I almost didn’t

Excuse the mess. I waffled quite a bit on posting a blog today. Mostly because I’m still feeling pretty low. One of the things I like to do when I’m feeling down is pull up a Nick Cage movie and get cozy on the couch.

I played WoW for most of the day – worked on gearing my paladin with low keys and knocked out both wings of LFR. I also managed to get in the first 4 bosses of heroic on my warlock in a Pug that kicked me 30 seconds before killing lady ashvane because the raid leader raged I moved to a coral even though I was 100% DPS’ing the boss the entire time.

Thank god I have enough distance from the game at this point so that type of shit, while incredibly annoying in its petty-ness, doesn’t effect my mood or enjoyment of the game. I sent the RL a quick thanks, rolled more AP (🙄) and left the instance.

That left the paladin at 401 and my warlock at 418 for the day. I’ll probably look for more gearing keys tomorrow on the Paladin. I’m really disappointed at how weak Destro feels in 8.2. I know I took several months off but I’m barely pulling 20k in a raid. It’s bizarre seeing aff and destro at the bottom of the charts.

Hope you all are having a great weekend.

A bit low

Today was sort of an awful day. I worked from home so that I could have privacy for a meeting. We woke up as normal, let the dogs out, and uncovered the birds cages.

I was upstairs in my room answering emails when I noticed Leeloo was agitated. Magnus was under my chair and I noticed his head was moving in an odd manner and he looked generally unsteady. I pushed my chair back and he fell over on his side. I carried him downstairs to Ian and we sat with him through what I am pretty sure was a stroke. We’ve scheduled a vet appointment and he recovered almost fully after about an hour. I would estimate the worst of the episode lasted about 20 minutes.

There were some other personal things that cropped up and everything happening at once today made my mood pretty low.

Then, this evening, I came out onto the porch for some air to some of the most beautiful light and color from the sun setting over the Rockies. Sometimes we need a reminder we’re part of a glorious bigger picture.

It’s official!

A picture of the Auraria campus in Denver, CO
Auraria Campus – 08/01/2019

I never would have thought I would be starting college from scratch in my late 30’s. I am officially enrolled at Community College of Denver as a AA Business major! This program guarantees admission at Colorado University as a part of the “admissions promise” program that Colorado offers. I start classes at the Community College of Denver and then, after I receive my AA, the program 100% transfers to a 4 year program with CU Denver.

Early in life I had to put supporting myself first and then quickly fell in love with entrepreneurship. As my career matured and I fell more and more in love with community as a profession when I began looking for senior positions it quickly became clear I needed to make a larger overall commitment to my career and enter a degree program.

Today I went down to the Auraria campus to speak with my academic advisor and ensure that the classes I registered for were correct. I also was able to get my student ID!

Guys, it’s official! I’M A COLLEGE STUDENT!

Honolulu , Hawaii

We spent a blissful week in Honolulu in March this year. Ian and I have taken many trips together over the years but we’ve never enjoyed a legitimate vacation thousands of miles from home and surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery – and beaches – one can have the pleasure to visit. After a challenging day at the office, tonight, I am dreaming of Oahu.

A home in Denver Pt 1

My avatar in Second Life

Ian and I bought our first house just a few months after getting married in 2006. The house was beautiful – and huge. Just the two of us in a 2100 sq ft house. It was new construction so there wasn’t a lot of upkeep and I loved working on improving the lawn + gardening. We closed in January of 2006 and got caught up in the housing bubble that happened 2006 – 2007. Seven years later, when we were ready to sell, the market still hadn’t recovered in the rural area we were in.

We were able to eventually sell the house but at a loss which left us with a bitter taste in our mouth in regards to home ownership.

We moved to Denver in 2012 – one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. After renting for about 5 yrs I started to get the itch for a place to call “home”. All of our residences since moving to Colorado have been rentals – I never felt a connection with any of them. The decision mostly evolved around whatever was the most affordable place to live at the time. We were bounced out of two properties in two years because the owners wanted to capitalize on the significant inflation of the Denver market. I don’t blame them, it just sucked to have to move so often.

Once I started to get the house itch I took a serious look at our credit. It wasn’t great. I knew it would take 12 – 18 months to work on the areas we needed to improve in order to get a better rate on a mortgage. I also started pursuing better jobs because buying a home in Denver is nothing at all like the market in Texas. You simply can’t get as much here as you can for your dollar so that meant we would have to get serious about saving. Generally, the fastest way to increase your income is to move positions and possibly organizations.

There were lots of ups and downs, and of course, the IRS cropped up every few months with something or another to take a bite out of the wallet. I landed my dream job and was able to speed up the savings process. In late 2017 I started to really look at the housing that was available in Denver and surrounding areas. We prepped ourselves to consider the worst case scenario for this market which was a condo with no garage or covered parking. I started looking into the other possibilities, primarily town homes and expanded my search area to include everything from Castle Rock to Longmont.

I searched for months… the outlook was grim. We have four dogs and three cars, so a yard or access to one was non-negotiable. Also of importance was a garage or at least covered parking for our vehicles. As you can imagine there aren’t many condos that offer both of these things which meant the most affordable housing option wasn’t going really an option at all. Next, I began looking into town homes which turned up results that were much more palatable including one community that had new construction town homes with a very affordable (for Denver) 2 bedroom floor plan.

It was during the town home research I found out about paired homes. This wasn’t a common style of housing in Texas so I hadn’t ever heard of it. The basic description would be a duplex but paired houses are a bit different from duplexes in the way they’re constructed to offer more security and privacy for the homeowners. We looked at quite a few of these and came close to making a decision but in the end, the timing wasn’t right and we decided to put the research into buying a home on hold for another year.

