Wow, You're Old!

on Monday, January 28, 2008

One of John's colleagues moonlights as a comedian, so on Friday night, we went out to see one of his shows. But before I tell you about that, let me back up and give props to my wonderful husband for the fabulous surprise he had in store for me when I got home from work that day. I walked in to candles burning, romantic music playing, a bottle of champagne chilling on ice and a delicious dinner prepared for me. It was such an awesome surprise and it could not have been any more perfect. He is such a sweetheart! And, he informed me that he made us Valentine's reservations but wouldn't tell me where because he wants it to be a surprise! I love it!!! Valentine's is a special day for us because it is our dating anniversary. We had our first real date at Viva Fresh Pasta in Northampton seven years ago this coming Valentine's Day! It's amazing how time flies and how life can be such a surprise. Never in a million years would I have imagined my life as it is back on that fateful day, but now, seven years later, I am happily married to a man that I love beyond words and I feel truly blessed that I have him in my life. But, enough about all that. Wow...I got off on a tangent!

Anyway, back to Friday night. John and I arrived at the comedy show a little early, so we decided to get a drink at the bar before entering the show. After finally flagging down a bartender (the service was not the best), we ordered our a glass of wine and John a beer. The bartender, an older woman, asks, or rather orders us to show her our ID's as she breezed by us to get our drinks. Now, getting carded is nothing new to us. I would consider us rather youthful looking, so I can certainly understand a bartender wanting proof of age. We often get a surprised response, something along the lines of "you look so young!", but that was not the response we got from this bartender. When she returned with our drinks, she grabbed our ID's, studied them for a minute, looked up at us and said "Wow, You're Old!". What?!?! Old? John's only 27, me only 26. Since when is that old? The bartender turned around and zipped off to her next customer, leaving John and I speechless for a second. We turned to each other and began laughing. That certainly was something neither of us had ever heard before, especially from someone who was clearly much older than us, but comical nonetheless. So, I guess it's official...we're old.

And speaking of being old, I would like to take a minute to honor one of the most special individuals I have ever had the privilege of knowing and Miss Bailey. Yesterday was Bailey's 5th birthday. It's hard to believe that she is 5 already. It's feels like she was just a little pup...unable to climb stairs, chewing on anything she could get her little paws on, having "accidents" in the most inconvenient of places (like on the couch or on John's roommate's bed), learning all of her little puppy tricks, being mischievous, not listening to a word I say, dragging me down the street by her leash, eating off the corners of all our windowsills, eating my very expensive sunglasses, eating our houseplants, eating my socks (see a trend here?!?). Well, those puppy days are long gone. Our girl is such a wonderful and well behaved grown lady now. She listens to our every command, she knows what belongs to her and wouldn't dare touch anything that is not her property, she can walk down the street without a leash, she can be let out into the yard alone without fear of her running off, she is such a lover, such a cuddle bug. She is truly a wonderful dog and a wonderful source of joy to have around. Just seeing that little face, which has begun to show it's age (dad likes to call her "Old Graybeard" in reference to her white chin hairs), makes me blissfully happy. She has such incredible intuition and knows exactly what to do to make me happy. If I am sad, she will come and rest her chin on my lap. If I am happy, she'll prance around me, and rub up against my leg in excitement. If I am home alone, she doesn't leave my side as though it is her sole purpose in life to protect me. She acts as though the world is about to end if I yell at her and will mope around and carry on until I forgive her. I can honestly say that she has changed my life forever and made me a better person. She is, without a doubt, one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I constantly tell her that she is an angel sent straight to me from heaven. And you know what? I believe it. So, here is to my special girl. My bunny, my monkey, my Miss Bailey. Happy Birthday B!

And, finally, I would just like to take a moment to mark another exciting and momentous occasion in our lives. John has his first closing as a realtor today. I know it is the first of many in his blossoming career. He is already a fabulous real estate agent, and I know he is destined for great things. I am so proud of him for making the leap into the unknown to follow his dreams. I envy his clarity in his career goals. I feel joy from his joy each time he gets a new client or strikes a new deal. My Johnny is destined for great things and I am just thankful to be along for the ride.


on Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Long weekends rock, and this past one was no exception (thanks Dr. MLK Jr!). John and I had a fun weekend that was both relaxing and productive. I felt so refreshed this morning from the wonderful weekend, that I actually didn't mind coming to work (at least until I got here)!

On Saturday, John and I went to Magic Wings, a Butterfly Conservatory filled with butterflies, moths and tropical vegetation located in South Deerfield, MA. I've heard about this place a million times, but I've never been myself. I figured this weekend would be a great time for us to finally go...what better time is there to go and enjoy a tropical oasis filled with lush vegetation and beautiful butterflies than on a cold January day?

