Saturday, March 10, 2018

January Recap

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything here; I swear, every time I blink another week has passed! I'm going to try to keep this fairly up to date with monthly recaps through the year, and random other posts here and there to fill in the gaps. So for now, here's January (just a little late)!

Happy New Year! I kicked the year off sitting on position at work. The supervisor brought around little plastic glasses of sparkling grape juice, and one of my coworkers yelled a countdown across the ops room. Really, it wasn't a bad way to start the new year.   :)

Mark and I worked the mid that night, went home for a quick nap, packed up the car, and drove up to NJ. More sleep would have been nice, but oh well. We did Christmas stuff with our families and had fun catching up with some friends for a couple days.

We made sure to eat some delicious breakfast at the Liberty Diner...

...and played cards with Granny and Zach.

We stopped at my parents' house for a little bit before heading back to Virginia. Mom is hiding behind stupid poophead Meatloaf.

Mark and I have been watching a lot of the Great British Baking Show lately. It's so refreshing to see a reality TV show where everyone is so happy to be there and there isn't any sabotage or backstabbing! Plus, it doesn't hurt that everything they make looks delicious.

I've been trying to spend some time relaxing with a book in my office once in a while. The wiener doggies like to hang out with me sometimes.

Watching so much of the Great British Baking Show has made us a lot more motivated to try new recipes. Mark wanted a round loaf of bread, so we found a recipe and gave it a try.

It turned out really well, especially when we paired it with some of the fresh eggs my buddy gave us.

We eventually got around to putting away all of our Christmas stuff. As part of that, we took all of the Lego train track we had and built a giant loop before putting the train away. Bacon went nuts and kept trying to eat the train as it zoomed around the track.

It had been a while, but I finally got back in the air with my plane! My buddy Ken came with me, and we flew out to the mountains to enjoy the view for a bit.

Visibility was pretty nice to the south...

...but there was snow in the forecast, and you could see it moving in from the north. (Don't worry, we made it back to the airport well before the weather moved in!)

Mark and I both moved to Mondays and Tuesdays off for this year, and as part of that, we now get to work Friday days shifts. We decided to celebrate by going out to dinner in Culpeper. It was so weird, being out on a Friday night like normal people!

We both had the mid that week, which meant that we both had most of Sunday free, too. We decided to take advantage of that to go out to brunch at Claire's at the Depot. So fancy! (And of course, we've been completely opposite mid schedules since then, so no more delicious brunch for us.)

We had a bit of nice weather, so we put it to good use by hanging out on the porch with the doggies.

We also watched the playoff game with the Eagles. We never watch football, so it was especially crazy to watch them win. Off to the Superbowl!

I finally tried out my hangar microwave and finished off my brunch leftovers while taking a break from playing in my shop...

...then I spent a little time flying with Dave in our friend's C152. Dave has thousands of hours in helicopters and King Airs and flies his own C210, so the C152 was a fun change for him!

He did a few crosswind landings, then decided he'd had enough fun for the day. (In his defense, it was a pretty healthy crosswind.)

I spent a little more time playing in my shop...

...then Mark brought Wembles out for a visit.

We were still watching lots of the Great British Baking Show, which meant we were still feeling pretty adventurous with new recipes. We wound up making pulled pork in the crockpot, and tried out some sweet potato skins with some leftover sweet potatoes we had grown.

We also tried another bread recipe, which turned out pretty good (though maybe could have used a couple extra minutes in the oven). Overall, January was basically delicious and a bit lazy. Not that bad a start to the new year!

Friday, January 26, 2018

December 1st: Beach and Home

We got up around 7:00 the next morning with plans to watch the sunrise. Mark made some coffee while I plopped down on the chairs outside to enjoy the view.

There were birds all over the place in the trees outside the room.

The clouds were still hanging around from the night before, but it was still nice to sit outside and enjoy the quiet.

Our bird buddies stopped by again for a few minutes... did a few other kinds of birds.

I especially liked the woodpecker.   :)

We walked down to the little beach near our room after we finished our coffee. The clouds looked especially pretty.

There were some rain showers offshore, but you could also see the sunbeams shining down through the clouds.

