My Best-Of 2013

Keeping up with tradition, here is my best-of list for 2013. While thinking about what to include, I felt like I hadn’t really partaken of as much media as I usually do, but I think I have enough to put something together.

Movie: The Great Gatsby
This was pretty much a no-brainer – I was excited for this movie since the first time I heard it was happening. I love Baz Luhrmann, and this film did not disappoint. Even if the rest of it were terrible, I would have still given Gatsby my #1 spot just for the Rhapsody in Blue sequence at the party, which was so perfectly done. Really, a gorgeous film.
Runner Up: The Help – Remember, this is about movies I saw this year, not necessarily that came out this year. I read this book a couple years ago, and it was coming up for discussion at my book club, so GG and I rented this DVD as a little refresher. I was impressed with how well it stuck to the original story (a couple plot points were left out, but nothing was really changed), and it was really cute and well done – even GG liked it!

TV Show: The Office
After having gone downhill the last few seasons, they really turned things around leading up to the finale. I loved the way the show ended. I believe I shed a tear while watching, which is the mark of a good show, if it gets me that emotionally invested.
Runner Up: 30 Rock – Another finale that made me cry. I didn’t actually feel it so much the first time around, but re-watching the episode, I realized that the things the characters were saying were kind of like the actors saying goodbye to each other in real life, and that’s what got me.

Album: The Lonely Island, The Wack Album
The Lonelly Island’s third album is awesome and hilarious, but unfortunately, contains more cursing than the previous ones, which means I can sing along less. I wanted it so badly, though, in preparation for a long car trip, that this became my first digital-only album purchase!
Runner Up: Janelle Monae, The Electric Lady – Yet another excellent production from Janelle Monae, and it advances the whole “Archandroid” story, but I didn’t love every song on the album… I actually only love a couple of them.

Restaurant: Tria
This was another no-brainer. Early in the year, we went to a Cheese 101 class they gave, and then this summer we were finally able to get to the restaurant to have a meal there. I don’t like the fact that they don’t take reservations (especially if you have to plan a special trip into the city to get there), but the food is amazing and the people who work there are great (as they should be, considering they are required to take food training every week)! For Christmas, GG’s gift to me was a Tria gift card, so we went back again before the end of the year (and it was enough for more than one meal, so we’ll be going again soon).
Runner Up: Oh man, I don’t know, probably Garces Trading Company or Amada again. They are both amazing and I went to both of them this year :o)

Vacation: Atlanta, GA
I didn’t really travel too much this year, and barely traveled with GG at all. I don’t even know if this should be considered a “vacation” sine it was to go to a conference for my side job, but I had a great time (despite many issues with the event), and before we even left I already knew I would be going to next year’s. Also, I flew on a plane for the first time since 2000, and by myself for the first time ever!
Runner Up: Raleigh, NC – Made a super long drive by myself to visit friends, had a great time, and once again ended up feeling kind of empowered that I can transport myself when necessary :o) Also, Raleigh is a very cool town.

The Christmas Tour(s)

Last Friday, GG and I went into the city to see The Santaland Diaries at Flashpoint Theater Company. We had some time for dinner before the show, so we tried 500 Degrees. We each had a burger and fries, but GG is still talking about going back sometime for the Caramel, Apple Pie, and Bacon milkshake. After dinner, we went over to the theater, which is actually in a church! I’ve read Holidays on Ice and have heard David Sedaris read “Santaland Diaries” on NPR every Christmas for years, so I was familiar with the story and was curious to see how they would stage it. This was actually a one-man show with just a couple pieces of scenery (a chair, Christmas tree, some wrapped presents) and the performer changed his costume slightly between segments, eventually going from shirt, pants, scarf, and coat to a full-on elf costume with tights and jingle bell shoes and everything. He was very good and the show was funny, of course. Even GG liked it :o) Also, before the show started, the director came out to make a few announcements, but while he spoke he held up a sign that said it was the actor’s birthday and we should sing happy birthday when he came out for a curtain call, which we did, and he seemed genuinely surprised.

