Monday, February 28, 2011

Pancake Supper

Yesterday "Treble in River City" performed at a Pancake Dinner at a local church. It involved pancakes and some live entertainment! We had a good time performing two songs.





If you know of any events we can sing in, let me know!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wine Expo


Richmond hosts the Virginia Wine Expo every February where wineries from across the state come to showcase their wines. Since I went to college in Charlottesville where there are a tone of wineries, I have had the privilege of tasting and visiting many vineyards in the area. Not to mention that my brother, Nathan, worked at Horton Vineyards in Charlottesville and now is the head winemaker at Sunset Hills Vineyard in Purcellville (funny story about Horton coming later). Needless to say, I love wine. What better way to end the dull, short month of February than drinking all day?


So I recruited my roommates and friends to come to the all day walk around tasting at the Convention Center yesterday from 11-6. It was $35, so we wanted to get our money's worth! We got there around 12:30 and immediately began our tasting. There were about 5-6 wineries per "isle" and about 7 isles. We went to one by one, snaking around to each winery and by 5:30 when the tasting ended, we only got through to the 3rd/4th isle. We had to wait our turn to taste at every stand since it was crowded, but the waiting was good because we got to chat and slow down our drinking. We sampled anywhere from 4-8 wines at each stand. Needless to say, we were VERY happy by the end. We bought some bottles and drank some more there (drunk people sure do love to spend money...good thinking on the expo's part), and I probably ran into a dozen or so old high school classmates. Good thing I ran into most of them at the beginning, because things were not looking so good towards the end...


About 2 hours in things start to get silly.


Because at a wine expo OF COURSE there is a stand selling spices where you can win a fake moustache playing rock paper scissors (this is my manly face).


Chris's manly (angry?) face


1/2 Group shot...looking good?


 Drinking the wine we bought at the end...notice how empty the isle is but we didn't want to leave!

So my fun story about Horton: The event went until 6, but they had to stop serving us at 5:30. We did not know that because no where did it state that would happen. Anyways, we happened to be by Horton when it hit 5:30 and since Nate worked there, I wanted to go and chat with them and try some of their new stuff. Well, apparently my connection didn't matter because they would not serve me. I was mad. So when we got home last night at 6:30 and my whole house was dying from drinking so much, I angrily called my brother and left a drunk message about how Horton sucks and he should be mad at them (or something to that nature). He then texted me later on with 5 simple words, "Gummy worms cure wine hangovers." I then proceeded to yell at my roommates that we needed to get gummy worms so we would be alive today.

Thanks, Nate.

(We are all alive because we went to bed at 7 pm). Holler.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Updates

Happy Rainy Thursday for those of you on the east coast! It actually fits my mood perfectly- I left work, worked out, showered and was in my pj's by 5:00 doing laundry and watching TV. Sounds like a good evening to me! A nice way to end a short week.

A couple of updates on my front...first off, I had my one month lasik follow-up appointment on Tuesday and the results were good! I still see 20/15 and everything is healing nicely. I still am required to use re-wetting drops throughout the day, but the dryness is getting MUCH better. The first week after surgery I was basically putting in my prescription eye drops or re-wetting drops every 30 minutes because my eyes were so dry. I also had to use preservative free eye drops for the first week because they are safer on eyes that are healing, but I kept using them for one more week. They are EXPENSIVE. I took a lot from the eye doctor but was using them so much I went through them very fast. It was nice once I went into week three and switched over to traditional dry eye tears. Eye drops are still expensive but preservative ones are much less so,  and I can use them in a bottle rather than individual vials (which are hard to carry). Anyways, as each week passes I use significantly less eye drops (I am now on week 5 post-op). It also depends on the weather and day though- when it's dry my eyes are dryer and I am now very sensitive to smokey environments. BUT other than using eye drops 5-6 times a day, my eyes feel great. I see great and the halos and glare around lights that people mostly complain about have all but gone away. I am basically in the clear for good now. I definitely recommend the procedure for anyone thinking about it. I save so much time and irritation during the day, not to mention money. But don't expect your eyes to feel fabulous overnight- the whole process takes longer than people assume. A little irritation and wet eyes for a month was no big deal for me, though, especially in the winter when your not outside as much. I can't wait for the summer and the pool and beach and not having to worry about my contacts getting irritated or falling out.

