Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy

This is what it looks like. And this was before my date later in the night told me, "My ex was so hot and not a good person. So now I'm looking for a less-attractive woman who has substance.". I'll be your substance buddy, but I refuse to be your, "less-attractive". : (  



~ Me & The Gidget ~

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday

It's been a long week. A healing kind of week, both professionally, personally, and physically but a long week none the less. Back to back 18 hour days makes me long for the comforts of home and personal down time to decompress. Later, I'll be off the clock, and seeking some soul-soothing gym time, a manicure and a restful night at home. In my own bed. The actual party will have to wait until tomorrow, but I thought this photo was too cute not to share!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Austin: Day 4

I'm heading home, and feeling much better physically than when I came! Yay for Austin sun and healing powers!  Below are a few of my blurred Austin images, nothing like life on the run. Literally! 

~ Street View ~


~ THE Grumpy Cat! ~


~ Omni, Austin ~

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Austin: Day 3

I rocked it. Totally, rocked it. I had to make a presentation to my entire team today and yep, I rocked it. I felt confident, kept my presentation positive and commanded my audience's attention. My talk ended with applause, lots of compliments, and numerous levels of management asking me for a copy of my slide deck! Woo-whoooo! I rock! (See a theme here?) Now off to Austin's famous, Perry's restaurant. Can't wait to sink my teeth into one of their famous steaks, and sip a nice glass of wine. Or two. Or three. Work hard, play hard!

PS) I'd go for their famous pork chop, but was warned at last night's bar by a very cute bartender that it's literally a side of a pig and I'd never be able to finish it! Check them out, they're even coming to Chicago soon! Yum! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Austin: Day 2

The first day here in Austin, Texas went well. Long, but well. Today finds me networking, enjoying the hotel gym, soaking up all the sun and weather I can, and  chowing on some Stubb's BBQ. Everything IS bigger in Texas!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Austin: Day 1

Awake at 5 A.M., I'm showered and heading to the airport hoping I can get out before the snow hits! It's going to be a long day and I don't want to end up like the image below!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chicken & Stars

Still sick, and this is the only thing that nurtures the soul. 
I swear by it's healing powers.
Thanks, Campbell's!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cough & Cold


These are the sounds coming from my body. Cough, cough, cough. Sniffle. Achoo. I'm sick and panciked. I can't afford to be sick with my upcoming travels! Here's to resting and hoping I feel better. QUICK! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Gal-entines!


Tonight I called upon old friends, my single girlfriends, and had an amazing dinner and night out with them. It was Valentine's day, and I refused to let either myself, or them, be alone on this love-day celebration. The fact is, we're all loved. And while love may not always come in the manly package we dream of, it's love none the less and should be celebrated. It was best said by one of my dates, that we were Gal-entines, out celebrating. And to that point, we raised our glasses and cheered on the making of memories both old and new, and it was in that moment that we all knew, and felt, we were loved. I hope your Valentine's day was surrounded with as much love as mine was! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tird's Day 7: Hungry

                              Read the prologue to my Thursday, "Tird's Day" posts here.
                                                          
                                                                  Tird's Day 7: Hungry

We brought the carrier into the apartment and set it on the floor with much anticipation. We opened the door and watched the feline slowly emerge and check out his new surroundings. As much as we tried to allow him his space to explore and acclimate, we hovered like the new parents we were, not wanting to miss a single move he made.

While I don't remember much else about that day, I definitely remember the night. During the day I'm sure we over nurtured Cowboy, walked him to his food and water bowl, and showed him where his litter box was, but the day was relatively calm and uneventful (other than the fact we had a new and exciting pet!). The night came and we made sure Cowboy had food and water, and we watched as the newest member of the family settled in for the night. The roommate and I followed suit, and crept off to our respective bedrooms secretly wishing that the new pet would choose us over the other to bunk with. 

Somewhere in the middle of the night I awoke to a loud crash and instantly panicked believing the apartment was being burglarized. Obviously my roommate heard the strange noise too, as we now met up in the hall with much alarm. I don't know if she actually had a baseball bat in hand, but I somehow want to remember her as the "take charge, I'm going to kick your ass" protective co-tenant. Together, we slowly made our way down the hall and found the apartment empty, just as it had been. Still pondering the loud crash, we made our way to the kitchen and quickly found the source.

Around the kitchen corner, the culprit was pigging out. Cowboy, despite having a fresh bowl of food before bed, had decided to create his own "take out" dish. Having jumped onto the top of the refrigerator at some point in the night, he pushed his opened bag of food onto the kitchen floor and decided to eat from the open buffet he created. I'm pretty sure that may have been the first (but not the last) time I uttered the words, "You little Shit!". The verbal scolding of our pet continued, no matter how ineffective it was, and despite it the roommate and myself found ourselves crawling around the floor trying to find and pick up every last piece of fallen kibble. As I grumbled off to bed, the last thought of the day ran through my head, "Must purchase cat-proof food container tomorrow". 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Graduate


Tonight completed Phog's Off Leash Control class. He rocked it! At the end of class we both, not knowing a thing about it, attempted a Rally Course. After the 3rd time running the course, we actually looked like we knew what we were doing! It has been great to be a student with a dog again, and to see both his and my progress. It's been 10 years since I've been a student, and a lot has changed! I embraced the challenges and polished up on some skills that had gotten rusty. The best thing is, that everything I've learned during our last three sets of classes makes me a better handler and trainer, and for that I am thankful. Thank you Nick and Melis for letting me borrow my nephew! 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Taboo

In honor of my first dates and/or first conversations with members of the opposite sex who insist on talking about their ex, for hours, here's your sign. Just stop doing it. And hey, how about you let me get a word in edge-wise? Admitting that you are "a bad listener" doesn't excuse your inability to be courteous.

