Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Resolutions (and 2014 review)

Here were my 2014 Resolutions:

1.) Run a Spartan Race (signed up with Brandon!): Done and done!
2.) Run at least one Half-Marathon (I'm thinking the SLC Half...): SLC Half, Nebo Half, Moab Half...
3.) Try to do 100 push-ups near to consecutively...(I started working on this one but fizzled with the holidays) Still doable!
4.) Learn to swim properly (so I can maybe do a triathlon some day...) I pretty much gave this up at the beginning of the year when I got my rock climbing membership. I didn't want to pay for two gym memberships, so I dropped the one with the pool and kept the one with the climbing walls!
5.) Hike a new mountain: King's Peak!
6.) Grow some herbs or vegetables (I have a yard! I should take advantage of it if I stay in one place long enough to do that!): Mint (x4 species), Parsley, Rosemary, Basil (x2 species), and cherry tomatoes! I tried for some other things, but they didn't make it...
7.) Read 50 books. Reading dwindled for me with college and though I did better in the past year, I'd really like to improve. Some progress, but not a whole lot here. I too easily get distracted wanting to reread books I've read already, and those don't really count. 
8.) Figure the whole knitting thing out properly. I've knitted scarves since I was a freshman in college, but I'd really like to learn the fundamentals so I can expand what I'm able to do in that department. Yeah...this didn't happen, though I did a fair amount of sewing instead!
9.) Join a rock climbing gym and learn to boulder. Gear acquired, let's do it!: Done and done!

Five out of nine! That's not too bad!

Resolutions for 2015:

1.) Get Married! (May 2015, here we come! Lots to do between now and then. I know it's a silly resolution, as it is more of an event, but I'm putting it on here anyway.)
2.) Except on days that I am physically unable, try to exercise at least a little every day. That can a 50 minutes climbing, 30 minute walk, 20 minute jog, or 10 burpees - whatever, as long as I do something every day that I'm not physically unable.
3.) Do not purchase any tootsie rolls or licorice for myself. It's ok for me to eat them, and even buy them as long as I'm not the intended target, but no buying them for myself. I might try to extend this to all candy, but that's tentative at best.
4.) Hike another new mountain!
5.) Get a new job! The one have now is really good for so many reasons, but it's time to step up my game.
6.) Read at least 25 new books. Its a pretty big cutback from last years goal, but I think it will be easier for me to focus on - approximately two a month - Firefight in January, Shadows of Self in late 2015 (exciting!).
7.) Complete at least five sewing projects. (I've got three sitting in my lap right now, so I just need to more in the space of a year.)
8.) Run at least one half marathon - maybe the Spartan again.

9.) (Late add) I'd really like to work on my Portuguese.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Story

Big news! Brandon and I are (finally) officially engaged! Woo! :)

In our many trips to Logan these past several months, one of the additional reasons for our trips up there, which I didn't mention, was to design a ring at S.E. Needhams. When we went up way back on October 10th for True Aggie Night and the gallery walk, we'd spent so much time having dinner at Le Nonne that we only had time to go to one place before the gallery walk was over - and we went to S.E. Needhams. We were so impressed with the customer service and the apparent ease of the process there, that we decided we wanted to work with them. About a week later on the 18th, we went back up to do a couple things, but mainly to go back and talk with someone about getting stared on a ring design ( Lars!). Then began the long process of going back and forth through email to tweak and perfect the design we wanted. It took about five weeks of emailing and a visit to the store to look at a wax model to complete the design. Around November 23rd we were done - ready to give the green light and push forward. In retrospect, five weeks doesn't seem like a loooong time, but it felt like a long time while we were doing it. At that point they estimated four to six weeks to have it done - though were pushing to have it done by Christmas.

Another long wait ensued. At this point I ducked out of the emailing process with Lars and left the rest to Brandon - occasionally inquiring as to what the current status was. I knew we'd likely have it by Christmas, but that was about it.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, December 16th. This was the first evening I suspected anything. Brandon and I rarely made reservations anywhere, so for him to make such a solid plan for the evening made me wonder if maybe he already had the ring. I'm pretty sure I took a little extra time getting ready that evening, just in case...but the evening proceeded without major event.

(Talking with him about this later, he said that the confusion was intentional - that he'd thought about doing strange odd things (singing telegrams, etc.) just to throw me off so it would be more of a surprise, since at the first introduction of any legitimate clue, he knew I'd know what was up.)

Nothing of note (on my end) happened through the rest of the week. Work, work, work. Our usual routine in the evenings, though Brandon did go up to Zach's for a guys night on Friday (the 19th).

So, yesterday when we made plans in the afternoon to get together around 7:30, I thought nothing of it. I have this entire week off, so I spent yesterday rock climbing (ripped a callous off (blister under the callous) while climbing the second time yesterday), running errands, and beginning to work on overdue projects. When Brandon texted me around 7:10 to see if I was hungry then, I said yes and then in about two minutes changed out of the comfy house clothes I was in into something more normal (quite the opposite of the extra time I'd taken to get ready the previous Tuesday).

Brandon came and picked me up, we chatted about where to go for dinner, and he mentioned that we hadn't been to Sawadee in awhile, so we headed there. Custard and sticky rice and a dish of Pad See Ewe later, and we were very satisfied. He'd told me the ring would likely be done at the beginning of the week, so he had tentative plans to drive up there the next day (Tuesday). He had a soccer game in the evening that we were planning on going to. It was all proceeding normally until Brandon pulled out an envelope and handed it to me. Clue number one. A lovely note with a hidden message (which I couldn't at first decipher until I realized the letters were scrambled) took us to Temple Square. Clue number two took us to Memory Grove. We parked there and walked in, and in the chill wind, Brandon presented me with a third card, full of wonderful memories and thoughts. As we shivered in the wind on a little stone bench, Brandon explained his thought process over the past several years. It was pretty much impossible to tell if he was shivering exclusively because of the cold or if he was also nervous. And then he presented me with a little Needhams box which (laughingly) held a beautiful blue ring pop. In consternation I looked at the ring pop, not sure what exactly to do with it. And then he got down on one knee and pulled out another box with something quite different inside and asked me if I'd marry him. I told him I would (of course!), and then couldn't pull him back to the bench fast enough (it was too cold not to huddle together!). We sat there for awhile longer, laughing and talking, and then walked back to the warmth of the car.

