Thursday, June 27, 2013

25 Things –Summer Bucket List Edition

Bucket lists have been on my mind lately. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how much I want to experience in life and how little time there is to get it all done. The Trans Siberian Railroad, Antarctica, Machu Picchu, The Great Wall… those are all high up on my travel bucket list.

I’ve crossed a few things off by traveling to Australia (planning to get back there ASAP). However, I realized that I need to stop mooning over vacation and get on with enjoying life here.

Just this week, I’ve read two blog posts on creating a summer bucket list… one over on Trailer Trash Glam and one on Enjoying the Small Things, who also happens to be doing a swimsuit giveaway

Perfect timing for me to get my act together and come back to reality.

Since I’m on a list making rampage lately, I’ll offer my own Summer Bucket list:
  • Go peach/apple/raspberry/blackberry picking
  • Take an impromptu trip to the beach
  • Visit a farmers market
  • Go crabbing
  • Learn how to SCUBA dive
  • Send Aunt Nancy & Uncle Darryl a Thank You basket
  • Send Sally & Chris (our NZ people) a Thank You basket
  • Find frames for koala and lorikeet photos – then hang them
  • Clean up front garden and plant perennials
  • Re-upholster dining room chairs
  • Have a picnic at Martinak
  • Make marshmallows from scratch (stole this from TTG – been wanting to do this for awhile)
  • Have rooster for dinner
  • Do the adult ropes challenge course at Tuckahoe
  • Go kayaking
  • Climb the rock wall at the Y
  • Swim 1000 yards
  • Host a dinner party
  • Come up with a date, menu & budget for yearly fall party
  • Make a plan for the backyard
  • Build a new fire pit
  • Finish fencing backyard
  • Go fishing
  • Design egg cartons to sell/giveaway eggs
  • Complete two weeks of Couch25K (I’m aiming low)
So that's my summer bucket list... what's on yours? Kelly, I'll be waiting to read your summer bucket list next. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

101 in 1001 or 202 in 21

Here is our 202 list... the list isn't perfect. I think there are a few things and ideas repeated, but I've managed to assemble things in a somewhat chronological order.

I'll post my itinerary soon with photos from each day.

