Sunday, December 18, 2011

What I've Learned.......

Okay, so it's been a couple of weeks, but it doesn't mean that I haven't been learning anything new.....

#1 Great Moms think alike
Hubby celebrated a birthday earlier this month and the morning of (very early - like 6:30am) he received a phone call from my Mom. She was up this early as she was on the way to the hospital to have surgery, but wanted to be sure she got to wish him a happy birthday. No sooner did he hang up with her and his own Mom called. She and his father were on a cruise ship and they had just arrived back in port, so she was also calling to wish him a happy birthday. Two mothers, both at opposite ends of the spectrum on that particular day (I know my Mom wished to be on a cruise ship rather than heading into a surgery), but both of them being a "Mom" in their need to wish someone a happy birthday. Aren't Mom's the best???

#2 -  Guardian Angels come in all shapes and sizes 
On a recent Saturday, I was reading a post from my Sara Ban Breathnach book Simple Abundance , regarding Guardian angels and how anyone you meet could be an angel. They could have a message for you and you just need to be open to listening. Later that day Hubby and I had a long talk about some decisions for our life and our future; things that we were concerned may not be the correct decisions. We went out to dinner that night and continued our talk. On the way home we decided on the spur of the moment to stop in at a new bar/performance venue that his cousin was working at. As we sat at the bar having a drink, a young man came and sat next to us. Hubby commented on his drink and before I knew it, he and hubby were deep in conversation. After about fifteen minutes of talking, we discovered that he was the lead singer of the band who would be performing that night. He began telling Hubby about how he got into performing, how much he loves it and how he is doing what he loves. He talked about making decisions in your life that are right for you, and how you have to do what's best for you and you alone. As he spoke it was literally as though he was repeating everything that we had said earlier that day; all of our thoughts and ideas coming back to us. At one point he excused himself to check on something for the show and Hubby turned to me with a look of amazement. 
"Did you hear what he was saying??" 
 It seemed as though he was reaffirming that everything we were thinking was correct. It was as though someone was sending us a sign. I told him about the Guardian Angel idea and how sometimes you just need to be open to what a stranger has to say. He returned a moment later to say goodbye as he needed to go get ready for the show. He told us how nice it was to have met us and how he enjoyed our talk and then headed off. Hubby and I decided to stick around and check out their show. Their music was fun and they were a very talented group. As we stood watching them, he reached to the side of the stage to take a long swig from his beer. Hubby extended his hand and said "Wow, that's my Guardian Angel." Then we laughed hysterically.What? You thought all angels wore white and had halos?? Oh, and I did I mention he and Hubby share the same first name? Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

#3 Sometimes a nap really is the only thing to keep away crabby Adrienne
  I used to take naps. Long ago, in a far away place called, twentysomething/immature/non-homeowner land, weekends involved something called a nap. Naps were energizing, decadent and they made Adrienne a very happy girl. Somewhere along the way a thing called "adulthood" took over. This thing called adulthood said "Hey, you're an adult now and when you're an adult (especially one who owns a home), you have lots to do. Especially on a Saturday afternoon. You need to clean, wash, fix, put together, something. When you're done with that, you should buy some groceries, cook something, put together lunches for the coming week, pay bills, blah, blah, blah...." Until we looked in the mirror and adulthood said "Jeez you look a little....well....dare we say crabby? When's the last time you took a nap?" Whereby we strangled adulthood and fell onto the couch for a 3 (yes that's right 3) hour long nap. It was blissful, heavenly and sent crabby, immature Adrienne away...... at least for now.

So that's it for this week. How about you? Did your Mom do something amazing? Did you meet an Angel and not even realize it? Did you take a long overdue nap?

~ Adrienne

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Greed, I mean, Grinch Who Stole Christmas

- There is a reason for the season, but an Xbox-Kinect isn't it. 
Tell that to the people haggling over parking spots at the mall and the last "It" toy on the shelves.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, but there are times when the commercialism and greed threatens to override the good for me. I'll be the first to admit that I'm sucked in by the ads and commercials that come out around the same time as the Halloween candy. You start thinking that you need to buy a gift for everyone you know. The list gets longer and longer and there's a level of spending that just becomes expected, year after year. If you don't put yourself into debt for a couple of months....well....there's just something wrong with you.

