A few years ago, I unearthed a travel journal from a month-long trip to Europe that I took in 2006. As I reviewed its pages, I was struck by just how many details of the trip I had completely forgotten. And if the memories of a once-in-a lifetime trip that was so impactful to me could fade away – how much of my day-to-day life is lost? Sensations, emotions, achievements, losses, experiences from the mundane to the exceptional, all transforming from that specific moment in time to become that day, that week, that year, that life…

As I get older and gain a better understanding of how fragile, how brief, and how precious life really is, it's become even more important to me to me experience it to its fullest and to try to retain all of those little moments that might otherwise get lost. It's with this idea that I started the process of recording these moments – a travel journal, of sorts.

A travel journal for life.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

WE PLAYED TENNIS!!

Tonight, we didn't stop at Target first.
I did forget my sneakers, but I was able to run home real quick and retrieve them.
And finally, we got to play tennis.
This is my red, sweaty, happy tennis face.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

GETTIN-STUFF-DONE AND CINEMA IN THE PARK

It's really amazing how one day we can be such complete and utter sloths and the next we are like gettin'-stuff-done-machines.  There are days when I'm impressed with us - this was one.

After work, we made it to the gym; I took my spin class, Mike boxed.  I went to the grocery store, Mike went to visit his mom, we got the oil changed in the truck.  That, alone, is a fairly impressive amount of gettin'-stuff-done, but after all that, we hopped on the motorcycle, picked up some picnic food and went to Cinema in the Park
It was so beautiful; we watched the sun set as we ate our sandwiches and waited for the movie to start.  Then we stretched out on the blanket and watched Captain America underneath the stars.  It was a perfect summer evening! 

AND, we got stuff done.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SLACKER TUESDAYS

This is getting to be a habit. 
Last Tuesday, I wrote about how it was way too hot to move and so we decided to forego the gym to lay in the a/c and watch movies and eat steak sammiches. 
This Tuesday’s excuse was that it was just entirely too beautiful out and the motorcycle was calling our names. 

"Jennnnnnnyyyyy...  Miiiiiiiiichaellll... 
I am way more fun than the gyyyym and I will take you to get taaaaaacos..."

So, again, we skipped the gym and errands, this Tuesday to go for a motorcycle ride and to eat tacos.
At least we left the house this time… 
Progress.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ROWING IS FUN!!

I’m happy to report that rowing is fun - all fun, no hurting.  We worked out the boat carrying thing; it turns out that lining up in order of height makes it all better and I can now carry the boat without crying. I’m so happy I don’t have to give up rowing because of bruised shoulders! 
Because, really…  It’s just so gorgeous out there on the water. 

Not my photo, but this is what it feels like.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

BUH CAME TO TOWN!

My buh came to town! Our first order of business was going to Fatheads – Hans had been craving a Fatheads sammich and needed one, stat!  And who can blame him?    
This is a Fatheads Sammich:


This is a Hans, halfway through a Fatheads Sammich:

RUH-ROH...

i think i can...

And that pretty much set the tone for our weekend.
An impressive show of Nielsen gastrointestinal fortitude, for certain!

Friday, June 22, 2012

GIRLS NIGHT!

I love my girls.  They are some of my most favorite people in the whole world.  My heart gets all light and happy when we are all together.  Girls-nights are way too few and far between, in my opinion. 
We were down one girl. Since Ms. Paula couldn’t join us it wasn’t quite the same – but laughter and Margaritas were plentiful, so all was good.




Thursday, June 21, 2012

FOILED AGAIN

It seems Thursday night tennis is just not meant to happen.  Last week, Target and their cute summer dresses got in the way. This week, I was prepared.  I knew it was supposed to be humid and in the upper 90s, so I reserved an indoor court, that wasn't as close to Target.
Ready to play and certain that nothing would stand in my way this week, I joined my friend Megan at the courts and we were met with this:

Apparently, the courts lost electricity and the temps inside had crept up to 114 degrees, effectively rendering it more of a torture chamber than a tennis court.  They weren’t letting anyone in.
Next week, girls… 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TOO HOT TO MOVE

It hit 95 degrees and 50% humidity in Pittsburgh today. 

Once I arrived at my cool little house, I was quite reluctant to go back out in the heat again...  As soon as Mike got home, I could tell he felt the same.  We both collapsed on the comfy bed and promptly decided to forego the gym and errands, order in steak sammiches, and spend the evening watching movies in our cool little haven.

