A Look Back, Then Forward: September and October 2014

sept oct

The month of September was pretty low key. If I wasn’t working, I was resting and preparing to go back to work. I logged close to 250 hours this month and ya girl is beat. TI-YAD! But we’ve just entered the last quarter and my favorite season of the year – fall, my birthday, and holidays. Prayerfully, the rest of 2014 will bring nothing but joy and blessings.

A Look Back: September 2014

THE HIGHS :-)

  • Babysat my friend’s 9 month old twins for the first time. I had them for less than 8 hours, but maaaan, it was hard work. Shout out and much respect to moms of multiples!
  • Had a fun day at the trampoline park with my family.
  • Saw the movie No Good Deed. I thought it was corny, but I love Taraji and Idris together.
  • Spent 5 hours at the salon getting kinky twists. Ugh! Being able to spend the next 6-8 weeks with little to no hair care maintenance made it worth every minute.
  • My net worth for Q3 increased, only by 2.5% but I’ll take it.

THE LOWS :-(

  • Work, work, and more work with no overtime pay. The joy of being a salaried employee.
  • Had my pre-op appointment and pre-surgical testing. Without a doubt, I trust that everything is securely in God’s hands.

A Look Forward: October 2014

SouthAfrica

  • By the time this post is published, I will be on a dream vacation to the Motherland.
  • Immediately after I return, I will undergo major surgery.
  • Because of those two, I will be off work for the entire month of October.

All prayers and positive thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Totsiens!

Similar Posts: January February March April May June July August 

Summer Wrap Up

bye-summer

Summer has officially ended. *sad face* For the first time in years, I didn’t have any summer vacation plans, but that’s ok because it was still a pretty good one. Back in early June, I made a commitment to spend the summer exploring my city and jotted down a few things that I thought would be fun. Here’s the original list and a quick recap of what actually happened.

Note: I was supposed to add pics but I’m lazy. Most of them were already blogged, tweeted, or on FB.

