List 45 wrap-up

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let’s see how I did this year…

1. volunteer at local animal shelter: FAIL

-didn’t do this one.  Between work and school I just didn’t have the time.

2. stay in a Fernwood adventure tent one night: FAIL

-another fail. I didn’t make a reservation in time so we missed out:(

3. learn to surf: FAIL

-my knee injury ended up ruining quite a few of the items on my list. This was one of them affected by it. I could barely walk for 3 months so I definitely was not getting up on a surfboard:(

4. take a 2nd annual sister trip with Kristy 

-we did this! Went to Seattle in October. I even got to meet an online friend that I’ve known for over 10 years but hadn’t met in real life. It was a fun trip! Posts about the trip will be coming:)

5. try standup paddleboarding 

Nate and I did this one Saturday morning. I was not successful with the actual standup part. I mostly stayed on my knees and my few attempts at standing were not pretty. I did hurt my knees a few weeks before this and that may have played into the unsuccessful standing up part of the SUP. I haven’t given up though and plan to keep at it after I finish physical therapy.

6. make my first quilt

-I made my sister in law a baby quilt! it was fun and I’m looking forward to making another quilt (or 3) this year:)

7. attend a roller derby game: FAIL

-I suck at scheduling things sometimes.

8. take a 10 year anniversary trip to Mexico (Isla Mujeres to be exact)- This trip is already booked!! 

We totally took this trip!!! It was amazing and someday I will post photos and tell the story of our week. It was amazing and fantastic and it was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. 

9. make homemade carnitas

-i did this and they were delicious. I’ve pretty much stopped eating pork though so I probably won’t be making it again

10. learn letterpress (San Francisco Center for the Book has classes)

-again…i fail at scheduling things

11. bake a rainbow cake – Planned for December for my daughter’s birthday

-totally did this although it was a pink ombre rainbow cake. I will post a photo someday

12. get my hair colored

I did this for our trip to Mexico. I had my gray colored out and it was great. I’d like to go a bit darker so that’s on my schedule for this Winter.

13. join a book club (or start one possibly…)

I joined one and it has been one of the best things I’ve done this year. It’s not one of those fun wine/book clubs but it’s still one of my favorite nights each month. Great conversation with some really nice women. I love hearing other’s opinions on each book. 

14. send out one handwritten letter/note each month

-I sent out a hand written note or card every month. I’m so glad I put this on my list:)

15. eat at Burma Superstar in San Francisco

-we ate at the one in Berkeley but I am still counting this one as a win. It was fantastic.

16. read “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying up” and purge the house (already have the book,just need to read it and put it to work)

read it but it was not life changing for me. I just didn’t like the tone of the book or something. I did purge quite a lot from the house and organized areas of the house but it was difficult when your husband is a sort of hoarder and doesn’t want you to touch his stuff:/ So this was a partial FAIL.

17. go to the shooting range/learn to shoot a gun

-spend a day shooting in Arizona with my dad. I am not someone that wants a gun for herself but it was fun to shoot different guns and learn about safety and taking care f guns from my dad. Both Nate and I had a good time with this item:)

18. eat a burrito from the Mission District SF

Nate and I did this when we were in the city for the 4th of July. I couldn’t decide on which burrito I wanted to try from the many burrito list I read so we did two separate places. I’ll be posting about this day also.

19. Take a class at MPC

I took an American History 1880-present and  I also took a Geology class in the Spring.

20. swim with whale sharks

TOTALLY DID THIS! Amazing bucket list moment and I will be doing a post about it.

21. visit the turtle farm on Isla Mujeres

did this on our anniversary trip and it was even better than I expected. This will also be posted about soon!

22. see the ruins and do the cliff walk at Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres

Also did this on the anniversary trip. Such an amazing trip.

23. hike Wilder Ranch

-did this with Nate one weekend:) Wish my knee had been a little more healed so I could have hiked longer. We’ll be back to do more after my knee is stronger.

24. see the monarchs at Natural Bridges Park

we did this the same day we hiked at Wilder Ranch. The butterflies were so awesome to see. We would definitely go back again.

25. go on a backpacking (overnight) trip with Nate: FAIL

-knee injury made this one impossible:(

26. get together with Nate’s parents at least once a month

I only failed on this one for one month. We saw them a couple of times around the holidays so I count this one as a win even if we missed one month:)

27. go body boarding in Southern California: FAIL

-knee injury again plus we never had a chance to get to LA.

28. spend a weekend exploring Golden Gate Park, SF (deYoung, tulips, buffalo, ride bikes): FAIL

-we actually planned a weekend for this but it rained  almost the whole time we were in the bay area so we had to change our plans and we just never got back up to the city to do the park.

