Long Weekends and Lifelong Friends #100HappyDays

Day 47-51:  Long weekends make me happy.  I originally planned to go back home to Kentucky for Memorial Day, but ended up doing a staycation instead.  I got so much stuff done around the house–I wish I had a four-day workweek all the time.  My house would be spotless!  For Memorial Day, my boyfriend and I relaxed and grilled veggie kebabs.  This long weekend was the perfect blend of work and play.

Day 52:  Office days make me happy.  This was my first day back after the long weekend and I’m so glad I didn’t have to jump into teaching right away.  Having the time to get through my backlog of email and work on projects (with quickly approaching deadlines) was a great way to come back from vacation.

Day 53:  Lifelong friends make me happy.  I’ve known my best friend (Gabby) since fourth grade.  We went through middle and high school together, but ended up at different colleges and now live in different states.  Our bond is still just as strong though; she is the sister I never had.  We chatted on the phone and it was like no time had passed, even though the last time I saw her was at Christmas.  I’m so happy that she’s still in my life after all these years!

Besties!

Seeing New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys–we dreamed of this day since we were kids!

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Colored Pictures, Classes, and The Wheel #100HappyDays

Day 37:  Wheel of Fortune makes me happy.  Yes, I’m serious.  My boyfriend and I try to have dinner together at least once during the week, and every single time we do we end up watching The Wheel.  If anyone knows how to get on the show, let me know–based on the number of correct answers I shout at the TV, I’m pretty sure I’d do well on the actual show.  🙂

Day 38:  Pictures from kids make me happy.  On occasion I’ll babysit my officemate’s kids, and the oldest colored these awesome pictures for me!  The last time I babysat them was in February, so I brought some Valentine’s Day and Black History Month pictures for us to color together.  Apparently they are still fun to color even in May (and she even told her mommy the story of Rosa Parks as she was coloring it)!

Pictures from Kids

Look at these cute pictures! She did a great job staying in the lines.

Day 39:  Finishing a class makes me happy.  Today was the last day of a three-day course I was teaching.  Wrapping up a class is always bittersweet; I love getting to know new trainees and so it is kind of sad to see them head home.  However, I know they are ready to see their families and sleep in their own beds, so I’m happy they get to go back to everyday life.  Luckily, all of them will be coming back for another class in early June so we’ll get to have a “class reunion.”

Life and Blackness #100HappyDays

Day 24: Being alive makes me happy.

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  I was feeling very overwhelmed by some legal issues I’m going through with my ex-fiance.  But even with all the stress and struggle, I was happy to have woken up and drawn breath.  As the great philosopher Pitbull once surmised, “Every day above ground is a great day.

Day 25:  Black medical professionals make me happy.  

This week is the second week of my company’s customer conference, and I’ve been helping out by participating in a simulation lab.  Last week I was a “radio show host”, and this week I am a “sick patient” and medical professionals come in and conduct an “office visit” with me (so we can analyze how people use our software).  Today, I had a Black nurse practitioner participate and I was so happy to see her!  She was so kind and really worked to take care of me and make me feel better, even though it was just a simulation.  I have never in my entire life had a Black doctor–much less a Black woman doctor.  I would love to receive care from a medical professional who understands my unique issues as a Black woman.  We need more Black medical professionals!

Vacation Days and Handwritten Notes #100HappyDays

Days 19-22:  Vacation days make me happy.  And before you ask–no, I didn’t go anywhere (unless you count the grocery store).  I originally took the days off to attend DragCon 2017 in Los Angeles, but that airline ticket just wasn’t in the budget this year unfortunately.  Since I’d already gotten the vacation days approved, I figured I’d use the time to reminisce about my wonderful DragCon 2016 experience and get some adulting done.

And boy, did this gal adult something FIERCE!  I completed a ton of personal care appointments I’d been putting off for wayyyyy too long, got all my grocery shopping done, and (with the help of my wonderful boyfriend) took care of some #homeownerproblems.  This was definitely a stay-cation, but having Friday and Monday off work made me very happy indeed.

