Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally feeling the season

I am spending a Monday in my PJs, catching up on the Daily Show and relishing the fact that I am off until the new year. The past few months at work have been less than stellar and I am glad to be out of the toxic-ness that is slowly becoming contagious.

Wo today and tomorrow we will be wrapping up some shopping, some cleaning, some gift giving and some packing because we are heading to NY in a few days for the holidays. I am so glad to be spending Christmas with my family, it has been three years and this is the first Christmas that Hubs will be spending with my family. My mom is very excited at first it was going to be a quiet holiday with my parents, my brother and my aunt but, once my other aunt got wind we were coming she and some of her family are now coming. So we went from six to 12 and two of them are kids. So that means more shopping but that will be done in NY.

We are also going to spend a day with a number of friends at an after Christmas lunch. I can't wait to see them. I have been missing them so much lately, my homesickness has reared its head over the past few weeks. With all the other crap that is going on in our lives, it will be good to catch up.

So for the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The only constant in change

Over the past few months I have been feeling like a situation that I have dealt with when I was a lot younger. The difference is the people and the common element is me. So I have a few choices, I can continue to let it bother me or I can change how I deal with the situation. I tend to lean towards the negative but then it festers and I get more upset and then start to close up.

I want to lean towards letting it go, letting the thing that is bothering me go. It is so much easier to write than than to actually hit on the tried and true solution of releasing the feelings. It is something that I am trying to figure out not just with this particular situation but with a few other situations as well. It is something that each person has to deal with it their own way.

Usually it heads towards blaming and doubting myself and I beat myself up. Sometimes it turns into a full out pity party.

I want it change the cycle. I want to let some things go or better yet accept things for what they are and (a big and) be ok with it.

Maybe I have my 2011 resolution.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vacation recovery

Well we are back from Vegas and all I got was a cold. Actually, I suspect it is from waiting over an hour in the taxi line at 11 pm when we got back to Chicago. Our flight was early but there were a number of flights that were delayed and landed around the same time that ours did so the line was way too long for my liking.
However, Vegas was a lot of fun. We ate so much good and bad food everything from fried pickles to sweet potato tots to the most amazing hot chocolate that I ever had!

But we worked most of it off by walking just to get to the front door of our hotel required a 5 minute walk from the elevators.

We spent our days just hanging out with no real plans. One night we saw the Penn and Teller show at the Rio. They were really amazing and down to earth. After each show they hang out in the lobby for photos, autographs and a quick chat. They were very gracious and that Teller is quite a flirt!

While the guys went to shoot some machine guns, my BFF and I took her daughter to the Mirage's secret garden where they had dolphins and the white tigers and lions from the former Sigfried and Roy show. Their 9 month old daughter was a blast, she was so easy going and we actually had a good time with her. She would go with the flow and if she was tired she would take a nap while we did what we did (which was mainly walk).

Hubs won big, well big enough to pay for our hotel room with a comp spin of a slot machine. I did not come out on top I lost but granted I only played with $20 dollars a day so it was not too bad. My bff and I were drooling over the various stores and let me tell you if I won big I would have come home with some really beautiful clothes.

So we had a good time and just have to survive this week and then I am off for the rest of the year.

Oh and recover from this cold

Friday, December 03, 2010

A pre Holiday vacation

We have decided to get out of Chicago for a few days and hang out in the neon oasis in the desert...V-E-G-A-S. We are going t meet up with my best friend her husband and her baby...yep they are bringing my "niece" (I was given the title of honor of "aunt"). I am in such a need of a bf fix. I have not seen her in ages and I have really been missing her over the past few weeks. She is truly my soul sister

I am getting more and more excited as we get closer to departing. It seemed like it was so far away and then it is just days away. We still have a lot to do before we actually leave so we hare cramming a bunch of things in the next day and we still have to pack. I am not sure what to bring, it will be in the 50s and sunny. I have a feeling that tonight, tomorrow and Sunday afternoon will be a packing un-packing and re-packing frenzy.

The best part is that we have no definite plans other than a show and dinner one night. We are just going to play it by ear and pig out. One stop is going to be this place actually we may be there a few times.

Have you been to Vegas, any suggestions of things to do?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Post turkey day

We had a great low key Thanksgiving weekend. We packed up the girls and headed for the burbs. They had such a fun time with their grandpaw. He had secret treats for them and they got to run and run and run all over the back yard. Not to mention, they got an extra lap to sit in and he allowed them to climb on to the sofa! So yea, they were spoiled but, came home so exhausted that they slept all day Friday and most of Saturday.

We humans ate, drank and were merry. We had a feast with way to much food and three pies for four people (duct tape sister in law did not show up, she had to work at 8 am on Black Friday and eating at 4:30 was apparently too late for her). So we had tons of leftovers which lead to a number of mini turkey comas throughout the weekend.

On Saturday we braved the crowds and headed out to do some Christmas shopping. I have got my brother and my dad their gifts. Hubs wanted some shoes on and we found some so he got a few early presents which he will need when it starts to snow.

We just have to get through the week and then we are on vacation. I am trying to figure out what to pack, apparent it will be in the 50s in VEGAS. That is right we are heading to Vegas for a few days with my friend , her husband and her daughter. I am looking forward to being away for a few days, work has been so drama filled and slow that it is sucking life away.

So just a few more what to pack!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A quiet holiday

I can't believe that next week is Thanksgiving. The fall just flew by but thankfully we still have some leaves and the fall crispness (rather than freezing) is still in the air.

This yer, we re staying in town or rather in the 'burbs for the day. It is typical an event where my in laws convene and the kids are hyped up on various degrees of a sugar high. Which leads to fights, tears and insanity. This year they will be spending the holiday in Florida at a well know kid friendly amusement park. My other in laws are spending it with the other side f the family or out of town.

So it just leaves Hubs, his dad, his brother, his wife and me. So enter the low key holiday. We are going to spend the day and night with my father in law. He is in charge of the turkey and stuffing and we will be making the rest of the side dishes. So we have our menu planned out except for the veggie.

Oh and we are bringing the two dogs with us. They love their grandpaw. He always has treats ready and tends to feed them under the table. As soon as we say grandpas, they wag their tails and Yukon (who has know him the longest) starts to herd us as to tell us to hurry up and let's go.

We are not sure if my brother in law and sister in law will be there. There has ben a lot of tension between them and everyone else. So they have been known to make excuses as soon as they are invited and sure enough they made one last week. But then they ma have changed their mind and will show up. But they may change their mind again.

I will have to post all about this particular sister in law in another post. She is quite a character in fact at our wedding she wore a dress....and used duct tape to keep it up. As she started to dance after a few trips to the open bar the dress kept getting shorter and shorter and the duct tape was more and more apparent. To t his day we have people w ho still talk about the girl in the duct tape.

So what is your favorite veggie side dish?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Looking at the other side of the coin

I am feeling like i have been caught up in the spiral of unhappiness and only I can really do anything to change it. So I have decided to take a good hard look at what it means to be happy and what I can do to make myself happier.

