April in review

Last August, I started to publish a list of things we’ll do this month in an attempt to mix a little fun and adventure into our boring old to do list. We spend so much time at work and sometimes it feels like we spend the rest of our time running errands and shopping for groceries, taking out the trash and folding the laundry. I thought that if I had some entertaining tasks on my list, it would make pleasure a higher priority and separate work from play.

April feels like a lifetime ago, but it’s fun to look in the rearview mirror and remember the fun we had. Here’s a report card on the things that were on my list of intentions at the start of last month.

  • Talk about version two of our wedding and *try to* come up with an answer for everyone’s second question: so, what are you going to do now? (Their first is: “is everything okay???” – I barely got a post about version one written so this was definitely a no go.
  • Carve my soapstone bear (Barb, you are on my agenda!) – I got so close! but now I feel like just giving up.
  • Plan my summer gardens (Three this year – our balcony garden, my remote garden and our garden plot at the apartment!) One is well underway. The other two are questionable at this point.
  • Plant seeds – Tons. As usual, way more than I will need for my balcony. Interested? Let me know!
  • Hang all of our artwork – Nada.
  • Fill all of our picture frames (Am I the only one who is terrible at printing photos in this digital age?!?) – I had such great intentions and even started on them, but never followed through. Hmph.
  • Host an Easter celebration Yesssssssssss!
  • Plan a trip to watch baseball – Not *yet*
  • Meal plan – Nope
  • Go hiking – I thought we did, but I can’t find any proof!

Here are some things we DID get done.

What made April special for you? 

Marvelous March in review

Well, March was pretty tied up with two things: wedding cancellation and moving. I know, I know. I feel like a broken record as much as I’m sure I sound like one. You’re thinking, “We get it, Carly, you moved.” But, in just 2.5 short years, I had totally forgotten how all consuming moving can be. Sure, at the start, it’s fun and it’s exciting, but it gets nitpicky and tedious after a while. A short while. Don’t get me wrong, I still like it. I’d just forgotten how much work goes into it.

Things we did this month:

  • sorted through all of our belongings – every last thing
  • packed all of said belongings into boxes
  • transported full boxes between old place and new place
  • found places for full boxes to remain situated

I’ve barely unpacked, but that’s a spoiler for April.

Kishimoto is worth the trip (and the line-up)

Things we were supposed to do…

  • Start tomato seeds – YES! And it isn’t too late for you to do the same. It’s optimal to get them planted by April 15th. Click that link for my tutorial on growing my favourite West Coast Seeds tomato variety.
  • Celebrate St Patrick’s Day – Nah. This ended up being the first night we stayed in the new place so after long days at work, moving the cats and setting up an air mattress in the living room, celebration was limited to take out from Browns (which they got all wrong anyway – grrrrr)
  • Visit the library – Nope.
  • Run 25km – Hahahahahaha.
  • Clear out my remote garden – I believe that this got done, but it wasn’t by me.
  • Order wedding invitations – What’s the opposite of this? I think we did it.
  • Secure wedding photographer – I did! And then I undid.
  • Read two books – Yup.
  • Plan first dinner party in the new place – Not yet…
  • Write! Write! Write! – Yes and no. Yes, I wrote, but not as much as I’d have liked.

It was a tough month for goals because we were working long days and then spending our evenings running back and forth between places. When mornings rolled around, we were too tired to get out and get moving before heading to the office and we were so short on time, we survived on take out mostly. Ugh. March was a bully of a month, but here were some highlights.

What made your March marvelous?

February in review

Catching up with February. How can two to three days difference leave a month feeling that much shorter?!? We had a few big plans that went by the wayside, but we also had a couple of little surprises creep in there, too. It was a good month, but it felt a little less energized than usual. Our impending move put us into a bit of a state of limbo – not out of here yet, not into the new place… It was a quiet month, but sometimes quiet is good, too.

  • Road trip to Vancouver, Washington – SNOWED IN
  • Super Bowl. FEATURING THE FALCONS. Rise up, errbody! – HEARTBREAKING
  • Make and send Valentines – I sort of did this! But I forgot to take pics for proof.
  • Nate Bargatze! In Vancouver! – AMAZING
  • Run 25km – We got back to it, but not as a routine. We need to tackle it this month. Seriously.
  • Order change of address cards AND wedding invitations – Change of address – yes. Wedding invitation – no.
  • Make plans for a weekend check out at our wedding venue, organize meetings with flower vendors, cake makers, hairdressers (?) –
  • Secure officiant and photographer – Officiant – hallelujah! Photographer – this.close.
  • Finish reading two books – I read way more than two books, BUT I didn’t finish two. I read half to three quarters of five books, but only finished one.

