March Picture-A-Day Challenge, Conquered!

I have to say, doing the March picture-a-day challenge was NOT easy.  I can’t believe that I let my life be so crazy and hectic to the point that I can’t remember to take one single picture in a day.  I am so glad that I waited until the end of the month to post them, because let’s face the facts – I got behind on pictures multiple times.  The whole month got started off on the wrong foot with Supergerm 2012, when I could barely function as a normal human being, let alone be bothered with photographs.  Luckily, I regained my senses around the 10th and got myself caught up.  Also luckily, I have a fantastically helpful husband who took my March 4th photo (bedside table) for me while I was oblivious to the world.  He was also gracious enough to take the March 31st photo (where I relax) while I was driving.  Enjoy the photos, because I will probably never be ambitious enough to do this again!

1: UP - My morning wake-up cup of coffee



















1-March 20121












The End of An Era (or, Good Riddance, I-5)

Today was the end of an era for me in many ways. It was my last day at work – new job starts Monday. It was my last day commuting on I-5. And, it was the last day of my nearly eight year steady relationship with Eugene. (Eugene the city, not Eugene the person. I don’t actually know a person named Eugene.)

Eugene and I go waaayyyyy back. As a kid, it was the place of fun – good malls, fancy movie theaters, and track meets.  Eight years ago, I moved to Eugene for college, where I got to continue the fun close up.  After three and a half years at school (two years spent living in the city), I graduated and got a job in a neighboring town.  So for the next four years, I still came to Eugene 4-5 days a week for work, shopping, date nights, and general fun.  I came to take it for granted that I would be in Eugene regularly and able to take advantage of all it has to offer.

But today was the end of that.  Since we moved last year, it is actually just as easy for me to go shopping in Portland, where I have more options.  And  we don’t have to drive to Eugene for date nights anymore because we have plenty of restaurants and movie theaters around here.  It is weird not knowing when I will next make the trip to Eugene, because I don’t have much reason to go there anymore.  I will miss the atmosphere of the city, my friends at work, and being able to go to the mall as I please.  Eugene will always have a special place in my heart.

What I will not miss?  Interstate 5.

For those of you unfamiliar with Oregon, I-5 is basically the only way to get anywhere that is anywhere.  The vast majority of our population lives on or near the I-5 corridor.  As a result, I-5 gets a lot of traffic.  And I spent my commute this week thinking of all the things I will not miss about I-5:

The Crazy Semi Truck Drivers:  Maybe it’s not just Oregon, maybe semi drivers are crazy everywhere.  But here, they are not only crazy.  They speed, swerve, cut people off, and generally break nearly every rule of driving.  (Although I will say they are pretty responsive if you want them to honk their horn).  When it snows or ices over, they drive 75 while everyone sane else drives at 50 or below.  Their trucks have the magical ability to create their own storm system of rain and wind.  And the day I got a flat tire and pulled off at the rest area in the pouring rain (with no idea how to change it), how many of the many semi drivers pulling in stopped to help me?  The answer is NONE.

About four years ago, Nathan & I went to church in the little town we lived in.  During the part of the service where people can ask the parish to pray for something/someone important to them, one lady’s prayer stood out to me in particular.  She said she had recently graduated from truck driving school, but that it was a miracle because she failed all the tests and they passed her anyway. (?!?!?!?!)  She wanted to give thanks and pray to God for this blessing.  I wanted to pray too - if only to pray that I never encountered her and her semi truck on a freeway.  But most days, it seems as if every truck driver on the road is that woman.

The Crazy NASCAR Wannabes:  This category is comprised of the crazy regular drivers who feel the need to drive everywhere at 85 mph, weave in and out of traffic (without blinkers) before slamming on their brakes, and flash their brights at anyone who dares to drive slower than 75.  They are most commonly found on I-5 on Fridays afternoons, when apparently no one in the state of Oregon is at work.

