Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Quick Sidebar Note

This is just a quick note for all my readers. I have been keeping a couple lists on the sidebar of my blog. One is for all the books that I am currently reading or that I just finished reading. The other is for all Virginia vineyards that I have visited.

These are updated whenever a book is started/finished or whenever I check out a new vineyard, so be sure to take a quick look at the newest additions when you stop by. :)

If you find one to be particularly helpful/interesting, or if you have a suggestion for another list to add to the sidebar, feel free to let me know!

Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History"

March is almost over, and I have been thinking more about Women’s History Month and all the women whom I admire. Some are well-know, and others are not. Each works to accomplish something different; and none of them, I’m sure, are perfect. I admire these women because they are real. I love what makes them individuals, and I appreciate how some of them have not settled for society norms.

Here is a list of some women I admire (and this list is always growing):
  • Maria Rodale

  • Zooey Deschanel

  • Whitney Cummings

  • Sheryl Sandberg

  • My Grandmothers, Aunts, cousins, and girlfriends

  • Co-workers and team leads

  • L. M. Montgomery

  • Louisa May Alcott

  • Audrey Hepburn

  • Annie Oakley

  • Corrie ten Boom

If you did not realize it was Women’s History Month, never fear, you still have the rest of the week to celebrate – though there is no reason to confine your celebration to one month. :)

Always love what makes you YOU, and learn to admire the individuality of others!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Win!

Last night I did something I have never done before. I won a game of monopoly! And what’s really shocking is that I beat Dan the Monopoly King. :)

I would give a play-by-play, but I had been enjoying a nice couple glasses of wine. :) Maybe that’s where all the lucky rolls came from!

For anyone wondering, the wine was a Sweet Reserve White Wine by Rapidan River. It is yummy and inexpensive; you can even find it in VA Walmarts!

Either way, it was a fun night. Dan took the loss very well, and I’m sure he will cream me on the rematch. LOL

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy National Puppy Day!

I just found out that it is National Puppy Day! So, of course, I have to use today’s post to celebrate my wonderful puppies, Vander and Eva. :)

After waiting 24 years for a dog, I knew the moment I held him that Vander was going to be my dog. I had searched long and hard for a dog of my own, and I when I learned his puppy name was “Frank Sinatra,” I took it as a sign that we were destined to be together. (Frank Sinatra being one of my favorite singers)

Watching my fluffy, wiggly puppy turn into a big fluffy puppy has been one of the most fulfilling things I have done yet. Vander has been my one true companion for the last four years, during which his adorable, happy face has carried me through a lifetime of difficult days. He is not always an angel – like the day he tore a hole in my mattress. However, his unending devotion far outweighs his imperfections. Here are a couple cute shots of Vander:

When Dan moved in, I got to add another puppy to my family. Beautiful, intent Eva is a four year old Basenji-mix, with the bounciest waggy tail ever! She is both a hunter and a cuddly cat, and Vander has enjoyed having her around just as much as I have. Meet Eva:

There have been many other dogs in my life, though I did not own them personally. In fact, while I was growing up, I was more likely to know my neighbors by who owned what pets, than by actually knowing my neighbors’ names. LOL

I am also the proud aunt to my friend’s three dogs – Crash, Lexi, and Tobi – who are just as wonderful as their mother/owner. :)

As you go about your evening, think about all the cute, fuzzy, memorable puppies in your life. You may only have known them for a moment, but that does not mean you cannot love them for a lifetime!

Favorite Dog Quotes (given to me by a best friend):
“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.”
“My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dogs already think I am.”
“The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Checking in on St. Patty’s

What an insane last couple weeks! Life (work) has kept me busy and productive. However, this weekend, I did have some time to goof off and enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Saturday evening began with a trip to the Verizon store, where Dan and I purchased our new iPhones! (or what I lovingly refer to as my “new shiny”) We both got the same model, but Dan’s is white and mine is black. :)

With our new purchases in hand, we dropped the car off at home and walked across the street to a local pub called Mighty Mike’s. If you are ever in town, this is a fun place to visit. Being one of the few non-chain bars in NOVA, it definitely has the “small-town” feel that Dan and I both love.