Extra things we DID do…

What were your greatest experiences or your proudest accomplishments this February? What made February 2017 memorable for you?

January in review

Welp.

One month (plus a day) into 2017.

Yes, already.

Sheesh.

January started in my most favourite way. With Amy (and our significant others, too.) The last thing I did in 2016 was dance with Tyson who, as it turns out, LOVES (!!!) Nelly. The first thing I did in 2017 was kiss Kevin. So much love for our little Trash Panda crew! <3

Miss y’all so, so much!

Then I got sick.

And they left town.

I’m not going to lie, I tried really hard not to dwell on that adage I once heard that, “the way you start the year is the way you’ll end it.” Instead, I shifted to thinking that I was simply getting the worst of the year out of the way and making the way for nothing but the good in life.

I missed a whole week of work – or maybe it was a week and a half. It’s a blur.

But, life went on.

Things we didn’t do in January: run (like, at all – not even for a bus…), make vision boards. We had to cancel our plans to fly back east to spend time with Kevin’s dad for his 70th birthday so that was a real bummer…but we’re moving and planning a wedding and probably a reception for our eastern loved ones later on this year and maybe another one for our western friends and family, too. Balance. Good with the bad.

My football team made it all the way to the Super Bowl! Yay!

My favourite hockey player got traded! Boo!

Things we did do:

  • Booked our wedding date, place and (mostly) time
  • Sent out Save the Date notices (much to the bewilderment of our nearest and dearest old-schoolers)
  • I bought my wedding dress with the help of my mom, aunt and distant matron of honour <3
  • Spent another great weekend with Julie – snowshoeing, wedding showing and hockey cheering
  • Attended three lovely organized dinners: one appreciation dinner for my job, Corrine‘s birthday & Keith‘s birthday
  • Found an amazing new place to live!

That’s our new building on the right!

I read: Born for This & Things I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I watched: Mistresses – all of it, Unreal – season two, Girlfriends Guide to Divorce – season three & just started Veep

So? What about you? What happened in January? How’s 2017 treating you so far?

November in review

November was a whirlwind. (And based on how late this post is, it’s safe to say that December has carried on that way, too!) Though we were only away for seven days of it, that trip felt like it accounted for most of the month.

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Knowing we’d be away, I kept November’s list of fun and enjoyable things to do short.

  • Orlando! – this we did!
  • Run 40 km (this would be 50, but since we’re away for a week…) – we didn’t run as much as we would have at home while we were away and I had to push it in the last few days of the month, but I pulled it off!
  • Lay off the coff(ee) – not so much
  • Pull the trigger and book a wedding date/location (we’re so close) – just waiting on a few tiny pieces of information about major life events that may or may not take place in the new year – still, SO close!
  • Celebrate second (aka American) Thanksgiving – ✔️
  • Check out Circle Craft Christmas Market – did not
  • Make/organize Christmas cards & gifts that need to be mailed out – 50/50
  • Start (maybe even finish?) a new knitting project – no

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November was really a lot of fun and our trip to Orlando really boosted that vibe. We are lucky in that we get to travel pretty frequently, but it’s actually a rare opportunity for us to go someplace that neither of us have ever been (at adults, anyway – Kevin visited Orlando a few times as a kid) and to have time to choose what we do and just explore (we often build our travel around an event whose itinerary takes over.)

So, we went to Orlando and I blogged about it every day. Here are the links:

  • Day one: travel via Dallas
  • Day two: getting our bearings, checking into my conference, opening night dinner
  • Day three: conference, dinner at Universal City Walk
  • Day four: WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER (and a little  bit of conference)
  • Day five: conference wrap up, new hotel
  • Day six: Solar Bears hockey, downtown Orlando, WWE
  • Day seven: Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Beach, Ron Jon’s
  • Day eight: Travel home via Ottawa AND Toronto

What will you remember about this past November?

 

 

October in review

Well, well, well, another month gone and another  <SPOILER ALERT> bad report card for me.