The Crazy Non-Headlight Users:  It drives me bonkers when I am driving in a torrential downpour on I-5, barely able to see ten feet in front me, and other drivers do not have their lights on.  TURN ON YOUR HEADLIGHTS FOR SAFETY, PEOPLE!!! DO YOU NOT SEE THE SIGNS???  People already think Oregonians are nuts for speeding through massive rainstorms, let’s not encourage the insanity by refusing to turn our headlights on while doing so.  I really don’t want to rear-end your car, and I don’t think you want that either.

The Wind:  Much of I-5 is in a valley, with open fields on either sides.  It makes for very windy conditions, even on a nice day.  And on an actual stormy, breezy day, the wind blows you all over the place, locking your hands in a death grip at ten and two.  There was literally a day last week so windy that I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz, driving into the tornado and waiting for a cow to fly across the road in front of my car. 

The Lack of Exits:  Unless you are smack dab in a metropolitan area, exits on I-5 are few and far between.  This is a problem if you are out of gas, directionally challenged, or suffer from what my dad likes to call tiny bladder syndrome.  One night in college, the fog was so thick that I missed my exit ramp, even though I knew that I was near it.  I couldn’t see it until the very moment I passed it.  My house was less than 5 minutes from the exit, but I had to drive 25 minutes farther north until I could take the next exit and turn around, adding about 45 minutes total to my trip.  Boy, did I feel stupid when I had to explain why it took me so long to get home.

The “Bump”:  A couple months ago, during a week of massive rainstorms, a gaping hole opened up in the right lane of the freeway near Eugene.  To call it a giant pothole would be putting it lightly.  Every single morning for two weeks I would forget and hit that stupid hole in the dark on my way to work.  After a couple weeks, the road crew finally decided to warn people.  They put up a sign that said “BUMP” and was well over a mile in advance.  So you would drive cautiously thinking, “Where’s the bump?”, assume you must have passed it, and then right about that time - BAM.  Your tire would nail a direct hit.  After about a month, they finally got the good sense to fill the pothole, but apparently decided to leave up the “BUMP” sign for entertainment value.  Or perhaps they knew they did shoddy work, because I noticed yesterday in the daylight that our most recent storms have opened the hole back up.

I could go on, but I have gone on long enough and I think you get the picture.  Good riddance, Interstate 5.  Eugene, we’ll meet again.  And back roads?  Please don’t flood from snowmelt and force me to take I5 to the new job next week.


Snow Day Number Two

And I thought yesterday was a snow day!  In some places the snow changed to rain yesterday, but in my town it never stopped snowing.  All.  Day.  Long.  It didn’t accumulate much during the day yesterday because it was so wet, but as soon as the sun went down at 7 pm it started piling up again.  By the time Nathan got home from work, we had at least six inches of snow!!!  Way more than what we got Wednesday.  He could barely get the car into the driveway, even with the snow tires.  I woke up to this:


It was so pretty, but such a pain, because I really needed to get to work today.  So I waited for the sun to come up, confirmed that the power was back on at work, and left the house around 8:30.  It took me five minutes to get our of my one car driveway, and about another ten minutes to make the two minute trip to the freeway.  Our neighborhood was snowed in!!!



It was a little sad to see all the beautiful cherry trees that lost branches or did not survive the heavy, wet snow.  (And also slightly disturbing, considering I spent ten minutes Wednesday morning standing underneath a cherry tree taking pictures.  Luckily all that fell on me was a giant piece of wet snow.)  It was so rare to see so much snow at the end of March, when so much of the time we don’t get this much snow all winter.  I love snow, but only when I don’t have to drive in it.  I am ready to be done with the crazy weather!


Snow Day!

DSC_0041I know, what am I, twelve?  But today was indeed a snow day here in my area of Oregon.  All the schools around here are closed, trees are down, and power is out (thankfully not at my house)!  Our incompetent forecast challenged meteorologists didn’t see that one coming.  I am not sure what it takes to become a weather man (or lady) in the Pacific Northwest, but it seems that the basic qualifications are making a lot of hand gestures, having some weird quirk (like the one guy who always wears bow-ties or the girl who sounds like she is choking when she talks), and when in doubt predicting rain.  I am pretty sure I would be a fantastic weather person, but I’ll have to think of what my weird quirk should be.  I’ll get back to you on that one.

