Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting Closer to Everything

Huge sigh of relief. I, as well as some of my fellow classmates, managed to secure 51 individuals to attend our 10 year High School Reunion! That is a great turnout for an equally great event. All the prepwork is done, party favors have been created/bought (just need to assemble gift bags). My DJ is an alumni and he's confirmed and everything is just waiting to go down. I can finally say I'm excited about the event now that the whole attendance situation has settled. There are a lot of great people going, many of whom I haven't seen in 10 years! Plus my three closest high school friends will be there as well so our little crew is reuniting for a weekend. I've got a really cute dress, matching toenails (pedicure this past weekend) and have a good idea of how the evening is going to go. After all, I'm am the emcee!

Once the reunion is over, I have one day to collect my thoughts before driving up to the Poconos for a week-long vacation with my family. I'm excited Bronx gets to attend all of these things. There are many times when I'm doing something fun outside and I think "I wish Bronx were here." Yep, I have an unnatural obsession with my dog. This morning he jumped on the bed to wake me up and sat on my arm. Sat. On. My Arm. For a good five minutes too!

There are some important opportunities on deck that I'll post about if they come to fruition. All I can say is I feel like finally things are falling into place. I am going to be a contributor for another writing outlet and I'm feeling positive and well, a bit hopeful about the future. 

As I mentioned before, I've been working on perfecting my cold brew coffee recipe. As you may know, It all started with Federal Donuts coldbrew coffee. At a steep (no pun intended) three bucks a cup, I knew I had to find a way to make my own coldbrew. My first attempt with my French Press was awful, it was bitter and gross and I got discouraged. I tried Starbucks coldbrew (better than Federal actually...I could drink it black) and that is also a steep price. So I finally caved and tried with my French Press again. Ground beans didn't do a good job. My cold brew was lackluster. So I went out and bought whole beans, coffee grinder, half and half and made my own simple syrup. IT WORKED! The process takes a whole five minutes to prepare. Then I pop the French Press in the fridge for 12 hours and the next morning I have a delicious cup of strong, flavorful, less acidic coffee. 

Today I made my best batch yet. It was perfect. Seriously. 

Here's to getting a little closer to everything!

Until next time...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Little Accomplishments

The past two weeks have been peppered with little accomplishments. Last week I helped our agency get Sanctuary Certified! I contributed by giving our assessors tours, participating actively in case management meetings and teaching my weekly class about feelings and feeling poems. It was exhausting and the pressure was on ALL of us, but we did it. Took three years but now Drueding is Sanctuary Certified. It is a big deal and we are relieved. 

As I recovered from that I got invited to a luncheon on behalf of one of my volunteer's. She had received a grant for our agency to help purchase enrichment materials for our school age tutoring programs. I got to go to a nice lunch with her, and speak for a video that will promote our program and volunteer opportunities throughout the community. Being on camera made me realize how much I love the media/journalism world. I had the communications crew cracking up and delivered a solid, flawless, no stutter answer sequence to the questions. I even kept my right hand steady since I was holding the mic pack and they didn't want to see that on the camera. I loved it. 

Feeling accomplished from that I cruised through the week. On Weds I managed to grill on a charcoal grill for the first time. I had to feed our families for an awards ceremony that I host quarterly. Nervous as hell, I had a coworker help me fire up the grill. I can grill I just never used charcoal before. I'm more a gas grill kind of girl. Well, low and behold the food came out perfect, we had barely any leftovers, the building did not burn down and I felt really good about the whole experience. Especially because I was anxious all day about it. 

The last little accomplishment is that I finally perfected my recipe for cold brew coffee. I am addicted to the stuff and it costs $3-$4 a cup. So I set out to make my own via French Press. Cold brew coffee steeps longer, is stronger and less acidic on your stomach. With the perfect combination of half and half and simple syrup, it makes a creamy and smooth flavorful breakfast beverage. It took three attempts, a coffee grinder, special beans, regular half and half and a new simple syrup to create the perfect brew. I love it. I was so happy drinking it on my way to work this morning you would have thought I got a journalism job. haha

Upcoming is my 10 year high school reunion next weekend. Attendance is looking good and I'm getting really excited about the whole affair. Then I get a nice long vacation to relax after a lot of hard work and mini accomplishments. TGIF!

