2015, a very very late recap

I started this post back in 2016, and finally got around to adding the photos 2 years later. So here you go a recap from my year as it occurred 3 years ago. It sure was a good one!

January

Due to my job, I got rather invested in the Seahawks and their fight to the Superbowl. Mainly because the longer they played the more opportunity my nonprofit had to fundraise.
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Alex and I went out to eat (probably for brunch, probably where there was coffee).
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We enjoyed the chance to babysit the youngest of our friends’ daughters. It was great fun to get some solo time with her and see Alex show off his future father skills.
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At some point this was my grocery list, I don’t know what I was planning on making, but I am sure it was tasty.
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February

Spent two evenings creating the adventures of Seda, a half-ling ranger, and her wolf, Akela. With the help of a cleric and a warrior, we successfully found, stole, and destroyed the crown of the long dead Lich-king.
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Reached level 7 of Ingress.
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Got to cuddle this ridiculous puppy thanks to my former co-worker Erin.
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March

Ate brunch with Alex at Volunteer Park Cafe and then walked around the Arboretum to look at signs of spring.
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Went to Olympia to tell lawmakers to fund emergency food programs. Also spent time looking at the cherry blossoms.
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Alex purchased a long-a-waited desktop computer. He was very happy about it.
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Went to the Pacific Science Center with Alex to escape a dreary weekend, mainly hung out in the butterfly garden.
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April

Got a new iPhone 6, giant computing power that fits in my pocket. Main use? Taking pictures.
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Went on a weekend getaway with Alex to Ocean Shores. Walked along cold beaches, made food that didn’t require an oven and lived in a tiny cabin 10 ft away from a hot tub = fun weekend. The more time I spend with Alex, the more I am convinced that I married an amazing person.
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Lindsay and I’s office amarylis bloomed!
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Alex and I went to hear Neil Gaimen speak at the University of Washington. Gaimen speaks as intelligently as he writes, or in other words quite well.
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Jenn, Katie and I made pretty smelling spa things. One out of three was very successful, but mostly I liked the time spent with these fun women.
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May

Seattle attempted to demonstrate just how many colors it could jam into one season
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My family came to visit!
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My friends came to visit!
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David and Sarah got married (While the highlight is truly the lovely ceremony that reflected their deep appreciating for community based activism, the main thing people talk about is the llamas).
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I went on a hike with family and one adorable dog.
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I started a tiny porch garden.
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June

I went strawberry picking with Katie, Jenn and kids. It was hot, but very delicious.
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I ate a burger at Miller’s Guild that will be included in my top ten list of things ever eaten.
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Alex and I joined up with Hedgehog friends from across the country and spent a long weekend in Cape Cod. The house was delightfully old, the beach was fantastically close, and the weather was mostly perfection. Side note: My friends seem to have only very adorable children.
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Celebrated various birthdays with the Peterson family women by eating and drinking our way through a lavish high tea.
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July

The sad departure of a friend at work brought about Bacon Hor-d’oeves day which was salty, fatty and completely delicious.
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I took the bus down to Portland to visit Meryl. Portland was in a heatwave, so we spent most of our time chatting, drinking iced coffee and seeking out air conditioning.
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We also spent one day hanging out and swimming in the nearby river – a completely lovely day.
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I reached level 8 of Ingress.
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Jenn and I hosted a baby shower for Katie and Bryan, for which we mainly focused on creating a spread of very tasty food. Highlights include the various tea sandwiches, Jenn’s Tres Dulce cake and my lavender creme brûlée.
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My amazing former co-worker Zan helped me get my very own signed photo of the Chef from Battlestar Galactica. #Nerdpoints
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August

Alex and I got very into making delicious protein salads like this one.
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I finally finished my contribution to a group knitting project – a Tardis themed baby blanket for Katie and Bryan’s baby.
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I ate homemade s’mores with my co-workers.
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I was offered a long awaited dream job – librarian and after much discussion with Alex made plans to move back to the Midwest. (No photo)

I baked a blueberry peach pie.
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I discovered an old macro cover for my iPhone and proceeded to take lots of extreme close-up photos around the apartment.
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Katie, Jenn and I enjoyed a celebratory (and final (for a while!)) ladies night by having dinner at a fancy waterfront restaurant.
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Alex and I “got sick” so we could spend the day savoring one last ferry ride around Seattle.
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We indulged in one giant weekend of RPG, trying to make up for the fact that we didn’t know when we would be able to play again. Battles were fought, Akela died a noble death, experience was gained, and so much fun was had.
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I reached level 9 of Ingress.
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September

