Saturday, July 30, 2011

First Outdoor Run In...?

Post Run Grossness
So, I haven't run outside in months.  I was in a good pattern for a while and Sarge and I were jogging together a couple times a week for a little bit but then everything stopped as the trainings and deployment process started.  I've been keeping up at the gym because I can throw the gym bag in the car and go for an hour after class or errands, etc.  Today....3 miles, mostly hills, GORGEOUS weather!

It was awesome...and tough.  I remembered some of the things I love about running on a Saturday morning. 
1.  It's 10am and I have the rest of the day to enjoy.
2.  Running past houses where you can smell the pancakes they're making for breakfast....yummy!
3.  Candy Man by Christina Aguilera.  That song pumps me up like no other.  That's Not My Name by the Ting Tings is another great one.
4.  Other runners/walkers.  There was a old man walking and he was making fun of how slow he was walking.  We had a nice chat as I jogged past him.  I want to be that old and still getting outside every day!
5.  Random run-ins.  I jogged past a garage sale on my way out and thought the woman running it was someone I knew but talked myself out of it because she doesn't live in Pearl River.  Turns out, her mother-in-law does and she was helping out.  We chatted for about 10 minutes at the end of my run.  What a great ending, thought I was a little embarrassed by my sweaty gross self.

So...all in all a good morning.  The hills were hard but I conquered most of them.  Now to keep the running going.  Maybe I need a goal race.  Any suggestions or running buddies want to join in?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Sarge!

He got his cake a few weeks early...though we all know if I could find a way to bring a cake with me, I would.  I miss him a lot today, I know if he were here I'd be busy baking and cooking.  Instead, I am going to the pool with the neighbors this afternoon (weather permitting) and then having dinner.



We'll celebrate when I get down to TX...only a few days until my trip!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I hate homework

I hate homework.  I know I am getting to the end of my graduate classes (only one more after this) but I am so sick and tired of writing papers and projects.  I am currently creating a PowerPoint presentation on  Professional Learning Communities.  Grrrr!!!  I am trying to stay focused but I think I have July-induced ADD.  I can't manage to sit and type for more than about 45 minutes at a time before I get up and walk around.  I am bored, frustrated and annoyed.

On another interesting note, I cut off a good chunk of a fingernail yesterday while slicing lettuce for my lunch.  Talk about gross and painful!!!  The cut really isn't too bad but because nothing touches that part of my skin ever it is super sensitive.  It's less painful by tonight but feels really weird.  I will spare you a picture and no, I didn't eat the lettuce.  I cleaned up myself and the lettuce and started all over again.  Here's to future salads without tragic loss of manicures!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yay!!

Sarge called me on Sunday while I was having lunch at our favorite deli to tell me that he's getting a couple of days pass before they send the unit overseas!  I am so excited I can't even tell you.  I will fly to Texas for a quick visit but every hour traveling will be worth it.  The pics he's sent me are really pretty so I'm looking forward to seeing where he's been.  He also sent me a video of a tarantula in the laundry room...hoping to avoid those!  I won't be putting up many details here until I get back but YAY!!!  
video

Yesterday I was in class all day and then made dinner for two of my favorite people, Heather and Linda.  I did my version of chicken fajitas, brown rice and spicy black beans.  It's pretty healthy (if you can keep the portions under control) and REALLY yummy.  I used adobo light, lime juice, a splash of tequila and a little olive oil to marinade the chicken for a couple hours and then grilled them.  We did have sangria to go with our dinner and I poured some Cuarenta y Tres (43) as part of dessert.  It was decided it would be super over ice cream, a plan for another night!

Dinner was accompanied by Design Star.  We caught up on last week's episode and watched last night's too.  The graffiti episode was so much fun, I loved the Keith Haring room and the Airplane room.  I enjoyed the make-overs from last night too.  The basement that the one team turned into a family room was so great.  I loved the little bar/counter that they created between the support poles, making something ugly into something fun and functional.

Tonight....homework!  I am 32 and sitting home tonight and most of tomorrow to finish my final project for the PLC class I am taking.  I am going to be honest, I HATE this class.  Friday is the last meeting and I can't wait to be done!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Harry Potter

So last night I went with  my sister Erin and her husband to see the final Harry Potter movie.  They have watched and read right along with me since they were in college and I was student teaching.  Now, the movie made me cry more than once but this morning it's inspired a reflection on the last 10 years since I started reading the books.

