Wednesday, August 30, 2017

everything you never wanted to know

The other day I thought maybe I'd do another day in the life post, because I'll be honest, the material around here lately has been pretty slim.  Emily needs to come back from college and Matt needs to do something funny so I have something to write about.

Yesterday I woke up around 6:15 when Matt started getting ready for work.  He typically sings in the morning, but he must have sensed my Monday morning mood because there was no musical accompaniment.  He did have an original, catchy song the other night which I have since been singing non-stop.  It goes a little something like this:

It's the holidays,
and I'm coming at you,
live from Times Square.
We're gonna party like no other.
We're in our underwear.

First of all, no we're not.

Second of all, Matt has the best rhymes.

After Matt left for work, around 6:35, I hopped in the shower.  I don't eat breakfast (I know, most important meal of the day), but after my shower I poured a giant mug of coffee.  I ran the dishwasher, packed my lunch box for the day, read a little bit, and worked on a blog post.  This weekend I moved my desk to be under the window and I'm really enjoying the new placement.

I'm probably about to become 47 times more productive.

Around 7:50, I got dressed and ready for work. I had a 9:30 meeting about 40 minutes away, but I like to be early so I left at 8:30.  Do you know how long it took me to get there, thanks to the PennDOT crews who were trimming trees and only had one lane open on the highway?  TWO. HOURS.

Luckily the person I was meeting with was very flexible, so we just met when I got there and finished up around 12:50.  After that I had to stop and get gas and then drove to another office to work for the afternoon.  I parked on the roof of the parking garage because this is the same office where I had the rat sighting.  Since then, I have been parking on the roof and taking the stairs down, instead of the elevator.  My thought process is that at least if I see a rat in the stairs, I can run away.  If one crawls into the elevator with me, I'm stuck.

The stairwell is really beautiful.

When I got inside I practically ran to the kitchen to microwave my lunch because I was starving and wishing I'd eaten breakfast.  I share an office there, and one of the lawyers was there so we chatted and I worked for the afternoon.  No exciting pictures of that except for this one, which is technically from last week.  I got a free Starbucks coupon for my birthday, so I went to the Starbucks in our local grocery store to redeem it.  After I'd ordered my coffee they told me they didn't accept the birthday coupons.  I had my heart set on the drink so I got it anyway, but holy cow, fancy Starbucks drinks are not cheap.

I left the office at 4:00, and in total contrast to the morning, there was no traffic on my way home! I was home at about 4:35 and got started on dinner.  I went with an easy one, just chicken stir fry and rice.

While dinner cooked, I emptied the dishwasher, cut up some strawberries for a snack this week, and threw in a load of laundry.  Matt got home around 5:15 and we ate at about 6.  After dinner we went out back to let the chickens out for a bit and get veggies from the garden.  There were a bunch of peppers ready but we decided to give them another day and just picked some tomatoes.

When we came back inside, I switched around the laundry, and Matt and I looked online at flooring options for the kitchen renovation project.

Around 7:00 I went for a walk, which is my very favorite part of the day.  It was a beautiful, cool night and I almost wished I'd brought a sweatshirt! In August! Sometimes I listen to podcasts and other times I listen to music.  Last night I listened to Bruce Hornsby because there's nothing like a little "On the Western Skyline" on a Monday evening.

After my walk I sat on the patio until the sun set completely, and then we hung out in the kitchen for a while.

(Sawhorses out because I am in the midst of painting woodwork.)

I grabbed the laundry from the dryer and took it up to my office and folded while I watched some of the news from Houston about the flooding.  The devastation is almost impossible to comprehend.

Matt went to bed, but I was hungry so I made a little snack and folded the second load of laundry.  Even if I don't get any chores done for the rest of the week, having two loads of wash done on Monday makes me feel productive.

I went to bed a little bit after 10:00, right after I moved Matt's slippers, which remained on the steps and made it look like he'd disappeared into thin air.

(The side of the steps will look better once the woodwork I painted on those sawhorses is installed.  The carpet color is another story.)

I wonder if the slippers will make the trip to Times Square.

Friday, August 25, 2017

i can't believe i waited 29 years to try chicken and waffles

My birthday was last Friday so I decided to take the day off and make it a three day weekend.

I was going to kick off the celebrating by doing one of my favorite thing, sleeping in.  But I woke up at the crack of 5:55 a.m., so I had plenty of time to do my second favorite thing, sit on the patio and read and sip my coffee.

Except it was hot and cloudy and with about 812% humidity.

So, I just waited around and curled my hair which was a complete waste because did I mention 812% humidity?

