Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 in a few words and pictures


January
  • We bundled up and went on a cold hike in Harper's Ferry, WV. Little did we know we'd be returning in the fall (by bicycle no less!)
  • I made a pussy hat and went to the Women's March. Seeing all of the the marchers who came in from out of town and the flood of photos from across the word on social media was really inspiring. 
February
  • Got to catch up with my best friend from 3rd grade while she was in town for a conference. We met up at the National Gallery of Art before getting dinner downtown. I can't believe we've known each other for ~25 years (and have been pen pals since college)!
  • Accepted two awards from the Charlottesville, VA Planning Commission for working on their street design guidelines. There was about five hours of driving involved for a two minute award ceremony, but hey, I don't win awards every day!
  • Keizo made some delicious slow cooker carnitas. The last line of the bio on the right is still true - we eat really well.

March
  • Started the month with a PR in the St. Pat's 10K.
  • Spent a week at home in Arizona for a friend's wedding. Went hiking among the wildflowers and enjoyed t-shirt weather while it was still very much winter on the east coast.
April
  • Checked out Artomatic, an enormous open art show housed in an empty office building.
  • Spent time outside with Keizo and the air couch.
  • Cooked traditional Japanese bento box lunches. Seriously, these things take the two of us about two hours to put together, so it's only a once or twice a year thing.

May
  • Technically it was the last weekend in April, but I went to California for my 10-year college reunion. The reunion itself was not that special, but spending a long weekend with one of my best friends was one of the highlights of 2017.
  • Literally hours after I got back from California, I flew to Key West for work. It's tough job, but someone has to do it.
  • Plantar fasciitis derailed my plans to run a half marathon in early June. Before getting injured, I had made it most of the way through the training plan, including a 10-mile run from Silver Spring, MD to the Mall in Downtown DC.
June
  • We hosted my parents and brother while they were in town for a cousin's wedding. We all cleaned up nicely and enjoyed celebrating on a rooftop in Arlington with fantastic views of the city skyline.
  • I made the first of several batches of pickles. We could barely keep up with all of the cucumbers and radishes we received from our CSA this year.
  • I went to Austin, TX for a contract kick-off meeting. This was just the first of four trips in 2017 for a big project I am co-leading at work.
 

July
  • Patriotic breakfast on the 4th. Taking only Tuesday off from work felt a little weird at first, but turned out awesome in the end; truly a bonus day to do just the fun stuff followed by a short 3-day work week.
  • We went to Open Farm day at Spiral Path Farm to see where our CSA veggies come from.
  • Keizo and I took our first camping trip, just the two of us over his birthday weekend. It rained, but we managed to stay pretty dry.
August
  • After the summer company picnic, 3:00 PM 'office planks' became a thing. We're still doing it a few times a week.
  • We watched the solar eclipse from the top of a parking garage near my office.
  • I saw 'The Hive' exhibit at the National Building Museum.


September
  • We spent Labor Day exploring Ft. McHenry, Fells Point, the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill neighborhoods of Baltimore.
  • I took a last ride on the Georgetown Branch Trail between Silver Spring and Bethesda before it closed abruptly for Purple Line construction.
  • Keizo treated me to a day doing nothing and delicious, homemade chocolate cake for my 32nd birthday.

October
  • I'm sure we did other things in October, but our first bike camping trip was certainly the most memorable. Four of us rode ~150 miles to Harper's Ferry, WV and back in a weekend. I was expecting to be sore and miserable afterwards, but finishing the last 15 miles from Great Falls, MD to the metro in cold rain was the worst part, hands down.


