Monday, February 28, 2011

New York minutes

It's day 3 in New York, but I've already done a bunch of stuff: shopping at H&M, checking out new jewelry and buying gemstones at the JANY Show, and a surprise walking tour of the city.

Saturday, I had grand plans for dinner but got really hungry and decided to just wander down the street to an Irish pub. I say "an" Irish pub because there are three on the block.

I had just sat down at the bar when a group of guys arrived. I scooted down a few seats so they could all sit together.

On the other side was Joe, a Boston native whose first words were "Vinegar" — an observation on my stinky fish and chips.

We sat and talked, and the group of guys next to me bought us drinks. People in New York are so nice!

When we were talking about motivation, Joe asked, "Are you E or are you Turtle?" (I am a huge Entourage fan.)

"Why can't I be Vince?" I said.

"We can't all be Vince."

Which is okay, I suppose, since he can't drive or make decisions on his own.

On Sunday Joe and I met up for dinner at Brendan's, another Irish pub in the one-block radius. After burgers, beers, and a brownie sundae in the toasty warm bar, we went for a walk. I learned about Herald Square, the Chrysler building, and the J.P. Morgan library. We also passed Slattery's — I was tempted to stop in to set a record for the most Irish pubs in one trip, but then thought better of it.

New York is always a fantastic time, but the free drinks and the walking tour will be some of my fondest memories. So, to Joe and the guys who bought us drinks, thanks for sharing this great city with me. Cheers!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ping pong party

With the promise of ping pong, pool, and pizza, Jim invited us for an after-work get-together.

The evening did not disappoint.

Jim, Keith, Andy, Drew, Craig, and Scott (“Laser”) played a lot of ping pong, mostly doubles. As did I.

Craig did not even get mad when I hit him in the sternum. When we were partners, he also did not get mad when I poached shots that were his. (Hey, it's a small table. Honest mistake, right?)

Drew also acted as line judge, and Lulu, who’s 5, was the ball girl. She was terrific at this and also at mingling, holding forth on such topics as pizza and Justin Bieber.

After a few hours, I was exhausted. No one ever plays just one or two games of ping pong. That's a lot of alertness.

Next up: converting the table to play pool. That was my cue to leave (bad pun intended).

Thanks for the hospitality, Jim!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just another Valentine's Day

The heated BNL argument. Annie and Britta’s moment at the dance. Jeff carrying Chang into the apartment.

The Valentine’s Day episode of Community made me want to be an adult college student with misfit friends.

But I already have a great group of non-misfit friends.

My work day started with cookies, cupcakes, and chocolates that Cathy and Kelsey brought. Sweets make deadlines easier to bear. I think the biggest challenge of the day was whether "BeadStylers" should be a word, and if so, is part or all of it italicized?

At our end-of-day chat, Kelsey and I talked about our quiet friends and our attention-hog friends — not that we have many of either, thank you very much.

Off to the gym, where I ran into Carol, Dianne, Mary, and Tara. It was nice to know there were other people struggling to do bicep curls while doing a squat on one leg. (And that was only halfway through the class.)

In the locker room, I talked to Amy about her new job. And Linda, too, who is so considerate that she asked if I was done with the hair dryer — “The Big Mamou” — before she used it.

Then Patrice and I talked tennis for a bit, or maybe longer than a bit.

Finally I was off to Boulder Junction with Carol, Lisa, and Jeff for an anti-Valentine’s Day dinner. Over potato skins, chips and salsa, enchiladas, and chicken nachos, we talked about how hard it is to lose weight.

It was nice to realize how much of my day, just my average Monday, was filled with friends.

I hope your typical day includes treats at work and dinner with friends. And if you are extra lucky, maybe you also know someone who gives you dibs on the good hair dryer.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh no, Papa. How'd you do that?

I found the cover of Papa’s treat jar under the couch. How did she get it off the jar and into the living room without dropping it?

One for the puppycam, if only I had one.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Super Bowl: Football trifecta

We tried to maintain our traditions through Chris' Packer parties. It worked!

I brought spinach dip and lemon cupcakes to the first party, and spinach dip and lemon cookies to tonight’s.

I wore the same outfit for the first two games (even though I had to watch the Bears game at O’ Hare).

But on Friday, Kelsey and I ran errands (or “Aarons,” as she called them) and I found an “I Heart Packers” shirt at Goodwill. She let me borrow the adorable green-and-gold necklace she made, which also looks cute looped around as a bracelet.

We were all a little amped up for the game.

Rituals are supposed to be calming, but after the third quarter, I was so nervous that I had tea and chocolate cake in the kitchen while I washed some dishes. Alone.

Nailbiting aside, everything in the universe came together.

It was cheering and hugs all around as we shared the thrill of victory. We love our big champs in our small town!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow day, part doh!

I didn't go into work today. But it wasn't a fun, relaxing snow day.

I'm feeling the impact — specifically, in my left knee and lower back — of our historic snowfall. I’ve been slowly chipping my way out.

Shoveling during a blizzard is exhilarating. Shoveling after the snow has settled is not so much fun. Because the challenge is not only to scoop it up but to find a place to toss it. This requires feats of strength, and I’ve been lax about attending body sculpt. Fitness from lunges and squats would’ve really come in handy now.

Thankfully I have the best neighbors ever. Four fearless snowblowers have helped me with the sidewalk, front walkway, and garage. And also with carving out a path for the garbage cans.

So I spent my snow day shoveling and baking cookies for my neighbors. I hope you have nice neighbors, too!