It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This has been a busy year for sure, and November has been jam-packed with lots to be thankful for! Elle turned one on November 1st (I can hardly believe it!) and Christopher and I celebrated our fifth anniversary. The very next day, Christopher and I got on a plane and headed to NYC with friends Bryan and Ruth Ann, of Team Timmons, and Mike and Janna. Christopher, Brian and Mike ran the NYC Marathon on November 3rd. They did totally awesome and Ruth Ann, Janna and I had a great time making our way around the city to track them. We met the guys at about mile 16 and again around mile 25-ish. 

{christopher around mile 16}

{ruth ann and bryan around mile 16}

{mike around mile 16}

{the boys and their well-deserved medals}

While Christopher was taking all his steps in the marathon, Eleanor decided to take her first steps at Christopher's parents' house. That kind of figures, right? Luckily, Kathy managed to get it on video:

{p.s. She crawled for the first time at my parents' house. What up with that, girlfriend??}

I love how she recognizes that she fell and says "uh-oh" but then realizes that people are still proud of her so she claps for herself. 

While we weren't in the city long, we were able to do some other pretty cool things too. We did a little shopping, ate our traditional Shake Shack (the new one in Grand Central Station!) and got to go to the American Museum of Natural History. I hadn't been in such a long time and it was so awesome. I could have stayed in there forever. Christopher noted that he could have stayed in there for about 30 minutes less than we stayed in there. (We stayed in there for a little less than two hours.) 

We learned that things that are tiny now, used to be huge.  

{ginormous frog}

And things that are huge now, used to be tiny.

{miniature camels. why, yes, i would love a miniature camel!)

We obviously saw dinosaurs. 

And we saw an exhibit on the Hudson Valley which included Dutchess County Apples. Awesome! 

{christopher learning about dutchess county apples}

And my favorite has always been the rock and gem section.


When we got back from New York, Eleanor started a new daycare. As some of you may or may not know, she started an absolutely wonderful daycare at The Children's Home on September 16th. On September 17th, they told us they were shutting down. (Reasonable, right?) I was heart-broken. We did decide to keep her there long enough for her to enjoy some of the nice things they had planned like school pictures and Halloween. 

{photo by: creative expressions photography}


Anyway, her last day of daycare #1 was on her birthday and then she started a new, also wonderful daycare the next week. I think she's doing really well and she has already brought home some art projects. About these art projects though... I am very confused by these pieces of art because they are not good...but they are better than she could do, so...who's the fill-in bad artist??? The only thing I can come up with is that perhaps they are holding her hand for her to make some of this stuff? I don't know. Either that or I have the next Georgia O'Keeffe on my hands. 

The weekend after her second-first week of daycare, we had a small birthday party with a few friends and family. She got to eat about as much cake as she wanted to and surprisingly she didn't make a pig out of herself. 


My grandmother is even in town from Pennsylvania now and was able to come to Eleanor's party, which was awesome. Unfortunately Elle and I have been a little sick over the past week and a half so we have stayed away as to not get her sick. We're doing better now though and caught up over some pizza and Rummy. She almost always beats me. I get stuck holding all the high cards in my hand. 

Last week, I was talking to my friend, Ouida. She's a fantastic photographer. I asked if she would mind snapping a quick picture or two of us for a Christmas card. There's a really cool bridge at the Visitor's Center in Old Salem that makes for a great picture. (If you are wondering whether or not lots of other people also know about this bridge and also want their picture taken there as well, the answer is yes. Yes they do.) We met last weekend and she took so many nice pictures! I'm not going to share them all, but I suppose I could share a few. 

{aforementioned really cool bridge}

I'm super excited because it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We are planning to go get our tree tomorrow. I can't wait. Last Christmas I missed my kind-of-annual Christmas tree blog post and it makes me sad. So get ready for this...

