Long Time with No Posts…

I realized this morning, as I was washing my hair (seriously, some of my best laid plans are hatched while I’m washing my hair…there’s something so soothing about the hot water, the smell of the shampoo, the peaceful quiet of the morning where anything is possible…but I digress) that it had been quite some time since I had posted on my blog.  I had told myself at the beginning of the year, that I would try harder to not neglect my blog…that I’d post at least once a week, even if it was just a mindless dump of the random happenstances in life.  Sure enough…didn’t happen…obviously.  Which is why I’m now apologizing (somewhat verbosely) to all you readers for my slacking.

Let’s see…what’s been going on?  Not a whole lot, to be honest.  We’ve been keeping ourselves busy throughout the adoption wait, even though it feels like it’s been forever.  It’s been nearly 3 months since we went “live” with our agency, and nothing so far.  I thought I’d be ok with the wait once the home study was signed off on, because everything would be out of my hands.  Wow…was I wrong.  This wait is HARD.  Some days I don’t think about it a lot, other days it’s all that is on my mind.  But, overall, it’s moving along!

The house is coming together, somewhat slowly, but surely.  We’re working on the basement…the pool table room is finally painted (first time it’s been all one color in over 2 years), and we’re ordering the ceiling shortly.  Thankfully, not a TON needs done in that room after the ceiling…a few tiles need replaced, then do all the trim work, but that’s about it!  Then we can mount the TV, pull back in the exercise equipment, and call it a day!  Then, we can focus more on the nursery stuff, which has taken a backseat to other home remodels.

Otherwise, work is going well.  Same stuff, different day.  J and I have been trying to make more of an effort to exercise and get outside while the weather is nice, so that’s been really good.  We both bought kayaks, so we try to get out on the lake or the river at least once or twice a week…it’s something we can do together that we really enjoy, plus it’s super relaxing!  We don’t really have any major trips lined up, at least not this summer.  We’ll be doing a roadtrip in the fall to visit a friend in Connecticut, so that’ll be really fun!  All things to look forward to, which is nice.

And that’s about it!  Life has been moving on, steadily, this past month.  I haven’t been crocheting much (too hot outside and I haven’t really felt the impulse to create anything), so that’s been put on hold.  I’m sure once the weather cools off, I’ll start in again, probably another baby blanket for the adoption.  We keep hanging on and hanging out, and hopefully soon you’ll be seeing an update that we’ve been matched!

Much love,
K.

The Lone Star State

I haven’t really been talking much about work lately.  Last year, I moved out of a role in Program Management, and into a role in Sales and Marketing, as an Account Executive working with our Off-Highway customers.  While living in Europe, I worked as an Account Manager in On-Highway, so I was familiar with the work and was really excited to advance my customer interactions and commercial knowledge.

However, in mid-November, my company announced that we’d be doing workforce reductions (a.k.a. “layoffs”).  This was the third layoff that I’d experienced with this company, so I knew that things were going to be in flux for awhile.  I wasn’t too worried about my position (though, anything can happen), but I knew that my group would probably take a hit.

So…imagine my surprise (and actually, I was shocked as hell), when I got pulled into a meeting with my boss and the General Manager to be told that, due to the layoffs, I was being moved into a new position, BACK into Program Management.  So…here I am, 1 week before Christmas, and I’m being told that I’m leaving the role that I just moved into a few months prior, to go back to a role that I’d left.

I won’t lie…it took a day or so for me to wrap my mind around it and to get into a positive mindset.  I was worried that I’d be overloaded like I was in my previous role, and the customer that I was going to be working with was notorious for being highly demanding.  Frankly, I was terrified my life was going to suck.

I’m happy to say, after a full month, things are going fairly decently!  I’m currently in Texas at a face-to-face meeting with the customer, and I’m feeling fairly settled.  It’s a lot more firefighting than I did in Account work, but it’s exciting.  The program launches in 2017, so I will be on this team for a year or so…and after that, I’m not quite sure.

That’s a little bit about what’s going on in my life currently!  I’m super excited because, on Friday, I get to spend the weekend with my BFF, L!  We’re going to drive to Waco and go to Magnolia Market (from the HGTV show “Fixer Upper”) and I can’t wait!  Plus, I will say, Texas has some AMAZING food!  Plenty to enjoy in this great state, for sure

Much love,
K.