  • Watch a movie and have a cocktail at an over 21 theater – this was first on my list, but I still didn’t make it. The closest theater shows indie movies so I really want to check it out.
  • Visit one of the water parks – I’m bummed this didn’t happen; maybe next summer.
  • Visit one of the trampoline parks – this was on my “big kid” bucket list for a long time and I was so excited. My family and I arrived at the facility as soon as it opened. For 2.5 hours, we jumped, played dodge ball and basketball, and tumbled in the ball pit. By lunchtime, we were all exhausted and starving. I think I had more fun than the kids. LOL!
  • Pig out at a Food Truck Festival – this was one of the first things I did this summer. I love the DC food truck scene. My favorite grub is vegetable samosas from an Indian truck, bulgogi from a Korean truck, beef empanadas from a Spanish truck, and red velvet cupcakes from the pink cupcake truck. My inner outer fat girl was a happy camper.
  • Watch a movie outdoors at the National Harbor - I’ve done this many times. It’s nice to sit near the water, catch a cool breeze, and watch a classic movie on a jumbo screen.
  • Attend an outdoors concert at the Capitol Riverfront – I forgot about this one. Oops.
  • Tour the White House – I submitted the request early, but the date they approved conflicted with other plans so we couldn’t do the full tour. I took my family to the White House visitor’s center and other DC monuments, so it wasn’t a complete bust.
  • Go to an Asian Spa and get naked in the bade pool – I did this a few years ago and it was different but not as awkward as expected, so my friends and I decided to go for a Girl’s Day Out. But after seeing this, we canceled our reservations and I will never go again.
  • Go to Jazz in the Garden on Friday night - we were lucky enough to choose a Friday that was not too hot. A cool evening, decent spot on the lawn, snacks and drizzanks, great friends, and a free concert. Can’t beat that with a bat.
  • Explore DC on a sightseeing bus tour – I bought tickets but couldn’t coordinate with my mom’s schedule. We’ll probably do it when she visits next month.
  • Shop at the Eastern Market and Union Market - EM is very eclectic, both indoors and outdoors, has a variety of local farmers/small business vendors, and a large selection from fresh produce to jewelry and art. We casually strolled the entire area, bought a few items, sampled everything, and I OD’d on wallamelon…of course. UM is smaller, indoors only, a few local farmers, vendor booths from DC restaurants, and a wine bar where we had an impromptu wine tasting. UM has more of a yuppy vibe, but I prefer the variety at EM.
  • Dinner and private karaoke at Korean restaurant – this was my first time doing private karaoke (noraebang?) and I had a ball with a few local friends and twitter buddies that were visiting for the weekend. We sang and laughed ’til it hurt. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t Diana Ross or Beyonce. Hmph. A good time was had by all.
  • Dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant – tried it, never again. Did. Not. Like. The memory makes me think of pureed Puppy Chow. Yuck!
  • Attend the DC Jazz Festival – I forgot all about this one, too. Dang!
  • Attend a Food & Wine Festival – this has become an annual tradition for me. I can never go a full summer without attending at least one wine festival. Unfortunately, I was disappointed this year. The wine was great, food was ok, but the crowd and entertainment left something to be desired. I need to find a new watering wine hole.
  • Visit the Newseum and Interactive Spy Museums – I love museums and could probably spend all day exploring this one. Unfortunately, we didn’t arrive until almost 2pm and they closed at 5pm. *sad face* With only a few hours, we explored the 9/11, Civil Rights, and Pulitzer exhibits, watched tribute videos and a 4D movie. We barely scratched the surface though. There’s so much more to see and I want to will go back again.
  • Go to the Beyonce/Jay-Z concert – YAAAASSSSSSSSS!! :-D
  • See the Lion King stage play at the Kennedy Center – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is my favorite-EST Disney movie and I loved seeing the stage play again. The visual recreation of each scene was on point and the performances were phenomenal. I was singing along for the entire 3+ hour show. It was worth every penny.
  • Visit one of the state parks with a mini beach – we had a mini reunion/family fun day at Gunpowder State Park in MD. I didn’t even know this park existed until we started searching for a location and it was perfect. It had a covered pavilion, gas grills, play area for the kids, and a beach. Best of all, it was FREE! My family came in from NY, NJ, CA, NC, MD, and VA, and we had fun at the park from 8am until sunset. Then the party continued at my cousin’s house until 2am. But once the spades hit the table, it was a wrap. My people + liquor + spades = DANGER. I can confirm that no one suffered bodily harm, but I can’t say the same for bruised egos. Good times man, good times. Ha!
  • Step out of my comfort zone and get an edgy hair cut and color – I haven’t bit the bullet yet, but I’m definitely going to do it before this year is out. Maybe for my birthday.
  • Read 2 books: Anxious for Nothing: God’s Cure for the Cares of Your Soul by John MacArthur and Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges – both of these books were great supplements to my regular bible reading. I began reading them and taking notes in my journal around June. A month or so later, I began to experience an unfortunate series of events and understood their purpose. He’s always on time.
  • Binge watch Orange is the New Black Season 2 - I finished season 2 in about a week and thought it was ok. The story line for the main characters, Piper and Alex, is boring and I’d quit watching if it were just them. But I enjoyed getting to know the other characters and learning more about their background, especially Taystee and Crazy Eyes. Love them! I did not like Ms. Vee at all and she got what she deserved at the end. Witch! I usually lose interest in a show after season 3, so we’ll see what happens next.

BONUS: I went sky diving and it was the highlight of my entire summer. I’ve watched my video over and over in pure shock because I still can’t believe I jumped out of an airplane while laughing. Aaaaack! The experience was scary AND fun…at the same dang time! My adrenaline was on 1,000+ from beginning to end. I was so hype! Once my feet were back on solid ground and my brain returned to normal, I kept saying to myself “I can’t believe you did that!” Then I went home, crashed, and slept for the rest of the day. Ha!

How was your summer?

Just Rambling…

My work internet connection has been sporadic all day. It’s 10am, I have 8 emails sitting in my outbox and a growing to do list, but can’t do any of it. IT said they’re aware of the issue and working on it. Oh well. *shrug* To pass the time, I started this random blog. I’ll hit publish when my work internet is back running or I give up for the day.

thank you

I received a hand written thank you note from a twitter buddy and the little note is from her son. How cute! This made me so happy. :-)

My pre-op appointment and surgery have been scheduled. Just a few weeks ago, I was afraid and crying about the situation. Now I’m looking forward to getting it done and putting it all behind me. God has a way of changing our hearts.

