June 15, 2010

T-minus Three Days Until the Trek!

The week of the Trek is upon us and I am getting super excited!

May 3, 2010

Riders Up!

The training for the Trek is going very well. Yesterday included a 52 mile ride topped off with the Kentucky Derby on TV and homemade mint juleps. I always watch the Derby, but this year it seems to mean more to me... fond remembrance of life and traditions from the Midwest. I love the Derby--beautiful horses and drinking is always in fashion.

However, I love The Indianapolis 500 more. I miss the 500. Granted, I haven't been in the last couple of years, but it is an event that has been the bounty of plenty of good times. It's always great to wake up on Sunday, start the day with bloody marys before a pool of drivers freshly cut from The Indianapolis Star are placed into a hat for the low price of $10 a pull. Socialize for a while then wander on over to the track. Find your seats (hopefully high in the first turn) and settle in for Jim Nabors and Florence Henderson. Then  the words you've been waiting the whole month of May (at least) to hear, "Ladies and gentlemen start your engines."

The Training is now in Full Swing

When R first talked about the Trek Across Maine there were two things I noted: 1) he didn't address me when asking for participants, only his (male) best friend and 2) I had no idea what the Trek Across Maine was. The company R works for has a time and they were trying to recruit riders.

The Trek Across Maine is a three day, 170 mile cycling event that raises money for the American Lung Association. Each rider is required to raise $500. You can camp or stay in a dorm as the stopping points Friday and Saturday are at colleges.

Anyway, R came home and immediately asked J to do it with him. Really? What am I, chopped liver? I'm not sure if he didn't think I wanted to or that I couldn't do it, but when J realized he had a prior commitment, guess who was next on the list to ask. I'm only a casual bike rider and I there is no way I would want to ride my Trek mountain bike 170 miles. So I tell him this and I'm suddenly in the market for a new bike.

After doing some research and checking out some bikes, I was sold on the Giant. R has a Giant he really likes and I recently found out that two friends in Indiana had the same bike I was looking at and they loved them. I picked her up a month ago and so far, so good!

April 4, 2010

Welcome to the Neighborhood

We have been unpacking all weekend. Rearranging and moving things to their destination in the house. Yesterday, we had the side door open and were in and out, up and down all over the house. We returned our Budget truck in the morning and started in.


After taking care of quite a bit of stuff, R and I walked into the kitchen only to find a small white paper sack on our baker's rack. It had some writing on it which said simply, "Welcome to the neighborhood." Hmm. No other note, no signature, nothing. After scarfing down a delicious cranberry muffin and just as delicious cheese danish we headed to tear apart the desk to transport to the office.


Suddenly our neighbor right next door appeared. I had met him earlier on Friday, but R hadn't. I asked suspiciously if he was the bearer of tasty bakery treats and he confirmed my suspicion. I'm so happy we live here already... even more so with the (free) breakfast from Scratch Bakery. Yay!


I think he made a good impression on R.


And yes, it was like Christmas unpacking everything. There are so many little things you miss like, for me, kitchen and office stuff. I just needed a great whisk and pencil cup to make me happy.

March 30, 2010

Six Month Check-up

The countdown to the close is so on I can barely stand it. Finally after six months of living with another couple (don't get me wrong--they're great!) and two dogs in a small Cape, we are well on our way of purchasing a home here. It's sort of surreal and at the same time a definitive indicator that we are here for the long haul.

I'm anxious to close and finally get all of our stuff that our (waterfront) storage unit has been holding hostage. It will be like Christmas when we finally unpack all of the things we've lived without for so long!

March 18, 2010

All Systems Go

Purchase agreement: check. Home inspection: check. Appraisal: check. Mortgage approved: check.

February 17, 2010

I'm in Love.

The house hunt has begun... again. The first time I came to Maine on vacation with the potential of moving here I had Ryan call some real estate agents to show us houses because I wanted to know what we would get here versus the Midwest. We ended up walking through about six houses (including one with an aluminum foil covered backsplash because, "they like to fry") and I was thoroughly unimpressed. What else would one expect when one moves from the Most Affordable City in the country (thank you very much CNN Money)?

R and I are pretty all in when it comes to things as this. We take it all seriously and do our research more than anything. Whether we're buying a car or kitchen gadget or throwing some serious money down on a house, we want to know all there is about it. We researched neighborhoods, schools, parks, taxes, grocery stores, distance to water and Greenbelts, garage space, basements, potential remodels, room for kids and it seems, everything one takes into consideration when buying a home.

So now we're on the list. Anytime something comes matching our criteria, we get an email. Earlier today, just as a precaution, R emails me the pre-approval letter and the brokers comments were, "You could make an offer today". I sweep that to the back of my mind and think, "Yeah, right". This afternoon I get a match, open it up and I am in looooove. Totally enamored and immediately call our broker to show it. 4:30.