My weird hair and I picked my sister up and we headed out for breakfast.  I got a giant plate of chicken and waffles and washed it down with a chocolate chip shake-a-chino, because I decided to start the year off on a healthy note.  Emily also went the nutritious route, and ordered the most decadent french toast I've ever seen and a Reese's peanut butter hot chocolate.

Right after we took this photo, someone came over to Emily and told her how pretty she is. I'm sad to report that I did not receive any compliments from strangers, so after we finished breakfast we walked right over to Ulta to try to find something to make me beautiful and cover up the dark under-eye circles with which I've recently been plagued.

While we wandered around, I told Emily that I'd decided on my new life motto for the year.  Things have been stressful at work lately and I haven't been sleeping great, so I told her my motto was going to be "Don't worry about it at all, but certainly don't worry about it in the middle of the night."

I think that might be the solution to my under-eye circle problem for ZERO DOLLARS.

After Ulta, we went to Kohl's to get Emily a nice shirt to wear with dress pants and a business suit because senior year of college requires job fairs and career dinners.  While we shopped I shared career advice with her, the main piece of advice being, "Lots of people are going to be smart enough and qualified enough to do the job.  Be the person that the hiring manager LIKES and WANTS to do the job.  Sometimes being friendly and a hard worker can get you farther than credentials on your resume."

I might have borrowed that particular piece of advice from my dad, but he's a very successful guy and so far it's served me well, so I think he's on to something.

Matt and I had talked about going out for dinner, but I decided that I'd rather cook a nice dinner (hello, 29!) so I made this and we really enjoyed it.  Matt brought home a cake and presents and after dinner we went to sit out on the patio and we looked up and saw the most beautiful rainbow.

It was a good way to end the day, and start the year.

Monday, August 21, 2017

the eclipse really shed some light on some things

Well, it's almost as if the producers of the local ABC station read my last blog post, because when I checked in this afternoon I saw the headline, "Emotional Moment as Adam Joseph Experiences Total Solar Eclipse."

I clicked that link and while Adam didn't have a total breakdown, he sure enough did tear up on camera as he reported on the eclipse.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I had a meeting in an office with no windows at 2:00, but luckily it was a quick meeting and I was back outside and on the roof of the parking garage where I'd strategically parked at the peak time of 2:44 p.m.  I didn't have glasses or a fancy cereal box viewing mechanism, but someone in the office told me you could take a photo on selfie mode and then look at the photo and see the eclipse.

I did just that, but as I was taking my photos, my boss called, so obviously I had to end the photo shoot and take the call.  When I got home, I texted my brother to see if he'd gotten any good eclipse shots.

Of course he had.

Then I remembered I'd taken my own with my selfie camera, and I am about to present you with the best photo of Solar Eclipse 2017.


There are so many terrible things about this photo, not the least of which is the fact that I DID NOT EVEN GET THE WHOLE SUN IN THE FRAME.

In that moment I felt a camaraderie with Adam Joseph, in that the eclipse also made me want to cry.  And then perhaps call a cosmetic surgeon to inquire about an eye lift and some botox.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

i hope the actual eclipse is more dramatic than this article was

I am a major local news fan, and the local ABC affiliate is my station of choice.  Don't even try to talk to me about NBC 10, CBS 3, or heaven forbid, Fox 29.  It was almost a deal breaker when I found out Matt was a CBS loyalist.  Don't worry, I've since converted him.

I grew up watching 6 ABC, and I know to this day if I call my mom and say, "Did you see Rick and Monica today?" she will immediately know I'm talking about Rick Williams and Monica Malpass, the noon and 5 pm anchors.

One of my favorite on-air moments was during Hurricane Sandy, when one meteorologist, Cecily, called another one, Adam Joseph, a moron when he was struggling with his mic.  Except Cecily's mic was still on, so her remark was broadcast for all to hear.  And then to make it more awkward, the old, wise anchor tried to smooth it over by explaining that Cecily was simply offering Adam her mic and had said, "Do you want MINE ON?"

Even though all of the Philadelphia area heard her clearly say moron.


Anyway, last night I was checked the weather and saw this headline, "Adam Joseph's Eclipse Forecast Breakdown."

I don't think I've ever clicked on anything faster, because I thought it was going to be Adam Joseph having a breakdown.  Over the eclipse forecast.

No, he was just breaking down the forecast.

To-may-to, To-mah-to.

Or, moron, mine on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

emily is as honest as i am vain

I had off last Wednesday and went to my brother's to see my niece and new baby nephew.  That has nothing to do with the rest of this post but I'm only including it so I can show you a picture of the cutest baby ever.

Now that that's out of the way, my sister and I went to my uncle's one afternoon to swim in his pool.  It's just too bad it doesn't look like a five star resort.