The simple thing is to look at the things that I am thankful for so here is a list:
  • My husband
  • My family
  • My beasts, no matter what they make me smile
  • The funny random e-mails that I get from my dad and my father in law
  • My friends
  • Wacky messages on FB
  • The ability to pay off bills each month and how I am starting to accumulate savings
  • My fireplace
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Shoes, make up and girly things
  • planning vacations
  • Julia Child and how she stated cooking in her 30s,
  • the down comforter that I get to curl up in each night
  • The upcoming holiday in NY
  • Pasta
  • White wine
  • sleeping in
  • the last of the fall leaves

What are you thankful for these days?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Waiting for the end...of October

I am looking forward to the end of this month, it was just not a good month, there was more sadness than I expected....

The low lights:
-A lot of tears
-Stressed eating (or non-eating) habits
-Gaining weight
-A troubling blood test
-Feeling useless at your job and no new jobs or interviews on the horizon
-Being slighted by friends
-Saying bye to a good friend as she moves back to the east coast

But the things that I am looking forward to
-Halloween party with the neighbors
-The dogs' costumes
-Finding "our" groove again and the mutual feeling that we will be better than before
-That we are going on vacation in a few weeks with my best friend, her husband and baby
-Knowing that I will only work 6 days in December
-Holidays in NYC

So I want to focus on the positive and say see ya to October and know that the rest of the year will be so much better.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

down the ladder

So, I have been looking for a job for almost a month. I have polished up my resume, had it reviewed, drafted cover letters and started to apply for jobs. I was thinking that I had some time and that my current job would remain in a holding pattern.

But it has gone bad to worse. so much so that today, I was asked to revert back to my admin days. Not just a step back, but like a decade step back. I was asked to "pitch in" and help since a number of people were laid off and or quit that two departments are short staffed. It is not surprising that this has happened, my boss warned me about this a few weeks back. I told my boss that I have no problem helping out but it must have a defined end date that must not exceed a few weeks. He agreed. However, with today's "offer" 9think Godfather offer you can't refuse) that this is indefinite.

Pissed does not even cover what I feel. the person who offered me the job is not my boss nor in my department and I have helped him with projects in the past. But he burned me badly a few weeks back when I was pulled from my major all consuming project so, as you can imagine, I am not in the mood to do him any favors.

So, I have a call with my boss to discuss this new turn of events. He knows that I am not happy nor have I been over the past few weeks. He also is not too thrilled with the way things are playing out. But I suspect that his power has diminished and his hands tied.

This month has been one for the records, I really can't take any more stress. My body is feeling the effects.

I am not sure how much I can take.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

making it about us

Relationships are hard, they ebb and flow they get crossed up in the cross hairs of arguments, laughter, communications and silence.

Marriages fall into that category, except perhaps they are a bit more complicated because you add this layer of intimacy or rather many layers of intimacy. It is a sacred friendship, one that you don't have with your parents, your siblings or your friends, it is a different creature..

So when your marriage is rocked or when your world is broken, how can you deal? How do you deal?

Right now, things are rough. Our world has been rocked, our life turned on its head and we are trying to each figure out what to do.

I came very close so close to walking away. That would have been the easy thing to do. But when something means so much to you, you fight. The things that matter are worth fighting for. And regardless of the outcome, we tried and we fought to stay together, to rebuild.

He and I want to become "us" again. It is not going to be simple nor quick but we want "us" back and are each willing to fight for "us" to exist.

We started therapy tonight and I feel a bit better. I have some glimmer of hope that this hiccup in our relationship will make us stronger. There will be a lot of work to do, more tears to be shad, thoughts to be thought. But we can only try to make "us" whole again.

I wanted to thank you for all your support. The comments, text messages, calls and email were so appreciated. When you go through this, you can easily feel isolated and alone but, I feel connected to you all and I thank you. It means so much!

I am also keeping the cause of this rough patch to myself (our self) I consider it a part of what we have to deal with and want to work on it rather than expose it. Maybe one day I will but for now, it is the catalyst to change.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I am so broken right now. The tops of my cheeks are so puffy from crying on and off all night and all morning.

I am trying to figure out if I can forgive and forget. Can you forget how in a moment your world shattered into splinters? Or forget the way things used to be? Can you forgive the greviance and forget the unspeakable pain?

I am at a major life crossroads and all I know is that my world is changed and I will never be the same.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Won't you be my neighbor?

The other day I did something uncharacterist , I invited a neighbor over for dinner.

I am very introverted and it sometimes takes a lot of mental prep to get out of my shell. I am used to be a homebody and being alone. I never had a large group of friends but a handful of close ones. And most of them live on the east coast and our lives sometimes make it hard to connect. It was (and still is) hard to make friends. I have a rough history of people who I considered friends turn and decide not to hang out with me anymore...Kids can be cruel. so that has left some scars and had made the saying "once bitten twice shy" more and more relevant as I got older.

When C moved in and we met, I said to myself (in my head) she seems nice and is someone who I would like to know. Then wedding planning and my intorversion (is that even a word?) took over. A few weeks ago, we had a condo meeting and she happened to sit next to us and we started making small talk when she mentioned that Tim Gunn was coming to Chicago and as I was about to mention that we should go, the meeting began. She had to dash as soon as it was over.

So I sent her an email asking if she wanted to go. She was onboard and started to work out the logistics only to realize that she was going to start a class that day and could not go. But we made tentative plans to get together.

So the other day, I pulled the trigger and asked her over to dinner. She accepted and we made plans. On Wedensday she came over with a cheese tray and a lovely bottle of wine. It was a bit awkward at first but, we soon warmed up and began to laugh and chat. I was so glad to have company since Hubs was travelling and it was nice to just get to know somebody.

She dropped me a note telling me how much fun she had and invited me over next week for drinks and a movie night.

The next part of my plan is to have her and her husband over to hang out with us I feel a game night coming on.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


So it is another lazy Sunday. The Hubs just left for his third trip to Canada so it is just me and the beasts. I have gotten used to it but, it does not make it easier. I have found myself antsy at times but, I have found some things to keep me busy and we have our daily video chats.

One of the top thins on my "to do" list is my resume. It is official, I am looking for a new job!

I have not been let go but, one of my major project that I was working on as a PM was pulled from me by my bosses new boss. I was 97% complete before it was pulled form me and I was not happy. The past few weeks have been incredibly weird and stressful. With the loss of some key players of our executive team and the quiet acquisition by a sister company it has become apparent that the way we have been doing things are not the way things will be done now.

The change is palpable and with some ears on the ground and with some honest conversations with my boss. I am seeing more and more that I may not fit the new mold. And I am okay with it and decided to make change happen so I am going to start to look for a new job.

I was encouraged after a number of conversations with my husband and then speaking with one of my neighbors. She is very well connected and helped talked me through some ideas and has given me the push that I needed to pull myself together and take the plunge.

As nervous as I am, I find myself very excited about the possibilities. The initial search that I did has netted me some job leads and really amazing opportunities out there for my skill set.

