Sunday, December 25, 2011

Xmas MMXI

Gee, I'm not sure I would have known it was Christmas if all 541 of my Facebook friends hadn't posted about it... hehe. We actually opened presents and had the ham dinner last night, because M's grandma has to fly out at 6pm today. We're supposed to do stockings today, but after two hours we still can't seem to get everyone in the same room. So I haven't been able to run yet today either, and I've only got about 2 more hours of daylight left, bleh.

We went out to dinner for M's grandma's birthday Friday night (Red Lobster) and right as we were leaving his boss's boss called to tell him that he was going to be getting a nice bonus this year! That was an unexpectedly awesome surprise. We need to figure out what we're doing with it, but I suspect a small part of it will include a very nice dinner out to celebrate.

I got the new black boots that I asked M to order me, the interchangeable pearl necklace set that I asked M to have his parents order for me (no surprises here), a scarf and an olive garden gift card from his sisters, a pair of slippers, and some christmas decorations stuff from his aunts and uncles. And money from his grandparents. I believe some new bikes might be in our future!

I was a total dork and left the gifts from my mom on our dining room chair, so we'll open those when we get back tomorrow afternoon. My sister and STBBIL gave me pajama pants and a pretty picture frame when were there last weekend though :-)

[Edit - Momma got me pink fleece-lined crocs to keep my feet warm heading to yoga classes, and an Old Navy gift card!]

Another 8 hour drive in the plans for tomorrow. I think I'd like to not travel for the holidays next year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Year in Review 2011

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before? A deadlift. Now I can deadlift 100lbs! Also, running anything over 8 miles. I did that twice this year! (8.1 and 9.3)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? As of today I am 105.1 miles away from the 500 mile mark on Nike Running - I WILL get my shirt next year!! I have no idea if I won the fitness challenge award at work or not, but I think I have a pretty good shot since my "hours of other activities" is like 3.5x higher than the average per person.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Robyn (Elise)

4. Did anyone close to you die? The associate pastor at our former church, Joe Smith, and a close friend of M's family, Aunt Kath

5. What countries did you visit? Haiti (repeat) and the Dominican Republic (new). Plus Puerto Rico (repeat) and St. Thomas (new). I love cruising.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? A paid-off car.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? September 2nd - finally sold the condo!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Professionally, I guess being appointed as the FLC Mid-Atlantic's Deputy Regional Coordinator. Personally, losing 13 pounds!

9. What was your biggest failure? Finding a new church. I tried one, it didn't work out for me, and then I was too bummed out by the experience to try again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Kickboxing wrecked my shoulder for a couple weeks, but that's all I can think of.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My yoga studio membership - such an awesome place.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Stacy, Phil, Green and Jim for helping us move all our crap, assemble furniture, and clean/paint our condo.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Eagle Bank, for delaying our closing because they didn't have the right forms

14. Where did most of your money go? Closing costs for dumping the condo

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

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? "Good Life" by OneRepublic

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

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Lifting weights. I didn't start until mid-September, and I wish I had done it much much earlier.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Cleaning carpets. Between Max peeing and Roxie barfing, we are keeping Bissel in business. I can't wait for hardwood floors.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Leaving for SC to visit M's family in two days

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Probably just getting together with M's extended family this year.

22. Did you discover any great new websites in 2011? Experimental Theology, MyFitnessPal

23. How many weddings? Steve and Jillian, in Plymouth MA in April

24. What was your favorite TV program? I really enjoyed The Killing and hope it comes back for a second season.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I had pretty much forgotten all about Newt Gingrich until he decided to run for president, ugh.

26. What was the best book you read? I finally bit the bullet and bought Under the Dome on my Nook, and read it at the beach. It was awesome.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Mumford and Sons, and Ray LaMontagne

28. What did you want and get? A second bathroom! And more home space! And 1.5 closets for all my clothes!

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

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? The big 3-0 birthday weekend extravaganza. I took Friday off completely, went to a yoga class in the morning and then chilled for the day. Friday night Matt took me to dinner and to see 'Wicked' at The Kennedy Center, which was absolutely incredible. Saturday we went to a winery with Carly and Eric, and then out to dinner with a bunch of friends at Don Pablos, and then back to Carly and Eric's place for ice cream cake and randomness. Sunday we had Jeremy and Christa over for dinner and board games.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Selling the condo in April instead of September.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? My new office with a sunny window necessitates layers.

34. What kept you sane? Yoga and working out

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Ryan Gosling

36. What political issue stirred you the most? Taxes

37. Who did you miss? Everyone at MHBC

38. Who were the best new people you met? Erin, Marcia, Coleen, Billy, Kristen, Tori, Kelli, and all the rest of the awesome teachers and yoginis at Flow Yoga!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011: There are far too many myths and misinformation surrounding weight loss (women are particularly susceptible to these). You don't need to starve yourself and exercise for hours a day to look and feel great.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Happiness hit her like a train on a track" - Florence + The Machine, The Dog Days Are Over

(Wow, 7 years of doing this...YIR 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Calisthenics

I was looking to add a little something extra to my workout routine in the mornings. I'm not a terribly huge morning person, so it needed to be something pretty easy preparation-wise. I'm just not going to get up to take a class at the gym before work. I only managed the 6 weeks of run + yoga because there was a group waiting for me (and because I always left my yoga mat at the studio the night before), and was only about 50% successful at my solo Tuesday morning runs in my previous running schedule. Anything I could do in my pajamas is a bonus. I looked into a few Jillian Michaels workout videos (30 Day Shred and 6-Week 6-Pack) but I also kind of don't like having to take two showers in the same day.

Enter calisthenics.

1. I had started the 100 pushups program several months ago, but it was at the same time I was doing BodyCombat and the combination of two kickboxing classes a week (with pushups at the end of those classes also) plus doing the 100 pushups program was murdering my shoulder joints. I've given up the kickboxing and feel like my arms and chest are a lot stronger though, so I'm ready to attempt that again.

2. I downloaded a 99-cent android app that has ab workouts. There are 30 different exercises, and you can choose a 5-minute, 7.5-minute, or 10-minute workout. There are three pre-programmed workouts or you can randomize exercises for the selected workout time (which is what I'll probably do).

3. I haven't been able to do a pull-up since I was 11. I know the only way to get better at pull-ups is to do pull-ups (or negative pull-ups, if like me you're starting at a rep of 0). So I ordered a pull-up bar!

So, a couple sets of pushups, an ab workout, and a couple negative pull-ups!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Cooking with fire

I don't cook much (well, I don't count Let's Dish meals as cooking). But when we got back from vacation, we found ourselves in a situation where there were only 10 Let's Dish meals in the freezer and 21 days until our next Let's Dish trip. Now I like eating out and all, but 11 days in three weeks seemed like a lot.

So, since we also found ourselves with quite a bit of fresh and frozen produce from our CSA deliveries, I decided to cook not one but TWO meals from scratch - a beef stew, and a chicken pot pie.

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The chicken pot pie was pretty easy. I pretty much based it off of this cooks.com recipe.

Cut 3 large chicken breasts (about 1.5lbs) in half lengthwise and sautee in 2tbsp olive oil until cooked through. Remove from pan, cool slightly and dice into bite-sized chunks. Add 1c Swanson chicken cooking stock to pan. Add 2 cups mixed vegetables - I used fresh celery, carrots, green beans, and frozen peas. Cover and simmer until crisp-tender. Stir in 1 can Campbell's cream of chicken with herbs soup. Combine with diced chicken and pour into an 8"x8" baking dish. Top with crescent roll dough (I used 6 of the 8 triangles in the package) and bake at 375 for 11-12 minutes.

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The beef stew was a bit more involved. I again started with a cooks.com recipe, but I made a few more changes to this one.

Mix 3tbsp flour with salt and pepper to taste in a large ziplock bag. Add 3 pounds beef stew cubes and shake to coat. Sautee beef in 3tbsp olive oil in a large pot until well browned. Add 4 minced garlic cloves and cook for another 1-2 min. Add 1/2c red wine and 1 carton of Swanson beef cooking stock to pot to deglaze (stir/scrape bottom of pot well). Stir in about 3oz (half of a small can) of tomato paste.

Add 2 sliced carrots, 3 ribs of diced celery, and three medium diced potatoes to pot. Add 2 bay leaves, 1/2tsp garlic powder, 1/2tsp dried thyme and 1tbsp dried parsley. Cook stew on medium-low for ~2 hours, stirring well every 20-30 minutes. Stew will be pretty thick. Add 1/2c water, 1 drained jar of pearl onions, 1/2c frozen peas and 1 package of white button mushrooms (halved or quartered depending on size). Cook for another 20-30 minutes, and adjust seasonings to taste.

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Both recipes made about 6 servings. I froze the leftover pot pie in a tupperware container (lifted off the crust, scooped the filling into the tupperware, and then replaced the crust as best I could). The beef stew I ladled into 1qt freezer bags and froze.

So, I guess it's good to know we won't starve, or go into debt eating out, if Let's Dish ever goes out of business. (Please don't go out of business...) I thought both were pretty good. Matt said the stew was "just okay" but I think he was an unfair taster because he's been sick for the past 4 days.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Distance Record

I ran 9.3 miles today, for a new distance record! I finished in 1:32:57. I do have to admit that as I crossed the finish line, the idea of running nearly 4 more miles (to complete a half marathon) made me cringe. But it should be much more seasonable when I do that...

I will probably focus my next 8-10 weeks on HRM training - 3-4 mile runs twice a week, keeping heart rate below 155. I was in the 170s during today's race, with a few hill spikes into the 180s, so I've got plenty of room for aerobic improvement. It's just so humbling, because last time I tried (during triathlon training) I had to slow down to a 13-minute mile. I'll also do HIIT once a week; I know it's good for me...it's just so hard :-)

As far as I'm concerned, the half will be my ultimate distance record. I think I like the 5-10K distance best. I'll focus on speed work after that, since I want to run a 10K under 60 minutes (which would require me to run a 9:39 split) and beat my 5K record of 28:39 (a 9:13 split).