I spent the weekend doing errands. It was a weekend where we were actually, weirdly, free of any specific plans. I did end up meeting a couple people to pick up and drop off various things before Christmas. GG came with me on one of these trips, and while we were out, we stopped at a huge Asian supermarket we didn’t realize was so close to home. We’ll have to go back sometime when we can actually shop for weird stuff. (I also saw lots of nice bento boxes – are those still a thing I could sell on eBay?)

On Monday we had plans to attend a Christmas tour through Philadelphia Urban Adventures. We always go to the Comcast holiday show, and we wanted to check out the Love Park Christmas Village as well, and I saw a LivingSocial deal for this tour that went to those places plus a few others, so we decided to give it a try. While this tour was better than that chocolate tour we took, in that the tour guide was knowledgeable about the city and actually told us things we didn’t already know, it still wasn’t what I expected from a tour you spend money for. We met at the clothespin sculpture across from City Hall, and it was pouring rain (and continued raining for most of the tour – we apparently are unable to take tours on non-rainy days). Our first stop was the Macy’s light show, which is a big deal for kids (but actually kind of lame for adults). Having paid money for this tour, I might have expected that the tour company had some kind of arrangement with Macy’s to get us a good spot to view the show. Instead, we were crammed in with the crowds and I could actually only see half the display. The best part actually was the huge, historic organ, which didn’t come in until the end. They should have done all the music on the organ. Next we went to the Reading Terminal (the Convention Center), where we learned some interesting tidbits, followed by the Reading Terminal Market, where we had 15 minutes of free time. What can you do in 15 minutes at the RTM?! GG and I panicked and ended up getting smoothies and Amish pretzels. I can’t imagine what people who’d never been there before thought. We walked through the city a little more and went to the Christmas Village. This is a new thing they’ve been doing for the last couple years, and it was cute, but would probably be nicer on a cold winter night than a warm, wet afternoon. GG and I got some caramel apple cider (recommended by his brother), and we had some more free time to explore around a little. I think I saw most of the booths, but I’d like to go back there on our own next Christmas. Then we headed to the Comcast building for their holiday show. There were a few updates to the video this year (and they no longer close with those kids singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” which is good because they’re probably all in their 20s by now), and they again squirted out a sprinkling of foam “snow,” but this time they did it twice during the show and I think we were standing right under a foam snow sprayer, because we got drenched. Then they took us to DiBruno Brothers and gave us a few minutes, which wasn’t even enough time to do anything, again, and finally we ended in Rittenhouse Square. Again, we did learn a few little interesting things along the way, but in general there was no special access, we didn’t meet any shop owners or anything, and at the stops where we had free time, it wasn’t really enough time to accomplish anything. So for next year, we’ll go back to doing our own thing.

On Christmas Eve we went to GG’s grandmother’s house, as usual. There was lots of seafood and usually they make some non-seafood thing for me, but this year I made and brought a tray of my own baked ziti. Then Christmas morning, GG went to his parents’ house for breakfast while I stayed home to clean and prepare food for when my family came over in the afternoon. We had a nice early dinner and had fun exchanging gifts, then I cleaned up and we went back to GG’s parents’ house for dinner with them, followed by more gifts! GG loved my “big” gift for him, a GoPro camera – as I predicted, he’s been playing with it ever since I gave it to him :o) I got a couple surprising gifts, but the best were gift cards especially Amazon GCs which I had specifically requested (for the Kindle! and other stuff). Overall, a very nice Christmas day and lead-up to it, but I am so glad to be able to undecorate now!

2013 Goal Wrap-Up

There are still a few more days in the year, but I’ve pretty much checked out at this point, so let’s take a look at how I’ve done on my 2013 goals.

  1. Read 25 Books
    I missed, by a little bit. According to Goodreads, I completed 19 books in 2013 (may squeeze another one in there before the end of the year), with four more in progress. Considering I read two books in 2012, this was a huge improvement!

    Of the 19 books I read, 7 were fiction, 5 I’d call memoirs, and at least 3 left me really frustrated with some or all of the characters. At least 8 were somehow educational.

    Having a Kindle was kind of a blessing and a curse – on one hand, it is so convenient to read on! On the other hand, I have this weird hangup about spending money on books, so I got caught up, especially in the beginning, in the fact that the books I wanted to read were not available through my library and I didn’t want to spend money on them. My new thing is cashing in my Ebates earnings for Amazon gift cards, and using that to cover book purchases.

