So this whole productivity project thing may or may not be totally on hold. Life has just been too crazy to stick to a scheduled. Maybe I’ll hop back on board one of these days, because I’ve certainly had some exciting time in the past couple of months. However, for now, if I post once a month, I’ll call it a win.
I certainly won’t refrain from posting when I feel like it just because I haven’t caught up all the way. Trying to be healthier means more than just exercising and eating right — it also means cutting myself some slack when I don’t live up to my own expectations.
Today, I was pretty productive, as it happens. I tidied up my workspace since it had gotten a little out of control. I’ve been doing a lot of project lately and my desk can get a little overrun with work and craft stuff all over the place. I recently got a balance ball to sit on instead of my desk chair and it’s working out really well. I definitely feel a lot better about doing so much sitting since I got it…and it’s more fun to be able to bounce around a little bit while I’m working.
Yes, there are two computers and a monitor on my desk. It’s helpful to have things all spread out for cross referencing. Plus it helps me feel like more of a computer geek. Sorry for the terrible iPhone picture.
This week I’ve been perfecting the art of soft boiling eggs. It’s fun to have a good breakfast in the morning.
Apparently I next need to work on not burning bacon. Oh well.
Now for some recently finished and in progress knitting projects:
This is a circular scarf knit with Classic Elite Yarn’s Giselle in Teal and Cloud (I think). I got two skeins of teal and one of cloud for a bargain when I went to Rochester with Oren in February. I knit it up on big needles to make a nice, fluffy, light and fuzzy scarf. Not exactly something I’ll get to wear much until next fall, but it’s nice to finish something. Still need to weave in some ends.
I’m proud of these. This mitten pattern is the first one ever that I designed myself! I wrote up the cable pattern in Illustrator and everything! I had a skein of this yarn left over after making another circular scarf, and it was just enough to make this squishy pair of mittens. Sorry can’t remember what yarn I used. All the tags get lost. I should start keeping better track. It was definitely a worsted or aran weight though and they’re lovely and comfortable. The best thing about these mittens is that they’re custom fit, so I don’t have lots of extra material around my tiny hands (which gets annoying when trying to pick something up).
Finally, here is one of my works in progress. Mom gifted me a Craftsy mystery knit-a-long, so I didn’t know what the pattern was going to be when I signed up. It turned out to be an art deco style, color work hat. We got to pick the color binary and Craftsy sent the yarn, which turned out to be SimpliWorsted by HiKoo. I LOVE the feel of this yarn. It’s nice and squishy with great stitch definition. This hat isn’t something I’d normally choose to make of my own volition, but I like that I get to practice my colorwork again. I haven’t done anything since I “finished” my sweater. The knitting is done but I need to find the ribbon to do the button band, so that is still technically a work in progress. Can’t wear a heavy wool sweater until after summer anyway.
Spring has been slow to start up here in New Jersey, but every day there are some more trees and flowers in bloom. We certainly do get some pretty springs here in the mid-Atlantic region.
I’ve done a few other things including some crochet projects (yay! new skill!) and some embroidered cards, but I won’t post pictures of those because they will be gifts for people. Maybe I’ll post them after they’ve been gifted.
Until next time! Thanks for reading!
My facebook connection hasn’t been working for the past few posts, so I’m giving it a test to see if my troubleshooting will work. Sorry for the silly, useless post. Here is a picture of a baby koala for your trouble:
Monday, February 25 – Sunday, March 3
This week was probably the busiest in the history of my professional life…though I have no scientifically accurate way to measure that.
On Monday and Tuesday I took part in the second installment of a manager’s training workshop. We did a little self assessment called the FIRO-B, that I had never heard of before. That is saying something because my entire Certificate of Advanced Study (the piece of paper for which I finally received sometime in February. It was so over-anticipated and underwhelming when it came that it went by unphotographed) consisted mostly of self assessment. I’m surprised there is one I hadn’t already taken.