So this year Hubby and I decided to do something a little different. Wanting to try and find a way to hold onto some of the true spirit of the season, we agreed to cut back on the spending for each other and family this year. Everyone agreed that there is nothing that any of us truly "needs". How many sweaters and gift cards can you really use? We're lucky enough to both have jobs, a home, and three square meals a day. This apparently makes us among the minority in this country, which is very sad. We decided to make purchases this year for people who really need/deserve them.

  • The money we normally just place in our church envelopes, we've been using to buy food to donate to the church's outreach program. It actually makes me feel like I'm doing more than just handing over money. While I'm doing my own grocery shopping, I'm thinking about the people who may be able to benefit from the extra cans of soup that I'm adding to my cart. I also realize that I'm giving more than I normally would have probably placed in the envelope.
  • My company sponsors a couple of charities every year through various fundraisers. One of this year's charities is the Buffalo City Mission and the fundraiser for Christmas is men's socks. That's right, just socks. Many of the men who the Mission helps, are homeless and may not even own something as simple as a pair of socks. That's an extremely humbling thought. Doesn't make those "It" gifts as important anymore huh? Socks it is.....
  • A check that I'm sending to the Erie Country SPCA - a non-profit organization, dedicated to the welfare of all animals. This one in particular receives no financial support from any city, county, state or federal governments. They depend solely on donations and grants. They are also where one of the loves of my life (Miss Daisy) came from, so they hold a very special place in my heart. They definitely deserve a gift.
  • Something which has a very personal meaning to me - A gift for some very hardworking people, who deserve a thank you. My older brother has Downs Syndrome and lives in a supervised group home. The people who work there are extremely dedicated and do not receive the appreciation that they deserve. In a world that worships people who make a living catching a ball, or being famous for staying married for 72 days, they are the true heroes, but rarely are noticed. We sent each of them a Christmas card along with a small gift. We thanked them for their dedication and told them how lucky we are to know that my brother is being taken care of by such a great group of people.

I have to say that these small gifts have given more back to me than I had expected. They've actually made me enjoy Christmas more - the stress level of getting the perfect gift or spending too much just isn't there. More than anything it's helped me remember the reason for the season......I think we've found a new tradition.

What are you doing to keep the true spirit of the Season?

~ Adrienne


Monday, November 28, 2011

Tuesday Testimonials......

Tuesday Testimonial Rant........

Today's testimonial is actually more of a rant. I apologize in advance for anyone I might offend by this (but I'm really hoping you agree with what I have to say.) I'm stealing this idea from my friend over at Jotter Girl. She has a series of posts she refers to as Open Letters. The letters are aimed at stores, celebrities, etc. Basically anyone she needs to get something off her chest about. I think she's definitely onto something here.....

My testimonial is aimed at a certain Buffalo Bills football player, who demonstrated a clear lack of judgement, class, intelligence, brain cells....(you get the picture) during the Bills game against the Jets yesterday. For anyone who may have missed the incident , Stevie Johnson chose to put on an elaborate dance, celebrating a touchdown, while at the same time mocking, Plaxico Burress of the Jets. The "dance" resulted in a penalty, thereby negating the touchdown, a touchdown that probably would have won the game for the Bills by the way. The Jets turned around and scored a touchdown, by none other than Plaxico Burress (oh the irony.) The Bills did have one last opportunity to win the game when Ryan Fitzpatrick delivered a perfectly thrown ball to none other than Stevie Johnson, only to have it bounce sadly out of his hands. Interestingly, there was no dance this time.......So here is my Open Letter to Stevie Johnson.

Dear Stevie -

Seriously? Celebrating with an ridiculous dance after scoring a touchdown?

Pssst! Hey Stevie? In the Real World, what you did (scoring a touchdown), would be considered completing a days work. The next time you're out in the Real World, take a look around. When the waitress brings your food, the cashier counts out your change, the mechanic changes the oil in your car, the doctor completes your physical (I can go on but I hope you get the point), check out what they do after. Ask yourself these questions:

Are they doing any kind of celebration dance?
Are they taunting the other employees about doing a better job?
Are they flapping their arms like 5 year olds?

