Monday, November 21, 2011

Lovely Life List: Learning to Drive

If you've been following my blog from the beginning (I know there are a few of you!), you know that I have a sort of bucket list/life to-do list thingy that I call my Lovely Life List. Do you have one of these? You really, really should. I can't even tell you how much of a difference writing mine has made. Writing a life list is such a great exercise in identifying your goals and helping you chart your path. And I don't know that I believe all of that nonsense in The Secret, but I do believe that you won't get what you want if you don't ask. So put it out there in the universe! You can see my original post here. And check out Maggie at Mighty Girl. She is pretty much a Life List guru.



Some of you may also remember a few months ago that I jumped head first into one of my most feared life list items: learning to drive. When I was making my list, it was hard for me to even include that item. It felt scary to even admit I wanted to drive. And I was afraid it would just sit on the list forever, mocking me and making me feel like a failure. But I also knew that my inability to drive was a bit of an Achilles' heel. It bothered me that I couldn't do this thing that just about everyone else could. I was embarrassed to tell people I didn't drive, I hated having to ask people for rides, and I hated how defensive I got when people teased me about it.

Surprising but true, up until this summer I really didn't know how to drive. I got my license at 17 along with my friends, but after just a month I had a bad accident and vowed never to get behind the wheel again. OK, well I didn't make some kind of dramatic declaration...I just literally never got behind the wheel again.

Conventional wisdom would probably say that was a mistake. I should have tried to get back on the road right away, because the longer I was away, the harder it became. But I would say that not driving was really just me making a statement that I know myself and I know what is best, and I would drive again if and when I was ready. And you know what? That's exactly what happened.

Flash forward to this summer, when I realized that I wanted to move to Florida to volunteer at Give Kids the World. I figured out pretty quickly that this move would mean driving a car. I did briefly toy with the idea of trying to find some public transportation options, but central Florida is just sprawling, and I knew I would be incredibly limited without a car. So I decided I needed to bite the bullet and figure out how to get confident behind the wheel.

I didn't know anyone who had taken driving lessons in NYC, so I turned to my friends Google and Yelp for advice. I found a driving school that had great reviews and reasonable prices, and after several false starts (OK, I probably stalled for a few months), I made an appointment for a lesson. I read and re-read the reviews I found online. People spoke of getting over years of driving fear and loving the freedom of being able to go where they pleased. Part of me was excited that one day, this could be me...but a big part of me doubted that I would ever feel so comfortable with driving. Driving a car is SO much responsibility, and I just didn't think I could handle all of the mirror checking and lane changing and merging of it all. I was afraid that I would always be afraid, and that is not a good way to be as the operator of a motor vehicle.


What if I encounter some zombies while driving? I think it is a valid concern.

So this summer, I took a grand total of 5 driving lessons. I thought I'd have time for a few more, but the days flew by and I did have a few issues with my driving school forgetting to show up at the agreed upon time (their one flaw was their online scheduling system). I practiced changing lanes, I practiced driving in the rain, I practiced parallel parking (despite my protests -- I never have to parallel park in Florida!). I felt better behind the wheel, but suddenly I found myself in the Orlando airport picking up my rental car and I realized I had to drive out of there by myself. BY. MY. SELF.

After checking in at the rental counter (yes, I'm sure I don't want an SUV! I barely know how to drive a regular car, thank you), I made my way to my generic white standard 4-door car and sat in the driver's seat for about 30 minutes trying to pump myself up. I felt absolutely sick, but I knew I couldn't sit there forever. I backed out of my spot -- sloooowly -- and headed toward the exit. I followed the signs out of the garage, then out of the airport, then before I knew it...I was driving!

My GPS lovingly guided me through Florida's finest non-interstate highways (wasn't brave enough for I-4 on my first go 'round). I gripped the wheel pretty tightly and drove in total silence (took me a few days to decide I could handle the radio), but I made it. Left, right, left, right...and suddenly I was pulling into my destination: the parking lot of the Super Target in Kissimmee (had to make a stop before getting to my new place). I cruised in just as the sun was getting low in the sky, I found a spot far, faaarrr away from any other car (wasn't ready to face my fear of dinging other cars), and put the car in park.

SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so relieved and happy and giddy and PROUD of myself...I swear, my feet didn't touch the ground as I walked into Target. I wanted to hug random people, I wanted to sing...I wanted a stiff drink. Probably the wrong instinct for a new driver, but that's how I felt!

I navigated myself to Publix and then finally to my new home, and this will probably go down as one of the most memorable drives of my life. I had driven myself from the airport to my new home, all by myself. A simple act that a million people have done but for me, a true accomplishment and the unshackling of myself from one of my greatest fears. I felt like a weight of about a million pounds had lifted.

Looking back at my previous driving experience, I realize now that I just wasn't ready to drive when I was 17. I don't know why, but I just wasn't ready for that responsibility. It doesn't make me a bad person, it doesn't make me stupid...it just means that when I turned 17, I didn't magically wake up with the skills I needed to drive. But it is hard to have that much self-awareness when you're a teenager. I wish I could have said, "it doesn't matter that all of my friends are driving, I just need a few more years", but at that age it is not so easy to swim upstream in that way. I appreciate that as an adult, I very rarely feel like I need to do things just because everyone else is doing them. Yay for being a grown-up!

And it turns out, I don't mind driving...in fact, I kind of like it. In my first week, I put about 450 miles on my little rental car, and since moving to Florida I know I've logged nearly 2,000 (which is impressive considering I don't have a daily commute). And I really feel comfortable with it. I can handle driving at night. I can navigate U-turns at wacky traffic lights. And I can even handle I-4 (but I'll only do it if I really have to).

Do you want to see my car? Here it is -- my little green bean!



I'll have to save the story of buying the car for another day. Navigating the used car market in Florida is an adventure and a half. But for now, I am happy -- thrilled! -- to be crossing a big item off my Lovely Life List. Learn how to drive? Check!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Taking the long way



My friends from high school, married their high school boyfriends
Moved into houses, in the same zip codes where their parents lived
But I, I could never follow
No I, I could never follow.
- The Dixie Chicks, "The Long Way Around"

I don't know how many Dixie Chicks fans read this blog, but "The Long Way Around" is one of my all-time favorite songs -- do you know it? It is one of those songs where hearing the lyrics felt a little like someone was reading my diary. I totally could have written it! (Except I don't really write songs...I get hung up on the rhyming).

I've been thinking about this song a lot lately because I've just started out on a bit of an adventure, and it's definitely a little out there. I don't know that everyone would take this particular path, but I think it is right for me...and I'm excited!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am now coming to you from sunny...ORLANDO!