This year I'm going to do #25daysofchristmasornaments on Instagram, starting on December 1st. One ornament every day for 25 days. If you're not on Instagram, get on Instagram. Instagram is awesome. Right Beth Ray?? I think my username is gingerlyn2 - follow along! I also encourage you to participate in #25daysofchristmasornaments. It will be so much fun. SO. MUCH. FUN. 

And lastly, Letter Tuesday has been a huge success! I'm a little disappointed that I have missed a few weeks along the way, but over the last 22 weeks, I have sent out 69 Letter Tuesdays. Additionally, I have received so many nice letters and postcards from amazing people! I count it a total success and I will keep going! Ouida and Lindsey have joined in as well, in their own Letter Tuesday traditions and I am SO excited about that.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

NYC Marathon and Beer School


Last year our friends Bryan (of Team Timmons) and Mike (of Project 26.21) started this THING. They had been talking about running the NYC Marathon for a little while and they decided 2012 would be the year. I was super excited for them, but also a little bummed. I wanted to go cheer them on, but as timing would have it, Elle was scheduled to make her appearance at just about the same time as the marathon. So we were out. BUT Christopher decided that he was going to train right along with Bryan and Mike. 

Come November, all three guys were in tip-top running shape and ready to run a marathon. And then Sandy hit. And then the marathon was canceled. (And then it wasn't. And then it was. And then it wasn't…until the very last minute – when it was.) 

Anyway, Brian and Mike ran a marathon in Charlotte since, you know, they spent the last 20 weeks working up to it. And Christopher got a baby. And then Christopher started training again almost immediately to run the Wrightsville Beach Marathon, which I never blogged about, but Team Timmons did.

Cutting to the chase, here. Bryan and Mike and Christopher are running the NYC marathon this year! Christopher is running with Team ASPCA (isn't that the most exciting ever?!?!) and is fundraising for that team. To help raise money for Team ASPCA, Foothills Brewery has kindly agreed to host a beer school and donate the money to Team ASPCA for Christopher's marathon! Beer School is this coming Wednesday, September 18th at 6:00 pm and is $20 per person – all $20 goes to Christopher's fundraising for the ASPCA. All you have to do is show up at Foothills on Wednesday with $20 - you can even pay with a credit card. 

{here's a picture from beer school last year when Foothills helped out with Brian and Mike's fundraising}

Please come join us if you are able to make it! Elle will even be there learning how to brew (she was there last year too - this year she's trying it on the outside). (You can also ask Elle how her first week of daycare is going...) After Beer School, we are planning to stick around and have dinner at Foothills if anyone would like to join us. 

Also, if you can't join, but would like to donate a few dollars to the ASPCA and help Christopher to his fundraising goal, you can do that here

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The First Letter Tuesday

I am SO excited about Letter Tuesdays. But...not nearly enough people are taking me up on my offer. Hellooooo - I will write you a letter. All you have to do is tell me you want a letter. You don't even have to write back to me. (Don't get me wrong - I would be totally excited to get some mail from you, but that's not the point of Letter Tuesdays. You don't need to write back. Unless you want to.)

Anyway, yesterday was the first Letter Tuesday. After work, I took Leroy to the vet for his monthly shot and when I got back, I wrote my first letter. 

Aaaand then later last night I got a little carried away and wrote two more. Like I said, I am super excited about this. 

Oh, did I forget to mention that there is a good chance your letter will arrive with stickers on it? Totally a good chance that your letter will arrive with stickers on it. 

  1. Stickers are fun and awesome.
  2. A carefully placed sticker on the back means I can lick the envelope half-heartedly and get less nasty envelope glue on my tongue. I hate envelope glue. 
I can't wait to pick the next person and send another letter next Tuesday...and the next Tuesday...and the next Tuesday...

So who else is in for Letter Tuesdays?? Who wants a letter?? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Letter Tuesdays

One of my New Year's resolutions is always to write more letters. Not email. Letters. Ink on paper, paper in envelope, stamp on envelope – to the USPS! I love getting mail. Again – real mail, not email. Don't get me wrong, I love a good email – especially one with a great story in it – but there is nothing like walking down the driveway, opening the mailbox and finding a pretty envelope with my name handwritten on the front. I love it! It is so exciting. My mom and my friend Megan are the only people who will occasionally just send me a card or note for no reason. I'm just as guilty; I rarely send anyone else a letter for no reason. I will send my grandmother something occasionally, but I don't do that enough. 

