Friday, September 30, 2011

Lots of doctors appts...

Wednesday I finished my string of 3 doctors appts in 4 business days (still have one more but thats not til next Thursday).    Don't worry - everything is fine, I just switched to Adam's insurance, so I picked all new doctors that are in the area and now I had to go to them (PCP, Eye doc, OBGYN, Dentist, and I should probably go to a Neuro doc again too).


Wednesday's appointment was with the OBGYN - and with my history I just wasn't sure what to expect.   Ive been going to an OBGYN since I was 14 because of issues with my period (sorry for the guys who actually read this, but you might want to just stop while you are ahead).   I was placed on the pill at massive doses just to get things under control and over the next 13+ years (yup - I celebrated the pills Bat Mitzvah with me a couple years ago) I had to constantly change pills because they stopped working (but still worked better than not being on it).  I eventually ran out of pills to try and gave up once I got married.

With all those years of being on the pill, Ive gone through quite a few doctors - some changed practices, some left on their own maternity leave, I moved to DC, then I moved back home, then I switched insurance plans, and now I switched insurance carriers.    I have learned over the course of 15 years of going to an OBGYN that I like the male docs more.   Not sure why...

The only female I really like was when I lived in Alexandria (so if any NOVA folks need a recommendation - check out Laura Stone, MD).   She is actually the one who kept on searching for a reason for my issues (even though they started many years before) and eventually found out I had hypothryoidism - although that didn't fix any of my issues that I knew existed.

Back to the current day.   My recent appt was with Jay Rothberg, MD with Women's Specialists of Bucks County - out of St. Mary's Hospital.   First off, the office was SUPER nice.   That was the second new office in the same number of days that Ive been to, and they really make these doctors offices nice and comfortable now - I wish I could have that flooring and decoration in my own house. 

My first great part to the day was that they told me I didn't have a co-pay for my yearly exam - SWEET!  Then they took me back within 5 minutes of me finishing off the paperwork - that's never happened to me.   The nurse was really nice and friendly, and she just took my word for my weight and height (I was completely honest - I just HATE getting on those scales - and she asked).

I did wait probably like 10 minutes for the doctor once I was done with the nurse, but thats really not that bad.   And when he came in, he was just really nice and friendly.   He asked if I was just there for my yearly and I said yes, but that my husband and I would like to start thinking about growing our family (in case you didn't get the jist from yesterdays post) and you could see his face light up - he was just naturally excited for us.   He said he would call in a random pre-natal vitamin (yes, he really did say random), and he was just very "average joe" type guy about things.  

Then we went over my history/health issues and I really don't have any, so he was like "is that it?", so I said "well of course Im overweight" and I wish I could have videotaped his response.   He gave me a look like I must be anorexic to think Im overweight and said I clearly wasn't.   I gave him a look back and so he asked for my height and weight and said I could lose 10 lbs, but nothing more and its not the end of the world.   Mind you the "charts" say I should lose 25 lbs and I want to lose somewhere in the middle of those two numbers.

So then we continue through the appt and he asked about my exercise regimen (which he said is perfect), and I told him I walk because I can't run because of my 3 herniated discs - and immediately you could see he was disappointed to hear about that because that would make a pregnancy a lot more uncomfortable for me and he was just trying to keep things nice and easy so he started to talk about how to deal with that when the time comes.

At the end I mentioned that Ive been meaning to get tested for the jewish genetic diseases, and he got all excited about this new test that tests for 100+ diseases with one vial of blood - so we did that test (I'm sure that although I had no copay, Ill be paying quite a few visits worth of co-pays for that test...just hoping the insurance covers most of it) and then at the end before I left he said "look forward to seeing you in 3-4 months" and I was all confused, and then he said "hopefully" and then I was like DUH!

He clearly just really enjoyed his job and meeting new people and all that jazz - and with that came his awesome bedside manner.   Its of course just 1 appointment, and I haven't been through an actual pregnancy with him - but he just seems like a great doc - so if anyone is looking for a new doc - Id recommend him!    And I didn't check out his ring status, but if he is single, I know many a Jewish lady to match him up with (although Im pretty sure he is married with kids).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Playoff Schedules

MLB and TBS are really starting to piss me off.   The Phillies have made the playoffs for the last 5 years, they have had the best record in the MLB for the last 2 years and this year they broke the franchise records for wins.   They have the BEST rotation in the majors and yet they still aren't considered a prime time game for Saturday night when all 4 series are being played?!?!?

Look I understand the Yankees are the Yankees and it doesn't matter where they rank they always are number one.   Wait - actually I don't understand it - especially since they are playing Detroit - but Ill accept it.

But the Rays and Rangers - two smaller markets, one of which can't even fill their stadium EVER - get the 7pm slot over the Phillies and the Cardinals?    I would be willing to state that the Cardinals have a larger fan base than the Rays or the Rangers - and they have Pujols which provides his own following.

Oh and did I mention that Roy Halladay will be starting this game?   The same guy who threw a no-hitter in this exact game last year - only the second no-hitter in post season play in MLB history!!


FU MLB and an even bigger FU to TBS - we know your announcers have always had a huge bias against the Phillies - but now you show that it is coming from the top as well.

I can't wait (massive amounts of sarcasm) to see what happens if the two AL Series need to go to a Game 4 and there are another 4 games on Tuesday...

We are aren't trying, but we aren't not trying

We aren't trying, but we aren't not trying

We have all heard it a thousand times, and recently, Ive probably said it just as much - but if you "aren't not trying" that really means you are trying - so if you are trying, you can't be not trying.   (stop thinking about it and just trust me :))

If you haven't even figured out the general topic - I'm talking about trying (or not trying) to have a baby.    I just found out another one of my friends is pregnant - so that's kinda what got my mind going on this topic.   But over the last month or so, Ive probably said this a half dozen times or so. 

Adam and I aren't actively trying to have a kid, but I stopped taking the pill a while ago because it just caused more problems than it fixed (LONG story) and I'm sick of Charger eating condoms (I know - I just need to get a trash can with a lid for the bedroom), therefore I guess we are technically trying - but in my mind we aren't because we aren't focused on it or anything.