So what are your job searching tips?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week one, day one

This week starts the Hubs six to eight week sojourn to Canada for work. Granted he will be home on the weekends but, I am not used to being alone. It is strange to thank that a couple of years ago I was living by myself and did not depend on anybody. It is not to say I depend on him but, I am so used to having him around to help with the dogs, help with dinner or even just have a conversation with. So it will be weird at first but, we will get used to it.

So this weekend, he had a list of things to tackle around the house. This was done, of course, after the Renegade art fair. If you have never been the Renagade art fair is a done at various weekends around the country and features crafters from all over and their unique goods. Almost all of the vendors are on etsy, so it was fun to see the variety. I thought that I would be the one burning through the cash but it turned out that Hubs took the cake. He had so much fun, and loved the quirkiness of it all. He kept looking at the different booths saying I want this, or we should get that. He restrained himself to a really cool graphic print, a laptop case and some quirky postcards. But we ended up with a number of business cards and websites for future purchases.

Looking back at the summer, we had some really great weekends together and with friends. Last weekend, we took the dogs and went to the burbs to visit friends. She invited Yukon and Rosie to play and run with her dogs. She has two big dogs and they were so thrilled to have friends over. As soon as we got there and took Yukon off her leash she took off and ran and played then pooped out before her second and third and fourth wind. You would never know she is going to be 12! Rosie ran the joint. My friend has an alpha female dog who is the boss but, when Rosie came along there was a wee power struggle and Rosie won. So there is this 8 pound dog running and playing with a 60 pound dog who would drop the toy if Rosie ran up to her.

So it starts, a few days each week without Hubs.

Any book recommendations?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ramblings cause I am sick

I have this weird plague thing going on. OK it may not be an actually plague but I am sick. It started off with a sore throat that lead to a runny/stuffy nose that lead to a slight on-again off-again fever. Jealous much? I have been working from home in my pjs and whining to the dogs about how miserable I am. They just look at me and go back to sleep.

I am just glad that I am sick the week that Hubs is home. Because for the next 6-8 weeks, Hubs will be commuting back and forth from Chicago to Toronto. Meaning that he will leave for Canada on Sunday or Monday and be home on Friday. He has been working on a project for over a year and it is taking a direction that requires people on the team to work in Canada and he was chosen.

He suspected that this may happen and when it happened, I was not happy I am ok with business travel, hell I spent two weeks in NJ last year for a project (that never happened) but 6-8 weeks when it was suppose to be two weeks max. Then I realized that he may not be home for my birthday but, he assures me that he will because he has a sleep study the day before my birthday. Smart man.

So, I have been thinking of ideas on how to keep busy when he is in Canada*. here is my list so far

1-Clean the floors in all the rooms,
2-Clean the grout in the bathroom
4.Work with Rosie on her doggy manner class homework

I don't want to spend most of my time watching television, I want to be somewhat productive. I admit that there will be times when I will plop on the couch and turn on the tube but, I want to try to make that the exception rather than the norm.

What ideas do you have? Mind you, I can't do anything immediately after work because I have to come home and walk the dogs.

*We did talk about me coming up to visit him in Canada but I have to get my passport changed. Since I took his name my passport has my old one. Plus we are trying to watch our pennies.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nine lives

I think that I have nine lives and right now I am in life five. Last week, we had a round of layoffs in my office. I knew they were coming and I knew who would be given the pink slip. I wasn't "in the know" as a manager or was told by somebody but I read the writing on the wall. See, I have been in this position before when you know that things are bad, you know that they are letting people in different offices go, you see the public financial reports and then whoop, here is another acquisition. This particular acquisition had a catch, it had a number of people who did the same thing and a few jobs that would not be relevant. We were warned that the top brass was looking for the best of the best. And last week, those who did not make the cut were let go.

It sucks to watch this unfold, seeing HR call people one by one and seeing them come out in tears and packing up their desk and heading out in less than 10 minutes start to finish. I have seen it four times before and probably will see it over the life cycle of my career. It sucks, survivor guilt I suppose.

Then to top this all off, our senior management was shaken up and the results have wrecked morale and stirred up the rumor mill. And thus began the chain of events, after the all of the layoffs; a few people quit. Our office when from a lively place a few months ago to a very quiet one. We lost staff to the other office and the lay offs. I

So where do I stand, I am safe for now and probably will be for a few more months. I hold a unique position in the company and right now I am busier than ever. It is not to say when I am done with my projects, they won't show me the door. It does say that I have to get a few ducks in order so that I am prepared to do what needs to be done for me. It has given me time to reflect on my job(s) and what I want to be when I grow up.

But at the same time, the opportunities are endless.

Have you been through a lay off? How did it affect you?

Hubs is doing much better, he saw a top notch cardio last week who thinks that this was an isolated event give the fact that Hubs is healthy. However, he does want to rule out a few things so the Hubs will have to undergo a stress test, wear a heart monitor and have a sleep study over the next few weeks. Better safe than sorry!

Thanks for your kind words and thoughts!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Our second year and our first adventure

Hubs and I celebrated our first anniversary this past weekend. It is so strange to think that we celebrated a year, in a way it feels that we got married just last week but, have been together for a long time.

We celebrated a day early with an indulgent dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. We had wonderful wine, a great dinner and a luxe dessert We even got our neighbors to take our photo, prom style. It was a nice quiet evening that we just celebrated our marriage. Sunday was the actual day and we spent the morning in doggy school. Rosie has been signed up for intermediate doggy manners class to work out some behaviors. After class, we picked up my gift for Hubs. a replica wedding cake. For our wedding we had a small cake to cut and had cupcakes for our guests. So I had our cake replicated.

That evening we had cake and sparkling wine with one of my bridesmaids.

But, that evening started one of the scariest moments of my life.

Hubs went to bed complaining that his heart felt like it was racing. He did not sleep and when he got up in the morning he was not feeling better. He took the dogs out and came back all sweaty and exhausted for a simple walk. He did not want to go to the hospital or the doctor, he thought that it would pass. So we went to the store and after he made it past the front door red and sweaty, I made him call his doctor. So right in the paper good asile, the nurse told him to go to the ER

After a quick trip home for a shower, to pack a few things and grab a sandwich. We have both been to the ER before and knew the wait could be a while.

so we got to the hospital and they took us in right away. Within minutes, he was in a bed with electrodes on his chest an IV in his arm and a bunch of nurses and a doctor in his "room". His heart was in a fib. His heart was at 177-200 beat a minute! A normal heart is around 77-89. They started to rush around him adding meds to his IV and talking him through the process. We all stood by the monitor watching the numbers work their way down. At the same time, his blood pressure dropped. So they slowed down the med and he was made to lay down.

It seemed like an eternity before the numbers started to get into the normal range but, reality was only a few minutes. They had to give him a does a blood thinner to prevent clots due to his low BP. This gained him admission to the hospital. Once stabilized, he began to make jokes with the nurses and the doctors and tried to make me laugh.

I was so afraid, I could not believe what was happening. I got scared and began to get tears in my eyes. There was no way I could lose him, there was no way, we were just starting. He assured me that he was not going anywhere! He began to tease me how he always promised me adventure and I teased him that he had to stick around to kill bugs and reach the high shelves.

