Monday, July 17, 2017

42. Done - Ten New Tripadvisor Reviews

Since I downloaded the TripAdvisor app to my phone, I've discovered it is much easier to get some reviews done. For as much as I use TripAdvisor to plan my vacations, I am going to recommit to reviewing spots.

At any rate, I was able to put together TEN reviews just yesterday. Some were longer and more detailed than others, but I think even a short paragraph can help people out a lot while deciding where to stay and eat.

I wanted to review a few other places, like our rental Beach at Your Feet  in Bargara, or the babysitting services and rental companies we used. I guess I'll have to set them up as new places to review. But that seems like a lot of work!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A total update


This update is long overdue!

Doing Good
Send Aunt Nancy thank you gift
I need to do this. I think that I will make her a card and send her some caramels with some other stuff.

Write a letter to the editor
I actually had composed one of these several months ago. I just re-read it, and I think I am going to make some edits and send it in. One of these days, anyway.

Participate in a Food Stamp Challenge each year during 101 list
I think that the local version of this happened during March. Hunger Action Month happens in September, so I am planning to participate for a week during that month (most likely Monday-Friday). It’s difficult to get my whole family (aka my husband) involved, but I will do my best.

Be a relentlessly positive person for an entire week
I’ve been a little bit better about this. I think to do this, I’m going to have to redouble my efforts in meditation and also I think I’ll need to take a break from the news.

Draft MGAS administration policy
This is getting a total makeover. Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of thinking of how my dad would have wanted to continue his legacy. I think I’m doing a pretty good job on my own and I also am donating to a lot of causes that I think that he would support. The arts council has changed a lot from its original mission, and I don’t know that he would want me to devote my time and energy in that way.

Find a cause that I love and donate money or volunteer my time
I’ve been doing a lot more of this, but it seems that I am giving money to everyone these days. The organizations currently getting my money are Hunger/Food Pantries, NPR, International Rescue Committee, and Planned Parenthood. I need to make some more contributions to VGIF as well. I’m feeling pulled in a lot of directions these days and can’t seem to focus on any one thing. I’ve been asked to become a board member for Friends of the Library and I think I will probably commit to that.

Spend a day volunteering – Habitat for Humanity, Soup Kitchen, etc.
I still haven’t done this and want to do it.

Pay it forward – pay for a stranger’s coffee or lunch at least once per year of 101 (2 of 3 complete)

I do this fairly regularly, although it’s typically in line at Dunkin Donuts. I think I need to up my game by paying for a stranger’s lunch while I’m out at an actual restaurant.

Send at least three birthday cards during 101 list
I’m failing miserably at this! Maybe I should do them all at once and get them all addressed and ready to mail so that I can mark it off.

Send a positive message in a bottle
I wanted to do this in Australia and never did it. I go back and forth with trying to decide what to write and whether I should keep it anonymous.

Self-Improvement
Decide if I'm going to get my Bachelors in Business Admin and sign up to do it
I’m close to doing this. I ordered my transcripts from AACC and am meeting with a counselor at Chesapeake next week to discuss how I should best proceed. I also need to meet with a counselor at UMUC. I want to do it as cheap and quick as possible. UMUC has some programs where you can receive credit for prior learning on the job as well as credit while you’re working, as long as you work on projects that relate to what you are learning. It’s probably more difficult than the actual classroom, but however I can earn credits and that degree!

Participate in a Lady Caroline’s Players Production
If/when I begin taking classes again, I won’t have time for this.

Read at least three non-fiction books (not Kindle or audiobook) during 101 list
I’ve read one so far. I have a work conference in August and Jay and I are going to Charleston/Savannah in December, so I should be able to knock another one out then.

Take a one month Facebook vacation
This was one of the best things I ever did. It reset my obsession with constantly checking Facebook and not being present. Recently I reinstalled the app on my cell phone so that I could more easily update/share my Australia pictures, but I’ve noticed that it is taking up more and more of my time. So I think I’m going to delete it again soon. I have an app for Groups and Messenger, which are my two main uses.

Try out toastmasters
I’d still like to do this at least once. I need to hone my public speaking and business speaking skills.

Pass my Series 66
Done! First try I was 4 questions short. Second try, I scored an 80. My boss told me that I studied too hard the second time.

Take a day off of work, get a massage, and enjoy a quiet day by myself
I think that this is going to get booted to next year.

Determine cost basis for my two lonely MTB shares
Done, should have a nice loss for next year’s taxes.

