Jun 30, 2011

Shorts II

The past couple posts have been not about daily life (which is fine) but for the few of you who like to read this just to know what's goin' on, I've been droppin' the ball. So here's the second installment of shorts.

I've been spending my evenings working on a marketing project for the BCRC. I think we'll wrap it up right after the Fourth and go live next week. Yay!

The Astros lost to the Rangers during their three game series for the "Silver Boot." Ross is relishing in the victory and thinking of creative ways to rub it in the faces of all 'stros fans.

I took a kick boxing class last night. My arms are wicked sore from jabs and undercuts and all kinds of other things. My remedy? Take a spin class on Sunday so that my legs will be equally sore.

Guilty admission: I DVRed a special called "Will & Kate: Royal Baby Watch." No surprises it just talked about how the Duchess has lots of pressure to have babies (apparently nothing has changed since King Henry VIII and the poor fortune of his wives). It made me wonder - Kate used to be know as "Waitey Katiey" but maybe they put off getting married because they knew as soon as they did, she'd have to get pregnant. Maybe not, but it would seem like a smart plan to me.

And finally, most the fireworks shows are canceled here this year due to the worst drought in a million years. I think we're something like 10 inches behind on rain for the year. I've heard rumors that two suburbs are giving it a shot still so here's to hoping we end up at one of those shows.

Jun 29, 2011

Dear Ross

Dear Ross,

You knew when we got married that I had this affliction called travel. What you might not have realized is how severe my affliction is and how many resources are required to meet my needs. Bad news bears - it's severe and it requires like...all our resources.

Currently I am looking forward immensely to our Canadian Vacay in August. Hello Niagara Falls! I spent part of my lunch break scoping out hiking options. It's gonna be awesome!

Then I'm gonna take off for my 2011 Cheryl-only trip to Seattle. I'm jazzed about Seattle but you know me, there's a Delta there and the only thing that makes me more excited than travel is a Delta. Yeah, you're right, trips like this are like my dreams coming to life.

I've also got biz trips to Philly, Baltimore and probably NYC this fall. I'll take pics of things besides the library and fancy dinners on this NYC trip, promise.

Now for 2012...I'm getting ambitious. Jane's getting married in March so I'm gonna need to fly to Boston for that (yay Deltas!). And in April I have a biz trip to San Fran and since that will already get me to the west coast, well I think I should go see Kev in San Diego too. Thoughts? Then I want to take our EuroTrip together. Austria and Italy are sounding superb for that. (Spent another few minutes on lunch looking at weather in Austria and Italy in May...lovely.) And didn't you want to maybe hit up Illinois or Tennessee next year too? Count me in babe.

All that said, I'm thinking maybe we should sell the house and live outta a tent. I mean heck, we're going to be spending so much time in hotels, do we really need a house too? That just seems kinda wasteful...

Again, thoughts?


Jun 27, 2011

Tips for Breast Cancer Treatment

Since you and me know each other, dear blog reader, you probably already know that I'm a fierce cancer fighter. I hate all cancers but breast cancer is one I have a special kind of disdain for because it messed with my Grandma and because 1 in 8 of us ladies will face it.

You probably also know that I love ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. Well tonight, Diane and health correspondent Richard Bresser took on breast cancer treatment. According to a report from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (which I have a very high opinion of), older women often don't receive radiation therapy following a mastectomy.

To help make sure every one fighting breast cancer knows all their treatment options and makes a conscious, purposeful decision, ABC News suggested bringing a supportive person along to your appointment (like how Aunt Fran accompanied my Grandma) and making a checklist of what you need to ask. As a starting point, ABC News provides this checklist.

And if you'd like to watch the segment from tonight, here ya go.

For more breast cancer fighting resources, check out these links

Jun 26, 2011

I Hit the Husband Lottery

Tonight after a wonderful weekend together (we were both off, yay!), Ross suggested we have an in bed picnic of strawberries, cheese, crackers and wine. Lexi joined and we had a little baseball on in the background.


Jun 24, 2011

Why I love Clinique

Well taping yourself is scary as hell but I decided to go for a new medium and post my first ever video blog. Ahh! I know right? But the subject is make up so it just felt like it should be a person talking and not writing. OK, deep breath, here it goes.

Whew, and now that that's done, a glass of wine to calm my nerves and anxiety that everyone can now see me online. Maybe two glasses.

(And a big thank you to the lovely lady at the Clinique counter in Macy's for helping me out during a only-girls-get-it mini-crisis. My Junior League picture actually turned out all right!)

