Monday, April 30, 2012

Hittin' the gym...

About a week before I found out funemployment would be ending, LoLo and I joined Planet Fitness because they had their famous deal, $0 sign up fee and $10 per month. LoLo and I had been talking a lot about joining a gym, but it was a luxury we couldn't afford while I was unemployed until this deal came along.

As I've said before, while I was unemployed, I frequently felt really down. There were lots of days where I felt like there was no point in getting out of bed. There were lots of times where I thought to myself, I finally have lots of free time, but I just can't seem to find the energy to work out or even to take care of myself. I knew unemployment would end, I just couldn't see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel so I didn't feel like putting any effort into myself.

Now that I am back working, I am starting to regain my confidence in all aspects of my life. I've received so much positive feedback from my manager and my supervisor in the past two weeks and it has felt really nice. I know that this boost of confidence in my professional life is urging me along in my personal life and my health.

This past weekend, I found myself asking "Who am I?!" because I did something extremely out of character. I woke up at 7 am on a Saturday morning and went to the gym with my husband. If you had asked me 3 months ago if there was a chance I might wake up that early on a weekend, I would have told you that you were crazy. And if you added that I woke up early to go to the gym, I would have called the looney bin to have you locked up.

But it is feeling so good. I actually feel somewhat excited to go to the gym. Not because I love working out, but because I love the feeling I get when I'm done. The feeling that I've just done something to make myself better. LoLo said it too. He's feeling great. His body doesn't ache so much when he works his 10 hour days at an extremely physical job.

Some of you may have seen my post on facebook a few weeks ago when I talked about another reason I've been going to the gym, but this is my According to LoLo for the week: Someday, LoLo and I want to have children, but LoLo saw on the news that children born to overweight mothers have a better chance of having "optimism". I'm pretty sure he meant "autism", but I just love it when he mis-hears/misunderstands English. It's so cute. (I'm sure he feels the same way about me with Spanish).

If you all don't hear about my trips to the gym in the next few weeks, can you please give me a not so friendly reminder that I need to continue taking care of myself and that my health is important?

Friday, April 27, 2012

The story of the end

Now that I am gainfully employed and absolutely loving my job (you'll get to hear about that in a post soon), I figure it's pretty safe to tell you the story of how it all happened.

I was unemployed for a little over 6 months. For about 5.5 of those months, I did not have one job offer. I went on interviews (sometimes 2, 3, even 4 interviews), I got calls saying I was overqualified, I got calls saying "We think you're great, but we already had someone for the job. Good luck!", and from lots of jobs, I heard nothing at all.

But in the last two weeks of funemployment, I was offered 3 jobs. I was even offered a job I didn't apply for. And each of those jobs wanted an answer. Immediately.

The first job offer I received was from a place that had the potential to be really interesting, but I was a little turned off by the fact that the person who had been there the longest had only been there for 7 months. But it was a job. And for about a week, it was the only job I had been offered.

They offered me the job on a Tuesday and they wanted an answer by that Friday (I found it interesting that they only gave me 4 days to decide even though they had taken 4 months to give me an offer). Thursday of that week, I found out that Friday I would be interviewing at CIEE for the job I ultimately took. Knowing CIEE wouldn't be able to give me an answer the same day as my interview, I was stuck with a tough decision. Do I take the job that I'm only a little excited about because it's a job or do I take the risk of having no job at all hoping I get the job at CIEE?

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about my dad and him always knowing the right thing to do? Well this was one of the times I was reminded just how lucky I am to have him to be able to ask for advice. In the middle of feeling completely overwhelmed, I called my dad. He knew exactly what to do.

Friday afternoon, I emailed the first job and asked for more time to decide. They gave me another week.

The next Thursday, I got the call. The one I had really been waiting for all those months. I didn't know how I'd feel when I got that call, but when it came, it felt right. And that's how I knew the six months were worth the wait.

Today I visited my grandparents after work. When my mom called my grandfather to check on him, he told her I looked great and that I seemed so happy. It's amazing how feeling needed can do that to you.

So far, working for CIEE has been just what I hoped for. The work is interesting, the people I've been working with have been great. I'm going to Houston in May for a conference and may even be going to China (!!!) in November. Some days I'm not sure it's real. But then I remember that they chose me. And in the end, I'm so happy I chose them too.

p.s. Happy birthday to my daddy. I love you man!

Nice glasses, Paul. Very manly.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

According to LoLo.... backpacking.

This week's episode of According to LoLo is a short one. The other night at dinner, we were talking about young people going to Europe to go backpacking. According to LoLo, this is a very bad idea.