Orange Kitty made her approval of our decision known by choosing this as her resting spot.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

DADDY'S DAY!

I may be a tad biased...  but I think that I have the cutest dern Dad in the whole wide world.

Dad in the hammock, with his father's day popcorn, and a very true t-shirt!

Happy Father's Day!! 

xoxoxo

Saturday, June 16, 2012

PRIDE 2012

Columbus Pride Weekend draws over 200,000 people each year.  
This year, Robb and I were among them.
  
We managed to find a spot in the masses along the parade route to view the 2.5 hour long spectacle in the 90+ degree blazing sun.  The number and the good nature of all of the revelers was just astounding, especially considering the heat.  It was awesome to be surrounded by so much positive energy.  And even though we  heard rumors of protesters outside the festivities, and though a few even made their way into the parade, the message of the day was, overwhelmingly, one of love.  Drag queens, gay flag teams, burlesque performers, churches waving banners proclaiming "God loves everyone!", people and groups of all sorts and types joined together in a giant celebration of individuality and acceptance.  

It was a beautiful thing.  
I was proud to be a part of it.
Cher and her boys, representin'.
The "Flaggits".  Awesome.
 

Miss Gypsy USA
Bat N' Rouge - Drag Queen Softball Team



Pride 2012 Spirit!

Jim's T, a father's day gift from his daughters, was the hit of the day!




Thursday, June 14, 2012

MORE TENNIS LESS TARGET

My friend Janet and I sure are well intentioned.

The reservoir at dusk.
We were on our way to play tennis this evening when we decided to stop at the brand new super-Target in East Liberty for a few extra tennis balls.

We got a little distracted...

About an hour and a half later and 60 dollars poorer, we headed to the tennis courts.  By the time we got there, they were all full, each with a long queue.

Since skipping exercise entirely didn't seem to deserve the cute new outfits we had just purchased, we decided to go to the reservoir for a walk.

Next week we'll focus more on tennis and less on cute outfits.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

LOVELY WEDNESDAY LUNCH

What an absolutely beautiful day this was; blue skies with hardly a cloud to be seen, warm breeze and zero humidity.  Unfortunately, I was only catching glimpses of the loveliness as I passed the windows on my trips from my desk to the coffee-maker.  After 5-6 glimpses (yep, those were all coffee runs - before noon) I decided that I had to get out there. At lunch time, I gathered up my lunch and a blanket and I headed out to the park.

Craig Street
The Museums from Shenley Park
Admittedly, there are few things that I love about my work.  But the physical location, is definitely one of them.  Oakland, especially in the summer, is really beautiful.  I love all of the little eateries on Craig Street and being in such close proximity to both the museums and a park is a great perk.
Schenley Park
As I walked into the park, I heard music coming from the Pavillion.

It turned out that there was live music during the lunch hour.  I bought myself a fresh lemonade from a vendor, grabbed a table, and enjoyed my sushi lunch, all while being serenaded in the summer breeze. 

Not bad for a boring old Wednesday lunch.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A SHOULDER REPRIEVE

It was rainy, stormy, yucky today.  That meant no rowing.  The old shoulders got a reprieve.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

BASEBALL AND BOYZ


That's right baby, Boyz II Men.
Mike and I never really celebrated our anniversary this year, our schedules just never quite matched up.  We've also recently been discussing attending a baseball game soon.  Neither of us are baseball fans, but the Pittsburgh stadium is really lovely and it makes for quite a nice evening out.  So when I saw a Groupon for a game and a night’s lodging in a downtown hotel, it seemed perfect - this could be our belated anniversary weekend.

I was pretty excited about the whole idea, but when I went on the Pirates website to claim our tickets, my excitement went through roof.  Saturday’s game was part of the concert series, which means that the game is followed by a concert.  Guess who the scheduled performer was??? Just guess…
The 16 year old in me was totally freaking out and I called Mike immediately to share the thrilling news.  His response? 

It was a spectacular day.
A nonchalant, “Oh, cool.”

“HOW ARE YOU NOT EXCITED BY THIS??”  I was incredulous. 
“Babe, you KNOW they’re old men now, right?  They HAVE aged and they weren’t that great to begin with – only one of them could really sing”.   
"PSHHHHH..."  My enthusiasm refused to be quelled.
Saturday night arrived and we happily checked into our hotel downtown and headed out to spend some time on the North Shore having dinner before going to the game. 
So, here’s the thing about baseball games:  Attending them is a lot more fun in theory than in practice.  Baseball games are long. And not terribly exciting at all.
Also, we had to sit in the outfield.
I guess that's what buying last minute tickets on Groupon gets ya. 
It was really pretty, though.
It’s too bad that I forget about that bit EVERY YEAR and become mesmerized by the twinkly lights, the Kelly green field, and the boys in uniforms long enough to think that it seems fun.  Then the 3+ hours of hard seats and drunken buffoons bring me back to reality. 