Jun 23, 2011

Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Hear

Tonight Mom asked me how many people read my little blog. And actually, funny she should ask because I have been totally geeking out to Google Analytics recently.

Here, awesome blog readers, is what I know about you from the past 30 days.
  • 44 of you soak up life via your RSS reader.
  • There's 159 unique ones of you who visit the actual blog
  • and combined you've visited my little blog 464 times. Thanks!
  • Of those 464 visits, 17 are from Australia (Hi Erin!),
  • 200 are from Texas, 115 are from Massachusetts and 22 are from Jersey.
  • About a quarter of you come straight here and about a third of you follow Facebook links.
  • And I think your fav post was also one of the most thought-provoking "You Can't Have Half"
That second to last point actually explains a lot. In the past 30 days, this little blog has had 45% more traffic than in the previous 30 days. My suspicions are that's because the auto-feed feature into Facebook has been wonky and not working. And since a few of you took the time once to tell me you read my posts via Facebook, well, I thought I should keep feeding the need by sharing links.

Anyways, this is my little Google Analytics nerd blog and my opp to say come on back and thanks so much for reading. Y'all rock my polka-dot socks!


Jun 22, 2011

Ross Wants to Share

Two nights ago Ross reprimanded me for not yet sharing this very cute picture of him and Lexi napping. It was still on the camera, not even on Flickr yet and I got "What!? You haven't blogged this yet?" He clearly really wanted to share it with our family blog readers.

So here I am folks, blogging about Ross, Lexi and their naps. This scene is oddly common in our home and I'm not immune from puppy spooning either. She sleeps with me at night and with him during the day.

Sleepy Puppies

Jun 20, 2011

I'm Guilty

I've always been told to negotiate my salary. When I worked at the Girl Scouts (and thus read lots of gender related studies and articles) I once read that part of why women make less when compared to their male counterparts is that they are less likely to ask for a higher salary. In fact, there's a whole book out there about that.

Today I stumbled upon a blog post that reminded me of this. One manager quoted in that post says "50-60% of women I interview simply take this offer...90% of the men I interview immediately ask for more."

When I had my first paid internship, I negotiated my hourly rate. I didn't ask for much more than the offer but I made an ask, almost just to practice negotiating.

When Girl Scouts offered me my first job, they asked how much I required for salary. I told them $X. Well apparently X was high...so high it provoked a good-natured laugh. But it didn't end negotiations. I was told "$A-$B" was more their range to which I responded "well, then I'll take $B." I mean duh, who wouldn't take the highest value in the range.

But when I moved to my current gig, I didn't negotiate. I was given a figure that I liked and I took it. Now I don't mean to sound greedy or ungrateful or anything like that (I am after all, pleased with every aspect of my employment), but in retrospect, I'm a little disappointed in myself. I know you should always negotiate. Just on principle and as a best practice, I should have negotiated.

On one count of "women don't ask" the jury finds me guilty as charged.

How about you? Guilty as charged or proudly innocent?

Jun 19, 2011

Alamo Drafthouse

We went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see The Hangover 2 tonight. The Alamo Drafthouse, if you aren't familiar, is a homegrown movie theater here in Austin that includes a full menu and waitstaff. It also has a little of that Keep Austin Weird flavor to it.

While the movie was funny, I think best part might have been this "don't talk" preview before the movie. So good in fact, it warrants a SECOND video post in one day. Thank you YouTube. (Note: language is...well, I'd ask the kids to leave the room first.)

Socialnomics: Part 1

I'm reading this book for work, Socialnomics (video below is a really cool sneak peek into it).

As I get a little further through the book, I'll post a blog or two about social media, charity and marketing on Connection Cafe. However there are some topics in the book I find really interesting that aren't quite right for Connection Cafe. That's where this blog comes in.

From chapter three of Socialnomics, here's my fav quote at the moment
The [Gen Xers and Gen Yers] are also less likely to understand boundaries, whether that is answering an e-mail from a friend during business hours or taking e-mail from a manager at 11 p.m.
You know what...true story.

I'd be a dirty liar if I told you I never sent a personal email or made a personal phone call from the office. But I also check in on things during my time off. I mean I am reading a work book on a Sunday afternoon am I not? (And actually, typing that reminded me that I needed to send a quick note to a client...so I just did.)

Anyways, the book says we know no boundaries. I admit to knowing few boundaries. Is it good, bad or neither? Will our work or personal lives suffer from lack of boundaries?

Many moons ago in my blog reading I stumbled upon one about work-life balance, in particular with kids. The blogger said that for her, mixing it all up was the key to success. She might take a long lunch to go to a personal appointment but then she'd check email at 10 p.

