Sunday, June 9, 2019

Currently - June '19

With just 41 days left until the start of RAGBRAI, life has become even more predictable than usual around here. My waking hours are spent at work, doing the daily tasks required to keep us fed and clothed, and bike riding. Things could certainly be worse!

picking - recipes based on the contents of the CSA box we pick up on Saturdays. Last week the abundance of greens (lettuce, spring mix, spinach, collards, and bok choy) was broken up by some super fresh strawberries and the first rhubarb of the season.

going - out of state for two week trips this month (OH & TX), then a camping trip a bit closer to home at the end of June. Looking forward to returning to Rocky Gap State Park, with its lake and close proximity to the junction of the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Trail for some back-to-back, traffic-free bike rides.

wishing - that half-day Fridays were mandatory in the summer. I worked a half-day from home on Friday to wrap something up, then Keizo and I headed out for a bike ride on a not-so-crowded trail. It was awesome! I need to check my PTO balance and see if I can make half-day Fridays at least a semi-regular thing, especially while the weather is good.

wearing - more color and more dresses and skirts to work. This is in part due to a lack of suitable work pants, but more driven by the weather and my desire to be as comfortable as possible all of the time.

celebrating - the newest member of the extended family by bringing brunch over to my cousin's last Sunday and meeting little Emalynn. A good part of the visit was spent playing frisbee outside with her older brother (who's 4), but I also got some sweet, sleeping baby snuggles in before we left.

Linking up with Anne; please stop by to see what others are up to this month!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Currently - May '19

It's hard for me to believe that it's closer to the end of May than the beginning, but today's temperature (close to 90 degrees) made it feel like it's already July. Before I get even further out of sync, here's this month's currently post. 

admiring - my neighborhood. Maybe it sounds a bit strange, but I really like where I live. It's quiet, but still connected to a lot of things. We walked 3 blocks to a restaurant for dinner on Saturday, followed by a longer stroll to get gelato and then back home again. We're both lucky enough to bike to work, and today I was able to take bike share home from a meet up with friends in DC faster than it would have been to take the metro.

playing - the role of super committed bicyclist (at least through the end of RAGBRAI in July). Friends and I found out officially on May 1 that this summer's adventure will be taking part in an annual bike ride across Iowa, and now that it's really happening, there's lots to do to prepare. A lot of my free time is being consumed by figuring out travel logistics, shopping for some new gear, and taking bike rides. Lots and lots of bike rides.

borrowing - My office book club is starting up again, and I went to the library for the first time in months to pick up the books. The theme for next month's discussion is the suburbs, which should be an interesting one among of bunch of city dwellers.

remembering - how nice it was to spend time with family in Arizona at the beginning of the month. I had originally planned to surprise my dad for his 70th birthday, but the way the timing worked out, he was the only one available to pick me up from the airport! Regardless, it was great to be home for a few days, soaking up the sunshine, and catching up with my parents and brother.

finishing - out the weekend with this post. I didn't want to skip another month and taking taking the time to reflect before the week starts all over again is something I should be doing more often.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Currently - March '19

While I am still a little bit shocked when I write out the date or look back for an email from a "week or two ago" and find that it was actually sent in January, I am glad March is here. Daylight's savings starts tomorrow, and the forecast includes some sun icons and milder temperatures for the coming week - hallelujah! What better way to celebrate than by joining my fellow spring-loving blogger Anne and others for the regular Currently link-up.

scheming - As I wait not so patiently for the weather to warm up, there's a lot of scheming about fun, outdoor activities like bike rides and camping trips. There's also scheming about weekend trips and future vacations and good bit of lamenting about the necessity of a paycheck to fund it all.

reading - I've made it through Robert Moses' childhood, university and early career days as I make my way slowly through The Power Broker. I need to read about 130 pages a month if I want to finish by the end of the year.

buying - While the hunt continues for the perfect pair of cute, lightweight pajama pants to replace the ones I accidentally left behind on a trip, I did recently find suitable replacements for an old pair of casual sneakers and a white lace top that has seen better days. :-)

making - Some adjustments to my diet as logging all of my food intake for the past two weeks has been quite illuminating. Not only have I learned that I am consistently falling short of my daily protein goals, but I've also been reminded of how tracking my calories before helped me get into a really good exercise routine (something I certainly wouldn't mind having again).

accomplishing - This past week, I'm proud of running twice in a last minute effort to follow the training plan for a 10K on St. Patrick's Day and crossing several lingering, uninteresting tasks off of my to-do list at work.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Currently - February '19

anticipating - a visit from my brother and his girlfriend in two weeks! Looking forward to trying some new restaurants together, visiting a museum or two, and enjoying their company.

going - to Richmond for a little change of scenery next weekend with a night in a cushy hotel, exploring new neighborhoods, and trying some new breweries.

making - chocolatety desserts. My mom has been cleaning out her recipe collection and sent me  "Make Mine Chocolate! A 1994 Recipe Calendar from Nestle." Despite being 25 years old, the recipes from April (Toll House Crumbcake) and May (Bittersweet Chocolate Pound Cake) were both winners, so today I'll be making July's Chocolate Truffle Tart to bring to dinner at a friend's house.

watching - the weather forecast. Like many other places, the past few weeks have brought 60-degree swings in temperature here in the DC region. Last Monday it was close to 60 degrees outside; tomorrow they're calling for a wintery mix. Knowing which jacket to put on before leaving the house is kind of anyone's guess!

wearing - Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Fig. I don't think the color looks anything like the color of the cap; in fact it's quite subtle which is why I like it. Me, only better (and with my pale, dry, winter skin, I'll take anything I can get)!