Get a new headshot
I just mentioned to my boss that we should put out a press release about our new hire and get headshots done for all of us. It’s on our list, so it will get done eventually.

Update my LinkedIn profile
I’ll take care of that at the same time I update my headshot.

Send in a secret to Postsecret
Done, and it didn’t get posted. But that’s okay.

Family Life
Go ballroom dancing
Need to do this! Maybe it will be one of our date night excursions.

Meet up with my cousin Emily - either in Boise or elsewhere
This might happen next year. We are thinking of checking out some of the National Parks in the Pacific Northwest or Yellowstone, which could make a visit doable.

Go camping (completed, I think)
Went camping in 100 degree heat last July. I’d like to take Mark camping with us next time, though.

Go fishing
Need to do this.

Go crabbing
Need to do this.

Make Jay a new mug

Need to do this.

Take Markface on a glass bottom boat ride
I thought we’d do this in Australia, but never had a good opportunity.

Decide on our next vehicle for when Roxie (Civic with 300k+ miles) finally dies
We might get another Subaru Forester. We’ll see, though. Jay wants an SUV with a tow hitch for when his truck dies.

Take Markface to the National Zoo
I should really do this. Maybe in the fall when it cools down.

Take Markface to at least three sessions of swimming lessons during list
I should also really do this.

Get Loki more training – whether private or a public obedience class
Need to do this too.

Visit my second cousin Linda in NC, spend at least a weekend there
Still haven’t planned this. Maybe we’ll do it as part of an Outer Banks trip.

Come up with a food storage plan/supplies for our family for 2+ weeks
We pretty much already have this covered. We have plenty of canned goods, cereal, bottled water, rice, beans, etc. to survive for at least two weeks during an emergency.

Have an emergency plan for Zombie Apocalypse or Weather Event
We do need to come up with this.

Come up with a regular date night plan
We planned to do these at least once a month, but we haven’t stuck to a schedule or anything. We had plenty of nights/lunches/dives out on vacation. Need to get back into the groove of this.

Travel

Use our timeshare at a sister resort (not in the DR or Mexico)
I think we will try to do this near a National Park next year, or maybe another localish trip. Our timeshare switched to using RCI exclusively, which I haven’t quite figured out yet. I know that I have to deposit weeks and it’s hard to understand.

Spend a weekend in NYC
Still need to do this.

Plan a visit to South America
I think 2019 might be our year to visit there… although we’ll see. Could do Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, although I think I’d rather do that on a liveaboard. My sister in law said that she wanted in on our next trip to Australia/New Zealand, so we’ll need to save $$ and she wants to see both. So I am thinking that I’m going to try to get off for at least 3 weeks again. This time we’ll do New Zealand first so that we’ll be more acclimated to the time change when we get to Australia. I’m thinking we’ll do the North Island for 4 days, South Island for 4 days (hopefully do a shark dive!), then hop over to Australia for two weeks of less intensive travel. Probably stay in Bargara again – it was a great spot.

Go on a last-minute vacation
I’m such a planner that this is going to be hard to do. Maybe I’ll pick a week to go somewhere and we won’t decide until two weeks or a month out.

Take a two-week vacation
Done! Although Australia is tough to do in two weeks because of the time difference.

Write 10 new reviews on TripAdvisor (1 of 10 as of 11/15/16)
I need to write some more!

Go on a 3 (or more) night girl's trip and act totally ridiculous at least one night
I need to plan this.

Go on a book club trip (Debbie must be there!!)
We definitely need to plan this. There was a discussion of doing a weekend at Deep Creek… I think I’m going to try bringing it up again at the next book club.

Spend a fun weekend in DC with Angela and Tiffany
Still need to do this!

Visit at least five UNESCO world Heritage Sites during 101 list
Two out of five. Chichen Itza and the Great Barrier Reef.

Blog about each UNESCO site I visit
Failing at this one!

Plan a trip to the Outer Banks
I should start on this one. Maybe we’ll do the OBX as one of our trips next year. As I previously mentioned, we are going to try to see more of the US next year. I think the outer banks is a great place for kids too. I took Mark to Cape Henlopen State Park this morning and it was just so crowded and not fun! It really made me miss Bargara and our gorgeous deserted beach.

