Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back In The Drrrrty

I couldn't be happier to be back home in Georgia, especially when my flight yesterday was on time AND arrived 20 minutes early. I mean, what a treat for me and my horrible travel luck. Mom and Dad picked me up at the airport and we went straight to Cracker Barrel where, in true Valerie fashion, I killed a disgusting amount of biscuits and gravy. I felt like someone had to roll me outta there. Anyway, it was awesome that Michael and Wynn had already gotten in town because it's been so long since we've had a nice substantial visit with them here. We had such a great day together, I went for a run while they got the tree, and we all decorated it with each other while drinking wine. Of course, we had the Giants on in the background so it was pretty much a perfect night! They won, too!

Brant and Susanne are having me over for dinner tonight while I wait on Allison's flight and I absolutely can't wait to see them! It's really really hard for me sometimes to come home because my heart just hurts knowing I can't see my parents, friends, and dog more often. So much of my heart is here with them and, while I have a tremendous life in NY, I really do long for the day where hopefully I'll be back, maybe even with a husband or family of my own, to enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with being in Georgia. Anyway, it really is a blessing that I have all that I do in this life and I treasure it, fully.

So, off I go to get myself ready for the movies! If only I could slow the week down, already...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It was cooooold this morning! I think winter is officially upon us and I'm one of those crazy people who loves it. This means it'll be nice and freezing for the race on Saturday though, eeeek. Anyway, I'm SO excited for the weekend, I can hardly stand it. Amanda, Jay, and Neal arrive on Saturday afternoon and I absolutely can't wait to see them. I know the visit will fly by but to have them back in the city with me is just so awesome. The Jets game on Sunday should be nice and freezing as well but man, that will be so fun too.

The plan is to run Saturday morning, head home to shower, and then get to the bar for some celebratory beers. Even if we ran a three mile race, I think we'd all still "celebrate", hehehe. They'll get in around 2pm and we'll have a day/night of catching up on soooo much that's overdue. Sunday morning, we'll be up bright and early and heading into NJ to meet James to tailgate. This will be my first true northeastern tailgate and I'm totally pumped. I'll be dressed in about twenty layers but I couldn't be more excited! After the game, I get to come back home to pack and I'll be on a 6am flight to Atlanta on Monday morning. Talk about a packed weekend! I wouldn't be me though if I didn't do things this way, hehehe.

I do stop to reflect though on this past year and on so much that's gone on in my life. It's absolutely amazing where I find myself currently and I'm so very proud of some changes I've made and lessons I've learned. I feel like life is about learning and growing and, if I can always take something away from each experience I have, then I know I'm really living. Life is a blessing and I pray so much that, as we enter a new year, I'll completely be out of the box I've kept myself in for a long time. I want to begin doing all the things I talk about, like taking trips, and I want to spend time with the people who really matter to me. I want to open my life up to new experiences and challenges (the NY marathon!) and continue following the 'straight and narrow' as a very unique and rare individual. I strive to be different than all the rest and I hope that I can humbly continue on that path, always. It's been a very significant year for me and, no matter what I've gone through, I am blessed.

So, I'm more than ready to get into the weekend and to finally fly home! I cannot wait to see my family, friends, and my dog! I'm already anxious to take him for a few runs as I know he's missed them as much as I have. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What A Weekend!

You know how there are just times in life where you really truly love where you are for that moment in time? Well, that was Saturday night for me. Let me back up though and begin with Friday night. The big project I've been working on at work has been overseeing the family holiday party for our company. It's been months of planning and organizing and it's been super stressful for me since this is the first huge company-wide thing I've been in charge of. Anyway, the event happened on Friday night and it was absolutely fantastic. Every single detail was perfect and the party planner I had been working with was truly top notch. I got more compliments than I could count including a rave review from our president. I was so relieved and felt honored to have been asked to handle such a huge event. I really feel like it gave me the chance to shine. Over the weekend, I got emails from our CFO, the president's wife, our head of HR, our head of Investor Relations...I mean, I seriously feel SO great and totally blessed. While everything went perfectly smooth, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely thrilled that it was over, hee hee.

