Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Week ending April 11


The Home Opener did not disappoint!   We were a bit chilly, but nothing layers and a fleece blanket could not fix.   The come from behind win complete with fellow Ohioan Nick Swisher hitting a home run was so much fun.   Michael and I went to Tuesday night's game as well [there were only 9,000 people there] and had a blast.  It was, of course, cold for baseball but we were prepared.  We even discovered that $4 is added to each of our tickets each game.   It is not a coincidence that the freshly popped gourmet popcorn a few sections away costs $4.   Basically, I got free popcorn this week.


We have officially moved!   
Saturday was chock full of activity.   The big strong men unloaded our POD at 9 am and were done just after 10.   Not too bad if you ask me!  So glad we called in for help.  The apartment had tons of boxes, as you might imagine, but we worked hard to whittle that down over the weekend and Monday (I took a vacation day from work)  The kitchen was even ready for dinner Saturday night.   Don't worry.  We ordered pizza.  The photo above was taken at about 8:55, before the fun began

Unfortunately we have no bedroom furniture.   Just a lot of piles of clothing.   We had been considering a *nice* bedroom set that we would have forever... but it's super pricey.   So now we are thinking PierOne might be a good idea, but then we would have to assemble everything.  Ick.


Oliver is settling in as well.   He had a bit of culture shock the first couple days.   No surprise for fellow cat owners.  Kitty found a good hiding spot initially, and has been getting braver each day.   Yesterday he spent some time in my office basking in the sun.   Almost back to normal!

New neighborhood means lots of new places to run!  I had an 11-miler on my schedule this weekend, which was not really on my list of things I wanted to do, with a mess of boxes in here.  But I did it and it felt pretty good, and I discovered how tasty chocolate Gu can be.  The run actually went by pretty fast, since all the sights were brand new.   AND!  I did not get lost.   

Our apartment is configured differently than our house so we are in the discovery stage of learning what organizational items we are lacking to function here.  Am I the only one who has these epiphanies?  Target's shelving section is going to get a workout.


Al is coming for Easter!  YAY   I don't remember the last time we were in the same place for Easter - it might have been high school.  All I can say is, family, WATCH YOUR EASTER BASKETS!   We are sugar experts

Check out Jen's takes!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Work Family

Look at what was delivered to our new place Wednesday afternoon!   

The note reads:

Congrats on your new apartment!  Here's a little something from the Team to help it feel homey and springy;-)
~Your Family

Isn't that the cutest idea?   Among the mild chaos of unpacking, what room cannot use a vase of fresh flowers?  and they are TULIPS!   One of my favorites, and they always remind me of my BFF Pannie.

The moral of the story?   My colleagues are the best!  Even though we don't all work in the same office location we feel connected and supportive to each other.    I love it and consider myself lucky to be part of this Team.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gift inspiration: A Box of Money

In February, my cousin David turned 14.    For the first time in many years, Michael and I were here in Ohio to attend the party.    I asked my aunt if David had anything in particular on his birthday list.  When I was 14, I am sure I had a list and I'm also sure I got plenty of bizarre items that were not ON the list !   I did not want to perpetuate that cycle :)

What a cutie!

Nene suggested gift cards to a few retail establishments because evidently the items on his list were pretty pricey, so he was trying to save up.   Excellent!  I am all about gift cards because they allow the recipient to choose whatever he wants, and negates any possible customer service/return counter situations.   But we have a huge family, and I got to thinking how boring it might be to open a bunch of birthday cards with gift cards inside.   I'm not saying he would not want the gift or appreciate it.   Simply that it might become monotonous after awhile.

Luckily, we were able to throw a bit of creativity in the mix.   I decided I would bring a large box resembling a mystery present, but it would actually be full of cash.   Clever, huh?

First, I determined how much money to give.   This is a largely personal decision and often varies depending on your budget and how much you like the person [just kidding!]  It just so happened that the amount we decided on was divisible into 14 bills of varying amounts.  (I did not give him 14 $1 bills, in case you are wondering!)  But you can do whatever you want - if someone is turning 14 but you want to give $30 and would like them to pop 30 balloons, speak to the bank accordingly!