The 5 Things You Should Never Talk About on a First Date.

Everyone knows about the major first date faux pas: talking about your ex. If you talk about your ex, your date will get uncomfortable and take this as a sign that you are unable to get over your previous relationship. Which is probably true. But there are so many other ways that you people are screwing things up before your date even has a chance to order a second drink.
Let me help you.
Your job.
You’re employed! That’s awesome and now your date knows that you aren’t going ask to split the tab. What isn’t awesome is having to down a third glass of wine while you go on and on about how you hate your boss, you travel too much, you don’t travel enough, “It’s not glamorous, but it pays the bills”, how terrible your commute is, how many weeknights you’re stuck in the office past 8pm, and so on. Mentioning your job is fine, rambling about it endlessly is not.

The really embarrassing thing you did when you were drunk.

Drunk stories range from funny to horrifying and some people don’t seem to understand that there are things you really should not admit to a virtual stranger. Like, you could say, “I was so drunk one night, I did karaoke to a Creed song.” Ha! Hilarious! CREED! However, if you were so drunk you accidentally snapchatted your sister a picture of your penis? No. Not good. Do not tell anyone that.
Your dating adventures.
Telling terrible date stories on a first date can absolutely make it a fantastic date. You laugh. You bond. You make out. However, telling someone how you have been on 20 OkCupid dates in the last 25 days just kind of makes you sound like an OkWhore. This just shows that if you’re a woman, you are desperate and cannot afford to buy your own drinks. If you’re a man, you are desperate and currently maxing out your credit card.

Tragic and/or controversial current events.

Look, there is some crazy and terrible shit going on in the world. But your date is just trying to have a couple drinks, flirt a whole bunch, and possibly get a free Uber home. Your date does not want to talk about Trayvon Martin. Or Cory Monteith. Or the Boston marathon bombing. Or gay rights. And definitely not abortions. DO NOT BRING UP ABORTIONS. Just talk about how hot it’s been lately, how delicious this cocktail is, and if you’re going to get gelato later.
The future.
A first date is not a big deal. The person you are on a date with may very well have another date lined up tomorrow night and the night after that. You two are strangers trying to decide if you want to spend the next 2 hours together. Just because you both ordered the same drink and work in the same neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re going to buy matching goldendoodles and sail off into the sunset. Pump the brakes. Don’t ask about a second or third date in the first ten minutes of meeting this person.
Carry this knowledge with you, guys. Mind your manners and that first date could turn into a second one.
- Suzie Robb

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Soulful Sunday

Today's Soulful Sunday found me sleeping in, and not doing much of anything except enjoying breakfast and coffee while blogging and catching up on emails. I didn't clean, I didn't do laundry. I didn't do the errands that were "supposed" to get done. I relaxed. I went snowshoeing. I explored a new part of Chicago. I went out to a movie with a new friend and laughed. I laughed a lot. I took time to reflect on the other parts of my weekend, tossing out the bad and focusing on the good. I enjoyed conversations with friends, old and new, and reflected on my blessings. I'm recharged. I'm refreshed. I'm happy. I'm looking forward to new opportunities. And meeting new people. Life looks good. 

Sears Tower

Snowshoeing On the Lake 

The Shedd 

Stairs to the Lake 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Grumpy B*tch!


I had an amazing day today! I woke up to breakfast with friends, and had an amazing day dog training. My Intermediate class rocked their graduation, and I couldn't be more proud of their progress! I was on a natural high. Until...



I met the Grumpy B*tch.


My day was to end with picking up a package that I had shipped to my mother's address. Being the awesome kid that I am, I decided to shovel her parking spot, sidewalk and general area. And then it appeared. The Curmudgeon. Peaking It's head out of the door way, I was angrily instructed that I should not be adding any snow to her "area" and that she would have to talk to management about me. As I tried to explain I wasn't impacting any of her "area" in a negative manner, the response I got was that of a slamming door, and I now found myself being observed from the bathroom widow. 

WTF I thought, unbelievable! Now let me clarify here. I added snow to the communal bushes and lawn area. Not her sidewalk, not her parking area, nor any area that would cause her to have to re-shovel. I put three shovel-filled scoops of snow on a communal parkway. An area where no one is walking, and  got yelled at to keep "my" snow on "my" side. 