Linking up with Anne, as usual.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Real Life Resolutions vol. 4

Our 2019 nengajo - Happy Year of the Boar!

I have a quote pinned on my "wise words" board that says, "The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you've come." I've come a long way in the past two years thanks in part to those detailed lists of weekly, monthly and annual goals (see 2017 and 2018).

For 2019, I'm taking more of a back-to-basics approach with four larger goals for the year:

  1. Bike across Iowa during RAGBRAI
  2. Read The Power Broker, a 1,338 page book about Robert Moses
  3. Knit something with sleeves
  4. Meet with a financial professional

This year's simpler approach comes in part from reading this article about burnout as the result of attempting to maximize every moment, and the fact that when I tried to make a list of 9 goals for 2019 I was making up goals I wasn't very excited about just to fill in the list. Not much point in that, now is there?

Monday, December 31, 2018

Best of 2018

Best Views

Clockwise from top left: big sky sunset outside of Austin, TX; surrounded by a leafy jungle on a hike in Hawaii; late afternoon sun on a hike in Arizona; green mountain ridges in West Virginia; afternoon hammocking during a camping trip in western Maryland.

2018 was one of the wettest years on record in the DC area, so it's not too surprising that the best sunny views are from elsewhere.

Best Food

Clockwise from top left: Nutella Banana Stuffed French Toast - perfect fuel for the 35-mile bike ride that followed; Keizo's CSA ratatouille; real Japanese ramen from an un-fancy lunch counter place; Crooked Run Brewery, one of 2018's many beer flights; life-affirming nitro cold brew found in Austin during a boil-water restriction.

This category could go on and on, given my love of food and the bounty of our summer CSA. What can I say, the last sentence of the bio on the right still holds true. :-)

Best Biking

Clockwise from top left: Martha, a.k.a. Ma-chan, my new steel-frame touring bike; the W&OD trail; all smiles before a super soggy metric century ride in Delaware; participants on a social/educational ride I helped organize along the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail.

Several of my favorite moments of 2018 occurred on a bike. I now understand why the ideal number of bikes is n+1 and can see why people quit their jobs/take sabbaticals to do crazy things like ride across the country.

Best Time Spent on the Clock

Left to right: preparing for fieldwork (also known as bike riding) in Baton Rouge; team selfie after another successful Open Streets event in May (Keizo volunteered); approaching Key West to present the bicycle and pedestrian plan to the public/city staff.

Work was certainly not all fun and games in 2018. In fact, it was a super challenging and busy year with several colleagues taking jobs elsewhere, an ever changing company culture, and taking a professional certification exam. Looking back on the year as whole, it's easier to see how much I accomplished and appreciate the fun times, but in the moment most weeks felt like an endless grind.

Best Travel

Clockwise from top left: hiking in Hawaii with Kim; soaking up the sun in Long Beach with Linda; Keizo's parents' garden plot; Keizo in front of his old high school; Boston Harbor cruise; on top of Bald Knob in New Hampshire with Alexis and Andrew; Boston Pops 4th of July concert.

It's hard to find the words to describe how awesome/important/meaningful/fun/different taking a month-long vacation was. We packed in seeing a ton of different people and places with minimal disruptions in the overall plan, and had a fantastic time. Can't wait to do it again.

Best Weekend Fun

Clockwise from top left: Friendsgiving with 11 adults and 1 toddler setting a new record for the number of people in our apartment at once; Memorial Day camping "tarp"-itecture; Wales vs South Africa rugby game in DC; Jason Mraz concert; the sled lift at Blackwater Falls State Park in WV (never dragging my sled up a hill again!)

As the photos above show, plenty of fun was had and good memories were made much closer to home as well.

Thanks 2018 - it's been quite a year!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Currently - December '18

I just got back from a trip to sunny Florida, where it did not feel like December at all (sigh). But now that I'm back in the land of bare trees, heavy coats, and cold toes, I wanted to capture my thoughts about the last month of 2018.

More info

gifting - I'm looking forward to treating myself to a few things, but otherwise it's going to be a quiet Christmas around here. My family is very generous, but we're not big shoppers. Instead, we're all gifting each other the ease of not exchanging presents this year and will have a belated celebration during our next family vacation in May 2019 (destination TBD).

baking - Some of my favorite Xmas cookies and tweaking the recipe for No-Knead Bread with yummy mix-ins like kalamata olives and subbing in whole wheat flour for all-purpose. Unlike the summer months, having the oven on these days makes the kitchen the coziest place in the house to hang out in!

singing - In addition to the seasonal music that's just about everywhere, I've been listening to and singing along with Jason Mraz's "Have It All" a few mornings a week. The generous message and lines like "may you be as fascinating as a slap bracelet | may you keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk," help get the day started off right.

mailing - It's high time to get started on the New Year's cards we send each year, but in the meantime, I am loving the cards coming in from friends with photos of their growing families and funny messages.

decorating - Only a few things this year, as we're not hosting my parents and brother as we have the past two years. The tree will not be making an appearance, but the lights are up in the front windows, there's a garland on the TV stand, festive towels in the kitchen and bathroom, and mini-tree centerpiece in the middle of the dining room table.