Anyway these were half-day trainings that took a really huge chunk out of the time I had to prepare for an entirely different training that I helped deliver on Wednesday, and the business trip to California that I started on Friday.
I am in no way complaining — I actually like the insanity of many deadlines coming to a head all at once. I don’t think I could sustain that state of mind, but it helped to catalyze my organizational skills, and now I feel like I have a handle on what I need to get done for the rest of the month. I need tight deadlines and turn-around in order to have confidence in putting that cap on work that is done well enough. Otherwise I’m allowed to sit around with stuff that is “done” but could be better…It’s a slippery slope and I’m not sure any of this paragraph makes much sense. It makes sense to me though, so I guess that is what matters.
The training on Wednesday went pretty well — it was a basic introduction to Intercultural Education principles as they apply to our daily work. I like this stuff, and I believe in its utility, so I liked having the conversations with my coworkers who, in turn, seemed to find the information useful. Success!
I stayed very late at work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so that I could work at home on Thursday and actually pack my suitcase for the 2.5 week trip to California…which, as I said, began on Friday. I flew out on Friday morning and landed in San Diego without a hitch. That’s where I picked up this beauty:
The meeting that I am facilitating for the next few days in California is for 11 volunteers from my organization — some are from the United States and others are from South Africa. As the meeting facilitator, I needed to transport this group of 12 (including me) around, since the place where we were staying was rich in lunch places, but rather poor for dinner places. 12 is a very awkward group to transport, so one group member drove down from Los Angeles (where she lives) and I rented The Momsicle that you see above. She seats seven people, including the driver, and I have been having a really good time driving her around! I never thought I’d enjoy driving a
boat minivan like this, but it is surprisingly comfortable and safe-feeling. My friends have teased me mercilessly, but I could become a soccer mom yet.
The place where this meeting is taking places is one that I have stayed at several times before, but the scenery never gets old. It’s right on Mission Bay, and it’s steps from the beach. I’ve already taken advantage of the good weather and flat terrain to get a run in, and I hope to do more before the meeting is over. Tonight we rode on the steamwheeler that the hotel owns, in celebration of one of our group member’s birthdays. We tore up the dance floor
More California adventure awaits next week!
Monday, February 18 – Sunday, February 24
This week’s productivity came at the end. This weekend we had our rescheduled tasting at our wedding caterer’s Western New Jersey location. First, my mom came up north and we had an adventure framing pictures at Michael’s. Pictures to come once they are finished. I also got this poster frame for Oren’s Litograph poster of Newton’s Opticks.
The tasting went well! I have no photos of the food, somehow, but we were served wine, an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, an array of main courses and various cupcakes. The hors d’oeuvres were the best, followed by the mashed potatoes, which is good because Oren and I have decided to have an “extended cocktail hour” menu at our wedding, which means that we’re going to have a ton of different finger foods the whole time. All the food was well prepared and very nicely presented, and so even though we didn’t taste exactly what we’re serving, we’re confident that our wedding food will be tasty. The only thing that wasn’t great was the cake assortment…which is fine because we’ve opted out of a wedding cake anyway. ::GASP:: We’ve decided to go for something a little me “us.” I haven’t decided how many spoilers I’ll post on the blog, but rest assured, it will be delicious.
That night was the Jewish festival of Purim, which meant that Oren’s mom had to leave the tasting a little early to go prepare a feast for the family. We followed shortly after, and even though we were not at all hungry, we were served up another “tasting” of amazing, home made food. It was definitely a weekend of eating.
