Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Playing Blog Catch-Up.

Here's a quick recap:

Hubs and I survived the move to the new house (minus our micro fiber couch that wouldn't fit through the doorway) with tons of help from my in-laws and favorite-est girflriend Pamcakes and only two very brief breakdowns by yours truly. We're halfway settled in and even have curtains hanging in most of the windows!

We spent Christmas in Maryland and had a fabulous time (until I was involved in a red wine accident while wearing my brand new winter white JCrew cords). Shoutout to Aunt Karen, Kelly and Jacq who quickly swooped in with white wine and a Tide stick before my eyes could well with tears.

Sully made the trip, too (who knew he would travel so well?) and even got a chance to play with the big dogs, Rudy and Tucker. Pictures to follow..

We still have yet to celebrate Christmas with my family who was supposed to arrive in Pennsylvania this past weekend, but due to a shingles-scare and a freak ice skating/chipped tooth accident, the plans were put on hold. (Hellooo, there's lot's and lot's of presents waiting here for everybody!!)

I'm loving my new job (but certainly have chaotic days where we have way too many patients scheduled at the clinic and not enough nurses to go around) and it's days like that when I just want to hide in the coat closet!

Oh and PS. Did I mention that we will be sans internet/cable in our house until the FiOS guy arrives on January 16th? Let's not even talk about how many great shows I will be unable to DVR between now and then. No, really. I don't want to talk about it.

So bear with me.. I haven't gotten lost in the holiday commotion, I haven't curled up in a ball in the coat closet somewhere and I haven't run off to some far-off distant, secluded island (even though I would unearth all of my summer clothes and pack my bags in a second!)

Happy '09!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bah-Humbug. There, I Said It.

I'm that girl who usually has her Christmas tree up as soon as it's socially acceptable. That means it's usually up a weekend or two after Thanksgiving. As the tree goes up so does the countless decorations around the house. The stockings, the candles, the dishtowels, the wreaths, the figurines, etc. We're talking a page right out of Williams & Sonoma or Pottery Barn. (Sorry Hubs, I didn't buy all those decorations at K-Mart like I might have told you). As if the fragrant smell of evergeen wafting throughout the house isn't enough, I splurge on a few over-priced Yankee candles to compliment the scent.

Speaking of shopping- more years than not, I am done with my shopping by December 10th. I LOVE buying gifts for other people and often times will go waaaay overboard in doing so. There's just something about the spirit of giving and seeing that look of sheer surprise and excitement on their faces as they unwrap their presents! And if I do say so myself, I'm a pretty great gift-giver. Throughout the year I keep a secret list for friends and family of items they've coveted and would buy from that list over the course of the year.

And believe it or not, I love wrapping almost as much as I love shopping! I will spend nearly half of what I spent on presents on tissue paper, wrapping paper, boxes, gift bags, bows, ribbons and matching gift tags. Everything has to match AND be color-coordinated. And when I'm feeling extra surperfluous and Christmas-y, I'll wrap each person's gifts in their own themed wrapping paper. (Either I'm filled with Christmas spirit or a little OCD!)

And baking. How could I forget baking? I rarely need an excuse to bake and a holiday such as Christmas only encourages me to bake more! One of my favorite (and totally simple) Christmas cookies is Almond Snowflake Cookies. Almost no prep involved and so delicious! And with Thanksgiving on my heels, the baking is usually in full swing!

Christmas 2007 in New York City

Not this year. I'm not sure who or what to blame but it doesn't even feel like Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I did all of the requisite shopping (maybe not in my usual timely fashion) and have wrapped all of the necessary presents (in last year's extra rolls of wrapping paper) and even went out and bought some new gift tags to match.. yes.. last year's paper. Last year's paper? Am I serious? I cringe just writing about it. However, in my defense two of the rolls weren't even opened yet.

Cookies? What cookies? I haven't even eaten a Christmas cookie, let alone baked any. Christmas music? Annoys me. B101.1 usually has some great variety when it comes to the usual Christmas tunes, but this year- all it does is make me want to change the station.

Why am I such a Scrooge? Don't tell me it's the economy. You can't blame everything on the economy, especially my lack of Christmas cheer.

Did I mention we don't have a Christmas tree? Or a Christmas wreath? Or any Christmas decorations out or up? This has been especially difficult for me to bear since I feel that it's the combination of these things that kickstarts my Christmas cheer. As I've mentioned before, Hubs and I are moving this weekend (tonight actually) and it didn't make much sense to go and do all of these things before the Big Move. And now it doesn't even feel like Christmas. Pah-thet-ic.