Oh wait, it does.

Matt gave me an underwater camera for my birthday before our vacation to Punta Cana two years ago, so I thought I'd bring it along to the pool because how often can you use that feature?  Emily and I had a grand old time taking underwater videos of ourselves jumping in and swimming around pictures of the frogs that were in the pool.  

Then I decided to try to model the cute floppy sun hat Emily brought.  Naturally, I assumed I'd look like a model, but when I put it on and asked Em how I looked she said, "Well, you kind of look like The Flying Nun."  

Every girl's dream.

A few weeks ago I'd mentioned to Emily that when I see photos of myself, it looks like I have major dark circles under my eyes.  I spend more time than your average bear looking at myself in the mirror, and during the hours of research I've noticed that the dark circles aren't quite so prominent in person, but in a picture, YIKES.  Emily was very supportive and said maybe it was just unfortunate shadows, but I'm here to tell you the camera can add ten pounds and in some circumstances, under-eye circles.

Anyway, I half-seriously, half-facetiously, told Emily that we should have a photo shoot and I'd show her a new smile I'd been experimenting with.  It involved squinting my eyes a bit because I thought that made me look more friendly.

She agreed, but upon seeing the look, gently suggested that squinting my eyes did nothing to help my under-eye circle situation and that perhaps I should just put my sunglasses back on.  I told her I'd try a close-mouthed smile and Emily sighed and said, "Well, I have to be honest.   Now you just look half asleep and grumpy."  

Everyone needs an Emily.

We were telling this story to my parents at dinner on Saturday night and told them I'd show them the pictures so they could judge the friendliness factor for themselves.  I pulled up the pictures on my phone and my mom scrolled...and scrolled...and scrolled...until she finally said, "Laura, this is a few pictures of frogs and about 100 pictures of you."

Guilty. As. Charged.

Although if you look closely, you'll see one photo of Emily.

The one where she has her back to the camera.

Maybe she was worried about the camera adding some under-eye circles.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

farm girl faux pas

In the summertime, Matt and I head out to the garden every evening and collect eggs and pick our garden bounty for the day like we live on a true farm instead of smack dab in the middle of suburbia.  Usually my garden basket is filled with three eggs and five thousand pounds of tomatoes because January Laura may have overestimated how many tomatoes August Laura can actually eat.

We have a little fence around our garden, about two feet high, just to keep the bunnies out.  As I was leaving the garden on Friday evening, my shoe got caught in the fence, I couldn't stop myself because my hands were full holding the basket, and I just sloooowly tipped right over, and fell out of the garden.  

The fall was slow, and admittedly quite graceful, but I ended up on my back, on the lawn, surrounded by about 287 tomatoes.  My arm felt a little bit wet, and I realized I'd also fallen on two of the three eggs.  And crushed them.

I wish I could explain to you Matt's face when he came around from behind the shed and saw me sprawled out, on the lawn, surrounded by tomatoes and covered in raw egg.  Nothing was injured except for my ego, and that bruise healed enough for me to pick my sister up bright and early Saturday morning for some thrift shopping.  Our first stop was Dunkin' Donuts, obviously.

We did a little thrifting and bought some books, and then decided to take a walk in the gardens around a cathedral and some estates.  I like to walk here but Emily had never been (what?!) and she loved it.

First, we decided to see if we could pose like fashion bloggers and SPOILER ALERT, WE CANNOT.  Also, I don't think we look alike at all, but apparently we both look to the sky when we laugh.

We spent the rest of the time wandering around and talking about our new baby nephew and Father of the Bride Part 2 and how Emily wants a horse and carriage at her wedding someday. 

I also experience some major garden envy.  Plus there were no fences here, so nothing for me to fall out of.


Monday, August 7, 2017

what i read, august edition

It's time for another monthly book post already, with Steph and Jana.  Normally I have a self-imposed rule to read one book and one book only at a given time. This month, before I knew what happened, I found myself in the middle of six books.  SIX.  I managed to finish two of them, and have high hopes for the other four.

First up, He Changed Everything. 

 This is a book written by a friend of my mother-in-law.  She writes about her daughter's journey with infertility, and then adoption through foster care.  I work in the foster care/adoption/child welfare field and this hit home and I actually had to take my contact lenses while reading it because, tears. 

The other book I finished was Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng.  

I found this for a dollar at the thrift store and I recognized the title, so I picked it up.  I finished it this weekend, and I had mixed feelings about it.  Through the first half of the book I was completely intrigued.  The plot sucked me in and the characters were mysterious and interesting.  The second half just made me sad.  Did you read this?  What did you think?

The books I'm in the middle of are:

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

The Orphan's Tale by Pem Jenoff
The Ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes
A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand

Have you read anything great this month?