Her success story resonated with me. If you can keep work to just 9a-5p and your personal life fits in outside that, well I think that's awesome. For me though, I can't be a wife, friend and puppy-mommy just from 5p-8a. And with a gig in social media, which as you know is a 24/7 cycle, I can't be the best marketing pro just during 9a-5p. I'm not a light switch between work and home, I'm more like the dimmer with mood lighting.

So that's my story, a boundary-lacking woman/marketing pro. What's your story?

Jun 18, 2011


Not shorts like the kind you wear (sometimes below your butt apparently), but shorts like short stories or random short updates. Because nothing monumental is happening but I have some shorts I can share.

  • Tuesdays with Morrie: I devoured this book. It was GREAT. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. It reminded me of two things. 1) my grandma because she is also old and smart about things that really matter and 2) Sydney/Age because when I was in Sydney and Age's dad was sick, both things really put perspective on what matters. The answer to that is rarely "making more money" or "finishing this grad school application." It was more often "spending time with my roomie...and going with her to DMB" and "experiencing the coolest place I've ever been to." Tuesdays with Morrie was a good reminder that we often worry ourselves about little things that don't really matter and instead we should put energy into people, relationships and experiences. Oh and Morrie lived in West Newton and taught at Brandies which is where Dr. Jane just became a doctor so I enjoyed that part as well.
  • Greece: I believe it went like this
    Ross: Going to Athens is going to be amazing. [turns on World News]
    Diane Sawyer: Rioting in Greece! No longer just an inconvenience for tourists, the riots are escalating...
    So now we're brainstorming where else we might like to go in Europe next year, just in case when it comes time to book, Greece isn't lookin' so hot. I think Spain is topping our list but if you have suggestions, lay 'em on me. My only requirements are 1) must be Europe and 2) I don't want to go to one of those freezing European countries. I've had my relationship with snow and freezing weather thankyouverymuch.
  • Canada: I talked to Brenda the other morning about our Canada trip in August. Did you know up near Toronto it stays light until nearly 10 p.m. in the summer!? That's amazing. I'm so excited. I can sleep when I'm dead; right now, I'm seeing Canada! (Well OK not now now but you know what I mean.)
  • Vivo: We had dinner there last night with Jack and Nancy. It was outstanding. The queso was fab. We suggest you go.
  • El Arbol: We just bought a LivingSocial deal to go here. I've heard its the best steak in town and I'm ready to find out.
  • Painting with a Twist: For my birthday, Mom & Dad got me a gift certificate to go try this out as a date night. If you aren't familiar, it's a painting class where a local artist walks you through how to paint a specific piece. And you bring snacks/wine with you to enjoy. Ross and I are going next month and are painting the 360 bridge which is also the bridge we took our engagement pics in front of.
What we'll be aiming for. I'll personally be happy if mine
just resembles a bridge in general.

Jun 15, 2011

Reason #754

Reason #754 Lexi must remain an only child: she hogs all the bones.

Yes, you are seeing that right. That's two bones. And no, I don't know how she got them both in her mouth. I just know that I turned around and she was prancing through the living room with two bones between her chompers. So naturally, I chased her down with my iPhone camera. There really wasn't any other way to react. 

Update: Thursday, 9:15 p.m.
I posted this picture to the Humane Society's Facebook page and Lexi is officially a Facebook phenom. She's been liked by 62 people. 

A Toast to Russell

Yesterday the world lost a very good dog. Russell was Ross' dog that he raised from puppy-hood (fit in your hand puppy-hood). Ross got him in high school and for 15ish years, the two were inseparable.

They were two peas in a pod. They even went gray together.

When I met Ross he had one family picture in his bachelor pad: a collage of him and Russell that Meg put together for him. I think she managed to sneak herself into one of the collage photos but just one. It was a photographic ode to boy and dog.

When I first met Russell, we got along great. Nancy said Russell never liked a girl before...but then it later came out that this was because Ross had never brought one home to meet Russell. Still, I choose to believe that Russell knew what was up.

This pictures is from a couple summers ago when Ross taught Russell how to swim down in Lake Austin. Russell sank at first (he was about 100 pounds at the time) but he eventually got the hang of it. That is not to say however that he liked it.

Russell surpassed the century mark in terms of dog years. And never was any dog loved so much by so many people for so many years. Now he's in puppy heaven where I am confident he is ruling as king.

Raise your glass for a toast to Russell, the best dog a boy could have ever had.

