They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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Queen of Missed Flights

 “Wait…you missed your flight AGAIN??”

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Why, thank you. You may sit down, lowly, responsible subjects who have never missed a flight.

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Queen of Missed Flights

I don’t know what happened, but I swear I used to be super time-conscious and responsible. Prior to moving to Binghamton, I’ve only missed a flight once and it was because my first flight was late and I missed my connecting flight. Oh wait, I take that back. I also missed it when I went to the city for the first time last summer because I got caught up doing errands. But see! It’s all related to New York!

Let’s count the times I’ve missed flights since moving to Binghamton:

1. I woke up at 6am…which was when my flight was scheduled to depart.

Granted, I was up late the previous night and had to get up at least by 4am to be able to make it, so I figured I had probably slept through my alarm. Upon further investigation, however, I found that while I did, indeed, set the alarm for 4am, I set it for the wrong day.

 

2. My first flight was delayed and I only had about a 30-minute layover so I ended up being stuck overnight.

Ok, this wasn’t my fault so I’ll give myself a pass on this one.

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3. My original flight in the afternoon got canceled and the next flight wasn’t scheduled until around noon the next day. I had plans around noon the next day so I was not ok with this.

Ok, so this also wasn’t my fault but instead of just going, oh shucks, sure I’ll just cancel the plans I had back in LA I decided that no, I didn’t want to cancel so I made it more complicated for myself. I took a Greyhound bus down to JFK airport, which is around 3 hours away from Binghamton, stayed at a hotel, then flew early in the morning. And you know what almost happened? I almost missed my flight. Yes, true story. I think I turned the alarm off instead of hitting snooze but luckily I jolted awake and realized I needed to get my butt to the airport shuttle ASAP. I made it just in time. If I hadn’t…man, that would’ve been a waste in time, money, and effort…

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4. I was in the correct terminal waiting for my connecting flight with kitty in tow and then…I missed my flight.

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True story.

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No, I’m not kidding.

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I know, right?? Seriously, I was sitting right there, absorbed in this crappy free book on my kindle, when I looked up and saw that the screen said, “Airplane status: Departed.”

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In my defense though:

1. I heard her say, “Boarding passengers with special needs and first class only,” so I waited. I didn’t hear her announce the other zones.

2. I’m used to bigger flights where I see people lining up by the terminal door so it gives me an indication when the rest of us lowly zone 4ers and above are allowed to board and I saw no such thing.

3. There was no final call that I heard AND I’m used to bigger flights where they actually call your name when it’s the final call.

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No? Ok, fine. It was totally my fault. But! Silver lining though! Rather than panic or feel the need to sit in a ball on the floor and cry, my thoughts immediately went into planning mode. Do I rent a car and just drive the rest of the way? Do I try to find a connecting flight to a nearby airport and then rent a car and drive the rest of the way? I have to say even though this last one could have totally been avoided, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I just saw it as an inconvenience and I immediately went into action rather than spend time berating myself. I call that a success! Go me!

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😀 😀 😀

Ya gotta be able to laugh at yourself!

 

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The Courage in Staying

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When people tell me of a change they’re planning on making, whether it’s a move, job change, or anything really, I get excited for them and tend to encourage them to go for it. It’s like, yay! Go! Adventure! Embrace change! Change is good!

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Hopefully, I don’t come across as pushy or being supportive only if their final decision is to make the change. The truth is, I support whatever decision that person makes if it’s what will ultimately make him or her happy. I think the important part isn’t whether or not you decide to make the change; I think it’s really about being open to the possibility and really thinking about which option is better for you.

I’ve got a friend who’s torn about leaving here and moving to Texas because she feels like she just established herself, just found some pretty awesome people and found love for the crossfit kool-aid. I know exactly how that feels since that was pretty much my situation shortly before moving here. My response to her is that these awesome people she just met (like moi!) will make an effort to stay in touch and that if her heart tells her to go to Texas, she should definitely go for it. Of course I’m going to miss her, especially given that we’ve just recently started to hang out and get to know each other, but hey! That’s what airplanes and road trips are for!

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Then I have two other friends who were considering quitting their jobs and taking another job position elsewhere. Both of them were leaning heavily towards taking the other position, for the usual reasons: tired of the current job, felt like they needed the change, seemed to have more opportunities, etc. And of course, my natural inclination being to encourage people to go for it, I was very supportive and encouraging for them to make a change. Then after some thought and self-reflection, they both realized that they actually didn’t want to leave. The other opportunity wasn’t actually as good as it seemed, and I am proud of them for being able to look at what seemed like a new golden opportunity and say, “you know what, nah. What I have is actually pretty damn good. I’m going to stay.”

