Friday, August 31, 2012

YOLO

For my non-rap listening readers out there,
YOLO = You Only Live Once

Brian and I spent last weekend looking at condos, cars, suits, you name it. 
It gave us some anxiety to discuss (to the point of exhaustion) how much time, effort, and money it takes to make a move across country, when you pretty much liquidated assets two years ago.

I got off a plane yesterday to a concerned text message from Brian.
He was feeling anxious, guilty, and uneasy about buying a new car.

I was running to make my connection and responded with the first thing that came to mind:
YOLO.  Buy it.

I love the term.  It's so relevant, don't ya think?

He bought the car and hasn't looked back since (this was 12 hours ago, mind you).
It turns out that the dealer lost his 18 year old son to an unexpected death 50 days ago.

You just never know who is going to cross paths with you.
And maybe he really needed that sale this month?
Needed a win. 
Needed something...anything.

I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend,
and maybe do something a little exotic. 

After all, YOLO.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bri :)

Brian loves to call me a cougar.

So starting today, I am especially glad that for six more weeks...

...we are the same age :)



Happy Birthday to the L of my L.

I love you and I'm so very glad you were born <3


















Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pictures & The Peabody

Ugh, I was tagged in 3 pictures last night (thanks, Anni) and cringed at every single one.

I know I should have looked past myself and seen how cute the little bundles of joy in our arms were, since that is all anyone else would have noticed...

But instead my thoughts were:
1) I need a haircut
2) I look awkward holding a baby
3) That dress I love doesn’t really look good on me

We are so critical of ourselves, aren’t we?

I love the quote, “you wouldn’t worry so much what other people thought of you, if you realized how seldom they did so.”

Ain’t that the truth?

Anyways…

I'm staying at a baller hotel this week and had to share.
It’s called The Peabody and it’s in downtown Memphis, TN.
I love it.  It has all my favorite things aka DUCKS.

Do you know how much I love ducks?



Every time I see a duck, I have to take a picture.  It's weird I know.

In this case, however, it's normal to take pictures of them.
Each morning, they take the elevator downstairs from their penthouse residence and walk into the fountain in the center of the lobby.
They stay there until 1700 when their master comes for them, plays music, lays out the red carpet, and they walk into the elevator and go upstairs.

Caution: Sound 
video

video


It looks like I missed any real action shots of the ducks,
while still managing to be a total creeper recording through people's legs...

I'll try to do better today.




Some days...

Just when you think the day isn't going in your favor...
the glitter nail polish you were sure was lost,
shows up where you least expect it to.


And sometimes, when you are searching for a sign that will help you make a decision,
your fortune cookie has the magic words to assist.

 

And other times, none of these things happen and you just have a bad day.
But that day ends and a new one begins.

You have never been forgotten,
even though the feelings of rejection, disappointment, and failure
may lead you to believe you were.

But they're just an illusion,
that prevents you from focusing on what is ahead.

And besides...some people get a cookie that is missing the fortune entirely (coughBriancough).

xxx





Monday, August 27, 2012

Giving Credit Where Credit's Due

I find myself in a particular position quite often -- being praised for something glorious I am presenting. 

*Sigh*

And for a second, it seems both unnecessary and unappealing to give credit to the person on my team who is actually responsible for it being so glorious. 

It's a delicate balance of knowing when it's okay to just say "thank you" and when it's absolutely critical that I say "thank you, all credit goes to Brandon."  

When is it okay to take credit and when is it not?

My favorite athletes are always the ones who give some shout out to God.  It's just nice to see someone with so much to be proud of still humbled by his accomplishments.


posted on Friday a view on Lance Armstrong's fall from fame. 
I remember a long time ago my dad read his biography and we spent a car ride talking about it on our way to ski (when Dad and I have had some of my favorite conversations of all time). 
It was impressive to say the least. 
I mean here is someone who survived and overcame more than about anyone else who comes to mind, and rose to a position of American royalty.

But he didn't give any credit to God, or in any way alluded to the presence of a higher power. 

Now, having said that, I am certainly not saying that is why he has fallen from the high places.

But I do respect a passage of scripture and try to keep it in front of me as I go about my days.

Daniel 4: 28-33
But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar.  12 months later, he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon.  As he looked out across the city, he said, 'Just look at this great city of Babylon! I, by my own mighty power, have built this beautiful city as my royal residence and as an expression of my royal splendor.'
While he was still speaking these words, a voice called down from heaven, 'O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom.  You will be driven from human society.  You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone He chooses.'

