Sunday, January 31, 2010

Madera Strand

Last weekend Michael and I went on a double date with our friends Jaye and Derek. After we had dinner, we went to a local bar to see our friend d'Averill perform on stage. Her band is called Madera Strand. Despite d'Av's insistence that her type of music was "Scream-O" (play on words for Emo music, for you non-afficionados), we really liked the music and had a great time watching them up on stage! I hope you'll be able to make out this really cool picture of d'Av on stage. Me, Jaye and the woman of the hour!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WARNING: Emo Blog Post Ahead!

I'm allowed to have a serious blog now and then, right? This is, after all, my blog (it ceased being our blog when I realized that Michael has contributed exactly one blog post, and that one under force), so I can write whatever I want in it. I never wanted to be one of those bloggers who takes themselves too seriously, but I also don't want to be one of those bloggers who only reports the best things in their lives in hopes that their readers think they have the best life EVA! and never have any problems or pitfalls. (Oh, no. Do I sound like a cynic?)

I was going to start this blog with "Life's been a little hard lately..." but decided against it. My life hasn't been hard. It hasn't been hard like living in poverty and not being able to feed myself or my family. It hasn't been hard like being in fear for my life or my freedoms. It hasn't been hard like the lives of those people in Haiti with no home, no resources and loved ones that are missing or dead.

My life hasn't been hard lately, I've just been blue. A little down in the dumps, and I couldn't seem to shake it. Increased stress and pressure at work. (Don't troubles at work seem to do the most to your emotional state, because you're there for most of your waking hours?) I've been down because we haven't been able to get started on certain projects around the house and things just keep piling up. I think I've been a little sad because I haven't seen as much of my friends lately, and sometimes I feel like I'm losing touch with them completely.

My family started planning a vacation the other week. My wonderous, generous parents gave us (as the Grand Prize Present at the end of the Martin Family Scavenger Hunt at Christmas) a family vacation this year. We'll hopefully be doing it this summer. (I'm still debating if I should blog about the three options we're researching. I love the idea, but I think it would sound bragadocious.) For the purpose of this blog post, I will only say that we're planning a vacation and that I'm very much looking forward to it.

And since I started doing my part to research one of the vacation options, and since Michael and I started debating the pros and cons of each, and since I started thinking about how I really must buy one of those wide-brimmed beach hats soon ... I've noticed a lift in my mood. Is it just because I have a vacation ahead? Do we, as humans, live vacation to vacation? Not only literally, but figuratively? Do we live from one major happy event to the next, doggedly bearing through the monotony of everyday life? Is that the meaning of life?

Or is it smaller than that?

Sometimes when I get home from work I have only three hours before I go to bed. This made me terribly depressed when I thought of it. I work all day to be able to have those three hours at night?!?! But in those three hours, sometimes I read a really good book, or make brownies and lick the spoon. Sometimes, during a commercial break of The Bachelor, one of us shouts out, "Emergency Cuddle Session, STAT!" and the other person usually runs from wherever they are to assume the position. I think that the mango I bought is nearing it's pinnacle of ripeness, and waits for me at home for my consumption tonight.

I think it is those little things, in the end, that make those days worth it. That's what life is. And as long as I have that mango, life can't be that hard after all.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Modified Day Zero Project

*1/25/10 note - Well, my 101 days are done! Take a look below for the results of my goals. I added in some notes after the goals for your enjoyment.

I'm putting my own little touch on something I've seen this around the blogging community. A bunch of girls on a message board I go toare doing it, and it's called the Day Zero Project. It's where you are challenged to complete 101 tasks in 1001 days. Well, I'm a procrastinator, and if I give myself 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years), I just won't feel the pressure to get them done. So I created my own version with a shorter list and a shorter set amount of time so I can focus on the few goals I have that are most important to me. In the next 101 days, I will complete these 11 tasks:

1. Write 10,000 words for my two stories I’m working on (total number, not 10,000 each) Check out my blog post about it here.
2. Do something sweet/above-and-beyond for Michael every week to show him how much I love him - can be something small (14/14 weeks completed) Even though some of these were pretty small, I did it and am glad I did. Some of my favorites: home made chocolate-covered strawberries and buying him sexy new underwear then demanding, "MODEL! MODEL!" :)
3. Do every single workout for the half marathon training manual (64/67 Completed) *I know it says that I missed three workouts. It's true, I missed one because I was sick, and I missed two because of arctic temperatures and snow on the ground. I might have still gone out, but the roads in Danville were a little dangerous with the ice and lack of sidewalks. Point is, I didn't miss a workout simply because I didn't feel like it or some other made-up excuse. I did every workout that I could, even on the days that I truly did not want to and ached to stay in bed. So I'm giving myself this one.
4. Run half marathon in under 2 hours, 15 min. (Roughly 10 minute miles) *Finished in 1:58, roughly 9 minute miles!)
5. Send out Christmas Cards
6. Move into the new house and have everything unpacked and put away. *We have everything unpacked that we can unpack right now. We still have a couple boxes of books, but that's because we haven't bought bookcases for the office yet. When we finally get all the furniture for the office that we want, then we'll officially be all unpacked. I'm still giving myself this one though.
7. Lose 10 lbs *I lost 8 lbs. Close, but no cigar. I'm going to try to continue working out and eating healthy to get those last two lbs!
8. Write at least two blog entries a week (14/14 weeks Completed)
9. Start planning a European trip for Summer ‘10
10. Get wedding gown cleaned…donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer *I'll admit that it was a little sad giving this beauty up. I tried it on one last time (still fit - barely!) and had a funny little dance with Michael in his rubber duckie pajama bottoms. I loved that dress. Now someone else will get the chance to, too. All proceeds go to breast cancer research.
11. Make Photo Wall project for new home

If tomorrow is my official start date, then January 24, 2010 will be my completion date. I'll keep this entry updated when a task gets completed. Once one is done, it will appear in bold italicized. Wish me luck!

*1/25/10 note: Ah, well. As the old song goes, "10 out of 11 ain't bad," or something like that. And by the way, even though this goal is complete, I'm going to try to continue blogging at least twice a week. It's been fun!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

#11 on My List Completed!

# 11 on my list of 11 Goals in 101 Days was to create a Photo Wall for our living room. And here I am at the very end of my set amount of time, but I finally finished it! I've spent a few months accumulating picture frames. I bought some at Goodwill and reused other ones that I had around the house or in the office. A few of them were other colors, so I had an afternoon of spray painting them so they all match. The result is a collection of different frames that are all the same glossy black. I really like the effect!

I had a few ideas on how I wanted them hung on the wall, but I ended up going with this one:
They are all black and white pictures of the two of us and our families. There are also a few mirrors in their to give it an artsy feel.

Here's a look at the whole wall. Keep in mind that we plan on putting a table under the pictures (an entry/sofa table) with some kind of decoration on it on the side where the frames are higher.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sun Never Sets in Home Depot

We made our first huge Home Depot purchase for the home this week. We bought all new door handles and fixtures for the bathrooms. We also looked into new light fixtures for the bathrooms, but couldn't decide just yet.

But Michael and I both agreed that staring up at all these lights was probably doing permanent damage to our retinal tissue. And when I looked back, I saw this:

Soon I had my sunglasses on inside Home Depot, too. We got some funny looks, but we also could stare as long as we wanted at pricing and other details without losing any rods or cones. So there.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's a Marathon (not a sprint)

I did it! I finished! I made it!

Here I am at home, letting my legs get sufficiently cramped up so I can hobble around the house later, looking pathetic and giving puppy dog eyes to entice the Hubs to give me a massage.

What a roller coaster ride!

After Michael dropped me off at the starting line this morning, I was pretty relaxed, enjoying watching all the other people around me and listening to the music. I enjoyed a few minutes of scoffing at the poor souls in the 30-person deep per porta potty lines. I wondered why they hadn't thought ahead and gone earlier. It was, after all, only thirty minutes til gametime. That was around the time that I thought maybe I had to go to the bathroom. (And I don't care what anyone says, once you get the thought that you have to go to the bathroom in your head, then you really have to go to the bathroom.)

They started the race in a wave, so I was in Corral 8. This means I got to watch Senator and Presidential Candidate John McCain wave to the crowd and do a funny little countdown dance 7 times before it was go time.

I felt wonderful for the first 8 miles. I gave high-fives to kids on the sidelines, I ran through a tunnel made by a cheerleading team, I cheered for the spectators that were cheering for the runners. Let me tell you, if you need a nice little dose of Good Humanity, you should run a marathon. It's nice people with a wholesome common aim, and people that come to cheer them on. I loved watching the crazy spectators that cheered on everyone - not just the people they know. It made me feel very good inside. It was a good day for mankind, I think.