Anyway, it was pouring rain when I went to bed last night, but by the time my husband came home from work at 3:30, the snow was falling and sticking.  Wonderful guy that he is, he had me reset my alarm from 4 to 6, and when he realized the snow was not letting up he went outside in the snow at 5 am to put my studded tires on my car so that I could go to work.  (Thursday was supposed to be my last day at this job, and I was supposed to start training a replacement today).  Unfortunately his thoughtful work was for naught, because I called work before I left the house and discovered the power was out.  There was no point in me driving down there (well over an hour in this weather) because there is not much I can do or show someone without power.  So, my last day will now have to be Friday.  But today, I got to enjoy an old-fashioned snow day!

Since I was already up, I enjoyed an early morning walk to the park.

DSC_0032DSC_0059_01    DSC_0034_01DSC_0030_01  DSC_0049DSC_0062DSC_0035DSC_0040_01

Apparently snow makes my sense of direction worse than usual, because on the walk home (mind you, I had only walked about three blocks from my house), I took a wrong turn and walked down the wrong street for several blocks before realizing it.  I did think the houses looked fancier than I remembered.  But I didn’t figure it out until I attempted to make a right turn onto my street, only to see that my house was not there.

I also had the time to make these fantastic Easter treats that I saw on Pinterest.  They combine my favorite Christmas candy (haystacks) with my favorite Easter candy (Cadbury mini-eggs . . . tiny morsels of goodness).

I am now preparing to gain back the four pounds of winter weight that I managed to lose while stricken with the Supergerm of 2012.


These are quite possibly the easiest things to make.  There are only three ingredients and it took me maybe twenty minutes tops.  You make the haystacks by melting butterscotch chips.  I was taught by my expert candy-making relatives to use a double boiler to melt the chips evenly. (I don’t own a real double boiler, so I use a stainless steel mixing bowl over the top of one of my pots.)  One the chips are melted, just stir in some dry chow mein noodles and scoop onto wax paper.  Then place the Cadbury mini-eggs on top of the haystacks to make an “Easter egg nest”.  Ta-da!  Deliciousness.

It is 2 pm and the snow continues to fall.  Meanwhile, my sister Erika is enjoying 70 degree weather in Aspen.  Does anyone else see the irony in this?  As much as I have enjoyed my snow day off, I really hope it clears up and the power comes back on before tomorrow morning, because I have a lot to do at work before my last day on Friday.  But for now, I am off to finish re-reading the Hunger Games.  Welcome to Spring?


Do You Like Free Things? I Do!

If you have a Kindle, you are going to love the website I am going to tell you about.  I have been meaning to share this for a while, since I know many of my friends and family have e-readers. 

The website is called Pixel of Ink.  They do 4-5 posts a day highlighting the Kindle Deal of the Day, bargain Kindle books, and free Kindle books currently available on Amazon.  They summarize the plot of the book and link you back to the Amazon page to download (for free or drastically reduced prices)!  It is so much easier than searching through Amazon’s gigantic website to find free books.  And if you don’t like the book – well hey, it was free!

I have noticed that most of the free or bargain books are trashy romance or mystery/crime/suspense novels (neither of which really interest me).  Also, I’ve noticed a lot of the free books are part of a series (I am assuming they give you one free to get you hooked, so you buy the rest).  But they also have nonfiction, self-help, how-to, and my very favorite – good old chick lit!  The only other downside to the free books is that sometimes I notice some spelling/grammar errors or general format issues.  But most of the time they are easy enough to skip over. 

I got a Kindle for Christmas, and thanks to Pixel of Ink I have not paid for a single book yet.  Since tripping across their website in January, I have downloaded over 30 free books from Amazon that I learned about from them.  I haven’t had a chance to read most of them yet (so far I think I have gotten through 6), but I love that I have my own little library on my Kindle for whatever strikes my fancy when I want to read.  Checking out the daily deals on Pixel of Ink has become part of my daily internet routine, right after checking my e-mail and Facebook.  The free books from Pixel of Ink are great time fillers while I am in between books on the library’s waiting list. 

