Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year!!

Apparently there are only 200,000 people in this world with a birthday on Feb. 29! I don’t think I ever knew anyone with that bday until now. A big shout out to PosseLeader, who is turning 7, er 28, today. Party it up in Danville! Wish we could be there to celebrate with you! Two other friends in Danville, Luna and Austria, are getting married today as well! Congrats!

So I got to thinking about the leapers. Birthdays don’t really mean that much to me, especially as the years add up. But what would you do without a birthday (or an anniversary of your birth, to be correct)? Leapers only have quadrennial birthdays! Which day is the leaper’s legal birthday? When you turn 21, what day can you legally drink? When do you get your license? I guess people have it all figured out by now, but it’s just interesting to me.

I also started reflecting on what I was doing last time we had that 366th day of the year, which was in 2004. I don’t have that keen of a memory, so I had to dust off my electronic calendar to find out. So much has changed since then!

First of all, I was still living in Phoenix. Um, that was four states ago!

Feb. 29 was a Sunday and I was actually working overtime! I was editing coverage of a conference, something I was not really qualified to do, but was forced to do because we were so short-staffed. I met my former boss at the office on that Sunday afternoon and we spent the better part of the day editing. To say I wasn't a happy camper is an understatement. I was working for the same company as I do now, but it a completely different situation. We were overworked and underappreciated and while we may not be the perfect company yet, we have come a long way. Those were the days where I spent my entire drive home from work in tears. Also, I now work from home full time and that office in Arizona is nonexistent.

The last different thing is that I was actually “dating” J. We were only together a little over a year at that point. Wow. He just completed his Master’s and was job searching around the country and I was trying to decide if I should follow him. I made a good choice:)

We’re heading to Boston this weekend to catch up with some old friends. We’re still hoping to work on the igloo too. With all the fresh snow we got this week, we are in a good position for progress. However, the frigid temps and extra foot of snow expected tonight and tomorrow may pose an obstacle. We'll see.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I have my popcorn ready to go

After watching the Oscars last night, I realized how few movies we ever see. We often see a preview of something we want to see, but it never happens. And every year during the award show, I'm not in a good position to have any sort of opinion on which movies should win in each category. In fact, I haven't heard of half the titles up for rewards! I was happy to see that the only movie I saw in the theater in 2007, “Into the Wild,” was up for 2 awards. It didn’t win, but still, it was there. Speaking of which, it is due on DVD soon. So for anyone who is looking for a life-changing experience, watch it. Anyways, J said it’d be really cool to see all the best pictures from each year. Maybe that will happen in retirement. For now, I think I would like to see “No Country for Old Men,” since it won 4 awards, including best picture. I watched the trailer and it looked good. Anyone see that?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Igloo-making and dressing like 1920s ganstas … aren't those normal weekend activities?

J and I have a history of trying news things. Isn’t that what life is about? So this weekend was no exception.

It started with our attempt to build an igloo. Just so you don’t think this is totally out of left field, J bought a kit for work because he wants to offer a program on igloo-making next year. In the meantime, we are trying to become the best damn igloo-makers in town! So, during the course of the past 2 days, we’ve completed 3 layers. It’s harder than it looks! But, we’re having fun and will keep going until we complete the 8-foot snow home. We can’t wait to sleep in it!

As the second part of our not-so-traditional weekend, we went to a 1920s theme ball Saturday night put on by the studio where we are taking lessons. They have a beginner’s ball once a month, so we figured we’d go to watch and maybe practice a little. Well, it turned out to be a blast! Our costumes were a little haphazard, but we did our best as a last-minute decision. There were people from all walks of life there and we danced the night away! J even won a contest doing the Foxtrot … and we haven’t even learned that dance!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fernando clearly should not drive in NH during the winter

Fernando, my car, has problems driving around these wintry roads in NH. First, there was my encounter with the snowbank on the highway after some Masshole tried to run me off the road in December. Now every time I try to go out, there are potholes, frost heaves, large snowbanks and narrow streets to deal with.

I never heard of frost heaves before moving here. I kept seeing the signs on the side streets during the summer and finally asked J what they meant. He acted as if I was supposed to know … as if I haven’t lived in a warm climate for the last 8 years. We never had frost heaves in Jersey. Basically, a frost heave is when soil expands and contracts due to freezing and thawing, which causes cracks in the pavement. I can now say I know frost heaves well.