Whoa! Pretty drastic change. I've lived in NYC for almost 8 years and before that Boston for 3. I'm a girl who likes big tall buildings and late night food delivery and walking everywhere...basically a City Mouse. Orlando has been a BIG change of pace: lots of grass and late night theme park visits and driving everywhere. Very different!

I've been here since September 2, and I honestly can't believe almost 2 months have flown by. So much about my life has changed, and I can't believe it but I still am not quite in a regular routine. And I am a girl who needs a routine! Hence my dropping off the face of the blog world, both as a reader and writer. Just have not figured out how to get it all done.

So why Orlando? Well, I've mentioned before that I am absolutely in love with a place called Give Kids the World. I first learned about this organization about a year and half ago, and it isn't an exaggeration to say that hearing about this place changed my life. I can't explain exactly why, but I was fascinated by it, I felt drawn to it. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think about it -- I just think their mission of granting Disney-based wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses is so inspiring, and I think the work they do is so important. I just had this incredibly strong feeling that I wanted to be a part of it. But I lived in New York City...so what could I do?

Well, last year I came up with a plan that would have me quitting my job and moving to Florida to volunteer at Give Kids the World for 6 months. And there's a long, sad story that goes along with this, but I was not able to make this plan work. I had done everything I needed to do, but an important piece of the puzzle didn't fall into place. I was DEVASTATED. And I felt lost for a while. But the new year came, and I started blogging and making lists and figuring out my goals, and I couldn't get Give Kids the World out of my mind.

And then I watched The Last Lecture.


And really listened to the messages about brick walls and not taking no for an answer. And I figured out another way...

I'll need another post to go into all of the details, but I convinced my company to let me move to Florida and work remotely for a few months. I figured if I was here, I could volunteer at GKTW any time I wasn't working. It wasn't quite the same as totally kissing my job goodbye, but it was a way in. It was a way to get where I wanted to be.

And after about a million other steps (subletting my apartment, learning to drive, buying a car, etc.), here I am. Most days I still pinch myself. The experience has been everything I wanted, and so much more. I LOVE spending time at Give Kids the World (don't worry, so much more to come on that!). I love the change of scenery, I love the new friends I've made. And I love knowing that I was able to do something kind of big, kind of crazy...all on my own. I dreamed up my own destiny, made a plan, and made it happen.

Seriously, I feel like I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to. Amazing!

PS -- Thanks to a lot of people for helping me make this work: my boss for understanding my crazy dream, my new friend Andrea who was an excellent planner-in-crime and now is a most excellent Disney park buddy, my dog for rolling with the punches. And Randy Pausch. Thanks, Randy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OH. MY. GOD.

I feel like this blog is that old, reliable friend who is always there when I need her, and I am basically acting like the worst friend in the world in return. "Oh, yes, we're such good friends...I just never have time to see you, I ignore you for days on end, and I can't help ditching our plans at the last minute. But I still care about you!"

Sigh.

I've really enjoyed writing this blog, and during this unintentional hiatus I realized that I do miss actively blogging. I miss having a place to work through my crazy thoughts, I miss the little group of people who came by to read and say hello. And I know having this blog has pushed me into doing great things, big things -- I LOVE that.

So I need to get back on track. New post coming tomorrow, and another one after that. Let's see if I can string together a week's worth of posts. I think I can!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mini Life List -- Florida Edition

I wrote my Lovely Life List a year ago and so many amazing things have happened -- so I figured I needed to write a mini version so that I can make the most of my time in Florida. Type A in the house -- I do love my lists.

So here is what I have on the agenda for my Orlando stint:

1. Ride every ride in all four Disney parks at least once
2. Visit all four parks in one day
3. Ride Dumbo during the MK fireworks
4. Get my picture taken with Mickey (how can I never have done this in more than a dozen trips?)
5. Go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in costume
6. Visit Gatorland
7. Mail my holiday cards from Christmas, FL
8. See the Candlelight Processional
9. Watch the cheesiest Eat to the Beat concert
10. Eat at a Waffle House
11. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of a Disney park
12. Check out the Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney
13. Take a swim in Stormalong Bay
14. See the Magic Kingdom Christmas parade taping
15. Check out the Cinderella Castle suite (note: I have no idea how I am going to do this)
16. Take my mom to EPCOT's Food and Wine Festival
17. Go to the beach! (again, so many trips yet I've never been to a Florida beach)
18. Watch the fake swirling snow in Celebration
19. Buy gingerbread from the life-size gingerbread house in the Grand Floridian
20. Decorate my car with cheesy Disney doo-dads
21. Take an air boat ride -- another fun non-Disney thing I've always wanted to do
22. Be a part of Disney Marathon weekend -- not sure if I will be a competitor, volunteer, or spectator, but I will be there!
23. Take a solo ride on the Tower of Terror (and buy the picture!)
24. See ICE at Gaylord Palms
25. Take Audrey the Dog to the South Beach Wiener Dog Festival

I've officially been in Florida for three weeks, and a lot of that time has been spent taking care of practical matters and trying to get myself settled. Time for some fun!



Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Update

Hi friends,

Your friendly Peacock blogger here...I'm baaacck! I hope. I really never intended to take such a long break, but I guess one of the things I learned is that getting out of the habit of regular blogging means that I lose momentum quickly. I had written a million posts in my head, but none of them actually made it on to the screen. I still remember most of them, though, so hopefully I will be able to do a little catching up.

Anyway, here is a quick rundown of things that I've done in the past month:

1. Visited Kentucky for a business trip.

I did a lot of traveling for work this summer, and apparently the theme was "random states I've never visited" -- I hit Texas, West Virginia, and Kentucky. All were nice, if not a little warm. And now I'm three steps closer to achieving one of my Life List goals.

2. I prepared for a hurricane.



Hurricane Irene was all the rage in NYC last month, and I realized that I was woefully unprepared for any kind of natural disaster. Brooklyn did not seem too freaked out -- my neighborhood in particular was very calm. A trip to the grocery store revealed Perrier and fancy cheese to be running dangerously low, but all other staples very well-stocked. It reminded me a lot of this:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gourmet Food Crisis
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

On a side note: aww, look how adorable young Jon looks :)

3. I slept through a hurricane.



Yes, so Irene turned out to be kind of a bust in NYC.  It all happened overnight while I was fast asleep. There was flooding in some areas, some power outages, a few idiots in a kayak, and some hilarious press conferences by Mayor Bloomberg, but it wasn't much of a disaster. Many places had it much worse.

4. I moved to Florida.


Whoa. WHOA! This one is going to take some more explanation, but let me just say that for the next 4-5 months, The Peacock Diaries will be coming to you from sunny Orlando! Celebration, to be specific. Do you know this town? It is fantastic -- I've always wanted to live in Stars Hollow, and I think that maybe I do. Much, much more to come here...stay tuned!