The art of the handwritten letter is all but lost. Texting is killing decent communication. The US Postal Service is tanking and keeps toying with this idea (as well as my emotions) of discontinuing Saturday delivery (hate). This madness has to stop. 

I have decided to implement "Letter Tuesdays." I am going to write a "letter" to someone every Tuesday. I'm using the term "letter" rather loosely because it might be a note card with a couple sentences – after all, I have a kid, a messy house, a blind chihuahua, two needy cats, and no clean underwear. This might not be thought-provoking prose, but there will be an envelope dropped in the mailbox every Wednesday. Yes, there are a million other things I could, and maybe should, be doing (aforementioned laundry and messy house) but on Tuesdays, this is going to happen. 

To whom will I write all these letters, you may ask? Well, I will certainly step up my game with my grandmother. And I'm sure I will send my parents some letters. Who else wants a letter? Seriously…do you get what I am asking? I'm asking you if you want me to send you a letter. Do you want to walk down to your mailbox after a shitty day at work and find a bright yellow envelope, open it up and see a cute ladybug on a daisy with a kitten sitting under it (or some such eight-pack-of-blank-card illustration) – inside, a handwritten note from me? I will add you to my list - just say the word! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Scorpions On A Plane: Sequel to Snakes On A Plane?

I have another doozie of a work trip to share. You may remember my January Chicago trip two years ago, and I would say this is on par. I had a conference to attend in Chicago (again with damn Chicago. I'm starting to really hate that city.) on Monday and Tuesday. I should have left Sunday, but Sunday was Christopher's first Father's Day and I thought it would be nice to spend the day with him and Elle. 

So I took the first flight out of Greensboro on Monday morning – which was at 5:25 am. Ick. I had to get up at 3 am. I got to Chicago without incident (which is noteworthy because as it turned out, I was unknowingly and accidentally traveling with a large pair of office scissors. In my carryon. Oops.) and had my meetings on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon I got to the airport and checked in. My tickets printed out and I thought it was odd that my ticket stated Charlotte before Chicago… 

…but I was like, whateves. Then I looked at my other ticket and that said Chicago and then Charlotte. 

And then I was like, DAMN. 

So I go to my gate and wait in line for one hour to talk to the gate agent. She tells me that this is not a "switch flight" kind of situation and I have to talk to my travel agent because she will have to buy a whole new ticket. Great. I call her. And don't you know, she answers the phone and immediately asks if I can hold. I stupidly and automatically say, "yes" like I am getting ready to order a pizza or something – and not like my flight is getting ready to board in 10 minutes and, as of now, I am scheduled to fly from Chicago to Charlotte and then immediately back to Chicago. 

Meanwhile, I am talking to the agent again, asking her if there is any way I can get my zone bumped up to NOT Zone 5, so that I can get my carryon actually on the plane and not "checked to your final destination," because, if you will remember, my final destination is currently Chicago. She says it won't be checked to the final destination and that I shouldn't worry about it. THEN, a flight attendant comes hustling up the ramp from the plane we are getting ready to board and shows the gate agent a picture on her cell phone and is like, "What do we do about cleanup for this??? I've never had anything like this happen before… It bit someone and the paramedics are on their way." Then she shows her a picture on her cell phone. And then she's like, "It's dead – we killed it." And it's a scorpion. And I'm like, "Aaaaaaaaaawe, hellllllllllllllllls no!" And then she's like, "It was in 13A." And I look at my ticket and I'm in 11B. What if that thing was traveling with friends?!?! The flight is delayed a bit, but not as long as you would expect or hope for after a scorpion has just attacked someone on a plane. I want them to fumigate that thing before I get on it. 

