Post Christmas Relaxation

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Day with the family.  My big gift of the year was a remote starter for my car.  While it will be awesome once it is installed, I have to say that my favorite gift so far has been my new collection of tea.  We always have black tea in the house but I prefer green tea or fruity teas. My mom got me a great assortment of twelve different kind and my aunt added two sleepytime teas and a couple of new mugs to top it off.  It's a pretty simple gift but I am throughly enjoying it on such a cold wet day!


As much as I love the holiday season it is such a busy and exhausting time that it can sometimes be a relief when the season comes to a close.  I took off most of this week though I went in for most of the day yesterday and worked a few hours from home today.  I know I just came back from a week long vacation in Ireland but there is a difference between a traveling vacation and a sit-on-my-couch-relaxing vacation.  It's been so long since I've just been able to sit down and relax.  It's still hard with the puppy but I can at least rest when he's napping.

I've got some intensive cleaning to do tomorrow but then I think it's time to reconnect with my nook and do some serious post Christmas relaxing!

6. Send out Christmas Cards

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, everyone!

When I set this goal my intention was to send out Christmas cards from myself to friends and family.  I of course put it off for so long that I didn't have time to create a list.  I also decided that doing a card with the whole family meant we got to do an adorable photo shoot (see below).   We did manage to pull it together at the last second and get cards out to family though so I'm going considered this a good starting point for next year when I will add friends to the list.

Photo we used for the cards
I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a happy new year if you don't hear from me before then!

Smurfit Graduation

Monday, December 24, 2012

When I left Dublin back in August, I was honestly unsure if or when I would make it back.  I didn't know how easily I'd find a job and, if I found one, would I be able afford a plane ticket or even be able to get time off?  Fortunately, I not only managed to get a job but I earned just enough money and just enough time off to make the trip back in time for graduation!

Even though I had been gone for more than three months, it felt like I had never left.  Just hopping on the AirCoach made me feel like I was back at home.  And of course there is almost no difference between the weather in August and December there so it was really like nothing had changed.

While I was pretty sick during most of graduation, the day was great overall.  The ceremony was short and sweet and it was followed by a nice reception.  After naps and dinner we were all back out for drinking and dancing the night away.  I will admit that I spent most of the rest of the week sitting on a couch, catching up with friends, and eating take-out but it was exactly how I wanted to spend my time there.

It was so nice catching up with everyone and hearing about all of the new jobs and apartments, etc.  I was only there for a few days but I definitely made the most of my time.


Before I knew it I was flying back over the Atlantic and heading back to work.  I was worried about being able to keep up with work while I was gone, but I managed to not fall behind and still have a great week away.

I don't know when I'll be able to get back over there again but I hope it will be soon!



#2. Get a Puppy

Well, more than a month has passed since my last post.  Not coincidentally, it has been just a little over a month since I got my puppy.  I have barely had time to check my e-mail, let alone sit down and write a blog post, but I couldn't be happier!

I found Mac through Petfinder.com.   He is a lab / husky / shepherd mix rescue from Arkansas.  His mother had a litter of puppies under a shed and once they were weaned off of her there was no one to take care of them.  As they came out from under the shed, one by one, a neighbor took them in and fostered them.  They then reached out to PS I Love You Animal Rescue to find them homes.  After getting his shots, Mac was put on a puppy transport truck and made the journey up to the north!  He and his sister were the last to be adopted but luckily she was coming up north at the same time so they were able to share a kennel on the journey.   We drove out to pick him up in Brattleboro, VT and the rest is history.

He was pretty happy to be adopted!
He is a wonderful puppy, but a puppy nonetheless.  When he is awake, he is running around trying to eat everything.  He's great when he's sleeping, but he usually gets all the sleeping out of the way while I'm at work.  He's been great with the baby so far and seems to know that she's not just an oversized chew toy.
Best friends! 

He is 4 months old now and has already gained 11 lbs since we got him five weeks ago.  He's growing so fast and learning every day.  He has mastered sit, lay, paw, and he's working on stay and fetch.  He refuses to let me sleep until my alarm goes off and he thinks 6am is an acceptable wake up time on the weekends but he's just too adorable to get mad at.

I have to admit that I haven't run since I got him and I can't say that I miss it.  Even when I most enjoyed it, I never loved it like I was hoping I would.  Mac and I do go for two walks a day, though.  It may not get my heart rate up much but I enjoy it so much more than running.  Being able to take my time and enjoy where I'm walking, and knowing that the puppy is loving it too is just so much more enjoyable for me.

