Sunday, March 23, 2014

New Friends + Painting

One thing that I've noticed has changed since moving back to the Coeur d'Alene area is that I've had a much easier time making new friends. When I moved here before in 2010 I only socialized with co-workers, with the youngest being 12 years older than me. Needless to say I didn't find a lot in common with them even though they were great people.

When we moved back to CDA I had to start a new job since my old one had  been filled. This turned out to be such a blessing. I work now with therapists of all ages, from 26 to 61. I have made some great friends with the younger crowd and it's been SO NICE. I didn't realize how bad I missed having friends. We go on froyo dates, to the casino for crab feasts, to painting classes, and let our dogs get together for play dates. Such basic things that many people take for granted! It's nice for Paul too since a couple of my friends our age are married and the husbands naturally gravitate towards each other when we're all together.

My cooking class ended recently and even though I'm the youngest by far in the group we are planning to continue doing things together. I went out for drinks after our last class and we are planning on going to a play together in April.

Speaking of painting classes, here's some photos from the painting class I did in the beginning of this Month:


And the finished product...


Can't say I'm that excited about the houses but the rest of the painting I like. I'm planning on doing 2 more classes so I can have a "mini-gallery" on this wall. Right now it looks pretty silly! Some people suggest I frame it, but I can't see myself spending any more money on it. It's not THAT good. Ha!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What's New in 2014

Hello! Only like 6 months since my last post. Did you miss me? I say/think this everytime, but I really really wish I blogged more. I like the idea of it, I love having a written record of things that are going on in my life at certain moments in time... there is just something about it that seems like work. I think that if I had a private blog, journal style, where I could just write whatever was on my mind I would find myself using this medium more often. But then I couldn't have just any ol' person read it so that is where the dilemma begins. I enjoy being able to reach out to friends, family, and strangers alike to have people know what is going in my life. I just wish I could have the best of both worlds. Maybe I just need to throw inhibitions to the wind? I recall doing that once on my first blog when I was in London and was criticized greatly for it. So maybe not.

Since I haven't written for ages, I thought I would update everyone on the goings-on of my life as of now. I recently joined the local community center/gym to get my fitness on. I've been a member for a week and a day and I've been 4 times. I think that's pretty good so far, lets hope I can keep up the momentum. This particular gym is great because it has 2 pools, a river for walking with and against current, exercise equipment, weight machines, a cycling studio, a climbing wall, a fitness class studio, and more.

My latest obsession has been Zumba. I had a friend/co-worker in Texas that tried to always convince me to go to Zumba with her and I always said no. Wow I'm kicking myself now! I wish I would have listened, but I was so worried about making a fool out of myself I would make excuse after excuse as to why I couldn't go. Little did I know is that 96% of the people in the class are simply following along to the instructor, the routines are pretty straight forward, you don't have to be totally spot on, and it is SUPER FUN. The hour long class goes by in what feels like 20 minutes. Never have I liked exercise (except for maybe swiming) and I was almost brought to tears the first time I tried Zumba as exercise has always been such a chore for me. It was almost a weight off my shoulders knowing that exercise and me could be friends, for at least 3 hrs a week anyway.

I was also encouraged to know that my endourance wasn't too shabby after being on an exercise hiatus for more than a year. I was able to do the elliptical level 4 resistance for 20 minutes without feeling like I was going to die. Muscle memory at its finest!

Another thing I've been doing that's new, which kind of goes hand in hand with the fitness element of my life is a new eating philosophy that I'm trying to adapt, which is the Paleo diet. This way of eating tries to emulate the way our ancestors ate, with no processed or refined products. So no grains of any sort, beans, sugar, processed snacks, etc. Some say no dairy while others include dairy, so I'm including it. I've been fairly successful with cutting out breads and grains, but sugar is another story! I have a full fledged sugar addiction and it's a tough one to break. The nice thing about Paleo is that without having white potatoes, breads, or grains as side dishes I've had to go outside of the box when it comes to vegetable preparation. We get a Bountiful Basket every week which always has a surprise assortment of fruits and vegetables forcing us to eat lots of veg with meals every week. We typically go through at least 4 heads of romaine a week! Lots of salads up in here. I've even discovered to love Brussels Sprouts by preparing them this way: Brussels Sprouts and Bacon from Nom Nom Paleo. We use turkey bacon (as I still do not eat any mammals) and make a balsamic reduction. So good! We are still trying to make a slow transition to more and more Paleo style meals. Paul is having a harder time cutting out bread than I am, but I'm having a more difficult time cutting out sugar, so we both have a ways to go.