When you first enter Magic Wings, there is a small room with glass aquariums filled with strange and exotic creatures. I was particularly fond of the frogs...their colors and patterns are so beautiful and unique:

There were also strange and creepy looking insects and bugs (yuck!):

After the aquarium room, you enter the conservatory...two large greenhouses filled with beautiful vegetation and butterflies. First, we saw many cocoons (some already hatched and some on the verge of hatching) and we even got to see a brand new butterfly drying it's beautiful wings:

After that, we just walked around and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. Looking for, and at times chasing, the butterflies made me feel like a kid again! We were particularly fond of the brightly colored butterflies, especially the blue ones (blue is both John's and my favorite color!). Of course, these butterflies seemed to be the fastest, most erratic flying butterflies in the place. And when we finally did find ones that had landed, they had their wings tightly closed so you couldn't see their vivid colors. Our attempts at getting them to spread their wings by blowing on them and shaking the plants they were on failed miserably :-) But, we enjoyed it nonetheless and got to escape the winter blues for an afternoon. We got some great photos, so I'll stop with the narrative and let the photos speak for themselves:

Saturday night we just stayed home, had a few glasses of wine, watched a movie and played some checkers. I am embarrassed to say that John beat me 3 times in a row! I'm blaming my triple loss on the wine :-) We watched "Wild Hogs" starring John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen and William H. Macy. It was totally cheesy, but I really liked it. I thought it was funny (perhaps also because of the wine) and heartwarming.
Sunday was, of course, filled with football. All I have to say is GO PATS!!! We can't wait to cheer them on in the Superbowl!
Finally, on Monday, we redecorated our bathroom! We have been hating the yellow tile on the walls since the day we moved in, but we just don't want to take on the burden of removing it. We originally tried to decorate using a lot of yellow, but it just never looked very good. So, yesterday we bought a new shower curtain, new towels, a new bath mat, and then we painted the walls white. I know what you must be thinking...white? BORING! But, it's really not! It looks so light and clean in there's definitely a big improvement. I still hope to remove the yellow tile someday, but this fresh new look will certainly make living with the tile a little easier until that day comes. I still need to decorate the room a little more (I'd like some more art on the walls), but I am very pleased with the results. I didn't take any pictures yet, but I'll be sure to post some soon.
So, overall it was a fantastic weekend! I wish it didn't have to end :-( At least it's a short work week!
P.S. Sorry for the strange formatting of this post, but blogger and I are not seeing eye to eye today. Grrrr!

Goddess What?!?

on Thursday, January 17, 2008

Last Wednesday I attended my first ever "Athena's Goddess Party". For those of you who don't know what that is, let me clear it up. It's a sex toy party. That's right...freaky deaky, get down and dirty, throw all your inhibitions out the window, sex toy party. Sounds fun, right? Well, try going to one of these parties with virtual strangers. A little awkward, huh? Here's the back story...the party was thrown by two of John's co-workers at Century 21. I've met one of them before, but I would call her an acquaintance at best. The other I've never met before. So, I essentially knew nobody. But, it was important to John that I go so that I could get to know his co-workers better, so I RSVP'd and headed off into the unknown. I really didn't know what to expect (and I was kind of dreading it all week leading up to the party), but I actually had fun, although I'm sure the glass of wine and 3 jello shots helped with that! The "Goddess", which is just Athena's version of a party hostess, eased us into the fun with rather harmless products...lotions, massage oils, even an after-shave cream (called Coochy...the Goddess swears it was named that as a play on the name "Gucci"...yeah right!). Then things got a little racier, and then a little racier, and then even racier. After a demonstration of the "Little Tongue"(a freakishly realistic replica of a human tongue), the "Passion Wave" (use your imagination!), and the "Ruby Ring" (another one for the imagination), there was no room for shyness. By the end of the night, there were very few secrets in the room :-) After all was said and done, I am really glad that I went. In addition to having a fun night, I got to know John's co-workers better (a lot better in some respects - ha!) which made my hubby very happy, I got to have a new experience that was totally out of my element, and, well...I think maybe I've shared enough. A true lady doesn't kiss and tell ;-)

A Fiesta and Some Bodies

on Monday, January 14, 2008

That pretty much sums up my weekend!

On Saturday, John and I went to a Mexican-themed Fiesta at Eric and Lisa's house up in Russell. We weren't exactly sure what to expect...but we had an absolute blast! There was fabulous, authentic homemade Mexican food (Eric's chimichangas were to die for!), yummy Mexican drinks (can you say margaritas!?!), and lots of great fun and conversation. The funniest part of the night was definitely when several people decided it would be a good idea to eat jabeneros...crazy! We were also very excited to watch the Pats defeat the Jaguars in the NFL up is San Diego. Dad wants to watch the game with us (he is a big SD fan) but I don't want to listen to him cry like a little girl when the Pats roll right over them! Anyway, here are a couple of pics of us at the Fiesta. Oh, and John and I enjoyed ourselves so much at the party that we've decided to throw our own Mexican Fiesta in the near future. Watch out for the invite!