Fun, Games, Art, Adventure

Failing miserably at these, I’ll only note the ones that I’ve done.
Attend a murder mystery dinner theatre
Go whitewater rafting (preferably Class V)
Re-learn how to play Chess
See a Broadway show
Go on a sailing adventure (take a sailing course if possible, even for one day)

Watch the Eurovision awards in 2017 and host an impromptu Eurovision party in OZ
Eurovision Awards were super lame this year, but we did throw a little party!

Do an Escape Room adventure
Attend a Plein Air event (bonus points for participating)
Decide on my next tattoo – location and art

Scuba Diving

Obtain a new PADI certification- Zombie Apocalypse Diver or Nitrox - anything!
I just realized that I did this. I got my Aquarium Diver certification, although I think that Nitrox would be way more useful. I want my Nitrox and Rescue Diver next.

Go diving in the Baltimore National Aquarium
Did this in April. It was cool to do once, and I’d probably do it in Disney or Dubai, but never again in Baltimore unless I was desperate to get in the water.

Dive a wreck
Not yet, maybe when we go to OBX.

Get to 50 dives (20 @ time of list) by the end of this 101 list – (current tally 34)
Pretty sure that I’m on track to get to this number. I just need to make sure that we get to Dutch Springs or Lake Phoenix this year.

Try out diving at Dutch Springs
We’ll try to get this done in September or October I think.

Fitness / Health

Hike Old Rag
Maybe next year? Not sure when I’m going to do this unless it’s a weekend away for me and Jay. No chance I’m taking Mark on a 10 mile hike.

Commit to using Lose It regularly for at least 3 months
I did this! I think I only lost 5 pounds, but I did track religiously. About to start exercising again.

Go one week without coffee and/or caffeine
Not sure when/if I will ever do this!

Go one week without eating anything sweet or using sugar
Did this and I now mostly drink my coffee using only creamer.

Food, Eating, and Cooking
Failing at most of these!

Make another batch of wine
Make Maryland Beaten Biscuits
Make at least six attempts to duplicate Sara’s favorite pasta sauce

Have brunch at Miss Shirley’s
Did this after my aquarium dive!

Dinner with Jay at Charleston in Baltimore (tasting menu w/ wine)
Learn how to make croissants
Make rainbow cookies
Make fresh lemonade from scratch

House, Home, Garden

Have a yard sale (to clean up house)
Need to do this, although I may change this to yard sale/stuff to auction. Eventually we’ll sell our house and we’ll need to clean out the attic. We’ve gotten rid of a LOT of stuff already.

Can tomatoes or sauce from my garden
My tomatoes are finally getting ripe… I am going to try my hand at spaghetti sauce one day soon!

Get rid of blue couch
Done!

Rearrange furniture in reading nook and downstairs
I’ll mark this done. Downstairs furniture is good, and if we’re moving in the next few years I don’t really need/want anything for that space anyway.

Successfully grow a plant from seed
Maybe for the fall?

Grow herbs inside
One day!

Help Jay design & assemble outdoor fire pit area
This is half-done. We now have a fire pit, but we still need to dig up the area around it and fill it in with stones.

Frame trip photos and decide where to hang them in our house
This is done!

Print and frame pics of at least ten new friends/family to hang in hallway
I need to redo this. Had printed some out, but then got the wrong size.

Buy a lawnmower & fire our lawn guy
Done! I’m sure that it has already saved us hundreds of dollars. That guy has been ripping us off for years.

Build a backyard deck
It’s allegedly happening soon.

Decide if we want to sell our house
Yes, I am 90% sure we will. We even looked at a house for sale last week! We want something newish and might even end up building it so that it meets all of our picky requirements.

Plant annuals at least once during 101 list
Done! I planted some petunias out front and they look lovely.

Hatch chicks from eggs – make this the start of my RIR & EE flock
Not sure if I will ever do this. I am kind of tired of having so many chickens and having Loki attack them.

Find a place that will butcher our chickens for us
Still need to do this.

Research solar panels or a generator for power loss
Will probably do this for our next place.

Clean out closets in all bedrooms
I’ll mark this done.

Make a donation at least once a year to Purple Heart (2 of 3)
I’m constantly making these to Purple Heart and NFB.

Miscellaneous

Make a filing system for all of my important documents
Done! Thank you Magical Art of Tidying.

Spread some of Dad at Martinak State Park (completed)
Done, I think he would like where I chose.

Spread some of Dad at Adkins Arboretum
I think I’ll do this when it cools off a bit.

Visit Kathy's store Bead Soup
For Christmas shopping!

Enter something in the county or state fair
I printed out the catalog so I could do this. Still might!

