Friday, January 30, 2009

When you have to LIVE the Advertisement

Has anyone seen those car door advertisements? The ones that either are painted on a car or window advertising a local business? That must be the hardest advertising out there. Think about it, you are attracting attention, which is your goal, but you are always ‘on display’. Someone is going to peer into the car to see if it’s clean or what the driver looks like. That is high pressure AND dedication to advertise your business on your car, especially personal services.

Just yesterday I spied a truck that had in-home personal trainer/weight management coach advertisement on the windows, back and side! I thought about that job and imagined the hunky, physically firm, tanned, sexy man who could be my in-home personal trainer. But as I drove by the car, instead I saw a half-shaven (NOT in the sexy Tom Brady way) chubby guy. I pictured him wolfing down a donut and gulping down a Light and Sweet Dunkin Donuts coffee. It just made me laugh to myself thinking, wow, if I was a potential customer, THAT guy would NOT make me feel confident in the personal training.

Several months ago, I was driving down a street and came across a yellow VW Bug, the new ones, super cute and girly. This one was ridiculously girly with pink (big) polka dots all over it. On the door it had some advertisement for one of those crappy home party businesses (candles, Tupperware, jewelry, spices, you can fill in the blank). This home party business was big in this area a few years ago, seemed like someone was having one of those parties every week, EVEN AT WORK. Goodness. But was we drove by this pathetically girly yellow VW bug with pink polka dots, a DUDE was driving it! Yes, a guy. Now, in this case one HAS to assume he was driving his wife/girlfriend/sister/mother’s car in a pinch and is ashamed he couldn’t drive with a bag over his head, right? Those parties are weird, and really just a reason for women to get together, drink too much wine, spend money without even standing up (and drinking wine) and gossip. But even if I did want to have one of those (pampered chef aside) I wouldn’t call that number for two reasons- 1) a VW bug is nearly cause enough for me not to call, but yellow with pink polka dots? And 2) there was a dude driving the car!

That’s a lot of pressure to have car advertisements, and for those that do, you should always look nice, presentable and respectable. Otherwise, get a magnet that you can remove when you don’t want to be long-distance-interviewed from the car next door. Considering how saturated we are with all sorts of services and the internet, why would we call a number we saw on the side of a car? I’ve never wanted to call a personal business because of the car advertisement, except for Pete The Butcher. Now if I can only find a reason to have a pig roast to call Pete The Butcher…

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wonderful Weekend

What a Wonderful Weekend!

We had a really wonderful weekend. My parents arrived on Thursday from Florida for the weekend and my mom’s 60th birthday. We made plans to join my brother and his wife for dinner on Friday night. About a month ago, my Aunt called and told me she was crashing our party and could she and her husband stay with us (they are from Boston). YES! Of course! And I schemed up some ‘surprise’ where my Aunt and Uncle will arrive at the restaurant as a surprise to my mom. I was so excited. How cool! So a week before the big ‘surprise’ my Uncle calls and says that he and my Gram (mom’s mom) both from Toronto are planning to fly in for the big surprise. OH MY GOODNESS! Now, for those who don’t realize it, when Canadians travel out of the country, typically they need to buy ‘trip health insurance’ so if they get sick in a country that doesn’t have universal health insurance they can get healthcare. SO, not only does it mean my Gram is kicking butt and feeling great, it means she also feels good enough for a whirlwind weekend trip. Wow. So the same with my Aunt/Uncle, we scheme up having them come straight from the airport to the restaurant. SO exciting.

So back to Friday. Gram/Uncle’s flight is running 1 hour late so we pushed back the reservations. When we arrive for our ‘late’ reservation the 4 of us are seated at a table for 8. We sit down and I shake my head saying ‘wow, this restaurant must have a new hostess. First they had to push back our reservations and there are only 6 of us, why is the table set for 8?’ THEN in walk my brother, sis-in-law. And behind them… my Aunt and Uncle! So fun. My mom was so excited and so thrilled. Her face just lit up. I kept thinking, oh my god, she has NO IDEA. So we’re chattering, moving seats, rearranging each other, trying to figure out what wine to order, what to drink, what to order when the host comes over to our table with our two other guests. My mom had to be prompted to look up. I’m sure she was completely overwhelmed and distracted but when she looked up she just was SO excited. (god, I’m already tearing up just writing this) She jumped up and I think she said ‘Mommy’. She was crying. I think we all were crying a little bit. She just couldn’t believe it. So after all the hugs and reseating again (The restaurant set up the table so two chairs could be pulled to the ends of our long table and new place settings were added- very sneaky). We settle back in. I feel so badly for the people seated around us looking for a romantic dinner b/c we were loud and chatty and excited. It was such a great night. And my Gram, she looked absolutely amazing.