Until next time...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Jittery July

This month is proving to be quite stressful. First, my workplace is being evaluated by a trauma-theory Institute to see if we have indeed reached accreditation with them. For two days two assessors will inspect every facet of our program to determine if we are worthy of certification. Personally, I think we will be certified. We've done everything from paint the white hallways fun colors to increasing signage, preparing a structured but relaxed schedule and provided multiple opportunities to see just how we run things around here. It doesn't make it any less stressful. Especially because I liaison for an outside group coming the same day the assessors arrive. And that group has requested a mandated attendance of 3. You see, we don't mandate anything at our agency. I'm hopeful I have at least 3 families and that I can do well with my four to five pieces of the evaluation process. 

Tack on the final countdown to my 10 year high school reunion that I'm planning. Enthusiasm is up and many people are interested and excited to go. The problem is people are waiting, in true Eastern Shore fashion, to pay at the last possible minute. That makes for a nervous MA. I'm sure, just like the work certification, that we'll have a nice turnout and a grand ole' time. But the pressure is on until I submit my final headcount. I need numbers! I'm getting them but at a turtles pace. It should be a nice reunion though. 

Thankfully at the conclusion of this jittery month, I'm going on a week-long vacation to the Poconos with my family and Bronx gets to tag along too. Five days of no humidity, swimming, hiking, eating junk, drinking margaritas and just enjoying nature. I can't wait. It will be the respite I need after this mess. 

There are other little pin balls of anxiety in my life too. My mantra for the week is this:

What are we not gonna be? ANXIOUS!
What are we going to be? SUCCESSFUL, PRODUCTIVE and FOCUSED!

I was literally shouting these things in the car on my way to work. Just got to focus and breathe. Everything will work out great. 

Until next time...

Monday, July 6, 2015

From Sea to Shining Sea

Whew! What a 4th of July week/end!

Adventures started for me on June 30th when my best friend and I scored suite seats for the Phillies Brewers game. We got free food and free beer, a private bathroom and a great view of the game. A guy in the box next to ours caught a Ryan Howard foul ball. (If only the wind worked in my favor). It was a really neat experience to be a VIP for a night. Of course the Phillies lost because let's face it, they resembled the 90's Phillies. It was still a good game. 

Wednesday night my friend Hillary and I went to watch Rocky on the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps (where Stallone famously ran up in the movie). It is one of my favorite Philly traditions. The 4th of July is my favorite holiday so I have all these fun little things I like to do every year. Rocky is one of them. Hillary hadn't seen Rocky prior to that night so she had the best first experience of the movie. 

Thursday I kidnapped my co-worker and friend, Erin and we trekked down to Independence Hall for some free Wawa hoagies. It was Hoagie Day and we got free lunch! Always a delicious experience if you're willing to wait for a bit. 

Friday I ran errands and watched fireworks from my roof. Saturday I dressed up my minion to celebrate the 4th in style. 

Bronx - the patriotic pup. He didn't mind wearing his outfit save the hat. He isn't a big fan of headgear. 

His shirt says "Made in the USA." I'm sure he was even though Boxers are German dogs (originally). He was such a good sport about it and quickly became one of the most popular attractions at the Philly Party on the Parkway event. Everyone had a Boxer story or murmured "look at the Boxer!" And he got lots of pets and hugs too. What can I say, my dog is a charmer. 

The two of us made quite the pair. I was rocking my new Ray-Bans (old ones broke Memorial Day weekend after three years of being my go-to sunnies). I kept fixing Bronx's hat but he kept knocking it off. I don't blame him, I mean really. We had a blast getting some free Wawa drinks and Tastycakes before heading home to relax before the fireworks. After some delicious beer and my famous chili dip, I climbed up onto the roof. There were fireworks to my left, right, behind me, in front of me and the skyline...everywhere. It was like Grand Illumination at William and Mary. I had a moment where I thought "God Bless America" and "I love South Philly." South Philadelphians are very serious about their fireworks, btw. I mean 4 hours of snap, crackle pop. People shooting stuff off their roof and in the street, in parking lots and street corners. It was an experience for sure. 

Happy Independence Day!

Until next time...

What if I'm not a Writer?

I've mentioned this before. My first book I ever wrote was a few chapters long. Each page was a new chapter. I was in second or third ...