He got a room a few hours later and I went home to grab a few things for him. He stayed in the hospital for a few days for observation and got released on Wednesday evening. His brother and sister in law came by to visit, our neighbors took care of our dogs in the evenings so I could be with Hubs and our phone and facebook had messages of support from our friends and family.

He got released with orders to see the cardiologist. The doctors could not find a reason why this happened but we just have to make sure it does not happen again. So he is not allowed coffee or booze and is on some meds.

So our first week of our second year together began with a wild adventure. I told him that this is the worst that I will allow this year to be so only good things from now on. We made it through this together, he leaned on me, and I had to be brave. He always promised me an adventure, and together we will face it all.

Happy anniversary, babe. For better and worse, in sickness and in health. I love you always.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spinning plates

Have you ever watched the circus performers spin plates, they strat to spin them on their finger then transfer them to these long sticks and them try to spin more plates while kee[ong the previous plates in motion?

Yea, that is what has been going on with me lately. I am working on this huge high profile project at work and was doign well, until someone else dropped the ball and handed it to me and then went on vacation. I was dreading today, I had a restless sleep thinking about spreadsheets. But ya know, it was not all that bad. Once I organized the info, worked out a plan with my counterpart, and started to get responses to my email things started to move. And I was able to breath. I know that I can do this and do it well and I so so glad that the higher ups are noticing what I have been doing.

So while I am appearing calm, my brain is all over the place and I feel a bit loopy and out of it (sorry I have not caught up on some blogs!). At the end of the day, I am just glad to come home see three furry faces, have a nice glass of wine and veg out with the hubs.

Plus there are some exciting things that have popped up in the past few days that we will have to wait and see if they pan out but, I am not going to over think, if it happens it will happen....I just hope that it happens.

So what plates are you spinning?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Sometimes it sucks to be so far from your family.

Sometimes it sucks to get a phone call telling your grandmother in another country passed away.

Sometimes it sucks when you can't speak to your mom because she is on a plane.

Sometimes it sucks when your stoic dad gets emotional on the phone.

Sometimes it sucks to realize that the last time you made a trip there was 14 years ago and that money and lack of vacation time prevented you from doing so.

Sometimes it sucks that you could not say good bye.

So yea, sometimes it sucks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Her-story epeats

As a kid, it took me awhile to understand the phrase "History repeats". Sure enough though out many years of history classes you learned about it (Like never invade Russia in the winter!)

It was recently that i noticed personal history also repeats. A few weeks back I got contacted by a former friend of mine on FB. We were close growing up and then we went to the same school and things did not go well. She became part of a group that ignored me, teased me and were cruel to me. It was not an easy time for me and my self esteem took a hit.

As I debated whether to accept or not,I stopped and looked at my life now and realized that this incident has happened to me throughout various parts of my life. It was not an exact story but there have been a lot of common elements that exist even today.

The only thing that changed is my reaction to it. I get over it easier or at least faster. I don't dwell on it and try to move on with my life (it is not always easy) or I just remove myself from the situation. Self protection perhaps, but I can anticipate how the story will go.

I did accept her friend request, I am glad to see that she is doing well. Now I have to figure out how to break the story I am currently in.

What about you, do you see trends and history repeating in your life?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not as busy as a bee

So my lovely three day weekend last week was not what I expected. I had to work for half a day on Friday. I did accomplish a few things like going to my doctor, went to the fabric store (although I did not find a fabric I liked for the big secret project) and started to work on our wedding album.

Lately, work has been very busy. I am glad though because ti makes my days fly by the downside is that it is getting harder and harder to take some time off. I don't mind checking in ones or twice but, I don't like to be teathered to my laptop or phone when I am suppose to be out and about.

I do have a great boss who has granted me a half a day on Friday to make up for my hours "in the office" last week. So we are thinking about venturing into to the Taste of Chicago for lunch.
We also have a call with our financial planner, hopefully we can find a balance that will work for us.

I feel that I am making a lot of sacrifices and am still feeling a bit over my head. I question sometimes was the grad degree worth the costs? Of course it is but it takes a while to pay off both professionally and financially. I have seen some benefits and I am lucky to be in the position I am now because of that degree.

Lately, I am in a spendy mood, I want to buy a bedroom set, a screen door, tile our backsplash re-do our office and get a proper desk, replace some clothes that are old or too small (yea lets add go to the gym to that one) and go on vacation. We will probably get the door and figure out a back splash. The rest will wait...until we win the lotto!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two three

I have two three day weekends in a row. I am taking tomorrow off and it has been much needed. I have so many things that I want to do and have to do and I wanted some time to do it without sacrificing too much of the weekend so tomorrow I plan to:

-Go to the doctor for a check up (Ugh it is all the way downtown, in the early morning because traffic is going to suck!)
-Go to the fabric store to pick up a button for a blouse, some thread for the dog toy triage center I have in my office (they tore up some of their favorite stuffed toys) and look at upholstery fabric for a super secret project that I will blog about soon
-Go to the dry cleaner to drop off clothes that have accumulated for months, yea not too proud of that one
-Go through the wedding photos and pick a few to frame
-Print said photos and actually frame them
-Start to create a wedding album
-go to my neighbors contemporary dance show

So that is a full day and I hope to cross many off of my to do list.

What is your to do list if you had tomorrow off?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I am in a cleaning/decorating mood. I want to scrub down the condo from top to bottom and then I want to get rid of stuff.

I have this habit of putting things in (separate) piles and pretend that they are not there. Clothes, paper, shoes etc. It is getting to the point where the piles have piles! so I am planning on taking this Friday off. I have a doctors appointment then I am woman on a mission, going to the fabric store to get a button and look at some fabric for a project, the off to the dry cleaner and home by noon.

Having an extra off day makes my weekend feel more productive.

What would you do with an extra day off this week?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Just so personal;

The other day, I had lunch with a good friend of mine. We haven't seen each other in a few months and we wanted to catch up. Over lunch, she leaned back, took a breath and then began to tell me what has really been going on. I could tell it was not something that she talked about a lot and she began to talk more and more about this particular situation. As she did, she seemed to relax a bit more. I told her that she can always call me and talk about this and other situations anytime, that I am here for her.

She seemed really relived and then leaned in from across the table and whispered "It is such a personal thing, that I just did not know if I can talk to anyone about it."

That statement sums up the way I have been feeling about my blog (yep one of those blogger talking about blogging posts).

In the past few months there have been some things going on that are personal. My husband reads my blog and I am okay with that because it is not things that he hasn't heard before. But since getting married there are some issues that we are in the midst of that affect both of us. By blogging about them, I am exposing part of his life too.

Yet, at the same time, these are the things I want to talk about, I want input on them but, I just can't. It has really eaten me up inside because I do want some different perspectives that comments provide.

So I am trying to find some sort of balance. Yet, it is leaving me feeling that I am writing about superficial things like random weekend events.

