Sunday, July 31, 2011

If I won the lottery....

10 things I would do if I won the lottery

1.  Pay off any and all debt that I may have at the time. Right now, all I have is my car. If I was with C, I would pay off our house (depending on how much I won)

2. Save a big chunk. I am going to be optimistic and say 50%

3. Give some to my parents. It’s the least I can do since I was a money pit for my first 22 years.

4. Go to the Harry Potter theme park.

5. Go back to school/set aside the money needed to go to grad school.

6. Buy a plane ticket home.

7. Buy plane tickets here for my friends and family to come visit.

8. I am probably out of money now.

9. Let’s pretend this is a million dollar lotto. I would buy a vacation home at the beach.

10. Give some to charity. (this list is not in order of importance!)

What would you do if you won the lotto?

Friday, July 29, 2011

63. See 5 new states.

My new state list is complete! Since February 2010, I have been to 5 new states! Not bad, considering how much time I have left in my 1001 days!

In May 2010, C moved to Arkansas and I headed out there in June! I LOVE Little Rock!

On my trip to Texas, my parents and I all added Kansas and Oklahoma! I'll admit, Kansas was a bit of a joke. We jutted into the state, got gas, and then shot back out as quickly as possible. We stayed overnight in Oklahoma and saw the OKC Bombing Memorial and ate a few meals!

And then on this most recent trip, I got to see Colorado and Wyoming!

It is my ultimate goal to see ALL 50 states! Currently, I have been to 28 states, so I am well over halfway!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FTLOB Prompt: Worst Flight Experience

My worst flying experience began.....with a snow storm.

In Winter 2009-2010, Baltimore got pounded with some snow storms. Far more than usual. And OF COURSE, when I plan a visit to see C, leaving on a Thursday evening, it begins snowing on Tuesday with no signs of stopping.

I was a paranoid freak for those few days. I checked the airport and airline websites every hour. I stared out my window, willing the snow to stop. I cried to C, even though it was only Tuesday and my flight wasn’t until Thursday.

With a little bit of luck (and a 5:30 pm flight), I was able to get out on time on Thursday. Tons of flights were cancelled, but Reagan managed to clear their runways and reopen by noon on Thursday. This made for a ridiculously happy Abby!

So you would think that was the worst part, right? Wrong.

My flight to Corpus Christi, where he was stationed at the time, was the last flight out of Houston to Corpus for the night and was at 9:20. Of course, my flight from DC doesn’t land until 9 pm and the gates were nowhere near each other. I didn’t even bother to run, because I knew it was so unlikely that I would make it in time. I got to the gate as the plane was pulling away.

I tried not to cry as I stood in line to see what could be done. Once I got up there, I learned that it was the last flight of the night, and that the best I could do was 8 am the next morning. The problem with that was, C had a checkride the next morning and wouldn’t be able to pick me up from the airport until mid afternoon. So I would be stuck in the Corpus airport, which is not very exciting, for HOURS. Just in case, I decided to confirm my seat on that flight.

I called C, dropping every expletive in the book while I cried and wandered through the airport. He suggested I rent a car and drive. Had he not had the checkride the next morning, he would have come to get me himself. But it was already 10 pm and a 4 hour drive each way, with a 7 am show time at work. There was no way.

So I decide to go see about car rentals. I had calmed myself down by that point, so I got off the phone to go searching. I got to security and asked the woman there if I could get back in (to sleep on a bench) with my new boarding pass……and since it was for the next day, if I left security, I would not be allowed back in until the following day. So I could have slept on an unsecured bench as opposed to one within security (since I had already VEHEMENTLY told C that there was NO WAY I was wasting money on a hotel room. Ha. I was so dramatic).

I took the plunge and left security. I followed the signs for car rentals, but kept finding NOTHING. I was just wandering in circles. I finally called C back, BAWLING, and hiccupped out a request for him to look up the car rentals in Houston so I could find it. I literally had no shame….I bawled my way through the Houston airport.

BUT I found the Mecca! All of the car rentals were in a different building *which the signs did not say*, and I finally found what I needed. Sort of.

The first 2 or 3 counters I went to had cars, but nothing I could return in Corpus Christi. My flight obviously flew out of Corpus on the return leg, and I only needed the car to get there, so returning it to Houston was not an option. Finally, at the Alamo counter, I met success… tear stained face probably helped me too. They had a car for me, they would rent to me even though I was only 21, and I could return it in Corpus. Score! I handed over my credit card, and C had assured me he would pay for it because it was not remotely planned into my budget.

But the tears aren’t over. I was so relieved to have a car, even though I had a long drive ahead of me and it was nearly 11 pm. I texted C to let him know, and I told him the price…..$300. He immediately said “WHAT?? Go somewhere else!!!”

You may be able to guess what happened. Yup, I began bawling again. And when I say bawling, I mean bawling. I could hardly breath, and when he called me, I was sitting in the car and had no breath to answer the phone, so all he heard was me crying. I finally got out “I……already……did……it. I’m……sitting……in…..the……car-har-har-har” since clearly I collapsed into tears at the end of the sentence. I begged forgiveness, which was so unnecessary. C finally made me shut up and stop crying… was a moment of tough love haha. He told me if I didn’t stop crying, I couldn’t start driving and I would never get there.

Finally, I got on the road. It was an uneventful drive……no one around, but I was driving a Chevy Aveo without cruise control, and I had no GPS (since my phone battery was dying and I had no phone charger). I somehow managed to get to Corpus Christi without getting lost (although my first experience with Texas access roads and trying to find something to eat was loads of fun) or getting a speeding ticket (lack of cruise control meant my speed literally fluctuated between 50 and 90 for the whole drive).

