Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30th, 2012 - JJ

1. Getting to have dinner last night with Casey & Katie. I love them! I'm also thankful that the weird guy who sat at our table didn't stay too long. I wanted to catch up with my friends, not meet new people. Further thankful for Blokes and Birds, which is delicious!
2. That the date day I planned for Derick on Saturday went well and that Derick liked all the places I picked to take him to. Old Town Pour House, Old Town Oil, the Spice Shop, Quenchers, & Longman & Eagle. YUM!
3. Clean laundry. Nuff said.
4. That Derick carries pretty much all heavy objects that need to go up or down the stairs. Cat litter, shelves, full laundry baskets, etc.
5. That all of the packages I sent out last week made it to their destinations (except one, but it requires a signature and no one's been home to sign for it). Also thankful for FedEx. If I'd sent these things via USPS, they would still be on their way, and I'd still be worried about whether or not they'd actually get there.
6. That people like the "Go the F to Sleep" book as much as Derick and I do.  So funny!!
7. A fake short week this week. Thursday and Friday I have a conference to go to, which is less work than being at work, and I'm actually excited to learn more about the topic.
8. The Starbucks date I have with Jenna later today.
9. That Allagash hasn't broken the skin by scratching or biting in about a week. I think he's learning to play nicer.
10. The new Sookie book comes out tomorrow!! Pretty much the only thing that could make me put the Game of Thrones books on hold. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29th - Heather

1.  A weekend of exploring destinations outside of my bubble!  It's too easy to create this bubble of  work-home-local grocery store...and never live outside of that bubble.  I can't do that!  There's always a reason to drive and live out side of the mundane!  Yesterday we packed up our kitties (and litter box) and started by driving out to where I'll be taking my first two masters classes this summer...ended up being much father away from main campus than I expected...but it made the venture an adventure!

2.  The amazing frozen custard place we stumbled across while driving around downtown Burlington!

3.  Brunch at the Pine Cone Cafe and the random trip through the outlet mall this morning.  It's scary to realize just how close to home that outlet mall is!!!!

4.  Reading books on the kindle...soo much easier than trying to hold a thousand pages for hours and hours!

5.  My wall of books!  It's not a full library...yet...but I have four almost floor to ceiling bookshelves along one wall with a small cluttered writing desk in the middle.  The sad part is that I don't think I've read half of the books on my wall....hmmm I feel a resolution taking shape.....

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27th, 2012 - JJ

1. Heirloom tomatoes! Derick put together a delicious caprese salad with them last night! YUM!
2. The fancy tangerine olive oil that Heather and Kathy left at our house a while back (over Thanksgiving, I think?). It made the caprese even more exceptional!
3. The patterns Tammy sent to me (Thank you, thank you!!)! I will be trying out the sewing machine this weekend and am excited to have so many fun things to make!
4. It's Friday. If it could also be 2:00 asap that'd be great. I'm ready to go home.
5. The adorable picture that Derick's friends, Britt & Dan, posted on facebook of their new baby in the outfit we sent them. She's SO stinking cute it's crazy!

April 27th - Heather

The air has its chill and the sun its warmth
Dew glistens on the blades of grass below
Tall leafy green trees stud the lawn
Yet I miss the fresh chill morning air
Alight with the fragrance of the trees
The Sound sparkling in the sun
Moss on the floor that sees no sunlight
For the rays are too busy dancing on treetops
Happy, fragrant trees waving and dancing
Encouraged by eyes of snow capped peaks

1. It's only appropriate that I'm thankful for trees on arbor day!  They play so fondly in my memories!  15 years ago I could have walked off a plane and onto a jetway blindfolded and still known I was at Seatac because the smell of the trees was instantly present.  Over the years that fragrance has been harder to find....when I moved back to Seattle in 2004 I had to get to my grandma house to smell it....then she had her evergreens felled because they were too old, too tall, and too likely to fall on the neighboring houses.  The last time I smelled that sweet fragrance was when my mom and I went for a drive around the penisula (yes, I admit it, Forks was the destination, but the scenery of the peninsula was reason enough too) while we were back home for a vacation in 2011.  It's been too long!

2.  The views of green leafy trees outside my office window.

3.  Coffee!  I know...and as some of you know,  I gave up coffee for tea.  In doing so I knew there would days like these ("there'll be days like this my mama said") when coffee would be a necessary indulgence!