Adventuring in the woods

Election Time

Monday, November 5, 2012

I just read my pessimistic but pretty accurate post from four years ago, and I figured it was time to address the topic of politics again.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I despise politics and yet I follow them very closely.   I like to know what people are saying, what they really mean, and what they are trying to hide from us. I will gladly talk politics with people but whether you are a democrat or a republican, I will always play devil's advocate.

I don't understand why every four years we find ourselves in the same situation.  Two parties with polar opposite views, trash talking and skewing facts to try to convince you that they are the good guy and the other person is evil.

The biggest problem with this is that there are more moderate Americans than there are of either party and yet we still find ourselves with only two options.  So much of it comes down to money.  The Democratic and Republican parties are the two with money so no other parties matter.

Is it so hard to believe that many Americans feels that all people should have the right to marry but also feel that our government needs to stop excessive spending?

It comes down to which is more important to you, but you can't have both.

Why do we have to raise taxes or cut taxes?  Isn't is possible that we just keep them the way they are and figure out a way to work with what we've got?

I've only been eligible to vote in two presidential elections now but I just see it getting more divided every year.  I'm truly just tired of the way the system is currently functioning because let's be honest... it's not.

At least I know at the end of the day tomorrow I won't have to watch another political commercial or get another candidate phone call.  And, while I don't see much progress coming from either party over the next four years, I will again hold out hope that the next election will be a new kind of election where we actually have candidates that a majority of Americans can support.  But I guess that might be asking for too much. 

7. Get a car

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Before even coming home from Dublin I started looking at cars online.  If I had any hope of finding a job, I knew I was going to need a car as soon as I got home.  I wanted something newer (but when your current car is 15 years old, really everything is new!).   After doing a lot of research and doing a lot of browsing I decided that I wanted a Ford Fusion.  The Fusion is a slightly higher end car so what I could find in my price range were about 5-6 years old, many with close to 100k miles on them.  Then I found this one.  It's only 4 years old with 66k on it and much cheaper than the others I was looking at.  ( I probably should have been wary, but I figured even if it need $3,000 in repairs I'd still be getting it cheaper than the older/more milage cars.)


So after looking at it, agreeing to buy it, and getting approval for a bank loan, I waited.  Because of the fact that it was a private sale, the weird demands of the bank, and the fact that the car's title was held in Minnesota it took me a month and a half to finally get it.  It was a huge test of my patience but I some how made it through without going crazy.  (Two days after starting this process I got a job which means I've been car pooling with my mom everyday since I started work!)

But, if you know me at all, you know that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.  I think they actually wrote Murphy's Law for me.

I handed over the money, got the title and the key, drove half way down the street and then realized something was really wrong.  The steering wheel was way out of line.  I pulled over into a parking lot to see that the front left tire was 100% flat.  Thank god my dad was with me.  He got down on the ground in the pouring rain to jack the car up only to find that the jack itself was broken.  So then my father and I spent the next hour waiting for AAA.  Luckily they were able to change the tire and luckily the spare wasn't flat (my last flat tire experience involved a flat spare so I'm kind of scarred).


Today I took the tire to see if it could be fixed.  Not only can it NOT be fixed... but all of the other tires are close to being in the same condition.  aka- I need to buy 4 new tires.  Well, there's about $600 of that $3,000 I was referring to earlier.

Sigh.  This really is the story of my life.  On the bright side, the car looks awesome.  I took it to the car wash today and got all the fixings and it's looking beautiful.  I'm just hoping that after these tires are replaced that everything goes smoothly... but really we all know that won't happen!

New Jobs and New Dogs

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I'm sorry I've been neglecting you, Blog.  I frequently have ideas for posts but when it comes to actually writing them I just can't do it.  I've started my "new" new job.  Less than a month at my old position I was promoted to the new one.  This now means I'm permanent with vacation time, benefits, 401k and, on top of all that, I really enjoy what I'm doing and the people I work with.  It has been exhausting though.  I brought home a pile of files and folders yesterday which means I'll spend a good portion of this weekend still working.  I don't mind it really but it does mean I have a lot less time for blogging.  I also haven't been running much.  In fact, aside from running today, the last time I ran was my 5k.  I do feel bad that I'm not keeping up with the running but I know that it's only because I'm moving around for 9 hours a day while at work and I simply don't have the energy to run after that.  I still have hopes that once I settle in there I'll be able to get back to running but at least I know until then I'm not just sitting around doing nothing!

In other news?  I'm still waiting on my car.  I looked at it and agreed to buy it over a month ago now but because of various bank and title issues I still don't have.  I've said this for 5 weeks now but I really think this week might be the week I get it.

