Monday, November 26, 2012

Loss

After the thankfulness of this holiday weekend, I learned sad news. My cousin was hit by a truck while riding his bike in California and killed. He is one of my Walsh cousins (one of 18), and I was in his wedding as flower girl when I was 4 in 1990 (if I had a scanned picture I would post it). I was around this age but with longer hair- I will work on getting a picture to post.


While distance and age seperated us for most of my life (he was 45 and lived in California), I only have fond memories of his spirit, optimism and contageous personality. His wife and young daughter will truly have a void to fill, as will my aunt and uncle and cousins.

I hate that it always takes trageties like this to bring perspective to your life, but that is what this has done for me. You are never guaranteed another day or hour or minute. Especially in the times we live, nothing is certain. Everything you have can be taken from you. Nothing is guaranteed, so my challenge to myself is to live without abandon and remember who I have known that has not gotten to live as I do. To live in honor of all those who have been lost and those that have lost someone close to them too soon.


And to cherish the memories and be a friend to those who need cheering up.
Much love to the Koechlin's and all of the Walsh extended family. 




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Poker

You know how I said we played Texas Hold 'Em all Thanksgiving afternoon while drinking wine and taking tequila shots (well, you SHOULD remember at least)?! This is a video of a hand that is probably 3/4 of the way through our 4 hour tournament.

video

And some pics of the afternoon...

First tequila shots at about 1:30 pm...

Yum

Joe is rolling in the dough!

Nate

Brian & Sarah

 Don't snap that picture

 Funny sequence...

 Don't remember what it was about!

Laughs

Why are these crackers called a fake word?!

 B, my coach.

I won!

 Winner and runner-up feeling the effects.

I hope you all get a chance to start crazy holiday traditions with your family like we have!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Trot and Treats

Wishing all ya'll (and your families) a very Happy Thanksgiving!


The Walshes celebrated by running a Turkey Trot 10k (which was uncomfortable hilly...no PR for me but a gorgeous morning!) around the University of Richmond and then proceeding to eat all calories burned (and more) in mostly desserts and liquor. Or maybe that was just me...


Happy smiles at the beginning of the race with my brother, Brian, and my friend's husband and brother.


Not so happy at the end (but determined)...damn hills!

The fam also engaged in a pretty hysterical, long poker match (involving many funny hypothetical dating questions and my oldest bro falling out of his chair), which I won but paid for by getting so drunk that I passed out after dinner for 1 hour. No one ever said afternoon tequila shots and wine were my strong suite. I blame my brothers.

This kicks off my absolute favorite time of year because of the celebrations with friends and family and the HAPPINESS all around! I hope you enjoy Black Friday and the rivalry football Saturday! Cue the Christmas music:)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

READ

My very own READ poster I did at work this week:


Do I inspire you?!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Jersey Shore

This weekend I went with my mom to visit her aunt, my granddad's sister, in New Jersey. She lives in Margate which is about 2 miles south of Atlantic City. She was evacuated for a week following the hurricane, so we really didn't know what to expect when we went. She is also 93 (almost 94) and still living on her own, but she is lovely and as cute as she can be. She wasn't particularly fazed by the hurricane, since they get them frequently, but we could see the devastation everywhere. Her house was ok, but a few blocks over was another story. She lives just far enough from the bay and beach that she got lucky. Sand was EVERYWHERE as these pictures show, but they had done a lot of cleanup (3-4 feet was typical right after the storm). It was sad but also good to see the shore, because they will be able to pick up the pieces and repair the homes and everyone was grateful it wasn't worse. I enjoyed a great run on the Atlantic City boardwalk on Sunday and people were out smiling, greeting strangers. Nothing like the Jersey Shore!

House moved off it's foundation

Damage to the walkway

Sand!

Sand in the houses' garden


 Cranes redistributing the sand

Cape May!

One of my favorite vacation spots on the shore


Victorian houses everywhere

Jersey, hopefully I will see you again soon!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Two Cents

When I think about living in America, I think of a melting pot, a land of opportunity, starting over, making your own life and living it with convictions; not settling, fighting for what is right, equality, and freedom.

