Archive for October, 2009

Just not feeling it

I just can’t seem to get into the Halloween spirit this year. Usually we’re the couple that decorates the house, has our costumes planned weeks in advance, and participates in all the fun fall festivities leading up to the big day – haunted houses, pumpkin and apple picking, pumpkin carving, etc. But this year we’ve done nothing. I put out a few decorations but not the really cool ones. I don’t even feel like dressing up even though the neighborhood theme (cowboys & indians) was picked out last year. I just don’t want to buy a costume or put in the effort.

Instead I’ve had to refrain from making out the Christmas cards, debating Christmas stamps, and playing non-stop Christmas music. I caved and bought some sugar and spice lip gloss, but that’s it!

I did however manage to watch Charlie Brown’s The Great Pumpkin, and scare the crap out of myself watching Amityville Horror (oh Ryan Reynolds, you are pretty with your shirt off). And maybe I’ll watch Hocus Pocus tomorrow, but I know I’ll be one of those people who runs out to the store to buy candy a few mere hours before trick-or-treaters arrive. And unless I want to be the party pooper of my group of neighbor friends, I’ll need to find a suitable costume that hopefully doesn’t cost more than $15. My husband might go as Wolverine. He’s been growing the beard for about a week, so all he needs is a flannel shirt and white tank, and some claws. I haven’t seen any claws at the Halloween stores so I hope he doesn’t expect me to make them. Maybe I’ll just get a pig snout and a set of wings and go as the “swine flew”. I’m sure no one will think of THAT this year. (insert sarcasm here)

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Almost everyone I know is having a really shitty time with life right now. Whether it’s stress, relationships, friendships, or maybe they’re just sick, litterally everyone I know has something worth complaining about in their lives at the moment.

Which is why, this morning when I was stressing out about work stuff and wondering if maybe I’m just a pansy because EVERYONE has issues right now, I kind of lost it and cried. In my office. At 9am. For some, this might be a weekly or monthly occurrance. But in the almost six years that I’ve worked for my company, I have never – I repeat, never – cried at work over work-related reasons. But today I did. And then I just got more frustrated, except this time with myself because I should be stronger than this, but that only made me cry a little more. To describe it, it wasn’t a full on sob, but more of a defeated, kicked in the gut too many times to care anymore, kind of cry. To get into it really wouldn’t make much sense to anyone that doesn’t work with me, so I won’t.

Usually I have a firmer grasp on the reality of things. I mean, in the grand scheme of life, my little work issues are laughable. I probably won’t even remember them in five years. So why does it feel like the entire world is crashing down around me?

I talked things over with a manager that I just adore and she really helped me sort through my thoughts and frustrations. Though nothing has changed yet, I felt better. Then that afternoon, it’s like my husband sensed that I needed some cheering up, so I was surprised to receive a delivery of 50 mini-roses. I hadn’t said much to him about work other than I was really stressed, so that surprised me. He’s a pretty awesome husband.

So here’s what I learned today:

  • It’s okay to cry.
  • It’s also okay to ask for help. You may have to swallow your pride to do either of these, but sometimes the alternative is much worse.
  • Talking helps. As long as it’s someone you respect and trust.
  • Husbands aren’t always as dense as they like to let on. They can be incredibly thoughtful and romantic if they really want to. And sometimes, when you think they’re not listening and they don’t really care, they just might surprise you.
  • And lastly, the world isn’t ending just because you have a bad day. But if it is, or you just feel like it is, you can sit beside me when the world comes down.

Post inspired by this song:

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At this moment…

Stole this monthly meme from my good buddy Nora because today is one of those days when I WANT to write so much, but my mind is going in a thousand different directions, so this just seems easier. Sorry, but I’m lazy. A lazy blogger. We’re the worst.

Current Book(s):
Work in Progress: an Albert Einstein biography
Finished: The Birth of Venus

Current Music:
An assortment of Christmas music. I know it’s early, but I’ve been working on holiday-themed projects at work and so it helped to inspire me. And now I’m slightly addicted.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure:
Season 1 of True Blood

Current Colors:
bright oranges and browns. What can I say? It’s fall and less than a week until Halloween.

Current Obsessions:
Organizing (vacation photos, home files)
Planning our next vacation
Soups – all I seem to want to eat lately is soup.

Current Drink:
Water and Crystal Light

Current Songs:
Sweetest Thing – U2

Current Movie:
Just watched Year One

Current TV Show:
Biggest Loser Season 8

Current Wish-List:
A cleaning lady

Current Needs:
More energy, motivation and hours in the day to hit the gym

Current Triumph(s):
Losing 4 lbs.

Current Bane(s) of my Existence:
My Google Reader, too much work at work, re-doing the tile floor in the guest bathroom, and upcoming daylight savings time. I absolutely hate that it will soon be dark at 5:30 at night.

