oh well--it's done and hopefully I don't have to worry about it again.
* watching the season one finale of Homeland again and then watching the first two episodes of this season in King of Prussia. We don't have Showtime at the moment so it was fun to make an afternoon of catching up on this amazing show! This season is as good or better than last season!
* Tony A's pizza for dinner.
* more great playoff baseball!
* the adorable picture Michelle sent us of Red Rocks---Jillian, Debbie, Michelle and me. I wonder what it would be like if we all lived close to each other. We'd have the best girls' nights!
Red Rocks 2005- DMB Love (love the ticket stubs in the background)
* the message I received from Pete Shungu on Facebook today. He saw mom & me in a picture from the UFAR 5k last weekend. It turns out his father is the founder of the organization! Pretty incredible. It made me feel so good about doing the race and proves what a small world it is. It also proves Facebook has incredible power to bring people together when used for the right reasons!

Not sure if you remember me, we went to Lawrence High together back in the day.
I wanted to drop you a line, because I had one of those small world moments. My dad, Daniel Shungu, is the founder of UFAR, the non-profit org
that had it's 5K last weekend in Princeton. My wife Melissa and I came down
from Boston to run in the 5K.
I was looking at the pictures from the event that were posted on facebook,
and Barbara Fox had tagged you in one of them-- I put two and two
together and realized that you must have run the 5K as well.
First off, thank you!! I don't know if you have been involved with UFAR
in the past, but we greatly appreciate the support.
Secondly, hope all is well with you. It looks like you got married, so congrats on that.
My wife and I just got married a little over a year ago.
Take care,

P.S. You played in the band in HS, right? Dunno if you're still in
touch with Haltmeier, but he moved up to the Boston area, and
he's actually played sax at a couple gigs with my live hip hop band.
It's been great to reconnect with him

Friday, October 12, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* getting the house clean, finally! I cleaned both bathrooms, vacuumed and steam-mopped the floors, wiped down the cabinets, dusted and got rid of some more stuff out of the basement. 
* going to Totaro's for dinner with Andy. I love going there, it feels like you're going to a friend's place for dinner. The food was great (as always) and we found out it's BYOB. After six years of going there I find that out. Oh well, now we know moving forward. 
* Andy being cute and saying my bruschetta is better than Totaro's (I disagree.) I love that he likes my cooking so much. 
* watching a few episodes of The Office tonight after dinner. 
* exciting playoff baseball games even if the Phillies are out of it this year. :-(
* finding the bib from my first 5k in 2001. I didn't think there was any chance I still had it and randomly came across it while I was looking for something else. I googled the results from that race and found my time. 31 year old beat 20 year old me by 34 seconds!
October 28, 2000

