Thursday, February 28, 2013

Audio Books

Let's start this with my husband surprised me with a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas. I was literally not expecting this present as I still love and regularly use my original Kindle, but was thrilled nonetheless when I received it.

With my new Kindle I keep getting reminder emails that I'm entitled to one free audio book from Audible. Here's my problem with essentially the way my brain operates.

In all my craziness last fall, I had attended this amazing Dynamics of Sales class in Buffalo with one of our insurance companies. The gentleman I sat next to for the duration of class mentions how he really likes audio books and it's his preferred 'reading' method. I was all I don't know because I love reading and the physical HOLDING of a book aka building my own personal library (nerd alert). Reading in the digital format of the Kindle is even a stretch for me.

When really, thanks to these emails and the suggestions of my friend, here's the way my lovely brain operates on how listening to books would go:

Said individual (moi) would be listening to the audio book in car, get pulled over or into a minor accident (just my luck), can't get audio book to shut off at very awkward/inappropriate scene (think 50 Shades, not that I have them on my Kindle so I can look studious but really I'm not), just for officer/ambulance squad/stranger to judge me on my book. Exactly like when you're watching movie/TV alone and when the single sex scene in the ENTIRE show comes on your parents happen to walk in. Awkward, yet hilarious situation would ensue because that is exactly what would happen to me. "License, registration and ma'am please shut off your mommy porn".

Which is kind of how I feel about certain songs on my iPod. Not the fun guilty pleasure ones (aka Spice Girls) but you know, the weird ones that you're like oh gosh I hope my headphones aren't too loud because if anyone knew I was listening to this I'd never hear the end of it. I'm worried that if I'm listening to them and suddenly  have a medical emergency and in the midst of the craziness of strangers trying to help me (because I would be so lucky that people are that kind) the headphones get disconnected and blaring through comes "Sk8r  Boi" from Avril Lavinge. Or the innocent bystanders go to pause my iPod for me and see I'm listening to "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion. And then all these people judge me for my SONG CHOICES.

I think I'll stick with my reading to myself thank you and skipping my weird guilty pleasure songs while in public to avoid all this mess that my imagination conjures up. My brain is such an awesome place to be.

On a side note, puppy classes start tonight. I'm hoping they address how to curb alcoholism in puppies because Homer is obsessed with trying to drink our adult beverages.

I will hunt this beer. 

Looks healthy to me!

Smells delicious!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Compliment Please

I had this conversation months ago with one of my girl friends. She wanted to send an email to her neighbor just letting her know that she thinks her kids are just fantastic and she's doing a great job raising them, but was concerned that it would come off as being weird. My friend mentioned that her neighbor seemed overwhelmed with life and wanted to give her a proverbial pat on the back.

I fired back that I didn't think it was weird at all. Sometimes it's nice to hear that we're doing a-okay out of the blue with no pretext or searching for the compliment. She ended up sending the email, the neighbor was touched, and they set up a coffee date. As humans (or a society?) we're so quick to point out others faults, flaws, and shortcomings. It seems anymore that we're surprised to be complimented on something we've done right because we've become so used to people constantly telling us what we are doing wrong.

I had a client send me a thank you email for all my help for a claim in his mother's home. He couldn't say enough about my patience, hard work, and ability to answer or find the answers to his questions. I was really taken aback when he sent it as I was only doing my job. The client said I just had a smile in my voice and he was so grateful for my guidance through the claims process (note: he did as if I was a Bruno from Hammonton, but when I said no, he replied well your husband is a lucky man, make sure you tell him. See Hammonton comment post here). I mean, I honestly was just doing my job, but it was nice to have someone say thank you instead of yelling at me for things that are beyond my control.

Nick and I are learning the hard way about a few things with home ownership. Our next door neighbor came over our house unannounced at 9 pm just days before Hurricane Sandy hit. He knew we had just moved in and wanted to give us tips of what the previous owners did to keep water away from their house so we could prepare. I was literally in shock that he was nice enough to take time out of his evening away from his wife and new born to look out for us.

We had our sprinkler pipes explode from pressure (apparently you have to winterize them, PLEASE TAKE NOTE FUTURE HOMEOWNERS). Our neighbor across the street saw the geyser on our lawn as he came home from working the night shift , figured we hadn't installed a water fountain, and called the city to have them shut off our water. He was gracious enough to watch for my husband to come home later in the afternoon to explain to him what he did.

I hand wrote thank yous to both of these neighbors for their kindness. I got them gift cards to a local liquor store and personally went over to thank them for their help. They didn't have to look out for us, but they did. And I wanted them to know that their acts of kindness were appreciated. 

