Saturday, May 13, 2017

Busy Summer Coming Up!

We don't usually like to fill up our weekends too much in advance, preferring to be able to fall back and recuperate on empty Saturdays if we want to. However...that will not be the case for the next few months. Things are looking quite busy! But at least they're mostly fun and exciting things.

Here's what we've got lined up for the next few months:

  • The Lantern Fest - this will be the Americanized version of the Yi Peng Lantern Festival that we took part in while in Thailand - but I think we'll actually get to light lanterns this time. We could have done that in Chiang Mai, but I don't remember ever seeing any places that were selling lanterns. 
  • An Alice in Wonderland themed Escape Room!
  • We're planning on climbing Mount Olympus again. It's a tough but fun mountain to summit!
  • My old Steampunk/Steamfunk group has plans for an updated photoshoot in costume - which we're actually planning on doing at our home since we have such high ceilings in the garage. 
  • We've got tickets to a US National soccer game - we'll see how this compares to the Real games we've been to.
  • Brandon's headed to Lake Powell with the young men in our ward. 
  • That same weekend, I'll be running the first of three half marathons I've signed up for this year. 
  • The Farmer's Market! 
  • We're headed to Alabama for a mini-family reunion. 
  • Utah Arts Festival!
  • Skydiving!
  • Work party at Top Golf!
  • Sun Valley!
  • iFly! Flowrider! iRock! 
  • My sister Carina will be visiting out in Utah!
  • And the second and third halfs (halves?) that I've signed up for!
  • And Comic Con! (I'm trying to persuade Brandon to do some awesome costumes with me...but we'll see...)
And that's just what we've got planned as of today. 

We don't have any large vacations this year (hopefully next year!), but we've definitely got lots of small things to look forward to. Things that don't require PTO, since I've got less than usual of that until 2018!

In Which We Meet Pharah

We made a fairly significant and somewhat spontaneous change to our lives this past Saturday (5/6/17). We'd taken Peaches in for her annual shots at the Humane Society Clinic and (as we usually do) popped over to the Adoptions to visit the animals there. As we were visiting one of the various rooms (each has between about two and five cats in it), a cat in the next room over stretched up to paw at the window dividing the rooms - getting our attention. We moved over to this room and gave the friendly cat lots of attention. But there were also several other cats in this room that were fairly friendly. One of them, a tiny little tabby colored medium furred cat, was wonderfully cuddly as I sat on the bench in the room. She was pleased to be pet and purred for all the world to hear. Brandon picked her up and as he was holding her, brought her over to the carrier that Peaches was (unhappily) hanging out in. And quite surprisingly, Peaches didn't hiss at this little cat (highly unusual).

Surprised and curious, I then posed the idea of us taking home this little cat as a second kitty in our home and a companion to Peaches. This is something that we've wanted to do for awhile (regretting not getting two at the onset), but had hesitated to do as Peaches had always responded to any other cats/dogs with grumbly hisses. Still playing with the thought, we took Peaches and this little cat (who we thought was named "Angel") to one of their meet and greet rooms - rooms where you could spend a little more time with different cats to see if they'd be good matches.

As we watched Peaches and the little cat wander the room (and now the hisses came out from Peaches), one of the volunteers poked her head in to see if we had the paperwork for Angel. As we didn't, I went with her to the room to select the correct one. However, she said she didn't think it was Angel, as that paperwork matched another cat's collar. So I came back to the meet and greet room with the paperwork for "Little Buddy". However, as we looked at the paperwork for Little Buddy, that didn't quite seem right either. We had the volunteer come back with a chip reader (the small cat was micro chipped) and then she proceeded to print out the correct information.

This little cat (then named Chloe) was about nine months old. She'd been brought to the Humane Society not too many weeks earlier (she still has a healing scar from being spayed) by a homeless person who was living out of their car. That person had realized their car wasn't enough room for the little cat and had brought her to the Humane Society.

And we're very grateful they decided to do that.