I finally talk to my travel agent and she asks, "Well, didn't you check your flights when I sent them to you?" Uh – yeah. I checked that I was flying out of Greensboro and to Chicago. I checked that I was flying in on Monday and back on Tuesday. I looked at the times to make sure I could fit all my meetings in. And I EVEN looked at how much time I had between flights. But no, I guess I didn't check to see that she was sending me all the way home and not seven-eighths of the way home and then back to where I started. If I was booking this shit through Travelocity, that wouldn't even have been an option. You would think an error message would have come up stating, "Are you sure you want to turn around and go back?" So, after a reminder of how important it was to check my flights carefully, she said not to worry about it and she would fix it. (She also told me to not get back on the flight to Chicago when I got to Charlotte. Uuh, yeah. I think I got that.) 

We finally start to board the scorpion plane and guess what? They want to check my bag to my final destination. Which according to my ticket is exactly where I am currently standing. Since I had talked to the agent previously, she was like, "Charlotte, right?" And I was like, "Yes, please." And then I was like, "Crap, no. I have a flight to Greensboro." So she sends it to Greensboro. 

I get on the plane. After I sit down, my feet don't touch the floor. I keep them propped on my computer bag. Silly, right? Like that's going to keep the scorpion from getting to me. Additionally, I remembered learning at some point that one extreme color of scorpion was deadly and the other extreme was not – like black was and a light color wasn't, or vice-versa. I couldn't remember which way it was, so I kept thinking, "please if a scorpion has to sting me, please, please, please let it be a really solid, medium brown color…please." (Research after I got home revealed that my memory was completely off and there are a variety of highly venomous colors, though luckily you would be hard-pressed to be killed by one. But even so…)

So we get to Charlotte (luckily I was traveling with work pals, Jimmy and John) and the Greensboro flight was delayed from 8:25 to 10:30. Additionally I notice I don't have a seat number my newly acquired Greensboro ticket, so I go to the counter to make sure I am on the flight. The flight was overbooked and I am on standby. Yup. On standby for an overbooked flight that is leaving at 10:30 pm. I don't feel great about this. Jimmy and I talk it through and decide to ditch the Greensboro flight and go rent a car. (Incidentally, as it turns out, there was actually an open flight to Greensboro at roughly the same time. I'm not sure what made the sold out flight a more appealing option to book…)

Jimmy and I (we mistakenly thought John had already made it to Greensboro because he was not on our first flight) leave the terminals and head down to the car rental counters where…Hertz, our [company] preferred rental company is out of cars. And so is Enterprise. And so is Alamo. And so is Budget. And so is the company I have never heard of – Aloha Fun Rental Cars, or some such nonsense. Even Avis, who apparently tries harder (psh) was out of cars. There were literally – the literal use of literally – no cars to be rented. None. So we went back through security. Jimmy had to throw away his just purchased coffee. And get a good groping from TSA. 

I'm back through security. Jimmy has a hand in his crotch. I get a text from John. His plane just landed in Charlotte. He's confused because he got a call that our flight to Greensboro was canceled…but that couldn't be right, right? Silly John. Of COURSE it could be right. Double check. Yup – canceled. 

We found the customer service line. Judging by the length of the line, it seems many, many flights were canceled. We start making phone calls and John is lucky enough to get on that aforementioned open flight to Greensboro. Jimmy and I are stuck in Charlotte. We are SO CLOSE to home, yet so far away. I start calling car services. Much like the rental cars, they have nothing available. Good grief. 

We grab dinner and book the first available flight in the morning which is 7:50 and start to call hotels. I'm sure it will not come as a huge surprise to you that all the hotels near the airport were sold out. Jimmy found a Residence Inn, which stated it was 11 miles away from the airport so we grabbed two of their remaining six rooms, paid our bill and then stood in line for an hour to try and figure out where our luggage was (we received several conflicting reports). Jimmy's bag was there but they wouldn't give it to him. They had no record of mine. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "sometimes they just don't scan it before they put it on the plane." I'm sorry, what? Simple as that, eh? Sometimes they scan it and sometimes they don't? I mean that seems like a shit policy to you guys too, right? Scan all of them. Not just some of them. All the bags. All the time. I think that should be on a poster somewhere in the US Air baggage break room. A big picture of a suitcase, inset image of the luggage tag with the red scanny line over the barcode. Above the suitcase it reads, "LUGGAGE: SCAN IT," below the suitcase it reads, "All the bags, all the time." Maybe I should draft that up for them. 