At our last YIP meeting in December, my friend Kristen and I were sitting next to each other counting down to when they would bring out the warm cookies in our afternoon meeting that we so look forward to (don't judge us). Paul, our server from the venue's catering, made sure to personally bring us cookies at our afternoon meeting when he got wind of what we wanted. Literally he walks in during the middle of the meeting with the warm cookies, comes right up to us and lets us pick some out.

I made sure to stop in the catering office because as Kristen and I were discussing, you never hear the positives when you do something right. We wanted his bosses to know just how caring, considerate, and attentive he is as a server. They thanked me for letting them know and said he is one of their best workers.

I'm the first one to admit that I'd rather complain about something then point out the good. Prime example, a couple Saturdays ago I had a problem with my iPhone. I ranted about it on Twitter and how I had to go to the Verizon store. Immediately Verizon responded with one of their Twitter bots asking how they could help. It's amazing to see what response a complaint can get on the internet these days. I made sure to tell them thanks for the offer but unfortunately it's not Verizon's problem to solve (thank you Apple monopoly) though it was nice of them to reach out to me.

Sure it's easier to complain, and compliments anymore seem to be a thing of the past. But when I can I try to make sure that people know it's noticed when they're doing a good job, because gosh darn-it sometimes it's just nice to know you are appreciated. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I feel pretty...

I stopped  by a local store to get some food for dinner last week and ran into a gentlemen who I used to see quite regularly at the gym. He mentioned he hadn't seen me there lately and I explained how we bought a house out of town so I no longer go to the local Hammonton Gym. He asked where I go now and I replied my basement. Nick and I were fortunate enough to be able to purchase a treadmill for our new home. Plus we already have bikes we got about 3 years ago. I myself bought both a kettlebell and free weight set in order to workout right in the comfort of our home. Other then my running shoes, I don't need much to get in a good workout. Plus it saves money on the gym membership now that we have a mortgage. And a puppy.

Needless to say I've been using our at home mini gym quite regularly. I really can't complain now that I can just roll out of bed, strap on my running shoes and walk the 2 flights of stairs down to the basement to start my routine. There's no more scraping ice off my car at 5:30 am to make it to spin for 6. I get to stay in the warm confines of my home, save some dollars, and get a great sweaty workout in after dealing with my mommy puppy duties.

I used to however be an avid gym person. I'd been going to the same hometown gym for the past 8 years with some regularity. I used to be with there with the other crazies to squeeze a workout in at 6 am before heading to work. My only break from the morning routine was to attend kettle bell class in the evening or in the summer when I tend to run/ride my bike outside in the warm summer sun. Who doesn't love a little fresh air? (Uh me at 4:30 am this morning when Homer has to go outside. It's really cold and frosty at that time of the morning, but I digress).

Now granted, I haven't seen the inside of a gym in months, but before I left I noticed that gym etiquette has just gone out the window. Or maybe I was just noticing it because it's hard to ignore when it's happening right in front of you. Either way, I'm making some sweeping generalizations about my gym pet peeves.

First things first, while I consider myself to be a fashionable and well dressed woman, the gym is not a fashion show for me. I'm not there to make an impression; I'm there to make a change to my body. I throw on my t-shirt and ratty shorts or my sports tank top and stretch capris (praying they don't have any holes), and I get on my cardio machine to sweat my ass off (hopefully literally). When I work out, I'm disgusting. And that's okay, because to me (and as stated so aptly on a pin I saw on Pinterest), if you still look pretty at the end of your workout you didn't work hard enough.

I'm gross. My hair is a hot frizzy mess and my cheeks are a ridiculous blotchy red. But I'm not at the gym to pick up men, besides the obvious fact that I'm already married. So I just can't understand the women who come to the gym at 6 am with the full face of make up and 'sexy' workout clothes. I mean, I'm all for a cute and put together workout outfit but really? I'm lucky if I can find a matching bra and underwear set. Are you that desperate for attention? Apparently.

And then there's the perfume/cologne situation. When I went to the gym in the early morning hours I was lucky if my still half asleep self remembered to put on deodorant  There are men and women at this time of day who have bathed in their perfume/cologne. Honestly! I'm trying to control my breathing not be choked out by your overpowering scent.

Then there's the chatterers. You know, the ones that talk obnoxiously loud to each other in the cardio room or lift one set of weights and put them down to chat for 15 minutes but when you try to use them it's like 'hey wait I'm not done yet!". Oh I'm sorry, I must have missed the memo. I go to the gym to work out not have my social hour. I plug in my head phones to my angry music playlist and block everyone else out. I'm all for normal pleasantries with the people you see every day as long as you keep going through your routine. It's so annoying when people just leave the machines to 'chat' and get all bent out of shape (zing!) when you go to use it.