November
  • My third trip to Austin took place in early November; this time I stayed for a week with several co-workers and actually got to see things other than the airport, hotel and conference rooms. Apart from one salad at lunch, I don't think I ate a vegetable all week.
  • Not pictured: spending the week of Thanksgiving at my parents' in Arizona and meeting my brother's new girlfriend. 
December
  • I started the month strong (perhaps because I had a week to relax at home for Thanksgiving), making holiday treats to mail to faraway friends in time for Christmas. 
  • We enjoyed hosting my parents and brother for Christmas the second year in a row. Lucky for them, they left right before the polar vortex and two weeks of sub-freezing temperatures.
  • The tree in Downtown Silver Spring had a sustainability theme this year, covered with bikes and LED lights. I still think the year it was decorated with food and giant faux take-out boxes was my favorite.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Currently - January '18

Happy New Year! The end of 2017 was packed with work deadlines, social engagements and hosting family for the holidays, so it's been nice that the first week of 2018 has been a bit quieter, giving me time to reflect on the past year and work on my first blog post in three months. Linking up with Anne and others again to share what I am up to currently.



starting - Going to the gym. A new Planet Fitness opened a block from my office, offering a $99/year deal through the end of December, so I asked Keizo to meet me after work last week and we both signed up. We've been twice since then, and my goal is to go at least once a week, especially while the winter weather continues.

hoping - To travel more with Keizo this year. In 2017, Keizo dropped me off and picked me up at the airport several times for work trips, but he only made it inside twice, both for trips to Arizona to see my family. We're overdue for a trip to see his family in Japan, but I also hope we can do a few trips closer to home (like our fun long weekend in New Orleans two years ago).

scheduling - I signed up for a 10K the first weekend in March, so last week I copied Hal Higdon's training plan into my calendar. The running starts in earnest this week; hopefully the weather will cooperate enough (i.e. with temperatures above freezing) to allow me to train outside!

reading - On a recent trip to the library, I picked up Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple. I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette last year, and hope this one will be equally enjoyable.

playing - We spent New Year's Eve with friends who introduced us to two new games: Exploding Kittens and Codewords. I preferred the latter; it was easier to learn, and more fun with a large group of people. I didn't get the chance to be the spy master...maybe next time!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Currently - September '17

I find these intros are always the hardest part of these posts, maybe because by the time I get around to them, things are no longer "current," (at least as far as the link-up goes). But I didn't want to skip posting for a second month in a row, so read on for a peek at what life has been like of late.




celebrating - Keizo and I celebrated Labor Day with lots of walking in Baltimore. We checked out Fort McHenry, walked around Fell's Point and all the way around the Inner Harbor to Federal Hill (photo above). I'm also looking forward to celebrating my birthday next weekend...exactly how is still TBD.

watching - Our Sunday mornings are often spent catching up on Japan's Top League rugby matches, while The Office provides weeknight entertainment. Keizo is watching the whole series for the first time, and I'm picking up on things I missed the first time around.

welcoming - Nicer fall weather (while trying to ignore the fact that it's accompanied by noticeably shorter daylight hours).

preparing - For a busy fall at work, managing logistics for several different projects. One of them will wrap up with a public event on October 1, and another will calm down a bit in mid-October, just in time for the biggest project of all to pick up steam in late October/early November. Once the travel dates for this project are finalized, I can start planning a long overdue vacation!

photographing - Nothing out of the ordinary; the photos on my phone from the last month are the standard mix of streets for work, weekend fun, and a few kitchen creations.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Currently - July '17

Unbelievably, I am on time for this month's Currently post! Don't let your shock prevent you from visiting Anne and Stephanie and checking out what others have been up to lately.

recipe

documenting - Just because this blog is less food-centric than it used to be doesn't mean I've stopped taking photos of my food. We've had a good run of home cooked meals lately, thanks to the bounty of produce from our weekly CSA box, and I've been snapping photos with the idea that one of these days I'll put together a post with the highlights. The pickles above were a quick and easy way to make use of two weeks worth of radishes and cucumbers that had been piling up.

accomplishing - After taking about a month off, I've been running twice this week, trying to get back into a routine. Both times felt pretty good physically and provided some much needed stress relief!

enjoying - Plenty of summer food and drinks. More ice cream = yet another reason to get back into regular running.

reading - I have way more books in progress these days than I usually do, probably because there are a few non-fiction books I'm in the middle of that haven't really held my attention. I spent a nice chunk of the afternoon yesterday on the sofa with a book which made me think it was time to plan a real vacation (not just a day off work) to enjoy back to back days of reading and relaxing, preferably with a view of the mountains or a beach.

spending - Until the 'real' vacation plans take shape, I'll make do spending the upcoming weekend with Keizo at concert on Friday and camping Saturday/Sunday. After almost two months of working weekends, Keizo finally has the same two days off I do--just in time to celebrate his 36th birthday. Whoo hoo!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Currently - June '17

How is June more than half over already?! In addition to being out of town the first weekend and having house guests for the second, my work schedule has been pretty full with few signs of slowing down even though summer is usually less busy than other times of the year.