Here's why:

According to LoLo, backpackers, especially female backpackers, are a target for doctors in Europe who have lost their licenses due to malpractice. These doctors lure these women to hang out with them and then from there, they kill the women and harvest their organs to sell on the black market.

(Record scratch)

Say whaaaaaat??

Apparently LoLo has his finger on the pulse of the European black market and the actions of doctors who have had their licenses suspended.

So if you are planning a backpacking trip, make sure you don't talk to any doctors. But according to LoLo, you just shouldn't go!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend recap: Cute babies!!

 This past weekend, LoLo and I took a little trip to New York City to visit with his family and to see our 4 month old twin nieces, Eleanor and Margaret. As usual, we had so much fun visiting with the family and cuddling up on the babies and eating all the NYC food we miss. Here are lots of pictures of our trip for you to enjoy.

Friday was a beautiful day to drive. We even had a cute little travel companion who just laid at my feet while LoLo drove. 

I had to make sure I got a picture of our old exit...Pelham Parkway West in the Bronx. I definitely miss the old 'hood!

Finally, we made it to Queens!

Friday night around 11 PM LoLo decided he was hungry and it was time for some NYC chinese food. If it were up to LoLo, we'd drive to Queens just to eat Chinese food. LoLo, his brother Sito, and I walked to the supermarket to buy food for the weekend and then hit up the Chinese food. I had almost forgotten about the convenience of the city that never sleeps. It was a perfect New York adventure. 

Once we made it to Queens, we didn't leave the neighborhood all weekend. We were too busy cuddling!

We definitely had some sleepy times too.

I'm so excited to be an aunt and to get to be a part of those little girls' lives. I don't have baby fever just yet, but I have to admit, watching LoLo care for the twins and hold them and comfort them when they were crying was so precious. I know he will be an amazing father.

For now though, I'm good with being the mother of a four-legged baby.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I just finished my first week of work! Yes, it was a 3 day week, but that was the perfect way to start.  My position is a brand new one that was going to be supervised by a manager who is the only person to have ever worked on my program. Unfortunately though, she gave her notice two weeks before I was hired and is done in a week...which basically means I will have 8 total days to learn my job and everything that has happened before I started and what needs to happen after she leaves.

Day 1 was a complete whirlwind. I'm not even sure I can tell you what happened that day. But I can tell you that when I got home, I had a really sore throat and the next day, it was much worse. Wednesday was really hard. I felt like I was in a fog. My head was pounding from all of the new information I was taking in.

I was never sick during funemployment. I spent 6 months completely healthy and the first day I start working, I get sick.

I can't say I'm surprised. It felt like my body was finally giving into the mental exhaustion that had been building up during those 6 months. My body was telling me, "It's ok, your struggle is over, you're going to be ok." And my body released all of the tension, all of the anxiety, all of the worries...and I got sick.

Wednesday night when I got home, I could barely speak. My throat felt like someone had rubbed it with sandpaper and my head was too full to talk. When LoLo got home at 6:15, I was laying on the couch, half asleep. By 7:15, I was upstairs in my bed, asleep for the night.

You know how they say laughter is the best medicine? They're wrong. Sleep is the best medicine. And there's no such thing as an overdose.

12 hours later, I felt free. My body was healing, the sun was out, and I was so excited to go to work. It had finally hit me. I'm not dreaming. This amazing company is where I work. I have a job that I am really excited about.

Tomorrow, LoLo and I go to New York to visit the family. I'm so excited to cuddle with my twin nieces, have some late night chats with my brother-in-law, Sito, laugh with my sister-in-law, Luisana, and brother-in-law, Eugene, and listen to some great Dominican music with my mother-in-law.

And one of the best parts about going away is that I know that when I come back, I have a job to look forward to.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last weekend of funemployment!

This past weekend was a perfect end to funemployment. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life work!

Saturday night, we went out to our favorite bar with a big group of friends to celebrate my new job. Let's just say that my friends and I are that group in the bar that makes a lot of noise and isn't afraid to involve others in the bar in our fun. For example, Saturday night, the group (there were 9 of us) decided it was time to chant my name in celebration of me getting a job. So 8 very loud voices start chanting "Er-in! Er-in! Er-in!" while signaling to the other innocent patrons of the bar to join in. And join in they did. All of them. LoLo could tell I was getting embarrassed so he yelled "YEAHHHHHH!!!" and did a little fist pump to take the attention off me. Well apparently, a woman in the bar thought he was pretty cute (and that we were chanting "Eric") because a little while later as she was leaving, she tapped him on the shoulder and said "Have a good night, Eric" while trying to smile cutely.

