Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sandwich kick - Portland, OR inspired

The other night, I was watching some Food Network show featuring Portland, Oregon. For about a decade now, I have been intrigued by the concept of Portland: hippie haven, exercise junkie land, recycling freaks, etc. During this show, they toured the inside of a small coffeehouse and showed some of the lunches they served. It started me thinking about what I typically eat for lunch.

At my old job, I ate out a lot. Expensive, high in sodium, and not so good for you (fun, though!). At the new job, who has time for lunch? I have been eating a frozen Kashi meal, soup, a Go-Lean bar - whatever I have in my desk drawer.

The Portland-themed show inspired me to break out of my rut, and I am pleased to share the following sandwich with you (I have eaten it for two days running):

- 2 slices whole grain bread
- 3-4 slices turkey (I used lunch meat, but fresh turkey would be faboo)
- whisper-thin layer of mayo
- 1/2 avocado, sliced and laid out evenly across turkey
- loads of alfalfa sprouts, in a thick layer

Seriously, I could eat it every day. I sprinkled a bit of salt on the avocado layer, to bring out the flavor, and it really punched it up. I think I'll eat it again tomorrow!

12 hours to health insurance!

For those of you who don't know, our family has been without medical insurance since Friday, April 18 - my last day at Sybase. It has been a long 12 days (especially with two small children), and knock on wood nothing has happened that would require medical intervention.

It has been strange, this non-insured time. Part of me never stopped being paranoid, and the other part lived like normal. We still visited the playground (where injuries galore await!), rode our bikes (who am I kidding - *Craig* rode his bike), and did our everyday, regular stuff. All has been well.

The lesson in all of this, I suppose, is that health insurance is kind of like an expensive bottle of wine. You don't need to drink one every day... wait, but I guess you'd want to, wouldn't you? Not a good analogy!

Let's just leave it like this - I will be thrilled to wake up tomorrow morning back among the insured. All week, I told the kids they weren't allowed to get sick. I don't plan on happily throwing open the floodgates to a myriad of daycare plagues, but such poxes do exist and are always on the hunt for little host bodies - and we have two who are typically happy to oblige.

As for now, I feel lucky that we made it through (minus 12 hours) unscathed. PHEW.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More cute cat pictures

These little beasts belong to our friend, Harlen. George is on the left, and his sister, Ducky, is on the right. When I wrote to Harlen to call the picture "revoltingly cute," he responded with the following:

"Usually it's head to butt, so this was a pleasant change."

Click to view the image in larger size.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Farewell to Parker the Cat

My good friend, Susan, emailed this morning to tell me that she and her husband had to put down one of their beloved cats, Parker. Susan and Jim have a bunch of cats, but Parker stood apart from the crowd. He was tremendously social, and always had a smile on his face, so to speak. If he had been a human, he would have been a very charismatic, friendly, and outgoing one. Following are Susan's words on her sweet kitty:

“Jim and I are still in total disbelief, but we just had to put down our wonderful cat, Parker. The doctor believes that Parker had an ascending form of cancer which began in his lower extremities. So we bid farewell to one of the most wonderful cats we have ever had. Parker was the type of kitty who would make a non-cat person turn into one. The reality of having lost him still hasn't really set in, but we are going to miss him beyond what words can describe.

Parker, you will be missed.

Gotta love Ovechkin!

I stole this banner off of The Hockey News' site ( Love it!

What a guy. What a team. What a toothless smile!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Review: First week at new job

It was a fantastic, busy, crazy, educational week! I joined my new company on Monday, and from the first moments felt like a part of the team - and as though I was having positive impact. My new boss, Maysoon, is a dream: smart, funny, interesting, seasoned in Marketing, and so on. I cannot rave enough; my coworkers agree, which is good validation for this potentially deluded soul. =>

I am SO excited about having both a positive work experience and a great boss. It has been a while since I have had either, and I am thrilled to have my skills both used and appreciated. I was very ready for this, in case you haven't gotten that point from this post.

Bring it on!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A great future for the Caps

Because I am so emotionally drained after watching the Caps' OT loss to the Flyers last night, I have latched onto a "forward thinking" mindset to try and get beyond it. The Caps played their hearts out in this series - as well as during the final five months of the season - and they deserved better. Their coach was fired on Thanksgiving Day, and the new guy brought them from the dead-last spot in the NHL all the way to winning the Southeast Division.

