Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Santa

Christmas was, again, wonderful, and full of time with families, good food, and good presents. Big wins are the Wii Santa brought us, a Flip video camera from the in-laws, and a nice assortment of smaller awesome objects (lots of textured tights, Christmas wine glasses, wine to put in the glasses, CDs, clothes, gift cards, and lots I'm forgetting at the moment).

Christmas Eve was up at John's aunt and uncle's, and is always a relaxed and good time. We then went to midnight mass in town, and though we were sleepy, the church looked beautiful--poinsettias everywhere you looked, four trees on the alter, and huge swags hanging on each pillar. I wish I had my camera. It was pretty breathtaking. We then walked home at 1AM, and promptly passed out, leaving the trees on to guide Santa.

Christmas Day was at my parents' and Boxing Day we went to Casa Branin. And thus began our phase of vacation in which we were snowed in. Some 12 inches, loads of wind, and a day without plowing later, cabin fever was setting in, even with all our cool new toys. It wasn't until today we were able to get out and about in the world. We had a nice breakfast date at Panera, then set out for some shopping for the weekend, which we will spend at my friend's. Happy to ring in another new year surrounded by people I love. And what a year 2011 will be.

2011 was run in in Maryand at my friend's apartment. It was a nice road trip with John, and it was great to see Dana for the first time since the summer, and to see her new home and get a little tour. Sadly, the weather didn't cooperate with our original plans, and we had to stick indoors most of the time, but that was okay, too.

So happy January, all, and happy 2011.

More to come.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Season in Pictures

Welcome home:

Hammy's Tree:
Big tree:
Gingerbread house:

Not necessarily Christmassy, but here's our new dining room set:


From Frost Fest at Dillon Gym at Princeton U:

And from Saturday, the tree at Rockefeller Center:

Less than 2 weeks and counting! More pics to come as Santa gets closer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Christmas has once again come to Bordentown, as John and I prepare for our first Christmas in our (not-so) new apartment, and for our last Christmas before we're married. Weird thought.

This year we sprung for a 6.5 foot (artificial) tree since we finally have the space for it. It's decked out with lights, red, green, gold, and silver ornaments, and gold garland, despite John's protestation (I win!). We also have a fluffy red tree skirt, that Hamlet has claimed as his new favorite bed. Saw that one coming. Our door is decorated with a live balsam wreath purchased through our church, and man it smells so delightful. It just feels so much more like home this time of year when everything is shiny and happy and welcoming.

Shopping is almost done, I'm planning my baking, and we're planning our holiday travels, which will finish with an exciting getaway to visit Dana in her new home and new state of residence! I get a nice heap of time off work, my first vacation since I started here back in May--that's right. I'm well overdue, and totally ready for it. I've been doing a bad job of taking care of myself, so it'll be nice to stop for a while and catch up on a little gal named Maureen.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Time Last Year...

In my head, I've been composing a look back at the past year, as so much has changed. And now I'm finally sitting down to write it.

This time last year, I was in the deep depths of a depression after getting the boot from my job. I won't say, "It was the best thing that happened!" because it wasn't. I had never been so down on myself or on my future, and it was just a generally dark 6 months. I was truly unhappy at the job, but I liked the people with whom I worked, so going in every morning was a little less cumbersome. But now, I am finally in a place where I feel like I have direction, where I am truly appreciated, and where I feel like I am important, not just as an employee, but as a person and a friend. While it wasn't ideal, I see now that I am where I am supposed to be.

This time last year, we were living in our first apartment, eagerly anticipating moving out. After a no-win scenario concerning our downstairs neighbors and the living noise of us being 20-somethings with a kitten, we just had to go somewhere we didn't feel afraid to move in our own home. So we came here, where we are much happier with the layout, with the apartment itself, with not having to go outside to get to the laundry machines, and with the fact that two of our greatest friends are across the lawn.

This time last year, John (unbeknownst to me), would be picking up my engagement ring in 2 days. We were planning our trip to Central Park to explore the zoo and to hunt for Shakespeare's statue. I can't believe we're already coming up on the one-year anniversary of getting engaged. We've come a long, long way from talking about a fall 2011 wedding, and now we've got our church, reception, and photographer lined up.

This time last year, I couldn't imagine how it was all going to get better, but here I am: 365 days separated from that self. I am surely stronger, happier, and maybe a little more happy-go-lucky. All in all, I feel like I've come out of the darkness, and landed on a sunny beach in Florida. I'm just soaking it up because I know hard days will come again, and I'm sure I'll forget that things will right themselves, and I'll always get back to feeling just like this.

So now, I offer a look forward: this time NEXT year, John and I will be married and off on our honeymoon in Disney World!

And with that, goodnight.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October!

I still feel compelled to draw a pumpkin in my "O" every time I write out October.