Therefore we aren't trying, but we aren't not trying :) 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crazy Conversations At Work

I'm working a short day today, and really shouldn't interrupt it to write this - but the funniest conversation(s) just happened.   There is a lady in our office who has been working here for about 6 months.   She takes phone calls from our "customers" who want to check in on their CME credit or are having questions/trouble with one of our activities or sites.   Not sure of her title, but we will call her CME Coordinator (CC for short) for the purpose of this conversation.   After 6 months, CC is still asking everyone questions that she should know.   But then again, 90% of my office does that - why learn when the girls in program management can tell you everytime or do it for you.  

As senior program manager, and one of the girls in program management, I am the main contact person for the programs I run - which includes all of our websites that we own.   I have had the responsibility of being the program manager for these sites since April 2010 - before CC came on board.   EVERYONE knows I am the website girl - they know they can come to me for any answers.    Back in December/January, I hired someone to be my coordinator (WC for short).   I was able to hire from within, so the transition time for WC was super short.   WC's job is to take care of the day to day stuff for these sites, plus a few other responsibilities, so that I can handle the bigger picture and also still take on all the other live, print and web programs I was working on before I took on these websites.

Fast forward to today.   CC takes a call from a user having trouble logging in to two of our sites.   She is going back and forth on the phone with him, and eventually she can't help him and she yells over the cube walls and starts asking questions about logging in to these sites, and WC and I are both answering her questions and then she says (no joke) - do you guys know anything about these sites?   Maybe you can talk to him?

No - we know NOTHING about our programs/websites/activities!  That's why they keep us around and keep on sharing positive feedback with us.

So WC asks some questions, gets the guys username and password and wha-la - she is logged in no issues.   So WC starts asking CC some questions, which sadly are the common answers for the issues such as does the user speak English?

WC: Is he old?
CC: Yes
WC: (completely serious and stoic): That's your issue.

Sorry for all my "old" readers - I know this isn't true of all of you - but I can attest, this is completely true of the older users of our sites who have issues.   If someone has an issue logging in - nine and a half times out of ten its because they are typing their password in wrong - or they don't understand the site and can't figure out how to log in.


Oh - and when WC talked to the guy - guess what?   He was already logged in!!


Did I mention these people are doctors and are going on to our sites to keep up their MD license?    I hope to g-d I never see ANY of my doctors at any of my activities - unless they are the speaker...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Name and Address Change

After a couple months of posting, I was on one of my many long drives between home and work when I thought of a better blog title than Life with Lynda, therefore I would like to introduce the new name, link and look.  

The new name of my blog is Life is Like a Box of Chocolate (Lifes-like-a-box-of-chocolates.blogspot.com).  Im still working on the look and would eventually like to create my own design.   Ive got a good design idea - but Im not a designer - so if anyone out there is and wants to design my blog for free - let me know :)  Until then - this is the new design.

The reason for the change is because my blog, just like our lives, is like a box of chocolates.   My blog posts range from my in-laws, the Phillies, my dog(s), or whatever is on my mind at the current moment.

Let me know your thoughts, I can always change things up again.   And let me know if you ever have any topics you want me to talk about.   Hopefully I will get the chance to write down all the thoughts in my head before they leave for oblivion.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Israel

For the few (if any) readers out there who don't know - I'm Jewish.   I'm quite proud of my religion and the history of my people.   I had the opportunity to visit Israel the summer of '99 and it was awesome!   I can't wait for the opportunity to go back again, but this time take my husband, who has not seen the beauty the Jewish state has to offer.   

I used to always say that if I had the physical abilities to serve in the military - I would have done it for Israel.   (When 9/11 came, my view was swayed slightly - but it makes no difference, because I'm not physically able due to asthma, herniated discs and piss poor eyesight/eye issues).

For those of you living in the deep depths of oblivion and don't pay attention to any sort of news - it has been expected that Palestine would ask the UN for recognition of statehood.   The thought being that maybe the US could work a border deal out with them.   They never worked a deal out and Palestine did ask for recognition.   And this article pretty much sums up my whole reasoning on why it should not be granted.

Don't get me wrong - the Jewish people have their own recognized country, and I would be willing to recognize Palestine with fair borders/land being offered given that a) peace comes with it and Israel isn't in a constant state of war and b)its agreed that those are the borders - done, end of story, nothing else, zip, zero, zilch.   But as you can see - there are still too many people (with too many guns and too much violence) to allow that occur. 

I know there will be a lot of people out there who might not agree with this post - and I respect your right to have your own opinion - but this is my blog, so I get to say this: I just don't respect your opinion.

Wishing all Jews all over the world, and especially in the Jewish State, a L'Shana Tova.   And stay safe!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Life is....

BUSY!   Its that time of year at work.   Well I guess its always that time of year except in the summer and that one really bad year.   But as soon as September hit, work got really busy, and therefore I have a thousand posts in my head that I want to write (if I can even remember them), but I barely have a second to write them - I really need to get back to completely OCD and have my life scheduled out like I used to (yes I was that crazy!).

Well, eventually I will finish finish all the posts I started over the last month and start (and finish) all the posts that are in my head, but in the meantime, I quick recap of the past week or so:

- We are officially getting Kali!!!  We got an email the other week about her giving us a little description of her personality - and Adam and her will be best buds!   She loves her foster mom because her foster mom just lies with her and cuddles.   Adam could never get me to sit still and cuddle, nor can we get Charger to do that (well sometimes we can), so maybe adam will finally have his match :)   We will be changing her name to Kalas (in honor of the great Harry Kalas).   I think we will give her a middle name - but Im not set on anything yet.   My friend Marci recommended J-Roll (nickname for Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins for those non-Philly, non-baseball folks).   I do like that, and I definitely want a Phillies name - any thoughts?  Plenty of names in my head - Tug, Schmidty, Utley, Dutch, Whitey, LA, list goes on and on and on....