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* booking my trip to Houston next month. Looking forward to visiting a new city!
* Mason being able to let me in the house after I locked myself out. I literally shut the door and instantly knew I didn't have the right key. I really need to organize my house keys. 
* the cute basket I found at Michael's for $8. I'm going to use it for my Tastefully Simple clipboards. I am trying to get back into it a little bit---goal is 2 parties/month. We'll see if I can fit them in. 
* going over Jeff & Megan's to visit for a bit tonight. Andy was saying last night it's been too long since he's seen the kids so we ate dinner as early and quickly as possible and head over around 7:30. 
* going to see Popejoy & Andrea play Open Mic night at Falls Taproom (still Buckets to me.) I don't know when I'll be free on a Thursday night again for a while. We had a nice time listening to them play, meeting some of the other guys that usually play open mic and catching up with Josh & Andrea.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* finding a beautiful Le Creuset set with two different sized bakers on It matches my dutch oven and was on sale for $37! We have a $100 gift certificate from our wedding so I used some of it for this purchase. 
* the nice manager at the Hess station coming out to see if everything was ok when he saw me sitting there for several minutes. I felt like your "typical woman" because I could not figure out how to pop the gas tank in the Infiniti. Turns out as long as your doors are unlocked you just push it open, who knew? I was able to laugh at myself about it, especially when I said "I called my husband and he didn't answer" as I was thumbing through the owner's manual. For someone as independent as me, it was a little embarrassing. 
* lunch with Bethany & Max at Buca di Beppo. It's hard to believe I haven't seen her since February when he was just a little peanut. It was nice to catch up! 
* Amy selling me a handful of TS catalogs and order forms. I didn't need an entire order but did need some of Erin's upcoming party and Jillian's fundraiser. 
* a relaxing night at home. I've really enjoyed being home these last two weeks. I'll feel even better when everything is clean and organized!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* finding an organization (Fairy Godmothers, Inc) to donate some old dresses I have. I went a step further and asked if anyone else would like to donate their old dresses and I've had a great response. I am going to volunteer when they have their prom fair in March. 
* lunch at JG Domestic in the Cira Center with Ian, Sandy and 3 people from AMTRAK. It was a great meeting and a really nice place. Good food too!
* Andy finding cheap airfare for our trip to FL in January. $126 round trip, pretty amazing!
* getting a lot more done around the house. 
* watching Revenge, Parenthood and Private Practice; I love those shows so much, especially Parenthood. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* (barely) avoiding an accident this morning. I am still getting used to the blind spots, shape/size, mirrors etc. of the new car and didn't see someone in my blind spot. I am very thankful we didn't hit each other. I have been so careful driving the new car but it is quite different than what I've been used to driving for the last 9 years. 
* Doug the handyman coming over to fix the remaining broken piece in the fridge. Now the drawers fit properly and we can actually use the shelf without it collapsing. 
* making stew in the crock pot today. I do hate cold weather but I love cold weather cooking. 
* seeing Andy when he got home from work. I missed him this weekend. 
* making a lot of progress on organizing the house. 
* watching some episodes of The Office and looking/pinning recipes on Pinterest. 
* talking to Megan about their old futon. They are getting a new couch so we are taking the futon. It will be great for when we have company and just in time for New Year's!
* finding out I beat my time from the last 5k by 1 min 19 seconds. Considering I didn't train, haven't exercised in almost 3 weeks and endured hills throughout the whole race, I am very proud!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* being able to attend Uncle John's 60th birthday surprise party! I drove to Long Island, NY with Mom & Dad. We had a good drive with no traffic and great conversation. Uncle John was definitely surprised. We all stood outside the clubhouse under a tree and waited for him to drive by with Vanessa & Jen in the car. It was a great afternoon with friends, family and great food.
Happy Birthday Uncle John!
* getting back to NJ safely. Other drivers on the road were complete lunatics today and the drive home was stressful, even as a passenger.
* deciding to stay overnight at Mom & Dad's again. We talked about some things going on in our family, watched football, and relaxed after a long day. Mom & I had some of the tomato chicken tortilla soup I made the other day.
* Kelly finding a non-stop flight to Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving. I felt bad it was so expensive but I'm glad she could at least find a non-stop.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* a spot opening up for Viki in Tuesday night's photography class at Valley Forge Park.
* Steve sending me the money for his Bruce ticket. I'm really bad about getting ticket money and I easily forget when people owe me for tickets.
* getting up no problem early this morning to drive to Princeton for the UFAR 5k. It was a beautiful morning and I got there early (not common for me.)
* meeting Wendy, one of mom's co-workers. She was so nice and excited to do the race. It was her first one and I found out she's lost a lot of weight over the last year or so, so happy for her!
* being able to run the race after not running for several weeks. Mom & I pretty much stayed together the whole time and finished together too.
* telling the lady that registered me she didn't ask me for the $25 entry fee. She wrote paid on my sheet and I thought I was supposed to pay somewhere else. After I picked up my t-shirt I realized she had confused herself and never asked me for my money. She was very gracious when I told her. Obviously there is no point in running a race for charity if you don't make the donation.
* the adorable t-shirts we got for running the race.