I'm home sick today, recovering from a massive, all-day allergy attack on Sunday. I muscled through work yesterday because it meant, at the end of the day, going to Barnes and Noble and meeting Alton Brown as he launched his new book tour. He was literally what made me get out of bed and go to work. Having taken care of the Monday business, however, I felt okay about taking off if it means resting and actually feeling better rather than continuing to simply fight my way to 5:00.

So, yes. Mr. Brown. We got there right at 5 when seating started, and nabbed seats in the 3rd row! Then I started worrying. What if he was a jerk in person? What if he literally looked and acted like he wanted to be anywhere but here? But as we talked excitedly about him, his shows, books, recipes, general wonderfulness, the anxiousness started to go away. Around 6:40, the B&N lady said she just got confirmation they were entering the area, and would be here to promptly start at 7, as planned. Everyone started buzzing and craning their necks to try and be the first to spot him. When he was announced, everyone's butts left their seats, and there he was...every bit as handsome and charming as he is on TV. Maybe more so.

The format was simply a Q&A. He arrived, coffee in hand, assistant in tow, and rather than sitting stiffly, he grabbed the mic, and walked around, talking with everyone, relishing the kids' questions, and really just appeared to be enjoying the energy of the room. It was fantastic. Then he did autographs and photos once the chatting was done, and he made a point to personally go to the families with small children first so they could get off on their way--it was a school night, after all. What a gentleman.

Favorite quote of the evening? Upon talking to a strict vegetarian in search of non-fish ways to take in iodine, Alton said, "I understand. I really am a vegetarian, too. I just get most of my vegetables...through a cow." Sitting with my vegetarian (though pescatarian) friend, we both whipped out our notebooks and jotted that gem down. haha

It was a great night, but my allergies were flaring again, and I was grateful the autograph line moved fast and I was home before nine.

In other news, John has been away since Sunday night at a conference in Atlantic City. It's been lonely, and I'm glad he'll be home tomorrow night after class. I have to say it's been nice to have 100% control of the TV and house, and Hammy's been on his best behavior (maybe he thinks John's return is contingent on him NOT yowling at 4:30am for food) and been my little shadow. But John is enjoying the conference, is learning a lot, and is apparently enjoying some good eats of his own. : )

That's all for now. Pumpkin picking soon! Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This seems familiar...

So I'm currently at Stockton while John attends his graduate school orientation. He will start classes next Wednesday, and I'm really excited for him. I think he feels he lost part of his connection to the science world when he left Stockton, and will be really good to get back into an academic community and to use that noggin again. Of course, I'm not fully ready for John the Student yet...the homework stress, the long days, the papers. But I really am proud of him for achieving a goal he's had his mind on for a very long time.

I am also thinking that by the time our families come for his graduation, they may need a new set of directions...the Campus Center is well under construction (very different from the heap of dirt and feeble foundation that I saw last), there are new signs all over campus, there are newly-paved roads, and there are fewer familiar faces here now. For example, my brain automatically tuned to, "Let's go see KT!" Then I was reminded, gently, that he retired. So sad to imagine a Stockton without one of its founding fathers. The new generation of LITT kids is truly missing out.

As classes get closer and closer (next Wednesday evening will be John's first class), I'm beginning to think about how I'll spend my evenings alone. Eating alone kind of depresses me, but it also is kind of freeing to cook whatever I want, in a quantity for one, I can watch my girly TV indulgences, and I can hog snuggle time with the cat. But I don't want to just be a couch potato. Hopefully as the weather gets nicer I can work up to jogging again, and eventually I'll have wedding DIY stuff to do...make bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages...place cards, etc., and that will be nice to occupy my time cuz I've been craving a creative outlet that will allow me to work with my hands. I have two problems with the need to be crafty, however. One, I lack storage space for anything I create (so clutter-producing hobbies are out immediately), and two, I need something either free or cheap.

I realize that I am very isolated from my friends. Geographically, I mean. If I'm lonely on a Monday night, I can't really call someone up and say, "I'm bored. Let's hang out." I've been really lazy with writing, too. I just haven't felt very inspired and also haven't worked very hard to get inspired. That is frustrating and sad.

Today has had me thinking a lot about my time at Stockton, about community, and about how strange it is to be an alumni. I know these halls, these grounds. But I feel starkly out of place here now. I have no patience for the freshmen moving into the dorms and have had to flee groups of them all afternoon, and to go over by the lake will put me in proximity to the upper classmen, so that relaxing Adirondack chair by the Island won't be as serene as it is in my head. I'm an outsider now looking in on my own past. Very strange.

