Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This is where the progress halts.

I'm going to whip right through and give an update on the next four items on my goal list. And the only reason I can do this is because they're the four remaining items I have yet to accomplish this year. Weird that they're consecutive items on my list, huh?
#6: Try (at least)12 new recipes. Apparently I haven't done much creative cooking in a while. That or I forgot to record anything. I tried some new things with grilling over the summer, but nothing that really qualifies as a "recipe". I tend to spend more time on indoor activities when it's cooler outside, so I might yet be able to check this item off. It's certainly not for a lack of recipes I want to try, it's just a matter of actually trying them.
#7: Finish my "mystery quilt". Again, with the cooler weather arriving I anticipate spending more time with my sewing machine (and probably knitting needles as well). I have actually completed sewing the blocks together to form the top of the quilt. It's the not-as-much-fun steps of quilting and binding that I have left.
#8: Finish painting and updating my bathrooms. Zero progress made here. I need to get on this. I did paint my patio furniture this summer (with lots of help from my mom), which was not very enjoyable and therefore has probably translated to my not wanting to do any more painting.
#9: Play the piano regularly enough to re-learn Fur Elise. Another big fat zero on this one too. I'm kind of embarrassed by that fact actually. But I'm trying not to get too down on myself about it since I've done pretty well with my list overall.
Hopefully I will be able to share more progress on these four goals, and maybe even accomplishments, by the end of the year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Good Reads

I far exceeded my goal (#5) of reading at least 12 new books this year. So far I've read 20 new books, and that doesn't even include the ones I've listened to on CDs. I was a little late in the game, but three of the books on my list this year were the Hunger Games trilogy. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them.
This year I also discovered the GoodReads website. It's pretty awesome. It's a place to keep track of the books you have read, are reading, and want to read. You can also see what your friends have read, and you can see how people have rated books you're interested in. And maybe the best part of the site is that it makes book recommendations based on what you've read. It recommended the last book I read, which was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I enjoyed her writing style, and appreciated her insights on happiness and how she attempted changes in her life to improve her happiness over one year. For me, there was a lack of a faith aspect of her project, but otherwise it was pretty thorough and practical. I look forward to reading more GoodReads suggestions.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Roaming around Rome

Goal #4 for 2012: Go someplace I've never been OUTSIDE of New Jersey. I posted earlier this year about the first new place I went outside of the state, which was Longwood Gardens in southeast Pennsylvania. I also mentioned getting ready for vacation in my April post, but I never said that my vacation this year was to ITALY! My cousin Josh and I spent a week in the country, mostly in Rome, but also visiting some others towns and cities in the Tuscan and Umbrian areas, like Florence, Orvieto and Assisi. It was an awesome trip and we got to see all the regular tourist sites of Rome and Florence, and also some lesser known towns and beautiful countryside. There is no way I could share all the places I loved or even a small sample of the pictures I took, so I decided to just share three of my favorite places that we visited.

St. Peter's Basilica (Rome-Vatican City)
The dome of the basilica is amazing, inside and out. You probably can't tell in this picture, but all of the artwork on the inside of the dome is tiny mosaic tiles. And the view outside from the top is breathtaking. You can see practically all of Rome.

The Colosseum (Rome-Ancient City)

Even though it has a violent history, the structure of the Colosseum is awesome and beautiful and the fact that much of it is still standing is unbelievable.

The Basilica of St. Francis (Assisi)

I really liked the town of Assisi, it was beautifully set on top of a hill and was very quaint. And while I'm not Roman Catholic, I appreciate and honor the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi and how he valued creation and a life of simplicity.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fist-pump for Jersey

While I might always consider myself a PA girl (and more specifically a 'burgh girl) at heart, I do call Jersey my home now, and I want to explore what it has to offer. So I made goal #3: go someplace I've never been IN New Jersey. This year I've spent some time in three towns/cities I hadn't previously visited. I'll start up north and head south.


In August, to celebrate our birthdays, my friend Dana and I got tickets to a Mumford & Sons concert. They're my favorite band and it was an AMAZING show. The concert was in a park in Hoboken, which was a great venue and meant we could get pretty close because we were there early. We spent some time earlier in the day checking out Hoboken, although rain kept us inside more than I would've liked.
Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but also in August, I drove down the shore to the Installation service of a fellow LTSP grad and new colleague. After the service and reception, I enjoyed the beautiful evening and a stroll on the boardwalk. 
Cape May

And finally, in August (are you seeing a pattern here?) the South Jersey Area Wind Ensemble had a concert in the brand-spanking-new Cape May Convention Hall. I went down a few hours early to walk around town and get something to eat. It was a very cute town and I had a delicious meal at an organic and fair-trade cafe'. And the concert went very well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Helloooo October!

I have clearly been neglecting my blog. One of the reasons is because I've been kicking around the idea of giving up on it. My main reasons for starting to blog have morphed into continuing the blog so that I have a place to record what's going on in my life: 1. for myself, to look back on in the future, and 2. for sharing with those out there who might be interested. I seem to have found an alternate form of recording my life's events for myself through journaling (more on that later). And since I'm pretty sure there are about two people who regularly read my blog (hi mom and Mandy!), I'm not sure it's worth the time, since both of them already know what's going on in my life. So I think I've decided that I'll keep it up through the end of the year, especially as a forum for my "12 for 12" goals, and then probably say good-bye to my blog. If there's anyone else out there that reads this thing, let me know, and maybe I'll reconsider.
In the meantime, to catch up on updating my progress on my "12 for 12" goals, I'm going to try to post several times for the next week or two. For this post I'm going to share about goals 1 & 2.
#1: Take swimming lessons.
I posted way back toward the beginning of the year that I took one swimming lesson, and would take more only "as needed." Though I haven't taken any more lessons, I did spent a good amount of time swimming on my own both in the pool at the gym and in the bay. I think I do alright with the back stroke and freestyle, but I definitely still need some work on the breast stroke, especially since it's theoretically the most efficient of the three. Hopefully I will be motivated enough to work on that this fall/winter in the pool. I even learned how to swim in a wetsuit. They're certainly helpful, but man are those suckers hard to put on! I still don't love swimming, but I can tolerate it as an alternate form of exercise. I think I probably feel about swimming what a lot of people feel about running. ;)
#2: Try a tri(athlon).
Done! In the middle of September, I successfully finished my first sprint-distance triathlon! My goals were to finish, and to not be last. I met both of these goals. I wasn't even in the bottom pack of people. Granted, I was nowhere near the front either, but I was so not expecting to be. I did very well with the run portion, but I need to work on improving my speed in the swim and bike. I also definitely need to cut way down on my transition times. I don't think I'm going to be racing more triathlons than running races, but I think it's likely I will do one again next year. Overall, I felt good during the race and afterward and I'm proud that I can now call myself a triathlete.