Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last day of September

SO yesterday was a weird day for the economy.... the Dow fell the most points (not percentage) EVER and my personal bank closed 63% down. Scary. The House Bill to bail out the banks failed and everyone is wondering what is going to to happen next. Things really are starting to get eerie.... the waiting game continues.

Work is starting to get a little hectic since today is our fiscal year end, tomorrow is the start of the new year. My job starts to lose it's luster. I will get through it.

We are getting into the final weeks of the rowing season. The sun is setting earlier and earlier. Today I am hoping to get the boat house early because the sun is supposed to set around 7:20. Then 7:10, 7:07, 7:02, 6:59.... and so on. Pretty soon the sun is going to be down when I get home from work.... those winter months are around the corner. It's sad when the season ends, but the ending is also the prettiest because there are less boats on the river because it's cooler and the leaves change colors making the trip down the river so peaceful.

Last night before I went to bed I decided to pull out some of my fall decorations. I put skeletons and witches on my sliding doors and had cardboard pumpkins i place on my door and around my apartment. This weekend Matt and I are going up to Lynd Farm for our second annual apple picking tradition and to pick out our pumpkins for the year. Last year we picked out 2 HUGE pumpkins and some little ones to place around my apartment (and baby ones for our desks at work). I want to get a scare-crow to put in Matt's front yard, too!! I love the decorating, i love the season!!

Nothing major to report on here, no news is good news right now. Everything is going swimmingly.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Me on Finance and Investing

Well, I in no stretch of the imagination would considered myself well versed in the mechanics of economic policy, macro trends, and/or understanding exactly what the heck is going on when everyone is saying we are amidst an "economic crisis." I am an MBA so i can walk the walk and talk the talk with the best of them, but WHAT IS GOING ON!?! I cant seem to get my ahead around the fact that maybe we all should be gravely concerned; maybe this is just another cyclical downturn..... with a slightly lower bottom?

I watched the president's address to the nation about the status of the economy last night. From a luke-warm Bush supporter, I was impressed with his delivery. He apparently had a good set of hands helping him write that speech. But what did he mean when he said "our economy is not functioning properly?" What a lot of people tend to overlook is the amount of psychology in play-- consumer confidence is a big, BIG factor in the health of our economy and this needs to be addressed foremost. How do you do? I am not a policy maker, but any avid, capitalistic market economist would think government policy is not the desired helping hand. In fact regulation will have worse and lasting long term negative impacts. I do acknowledge that banks may need to be bailed out and the government is the only able body to do it, but I have to state my trepidation the policy makers on the hill walk a fine line when dealing with government expenditures and influencing free enterprise. What IS going on?

Part of my wants to start investing right now. These are the times where well see some of the lowest prices of securities for a long time. I just applied for margin trading and would like to start buying options. But are the trading companies/banks doing the exchanges going to fail too? It seems like the story of the chicken and the egg-- if no one invests they are not making money. But if people are losing their money they are not investing. But as more people pull out of the market more people lose money. Which hand is driving the other hand? Are we really that close to severe recession? Do you think maybe Bush used the words "recession" because the word "depression" is too scary for us to hear?

Again, I am not expert here, I pick and choose which articles I read about the economy. I am still not certain there is a clear-cut root cause. But I do know a thing or two about the macroeconomics and the severe inflationary risks we face, and the value margin of our our assets. I guess I just have to hope for the best... because this optimism is good for the economy after all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday Morning (finally)

Today is finally Wednesday! Is it me or has this week seem to last forever. Luckily, I have gotten a lot accomplished so far this week. Some of those productive things include: Talking to my best friend, going grocery shopping (and making a new meal that Matt loves), finishing one load of laundry, taking a long walk with Odie (unlike his usual 'walk til he poops'- walks), and making some needed phone calls i never seem to catch up on. Not to mention i have plans to row tonight, Friday morning-- and maybe even Thursday night and Friday night! I love it!

Today at work we have two All Hands Meetings schedule this morning and this afternoon. We have the big, BIG boss in today, Jim Rispoli (Asst Secretary, Office of Environmental Management). My division lead is wearing a suit today.... it must be a special occasion. We have received a couple notes to be aware of who may be walking the halls. Funny, they need to remind us to be professional. What are we? Monkeys? Anyhow today should make for an interesting day.