In other news, I was at the ENT this morning, and that was an adventure...had a camera shoved up my nose by a nice young doc, and it was, indeed, determined that I have a deviated septum on the left, and that my right half is equally a mess. So sometime in the next week or so I will have a CT scan to take a peek inside and see what the damage is, and then we'll go from there to determine a plan to get me breathing comfortably for the first time in my entire life. I can't imagine life without a stuffy nose, can't imagine actually enjoying breathing through yoga poses, being able to smell properly. It also scares me--if I actually need surgery, what if they mess up my nose? I'm sure the surgery to fix a septum is less invasive that a Heidi Montag Special, but still...I don't wanna look like Dumbledore in my wedding pics. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

More to come on the start of John's grad career, and on the Adventures of Maureen's Stuffed Schnoz.

Goodnight to you all from lovely Pomona, NJ.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bah

Wedding planning may actually kill me. ::sighs::

There are just so many balls in the air at this point that I can't imagine things coming together. Granted we have over a year, but we're at the point where we need to start whittling options. I really believe that you can have a beautiful wedding on a small budget. I also believe, and am fast finding out, that to do so successfully takes about five times the effort having lots of money to throw around takes. Money makes problems go away. We don't have oodles of money, but we do have a strong set of problem-solving skills. haha Let's hope they help.

Simply choosing a location is hard enough. I'm not talking about a reception site, I'm talking about a geographic location. We're basically down between a Bordentown-central plan or a Sandy Hook-central plan. Either of those means at least a half hour commute between ceremony and reception, and while not uncommon or unreasonable, certainly something to consider and take into account with the day's agenda. I also have to remind myself this is really the only time I can be demanding of people, and ask them to be inconvenienced for like 24 hours. So there!

Maybe it's all also overwhelming because it's all still hypothetical. We don't have a ceremony site to work with yet. We don't have a reception location to work with yet. We're interviewing and contacting places, crunching and recrunching numbers every time we talk to someone. I'll feel better when things are in progress and there's an actual goal in sight.

I know everyone will have a good time in the end and we'll be proud that we survived it (and we will celebrate with a sweet, sweet cake!). I have to keep that in mind as I'm pulling my hair out.

Cheers,

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mini Vacation

So I took today off as a mental health day. After basically winding up in tears the last three Fridays, I was motivated to take off partially by fear of going 4-for-4, and partially by necessity. I just plain needed a break. I can't say I haven't been jealous of all my coworkers' vacations, so I decided I'd like a little time, too.

But I forgot that I suck at doing nothing. I could never be a staycation girl. I was almost more stressed sitting at home with nothing to do than if I had to be locked in my office to protect myself from a lunatic parent (as I had to do two weeks ago). The day started with a ticket. I was parked on the street, and on Fridays, there's a sign that says a street sweeper comes between 10AM and 11AM and you can't park on our side of the street during that time. Now, having been home for many, many spring Fridays, I had never once seen a street sweeper. I thought maybe it was an old sign since I had yet to see this damn vehicle. Well, of course the day I take off, I'm there parked on the street, sweeper comes, and I (as well as the car behind me) get ticketed. Damnit. My day off just ate $17 out of my pay. ::sighs::

In other news, I had an AWESOME yoga class last night. The last three weeks, it's been just me showing up, so I've had private lessons. Which is awesome cuz we can just kinda do what we want and not have to worry about less experienced classmates. Not that mind, but I'm definitely in the mood for something that will whip me into wedding-dress shape, and I need something intense. Last night was a series of sun salutations (my arms are screaming, but it hurts so good! Hello, triceps...I've missed you!), then warriors and lots of forward bending with some wheel, bridge and ab work to finish off. Awe-some.

Anyway, I'm currently enjoying a swirled Coolatta from DD (coffee and vanilla, thankyouverymuch), and thinking about the mini-vacation we're going on this weekend. We'll be up on my home island, Long Island, through Monday visiting family and friends. Saturday night's agenda is a Mets game, and Sunday we'll be out at the beach. Whoo hoo!

So, friends, I hope I'll feel a bit rejuvenated after the fun and sun. See you on the other side.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This is What Happiness Looks Like

This past Saturday, my dear friend Angela married her boyfriend of 10 years, and it was a fantastic day. She was probably the giddiest, bubbliest, happiest bride I've ever seen. She was literally bouncing in her seat, and kept lightly slapping Matt's knee as if to say, "I can't believe it!"

This, friends, is what happiness looks like:


Below are some of the better photos I took:




To honor the groom, a hockey player.

Look closer...

That's them on the cake! Matt has a hockey stick, and Ang has a book.

First dance to "I Wanna Grow Old with You," From The Wedding Singer.

This was the first wedding where I wasn't qualified to catch the bouquet. Is it weird that that makes me sad? haha

Tutors, yoga buddies, Chapstick addicts, friends. : ) Good times.
All the best to the new Mr. and Mrs.!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cheers, Mate!



Today at work we had a farewell tea party for a much-beloved coworker before she embarks upon graduate work at another Ivy League institution. Thankfully, the rain held off, and it was overcast and breezy so we didn't fry to death.

