Saturday, December 31, 2011

Waiting for Winter

With mere hours left of 2011, we're still waiting on winter to truly arrive. This time last year we were still recovering from the Boxing Day Blizzard, unaware that it was only the beginning.

Hubby and I have completed our holiday circuit with both the Egan and Riggi sides of the family. We're relaxing now in anticipation of the New Year's Eve gala at the Adventure Aquarium. We're very excited to go, as we've been wanting to for many years now. No time like the present, eh? What a great time of year to be a newlywed.

Today is also Hammy's 4th birthday! Since we brought him home on October 31 and he was 10 months old at that time, we just added two months and chose 12/31 as his birthday. We truly can't imagine our life and home without him in it--he really makes the apartment feel alive, and he's always making us laugh. Well, when he's not annoying us by singing opera for his dinner or headbutting me at 4am for breakfast... So happy birthday to our little kitten, or I guess as we should start calling him, our big boy!

Here are a few pictures. Stay tuned for some shots from the party tonight, which will conclude with primo views of the Philly fireworks at midnight.

Checking out a little stocking we hung on his cat tree.

Super Hammy and his tissue paper cape.

Family portrait included in our Christmas cards.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I am now officially and legally Maureen Riggi. I have completed the rounds to Social Security and the DMV and switched over my name. I also sent out name change notifications to my utilities, etc. who need to update my information. I updated my alumni listing at Stockton. I have my new ID at Princeton. I have added my spouse to my benefits at work. I feel very married now, and it feels wonderful.

I'm still waiting on a few official things, so in some respects I'm still in limbo, but for the most part I'm all done. I have long since gotten over the name change anxiety discussed here, and am really just eager for the transition to be over. I am still thinking of people I need to contact--someday, this list has to run out, right?

So after the holidays, what's on the horizon for Mr. and Mrs. Riggi? Birthdays--my dad's, mine, my brother's. I'll be 26 and he'll be 21. How did that happen? Sheesh... Then after that is Valentine's Day and John's and my 7-year anniversary (hot dang!). Then things calm down a bit. There are, of course, birthdays and little holidays sprinkled in, but then we can start gearing up for our summer vacation to Las Vegas to visit my godmother. By then, she'll be a grandma, as my cousin and her husband are expecting their first baby. What an epic year.

Once January hits, it's also the countdown to Commencement and all the Pton students going home. Meaning life at work slows down and the blood pressure can get back to normal. I love my job, but by this time I'm definitely craving the slower months.

But that's all out there. Right now I am truly enjoying the holidays, after feeling like last Christmas totally got away from me. I feel like I missed the whole buildup and the little things that make merry and bright. This year I'm consciously drinking it all in. We may not make it to NYC to see the tree, but there's plenty of holiday spirit close to home. In our small-town America life, it's easy to feel the cheer by simply taking a walk through town.

So here's to hoping my readers' seasons and jolly, and wishing you all a healthy start to the new year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First Married Christmas

So it's almost been a whole month since our wedding, and John and I finally have our official marriage license. Now I can start the process of legally changing my name. I've started using Riggi at work in an unofficial capacity (ie I'm not listed under the new name yet, but I've started the transition in my email signature and on the plaque outside my door). Next steps now are to change it up with Social Security and the DMV and then I can make the zillions of phone calls it'll take to switch over the remaining things. Time to really start practicing that new signature! Don't want it look like a 5-year old signed my DL! haha

Thanksgiving was wonderful and spent with John's family. It was different since I had never spent it with anyone but my parents, but we visited with them on Sunday for a post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving. And then the hubby and I did two things we have never done before: ventured out for some Black Friday shopping and decorated before the calendar hit December. Gasp! We're just so excited to celebrate our first married Christmas, so we want to make the season last as long as we can.

Here are some Christmassy pictures from Disney, as well as some from our 2011 decorations at home.

Train station at Magic Kingdom.
Looking down Main Street, USA.
Ginormous (real) gingerbread house under construction at the Grand Floridian.
Not Christmassy, but just cute. Upon entering Epcot.
Our special souvenier to commemorate our Disney honeymoon.

The "mommy and daddy" tree.

Hammy's tree.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happily Ever After

John and I have returned from our honeymoon in Disney. Adjusting to real life is going okay, though I do miss the service...oh, the trials and tribulations of having to drive myself, cook for myself...oh, woe is me! haha

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mr. and Mrs.

We were so lucky to have beautiful, if a bit chilly, weather for our wedding weekend. It was an absolutely perfect day.

For now, I offer you this impromptu pic I took with my phone while taking the limo from ceremony to reception. It just happened to come out really good!

Cheers, and love from Mr. and Mrs. Riggi!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Counting on one hand

4 days, everyone! FOUR!

Looking forward to my friends and family arriving on Friday afternoon. Looking forward to finally relaxing and enjoying the rehearsal and dinner. Looking forward to putting on my dress and not fretting anymore about having lost or gained too much weight. Looking forward to my first dance with John as husband and wife. Looking forward to watching girls scramble for the bouquet. Looking forward to seeing John's grandparents dance. Looking forward to seeing my mom and dad dance. Looking forward to seeing everyone all dressed up.

