Thursday, April 30, 2009

Research & Development

I'm ready for the work week to be OVER. Not that we have big plans for the weekend, actually heading to my folks to help my dad do some work in the back yard, breaking up some concrete, etc. It has been a heck of a week, starting with the news that I'm losing some office space within my department to another area. In addition, just several other issues going on, with the accompanying bureaucracy and red tape to go along with them. Add the recent hysteria about swine flu, the continuing bleak economy, the equally bleak weather this week (rain is in the forecast for the next 37 days, it seems like!) and I'm ready for some GOOD news.

Tonight is a bright spot in my week, with R&D (that's "Research & Development"-- looks much more official on my Outlook Calendar than "Happy Hour at the Bar") after work at Parlor 88. One of our fun work events, Women's Red Hot Night, took place about a month ago. The planning committee met over several months to plan the event, and some of us started having a post-meeting (i.e. happy hour) after our biweekly meetings. It was a nice time to just unwind, and vent about our various jobs and lives. With the event over, we realized we didn't want to stop the post-meeting meetings, and so we've continued to meet on some Thursday afternoons. R&D is actually Dave's term for his own weekly night out with the IT/sales guys as they try out different establishments in town; but I've stolen it for my own, and now all of us gals email or text each other on Tuesday or Wednesday,"R&D Thursday 4pm, P88?"

I sent my text out this morning, saying I would be there and asking who would be joining - I think all of our group will be there, and some are bringing friends. Sounds like everyone may have had the same week that I have. Back to the grind, 'til later today!

Monday, April 27, 2009

"This was the best dinner ever!"

That's what Jace said when we went out to eat for Dave and my birthdays on Saturday night. I chose hibachi, since that's something we both like, and I knew Jace would be excited too, it is his favorite meal. We headed to Ohana's, a newer place on Battlefield Road here in town. It isn't my very favorite Japanese steakhouse, but it is good- just a little different sauces, etc. than what I'm used to at Hinode's, my favorite place. Anyway, we have made friends with several of the chefs at Ohana's and it isn't usually as crowded as some of the other more popular steakhouses. Sure enough, we arrived fairly late Saturday night and waited to see if some others would arrive in time to fill up our table, but we were the only three.

As our chef, JJ, (don't let the name fool you- he has been here in the U.S. for eight years, but is still very Korean! Oh, and that's the other thing- very few of the hibachi chefs here in Springfield are Japanese, they are mostly Korean, Vietnamese, etc) prepared our meal we talked to him about how he came to live in Springfield. He was very funny, and since it was just the three of us we had his full attention.

As JJ prepared the rice, he looked over at Jace and said "You want to cook?" Jace just looked at him, and JJ told him to come around to the other side of the grill. Jace hesitated for a moment, but then jumped up. JJ showed him how to "work" the rice around on the grill, and Jace started to stir it. JJ made a big show about leaving Jace at the grill, going back to the kitchen for a second, and THEN coming back out and sitting in Jace's seat while Jace stirred the rice.

JJ took over after a minute, and as Jace sat back down, he said to me and Dave, "This was the best dinner ever!" I'm sure he will be bragging at school about his experience! I'm going to get the picture above developed for him so he can have it to show friends.

After dinner we headed to Andy's Frozen Custard for a birthday treat, and then home. It was a great evening, and a wonderful weekend. Dave and I went to a marriage conference on Friday night and Saturday morning, and really came away with a lot of things that we are doing well, and some things that we can focus on; but most of all, with the continued realization that we both want this to work, and that we are both committed in a totally new way to making our marriage what it needs to be.

Now the work week begins, and we're having a rainy Monday. Hopefully the weather will clear off soon, and we will enjoy a beautiful week.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mental Feng Shui

My boss included this in her weekly notes, and I wanted to pass it along. Happy Friday.


ONE.. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye..

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely...

TEN... In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN..Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly..

THIRTEEN! .... When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN.. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN.. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY- ONE. Spend some time alone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring is Here!

Maybe I shouldn't title this post as such- don't want to tempt the fates and plummet back to 30 and 40 degree temperatures because I've been too optimistic! But the weather guy says we're supposed to see the mid-to-upper 70s today, and I can't wait. The downside to spring's arrival is that after reviewing my pictures from our trip to William Jewell with Paige and our weekend in Eureka Springs (pictures to follow below), I realized I'm NOT in bikini shape. Ok, geez, it didn't take the pics for me to know this, but they were a reaffirmation that my rear needs to hit the gym. I have had evening meetings more nights than not over the past month, and in the mornings I've been too tired to get up early to head to the gym. But really, I feel so much better when I am working out, that I need to make time to do it even when I'm crazy busy.