5. I rented a car and drove myself home from the airport.

Seriously! I still can't believe it, but I did it! My driving lessons are over and I am officially a driver now. In fact, I guess I kind of enjoy driving because I managed to put 450 miles on my rental car in a week. I think that's a lot, right?

I have missed you all and look forward to sharing more updates and also checking out what you've all been up to -- I haven't been doing a good job keeping up with blogs, but I am ready to spend some quality time with my blog reader!

More to come soon, but it feels good to get something posted. Tonight I have a date with the Magic Kingdom -- still pinching myself that Mickey is right in my backyard!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm not dead!

Oh, hi. Remember me? Probably not. I just logged into Blogger and my blog is pretending not to know me. A little cold shoulder, but that's OK -- nobody likes to be abandoned.

Well, hopefully this marks my return to regular blogging. I'm going to start slowly so I don't hurt myself, so this will be a quick post...but LOTS more to come!

So I've been busy with lots of great changes. My to-do list has been MASSIVE, but I am thrilled to say that I've been able to keep up with some good workouts. In the past three days, I've logged 10 miles! They haven't been fast and they haven't always been pretty, but I've gotten them done. And this morning's workout was a 6am special -- definitely not my best hour. Which is probably why I managed to drop my keys along the way without realizing -- not awake! Luckily I retraced my steps and found them :) At various times my mother has threatened to pierce something on me and attach my wallet/keys/phone or other frequently lost item to a chain. She's probably on to something.

The weather in NYC has been pretty miserable lately -- muggy, sticky, humid, and any other word for "makes me feel disgusting". I've been trying to keep my workouts to the earlier or later parts of the day...I figure even if it isn't that much cooler, it will be harder for people to see how gross I look in the dark. Last night I took a nice long stroll right at dusk, which is perfect for one of my favorite activities -- looking in people's windows and seeing what they're watching on TV. Listen, I'm curious! If you don't want me to look, close your blinds. I have to say, some of you have some very questionable taste in TV shows. VH1, really?

This time of day is also perfect for admiring my neighbors' decorating styles. I passed one home that had a real, honest-to-goodness library -- walls and walls of floor to ceiling books and one of those ladders that slides around the room. Note to self: I need that.

But it's not all fancy libraries in my 'hood. As the old saying goes, money can't buy class. To this point, I introduce Exhibit A:



Yes, this is the kind of crap that one of my neighbors decided to adorn their million dollar brownstone with. It is hard to read the sign, but it says something about happy birthday to Leos.

Then there's Exhibit B:



I think they specialize in post-mortem spray tan applications and rigor mortis fist pumping. Listen, maybe your name is Guido -- but that doesn't make it a good name for your business!

OK, off to give Audrey the Dog her last walk (she's doing much better, thanks to those who asked!) and get ready for bed. I'm ready for some QT with my TV hubby (Jon Stewart) and some good sleep!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Confession

Forgive me readers, I have sinned. It has been 12 days since my last blog. I have had some blog-related thoughts, but I have not acted on them. Sigh.

In my previous life as a blog reader, I would definitely get annoyed when bloggers would disappear without warning for days or weeks on end. What happened to them? Where did they go? How could they forget about the blog? How hard is it to just check in?

Well, harder than it looks. I'll be honest, the past few weeks have been such a blur that I really didn't think much about blogging. The to-do list was so long, posting just never got very close to the top. Sucky, I know. I know I don't have thousands of readers hanging on my every word, but I do love the fact that people take time to visit -- whether you just stop by or you're a regular commenter, your visits mean so much! Plus, I really enjoy the whole process of blogging. Really helps sort through my thoughts, and I like having my little electronic diary to look back on.

So the good news is that I've been busy with super great things. Workouts have been happening pretty regularly -- in the morning, even! This is blowing my mind because I am so not the morning exerciser. I've also been driving. Today was fun with parking: parallel parking (boo!), navigating parking lots, etc. Not the most fun, but better than the BQE. And I've been working on a bit of a top secret surprise. I hate to be a blog tease, but more to come soon.

The bad news is that my busy schedule is likely to keep up over the next few weeks, so my free time is not going to open up any time soon. But I've been adjusting and trying to make myself as efficient as possible, and I'll just have to find ways to squeeze in some blog posts. If only the rest of the world would adopt that 36-hour day that I've been pushing then I could get it all done!

And with that, I am off to sleep. I'm going to be dreaming of this little fuzzball:

Audrey in her sick bed -- I tried to take good care of her all weekend!
Audrey the Dog was not feeling well this weekend, and last night we didn't get much sleep (no one wants to be alone when they're sick). This morning things actually got worse, so I took her to the emergency vet and they wanted to keep her overnight! I was shocked, I thought we'd just get some medicine and get back to our Sunday. I felt awful leaving her. Woofy hospitals are just as depressing as human ones, and I hate that I couldn't make her understand that I wasn't abandoning her and I would be back. I'm sure she's totally fine (probably snoozing in her little doggy hospital bed), but just in case I'm going to the window to sing a quick rendition of "Somewhere Out There". The pet hospital is just a few blocks away, so we are definitely are sleeping underneath the same bright star...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A night at The Plaza

No, I didn't get to spend the night in the Eloise Suite. But I did get to spend a few hours at one of New York's most famous hotels. Some friends were in town for the weekend (bringing their almost 7 year old on her FIRST TRIP TO NYC!), and I was looking for someplace fun and a little bit special to meet them for dinner. When you live in a city like New York, there is a lot of pressure to deliver good dining experiences to out-of-towners. New York has some of the best food in the world, and it often comes at a price...so you want them to be impressed!



After consulting my foodie friends and racking my brain a bit, I came up with what I thought was a good idea: Todd English's Food Hall at The Plaza Hotel!

Food halls are pretty trendy in New York right now -- this isn't a new concept (think Harrods in London, Takashimaya in Japan), but now top foodies are tripping over each other to develop the quintessential NYC food hall experience. Mario Batali has Eataly, Jeffrey Chodorow has FoodParc, but the trend really started with Todd English's contribution, which is located in the basement of the newly renovated Plaza Hotel.


I thought this would be perfect for my friends. First, the food was supposed to be fantastic. That really had to be first priority. Second, my "niece" (I'm Aunt Ali, at least in name!) is a foodie who loves some Top Chef. Todd isn't exactly Tom Colicchio, but he's definitely a player in the celeb chef world and I think he's even been a TC guest judge. Third, The Plaza Hotel is an NYC institution and is a great little stop on a first visit, especially for little girls who have grown up reading Eloise. Eloise is ALL OVER the new and improved(?) Plaza -- she's on a flag waving on the front of the building, she's in a portrait in the lobby, and her likeness is available on all kinds of books and jewelry and clothes and toys in her very own gift shop. 