Secondly, this week was the first week of Meadowbrook High School's girl soccer season! I am an assistant varsity girls coach- we don't have a JV team. I am doing it on a volunteer basis so that I can make my schedule (being a counselor I have a lot of after school meetings and conferences so getting to practice right away is hard) and see if I like it since I have never coached. So far, so good! The girls are very fun and it's nice to play the sport again- I easily remember why I like it so much and my "moves" are coming back quickly (I can still pass and shoot!). We practice from 2:30-4:30 so it's a little long but goes by fast. I think the girls enjoy having a younger girl coach because the head coach is an older middle-aged man that can't play due to injuries. They have already started visiting me in my office during the day.  I think it will be a lot of fun and I will probably end up doing more than I plan...but I won't mind as long as I am having fun. the games start in late March and will be Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:00. I will probably end up going to most of them. It brings back a lot of my Monacan HS and rec soccer memories! I should find some pictures...

On a totally unrelated note, Planned Parenthood is potentially having funding pulled at the national level due to the undercover blow up that happened a few weeks ago. I don't know the details, but I hope you all make your opinions heard about the process. Planned Parenthood's existence is misunderstood- it is a place where women can get information, medical treatment, prevention services, testing, and even counseling about pregnancy or sex (I went there to get the 2nd round of the HPV vaccination when my doctor didn't provide it). It keeps many women safe and healthy during times when they have no where to go or don't know what to do. It is NOT "pro-abortion."- it is pro-information and pro-choice meaning women are given options but are never forced to do any single one. The existence of Planned Parenthood since the early 1900's has been integral in womens rights and health care. Your political views shouldn't matter- planned parenthood is an important national organization for the safety of women- young and old. Without it women will go untreated, uneducated and unhealthy. Give it your support and make your voice heard.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wahoowa


I had a wonderful day in Charlottesville yesterday visiting old friends and my old stomping ground. Good god, I miss it. I went to Bodo's Bagels, saw UVa beat Tech in basketball (twice in one year, take that Tech!), had Arches frozen yogurt with a wonderful friend, walked along the corner and the lawn (check out my awesome photography skills), bought some UVA paraphernalia, and ate off the downtown mall with some sorority sisters.




It was a fabulous Saturday. I know I have spoken before about how much I miss it, but yesterday really got to me. I know I mainly miss it for what it was and not what it currently is, because all of my friends are no longer there, but walking around UVa and being in Charlottesville is something special. I need to visit more. In some ways college feels like a lifetime ago, and I know I was ready to leave, but when they say "you don't really know what you've got til it's gone," my time at UVa always springs to mind. I loved it and enjoyed it, but I wish I had done more because there is so much to do and enjoy in Charlottesville. Just another reminder of living in the moment and not always wanting to rush to get to the next thing. The journey is often the best part.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Heat ~W~A~V~E~!

For those of you who don’t live in Central Virginia, it has been absolutely GORGEOUS this week. Highs have been in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s for the past 5 days. It has made this week so much better than last week. It always amazes me the power that weather has on my mood. The smell of spring, the sunny skies, the light chirping of birds and the ability to walk outside with nothing more than a light jacket is enough to make even the worst day more bearable. It helps with my 10k training because I actually want to run, and it always makes me want to read more because I can sit outside on our back concrete “slab” with a nice drink and my shades and enjoy a little escape. It even has gotten me excited about assistant coaching soccer, which I was not as excited about the past few weeks with the dreary, cold days, fearing I would have to brave the elements for weeks and weeks more. Now I am pumped (well, almost) about spending 2 afternoons a week outside playing or watching soccer. I know 2 afternoons of practice or games is not a big deal, but I am having a hard time getting really excited about it. I blame that on the fact that since the beginning of January we’ve been doing conditioning which isn’t fun to do or watch. Now we can actually work with balls and goals! Wooo!

Yesterday I ducked out of work right at 2:30 (when my contractual hours end) and went to one of the outdoor malls in the area- Stony Point. I walked around and shopped and then got dinner with a friend at Brio, where I used to work. We ate and drank WAY too much for a Thursday night, but it was so fun and enjoyable because of the weather and the fact that it was Thursday. I am especially excited about today- I get to run when I get off work in 70 degree heat AND I am going up to Charlottesville tomorrow for the UVA/Virginia Tech basketball game. I unfortunately have to drive up alone because my friends going from the Richmond area have to leave right after the game, but I am going to stay and meet up with college friends and enjoy the weather! It won’t be as warm as today, but still a delightful day for February. I hope to also utilize this great weather by going to Maymont on Sunday (a local park with great gardens and animals and trails) and outlet shopping on Monday. This is a much needed 3 day weekend!

