Sunday, August 7, 2011

Moms say the darndest things

Recently, I was talking to my mom about the very likely possibility that we would be hosting our first big get party at our house. My mother asked if she could make one suggestion as a project before the gathering. I thought she would suggest new carpeting (which *does* need to happen eventually) or figuring out a solution for our current breakfast bar (also needs to happen), or even replacing our entertainment center (which I thought *for sure* she'd mention, because we have an extra one that she LOVES in our livingroom). But as is my mother's tendency, she surprised me.

"You have a towel ring in your downstairs bathroom," she began, "but I think you should add a towel rack. I mean, asking 40 people to use the same towel...it's just not nice."

Because these are the details that keep my mother awake at night. And make me laugh for a solid 2 minutes afterwards. Because I might have already considered it. Except, in my version, paper guest towels seemed to be a faster choice.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meet Penny!

This is Penny.
She is the newest member of our family.
She is almost 4 years old, and appears to be a lab/shepard mix with maybe something a little smaller, because she's 46lbs at her full grown weight.
Originally, she was found as a stray. She was adopted by a family, and then returned to the shelter, where she has been living since October.
We brought her home yesterday, after visiting both a no-kill shelter and a kill shelter. She came from the kill shelter, which was more due to the fact that she seems to be a good fit in what we are looking for in a dog than because we actively wanted to adopt from the kill-shelter.
But it does feel pretty good to know that we saved one animal. Take that, Sarah McLachlan.
So far, Ariadne (our cat) is coping pretty well. Penny leaves her alone, until Ariadne enters her space. Then Penny thinks she's fair game.
It's a sentiment that Ariadne does not share. It has yet to come to drawing blood, but Ariadne has made her fair share of retreats in the last 24 hours.
Although, since discovering Penny's kryptonite (any flooring that is not carpeting), Ariadne has gained an upperhand, for now.
She also appeared pleased to find that we are not allowing Penny on the bed. At least, that's the interpretation I gathered as Ariadne paraded by my head multiple times during the night.


Right now they are both asleep, in the sunlight (Ariadne in her spot on the couch, Penny on the floor).
They might have more in common than they thought.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You have stolen my heart

Recently, we've been working on the PREPARE/ENRICH premarital counseling program. The premise is that by you and your partner answering a really really long questionnaire about your views on marriage, your relationship, life choices like kids, careers, etc., and other stuff that I'm sure is pertinent somehow, they can identify strengths of the relationship and “areas to work on”. We scored pretty high in a few areas, but one of our “areas to work on” happens to be our marriage expectations. Funny when you consider that we are both voluntarily attending premarital counseling to evaluate our relationship.

We've yet to delve into it with our counselor, but the best we can figure is this: there were a number of questions on the evaluation that asked you how much you agree with statements like, “my partner is the only one for me” or “my partner is my soulmate”. Immediately after taking the evaluation, we both asked how the other person answered. Of course, we both interpreted the question differently, and thus, answered differently. Because if you don't actually believe in soulmates (which, I don't), you come off sounding like you are either a) dissatisfied and waiting for something better b) polyamorous. Neither of which are labels that apply to me.

The fact is, I don't believe in soulmates. There are 6.9 BILLION people in the world. The idea that there is one person out there that is your other half? Well, it seems to me to be really crappy odds. And does finding the missing piece to your soul mean you don't have to work at the relationship? Because to me, that seems like a trap that would be really inviting to fall into.

In order to believe in soulmates, one has to put a lot of faith in fate. And I am too much of a type A personality to ever consider that the amount of time and effort it takes me to mull over decisions is for naught, and that some cosmic force already made the decision for me.

Basically, I am too much of a control freak to believe that my decisions don't matter.

Here's the thing: I believe that life is a series of choices. We make choices everyday (some big, some small) that have varying degrees of effects on our lives. Some of the effects are huge: my senior year, my drama teacher chose to make our field trip to the college fair at the World Trade Center an evening trip, and we missed the attacks by six hours. I chose to take a job one summer at home from college that shaped my current career path. And some are small, like the fact that I chose to sit on my bum when I got home from work tonight, and now have to stay up to wait for the laundry to finish.

The fact is, if either Doug or I had chosen a different school, we probably would have never met. And had we never met, I doubt either of us would now be pining for their “missing half”. Because I believe that all relationships take work, and if you happen to click with someone, there's a good chance the relationship can be successful if you put the work in. Pragmatic? Perhaps. But the point is, that we are both relatively normal, and have a lot to offer. So there is a good chance that we would be leading separate lives, with other significant others, and maybe we'd be in the same career fields and on the same kind of path, and maybe our other partners would be just like us, or maybe they wouldn't.

Now, here's where the interpretation of the question comes into play. I automatically prickle when I hear people talk about soulmates. Honestly, it makes them seem na├»ve to me. So when I answered questions about that, I strongly disagreed, because no, I don't believe there is only ONE person out there for each of us. HOWEVER, I don't spend my time wondering if he's “the one” for me, and I have no doubts that we can and make our marriage successful. I really wished there was an “other” option for some of the questions.

Doug saw the questions for probably more what they were, so he said that yes, he strongly agreed that I was the only one for him. The sentiment for both of us is the same, but boy, did I make us look bad on paper.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You know we'll have a good time then

Pending the completion of both internships, I will be an SLP this summer. My last exam results came back today, and I passed the last of my hoop-jumping certification/licensure exams.

It means that I got through my 2 year graduate program without having to do one remediation project (a feat because any project/assignment/quiz/exam you took in the actual program and scored below an 80 on meant completing a second project to prove you understood the material) or retake any exam (which means a few hundred bucks and hours of my time that I didn't have to part with again).

I should maybe celebrate, or feel relieved, or something. But, as was the case with the past 2 years, by the time you realize you have something to celebrate, you are already up to your eyeballs in the next all consuming part of your life.

One day, I'll need to remember to learn how to re-align my thinking to not be about the next big hurdle, but to be about the here and now. Because it's really disenchanting to constantly be living for "in the future, when...".

But that learning will have to take place after my internships are over. Because they're already the hurdle being tackled.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm pushing an elephant up the stairs

I've started about five other blog entries in recent months, but have yet to actually push publish. I often have grandiose ideas, but halfway through articulating them, I either decide that they are never going to be finished, or delve into something that I don't really want to go into. So they remain drafts.

But here is something short, sweet, and worth a laugh, at least to me.

The latest wedding-related planning we've done is choosing processional and recessional music. Do we have a DJ and/or sound system on which to play these things? Well, no. But that's not the point.

