Category Archives: work

Carich Likes/Dislikes

LIKES . . .

DISLIKES . . .

Modern Family, Better Off Ted, The Big Bang Theory American Idol, Jersey Shore, Grey’s Anatomy*
Being home to make dinner every night Working out at 5 a.m., cleaning up from dinner
My Real Friends Facebook-only “friends”
Working out at the gym—yes, even the treadmill! Being sore from working out 4 days in a row
Sleeping Work
Sporcle, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, Scramble Facebook “games,” Xbox 360 shoot-em-up games
Blog lurking Blog writing
My incredibly unfashionable snow boots, striped purple cardigan, oversized hoodies, and wooly red socks Just about every other item of clothing in my closet
Warmer weather, no snow Rain (and corresponding headaches)

*to be fair, I’ve only watched 1-2 episodes of each of these shows… but enough to know I don’t get what the fuss is about!

2009: A Year in Review

I had planned on breaking this into two separate posts, but time got away from me.  Here’s what I’ve been up to the last 12 months:

January

  • 30 days of 30
  • First ski/snowboard trip
  • Neil Clennon Reffett was born

February

FAIL

March

  • Work trip to San Francisco (two posts… here and here)

yep, that's a CRUISE ship on the right

April

Clennon and I post-race

May

The girls of Hewett 6 (minus Jo)

June

  • Ohio for Reds/Cubs game
  • Ryan Joseph Lingas was born
  • Started the Great Paint Project

Self-portrait attempt #2. This pic is horrible, but I LOVE it 'cuz it's so real!

July

  • Infamous Rural King incident
  • Cubs/Cardinals game
  • Stephanie’s bachelorette party
  • Hayden Michael Bates was born


August

After

Highlight of the trip: Getting up on waterskiis for the first time!

the entire bridal party!

September

  • 4th 5K
  • Surprise birthday tailgate

October

The bigger the hair, the closer to God

November

December

  • Kim’s surprise birthday party
  • Christmas with my dad’s side
  • Oak Ridge Boys concert
  • First Christmas with my new niece
  • CHRISTMAS BREAK!!!

Birthday girl doing shots

My 92 year old Grannie and my newborn GREAT niece

In addition, there were countless nights out, NUMEROUS trips to Chicago and plenty of downtime.  All in all it was a pretty good year.  I can’t wait to see what 2010 has in store for me.

Philadelphia Fun

I was in Philly last week/weekend for work.   As always, it was a lot of WORK… but I managed to squeeze in some fun.  

Some things on my to-do list:

1. Run the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art–check!

I ran the mile and a half from my hotel to the steps… and then ALL the way to the top… it was quite a feat.   I even had the Rocky theme song playing as I ran up the steps.   A nice man who was in town for the English teacher convention (i.e. OUR convention) took this picture.   It’s a little embarrassing, but I was sooooo happy to have “proof.”

Afterwards, I tried running back to my hotel… and got lost (shocker!).   I probably got an extra 2 miles of running in + an extra 3 or 4 walking.   Navigational FAIL!

2.  See the Liberty Bell–check!

Through glass.  At night.  It wasn’t that impressive.   But I got one viable photo:

3.  Sample an authentic Philly cheesesteak– check!

You’ve probably heard of the famous rivalry between Genos and Pat’s– two steak stands in South Philly who vie for the title of “best” cheesesteak.    After our work was done, a colleague and I took a cab to sample the goods.  She got a *very* plain sandwich–steak and provolone only–from Genos and I got a pepper steak “with” + Whiz from Pat’s (that’s cheesesteak lingo for a cheesesteak with peppers and onions and, yes, Cheese Whiz).     Mine was better.  Not only did mine have the delicious goodness of the peppers, onions, and cheese whiz, the meat and bread of mine was tastier.  Pat’s wins… hands down.