29. have breakfast at Deetjen’s in Big Sur

-did this for our anniversary and it was as delicious as I remembered it to be!

30. organize my necklaces finally

-organized and very happy about it!

31. host a Cinco de Mayo party

did this for my birthday but it was pretty low key and I won’t be posting photos from it. But I did it finally and I didn’t even have a hangover the next day!

32. participate in “Dance for the Rescue” again

-this was cancelled by the organization so it is a fail but not on my part.

**I actually did two other charity activities. I did a mud run for MS in October and I volunteered at the SPCA telethon in February so I am actually going to take this one as a win. I did the Dance for the Rescues to help out a local charity and I ended up doing that. Just not the one I originally planned. I couldn’t have predicted it would be canceled and am not going to take the fail for that happening:)

33. learn conversational Spanish

I spent a few months learning conversational Spanish for the trip but I didn’t use that much of it. Mostly because a lot of the people we spoke with spoke English. I’m counting it as a win because I did work on it and could carry on small conversations in Spanish.

34. prepare a 5 course dinner for friends: FAIL

-oops. Didn’t happen

35. visit the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

36. see Tulum Ruins in Cancun

we did this on the trip also and Tulum was amazing. Wish we had planned a few more days there. Maybe next time. 

37. Hike Griffith Park in Los Angeles: FAIL

-didn’t make it to L.A.

38. camp at Limekiln State Park: FAIL

-was too late in making my reservations and couldn’t get one in my time window

39. take dance lessons with Nate: FAIL

-pesky knee injury again

40. make Jay’s buffalo wings: FAIL

41. plan a bonfire on Carmel Beach: FAIL

42. visit the The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) :FAIL

-I planned this and it was closed all year long for renovations. It didn’t open until after my time frame. Maybe this year.

43. zipline into the ocean (FAIL)

this one was suppose to happen in Cancun if we had time but it didn’t happen. I don’t know of any places in California that you can do this so I probably missed my chance.

44. have a breakfast pizza at the Big Sur Bakery

did this one weekend with Nate and our friend Craig. I’ll be doing a post about that day. Coming soon to the blog.

45. visit Mercer caverns in Murphy, CA.

-also got this one done. It was really neat and educational. This was discovered during the same time period that I was learning about in my history class so this made it even more fascinating.

27 out of 45 was the final number and is my best attempt yet. It gets harder each year because as my number climbs (aka I get OLDER) I have more and more items to cross of the list. I think that I would have reached a higher number had I not injured my knee and been in physical therapy for 6 months of my 45th year on earth. It’s almost healed now and I’m working on strengthening it so I hope I will get even more accomplished in my 46th year:) It’s going to be an exciting one with trips to Iceland, Norway, Tahoe, Las Vegas and  Joshua Tree/Palm Springs on the agenda. I may even throw in another trip if I find a good deal on flights to somewhere;)

Thanks for reading.

Jennifer

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Throwback Wednesday?

I have another post planned for Thursday so today I am doing a little throwback Wednesday post.

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I just happened to catch the video for Duran Duran’s “the Reflex” this morning through my Facebook feed. This was THE band for me during my adolescent years. That important time from 13-17 when your music interest in explored and you find your music taste (I think it happens for kids these days at a much younger age). Anyway, I watched the video this morning and it brought back some pretty fun memories for me.

When this video premiered on MTv back in 1984 it was a big event. MTv used to have “world premiere” videos that they would schedule and it used to be a pretty big deal for music fans. I actually had a “the Reflex” video premiere party…with friends I invited over. And we had strawberries and “champagne” (sparkling apple cider since we were all of 14 years old) which was the band’s favorite snack. Looking back on that now I think it was probably just what they said to seem interesting. It was the 80’s though so maybe they did snack on strawberries and champagne. I am freaking serious. I was an obsessed fan. Even back then I was trying to throw themed parties! And I remember us all screaming about the video and talking about it for so long after the premiere. “Did you see how cute John was at that one point” “My favorite part was ______”  and so on.

As a mom now,  the thing I think about when I remember this night is that my parents were really awesome for letting me do this. For letting 5 screaming girls takeover the house for the time period  (I can’t remember how long people came over for) and for buying strawberries and sparkling apple juice just so I could have something like that at the party. I don’t know if I ever told them how much I appreciate that they let me do this party. They must have thought I was crazy obsessed…but they still let me do it. I was kind of an asshole to my parents for years when they didn’t deserve it.

