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January 18, 2012 - 8:09pm

Last week was really awful. A close coworker had an accident and passed away. There are few words I can use to describe how I felt when I got the news. Bursting out into tears was such an immediate and uncontrolled response. I’ve been dealing will rolling tides of shock and sadness ever since.

This was someone I worked with every day. Now there is just a big empty space. I could share so many memories but I’ve done my best to share them with the family and with other coworkers. There is so much sadness. Going to the funeral helped but I still well up with tears at the thought of the family left behind. I feel overwhelmed by picking up the pieces at work.

I know the hardest part of this will eventually pass, but for now it all feels so impossible and sad.

If you are my family, a friend, coworker, or just an acquaintance, I want you to know that I love you. I value your impact on my life. I am thankful for the time we have together and value it because it is so, so short.

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January 18, 2012 - 8:02pm

Chris brought me flowers last night "just because." He wrote me an amazingly sweet card too. I'm thankful for him.

Flowers from Chris

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January 5, 2012 - 10:40pm

It's time to say goodbye to This site was born in October 2007 when my awesome coworkers at Integrum built it with me. However, it's usefulness to me and others seems to have passed. Big thanks to Integrum for building it and hosting it all these years.

If anyone is interested in the domain, I'd be happy to sell it or possibly donate it to someone with a good idea.

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Snoring Dogs

January 4, 2012 - 8:56pm

I've been working at home the past few weeks. (Thank goodness for the break from travel!) Yesterday, I moved the dogs' beds into the office so they'd hang out with me. However, I'm not sure I can handle the snoring. It's not really motivating me to work. Oh, the life of a dog!

Mac & Stewie Sleeping

This is the view from my desk when I turn around. That's Chris' desk in the picture - mine isn't nearly so messy!

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Saturday Surprises

January 2, 2012 - 1:43am

A few weeks ago, I took Chris out for a day of surprises. Each surprise began with an envelope with a trivia question. Chris had to answer the trivia question then could open the envelope to find out where we were going. Of course, he got every trivia question correct because he's so smart! And we had a fun day of activities around Phoenix.

Trivia Questions

Getting Ready
Chris Shining His Boots Erica

Surprise #1
Envelope Number 1
Question: What type of animal, although capable of flight, spends most of its time on the ground? Hint: It can run at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour and generally prefer sprinting to flying.

Answer: ROADRUNNER! Wait, what does this have to do with where we’re going on a Saturday? We went to Roadrunner Farmer's Market at Roadrunner Park.

Chris at Farmers Market

Surprise #2
Envelope Number 2
Question: A) What is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land or a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water? B) What does the government build to control flooding?

Answer: A) Flood B) Dam What does flooding and dams have to do with Phoenix on a Saturday?! We’re going to the library to find out. What better place to do research?

Opening the Floodgates: Roosevelt Dam and the Development of the Salt River Valley Location: Burton Barr Central Library

This exhibit, located outside of the Arizona Room on the 2nd Floor, includes photographs and documents from the Arizona Room collection chronicling the construction of Roosevelt Dam, and its dedication by Theodore Roosevelt, a great supporter of federal reclamation during his presidency. Roosevelt Dam is a historically significant landmark that is celebrating its own centennial during 2011. The dam played a prominent role in the development of the Salt River Valley by providing water storage, flood control, and hydroelectric power. At the time of its construction Roosevelt Dam was the largest masonry dam in existence in the world, and Roosevelt Lake was the world's largest artificial reservoir.

Chris at Phoenix Library

Surprise #3
Envelope Number 3
Question: What country has the second best food in the world? (Hint: Thai is the best!) It’s also the same country The Mekong River flows through before it flows into the South China Sea. The Mekong is the 12th largest river in the world. It flows through China, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia before reaching this country.

Answer: We’re going to have Vietnamese food for lunch. Location: Pho Thanh Restaurant

Chris at Pho Thang

Surprise #4
Question: What activity, if done for 20 minutes, can help refresh the mind, improve overall alertness, boost mood and increase productivity? Hint: Hammocks, couches, blankets in the park are some of the best places to do this activity.

Answer: Nap

At this point, Chris asked me if this surprise was for me or for him. Hehe, it was definitely for me since Chris seldom takes naps. But we were planning to go to the Desert Botanical Gardens to see the Luminaria that night and I wanted to rest.

Luminaria at Desert Botanical Gardens
A holiday tradition for us!
Chris & Erica at Luminarias

Chris & Erica at Luminarias

Surprise #5
Question: Where are we going for dinner? Hint: We’ve never gone there before. It’s an Arizona original – opening in 1947. They specialize in beef. In 2004, it was added to the City of Phoenix Historical Register for both its central role in Arizona’s cattle industry and its relevant architectural style.

Answer: The Stockyards Restaurant

However, we ended up eating at Rokerij, which was delicious and really romantic. We drove to The Stockyards and thought it odd that the parking lot was nearly empty at 8pm on a Saturday night. Just as we were about to enter the restaurant, a group of people exited complaining loudly about their experience. I stopped the woman to ask about it and she didn't have good things to say. So we decided to go someplace we knew would be good. The Rokerij was packed, which assured us that we had made the right decision.

All in all, a very fun Saturday. I still can't believe Chris got all the trivia questions right. Next time I'll have to make them a LOT harder.

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Holiday Parties

December 31, 2011 - 2:50am

We went to two holiday parties this season sponsored by our employers. I always think it is fun to get dressed up and socialize with coworkers. Both parties were well done and made me feel even more thankful that we are both employed right now.

Erica & Chris

Chris & Erica

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Leave It...Good Dogs

December 16, 2011 - 11:08pm

Leave it...Good Dogs!
I love that we've been able to teach both dogs to leave the treats (on their paws) until we say its OK to eat them. If only I could get them to stop drooling while they wait! I love my furry family.

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The Stone Roses

December 14, 2011 - 10:49pm

Randomly started listening to The Stone Roses today and I was struck by what an awesome album Second Coming is. It makes me think of my first year out of high school when I was living in Colorado. I was dating Rob and I'm pretty sure he introduced me to the album. I just spent some time reading about the band on wikipedia and was pleasantly surprised to read they announced a reunion tour in 2012. I hope they come to the US because I'd love to see them and be transported back a few years. Note to self: be on the lookout for The Stone Roses shows next year.

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Overactive Imagination

December 14, 2011 - 4:27am

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Minneapolis working late to prepare for tomorrow's presentation. Suddenly I get a strong wiff of men's cologne. Even though I know I'm alone in this room, I find myself getting completely freaked out that a man is in my room. (Because I can smell him!) Then I go through a million horror movie scenes in my head where nothing ends well for me. I know this is ridiculous and my imagination is getting the best of me. I still look under the bed...just to make sure.

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