The books were introduced to me while I was student teaching in an elementary school in Shendendehowa, NY.  I was hooked from the beginning and at the time the 4th book had only just come out.  Since then, I have taught in 7 schools in 3 districts in 2 different states.  I am at MA +57 with 60 right around the corner.  I have taught more kids than names I will ever be able to remember.  I am starting an internship that may lead me on a path towards administration...or away from it. 

I have finally found a healthy, happy relationship.  There was some trial and error along the way, and a few times that I vowed to give up and just be single forever because dating can be so absolutely horrific.  I am now married to a man with great integrity, a huge heart and who makes my heart flutter when I see him.  That smile makes me melt!  (P.S. We got to Skype last night, he's doing pretty well.  He was fixing computers for people and working on an excel spreadsheet for someone.  Some things never change.)

I have more true friends now than ever.  There was a very low point when I moved back to NY and I had a hard time finding where I wanted to be socially.  It's taken years and some failures along the way but I can say that I now have a solid group of friends who can count on me and I can rely on.

There have been constants along the way, my amazing family, my friend Michelle and "the girls" from HS.  I knew that even though we were separated by miles at times that we were always there for each other.  I was lucky for that and know they were integral to making it this far. Now, let's see where the next decade leads!

Oh, and yes, I LOVED the movie.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Best of Westchester

Last night I went to a great party/fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  They were the charity of choice for this year's Best of Westchester party.  The location was out on the LI sound and despite being a traffic nightmare to get there, was beautiful.  The food was so yummy and there were plenty of free drinks, too.  Who doesn't love a free cocktail?
My sister enjoys free beer and bloody marys!

Highlights for me from last night's extravaganza were:
Pinapple juice, vodka and red pepper cocktail...I think she said it was from the Radisson?
Emma's Ale House: Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding
Little Kabob Station: Samosa...I have no idea what it was actually called but the chickpeas, spices, sauce, were my favorite bite from the night!

All my freebies!
I was at the party with my parents and then my sisters and had a great time.  The party is set up where all the restaurants and venues have booths.  There are little samples at most tables, more than I could eat!   There was a large section of just desserts, I had a pistachio gelato that was really yummy but it was served on a roll which I had never seen before.  Yes, ice cream on a bun.  Anyone have insight on that for me?  Is it just easier than a dish or cone?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back to School?

I spent this morning back at school.  Though at times a little frustrating, I realize that I actually enjoyed being there.  Considering that 3 weeks ago I couldn't wait to get out, this was refreshing.

This morning's activity was a 4 hour discussion group on "Hot Topics in Education."  The new review, observation and evaluation process for teachers (APPR)  was the majority of today's talks because it's so INSANE!  I see some of the good that is intended but overall it feels like these changes are being made so quickly with little thought that it can't help but end with more confusion that we are starting with.

After the forum I got a chance to meet with the administrator I will be working with for the next year as I complete my internship.  I am sure that there will be moments that I don't feel this way, but right now I think he's fantastic.  I appreciate that this administrator is honest, forthright and I don't feel that he's ever giving me a line.  Today he was very clear that my schedule for next year is pretty awful, as are all of the other chorus teachers in the building.  Not ideal, but I can manage with the truth instead of some sugar-coated line about spreading out the duties, blah, blah, blah.  I hope that if I am ever a principal I can be the same way.  I also suppose that I am going to have to come up with a pseudonym for this person....but am totally uninspired right now.  Maybe next week?

On a personal note, I talked to Sarge last night.  He's exhausted and busy but good.  He was eating a Hawaiian pizza and I'll admit I was a little jealous.  I love that because of Skype I can see him every now and then.  When I think about my grandparents writing letters and waiting weeks in between I know how lucky we are.

Tonight, Taste of Westchester with the family...so excited!  Getting a little dressed up and looking forward to a delicious dinner is my plan for the evening.  Pics and details to follow tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Boots

Yesterday's big purchase...I think it was wishful thinking.  This heat wave is horrible!

Monday, July 18, 2011

New boots!

