Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wine and Love v8

It's Thursday!  Woo hip!  Well, actually, it's my Friday since I move tomorrow and all so I took the day off.  This my wine & love of the week - post theme thought up by Nora

- Let me preface this wine by saying, I really do love my job.  But this week sucked.  My boss has promised me that it will get better - and I trust him, so I hope he works his magic soon, because this whole reorg thing has wreaked havoc on my role thus far.
- I am bleeding money.  Seriously.  This week I found out about a moving fee that I wasn't told about.  And then I found out about another background check that the HOA wants to run.  And I found out that the leasing agent didn't schedule an elevator for my move.  There are so many freaking moving parts that need to line up between me moving out and moving into the new building and the carpet cleaner coming and AHHH.  I just want to be done with the moving part so I can focus on the settling in part. 

- The rate on my mortgage reset this month and now it's 2.875%.  OMG - that is freaking low!  I got very lucky as it reset on a day when the 1 year Treasury Rate was at the lowest point of the year.  Hooray for my payment going down about $75!!
- I got some quality time with my family last weekend which was awesome.
- I have a long weekend so should have plenty of time to get settled into the new place!
- I worked late on Monday so to lift my spirits, I decided to swing by the grocery store in my new neighborhood to get a feel for what life will be like, post-move.  OMG I have never seen so many men in a grocery store - most of which were alone.  This might just be my new hang out spot.  Perhaps I should volunteer to hand out samples or something.  ;) 
- Today is my last day of commuting by bus and car!  I will gain back over 6 hours each week!!!  That's huge!
- This video because it makes me laugh.  It's a cinematic (well, I am using that word loosely) representation of how I sort of felt this week at work.  Warning - it is a bit gory...   It's really short, like 20 seconds, so check it out.  I may have watched it 5+ times yesterday - and laughed every time I watched it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moving Week!

It's moving week for me!  I feel pretty organized, but it's still going to be a hectic week. 
The movers come in the afternoon on Friday, so I will have the morning to do last minute packing... and some cleaning since my tenant moves in THE NEXT DAY.  I am not a huge fan of a 24 hour turnaround between moving out and the tenant moving in, but it is what it is.  I just might not sleep on Friday night.  Ha.  

Tonight 2 girlfriends come over to help me pack!  I am making creamy avocado pasta, tossed salad, and banana softserve for dessert!  They are so open minded and always willing to try my weird gluten-free, dairy-free meals - they are troopers, that's for sure!  Especially since they are helping me pack up my kitchen!

I'll be posting sporadically this week when I need a break from the packing insanity!  Oh, and you can read more about my move over at Lemonade Life where I will be guest posting this week!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Success Part Deux

Guess who passed another licensing exam yesterday? 

Woo hoo, it was me.  Or I should say, "Woo hip" which is my new phase as that is what my iPhone auto-corrects "woo hoo" to, so I just go with it. 

So woo hip.  Stick a fork in me, I am done. 

Can I just say I am SO freaking sick of studying and answering multiple questions about finance concepts and regulation.

The awesome thing is that on Wednesday night, I had a vivid dream that I passed the CFA!  I hope that was prophetic.  Still waiting on those results.  I don't want to wish the summer away, but I sure am anxious for the end of July/early August to roll around so I can know if I passed or not...

That's all from my neck of the woods.  I am basking in the fact that I DONE with finance exams.  And to celebrate, I am heading to the cabin this morning where I will rendezvous with my parents and 3 of my 4 siblings, and 4 of my 5 nephews!  Eeks, can't wait!

What are you up to this weekend?  Have you had to take any exams for your job?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wine and Love v8

You all know the drill!  It's hosted by the lovely Nora of Walking with Nora!

- I do not like the words "restructuring".  My department is going through that right now.  It *shouldn't* impact me, but we'll see how it all plays out.  I'll meet my boss's new boss next Monday - it will be good to get to know him and get a feel for what he is like.
- I have this painful blister on the side of my heel that will not go away.  I didn't really get any blisters when training for the marathon, so it's odd that I am getting them when I am running way fewer miles/week. 
- Speaking of skin maladies, I have the worst eczema on my leg.  The topical cream the doctor gave me wasn't working so they put me on a steroid for a week.  That didn't work either.  Besides being super itchy/uncomfortable, it looks HORRIBLE. 