Get some mats so that I can make my Etsy listings look prettier
Need to get this done.

Buy a new DSLR
I don’t think I’m going to do this after all. I don’t use the one that I have enough to warrant it.

Post at least 20 updates a year to blog/101 list
I’m failing miserably at this. I will have to get back to regular posting, even if it’s just a photo.

Make a new 101 list by the end of old one
Doubt I’ll do this, but you never know!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Long Overdue Update


Well life apparently got a little bit busy, didn’t it? Not to worry, I am still making progress on my 101 list. Even if I’m not making giant changes or losing large amounts of weight, I continue to move forward. I’ve been working on this post for two months now.
Here are some updates!

6.  Find a cause that I love and donate money or volunteer my time

This Presidency has certainly prompted me to some activism, as well as making donations to organizations that I believe in. Pretty much everything breaks my heart these days – whether its hunger (especially childhood hunger), xenophobia, racism, gun violence, environmental issues, and of course women’s issues. My girlfriend and I marched in the DC Women’s March on January 21st and it was an amazing experience. I also did the March for Science on April 22nd.

11.          Decide if I'm going to get my Bachelors in Business Admin and sign up to do it

I think I am closer to doing this. Studying for my 66 was so time consuming that it made me realize that I can probably take on one class a semester and maybe I can even CLEP out of some classes. Within the next year, I’m going to go visit a counselor if possible and talk to them about my options.

13.          Read at least three non-fiction books (not Kindle or audiobook) during 101 list

One down, two to go. I read The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber. I’m now on to Building Resilience in Children and Teens. Apparently, I have become my father. I’ve started meditating for at least five minutes each morning and evening, and I’ve started listening to some personal improvement books.

16.          Pass my Series 66

I passed it on my second try. I was 4 questions short on my first attempt, which was devastating. I passed with an 80% on the second go, so I was pretty pleased with myself. After my 80, I felt like I could take on the world – or maybe a fancy designation.

17.          Take a day off of work, get a massage, and enjoy a quiet day by myself

I planned to do this after passing my Series 66, but there was just too much going on. This year!

18.          Determine cost basis for my two lonely MTB shares

Done and more importantly, SOLD. That Wilmington Trust / M&T Bank merger was so awful that my cost basis ended up being $713.23 a share. So next year I should have a nice capital loss to report.

34.          Come up with a food storage plan/supplies for our family for 2+ weeks

I started this conversation and haven’t really continued it. We started getting a water delivery service to our house and I currently have 20 gallons of water on hand. I’d like to get a few extra bottles, but it’s a start. I’d like to get some extra cereal and more protein, but we have a pretty good supply of rice and beans and peanut butter.


46.          Visit at least five UNESCO world Heritage Sites during 101 list (1 / 5)

One down, four to go. I need to blog about Chichen Itza. We are going to dive with the Lady Musgrave Experience to the Southern Great Barrier reef in a few weeks, so that will be #2. If we have time, we may also go to Fraser Island.

59.          Go diving in the Baltimore National Aquarium

Done! Went on April 8th. I had the worst dive buddy ever – he disturbed nesting fish and he ditched me. But it was the aquarium, so I just did without a buddy for most of the dive.



70.          Have brunch at Miss Shirley’s

Went there the morning after diving at the aquarium. I had their “Shirley’s Affair with Oscar”, allegedly the best breakfast in Maryland. It was good, but I think I would go with something else the next time, especially for the price tag. Jay’s chicken and waffles were amazing. The service was fantastic and surprisingly fast for such a crowded place. I will be back for sure.

75.          Have a yard sale (to clean up house)

We probably don’t even have enough stuff left to get rid of at a yard sale.

78.          Rearrange furniture in reading nook and downstairs

Downstairs is all in good order now… the reading nook we haven’t quite figured out, but I’d really like a chaise lounge to go up there. Only issue is that the cats would probably destroy it.

81.          Help Jay design & assemble outdoor fire pit area

This is 90% done. The fire pit itself has 3.75 rows of pavers arranged, but some of the last row were cracked and we have to get some more. We also need to fill in the area around with stones or more pavers. This is the summer that we’re spending more time making the outdoor living area nicer.

83.          Print and frame pics of at least ten new friends/family to hang in hallway

I did this, but then ended up having the wrong size frames. So I’ll need to pick those up at some point.

85.          Build a backyard deck

This will be done sometime this year. We thought that it would get done in the early spring, but it seems that we went from winter straight to summer.