So, I actually got bored yesterday.  All I have wanted for a week was a full day at home and when it arrived I couldn't motivate myself to do ANYTHING.  Today I made up for that entirely by doing 2 loads of laundry, going to the gym and spending quality time with Karin.

Quality time with K usually involves shopping because I live near a ginormous mall and she doesn't.  We spent about 2 hours walking around, chatting and spending money.  I bought a totally hot pair of boots that are completely inappropriate in July.  They are gorgeous, grey, knee high, leather, wedge boots and I LOVE them!  They were more than 50% so that was my justification for buying them today, along with my need for retail therapy.  Pics to follow tomorrow, tonight is girls night!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Grand Central Condo?

So, whether it is coincidence or because of the wonderful nature of my friends, I have had very little alone time in the last 5 days.  Between classes, family and friends I have been buoyed along and not allowed to get too bummy for too long.  Today will be my first mostly full day on my own.  Tomorrow, my Karin arrives for a much needed day of catching up.

Wednesday and Thursday were saved by school and social events.  My sister's birthday was Friday so I made cupcakes and chocolate ganache frosting for her family party Thursday night.  Baking is my favorite thing, I love it.  I feel so at home in the kitchen, I wish I could afford to eat more!  I have a copy of my great-grandmother's cookbook and I'd like to get up the courage to try a few of those recipes this summer.


Friday was perfect thanks to my adorable nephew.  It was only 2 hours together but it was fantastic.  Tristan is 22 months old and almost too cute for his own good.  We had a yummy lunch, read books (my favorite) watched Elmo for a little bit and took a walk to see the fishies that live in a pond here at the complex.  He talked the whole time and I think I understood about half of it.  We even got to Skype with Unkie for a little while, a fantastic stroke of timing.  I will admit that when he returned from the rest of his afternoon he was screaming bloody murder...I suggested my sister-in-law get him into a metal band to turn the horror into cash!

Friday-Sunday my friends John and Kyri were visiting from Georgia.  I think John's goal was to eat his way through NY and then take as much as possible back to Atlanta to sustain him until his next trip north.  I remember missing real bagels and pizza when I lived in NC so I totally understand.  Now it's laundry and relaxing until my next guest arrives tomorrow!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The "US" display

This little pedestal is on our living room wall and Sarge says it's "US."  In case you needed an explanation, he is the Tactical Bacon and I am the Murano glass vase.  It makes me laugh because it's kind of true.  He is absolutely like the bacon in a can.  He is black & white, can't get enough bacon and firearms, and LOVES anything tactical.  Pants, flashlights, multi-tools...he loves it all.  I am more like the vase, I like to dress up a little (shoes!!) and I am definitely curvy.  A little dressy on the outside but practical on the inside.  It makes me smile knowing that on the surface we appear so different, but I know deep down we just work.

Though we aren't big Disney people, I got the pens at a wedding expo I went to with my friend Michelle to prep for her wedding and Sarge added them to our display since we're now married.  Sometimes he is super cute!

In case you can't tell, I am missing him a lot today.  We got to Skype yesterday which was wonderful but just not the same.  It's so great to see his smile and hear him laugh but it's hard to know he won't be home for such a long time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Boring day, good night!

So, today I was back in school.  And it was a LOOOOONG day.  I am spoiled because in very few of my graduate classes the teachers keep us for the full day of school.  Usually we do a working lunch and then get out a little earlier in the afternoon.  It makes every just a bit happier.  Not this class.  The teacher starting talking at 8am and we were there until after 4pm.  We did get a 40 minute lunch but otherwise...we were observing, listening to lectures or discussing.  I was brain dead by the end.  Tomorrow were are off site for the morning observing an aviation class at a local AFB and then a performing arts academy so that will keep me interested for the morning.  It's the afternoon lecture that kills me...after lunch, warm classroom with the lights off...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz....it was all I could do stay awake at one point. 

Alright, enough complaining about school because the day was rescued by two of my best buds, Stacy and Linda.  The girls came over for a drink and then we went out to dinner at a good Italian place.  It was so good to have time to catch up, dish, gossip about school a little bit and then just be.  We celebrated Stacy getting a probationary position in our building (finally!) and Linda making it to +60 credits.  There is a 4th to our little group but she's on vacay...Heather, you were missed!