Only 115 more miles to go until I can get my 500 mile shirt!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yoga Challenge

Realized that since we left for vacation right after the challenge was over, I never got around to posting my results!

I did get to 25 classes in 30 days! I definitely had to alter my schedule so that they weren't all super-active classes though. I don't know how people do Mysore-style ashtanga FULL series nearly EVERY day. But they're probably also not training 3x a week for a race and lifting weights too.

So, first off - 26 classes on my monthly pass which cost $109. But one class was a special full ashtanga class with a guest teacher that normally would have cost $30, but was included in the pass if you were doing the challenge. So we'll exclude that one from the calculations, and I had a per-class cost of $3.16 (otherwise it's $4.19). I did 15 "active" classes (ashtanga, vinyasa flow 1/2) and 11 "passive" classes (yin, slow flow, deep stretch, restorative).

I'm currently using my Living Social 10-class pass (that I got FREE) which given a reduced schedule due to holiday festivities and travel, should get me through the end of the year. Special New Year's Day class (wisely at 2pm instead of in the morning!) and back to 'normal' schedule January 2nd.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SMART Financial Goals 2012

List of 2011 goals is here; and here's how we did:

1. We did sell the condo in September. We paid rent and mortgage (including the COA fee), plus insurance on two places, for 6 months. We also paid nearly $10K out of pocket to close. Which led, in part, to the fact that...
2. We only saved a little over $8000 towards the house DP this year (including dividends), about 1/3 of our goal. But we did most of that in about 2.5 months. The other reason the total wasn't larger was that...
2a. We decided to pay off the remaining balance of my student loan. The US Dept of Education switched to a new website in October that is incredibly frustrating, slow, and marks your account as 'past due' every month because for some reason they decided to have all auto-debited payments credited AFTER the due date (and then reverts your account status to 'current' after they get around to actually processing the payment). We decided that we just didn't want to deal with it anymore, paused our Vanguard contributions, and funneled all our extra dollars to the loan instead. I'm requesting the payoff balance tomorrow (after our previous payment shows up, three business days after it was scheduled to be credited). So, yay for that!

Two yays and a partial. So, how about next year?

1. Pay off my car loan. This should be done by August at the latest.
2. Restart contributions to our emergency fund CD ladder. Likely in October. We eventually want each of these to cover a month's worth of expenses.
3. STILL aiming for the magic $25K in the house DP account. We are projected to get pretty darn close this year so we might be able to squeeze it out.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pre-post post

Back from the cruise! A bit bumpy, very fun. More later. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

So cranky

I ran 6.25 miles today, and my hips are sore now, but it seems to be yet another run that decided to not sync to the Nike+ website so my ticker doesn't move. It SHOULD be 327.5 miles today. Sigh.

EDIT: Tried contacting support, because someone in the forums said they can manually add runs to your account. Got a confirmation message saying "We will respond within one business day." No further response from them; I was finally able to download a file manager that let me move the xml file from the "synched" folder to the "recent" folder and then force resynch. I'm still missing a run from August (there was no xml file for that one) but I at least got the 6.25 miles credited.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I work out

(I think that LMFAO's song "Sexy and I Know It" is ludicrous and I giggle every time I hear it.)

So, 17 workout days (counting today) before we leave for the cruise. This week, I'm running 3x for 13 miles total, plus 6 yoga classes, plus two lifting sessions. Next week I'll be running 3x for 10 miles total (every 4th week is a lighter run week), plus 7 yoga classes, plus two lifting sessions. Last three days before we leave are two runs for 8 miles total and 3 yoga classes.

On the cruise I have 4 runs planned for a total of 18 miles, and then my peak distance 8 mile run the day we get back. Haven't decided if I'll try to lift on the cruise or not. It does seem from a quick search that there should at least be weight machines in the gym, if not free weights, so maybe I'll just improvise as best I can to get my two sessions in.

By the time we leave for the cruise I should have completed the 25 Day Yoga Challenge, logged 31 more miles, and be at the 3 sets of 8 stage of NROLW. By the time I log the peak run the day after the cruise, I'll have less than 125 miles to go for the Nike+ 500 club! I am trying to get my T-shirt before my next birthday :-) I should also be able to get to the blue level on Nike+ (1000km, or about 620 miles) before the end of next year!

Friday, October 28, 2011

What in the world??


So, when I looked at the weather earlier today, it said snow for Leesburg but no accumulation; for Frederick it said 1-3". NOW it says 4-6" for Leesburg, and 6-10" for Frederick!! We are supposed to have Matt's extended fam over for dinner tomorrow night to catch up on all the birthdays we've missed because they keep planning parties for when we're out of town, but that's looking rather iffy now.

The snow isn't supposed to start until about 1pm. I'm going to yoga at 7:30am (oof) and then we should be able to fit in Let's Dish and lunch before the craziness starts.

Boarding a ship for the Caribbean in 19.5 days...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Yesterday was the Run For Your Lives 5K/obstacle course/don't get caught by a zombie. I got up before dawn and we were on the road from Sterling at 7:25am. Tina and Angela had a 10:30 race wave, and mine was noon. We should have been there around 9:30, and the race day e-mail had said to arrive 1-1.5 hours before your wave slot for parking and check-in.

Then Tina's car started overheating, and the radiator exploded two miles past the Fort McHenry Tunnel (thank goodness we made it through the tunnel at least.) We ended up with a dead car at the top of the Eastern Avenue ramp. Call to AAA for a tow truck, call to Tina's sister Angela (who was supposed to meet us at a rest stop farther up 95) to come pick us up at the shop. Ended up delayed about a half hour total, but the GPS said we should have been there around 10am. The plan was for me to drop them off at the race so they could go in and register/etc while I parked the car. Not as ideal for pictures, but whatevs.

We turned on to Darlington Road to get to the parking area at about 9:50am. And then we stopped. We were still two miles away from the parking area, and it took us over 90 minutes to go those last two miles. Finally parked the car in a very muddy field around 11:30. There were shuttle buses taking people from the parking to the race. And there's a huuuuuge line for the shuttles. Talked to other people in line while we waited - nearly everyone is late for their wave. We waited another 30 minutes for the shuttle. Got to the drop-off point about 12:15. The drop off point is NOT the race entrance. We had to walk another quarter mile (or more?) to get there.

So, now we're going through the entrance for bag inspections. There's a guy with a megaphone telling people no pets, no 'weapons' (heh), please remember not to hurt the zombie volunteers. Oh, and no outside food or drink. WTF? I'm about to run a 5K, and the bag checkers take away my gatorade. Sigh.

Into the tent for packet pickup. The race e-mail had said "please use the provided zip ties to attach the timing chip to your shoe for easy removal at the finish line." The volunteers say they don't recommend using the zip ties, because people have been losing them on the course. We tie ours into our shoelaces and get our belts on. The volunteers also say that a LOT of people have been late for their waves, and that they're dealing with it at the start line. Get our flag belt and our t-shirt. NOT printed up for the race, just a plain technical t-shirt :-(

All that's left now is bag check and bathroom check. Bag check is fine. Bathroom check - it's only like 12:45, and quite a few of the portapotties are out of TP. I end up doing a squat and dance.

So, that all would be The Bad. Logistical nightmares all around. But the race itself was definitely The Good. We finally get into the start chute for (I think) the 1pm wave. We were in the "dinner" section for people who run 8-12 minute miles, though in retrospect very few people were actually finishing anywhere near their normal 5K times due to massive mud levels and waits for obstacles.

We run down a hill through the woods, and I keep looking for zombies. Don't see any. We come up to the first obstacle - a giant hay bale staircase. There are guys wearing army gear saying "You are running too slow! You will get infected! Move move move!" There are zombies in the field on the other side of the hay bale. LOTS of zombies (20+). These zombies were medium speed. Amazingly I made it through this entire group with all three flags. Then running through the woods again, random zombies on the trail - most of these were the 'slow shuffling type' so you'd hear someone at the front of the line yell "zombie on the left!" and everyone on the trail would move to the right. Second obstacle - cargo net climb. There's a few zombies on the way up to the obstacle, and one zombie underneath trying to grab at people's flags as they're climbing. He tried to grab mine twice, but I managed to dodge both times (his arms just weren't quite long enough to reach). Still three flags intact. I think the 'sewer tubes' were next. Got through that okay too.

Then we're running, big grassy hill, lots of zombies. Lost my first flag here. Into the 'mud maze.' Stacked hay bales made a path with two turns that you had to run through. Zombies in the mud maze. I made it out with 2 flags intact and on my feet. Angela took a total mud slide. Tina ate some mud.

Another zombie hill, [EDIT: the strobe-light "hallway" was here, also] down to the lake. A sign says "<--RUN/SWIM-->" and boy did we swim. The water was soooooo freaking cold it literally made it difficult to breathe (also - race info said 4' of water, but I could definitely not touch the bottom in the middle). There was SO MUCH MUD on the opposite side from wet people getting out of the water! We heard later that we were the last wave to swim the lake because it was so muddy and slippery that they didn't think it was safe anymore.

More BIG hills (both down and up), more zombies, more obstacles. I'm probably messing up the order now, but there was a strobe light box, over/unders (high and low hurdles), running through hanging entrails, and the 'mountain climb'/slide (climb up one side, slide down the other) [EDIT: and THEN the hanging entrails]. Still have two flags; two obstacles and about a half mile to go.

The next-to-last obstacle was a giant tank of "blood" (red-dyed water). It was only about thigh high, but I slipped when I jumped in (there was a zombie behind me) and sat down in the tank. Now I'm completely soaked again. One more hill and the fence to go.

The last hill was terrible. There were, I think, three zombies on the hill. It was so slippery that you couldn't really get any speed going. We were sitting ducks. I think Tina had already lost all three flags by now. Angela lost her last flag on this hill. I was lucky enough to have two going in, and only lost one here. Tina was trying to run blocking for me, but the zombies were pretty aggressive - one saw her, said "No brains?" then pointed to me and said "BRAINS!" and came after me. We finally got up the hill and around the corner to the fence. (From the website: "Why is there a fence at the finish line? To keep the zombies out.") I was under the assumption that we were going to have to climb the fence, but there was a hole at the bottom that you had to crawl/slide through. I am a bad slider (ended up doing something more akin to a fall/roll). BUT - I had one flag left at the end. SURVIVOR. Too bad they didn't have different medals for survivors and 'bitten'.

