Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I posted this photo from the Pub the night before Thanksgiving. I honestly don't even remember doing it.

On Wednesday night I checked off an item from an earlier 101 list item - #78 - Sing karaoke with a local celebrity. I got to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with Niki Barr. I of course wanted to sing my go-to, I touch myself, but she wanted to sing that awesome monstrosity.  

Check out her new band, The Last Year... and their new single, Sugar. I can't get enough of it!

Actually, while you're at it, go buy the album. It's awesome.

I still haven't seen the new band live, but I'm hoping to check them out soon. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Work Day, by the Numbers

Number of minutes late...
Departing my house: 11 (0641)
Arriving at the hospital for 0730 meeting: -11 (0719 arrival)
Starting the staff meeting: 6

School buses and other vehicles driving 5 mph under the speed limit: 3
Yellow lights sped through: 2

Panera bags and boxes to carry for breakfast meeting: 5
Panera handles that ripped off and sent breakfast items tumbling onto parking lot: 1
Times dropping my personal laptop onto the pavement: 1
Laptop cords tripped over: 3
Coffee spills down the front of my sweater: 2
Stains removed from sweater using soap & water: 0

Corrections to meeting minutes (by one incredibly picky manager): 8
Go-To-Meeting problems: at least 10
Times that I had to mute a director who was causing an echo: 6
Minutes meeting took: 107 

People given OJ and coffee from my cart who I met passing in the halls: 7
Working Hours left until my 4 day weekend: 6
Days until vacation: 10  

Just keep swimming running. Another 5k Friday. And a date to see Catching Fire tomorrow. And my third year of attending an awesome Thanksgiving celebration with friends who are family to me. Unfortunately Jay has to work, so we'll be having second Thanksgiving with my mother on Saturday. Hopefully there will also be some time to pack this weekend.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Friday

Not much new to post about. 

We're still waiting on news about our puppy. We thought that we would be taking him home by now, or in a few weeks. However, it's looking like we won't be taking him home until April, as none of the summer breedings happened. I suppose that might be better for housebreaking. After all, who wants to take the pup outside when it's cold out? Brrr! Anyway, the breeder is evaluating some other stud dogs and will be trying a new stud when one of the females come in to heat.

I'm starting to get a little excited about our trip. Not so much for the trip itself, but for the diving. I can't wait to get some more dives under my belt. We may go to FL with our dive shop in January, if the dates work out. We might also just go down to FL without them if the dates don't work. We can use our travel rewards points for flights and hotel. We could spend money on diving instead of the travel. I've discovered that the points are better used by transferring them to a partner, like Southwest and Marriott. A 4 day trip to Florida might use 80,000 points if we book through the Ultimate Rewards site, but if we transfer them to Marriott and Southwest, the same trip will cost 50,000 points.

So I'm already thinking about taking the Rescue Diver course in a few months. Hopefully I will have already passed my Series 7 with flying colors so that I'll be able to concentrate on my rescue course. Jay is joking that I'll be a Divemaster by the end of next summer. Hey, if they can get us a discount on the training for both of us at once, we might pursue it. 

Tonight we're meeting up with one of the couples that we'll be going to the DR with. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to drag myself out of bed for the Turkey Trot

After Jay and I were both forced to get on the scale last week, we are trying to eat a little better and exercise more. I'm trying to cut back on carbs again, but not go totally Atkins. Mostly just less processed food and more exercise. 

I know not to rely on the scale too much though, as I'm back at my heaviest again. However, I don't think that I look like this again:

My body is more muscular. Especially my legs (but oddly my cellulite is now more apparent). I'm not saying that I couldn't stand to lose 20 pounds or that I'm comfortable wearing a bathing suit. I just know that I'm healthier than I was at this time last year, and that's good enough for me.

Will have to post some more recent photos. There will be plenty of those in a few weeks after we return from the DR. I will probably resemble a lobster, like my last trip:

Maybe this time I'll drink less Presidente and more vodka & soda. Or perhaps champagne. 

I'll let you know what I decide. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

First World Problems

Remember when I was feeling out of sorts a few months back?

I'm feeling a little stressed at the moment. But in a good way. Today I met with the person about the job opportunity I mentioned in the aforementioned post. I didn't think that the person was going to be able to provide me with a reasonable offer. So I wasn't worried about our meeting today. In fact, I was completely unprepared for our meeting.

As a matter of fact, this week I told Jay that I felt a little bit guilty for wasting the person's time. After all, there's no way that he could possibly compete with my awesome benefits at my current job.

When we were setting up our meeting, my possible future boss said he was going to make me an offer I couldn't refuse. 

And then he did. Or he at least has given me a LOT to think about.

I have a few weeks to give him an answer. He wants me to start January 1st. It's bad timing, as my  vacation is scheduled during the second week in December. I'm also considering taking a week off between jobs. And then there is the annual Christmas bonus, which I doubt that I'll get if I'm leaving. 

I don't want to leave my present employer in a bind. And I really love my new boss, our Regional Medical Director. I also really like the directors and the people that I've made friends with here. I'm finally starting to fit in, I think.