So I pulled out the DVD of that crazy gal Jillian from Biggest Loser (I bought it in January or February, and it has sat in the movie basket in the living room for 3 months) and popped it into the DVD on Monday evening. It was 20 minutes of hell, on the beginner level. She's a drill sergeant, saying "C'mon, if you have to rest, you've got five seconds, and then BACK TO IT!". I'm still feeling Monday's workout today, but I have made it to the gym the last two mornings to do some time on the elliptical. I'm almost scared to do the DVD again, I know it is going to hurt! But no pain, no gain, huh!?

We had a great trip with Paige to William Jewell on Friday; she has decided that is where she will be going to school. It was a gorgeous campus, and she will have such opportunities there. We are going back up on June 5th for her registration day, and hopefully staying with friends Garry and Heather (Geather, if you're reading this, sorry we haven't called to confirm this with you yet!) Here we are at WJC, in front of an classic phone booth:

After driving to KC and back on Friday, we headed home that evening and went out to dinner with Jace, Neil, Paige and Dave's mom, brother and sister-in-law. His brother had been in MO for a visit with Dave's mom for the week, so we wanted to see them before they headed back to Syracuse.

On Saturday morning we left Springfield early and headed south 1.5 hours to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We had reservations at one of the historic hotels, the Park Basin Hotel, and had to be there by 10:15, because we had spa packages reserved for 10:30 - a morning of relaxation! Dave had never had a massage before, so this was new territory for him. And I don't often take the time or spend the money on a massage, so I was definitely looking forward to my morning. We relaxed on the deck area until they were ready for us:

I had a massage, facial and a seaweed mud body wrap - two-and-a-half hours of pure relaxation! Here are some other shots of our weekend, including the hotel below:

We did meet some new friends at the hotel bar that night; Kelli and Jake, who are also from near Springfield, were a lot of fun!

As we prepared to leave Eureka Springs on Sunday afternoon after a leisurely brunch at the Mudhouse Cafe on Spring Street, we took some time to drive around Eureka Springs and see a few more attractions. I wanted to go and see the Crescent Hotel, since that was where we had originally wanted to stay but it was booked.

We went inside and took the elevator up to the observatory deck on the back of the hotel, it was gorgeous. Dave and I decided we will make this Eureka Springs trip an annual birthday trip for awhile - next year we may go back to the Basin Park Hotel, or might try a stay at the Crescent.

Our birthday (same day!) is this Saturday, and it will be a quiet weekend in Springfield. We have a marriage seminar on Friday night and Saturday morning, and Jace will be hanging out with Paige and the doggies while we are at the retreat. Neil has a baseball tournament out of town this weekend, that busy season has already started for him. Then we might head to the lake in the afternoon with Jace, while Paige goes to work.

Speaking of work, I'm back to it now, and signing off.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Family Fun on Easter Weekend, Part 2.

Just a few last pictures from Easter weekend and then I'll be on to other subjects. I had to get a picture of my brother Thom, he came home from UMKC and graciously gave up his bed for Jace and me to sleep in - thanks, Thom! Here he is on the sofa, doing some deep reading while the rest of us were all being silly.

We snapped a pic of the three sisters (minus Tara, who headed back home on Saturday) on Easter Sunday, and I was dismayed to see I was the SHORTEST! Am I shrinking? (And I'm also the heaviest, but we don't need to go there.) In all fairness, Susan and Ann both had heels on, and I was wearing flats. So I'm not THAT much shorter than them.

The next time I post a pic of Annie and Matt, it will be at their wedding in May, out in TN. They are getting married at a gorgeous resort near Gatlinburg, and we will all be joining them for the festivities. My b-in-law Ron kept cracking jokes about Matt's pre-wedding bliss, as opposed to after he gets married... Susan raked him over the coals for those comments!

And, finally, the Easter pics with Grandpa and the grandkids were fairly unsuccessful, but very funny!

Along with a fairly modest amount of candy, the Easter Bunny brought Jace $5.00 from Grandpa and Mimi, and $10 Target gift card from me. This new found wealth is burning a hole in his pocket, so we will be heading to Target this evening after he finishes his chores.