Geno's on the left, Pat's on the right

 4.  Participate in the Philadelphia Marathon– FAIL (sorta!)

I had originally planned on running the 8K as part of the Philly marathon, but it sold out too quickly.  Then I thought about going down and spectating the beginning of the race.  But it was entirely too crazy down there.    I did, however, “crash” the marathon expo… and bought a couple of  shirts (one of which I’m wearing in my Rocky picture… it says “Will Run for Beer,” but you really can’t read it). Spending money counts as supporting the running community, right?  :)

entrance to the Philly Marathon expo--literally steps from our own exhibit hall entrance!

I also shared many dinners, laughs, drinks, and good times with my work buddies.   Putting on these shows is kinda like camp– you bond instantly with your co-workers.  Except it’s really hard work and we’re all tired and cranky.  But at the end of the day, it’s nice to have a good group of people to commiserate with!

 

You take the good, you take the bad…

The Facts of Life theme song has been swimming around in my head for the last few days.  ‘Cuz, here’s the thing.    There have been some not-so-great things happen the last week or so:

  • I  injured my hip running and probably won’t be able to race this weekend.  Even though I’m slow, racing is my favorite part of running and I’m super bummed. I’d decided to just do the 5k, but now I don’t know.  I’d like to end the year on a high-note, but I don’t know if running my FIFTH 5K is really worth injuring it further.
  • I had a couple really painful days at work.  It’s that time of year.
  • I took the morning off of work to have a new TV/Internet service installed at my house.  Turns out they couldn’t get enough “signal” or something, so they’re going to try to fix it and I’ll have to schedule another install, which means taking off another 3-4 hours.  I’m thinking of saying “No, thank you” to them.
  • My mortgage company miscalculated my escrow last year.  As a result, my monthly payment is going up $200 to make up for the difference.  Starting in December.  Awesome timing, folks!

So, yeah… it’s been a rough few days.  Nothing major, just minor everyday annoyances.  But, you know what else?   I also have plenty to be thankful for:

  • I had a great time bowling with friends on Friday night
CoCo

Alison, Cory, and Bobbi at the bowling alley for Cory's bday

  • I went to a super-fun bachelorette party on Saturday (In a pimped-out bus…. complete with a stripper pole!)
  • ChachiBus

    I'm in there... somewhere!

    Jaime, Me, Donna

    Jaime, Me, Donna-- decked out in our scarves!

    Bride-to-be...workin the pole!

    Bride-to-be...workin the pole!

  • I had dinner with my mom, Aunt and Granny to celebrate her birthday.  At said birthday, I lost $10… but the good people at the Ribeye returned it to me. I also got to hear my Granny tell the story of how she turned down a marriage proposal (again) from her 80+ year old “beau.”  Priceless.
GrannyMargebday

me, Aunt Linda, mom, Granny

So, yeah….You take the good, you take the bad.  You take them both.  And there you have:  The Facts of Life.   Mrs. Garrett would be proud!

When Blogs Collide

I don’t usually write about work here. Partly for privacy reasons, but mostly because I just don’t think that my work life is all that interesting.

But today was different.

Today, I published my very first work-related blog post.  The post will be included in tomorrow’s e-mail newsletter that goes out to over 100,000 subscribers each week. 

Now, I’ll stop short of calling myself a “professional writer”, but it was certainly invigorating to get paid for writing as myself,  instead of a nameless, faceless copywriter.   And I got the chance to write about two of my favorite subjects:  myself and writing!

Please take a minute to read the post (and maybe even comment?)   Yes, I’m super proud to be “published,”  but I’m also really excited about the content.  I think the National Day on Writing has the potential to be a far-reaching and very successful initiative for my organization.

I hope all of my blogging  friends and readers will consider posting something to the gallery– a favorite blog post, a slide show of your kids, an heirloom recipe, whatever.  I also hope you’ll think about ways to get your groups involved– church groups, civic groups, families, etc. are all invited to start galleries and display their writing.

Don’t worry– I’m sure I’ll write about it again!

I heart blogging!!

Operators are standing by…

On Friday night, some co-workers and I answered the phones for the local PBS station fund raising drive.  They ask local organizations to staff the phones in exchange for a little on-air recognition.  We’ve done it a few times in the past and it’s always a good time.

