Thursday, January 1st, 2015

On this first day of 2015, I offer a list of 80 thoughts, actions and memories of 2014…

  1. I took Nik to his first ever football game because my college class decided to meet up 10 years after graduation
  2. I found out that a college professor is working at the San Francisco Planning department…I should get in touch
  3. My hair is short. I mean SHORT.
  4. My nieces rode bikes with me, their parents and Nik through Golden Gate Park
  5. We hosted our first sleep over for those nieces and served mac & cheese for dinner
  6. Nik and I beat my parents in Rummy once
  7. My parents beat us in Rummy at least 8 times
  8. Nik redesigned my blog
  9. We went to the top of the Knoxville Sun Sphere…I lived there for 5 years, and never went
  10. We made an origami star for the Christmas tree
  11. Alex came to visit and we ate really really well while chatting about everything
  12. We had dinner with Katie and my cousin Emily weeks before they both moved to New York City
  13. We bought road bikes and saw small towns in the Bay Area that I never knew existed
  14. We rode an informal century (100 miles in a day)
  15. I fell off my bike twice because I could not clip out of my pedals quick enough
  16. We swam in an infinity pool overlooking rice terraces in Ubud, Bali
  17. Dominic & Charinee were wed in Borneo, and we were there
  18. I contributed to at least 4 successful construction projects
  19. My sewing machine is collecting dust because I haven’t had the gusto to sew
  20. We missed another opportunity to move across the hall into my dream apartment
  21. I was given a pretty fantastic art print by my bosses
  22. My health has been exceptionally good, and I am thankful for that
  23. Christy came to visit and I took her around to my favorite places, and then we had dinner with our guys
  24. We went to visit Christy and she took us around to her favorite places
  25. Chris & Keisha facilitated our first ever family shrimp boil on the porch of a coastal South Carolina vacation home
  26. Lindsey made her famous cinnamon rolls
  27. Mom & Dad took us all out for dinner, mini-golf and ice cream
  28. Nik & I made raspberry sorbet from the America’s Test Kitchen recipe
  29. The Sinz family took turns swinging in the hammock
  30. Nik swam in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time
  31. We went stand-up paddle boarding for the first time
  32. We stayed at a fire-lookout cabin in Mendocino National Forest
  33. We almost stayed at a fire-lookout cabin in Tahoe National Forest, but wimped out because it had snowed the week before
  34. I rode my bicycle in a charity ride with Jonas
  35. The Vespa served as my commuting vehicle to work most days
  36. California continued the 3-year drought for most of the year, and then nearly shut down because of rain storms in December
  37. The Giants won the world series again, and I watched most of the games from bars I had never been to before
  38. The Johnke family celebrated 100 years on the Ranch in Montana, and I got food poisoning
  39. Donna & Mark hosted us poolside for a few summer evenings
  40. We sat ringside under the big top for Kurios
  41. We watched America’s Test Kitchen, Parks & Recreation or Anthony Bourdain’s Places Unknown during dinner
  42. Mom & Dad gave us a coffee maker, and our morning meal has been 1000x better ever since
  43. We acquired very nice desk chairs…with head rests
  44. We rode the Tilden Park steam train for the second time
  45. We saw a pod of whales off the coast from Sutro Heights Park
  46. Matt & Olivia hosted us for happy hour in Atlanta
  47. Keith & Lindsey joined me for breakfast
  48. The most beautiful black wool dress hangs in my closet, and I haven’t found a place to wear it to
  49. We talked a lot about our future
  50. I let the year slip away without asking for a raise
  51. I learned a lot about how to lead a team
  52. We called the cops on our neighbor for trying to break into his own apartment, and then he gave us a cheesecake as an apology
  53. I soaked in a mineral spring spa for the first time (in Santa Fe)
  54. We met up with an old friend from high school that also went to architecture school, rowed crew, and moved to San Francisco
  55. I stumbled across the largest neighborhood of Eichler homes on a day where I circumnavigated the San Francisco Bay in a Zipcar
  56. At Hardly Strictly Bluegrass I shared my huge bag of ice and a 6-pack of beer with a few other couples sitting near by
  57. I left work early one day to have a cocktail at the Palace Hotel
  58. We walked along the new east span of the Bay Bridge to see the old span being dismantled and over run by birds
  59. Mom & Dad joined us for wine tasting
  60. The first project I ever worked on after college completed its final phase in October
  61. We went scooter camping in Samuel P Taylor State Park
  62. One cousin got married while another cousin got engaged
  63. I worked on a quilt made up of 100s of 1”x1” squares
  64. We built a Lego VW Bus on Nik’s Birthday before and after having dinner at Aziza
  65. I was the target of an attempted robbery in Kuala Lumpur, but they didn’t get anything and they did ruin my favorite purse
  66. Nik continued to do sporadic freelance work while I did the 9-5 (really…8:30-6) every day
  67. I started compiling books of photos from 2006-2008, but haven’t finished
  68. We had a better time with my college classmates than I ever could have expected
  69. A friend hosted a successful kickstarter campaign which means I get to have an awesome shelf very soon
  70. My nephew has this back and forth with my brother all the time…”Dad?” “Yes, Aaden.” “I love you.” “I love you too, buddy.”
  71. Our stag horn ferns are getting bigger and bigger
  72. I paid for a very expensive professional organization membership, and did not use my benefits once all year. Not gonna do it next year.
  73. I slid down a concrete slide in Cole Valley
  74. We hiked around Point Lobos for the first time
  75. I chatted with a B&B owner over a glass of wine about how I want to be like him one day
  76. A Malaysia Airlines flight that left from Kuala Lumpur was lost the day after we took a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur
  77. Day dreams of big travel began again
  78. We started looking at real estate websites with a true interest in investing, and decided that San Francisco is way too expensive
  79. We talk more and more about what we will do with the home we own one day…part of getting older I suppose
  80. I turned 33 and worked on my birthday