Check out Pixel of Ink!  If you have a Kindle and like to read, I think you will love it just as much as I do.

Here is a taste what I have been reading lately:

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I have this in hardcover.  I love my Kindle, but I think the classics need to be owned in book form.  I first read this in October, so I am currently re-reading to prepare for seeing the movie next weekend!!!!  If you haven’t read these books yet, READ THEM NOW, before you see the movie.  Seriously, they are that good.
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling – I checked this e-book out form the library.  This is a memoir written by a screenwriter, who you may also know as Kelly Kapoor from The Office.  Her book is insightful and humorous (in an appropriate way).  The only thing I didn’t like was that it had footnotes – I normally love these in books, but they were a bit of a pain to read on a Kindle.
  • Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler – Also checked out from the library e-book program.  This memoir was hilarious (but in a a highly inappropriate way).  If you are easily offended, you probably won’t think Chelsea is funny.  I, on the other hand, laughed my ass off.
  • Chasing Rainbows by Kathleen Long – this was one of my free Pixel of Ink books and I really liked it.  It was about a recently divorced woman who had just lost her father, and how she put her life back together again.
  • Next up – The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & The Olympians Book 1) by Rick Riordan.  I waited on the library waiting list for three and a half months to check this out, only to have my mother tell me she has all of these books at home and I could have borrowed them at any time.  Well, that’s just fantastic.


New Name!

As of Friday, I am now a licensed driver, a registered voter, and a Costco member!

Yes, I was already all of these things.  But under my MAIDEN name.  Now the married me is officially ready to get pulled over, vote in May, and buy loads of unnecessary but wonderful products at my local warehouse.  (Okay fine,  maybe just the last two.  I have never been pulled over and would like to keep it that way.)

When I start my new job (exactly one week from Monday – !!!!!), I will no longer have every Friday off work to take care of all of the little things.  So yesterday (after getting up at the crack of dawn to put in five hours at work in the morning), I decided to use my afternoon wisely and get some of the name change errands checked off my list.  I had been procrastinating this for a variety of reasons, primarily because I thought I had to first get my name changed with Social Security before dealing with the DMV (turns out you don’t).

My experience with the Social Security office last month was so much more pleasant than I would have expected.  I had imagined long lines, weird people, and a dark stuffy waiting room, but the Social Security office here was clean, bright, and totally empty except for me.  My number was called as soon as I took a ticket.  They are strangely paranoid about their safety over there at Social Security.  Is the Social Security office a big target for criminals?  While I was taking a ticket, a security guard materialized out of nowhere, demanding to search my purse.  (Good luck, lady.  I spent ten minutes the other day just trying to find my cell phone in there, but have at it.) They also feel the need to protect their workers from the general public behind a gigantic window of plastic (or perhaps bullet-proof glass, who really knows).  The desk stretches out about three feet on either side of this protective barrier, so you basically end up having to SHOUT to the robot of a worker on the other side.  But whatever.  It took a grand total of 6 minutes from the time I entered the building to the time that I left, so I am not complaining.

Once I had my Social Security card, I really had nothing stopping me from taking care of business at the DMV, except for the fear that I would take a bad picture.  You see, I renewed my license last summer and (shockingly) took a decent picture when doing so.  I was very hesitant to give that up.  I am not a very photogenic individual on a good day, and the gigantic zit that took up residence on my chin two weeks ago is not doing me any favors.  But as I said earlier, I was running out of spare days to get my new license, and I also wanted to be able to vote this spring under my new name.  So yesterday, I piled on a face full of makeup, and Zitty and I headed over to the DMV.

I have to give props to the DMV – it only took 15 minutes from start to finish.  But seriously, they need to invest in some air fresheners in that place.  (I have paid them over $150 in fees for licenses and vehicle registrations in the last year, so I think it’s safe to say that they can afford to spring for some Febreze).  And in true DMV form, they replaced my perfectly acceptable license picture with an unflattering, psychotic-looking picture that I will now be stuck with for the next six and a half years:

gooddmvpic 001     baddmvpic 001

My always supportive husband suggested that maybe the official color version will be better.  HA!  Maybe in a fantasy world, but not in this one. 