And, because I don't have enough sudden and drastic changes going on in my life, I'm adopting a puppy! Meet Mac (or at least we think we're going with Mac at this point).  He's a lab, shepherd, husky mix.  He's down in Arkansas right now.  Again, there will be a waiting period before I can get him.  He needs two shots three weeks apart before they can send him up here and he just got the first one on Monday.  He's adorable though and I think he'll be worth the wait.  I was a little hesitant to get a puppy in the fall since winter is not always fun with a dog, let alone a puppy, but I really don't think I can  wait until spring.  So bring on the winter walks in the woods!


I think that's about it for now.  Hurricane Sandy is heading up this way and, while I hope there is not serious damage, I do love storms so I can't pretend I'm not a little excited about it!  Hope you all that a good weekend!

Tired

Monday, October 8, 2012

I'm really enjoying my new job but I've been exhausted pretty much since the day I started.  My sleep schedule is still off and, while I intended to catch up on a lot of sleep this weekend, I ended up going to bed late and waking up early every day.  Luckily I had today off so I get one last chance at getting the sleep schedule on track.
Watching the Patriots with my niece
This has been a quiet weekend over all.  I just came home from Boston after taking my three young cousins to the MIT Museum.  It was a really cool museum and reminded me a bit of Edinburgh's Camera Obscura.  I think my cousins enjoyed it too so hopefully we've inspired a few new engineers.

Rumor in the work place is that I might already be getting a  promotion.  I may be back later in the week to talk about that.
remains of a piano MIT student threw off a roof

Prudential Center
Zakim Bridge
Anyway,  that's all I've got. I'm still exhausted. May go take a nap.

17. Run A 5k

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today I ran the Jack Kerouac 5k in Lowell, MA!  Overall, I'd say it went well.  The weather was pretty raw and rainy, but I would take that over hot and sunny any day.  I left my zip up on which I quickly regretted but you live and learn!  The race was very well organized so we were able to get there and get ready with just the right amount of time.  I started off running too fast which I knew would happen and I still did it anyway.  That, of course, meant that I was struggling later on but again, live and learn!

My final time was around 32:00.  I was hoping to do a little better but considering I took a month off in preparing for this race I think it went as well as can be expected.  It also motivates me to work harder for the next race!  Now I just need to find the next one.

At the start before getting all gross and sweaty
Crossing the finish line!
Here's the rest of the week's workouts.  Starting my new job kind of got in the way towards the end of the week but I think once I settle in there I'll be able to get back on track.  The office also has a gym so I might try to take advantage of that.
Also, don't forget to check out what else I've checked off my list of 25 in my 25th!

5. Get A Job

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Big news!! I have a job!  It really came out of no where.  I'll just quickly recap the last few days for you.

After applying to my 51st job online, I was getting pretty disheartened.  I had heard back from a couple companies, but none of them were exactly what I wanted so I started thinking that it was time to regroup.  What do I do when I need to regroup? I make lists.  I started with lists of "things I like" and "things I don't like".  After a few hours of list making and online research, I got (what I think is) a brilliant idea for my own business.  After talking my parent's ears off for another hour or so my Mom finally said:

"I think it's a good idea but you know now that you have this great idea you're going to get a job offer tomorrow."

I laughed and went to bed.


I woke up the next morning to two voicemails asking me to come in asap for an interview.

See, back in July I gave a friend my resume to give to his mom who worked in a company nearby.  I had heard that she put my name in for a couple of jobs in accounting and finance but I wasn't that eager to get a job in either of those so I didn't follow up on them.  There was a new job opening though and they wanted me to come in an talk to them right away.

 So within 3 days I went from completely giving up on the path I chose, to finding a job and already getting my first day under my belt!

  • This job is in HR (which is what I was hoping to get into).
  • This job is about 15 minutes from my house (no crazy commute into the city).
  • This job is an assistant position (I'm overqualified, but it will allow me to ease into the HR field).
  • This company is big enough that they have several people in HR alone, but not so big that I'm just working with one department (I get to experience every aspect of HR and see which area I might like best).
  • The people I work with seem very nice (hopefully no more mid-life crisis bosses to deal with).
  • The company works with the government (something I used to want to do) but is private sector (won't have all the red tape).
  • I think I'll be able to become close to the people I work directly with (but the company is big enough that I'll see new people each day).
  • And most importantly...
  • I get to tease my friend when I see his high school senior picture in his mom's office every day.


-----------------------

This job fits almost everything I was looking for.  Of course I would have been willing to commute an hour for a good job, but to have a good job and NOT have to commute is even better.

