Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016

I hope that wherever you are, you're taking a bit of time today to be outside. I spend a fair amount of time wishing we had easier access to "real nature" because it's easy to forget how wonderful our parks are, even when they're crowded with people. (And in these early warm days, they're very crowded with people.)

But today I spent some time in Washington Square Park at lunch enjoying the sun and the people watching. One day, I'll be close to real nature, and maybe I'll miss these lunchtime adventures. It was, after all, pretty incredible to spend a half hour listening to Coyote and Crow, a fantastic duo from the North Country.

I especially loved watching this couple dancing:

I think a lot about how to get people to care about the earth, how to make everyone realize that we're playing a long game here and have to think about more than just ourselves and the convenience of a Keurig. I'm doubt that all my prodding does much, but I think that spending time outside can help, even in a city, even with the crowds.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy birthday to the best dad on earth! He's in Florida now, working on my parents' new house, but took a little time out this week and bought himself the birthday gift he's been waiting for for years: a new boat. He and my mother took it out last night and saw a pod of dolphins. I think they're going to fit right into their new home.

Dad, one of your former students wrote on your facebook wall this morning (I know you don't read it) and called you his "wonderful instructor," and I think that's a perfect descriptor. From skiing and driving to doing taxes and wrapping an ace bandage, you've taught me so much. I love you and I hope the year ahead is full of all wonderful things for you.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekend Wanderings - A Bunch of Brunch

I had a wonderful weekend. The weather was beautiful for what felt like the first time in ages, and I felt like I had a nice balance of productivity and relaxation. And, since I didn't take any photos, these are all from the instagrams of some of the awesome people I saw this weekend.

On Friday, I grabbed lunch at Mile End Deli with Vanessa, a blogger friend who I hadn't met in person yet. It was great chatting with her and hearing about taking her blog full-time. That's not a goal of mine with this blog, but I'm really interested in the business of social media and blogging, so it was great to talk about her experience with it. After the delicious lunch, I dropped her off at the NYU Bookstore, so she could look for a few things for her mother, who is an alumna! We also took this funny snap with one of the silly pillows they have for sale.

On Saturday, Roger and I grabbed brunch at Backyard, which was tasty, but nothing special. We really enjoyed sitting outside in the sun, though! After that, we wandered around 5th Avenue, stopping in at Housing Works and some other stores before grabbing the subway at Atlantic and heading home. Then we decided to make a 9pm trip to the coop, and ran into Caitlin and Tej on our way back. Have I mentioned I love running into people I know? This morning I ran into Alec Baldwin, who I don't know personally, but who I have spoken to on the phone, seen walking his dogs on several occasions, and watched on television enough that I feel like we're friends. Sort of.

On Sunday, I indulged in my third and final brunch out for the weekend, at The Smith's new location in NoMad. It was also a totally solid selection, but more importantly, I got to hang out with some of the coolest ladies in the tri-state area (and one from Washington). Who says you can't make friends on the internet? I'm seriously lucky to have so many great women in my life, and it was awesome to see a few of them this weekend!

After that, I had a class at church and then Roger, Danielle, and I went on a long run to Prospect Park. We took many, many breaks, but it was about 7 miles of walking and running, which was incredible. Clearly I'm very sore today, but it felt good to get back into it. We stopped a bunch along the way, for things as incredible as Smorgusburg—where Danielle and I split a delicious ice cream sandwich from the Good Batch—and listening to Bernie speak at his rally. A lot of fun, even if I felt like I was going to die during some of the running portions.

I'm signed up for three races this summer and today starts my second try at Whole 30, so hopefully this nice warm weekend will be my last weekend of overindulgences for a while. But it was great while it lasted!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Travel Dreams: Scotland

Photo credit: VisitScotland

This moody photo of Adrian Shine searching for a film prop of the Loch Ness monster makes me really want to go back to Scotland.

We haven't been to Europe in five years, since we were in France and Italy for New Years. We're going to spend our summer vacation in New England, camping somewhere on the coast and then attending a friend's wedding in Vermont. But perhaps next year our big trip will be something a bit further afield, and we'll make it to Great Britain. By then, it'll have been a decade since I was there last.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Happy Birthday, Roger!

Happy birthday to my favorite person in the world! Remember the year you got two Fudgie the Whale cakes? We were still living in that tiny apartment in Harlem with the yellow walls you'd painted while I was away. It was a year of treats, but I hope this year is even better than that one.

