Friday, February 28, 2014

Tour de Louisiane

Sorry it's been almost a week since I've posted.  It was a busy week, and I've also been fighting the crud, so blogging hasn't been a huge priority.  Here I am trying to manage one more post before the months is over!


Last weekend was actually really fun.  Between Thursday and Sunday, I traveled to almost every corner of the state, and was able to enjoy time with family, friends, and coworkers along the way.  It was really relaxing and quite refreshing.

I completed my third (of 3) new agent trainings, which means I "graduated" from the program and I suppose I'm technically not a "new" agent anymore.  Of the 24 people who attended this training, 12 of us were on our last rotation, which means the group is going to be smaller without our "class."  It was actually a really fun training with lots of hands-on activities, which gave me several new ideas for working with youth.  It will be fun to implement some of the new ideas.

101 ways to teach a lesson using paper airplanes.

After my overnight stay in Pollock (Alexandria area), I headed home on Friday night to visit my family.  Daddy cooked some delicious Sammy's steaks, and Nanna came over to visit too.  It was certainly a short visit, but a sweet one.  I squeezed in a haircut in Lafayette on my way out of town, so now I'm sporting a new "do," too.

I made my way down to Thibodaux on Saturday, where I met Alex for the last few innings of their baseball game versus some team from the midwest (it's not important so I don't remember).  I SO enjoyed driving through campus at my alma mater (Nicholls State) for the first time in over two years.  We made a pitt stop at Rouses on our way to Luling for the night, and ended up buying seven (yes SEVEN) king cakes.  Okay, so four of them were for an upcoming meeting (per request of the coordinator), one was for a coworker, one for us, and one for Alex's parents.  Still, seven king cakes.  Mmmm.

As the weekend trend went, our overnight stay with my college roommate and her husband/toddler, was short but fun.  She's pregnant again (high risk), so when our tentative plans to check out a Mardi Gras parade fell through, we were perfectly content to spend the evening eating in and watching 90s Nickelodeon shows via Amazon Prime.  Any time with friends is time well spent.  :)

Sunday's afternoon back in Thibodaux was (thankfully) cut short due to a rain out of their noon game.  With a 4.5 hour drive back to Monroe ahead of us, we certainly appreciated the opportunity to get on the road threeish hours earlier than anticipated. Heck, we even made it home early enough to go grocery shopping on the way and didn't feel totally exhausted by the time we arrived.

My little "tour" added a total of more than 650 miles on the CajunYota, and included visits to almost every major city in the state (Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge).  Only the Northwest and extreme Southwest corners (Shreveport and Lake Charles, respectively) were left out.  Even after living in five other states over the course of five years, I'm still just as much in love with my home state as I ever was.  There really is no other place like it.

And in case you didn't know, Mardi Gras is only four days go find yourself a king cake and INDULGE!

Happy Weekend!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Nomination

I keep hearing about how the blogging community is such a kind and supportive one, and I am slowly paving my way into it.  As I mentioned in my Cara Box reveal post, one of my partners has a blog that's quite popular among the CrossFit crowd.  While Ace and I have very different audiences, it's been fun to get to know one another, and I appreciate her willingness to share her knowledge of blogging.

Ace was recently nominated for the Leibster Award, which is kind of a pay-it-forward type of honor, where baby blogs (baby as in # of followers, not actual children) are recognized and given the chance to get to know other baby bloggers.  In turn, Ace nominated me for a Leibster Award too.  Keep reading for my own nominations...

But first, I'm going to share a little more about myself, per Ace's request.

1. Most embarassing moment?
I've racked my brain and can't think of anything terribly interesting.  Friends, feel free to (gently) remind me of something I'm sure to have blocked from memory...

2. Favorite recipe?
Homemade salsa/guac.  Mmmmmmmm.

3. Item of clothing you feel most confident in and why?
Don't laugh...cute underwear.  Plain, fitted t-shirts (not graphic or printed tees) paired with cardigans.  Honestly, I'm more comfortable when my top is covered up, and I'm really starting to avoid v-necks and some swoop necks.  It's all about modesty and appropriateness.

4. What do you do to relax?
Blog!  Duh.  (Vegging on the couch with DVR and/or the husband is a close second.)

5.  If you could choose anywhere in the world to spend a week, where would it be?
On a cruise ship.  To anywhere, it doesn't matter.