Insurance company said my out of pocket costs will be 10%. That sounds reasonable, but the PF side of me was like…10% OF WHAT?! With the ridiculous cost of healthcare, I expect my savings account and I will be in recovery for a while.

My mom is coming up to stay with me for a month. We haven’t lived under the same roof in over 20 years. My daughter will be here for a little while too. This should be interesting.

September is an expensive month for me because the property taxes for my home and car are due. At the same dang time. Ouch. Thankfully, I have no major plans or responsibilities this month because my pockets are full of lint.

Amex gives me $10 every time I pay my cell phone bill with my Blue card. Cool.

My internet bill increased from $39.99 to $74.99 because the 12 month promotion expired. O_O For $75/month, the internet should read my mind and translate my thoughts across the web at lightening speed. I called to see if there was another promotion available, but the rep said no and tried to push an upgrade for a more expensive bundle deal. Uh…negative. I don’t watch TV or use a home phone so I declined and told him to cancel my account. He transferred me to another department, then the second rep offered a faster internet speed at $29.99/month for 2 more years. *blink* I’ll take it!

My neighbor’s lease is ending soon and she told me her rent renewal rate was close to $3k/month. *faint* Needless to say, she’s moving. My lease ends next June and I will move too before I pay $3k/month in rent. No way.

I’ve been thinking about moving back into my house anyway. The main reason I moved in 2007 is because I wanted my daughter in a better school and it significantly reduced my commuting time. Well, my daughter finished school years ago, my job allows me to work from home now, and my mortgage is half my current rent. Should be a no-brainer, right?

Got money on my mind. Hmm, what else is going on…

My neighbor just text me “Your car is slanted again. LOL” Man, I can’t park straight to save my life. I don’t mean parallel parking either. I mean pulling straight into a regular parking spot. The car “feels” straight but when I get out, it’s always crooked. People make fun of me and I laugh it off, but I can’t help it. I even stand crooked. I had a spinal issue as a kid. With treatment, it never fully corrected itself, and mom said surgery wasn’t worth the risk.

Talenti gelato, caramel cookie crunch flavor, is my new favorite snack. Yum!

If the Lord is willing, I’ll be taking a dream vacation this year.

Six of my friends have birthdays this month and 4 are within the same week. I don’t know why, but that’s funny to me. I guess December was cuffing season back in the day. *giggles*

Wait… *looks at clock* It’s after 5pm. My work internet is finally back up. Should I call it quits or keep working? Decisions… *deuces*

A Look Back, Then Forward: August and September 2014

AUGUST

August…oh August. You could have been the best month of 2014 (to date), but you had to throw a wrench in my path. The impact was painful, but I’m still standing firm in my faith.

When faced with challenges, my favorite scripture comes to mind – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) While praying, I give thanks, express whatever is weighing heavy on me or my loved ones, and ask for our hearts and minds to be aligned with His will. The sense of peace gained through prayer helps me to press forward.

Recently, someone told me they loved my life and I thought it was weird at first. As I reflected on their statement, I felt humble and grateful because I realized what they see is a reflection of God’s hands guiding and protecting me. And that’s exactly why I love my life too!

A Look Back: August 2014

photo (1)

THE HIGHS :-)

  • Went skydiving! Wooo hooo!
  • Witnessed the natural beauty of Niagara Falls in Canada
  • Had a ball with my peeps at the family beach trip (maternal) and family fun day (paternal)
  • Made Back to School care packages to help 10 single mothers and the little people loved them – YAY!
  • Saw my favorite-EST Disney movie, The Lion King, performed on stage at the Kennedy Center – AHMAYZEEN!
  • Spent some much needed quality time catching up with my closest friends – even with new babies, demanding jobs, travel, and other priorities; I love that we make time to reconnect
  • Tried a new cuisine – Ethiopian – thumbs up for stepping out of my comfort zone, but I will never eat that mess again. LOL!
  • Completed the 100 Happy Days Challenge
  • Finished my summer aqua fitness class – so fun!
  • Watched the legendary James Brown biopic – very interesting life story

THE LOWS :-(

  • Ferguson… *sigh* #RIPMikeBrown
  • Dealing with a major health issue and surgery is inevitable; instead of worrying, I’m resting in Christ and continuing to live the life He has predestined for me

A Look Forward: September 2014

September is the only month when I don’t travel or plan anything special. It is busy season at the office so I anticipate long work days. Thankful for my job, but boo at 50+ hour weeks.