You amaze me with your dedication to your ideals, your willingness to take risks and try new things, and the tenacity with which you endure elimination diets. There's no one I'd rather travel around the sun with, and I'm thankful for you every day, especially this one, your special day. I love you, Roger. Happy birthday.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Welcome, Violet Wendy!

On Tuesday, March 29th at 11:47am, my best friend welcomed her daughter, Violet Wendy, to the world. She weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces, and brought a huge amount of joy into Shelby and Mike's lives and, of course, into mine.

I was so thrilled to visit her for the first time this past weekend. She's teeny-tiny but just perfect.

I went upstate ostensibly to help Shelby and Mike with whatever they needed, but honestly, they've got this. I maybe helped get Shelby water and asked if she needed to go upstairs for a nap a few times, but otherwise, I think mostly I just kept her company. She was in great spirits and really rocking motherhood!

It was also nice to spend some time with the new grandparents, and to watch Danny hold his first grandchild for the very first time. A very special moment.

And hanging out with Shelby's friends is always a blast. I especially loved seeing Maggie meet her new best friend. I think they're going to have some great adventures together pretty soon!

And of course, I took loads of photos, including this family portrait. I also promised I'd be back with my real camera one day soon—after I take a photography course and get a little better at the whole "taking pictures" business!

Welcome to earth, little flower! I'm so glad you're here!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dancing Our Way Through Chandigrah

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that one of my favorite parts of our trip to India was the choreographed dance we learned for Caitlin and Tej's wedding. Emily just sent me the video of our final performance and of one of our practice runs, and I was so excited to see them that I couldn't wait a minute to share them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

If you happen to be in Chandigarh, I would definitely recommend stopping by Beat Breakers Chandigarh and taking a lesson with Aryan Suryavanshi, who was a great teacher and managed to get this group of folks in relatively good shape, considering none of us were dancers, in just two hours. Dancing was so much fun and I hope I get the chance to participate in another one soon!

(And, if you're reading these in link order, click on through as we spend some time in Rajasthan and say goodbye to India.)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Monthly Spending in March 2016

Net Worth Change from Previous Month: 7.9%
Total Spent: $4123.84 (yikes!)

Okay, I know that after looking at January (and February, which I never posted, but the short of it is that I spent $1903—mostly on/in India—and made $2908), this spending seems pretty insane. And it is, but also some of it is explainable. I spent a lot of it in India (a little over $1000), and I had saved up for that, so I feel absolutely no guilt at all, and in fact actually spent about $1000 less than I had planned for. Another $1200 went to an AirBnB for friends in Vermont this summer, and I'll eventually be reimbursed for all but $150 of that. And then a final $1100 or so went to paying my state taxes, which was mostly cancelled out by getting a federal refund, too.

So, instead of the $300 that I like to budget for, I still ended up spending around $900. What on? I don't even know, guys. Applying to grad school and taking a math class to improve my application was about $250 of that. I signed up to run one of my favorite races again this year ($35). We visited our parents for Easter and brought a fancy cake from Grand Central ($50). I bought some clothes, new and used ($100). I bought too much food out, of course ($225). I wasn't perfect, but no one ever is. Here's to trying a bit harder in April!

More freelance checks came in this month, which was great, of course. I have one more due next week, and then I'm afraid that if I want more money, I'm going to have to get myself some more work. I've enjoyed taking a bit of time off and I'm really waiting to hear back from grad school before I jump into anything else, but I do hope I'll be able to take on a few more projects soon. Much of it went into savings, and my emergency fund is now 95% full. I am hopeful that it will be at 100% for my next report, and I'm really looking forward to that! I'm also a little more than 50% of the way done with my puppy fund, and I put in the $1000 I didn't spend in India right back in a new travel fund. I like to keep about $3000 in there, so there's still a ways to go on it, but 1/3 isn't too bad.

For April, I am planning to take out $75 each week again, since that seems to work much better for me than cards or taking it all out at once. There's kind of a lot I want to do this month, and I'm pretty sure I can't fit it all in for $300, so we'll see what makes it in and what doesn't. I'm heading up to Albany this weekend to meet Shelby's beautiful new daughter, Violet; I'd like to get a haircut, and I'd also like to buy both prescription sunglasses and contacts, but I may only get one and save the other for May. I guess that's the more responsible thing to do...

How's your budget going? Did you meet any exciting goals this month?