On the plus side?  At least you can’t see Zitty.


Art Shows & Facials

GUEST POST ALERT!!!!!!  Due to the lack of anything besides work and sleep occurring in my life this week, please enjoy this guest post from my beautiful, talented, super-smart globetrotting sister Erika!!!! ~ Megan

As many of you may already know, I have moved to the Big Apple.  Yup, that’s right, this small town girl finally made the big move to the big city!  Obviously there are quite a few differences between the valley in Oregon where I have spent my entire life (all whopping 23 years) and New York City – taxis, public transportation, shopping other than Ross Dress For Less, etc.  However, since I work for and live with a family from the Upper East Side, my New York experience is a little bit different than many others who have ventured to this great city.  As a personal assistant slash live in nanny, I would say my life currently is a mix between The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada.  Minus the whole crazy evil boss part …well, maybe not minus the crazy.

I adore my boss, and she is amazing and wonderful …but I have had to run for cover when she is in one of her “moods”.  Like last summer when she got upset that she couldn’t get a real person on the phone when she was trying to contact the local cable company, and ended up chucking her iPhone and shattering it into a million pieces.  In her defense, those automatic systems most companies have set up these days are highly annoying, and will even get my dander in an uproar.  (Side note: as her personal assistant, and because she hates dealing with such things, I now get to make those types of phone calls for her so I can personally vouch to their annoyingness).  But anyways, I am highly off topic now and must get back to the point of my little guest blog.

So, as I stated earlier there are many differences between Oregon life and my new New York life.  I have two wonderful examples I get to share with you today…so exciting, I know…

The Art Show

So the woman I work for (lets call her J) is the head of a non-profit art company that buys and sells art.  What exactly her job is, I could not tell you.  There are a lot of events and benefits and dinners and schmoozing and whatnot.  I still have yet to figure out how she makes a living.  Anywhoo, this last week was Art Week in New York, meaning J was running around like a crazy person with me jogging along behind her, going a thousand miles a minute and trying to hit up 7 events every day.  So when she invited me along to this art show down on the pier, I agreed.  Heck, I know nothing about art and the whole point of me moving to NYC was to gain new experiences, right?  So off I went to Pier 92.  The whole event lasted about 5 hours and by the end of the day, I had figured out three major facts.

Fact #1:  I am pursuing the wrong career.

Like I said, I have yet to figure out exactly what it is J does for a living.  Well, from the impression I got, her days are spent walking around galleries, looking at random things that people have decided to call “art”, and getting wasted. 

First things  first - the walking around galleries is great exercise.  It was a thousand degrees inside because no one bothered to look at the weather report and see that, oh hey, it was going to be 70 degrees that day, and maybe the heat didn’t need to be cranked up to maximum power.  So naturally, I sweated off about 5 pounds at this event. 

Second, art consists of a random mixture of splatters on paper, pornography and a little bit of actual talent.  J bought one thing the whole day.  It was a wooden fold out chair that, when not in chair position, stated (and I quote, so please excuse the language as it is not mine), “shit is fucked and it’s all bullshit”.  This “art” was done as part of the Occupy Wall Street protest, and while I see the sense in having a sign that is also a chair if you are actually out protesting … the fact that J (who is without a doubt part of the 1%) bought this for $35,000 blows my mind.

Lastly, art people spend their days getting drunk and having a great time.  Who the heck wouldn’t want that in their every day job!??!?!  At this one art show, there were three VIP lounges, 4 champagne bars, and 5 regular bars.  After sweating off 2.5 pounds halfway through the show due to the sauna-like setting I was forced to be in, I was craving some water.  Guess what … there was NO water served at any of those beverage locations - not one.  So no wonder people buy art for outrageous prices, they are all smashed and too wasted to care. 

Remind me why I am spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to school and become a doctor when I can just get drunk and either buy, sell, or make some random piece of art by throwing some paint on a canvas and make millions all day, every day??

Fact #2: I know nothing about art.