Monday, February 11 – Sunday February 17
Newfound Fitness Motivation
Last year, around this time, Oren and I started training for a 5K run. Oren had never run before and I had never raced before, so that was a great undertaking for both of us. After managing the 5K run (we used the Couch to 5K program, which has a free app, and I cannot recommend it highly enough) I had planned to just continue training with the 10K trainer version of the same program that essentially picks up where the 5K leaves off. But I never signed up for a 10K to give me a goal, and I still found 5K to be a challenging distance to run. Layer on tons of a excuses and busy summer, and the dreams of running a 10K fell by the wayside for 2012. I did run several other 5Ks after the first one on Memorial Day last year. I ran the Color Run with Oren and Becki in August, right before John and Meaghan’s wedding (photographic evidence exists if you look in the blog’s archives) and I also ran the Awesome 80′s Run in San Diego in October with John, where I shattered my personal records in order to get to my Saturday morning conference on time.
I always leave races with the best of intentions, but then fall off the wagon without an appreciable goal. Well, this month, I scrambled aboard the wagon once more. My BFF Emily and I have dinner once a month (at least we try to…it doesn’t always work) and last time she mentioned an all-women’s 10K in June in Central Park. It happens to be the day before Andrés and Molly’s wedding, which means that once again, all of our friends will be in town from all over the world. This was the kick in the pants I needed — I had enough time and the right motivation, so I started training again. I backtracked in the 5K training a little and I’m making steady progress. I’ll update on my training week by week until the race.
Oren and I don’t usually making a huge fuss about Valentine’s Day, but this year, Valentine’s Day happend right before President’s Day Weekend, for which Oren had Friday and Saturday off, so we decided to make an event of it. On Thursday we went to Las Palmas, a Cuban restaurant in West New York, New Jersey. I got to bust out a few Spanish speaking skills and we ate enough delicious caribbean food to last us a while. The crappy iPhone pictures will speak for themselves — I got shrimp mofongo and Oren go skirt steak. We accompanied our delicious meal with an order of plantains and yuca, and we finished everything off with some dulce de leche. Not a bad Valentine’s Day meal at all.
On Friday we piled into the car and headed to a bed and breakfast in Bloomfield, New York. We were en route to spend the holiday weekend at my grandparents’ house in Rochester, but we thought we’d spend a night in a B&B just for a fun, romantic stopover. We went through Ithaca on the way to the B&B and made a stop to see my aunt and uncle, Mary and Brian, and my cousin Joey. We had a nice afternoon coffee with them. It was nice to catch up and we even made an impromptu stop at a yarn store.
The B&B was beautiful and it was nice to scope out the town on the way from Bloomfield to Rochester. We stopped at a game store in Victor, New York so that Oren could do some hardcore nerding out, and picked up some fresh apple cider and cider doughnuts on the way to see the grandparents.
I don’t have pictures of our time at the B&B or at my grandparents’. A sure sign that we were having too much fun to stop and take pictures. Highlights were going to the movies to see Silver Linings Playbook (which I get the impression that my grandparents didn’t 100% enjoy) and going to a farmers market where we picked up some ground buffalo meat and aced a test on sensible snack portioning at a health awareness booth.
The “weekend” really continues into Monday, when we’ll head back to New Jersey. Vacations always make time fly by way too fast. Here’s a scene from the drive home:
Monday, February 4 – Sunday, February 10
This week was another one that was slow to take off but eventful toward the end. I can’t believe that we’re already at week six out of fifty-two! Time does fly.
Monday – Wednesday
Though most of the days were consumed with work, after work, for the past few weeks, I have been consumed by watching Doctor Who on Netflix. Oren started me on the show a while back (when it was still 2012) by showing me my first ever Doctor Who episode–Vincent and the Doctor from Season 5, in case anyone is interested. I liked it, but it wasn’t until I happened upon the Season 5 Christmas special this past Christmas while spending time at Grandma’s house that I was really inspired to watch it on my own. Since then I’ve been catching up on Netflix.