And I'm happy to say our visit was a total success! The Food Hall is huge but not overwhelming, popular but not too crowded (a nice contrast from Eataly, which is absolutely mobbed all the time). There are 8 different food stations, serving a variety of choices including sushi, pizza, carved meats, salads, and dumplings. You're seated on stools around one of the various stations, but the menu is inclusive and everyone can order from any station. There aren't a lot of places where your dining companions can be enjoying good sushi and great flatbread pizza at the same time! And while you're waiting for your food, you get to watch your stations chef in action -- the slicing and dicing, the pots bubbling over on the stove. Dinner and a show!

Image source
The seating initially posed a small bit of a challenge for our group of 4. We were seated in a row, and our conversation was a bit of a game of telephone, trying to pass messages down the line. Eventually 4 seats on the corner opened up and we were able to move so we could face each other as we chatted. I wanted to hear all about their big day in the city! There were multiple Naked Cowboys involved. 

So, the food. A-MAZ-ING! Everyone was really happy with their meal, but I think mine might have been best. My friend went with sushi and a seaweed salad (which we dared her to order because it sounded weird, and she ended up LOVING), her husband got gyros, and her daughter got beef sliders and fries (super cute presentation on that one). I went with the 1/2 organic rotisserie chicken, which came with bread and pickled vegetables (umm...?), and I added a side order of haricots verts. And here is what I got. First, the chicken:

Thanks, Interwebz -- I totally devoured mine before I snapped a photo
Image credit
What a feast! I couldn't eat all of the meat, though I really wanted to because it was perfectly tender and juicy. This is the kind of flavor that you just can't get when you make it at home.

And the haricots verts were like dessert -- SO tasty! Green beans topped with walnuts, cheese, and a bit of pepper for some spice. Oh my god, I wanted to lick the bowl! I usually eat my green beans steamed, but this was quite a nice treat. I need to try to recreate this at home.

We were all too full for dessert, but they had quite a nice looking little bakery. I spotted some French macarons, so I'll definitely try to save room next time. And I do plan on going back -- there are so many more things I need to try on the menu! Prime rib, gourmet pizzas, big salads -- yum, yum, and yum. I'll definitely suggest this for out of town guests, but this would be a great spot for a date or a girls' night. We can't let tourists have all of the Plaza fun!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dreaming vs doing

Where did the week go? I love a long holiday weekend, but it is hard not to feel a little bit behind for the rest of the week. I've had some blog-related thoughts this week, but the actual writing just didn't happen. Bad blogger.

This week had me thinking about dreaming and doing, I've figured out I'm very good at one of these things...can you guess which one? Yeah, I'm a dreamer (but I'm not the only one...) Hence my constant posts about goals and plans and life lists. I really like the planning process. I like plotting, envisioning myself in new ways and new places; I like color-coded spreadsheets and pretty lists and doodle-covered maps. I love letting it all swirl around in my head and seeing what develops.

Sweet. But not really accurate...you'll see later when I get to the part about
having 4 alarm clocks.
Image source

But when it comes to actually following the plans, doing the work, taking the actions, sometimes I stumble. What is they say about mice and men? Add peacocks to that list. I often find myself astray. But I don't give up!

This week I decided my workout needed a little chart, so I made myself a pretty Excel sheet:

Gridlines, wherefore art thou?


I've since filled in specific daily/weekly goals and I made it my computer's wallpaper so I have to look at it all the time. I think the success/failure color-coding is my favorite part. I want to see a lot of pink!

So I started things off in my usual way. Day 1 -- success! It was the 4th of July, so I wanted to squeeze in a quick few miles. Then Day 2 -- fail. Could not get out of bed. Many snooze buttons were hit. Day 3 -- same. And while I was annoyed at myself, I really hated having to color in the blue box each day. My failure was staring me in the face, mocking me. Grrrr.

I wanted things to go differently yesterday morning, so I went to bed a little earlier, set my 4 alarm clocks (sorry neighbors!), and tried to psych myself up mentally.

Mine are scattered all over my apartment, and still I manage to oversleep. Really, it's pretty impressive.

The alarms went off, and I shut them off. I buried my head in my pillow. So tired. More sleep, more sleep! I dozed a little, and woke up again 20 minutes later. Not too late to squeeze in a workout, but getting close. I don't want to do it. My eyelids are so heavy, how am I going to lift my feet? But then...

I promised myself I would do it -- get up! I'll get a pink box! I'll feel fine once I start...just get out of bed!

This went on for a few minutes. I checked my email on my phone. I made lists in my head. The angel and devil on my shoulder really went at it. But much to my surprise: the angel won!

I got up and got out and logged a couple of sweaty miles. And it was fine. I'm definitely not a morning person, so I felt like it took a little while to get into a grove, but I got there. I didn't let my foggy head bother me. I also did my best to ignore stinky garbage truck that insisted on following me (that was a little tougher). And I made a pretty pink mark in the box.

Do you use any special tricks to keep yourself accountable? Do your plans ever go astray...and how do you get back on track?

Oh, and some exciting news to share: my first guest blog post is up today! The lovely Andrea over at Run, Eat, Date, Sleep allowed me a little space to write about one of my favorite subjects, Give Kids the World. This won't be totally new info if you've read my previous posts, but you should definitely pop over and see what's going on. It's a must-read blog if you like running, Disney, Criminal Minds, or awesome people ;)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eat Pee Love

One year ago today, a little furball named Skittles (don't worry, she won't keep this name for too long) showed up at my front door. She looked small and scared, and frankly a little embarrassed by both her bad haircut and her silly name. She walked in, took one look around, and peed on the floor.



She came to me thanks to a wonderful organization called the Mayor's Alliance for New York City's Animals. This organization is a coalition of animal rescue groups and shelters that works to place animals in loving homes and end the killing of healthy cats and dogs. A lot their work involves placing animals in foster homes while their owners are unable to care for them -- maybe the pet owner has gotten sick, been forced to move to an apartment that isn't pet-friendly, or become temporarily homeless. MAFA helps find great temporary homes and covers a lot of the costs of caring for a pet during the foster period, and often the animals are happily reunited with their owners

Skittles (better known to you as Audrey the Dog) was a different situation. She had been purchased from a breeder by a family in New Jersey, and after two years they decided to give her away. I don't know all of the details -- I don't think she was abused, but I don't think they cared for her very well. There was a divorce and children involved, and apparently she was being used by the parents as a way to try to manipulate the kids. Eventually they decided to surrender her, and MAFA stepped in. And I have to say, MAFA really goes above and beyond -- they picked her up in New Jersey, brought her to their vet for spaying, microchipping, vaccine updating, and a check-up and teeth cleaning. Then they delivered her to my house and then paid for some follow up vet visits. For all of this, I paid an adoption fee of only $100. Truly, a great organization! I've decided to make a donation to MAFA every year on Audrey's adoptiversary so they can continue doing their great work.