Current Goal(s):
Lose 10 more pounds by December

Put the new tile floor in before Thanksgiving

Finish printing all of our vacation photos from these last few years and put them in albums

Organize the home office

Finish this damn Einstein biography so I can read something more fun

Current Indulgence:

cheesy tortilla soup (I can make a semi-healthy version that is soooo good)

Current Blessing:
Friends – I’ve been able to spend at least one night every week hanging out with a friend. I love that.    

Current Slang or Saying:
You know how some people will call and ask  “how are you?” Well I always start by asking, “what are you doing?”

Current (Fav) Outfit:
Jeans and a sweatshirt. Or PJ pants and a sweatshirt.

Current Excitement:
Halloween! Even though I have NO idea what I’m going to be yet.

Current Mood:
Sleepy. It’s bedtime.

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Seething With Jealousy?

I went to the dentist for my regular six month cleaning and it just so happens that my dentist is also the dad of a girl I used to work with about five years ago. So even though I haven’t spoken to her in almost five years, I get an update on her life from her dad every six months. I’ve heard about her big move to Chicago, her engagement, her wedding, her vacations, etc. She’s a nice girl, and though we were peers, I didn’t know her very well. We only worked together for about four or five months anyway. So I never thought much about the conversations with her dad and updates until today.

As it turns out, his daughter and her new husband quit their jobs to go on the adventure of a lifetime – one year of nothing but traveling and seeing the world. They’ll start in Argentina,  then go to Brazil, then New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia and so on. Are they wealthy? Not really, so they’ll be living in hostels, making their own food, and carrying little more than what can fit in a backpack. FOR A YEAR.

I spent the entire drive to work in my car in absolute silence. Of course I was jealous. But I was deep in thought trying to figure out how to make a dream like this come true. I had so many questions. How does one (or in this case, two people) plan and budget for such a trip? How do you know how much money you’ll need to buy plane tickets to get you from point A to B? And how much are the hostels? How far in advance do you plan? What do you do with all your stuff? How much money can you make by selling all your stuff? Is it enough to pay for a year’s worth of traveling? How often do you have to do laundry if the only clothes you have are the ones you can carry? How many pairs of underwear do you need?

I was in the zone, almost obsessing over this for a good 30 to 40 minutes. But the more I thought about it, the less appealing it became. I remember our European cruise last year. We were only gone 10 days, and we loved (almost) every minute of it (I could’ve done without the constipation. And Naples.) but I missed home. I missed my dog. I missed my family (phone calls were too expensive). I missed my job (strange, but true). I missed my country! Would I like to travel the world? Of course! But do I want to experience it as an almost-homeless person? Not really. I like staying in a hotel or eating out at a restaurant. They don’t have to be fancy, but I wouldn’t complain if they were!

So as far as I’m concerned, the girl I used to know can have her year off and her adventure. I’m sure it will be unforgettable and she’ll have no regrets. But I hope she writes a book or takes some really awesome photographs to sell when she gets back because trying to reenter the job market in this economy after taking an entire year off might not be so easy. How does “hostel jumping” translate on a resume anyway?

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Three is Enough

Since May, I’ve lost three grandparents this year. First, there was hubby’s grandma, whom I considered my grandma as well because we were all pretty close. Then, there was my biological father’s father. We weren’t very close and I hadn’t seen him in years, but funerals are never really easy. Then this past weekend was my step-dad’s mother’s funeral. Again, we weren’t very close, but that had more to do with her almost decade long battle with Alzheimer’s. She hadn’t so much as opened her eyes in two years, and probably hadn’t spoken in at least five, so it felt like we lost her a long, long time ago.

The only positive about the weekend – in addition to seeing the gorgeous fall colors of the trees in Kentucky – was getting to see family, some of which I hadn’t seen since my wedding. (Which was also in Kentucky. I even saw the preacher that married us.) I used to spend a lot of time with my step-family, especially around the holidays back in my pre-marital days. But with marriage comes a new family and with a new family comes new traditions, so I stopped partaking in the step-family Thanksgiving dinner in Kentucky in order to host my own Thanksgiving here in St. Louis with my parents, grandparents, aunt and cousin. And then Xmas is spent with the in-laws. It would be so much easier if everyone lived in the same town, or same state, but we’re just all so spread out that we can’t go from house to house in one day or even one weekend during the holidays.

So even though the circumstances weren’t ideal, it was nice to spend time with parts of my family I don’t get to see very often. Even if I didn’t particularly care for driving – by myself – for a total of 9 hours this weekend since hubby was out-of-town for work (and attending a U2 concert, 20 ft from the stage as I’m typing this. Not that I’m bitter. Because I’m not. No really, I don’t even like U2.) I used to make the drive alone all the time, but road-trips are always better with two.

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Yesterday? Sucked. It was one of those days when all of these little, seemingly insignificant yet highly annoying things kept happening to the point where I had to ask myself, several times, what did I do to deserve such bad karma?

First, my alarm didn’t go off and I woke up almost an hour later than I had wanted to. Sometimes, when I’m getting ready, I check my work e-mail. When I did, I had an email from my boss wanting to meet at 8 or 8:30 am (we don’t have to be in the office until 8:30, but he’s a morning guy.) I told him I might be able to meet at 8:30 but that I was running late. Then I realized I had to stop for gas. And then I hit a wall of traffic because of bridge construction. So I didn’t make my 8:30 meeting. Not a huge deal, but annoying for all involved, I’m sure.

The majority of my work day went as normal, until 6pm when I left work in a hurry for another meeting. But the gods must have been against me because it took me 30 minutes just to get out of the downtown area. THIRTY MINUTES when it normally takes three to five minutes. So I missed my second meeting of the day.

Then I get home, and my U-verse is out. The U-verse I just had installed on Saturday? Yep. Out. On Biggest Loser night. And when U-verse goes out, it doesn’t only affect your TV. Oh no. It knocked my wireless out too. I spent 35 minutes on the phone with the tech only for him to tell me someone will have to come out tomorrow and I’ll have to be home by 4pm to wait for the repair guy.

Around 8pm, I finally made myself some dinner – a grilled cheese sandwich – and somehow proceeded to burn it. I made another one and burned that one too. You would think it was my first time making a grilled cheese sandwich. Actually, I think I made a better grilled cheese sandwich my first time. I don’t know what happened but I’m blaming the pan.

I decided to take the dog for a walk. It was raining. So that was fun. Then I went to Blockbuster and the grocery store (uneventful, thank goodness) and called it a night. I figured that once I went to bed, it would be over and I could look forward to tomorrow. Except my mom called this morning to tell me my step-dad’s mom (my step-grandma) passed away last night. So apparently Tuesday was much worse than I originally thought.

So you over there, you with the voodoo doll that looks a lot like me? Put that down and give me a break. I’m not in the poking mood.


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Napa Valley

On our way out of San Francisco, we made one more stop by the Golden Gate Bridge before heading out to Napa Valley.


We also stopped by Muir Woods, which is sort of a scary drive with all the twists and turns. But it was Sunday, and gorgeous, and therefore we couldn’t find a parking spot at the park to even park our car. Well okay, that’s a lie. We found one, but it was about one and half miles away from the park entrance and it was so hot, we decided to save that excursion for some other time.

The further out of the city we drove, the hotter it became. We drove through Sonoma and then into Napa to our hotel. The Silverado Resort was everything the pictures showed it to be. Even better was the complimentary room upgrade to a Jr. Suite and the surprise fruit basket, cheese platter and bottle of Chardonnay delivery we received just minutes after settling into our room. (side note: I had been corresponding with the resort’s resident Twitterer prior to our trip, which is how we even found out about the resort in the first place. She was kind enough to arrange some of those special extras and we couldn’t have been more impressed. Thanks Erika!)


Since we now had everything we needed in our room, we saw no need to leave the resort. So we walked across the street to the spa and made appointments for our couples massage that evening. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool while we waited. (Both the resort and the spa have a pool, plus the spa has a jacuzzi, so we pool-hopped for a couple of hours.) I haven’t been to many spas in my life but this had to be one of the better ones. Robes and slippers waiting for me in my own locker, steam rooms, saunas, hot tea, citrus water…I could’ve lived there.

After our massage we simply walked back across the street to the resort restaurant where I had the best corn and crab chowder I’ve ever tasted. I need to learn how to make it. Soooo good.

The next two days were all about winery hopping. We visited:

Whitehall Lane Winery (we had two free tastings vouchers)


Markham Vineyards (also free tastings voucher)


Castello di Amorosa (my favorite. No voucher. I bought a bottle of wine calld “Fantasia” to bring home with me.)



Chateau Montelena (of the movie “Bottle Shock” fame)


And since it was crush season, we got to see the wineries in action as they literally crushed the grapes to extract the juices.


Beringer Vineyards


Day 2 of winery hopping:

Domaine Carneros (great for Champagne lovers)


We sat on the patio and enjoyed the view


Artesa Winery (just look at the view beyond the fountain! We were told this place had the best views of the Carneros region and I’m willing to bet they were right.)


Cuvaison Winery


Simply gorgeous! I think we picked the perfect time to year to see the valley and the weather was wonderful. And with more than 350 wineries in Napa Valley, there’s enough there to hopefully make a return trip some day. If you’ve never been to Napa, note that everything closes pretty early. Most of the wineries close at 5 or 6 pm (and open as early as 9:30 or 10 am!) and the restaurants stop serving food after 9pm. Not much night-life in the valley, presumably because everyone is already passed out or drunk from the full day of drinking. Since we only did tastings, and even shared tastings at times, neither of us ever got drunk so the nights were kind of boring after dinner. Except for the last night when we met a couple from Louisville, Kentucky at the local bar (one of only two  bars in the downtown area that stay open past 10pm) and spent the entire evening hanging out with them until about 12:30 when the place closed. They were a lot of fun and we exchanged contact info so we can potentially meet up in the future when we pass through that way (which we do a few times a year to visit the in-laws and my parents).

Though it was one of the most expensive trips we’ve ever taken (maybe more than Hawaii), we had a blast and hope to go back some day.

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