Fast forward to March 2018 – the itch was back and more intense than ever. We had been saving and getting our credit in order and felt ready to make a decision. We revisited the 2 bedroom town home we had seen before, the builder didn’t have one available so we looked into their other floor plans and housing.

There’s much more to our journey to home ownership. Part 2 we’ll explore the decision we made and the process of building our new home.

Apologies to those who were looking forward to more Destiny Grimoire reading today. Our power was out for 4 hours this evening and I simply didn’t have a chance to record before this entry needed to be published.

It’s about the challenge

Serialized content is difficult for me. Most likely because I don’t know what I will be inspired by on any given day and it’s very difficult for me to write about any topic if I’m not feeling it in the moment. 

In the spirit of planning week I really want to attempt to plot out a trajectory for the month that makes sense. In part to push myself to think about topics outside of “being in the moment” so that there is an actual sense of progression through #Blaugust2019 – and hopefully development for my writing. If I can’t learn to push through the “blocked” mental state I feel when attempting to write about something I’m not “in the moment” with then how am I ever to finish a paper, or a book?

One idea, the short readings from the Destiny Grimoire, has been implemented and I am dedicated to finding time to record it on a daily basis. Given that this week is devoted to the planning aspect of Blaugust let’s keep true to the spirit of this week and outline how I see this month going. 

Peeping the calendar for inspiration I realize that entire weeks are dedicated to topics I would typically smush into one day each. Understanding I would typically rush through sections that have entire weeks dedicated to them means I need to make sure my workflow reinforces a methodical approach to my topics. I want to ensure my mindset is on the marathon, not the sprint. I also understand that despite my best intentions my brain is wired this way, and it will be difficult for me to focus on planning for entire week.

With pacing in mind I’ve created a google calendar with my topics for the upcoming month so that I have better pacing and focus. Adulting can be tough, so I need to avoid procrastinating until after work to write. Let’s face it, sometimes I’m not in the best head space when I get home from an emotionally exhausting day at work. When I get home finding time to write a daily blog and record the daily audio from the Grimoire simply can’t compete with preparing dinner, spending time with Ian, gaming, etc.

Planning ahead and using the Google calendar (aha, planning) combined with clipping points of interest and roughing out a draft in evernote during the day will ensure I have prepared and don’t need to commit hours to writing one entry.

I’ve never worked in a kitchen environment before, but I watch ALOT of Gordon Ramsey programming so I’ll think of it like prep before dinner service! 

Me

Thanks for coming on this journey with me.

And, of course, Day 2 of Dark Mirror for your enjoyment.

The Beginning 0:1

The allure of possibility.

Thus begins planning week. As a major Type A personality planning is practically a kink. I have quite a few ideas to bring together this month, hopefully these will provide entertainment to those reading, and listening…

In the spirit of new beginnings let’s kick off the multimedia section for the month with the reading of Dark Mirror. Short, daily readings from the Destiny Grimore. If you have any feedback please do leave a comment. Welcome to #Blaugust2019 friends.

Day One : Black Mirror

Welcome to Blaugust

One blog a day in the month of august.

Super excited to kick start the blog to announce my participation as a newbie in #Blaugust2019 ! I’m always looking for ways to incorporate writing more into my daily life and a actual, structured blogathon is something I’ve been keeping an eye for. Unfortunately since I don’t participate in the writing community socially I don’t see them pop up very often, but Blaugust is organized by Belghast a gamer and all around interesting person I follow on twitter. Check out his blog over at Aggronaut.com for more info on Blaugust if you’re interested in participating or if you just want to see the most gorgeous screenshots of his gaming adventures in (most recently) FFXIV.

For Blaugust the first week is dedicated to “Planning”. Which quite frankly I really need to take the exercise to heart and do the work to figure out where I want to steer this ship during the month of August. I have a few ideas for formats – video, audio, text but I am still searching for an overarching theme for the month so I’ll try to figure that out next week. Here’s the overview –

I have so much going on in my life right now I know I could easily blog once a day! However, with so much going on I want to make sure my serialized content is cohesive and tells a story since I don’t have much of history with blogging. Right now though here’s a quick list of the various things going on my life I could potentially touch on during August:

  • Career Progression
  • Looking For My Next Opportunity
  • Business Travel
  • Gaming
  • Game Backlog
  • Pets
  • Cooking
  • Community

I also adding a blogroll on the right sidebar that lists everyone participating in #Blaugust2019 ! If you’re visiting from someone else’s Blaugust links thanks for being here. 😊

Instant Pot Saucy Spaghetti

  • 1 pkg spaghetti noodles
  • 1/2 bag frozen meatballs
  • 1 jar of store sauce
  • 1 can stewed or diced tomatoes (your preference)
  • 1 cup frozen mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic (fresh if you have it)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp onion powder

Layer your ingredients in the instant pot starting with the frozen meatballs at the bottom. The meatballs are fine going in frozen, no need to thaw. Break your spaghetti in half over the meatballs. Cover spaghetti, meatballs with store sauce, tomato paste, stewed or diced tomatoes, spices, and garlic. Using your spaghetti sauce jar as measurement gently pour in 1.5 jars of water. Make sure the spaghetti noodles are 100% submerged. Do not stir after layering! This will cause your noodles to clump while cooking.

Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes then do a quick release. Dump in your frozen mushrooms and stir well, allowing the sauce to thicken and the mushrooms to cook for a minute or two. If you feel your sauce is too watery put the pot into saute mode and allow to reduce for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Plate noodles and top with sauce and meatballs. Serve with parmesan for topping, salt to taste. Bon appetit!