Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 18

A few pieces of money business:

Number one:
Dear People's Bank,
Please do not send me a Happy Holidays email. Having to delete generic (ineffective) marketing materials such as this puts me in a bah-humbug mood. Love, Nicole Micco

Happy Holidays, IRS!
Number two:
It infuriates me that the estimated tax filing forms my accountant printed for me list me as the "spouse or CU partner" and Jon as the "taxpayer." I am the one who is wrapping up freelance stories at 2 a.m. and then writing back these checks for thousands of dollars. Just sayin'.

PS: I am SO early on these 4th quarter payments! Because I thought I thought they were due 12/15. Silly me.

Oh yes.... I am grateful to have a bank account with enough money in it to write these checks, which are necessary because I'm earning a living doing (mostly) fulfilling and interesting work--and that the "taxpayer" to whom I'm married seems to consider me more his equal than the government does.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 17

Recently, a good friend told me that I "make people feel like they can do anything they want to do." That made my day. Today, a guy I know from Allegheny who writes hilarious things about parenting on FB suggested that I've inspired him to get some of his (awesome) work out in the world.

If this is true, then maybe the passion that often sends me flying in a million directions is a little bit contagious, in a good way. Which makes me feel better about myself.  Even if my passionate, scattered brain just failed to remember that you're supposed to bake the granola and then stir in the raisins. Grrrr....

What's your best your bad quality?

See how the "remove from oven" line is above the
"stir in craisins..." Oops. 

Day 16

Today, I relearned that working in a coffee shop (even with a friend) increases my productivity by about 300%. It also results in spending $15 on lunch, coffee and tips for overstaying your welcome plus $5 for parking. Hmmm....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 15

I know a lot about how keeping yourself accountable to your goals (by keeping a diary) can help you reach them. (My master's degree basically focused on doing this for weight loss).

And seeing my 36th year ticking away day by day on this blog makes me more cognizant that, if I don't get busy, I'm going to turn 37 and still be afraid of driving in Boston (or Pittsburgh), still stepping over the sewing machine that sits, untouched, on the floor of my office, and so on.

Time to pull out the calendar and start scheduling...

What goal have you reached after a LONG time of "procrastinating it"? How did you do it?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Days 11 - 14

A weekend that didn't involve an ounce of work (amazing) and ended with a movie (via Apple TV, b/c we canned cable last week to save some dough): Friends With Benefits.

My take-aways from the movie:
1. Several crass catch-phrases that I'm sure I'll probably be using from now on.
2. I miss NYC. A lot. (Could moving to downtown Burlington, from our current super-suburban location--which, for sure, has its benefits--help? I think yes. Browsing real estate...)
3. I want to be in a flash mob. Stat.
4. Mila Kunis and JT certainly are hot but Woody Harrelson rules.
5. If my sis doesn't burn me the Foster the People CD ASAP, I'm buying it.

That's all. Good night.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 10

Work. Holiday party. Jules waiting up (secret yay). Deadline.... gonna be a late night. Ugh.
Because I promised (the gratitude): It's a pretty sweet assignment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 9

Allow me to write the book of what not to say to young, inquiring minds.

Conversation that occurred while I was strapping the boys into the car this morning:
Jules (who's been around lots of pregnant ladies recently): "How do babies pop out?"
Me: "Well, sometimes they come out of your belly. Like, when you were born, the doctor cut my tummy and then sewed it back up."
Jules looks horrified.

Me: "It didn't hurt though." (Well, no, because I was numb. And, um, high.)
Jules looks confused.

Me: "Sometimes they come out like poop...." (Whaaaaaaa? Where am I going with this?)
Jules smiles a la "surely you're shitting me, Mom."
Me: "...But through ladies' vaginas."
Jules: Oh. (As if everything suddenly makes sense.)


This conversation took me back to the day when, visiting my grandparents at the cemetery, I told a two-year-old Jules that the markers showed where there were "people under the ground."

I would be grateful for your facts-of-life book recommendations.