4.  Seeing the Hunger Games last night...even though I was in tears within 10 minutes...ok, maybe 5...all I know is that I cried through the reaping.

5.   I'm very thankful that my mom turned the news on this morning and I heard the weather forecast....I was planning on wearing a dress until I heard the meteorologist say that we wouldn't make it out of the 40's today! :(  Seriously...couldn't we bump that up by, say, 10 degrees???

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26th - Heather

1.  Having sick days and not having to call 20 people just to find one that can cover for me when I need to take one!

2.  Not having a migraine....even after all the sleep I packed into yesterday I felt a little headache lingering about the edges of my brain....but it did not turn into the dreaded migraine!

3.  I finished the first book in the Song and Ice and Fire I'm only a book and half behind my lovely friends...I think. And if one or the other of them has begun the fourth book  I don't want to know yet!!!!

4.  That some of the books for my grad classes are available in Kindle editions!  My Kindle is so much more portable than big clunky text books.

5.  Textbook information in general!  I was starting to panic since my first class starts May 19th - aka in just a couple of weeks!!!  And according to their website, the bookstore on campus still didn't have anything in stock and because it wasn't in stock I couldn't even see the title information.  So I called one of my wonderful co-workers in the Education Department and she told me where I could find the textbook info without having to rely on the bookstore's website!  And now I can breathe!!!

April 26th, 2012 - JJ

1. Crackritas! Our pet name for the very strong and very delicious margaritas at Cesars.
2. Time spent with Emily & Jake. Always fun! Especially with crackritas!
3. Groupons, making crackritas cheap!
4. The delicious and fancy chocolate bar Derick put in my easter basket. I've been eating it slowly, one teeny square at a time, trying to make it last, but today I couldn't control myself and have eaten a whole row of squares. It's SO good!!
5. That Derick liked the "fake" jambalaya that Megan and I cooked for dinner earlier this week. It had all kinds of veggies in it and I thought for sure he'd hate it, but he loved it! It gives me so much joy to find new ways to get Derick to eat veggies.
6. Books! Amy and I are now reading two series together and I love it! It's so much fun to have daily chats to talk about our feelings on the chapters read the day before.
7. Cats who kill spiders. Allagash isn't really good at killing spiders yet (he just wants to play with them so they get away!), but Muffin is a PRO!
8. Plants! I have several plants at home now and have managed to keep all of them alive, thus far (although I just bought a lily and it's begun dying within two days of me bringing it home....crap!). I'm also thankful for our edible plants: basil & mint, thanks to Tammy.  Fresh basil is so much more delicious than the dried stuff.
9.  That I get to spend time with Mary today. I think she is just so wonderful and I love when we get to drive to meetings together. I'm almost sad that we'll be closing one of our two mutual clients out soon because it means I will be spending less time with her.
10. The heated seats in the company car. I am thankful for them often, but today especially since it was pretty cold outside this morning!

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23rd - Heather

1.  A speedy state tax return!  I was amazed to see it blinking at me so coyly from my bank account Friday afternoon.

2.  A fabulously successful first attempt into the world of preparing and serving a French-inspired 7 course meal to 3 people that blur the distinction between friends and family!  Here was Saturday's menu, in addition to the standard bread basket lingering through the following courses:
  • Pretzel-like bread sticks wrapped in prosciutto with a garlic aioli mustard paired with  Chardonnay
  • Wild Pacific Salmon with a mojito chutney paired with Chardonnay
  • Mango Sorbet
  • Roast Beef paired with Pinot Noir
  • Spinach Salad with cranberries, pecans and a balsmic vinegar and olive oil dressing paired with Pinot Noir
  • Dried apricots and Brie paired with a local Peach wine
  • Chocolate and Vanilla Parisian Macarons and cafe paired with this Chocolate Red Wine from Walla Walla, Washington
3.  Trader Joe's!  I love their food.   I don't get to shop there as much as I did living in DC because it's so far from home, but I made the trip out there to get everything for my foray into multi-course entertaining because I knew they would have the macarons that I wanted and so much more.  

4.  A wonderful brunch Saturday morning at Cafe Centraal and I'm extra thankful since Derick picked up the tab!  Thank you!!! :)  It was amazing.  I was a little skeptical ordering a savory pancake breakfast but it sounded too good to pass up....and it was!