Starting the Year off Right

Sunday, March 31st, 2013
Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

2013 has already been an amazing year for our household. To make sense of it all, I give you a timeline:

Wednesday, January 2 – I was officially granted my Architect’s license from the state of California.
Thursday, January 3 – I decided it was time for me to get a full time job.
Friday, January 11 – I had an interview at a firm that I had been curious about, but didn’t think much of it.
Monday, January 28 – Nik handed in his letter of resignation after a happy year and a half.
Friday, February 1 – Had a 2nd interview, was quite impressed this time, and was offered the job. I accepted!
Friday, February 8 – Nik had his last day of work.
Saturday, February 9 – Monday, February 18 – Ten days of double unemployment bliss that included lots of celebrating and a much needed trip to Lake Tahoe.
Tuesday, February 19 – My first day of work as an architect, and Nik’s first day where he was able to focus on anything he wanted.

Honestly, we have been extremely fortunate, and we thank our lucky stars every single day. When the year started, Nik had already decided to leave his job, but we had no clue how long it would take me to find one. We worried about the awkward and stressful overlap where we were both trying to start something new without an income in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Granted, there is still a little stress associated with both of us starting something new, but it is stress brought on by excitement and anticipation of great things.

I am still getting used to the regular schedule. My work day starts earlier than Nik’s used to, and it is often later than his used to be as well. My body is also not as resilient to the long hours as it used to be, and working 40+ hours a week wears me out. I expect that this will calm down after my first big deadline on May 1, but then there will be another deadline a couple months later. It is an endless cycle in the world of architecture, but it is extremely satisfying work. It has been a while since I felt like I was part of a larger team that is passionate about the work they do, and I cannot wait to see what this group is capable of.

Home sweet home for a couple days

Home sweet home for a couple days

My fellow unemployed spouse

My fellow unemployed spouse

The Picnic Spot

The Picnic Spot

2012: 100 Firsts

Friday, December 28th, 2012

In 2012, I               for the first time ever.

01. celebrated a wedding anniversary

02. witnessed Nik make an entire tent full of people laugh as he gave a Best Man Toast

03. drove the Vespa

04. have a California driver’s license

05. voted in California

06. attempted (and partially failed) to complete a daily photo project – 366 Objects

07. listened to a classical radio station for hours and hours most days

08. tried (and failed) to sell clothes at a consignment shop

09. wore skinny jeans

10. went suit shopping with Nik

11. sang duets with Nik while he played the guitar (in the comfort of our own home)

12. finished reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy

13. installed a legitimate version of the Adobe Creative Suite onto my computer (Thanks, Wayne!!)

