Thursday, March 27, 2008

My co-worker had numerous tests and today found out that she's in the clear! Whoo! We had Happy Hour on Thursday this week. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!

Later, poor Lamby ended up with a knife jutting out of his head.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why we walk...

One of my fellow walkers has been in and out of the office this week at various doctor’s appointments. I just spoke with her and she told me that she found a lump last week and is now in the process of going through various procedures to determine what exactly is happening. It’s completely scary and brings home the reality of breast cancer. This truly is why the walk is so important…

I’m at $1550 with only $250 left. Now with my co-workers news, I’m even more determined in walking and fundraising.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


After lots of little bumps and plenty of phone calls, I finally got to buy my ticket to India on Friday afternoon. (And not with my credit card either!) And for a bit of a different experience.

Originally when it was discussed that I would be traveling to India, it was because of a conference in Delhi for a few days. The conference is in partnership with Air India and in going, the air ticket would be free, I'd be staying at hotels in the city for free, and would have most of my meals provided for. Then for either a few days before and some days afterwards, I would be using our ground operator to try to see the major sites and do some hotel inspections for as cheap as possible.

I emailed our operator the plans to get his thoughts and he emailed back that the conference is pretty lame, but he'd help me as needed. However, he said that they were already planning a familiarization trip for some other agents from a different company and all of the rooms were already comped and he was more than happy to have me tag along. We'd have to pay for international and internal airfare and that's it.

So, pricewise, the two were pretty even, I guess. Air India would only let me go one or two days before the conference and I'd have to leave three days later, which really wouldn't give time to see much. So we started contacting people about air tickets on our own and after some back-and-forth deals, we finally got the best possible flight (nonstop on the way home!) for the dates for the fam trip through the ground operator.

This trip is going to be amazing! We're staying at our properties (including a couple of hotels that I am dying to see) and I'll be hitting all the highlights in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Varanasi. I'm going to be gone for ten days and leave in less than four weeks!

Another co-worker is going to Australia and we've already made lists for the other to bring back. =) I'm excited!!!!!!!! Sooooooo excited!!!!!!!! And I hope to make the company proud by actually asking the right questions, dressing properly, and generally not embarrassing myself.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Can I get a "whoo" for all the great people in my life?!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How much is that in rupees?


For the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, I'm up to almost $1400 in donations! (Verbal donations, cash not yet applied, etc. included) I honestly can't believe it. I'm going to try for a final push to get the remainder of my donations by the end of March...

Why the urgency?

Because I think I'm actually going to India! I have contacted some organizers at an event I will be attending and things seem to be rolling along. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to in the country (and I know that it isn't vacation in the least...I'll be working and moving constantly), but I'm very very excited! I believe I'll be spending three days in Delhi and then will be sent around the country in a whirlwind tour to cities like Jaipur and Udaipur, plus Agra and Varanasi.

So I'd love to have all of my fundraising done before I leave so I can focus on walking when I get back. I hope I don't get sick and lose strength before the walk. That would be the worst.

Speaking of... I have started training with my co-workers and it has been a blast so far. I have learned so much about each of them as we walk in laps at various fitness centers. We can't wait to start walking outside and for longer stretches of time. It has been going really well so far.

Anyways, just a little news from my world! And my page once again.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tim Finnegan's Wake

Ahhh....what a lovely weekend, despite these flurries that refuse to go away. It's supposed to be 50 this week, though!

Yesterday, I got up nice and early and went to the gym with Regan. We had a good workout and I was ready for the day. Ken was flying in around 4 p.m. so I knew that I could either snooze the afternoon away (which was tempting) or go out and be productive. I had been craving Potbelly's for a good five days and looked up the nearest location near me... One is conveniently located in downtown Naperville where I knew I could spend some time wandering around. When I walked into Potbellys my day got even better when I saw that they had all sorts of fun sodas in the case... including Orangina! I was so excited. I got my sandwich (yummmm.....) and managed to get a seat at the busy store. The music playing was awesome.. some sort of Jack Johnson Live version. Then I looked to my left and lo! there was a guy sitting there singing and playing guitar! He was really good and had everyone smiling as he worked through his set. I threw him a couple of bucks on my way out and left in a superb mood.

Across the street I discovered a spice store full of nothing but *ta da* spices. I have to go back soon with Ken since he does the actual cooking. I kept wandering and saw a sign for soy candles and a sign pointing down to a basement. And at the foot of the stairs was a dog ready to greet customers. I couldn't refuse. So I walked down and found a lovely little shop that makes homemade soy candles. They were so unbelievably nice and showed me how they make the candles and let me test their new product. Of course I had to buy a candle and got a Pink Peppercorn & Pear one. It smells so good. When I checked out, they gave me a free mini version of another type I was considering. I just love shopping in boutique-y places like this. I can't resist buying, though.

I also bought an adorable little stuffed bunny at a different store (for someone's Easter gift) and almost bought Izzy an amazingly cool collar, but wasn't willing to part with $40 for it. :) And yet again, I realized that I am not going to shop at malls for these sorts of items. Clothes are a different matter, but candles, books, jewelry... it's so much better to shop local and interact with real humans who have a vested interest in their own success.