I think it takes a certain courage to be able to say no to something that may seem like such a great opportunity, because at the back of your mind you think to yourself, “but what if this kind of opportunity doesn’t come up again?” The way I see it, opportunities are everywhere. It doesn’t mean you need to take it if the timing isn’t right yet or it’s not quite what you’d like. It’s ok to stay put and not take it. I really believe that when one door closes, another opens. And if not, well shit, go for the window.

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Every day is a good day; some are just better than others

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Every day is a good day; some are just better than others

I have a tendency to worry and stress myself out even though logically I know that it doesn’t help. So I’ve decided to actively look for the good things about each day for every day that I feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Please bear with me because I have a feeling I may need to do this on a daily basis for now. 🙂

Today, the good things are:

1. Having lunch almost every day with my co-workers here. It’s really nice because even if my co-worker on the same program I’m on isn’t there, I’m comfortable enough to go to the cafe and sit with the others, whom I don’t actually work with. For the hour or so that I’m there, they make me forget about whatever it is I’m worried about.

2. Knowing that there are people at work who care for my personal well-being; I just need to learn how to reach out and ask for help. It’s very difficult for me to ask for help, independent, control-freak that I am, but it’s nice to know that it’s there if or when I need it.

3. Continuing to meet people I click with. I love meeting people, but I love it even more when I instantly click with that person, even if we don’t end up hanging out all that often or seeing each other again.

4. My friends who love me even when I’m not at my best. I thank God for them everyday because they’ve taught me how to trust and how to be strong even in the midst of difficult situations. My issue isn’t that I have no one to call. It’s that I don’t know who to call first. 🙂

5. My family, particularly the adventurous side (we’re going to Niagara Falls in July!). Looking back, I’m very grateful for all the adventures we’ve gone on as a family. Thank you for awakening the curiosity within me and teaching me that the world is a wonderful place to explore.


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The Flying Kitty – Part 1

Last weekend I went back to LA to pack my things from my apartment to get ready to move it into storage. I know that I “moved” to Binghamton, NY back at the end of January but it didn’t feel real until now. Now I actually have to go through the process of packing my stuff and bringing the kitties over (one at a time), the latter of which makes me happy and anxious at the same time. Happy for obvious reasons but anxious because I’m so afraid they’re going to run off when I have to carry them in my arms when I go through airport security.

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Freedom!

Although my cats have gotten a bit on the chunky side since my roommate has been taking care of them (God bless him for doing that for me) so it will probably be more like this:

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I..can…fitz…

I was just nervous about the whole weekend and the upcoming one because I’m just hoping things will go smoothly. I needed to pack the majority of my things by this past weekend so that things will be pretty much ready to be moved by the moving company this upcoming weekend. The packing went surprisingly well. In fact, although I expected this to be an errand trip, I still managed to hang out with some of the girls from my old crossfit box (I miss them 😦 ), still managed to have amazing food, get my wax on (good-bye, caterpillar eyebrows!), get a massage, and go out to dinner with my cousin and roommate for my cousin’s birthday. And because I love food, I just have to share some pictures.

Dinner with my roommie on Friday night at Bru Grill & Market:

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Brick Oven Roasted Chicken Seared in Rendered Duck Fat

Breakfast with my roommie on Saturday morning at my favorite breakfast joint in Lake Forest, Break of Dawn (no, not Breaking Dawn as in the Twilight series):

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Mac & Cheese (top), Beef Brisket with Merlot Poached Eggs (bottom)

And saving the best for the last (also because it really was the last – hah!), dinner with my cousin and roommie on Saturday night at Cucina Enoteca at the Irvine Spectrum:

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Appetizer: Mediterranean Mussels

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Sides: Burnt Brussels Sprout + Ivan’s Hot Sauce (left), Farmer’s Market Vegetable: Cauliflower Goodness (right)

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Entrees: Spicy Shrimp Puttanesca Angel Hair (left), Brick Oven Roasted Whole Fish (middle), Veal ‘Saltimbocca’ (right)

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Dessert: Roasted Strawberry Fregolata

I love food so much! It just makes me so happy!

So then Sunday comes along and I am just so nervous. I went through the plan in my head as soon as I woke up then executed. Breakfast. Check. Give the kitty who’s traveling with me some drugs. Check. Put the harness on the kitty. Check. Put on my catlady outfit number 1. Check.

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Put cat in carrier. Che–Dammit, Cooper! That is NOT how you’re coming with me!

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Once I put him in the carrier, it was show time. I was so incredibly nervous. At one point, I looked at my hands and they were shaking. Then I realized I was being overdramatic and tried to calm myself down. After all, Cesar Millan says the pet owner must be calm and assertive because the animal can sense that.