R was late from work but when he finally showed up I warned him. "I'm in love." That's really all I needed to say at that point. He walks through the first floor and basement and he's totally feeling it. Once he finishes the walk through, we talk for a bit and we make an offer.

February 15, 2010

Greetings from Poland

Ryan and I started dating roughly a year ago. A week after our first date was Valentine's Day, and he was in Poland. We had tried to get as much time together in as possible before he left as after that he was in India for two weeks. So he leaves and I'm still thinking about him and our dates. He calls during the week to see how I am... and to my pleasant surprise, those calls were wonderful.

Valentine's Day rolls around and I'm forced to call Ryan in Poland and thank him for the ridiculously embarrassing display of roses I received at my office with a note that said, "Greetings from Poland". So I have to then walk through my office of almost 100% men with all the comments and questions and comments from the peanut gallery: "Somebody likes you", "Who's the guy, Brooke?" "Tell me about him." Embarrassed... and completely smitten.

Fast forward one year: we're married, we live in Maine, I get a dozen roses (again) on Valentine's Day. We decide to cook a seafood feast for dinner--yes, for the two of us. Menu: Blackened Tuna, Scallops Provencal, Crusted Haddock, Lemon Rice Pilaf and Steamed Brocolli. I know, it's a lot for two. But it was sooo delicious. And, we cooked it all together, which was the best part. My first time cooking scallops and they were amazing! Ryan's tuna turned out well too and the haddock we have down pat.

Today while driving around with our realtor he informs us that, "Everyone wants a great kitchen but when it comes down to it, nobody really cooks." Obviously, he hasn't been to our house.

February 4, 2010

The DINK is back, baby!

Last Friday morning, I had a meeting with a woman here in Portland I find to be pretty insightful. I'm also checking in with her to see if she has any freelance graphic design work for me, talk about jobs and Portland in general. Her outlook about the job economy is not optimistic and I am a bit down after meeting with her.

Prior to my departure from the house that morning I had found and applied for a job that I seemed to be pretty qualified for. Like all the rest (42 to be exact), I expect not to get a call back and go about my day. Later, I get a call from them asking for an interview and I'm all about it. I go on Tuesday and am offered the job the next day.

Ryan has been applying for jobs since August and not really much as worked out. Today, he gets a job offer.

Here's to the DINK.

January 11, 2010

More Ski Legs

Ever since Friday cross country skiing has been a topic of conversation. Ryan has insisted that we go and so I oblige him. We go to Sebago Lake which has groomed trails but no tracks carved into the snow. I have never been cross country skiing before and have no idea what to expect, only that I know it can't be as bad as being out of control flying down a hill waiting to be pummeled.

I borrow our roommates skis since she is my size (the best part about living with someone the same size as you) and we're off. After 30 or 40 minutes I'm thinking this isn't bad, in fact, I actually like it. So we had a great time and all the way home, R is like, "We have to get you skis".

We get home and I'm in full cross country ski research mode. I am bound and determined to find a great deal on skis and actually learn what I'm buying and why. So I find some skis on craigslist and they are like new Rossignols with boots and poles for $100 and I'm thinking there's no way these are still available. But they are and I come to the conclusion that they will be mine.

Arrangements are made and we drive 30 minutes north where the seller has agreed to meet us in the parking lot of a gas station. As we're pulling up I have this total movie moment like we're about to embark in a drug deal. She has the goods and I have cash.

January 6, 2010

Sea Legs and Ski Legs

I have to start this one off by giving mad props to my husband. Never have I seen him more patient and supportive. We arrived at Sunday River at about 11:00 am. After we get completely outfitted and scarf down a few peanut butter sandwiches, we're ready. We head in to buy tickets and realize if we wait 45 minutes or so we can get the half day pass. So we wait. Me, nervously scoping out all of the other skiers wondering what is about to happen to me. Ryan, with the glow of a kid on Christmas.

The time finally comes and we're ready to go. Keep in mind I haven't been skiing in the better part of 15 years--total beginner and Ryan is like a double black skier so at least I know I'm in good hands. After buying our tickets we head up the lift and once we get to the top I am terrified I will not get off fast enough, lose a ski or pole or not be able to stop myself once off of it. None of the previous happened; everything was fine?!?! How could that be? I have NO IDEA what I am doing!?!