I am working on finding that balance, finding the zen between personal and public. How do you do it?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


I am now becoming entrenched in a new project at work that involves an acquisition. It is strange to be on the other side of an acquisition (the winning side so to speak). But that means that there is a lot of work and integration will be a long and bumpy process. So I have been traveling between my original office and the "new" office a few miles away, I have been on conference calls that start when I begin my commute home and often end with me sitting on the top of my stairs in front of my door (if I go in the dogs go nuts).

I get home so drained and tired. So this past weekend was a chance for me to rest and recoup. Except that Rosie does not have a snooze button and is awake every day at 5:45 which means we are all awake at 5:45 and I have been out on walks at 6. But we finally figured out a way to trigger her snooze button. Let Yukon sleep with her! She slept in yesterday to 8:30 but, we think that the long walk along the lake shore had something to do with it too.

Saturday we spent the day with my in laws. My sister in law and I went to a wine festival in Elgin to support a charity that her sister works at. We got to try about 12 wines and considereing that we swapped, it was about 24. There are an amzing amount of local wines (produced inIndiana, Michigan and Illinois ) most were fruit wines. There was this lovely rhubarb wine and an almond champagne.

After the festival we went back to their house for a nice BBQ where my brother in law served as the neurotic grill master. But to his credit, everything was wonderful!

The rest of the weekend was spent at home, cleaning sleeping, catching up on some movies, playing wtih the dogs and going for long walks.

We need more long weekends.

What was your highlight?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not quite myself

I am feeling "off" lately. It is a mixture of feeling unappreciated, underwhelmed, tired, helpless frustrated, anti-social and stressed.

The frustrated, helpless and stressed feelings I can dive deeper into I know why I am feeling this way, I know the causes but unfortunatly there is no quick fix. It is a daily reminder of "Hi, here is your life now, here is the life you want and there is no way at this time to bridge the gap" My life is not that bad at all, I know that. I am quite fortunate in many respects but, there are things that I want (not necessary material goods although a Mac book with be nice) and I know that I can't get them. It is just beating me up.

Tired well that is due to the lack of a full nights sleep. I tend to wake up at least once during the night. The cat likes to scratch the door at the wee hours for attention or he decides to be sick at 3:14 am. Or the thunder wakes me up or I am too hot/too cold or I had a nightmare, or a siren goes off etc.

All of this makes me just want to hibernate and hide and try to figure my way out of this funk. I just don't know how.

Note: This is not a reflection of my marriage. I am very lucky to have my husband for so many reasons.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Putting away the suitcases

We got back yesterday from our weekend in NY. It was one of those trips that we did not plan to do anything. We both had to plug into the office on Friday so we stayed near my parent's house. My friend, her husband and her cute baby came up to visit we along with my dad and brother. I was able to satisfy my pizza requirements and it was a lot of fun catching up. We both new that the baptism would be crazy and when there is a baby as good and cute as Baby V, you will get no baby time.

We spent Saturday at the zoo and just strolled around the park. We had a good time and as my Hubs puts it, "the residents were lovely it was the visitors that were not". It was so true, some parents and kids were just out of control.

My dad took us out for Portuguese food that evening and it was so good. Hubs is determined to find a Portuguese restaurant in Chicago, any ideas?

Sunday we headed to Staten Island for the christening*. And on the way we went through all 5 bouroughs, one was not on purpose! We crossed 7 bridges round trip (two not on purpose). But ithe whole ceremony and party were worth it. Baby V was so well behaved she slept through most of it and at the part was passed around. She would just sit on you lap and look around. I tried but she would not fit in my purse. But she is going to come with her mom to visit us soon! WE were able to catch up with some friends and make news ones.

One of the people at our table is a filmmaker and my friends business partner. Their short file has been shown in 4 film festivals so far and has gotten some great reviews. He was very interesting to talk to! They are busy with four more films that they are hoping to work through this year.

Yesterday we came back to Chi town to tow very excited dogs and a pleased cat. It was good to be home and share a bed again. My parents ave kept my room and my brother's the same, with one twin bed so Hubs and I had our own room!

*I did wear my black dress but paired it up with my hot pink shoes and a hot pink flower pin. It looked great!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


In a few weeks, Hubs and I are heading to the big apple to attend the christening of my best friend's baby. This is her first and she loves being a mom. She was my matron of honor and we joked that it was good she chose an empire waist dress since she was 8 weeks pregnant then. Her biggest regret was not having champagne at the wedding so we will be bringing her a bottle.

Her daughter was born in February during the worst snow storm of the winter and I was one of the few people that they called an hour after the birth. I have been given the title of Aunt.

Needlessness to say, we can't wait to go.

I have a question though, is it appropriate to wear a black dress for a christening? I would wear it with pink heels.

So what are your thoughts?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hoping for a harvest

We spent our weekend doing the typical one day of errands and second day of chores. The bathroom and back deck are spotless, The floors cleaned (Until tonight when Yukon's shedding form fur tumble weeds) and an outright avoidance of the room that really needs attention...the office. We have too much stuff there, paper, desks random stuff. We need to get rid of most of it. We have two tables that we use as desks and then we have 4 bookshelves we realized that they take up too much space and that room is suffocating. So we are trying to think of a way to reduce clutter and open it up. Any ideas?

We planted our tiny deck box. We decided on basil, strawberries and stevia. While we know the basil will grow, we are wondering how the rest of the two will do. It is an experiement. Last year we did not have a deck box garden because of the stress surrounding the wedding. So this year, I wanted to have one. I wish we had a little patch of soil to work on because I would love to grow tomatoes and cucumbers with a few more herbs. But we will make do with what we got.

There has been some passive aggressive behaviour that is affecting our condo and last night we were in the middle of it. As with most condos, noise is an issue especailly if you have back decks, a few friends, a few drinks and open windows. One neighbor sent out a snotty, insult filled request for parties to be done by 10. This said neighbor has been the author of a number of these types of emails, he has this huge sense of entitlement and has not made any effort to come to any condo meetings. So the emails and insults continue.

Last night, many neighbors decided to rebel against this tenent by holding an impromptu drink/ bbq session, under our bedroom window. Normally, we do not mnid but the smoke, noise and unleashed dogs were getting a bit out of hand. Thankfully a few neighbors approached us and told us to let them know when we need them to quiet down. I said as long as they wrap up at 10 we are good and they did.

Communication is key but, I suspect that this type of passive aggressiveness is going to be a shot across the bow and we expect a few more rounds in this battle. We want a house.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paradise lost

We are back from our amazing trip to Maui and have been for almost two weeks!

When we came back to work, things seemed to have exploded in our absence. It made us wonder, why didn't we stay? So all last week, we had a few late nights, working from home and plenty of meetings to get us back in the game. It was all worth it!

Our trip to Maui was just perfect. It was a great combo of activities and relaxing. When I am on vacation I can never really relax because there are things that Iw ant to do and see. This time we made it a point to do both!