As we sat in the room with Peaches and the little cat, we went through all of the realities of adopting another cat (that we could think of at the time). Peaches would be a grumpy cat for awhile, surly. There would be lots of hissing, potentially little spats. We might need to keep them separated for a little while. Traveling both with and without them would also be more difficult. We might need to add another litter box. It would change the status quo.

But, I wanted to go for it and Brandon agreed. So we did! I filled out the proper paperwork and we collected our Peaches and this new little kitty to both come home with us. The car ride home was surprisingly quiet. Peaches hardly meowed at all and the new cat even less.

At home the two did hiss at each other, but mostly kept out of one another's way. We headed off to a wedding in the evening (lots of fun), but decided to let them both just wander the apartment. They were both whole and generally well when we got home.

Sunday it became clear that the little cat had brought a cold home with her. When I woke up I heard her occasionally sneezing, but it took me awhile to locate her buried in one of the drawers inside our armoire. She's got to be pretty small to fit through the opening. I made her a little cave out of blankets and pillows on the couch and she spent most of the rest of the day there, coming out occasionally to walk around, get a drink, or grab a bite to eat. By the evening she was quite lethargic, and we made plans to call the Humane Society the next day to see what they advised as far as getting her treated for her cold.

In all of this, we've been trying to determine a name for her. Chloe was not a bad name, but neither of us loved it like we'd loved Peaches' name. We considered Fox, Fawkes, Raposa (Portugues for fox), Lishka (Czech for fox), Kit, and a few other variations. Ultimately we settled on Pharah. Why Pharah? Well, she is so slender and long, but with slightly short legs and a wonderfully fluffy and elegant tail. All of these together give her the look of something in-between a fox and a ferret. Clearly we'd looked for versions of "fox". But when we started to consider versions of "ferret," Brandon's mind went to the Overwatch character Pharah - I think mostly due to the similarity of the sounds. And even though that may be where the similarities end, after feeling the name out for about a day, we decided to go with it.

(Ironically appropriate, when the Overwatch character Pharah does one of her ultimate moves, she yells out, "Justice rains from above!" The other night Brandon had placed Pharah above him near the computer and she sneezed several times down on top of him and his computer - raining down her sneezy justice.)

So we now have our two cats - Peaches and Pharah. Peaches weighs about twice as much as Pharah. They're not yet friends. But we're hoping with time and lots of love that they might become friends. And in the meantime, they're both at least chill enough to adapt to the presence of each other. And honestly - the hardest thing so far has been diving our love between these two sweet creatures.

It's been an entire week now! She's a cutie!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Six Weeks Gone and a Few Exciting Things

Hello, from a month and a half away! 2017 has been interesting so far, to say the least. What have I been up to? Not a whole lot, but also a great deal. Mostly it has been the day to day usual stuff. Go to work, commute to and from work, try and feed ourselves with semi-healthy meals, try and get out to exercise in some form at least once a week, try to be social. You know, the usual.

Some of the more exciting stuff? (in no particular order)

  • I participated in my first ever protest. It was amazing - really. 
  • We saw "La La Land" with Roman - and liked it.
  • We went ice skating with our church youth group. I forgot how much I love ice skating! 
  • My Dad celebrated an auspicious birthday. (There were also several other birthdays in the family - Brandon's being the closest - we kept things pretty toned down, as he likes it.)
  • One of my closest friends (Thomas!) got engaged to his wonderful boyfriend (now fiance!) Casey,
  • Peaches was (and is) still the best, cutest, fluffiest cat ever. 
  • I bought some new clothes (something I don't often do). (And mostly because "Business Casual" now holds a much more significant place in my life - see the last item for an explanation.)
  • The Expanse - Season 2 has started. (We loved the books.)
  • I gave three weeks notice at my old job and then was crazy busy there wrapping up everything and supporting our new director through her first round of assemblies (she is amazing).
  • I started a new job! Three whole days have been completed as yet. 
And I think that's most of it! There were also some Bailey's Irish Cream chocolates, some Irish Cream ice cream (say that ten times fast), and some delicious vegan cake. Too many good things. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Resolutions!

Happy New Year! 2017!