- Today is my Friday.  I am meeting up with a friend tonight after work and then tomorrow morning I will head to the cabin for the weekend.  Can't wait!
- I got to go out to happy hour with my SIL that lives here in the cities.  I am very, very fortunate as my brothers have both married women that I think of as sisters, not sisters-in-law.  My sisters also married men that I consider brothers.  I really hit the jackpot on in-laws, big time.
- I move a week from tomorrow.  Hip hip hooray!  Next week 2 of my girlfriends are coming over to help me pack up my kitchen.  I am definitely very, very thankful for their help!  We'll start the night with one final meal in my condo + wine before getting to work!!
- My aunt who is battling cancer had wonderful blood test results on Monday!  Fingers crossed that her scans go well in August.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The e-Reader Debate

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

As I've mentioned, I've been doing a whole lot of packing in preparation for the big move on July 1st.  Dear God I have a lot of stuff. I really didn't think I did, but boy was I wrong. 

I mentioned some other random things that I've accumulated over the years, like decks of cards.  But the # 1 thing occupying my space is most definitely books!

The 2 stacks of boxes & the white box are all books!

Holy canasta I have a lot of books.  I mean, I knew this.  But when I had to box them up and schlepp these 9 boxes across my condo, it really made me realize that I had a lot of books. 

I love owning books but last fall I came to the point where I realize I had to stop buying books.  I was out of space - big time.  I do want to have a library in a house someday, but that is very far off as I am years away from living in a home big enough to have a room just dedicated to books!

So I bought a Nook.  I was pretty quiet about it because truth be told, I feel like the reading community sort of looks down on people who buy e-readers.  I think there is this perception that if you really love books, you would never buy an e-reader. 

I understand the debate against e-readers.  I think we are all pretty familiar w/ the arguments against e-readers. so I won't get into that.  This is why I love my Nook...

- I am out of space.  Besides those 9 boxes above, I am pretty sure I have 1-2 boxes in storage.  I do not have any more room for displaying/storing books.
- It's great for traveling.  I travel a lot.  Mostly for pleasure, but soon I will travel for work.  It's nice to not have to worry about finding room in my suitcase for books.  Especially on week-long trips, like my trip to Paris. 
- My back says thank you.  Some books are not meant to be carried around in a purse.  Like Anna Karenina (which I carried around for over a month last summer). 
- 24/7 access to multiple books.  If I finish a book on a vacation or on my bus ride, no worries - I can select another one (I usually have 2-3 unread books on my Nook).  Or I can buy one.
- I have access to free books.  Many of the classics are free. there is "Free Book Friday" (a select book is free), and I can also borrow books from the library.
- Hands free reading.  I don't know about you, but I find it hard to read a physical book while eating lunch.  It's tough to keep the book open.  With the nook, I just push a button to turn the page.  Way easier!

So that's why I love my Nook.  There are some things I don't love about it, though - like how inconvenient it is to see how many pages are left in a chapter.  You can page forward & back to do this, but it's not all that easy, I guess you could say.  Also, I do miss the ability to lend good books to friends.  Granted, one of my best friends has a nook, so we can lend each other "Lend Me" books, but unfortunately, not that many are lendable - or at least not the ones I'd like to lend to her!

So there you have it.  I am definitely an e-book convert!  I, of course, will continue to buy some books in print, but the majority of my future book purchases will be on my Nook.

Do you own an e-reader?  What do you think of e-readers?  Love 'em?  Hate 'em?  Indifferent?  Do you agree that there is a bit of a perception that people who truly love books would never buy an e-reader? 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Meet Charlie!

This weekend I finally got a chance to go to my parents' cabin for the weekend.  I was especially excited for this weekend as I finally got to meet my nephew Charlie who was born 4 weeks ago today!  Oh my goodness, he is such a perfect baby (I may be a bit biased, but see for yourself, photos are below)!

