Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New England Adventures

*looks around stealthily*

Have the trolls gone away?

Anywho, hi.  We've been busy.  This summer we went to New Hampshire and Vermont for little getaways.

We were in New Hampshire toward the end of August.  My aunt has a rental home up there and that weekend's renters had canceled, so she let us have it for free.  We had just sold our motorcycles and gotten a 2006 VW Beetle convertible and were dying to take a trip up the scenic highway.

On Saturday we drove up the Kancamagus Highway and took lots of pictures of the White Mountains.

Yay for tripods and timers!  ;)  Then on Sunday we drove up Mount Washington.  In a VW Bug.  With the top down.  It was... exhilarating.  Luckily Simon was driving.  No way could I have handled that.  Then we drove down in a thunder storm.  Craziness.

That says 6,288 ft.  ;)  Awesome weekend.  I love New Hampshire.

Then, mid-September, we visited Vermont using a BedandBreakfast.com gift card we'd gotten as a wedding gift.  We stayed at West Hill House B&B in Warren.  We basically ate our way through Vermont: Ben & Jerry's Factory, Cabot Cheese Factory, King Arthur Flour Factory, and an apple orchard.  Plus Vermont Teddy Bear Company Factory for a little dose of cuteness.

The B&B was amazing and we took tons of pictures around their gardens.

We stayed there four days and three nights and packed as much into it as we possibly could.  We had an AMAZING time!

So that was our New England adventure.  Stay tuned for our one-year wedding anniversary on Sunday!  :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Laid back V-day

Little late, but I want to share our Valentine's Day!

Instead of making a bigger deal out of it now that we're married, we decided to forgo the traffic and restaurant wait and just stay in.  (Last year was a disaster; made a reservation and still had to wait another 45 min.)

When Simon got home from work, we exchanged presents.  I bought him a dice bag and dice from Dragon Chow and made him a Mario card:

He gave me a moving "butterfly" in a jar from Think Geek, my very first "wife" card, and roses!

For dinner we just ordered a bunch of Chinese appetizers.  For dessert...fondue!  We got a set for our wedding.  The dip was milk, white, and German chocolates; heavy cream; Bailey's and Godiva White Chocolate liqueur.  In it we dipped brownies, pound cake, bananas, and marshmallows.  Oh.  My.  GODS.  So good.

Then we watched some "Angel" and "Firefly."  A very Whedon night.  ;)  All in all one of the loveliest and most relaxing Valentine's Days I've had!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


After some rather cruel comments on my last blog entry, I feel the need to share some unsolicited kindness I also received.

I forwarded an article to a former coworker and the subject of kids somehow came up.  She and I are not close, but we get along.  What she said about my blog entry made me feel so much better:


Being an only child is AWESOME. Don't let anyone convince you to have more, unless YOU want to. Something that I think would appeal to you, is that an only child is a lot like a little adult, since that is really who they socialize with. I can't speak for everyone, but from ages 4-16, I was very quiet and polite, and everyone always commented on how mature I was. I credit my parents, of course, but I'm sure a lot of it was from having to hang around adults all my life!

No, I wasn't lonely. I had friends and a great imagination.

No, I wasn't spoiled. But I was privileged - when you only have one kid, you spend money on them!

And NO, I don't wish I had siblings. I see how those work! No thanks! 

When you do have kids, you'll love it...when it's right for you. :)

To be honest -- 110% honest -- I'd never, ever want a kid with special needs. I can't hack it. And yes, I want a baseball player. Or a ballerina. Or a rocket scientist. I don't want a grocery bagger. 

Go ahead and say "Special needs kids can do anything! My kid with Downs Syndrome can be anything he wants!" That theory has a SMALL chance of being a reality. A greater chance of reality, is your special-needs kid being your dependent FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.


She's obviously a blunt, opinionated lady, and I mean that in the nicest way.  I love that about her.  She's not afraid to say what we're all thinking.

After that email, I posted on Facebook that an old coworker made my day and made me feel better about myself as a future parent.  In response, an old college roommate, also someone I'm not particularly close to, sent the following message:


Your most recent status made me happy for you. I'm so happy you have a great co-worker who has made you feel good.

A few days ago I read your blog about wanting to adopt. . . . And I think all your concerns are valid, and you didn't say anything wrong at all. You said (about how you feel) is what other people think. But that women telling you at least two times that maybe you shouldn't be a parent really irked me.

You're a good person. And I don't know Simon at all, but from your blogs and facebook status updates he seems like an awesome guy! Together I'm positive you two would make amazing parents. Don't let that lady second guess yourself (maybe she didn't affect you at all, that's what I'm hoping for)

Obviously you want a healthy child, as you stated. I personally feel that's a normal thing to hope for. No one prays for a special needs child. But you're a smart girl, you know there are no guarantee's in life. Hell you've been through a lot of heartbreak at such a young age, so I'm certain you can handle anything that is thrown at you. 

But I hope you and Simon do whatever makes you happy. Either having your own child, or adopting a child. Either way it will be a very lucky kid to have you as a Mom.


This also gave me a big smile.

