More Than Meh

A blog about the good things of life.

The Open Road and Old Friends August 29, 2011

Filed under: Life — dwhren @ 10:14 am

One of my good friends from college and her husband are both in the Army and are currently stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta. Augusta is not a very easy city to get to from Baltimore, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that it’s only a 4.5 hour drive from my parents house in Florida to drive up and visit them for the weekend.

I do love a good road trip. I rarely get the opportunity to take road trips these days as despite all the hassles it is so much quicker to fly most of the places I’m trying to get. With limited time off work I hate to spend half of my vacation driving. I did enjoy getting to head out on the road for this trip.

I also had a nice visit with my friends. I got to see their new lake house, although sadly the lake part was kind of missing. The drought plus work on a dam that creates the lake left their little inlet pretty much waterless. It is a really nice house though and I’m jealous. I want a lake house.

They’ve also gotten two new dogs since the last time I visited them bringing their total up to three, which is a little crazy. Their dogs are all really sweet though, and I am totally not a dog person. Their newest dog is an approximately 6 month old black lab that that they took in after finding it wandering around their house very hungry and covered in ticks. Even though I dislike dogs I might have run off with Spike if there was a way to keep him puppy sized. He was so sweet and funny. He was totally the little brother following around the older dogs and mimicking what they were doing. And I love the gangliness of puppy sized versions of big dogs.

Now I’m back in Florida and enjoying the last few days of my vacation before I have to head back to the real world.

 

The Open Road and Old Friends

Filed under: Life — dwhren @ 10:13 am

One of my good friends from college and her husband are both in the Army and are currently stationed at Fort Gordon in Augusta. Augusta is not a very easy city to get to from Baltimore, so I decided to take advantage of the fact that it’s only a 4.5 hour drive from my parents house in Florida to drive up and visit them for the weekend.

I do love a good road trip. I rarely get the opportunity to take road trips these days as despite all the hassles it is so much quicker to fly most of the places I’m trying to get. With limited time off work I hate to spend half of my vacation driving. I did enjoy getting to head out on the road for this trip.

I also had a nice visit with my friends. I got to see their new lake house, although sadly the lake part was kind of missing. The drought plus work on a dam that creates the lake left their little inlet pretty much waterless. It is a really nice house though and I’m jealous. I want a lake house.

They’ve also gotten two new dogs since the last time I visited them bringing their total up to three, which is a little crazy. Their dogs are all really sweet though, and I am totally not a dog person. Their newest dog is an approximately 6 month old black lab that that they took in after finding it wandering around their house very hungry and covered in ticks. Even though I dislike dogs I might have run off with Spike if there was a way to keep him puppy sized. He was so sweet and funny. He was totally the little brother following around the older dogs and mimicking what they were doing. And I love the gangliness of puppy sized versions of big dogs.

Now I’m back in Florida and enjoying the last few days of my vacation before I have to head back to the real world.

 

Beach, Family, and Cards August 26, 2011

Filed under: Life — dwhren @ 8:48 am

My parents and my grandmother live in Amelia Island, Florida, which is in northern Florida outside of Jacksonville and about 30 miles south of the Georgia border. They live within walking distance of the beach, so coming to visit them is like taking a little beach vacation. Of course since it is far northern Florida they do have seasonal weather, so when I come for the holidays it’s not beach appropriate sadly. I usually try to make it down for a week in the summer though, and here I am.

I adore walking on the beach. I love the waves washing up over my feet while I’m walking barefoot on the sand. It’s a lovely way to get your exercise in. I of course also enjoying getting to see my family (except when they’re trying to berate me into becoming a Republican). In addition to my parents and grandmother I’m also getting to visit with my Uncle Dan and his girlfriend Connie and my great-Aunt Ann and her son Jim. I actually won’t get a chance to see the latter two until Sunday evening when I return from my weekend trip to Georgia as the are driving up from West Palm Beach today and probably won’t get here before I leave.

I also get to enjoy playing cards while I’m here. If you grow up in my family you learn to play cards at an early age. When we’re together there is almost always a card game going on. My husband and friends don’t seem to be much into card games. We play board games from time to time, but never cards. So it’s always nice to get some card playing while I’m down here even when they’re taking all my money. Trust me there are no friends at this card table.

What are your favorite things to do when you’re visiting your family?

 

Of Friends, Earthquakes, and Unicycles August 24, 2011

Filed under: Baltimore,Life — dwhren @ 11:23 am

My husband being the old computer geek that he is made a bunch of friends through some group online before most people knew what the internet was. He still keeps in touch with several of them, and most of those people live within three hours of us and most of them even closer than that. However, we pretty much never see any of them despite the fact we live in close proximity. Last night we had the pleasure of getting together with one of them and his fiancee. My husband and two of these friends share server rack space in a colocation facility in Baltimore. One of Ed’s computers needed to be replaced so he and his fiancee Kate were going to make their way up from DC to take care of that and meet us for dinner while they were in town. Despite the fact that they live so close I figured out it had been over three years since we had last seen them in person, which is kind of ridiculous.

We were almost thwarted last night as well thanks to yesterday’s earthquake. The traffic in DC was insane for several hours following that event. Of course I don’t blame people because I would flee as well, since I wouldn’t want my last moments to be spent there either. Due to the craziness they initially abandoned their plans to come up yesterday, and I was sad. The traffic managed to clear enough by the time they were home from work and ready to leave so they reconsidered and decided to come up.