No? Oh right, maybe it's because:

A.) They don't make a living playing a "game."
B.) They're adults, not children
C,) In the Real World their behavior would result in being fired, or at the very least suspended. (Which by the way would have happened if you worked for me.)

But, in today's world where money is the Almighty Word (Penn St??), this will never happen. Winning the game and making fast money is much more important than setting an example for all of the kids out there, who sadly look up to you Mr. Johnson. The love of the game is gone and has been replaced by dollars and cents (sadly not that sense).

Oh, and for a team that has lost 4 games in a row, I would think you'd be a little more humble about one measly touchdown. I could have maybe given you the benefit of the doubt,had you owned up to the mistake like a Man, but listening to your comments on the news coverage tonight - I have lost all respect. Not only did you make a half hearted attempt at an apology, but when asked about the (perfect) pass that you dropped at the end of the game, you slyly indicated that it was Ryan Fitzpatrick's fault, as the pass was "not where I expected it to be".

Seriously? Seriously? There really are no words left to say......



PS Oh, and after you dropped that pass I noticed there was no dance.....
There's no dance for messing up at work?
Hmmmmm......maybe you should work on that one.
I'm pretty sure I can see more opportunities to use it in your future.

So.......anyone else want to add to my letter?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give Thanks.......

 In honor of the Thanksgiving 
holiday I thought I would take time to reflect on all of the things that I have to be thankful for. I'm always grateful for the really major things - plenty of food to eat, my health, and a roof over my head, but sometimes we need to focus on the small things as well. Some days we need to be reminded that it's the little things that can make life so special......

  • The wonder of cell phones - being able to talk to my Mom today (4 hours away) just to catch up for a minute.
  • Thankful for people who are always prepared - when I went to make the spaghetti for tonight's dinner, I realized that we were out. Someone (Hubby) had forgotten to inform someone else (Me) when they used the last box, but I digress. Thankfully Hubby was able to stop at his parent's on the way home to grab a box - one of the 9 that they apparently had on hand. Thank you!
  • Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter - (sorry, not sure why the link isn't working.) Yes I know that I have given up cut back on sugar, but this stuff is pure heaven. One spoonful can erase an entire day of horrible. 
  • A snuggling kitty....(or any pet). A couple of friends have lost pets this week, which makes me want to hug mine even more. Pets are family members, little people covered with fur and the most amazing friend you could ever have. If you have a pet, I hope you realize right now how lucky you are to have them. 
  •  Traditions.....Yes we'll eat turkey and stuffing and way too many desserts. But one of the things I'm most excited (and thankful) for about Thanksgiving, is that Hubby and I will also go out to cut down our Christmas tree that same day. We wander out onto his uncle's property, scouting out the perfect tree (Okay, some years they've been Charlie Brown trees, but we love them just the same) and by Saturday we'll have it up, ready to be decorated. Speaking of traditions - we also have to have National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation playing in the background while we trim the tree. We like to quote from it, and often:
    • Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?  
    • Don't throw me down, Clark. I'll try not to, Aunt Bethany... 
    • You surprised to see us, Clark?
      Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now. 
      Oh and last but not least.......Days off - I'm thankful that the day after Thanksgiving I can sleep in, have coffee in bed, snuggle with a kitty and reflect on all that I have to be thankful for......

      What little things are you thankful for this week?

      ~ Adrienne

      Happy Thanksgiving!!!

      PS - Just an update to a previous blog - My MIL watched the cats while we were away this weekend and apparently one of my pumpkins found their way to the trash can. It's a sickness.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Testimonials....

Blame it on your Jeans......

Recently a friend and I were discussing the horrors of trying to find jeans that fit properly.
"You should write a post about that!" she said. 
So Kristin - this is for you....