Day 23:  Handwritten notes make me happy.  My boyfriend’s mom mailed me the sweetest thank you card in appreciation for the dinner I hosted over Easter weekend, and today I come into my office to find this adorable note from my office mate’s family!

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Weekends, Faux Burgers, Reunions, and Chipmunks #100HappyDays

Day 13:  Saturdays make me happy.  Long story short, I love the weekend!  I enjoy my job (see my last post for reasons why) but there is nothing like sitting around the house doing absolutely nothing.

Day 14:  Grilling out makes me happy.  My boyfriend and I made Portobello burgers for dinner and they were SO.  GOOD!  I’ve often missed meat since becoming a vegetarian last August, but these burgers made me forget all about it!  Ground chuck who???  All I need are these mushrooms, honey!  🙂

Day 15:  Reuniting with colleagues makes me happy.  I ran into one of my old analysts during our customer conference and it was so exciting to see her!  Her organization was the last one I worked with before I switched to my current role, so I wasn’t able to see them get all the way through the install.  I loved getting updates on how things went, the other analysts, and overall just getting to see her again.

Day 16:  Small fuzzy animals make me happy.  I saw a chipmunk when I was walking to lunch at work.  I would have snapped a picture but the little thing scampered away before I could get my phone out.  Guess he was heading to lunch too!

“Do good. Have fun. Work hard. Make money.” #100HappyDays

Day 12: Fun opportunities at work make me happy. 

The title of this post is one of my company’s slogans: “Do good. Have fun. Work hard. Make money.” I do good every day, teaching people how to use the life-saving software my company provides. I definitely work hard, and make money by doing it. And next week, I get to have fun…by hosting a “radio show” as part of our spring customer conference. 

When I say “radio show” I mean “welcome session with logistics about the event presented in the format of a morning radio show.” But we’ve worked really hard on making it seem like a real radio program–we have commercials recorded and everything! Guess that BA in broadcasting I got is finally getting some use–and I don’t even have to wear a Beaver costume like I did for my college internship at the local country station. 🙂

I saw these “promo posters” for the show and they are so cool! I work at the most awesome place ever! 

Health Informations in the Mornings!

Safe Travels, Staff Meetings, Dinners, and Open Doors #100HappyDays

Four days of happiness comin’ atcha in three…two…ONE:

Day 7:  Safe travels make me happy.  My parents headed back to Kentucky on this day, so it was bittersweet for me.  I was sad to see them go, but happy when I got the text from my mom telling me they made it back safely.  I always worry about them when they travel–too many crazy drivers out there for my comfort–so getting the confirmation that their travels were safe put a big smile on my face.

Day 8:  Staff Meeting (oddly enough) makes me happy.  Most folks wouldn’t say they enjoy attending a staff meeting at work, especially when that meeting is over two hours long.  But I enjoy attending the monthly staff meeting at my company.  I like learning what’s new with the company and the software and hearing our CEO speak about topics related to the business we do.  I also appreciate the monthly grammar tip–who doesn’t want to improve their grammar?  🙂

Day 9:  Making dinner with my boyfriend makes me happy.  I’ve always been able to throw a recipe together, but wasn’t really someone who enjoyed cooking.  That changed after I started cooking with my boyfriend.  We make dinners together a few nights a week and it is always more fun cooking with him than when I cook solo.  Whether we’re trying something completely new or making an old favorite, we always have a good time.  (And the food usually turns out pretty great too!  Check out my Instagram for photos of some of the meals we’ve made.)