91.          Clean out closets in all bedrooms

This is mostly done… my closet looks amazing and Jay has moved his hanging clothes to another room. I took care of Mark’s room when I was in my major decluttering phase. The only closet remaining that needs to be cleaned out only has a few things in it, but they are BIG things.

92.          Make a donation at least once a year to Purple Heart (2 of 3)

I made one in 2016 and have made one in 2017. I also donated to the National Federation for the Blind, who have a higher score on Charity Navigator.

93.          Make a filing system for all of my important documents

Done! I read (er, listened) to Marie Kondo’s The Magical Art of Tidying and have employed a lot of her methods to my life, including filing (her version of filing is basically throwing everything important in the same place). I also purchased a new fireproof safe that now houses all of our important documents like our passports and birth certificates.


That’s all for now! We are off to Australia in a week and a half, and I am wondering what the hell I was thinking by taking a terrible two year old on a trip to the other side of the world.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Progress

16.          Pass my Series 66

This is in full swing right now. I have a little less than three weeks to go until my test and to be honest, I'm not feeling very confident. There are a lot of questions that don't apply to my job and that honestly most people in my profession would have no need to know. Why do I need to know about Canadian Broker-Dealers? Oh well, I will keep plugging along. Right now I'm scoring right around 70% on my practice tests and the passing score is 75%, so I want to be in the 85%-90% range in the next two weeks. I feel like this has been much more difficult than my Series 7. Probably because I have more responsibilities at work and a kid now. From some of the posts I've seen of others that have taken the test, their jobs let them basically just study for the test full time. I'm working basically 48-50 hours a week while taking care of my toddler (as a "single" parent 2 or 3 days a week, might I add) and studying. It sucks. It is somewhat of a first world problem, at least I have a job and a supportive husband when he's home, but still.

32.          Get Loki more training – whether private or a public obedience class

This is coming along, although we are doing the training ourselves. We have finally found a good combination to get him to stop pulling on his leash and acting like an asshole at least part of the time.

36.          Come up with a regular date night plan

We are planning to say no to most/any wedding invitations next year, unless they are for close friends. The plan is to go out for dinner once a month by ourselves. We went to Pascal's Chophouse in Easton a few weeks ago and it was amazing! We are going to Cancun next month and I cannot wait to relax. I'm going to miss my kiddo, but it will be nice to get away.

66.          Go one week without eating anything sweet or using sugar

My sugar-free week went great! I am trying to adhere to not adding any extra sugar and am trying to stay away from sweets, although it's difficult at times. I stopped using flavored creamer in my coffee, which has helped reduce my daily carb intake and not start that vicious cycle of wanting more and more carbs. I also lost 2.5 pounds that week! In the past month, I have had one or two divine vanilla lattes and did flavored creamer once. Now it seems like a decadent treat instead of the norm and I appreciate those rare delicious opportunities!

64.          Commit to using Lose It regularly for at least 3 months (currently 108 day streak)

I did it! I don't know that I'll always use it, but research has shown that keeping a food diary helps most people be successful at losing weight and also keeping the weight off. Once I am happy with where I land weight-wise, I think I will still do my best to keep a food journal, even if I'm not logging in something like Lose It. My weight has been up and down and fluctuated somewhat over the past three months, but I am down about five pounds from three months ago. It's not drastic, but I need to keep in mind that what I am focused on is healthier habits and changing my eating habits FOR LIFE. I've lost ten pounds since April and I will have ten more pounds to go until I'm considered within a "normal" BMI.  

81.          Help Jay design & assemble outdoor fire pit area

This is in the works. We are hoping to at least have the fire pit constructed sometime this month. We would like to have a patio area around the fire pit with pavers or bricks, but to save on expenses will probably have the area lined with pavers and filled in with gravel for now. Next spring or summer we will likely build a deck.


Next up:
12.          Participate in a Lady Caroline’s Players Production - maybe! Auditions will be held in either late November or early December
13.          Read at least three non-fiction books (not Kindle or audiobook) during 101 list - I'm hoping to tackle one of these on vacation next month
 31.          Take Markface to at least three sessions of swimming lessons during list - I need to take care of this so that we have another session or two completed before we travel to OZ so that Mark is more confident in the water

49.          Attend a murder mystery dinner theatre - See #12 - I might even be a participant in the show

Monday, October 10, 2016

Updates in Progress

Here is what I'm working on currently: 

16.          Pass my Series 66

I've signed up to take my Series 66 test. I'm slightly freaking out about finding the time to study for it. I'm taking it on November 28th, after the long Thanksgiving weekend. I'm hoping that the four day weekend gives me a little extra prep time and gets me in the right frame of mind before the test. Since I'm traveling to Cancun less than two weeks later, I think that will be a nice time to celebrate passing my test. The Power of Positive thinking - I WILL pass it.