It just so happened that I was going that same day to look for a new pair of jeans. The majority of jeans that I have are either too baggy (yeah for weight loss) or are starting to get holes in them. I thought it was time to make the dreaded trek to try on new jeans, so I headed to my favorite clothing store, NY & Company. I've had good luck with their jeans in the past and I had some City Cash to spend. I grabbed 2 pairs of their Low Rise Boot Cut/Average. One pair was in the size I normally took, and one size was what I hoped I could take. I dove headfirst into the smaller pair and (Insert Happy Dance) they fit!! This is one of the things that I love about NY & Company. They don't shred your self esteem by telling you that the size you normally take won't work in their store. Unlike those smaller boutique stores (you know who you are) where I can't get my big toe into my normal size.

So, while I was dancing around the dressing room, basking in the joy of a smaller size, I overheard a conversation taking place between the woman in the room next to me and her husband, who was waiting outside.

Husband - "Well, what do you think?"
Wife - "Mmmmm they're too big."
Husband - "That was the size 4 right? Do you want me to grab you the size 2?"
Wife - "Yeah could you?"
A few moments later after wife has the size 2, she apparently emerges to show them off.

Husband - "They look good on you."
Wife - "Mmmm I think they may still be too big."
Husband - "But they look good on you."
Wife - "Yeah I just don't think they look right on me......"
Husband - "Well I think they look good on you, but do you want to try the zero?"

(I'm crying internally at the moment and fighting the urge to scream "they're a size 2!!! and he thinks you look good!" over the wall at her.)
      So I collect my items and take my size_____ jeans to the counter, a tiny bit deflated. But then I wonder, why do we women do this to ourselves??? I was so excited 5 minutes ago about being able to wear a smaller size jean, so why was it diminished the second I heard that the person next to me could wear an even smaller size?

     Why was it that the woman who could wear a size 2, was so caught up in obsessing over what she thought looked wrong, that she couldn't hear the obvious appreciation in her husband's voice when he looked at her? Maybe the problem isn't always with the jeans, but with how we view ourselves.

      So for today ladies, I ask that you treat yourself with more kindness when you look in the mirror. Smile at yourself, point out your assets and not what's wrong with your.....well you get the point. :)

And when your husband, boyfriend, friend, strangers, pay you a compliment - TAKE IT!!

~ Adrienne

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lessons Learned......

Lessons Learned......

#1 - You Can Never Be Too Prepared.
During a recent trip to Target, I found myself in line behind a college student. He was from China and newly enrolled at UB (SUNY Buffalo). I overheard him telling the cashier that he was nervous about the news reports of possible snow in the next few days. (NOTE - For those of you not from the area, most of the time when there is a weather report predicting snow this early in the season, it means the Southtowns (areas at least 30 to 40 minutes away from where I live) will be getting the snow. The cashier and I knowingly smiled at each other, both aware that we were safe from said snow. The gentleman continued with his chatter as he unloaded his cart, explaining that he was stocking up on provisions should he become stuck in his home for a couple of days (again the chance of this is extremely rare.)
These were the "provisions" he was purchasing:
12 jars of spaghetti sauce
5 cans of New England clam chowder
2 cans of Hormel Chili
12 Pack of Mountain Dew
A snow shovel
I'm assuming the Mountain Dew was to keep him awake so he could shovel all that snow? And I did not have the heart to ask him if he had spaghetti at home to go with the 12 jars of sauce. I'm hoping he wasn't so frazzled by the impending snow that he had forgotten to throw some in his cart. Either way, clearly he was terrified at the thought of being outside his dorm room when the first snow flake fell, so he was doing all he could to prepare himself. That's really all you can do in life right? You make your preparations, do your homework and in the end hope for the best......and hopefully your Mountain Dew doesn't run out before the snow melts. :)

#2 - Just Because Something is on a Store Shelf,
Doesn't Mean You Can Buy It.