Beginning in August, I started publishing a monthly list of things that we’d like to do for enjoyment and to make our lives happier. Here is a link to my list for October.

image-1-3This is one of my favourite photos from this year

  • Journal every day – I can’t even believe I put this here. Ha! No.
  • Visit a pumpkin patch – In my defense, Kevin worked nearly every weekend, so…
  • Make pumpkin puree – Not yet! But I will!
  • Write Thanksgiving gratitude notes and letters – I had such great intentions…
  • Plan trip to Orlando – Now, this, I did! Nine more days…
  • Plant garlic – Yup!
  • Walk the Seawall – At one point, I was going to enter a 10k that followed the Seawall on a whim…but I didn’t.
  • Do a ghost tour – Nope.
  • Make and send Hallowe’en cards – I made about six little goodie bags, but no cards. 🙁
  • Birthday celebration for Kevin – YES! his favourite restaurant, his favourite cake and a haunted house!
  • Host a dinner party – No.
  • Have a games night – Not even close.
  • Go to the pool every week – Didn’t go once.
  • Move table and buffet into the apartment – Almost!

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In lieu of all that, here is what we DID do.

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Also, I discovered Harry Potter – mostly as research for our upcoming trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we watched some wonderfully terrible horror movies in honour of Hallowe’en and I’m happy to no longer have to pretend that I care about baseball because it is (finally) over and hockey is back.

What were your October highlights? Did you have a happy Thanksgiving? Dress up for Hallowe’en? What surprises came your way?

September in review

September was awesome and amazing and so very many things. In terms of my things we’ll do this month list, it was also a massive failure. But, hey, it’s all good since we made great strides (literally and figuratively!) in other areas.

7-paddlewheelerMy favourite photo of the month:
The Paddlewheeler before dawn on the Fraser River in New West

First up, the list:

  • Plan engagement photos – Didn’t even think about it.
  • Make perogies with Barb – Never even talked about it.
  • Go apple picking – Sort of.
  • Investigate cover crops and plant them in #myremotegarden – Researched, but couldn’t decide which one to choose.
  • Pack up spring/summer clothes, unpack fall/winter clothes – YES!!
  • Make my dad a birthday cake – Nope. (In my defense, my folks went on vacation when I would have done it.)
  • Make and can salsa – Nuh uh.
  • Complete 14-day yoga fundamentals – Hahahahahaha. No.
  • Organize visit from Amy & Tyson – Woooooooooooo! Yes! <fireworks, heart eyes, noise makers>
  • Read Born For This by Chris Guillebeau – Started. Not finished.
  • Practice handwriting – A little.
  • Have a dinner party – Did not.
  • Swim in the ocean – No.
  • Ride our bikes – No.
  • Go bowling – No.

Man, looking over that list for the third time in a week, it’d be really easy to beat myself up about not hitting many of my targets, but I’m actually pretty cool with it because I know we were out doing other things.

Running – September was the month when I got serious about running. (Kevin was about a month ahead of me.) I started committing to do it regularly and tracking my progress. I forced convinced our friend Tyson to be my running coach and took that part of our relationship seriously. I struggled with shin splints and had to toss the last three pairs of shoes that were professionally fitted and replace them with something that would actually work for me. Running became something that we focused on every single day whether we were out training or not. Just this week, we’ve been brainstorming how to do more for the major support roles of sleep and nutrition. We were recently asked what we were training for and the conversation just went silent. We realized that we haven’t set a goal race or accomplishment and, I can only speak for myself here, but it actually feels eve more powerful to be newly aware of that.

4-new-balance-shoes

Seattle baseball road trip – The Blue Jays were in Seattle to play the Mariners this month which was a big deal for the many Canadians who believe that they are Canada’s team. (Let me take a moment to say that I think that is a totally ludicrous theory.) We went down with some baseball loving friends including one devoted Jays fan. We only stayed for the game, arriving just before it got underway and leaving immediately after it ended. In an extra innings win for the Mariners. Yay.

5-mariners-game

Other stuff we did:

But I’m not going to lie: this month was mostly about running. Doing it, preparing to do it, talking about doing it. I know, I know. Snore.

What did you get up to in September? What were your highlights for the month?

August in review

This month, I started with my first “things we’ll do this month” list of fun(ish – but mostly fun) goals for the month. Things I want to do, see and try throughout the month, some new things, some old things revisited.