It was all worth it though, because immediately following the game, there they were. Boyz II Men.  And with the 1st song, I was transported back in time - I was immediately an emotional teenage girl again, daydreaming of her secret crush, or awkwardly slow dancing in the school gym.
“Tell me can we go back to the days our love was strong? Can you tell me how a perfect love goes wrong? Can somebody tell me how you get things back the way it used to be - Oh God give me the reason, I'm down on bended knees.”
There’s just no denying it.  That’s powerful stuff.  A stadium full of teary-eyed, 30-40 something women, swaying back and forth, and singing at the top of their lungs can’t be wrong.

Friday, June 8, 2012

4 THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE TODAY

The dinosaur terrarium on my desk at work. 
Thanks, Megan.
Seeing Prometheus in IMAX 3D
with my hunny.




Falling asleep in our new comfy bed
next to this sleepy-head.

And this silly, sleepy head..

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TENNIS AND KALE, ANYONE?

I met my friend Janet for a game of tennis today.  It's been about a month since our tennis lessons ended and nearly that long since we've played.  We were a tad rusty.  We did a bit more chasing after balls than volleying them and lost a few over the fence, but it felt good to be back out there again.  We vowed to not let that much time pass before playing again.

After playing tennis, we were hungry and feeling the need to continue our healthy streak, so we headed to Whole Foods for a bite to eat. On a whim, I grabbed a "garlicky raw kale salad".  I didn't have high hopes for it, it IS raw kale, after all...  But was I ever surprised - this stuff is AMAZING! Who'd-a-thunk-it; healthy and delicious raw kale??

After we ate our healthy meals, I grabbed a giant brownie from the bakery to take home to my Michael and it made it all the way home to him without one single bite missing! 

Healthy choices =3
Bad decisions = 0 (I decided all that kale cancelled out the three Oreos I had when I got home).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

LONG GRAY HEARTBREAK

I've been finding gray hairs a lot lately.  It's very disconcerting.  But today, this one right here, very nearly broke my heart..
My longest gray yet.
All of the grays that I've found up until this one, were short little stubby ones poking out of my bangs, concentrated primarily around a mole that I have on my scalp.  But this one was mixed in with the long flowing hair on the sides.  I couldn't believe that I had never noticed it before, but there it was, sticking out and taunting me. Needless to say, I immediately yanked that sucker right out.

Au revoir, long, gray heartbreak...

Monday, June 4, 2012

THE HAZARDS OF BEING TALL

After 35 years of life as a tall person, I thought I was well acquainted with and fairly adept at avoiding and/or compensating for all the hazards of being tall.  Today, I came face-to-face with a brand new, here-to-for never thought of, hazard.  Several months ago, I joined the Three Rivers Rowing Association and took up rowing crew.  In all subsequent classes, we were busy learning form, technique, safety, rules, regulations and such. Tonight was the night we had all been anticipating, we were handling the boats and going out on the river for the first time.  I was completely stoked. 
That is, until we picked up the boat. 
We lined up aside our boat on the rack in the boathouse and on the coxswain’s command, pulled the boat onto our shoulders to walk it down to the dock.  I should mention here, that at 6 ft tall, I’m approximately 5 to 9 inches taller than everyone on my team with the exception of one other person. I hadn’t really given a whole lot of thought to the physics of carrying a boat with such extraordinary height disparity amongst team members until the second the majority of the entire weight of the boat hit my shoulder. I nearly buckled.
I did manage to make it the 200-or-so yards down to the water where we put in – and I even managed to enjoy every second that we were on the water.  It was so amazing to feel the breeze as we moved along the water and see the sun setting on the city in front of us.  I want to get a picture so badly, but I’m too scared to take my phone in the boat with me… but it looked something like this: http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc65859.php .
As we docked and I remembered that we still had to return the boat to its rack in the boathouse, I thought of my throbbing shoulder and my shaky legs and I let out a little whimper.  I managed to make the return trip to the boathouse as well, but my shoulder is not happy with me at all. I’m hopeful that next week, the instructors will be able to help me find a more comfortable way to carry, because while I absolutely love being on the water, I’m not sure that I love it quite enough to endure that feeling on a regular basis.
Oh, the hazards of being tall.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

