Silver Linings.

I’ve been posting a lot recently about my recent frustrations and navigations through life lessons learned, but I feel it fair to report that the past couple of weeks have also had their strange silver linings.  Continue reading

Our feelings were caught and stopped that ring; dulls the fire, works ’til they stop singing

Being sick the past few days meant that I’ve pretty much been homebound, which then bled into my normal work-from-home days, which means I’ve spent more time at home the past few days than I probably have in months. It’s been weird, but oddly welcomed, although I could have done without the feverish hell that was Friday through Monday. I’m feeling more or less better now. I think a lot of times illness coincides with life things, and it just seemed that perhaps my body was telling me it was time to rid my body/my life of a lot of different toxins. It was good to be forced to completely stop everything, and just recharge and heal.

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Mondays don’t always have to be painful…

As far as Mondays go, this one hasn’t been terrible. I can probably attribute that to all of the wonderful music I’ve been listening to today (finally compiling all the songs I’ve tagged on Shazam the past few months, and creating various Spotify playlists with them. Have I mentioned how much I love Spotify?)

Anyway, this one came up on that list, and I have a feeling it’s going to become a staple during the spring and summer months (Can you tell warmer months have been on my mind recently?). Maybe if I get my shit together this year, I’ll actually put together/send out a seasonal playlist mix that I can add this one to.

How’s your Monday been? What songs got you through today?


5 (+1) things.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to come up with shit to write in here. Granted, once I start writing, I’m good, but finding the topic/inspiration to open WordPress to begin with can be trying.

So, I’m going to pick up something I tried before–both in this blog and back when I was a kid: Gratitude postings. Basically, I note 3-5 things from that day that were good/I was grateful for. It’s a good way to help shift perspective, and a good way to take the time to acknowledge some of the “little things” that otherwise might pass you by…

  1. It was a beautiful day. Seriously, pitch-perfect fall weather. I was in the office for most of the day, but I took a couple breaks and was able to step outside for a few moments each time and just freaking love the hell out of feeling the muted sunshine on my jacketed shoulders and watch the stark white clouds sail across a bright blue sky.
  2. My co-workers are hilarious. Now that I’ve been with my new job for almost a year, I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to work in a place where I like everyone I work with. Beyond that, they are hilarious. The past couple of days have included numerous e-mail chains with YouTube link one-upmanships, Photoshop/MS Paint fun, and various entertaining/clever exchanges that make daily office drudgery less drudge-y.

    In my next life, I will be an artist who exclusively works in MS Paint...

  3. Breaking bread. Dinner wasn’t anything particularly fancy tonight (although I did enjoy the Illiano’s yumminess), but it was nice to actually sit around the table and have a conversation with my family. Especially considering so many of our meals end up on the couch/in front of the TV, it’s just nice to exercise some of those good ol’ fashion nuclear family values every once again awhile.
  4. Rediscovering a favorite song. I’m still trying to figure out my new ride, but one of the big benefits (beyond 40 mph on the highway to the gallon) is the fact I can sync my iTunes to the radio. This morning as I was driving in, I was skimming the music I had on there and came across a song that was one of my obsessive jams from last winter:I really enjoyed listening to this about 10 times on the drive in, volume blaring, while I sing along. It was like catching up with an old friend after a long absence.
  5. A silver lining. This doesn’t really fall under “happy” news, but my friend called this morning to tell me her beloved bunny, Alejandro, passed away. She and her 2 sons were absolutely devastated by his passing and hearing the news made my heart sink, too. But there was some positive to the sad news: so many people expressed genuine remorse for their loss throughout the day via FB, which I thought was not only nice for my friend and her kids to see, but it also shows how people really are connected to their pets. Whenever someone apologizes to me for their emotional response when their pet is sick or has passed, I make sure they know no judgment is being passed their way and that I understand completely the love one feels for their anipals.Beyond that, I’m proud of Heather for really going above and beyond to help her kids process Alejandro’s death and to make sure they understand that it’s OK to be sad and OK to grieve. I admire the loving, intelligent way Heather handles her boys–letting them fully be children, but also taking their feelings, thoughts, and concerns seriously and always speaking to them like people whose opinion/thoughts deserve to be heard. Her FYI later in the day that there may be a memorial service for Alej, and it may be open to the public, only further proves the sweet, quirky, and brilliant lengths she goes to make sure she does right by her children.
  6. Light at the End of the Expressway. Super bonus that I almost forgot until just now: For the first part of my commute, I was followed by a full rainbow for a several miles of my morning commute:

    Not the best picture ever, but you take what you can get at 70 mph...