My favorite thing though was seeing people either talking on their phones on the treadmill or using social media apps. I'm sorry the only 'app' I have open is my iTunes so I can listen to my playlist so I don't die. What is the point of even going to the gym if you're not exerting yourself? If I'm checking Facebook I'd rather be doing it in my big comfy bed not on an elliptical. I realize that not everyone has the discipline or drive that I do, but I suppose I just don't see the point of wasting money away on a gym membership if you're not going to take advantage of all that it has to offer.

So besides saving money I seem to be saving my sanity. I'm most looking forward to the spring so I can start running around all the neighborhoods by our house. And hopefully leash training Homer so I can take him on walks and possibly runs. Okay let's be real, he'll be dragging my ass around the neighborhood.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy One Year!

It's been exactly one year today that I made it my resolution to start blogging in 2012. And what a year it's been!

Thank you to all my followers who come back over and over again to read all my rants and life musings.

The biggest thank you to my family and friends who keep reading and will always ask me 'why haven't you blogged recently?' when I start slacking. You're all incredible and such an inspiration.

Needless to say 2013 is off to a fantastic start and I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Puppy Parenting

Okay parents, you win. Nick and I had jokingly said we would get a puppy to prepare us for the responsibility of (future) children, and this is turning out to be more realistic then a joke.

Now, I realize that puppies and babies are vastly different. I didn't carry Homer in my womb and have to go through the birthing process. Feeding him comes in the form of dog food three times a day and constant water. He sleeps through the night with little interruption. I can put him in a crate and leave him for while I'm at work and I'm not arrested. I'm pretty sure they frown upon putting babies in a crate.

I honestly don't know how you parents do it because I'm almost a week in and pretty sure the lack of sleep is making me delusional. Just this morning I thought Homer had moved up onto a pillow near my face but then could feel him lying next to my legs and was confused as to why/how there were two dogs on the bed. That was until I realized the one near my face was actually just the bunched up blanket. Yeah, you parents are all rock stars for raising kids.

These are the sad puppy eyes that melt my heart
That being said holy cow I forgot how much work a puppy is. Don't get me wrong, I love my little furry child, but man has our schedule/life changed in just this short time. We're keeping track of poop and pee and feeding times. We're scheduling vet appointments. I've been up at 5 am the past 6 days and not to work out. Homer wants to go outside and play in the snow at 11 pm when mommy just wants to go to bed. We've had only two accidents in the time we've gotten him, and one was on newspaper!

Homer wants constant attention. Which is awesome and I love to oblige because my puppy isn't going to be this small forever (now I see what my mom meant when she wished we had stayed 'that little' as babies. And by small I mean 19 lbs at 11 weeks and according to the vet going to be a big boy). But then I feel guilty when I'm trying to get ready for work and he's whining on the floor next to me.

I have to laugh because I'm now eating my eggs cold. My toast is burnt. I'm happy to just have 10 minutes to myself to just go to the bathroom or take a shower. Lunch is in the form of inhalation so I can chase the the pup around outside to get him out of his crate. For those of you who know this avid tea drinker, today marks the day I may have found a coffee/creamer combo I like thanks to the women I work with as I adjust to this new schedule. That of course could just be the delusion talking again.

But we absolutely love this little guy and wouldn't trade him in for the world. He's a great fit in our home, lives, and we're getting just a sampling of what it's like to be parents.

Monday, February 4, 2013


I would tell you that all my posts won't be about my new puppy but that's a lie and you know it. For now though, a break.

I'm going to get real honest here. In January I along with every other person in America vowed to change my wicked ways and make my New Years Resolution be to get healthy. Not just lose weight, not just be 'skinny', but an overall lifestyle change to of smart, healthy, choices.

Now for those of you who know me, before you criticize me and are like 'but you look great' please realize something. I'm a 5'10" woman, which is taller then most women (and some men, sorry guys). So when I gain weight, I tend to gain it all over and it doesn't really look like I need to lose anything. But trust me, I can tell by the way my clothes are fitting and what the scale is groaning when I step on it.

A couple things really put my butt into gear. I stepped on the scale and couldn't believe the number staring back at me. I had surpassed even my heaviest weight that I was in college. It couldn't be true, I thought, but my tight pants were backing up the scale's number (son of a bitch, those two are always collaborating).

