Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween, 2012 - Heather

1. An opportunity taken! I might well be certifiably insane, but I just committed to my first NaNoWriMo endeavor! NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month. Over the course of the next month I will be attempting to write a novel of, at least, 50,000 words...because a full time job, two grad classes, and handmade holiday gifts wasn't enough to occupy my time for the month of November. Even if I don't reach the 50,000 words in the end, I'm excited to try! Keep an eye out for updates on my progress. And feel free to send some encouraging words my way along this journey!

2. Working with supportive people who will do their best to accommodate anything you need...even when you ask at the last minute! I have two papers due in the next two weeks that are based on interviewing people outside of my family. I had been so preoccupied with the two separate group projects that we just finished this past Monday, I had forgotten to really give interviewees serious thought three weeks ago, when I should have been arranging this. So with the first paper due this coming Monday, I asked Sue, one of my directors, if I could interview her, knowing that she was crazy busy, but also knowing that if she could squeeze me in, she would! I'm thankful for her willingness to sit down with me and I'm thankful for her time!

3. My iPad. Reason number 5,837 that I'm thankful for my iPad: I knew that I wanted to use a voice recorder during the interview that I conducted over lunch...and I have a recorder in my desk drawer....but I couldn't remember if it needed batteries or not. So I picked up my fully charged iPad and downloaded a great, free voice recorder app, AudioMemos, that worked perfectly!

4. Josie, for being brave enough to be my first interviewee! I am so glad that she was willing to let me interview her. It allowed me to focus on the assignments without having to worry about nerves or second guessing myself, because we were friends.

5. Using kitten bath time as time out! I give the cats a bath when they are being really bad...I mean dart out the front door bad, or jump across an innocent bystander on the couch while playing and use their face as a springboard bad. They get a real water and shampoo bath (not the premoistened towelettes bath), towel dried, and then wrapped up and held until dry enough to not shiver outside the blanket. They get clean, get punished, and chill out in the process...all without harboring any resentment for the forced cuddling.


Halloween, 2012 - JJ

1. Schedule flexibility at work. It's nice to be able to come and go as I need to without being questioned or checked up on.
2. Netflix, for having the entire series of Alias available. I LOVE this show. I can't stop watching it!
3. Salted caramel sauce in my coffee. How did I live without this stuff before? I am officially addicted!
4. Halloween. Even though we're not dressing up, it's still a lot of fun to eat candy and watch scary movies. :)
5. Last, but definitely not least: Ripley had her first accident free day yesterday!!! So exciting!!! And she's sleeping in her crate for 8 hours straight, and hasn't cried when we put her in there at night for the last two days. So much progress!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30th - Heather

1. The winter coat in my trunk. I know it's an odd place to keep a winter coat....but man that wind was cold today! I was glad that I only had to shiver over to my car to grab my coat.

2. Thankful for the stickers on my car...they led to a new friend today. As I pulled into a parking space at the grad center the young woman in the car next to me noticed my UTEP stickers and asked me if that was where I went to school...who knew I would find another Miner all the way up here in Wisconsin?!

3. The Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership conference that I was able to attend at the end of last week. It happened to be on our campus this year and I was fortunate enough to be able to go. It was really the first kind of women's leadership event I had ever been to. It was an interesting group of women and just a great vibe! Very empowering!

4. Watching Alice and Edward curl up and sleep on the corner of my bed....they really are just too cute!

Alice is just over 3 months, and Edward is just over a year old!
5. That last night's group presentation for class went so well. With two group presentations back to back for the two different classes I'm taking, I'm exhausted. But on the next major assignments I go!


Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29th, 2012 - JJ

1. All of the amazing food Derick cooked for me on Saturday.  He made me a surprise romantic dinner while taking care of Ripley so that I could relax. Started with a black cherry chipotle margarita and sausage stuffed mushrooms. Main course was shepherd's pie, which is one of my all time favorite foods! Dessert was decadent: browned butter and pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream frosting. Amazing! I can't wait to go home for lunch in a few hours to eat the left overs! I am very thankful that Derick made such delicious food, and that he chose foods that I love and ended up eating quite a few vegetables in the process.
2. That Ripley slept in her crate for almost 9 hours last night without making a single peep (except when we first put her in there, of course). Amazing!
3. That I get to see Anna this afternoon/evening for two late observations. If I have to have late observations I'm glad they're with someone awesome!
4. Scary movies and snuggling on the couch. So far we've watched The Innkeepers (awful!!) and Evil Dead (so cheesy and ridiculous). Not sure what scary movie we'll watch tonight, but we're on a mission to watch a bunch this week. :) Gotta love Halloween!!
5. Nail polish. I've still got some of the hot pink shellac on my nails from our honeymoon because I think it's crazy to pay someone to take that stuff off, so nail polish has been awesome in helping me keep it covered up until it grows out completely. Hopefully I've only got another two weeks or so until that happens.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24th, 2012 - JJ

1. My parents. I talk to them almost every day and I don't know what I'd do without them. They're crazies, but they're wonderful!!
2. The warm weather we're having today. Ripley and I went for a walk at lunch time and I didn't need a sweater or a coat. It was great!  I can't believe it's this warm at the end of October!
3. That I can make our new intern, Matt, laugh a lot! The other intern is pretty stoic, but Matt will burst into a fit of laughter if you get your jokes right, and I love that!
4. Franks Red Hot Sauce, especially on pizza or french fries. YUM! So glad I met Derick and Megan Mims and began to embrace spicy food!
5. My lovely Megan Noon, whose birthday is today! I am so thankful that we've kept our friendship strong over the years and that even though we've got a lot of miles between us now, we still talk all the time! Megan always makes me laugh and is always fun to be around. I just love her!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23rd - Heather

1.  Watching people in the car behind me squint to read my license plate cover and then watching their face when they don't get it!  :)  My cover says "I drive more like a Cullen than a cow" in red letters on a black metal background with red apples in the corners.  Hehehehe.

2.  Hearing Mariah Carey's Vision of Love and remembering that I used to be able to hit all of those high notes once upon a time...and then remembering sitting on the back of the school bus singing songs from Mariah Carey's first album all the way to school and back home in the afternoon.

3.  A random text from an old friend.  It's always nice to feel like no time has passed when in reality it's been years!

4.  The first of two formal group presentations is about to be history!  T-90 minutes!!!!

5.  My newest playlist oh so cleverly named by mashing up the names of the middle and high schools that I went to: Baustin Migh!  It's by far the era of music I have the most of.  It's quite an ecclectic mix and I'm loving it!  I mean ecclectic...the last song was Randy Travis's I Told You So and the next song is TLC's No Scrubs!  Lots of musical ground to cover in the last 7 years of the century!!!!

October 23rd, 2012 - JJ

1. Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. All the coffee in the world, and especially all the coffee in my house. Also, my "No place like home" coffee cup from Pam. Fits my homesick mood pretty well this morning.
2. That Ripley is so damn cute. Otherwise she'd have been thrown out the window days ago.
3. Our first night of no crate cries. Took us two and a half weeks to get here and I really hope we're here to stay. Those cries kill me.
4. Derick, for many reasons, but today I'm thankful that he picked out such a beautiful engagement ring. I still catch myself staring at it in awe regularly.
5. For my coworker, Jen.  I get to talk to her first thing in the morning every Tuesday becuase we have a conference call together, and she always makes me smile. She's so happy and energetic, and fun loving. You can't help but be in a better mood for having talked to her.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22nd, 2012 - JJ