The point is, I had 3 ideals in my head:
1. Avoid cliche (This includes the 4 CDs worth of music my mom lent us for "inspiration", with such album titles as "A Day to Remember" and "Heartbeats, Now and Forever")
2. It would be instrumental
3. The lyrics would, although not heard, actually be appropriate should people recognize the song.

This has led us to spending a lot of time with the Vitamin String Quartet Discography. At one point in the process, Doug had queued up a bunch of options for us to give a listen to.

One song was Yellowcard's Gifts and Curses, which, while a pretty song with a rather pronounced storyline, refrains to the following:
I see your face with every punch I take,
and every bone I break, it's all for you.
And my worst pains are words I cannot say,
still I will always fight on for you.


Ahem. Not entirely the message I was hoping to convey. Especially because the storyline is Spiderman loving MJ, but has to, you know, put saving the world every day over personal relationships. Right.

Moving on to batter #2, REM's The One I Love.
First line:
This one goes out to the one I love
Looking good, right?
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
Dammit. Always foiled by line #2.

In the end, we found a song for the bridal party to walk to, a song for the bride to walk to, and a recessional. One is still a song inspired by Spiderman. Probably only one song will be recognized by the majority of the guests, but that's OK too.

Now, you know, on to figuring out how everyone *else* will hear the songs we've chosen at the actual wedding...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Positive punishment, negative reinforcement? I could never keep the two straight

In an attempt to punish a classmate for not adequately preparing for a diagnostic, my supervisor pulled her from the diagnostic this morning, 10 minutes before we were set to begin. This left me alone to complete a 3 hour diagnostic and write up 2 diagnostic reports regarding the findings while the unprepared clinician got to observe the diagnostic.

BOY, my supervisor sure showed her!

Err...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

For now

Ah, finals weekend. It is the weekend of what I like to call "productive procrastination". A weekend whe I find myself so enamored with the(completely delusional) prospect of free time around the corner. When I think to myself, "after this weekend, I will have TIME. I will have people over, I will RELAX". And so, to prepare for this new life that is (never) to come, I clean. I finally get around to my spring cleaning, and I organize. I vacuum more thoroughly than I have done since...well, probably the last round of finals. I prepare to put winter clothes into storage. I pull weeds from my flower beds. It is a metaphor for my semester: I purge myself of the stress and the grime of the semester by enhancing my environment. I want to shop: to put the doom and gloom of last semester behind me and start fresh. I plant more flowers in the flowerbed, hoping to see that same sense of change for a fraction of the cost.

The reality is, after this week, a new week begins. A new class starts. My clients keep on coming. I get another diagnostic report to write up. I start to think about the fact that in a few short weeks, I am starting about 6 new clients, and only losing 2 from my current caseload. I prepare for whirlwind weekends of family visiting, weddings, and family trips.

But right now, I do loads of laundry and clean all the towels in the house. I finish a take-home exam and start a presentation. I open all the windows in the house and let in the fresh air.

And I feel lighter.
Just until the reality of next week sets in.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Somedays, I feel like a puppet...

Graduate school sucks. Fact of life, I suppose, but it does. The program I am in is intensive, relentless, and makes me cry at least once a week. True story.

Here's how it works: right now, I have 3 days a week of classes (10 hours total), 7 clients (so, about 20 hours a week of clinic work), 1 3-hour diagnostic a week, and 10 hours of graduate assistantship work. The summer session (starting in June) is even more intense than normal. Since it is a shorter session, we have all of our classes twice a week. Imagine 12 hours a week for 2 classes, 4 days a week, plus 7-10 clients and the diagnostics. This is why I have anxiety dreams.

So you could imagine that the 5 weeks in May/June in which I was not supposed to have classes was a beacon of light. Neigh, it was a small shred of hope and sanity. It was to be a time when I only saw clients. And at a time when my current semester is ramping up to the point that I am starting to be bogged down by case studies, hypothetical treatment and assessment plans, and finals looming (in addition to 2 treatment plans, 7 treatment reports, and multiple diagnostic evaluations and reports due for REAL people in the clinic), it was really all I had.

Please note the usage of past tense.

Today I was informed that I will now be taking a class during those five weeks that were once my blissful respite. A four-hour a week class that will include weekly reading responses, and a cumulative project. It might not sound like much, but it absolutely crushes my world. It has knocked my tears spillage to twice this week, and it's only Wednesday.

Granted, it was posed to me as an optional seminar. I could elect to take it. Sort of in the same way you could elect to wear clothes in public or have license plates on your car. Sure, it's your choice, but the consequences of not complying are less than pretty.

I will agree. The topic of this seminar is important. I concur that in my professional career, I will encounter people with different cultural and language backgrounds than my own. I understand that I will need to know how to work with an interpreter, translator, or family member that is bilingual. I am excited to have resources at my fingertips in order to determine which assessments are appropriate for translation. On a broader level, I really, truly understand that. But let me tell you, the idea of more case studies, today, right now? My outlook is bleak.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

101 things update

OK, so new year, time to check in on this badboy...


The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days. My end date is: October 30
, 2011

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).


Italics= In progress
Red = Done!

Health, Beauty, and Well Being

  1. Reach healthy weight
    Not going so well, actually. Currently sitting just below where I was when I started the weightloss in the first place. Working on this with gusto in the new year.

  2. Maintain aforementioned healthy weight

  3. Do cardio 3 times a week for half hour each session
    I have been terrible about this, especially since it is now winter. Grad school hasn't helped. Need to figure out how to make this work.

  4. Go to the gym at least twice a week while school is in session
    I haven't been to the gym since I started this list. That can't be good. My program is not on campus, and campus is a 15 minute drive plus fighting for parking. I know it's an excuse, but I often don't have the time with everything going on.

  5. Weight train for 30 minutes at least twice a week while school is in session
    Also fell by the wayside. Hence the need for a goal.

  6. Do Wii Fit every day for a month.
    Made it through 1 week, and got bored. Need more motivation.

  7. Be able to do more than 10 consecutive push ups
    Haven't even tried, but I can't imagine it would be good.

  8. Grow my hair past my shoulders
    I tried this, and got bored with it. Hair looked blah, so I went and got it cut short on a whim at the end of the semester. Technically, it's done, but I don't t
    hink I gave it a fair shake.

  9. Get a haircut that involves making an appointment
    Yea, it's a plan. Maybe over the summer I will get around to it.

  10. Grow my nails long enough to get a manicure
    Stress of grad school has not really helped. Right now, I am currently sitting on presentable nails, but school starts next week, so I don't know that they'll last.