During that same trip to Target, I needed to purchase some toothpaste as Hubby and I had resorted to breaking into our travel sized tubes. I grabbed the brand that we are partial too, noticing that it came with coupons and a travel size bottle of mouthwash. I did not notice the fact that it was the only one like it on the shelf. When the cashier attempted to ring it up, nothing was found in the system which required her to ring for help. The manager who came, checked it out and on her return said to me:
"Yeah, I'm really sorry but this item is no longer in our inventory, I'm not sure how it ended up on the shelf, but honestly we can't even sell it to you."
And then she walked away......not even a "can I go get you a different one?" I told the cashier that this was a first. I've never been in a store where I was told that I couldn't buy something.....I love you Target, but that one really hurt.
PS I'm still using my travel sized toothpastes because of this..... :(

#3 People who live in NYC walk everywhere, because it's the only way to keep from gaining weight!

During my recent visit to NY, I threw the food restrictions out the window because....well.....hey I'm in NYC! The food choices were phenomenal. Just within a block from my friend's apartment were a Steakhouse, Thai Food, Pizza, and Italian. You name it and it was probably on that street. Our first night's dinner was Thai food and I had some of the best Pad Thai I've ever had (sorry I can't remember the name!). On Saturday we had yummy burgers at Shake Shack (it had been so long since I'd had one that I'd almost forgotten what they taste like!) We followed it up with hot chocolates made with Nutella. Yum.....
Thankfully we walked about 20 blocks of Central Park, all of 5th Avenue and a good portion of Soho that day. Dinner that night was AMAZING gourmet macaroni and cheese at Mac Bar (if you like Mac and cheese, you NEED to go here. ) You could have rolled me home when I was done. Instead we almost fell asleep on the subway home.....That night we did a lot of dancing and walking, which was followed up by amazing slices of pizza on the way home. Luckily,we walked to brunch on Sunday morning at Uptown Lounge and Restaurant. Between the mimosas and omelets, it was a good thing we walked both ways.
Needless to say, when I got home I seriously feared getting on the scale for my weekly weigh in. But I faced up to it (mainly because it was mocking me every time I walked into the room.) The verdict? About 1/2 a lb..... lost......WOW! Again, now I know why New Yorkers walk everywhere.

What did you learn this week???

~ Adrienne

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You Have Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself........

I have a fear.....a rather strange one I suppose, but it's a fear none the less. I fear traveling by myself. Anything that involves me, a suitcase and going somewhere outside my neighborhood, can invoke some tremors. Even a road trip can make my heart race a little bit. So let's just say that me walking into the airport Friday afternoon to fly off to NYC, was slightly terrifying. 

I can't explain why I have this fear. If I could, I probably could find a way to limit or change it, but I have no explanation for it. I know it sounds crazy, believe me - I went to college for travel and tourism. I know how INSANE this fear is. Give me one other person to travel with (doesn't even have to be someone I know that well), and I will be completely fine for the trip, any trip, anywhere.....tell me I have to go it alone and I'll be breathing into a paper bag somewhere.
The reason for the trip was a very good one. A really good friend lives there and asked me to come visit, for about the 10th time. (I'm so sorry Amy for being such a scaredy cat!) I've always admired people who can fly off somewhere at a moment's notice to exotic places. One small bag, a passport and an adventurous spirit are all they need. (Yes Amy, I'm also talking about you.) So eventually, I said yes to her invite and I made my travel plans....and I sweated it out for a month. 

What if I miss my flight? What if the cab driver drops me off in the wrong place? What if the flight home is cancelled and I'm stranded at the airport....What if the flight has turbulence and no one is there to hold my hand??? Yes, again, I hear the insanity in what I was thinking, but I thought it anyway and probably much worse. So when the day came for the trip I was exhausted from all of my worrying but still worried all the way to the airport....all the way onto the plane.....through the cab ride (does he really know where he's taking me????) until I found myself at her door and thought......"Well that wasn't so bad."

The rest of the weekend was amazing. Perfect weather (Central Park!), great food, fun times and catching up with a wonderful friend. But my fear had almost won out over all of that. Was I immediately cured of my fear? Hell no! On the cab ride back to the airport the driver commented I may not make my flight home due to all the closed streets from the NYC marathon and his difficulty in finding a way to LaGuardia. I immediately thought "Crap! He is going to drop me off on a street corner in the middle of no where! Thankfully my worrying had paid off in the fact that I left for the airport 3 hours early. (Sometimes it comes in handy.)