In other food news, I started a cooking class at our local community college called Cooking Around the World. It's for 6 weeks every Tuesday for 2 hrs and each class has a themed country or cuisine. My first class was this last Tuesday and the theme was Thai. We made a Thai chicken basil stir fry and a banana coconut desert. I was originally thinking the dishes were a little too simple for my liking but I learned a very important thing that first day: It doesn't have to be complicated to be delicious! And I learned some important knife skills, plus got to meet some new interesting people. I'm very much looking forward to the next class as we are learning about Indian cuisine next!

I'm trying really hard to convince my boss and the corporate folks where I work that it would be a good investment for them to pay for me to do a 9 day course in San Francisco at the end of May, beginning of June to get lymphedema certified. This is a big thing in the OT world, as it makes me extremely marketable in our area. There is one other lymphedema certified OT in Coeur d'Alene (that I know of) so I could demand the big bucks. I may have to pay for half of it myself (total cost including hotel, food, tuition, time off work is over $7k!) but it would be worth in the long run. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I haven't been reading many books as of late since I have about 20 magazines backed up from the summer that I have yet to read. I was hoping to get through those first and then read both books and magazines from there on out but I just haven't been in a reading mood lately so I've gotten nowhere. It takes me about a month to get through one magazine these days, which is not good when I have a subscription for 5!

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I'm not too concerned about how we are going to celebrate it this year. We are both so busy (me with work, gym, cooking class, etc; Paul with work and classes for his computer science degree) that I'm just looking forward to watching a movie on the couch with the puppies. Nothing fancy.

Speaking of puppies, Kobe and Stella say hello!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

20 Questions

I'm stealing this from a website called Hi Sugarplum just because I thought it would be fun (really I'm just procrastinating, avoiding trying to write book reviews for the last 6-8 books I've read).

1) What is your road trip essential snack? 
Harisbo Gummy Bears. I had a German teacher, Herr Wolf, who had sacks of these things from Germany, only his were like 10 years old so they were hard as rocks. We called them Gummi Rocks. So good.)

2) You've been handed two free round-trip tickets... who are you taking and where are you going?
Totally taking Paul and we're going to Japan.

3) What was your high school jam?
Backstreet Boys - I Want it That Way and Eminem - Without Me (total opposite ends of the spectrum)

4) Would you rather have a perfect bum or a flawless face?
I would rather have a flawless face and butt implants.
5) What shows are you ashamed to admit are on your DVR?
Keeping up with the Kardashians 

6) What's your ringtone?
I can't stand other peoples' ringtones that are songs or annoying sounds so mine is just a classic ring sound. 
7) How old were you when you had your first kiss? Was it meh or toe-curling?
I was 17 and it was GROSS. 
8) Do you have any siblings and if so where are you in the birth order?
If you count just me and my biological brother, I'm the oldest. If you count my step brothers and adopted half brother then I'm in the middle. :\
9) What physical quirk were you born with?
I can move my scalp and wiggle my ears

10) What was your first car and did you name it?
A 1996 Dodge Spirit and no. 

11) What would you request for your last supper?
Thai curry, chicken soft shell tacos, fleishkuekla, chocolate cake, calamari, a margarita, and my mom's spaghetti. And then I would throw up. 
12) Have you ever been hospitalized and if so what for?
Yes, I had an ovarian cyst that was like the size of two softballs fused together. I lost an ovary in the process and was bummed that they wouldn't put the cyst in a jar for me to look at afterwards. I also had surgery to remove a 50 cent piece sized piece of chicken from my esophagus, but I didn't have to stay in the hospital for that. 
13) How tall are you? Do you wish you were taller, shorter, or are you just right?
I'm pretty satisfied with my height, which is between 5'9" and 5'10". Yesterday I went to dinner with 2 girls who were about 6' though and I felt so short. It was bizarre. 
14) Do you prefer to DIY or to hire it out?
I wish I was DIY capable but I'm sure I'd screw it up so I'll hire someone!
15) What do you eat for breakfast?
Typically an egg, turkey sausage, and cheese English muffin OR 2 Eggo waffles with peanut butter and real maple syrup. 
16) What would you do for a living if you didn't need money?
Travel blogger and food critic!
17) Finish this sentence: Every room needs...
Something colorful

18) How frequently do you wash your hair? Do you have any hair secrets or tricks?
Every other day. My best hair secret: A top knot will cover up a bad hair day every time. 

19) Will you leave the house without makeup?
Without hesitation. 
20) You just unloaded your Halloween haul... what candy do you go for first?
Twix and Kit-Kat. 
21) What totally insane talent do you posess? 
The ability to watch the first two seasons of Scandal in 4 days! Haha, I don't know. I can tell you what's wrong with random strangers' wheelchairs and how to fix them. 

So I guess that's actually 21 questions... but it was fun. My fellow bloggers - I would love to read your answers!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Back in Idaho...Again!

Hi! Since I've last written a lot has happened!

