Monday, December 27, 2010

Casualty of Peace

I had my first yoga injury.

No, it didn't involve wrenching myself into some pretzel pose or overstretching a muscle. I was doing side crow:



...and I very gracefully tipped forward and faceplanted onto a hardwood floor. Directly on my left cheekbone. Ironically (or perhaps not?) the blog where I found the above image, which is the first result on a google image search for 'side crow' is someone describing almost exactly the same thing.

Matt assures me that as of right now, there's no bruise. Though I suppose it could make for some interesting party conversation on Friday.

(Her post says "All photos are from Fit Sugar so they won’t sue me." I figured it wouldn't hurt for me to point that out as well.)

SMART Financial Goals 2011

So, how did we do for 2010? Substantial progress, but we only hit one of the four goals entirely:

1. We started off the year investing enough each month to max our Roth IRAs for the year, but made the decision to stop contributing at the end of May and save that money in our house down-payment account instead. We got about 70% of the way on mine (due to an additional fund purchase) and 20% of the way on M's. No planned contributions for 2011 (and we may even need to take some of our previous contributions OUT to make it to 20% down when we do eventually buy our next place) but we will restart post-purchase in 2012 or 2013.
2. We got about 60% of the way to an additional $25K saved towards the house. We started funneling these dollars into our regular savings account in anticipation of moving expenses next spring; otherwise this would have gotten us to about 70% success.
3. I did open my 401K and contributed enough to obtain a full match! Complete success here.

A little disappointing, but not everything was working in our favor. Okay, so on to next year.

1. Ditch the condo. Ideally for enough to cover our closing costs, but we're prepared to pay some out of pocket if we have to. Preferably by June, likely by October, definitely by the end of the year.
2. Going to try for the magic $25K again into the house account. Theoretically this should be more doable this year, but will partially depend on #1 since we may be paying for two places for a while.

Looking forward to 2011 bringing good things financially!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The clock's been reset

Because I finally had another white Christmas! My first since 1989...It's been a long 21 years. It was only a little bit (less than an inch) but it did start snowing in KG at about 4pm yesterday. They are due to get more, and we were a little worried about driving home today. The roads were wet in KG but perfectly clear by the time we got on Rt. 3, and when we got back on the beltway in MD there wasn't even any snow on the ground. We should get a little tonight into tomorrow morning.

I got pink jammies, gift cards to Old Navy, iTunes, and Kohls, silver earrings and a sliver bracelet, a purple cardigan sweater and purple striped long sleeve t-shirt, and a few little things (puzzle, hair towel and socks, chocolates). I helped mom make a fabulous Christmas dinner - she roasted an excellent beef tenderloin and made green beans with almonds, and creamed pearl onions; I made roasted fingerling potatoes (olive oil and garlic, paprika, chives, onion, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper) and sauteed mushrooms in a butter-merlot glaze. SO YUM. (Post-Sunday-dinner update: steak and eggs = ALSO YUM, with tater tots and brown sugar bacon. Not so good for my cholesterol though!)

Only 3 days of work, and looking forward to a full week of yoga this week: two classes on Monday for my post-Christmas 'mini-retreat' (75 min gentle to warm up, then 75 min of more vigorous flow 2/3), flow 1/2 on Tuesday and 2/3 on Wednesday, either gentle in the AM on Thursday or hot yoga in the evening (depending on if we get together with M's relatives) and 1/2 Friday morning with Matt Green. Then off to Fredericksburg for New Years Eve with the Bauers, and goodbye 2010!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

5-day forecast

Tonight: 'Green Zone,' cookies, shower.
Tomorrow: Sleep in, wrap presents, yoga?
Friday: Sleep in, chillaxin, Christmas Eve church service, drive to KG, seafood.
Saturday: Brunch, presents, beef tenderloin dinner.
Sunday: Snow?

I say hey, hey, hey no matter how life is today
There’s just one thing that I got to say
I won’t let another moment slip away - Michael Franti

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Strange Day

Today I was assaulted by a piece of fruit. I also demolished someone's toilet paper at 60mph.

Total Eclipse of the Heart...I Mean, Moon (LIVE!)

12:31am - Current temperature 27 degrees. Bundle up and head outside for the first peek at the moon since dinnertime. It's almost directly overhead...I may have to hike around the neighborhood a bit to follow it across the sky! The penumbral was supposed to start two minutes ago, but I don't see any noticeable difference. I snap the first picture anyways:


1:10am - Maybe the moon looks a tiny bit darker on one side? Or maybe it's just my eyes seeing what it thinks it ought to be seeing. I didn't take a picture. The umbra shadow will start the full eclipse in 23 minutes!

1:41am - It's started!! I literally gasped a little when I stepped outside. We are now about 10 minutes into the eclipsing. It will take a full hour and 8 minutes to move to fully eclipsed.


(Note to self - bring something to sit on. 27 degree concrete makes my butt very cold very quickly!)

2:07am - Halfway point from the beginning of the umbral shadow to fully eclipsed. Temperature has dropped to 25 degrees! ("Feels like 15") I can *just* pick up the wifi signal from the front steps, hehe (yep, I am ON-SITE for this post!) I can see some of the darker reddish color on the left half of the moon; not sure how well that picks up on the camera though...