We got our bags, changed out of wet clothes (had to do the hide under a towel thing) and got a little bit of food. Getting out was a little easier for us, although we saw plenty of people stuck in the mud on the way out. Tina's car apparently wasn't ready (needed something other than just the radiator) so Angela drove us to the Maryland House rest stop, and Mike had to come up from Sterling to pick us up.

So...The Ugly. It wasn't us specifically, but we noticed when we left around 3:45 that traffic wasn't any better than when we had arrived at 10. As I mentioned in the last paragraph, the parking area had turned into mud pits by then too. Reading through the FB page comments - not everyone got to run. They canceled the 5:30 wave completely, and if you weren't on Darlington Road by about 1:30pm (some people said they sat in traffic for three hours to get to parking) then you just didn't get there in time. Again, this is after they said "Arrive 1-1.5 hours early" but if you weren't planning to be there at least FOUR hours early, you were SOL if you had an afternoon wave. Tons of people got stuck in the mud after paying $10 for parking. Some people said they sat in traffic, paid for parking, waited for the shuttle (lines were even longer later in the day) only to get up to the race site and be told they couldn't run. Yes, they're getting race fee refunds, but it still seems to be poor management and communication.

So, in summary - holy hell to get there. Race itself was awesome. I survived and finished with a time of 52:06 (HAD to walk quite a bit because of the mud, plus there were a few backups to get onto a few of the obstacles. No biggie, I was more concerned about my flags than my time). Other people not so lucky. Hope they take quite a few 'lessons learned' from this for future races. Like maybe not letting 10,000 people register - there are over 7000 times recorded on the results page, and plenty of people who never made it to the starting line. Also hope they decide to print and distribute an actual race t-shirt instead of just the technical t-shirt - which, admittedly I would probably use a plain shirt more, but it would have been awesome to get a zombie shirt :-)

EDITS: Someone posted this course map that I used to correct my original post.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yoga pass - final stats

Posting this a little early, because my last class for the current pass is Thursday. But...

On the regular last month of the pass (Sept 3-Oct 3) I went to 16 classes, for a cost of $5.21 per class. I then got my complimentary 1-week extension from being on vacation in July, and a few other random classes added for canceled classes etc. That got me to the end of this week, which amounted to four additional classes. All together, my pass purchase got me 112 classes at $4.46 per class! That's an average of 17 classes per month.

After Thursday I have my (FREE) Living Social pass for 10 more classes, which I think will take me to the end of the month. There is a special ashtanga class that I have to purchase separately on November 1st, and then I anticipate starting up a new pass on November 3rd. $4.46 is the number to beat from November-May!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oktoberfest

My fall celebration doesn't involve beer, but it does involve chili and Hokie football!

We went to Blacksburg to see the McHughs and for our annual football game. Hokies win 38-35 in a real nail-biter! We also went to Fork in the City and Due South (BBQ), and played Dicecapades (weird, but okay) and Agricola (OMG FRUSTRATION).

And now, short week and preparations for our FOURTH annual chili party and more Hokie football on Saturday! Grocery shopping, cleaning, and chopping. Lots and lots of chopping.

Have the zombie race after that, and then (maybe finally) getting together with Matt's fam for the first time since February (sad, since we've driven past one of their houses at least half a dozen times since we've moved). And then November! and cruise!!

By the end of this week, I'll have less than 200 miles to go for my 500 mile t-shirt :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's almost that time of year again

Seasonal Affective Disorder - The Basics

But on the other hand, yay fall! Leaves are changing. Football is back. I'm pairing up my summer sundresses with chunky cardigans and boots for the transitional weather look. Cruise is less than 2 months away. Gallons of chili are less than three weeks away (oh, the chopping though...)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Still alive

Got totally snaked by the weather. When we made the decision to cancel hiking yesterday, it was supposed to be raining all day yesterday and all day today. We get up this morning, and it's cloudy and mid-70s with almost no chance of rain - grrr.

Butt and back are a little sore today from the lunges and deadlifts, but nowhere near as sore as last time.

How does NASA not know where this satellite fell? Weren't they supposed to be tracking it the entire time?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Alive

No hiking tomorrow because of the rain, bleh.

Working out is going better - I've completed the first two weeks of the lifting program (the 15-rep sets). Lunges were way better this time. I think the first time, my legs and glutes were like "what the hell are you doing to us??" This time I expect a little soreness, but nothing like last week. I also flip-flopped the workouts back to the original A-B so that I'm doing the squat workout the day before running. I need to add a weight to the exercise ball crunches though (either a plate or a medicine ball) because they're far too easy for my yoga-fied abs.

Running is going well too - rain has held off both times I've planned to run outside so far. Distance is gonna start adding up though...long run is 4 miles next week!

I laughed as M and I were leaving the gym tonight, because we were "reversed" - he spent his time working out on the elliptical, while I lifted weights and then chugged a protein shake :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moral Support

I'm running tonight after my first weight lifting session last night (dead lifts and lunges = owie in the glutes and thighs). Right before M leaves work, he sends me this IM:

see you tonight, provided you don't die
if so, I will see if the cats like Chinese food
 
Thanks hun :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And we're off!

15K training started Sunday! It's all 2-mile runs for the first week...no differentiation between short, medium, and long. They won't be fully differentiated until the third week (3, 2 and 3 during week 2).

New Rules of Lifting for Women started today! I did the B workout of stage 1 - deadlifts, shoulder press, lat pulldown, lunges, and ab crunch. Lunges = yucky and my butt is going to be way sore tomorrow. I did feel awkward initially being the only girl in the weight lifting area all by myself, but I just ignored everyone else (headphones help). They did not all ignore me though!

More running tomorrow, more lifting Friday. Then dinner/game night with C&E, and LBD on Saturday!! Running, new church, and yoga book club Sunday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Evolution of a nickname

"Courtney" is a really hard name for little kids to say. I'm actually surprised I never really got a nickname from having trouble saying my own name as a kid.

Weekend trip 1: As we're getting ready to leave WV, Emily says to Owen, "Can you say goodbye to Courtney?" Owen says "Bye Cookie!" I say "Cookie - close enough!"

Weekend trip 2: Cassy has no trouble with 'Matt' but doesn't even attempt 'Courtney.' I tell Carly "Last weekend, Owen called me 'Cookie.'" Carly says "Cassy, where's Aunt Cookie?" Cassy says "Kiki!" and points to me.

Two toddlers and two weeks to Aunt Kiki. Works for me :-)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

We did it!!

SOLD THE CONDO LAST FRIDAY.

Woohoo! We've put nearly $3500 into our house down-payment fund since then (had suspended contributions back in November so we could stockpile cash for our sale closing costs). I tried to update the ticker today but it keeps defaulting to 'ticker style' instead of 'update data' so whatevs. I am really super excited to get this back on track though. Decided to hold off on the new bikes for a few more months in hopes of a good end of the year sale.

We think we might look into building a house when the time comes, instead of buying one. Will have to do some more investigation about how this process actually works.

And after the condo closing, we went to West Virginia for labor day weekend! Had a great weekend with the Griffiths - fun and noisy. Went hiking at Cooper's Rock and out to dinner in Morgantown, and watched a lot of college football. Played a game of Puerto Rico Sunday night - I won!

Cabining (and caverning) with the Nusbaums this weekend, and then I start my fall workout schedule with running and lifting!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

September!

Wow, August just totally flew by! This is just a quick post because I hate the thought of being "lapped" in my blog, haha. It was a busy month though! Poker night at the Nusbaums (where I was embarrassingly the first one out, and M and E ended up splitting the final pot), Robyn and Derrick's birthday party, dinner and movie with M ('Crazy Stupid Love'), dinner with Jim et al, 30th birthday (and yet people still mistake me for my early 20s), dinner at the Kennedy Center, 'Wicked' (AWESOME!!), winery trip with C&E, birthday dinner at Don Pablos, game night with the Bradneys, NOT CLOSING ON THE CONDO (frowny face), dinner with Jim and Phil. Whew!

Supposed to ACTUALLY be closing on the condo tomorrow at noon. Off to WV for labor day weekend after that!

Will go ahead and post my yoga update since I don't go to class again until the 6th. August 3rd-September 2nd = 22 yoga classes, average cost of $3.79 per class and 92 classes total on this pass. New cost per class record! Only one more month to go on this pass, and then I have my (FREE) 10 class Living Social pass, which ought to get me at least 3 weeks into October before I have to buy a new 6 month pass.

College football starts this weekend!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

4 months

July 3rd-August 2nd: 14 yoga classes; average cost of $5.95 per class and a running total of 70 classes over 4 months. Being on vacation for a week brought this past month's numbers way down.

Also, in 4 months I will be running my first ever 15K (~9.3 miles)!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Fingers on autopilot

Me: haha when i try to type "course" my fingers go to auto-pilot and type my name instead
M: haha
Me: i almost just added "microsoft access training courtney" to my calendar
M: of courtney you did

(I also have trouble with "courtesy")

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Probably going to need more hangers...

As I typically do right around this time of year, I ordered my 'early birthday present' Old Navy purchase. 25% coupon code + $20 rewards card + a couple items marked down = over $115 saved! (See honey, look how much money I'm saving...)

I got two more pairs of khakis (loved the green pair I bought a month or two ago, so I'm looking to replace some of my older ones), four dresses, two of the cotton jersey roll-over skirts (SO comfy) and a few tops. Was looking to replace my green and white tankini because I realized at the beach that it just didn't seem to fit right anymore - especially the bottom, which just looked...lumpy. But I didn't see anything I liked. Maybe another time.

Vacation #1 Recap!!