Election seasons always give us a time to think about what is important to us as individuals. What ideas light the fires beneath us? What do we think is good for the country? Or more (or less) importantly, what is good for us as individuals?

I grew up in a house of liberals, though I never knew until I got older (though my grandparents were conservative). I remember when I heard on the news as a teenager about some law regarding abortion, and how outraged I was that it was legal for someone to tell me what I could and could not do with my body! I had never talked politics with my parents and never knew who they liked, but that night I learned what fired me up and what fired my mom up as well.

In government class my senior year of high school, our class was polarized as Democrats and Republicans. We had debates and often argued about our views. That was the first time I realized I was a true liberal. I had a political identity! It was exciting and frustrating at the same time, because I realized people did not think like I did about everything that mattered most to me.

I remember in my first election how shell shocked I was that Bush won reelection. How could people not get as fired up as I got about the issues that mattered to me?! How could women vote for a party that wants to decide their rights for them? How could it be acceptable for gay people to be treated as unequals in parts of their life? I was in a funk for days and weeks after that 2004 election.

As the years have gone on, I have come to understand more about each of the sides. I have found that I am actually moderate- fiscally conservative but socially liberal (and now leaning libertarian)- and that the political process and role of the President is so much more complicated than who wins the elections. I have conflicting feelings about who wins (no candidate is perfect), how campaigns are run (can't we use all this money for the greater good instead of flying candidates all over the county and running a million political ads?!) and the limits of the two party system (hello Gary Johnson!).

I also hate the nastiness. The point of an election is for people's voice to be heard, not to hate and yell at differing opinions. The name calling, the social media rants- that is never ok. People have their reasons to vote a certain way- it is what is important to THEM. It is part of their freedom of speech. That it may differ from your opinion does not warrant nastiness or hatred. It should create a forum where we can discuss and evaluate our opinions. I am happy to talk politics with someone, but I also know that what they say will not change what is important in my heart.

When I go into that voting booth, my heart is decided by the candidate or party that supports the rights of all his/her people. The one that does not tell me what I can or cannot do as a woman. The one who agrees that all people should be treated as equal- no matter sex, sexual orientation, social class, or country of origin. To me, social issues are the cornerstone of my soul. Equality, equal opportunity, and personal choice are the most important parts of what I take as being an American. You may call that foolish or not agree with me, but it is what matters most to me.

The two party system is outdated. But while the Democratic party is not perfect by any means, I fully believe that America has turned a corner and until the Republicans can embrace a more socially moderate platform and stop ignoring what is becoming a majority of the population, they will keep losing with their old ideals. The country old-school "white majority" is dwindling (hello, Latino immigrants!) and pretending it's not gets the party no where. Just come look at the students at my school and tell me they deserve less rights and opportunities because their parents decided to come to America for a better life.

And as my friend said- "Make no mistake. Change is a motherfucker when you run from it."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted!

I voted at 7:30 am for President/Vice President, Virginia Senate, Virginia House, Richmond Mayor, Richmond District 1 School Board Rep and two Virgina Constitutional Amendments.


Did you?

(And I also didn't hate on anyone else who voted differently than me)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Condo Living

It has been 7 months since I bought and moved into my condo, so I think it is due time for a little update! I have absolutely loved living here. The place is a perfect size for me, so I don't have any wasted space but have plenty of storage, and I have loved the neighborhood and condo community. I have friends who's places I can walk to at the drop of a hat, and the pool and gym have been perfect for me (we joke that it's like "Melrose Place"). I have no regrets about my purchase, and I have loved living alone. In fact, I feel less lonely living alone because I get out and do more, and when I want to do nothing, I don't have to worry about anyone else and their plans!

I haven't changed anything cosmetically in my place since moving in (I do think I might paint at some point) and so far nothing has broken. I did have some bug issues in the spring- ants and house centipedes- but I figured out how to get rid of them and prevent more from coming. I will be more prepared next year. I also have loved my electric bill- even in the summer during 100+ degree days, I never paid more than $62/month in electricity! One of the big pluses of a smaller space:)

My bed geared up for winter!