So Anonymous?  Screw you.  Comments from people who actually know me mean a lot more than your hateful drivel.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The great baby debate

Let me preface this by saying we are NOT ready to be parents yet.  None of this will apply for at least a couple of years.

Simon and I long ago agreed we only want one child.  We'd rather provide really well for one kid instead of half as well for two.  Plus, sibling rivalry.  *shudder*  We're both one of two kids (I'm the elder in my family, he's the younger in his) and know how bad it can be.

We also liked the idea of adopting.  We'd really like a girl, and by adopting we can guarantee the gender, no birth defects, etc.  I was never a huge fan of the idea of pregnancy.  That was our plan.

Of course, lately, I'm starting to change my mind.  There are so many things that can go wrong with adoption too.  Very different things.  Choosing parenthood is a risk no matter what.  I'm starting to feel like I'd rather take the risk of pregnancy.

It's much easier to for me to explain this way:


- No adoption fees or legal drama.
- Child won't seek out "real parents" later in life.
- Child is socially more accepted as "ours."
- Easier to bond.

- Chance of pregnancy-related injury or death.
- Chance of child being born with a large medical issue.
- Body changes.
- Child inherits our unfavorable traits, like weight, vision, teeth, etc.


- Not adding another child to the population.
- Can choose gender and no special needs.
- Giving a home to a child that already exists.

- Child might not bond with us.
- Could take years of frustration to be matched.
- Parents could change mind at last minute (see this blog).
- Child could decide to find "real" parents at age 18 and leave us.
- Child could have unknown issues.

Obviously I'm not going to decide based on the numbers of pros and cons.  All these reasons hold different weight.  I've just gotten to the point where pregnancy isn't quite as terrifying as it used to be.  And as desperately as I want a daughter, I think I could be okay with a son (I know, horribly biased of me!).  My family already has 5 girls in the next generation, no boys.  I can't decide if that means I'm genetically more likely to have a girl, or statistically doomed to have a boy.  ;)

So what I'm feeling right now is that when the time is right, I'll go to the doc, get checked out and make sure I'm healthy enough, and try to get pregnant.  If I'm not pregnant after a year, it wasn't meant to be.  Back on birth control, contact adoption agencies.  I brought it up to Simon last night, and he's not psyched with the idea, so we may need to talk more.  We have time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The vacation that almost totally sucked but then didn't really.

Yeah.  The title tells you a lot.  I'm still pretty sick, which has delayed this post, but I'm gonna try my darndest here.

On January 14, Simon's birthday, we departed for Florida.  Our plan was 2 days in Miami for my friend Becca and her hubby Steve's wedding reception, drive up to Orlando, and go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The night before we left, Simon was running a fever.  He woke up Friday absolutely miserable, but we went anyways.  It was an expensive trip!  We made it to Miami, settled into the hotel (Candlewood Suites), then joined Becca, Steve, and their friends Jen and Diana for a joint b-day meal for Simon (35) and Steve (40).

It was so great to finally meet my Twitter bestie Becca in real life!  We had a blast.  The next day, Saturday, was their party, but not till 6 pm, so Simon rested up.  He slept 12 hours that night and napped another 4.5 that day.  He was WIPED.  Poor honey.  :(  He had chills and a bad cough.  We made it to the party, and he tried to keep his distance from the happy couple, lest he infect them.  It was a gorgeous, cool night.  Despite his sickness we had a great time.

The next afternoon, Sunday, we met up at Becca's aunt's house for brunch before we headed to Orlando.  Simon was feeling a little better, but I had started coughing a little.  I felt fine, but tired.  Oh and her house and yard were AMAZING.

I rested all the way to Orlando, a four-hour drive.  We checked into our gorgeous, under-priced hotel (Monumental Hotel), then went out for dinner.  While waiting to be seated, I heard someone talk about rain the next day.  Our Wizarding World of Harry Potter day.  The ONLY day we could go.  I checked the forecast and it looked BAD.  I was horrified.

We woke up Monday morning to a thunderstorm.  My flu was worse than ever, and it rained ALL day.  I was distraught.  Finally I discovered the Universal Studios tickets have no expiration, so we decided we'd try to come back someday.  A Twitter friend told us that Otronicon, a video game expo, was going on in Orlando, so we headed to that to entertain ourselves.

While we were there, we got a message from Delta that the second leg of our flight home the next day was cancelled due to impending wintry weather.  Instead, they had booked us on a nonstop flight out.  We checked the details back at the hotel, and found seating would be assigned at the gate.  That usually means we get split up, so that was NOT good.  We went on the website.  Since they had re-assigned our flight, we had the option to choose another flight that worked better for us, for no extra fee.  Well, we did.  For WEDNESDAY instead of Tuesday.  Giving us Tuesday to go to Universal!!!

So that was how the universe made our day.  New England weather sucked, but in OUR favor for once!  So on Tuesday, we headed to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure to visit Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.  It.  Was.  EPIC.

It was just amazing.  We spent 6 hours there.  I was exhausted but oh so happy!

Wednesday morning we headed home on a nonstop flight.  We left 70 degrees and sunny and came home to 35 degrees and freezing rain.  Sigh.