On Sunday, my mom, the Chris's and I went to "Bodies Revealed: Fascinating and Real" at the Hartford Civic Center. Holy freak show! It's real humans, dissected and preserved and on display for all to see.

The way the exhibit is set up, it eases you into the freak show...first you start looking at bones, and who hasn't seen bones before? Then you move into muscles and ligaments...this is where things start getting creepy. They have basically every section of the body on display separately and then they have whole people just out in the open! Super bizarro! They looked fake, but then you'd see something, like an eyebrow or an ear, and it would remind you that you are looking at a real person! Someone that, not too long ago, was walking around just like you and me. Eek!

After that, you get more into the inner-workings of the body...veins and arteries, ligaments, and organs. I especially enjoyed the displays where they showed normal versus diseased organs. Definitely reinforced my desire to take the absolute best care of myself possible! I also enjoyed the fact that next to the diseased lung display they had a box for smokers to drop their cigarettes in. Quit people! They certainly left nothing to the imagination...every organ in your body, even reproductive organs, were on full display.

For me, the most fascinating display was the fetus room, where they showed fetuses in the different stages of development. The whole concept of pregnancy is just mind blowing. The body's ability to combine elements from one man and one woman and create another life is just beyond comprehension. I can't even begin to imagine what that is going to feel like. I have to admit, though, that while looking at the fetuses, I couldn't help but picture those little bodies inside my belly, growing, moving, kind of freaked me out! Even my little brother was like "freaked out to have kids, huh?".

Overall, it was an amazingly interesting and quite fascinating experience. Bodies are truly the most amazing and sophisticated system in existence. The way that every part and system works together in unison to keep us alive and well is just incredible. And it is amazing that all the different parts and organs, which basically look like slimy blobs, perform the most complicated and intricate functions. This experience definitely gave me a new appreciation and a new perspective on my body. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside the exhibit, but here are a few that I snapped before entering.

Going Pro

on Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Although many of you might laugh at what I am about to say, I have to encapsulate this special moment in time. The most incredible thing happened yesterday that has never happened before, and may never happen again.

As most of you already know, John and I are bowling fanatics and I participate in a bowling league. So far this season, my bowling has been less than stellar, but this week at league more than made up for all the weeks of bad bowling. I bowled a 231. Yes, I said 231. That is up there with pro bowlers scores. Move over...hmmm, I was going to reference a pro bowler here, but I just realized that I don't know any! Anyway, back to the excitement at hand. Let me give you a play by was the 3rd and final game of the night, we (we as in my team "Up Your Alley") were tied with our opponent 1 game to 1 game and really wanted to win the final game and take 3 out of 4 points for the night (2 points for 2 games won and a point for most overall pinfall). I started the game off with a 4 bagger. For those of you who don't know, each series of strikes in a row has a name (2 strikes = double, 3 strikes = turkey, 4 strikes = 4 bagger, 5 strikes = 5 bagger, 6 strikes = six pack, 7 strikes = seven in a row, and so on...). Getting four in a row was quite exciting in and of itself, as it is a rare occurrence for me. After that, I bowled 2 open frames (no strike or spare) and thought my streak was over. Then, miraculously, I bowled another 4 bagger! I finished off the game with a 9, to end at a whopping 231!!! This is a career best for me and for sure will put me at the top of this week's bowling highlights! I might even win "Bowler of the Week"!

So, now I'm thinking of going pro. I can just picture it now. All the glitz and glam of high stakes bowling tournaments (picture the movie "Kingpin"...Ernie McCracken vs. Roy Munson at the championship game, the crowd silently watching their every move, erupting in cheers at each strike, it all coming down to the 10th frame for all the glory...if you don't know what I'm talking about, you're missing out!). What a fabulous life that would be! Of course this will never happen (I'm not even sure that exists), but can't a girl dream?

127 Days!!!

on Monday, January 7, 2008

127 Days. 4 months and 1 week. 1/3 of a year. We survived!!! After 127 days, my Dad has finally moved out! He was living with us while construction on his home in Northampton was going on. And as typical with most construction projects, he experienced delay after delay after delay. When he first moved in, I honestly thought he would only be staying with us for a few weeks, a month at most. So, as you can imagine, it was quite a shock when the pages of the calendar kept on turning and he was still there. All in all, now that it is over, I have to say that it wasn't too bad. He helped out a lot with Bailey (who he admitted has achieved "favorite granddog" status...sorry Peanut!) and he cooked dinner a lot for us. Although I did have to yell at him a few times for tracking dirt throughout the house, he was a relatively neat house guest and always cleaned up after himself, which was good because John and I are both a little freaky about keeping our house clean (especially John!).