A Little Dash of Crazy…

I realize that my blog posting has been regular sporadic at best, which isn’t something that I had ever planned on.  But, as we all know, life has a way of going against even the best laid plans.

bestiesAfter Easter, things were fairly smooth.  I was working on a couple crochet projects (sadly, my Crochet Challenge blanket has taken a major back seat), and planning for my trip to Texas to visit my dearest, most bestest, friend.  I wanted to finish at least one blanket before I left (which I did…more on that in another post) and then have a weekend of relaxation with L.  I left for Dallas last Thursday, ready to relax!

Friday morning, all hell broke loose.  My mother called me while I was in the shower, to let me know that my father was in the hospital.  He had fallen the evening before and shattered his elbow, and now had to have surgery to repair it.  Both of my parents are older in age, and my father has Parkinson’s and early stages of Alzheimer’s, so any sort of disruption to his schedule hits him pretty hard.

Dad went into surgery and came out just fine.  Unfortunately, he was very weak (partly due to surgery and partly due to the Parkinson’s) and the anesthesia really caused problems with his mental comprehension and memory (due to the Alzheimer’s).  He was very confused and thought my mom had sent him to a nursing home and left him there, and was understandably upset.  After a few days, that calmed down quite a bit, which we were all grateful for.

Mom told me to stay in Dallas and spend time with L, so I stayed until Sunday.  Monday morning, I drove back home to see my father, who was still in the hospital.  By the time I got there, he was doing better, but still not great.  He was much more steady on his feet, which meant he could go home much more quickly than we had anticipated, but his mental comprehension still wasn’t great.  He wasn’t sure who I was, and at one point thought my best friend, L, was his daughter.  I can’t even begin to describe how absolutely heart breaking it is to know that my father will one day not recognize me.  I try not to focus on it, as we’re not there quite yet (I’m still convinced his lack of recognition was due to the pain medicine, etc.) but it’s hard to know that it will eventually happen.  I know we all grow older, but it’s still like a knife in my gut.

dad and iLast night, Dad was finally released from the hospital.  For awhile, we were concerned that we’d have to put him in assisted living for a short amount of time, but we managed to arrange for in-home care for him.  I am so thankful for that, because I really think he’ll do much better in his own home and his comfort environment.  Plus, it makes it easier on Mom, so she won’t have to run back and forth.

Overall, it’s been insane in the past week.  To top it all off, I managed to pick up some sort of sinus infection while on the flight home (or the hospital), and now have zero voice.  I’m looking forward to the weekend, where I can just sleep for as long as I want, and hopefully get better!  I promise that my next post will be an update on all my crochet projects, which will be a much happier post!  Until then…have a happy Wednesday!

Much love,
K.

30 Days of Blogging: Bucket List

These days, everyone has a bucket list.  You know, that list of things you absolutely want to accomplish before you die…the “bucket list.”  I have no idea where the name came from, to be honest, and I don’t even have a list to name, bucket or otherwise.  But, this question came up, and it made me think about some major things I’d like to accomplish in my lifetime.  Admittedly, most of mine are centered around travel, because it’s such a huge part of J’s and my life.  I tend to think in terms of places to see and experience, so these three bucket list items are concerning travel only.  I’ll save the rest for another time!

1.  Hike Kilimanjaro

kilimanjaroJ and I have talked about hiking Mount Kilimanjaro for a few years now.  Up until now, I’ve never been in good enough shape to even contemplate the hike, but now that I’m more active I’d really like to give it a go.  We’d like to fly into Africa, acclimate to the time difference for a few days, and then start the hike up the mountain.  After that concludes, we’d like to spend a week on a safari, just seeing the various animals and really experiencing Africa.  Plus, I’ve also come across a place in Kenya called the Giraffe Manor, and I’d love to stay there and see all the giraffes!  It would nearly wipe out our vacation for the year, but I think this trip would be worth it.  Definitely an experience of a lifetime!