Whose idea was it to move so close to the holidays anyway?

Oh, right. It was mine. Because I couldn't stand to live in the same apartment for a third year in a row. I ache for multiple floors and flights of stairs. For a (real) deck and fenced in yard for Sully to run around in. To have walls that I can paint! Oh, the possibilities!!

A least I'm excited about something, right?

Gotta get back to packing boxes.. with things other than the puppy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rudolph Crossing

Thank you Street Sign Vandal for adding a little chuckle to my almost-too-routine commute home. It's bad enough that the Schuykill is bumper-to-bumper at 3:30pm but trying to navigate tiny, winding back roads in horrendous, sloshy weather isn't a much better alternative. While driving through Gladwyne, every Deer Crossing sign for about 5 1/2 miles looked something like this (although the nose was much bigger and 3-D):

You made my day. Merry Nine-Days-Until Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hubs Is Hilarious. No, Really.

I wish I could keep a little notepad handy so that I could jot down the bits of hilarity that are my husband.

Hubs has so many endearing qualities, including but not limited to, his passion for family and friends, his sensitivity, his loyalty, his strength and chivalry, his dedication to a cause, but one of my absolute favorites is his sense of humor. Hubs is almost as funny as my Dad.. and that's pretty freakin' hilarious.

I'm going to make a conscious effort of posting, from time to time, some of the things Hubs says that have me rolling around on the floor in stitches. For example:

Sitting at the bar at Brandywine Prime while waiting for our dinner reservations:
Hubs: Can we talk about something?
Me: Sure, what do you wanna talk about?
Hubs: You have a granola problem.
Me: (laughing) Oh, so you found the boxes of granola in the cabinet?
Hubs: Boxes? How about bowls, boxes and bags? Nobody could possible need that many different types of granola.
Me: Yeah, I don't even like granola anymore.

Still waiting for our dinner reservations:
Me: I need a new signature drink.
Hubs: What do you mean?
Me: You know, gin and tonics are so boring nowadays.
Hubs: And what do you plan to do with this new drink?
Me: I'm going to ask for it every time I walk into a bar.
Hubs: Okay, James Bond.

I'm still reeling..

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why Pack When You Can Drink Espresso?

As much as I love the thought of moving to a new house (especially the newness of everything - new furniture, new decor, new organization) I loathe it. Actually, scratch that. I just loathe packing. Box after box after box. I hate it, hate it, hate it.

(While tediously packing the um-teen wine glasses that we own)

Me: The next time we have to do this, I'm going to hire someone.

Hubs: Honey, movers only MOVE things for you. They don't pack up your belongings.

Me: Well, they should. In that case, I'm going to find a PACKER.

See? I hate it. However, I have to say I'm thankful for the following revelations brought about by the aforementioned packing.

1. Nobody needs 12 champagne glasses. (Hubs and I, well, I'll take the blame for this one, registered for 12 of everything for our wedding.) TWELVE. Really unneccesary. In fact, I might invite 12 people over JUST to drink some champagne. You in?

Sidebar: Actually, I might invite 12 people over to drink Shingleback Sparkling Shiraz. It was amazing and paired especially well with the pizza we ordered last night. Go out and buy some, PRONTO.

2. Nobody needs 192 bottles of moistuizer. Despite what they promise to clear, smooth, define, etc. they are all uneccesary. In fact, I might as well open a bootlegg CVS in the master bathroom. I've got it all. (Minus that crazy random aisle that displays things such as a deep fryer right alongside a pair of Dora the Explorer pajamas, one shelf above the Potato Mitt Peeler and the Hot Dog and Bun Toaster combo.)

And finally,

3. I forgot how much I love espresso. Let me re-phrase. I forgot how much I love espresso doctored up to taste like candy. While in the midst of packing, knee-deep in home depot boxes and bubble wrap, my husband un-earths the Krups Espresso Machine that our very dear friend, Megs, gave us for our wedding. Don't get me wrong, we were all about this machine when we first got it- and then as the novelty of freshly brewed espressos and steamed lattes wore off and our apartment complex put in a Starbucks Coffee Machine in the Leasing Office, our espresso machine was moved to the far corners of the cabinetry. Upon his discovery, Hubs insisted we take an espresso break. Ahh. It was so yummy. Especially with Coffeemate Cinnabun creamer. (I know, I ruined it in all of it's Italian Espresso glory.) Apologies.