I had a really delish chicken primavera and I was in control enough to bring home half of it.  I am pretty sure I could have polished off the whole plate but being happy and full but not stuffed is a way better feeling.  Yay me!! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meet Hazel

It was good to be home, and I know Hazel was happy I was home!

Hazel is my cat...and a very vocal one these days.  She's been put on a bit of a kitty diet and she is NOT happy with the amount of food she's getting.  I read that it's better to cut back a little on the amount of food instead of buying the diet food so I'm going to give that a shot for a little while.  She found a way before Sarge left to "talk" us both into feeding her for a little while and she's a little chunky.  I also need to play with her more often and now that I'm home that should be easy.  Hazel plays fetch, believe it or not.  She loves those little mice and will retrieve them for us until we get tired of throwing.

She spent the last week with sister Katie and her "cousin" Stella.  Stella is a bichon frise and super cute.  Well, to us.  Hazel disagrees, but she warmed up to Katie by the end of her stay.  She was a hissing evil kitty at the beginning of her stay but by Sunday was so close she looked like this to Katie...hahaha!

I know I'm glad to have her to keep me company these days, she's no substitute for Sarge but she doesn't snore as much either...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Back in NY

I am back in NY, alone.  I admit that walking in the door was not the best part of my day.  I cried quite a bit tonight but I know that each night will be less awful and steps towards having Sarge home again.

One the upside, I had the quickest drive home from DE that I have EVER had.  I made only one stop, which is miraculous and also hit virtually no traffic on the NJ Turnpike, another miracle.  It was nice and smooth, only 4.5 hours.

Now that I'm home I am trying to pick up a little and catch up on some DVRs.  I have been also crying.  Everything I put "away" makes it more real that Sarge is gone for the next year or so.  I also don't know what to do with some stuff which is frustrating.  Boots I know go in the closet, small black plastic items that may or may not be important....no clue?  So, they all go in a blue plastic tub that Sarge will have the pleasure of cleaning out upon his return, haha.

Tomorrow the deployment diet starts in earnest, plenty of fruits and veggies and limited dinners out!  I have eaten out almost every night in the last 3 weeks.  I tried to make better choices but sometimes I just succumbed to what looked delicious that night.  (Fried softshells at Fat Tuna!!)  I have an appointment with my trainer tomorrow also, so it should be a day that makes me feel good about me!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beach time!

Bethany Beach, DE
I have been enjoying the last two days with my family at two different beaches.  I am so lucky to have the time to take "away" from real life.  I am also so fortunate to have a family that I really enjoy being with.  They are weird and whacky but wonderful!








Ferry Ride to Lewes
I had a great new experience yesterday, I took the ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE.  It was a beautiful day and a good break from driving.  The whole trip took me almost 6 hours but didn't feel much like it.  I even had the energy to get to the gym when I arrived!








Today was the perfect day.  I went to the beach with my parents this morning, fishing with my dad this afternoon, drinks with friends for happy hour and then dinner out with my mom tonight.  I enjoyed the beach time this morning.  I read, slept and swam in the ocean.  We brought our lunch and ate on the beach, too.  I love a day at the beach!  It's one of my favorite things to do, hands down.  It was really nice to have alone time with each of the 'rents today, that doesn't happen too often any more.
Mango-rita!!
Sometime today, talk to a family member and remind yourself how much better life is because they are in your life!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hi. I'm in Delaware.

Hi all, I'm in Delaware.  I have been taking the longest route to get here, but I wouldn't change any of it.  (Except maybe the deployment part?)

Sarge and I left for NJ at O-Dark Thirty on Tuesday for 3 days of army life before he headed out to training.  We stayed in a hotel for a few nights and enjoyed the few hours we could get before he left for good.  It was a sad at some moments but I am so glad I was there.  I have my frustrations with the way the army does things sometimes but I know that as an outsider I won't ever really understand.  It seems to be a lot of "Hurry up and wait around" which is frustrating for the soldiers and even more so for those of us waiting to see them.

