Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

One thing that I haven't done in years that I miss very much is carving pumpkins.

In years past, I would go to Zombie Pumpkins and download patterns (do it, you won't be disappointed!). One year I had an awesome gollum pumpkin. Then there was the time I carved a creepy clown. Another year, it was Chucky. I'm sure that I still have photos somewhere, but they are undoubtedly lost somewhere on the interwebs.

Next year I'm bringing back the pumpkins. Big time. 

Will it be a kick-ass Walking Dead pumpkin? 

I'm definitely planning on participating in an underwater pumpkin carving contest next year.

What's your favorite pumpkin carving story or pattern?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend fun

So I finally broke open the winemaking kit that Jay got me for Christmas last year! It's much easier than I realized. Kinda makes me want to grow my own grapes.

At the very least, the first stage was pretty easy. After a few more days, we'll read the specific gravity of the mixture to make sure that the fermenting is ready to move on to the next stage. The wine will go into the carbiner and get some stuff added to it next. It should be ready to bottle for aging in early December. It will make over two cases!

This morning I ran the SeaWitch 5k. It was lots of fun... very low-key and a great course. Nice scenery and most importantly, it was flat. I felt that I was much faster than last time but not according to my running app. Then again, I was running in costume and had to stop or slow down to nearly stopped a few times to put my dagger back in the holder or fix my skirt. 

The exciting news is that I ran for the entire first mile, which I don't think I've ever done before. I ran the first mile in 12:41 according to my app. I wish that I had paced myself a little better, but overall I'm proud of how I did. I haven't seen the official results yet, but I'm expecting to be around 40 minutes again.

We're badass pirates. 

This was post-race... look, we don't even look winded. We could just keep on running... HA!

There are a few more runs in my future... I'm definitely planning on the Turkey Trot next month. After all, it's only two miles. Hell, I might even be able to run the entire time. The week after the Turkey Trot is the run for hospice in Easton. Of course, that's assuming that I'm off work on that day. We'll see I guess.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Few Words Wednesday

Fall on the shore is gorgeous. This farm is across the street.

Ran/walked a 5k on Sunday

Another fall delight. I have an obsession with all things pumpkin.

Wings. Thank you football season for giving me an excuse to eat you.

Favorite part of my drive to work. Choptank River wetlands by Dover Bridge. Every morning I wish that I could pull over and take photos, but yesterday on my drive in we were stopped, so I was able to snap this with my iphone.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

25 Things Update

Life has been so great this year that I nearly forgot my quasi-resolutions from the beginning of the year!

Here is an update:

  1. Be more positive
    I'd like to think that I am doing a much better job of this. If I had to pick one reason that I've been successful, it's that I have much more realistic expectations - of people in general (including myself). I've also pushed my comfort level with some of the things that I've done and challenged myself. My fear of heights? I repelled into a cave. My fear of deep water? I'm now a certified PADI Open Water Diver and have been down to 40 feet with no problems. 
  2. Lose ~13% of body weight (or eat healthier and exercise at least 3x a week)
    I have no idea what I weigh right now and honestly, I don't much care. I think that earlier this year I was so focused on the numbers on the scale that I lost sight of what being healthy is. I started running again, am trying to swim regularly, and I try to eat better. This is not to say that I'm perfect, but I am happier with where I am today than where I was a year ago.
  3. Start a few plants from seed for the garden
    Due to that Australia trip, we kind of screwed up the garden.
  4. Come up with a new budget and stick to it
    This is a work in progress, but I am happy to report that we are doing pretty well with the budget. We were doing better before SCUBA on this. Turns out that diving is an expensive hobby. Once we acquire all of our gear, we shouldn't be spending quite as much. At any rate, we have a budget. And we also started a new savings goal with Smarty Pig. They earn a fantastic rate (1% APY!) and deposits are FDIC insured. Although we currently have more than enough in our savings account for our Emergency Savings Fund, we decided to take some money and move it to Smarty Pig. We'll be putting 6% of our income into that account and should have our Emergency Fund built up to ~5 months of expenses by early 2015. We will be opening additional savings goals with Smarty Pig for vacations and furniture, which brings me to #5.
  5. Get rid of the red couch and chair that I freaking HATE
    We still have them. Unfortunately. I can't wait to give that crap away. I thought that we'd found a sucker someone to take that junk  them, but apparently their apartment fell through. Here is what I want to replace it with: Witiker Brown Reclining Sofa Set. The cool thing with SmartyPig is that you can convert your savings to gift cards and get additional $$ with it. So I could get an extra 7% ($112 off of the couch) if I chose to redeem my savings with an gift card. Not too shabby!
  6. Purchase new furniture and decorate downstairs
    That's a work in progress. Downstairs is fairly well decorated. We also ended up with an extra dining room table and some other furniture. In my opinion, it doesn't go that great with what we have, but it belonged to Jay's grandparents, so we will keep it in the family.
  7. Put together a time capsule for our house
    I have this, we just need to put it into a closet and cover it up.
  8. Blog at least twice a week
    I think I've been okay with this. If I average 2 posts a week, then I should have 104 at the end of the year. I suppose I'd better pick it up in November and December. I have 25 left for the year.
  9. Get organized - important documents, books, seasonal items, etc.
    This is also a work in progress. We've finally found a good system for our important documents, but I need to go through some stuff. Seasonal items are in the attic. We're also going to need to find a good spot to stow our scuba gear.
  10. Be in good enough shape to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (aka Mount Doom) in New Zealand
    I definitely would have hiked Mount Doom if it weren't for the snowstorm happening while we were there. Next time we'll visit in Summer! So yeah, I think I can mark this one off. 
  11. Raise a small flock of chickens for meat (at least six)
    We kind of did this. There are two roosters in our freezer right now and we've decided to cull the last rooster and have nothing but hens. I get to help with the last one. Gulp.
  12. Sell some eggs, otherwise we'll be overrun when the new chickens start laying
    Did this! Although these new chickens are kind of slackers. I thought we'd be getting 12-20 eggs a day, but we're getting more like 6-8.
  13. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, even though I'm scared of being eaten by a shark|
    Even better, I dove the Great Barrier Reef and became a certified diver. OH. And I even saw sharks while diving. Carpet sharks and a reef shark. And I didn't freak out - it was awesome.
  14. Snuggle a koala
    Did this and have photographic proof.
  15. Install the heat pump downstairs
    We went without heat downstairs (except for the pellet stove) that I forgot this was even installed! We turned it on earlier this week when I was chilly.
  16. Make room in the budget for a cleaning service
    Not sure if we'll do this. We're going to see if we can handle cleaning ourselves with a schedule.
  17. Get the crawl space insulated
    This is undecided. We're going to see how we get through this winter to see how badly it really needs it. 
  18. Have photos done and send Christmas cards out this year
    In process. We may take photos ourselves or get Laura to do them.
  19. Fence in yard
    We are 95% done. Just a few places left that we need fencing.
  20. Hatch out some silkie and black/red star mixes
    Did this and are eating them - 11. They were ALL roosters.
  21. Say no and not feel guilty afterwards
    I am doing so much better at this.
  22. Have an awesome time at the Mardi Gras Ball
    It was a fun time. Next year will be better and less work. We've learned a lot.
  23. Can tomatoes from our garden
    No garden = no tomatoes.
  24. Print "before" collages to frame and hang in the house
    Still need to do this. When I tried to do this, the computer spazzed out on me.
  25. Use at least one week of our time share
    We planned to do this, but then learned that it would be cheaper to use Leslie and Bob's Shareholder status. We'll be going to Puerto Plata with two other couples during the second week of December.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Remember to Breathe