Day 10:  Being appreciated makes me happy.  After pinch-hitting for a coworker who was out with a sick kiddo this week, my team lead (TL) told me I was “the reason why we keep the doors open for HIM training.”  Apparently this isn’t the only time someone has said that–she said she stole the phrase from another TL who supervised me while my TL was out on maternity leave!  In a company of 9,000+ people, it’s easy to fly under the radar.  I love helping others and I don’t need to be recognized for it, but knowing that someone notices and appreciates the ways I help out makes me very happy indeed.

Gladiators and Good Reviews #100HappyDays

Happiness abounds! 

Day 4: Scandal makes me happy. Are y’all surprised I am obsessed with Scandal? If so, you shouldn’t be. Fierce Black woman solving problems and saving lives while rocking designer clothes and carrying exquisite handbags? That’s got me written all over it. Yesterday was the show’s 100th episode and to celebrate, they did a “what if” storyline outlining what might have happened if important events turned out differently. I’ve been watching Scandal avidly since the first season–I am an old school “gladiator”–so I enjoyed seeing old characters and situations revisited. 

Day 5: Customer evals make me happy. These evaluations (evals) I’m referring to are submitted by customers at the end of each class. They rate the overall course, training materials, and me (the trainer). This morning my team lead called me first thing and asked if I had read my evals from Thursday’s class. I immediately got anxious that something was wrong, but they were some of the best ranks I’ve ever gotten! I appreciated the positive comments my trainees left and also the fact that my team lead noticed and called to congratulate me. 

Bonus: Today when I got home from work, I was able to sit down and eat dinner with my parents. I am so happy they came up to spend Easter weekend with me!

Sometimes, you need a dance party.

The past two weeks have been crazy busy. My stress level was on 10, y’all. Today at work I felt like my head was going to explode. 

And then, I heard ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber

Y’all might be thinking, “Welp, let me get a mop to clean up the head explosion. If she was on the edge before, surely Biebs gave the final push.” 

NOPE. Turns out what I needed to alleviate my tension was a full-fledged, no shame in my game dance party. So that’s exactly what I had. 

I body rolled in my foyer. 

I twerked on my refrigerator. 

I pop, locked, *and* dropped it in the middle of my living room and it felt f*cking fantastic. I feel so much better and am ready to conquer the last day of the work week. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, Missy Elliott just dropped a new video and I have more booty shakin’ to do. 

Southern Belle Sees Savannah

After visiting Kathy in Pittsburg, I went straight to Savannah, Georgia for a business trip. After spending the past few years in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin (and many evenings reading and re-reading Gone With the Wind) I was excited to see one of the great Southern cities. Below are details and photos from my personal excursion through Savannah. It was a wonderful place and if I have my way, perhaps I’ll move there someday!

The night before my adventure, I made a tentative schedule for the day based on recommendations from my friend Julia (who frequently traveled to Savannah for business) and a very talkative older lady I met on the plane who lived on Tybee Island. 

The next day, a very colorful cab driver took me downtown. On the way, I heard the Steve Harvey Morning Show on the radio–that is one of the parts of living in the South that I miss. Steve had a good word about waiting for what God wants for you because “He can do the unthinkable and unimaginable” and to pray for what God wants for you instead of what you want. Once I arrived at my destinations, the cab driver warned me to “stay cool.”

First stop: Breakfast at B Matthews (recommended by the chatty plane lady as one of the places where locals eat). Such a cool place! The restaurant smelled amazing; I was engulfed in a cloud that instantly made my mouth water. I ordered biscuits and gravy with a side of sausage and a Bellini–SO GOOD. Seriously, the sausage was spicy and the biscuits were soft and that Bellini had me leaning a little to the left. I finished it at the restaurant so I had to wait to see if “open container realness” was in fact real. 

     

I wandered down Bay Street for a bit to check out the scenery–Savannah is breathtakingly beautiful. Eventually I made my way down a very steep set of steps to River Street and bought a pair of cateye sunglasses. It was deliciously hot and sunny!
                 