I love the '#1' part in the title, because it means there's a #2 :-D

So, we got up at 5am last Saturday, got dressed and loaded up the car, and were on the road by 6am. It didn't help - there were a couple minor incidents starting north of Richmond and it just kept compounding on itself, and we didn't get to Jockeys Ridge for lunch until nearly 1pm. Had Carolina BBQ (pulled pork, hush puppies, baked beans and potato salad) at Sooeys and then headed over to the outlets for a while, where we ran into Carly and Eric and Cassy at Payless! I grabbed a few things for our kitchen at the kitchen store, and a pair of silver hoop earrings (less than $9!) at Van Heusen.

We left Nags Head at 3:30 and got to the realtors at 4, but we had to wait for our house for nearly an hour. Finally got into the house at 5, unloaded the car, and went to the grocery store (a zoo, as always). Made burgers for dinner (yum) and started working on the puzzle (Van Gogh's 'Cafe Terrace'). M and I took a walk on the beach that night.

Sunday we drove up to Kitty Hawk for the traditional stop at Captain Franks - had my usual corn dog and hush puppies. We then all caravan'd over to Sunsations; Mike got a bathing suit and we got a pop-up shade tent. Both of these facts would be slightly ironic (?) later. Katherine and I also stopped into Rita's for gelatis, and we all went into Try My Nuts for a bit before heading back to our place and suiting up for the beach. It was too windy to set our tent up, but we had the others' beach umbrellas (we are buying one of these). Hit the waves with the boards, during which time Matt experienced a wardrobe malfunction when his decades-old bathing suit split pretty much clear up the leg (previously mentioned irony #1, because we had JUST been at Sunsations). He went out later in the day to get a new one (and the angels sang). Randi made us a yummy pork chop dinner before heading out. We took a flashlight out on the beach that night to check out all the crabs. Mike and Katherine got engaged! We had celebratory pina coladas!

Monday during the day was pretty much just beach, boarding, bocce, puzzle, and reading, I think. We managed to get the tent up, and it was good. Until the wind came back up while we were eating lunch; that combined with the tide loosening one of the stakes, and the center support snapped clean in half - irony #2. As I mentioned before, we're buying one of those beach umbrella things. It was also the only night we grilled out, because of the bugs. Carly and Eric came over after dinner and we all played Power Grid (M won, I got second).

Tuesday - It had rained Monday night and Tuesday was actually a pretty reasonable day temperature-wise, so M and I went for a nice (flat!) 14 mi bike ride in the morning. Hit the beach for a while, but the water was cold, so I don't think we did much in the water. More reading and puzzle (I ultimately finished three books and started a fourth, for a total of nearly 900 pages for the week). Tuesday night was seafood night at the Smiths' sound-side house, so we all headed over there for the traditional giganto pile of crabs, shrimp and clams. Eric also tried his hand at frying soft-shell crabs, which was an interesting change of pace. We hung out on the deck for a while; the guys played some lawn bocce and got eaten alive by bugs, and then we all piled into the hot tub for an hour or so. Rounded out the night with some drinking before heading home.

Wednesday - Mike and Katherine headed out early that morning, after I woke up at 7:50am to help them take some engagement pictures out on the beach. The rest of us had more beach, boarding, bocce, puzzle, reading (sensing a theme?) I think today was the day we saw fins and high-tailed it out of the ocean. We watched from the shore for a while and think it was probably two dolphins instead, but I wasn't going to wait around in the water to find out! We went to The Froggy Dog for karaoke that night. Matt did 'Piano Man' and 'Fly Me To The Moon'; Carly did 'Dancing Queen'; Michelle did 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy' and 'Don't Stop Believing'.

Thursday - jellyfish day, ugh. There were hundreds of them washing up all over the shore and in the water. We did finally brave a path to swim for a bit, because the water was SO nice, but we mostly just read on the beach for the entire day. M and I went out to stargaze and drink wine on the beach that night, which was awesome (yay google sky app!)

Friday - jellyfish were mostly gone (but the water was COLD). Still did the usual stuff - boarding/swimming, two games of bocce (Eric and I won one, Matt and Eric won the other - poor Carly). Matt built a small sand castle. Cassy hated the sand but enjoyed the water. Carly aged 3-5 years worrying about Cassy being swept out to sea. M and I went to dinner at Tale of the Whale that night - had a delicious fried calamari appetizer, bowls of crab bisque, salads, bread, whole lobster for me and ribeye + fried shrimp for M. I also had a chocolate martini, which Matt always uses as an opportunity to remind me that it's not really a martini. I got a pretty pink ring in the lobby gift shop. I also finished the puzzle late Friday night.

Saturday - packed up the house, checked out, and headed over to the Smiths' for a couple hours (their rental was Sunday to Sunday). Cary make us pancakes and then Silverthorns and Nusbaums played Acquire. I thought I totally had the win but Eric managed to squeak past me by about $1000 to leave me in second place for the second time that week, grrr. We headed out around noon, stopped in Nags Head for pizza and garlic knots at New York Pizza Pub and then hit the road for good around 2pm. Overall I think traffic was a little better (though 95 was kind of a beast, as usual) and we ended up back at our place about 7:45pm. Did a little unpacking and ordered chinese food for dinner, and watched the previous week's Daily Show and Colbert Report episodes on the DVR.

Today is laundry, laundry, laundry. Balanced the checkbook and watered the plants. I've got a double yoga class from 4-7pm (Flow 2 + Yin) and then probably more laundry and TV. It was a nice, relaxing vacation, and I am looking forward to #2 in only 108 days!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Coupons

I picked up a prescription today, and my CVS Extracare card spit out like 7 coupons. Since I had a half hour to kill before yoga class (had blocked off an hour for my haircut but it only took about 25 minutes) I browsed around the store for a while.

I got two 'funky' nail polishes that were buy one get one 50% off, two Aussie hair products (3-minute miracle and leave-in conditioner), cotton balls, Goetzes caramel creams (to share with Carly, because she had no idea what I was talking about), and a Burts Bees acai replenishing lip balm (YUM) - all for less than $7. CVS lets you stack coupons, so I used the '$2 off two hair products' + $2 Extracare bucks + 30% off your entire order. WIN! I had one for $2 off an Almay Color cosmetic but didn't see anything I liked.

So now I have shimmery blue toenails and soft hair that is 7" shorter than before. They also used these awesome thinning shears in the midsection so it lies much better too.

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We're taking four Let's Dish meals to the beach (burgers, balsamic chicken, pork tenderloin, and flank steak). Plus seafood night, dinner at Tale of the Whale, and a Randi-dinner, we are set there! Should make grocery shopping for breakfast/lunch and snacks much simpler.

We'll be rolling into Nags Head in like 12 hours!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

$XYXYX

Matt got his annual raise today and now his salary is a palindrome :-D

Not closing on Friday, but almost certainly in August. Waiting for the revised contract.

Two more work days until vacation! We're still taking off Friday. I'm going to Let's Dish (we're taking a cooler of food with us to the beach), then lunch at Olive Garden, then getting my hair cut, then a yoga class. Can't wait!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Scratch

Cooking, that is. At least side dishes. I had previously been making a lot of frozen veggies to go along with our Let's Dish meals (steamed broccoli and steamed green beans with almonds were our two favorites). It was easy to throw a package in the microwave while I was cooking something else.

A few months ago I tried a delivery from South Mountain Veggies with a Groupon, and we really liked it. We're getting weekly deliveries of fresh, local, organically grown produce now - it's been delicious, but typically requires a lot more work than just tossing something into the microwave!

So I've had to get a little more creative than our previous repertoire. Some things are easy enough - simple pan-saute on zucchini and summer squash, toss some blanched green beans with lemon and olive oil, sliced tomato with salt and pepper, yummy salads.

This week's bag was sweet corn (yum), blueberries (yum), lettuce (salad!), carrots, new potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and white peaches (tried them, tasty, but I still like nectarines better). I've currently got the corn boiling, and am making smashed new potatoes - not to be confused with mashed potatoes! You boil the potatoes, then smash them with a glass. Drizzle with olive oil (the original recipe said 1Tbsp per side, but that seemed like a LOT of oil - I used about a half tsp per side per potato). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs (I used garlic powder, parsley and thyme) and bake in a screaming hot oven (450-475) for about 20 minutes.

I made maple dill carrots last week which were very yummy and I'd do again!

My tomato plant has about 8 little tomatoes, and the first one is finally starting to look a little more yellow than green. The basil and parsley seem to be doing well, and I think there might be some kind of wild berries (raspberries?) growing on our road so I think I'll have to check that out.

Update: I just looked this morning and I think they're currants. I have no idea what to do with a currant. Boo.

OBX is soooo close...

Sorry, I got a little distracted there for a while :-) Buy hey, July!!

In just under exactly two weeks, we'll be in the Outer Banks!!

We're still hoping for a July 22nd close on the condo. We did the individual FHA certification for our unit, but the buyer ended up having some trouble getting a lender to accept it. In the meantime we fretted (probably unnecessarily) about our appraisal after we learned that a) a unit in our building closed in a short sale at $120K and b) another unit in our neighborhood, priced at $170K, initially appraised for only $135K. Turns out that they contested that appraisal, and waited until another unit sold for $153K, to have theirs appraised. It just closed at the list price, so now we have two decent comps going forward for ours. Just hoping that the buyer's financing gets put together quickly and we can move forward as originally planned. I did sell ETFs/mutual funds to cover the rest of our closing costs, because we need enough time for trades to clear, and then move the money from ING to BoA, and then actually go and get a cashier's check for closing.

June 3rd-July 2nd: 18 yoga classes; average cost of $4.63 per class and a running total of 56 classes on the first half of my current pass.

What else, what else. I started BodyCombat (cardio kickboxing) classes back in mid-May. Have really enjoyed going to those, and it's a GREAT calorie burn (550-600 cals average for a 1-hour class). Have been adding in some interval training on the elliptical machine. Loving the full ashtanga primary practice that Flow has been doing once or twice a month.