While our first few days together weren't exactly smooth sailing (they said she was housebroken -- she was not), I did quickly get a sense that we were meant to be together. I have been wanting to adopt a dog for more than 10 years -- wishing, hoping, and praying big time. Truly, I was a little obsessed. I wanted a rescue, and I hoped for a little dachshund (or at least a little doxie mix). When my dog-loving boss heard this, she offered to reach out to her contacts at MAFA on my behalf. Lo and behold, they were rescuing a dachshund that week. Fate.

The past year with Audrey the Dog (she ditched the Skittles after about a month -- new life, new name) has brought me more joy than I could imagine.

Skittles are candy, not pets. A few friends loved the name, but
I thought she needed a fresh start.
Image credit

She makes me laugh every single day, she makes me me see things differently, and she gives unconditional love. And even though I quite like living alone, she is great company in my life. She is so happy to see me when I get home (and the feeling is mutual), and I'm shocked at how absolutely empty my little house feels when she's not here. 

And I've learned a lot, so I thought I might share a few lessons about being a doggy mama. Warning, gratuitous Audrey photos ahead!

I can put someone else's needs in front of my own.
It's not that I haven't done it before, but being a pet owner does require quite a bit of selflessness. When Audrey arrived, I had to work to figure out her schedule. I needed to learn when she wanted to eat, when she needed to go out, and how much she needed to sleep. Of course, she stayed pretty silent on the whole matter so I had to figure out a lot by trial and error. I needed to leave work at a certain time so I could get her home, I needed to take care of her dinner before mine, and I needed to get her out on her walks...even if I was tired, even if it was too hot or too cold. Audrey doesn't like to go out in the rain, so often I hold the umbrella over her while I get soaked. I do it because that's what she needs, and it's my job to take care of her.

I need a whole post to showcase the many faces of my little drama queen,
but here is preview.
Sometimes being very patient is important.
In a lot of ways, Audrey is a real New York dog -- a little bit neurotic, and not always easy to please. I mentioned the housebreaking thing. Actually, Audrey wouldn't even pee outside when she first got here. We'd walk forever and then as soon as we got home, she'd smile and pee on her bed.  (OK, she doesn't smile with her lips...it is more in her eyes, but I know she's doing it). I cleaned up a lot of messes, but eventually we figured it out. She has also developed a few behavioral issues (please do me a favor and don't ever ring my doorbell), and I am seeing that while she can eventually learn to act the right way, it won't happen overnight. I need to be consistent with her training, and I need to be patient.



Love can be a little bit disgusting.
I know that being a dog mama isn't at all like having a child, but there are a few useful comparisons. I always wondered if I was cut out for the icky side of child-rearing, and after just a few weeks with Audrey I got my answer. Audrey likes to eat things that she shouldn't, often with messy results. I came home to find Audrey had gotten sick many, many, many times. I'll spare you the details, but the phrase, "oh, shit!" was never more applicable. Audrey was fine, but there was a lot of clean up to do. It was totally disgusting, but I did it without hesitation. Same goes for that night she had projectile diarrhea. It isn't always easy to care for the people we love, but it is nice to know that I can do it when I am called.

This bed is just the right size...for me.
I can't control everything.
And finally, life with Audrey is a good reminder that no one is perfect, and sometimes people (or little furballs) will do things that I don't want...and I need to be able to roll with the punches. Audrey has a protective streak, and she gets a little angry when she sees other dogs. She demonstrates this anger by screaming, snapping, lunging, and otherwise menacing other pups in the neighborhood. And while I truly wish she would not do this, wishing it isn't enough. I have a similar wish that she wouldn't follow me into the bathroom. I probably should do something about that, but right now I'm picking my battles.


So Audrey, thanks for a year's worth of good morning hugs and goodnight kisses. Thanks for being such a good playmate and such a good listener. Thanks for licking away my tears, and thanks for entertaining me by running around with a pita chip bag on your head (this happens almost weekly).

I look forward to many, many happy years with my teeny little pal!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Halfway check-in

I never really thought of June 30 as milestone, but a number of my favorite bloggers' recent posts looking back on the first half of the year have got me thinking that this might be a good time for a check-in myself.

Image credit
2011, Part I

When I started this blog, I mentioned 3 big goals for the year:

1. I want to run a marathon
2. I want to write a blog
3. I want to stop procrastinating so much

I have been blogging for almost three months -- woo-hoo! And 3 months in, I have to say I really love it. It is harder than it looks and a LOT more time-consuming, but ultimately so much fun. I have learned a lot about myself and this great blogging community, I have been perpetually inspired, and hopefully I have shared a few things that made others smile, or laugh, or think. I knew that I would be making some life changes this year, and I wanted a blog as a place to collect my thoughts along the way. But a funny thing happened...writing my blog and reading many others have actually inspired a lot of the changes that are happening. Chicken? Egg? I don't know, but I'm loving it!

I definitely haven't fixed my procrastination problem, but I'm not giving up yet. My marathon training is really half marathon training at this point (baby steps!) and it is going slowly. I began the year WANTING to become a runner and train for a race, and I guess my progress report mid-way through 2011 is that I KNOW I can do it. It's not a question of if, it's just a matter of when. That's a nice feeling.

2011, Part II

There are GOOD things coming later this year, I know it. I don't have a lot of details yet, but there are at least 8-12 Lovely Life List items in my sights right now -- by the end of the year, I am going to have a lot of crossing off to do. And that is CRAZY to me. A dozen dreams coming true... I can hardly wait!

And what is even more amazing is that I'll make all of it happen myself. I had goals, I made plans, I dealt with obstacles, and still I kept going. Henry Miller said, "We create our fate every day we live". I'm ready for the fate that I'm creating for myself.

I'll have news about bigger plans soon, but for now I'm excited about tackling this item:

Learn how to use all of the features of my DSLR and be a photography rock star

This week I'm starting my Photo 101 class courtesy of Nicole's Classes, and I can't wait! When it comes to photography, I think I have a pretty good eye and I know I have a decent camera, I just need to know how to make both work a little better for me. 


I've never taken any kind of online class before, so I'm kind of intrigued by the whole process. And I am so excited to have better photos -- of my vacations and adventures, of Audrey the Dog, and of course of all things blog-related. 