My massage therapist (who is also a Reiki practitioner) said that she's noticed an "energy shift" with people lately.

It's no secret that I've felt a bit unsettled since I returned from Australia. Apart from my deep thoughts about my career and school, there's been a lot going on that I haven't blogged about. However, I've been a little bit better about letting the family drama go these days. 

This week, Kelly posted about some things going on with her. I could totally relate. Lately, I've had so many thoughts about what I should be doing and when I need to be doing them. Being completely overwhelmed with decisions. Not enjoying the moment. Not appreciating now

Her post made me think of a quote that I saw on Windtraveler  a month or so ago.

The quote is from a poem, Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann. Go read it.

There is so much wisdom in this poem. It grounds me and brings me back to here and now.

Which is exactly where I should be. I just need a reminder every now and then.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Oops, we bought a car

Meet our new Forester! 

You might recall that we have been in the market for a car. Both of our vehicles are getting long in the tooth (Roxie has nearly 300k miles on her) and we need something dependable. Since Jay is 6'3", we needed something comfortable for him. We also wanted something that would be good for our future dog (which we are STILL waiting for, but that's a story for another day). Oh, and also big enough for future children and all the crap that comes with them.

Over the weekend, we decided to test drive the Subarus on our list (Outback, Crosstrek and Forester). We had a party to attend in Columbia and thought that since we would be on the other side of the bay, it would be a good time to do it. We weren't planning to buy a car until later this year and we still had the CRV to test drive. 

As you can see, the Forester won us over. It's a 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium with all-weather package and some other wacky package that cost extra. There's a light that shines down on the ground from the mirror? 

We purchased Fanny the Forester from Wilkins Subaru. Like all car buying experiences, it took the better part of a day. However, the people there from sales to finance were all wonderful. Obviously, we were three hours late to that party on Saturday.

Yes, Motor Trend just named the Forester the SUV of the year. US News and World Report ranked it #1 in Affordable Compact SUVs. Consumer Reports ranked it #1 in Best Small SUVs.

These are a few of the reasons that I love our new Forester:

  • Great gas mileage (32 highway)
  • CVT (continuously variable transmission - this contributes to the gas mileage)
  • All wheel drive
  • Acceleration 
  • Handling (Fanny has a tighter turning radius than my Civic)
  • Safety (ABS, a multitude of airbags, IIHS top safety pick)
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Super comfy heated seats <3
  • Alloy wheels
  • Large cargo space
  • Adjustable drivers seat
I can't say how much I love this vehicle. It's so much fun to drive... she makes me want to go on an adventure!

That bumpy dirt road to Lake Rawlings will be nothing for Fanny to tackle!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Week

It's been a very busy week at work and home. So not much time for posts.

Had to put up this sign at work... people here have problems closing the fridge door 

Yesterday I performed surgery on our laminating machine. File this under "other duties as assigned."

And some leftover bananas from our trip to Lake Rawlings that never made it out of the back window of my car. Yuck.

This afternoon I'm off to Lewes, DE for a stress-free weekend with many of my favorite ladies. I am looking forward to margaritas and slutty pumpkins. We are planning on relaxing, drinking and stuffing our faces. And maybe a run on Saturday at the park and some kayaking.

I am debating whether it's worth it to bring my camera. I'm sure there will be lots of opportunities for photos, but I don't think I want to deal with anything bigger than my iphone.