The garden was beautiful behind an historic house on campus, ripe for photography opportunities! There were vintage hats for wearing, cucumber water for sipping, tea sandwiches for eating. Imagine the tourists walking by, looking at us in our fancy getup in a setting that could easily pass for time-accurate if only with the help of a sepia finish. It was awesome. Here are some pictures from the event:


Garden setting.

The noms.

The guest of honor shows off her gloves.

Lovely ladies. : )

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thinking on a Beautiful Friday

Today many thoughts crossed my mind on my trek up to my building. I realized, as I do every day, how incredibly happy I am at Princeton: I feel it is where I am meant to be. I am taken aback by the beauty of the campus every single day. I often wonder how long it takes people there to take it for granted. I work with amazing people who welcomed me like family, and it already feels like I've been there for years. My job is fulfilling, something I had been lacking since tutoring. The people I work with are also incredibly gracious and appreciative. As someone who thrives on (for better or worse) outside reinforcement, it is wonderful to be told I am doing a great job, that I am the perfect addition to the team, that as soon as they finished my interview they all got together and said, "She's it--we don't want anyone else." After leaving a job where employee morale was low and few people felt important and appreciated, it's just refreshing.

I am constantly aware of how lucky I am to have found the job that I have. I had decided, just after I applied for the position back in March, that higher education was where I wanted to be. I know it's rare to find what we want, and to find a job where you feel genuinely valued. I know it was a long road to get here, and I just need all those who helped me to know I will not forget your help, I will not forget that struggle, and I will not take for granted what I have.

I also realized a few things on my way home from yoga last night. One, yoga makes everything in life better. I may not have a ripped bod, but there two asanas in which I always feel strong, balanced, and fearless: Warrior two and Triangle. When I need a boost, I will practice these asanas and instantly feel more centered. And I always, always feel good about myself when I am practicing regularly. Yoga is the only place I can officially turn off the worries of the world and go inside. I can reconnect with myself, and let my body lead and my head follow. By the time savasana comes, I am totally at ease and at peace.

The yoga "studio" I attend is in town, in the old fire house. I love that I can walk there, I love the walk itself, I love that as I'm arriving, the bell atop historic City Hall is chiming as its new hammer clangs against the bell (no longer just a recording). I love that when I walk home, I am ushered by a bagpipe corp practicing behind the community center. I love small town life. My own Stars Hollow at last, walking into town never feels old--there's always a new flower in bloom, or a new side street I haven't yet explored, or someone new to talk to.

I am in a really good place, mentally, after half a year of turmoil and questioning everything. I am engaged to a wonderful man who, though he has his flaws and I have mine, seems to understand me and supports me. I have a great cat who I'm sure I was destined to bring home. I have superb friends. And my family, of course, is super star amazing.

John just got accepted to the graduate program at Stockton. He will be accomplishing a lifelong goal of earning his master's degree. I hope this will instill in him some of the faith I have that he doesn't see in himself.

We have so much to be thankful for, and to be happy about, but I think all the stars really do have to align in order for all those things to also align and for us to be able to see them, to number them on our fingers (and toes if necessary).

That is all. I hope you take a minute to think about all the good things in your life, and then maybe help someone else find them in their life. For now, I am off to spend the evening with good friends in celebration of John's current and impending achievement of grad school.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dear Pedestrians

Dear Pedestrians,

I am one of you. I understand the need and desire to jaywalk when the crosswalks are far away from where you want to be. I also understand the new law where cars must come to a full stop when you (we) are in the designated crosswalks; however, lady in Burberry shawl on Nassau Street yesterday afternoon, you neglected two very important points while you jaywalked in front of my car, immersed in your cell phone screen without even glancing up at the motorist world...

1. The law is that cars must come to a full stop. This, however, does NOT relieve you of your duties as a conscious being. You can't just dart out whenever you feel like it and think you're almighty. If a car is about two seconds from the crosswalk/your body, let the car pass. That is an impossible stopping distance, and you will lose the lawsuit because you were negligent of your own responsibilities.
2. You were not in a crosswalk, and thus had no business even crossing the street in such an aloof and inconsiderate fashion. I watched you park your fancy BMW SUV, get out and fiddle with the parking meter, take your phone out of your pocket, then stare at something I can only imagine was immensely riveting, WHILE YOU STARTED TO WALK ACROSS THE STREET WITHOUT LOOKING BOTH WAYS. I'm sorry to say that wherever your mother is...she failed. Once you got to the other side of the street, you almost collided with two students waiting to safely jaywalk when cars were at a stop.

Job well done.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Capella

As if Glee weren't a big enough reminder of how much I miss performing, today I witnessed a random act of A Capella. I am working late tonight, and was taking a dinner break, sitting on the stone patio behind my building, when all of a sudden, from somewhere not too far away, harmonies floated my way. I knew they had to be in one of the archways of the many dormitories that are near my building, but couldn't place where. Then I saw a small crowd gathering, and closed my book to walk over and see what was going on.


