Friday Randomness 10-2-15

  • Some neighbors recently suggested a multi-family game night.  They hosted the first one last week and it was so much fun!  We played Wits and Wagers and then Apples to Apples.  So nice to actually try to be social and get out of the house!  We’re hosting the next game night later this month, and I’m looking forward to it!
  • My dad came down for a visit last weekend.  We FINALLY managed to convince him to upgrade his iPhone 4 to an iPhone 6S.  He had been SO stubborn about wanting to upgrade.  He had also been very stubborn about adopting a smartphone in the first place several years ago.  But after my mom died in 2012, he started using her iPhone since his broke in the car accident, but her iPhone was undamaged.  He caught on to the smartphone technology SO fast.  He was texting, Facebooking, checking ESPN scores, etc.  This from a man that literally does not even know how to use a computer mouse.  I’m not sure what his hesitations were about upgrading to a new phone, but we finally convinced him, especially since he had been complaining about some recent trouble on his phone, like pictures not rendering properly on Facebook and slow delivery of text messages (likely because we could never upgrade the iOS software because the phone was so out of date!).  He’s loving his new phone.

iphone upgrade

 

  • We’re planning a camping trip later this month!  We’re keeping our fingers crossed for perfectly cool autumn weather and some beautiful fall foliage!  
  • If you recall, last year I started to teach myself knitting, mostly by watching YouTube videos.  I was looking for a hobby that wasn’t computer-centric and could be done in small increments of time – like when waiting 15 minutes for dinner to finish up in the oven.  (Because usually I just resort to playing on my phone in those short time increments, which is rarely productive!)  I caught on fairly well to the basic stitches like the Knit and Purl, but there was one major issue: No matter how many videos I watched, I could not figure out how to fix my knitting mistakes like dropped or skipped stitches.  So I’d end up ripping apart the entire knitting project to start over completely from scratch.  Not exactly great for what is supposed to be a nice relaxing hobby.  So, I signed up for some actual in-person knitting lessons here in Northern Virginia, and I’m feeling so much more comfortable about everything knitting-related!  Especially learning that mistakes don’t have to be caught or fixed right away, that there are usually options to fix the knitting mistakes even when a project is close to completion!  I’m feeling much more relaxed now about knitting!  
  • I can’t wait to share the details about our basement renovation!  In the past week, we’ve had wallpaper installed over our wood paneling, as well as new carpet installed.  Next up are new Ikea cabinets for a small bar and workbench area.  (You know how much we love our Ikea kitchen cabinets!)

basement renovation

basement renovation 2

basement renovation 3

 

Have a great weekend!

Friday Randomness 8-21-15

  • After several false starts, I’m finally getting the hang of couponing!  In fact, for the first time ever, I made a “special trip” to the store (outside of my normal shopping day) to stock up on some sales.  I think I might be hooked.  Right now, my favorite app is Favado to find out what nearby stores have good stock-up prices.  And I officially have two Sunday newspaper subscriptions delivered so I can have extra coupons!  
  • A few weeks ago Ken and I made a trip to Pittsburgh to see my family.  We took my 9 year old nephew to Kennywood, a local Pittsburgh amusement park.  Going to Kennywood always makes me feel so nostalgic!  We’d go there every year for “school picnic” day.  Although I will say that I am becoming more of a wimp on the bigger rides!  While we were there, my nephew got stung by a bee!  Ken and I felt terrible because at first we didn’t believe him.  He got stung on the front of his ankle, right through his sock!  Then he pulled his sock down, and sure enough, we saw a tiny little hole right on his ankle.  He was such a trooper!  He hobbled all the way to the first aid station, where the workers were fantastic in giving him medicine to take the sting away and ice to reduce the swelling.  Luckily (well, luckily is a strange way to describe it!) he’s been stung by a bee before, so we weren’t panicked about an unknown allergic reaction or anything.  