This is #1 of my worst flight experiences…I have some other gems I could share. Most of my bad flight experiences don’t actually happen while airborne, though. I feel sympathy for people on my flights, cause they are the most likely flights in the world on that day to get screwed up. Since I am on the plane. So try not to fly with me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 4: Fort Collins and Climbing

Beer! Climbing! More beer! That was pretty much the last day of our trip to a T.

We started off the morning in Cheyenne, obviously, and trekked down to Ft Collins, CO, home of the New Belgium Brewing Company. I think C loves Fat Tire beer more than he loves me, so this was a definite must stop. We also met up with Aaron, a friend of ours from Dyess (and all of C's training) who was visiting Ft Collins at the same time.

The boys used up some of their free drink tokens trying out the different beers, but I'll be for breakfast is not my thing. I had half of my free beer before I was finished. Besides, beer isn't good for my figure!

After our quick stop in Ft Collins, C and I headed back to Colorado Springs (In case you couldn't tell, all we did this trip was drive). Sarah was waiting for us to go climbing! Sarah is a friend of C's from Little Rock who he used to climb with, and she brought along her climbing partner, Ryan. I was really apprehensive.....I have rock climbed outside once, and inside less than 10 times. I am not remotely confident, and we haven't climbed in a good 6-8 months. S and R are both really seasoned climbers, so I was expecting to sit out a lot and watch C climb with them.

But as it turns out, where we were climbing and how we were climbing wasn't really conducive to that. Ryan belayed (held the rope, for non-climbers) from the top, so it was different than most climbing we had done before where you belay from the bottom. It also made it less conducive for me to give up mid climb and just scoot back down to the bottom.

It took all of my mental strength (which is not much haha) to stick with it. We did two climbs, but it was a multi-pitch, so we all climbed to this little ledge and then did it again to get to the top. My ankles killed from some of the super tiny footholds I had, and I definitely cried at a few points when I didn't think I could get up any higher but I knew pride wouldn't let me go down. The satisfaction of completing that climb was huge.

So in celebration (the storm clouds rolled in, so we rolled out), we all went to a local pizza joint and drank more beer. Once again, beer isn't really my thing, but C and Ryan made up for me. We had a great time, cracking up the entire meal.

Sadly, the end of dinner meant the end of our time in Colorado. We went to Garden of the Gods, which was so pretty! We then ran to REI (since we don't have one) to get a couple things (including a tent so we can go camping!) and then made a stop at Starbucks before we hit the road for Raton, NM.

C and A in the brewery on our self guided tour

At New Belgium!

The view out from where we were climbing.

The view from the bottom to where we climbed.

C on the first ledge

Me climbing to the second pitch!

Then C fell into the mud......but he sacrificed himself for my camera!

And some video of the climbs

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 3: Boulder and Eric!

I left my camera in the car for most of Monday, which was a total bummer. So no pictures, but I will definitely still write about it!

On Monday, C and I started off the day in Castle Rock, CO, which is about halfway between Colorado Springs and Denver. We hit the outlet mall there (I got into a Loft for the first time in MONTHS) and did a little shopping before heading to Boulder.

Boulder had a lot of character. It is nestled right against the mountains and is the home of Colorado University Boulder. C took me to Pearl Street, which is an outdoor mall. There were TONS of people out, and we got to duck in and out of a ton of local shops. While we were in Colorado, I had a bit of an obsession with local wares.....pottery, jewelry, photos, etc. We saw some beautiful stuff, and I was VERY tempted in a lot of the stores. Unfortunately, I came home without any cool local stuff. C got a set of handmade coasters, though, that match his living room perfectly.

Once we left Boulder, it was about an hour and a half drive north to Cheyenne, WY, home of our friend Eric. For those of you who don't know Eric, he is like the necessary puzzle piece of my life. Eric and my brother have been best friends for as long as I can remember, dating back to boy scouts. Eric was roommates with C during their first torturous summer at the Academy, and is the reason I met C. Eric is also now dating my best friend, Shannon (of the previous Happy Birthday Nonay post). So Eric is one of the most consistent people in my life, for a lot of reasons......I basically can't get rid of him :)

However, in addition to the awesomeness of seeing Eric, by heading to Wyoming, I knocked out another one of my 101 in 1001 items::: seeing 5 new states! Colorado and Wyoming finished me off!

We met up at Eric's place.......where you don't need air conditioning. I was in shock. The a/c in my apartment has been on since March, when I moved in and it was 80 degrees. There is somewhere in this world that is not as miserably hot as Texas??

We only got the spend the evening with Eric, before we all went off to dreamland. However, it was an awesome addition to our already awesome trip, and as always, Eric is a great host.

Just a few pics this time!

The boys at Old Chicago

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom :)

Today is a day to celebrate! Today marks 53 years that my amazing Mom has graced this earth with her presence!

I could not be more proud to have this woman as my mom. We may not always see eye to eye, because we come from a long line of stubborn women :) But I know that of everyone and anyone in this world, my mom will always be on my side and will stand by me and love me no matter what.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 2: Denver and USAFA

On Saturday night, C and I headed to Denver so we could do brunch with a friend of his in downtown Denver. We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and shared a slice of cheesecake, which was of course to die for.

We ate brunch at this place called Snooze. If you are ever in Colorado, find Snooze. There are a bunch of them, and oh man was it DELICIOUS. We waited for an hour and a half, but every review said it was worth and man were they right. C got pancakes......pineapple upside down pancakes, white chocolate macadamia pancakes, and a sweet potato pancakes. It. Was. INCREDIBLE. His friend Nichole got a hash brown casserole type thing which looked AWESOME, and I got a breakfast burrito that was the size of my head. