Saturday, December 31, 2005

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

I came up here a few days ago, here being Maine and the day of travel being Christmas Eve. I've gone from all stages of being thrilled, exhausted, busy, peopled out, content, well-travelled, restless, well-fed, hungry, and well entertained. daN was sick the few days before Christmas, and i was tremendously tired, so we came up twenty-four hours later than we thought we would, arriving an hour late for the festivities of Christmas Eve at me Mum's house. It was a blast. In fact, everything has been a blast. Christmas Eve at Mum's is a wonderful tradition of opening presents slowly and eating and laughing. Christmas day morning we went to visit daN's Mum for a while, then back to my Mum's house for Christmas dinner. THEN, we went to my Dad's for Christmas there, which involved a lot of mulled wine. I might as well include that i have been fighting off what daN had for several days now. It comes and goes. But i have realized definitively that yoga, lymphatic massage, and red wine and/or POM juice in large quantities make me feel like a million bucks again. From Dad's we all went to his girlfriend's to visit over there for a while, had some more wine, and then Dan and i went back to Union. Next day involved a lunch of vegetable soup and cheesebread with daN's Mum, then over to the Watier's where daN's Dad was housesitting for his Christmas/Channukah/Boxing Day/Kwaanza/Monday Night Football party. It was a good time, and i was falling asleep on the floor by the end of it. We spent the night there, which was a bit bizarre since the Watier's were in DC and Maurice was gone for work when we woke up, but we made do and took the dog Windsor for a walk. Eventually, on the day after Christmas, we headed up to see Zak and Mandi in Waterville, where we played games, did yoga, went out to eat, and had good times, and the next day daN and i came to crash here at Bogland.

BOY did we need a homebase by that point! We'd been in Maine for how long without a consistent place to stay? Not to mention that our car was a distaster zone of presents received and to give, as well as our suitcase packed for ten days away from the house.

I am happy to say that everything we got for Christmas was useful and lovely. I was so afraid that this year, for some reason, people wouldn't know what to get me and would get me STUFF that would end up sitting around. But they didn't! I'm so glad! I also think that all the gifts we gave were well-received.

All in all, it's been a good time, and i'm just starting to get to the point where i am needing some time to myself, which is why i'm in the jungle room away from others FINALLY updating my blog. No doubt about it, Christmas is stressful. But it's really my favorite time of year, so i'll have to make sure that i can keep it that way.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Excerpt from an email because my life is crazy

The following is an excerpt from an email to the FrisbeeJuggler:

well, things are better than they sound. the fondu dinner WAS amazing! life has been NUTs, and i mean nuts. thank god we got out early today. we were going to go up to maine tonight, but it's just not a good idea. daN is kind of ill, and i am exhausted. i went to bed at 11:45 on wed night, and that's been the earliest all week. the rest has been around 2, getting up at 6. getting ready for christmas. it's been hard, but enjoyable... and hard. but the hard part is only really between 11:30 and 2 when i wish i were sleeping.

in other exciting news, kathy gave me an ipod shuffle for christmas! she didn't go off on the economic deep end -- she aparently won it this summer and has been saving it for me ever since! isn't that so sweet! it's amazing how much better life is with music. particulary work. man, let me tell ya, i LOVE my job now that i have something to listen to all day! i just sit there with my headphones on doing what i always do, and somehow, it makes everything better. who knew that's all it would take?

speaking of the job, things have been going really well, there. i'm apparently scoring a lot of points recently. getting a lot of compliments, and am starting to turn some heads. someone even told me they wished i were the admin for business development rather than the admin for some segments within. it came from fairly high up, so i was flattered. otherwise, the days have been going by, i tell them what time i take off, and it's no big deal. i'm more involved than i used to be, which is also good, including some product design meetings, which is always fun.

i made family traditional holiday candies all weekend -- including but not limited to chocolate dipped peanut butter creams, needhams, and cream cheese mints in lemon, almond, coconut, and peppermint. we spent a total of $75 on raw goods, not including what we already had, and i put a total of 19 hours into it, not counting the help i had from daN and the bogs with cutting the candy and rolling them out. we calculated that if we were going to sell these, to break even, we would have to charge about $10/lb, however, typical mark-up is around 50%-100% to make a profit. To break things down even further, it cost about $0.43 per candy to make, once again making each piece worth near $1 on the market. Fun to think about, especially when i think about how much work went into them. it's all worth it though. the best part is the look on people's faces when they try them and can't believe that _i_ made that. yeah, that was me :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Anniversary Dinner on Friday Night at The Wine Cellar

We went for the Indulgence for Two, $88 for your choice of any cheese fondues, followed by your choice of entrée fondue, followed by your choice of chocolate dessert fondue. My LORD was it delicious. First of all, it’s the kind of place you walk by if you aren’t looking for it (we almost did, and we WERE looking for it). You descend a small, carefully crafted set of stairs, whose side rails mimic long leaves with flowers blossoming out of the creases, and looking around, the lighting fixtures all match. It’s small (seats only 36) and cozy and feels like Europe. They take your coat for you, which I find rare in restaurants these days. So, the atmosphere was perfectly romantic.