**Matt reminded me that I had forgotten the 100 pushups and 200 situps training plans. I'm already done with week one! I might try the pullups and squats plans after I'm done with the pushups and situps plans.**

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We went to Coastal Flats last night (first time for me and M). I was so excited that they have the same lobster bisque as Sweetwater, but EVERY NIGHT. Yum! I also got a pretty tasty lobster roll. Not the same as the Cabby Shack up in MA, but still decent. We watched Clash of the Titans with Jim after dinner. I slept in today and then went to yoga. Playing tennis with C&E tomorrow afternoon, and then Emily's coming over for thai food takeout and maybe a bit of mild debauchery? Em's also coming to yoga class with me Monday night! Tuesday I'm going to The (new) Melting Pot with Carly - yummm.

Got some chai chilling in the freezer that's probably ready, and maybe some TV.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eight Years

Nothing before was real
This is the way I feel

And I['m so happy to be your] wife
To live this life together
And I won't let you go
I need you to know
That you are my heart, forever
And on and on and on

- Runner Runner, "I Can't Wait"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sooo tired

We stayed at the Nusbaums' until after 2am on Saturday night, ended up sleeping from about 2:30-10:45am. Went to bed around or slightly after midnight the last two nights and up at about 8am. So even though I get 7.5-8 hours of sleep a night I'm totally exhausted.

I truly believe that I need more like 9-9.5 hours of sleep a night right now, but there's just no possible way to fit it in regularly. To be at work at a reasonable time, I have to be up no later than 8:15am (and that's even pushing it a little). Backtracking 9.5 hours puts me at 10:45pm as the *latest* I can fall asleep. I typically manage that about once every 4 months?

Did I mention that tomorrow's my early day?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lazy Sunday

We went to the annual Murder Mystery party at the Nusbaums last night - I ended up being the jewel thief, Eric was the murderer, Matt won best actor. We stayed until nearly 2:30am karaokeing (and I was soo happy we only had to drive 20 minutes home on Rt. 7 instead of an hour on Georgetown Pike!!)

Skipped church and yoga this morning (I could have made it to yoga, since I got up at 10:45, but I was pretty worn out and a little sore from yesterday). We went to Ruby Tuesdays for lunch, and then a quick stop at Home Depot to get a wire cage for my tomato plant before heading over to our first trip to the Leesburg Outlets. Matt needed new pants, so we got him two pairs of jeans and a couple polo shirts from Gap and a pair of khakis from Eddie Bauer. We looked in the Old Navy store but they didn't have anything in his size and I didn't see anything I really wanted with my half-price groupon.

We haven't done much else since we got back...though we should probably do some cleaning since C&E&C will be here in a couple hours for dinner and game night!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More rejuvinated

Another weekend in the books! I was too drained to go to kickboxing on Thursday, so I skipped and went to the grocery store instead. Friday was the usual working from home day; we ate leftover Pei Wei instead of going out to lunch. Went to the gym afterwards, and I felt good after biking/lifting this time. I wonder if my Wednesday schedule is just too much for me? Well there are only two more yoga studio runs so I'm gonna try to stick with it. I made some pretty sweet tuscan stuffed portobello mushrooms (spinach, garlic, sundried tomatoes, italian herb blend, 6-cheese mix) as a side dish with dinner.

Saturday we went to Let's Dish to make food, and I had leftover pasta from Friday night before I went to the full Ashtanga practice. We did the entire 90-minute primary sequence, plus threw in a few poses from the secondary sequence for fun. I made a beef and bok choy stirfry (from SCRATCH) and we watched Unstoppable, which turned out to be a surprisingly good movie. We played some Little Big Planet before going to bed.

Today was church, then lunch at Noodles. (Side story: We were sitting inside eating, and we heard a crash at the front of the building. I turned to look and saw a deer tearing off frantically down the sidewalk. Apparently he had crashed into (but not through, fortunately) the glass at the front of the store. Crazy!) I went to a restorative yoga practice in the afternoon (ahhh) and then we headed over to Carly and Eric's for some Power Grid and Don Pablos. I told Carly that Power Grid is pretty much the only game I ever win, and I was right (though it was *really* close).

Back to the regular work week schedule tomorrow. Yoga classes, lifting, kickboxing...murder mystery party at C&E's on Saturday and then dinner (bacon noodle casserole!!) and Pandemic with them here on Sunday :-)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

And I'm spent

Slept 6 hours, up at 6:00am.

Ran from 6:30-7:00am, deep stretch yoga from 7-7:30am.

Came home, showered, got dressed, drove to Frederick. Deposited checks at the bank, got the car washed. (Thanks, birds, for pooping ALL over my car.)

Worked from 9:15-5:00. Drove back to Leesburg.

Ashtanga primary series from 6:00-7:15pm. Drove to the gym to meet Matt. Lifted from 7:30-8:30pm - biceps, triceps, lats, and back. Died on the triceps pulldown, skipped the bent rows.

Second shower of the day. Pei Wei (wonton soup, egg roll, ginger broccoli beef). Came home, watched last night's Daily Show and Colbert Report.

It's 10:40 and I'm about to fall asleep. Phil says I'm old, and shall henceforth be referred to as 'Oldylox'.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Counting Down

I've got something to look forward to pretty much every month for the rest of the year!

June: Murder mystery party. 8th anniversary! (But nothing big planned). Kings Dominion (for free!)

July: Emily! (And hopefully the Melting Pot!) Also hopefully closing on the condo. And OBX!!

August: 30th birthday, and trip to DC to see 'Wicked' at the Kennedy Center.

September: West Virginia with C&E to see Eric and Emily's new place at the beginning of the month, and Beth Moore's Living Proof Live event in B'more at the end of the month.

October: Blacksburg for the VT-Miami game!

November: CRUISE!

December: ?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

June?!?

This year is going crazy fast. Also, we're going to the beach NEXT MONTH!!

Second month of yoga stats: From May 3 to June 2, I went to 20 yoga classes; average cost of $4.17 per class. 38 classes so far!

My workout schedule has gotten crazy busy. Monday - Flow 1 yoga; Tuesday - Flow 2 yoga, Wednesday - studio run + deep stretch yoga in the AM, ashtanga yoga after work, followed by lifting at the gym with M (arms and back); Thursday - kickboxing class; Friday - bike cardio followed by lifting with M (chest, shoulders, abs). Weekends kind of get mixed up because of travel or doing things outside, but I've generally been doing kickboxing on Saturday and yoga on Sunday when I can. In all, it works out to almost 10.5 hours a week in the gym or the yoga studio! And yet somehow I haven't lost any weight in two weeks...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This is sirius business

I got a 6-month trial subscription to Sirius satellite radio with my new Focus last year. I never understood why people would pay for radio when there was free radio to be had, until I actually had satellite radio. I now get very annoyed the few times I listen to regular radio and commercials come on, and when I had WTOP on in my car a couple weeks ago during all the thunderstorms/tornadoes and it started to get staticky, I was rather confused. Matt even liked it so much that he activated his own XM radio service even though he's had the Cavalier for almost 7 years without it.

The trial subscription ends on May 28th, and I started getting reminder notices about two months ago (I think I got the first one right before we moved). I had wanted to do the a la carte service (up to 50 channels for only $6.99/month) but it turned out that there are only a few specific radios that have that capability. So I figured that the 'Mostly Music' package was my next best bet, for $9.99/month.

The only trouble was, I couldn't figure out how to actually subscribe to it. Because the trial subscription was one of their deluxe packages (for $13-17/month) that's what came up when I clicked on 'extend my subscription' - I tried six ways to Sunday to try to subscribe to the Mostly Music package, and it would never show up in the product list. It only offered me the deluxe packages and the 'family friendly' package, and only on 1, 2, or 3 year subscriptions.

I finally gave up and e-mailed customer service about the problem.

LITERALLY minutes after that, before I even got a confirmatory "Thank you for contacting customer service, someone will respond to your inquiry within 24-48 hours" e-mail, the Mostly Music monthly billing option magically appears in the product list.

*headdesk*

So I'm subscribed. And somewhere, some CSR at SiriusXM thinks I'm a moron.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My new Friday

Ever since we moved, and then I started telecommuting, Fridays have become even more awesome than they EVER were before. Here's how my typical Friday has been going:

Wake up at 8:15am, 45-60 minutes later than any other weekday. Put on pants. Make a cup of coffee. Feed cats, put a load of laundry in the dryer.
'Commute' to my desk, coffee cup in hand, and log into VPN. Work for 3-4 hours.
Sometime between 11:30am and 12:30pm - Lunch with M. Sometimes with other people too! Today we met Carly at Chick-fil-a.
Back at the computer an hour later. Work until 5:30pm.
Pack a gym bag and head to the gym with M. Bike and lift from 6-7:15pm. Shower.
Dinner back at home, or meeting people out. Hang out with friends until 10:30 or 11pm. (Two Fridays ago we met Phil and Lisa for dinner at PF Changs. Last Friday we met Jim and Green at Uncle Julio's. Tonight Phil and Stacy came over after dinner for a couple board games). Realize that it's still only Friday and my whole weekend is ahead of me!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Stats

My car rolled over 10,000 miles today. That only took 5 months and 5 days. Hopefully the mileage rate will slow down some now that I'm telecommuting on Fridays, and not driving between Gaithersburg and Leesburg every weekend.

My first month of my current yoga pass is up. Between April 3 and May 2, I went to 18 classes, for an average prorated cost of $4.63 per class.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dark Symmetry

2001: Muslims take to the streets, cheering and waving flags, to celebrate the success of the 9/11 attacks and the deaths of 3000 people, and regaling 19 hijackers as heroes.

2011: Americans take to the streets, cheering and waving flags, to celebrate the success of Operation Enduring Freedom and the culmination of hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Middle East, and regaling 5000+ servicemen as heroes.

No matter where you are in the world, people are people.

(For the avoidance of confusion - this is a sociological comment, not a political comment or a religious comment. My only comparison is the people in the streets in the Middle East to the people in the streets in the US).

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Additional comment from Dr. Joe Smith, the honorary associate pastor at our former (Maryland) church: "It is a relief to know that bin Laden is gone. And yet, quite apart from the geopolitical implications, how dare we go farther and rejoice in this if we follow a God who 'desires not the death of any man'?" Amen.

Additional quote posted on Facebook, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" (updated note: some controversy as to whether the first sentence is specifically attributed to him. Rest is confirmed. I moved the quotation marker.)