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It actually went ok. He didn’t try to run off when I had to carry him through security and he only meowed once when we landed in our connecting flight. He was such a good boy. I was a proud cat momma.

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A well-behaved Cooper on the airplane

Now I’ve got one more errand weekend to go and one more cat to bring…then I get to worry about other things. Yay! Lol

On a serious note, with my cats being here it’s all becoming real now, the whole idea that I’ve made a choice to stay here on the east coast. And with this reality check comes the anxiety and stress due to my uncertainty and instability. I am not one to go with the flow. As my friend told me last night when I called her freaking out, I’m pretty linear. I really, really don’t like instability. I don’t like not knowing what the end of the year is going to be like. I’m ok with plans changing, as long as I can re-plan things. Luckily, once I talked to my friend and I got a better understanding of why I’m feeling the way I do, my normal mode of thinking kicked in and I do what I always do when I’m stressed out. I made a plan.

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I anticipate many more decision sheets will be filled out in the upcoming weeks. 😛 I just need to breathe, take it one step at a time, and remember that everything’s going to be alright.

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Do you like your surprises as an appetizer or as a dessert?

“I guess I should start out by saying that I will no longer be your manager.”

My reaction:

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Followed shortly by:

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That’s how my current manager started the conversation and throughout the rest of the conversation the shock was still with me so I wasn’t fully there. I’m not sure if it would’ve been better if he saved that for the end of the conversation though because I’m pretty sure I would’ve sensed something was coming and I would’ve been distracted throughout the conversation trying to figure it out. I guess there isn’t a delicate or easy way to deliver shocking news like that. Personally, I like doing the sandwich method, where you start the conversation on something mundane like the weather, deliver the shocking news, then carry on as if you didn’t just say something shocking. It reminds me of the following conversation I had with a friend of mine when I was trying to tell her I made the excellent decision to go back to my ex:

FRIEND: So how’s everything going?

ME: Oh everything’s pretty good! I’m getting ready for summer so I decided to buy a patio set for my balcony. I’ve decided to go back to my ex. Yeah, the patio set was pretty cheap at Big Lots, you should totally go there if you’re looking to buy some reasonably priced furniture.

FRIEND: …wait, what?

ME: I said that Big Lots is a surprisingly great place to buy reasonably priced furniture.

I really like my current manager, although we aren’t close like my manager and I were at my previous job. Plus, I’m unsure whether or not I like my soon-to-be new manager. Putting the emotional aspect aside though and trying to look at the big picture, when he was describing to me the reorganization that is going on with our company, I wasn’t sure (still not) if this will be for the better or for the worse. I’ve known that change was coming but I naively thought I wouldn’t be affected. Now don’t get me wrong, I typically embrace change and welcome it. It’s just that I’m not really sure about this one. I haven’t quite put my finger on it but something feels off. I think once my shock wears off I’ll do what I do best and write things out – pros and cons, what my misgivings are, observations since being put in my current job position, etc. I will also take advantage of my new closeness with one of the newly appointed chief engineers and get his take on it. Now that I’ve had this talk with my soon-to-be former boss, I recall that the chief engineer had mentioned something to me about a change coming and this could be it.

The chief engineer is currently on a flight somewhere, there’s supposed to be a team-wide meeting later on this week, so really there’s not much for me to do as far as information gathering other than waiting, which I am oh-so-good at (NOT!). Since I’m not good at simply waiting, I’ll probably organize my thoughts on paper when I get home to try and figure out what’s off about this whole thing and what it is I’m looking for as far as my career goes. Damn type A personality, why can’t I simply relax??

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I wonder if this is part of the thing I feel like I’m missing that’s going to help me figure out what’s going to happen in the future, and by future I mean the end of this year (I can’t even go beyond that at this point). If so, I’m excited! I think I’m going to think of it that way instead of worrying about the unknown, which I tend to do. Breathe, girl, just breathe. Think happy thoughts.

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I’m in Miami, trick!

It was actually during my trip to Miami that I decided to start this blog and document my adventures since moving to Binghamton, which is why if it seems like I’m going on several trips in one week it’s really because I’m posting about current events and backlogging at the same time. I mean, yes, I’ve been doing things almost every weekend, but not as many as it may seem. 😛

I went on this trip with my girls around April, when it was already officially spring. I bring this up because it was pretty incredible to me how moody the weather can be around here during that time. It was around 78 degrees F the weekend prior to my trip but the day I flew to Miami the weather was like this:

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Which was fine with me because I knew what I had waiting for me in Miami, and I wasn’t disappointed:

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My friends flew in a day before me so I met up with them at our hotel. Their reaction to me was priceless. Although it had only been around three months since I saw one friend and one month since I last saw the other, they didn’t recognize me at first. It was kinda like this:

 

Apparently, in the short amount of time I had spent in real winter, I had turned from this:

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to this:

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Once we all got over my inadvertent transformation, we went up to our room and I got greeted with this wonderful view from our balcony:

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I was so happy. Being greeted by that view every morning, hearing the waves crash every night as I fall asleep…it was such a wonderful trip!