Day 8

Cookie swap at Penelope's! I love this annual tradition, and Penelope--39 weeks, 5 days pregnant--deserves major props for keeping it up.

Winning cookie: Kim's Chocolate Bark (see it down there in the lower right corner, just up from Danielle's Russian Snowball?). One of the four ingredients is a saltine cracker. Simply delicious.  

Will I finish all of these cookies before Penelope becomes a mom?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 7

Kai-guy-body-slam wake-up. Coffee. More coffee. Balls and scooters at the YMCA. Bagels. Coffee. Sampling 900 men's colognes at Macy's. Headache. Cookies - this recipe, from Real Simple (with toffee bits and pretzels thrown in, per a recommended variation). Mushroom raviolis and meatballs at Ri and Chris's - perfect. THANK YOU. Robert Mondavi. Frosty the Snowman. Stories and snuggling. Back-patting. Procrastination. Procrastination. Procrastination. Neatly stacking story files. this...

Ugh. Go away.

So done. But so not close to done. Sigh.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 6

Today, we visited Santa--or as Julian calls him, "that Christmas guy." At first, the fact that the concept of Santa was fuzzy for Jules made me happy, like I've done an OK job of not making Christmas too commercial. Then I realized that, while my mom (an elf, like, for real) sat us down and repeatedly told us Christmas stories--those involving both St. Nick and the nativity, Jon and I have only mentioned Santa in passing (and Baby Jesus... well, that's a post for another day).

"That Christmas Guy" with Kai. Jules declined.

So, to Jules, the Christmas season means chopping down a tree, getting psyched to see far-away family (least I'm doing something right!), snow (see Day 4), and "that Christmas guy or maybe the Easter Bunny or Champ or Mickey Mouse will bring me mangoes and gummies." I have to get my act together. 

Today's gratitude target: Kathie Mic, creator of handmade Advent calendars, etc. for--among other things--making sure my kids don't grow up thinking that a Lake Monster delivers mangoes to kids' homes when it snows. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 5

Very big-girl day. Refinanced our house. Took Jules to the doctor for a mysterious rash. (He's fine. Rash, still a mystery). Hired an electrician to save our home for imminent fire. Seriously. Take it from me: If your lights have been flickering for a month, call an electrician ASAP no matter what anyone else says. I have taken over all electrical responsibilities at our house.

Also, I received the MOST thoughtful birthday gift from my sis, Kate: Joy of Cooking, 1975 edition. (Recall: the year I was born).


I have a humungous cookbook collection. But, bizarrely, until today, I did not own Joy of Cooking. I may have mentioned that I wanted it. I may have... and maybe even that I'd heard one of the older editions was better. (I think my wise co-worker Stacy, who manages EatingWell's Test Kitchen told me this.) Or I maybe I didn't say anything at all. But Kate knew it'd be the perfect gift.

When I told Jon about Kate's awesome gift, this was his response: "What the f*ck? You're f*cking kidding me. That girl is totally out of line with her 'perfect' presents."(Note: Jon loves my sis. Perhaps more than he loves me. In a totally appropriate way, of course.)


Turns out, Jon had ordered the exact same thing for me for Christmas, just hours earlier.  I seriously don't recall talking about wanting to get this book so this coincidence is totally blowing my mind still hours later. Anyway, Jon cancelled the order, noting that his reason for the return was, "My wife's sister bought my wife this very same book for her birthday. Now I, her husband, am left trying to figure out what to buy her for Christmas." Oh. I might note that it is our (mine and Jon's) tradition to buy each other a book (one that has some significance) for Christmas.

So today I have no trouble identifying the targets of my gratitude: the two people who seem to know me better than I know myself. Oh, and the man who saved our home from catching fire.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 4

Today, it snowed. I'm not a fan of snow. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I hate the stuff. I have gone so far to say that. A lot of times. Often with a few obscenities tossed in, you know, for good measure.