It was pretty much a perfect weekend.  The weather was gorgeous!  I ate very well.  A little too well, probably, but that's what cabin weekends are all about.  I spent hours reading and soaked up the time with family.  I got to help my dad celebrate Father's Day.  I slept 8 hours each night!

I could tell you more about the weekend, but I will let the pictures do the talking!

Holding Charlie for the first time!

Hanging out with Grandpa.  I love how the pacifier is almost as big as his head!

Is there anything more relaxing than watching a baby sleep?

Andrew holding Charlie for the first time.  The boys were super curious about this little baby and could not believe that he only gets to drink milk.  They kept say, "No yogurt?  Really?"

The boys love to fish.  Andrew is a such a patient older brother!  I love how they think they need a net to catch pan fish!  Too cute.

I think the paddle boat will get a lot of use this summer.  Matthew's legs are too short to pedal, so Andrew does all the pedaling.  Quite the good set up for Matthew!
I am looking forward to heading back to the cabin this weekend.  My sister & her husband will be home from Tucson for the weekend - I can't wait to spend some quality time with them.  I hope they bring some hot, sunny weather with them! 

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Monday, June 20, 2011

As Soon As...

Last week I was emailing back and forth with the newly-married Charbelle about how busy our schedules are.  In my email I said something like, "as soon as I have moved, then life will slow down." 

She laughed and said that she was pretty sure that once the move is behind me, something else will come along and monopolize my time, whether it's work or training for my half-marathon or a full social calendar. 

I agreed and said that I definitely sound like a broken record.  "As soon as..." is a recurring phrase that I use. 

As soon as the marathon is behind me, I'll have more time.

As soon as the series 7 is behind me, I'll have more time.

As soon as the CFA is behind me, I'll have more time.

As soon as the move is behind me, I'll have more time.

While I do have significantly more free time now that the CFA exam is behind me, I still feel like I am pretty busy.  I don't think that is going to change, and I am ok with that.  I like having a busy and full life.  I'd rather have a calendar that is too full than one that is empty. 

No matter how busy I get, I have committed myself to getting 4-5 runs in each week.  Since I have quite a post-work commitments, that means I have to get some of my runs in before work....  Which means getting up at 4:30. 

Do I like it?  No, not really.  I groan a bit when the 4:30 alarm goes off.  and my pace freaking sucks; I'm about 10-20 seconds/mile slower.  I'm slowly learning to accept that and to just appreciate the fact that I am getting the miles in instead of skipping runs. 

Once I move downtown, I'll have a 10 minute walk to work instead of a 40 minute commute in the car/bus.  So instead of getting up at 4:30, I can get up at 5, which sounds way easier (my usual wake up time is 5:15).  So I just have to make it through the next 2 weeks of 4:30 runs.  Which I can totally do, since I only end up doing pre-work runs 2-3 times a week. 

So yes, life is busy.  But life is good.  :)

When do you fit in your work-outs?  Do you prefer working out in the morning or evening?  On week nights, I prefer to run after work.  On weekends, I prefer to start my run around 7-8 am. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wine and Love v7

Another week of wines & loves!!  You can link up over at Nora's blog if you decide to participate!

- Allergy season has come late here in Minnesota.  You know, since we didn't have a spring and all.  I could do without all the cotton and pollen floating around in the air.  It's kind of tough to blow your nose on a run, I don't exactly carry kleenexes with me...
- Being a home owner is so expensive sometimes.  This week I had to have my freezer repaired & my patio screen re-screened.  Le sigh.  Between the expense of moving and these repairs, June is going to be one expensive month!