Beautiful London Blue Topaz.

Turns out that Brandon actually picked up the ring on the previous Friday before his guys night. He'd gone up early in the afternoon to head there first. When he'd pulled into Needhams, he'd parked the car and just as he was going into the store, got a call from his parents and talked to them for a bit. After getting off the phone, he finally went in to talk with Lars and pick everything up. At this point he'd probably been in the store about an hour, between the phone call and everything else. However, when he went to leave, he couldn't find his keys. They looked around the store but couldn't find them. So he went out to check in his car and discovered that in his excitement/nervousness to pick up the ring he'd not only left his keys in his car, but he'd left the car running. (This is probably the most amusing detail to me from the whole sequence of events.) Fortunately it was still unlocked, and no one had decided to drive off with it. He'd then gone to the guys night as planned and proceeded to have the ring burning a hole in his closet through the rest of the weekend until last night.

Love this man!

To say that we are happy is an understatement. Excited, joyful, calm, peaceful, ecstatic, full of laughter and smiles - so happy. This has been a long time coming, so I know it will come as little surprise to any of you. But we're so excited to spend the rest of our lives together, to continue our adventures. I have no doubt that things will be hard at times, but I'm confident that they will also be wonderful and worthwhile.

We met for the first time in September 2010, went our separate ways, met again in September 2011, and have dated since then. We've got a few years under our belts already, but we look forward to many many more!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Copper Onion

This morning I went rock climbing for the first time in just over a week. I know that sounds like a short time, but in the sport of rock climbing, even a few days seems to remove a lot of the muscle and callous build up. It was a harder rock climbing hour than usual, but also wonderful to be back at it.

I find that the more regularly I exercise, the more balance the rest of my life seems to be. Not a first time realization, but something that I need to constantly remind myself of.

In other news, last night Brandon and I finally made it to The Copper Onion downtown. It's the kind of place where you need to make a reservation at before you go - not the kind of thing that works well with Brandon and I being fairly spontaneous in our current eating habits. The Copper Onion has American cuisine, and does it well. We shared Sauteed Mushrooms (delicious, though more for the garnish of potato sticks and fried eggs than the mushrooms), The Ballard Farm Griddled Pork Chop (also delicious - particularly the polenta), and a Brownie Sundae (delicious, but so rich!). Everything was very good, and the portions were reasonable (not huge). Our only complaint, or rather - observation, was that it was so full of tables and people that it felt like a big city restaurant - packed and loud. I know that vibe appeals to some people, but it's not our favorite. We like being able to have a conversation without leaning over the table or having to yell. Still, I'm glad we made it down!

I'm looking forward to the end of this week. Things are crazy busy at work at the moment, but I have all of next week off! Exciting! I have a few projects I'd like to catch up on and just taking a solid break will be good. I can't believe how quickly time passes!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A California Thanksgiving: Pictures

Ah! It's been more several weeks and I still haven't posted my Thanksgiving photos here! Here are a few of them!

Got a little bouldering in on our walk. 

An incredible tree that we climbed!

Enjoying the tree!

Enjoying the tree!

Enjoying the tree!

I took very few food shots - but this is what we made as an
appetizer for lunch Thanksgiving day!

Incredible sunset at La Jolla beach.

First contact with the water!

Incredible sunset. 

The best company! (I never got one of Rusty
and Lisa - but they were there too!)

Love this guy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Excuses, excuses...

Hello from Tuesday evening! It's been awhile, but I have lots of good excuses. ;) Well, at least two...

1.) A juicy cold that I probably took home from Thanksgiving. It was pretty mild last week, present, but not overpowering, but when my stress level shot up and stayed up last week, it probably dropped my immune system a few notches and when I finally made it to this past week, the cold came on full force. So, as you might imagine, this past weekend and this week and been full of hot tea, orange juice, sooooo much water (and thus, frequent trips to the bathroom), tissues, and cough suppressants. And compromised sleep, since drinking four cups of water before you go to bed requires midnight bathroom visits. Perhaps too much information, but there you have it.

2.) Work has been CRAZY busy. We have a ton of groups who go on trips in January, which means I have to get any leaving in the first half of January out in December. We also have Christmas events coming. All good things, but each and every group and event has at least a dozen moving parts. It's like we went from a calm faucet drip to a roaring fire hose. Or at least that's what it feels like. Between that and other projects I have outside of work, the whole sum has has also contributed to stressful thoughts in the middle of the night.

So, maybe that's it, but that's enough. I head to Alabama/Georgia to spend a little quality time with my family this weekend, and then I have the week of Christmas off. And I couldn't be looking forward to that more than I am. We're not doing anything super exciting for Christmas, but I desperately just need some time off.

I still need to post a few of the pictures from Thanksgiving here (they've been on facebook for awhile, but I just haven't gotten around to posting them here). We've had some other good things going on, but not much to tell. Birthday dinner and party for Seth Penrose (woo!), Festival of Trees, a little rock climbing (when I feel well enough to go...I so badly want to go every morning, but I need a little more sleep right now than usual since it's so interrupted), and more of the normal stuff.

Update: Oh, and, for the record, all I want right now is sugary goodness, which is, of course, one of the worst things I can consume with a cold....