It was a small group, maybe 12 people strong, singing what sounded to me like Indian hymns and folk songs. It was beautiful. Here I was, an hour to kill with nothing to do, and right across the courtyard an impromptu concert erupts?

Now, for those who know me (musically), you know I am vry easily affected by music. Just the whole thing of it--the beauty of the architecture with the beauty of the voices, and the excitement of the singers for having attracted such a crowd on this sunny Thursday evening to the excitement of the passerby who happened to stumble upon such a wonderful event--the wholw thing had me choking back tears. In that moment, I missed singing and performing so much it literally hurt.
Singing in my car is not enough. I worry I will forget how to read music, how to find harmonies in songs. I've been inspired to look into vocal groups here and see if they are open for anyone to join, or if they are classes for students only. Watching this group made me think of the days we'd perform in the stairwells of my high school and faculty, on their way out after long stressful days, would gather to listen to a few numbers. Singing is such a huge part of who I am...it makes me enormously sad to have let it get away for so long.
To be continued...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yay!

For those hiding under a rock, or those who have been waiting for this to blast on the weblog, I will be once again gainfully employed as of Monday!

I have been temping in Princeton for the last three weeks, and my first week there I also had an interview at another office on campus, which led to a second interview, which led to an interview with HR and some testing, which led, finally, to an offer for the position on Tuesday afternoon. And I'm still pinching myself.

I have orientation on Monday morning to go over my ample new hire packet and get set up with parking and an ID and all that stuff. Then I'll have a lunch break, then head to my new office to get situated there. This week will probably be pretty intense and overwhelming, but at least I'm coming in at the end of the semester, and will have the summer, when things should be lighter than usual, to get acclimated before diving in full speed in September.

I feel incredibly lucky, and am a little intimidated of going back to work full time for the first time in 6 months. But it's a good intimidation. Mom is coming up tomorrow for shopping, lunch, and exploration. Pics and more stories to come...

Til next time,
Cheers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Life of Cat Ownership

So, Hamlet is very intelligent. Too intelligent for his own good most of the time. For instance, we cannot let pots and pans soak in the sink unattended because Hamlet will see them as tasty watering holes. And we usually know he's up to no good out of sight by hearing him, specifically his name tag, clanking against said watering hole. But another of his favorite games to play is "Climb Mommy's Closet."

This is a game where he will attempt to leap onto the top shelf of my closet any time the door is open. No matter where he is in the house, he'll hear the door slide open, bolt in, and start thinking about how best to get up there. He has managed this on more than a few occasions, most impressively after jumping over my shoulders from the night stand and landing with a soft thud on my folded pile of sweatshirts. He also knows how to open the doors, and can let himself in to play around with my hamper and yoga bag. We know he is opening the door because we'll hear him pawing at it, which is pretty loud as the door rattles in its track.

Tonight, though, his logic was tested. I heard him banging around in the bedroom, and knew he was attempting to open the closet door. It went on for a while, then John and I got annoyed enough that I went to investigate. Now, John is currently in the office, where his closet is, and I was (and am) in the living room. I was slightly confused when I went into the bedroom and flipped on the light, and saw no kitten. If he was banging at John's closet, he would have chased the little furball away. So I opened my closet and found my hamper had been knocked over, and Hammy had gotten into the closet, closed the door, and couldn't figure out how to open it again from the inside to get out... ::forehead slap:: Oy.

And now he is howling because he drank soapy pasta dish water, and probably has a belly ache. Happy Wednesday, all!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

John's 26th Birthday Weekend


We kicked off John's birthday weekend this morning with a surprise trip to the Battleship New Jersey in Camden. We did the self-guided audio tour, which was fun cuz we pretty much had the area of the ship that our tour covered all to ourselves. And fear not fellow claustrophobes--as this is a "city on the sea" it was actually really spacious, and not really crampy at all. So I was happy. Here are a few pics from our adventure.

Can you find John?

Bunkin.

I see zem, Cappy-tin!

C-wiz: 20mm rounds, 3000 bullets/minute.


Up next is lunch with the in-laws in Barnegat tomorrow to celebrate, then a quite celebration Monday on John's actual birthday. Lots of fun. : )

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cuteness

Here are some new Hammy tidbits. In case you are lacking. : )

Hammy's alter-ego, Mysteriso, likes to hide behind curtains.

Snuggling Daddy.


video

Heat Wave: April 2010

Whew, it's hot out there! I've been taking advantage of the warm weather to open the windows and enjoy the outdoors. John and I even ventured to Howell Living History Farm to soak up some sun.

Also, the poem a day challenge has been going relatively well. : ) I'm chugging along quite nicely.

Lambie luncheon and nap.

video

The oxen received hair cuts in the morning in preparation for warm weather.