5.  That we've past the half-way point on the grant.  For those of you who may not know, my current position is 100% tied to a 5 year Department of Education grant that Carroll University was granted.  There has been a steep learning curve getting into the world of grants and federal money.  But we are half way through our third year and therefore half way through the grant funded portion of the project overall.  Is it improper to begin a countdown from this point until the last day of the grant????

April 23rd, 2012 - JJ

1. That the every-other-Monday-morning-meeting between our office and the other office was cancelled today.
2. Coffee.
3. A great weekend spent in Waukesha with Heather & Kathy. We had an amazing brunch at Cafe Centraal, an amazing 7 course french meal prepared by Heather at home, and went shopping for craft stuff. Could it get much better than that? I don't think so!
4. Evita. I love that movie so much, and I'm also thankful that Derick and Heather picked it out for us to watch Friday night. Unfortunatley for Derick, he'll have to watch it again since he slept through so much of it. :)
5. Our house. I really love it, especially with the furniture moved around the way it is now. It's so cozy and nice! I know I've been thankful for this a lot recently, but it's worth repeating, especially considering the crazy pest issues we've had in the past (squirrels, and flies, and mice, oh my!).
6. All the sewing stuff Heather & Kathy got for me this weekend. I am ordering a book off of Amazon today about sewing basics, and I am really excited to get started!
7. That Allagash went back to being a little lovebug once we got him home from Heather & Kathy's. He was out numbered by their two kitties and it made him very very grouchy and unloving. I'm glad he's sweet again.
8. Spicy food, and my ever increasing tolerance for it. I'm so glad I'm no longer the spice wimp that I used to be!
9. Bejeweled Butterflies! The most recent addictive game addition to my iPad. It's a little ridiculous, but I just cannot stop playing this game!
10. That there's a new Southern Vampire Mysteries book coming out on May 1st!!  I definitely need a little more Eric Northman in my life, thank you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19th - Heather

1.  Having the privilege of spending so much time with Dr Brenda J Allen during her visit to Carroll University.

2.  Having the privilege of interacting with faculty and staff from across campus in a series of discussions inspired by Dr Allen's book Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity.  These interactions have made me that much more confident that I'm moving in the right direction in pursuing my phd and entering the world of academia.

3.  The thank you card I received from the collegue whose meal I was able to pay for as a random act of kindness last week.  I didn't do it for the recognition, but it was very sweet of her to send the card.

4.  The thank you card and handpicked flowers that I received the next day from one of my bosses for my willingness to drive out to the airport to pick up Dr Allen.  I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with Dr Allen so much that it didn't occur to me that what I offered to do was worthy of thanks.  Somehow the flowers and card meant that much more.

5.  Enjoying a couple of hours curled up on the couch this evening NOT doing the laundry and other small domestic items that should be done before our weekend company arrives tomorrow...they're SOOOOO judgmental if the house isn't spotless!  [Please note the heavy sarcasm in italics!!!]

6.  Realizing that I had learned AND retained more french than I thought when writing an email to my french professor...and my surprise was doubled when JJ came online and I was able to type out the first few lines of our conversation on gchat in french without difficulty and without even thinking twice.

7.  That aforementioned friend studied french and so didn't think I was entirely crazy for chatting in a foreign language.

8.  That the meeting of I'm not sure who was canceled in a particular room on campus allowing me to find an easy solution to a last minute problem...when I got the log in instructions for a 2 pm webinar I realized I needed a telephone...the room I had reserved and advertised for the event was phoneless!   I was able to line up a room that had everything necessary, contact all the rsvp'd parties and post a sign at the advertised room redirecting anyone who forgot to rsvp in just about 2 hours!!!!

9.  That one of my housemates (a collegue whose office is in the same house on campus as mine) offered to go take the above mentioned sign down later in the afternoon in my stead because I had already made arrangements to go directly from a meeting to the airport.

10.  That it rained hard enough today to hear it.  I love the sound of the rain!

11.  That the little purrbox currently curled up on my back is so loving and so baby-like!!!  It's so hysterical!  Until he flops down and knocks the farts right out of himself!!!!  SLIGHTLY less adorable...bit just slightly!