And of course, it wouldn’t be a great trip if it didn’t include great food and great drinks!

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I would like to thank these two friends in particular for introducing me to the ways of the foodie. If not for them, I would still be walking around, blind, eating food only to sustain rather than enjoying each delectable bite and savoring each meal like it’s my last. I have started a lifelong love affair with food.

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Alas, after a little less than a week of laying out by the beach, eating at wonderful places (I highly recommend eating at Pub Belly – that’s where the food collage was taken from), having quite a few cocktails and glasses of wine, and exploring the night life, it was time for us to go back to our respective homes. My friends had an early flight but mine wasn’t until around noon, so I decided to take one last walk along the beach before heading to the airport.

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God, it was beautiful. I love my girls. I love my life. Life is beautiful. 🙂


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My First Cannoli

I want to start off by saying that I can’t believe I’ve never had a cannoli before now. I first learned about the cannoli when I was watching an episode of Cake Boss where they had to make hundreds of cannolis for the annual 25 cents Throwback Cannoli Day. This episode aired in July of 2009. It is now June of 2014. Like I said, I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to try one considering I’ve been curious about it since watching that one episode.

In any case, I popped my cannoli cherry this weekend at the Italian festival in Endicott, NY, known as St. Anthony’s Italian Feast Days.

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There were several food vendors, games for the little ones, live music, and wonderful home-made treats.

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Aside from the cannoli, which was really freakin’ good, the tiramisu was also the best I’ve ever had. Normally, I’m not really a dessert person but it was just so delicious I took more than my usual one bite. It didn’t have too much rum, it wasn’t too sweet, the cake wasn’t too spongy…it was heaven in one bite. Ok, it was more like two. Ok, fine. Three. I also tried these things called Spiedies, which is marinated chicken, lamb, or beef on top of some type of Italian bread. They only had lamb Spiedies at the festival so I had that and because I am also wheat-sensitive, it was my intent to just have the lamb and maybe taste a little of the bread. Nope. The bread, while very ordinary-looking, tasted phenomenal so I decided to just suffer the consequences later. I’ll be back on my strict health-nut eating the rest of the week, I promise, body.

I had a lot of fun at the festival. I even ran into someone I knew that I didn’t meet at the gym! Speaking of my gym, the whole reason I knew about the festival is because they had mentioned it to me last minute earlier that day. I have to say, now that it’s gotten warmer and more events are going on (we all went to the Greek Festival last week) it’s really nice to be going out as a group. I mean, I see them pretty much everyday at the gym but it’s just nice to see them outside of the gym too. I also found out that one couple is also a foodie and wino so I have even more people to hit up when the foodie in me wants to play!

It was also really nice when one of them talked to me about how I could actually move here. He asked me what I did because he was thinking that there could be something in his company for me. It didn’t seem to be the case, but I was really touched that he genuinely wanted to help me out. Him, my co-worker, and my co-worker’s wife have all tried thinking of ways to help me…it’s just such a strange but wonderful feeling to have just met people who already genuinely care about me. I mean, I’ve only been here since the end of January, which makes it a little less than 6 months. I lived in Lake Forest for over 6 months and it wasn’t until shortly before I moved to Binghamton when I started to get close to people. I’ve been here in less time and I’m already way past that. It’s amazing. I can see what my friends who are originally from the east coast mean when they say that east coasters are different. I mean, I love my west coast peeps, but unless you’ve already found your bubble, which I’m very fortunate to have even now being far away, it’s very difficult to meet people who will become your genuine friends. Just to give an example, the only people I still keep in regular contact with from back home are the people in my awesome bubble and my family. Even the ones I was starting to get close to in Lake Forest I haven’t talked to as much as when I first moved. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge them or anything. It’s just an observation and one that makes me even more grateful for having met these wonderful people. I could be wrong. If I end up moving back (which I highly doubt) or moving someplace else in the east coast I could very well lose contact with my new friends. But I don’t think so. At least, not the handful of people that I already feel very close to.

I’m not sure why I’m even thinking about that though. You know, since I’ll be moving here and that theory won’t ever get tested. 😉