This is a very simple story.  The whole time we were at the art fair, I said about 4 sentences.  I know nothing about art and I will never pretend to know anything.  The only time I really entered into the conversation was a giant mistake.  J asked me if I saw anything that I found interesting.  Well, of course I wanted to say something intelligent so I looked at my surroundings and found one of those pictures that is made from a thousand other tiny little pictures.  Hopefully you know the kind I am talking about – its like one giant collage from a bunch of other tiny pictures.  Well, lo and behold I spotted one of those and said something along the lines of how it impressed me that they can do things like that, blah blah blah.  Well end of story, J and I go up for a closer look, and come to find out that the little tiny pictures in the collage are in fact photos of male and female genitalia.  Good job Erika.  Way to freaking go.  Needless to say, I had nothing else to add to the conversation the rest of the day.

Fact #3: Hot/Famous people are at art shows.

This is by far the most important lesson I learned that day at the art show.  As I was walking along, gazing at random paintings and being distracted by flashing neon lights, I accidentally ran into a group of folks walking the opposite direction.  Being polite slash slightly embarrassed, I quickly apologized and the group laughed it off and that should have been that …except it wasn’t.  This group I happened to walk into happened to have this really, really, REALLY hot man with them.  And, as he caught my eye, I happened to find his face extremely familiar.

As I walked away, I started thinking to myself, “How the heck do I know him?  He is hot ... like the hottest guy I have ever seen in real life ... and HOW THE HECK DO I KNOW HIM?  When have I ever met someone that beautiful?  Can I really know someone that hot and not notice it?  Have I met him before?  WHY IS HE SO FAMILIAR!!??!?”.  These thoughts went through my mind for a good 30 seconds until it hit me: I do not actually know the man.  He is familiar because I spend the majority of my Thursday nights watching him on television.  He is in fact Dr. Avery from Grey’s Anatomy; and yes, sad to say but I will admit it, for almost a full minute I thought I actually personally knew the man and he didn’t exist in my little fantasy television world.  And for those of you who have no idea who I am talking about because you “live under a rock” (a direct quote from my sister Megan), here is the man himself:


And yes ... he is just as beautiful in real life.

So needless to say, I had a minor internal freak out inside after I finally figured out who he was.  Sadly, there was no acting on it, and although I passed by him again later on in the day, my clumsy run in was to be our only encounter.  I did not catch his eye and he did not fall madly in love with me …so clearly, something must be wrong with him.

Okay, so … I did not really get to my facial part of this blog, but I have a feeling it’s quite long enough as it is.  So the facial part will just have to be put on pause, and maybe my darling older sister will let me guest write again soon and I can finish this in “Art Shows & Facials Part Two”.  Which involves me, a very angry midget Hungarian woman, and lots and lots of physical pain.  Until next time, folks.

xoxo - Erika



The past year has been a year of changes for my family.  Last June, Nathan & I moved out of the town that we had lived in for the previous four years.  The following month, my youngest sister made a big life change and moved to Minnesota.  September marked the beginning of my baby brother’s senior year of high school. (Gasp!  Can any of us believe we are seriously so old that he will be going to go college in a few short months?  I can’t.)  In December, Nathan & I got married.  In January, my oldest younger sister moved to NYC for work until she starts medical school in Rochester, NY later this summer.  In February, we lost my grandma unexpectedly.  And now March is bringing yet another big change.

I made it official this week that I will be leaving my job at JM.  I have been there for four years, ever since graduating college.  As many of you know, I have been commuting the whole time.  For the first three years, it was a long but manageable 40-45 minute commute.  I worked four tens, and that made it a little easier.  When we moved last spring, my commute increased to an hour each way – and that was on a good day (the commute on days with bad weather or traffic was significantly longer).  I kept up with the commute as best I could, but it really started to take its toll on me both physically and emotionally.  It has not been healthy for me (or my oil guzzling car, for that matter).  I have no time for myself on work nights, and I consider myself lucky if get 6 hours of sleep (more often I clock in between 4-5 hours).  My stress level has been high, my eating habits questionable, and my exercise and household cleaning have really taken a nosedive.  I have spent a lot of time wondering if my job/lifestyle would make me prematurely gray, and spent a lot more time examining my hair for these nonexistent grays.  After taking the majority of December off for the wedding & Christmas, it has been really hard to adjust back to the commute and long days.