As you can see with number one, we began our journey in New Jersey on May 10th.
  1. Make a left in Jersey
  2. Fall in love with Air New Zealand's Premium Economy
  3. Cuddle a koala
  4. Feed a kangaroo
  5. Get molested by lorikeets
  6. Be involved in an AFA (automatic fire alarm - this happened in Coolangatta)
  7. Watch surfers
  8. Walkabout
  9. Use a public restroom (OZ has tons of really nice ones!!)
  10. Try a flat white coffee
  11. Eat beef cheeks
  12. Try out SCUBA diving
  13. Pet a sea turtle
  14. Not get bitten by a carpet shark (Jay thought our dive instructor wanted him to pet it)
  15. Find Nemo (found him MANY times!)
  16. Watch the sun rise in Coolangatta
  17. Pet a fish 
  18. Play Apples to Apples
  19. Jaywalk comfortably (it's harder than it looks when you're used to right-hand side driving)
  20. Stand between two states (NSW and QLD)
  21. Find a spot for dad in Coolangatta (he's in the dunes and under a pine tree - I thought he'd enjoy all the lorikeets)
  22. Sing with Aunt Nancy (we had a little concert on my last night there)
  23. Swallow a live fly (Jay drank a fly in his wineglass)
  24. Find Whites Beach (black sand - we found a similar beach in Bayview, NZ)
  25. Try Australian pizza 
  26. Make a u-turn on the runway (Proserpine Airport is TINY!)
  27. Concerns a boat... activity is censored! :)
  28. Pee off of a boat
  29. Not shower for two days (pact made by fellow Whitsunday Getaway couples)
  30. Step in cow poo
  31. Walk down railroad tracks
  32. Find and try Korean BBQ (AWESOME - in Townsville)
  33. Book the last hotel room (at the holiday inn in Townsville)
  34. Smash toe in hotel room (seriously who puts a 1" metal lip between the bedroom and bathroom?)
  35. Get freaked out in Dimbulah
  36. Go over a scary f'n bridge (Destination Truth style!!)
  37. Go through the Bismarck Range
  38. Share the road.... with cows
  39. Drive in the dark
  40. Walk in a rainforest
  41. Spot for dad in Daintree Rainforest (Daintree Discovery Center - seemed like his kinda place)
  42. Eat rainforest ice cream
  43. Ride a ferry (across croc-infested waters)
  44. Go on a croc river cruise
  45. Eat kangaroo (at the Daintree Tea House)
  46. Drive windy roads in Daintree (and not die)
  47. Figure out how to use air conditioning in hotel room (took us two hours - had to put our hotel key in a slot)
  48. Chat with locals (yep, lots of that)
  49. See how racist locals are (OMG the racism in OZ was bizarre)
  50. Get elfed by a 9 year old (in Almaden of all places)
  51. Feel like we were on Destination Truth (so many times)
  52. Not see any wildlife in Daintree Discovery Center. $60
  53. Have a wine and cheese night
  54. Something censored to do with the Outback
  55. Take pictures of Australian chickens
  56. Steal an Outback newspaper (front page was about the Wheelbarrow Race)
  57. Drive over a waterfall (did this several times)
  58. See wild crocodiles
  59. See a baby crocodile
  60. Attempt to sneak into zoo at night (then later find out it was open and we could've gone in)
  61. Feed a cassowary
  62. Feed an animal prosciutto
  63. Feed a wallaby
  64. Get eaten by mosquitoes
  65. Stay at a hotel in a zoo
  66. Finish Kvothe (the Kingkiller Chronicles) - this was super sadface, we enjoyed this audiobook. Hope the author comes out with a new book soon!
  67. Draw on each other (I think this happened on the wine and cheese night)
  68. Eat strong and bitey cheese (I love what they call stuff over there)
  69. Have Cuban rum
  70. Enjoy the best mojito ever at Fish d'vine 
  71. Boop a kangaroo
  72. Pat a kookaburra
  73. Pat a dingo 
  74. Feed a croc prosciutto
  75. Watch croc attack a piece of cured meat
  76. Poke a squirrel glider
  77. Feed a wallaby (hmm. it appears we did that in 63. oh well)
  78. Feed a cockatoo or twenty
  79. Taunt a cassowary
  80. Something to do with a rainforest
  81. Have a wallaby growl at you
  82. Have a dingo snap at you
  83. Get bitten by an emu
  84. Touch a wombat
  85. Feed a cassowary (oops, 61)
  86. Feed a kookaburra
  87. Start a croc feeding frenzy (oops! apparently they really enjoy salami - who knew?)
  88. Break tooth on salami
  89. Baby bird a croc (see breaking tooth on salami)
  90. Boop a quolle
  91. Visit the Giant Mango in Bowen
  92. Dive 3 sites in the Great Barrier Reef - the Agincourt Reef and Low Isles on Poseidon
  93. Learn more dive skills and actually be tested and expect to do stuff
  94. Take regulator out of mouth on purpose
  95. See a white-tipped reef shark
  96. Hold a sea cucumber
  97. Nearly get puked on
  98. Ride the vomit comet
  99. Run into Sally & Chris on the dock having happy hour after getting off dive boat
  100. Surf the Bay on the front of the Poseidon a la Titanic
  101. Stinky Plastic Couple - Ewww.
  102. Get offered free drinks at the Sea Temple because our rooms weren't ready - AND WE WERE EARLY for check in!
  103. Have a private hot tub session
  104. BBQ our own food at Sea Temple on our rooftop deck
  105. Wash a pack of cigarettes and try to hide it (Jay was supposed to quit smoking for this trip, but brought an emergency pack... he washed nearly the whole thing and made quite a mess)
  106. Get upgraded to nice apartment
  107. Buy souvenirs
  108. Stay at Horse and Jockey in at Matamata
  109. Have a terrible fried dinner at the Horse and Jockey (pork wontons and curly fries)
  110. Hear neighbors in next room peeing because of hole in the wall
