Day 5: Really? Only Day 5? It Feels Like We’ve Been Here Forever

I think Day 5 ended up being AJ’s second favorite day of the whole trip. When going through the pictures that I took (which we did several times to remind her of places we had been throughout the trip), it was this day that she commented on with such happiness until we reached Petra on one of the last days (that was her favorite day).

On Day 5 we started by visiting the Garden of Gethsamane, where we got to see olive trees that date back to the time of Christ. AJ was fascinated by these trees and spent many minutes just staring at them in disbelief. They really were interesting trees:


Then it was off to the Israeli Museum and the Shrine of the continue on, dear reader!

Day 4: Arriving in Jerusalem

Friday we were up and hit the road early. We spent some time in the ruins of an old Kursi church that dated back the time of Empress Helen, the mother of Constantinople, and the one responsible for many of the churches built on holy sites around Israel and other parts of the middle east. Then we drove to the ruins at Bat She’an, where I took a great picture of AJ in the excavated amphitheater from the year 200 AD:


The city was destroyed by a massive earthquake in the mid-700s, and the ruins they have uncovered are extensive. AJ and I walked around quite a bit, admiring just how much has been uncovered.


From Bat She’an we began driving south through the … continue on, dear reader!

On Meeting New People

It is here in my talk of my trip to Israel that I will comment on some of the folks with whom we traveled.

20161031_134026As I said in a prior posts, during meals you could sit with whomever you wanted. But our bus rides were color coded. AJ and I were on the blue bus, with a tour guide named Dan. Dan was outstanding. His historical knowledge was on display during our entire 12-day trip and he knew a lot. When someone had a follow-up question to something he said, he always knew the answer. It was clear that he had been doing this tour for a long time (he said he was in his tenth year leading tours around Israel). He was warm, … continue on, dear reader!

Day 3: Just Getting Warmed Up

So I mentioned in my post a couple days ago that I packed light since I knew I could do laundry at our hotels. I wore jeans for my two travel days, two pairs of shorts and a pair of white pants. On Day 2, our tour guide mentioned we needed to wear long pants, so I wore my white pants. Upon arriving at the end of Day 2, our tour guide mentioned we needed to wear long pants the following day (it is because sites maintained by the Franciscan orders had dress codes). No big deal, I thought. I can get away with wearing these white pants two days in a row.

Day 3 started with breakfast at the hotel, where we continued meeting … continue on, dear reader!

Day 2: The Day of the Weird Dance Party

On day 2, I quickly realized just how jam packed this trip was going to be. This would not be a resting vacation in the slightest. On day 2, we went to Menza Christi, Capernaum, the Mount of Beatitudes, a viewing of the “Jesus Boat,” a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee – and all this BEFORE LUNCH (which admittedly was late – around 2:30 p.m.)

This is what actually started the day:


That is the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee as seen from the hotel dining room. Simply gorgeous. The land on the horizon is Golan Heights, a large swath of land that separates Israel from Syria.

After breakfast, the entire group group (about 150 people) boarded the buses to travel … continue on, dear reader!

Day 1: Where Did October Go? To Israel, That’s Where!

And just like that it’s November. Sheesh, time is flying by. Next thing you know I’ll be talking about Christmas decorations on the house.

But first up, I can tell you that after my work project went live, work remained busy for a couple weeks and then I spent a week getting my stuff parceled out because it was time for me to go on VACATION. Back in April, my sister had called me to gauge my interest in accompanying her mother-in-law on a two-week trip to Israel and Jordan. Apparently her bucket list included going to see Petra in person, and this trip included a side trip to Jordan in order to do just that. Unfortunately, she was unable to travel by herself due … continue on, dear reader!

And Just Like That It’s Over

It’s 2:00 a.m. and my big project at work is officially over. I don’t know what I’ll do with my time over the next couple of weeks. The funniest thing is that I will REALLY miss the Excel workbook I’ve been using for this project – that thing was a beast.

I’m currently at my office, sitting in the support center helping with whatever they need, which frankly, isn’t much (which is good). Our project "went live" at midnight and other than a couple hiccups, it has gone well thus far.

I’ve learned a lot from this project – the best thing is that I’m really good at tactical and operational project management. It’s definitely my wheelhouse.

The other most notable thing I’ve learned is … continue on, dear reader!

“Don’t Leave”

Back in July, I wrote about my amazing boss, and how she was (*sob*) leaving me to go work elsewhere within our vast organization. The good news is that I still get to see her from time to time since she has a weekly meeting in my building, so she’s not completely gone. She has also Skyped me during the workday a couple times just to check in and see how everything is going.

In July I also wrote about the promotion that I received, and how even though my work won’t change much, I’ll be reporting to my old boss’s boss and dealing in much higher level work.

Things have been going well in my new role thus far. The big project that I’ve … continue on, dear reader!

School’s Back In Session!

lego schoolHave I mentioned that school is back in session? YAY for the kids becoming engaged in society again after a three-month hiatus!