6.  Favorite beer?
Woodchuck, preferably on draft.  Ciders, in general.

7. Least favorite way to sweat?
Just by being outside.  I'm talking about the Louisiana heat where stepping out your front door is enough to produce sweat-filled clothing that could literally be wrung out when twisted like a wash rag.  Movement induced sweat is acceptable...not that shiz.

8. Would you rather:  Have to wear 80s style blazers with shoulder pads every day for the rest of your life OR wear Lady Gaga's meat dress once a week for the rest of your life?
Uh, the blazers, please.

9.  Quote you live by?
Laissez les bon temps rouler!  (I couldn't resist.)

10.  Favorite color and why?
Red.  Does this even need an explanation?  Everything that is awesome in life is red...especially paired with white, black, or gray.

11. Who would play you in the movie of your life?
The sarcastic chick from Two Broke Girls.  Not because we're alike or anything (except for maybe our height/busts)...mostly because I secretly wish I were as quick witted as she is.  P.S.  Alex and I refer to the show as "Two Broke Bitties," or just, "Bitties," for short.  Love that show.

More about the Leibster Award:  The Leibster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  What exactly is a Leibster?  Leibster is German and means favorite or beloved!  The Leibster is a great way to share with the community and get to know other bloggers!

So, my nominations (in alphabetical order).  More than half of those on this list are friends of mine IRL (in real life).  I love following their blogs and want to do what I can to help promote them.  Please check these ladies out (and stay a while, if you like what you see)!

  1. Ashley @ Coffee Happens
  2. Liz @ Gray Area
  3. Jen @ Into Your Will
  4. Janine @ Home Joys & Other Pleasantries
  5. Kristina @ Loving & Living
  6. Molly @ Moments of Clairety
  7. Lauren @ Our Family AdMyers
  8. Christina @ Tales of Life, Love, and Ice Cream
  9. Lendy @ The Dashboard Diaries
  10. Christy @ Traveling Soul

For the nominees, here are the rules:
  • Answer the questions I set for you, then create 11 questions for those you nominate.
  • Choose 11 people to nominate and link them in your post.
  • Notify your nominees.
  • No tag-backs!

The questions:
1. When did you start your blog?
2. Why did you start your blog?
3. What motivates you to continue writing?
4. How many different blogs do you follow?
5. What is your favorite book?
6. Do you have a nickname?
7. What's the last movie you watched?
8. Which sports teams do you cheer for?
9. Item of clothing you feel most confident in and why?
10. Least favorite way to sweat?
11. What do you do to relax?

So what are you waiting for??  Nominees - go, do it!  Everyone else - check out some of the awesome bloggers I nominated!

Have a good one, ya'll!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My First Cara Box

Back in December I signed up to participate in the Cara Box Exchange, a monthly box swap hosted by Kaitlyn at Wifessionals.  The three month exchange offers women the chance to be matched with others who may have similar interests, locations, or stages of life.  Previously, the Cara Box Exchange centered around blogging, with the format designed around a "link-up." This round, the exchange was changed to align with Instagram, instead.

I will say, I a little leery of signing up for a Cara Box with the new Instagram format.  By and large, I am not (or wasn't then, anyway) a regular Instagram user, and I wondered how it would be possible to really get to know someone by looking at pictures of their pet or what they had for dinner.  As it turned out, I was mostly right.  It was difficult to learn about what someone would enjoy receiving in a box of encouragement, simply by seeing pictures of their day-to-day routine.

However, both of my matches (sender and receiver) were willing to correspond via e-mail and that helped a lot.  I ended up being the one who failed to correspond in a timely manner (yeah, yeah...refer to Goal #7). It was also fun to become a regular follower of my sender's blog.

But the most exciting part of all was receiving my Cara Box...duh!!  What did I receive, you ask?  Let me show you!

She's so silly!

Isn't this the most adorable shoe box you've ever seen??
It actually has a pull tab to open!

Contents:  a notebook (for keeping track of all my blog ideas!), colored pencils (in case I'm thinking in color, haha), note cards (so I can thank all my lovelies, of course), a huge bag of Orbit (because it's awesome), lifesavers mints (can never have enough of these), an assorted pack of strawberry LipSmackers (it is blustery cold, after all), Grandma Nancy's rosary (how special!), and a sweet note of encouragement.

