Monday, April 28, 2014


In a little over a month wife and I will have been married one year. To celebrate, and burn some vacation days, we are planning a trip to Georgia. Initially we looked into some Bed and Breakfast options, but the longer we let that idea stew the more we're shying away from it. Social anxiety is a pain and there is something to be said about the convenience of dealing with an establish Hotel with set protocols instead of worrying about learning how to deal with a situation where you are essentially a paying guest in someone's home. "Don't worry about it! That's what you pay them for." Uhm... too late? We're worrying about it and are rapidly coming to the conclusion that we'll most likely find a hotel with a pool and maybe a spa that, if needed, we can just spend a day or two decompressing in our own way without failing to meet someone's expectations of a 'guest.' As you can probably tell... we aren't adventurous types.
My sister gifted us a little lilac bush for our wedding and we planted it outside of our kitchen window. With the warmer weather it has started leafing out and it looks like it is growing a new stem and seems pretty happy. Apparently the critters in our neighborhood have taken notice and something or other nipped the tips of the branches. I had a few stakes and some fishnet plastic webbing, so we created a fence around the bush. We didn't pin it into the ground, thinking that it was probably the deer that roam through the woods around us, and hoping that it would provide enough disincentive for the deer to seek easier grazing. Then it started raining. I happened to glance out of the window while refilling my coffee and noticed an odd little lump right up against the mesh. It was a grey little ball of something. It didn't move and it was hard to tell on which side of the mesh it was. I put a towel down on the floor (the deck was soaking wet) and took a look outside. Slipped between two layers of mesh and not moving a muscle was a little baby rabbit. Not a quiver, not a shake, not a twitch. Not until I tried lifting the mesh off of it did it jump. It was inside the fence and jumped at the far wall. Apparently the bottom border was loose enough that it just pushed right through. Then, just to emphasize how poorly I had fastened the webbing, it jumped right back into the enclosure. After a few dodges back and forth it disappeared under our neighbor's deck and I repositioned the webbing to hug a bit closer to the ground. Time to look for some tent-pegs to pin the webbing down a bit more solid.
If the weather holds I want to take my bike out tonight. I was riding pretty regularly a few years ago but then between some surgery and new medication and a bout of nosebleeds and general lazy I stopped. Must remember to pick up some chain lubrication and maybe look up if there are any bolts that need to be tightened before I venture out too far. I don't trust the traffic and my bike skills on the long (gradual, but long) uphill section I would have to pedal on the way back, so I have a new bike-carrier that I can strap to the hatch of my SUV. Council Bluffs is slowly but surely becoming more bike-friendly, but there are still some key gaps. My plan is to head down to Manawa lake and see if the old ticker can do a circuit without blowing up in my chest. Woohoo!
Occasionally Tina and I play Minecraft together and this weekend I managed to set up a Thaumcraft 4.1 server for us to play on. We've played Minecraft long enough that the early game has become pretty rote for us. Get tools. Get materials. Plant food. Find ores. Get better tools. Mine gems. Explore for more exotic materials. Establish base-stations etc etc. It is fun enough that we start new worlds pretty frequently (generally after each major update) because while Minecraft can get pretty deep at the higher levels, a lot of the content is locked behind resource scarcity and exploration. Thaumcraft gives you more hooks to go exploring and discover those resources. It also throws more things into the world that make it feel more rewarding to explore. There are tombs scattered around. Magic forests. Giant trees that may have treasures buried at the base. Patches of virulent taint that twist and infect the world, making normally passive creatures attack you, sprouting deadly plants, and constantly growing and spreading unless you research the tools to contain the evil. It's fun.
We are still using YNAB (You Need A Budget). It's a testament to the usability of that application. We've tried other financial software in the past and usually gave up after a few months. We're still wrapping our heads around how it displays debt and what should be considered on-budget and off-budget debt. Since YNAB knows that we have a mortgage it shows our cumulative worth as negative a hundred and some thousand dollars. That's a little sobering. On the plus side it does seem like we're slowly gaining ground. A little too slowly. One of our easiest places to cut is on our restaurant bills. Tina and I have gotten used to buying our lunches while at work. It turns out that we spend almost as much on that as our grocery bills. So we are going to chip away at that by starting to pack some lunches. Today I'm having a smoked beef and cream-cheese pita with lettuce and some carrot sticks. Have you ever had the sliced smoked beef at Fareway? It's fantastic. I usually ask them to slice it super thin because if it is too thick of a slab the flavor doesn't jump out. But with thin slices it almost melts in your mouth. Really good! I also packed up a small tupper of snacks. Some peanuts. Some almonds. And some cheesy pretzels.
Okay, well if this is devolving into describing my snacks then maybe I'm done for now.
Google tells me that at least a few people are at least looking at these... Hi! How are you?

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