By the time I left, everyone knew my name...
Sunday, LoLo and I took advantage of the beautiful day and took Bronx for a walk on a beach very close to our house. That puppy loves the beach!!

Today, I kept myself busy so that I wouldn't have time to be nervous or anxious. In between errands, I caught the Red Sox game on TV (it's Patriots Day in Maine and Massachusetts which is a state holiday and the Red Sox traditionally play an 11 AM game). My favorite announcers, Don and Jerry flashed back to this hilarious moment. Even if you hate baseball, you will love this clip.

When LoLo got home from work, we tried to grill some burgers...but when they were about halfway done, we ran out of gas. Oops.

LoLo's is the inappropriately large burger
It's been a happy end to funemployment. I would like to thank everyone who supported me and who has congratulated me on my new opportunity. I'm so excited and I can't wait to tell you all about my new adventures.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The honeymoon is over...

Yay! I got a job! On Thursday, everything was written with exclamation points!! Today, not so much. Yes, I'm excited to have a job and start over new. I'm also extremely anxious and a little bit sad. I know what you're thinking...for 6 months (actually more like 10 since I knew I was losing my job last June), she has been sad and anxious because she didn't have a job and now she's sad and anxious because she does??

All day yesterday, I felt weepy and I couldn't figure it out. The tiniest things were making me cry. During the night, I had a dream that my younger cousin was mad at me and was being really mean about it and I cried in the dream. Then I woke up crying in real life. I cried watching the Red Sox opening day ceremonies (it really was nice, but definitely nothing to cry about). I cried because LoLo and I couldn't figure out what we wanted to make for dinner.

At that point, I just went up to my bed and laid there for a while. When LoLo (and Bronx) came to check on me, it finally hit me. I'm scared. I'm scared to go back to work because I want to make sure I can do everything they want me to do. I'm scared because since we moved into our house, I have been home all day, taking care of things here. I'm scared because Bronx has basically spent his entire life with me.

I felt confused...which added guilt to the feelings cocktail. So I googled it. When it doubt, google. Apparently, these are normal feelings. Many people who have been out of work for an extended period of time feel anxious and sad to go back to work. They feel scared that they might not be able to perform like they used to, they feel sad that they have to give up all the free time that they had and the comfortable routine they had created for themselves.

I know I will be fine. I'm a hard worker and I've always been able to adapt to new work environments. And the big advantage here is that I already know people there. I temped there for 3 weeks so I know what it's like. I know that I like it there. And I know they want me there. Like LoLo said, "They picked you for a reason, Erin."

But for now, to try to forget some of these feelings, I'm going to the gym, going to visit my grandfather, and I might even go look for a new work outfit. Retail therapy is also a real thing, right? Google it!

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's official

It's official. I have a job. 6 months later, I have a job. I am going to be the Senior Coordinator of Faculty and Custom Programs at CIEE ( CIEE is an amazing organization here in Portland, Maine that provides study abroad opportunities for students from the US as well as creating opportunities for students from other countries to study here in the US and/or work. I am so excited about this opportunity because it really seems to combine my education and my experience. I'm hoping there might be a little travel involved too! We'll see.

I have a job. I have to repeat it because I still don't believe it. Is it wrong that I am already planning what outfits I'm going to buy with my first paycheck and that I am already starting to think about the vacation that me and LoLo are going to go on the first chance we get?

Oh my gosh, I have a job. I have to clean this house. I have to do my laundry. I have to find a doggie daycare for Bronx. I have to go to the gym. I have to do all the things I would have normally done with my free, unstructured days. I start on Tuesday. I cannot believe it.

Tonight while I was visiting my grandfather in the hospital (he had a knee replaced and he's doing great, thank God!), LoLo called and said he was out of work and was headed home. LoLo's job is about 12 minutes away, so when I got home 45 minutes later, I was a little worried because he wasn't there. About 10 minutes later, he came home with this little present in his hands:

Obviously my husband knows me well. I don't want flowers that will die in a few days. I want a huge cupcake and the biggest bag of the girliest drink you can find.

Apparently the hallmark people know me too. This card was perfect for me. Modern office. Little tropical bird in the window. Palm tree in the corner. And the words. Perfect.

Excuse this blurry picture, but it's the best I could get with the gold writing.

Here's what it says:

How exciting for you,
It's more than just a job that's new,
It shows that they believe in you...
New friends, new goals,
New parking spot.
New chance to show 'em
What you've got.
So glad for you
And so impressed.
Your brand-new boss
Just chose the best.


