I’m in Northern California for the week.  My mother tells me over and over how she loves the lack of humidity here.

Any other time I have visited, there is a noticeable difference in the humidity levels between here and back home.  Based on my mother’s statements that the summers here are much milder, I was looking forward to the visit.  (Okay, I was looking forward to the visit for a variety of other reasons, too.  But, this is the one I’m talking about now.)

As previously indicated, I arrived in California super late in the night on June 30th.  I thought it was a little humid, but definitely not as bad as it is back home.

Yesterday, the humidity levels were about the same.  I swear I saw it raining not too far off in the distance, but it looked as though the rain stopped in mid-air.  It really looked like it wasn’t reaching the ground below the rain clouds.  My cousin confirmed that it was very possible.  Because of the heat, it was likely evaporating before it got that far.

Today, the humidity has hung around the same level as yesterday.  It’s almost like Pennsylvania’s humidity in springtime – definitely there, but not humid enough to be miserable, yet.  The clouds have been a little bit darker today, but there hasn’t been any rain yet.

The other fun thing?  There are apparently more clouds than usual.  While this was nothing new for me – living in Western Pennsylvania where it is always cloudy, it is something remarkable for the locals.  So, we’ll see if my thought to bring some much-needed rain from the east actually works!

So, That Was Fun

Today was my first day in California for vacation.  Thanks to my late (and long) flight, I slept like a baby (once I finally made it to the house – after an almost 24-hour day).

I palled around with my mom and dad, spending as much time as I could with them for my first day seeing them since Christmas.  We didn’t do a whole lot of stuff, pretty much ran some errands and did some shopping.

Oh, and then there was Wienerschnitzel.

My aunt doesn’t normally eat much “junk food.”  When my mom told me of her love for Wienerschnitzel, we had to stop for lunch.  First off, their sign promotes 5 KINDS OF CHILI CHEESE FRIES!  What?!?!?!

Chili Fries

(Photo courtesy of Wienerschnitzel website.)

But, then I saw the variety options for their chili cheese dogs.  And, I was in heaven.  Guys, they have a Junkard Dog!  The description of the dog: “Everything but the kitchen sink is served on this Wienerschnitzel favorite!  An original grilled Hot Dog is topped with French Fries, world famous Chili sauce, a slice of American cheese, French’s mustard and grilled onions all on a hot, steamed sesame seed bun.”  Now, truth be told, I was interested in the dog because of my childhood watching WW(F)E.  Children of the 80s remember the wrestler The Junkyard Dog, right?  As the wife of The Wrestling Mayhem Show, I of course had to have one.  (And, it was oh, so delicious!)

Not that my entire day was surrounded by food, but when we got back to my cousin’s house after our outing, we decided (much later in the day, I assure you) to go out for dinner.  Walking out to the car, Mom took a bit of a tumble when her foot slipped off the edge of the sidewalk – so much so, that she swore she had broken her foot.  Dinner turned into a trip to urgent care.  Turns out that dear ol’ Mom severely sprained her ankle and foot.  So, she’s off work and on crutches for the next couple of weeks.  While we had a week of touristy things (visiting Yosemite, for instance) scheduled, it looks as though we’ll be taking it a little easier for the week.

We’ll see how things are in the morning.  Here’s to hoping Mom mends quickly.


The Longest Day. Ever.

Today has been the longest day.  Ever.

I expected some vacation eve excitement akin to a child on Christmas Eve.  I’ve been looking forward to this trip since before it was even booked.  What I didn’t necessarily count on was waking up at 5:30 – wide awake.  At the very start of the day, I was already an hour and a half deeper into the day than I anticipated.

I’m not sure if it’s this way with everyone, but my to-do list at work seemed to have tripled in the last few days.  All of the little things I’ve been trying to get off my plate in anticipation of leaving apparently procreated at the fastest possible rate.  No matter what I was working on, every time I checked something off my list, there were three more items in its place.

Then, then, you add phone calls.  I can go weeks without having to speak with anyone on the phone at work.  Normally when folks call the office, they’re looking to speak with one of my bosses.  Occasionally I’ll get a call I have to take, but it’s normally someone with a question, or seeking clarification – something I can easily provide an answer to and move on with my work.  Today’s calls all seemed to dump their own pile of work onto my plate.  From having to rerun an internet search for information in triplicate to throwing together unexpected correspondence, it seemed the calls just kept adding to my already overwhelming pile.

Then came the dictation.  My dictation is generally busy.  I work for three individuals.  The first is a workhorse.  I’ll see, on average, a dozen or so pieces of dictation a day.  Some are short.  Some are long.  I can usually bang them out quickly.  The second is longwinded.  If I hear him with his Dictaphone, I know I’m in for the long haul once I get into the dictation module.  The third rarely drops full-blown, straight-typing dictation.  His dictation is generally instruction or requests for me to do projects or the like.  Although I occasionally get overwhelmed, I can find a good rhythm with the workflow.  Today?  Today, I felt like there was no end.  As soon as I finished a short piece of dictation, there was an analysis.  I found myself with one file that was over 20 minutes in length.  (For you math whizzes out there, for each minute of dictation, it takes approximately twice that amount of time for me to transcribe and format it.)  And, that was just one item!  Throughout the day, I found myself with a smattering of dictation projects that were, on average, 10 minutes in length.  I swear, I must have typed eight or nine documents throughout the day – on top of the phone calls and paper that inevitably covered my desk.