I first saw Michael around the 4 mile mark. He took this picture while riding my bike alongside the race. Can you see me peeking out from the corner?
My parents (and Michael) were at the 8 mile mark. It was so great to see them, because this was also the time that my body started feeling it. Michael also had a sign with him!

The last three miles were really quiet. You could tell that people were in a zone, just trying to finish. There wasn't anymore talking between runners or laughing. Just an eerie quiet only disrupted by the sound of feet on pavement and heavy breathing.

I'm very proud to report that I ran my last mile in 8:12. I really picked up my pace to try to meet my unspoken goal of finishing in under 2 hours.

So here are the results!

Final time: 1 hour, 58 minutes! Woo-hoo!

I finished:
  • 4427th place overall
  • 1620th place in the women's division
  • 176th in my division (18-24)

I don't know exactly how many people there were in my division, but I think that last one sounds nice. I know that over 30,000 people ran in the half marathon. I was so glad to have Michael and my parents there to cheer me on. Afterward, we walked over to Mill Ave. and had lunch. Now how 'bout that massage?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

High on a Mountain Top

Because of the extreme coldness on that first day on the slopes, we tried very hard not to have a single square centimeter of human flesh exposed to the elements. Although you'd have no way of knowing it, this fine specimen is Michael. (Side note: look how incredibly beautiful it was up there. Those snow-capped mountains surrounded us on every side. And down through the pass was a giant frozen lake)

Russell, Michael and Tyler. Three of the five bombardiers.

The skiing was pretty good, overall. They got some new snow before we got there, but none while we were in town. So by the end of the day some of the groomed slopes were pretty icy. But we spent a lot of time in the back parts of the mountain, trying to get to less-used runs.

Here's the whole group at the lodge for lunch. This was the only day that all twelve of us went skiing.
It was so fun being up there with everyone! Lindsey and Shelley went off on their own after lunch, but the other 10 of us took a run together!

Check out Michael skiing backwards!
And me...not skiing backwards.
There was really only one ''incident" that happened. On the last day, when only Russell, Tyler, Michael and I were skiing, we decided to take a run through the trees to get some fresh snow and adventure. To make a long story short, I ended up having to dig Michael out of some waist-deep powder (he couldn't get out of his skis). Problem was, I couldn't walk over to him because the snow was so deep. So we both ended up cussing, spitting and cursing the black diamond gods. It took forever to get out of there. We were so far out of bounds that we couldn't walk out, so we had to try to strap back in and ski out of there, despite our doubts of ever finding our way.

Only to emerge on the steepest, rockiest, mogul-iest black diamond known to mankind.

This image has nothing to do with the mountain, I just liked how good Russell and Alexa were at playing Airplane. No hands!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Log Cabin in the Woods

Why, hello! We are returned!

We did not get frostbite, we did not suffer any long-standing bodily injury. We did not get lost in the woods of a black diamond run and get stranded in hip-high snow because I had to dig Michael's skis out of snow so he could get out, neccessitating an army crawl to safety and sure-footing.

Oh wait, that last one did happen. More on that later.

Point is, we're back and doing fine!

I took so many fun pictures on the trip to Keystone that I thought I'd break my blog into two separate ones, one of our cabin life with friends and one with mountain stories.

First, I was wrong, there were actually five other couples on the trip, so there were twelve people.
From left to right we have Rocky, Mindy, Russell, Michael, Alexa, me, Tyler and Lindsey (below), Carrie and Gentle Ben (behind), Kevin and Shelley.

We rented a truly wonderful home that Michael found online. (If you know anything about our relationship, you know he's resourceful on the interwebz.) It had six cozy bedrooms, and our friends were kind enough to reserve the master suite for us because Michael did all the work to find and negotiate for the place. So, at our disposal, we had a gas fireplace, a deep garden jacuzzi tub, heated floors, a king size bed, french doors out onto the porch and a closet roughly the size of our current backyard. And that was just our room. Here's the view from our little porch:There was a fully stocked kitchen and two living rooms, one upstairs and one down. This made it nice so the girls could watch The Hangover downstairs while the menfolk watched the game upstairs.
The first night we were there, the whole group headed downstairs to play a game. It was sort of like Charades, sort of like Taboo, where you had to get your teammates to guess something. Well, during the game, our friend Tyler proposed to his girlfriend, Lindsey! ("The person I want to spend the rest of my life with!" he hinted. "Your Mom!" she guessed enthusiastically. "Your Mom!" she persisted. "Your wife?" she finally said. Adorable. And hilarious.) It was very sweet. We all took a bunch of pictures and drank some champagne. The next night, Alexa and I made dinner for the whole group. We made two pans of my mom's lasagna, ceasar salad and garlic bread...and Lil Smokies, which had been simmering in the crock pot for the whole day. The meal was a hit.