Also!  I use to write fan fiction about Duran Duran. Cringe worthy fan fiction that I am embarrassed to even admit to these days. And I let friends read it!

Good times.

As happy as I am that we didn’t have cell phones and Facebook back then I wish I had been better about documenting my memories. I love when a song or smell takes me back to a certain memory but for the times when I don’t have those triggers it would be fun to look back at my life then. I lost an important box filled with old notes and letters and tokens of my life and it still upsets me to this day when I remember that those items are gone. This is why I always tell Alex she can keep the important childhood/teenage memory stuff with me because I will always keep an eye on it for her. I want her to have her memories later on when she feels like re-visiting them:)

Jennifer

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on the menu: Thanksgiving week

I’m late with this. I blame the cold war. Or at least the 4 paragraph paper I’ve been working on about the cold war.

Sunday: Kale and soyrizo tacos (see last week’s menu)

Monday: Rice and broccoli salad with honey mustard + chicken + salad (see last week’s menu)

Tuesday: Stir fry vegetables + chicken + my newest Trader Joe find: Japanese Style Fried Rice

Wednesday: Cheesy Kale Sweet Potato tart + salad

Thursday: Thanksgiving feast!! Which we’ll also eat Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday:) We’re doing roasted chicken/field roast (for Nate) + apple cranberry salad + roasted brussels sprouts with shallots + dressing (I’m only making half this recipe) +mashed potatoes.  I always make a lot so that we can eat on it for numerous days and I don’t have to cook;)

 

Happy eating!

 

Jen

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Friday favorites

A few things from the interwebs that caught my attention this week:

I love this artist’s work

An interesting article about what happens when you die alone

Good information

I loved her list and enjoyed listening to a few that I haven’t heard before. I’ll get to the others soon.

These had me cracking up at my desk today. Some of them are so spot on.

 

Have a good weekend!

Jennifer

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TBT: Nicola and Alex

This past weekend I went to a baby shower for my daughter’s friend Nicola. It was a bit unreal going to a baby shower for one of Alex’s closest friends. I can’t imagine Alex having a baby. I’m definitely not ready for a grandchild. Nate and I just stopped talking about having one ourselves 2 years ago so I definitely can’t imagine Alex pregnant. She’s still my baby! Even if she can legally drink in less than a month! IMG_7075 These two though. They have been through so much together. So many ups and downs through the years but they’ve stuck it out. For us, Nicola is like a second daughter . She’s accompanied us on numerous vacations, slept over more times than I can count, been to family functions. Even my dad sees Nicola as another granddaughter.

My kid. Such a goofball.IMG_7077

Seeing them this weekend brought back so many memories of the girls when they were younger.I miss those years. They grow up so fast…one moment they are 14 & wearing braces and the next they are having babies and drinking in bars. It’s enough to make a person feel old…

Look at those baby faces.

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Despite their many problems over the years I am so glad that they are still friends. I know they love each other even when they act as if they don’t. Like any relationship there are always going to be issues that you have to overcome.IMG_0871IMG_2499 I hope they always have affection for each other and I hope they always realize how important their friendship is. How important all friends are.  I’ve never been one to throw friends over for a boyfriend and I hope they remember that as they move through life.

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Failure at this NaBloPoMo thing…

well…I missed two days for a total of three for this month. i suck at this blogging every day thing! Right now I am suppose to be studying. I have three more papers due within the next 3.5 weeks. I have a 99% in my class right now and I don’t want to ruin it by dropping the ball this close to the end of the semester. But friends…I am tired. Of reading. Of writing. Of researching. I am looking forward to a few weeks break between next semester.

What I have been doing is binge watching a couple of shows. Luther and Jane the Virgin. I am obsessed about both.

If you haven’t watched either stop what your doing and watch them both!

Anything you are binge watching lately?

 

jen

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on the menu: 11/14/15-11/20/15

This week’s menu:

Mini Vegetarian Pot Pies (from last week…I didn’t get to them until tonight) + salad

One Pot Creamy Lentils (also from last week…Nate and I had lots of other leftovers so I didn’t cook a couple of nights) + green beans

Thai Chicken Zucchini Noodles with spicy peanut sauce (I’ll be substituting Tofu in Nate’s portion)

Pork Enchilada Lasagna-making us each one so that we have leftovers so I can not cook one evening (substituting a different protein for Nate’s lasagna)

Kale soyrizo tacos + cilantro lime rice + grilled zucchini

Quinoa Broccoli Slaw with honey mustard dressing (I’m actually going to be substituting rice since we both are sensitive to quinoa and it’s upsets both our stomachs)  + chicken(fake chicken for Nate)

I also got a few things for stir fry in case I don’t have time for something more complicated. I love how it gets lots of vegetables in us:)

Have a wonderful week!

