Tuesday, November 23, 2010

whirlwind Austria weekend

Colin was in Austria for work last weekend and our luck so aligned that I had the chance to fly out and meet him for a long weekend. I took off Wednesday afternoon. Ran into some minor travel troubles, which resulted in an unexpected detour to London and some uncomfortable negotiating with a German shuttle driver. But finally, three flights and a 3-hour shuttle ride later, I made it to Innsbruck Thursday night just in time for dinner.

It was dark and cloudy when I arrived, and so I didn't really see the breathtaking landscape around me till the next day. Innsbruck is an old European city tucked amidst the looming, jagged Alps. The peaks are soooo high, they took my breath away.

We went snowboarding at Stubai Glacier. We had to take a gondola ride up and up and up over 9,000 feet just to get to the base lodge. There was powder, powder everywhere! My thighs were burning, but it was so amazing.

When we got back into town, we went to visit the Burton store in Innsbruck and went and settled in to the apartment we were staying in above the store. Then we went into Old Innsbruck to explore the Christmas Market. Let's just say we went a little crazy with the ornaments.

On Saturday, one of the highlights was having sausage for all three meals. Amazing. And we walked up to the Alpenzoo and saw tons of amazing Alpine creatures—wolves, brown bear, otters, eagles, vultures.

And then it was time to go home.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

who's afraid? not me

This week is the week of overcoming fears. Why now? It just so happens I have the opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone. So I am going to break my routines and try some new things. Some big, some not so big. This is going to be life-changing, whatever the outcome. Anyways, I started small today with a couple of things...

Fear #1: Car Repair
Status: Conquered squarely
Okay, so I know that my engineer grandfather is going to roll over in his grave when I admit this, but I have this strange fear of fixing anything on my car myself. It took me years to even feel comfortable pumping gas. I think it stems from the fear of doing something wrong and causing the whole thing to blow up. Any-who, speaking of blowing things up, I have never even blown up the tires myself. Until today, I didn't even know how to figure out what pressure they were supposed to be. But one of my tires was low and Colin is out of town. So I thought to myself, "You know, this is one thing I can probably do."

I looked in my car manual to find out the pressure. It told me to look inside the gas flap. And, tad-dah! There it was. There were two sets of numbers, 1 for front, 1 for back, 1 for heavy load, 1 for light load. Well, the first one was easy: Front! The second one I just picked one: that part caused my heart to beat a bit faster. But not nearly as fast as when I drove to the gas station, turned on the air pump and tried attaching the dang thing to the tire. (Again, I was picturing explosions left and right.) But finally I got it to work. I even figured out how to use the pressure gauge. And I did it! Done! Cross that one off my list.

Fear #2: Home Repair
Status: Still out to jury
Again, I think this one stems from the fear of doing something wrong and causing the whole house to fall down. But is a crack in the tub really that scary? Only if I do nothing about it and it starts to leak and cause the entire floor below it to rot. So I went to the hardware store and got a tub epoxy repair kit. Ok, the "epoxy" part sounds scary, but I'm planning to do it tomorrow night. Fingers crossed.

Fear #3: Traveling alone in a foreign country where I don't speak the language
Status: It's all happening
Let's get one thing straight: I am proud to say I've done quite a bit of foreign travel by myself. But it's always been to a country where I spoke the language. If not, I've always been with someone who does. Well, I'm going to have to just get a little brazen and assert my English, because soon I'll be going to Austria for a few days. And while I will be meeting my lovely husband on the other end, I first have to arrive in Munich, Germany, find the shuttle that goes for 2 hours to some tiny village in the Alps, make sure they have my reservation and get on the dang thing. Then I have to find my husband in that tiny village. But that seems like the easy part somehow.

Fear #4: Wild card
Status: Still to be determined
While I'm in Austria, I want to do at least one, maybe two things that really make my heart beat. What will they be?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

gtg, always and forever

Let me tell you a little bit about my husband. He's in a gang. That's right: the Good Times Gang. He and his close group of friends have been in this gang together since they were practically tweenagers. GTG is about good times, all the time. It's about laughter, friendship and silliness. The guys are prolific in their silliness. They make movies together. They don crazy awkward costumes. They make tee-shirts. Some of the guys even started a band, Enormous Fun, to further the GTG cause (even though most of the songs in their repertoire are pretty depressing).