Article on Salon.com: "USA! USA!" is the wrong response

Additional quote posted on Facebook, from the response of the Roman Catholic Church: "Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace."

"Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble" - Proverbs 24:7

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Awesome blossom

Having a fabulous couple of days!

Thursday - dinner with Carly and Eric (Easter leftovers) and a game of Pirate Munchkin.

Friday - First official telecommuting day! Worked from home, got Noodles takeout for lunch (chili mac!) and went to Dulles Town Center after work. Returned two items to Old Navy, bought two others and came out $10 ahead. Met Phil and Lisa for dinner at PF Changs.

Saturday - The Bauers finally made it up to see us! Even though their GPS inexplicably told them to take 95 to the beltway...oof. We went to lunch with Chris and Victoria (cruise reunion!) at Fireworks Pizza. We decided to go to Quattro Goombas Winery for a little while in the afternoon because it was so nice outside. $5 tastings, and then we bought a bottle of Pinot Noir to drink outside and listen to the guitarist they had there. We came back to our place, played a few rounds of Blokus (Derrick won) and a game of Pandemic (we all died). Finally, we went to dinner at Sweetwater Tavern (Saturday = lobster bisque!!)

Tomorrow I'm checking out the contemporary service at church (the traditional service was a wee bit too traditional) and then we're taking the bikes out on the W&OD trail for the first time. Then we're going to dinner with Adam and Kristen (and finally meeting Connor!) at the Blue Ridge Grill :-)

Back to yoga class on Monday - been super sweaty the last few days, but sooo good!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rewards

After last year's cruise, we signed up for the Royal Caribbean Visa card through Bank of America (wish we had done it *before* last year's cruise, but whatevs). It gave us 10,000 points after the first purchase, 2 points for every dollar spent through Royal Caribbean (e.g. paying for this year's cruise) and 1 point on everything else. I've also seen a lot of bonuses offered where you can get triple points for paying your onboard SeaPass account. I generally prefer cash-back rewards, but all in all it was a pretty good deal.

I just redeemed our first 15,000 accumulated points for a $150 onboard credit on our cruise this November. BoA and RCCL need to join the 21st century here!!! Every other rewards card we have, we can go online and request a redemption, and it's automatically deducted from our points balance (I always request cash back) and sent to us.

In order to redeem these points, I had to undergo a multi-step process:
1. There's no points tracking online - the only place your accumulated points are listed is on your monthly credit card statement...and the box only shows up on your statement when there's points activity (i.e. not in the months when you don't use the card). So I had to wait for a statement to show up to confirm I had enough points.
2. I then had to CALL Bank of America and speak to a CSR. I had to tell the CSR* I wanted to redeem 15,000 points.
3. BoA then MAILED me a "15,000 Points Certificate" - I had to fill out the back of the form saying I wanted a $150 onboard credit on my next cruise (and provide my reservation number, AND my sail date, AND my ship name. Because those last two pieces of information aren't linked to my reservation number ANYWHERE...)
4. I then had to MAIL the completed certificate (with my own envelope and stamp; no prepaid envelopes here) to Royal Caribbean. I did that today.
5. Royal Caribbean will apply the onboard credit to our SeaPass account when they receive the completed form. All told, the process will take about 3 weeks to complete (I called BoA on the 14th).

*Incidentally, the CSR sounded new and had never done this redemption thing before (he had to put me on hold and ask someone how to process the request). He seemed to think that there was some way I could have done this online. You would think...All they would have to do is have online points tracking, and when you wanted to redeem points you could fill out an online form which would be sent electronically to Royal Caribbean.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting down on Friday

Eh, not really. Matt's at a LAN party or something else sufficiently nerdy, and I have to finish a draft of a class paper tonight. But I totally just finished nomming on some yummy clams - couple minutes in the steamer basket, a little melted butter, delish.

I had a lousy day on Wednesday. It wasn't even 11am and I was saying to Matt "I should really just go home, go back to bed, and try again tomorrow." The high points were ashtanga yoga and chili mac from Noodles. Oh, and we bought a mattress for the guest room. But in contrast, Thursday was awesome. Great weather, productive work day, bonus at work (woohoo!), blasting music in the car on the drive home, great yoga class.

I ran a few errands after work today - deposited some checks from refunds/rebates, got a little storage drawer for my K-cups (I wanted the drawer instead of the stands, because the Keurig sits on top of the drawer and it doesn't take up any extra counter space), went to the grocery store. I really think Bloom has a contract with a plastic bag manufacturer or something (I forgot my reusable bags). I bought 17 items (and one doesn't count, because it was the huge bag of cat litter) and ended up with 11 bags. This is why I prefer to bag my own groceries...

I am hosting my first Holiday dinner next Sunday for Easter! Menu: ham, kielbasa, pierogies, lokshyna (noodle pudding with bacon), mizeria (cucumbers in sour cream), roasted asparagus, hard boiled eggs, kremowka (cream cake). Getting the first three from the Kielbasa Factory in Rockville, and making everything else!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

MOAR FOOD

We basically did nothing but sleep and eat today. I woke up about 10; Matt slept until about 11. Once we all got dressed, we drove to Boston to eat at a place called Lucia's, which Jason's brother had recommended to me. It was petty good Italian food! We got bruchetta and fried mozzarella with prosciutto as appetizers. M got chicken parmesan and I got gnocchi with pesto. After lunch we walked over to Mike's for pastries. There was a huge line but it moved pretty quickly! I got a chocolate chip cannoli and Matt got a cookie. We walked around Boston for a while and then headed back to Plymouth, where I promptly fell asleep for about 45 minutes. I convinced Matt and Phil that we needed to go to the Cabby Shack for dinner around 8. We all had the chowder and I had another lobster roll. Hope my dress fits tomorrow, haha :-)

Plymouth Rock and maybe a few other things around downtown tomorrow, and then the wedding and even moar food...

Friday, April 08, 2011

Chowdah and Lobstah

Neither M nor I slept very well last night - I woke up at 2am because it was too hot (and when I'm too hot, it's REALLY hot). I woke up about 2 hours later with heartburn (and of course I had no dairy, no tums, no zantac). It must have been something we had at dinner last night because M said he was feeling it too and had taken an extra prevacid. I was up for about 90 minutes (hence my 5am blog post below). We got up at 7am to get to BWI around 8, grabbed some breakfast and hopped our flight to Logan.

JiMaPh are lazy bums, and didn't schedule their flight until 11 - we had landed at Logan before they even took off, so we had to wait until 12:30 for them to get there. We got our rental cars and headed over to Friendly's to get lunch. The guys went out to play paintball and I just hung out at our room and watched TV.

Speaking of TV, I had seen an episode of 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate' that talked about the clam chowder at a place called The Cabby Shack. It turned out that it was less than a mile from the place we're staying so I had put it on my to-do list. I got takeout 'chowdah' and a lobster roll; both were FANTASTIC. Came back to the room (the guys went out to Outback; I think I got the better deal there!) and have been watching TV and checking the WaPo and Politico websites to see if they're actually going to shut the government down or not. I don't think I can stay up for another hour though...

Policy Riders

Someone posted a link to the list of policy riders in HR1, the current budget bill that is still being debated and may result in a government shutdown in less than 24 hours if not resolved.

Let's look at some of the highlights, shall we?

Sec. 4008 - Prohibits the EPA from regulating mercury content in concrete.
Sec. 4015 - Defines greenhouse gases.
Sec. 4033 - Prohibits EPA funding for Chesapeake Bay watershed load enforcement.
Sec. 4035 - Prohibits EPA enforcement of federal water quality standards in Florida.
Sec. 4039 - Prohibits EPA, Corps of Engineers, and the Office of Surface Mining from coordinating on issuing coal permits.
Sec. 1590 - Prohibits DC from using its own, non-federal funds, for abortion services.
Sec. 4013 - Prohibits funds to Planned Parenthood.
Sec. 4017 - Prohibits funding of any measure of the Health Care Reform Act.
Sec. 1112 - Prohibits transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
Sec. 4030 - Prohibits BATF from collecting information on multiple rifle/shotgun sales to the same person.
Sec. 2237 - Prohibits HUD funding for rental assistance to the elderly.
Sec. 4006 - Blocks the FCC from implementing Net Neutrality.
Sec. 1802 - Prohibits funding new Job Corp centers.
Sec. 1284 - Prohibits funding for fresh fruits and vegetables in the school lunch program.

So glad my paycheck and that of over a million other people are at risk over Republican ideology.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

One Percent

Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office.

Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1%

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

JUICE FOR JESUS

E-mail conversation today:

Me (C): Oh, that reminds me - I pass by a church right as I'm taking the exit to stay on 15 up here, that has one of those message boards in front. Yesterday I noticed that the message was "The only way to live above sin is to rent an apartment over a bar." Which is a total logic fail....because that means everyone is living "under sin" so therefore we can live "above sin" simply by being on the second floor or higher of any building...
Matt: Yeah, it's a stupid joke.
C: HURR DURR ALCOHOL IS BAD. JUICE FOR JESUS.
M: Further logic fail in that Jesus himself drank alcohol.
C: IT DOESNT SAY WHAT WAS IN JESUS'S CUP. JUICE FOR JESUS. HURR DURR.
M: You're silly. :-)
C: Awww, I had one more. You were supposed to say "He turned water into wine." And then I was supposed to say HE DIDNT DRINK ANY OF IT HURRDY DURR. JUICE FOR JESUS.
M: Hahaha I love you.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spring weekend!

M and I went to Let's Dish in Ashburn Saturday morning (I like when we go together!) We made four dishes, and I also got two free sides, free cookies and free scones with the deal I had signed up with. Got some lunch at Fuddruckers (we had tried to go once in Gaithersburg but it has apparently closed) and then headed down to KG for mom's birthday. We went to dinner at a seafood place in Tappahannock called Lowery's. We had to wait out a hail storm to leave though! Drove home and then watched 'Salt' - it was okay, I guess.