After dinner we bid goodbye to my bro/sis-in-law and the 6 of us head back to our house for more wine (like we needed it) and more chatter. It was such a great night. The next day hubby and I had big plans (too big, really). We (oh, hunny did the cooking) cooked a really delicious breakfast. And we prepped for our biggest dinner party yet! We had to pull out the reserve flatware and eat on plastic. There were 11 people. We served pulled chicken sandwiches with homemade bbq sauce, turkey mini meatloaves, greek barley salad (those two are from our cookbook) and green beans. And delicious cup cakes for dessert, brought by sister-in-law. Wow, what fun. We sat around chatting more and then Gram and Uncle headed back to the hotel for their Sunday morning flight. What a truly wonderful visit with them.

Sunday we were all mentally and physically exhausted. We head to Bro/sis-in-law’s house for brunch and some playtime with the kids. It was so fun playing with the kids. They are in a really fun phase and their games are very silly but fun. They are big into pretending which is fun. I find it adorable. So we pretended with them and had fun.

My mom is so deserving of extra special-ness. She is an angel to everyone and just knows how to make me feel very special. It truly was special for a very special person. I’m just so happy to have been a part of it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Week- A New Start

Last week was one of those kicker-of-a-weeks. For some reason, I was in an absolutely, positively, certifiably monster of a mood. There was so much miniscule stuff that was really pushing me over the edge. Perhaps it was the busy-ness of it. Or the stress of my parents coming for the weekend. Or the surprise guests (my Gram/Uncle from Toronto and Aunt/Uncle from Boston who surprised my mom at the restaurant on Friday night). Or maybe it had to do with the larger than normal amounts of alcohol I consumed. But at any rate, this is a new week and a new start. And I am loving the beginning of it. Much of that joy is due to my new friend, Nano. Nano brings me joy and white noise and allows me to be more productive at work. I’ve never been a big music person but the music allows me to block out other conversations. It has brought me joy and happiness this first day of a new week.

But another thing that brings me joy in my new week is my dear husband. He has this amazing ability to make the RIGHT decisions all the time. When the alarm went off this morning at a dreadful 5am, I was wishing he would plan to bag the gym. We both are absolutely exhausted after this weekend of staying up very late and drinking a lot. So at 5 this morning, I was wishing away the few glasses of wine I had last night and the alarm. But when I asked my husband if he was going to the gym, secretly wishing he’d say no, my diligent husband says yes. So, I rolled out of bed and put my gym clothes on in the dark and the whole drive to the gym started talking myself out of running (just do the elliptical, you don’t want to be here, you can feel a hangover coming on, just half-ass your workout) but without even thinking I climbed onto a treadmill and started running. I didn’t have a plan in mind, I figured I’d just walk and jog but I had a great workout and ran nearly the whole time! I’ve had a lovely day of good eating b/c we had loads of mini meatloafs (I lovingly call them meat muffins b/c you make them in a muffin tin) which I chose for lunch, along with my protein nuggets, orange, cottage cheese and blueberries (is it me, but they were especially delicious this morning), a mini luna bar and some hummus, pita and hard boiled eggs I’m preparing for Yoga tonight and then EARLY TO BED.

I read this weekend that complaining about petty stuff can put you in a terrible mood. Someone was challenged to not complain about anything and she described her week. I woke up challenging myself to a week like that. And sofar, with help from my friend Nano and my husband, I’m well on my way to a complain-free week. And I feel good.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Exciting Times

I'm so excited for this weekend. My parents arrive from Florida to celebrate my Mom's 60th birthday! What she doesn't know is there are more surprises tucked into her seemingly routine birthday celebration (dinner out). There are 4 surprise guests arriving at the dinner location traveling from afar. I'm so excited and (going back a few blogs ago) one of my favorite things is surprises. And I'm RIGHT in the middle of a surprise. Man, I don't know how I'm supposed to contain myself. I'm also very excited about seeing the surprise guests. So cool.

This has been an exciting week for me: random day off, book club, new president, new haircut, new yoga class, my friend's final (hopefully) chemo treatment, a friend is pregnant and my mom's birthday surprise.

Wow, these are such exciting times.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pretending to be Grown up!