On to Saturday. I was up at 6:45am and it was a freezing cold morning. It was 27 degrees and the wind was cooooold. I met Allison and we headed up to the park for our 8 mile run and I did surprisingly ok. I wasn't properly hydrated and I knew the run would be tough for me but it was decent and I got it done which was all I cared about. Afterward, we went straight to Allison's and cooked/party prepped alllll day long. It was so tiring but the apartment looked beautiful, our food was amazing, and we threw one heck of a party! I had so much fun and everyone was dressed so festive and in the holiday spirit. I dunno, it was just a perfect party with such wonderful friends and all of our hard work totally paid off. My sweet friend, Amanda, was even in town from Atlanta:
There are so many photos that I really couldn't begin to pick but I had to put one of the best ones up:
Yes, of course those are jello shots! We're so cute, I swear. ;) Anyway, it was the most tremendous night and it went until 5am! We were completely exhausted but it was the greatest evening filled with fun, laughter, and memories. I really think I'd like to do it again next year. The weekend really got me in the holiday spirit and I'm even more excited to go home for Christmas. I went to counseling last night after a week break and, while I had some struggles over the week, I think my spirits have been lifted and I'm getting back on the right track of trying to remember that god has everything laid out for me and I don't need to freak out about controlling it. Part of the struggles I faced this past week had a lot to do with that so meeting with Cori last night was needed and appreciated. We've decided to take two weeks between our next session and I must say, I'm really proud of myself. I'm just trying to stay strong and keep the proper frame of mind that I should to help me keep growing and moving forward. Above all, I am so very blessed and I continue to be so humbly grateful for all that I have.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Almost Par-tay Time!

It's been another CA-RAZY day at work and I'm so ready for this week to end. Actually, I'm wanting the project at work I've been slaving over to end and that happens on Friday. So, I'd be one happy gal if this week could quickly pass and the weekend could begin! Our holiday party is this Saturday which is just so nuts. I mean, I remember planning with Allison a month ago and bam, here we are! It's that whole 'time is quickly passing' thing I keep referencing. I'm so freakin' excited about the party though, woooo!

Anyway, the weekend was excellent and I finally feel like I caught up on some much needed down time. I got laundry done Friday, kicked back with a little vino, and slept in on Saturday. It was cold and rainy here so I actually allowed myself to relax and watch some tv, heehee. I got a new running shirt/jacket and went over to Allison's in the afternoon to put our menu together for the party. Man, I'm already drooling thinking of all the fun appetizers we'll be making! I ran a couple of miles when we finished and then headed home (in the first snow of the season!) to cook what would turn out to be one of the best pasta dishes I've made in quite some time. I don't wanna brag buuuut...! :P I drank a bunch of water and got in bed at a decent time so I could wake up super early and get myself all ready for the race!

I left the house Sunday morning around 7:15am and froze my little toosh off. Of course it would be the first below freezing morning we've had yet. Despite that, I ran an awesome race and ended up beating my last 10K time by NINE minutes! I was so proud of myself and felt strong and solid about it. I finished in 54 minutes and couldn't have been happier. :) From there, I actually ran home from Central Park (seriously to keep warm), showered, and went on to Westchester with Allison and Theo to do all the party shopping. Theo was so gracious in driving us out there so we could hope to save a little money...and boy did we! Overall, the party is costing about $300 less than we thought and that just makes me beyond happy. After shopping, I went straight to Citibar in time for kickoff and watched the Giants put a hurtin' on the Cowboys. That, my friends, completed a nearly perfect weekend.

Sadly, I was woken up at 2am by one of the most real dreams I've had in a couple of years. It was basically Tom and I meeting up to talk about where we both are in life right now and what we see happening in the future. We confessed strong feelings for one another and how much we still love each other. Even in my dream, I said this is really not happening and I'm going to wake up from this dream just devastated, aren't I? I mean, talk about the subconscious working overtime. I dunno, it affected me a lot and it's taken the better part of the day for me to shake it off. It's ironic (actually, more coincidental than anything) that I'm not going to counseling tonight and I seriously feel like I'm being more 'attacked', if you will. I'm just doing my best to deal with this sadness and to work through it as it comes. Today is just one of those days where the huge question lingering is why can't we just be together. It's tough when these days happen because I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we shouldn't be together right now. It's just the mind tricks that get so hard and, for all I know, he's frolicking around with some new gal. But, you know what? I can't even go there. So I won't. It's just been a tough day and I gotta push on.

I'm just going to enjoy my evening "off" tonight and do a light workout, eat the rest of my delicious pasta, and watch the season finale of Dexter. Onward and upward...