  111. Leave Horse & Jockey via the fire exit
  112. Go from six people in our tour group at Hobbiton to fifty
  113. Have a rather obnoxious tour guide at Hobbiton
  114. Have a half pint at the Green Dragon
  115. Get called a "Little Hobbit"
  116. See bag End
  117. See Gandalf's limb
  118. Discover why the toilet squatting sign exists (in Hobbiton)
  119. Hobbiton - where the urinal cakes are hobbit-sized and so are the beers
  120. Have an awesome dinner at HuHu Cafe
  121. Have awesome dessert at HuHu Cafe
  122. Have best culinary experience EVER at HuHu (Waitomo)
  123. Sleep in a Hobbit Motel
  124. Meet Barry aka Billy Black
  125. Abseil 35 meters and not get stuck or die
  126. Zipline in pitch black under glow worms
  127. Jump into freezing cold water (10C)
  128. Ride a tube underground (blackwater raft)
  129. Cave slide 
  130. Survive double waterfall of death
  131. Get invited hunting in Mississippi (and met our first Americans)
  132. Stub toe on rock after caving trip and lose a toenail
  133. Something about hot springs
  134. Go skinny dipping in hot spring
  135. Eat good Thai food
  136. Something about a trailer
  137. See Mount Doom from our breakfast table
  138. Simply walk into Mordor (we figure that if we could see Mt Doom from our breakfast table, we were already in Mordor)
  139. Have a disgusting cider (Elderflower & Apple and Black currant & Apple)
  140. Pass a tractor without incident
  141. Visit our new kiwi friends in Bayview/Napier (Sally & Chris)
  142. Go on black beach and find cool shit
  143. Find a spot for dad in Hawkes Bay (at the end of Franklin Road on the beach)
  144. Get a private tour of Napier/Hastings by kiwis
  145. Do a tasting at Cidery and TeMATA
  146. Learn about scrumpy hands, possum and cone - best drinking games ever
  147. Have an authentic kiwi dinner (roast & 3-veg)
  148. Get completely shitfaced (7 bottles of wine, 2L scrumpy and a 6 pack of beer consumed by 4 people)
  149. Eat a roach (that was all Jay - quite the entomologist this trip!)
  150. Draw best map of USA ever 
  151. Sleep in a vineyard (they grow Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot & Chardonnay varieties)
  152. Spill stuff on our gracious hosts' carpet
  153. Go wandering about hosts' house in underwear
  154. Sleep naked in another bed from where you initially were sleeping (and wake up with no idea where you are)
  155. Soak up spillage with socks
  156. Wake up and have no idea where your husband is
  157. Black out from Scrumpy (or everything else)
  158. Drink 3 bottles of 2004 award-winning wine
  159. Exclaim, "What the fuck happened last night??"
  160. Puke
  161. Consider leaving before your hosts wake up
  162. Get invited to stay a second night
  163. Try Ginger Beer
  164. Drive with one of the worst hangovers ever (on the other side of the road through crazy mountain passes and one lane bridges_
  165. Have a good lunch in Rotorua (Mac's Steaks)
  166. Walk Lake Trail in Rotorua
  167. Watch Asians with cameras feed birds an entire loaf of bread (despite signs)
  168. Take a dump in a public toilet
  169. See an Indian (presumable American Indian??) on horseback walk down a sidewalk in Tauranga
  170. Learn Tauranga is not a place we want to stay
  171. Pay a toll
  172. Arrive in Mount Maunganui after doubting its existence (drove forever through shipyards)
  173. Discover it's difficult to book hotels during the Queen's Birthday Weekend (observed June 3rd 2013)
  174. Book the last available hotel in town at Macca's using their free wifi (Baywatch Motor Inn)
  175. Develop a disturbing arrythmia (this was Jay, he eventually got better... we think it was due to an electrolyte imbalance from the puking/drinking plus lack of sleep)
  176. Have the best pork belly ever (Latitude 37 or Vine in Taupo)
  177. See (and play) the FJ Cruiser game
  178. Tip a grateful waitress at Latitude 37
  179. Find a spot for dad in Mt Maunganui
  180. Avoid getting run into by runner (there was some kind of crazy run/walk/bike ride thing happening there)
  181. Eat mincemeat pie - delicious!
  182. Walk across a CRAZY bridge
  183. Start a parking trend
  184. Almost get run over by a mountain biker
  185. Spot a giant mushroom
  186. Successfully drop off rental car
  187. Take a weird-ass bus ride
  188. Spot homeless people (they're pretty much the same worldwide) - then consider giving them a bottle of wine
  189. Mistakenly see Auckland by staying on a bus too long
  190. Be surprised by an awesome dinner at Lord Nelson's in Auckland
  191. Get a second Skycouch AND be undercharged for it
  192. Catch the airport bus perfectly
  193. Be test subjects for the egate (I was denied!)
  194. Find and buy Cuban rum
  195. Debate merits of buying a sheepskin rug at the airport. In hindsight, I kinda wish we had. Even though I have no idea what I'd do with it.
  196. Kick a guy off Skycouch
  197. Something about Cuban rum. What? You want mojitos?
  198. Walk on Manhattan Beach Pier (back in CA)
  199. Run into couple from our flight to the US from New Zealand (South Islanders) at El Sombrero in Manhattan Beach. They were heading to the Caribbean to spend a few months on a friend's yacht. You know, since their growing season is over (another vineyard owning couple).
  200. Not lose wallet in El Segundo
  201. Get Roxie to start (it took some coaxing, sweet girl... she has nearly 300k on her and she was sitting for THREE WEEKS!)
  202. Survive the trip, including the drive home