Our 3 days in NJ was capped off with one of the best dinners out I've had in a while.  When we got to the restaurant there was a sign for The Best Fried Calamari.  We ordered it, and I have to say it just might have been!  It was absolutely delicious.  The calamari was tender and just so yummy!  We both had pasta for dinner and then Sarge surprised me by ordering chocolate covered strawberries to go.  So sweet!!  Everything was fresh and delicious, our perfect date night.  Thank Gaetano's!

3:30 Friday morning was the hardest moment for me.  Watching my husband walk out of the room not knowing when I'd see him again was awful.  I know that he wants to be a part of this mission and that we will benefit from his deployment in the long run, but it was all I could do keep from asking him not to leave.  I have spent the last 2 days trying to stay positive and not be too bummed.

Yesterday I drove to LBI to spend the day and night with my 2 aunts and uncle, today I drove down to Bethany Beach, DE for a little more escaping before I return home to reality.  I love it here.  There are great memories of the trips Sarge and I have taken here and it's our home away from home.  I'll add more about the trip tomorrow, tonight, it's time for some sleep.
Cape May side of the Ferry

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Escaping

I was teasing Sarge the other night when were both reading in the hotel room about being part of "my" family for real now.  He loves to read but doesn't always have the time.  With the upcoming deployment he is anticipating more time and so we're both reading the same series.  I am going to share how nerdy I am right now...this is REALLY exciting for me.  I love that we are talking about books together.  Most of our book discussions go like this:

Sarge "Did you see this movie?" 
Me: "No, but I read the book."

Yes, I know I'm a nerd.  You should see my cousin Peter's imitation of me reading, it at least makes it funny.

The "Song of Ice & Fire" series by George R.R. Martin is our new thing...and it's great that we both enjoy it.  (Thanks Dwayne for the recommendation!)  Sarge is starting Game of Thrones and I'm reading the 2nd book in the series, Clash of Kings.  I am looking forward to having things to talk about in our emails that are outside the everyday issues, etc.  We'll just get to share something together that's fun.

My family knows that my biggest "guilty pleasure" is reading.  It's the perfect escape from everyday life, drama, stress, etc.  The past 3 days I have done a LOT of reading!

Happy reading everyone...I'll talk more about why I'm doing all the reading and our stay in Red Bank tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

I forgot to post this yesterday....oops!

My living room floor has disappeared today!  It's covered in clothes, gear and packs in a variety of camouflage patterns.  Sarge is finishing up his packing, which means that everything he brought home 2 weeks ago is spread out and getting ready to be re-packed today.

I am packing myself, and doing laundry.  Not quite the last day together I envisioned but I think the "regular-ness" of the days chores is keeping me sane.  Yesterday the house was full up with 4 nephews, a niece, his mom and 2 of his sisters and a couple of friends stopping in.  I was exhausted last night when everyone finally headed out.  It was great to see them all and important but I am happy to have some time for just us.





Here are the cakes from Sarge's going away BBQ on Saturday.  Not too shabby...
Cheesecake, Carrot Cake and Banana Nut layers with Cream Cheese Frosting....all homemade

Yellow cake, chocolate filling and Wilton Buttercream.


It was a great day, lots of friends, co-workers and family.  It was many of the people who were at the wedding 2 months ago, another great party!
With my sisters and brother in law

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cake Lady!

Today I was queen of the cakes!  I have made 4 different kinds, 6 cakes total today.  I am baking for Saturday's 4th of July BBQ and for Sarge.  I'm doing a flag cake (yellow cake with chocolate inside) and then one of his own creation.  My darling has requested a 3 layer cake, banana nut, carrot and cheese cakes.  I'm going to ice them with cream cheese frosting, maybe put a little cinnamon in it to bring the cakes together better?

I will post pictures tomorrow night or Sunday so you can see the creations!

Tonight we are heading out to a Korean BBQ place for dinner, one of our favorites.  We are meeting up with some good friends and I'm looking forward to being on the seated side of the cooking tonight.  6 hours in the kitchen today make me long for the day when I have a bigger kitchen with more comfortable floors, I think I want cork.  :)

This is our last weekend home before deployment so again, there will be lots of fun but that little tinge of sadness.  Friends and family Saturday, Sarge's family only on Sunday and we are taking a day just for us on Monday.  Enjoy your weekend and for the 4th of July say thank you to a serviceman (or woman) in your life for what they do for our country every day while enjoying your burgers, bbq and fireworks!