Romo in his usual position and getting into the cabinet to take my hair ties (which I then find all over the place)

My fridge of love!

Yay! My appliance corner- waffle maker, toaster, mini-blender and coffee maker, none of which are used much but are good to have!

Fall in my living room- the tree out the window is a great red!

New purchase from Target next to my door- perfect for my purse and extra storage!

Fall pumpkin and fruit basket

"R" from my mom!

 Dining table with a Halloween card (Thanks, Jess!) and great fake flower.

On the outside of my front door I also have a pumpkin and scarecrow greeting my visitors:) So you should come visit if you haven't!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brio

Last night a former coworker and I, who both now work in high schools, went out to eat at Brio Tuscan Grille. I realized that I did not blog much when I worked there because this blog began as I was ending my years as a waitress and beginning my career as a counselor. And what a shame that is, because my grad school years at Brio were a great time where I met my first group of friends in Richmond outside my high school buddies. So here I go:)!


I feel like my life as a waitress is a different part of me since it was a transitional period, but it was really a great time. I worked as a waitress in college during breaks at Cheeburger Cheeburger and at UVA Catering in college (that was more of a customer service job, but food/alcohol delivery and flirtation was essential in my duties), but most of my time as a waitress was at Brio in grad school. I always enjoyed waitressing because it was a very social job where I got paid to move around, talk with people and constantly stay busy doing something. I met a lot of great people during my two years waiting tables during grad school (May 2008 through August 2010). It completely paid for my grad school education and also allowed me to save during my studies. I also realized the key to enjoying waiting tables is when you do it PART TIME. My typical schedule was lunches Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (I had classes Monday through Wednesday night starting at 4), dinner on Friday (where I eventually became a "closer," meaning I would get the best section and hours) and Sunday brunch. All of my shifts, besides Friday and Sunday, were only 11-3, so I worked a total of 20ish hours a week and usually made somewhere around $300/week in tips. And as I said before, it was straight social hour. When I wasn't at a table, I was talking to a coworker while doing my work. A job TOTALLY made for me. I loved it.

Even now, I often think about how I do miss waiting tables. The corporate part of it sucked (contests and stupid rules) and the sidework blew, but the actual interactions with the customers and staff were great. I'll be the first person to tell you I never was a great upseller or knew every detail about the food or drinks (it was a joke that half the time I didn't know what I was serving), but I was very bubbly and easy to talk to, so I always did well. And I met some amazing people.

So here is a shout out to all my former Brio peeps! Even though I am done with waiting tables, I look back at it with a smile and great memories:) I especially enjoy coming back and visiting on the customer side!

Friday, November 2, 2012

What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self

I read the above book because it was on a list of books every twenty-something girl should read (according to an article I stumbled upon). While I didn't find it groundbreaking in any way, I thought I would post my favorite entry.

Dear Lisa,
Here are the ten things you need to know.

1. Your hair matters far, far less than you think.
2. In fact, the way you look matters far less than you think.
3. "Can I ask a dumb question" is never a good thing to say.
4. In fact, asking permission to speak is never a good idea at all.
5. While we're on the subject, don't speak too fast because you're afraid of wasting your listener's time. Listening to what you have to say is the highest and best use of anyone's time. Even if your hair looks terrible.
6. And don't edit what you say before you say it. That would be you, getting in the way of truth, and, worse, of your heart.
7. You are already working approximately 25 percent harder than you have to to get the result you want. Chillax.
8. Don't hang out with anyone who doesn't understand why you're so wonderful, or needs to be told, or who doesn't tell you at regular intervals or when you forget.
9. That little voice you keep ignoring is the only one you should ever listen to.
10. Love

I liked this entry because it talks about how we should always say what we feel, live like we think we should, and not question our abilities or settle for anything less than we deserve. We should never let go of our dreams or be afraid to change our lives. Important things for me to remember now, as I am contemplating many life decisions!