A few highlights from the evening:

  • Some guy called during the Bill Moyers show and said we were all Communists.  Duly noted.
  • We were talking about the Communist call when our “coach” made a comment about only writing in red pen. I thought she was was making a Commie joke, so I laughed.  She wasn’t.  Apparently we were only allowed to write with red ink on our pledge cards and I was using green ink.  Leave it to me to get in ‘trouble’ at a volunteer gig.  Awesome.
  • Andrew took the last call of the evening.  And had to explain what a DVD player was to the woman.   As everyone else was filing out, he was still trying to explain it to her.  I felt bad for him, but it sure was funny!
Sign on the door.  Clearly this is NOT where we were :)

Sign on the door. Clearly NOT for our studio.

Kurt taking a picture of me, taking a picture of him.  Scott and Andrew "working" in the background.

Kurt taking a picture of me, taking a picture of him. Scott and Andrew "working" in the background.

"Answering calls tonight are representatives from The National Council of the Teachers of English."  Z was not impressed!

"Answering calls tonight are representatives from The National Council of the Teachers of English." Z was not impressed!

Felice knows what color pen to use!

Felice knows what color pen to use!

Frisco Stories, Part 2

I guess I should’ve mentioned in my earlier post that this is my 3rd trip to San Francisco.  I’ve already done many of the touristy things (Golden Gate Bridge, trolley car, wine country), so you won’t see any of that this time.  But San Fran is one of my favorite cities and every time I go back, I’m able to experience a little more of it!

Thursday — Thai, Tapas, and Theater

First official day of work.   A couple minor snafus, but everything went off without a hitch.  

The wonderful thing about San Francisco is that there was an Indian buffet across the street from our hotel.  And a Thai place across another.   Since I actually ate a buffet breakfast on Thursday (totally out of character), I went to the Thai place  Thursday.  My lunch was tasty.  I could’ve used more vegetables, but usual Convention fare consists of cardboard pizza and dry sandwiches, so I’m not gonna complain!

I think it was called broccoli and noodles

I think it was called broccoli and noodles

After work, we decided to go to the Thirsty Bear for dinner.  It’s a tapas place Kurt and I had been to four years ago and it was (relatively) close by.   We had tickets to see Wicked that night, so we didn’t want to repeat the “where the hell is the restaurant” debacle of the night before.

The Thirsty Bear is also a brewery, so I decided to choose the beer sampler.   Yes, folks, that’s right– NINE different beers (they were only 4 or 5 oz each… but STILL!).  It came with a cool “legend” underneath each beer to indicate what you were drinking.

mmm... beer!

BEFORE: mmm... beer!

And... after (I wanted you to be able to see the legend)

AFTER: Note the legend is now visible

As expected, my favorites were the IPA and the wheat beer.  I wasn’t so keen on the stouts, but I tried them.  I also learned that E.S.B. really does stand for Extra Special Bitters.  I didn’t believe Andrew when he told me that.

Tapas were phenomenal.  

cheese and olives-- this is for you, Lisa!

cheese and olives-- this is for you, Lisa!

YUMMY asparagus, another poultry and polenta dish and shrimp

YUMMY asparagus, another poultry and polenta dish and a tasty sauteed shrimp

Unfortunately, we were a little rushed for time and Kurt and I had to ditch out on Andrew to make it in time for the show.  Getting there was quite an adventure.  We couldn’t hail a cab to save our lives and we were practically race-walking to make it to the theater in time.  At one point, I thought I’d be better off running.   We finally got a cab that took us ~ 4 blocks, but we made it to the show in time.

Wicked was playing at the Orpheum Theater, which was just beautiful.  It’s a very old, very ornate theater.  We got there right on time and I didn’t have a chance to snap any external pics, and they didn’t allow photos of the show, but it was AMAZING.   

I couldn’t get over how big everything was– the sets were amazing, the costumes were gorgeous, the actors were amazing (Carol Kane played Madame Morrible).   Some of the songs were a little cheesy, but I was just so000 impressed by the whole production.  I’ve never been to a Broadway show or anything like that, so I’m not sure what I expected.  But this topped it all!   A couple highlights:

  • Galinda teaching Elphaba the “toss-toss” method of flipping one’s hair to flirt with a guy.  Uh… I know someone like that :) 
  • Fiyero describing himself as “deeply shallow.”   Classic
  • The curtain call.  For some reason, I *always* get a little veclempt during the curtain call.  I’m weird.