Here are some highlights
  • We got up early to watch the sun rise over Haleakala, a dormant volcano and by early I mean 1:30 in the morning. We did a tour and that was when our pick up time was. Our guide picked s up and I swear he was shooting espresso! I have never in my life met some one who was so up and at them for 8 hours. He was just pumped and excited. He has done this for 5 years and it was so refreshing in a way to see someone who loves their job.
  • On our way up to the sun rise, we stopped at a rest stop and there were no lights and the stars were endless. We saw the milky way and it was beautiful.
  • We spent the next day snorkeling. I found a company that only goes out with no more than 6 people rather than a huge group tour. Hubs and I had so much fun with our guide. she was patient and knowledgeable. It was so awesome to see her get excited when we saw a puffer fish.
  • The most surreal moment was when we were swimming with sea turtles. We saw one and Hubs and I were so excited. then about 15 minutes later, we were surrounded by at least 8-10 of them, they were next to us, below us and above us. Since they are endangered we could not approach them but, it did not stop them from approaching us. They were so graceful and inquisitive. There was one who was swimming towards us and was just a few feet away before he swam away. I have a deep respect for those creatures now.
  • We went hiking in one of the rainforrests. I though it would be more casual than it was. It was challenging, we were climbing up and down rock cliffs only holding on to hhibiscus roots. We saw a number of waterfalls but, were glad when it was over.
  • Pineapples, so good, we could not stop eating them. Passion fruit gelatto was another yum. Apple bananas were delish.
  • Seeing the Hubs get formally recognized by the executive team. I had the opportunity to meet his co-workers and some people in his company. Mostly everyone was really nice and we had a good time.
  • Winning the coveted tiki trophy as part of the Hub's team building exercise. We won all our team events by the half and then killed in in the sand castle final. Our winning sand castle...sea turtles. but Hubs rocked the blow darts and I rocked the coconut toss.
  • Sitting in by the pool overlooking the beach and seeing humpback whales play in the ocean. It was a mom and her calf having fun
  • Seeing Jennifer Aniston jogging on the beach path at our hotel
  • Meeting and getting our photo with Adam Sandler also at our hotel. He was so nice and genuine and called me "Short legs!"
I want to go back. The Island, the people, the drinks, the air was exactly what our souls needed. My skin and hair never felt better. The hubs and I reconnected without the distractions of our daily lives and got to spent time hanging out and just having fun.

Aloha Maui! Mahalo!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Now just the fingers

We are very close to getting ready for our trip. We were supposed to sit down and plan this weekend but then we had to clean the condo and yesterday was a wash because we spent part of the day with the in laws.

But this week, you would think we would have time but think again. We are busy from Wednesday onward with events, meetings and concerts.

So if any of you have been to Maui what are the must dos? We are planning to do the sunrise tour and a road to Hana tour. But what else, what do we have to try activity and food wise?

And just to show you how busy we were, try doing this:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Almost just hands and toes

We have been counting the days until our trip to Hawaii. Sure we are excited to go and get to be somewhere new and exciting but, more so, we really need to get away. Things haven't been that great for us lately, we have been going through a down time with so many stressful things. Here are just a few in the last week:

-Hub's uncle passed away after a short illness, my father in law was able to see him before he passed and was there for the funeral. As sad as this is, his uncle passed away on his terms and had all his wishes and requests followed. It also ended some family strife that has been haunting the Hubs and his siblings.

-The Hubs has been stressed out from his job which translate to being stressed at home.

-We've been having some dog issues, one of which I can't talk about. The other one is that they have been eating paper, not just any paper but bank statement, tax document, old MBA papers. We have no idea how Yukon has gotten into them. So after two years of being crate free, she has now been put back in her crate.

-Money, but then again who is not stressed out by money. We are beating ourselves up on past money mistakes and the lack of foresight in other matters. But hey, we do not have crystal balls to predict the future but have to deal with the present. Thank goodness for the huge tax refund we got but it will require us to continue to live frugally.

-My grandmother is quite ill, very ill that I had to call my mom in Egypt. Thankfully, she has had a slight improvement and my parents got back from the Middle East yesterday.

Thankfully, the two of us are stronger together than ever. We've been there to support each other as the pieces being to fall.

So in a few weeks, we will be in the middle of the Pacific together celebrating the Hub's accomplishments and each other and not a moment too soon!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Green and Gold

Put on your old green bonnet
with your yellow ribbon on it,
and we'll drink 6 friars to the grave
We ain't got knowledge
But we are a DAMN good College


Go Saints!

Note worthy events
-Jimmy Fallon picked Siena to go all the way
-Obama picked Siena to beat perdue in the rirst round
-NPR sport guy picked Siena as the one to watch out for

From a small college in the Capital District of NY to being in the national spotlight I am proud to be an alum in so many ways!

Go Siena

Photo credit

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ugh, colds suck

I am being kicked in the ass by a nasty cold. Hubs got it from a co-worker and last week was his time to be miserable and now it is my turn. I am dealing with a head cold that affected my ears, nose and throat.

However, the hubs has been so wonderful. He made me dinner and dessert (lemon cake) after cleaning the apartment on Saturday. He did the grocery shopping so that I can rest yesterday and took the dogs out all weekend without me. I helped out by making chicken stock (the best smell when you are sick) and washing the floors. He was just wonderful.

Since I can't take any cold meds because they cause some negative reactions. I have been resorting to home remedies:

-Teaspoons of honey for my throat
-Chicken soup
-Lemon juice (a lemonade basically)

What are some non drug remedies that work for you

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Random but good

There is no major big stuff happening so here are some highlights
  • The hubs and I have decided to de-clutter the condo. I would love to get a dumpster and just toss out things but that is not going to happen (for now). So we spent part of the weekend going through old paperwork, cleaning out the front closet and the cabinet under our bathroom sink.
  • On a related note, we have enough body wash and soap to last at least 3 years...I wish I was joking
  • We found our bug spray and sunscreen (not expired) for Hawaii, so no need to go shopping
  • I have so many dresses from my pre-wedding "I need dresses for events" shopping last year that I do not have to go shopping for Hawaii. I am so happy about that!
  • Because of our upcoming trip, I got motivated to go to the gym. I ran and took an abs class. I am not as sore as I expected to be. The abs class was kind of a bust, I may replace it with pilates again.
  • My puppies have been so good lately! They have been really loving the warm weather and the new smells that they have been using their energy outside which makes inside time a lot less crazy. (Now watch, I put it out in the universe and for the next week they will be demons)
  • My parents are going to Egypt next week on a tour. It is so cute to hear how excited they are. My dad was telling me that he is glad he does not wear contacts because of the sand and he read that in his guide....and he found in his guidebook a small shop he wants to check out that sells papyrus, oh and that he can't wait to see what souvenirs they sell at the Sphinx. Mom is more excited for all the shopping that she did! It is really cute
So what is going on in your world?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aloha Recoginition

Hubs has been working on a strategic transformation project for almost a year, in addition to his day to day tasks. This project has taken off like gangbusters but has had him in the office late, coming home cranky and frustrated and put him in front of some executives. His boss's boss hand picked him to participate in this project because she sees his potential.

Last week, Hubs was extremely frustrated and snappy. He could not relax or sleep with all the pressures of work on his shoulder. He (like many others) felt unappreciated and was dealing with a number of personalities with their own agenda that is making him do more work than necessary. It was not good.