I obtained balloons as well as the 14 bills, in appropriate denominations, and started to fold them up teeny tiny.   This is key because you're going to put a bill inside each balloon, and then inflate.   If you have a spouse or a significant other, or a gullible younger sibling, now is an excellent time to ask for help.   I mean, who wants to blow up that many balloons?  So poor Michael inflated all 14 balloons for me.   (He then rinsed his mouth with Listerine because he was afraid germs from the money might have gotten on the balloons.)

You can see my attempt at a close-up below.   That's money, folded into a tiny square, inside a balloon.  Riveting!

I inadvertently purchased a bag of balloons that was assorted sizes and shapes, which meant some balloons were really too small to put anything in but water.  [Check back in a few months to see how I use those babies!]  But on the plus side, the presentation in the box was that much more fun.

Since my father is known to hoard boxes, and we were still in the Homestead, the basement was basically my oyster.   I found a ginormous box into which 14 balloons would fit, and tossed them in.   Aside from Michael inflating the balloons, he longest part of the process was probably finding wrapping paper big enough to cover such a huge box.

Now, you could obviously leave it at that and let the birthday boy figure out what the box was all about.   But as luck would have it, Michael and I were not able to stay at the party very long, so I added a nerdy sign on top of the balloons, hinting at what was inside.

It was, coincidentally, the ONLY box David had to open.  I'm so glad I did something different, since it was unique and gave the birthday boy an alternative gift presentation, but with the same result as cash in an envelope.

And if you're miles away from the party but still want to be generous, balloons are lightweight and easy to mail.   Even Oliver approves.

Friday, April 4, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Week ending April 4


TODAY IS THE HOME OPENER!   YAY LIKE KERMIT.    It's supposed to rain all freaking day, but we are still excited.   It won't be quite this cold, but we'll look something like this as we deal with Mother Nature's wrath.    GO TRIBE

As if that was not exciting enough, we are moving on Saturday as well.   Such excitement in these parts.  The big strong men are unloading the POD tomorrow morning and we'll be unpacking like crazy.   We did a walk through of apartment on Tuesday and it looks brand new [it's new construction so that part makes sense] and very clean, which is a good start.

The raccoons are still in the attic.   The good news?   The exterminators have set traps baited with peanut butter crackers so now we have to wait.  Sounds to me like raccoons are a lot like toddlers.   They go places they shouldn't be, destroy things, and can be bribed with snacks.

Northern Ohio was hit with a crazy blizzard on Saturday.   We probably got about 5"... two days before April started.   It made for an interesting drive home from the baseball show {Auntie got a killer program from the first baseball game played at Cleveland Stadium in 1932!} and also helped me decide not to stop for an ice cream treat on the way home.   Not because it was too cold, but because the roads were crap.


Michael's grandparents are snow birds who used to summer in Michigan but as of last fall, are now in Ohio.   It's nice for us to be back near family, but so nice to have them here now as well!  This Christmas gave us a taste, since they were 'home for Christmas' for the first time in more than 10 years.  We're having brunch together this weekend (I'll take a break from unpacking!) and I imagine there will be many ice cream dates this summer as well.

Have I mentioned that I have the best sister ever?  I probably have.   This past Christmas she bought me slippers, which were the #1 item on my list.   But the slippers she bought did not fit.  Long story short, I was technically without a Christmas gift.   Not a big deal.   So Thursday afternoon when I got the mail, there was a box from Al.  I had no idea what was going on.   Inside was a note [ode to Elf] reading "I'm sorry for ruining your lives and buying you slippers in the wrong size"  Merry belated Christmas.  I hope this will come in handy once it stops snowing and you can run outdoors.   xo, Al

And inside the box, with the note, was this Sugoi Versa Jacket.  It is amazing!   You see, it's a vest, with sleeves that attach via magnets.   So you start out running with the jacket, but you get warm, so you just take the sleeves off and put them in the little zip pouch on the back.   Genius!


My dear friend Ashley - 1/3 of The Trio - had some pretty major surgery yesterday.  She is in recovery and although she's from hearty midwestern stock, Ash could definitely use thoughts and prayers and happiness if you have a moment.

Want more Quick Takes?  Jen's hosting.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's!