First, a recap on how things went in 2016. But before I do that, for reference, I kept fairly good track of where things were until 8/4/16. I don't know exactly what happened then, but I stopped keeping track cold turkey. So, much of what is below comes from the first two thirds of the year or from general guestimation. 

1.) Go to the gym a minimum of two times per week (this should not be hard). And yet, it didn't happen. As in, I have no idea how many times I've been to the gym in the last few months. I think I kept track for awhile and then...didn't. I do think I probably worked out at least twice a week, but I've really no idea. 
2.) Cook at home at least one time per week (to the extent that there are leftovers). This probably sounds odd, but it is difficult to get home between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM and want to make anything big after being gone all day long. It's much easier to default to single servings meals, but we need leftovers in order to contribute to the next goal. I'd like to be more savvy about food buying as well. I think this one actually came pretty close this year. 
3.) Try to eat out (for lunch) no more than once a week. I think 2016 will be the year of salads for me. I feel like I've discovered how amazing they are this year, and I want to be better at creating them on my own. I think I did pretty well on this one as well. There were weeks where I ate out 
4.) Do yoga as many times a week as we can manage. We need to work on our flexibility. We're not getting any younger! I think this was pretty much a flop from the beginning. I've actually been doing better than usual this month, though!
5.) 30 push ups. Every day. All of January and February. Off an on after that. 
6.) Write more in my journal. Doesn't have to be daily, but it should happen. Better, but not great by any stretch of the imagination. 
7.) Go dancing at least once a month. We've missed dancing and need a little motivation to get out and go! I think we only went...twice...this year. Room for improvement! 
8.) Maybe two half marathons this year? Or at least two 13.1 mile runs. Just the one half marathon (and one of my least trained ones as well). 
9.) A new mountain. :) Victory! Red Mountain in February and Twin Peaks in August. 
10.) Visit a slot canyon. We're thinking Orderville Gulch. Nope. We got close a few times, but hiked some different areas instead.
11.) 20 new books read. I keep reducing this number, but as long as I still have it as a goal, I think it will help to motivate me. There are at least two new books for Brandon Sanderson coming out this year! (Three actually, though I'm less interested in the Alcatraz books.) 20 new books? Totally did that! However, I had my adjusted goal of reading 120 books this year and even after reducing that to 100, I didn't quite make it. 
12.) Perhaps a garden in the spring/summer/fall. We have the space to put it in, we'll just have to find the drive. We did do a garden! It got scorched fairly early on (even though we watered it twice a day) and so we had a very small crop of beans as well as some herbs, but that was about it. Better luck next year!

So, not a super successful year as far as these are concerned. Don't get me wrong, it was a great year in many respects, but there is definitely room for new goals this year! Making those goals achievable and realistic is always tricky, but here's what we have for this year.

2017 Goals:

1.) Go to the gym once a week. We have a fairly pricey climbing gym membership that we used fairly well throughout the year, but really slowed down with in the last few months. I'd like to try and go climbing at least once a week and try harder to use our free-friend days. 
2.) I'd like to try and go running (even just a mile) at least once a week. 
3.) 30 burpees as least once a week! I think that is more realistic than pushups every day.
4.) Cook at home at least once a week (a planned meal). This is pretty much the same as last year, but I'm going to keep it as a goal. I'm thinking one intentional meal (not mac n' cheese - which is a far too easy fallback option for us - too easy and delicious!). 
5.) Read 52 books this year. I'm (secretly) hoping for a much higher outcome, but I'm going to aim a little lower this year. That's approximately one a week - should be very doable. 
6.) Sew one new article of clothing. I like sewing. I want to sew better. Perhaps I need to take a sewing class...
7.) Go dancing at least four times. I know this sounds pathetic, but we utterly failed at it last year and that makes me sad. 
8.) One slot canyon. We missed it this year, but I still really want to do it. 
9. ) I'm going to aim for two solid half marathons this year. 
10.) One new mountain! (I love having this goal every year.)
11.) No impulse sugar purchases. Or, in other words, only buy treats for specific purposes where they will be consumed by multiple persons. Also, perhaps consider the idea of trying to buy foods that are in the single digits as far as dietary sugar per serving is concerned.