And then of course, my sweet little husband wrote underneath:
"I knew this day was going to come. I always believe in you and I'm happy that you finally got the job!! Love you."

 It's official. I have a job. Now I've got to go, I have tons of stuff to do before Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The end is near...

No, not that end. Unlike LoLo, I am not yet convinced that the world is ending in a few short months (please don't mention this around him, he gets all crazy and quotes a show called "Ancient Aliens" and trust me, you're better off not knowing). I'm talking about the end of funemployment. It's coming!!

I can't tell you any details right now about when the end is coming or how (because honestly, I don't even know. Plus, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't string you along for a little bit so that you are dying from anticipation before I resuscitate you with the details of my potentially good news??). 

During the past 6 months, I have cried, I have laughed, I have had to suck up my pride, but I have learned a lot about myself and have come to enjoy my unstructured days and abundant free time. Shoot, I've been unemployed so long that I did a craft project. If you know me, you know that I have not one creative bone in my body and that this is probably a sign that the world is probably ending on December 21, 2012. So maybe I was talking about the end of the world...You win, Mayans!!

But now, just as I am starting to figure it all out, it may be over. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't a little sad to see funemployment end. As hard as this time has been, I've finally started to figure out who I am without work. Who I am without a daily mission handed down to me by someone else. I've confirmed things I knew before: I hate cooking, I hate cleaning, and I am not a very good housewife, but I'm a great puppy cuddler. I've learned new things: I actually can go a long period of time without buying myself new clothes (but should never be forced to again), I am a really good bargain hunter, and I'm actually pretty resourceful when I have to be. 

When my unemployment first started, I felt useless, worthless, and like I lacked purpose in life. 6 months later, I know that I am so much more than what I do from 9 to 5. I'm a really good mom to my four-legged baby, Bronx. I'm also a wife who can make something out of very little (thank you, Groupons and other such deals). And I'm a pretty good sibling/daughter/granddaughter/niece/cousin who loves to help my family out whenever I can.

I know that when I start working again, it might be tough to get back into the routine. But I also know that I am ready. I've done what I needed to do in the past 6 months and I've spent this time in a way I can be proud of. I've had a lot of fun and I have a lot to show for it. So if the world does end the day before LoLo's 31st birthday, I can say I'm happy with how I spent my time here.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Paul aka P. Diddy

Everyone who knows me knows I've always been a daddy's girl. Not in the spoiled princess way (don't worry, my sister has that role locked up), but more in the way that we just get each other. Since the day I was born, people have commented on how much like my father I am. When I was born, I looked just like him. As I got older, everyone realized how alike our personalities were.
Late 1950's Paul (thanks for the pic, Uncle Brian!)

Circa 1982

Some may say we are homebodies, some may say we are anti-social. I wouldn't say we are anti-social people. More like we are selectively social. We like to have a small group of friends with whom we hang out often in places where we are comfortable. We are very particular about how we like things. We'd rather go to the same restaurant 1000 times than try a new restaurant every night. We like to know what to expect. We would rather not be in a crowd of people.

I'd rather not.

Our biggest nightmares are having to go to a fair or standing in Times Square waiting for the ball to drop. For my dad, one of his biggest nightmares is even just stepping foot in New York City. When I first moved there, my dad drove all the way from Maine (about 5 hours, 6 if he's driving), dropped my stuff off at my apartment, ate at a restaurant a block from my house, and drove the 6 hours home. He spent a total of approximately 2 hours in the city. However, I feel that if he gave NYC a chance, he may actually like it. Besides the delicious pizza and cannoli, NYC expects you to live life with an attitude/short temper. My dad and I do that in Maine, a place where you're not really supposed to.

If my father had a motto, it would be the same one my grandfather always had. "Do the right thing." In my life, whenever I am stuck in a tough position, I think about what my father would do. And sometimes I call him just to make sure I'm right.

Wasn't he cute? (Thanks for this pic too, Uncle Brian)
Growing up, I always thought my dad was a giant. He's about 6'0 tall (maybe a little taller) and before he was diagnosed with diabetes, he was a little rounder too. Now that I'm a little bit older, I realize that he really is a giant. He's someone I will always look up to. He has the most integrity of anyone I know. He will do anything for his family and especially for my mom. And even though we all tease him that he never works (he owns his own company and technically is the only employee, even though most of our family has "worked" for him at some point), he works really hard. He doesn't have days off. But most of all, he found what he is passionate about and that's what he's doing.