Here is a day in the life of Fernando when he takes a drive these days:
Get cleaned off and warmed up.
Try really, really hard to get out of our steep driveway with front-wheel drive, the only option I have. Usually impossible. Need mounds of dirt to be thrown down on ice slope for traction.
Poke out onto road as much as possible without getting hit to try to see past the 5-foot snowbanks.
Play frogger on road to avoid the potholes that are the size of my tires.
Drive at a slow speed as there are large speed bumps, err, frost heaves, every five feet. Hear the struts stretch and moan.
Avoid ice patches, which are often invisible, at all costs, so that we don’t end up in a snowbank again.

Fernando is pretty thankful I have only taken him on the road maybe 9 times this year. I am just so lucky I don’t have to drive somewhere everyday and J is lucky he has a truck.

I read somewhere that since November, we’ve accumulated 77 inches of snow. I’m not good at math, but that’s more than 6 feet of snow people! I would say that at least half of that is still on the ground. You see, the snow doesn’t just melt away here, like it did in Jersey. It just stays and stays and stays. And some snowbanks along the sides of the road tower at least 10 feet! Definitely a record amount for me. I think the most snow I saw during a season was a little more than 50 inches back in 1996. That was the year we had an entire week of snowdays and my sister and I baked cookies and watched movies every day!

Speaking of the white stuff, we are getting more today. I am not really complaining, because I love the snow. I just don’t think I should not drive Fernando in it. Hopefully this storm clears up by Monday, because he is supposed to get me to a kickboxing class. Isn't that what cars do?

TGIF everyone!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

La Luna

Did you see the lunar eclipse Wednesday night? We did and it was fantastic.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back from Dville

I meant to blog about our trip yesterday, but work is really busy for me right now. Really busy=practically no lunch break and long days. Really busy=no desire to write in free time. It usually gets really busy in the fall and spring. It’s happening earlier this year. Yikes. But I digress.

Skybus got an A+ in my book. It was open seating for those who do not want to pay an extra $10 to secure a seat, but J and I had no problems getting seats together on both legs. The staff on board was young, but efficient and friendly. The plane was brand new and big. It was a little amusing to see how much money the airline could make through on-board sales of drinks, food and products (perfume, etc.). The food/drink bill for the five people in front of us totaled $36. Did I mention they had a couple of sodas and bags of Doritos? In any case, if this allows the airline to keep their prices low, more power to them. We are hoping to score cheap tickets again sometime.

Our homecoming to Danville was everything we could have expected and more. The house was indeed still standing. We gave the inside and outside a little TLC, replaced some light bulbs and changed the batteries in the smoke alarms. But that was about all it needed. Our friends are taking good care of it. The street looked a little more ghetto than when we lived there, but as “Dad” pointed out, when you are there, it all looks normal because you get used to it. So I guess not much has changed on the street. It’s a little alarming that there are now four empty houses in a row. But, they already stole our copper pipes from the basement … there’s really not much more they can take. We saw so many people. More than what we planned. We ran into people everywhere, something that comes with the territory of being in a small town. As you may have noticed, I like bullet points, so here are some of the trip highlights.

Main Street Coffee Emporium – Toffee Tumbler and Raspberry Mocha. The servers still remembered our orders when we walked in after seven months of not being there.

Working on the house. I know this sounds weird, but there are times J and I miss house projects. We spent so many months (years?) always having a list of things to do for nights and weekends, that it feels very weird to sit at our rental in NH and not have to worry about anything. We accomplished a lot at the house. And we miss it.

Hanging out of an old-school limo sunroof with a machine gun. Only in the South.

Moonshine.

Two bar restaurants have closed down since we left. But alas, two new bar restaurants have opened up. We visited both and approve. Unfortunately, they’ll probably both be gone when we come visit again. You really never know what you are going to get in Danville.

Bronx Boy Bagels. Hail to fellow Jersey natives who opened up a coffee/bagel/sandwich shop mimicked after the ones we left behind and love in Jersey. No Taylor ham, but still good options. Now if they can just stay open. Places in Danville seem to have a one-year expiration date.

Party at Falcon’s house for Wolf’s bday. Like I said, Danville people party HARD. Harder than anyone I know really. There were a ton of people there and it was good to catch up with everyone. And Sparky did an outstanding performance with glow sticks that had us all mesmerized like we were on acid. Wait, there may have been some people there who were on acid.