For those who do not know, Doctor Who is a long-running, British television series that has been around since the 1960s. It is about the antics of a Time Lord (an extraterrestrial being), called the Doctor, who can and does travel in time and space, saving lifeforms and universes from destruction and annihilation. He usually travels with a platonic companion–mostly the companion is a young woman, but not always–who keeps him grounded, as his nature is consistently eccentric. The really enchanting thing about the Doctor, and Time Lords in general, is that they live a very long time because when their lives are in jeopardy, they can usually regenerate in a different physical form. This is what has kept the show going for so long because they can keep replacing the Doctor with different actors under the pretext of regeneration. In 2005 the series was rebooted from nearly a decade of hiatus and there have been three Doctors since then, including the current Doctor. There have been eleven Doctors in total throughout the life of the series. Here they are:
It’s been pretty interesting discovering this “Whovian” culture. Doctor Who has a cult following akin to those for Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. Indeed, I am sure there is significant overlap between all of these fan bases, so I fit right in .
Perhaps it is a bit worrying that I managed to get through seven seasons of the Doctor Who reboot since the beginning of the year, BUT, I will say in my defense that I haven’t watched every minute of every episode. The beauty of not having a proper television, but watching all of my shows on the Interwebs, means that I can skip around as I please. I don’t like tense and scary plots, with which Doctor Who abounds, so for many episodes I will scan through to get the gist and skip to the resolution. Cheating? Yes. But my question is: why have fictional stress in my life if I have a choice? Even with the bouncing around, I have logged a lot of hours watching Doctor Who and now, I’m all caught up and tempted to start watching the classic episodes to tide me over until the current season starts up again at the end of March.
I didn’t expect to have this much to say about Doctor Who, and I’ve really let my nerd flag fly with this one.
Thursday, February 7
All week people had been talking about Winter Storm Nemo that was to dump mountains of snow on the entire East coast from New Jersey to Maine. I worked from home on Thursday so I could get some last-minute errands in before the blizzard hit, just in case Oren and I got stuck indoors for a lengthy period of time. Here is a healthy work at home snack…
My lovely friend Lisa was also returning to Newark after a month in Turkey, Greece and Italy (poor girl) and I had said that I would pick her up. Her flight came in only slightly late and we had a quality visit, even if it was a little quick. I brought her back to the airport early the next morning (after supplying a breakfast of overnight oats and a stop at the local bagel place for a whitefish salad fix to go). She’s promised to come back and visit. It’s a good thing her visit was so short because she only just made it out. But I’m getting ahead of myself!
Friday, February 8
A dusting of snow had begun to fall right as we reached Newark Airport. Lisa texted me later to say that the airport was a mad house with people trying to beat the storm and she only just made her flight. I worked at home again on Friday, as I usually do if a big storm is predicted. Storms in this area always mean a chance of blackouts, which means the likelihood of getting stuck in New York City raises considerably. My transportation requires electricity to run. It snow-rained all day, the temperature flirting with freezing the entire time, which means icy conditions. Oren’s school preemptively declared a half a day to make sure that everyone got home safe. The snow predictions all week had claimed that we would get anywhere from two to thirty-two inches of snow…quite a range. By Friday, the predictions had landed on ten to fifteen inches…and we probably got about ten, which compressed to about six. It mostly fell at night when we were sleeping.
Saturday, February 9
We woke up to a winter wonderland. The snow had stopped in the night and the roads were surprisingly clear…except around the cars parked on the road, which were obviously buried. Oren and I had a lazy day. We were supposed to do a tasting with the wedding caterer that we’re considering, but it was ultimately canceled due to the weather. It was a relaxing sort of day full of knitting, reading, and finishing up a few side projects, including a suite of wedding invitations that I have been designing for a friend. that being snowbound permits you to do for the most part.
In the evening, Oren dug out his car so we could make it to his high school which put on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. We ate pizza beforehand at a place nearby, where many of Oren’s students were hanging out, and it was cool to see how excited they were to see him…in a cool, nonchalant science kid sort of way, obviously. Oren said that it will spread like wildfire that I was seen eating pizza and attending the school musical–a “fiancé sighting.” Hahah!