Earlier this week I went to meet the kids’ teachers. They are in 7th and 8th grade this year. Somehow they ended up with a bevy of teachers who are anti-homework, or at least anti-homework every night.

CootieBoy ended up having all of the teachers CootieGirl had last year, save one. He was happy about that because he knew all his teachers would be nice thanks to CG’s gushing over them last year. CG didn’t recognize any of the teachers on her list, but came home the first day gushing about her math teacher ("he’s hilarious!") and one other teacher ("she’s funny but … continue on, dear reader!

Where Did Our Vacation Go?

Can you believe it? We’re back from vacation more than a month and I still haven’t closed out the stories!

Ready for a fast track? Here goes!

July 5: Walked the Brooklyn Bridge with the kids, then hopped over to Chinatown where Cootieboy had another meltdown in a Chinese ice cream shop. I had a taste of the dulian-flavored ice cream and it was surprisingly delicious. We then all began walking towards Little Italy but Denis quickly determined it was a "walk to nowhere" since everyone was in a pissy mood, so we opted to head downtown to wait for our entrance time for the 9/11 museum. By the time we got there, CB had calmed down, Denis had calmed down, and everyone was back … continue on, dear reader!

Van Gogh and Nintendo and Fireworks, Oh My!

July 4, despite being a holiday, was a busy vacation day for the Cootie clan.  After a late morning (thanks to some work-related stuff I had to do), we hit the subway and headed to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.  Upon walking in, the kids were not enthused, but I was determined to see everything, even if I had a whiny CootieBoy to contend with (“I don’t know ANY of these artists and I don’t WANT to know any of these artists!”).  We wound our way through the halls where I got to see Warhol, Monet, Rothko, Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Pollock, Degas, Magritte, Wyeth, Mondrian, Johns, and Cezanne.  CB complained the whole time until eventually he came into a room and declared, “Finally! … continue on, dear reader!

The Career Ladder

job promotionThat graphic right there perfectly encapsulates everything going on at work right now.

I love my boss. I could talk about how amazing she is all the live long day – you’d get sick of me, really – but the fact of the matter is, she is quite simply the best boss I have ever had in my entire 25 years of working life thus far. She stands head and shoulders above anyone else. And the question you should be asking is, “What makes her so great?”

Well, let me share with you what makes her a great leader:

1) She never let me settle. I came in as a low-level secretary, and after only three months she realized what I could do and she … continue on, dear reader!

This Ain’t Guiliani’s New York Anymore

Say what you want about Rudy Giuliani (and opinions vary regarding both his professional and personal lives), but when he was Mayor of NYC (1994-2001), it was a safer and cleaner place to live than it had been for a couple decades.

Cut to July 3, 2016. Denis and CootieBoy have left for CitiField to see the Mets play ball for a few hours. CootieGirl and I trek into Manhattan to wander around Times Square for a while before heading to a Broadway play for which we had tickets. The subway ride was uneventful, and CG was happy to know that between she and CB, she was the first child to actually set foot in Manhattan (even if he was the first to ride the … continue on, dear reader!

When Leaving for Vacation Becomes Chaos and Confusion

Last week my family went on a much-needed vacation. This year we decided we’d head to NYC to see Denis’s family, and also to take the kids around the city they were too young to remember when we moved to SC. Since last summer when we booked the airfare, CootieBoy, in particular, has looked forward to this trip like no other.

It was iffy from the get go. We intended to leave for the airport by 5 a.m. to make our 8 a.m. flight. Unfortunately, when I set the alarm for 4 o’clock the night before, I set it for P.M., not A.M. I woke up on my own and looked at the clock and hollered in a panic, “Denis! Get up! It’s 5 o’clock!” … continue on, dear reader!

My TKD Days Come to an End…For Now

Tonight was my last night for TaeKwonDo.  My two-month trial comes to an end just as I completed my testing to get my yellow belt.  I didn’t get to go to class nearly as much as I hoped, but it was enough that I learned something and had a lot of fun.  There may come a day when I sign up to take classes again, but that day is not today. But in any case, I really enjoyed meeting other moms who were giving it a shot (three of us tested tonight) and I continue to enjoy spending time there whether I’m taking a class or not. I could feel my face turn beet red when they announced my name to go up and receive … continue on, dear reader!

Today I am 47

digital-47Today I am 47 years old.  That does not pain me in the slightest to say that.  I’m not one to get hung up on age – I’m a firm believer that your age does not define you.  I didn’t freak out when I turned 30, and I didn’t freak out when I turned 40.  I doubt I will freak out when I turn 50.

will freak out when I turn 67 because that means I can finally turn in my notice of retirement and spend the rest of my life relaxing Monday through Friday.

The past few days have been chock-full of activity.  On Thursday night Denis and I went to go see Death Cab for Cutie in concert in Charlotte.  He loves … continue on, dear reader!