Friday, June 21, 2013

Back on the Wagon

Lately I've been slacking off BIGTIME on the diet and exercise. And although I was pretty active while in OZ and Kiwiland, I gained five pounds back during vacation. Probably because of all the sweets and drinking. It was quite excessive, I must say.

So I bought a FitBit to help motivate me. I've been wanting one for a long time, but I finally decided to pull the trigger... especially since this is the third or fourth incarnation. I figure that they probably have all of the kinks worked out by now.

I've had it for all of a day and I'm in love already. It makes me want to do more. It syncs with LoseIt and a ton of other things. I'm planning to start the Couch to 5k app this weekend, so I've downloaded yet another app - Endomondo. That will interface with my FitBit as well. So pretty much everything is connected.

I'm still not sure if I'm sold on picking running back up, although I have to admit that it was great for weight loss. We'll see, I guess. My main goal is just to become more active, whether that be through walking, running, swimming, SCUBA, climbing or whatever. The rock wall is something I definitely want to get into.

Updates on the chickypoos (Lucky is alive and thriving), my vacation 202 list and some other stuff are coming soon. Jay and I also start our SCUBA course in a few weeks, which we're doing through Sea Colony Aquasports. Pretty excited about that, plus SCUBA is supposed to burn a ton of calories.

More to come soon, I promise.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Experiences and Choices

I'll apologize for this rambling post. There have been a few different versions as I was trying to work stuff out. I considered never posting it at all, but just in case it helps someone out, I thought I should put it out there. Maybe someone googles, "reverse culture shock" or "yearning for something more." Or maybe even "crumb snatchers." Who knows. But I hope that someone reads it and can relate to it.

Yes, this place is real. I've been there. I took the picture.

Since I returned from my trip, I’ve been suffering from reverse culture shock. Yes, I know it's a bit ridiculous since I was gone for only three weeks. Plenty of other people go on holiday, ahem, vacation for a month or longer, although not typically in the good ole USA. People hardly even use all of their meager vacation time here. On the other side of the ocean (in either direction), lots of young adults take gap years to travel the world. Oh how I envy them.

Your experiences change you. Sometimes the changes are temporary; others are permanent changes.

When I was 25 and my father died, it changed me permanently. It aged me in many ways. I realized that nothing is ever certain. It made me desperate to cling to anything that was the norm while he was alive (i.e. ex-boyfriend who I should’ve ditched way sooner). It made me a little on the impulsive side… since nothing was ever certain, why not live for today and for this very moment. I did a lot of stupid shit. 

But… I learned. Time and experience are the best teachers. Time and experience can change you. Yes, you’re still you… but a better version of you (hopefully).

Visiting Australia and New Zealand has changed me. In some ways I know that the changes will be temporary; jet lag, being back at work, driving (okay, riding – Jay did all the driving) on the other side of the road… the usual stuff. Mostly it's given me a yearning for something more. A new childlike wonder of the world - it's such an amazing place. People on the other side of the planet speak our language, yet are different in so many ways from us. For the first time, I think I would be more than capable of joining Josh Gates and his crew from Destination Truth. Searching for ghosts in Antarctica? That sounds fun! Diving to search for mermaids in Israel? Count me in! 

Survived the double waterfalls of doom. One of the craziest things I've ever done and I loved every second.

My life seems to have come to a crossroads. Or maybe I just think it’s at a crossroads. Maybe this wouldn’t be so panic-inducing if this hadn’t come at a time when we are finished the house, financially stable and planning for little crumb snatchers. Maybe because of aforementioned crumb snatchers, I want a better life for them. A better life for them and me - which means getting as far away as possible from immediate family members who drive me mad. Or maybe I'm just enjoying my life so much that I'm worried that kids will put a damper on my vacation plans. Sorry kids, we're not going to Disneyland - we're going to Uruguay.

There is an Aborigine with a didgeridoo in this picture. I wish I'd been able to frame him playing it.

Australia is an amazing country. I love the people, the lifestyle, the egalitarian society, the free healthcare. Australia is a liberal’s utopian world (apart from the blatant racism that I witnessed, which was bizarre and went against everything they seem to stand for). They eat healthier and seem to take better care of themselves than Americans. People there are engaged with each other; you see them being more aware of their surroundings and not occupied with their phones. And most of them seem genuinely happy. 

Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors (I swear I'm going somewhere with this). Perhaps it’s because he writes travel books and I adore his sense of humor. His book In a Sunburned Country is my current favorite. After visiting the country, there is just no way that I could better summarize Australia.

Here are two of my favorite excerpts:

“The fact is, of course, we pay shamefully scant attention to our dear cousins Down Under- not entirely without reason, of course. Australia is after all mostly empty and a long way away. Its population, just over 18 million, is small by world standards - China grows by a larger amount each year- and its place in the world economy is  consequently peripheral; as an economic entity, it ranks about level with Illinois. Its sports are of little interest to us and the last television series it made that we watched with avidity was Skippy. From time to time it sends us useful things-opals, merino wool, Errol Flynn, the boomerang - but nothing we can't actually do without. Above all, Australia doesn't misbehave. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn't have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner.”  (since publication Australia's population is now at 23 million)

“The people are immensely likable— cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging. Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Rupert Murdoch no longer lives there. Life doesn't get much better than this.” 

When I arrived in Brisbane and hopped in my aunt’s car, I felt like I was going home. It felt strangely familiar. Three days spent in Coolangatta reminded me of going to Rehoboth Beach as a kid. It just felt right.

So I’m mourning the loss of my vacation and missing my auntie. I’m also wishing that I didn’t have this daily drudgery of going to work. I wish that I could do something else. In Australia, of course. What that is, I’m not quite sure. Don't get me wrong, I have a great job here. It pays well for the area (it should for some of the crap I put up with) and I have a nice flexible schedule. I even like most of the people that I work with. I also have FANTASTIC health insurance. Vacation time, not so much. But yes, it's a job and I am thrilled to be there.

Then there is the question:  Would my personality type even allow me to have a job that I adored 90% of the time before getting bored? I've probably changed my mind 10 times in my adult life about what I want to be when I "grow up." Just in the past year I've given serious thought to becoming a nurse or a social worker. Even my associate's degree is in general studies. With an emphasis in psych and business, of course. One of these days I need to just pick something and get a 4 year degree. One day. Here or somewhere else.

Maybe I could be a professional expressionist? Is that a  job? I'm great at making faces!

Okay, enough with the rambling. The next paragraph is what I've been trying to get at this whole time.

Since I’ve been home I’ve investigated how I can get to Australia permanently. If I ultimately decide that OZ is where I belong, getting there will be a huge challenge, as getting a visa to live there permanently isn’t easy. There are an awful lot of big decisions to make, but they start with small steps. However, the steps start with big decisions like what I should actually get a degree in. Or if I should take up something like becoming a wool classer or no, wait... a poultry farmer! Seriously. The wool classer is on the state sponsorship page for Western Australia as an occupation in demand. The poultry farmer is on a second list called schedule 2, where they have other occupations that they issue limited numbers of visas for. Hey, I'm kind of a poultry farmer. This hobby of mine might get me to OZ after all.

Fun with Grandma Grande's Furs

All of that said - to feel like I’m taking action I’m getting my open water diver certification. In some weird way, it's a connection to Australia for me. Becoming a scuba instructor (which itself would certainly take a lot of time and cost a lot of $$) is probably not the route that I would go to get to OZ, but getting my open water would be the first step. So on July 10th, I'll be strapping on 60 pounds of gear and jumping into the pool. I'm sure that I'll be thinking more clearly then.

More photos of the trip and less rambling about my life to come soon, I promise. Maybe even this weekend. We have a 202 list (101 wasn't enough) from our journey, which I'm hoping to share. Although there are a few things on that list not for public consumption! :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

25 Things in a Year - June update

I'll have a post soon about some of the incredible things that I saw and did on my trip. I pushed my personal limits and was rewarded for doing it. Who knows, maybe my next step is skydiving??