First, I don't know how any one can claim ownership of snow and where it should be put. Secondly, who has the time and effort to be grumpy about snow removal? Really lady? Just as I was pondering these thoughts, long after I had moved on from shoveling any snow in the Hag's direction, It appeared again. This time, It exclaimed where her property line was and screamed that no more snow should be added. Whatever lady, I thought! Again, the door slammed before I could say anything intelligible.

As I continued to shovel, I waved hi at the hawk eyes appearing from the bathroom window just to annoy her, and found myself more and more pissed off by her actions. What I couldn't figure out is, what had pissed me off the most? Was it lack of a witty reply? Probably. But after much examination, it was just her. I prayed that I never end up a lonely, angry battleaxe with nothing better to do than find fault in neighborly good deeds. I prayed for her to have a change of heart. I prayed for my own heart to change as well. I prayed for the serenity to just let the incident go. I tried but...

Thirty minutes or so later, I took my mom's dog out to relieve himself. As I was bending over to pick up his waste, I saw the Witch standing in her doorway with broom in hand I swear, making sure I "scooped the poop". Now I was just enraged! As someone who really tries to find the positive, and be at peace in this life, I could not comprehend how someone could just actively search for things wrong in this world. Go turn on the 24 hour news channel if you want that kind of entertainment! 

Again, I waved hi and heard the door slam. I tried to kill her with kindness. I tried to be the bigger person, but I know nothing impacted this "lady" in a positive manner. I think what I found most upsetting was the concept of someone so miserable in life, that they had nothing better to do than complain, seek out and create issues. I do not surround myself with people like this, so I find it almost surreal when I stumble across someone who behaves as such.

I admittedly have had problems letting my run-in with the Old Maid go. But I will. And I will live a life so full, and surrounded by love, friends and family that I never have to go looking for attention if even in a negative manner. Live and love well my readers. Sow the seeds you want to reap later in life. Plant love. Plant friendship. And do it now.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Favorites

Laughing at work with my boss and co-workers over completely inappropriate topics.
Dinner and drinks with my besties!


Slumber party!
Good workouts.
Healing conversations.
Packages being delivered.


Unexpected hugs.
Weekend plans!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tird's Day 6: The Homecoming



                              Read the prologue to my Thursday, "Tird's Day" posts here.


Tird's Day 6: The Homecoming

We pulled into the apartment complex parking lot and stopped to speak to our landlord. We gleefully announced the arrival of the newest member of our family and showed the proof of vaccinations that had been requested. In an instant, my heart sank as our landlord reviewed the documents and stated, "We've had other people bring in stray cats that have totally destroyed an apartment and caused thousand's of dollars worth of damage". It was easy to tell that he was not as excited as we were about Cowboy's coming to live with us! Despite having been a great cat "hand raised from a kitten by my aunt!", Cowboy was nothing but a liability to him. The landlord's comment quickly turned my glee into panic and I began to wonder just what the hell did we get ourselves into, and would we ever get our security deposit back? 





Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Perk

As part of a wellness initiative, my full-time job allowed us an opportunity to get a free Fitbit Flex. I just received mine last night, and can't wait to figure out how to use it. Yay for job perks!


"This slim, stylish device is with you all the time. During the day, it tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. At night, it tracks your sleep quality and wakes you silently in the morning. Just check out the lights to see how you stack up against your personal goal. It’s the motivation you need to get out and be more active."

Monday, February 3, 2014

Austin


I'm going.
Later this month.
It should be warmer than Chicago.
Fingers crossed.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Soulful Sunday

Today I broke in my new snowshoes and poles. Big drawback, they kick up a lot of snow on my backside. This is the negative side of having the awesome bindings that only Atlas seems to have thought of. What to do? Settle for a wet ass, or get shorter shoes and have to deal with adding and subtracting tails to them depending on the snow? Obviously, first world, winter sport problems. 

So my gear review aside, the soulful part of my day was in taking pride in accomplishing everything on my "to-do" list (this post is officially the last thing on my list!), a great dog training session, and afterwards, getting to play in the snow. Below are some photos I took at the beach today. I was happy to connect with nature, the numerous bunnies I saw, and the elusive Cardinal that I never did catch "on film".

So go ahead, check out my photos below, set your lists aside and follow my lead. I'm relaxing "toes up", and enjoying some spirits by candlelight. Cheers and sweet dreams my 
readers!

~ Shoes & Poles ~


~ Tree Cavern ~


~ Wild Bunnies ~ 


~ Perspective ~ 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

REI

It snowed again today, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time since childhood that I've been excited for snow. Fresh snow today means a happy snowshoer tomorrow! Of course, this also means that I went to REI again today to get a few more pieces of gear. At this point, I'm on a first name basis with Theresa, Warren and Michael, and even have Michael consulting with me on how to train his new Doberman puppy. Yep, I've spent a lot of time as of late getting geared up and asking lots of questions! 

Tonight's haul included another Smart Wool top, toe warmers and most importantly, 4 season trekking poles! I'm excited to report that my new poles are Purple Punch and I can't wait to try them out along with my new shoes tomorrow. I'll definitely be happy once I am out of the "gearing up" phase, and can move onto the "getting out without thought and enjoying the sport" phase!  

What are you doing to stay active this winter?