- I have my last finance exam next Thursday.  This one is a short one on financial regulations.  I cannot wait to be done with tests for the year.  Well, assuming I pass.  And I freaking better pass (I'll find out immmediately like I did the for the series 7).
- I am really on top of packing. 
- It's great to have time to cook delicious meals again.  On Sunday I made a pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  Mmm. 
- Finding almond milk yogurt at the grocery store.  It's pricey, but it will be a nice treat for me!  And another good source of calcium. 
- Having a full social calendar again.  This week I had HH with friends on Tuesday, dinner with a friend on Wednesday, and a bbq with a friend tonight. 
- I will FINALLY get to meet my new nephew, Charlie, when I go to the cabin this weekend!  I am sure I'll be back with pictures next week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When you move...

My goodness, I am in the midst of packing.  I literally have a wall of boxes in my living room - I am not exaggerating.  It would make one heck of a fort if I was like 4 or something.  Besides packing a whole lot fo stuff, I threw out a whole lot of stuff.  You see, I haven't moved in 6 years.  You sort of start to accumulate things when you don't move very often.  It's almost like a person should pretend they are moving once a year - it would force you to go through your crap and throw stuff/donate stuff!

Here are some things you realize when you move...

- I do not need to buy anymore black/navy cardigans.  You know, since I own 7.
- I found a can of vegetables that expired in 2007.  Hmm.  Maybe I should go through my cupboards a bit more often...
- I own 8 DECKS OF CARDS.  What single person needs 8 decks of cards.  Actually, I don't think a family even needs 8 decks of cards. 
- Moving can kind of a be a bit of a treasure hunt.  I found starbucks & Caribou gift cards, a bag of quarters, and a 20 Euro note.  Btw, how did I come back from Europe with money?  I am pretty sure that's from my 2008 trip.  And why did I not discover that when I was packing for Paris in Feb?
- Gosh I have a lot of jackets.  I am fully aware of my outerwear fetish, but when I packed, I counted how many I own.  I own 13 jackets + 4 running jackets.  But in my defense, I do wear all of them.  And I live in a state where it can be cold like 9 months of the year. 

Looks at all those coats!!

Are there any things that you tend to accumulate?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  This week the ToT questions were thought up by me.  So answer one/some/all of them in your comments (or on your blog!).  Chelsea hosts this weekly post, and you can link up over on her blog

1. How do you pronounce the word aunt? Does your pronunciation rhyme with ‘haunt’ or ‘can’t'?
It rhymes with 'haunt'.  I believe I am in the minority on this pronunciation.  I feel like my ND friends are the only people who say it that way.

2. Do most of the people in your life know you blog? Or are you partially or totally anonymous?
I think most of the people who know me really well know that I blog.  But I am not totally 'out there' with my blogging - meaning, I don't have my blog on my facebook page, and I don't really advertise the fact that I have a blog.  Most of my family and some close friends read it. 

3. When you grocery shop, do you prefer to bag your own groceries or do you like it when the store bags them for you? Paper, plastic, or reusable bags?
I try to use reusable when I remember to bring them (and am not buying too many groceries).  Otherwise i prefer plastic as I use have an easy time reusing the bags.  I actually prefer to bag my own groceries.  I find that when they bag them for you, they put WAY too much stuff in each bag.

4. Do you have a green thumb?
Hells, no.  The only plant I can keep alive is a cactus my friend gave me years ago. 

5. If you watch the Food Network, which chef/show host is your favorite?
Definitely Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa.  I love her French-inspired recipes.  And I think her & her husband are ADORABLE.  They are just so in love.  Or appear to be.  She really lights up when she talks about a special meal she is preparing for him!  Gah!  I want that kind of love.  Except with Amos Lee instead of Jeffrey (yep, still obsessed with Amos).

6. Do you like to take baths? Do you take them very often?
The only baths I have taken in the 6 years I have lived in my condo are ice baths during marathon training.  I am so not a bath person.  I get bored.  And since I am sort of tallish, I never really fit in the bathtub (at least not the tubs I've had in the places I've lived).  If I never take another bubble bath in my life, I am totally ok with that.  I did love my post-long run ritual of sitting in the bath while watching a rom-com of some sort (I can see my tv from my bathtub if I leave the bathroom door open).  I realize this is an odd ritual, but whatever.  I'm quirky like that.

