Celebration Mex

Celebration Mex

Aww yeah, burritos and margaritas in the house!

My friend Tony and I ventured out to Mad Mex after our volleyball game tonight in order to catch up, use one of my remaining birthday offers, and celebrate our win tonight. As of tonight, we’re tied for first place in our league, though technically, the team we’re tied with took 2 of 3 games from us… so if you look at it that way, we’re in 2nd place; just with the same record. But still, that’s a strong season, and we had a great night tonight!

So yeah, we celebrated with some burritos and margaritas. I went seasonal for both my drink and my dinner – I got the orange pineapple margarita on the rocks (“This doesn’t even taste like it has alcohol in it,” I slurred) and the grilled chicken and asparagus burrito. Both were good, but I think I was most surprised by the burrito. It included both asparagus and peas, and we all know how I’ve historically felt about peas… but it was actually really good. It helped that the peas were crunchy and not at all mushy. A heck of a lot of cheese (monterey jack and goat) helped, too.:)

We spent a few hours hanging out and catching up while stealing glances at the Pens game on TV. Eventually, though, I had to leave to get ready for my overnight on-call shift. Going back to what I said on Monday, sometimes it feels really good to not be responsible for a few hours. Between volleyball and dinner, I feel ready to jump back into the grind for one more work day and a weekend full of action.

Happy almost-Friday, friends. It couldn’t have come soon enough.

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Book Worm

Book Worm

I just love the library, don’t you? Over the years I’ve saved probably thousands of dollars by going there instead of buying books or DVDs. I’ve even saved money by borrowing CDs to see if I liked albums before purchasing them. I owe the library a lot, which is why I decided to become a volunteer for the Carnegie Library.

I met with the volunteer coordinator today to discuss what I can do, and we decided that I’ll be part of the LOCAL team. LOCAL stands for Library Outreach and Community Advocacy Leaders, and basically what I’ll be doing is volunteering for events to get the word out about the services the library has, get people back into the library (hint: have overdue book fines from 1987 and you’re afraid to show your face in the library? Don’t be scurred!), and to get more people going to the libraries in general. I wasn’t quite sure what the team was all about until I met with the coordinator, but after discussing, it sounds great. They ask for a minimum of 5 volunteer hours/month (which seems super-attainable), but they’re flexible… and when I mentioned the two jobs + Red Cross volunteer work I do, it didn’t sound like they’d have any issue with my involvement being below 5 hours if the stars don’t align in any given month.

Unfortunately, I’m going to miss my first team meeting because I’ll be in NYC, but I’m excited to see what kind of events I’ll have to choose from. The coordinator mentioned she sends out the events via email the day after the meeting, so I won’t be missing much (but she also mentioned there’ll be cake at the meeting this month, so I’ll be missing that. Boooo).

So far, even though my free time seems to be dwindling at an alarming rate, I think I’ll be able to keep up the ARC stuff + the library stuff. And I have some plans in motion for volunteering with one or two other organizations in the Pittsburgh area, so hopefully I’ll be able to do ALL OF THE THINGS. I wish there was a way to get paid my current salary (or more, obviously), but to go around doing different “volunteer” projects… granted, at that point, they wouldn’t be considered voluntary anymore, but how cool would it be to spend my days rebuilding houses for people who’ve lost everything and serving food to the homeless, and then spend my nights going to disasters and library events? Sigh. A girl can dream.:)

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Free Taco Tuesday

Free Taco Tuesday

I just realized that the title of this post could be read as a plea to free Taco the dog from Tank’s incessant following on this Tuesday, but no. Sadly for Taco (and luckily for Tank), no one is freeing Taco today.

Today was a hot mess of a day, if we’re being transparent. I was stuck presenting for the first four hours of my day, and then when I finally got a chance to check my emails, issues with two of my customers had blown up wayyyyy out of proportion and I was stuck in a firestorm of emails, phone calls, and IMs for the rest of the day. I didn’t bring a lunch with me because I’d planned on using a birthday certificate, but there was no way I could disappear for even 5 minutes during the day today.