There are, of course, some down sides.  For one, this position is temporary.  I am filling in for an older woman who has taken an extended leave to care for her sick husband.  They've told me though that they are unsure if / when she will be coming back but they think I'll be around until at least the new year so that's three solid months of employment.

They've also mentioned that if the woman does come back they can see if there are any other positions open and (if I do well in the next three months) they would consider keeping me on.

And while it being a temporary position is a downside, I also see it as a plus because it allows me to see the field of HR without having to commit 100% to it.

If I decide after 3 months it's just not for me... well, I still have that awesome business idea lying in wait!

The Unemployed Life

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm really slacking with the blogging these days.  That might be due to the fact that I'm unemployed and spend most of my day sitting on my couch watching the same 5 news stories a dozen times and/or watching several hours of mindless tv.  

My first race is coming up this weekend.  I have to say that I'm really excited!  I was nervous that after coming home from Dublin I wouldn't care to run anymore.  I have found it's harder than it was in Dublin, but not as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I realized my childhood paper delivery route is the perfect area to run.  For a while I was trying to run to my old high school and back but no sidewalks combined with dozens of busses did not work out.  This new route is perfect and scenic.

I also successfully ran on the treadmill today!  I had to concoct a contraption so I could watch a show while running since music doesn't entertain me enough while on the treadmill.  I don't think I'll ever voluntarily choose the treadmill over the road, but I wanted to see what kind of time I might be expecting this weekend and I don't have a functioning watch, so treadmill it is.
There was a 90% chance this would end in disaster
(Luckily it didn't!)
So other than the occasional run, there hasn't been much going on in my life.  I've been applying to jobs like crazy with some phone interviews here and there, but I still have yet to find one that I desperately want.  I'm still waiting for that magical moment when I suddenly realize what I was meant to do in life.

Oh, my grandparents also had their 55th wedding anniversary on Saturday.  We went to mass and then dinner with almost the entire family.  They are so wonderful together.  I hope I can have something like that some day.   No job, no car, no boyfriend.  Sigh.  I did get a free candle from some real estate company today... things are looking up!
55 years and still going strong.

Liebster Award #3!

Friday, September 21, 2012

My amazing cousin Kayla over at Simple Bliss has nominated me for another Liebster Award!  I think I've shared every remotely interesting fact about myself before, but I love answering questions so I'm going to focus on that!

The questions Kayla gave me are:


What are you passionate about?
I wrote a post a while back about how I didn't really feel passionate about anything.  I love traveling but it's not something I think about all the time when I'm not traveling.  I also love reading and writing but, again, I'll go a while without doing either of those sometimes.  I wish I was one of those people who knew exactly what I wanted to do and loved it but I'm just not.  The upside of this is that I try and experience a lot of different things in search for that one thing I might be passionate about!
Cozy night in, or crazy night out?
Cozy night in... almost always.  I enjoy going out once in a while but my favorite nights involve a good tv show or movie and maybe some wine if I'm feeling crazy.
Wardrobe must-haves?
Scarves.  The one accessory I've invested in. (They were a must have when living in Dublin!)  A nice scarf can spruce up any outfit which makes my struggle with picking out clothes much easier.
Jeans & a Tee, or decked out diva?
Jeans and a tee.  I wish I was more of a fashionista but I hate shopping.  I've considered trying to find someone to be a personal shopper for me because I'd love some nice outfits but I don't want to have to put them together myself!
What is your drink of choice?
I'm a beer or wine girl.  If you asked me in college those would have been at the bottom of my list, but I avoid hard alcohol at all costs these days.
If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
Pizza and ice cream.  Healthy, I know.  I would be sick to my stomach for the rest of my life but they are too delicious to pass up.
(source)
Are you a crazy pet mom?
I would be if I had a pet!  I've been obsessively looking at dogs online and I do plan on getting one soon.  Be ready for numerous pics of my future pet!
What are your 3 favorite places to shop?
-Target to get everything in one stop
-My local used book store
-Can't think of a third... can I say the ice cream   stand? 
What is your favorite book and why?
I would have to say Harry Potter (I'm counting the whole story as one giant book.)  Those books defined my childhood so even if I've read something better it still couldn't compete with the impact HP had on my life. (Dork, I know.)
Coffee or Tea?
I always start my day with at least one cup of coffee and then I'll have several cups of tea (green generally) throughout the day.
When you get married (or if you already are) do you want a huge, extravegant wedding or would you prefer a simple and intimate wedding?
In between.  I definitely don't want anything extravagant but I want to make sure that all of my friends and family are there and that we have a big bash.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Before leaving Dublin a lot of people asked if I wanted to stay and get a job there.  When I said that I had decided to go home it was hard for me to really describe to them why I'd prefer home over Dublin. Obviously, it was in part because my family was there, but there were so many little things I have here that I didn't in Dublin.  These are just a few of the things that I get to enjoy now that I'm home again.