Like most of the non-essential things in my life, the blog has gotten a short shrift lately. Without further delay, here is what I've been up to "currently."



planning - Summer activities so we don't miss them! Keizo's requested a weekend off so we can go camping, and I've started a bucket list of things closer to home like outdoor movies, new restaurants to try and summery recipes to make. Keizo's birthday is coming up too...

wishing - For a magic wand to make all of my various aches go away. While training for a half marathon, I developed an acute case of plantar faciitis two weeks out from the race that has sidelined those plans for a while. Since there's no magic wand, I'm trying to incorporate more yoga and strength training into my exercise routine to prevent more injuries in the future.

learning - It's really hard to find an even remotely flattering business suit. I think the fact that I don't own one means I already knew this, but I was reminded of this fact after trying on about a dozen suit separates this week and having every single one be way too loose or too tight. Thankfully, there aren't many occasions where I need to wear one.

browsing - The Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood on a regular basis. Some of the best books I've read lately have come from them, and I don't have to worry about returning them past their due dates!

going - Here, there and everywhere for work. From local field visits to an interview in Charlottesville, to three days in Lorain, OH one week to an overnight trip to Austin, TX the next, work has been full of surprises lately. It's been challenging to give some projects the attention they require with new things constantly popping up, but such is the nature of consulting.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Currently - May '17

Since I was so late with last month's post, it feels like I just did this, and it will feel that way again in just a few weeks when June arrives!



baking - My list of things to bake has become exponentially longer since discovering the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. I am amazed at what those bakers can create on their kitchen islands in that tent! However, my most recent creation was a batch of crowd-pleasing peanut butter chocolate chip cookies to share with my mom while she was in town for a few days last week.

listening - Not only was yesterday's Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival a fun time for the third year in a row, now I've got new bands to follow including Justin Trawick and the Common Good, The War & Treaty and Man About a Horse.

loving - Life has been a bit hectic lately with Keizo working most weekends, and my travel for both work and fun. Amid the chaos, it struck me while I was running along the beach in Florida just a week after running along the beach in California that life is pretty awesome, and the stresses of work and mismatched schedules are not permanent.

planting - My black thumb not withstanding, I hope to have a bit more time next weekend to start some herbs and maybe some tomatoes. Our summer CSA subscription starts next month, and I am looking forward to all of the fresh produce grown by professionals!

remembering - Lots of fun times during my 10-year college reunion at the end of April. While the campuses of all 5-C's have changed quite a bit, (and the students seem very young), it was fun to reminisce with my best friend and stroll around to all of our old haunts.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Currently - April '17

Where has April gone? There's just a week left in the month and I have yet to get to April's Currently post. Though you wouldn't know it from reading this blog, Currently is a link-up that takes place the first Wednesday of every month.



accomplishing - Running 3x per week for the past 4 weeks, only missing one workout. Today, I ran 7 miles in a light drizzle to keep up with my half-marathon training plan. The running part went surprisingly well, and the hot shower at the end was heavenly.

feeling - Warm, then cold, then hot, then cold. Even in my 5th (gasp!) spring on the east coast, I'm always ready for it to be consistently warm and sunny long before nature is.

needing - A few new things to perk up my work wardrobe. I'm on my third, mostly seasonal, capsule-esque closet, and need to find pants other than jeans to wear to work until it's warm enough for skirts and dresses. A cute pair of shoes wouldn't hurt either.

practicing - Finding the silver linings and saving the whining for the times when it's really necessary.

pinning - The usual, mostly food, some outfit ideas and quotes that I like. I'm more excited about my mental summer bucket list, since it's all sunshine and fun activity oriented. If April was any indication, summer will be here before I know it :-)