Looking forward to being married. Looking forward to Disney.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Working On, And This Post Will Be Disorganized

I'm a chronic complainer. It's a problem, and I know a lot of the time I can be extremely negative. Work has been totally kicking my ass lately, and that coupled with the wedding and general home life's demands on my time, I've been very stressed and very complainy. I keep filing away mental notes to be more conscious of when I'm complaining, but in the moment I mainly think I just don't have the energy to care enough to stop myself. Someday maybe I will actually make progress here.

Anyway, just wanted to put it out there for the public void. Any advice from fellow chronic complainers, recovering complainers, or general ideas on the topic?

Next week is fall break here at the U, and most of the students go home, so at least the work portion should lighten up a bit. I plan to spend most of next week getting things in order for when I'm on vacation. I'm currently at work, and a bit sad cuz I'd clearly rather be home, but I'm also grateful cuz it's given me a chance to catch up on all the small stuff that's been backburnered like filing, tidying, and general tidiness tasks. This is my mental mini-break.

Tomorrow night John and I will make one of our last pilgrimages to the reception venue to take care of some last minute business. Then I'll spend most of the weekend getting centerpieces, palce cards, favors, courtesy baskets, and whatever else needs to be there for the reception ready for delivery mid-week next week. Yesterday we went to the county clerk's office to sign and submit out application for the marriage license--boy, did that make it feel real!

Official countown is 9 DAYS. Hot dang!

More to come as we get even closer. Apologies for the higgledy piggledy-ness of this post. I need to upgrade my mental RAM...everything seems to jumble together these days.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Guess What?

I'm getting married in 3 weeks. Guess what else? This is how I spent my afternoon:

Happy 40th birthday, Stockton! So glad for the 4 great years, the wonderful friendships I formed, and the inspiration from so many fabulous faculty members who are truly what makes the college so special. I am Stockton.

Monday, October 10, 2011

In case you're wondering

what my office looks like these days, it's almost complete. Some photos. Let's look again at the before, in progress, and present:

Looking in from hallway



Looking at the copier station from my desk



My desk, view from copier station



The only thing I'm waiting on now is a bulletin board, which will go underneath the cabinets, and will bide the ugly power cords for my task lighting. I'm still settling in and trying to figure out the best use of the space. You can also see I now have a pretty, matching shelf that runs the length behind my desk (versus the green monstrosity that had been camped out there since the 80s. You can see it in the very first picture up at the top.

And that's that.

In other news...26 days til I'm Mrs. John J. Riggi. Aw, snapdragons!

Til next time. I owe you pics of the Princeton-Bucknell football game (they kicked our butts), and some pics from a friend's engagement party over the weekend. Also in the hopper: this weekend is Homecoming/40th Anniversary at Stockton. I'm going with some girlfriends to a tea house on Sunday. Pinkies, out! Final dress fitting next weekend. Then Longwood Gardens, and then the true descent into pre-wedding madness. Stay tuned. : )

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I owe you updates!

So there's been a lot of improvement going on here on the homefront. We've gotten a nice hunt board for the dining room and replaced the giant UFO dome on the ceiling fan, and have finally completed our journey to a new couch with its delivery today. It's very hard to find a sectional couch for a small apartment's living room, and I had gotten a scratch-off sale offer from Mealey's furniture, scored a sweet deal, and so off we went to see if they had anything that would work for us. Lo and behold, they did, and a week later, here we are. The only T left to cross is that we're missing one of the back pillows for the corner piece.

Firstly, here are some pics of our beautiful hunt board credenza:

The tall corner hutch is now on the opposite wall (it was ludacris how much furniture was on that one wall. You'll see an updated pic below). Not relative to the hunt board, but while we're talking about the dining room, here is our table, set for autumn:

I picked up the gourd basket at the Cranberry Festival in town this afternoon.

And before the big reveal of the living room, let's take a last look at how it has looked since we've been here (almost two years), and wave goodbye to the two couches we've had for the last 3 years, which had long lives with their previous owners as well. Get out the Kleenex, everyone...

And finally, here is the new couch in all its glory. I'm not sure how it photographs and shows up for you, but it's a very pretty blue-grey, which perfectly compliments the blues in our carpet, and also has me second-guessing putting blue on the walls...more musing on that in a later post.

And here I am, looking glam in a pic John snapped right after I plunked down for the first time:
More pics to come as the space evolves (and after we've gotten the actual missing cushion...for now we've made due with two of the throw pillows that came with the couch).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Only Natural

Well, sitting on this side of camping is very nice. On my couch, kitten snuggled next to me. Cooked a delicious meal with my full stock of supplies at my fingertips. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

We did most of our packing and prep Friday night so we were able to just get up and go as we needed in the morning. Thanks to Irene, we had two gallon jugs of water in the freezer, so we loaded those into the cooler to both help keep everything cold as well as to be a self-maintaining cold water supply (which worked beautifully, by the way! I enjoyed my yogurt with breakfast this morning). We were the first to get the camp site, so we plunked down in our camp chairs, lathered up in bug spray, and ate lunch, waiting for the rest of the crew. We weren't naive enough to attempt tent setup on our own. We lounged and read some magazines and brochures we picked up at the check-in office, and that's when the first round of trouble began for me.