The team is young. They are fast. They are united. I have never seen a team like this, so cohesive and focused. Their coach, Bruce Boudreau, has been an amazing force for them, and thanked the players for the best year of his life. What a statement.

The future will be bright for this young team, and being handed their first Stanley Cup playoff loss will only make their hunger more tangible.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What a day!

I started my new job (yay!), a family friend turned 40, and believe it or not, the Caps just beat the Philadelphia Flyers (4-2) to force Game 7 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Too good to be true!!

First, the new job. I am simply tickled being there, and have been walking around with a goofy smile on my face for days. My new boss, Maysoon, is smart, funny, savvy, and extremely seasoned in the wide world of Marketing. This is more than I have had in a boss in quite some time, and I can barely explain how important this is to me. I was able to help Maysoon accomplish a few important things, and she is already feeling the impact of my having joined her team. Sigh. Happiness in the workplace in something I haven't felt in quite some time - and it is long overdue.

Our Boston friend, Erik, turned 40 today. I asked him how it felt, and he said, "weird." Hah! I am not far behind him, so I will report back on my own emotions when the big day comes to pass. I figure it like this - when I am 50, I'll be WISHING I was 40, so I will try not to sweat it! We sent him a $40 iTunes gift card to commemorate the changing of the decade.

On a hockey note, the Caps just beat the Flyers (in Philly) to return home tomorrow night for Game 7. I only WISH I could afford to attend the game, but alas, we are saving our duckets (quite a number of duckets are required to purchase said ticket, trust me). My sister, Liz, was watching the game in Phoenix and was so nervous that she muted the TV sound and played the guitar to de-stress. Hah!!

Rock the red!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Pull that raisin out of that caterpillar"

That was something I never thought I'd say, and yet I just did. Rory is finishing lunch and playing with a caterpillar, who was "helping" her eat raisins. And one got stuck, hence the comment from me. Oy!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Today was a big day!

For two reasons: it was my final day of work at Sybase 365 (formerly InphoMatch and then Mobile 365), and Rory peed in the potty chair for the FIRST TIME. And today is Alex Salazar's 14th birthday, to boot. And in 1906, the San Francisco earthquake occurred on this date. But let's focus on the two family occurrances, shall we?

Rory peed in her potty chair, and no one was more surprised about it than Rory. We routinely sit there, and I say something inane such as, "Concentrate on peeing" or "think about peeing." Very profound stuff. Then I ask her if she is thinking about it, and she always says yes, but never pees.

Until tonight. Almost as soon as I realized she was actually doing it, I saw (terror?) spread over her face. After all, it must be a totally different sensation to "pee freely," so to speak, than to pee in a diaper.

We convinced her to stay sitting until she was done, and she immediately popped up and started moving away from the potty chair. I rapidly wiped her down, and we immediately started raving. She was very pleased with herself, and has brought it up several times today. She seems very proud.

And today was my final day of work at Sybase 365. I think the other lead story is more exciting. =>

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Craig's tax day drama

From the mouth (aka, keyboard) of the husband:

I got to the Dulles General Mail Facility at 10:45 only to find that it opened at 11:30... I never realized... so I went to Wegman's and got some powdered 'rade (editor's note: Gatorade) and some essence-of-whole-wheat poptarts and sat in the Post Office lot for a while.

As I sat there the lot
slowly filled up so I went in with about 10 minutes to go to be about 7th in line. Everyone had some form of tax thing in their hands.

Some had nice neat sealed envelopes like mine while others had their
forms all over the place, still looking them over (why would you do this at the post office in the middle of the day??? weird). So the doors open and there are 5 people behind the counter, but only one is a regular at that office so she's the only one with a working terminal.

No big deal, they get that straightened out. Everyone in front of me
is sending their forms by certified mail. The guy just ahead of me asks what that will do for him, and the answer was 'someone will have to sign for it and you'll get a receipt and a notice of when they signed for it. That could cause it to be delayed or returned if no one can sign for it within X days (I forget the X).'