- Adam and I unofficially gave Charger a middle name - cause if Kalas gets one, he should to!   For those that don't know, although some might think his name is Charger because he charges someone as soon as he sees them (we - ie. I - are working on that), he is named after the Dodge Charger, the name just fits his personality perfectly.   I wanted to give him a taste of the Phillies, but then Id have to give Kalas a car middle name, so I comprimised - although I did pick this one.   His new middle name (when its not Barks-a-lot or something that we are just teasing him with) is Mustang.   Charger Mustang Needleman

Trust me those are not the things that have been keeping me crazy busy, just the stupid things that I felt like sharing right now :)

Oh - and I started to follow a new blog, and Im starting from posts in the end of August, and only gotten a few in, but I really like this one.  Sadly I like it cause it sounds like she is in the same boat as my sister-in-law and I with our in-laws - but its entertaining.   If you like my crazy MIL stories - go check out Elle at This is Mommyhood - she has some good ones up there about hers.

Hopefully Ill catch up on blogging this weekend - but more than likely not since I have a list a thousand things long (in my head) of what I need to do this weekend...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Philadelphia Chocolate Tour - for real this time

I apologize - I meant to write these posts over the last week - but work just got CRAZY!    So now that Im wide awake after the Phillies clinch - Im working on finally getting one of my posts up!   Maybe I can get some more up tomorrow after the marathon....

Last Sunday, Adam and I redeemed our groupons for the Philadelphia Chocolate Tour.   As with many things, the only reason I ever heard of this was because of groupon.   Back in October 2010, there was a 50% off deal.   At the time, Adam was unemployed and I was looking for good deals for things we could do, and I didn't think the price was all that bad.    Originally it was $40pp, the sale was $20pp - more in line with what I was willing to pay, whether we are both gainfully employed or not.

Back to present day now.    The tour started right outside the Reading Terminal Market.   For those of you not from, or familiar, with the Philly area - the market is an (awesome) indoor farmers market.   Whatever you want, you can find here.   It offers your typical farmers market stands with lots of produce, your standard amish market stands with a whole section of amish vendors (that section is closed on Sundays), tons of yummy food vendors for breakfast and lunch, some stores, ice cream vendor, cookie vendor, tons of bakeries, flower vendors, etc, etc, etc.

Adam and I decided if we were meeting at the market for a chocolate tour at 11:45am - we were gonna get there earlier and grab a bite to eat for lunch.   We went to Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties - I had a falafal "sandwich" and Adam had a schwarma "sandwich" and then I ordered a side of hummus for us.   They had a bunch of things that looked really yummy that I wanted to take home with me - but alas, I knew I didn't need them.    In the end we were both happy with our choices and I would totally go back again (as a matter of fact - that wasn't my first time there).   I really wish we lived and/or worked close by so I could stop at the market much more often!

After lunch, we went and met the tour outside of the market and waited for a little bit for everyone to come.   We started at that spot and discussed chocolate and got to smell, and if we wanted taste, a cocoa bean.   It looked nothing like what you may think - I didn't try because she warned that it was really bittersweet and dark chocolate lovers (which I am not) would like it.  Our first stop on the tour was inside of the market at The Famous 4th Street Cookie.  At this location, we met the owner and he and our guide gave us a little history on the chocolate chip cookie - did you know the cookie was accidentally developed over 80 years ago in MA at the Toll House Inn, over 7 million are sold each year - and only account for about 25% of cookies sold each year? Oh and the cookie at Famous 4th Street - YUMMY in my tummy!   So yummy - I bought a dozen plus cookies (but only about 1/2 were choc. chip) for dessert at my parents that night.
I couldn't wait before taking a picture...

Next stop on the tour was the Pennsylvania General Store (also in the terminal market).   This store has a lot of chocolate and food - but is not just about that - but about anything PA.   They are mostly an online store, shipping gift baskets and items all over the country - but they do have a shop in the market.  Here, we got to sample three local chocolates:


Chocolate Scrapple - this is just the idea of scrapple - with a combination of chocolate, pretzel bits, nuts, popcorn and marshmallow - but definitely no pork.







Zeitner's Creme Egg - most commonly seen around Easter - but apparently a Philadelphia company

Where do you think the kiss came from?
Bottom of the Wilbur Bud

Wilbur Buds - when you look at this, you might think Hershey Kiss.   Except Hershey worked for Wilbur, then went out on his own and all the sudden the Hershey Kiss appeared.   Wilbur continues to make the buds - and I must say it is so much better!   It also is "personalized" a bit more





We also learned at this stop that Philadelphia has the largest import of Cocoa Beans in the country (you can thank Mars and Hershey) accounting for 70% of all imports to the US.

The chocolates at marcie blaine
chocolates bought by us 
Our next stop took us to Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates - which is inside of Verde - a jewelry and accessory store.   Additionally, the folks who own this place own like half the block.

We tasted a piece of chocolate bark, which tasted good, but their chocolates looked so good, we had to buy a few (overpriced) chocolates so we could taste.   We bought the following chocolates (only 5 shown on the right): Mint Julip, Lemon Mint, Love Park (Rasberry), Soft Pretzel (Pretzel and Peanut Butter), Italian Flirt and Hot Lolita.

So far, I have just tasted 2 of the 4 - I plan to eat the rest this coming week.   The first we had was Lemon Mint - it was pretty disappointing - because Adam nor I tased Lemon or Mint.   On the other hand, we then had the Mint Julip - and that was really good.

Next stop on the tour was Teuscher - which is a famous swiss chocolate maker.   They make all their products fresh and everything gets shipped directly from the the best locations for those items (no matter the price).   Then they are made in Switzerland and fly first class to their final destinations (they have locations throughout the world). 


Chocolates at Teuscher
At this location, we learned what makes Swiss chocolate so different and how it was an accident.   Mr. Tobler (ie Toblerone) was mixing his chocolate, and when he left, he forgot to turn the mixers off - so the chocolate was mixing throughout the night.   He came in the next morning and noticed and was upset because he just ruined a lot of expensive chocolate.   Before throwing it out, he decided to taste it to see if he could somehow salvage - and he found that it was really good - it was no longer bittersweet.   Now that is the process that is used (it has some official name) to make Swiss chocolate.

At this location, we got to taste the champagne truffles, which uses dom perignon champagne.   Im not a big truffle person - nor champagne, but I figured Id try - and it was good!   We even bought a couple - one for me and one for Adam.   Since that was so good, we decided to buy a few other chocolates and a couple chocolate bars.    I can't remember exactly what other ones we picked out - and we haven't tasted, but maybe Ill update once we taste the rest of our chocolates this week.