I have accepted a new job at another nonprofit in the next town over, which I start on March 26th.  A 20 minute drive vs. an hour+, and a grand total of 28 miles a day vs. the whopping 114 miles a day that I am currently driving.  The job allows me to continue working in the nonprofit industry, which really fits my personality and values.  The agency has good core values and I think I will be a better person by working there.  The salary and benefits are better, and the job is a real step up for me.  It offers me experience in a new area, and gets me out of medical billing, which I have always disliked and never intended to make a career of.  It gives me more time at home – more time to sleep, take care of myself, and take care of the chores around here during the week so that I do not spend every Saturday swamped with a week’s worth of household cleaning and laundry.  And it gives me a change of scenery, which I honestly think is something I have needed for a while.

I am excited for this change, but also a little scared and sad.  I really value the friendships I have made at JM, and I love seeing my hard work translated into positive, concrete results that make a difference to the children and families they serve. 

It is scary to make a change, because I am stepping into the unknown.  What if I don’t know how to do something?  That’s scary.  Learning all the new names & faces, and making new friends?  That’s even scarier.  If you know me, you know that I am a genuinely kind person and a loyal friend (and according to my youngest sister, “surprisingly funny”), but I am shy and it takes me a long time to open up and feel comfortable around new people – because of this, it is hard for me to make new friends unless the other person is willing to be patient and put some time and effort into the friendship. 

But I had a long heart to heart with my mom, and came to this conclusion:  If you never take a risk, you will never get anywhere.  I do not want to be ‘stuck’ in life, and unfortunately, ‘stuck’ is what I have been lately.  I had spent the last year and a half focusing on the wedding and throwing myself into that, but after it was over I wasn’t really sure what came next.  I always want to be moving forward.  I want to focus on the positives in life. 

Of course I won’t know how to do everything – it is a new company and I will have to learn how to do things their way.  But I am a smart cookie, and I know that I can learn anything.  I have proven this to myself time and time again.  I am a perfectionist who wants to be good at everything I do, and I have successfully managed to do this in every job I have ever held. (Not counting that high school job at Figaro’s – clearly pizza making is just not in the cards for me.  Noted.  But seriously?  The lack of cheese you are supposed to put on the pizzas is criminal.)

So, here’s a shout out to changes and new adventures.  I don’t yet know what the rest of 2012 will bring (although let’s hope it brings a move to a house that does not share walls with any neighbors), but if the last year is any indication, I am sure there will be more changes to come.  I say?  Bring it on.


Total (Immune) System Failure

I have come to the conclusion that my body is a breeding ground for the common cold.

Somehow, I managed to avoid the gazillion nasty flu bugs that have been circulating this winter, only to be knocked flat on my butt by a pesky little (ha!) cold that came on Saturday out of the blue.

I consider myself a relatively healthy person.  I exercise regularly (okay fine – regularly enough), I don’t smoke, and I don’t eat fast food.  I take a multi-vitamin every single day and I wear sunscreen.  I don’t even get sick very often.  TMI alert, but I have not thrown up in nearly 11 years, and I think that is pretty good track record.  My body protects me relatively well – until it meets a cold virus.

I envision the journey of a cold virus into my body to be something akin to going on a vacation to a five star resort, complete with free spa passes and complimentary room service.  The cold germs enter my system, and are immediately taken to meet and greet with my white blood cells.  “Wow,” my white blood cells must say, “You are so glamorous and wonderful.  We bow down to you, Mr. Germ!  Now, let’s show you where all our secret hiding spots for a vacationing germ to hide from the paparazzi are.”

You may think I exaggerate, but my husband will assure you that I do not.  The common cold takes a vacation in my body 2-3 times a year, on average.  The problem is, a cold that lasts three days with a normal person lasts three weeks with me.  Normal people go to work and go about their daily lives with colds.  I, however, spent my first full weekend without plans in who-knows-how-long laid up on my couch, running a fever and hacking up a lung.  I was too tired and in too much pain to read or even watch TV.  Do you know how BORING that is?  And really, I actually did have big plans for my Weekend of Nothing prior to the Supergerm.