  11. Whiten my teeth
    I am beginning to think I've done nothing on th
    is list. Man.

  12. Research Lasik procedures
    Haven't had time or money to really think about it in earnest.

  13. Know my cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure numbers off the top of my head. Get screened at least once a year.
    Recent family events have spurred me to get back to not only knowing these, but making sure they are lower than they probably are right now.

  14. Participate in an organized bike ride
    I want to look into this for Summer 2010.

  15. Keep a food journal for an entire week (0/7)
    Started today. Let's see how it goes..

  16. Buy (and wear) a bikini
    Nope.

  17. Get a tan
    Spent time outside this summer, working, with SPF 45. Being outside definitely felt good, and I would say I was not my pasty norm for at least a few weeks!

  18. Buy a real pair of running shoes.
    I still want to go to a running store and actually get fitted for sneakers the way I should be.

  19. Get at least 3 massages (1/3)
    I have a goal to lose a certain amount of weight. When I get there, I am getting a massage, dagnabit!

    Relationships/ Social

  20. Write to Uncle Frank at least once a month (3/36)
    Those recent family events? They made me realize that I definitely did not do this. And I came very close to regretting that. This goal is a must-change, must-do.
  21. Write to Uncle Don at least once a month (36/36)
    Done. Via email, I check in at least once a week.
  22. Get engaged
    Still done :)
  23. Plan a wedding
    Still have not figured out a date or timezone. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I am not as worried about it as I once was.
  24. Get married
    Again, I am not worried. We have a plan
    to start visiting places this summer to start to get things figured out. For now, I will continue to peruse websites for inns, state parks, lodges, and bread & breakfasts around the country when I don't want to be working on papers, or am sitting in a particularly boring lecture.
  25. Throw Doug a graduation or birthday party
    DONE! Successfully hosted an 11 person brunch for his graduation.
  26. Make 5 new friends in a graduate program
    DONE! There are 5 ladies that I can definitely see myself keeping in touch with after graduation, and whom I can count on when things ha
    ppen.
  27. Plan a visit with college friends within driving distance at least once every other month
    So far, so good, for the most part. I think we've had people out to us at least once every other month, but I've only made it out that way o
    nce or twice in that time.
  28. Have Sandi and Bob over for dinner at least twice (1/2)
    If I double counted with the brunch, I could have crossed this baby off the list, but I feel like that's cheating.
  29. Visit Bob & Pam at least twice (1/2)
    I don't really have a lot of influence about getting invited up there.
  30. Visit a couples counselor for a pre-wedding assessment
    Still haven't gone, but we're pretty sure we know where we are going, which assessments we'll take, and we are both on board. Have we read this from the NYTimes Magazine? Or this from A Practical Wedding? Yea, despite us being together for what will be (I imagine) 7+ years by the time we get married, this is important.
  31. Send birthday cards (via the mail) to 30 friends and family (9/30)
    Huge room for improvement here. Although, I have sent out "happy new house" and other such cards, I think a few more birthday cards are in order.
  32. Send at least six updates to family/friends via email or mail (2/6) Most of my extended family has now joined facebook, so they are pretty up-to-date, because they are pretty aware of when I update. This includes 2AM when I bitch about a paper, and 5AM when I bitch about being up mega early to work on projects.
  33. Host a dinner party
    I have had tons of people over for dinner, but not for a dinner party. I should remedy this, and it should involve invitations.
  34. Visit with Grammy 3 times (1/3)
    This needs to step up as well. We went out to breakfast with her once, but should make more of an effort here.
  35. Take a decent set of pictures with Doug
    This has not been done. Although we have had a few fluked good shots of us, and more that look like this:
    Classy, no?

  36. Learn 4 new games (4/4)
    Chraunonauts
    Small World
    The Nacho Incident
    Tic
    Sweet.

    Travel/ vacation
  37. Plan a vacation that involves a plane or train ticket
    This has stayed on my "after grad school" list. Although maybe this summer if a venue we love is a flight away, we'll make it work.
  38. Visit 4 state parks (1/4)
    Visited Mississippi Palisades this summer.
  39. Go camping at least once
    Finally accomplished, and going again this summer!
  40. Take at least 30 day trips to see things in the area (2/30)
    Lame. I don't think we've done anything about this in recent months.
    1.) The Ellwood House
    2.) Mini golf course
  41. Visit the ocean
    Might well be an "after grad school" goal.
  42. Get a new passport
    Found my old one, which I thought was gone forever. So hooray!
  43. Go to Cedar Point
    I have a feeling that this will be on our list of places this summer to visit. It happens to be a half-way mark between our families.
  44. Go skiing at least once
    Dying to do this. It's not too late in the season yet...
  45. Visit every stop on the Metra Union Pacific West Line
    No progress here, yet. And there probably won't be until it's a bit warmer out.

    Education/Employment
  46. Get into graduate school
    Did not realize that a follow up to this was "get eaten by grad school for the next 2 years"
  47. Apply for graduate assistantship/ grant programs
    Still holding onto it!
  48. Finish graduate school
    1 semester down, 4 to go.
  49. Get a full time job in speech pathology
    Right, let's check back on this sometime after May 2011.
  50. Take one class for self – letterpress, calligraphy, digital design, photography, cooking
    Another thing on the "after grad school" list.
  51. Attend one conference or professional workshop
    Considering ISHA next year.
Money
  1. Continue debt free on my credit cards
    Still holding strong.

  2. Figure out a financial system with Doug
    We are working on it, but haven't really made a decision yet about what will be the best course of action.

  3. Save for a vacation
    Right, so in the travel area I talked about wanting to take such trips. But in order to do that, we need to get organized and actually save money. Hence the above goal. I thought this would be an excellent way to reward our organization.

  4. Keep money in ING account unspent
    Some of that money did go towards the house, and the rest remains there.

  5. Learn about investing by reading at least 2 books (1/2) and meeting with a financial adviser
    This is in progress.

  6. Plan for buying a house/condo within 2 years from end date. Goal includes determining where we want to buy, and how much of a down payment we’ll need.
    Done.

  7. Maintain John Houston Finely Society standing and star with Knox
    Half done. The star is there, but I think I'm out of the society. You have to give $100 more each year, and this year, it was too close to the closing to make that happen for me.

  8. Save at least 1/5th of each paycheck once I have a "real world" job
    First step: real world job

  9. Replace the Saturn
    Hasn't happened yet, but the car is still going. *knocks on wood*

  10. Buy a new computer
    Done! Well, sorta. I got Doug a new computer, which gave me his old desktop, which was an upgrade from mine. My laptop will probably need replacing in the next few years, but I'm hoping for it to make it through grad school.