Matt and I had a a random date night last night. After I got home from looking at a downtown apartment with one of my friends and taking the Ode for a long walk, Matt and I went to our favorite restaurant for dinner. Teak! We love it there. We love the atmosphere, the sushi is the best in the city, and they have AMAZING thai food. This is generally weekend date-night agenda, but last night we felt in the mood. Plus I wanted to be outside since I am well aware these are the last few days of great, GREAT weather. In the Cleveland tradition, as soon as the first leaf turns, 6 inches of snow is just around the corner. I know Cincinnati is much milder, but the sentiment is the same. It's low 80's/upper 70's, low humidity, sunny... gorgeous. I love these falls days. Next weekend Matt and I plan to go apple picking and pick our pumpkins for Halloween! I am excited:) I cant believe next week is October already.

So no plans this weekend yet. I love it. Relaxing. Hopefully the weather is nice. I am feeling good right now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Change of Seasons

Someone told me this morning that today is the official day of fall. Where has the Month of September gone? Luckily it it still warm outside and the feeling of summer has not completely faded. A couple of weeks ago I broke down and bought a beautiful red winter coat-- it is BEAUTIFUL! I couldn't resist the remarkably high price on the tag, but i think it was worth every penny. Many are predicting a bad winter... i might as well invest in the coming of the seasons.

Lots of things have happened lately since my last post. I went to Las Vegas, I gambled a little, I lost a little, and returned home a day earlier than planned. Very fortuitous because I hate travelling and it would open up more time on the weekend to do things I wanted to do. While I was away my friend had her first baby- she is adorable. I had to go up and meet her and she is probably the cutest little girl ever. With the cutest name too!! All i could think about after hearing the news and seeing her was babies, babies, babies! And I hardly considered myself a baby person for a long while. Also in the last week I rowed at a regatta-- the first time on the water since my back injury and raced TOUGH race! We beat some of the best times on the board and managed to get a silver medal (just 10 seconds behind Gold). Our crew was so proud! I also spend a good amount of quality time with these rower friends, they make me thankful for what I have a lot.

Right now I am still playing catch up both at home and at work. I have mountains of laundry, my fridge is empty, and my apartment is a a bit of a mess. After the "Blackout of 2008" it seems many have not fully recovered from the week. I was a lucky i had no loss of power, but I am feeling the loss as many of my friends, boyfriend, and others have had to deal with a lot of damage. What a strange day that was. I am lucky.

Before I close, one of the best parts of the trip to Las Vegas was LEAVING las vegas to see the Hoover Dam. What a cool experience, I recommend anyone who has the time to see it-- its only about 30-40 minutes from the strip and a gorgeous drive through the desert and the mountains. I serendipitously had my camera and was able to snappe a couple pictures before it died. Literally a couple pictures and then it failed to turn-on again. It was good to talk to my team lead for extended periods of time, and my old boss and former CFO was there to show us around. It made me miss him and realize was a truly good boss he was. But just as the seasons, everything changes with time. And sometimes you buy a new coat to the make the best of it all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy posts.

Life is so busy! Camping this weekend, Las Vegas on Monday-Friday, Regatta next Saturday. No time to practice! and P is having a baby sometime in there! ah!!! This month is turning into whirl-wind!!

Last night I went to the last Party in the Park. Summer is officially over.
Tomorrow I am going to go shopping for some cute fall clothes.
I might even buy football tickets for some game-- high school? NFL? Who knows-- football = fall.

Since this is a brief post, I read someone's first blog today; the theme of her blog was happy things. I think that is a good theme; if i ever look back on what I write on here I wont want to think about those things that got me down- only those things that are uplifting and happy. So, new motto. I am happy. This is a happy post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life and the Fall

It's definitely beginning to look and feel a lot like fall! As much as I LOVE the summer months and the warm weather, this new season (and those beautiful days like yesterday) put a little bounce in my step about the Fall approaching. After work yesterday I took a little walk with matt on what had to be an absolutely perfect evening. The sun was out (but setting slowly), there was a light breeze and the temperature was about 74 degrees. A little chilly for shorts and a T-shirt, I wore jeans and I was perfectly comfortably. We took our picture with the Bridges in the background and it looked perfect. I woke up this morning a little cold and realized its getting darker and colder and summer really is over. The bright side is that fall has lots of fun things for us to do! Some of those include:
-Going to the pumpkin patch
-Haunted Houses
-Apple picking
-Carving pumpkins
-Enjoying the leaves change color
- ( hate mentioning this) But the good shows start up again on TV
-Its cooler for evening jogs
-Football season is here
-Start wearing cute sweaters

I am sure there are lots more, those are just the first few that come to mind. After next week when I return from my conference in Las Vegas I am going to begin a new exercise regime. I haven't rowed this week (because of my back) and next week I will be travelling, and the following weekend is our regatta. Its terrible it's approaching so fast, I feel so unprepared. The worse part, we are nearing our final weeks of rowing. It makes me so sad!