Well, my 26th break from packing has come to end. Hubs is summoning me to starting breaking down the linen closet. I'll let you know why it's very unneccesary to own 6 sets of sheets in almost the same shade of brown in the next post (but they're all different thread count! there's a set for winter.. and a set for summer.. and a set for...)

Thank You, City of Philadelphia.

Here's a shoutout to the city of Philadelphia for closing the South Street Bridge for the next 365 days. Thank you for making my already miserable commute to work, that much more painstaking and laborious. I refuse to take public transportation, so screw you, SEPTA and your sweet, made-only-for-corporate-America train schedule. Hmph.

Skinny Calves.

Wanted: Riding boots. Preferably brown suede, would settle for (real) leather. Must look good with skinny jeans and/or black leggings. Unfortunately, must fit my unreasonably skinny calves. ::Sigh::

A Girl’s Best Friend.

No, this post isn't about diamonds. (Although, I do believe that diamonds are ALSO a girl's best friend. I have lots of friends, remember?)

I firmly believe that the world can be broken down into two types of people; dog people and cat people. I think that the best kind of cat is a dead cat, therefore labeling myself a dog person. I LOVE dogs. And no, not the kind you keep outdoors, tied to a stake in the middle of your yard, but the kind that get their very own cake for their birthday and sleep at the foot of your bed every night.

Dawdy. Billykins RJ Tramp. Doogie Bowser MD (for Mighty Dog!).

A mutt, an Otterhound and a Cairn Terrier. These dogs were my best four-legged friends growing up. Dawdy was my parents dog, given to my mom as a puppy during her college years. He would attend classes with her and spend late nights grooving to music in coffee houses. He was the "perfect" dog and the dog all future dogs would be compared to. I was four years old when Dawdy died and for weeks I would curl up in his dog bed with my rosary beads, praying for a new puppy. Seriously. When my parents couldn't stand to see me heartbroken any longer, we traveled over two hundred miles to a breeder in Emaus, Pennsylvania where I fell in love with an Otterhound puppy. It wasn't long before "Billy" literally outgrew our house in the suburbs (he was over six feet tall when he stood on his hind legs) and was shipped cross-country to a wonderful family in Colorado, complete with a horse ranch and acres and acres of land for Billy to roam.

"Doogie" showed up next, in the back of my mother's Suzuki Jeep, one day while picking me up from grade school. I was seven at the time and as I climbed into the backseat of the car, Doogie looked up at me with a huge blue bow around his neck and it was love at first sight. Over the next 17 years, Doogie became a part of the family and despite his food/toy aggression, the fact that he never gave kisses and and his "his way or the highway" attitude, we loved him to pieces. I distinctly remember the phone call I received while standing in my dorm room at college asking if I wanted to come home "because Doogie wasn't being his usual self." This was just a week before Christmas. Shortly before I was due to come home for Christmas break, my parents brought Doogie into the vet for the last time. Merry Christmas, Ashley. I was devastated, as we all were. Even my Dad cried- and he hated that dog more than he liked him.

Ever since then, I've wanted a replacement dog. That's how it was growing up, right? Your dog dies or gets shipped off to a new state and within weeks/months, you get a new one. So why should it be any different this time?

Fast forward four years. (I'll spare you the dramatics, but just know they were four, very long very dog-less years.) Until that is, November 12, 2008. After realizing that our dream dog, a yellow labrador retriever, wasn't going to be retrieving anything for us in the near future, thanks to the allergies of yours truly, Hubs and I had to switch gears and start looking for a dog of the hypoallergenic variety. Since I refused to love anything with -oodle at the end of its name, ie: Poodle, Schnoodle, Shih-doodle, etc, suddenly we realized the options were few and far between. Seeing my life as a dog-owner suddenly flashing before my eyes I dedicated (most) of my free waking hours to some serious research.

After weeks of intense puppy research and quizzes such as, "What Kind of Dog Family are You?" I finally found the true second love of my life, an Olde English Sheepdog puppy from a breeder in Pleasant Plains Arkansas.

Sorry Hubs, but it looks like that new flatscreen TV would have to wait.

Hubs and I won't be exchanging Christmas presents this year, mostly because our Christmas present is currently gnawing on the crown molding.

And to my wonderful husband who really never wanted a dog in the first place, I promise I won't ask for anything ever again.. (except maybe a new couch).