Friday– Run on, Retirement, and G. Love

Usually, about the 2nd or 3rd day of a trade show, you start to get bored.  I spotted a guy wearing a “run on”  tshirt and texted my friend about it, since he used to have a running “team” called the Run-ons.  (English teachers are really quite witty.  Really!)

When the guy wearing the shirt came into our booth, I just  had  to snap a picture:

the back said: 'unless you're a sentence'

the back said: 'unless you're a sentence'

Instead of going out for a fancy dinner on Friday night, we celebrated our colleagues, Pat’s, last convention with a pizza party in a SWEET hotel suite. Check out this view:

yep, that's a CRUISE ship on the right

The Bay. Yep, that's a CRUISE ship on the right

Skyline

Skyline

Then it was off to the G.Love and Special Sauce concert at The Warfield.   G. Love and the boys did not disappoint.  We had general admission tickets and were able to get fairly close.  I LOVED the venue.  Totally cool and “intimate.”    Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.   I’m not sure if Andrew and Kurt enjoyed it as much as I did, but I had a rockin’ good time.  Crazy hippie dancing and all :)

Hallway at the Warfield-- lots of cool acts have played there

Hallway at the Warfield-- lots of cool acts have played there

My baby's got sauce...

Check out the dude with the cast!

Harmonicas are sexxy

Harmonicas are sexxy

So are guitars!

So are guitars!

Saturday–  Last day, Haight-Ashbury, and Supper

As you can imagine,  Saturday was a bit of a long day for me.  Even though we had a short day in terms of hours, it was looong in terms of how I felt.  But I made it through.  And then crashed.  I took a 3 hour nap that afternoon. I probably should’ve gone out and “done” more of San Fransisco, but I just didn’t have it in me.

Andrew was visiting with friends, so Kurt and I decided to head to the Haight for dinner.  We went to Magnolia, a gastro pub Lisa read about in a magazine.   There was a wait, so we decided to walk around a bit.   Believe it or not, I had *never* been to Haight-Ashbury before.   Yeah, it’s touristy, but I had to take a pic.

lets all do a little hippie dance

lets all do a little hippie dance

The food and beer were both good at Magnolia.   The service was a little slow, though, or else I probably would’ve had a couple more beers.   All in all, a great way to end our adventure in San Fran!

meat and cheese platter

meat and cheese platter

Kurt had the pork chop

Kurt had the pork chop

And I had the house ravioli

And I had the house ravioli

Sunday-Tuesday:  Recovering in Chicago

Instead of coming home to Champaign on Sunday, I spent a couple days recovering in Chicago.  I was waayyy too tired to do much, but we did spend St. Patty’s day in Millennium Park.   We had super great weather and it was the perfect way to spend my last day in the “real world.”  Again, I didn’t take any pictures.  I need to get better at that.

————–

Things I didn’t do

Although I’m pretty impressed with all the things we were able to do in such a short time (especially considering I had to actually work for most of it), there are a few things I missed:

  • Warhol Live at the  de Young Museum  — Andy Warhol and Rock music together.  I really wanted to see it, but the timing just didn’t work out.
  • 826 Valencia (aka The Pirate Store)– Jane told us about Dave Eggers’ literacy project that features a “pirate store.”   I never made it down there, but Kurt went and brought me back a souvenir skull.  That’s gotta count for something!
  • Alcatraz– I’ve never had time to take the tour, but I hear it’s phenomenal.   One of these days, I will go! For reals.
  • SF MOMA Museum store– I made the mistake on my first trip to SF to actually tour the MOMA on the last day of Convention. It was complete sensory overload and too much at the end of a long day.  But I at least wanted to make it to the museum store ‘cuz it’s super cool.
  • Take any pictures of myself in San Francisco.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?  I have tons of food pics but none of me!  I really must get better at this!