* lunch at the house with Mom & Dad's. We had BLT's (turkey bacon).
* walking around Cranbury for a little bit this afternoon and then going to the LENOX and Crate & Barrel warehouses.
* Kelly deciding to come to NJ tonight. I made guacamole and bruschetta, we got bread from Dolce & Clemente and sat around talking about her teaching experiences so far.
* going to Kohl's with Kelly to find something to wear tomorrow. I found an adorable top, yay! We also picked up gifts for Uncle John.
* having a long talk with Mom, Dad & Kelly about everything going on in our extended family. It hasn't been an easy road, especially for Dad. I am thankful we have a strong foundation and that the four of us are so close.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* the confidence Bob has in me to help move the Mid-America region forward.
* lunch with Ian at Ooka in Montgomeryville. I filled him in on the progress I made with accounts in the northeast and we talked about different strategies for our regions.
* working on getting things organized in our bedroom, getting rid of stuff we don't need/use anymore, unpacking suitcases. Being away so much over the last month has made me feel extremely unorganized and overwhelmed by so much stuff. I struggle because sometimes I want to get rid of everything and then other times I want to hold onto it "because there will be use for it eventually. I feel better when I have somewhere to donate it. So far I've found somewhere that takes formal dresses, a women's shelter for unopened toiletries and VHS tapes, and a recycling place for batteries, computers etc. Now I feel like we can start working on ridding ourselves of crap we don't need anymore.
* going to a neighbor's open house tonight for a little while. I'm running a 5k tomorrow with Mom so I couldn't stay out late. I went with Meredith (next door) and Mason (our landlord). We met a bunch of people from the neighborhood. It was nice since we've lived here for almost a year and don't know anyone. Maybe we'll have a get together here at some point.
* Andy getting to Fort Lauderdale safely. I'm also thankful we can afford to do fun things like weekends away with friends. It's good for him to do things with "the guys" once in a while.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* lunch with John & Jocelyn at Plaza Azteca. It had been a long time since I was last there. The company and food were both excellent!
* Doug (the handyman) coming over with a new shelf for the fridge. It broke back in June or July and I finally mentioned it the other day. He ordered me the part and installed it this afternoon. We still need one more part for the drawers to fit correctly but it's already much better!
* a spot opening up for Viki to come to the photography class with me tonight. 
* everything I learned at the photography class tonight. It was exciting to see how much I can do with my camera once I learn some basic skills. The teacher (Jeff Berkes) is my age and has been taking photography classes since he was 13. He's won awards for Nation Geographic magazine and had some of the most amazing shots I've ever seen. 
* gaining a new appreciation for photography and good photos. Jeff showed us some photos of NYC, bridges, lightening, etc that took over 45 minutes to shoot. (For one picture!) It reminded me that like many things, the end product does not tell the story of much time, effort and knowledge go into it. I will think differently when I see what photographers charge for their incredible work. 
* booking the cruise for Jenn (Burke)'s 40th birthday! I'm hoping we can get Jeff & Megan to go too, and maybe some other friends. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* seeing Megan and the boys today and going to the Please Touch Museum with them.
Cutie pie Erilin having fun at the museum
* getting most of my expenses done today.
* the positive responses my Facebook post received. This is what I wrote:
Just throwing this out there---it would be nice to see people respect the fact that their friends on Facebook may not have their same political views. So while you watch the debate tonight, and comment about it, remember the generalizations you may be tempted to make could be insulting to people you consider to be your friends. I've seen so many nasty comments over the last few months. We care about this country and want things to move in a positive direction. Let's work on that together.
I am so tired of seeing people's nasty, insulting and generalizing (is that even a word?) comments. There are people I thought I liked and respected but when they write some of the things they write, without considering who of their friends may think differently---it really makes me question what kind of person they are. Our country it too divided and we have to work on solving issues together. What's it going to take for people to see that?
* watching a couple episodes of The Office before the debate. We have all of last season to catch up on. I was a little "Officed" out but enjoyed them tonight and look forward to catching up.
* going to SCOOPS for an ice cream treat an then watching the debate with Andy.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* talking with Kevin & Jenn today about plans for her 40th Birthday cruise.
* La Dolce Photography finding room for me to attend the class on Thursday night.
* Dave booking his flights for The Killers/DMB in December.
* Andy picking up a tomato pie from Tony A's for dinner, and Zicam so I can try to kick this cold before the weekend.
* dates for the DMB winter tour officially being released. Now we can look forward to seeing some of our DMB family around Christmas. Excited for Chicago, Philly & C'Ville!
* the PA Voter ID Law being blocked for this election. See this video to see how ridiculous this law is! It's even better because my own dad is the one that told me to watch it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I have gratitude today for...
* all of the rumored DMB winter tour dates. I'm hoping some of them are accurate--we were afraid they would be touring in November when we're away.
* getting pictures edited and posted from Dad's party and PJ's wedding. Mom & Dad were thrilled with all of pictures I took last Sunday.
* making baked ziti and tomato chicken tortilla soup tonight. I hate when it's cold outside but I do love fall cooking. Maybe next week I'll break out the crock pot.
* going to SCOOPS to use the Groupon I bought this summer. They make an awesome hot fudge sundae. (Yeah, Aruba diet, that needs to start sooooooon.)