    Another encouragement to read was the fact that I started a sort of book club at work. Some coworkers and I were regularly recommending books to each other, so we decided to get together once a month and read and discuss the same book. It’s hard to coordinate everyone every month, but it’s been fun and we read four books together this year.

  2. Send 2 Cards/Letters per Month
  3. Be a Better Blogger
    This didn’t really happen. Most months I was lucky to get one post written. I blame a number of factors, including the ease of sharing things instantly via Twitter or Facebook, and the fact that most of my other regular blogger friends have tapered off as well, either moving more to another platform like FB, or just disappearing… I still want to keep a blog for myself, so I do try to at least check in and summarize what happened in the last few weeks.

Now, before you say I failed, I picked up an additional goal in the latter part of the year of becoming a little more physically fit. After a few months of weekly meetings with a trainer, plus being more active on our own, I hadn’t lost any actual weight, but I felt “less fat,” and I think that’s just as important (especially considering my original goal for myself wasn’t weight loss but just to do more activity). GG has been using the gym at his office, and I’ll probably join a gym as well, and we plan to continue meeting with our trainer in the new year.

“It’s a special night of anticipation, the moonbeams strong on the old band shell”

Christmas seems to have suddenly attacked! The first week of December I had a cookie bake-off at work (which I organized, and which got rave reviews!), and then that Friday was my annual Christmas shopping day with MB and L. This year was a little different, because I actually started my Christmas shopping really early (like, back in July) and picked things up as I saw stuff that would make good gifts. Much of the rest I’d taken care of online. But I still had a couple things I wanted to look for, and of course it’s just nice to spend a day with a couple of my good friends. We ended up hitting the Philadelphia Premium Outlets, Ikea, and the KoP Mall, followed by an early dinner at Seasons 52 before we all crashed. (And I didn’t even have an hour+ drive home, unlike the other two!)

Last week featured what I’ve been calling the “mandatory party” at work (hastily organized by our department across multiple sites, due to jealousy over our successful cookie bake-off); it wasn’t actually so bad. There was a good turn-out and people brought good snacks and we played some word games. We were scheduled to have our first two concerts of the holiday season, but the first was cancelled due to snow and ice, so we just had one, which went well.

On Friday, I hosted what is probably the best party I have ever thrown or will ever throw. From the beginning, it promised to be good: guests were invited to bring a dip for a “battle of the dips” (I provided chips, veggies, and other dippers); we had a “photo booth” area set up with a backdrop, hats, signs, props, and a camera on a tripod; but what nobody knew was that I’d scheduled a special performer. Tons of people were canceling on us at the last minute, and all I could think was, “You’re going to be really sorry when you see that you missed a clown!” I’m not sure exactly where this idea came from, I was talking to a coworker about wanting to do something special for our party, and somehow came away with the idea of hiring a clown. I got bids from a couple performers, and ended up going with this company that books all different performers, so I didn’t know exactly what I was going to get. The party was going great, everyone had been there for an hour or two, when there was a knock at the door. GG knew he was on door-answering/coat-taking duty, so he opened the door. If nobody else had come to the party, I really just wanted to see the look on his face when he saw the clown. He did not disappoint! He turned to me and asked, “Um, did you hire a clown?!” Yes! The clown wasn’t really decked out in a full clown outfit, which was slightly disappointing. Also, she was there to make balloon animals, and the only shape she could make was a dog. If I’d hired her for an actual kids’ birthday party, I might have been upset that she couldn’t do all the shapes and things, but as it was, it kind of added to the silliness of it! First person asked for a dog: easy. I asked for a cat: also a dog. B asked for a T-rex: it’s a dog! S asked for a giraffe: a dog with an extra-long tail (yes, tail)! It was a super fun night, and I think everyone had a great time! I don’t know how I’m ever going to top that. Oh, and the winning dips were MB’s Bacon Jam, JB’s Baked Brie, and JH’s Cookie Dough Dip (which I will be making for myself soon)!