I used to have this really neat job. I would sit down with executives of public companies, develop a relationship with them and talk about their company, where they plan to direct the company, the hardships they’ve had over the past year and what they’ve learned. I’d probe their policies and procedures, all dressed up in my nicest suit. For a while I went on a little streak where I got some ‘girlie’ suits to help me be remembered in a male-dominated industry. I think that worked, I looked cute. But when I step back and look at it, I was pretending. All dressed up in a costume (when do I ever wear a suit) and sitting with these seemingly important people, I pretended I was important, all the while hoping I don’t make a complete fool of myself or my company. I don’t do that job anymore, but when I decided to move from that job, those meetings were one of the things I knew I’d miss.

My life right now feels like I am trying to train it to get into a new routine. But it still feels pretend. I wake up and go to the gym, not a natural act for me. I need to mentally prepare for it the day before and the night before. I have to PLAN every day to get up at 5 and go to the gym. I come home and shower and get dressed, most of the time, in a costume. Now, I CAN wear jeans, sweats, sweaters, heck, shorts and flip flops if I want, but I am dressing the ‘part’ and tend to dress in something a little more work-y. Then I go to work. My job is less sexy now, but I enjoy it, I'm good at it and it comes rather easily to me. But still, I pretend. I head off to work and DIVE into my job (read my personal email, read the paper, plan out my next day at the gym, make a grocery list, search for things to do that weekend). And I pretend when I really am working, too. Like when I philosophize about the state of the economy. I opine about the various companies out there, what will happen to them in the next 6, 12, 18 months. I speculate what the regulators will do. Which industry will be the next to be scrutinized (the rating agencies) and the potential corruption throughout politics and business. It’s all a farce. It all feels so fake.

I return to my beautiful home and ‘play house’. I straighten up, maybe do some cooking, maybe read and wait for my husband to come home. When he comes home, my life returns to ‘normal’. Not pretending any more, just real, regular me. That is my favorite time of the day. Just me and my husband. No acting. No pretending. BUT, sometimes we need to make big decisions. Sometimes we need to talk about serous stuff- money/budget, etc. And I struggle between pretending to know what I’m talking about and make good decisions and throwing a temper tantrum about having to even discuss fill-in-the-blank important topic.

After thinking all this through I realize, I’m just pretending to be grown up. It is not my nature to dress up and go to work. It is not my nature to do the stuff I get paid for. It is not my nature to make important decisions. It IS my nature to play with my friends. It IS my nature to have fun. It IS my nature to ‘hang out’. Even my sense of humor is innocent and funny. I love little-kid-jokes. (why do pilgrim’s pants fall down? B/c they wear their belt buckles on their hats!) (What goes clomp, clomp, clomp, clomp, BANG, clomp, clomp, clomp? An Amish drive-by shooting?) All this grown-up stuff is overrated. I’m a kid stuck in a grown-up’s body.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Unsportsman-like conduct penalty IS unsportsman-like

I'm still stewing about some ridiculous penalties called in the past few football games I've watched. A few weeks ago the Patriots played some other team in a snowstorm. And I mean snow STORM, they had to plow the field before the game and then again at halftime with people shoveling the yard lines between plays so the players could see where they needed to go for a first down. The game was fun to watch, while piled under blankets and pillows(b/c it was a storm). The snow was impressive... it started on Friday around noon, went until Saturday around noon and then began again on Sunday at noon. Total accumulation after that weekend was probably 10-12 inches. So this game was fun.



So after a touchdown, with fans throwing snow from their seats in the air in celebration (and the game was already in the bag) Wes Walker drops to the ground in the end zone and makes a snow angel. It was funny. Silly really, to see a grown (giant) man making a snow angel. He was having fun, making fun of the crazy weather and celebrating a touchdown in some nasty weather. And he GETS AN UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT PENALTY? What? That is absolutely ludicrous. He didn't get in the face of his opponent and taunt him... He didn't make any sort of obscene gesture. He was happy, excited and making the most of the situation! And he gets a penalty!? This is absolutely ridiculous. AND come to find out he got FINED for that snow angel too. $10 Grand. My word, what has this world come to?



So... fast forward a month to the Florida/Oklahoma championship game... Florida gets a pivotal first down and the big guy who went up through the middle for the first down gets out of the pack and excitedly makes the first-down sign! (heck, at games I go to, when my team makes a first down the whole stadium yells 'and it's another FIRST DOWN' and we all make the first down sign). So he makes the first down sign, clearly excited and getting the game rolling at a pace Florida likes and what do the refs do? Call an Unsportsmanlike penalty. This one deserves a swear, but I gave that up as of 1/1/09, give me an ----ing break! He was just excited!? He just got a first down, one more first down toward the national championship! A penalty? WTF?