Sunday, my clock happened to set itself an hour forward? I think it might have reset itself to the old daylight savings time settings, since it was actually unplugged on new daylight savings time. I set the alarm for 9:30am and then had hit snooze twice and then got up. When I was coming out of the bathroom, Matt said "I thought you set the alarm for 9:30?" I said "Yeah, and then I hit snooze twice." He said "It's 8:53..." I had to check my phone to make sure he wasn't pulling my leg, but I did get to go back to bed for a while!

We went over to the condo in the early afternoon to clean the windows and get all the paperwork done to put it on the market. It should officially list on Friday! I hope it sells quickly. Afterwards, I came back to go to yoga classes, and Matt went to BB&B to buy me a Keruig (yay!) on the way to the gym. We went to dinner with Mike, Tina, Jeff and Amber at Fireworks Pizza - I had a house salad, a 'create your own' pizza with prosciutto, mushrooms and spinach, and got chocolate chip cannolis to go :-)

I registered my Keurig online and got a code for 'buy two K-cup packs, get two free' plus 10% off plus free shipping. Got two each of two different flavored variety packs (total of 88 K-cups!) for less than $28, woohoo!

Short work week this week, and then off to Boston for Steve's wedding!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yoga membership!

So my 10-day $10 new student special is up. I did go to a class every day for 10 days! Six Flow 1 classes (all awesome), one power hour (meh), two Flow 2 classes (one was the ashtanga series with a sub, and the other was just okay) and one actual ashtanga class (also awesome). Now I have a 6-month membership!!

My general plan is Monday - Flow 1 with Kelli; Wednesday - Ashtanga with Elaine; Tuesday/Thursday - Flow 1 with Coleen; Saturday - Flow 1 with Tori; Sunday - Flow 2 with Billy. The Flow 1 classes are plenty challenging for me (I've actually been a little surprised at how much my practice has improved in less than 2 weeks). Coleen also teaches a yin yoga class about twice a month on Sundays after the Flow 2 class that I have been eagerly anticipating since we decided to move to Leesburg and I found Flow Yoga online. That should be almost 170 classes, give or take a few...I'm sure I'll miss a couple but I might double up once or twice (there's a deep stretch class Thursday nights after Flow 1 that I might give a try at some point) which works out to about $3 a class. I love it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New desk!

The entire time we've been married, M has always had a desk. I never had that much of a need of one in grad school (can't do lab work from home) and basically wrote my thesis on the couch when I wasn't in my Hopkins office. I can count on maybe one hand, definitely two, the number of times I've worked from home in my tech transfer career - which was really too bad since I can do at least 80% of the work from pretty much anywhere (a blessing and a curse?)

Well, I'm in the process of getting a teleworking agreement approved so I can work from home on Fridays. No more snow days for me, but I think it's a pretty good trade-off to get an extra 1.5 hours each week of not commuting. Plus I'll be able to have lunch with M.

Point being, I was finally in need of a regular desk. I got my office chair cheap when we were at Office Depot (discontinued, bought the floor model for $49) but it languished in the corner for the past few weeks. So I ordered a small one (only $35!) and it was delivered today. We put it together tonight, and I am writing this post from the new desk! It's not huge like M's corner piece, but on the other hand I could drag it back into the office single-handedly. I think it'll work just fine.

We also finally have a shelf and an extra towel bar in the master bathroom, hooray! On to curtain rods next...

We also had one box of our Groupon wine order (6 bottles - two chenin blancs, a chardonnay, a monastrell, a carménère, and a syrah) arrive today (M went and picked it up) and I ordered a Jade Harmony yoga mat that came yesterday. I was looking at the yogitoes mat towel (because the new studio keeps the temp at 85-90 degrees and I actually sweat), but it was just as expensive as a new mat - and since mine was starting to pit a little anyways, I decided to look at the Jade. It normally retails for $65 but I got it for $44, woo! I took the ashtanga class today with the new mat - it's way grippier than the old one! I also didn't really mind the rubber smell - some people said it was so overwhelming that after 2 or 3 weeks it was still giving them headaches. I left it unrolled overnight to air out a bit last night, and it was in my car all day, but I didn't think it was that bad by the time 6pm rolled around. I could notice it but it certainly wasn't offensive or anything (I actually thought it smelled a little fruity, even). The color is a lot darker than I had expected though - I ordered in 'orchid' and it looks like a medium pink/fuchsia online but it's a actually very deep reddish plum color. I'm happy with it though.

We have the carpet installation on Friday (royal we, meaning I), going to Let's Dish Saturday morning and then to KG for mom's birthday dinner Saturday afternoon, and meeting with Eunice to finalize putting our condo on the market on Sunday. And then it's a short week because we go to Boston for Steve's wedding next weekend! Jim's birthday dinner the weekend after that (massive quantities of meat), then Easter, then Bauers, then the Frederick 5K, then Emily and trip to the Melting Pot for Carly's birthday! Whew!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prosciutto

Watching Iron Chef - Battle Prosciutto. Mmmmmmm. What I wouldn't give to be a judge on that episode! It turns out there is a highly-recommended wood-fired pizza place in downtown Leesburg that offers prosciutto as a pizza topping - I'm thinking totally yum with spinach and mushrooms.

Took an ashtanga class today, by accident. I was signed up for Flow 2, but there was a substitute teacher who usually teaches the ashtanga classes, and she led the ashtanga sequence instead of a regular flow class. It was tough, and I had to do a lot of modifications, but I made it through. I told her afterward that it was my first ashtanga class, and she laughed and said "Is it going to be your last?" and I laughed and said I didn't think so. I had planned on trying it anyways but I was kind of nervous about the intensity level so maybe it's a good thing that I just got thrown into it, as it were.

We had our carpet measurement on Saturday, and I think they're supposed to call tomorrow to schedule the installation. I am hoping it can be done on Thursday. We are due to meet with our real estate agent on Sunday to submit all the paperwork and do listing photos!

Planning on 3-4 more yoga classes this week. None Friday, because I didn't like the Friday evening class, and none Saturday because I have my Ashburn Let's Dish appointment and then birthday dinner for mom. New 6-month membership should start on Sunday, and I'm super excited because there's a yin class Sunday after Flow 2!

I have my first seedling poking through (oregano)!! Planting lettuce sometime this week, after it stops freezing at night (Tuesday or Wednesday?) Tomatoes probably won't be for a few more weeks yet.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Good thing we're not having dinner

Miss Manners says that money and religion are inappropriate topics for dinner. Here's one of each.

Seven myths about universalism - I have been doing a lot of reading and research on this, and this succinctly covers a lot of the basic misconceptions.

Down and out on $250,000 a year? This is complete and utter bullshit. I don't swear much on my blog, but this truly truly disgusted me. ANYONE can be "broke" if their expenses exceed their income, tax policy be damned. Just because you've accustomed yourself to a certain standard of living that you "need" doesn't mean that we should be setting tax policy on that basis. I have no sympathy for the hypothetical family (who I'm sure are probably all too real) that has more after-tax income than we have pre-tax, and I'm sure people who are making it with a tenth of that income are even less sympathetic to their faux plight.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Does anything rhyme with Thursday?

Matt and I both worked from home today, so we could go over to the DMV at around 10:30. My thinking was that 10:30 was late enough in the morning that the people who went before work had already finished up, but before people who were coming on their lunch break started to trickle in. Lo and behold, I was right - we went right up to the document checker and got numbers, which were immediately called. But it was not to be that easy, oh no.

DMV: Have you had a Virginia drivers license previously?
Me: Not since 2003.
DMV: And you've been married since then...
Me: Yes.
DMV: You're still showing up in our system under your maiden name, and I need to see proof of a legal name change in order to process you.

Funny, I thought I did that EIGHT YEARS AGO when I legally changed my name in Maryland. I was very annoyed, because a) I had to go back to the apartment to get our marriage certificate, and b) I had carefully researched the documents we needed (and even filled out the forms ahead of time) and it said you only needed a marriage certificate if you were changing your name. Which I did, EIGHT YEARS AGO.

And I was also annoyed because c) by the time I got back, it was after 11 and I had to wait another 15-20 minutes for my new number to be called. Because the lunch crowd had started to show up, exactly as I had predicted.

Side note: When I got to the waiting area, some guy hit on me. He said "You can sit next to me if you want!" but I must have had a soul-withering look on my face because he immediately followed it up by saying "I was just kidding..."

So we finally got both of our drivers license applications in, and I did both of the car titles and registrations (they couldn't process M's until I did my drivers license). I will have AGTHORN Virginia plates shortly! All that's left is to pay personal property taxes and get county stickers, and then I think we are done with everything documentation-wise.

I finished work, unpacked a few more things, and then went to yoga. I LOVE that the studio is only 5 minutes away instead of half an hour. When I got home, we hung shelves/rods in the bedroom closet so I can finish putting all my clothes away. Had dinner and a bottle of chardonnay in honor of Julie's 21st birthday (!)

Work tomorrow, and then we are back in Gaithersburg on Saturday for the carpet measurement. We'll be doing some cleaning in the kitchen/bathroom too, and Matt is going to take our old license plates back to the MVA and return a few things to Lowe's (I bought too many closet shelves). Sunday we *don't*have*to*go*to*Gaithersburg*!!

I finally ordered a desk for the office - it's just a small one, but it was only $35 and all I have is a laptop so I'm pretty sure it'll work for me:
If not, well, it was only $35... I also decided to order a new Jade Harmony yoga mat, since my old one was starting to pill and leave little pieces on me occasionally. Both should be here on Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Groceries

Just deleted my peapod link, sniff. I had checked a while ago and the peapod website listed "Loudoun County" as one of their delivery areas. Apparently that only means PARTS of Loudoun County, because I tried to place an order to have some stuff delivered the day after we moved, and it told me there was no delivery to that zip code. I contacted customer service to confirm, but there was no hope.

I went to the Bloom last night, which is about a mile away from our house. Amazingly I didn't want to kill anyone at any point during the trip, and I actually left smiling. Other than having to carry the bags from the car to the house, it was survivable. And Bloom currently offers online shop and pickup from their Charlotte store, so maybe that will reach VA eventually. In the meantime, there's a way to sign up for a scanner so you can scan and bag your groceries as you go through the store, and then you just pay at the checkout line. I gotta figure out how to get in on that!