  11. Start a retirement fund

  12. Make more in 2011 than I did in 2008, 2009 & 2010 combined
    Step 1 (again): get job.

  13. Create a living will
    This will require meeting with a lawyer.

Food

  1. Make at least 15 meals at home each week (this can include making lunch and breakfast for myself)
    So far, so good. Last semester, I went out for lunch twice on days when I was at the clinic (on average 4 days a week), and always had breakfast at home.

  2. Shop at local farmers market at least twice a month in appropriate weather
    I only got to go twice this year. Outrageous.

  3. Eat beef fewer than 5 times a month
    Doing pretty well with this, actually.

  4. Eat dinner with Doug at least one night a week
    It got a bit hairy during the semester (him: Hapkido M&W, Me: Class T&TH), but I think we managed to come together for a late dinner or early dinner at least once a week.

  5. Try at least 50 new, healthy recipes (25/50)
    I am constantly looking for new things to make, especially crockpot friendly recipes that are healthy. So far I've tried (all minus the mushrooms, if called for):
    1. Slow Cooker Italian Chicken
    2. Eggs Benedict on a Muffin with Garlic Alioi

    3. Spaghetti Carbonara
    4. Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
    5. Chicken & Angelhair Pasta
    6. Kona Chicken
    7. Jerk Chicken with Cornbread
    8. Honey Mustard Roast Chicken
    9. Cheesy Chicken in the Crock
    10. Rosemary Garlic Chicken
    11. Chicken with Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions
    12. Southwest Chicken Stew
    13. Turkey Sloppy Joes
    14. Baked Mac & Cheese
    15. Taco Soup
    16. No Knead White Bread
    17. No Knead Whole Wheat Bread
    18. Apple Cheddar Quiche
    19. Cottage Cheese Filled Whole Wheat Crepes (instead of Ricotta)
    20. Veggie Loaded Penne with White Wine Sauce
    21. Smoky Chipotle Chili
    22. Rice & Corn Ckaes with Spicy Blackbeans
    23. Meatloaf Burgers
    24. Forget Me Not Cookies (thanks Ms. Domestic Darling!)
    25. Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes & Chicken


  6. Have less than 15% of groceries be prepared foods (freezer meals, prepackaged sides, etc)
    I think I've been hanging in there on what I buy, but I'm not the only one that grocery shops in our house...

  7. Start an herb garden
    A plan for today(!) in fact. I have the seeds for Rosemary, basil (although my plant from over the summer is still going strong), parsley (lost to frost), chives, dill, oregano, and tarragon.

  8. Make Sangria
    Done at least 3 times this summer, and met with great success!

  9. Try 3 new cooking techniques (poaching, braising, etc) (2/3)
    I poached an egg to make my eggs benedict, and braised meat before crocking it.

  10. Start a real garden, growing at least 3 different types of veggies
    A spring project is to fill in the large hole we have in the backyard and plant a garden.

  11. Try at least 5 new foods
    I can't think of anything new I've tried off the top of my head...

Home

  1. Vacuum floor at least once every 2 weeks
    So far, so good.

  2. Change bed sheets once a week
    So far, so good.

  3. Brush cat once a week
    We're probably doing once every 2-3 weeks at this point, which is OK, but probably not great, judging by the amount of hair she leaves in her wake.

  4. Take cat to annual checkup (1/2)
    Next one in July.

  5. Buy & decorate a Christmas tree
    Not this year, but hopefully next. In preparation, I got a tree-stand and some generic ornaments at clearance sales this year.

  6. Keep clothes off bedroom floor for 30 days (0/30)

  7. Frame at least one thing I made (photograph, cross stitch, art piece, etc)
    This would involve finishing something to frame.

  8. Get a real futon frame
    Done! The fouton currently has a home in Doug's office.

  9. Figure out how to participate in Sycamore's recycling program, even if my apartment complex doesn't.
    Done. We recycle weekly.

  10. Get a real entertainment center.
    I've decided to call this done. We bought something from IKEA that is considered a TV stand.

  11. Buy a bed
    Still got the bed frame, but the search continues for something with a headboard.

Other

  1. Take a picture a day for a month (0/30)
    One of those things I've wanted to do to recognize that there are little things every day worth noticing.

  2. Blog every day for a month
    Clearly this has not happened.

  3. Watch at least 1 Netflix DVD a week, or cancel account
    This got very bad. We had our DVDs from October until December. Trying to make up for it now.

  4. Spend all the gift cards I currently have (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, WaMu, Target, iTunes)
    In progress.

  5. Calculate carbon footprint.
    I read Radical Simplicity a few months back, and got very interested.

  6. Reduce by 15%.
    Need to do #91 first

  7. Donate blood twice a year (0/6)
    Need to step that up.

  8. Take a dance class
    Might have to wait until after school.

  9. Donate any books I no longer need
    Done, but I consider this on-going. I donated about 12 books to a student program in March. I'm sure Doug and I could go through our collection and remove about 20 duplicates...mostly college texts.

  10. Buy a sewing machine
    I still think I should own one. And I have an extra room to put it in!

  11. Buy a shredder.
    Again, something I think I should have. And use.

  12. Read at least 25 books I've never read before (30/25)
    I was sort of lax on the number, and have clearly surpassed that, even with school. Hooray!
    1. Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
    2. A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of my Father by Augusten Burroughs
    3. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead
    4. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
    5. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
    6. The Kid: What Happened When My Boyfriend and I Decided to get Pregnant by Dan Savage
    7. A Mind of My Own: A memoir of recovery from Aphasia by Harianne Mills
    8.
    Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
    9. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    10.
    Commencement: A Novel by Courtney J. Sullivan
    11
    . Matrimony: A Novel by Joshua Henkin
    12. Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff
    13. She Went All The Way by Meggin Cabbot
    14.
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Maryann Shaffer
    15. Unequal Childhoods by Annette Lareau
    16. Two Truths and a Lie by Katrina Kittle
    17. Apologizing to Dogs by Joe Coomer
    18. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
    19. Asta in the Wings by Jan Elizabeth Watson
    20. Belong to Me: A Novel by Marisa De Los Santos
    21. The Servants' Quarters by Lynn Freed
    22. Take off Your Shirt and Cry: A Memoir of Near Fame Experiences by Nancy Balbirer
    23. I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be your Class President by Josh Leib
    24. Metalheads: A Novel by Time Maremaa
    25. Miss Harper Can Do it by Jane Berenston
    26. Love or Something Like It: A Novel by Deirdre Shaw
    27. The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
    28. How to Cheat at Gardening and Yardwork by Jeff Bredenberg
    29. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
    30.
    I Do but I Don’t: Walking Down the Aisle without Losing Your Mind by Cami Wicoff