So no one lost an eye or anything and we head to the green. Ryan is patient and keeps telling me things like, "Put your skis into a wedge to stop" and "It's only as steep as you want it to be". I listen attentively. Thirty minutes into this and I feel like I'm an actual skier--other than the fact that I avoid others coming down the mountain like the plague. I'm listening and letting my hips and legs do the work and quite frankly, I can turn left like there's no tomorrow. Right on the other hand, I need work. So without control I am a little freaked out by the speed so numerous times I end up either sitting right between my skis or just falling down on my side. All of this is awesome because it doesn't hurt when you fall down! How great is a sport that when you're learning and you screw up, there are basically no consequences other than tumbling around in the snow like a child!

Fast forward a bit to when while trying to cross over a run to a green and we realize it's closed we end up on an unfamiliar path. I am totally freaked out and keep saying to Ryan in my whiniest voice, "Are you sure this is a green?" He assures me it is and I try my best to make it down and then I am totally out of control and try to bail meanwhile slamming my kneecap into a patch of ice. Not good. Then the tears come out and I am thrusted into child mode. "Ryan, it hurts! Ryan, I'm so sorry I ruined your day! Ryan, I am NOT skiing down this thing!" Ryan proceeds to ask for my skis and he tells me to slide down on my ass. I, of course, think this is in fact the best way I am going to descend. And I do. All the way down until Ryan can't take it anymore because I am being so pokey and I feel like he is sooooo ready to move on. We make it almost to the bottom and I ski up. Onto the next.

After skiing a few more times (only on greens), I realize they are closing some of the trails. I also realize that Ryan isn't going to have time to push me aside and do his fun runs (I asked him to do this). So we head to the lodge and I am profusely apologizing for ruining his day all the while he is insisting that he had a blast. What a great husband I have.

Upon our arrival home, we find a cast iron pot full of homemade chicken noodle soup and a vodka tonic with my name all over it. Turns out, I have great roommates too! The rest of the night was spent relaxing. Bliss.

January 2, 2010

The First Ski

So the new year has arrived and so have quite a few inches of snow. I think it's forecasted that we will get 6-12 inches tonight. Ryan is pumped and I don't know that I've ever seen him more excited than on the eve of going skiing. Personally I have not been skiing in a coon's age (yes, that's from Indiana) and am really looking forward to it. After a frantic search for goggles and a helmet for me, the weather in Freeport beat out the retailers. I think I should start a pool as to how many times I will fall tomorrow.

The First Revisit

So with Ryan not working and me working part-time, we felt it would be a great opportunity to jump in the car and drive 1,000 miles to spend Christmas with the ones we love. First stop, Lexington, Kentucky, then onto Northeast Indiana, then Indianapolis, finally Portland.

The drive there was pretty easy. Arriving in Lexington just in time for lunch was just what I needed. Good thing Ryan's mom was on it and had everything ready for us. Time in Lexington was very relaxing, no running around trying to see a million people in the short time we had there. Ryan's little sister and her husband arrived later that night and it was great to spend some time with them as well as his parents.

Christmas day was spent with four and a half hours on the road with me calling pharmacies in Indiana to find out if we could buy booze because we were seriously underprepared for a few days with my family. Don't get me wrong, I love them but sometimes they make me crazy. Fortunately after a detour to see our roommates outside of Louisville, we scored as we came upon an open liquor store. I believe in Indiana you can't buy liqour on Christmas. A 175 of Svedka and some Miller Light later, we were good to go.

Some friends came over Christmas night and we played euchre, played pool and drank of course. The next day consisted of quite some more time in the car seeing people and catching up. Our final morning was made up of bacon and eggs at the local cafe. One of my best friends came up and we caught up with her and her parents--plus they got to meet Ryan. This cafe is one of the places in my hometown where you can find a breaded cheeseburger--you heard right--a beef patty with cheese lightly breaded and deep fried. Hands down one of my favorite things on the planet. Ryan was skeptical about this in the beginning but after his first one, he understood the wonder that is the breaded cheeseburger. So we scored some frozen to go (you didn't think we drove all that way with no cooler, did you?) and were super excited to share them with our New England friends. Four in the cooler... done.

Finally, Indianapolis. First off, I love Indianapolis. It's a great city that I was proud to call home for the better part of nine years. I miss Indy tremendously; I miss my friends, the food, the vibe, the places. Lunch at Taste with some great friends was first on the list. Taste is one of Ryan's favorite places and also the start of the marathon date we had last February. I on the other hand, think the breakfast is some of the best in Indy, but everytime I get a lunch sandwich there I am overwhelmed by the salt content. Next we went to see some other friends and then checked in on our old neighbors to watch the Colts game. I said to Ryan, "What if the storm door is hanging off of our old house and there are four cars parked in the yard?" I was happy to see that that wasn't the case. So after watching the Jets beat our second string Colts, we were off to Broad Ripple Tavern to meet some people out. What a blast! The next day was full of visiting and then we were off again on a road trip.

It took us to the minute the exact amount of time to get home as it took to get there. 15 hours, 17 minutes.