Sunday, April 29, 2007
This Saturday morning was not as sunny as the last one. Matter of fact it was gloomy, raining and cold. Not Winter cold but Spring cold for sure. Manhattan Bagel was our destination for breakfast. They have really good omelet wraps but not so good coffee so we had to go to Dunkin Donuts for that :) After our breakfast, we decided that we were going to look for furniture. We didn't want to buy anything right now but J just wanted to look and see what is out there for leather couches. K, one of the guys we hung out with on Friday for the game, is a sales person at Ashley Furniture. The store is only 10 minutes from J's place so that is where we were headed. Now if you know me, you know that I am not the best at directions. I usually know how to get to places but I don't know the details, like the actual street name or route number. So we get on the thruway and J asked me if we get off at the Milestrip exit, I look at him, smile and say " I don't know. But I know it's the same way you get to the stadium" I know that doesn't help but I honestly didn't know the exit number. I decide I will use J's phone because it has the Internet to decide what exit to get off of. I had no idea how to get to the right web page to look up Ashley furniture and by the time I did, we just past the exit. The same exit J just asked me about. We figure, no big deal, we will just get off the next exit, get back on the thruway and get off at the right exit coming the other way. I should explain that I am very tired from the night before and laughing because we missed the exit and I couldn't figure out the phone. Thank goodness J finds me entertaining because when I get over tired, I get giddy like a little kid. We get off the next exit which is not too far down, pay the toll, turn around, get another ticket and off to the correct exit (we think). As we approach, what would be the correct exit to get to the store, there are orange triangles, letting us know that the exit is under construction. We get even closer and see that the exit is closed. Oh man I am laughing so hard I have tears coming down my face and J begins to find this trip funny too. The next exit after this one is the original starting point of our adventure. We come to the next exit, pay the toll, which means we have done a complete circle and are back where we started, at the exit for J's apartment. For a split second we think maybe it just wasn't meant to be to get to the furniture store today but J is determined now. Ok, we turn around and starting our trip once again. We get on the thruway, get a ticket and we now know what exit to get off of. As we finally get off the "right" exit, I realize it really isn't the right exit!!!! We didn't even have to get on the thruway to begin with. We could have gotten off at the exit before this one ( which is actually the RIGHT exit) and avoided all the issues we just had. HAHAHAHAHA, oh this was the right thing to make this 10 min trip, that turned into an hour trip, the funniest, most ridiculous event. Finally we made it to Ashley Furniture. YEAH!!!! At this point it doesn't really matter if we find something we like or not, just getting there now seemed to be the accomplishment. However, we entered the store and met K at the front door. He found our adventure amusing. We headed off towards the couch and starting sitting on all the ones we liked. J and I liked the same couches but his number one was my number two and vice versa. At least we have similar taste. Anyway we knew were not buying that day but it was good to find out what was out there.
Our 10 minute trip after breakfast took us so long, it was time for lunch and J was ready for a beer. We went across the plaza to Kelsey's, to eat some good grub. We had never been to a Kelsey's. It was cute inside, sort of like a pub. The food was good and we had a very nice waitress. I was exhausted, so back home we headed. This time the trip back home only took us 10 minutes. :)
Oh- The Sabres lost today in double OT 2-1. They play the Rangers on Tuesday in NY. They will win that game!! GO SABRES!
Friday, April 27, 2007
The most recent one that I have made is to go back to school for my MBA. It has taken me almost 3 years to decide if going back for my MBA was right for me and my career. As time has gone by, there was always a reason or excuse why I couldn't go back to school. At first, the excuse was to give myself a break. I completed my undergraduate degree while working full-time and I was a little burnt out. I didn't have to do it that way but I wanted to be a responsible adult and live on my own so I had to work full-time. Looking back now, I should have stayed home for as long as possible or dormed while going to school but I was stubborn and wanted to do it all on my own. As I have come to realize doing everything on your own isn't what it is cracked up to be. Then the excuse or reason not to go back to school was that my friends were getting married and I didn't have time to focus. I was just kidding myself. I have advanced my career in the last few years without my MBA but to reach my ultimate career goal, I have come to the point where my MBA is a must. So the decision is made.
