Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, it's my birthday!  This last year has been pretty intense and I have to say I'm glad to be moving forward.  I'm not one to make an especially big deal out of my birthday.  Or rather, I always think maybe I will make a big deal, but then the closer it gets to the actual day, the less amped I get.  

In previous years, I've been working, so it was easier to let it slide.  But this year I actually got my birthday off from work.  And the Mister was supposed to be home!  We still weren't going to do anything crazy, but we were going to go out to dinner and maybe find some Halloween shenanigans to get up to.  But then the hurricane happened and the Mister is still stuck in Florida and he won't get back until after I've already left to go back to Minneapolis, so I won't see him until I come home again on the 8th.  Bummer!

Instead, a couple of girlfriends are taking me out to dinner, so I'll get to put on a cute outfit and have a few drinks.  Tomorrow morning I'm planning to make myself a special breakfast and then take a walk to Starbucks to enjoy my birthday drink (I'm thinking a Salted Caramel Mocha!) and get started on my NaNoWriMo novel!  I wish the Mister were here, but I know at least I can look forward to a delivery of flowers because the Mister ALWAYS sends flowers because he is awesome like that.

And since I am now every second closer to turning 30, here is my finalized 30 Before 30 List!

2.  Get SCUBA certified
3.  Go Skiing
4.  Go Camping
5.  Make croissants from scratch
6.  Knit a sweater (made a tiny sweater for a friend's new baby!)
7.  Pay off my consumer credit debt (The Mister & I both took care of this one!)
8.  Run a marathon
9.  Get married! (06/01/2013)
10. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
11. Read Anna Karenina
12. Get a bikini wax (did this for my wedding, but forgot to write about it)
13. Be able to do one pull up
14. Donate my hair to Locks of Love (10/31/13 Actually donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths!)
15. Participate in a CSA (05/19/13)
16. Take a class in something, maybe dance? (I started doing a free Zumba class every Thursday!)
17. Take at least one photo every day
18. Visit Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian in DC (05/16/13)
19. Bake bread (02/08/13)
20. Join a book club
21. Visit a new continent
22. Make a souffle
23. Do 100 consecutive push-ups!
24. Grow an herb garden
25. Meet an Internet friend in real life
26. Participate in a Color Run
27. Watch The Godfather (I've honestly never seen it!)
28. Read (or re-read) the top 25 Best Novels
29. Go berry picking (I haven't done this since I was a wee little Sarah!) (10/18/13)
30.Attempt surfing

So there you have it!  That's all the things that will be keeping me busy in the next year!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Drinking Coffee in a Hurricane

So yeah, there's this hurricane happening right now.  Luckily here in Norfolk we aren't expecting the get the brunt of the storm.  It's supposed to make landfall somewhere in New Jersey.  But we are getting the high winds & the rain.  Some are predicting we will lose power.  I've been watching the outages on the power company's website and so far it looks like just some of the coastal areas are being affected.  

I'm woefully unprepared for any kind of major disaster and it is totally my own fault.  I flew into Norfolk on Friday with a million errands on my mind before my race on Saturday.  And I had heard that there was going to be a hurricane, but I hadn't really paid attention to the severity.  Then I ran my race on Saturday and that was super fun.  I was a Crazy Cat Lady & I had a stuffed cat on a leash like I was taking it for a run the way people take their dogs for a run.  I'm not sure many people got the joke.

Note to self:  Clean your mirror!
I ran it with a friend and her dad and we all took it pretty easy and just enjoyed the race and all the costumes and didn't push ourselves very hard.  We finished in 1:03, which is a pretty solid 10 minute mile pace.  Afterwards there was Blue Moon beer and chili in bread bowls.  I came home and took as long of a shower as our water heater would allow (about 20 minutes) and then put on my new race shirt and some yoga pants and then kind of just collapsed on the sofa and didn't really get off of it until I ambled over to Five Guys for dinner.  I'd heard that there was some coastal flooding already and it was pretty windy, but it was hardly raining and it didn't seem that bad.  I probably should have gone out & picked up some supplies, but my body was just plum worn out from 5 days of flying.  When I went to bed Saturday night, I accidentally slept until 2pm on Sunday.  And by that point, the wind had really picked up and I kind of figured everything would be closed anyway and it probably wasn't a good idea to drive anywhere.  So I didn't.