But then there's no chance for advancement here. Unless I wanted to go work in the Baltimore offices. 

Am I happy plugging along in a fairly simple job, where I have to deal with jerks fairly frequently (just had someone today whining about their schedule)? I make a good wage and have excellent benefits, except for vacation. Or do I take an opportunity where in just a few years, I may be working in a managerial capacity. Definitely more skill involved with this position, and I'll have to get my Series 7 license pretty much right away. But I'll also get an extra week and a half off. And a slightly shorter commute.

My possible-future-boss did tell me that I was free to call my position whatever I wanted. So that's kind of fun. He said that as long as I get Registered Assistant next to my name ASAP, he doesn't care what I call my position. 

With this offer, I've felt a bit like my friend Kelly who has joked about having a four leaf clover shoved up her ass. When so many people are unemployed or underemployed, I find it a little overwhelming that someone has sought me out for this opportunity. The whole process has been more like a reverse interview.

So if I go through with all of this, it means that I'll probably end up scrapping that Social Work degree and going for my Business Administration degree. 

First world problems, I know. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays (kinda)

Friend at Lake Rawlings

We also made friends with Monkey, the camp dog

AOW Trio

This is what happens to your tent pegs when you try to pound them into solid rock

My Open Water Certification card FINALLY showed up on Tuesday, now that I have my Advanced Open Water Certification. I doubt I'll see my AOW card before we leave for the DR.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Advanced Open Water Diver... check!

We had an awesome time this weekend... I took some more photos around the campsite and quarry with my D80, but I'm sharing some blurry and crappy screenshots from this fun little digital video camera (waterproof to 100') that I got on Amazon for super cheap. It doesn't hold a charge for more than an hour and a half, but it should be great for diving in the DR. I'm going to try plugging it in to a conventional wall charger to see if it works.

This was our buddy group for Advanced Open Water... me, Jay and Travis. We were the only AOW students with Sea Colony over the weekend, so we were the cool kids to the Open Water divers. 

After our Navigation and Peak Performance Buoyancy skills, we were able to explore the quarry on our own 

This is "Blackhawk Down" at Lake Rawlings

Going to the rear of the helicopter

Diving at Lake Rawlings... Priceless.

Jay and Travis were kind of a bad combination to dive with. I was the voice of reason while they wanted to push the limits. Here, they contemplate going into the deeper water. We'd been told to keep it above 40'. My dive computer says we got to 40' exactly.

Those fish smell terrible

Blurry screenshot of the computer graveyard... there's all sorts of fun stuff at Rawlings

And a better screenshot of the monitor

This is the bus... Jay and Travis of course went inside, but I was a good buddy and stayed on the outside in case someone got stuck. Hey, someone has to be responsible.

I wish that I'd been able to record our Deep Dive and Search & Recovery dives. Those were probably my favorites. After those, we were left to finish our tanks and goofed off around the sailboat from The Replacements. The opening scene was filmed there at Lake Rawlings. Our instructor, John Kiser, alleges that he taught Keanu Reeves how to dive. John has certified more divers than anyone in the world, so maybe he has? Anyway, it would have been fun to get that stuff on video, especially since my skills were better on the second day of diving.

If you want to get motion sickness watching the Blackhawk Down video, you can find it here:

Friday, November 8, 2013

This SCUBA thing is getting out of hand

So we have all of our equipment except for our tanks and weights.

The rationale was that if we have our own equipment, we will dive more and won't have to spend money renting everything. We'll also be used to our own equipment and be safer divers that way. By my calculations, it will take us about 14 days of diving to make up for the cost.

Depending on a few things, I would like to take a long weekend trip to Florida sometime between January and March and either dive with the manatees or finally take another trip down to Key West and stop in Key Largo for a few dives on our way down. Then of course dive a few wrecks in Key West. We can transfer our credit card rewards to Southwest and get a much better deal for flights than what the rewards mall site is offering. So at least our flights will essentially be free, and we can also use rewards points to pay for hotels. Or use Hotwire or Priceline.

Of course, we will also be diving next month when we go to the Dominican Republic. We're planning to do a two tank dive in Rio San Juan with Merlin Divers one day. I would really love to dive the Zingara while we're there, but it's below 100 feet. Even though I'll technically be an Advanced Open Water Diver after this weekend, that doesn't mean that I should be diving that deep yet. I think that we'll probably try out the Airport Wall dive, which goes to 80 feet. 

I found one of the Merlin instructor's blogs... I think that we will get along quite well with that group. They have an after-dive bar at their shop. I know that our resort is all-inclusive, but I think we'll probably enjoy having a few beverages with these folks.

That's enough dive talk for one day... we are off to Lake Rawlings this afternoon for camping and our AOW certification class. I'm bringing our favorite divemaster Cathy a bottle of wine for putting up with us.

One final thought: how gorgeous have the sunsets been this week?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Update on Fall Bucket List

I am making excellent progress on my fall bucket list.