The "for kids" part made me laugh!

Grandma Nancy's rosary is by far my favorite item from the entire box...and the note, of course!  Such a sweet, sweet note.  

I guess I should have shared a little more about my matches.  This round, all matches were made by state of residence.  This is why I wanted to sign up in the first place - my goal was to meet new people in the area (remember how I feel like I have no friends nearby?), and meeting new bloggers would be a great two-for-one deal!

Jessica, a 29 year old from Walker, LA was the recipient of my box.  She enjoys reading, hockey and football, and runs a tanning salon.  In her box, she received nail polish, cookie butter, chapstick, hand sanitizer, hot chocolate, and tea.  (Hope you liked it, JBFox!)

Aislinn ("Ace"), a 26 year old grad student at LSU was the sender of my box.  She's a fitness machine who happens to have an up-and-coming blog and has been a great mentor to me with my own blog.  I'm SO grateful for all she has taught me over the last few months, and I look forward to learning more as time goes on.  THANKS a BUNCH for all the goodies you sent, and I can't wait to collaborate again on future blog efforts!

That's all for now.

For more information about the Cara Box and how to participate, click here.  Sign-ups for the spring exchange will be March 3-5.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


We called the po-po.

Last night, Alex and I had an experience with the po-po (aka Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office).  There we were, minding our own business...watching the Season 1 finale of One Tree Hill via Netflix...when all of a sudden, our doorbell rang.  And then someone started knocking...banging on the door.  Then, whoever it was tried to enter the house by pressing the door latch (it was locked, obviously) to come in.

What the?!  We definitely weren't expecting anyone, much less someone who would be welcome to let themselves in the front door (who does that anyway??).  For a minute or two, we froze in place thinking surely the person would go away.  They didn't (not immediately at least).  

Once we figured out the person was serious about not going away, we ran to one of the back bedrooms, Alex pulled out a golf club and I dialed 9-1-1.  With my voice shaking, I tried to calmly tell the dispatcher where we lived and what was happening.  Even while on the phone, the banging continued.  

The dispatcher said she was sending two sheriff's deputies, but didn't know where they were coming from.  Eighteen minutes later, I'm still sitting on the line and finally asked her how much longer it would take for them to arrive.  By that point, the ruckus had finally quietened and I'd stopped shaking.  We were pretty sure the person had finally given up.  

We stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until the deputy arrived, then we went to greet him.  He didn't seem overly concerned or motivated to assist, but briefly asked us what happened and said he would drive around the neighborhood to see if anything looked suspicious.  I asked if we should expect him to return, and he said, "I hope not."  Gee thanks, Mr. Deputy.  

Once the deputy left, we returned to regularly scheduled programming, aka One Tree Hill, and finished out the episode/season.  I was still visibly rattled, so we stayed up later than usual watching some of the Olympic coverage hoping I would calm down a bit before bed.  We took all three phones (cells/house) to bed with us, as well as that golf club from the closet, and even moved our dresser in front of the bedroom door for an extra sense of security.  I also insisted on leaving all the lights on in the living room, kitchen, and at the front door.  Ultimately, though, I never did feel at ease enough to truly rest.  

Ugh.  It seems I'm a magnet for this stuff.  The same sort of thing has happened to me at least twice before - once while home alone after school in my early teens, and again while living alone at my apartment in Little Rock.  Ya'll, this is my biggest fear in life...a home intruder.  I almost even think I have a little PTSD over it, now that this has happened multiple times.  

I hate staying alone overnight - always have.  Anyone want to move to Monroe to "Lauren-sit" while Alex is away with the team?  I feel like I put in my time staying with married friends in my grad school and Little Rock years, and it's time for someone to invest in my safety and sanity.  Takers?  Anyone?

I need to figure out how to never be alone (especially at night)...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 4)

I really need to start calling these "7 Tardy Takes," (as coined by another blogger who I unfortunately cannot remember) seeing as how it's more typical for me to post these on Saturday instead of Friday.  However, I already had a post scheduled for Friday and didn't want to clutter any feeds.  Ah well.