My dad went to the University of Vermont (as did my mother and I and 9 other members of our family) and graduated with a degree in Psychology. While he was in college, he worked for a local tv station, often spending 3 or 4 nights in a little shack on top of a mountain just in case he needed to fix the equipment. My dad taught himself how to be an engineer. Who does that??

My dad and I on my wedding day

I love having a special bond with my dad. I have many memories of times I spent with my dad when I was younger. I remember once going to a festival with my dad when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. I got cold (shocker!) so my dad bought me a thick chamois shirt to keep me warm. I still have that shirt. In fact, I brought it to college with me. I'm lucky to have someone who gets me like he does. I'm lucky to have an example to follow of how to live with integrity.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

According to LoLo...Gamers.

As I've been reading lots of new blogs, I've been noticing that so many of the women who write have these seemingly perfect, well put together, hipster-type husbands. Now I'm not saying my husband isn't perfect or well put together. He's just perfect in a different way. He's perfect for me. He's a thinker, he loves to laugh, he's creative, he's an artist, he's a nerd (but the cool type), he loves his fashion (his fashion is a mix of NYC urban, skater, and preppy), he's a handy man, he's a plumber, he's a mason (he used to build beautiful fireplaces in NYC), he's an amazing cook, he's a thorough cleaner, he's a family man, and his favorite characteristic: he's a gamer.

LoLo is particularly proud of his video game skills (how non-hipster of him) and gave me a little lesson yesterday on the benefits of being a gamer. Let me give you some background on how this all came up. Yesterday, LoLo and I had some little errands to run and also wanted to go to lunch with my dad. (My dad is a diabetic and is on a very set eating schedule so we always know just when to call him and "see what's going on" wink, wink) Just like my grandparents, I'm the driver. So after making a couple of stops on our to do list, it was time for lunch. I start driving one way and realize I'm headed to the wrong highway. After a short freak-out session from me (who me? never!), LoLo calmly says, "Erin, you're fine, just turn right up here and you'll go to the right highway." So I calm down. Until I realize I'm in the wrong lane. Twice. So eventually we end up in the right lane going to the right highway and make it to lunch just in time. As we're driving though, LoLo imparted some very important knowledge about the skills that gaming gives a person that help them in real life. 

This week's according to LoLo comes in the form of a video clip. Because me telling you the facts about gamers in writing just isn't enough. You must hear the words from the man himself. And because after I couldn't upload the audio file of him briefly explaining all of this, I begged him to do a video. And he refused. But then being the amazing husband he is, he did it anyways.

Without further ado, straight from the Cave Man (LoLo's den downstairs which has been renamed HQ or Headquarters), According to LoLo....gamer style.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

When did I get old?

For most of my "adult" life, I have worked in education, mostly with high school students. Being around high school students can make you feel really old or help you to stay young. As I get closer and closer to the big 3-0 (July 16, feel free to send presents), I have been really starting to feel my age.

I remember once when I was working with a group of students only a couple of years after I graduated from college. One of the students was rapping a song and I finished the line for him. He turned his head so fast to look at me because he couldn't believe I knew the words. Then he said, "Miss, you know that song? I didn't think people your age listened to that music." I was 23!

Hey, grandmas can rap! (courtesy of

The other day, I was working (I've been doing a temp job the past couple of weeks, yay for being busy!!) and a co-worker saw my wedding rings and asked how old I was. When I told her I am 29, she replied, "Wow, I would never believe that. You've aged really well!" I know she meant this as a compliment, but I couldn't help but think she thought I was really old. She is 23.

I guess I thought almost-30-year-olds were old when I was 23 too. I remember feeling so old when I was 23 because I felt like time was ticking for me to find a husband. I met LoLo when I was 23 (I was almost 24...and he didn't come to my birthday party, but that's another story for another day). Now that I'm almost 30, I think I was so young when I met LoLo. When I look at pictures from when we first met, we look so young.

About 9 months after we met...what a baby face!

When LoLo was about to turn 30, he started feeling really down and told me that he felt like he was getting so old and hadn't accomplished much. He thought we'd have children by now, he thought he'd have a job he loved by now, he thought we'd have lots of money by now. But we don't. Instead we have a house that we love, a puppy who is super cute (and if you need more proof, click here), we've traveled together, and we've had a lot of fun. Someday we'll have kids, someday he'll find his dream job, and hopefully someday we will win the lottery (because don't you remember? I said I worked in education!).

But for now, I'm enjoying my life the way it is. If being 30 means having amazing friends, the best family anyone could ask for, a house that has started to feel like a home, and a puppy to cuddle with anytime I want, I'm all for it. Bring it on, 30, I'm ready.