On the way back from the mountain the next night, we stopped at a local bar. We played dice games and chatted, and I met a woman from the town in New Zealand where I went sky diving! How crazy is that? As could be expected, she was a crazy kiwi (not the bird, or the fruit...the name for New Zealanders). When we got home we went in the hot tub (did that every night - so very nice) (Michael and Alexa were dared to make snow angels, and did) and then had a dance party downstairs. It was mostly the girls dancing around each other in circles. Every once in awhile a guy would bravely step in and dance a few bars. Like Gentle Ben did here:Russell and Tyler decided to play some pranks on the rest of us. Unfortunately Rocky was decidedly not thrilled to have perfume in his newly purchased humidifier and it resulted in a broken door frame. Don't worry, folks, we fixed it!

The last night we all went out to dinner and actually wore some real clothes. (Up until then my yoga pants had gotten much quality usage - something I'm not complaining about.) Most of the people called it an early night and headed to bed. Russell, Alexa, Michael and I decided to get in a game of Euchre, though, and had a quiet evening.

What a great trip! I tell you, renting a home is the best way to vacation. Imagine, if we'd stayed in a hotel, our pajama dance party could have gotten a little awkward. And what kind of hotel offers slow cookers to roast Lil Smokies for 48+ hours (yes, we just left the Smokies on the whole time. And yes, we ate them at the 48 hour mark. Don't know if I should be disturbed or impressed that they tasted the same after two days of cooking). Stay tuned for stories from the Mount.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shredder Out!

Michael and I have a flight to Denver in a couple hours. We're going up to Keystone to go skiing for the weekend! We've rented a house with at least four other couples - even now I don't know exactly how many people are coming.

The thing is, I checked a couple weather websites.

The high temperature for tomorrow (first day on the mountain) is...


... Twelve (12) degrees. Twelve.

The low is -3.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Eve

Did you know that we had a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve? Do you know what a Blue Moon is? It's when there are two full moons in one month - the second one is called a Blue Moon. It's pretty rare, hence the 'once in a blue moon' phrase. Isn't that nice? The moon was so beautiful and big that night.

We spent New Year's Eve over at my parents' house. They were babysitting my nephew, Kai, and we offered to have a nice quiet evening up there, just the five of us.
Well, this is what actually ended up happening:
(Under 30 crowd) (Over 30 crowd)

We ended up sending out some last-minute invites to some friends and had them over! It was a great time! We played some games, had some champagne and hung out with friends. We had about 5 British people over, and they told us about this tradition where the men all go outside right before the count down and the "bring in the New Year" to the women inside. So here are the menfolk waiting around outside:
Isn't that funny? It was okay, but I hope Michael doesn't mind that my first kiss of the New Year wasn't him, it was my parents' friend, David. (Easy there, it was a kiss on the cheek!) Maybe those Brits planned it that way so they could swoop in and steal all the first smooches from us Yanks! The scallywags! (Just kidding, Brits!) (OR AM I?)

We ended the night with some good old-fashioned throwing of cream puffs into each others' mouths from across the kitchen.
In case it's unclear, Michael had just thrown a puff for my mom. Don't you just love everyone's faces? Michael's agony of defeat (Mom missed), Derek's good-natured enjoyment, Dad's disappointment and Mom's uninhibited giggle at the ridiculousness of it all? Ah, bliss.
On a final note, my dad, brother, The Hubs and I went golfing last Wednesday at a course out in Fountain Hills. It was a beautiful course, but check out this sunset we saw from the last hole!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hot Tub O'Clock

These pictures are from our last night in Indianapolis. We went in the hot tub when there were about 3 inches of snow on the ground. Which, of course, led to mischief. Here's Michael just "chillin" on the chaise lounge. He looks so cavalier, don't you think?

And me making a snow angel. Please note my toes curled in displeasure.

And Lauren having a nice sit at the patio table. The reason you can't see her arms more is because they're fully submerged under the snow.

For some reason we couldn't convince Judy to run around the house in her bathing suit.