In order for me to enroll into a University, I have to take the GMAT . That stands for Graduate Management Admission Test and the scores range from 400-800. I was good in school but not really good on standardized tests so I am really nervous about taking this test. I haven't felt this way about a test ever in my life, not even when I had to take the SAT's. I bought the study book a couple weeks ago which comes with practice tests and a CD-ROM so that you can take a "real" timed test. The exam is to test your basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills. The Math problems remind me of the ones that I learned in high school, which was my strongest subject back then. I started to complete some practice questions and I am finding out that my strong subject back in high school is not my strong subject now. To some people's surprise, I have made the appointment to actually take the test. I had to, so that I wouldn't procrastinate and end up with another excuse why I couldn't enroll in the MBA program. I haven't really told anyone when the test is scheduled but I will let everyone know how I do ( that is if I do well, no need to share my disappointment with everyone). The test is paid for so no changing my mind now, just a lot of studying and practicing to do.
The funny thing about the pressure I feel right now to do well, all comes from me. My parents would never and have never put pressure on me to do well in school. They didn't have to, I did that all by myself. My dad would have to take my books away and make me go to bed during final exam week in High School or I would have studied until the sun came up the next day. I remember distinctly the first time I didn't get a 90 or better on an exam, it was in 9th grade Science class, I got an 85. That upset me so much that I cried for hours and was upset for weeks. My parents tried to remind me it was just one grade but they couldn't fix it. I was upset with myself because in my mind I didn't study enough or maybe I didn't have my parents quiz me enough either way I was disappointed. Thank goodness this behavior didn't last all the way through college or I would have ended up in a straight jacket, talking to myself, in a padded room. I do have goals and expectations for myself and I am very hard on myself if I don't reach them in the time-frame I designate. This is another factor that went into making the decision of going back to school now. My goal was to finish my MBA before I started a family. Since I have waited this long ( as others would say), I figured if I put this off any longer, I will be a mom, wife, working full-time and going to school and I want no part of all those titles all at once. For the women out there that have or do carry all of those titles at once, hats off to you. I really don't know how you do it. Determination, I am guessing. Don't get me wrong I would be able to take on all those titles but if I have a choice, I chose not to.
Ever since I started high school, I have put a lot of thought into my schooling and career, some say too much, but if I didn't, where would I end up? I am not the type of person that can just float along in life and not worry about careers, family or 10 years down the road. You would think that putting so much thought into something would make the decisions easier but I think the opposite happens for me. Hopefully I will meet or exceed the goal I have set for the GMAT and my MBA, if not, I will have to come up with another plan.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Who art in HSBC
Miller Be thy name.
Thy puck come
Thy save be done
In the air as it is on ice.
Give us this day
our Stanley Cup and forgive us our slashing
as we send out Peters
for those who slash against us.
And lead us not into golfing
but deliver us from injury.
For Miller is the Goalie
the power and glory
for ever and ever... Amen..."
G o S a b r e s ! !
Saturday, April 21, 2007
J and I got up this morning, like most Saturdays, wondering what we were going to do. The forecast called for sunny and warm ( 60 degrees). I have been wanting to get a new bike since the last one I owed was from 8th grade. We got up early, went to breakfast and the went looking for the perfect bike for me. We started at Bert's Bikes where I found a really nice red mountain bike. I tried it out in the store but wasn't sure so off to Dick's Sporting goods to see what they had. As soon as we started to look around, we realized that the red bike at Bert's was the best deal. About an hour later, I became the proud owner of a new mountain bike. J wanted to buy a bike rack for his truck but it turns out he needs a trailer hitch for it so that would have to wait. After that, we drove back to J's apartment to decide what next. J decided that he wanted to get his bike tuned up so that we can go bike riding next weekend so off to Bert's for a third time. It didn't matter to me, it was perfect weather for a drive. We dropped off his bike, which will take a few days to be ready, and discussed where we would go for an early dinner. Amherst Pizza and Ale house came to my mind first because it was in the area we were at and has a very nice patio to eat outside on. Then J mentioned JP Bullfeathers, which is located on the Elmwood strip. We have been to both places before and have had good experiences. After some thought, we decided to go to Cozumel, also located on the Elmwood strip. They have great patio to eat outside on.