Good Luck Chucks…

When I got ready for work yesterday, I felt like a little kid as I excitedly put on my brand-new, on-sale Chuck Taylors. I have bought many pairs of shoes in my life, many fancy, expensive styles, but I don’t think any of brought me as much pure joy as these $20 shoes. I literally found myself dancing around, recreating scenes from Footloose in my head.

The minute I threw them on, I felt 9-years old again, ready to take on the world and whatever it laid down in front of me to walk on, and I was determined to make the most of the day because you can never fully recapture the feeling you have that first day you break out your cool new kicks.

This nostalgia-fueled bliss carried with me for most of the day, which altogether was a good one, despite my failed attempt at an exotic instant lunch. I had stocked up on some creative, easy-to-make lunch options at Wegmans over the weekend knowing that I probably wouldn’t feel much like cooking this week. I indulged in their selection of natural, international insta-meals, including 2 Indian curry dishes and an easy-cook miso soup mix.

Oddly enough, the issue I had was not with the curry, the option I was most skeptical about, but instead with the miso soup. First off, instant soup should have no more than 2 steps. This one was so complicated, I actually needed to read (and re-read) the box instructions to prepare.

Their version of miso soup was also questionable: udon noodles and freeze-dried tofu and spinach (instead of seaweed). It also came with a package of gloppy, unidentifiable “seasoning,” which I used cautiously and conservatively. The end result basically equated to a bowl filled with a mish-mosh of 4 equally unsatisfying and bland ingredients. Fortunately for me, I found one of my almost-forgotten pudding cups still in the fridge. Here’s to healthy eating!

As remarkable as all this is, the rest of the day was even more ordinary. It was a good day, but nothing particularly exciting happened. I got a chance to talk for awhile with a coworker who I haven’t had the opportunity to talk much with, which was cool, and joked around with a few others who I interact with more regularly.

Yesterday morning also included a nice pick-me-up when I received a few emails notifying me I had received “Cause for Applause” points from coworkers. Cause for Applause is this peer-recognition program that my company participates in where each employee is given 15 points each month to “give” to fellow coworkers to acknowledge a job well done. There are different point amounts you can award, for different categories (team focused, excellence, resilient, and a few others I can’t remember offhand). There’s also the option of submitting a comment to explain why the person deserves the recognition. It’s all done anonymously, so you can acknowledge someone’s work without feeling silly about it, which I like, plus it adds a level of fun/mystery because you’re never quite sure who recognized/appreciated something you did.

So it was nice to get the emails this morning with sweet/funny messages from coworkers, welcoming me to the team, acknowledging the work I’ve done so far, and congratulating me for fitting in so well with the group. That especially made me feel good, since, as noted before, I couldn’t help but feel like an awkward panda the first few weeks. I definitely feel like things have gotten much better, especially this week and last, but it’s always nice to have a little reassurance.

The added bonus is that after you accrue certain point amounts, you can start redeeming them for gift cards for restaurants, the movies, and certain stores. I’m already debating where I should cash my points in at, but honestly, that’s secondary to how good it feels to be recognized by my peers. Have I mentioned I love my job?

So long to the holidays…

Well, the holidaze is finally over and it’s time to get back into the normal swing of things. I can’t say I’m not happy about that. Although our holidays were good, they came at a crazy time this year (what else is new?) and it felt like the celebrations were being rushed by my attempt to get settled/acclimated into my new job. Even though I tried to get my shopping out of the way early, I still found myself out until late on the 23rd and even spending most of Christmas eve day out at the stores, trying to finish up everything that needed to be done. But, despite all my worries, it all came together in the end, and ended up being a good holiday for us both (sans Donnie’s New Year’s Day stomach virus. Poor Guy :().

Apparently I was pretty good this year because Santa (by way of Donnie…) got me my very own shiny iPad, so here I am, updating from the train like a tech-savvy individual. Looks are deceiving though– I’m still getting used to how this nifty thing works (and autocorrect, which I’m sure is happily bastardizing this post…), but I’ve managed to master Facebook and Scrabble, so all is not lost. 🙂 Continue reading

let the reindeer games begin.

Well, after days of prepping and hours of cooking and cleaning, Thanksgiving is over. Time for the reindeer games to officially begin…

It was a good holiday, but my dad and I agree that next year, we’re going to have to set up things so there is less time on the prepping/cleaning, and more time on the enjoying. Beyond the prep work D & I (and everyone else) did the Tuesday and Wednesday before, I was literally in the kitchen at the stove in my pajamas from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and was back there again after taking a quick shower and dressing. Although the meal came together well, it didn’t feel like there was much time to enjoy it (at least for me), although I’m happy that everyone else seemed to enjoy the day. I think next year we’ll go with a buffet, smaller portions (ie, cooking one pan of stuffing vs. three), and maybe disposable plates (at least for dessert).