Paul was amazing and found us a great house in Coeur d'Alene that we signed on to rent for a year. It's semi-downtown, actually in midtown, but really close to where all the good stuff happens in CDA. It takes us 20-30 minutes to walk downtown but only 10 to walk to some of the local bars and restaurants. Sure beats where we lived last time, which was in Hayden but not accessible to anything good. For some reason the city of Hayden doesn't really believe in sidewalks on some of its main roads and that made everything really hard to get to on foot and even on bike sometimes.

I ended up living in a hotel in Montesano, WA for just over three weeks. This had its perks (housekeeping!) but was also a lonely experience. It also sucked to not have a couch or armchair to sit in to watch TV or read. I had to sit on the bed for everything or else use the hard chairs supplied by the little table in the corner and these were not comfortable!

Some pictures of Montesano and my hotel room:

 Me, reading and eating Junior Mints, sitting on the bed because there was nothing else to do and no where else to sit!
 The train that would come through town about twice a day RIGHT outside my window and since there is an intersection right outside my window it would blare its horn every time and scare the bejezzus out of me. 

 The main intersection of town. The Bee Hive restaurant is white building and the Mexican restaurant is in the brick building. 

 The street I would walk down from my hotel to get to the restaurants mentioned above. 

 The Crows Nest Diner with my hotel building in the background. 

 A feed store. Yay. 

 The stairway up to my hotel room. 

 View of Montesano from the top of the stairs. Breathtaking. 

 My hotel room key. Very old fashioned. No card swipes here!

 My hotel room set up

 My "kitchen" and "pantry"

 "Hi" from the bathroom!

You can also see I didn't have much for meal prep. I had to eat cold items or things that could be heated up in a microwave. One of the things I was most excited about when I got back to Idaho was to go grocery shopping so I could make REAL meals! I never thought I would say this but I was looking forward to cooking at home vs going out for dinner. I ate out a few times a week when I was staying in my hotel room but Montesano only had 3 real restaurant choices for dinner and none of them were really extraordinary. Small town diner food, Italian, and Mexican got old fast.

I started my job at Life Care Center Post Falls (in Post Falls, ID) on Monday and so far I really like it. I am a little concerned because I haven't got all my hours yet this week and will be short for the week but with it being my first week it's kind of nice to not have to worry about rushing to get everything done on time to get out of there in 8 hrs. I've been working 6-7 hr days instead. I may ask if I can work Saturday since Paul is getting his wisdom teeth out on Friday and won't be up for doing anything fun anyway.

The dogs are loving being back in Coeur d'Alene because they get to go to the dog park almost every day! Stella has made some new friends and Kobe just lays there in the grass but he looks happy so it's all good.

Last weekend we went riding around Spokane on this 12 person bike contraption and it was really fun. It's so nice to be able to do social things again; when we were travelling it took awhile to make friends and there would be long spans of time where it was just Paul for company. He's awesome to hang out with but we kind of get stuck in a rut when we're just hanging out together. It's nice to have friends suggest new experiences.

I have a lot of things to write about, including recapping the rest of our Texas adventures and writing book reviews for the 5 or so books I read while in Montesano and since I've been back. I will try my best to keep posting but I say that every time. We shall see. ;)

 Me on my way home from Washington stopped at a gas station and ready to get home!

A dust devil I tried to get a photograph of as I was driving through Eastern Washington. Can you see it?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Changes, New Challenges

Just like I hinted in my last post, our yearly plan has changed again. Since I last updated this blog my assignment in the San Juan Islands got cancelled by the facility, reason unknown. I took a new assignment in Montesano, WA. On our road trip from North Dakota to Washington we stopped in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and I felt so homesick for it. I met my old coworkers for drinks and they told me about a job opening in a facility where they now worked. Paul met with his boss for coffee and found out his old position was open again. Having the potential for us both to secure full time permanent jobs again seemed like fate was telling us to stay in CDA. We talked it over and decided to cash in our chips and do it.

The only problem was that I had accepted the position in Montesano and needed to fulfill a 30 day cancellation notice. We decided to gamble and not accept housing in Montesano and instead focus on finding permanent housing in CDA.

Unfortunately, the start of my contract came before we were able to rent a house in CDA. Currently Paul is staying in my friend's lake cabin until she has renters come on the 22nd. I'm living in a motel. My dogs are with Paul but we don't know what to do with them once he becomes homeless as most hotels won't take dogs. Paul also has to go through the usual motions of securing his job: his boss initially said it was absolutely his but now there is a minuscule chance he may not get it due to politics.

I know there are many others who have it MUCH harder than I do but I can't help feel a little sorry for myself right now. I'm by myself, away from everyone I know, and there are so many unknowns in my future right now. I'm lonely and miss my hubby and my fur-kids.

