Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reasons You Should Be Jealous of Where I Live

Another thing off the list - Vince and I camped out in the backyard on Friday night. We watched the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens and hung out with our dog Annie. We got up pretty early - around 6:30 - and went up to the bedroom to sleep a little more because it was pretty uncomfortable sleeping on the hard ground, especially for Vince.

I have decided to brag about my neighborhood, because this is my blog and want to! :) I was walking to the drugstore on this lovely 80 degree day and it occurred to me how fortunate I was to live where I do. So humor me, and listen to why I think you should be envious. :)

  • You can walk, in under ten minutes, to a drugstore, small grocery, gas station, ice cream stand, pub (where the bartender knows us), and food co-op. 
  • Deserving of its own point, you can walk, in five minutes, to the second-largest urban park in America.
  • We have four seasons: blooming flowers in spring; hot (but not too hot) summer days and warm summer nights, with swimming, camping, and outdoor opportunities everywhere; beautiful foliage and crisp, cool autumn days; and sledding, hot cocoa, beautiful white powdery snow in winter.
  • We grow the vegetable garden of your dreams - every variety of pepper and tomato, cucumbers, beans, peas, corn, broccoli, carrots, strawberries, raspberries, herbs, sunflowers...and more.
  • You can visit world-class museums, libraries, and theaters in under fifteen minutes.
  • You can attend professional baseball, football, and hockey games throughout the year.
  • You can enjoy the awareness that Pittsburgh has some of the longest, most unique history in America. Did you know that Lewis and Clark's journey really started here in Pittsburgh? Or that Gene Kelly grew up in a house a few blocks away? Or that some of the most famous zombie movies in history were filmed in Pittsburgh, earning it the title of "zombie central?"
  • Pittsburghers are genuinely nice people. Sometimes rough around the edges, but always willing to help. 
  • Pittsburgh has one of the best local/independent music scenes in the country.
  • Everywhere you look there is incredible natural scenery - three great rivers, hills and valleys, winding roads.
  • There are incredibly charismatic bridges (over 700) homes, architecture, and public art. I've never been to a city with so many great public murals.
Isn't this nice? I love Pittsburgh, and hope you'll be curious enough to come visit someday. It's a wonderfully unique city, beautiful, old juxtaposed with new, tradition combined with cutting edge. I really encourage you to visit Pittsburgh Skyline to get a real taste of what the city looks like. Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring is coming!

Hello everyone, hope you are very well. I'm sorry for my long absence, but I sadly have not had much to update in the past few weeks. That being said, I don't think this blog has to be solely about completing items on my list. Isn't the spirit of 101 Things simply to improve your life, to live better? I think I can talk about anything that pertains to that subject. :)

The happiest part about life right now is that it's springtime. The weather is still cool most days, but it's so wonderful to see the flowers blooming, and to have fresh cut blossoms from our garden on the dining room table. I had yellow and white daffodils for Easter dinner, and now we have a beautiful combination of yellow daffodils, and red and yellow tulips. They make the whole house brighter. And, I'm excited to say that the lilacs started to bloom yesterday. That means the whole world will smell beautiful for a week or so. :) And last, on the subject of gardening, we started our seeds indoors in little plastic greenhouses. We are trying to grow every single plant in our garden from seeds this year. Tomatoes (three varieties), bell peppers, jalapenos, thyme, rosemary, lavender, basil, oregano, chives, parsley, cilantro, beans, peas, cucumbers, and lots of flowers, especially nasturtium and sunflowers. We have a ton of planting space in our yard, so we are growing everything we can. We already have raspberries, and we are possibly investigating blueberries and blackberries.

I have completed one item on my list, invest in a quality piece of jewelry, but I can't go into more detail than that at the moment. I will explain soon, I promise. :) Trust me, it's beautiful. If you really want to know, get in touch, and I will explain privately. 

In a bit of tragic news, my very determined effort to complete the Couch to 5K Running Program has failed for now. Isabel went on spring break for two weeks so I couldn't jog on the treadmill (or outside for that matter) like I had been. After the two week break I tried to pick it back up again, but it was so frustrating and exhausting that I quit. As the weather warms up I may try to jog outdoors before work so I can mark this big milestone off my list.

On May 2 I am flying down to Florida to visit my mom. I'll be there until the 5th, just a four-day weekend, but I am really excited about it. We have tickets to go see the musical Wicked, which I'm psyched about (I loved the book), and also some tentative plans to go to the San Sebastian Winery in St. Augustine. We love the free tour and generous sampling session (so what if we've gone a few times...) and then on nice days you can sit on the roof of the big building, where they have a bar with hors d'oeuvres. You can sip on their amazing wines (or have some sangria...mmmmm) while listening to live music and enjoying the incredible view of historic St. Augustine, the marshes, and the ocean beyond. It's a magical place. 

If you'd like me to send you a postcard from Florida, please e-mail me with your address, and any specific postcard requests. :) 

Have a great day, friends!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Welcome to April!

Hello, good morning! Or not so is absolutely rainy and dismal outside today. So, as you might have guessed, I completed my entire month without candy! Hurray! I have proven to myself and everyone else that I can live without my Number One Vice if the desire is strong enough. I took my photo with my prize...some Easter candy. :) I am really going to try and avoid eating so much candy from now on. There are other ways to satisfy a sweet tooth that don't destroy your teeth and spike your blood sugar.

I'm happy to say that things are back to normal at work again. I was pretty stressed out there for a while...Isabel was off school for TWO WEEKS for spring break (seriously, two weeks? I guess so all the rich kids can take their vacations on the Riviera?), and although she was exceptionally helpful and well-behaved, she still has many needs that are difficult to meet when a reckless 14-month old toddler is destroying the house Tasmanian Devil-style....especially when you are working 11...12 hours every day. The two week stress-fest ended with a truly horrifying incident that, sadly, I can't share with you, out of respect for the privacy of the family I work with. But trust me, it was the sort of thing that makes you sick to your stomach. In any case...all is well now, and I do want to add that despite my complaining, I really do like my job...most of the time. :)

So...what's next, you ask? 

I've started a small cross-stitch project! This one was on clearance at Michael's, and when it's finished, it'll show a goofy-looking woman holding a sign that says Smarty Pants. Yep, that's me. :) When I stay even a little bit focused, I can get quite a lot of this finished, and I think I can probably complete the whole thing in a few days of devoted work. It's pretty easy to cross-stitch while I'm watching movies or TV shows on my laptop, so that's probably what I'll do. Maybe watch Twilight for the 167 zillionth time. :)

I think I'd maybe also like to start thinking about my scrapbook of 101 things that make me happy. I think I'd like to compile a list first...I was thinking I'd maybe add a box to the side bar of the blog with my growing list of ideas for my scrapbook. Once I have enough ideas, I'll start photographing things and/or creating collages of some sort (which I think will work better for things like "the Twilight series," which will probably go into my list). So....if you have ideas for my list, or if you have things to say about my list, please leave me comments. :)

Olivia just went down for her nap, so I need to do a quick sweep of the house to clean up the mess she left, and then I need to go jog...I swear I'll finish the Couch to 5K Running Program one of these days... at least I haven't given up. Have a great day, everyone!

DISCLAIMER: These photos were taken before 9 in the morning, before I had finished my coffee, when it was raining buckets outside, at work, where it is completely futile to wear any makeup or style my hair. So don't judge me based on these horrible photos. :)