So What Now?

Am I supposed to introduce myself? Somebody please explain to me Blog Etiquette. Is there a handbook out there that I should be following? Blogging for Dummies, perhaps?

In any case, I guess you should all know a little bit about me, this way you can pass judgment later. Just kidding. Maybe if I can tell you a little bit about myself, you'll soon begin to understand why I write what I write.

I grew up in North Jersey (please, spare me the New Jersey jokes and don't think that I "haven't heard that one before"). I have two wonderful parents who never let me get away with any more than I should and a 17 year-old brother who thinks he can get away with anything.
My childhood was filled with your standard pony rides and backyard birthday parties, ballet classes (and gymnastics, figure skating and music lessons), take-out pizza on Friday nights, Girl Scout meetings after school, Friday night football games and the best family and friends a girl could ask for. I went to a Catholic all-girls high school and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I was a member of Mock Trial, the Junior Statesmen of America debate team, Students Against Drunk Driving and C.A.R.E (Christian Actions Reaching Everyone). I sang Alto in the school choir and acted in the ensemble cast of the Spring musicals. I played softball, Varsity volleyball and even spent a season cheering on the football team of our brother school. I made friends with some of the best girlfriends I could ask for, broke many a boy's heart and learned a little bit about life inbetween. I had the quintessential high school experience. And no, we didn't "look like Britney Spears in our uniforms and knee socks." Boys, consider yourselves lucky if we remembered to shave our legs on date night.

I met my soul mates at Villanova University. And no, I'm not talking about the first love of my life, but my college girlfriends. While pursuing our degrees in Nursing, we laughed until our sides hurt, cried until we thought we couldn't cry any more, learned our tolerance for beer pong and fishbowls at the local pub, climbed in and out of a few boy's windows, broke some more hearts and made memories that would last a lifetime. There's a saying about how you go to college to find your bridesmaids and that's exactly what I did.

Although I spent many long hours tucked away in the
library cramming for Nursing Research, Organic Chemsitry, Pathophysiology (or some other subject that I thought was going to be the demise of my nursing career), I managed to get out long enough to find the true love of my life, my husband Michael.

For the sake of typing, Michael will further be affectionately referred to as "Hubs." Maryland boy meets North Jersey girl. It was a match made in heaven. Not to mention we made a killer beer pong team. After three years of dating, Hubs finally listened to me and proposed. It was a storybook proposal that I will save for a future post, because in truth, it really does deserve a post all it's own.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing in May of 2005 and until recently, have been employed by the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania as a Registered Nurse on the Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. It was here that I began one of my life's passions, working with patients diagnosed with cancers of the blood, such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Much like Hubs and his proposal, my experiences as an Oncology nurse and the many patients who have touched my life cannot simply be crammed into this simple diatribe. Recently, I made the transition to the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania where I currently work as an Outpatient Chemotherapy Infusion nurse. Thoughts on this transition are in the making.

Are you still with me? I'm a blissfully, happily married newlywed who's working as an Oncology nurse until she a) finds the cure for cancer or b) grows up to become a trophy wife/stay-at-home mom. I grew up with a relatively crazy/sometimes normal family in the suburbs of North Jersey and within the last thirty days, together with my husband, I've decided to get a puppy, change jobs and move into an 80 year old twin home. All while trying to reign in my sanity.

Hold on tight.. this is sure to be a wild ride.

I. Can’t. Believe. I’m. Doing. This.

I've never been the kind of girl who does things "just because everyone else is doing them." (I bet you're thinking, 'Wow, she must have been quite the popular one in junior high school!' But in all honesty, that mentality never appealed to me. I guess I always "moved to the beat of my own drum." (How much do you want to bet the person who coined that phrase was a HUGE nerd/goober?)

And for the record, I had a ton of friends in junior high school. So what that my class was made up of 11 kids? Eight girls and three boys to be exact. I was friends with each and every one of them and even went ahead to serve as President of the Eighth grade class. But is that really important now?

I'm going to dedicate this first post to my wonderfful friend (and Future He-Better-Propose-Soon Sister-in-law) Pamcakes. She's the one to blame for my newly inspired attempt to blog. By now I assume you're wondering why I've chosen the title "I Love You More Than Carrots." And in time, I promise to answer that.

Unfortunately, you're going to have to embrace my blog and follow me a little further into my ramblings to find out.
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