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Been A Good Week

I'm so excited that it's Friday! I've been beyond slammed at work this week but I really enjoy those kinda days. Before you know it, it's quittin' time and that's how each day has gone. Anyway, I've had a great week that started off with a pretty tremendous counseling session. Cori told me that she feels I'm at a place where I can take a little break from counseling. She said, with the work and effort I've put in, I've done extremely well and she feels that it's time for me to step out and begin really applying what I've 'learned' by myself. So, I'm not gonna go next week and we'll see how it is. I felt SO proud and just elated because I really have poured my energy and heart into this process. It's been incredibly painful and tough at times but the reward has far outweighed the risk. I was scared at first when she said that thinking can I really be ok if I take a break? but you begin to realize that even counseling sessions can become a crutch if you're not careful. There's only so much that you can discuss before it's time to believe in yourself, believe in the process, and step out in faith. I'm nervous feeling that anxiety and fear will come rushing back into my heart but I squash that pretty quickly, knowing full well that it will get me nowhere. So, I feel truly proud of myself and I'm excited to see how things go for me next week as I skip a session. :)

On a side note, this week in my Esther study has been awesome. Just thought I'd share that.

Last night was our work holiday party which was so lovely! We have a second office in Tarrytown (about 25 miles outside the city) which was the location for the party this year and it was so beautifully done. The decorations were amazing and it was so classy with how they did the catering/bar, etc. It was a "no spouse" event this year which was neat since it gave us all a chance to really mingle with the other office. Each year, John (the owner of our fund) pulls a name out of a hat and gives that person an allotted amount of money to give to the charity of their choice. The amount this year is the highest it's ever been...$100,000...and guess what? He chose my name! I about had a heart attack and almost fell out of my chair. I feel SO blessed and cannot wait to sit down and really think about where I want to allocate all the money. I am literally going to have a hand in changing peoples' lives and that feeling is incredibly overwhelming and joyful. I feel so honored and I feel like this is a chance to serve the lord in a mighty way that I could never ever do on my own. It's just awesome and a truly priceless blessing.

So, to say that my week has been good is a bit of an understatement. :) Praise god for the ways he works 'behind the scenes' in life. It's just so powerful. I'm so ready for a good weekend and a solid run on Sunday morning (I have my 10K race in the park!). Now, if the Giants can only pull off a big win, it'll round out a fantastic week for sure. Go Blue!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm Still Full...

I mention a lot in things I write that time passes so fast and I'm certainly feeling that way today as Thanksgiving is just about a week behind us. I think part of why I get stuck thinking about this is because I've got this huge desire to do something great and make a difference in this world somehow and I feel like the days are going by too quickly to make that happen. Ok, that would be a post for another time. Let me stay on track with talking about how tremendous Thanksgiving was this year!

Allison and I stuck to tradition totally and it proved to be yet another delicious feast. This was our 8th year cooking together and both of us agree that this was our best yet! I had gotten out of work early the day before so, after a two hour phone date with Amanda, I finally got the rest of our errands done and went over to Allison's to spend the night. I made quiche for dinner (really so we could have leftovers for breakfast to expand our stomachs for the day, of course), we drank wine, and talked about things we are thankful for this year. Come Thanksgiving morning, we were up early to get the turkey in the oven and begin the day:
You see all that garlic on the outside? He's also stuffed with it underneath the skin and it turned out freakin' delicious. We were quite proud of the turkey this year. I won't be over the top in uploading food pictures (even though I want to) but take a look at that bird:
Yum yum! We had this awesome goal of eating early so we weren't too stuffed for pumpkin pie but that so didn't happen. We didn't make pie last year either because we were so full and I swore that would never happen again, since pumpkin pie is one of my favorite things. went the same way this year, boooo! Anyway, we did our usual menu consisting of turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle, and stuffing - everything homemade of course - and it was just so good. I love the joy that comes from Thanksgiving dinner and honestly the comfort of tradition. Growing up in my house wasn't the easiest thing but we established traditions early on for Thanksgiving and Christmas that I absolutely cling to every year. I think that's because those were two times in our house that were truly happy and I equate the holidays with laughter and love, probably more than the average person would. At any rate, the tradition Allison and I have of cooking with one another is so very special to me and I know one day it will have to end (should I ever get married in this lifetime) so the two of us just hold dear the memories we make and the blessings that come from it. So, another Thanksgiving down and onward we head towards Christmas! I go home to GA in less than three weeks and I'm so excited, I might just explode. I'm ready to sit by the fire, drink wine, and be with my family, dog, and dear sweet friends. :)