We grab a cab and head to the hotel. After a while, I'm like, "So, we've been in this car forever, right?" We google the directions to the hotel from the airport. 22 miles. Funsies. By the time we get there it's midnight. The cab driver recommends we leave at 5 am to get to the airport on time. I recommend we get another recommendation. The lady at the front desk recommends we leave at 5 am to get to the airport on time. Damn it. 

In an odd turn of events it took me a really long time to fall asleep. And by a really long time, I mean about 15-20 minutes rather than the 2.4 seconds I thought it would take. For 15-20 minutes, I mentally catalogued the contents of my suitcase and ranked what I would miss the most:
  1. Underwear (this was less of a "miss the most" and more of a "some creep is going to buy my suitcase at auction and then own my underwear.")
  2. Underwear bag (my friend Jamie got me the neatest "Wear Me / Wash Me" underwear bag – it's got two zippered sides – one for clean, "Wear Me" and one for dirty, "Wash Me." I love this thing and I have never seen another like it. I would miss it.)
  3. The case to my glasses. They fit perfectly in it and it shuts with a perfect clap. Not too loud, but a good, solid "I'm closed." Additionally, the case was the same brand as my glasses. I don't like to mis-match brands like that. 
  4. My makeup – probably a good $350 worth of makeup and brushes
  5. My favorite zip-up, which was a gift from our ad agency (it's green and has "CMYK" on the back with the CMYK values of the color of the zip-up
  6. The only jeans that fit me well 
  7. My new, expensive bra. Okay – so it's more emotionally expensive than cash-expensive. I hate bra shopping and I didn't want to have to replace it. 
  8. My "tarp crew" t-shirt from the Bulls 
  9. My makeup bag and toiletry bag
  10. My favorite yoga pants (these would have ranked higher but the crotch seams were starting to wear thin)
  11. My curling iron (Jen – if you are reading, it wasn't THE curling iron.)
  12. My glittery shoes (these also would have ranked higher, but I love them so much, I had already ordered a replacement pair for when those wore out) 
  13. My actual suitcase
  14. My "liquids" (I had a $25 lip gloss in there and new lotion)
  15. My white tank top, which I had already painstakingly cut the shelf bra out of 
  16. My travel rollers 
  17. My white capris 
  18. My black t-shirt 
  19. My black capris
  20. My Ann Taylor Loft striped cardigan (that cardigan was crap – it was already picked after one wear)
  21. My Ann Taylor Loft white satin tank top (that tank top was crap – it was already picked after one wear)
  22. The other stuff in my toiletry bag – toothbrush, hair bands, contact case, etc.
  23. NOT my company polos. US Air was actually saving me a trip to Goodwill on that loss. 
At 4:45 I met Jimmy in the lobby and we got back in a cab. Jimmy called the 444-4444 cab. It was my most favorite cab ever. 

We got to the airport and checked in. I printed my ticket and printed a receipt. You may or may not be surprised to learn that my flight from Charlotte to Greensboro was $800. I mean, I'm pretty sure I could have paid Clay Aiken to piggy back me while he hopscotched to Greensboro for that amount of money, but whatever. I was thirsty x100 and gulped down an iced coffee and massive bottle of water. 