Lucky for me, around 2pm I went to fill my water bottle and I was met with a feast. Someone on the floor must have had a training session today, and they must have ordered way too much food, so nearly full trays were sitting out waiting for hungry, grubby hands to snatch them up. It wasn’t our standard Mexican food, Moe’s, but instead it was from La Palapa. HELLO, SIGN ME UP. Who am I kidding, I was so hungry at that point, I would have eaten shredded iceberg lettuce from Moe’s. But I didn’t have to, because there was so much good Mexican food sitting in front of me!

I don’t know who ordered the food, or who decided to set out the leftovers, but whoever you are, THANK YOU for saving me today. I was getting hangry by 2pm, and this deliciousness was just what I needed to power through the rest of the afternoon. Once I got some food in my belly, I was much more pleasant.:)

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Question: What goes well with bourbon, cod, and ice cream?
Answer: NOT the treadmill.

Tonight my friend Natalie and I went out for our traditional Lindsay’s Getting Older dinner, courtesy of the Big Burrito group. Through the years, we’ve hit up all of the Big Burrito restaurants except Umi, and some we’ve hit up two or more times… we discovered tonight that this was probably the 8th year we’ve done this. So crazy how time flies!

I had fond memories of my miso black cod at Soba from my birthday dinner a couple years ago, so we decided to meet there again tonight.

We started with happy hour cocktails, obviously. I chose the tetsu old fashioned and she got the bangkok tea. I liked mine a lot more than she liked hers, but a few couple sips in and I started getting silly. I really seem to have no alcohol tolerance… blame it on getting older, I suppose. Since it’s a Monday and we both have to get to work tomorrow, we got the bao buns as an appetizer to slow the rush of booze to our brains. The bao buns were pretty tasty, what with their fried chicken and pickles. Noms.

Before our entrees came, we got our second (and last) round of drinks – she got the asian plum sangria and I chose the white lychee sangria. Both were good, but mine was pretty great… I can see myself making it at home. Soba’s happy hour ends at 7, and we had to have gotten our second drinks somewhere around 6:30… but for some reason, we were charged full-price for them. Strange, but unfortunately we didn’t notice until we got our credit cards back.

Obviously, I chose the miso black cod for my entree. It didn’t seem to be completely cooked, which seemed weird, but I usually pack up half of my meal to go anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. As usual, the flavors worked amazingly together and I loved it (the fully cooked parts).

In lieu of the chocolate pretzel stack that we usually get for dessert (mind-blowingly good, btw), we decided to head to nearby Millie’s for ice cream. I got one scoop of chocolate in a waffle cone and it was pretty tasty. And as a bonus, getting there and eating the ice cream allowed us some time to sober up.:)

After we parted ways, I considered going straight home, but I missed the gym. I figured I’d just knock out a few laps in the pool and call it a night, but when I got there, swimming immediately after drinking and eating just didn’t seem like a great idea so I hopped on the treadmill. Unfortunately for me, I was wary of the wrong part of the workout. About 25 minutes after I started the treadmill, I got a weird feeling in my stomach and threw up a little… in my mouth. So gross. But luckily, no one around me noticed and I was able to continue on my way. I finished up my session and then headed to the pool, just for fun. I didn’t expect much from the pool portion of the workout, but it was actually the one thing I needed. The mixture of cold water + increased metabolism + time to clear my head = I was sober and happy and relaxed-ish after the first 5 laps. I kept it short with 40 laps tonight, but they were good, strong, fast laps. They felt good.

Earlier in the night at dinner, I had a sudden realization – I had no responsibilities/nowhere to be/no one depending on me at that moment. My next bout of adulthood is tomorrow morning when I have to go to work, but I’m not working now, and I’m not on-call, and I don’t have somewhere to be. I can’t remember the last time I had a night like that, especially after the insanity of this past weekend. It’s such a weird, carefree feeling. I think every single night I haven’t had work things or other obligations over the past few months, I’ve volunteered to be on-call. And although there’s no guarantee I’ll be dispatched while I’m on-call, I realized tonight that it just kind of hangs over me – the possibility of having to leave wherever I’m at at a moment’s notice, and the requirement to stay within a certain radius and to remain sober and yadda yadda yadda… all things that I’m 100% willing to do on a regular basis, but when those restrictions are removed for a night, it just feels weird. How soon we forget, right?