1. That my parents were able to visit this weekend. I had a great time with them this weekend and wish we lived closer so we could hang out with them more regularly!
2. Our trip to Michigan. It was short, but winning the game against MSU made it very sweet (sorry, Casey!)!! It seems Derick is our good luck charm for seeing victories at the Big House. :)
3. Derick's friends from camp, Jonny & Greta. They are so nice, and so much fun! And their friends put on a great tail gate party! Can't wait till the next one.
4. That Ripley can now be trusted alone in the living room for the time it takes me to shower. She didn't make any gross messes on the floor and she didn't destroy anything!! SUCCESS!  AND we've had an accident free day so far. Gotta love that! :)
5. Jenna and Terry, for taking care of Ripley while we went to the football game in Michigan this weekend. It was so great to take a break from being a puppy parent for over 24 hours and even better that we didn't have to worry about her because we knew she was in good hands!! I also loved the photos and videos Jenna sent me to help ease my separation anxiety. Seems like Ripley had a ton of fun playing with the big dogs!!
6. That I finally got my hot little hands on a Detroit Starbucks mug! I've been wanting to add one to my collection for a while but never seemed to be able to find a Starbucks in Michigan that carried them until this weekend! Can't wait until it's clean and I can hang it up on the wall with the rest of 'em! Now I just need a Seattle mug and a North Carolina mug to complete my collection (at least until my next trip!)!! :)
7. A quiet afternoon/evening in with Ripley. Derick is at the Chicago Film Festival tonight, and although it would be more awesome to be with him than to be here, a big part of me is excited to stay home with the puppy and catch up on some paper work for work. I must be getting old...
8. The rainy weather we've had in Chicago today. Makes me miss home.
9. Naps. I'm about to take one since Ripley is taking one, and it's going to be amazing!
10. Netflix, for having the entire series of Alias available for me to watch. I can't get enough!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20th - Heather

1. Pumpkin macarons from Trader Joes! Amazing doesn't even begin to describe them!

2. The whole Harry Potter series on blu-ray. One of the few times I can really see the HD difference! May not be the least distracting thing to have on while working on class work, but a worthy distraction!

3. The iced gingerbread scented hand soap my mom bought for smells so good that the youngest kitten has a hard time not chomping on freshly washed fingers.

4. Lane Bryant's LB2Me program. Free shipping on the matching cami that they didn't have in the store when I bought this great green sweater last's a wonderful thing.

5. An impromptu drive to the Pine Cone Cafe in Johnson's Creek for dinner last night...and all the leftovers we brought home with us!

6. Christmas decorations and fun stuff popping up in stores. I know it's too early for some people...but I can't get enough!

7. NOAA predictions that include less snow than normal for this area! Let's hope they got it right. I also hope that doesn't mean that it's going to be below 20 degrees all winter.

8. Productive days for a short week. The university was closed for Fall Break so this last week was only three days long and surprisingly I got quite a bit of work accomplished.