As a GTG girlfriend, and now wife, I've seen the GTG boys and wives live through a lot over the last few years. Through new jobs, new cities, weddings, children... there's been messy stuff too, but I won't go into that. This is, afterall, about Good Times.

Last weekend, the last of the GTG boys to get hitched, Spence, got married to an amazing gal, Court. We all went down to Newport, Rhode Island for the weekend to celebrate. It was as off-the-hook as we all anticipated. Not just because it was a gorgeous wedding with a gorgeous bride, or because the food was fantabulous and the dancing was insane. And the guests were so fun. It was all of those things. But it was also a GTG reunion. And when those boys get together, crazy things happen: Chewbacca might show up on the dance floor, a cardboard box and a guy in a 70s leisure suit may give a speech. 5 Fly Crew might show up and break dance at the reception. Your husband might do the worm. Or walk on his hands. Yes, it all happened.

Everyone's hearts were so full of happiness.

There are some people who might be intimidated or annoyed by their husband's friends. Not me. I hope GTG stays together forever, because they're keeping us all young (and goodness knows I am prone to turning into an old fart if I'm not careful). They may grow older, but they'll never grow up. And that's fine by me. Love you guys (and wives!).

Monday, November 01, 2010

find a new recipe, cook soup

My mum has been sending me an email every day, with updates on how her "home therapy" is going... It's been inspiring me to keep going, even though I'm having a hard time finding the motivation. So on Day 9 (last Thursday), the task was to find a new recipe and cook dinner. I didn't do it. And I didn't do it Friday night and I didn't do it all weekend.

Isn't that strange? I mean, I love cooking dinner. And I love trying new recipes. Heck, my job is all about that. But even I get in a rut sometimes. Plus, I get preoccupied with other things. (Sometimes I get annoyed that we humans must eat every day. Do you? It just really takes up so much time!) But finally I got my inspiration back tonight.

Mummy had brought me a pumpkin and a butternut squash from her garden a couple of weeks ago and I really needed to use them up. So I found this recipe from work that I've always wanted to try: Roasted Pumpkin Apple Soup. I peeled and seeded the pumpkin. I peeled and seeded the squash. I cut up some apples. I roasted them all together with some sage, salt and pepper. Then I pureed them up into a yummy soup, not unlike my Autumn Elixir. Col made grilled cheeses to go with.

It was nice and simple. And now we have soup dinner for the rest of the week. And (hopefully!) roasted pumpkin seeds too if we can get our act together.

over the weekend

I'm a little behind with my 20/20 cure project, but for good reason. Col's sister and brother-in-law came up from Connecticut to stay with us this weekend. They brought their baby girl "Wiwy" as little Snaffers calls her. We didn't do a lot cause of the cold weather, but we just hung out and, it turns out, that's just what we all needed. It was great to seem them, and, as always, we thought, "We really need to do this more often."

Lily is a very happy, mellow baby. She just sits there and laughs and says "Hi" all the time. She's also very curious. And she loves her Uncle Ollie.

After they all left yesterday, Colin and I were feeling kind of being homey. We put in the storm windows and washed them all. We cleaned and vacuumed. Then we went to Burlington Furniture company to get some inspiration for the house.

Rewind a little bit: on Friday, I was supposed to make a list of the top 6 thing our home needs. It could be items, it could be fixes, it could be something more aspirational. Here's what I came up with:

1. Lamps for the basement bedroom
2. Paint all of the bathrooms
3. Paint the rest of our bedroom
4. Fix the cracking paint on the hallway ceiling
5. Fix the drawer in the guest loo
6. Switch out light bulbs in the master loo

I could go on...

Well, we had some lamps we were thinking of getting at Ikea next time we went south, but we found some really cool ones at Burlington Furniture Company for almost as cheap. So we bought the last two in stock. Here:

Our basement's really coming together now.

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