7. What color are the walls in your kitchen?
They are sort a red that sort of has an orangey hue to it.  I was hoping for more of a brick red color.  I didn't dislike it enough to paint it again, though (I despise painting).

The walls of my new place's kitchen are yellow.  Like EVERY SINGLE OTHER WALL IN THE APARTMENT.  Seriously.  Who likes yellow that much??  I will probably be painting the bathroom and possibly the living room/kitchen area.

8. Do you prefer to dine outdoors or indoors?
As long as it's not too buggy outside, I prefer to eat outside.  I think it's so relaxing!  Especially at the cabin when you can hear the water lapping on the shore.  Ahh...  It's like heaven on earth!

9. Describe your ideal weather.
In the summer, I like it to be 80 & sunny with no clouds in the sky and a light breeze.  In the fall, I love a cool, crisp, 50 degree day. 

For running, I like temps in the 45-55 range.

10. If you could learn any foreign language, which would you choose to learn?
I'll be captain obvious here.  French.  Of course.  Je parle un peu (I speak a little for the non-francophiles out there).  When all the CFA exams are behind me (I have 2 more levels), I plan on taking some French classes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Third Time's a Charm, I hope?

This weekend was an absolutely perfect weekend for running!  It was in the 55-60 degree range (that's around 12-15C for my Canadian friends).  So pretty much perfect weather.  I got a nice 6 miler in on Sunday and was pleased to look at my garmin and see that my fastest miles were my last 2.  Woo hoo!

Now that the CFA exam is behind me, I am shifting my focus back to running.  Sure, I ran while I studied, but it was more of a stress-relief activity.  I wasn't working to improve my pace or to become a stronger run.  I was just running to keep myself from losing my mind!

Now I am ready to push myself and become a stronger runner.  So how do I go about doing that?

I have decided to try another running club.  This will be my 3rd club that I'll be trying out.  Maybe you remember the first one - you know, the one where the guy showed up wearing a khaki kilt?  Then there was the one I tried last summer where I could not seem to find anyone in my pace group.  I kept going in the hopes that eventually I would find someone in my pace group, but had no luck. 

The third time is a charm, though, right?  That is what I am telling myself.  In July I'll join a local club called Club Run.  The membership is $75 for July-October, which I think is really reasonable.  There are 3 work-outs per week with coaches.  I think this is really going to be good for me! 

Besides wanting to improve my time and hopefully achieve a sub-2 hour 1/2, I am also hoping to make some new friends through this group.  While I am blessed with having running friends across the US and Canada, I don't have any running friends in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  It sounds like this group goes out for brunch after the Saturday long run, and will occasionally grab dinner after some of the weeknight runs, so I think I will *hopefully* make some new friends!

I'm sure I will let you know how it goes after I attend my first work-out.  Fingers crossed that there are no kilt-wearing runners...

Do you prefer to run/exercise alone or with others?  I actually really like running alone, but I know I need to run with others if I want to improve my pace/level of fitness!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wine and Love v6

Here is this week's wine and love, concept thought up by the lovely Nora

  • My amazing ability to get sinus infections at inoportune moments (not that there is ever a good time to get sick).  I got a sinus infection the week of Christmas, right before leaving for Paris, and the week of the CFA exam.  It was lovely answering questions with a pounding sinus headache. 
  • Missing the cut-off for canceling my bus pass for July by 2 days.  There goes $76. 
  • The chaos that is my condo right now.  Boxes, boxes, everywhere!  I move 3 weeks from tomorrow!!
  • Tuesday night was exhausting.  I ran way too many errands in one night and it was over 100 degrees.
  • But then Wednesday sucked even more.  I couldn't find a dress in my closet that I recently had altered.  No idea where it could have gone.  Then I got a speeding ticket on the way to my park & ride (first speeding ticket ever, so pissed at myself).  So I then missed my bus so got to work later than I like to.  To calm myself down, I pulled out "The Art of Racing in the Rain" and got to a super sad part and then proceeded to cry.  On a packed bus.  Mortifying. 
  • Getting my first article published at work last week.  The article is about an investment product called STRIPS.  I won't bore you with an explanation of what they are because I know it's only interesting to me.  My boss and I had lots of laughs trying to come up with a good title for the article that wasn't risque.  Because you couldn't really entitle it, "Stripping for money" or "Intro to Stripping" or "Finding Value in Stripping" for obvious reasons. 
  • Cutting into an avocado that is PERFECTLY ripe!  Yea!  Now if they would just come down in price a bit! 
  • Peach black iced teas from Caribou.  Be still my heart.  And they started a frequency program, every 8th drink is free, which is a good deal, I think!
  • The fact that I move in 3 weeks.  Yes, I am a bit stressed by all I have to do, but I am going to be done with suburbia very soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Learned a Lot