It's almost like we weren't in NJ anymore.


video
This lamb just really wanted to win the fight against this husk.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Showers

Happy April, Happy April Fool's Day, Happy Easter, and Happy National Poetry Month!

I'm glad to see March go because hopefully the coldest weather is behind us. John and I have plans to garden outside in the vacant beds where there are just a few bushes, and I wanna get a few container gardens going, too. Also, I want to open my windows and let nice warm breezes come in rather that brisk, chilly ones.

Easter is upon us, and Sunday we will travel, as always, to John's grandparents' to have a small holiday. I'm all about low-key family gatherings because they're much more conducive to catching up and talking. It'll also be fun because we just locked up our bridal party over the past week, and John's sister is VERY excited to be a junior bridesmaid. I'm just looking forward to a nice day with nice conversation and enjoying being happy and surrounded by family and not worrying too much about the harder things in life these days.

Today, however, kicks off National Poetry Month, and I have been encouraged to undertake the challenge of writing a poem a day. I am accepting this, with the stipulation of not beating myself up too much if I fall a bit behind. But I made a list of prompts in case I'm feeling less than inspired, and have already written an inspired poem today. I also carry a notebook and about 12 pens with me at all times as a general rule, so should inspiration strike at a less-than-opportune time, I'll be ready.

In other news, my house smells like a delicious mix (except for Honeydew) of candles. I had a PartyLite show recently with Tara, and the orders arrived yesterday. Everyone's stuff is packed and ready to be distributed. I've already got my pillar garden on the dining room table, and have Apricot Daisy votives in the living room and Tropical Waterfall in the bathroom. Mmm! I'm glad to finally not be burning my Christmas candles cuz that was all I had! I was quite over pine trees.

So with this, I leave you with wishes for a happy spring, a happy weekend, and a happy holiday!

Till next time!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

To Spring

I'm enjoying this beautiful weather, and am ready for a change of season in more ways than one.

Keep the sunshine coming. Hamlet agrees.


Oh, Mommy! What wondrous smells!

I can has squirrel?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

... _ _ _ ...

Why is it so difficult for a smart, educated, young professional to get a job?

I don't like a being a victim. Being on unemployment is embarrassing, and I am tired of letting the world judge my worth and beating me down to believe they are correct.

I am tired of applying for jobs, going on interviews that tell me I have the qualities they are looking for in an ideal candidate, then having them pick someone else. I am tired of getting the stock, "We appreciate your time and talents, but we ultimately went with a candidate who was better qualified." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? What's worse, is that I've built good rapport with more than one interview and then they just never get back to me...get off your high horses...you were here once, too. A small, insignificant speck before you got the corner office and awesome salary. I'm over you.

In my job hunt, I've been advised against a few things.

1. Don't let on that I'm engaged
2. Don't make it apparent that I'm a recent college graduate

These things upset me for a few reasons. I am naive and idealistic. I don't deny this, nor do I regret it. I still think that people should be judged based on their person, their talents. Isn't refusing a job to someone who would be a great fit in 10 more years even though they meet the requirements now an act of ageism? I'm sorry, but you haven't been answering phones professionally for nearly long enough. Try us again when you're older.

And what does it mean to not let them know I'm engaged? Do I not wear my ring to interviews? Should I buy a cheap sterling band so it looks like I'm already married? I mean, either way, there is going to come a time where I GET MARRIED. Wouldn't it be better to "come clean" from the get go rather than, a month before the wedding, asking for two weeks off?

I'm so sick of looking for a job where the people are just so totally unconcerned with the people with whom they're dealing. I'm sick of jumping through hoops for a room of blind people.

I am running out of time, out of patience, out of respect for myself and out of options.

I'm tried of living every day feeling like the world is trying to kill me, and having gotten to the point where I believe it to be true. I am tired of fighting with my utilities companies, with scrounging for money I don't have. I worked so hard my whole life in school to prepare for me jobs. Why do I feel now like that was a total waste and I'm gonna end up folding shirts anyway?

These last 5 months have totally broken me, and taken away a lot of the joy I found in life. I am jaded beyond jaded, depressed, and pretty much hopeless at this point. I keep thinking it'll get better, and it gets worse. If there's a bottom I'm not at yet, how much further can I possibly fall. That's a scary question...I hope it's not answered.

If anyone out there has any new directions I can take my job search, I'd really appreciate it. I've out CareerBuilt myself, slayed the Monster, and am scouring Craigslist as well as a few smaller job sites.

Consider this my official SOS.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, my Friend, Tara

So just a little while ago, I got a text from Tara. It is possibly the best text I have ever received.

From Tara:
"I just cut the tip of my thumb off cutting potatoes and it hurts like a MOFO!!!! It won't stop bleeding--what do you think I should do?"