29.          Decide on our next vehicle for when Roxie (Civic with 300k+ miles) finally dies

This might actually be more for my husband's truck instead. We have made a lot of repairs to it over the past few months and each time we fix it, something else goes wrong. He did the brakes & rotors and was happy to finally have it in good working order. Then the starter went up on it. He fixed that and now the power steering went up on it. So we are thinking of trading it in and maybe getting a new or certified pre-owned truck.

66.          Go one week without eating anything sweet or using sugar

This was started today. I was going to attempt to also not have caffeine this week, but that was just too much at once. 




Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Facebook Vacation Complete!

14. Take a One Month Facebook Vacation

I must admit that I do feel a bit out of touch with what is happening in peoples' lives, but overall, it has been so nice to not be on Facebook. I've posted pictures on Instagram, which posts to Facebook, but gone is the obsession with checking Facebook multiple times a day. What I have not missed at all is the political nonsense.

It seems that a lot of the obsession with social media is FOMO.

"Did you see what so-and-so posted on Facebook?!"

Nope. I didn't. And it's been awesome.

I am going to try my hardest to stay off of Facebook and only check it from time to time on my tablet. I'm not planning to reinstall it on my cell phone. It's made me much more productive, although I must admit that I do miss my morning routine of seeing what everyone is up to when I wake up and before I really get going.

Since I haven't been perusing Facebook, I've been spending more time on Instagram and Twitter. I do find Twitter tremendously entertaining - I think that it might be my new social media go-to. I also like that Twitter (and Instagram, to a degree) satisfies my need to attempt to interact with my favorite D-list celebrities (I'm a fangirl at heart, what can I say).

Oh, and Instagram and Twitter are fun for keeping up with what The Wiggles are doing. We took Mark to see them last week.



I have to admit, it was fun. The Wiggles are incredible musicians and performers. It is obvious that they love what they do and they are insanely talented. I'm hoping that they are touring in OZ when we go next May. Now that we've been to a concert, we know that we are supposed to make signs, bring roses, decorate bones, and bring Emma a new bow.

I wonder what they do with all of their Wiggly Gifts at each concert? I'm sure that they deliver the flowers to sick kids in the hospital. I'll just assume that instead of all the crap getting thrown in the garbage at the end of the night.

Next items I am planning to tackle:

            16.          Pass my Series 66
65.          Go one week without coffee and/or caffeine
66.          Go one week without eating anything sweet or using sugar
            70.          Have brunch at Miss Shirley’s
            81.          Help Jay design & assemble outdoor fire pit area
            83.          Print and frame pics of at least ten new friends/family to hang in hallway (pics printed, need to get frames and hang them)

Steady progress!

S

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

86. Decide if we want to sell our house


"The only thing that works in an old house is the owner."


Water dripping from light fixture in our upstairs bathroom

When my father passed away in 2005, over 11 years ago, he left behind a cluttered house in desperate need of repair. Let's be honest - it was more like an episode of hoarders. To a grief-stricken 25 year old, it was completely overwhelming. Hell, it would be overwhelming to me now. It was a huge job. The roof needed replacing and the entire place was in need of a massive overhaul, mostly created by the leaking roof, which created a mold problem in addition to other damage.

This was the project I was left with... I joke that Dad never did end up having to clean up his mess!

At the time, I had the estate checkbook and wrote many checks out to contractors to replace the roof, porch, and back door. That roof is less than ten years old. And as evidenced in the first picture, we are already having issues with it.

Despite putting more money than the house was worth into it and making substantial upgrades, it still remains an old house with the usual issues that seem to always pop up with old houses. After all, it is over 100 years old.

Our house today - or at least how it was a few years ago

One of my favorite upgrades that I rarely get to use


Some good friends of ours just bought a gorgeous home outside of Easton. Jay is experiencing a bit of house envy with that. And I am also living vicariously through my friend Angela's house design & build project.