Remember when I said I totally fell in love with Amos Lee last month?  This is one of my favorite songs off his newest album.

Spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling
Spent a lot of time talking to walls
Spent a lot of time chasing that old time feeling
Spent a lot of time waiting on your call

It's all about the lessons you learn through heart break.  You see, I've been dating for 14 years.  14 YEARS.  That is a long time.  I have siblings and friends that dated for about 1/4 - 1/2 of that time.  So yes, I've dated a lot, but I have also learned a lot. 

And I've learned a lot
really learned a lot
broken down on my bedroom floor
yes I've learned a lot
really learned a lot
I hope you found what you were looking for

Here are some of the lessons I've learned over the last 14 years:

  • If they care, they will call; if they don't, they won't. 
  • Trust your gut instinct.  Don't dismiss a feeling that something doesn't feel right. 
  • The one who cares the least has the most control.  A detectible misbalance (regardless of whether you are the one who cares more or less) puts a not-so-good spin on the relationship.  
  • You can not buy the other person's affections by being the perfect girlfriend.  It's not about being perfect.  It's about being perfect for each other.
  • If you aren't happy on your own, you won't be happy in a relationship.  In the beginning?  Yes.  But in the long run?  Unlikely.
  • It is far better to be single than to be in an unfulfilling relationship.
  • This quote is totally true:  "Relationships--of all kinds--are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the  sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost." 
Oh and darling
Instead of running
I think it might be time to sit down
and deal with the pain

Late at night I sit and listen to the freeway
rolling like a river on a distant shore
nobody told me that living was easy
I ain't living in fear anymore

It's taken years, but I recently realized that I have let go of the wounds of past relationships. 

I have let go of the bitterness.  I have let go of the "Whys" and the "How could yous" and instead of focusing on the disappointments of past dating experiences, I'm shifting my focus to appreciating the lessons I've learned along the way. 

I'll close with this great quote about forgiveness and letting go of things that has really resonated with me:

"We are chained to that which we do not forgive...  Imagine a ship trying to set sail while towing an anchor.  Cutting free is not a gift to the anchor.  You must release that burden, not because the anchor is worthy, but because the ship is." 

What have you learned through your years of dating?

And PS - isn't Amos Lee dreamy?  I mean, he's the total package in my opinion.  Great voice.  Plays the guitar.  Has adorably disheleved hair.  Wear glasses.  What's not to love? 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Another set of questions, hosted by Chelsea of Roots and Rings!

1. What type of phone do you have? Do you like it?
I recently got an iPhone, which I really like.  Except the touch screen.  I swear, I could have sent an email on my blackberry blind folded.  I can look directly at the screen and still screw up half the words.  Have not adjusted to the touch screen!

I also have a blackberry for work, but it's primarily for email.

2. How old were you when you got your first cell phone?
I was 21. 

3. How many cell phones have you owned since your first?
Maybe 4? 

4. How much is your average monthly phone bill?
It is right around $74.  I never go over my minutes.  Ever.  I think $74 is pretty reasonable for a smart phone.  Luckily I get almost 25% off because of an employee discount program.

5. When you were a kid/teenager, were you allowed to have a phone in your room?
I think when I was a junior or senior they let me have a phone in my room? 