9. Sleepy, snuggley cats. They're just so cute!

10. Advance tickets to see Breaking Dawn Part 2. I really can't wait!

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19th, 2012 - JJ

1. For the delicious gelato that Heather & Kathy brought for us from Wisconsin. They packed it in an insulated lunch box with a ton of ice packs and it miraculously didn't melt too much before they made it to Chicago!  The stuff is delicious. It's the Talenti brand and we got chocolate peanut butter, banana chocolate swirl, and best of all: salted caramel!!!!  So amazing. I ate gelato for dinner Wednesday night after a long, long day at work and that combined with puppy and husband snuggles made everything ok in my world. :)
2. It's FRIDAY!  Better yet, it's pay day! Best of all, I get to pick my parents up from the airport this evening and hang out with them all weekend! Can't wait!
3. The fancy new bed stuff we bought with some of our wedding money. Haven't put it on the bed yet, but it's going to look amazing! I'm pretty excited to have our bedroom look and feel like grown up bedroom again!
4. That Ripley did so well yesterday when I took her with me to get the oil changed and the tires rotated in my (parents') car. Also thankful that the people at the dealership were ok with me taking her into the waiting area so we didn't have to spend the hour and a half walking around outside in the cold and wind. Everyone loved her and complimented me on how well behaved and beautiful she is. Then we went home and she terrorized Allagash and peed on the floor. Can't win 'em all, I guess!
5. That this morning David told me that I'm an Sd for fantasy novels after he made a vaugue reference to the eagles in The Lord of the Rings (basically being in my presence makes him think of fantasy novels more frequently than normal). The conversation went as follows, Me: "wow, those dark clouds over there make it look like we're heading to Doom!" David: "Well I hope the eagles are on their way already..."  I realize this is geeky, but I love it. I hope I will always be the kind of person that brings good fantasy novels to mind for people. :)
6. Coffee. Can't live without it!!!
7. For the homemade chicken jerky that Tammy gave us. Ripley LOVES it and surprisingly, so does Allagash! I've had to hide it so Allagash won't try to eat it through the bag.
8. Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin mochas, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin scones, pumpkin air freshener, etc. I love it all!
9. The hilarious conversations that happen in our office now that we have two sarcastic interns and Jen on our team. Lots of inappropriate humor, and I don't think I could get through office time without it. :)
10. Flexibility at work. I can't be thankful for it enough! I love that I can work from home when I need to, and that I can always go home in the middle of the day to let Ripley out. It's pretty amazing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17th, 2012 - JJ

1. For my parents, who have been married for 37 years today!
2. That our landlord is coming out tomorrow am to fix all the problems we're having in our apartment. Fingers crossed everything is easy and quick to fix so that I don't have to continue to deal with a backed up bathroom sink, leaky toilet, leaky ceiling, and furnace pilot light that won't stay lit. Let's also hope everything gets fixed before my parents arrive Friday night.
3. That I'm still doing a decent job of keeping our house mostly clean despite the puppy. I'm pretty proud of myself.
4. For a quiet office, where I can get some work done, and where I can go to get away from our puppy and get my sanity back for a few hours.
5. For nice neighbors. Ripley has made friends with most of the people in our building and it turns out that they're all very wonderful.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11th, 2012 - JJ

1. For puppy shampoo and puppy cleaning wipes, so that dirty puppies can be made clean easily which makes them smell better.
2. For puppy toys, which keep puppies from chewing on things they shouldn't, such as toes and furniture.
3. For redirection. And for having so many puppy toys to redirect Ripley to when she's getting into something she shouldn't be.
4. For squeaky toys, which make her come running EVERY time.
5. For an almost pee-accident-on-the-floor free morning. Almost....
6. That having the radio on in the crate/guest room helps Ripley to cry less when she's in her crate. Which means I sleep better at night and feel like less of an evil mean puppy mom for making her sleep in there all alone.
7. For coffee. Sweet, sweet, heavenly, caffeinated goodness. My life's blood, and the only thing getting me through the days (only 4?!?! how is that possible?!) since Saturday.
8. For Derick, without whom crate training would've been abandoned in less than 3 minutes because I am not made of strong enough stuff to get through hours (minutes?) of heart wrenching crate cries on my own. Also that he didn't think I was being ridiculous or over reacting as I laid in the bed shaking all night the first night because I was so worked up over her cries.
9. For Jenna, my mom, Emily, Jake, and Elaine down stairs who have given me so much puppy advice over the last several days. And that my mom didn't laugh too hard when I called her in a panic after less than 1 minute of heartwrenching crate cries on Saturday night.
10. For neighbors who have dogs and so are not upset about the above mentioned crate cries. Also thankful for thick walls and/or for neighbors who are good at lying, because if they're telling it true, no one can hear her at night except for us which is frankly shocking.
11. That Ripley is so dang adorable, because otherwise I'd probably have thrown her out a window by now.
12. That I've mostly figured out a routine for the morning at this point, and that I'm getting so much better at getting ready while watching her. I haven't left the house with two different earrings on since Tuesday, and I'm almost positive that I remembered to brush my teeth and put on deodorant this morning, so we're making progress.
13. For clorox wipes, and paper towels, and Nature's Miracle pet cleaner, without which my house would smell so, so bad!
14. That the cats are extremely tolerant of Ripley's presence in their house, and that Allagash seems to really want to be friends with her.
15. For everyone who keeps telling me it's going to get easier.