Aloha August

I was talking with a friend just days after I’d posted my August list. She’d asked about how I came up with the idea. I told her that I wasn’t really sure where it came from, but I knew that I’d hit on something that would be really good for me when it started keeping me up at night – in a good way. I found that as I was falling asleep, if I woke up for short periods in the night or first thing when I first opened my eyes in the morning, I would lay in bed thinking about what was already on my list for the next month and what I could add. As my list expanded, I had to start writing the ideas down and then, already knowing a few things I wanted for future, I started lists for the rest of the year. I added things related to holidays or special dates that I’d always wanted to do or celebrate, but that, every year, somehow ended on the backburner until I eventually swore I’d do the next time around. Having the list has added a happy new dynamic to our lives this month because it’s given us several things to look forward to. We’re pretty fun-loving and optimistic people and we generally look forward to life, but having a specific list has increased that. Throughout this month, we’ve known that we were going to go swimming in a pool and that we’d get started on our fall/winter gardening – we may not have known the exact details of when and where, but we knew it was coming. Having a list of things to do has also given the feeling of adding time to our lives outside of work. Being more aware of the days as they pass and all the things we want to do with them, made us more conscious of everything we were (and were not) doing. Having enjoyable goals broke up the monotony of just getting through life and trying to squeeze in some pleasurable living, but only after all the chores had been done and errands run. Instead, we were scheduling the mundane parts of life around our new to do list. Nothing got neglected, it was just reprioritized.

23. Awesome August Day 7

Here’s the completed list of things we wanted to do in August with some comments and/or links to my proof.

26. Awesome August Day 10

There were a few things that we didn’t get to, but I’m okay with it. Here are our things that remained undone:

  • Have a picnic – we probably had plenty of picnic-like meals outdoors, but no proper picnic like I’d envisioned
  • Swim in the ocean – Kevin says I should count this, I think that’s a stretch
  • Road trip to Nanaimo – we almost did this one, but then had to give up the dream when the weekend we’d planned it went sideways and there wasn’t another one when we could make it happen
  • Go bowling – this made a reappearance on September’s list
  • Ride our bikes – again, we’re going to try this one another time

58. Awesome August Day 20

And here are a couple of extra cool and awesome bonus things we did in August:

  • We started our Walk Vancouver quest where we pick a different walk and explore parts of Vancouver we’ve never been to adventure on trails we have never seen. We went to Deer Lake in Burnaby, Watershed and Mud Bay Parks in Delta and Surrey, Steveston Greenways in Richmond and Belcarra – Burns Point. I’m really hoping to turn this into a year round habit.
  • I completed the Headspace Take Ten introduction to meditation. I’m somewhat experienced with meditating, but I wanted to go through and introduction like this one. For someone who was totally new to the practice of meditation, this would be a perfect way to get comfortable and accustomed to being more mindful. If you have ever wondered about meditating, I strongly recommend that you check out this free series – just ten minutes a day for ten days.

What made your August special? Are there any things that you will plan to do in August next year?

July in review

High: we went on vacation.

Low: we were put on balcony lockdown for 12 days which made for 31 degree nights inside our apartment. (That’s 88 degrees for those of you playing along in America.)

Good: we explored a local park that we’d wanted to visit for years. We harvested potatoes, tomatoes, onions, peas and cut sweet peas and hibiscus flowers.

Not so good: I realized that the one downside of Snapchat is that if you aren’t diligent about downloading your snaps, you lose a lot of your history. (Unless you stop to take pics in several different apps every time. In which case you’re both smart and nuts.)

Our week long west coast road trip was easily the highlight of the month (duh!) so here are a few of the details which added up to why.

Seattle

3. Mariners

We went to two Mariners games at Safeco Field in Seattle. For the first, we sat in the second row and Kevin was convinced I was going to be “just like Drew Barrymore in Fever Pitch.” The Mariners lost 8-1. In the second game, the Mariners came back from a 0-3 deficit in the bottom of the ninth to win 4-3 with a walk off homerun.

In between baseball games, we spent our time exploring a few notable Seattle grunge landmarks including the Sound Garden, Kurt Cobain’s house and the Black (Hole) Sun sculpture for which the song was named.

I’m not super fond of Seattle, but this trip was really enjoyable since it allowed us to see a few new neighbourhoods and we definitely picked up a different vibe than we ever had before.

4. Seattle Great Wheel

Accommodations: Hotel Nexus: Northgate area, old motel revamped, decent pool, good free breakfast, solid wifi signal

Ballpark food: Seek out the crab sandwich, clam chowder (get the bread bowl!). Steer clear of the veggie dogs and coffee.