6. Do you like talking on the phone or do you despise it? Or somewhere in-between?
I am not really a phone person...  I prefer email and text messages because I am awkward on the phone.  Except at work, I can talk on the phone.  But outside of work, not so great on the phone.  But I have some dear friends who live far away so I do make time to talk to them as often as we can.

7. Do you text a lot? Is texting/talking while driving illegal where you live? Are you guilty of it anyway?
Yes.  I am big on texting.  It's my preferred method of communication.  It is illegal to text and drive.  I did it quite a bit on my blackberry because I could send an entire text without looking at the phone once.  Now I try not to text and drive since I am horrible at typing on my iPhone.  But i have done it a couple of times.

8. What sort of texting keyboard does your phone have? Touch screen, slide out, or something different? Do you care?
Touch screen.

9. Look at the last call in your call log – who is it? What were they calling about? Who calls you the most?
The last call was from my friend Amanda.  We went to a movie last night and she called to tell me to get seats for us as she was going to be a little late due to traffic.  (We saw Bridesmaids, which was hilarious!)

10. What is the longest phone call you can recall having?Probably a phone conversation with my high school boyfriend.  He lived an hour away so we talked on the phone A LOT.  And it was long distance.  Not sure how I got away with that.  I think there were some discussions about very expensive phone bills.  I think we would talk for hours upon hours.  Ah, young love.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Je suis fatigue!

So...  I said I would take a couple of days off from blogging.  But here I am! 

The test is over.  Finished.  Finito.  I feel good about it - or as good as I can feel.  I am resisting the urge to analyze how it went.  I have an idea of what my score could potentially be and am pretty confident it should be in the passing range (whatever that is, it's not published and is determined every year).  I don't want to jinx it and say I definitely passed.  Instead I will say, the odds of me passing are good.  I will find out in August.  It's out of my hands now! 

It was pretty funny to see the guy to girl ratio on test day.  I am going to say it was probably 80% men.  Possibly more.  I was definitely the only girl in a dress (it's what I feel most confident in).  I definitely developed some test rituals.  Besides wearing a dress, I wrote the exam with a pink #2 pencil.  And I decided it would be good luck to eat lunch at a French restaurant (Nicoise salad, fresh squeezed lemonade.  Mmm).  If I pass the test, I will repeat those rituals next June when I take level 2 (here's hoping I am taking level 2 and not re-taking level 1!!)

Oh and the CFA institute should totally host some sort of speed dating event.  There were some good looking guys there!  Ha!  Maybe they could hold it over the 2 hour lunch break.  ;)  Although as I used to say in my math program when I was totally the minority, it might be another case of "The odds were good, but the goods were odd."

When I walked out of the exam room, I felt about 100 x's lighter.  I wanted someone to high five me!  I wanted to skip!  I headed to my aunt & uncles where I was greeted with wine!  And then a champagne toast!  And then a yummy Mexican meal with margaritas!  It was such a fun night - lots of laughter, lots of sighs of relief on my part.

Yesterday, the exhaustion set in.  I don't think I let myself really feel exhausted until the test was over because I didn't have time to think about how tired I have been lately or to re-adjust my schedule. 

I sat down and thought about all the things that have happened this year.  Since January 1st, I...
- healed a broken heart
- visited Abby in Tucson
- visited Nora in St. Louis
- started a new job
- celebrated my 30th birthday with a fabulous French-themed party
- spent a week in Paris and chronicled my adventures here
- visited Becky in DC, ran a horrible race with Charbelle, and met Jess, another DC-area blogger
- studied for and passed the Series 7
- found a tenant to rent my condo and a condo to rent downtown!
- studied for (and hopefully passed) level 1 of the CFA

Le sigh.  That is freaking lot to pack into 5 months!

It's no wonder I am exhausted.  Looking back, I may have slightly over-scheduled those first 5 months of the year.  I can't say I would change a thing.  I'm just really, really tired. 

I have to get through the next 4 weeks of packing/moving/settling in...  (luckily some friends have offered to help.  My friends rock!)  And I have plans to go to my parents lake cabin every weekend this month, so I will get some much-needed R&R on the weekends. 