April 19th, 2012 - JJ

1. Drive Through Starbucks. So great when it's cold and rainy out and I'm too lazy/tired to get out of the car to get my caffeine. Also great when traffic is bad and getting out of the car, going in, and getting back into the car will take up time I don't have.
2. Amy, for reading A Song of Ice and Fire with me so we can chat about it. She's passed me now, which makes me feel like a giant slacker. Can't wait to get home and catch up to her!
3. This link: Which I got off of Kris Owen's facebook post. Hilarious. All those things are indeed awful, especially #10.
4. The amazing dessert I had at Revolution last night. It as a peanut butter cookie with banana ice cream sandwich, with a strawberry jelly sauce and peanut clusters. AMAZING! So glad I ordered it last night, finally, after weeks of eyeing it on the menu.
5. Jewelry cleaner. Making my sparkles sparklier!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18th, 2012 - JJ

1. That Derick went down to the car to look for my work phone the other night when I realized right before bed that I couldn't find it anywhere. I was already in my pjs and didn't want to get dressed again so he was super sweet and did it for me. What a nice guy! :)
2. Revolution tonight with everyone! I second Emily's comment today about being excited to hear more about Erica's trip to Morocco and to see pictures. Can't wait! Oh, and the new beer sounds interesting too. A beligian trippel aged in french cabernet oak barrels. Mmmmm. Love my belgian beers!
3. Lotion. The soap at the office dries my skin out in a serious way, so I'm very thankful for lotion and how it fixes this problem. Also thankful for Mrs. Kircher, who gave me the fancy tuscan blood orange lotion that I keep at work. Smells heavenly!
4. McDonalds. I know fast food is bad for you and all that, but some days McDonalds saves my life!!
5. That I'm having a much better day today than I did yesterday. I'm feeling pretty good about most things in life today and my mind is working at light speed which is a thousand times better than yesterday, when I couldn't remember the 4 things I went to Target for and walked around aimlessly for a while before remembering that I did in fact have a purpose for being there.
6. An extra today: That I was able to get off the phone with a certain person in a minute and 37 seconds. Usually I'm on the phone with this person for great lengths of time, hearing the same thing repeated over and over again so it was nice to have a quick, concise conversation and then hang up. Love it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17th, 2012 - JJ

1. Getting to talk to my Megan Noon yesterday!  She brightens my day whenever I hear her happy voice. I'm so glad she's doing so well in her new town and that she's exactly where she wants to be in life.
2. Getting to talk to Jess in the morning yesterday. I'd just been cut off by a woman in my parking lot at work who then yelled at me as if it was my fault she decided to turn left in front of me without looking to see if anyone was coming. I was really irritated and grouchy afterward, and then mad at myself for letting some loony lady ruin my day, but Jess came to the rescue, fixing my mood in under 10 minutes. :)  I meant to be thankful for that yesterday but it slipped my mind.
3. Jake & Emily for coming over last night and cooking dinner for us. It was delicious and I love hanging out with them.
4. Derick, for tidying up our house before I got home last night. I do love a clean house, and a man who will help me keep it that way. :)
5. Books. What would I do without them?

April 17th - Heather

1.  That my mom loved her birthday gifts: a stylus for her iPad and cell phone and the little wifi adapter for our Blu-ray player...and the tequila button birthday card!  It was hysterical!

2.  That my friends JJ and Derick are coming up to visit this weekend...I'm contemplating my first attempt at a traditional French full course dinner while they are here!!!  It's very exciting.

3.  That the tree in front of my big office window is blooming.  They aren't flowering trees, so there aren't petals, but just watching the greenery of the leaves dancing in the breeze and sunshine is making me happy today.

4.  That I have big enough windows to not have to turn the overhead lights on in my office.  They are florescent lights and I'm pretty sure they trigger my migraines. 

5.  My electric tea kettle...making caffination possible any time of the day with just the push of a now!  It's caffeine time!

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16th, 2012 - JJ

1. Kathy, who is wonderful and amazing, and it's her birthday today! Kathy is one of the most generous, and kind hearted people that I know and I can't wait to see her this weekend to celebrate!!
2. That I got to my appointment early this morning and was able to read for about half an hour before it was time to go in. Now that Amy has caught up and is on book 3 of Game of Thrones I won't be holding myself back anymore. Can't wait to read tonight before bed, too!!
3. The spontaneous day Derick and I had yesterday. Went to see a movie, then ran around looking for an inexpensive (not cheap! Kathy taught me the difference!) reading chair for our dining room/library, had a few appetizers and beers at Gordon Biersch, got cookies at Mrs. Fields, and generally just had a fun time.
4. Cabin in The Woods!  Such a great scary/funny movie. Those of you who love Joss Wheadon (and shame on you if you don't) will love it! I highly recommend it. :)
5. Revolution, for being so delicious and fun all the time. The smokehouse pizza is killer. How did I not know this until now? It might be my new favorite!
6. Megan & Emily for coming out with me on Friday for my birthday and looking at weird art in Wickerpark. 
7. The new chair and patio furniture Derick and I bought at Ikea this weekend. Our house is feeling so nice and homey now. I wish I was there instead of being at work!
8. That Derick went and looked for Allagash in the pouring rain/thunder storm last night, and that he found him and was able to get him back inside.  Crazy kitty had snuck out when we weren't looking and got caught in the storm!
9. Muffin, for snuggling with me last night. She's so cute!
10. That our taxes are done. Federal returns e-filed, and state returns mailed out. Phew!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 13th - Heather