We had a lovely dinner sitting outside on the porch at Mr. Rain’s Fun House. Then the boys ran off to play with their computers while Kate and I hung around at the restaurant having much more interesting conversations I’m sure. We’ll definitely have to make sure it’s not another three years before we see each other again.

Speaking of the earthquake it also made me happy. This of course would not be the case if there had been any major devastation, but as there was only minor damage and from what I’ve heard no major injuries I feel like I can say I’m happy that it happened. I had never been in an earthquake before and always wondered what it would feel like. Now I know. It was kind of a bizarre experience as it’s definitely not something you ever think about happening on the east coast. By the time I realized what was happening and thought I should probably get in a doorway or something it was over. That was pretty much enough earthquake for me though, and now that I’ve experienced one I don’t really care to be in another one.

And last but not least, the final thing that made me happy yesterday was a unicycle. On my way home from the gym I drove by a random girl riding a unicycle. Having tried it, I find riding a unicycle rather impressive on it’s own, but she was also riding it up a hill on a curved road over a bumpy bricked sidewalk. I see lots of bicyclists on my commute, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone out riding a unicycle in the wild. I think it was even better than the time I saw someone commuting down the road on a Segway.

 

Exercise August 22, 2011

Filed under: Life — dwhren @ 6:02 pm

Believe me when I say I never thought I would be one of those people who enjoys exercising. I have always been prone to a more sedentary lifestyle. I am not athletic. I have never been a fan of team sports and all the years of playing tennis as a child resulted in me being a mediocre tennis player at best. I haven’t picked up a racket since high school, so you can tell how much I loved playing tennis. I was fairly decent at getting to the gym during my latter college years, but crazy schedules and lack of money during graduate school let me get out of the habit of exercising quite easily.

After I started working at the library I joined the university’s gym, but as I was in graduate school and working full time I would only manage to make it for about 30 minutes a handful of times each week. Once I finished graduate school that all changed. I started hitting the gym every day after work for about an hour and a half and somehow managed to fall in love with it. Now I hate the days I have to miss it, which is definitely not something that I thought would ever happen. I always thought I would be one of those people who had to force myself to exercise aside from the times I have the pleasure of enjoying a walk on the beach during vacation or something like that.

Don’t get me wrong I am still not an exercise fanatic. I am still not athletically inclined and do not push myself near as hard as I probably should. I’m probably getting by on the bare minimum, but at least I’m getting by. I have lots of friends that are crazy runners and bikers and who are constantly training for some race or other. I am not one of those people and doubt I ever will be partially because I’m lazy and partially because my poor body can’t take the strain.

One of the reasons I have learned to love exercise and not take it for granted is because due to being blessed with not one, but two autoimmune disorders there have been significant periods in the past 6 years that I have barely been able to walk let alone think about getting in any kind of exercise. Unfortunately I am more prone to tendonitis and haven’t been able to lift weights without resulting in long lasting pain for at least a year and half. I still miss being able to do that, but recent attempts based on exercises I got from my physical therapist immediately reminded me it was still no longer an option. So I try to never take for granted when I am healthy enough to exercise.

I also found one of the keys for me is to do something while exercising that helps pass the time. What this thing is varies from listening to a good music playlist or podcasts I enjoy or watching episodes of old television shows on my iPod Touch while I work out. I have made my way through a number of series I missed for whatever reason when they were originally airing. I am currently watching The West Wing. In the past I’ve gone through Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Battlestar Galactica, Homicide: Life on the Streets, Terriers, Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place, Sports Night, Dead Like Me, Tru Calling, and Everwood. I also watched about 5 episodes of Felicity before deciding that show made me want to shoot myself in the head and moved onto something else.

This morning I had the pleasure of having the gym to myself for a significant part of my workout, which never happens. By the time I get back from my vacation it will be crawling with students who will have returned for the Fall semester, and I will once again be back to fighting for a cardio machine. So I’m relishing its emptiness while I still can and already looking forward to their next break.

 

Old Bay August 21, 2011

Filed under: Baltimore,Food — dwhren @ 10:40 pm

I’m not sure that I had ever had Old Bay before I moved to Maryland or if I did I didn’t realize it. However in Maryland Old Bay is pretty much unavoidable, which is okay because I am a big fan. Its most obvious uses are for seafood, since that’s what it is technically made to be used on. Most crab houses use it or some very similar homemade spice on their steamed crabs. It is also widely used on steamed shrimp. However, it also makes its way into many other foods in Maryland. Off the top of my head I’ve seen it on potato chips, french fries, popcorn, corn on the cob, chicken wings, fried green tomatoes, and deviled eggs. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but that at least gives you a good idea about how wild Marylanders are about Old Bay. Tonight I used it a little more traditionally on swordfish. It has become my favorite way to make swordfish. Just sprinkle some Old Bay on the top and throw it on the grill (or under the broiler in the winter) and you have a quick and easy but very tasty dinner.

What is your favorite way to use Old Bay?

 

Curling Up with a Good Book August 20, 2011

Filed under: Books — dwhren @ 5:11 pm

I spent 5 hours of my day glued to my couch reading the book One Day by David Nicholls. One of my book clubs is reading it and then going to see the movie together. It’s rare that I have the opportunity to sit and read a book in its entirety and even rarer that if I do have the time that I am reading a book engaging enough that I can’t put it down. Today was a happy convergence of those two things. It was quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I’m not going to review the book here because I still review books on my old blog and also on Goodreads, so if you’re interested in my book reviews you can follow me in one of those places.