By the end of the workday, I was chronologically 11.5 hours into my day.  As I write this (to upload later, I’ve put in 17 hours.  And, I’m looking at almost four more hours on this flight, plus an hour or so to get back to where I’m staying – for a grand total of approximately 22 hours for the day.  But, that’s just the physical timelapse.  Let’s not even get into the mental math involved – between the early wake-up, the running at work, and the general wear associated with a coast-to-coast flight.  I swear I’ve lived two days in just today.  (And, as indicated, I’m not even there yet!)

Overall, it’s been a rough day.  But, I can assure you that spending some quality time with the parental units and extended family over the next week will be well worth it.


We’ve all been there – the point in our lives when we reach a crossroads (or two, or three).  Everything culminates in just a fashion that what has been a standard, and routine part of life somehow reaches a state of upheaval.  Maybe it’s by your own decision. Maybe it’s by a series of events.  Whatever causes it, it happens.

I find that over the last month or two, I have this nagging voice in the back of my head.  Of course the voice isn’t an actual voice.  I’d be looking at a specific destination if that were the case, I’m sure.  But, there’s something that keeps pulling at the depths of my soul – tugging, but not quite in a specified direction.  Maybe it’s just that I’m too stubborn and driven to pay attention to the fact that there actually is a direction it’s pointing toward.  Maybe I just keep overthinking it and wind up talking myself out of the confusion and keeping on the path I’ve told myself I need to be on, the safe path.

At what point am I supposed to take that path less traveled?  At what point am I supposed to realize that what I’ve been striving for maybe isn’t what I want to strive for anymore?  If that is the case, which road am I supposed to choose?

I could make a list of pros and cons.  I generally find that the pros and cons tend toward the ultimate decision I want to make.  This time around?  I have no clue.  Part of me feels like I should step out and chart my own path.  Then the rational part of me steps in and reminds me how much I like having a roof over my head and that I need my job to ensure I continue to have that roof over my head.  And, I go back to the other side of the coin to try to figure out a logistic plan to create a foolproof way to rectify any potential pitfalls.

And, that’s when I get stuck in my head – going over and over and over all of the possibilities.  When I finally get frustrated that I can’t make a decision, I usually just give up and find my way to the closest vat of refined sugary puffiness to bring me back to reality.

p.s  I apparently REALLY need this vacation.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

I like music.  I’m usually listening to Pandora in the background when I’m working on things – either at home or the office.  And, I have a variety of Pandora stations covering musical genres from 90’s pop to classic rock.

Obviously, today is Sunday.  That means tomorrow is back to work.  Normally, Sundays are sad – an end to the weekend and a return to the weekday grind.  Today, for me, means two days until I’m on a flight to San Francisco to see my parents for a week.  I’ll call that a reason I can overlook the general Monday blahs.

Dusting Off the Ol’ Blog (Again)

Maybe it’s my recent involvement picking the ball up for PodCamp Pittsburgh X.  Maybe it’s the fact that I attended the recently reactivated Blog Fest.  Maybe it’s that I’ve been adding some content over at Bold Pittsburgh.  Whatever it is, I’ve found myself here.  I go through these phases where I’m all gung-ho about writing.  I’ll add a few posts and stick to a good regimen of writing, and then I dwindle off.  (I’m apparently really bad at writing when it comes to my own writing?

Maybe I need to take a look at Burgh Baby‘s podcamp session again?

I’m hoping this is a positive sign – the fact that I actually picked up my laptop and logged into the good ol’ wordpress to add some thoughts.  Baby steps, right?


No, that doesn’t represent a tax form.  That would be the results of my workout at the gym today.

Keeping track of my weight loss – by counting calories consumed and burned, seems to be one of the ways I can keep my mind focused on something other than that ticking clock in my uterus.

It’s nice being able to plug in my earphones, queue up some Pandora, and just pound it out on the machines.  That 1299 calories equated to 2 hours today.  30 minutes on the standard cross trainer.  30 minutes on the advanced cross trainer.  60 minutes on the treadmill.  Add in my Fatboy Slim Pandora station, and that 2 hours passes rather quickly.

Food With Attitude

I love the whole “food with attitude” push I’ve been seeing.  Sorg and I were at Rita’s last week.  I happened to look down at my cup to see the following:


Yes.  I was certainly in my happy place while eating my chocolate Italian ice.  But, I’m perfectly content with my food not having a personality of its own – or assuming a personality on my behalf.

As mentioned previously, I know this trend has been going on for a while now.  Fast food restaurants in particular have added sass to their product labeling.  Sorg and I were at Sheetz, and this was on the inside of the wrapping for my sandwich:



I believe the most interesting “talking food” was discovered when I opened a package of Pop Tarts:

Pop Tarts


While I think the idea of the speech bubbles is creative, and it did kinda make me chuckle for a moment, is it really necessary?  I don’t need to think about my food as anything other than something I am eating.  I certainly don’t need to envision it having a personality.