October 11th - Heather

1.  I'm thankful that, as a girl, I have been educated and empowered.  Today is the first annual Day of the Girl as established by the UN to bring awareness and change to the treatment of girls around the world.  I am fortunate that as a girl child my ability to be educated was never challenged and my voice was never silenced!

2.  I'm thankful to have grown up around people who not only refused to silence my voice, but encouraged me to speak...even when I was the only child in a room full of adults.

3.  I'm thankful that I have lived in a country where women and girls were idolized and that I currently live in a country where women and girls and encouraged to find opportunities to become more than they were as a gender historically.

4.  I'm thankful for having known men that monopolize and mistreat their women only because I know it's easy to think social problems like this doesn't exsist if you don't see them first hand.  While I haven't been on the receiving end of such treatment, I've seen it in the lives of friends and family-friends over the years.

5.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to mentor girls younger than myself, so that they may have the encouragement that I had that leads them to empowerment.  Many of the girls (who are now women) would have found empowerment without me in their lives, but I'm thankful to have been a part of their journey as we all work towards accomplishing wonderful things!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10th - Heather

Some days it's too easy to get hung up on all the things I don't have...the boyfriend/fiancee/husband that I haven't met...the kids I don't have....the salary and sense of accomplishment in a chosen career...etc.  Everyone says your 20's are some of the best years.  And I'm sure one day I'll look back on the opportunities and risks I've taken and cherish the memories I've made.  But not everyday feels like something worth cherishing.  I just feel like I'm barely getting by both fiscally and emotionally.  No matter where I am, I long to be somewhere else.

I was catching up on season 7 of How I Met Your Mother and it was so eery to see so much of myself reflected in the comedy of a TV show.  And for as much as it felt reflective of my life, it also reflects the dynamic of the group of friends that I was a part of in DC.  A group of friends that are gearing up to  go to the same bar we went to for Election night four years ago.  It's hard to believe that it was that long ago.  And it's hard for me to wrap my head around not being there and not being a part of that this election year.

There are many things in life that I'm thankful for, but tonight isn't feeling like a thankful night.  Tonight I'm feeling a bit isolated and impatient, emotional and raw.  Tomorrow the sun will rise and I will be smiling under the stress of chapters to read, research to do, papers to write and a job to work (that alone is something to be thankful for in this economy).  But tonight...tonight I let a few tear drops roll.    

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 5th, 2012 - JJ

1. WE GET RIPLEY TOMORROW!!!!!!! In less than 24 hours! So exciting!!! :)
2. For pizza and wings from Sarpinos. I should completely hate myself for the things I ate yesterday (including McDonalds for both breakfast AND was a rough day, guys!), but they were SO delicious, so I only hate myself a little...
3. For Tammy's homemade dill pickles. I'm pretty sure I ate half a jar of them yesterday (yes, I ate a lot yesterday...) and they got better with every bite. So good!!
4. For all the jokes and laughter in the office I share with Jenna this morning. This week has provided us with quite a lot of material to mock and amuse ourselves with, and I really needed the laughs this morning. I'm also thankful for Jenna, Jen, Matt, David (even though he wasn't here today the jokes he has made in the past are always good for another laugh), Hello Kitty, and that we all (minus David as he missed the joke by being absent) have the same idea about what some people mean when they say "closure."
5. It's Friday for reals today. All day yesterday I kept thinking it was Friday even though it obviously wasn't. I'm glad real Friday is here so the weekend can start, and Ripley can come home, and we can finally drink the fancy riesling we got for our wedding that we were saving to drink in celebration of getting our puppy.
6. For sleep. I got quite a lot of it this week because I know that once we are officially puppy parents we will hardly ever sleep anymore. So I'm thankful for all the good nights of sleep I've been getting lately and I can't wait to be thankful for good nights of sleep to start again in about 8 months or a year when Ripley can sleep through the night too.