Nathan was fantastic and took excellent care of me.  Which was good, because I complain a lot when I am sick.  I am an incredibly big baby when I don’t feel well.  He thought a hot toddy would help Sunday afternoon.  I had never had one before, but I was willing to try anything.  It did help, in as much that it soothed my throat and quieted my cough enough to knock me out for a solid few hours.  But then I woke up.  I slept so much Sunday that I could not sleep Sunday night, outside of some delirious feverish sleep.  This is one of those weeks where I could not miss work, so Nathan woke me up for work Monday morning. 

He went to make me coffee while I attempted to wake up, and when he came back upstairs, my feverish self was singing the “This Little Piggy Went To Market” song to my fingers, and informed him that I found it somewhat disturbing and slightly carnivorous that a pig would eat roast beef (this after I realized that the third pig has roast beef – at first I was singing that the pig had root beer).  I think he thought I had lost my mind. 

Somehow, I managed to get dressed for work, which was a bit of a miracle in itself (I made up another song to help me get dressed, which involved singing, “My shoes are on my feet,” over and over.  It would appear that running a fever makes me a little loopy.)  An even bigger miracle was that I managed to drive an hour to work and make it there in one piece.  Once at work, a thermometer verified that I was indeed running a fever, and some Tylenol managed to bring my temperature and my brain back down to earth.

Until I got home that night.  At which point I informed Nathan that I thought my head was like planet Earth.  He just looked at me (probably wondering where this was going).  I elaborated.  “With Earth, you drill to the center and you find a core of lava. With my head, you drill to the center and I bet you would find a core of mucus.”

My husband’s answer?  “Don’t you think they might find your brain?”  Pffft.  I drove a half an hour on the freeway in fourth gear that morning before I even noticed.  I think we all know the answer to THAT question.

It is now Tuesday, and thankfully my fever and crazy delirious comments seem to have gone away (Ha! Mostly.), but the hacking cough and suffocating congestion remain.  I am really hoping the vacationing germs suffer some sort of sunburn and have to go home early, although that seems highly unlikely considering it snowed here today.  Perhaps the pool at the resort will break and they will have to seek shelter elsewhere.  Because I have now developed a large painful lump on my jawline, which is either an angry lymph node working double time, or the beginning of the biggest underground zit in the history of mankind.  And either of those options (are you listening, slacker immune system)?  Are just not cool.


Almost Famous

Yesterday morning, I received an e-mail that changed my life.  Seriously.

The e-mail was from the New England Patriots.  Seriously.

The e-mail stated that with my permission, they would like to post my super bowl cookies to their OFFICIAL PINTEREST PAGE.  SERIOUSLY!!!!!

How many ways can a girl say, “YES!!!!!”? (For the record, my dad and husband think I should have said, “Yes, IF I also get to meet Tom.”) (Also for the record – I would totally settle for a trip to Foxborough and tickets to a game.  Just saying.  You never know who may be reading this.)

I had originally e-mailed this picture of my cookies to the Patriots shortly after the Super Bowl in February, with the far fetched hope that someday, it might make one of the Facebook fan albums:


I honestly expected nothing to ever come of it.  But a few days later, I got a reply back from the Patriots that they loved my cookies and would definitely keep the picture on file.  I was so stoked that they even bothered to write me back.  That reply alone was enough to make my year!  So I was shocked to hear from them again yesterday, and over the moon to hear that I can now follow them on Pinterest as well as Facebook! 

By the time I got home from work that night, my cookies had been pinned.  So far it has two repins – me and my mom!  But I hope all that will change when they have finished setting up their Pinterest page and make it public on Facebook.  In the meantime, visit the pin of my cookies here.  And while you are there, check out the rest of their boards!  They have some rather awesome Patriots-themed wedding ideas, some super-cute Patriots baby ideas, and some flat out fantastic ideas for Patriots décor in your home (Hello, toaster that imprints the Patriot logo on my toast.  Where have you been all my life?).