I'm looking forward to a great weekend, and a great rest of 2011! How are you feeling about the year so far? Have you achieved the goals you set out for yourself, and are you excited about the next six months? You guys inspire me all the time, I'd love to hear what you've got planned!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shut up and drive

A quiet Sunday morning around 9am: the sun is shining, the city is slowly waking up, and I am pacing nervously in my apartment trying to keep busy. My first driving lesson is 30 minutes away. Am I really going to do this?





My lesson was in the back of my mind the whole weekend. I tried to stay positive: This would be fun! This would be an adventure! This would be empowering! And in general, I think I believed most of it. But I had a restless night of sleep on Saturday, so at least part of my brain was struggling.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The end of excuses

Yesterday I decided it was time to get back on track training-wise. I thought it would be easier to get into a schedule once I got back from vacation, but no. There's always an excuse -- it's incredibly hot, I got stuck at the office late, I wanted to sleep in, a last-minute invite to something more fun than working out -- but I know what excuses do for helping me reach my goals: absolutely nothing. I'm remembering why I was such a hard ass on myself once upon a time -- if left to my own devices, I can be quite a slacker!

After letting almost the whole day go by (and seeing my evening plans fizzle out), I finally got my act together around 7:30 and laced up the sneakers. It was a really lovely evening -- the heat of the day had dissipated, leaving a still-bright sun and a nice warm breeze. I set out for Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is starting to feel comfortably familiar. I don't think this view will ever get old:

One day I will take a not-crooked Hipstamatic photo

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cars, too

Do one thing every day that scares you.
   -Eleanor Roosevelt

That's a great quote, and one I think of a lot when I'm trying to take on new things. Trying to achieve this daily seems like a bit of a stretch to me, though when I think about daily life during Eleanor Roosevelt's time, maybe it wasn't so hard. I mean, what was hair removal like back then? Probably frightening.

Yesterday I did something that was quite scary: I signed myself up for driving lessons. Well, just one lesson -- but with any luck there will be more to follow.

Source unkown

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Suddenly, this summer

I was pretty excited to wake up yesterday morning and take in the first day of summer.

Summer!

It's my favorite season, I just love saying it. True, it has felt like summer for the past few weeks in NYC. And true, as a regular 9-5 working girl I'm hardly able to kick back and take off entirely for the summer. But still, I find this particular season incredibly appealing. Long, lazy dinners at outdoor cafes, weekend BBQs and pool parties with friends, frothy and fruity adult beverages, and so much sunshine every day. Everyone is just a little bit more relaxed...aaah.

There's also something about the start of a new season that feels like a clean slate, full of new opportunities. I want to enjoy every minute, so I thought I'd take a minute to lay out some of my goals for this summer (this is totally original, I'm sure you haven't seen ANY other posts like this).

Great summer vacation




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Web roundup

I spend a fair amount of time hours and hours and hours surfing the interwebz, and there isn't a day that goes by where I'm not inspired by looking at sites that are lovely/hilarious/amazing. But don't worry, I'm not selfish -- I am happy to share a few sites that have been keeping me entertained this week.

Dear Photograph

Definitely the darling blog of the web this week, Dear Photograph encourages people to "take a picture of a picture from the past in the present". Got that?

Looks something like this:

Dear Photograph,
We had nothing, but you gave me everything. Thank you for your
never ending love. I love you Dad
@okfollowheather

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lovely Life List: Lip service

This week I've spent a little bit of time working on a small corner of my Life List: finding a great lipstick shade.

I have a drawer full of lipsticks that are all fine, but I have yet to find that one great shade that goes with everything and makes me feel perfectly polished. Seems like a good thing to have in one's makeup bag, right?

There are a few criteria that I identified to help me narrow down my search:

- I want something in the pink family; plum colors are too dramatic for my coloring for every day and reds are too high-maintenance
- I want something creamy or matte. No glitter, no shimmer.
- I'd prefer a drugstore brand. If I find something I love I'll probably want to have an extra tube or two around, and spending $75 at Sephora on three tubes of lipstick does not excite me; it would also be handy to be able to replace a tube easily when I run out or if I'm traveling.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer Friday

Yesterday was my first official Summer Friday -- hands in the air for the Friday dance!

Image source
Do you know about the wonder that is Summer Friday? It goes like this: in an effort to help employees get a head start on weekend plans (i.e. drive out to the Hamptons), companies allow employees to leave the office early. Every company has a slightly different arrangement, but ours is pretty simple. We can leave at 3pm, provided our work is done. There has to be someone in each department who stays the full day to provide coverage, but for me that means I only have to stay every 3rd or 4th Friday. Not bad!

I had hoped to use this time to meet up with a friend for a drink (feel like I've been so out of the loop with my girlfriends lately), but everyone was either working or, in fact, headed out of town this afternoon. I decided to spend the afternoon focused on two things I love: shopping and eating!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thing I should do more: give compliments

I've been thinking a bit about compliments, thanks to a great post by Jessica at What I Wore. She asked about the best compliment you've ever received on your personal style, which led to a fun discussion in the comments.

Image credit

One thing everyone could agree on is that it is SO GREAT to receive a compliment, whether from a loved one a complete stranger (and in some ways, a compliment from a complete stranger is an even better ego boost). This got me to thinking about compliments in my life, both given and received.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming

You know what you gotta do when life gets you down?
Just keep swimming

Just keep swimming
 -Dory the Fish

OK, so I almost have the Disney thing out of my system...

This happened on Monday, but it was still on my mind this morning. Monday morning started off in the usual fashion: oversleep, rush around, curse, knock something breakable over, forget one of my gadgets, run out the door with sweat on my brow. It's fun, really. It must be because I do it almost every. single. day.

I was supposed to make something for lunch before I left, but that definitely didn't happen so I figured I would grab a salad near work. There are quite a few pick-your-own-ingredient salad bar type places near my office, so not a bad option for a quick and healthy lunch.

And then lunchtime rolls around and my desire for salad goes right out the window. I didn't feel like it, I wasn't in the mood, a client was mean to me, blah, blah, blah. Who knows why, my brain is full of excuses. I started thinking about other options, and I decided I was in the mood for Chipotle.

Guacamole and DREAMS. No wonder I can't stay away...
Photo credit

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How I spent my summer vacation...

I've already shared the Give Kids the World parts (here and here) of my Orlando trip -- I wanted to recap the "vacation" part of my trip, too.

I think I have already mentioned this, but I am a bit of a Disney nerd. My family didn't get to take many vacations, but when I was in middle and high school we took an annual trip to Orlando for as much Disney fun as we could squeeze in, and we REALLY cherished these trips. I took a bit of a hiatus from Disney parks for quite a few years, but I've been making up for lost time -- last week was my 6th trip to the World in two years. Hooray for Annual Passes!