October 5th - Heather

1.  Computerized countdowns.  Like this one that tells me just how many days until Downton Abby starts!  :)

2.  That tickets are already on sale for Breaking Dawn.  Also thankful for mom putting in for a vacation day so that we can go to a midnight showing without me having to feel guilty about her going to work on no sleep the next day! :)

3.  Next week is fall break...2 days off from class and work...which also roughly speaking means the midpoint of the semester!

4.  I'm getting closer to a thesis topic!  I'm not there yet, but I have a couple of solid ideas.  I start my thesis core in January!  How scary is that!

5.  A good hair day.  That may sound trivial...but my hair and I don't always see eye to eye.

6.  That my kitten, Alice has taken to curling up in my bed for the night....and that I'm learning to actually sleep with her there!

7.  Coffee...even bad coffee is good when absolutely necessary!

8.   The beautiful fall leaves that my boss pinned to my white board after I left work last night.  They have this beautiful pink/orange glow to them.

9.  Lunch at ABP with my coworker Jodi.  It's a nice walk from our offices and the fall weather was cool and crisp.  Just so pleasant.  And as a a good friend she kept me away from all of the sweet treats while we were getting our lunches!

10.  I get to meet Ripley this weekend after JJ and Derick pick her up!  I get to see them too!  So excited!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4th, 2012 - JJ

1. Getting to go to the Cubs game on Tuesday night with Em, Erica, Jake, and Josh! Tons of fun and it was Derick's first Cubs game.
2. French fries. My favorite ever.
3. That I was finally able to snag a company car for my visits this week. I was only able to get a company car for one visit in all of last month which means I'm drowning under the weight of my gas bill at the moment. Therefore I'm also thankful that we get mileage reimbursements. Because I don't think I'd be able to afford this job without it!
4. This clip: Sent to me by Heather. Hilarious description of what I do for a living (and he only misused terminology once that I caught, which is pretty good for the general public!)!
5. 1.5 more days until Ripley!!! I've been trying to get all the sleep I can in anticipation of being kept awake by sad puppy noises at night, but I'm still really excited! Is it Saturday yet?????
6. Coffee. I've given up on quitting it. It's too good and too vital for survival at this point. I've moved the coffee pot to a permanent location on the counter now. I'm even considering using the timer and setting it up to automatically start brewing before I wake up in the morning. I am thankful for an awesome coffee pot that can do these things, and for having enough money to afford my coffee habit.
7. That I was able to solve a problem at work yesterday with a relatively small amount of yelling and arguing and that I was able to end the conversation amicably. And I even had a pleasant exchange with the individual in question this morning which was fantastic and I'm very thankful that we worked through the issue professionally (mostly). Thankful for small miracles.
8. That I don't have to bring work home tonight. I'm really looking forward to spending time with Derick while we make an attempt to puppy-proof our home.
9. For the fact that life is full of opportunities, and that I have the ability to make changes if I need to. 
10. For nail polish. Making me feel girly and cute even when I'm stressed out and have messy hair. It's the little things. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd, 2012 - JJ

1. Delicious and amazing BBQ pork from the party in North Carolina. It's so good I can't get over it! Also thankful for the yummy BBQ sauces that Tammy made and for the left overs that came home with us!
2. That we got to spend time with family and friends over the weekend. It was so great to see Amy and to get to know Abby better, and to spend more time with Jenny and Lomax. And it's always great to see Tammy and Neal and Cameron and all of Derick's extended family in NC. I wish we could've stayed longer!
3. 3 days until Ripley!!! I want her now!
4. Blackberry. Wine. Cake.  OMG you guys. Seriously.
5. That we're going to the Cubs' game tonight with Em & Erica and their men! Can't wait!