After all that excitement, GG and I had planned to go to New York for the day the following day, but the gross weather scrapped those plans – and I’m glad we stayed home, because I was beat! This week, we have more holiday concerts, parties for band and work, a pre-holiday family dinner, and GG and I are seeing a live performance of David Sedaris’ “The SantaLand Diaries.” In addition to all that fun, I now also have cat stuff to deal with: despite getting her appetite back and not throwing up all the time, Katrina has continued to lose weight. I had her back at the vet today, and they examined her and found a mass in her abdomen that wasn’t there a couple months ago. Apparently, tumors and things can grow faster in cats than they do in humans. It could be an enlarged organ or something, but to make sure, she’s going for a kitty ultrasound later this week :o( I don’t know what we’re going to do, I guess we’ll see what we find out. Send good thoughts for my little girl this week.

“I really, really want to thank you, for dancing ’til the end”

As is usually the case around this time of year, things got very busy, very quickly. At the beginning of the month, we had some lingering Halloween activities and our friend S’s book release party. Then it was GG’s brother’s birthday. Then I had my band concert, which, although I’m no longer on the board, still consumes a lot of my time between rehearsals and my design and printing work. (Although this concert program was one of my least favorites and felt really slapped together, I got tons of compliments on it, and our director said people asked him who is their graphic designer!)

I got tied up in organizing a chili potluck lunch at work, which turned out to be a big success! (Believe it or not, it’s tough just to convince people to come into the office.) It went so well, I’m organizing a cookie bake-off next month. We’ve also continued our virtual book club at work. We’ve read a few books together, with varying degrees of success. We’re kind of on hiatus now until the new year.

Ivan had a little scare with the vet – just like his sister did a couple months ago, he started throwing up every meal and eventually didn’t even try to eat. I took him to the vet and they x-rayed him to make sure there wasn’t any blockage (there wasn’t), so they just wanted me to keep him separate and make sure he pooped to confirm he’s ok. Well, he started eating fine, but being stubborn, refused to poop. I had to give him kitty laxatives (from the vet) to get him going. He’s fine now, but meanwhile, while he was incarcerated, Katrina started throwing up all her food again. Everyone seems pretty stable now, but I’ve been giving Katrina some high-calorie additive stuff since she seems to have lost so much weight. Hope all my babies are ok :o(

I did a couple things with my side job, but that’s been pretty slow lately, which actually is fine with me. I originally had intended to just do this as a casual thing, and then it kind of took off so I rode the wave, but the wave seems to have crashed and I’m actually fine with that.

By the end of the month, we will have had three Thanksgiving dinners: one with my family (which was actually probably the best Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever eaten, we all brought something, and everyone got along and we all sat around and talked for a long time and it was really nice), one with GG’s family (also fine, though it turned into a late night drinking and music blasting session until I decided it was time to drive GG home), and a “friends Thanksgiving” with MB and A. I did not do any Black Friday shopping, but I did get a really good deal on something for GG in a pre-Thanksgiving sale. I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping, and I still have my big shopping day with MB and L coming up in the beginning of December, so I think I’m in a good spot. I started collecting things early, just picking things up as I saw them.

We’re also still meeting with our trainer. It’s been a couple months since we started, and while I haven’t actually lost a pound, I feel less fat, which is fine with me! If nothing else, doing this has increased my confidence in my athletic abilities. My whole life I dreaded gym class, organized sports, and any kind of public physical activity, but I’ve learned that I’m actually not as inept as I thought. I’ll probably sign up for an actual gym at some point, and I don’t think I’ll be as self-conscious as I might have been had I not had this experience. We signed up for 10 weeks (due to a scheduling error on our trainer’s part, plus our free intro session, we are actually getting 12), and that will take us into December, so we’ll see how it goes and how we carry on after this.

Halloween Surprise

As promised, here is an update on our awesome Halloween decoration… Think about when you used to go trick-or-treating. What are the houses you remember? The ones where someone jumped out or scared you (or maybe where they invited you in for a haunted house, but that’s a lot of work…). So I decided that we should dress GG as a scarecrow, have him sit on the porch, and startle the kids. I mentioned it a few times leading up to Halloween, and he reluctantly went along with the idea.

He wore old jeans and sneakers, a flannel shirt, a cap, and gardening gloves. I tied a piece of burlap over his head and drew a little face on it. He could see through it. We arranged things on the porch, and he got situated around dusk.