Second, the food was to die for. For the cheese course, we got the traditional gruyere and emmenthaller (sp?) with a white wine base. It came with bread and spiced potatoes for dipping, and I could have eaten just that. They were incredibly accommodating for the entrée, which is a broth that comes with raw meats that you cook in the broth. daN didn’t realize how adventurous he was being in agreeing to a fondue dinner, but he really enjoyed it. They brought me a half portion of vegetable-based broth that was still deliciously seasoned with basil, cilantro, lime, etc, with veggies for dipping, and they brought another half portion of an artichoke cheese fondue with more potatoes so my entrée would be more filling, all at their suggestion, no extra cost. WOW. I’m not used to that level of service. Dessert was a chocolate coconut fondue that came with grapes, honeydew melon, bananas, and cookies. My god.

It was all beyond fabulous, and we were there for a good three hours. No one was rushed at all. It was so nice not to be rushed out of a restaurant. All in all, it was a great place to go for our sixth anniversary.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Headline: "I GOT IN!"

Today when i got home from work and checked my email, i found an acceptance letter from Kripalu! YAY!!! i'm registered for the 3x9 format -- 9 days at the beginning of Feb, 9 in the middle of March, and 9 at the end of April. Woohoo! That was good news to end a good but hard week. After not having heat and then having a breakdown in the middle of the week because of having too much on my plate (mostlyl good things, but i overstuffed myself), i was fabulously excited to get that email. I'd say something like, "now i know i'm getting somewhere." But that would be inaccurate -- with this, i've known from the get-go that i'm getting somewhere. It's so nice that the universe is helping me along.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

For the love of blog

The following is an email that i wrote on Monday morning. It pretty much sums things up. The one thing i left out that is absolutely thrilling is that on Saturday, daN and i got a Christmas tree! I love it! It's probably at least seven and a half feet tall and 5 feet wide, and it's beautiful and makes me smile every time i look at it. It didn't start getting decorated until last night, though, because it was very cold ...

"I thought mercury retrograde was going alright for me. There have been plenty of challenges, one of them being that things are cooking up and getting harder at work, but other doors are opening for me, and I am certainly doing well on the yoga application process. I wrote it up last night, including four single-spaced pages in size 11 times new roman answering the questions “Provide a full description of your daily asana,” “what does yoga mean to you? how has it changed over the course of your involvement,” “why do you want to become a certified teacher at this point in your life?” and “why do you want to become specifically Kripalu yoga certified? What are your favorite things about Kripalu yoga?” I actually had a great time just sitting there on the futon with my laptop under a blanket typing away, really pondering these questions and taking time to answer them. I am happy with it.

However, other challenges presented that could have knocked me off my track: we lost out heat sometime very early on Sunday morning. OY. Yes, we woke up, thought it was quite cold, turned on the heat as usual, and…. Nothing happened. Nothing continued to happen for about an hour. We called the landlords, and they weren’t home. We called NStar, who we THOUGHT provided out heat… and they don’t. We knew that we had to wait for the landlords to get home for some answers, so we entertained ourselves. Fortunately, we still had hot water, because that’s run off gas provided by Nstar – who also provides our electricity, so we could still take a rather long hot shower to warm up. Then, I went to the GAP with Q, where I had a 30% off the entire purchase coupon. I paid for Q’s so she could get the discount, too. I put $117 on my card (including Q’s) out of which I bought a new skirt, two turtleneck sweaters, and a pair of jeans, and she got two lambswool sweaters, a pair of dress pants, and a sweater for her brother. None too shabby! I was happy. I’m wearing the new knee-length a-line brown cordouroy skirt and the white turtleneck sweater today with some knee-high brown boots, and I look fabulous!

After the GAP, I went home, picked up daN and met aria, and the three of us went out for Sushi, though daN did not have sushi and pretended not to be there (he just wanted to read somewhere warm, so he came along), and Ar and I had a great time catching up. Eventually, it was time to go home. We stayed there for a good long time, though, and it was so relaxing and a great restaurant. The landlord got home the same time we did, and she informed us that we are in fact on oil heat, so it looks like daN and I are going to have to cough up the money to fill the tank that heats just our apartment. OY. That’s gonna hurt. Well, that’s what the LLBean credit card is for. Low interest rate, and we earn Bean dollars. Could be worse just before Christmas. So anyway, daN went to go catch a movie, while I sat in the living room with the sliding doors closed and two spaces heaters – one that the landlord brought down, and one that Q brought over. It’s so nice to have people around who care about us! I toastilly worked on my yoga application until daN got home, and had some pineapple and tea for dinner around 10:30.