 

2.  Visit Israel

Jerusalem-Israel-Dome-of-the-Rock-R-Duran-best-picture-galleryI have wanted to visit Israel for as long as I can remember.  When we lived overseas, we had discussed booking a “Holy Lands” cruise that hit up a few spots in Israel, but the cruise was eventually cancelled due to unrest in the region.  I’ve been fascinated with the Middle East for years, even going so far as to study Arabic for my undergraduate degree, and Israel would be such an amazing place to visit.  The history, religion, food, culture…I absolutely cannot wait!  I only hope that things settle down there soon and that there is, finally, peace in the region.  I have hopes that it’ll happen, at least in my lifetime, and I would love to be able to visit and take our children with us.  J is also incredibly interested in seeing this area of the world, plus there are some amazing scuba diving spots in Israel, so it could really be a well-rounded trip (culture, diving, eating – for me, and sightseeing).   Plus, J is huge into photography, so I think he could really get lost in the opportunities for amazing pictures in this area of the world.

 

3.  Hike Petra

PetraThis goes hand-in-hand with a visit to Israel.  Since we no longer live overseas, if we were to take a trip to the Middle East, we’d try to get a lot of things accomplished while there.  J and I both love hiking, and we would absolutely love hiking Petra.  We’d like to hike in at night, so that we can see the sun rise over the monuments, which I think would be stunning.  This was another trip that we had planned while living overseas, but due to instability in the area (though not in Jordan specifically), we cancelled our trip.  However, this is at the top of J’s list, so I doubt we’ll have any trouble getting there in our lifetime.  I think this would just be a 3-4 day add-on trip to Israel, and along with that we’d probably try to see the Egyptian pyramids, so I’d like to end up spending 3+ weeks in the Middle East, altogether.  There are still opportunities for our jobs to take us to Dubai (I’m holding out hope), but so far nothing concrete has come up.  If so, I could see so many things that are on my list…it would be fantastic!

So, there are three of my “bucket list” items.  Even without a physical list, I feel like as soon as I mark something off my mental list, it’s filled up with five new things.  It’s definitely a never-ending list that is constantly changing, but I think I prefer that because if I ran out of things to see in this world, then I’d be at a loss.  What are some of your “bucket-list” items?

Much love,
K.

Friday Favorites…Cities of the World!

One of my favorite things to do is travel.  I guess you could say it’s one of my biggest hobbies, aside from crocheting (yes…I crochet.  Yes…I have cats.  Yes…I am married).  While we lived overseas, we were very fortunate in our ability to travel easily throughout Europe, on a relatively small budget.  In addition, our jobs allow for us to travel for work, to some pretty amazing places.  So, I thought I’d share with you my top 5 favorite cities outside the US!

 

1.  Barcelona, Spain

barcelonaThere’s something so sensual about Spain.  Maybe it’s the food, or the copious amounts of sangria.  It could be the fact that it’s an entire country of people who truly understand and embrace the need for a good nap every day (siesta, anyone?).  Maybe it’s the music, and the way it swirls and caresses you late at night, as the humid breezes pass over your skin, heated from hours of dancing in the crowds.  Or the language, the way the romantic words roll off your tongue.  Regardless, there’s something about Barcelona that sucks me in every time we visit it.  We always discover some new restaurant, or hit up a new park with amazing artwork.  I’ve been inside La Sagrada Familia multiple times, and each time I’m hit with a sense of peace and tranquility unlike any I’ve ever experienced.  Plus, the beach is stunning, the tapas are plentiful, and the people are incredibly nice and welcoming.  What more could you want?!

 

2.  Normandy, France

NormandyDespite its bloody history (D-Day beaches weren’t fun for anyone), Normandy, France has a lot going for it.  Obviously, for those who love history, the area is ripe with WWII tours, artifacts, museums, and personal encounters.  While we were there, we did a D-Day tour, along with a “Band of Brothers” tour that hit up several of the battle fields that were shown in the television series.  Apart from the historical significance, there are other perks to the area as well.  The French food and culture is plentiful, without dealing with the crowds (and prices) of Paris.  Also, the area is famous for its Calvados, which is an apple brandy made in the region.  One of my favorite desserts of the area, aside from the amazing pastries, is the local vanilla ice cream, covered with calvados and carmelized apples.  It’s warm and cold, and makes the lips tingle oh so nicely!  If you do happen to head to the area, be sure to stop in Bayeux, home of the “Bayeux Tapestry” which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England through the Battle of Hastings.  We didn’t happen to catch it while we were there, much to our friends’ dismay, but I’ve heard it’s pretty neat.