On River Street, I stopped at Savannah Bee Company and got a jar of delicious smelling hand cream. I sampled every honey in the store and tested two new lemon flavors that aren’t on the market yet. As if I didn’t have enough of a sugar high after all that honey, I bought a chocolate praline from River Street Sweets. It was very tasty but I could only eat half of it because it was so sweet (and huge!). 

I purchased a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil from a souvenir shop, then headed to a bar and ordered a “front porch peach tea” (an adult beverage) and took it TO GO! “Open container realness” was, in fact, real! I sipped my cocktail while walking down River Street and browsing in an art gallery. The aforementioned cocktail was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. 

     

I then walked from River Street to a restaurant called Tequila’s Town (recommended by my friend Julia) for lunch. It was about a 15 minutes walk from River Street and I sweated like a whore in church the entire way there, but it was worth it–two-for-$4 margaritas! I ordered a chimichanga. Pretty sure the last time I ate a chimichanga was at Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant in Hodgenville in 2004–that experience was nothing compared to this one. The food was awesome! I even watched a man make fresh guacamole right at the table for the couple sitting next to me–pretty sweet. The waiter asked me if I wanted the second of my two-for-one margaritas to go. I giggled gleefully inside–you could drink on the street! How scandalous! 
As I was leaving the restaurant I said, “This is the best day of my life,” out loud to myself. It may have been the adult beverages talking but oh well.  

     

Next was exploring scenery and shops on Broughton Street. Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite books (along with its sequel, Scarlett) and the entire time I was on Broughton I couldn’t help but think, “This is where Scarlett came to buy boots!” I considered purchasing some footwear just to feel more like Scarlett, so I did. I bought flip flops on Broughton! I also bought socks–Gap was having a sale–and saw a funny sign in another shop about selfies. 

  

It started sprinkling around 3:30 so I hit up Leopold’s Ice Cream (no pun intended–it really did start raining). The line was kind of OOC (out of control) but I was able to get my hands on a single scoop of mocha chocolate chip in a cake cone. I listened to Beyoncé and the Jackson 5 (among others) while I ate it and checked Facebook while I waited for the rain to stop. Yay for free wifi! 

   

After the rain stopped, I continued wandering around downtown until dinner time. I saw many interesting things like historical markers and beautiful architecture. I also saw a dude on a skateboard with a dog that looked like one of the Lost Boys from Hook. 

                           

My final stop was dinner at The Olde Pink House. The waitress (Megan) asked if she could excuse herself to “fetch some bread for my table”–how fancy is that?!? She came back and asked me how hungry I was, then recommended an appetizer and two different entrees. Homegurl ran through all the ingredients too–she is good at her job for real. 

I felt like such a lady eating there. They had full place settings and chandeliers and crisply starched tablecloths. The sweet tea was the sweetest elixir I’ve ever tasted. Best believe my sixth-grade obsession with etiquette came in handy; my back didn’t hit the chair, my elbows didn’t touch the table, and I was really glad I knew which fork to use. It was sad to think that when this house was initially serving meals, I’d be serving the table instead of eating at it. Slavery is the ugly side of the South. 
           

The meal was delicious. The collard greens tasted just like my Granny Aloma’s. The pork was fall of the bone tender. The mac and cheese was all kinds of flavorful. I was literally speechless after the meal…

     

…and also uncomfortably full. I waited forever for a cab and eventually used Uber (which just recently became available in Savannah, thank goodness). The driver said he had lived in Savannah his whole life and never ate at The Olde Pink House. I told him it was definitely worth a trip. 
That concluded my day-long personal excursion in Savannah–I had an awesome time checking out the city! I definitely plan on visiting again and will make sure a ghost tour finds its way onto my itinerary. 

The next day, I finally started work. During my two days of working, I was able to have lunch at a couple of interesting places: a sandwich shop with a King Kong theme and a good Latin restaurant called Latin Chicks. Per my adamant request, a group of us had dinner and drinks at The Olde Pink House the night before we left. 🙂