We got to Cozumel and the host asked us if we wanted to sit in the sun on the patio or in the heated area outside. I, of course, said we wanted to sit in the sun. The host sat us at the only open table and we began to look through the menu. J leaned over and asked me if that was a Sabre behind me. I couldn't just turn around, making it obvious so I did what most people would have done, I went to the ladies room so that I could get a legitimate look at who was sitting behind me. I wasn't sure who it was, the guy looked familiar but because he was wearing sunglasses, I couldn't tell. J and I continued to look at the menus and decide what we wanted to drink and eat. After a few minutes of over hearing what the guys were talking about, we realized that one of the guys was Tim Connolly( a Sabre) , a NY Islander and a friend. They cracked a joke about a group of college guys coming into the restaurant at the same time J did and we all started to laugh. J and I were not going to acknowledge they were professional hockey players because they deserve to relax and enjoy dinner, especially after the amazing game they played last night. An hour or so later, Ryan Miller ( the Sabres goalie) walked into the restaurant a few guys that noticed him started to clap. He had the best save Friday night, you will see it a lot on the NHL hi light reels. So me being the smart ass I am, I turned to Connolly and said " Hey, how much does it bother you that you have been here awhile and no one noticed but when he walks in, people clap?" He said something very funny back and we all laughed. J and I continued to enjoy the rest of our dinner and a few drinks. They were met by a few more friends and even stopped to sign a couple of young boys Sabre jerseys. I didn't want to bother them but I did want a picture of them. How often am I going to be out to dinner ( unplanned and just at a local restaurant) and be sat next to a few professional hockey players? After our bill was paid for, I asked if they would mind me taking a picture. I really just wanted to get the group of people that were there, but they asked if I wanted to be in it. I said, "oh no, that's ok , I just want a picture, no big deal". J was in my ear " Just get in there, I'll take the pic" So I got in between Connolly and Miller and J took the picture. They were more "normal" then I expected. When I think of professional sports figures I don't expect them to be as nice, friendly and funny as this group was. They were what you expect from true Buffalonians. We are the city of good neighbors and they represented that today.
Connolly, Me, Miller and Peters ( I think)
As I stated in my last blog, I have not always watched hockey but I am a supporter of local sports, events and vendors. This was a great experience.
Today's events we unexpected and they turned out to be an amazing experience. The best thing about this town, that most people over see or forget, is that it is a city with a small town feel. We stand behind our local talent, from professional players to the up and coming garage band. We love to see our teams, and locals succeed.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Today I woke up a still a little tired due to being sick in the beginning of the week and still making it to the gym last night but the tired feeling was replaced with excitement when I saw the sun shinning brightly outside. (Yes I get excited about good weather, it doesn't last that long around here and I take full advantage of it when it does.) I turned on the local news and to my great relief the forecast was sunny and a high of 68 today. This is a much needed break from the crappy weather we have been getting. Just last week I was still wearing my winter coat because it was snowing,.... in April!!
It's warming up for Spring, which always gets me in the mood to clean. I used to think "Spring cleaning" was just a way for mom's to get dad's to clean out the garage but now that I live on my own I understand that it is a real feeling. You get to open your windows and let out the stale air from the long winter months and smell the fresh air. My cats absolutely love when I leave the windows open for them all day. They run from window to window in excitement, trying to figure out which one will give them the best chance at catching a bird or which one will give them the best view of the neighborhood. They can't really catch any birds, my windows do have screens, but they don't know that. By the time I get home from work, they are exhausted. I plan to take full advantage of this nice weather this weekend with a few activities outside like going for a bike ride and a few inside like cleaning and packing away my winter clothes.
It is unusually quiet at work today, I am guessing due to the weather. Today is not only a Friday but the sabres play the Islanders tonight in game 5 of the playoffs and if they win ( and us hometown fans believe they will), they are off to the the next round on the road to the Stanley Cup. They have been to the playoffs in the past but never won the Stanley Cup. It would be great to see them hold that cup up high and bring it home. I am not usually a hockey follower but I am a huge supporter of our local teams, even our local football team that has been disappointing over the last few years. Hopefully that will change this year but I am not holding my breath. ( More to come about that later this year :) ) I will be watching the game tonight and cheering like I have been a fan for years. It is exciting to watch your team excel at the game. It's also 420 today and in college was known as the day to sit around and kill the brain cells that you still had. I was listening to the radio this morning and today is also known as the hippie's or pot-head's holiday. I am not too sure why 420 marks the day but it is rumored that it was the police code for possession of marijuana. Since I have never had that experience I am not sure what the code is. There are other theories on why it's 420 but who knows which one is right. For you partaking in the celebration today I will quote my favorite hippy " Roll it up, light it up. Inhale, exhale. Happy 420."