Sunday I made the trek down to south Louisiana for a two-night stay with one of my best friends (and MOH in our wedding), Dawn.  Staying with her in Port Allen put me in a much closer location for traveling to-and-from Gonzalez for the State Livestock Show on Monday and Tuesday.  (In case you were wondering, my 4-Her who showed dairy cows ended up with the Grand Champion Jersey, and the girl who showed goats is second in line for the Goat Educational Award Trip - yah!)

Us, circa October 2010.

My visits with Dawn are always wonderful, but there were a few perks to this visit.  One of those perks was the special treat of getting to visit Trader Joe's!  The Baton Rouge location is the only one in Louisiana and I'm officially hooked!  Of course, I purchased the favorite - cookie butter (crunchy, this time) - but I picked out a few new things to try too.  One of these days, I'm going to pack a cooler and try some of their fresh stuff!

What could be better than cookie butter cookies??

Also on this trip, Dawn was able to coordinate a late lunch with one of my college roommates (and her childhood best friend), Annie.  Annie and her husband, R.J., were married about a month before Alex and I, and they welcomed their daughter, Lydia Ann in November 2013.  Despite our best efforts, Annie and I hadn't seen one another since her wedding (Nov. 2012), and obviously I hadn't gotten a chance to meet Lydia yet.  It was nice to finally catch up, and I have to say that being a mommy looks great on Annie.  :)

I was a little worried about making the trek back north on Tuesday due to the Winter Storm Warnings and closures of schools/state offices/public buildings in the entire region.  The storm was delayed from original projections and the winter precipitation didn't end up starting until about 6 pm that evening (thankfully I made it back around 4:30 pm).  I stayed home from work on Wednesday since the roads were covered in ice and there were lots of reported accidents in the area.  If I'd stayed in Baton Rouge an extra day, there is no way I would have made it back until Thursday.  Alex and I were able to sleep in for a few extra days, and we even got to watch some of the Olympics as they played live in the mornings.  It was a nice treat.

Another treat this week was not one but two king cakes!  I purchased an authentic king cake (no such thing in north Louisiana) from Randazzo's in LaPlace when we were down there for lunch with Annie and Lydia.  It was overwhelming to choose which one, but they had taste tests set out and I settled on the pecan cream cheese.  Mmm.  Little did I know, yesterday we woke up to a fresh Meche's king cake at our front door courtesy of my mother.  It may or may not be the plan to share the wealth with others... ;-)

While I was out and about dropping things off at schools yesterday, I was flabbergasted by the amount of stuff being delivered to kids for Valentine's Day.   I'm talking about entire classrooms/libraries/hallways filled with gift baskets waiting to be delivered.  Does anyone else think this is totally weird?  I mean, we used to deliver small candies or valentine cards as part of fundraisers for school clubs, but gift baskets?  Our schools would have had none of that.  Especially after missing so many days of school due to the weather the last few weeks, I think this was an extremely poor use of time and resources.  Argh.

Not only was yesterday a popular holiday for couples everywhere, it was also the opening day of collegiate baseball.  In our house, this is a big deal since Alex serves as Sports Information Director (SID) for Warhawk Baseball.  I got off a little early and headed down to Monroe to bask in the glorious sunshine and support my main squeeze with his favorite opening weekend of the year.


And we're at it again!  Looks like the first pitch will be thrown in exactly 28 minutes...guess I better get back to my job as scoreboard operator.  Just wait, I'll be a regular member of the media relations staff yet!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Don't Run

Some of you know that Alex and I dated long distance for the entirety of our two year relationship.  When we met, I was living in Raleigh, North Carolina for graduate school, and he was working at a university in South Carolina.  Six months later, I moved to Little Rock, Arkansas to take on my first "bid kid job."  For the next year, we dated across time zones instead of just state lines.  Finally, Alex made the move to Monroe, Louisiana almost two months after we were engaged (16 months after we began dating), which is where we were able to eventually share a home together almost exactly two years after we met/started dating.

Before I moved to Arkansas, Alex and I had a big "heart-to-heart" about our budding relationship while sitting on a huge rock at a park in Raleigh.  There, we decided to not give up on "us" even though we'd only known each other for a few months and had no idea how we would make it work.  Not long after, I came across the song "Love Don't Run," by Steve Holy.  It reaffirmed our decision to see things through and let life take us where it would.