Similar Posts: January February March April May June July

100 Happy Days (76-100)

100

Happy Days 1-25 and Happy Days 26-50 and Happy Days 51-75

This is the final installment. My overall thoughts are included in Day 100. :-)

I’m making back to school care packages for a few single moms. Started shopping today and made out like a fat rat in Target. #100HappyDays #Day76

Finding a good book that makes me want to keep reading way past my bedtime. #100HappyDays #Day77

Finalized plans for a NYC & Canada (Niagara Falls) excursion with my travel BFF, @tiredofbeingbro. Excited! #100HappyDays #Day78

An hour in the pool brightens my mood and makes me feel strong all over. #100HappyDays #Day79

Conversations with God, seeing His hand in every situation, and learning to trust Him. #100HappyDays #Day80

It amazes me how far my mom and I have come in our relationship. At one point, we didn’t speak for an entire year and I was not phased. Less than 10 years ago, we spoke (maybe) once a month and it was strained. Now, we talk in some form every single day and usually share a laugh…or two. I never imagined our relationship would change in this way. Never. Ever. Ever. But then I remembered, God is capable of ALL things. #testimony #100HappyDays #Day81

Volunteer teaching personal finance classes on a Saturday morning makes me happy. #100HappyDays #Day82

Playing in makeup. Just because. #kidatheart #practicemakesperfect #100HappyDays #Day83

I’m so thankful for the undeniable love and support of my family and friends. #100HappyDays #Day84

My neighbor is so thoughtful and kind. I love meeting good people who inspire me to be a better person. #100HappyDays #Day85

I’m so glad I discovered aqua fitness. I feel good after every class. #nopain #100happydays #Day86

My new lunch containers. #brownbag #savemoney #eathealthy #iluvpink #100HappyDays #Day87 http://t.co/45Q9rfGcSv

I been grubbin, I been grubbin… #wallameloooon #100HappyDays #Day88 http://t.co/6PuPjstH8t

Seeing my favorite Disney movie on stage. #LionKing #100HappyDays #Day89 http://t.co/PVYLKlEjgE

Enjoyed service. Workout done. Meal prep for the week complete. Hair twisted. Productive Sunday. #100HappyDays #Day90

Answered prayers. #100HappyDays #Day91

Working from home all week + a long 4 day weekend. Glo-Ray! #100HappyDays #Day92

Peace, quiet, chamomile tea, and new movies released on Netflix. http://t.co/vQk6XPRttb #100HappyDays #Day93

We grubbin! #ChocolatLounge #Harlem #JerkChicken #BlueCocktail #100HappyDays #Day94 http://t.co/EocXlA8QhA

Today was a good day. #NYC #WeekendExcursion #100HappyDays #Day95 http://t.co/sW0t2DVsi3

My first time at Niagara Falls. #100HappyDays #Day96 http://t.co/E1CvsdrImU

Maid of the Mist boat ride to the Niagara Falls. #UpClose #Beautiful #GodsCreation #100HappyDays #Day97 http://t.co/rn4wOlAthK

Back in the DMV and winding down from an awesome weekend. #NYC #Canada #NiagaraFalls #iLoveTravel #Blessed #100HappyDays #Day98

With all that’s going on in the world, my spirit has felt unsettled all day. Sadness. Fear. Concern about society. Unable to focus at work. Then I was reminded to focus on my source. #JesusChrist #MySavior #Peace #Prayer #BibleStudy #100HappyDays #Day99 http://t.co/7oO0fXkQr1

On May 6, I started the #100HappyDaysChallenge. In those 3+ months, I had some major highs and several heavy hitting lows, but most of them feel like fleeting moments now. With time, they became memories because with all things (good AND bad), this too shall pass. The ebbs and flows of life, I guess. *shrug* So I’ve learned to live in the moment and focus on the smaller things that make me happy each day. Collectively, they remind me that God is always in control and He is the ultimate source of my joy. I’m happy that I completed this challenged and didn’t use “being too busy” as an excuse because the past 100 days have changed my perspective on what it truly means to be happy. #100HappyDays #Day100