But in the end I did face up to a fear (however irrational it may have been) and I am better for it. Guess I should start looking at my list of other fears....(Bungee jumping??.........I don't think so.)

What fears are holding you back from something amazing?


Sunday, October 23, 2011


It's Sunday....that means another week done and another one begins. So what did I learn this week?

Barnes and Noble is a great place to observe people
Yesterday morning I spent 4 hours at my local B&N churning out another chapter of the book. Now and then I'd take a break to look around, gather my thoughts, stretch my eyes, and I noticed something new each time.

  • Gentleman in salmon colored shorts - I'm not sure which disturbed me more; the pink shade of the shorts or the fact that it was about 40 degrees out.
  • Girl putting 10 sugar packets (and announcing it to her friend and the room) in her coffee. Her dentist must LOVE her.
  • Man sitting at a table by himself in the middle of the room, talking on the phone (loudly) detailing his personal life to anyone listening. Thank God for my headphones.
  • Young woman sitting at the fireplace knitting. The knitting wasn't so much what I noticed, as much as her behavior while knitting. First of all she was smiling, A LOT and would periodically look around the room and then smile more. My conclusion? Either she has elevated knitting to a form of meditation, or she was also doing some people observing and was picturing the characters in her head.....I want to read her book.

Rituals make life better
Hubby and I have number of rituals that we adhere to throughout the year.

Ice cream on the way to the lake to go jet skiing.

Wine tasting and pumpkin gathering with friends.

Watching Ghost Hunters every Wednesday night, straining to hear the voices they hear or see the things they see. 

Each Thanksgiving we pick out/cut down our Christmas tree at his Aunt and Uncle's house.

Watching Christmas Vacation and laughing like it's the first time we've seen it.....(quoting from it incessantly as well :)

Last night we completed the second half of our pumpkin gathering ritual, by actually carving them. Each year I pick the pattern, clean them out and make roasted pumpkin seeds while Hubby does the actual carving. (We always have some extra help as you can see).
                                                                                                Rituals - give me something to look forward to each season, a way for us to spend more time together and memories that will last a lifetime......

Good friends can be the best medicine...............

This week was a pretty tough one (just a lot of turmoil that added up to a lot of stress.) One of my best friends invited me to come to her house and hang out Thursday night. When I got there she made me a wonderful panini and butternut squash soup.
After dinner we had cookies and tea and sat on her couch and just talked. Four hours went by and we had not stopped talking once. We hadn't had a night like this in ages (the hustle and bustle of life can just take over sometimes), but we were right back on the same page in no time. No we didn't solve the world's problems during that time, but she helped me talk through some things and reinforced what I've always thought......a good friend can always heal what ails you. 
Thanks Bestie!

What lessons did you learn?


    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Tuesday Testimonials......

    Pretty much everyone I know is looking for ways to shed a few pounds (and if you aren't, please see me after class so you can explain this concept to me.) 

    I started on a plan this summer to not just lose some weight, but to also become healthier overall. Part of that plan is to limit the amount of sugar as well as carbs that I take in. I'm not eliminating carbs all together, just trying to be healthier in those that I choose. I had read that it's better to have your carbs in the morning because you typically need the energy earlier in the day and you'll burn it off faster. Now, those of you who know me, may be familiar with my distaste for cereal. I don't mind cereal on it's own, you know, straight out of the box? But with the milk it just gets soggy....I have flashbacks of me pushing cereal around my bowl as a child trying to figure out how to get out of eating it. :( 

    So this has been a pretty hard adjustment for me to make. In addition, most cereals, even the "healthy" ones, tend to be high in sugar. The plan I was following touted Grape Nuts as a good choice for a low sugar, cereal at 5 grams. Well it also tastes a bit like gravel.....but I digress. So I began a search for something with a little more "taste." I came across Fiber One's new cereal - Fiber One 80 Calories. A serving size is 3/4 cup, which is 80 calories and 6 grams of sugar. This is only 1 gram above Gravel Grape Nuts, so I was a little skeptical about how well it could taste. Well I must say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It reminded me a little of the Honey Grahams cereal from our childhood. (Again, one that tastes good right out of the box) Nice right? 