And so as not to end on a bad note, there were some REALLY awesome people who were not only like, "Eeesh – sorry to hear that," but offered to help! Buddies Ouida, Brianna, Jaclyn and Amy all offered to come pick me up (which is completely and totally out of their way and a huge pain in the ass and would have been completely inappropriate of me to accept), and a coworker with whom I'm not even particularly close called my cell and was like, "Hey Ginger, this is John. I saw on Facebook you are a bit stranded in Charlotte. My flight from [insert place I forgot here] was canceled so I had to rent a car and I'm driving up to DC. I'll probably be hitting Charlotte in about two hours if you want me to pick you up. I can drop you off in Winston." That was awesome. 

Also, I started and finished "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)," which was awesome 

…but maybe we don't take marriage advice from Mindy Kaling…

Oh, yeah! AND - I got my luggage!!! How lucky was that?!?!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Feedback Form to Time Warner Cable

I have so many things that I would like to blog about. At the top of my list is a recap from our recent trip to the beach for Christopher's FIRST MARATHON! Team Timmons blogged about it...twice! and I need to as well. Instead, I spent my evening after work today writing to Time Warner Cable. To make it worth it and compensate for the lost blog post, I am sharing my feedback submission with you below. This is pasted directly from their feedback form with only one change - I censored what we pay for cable because, quite frankly, it's a little embarrassing. So without further ado, I bring you my feedback: 

I got a phone call this morning from TWC. I didn't catch the woman's name but she was trying to sell the signature package. She didn't ask if I was interested but just jumped in and explained it. She was nice enough and thorough in her explanation. She got to the end of her pitch and told me we were paying $XXX before tax and this signature package would be $XXX before tax. Then asked me if I wanted to switch over. 

Here's some background on my household. I don't care that much about TV. There are a few shows that I enjoy watching but I could do without them or catch them on Hulu. If I could choose my dream cable package it would be the network stations, whatever channel Breaking Bad comes on, maybe HBO & Showtime, and DVR. So, like, seven? eight? channels. My husband is the one that likes TV and we actually JUST had a conversation (which my husband started) about maybe cutting back on the cable. We use the internet - we don't have any problems with our current service. We have a phone - it rings - I typically don't answer it. I never pay attention to our answering machine and, to date, I have not been burned by that. Additionally, I think it's basically stupid to sign up for something over the phone that you have not researched. It's all "It's only another five dollars" NOW - but then it goes up $20 in two months -- but nobody would mention that over the phone! That would be silly! People wouldn't sign up. And people don't think to ask questions like that. "Five dollars? Sounds good! Sign me up!" 

So - back to the story from this morning. $XXX to $XXX (before taxes, mind you). She asks me if I want to upgrade. First - are you effing kidding me?!?!? We pay THAT MUCH? EVERY MONTH??? That's our problem - not her's, so I don't even address that with her. I thank her for explaining this and tell her that I really don't pay much attention to our cable package - that my husband is the one that really likes the TV, and I asked if it would be okay if I just tell him about our conversation and have him give TWC a call if he is interested. She literally - the literal use of "literally" - laughed at me. And not just a brief chuckle. A good 10-second hearty guffaw. Then was silent for a moment. And then asked, as if I was a moron, "Well, what is it? Is it just the five dollars? I mean - you're basically paying for it anyway." 

Excuse me? 

Let me tell you one of the things I hate most about myself. It's that I let people throw me off guard too much and that I err on the side of caution and polite (except when it comes to written correspondence to customer service, obviously). I was trying to be polite. Because really, the two options we were dealing with this morning were "hells no" and "let me see if my husband is interested." "Yes" was not in any way on the table. Please refer back to "I don't care about TV" and "Five dollars now, $20 in two months." 

Seriously, when would it EVER be appropriate to laugh at, and essentially make fun of, one of your customers? 

P.S. Your dropdown menu above includes Kudos, Suggestions, Programming, Products and Services, Channel Requests, and TWC Websites. In order to make this feedback form true and relevant, here is my "suggestion": Everyone I know has used TWC at some point. I see my friends, and even strangers, routinely talk about TWC on social media. You need a "Complaints" option. And the fact that it defaults to "Kudos" is cute. Oh, and let's not forget this suggestion - DON'T LAUGH AT YOUR CUSTOMERS.