I, of course, called her immediately, and, when she answered her phone in giggles that must have been part delirium and part embarrassment, I yelled, "YOU TEXTED ME THAT?! REALLY?!" Apparently, by the time she consulted me, the clear medical expert, it had been half an hour of bleeding with no signs of stopping. This, plus holding her arm above her head for 30 minutes explains the delirium. When John and I inquired what kind of knife she was using, she declared, "It was a butcher knife. A really nice one--it was Wolfgang Puck!"

Then I learned the true chain of events.

1. start cutting taters
2. cut finger
3. run to bathroom, where husband is showering, to demand a band aid and help
4. Google search "how do I stop the bleeding after cutting off my thumb"
5. text me

I feel like after step #2, a nice call to a local hospital or doctor's office would have been prudent, but then we'd have no story.

And this, the latest text update from the knife0-wielding wonder herself:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Open Letter to People of Snow-Bound Areas

Dear People of Snow-Bound Areas,

Why do you lose your minds? Why? Yesterday, I needed to pick up some essentials at the food store before the second half of this one-two punch storm came through. Like many of you, I thought it wise to accomplish this in the afternoon before the bad weather arrived in the area. Why this means that the otherwise pleasant aisles of my local Shop Rite turned into a disaster area looting site, I do not know.

Mothers, I saw your carts careening, babies thrown willy-nilly as you played Supermarket Sweep in your head: FORMULA! DIAPERS! MUFFINS! CHOCOLATE! All I could do was pull my cart over and stay the hell out of your way, psychos. And just barely.

Elderly people, you at least maintained the same slow pace, clogged the aisles with your double-parked carts, and blocked entire displays of canned fruit. The problem, of course, in this unique situation is that you also blocked the emergency pull-offs for the rest of us, leaving us at the mercy of the zooming shoppers.

And why do people lose all conception of where things are? I must have seen the same woman pass me like five times going from one end of the store to the other and back again to pick up who knows what. MILK! WHERE IS THE MILK? WHERE IS THE COLD STUFF!

I was so happy to get out of there and come home. I can only imagine what it was like when the 9-to-fivers started filling the stores on their way home, heavy snow imminent. Oy.

And so, People of Snow-Bound Areas, I hope you enjoy your stash of goodies picked up yesterday, and in case you're wondering, that toe you ran over will be just fine.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kudos

...to Yahoo for being cheeky. This is a response from everyone's favorite bot personality, Mailer Daemon.


Thu, February 4, 2010 3:00:25 PM
From:
"MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.com"



Hi. This is the qmail-send program at yahoo.com.
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.




Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Playtime with Kitten

These are videos I had taken before Hammy got sick, but I didn't want to post them until he was feeling all better. So here, without further adieu, is Hamlet VS Toy and Hardwood Floors!


video

video

And here are some pics of Hammy checking out the many squirrels that live in our yard. This one is perched on the corner of the chain-link fence in the patch of land John and I hope to garden in come spring.


This is Hammy, post-hospital stay, with his naked tummy.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Update on our Patient, Hamlet

Hello, all. Sorry I've been MIA the last few days, but as you know, we've been in the middle of kitten drama. We were able to visit him in the kitty hospital last night, and he was discharged into our care while we waited for the results of some cell samples they took from his colon, which was thickened. The concern was/is that it was/is a tumor which was/is the result of lymphoma. Of course, John and I were pretty much inconsolable at that possibility, but we are determined to do what we can to get Hammy feeling better. Another main concern of the vets' was his lack of interest in, and thus lack of intake of, food. He hadn't eaten a real meal since Friday night's dinner, which he vomited up Saturday morning. But he ate pretty well yesterday afternoon while still in the vets' care, and he nibbled some kibble while we visited him. Once we got him home, he perked up and we saw that immediately he was more comfortable and happier. His tail, which had been down and apprehensive popped up like a little periscope--he was curious. And boy was he ready to eat! He gobbled a regular-sized meal of mixed dry and wet food. His personality was pretty much back, though he was sleepy from the anesthesia he had while they were doing the abdominal ultrasound.

So we were very happy to have him home, but also nervous. We are sure to watch him closely, and we have to give him some medicines, an antibiotic as well as an appetite stimulant.

This afternoon Mom came to visit and keep me a little saner, and while we were in Bed Bath and Beyond, I got a call from one of his doctors and she said she had just gotten the lab results from the pathologist and couldn't wait to call me. She said, as suspected, the fine needle asperit test didn't yield very many cells, but it was enough to make a pretty good preliminary call. She said based on what they saw, it doesn't look like lymphoma, but rather a bad inflammation. She said, of course, something more serious can't be ruled out cuz it was a small sample from an isolated part of the colon. But his behavior at home is very encouraging, and he'll have a follow-up exam and new ultrasound in two weeks to see if he's improved, worsened or stayed the same and we'll figure out the next step(s) from there. Some exploratory surgery may still be recommended based on how that goes, and that would include a full-thickness biopsy of the colon, which means major (read: expensive and scary) surgery. So we're just taking it one hurdle at a time and helping our little guy to feel better.