  13. Reread 5 books I read in high school (1/5)
    I was talking to someone about this: I remember certain things from books I read in high school, but not enough to make me confident that I could answer questions on Jeopardy! about them. Some of the ones I want to reread include The Stranger, 1984, The Great Gatsby, Animal Farm, and The Lord of the Flies. If I were feeling particularly masochistic, I guess I'd give Beowulf another shot as well. And maybe The Picture of Dorian Gray. Couldn't stand that one at the time. I think I would "get" them more today. Or at least I'd like to try.
    So far I've read:
    1. Animal Farm by George Orwell

  14. Clean out my closet. Donate unwanted items
    I've been trying to keep on top of this, but you can always do more, right?

  15. Attend 5 year college reunion
    Can't happen until 2011.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eight Years Later

Eight years is a long time. This year it snuck up on me. This last week has been a whirlwind, and I've written the wrong date all week. Then I looked at my watch this morning and saw it is the 4th.

Eight years ago yesterday, I thought that the fact that the 9/11 attacks happened 5 hours before I would have been at the WTC for a college fair was the closest I could ever come to losing.

Eight years ago today I learned that no one in invincible. I lost an acquaintance in an instant, and watched a friend's life tailspin in response for months. Eight years later and I still feel like someone just threw a bowling ball at my stomach when I think about that morning.

So CSF, just know you are in our thoughts. Even eight years later.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On exercise


In hopes of getting around to goal #1, I started the 30 Day Shred this week. I started it technically on Tuesday, but couldn't walk yesterday, so I couldn't do it again until today. And now I still can't walk, but it's just a teensy bit less scream-inducing to stand up than yesterday was.

You may have heard about it. I'd read about it via a few bridal blogs, I think. These brides that were 30 or so days out from the big day wanted toning, so they went to Jillian Michaels to help them out. In all fairness, they did say they were sore the next day. But holy crap on a cracker, they did not mention that Jillian Michaels will make you want to die after a mere 22 minutes. Seriously. I was calling her all sorts of colorful things by the end. And when I couldn't do ANYTHING that involved bending, straightening, or putting weight on my legs the next day? I had all sorts of things to say about her "combo moves" and the fact that this was supposed to be good for me. And stairs. Why does this house have to have stairs?!

In my head, I know a few things:
1. I have to get more exercise than this in my day. I bought the DVD with a birthday giftcard because I want something that I can do at home that has a bit of a regiment to it. Telling myself I will do 20 pushups and 100 crunches on the ball won't do it for me. I've been telling myself I'll do that tomorrow for months. I only remember that I forgot to do it as I drift off to sleep. So this is a start, but it's not the only thing I should be doing. 22 minutes a day just isn't enough.
2. Pain is good. I know I didn't seriously injure myself, but my quads, pecs, glutes, calves, deltoids and a bunch of other muscles in my legs and shoulders that I didn't even know could be sore are sore. Sore is OK. Sore requires rest and water and more rest, but it can be worked through. Mostly. Unless I wake up feeling tomorrow like I did yesterday.
3. I friggen hate exercise. I don't enjoy going to a gym by myself, I will cut corners while I am there, and I have trouble motivating myself to do things. My current mentality is that this is less than 30 minutes a day. Combine that with my idea that I will ride my bike more (because I should, and I don't), and maybe I will get into a habit. Takes 3 weeks to form a habit right? I figure, new house, new habits. Yes? Well, let's hope at least.

And if you see me, please ignore the grandma hobble I have going.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wedding Decision #6?

A lot has been happening.
We got the house.
There could be 20 blog posts about that subject alone.
This won't be one of them.

We made a real live wedding decision tonight. First dance? This song, this version:
Assuming, you know, that we do a first dance. But at some point in the night, that song will be played. And we will dance to it. Decision made. In truth, the decision has been made in my head for quite some time. When people ask for first dance suggestions, I do not give them this one. I've been very protective. So even when we weighed other options, that was the standout in my head. Bridezilla blooming? I bet not.

And if you think you are the first person to buy a dress for our wedding, you'd be wrong. You'd also be wrong if you thought that person was me. Or that we set a date and forgot to tell you. Or a season. Or a year. Nope, haven't done any of it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Things I shouldn't have the time for: blogging.


We are closing on a house on Thursday. For anyone keeping score at home, that means it has been 2 weeks from when we first saw it to closing. For anyone who hasn't bought a house before, let me just say, never EVER try to do it all in two weeks. Not if you enjoy little things like your sanity.

It's been a whirlwind 2 weeks. Inspections, meeting with lawyers, trying to get the mortgage pushed through. Making a back up plan if the mortgage does not come through in time. Pricing out appliances. Looking at paint options. Learning about locks that you can change without a locksmith. Collecting paperwork to prove exemption from a transfer tax. Finding the damn city office to get said transfer tax stamp from. Homeowner's insurance. Oh yea, and classes started last week. Overall, I think I've been handling it well.

Except I withdrew from a class for the first time ever today. It was stressful, and I feel guilty that I gave up for fear of failing. But the class is not necessary for my degree (unlike my other 2 classes) and required more work than the other 2 already demanding classes. The result? I need to take it at a different time. Rationally, I understand this. But damned if it doesn't make me feel a little less together.

So yes, all in all, despite the huge amount of stress, life changing aspect of the next 2 days, things are going well. I'll confess, there was a mini meltdown tonight when Doug came home with a case of wine. He had a final class at a wine bar, and got an impulse to buy wine. Two bottles he picked out for me, and I know the intention was sweet. But he got home, and all I could think was, "Hello?! Buying a house, here!" It was, in a week that has been stressful already, a breaking point. Because he and I spend and save differently. And while I understand that right now it is his money he's spending, I can't help but be just a little crazed by him coming home with a case of wine (that we'll probably end up moving with us, because we probably won't drink any of it before moving) when I am thinking about things like dishwashers and blinds.

In the end, I know the money he spent on the wine won't make or break us. I do understand that. But next time I'm thinking he should leave that stuff in the car until after we have to get the biggest check I've ever seen for closing!