I like how at Disney you're not an adult, you're just "10 or older"
What this means is that I don't feel the need to see and do everything on my trips. Our trip was scheduled during a fairly hot and crowded time of year, and my traveling companions (mom and brother) don't really have the same kamikaze attitude I do about touring. In general I just tried to go with the flow.

So, the highlights....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Volunteering at the Village, part II

Friday was an early morning, and we all tried to stumble through the getting ready motions as quickly as possible. We were out of the room at 7am and stopped to grab a quick breakfast at the Marketplace, the quick-service restaurant/hotel gift shop (yeah, I don't understand it either) shared by the Yacht and Beach Club hotels.

Good morning, carbs!
Photo source: WDW Info
We were a teeny bit late pulling into Give Kids the World, but luckily the staff was beyond understanding and assured us we hadn't missed anything. Today's shift was at the Gingerbread House -- we were helping with breakfast!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Volunteering at the Village, part I

By far, my favorite part of last week's Orlando trip was volunteering at Give Kids the World. If you missed it the first time, make sure to check out my post on this amazing place.

The process of volunteering at Give Kids the World is pretty straightforward. Since I had volunteered there previously, all I had to do was let them know when I was available and I could be put on the schedule. My mom and brother were new Angels (GKTW code for volunteers), so they had to fill out the online application and go through a quick background check. Very easy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

S#*t my brother says

"The other day I felt like going for a run and ran 11.2 miles in 97 minutes."


"I'm not sure if I could run a half marathon...though I did run 13 miles once when I was lost. So I guess I could."


"I really love running this 1 mile loop around the Boardwalk...so I ran it 10 times. I had to stop because I was getting a little thirsty." (This run took place around 3pm in the brutal Orlando summer heat)


"I had a great 5-mile run. I wish we didn't have to go to the parks, I could have kept going for another hour."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

There's no place like home

And just like that, I'm home.

This morning at about 12:30am, I was back in Brooklyn following a fantastic vacation to Disney World. You might not have even noticed I was gone because of my sneaky auto-posts (ah, technology!) -- but while you were reading about Give Kids the World, cake, and dachshunds, I was in the land of sunshine and talking mice.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Notes on a dachshund

Being the owner of dachshunds, to me a book on dog
discipline becomes a volume of inspired humor. Every
sentence is a riot. When I address Fred I never have to 
raise my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when
I instruct him in something he wants to do.
-E.B. White, loving dachshund owner

There seems to be a lot of talk about dogs on the blogs that I read: people who have dogs, people who want dogs, people who "adopt" random dogs in their neighborhood and give them new names (oh wait, that was me). Some of you may be considering adding a furry friend to your family. And maybe you’re thinking a dachshund would be the perfect addition.

Good news, you’re right!

Dachshunds are wonderful, lovable, and hilariously adorable little creatures. They also have very funny, quirky personalities. Audrey and took a walk last weekend, and I snapped a few photos to illustrate a few of my favorite dachshund traits.

>>Dachshunds like to stop and smell the roses


Dachshunds have wonderful senses of smell, and they are very thoughtful about stopping to smell the flowers. Your dachshund would like you to wait patiently while she pauses to sniff each and every leaf with her magical little nose.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Truth

LIKE: Cake
DISLIKE: Pie

Photo credit: Bakerella
LIKE: Dogs using their front paws like hands
DISLIKE: Dogs winking at me (as if to say, "Yup, one day we will be your alien overlords and you'll be the one who can't sit on the couch.")

LIKE: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
DISLIKE: Real Housewives of Anywhere Else (I do love NeNe, though!)

LIKE: Blythe Danner
DISLIKE: Gwyneth Paltrow

LIKE: May flowers
DISLIKE: April showers

Ranunculus are my favorite!
Photo credit: Lucy Snowe Photography

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Give Kids the World

New York City is home and will always be my favorite place on earth, but let me tell you about another place that is incredibly special to me...



Give Kids the World is a nonprofit resort in Florida that exists to fulfill the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. It is made of magic, pixie dust, and wishes. And ice cream!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New kicks

I think that the experts advise replacing your sneakers after about 500 miles. Once upon a time, that meant I was going through 3-4 pair per year. Until this weekend, the pair I'd been wearing had been around for more than a year. I don't know how many miles they had on them, but I think they were ready to be retired.

Choosing new footwear is never easy. For many years, I made my decision based on two factors -- do they come in a cute color, and do they come in my size? (It isn't polite to ask a lady her shoe size, but let's just say that if I ever find myself without a home, I could probably live quite comfortably in one of my shoe boxes). While I'm sure my feet looked great, this method is not really the best for providing the best foot support.

A few years ago I went to JackRabbit Sports (a great running store in NYC) for a proper shoe fitting. The staff at Jack Rabbit is fantastic. They know their stuff and they really want to put you in the right shoe. They videotape you (well, your feet!) on a treadmill to analyze your gait and find the shoes you need to stay comfy and injury-free.

Hey, that's a snazzy color combo...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

For my dad on his birthday

So much of me
Is made from what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart

- Elphaba, Wicked

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 62 (and probably not all that happy about it), but he passed away nine years ago. People say it dealing with a loss gets easier with time but really, it just changes. 

There's a much longer story to tell, but it is not an exaggeration to say losing my dad had a major impact on my life. I was 23; technically an adult, but really still a baby. I had a little bit of a warning, but it was still a huge shock to the system. I was told he might have 6 weeks to live, but 11 days later he was gone. As the oldest child, I took care of many of the details. There are some things I would change if I could, but I think I did the best I could.

Time has passed, life has moved on, and I am finally at a point where I can control the tears (mostly) and focus on the happy memories. I also find myself thinking about the things that he has missed, both big and small. I am sad that I never really got to have a relationship with him as an adult. I know that my adult relationship with my mom is incredibly special and so eye-opening. Now with some perspective, I really appreciate all of the the things my parents did for me as a child. I would give anything to be able to tell my dad "thank you". 

Promenading

New week, new route -- the Promenade! I felt like changing it up a bit. Just call me Daisy Miller...

Sometimes it is a bit annoying to live all the way at the edge of Brooklyn (Manhattanites: think East End Avenue -- faaaaar over), but there are some advantages. Super easy access to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is one of those things. The Promenade is a lovely stretch of a thin, park-like space overlooking the East River and the Manhattan skyline. It is parallel to my beloved Brooklyn Bridge Park, but higher up -- much higher up!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

At last...

The About Me page has been updated. Sorry for the delay!


