So, I’m back from my trip to the North and I’m incredibly tired. I feel like a zombie – my body’s roaming the halls of GSK but my brain is trapped in a paradise of sleep and pillows.

The first stop of our northern adventure was Morgantown. Kristen, Dave, Shel and I went out to dinner and then we spent the rest of the evening at Kristen’s apartment making fun of her obnoxiously arrogant roommate (so mature, huh??) and goofing around w/ my birthday present. I’m sure you’d love to know what my birthday present is, wouldn’t ya? I’ll leave it at this: my lovely best friend and I give each other dirty gifts for our birthdays. Honestly, I don’t know how the tradition started, but it’s been going on for three years and there’s no end in sight. Jeff joined us for breakfast at Shoney’s and then we headed off to Pittsburgh. Before leaving Morgantown I cried, of course. It’s this teeny tiny little town nestled into the mountains of West Virginia but I absolutely love it.

We arrived in Pittsburgh and I was finally able to give my parents the photo album I made for them. It took me nine months, but their reaction made it worth every hour I spent working on the thing! All five members of my family ate dinner together that night (Shel was there, too) – we had crab legs, King’s corn, jambalaya, fresh bread, etc… it was awesome. Jason wasn’t able to stay past dinner and that, too, made me cry. I was all weepy the whole weekend!

Sunday was the Steelers game and although we lost, I had a great time. Shel got to see what I meat when I said that Steelers football is a religion in Pittsburgh. Words don’t adequately express what it’s like to be there. It’s pure black and gold craziness. After the game we had homemade pizza w/ my parents and grandpap, then my dad left for Philadelphia. We then visited my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Nick so that Shel could be slowly introduced to my large Croatian family. We had fun and my uncle made some kick-ass pretzels! After that I went to Eat N’ Park w/ Matthew and came home and crashed.

My mom woke me up on Sunday morning to say goodbye, which made me cry. I went back to sleep for a few more minutes then forced Shel to get out of bed, which is no easy task. When I left my house, I cried again! (Told you I was weepy…) We stopped in Morgantown again – cause it’s on the way – and had lunch w/ Kristen. Dave was having some intestinal issues and couldn’t join us. Lunch took forever to get to us and as a result we got 50% off of the bill and some coupons for free sandwiches. The coupons went to Kristen because Shel and I don’t live in Morgantown.

The drive north took around 7 hours, but felt like two. The drive south took 6 hours (should have taken 5 because we went to Davie County), but felt like it took 60. It was terrible!! I felt like I was never going to get out of that freaking car!!!

Shel’s mom made us a nice dinner and then I got another birthday present!! She got me a really pretty canister set for my kitchen. It’s very exciting to have multiple rooms to decorate and furnish – hehe. We got up at 6 this morning and hauled back to Raleigh. Shel dropped me off at work, and that’s where I’m currently sitting and will stay sitting until 4:30.

I keep threatening to go to bed at 7:00, but I know I won’t. Instead I’ll bum around my apartment until I can no longer keep my squinty little eyes open, then I’ll go to sleep.

Countdown to my birthday: 15 days

I’m in an ongoing war w/ my shoe closet. Every morning my closet and I
battle – I want my shoes, my closet won’t let me find them. It can hide my
biggest, clunkiest shoe as if it were a blue blade of grass in a meadow. In
the morning I get down on hands and knees to dig through mountains of shoes
while Charlotte looks on in amusement and Shel yells at me in annoyance.
Tunneling through shoes while they pound on the walls of the closet makes
quite a racket and it’s too much for Shel’s sensitive ears to deal w/ before
8am. Searching for shoes is not only noisy, it’s also terribly time
consuming. My morning battles w/ my closet take up the precious minutes
that determine whether I leave work at 4:30 or 4:45. Ugh. I don’t want to
get a tacky shoe tree, but I don’t know if I can muster the necessary
stamina to continue engaging in war w/ my closet.

Anyway. Enough about my closet.

I came home yesterday and found that Shel had taken out the garbage, cleared
off the living room table, hung up his towels and made a valiant effort at
making the bed! My God! Miracles do happen!!

I had a good weekend. The weather was absolutely gorgeous (85 deg & sunny) and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to spend as much time outside as I would have liked. Oh well!

On Friday I had a terrible sinus headache all day, so I wussed out and went to be relatively early. Shel was working on a rather large homework assignment, so I don’t know that he minded too much. On Saturday Shel watched football all day and I shopped! Haha. I love football, but no games I really cared about were on tv. I didn’t get a whole lot while I was shopping – I mainly got stuff for other people. I got Shel a pair of flat front khakis because every pair of khakis he has either have cargo pockets
all over them or pleats.

We went to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse that night for dinner compliments of my parents. I’ve never been to such a fancy restaurant! I wore a pretty little dress and Shel wore a tie!! (along w/ the flat front khakis) He looked really handsome. Dinner was great – I’ve never had a better steak. Even the Coke was good – it tasted like it came straight from glass bottles. Shel stuffed himself silly and I ended up taking half of my steak home.