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  • If you recall, back in November, I was experiencing some pretty dramatic heart palpitations probably close to 100 times per day.  I went to a cardiologist (after my primary care doctor dismissed the palpitations it as “not serious” and frankly, not believing her), and got a full workup.  EKG, EEG (an ultrasound of the heart), and had to wear a Holter Monitor for 24 hours (which monitors heart activity).  The cardiologist diagnosed me with PVCs, which is when your heart’s lower chamber has an extra beat, but assured me that they are not serious, even though they feel “unsettling.”  She said they weren’t bad enough to warrant medication.  After a few weeks, they finally diminished and went away, and the assumption was I got them because I was taking so much cold medicine after being terribly sick the previous month.  Well, just a few weeks ago, my heart palpitations started in full force again.  They’re driving me crazy and they really make it hard to focus on stuff, because I’m constantly panicking that I’m having a heart attack.  And this time, there was no definite “cause” of the palpitations like the cold medicine.  They just kinda started out of the blue. I’m trying to avoid going back to the cardiologist because I’m sure she’ll tell me again that they’re not serious, but they FEEL serious.  UGH.  
  • I work from home fairly regularly these days, and because I’m frequently on the phone for teleconferences, I started going over my cell minutes (we didn’t have a home phone!)  I even finally blew through a huge stash of rollover minutes.  Well, I decided I didn’t want to have to worry about minutes anymore, so we bought an Ooma, which is a VOIP “land” line.  You buy the box, and then the monthly phone service is free (well, you have to pay about $3/month in taxes).  We’ve had it for about three weeks now, and I LOVE it!  I was worried about voice clarity, and I’ve specifically asked my family and coworkers to tell me if they hear something wonky on my end, but there’s been no complaints!  So happy with that purchase.  
  • We finished Season 3 of Game of Thrones this weekend!  I had previously heard mentions of “The Red Wedding,” but I had no idea when it occurred or what exactly happened at the Red Wedding, just that it was crazy.  And, well, it was totally crazy.  
  • Speaking of TV shows, I started watching Prison Break on Netflix last month.  (Ken had watched the series when it originally aired).  I pretty much binge watched the first two seasons, and then season 3 was just getting completely ridiculous.  I’ve been having a hard time having the motivation to watch it now!  Ha, needing motivation to watch a TV show.  What a sad concept!  

Friday Randomness 7-3-15

  • Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. again.  I’ve just kinda lost my blogging mojo.  But with so many trips (hello camping and Alaska and still needing to finish my Vegas and Florida Keys trip reports!) and home improvement projects to update you all on, I’m going to try to get back into a routine.
  • Last weekend, we watched Interstellar at home.  Ken had seen it in the theaters and described it as “epic,” but I was skeptical.  However, I have to agree now!  I really didn’t understand what the heck was going on the first 30 minutes or so, but the pieces started to come together as the movie progressed.  Really good, and highly recommend!
  • I mentioned in a previous Friday Randomness post that I was considering going to Mardi Gras in 2016.  Well, a hotel has been booked (on points, of course!), and this week I booked flights to New Orleans on Southwest (on points as well) since their flight schedules opened up through March this past week.  So, I guess we’re going!  Even though it’s 7 months away, I’m excited!  I’ll owe you all a post on going to Mardi Gras on points and miles.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of points options for hotels that were available.
  • If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that Ken and I went on an Alaska cruise in mid-June!  One of our excursions included a seaplane tour in Ketchikan, Alaska, of the Misty Fjords Monument.  Despite some nervousness beforehand (neither of us had been on such a small plane before), Ken and I both really enjoyed it.  So, we were so sad just two weeks later when we heard about a similar seaplane that had crashed, touring the same area.  So tragic.  We wonder if that crash had happened before our trip if we would’ve changed our minds about going on the seaplane tour.

Alaska Misty Fjords Seaplane Tour

  • We finally finished watching True Blood after starting it more than three years ago!  There was a certain element at the very end that left me sad and disappointed, but I see now why it had to happen.
  • I really need to organize some of my Pinterest boards.  Like dividing up my huge “Food and Recipes” board into separate desserts / appetizers / main dish / freezer cooking / etc. boards.  Right now it’s just impossible to browse.  I just need to find the time!  It just seems like a low priority that I never get around to it.

Have a good weekend and a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!

Weekend Randomness 4-11-15 (M.I.A. Edition)

  • My dad has been back in the hospital. You might remember he broke his hip in early February. Well, he had just been released from rehabilitation a few weeks ago and then came down with terrible pneumonia that caused him to be hospitalized again just 10 days later. Within 24 hours of being hospitalized, he was left unable to breathe on his own and was put on a ventilator.  Just Thursday morning, after 9 days of being on a ventilator, he was able to breathe on his own again and was taken off the ventilator. As of right now, he is REALLY disoriented, but doctors say that’s normal since he’s been sedated for so long.  Hopefully he’ll start to become more coherent soon. I miss talking to him!
  • When things like that happen, I tend to become a big ball of worry and neglect things like blogging. I know that’s the opposite of what I should do. I should occupy my mind with hobbies, but I just veg out and descend into unproductive behaviors.
  • I went to Pittsburgh for about five days when my dad’s condition seemed really bad. On the upside, I got to spend lots of time with my 22-month old niece, and my 8 year old nephew. They’re a blast!
  • For Christmas, Ken got me an Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator (a method, becoming somewhat trendy, for cooking).  I kept putting off using it because I couldn’t figure out what recipe to start with. Yep, dumbest reasoning ever. But a few weeks ago I took the plunge and made some Filets, and then a few days later used it to make chicken for chicken parmesan.  OH.My.GOODNESS.  Both meals were SO good. I’m totally hooked now.