You can just see a tractor on the left side of the picture; that guy might have my dream job. I remember seeing him last year, too; each morning, he drives the tractor along the beach to clean the sand. I wouldn't mind starting each day by driving a tractor on a beach.  :)

We went back to Mar y Tierra for breakfast, then spent a few minutes packing before heading back to the beach for a little while.

There were still a few showers offshore...

...but the beach was really nice while we were there.  :)

We walked over to the swimming area and went in the water for a while, then spent the rest of the morning hanging out on our beach chairs, reading and sipping one last drink. We hung out on the beach for as long as we could get away with, then went back to the room, got cleaned up, finished packing, and checked out.

We still had a couple hours before we had to head to the airport, so we checked out the Christmas tree in the lobby. They had finished setting it up was really pretty!

We walked back to Mar y Tierra for lunch; I inhaled all my tasty food from the buffet and waited for Mark to finish. And waited. Aaaand waited. It turns out this is why we sat there so long: he was sneaky and got the waiters to bring me cake and sing 'Happy Birthday'!   :)

After lunch, we walked down to the beach for a few minutes. I wish we could have stayed for the rest of the day, but no such luck.

We said goodbye to the giant iguana, said goodbye to the Valentin Imperial Maya, and got our ride to the airport.

We checked in and got through security with no problem, so we had some free time to hang out in the terminal. We wandered through some stores, then grabbed some seats near the windows. It made me smile to see this little girl run up to the window to take a picture of the plane with her dad's phone.

After a while, it was time to board. Goodbye, Mexico...we'll be back again someday!

We climbed up through some clouds as we left Cancun, but it didn't take long to get above everything and settle in for the smooth ride home.

I had upgraded us to Business again for the flight home, so I passed the time by watching The Nightmare Before Christmas...

...and eating dinner. I made sure to get a glass of wine since it was my birthday.   :)

The sun eventually went down and we made it home just fine. I wish we could have stayed in Mexico longer, but it had been nice to get away for a quick trip!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

November 30th: Another Lazy Beach Day

We slept in a bit the next day. It was going to be our last full day in Mexico, so we decided to have one last lazy beach day.

This time we got smart and snagged some seats on the main beach before we went to breakfast. We left our things at our spot on the beach, went to Mar y Tierra for breakfast...

...and said hello to the giant iguana hanging out by the path on our way back to the room. We made a quick stop at the room to change into bathing suits and grab some sunblock...

...then went back to the spot we'd picked out on the beach. Let the lazy beach day begin!   :)

While the view looking toward the water was nice...

...the view behind us was a little ominous. There were showers in the forecast, but so far they seemed to be staying a bit further inland.

One of the ladies from the bar came around with a tray of pretty colored drinks. It may have only been 10:30am, but I didn't have anywhere to be...    :)

We hung out on the beach for a while, went back to Mar y Tierra for the buffet lunch, then walked up to the lobby to confirm our airport shuttle ride for the next day.

We walked past the room we had last year along the way; the lazy river pool was really quiet.

We walked past the main pool on the way back to the beach. They were in the middle of a pool show; you can just see the guy doing a handstand on the left side of the picture.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the beach. It still looked pretty gloomy behind us, but the rain kept holding off.

Eventually, though, the clouds crept closer...

...and the rain started moving in. We waited just a little too long to start the sprint back to the room; within a minute of taking this picture, it was absolutely pouring. Oops.

We did make it back to the room without getting completely soaked, and watched it rain from our patio for a while...

...before moving to the hot tub to finish watching the downpour move through. It did eventually stop raining, and we got cleaned up and walked to dinner.

We decided to save the best for last, and went to La Hacienda for dinner. We split a bottle of wine and stuffed ourselves with chips, salsa, and guacamole while we waited for our food. The chipotle shrimp that I ordered was probably one of the best things I had on the entire trip!

We also got to spend dinner listening to the mariachi guys; they were really good.

Dessert was fantastic, too; the waiter even made a flower out of a napkin.   :)

We walked up to the lobby after dinner; the fountains were really pretty.

We grabbed some mezcal from the bar...

...and hung out in the lobby for a while, sipping our drinks, playing cards, and watching a couple workers put up the Christmas tree. We eventually wandered back to our room, hung out on the porch for a little while, and went to bed. It had been a nice, low key last day.