Friday was officially the first day of house hunting. And from that, I have determined I am not cut out for house hunting. Nothing bad happened– my parents were fine/everyone got along– I just realize what a arduous, frustrating process this will be. Everyone you talk to has their own “advice” about what is the best option (renting, buying), what type of home to buy (townhouse, single family, twin, condo), and various tips/thoughts/feedback on what to look for within those parameters (“don’t buy something old–it’s a money pit!” “new construction isn’t as well made as old construction!” “be sure you have off-street parking! Think of the snowstorms!”). My head was spinning after we wrapped up our first venture out. We mainly did a “drive by” of some homes for sale in Collingswood and then checked out a new construction for condos right next to the speedline. The building was beautiful, but SO expensive. We are determined to stay within an affordable price range, so we shall see…

Saturday D ended up getting called into work so I decided I’d drop him off and check out the weekend sales. I was in desperate need of winter clothes and hadn’t been shopping in forever. Well, I definitely made up for it yesterday! Donnie worked from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. and I literally spent that entire time out at the stores! I initially wasn’t having a whole lot of luck at the mall (although I did score some cute shoes on sale at Macy’s), but then I saw they opened a Francesca’s boutique there, a little shop that is also in the Marlton Promenade that my cousin Katie turned me on to. I nabbed three dresses from the sales rack and a purse that was 40% off AND a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law before I met D for his dinner break.

After that, I headed to Target. Oh, Target, my sweet, sweet mistress. Their clothing selection can often be a bit “hit or miss,” but yesterday, it was definitely a major hit. They had a ton of new sweaters/turtlenecks for $9 and an amazing selection on the clearance rack. I walked out of there with an obscene amount of clothes for a price that was nowhere near as obscene as I was expecting. Granted, I’m going to have to carefully budget myself until next paycheck, but it was well worth it…

Sunday, D and I did a “practice run” to my new job location, since I will be taking public transit to get there. I am very grateful we did this because there are 2 different stops on 2 different lines with the same exact name. And guess which one I thought it was supposed to be? Yeah… we definitely walked around a pretty sketchy area trying to find the skybridge that would take us to my office building. Fortunately, we found someone to direct us to the next station and then found another person who informed us I will have to take another train to connect to the station we need. Blergh. I was really frustrated/freaked out because based on the prices we were seeing for this additional rail line, it looked as though the cost of my commute would be WAY more than I expected (like, $350 more), but through some investigating and a help of our friend Tim, we learned that it’s only the difference of about $30, which isn’t so bad. This will mean I’m going to have to get up even earlier than I initially thought in order to catch not one, but 2 trains, although the difference is really only 15 minutes, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much… right?

After getting home, D and I ate some more Thanksgiving leftovers and watched the new Alice in Wonderland while I finally packed away my summer clothes to make way for my new winter digs and D wrapped the presents that we already bought. After I finished with the clothes, I finally cut up the t-shirts I’m hoping to use for the t-shirt blanket that I’ve been talking about making for about 2 years now (ever since visiting Kate & Scott in Scotland…). I still have a ways to go, but at least my closet is looking acceptable again and I finally have made some headway on a project I’ve been pushing to the top shelf of my closet for months.

And now I’m trying to bang out the blogs. I hate getting behind on this, but life keeps happening faster than I can write about. I’m hoping that soon, with the commute and the pay increase, I can buy a little laptop or maybe an ipad so I can update this more often and from the trenches, but we’ll see… right now I need to focus on paying off the things I’ve already bought and the one thing I have yet to buy that I need to: my plane ticket for my Euro trip this spring!!

New Jawrb

Change is a funny thing–I’ve been flip-flopping between extreme giddiness/excitement/elation and utter fear and terror the past couple of weeks, all reactions I find hilarious and frightening at the same time.

The other night I was talking to my friend about all these changes, all these feelings, and she made a brilliant point: “Enjoy them now, because you’ll soon hit about a 15-year stretch where all the moving and job changing and surprises stop happening and you’ll be wondering what happened to living during that lull.”

So, I’ve decided to just roll with all the uncertainty and just enjoy it. To be honest, this has been a philosophy I’ve adapted for the past few months, and it’s been suiting me well. I recently realized (after being asked in an interview…) that I no longer have “life goals” (actually, Kate, I blame/credit you for my blunt answer: “I think bucket lists are stupid,” haha); however, I don’t see that being a bad thing. In fact, letting go of my 5-, 10-, 15-year plan was probably the best thing I ever decided to do. No more expectations, no more disappointments, no more trying to steer the course of the unexpected (because, frankly, the unexpected has been OK for me so far…).

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Or maybe I’m getting to the point where I can explain what’s been going on the past month or so… Continue reading