One of our issues is that our house is too big for us. Even if we did decide to have another child (which at this point seems unlikely), 3 bedrooms should be sufficient. Ideally I'd like either a one level home with a great room and loft (if we had another kid, this could be our guest room) or a split level plan.

I would LOVE a look like this

Jay wants a pool, of course. I'm not sold on the pool idea. But I would like something on a bit more land, and without the view of septic tanks. And without an overgrown house next door. One thing is for sure, if that situation is still happening when we sell the house, we will probably have to pay someone to go knock down the brush.

So I think that the decision has been made that we will sell our house and get into something that works better for our family before Mark starts school. The question is - do we try finding (maybe building?) our dream house now or wait until retirement. We will probably be in that house until we retire, so maybe we go big now. It's a difficult decision, especially since I would rather spend any extra money on traveling instead of on possessions.

SO there is that! Another item off my list.








Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#82 Complete

82. Frame photos and decide where to hang them in our house


Completed! I will probably rotate my favorite photos in and out, or buy more frames to hang somewhere else. 

This weekend we are throwing Markface's second birthday party, so we've been doing a lot of cleaning, projects, and decluttering to get ready.

I also had a ton of prints made to hang in the hallway for #83, but now I have to order more frames. I think there are around 35 prints and Jay loves all of them. So our stairway is about to get covered in photos!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Postsecret

#21 Send in a secret to Postsecret

Is done. It was a big one. It may not be posted, but it felt good to let it slide out of my hand and off of my shoulders.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Free of Facebook

Self Improvement

14. Take a one month break from Facebook

At 9:45 a.m. today, August 24th, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. I wasn't planning to delete it so suddenly and was thinking of taking my break closer to election day.

That said, I made the mistake of replying to a comment. As a rule, I generally don't respond to anything on Facebook that is remotely political. However, I will speak out against hate and racism.

Someone had posted on a friend's Facebook share of a news article about Muslims protesting ISIS. I think they said something like "Too little too late." So I asked why white men aren't protesting mass shootings in the United States, since they seem to be the ones causing them. Since the people posting like to lump together an entire group of people, perhaps they would understand my point. 

Of course that was my mistake. Logic is not strong with these people. Fear and hate are the only things they understand.

My sarcasm was lost, and some other nutjob started going off about black on black crime and all sorts of other nonsense (hmm... wasn't this story about Muslims?). I was determined to be a "gun grabbing liberal" of course. 

In less than a minute, Mr. USMC had posted three replies to my one comment. 

Why waste my breath explaining that shockingly enough, we own guns. That's when I decided that instead of getting into a Facebook war with someone that I didn't know that I would do the sanest thing imaginable. 

What would piss him off more than anything? A Block. Oh no, why can't you see my comment anymore or your incredibly thoughtful replies? Oops! Go ahead and rant away! You sure told me good. I must have deleted my comment after reading yours. 

After that, I deleted my Facebook app.

Before >:(

After :)

Whenever I see someone post that they're taking a break from Facebook or that they're deleting Facebook, it irritates me. I prefer to make mine a clean break with no announcement. Since I'm tired of Facebook, do I really need to explain to my "friends" that I'm taking a break? 

Since I do love the moms group and my book club group, I downloaded the Groups app, but gone is the Facebook app along with the people that I need to block, hide, and unfollow. No more "like and share" posts, no more bullshit stories from extreme media outlets, no more clickbait. No more drama.  

It feels good.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Causes to Support

(I don't know why the font is so small, I think that blogger is having a fit - after fighting with it for 15 minutes, I give up!)

6. Find a cause that I love and donate money or volunteer my time

I've spent some time researching various causes near and dear to my heart. Pretty much anything and everything breaks my heart now that I'm a mom. I see so much injustice now and while before I was like, "Well that really sucks, but there's nothing I can really do about it," now I cry over pretty much anything. I won't say that I was a callous person before or anything, but something broke inside of me when that little person looked up at me for the first time and made me want to become a better person.
I guess we're all just one phone call from our knees, as the song goes.
I'm reminded of something that I heard Andy Stanley say at Leadercast last year. "What breaks your heart?" 
Well for me, damned near everything now.
My current sadness is the Louisiana flooding. Today, I made a donation to Second Harvest. Food is a basic life necessity.