No ghosts in our house. We slept there (no heat) Saturday night and there was not one bit of activity. I was very disappointed.

“Gotta get me some Biscuitville.” Biscuits and gravy. Yum.

Rock Climbing at the trestle with the Is/Was family and others. Just today, I was finally able to use a stapler again, but boy was I feeling the burn from our climbing. I did not reach the top of my nemesis climb, but I got further than I thought after being away from it for so long. J did very well, of course (he's pretty much better than me at everything). We really need to find a special spot like the trestle here in NH.

And no, Beef, there were no special trips to the Laundromat. Although, we did see your friend. He asked if you wanted to take a ride with him again. We gave him your number.

So that sums it up. I need to get offline to eat dinner early tonight because we have our weekly dancing lessons. We've had two weeks off because of the snow, so hopefully we still remember our moves! Tomorrow night is soccer (and Lost). Looking forward to a relaxing weekend at home!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Next stop: Dan Vegas

No time to rest this week … J and I are headed to Danville Thursday through Monday. Awhile back, we realized that Skybus, that new airline everyone is talking about, flies direct from Portsmouth to Greensboro for very cheap, so we jumped on it. I’ll let you know what I think of Skybus later. My expectations are not very high, since they give you all sorts of caveats when you book regarding their lack of the usual amenities that come with flying.

In any case, we are excited to check on our house. Not that we don’t trust our friends when they say it’s fine, but it’s hard to be absentee homeowners and the house probably needs some minor repairs and yard work. Hopefully there won’t be any big surprises. We’ve already had too many! We’re still hoping to rent that thing out. Not going to hold my breath though …

The second reason is of course to hang out with our friends. There’s a big party at Falcon’s house Saturday for Wolf’s bday. And our Danville friends party hard, so it should be a fun time. We may go out shooting with Moonshine. We may fit in a visit to our favorite antique auction. And we are definitely going to go rock climbing with the Is/Was family, weather permitting. Man I miss rock climbing.

I’m sure I’ll have stories from the trip, but for now, I’ll leave you with some other things I’m looking forward to in Danville:
Sweet tea! Too bad J and I gave up iced tea for Lent …
Southern cooking (catfish, okra, biscuits)
Our mom and pop coffee shop just down the street from our house where we went every Saturday
The southern accents and different words/sayings –
“right quick”
“wha now?”
“mmm hmm”
“y’all” or “y’all’s”
And of course, the use of “ma’am” and “sir”
The Riverwalk Trail
The sound of secadas
The smell of honeysuckle (well, it may be too early for that)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Trip to the Valley of the Sun

So I finally got back Monday from Phoenix. I was supposed to take a red-eye Sunday night, but Continental Airlines screwed up my flights. That’s just a whole other story. But I got home eventually and at least got a $100 voucher out of it.

My trip was jam-packed, to say the least. Here are some of the highlights.

Phoenix temperature high: 76 degrees
Concord high: 22 degrees

Enlightening work meetings. No, really, they were enlightening.

QT with BFFcoworker and her new baby, Caliente, theFr, Mouth, NHBound, Sunshine, Rockstar, SmokinHot and her kids, BossLady, former coworker and many, many others.

GNO Friday night!

Afternoon cocktails with Lawyer2be, who is a former member of the youth group I ran. It’s fun to see him grow up!

Playing Asshole with Mouth, Mouth’s brother, JVC and Associate0405 until 3:30am Saturday. I haven’t played that game probably since I lived with Mouth and I had forgotten how fun it can be! Unfortunately, Mouth can no longer hold his alcohol very well. Oh wait, was he ever able to?

Hiking Camelback with theFr. Despite the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen, the mountain is still a killer hike with an outrageous view. And it was sooo green (for a desert) because of all the rains Phoenix had.

Oodles of Mexican food.

In & Out Burger. If you haven’t tried it, you must. Unfortunately, it’s only available in Cali, AZ and Nevada.

Gathering 15+ people from the St. Greg’s crew at Hamburger Works.

Driving theFr’s big blue boat around town and remembering why I don’t want to live in Phoenix … traffic.