I harvested the tiny red fruits of my porch plant labor and my spider plant decided to have lots of babies.
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Meryl came up for a visit and we talked, ate, laughed, Ingressed, talked, walked and laughed some more. Meryl is such a gem, I miss her lots.
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I went to my first ever Steampunk Tea and Painting Garden Party in costume and painted an owl. Somehow during my three years at my last job, many of my co-workers became dear friends.
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A baby was born! It was truly incredible to see such a tiny new life, only 24 hours old and to see two of my favorite people step up and become outstanding parents.
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David and Sarah treated us to an incredible meal at a fancy restaurant. We caught up on life and ate lots of tiny amazing food. This was dessert.
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While packing for our move, I found some outstanding old newspaper clippings that attest to both my extreme neediness and my brother’s early start to activism.
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As part of our farewell (for now) tour of Seattle, we spent the day at the zoo with our friends and their amazing daughters. It is very true that zoos are more fun with children along.
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After a feverish week of goodbyes, packing and much hecticness, Alex and I hooked up rented Uhaul and trailer and started our 5 day journey across the country.
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After a 16 hour first day, we took it a bit easier and traveled through Yellowstone on Alex’s birthday.
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Alex indulged my childhood love of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and we spent one night and part of a day exploring the tiny town of De Smet, South Dakota.
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We finally arrived in Goshen, tired and ready to say goodbye to our Uhaul. My parents welcomed us with open arms and plenty of help with the process of unloading.
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Being back in the Midwest means getting to see several of dearest girl friends more regularly. This makes me very happy.
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October

On Oct. 1, I fulfilled a dream I first started to have back in 2006 and got my first full-fledged librarian job. While changing careers is always hard, I am excited to say this job continues to inspire me and make me excited to grow in new ways.
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After our arrival in town, my parents promptly left on a week long vacation, so Alex and I took care of their chickens for the week.
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Another favorite of my fall was getting to see my younger brother Jonathan more regularly and get to meet his really awesome girlfriend.
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While Seattle will always win in terms of mountains and water, the Midwest really takes the cake in autumn.
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A quick weekend trip up to Evanston brought with it fun city adventures and more time with Jess, who is always incredible to hang out with. This also brought about my first visit back to the Chicago Botanic Garden is probably over 5 years. It was as lovely as I remembered.
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November

Part of the advantage of living closer to the middle of the country is that one can easily take a day off of work and make a quick trip east to attend a cousin’s wedding. So good (if all to brief) to see family. (No photo)

The Midwest delivered a spectacular first snow of the year. 6 or so fluffy white inches and one very gleeful Norwegian husband.
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Another highlight was the indulgent Saturday spent with girlfriends watching all of the previous three Hunger Games movies in anticipation of the release of the final one. Fun was had by all. (No Photo)

Thanks to our interest in cooking and disinterest in choosing only one kind of cranberry sauce, Thanksgiving was an expansive feast including three different red (or pink) dishes.
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I reached level 10 on Ingress.
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Family fun also included a game of disc golf, whereupon the four non-Jonathan members of the family attempted to beat the frisbee king at his own game by playing together on one team. We were unsuccessful.
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Jonathan’s dog Mathilde is the cutest.
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December

I love living closer to more of my family. Now all that we need to do is find a way to bring Tim and Charlotte a bit closer to this part of the country.
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My growing appreciation for my new co-workers reached new heights with Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.
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Winter means seeing a lot more sunrises, this is not always a bad thing.
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We decorated the christmas tree with my parents.
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My co-workers are intelligent, dedicated and also incredibly goofy.
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Alex and traveled for the week of Christmas to Seattle where babies were cooed over, dear friends were hugged, coffee was imbibed, chats were had, food was eaten, presents were opened, family was enjoyed, and then we flew back to Goshen to celebrate Christmas in Goshen.
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Bagels were baked, sweaters were knit, games (oh so many games) were played, food was cooked, presents were exchanged and lots of laughter.
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We finished up our time together with a day trip to Chicago on the train.
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topic to be determined

Three posts seems to be as long as it takes for me to start questioning this whole blogging every day thing. While there is no shortage of interesting topics to write about, so many of them are ones that I put in the “do these right” box. This is also the box for drafts that “need more polish”, “should be revised first” and “probably can’t be written in the 20-30 minutes you usually give yourself for these things”.

So instead I started browsing my flickr account looking for photos that would spark and idea for a post that wouldn’t take forever to write and would *bonus* include a photo.

But instead of a story, I was just struck by how good my life is. All too often it is easy for me to get caught up in the frustrations of the moment, the discomforts of not knowing the future, the irritations of a 9 to 5 job, the sadness of being far away from many of the people I love. Yet, when I take a second to look, it is clear that I am so incredibly blessed.