Jun 14, 2011

Very Strong Opinions About Pants

A friend/work contact of mine has a blog dedicated to Very Strong Opinions About Random Topics. This post is dedicated to him.


Today while walking Lexi through the neighborhood I crossed paths with a group of teenagers. One fellow had on a ridiculous outfit. Boxers, an inch below those, athletic shorts and EIGHT INCHES below those, another pair of athletic shorts. That's right, two pairs of athletic shorts.

I tried to find a Google image to relate this terrible fashion choice to you but alas, it is so terrible, I can't even find an image on Google. But I digress.

When this young man got dressed, what on earth made him think "you know, its 100 degrees outside today, I think I should wear two pairs of shorts, one near-ish to my waist and the other fully below my butt."?

Who told him this looks cool? And why did they lie to him so cruelly?

Furthermore, isn't walking with a waistband around your thighs inconvenient?

I don't totally get pant sagging but I won't crucify the guy with an inch or two of unmentionables above the waist of their pants. (Ladies are another topic. Girls, your panties/thong/G-string need never show above your pants. TACKY.) However two pairs of shorts, with one fully below the butt? Unnecessary and uncool. Don't do it.

And that is my very strong opinion on pants and where they should be and should not be worn.

Jun 12, 2011

3 Feats of the Weekend

Ross surprised me by cleaning house Fri! Yay!
Since I rarely left my house, you are correct in assuming these are small victories.
  1. Nanny Returns. I did in fact manage to finish this book over the weekend. It certainly isn't an award winner but if you enjoyed the first, then this is a nice, light, fluffy, quick-read great for being poolside, beachfront or permanently positioned in your big comfy bed as I was. Small word of warning: there are a few characters who make brief appearances and are easy to swap around in your head. A little annoying but not detrimental to the plot at all. Verdict: take it on vacation with you for mindless literary enjoyment.
  2. Blog labels. After blogging and labeling my post yesterday I realized I have been a big fat fail at this. Not that it really matters but I thought ya know, it would be nice if my blog posts were accurately and consistently labeled. Besides just liking to write, I do have the slight ambition that this will serve as the chronicles of my little family. And how much easier would that be with thematic labels. Much. So I backtracked and labeled everything for 2011. It only took me an hour and half to select labels, come up with fresh ones and delete silly ones that don't really have broad appeal. 
  3. Ross' calendar. I kinda function as the human calendar in our home which usually I'm OK with but sometimes I get irritated by. It's a lot of stress to always remember where everyone is/should be all the time! So I ended it. I hacked Ross' Yahoo calendar (ie asked him nicely for the password) set it up to share with me and added default text message alerts an hour before every event. Then I "invited" him to all the relevant things I'd been keeping in my Google calendar like dinner with his folks next week. (By the way, I do wish I could get him to make the move to Google calendars but he isn't on board so I'm taking what I can get.) I'm hoping the text message alerts and shared calendars reduce my need to be a walking calendar and help organize us a little better. And definitely one day, when he gets an iPhone, it's going to be even more awesome. (And maybe one day we can go "green" and forgo wall calendars...yeah...no. Every family needs a kitchen calendar.)
Yes, it's the little victories.

Jun 11, 2011

Not Doin Nothin

This weekend we're both off and we're looking forward to doing NOTHING.

We've been really busy the past two months and while the past two weekends have been fairly normal (hallelujah) we've still been out and doing things around Austin. (Like this week, I had dinner out Monday, Junior League orientation Tuesday and a TriDelta Alumnae Happy Hour Thursday. I had a blast! But it was busy. I could go for some down-time.)

This weekend, none of it.

It's actually a really good weekend for us to be embracing lameness because on Monday Ross hurt his back. We're not exactly sure what he did but the self-diagnosis via WebMD has us guessing pulled muscle or pinched nerve. I actually even worked from home Tuesday afternoon because I wasn't sure how mobile he'd be and thought he might need someone to like fetch water and such.

He's been taking it really easy all week. And we decided since we're on a budget (saving up for the August Canadian vacation!), been pretty busy for 2-3 months and he's achey, we'd just hibernate this weekend. That said my big plans for the next 48 hours include
  • Reading and maybe finishing Nanny Returns (sequel to The Nanny Diaries)
  • Few chores
  • Gym
  • Lexi walks
  • Watching The King's Speech
Whew, oh yeah, that's more than enough activity for two days.