Jennifer

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#prayforparis

I had another blog post planned today but then this devastating and heartbreaking event happened and I’ve been reading and watching the news and the blog post was forgotten. My thoughts are with everyone in Paris and the families of all the victims. It’s a sad world we all live in. 

Jennifer

 

 

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TBT: Oahu trip 2006

My friend Courtney recently took her oldest daughter to Maui for a mother-daughter trip. This was their first time on a vacation of this magnitude. Courtney, like me, didn’t have money for vacations when her oldest was younger. A big vacation for Alex and I was driving to Marine World in Vallejo for the day. And I only pulled that off once. When you don’t know if you can make rent or food costs for the rest of the month, vacations are not high on your priority list. Simply existing was hard enough sometimes. Seeing photos from Courtney’s vacation really made me happy for her though. It was proof that we both made it through those tough years. Her photos also took me back to when Alex and I went to Hawaii, just about 9 years ago, on our first (and only) big vacation together. Just the two of us.ray3sea9

It was only for 5 days. And it was only to Oahu. But it was still one of my proudest moments as a mother ever. I was actually making a big tropical vacation happen for my daughter and I. Of course, much of this was possible because of Nathan. Because he worked for an airline part time and so our flights were discounted. As was the hotel through his airline discount. I saved the spending money though. I planned fun activities for us. She both swam with manta rays and dolphins on this trip. It ended up being one of the best trips of our life and the worst.

Best=Vacation with my girl. Swimming with rays. Swimming with dolphins. Warm beaches and water. Beautiful scenery. Pina Coladas for lunch;)

Worst= Lice. Jellyfish stings. Torrential rain that would flood the streets every night.

The difference between day and night on this trip was so crazy. We would have such a great day exploring the island and shopping. Going to theme parks and the aquarium. For me, cocktails at lunch.. Alex made a friend that she met up with numerous days and they would play for hours on the beach. And then night would come and it would be like we were on the vacation from hell. Rain + rain + rain and then more rain. Every night we were there. Alex was stung by a jellyfish on our second day and it wasn’t until that night that the pain really started acting up.IMG_3869

And then the lice.

Alex had spent the 3-4 days before this trip at her dad’s house and I just picked her up on the way to the airport. At the end of our first day on the island, while we were headed back from dinner, I happen to see something in Alex’s hair. I thought it was sand that she had missed when she showered. If ONLY it had been sand that she had missed in her shower…Alex’s head was crawling with lice. She had apparently gotten it from a friend before we left town. She had spent the night at their house the day before we left and because our traveling was done late at night I hadn’t noticed it. Until our first night in Oahu. This was before I had a cell phone. Or a tablet. This was discovered during a rain storm as we made our way back to the hotel. If you’ve ever tried to find lice shampoo (it’s triple the price on an island btw), in torrential rain, in a tourist town then you know what I was up against. The only break we got was that Alex had just had 12 inches of hair cut off a couple of weeks prior to this. If I’d had to deal with waist length hair and lice I probably would have lost it. I lost it anyway. Every morning and night was spent cleaning her hair with RID shampoo and combing as much lice out as I could. By the time we got back to California I also had it. Our nights were also filled with doing laundry. All our clothes from that day and our pajamas. We didn’t use anything but the sheet on the beds in the hotel. The comforters and extra pillows were folded and put to the side. So every day we had new sheets and I washed our clothes each night. We still couldn’t get rid of them. We took them back home with us. It was a nightmare.lulu's1

Surprisingly though this didn’t take away from our fun during the day. We went site seeing. I took Alex to this park on our first day there. She did the ray encounter and swam with dolphins.We did the Pearl Harbor tour on the second day and spent the afternoon at the beach. We shopped in the Waikiki International Market (which I’ve now found out is closed) and had lunch (and a pina colada for me) at Duke’s. She got to play with Anna (a friend she met that was visiting from Canada). We saw a neat Hawaiian dance at the park.We took the bus around looking at the views of the ocean. It was a great vacation. During the daytime…oahu8oahu12

All these years later I’ve come to see this trip as a great story to tell though. The best and worst vacation ever. The good parts of each day were always followed by a rough night. We always did family vacations after this, not on purpose, it just happened that way. I had married Nate and this trip was kind of a last hurrah for Alex and I. We were no longer just a family of two we were now a family of three.

I’m grateful that I have these memories with my daughter:)IMG_4059

 

Jennifer

 

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