1.  Having the opportunity to perform a random act of kindness.  My mom and I went to Maxwell's for a friday fish fry because one of my coworkers suggested it.  It was really tasty and about half way through dinner my coworker and her husband were seated at the table behind ours.  She is always so willing to help me answer some of my most random questions.  As a way to say thank you, I secretly paid her tab before my mom and I left the restaurant.

2.  Shopping at Michael's (until it closed) in order to walk off dinner!!!!  Now if only I could make time for all of the crafty projects I'm amassing at home.....if all goes well I may have finished off my Christmas shopping.  Assuming these "projects" look somewhere near giftable by Christmas.

3.  Tv on dvd....I'm all in favor of not having to wait a week in between episodes!  And the added benefit of watching anytime and rewatching episodes that may or may not have been slept through is such an added bonus!!!!!  AND it's a great way to catch up on all the tv I didn't watch as a teenager.

4.  A super productive day!  It felt crazy for most of it...and there were most definitely meals skipped...but I accomplished a great deal.

5.  That yesterday's migraine didn't make an encore appearance.  Part of why I had so much to do today was because I couldn't get as caught up on the post vacation workload as I had wanted to...yay for not having a migraine!  :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13th, 2012 - JJ

1. That Jenna has a house (almost)! YAY!!  I'm so excited to help her and T with projects to fix it up the way they want it!
2. Coffee. So delicious, and so necessary today! I'm very thankful that coffee has the amazing power to get rid of my morning headaches.
3. That it's Friday!!!!
4. Girls night, tonight!
5. That Mayra, one of my favorite Starbucks barristas, is at work this morning. I'm planning to stop in and see her on my way to my midday appointment. Pretty excited!
6. For tide pens, and for Jenna who has things like tide pens handy all the time. I just spilled coffee all over myself, but later today no one will be able to tell!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12th - Heather

1.  Vacation.  I can't believe how the time has flown since my last post.  I took some extra days off from work around Easter....not because I had great plans to travel - which everyone seems to assume when you have 7 full days off away from the office - but because I had three weeks of vacation left to take before the end of June and I couldn't take them all together.... hmm, that sounds slightly bitter...don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to have more vacation time than I know what to do with.

2.  Sleep...aka the "free" time to spend lazing about in bed waking and dozing, waking and dozing past the wholly indecent hour of ten in the morning....for multiple days in a row.  Even though many of those morning were made slightly less enjoyable by the nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I should be getting up and doing something ( that I brought home with me to do on my "vacation".... reading .... more reading .... eating ... exercising ... damn this American notion of abhorring the pleasures of doing nothing and being still and silent).

3.  I'm thankful that the world did not in fact end because I didn't clean the kitchen on day one of my vacation....or day two...or day three....yea, you guessed it...I waited until the last day of my vacation to get inspired to be productive...then I did so much in one day that I needed advil by the end of the evening.  I moved my "tenure" chair upstairs (despite my lacking of the he-man strength to actually be able to lift the chair...I've found that those things in life that can't be lifted tend to roll rather well...even up a flight of stairs!!!!).  I finished my laundry.  I cleaned the kitchen.  I vacuumed.  I scooped the cats' poo palace.  And still managed to have some time to read a few chapters of Game of Thrones!

4.  Feeling like I had something to contribute to the book discussion group that I've been involved with at work.  There is a group of faculty and staff who have gathered to discuss a book the author of which will be on campus next week: Difference Matters by Brenda Allen.  I really enjoyed the book and was glad to feel like a valued voice in a group of people all of whom have more formal education than yours truly.