    I've learned a couple of tricks too. If I mix it with a serving of Cheerios (1 gram of sugar!) I get a bigger serving size and a healthy, tasty breakfast at that. I also barely douse it with milk (no soggies and lower calories) or I mix it with plain yogurt. Either way, I'm like an adult now, learning to try new foods. :) 

    Yeah me

    Anyone else out there on the in the same boat who would like to share a healthy new food they've discovered??

    ~ Adrienne

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    This Week's Lessons....

    Writing this blog and looking for topics, has made me realize that life is one, big learning process. It can be hard to see this if you don't take a minute to reflect on things. So here's what I learned this week......
    Lesson #1 - Compatible couples are rare. Hubby and I are very lucky to have a variety of friends between the two of us. People who have been there with us through hard time and good times, who we've made numerous memories with. In some of those cases, they may be just individual friends that we've both developed over the years. However, sometimes you're lucky enough to have couples who you have a great connection with. We've been very lucky to have a number of those in our life. I realized it in particular this week when we spent 2 different days with Instigator and his girlfriend. Hubby has known Instigator since he was a kid and we've gotten to know his girlfriend over the past couple of years. We have similar interests, senses of humor and genuinely just like hanging out. Last Sunday we made our 2nd annual trip to find the perfect pumpkins, apple cider donuts, pumpkin beer and a little wine tasting thrown in. The day ended with an amazingly yummy dinner. It was such a relaxing, fun day. We commented at one point that it was just easy - no one cared if we made an unexpected stop, changed the schedule, or took forever to decide on a pumpkin.The hardest part of the day was when hubby and Instigator couldn't decide what kind of pizza to order. Friday night they joined us again for dinner and a Sabres game and it was just as fun. Good friends are a gift.....good couples are priceless. :)

    Lesson # 2 - When someone does a good job - say it!
    When someone messes up in customer service, it's very easy to complain and be angry. When someone does a good job, or better yet, goes above and beyond, you may think to yourself "that was great!", but how often do you do anything more? We have a vendor at work who we deal with on a weekly basis. It doesn't matter what our request or need is, our representative is always there for us. She doesn't just give you information on how to fix a problem, she just steps in and does it for you. She's fun and friendly, with no formal pretenses. She calls to check on us, brings us lunch and genuinely likes helping us out. So this week, after she went above and beyond (again), I sent an email to her boss, telling him how much we appreciate everything she does and how refreshing it is to work with someone who cares so much about customer service. He responded that they were indeed very lucky to have her. Now, whether she'll get anything more than a pat on the back, I can't say. But if nothing else she knows that she is appreciated and hopefully that counts for something.

    Lesson #3 - Just Drive!  
    In the past month, there have been a rash of incidents involving vehicles running into buildings in our area. Everyone is wondering what's causing the sudden increase and I have a theory.....people are doing everything in their car these days......except for just driving. One day while sitting at a red light I decided to count the number of cars going by where the driver was doing something besides just watching the road in front of them. More than half were doing something else; texting, talking on the phone, attempting to reach something in the seat beside/behind them, eating or strongly focused on the other passengers in the car. We've become such a multi tasking society that it's considered boring or weak to just simply drive. Anytime when I've had a near miss recently, I've noticed that the driver was usually on the phone or looking down, indicating they were probably texting. Just last month my car was hit from behind while I sat at a stop light. Luckily no one was injured and the damage was minimal, but when I looked up to see what had happened, I could see the driver quickly putting something down. At this point, I am truly amazed there aren't more accidents. I for one make it a point to not talk on the phone or text while driving. Even if it wasn't against the law here (which it is), I still wouldn't do it. I am just not coordinated enough to pull off such a feat and I'm pretty sure most others are not either but wouldn't admit to that. The fear of causing an accident or worse is just too much stress for me. So I'm begging you guys - please hang up the phone, wait to put the makeup on at work, eat breakfast before you leave the house and put on your seat belt!!!!