14. dyed fabric with beet juice

15. hand-quilted a blanket

16. gave a quilt I made as a wedding gift

17.taught myself embroidery techniques

18. altered a man’s sweater to fit me

19. bought an entire bolt of fabric

20. designed and tested a quilt pattern

21. performed a semi-significant kitchen upgrade project

22. hosted a dinner party for 8

23. grew strawberries in our living room

24. grew mushrooms on our kitchen table

25. made polenta

26. made home-made biscotti

27. made home-made granola

28. bought and used taper candles

29. used a salad spinner

30. used a feather duster

31. attended a professional conference, and did not like it very much

32. helped launch an online shop, Urban Burp

33. was hired as the only employee in an architecture firm

34. attended the opening of my first built project in San Francisco (the Andrea Schwartz Gallery)

35. designed a friend’s apartment

36. felt like the moon was smiling at me (on the day I passed the final test to become a licensed architect)

37. had multiple conference calls with my siblings

38. had my hair cut by Nik’s sister

39. visited my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew in their new Atlanta, GA home

40. was told by my nephew, “Auntie Jamie, I love you” at least 10 times in one day

41. threw a huge party for my parents with my siblings

42. rented a vacation house with the Sinz family (in Guntersville, AL)

43. jumped off a boat dock with my nieces

44. surfed across the water on a wake board

45. saw thousands of lightning bugs in the trees at night from a canoe

46. witnessed my cousin marry her true love

47. went out to drinks with both of my siblings and their spouses (it was awesome)

48. was the first to sleep in “Grammi & Papa’s room” in my sister’s new home in Paducah, KY

49. sewed with my nieces

50. witnessed my niece take her first no-training-wheels bike ride

51. walked my other niece to school

52. did not spend either of the two major holidays with the Sinz side of the family

53. spent Christmas in Santa Fe with the Daum side of the family

54. walked along Canyon Road in the snow on Christmas Eve to see the Farolitos in Santa Fe

55. slept in a light house on an island (East Brother Light Station, Richmond, CA)

56. crowd-sourced travel recommendations (for New York & Japan)

57. rode a bike in New York City

58. ate noodles at Momofuku in New York

59. rode a bike in Brooklyn

60. stayed with my best friend from college in her precious Atlanta, GA home

61. met up with a friend after posting photos of her Atlanta neighborhood on Instagram

62. vacationed in Mexico City while Nik “worked” there

63. rode the Mexico City Subway

64. slept in a St. Regis Hotel

65. drank beer on a boat in Xochimilco

66. ate worms and bugs, and did not like them (in Mexico City)

67. went to a pretty big work dinner with Nik (10 handsome American dudes and me)

68. vacationed in Japan

69. rode a Japanese bullet train

70. rode a bike in Kyoto

71. rode the Tokyo & Kyoto Subways

72. ordered ramen from an automated machine in Tokyo & Kyoto

73. ate rice triangles from 7-Eleven and Family Mart in Japan for breakfast, lunch and dinner

74. ate cow tongue, and liked it (in Japan)

75. held a clear plastic umbrella over my head in the rain

76. slept in a capsule hotel (9hours, Kyoto, Japan)

77. walked under hundreds of orange gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine

78. had dinner on the 14th floor of a department store

79. rented a movie on iTunes to watch on a plane

80. went to the Antique Archaeology store in Nashville

81. rented an apartment through AirBnB

82. went to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

83. rode the ferry to Larkspur

84. ate oysters at the Marshall Store outdoor bar

85. spent a day in San Francisco with my 2nd year college roommate that I haven’t seen since college

86. spent a day in San Francisco with my Uncle Don, Aunt Kim and cousins

87. had a crowd-based panic attack while attempting to watch Flugtag

88. listened to the choir sing at the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Cathedral

89. volunteered at an AIA Home Tour

90. rode in a scooter rally

91. sat in a booth at the renovated Louis’ Restaurant for breakfast

92. went to an event at the Internet Archive

93. watched skeet shooting (at Lake Merced)

94. walked through the Bay Model in Sausalito

95. dressed up fancy just for the fun of it to go on a double date to Frances on Halloween

96. had drinks at the Tonga Room

97. drove 1-1/2 hours each way to the Boat Shack in Marshall, CA for a dinner date with Nik

98. attended an Outstanding in the Field dinner as a guest

99. hiked in Yosemite National Park

100. camped in Big Sur with a view of the ocean from our tent


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