I'll be doing a complete update on my journey soon... probably with a few details left out to protect the guilty. ;)

At the beginning of the year, this was my list. Some of these things were to be done around our trip down under, so I have a quick update on where things stand:

1.             Be more positive
Being on vacation for so long has both helped and hurt this goal. I desperately needed a vacation after not having time off for over a year, but now that I’ve been to Australia, all I can think about is how I can move there permanently.
2.             Lose ~13% of body weight (or eat healthier and exercise at least 3x a week)
I was at 8% before vacation, but I put 5 pounds back on during vacation… mostly due to drinking excessively and eating sweets! Now I’m back to a reasonable diet and exercise plan… although it’s taking me a while to get back to the working out portion. I’m still having some problems with jetlag.
3.             Start a few plants from seed for the garden
Some of my plants reseeded themselves! I shouldn’t have even attempted any garden plans this year, since I was gone when I should have been planting.
4.             Come up with a new budget and stick to it
I’ve done a pretty good job of this. We also stuck to our Australia budget, apart from upgrading our flights at the end of the trip, which put us over budget.
5.             Get rid of the red couch and chair that I freaking HATE
Still not yet. Then again, if there is any chance that we are moving to Australia, I’ll live with the stupid couch.
6.             Purchase new furniture and decorate downstairs
See number 5. If I can make my dream a reality, decorating isn’t very high on my priorities list.
7.             Put together a time capsule for our house
I have it, but it's sitting downstairs on my kitchen counter. Still.
8.             Blog at least twice a week
I may catch up eventually. This shouldn’t count for any time that I’m on vacation, so I get a pass.
9.             Get organized - important documents, books, seasonal items, etc.
I’ll get there.
10.          Be in good enough shape to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (aka Mount Doom) in New Zealand
I definitely could have done it, but unfortunately the weather wasn’t good for that hike while we were there. When (yes, WHEN, not if) we go back, hopefully it will be during summer or early spring so that we don’t have to contend with snow. It IS the “ALPINE” crossing after all.
11.          Raise a small flock of chickens for meat (at least six)
Hmm. We’ll see about this. I think that Mouse might be a candidate for the soup pot soon. He’s terrorizing some of our new chickens and he’s attacked me a few too many times. Last time he even left a mark on my leg.
12.          Sell some eggs, otherwise we'll be overrun when the new chickens start laying
I will definitely need to do this. Guess I should order a big supply of egg cartons.
13.          Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, even though I'm scared of being eaten by a shark
Completed! Not to mention my fear of deep water, which apparently I am getting over. Actually, I went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef AND saw a 4~5 foot white tipped reef shark! We also saw carpet sharks (which Jay tried to pet) during our first dive at Cook Island when we were in Coolangatta. Scuba diving was such an unexpected joy for me, and I am planning to get my open water certification in time for #25.
14.          Snuggle a koala
Possibly one of the most amazing things in my entire life. Her name was Tiger Lily and she was the sweetest thing ever.
15.          Install the heat pump downstairs
It is delightfully cool in our entire house, I am happy to report.
16.          Make room in the budget for a cleaning service
Still working on this one. I’m pretty sure we’re going to do it though. When we got back from vacation, we saw what a mess our house ends up being without us there for 3 weeks. Apparently two cats is enough to destroy a house in no time at all.
17.          Get the crawl space insulated
We’ll see how we make out with having the second heat pump.
18.          Have photos done and send Christmas cards out this year
I need to meet up with Laura Dye to get these pictures done. Although we have so many great ones from our trip, I might have to photoshop Santa Hats on our heads.
19.          Fence in yard
We have the rear privacy fence up. Love the look of it and would like to do the entire yard like this… we’ll see though.
20.          Hatch out some silkie and black/red star mixes
We did and they have turned out to be pretty funky looking! Unfortunately I’m pretty sure that two of them are going to be roosters. So we might be eating a few more chicken dinners.
21.          Say no and not feel guilty afterwards
Doing this more often and I would say that I've been quite successful. The more often I do it, the less guilty I feel. Being on this trip made me remember that I have an awesome husband that I want to spend time with, so I’m trying very hard to not book up all of our weekends months in advance so that we can do more on our own as a couple.
22.          Have an awesome time at the Mardi Gras Ball
I did have an awesome time, although I must say that I was quite happy and relieved when it was all over. I was even happy to clean up the next day!
23.          Can tomatoes from our garden
I will can some tomatoes if we actually get some this year! I might cheat and buy an already potted porch type plant.
24.          Print "before" collages to frame and hang in the house
I’ll do it one of these days. Now my big job is to download all of the photos from vacation… there are HEAPS of photos.
25.          Use at least one week of our time share
We’re booking using our friend Leslie’s Shareholder status, which gets us a discounted daily rate and a sweet villa. I’m still waiting to hear back from some of the people that I’ve invited. Now that I’ve had quite the adventurous trip down under, I’m worried that our lounge-around-in-the-sun-eat-and-drink vacation might be a little boring, so I’m planning to do horseback riding, a diving trip and some whitewater rafting while we’re there.