Last stop on this tour was sweet and cold - Gelato!!   we went to Capogiro Gelato - which has a few locations across the city.   we tasted 5 different Gelatos: Dark Chocolate (had a nicer name than that), Malt, Mocha, Hazelnut and a Choc Chip (in a vanilla base).   I was a fan of all of them except Mocha (I don't like coffee though).   In the end, there was so much left that we could take a flavor if we wanted - I chose the Malt (but was debating between that and hazelnut) and Adam took the Mocha.  This place was a bit more affordable, so we would probably go back again if we were around one.

All in all - I learned a bit about chocolate, nothing about Philly, enjoyed some yummy chocolate, and spent a whole lot more money so we could taste some more chocolate.   But I would still recommend - definitely worth $20 a person - probably the $40 as well, but I would be disappointed I didn't get to taste more, or pick what I wanted to taste at that price point.

For more pictures from this tour and our purchases (and our day in Philly) go here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Slow " Drivers

Patience is a virtue I never truly learned.   I really wish that I had patience, and there are times - few and far between - that I am patient, unfortunately those are very rarely when I drive.

Im not one of those crazy drivers that weaves in and out and is constantly flipping back and forth between slamming on my breaks and my gas.   I am one of those people that many would consider to have a lead foot.

Today, I ran into one of those drivers on the road that drives me crazy and puts me in one of those moods.    Its not the slow driver - those I get frustrated at, but can handle and can quickly get over, especially if/when I get past them.

The driver Im talking about is the ahole who drives slow when you are behind them, but as soon as you try to pass them (and do if you are able to) speeds up.   I really hate those people!  And 90% of the time, they really are dicks.   

Today's person kept on slamming on his break whenever a car got in front of him, even if the were 3 car lengths ahead.    I finally got the chance to pass them - or so I thought - and I got over, but the car didn't pickup as quickly as I wanted so I had a very small window of opportunity to get around him and it was tight - but definitely doable.  

I HATE cutting people off, and I usually don't make those moves, but this time I decided to do it.   Don't worry - no accident - I still had a good half a car length between me and the car behind me.   But wouldn't you know it.   Mr. Ahole decided to beep at me (thats fine - honestly, I can understand that - I did make a kinda dick move) and then SPED up crazy fast and right on my bumper and started to yell out his window at me.   Like if I seriously hit my breaks, he would have hit me.  

I then got in the left turn lane, and lucky me it was at a red light for all, so Mr. Ahole slowed up and left a LARGE gap between him and the person in front so he could be next to me and YELL at me, giving me the finder and whatnot.   

I really hate those drivers (and hope none of you are that type of driver).   Id really much rather that you make a decision and stick with it - you are either slow, or fast, not whichever one pisses off the people around you who are fast.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Food, Food, Food

In the coming weeks, you will be seeing a lot of posts about food - mostly sweets, but a few restaurant "reviews".   

Adam and I went on a Philadelphia Chocolate Tour using groupons I had purchased last October for half price.   More to come in a much more thorough posting, but a quick review: for the price I paid, its definitely worth it, for the price they charge normally - Im not 100% sure.    Keep in mind, I'm VERY cheap (or frugal as many people like to call it), and thats really what it comes down to.    If I were single and only had to buy one ticket, I wouldn't mind buying it at full price, but since I have to buy 2 tickets for Adam and I, its more pricey than I like to pay for a date day/night for us.   I might look to do it in Boston and/or Chicago where I have personal and business trips planned to and they have sister companies (and I now get $5 off since Im a loyalty card holder just for doing one tour...)

Additionally, tomorrow starts the first of two weeks (weeknights only) of restaurant week in Philly.   Since Adam and I have date night on Monday nights, I figured this would be a good chance to check out restaurants we wouldn't necessarily be willing to check out.   I picked two restaurants that I actually had never heard of, but I based it on what they were offering on their restaurant week menu and the fact that they had to be an expensive restaurant to begin with (because its not a deal unless they are normally pricey).  And of course who had availability as I didn't realize it was going on until the other day.

So look for these reviews over the next few weeks, as soon as I get the chance to write everything out and upload the pics.    Hope you enjoy it, and I promise to try and intersperse it with other life events so my blog isn't so focused on food.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 years ago..

10 years ago all our lives were forever changed - and just like my parents generation could tell you where they were when they heard that JFK was shot - everyone can tell you where they were when they heard about the September 11th attacks.

At that time, I was a sophomore in college at American University - located right in our nation's capitol.   I remember that morning I had worked the 5am-8am shift at the Anderson Front Desk, and like usual after one of those shifts, I would go back to my room and go to sleep.   On that day, my roomie was getting ready for her morning class, when she got an instant message from someone to turn on the tv, a plane had hit the towers.   So she apologized to me as she turned the tv on.   I too, of course, started to watch the tv - and I just lied there in shock as we watched what was going on.    We saw live the plane hit the second tower, and then saw the second tower crumble, and then the first tower crumble.     During this time, we also heard and watched about the Pentagon and then the strike that was diverted from the capitol and instead crashed in Central PA.  

I can remember my moms call to make sure I was okay - I think it was before the second tower was hit - because I remember at that time, making sure my dad was safe (as he works for the gov't on a Navy "base") - but still not realizing quite how serious it was and joking with my roommate that it was my mom calling before I knew it was her.  

I remember, finally getting out of bed - after lying there and watching for 2+ hours.   I remember hanging out/mourning on the front steps of Anderson with all my friends, I remember the phone calls I got to make sure I was safe since I was in DC.   I remember sitting on those Anderson steps when my friend Kat finally heard from her good friend who was a marine.  

AU is right down the street from the Naval Observatory, the VP's residence (which is on the observatory) and NBC News - so I remember going to the other end of campus and watch the military and news drive up and down Mass Ave.   

I remember the candle light vigil that night outside of Kay Life Center and then having fighter planes fly directly over us right as it was ending.

I remember being glued to the TV for days - probably weeks.   I remember saving newspapers and magazines so I can show my kids someday*


I remember the interest that grew inside me about this day, turning into me putting together a paper on the effects of 9/11 on the global marketplace - my only A+ college paper - for my global marketplace class

I remember a bomb threat being called into the Anderson front desk on Thursday morning, and everyone having to evacuate campus - and me being stupid thinking that it wouldn't be long and classes would still occur - so I stuffed my backpack full of books and had to lug that around until they let us back on campus later that afternoon.   I remember that my roommate had the 5-8am shift that morning, and the call came in right after she left.   I remember exactly who it was who handled that call so well - I don't think I could have.