The good news, is Nebuchadnezzar gained much wisdom and made a reformation after suffering his sentence. He rebounded a humble man.

I am not saying that God stripped Lance of his status. I have no idea how things happen in that regard or that realm on an event by event basis.  But I am saying that He sure might strip away anything I think I have accomplished, if I yield to the foolish attitude of thinking that I am the one who has made something happen. 

Does that mean that I say "thank you, all credit goes to God" when I am sharing a data analysis with my client? I don't think that's what God expects us to do.  But give credit where credit is due. Remember that when "all the stars seem to align," and something goes in your favor, that there is someone greater who created those aligned stars.  And that we are blessed because He loves us and wants us to be.

Now, I am hoping and waiting for Lance to be redeemed as the greatest cyclist of all time. 
Besides, whoever they hand his trophies to was probably taking the same potient, if any.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Monday Flight Attendant,
You made a young girl cry when you pulled a 'Meet The Parents' moment, not even TRYING to accommodate her suitcase (or even letting me or anyone else try) on the plane and I am still displeased with your performance.  She said "I thought this was America" which kind of makes me want to crawl under a desk and hide. 
*Reminder to self: You are always being watched, so think before you speak/act and try not to make negative stereotypes prove true.

Dear Thursday Flight Attendant,
You were a complete smartyouknowwhat and should consider a job where customer service is not the focal point.

Dear Sara,
Switch. Airlines.

Dear God,
Please show us where we are meant to live this weekend!

Dear Lance,
Disappointed.

A very high up exec at our company blasts out a "Friday Thoughts" email each week.  It is not about work, it is basically a blog about whatever he feels like writing.  I liked this week's and wanted to share it with you.  A reminder of where the true heroes are :)
--- 

A small part of me died last night….

It is a story we desperately all wanted to believe in…. a young man rises from a broken home to become one of the world’s top athletes….. only to be struck down by cancer at the age of 25.  He overcomes the odds and recovers….. then miraculously returns to win one of the most punishing athletic events in the world  - 7 times in a row !

At the same time he establishes a cancer foundation to give back to the community that supported him… the ubiquitous yellow wrist bands become a way we can all support cancer victims…..  we glossed over the challenges of his personal life and celebrity relationships because he was a hero ….and dedicating himself to helping others….

Yesterday he gave up the fight of the illegal doping charges against him that have been dogging him for 15 years…..

…. There is the popular story that a small boy yelled out to Shoeless Joe Jackson after the trial of the 1920 Black Sox scandal…… Say it ain’t so, Joe !! ……

…..Say it ant so, Lance…..

…. I felt the same way as the Joe Paterno story painfully unfolded ….

….I am feeling a little sick…. I am sad….. and hurt ….. something special has been taken away from me…. that small, invisible source of inspiration that glowed deep inside has faded away.



…There is a small hole where admiration once lived…. a tiny dark spot where of cynicism and doubt are taking hold…. I am feeling duped… stupid and na├»ve for even wanting to believe….

…. My mind is casts about to find that hero… that truly principled leader…. rock solid values of honesty and hard work and dedication and fairness and selflessness …. brave, humble, dedicated to their family…… fighting for a cause, defending the underdog…..

It is more than idolizing someone….. more than living a fantasy…. Somehow I need these role models to inspire and guide me….. I need someone that sets that shining example….  Establishes the highest benchmark of what is good and right in our world… and what I should be…..

My mind scans the world….. sports, politics, religion, journalism, entertainment business…….. there are few worthy of true admiration… I am afraid now to latch on to anyone…. I don’t want to be duped again…..

Perhaps our heroes of the past were really not that perfect …. Maybe my past heroes…. FDR, JFK, Jonny Unitas, Cal Ripken, Walter Cronkite, Martin Luther King, Neil Armstrong could not stand up to the overwhelming scrutiny of today’s media ….

But there must be heroes out there… maybe not perfect….  not famous….. but I know they are there…..

I know there are teachers giving themselves to struggling students ….

I know there are soldiers who leave their families and risk their lives for something they believe in….

I know there are special nurses, firemen, priests,
policemen, coaches, athletes, business leaders and volunteers out there

People who are honest and brave…. Dedicated and selfless….. fighting for the underdog and stretching themselves to be more than they were yesterday….. people that are worthy heroes …. and a worthy source of inspiration…..