After dinner we sat in my car and talked for a while. I was feeling a little insecure – I felt completely out of place at an expensive restaurant. I felt like people could look at me and see I was just some middle class kid from Pittsburgh who drove a Sunfire and shopped at The Dollar Tree. Shel made me feel better and gave me a pep talk, after which I decided I deserved the $20 bathrobe from Marshall’s I’d been coveting for two days! So, we drove over to Crossroads so I could get it. Lucky for us Marshall’s was
open till 9:30. It was a toss-up between the light pink robe w/ the green monkeys and the dark pink robe w/ the yellow ducks. I let Shel have the final decision and he went w/ the monkeys. So, I have a wonderful pink terrycloth robe w/ green monkeys all over it! It’s so comfy and I feel totally relaxed when I wear it.

Yesterday Shel and I went to lunch at Rockola. After stuffing my face w/ cheese fries, I wasn’t able to eat my lunch, so I brought it to work. Then we went to the mall, which – brace yourself – Shel suggested! I tormented him by going to jewelry stores to look at diamonds, but I repaid him for his patience w/ a Cookie Monster cookie and an Elmo cookie. There was a pretty baby contest going on in the center court of the mall and it was so cute. There were all kinds of little babies dressed up in frilly outfits and bows
in their hair. They won prizes for things such as Best Eyes and Best Smile. It was really adorable.

Two very exciting things happened over the weekend:

Ben Folds has released five new songs via the Internet. You could either
download them from Sony or order the LP from his website. I chose to pay
.99 for each song and downloaded them last night. They’re really goofy, but
really good. Oh how I love my Ben!!

I taught Shel how to fold a towel!! It doesn’t sound very monumental, but
it is! Shel is like a little tornado – wherever he goes, there’s a trail of
debris in his wake. I’m not some stupid girl who thinks she can change her
boyfriend – I don’t even want to change my boyfriend – but I want him to be
more…. Domesticated. Yeah. I think that’s the word I’m looking for! I
want him to fold his towels, put his clothes in the hamper, put dishes in
the dishwasher, etc… I really don’t think I’m asking for too much,
although, because I know Shel the way I do, I’m kinda asking for a miracle!

And onto the very best thing about today…


WOW it’s going to be a gorgeous day here!! 85 & sunny! I’m going to miss days like these so much once evil Old Man Winter decides to show up. I shouldn’t complain, though – I’m from the frozen tundra and dreary skies of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is really pretty in the summer, but the summer only lasts for 2.5 months.

Speaking of Pittsburgh! Shel and I are heading up there on Friday!!! We’re spending a night in Morgantown first (to see Kristen) and my hope is that this can be Shel’s first visit w/o vomiting. It’s a lofty goal, but I definitely think it’s attainable. Why does he vomit, you ask… because he can’t handle the West Vriginia moonshine!! Haha. From the mountains of West Virginia we’ll be heading into the hills of Pittsburgh. Apparently my parents have managed to find a way to get all three of their children under the same roof at one time. That hasn’t happened since March! Well, it technically happened last month in Indiana, but this time we’ll all be home. I’m so excited!!!! I love my brothers so, so much. After some family bonding, Shel and I will be going to Heinz Field to see the Steelers beat the Tenn. Titans. I don’t know if they’ll actually beat the Titans, but that’s what I’m hoping for. Then, on Monday afternoon we’ll begin the 56,000 hour drive back to Raleigh. Blah.

Shel and I were planning on renting a boat and paddling around Lake Johnson for a while today, but now that it’s been announced that the NC State game is on tv, that may go down the drain. I hope not, though, especially because of the aforementioned forecast. After boat riding or tv watching – whatever we decide to do – we have reservations at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. I’m excited because I’ve honestly never been to a fancy restaurant before! I’m going to wear a dress and heels, etc… so it should be fun. Shel’s just looking forward to the steak! LOL.

Ok, time to brush my choppers and head on out to get my fat ass some exercise! Less than a month till yoga starts! Woo hoo!

So, Isabel came to North Carolina yesterday. GSK closed the office, which
was wise of them. Initially I didn’t understand their reasoning, or the
reasoning of every other company in the Research Triangle, but I soon
figured it out!

A tree in front of my apartment lost a huge limb during the storm as a
result of high wind gusts. Later in the day, that same tree lost a few more
limbs and a car lots its nice appearance as a result of those other limbs!
There were leaves and branches strewn all over my complex’s parking lot and
thousands of thousands of people lost power.

Shel and I walked down to Lake Johnson to see how that place was holding up.
On the way over, which is about a three minute walk, the ground was so
saturated (and I’m such a klutz) that I fell twice w/ in 30 seconds! Once
we got there, we experienced first hand what the heavy gusts of wind felt
like. I swear to God that I almost fell over a couple of times despite my
self-proclaimed pudginess – I was no match for those wind gusts! Lake
Johnson is small – probably only three miles total – but the wind was so
strong that it had waves! Once we got back to my apartment, I
noticed that my ears and throat were killing me. I felt like such a wuss
because the people closer to the ocean had it so much worse than we did in
Raleigh. I’m happy to say, though, that I’ve survived two hurricanes! Woo

Although it gets bashed by the occasional hurricane, I really, really,
REALLY want to live at the ocean. That would be so fantastic.

My parents are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this weekend. Can
you imagine sharing your life w/ someone for 25 years?!? WOW! They’re an
ideal for me – they’re a fun and loving couple who’s stayed w/ each other
through every up and every down. I hope if I get married, my marriage can
be like theirs.

Ugh. My sinus headache is getting pretty unbearable. I need drugs!