5.  That I was able to make it through the work day with a pounding migraine, come home and  knock it out with three advil and an hour of a near motionless respite on the couch.  Granted the down side of this thankful thing is that I had a migraine at all...which means my prescription has failed me...but trust me when I say (type?) that not all migraines go away so easily. 

April 12th, 2012 - JJ

1. That I got to go to work at a barn this morning. Also thankful that I got to stay there for several hours, and that the barn staff let the horses into the corral near where my client was working because it meant that I was able to watch them play.
2. Drinks with Emily, Jake, & Tony last night at Schoolyard. So much fun! I'm really glad we got together even though Revolution wasn't releasing a new beer. Wednesday night drinks should really be a regular event.
3. That Derick is ok with being the butt of my jokes on occasion. I love that he can laugh at himself and that he thinks I'm funny even when I'm making fun of him a little. I also love that he makes fun of himself pretty regularly. I think it's one of his best traits and I wish I was more like that. I'm pretty good at dishing it out, but not so good at taking it!
4. That Allagash thinks water is a fun toy.  He's starting to get into the habit of sitting on the bathroom counter while I'm getting ready in the morning, and I've been turning the faucet on so that there's a small stream of water coming out. He just can't seem to understand why he can't catch the water. It's too cute, and it keeps us both entertained for a long time! A great way to start off the day!
5. Eric & Kathy's morning show on 101.9. I think they are hilarious! I'm especially thankful for them on mornings like this morning, when it takes me almost 2 hours to get to an observation site. I will actually listen to the commercials between segments rather than changing the stations, just to make sure I don't miss anything when they come back on the air. They're so good!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11th, 2012 - JJ

1. These lists. I desperately need to focus on the positive in life today and I am so glad I get to write this and spend a few minutes thinking about all of the good things in my life today and every day.
2. Compromise. Can't really elaborate, but I was especially thankful to see the word "compromise" in a work e-mail I got this morning. I'm a lover, not a fighter!!
3. My brother, whose birthday is today.  He definitely ruined my plans of becoming a spoiled rotten only child, but it turns out no one likes those people anyway, so I'm glad he was born and glad he's another year older today.
4. Fries with spicy truffle mayo & unagi sauce. Seriously amazing.
5. My Starbucks gold card and the sweet treat that is a free drink. I have sitting on the table next to my lap top, a venti iced soy caramel macchiato. It is so yummy! Comfort drink to the max.
6. My momma for helping me with my taxes. She's pretty nice.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10th, 2012 - JJ

1. Left overs from Easter. My lunch is so incredibly delicious right now I can hardly handle it. I want to eat this food forever.
2. My new sewing machine!! It was my birthday present from Derick, and I'm so excited to start making things! Also thankful that Tammy & Neal coordinated with Derick and gave me a gift card to Joanne's so I can buy all the things I need to get started on sewing projects.
3. Being able to drive the company cars. Saves on gas and the company cars are so much more comfy than my car.
4. The amesome map of the world my brother got me for my birthday. It comes with little pins so you can mark where you've been. Pretty neat!!
5. Plans to go to Lure tonight and eat some tiger fries with Megan! Can't wait!

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9th, 2012 - JJ

1. It's my birthday!
2. The wonderful Easter we had yesterday. Derick and I hid eggs for each other around the house and made each other easter baskets. I definitely got the better end of the deal, as he bought me a book I'd been wanting, my favorite Burts Bees pomegranate chapstick, a bar of fancy espresso chocolate, and a french press! He also wrote each letter of "french press" on a little piece of paper and stuck it in the easter eggs so that I had to find all of them and unscramble the word before I got my Easter basket. It was so much fun!
3. All the food we had yesterday. Started off with french press coffee. Jess, you were not joking around when you said it's a thousand times better. I could not believe it! I think regular drip coffee is going to be hard to go back to after that (luckily I don't have to today....see #4 for why!). Then we made spring rolls with peanut sauce for lunch. We started off dinner with an appetizer of anchovy deviled eggs (AMAZING!), followed by ham glazed with Tammy's pepper jam and covered with pineapple slices and whole cloves, au gratin potatoes which I added garlic and aleppo pepper to to make it extra delicious, and our attempt at the green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette that we had at Girl & the Goat. SO DELICIOUS!  Finished up with carrot cake. So thankful for all the food blessings in my life!
4. Jenna, who brought me a birthday latte to work this morning!  This toffee nut latte pairs pretty well with carrot cake for breakfast. :) She also brought me a bottle of wine, which I will enjoy this evening with sushi! YUM!
5. That I have no appointments today, so I was able to wear jeans to work on my birthday.
6. The kids I babysit for, Beck and Ava, who are so considerate for their age. We rarely watch movies when I sit for them, but whenever we do they always agree that we should watch a movie that I either haven't seen or want to watch. It surprises me every time. This weekend we watched The Spiderwick Chronicles. So great!
7. Casey's 5 things e-mail from Ireland. I loved it! I can't wait until she gets back so I can see all the pictures and hear about her adventures!
8. The wonderful birthday present Muffin gave me this morning. She's finally decided that she'll play with Allagash rather than just running away from him or hissing at him. It was nice to see them playing this morning before I left for work.
9. Allagash, who is adorable and hilarious. He makes me smile every day.
10. The Zombie Oragami book that Kate gave me! I asked to borrow it and she said I could keep it. I'm pretty excited to make some zombies!