I'm not completely unprepared though.  I have two flashlights and a few candles.  I have cheese, peanut butter and like 5 packets of tuna.  I have beer!  I filled up 8 of the Mister's growlers (he has twelve, but only 8 had lids) with water, plus there is a gallon of distilled water in the pantry and a few stray water bottles.  It's not totally ideal, but I won't die or be helpless should the power go out.

I've been keeping myself busy knitting.  I've been a little bummed because most of the things I've been working on are going to be gifts, so I don't want to post photos.  But I took a break from Christmas gifts to work on a gift for an Internet friend who just had a baby.  I put "knit a sweater" on my 30 Before 30 list and the idea was to knit myself a sweater.  To prepare for that, I decided to knit a baby sweater.  And since it isn't going to be a surprise, I'll show you the prototype.  I'm following this pattern and I think I did a pretty good job!

This is only the prototype because I don't have the kind of yarn I want to use.  I'll be ordering that when I get paid on Wednesday, along with a few supplies I'm missing (like double-pointed needles the same size as my regular needles so the sleeves don't come out looking all weird), but I wanted to practice so that when the yarn gets here, I will be good to go.  I'm not going to bother with the other sleeve for now because, well, this is just practice and I practiced the one sleeve already.  I'm pretty proud of this and I feel like this is a MUCH better example of my knitting prowess than my slippers.  

So that's what's going on around here.  I'll let y'all know (somehow) if I lose power or if it gets crazy.  For now, I have about a million chores to do around the apartment.  Probably better to do them while I still have power!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

30 Before 30

Halloween is right around the corner, which means my birthday is right around the corner!  Next Wednesday, I'll be turning 29 and I've decided I need another project.  I'm copying a million other bloggers and I'm coming up with a 30 Before 30 list; 30 things I'd like to do in the next year before I turn 30.  Below is the list I have so far:

1. Write a novel (participate in NaNoWriMo)

2. Get SCUBA certified

3.  Go skiing

4.  Go camping (I've never been proper camping, meaning, I've never slept in a tent on the ground!)

5.  Make croissants from scratch

6.  Knit a sweater

7.  Pay off my consumer credit debt

8.  Run a marathon

9.  Get married!

10.  Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

11.  Read Anna Karenina (I've been starting & putting down this book for the last four years!)

12.  Get a bikini wax

13.  Be able to do one pull up (I have NEVER done a pull-up!)

14.  Donate my hair to Locks of Love

15.  Participate in a CSA 

So, I'm half-way there on my list.  I have less than a week to come up with the rest of my ideas.  I'm pretty excited about it!

Today I'm in Baltimore & I just got my wake-up call, which means it's time to start getting ready to start my day.  I'll get back to Minneapolis late tonight, then early early tomorrow morning I'm headed back to Norfolk, FINALLY!  And I've got a busy busy day planned!  I'll have to take a cab to the apartment, drop off all my stuff & hop in the Mister's car.  I have to drive to Virginia Beach to pick up my race packet for the Blue Moon Wicked 10K on Saturday.  Then I have to find a Halloween store and a craft store so I can put together my costume (I'm running as a Crazy Cat Lady!) and then I'm attending a dinner hosted by the wife of the captain of the Mister's ship.  It's a little hectic, but I think I can get everything done.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Photographic Evidence

I can't remember if I mentioned that I left my camera in Norfolk about, oh, two months ago.  So I went to Kona armed only with my cell phone.  And then I kept forgetting to take photos.  Because I am super awesome like that.  Lucky for me, my future mother-in-law is lovingly known as the paparazzi, so before I left, I borrowed her camera and uploaded a bunch of HER photos.  There are about a million, so I'm going to try to keep my commentary to a minimum.  Enjoy!