I know they are out there …. Maybe I am just now learning that my best heroes will most likely not be on ESPN or CNN or The New York Times …. I need to remember that I walk by them every day in the airport… or in the store….

My very best to Lance and Joe… and all the others….. it’s time I recognized the heroes around me every day ……

Courtesy of W.S.


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Have a Goat of a Good Wednesday!

I'm tired.  It's the best I could do.

My time at my current client is coming to an end, so we are livin' it up and soaking in all that the drive from PA to NJ has to offer........

Like....ice cream....and goats :)

We stopped for a little snack, and lo and behold, walk around back, and it turns into a zoo.

I had some issues with this "zoo" that I shared with the poor high schooler unfortunate enough to be working behind the ice cream counter that day, but that is not what this is about.

This is about super cute baby goats. 

I hope your week is going well.  Mine is busy, but I am one day away from heading out west to see Bri, so I'm grateful the week is passing quickly :)


This little fella was rather friendly and eager for some attention. 
How could you say 'no' to that face?
It was Monday, so I named him 'Tuesday' which I know makes no sense at all.




This little lady just wanted to walk up and down the ramp to study us from afar.
I named her 'Wednesday'.


Therefore, Happy Wednesday!


A certain somebody recently told me that my blog has been "lacking substance lately." 
To which I got totally offended for 5 seconds and then conceded that they were right.
So, some posts with substance to come very soon. 
Thanks for sticking with me through my narcissism :)
xxx



Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, Evie :)

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana”
- Groucho Marx

Took me awhile to get that quote. 
Pretty random, but it's short and makes my point -- fruit flies really like a banana. 

And time really does fly, doesn't it?


Reminds me how short this life really is.

How important it is to make it count.

To wake up every morning and choose happiness, even if it's a Monday.

And remember to let the things that don't matter go. 

It seems like only a month ago that I was sitting in the hospital waiting room with my in-laws and Holly's parents,
with Brian on the phone in NYC, waiting to find out if we had a niece or nephew.

A nephew would have been great, but I really wanted a niece...


It's been a year somehow. 
And though it's bittersweet that it came so quickly,
I kind of like it this way, because I remember that day quite vividly. 
And even if the time is passing quicker than I would like,
and I want to hold onto this age forever,
I am equally anxious to see the little lady she is going to grow into. 

Happy Birthday, Sweet Evie. 
The word "love" doesn't do our feelings for you justice :)







Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Blog,
I have neglected you.

Dear Co-worker,
I am still embarrassed for you from the conference call when your Lil Wayne ringtone went off.
I am also still concerned that people thought it was mine.

Dear Sweet-Friends-Who-Had-Me-Over-For-Dinner-This-Week,
THANK YOU.  Sorry I only contribute take-out or wine. 
NOT THANK YOU for making it so hard to want to move in a few weeks.

Dear Lauren K,
I'm sorry that I brought bad luck to your new camera.
And thanks for teaching me how to use the one I have owned for a year.

Dear Roomie,
Looking at your wedding pictures makes me want to go back to 6/12/10 :)

Dear JT,
When you called me this week and told me you are coming to AZ soon, my week was made!

Dear Evie,
How are you almost 1? I cannot believe tomorrow is your first birthday party. 
Weren't you just born yesterday? Stop growing up please.

Dear Lauren A,
I can't believe that despite all our efforts, your wedding date changed :)

Dear Fingernails,
You are ugly and I'll be painting you tonight.

Dear Work,
Let's try to be less work next week.

Dear Bri,
Please don't move tomorrow!
xx




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Monday, August 13, 2012

Brian's Last Week

Yesterday kicked off Brian's final week in NC.
I surprised him with something new in the bedroom.




Furniture!

He's off to pick it up as we speak, he just couldn't wait to see it.

I thought completely re-doing some modifications to the bedroom might help the move to AZ become a little more exciting. 
I can honestly say I am looking forward to moving 99% because I'm anxious to redecorate.

But back to Brian's last week. 
He went on his annual golf tournament titled "TYC" with 40 of his friends from high school this past weekend.
There was an arrest.
Fortunately, it wasn't Brian.
He's always claimed they get horrible cell phone reception on this trip to Pinehurst.
I'm thinking this was a plan devised by all the guys five years ago to avoid frequently checking in. 
Wives, who's with me on this?