In other news, I am going with Dave and his daughter Paige to Kansas City on Friday, for Paige's final look at William Jewell. She was offered a substantial scholarship to WJ, and is very excited. One of the best things is that she will have the opportunity to study abroad in England for a year during her undergrad. Then Dave and I are going to Eureka Springs this weekend for a little getaway, complete with a massage and facial for me on Saturday. And, Dave said he may get a massage as well. Mr. Metrosexual (not!) has never had one, and I think he will really enjoy it.

It will be a nice time for us just to relax and continue rebuilding our relationship. I've been so happy with the changes in things, and that both of us know this is what we want and are committed giving it 100%. In the meantime, I have a list of things to get done today and tomorrow, at work and at home. One of the thing is a pedicure- I'm so ready for spring, and hope that this weekend will be nice enough for sandals, so gotta make sure my feet are looking pretty!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Family Fun on Easter Weekend, Part 1.

Jace and I started our weekend with our three hour trip to my parents' home on Friday evening. We played all "B's" on the Ipod: started with Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five for the first hour, then on to Billy Joel's greatest hits volumes one and two, Ben Harper, and finishing up with a little Beyonce and finishing up with Britney's newest tunes. I'm educating Jace on old and new music - he knows as many Billy Joel songs as Britney, which is how it should be.

We have had a great visit; in addition to being home for the Easter holiday, we also had a baby shower for sister Tara. She's due with baby boy Isaac on June 13, which is very quickly approaching. Here are a few pics from yesterday:

Tara and Luke came down for the shower, along with Luke's mother and sister-in-law. Five of Tara's high school and college friends were also in attendance. But although Tara was of course the guest of honor, she had a little competition from little Miss Eva, our newest niece, pictured above on her mom Michele's lap.

Tara is definitely "showing", but has gained just a little weight - less than 20 pounds. We had a good laugh reminiscing about my outfit for my baby shower with Jace, almost 11 years ago- I wore a lovely flowered outfit, a sort of maternity shorts/jumper. Thankfully things are a little more stylish now.

We did get some pictures outside after the shower, all of us sisters, and s-in-law Michele (l to right - Michele, Ann, Tara, me and Susan). There were some boys in attendance as well, with Dad-to-be Luke entertaining Eva. Rob and Sam posed for a pic for me, with Sam looking like a real bruiser. He had an accident last week, ran into the gas meter in their back yard. His mom is hoping the black eye goes away fairly quickly, since they have family pictures scheduled for next week.

We had a quiet evening, after I fixed dinner, which was the surprise of the weekend, apparently. If you know me, you know I'm not much of a cook. Ok, not a cook at all. The family likes to tease me that my most well-known meal is frozen pizza and applesauce, and unfortunately, they're somewhat accurate. I can make breakfast- eggs, sausage, pancakes, french toast, etc. But when it comes to real dinners, I've just not done much. Poor Jace, he gets breakfast a couple nights a week, and then often chicken, and just a few of his other favorites. Luckily Dave is a cook, so we do eat healthy and yummy when he cooks.

I made Dave's spaghetti sauce last night, and although I am sure it was not exactly like his, it was a hit. It involved boiling three different kinds of bell peppers and onions in beer, and adding sauteed mushrooms, sliced links of sweet italian sausage, ground beef and a few other secret ingredients into store-bought spaghetti sauce. I made a salad with spinach, sliced strawberries and kiwi, honey-roasted almonds and raspberry viniagrette dressing.

And, of course, a little bit of this:

Now it is Sunday morning, and we're all hanging out in the kitchen enjoying coffee and a little breakfast. The kids have all enjoyed their bounty from the Easter Bunny, and now we're getting ready to go to church for Easter service. The posting will continue later tonight, after we wrap up our visit.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things I'm Learning...

  • People can change, if they want to change… we started couples counseling this week, and Dave is focused on working through some of his past, and it has been wonderful to see how he is opening up and dealing with things that he has never really addressed before. We both took a personality profile test, and his personality type is so “spot on” about him, it is scary. It is interesting, though, that our counselor (a long-time acquaintance of mine) is also the same personality type as Dave. But he channels those same personality traits in resourceful ways, and has been very encouraging to Dave that he can learn to do the same. It is going to be a long road, but it is a very different path than we took the first time, and I think we are both very happy that we have the chance to start over.

  • “Support” can mean different things... I think all of my friends and family support me, and want me to be happy. But reactions have understandably been mixed about if this is the right thing for me. Some people have been very supportive and happy that Dave and I are working on things. Others have been supportive of me, but reserved in their comments about Dave. Or, some even NOT so reserved in their comments about Dave. They were there for me during the time that we broke up, and saw what I went through during that time and during the last few months before our breakup. I know they worry, but no one is in my shoes. I’m learning that although I am the type of person who really cares what those around me think, I have to make peace with my own decision. And I have made that peace.