I know there was probably so much more because it really was a great trip. Good seeing everyone!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Superbowl Sunday

For anyone who didn’t already know this, New Englanders are pretty intense about their sports teams. I actually didn’t quite know the extent until moving here and living through two winning seasons for their teams. Sunday night was an ugly example of what can happen when their team loses, especially to a NY team!

As I said, we had plans to go to a Superbowl Party Sunday, but we didn’t really know the people who were hosting. Well, we definitely walked into Patriots’ territory. The house was decked from floor to ceiling in streamers, balloons and other decorations favoring the Patriots. All 20 people at the party had on their Patriots jerseys. These people were serious fans, but there are few living up here who are not. So, needless to say, we didn’t disclose that we grew up in Jersey and decided to cheer for the Giants.

For anyone who didn’t watch the game, it was low-scoring and pretty low-key until the fourth quarter. Still, preliminary findings show viewership was up 6 percent from last year’s Superbowl. During the fourth quarter, the score went back and forth a little until it favored the Giants. People at the party were pissed. We saw one woman down a whole bottle of Pepto because her stomach was just so upset. I understand the dedication and anxiety that goes with watching a sport. I do have a husband who enjoys sports. But I didn’t know the “New England” type until now. What’s more surprising to me is how much NE people hate NY teams! The people at the party last night did not at all recognize that the Giants put up a good fight and deserved to win. Only hateful words.

I had a friend (Shadow) visiting me back in September during baseball season. We were in a bar and they were showing clips of the Yankee game and some guys noticed that she was paying attention and reacting. Boy did they give her a hard time. I thought there was going to be a fight.

It is probably true that people in NY/NJ hate Boston sports teams equally, but I never experienced this when living there. I only saw the Mets/Yankee and Giants/Jets/Eagles rivalry.

All in all, it’s funny to me that we just came from living in a town where people really didn’t like New Jersey (well, the entire area above the Mason Dixon line, actually) because of the Civil War (never really understood their reasoning, but I won’t get into that). Now we are in a place that hates NJ/NY because of sporting rivals. I am in no way defending my home state because frankly, I am not a big fan, but it’s just crazy. When I lived in the Southwest, everyone loved everyone.

So that was our Superbowl Sunday and my introduction into NE sports. Oh, we didn’t win the score pool … such is life.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Where in the world did January go?

Time always flies, but this month seems like it was over in a blink! And it’s not like we were traveling this month – we were in NH every weekend. February is already going too fast …

I just found out last night that I am going to the Valley of the Sun next week for work. Usually I have more than 5 days notice, but there were some different circumstances with this trip. Don’t get me wrong. I am EXTREMELY grateful. In fact, I thought my free trips to Phoenix were long gone since our headquarters moved to Nashville. But, most of the writers are still working remotely in Phoenix and my boss wants us to meet for a kickoff meeting, so I’m not complaining!

I am actually very excited because BFFcoworker just had her baby in December and I really didn’t think I’d get to meet her until she turned 5 or so. So this is a real treat. And another friend, Rockstar, has been having some medical problems, so I would just feel much better seeing her in person. It’s a really quick trip (Feb. 6-10), but I’m hoping to see the usual suspects (Caliente, theFr, Mouth, NHBound, Sunshine, SmokinHot), as well as some others. We’ll see how the trip shapes up.

In other news, our one-game winning streak seems to have ended, as we lost our soccer game last night. It was a team we played in the past and they killed us last session. This time, we lost 3-5. Not bad. Handyman got a yellow card, of course. He actually was pretty tame, but I really think the refs just remember him as the crazy one and give him a yellow card if he breathes in the wrong direction. Nazi was yelling at all of us during the game. J actually yelled back and put him in his place. Nice. I just found out Nazi actually coaches youth soccer. I feel bad for those kids. I’m going to miss next week’s game (and our dancing lessons!) because of my Phoenix trip, but I’m sure they’ll do okay without me.

I think that’s about it. We’re not sure what we are doing this weekend. We’re getting a fresh coat of snow right now, so I’m sure we’ll get out there and do a little cross-country skiing. And we may go to a Super Bowl party, although I still can’t decide which team to cheer for. I mean, I grew up loving the Giants. In fact, my sister used to quiz me on the team so I could prove I was a real fan. But now I’m not really attached to a team. And I am in Patriots territory … In any case, J got us in some pool so I’ll be concentrating most on the final score so we can win some money!

TGIF!