Today, I rediscovered this song. The piano and the acoustic guitar, and the duet. I'm such a sucker for those things. I didn't really appreciate the movie, but I do appreciate the music. Especially this. And the fact that they sound just as good live? Yea, that helps.


In fact, I just remembered this song popped into my head yesterday, and has also been stuck there. I guess my brain is going for comfort music.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On houses



If you've been listening to the news, reading the paper, or generally doing anything that is not living under a rock for the last six months, you know that right now is the time to buy a house if you can. Especially if you're a first time buyer. Especially especially if you want to get it cheap.

It is a buyers market, they tell you. So, if one should have a down payment available (we do) and qualify for a loan (we do), you can find the house you want!

That's what they will tell you at least. But then comes the hard part. Not how many bedrooms or bathrooms you want. Not what town you are looking in, but what you want. The nitty gritty. The little stuff. The details.

We know the basics. We want a starter home. We plan to live there 5-6 years, let the economy rebound, and then have steady income so we can "move on up". American dream, yes? So then, what is there to take into account?
1.) Budget (we are, after all, not yet raking in the big bucks. Or much bucks at all, in fact)
2.) Resale opportunities (what will resell best? How will we get the most out of a resale?)
3.) Details!

That last one, it's a doozy. The fundamental problem is that Doug and I have different likes and dislikes when it comes to houses. I grew up in a home built in the 1930's. He grew up in a more modern home. I look for character, he sees home projects. He likes subdivision neighborhoods, I see cookie cutter.

Kind of a problem, yes? Yes. Twice, we have come down to 2 houses. We both agree they are the top 2 houses. We do not agree, however, on which is at the top of the list. They end up being two completely different houses on our list, which makes it hard to compare between them. It really comes down to the character vs. (in my opinion) cookie cutter. We understand they will attract very different buyers when we resell. But since both of us are fuzzy on our crystal ball predictions, we don't know which one will be more beneficial in the long run.

So imagine my surprise today when we saw a house built in 2004 that is (literally) days away from foreclosure. In a subdivision! And now we are putting an offer on it. It's nothing that I thought I wanted, but even I have to admit, we won't get a better bang for our buck.

The bad news is there's already a cash offer. And an IRS lien. It also wants to be closed in 2 weeks, or else it goes to foreclosure and auction. That's a whole lot to do in 2 weeks. And very little of it is in our hands. More is in the hands of the banks and mortgage companies. Blargh.

We made an offer lower than the asking price, with an addendum saying we'll pay the lien. You know, sweetening the pot.

But there's a good chance that they'll take the cash either way. At this point, we've done all we can, and we have a few ... tricks(?) up our sleeves that might make it more enticing. Maybe. As long as they don't reject us outright. Man, I dislike gambling. Oh well, I suppose it's one vice I won't fall victim to.

Deep breaths and happy thoughts, yes? Yes. Hopefully, we'll hear something tomorrow. We have to deal with the bank approving the sale and the seller, so hopefully we'll hear something tomorrow. If not, we have to wait until Monday. Which also means less time for the closing to fall into place. Oh man, I will need to think about other things if I want to sleep tonight.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

101 goals in 1001 days (part 3)

Given my current transitional stage in life, I thought the best way to introduce myself is to introduce who I want to be. Make sense?

I started the 101 goals in 1001 days project. I thought I would go through my goals one by one.

To catch up, here's part 1 and part 2.


The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).


Money

  1. Continue debt free on my credit cards
    I imagine this will be difficult to do while in grad school, but not impossible.

  2. Figure out a financial system with Doug
    Currently, we split most everything because it's convenient. But I'd like us to figure out a system that really works for us, especially once his student debt kicks in and mortgage payments happen.
    I would like us to be as organized as Sara over at 2000dollarwedding. The truth is, I probably have to be the one organizing such a thing.

  3. Save for a vacation
    Right, so in the travel area I talked about wanting to take such trips. But in order to do that, we need to get organized and actually save money. Hence the above goal. I thought this would be an excellent way to reward our organization.

  4. Keep money in ING account unspent
    This might be a changed goal. I am a saver, and after college I changed over the account I had from when I was young (deposited birthday money etc) until I was about 16 (when I got my first job and opened my own account). That money was meant to be kept untouched until I bought a house. Pushing up the time table on that means that money will probably be spent...but in the way I'd intended it.

  5. Learn about investing by reading at least 2 books (0/2) and meeting with a financial adviser
    This is a topic I know NOTHING about. OK, that's not true, in recent months (you know, when the whole economy went to crap and all) I've learned what not to do. Or at least certain things to avoid. But I've learned that saving early is a good idea. So I want to figure out how to make that happened.

  6. Plan for buying a house/condo within 2 years from end date. Goal includes determining where we want to buy, and how much of a down payment we’ll need.
    Right, so here's the big change. With grad school coming pretty much free, and the understanding that we are staying in the area for a few years (and the current economic climate), we are looking at buying now. We aren't looking at a "forever house", but something that will last us 5-6 years. We've been actively looking since March. You'd think that we'd have found something by now, and we may have. But we are working on a limited budget and want at least 3 bedrooms and 1.1 baths for resale value...it's complicated.

  7. Maintain John Houston Finely Society standing and star with Knox
    This means I have to give to my Alma Mater every year.

  8. Save at least 1/5th of each paycheck once I have a "real world" job
    This may change once I actually land the job, but it makes me nervous to have a savings account that isn't growing. And in the last few years, that's sort of how I've been rolling.

  9. Replace the Saturn
    Our second car is going on 15 years young. Understanding it won't last forever, saving for a newer car is going to be important.

  10. Buy a new computer
    My desktop was purchased in 2002, laptop in 2006. If not replaced, the desktop needs at least a new video card and more memory. By the time I upgrade, it might be smarter to just buy a new computer.

  11. Start a retirement fund

  12. Make more in 2011 than I did in 2008, 2009 & 2010 combined
    Shouldn't be that hard. If I got a job with an average starting salary in the field I'm going into, I should be able to meet this goal. In six months. Being a student again is fun.

  13. Create a living will
    I have a family friend that had a really tough time when he needed hospitalization and had no living will, power of attorney, or any of that information. As such, I've seen how difficult it can be to get care when you don't have a clear plan of action and are unable to make decisions on your behalf.

Food

  1. Make at least 15 meals at home each week (this can include making lunch and breakfast for myself)
    This is a double win for me. It saves money and means I don't eat as much.

  2. Shop at local farmers market at least twice a month in appropriate weather
    OK, so my local farmer's market is not grand, but it is lovely. And fresh fruits and veggies? You can't beat that.