From living in a place on this earth that lets me see sunsets like this,

to lovely ladies like this, who I am lucky to call my friends.

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From hilarious small humans like this, who I get to occasionally babysit,
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to siblings both old and new who make my life approximately 147% better.
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From my chance to go through life with this gentleman,
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to the chance to live in a city that gives me nerdy opportunities like going to cons.

That is not even scratching the surface of all the many ways that I am getting to live a life full of riches completely incomprehensible to 99.9% of people who have ever lived on earth. For that I am truly grateful.

December catch-up

I had really intended to keep blogging right into December. Maybe not every day or anything, but at least a 3 times a week or so. But hey, you can obviously tell that didn’t happen, so no use dwelling on that.

So what is happening right now in this life that seems to be roaring on in an ever accelerating pace? Well the first week of December, I mainly remember for its theme of catch up time with friends. Monday I edited wedding photos for Katie, which was a fun project in figuring out what I can do in Photoshop and a chance to get nostalgic about a weekend that is already almost 6 months ago! Tuesday was spent going over a paper (which was so good!) for Jess, her big final for her penultimate semester of grad school. Wednesday and Thursday were spent having long overdue catch-up video sessions with Steph and Becca, respectively. I never seem to do as good a job as I would like in staying up to date with friends and seem to have gotten progressively worse at email over the past few years, so I am glad to take any chance I can to reconnect with friends I don’t see that often.

The next week was also pretty full on every week night, a chat with Jess, a visit to Alex’s house, book club, Pathfinder and a chat with my parents filled up Monday through Friday. And while this is veering into deep nerd territory, the Pathfinder session was especially memorable because I got one step closer to my dream of having my half-ling ranger character – Seda – become a wolf-rider. Our party was trudging through the forest on a our way back from a mission into the fey territory, when we encountered a dire wolf, who had just killed a she-wolf. My half-elf companion, Alana (aka Katie) made short work of the dire wolf (in fact, I think she crited on it?) and then low and behold the she-wolf had left behind a litter of 4 wolf pups! Now all I have to do is domesticate them and get to level four, then I can become of the wolf rider of my character’s dreams!

Thumbprint cookies

In other news, I am flummoxed completely by the idea that Christmas is a mere 9 days away. I feel like I kind of missed out on being very festive this year. Neither Alex or I ended up feeling like we had the energy to get a tree this year and when I tried to turn on our christmas lights (still up from last year in an attempt to “creatively light our living room”) only half of them would even turn on. So other than my spree of cookie baking from a week and half ago and my continuous playing of Christmas music since Dec 1st, I haven’t done much to celebrate the season. But on Friday (after Alex’s last day of student teaching!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) we have made plans to go look at other people’s Christmas decorations in a neighborhood known for its high electric bill in December, so maybe that will help me feel a bit less like this season of Advent has flown by unacknowledged.

Good day

Other than being a little under the weather with some bad allergies and suffering from not sleeping well last night, today was a really good day. From a wonderful church service this morning in which we sang so many good hymns, to two really good video chat conversations with family and friends I have really enjoyed my Sabbath. Alex and I also roasted lots of vegetables with bacon (and I mean lots of bacon) for supper, so now everything in our apartment smells like pork (but in a good way!).

So I want to head to bed, so I will leave you with this awesome photo puzzle taken by my brother Tim. Can you spot the second person in this photo, his wife Charletta? Look really closely and you can do it…

Photo Puzzle

It has already come to this

Thankfully in this daily blogging attempt, I have the 7 months of radio silence that I can rely on when the idea of attempting a real topic seems too difficult for words. So here I bring you a clip from our family’s vacation in August. For the first time since my West Coast Migration, my whole family came out and visited me and to celebrate we spent 5 days on the Olympic Peninsula.

This video mostly speaks for itself, but in case you aren’t familiar with my family the first figure with the determined attempt to wildly swing his favored seaweed tube is my older brother Tim. The graceful interloper is my younger brother Jonathan, who has always been known as the athlete in the family. This was taken on the second evening of our trip at our final stop for the day – Rialto Beach.

Welcome to November

So I pulled up my much neglected blog to start yet another year of this NaBloPoMo thing (which I just checked and this is my 5th time doing this!). And the first thing I saw was my last post full of photos from my trip with my brother Jonathan to visit my other brother Tim and sister-in-law Charletta in Southern California. Which delivered that one two punch of happy memories and a pang of missing brothers.