ALL ABOUT THE BOGOS

YARD SALE DAY!! I prepped and planned for days and finally, yard sale day arrived.
Yard sale ambassadors, Sean & Sheldon.
A 6:00 a.m. wake-up on a Sunday is never any fun; less-so when you have just received your long-awaited dream bed the evening prior. But I hauled myself up, grabbed my bag of dollar bills and quarters, and headed over to Sean’s with my final load of junk for sale. We unloaded furniture, merchandized our wares, had our first customers - as well as our first few sales - all before 8:30 a.m.
Between me, Sean, and Sean’s new puppy, Sheldon, we managed to field every strange request (no, we do not have any green pizzelle makers, aluminum gliders or antique microphones, sorry) and have a successful sale.
BOGO-BOGO, everything must go!
Our success largely hinged on Sean’s decision to start a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) sale on his picture frames. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the BOGO’s increased exponentially; handbags, jewelry, artwork, floppy hats, tables, all BOGO.  We also became much more vocal as the day wore on; Sean cried out to passers-by “BOGO, BOGO, BOGO…” followed by me shrieking “EVERYTHING MUST GO!!” as we dissolved into laughter.  In reality, we probably frightened off just as many potential customers with our crazy as we drew in with the BOGO… but, hey, it was fun.
Around 4:00 p.m. we decided to call it quits, Mike came to collect me and the few items that didn’t sell. Since he had never believed that anyone would buy my “junk” and kind-of insinuated that I might be a tad foolish for putting so much work into this yard sale, he was incredulous when I hopped into the car with only a few items left and a huge wad of cash.  I took him out to dinner with my some of my “winnins” and his view on yard sales has totally shifted.  He now wonders how much we could “get” for every item in our house.
I told him…  It’s all about the BOGOS.
On our way home, we even saw a double rainbow - day for BOGOS, indeed!



Saturday, June 2, 2012

MEMORY FOAMTASTIC!

Sometime before Christmas last year, Mike and I were introduced to the “iComfort sleep system”  It’s a beautiful memory foam mattress on an adjustable bed frame with a massage function.  It was at the end of a long day of Christmas shopping that we found this miraculous invention.  We were popping in for a last-minute gift when we passed by and I happened to flop down on it out of sheer exhaustion.
 I flopped… and paused… and felt… and decided to lie down. I quickly began to understand the magic that was the iComfort memory foam mattress.  “Mike, you HAVE to feel this – come lie down”.  He begrudgingly put down the packages and joined me on the mattress.
 “ooh” he said, immediately. 
Then he noticed the remote control that was situated between us, grabbed it and hit the “zero G” button which, to our surprise, elevated our heads and our knees to a perfect position so that we felt completely weightless. 
“Oooh” we said in unison.
THEN, he hit the massage function button and “AHHHHHHH”… our eyes met and we both knew  it was over – we were sold – this was going to be our bed.  Except, then we saw the price tag. 
We rationalized - we could take back all of the gifts we just bought for our families and each other and put a down payment on this bed, they would understand. Or, we could act like adults and walk away until another day when we could afford it.  Dejected, we chose to act like adults.
Six months passed and the dreams of the memory foam, adjustable, massage-y comfort has never been far from our minds. So when the annual Memorial Day mattress sale campaigns began this year, I was hopeful that we would be able to find a great sale and the iComfort would finally find its forever-home with us.  And indeed, it did.  $800 dollars off along with two free iComfort pillows (valued at $85) and free delivery!! 

Naturally, I had to redecorate to compliment the new bed.

 For an entire week we anticipated its delivery – and today, it has arrived. 
It is amazingly comfortable and everything we dreamed of.  So much so, I wasn’t sure I would ever want to leave the house again. In fact, Mike had to insist that I get out of it long enough to go on our dinner-movie date that we had scheduled for the evening. And it’s taken me an inordinate amount of time to write this post because I keep nodding off to sleep. 

It’s fantastic. Really, it’s memory foamtastic!



Pink memory foam.

Update: When Mike forced me to leave the bed and go out into the real world for food and entertainment, I stopped into an athletic shoe store that was having a “blowout” sale and what did I find?  Super-cute memory foam flip-flops!  I mean, come on, who thought this up, why did they not think it up sooner, and why is the foot-bed of every shoe I own not encased in memory foam??  What a great idea. 
Will the memory foamtastic-ness of this day ever stop?