Also, I made a comment last fall about how I can’t cook. Well maybe it’s the longer days and warmer temps, or maybe I want a new hobby, but my roommate has been inspiring me to cook. So last weekend I bought ingredients I modeled after a delicious meal she made one night and made myself a quite healthy and tasty dish of shrimp, veggies and brown rice. Not a difficult meal, but it involved pealing shrimp, using a wok (I am totally buying one for myself) and a stove- I didn’t even use a microwave! That’s what I call cooking! I am trying to go out less and cook more this spring- it’s healthier, saves money and could possibly maybe somehow be kinda sorta fun.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Valentines

It amazes me the power that friends can have on you. Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves (cue "Grey's Anatomy" line), so they often mean more to us than people we are only related to by blood. Friends are what make life fun. If it was just us or just our immediate family that we spent all of our time with, no matter what we were doing, it wouldn't be as much fun. I have been thinking this past week about what it is that I really want out of life. What is my ultimate goal or wish? Is it a certain job, travel, money, or family?  I couldn't help but think that it isn't something or someone: instead it is some people. Not necessarily romantic companions but people to share it all with; the ups and downs, the excitement, the worry, the fear, the difficulty and the successes. It all should not be tackled alone. No matter what you do can be made fun or special with those people beside you who make it something more than it would be by yourself. I am lucky that many people in my life can do that.

I had a rough week this past week where nothing was going my way at work or outside of it. I was not my normal self and just feeling down. Then a card came in the mail when I got home from work on Friday from a dear college friend. It couldn't have come at a better time.

 (Whale you be my valentine?)

I'll admit it- I cried. It brought two things to my mind. First, I really need to remember to send more cards. In a day and age of instant electronic communication, I think we forget the power that a simple card can have on someone (case in point- me). Second, it is so easy for us as people to want something else rather than appreciating what is right in front of us. Our friends are right there- day after day they are just a phone call away. And while we don't see them all the time, it is comforting to know that they are just a phone call, plane ride, email, IM or card away.

My friends, all of you, are magnificent people who touch the lives of many, including me. I am lucky to know each and everyone of you. Because I think that true love, true soul mates, are those that grow up with you and stick by you and are your partners in crime even when all the complexities and distances of life get in the way. They are who you know at seven and seventy-seven, some for only a short while and some for your whole life, some to help you through one part and others to stand by you through it all. You may not live with them or know them your whole life, you may not gaze into each other's eyes and share romantic moments and feelings (though that could be argued), but the love you have for your friends can often be the most intimate kind, because it is truly non-binding and without expectations: one done out of pure choice and love.

I love my friends. I look forward to a life with them. They are my constant and true valentines.


And thank you Stephanie for my amazing (and inspirational) valentine's card!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sarah Rose

This post is dedicated to my best friend, Sarah Rose Kasoff, who I have known since I was 7 (so 17 years), on her engagement last night to her boyfriend of 3.5 years, Zach Benjamin. This proposal was no surprise, but nonetheless an exciting and life-changing event for both of them. I know they are very excited to start the next chapter of their lives today, and I am excited to be a part of the next step!

I have found some pictures over the years of Sarah and I that I wanted to share...


My 9th birthday party- June 1995


Spanish Class in 8th grade- June 2000


My 16th Birthday- June 2002


Junior Year Prom- May 2003


AP Environmental Class- February 2004


Visiting Virginia Tech- November 2005


New Years 2006


Virginia Tech visit- August 2007


Sarah's 23rd Birthday- December 2008


Sarah's 25th Birthday- December 2010


Obviously, we have taken hundreds if not thousands of photos together (if you are facebook friends with me, you know that) but what's great is that even though we went to different colleges and she lives in D.C., whenever we meet up it feels like nothing no time has passed and nothing has changed. I still remember when she met Zach and how we would visit him even though he was just a "friend" for so long. I remember when they became "official" and how happy he made her. I am so happy and excited for her and hope that the next 17 years of our lives are spent being just as close as the first.

Congrats Sarah!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Thoughts #2

I treat my Sunday runs as my "religious" thinking time. Usually it just means that as I am almost dying running, I tend to think about life and goals and whatnot. This week was a hodgepodge of thoughts...

Thought #1. Wheat Thins. What is it about them that makes them so addicting? They go with everything...peanut butter, hummus, cheese, solo, ect.  I literally buy a box and open it and 2 days later (aka 9 servings) they are gone. WHERE did they go? I don't feel like I've eating 9 servings...they are just so good. Basically it all boils down to the fact that I should just not buy them unless I want to count out each serving which ain't gonna happen when you eat them by the handful! Shout out to my good friend Lauren who experiences the same issue with the deliciousness of wheat thins:).

Thought #2. Eating. I run so I can be in shape but also so I can enjoy life and have more freedom in what I eat (if you know me, you know I loooove my sweets). But have you ever thought about how quirky everyone is in their eating habits? Living with multiple roommates through college and currently, you realize everyone has weird eating habits. And being skinny doesn't mean you never eat and being larger doesn't mean you eat all the time- the size of people and their eating habits rarely match. People also eat weird things- one of my roommates will get a random vegetable and experiment with it and make her whole meal surrounding her random vegetable (last week was acorn squash and eggplant). I never buy vegetables (besides carrots), so that would never occur to me. But then again, my favorite lunch is honey pretzels dipped in peanut butter with some yogurt, so who am I to talk? I also consider cooking microwaving or heating something up on a stove.