Most importantly, I remember all the lives that were lost, and I will always remember 9/11 and how it changed everything...we will always remember.

*Im not a history buff - but when I was in hebrew school I had a lot of interest in reading and learning more about the holocaust - no matter how devastating and sad it was, I just couldn't read, watch and hear enough about it.   I found the same thing occurring with 9/11 - and it still continues.   I can't read or watch enough about the devastation and the stories that people have to share.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

MLB vs. Umpires

I'm not sure who is worse - MLB Front Offices or MLB Umpires...

Over the past 5-10 years, umpires have just been getting more awful by the pitch.  I'm not talking about the close calls that could go either way, or the not-so-close calls like Armando Gallaraga's perfect game that wasn't because of an umpire.  I especially am not talking about situations like that when the umpire fully admits he made a mistake (which is extremely rare). Those are, unfortunately, calls that happen .  I'm not even talking about the awful ball/strike calls by many an umpire.

I also understand that we are in a different time right now with everything being digital and available with a snap of a finger.   We, the fans, have the benefit of watching replays of calls and watching them in slow motion.   Umpires on the other hand have a split second to see the play from whichever angle they are standing at and make a call.   And the thought of having review in the games has a lot of negatives and positives associated with it.   I think maybe it should be expanded a bit to be more than just home run or not but you have to be really careful on how far you take it - because one of the great things about sports is that split second decision.

I'm talking about the umpires who think they are G-ds gift to earth and make it a point to be seen and heard.   The ones that when the players start to question something, the ump is the one jumping in their face and trying to make it a bigger situation than the player is.   The ones who have ridiculous arm motions for the strike out calls - so ridiculous you might think they are putting on a show of their own.

More specifically, Im talking about the umpires who consistently make bad calls.   Like really bad calls that get discussed on SportsCenter or MLB Tonight.   These are typically the umps that are rated as the worst by ML players.  I'm talking about guys like Joe West and his call in the Phillies/Marlins game last week.  

There were multiple issues with what occurred - with the biggest being that West broke the rules by going and viewing the replay.   There was never any question that there was fan interference.   But it was also apparent that it was a double with or without the interference.   It was Jack McKeon, the Marlins manager - not Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager - who went and fought.   And why would the opposing manager fight for it to be a home run.  Charlie Manuel went out there, but barely said a word to West before the review occurred.   The smaller issues are all revolve around whether the right call was made - which is that split second decision that I can understand.   

The Phillies ended up playing the game under protest, filing with the league office to review what occurred.   They were protesting whether West had the right to go to replay and make a decision other than home run or not home run.   According to the rule book - he can only decide home run or not.

With the protest being filed, MLB offices had the chance to come out and say Joe West broke the rules (not even that he made a bad call with the fan interference - but that he broke the rules on going to replay and making the final call that he did).    Instead, they denied the Phillies protest haven't said a peep since.   Its rumored that West got a talking to - but that's just a rumor.

It's one thing to protect the umpires - I really do understand that - but its another to continue to stand by the umpires who consistently have poor performance and break the rules.   Eventually in any other position, you will be fired.   Even in professional sports - those players end up getting released.

So, who is worse - MLB Front Office or MLB Umpires?

I vote the front office is worse.   First off, its not fair that the bad umpires put out this persona of umpires as a whole.   Secondly, MLB is just cultivating this behavior by standing by them all the time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The things dogs eat...

I start this off with a warning that there could be a bit TMI included in this post - so continue at your own risk :)

Dogs really do eat the craziest things - and I'm not talking about the food we humans give our dogs.   Charger, like many dogs, loves to tear through the trash.   He specifically loves to tear apart, and occasionally eat, tissues and dryer sheets.   The trashcans that cause the most trouble are the upstairs bathroom and our bedroom - because that's where the culprits usually lie.

Typically the tearing apart of tissues and dryer sheets doesn't bother me - I just pick up the remnants after he gets to it.   Oddly enough he could care less for the feminine products that lay in the trash can.   He usually could also care less for plain old tissues - he really likes the ones with flavor (ie used tissues from a cold).

I remember my mom telling me that our childhood dog, Tanya, loved to get to the used pads.   Well if you think that's gross - you might want to stop reading here.

I know - you don't want to read further, but you just can't stop!


Charger LOVES to eat (used) condoms.  This past week, I came upstairs and found a wad of tissues sitting on the bedroom floor the next morning and it was barely touched, and I couldn't figure out why Charger took out tissues but didn't touch them - and then I realized...


I swear the minute he realizes they are in the trash can, he goes on his own little trash diving adventure as soon as we aren't in sight and digs it out and leaves everything else behind.    We hide them in loads of tissues and push it to the bottom of the trash can - and that just doesn't work.   The simple solution is to buy a lid to my trash can - I just keep forgetting.   The good news (or bad news depending on how you look at it) is that it always comes out...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I do have brand loyalty!

A couple months ago, I wrote about brand loyalty, and how I pretty much had none.   It just occurred to me, as I was getting dressed for my aqua zumba class, that I do have some brand loyalty. 

Its 60 degrees outside today, and soaking wet from a day of rain - and the rain isn't supposed to stop for a while.    So I decided that I was gonna put on sweats over my bathing suit, and I pulled out the top pair of sweatpants, which were red, and then I took out a gray sweatshirt as that would best go with the red sweatpants.   I was deciding what to wear on my feet, when I decided flip-flops would be best since Im heading to the pool.   You know what everything that I picked out had in common?

They all had the Phillies logo or name (or both) scrolled across them :)   Of course everything is a completely different brand - but I am 100% loyal to my Phillies!

Let's Go Phillies, Let's Go!

There is a league for everything

Back when I worked at the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association - many people liked to tell me there was an association for everything.

Well recently, I made a similar statement (there is a league for everything) when I found out that my friends fiance was in a cornhole league.    You know cornhole - its that tailgating game, also known as bean bag toss.   Seriously?   I wonder - do cornhole leagues only exist in DC (where they live) or is this a national thing?  