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 6th, 2012 - JJ

1. Wikipedia. Helping me remember things that have been forced out of my brain in order to make room for more pertinent information. It seems I've replaced all the info I knew about Ataxia with info about Smith-Magenis. Thanks to wikipedia I now remember all I need to know about both, but I'm wondering what's been pushed out to make room this time?

2. Hydrogen peroxide, for keeping my cat scratches from getting infected and for not hurting when applied.

3. It's FRIDAY! Can't wait to get the work day overwith and get home and relax!

4. Megan Mims, for remembering that my birthday is coming up and for wanting to celebrate with me. I'm getting excited about having a girls' night next weekend!

5. Derick, who has decided to make me an easter basket this year AND hide easter eggs for me to find. I'm so excited!!! I also love that he knows that there is a difference between Easter and my birthday even though they're only a day apart, and has apparently gotten me little Easter presents that have nothing to do with my birthday present. It's going to be a good weekend! :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5th - Heather

1. Vacation! I may not be traveling, but it will be nice to spend the next seven days with my nose in a book...maybe books is more accurate!

2. The ease and peace of the morning. I got up and swirled around the kitchen warming up my breakfast and making a cup of coffee while picking up the kitchen a bit...all while the tv played the soothing sounds of the Music choice soundscapes channel.

3. Getting to watch the cats sleep. After running themselves sleepy they have curled up and are zonked out!!!!

4. The sweet potato chili that mom made last night. It was warm and definitely hit the spot for lunch.

5. My memories....I know that sounds like a rather random thing to be thankful for, but since I didn't have to go to work today, I went for a walk. We've lived in this apartment for a year and a half and had yet to take the walking trail that runs south of the complex. I decided I would today. The path winds around the greenbelt that lies between our complex and the elementary school and neighboring residential area. As I rounded the greenbelt I came up towards the back side of the school. The first thing I saw was the soccer field.
In that instant, before the smile could even spread across my face, with my left foot on the trail in Wisconsin, my 10 year old right foot kicked the soccer ball on the field where we used to play in Italy. I went to school on the army base where my dad was stationed. Across the street from the front of the school was the dental clinic where my mom volunteered. Across the street from the side of the school was a huge field between the school and the fence that separated the American grass from the Italian grass. It was where we played soccer for hours (it was also where the chinook helicopters landed to refuel as they carried care packages to Somalia that year). It wasn't recess, it wasn't was the never ending time between the last bell and taps. Otherwise known as the roughly two hours between the end of the school day and the end of the work day. We weren't friends, not really. Truth be told the group of us that played soccer after school spent every moment in school fighting with each other. But we still played soccer together because it was Italy after all and what else we were going to do while we waited for our parents to get off of work?
Still in Wisconsin, my feet kept traveling the trail and as I walked past the soccer field I saw the monkey bars. In short order I was back across the Atlantic, but not back in Wisconsin. I was in El Paso, Texas, in middle school, playing on the monkey bars with Corey and Sofi and our friends. The monkey bars were on the lower football field...with the grass they could never keep green and lush in the desert. We spent most of our free time there, not because we really played on the monkey bars, but because it was in the shade of the school building...and shade was a rare commodity in the desert.
With the hardships and obstacles that life has placed in front of me, I'm thankful that on a crisp, sunny day, I can take a walk down memory lane and smile!