Over the course of our two year relationship, we learned to be creative in how we spent time together, even if that time was spent physically apart.  In honor of Valentine's Day, I want to share some of the many unique ways we "dated" even while we were apart.

1. Skinner
Who says you can't have dinner "with" someone when they are hundreds/thousands of miles away?  I remember a grad school professor telling me a story about how she had dinner with her now-husband every night while they dated (they ate while talking on the phone - it was the 90s and all!), even though they lived states apart.  Her story inspired us to create our own version of "dinner" together.  Every now and again, we treated ourselves to dinner from the same take-out restaurant and ate at the same time while chatting over Skype.  Skype + Dinner = Skinner

2. Monday Moe-Shows -> Domi-Shows
There were a couple of Monday-night comedies we both enjoyed watching, so we made a point of watching them "together."  This meant coordinating the DVR to fast forward commercials and watch each episode in tandem.  We used Gchat to converse with each other throughout the episodes, commenting on the characters' situations, and of course, coordinating the fast-forward/pause/play buttons.  On occasion, we upped the ante by treating ourselves to Moe's Southwest Grill as a precursor to the television show.  Once we moved to Monroe, Monday Moe-Shows evolved into Domi-Shows (think Dominos) since there is no Moe's within a 2 hour radius of here.

3. Book Club
Alex and I both like reading but we don't make a point of doing it nearly enough.  Pretty early on in our long distance relationship, we decided to try rereading a book that would spur some discussion on important topics (re: religion/faith).  The Shack is what we settled on, and though the idea was great in theory, we didn't stick to it regularly enough for the idea to survive for very long.  Ultimately, we did discuss said topics, but I don't know that the Book Club had a huge hand in that.

4. The Notebook
Instead of mailing letters to one another, we wrote in a notebook that was sent back and forth between us. Thanks to the joys of modern technology (see #5), it wasn't necessary to write letters about what was going on in our lives, so instead we shared hopes, dreams, bucket lists, and even stories from our childhood.  It was such a random assortment, that it almost became a type of scrapbook of our lives (past, present, and future, really).  This is, by far, my favorite memento from our relationship, and I look forward to sharing it with our children later on.

5. Good 'Ole Fashioned...Technology
In this day and age, credit must be given to modern technology for its hand in all long distance relationships.  I can say that Alex and I were in constant communication almost every single day (and still are!), even though we may not have seen one another for weeks/months at a time.  With apps like SnapChat and Voxer (which didn't exist when we were dating, by the way), it's SO easy to feel close to someone despite the distance.

Long distance dating is not a new concept, but tools used to support budding relationships are always evolving.  The possibilities are endless, and I hope to expand on each of these ideas sometime in the future.  What are some other unique ideas for long distance dating?  Have I forgotten anything?

Let me know!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Super Party

Ever have those weeks (months?) where you're so backlogged on blog ideas that it's overwhelming to even think of beginning?  Yeah, that's me and February 2014.  I'm so bummed about all the ideas I have, yet no time to execute them.  It's doubtful I'll be matching January's record of nine entries in the same month.  Boo.

So, almost a week late, I do want to share about our "Super Party" we hosted last Sunday in conjunction with "The Big Game."  It's starting to be a tradition for us to host people on this popular American "holiday," mostly because of Alex's field of work (athletics).  Last year, a whopping three people took us up on the invitation, and this year we increased the number to seven!  Woop woop!

It was fun to host some of the people we've met over the last few months, though most of them are interns or graduate assistants, which means they are a bit younger than us and definitely at a different stage of life.  However, all of them are from other states, and so sharing our home with people who are far from their families on such holidays (albiet, an unimportant one) is nice to pay-it-forward from all those years Alex and I were away from our own families.

But, let's get to the important stuff - food!

Before:  crockpot pulled pork

This delicious pulled pork recipe was shared by Kara, who prepared the dish for us to enjoy during our mountain weekend back in December.  We attempted to replicate the dish for our guests, but I think Kara's was still better due to her "Eastern NC style" sauce.  Send us some of that, Kara!

After:  crockpot pulled pork 

Alex prepared some deer sausage and duck wraps, meat courtesy of my father and brother.  I can't speak to their flavor, because I refused to try them.  Sorry...