 

3.  Kyoto, Japan

Himeji-joJapan is full of amazing sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences.  It was hard to pick just once place as a “favorite” from this country, because, on a whole, this country is pretty darn amazing!  I was fortunate enough to live here for 5 weeks during summer break after my second year of law school.  J was sent on a short-term work assignment, and had been traveling back and forth between the US and Japan, and I got to go with him for one of his longer trips.  The last week I was there, we spent the week backpacking through the country, hopping train after train and seeing a lot of different cities.  My favorite, though, was Kyoto.  It used to be the imperial capital of Japan, and is full of temples and shrines, close to mountains and forests, and preserved from much of the destruction of WWII.  While we toured Kyoto, we stopped in many of the shrines and temples (though nowhere near all of them), saw several Maiko (apprentice Geisha), toured Himeji-jo (Himeji castle), and ate more Japanese food than I care to remember (I think I asked J to just roll me to the plane when it was time to send me back to the US).  This area, literally, made me fall in love with the country, and I would definitely move there if it were a possibility.  I’m hoping to make a trip back along with J, as he still travels over there for work.  Maybe then I’ll find a new favorite city!

 

4.  Marrakech, Morocco

riad knizaOf all the places in Europe we travelled, Morocco was J’s favorite.  It was definitely at the top of my list too (as is evidenced by this list), and I found Marrakech to be completely unlike any other place we traveled.  I absolutely love to visit countries with Arab influences, and this place was a perfect mix of Arabic culture, French/European influences, and North African tastes.  Walking through the winding alleys of the Medina was almost sensory overload.  Every way you turned was a spice counter, a fresh chicken stall (and by “fresh” I mean, “still alive”), a craft and metal works shop, or vendors selling rugs.  The smells range anywhere from overpower (umm…fresh chickens?) to sweet and delicate (a lot of the stalls sell fresh Moroccan sweets in the morning), and everywhere is an explosion of color.  While we were in Marrakech, we stayed at a Riad that was incredibly nice.  The Riad Kniza was like an oasis in the middle of chaos…the streets and alleys would be frantic with activity and people, then the minute you walked inside the Riad’s doors, it would be calm and tranquil.  While there, in addition to hours spent sightseeing, we did a cooking class at the Riad, and then had a couples massage and a traditional hammam (Turkish Bath), before moving to a Kasbah in the mountains for the second half of the trip.  Marrakech is definitely a city I’d return to, as there was so much to see and do, and there was no way to see it all during our trip.  Since J loved it as well, it should be too hard to drag him back there!

 

5.  Tromso, Norway

TromsoLet me preface by saying Norway is absolutely GORGEOUS!  We traveled to Norway twice, once to Tromso and once to Flam, and I can’t even begin to describe the natural beauty that just permeates this country.  The views of the fjords and the mountains are breathtaking, and you can’t help but just feel at home with nature while you’re there.  We visited Tromso, which is located in the Arctic Circle, in February 2011.  We made the trip was in order to see the Northern Lights and weren’t disappointed!  We did a lot of sightseeing around Tromso, which isn’t that large, but had a lot to offer!  We drank beers at one of the oldest pubs in the city (there was a stuffed bear next to the door, I didn’t ask questions), went dog sledding, had lots of fondue, and walked across the border to Finland at midnight.  The Northern Lights were amazing to experience, and while they weren’t “dancing” a ton, it was still beautiful.  We also did a half day of cross-country skiing, which is a LOT of work (but a great bit of exercise).  I’m not a big fan of skiing, but as long as I’m not going downhill, I can handle it.  Cross-country skiing is definitely my kind of skiing.  While we were driving back from our Northern Lights excursion, we came across Tromsdalen Kirke, which is the Arctic Church in Tromso.  It was all lit up in the dark sky, and really stood out against the black backdrop of the mountains.  We were only able to go for a long weekend, but we managed to pack in quite a lot in four short days.  While Scandinavia is incredibly expensive, we’d go back in a heartbeat.  It’s definitely worth saving your pennies for a trip, if you like the great outdoors and nature!

 

So, there you have it, my Five Favorites…Cities of the World!  I hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any questions about any of these places, I’m happy to answer them!

 

Much love,
K.