By this time I've
already stepped up and gotten the postage label put on it (58 cents) with today's date (which is all you need), and as I turn to leave I see everyone within earshot of me or the other guy moving to put their certified mail forms back on the shelf. Just silliness."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ali Baba's (ribbon) cave

While in Vegas recently, a friend (Patricia) and I went on a mission (for her): to visit "the ribbon lady." Patricia has been buying ribbon from Carole, the ribbon lady, for roughly a decade and had never met her in person.

Carole has, in essence, a ribbon store in a large, clean garage on her property. The store is dedicated to the wide world of ribbon - vintage, new, specialty, homemade, etc. (I confess to not knowing any more ribbon types - Patricia will mock me for this). Carole also has an eBay store, as well as a "ribbon of the month" club. Wound-up yards of ribbon arrive in a box every month, sweetly filling little cupcake papers. My description isn't doing it justice; please see here.

In truth, I never knew there were this many kinds of ribbon. If you are a crafty person, these pictures will be right up your alley. Instead of being attracted to it from an artistic, I-can-only-fathom-the-possibilities standpoint, I found it fascinating from a scientific one. Where does one find all these different types of ribbon? What quantities must one store to keep up with customer demand? How much money does it cost to buy all this ribbon to then re-sell it yourself? And so on.

Not being a ribbon fanatic, I explored the store for about ten minutes. Then I went outside, sat in the glorious Nevada sun, and played ball with Carole's bouncy black lab, Cali.

After an hour and a half, I practically needed a crowbar to remove Patricia from the store. Thank goodness we had a dinner date to get to, or we would have been there forever! =>~

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fiona is 14 months old!

And what a fun and wonderful creature she is. She can say many words, including doggie, ball, cactus (Rory taught her that word), mama, dada, kitty, book, and then some. Her stubborn streak is starting to show, and she doesn't seem too willing to put up with any bullying from anyone. If we try to take things from her, she screams at us. We are now beginning to discipline Fiona when she does that to Rory, in particular, because, well, because screaming isn't generally considered nice.

Fiona always has a smile on her face, which means her charming dimples are always in full view. She eats all adult food, typically smaller-cut versions of what Rory eats (turkey burgers, turkey meatballs, hamburgers, chicken, noodles, veggies, fruit, etc.).

Fiona wakes up every day happy, and goes to bed just as happy. We adore her!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Caps vs. Philly, Game 1

Tonight is game 1!! I am going to the game with Cousin Kate, and friends Tim and Steve (both big Sox fans, so we can always talk baseball if the Caps don't fare well!). I am SO excited, I can hardly stay focused, and having just resigned, it is hard ENOUGH to stay focused! Hah!

I hope tomorrow I can post a positive, happy review of the game. => C-A-P-S, Caps Caps Caps!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I just resigned!

I am excited to announce that I have just resigned from Sybase 365. I have been here for four years now, but the past year has been less than wonderful for me. My last day is next Friday, 4/18, and I start at my new company on Monday, 4/21.

I am very happy! =>

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Caps are playoff-bound!

I am still stunned, even though it is nearly 24 hours later. The Caps are going to the playoffs as the #3 seed in the Eastern conference (by virtue of winning the Southeast division). Stop my heart. I hope we can get playoff tickets! I don't remember the last time I saw a playoff game in person.

Get the "red out!"

My sister, Liz, has officially become a fan, to boot. I bought her an Alex Ovechkin jersey to egg her on. I hope it arrives by Wednesday, when they play their first game against the Flyers!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Let's Go Caps!

Tonight, the Washington Capitals hockey team makes its last attempt for a playoff spot. If they win or tie in regulation, they will finish the season atop the Southeast division, and will advance as the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Oh my. At the end of November, they were the worst team in the NHL - out of 30 teams, they were dead last. They hired a new coach, and in March, they made three great deals at the trade deadline.

Even the girls are decked out in red! C-A-P-S Caps, Caps, Caps!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Vegas, baby!

I am in Vegas, helping run a tradeshow for my company. A work associate sidled up to our booth this afternoon, and offered me two free tickets to the show gala - which included spots to see Spamalot, starring John O'Hurley, who played J. Peterman character on Seinfeld. WHAT a fantastic voice - and stage presence - he has! I loved every moment, and of course bought the CD immediately following the performance.

Always look on the bright side of life!

Off to bed I go...