However, it's not all fun today, I have to go to a wake this afternoon for a sister of one of my friends. She lost the battle with cancer but is in a better place now. No more pain and suffering, only peace and sunshine for her now. I haven't talked to my friend yet but I did hear she is doing good, considering but I wouldn't expect anything else from her. She is one of the strongest ( emotionally) people I have ever met. No matter what life has thrown her, it seems that she can always smile. I am not sure how she does what she does but I admire that about her. When I heard that her sister passed away, I was not sure what the appropriate gift ( to let her know I was thinking of her) to get her. I tried putting myself in her shoes and I couldn't come up with one thing seemed relevant for losing a sibling. I have two sisters and a brother and I know that flowers, fruit baskets, planters or any other funeral related gift would be irrelevant. Of course I called my mom ( I do often when in a dilemma) to ask her what she thought. She said that it is not about the item, it is about what it represents, that she is in your thoughts. Even with that, I was still in a bind. So I thought about it and decided I would get something just for her. Once I started to think that way, it was obvious I would get her two of her favorite things, tea and chocolate. What else it better then some warm tea and chocolate when feeling sad or down. To my friend ( if you read this) I hope that those tiny items will bring some comfort to you on your road to healing. Everyone needs some comfort in times of sadness. On another sad note, today is also the 8th anniversary of the Columbine High School tragedy. It's the third deadliest shooting in the history of the United States. I think today should be a day to remember the students and teachers affected by this unbelievable tragedy and to honor the memories of the ones that were lost.
Live for today, love the people around you and enjoy every moment.... It just makes life easier if you do.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Marissa and I visited my favorite quiet zone, The Spa in Canada. It's a gorgeous spa located in the 5 star, White Oaks Conference Resort right over the boarder at Niagara-on-the -Lake. You are greeted by the Concierge who is very friendly and shows us the way to the "Whisper Zone". Once you have filled out your health history, personal information and walk through the door marked " Whisper Zone", you are lead to the changing room. You don't hear chit chat, telephones, or any other back ground noise once you are past that door. What you slightly hear is soothing music played above you. Once inside the changing room, you will find light wood lockers stocked with a robe and slippers. After sliding into their soft terry cloth/microfiber robe and slippers, you have a choice to wait in the reading room or the quiet room.
The reading room has the feel of a cozy den in your own home. There are french doors that swing open into a bright room with a fireplace. I am sure it wasn't a wood burning fireplace but a comforting warm fireplace. There are two love seats, brown, microfiber with oversized pillows and two chairs to match the love seats. Tan fleece blankets are located on top of the couches in case you catch a chill. They provide a variety of magazines, coffee, tea, citrus flavored water, apples and mints for your enjoyment. I choose to read a magazine titled Buffalo Spree. It was a very interesting, all about Buffalo's development of old manufacturing buildings downtown. Most developers are creating these 1,2 and 3 bedroom lofts that look like they are right from NYC. After a few minutes reading, my masseuse came to get me for my stress relief massage.
The quiet room is where I waited the last time I visited the spa. It's a dim room with extra plush winter white carpet. It's so soft, it feels like you are walking on a feather bed. It has two larger couches without arms. Instead, they have huge pillows, in all different shapes for you to sit against. The calming sound of trickling water comes from the fish tank on the far wall. It is filled with bright colorful tropical fish and plants. I have fallen asleep waiting for the therapist before, its so quiet, I couldn't help it. :)
So off to my private room for my 55 minute stress relief massage. The room is lit with low light with a massage table in the middle with the same music that was being played in the reading room. The combination of the music, essential oils and the warm blanket, it's impossible not to feel relaxed immediately. Everyone should take time out of their busy lives and get a full body massage. It's 55 minutes to clear your mind. No phones, no background noise, just you and your thoughts ( and the therapist but mine was silent most of the time). I have decided that I will be getting this massage at least every few months. For me, its more therapeutic than shopping.