Well, I’m back at it tomorrow, so I’m off to enjoy the last of the freedom while I can.:)

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Stock Girl

Stock Girl

Thank goodness, there were no random phone calls overnight, nor this morning. This morning, I was somewhat-prepared… last night, I was not. That said, I took some time this morning and afternoon to better familiarize myself with the contents of my new volunteer Go Bag. One of the things that was included was this little checklist of things that might come in handy, so I went on a little disaster preparedness shopping spree after breakfast.

I grabbed hand sanitizer that clips onto the bag, Kleenex, two Maglite flashlights, and some snacks. A girl’s always gotta have her snacks, ya know?

I was only on-call until noon, and then I had a couple hours free before heading to work. Ironically, after I was off-duty, I received a phone call from a leader wanting to discuss some things. He said he’d been checking the schedule (funny since I was off-duty at that point), and that we’d be working together during the week. He also congratulated me.:) I wasn’t sure what the point of his call was, but I slowly came to realize that he was passing on all of his experience to me via phone. We spent about 45 minutes together – he talked while I took notes. Towards the end of the call, I was grateful for his knowledge and appreciative of his call – he had no reason to reach out like that, but he felt it necessary to give me all the info he’s learned over the years. That’s pretty darn cool. I felt like a jerk for originally thinking, “yo, I’m off-duty, why is he calling me now?” I need to take a chill pill.

I’ve also gotten some emails from other leaders with congrats, words of encouragement, and offers for me to call them any time of the day or night if I get stuck or need someone to call. Seriously. There are no words to describe how amazing these people are, and I’m so lucky I get to work with them.

Speaking of work, that’s where I’m off to. And pretty much as soon as I’m done bartending, I’m back on-call… but at least tonight I’ll be better prepared thanks to the phone call earlier today.:)

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Movin’ On Up

Movin' On Up

Today was a crazy whirlwind, but a good kind of crazy.

I wasn’t called out at all last night, which ended up being a good thing since I desperately needed some sleep. Still, I woke up crazy early (for me) and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep… so I was more than ready to go to my training classes when the time came.

The morning training session was to cover the requirements for my volunteer promotion. I was there with two other people who were being promoted, three more senior volunteers (as though we were paired up, sort of), our supervisor (of sorts), and her manager. We covered a lot of things and we got our “go bags,” which contain a lot of information and tools for us to lead our teams. I also got a key fob to the place, so no more entering secret keypad codes for me! It was a nice, informal, and informative session, and we had fun.

We had about a half hour between the morning class and the afternoon Disaster Assessment leadership class, so the four of us who were there all day walked to the 26th St Market for something to eat. We mostly got the same thing – we have some sort of strange pack mentality thing going on. Our lunch was a spinach salad with avocado, pears, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and cucumbers. It was actually pretty tasty, and oddly filling. For $5, it was a good deal.

The afternoon Disaster Assessment class was interesting, but I started to become unfocused after the first two hours. I’m glad I took it, and I learned a lot (and have a lot more information to include in my go bag now), but I was ready to go when the class let out.

I stuck around for a few minutes to chat with another volunteer, and then I made the snap decision to go hang with my pups. I missed them. And obviously, they missed me.

Tank clearly has no idea how big he is. He just wiggled his way into my lap and plopped down. Taco, standing to the side and not pictured, was not impressed. He made sure to give his best effort to get up there with both of us, but as soon as my mom whipped out her phone to take a picture, he was gone in a flash. (Pun intended. Ha.)

My dad was working afternoon and then we found out he was being forced to double midnight, so I didn’t get to see him, but he facetimed us.:)

My mom and I went for dinner at a place called Burgh’ers in Zelienople, and it was pretty fantastic. Afterwards, we got ice cream. It was a nice little night.:)

I’m on call overnight, and I’m actually a little nervous – it’s my first night in the new position, so if I get called, it’ll be from our operations center in Philly, or from a local 911 center instead of one of our own team leaders. Now I’ll be the one calling people at 3:30am. Yikes.

Better make sure my ringer is up nice and loud tonight! Eek!

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