The kids on stage did a really great job; they were dedicated to capturing all the ridiculousness and farce of that old and rather sexist musical. I remembered a lot from when my high school did that play in my Sophomore year…though I will say that I must never have listened carefully to the lyrics. Some of them are shocking. I usually worked back stage for the high school plays and watching all the kids having fun reminded me of how I miss performing…or at least being around that kind of energy and creativity. Every time I see a music, I have this urge to go join a community theater company. I never quite make it to the point of action, though.
Sunday, February 10
Another rather lazy day. I popped out around 11:00am to clear most of the snow off my car so that the sun could melt what was left before Tuesday. I got some tidying and crafting done around the house, and finished up some wedding stationary that I have been designing for a friend. In the evening, while Oren put together a DELICIOUS lasagne for dinner, I finished all the knitting on my sweater. All that is left is washing, blocking and steeking. I’m very happy with how it has come out.
It’s interesting. This project makes me realize that the beginning of my weeks are usually quite slow and the ends are usually more exciting. What a fascinating pattern. Maybe I should make it a goal to make Monday through Wednesday MORE fun thank the weekend. Something to think about.
Monday, January 28 – Sunday, February 3
The days this week were fairly ordinary except for a few, very gratifying events that didn’t take place until the week’s end. The rest of the days were spent going to work and knitting my sweater, which is almost done! I’ll go by event, rather than date this time.
PATH Back to Normal
On Wednesday, January 30th, the PATH line from Hoboken to the World Trade Center finally opened again. It took almost exactly three months from Hurricane Sandy to get the line working close to normally. The PATH is still running on restricted service, but the repair means I can resume my regular, and cheaper, commute into New York City. I’ll miss the ferry, but I can always splurge if I want to, and I like the return to routine.
NEMC Cocktail Hour
This was very exciting. The director of my old summer camp–New England Music Camp–held a happy hour so that all camp alumni in the New York area could come together and catch up. Even though we are all in very close proximity, and have been for a while, it was the first time I’d seen many of my camp friends for ten years (got the title of the blog post now?). It was so wonderful to catch up with them and to realize that there are plenty more friends in New York City to spend time with.
New York is funny like that. Sometimes I’ll randomly run into people I know, which is incredible in a city of a zillion people, but more often, the seething throngs of people feel isolating to this bridge-and-tunnel girl. My wonderful friend Courtney once wrote a fantastic piece for our university’s newspaper of the importance of community in a person’s life. In New York, and my commuter town in New Jersey, I find it is hard to create a cohesive community for myself. I’m often so ready to get home after working in the hustle and bustle that I forget, or ignore, the fact that there are wonderful people in this city that I already know and can hang out with any time. My camp friends and I parted ways that night determined to keep in touch and hang out much more often.
Official Start to Wedding Planning
I still haven’t decided just how much wedding planning I’ll document on the blog. There are plenty of wedding blogs that document the wedding process much better, and probably more eloquently than I…and since I’m going to be that the majority of my readership here will likely intersect with a majority of my wedding guests…I do want SOME things to remain a surprise.
However, I will say that Oren and I had a really great, and productive sit-down with our parents on Sunday, which officially kicks off our wedding planning process. We’ve taken our time with wedding planning for a million reasons, and we’re really glad we did, but starting to piece together the details is also really exciting and I can’t wait to be married to such an awesome person.
Also on Sunday, I saw the best Beyoncé concert ever! She is so fierce that she had a half a football game as her opening act! Okay, I know these jokes are super unoriginal, but in all seriousness, I was super happy to watch the Super Bowl this year. Oren and I popped over to Aunt Betsy’s for some tasty food and to cheer on the game. The power out in the middle was entertaining and confusing, and ultimately I was happy to see the Ravens come out on top, since it brought great joy to my good friends in Baltimore.
So that was my week. Nothing really photo-worthy, but plenty of wonderful moments of seeing people and being present.