I am seeing a doctor for my back on Friday. A new doctor. My old Doctor was apparently my pediatrician (yikes!), and upon calling to receive my medical records they are no longer available!! I cant believe it! It's been that long! Anyway, I am hoping my doctor (my NEW doctor) will tell me everything is OK with my back and I can start rowing again regularly. On the slip side, I am going to begin a workout routine to get me through the colder- darker months. Matt and I suggested we start swimming together and joining Urban Active right across the river. I am 100% for it. I just need to make sure my swim suit fits! Matt is slightly against paying for a Gym, I however am really excited about taking classes, accessing a pool i can swim laps, and a motivation to workout much more than I am! I think we are going to sign up in a week and half after I return from my business trip. I HOPE!

One more final note that brought a smile to my face- I was asked out on a date this week! Of course I never considered it because my boyfriend is loving and wonderful, but the fact that someone asked me out was flattering! He is a rower I met in August who doesn't know that many people. He's a great rower and enthusiastic about the sport so we meshed well. He emailed me when he got home from our first row together to tell me he enjoyed our row (so endearing) and that he hopes we could row again. Well, scheduling another row was complicated but he continued to email me. I told him about my back injury and he was so supportive, offered to help me, and said he'd like to see me again anyway. I admire his courage, his exact words were " I gallantly ask you on a date." How refreshing, how polite. My boyfriend is not worried about anything at all, I of course read his email to him and he had a little laugh. This kind of thing is bound to happen again (to him, too) during the course of our lives. Funny what life throws at you.
Life is good.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hope this never happens again

What a week this SHORT week has turned into. It's been pretty busy, everyday I have had something to do; I even intended-- key word 'intended'- to workout/row twice this week before heading to cleveland this weekend for a family wedding. I like to lead a pretty active lifestyle, I like having the option to workout... even though I rarely take advantage of the time and ability to do so.
Until.... it gets taken away.
So, Wednesday evening-- typical HOT summer day, temperature on the Western Southern sign said 97 on my walk home that day. A and I were at the boathouse in the heat and pulled out a nice double intending to have a great workout and go pretty far. We took out the Hudson-- note to self- NEVER TAKE OUT AGAIN. Its a nice boat- a lightweight double, good condition, foot stretchers functioning, newer. But it does not have steering and A and I are NOT MEANT for this boat. First, it was difficult getting a pace because we felt so shaky and there was no rutter to steer in the bow. we were about 500 meters into our row when we became SO unstable we lost our oars and ALMOST tipped. Our first time taking this boat out, first on the water, and we almost TIPPED and flooded the boat and completely embarrassed ourselves! It was humiliating, i wish we could have had ourselves video-taped flailing in the water, trying to rebalance the totally tipped 180-degree the other way, with our oars pushed out, trying to grab them without unbalancing us even more. screaming, grabbing, pulling. and once we corrected we over-corrected and ended up 180-degree tipped THE OTHER WAY!! We had almost 2 gallons of water in the boat by the time we finally got back up. It was horrible!!!

So, continue on we row-- slowly, steady, carefully. WE finally make it to Wilder Park which is about 4-5k from the boathouse giving us about a 9-10k workout (which id say is pretty good). When mid-stoke i feel a shooting, debilitating pain in my lower back down my legs. Excruciating to point i could barely move my back forward to row up the slide, no less use any pressure to help us get back. So, in our already unstable boat i couldnt really stretch too much because I didnt want to risk tipping, I tried to take another stoke. This time the pain is almost unbearable. All I am thinking is 'god, make this pain go away... we are so far from the dock." A spun the boat around, and i barely stroked all the way back with every push and slide causing me to make a horrible face because it was hurting me so much. We finally made it back to the dock and i pulled myself out of the boat. I stood up and could barely walk. It was humiliating. I felt so bad for A who had to row my heavy body and boat back and then having to ask someone to carry to the boat back up to the boathouse because it hurt to much to lift out of the water. Humiliating.