One thing about being an adult is that in most cases, your day is not set up to learn new things everyday.   When you're in school, it's basically all you are supposed to do.   Learn - and remember- new things.   I like to think I learn new things regularly - like how to solve a work issue better, how to make a new food, etc. but it's probably not the stuff that will help me on Jeopardy!   And really, I'm more of a Wheel of Fortune girl.

Anyway - my point is, I learned a lot this weekend when I stumbled upon Twenty Interesting Things About April Fool's Day.   If you're in the mood to brush up on trivia, try out for Jeopardy! or just impress people at dinner tonight, check it out!

My favorite item on the list might actually be something I already knew about.. the Left Handed Whopper.   Those jokesters at Burger King.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Beat the Monday Blahs

Last Monday I came across a pretty awesome list at The Golden Girl Blog.   (She's the one who had the fantastic idea to try 12 new things this year instead of making official resolutions.)

So, because we got FIVE INCHES of snow on Saturday, my Sunday run was interrupted by an infinite number of puddles, and we're moving in less than a week {with hiccups I may address later but don't feel like typing now!}, I invite you to check out Seven Simple Tips to improve your Monday.

Do I sound crabby?   I might be a little bit ;) but the list is truly worth checking out, and I'd send you there anyway.   I'm loving the suggestions* because they start the week off on a high note and are all very do-able.   Easy + Monday = Happy Jules

Happy Monday, friends!  

*Personally I think the Crock Pot idea is fabulous and once I unpack mine, I just might make it a habit!

Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Week ending March 28


This past weekend we saw Muppets Most Wanted and it was quite enjoyable.   I might have even liked it more than the previous movie-- you know, the one with Seth Rogan.  Part of that may be due to the fact that I saw it with my 2 youngest cousins, which helped me channel my kid-at-heart self that much more than usual!   Sadly, there was not enough Pepe in the film.  That is my only complaint.

Auntie invited me to attend a sports memorabilia show this weekend and I am totally going.   Major nerd alert.  The chances of me buying anything are slim to none, but it's so fun to see what is out there.  These shows are almost like interactive museums, where if you have enough money, you can literally cash in on history.   I'm mostly there for baseball but I appreciate it all.  We'll also be meeting with Erica to finalize our ticket schedule - YAY BASEBALL

Speaking of my favorite sport, Opening Day is Monday night in Oakland [which is bad for my east coast bedtime], and the home opener, which we are attending {!!!}, is in one week - Friday April 4.   Mother Nature is traditionally not a fan of warmth on such celebratory occasions, but I have already begun to consider clothing options to avoid freezing to death.   Many of them will likely come from my Favorite Winter items, despite the fact that it is spring and this is an Indians game, not a mid-season Browns game.  

Facebook usually leaves me with mixed feelings, and I rarely post on people's status messages that ask for advice or opinions, but I could not resist on Wednesday.  An AU choir buddy asked about FitBit.  As you may recall I LOVE FitBit, and said so on her wall.  We have since become FitBit friends.  I think that means we can see each other's stats, but am not sure.  

Anyway - during the discussion I also used an emoji of a bicycle, prompting one of her friends [who I don't know] to say Julia, your iconography certainly marks you as a prophet of my religion.  What is this magic?  I was highly amused and am thinking I should perhaps comment on more Facebook posts!

Moving day fast approaches, and we have been in touch with the management company, reminding us of tasks to complete before we get our keys.   This list cracks me up.

Needed by lease signing date:
Utility account numbers
Proof of Renter’s Insurance
Pet Photos

Yes, a photo of my cat is a requirement!   Maybe it's to confirm we have a cat and not a St. Bernard.  I don't think they really care about his name or appearance.  For the record, that was the easiest item to check off the list.

Anyone else watching The Cosmos on Sunday nights?   I admit to teasing Michael about it during the first episode, but I now find myself watching along side of him.   It explains difficult concepts very well, and the guy who narrates is almost as cool as Morgan Freeman.   Almost.

If you need a weekend project, here's a suggestion.   My guess is I won't tackle this immediately, but gosh, do I need to.   I try to be organized in my daily life but sometimes I suffer electronically.    This is a great presentation and it uses Mac OS X so I am on board!

Jen's got lots of Quick Takes too!