I've been coughing ever since.  My asthma took hold of the flu cough and won't let go.  I'm pretty miserable.  But it was such an amazing trip!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah McLachlan concert

Two months ago, I opened my email to see Sarah McLachlan tickets were going on sale soon for a Boston concert.  My husband LOVES Sarah (as do I) and the concert date was 3 days before his birthday.  Sounded like an idea to me!

The on-sale date came, I parked at my computer at 9:45 am, opened TicketMaster.com, and refreshed till they were available to buy. 10 am on the dot, I was (painstakingly) entering a (STUPID) Captcha phrase and looking at best-available tickets.  Balcony.  I get online the SECOND they go on sale, and you give me balcony???  Okay, this has happened before, better tickets are tied up by people looking and not buying.  I search again.  Mezzanine.  Okay, a little better, let's press our luck.  Orchestra row W.  Ugh.  Orchestra is nice, but you can't see anything from row W.  I tried AGAIN.  Mezzanine again.  Okay fine, we'll be higher up and can see better.  I bought them.

For some reason, I decided to keep looking after I bought them.  Balcony, mezzanine, mezzanine...what's this?  Dress circle (in front of the mezzanine) row AA???  Front row of the front of the high seats???  WTF?  I was so mad.  I had already bought tickets.  But as my 2-minute timer ticked down, I thought, well I can always re-sell the first pair on eBay.  I've sold tickets before, they usually at least cover the face value.  So I bought the second pair of MUCH better seats.

Two weeks before the concert (which was still a secret from Simon as it was his birthday present), I put the first pair of tickets up on eBay.  I started them at face value.  I had checked TicketMaster and all ticket pairs were sold out, only singles were left, so it was a safe bet.  As the week goes by, I see more and more bids.  Looking good!  Finally, in the last few minutes, bidding gets furious.  When all was said and done, they sold for almost double what I paid.  Meaning the entire concert was costing me maybe $20.  WIN!  I laughed and laughed.  Sweet irony.  TAKE THAT TICKETMASTER.  Ahem.  Sorry.

SO.  The day of the concert (yesterday) comes.  I took Simon out to dinner at Not Your Average Joe's to use his free birthday meal coupon (love that!).  He tried to guess where we were going after and had no clue.  I finally told him it was a concert, but not who.  Then we drove into Boston (well, he drove, because it's less stressful for both of us that way) and parked under the Common.  We walked over to the Opera House, and as we approached I pointed to the Sarah McLachlan sign.  He finally got it and was VERY surprised.  I was psyched, he's hard to fool!

We were pretty early as I thought it was at 7 pm (7:30, oops) so as we sat and waited we took some pictures of the gorgeous architecture and artwork:

And us!

Then, the concert!  Sarah McLachlan is amazing.  Instead of having an opening act, she's up there with two other female singers (who have their own CDs) and various band members right from the beginning.  They sing and play back-up for her, and every so often THEY perform and SHE sings and plays back-up for them!  She is incredibly humble.

For a woman in her 40s, and a mom of two, she is in FANTASTIC shape.  She wore a glittering silver tank top (which showed off her chiseled arms) over tight jeans tucked into black chunky-heeled boots.  The other singers were Melissa McClelland and Butterfly Boucher.  Melissa wore a black, cotton, handkerchief-hemmed tank dress, black tights, and shiny red Mary Jane pumps.  Hers was my favorite outfit up there.  Butterfly, with her boyishly pixie haircut, rocked a simple black tee, skinny jeans, and boots.  There were also two male guitarists (one of them Melissa's husband), a male pianist, and a male drummer.

Everyone up there exuded talent and passion.  They had FUN.  They LOVED what they were doing.  I don't know all of Sarah's songs, but she sang a lot of her classics, like I Will Remember You, Sweet Surrender, Angel, etc.  She played piano or guitar while singing most of them.  When not playing, she was dancing around happily.  She was just a joy to watch.

She did some Q & A sessions, and three encore songs.  She connects with the audience and is just so happy to be there for us.  It truly was a show I'll never forget.  And Simon loved his birthday present!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Obviously, 2010 was an awesome year for us.  I really wanted to celebrate in style, but money is a little tight these days with two trips coming up.  I devised a plan for a fancy night in for the two of us, and kept Simon in the dark!

I cooked all day to prepare the meal, then at 7:45 asked him to get dressed...in a suit.  :)  I put on an evening gown, and we dined on...

Roast beef tenderloin stuffed with red peppers and onions, roasted garlic potatoes, and apple, cranberry, walnut, and bleu cheese salad:

For dessert, I presented strawberry cheesecake trifle:

Needless to say, we were stuffed.

I then led him to the living room where I had set up the camera on a tripod, and set the timer to take some pictures of us.  Here are a couple of the better ones:

And of course, the one with our photo-bombing cat.  :P

We then danced in the living room to a playlist I had made for the evening.  Around 10 pm we changed back into comfy clothes, and sipped champagne while watching the movie "Easy A."  We watched the ball drop in Times Square and kissed and toasted the new year.

It was a perfect night.  All the romance and elegance of a fancy night out, at a much lower cost in the comfort of our own home.  No crowds, no driving.

Happy new year, everyone!