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's important...

I try to only publish one post a day, and when I have lots to say, I save them for posts during the week, as I don't have time to sit and write every night.    But the craziness with Adam's parents called for a special Labor Day double posting.   So without further ago...

Adam and I hosted a Labor Day (Weekend) Barbecue on Sunday and had sent the invitations out WAY in advance to try and get better attendance (no luck with that - but oh well!).  Anyways, we sent the invite out back in mid-June and never got ANY response from his parents.   Now mind you, we were pretty sure they weren't going to come because we invited the rest of her family.    I had sent a few updates out within the last month because of a date change and I was trying to finalize numbers, and still no response from them. 

Then on Friday morning - two days before the barbecue, they finally responded - with of course a no response - I imagine they got the final reminder from evite, to actually spurn their response.   Later that morning, Adam got a call from his mom (really two) - the jist of the call(s) being that she wanted to know when we were gonna go to see them and complaining that they never see us and how she is hurt - blah, blah, blah*.

Then on Sunday morning Adam got a text from his dad saying that if we weren't going to the Phillies game on Monday, then he would like for us to come over and that its really important to him.   It took us a while to figure out the best way to respond to the text.   We were going to the Phillies game, but its not an all day affair (its a night game for that matter) and Im sick of this back and forth about it always being our fault, so I wanted to open ourselves up to seeing them.   But I wasn't gonna allow it to be on their terms, cause they have to learn (I know - that phrase is funny!) that its not all about them, and they have to compromise.

We had plans to go visit Adam's mom-mom in the nursing home that morning, so we texted FIL back (8 hours later..) to let him know we were going to the game, but that it was a night game, and we had plans to visit mom mom that morning, but they were more than welcome to come visit us between the two plans.   No response that night (even though Im fairly positive he saw it).   No response by 8am, even though I know they don't sleep past 6:30am.    No response by 10am. 

Finally, while we were with mom-mom, we heard back from FIL around 10:30am.   The response?  Call us when you get home, it depends on the weather. 

When we never heard back from them last night, we made plans to stop at our favorite burger joint, Five Guys, on the way home from visiting mom-mom, so we still did that, and when leaving there (at noon) we called FIL to let him know that we were leaving and would be home in 20 minutes if they wanted to come over.   The response?  

There is a flood warning, so call us when you get home and then we will decide.    Yes that's right - in that 20 minutes it would take us to get home (the same amount of time it would take them to get on the road), the sky's were just gonna open wide and start POURING down rain and cause mass flooding across the entire region and they were gonna be stuck in the middle of the turnpike when this happened!   

20 minutes later, when we get home and called them to let them know that we were home - the response? 

What time are you leaving for the Phillies game?   When we told them 4:30ish, they decided, immediately with no discussion, that they weren't gonna come because they didn't want to feel rushed.    They were clearly just looking for excuses, because it wasn't raining, and they didn't even have the time to discuss whether it was worth coming over in that time frame.    To put it into perspective, this conversation happened at 12:30, so even if they didn't leave until 1:30, they would get to us at 2:15 and have just over 2 hours to see us.    The conversation between the 4 of us would have been done in 15 minutes, so the level of uncomfortableness would have gotten to the point of them leaving well before 4:30pm.

Pretty much what it comes down to is:
- We don't make any efforts to see them unless we specifically drive over there to see them and only them - it doesn't count if its a family dinner and everyone is there.   Otherwise, any other attempts or visits (kids bday parties, barbecue for family and friends, offer to come to our house, etc) just don't count.
- They only want to see us to tell us what we are doing wrong, and they only feel comfortable treating us like little kids and chiding us when we sit on their sofa, in their house, in their comfort zone - with no place to go except listen to them chide and criticize our decisions and choices.

And yet they wonder why we never want to go see them...

*I saw them the week prior at the boys bday party - which they ran out of as soon as cake was served and the gifts were opened because it started to drizzle and they didn't want to get stuck in the hurricane on their 10 minute drive home. 

Facebook

For years, I refused to get on facebook.   I had many reasons for this, but recently the reasons to be on facebook were finally starting to outweigh the reasons not to be on.  

The final breaking point was when I didn't know that two of my friends had their daughter.   The husband sent me an email, but selected the wrong Lynda, so I had no clue. Had I been on facebook - I would have already known.

Anyways, two of my big concerns about joining facebook were:
  1. That I would get addicted to it.   I knew all along that when I finally joined, I wasn't just gonna be another profile, I was going to be active, but I didn't want to get addicted.   
  2. That random people from my childhood and high school were going to start to friend request me.   I know I can just decline the friend request, but I also know my personality wouldn't allow me to do that.
To counteract the second point, I planned (and did) to sign up under my dogs name, not completing any personal information and keeping my profile completely private to those who weren't my friends.  I emailed those in my address book to let them know I was joining and the name my profile was under so they would accept the friend request from me.

Unfortunately, after a couple months, I started to check facebook more frequently, slowly becoming addicted.   Its not an addiction I couldn't survive without, its one of those addictions that if I'm near a computer or my phone, I sign on and see what updates are out there - and then I sign off after reading - but I do it often.  

Then, last week, I started to do exactly what I was hiding from.   Even though Im not on under my name, I started to friend request people from my childhood in NE Philly and let them know it was me.  Mind you, those aren't the people I was necessarily "hiding" from.  

I'm really hiding from the people I was "friends" with in high school after I moved.   Its horrible to say, but I was annoyed with most of them after 2 years, but I just needed to get through one more year, and then I was outta there and never gonna see them again - and I knew one of them would track me down on facebook if I were on there under my name (I hadn't spoken to her except for maybe a couple SHORT AIM conversations, and I still got invited to her wedding 5 years after high school.

So here I am 6 years after facebook became open to everyone - finally a facebook user and now a blog writer - who would ever have thought?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cape May Winery & Vineyards


Our last stop in our daytrip to Cape May, NJ was Cape May Winery & Vineyards - it also was the main reason we headed into Cape May for the day.

I had bought a deal on Philly Dealyo for 2 for 1 tour and tasting tickets - and I couldn't have redeemed it on a better day.   Adam and I have done probably about a half dozen winery tours or so - and Ive done another couple without Adam - and for the most part - they start to get redundant.