  3. Eat beef fewer than 5 times a month
    In fact, I'd like to explore more vegetarian options over all. It is an idea that scares Doug a bit, so I usually add some meat to things, but supplement it with non-meat items.

  4. Eat dinner with Doug at least one night a week
    This is really a goal for us. Sounds silly when we live together, but with his internship, work, classes, and other activities, eating dinner with him was actually a challenge this year. We've gotten a bit better about it, but I fear that with my clinic hours, it will become a bit more of a challenge in the future.

  5. Try at least 50 new, healthy recipes (3/50)
    I am constantly looking for new things to make, especially crockpot friendly recipes that are healthy. So far I've tried:
    1. Slow Cooker Italian Chicken
    2. Eggs Benedict on a Muffin with Garlic Alioi

    3. Spaghetti Carbonara

  6. Have less than 15% of groceries be prepared foods (freezer meals, prepackaged sides, etc)
    I'd like to do healthy eating with as few preservatives and least amount of sodium possible.

  7. Start an herb garden
    I'm sort of doing a tester run this year. I have a pot of basil and a pot of parsley going right now. We'll see how it goes before we graduate to "garden" status.

  8. Make Sangria
    It's a simple thing, but I've never done it, even though I like sangria. Perhaps for my dinner party?

  9. Try 3 new cooking techniques (poaching, braising, etc) (1/3)
    I poached an egg to make my eggs benedict.

  10. Start a real garden, growing at least 3 different types of veggies
    This will have to wait until I get an actual yard, or at least space for a container garden. My parents had a garden for many years, and I enjoyed helping. Mostly, I enjoyed fresh cucumbers!

  11. Try at least 5 new foods
    Should be easy, right?

Home

  1. Vacuum floor at least once every 2 weeks
    Doug has the same goal. We need to alternate!

  2. Change bed sheets once a week
    This goal was more to get in the habit of doing it on one day of the week and sticking to a schedule. So far, so good. Sundays are my sheet-changing days.

  3. Brush cat once a week
    She's a short hair cat, but she still sheds like a long-haired. Dark couch, dark comforter...light cat. You see my problem.

  4. Take cat to annual checkup (1/2)
    Between moving to a new city last year, and just generally forgetting, the cat had not been to a vet visit since July 2007. She's young, she's healthy, and since she's strictly an indoor cat, there wasn't any huge risk. But I feel like she should get it annually.

  5. Buy & decorate a Christmas tree
    I typically visit my parents for the holidays, so I haven't had my own tree. Or ornaments. In fact, I have 2 ornaments: 1 is a pickle with arms and legs, and one is a star-fish shell brought back from Hawaii by Doug's mom. Probably, I need to increase my collection, first, yes?

  6. Keep clothes off bedroom floor for 30 days (0/30)
    Oh man, I am terrible about this. Always have been. Hoping this creates a habit.

  7. Frame at least one thing I made (photograph, cross stitch, art piece, etc)
    This would involve finishing something to frame.

  8. Get a real futon frame
    Done! In our next living environment, the futon mattress will not be on the floor.

  9. Figure out how to participate in Sycamore's recycling program, even if my apartment complex doesn't.
    This may not be relevant if we move in the next month or two. But every time a cardboard box goes in the dumpster, I feel quite guilty.

  10. Get a real entertainment center.
    We bought a nice new TV almost an entire year ago, and then couldn't agree on the type of entertainment center we need. So we've sort of reached a stalemate, and put a few IKEA end tables together in a not very organized fashion. It's OK for now, but I don't want the college-chic look forever.

  11. Buy a bed
    It's on a frame, so that's a start. But I'd like there to be an actual headboard. And maybe even nightstands (not plastic drawers). Stepping up from that college chic again.

Other

  1. Take a picture a day for a month (0/30)
    One of those things I've wanted to do to recognize that there are little things every day worth noticing.

  2. Blog every day for a month
    I've always meant to do this, but never have. I considered splitting this list to 30 parts, but thought that would be cheating.

  3. Watch at least 1 Netflix DVD a week, or cancel account
    I've put it on hold before, but I hate when I forget that I have the DVDs sitting in a pile of mail and don't watch them for a while. I know that's how they make their money, but I hate to be just giving it away. I've learned that watching TV series helps with that.

  4. Spend all the gift cards I currently have (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, WaMu, Target, iTunes)
    I'm awful at spending giftcards. I forget I have them, or think I should wait for something special.

  5. Calculate carbon footprint.
    I read Radical Simplicity a few months back, and got very interested.

  6. Reduce by 15%.
    I've been bookmarking ways that I could save energy for a while now. I think owning a house would help, and things like collecting rain for the garden, tankless water heaters, ecolawn... I see many possibilities.

  7. Donate blood twice a year (0/6)
    I can't just walk off the street and donate blood. I am naturally anemic, so I have to beef up (literally) before donating. But donating blood is such a (relatively) simple thing to do with a positive result, so I should do better about donating more often.

  8. Take a dance class
    I almost signed up for a belly dancing class this summer, but it conflicts with a class I actually have to take for school. Nuts. It's been a while since I've been in a movement based class, and would love to try it again.

  9. Donate any books I no longer need
    Done, but I consider this on-going. I donated about 12 books to a student program in March. I'm sure Doug and I could go through our collection and remove about 20 duplicates...mostly college texts.

  10. Buy a sewing machine
    I just think I should own one and remember how to use it. Maybe actually make a few napkins or table runners.

  11. Buy a shredder.
    Again, something I think I should have. And use.

  12. Read at least 25 books I've never read before (9/25)
    I was sort of lax on the number, because I figure I won't have much time while in school. So far I've read:
    1. Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
    2. A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of my Father by Augusten Burroughs
    3. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead
    4. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
    5. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
    6. The Kid: What Happened When My Boyfriend and I Decided to get Pregnant by Dan Savage
    7. A Mind of My Own: A memoir of recovery from Aphasia by Harianne Mills
    8.
    Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
    9. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

  13. Reread 5 books I read in high school
    I was talking to someone about this: I remember certain things from books I read in high school, but not enough to make me confident that I could answer questions on Jeopardy! about them. Some of the ones I want to reread include The Stranger, 1984, The Great Gatsby, Animal Farm, and The Lord of the Flies. If I were feeling particularly masochistic, I guess I'd give Beowulf another shot as well. And maybe The Picture of Dorian Gray. Couldn't stand that one at the time. I think I would "get" them more today. Or at least I'd like to try.

  14. Clean out my closet. Donate unwanted items
    I've been trying to keep on top of this, but you can always do more, right?