The first thing I did when we sat down at the bar was pull out my new shiny and post my first official check-in. Woot! Being the Facebook addict that I am, I had longed for the day when my phone could support the Facebook app. With my first check-in complete, I smiled at the world (while Dan rolled his eyes) and took a sip of my green beer. Happy Days!

Our St. Patty’s celebration was simple but fun, filled with green beer, Jameson, and Guinness. Dan also taught me how to play darts. He won every game, but I learned not to jump when darts I had thrown bounced back at me. Heehee…

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“Somebody Sat on Me Again”

There were times growing up when I wanted to be invisible. I liked nothing better than to float under the radar. I never got in trouble, but I never got any recognition either. Looking back, I think part of it was my shy childhood personality, and I think part of it was probably the environment where I grew up (a cult is not exactly the nurturing environment that develops individuality).

I was so good at being invisible that when I took the private school’s carpool van, the driver constantly thought he forgot me. Years later, when I watched Princess Diaries for the first time, I was completely able to relate to Mia when someone sat on her:

In complete contrast to my childhood personality, I gave a presentation at work today about how my team could become more visible in our company. This is such an important topic in today’s business world, and one that I am learning about first-hand. For the meeting, I focused on five main methods for gaining visibility:
  1. Speak up – volunteer for projects and suggest new ideas

  2. Find and share pertinent information – talk or post about an interesting article or blog related to your job

  3. Attend optional meetings and events – be seen in the room and ask the presenter a question

  4. Join a group or start a trend – attending classes at the company gym had more benefits for me than just getting in shape! I learned how easy it was to make friends when suffering together. LOL

  5. Learn how to announce a job well-done – see it as a way to share ideas that were successful and gain insight on other opportunities to build off from an effective project.
The presentation went really well, and I had fun preparing and delivering it. Though, I think the best part was seeing my co-workers getting excited about how much we contribute to the company and how we can gain more recognition for what we do.

In case you did not notice, the shy girl from my childhood has slowly changed. I have been lucky enough to find a job where I can contribute and be a part of something important and relevant. It took me years to find it, but the searching and the jobs/classes in between helped prepare me to no longer be the invisible girl I used to be. :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Muddy Delima

The townhouse I rent has a lot of great features:
  • It is close to the major roads.
  • It is cheaper than any condos of similar, and often smaller, size.
  • It has a backyard.
  • It does not have assigned parking.
However, there is one major problem with my townhouse – the backyard is quite literally a mud pit.

Being raised by an arborist, I have always loved digging in the dirt and never had a problem growing plants. At least until I moved into this townhouse.

It was February when I first moved in, and the ground was covered in snow. When spring arrived, the snow melted, revealing an almost non-existent lawn. This did not discourage me though. Grass seed was purchased and scattered, and the dog was kept out of the backyard so it could grow.

My next challenge also arrived with spring. What started out as cute baby green leaves quickly grew into dinner plate sized monsters. Naturally, I wanted to trim some of the leaf-laden branches, but I was prevented from doing so because the tree is in my neighbor’s yard.

Determined not to be beaten, I struggled desperately to plant other greenery, including many varieties of shade-loving flowers and ground covers. This was when I discovered that not only was my lawn extremely shady, it was also perpetually damp. Even in the hottest, driest points of summer, there were still corners of my yard that were saturated in water! (talk about a mosquito nightmare!) All the seeds I planted either rotted in the extreme moisture or washed away in all the torrential downpours we got last year.

Completely disgruntled from the continuous onslaught of obstacles, I gave up for the year, consoling myself by raking all the leaves up in the fall.

This year, I face the challenge again. Only, I have even more pressure to have a livable backyard. With two dogs in the house, a backyard is an invaluable asset, except when your yard is a mud pit. As I experienced this morning, this much mud is simply too much with two dogs; and I had to change my work clothes before leaving for the day.

Will I be successful in my backyard battle? I have no idea, but I certainly hope so. I am currently googleing topics such as: hardy shade grasses, gravel ground covers, and wood chips. Hopefully, one of these options will work, and my backyard will go from this:

To this:

Or something close to that. ;)