Arriving at the airport, being greeted by the Ironman athlete herself!  She finished in 12 hours, 26 minutes.  Y'all, she was involved in rigorous athletic pursuits for TWELVE hours.  Half a day!  I am continually in awe of her.  She's amazing.  Me on the other hand, well, I'm wearing leggings as pants. And we all know that leggings are not pants, especially when worn with normal-length shirts.  But I did it anyway b/c I was on a plane for a million hours & it was comfy.  I was rewarded with a hole in the inside thigh of my leggings.  Nice.

At my adventurous sushi dinner, discovering that the sushi chef liked to use wasabi like glue in his nigiri.  My nasal passages have never been clearer.

Breakfast was probably my favorite meal every much delicious fruit, French-pressed Kona coffee, mimosas, what is NOT to love about that?

These little dudes ALSO loved breakfast...if you left your plate unattended, they would swoop in and feast on your leavings.

On top of Mauna Kea, with the Mister's mom, his sister and his sister's friend from college.  Those huge domes behind us are telescopes!

Getting a personal astronomy lesson from the Mister's sister, who just happens to be an astronomer!  Also, may I just say, it was FREEZING up here and I was, obviously, super prepared for that.

The Mister's aunt and grandma left Kona after a few days to head to Maui.  It was great to spend some time with them though, and get a bit more acquainted with my in-laws-to-be.  Also, please note the Mister's sister's bad-ass Ironman bib number sunburn tattoo.  Because she is hardcore.

On a boat, on our way to go swim with manta rays.  This is before I realized that swimming with manta rays involved snorkeling in the ocean at night.  I also failed to inform anyone that I'd never actually been snorkeling.  Or really ever swam in the ocean.

Wetsuits are SUPER sexy.  Also, swimming with the manta rays was incredible.  I really had no idea what to expect (clearly).  Once I stopped hyperventilating through the snorkel, I really enjoyed being in the ocean.  And then once the rays showed up, well, it was seriously one of the coolest things I've ever experienced.  The Mister's sister bought a video of us from a videographer who accompanies the dives and her friend had a waterproof camera so he also took some videos.  Once I get my hands on either of those videos, I'll share with y'all.  Because words can't really get across the bizarre feeling of being mere inches from these massive, graceful sea creatures.

This photo is mine.  I snapped it during my one & only run on my vacation.  I only intended to go for a thirty minute run, hopefully along the water.  Well, that didn't exactly work out for me.  And then I somehow ended up on private property and then got lost and then ended up here, which was some kind of prehistoric park or something.  I have no idea.  All I know is that the path was full of lots of little hills, which was intense, and the scenery was awesome.  I ended up running a little more than five miles and it took me about an hour because I also got lost on my way back to the hotel.  I get lost a lot.

My face in this photo made me laugh so hard.  Also, let me just say, I got teased a bit for putting on make-up before breakfast.  I say, go ahead and call me Girlie McSissypants, but I was prepared for the paparazzi.  This was my last breakfast in paradise and I was a bit spoiled, with starfruit, papaya, lychee and dragonfruit, not to mention the usual blueberries & strawberries.  I'd eat so much more fruit for breakfast if it were already prepared for me when I woke up.  I really would.

And then we dropped the Mister's sister off at the airport and that was pretty much the end of my Kona vacation.

I cannot say thank you enough to my future mother-in-law.  The Mister's mom is an incredibly generous lady and I had so much fun hanging out with her and the rest of the family.  The only thing that could have made this vacation any better (aside from the obvious: more time!) would have been for the Mister to have been able to come.  But this just means I'll have to drag him back there sometime.  Because I'm sure I'm really going to have to drag him.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Drinking Coffee in Paradise

It's hard to tell from the photo, but that is indeed the ocean you can see behind me there.  I think I've decided recently that even though I grew up 100% Midwestern, I would very much like to be an ocean kind of girl.  There's just something about all that water and all that motion and the idea that there is this whole other world under the surface that awes me & soothes me.  They say our most ancient ancestors crawled out of the ocean.  Maybe that's why some of us do all we can to get back to it.  Luckily for me, I'm marrying a sailor and chances are, we will always live near an ocean.