I'm going to let you in on a little secret  most of us girls. We like to buy what we call 'fat pants' for when we've eaten too much around the holidays or trying to lose weight, and we wear them as we're going through the weight loss process. Well it's pretty bad when your fat pants are now tight and uncomfortable on you.

The second thing that set me off on this journey was I went to donate blood after work as I do every so often. One of the screening processes is to get your blood pressure checked. The nurse that took mine looked at me and said, "Your blood pressure is high which is odd for someone your age, is that a normal reading for you?"

I balked. I have NEVER had a high pressure reading in my whole life. In fact all of my doctors have always told me I have great blood pressure and it's always on the low side. Now granted, the donation site was only two minutes down the road from work and I went there right after a particularly stressful day. But still, it was a slap in the face to me.

I was and am still on a mission. I downloaded the 'Lose It' app and to log my diet and exercise. I scoured Pinterest for healthy recipes and different treadmill/at home workouts for the mini gym we have downstairs. My crock pot became my new best friend and the Skinny Taste website is always  open on my desktop before I grocery shop.  I set goals for myself in 10 pound increments. I didn't want to get overwhelmed as I realize that weight loss is a process that takes time and won't happen overnight.

And I'm happy to report that in the month of January I've lost my first 10 pounds. I'm thrilled. I stared at the scale like this couldn't be right. It's a start to where I want to be and I'm taking it one pound at a time. Did I cheat? Absolutely. But I made myself accountable for it. That seems to be all the difference. An extra glass of wine? Logged it on the app. Had a donut at work for someone's birthday? Logged that as well.

Now with a puppy there's been a wrench in my schedule. I still need to rearrange my morning routine for how to care for the puppy and fit in my workout as I'm pushing on almost a week of no workouts. But like everything else as long as I'm dedicated to what I want to do, I'm sure I'll be to my second goal in no time.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The First Night

Homer is officially home and ours! And what a first night it was.
Our first family  photo!

First of all, a big THANK YOU to Puppies and More Rescue of Marlton and Jennifer the foster mom. They are a tremendous organization that accomplishes such great things for these animals. I'm so glad I stumbled across your rescue on Petfinder and we were able to give Homer a forever home!

I said to Jenn on Wednesday night when we picked up Homer that I truly don't know how she's able to be a foster mom. She loves these puppies for a short time while finding them the right homes and then they're off to a new family. She has a gift that is so rare and I applaud her for giving of her time and self so freely. Even though we only met twice and talked on the phone a handful of times, I could tell we had come to the right place to get our dog.

Cuddles with Natalie
Homer was playful in Jenn's home as we signed the paperwork, but he tensed in my arms immediately when we walked out the front door toward my car. Nick drove home while I sat in the backseat with Homer in a box filled with towels and some toys. He didn't make a peep on the way home, but had a runny nose and lots of drool, which seems to be one of his nervous ticks.

Snuggles with Nick
Once we got home Homer was absolutely terrified when I tried to put him on our back step outside. I carried him back in the house and he just stood there shaking. So Nick and I sat on the floor and he immediately wanted to snuggle with us. After warming up with both of us we tried outside again, but it was already getting super windy ahead of the storm so Homer mostly just putzed around and chased shadows in the breeze.

5 am photo - how adorable
We brought him back inside and since the three of us were exhausted it was bed time. The crate was upstairs and assembled, but still had be partitioned for his size. Homer had settled on the floor near bureau, and I sat   working to get the partition into the crate. Hearing the clatter I was making he starts to whine then comes over and crawls onto my lap. Oh yes please let me rip my heart out and just feed it to you on a pu pu platter. No crate for him that first night (don't judge me).

Keeping my feet warm
Onto the bed he goes. Homer slept all night and alternating snuggling between me and Nick. He had no accidents and barely woke other then to adjust his position. It wasn't the puppy that kept me up all night but the storm. Holy cow I was just waiting for our roof to blow off or something to come crashing through it.

Thursday morning he was a little cuddle buddy with Nick.He kept whining and wanting to he held as I was trying to go through my morning routine. He sat by my feet while I ate breakfast, and then sat ON my feet while I stood to do dishes.

Homer ate just fine when I put his food down.
I attempted to make the bed but he just slept on the blankets. Once I got him off the blankets and made the bed, he decided to cuddle with the pillows. I just left him there while I took a shower.

Leaving him in the crate that first morning when I left for work was torture. As we're crate training him I'm going home on my lunch break to feed and let him outside. Really all I want to do is snuggle and cuddle him, but that surely isn't going to pay my bills. So here we are just a couple days in and he's already won our hearts over.