After my message I was taken back to the reading room and waited for my next treatment. I have been looking forward to this since I booked it. My Oxygen facial. Yep I got a facial. I was nervous at first because I wasn't sure what to expect. Sarah, the specialist, was very informative when describing the difference between an oxygen facial and a normal facial. She had a lot of explaining to do because this was my first facial ever. Basically, they wash and exfoliate first. Then vitamins and minerals are applied ( by way of message), hot face wrap and then the oxygen treatment. The oxygen forces the vitamins and minerals to absorb into your pores. This treatment is mostly used for anti-aging and hydration of the skin. I figured I should start the anti-aging now so that in 10 years I'll still look like today ( just kidding). This treatment was recommended to me from an old boss who got facials often and I am glad I took the advice.
This Sunday has been what every Sunday should be like, relaxing and clarifying. I feel recharged and ready to take on anything this week. My recommendation is to take some time out for yourself to clear your mind and re focus. It makes you feel like a new person.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
I consider myself very lucky to have the best friends that I have. ( I am sure you will hear a lot about them in posts to come). I have known C for 17 years, which is over half my life. I can remember the first time I met her, what she was wearing and why I didn't like her. It was home room, 7th grade and I was sitting in the middle of the room with my friends from 6th grade, Mike and Jill. C prances ( she would dispute the prance, but it was a prance) into the room with her long hair, jean overalls with pink cuffs, long sleeve shirt and pink sneakers. She flings her hair over her shoulder and sits two seats ahead of me. I didn't like her because she was too girlie and pink. ( a good reason in 7th grade) Needless to say we became best of friends later that same day, thanks to Science class and a bottle of Elmer's glue.
Then there is S. We met in 9th grade but didn't become best of friends until a year or two later. The best way to describe S, the energizer bunny. She has more energy then the 1st graders she teaches and is always multi-tasking even when just watching her favorite show on TV. The great thing about S is that she can make you laugh, even when you don't want to.
C and S started out as just friends but over the years they have become my sisters. We can finish each other thoughts, have bought each other the same Christmas cards ( yep the same exact one) and have similar dreams in the same week. I can't imagine my life without them. They know me better than anyone in my life ( well except for my mom). The bond we share has only grown stronger over the years.
This leads me back to rel's post and expectations. I have been told in the past that my expectations of "friends" in my life are set too high. That no one I meet now will ever become friends like S and C. I agree, S and C are irreplaceable but does that mean that I am only allowed two best friends? According to some we are lucky that we have remained friends this long even after they moved to a different state. I think, like any relationship, we have worked hard to keep our friendship. I do have expectations of people I meet and befriend. I would hope we all have expectations of people in our lives. I expect my friends to love me for who I am, to support me when I need it and to depend on me when they need it. Why you may ask? That is what I provide to my friends.
I have learned over the past few years that there are different types of friends. L is a friend that I have had for at least 10 years. We have shared a lot of memories in those years. L was our "party" friend. She was always up for anything and always knew where the good place to hang out was. As we all do, she grew up and partying wasn't what she was into anymore. She got married and has two beautiful little boys. Which I was there to meet each of them minutes after they were born. The great thing about L, she always is in a good mood no matter what life throws her. I wish I could be more like that!!
Then there are the friends I met at work. At first, they thought I was quiet and shy, man were they wrong!! I don't ever stop talking, silence makes me uncomfortable, and I believe conversations bring people closer to one another. I like to know things about people. I don't mean gossip but things, like their favorite smell, favorite holiday, where they went to school, stuff like that. That is what takes someone from just "Good Morning" to friend in the workplace. I have made great friends through work. Mary was one of the first. She sat in the cube ahead of me and we both had the same thought about one another, she is quiet. I am not sure how Mary and I even got to talking but once it started, it was like we were friends for years. Mary is about 20 years older than me but I would have never guessed that, we had so much in common. Tom was another friend I made at work, he is just funny. When I started the new job, he was out of the office at a toy convention. At the time, I thought that sounded extremely odd, a grown man at a toy convention but once I started to inquire about it, I realized how much time and effort he puts into the figurines/toys he makes. There are others but Tom and M were the first ones. The friends you make at work make it easier to get up every morning and go to work. For me, it was like having a second family, a dysfunctional one but one none the least.
Friendship is different for everyone but you should always keep in mind that the new people that come into your life might just be the next C and S. You just have to except them for who they are and expect they will do the same in return.
--- Well that is my first real post, I hope you enjoyed :)
Since I am new to this any pointers from the experienced blogger would be appreciated :)