Here is what I've been up to:

·  Mark all diving equipment

I did this on Tuesday night. We decided to take the big hit on diving equipment now instead of buying things in dribs and drabs. So since we’ll be diving with our own equipment for our Advanced Open Water checkouts this weekend, we’ll be saving a little money.

·  Make a batch of wine

Looks kinda gross, doesn't it? A month from now, this will hopefully resemble a beautiful and clear Sauvignon Blanc. Sure looks nasty right now. 

·  Agree on weekly housecleaning list & laminate it for fridge

I have a draft version of this, but I keep forgetting to laminate it.

·  Give away 3 hens

On their way to a new life

This was a little sad for me, but I know that they’ve gone to a good home. The way that this happened was a friend of mine on the arts council mentioned that she was thinking of getting chickens. I told her that she was welcome to try it out with some of mine. And now they have a new home. Sniff. I chose three girls who haven’t exactly been getting along with the rest of the flock… so hopefully they will be happier in their new home.

·  Actually start this oil pulling nonsense

I have been doing this and it's kind of gross. But I will continue for a while. My mouth does feel cleaner after I brush my teeth. The initial melting of the coconut oil is probably what grosses me out the most. It's a solid at room temperature, so you have to wait probably 30 seconds for it to melt.

·  Make Jay a kick-ass birthday dinner

Done! New York strip steak, loaded mashed potatoes and asparagus (cooked in bacon fat, of course)… with funfetti cupcakes for dessert.

·  Attend Punkin Chunkin

Yesterday’s post was from Punkin Chunkin. It was a good time and we might even get on TV.

Moving right along!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I’m sure that by now you have seen the “Thankful” posts on Facebook with everyone giving thanks for their spouse, children, job, pet, etc. Sure it’s a nice sentiment. But really shouldn't people be grateful all year long?

Call me cynical, but I find the exercise to be a little ridiculous. I’m not saying that it’s not a nice thought… we could all use a little reminder each day to think of what we are thankful for.

My main problem is with the folks who bitch and complain on Facebook 11 of 12 months out of the year, and whine between their thankful posts.

Or miss the point entirely. I’m sorry, but “feeling meh” and a thankful post don't go together to me:

Laura and I were at Punkin Chunkin over the weekend when I went on my rant about the thankful posts. She thinks that it's kinda hard to think of things to be thankful for each day. There are only so many family members and friends to be grateful for. This is inevitably what everyone posts about during the first week, then after that they run out of people and have to start doing some critical thinking.

Then the conversation devolved into talking about how grateful we are for bacon and butter.

Bacon and butter conversations turned into a 30 day thankful for challenge on Instagram. Food thankfulness only. Follow me.

The first few days: bacon, wings, eggs, loaded mashed potatoes.

I am pretty sure that I could find something to be thankful for every single day of the year, so I have a reminder on my phone each day at noon. Each day I'll think about what I'm thankful for. But I’m probably not going to post about it. Or maybe I will. But it won’t be posting about it in November during cliché thankful season.

If I post about being thankful, it will be in March, when it is cold, rainy and muddy, and I’m sick of winter.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another fun weekend at Chicken Knock farm

Photos to learn about my weekend...

Yes. There is always plenty of bacon here at Chicken Knock Farm.

Obligatory selfie in my new wetsuit and Aqualung Pearl BCD! Loooove this thing! I can't wait to dive it. Way more comfy than the rental Sherwood Zodiacs I've been diving.

And Sean is visiting. Hence the fire. Punkin Chunkin in twelve or so hours.

Oh. And ridiculous glow in the dark necklaces. 

You're welcome.

Friday, November 1, 2013

25 Things - Fall Bucket List

I have finally come up with 25 things that I would like to accomplish for the fall season... I will keep the list updated here

I've already accomplished #3, #4, #7, and #11. I am in the process of completing #8, #10, #12, #16, #17, and #20.

Fall 2013 Bucket List:

  1. Make pumpkin pie crunch and post it on the blog
  2. Host a fall party
  3. Complete my PADI Open Water Certification
  4. Run 1 mile without stopping
  5. Swim 1000 yards 
  6. Send out holiday cards
  7. Narrow down new car choices to 2 vehicles
  8. Make a batch of wine
  9. Make mulled cider 
  10. Complete my PADI Advanced Open Water Certification
  11. Attend a Literary Supper
  12. Make at least one clothing donation to Purple Heart
  13. Mark all diving equipment
  14. Start brushing the cats regularly
  15. Buy new litterboxes & find a new place for them
  16. Agree on weekly housecleaning list & laminate it for fridge
  17. Make photobook from OZ & NZ trip
  18. Peruse Black Friday ad and possibly purchase desktop computer
  19. Make brownies from scratch
  20. Give away 3 hens
  21. Shop at Bead Soup for Christmas gifts
  22. Actually start this oil pulling nonsense
  23. Get a gait analysis done & buy new running shoes
  24. Make Jay a kick-ass birthday dinner
  25. Attend Punkin Chunkin