He's currently curled up with me on the couch, snug as a bug in a rug. He snuggled us all night last night, and we can just tell he's overjoyed to be home with him mommy and daddy.

So keep sending good thoughts our way, and hopefully Hammy will keep on the path to recovery. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for all your love, support, and well wishes,

Maureen, John, and Hamlet

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Are We Done Yet?

Those of you reading this probably already know what a trying weekend it's been for me and John. Saturday morning at 4:30, Hammy started throwing up, and didn't stop until 9:00 that night. We took him to his regular vet at Banfield, who wasn't sure what was causing the vomiting. They treated him for the upset stomach, re-hydrated him, and gave him a dewormer in case he had picked up a parasite or something, and after watching him for a few hours, sent him home into our care. He threw up almost as soon as we got him home, and started going into the litter box almost religiously every half hour. He'd do nothing more than a sprinkle of pee, and then he'd gimp back to his crate in the office to rest some more. It wasn't until around 11 when I heard him crying in the litterbox and watched his muscles tense that I realized he's probably walking funny cuz he's constipated or blocked. I immediately called Banfield to get the 24-hour ER vet's number, and we took him there at 11:30. The staff at NorthStar was amazing. Not only were we glad they were so attentive with Hammy, but they were also great at soothing our worried little human minds.

So, he's been there for almost 2 whole days now, and while he's stopped vomiting (last time he did was last night when we got to the ER vet's) and is now peeing regularly, we're still waiting for him to poo--he ate something that has been stuck in his GI tract, and our humble theory is that once he goes potty, everything else will start to get better, too. He hasn't eaten since Friday night, but if you were having tummy troubles, would you be interested in food?

So it's been really hard on us, and today when we visited him and met with the vet I just lost it. I had been suppressing a lot and it just needed to come out. So if you can think healing thoughts for Hammy, send them our way. I want him home, healthy, and happy ASAP. : (

Friday, January 22, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

Well, as of tomorrow, we'll have been here a full week, and the new place is fantastic. It felt like home almost as soon as all of our stuff was in the door, and while it took Hamlet a few days (and a few rough nights) to get used to his new surroundings, he's quite settled and happy now. Today we bought an area rug for the living room to make it a little more barefoot friendly, to add some extra (visual) warmth, and also to give kitten a place to play where he doesn't have to worry about ice skating or running in place on hardwood. Playtime has been a challenge. haha

Here's a quick video tour with my usual idiotic narration, and stay tuned for some photos that are in my camera but I'm too lazy to upload presently. : ) Next weekend we'll have our first party--my 24th birthday celebration!--so it'll be great to welcome a few of our closest friends.



video

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moving Day Countdown: 1 day

[begin transmission...]

Yes, we are able to start the move tomorrow! And I'm really excited cuz--and remember, I'm a real math genius--I apparently mis-measured the bedroom, and shorted myself 3 feet in width (again, I remind you--whiz with the numbers!). So now that I have accurate measurements, our furniture will fit with no problem! Yay!

I probably won't post on here till we're settled in, and I'm glad for the long weekend. John has off tomorrow and Monday, which of course makes a happy Maureen.

Peace out, and commence radio silence...now.

[end transmission]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moving Day Approaches

I've been shuttling things from current home to future home over the last 2 weeks, and finally, this Friday, we are able to move in. We have a storage unit downstairs in the basement, which is where most of our non-essentials are hibernating until we can move. I was able to get into our apartment today and take a peek around and get some measurements. Most discouraging is going to be figuring out the bedroom, which, it looks like will be a VERRRRRRRRY tight fit, and we actually won't be able to fit everything in there. ::sighs:: But that should be our only big challenge, so we'll see how it pans out.

Here's a sneaky peek at the new digs:


video

More to come!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Yesterday was my dad's 60th birthday! Wow! We celebrated over the weekend with friends, and this is my favorite moment. They tricked Dad with those candles that never go out, and when he got tired, my godfather stepped in to lend a hand...or, lung. Also, please enjoy Nancy trying to extinguish a candle by slapping it with a metal cake server.

I present to you Gary versus Candles!


video

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome, 2010!

John and I rang in the new year at Donna and Rachel's with a few good friends. It was relaxed, fun, and Wii-rific. We also checked out Dublin Square for lunch, which was delicious and awesome. Here are a few pics from Christmas and New Year's.

Cheers!

Christmas Eve Eve in Ventnor.

Kitten checks out his Christmas gift.

My stack of Paula Deen cookware! Whew!

John's big gift from me: flat screen monitor!

Dublin Square Pub and Restaurant in your very own Bordentown.

Look. I know my birthday is coming up, but really? I'm not even halfway to 50 yet! Come on. We know I'm the queen of thinking ahead, but, uhm...leave me alone! How ridiculous.

Happy 2010, everyone! Hope it's a good one.