Digs was digging today's first snowfall of the season (12/8/11)
My family was surprised when I signed on for four years at Allegheny College in snowy Meadville, Pennsylvania. (Save for the snow situation, it was one of the best decisions of my life. In part because it was there I met some of the most amazing people I know, including Holly Tedesco and Cara Pasqualone, who'd better be reading to hear about what an impact they've had on me.) When I moved to Vermont in 2002, my family was just confused. Why was a girl who hated the cold and the snow moving to Vermont? Story for another day.

What I'll will say is that snow still makes me cranky, sad and anxious. Cranky because, when it's cold,  I like to drink coffee and stay dry, not scrape the windshield and drive an icy 14 miles to an office. Or 6 miles to the boys' daycare. Or anywhere. Sad and anxious because I want to become a rugged, awesome snowboarder--like everyone else around here seems to be--but speeding down a mountain strapped to a board still scares the shit of out of me. 

But here's the conversation I had with Jules this morning:
Jules (very excited): "Mom! It snowed! It's Christmas."
Me (summoning enthusiasm): "Wow. It did snow. But it's not Christmas. It's winter."
Jules (Again, very excited, looking out the window): "Look at the tree! It looks like a Spidey web."
Me: "Yes, it does. It's super pretty isn't it?"

It was incredibly beautiful. And, you know what? I think that a fake-it-(for the kids' sake)-till-I-make-it approach to winter might really work wonders for me this year. This afternoon, Ri and I took Digs and Butler for a walk on the snowy trails. And it was awesome.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 3

Today, a co-worker I admire came and told me that something I'd said had made all the difference. She'd mentioned being concerned that her young-twentysomething daughter had postponed joining the "real world" in favor chasing down fun. I told her that I wish I'd done exactly that, that her daughter was out living in the real world. It's hard to fit lots of that sort of living into the 10 days of vacation most Americans get when they take a job.

I'd offered it flippantly, the way I tend to shoot off my opinion even when no one asks for it. So I was sort of surprised when she popped in, weeks later, to tell me this. It truly made my day. In the same way my friend Mia's telling me, a few years ago, that she'd grown to love chick peas because I convinced her to try them in college. Who knew?

The littlest things we do or say can have a huge impact on someone else. You may never know it. But it's awesome when they let you in on it.

So. I'm going to make a point of telling people when they've helped me with a breakthrough. When they've squashed one of my shitty moods. When they've told me what I needed to hear: "You're acting like a baby. Get over it."

I'm also going to try to follow more of the great advice in Katie Couric's newish book, The Best Advice I Ever Got. It's a super quick but awesome read (that I just blew through on my Kindle, for free, thanks to the new-available Kindle library loans. Woo hoo!)

What one little thing - something someone's said, or done, something you've read - has made all the difference for you?

Who can argue with this great advice?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 2

I get to come up with super fun ways to present health information. 
And I get paid for it. 
How cool is that?

View from my desk 12/06/2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 1

Today is my 36th birthday  and, if all goes well, I get 365 more days of being 36 because 2012 is a leap year. Since I'm into number-y things, I think this is pretty cool - all these 3's and multiples of it. (3*4 = 12... there are 4 people in my family and one of them is 3 years old. We have 3 pets.) I could go on and on...

Every year, I set resolutions on my birthday. It gives me a head start on the New Year's thing... and it makes more sense to me. For example, in my mind, I think, "I ran my first marathon when I was 26" (wow! a decade ago)...

Here are a few of the goals for my 36th year:

  • Conquer fear of driving (Tackling Montreal. Then Boston, then NYC)
  • Run a 10K in TK minutes (still working on the goal - but it's going to be faster than a 9:15 minute mile!)
  • Learn to sew. How cool is this place, Nido? First project: Pimp bathrobes for the boys. 
  • Plan an awesome party (this is more specific that it sounds).
  • Reflect upon something for which I'm grateful every single day. Here's today's:

PS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm going to try to be a nicer person, work out, quit eating  dried fruit as if I'm still nursing a baby 8 times a day and need an extra 600 calories, read more, yada yada - but I'm ALWAYS aiming to do that stuff...