But after the move?  I need to take time to do things I enjoy instead of doing things I HAVE to do.  I plan on doing a whole lot of running.  I want to watch all 6 seasons of SATC whilst knitting (not in one sitting, of course, but over the course of a couple of months.)   I want to take walks with girlfriends around the local lake or along the river.  I want to try new recipes.  I want to dine al fresco and drink wine on my balcony.  I want to check out my new, fun, vibrant neighborhood.   

I think when it's all said in done, I will look back on the first 6 months of this year and think - "I don't know how you did it, but you did it.  Now let's not do it again."

Is there a period of your life that you look back on and wonder how you fit it all in?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wine and Love v5

  • Coming down with a cold last Friday.  Not so great timing for that.  Better last weekend than this coming weekend, but still...  Super annoying.
  • Stress. 
  • Going to home improvement stores, like Home Depot.  I despise going to places like this, but it was a necessary evil as I have a few projects to complete before moving out.
  • All this CFA craziness will be over after Saturday.  I'll be celebrating with my parents and aunt & uncle on Saturday night.  I think a lot of margaritas will be consumed (well, by me, maybe not by the others!)!
  • I got to help my nephew celebrate his 6th birthday yesterday!!
  • My new iPhone!  There are some things I miss about my blackberry (like having an actual keyboard - I don't like the touch screen keyboard), but I do love my new phone.  And access to great aps, like Words With Friends - my user name is ldotz - look me up if you have this ap! 
  • Organizing my closet during my study break this weekend.  It was nice to do something that made me feel 'in control'.  And my closet looks fantastic right now.
This is my last post until after the CFA.  I'll likely take a couple of days off next week to bask in the fact that I no longer have this test looming over me.  Oh, and I won't be able to tell you if I passed or not - I will find out in 2 months.  I think they must send our test results to some remote grading location by way of a carrier pigeon or something because that is an exorbitantly long time to wait for test results.

Wish me luck!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of May


Turning Tables by Adele - The music industry is benefiting from the fact that I am taking the CFA.  I keep rewarding myself for studying by buying albums.  My latest purchase is Adele's new CD.  I think she has such a gorgeous, soulful voice.

Enchanted by Taylor Swift - Since I based this post off the lyrics from this song, I feel like this should be one of my top songs from the month.  I will say, Taylor Swift does not sound awesome live - at least not in this video...  And if you listen to it, it cuts away to interviews half way through...  but at least it gives you an idea of what the song sounds like. 


The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor - This was the May blogger book club book.  I didn't love the book and struggled with it a bit...  but it was a fairly fast read and the blogger book club discussions were interesting.  This month we are reading "Something Borrowed".  I am not sure if I will like this book as I know it deals with infidelity and I don't think that's a light/funny/cute subject...  But we'll see what I think of it!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - I really liked this book - it was a book that Nora recommended I read and she was spot on with this recommendation.  It's set in Barcelona and is about a young boy that discovers a book that is being systematically destroyed so that no copies will remain. 

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard - This was a fun, light read, which is just what I needed.  It tells the story of a young girl in her upper 20s who falls in love with a Frenchman and moves to Paris.  I kind of want her life.  Similar to other books I've read that were set in France, each chapter concludes with a couple of recipes.  Definitely a fun book for a Francophile to read!


It was a better mileage month for me,  but still not great.  Total miles were around 50 I think?  Which doesn't sound like much to most runners, but it's good enough for me...  Right now I just don't have the time to put in a lot of miles each week, but that will change when I finish this test!  I mean, I will gain about 15-20+ hours of my week back so I will have NO EXCUSE not to run.


This is one of the dresses I bought last month.  Actually, I bought this dress in 2 colors - the brown pictured here and then an olive green color.  Yes, I take a Mr. Rogers approach to dresses.  I realize it's boring, but oh well!  I work with a bunch of men and most of them don't pay attentioned to what I wear so they would never really notice that I have the same dress in 2 different colors.  I pair it with a cardigan and some flats.  Perfect summer outfit in my opinion.