What is this world coming to when players get penalized for being excited about accomplishing something and showing their excitement in a non-threatening and non-taunting manner? Isn't this a bit overboard? Can't these kids (and big grown men) be allowed to make snow angels when the get excited? Can't players who are damaging their body when every play the participate in have a little pleasure in what they are doing? SHOULDN'T they be excited for the game and their success? What is this world coming to?



Now I know those who know all the rules will say something like- the excessive celebration or unsportsmanlike conduct act can't be pre-planned. And perhaps it could be argued that Wes Walker didn't PLAN to do a snow angel, but in his excitement of a touchdown, at that very moment, the only thing his mind thought to do was drop and make a snow angel. He didn't stop and pull out a sharpie from his sock to sign the game ball. He didn't go to the 50 yard line and flap his wings like an eagle. He didn't take out his cell phone and pretend to call someone. HE MADE A SNOW ANGEL. and he should not be penalized for that. Seems like the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are, themselves, unsportsmanlike. What a pity.

...Please observe a brief moment of silence for the death of my relationship with Tommy Brady. He has decided to marry Gieselle despite my begging and pleading not to. Idiot.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

True New Englanders?

Something I've come to ponder is the phenomenon of the New England weather: those who like to talk about it and those who don't. Strangely it seems like there are some days where we have no idea snow is in the forecast and other days there is a week's worth of warnings, you can't turn on the tv without someone talking about the 'big storm'. What I think I've concluded, after extensive research, is that true New Englanders (those who grew up in New England) consider snow a circumstance of the season and those new-New Englanders call any white precipitation a 'STORM'. Perhaps some of our weather forecasters are from San Diego? True New Englanders keep their plans despite some snow and new-New Englanders stay home, make soup and hot cocoa, light a fire and stay inside, occasionally getting out from under the pile of blankets once an hour to look outside and ponder how many more hours until the storm passes. I recognize this is a gross generalization, but for the most part, I believe it to be true. (to my dear friends, the Floridians, please don't take this the wrong way, it's very cute when you call some snow a storm. Just pointing out a minor difference in mindset)

My husband and I had a really wonderful weekend. We spent Thursday with our dear Floridian friends, watching Florida whoop Oklahoma and after 8 beers or so, I was thrilled to win my $100. Which meant that Friday we were lazy asses and went to bed early after trying to stay up to watch a tv show or two.

Saturday I had lunch with the girls (and my little 6 month old friend) at this yummy Thai restaurant and Saturday night hubby and I headed out (in the 'storm') to see the Producers. Our friend played in the orchestra (?) which totalled about 7 people.- is it still called an orchestra with that few people? It was surprising to me that the few people in that corner were making all that music! People were playing all different instruments, it was really very fascinating. The play was in a very small theater. They had extended the showing of this play so we saw it on it's final-final night. I would guess the theater sat 150-200 people and guessing there were less than 50 at the show. Perhaps b/c of the extended show? Perhaps the snow (or storm, depending on where you are from) but it was hilarious. The show itself is very funny but these actors were truly remarkable. And even such a small showing of audience, the actors and orchestra were totally giving it their all. It was a really really great (and terribly funny) play. I would recommend it but it's over.

This morning we (hubby and I) had brunch at a new-to-us restaurant. They have a wood fired oven which made it feel warm and cozy on a still-snowy-from-last-night morning. For only $20, you have an Italian based buffet with cheese, fruit, prosciutto di parma, salami, pasta salad (homemade pasta- yum), baked goodies and a main dish. I opted for the fritatta with broccolini, sausage, ricotta and provolone. Hunny opted for the breakfast pizza with 3 eggs baked right on top of it (included mushrooms, potatoes and motz). There was a platter of cannoli, cookies, cheese cake, etc. The meal was excellent and enough to take home too. I would highly recommend it!

ps- total inches precipitated 3-4 inches in our yard. just enough to make it look pretty again.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

GO GATORS!

So I need Florida to win tomorrow night to win some bucks. We're heading to Jenn and Ryan's house (Gator Alums), armed with delicious and naughty nachos and ice cold brew to watch the Gators POUND the Sooners. I mean, what is a Sooner, anyway? Does anyone know? There's no question what a Gator is. And, I think... it's the Heisman battle. Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford... should be interesting. But cheer on those Gators!


On ESPN this morning I was watching a tear jerker (ok, the tears weren't jerking, they were flowing) about a OU player, Gerald McCoy, whose mom was WILD about OU football. She just loved it. She was so excited that her son would be an OU player and predicted he would play in and win a national championship. He red-shirted the first year and (don't hold me to the facts of this) the summer before the year he would play, she died of a brain aneurysm at age 53. It was just months before he played his first game. He addressed his teammates the day she died motivating them to keep working hard in effort to make his mother's dream come true. So here they are... at the door of the National Championship Game... wearing his heart on his sleeve... you can't help but secretly wish the Sooners win just for him. What a heart-wrenching story. BUT... Go Gators. Mama needs a new pair of shoes!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Year's off to a Good Start- Go TULSA!