Except for the next three years, but that's another thing all together.  The exciting news on that front is that we have a place!  And it is actually bigger than what we originally looked at and even bigger than what we later decided on!  We are not only going to have a guest room, but a den!  I don't know what we're going to do with both a guest room & a den, but I'm just super excited about knowing where we are going to live.  And we're going to have a balcony!  Balconies are pretty much my favorite things ever.  Any time I stay in a hotel with a balcony, I try to make sure to get some balcony time in.  Particularly if the balcony also has a view of the ocean.  Ah, the ocean.

In my last post, I forgot to mention how I won admiration from my in-laws my first night here while we were out to sushi for dinner.  My future mother-in-law & I ordered a Nigiri tasting plate that had something like 20 different bits of raw fish and roe.  Roe is a fancy word for fish eggs.  And there was this one roll that had salmon roe on it.  And I commented that the salmon roe was big and bulbous and reminded me of these things called flavor bubbles at the build-your-own frozen yogurt shop.  At the yogurt shop, these are little gel bubbles full of strawberry or mango juice and they pop when you bite into them, giving you a burst of yummy flavor.  So yes, the salmon roe looked like strawberry flavor bubbles.  And I was not so ignorant to think they might taste like strawberry flavor bubbles, but I was game to try them.  So I popped the whole thing right in my mouth.  And oh it was BAD  I realize there are people in this world who may think this is a delicious concept, but I am not one of them.  It was bad bad bad.  My future sister-in-law's friend ate only one or two of the roe before deciding they had a "fermented funk" that he was not interested in pursuing.  Probably especially not after seeing my face.  And if the salmon roe hadn't been enough of an adventure, I also decided to be the brave one to try the sea urchin roe.  This was also a terrible idea as it looked (and tasted) like someone else had already tried the sea urchin roe.  Yeah.  But what can I say?  I will try just about anything once and now I know that I don't like salmon roe OR sea urchin roe.  And my face was apparently HIGHLY entertaining.

The weather is perfect this morning for a run and a part of me reeeeeally wants to do it, but I'm not sure where I would run and I don't quite have enough time before our appointment for facial treatments.  Like I said before, I lead a very hard life.  But on a more real note, I am terribly grateful for the opportunity to come here and get to spend time with my in-laws.  I count myself lucky that I genuinely like and enjoy being around my future family.  Because I sure do love the Mister and I'm planning to stick around for a long, long time.

Succeeding in Failing

So far I think I have failed at my goal of updating three times a week.  But that's okay.  I have to remind myself that failure is good because it leads to growth.  And I am making a concerted effort to not let failure be the end of things.  Just because I failed doesn't mean I can't start over and do better the next time.

On that point, I've been really into my knitting lately.  And I mention it in relation to failing because obviously, those slippers I posted last week were pretty bad.  But I was proud of myself for learning new techniques and for attempting something new instead of just looking at it and thinking, "Nope, too complicated for me so I'm not even gonna try."  So while I COULD rip out the slippers and reuse the yarn, I think I'm going to keep them as a reminder that I am capable.  Because I knitted a second pair and they are AWESOME.  I don't have a photo and I forgot to bring them, so I'll have to show you later.  As for the rest of my projects, they're top-secret because they are going to be gifties for my loved ones this Christmas.  Hooray for hand-knitted gifties!

As for where I am, well, I'm in paradise.  My future sister-in-law competed in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on Saturday and so my future mother-in-law is here along with my future aunt-in-law and grandmother-in-law.  The Mister is stuck with his ship and couldn't make it, so I am hanging with his family without him.  I feel bad for leaving him behind, but then I look around and realize I am in freaking HAWAII and then I don't feel so bad.

Today we drove up a mountain to look at some observatories.  My future sister-in-law, in addition to being an incredible athlete, is a super smart astronomer.  So the observatories were her idea, but I enjoyed the heck out of the trip.  I wish I had some photos, but I left my camera back in Norfolk weeks ago and there was a sign about turning off cell phones, so I didn't have that.  And to be completely honest, I was so in awe of the whole experience that it didn't occur to me to even be taking photos until we were on our way down.  But my future mother-in-law had HER camera, so I will steal some of her photos from the day & I will share with you.  It was incredibly cool and incredibly COLD up there and of course I was suitably dressed in pink shorts & sandals...but I sure did look cute!