It turned out great! I have to say, I was very impressed by GG’s ability to sit perfectly still for nearly four hours. It helped that it was a very mild night. The only problem was that he looked so creepy, a lot of kids were too scared to even come up on the porch, so we didn’t get a ton of trick-or-treaters (despite offering full-size candy bars). Those that did venture up often debated whether that was a real guy, or just a well-made scarecrow. Once they were convinced it was a dummy, they would knock and ask for candy, and he would growl and reach for them. It was awesome! We actually recorded the whole thing, and the video totally cracks me up! [Edit – 12/3] I just watched the video again the other day, and it is still cracking me up! [/Edit]

There was not much in the way of super memorable costumes, but one of my favorites was a group of kids who came right after GG had come in for the night (and actually was out getting us dinner). They were older kids, and one was dressed as Instagram – he had a frame around him with the title and links on an Instagram photo. It was very clever, and he was like, “Hey, follow me, that’s my real user name!” so I did :o)


Things that happened this month:

  • GG and I went to the Ren Faire with L and S. After a couple chilly days, it was suddenly hot and humid again, but otherwise a really nice day. We got there when it opened (J met us with discount tickets!), and easily stayed almost until closing time. Favorite events were the acrobats, magician (who GG met later as a wandering minstrel, and filmed a music video), Circa Paleo, and of course the Falconer, the coolest guy working at the Ren Faire.

  • I got a bad cold which knocked me out for close to a week, but I was kind of overdue since I don’t think I got sick at all last year. And it allowed me to skip band practice and be home to watch the American Horror Story premier. (We’ve since been DVRing the episodes and catching up when I get home from band, or the next day, depending on how late it is.)
  • We went to a Philly Food Fest thing, discovered a couple cool new products like dukkah and Jin-Ja, and aate a lot of samples. It was a fun way to spend a couple hours, though I always get kind of sad for the people at events like this who are eagerly starting a business and really pushing their products on people. (I always try not to be like that at my own vendor events.)
  • We went out for kind of spur-of-the-moment dinners at a sushi place we like and the Melting Pot, just because we can. I also made us a nice dinner at home one night featuring olives, cheese, bread, olive oil, and charcuterie (as one of my friends said, “Very Euro!”). And we visited the new Shake Shack in town on their opening day!

  • I was very pleased with the outcome of Project Runway – I totally called it for Dom after the bowtie challenge, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s from Philly :o)
  • We killed two birds with one stone and took at overnight trip to Lancaster. Friday night was GG’s debut performance at a comedy club out there, and a few of our friends were able to come out and see the show! We went out to Denny’s for a snack afterward.

    We spent the night there, and then Saturday was spent at my alma matter for Homecoming. I had a fun day with friends and had a great time reminiscing about college and seeing all the changes that have happened in the last ten years! The recently remodeled library is now open, and since L and S used to work there (that’s where they met!), we got to go on a tour. We also talked our way into some of the new dorm rooms to see how the kids are living these days (they get their own bathrooms! not to mention carpet and air conditioning! spoiled!). And I got a new MU sweatshirt :o) The nicest thing was that, since we’d spent the night before out there, I hadn’t had to get up insanely early to drive there in time for the parade. So I wasn’t overtired by the end of the afternoon, and was even able to drive us home without requiring caffeine (can’t say the same for GG, though, he slept most of the way ;o) )

  • I got a copy of Janelle Monae‘s “Electric Lady” (her performance on SNL reminded me that it had been released!), and while I was at it, went back and got “Metropolis,” too. The first track of “Metropolis” explains everything. I kind of had a handle on the story, but if I’d just heard that in the first place, it would have all made so much more sense! Anyway, “Electric Lady” is another great album, though more laid back, for the most part, than “ArchAndroid.”
  • Stay tuned for a post on what we did for Halloween night!

Samsung Galaxy S4

I got a new phone! And while I usually delight in having a phone nobody else has, it is nice having the current, popular phone for once, if for no other reason than I have lots of options when it comes to cases :o) So how did I come to obtain such a lovely device?

I finally upgraded to an Android phone last year, after holding out for quite a while. But that phone was obsolete by the time I got it, and things went downhill from there. A lot of apps wouldn’t work, or wouldn’t give me the latest version, or would freeze up, and I couldn’t update my OS without rooting my phone. Then it started doing weird things with calls – it wouldn’t ring, and I’d just see the missed call, or I’d dial a number and like 5 minutes later it would actually place the call. Since making phone calls is one of the basic functions of a phone, I finally decided I’d had enough.