2:15am - I wimp out due to the cold, despite my blanket, after only 10 minutes. I'll go back out again in a few to get a 3/4 eclipsed shot. I didn't even take off my puffy jacket and blanket wrap when I came back in!

2:25-2:35am - The eclipsing is 3/4 of the way done; we are only a few minutes away from the full eclipse! It's getting harder to take the pictures because the brightness is rapidly decreasing, but here are the best two:



(Confidential to Jcq - in regards to your, um, request...I could go wake my husband up and ask him if it's okay? I'm sure he'd be super thrilled!)

2:42am - According to NASA, we are fully eclipsed! It still looks a little bright on one side though. I had to switch over to the night-time setting on the camera, which means bracing against the brick wall and holding my breath for each shot:



It also means I can't zoom in as far - the moon hasn't shrunk, I promise! It's a lovely mottled dark red, which I think you can pick up on a little bit in the last two pictures. The peak of the eclipse is at 3:17am; I hope the color will brighten some by then. The "feels like" temperature has dropped to 14 degrees - I've been leaving my coat on in between trips outside.

3:10am - tried to take pictures with the camera's "reduce camera shake" setting instead of the "night time" setting but they didn't turn out that great. I really should get a tripod or something...


3:21am - Clouds? BOO. I got a few glimpses between breaks in the clouds, but it looked about the same as before. Also, it's really damn cold and the wind is picking up a bit - I'm not sure I would have been able to hold the camera steady enough to take any more pictures even if it had still been clear.

So there you go! Look at the pictures in reverse order, in a mirror, for the second half :-) The moon will start coming out of the eclipsed period beginning at 3:53am. It'll take another 1 hour and 8 minutes to fully come out of the earth's umbra (at 5:01am), and the 2010 winter solstice eclipse will be officially over at the end of the penumbral shadow at 6:05am. I, however, will be in bed in 5 minutes!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Year in Review 2010

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before? Completed a triathlon (two actually), went on a cruise, saw a total lunar eclipse (well, I will in a couple hours!)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made some headway on saving for the house (got to $18K, a little less than $7K short) and the triathlons (but not under 2 hours in relative times). Still not so great on the housework or flossing, but I'm still trying. I do want my Nike 500 mile club T-shirt in 2011 (halfway there) and a better yoga home practice. I am focusing on studying the New Testament this year. I also want to win a Fitness Challenge award at work!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Carly (sweet sweet Cassidy!!) and approximately a billion of my Facebook friends...most notably Jeremy/Ashley (Arwyn), Adam/Kristen (Connor), and Aseer/Celina (Josiah).

4. Did anyone close to you die? My dear friend Dottie from church, and almost my brother

5. What countries did you visit? Haiti and St. Maarten, plus Puerto Rico. And apparently the North Pole, for a few days in February...?

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? a walk-in closet and a second bathroom

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 19th - the day I became an 'adopted aunt' :-)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Tripling my salary in two years

9. What was your biggest failure? Gaining back the same 10 pounds I lost in the first part of the year AGAIN. I always seen to do so well for the first part of the year and then it all falls apart around October.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I was sick like three times this year - massive sinus infection in January and some sort of stomach virus in April, plus apparently my first bout with seasonal allergies for a few days.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I guess my new car - it talks to me!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Carly and Emily - they are still wonderfully normal people even after becoming moms :-)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Zillow

14. Where did most of your money go? Saving for the house. And apparently taxes (hello 25% bracket...)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? THE CRUISE!!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010? September Girl by Jupiter Sunrise

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? same
ii. thinner or fatter? same
iii. richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Yoga (and I just bought a 3-month membership!)

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Being angry or anxious

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Our last Christmas Eve service at MHBC, and then out to my mom's place

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? at Robyn and Derrick's new place, drinking sugar cookie martinis

(Being the catalyst for everyone else's Year In Review blog posts, I henceforth decree that questions 22 and 23 have been changed to more grown-up topics.)

22. Did you fall in love discover any great new websites in 2010? I love Sprinkle Bakes for the beautiful food shots/recipes, and Jersey Circus (a mash-up between Family Circus comics and Jersey Shore dialogue) for a silly laugh.

23. How many one-night stands weddings? Matt's co-worker Jeff, at the Eastern Shore in July; my dad's cousin Holly, in Delaware in September.

24. What was your favorite TV program? Glee

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? My hatred for Glenn Beck continually grows, but that's nothing new for 2010.

26. What was the best book you read? I read a ton of stuff on my new Nook, but Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang stands out as totally making me LOL.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Bruno Mars, and the fact that I actually do like OneRepublic

28. What did you want and get? A new stove and a 401K account

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Inception

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 29 - took a half day off from work and slept in, started my day with 29 sun salutations and then out for coffee. Met Stacy for ice cream that evening. I think M and I went out for dinner but I can't remember where? I was busy all week collecting all my free food from my e-mail mailing lists (Noodles, Ritas, Ruby Tuesdays...)

