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September 2012
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November 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

I've found something I don't like about living in Connecticut. Sitting here on an abnormally quiet Sunday evening, worrying... stressing... trying to stave off anxiety attacks over the coming hurricane. Most of the shoreline was evacuated today which is kind of scary. I'm far enough from the actual shore that I should be okay, but that's only a partial relief. I'm sitting here, constantly worrying over whether or not I took this seriously enough. Do I have enough water? Enough food? Should I have bought more batteries or a generator or something? I probably should have refreshed the stuff in my 72-hour kit. I'm high enough that I shouldn't have to worry about flooding, but there are only so many places where I can park my car, and none of them is particularly safe. I had to settle for not parking directly under the giant maple where I usually park, and hopefully out of the way of as many trees as possible. I pulled some loose branches out of the way and picked up some junk from around the yard and stowed it in the basement, but did I leave any other potential missiles sitting out overlooked? Should I have tried to put my trashcan in the basement?

I'm managing to worry about every.possible.thing. Twenty-seven times. each.

I have a blistering headache and my stomach is in knots. I'm a pretty independent person, but this is one time when being on my own really blows. But it will be okay. Although I've never been this close to the water before, it's not my first hurricane. Unfortunately the memory of the winds slamming into the house and making me afraid the windows were going to give way at any moment isn't helping. lol.

My attempt at blogging as a distraction? Fail. Heh.

Well, since I'm here anyway, and since I haven't been around for a while, I thought I'd share a few things from the last week or so while I still have power.

Last weekend, I hopped on the train late Friday afternoon for a quick trip down to New York City to meet Mom and Nicole. Nicole wanted to come up and see some shows as her birthday present, but we couldn't get a time that would work closer to the actual date, so we planned this as a last minute trip. I had a terrible time getting into the city, but finally made it, got to the hotel near Grand Central, and managed to catch a cab to Times Square in time to catch a little dinner.

The view from our hotel while I was waiting for a cab:

New York B-day trip 1

And then our birthday desserts at the restaurant after I finally found them...

New York B-day trip 2

New York B-day trip 3

As we walked through the square on the way to the theater, we had a little treat! The Naked Cowboy!

New York B-day trip 4
Mom wanted us to go in for a photo, but this was good enough for me!

Then, onto our show for the evening - we saw Mary Poppins, which was really quite wonderful.

New York B-day trip 5
After the show we walked a bit until we could catch a cab, then went back to the hotel and just crashed!

New York B-day trip 6
Saturday morning we slept in, then got up and called and managed to get tickets to Newsies. Woohoo! We also enjoyed the view of the Empire State Building from our room:

New York B-day trip 7
So since we didn't have to go stand in line at the half-price ticket booth, we went over to the restaurants at Grand Central and had lunch at Juniors. They had good reviews on my Foodspotting app, plus Rick swears their cheesecake is the best. I had a salad, but we shared a slice of cheesecake and it was indeed delicious.

Then, off to the theater for our matinee!

New York B-day trip 8
After the show, we went back and picked up mom's car and they dropped me at Grand Central before heading out to drive back home. While I was at the train station, I stopped in at the Apple store to see if I could get an appointment at the Genius bar to fix my iPod. Both my iPod and my Kindle crapped out while I was home in Virginia at the beginning of the month. I'd replaced the Kindle, and as it turned out, I had to replace the iPod too. But doing it at the Genius bar saved me a lot over buying a new one (and of course, it died after my Apple Care expired!) so I was all set and grabbed the train back to New Haven. It was a super fast trip, but it was fun - good to see mom and Nicole, and we saw two really awesome shows. I can't really say which I liked more - they were both outstanding!

In other news, I bought myself a new toy this last week. It wasn't intended to be a birthday present to myself, but it works out that way, which is probably going to be a good thing considering that my birthday will probaby be, quite literally, a wash out this year. (Ha!)

Happy birthday to me - new tv
I'd had my old 30" TV since... well, a long time. lol. Like 18 years! So I decided it was finally time to get a new one. Craig and Ryan went with me on Tuesday and we had lunch at Chipotle (Ryan's favorite) and then went to Costco to get the TV. I had narrowed it down to a few choices, and they helped me make the final decision, then we loaded this bad boy into Ryan's truck. After work Tuesday they all came over and brought it in and installed it while I made a thank-you dinner - braised short ribs and creamy parmesan-garlic polenta with yummy appetizers and stuff. It was delicious, and the TV is awesome. I'm absolutely loving it! Of course, I had to get a blu-ray to match... I feel like I'm finally out of the technology dark ages. It's lovely.

And today was Adorable-Niece-Aubrey's 2nd birthday. We had a terrible time getting my Skyped in for the party (interference from the storm killing the signal?) but finally I switched to FaceTime and that worked great... in time for me to see her devouring her cake and opening my present - I got her a hoppy ball thing that she can bounce on. She's still a little too short for it, but loves having someone set her on it and help her bounce. She had quite the birthday, and it was fun to see and chat with everyone.

Aubrey's 2nd birthday call
The kids always love seeing me on the video, and this time William got in on it too. They were all trying to give me kisses on the screen... so adorable. What did we do before technology got this advanced? I love how it makes it easier for our family to stay close no matter where we are.