  • On a lighter note, I’m unfortunately learning that my new hair stylist is a very talented gal, but she has a mind of her own when it comes to her clients’ hair. Love my cut, it is just trimmed up a bit, but HELLO, I am NOT a brunette. Although now I am. She had a new technique that she was dying to try, with some highlights and lowlights weaved in, a three color process. But geez, I got done and I am no longer a blonde. It would be a good look for winter, as it is a flattering shade on me, but it is spring! Bring on the blond highlights, its getting’ close swimsuit weather! So, I’m learning I’m going to have to be more outspoken and cut her off at the pass on her plans for my hair.

    Happy weekend to all, and safe travels to anyone who is driving to see family over the holiday. Jace and I are leaving tonight to go see my folks for the weekend, so will have pics on Monday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Change of Heart

Well, I have some news. News that I have hesitated to blog about because I wasn’t sure how to explain what has happened. I have already shared it with my family and many of my friends, with mostly positive reactions, but more than a few have also expressed their uncertainty. Dave and I have been talking for the past week and a half. We have both been to see a counsellor individually, and we are going to start couples counselling tomorrow to work on things and stay married.

I didn’t expect to be here, to be giving him a second chance, after how much he hurt me. But then again, it is not the Dave that I was dealing with three months ago. I mean, there are still all the good things that I loved, but I can tell he is different, and is already starting and wants to continue to change, for the first time in his life. He is at a point in his life that he has never been before, and it is only because of that that I am willing to try. He and I went to dinner last Sunday night, and he cried after dinner, and several times since then. This from a man who I had never seen cry in the three years we were together. He is more open than I have ever imagined he could be, and wants to be a better person and a better husband. He sent a heart-felt three page email to all of my siblings and my parents, asking for their forgiveness, and for their help in learning how to be a part of our family.

I do believe that he is willing to give 100% and do whatever it takes, but he has said time and time again over the last several days that he knows that actions will speak louder than words and that he will show me if I will just give him the chance. So I will, with some stipulations. We will go to counselling together, and he will be going by himself, too, to work on his issues. He's talked about how he sees that he has always kept people at arm's length, which is one of the things he discussed with the counsellor. He wants to change, and learn how to have a more meaningful relationship with me, with his kids, with my son, and all the others that he loves. And these are things I don't think he would've said or even realized, just a few months ago.

Part of me is hurt and scared, and obviously that is normal. But on the other hand, if he is this willing to change and try again, and I don’t give us a chance, I’m afraid I would always regret it. So, that’s where we are. We went to church together this morning, and he fixed dinner tonight for the two of us. We will be taking things slow, he will not be moving back in yet. Just one step at a time, to start rebuilding our relationship, and giving things a second chance.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools!

Well, the joke was on me today, my brother Rob got me! My five siblings and I (plus some of the spouses as well) often talk back and forth via group email. We all live several hours apart, and email has been an awesome way for us to stay connected. The latest subject has been our sister Ann’s upcoming nuptials at the end of May. She and long-time beau Matt are getting married in Gatlinburg, TN at The Preserve Resort, and all of our and Matt's immediate families will be joining them for the weekend.

Our sister Susan has been the “travel agent” of sorts, figuring out accommodations at the resort. Three of us siblings and our families will be staying in one three-bedroom cabin. But it is certainly not “just" a cabin; it is beautiful- has three floors and sleeps 14 people, includes a hot tub, sauna, foosball table, full kitchen and many other amenities.

As we discussed the weekend today back and forth via email, we were talking about the reception and I jokingly asked Ann if it would be an open bar with plenty of wine. The next email back was from my brother, Rob, telling me that if I checked out the website, I would see that they are a “dry” resort, and are very strict about their enforcement. He said that the resort did not allow any alcohol and that was how they could keep their cabins in such nice condition. He went on to say that he was surprised that Ann had chosen this resort, knowing that there was no alcohol allowed, but that when he had looked at some of the other similar ones, this one was much nicer and that must’ve been why she chose it. I thought, “oh, shoot”, but responded back with an email saying that it would still be lots of fun, and the resort had lots of things to do all weekend.

I then started working on something at my desk, and when the next email came through, I opened it and read “APRIL FOOLS!! Gotcha!!” And he did; I totally believed him. He said he hadn’t fooled anyone in years, and it kind of made his day! And I’m sure he’ll read this, since he is a fellow blogger… THANKS, Rob. You got me!