The whole situation did have it's difficult moments, though. The biggest issue was definitely the lack of privacy. He was ALWAYS there! This can be a little tough for newlyweds! Also, my dad, bless his heart, likes to talk. A LOT. And his favorite subject? Himself. So, pretty much every conversation in the house, whether he was involved or not, ended with some story about how he did or experienced the same thing we were talking about. Sometimes his stories really wouldn't even relate at all to what we were discussing, but we heard a story anyway. Oh, well, I guess he's got a lot more stories to tell because he's got a lot more life experience.

The bottom line is that he is my Dad, we love him and would do anything to help him. Although at points it seemed like it would never end, I can now look back and be glad that we had an opportunity to help him and to spend time with him. I am, however, very glad to get our lives back to normal. I think it will take a few days to readjust to being just John and I again, but I am ready for that adjustment and I am really looking forward to all that time alone ;-)

Smith College Museum of Art

on Saturday, January 5, 2008

Today, John and I visited the Smith College Museum of Art. It was something completely out of the ordinary for us, but I thoroughly enjoyed it (John not as much, but he put a smile on his face and pretended to be interested to make me happy).

Anyway, we began in a special exhibit they have right now, the William Kentridge Prints. Let me sum up this exhibit for you...mostly black and white drawings, lots of naked people (John kept asking "why are all these people naked?"), supposedly the drawings depicted his life in South Africa and his interpretation of the political and social climate there. Now I don't profess to be an art expert by any means, in fact it's safe to say that I know virtually nothing about art, but I have to be honest...I found this exhibit to be a little boring (**sorry art gods and Mr. Kentridge**). The one piece of his that I really did like a lot was called "Learning the Flute". It was 2 enormous pictures done on pages of an encyclopedia. These pictures were hung side by side and were contrasting mirror images of each other. I was going to post a few images...but then I figured if you were really interested, you could just Google him to see for yourself. So, onto some of the other exhibits...

One thing I realized today is that I'm not that big of a fan of portraits or landscapes. While I can appreciate how much talent it takes to paint these pieces...the colors, the proportions, the intricacies, the details...they just don't do anything for me. What I really enjoyed, and would love to see much more of, is sculptures, impressionist paintings, and abstract pieces. These types of art pieces are interesting because they aren't obvious and because, in my mind, they take a lot more creativity to produce than portraits or landscapes. You have to think about the pieces and interpret them. And the most interesting part is that everyone interprets them differently. You and I could look at the same piece and see two completely different things. I also wonder when I look at these pieces what the artist was thinking at the time they created it. What inspired it? Did the piece turn out as it was originally intended or did it change and morph along the route of creation? Did the artist ever imagine that their creation, that originated from their mind and their hands, would end up in a museum? Where does that kind of creativity come from? I consider myself a fairly creative person (at least when I want to be), but never have I thought up some of the things I saw today. See all of the questions, the feelings, the thoughts that these works that is what I call art!

I also enjoyed the museum's collection of artifacts, some going back to B.C.! It's astonishing when you think about it...these seemingly simple things that humans created thousands of years ago...cups, bowls, plates, vases, urns, even perfume bottles...they have withstood the test of time, long outlasted their creators, and they will continue to dazzle humans long after you and I are gone. Kind of makes you I look around at the objects surrounding me at this laptop, our filing cabinet, photos from our wedding, Bailey's dog toys...what of these will someday sit in a museum and be considered art. What will people thousands of years from now think of them? They seem so everyday, so common to me, but someone else, in some other time, might think of them as something special, worthy of paying money to view. I guess only time will tell.

Overall, I found our trip to the museum to be a very interesting and stimulating experience. It is easy to forget how much art is around so many forms, in so many ways. Life truly is art! Here are a few photos that I was able to snap (they heavily restrict what you can and can't take pictures of, so I did my best!). Enjoy!

Ok, Ok, I know what I said about landscapes, but I had to photograph this one because it's a painting of Northampton!

A Monet! (sadly, I only recognized a few artist names in addition to Claude Monet, Diego Rivera and Georgia O'Keefe. I probably would have known more if I had read all of the plaques that accompany each piece, but that would have made for a much longer trip to the museum and a much grumpier husband!)

New Year...New Adventures

on Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I love the New Year. With each new year comes endless possibilities, and 2008 is no exception. I can't explain it, but I have this feeling deep inside that 2008 is going to be an amazing year...unlike any other, full of excitement, full of possibilities. So with that, I plan to chronicle this amazing year through this blog. Who knows if I'll stick with it, or if I'll even share it with anyone, but why not try something new? New experiences make life interesting, and I plan to experience it all. So, on that note, let the blogging fun begin! I am going to attempt to post some pictures as an see if I can actually do it. Please enjoy viewing one of my favorite things is the whole world...Bailey :-)