I need to remind myself that im thankful to have a job and own the decision we made to stay in Coeur d'Alene, which we love. Traveling had even more unknowns and it was stressful trying to find short term housing at places that accepted two dogs. We just didn't anticipate the stressors that would accompany this decision as well. Life hands one challenges at every turn. It's how we handle them that makes all the difference.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Plans Are A Changin'

So when we set off on this thing called 'traveling therapy' my husband and I had a pretty good game plan of what we wanted to do. We wanted to move to Texas for the winter, hang out in a big city or near the ocean, and then move back up north to Chicago for the summer. We would then venture east in the fall to Washington, DC, and then to Charleston, SC to spend the winter. 

I quickly realized it doesn't work that way. 

The world of traveling therapy is constantly changing, new jobs crop up and previous jobs get filled, licenses don't come in by the time you need to move, and you have no control over start dates! You have to be flexible. Luckily for us, we are pretty flexible people. While I like to eat an entire medium pizza when I'm stressed, I otherwise handle stress pretty well. 

SO. This is the new plan (which I'm sure will change a million times just like the old one did): 
  • Stay in Lufkin, TX until June 1
  • Hang out in OK with my cousin and then in Bismarck, ND with my family/friends until June 8th or so. 
  • Start new job in San Juan, WA June 13
  • Spend fall in Oregon 
  • Spend winter in southern CA

Criss-crossing the country is a lot of work, especially with a U-Haul and two dogs. So our new plan is to stay on the west coast this year and then make our way around to the east coast, which will make more sense financially. 

Some of the areas we still hope to cover:
  • Minnesota
  • Chicago
  • A stint at Lake Tahoe (any time of year would be awesome)
  •  Maybe somewhere in the black hills of SD
  • Charleston or anywhere else along the coast of SC
  • Savannah, GA
  • Miami!
  • Washington, DC
  • Boston
  • Anywhere in NY state
  • Coastal Maine
  • Memphis or Nashville, TN
  • Michigan's upper peninsula
  • Las Vegas

Even if we have to live in a random town near these places, we can always take weekend trips and make the most out of it. That's what we've done in Texas and it's been great fun. Speaking of that, I need to write about 5 more posts about our Texas adventures! Better get busy!


Sunday, April 7, 2013


Early on in our Texas adventure we traveled to Dallas after hearing great things about the museums and aquarium there. It was over Martin Luther King, Jr weekend so I had three days off work. We set a loose agenda:
1) JFK Museum
2) Dallas Aquarium
3) The new Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The drive took about 3 hrs and 20 minutes, so it's a pretty good trek from where we are located! Luckily we love road trips so it flew by. 

The first place we visited was the JFK Museum which is formally called The Sixth Floor Museum as it is located on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository: The actual location where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK. The location itself was pretty amazing - I've been to some great museums in my day but never one that was located in such a significant location.

I couldn't take pictures inside the museum but if you are ever in Dallas you have to come here. It's so fascinating, depressing, humbling, and interesting all at the same time. I learned a lot and I have to thank my cousin Marianne for the recommendation!

The next place we visited was the Dallas Aquarium which is right downtown amongst all the skyscrapers. It's located in a building that once was a warehouse, which makes it pretty cool. This aquarium was unique in that they tried to replicate ecosystems in different areas of the world rather than just focus on the water life. Because of this there is a random jaguar in one of the exhibits. But they also had the usual fare of flamingos, penguins, sharks, turtles, etc. Here are a lot of pictures!

The seahorses were really cool. It's hard to tell because there is nothing to scale them to, but these were actually itty bitty seahorses and they were getting swept away by the current so they would hook onto the grass. It was fun to watch them.

This crab looked like an alien. It's amazing that they taste so good when they look so ugly. Although I don't know if this is a species you can actually eat. Who knows.

The penguins were soooo cute! There were two that were described as being "lazy" by the trainer that was feeding them. One was partially blind and old so she had an excuse but the other one knew that if he stayed on his prefered platform the trainer would come feed him rather than him having to swim to her. So he just waited to get fed last but he saved a lot of effort in doing so. So much for having a "bird brain." ;)

The flamingos had dark red food, I don't know if it was actual krill/shrimp or just food coloring, but they were extra pink so I'm going to go with they were receiving something in their food to make their feathers extra vibrant. They were pretty but I wish they were receiving their natural diet instead of possible chemicals just for visitor's benefit!

The third place we wanted to go see was the science museum but we were foolish and decided to wait until the day of to buy tickets. Because it's so new, it was completely sold out by the time we showed up, which was 10 minutes before opening! Plan B was to go to the zoo. Our weekend was very animal centered. 

This is supposed to be an anteater but the picture isn't great. 

The petting zoo is always my favorite.

 Ginger beard alert!!!