I’ve been trying to keep up to date on what’s available and what was coming out soon, so I decided to go for the Samsung Galaxy S4. Then I had to research how to get it for the best price. Buying it outright is more than I’d like to pay for a phone, T-Mobile doesn’t have contracts anymore so you can’t get one at a discount by upgrading your contract, and most of the listings on eBay were a little sketchy. I ended up buying a used “good condition” one from Gazelle. It was still a little more than I wanted to pay, but I’d just sold some things online and used my PayPal balance for part of it, which got the balance to a level I was comfortable with. The phone came by itself from Gazelle – no box, manuals, cables, etc. – but it was in very good condition. There was maybe a minor scuff on one corner (which gets covered by a case anyway), but actually the protective film was still covering part of the metal trim, so I don’t think it had been used much before it was sold.

Next thing was to get a case. At last, I have a phone that Otterbox makes a cover for! I got an Otterbox Commuter in gray and aqua, which I’ve been using and it’s great. I like that it has covers for the headphone and USB ports, but there are still a couple areas that remain open (speakers and microphones and such), so it’s not completely enclosed/dustproof. I also picked up a couple other cheaper cases on Amazon. The Caseology Matte Finish TPU in turquoise gives it a nice, squared-off look, and the Poetic Atmosphere in clear/light blue is a minimalist case that’s really sturdy and doesn’t come off easily.

One of my big concerns with my last phone was battery life, and I actually purchased additional high-capacity batteries for it. The stock battery in the S4 is really great! I’ve found that it gets about the same or possibly better battery life than my old phone with upgraded batteries. After a full day of normal use, including calls, texts, photos, videos, and wifi connection on, the battery is still at like 50%. Especially considering that this is a used phone with a used battery, I’m very pleased. I’d been researching extended batteries before I got the phone, but I don’t think I need one at the moment.

The last problem was that I kept dropping off the network. And yeah, that’s kind of a major problem. When I first got the phone, I went to the T-Mobile store where they cut down my old SIM card to fit the S4, which uses a micro SIM. I didn’t realize there was any problem until a couple days later, when GG got home from work and said I must have been on the phone all day, because every time he tried calling, it went right to voicemail. I actually hadn’t been on the phone at all, and that’s when I realized what was happening. Restarting the phone and staying off wifi seemed to help, but that’s inconvenient and not ideal. I did a little research and this seemed to be a common issue with this phone, which worried me a little, but the first solution to try seemed to be changing the SIM card. I went back to T-Mobile and this time got a whole new card, at which time they told me that my old (cut down) card was a 2G card. As soon as I had the new one in my phone, my 4G icon turned to LTE! Yes! I figured that would solve the problem, and it has. I’m on the network, I’m on wifi, and I haven’t had any problems.

My one negative is that it’s a little larger than I would like, but it’s so slim (especially compared to my old one with the keyboard), I haven’t found any pockets my old one fit in that this one won’t. It’s a little big to hold in one hand, and because the “menu” and “back” keys are not physical buttons, I sometimes accidentally hit them just from the way I’m gripping the phone. That is really the only bad thing I have to say about it.
Overall, I’m very happy with this phone! I know I said this last time, but hopefully this is the last time I have to upgrade for a little while :o)

“Dance with me, darling, we haven’t danced since I don’t know when”

After eight years with this blog (and possibly longer than that), I could not let a month go by without blogging at all. I blame social media on my blogging laziness – it’s so much easier to jot down a tweet, snap a photo on Instagram, or post something on Facebook, than to write up an actual blog post. I’m sure that’s the case for most of my old blogger friends. I’m friends with many of them on Facebook or other social media at this point, but they pretty much never actually blog anymore. Oh well, I will try to keep things going. In the last month, I…