Tourist highlight: I thought the Sound Garden was fantastic. Despite it being a blustery kind of day, I could have sat there for much longer just looking out at the water and listening to the wind-generated sounds. It felt really zen to me. (Do your homework if you want to go check it out. It’s tricky to find and you need to go through security on the NOAA campus where it resides.)

Centralia

We basically chose Centralia because we needed a place to visit between being in Seattle and heading to Long Beach. That there was a McMenamins hotel there certainly helped. I’ve been a big fan of McMenamins properties/locations/beers (back in the day) for years, but Kevin had only been to one of their restaurants and enjoyed a single growler of their beer.

5. Centralia

Centralia is a super cute little town. We enjoyed strolling up and down their main street and around the train station. We weren’t there for a full 24 hours, but I would definitely return for some antique shopping in the future.

Accommodations: McMenamins Olympic Club: European style hotel (meaning shared bathrooms) that was built in 1908 and is unmistakable in its former brothel status, good wifi

Small town diner: At the recommendation of the Centralia Downtown Association, we crossed the street and ate breakfast at Centerville Cafe. It was exactly what you’d expect from a diner in a town like Centralia and it was delicious.

Entertainment: If you’re staying at Olympic Club, there is plenty to do in the properties below the hotel. There’s a restaurant, a cafe, a games room and a makeshift theater populated with loveseats, cushioned chairs and antique tables for offerings from the full restaurant menu and bar service. We watched the ending of Warcraft (again) and some X-men film or another.

Long Beach

I loved Long Beach. Every little thing about it. The thought of just being at the beach was super appealing to me from the minute the plan was made, but it was also the meeting point between the two of us, one of my favourite friends, her husband and daughters. Beach bonfires, s’mores, mini-road trips, deep-fried oysters, EO bath products, borrowed beach cruisers, pizza, friends, love, perfection.

6. Long Beach

Accommodations: Adrift Hotel: perfectly beachy rooms meticulously decorated with every comfort you could imagine (think king bed, desk with bucket chair, chaise lounge beside the window), elaborate selection of local and artisan food and drink in the lobby, great restaurant, friendly staff, bikes, movies and games for borrowing, hit or miss wifi

Landmark: Massive cast iron frying pan, the world’s second largest. It falls 5 feet short of the one in Brandon, Iowa.

Weird phenomenon: Marsh’s Free Museum: Jake the Alligator Man, a two-headed cow, vintage machines that’ll tell your fortune, measure your strength or test your love quotient, a unique mix of interesting things (exotic seashells and crystals) and total junk (oinking plastic pigs and plastic whale tail necklaces with some, but not all 🙁 names on them)

7. Adrift Bike ride

Portland

I could say I’ve been to Portland a million times and, though it feels true, it’s actually a lie. I’ve probably been there twenty times and about seventeen of them were to see Amy. Strangely, this time we didn’t see her there, but having spent the previous two days with her and her family took some of the sting out of that. Nope, the two nights that we spent in PDX were focused solely on spending time with some other dear friends instead. We were schooled in Big Brother, reminisced about the King of Queens and I pulled the closest thing that I have to an all-nighter in years just getting lost in talking and catching up.

Accommodations: Technically, we were in Beaverton, which I was informed is actually not Portland. In fact, we were in Aloha which is actually pronounced Aloah. Spacious accommodations, excellent entertainment, flawless wifi

Shopping excursions: With no sales tax and US prices, Oregon is sometimes a good place to shop. Our destinations: Powell’s Books, World Market, Target, Foot Traffic (this one was more about our shoe salesman…) and we also searched high and low for a Ducks shirt for Kevin, but, alas, we never found one.

McMenamins passports: We found out a few days too late to take advantage of it in Centralia, but McMenamins has this fantastic rewards program for frequent guests. You pay $25 for a passport and then carry it around to all their locations, getting stamps from the places specified on the page and redeeming them for great prizes. We collected nine stamps at Kennedy School our brunch stop on our way out of town and we turned them in for a water bottle (Kevin) and a McMenamins pint glass and bottle opener keychain (me.) The real reward, though, was the absolute blast that we had doing it. Our stop there cost us about three hours on our long drive home, but it was worth every minute and the fun we had softened the blow of pointing the car homeward after such an awesome week.

8. McMenamins passport

What were your July highlights? What adventures did you take? What wonderful things did you do?