Last night, we got together with all my cousins and their significant others to celebrate my cousin Anna's engagement.  Growing up, my mom's family did everything together, and our dinners always provide a great deal of entertainment. 
Aunt Genny provided us with individual toasts for each person.
This included MB's knee surgery.
A toast to knee surgery?
Why not!
My family believes in toasting to everything.


We then oooed and ahhed over the houses my aunts and uncles are building/remodeling. 
I wish we could move in with y'all!
Especially since we don't have a place to live yet.
They have done almost all the work themselves and it is truly stunning.






We missed you, Kate, but don't worry, there was a toast in your honor.

On Saturday, we will celebrate Evie's first birthday and then Brian will hop on a flight to AZ. 
I'm so glad he's gotten to experience such a fun break from the real world.


Cheers to Brian's last week in NC :)




Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear America,
I love you and am blessed to call you home. 
Thank for you being a free land, where we can spend months making important life decisions,
like whether to eat or not eat at Chic-Fil-A.

Dear Morocco,
Thanks for the E. Coli.  It's been fun.

Dear Scottsdale Apartments,
Please identify yourself and move us in.
Oh and you are all overpriced and not that cute.

Dear Bus,
Thanks for driving through a giant rain puddle while I was waiting to cross the street.
In a white shirt. 
To meet my new clients. 
Who are all men. 

Dear Brian,
Have fun on your golf retreat this weekend. 
Because you start work in 10 days.

Dear Cousin Anna,
I love you and am so excited that you are engaged!
And getting married in 12 weeks!
CONGRATULATIONS!

Dear Sissy,
Please come home and hang out with me this weekend.


Laura at Twirl has always done Friday Letters and I decided to link on up as well.
If you are interested in doing the same, you can click the typewriter and add the URL to your blog :)

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

!Adios, Espana! - Barcelona Edition

We have wrapped up the majority of our adventures in Spain and stayed quite busy putting our Spanish minors to use with phrases like "hola," "gracias," and "habla ingles?" since we are sadly 'those Americans' expecting everyone to speak English.  I just figured out yesterday that I have been pronouncing "gracias" the Mexico way the entire time.  I don't even remember learning there was a difference although Brian swears we were taught this in more than one class. 

*Sigh* 

It's true that if you don't use it, you'll lose it. 
It's also true that if you don't pay attention or do your homework in class, 
you won't have it to use in the first place.

5 cities, 4 trains (sleeper train story to come), 2 rental cars, 1 boat, and not nearly enough showers later -- we landed in northern Africa -- which has been hard for me to swallow, honestly.  And I'm in cupcake Africa where there is enough food, clean enough water, and children are loved and cared for.  Morocco is worlds away from the States as far as lifestyle goes, but even further away from what central and eastern Africa are like.  But I will save my African feelings and experiences for another post when I am more emotionally ready to go there.




Where was I? Oh Spain, yes.  
It's been a whirlwind but magically we have only had one casualty along the way...





Which is pretty remarkable if you ask me considering what a heavy packer Brian is...







As for me, my stuff is neatly packed in that little brown bag.  

Well all of it except my shoes, shirts, pants, shorts, and dresses which may or may not be what's in the blue bag.

In other news, I had forgotten what little European children were like....fortunately.  But have been reminded along the way that they absolutely call all the shots.  
Like a mini tornado tearing across a field at lightning speed with no charted path of damage.  In fact, as I wrote this, one just pressed his face against my window and rubbed his chewing gum on the glass. His mom just looked at him as if this were normal.

For anyone who was curious, we have added a couple more years to the kid plan.  

Barcelona below!
And all that was standing between me and a nap was this blog, so captions are limited :)




 
La Boqueria Market






 




I would like to live on a pirate ship.  With Brian.









Park Guell




La Sagrada Familia
Has been in progress for decades and decades and is not expected to complete until 2050.  
We have seen our share of European churches and this was by far unlike anything we have ever seen.  
The pictures do not come close to doing it justice.





















Tapas and sangria.




 Hugo Boss for Becca & Lauren :)




Casa Batllo


(Gaudi built this house, the magnificent cathedral, as well as the park above)















The "I love you, but I don't like you right now" chair.



The "Ok I forgive you" chair.
 

Next stop, Madrid :)