I've been researching other charities using Charity Navigator.So far here are my top choices:Action Against HungerAmerican Refugee CommitteeInternational Rescue CommitteeThese are all four-star choices from Charity Navigator. I'll probably just give donations to all three of them. Hunger and Refugees are apparently my current obsession. I just can't imagine being in that position myself, and it makes me cry every time I think of how fortunate I am. I'm serious, ask my friends who have had the misfortune of driving somewhere with me when I talk about refugees.And as I've posted before, VGIF is another great charity that deserves a look. They aren't rated on Charity Navigator, but I've seen first hand the good that they do. They have a real impact on the lives of women in developing countries. 

"VGIF provides grants globally to fund locally generated projects that advance the rights of women and girls."

They are less "White Savior" and more empowerment on a local level.As far as donating my actual time, I'd like to get involved with Caroline CASA or the Caroline Mentoring Project. Of course, I'm not sure that I really have enough time right now to get involved with them on a meaningful level, but if I can help out here and there, I would love to.As a former CCCA Board member, I know that art programs have the ability to change and enrich lives as well. However, I'm a bit burned out from serving on the board for five years and am looking to spend my time where I feel like it will make the biggest impact and fuel my soul. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

First Update to New 101 List

Greetings, dear readers!

I am going to do my best to update either this blog or my newly retitled main blog, Unexpected Adventures on a regular basis. At least once a month or so. Who knows, maybe I'll get crazy and update it once a week?!

So here is my update:

Doing Good

8. Pay it forward. (1 out of 3)

I paid for a stranger's coffee at the Dunkin Donuts on Kent Island after my dentist appointment a few weeks ago. To be completely honest, I was having a bad morning that day and was pretty grumpy. First, I was running late to daycare to drop off Markface, then I got stuck in a road shutdown which made me late to my appointment. Then at my cleaning I was told that I needed to come back to have a cavity filled. So not the greatest start to my day. Doing this simple deed made me feel a little bit better. I'm going to try to do this more often than once a year, because it makes me feel nice. Hopefully it brightens someone else's day. In my head I had made up an entire life story about the woman behind me. In my story, she was destitute and this small gesture made her day. I even gave a nice tip to the cashier, which I usually reserve for eating out. Everyone in the drive thru window was smiling when I left, so mission accomplished.

Family Life

24. Go camping

I went camping a few weeks after posting my 101 list. The heat index was 106. It was disgusting. I'm not sure if I put this on my list for the whole family to go camping? Jay and I went to Lake Phoenix to brush up on our diving skills and camped. We decided from now on we're just going there in September and October. Too damn hot in July.

Travel

46.          Visit at least five UNESCO world Heritage Sites during 101 list

We'll be going to one or two on our trip later this year. Probably Chichen Itza and/or Sian Ka'an.

Scuba Diving

61. Get to 50 dives

I think we got 6 or 7 additional dives in the weekend that we went to Lake Phoenix. I think we're up to 26 or 27 now. When we go to Mexico later this year, we will be doing more diving.

Fitness / Health

64. Commit to using Lose It regularly for 3 months

I'm currently on a 23 day streak, so if I can keep it up for another 11ish weeks, I will have healthier habits. I need to get back to the gym, but that will come. Small changes. Although I'm not overly focused on the scale this time and am committed to permanent weight loss and healthier food choices, my real goal is to be under 165 when we return to Australia next year. Under 160 would be even better. I think I was around 158 when I got married. Weight-wise, I think that for me between 150 and 160 will be my ideal healthy weight. When Jay and I met, I weighed around 145, but I wasn't terribly healthy. Ultimate goal - fit and healthy.

House, Home, & Garden

77.          Get rid of blue couch

Done! I loved that couch, but Loki claimed ownership of it and it was disgusting.

78.          Rearrange furniture in reading nook & downstairs

In progress. We moved the reading nook chairs downstairs, so now I'd like a chaise for the upstairs reading nook, but I don't want to pay a lot for it. I think I'd like to get a love seat or some other piece of furniture for downstairs, but I'm just not sure what I want to do with that room now. Maybe Angela has some ideas! :) 

92.          Make a donation at least once a year to Purple Heart (declutter)

Made one so far this year and I anticipate making another before too long, so that I can clean out those closets.

Miscellaneous

94.          Spread some of Dad at Martinak State Park




Done. I did this on the 11th anniversary of his death. It was a pretty rough day for me and I was a hot mess. 

95.          Spread some of Dad at Adkins Arboretum

The day that I spread some of dad at Martinak, Sara suggested that we have a picnic at the Arboretum and do this. So that will happen at some point. Probably when it stops being so freaking HOT.

So there's my update! Rolling merrily along, kind of. :)