On Monday, he grumbled into work. When he came home, his spirits were lifted. He asked if I had looked into any vacations this year (I have been on and off looking a places to go) and when I replied no, he said "That is good because we are going to Hawaii!"

*Insert my mouth hitting floor*

His hard work was recognized by the person who placed him on the project as well as the executive team. He was selected with a few others to join the companies excellence club and will be recognized in Hawaii.

And I get to go! All expenses paid (well except for my taxes).

I am so proud of him and all the blood, sweat and swearing that he has done for his company. I am so glad to be his support! He deserves this!

Of course, now it means I have to hit the gym....well for him, it is worth it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How did I get here?

Last week, this lovely blogger asked me a question " I would love to hear more about your old life in NYC and how you ended up in Chicago!"

So picture this, early 2002 in NY a 20 something woman happily moving though life. It was like the stars aligned, I was in a happy relationship, I had just moved into my first apartment in Brooklyn with my best friend and work was decent despite a lot of turmoil.

Then it all fell apart, one by one. My boyfriend broke up with me via VM while I was away at a wedding in Scotland. (this was before the even classier move of breaking up via text). We were together for almost a year and a half and this came as quite a shock. I was devastated, I became a shell of my formers self. I just got up went to work, came home and went to bed. During that time I lost 15 lbs by not eating because I was not interested in food.

My best friend got seriously involved with her boyfriend and it just added salt to the wound to see how happy they were together while I was miserable. Then they got engaged on what would have been my anniversary. So I was a mess.

Then my job took an unexpected turn. The VP of my division decided he did not want to be bothered with managing my team so he turned us over to another VP who decided that we were of no use to the company in Manhattan so we had to move to the operations facility in Long Island or get laid off. Fun hun?

I am not a fan of Long Island and never wanted to commute to that office. It was, to put it nicely, a dump. Nor did I want to get laid off, I have a huge fear of not having a job even if I hated it, I am fearful of what would happen if I did not have one.

Prior to this news, I was realizing that I needed to make a change in my live, in my environment. My apt was filled with ghosts of memories and I was stuck in a rut that I knew if I remained there, it would really do more damage than it has already bestowed. During this time of reflection, I was sent out to California to visit a client of mine (known for their couch jumping celebrity spokesperson) and I got to stay in Santa Monica. I fell in love with the town, the idea that it was warm and that the Pacific ocean was different. I decided that I wanted to move to California.

Then my job situation became undone. So California was not a possibility now because I would not be able to move so quickly without money. But a new opportunity opened up for me. My company had an office just outside of Chicago and I asked if I could be transferred there. To my surprise, they were delighted and did everything possible to get me out here. I must say, I negotiated a very sweet deal.

So in August of 2003, I moved to Chicago. I had my own apartment, a new car and only one person who I knew. It was hard, very hard. There were a lot of days when I got home and just cried. I shook my life up for sure but, I was not sure if this was what I wanted or if this is where I wanted to be. But then I slowly made friends at work. I forced myself out of my apartment and took flamenco dance classes. I even joined a dating site to get myself out (whole other blog post).

And I began to blog.

Now the move that was only suppose to last a year has turned into almost 7. I met my husband here, I have met some great friends here and one of my good friends from college moved out here a year and half after I did.

It was a hard road to get where I am but, I had to challenge myself, I had to make it happen I had to survive...and I did.

What about you, what have you done to shake up your world?

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Random 5

Things have been very quiet lately. It seems that all we have been doing is getting up, walking the dogs, work, walk the dogs, eat dinner, walk the dogs, sleep and repeat.

But here are a few questions that I have been wondering about:

1-If you could compete in an Olympic winter sport, what would it be?

I always longed to be a figure skater, I used to take skating lessons yet, did not have the skills nor patience to even attempt to make it.

2-Do you think valentine's day is overrated?

In a way yes, I think that it is just another day. when I was single it would sometimes sting, especially when your co-workers would get flower boquets that were non stop. But as I have gotten older it is just another day with my loved ones.

3-What are you tired of hearing about (news wise)?

I am so tired of the health care debate. All this talk of us vs them really annoys me and then when they talk about bipartisanship while pointing fingers....well who is calling the kettle black?

4-What is your quick go to homemade dinner meal?

It is tacos! Although I never underestimate a good panni or grilled cheese sandwich.

5-What is the best piece of advise you were ever given?

People will never act (or react) in the way you want them to. But you are in charge of how you will respond.

Your turn...and are there any answers to questions that you want to know?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

My head hurts

I rarely discuss my job in the blog. I never mention the company nor specific details about what I do. However, work has become such a pain in the ass for me. It is not the job per say, it is the people. Here are some highlights from the past week:

-Yesterday, the whole company got a spam email. I did not open it, it went straight to my trash box. However, a few did and then people started to "reply to all". We have about 12,000 employees around the world. Our email was clogged for 2 1/2 hours. The sad part, most of the reply to all and then the emails telling people not to reply to all, were written by managers. At last count it was up to 300 emails!

-Would you tell your co-workers that you are on an anti depressant? Would you tell you boss? Would you start crying at your desk (and some of your co-workers desks) complaining about menopause, your doctor and insurance? Yes, this was the same person!

-I am trying to wrap up a project. A project that was to be completed by the end of 2009. then was pushed back to the end of January and is now pushed back till March. Why the hold up? Well the team leader has decided to "check out" and is not being as active as she was in the beginning. So as the project leader I pick up the slack and all I hear are crickets. People don't get back to me, they do not get back to my boss. It is beyond frustrating. What kills me, is that this project has affected my 2009 performance review. Thankfully, my boss is very understanding and has supported me through out. Which is a good thing otherwise I would have flown out east to kick some ass.

-IT is overworked and not communicative. So they do not respond to my requests for info and updates.

-Our office is overdecorated for Valentine's day. I am a fan of a few things here and there, but it is over the top. Not as bad as Christmas, when Ms. Prozac wrapped all the pictures on the wall.

-I am over the passive aggressiveness.

I need a drink.

What is giving you headaches?

Monday, January 25, 2010

French onion soup

So this is my favorite recipe, it is from the Chopping Block:

2 tablespoons of butter
4 Medium yellow onions thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sherry*
5 cups beef stock**
French bread
Gruyere Cheese

Heat your pot, when it is hot add the butter. Let it melt and then add the onions, let the onions saute for 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally (Christina's note, our onions were huge so they filled the pot all the way to the top, do not worry as they cook, they reduce in size. I also added a pinch of salt at this step to heap the onions sweat)

Add the thyme, salt and pepper.

Add the sherry and use it to deglaze the bottom of your pot. Make sure you get all the yummy brown bits. Let the mixture simmer a bit until the sherry has evaporated.

Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat so to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning (Christina's note, if you are using a regular stock, you can reduce some of your salt. I also love extra thyme so I add more)

Get your oven proof bowls, cut the bread about 1/2 inches thick. Grate the cheese.

Ladle the soup into your bowls. Fill only 3/4 of the way, add the bread and then sprinkle the cheese. Set the bowls under your broiler for a couple of minutes (Christina's note watch the bowls as different ovens have different heat levels. It is a good idea to put them on a rimmed cookie sheet, because they are hot).