Well, it's a special day in my life... moving in the right direction... into the digital age. I now own an iPod. It's a Nano and I said goodbye to it this morning when I left for work. It's very cute and little. I call it Nano. It's green. And surprisingly the transferring of music is not complicated!

We did have to check our computer size to see if it was capable of handling the iTunes system. That's embarrassing. We can't watch videos on Nano b/c our computer is too old/slow, but music (and hopefully books) are no problem! I am planning to walk more and hope Nano helps encourage me to do that. SO fun!

Upon the first day back to work, I realized I am in 3rd place of our office Bowl Pool, gambling on which team will win each of the billion Bowl Games in college football? I almost didn't pick ND to win their game and if I didn't, I wouldn't be in third place... or maybe I would, I don't care too much. But, if I won, I would collect $500 bones! However, stupid Texas in the last 20 seconds or so of the game came back and won their game last night. (Sorry Vernie, for not picking the Longhorns). Now I can possibly win second place, which is $100 bones. Or, I could win a whole lot of nothing. But it's kinda fun. Last night, while I was laying in bed wondering why in the world I couldn't fall asleep, I got up twice to check the TV for the score. Ordinarily I wouldn't care an ounce about these two teams, but suddenly, it's important! Even more (or less) so is Tulsa v Ball State tonight. I need Tulsa (and then Florida)to win, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

GO TULSA!

... I don't even know what Tulsa's mascot is. And where is Ball State? I think that's where David Letterman went to school though.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions- old and new

Happy New Year! We had a lovely time with our friends on New Years Eve and spent the first day of the year with one of my dear friends from childhood. It was so nice to see Jennifer Taylor, we totally lost track of time and our brunch ended about 4:45! Wow. What a great time. So, I found my 2008 resolution list. I knew where it was I just wish I didn't. The resolutions last year were fair, but difficult. They were:


2008 Resolutions

1. Take more walks

2. Take 15-30 minutes a day, just for me

3. Exercise 4 times a week

4. Eat 2 veggies each night with dinner

5. Don't try to plan everything, relax and LIVE life

6. Drink less often and less quantity

7. Carry cash to watch my spending

8. Try new vegetable each month

9. Yoga 2x a month


So, overall, I didn't do so well with these ones... I was most successful at drinking less actually, which is surprising. I also was moderately successful at the exercising save my stupid ankle injuries. But more impressive was my:


2008 TO DO LIST

- stop leaky faucet in basement (success)

- seal and paint benches (one out of two ain't bad)

- change pictures in frames (... didn't do this one but mostly b/c the picts I was going to use had disappears from my storange!)

- repaint bedroom (on deck for 09)

-Fill wedding albums (nope)

- seal and stain deck (we did it, can't call it a success though)

- irrigation/soaker system for garden (success)

- Plant a tree/ fix lawn (success on the lawn, we decided not to plant a tree)

- get/install electric fence (dog is on hold, so is this task)

- make fireplace pretty (and oh man, we did)

- Re-do kitchen (OH YES we did)

- Hem pants (just an easy one to be able to chekc off the list early in the year)


I'm pretty proud of our to do list. We did a lot of stuff this year and some of them felt daunting but we got most of that stuff done and I am proud of that! OK OK, so here's my 2009 resolutions and to do list

1. stop swearing

2. watch less tv

3. use free time better, relax, walk, enjoy life

4. focus on making a better me: skin care, floss, manners, joints, muscles, stress

5. be more pure- eat more real products, check labels, use more natural products

6. watch my portion sizes when in group settings. Reconsider seconds.

7. keep journal:

Plan out each week: food, gym 5x, yoga/swim 1x, walk 1x;

Plan out each day: what I'm thankful for, what I am proud of and what I could have done better


To Do

paint bedroom

update bathroom

paint basement

plant herbs in kitchen

plant veggie garden (see picture of section of our garden we cleared out for the veggies)

paint mantle

new irrigation system

install garden border in front and back


The lists seem manageable. I hope they are. I think I need some improvements and my memory is so bad, I HAVE to write them down, otherwise they go *poof* from my memory. So now they are written down, I have fewer things on the list but I will work hard on them. Better get going! Off to Yoga and lunch with Stefania, then a massage. Look at me! I'm working on those resolutions already! Happy New Year!