Thought #3. I really should move. I live in a really nice neighborhood in a great townhouse with very cheap rent near great shopping, but I live near no one my age and am really only close to three decent drink/hangout places. I have run into two teachers while out running this winter -my 4th grade teacher and (today) my 9th grade English teacher (who I both loved). It's nice to run into them and always fun to catch up, but I am a single 24 year old and these teachers are married with young children. We should not be living the same lives. It just reiterates the fact that I need to move to the city to be with people my own age and to enjoy my life as a young adult. The suburbs can wait!

Though #4. Breaking points. Everybody has a point that they reach where all their troubles and issues collide and they have what I term a "mental breakdown." The average person probably has at least one a year or more depending on life situations (I used to have them quite frequently in elementary and high school while doing school work- right M& D?). Well I had one last night, not school related. Oddly enough, I find them very freeing actually. It's like once you have them all the issues have been brought to the surface and you can deal with them. I also always experience clarity during the moments when I am at my lowest. Last night was no exception and just means I can't run away from my issues, I now have to face them. I hope I can do it to make a positive change.

Thought #5. I really hate Ben Roethlisberger, and I just don't get why athletes and movie stars can get away with loads of crap (that would hurt a normal person's name greatly) AND can make in one week what it takes a normal person YEARS to make. I mean, I love a good football game and a good episode of "Bones" where David Boreanaz is looking exceptionally hot, but what they make in one week will take me five years. Somehow that doesn't seem fair.

And with that note- Go Green Bay! Enjoy your parties tonight!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hire Us!

So I told you all a week or so ago about the singing group I am in. Well, we are trying out to perform the national anthem at a Flying Squirrels game. Here is the video that we sent in to the organizer to see if we can get an audition or if we can just win the job by our tape! We were missing two girls and two were sick, but it sounds pretty good. We also won't use music for the event, but this was only our 3rd time singing it toegther so we wanted to be safe. See for yourself:




Also, our official name is "Treble in River City" (get it?) and we have a facebook page and soon will have an official webpage. We are becoming so legit.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Everybody's Doing Nothing

I don't know if this is a common issue, but it has been a staple of my twenty-four years. I always feel like everybody is doing something more exciting than me. I don't remember thinking this when I was really young, but in high school I remember on weekends wishing I could be doing what everyone else was doing (whatever that was). I fixed this worry by doing more myself- I played sports, worked hard in school and got a job. I stayed that way all through college- joining a sorority, studying hard, working, socializing, and being in singing groups. Somehow no matter how much I did, though, I still always felt like everyone was doing more. There had to be something I was missing.

As I have gotten older I realize that no one is really doing anything. I think the internet makes people's lives more exciting, because people only post updates and pictures when they have done something. No one wants to talk about how they sat home by themselves all day watching TV or playing video games, and, frankly, that's what most people are doing on a daily basis (working, errands, relaxing, getting on the internet, working out, visiting family, volunteering, hanging with friends, ect). Sure people do exciting things, but no one does exciting things all the time. We see flashes of what peoples' lives are like, but rarely do we get the whole story, no matter how much we know someone.

It's mostly a matter of being content with doing nothing and making sure there is a balance. I have talked about how I need a pretty good balance of doing and not-doing.  I like to have a part each day to myself and a part with some one else, whether that be roommates, friends, family, or work peeps. I like to stay busy and involved because I need that social outlet but not so busy and so involved that I run myself down. I like my "me" time, but I also need to stop putting this expectation on myself that I am missing out, because, honestly, I don't think I am.

I was having dinner with a married friend, and she talked about the balance between her old self, her married self and her current self; about compromise with her husband and pleasing both their needs as individuals and a couple. It's hard. Even married people get lonely and feel left out. She commented on how she sometimes stays in for him and doesn't do things she wants to do because he is content just with her. It's not that she doesn't love him, but she has the urge to do more. See, even people who have their life all in "order" (married with a job) still feel like they are missing something.

Basically, it's all about balance and being content with your life and what you do and have. I talked previously about how people are always searching for something. Maybe the secret isn't to keep searching but to stop: stop putting so much pressure on ourselves, stop measuring our lives to someone else's and to stop thinking so much about it all. Everyone wants something, but to be truly happy is to want what you have. If you want what you have, then you're always doing something because it's making you happy.

Easier said than done. It's my new goal for 2011:).