Remove, and add extra cheese if you wish (um yes!)

Let it cool for a moment and enjoy!

Serves about 6

*Use regular sherry not cooking sherry
**Vegetable stock can be substituted

-This is even better the next day, you can make the recipe up to adding the soup to the bowls.
-You can substitute thyme for herbs de Provence

If you make it, let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just the points

  • Rosie has had two puppy training classes and has shown a lot of confidence and is food motivated so is quick to learn. The downside, is that she is food motivated and interrupts other puppies and their owners for a treat. It has been a fun class and we've learned a lot. This week's homework is the sit (leading to stay) command and a review of the "come" command.
  • Ever since the burglary, it seems that all our neighbors are watching out for each other and for us. People have really stepped up and are checking in with each other and sharing notes. It is great to be a part of that.
  • The downside of that is some entitlement issues and passive aggressive comments that have been going back and forth. We are all adults, if you want your upstairs neighbor to turn down his TV, knock on his door and ask him!
  • spend a lot to get my car maintained, more than I planned, and we still have a few more issues to take care of. Well when you are almost at 30k miles, stuff happens.
  • Bought a new blender for $0.38, thank you gift card.
  • Making onion soup today....can we say yum.
  • Can't believe that my best friend is having a baby in 6 weeks, I am an honorary aunt and can't wait to see them in the spring!
  • My parents are going to Egypt for Spring break (they work in a college). they have been so funny about planning and researching. According to my dad, never buy alabaster in the streets, it is fake and there is one store in Cairo that sells papyrus as done my the ancient Egyptians and he may have to go check it out.
  • I am so over the late night wars!
What are your bits and bobs?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


With the news about the earthquake that devastated Haiti, there is a onslaught of generosity.

Before you donate money, make sure that it is a reputable organization. Sadly, as with most recent disasters people have been scammed and their contribution does not make it to the country in need. To check if your charity is a legitimate one please check out this website.

Check with the local offices to see if they are collecting food and clothes. The Red Cross in Chicago is requesting financial donations as it costs them time and money to sort and send clothes. Also, they like to stimulate the local economy by purchasing items there.

Check if your company is offering matching donations to maximise your donation.

Some other relief and charities organizations that are collecting are
Doctors without Boarders
Habitat for Humanity
Red Cross
Mercy Corps
Save the Children
World Food Program

Check to see what they are looking for (although most are seeking financial donations)

You can also text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the International Response Fund of the Red Cross.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Staying safe

Our neighbors were a victim of a day time home robbery over the weekend. It happened between 1-3 pm, most of the neighbors were out (including us) and did not see anything suspicious until about 3:45. They lost their laptops, a gaming system and some custom jewelry. They crate their dog so she was okay, shaken up but okay/

It got me thinking about some things that we all can do to protect our homes. The first thing it to add layers to make your home less appealing:

Here are some tips to keeping your home safe.


-Alarm system

There are so many options available that can be suited to your house/condo (make sure they are reputable, do your homework). Many are offering discounts or free options that help to mitigate the cost. Put the alarm stickers on your doors and windows, it is a major deterrent (Plus, it reduces your homeowner’s insurance)


How strong are your doors, are they reinforced with steel or just a simple hollow wood door? Can you replace them? If not, the simple thing it so add a metal plate, like a book cover, they glide over your door and then you bolt your locks and handle in, it is hard to drill to open the lock. You can also consider some drill proof locks.


-Do you keep your shades open to show the world what you own? Invest in blinds, curtains and keep your windows locked when you are not home.


Time yourself give yourself 5-15 minutes, what is in plain eye sight and can easily be taken? Try different entry points. Secure those items to make it harder.

Personal items

Serial numbers

Keep a record of your serial numbers for your computers, gaming systems, TV, DVD players etc. Keep the record on an internet based system such as Google Docs. Print and keep a copy for yourself (perhaps in a book on your bookshelf or taped to the back of some artwork that is hanging in your home)


Do you want your sentimental jewelry taken? Place those special pieces away from your everyday pieces. Keep it somewhere unusual that would take a lot of time and effort to find but not hard for you to remember.


From homeowners to renters insurance make sure you have your items covered. Be honest, look at the value of your bit ticket items and get coverage. It is a small price to pay


Invest in a strong secure one, one that is too heavy for a person to carry comfortably. Keep your passports and important papers in here but keep a copy of your passport somewhere safe, Scan it to your email. A safe deposit box at a bank is another option.


Make sure you know who you are letting into your building or home. It is okay not to let people in that you do not know even if they say they are friends of your neighbors.


Know your neighbors

You need to keep each other informed of any suspicious activity. Don’t be afraid to speak up

Know your local police officers

Invite them to your association meetings; let them know your concerns. They have tips and suggestions to keep you safe and you develop a relationship with them.


Ensure that your pets have the electronic ID system. Make sure you keep those numbers handy. Call all shelters if they go missing

Be aware,

Know your surroundings, know the people who live in your neighborhood and report anything suspicious.

What are other tips?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Gone to the dogs

Since we added Rosie to our family, we have had our hands full. She is very quick, nimble and has a stubborn streak. But she and Yukon are good friends and entertain each other for a few hours a day. She and Chaplin can share our bed during nap time.

We've been working from home for the past few days due to the snow storm and she has decided that she would rather spend all day on a lap rather then in her warm crate. She is not a fan of the cold weather and loves to wear her jacket. Her dad is looking at doggy boots since she is very sensitive to the salt.

Yukon has been such a good big sister. She tolerates having a playmate and has taken on this matronly aura. I am so proud of her.

We all start obedience school this weekend and I can't wait. We need to work on a few things but, we can't imagine our life without her.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Changes to work for

The past two weeks have been lovely! It was great staying home doing little things to make our house neater and spending time catching up on movies and playing with the pets. I got most of my list done but not all of it. I have been procrastinating on finishing up cleaning the office and my bedroom closet though.

But with 2010 brings some things that I want to start to do. I don't like to call them resolutions because I feel so bad when they fail but, rather call them changes to work for. The top of my list is to get my body in motion. I have not exercised in ages and am feeling the effects so instead of wallowing about it, I need to get moving. Back to the gym for me and perhaps start running (perhaps). I also have to watch what I eat, the holidays wrecked me so now we have to go back to eating good things. Work has a program to help you get started so I signed up to keep me motivated and accountable. I was so good early last year but, stopped. Now, I have to get back on track.

I want to stay organized. I get so freaked out sometimes by not having a neat and tidy house. So I want to work to maintain and do little things that help keep it looking good. I have already started, I organized all the cleaning products by usage, accessibility and if it is dry vs. wet. I also take at least three things that don't belong in a certain room and put them back when I leave the room I am in. Finally, I conditioned our chopping block and it looks so pretty that nothing is allowed on it. I plan to clean for a few minutes each day so that the weekend is not a cleaning marathon.

Simple changes I suppose but I hope these work to make things a bit easier for me in the long run.

what are your "changes to work for"?