My brothers have always been* and forever will be pretty high on my list of favorite people and apparently I can’t even escape them when playing nerdy role-playing games. Last night, while I trying to come up with spur of the moment names for my character’s** two brothers, the best I could come up with Jonny and Tim. Which is probably either a demonstration of my lack of creative naming, or perhaps an indicator that even in the world of fantasy I still think of those two as my brothers.

In other news, I have no good plan for how I am going to fill these next 30 posts. Although I do think that planned (or at least a little bit thought-out) years tend to be my better ones, I also have a backlog of the past 7 months of blog-silence. So that should help.

Either way, it feels good to be back in the saddle, and trying once again to actually create something, even if it is only a blog post.

Thing that is making me happy (the first of perhaps a series?)

Tonight You Belong To Me

*with perhaps the only exception being certain years between 3 and 15 when Tim and I did not tolerate each other very well

**Her name is Seda and she is a half-ling ranger who kicks arse at shooting things, but isn’t the best at actually doing any damage. We basically refer to her as a very skilled acupuncturist.

Day 13 – New animated gif generator!

During the past holiday season I wrote a round up of great animated gifs for a post at work and also decided to make my own animated gif – out of gifts! I seriously am the funniest person alive, people.

But at the time, finding a good animated gif generator was not the easiest thing. I hunted around on Google, wasting a good hour downloading and trying to use an old Microsoft tool, which didn’t end up doing anything – not too surprising because they stopped supporting it back in 1999 or so. I did eventually find a gif generator, but wasn’t super thrilled by the lack of edits and it also just wasn’t very pretty.

Enter this new site (with a slightly inappropriate name) – Mothereffing animated gif. It has a simple ad-free interface that let’s you drag and drop your photos into place, select your desired quality and speed, then download your nicely generated animated gif.

So I decided to experiment from this series of photos I took of Jonathan pretending to be a zombie during a visit home last summer. As you can see the first version got a fun slightly creepy effect from being a lo-res version, but the speed was too high and and I wanted a better quality.

I like how this final one turned out, just the right amount of creepy and plenty of zombie-infected Jonathan! 🙂

 

Day 1 – Welcome to February

So apparently last NaBloPoMo almost killed my blogging instinct dead, cause I have only written three posts since then! Oddly enough I think some things are a bit easier to do when they fall in the category of “daily” as opposed to “some time, probably soon, but definitely not right now”.  In order to help get me back in the groove of blogging I am deciding to blog 5 times a week this month, this should hopefully get me back to a more regular schedule, but also keep me from the higher demand that actual daily blogging requires. And to top it off, my good friend Jess (who I will check with before linking to her blog) has agreed to join me by posting 4 days a week. Having a blogging accountability partner always helps and maybe we will even think of other cool ways to blog through the shortest (and frequently dreariest) month of the year.

An auspicious way to start what is sometimes the dreariest day of the year, don't you think?

I took this during lunch break today, when I took a short walk to a nearby park to enjoy the sun and chat briefly with Grammy.

In addition, I will also be taking a photo a day during this month. Most likely many of them will end up being the low quality but addictingly fun iPod Touch via Instagram ones, but I will try to actually get my real camera out from time to time. So there you have my goals for the month, how about you? Any brilliant ideas of how to make it through February?

Day 29 – Long Travel Day

Today has all revolved around travel, which makes sense because when you calculate my departure time from Goshen to my arrival time to dear ole Hedgehog in Seattle, it is a 14 hour trip. Granted that involved around 2 hours of wandering around downtown Chicago, between the train and the plane, but still a very long day. While I am partially tempted to write about all the annoyances of travel (CTA delays that gave David and I the privilege of waiting 30 minutes in the cold and twice running up and down a flight of stairs carrying my 54lb suitcase, the dehydrating nature of planes, how tired one gets after sitting for so long) in the end I am indeed sitting in a chair in a metal tube flying thousands of feet above the air and this 14 hour “grueling trip” would have taken many times as long only 100 or so short years ago.

My trip home (interestingly enough Chicago, Goshen and even Seattle all feel, to some degree, like they fit that description) was wonderful, all too short, relaxing, tiring, full of furious catch-up sessions with friends and definitely something I feel rather reluctant to return from. While I will get to see Becca and Jess in just a few weeks over New Year’s Day, my plans to see family again aren’t currently set and I won’t be able to get home for Christmas this year. Already I am feeling the pinch of both vacation days (by January I will only have 3.5 to get me through the end of August) and money and other than a possible trip in March don’t know when I will get to see my family again. That makes me sad, but I guess it is also part of the big adventure of moving to the West Coast and that is an adventure I am still excited about.