At least there's still Let's Dish...we might starve otherwise.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Final stats

Speaking of $ per X, I finished my 3-month membership pass to Sol Yoga yesterday. I took exactly 50 classes. Not bad, despite the fact that I missed at least five classes over two weeks because of being sick etc. After subtracting out the $5 classes, I ended up with an average of $6.20 for the rest. Pretty awesome.

I took my first class at Flow Yoga in Leesburg tonight on the 10-day-10-dollar new student special pass. I really liked it! Assuming the rest of the teachers/classes are as good, I'll definitely be getting a membership in April.

I started my herbs tonight! Very excited about this - I hope they grow!!

Excellent article: This is Why You Can't Make Money in the Stock Market. Hint - it's not the market, it's you. I left a comment about risk - they have a guy quoted at the beginning that moved into cash after the market drop in 2008, and is just now getting back into stocks after nearly a 100% increase from market lows. But the other kicker is that he's 48, and despite being a self-described "skittish investor" he bought back in at 85% stocks. Ugh.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In vino veritas

Several months ago, we purchased two separate Groupons for online wine retailers, each offering $75 of merchandise for only $25. We couldn't use them until we moved to VA, since MD doesn't allow alcohol to be shipped.

We just ordered 18 bottles of wine (9 red and 9 white) for a total out-of-pocket cost of $8.08 per bottle :-) And our wine rack is being delivered tomorrow!

There are also about a dozen wineries within a 15-mile radius. I predict our wine glasses will be getting a lot more use.

100% painted

We need to do more unpacking. It's hard when we've still been focusing on the condo so much though. We did get the kitchen unpacked Tuesday night though, so that helped.

We spent all day Saturday back in Gaithersburg. Got there around 10:30am and started painting. Jim came over around 2 to help. He and M made a trip to the dump with the rest of the stuff we didn't want at 4:30, and then we painted for another 2 hours after that. Amazingly, we got the whole thing finished Saturday - though we did make an executive decision that the baseboard trim and closet doors in the guest bedroom didn't need to be repainted. We went to Longhorn Steakhouse in Germantown for dinner and got some fairly excellent steaks - filet with mushrooms for me, ribeyes for the guys. Got home after a 13 hour day (including dinner and driving).

Sore today, but not as bad as last weekend. Probably because I only worked one day instead of three.
We're going to see 'The Adjustment Bureau' in a couple hours, then I'm heading to Frederick for yoga, and then back to Gaithersburg to pick out the new carpet at the local Home Depot. We have the measurement scheduled for next Saturday, which I guess means it's not going to be installed that day (boo) but we'll figure it out. We are also going to get our new microwave and toaster oven today, and I ordered the kitty condo and a few small things for the kitchen from amazon. Pretty sure the only thing left to buy after that will be a mattress set for the guest bedroom, and maybe some curtains (I have to see how much of what we already own will work with the windows we have now). Oh and my desk. I keep forgetting about that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I need a new body

Moved on Saturday. Went to Home Depot Sunday afternoon, then back to the condo to start cleaning. Painted trim on Monday. Today, I feel like I can barely walk. Everything hurts....

We get to play the "What box was that in?" at least six times a day. I still haven't touched the kitchen, but I'm going to have to soon because we can't afford to keep eating out every night.

Time to somehow get myself off to work now. Oy vey.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sweet sweet Virginia always keeps an open door

And I'm back! Back to Virginia, back online. The move went as well as could be expected. Got the truck around 10:15 yesterday morning, and peeps were all here by about 11-ish. It took us about four hours to load everything onto the moving truck. We drove over to the new place (M drove the truck on the toll road with Phil following driving M's car; I led the caravan down Georgetown Pike with Stacy hauling our bikes and MG following to keep an eye on the bikes). It only took us about 2 hours to unload everything. The guys putzed around on M's computer in the office while Stacy and I assembled our new bed headboard and platform bed frame (I still need to do the drawers) and then we went to Red Hot and Blue for dinner. M and I came back after dinner and took showers, watched Fringe from the new DVR, and went to bed around 11:30.

Pretty stiff when I woke up this morning. My cell phone said 9:30 when I woke up (I'm really convinced that I do need 9 hours of sleep a night; the problem is getting it during the week!!) I went to Starbucks and when I got back in the car, the clock said 9:00 and I was sooooo confused for a minute or two before I remembered that last night was DST.

More furniture assembly and a trip to Home Depot today, and then I head back to the condo to start cleaning and prepping/painting. Decided to nix yoga this afternoon, as I'm not even sure I could do a downward-facing dog right now.

The cats seem to be warming up to the new place. They certainly enjoy having all these boxes around to climb in and on and under!

Friday, March 11, 2011

OMG we're moving TOMORROW

Technically it IS Friday...though I still have to go to bed first (two 'sleeps' and one 'work' left!)

M took the cats, litter box, TV, computer, and PS3 to the apartment tonight. I stayed home and packed up the linen closet (5 big bags plus the two sleeping bags), a big box of stuff from the living room, a box of my shoes, and about 5 more boxes from the kitchen. I'm pretty sure I will still need three four five more boxes to finish that off.

Other than that, it's basically just clothes and random stuff - extension cords, slippers, stuff in the bathroom. We always end up with two or three boxes of random stuff that just gets thrown together at the last minute. I know this because I actually UNPACKED one from the last move and sorted through it about three weeks ago...

I have also found approximately 4,000 pens while packing and cleaning.

Okay off to bed. Peace out homies - next time I blog, I'll be a Virginian.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It's strongly worded e-mail time

1) Kmart.com customer service told me that UPS was supposed to pick up the damaged desk sometime between Monday and Wednesday of this week. They hadn't picked up by the end of the day today, so I called again. Turns out they meant to say "Someone will contact you by Friday to ARRANGE for pickup." And since UPS doesn't pickup on weekends, that means we have to leave the desk behind. I asked if I could at least bring it to a store and have it picked up from there, but was told no, it's an online-only item so the store won't take it.

2) I had called on Monday to cancel the other desk, because it was obviously not going to arrive before we moved. I got a shipping confirmation today for said canceled desk. Now I'm going to have to drive back to Gaithersburg to pick it up next week.

Sent an e-mail to Imran Jooma, the Senior Vice President of e-Commerce, letting him know I'm very disappointed in the outcome of all of this and don't plan on buying anything online from Kmart again.

Monday, March 07, 2011

But on the other hand

In addition to the herb garden, I am going to attempt baby lettuces and cherry tomatoes - did a little googling and both are easy to grow in small spaces. So I'm thinking I will end up with three containers - two larger rectangular ones (one for the lettuces and one for the herbs) and a big round pot for the cherry tomatoes. I am looking forward to some yummy salads this summer, and maybe some homemade pasta sauce?

But first, I have to get this kitchen packed...

Disappointed

We ordered two desks (M's computer desk and a folding desk that we actually planned to use in the kitchen to hold the microwave etc) and two bookcases from Kmart.com. We got M's desk and the bookcases a week ago, and took them out to the apartment on Saturday to assemble. It turned out that the top of the desk was cracked (!?!) I called a local Kmart to see if they had one in stock that we could exchange, but they said it's an online-only item and we'd have to call customer service. M assembled the bookcases while he was there.

So I called customer service Saturday afternoon and explained the situation. She processes the return, and asks if I wanted a replacement or a refund. I explain that I only want a replacement if she can guarantee that it would be here by Thursday. She says she can't guarantee it (note: Kmart.com totally offers expedited 2-day and overnight shipping...) so I tell her to do a refund instead. UPS is supposed to pick up the return tomorrow or Wednesday.

Then today, I realize that while our delivery estimate on the order was 3/4-3/8, I don't even have a shipping confirmation or tracking number for the other desk. I popped a quick e-mail to customer service to find out the status of the item, and they e-mail me back a few hours later: "I apologize for the delay you've experienced. I would like to inform you that it takes up to 28 business days for the item to get processed."

28 business days?? That's nearly 6 weeks!! Here I thought three weeks would be plenty of time, especially when I was expecting to have all my items at least 4 days before the move. So I had to call customer service again and tell them to cancel the item, since apparently it might not ship until APRIL. (It does say online that the item is in stock and available for ground shipping, so I don't even know what the problem is).

I also told them to cancel my free trial of their Shipvantage service (which I guess wants to be like Amazon Prime, but based on the service I got I wouldn't pay a dime for it, much less $79). After the return and the cancellation, they got $187 less from me. And I don't plan on ordering anything else from Kmart.com again.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

T-minus 7 days

Holy crap, we're moving in a week. I still have so much to do!! Got about 75% of my clothes packed tonight (four boxes and two bags) plus some random stuff in the living room (vases and silk flowers - another box and bag) and the random things of Christmas stuff we've accumulated over the years. Three more bags of trash going out tonight, and both of my donate piles are getting precariously high.

Still haven't touched the kitchen. At the rate I'm going, I'll be packing it at 1am next Saturday...

Better get to bed soon; have a busy weekend planned! Making another 2-car apartment run in the morning, then I have to leave Leesburg by noon to get to my 1pm yoga workshop. Back here around 3:30pm to run a few quick errands, finish class assignments, and get ready for dinner at 7pm. NOT at Buca (sniff) - I thought I made an online reservation a few days ago but apparently they sent me an e-mail, which I only saw at about 9pm tonight because it went to my spam folder, that they were completely booked for Saturday. Commence last minute scramble to get in touch with Fed and figure out a new game plan, which turned out to be Ziki's at the same time. I guess it's better than showing up at the restaurant and finding out we had no reservation.

Sunday is our last day at MHBC, afternoon yoga with MG and L, and then the night I've been waiting for - Chopped All Stars!! I actually wrote to Food Network over a year ago and suggested that they have Food Network celebrities compete on Chopped. I don't know if I was the specific catalyst for the 5-episode series, but I am beyond thrilled that they're doing it!!

(Update at 2am - I was so tired an hour ago, and now I can't sleep at all...)