    Lesson #4 - Sometimes you just need to eat the cake.....or the doughnut.
    Recently I modified the way I eat in an effort to be more healthy and hopefully lose some weight in the process. I won't call it a diet, as this is something I hope to carry on as a way of life. One of the main changes was giving up sugar or at least cutting out as much of it as possible. This has meant saying no to A LOT of birthday cakes at work, doughnuts brought in by generous co-workers, and dessert at family dinners. Since August I've lost roughly 10 lbs and am feeling pretty good, so for the most part it's been easy to stick with. Last week we got into a discussion at work about the wonder of Fall foods like apple cider and donuts. We decided that having a celebration of cider and donuts on Friday morning would be a great way to celebrate the season. I felt guilty as I had that pumpkin spiced doughnut and later on the yummy dark chocolate cookies that someone else brought in. But the feeling faded as I laughed with my friends and just enjoyed myself. I'm sure when I do my weekly weigh in this week, that I won't have lost anything (the beer, wine and apple cider doughnut from last Sunday surely did not help), but I also don't think the 2 instances will set me back 10lbs. My new way of eating has made me look at everything I eat and consider whether it is really worth having. So giving in to weekly cake and dessert offerings may not be worth the cheat but eating the doughnuts and laughing with my friends on Friday morning was absolutely worth it.

    So, those were my life lessons for the week - what did you learn??

    ~ Adrienne

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Tuesday Testimonials.......

    Blogs, Blogs and More Blogs!
    One of the great things about jumping into the Blogging world, is that I've been able to connect with some fabulously talented ladies. Last month, one of those ladies, Ruthie from The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart, offered up the chance to highlight some of our blogs through her own blog page. I thought this was a pretty cool idea. I for one am all for helping other women out. I've never subscribed to the idea that you have to work against others in order to succeed....there's plenty of room at the top. Instead of pushing someone out of the way to get there, why not extend a hand and pull someone else up with you?

    That being said, I'd like to introduce you to some of my favorite bloggers.......

    Howdy! My name is Ruthie and I am a southern newlywed wife, mama to a cute chunky French bulldog and love of all things crafty. My blog chronicles my life, everything from my relationship with Jesus, the ridiculous costume parties my husband plans and trying to become Suzie Homemaker while balancing a full time job in software marketing. In my house, we love, we hug, we live out loud, we make mistakes and make fools of ourselves. Oh, and I blog all about it!
    Twitter: @ruthiehart1

    Barbara - My blog is Zero to 60 and beyond which I started 5 months before my 60th birthday to come to grips with the fact that I still felt 30 (and probably always will) but now I was on the other side of middle aged?!?  I refuse to accept that.  
    While kvetching about the birthday I began to realize I've had a pretty interesting life.  Then I learned that sharing my stories, especially the childhood stories, were helping others who had abusive childhoods.  That was amazing.  The blog has now become the prelude to the memoir.  
    Hey, it’s me Catherine from Jotter Girl.  I’m constantly writing in my jotter aka notebook, coming up with stories and observations to share on my blog.  Stop over for a visit and find one of my “30 Second Stories” which is usually good for a quick giggle or read an “Open Letter to...” where I write to recipients ranging from Abercrombie & Fitch to the country of Italy.  Getting things off my chest with a letter is a great way to vent…. even if I tend to be a bit tongue in cheek. 

    You won’t find recipes, diaper stories or comments about hubby over at my place because…
    1- I can’t cook
    2- My kids are tweens
    3- I’m divorced *

    With those three things out of the way, I have plenty of time to write!  Hope to see you over at Jotter Girl soon.  Please feel free to bring a casserole.

    *I cannot confirm or deny if #1 has anything to do with #3.

    I'm Dee - I run a blog for women and moms called Mommy's Idea, where I highlight unique products and services with reviews, guest bloggers, and giveaways.  I've learned so much and met so many interesting people along the way.  I also write a blog called I Write for Apples, which is a mix of tidbits for parents, teachers, and writers- three of my favorite roles in life.  I'd love for you to join me! 

    So now, what are you waiting for? Hop on over, check out their blogs, leave a comment, and tell them I sent you! 
    ~ Adrienne