Well, that's about it. Other than that, I've been doing laundry and cooking things to have that I can eat cold... trying to get as ready as I can for the storm. So now that I'm done with this, I think I'll go back to trying to keep myself from panicking. Hopefully everything will be okay and we'll all be safe and sound two days from now!

A little NYC, a little layout fun.

Last week I got to go down to New York for work. We had training with one of the vendors that I work with a lot, so Ryan and I headed out Monday afternoon to get checked in and settled for the first session early Tuesday morning. We took the train out of New Haven down to Grand Central Station (my first time visiting it, and my first state-side train ride!)

New York 1
The train ride is about an hour and 45 minutes, but pretty picturesque for the most part. Unfortunately there are too many starts and stops for me to read without getting sick, so I chatted with Ryan a bit and enjoyed the scenery. We got there and took a cab to our hotel - the Tribeca Grand. The hotel was awesome (our boss got us a great deal on Priceline!) and it was in a great location. We checked in and headed out to find food. While Ryan was Yelping, we happened to see Harvey Weinstein walking out and pausing for the paparazzi right in front of us - apparently the screening for Sinister was being held at our hotel! (Not that we knew who he was then... we had to look it up later. lol.) Anyway, we found a great Italian place just up the street - da Mikele. The whole meal was divine, but the appetizer we ordered was probably one of the best things we ate all week.

New York 2We saw these salumi platters on menus everywhere we went. Trendy? Whatever it was, it was simple but amazing. And something I can do at home when I have people over. Yum! Seriously... the honey is what made it. So good.

Our first day of training was good... a LOT of information and great stuff to take back with us. We finished about 4 and walked from their office in Soho back to our hotel to drop our stuff and change clothes, and then we set out to see some sights. We walked over to the World Trade Center since I hadn't been to NYC since way before 9/11 and I wanted to see the memorial and the new towers. We got there too late to go into the memorial (another time!) but it was cool to see the progress on the new site.

New York 3
We wandered from there over to Battery Park and saw The Sphere...

New York 4
and a few other sights.

New York 4b
New York 5
Then we went through the financial district and down Wall Street (another first for me) and then went back near our hotel to a restaurant I'd found on Foodspotting - Bread Tribeca. That was another totally delicious meal!

Wednesday on the way to our second day of training, we passed quite a crowd - we never did figure out what it was, but there was some filming at a building we passed - you can see the actor harnessed up on the window ledge with some of the crew and equipment around him.

New York 6
That was a super long training day. Good, lots of information, but LONG. After we finished, Ryan rested up and I went out to wander a bit in the shops on Broadway. I managed to keep from buying anything, but it was fun! Then I met Ryan and we had dinner at the hotel restaurant (great reviews on Foodspotting, and a good menu!) Another awesome meal, topped off with this:

New York 7
That's a salted caramel and chocolate tart with gold leaf on top. Ryan was afraid to eat it, so I endulged. You couldn't taste it, but it felt decadent! And boy was it delicious! We shared, but definitely couldn't finish.

Thursday was the last day - we checked out and hauled our bags 1/2 mile to the office where we had our last few hours of training (including a quick trip out to the street to get some fresh air and sample a cupcake from the street carts - delicious!) We finished up in the early afternoon and headed back to Grand Central for our train home.

In all, great trip. Learned a lot, saw great stuff, had some fun and ate really, really well. In the past I've never really liked visiting New York, but I think going back after 10-15 years and doing stuff that was less touristy and more *me* really made a difference. I'm looking forward to going back again... this weekend, as a matter of fact! This time to see a few shows with Mom and Nicole and hang out around Times Square instead of Soho / Tribeca. Should be fun!

In the meantime, I started a layout with some pictures from my trip down to Virginia a few weeks ago and finally managed to finish it tonight. Most everything is from the October Studio Calico kit. (Again with the blurry! I just can't get these full layout shots to work!)

Hangin' with the KiddosI had everything done days ago except the title and journaling - those just weren't coming. I like how the title turned out, but I'm not thrilled with how the journaling looks on the page. But it's there, it's done, and it's not too horrible, so I'm letting it go and moving on.

Hangin' with the Kiddos close-up 1
I do really like all the decorative details. I got back a little bit to the kinds of pages I used to do. Lots of fussy little details. I also challenged myself to use my Silhouette Cameo on this one. Love the circles! And for once, I decided not to stint on the Thickers. It's not like I'm in any danger of running out any time in the next 10 years!

Hangin' with the Kiddos close-up 2
Love the texture from the wood veneer stars (I need like 20 packs of those as backup for when they don't make them anymore!) and the liquid pearls.

Hangin' with the Kiddos close-up 3
So there you go. And hopefully... maybe? On to some more Project Life? I seem to say that a lot lately, so we'll see. I won't be around the next few days, so I guess another week will go by. But whatever... I refuse to stress!

I'm out!

Project Life - Week 37

I decided to take a little break from PL layouts... I'm back behind again, but it was a good break. I took off last weekend and went home to Virginia for a few days - spending the whole weekend and then working from my parent's house Monday and Tuesday before driving home early Wednesday morning and going straight to work. It was a great break and so good to see everyone, hang out, and relax. I still haven't taken my pictures off the camera, but I'll get there eventually.

In the meantime, I put together another digital Project Life layout while I listen to General Conference. Here's week 37:

I've already blogged most of these pictures, so I'm just doing a drive-by posting before I get back to conference. All the digital elements are from Gennifer Bursett at Design House Digital.