April 5th, 2012 - JJ

Sorry for my absence of several days! I was out of town. I've added a few extra in an attempt to make up for it! :)
1. That I do not live in Wrigley anymore so I don't have to deal with the madness that is Cubs season. Today is opening day and I am so glad I am not there!!
2. Tammy's pasta salad. It's so simple and SO amazing. I ate the rest of it for lunch today and loved every bite!
3. Tammy's chess cake. I should've had it Sunday night even though I was so stuffed. It is crazy delicious and I've already finished off every crumb we brought home with us!  :)
4. That Derick and I were able to be in North Carolina for Jenny's birthday. It was a lot of fun!!
5. The delicious smell of clean clothes after they've been washed at Derick's parents' house. They use a very yummy scented fabric softener and let the clothes soak in it and the smell is almost intoxicating. I remember the first time Derick came back to Chicago after being in NC over Christmas two years ago and I could not stop sniffing his shoulder because his clothes smelled so good!! Now my clothes smell like that and I love it!
6. Gladys, Derick's cousin's girlfriend. She taught Derick and Tammy how to make homemade taquitos while we were in NC (I was too busy eating everything she put in front of me to learn how to make it myself...)and everything she made was delicious! I can't wait until Derick decides to make me some of the tomatillo salsa she taught him how to make. Also thankful that I now know how to make mexican sour cream, which is a thousand times more delicious than regular sour cream as well as twice as much money at the store. Now I can buy the inexpensive stuff and make it delicious on my own. :) Also, Gladys is hilarious and wonderful and a lot of fun to be around! And she brought me mexican pastries which I'm also very thankful for!
7. Free Starbucks coffee for my birthday! Got the card in the mail yesterday and traded it in for a venti iced soy caramel macchiato this morning. So delicious!!
8. That I only have a 3 day work week this week thanks to the vacation days I took to go to NC.
9. That Derick's family lives within driving distance. I wish mine lived that close too, but at least we can drive to one of our homes away from home when we need a break from Chicago. I really love our trips down to NC and wish we could take them more often!
10. Muffin and Allagash, even though they're not getting along. Allagash is SO cute and playful and purrs almost all the time (unless Muffin is in sight). I'm very thankful that his nails are so short, because I probably would have some scars from him if they were not! I made the mistake of getting in between the two cats when they were trying to fight and Allagash decided to attack me when I tried to pick him up to remove him from the room. I'm thankful for Muffin because she tried to defend me which I thought was really cute, except that I do believe she could eat Allagash for dinner if she put her mind to it. Fingers crossed that they get the aggression out of their systems by the end of the weekend. I am very thankful that we finally have Allagash at home and thankful to Tammy and Neal for taking such good care of him! He's such a cute little snuggle bug!

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2nd - Heather

1.  A nice dinner at the dining table.  It's too easy to get comfortable sitting on the couch vegging out in front of the TV and fighting to keep the cats out of our dinner plates.  It was nice to enjoy a stuffed chicken breast, yummy salad and chocolate cherry wine at the table tonight.

2.  Friday was an awesome, if unexpected, day!  I had taken the day off thinking that my day would consist of wandering through a special floral exhibition at the Art Museum and trying a highly recommended fish fry....instead my  mom and I found all kinds of cool finds in some really unexpected places...

3.  One of which was the purchase of my first digital camera!  I know it's kind of hard to believe that I haven't purchased a digital camera before now...but I've had cameras, albeit not fantastic ones, on my cell phones and haven't really made the purchase of one a priority.  But I found a pretty great camera at a pretty great as soon as I get it connected to my computer get ready for some shutter happy pics!

4.  I found some really inexpensive....okay, really cheap! to get crafty with.  I'm not terribly crafty, but I have a couple practice projects that I'm hoping turn out to be super simple!

5.  That our kittens are so happy about being in the car!  Because we've traveled with them, even just around town to the pet stores, so much from such a young age, they are happy in car.  We drove out the a pet store called the End of the Leash this last weekend and packed up the cats and their litter box.  End of the Leash is only about 25 minutes away, but we spent enough time in the car for the cats to find "toys" to play with.

6.  That today was so productive.  I love when Monday's feel more productive than's even more important for Monday's to feel like this when they are the beginning of short weeks....hence...

7.  All of the vacation days I have coming up.  I have 7 days off around Easter...7days that I hope to fill with cleaning and reading.  Maybe I can catch up to JJ reading the Song of Ice and Fire series...haha!!!!!