We cheated and went the easy route on this coleslaw - as in we bought the pre-shredded stuff and dressed it ourselves.  It went fabulously with the pork, and we even received compliments from someone who doesn't typically eat slaw.

Alex and I attended a salsa making class in Mexico during our honeymoon cruise, and I have to say it has impacted my view on salsa.  Homemade salsas are far more delicious than the store-bought stuff, and I think I have a pretty good knack for making it myself.  Guests agreed, and this four-avocado strong guacamole was cleared out before the night was over.  Thank goodness avocados were on sale (.88 each) last week!

And of course, we couldn't forget sweets!  In honor of Carnival season, I made Mardi Gras-themed cupcakes.  Yum-o!

The food must have been good (far better than the game, as I understand it) because they "cleaned house" on us.  Only a few cupcakes and some salsa remained at the end of the night.  That's definitely a compliment for a Cajun lady such as myself, and a strong indicator of the good time had by all.

Now, I'm off to catch up on all of your "super" party efforts (aka I'm wayyy behind on reading posts this week)!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside

Happy February!

In my world that usually means hello Spring, my favorite season of the year.  Yes, I know Spring doesn't technically begin until, what, April?   Like I said before - my world.

Growing up in south Louisiana, there were generally only three seasons:  spring, summer, and fall.  We like to skip over winter, except for maybe those 4-5 weeks college students have off between semesters...or better yet, the two week "Christmas break" K-12 students and teachers are given.

Not this year.  Apparently some cousin of Mother Earth has recently moved to town.  They tell me his name is Old Man Winter.  Ever met him?  Supposedly, he looks something like this:


He seems a bit scary and very A Wrinkle in Time to me.  I don't think we could be good friends.  Unless maybe snow was involved...

So, snow.  Yeah, Louisiana doesn't really get snow.  Like ever.  The last time there was enough snow at home to build a real snowman was 1988 or 1989 (either way, that was 25 years ago!).

One would think living in north Louisiana might make for a greater likelihood of experiencing that pretty white stuff.  Nope.  Not this year.

Don't get me wrong, it has been COLD here.  Actually, I've probably experienced the coldest temperatures of my life this winter.  And seeing as how I spent an Oct-Dec. and Jan. - May in Idaho and DC, respectively, I think that's kind of a big deal.  Proof:

As cold as it may have been here, the ground was bone dry.  Okay, so we did see flakes for about an hour last Friday (1/24), but nothing really stuck.  If you can believe it, though, all of south Louisiana was shut down for practically the entire week due to massive (by our standards) amounts of sleet/ice and some of the white stuff.  Even the national weather forecasters were impressed:

At one point, 59 of Louisiana's 64 parishes closed their state offices, and it was the same for school districts.  Go back and read that again.  59/64.  That's 92%...NINETY-TWO PERCENT of Louisiana's state offices were closed...CLOSED...for two (!) days!

It wasn't just state offices.  Universities were closed.  (LSU, LSUA, ULL, MSU, NSULA, NSU, SELA, and probably a several others...which is basically every university in the state except LSUS and ULM).  Even more impactful were the road closings:  I-10, I-110, I-49, I-90 and nearly every major bridge or overpass, as well.

If you don't know much about Louisiana, let me tell you - this state IS water.  It's next to impossible to get someplace without crossing a bridge or overpass.  This means the entire state of Louisiana was practically paralyzed for travel and commerce for the greater part of two days.  Seriously.

Whodathunk it?

Now, I know there are places where -45 below has become "normal," or anything above freezing is considered "balmy."  But, this is Louisiana (and the south, for that matter) we're talking about.  In fact, I came across an article a few days ago about how even a hundred years ago, weather data shows the impact of winter weather in the south is far more extensive and long-term than that of the northern states.

Either way, it's easy to question that whole "global warming" thing.


I hear there's more "winter weather" in the forecast coming up for the third week in a row.  Maybe one of these days north Louisiana will get a taste of the fun stuff.  Ya'll stay warm out there!


P.S.  For the record, though schools in the parishes I live/work in were closed, my office didn't close and I worked every day this week.  My family lives on the coast (well, practically) and they were off on both Tuesday and Wednesday.  I'm just a little bitter...