This one though had a few things that none of the others ever had on my previous tours:
  • We came on a day that they were bottling their port, so we didn't just get to see the bottling area - we actually got to see the process in work - which was really cool.    
  • We got to pick a grape off the vine and use a cool (expensive) tool that could show you the sugar content of the grape.    
  • We got to taste a brand new wine that hasn't even been bottled yet
  • We got to taste wine straight from the barrel
To start with, we got there super early, so they told us that they had a deck that we could hang out on, as that would be the only place the tour wouldn't take us, so Adam went upstairs to the deck - and that would be an awesome place to just hang out with friends, a bottle of wine and some food.   They have an indoor and outdoor area that are well furnished and decorated.   When outside, you have a beautiful view of the vineyards.
 












After hanging out for a bit on the deck, we went back downstairs and met the tour guide where we were directed.   At that time, she took us outside right in front of the vines and had us taste our first wine.   It was their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay - which was unfortunately out of stock   It was a really nice, dry white, slighlty fruity flavors, but not sweet and very smooth.   Adam and I were both fans of it and would have totally bought 1 or 2 bottles if they had it.

At this point on the tour we started to get a history of the vineyard and their process.   It was actually at this winery (before it was a winery) where grape growing started in the Cape May area.   The owner at the time had a farm on the land, and was approached by Rutgers (I think it was Rutgers) to see if they could test the ability to grow grapes for wine on the land.   It thrived, and the owner ended up planting many more vines and it only grew from there.   I also learned something that I had never seen/heard on any of my other tours.   This winery has a rose bush at the end of each row - the reason being that the rose bush is susceptible to all the diseases and bugs that the vines get, but will show earlier, so they check the rose bushes everyday, and if something is wrong, they will know how to handle it before it even affects the vines. 

Next stop on the tour was the bottling facility, where they were currently bottling their port.   I had seen many bottling facilities, but never when they were actually in action.   I tried to get a video, but there were some SUPER annoying North Jersey folks on the tour who stood in the middle and barely let the rest of us in - so alas, no good video. 

From there, we went in to their brand new tasting room - which is where they used to keep all the barrels (and still are keeping many of them).

Then on to our last stop - the barrel room, where they had cheese and cracker display for us, as well as some cabernet grapes that were taken off the vine for us to try (pretty good!).

In the barrel room, we got to try a couple wines that weren't bottled yet, and therefore we were tasting them directly from the barrels.   This was a new experience for me - and was pretty neat.



















In here we got to taste the majority of their wines, and unfortunately I can't find my tasting sheet and can't remember all the wines - but I know that I liked the majority of their wines.   Adam's palate is different than mine - he likes more sweet, I like dry.   I prefer smoother wines, but do like a lot of dry wines that have some "boldness" to them - whereas Adam only likes them dry if they are smooth.   So with that, we only agreed on 3 wines - so thats all we walked out with.

We also learned something random on our tasting.   Many people get headaches after (even during) drinking red wine, and the reason (they think it) is because of the sulfites.    We were told that red wine actually had much less sulfites than other food and drink that we consume often - instead its because of the histamines in the wine - and that you should take an antihistamine to prevent the headache.    She actually joked/encouraged taking the antihistamine with your wine - even though we are directed not to mix OTC drugs and alcohol - LOL.

Anyways, we really enjoyed this winery for the wine, atmosphere and the educational and fun tour - so if you are in the area, I highly recommend the tour.   As I mentioned in the beginning, we bought it as a 2 for 1, but Id even recommend it at the full price of $20 per person.   You get a good tour (and if you go around the same time we did - end of August - you might also get the opportunity to see so many things you don't normally get to see on these tours), a free glass, lots of wine to taste and plenty of cheese and crackers to snack on.

Click here to see all the pictures I took during the tour.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Michael Vick - Part I

In case you know nothing about me - I am a dog LOVER.  Adam and I currently have a handsome black lab mix and are in the search for another lab mix to keep us company.

I also am a believer in second chances, because people make mistakes.   I've given family and friends many second chances when they screw things up.  I of course am always perfect, so I don't need them* :)

Back in '07 (or whatever year it was) when everything went down with Michael Vick - I was disgusted by what he did, and felt strongly that he should be sent to jail for a long time.   He was sent to jail, but not for a long time - but that was the courts ruling, and it was his job to serve it and get on with life afterwards.   He has done just that.  

I will admit that I wasn't a fan of Vick being signed by the Eagles, but I did feel that he deserved to be given a second chance, I just didn't want it to be my team.   When he was signed, I just accepted it, and continued to root for my Eagles, because they took a big chance, not just on signing Vick who was unproven at that time, but because they knew there was going to be a large public backlash for giving him a second chance.

In my opinion Vick has done a really good job of the afterwards part, and working to prove himself a decent human being.

He chose not to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy where his debts would have just been cancelled out, and all the people he owed money to would never have seen a penny.   Instead, he worked with lawyers, financial advisors and the court system to make a plan where he would pay back all his debt over time.  (With his new contract, as long as he is able to play out the majority of it, he will have his debts paid off pretty fast).    Many other people (and companies) have chosen to just wash away their debts and start anew, leaving their debtors in the wind.

He brought in a huge team of people to help fix his image and help him make the correct decisions.   This was a decision which was obviously needed if he wanted any shot of having a fan base and/or endorsement deals - so this point is less showing his good character than his choice to have a career in the NFL and make money.

It also has recently come out that he had the opportunity to join other NFL teams where he would have been the starter and in the spotlight, but those teams were full of people and issues that could have easily led him astray.   He took the advise of those he was learning to trust, and went with a 3rd string position on a team known for winning and professionalism, instead of a starting QB job on a team known for a culture full of legal and immoral issues.

He still has a way to go to prove he is fully a changed man, but there are plenty of other professional athletes who have abused and killed human beings and gotten very little to no punishment, and then come back into the spotlight without an ounce of anger from the fan-base.  For example:
  • Brett Myers abused his wife and never got suspended or charged - he endured some booing when he made his next appearance in Boston (which was like 2 days after the assault took place in that same city), maybe he got some minor booing in Philly - but barely anything.   
  • Donte Stallworth drove drunk and killed a man.   He killed a human being and got 30 days in jail, and was out of the NFL for one year and has since played for the Ravens and now the Redskins, and I haven't heard anything about him.