I get home and was told icing and resting and pain pills. So, i got home iced and then. COULDN'T MOVE!!! I could barely flip over on my bed. I cried and called my mom, she told me to go the hospital in case i did something really bad to my back. I called Matt over and cried some more. I was standing in my living room sobbing my eyes out because i couldn't sit down, it hurt to cry because i was putting pressure on my lower back, and I didn't know what to do. The whole situation was even more embarrassing. I am such a tough person, and I usually think I can handle a good amount of pain-- but this was almost unbearable.

After about 800 mg of pain pills later I am laying in bed, unable to move anywhere, it's getting late and I dont know what to do. I have to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. I cant move enough to turn over no less get out of bed. I am shrieking in pain as Matt caringly tries to help move me, i get to the bathroom and I am sick in so much pain, I passed out! All i remember was waking up in the hallway with Matt over me shaking to wake-up. I wont go into detail with everything else that happen during those few seconds (its too embarrassing)....but lets just say matt had to help me A LOT!!! After that night, and how late he stayed up with me, and how caring he was, I owe him my life.

I didnt go to work the next day... not just because I didn't get much sleep that night, but because the thought of sitting in a chair all day made me want to cry some more. The good news was I felt A LOT better than the night before. I was much more mobile, but still in pain. And today, I am in even less pain... but still not 100%. It was a scary time for me, if something really had been wrong I dont have a doctor yet in Cincinnati! Where would I have gone? Another thing that scared me was if I couldn't row again, or workout, or do anything for a WHILE!! Just the thought of that made me so sad.... and I cried some more about it. It was a terrible night. But the next day I was hopeful since I felt better and some of my friends (who knew about it) totally reached out to me. A even offered to take time off work to take me to the doctor she was so worried. In times like those I feel so good about the good friends I have in my life. And the pretty much perfect boyfriend who loves me more than anything. Its such a good feeling... and totally rejuvenating.

I hope I am even better tomorrow night so i can dance at my cousin's wedding.

Hopefully this never happens again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Media Bias (But i Love my sister)

I have a couple thoughts on my mind that I feel the need to vent.... in the attempt to avoid this blog turning into a political merry-go-round of unproductively. I have just a few comments on the BIAS of the NEWS. As much as those in the news want to stay impartial, all their damn loaded questions leads the rest of us to believe quite the contrary. They all seems to be far the left, if not very far to the left. And as much as they are allowed to have their own positions, when they read and write questions for the news, BRING THEM BACK TO THE CENTER!!! It just urks me when I hear on one of those morning shows this morning while i was getting ready, the commentator was drilling someone about how the inexperience of Sara Palin will effect McCain;s campaign and how was she will do her job as VP. um, EXCUUUSE ME!?!? You want to bring INEXPERIENCE INTO THIS!?!?! Like the other candidate, o, THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE for the "other party" is o so experienced!?!? PuLEASE!!! This kind of questioning and clear bias is nauseating. But wait, I am not done, what about the media's questions about her ability to be a mother and a Vice President if elected? WEll, excuse me, I think the "other candidate" should be asked dually whether he can be a father and a president!! I find it all so disenchanting.... and turns me off completely.

Not that I am for one nominee over another at this point, really I can honestly say my mind isnt made up. But honestly, I think i am heads above many Americans that believe what the media beast tells them to believe and that is how candidates get elected. The media is suppose to convey in a manner open for interpretation and encourages further discussion. This discussion is then the platform for which opinions are formed..not in the reading of the news.

One more thing about this election that CONTINUES to mystify he. How can so many of the Obama supporters treat him so much like the Messiah! I mean seriously, he is a presidential candidate-- who quite frankly hasnt really done anything spectacular in his career thus far-- but his charisma is making people worship him? SOme of his supporters treat hin like a rock star and these peoplee are his groupies. They create blogs for him, put bumper stickers all over their cars, post pictures of him, market market market him! Don't you do the same thing for your favorite rock band? He , again, is a political pawn... he yes, will be the leader of our country, but also will not be the Messiah of our country. Anyone who knows anything about the government has to understand the president has very little resolute power anyway. It just frustrates me. All i want, ALL I WANT is to have a fair and balanced campaign. Free from media bias and equal opportunity for both parties to have a fair debates. This is a presidential campaign.... I think this is where Americans should be free to make their own judgements based on how they feel about the candidates given equal, symmetric information about both candidates. It's all I ask.

Happy 2nd day of fall.