I am thrilled and flattered that new visitors click over to my blog every day, and I know that the About Me page is often a first stop (it is for me when I'm reading your blogs!). The old page was really meant to be a placeholder, but it went neglected for too long. Not that you didn't enjoy seeing my dog in a reindeer costume...but I think this version is a bit more useful.

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Business travel

The stars at night
Are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas
-George Strait

Yee-haw and howdy! Right now I am writing from the comfort of my totally adequate business traveler hotel near the conference I am attending. I wish I was attending one of the super fun blogger conferences that have been going on lately, but this is work related. Not quite as much fun. (Also: the only person who has said "yee-haw" or "howdy" so far is me. It is possible I know nothing about Texas).

I travel a bit for work, and while I am lucky that most of my trips are day trips (Amtrak and I are very well acquainted), every so often I get the pleasure of spending a few days in a new city. Business travel isn't usually the most fun. Oh, the first day is OK -- you're excited to get to your destination, you check out your hotel and it kind of feels a little bit like you're on vacation...but that usually only lasts about 24 hours. Now the honeymoon is over, and I miss my doggy, I miss my time zone, I miss my comfy bed.

While I'm counting down the hours until I head home, I thought I'd share a few of the tips I've picked up that make business travel (and maybe all travel) a bit easier:

1. Pack light

This is definitely a hard one for me, but I find that when I travel, I never regret the clothes I didn't take; I do regret stuffing my suitcase to the breaking point and having to lug it on planes, trains, and automobiles. Check the weather before you pack, be realistic about your needs, and REALLY think about your shoe wardrobe. Those suckers are heavy.


These aren't mine, but I do love my pretty pink suitcase
Photo credit: Love Pink

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Taking the night off

Fact: rainy weeks feel 1000% longer than regular ones.

Though it feels like it should be at least Thursday already, the calendar tells me we are only halfway through the week.

I really wanted to be a hardcore athlete and get out there in the rain, but I was feeling pretty wiped after a long day at work. For those who went out and logged their soggy miles today, I salute you.

I was happy to veg on the couch for a bit and catch up on some bad TV. 9 o'clock rolled around and I still hadn't done anything about dinner. I wasn't particularly hungry, so I wasn't really in the mood for anything -- does that ever happen to you? But I knew I need to eat something, otherwise I'd be awake in the middle of the night ready to eat my pillow. When no other plan materialized, I went with my favorite old standby: PB&J!

Take photo, THEN take bite. Food blogging is tricky.

I made mine with my favorite German Dark Wheat Bread and just a tiny bit of raspberry jelly...and ate it in bed. The rain was still falling outside, but I was nice and cozy inside. Sometimes taking the night off is a very smart thing to do.

Tomorrow it is back to the routine. Probably. It can't rain forever, right? ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

On trying not to pass out in the middle of the street

And now for something totally different...a bad workout.

It has been a while since I had one of these, and it hit me hard. Now that I am comfortably sprawled out on the couch, let me try to figure out what went wrong.

After getting home and doing my Audrey duties (cuddling, feeding, walking), I laced up my sneakers and headed out. Apparently New York is masquerading as Seattle this week, so I stepped outside into a fine, constant mist. A little chilly and not doing the hair any favors, but I was ready for it.

I knew I needed to finish up my walk/run with some errands, so I decided to stay close and do some "laps" up and down the long stretches through the brownstone neighborhoods. Straight, flat, not too crowded...perfect. I could cover some distance without actually going too far away from home, and I would be able to take care of a few things before heading back.

Along my route: a retro soda shop in modern Brooklyn; photo taken using my
modern iPod with an app that makes things look old. In my low
blood sugar state, this seemed highly amusing.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A little quiet

I have been quiet lately but don't worry, I'm here -- I'm just thinking. A lot on my mind right now, but I'll get to that.

I decided to take a nice walk to clear my head. Last night was a clear, mild night in NYC and it was great just being outside. I knew I wanted to do the Brooklyn Bridge Park loop again tonight (I've been taking that route a lot lately -- I love it!), and I decided to do two things differently tonight. First, I left Audrey at home. I was a little sad, because I do like her company. But she pulls a lot, and it distracts me from keeping up a good pace. Also, despite her repeated requests I have not been able to have all other dogs removed from the borough of Brooklyn, and sometimes she does feel the need to scream and carry on when she sees another four-legged furball.

The second thing I did differently is that I grabbed my point and shoot camera -- because I promised pictures! I only took a few because the little camera isn't the best for night shooting, but it was easy to stick in my pocket. Once I start my DSLR classes, I'll be sure to get some quality shots. I headed out of my apartment and down to the park and as soon as I looked up, I was SO glad I my camera.

That sky, oh my goodness that sky!



Mapping it all out

"You can always change your plan, but only if you have one."
-Randy Pausch

Last week I launched fully into goal-setting and life-planning mode, which I have found to be lots of fun and super energizing. There was even more of that this weekend. Things are starting to take shape!

Saturday morning I slept in, headed out for a 3 mile walk/run, showered, and was sipping on a yummy protein shake before the morning was through. Since I felt I'd been pretty productive, I decided to do a couple of things that would help me continue with figuring out my goals and plotting out a course for the next few years of my life.

First, I re-watched Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture".



Revelation...

Trader Joe's Chicken Patties are the diggity!

I'm not a food blogger, mostly because I tend to eat the same things over and over, and because when it is chow time I am usually so hungry that I don't want to take the time to pull out the camera a snap a pic. BUT, I had to share my recent delicious find: Trader Joe's Frozen Chicken Burger Patties.



Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, everyone! I hope all of the moms had a great day, and I hope all of the kids made sure to thank their moms. I know today can be an emotional day for people (maybe your mom isn't here anymore, or you're struggling to become a mom), but I think everyone has a special lady in their life that deserves to be honored -- and it feels great to make someone's day!

Source: Some ecards

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vacation planning

This spring is flying by so quickly that I was surprised to remember that I'm going on vacation next month! Woo-hoo!

Where am I headed? Only the Happiest Place on Earth (my #1 vacation destination)!

Photo credit: Disney
We'll be there for about a week, doing all my favorite things: touring the parks, volunteering at Give Kids the World (more on that in another post), and eating!

Now that I realize my trip is so soon, I have begun doing a bit of vacation planning. Not creating itineraries or planning activities -- I've been to Disney a lot, so I have my plans down. The kind of planning I'm talking about is making sure I'm continuing to take care of myself (with good food and exercise) while I'm away. I have some good momentum going and I want to keep that up, and I know when I'm doing the right things just feel better -- and I'm going to need tons of energy for my trip! A Disney vacation is amazing, but it can really kick your ass.

So here's the plan...