Friday, August 4, 2017

it's a good thing it's friday

At work a few days ago I was part of a training for new employees on the legal aspect of the job.  I am a paralegal, but my three co-presenters were attorneys.  At one of the breaks, we were talking about a certain type of case, and one of the attorneys said, "You know, there is a case that's being litigated right now about this very issue out in the western part of the state.  It's a case from 1983."  

The other attorneys nodded along while I thought to myself, "Geez, 1983.  I didn't realize this particular issue has been in litigation since for over three decades."

The topic came up again over lunch, and finally I turned to the attorney next to me, Eric, and whispered, "I had no idea this has been going on that long."

Eric looked at me with a somewhat puzzled expression, which is not unusual.  So I continued talking, which is also not unusual.

I told him, "Seriously, 1983?  I mean, I wasn't even BORN in 1983!" 

After he stopped laughing, Eric said "Laura, 1983 isn't the year.  It is the section of the United States Code regarding equal rights."

Oh, wow.

That's so incredibly embarrassing.  I must have missed that class in paralegal school.  I just hoped none of the new staff members overheard the conversation because they would never trust my legal expertise ever again.

This morning when I got into the office, I sat down to log onto my computer, and an error message popped up that said, "The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed." 

I told the IT person, who said she had to escalate the issue to the general help desk.  She sent an email, copied everyone and their brother, marked it high importance, and used the subject line "LAURA C.'s COMPUTER HAS LOST TRUST."

Not even my computer trusts me anymore.

Can't even blame it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

the weekend we designed a kitchen, solved a crime, and had a nephew

Matt had a work event on Friday night so I went to my parents' house for homemade pizza and to watch Father of the Bride.  My sister had never seen it, and I have no idea how she lived twenty one years on this earth and in this family without ever seeing it, but we changed that Friday night.

We ate our pizza while we watched Father of the Bride and as suspected, Emily loved it.  I can't remember the last time I've seen her laugh as hard as she did when Franck made his appearance on the screen.

On Saturday Matt and I met with Victor at Lowe's again to get the designs for our new kitchen cabinets.  We went back last night to make a few changes to Saturday's designs, and I almost passed out when the total came up on the screen and the receipt printed out and was almost as tall as I am.

Saturday's meeting last for three hours, and we were so hungry when we left that we stopped at Sonic on the way home.  When you're spending many, many, many dollars to remodel your kitchen, why not get fast food lunch instead of actually cooking in it?

When we got home we wandered out back to the garden.  I felt something on my arm and turned around and realized a bird had pooped on me.


I haven't actually run in weeks months years, but I moved with speed I didn't know I possessed to get back to the house, where I vowed to remain forever and never go outside again.

But as it turns out, it was a gorgeous night, so I broke my promise to myself and Matt and I laid on the hammock and looked at the stars which sounds cheesy but it was so relaxing.  I pointed out the Big Dipper 528 times until Matt finally downloaded a star app to prove me wrong. 

Whatever.  It's out there somewhere.

It was cool enough to sleep with the windows wide open, and I went to bed feeling so relaxed until Matt shook me awake in the middle of the night and said, in a serious voice, "Laura, there's been an accident."

I followed him to the window and we saw our our neighbor's Honda Civic, which had been parked facing down the hill on the far side of our driveway, was facing up the hill and on our front lawn.

A few houses up, facing the other way, was a Maserati with two flat tires, a smoking hood, and two occupants who had fled the scene.

Our other neighbors Paul and Eileen came outside and there we all were, standing in our pajamas at 2:15 in the morning.  I told them that despite the open windows, I didn't even hear the crash, and Eileen said, "You didn't hear it?  It sounded like an atomic bomb!  And the house even shook!"

Add "very heavy sleeper" to my resume.

We live in a nice little neighborhood, but not Maserati nice.  More like Ford/Toyota/Honda nice.  Paul said, "Who around here has a Maserati?  And why did they run?  Maybe it's stolen!"

I'll tell you who around here has a Maserati, crashes it at 2 a.m., and runs away.  

A salesman of the very illegal sort.

While we watched the officers arrive, Matt said, "While they wait for the K9 unit to get here, I think the cops should follow the perp's footprints in the dew."

Someone is putting his Citizen's Police Academy education to practical use.

I went back inside after a few minutes, but Matt and some of the other neighbors stayed outside until 3:30, watching the cops process the scene and getting updates on the chase (they did find the bad guys).  

We were tired the next morning, but when I saw the text from my brother that the baby was coming, I woke right up.  

By the way, his name is John, and they're going to call him Jack.

And he is the cutest baby boy I've ever seen.