Tomorrow I am getting a facial treatment by the ocean and later in the afternoon we are swimming with manta rays.  I know, I know, I lead a VERY tough life.  It's really hard being me, y'all.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Drinking Coffee in My Hotel Room, LaGuardia edition

So I'm sitting here in my hotel room, drinking really crappy hotel coffee.  Hotel coffee is a bone of contention for me.  Many hotels have switched to the single-cup brewing systems and I LOVE those.  It makes it easier to brew hot water for oatmeal or for tea.  But this hotel.  THIS hotel still wants to use the old four-cup carafe and to top it off, the coffee they've provided is pretty awful.  I realize I do have the option to just not drink the coffee.  But come on.  This is me we are talking about.  And you know what I always say:  A caffeinated flight attendant is a HAPPY flight attendant.

And speaking of being happy, since I've just spent the previous paragraph bitching about bad coffee, I thought it might be nice to take a moment and celebrate the things in my life that are currently making me happy!  Because, you know what?  There are a LOT of things that make me happy!

1.  Working with good crews!  I've been very fortunate on my past few trips to work with people I enjoy.  It makes even the worst trips a million times better!

2.  My new mini speaker!  I've been hemming & hawing about buying a portable speaker for my phone.  The speaker on my phone is pretty darn good, all things considered, but the volume didn't go high enough to be heard in the shower and I like to listen to music in the shower.  So I finally bit the bullet and bought one of these and I've been pretty darn happy with it.  There is a lot of extraneous cordage going on, but I can deal with that in exchange for being able to dance in the shower!

3.  Knitting!  Y'all, I made a pair of slippers!  Okay, so they are super wonky and I haven't finished them yet (that hole you see WILL be sewn closed, I just didn't bring a sewing needle or a crochet hook!), but I made them all by myself!  And I taught myself TWO new techniques in the course of making these (shaping the heels & toe and creating an Applied I-Cord).  At one point, I thought I was stuck and I was just going to put it away until I could find someone to help me, but then I thought to myself, Hey Self, you're a pretty capable lady!  I bet if you just gave it a whirl, you might be able to figure it out!  And worst case scenario, you'll have to rip it out & start over.  So that's what I did and I figured it out like a BOSS.  I'm so excited to be done with this trip so I can get back to the crash pad where I've got the materials waiting to start ANOTHER slipper project.  Um, yeah, chances are everyone is getting slippers for Christmas this year.  But I promise they'll look better than mine!

And speaking of being done with this trip, I've been using one goal to procrastinate on another goal.  I've got to get in some kind of workout in the next twenty minutes or so.  Time management, schtime schmanagement. to the rescue!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Head to Toe

Holy flattering mirror, Dressbarn! I'd about like to take it right home with me, along with the chandelier you can't see here. But trust me, it was pretty!

Everything in this outfit is brand new...but, do any of my long-time readers notice something familiar? Maybe that pink skirt? I've been in Tennessee for the last couple days, visiting my parents & bonding with my new kitten (more on him later!!!) And of course I went shopping. What can I sat? It's my hobby! Anyway, my mom & I were at an outlet-type place & I found this skirt, which is the EXACT same Mossimo skirt from Target that I originally bought a year ago or so & subsequently lost in the fire. It was a big fave of mine, so I was thrilled to find this replacement, in the right size too!

The denim shirt is something I've been idly searching for for a while and the boots are something I've been actively hunting. So it was great to be able to knock off two of my Fall wishlist items (the list includes the aforementioned denim shirt & brown boots, plus a tweed blazer, pullover sweaters & tights) in one week. Though maybe not so great for my wallet, haha!

As for the kitten, his name is Rory (we named him for a Doctor Who character b/c we are super nerdy) and he is seriously the cutest, sweetest most lovey cat ever. I am ridiculously head-over-heels in love with him & it was so hard to leave him today! But Sean is still out of town for work, as am I, plus we are moving next month, so he is better off staying with my parents for now. But oh, I'm gonna miss him!