  15. Attend 5 year college reunion
    Because I will be old. OK, not old, but at the 5 year mark, I will have done everything on this list. I should feel pretty accomplished, no?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

101 goals in 1001 days (Part 2)

Given my current transitional stage in life, I thought the best way to introduce myself is to introduce who I want to be. Make sense?

I started the 101 goals in 1001 days project. I thought I would go through my goals one by one.

To catch up, here's part 1.

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).




Relationships/ Social

20. Write to Uncle Frank at least once a month (1/36)
There are a few people in my life that don't do email, and do better if they get written word than phone calls. I don't see why I can't take a few hours a month and write a letter to update them on what's going on with me.
21.Write to Uncle Don at least once a month (2/36)
Same deal as above. Although this might change, because he recently did take to email, and I've been responding to emails 5-6 times a week.
22.Get engaged
Done! :)
23.Plan a wedding
Probably easier said than done. I only say that because with graduate school and the fact that we are from two different parts of the country, the whole planning thing isn't as easy as it seems. It's been about 6 weeks since the engagement, and we still haven't picked a year!
24.Get married
Or at least have a date very close in the future when this thing is done. Follows, right?
25.Throw Doug a graduation or birthday party
This may end up being a housewarming BBQ, depending on when we move. Point being, a gathering of friends...he would like that.
26.Make 5 new friends in a graduate program
Sounds silly, right? Well, I have 2 years full time with the same folks, and I would like to make a few close friends out of it. Of course, I wrote this before I was admitted to the program I will be in. There are a few lovely ladies that I will be working with for the next few years.
27.Plan a visit with college friends within driving distance at least once every other month
I have quite a few friends in the Chicago area, and it's silly to be relatively close and not see them. So far, I've actually been pretty good about this.
28.Have Sandi and Bob over for dinner at least twice (0/2)
Doug's family.
29.Visit Bob & Pam at least twice (0/2)
More of Doug's family
30.Visit a couples counselor for a pre-wedding assessment
We aren't having a religious ceremony, so we won't have a pre-cantana (that's what they are called, yes?) At any rate, the idea of it isn't a bad one, minus the religious aspect. It makes sense to me to make sure we really truly are on the same page with everything. After all, this is a first for both of us, and we don't want to screw it up out of the gate.
31.Send birthday cards (via the mail) to 30 friends and family (3/30)
There can be improvement here. I enjoy getting mail, and imagine that others do too. I know a birthday card isn't much, but I enjoy them. If I really want to challange myself, I'd add "on time" to the goal. I have a horrid habit of sending two friends cards well after their birthday. They do the same, so I don't feel too awful, but it's sily when I buy the card 3 months ahead of time and send it two months late!
32.Send at least six updates to family/friends via email or mail (2/6)
For a while I was sending out an email update to friends and family every few months, and then I stopped. While I know my mom is really good at updating family, I figure I should take the torch at some point. Lucky for this goal, getting into grad school and getting engaged happened, so that was two down!
33.Host a dinner party
Current digs don't really allow for a dinner party, but I would feel very "adult" to host such a thing. Perhaps with a theme.
34.Visit with Grammy 3 times
Doug's grammy, who, despite living within an hour of, we rarely see outside of large family gatherings. His other grandmother passed away a few months ago, and we also never visited her as often as we said we would.
35.Take a decent set of pictures with Doug
We mostly have ridiculous pictures of ourselves. A few years back, we took a few nice pictures together, but we could definetly stand to do it again.
36.Learn 4 new games
(1/4)
I've learned Chraunonauts since starting these goals. I suppose I learned a new DS game this weekend, but I mostly despised it, so I won't count it.

Travel/ vacation
37.Plan a vacation that involves a plane or train ticket
My most frequent trips have been visiting my parents in recent years. In fact, Doug and I haven't taken a vacation together...ever. Unless you count the overnight we did on the drive back from my parent's 2 years ago. That's what we get for being students.
38. Visit 4 state parks (0/4)
I like new places and adventures. State parks are cheap, which is a big plus. I also like being outside, and want to be more active overall. I consider this a goal that attends to many things.
39. Go camping at least once
Planned! For five years, I've wanted to go camping with Doug (yea, my idea of a vacation isn't exactly a 4 star hotel).
40. Take at least 30 day trips to see things in the area (2/30)
Again, this is for my sense of adventure. When we have time off, we tend to be lazy about it. But it's silly to live in an area and not know anything about it. Even if it's something like walking around a downtown area of a cute local town. It doesn't take much.
Places we've traveled to so far:
1.) The Ellwood House
2.) Mini golf course

41.Visit the ocean
I grew up on the east coast, so to me, a summer wasn't complete without a dip somewhere in the Atlantic. Doug, on the otherhand, has spent one day in Mystic, CT, and we had dinner along the water. I hardly think it counts. We need to remedy such things. I'm not picky about which ocean we visit, but considering our current distance, completing this goal may also knock out our "by plane or train" goal.
42.Get a new passport

Time to replace!
43.Go to Cedar Point
Two years ago, we meant to stop by on our trip out, but ran out of time. Then it sort of got pushed to a back burner.
44.Go skiing at least once
Again, grew up on the east coast, so skiing was aplenty. I started when I was 3, and slowed down in high school. College and beyond in the midwest, I'd sort of forgotten I could. While home this winter, I as able to go with some friends, and remembered that I absolutely adore it.
45.Visit every stop on the Metra Union Pacific West Line
OK, so small adventure, but kind of neat. There are a lot of little downtown areas built around the Metra stops, and they seem very cute. With the $5 weekend pass, I imagine I could do this cheaply and learn new places and have tiny adventures.

Education/Employment

46.Get into graduate school
Done! I applied to 2 places, got into 1, which made the decision easy!
47.Apply for graduate assistantship/ grant programs
Done! After being accepted and applying for other graduate assistantships, I found out that I actually was being offered one through the department. Hooray!
48.Finish graduate school
In progress! Slated for May 2011 (which sounds REALLY far away)
49.Get a full time job in speech pathology
It makes sense, since that's what I am getting a MA in.
50.Take one class for self – letterpress, calligraphy, digital design, photography, cooking
I've always thought I'm not good at art. And that's true...I can't draw much worth a damn. But I can do the crafty stuff, and I would love to learn more in that realm. This may have to wait until after graduate school, though.
51.Attend one conference or professional workshop
I've never done it before. I will have to anyway for the career, but I think it would be neat to go to a conference. Plus, free goodies!

And now you can jump to part 3!