I love my dog, and he is one of my best friends, but a human life is considered of higher importance/worth than a dogs.  For those who would disagree with that, see basic examples below:
  • If a dog has cancer and doesn't have a good life left to live, you can put them down - if you did that to a human you would be arrested and charged for performing euthenasia.  Hell, if you were stupid enough, you could put a dog down just because he has some training issues that you don't have the time or money to work on - and there would be no penalty in you doing that - just don't tell me.
  • When you have a kid, you can claim them as a dependent on your taxes; when you get a new puppy, you spend TONS of money on them, but don't get any tax benefits.
  • You can leave a dog at home by themselves and put them in a crate (and should for safety reasons); if you leave a young kid at home by themselves and put them in a crate, you are charged with child endangerment and abuse (as you should be).
If you haven't done so already, I think you should forgive Michael Vick (and the Eagles, if you are also holding them in contempt), as he has served his time and should be afforded a second chance.    I think the only lifetime punishment that should be afforded to him is that he should NEVER be allowed to own a dog.    I know he wants one, and he might be a changed man, and for that he deserves to have a fair shot at life, but dog ownership is a privilege and he lost that privilege in my mind.

Im sure there are MANY people out there who disagree with me on this - probably even some family members - and you have the right to both disagree with me and share that disagreement and thoughts with me.   I will consider your thoughts, I just hope that you consider mine, and think how you would want to be treated if you went and made a HUGE mistake, served the punishment you were handed - but no one ever forgave you or gave you a second chance - that's part of why we have so many repeat crime offenders in this society.


*I shouldn't have to explain sarcasm, but for those of you who know nothing about me, first and only time Ill say this - I am EXTREMELY sarcastic - even when i probably shouldn't be.   This last comment is obviously me being sarcastic.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mother Nature

What an interesting week month of August on the east coast in regards to mother nature...

First we were having record rainfall in the month of August (for the Philly region).   As of the middle of the month, we had already broken the record books for the amount of rain in the month of August, and were less than half an inch away from breaking the record for the most rain in a month EVER - and we still had half a month to go in the middle of hurricane season.

Then came last Tuesday, when we had the first "major" earthquake on the east coast in a century.   I personally didn't feel a damned thing, and feel jipped about that, but all of my family felt it, the people in my office felt it (I wasn't in the office) and many friends felt it.    Who would have really thought that there would be an earthquake on the east coast?   I know that there is a fault line right in Huntington Valley (which is right outside of Philly for those non-locals who read this) but I still thought that a local earthquake was along the same lines of Jersey being washed away during my lifetime.  Sidenote: although most people wouldn't miss the armpit of America - I think it will take hundreds to thousands of years for that to occur.

After people handled an earthquake in exactly the opposite way you should (running out of buildings and into the streets) and the local news covered it live for HOURS so that's all you could find on TV and all you heard on the news for 24 hours - the news of Hurricane Irene came pounding in and took over the news. 

On Friday before Hurricane Irene hit, we got another storm that helped put the Philadelphia area over the record for any month EVER- and were still expecting another 7-12 inches from Irene.   Massive evacuations occurred throughout the tri-state area (PA, DE and NJ).   It ended up not being as bad as expected, but after Hurricane Katrina, you can never be too safe.   We still did have PLENTY of flooding and power outages.   The below picture is of the Neshaminy Creek flooding one of many streets in Bucks County (this is near my parents and sister, pictures courtesy of my sister - although she doesn't know that until she reads this).


I'm fairly certain that the car got flooded into the middle of the street from a nearby driveway, but I guess there could have been an idiot who tried to drive down that street in the middle of the hurricane, no matter what - that sucks!  

Hope everyone survived the month of August in tact without any major storm (or earthquake) damage.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Camp Levitties (or your Summer Camp)

I miss the days of summer camp and not having to worry about anything!

I used to go to both day camp and overnight camp.   I did day camp for as long as I can remember at Camp Levitties which was/is a local JCC camp.  But for two summers, I took a "break" for 2 weeks and then 4 weeks to do overnight camp at Camp Arthur Reeta.   Unfortunately the only reason I stopped going to overnight camp was because it shut down :(  There were other overnight camps - but that was my camp, and I wasn't gonna go be a traitor and go to a rival overnight camp :)

Anyways, I recently got thinking about my days at camp levitties.   Not quite sure how I thought about it, but once I did, my mind just kept going.   Man that place was fun!   I used to be such a klutz (not sure how much of that has changed), but here are some funny stories from my summer days:
- I seriously bruised my butt playing kickball.   I put everything into kicking the ball, missed and fell on my ass.  
- I gashed my knee open - probably should have gone to the hospital to get stictches - but I enjoy my scar.   My friend Jaime and I had gotten dressed from the pool quickly, ran back to our "bunk" and hid behind furniture - our goal was to scare everyone else when they came in.   Well I apparently was next to a vent and when I got up - I slashed my knee - and it was GUSHING blood.   It didn't hurt much at all - but I was crying my eyes out cause there was blood everywhere.   I wasnt able to do any activities for like 2 weeks until that thing heeled
- I somehow defied the odds and choked on a lifesaver - I know they say its not possible, but I swear I couldn't breath.   The good thing is, it melts, so I put warm water down my throat and could breathe again.

Im not sure how many times - or for what reasons - I was in a wheelchair, but I clearly remember being in a wheelchair a few times.   Looking back on it - I probably just enjoyed hanging out in the nurses office or playing around in the wheelchair.

Anyone else remember any of those crazy summer camp stories - either about me or your own?

Also, for all my Levitties peeps - how did the camp song go?!?!?   I know Im gonna kill it - but this is what I remember:

We are Camp Levitties
we are great, we're the best
we're better then then rest
Having a good time in the warm summer sun,
making friends and having lots of fun
We have arts and crafts and ....

And I completely go blank after that (and Im sure I killed that!)

Oh - and camp levitties is where I started my obsession with Baby Got Back :)  Im fairly certain, either my bunk or another did that for lip sync one year - probably wasn't appropriate for the young-uns...and Im fairly certain most of my friends (especially the ones who had a wedding I attended) wish it never existed - LOL