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? a housing market recovery (or even just fewer foreclosures in our zip code...)

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? A little more business casual than the previous year; also I have finally decided to buy a few pairs of leggings. Including jean leggings (aka 'jeggings') - I was skeptical, but it works.

34. What kept you sane? Finally having a concrete plan for the next couple years

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Joshua Jackson

36. What political issue stirred you the most? TSA crap

37. Who did you miss? Eric and Emily, still (Please come back to the DC area...!)

38. Who were the best new people you met? Chris and Victoria

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010: Maintaining a post-yoga class zen-like state of bliss is greatly hampered by going to any department store.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Maybe the reason why all the doors are closed, so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road" - Katy Perry, Firework


(YIR 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How is it a week before Christmas??

Cards and packages = done.

Cookies are on the agenda next. Totally scaled back this year. Chocolate chip for M, oatmeal chocolate chip for me, spice stars and double chocolate cherry walnut chunk for general consumption. (Not so secret confession - I'm starting from Betty Crocker mixes this time).

Still have to buy several more Christmas gifts (mom, bro, uncle, extended fam) and two December birthday presents. If you are reading this, please tell me what you want...

Year in review post coming sometime soon.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

D-O-N-E

I am wholly twitterpated
That my final marketing paper is submitterated
And I will be completely liberated
...Until January 24th.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Moving through December

Had a great afternoon/evening but a rotten night last night. We went to the Nusbaum's Christmas party yesterday - I won Don't Forget the Christmas Lyrics (M got 2nd) and a Trivial Pursuit card game; I also blew everyone out of the water on Holiday Trivia (this year's theme was the classic movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which I've seen a million times) but donated the prize to the 3rd place winner (M got second again here too). I got a portable cooler/warmer and M got a rubiks cube and kazoo set from the gift exchange.We went to a live nativity in Reston and then got takeout chinese food and watched the ACC championship game - Hokies win!!

I was feeling a little meh when I went to bed and had a few hours where, in retrospect, I'm not sure if I was asleep then or not. By a little after 2am my hot and sour soup was ravishing my esophagus and I had to get up. Four tums, a glass of milk, and two hours of half sleeping sitting up on the couch went by before I could go back to bed. I get heartburn very rarely (maybe once a month?) but when I do it's fairly awful. I am going to try some Zantac and see if that helps.

We went to church this morning (I might have been tempted to skip, but we were serving communion); I worked on my final marketing class assignment for a while after we got home and then took a two hour nap on the couch. 

We have M's office Christmas party next Saturday, church Christmas concert on the 15th, OAR concert at Strathmore on the 18th and a church Christmas party on the 19th. We'll head down to KG after the Christmas eve service, for the weekend, and to the Bauers for New Years - M and Derrick will be sampling their Johnnie Walker set they bought in St. Maarten, while Robyn and I drink sugar cookie martinis :-)

----------

If you hadn't already seen on Facebook, we got Droid X phones (and are back on Verizon contract). M has been dying for a smartphone for like, a year. We had originally decided that we would go back on contract once we were able to sign up for FIOS service, because it would be 'budget neutral' for the first year. They were out laying cable in our neighborhood back in June, and I actually asked one of the guys how much longer it would be - he said it's typically 1-3 months after they're done digging. Well, September came and went, and so did the rest of the fall, and still no FIOS. But when we found out that we could get the phones for only $70 each from amazon, I couldn't say no. They were listed as backordered and weren't supposed to ship until January 6th, but they arrived last Wednesday. I'm still trying to get used to the interface and there's a lot about the phone that I find frustrating (particularly the first day or two) but there are some things I like, including swype text input and the bluetooth connection to my car (not only will it make calls through the car's stereo system, but the car will also read text messages to me!) Most of the stuff I like is not phone-specific though (i.e. constant internet access, any bluetooth phone will connect with my car, and any full keyboard would be better than having to hit keys 1-3 times to bring up a single letter on our old phones).

There was also a major frustration with google voice that made absolutely no sense to me. We signed up for google voice numbers online when we got the phones. When you go in to configure the settings, it explicitly says that your google voice number will only appear on outgoing texts, NOT calls. I was thinking, what's the point? People can call us, but unless we give out both numbers we're going to show up as an unknown caller if we call anyone else's cell phone. It turns out that there's actually a 'secret' google voice app for android, that WILL configure your outgoing calls to display your google voice on caller ID. So why doesn't it say that on the google voice page???

On a totally unrelated note, I keep forgetting to post this awesome picture that I saw on Daily Squee - so here you go:

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pleasantly surprised

Maybe I should be MORE pessimistic - then I can be pleasantly surprised (this is the Staci Deaton theory of life, btw). We took the car to Aamco this morning, expecting the worst, and they told us it was a $700 repair to the hub bearing (so it WAS something with the wheel) instead of a $3000 transmission rebuild. They said the car looked pretty good otherwise, mechanically, so as long as nothing electrical decides to go we should hopefully be good for another year (or at the very least, through the move in March). Not perfect, but right now I'll take it over another new car!

Woah, it's December. It's 63 degrees outside!