  • Went to see GG perform in a musical about pot, produced and performed by a bunch of potheads, that was part of the Philly Fringe Festival. (You know it’s bad when GG is the responsible one in the group who’s trying to keep everyone on track!)
  • Also went to see Bat Boy: The Musical as part of Philly Fringe. I’ve seen the show several times now (including the original cast in NYC), and this was probably my favorite production of it. We’d planned to get a nice dinner first but due to traffic, we had almost no time before the show, so we grabbed a couple burgers at Shake Shack and wolfed them down in time to get to the theater.
  • Did a couple events for my side job. They were successful, but in general things seem to have slowed down quite a bit.
  • Celebrated my birthday by going out with my friends at work for a free Red Robin burger at lunch, and then with GG for a surprise dinner at Amada!
  • Spent a nice Saturday with MB and A and my favorite baby. We all went to a historic house for Museum Day, then got lunch at one of their favorite pizza places, then hung out while GG and A played guitar, and had dinner.
  • Took Yellow Belt training at work and will soon (finally!) be YB certified!
  • Started meeting weekly with a trainer with GG. Not that we’re totally inactive, but neither of us is really athletic and we don’t specifically “work out,” so it’s a change for us. In between sessions, we’re trying to go for walks and do some of the exercises he’s showing us on our own.

Card, Cat, and Lots of Eating…

I know bad things happen in threes, so hopefully I got this round of three out of the way. The first, I thought, was something that happened at work two weeks ago, really just a misunderstanding/misinterpretation. However, I never heard anything about it after it was first mentioned to me, so while I was totally stressed out about it for a couple days, it must not have been that big a deal. Hopefully it still counts as one of my bad things, though, because I don’t want another one…

Then that same week, I got a call that someone in Pittsburgh had tried to make purchases using my credit card number, so they canceled my card and were sending me a new one. (My card was not stolen, though, I still have it; and the purchases were at a gas station, supermarket, and Wal-Mart – how did these places allow credit card purchases without the actual card present?) The new card was coming in a week, so in the meantime I got a bunch of cash at the ATM to carry me over (I usually use my card for everything and then pay it off at the end of the month). Almost a week later, I called to make sure the fraudulent charges were coming off my account, because it looked like they had gone through anyway. While talking to the guy, he said, “Oh and it looks like no replacement card was requested?” Um, yes a replacement card was requested, it was supposed to be there in a day! No, apparently they forgot to actually send the card, so they expedited it at their expense and I finally got it on Saturday. Hopefully that chapter is closed now.

Finally, there is something going on with Katrina. She throws up a lot, but last week seemed to go into overdrive, and she didn’t seem to have an appetite (she still ate, but she didn’t violently beg or get in our faces while we were eating like she usually does), and she was just a little more laid back in general. I took her to the vet and they kept her overnight to give her fluids and get blood and stool samples. The next morning, everything came back normal, they said she was eating and I could come pick her up. As soon as I brought her home on Friday, the vomiting started again. Her appetite is definitely back, but this morning was the first meal (knock on wood…) after which she did not immediately throw up multiple times. So still keeping an eye on that…

Otherwise, we had a nice weekend. On Friday, GG and I had dinner at Champps to use up the gift card I got when they messed up my meal a while ago (one of several screw-ups that led me to decide that from now on, I will not go to Champps on my own [but if I’m going out with people and that’s where they want to go, I’ll come along]). Afterward, we went over to the mall to walk around a bit, and ended up coming home with two giant Crumbs cupcakes!

I went out to lunch on Saturday with my mom and grandmom to celebrate my grandmom’s birthday. (I was kind of unexcited about where we were going, but it must have changed since I was last there, it was really good!) Then GG and I went to New Hope for the afternoon/evening. It was a beautiful day, and a lot of other people had the same idea, so it was pretty crowded. But… that led to us finding a new parking lot we didn’t know about. We had a dinner at a new restaurant, Hearth, which is all vegetarian with some seafood. It was so good! At the end of the meal, we confessed to the waitress that we aren’t actually vegetarian, and she said nobody who works there is! Then we walked around, trying to find where this vacation rental I’d found online might possibly be (next time we go there, we are totally getting a rental – screw B&Bs!), and ended up finding a new trail we hadn’t walked on before, and an ice cream place with the most amazing waffles that we hadn’t tried yet. One of the things we love about New Hope is that shops and restaurants come and go so quickly, it’s pretty different every time you visit. But besides that, we’re still discovering new old places every time!