Jun 8, 2011

You Can't Have Half

Warning: this blog post is not fluffy. It's about a real issue and is kinda serious in nature. Read at your own risk.
Monday night I had drinks and dinner with some fabulous former coworkers. Most of our meal was fun and fluffy but somehow we got to talking about a (hypothetical) predicament that we'd either seen amongst friends or in my case, had seen on Grey's Anatomy.

If you are in a serious relationship or marriage and you don't want kids but you get pregnant, what do you do? Compound that with the man in the relationship wanting kids.

On the one hand I'm pro-choice. But just because I believe in having the choice, doesn't mean I believe abortion is the right answer most the time or even half the time. The choice just exists. If you are married though (or in a very serious relationship, I'm just gonna keep saying "married" and "husband" for simplicity), is it just your choice? It is both of yours baby but you are the one who has to carry it in your body for 9 months. And even pregnancy aside, if you don't want to be a mother, should you have a baby for the sake of your husband? Is a kid whose mother doesn't want to be a mother going to have much of a shot?

We all agreed that it wasn't a decision you could make without talking to your husband. I would say though to some extent, that was where agreement ended. Personally I view it as someone having to give in (though I don't really like that phrase in this instance). Either you are going to agree to have the baby against your initial desires and hope it all turns out OK or he is going to agree to let you have an abortion. Or you are going to tell him that you hear him, you understand he wants a baby but you cannot compromise and you are not having a baby. Let's face it, at the end of the day there's not really a compromise in this situation; you can't have half a baby.

It's really a no win situation. But know it is a no-win situation, what do you do?

Personally, I'm just thank my lucky stars, the baby-gods and the marriage-gods that my hubs and I are on the same page. No we're not quite ready to become parents but if I woke up pregnant tomorrow (extremely unlikely), eh so we'd become parents sooner than expected. It'd be fine.

But what do you think? How should one handle the uncompromising nature of having children or not having them?

Jun 7, 2011

We have the maturity of 12 year olds

Watching ABC World News, story is about Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal.

Me: Honey, I have to tell you. If your last name had been Weiner, I would've kept my own.
Ross: If my last name were Weiner, I'd have taken yours.

Jun 3, 2011

What do you do online?

Not to be too nosy or anything, but what do you do online?

As a firefighter's wife, I have a lot of time at home by myself. Now I have girlfriends but they have husbands who are home every evening and apparently sometimes they like to hang out with them. So in short, my girlfriends aren't available to entertain me for a full 24 hours, every third day and thus, I'm at home.

I walk the puppy, watch a little TV, blog, read, work out... and then it's 8 p.m. Every once in a while after blogging I catch myself thinking "there is a whole internet world out there! What do people do there!?". Usually I've already Facebooked, tweeted and blogged...in short, covered all my social media bases. I've realized social media is about all I do online. I guess given how much I like to talk and socialize, this shouldn't have surprised me but it kinda did.

So assuming you do something other than play on social media sites when you are online, what is it? And can I do it too?

Jun 2, 2011

My Puppy is Falling Apart

003Back in March Lexi got into a little puppy scuffle. She got her nose scratched up decently and had to go to the emergency vet where she was put on antibiotics to protect her from infection.

In April she started scratching herself like there was no tomorrow. Behind the ears, on the belly, her haunches, you name it, she scratched it. And she kept us up all night. On the drive to work after a week of it I called the vet and said "I don't care what you have to do. Make her better or just drug her; our house has to sleep tonight." Antibiotics and a switch back to all-natural dog food later, she was fine again.

This week she's started trying to hack up a lung. She'll bark at something on TV and within 1-2 barks it has progressed from barking to coughing/hacking. Or she'll just be minding her own business and BAM coughing fit. Back to the vet yet again. They aren't 100% sure what it is, maybe something with allergies or maybe something else. Either way she's on three medications now as a result.

I wonder if the Obama healthcare reform covers puppies.

Jun 1, 2011

Western MA: Tornado Alley Extended?

Crazy things happened in Massachusetts today. And since most you blog readers are either in MA, used to live in MA or are otherwise connected to MA, you probably already know that tornadoes hit the western half of the state today.

Our very dear Age, Joe, Taygan and Boyd live out there. They had a scary, scary day but thankfully they and their home are all OK. However lots of trees are down, including one that hit Age's (new) car, and the roads are impassable. And if you watch any of the videos or catch the news coverage, you know that many of their neighbors were not nearly so lucky.

So if you have an in with the Big Man Upstairs or any other deities, take a second this week and ask them to lend a hand with the clean up and repairs out in Western Massachusetts, the newest but hopefully temporary addition to Tornado Alley. And thank them for keeping our favorite little Western Massachusetts family safe.