Those beautiful neon lights
Boston
My Hammock and Backyard
Campfires
The beach!
The seasons (especially fall!)
Football! (And my niece, of course!)
Things I didn't miss while living in Dublin? Sunburns and mosquito bites...  I forgot all about those while across the pond.  I could definitely live without them!

25 in my 25th

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've seen these popping up all over the blogging world and I've decided that I might as well do a list of my own.  Here are 25 things I hope to accomplish during my 25th year of life.  Wish me luck!

1.  Start a garden
2. Get a puppy
3. See the Grand Canyon
4. Get a new wardrobe
5. Get a job
6. Send out Christmas Cards
7. Get a car
8. Become a runner
9. Knit something
10. Go skydiving again
11. Finish at least one of my stories
12. Start a skin care regime
13. Invest in accessories
14. Go paintballing
15. Visit a psychic
16. Purge my room
17.  Run a 5k
18. Do a wine tasting
19. Go away for a girls weekend*
20. Start planning a cruise
21. Visiting a shooting range
22. Be and extra in a movie
23. Volunteer somewhere
24. Fly in a hot-air balloon
25. Learn to surf

*I know I'm cheating with this one since I had my girls weekend before I turned 25, but it was put on my list before I knew when we'd go so I'm counting it anyway!

New Beginnings

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's my birthday! A quarter of a century old!  I always have a hard time celebrating my birthday because there are so many more important things to think about on this day.  This year, however, I've been trying to focus on new beginnings.  I skyped with my old college roommate last night and she was talking about how she felt like this month was going to be one of a lot of big happenings.  I can't help but agree with her.

As sad as I was to miss a majority of this past summer, I'm already getting excited for fall.  I was lucky to get a few weeks of hot weather but the moment I saw a red leaf on a tree I couldn't stop thinking about the fall.  Fall has always been full of fresh starts for me.  Whether its starting school or a new birthday, I always feel like September is the true start of my year.

I had a phone interview for a job today.  Even if I don't get past this round I still feel like that interview marks the start of a successful job hunt.

I've also got back into my running and I've been enjoying it.  Seeing how I felt during those weeks I took off has made me realize how good I feel when I'm consistently running.

So, overall, a new birthday and a new year.  I have a good feeling about this upcoming year and I think a lot of great things will be happening.

Girls Weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2012

My closest group of girl friends have not all been in the same state / country at the same time for almost three years.  We all scattered for college and then after graduation people went abroad to work or traveled away to grad school.  We would see each other as often as possible but we were never able to get all six of us together at once.

This past weekend was the first time we were all together and we decided to make a weekend of it.  We had several things to celebrate including an engagement, a birthday, a few master's degrees and several new jobs.  My friend's aunt has a campsite on Lake Ossipee and she was nice enough to let us use it for the weekend.  I was only about a mile from where I camped last weekend but the area is so nice that I could see myself going up there every weekend if I had a place to stay.

We spent most of Saturday at the beach enjoying the late summer sun.  I even managed to get my first sunburn of the summer.  Whoops.


We spent the night cooking, drinking wine, playing games, and chatting.  My friends were sneaky and had bought a cake while they distracted me at the grocery store and I was completely clueless until they were placing the cake on the table in front of me.


We also managed to fit in a quick hike on Sunday before heading home.

It was a wonderful weekend and it was so nice to have the time to just relax and hang out.


Watching the sunset over the lake

Reconnecting with childhood



Labor Day Weekend

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm home relaxing now after a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.  Those family members who are  employed took Friday off so we could get up there early.  After a quick set up, it was time for 3 days of relaxation.  It was much cooler in New Hampshire than I was expecting it to be, but it was still a beautiful weekend.  I spent about 90% of the time simply sitting around a fire with family eating delicious food so there aren't too many details to cover so I'll just share pictures instead!
The warm sun shining through the trees
Campsite all ready! 
Smoke ribs = so delicious!
Three weeks old and already a camping champ!
Campfires galore
A beautiful and delicious hamburger cake 
Getting cozy when the weather gets cooler
Adorable pups- a camping must have
Hope & I
...an our poor man's cooler
Me and my cousin Kayla
Heading home after a wonderful weekend!
Now it's back to my busy schedule of watching HGTV 24/7 and playing with my beautiful niece!