anova sous vide cooking

  • It was already two weeks ago, but what did you think of the Walking Dead season finale? I thought that was a truly intense episode, and at any given moment, I thought that three characters could have been goners.
  • Ken and I had been watching Better Call Saul since it first aired in early February. I think that has been a truly fantastic show and I can’t wait for the second season.
  • For the third time in five months, a third credit card of ours has been compromised. Crazy! But I am thankful that the credit card companies stay on top of things and disable the cards when they see odd purchases.

Have a good weekend!

Friday Randomness 3-6-15

  • Ken and I welcomed a new nephew to the world on Monday! Ken’s sister had a scheduled c-section on Monday morning and gave birth to a baby boy. We met him Monday night at the hospital!  Welcome Baby S!

ken-with-baby-S

Melissa-with-Baby-S

  • We also celebrated our niece L’s 6th birthday. She’s the older sister of the new nephew! My sister-in-law is a brave woman to have her daughter’s 6th birthday party two days before she was scheduled to give birth. We kept teasing that this baby would come early and she’d miss the birthday party.
  • It was a wacky (but good!) week! A different nephew, T, (who is 8 years old) flew down on Friday as an unaccompanied minor to spend the weekend with us and go to L’s birthday party. The plan was for him to go back home on an 11:15AM flight Sunday morning, but it cancelled (long before we ever left for the airport), thanks to Sunday’s icy weather here in the DC area. Then every other flight to Pittsburgh started cancelling, except the 8:05PM flight. We had just boarded the metro to head to the airport and I refreshed the flight status on my phone, and boom, cancelled. So, we decided he should head out on Monday morning so he could try to make a half day of school. Well, you have to go to the ticket counter to fill out paperwork for an unaccompanied minor, and the lines at the ticket counter were so outrageously long (2 hours) at National Airport thanks to the previous day’s icy weather cancellations, that we missed the 9:30AM flight, and then he was put on the 11:30AM flight, only to be pulled off to accommodate a revenue passenger (the downsides of flying for free as the dependent of an airline employee! They can take you off the plane!). T was such a trooper! It looked like he wouldn’t make it on any of the other remaining flights out of National that day either. Like I mentioned, Ken and I had been planning to go to Baltimore Monday evening to meet Baby S, and so as it turns out, flights to Pittsburgh from Baltimore were wide open. So we drove to Baltimore, where we met baby S (and T was very excited to get to meet him!), and then drove T to BWI, and his flight took off right on time late Monday night. It worked out fantastically, but wow, it was still crazy!

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  • On Wednesday, I started to come down with a cold. Funny how this always seems to happen after I go to a children’s birthday party! They’re like big petri dishes of germs! It doesn’t seem like a bad cold though, so hopefully I’m already on the mend!
  • If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I was singing the praises of these new spike cleat things I bought! (Called Stabilicers Lite Duty Serious Traction Cleat.  I got them in pink!). As I’ve mentioned, probably ad nauseum, I’m a klutz. (I bring it up often because it just permeates so much of my life!) Because I’m a klutz, I’m overly cautious and painfully slow when it comes to things like walking on uneven terrain (why you never find me on wet or rocky trails) or icy surfaces. The sidewalks around here have been so treacherous for two weeks, that simply going to pick up lunch or going to the grocery store takes a real balancing act. On a whim, I ordered the shoe spike things from Amazon the other day. They came yesterday, and thanks to Sunday’s ice storm, they got a good trial run. This may seriously be the best 16 bucks I’ve spent in a long time. I felt like running across an icy parking lot! (Although I wouldn’t, because I’d just end up tripping instead of slipping)

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  • We got about six inches of snow in yesterday’s storm that hit the DC area. It came down hard and fast! At 7AM, there was nothing on the ground, by 8AM, the ground was covered in ice, and then by 10, all the grass was covered in snow, and it just kept coming! The temperatures should be pretty warm over the next week, so hopefully all this snow starts to melt!

Have a great weekend!