All in all, it could have been worse. I am not looking forward to the heating bill… but I guess that’s part of growing up. It’s just tough that we didn’t expect it, and daN and I are not altogether sure that the landlord told us about that."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Blog Two Year Anniversary

This month officially marks year #2 of me having a blog. To commemorate this momentous occasion, i would like to take a quick comparison of where i was then to where i was now, and to do so, i'll answer these questions:

1. Career Plans
Dec 2003: I was gearing up to take the GRE's for grad school application the following year, still hoping to become an English Professor
Dec 2005: I am working on my Kripalu Center application this weekend to become a yoga teacher. I'm much more dedicated and driven for this one. It makes me happy and healthy :)

2. Current job:

Dec 2003: I had been at Global Protection for all of 2 and a half months, and still wasn't even on Customer Account management, inventory management, or product development yet. I was still doing the books, making $12/hr... half benefits, 5 vacation days a year, still no health insurance yet, nor dental, so i didn't know i had 15 cavities growing in my mouth. The job sucked the life out of me.
Dec 2005: Working for FMC, a leading "solutions provider" for lenders in the student loan market. Job title: Administrative Assistant doing things like reporting, liaison for the department to the rest of the company, and oddly enough, product development again. Salaried at $38K with FULL benefits and 15 vacation days a year, as well as a boss who is going to let me take the time off for yoga training. Great health insurance, including amazing chiropractic coverage. And i've got most of my cavities taken care of. Do i like the job? Not particularly. But the people are good people, and i have energy to pursue important things in my life when i get home from work.

3. Living situation

Dec 2003: The "student ghetto" in Allston, MA between Boston College and Boston University -- dirty, loud, and out of the way -- four people in a three bedroom apartment that was falling apart, but it was still lovely and a great starting point.
Dec 2005: About a mile east of Davis Square in a great neighborhood with families who have dogs and grandparents and babies in the first floor of a Victorian house. There are two of us now in a 1 bedroom, and it's tons of space -- sunny, hard to heat, but altogether wonderful.

4. Plans for New Year's

Dec 2003: went down to Florida to visit a college friend who also bought me a ticket to see the Phish New Year's show in Miami if i bought my plane ticket. Woo!
Dec 2005: Finally getting to enjoy a quiet New Year in Maine again. I'm so looking forward to looking at the snow across the trees and fields, the quiet sluggishness of the cold ocean, and the northern light filtering in from the side of the sky, coating the world in subtleness.

5. Ability to do Christmas presents

Dec 2003: i got people small presents and some knitting IOU requests
Dec 2005: haven't started actually shopping yet, but for the first time since i started paying rent, i actually have money saved up for it.

6. Car situation

Dec 2003: 1992 Subaru legacy that hadn't hit the point where it was about to fall apart yet. The parking situation in Allston was terrible, so i didn't drive it much, but i had one, and it was useful for getting out.
Dec 2005: 2005 Scion XB -- brand new -- running terrifically, impossibly large. The parking situation is excellent. It's still street parking, but due to the fact that it's not a congested living area, we almost always get to park directly in front of our house and have a shorter walk from car-to-door than our landlords who park in the driveway do.

7. Relationship status:

Dec 2003: Happy and in love with daN
Dec 2005: Happier and even more in love with daN

8. Hair

Dec 2003: My hair was still mostly curly, and slightly below shoulder length. I had been getting the occasional gray hair, but it always fell out immediately.
Dec 2005: My hair is pretty much straight, and pretty much shoulder length after having had a few chin-length haircuts. Am i growing it out or getting it cut again? Getting gray hairs that stay there...

9. Diet

Dec 2003: In addition to being vegetarian, i ate mostly beans and rice, some salad, still ate a decent amount of bagels and pasta and a lot of chocolate and desserts
Dec 2005: i have full embraced being a hippy health nut. I still eat a lot of beans and rice, but i'm getting more into goat cheezes than ever. I also don't eat wheat and sugar if i can avoid them, and if it's a must, i do halvesies on the sugar combined with honey. I also buy organic evaporated cane juice instead of normal processed sugar. Buckwheat noodles and rice make up most of my carb intake. I make my own wheat-free sugar-free granlola, and I'm really on the look-out for wheat-free bagels...

10. Shoes
Dec 2003: had too many shoes, and most of them came from Payless and weren't comfortble and were falling apart. Sneakers: a pair of well-worn gray camouflage Sauconies
Dec 2005: OK, so i still have too many shoes, but they're not falling apart anymore, and i have stuck to a "if it's not comfy, don't buy it" policy... and because of that i have two pairs of shoes that cost more than $100 each. They're so worth and i wear them every day. Sneakers: A pair of forest green Sauconies with a magenta stripe -- after having had a pair of well-worn blue with pink stripe Sauconies in the middle. I like Sauconies.

11. Exercise
Dec 2003: I still tried to run sometimes despite my knees, but i had a mile walk to and from South Station to Global Protection every day along the Big Dig.
Dec 2005: I gave up on trying to run. I still have a mile walk every day, but this time it's between my house and Davis Square, and it's a much nicer walk. I also do yoga for an average of an hour every day.

12: Dog ownership
Dec 2003: Didn't have one, but was hoping to someday.
Dec 2005: I still don't have one, and i'm still hoping to someday. At least i get to play with Q's dog now, though.

Where were you two years ago and where are you now? Here's the list i used, but feel free to modify it.
1. Career Plans
2. Current job
3. Living situation
4. Plans for New Year's
5. Ability to do Christmas presents
6. Car situation
7. Relationship status
8. Hair
9. Diet
10. Shoes
11. Exercise
12: Dog ownership