Another great part of my day was that I had a package from Izumi in Okinawa! She sent me "snacks and sweets." When I opened the box, I squealed in glee as I saw the contents!

PUCCA!!!!! How I've missed you!!!!!! And I also really like those little Okinawan cookies. And the crackers.

She also sent me little rice snacks for Girl's Day. I remember being accosted by everything pink and girly for a time leading up to the holiday.

And finally, since she's Japanese, some sort of cracker mix with little fish.

But the best part was that in her letter she sent numerous photos of the people I met at the gym and also some words from them that she translated for me:

"Here's from Mrs. Nosato (she has short hair): Hello, Rachel. I remember I talked to you in my poor English. So that I had to use a dictionary when we met first time. You often came to our gym and run with no words. I wonder...if you can fun faster than 2 years ago. If you have a chance to visit Okinawa, please come and visit us."

My day was going well ---- and then.... I got to go to the airport and pick up Ken. We timed it perfectly and picking up at the international terminal is not nearly as stressful as the domestic one. I could even pull off and park for 10 minutes right in front of the door while waiting for him. We had our hellos and headed back to the apartment to see what goodies he brought back for me. He got me a SIGG bottle! (I might have laid some big hints.... Like, if you see a SIGG bottle cheaper than here, buy me one!)

Our day ended with Josh, Laura, Amy, & Shaun heading over to the apartment and all of us going to Ballydoyle's for dinner and drinks. A couple pints of cider and shepard's pie, plus some Irish dancers, bagpiping, and a little Irish music had me seeing green. It might have been a bit over-the-top, but it definitely made me wish I was Irish or that I could spend excessive amounts of time in Ireland each year.

I am going on and on with this post. I didn't even talk about our training walks or the hotel receptions I attended.

Have a great Monday, everybody! Happy Daylight Savings Time!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

So long, Pyramids.

So, apparently, as of today, I'm not going to Egypt. I knew I shouldn't get my heart set on it.

Here's how it went down:

Co-worker: Rachel! Mr. X wants to see you in his office!
Me: Okay!
(in the office)
Mr. X (studying computer): Hmmmmm.....
Me: Need help finding something?
Mr. X: Hmmmmm.... nevermind. I can't find it.
Me: *dum dum dum silence*
Mr. X: What are you doing in April?
Me: Nothing... Why?
Mr. X: How about going to India?
Me: Really? Okay!

Now I notice that the website is for an India conference mid-April. Apparently, he is going to try to sign me up and make sure it's all okay and then I'll be going there to see some properties before some whirlwind sightseeing.

I wonder if I'll get to stay at the Oberoi Amarvilas. Not a bad view. Not bad at all.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A little skip in my step...

Ken's roughing it in Switzerland and Austria these two weeks, so I've been left to my own devices for entertainment.

Yesterday I had a fantastic Saturday. And the reason that I was so great was due to a) warmer weather and b) friendly people.

Living here, I miss helpful, genuine strangers. Regan and I were chatting the other day at the gym about how I go there almost every single day and I guarantee that no one knows my name or would care if I suddenly stopped showing up. And I don't know anyone else's name either. It's sad. (Regan's gym is way friendlier than mine...) I guess that although it can sometimes be annoying how everyone knew my business (and still do) in my hometown, I vastly prefer looks of recognition, heartfelt "hellos", and waves while driving instead of glares and honks.

Anyways, back to my weekend. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon running errands. I went to Trader Joe's where a chatty attendant is a given (and where they give you cookies when checking out. YESSSS!!!!)... And then I had to get my oil changed something that, as a female, I dread. I know I should be empowered and not overwhelmed by the testosterone in garages, but still, it's threatening. So I almost went to Jiffy Lube, but saw a ton of people waiting. I decided to go to the garage right down the corner from my apartment because Ken had gone there previously. I hate not knowing how to pull in, where to wait, etc. Thankfully, the friendliest (and I mean, friendliest) attendants were working. They were charming and when I pulled in with my car, every single one of them said, "How are you?" and smiled as I walked to the waiting room. It's amazing how my mood was lifted.

Later, I decided to wander a nearby downtown area. I stumbled across a running shop and decided to go in. The worker was really nice in giving me advice on how to train for my walk in May and further buoyed my spirits. Then I went to Starbucks because I had a new book that I was dying to start. The barista asked if I wanted an extra shot of espresso. Out of the blue! How nice!

My evening ended at Laura's Leap Day party where I didn't really know anyone. Thankfully, Laura has very nice friends and I had some lovely conversations with interesting people. It was a great time! I'll be back in four years. 2012...Wow. That's scary.

Anyways, yesterday was a breath of fresh air. And today the sun is shining and the temps reached 52 degrees. There is ground! Even though it's soggy and brown, it's fantastic. Usually I complain about how ugly and sparse everything is in the winter. This year, I'm sick of the white.

Tomorrow I begin training with my co-workers for the Avon Walk. We've located an indoor track we can use if the weather is nasty and we're going to start our laps. I am most excited to pick their brains and get to know them on an outside-of-work level. I bought some blister preventing socks yesterday at the runner's store, but still need to get great walking shoes. (And yes, Regan, I know that there are the same socks at Target, but the guy was just so friendly! I'll get my other pairs for cheaper...)

Ken comes back Saturday and for that, I'm truly grateful.