The place was already swarming with mosquitoes (oh, and a daddy long legs tried to climb onto me from the table after about three seconds of sitting down). I should probably mention to those of you who don't know it I am like honey to a bear when it comes to mosquitoes...I swear they plan their family reunions around me. But I was encouraged to see them land on my arm, take a nice whiff of the citronella spray I had on, and take off without dipping onto my blood supply. After about half an hour, though, I started to feel a bit itchy on my back, and searched for a stray hair that had gotten caught on my bra strap. I asked John if he could see anything. "Oh...uhm, yeh...I see something." There were about 15 mosquito bites blossoming into being across my entire back. I had John spray me down, but the damage was done. It was all I could do not to claw my skin raw. Fortunately--or unfortunately--many bites were (are) out of my reach, so I can't get to them anyway.

By the time Ashley and Tim and Tapan arrived, I was already a bit skeptical, but their company was a welcome distraction. It became clear, though, that due to the enormous amounts of rain we've gotten, the bugs were going to be a problem.

Once our crew had gathered, we settled in for tent assembly, snacks and fire building. We had a pretty cozy setup, and I got a little more excited once we had a little home base set up. I could even almost see myself sleeping in the middle of nature.

After several applications of bug spray we were getting hungry and planning dinner. Of course, also by late afternoon several other camp sites had filled up and we seemed to be in the middle of a rather rowdy crew. Everyone seemed nice enough, just...rowdy... John and I brought some sliced bell pepper to sautee up over a nice fire as well as some veggie burgers. There was a brilliantly placed farm stand across from the camp grounds entrance that we all hit up before dinner. We picked up tomatoes that John sliced up to cook with the peppers. Donna and Rachel had a delicious tofu fajita station they were gracious enough to share--deeelish!--and Tim and Ashley made some yummy seasoned carrots and green beans. I can't remember what Tapan had as the main course, but he gave each of us a superb little pistachio cake thing. It looked like a Baby Bell, but it tasted like a smooth cheesecake. Absolute yum. Of course, we all know what I was waiting for...

SMORES. With GINORMOUS marshmallows.

Oh yeh. It was ooey, gooey, messy, and good. John whittled us some sticks to pop the mallows on. They were so big most of us just had one and called it quits. We had two chocolate offerings: milk chocolate and sea salt milk chocolate. The salt one was such a nice balance to the extreme sweetness of the mallow and the honey in the graham. Mmm. Guess which chocolate ran out first? haha

It was so refreshing when the temperature and humidity finally cooled off and even though the neighbors were flaring camp fires 8 feet in the air (someone decided it would be a great idea to shoot lighter fluid into the flames...), it was much easier to appreciate the beauty of being out in the pine barrens. The mosquitoes even took a nap and let us breathe for a few hours.

Perhaps my favorite hijink of the night was when one of the camp chairs broke and we booby trapped it so the next person who sat on it would fall through. It was every bit as satisfying as we anticipated it being.

The evening passed without too much incident. Took forever to fall asleep and it seemed just as I'd drift off some noise outside would wrench me awake. Grr. I really only got about 4 hours of sleep, but once I finally conked out, they were 4 solid, uninterrupted hours. I was grateful to see that it hadn't rained overnight, and everything was just slightly damp. It had cooled off to the 60s overnight, and it was a wonderful feeling to be able to snuggle in under the flannel sleeping bag and breathe in the crisp air. Made it seem like autumn is really coming.

By about 8:00 we were both feeling restless, so we decided to get up and start to unload the tent and repack the car a bit while we waited for the others to wake up. Oh yay. The mosquitoes were back. Also, when we got around to taking down the tent, I did encounter what I like to think was the only creepy crawly in the was a big scary spider. Ugh, it makes me recoil just thinking about it. John tried to get a fire started to make breakfast, but all the wood was too damp. Thankfully, Tim had brought a propane grill so we fired that up and got breakfast going. Yogurt, a Clif bar, a pita, and oatmeal for me, and an apple, Clif bar, and oatmeal for John. Tim cooked up the potatoes he and Ash picked up the night before and made some home fries. Tapan was still sound asleep when we left around 11. I was slightly envious. haha

By the time breakfast was done, there was nothing left of me for the bugs to bite, so we made our goodbyes and headed home. Not without first stopping at the first CVS we came by to pick up a heavy-duty itch cream to soothe my back, which is currently marred by some 30+ bites. I won't torment you with a picture of what that looks like, but I'm sure you can imagine what it feels like. Yup: like hell. I'm about to tape oven mitts to my hands.

All in all, though, my only complaint was really the bugs. I would totally camp again--in the dry season. So there you have it. Maureen VS Nature. I'll call it a draw.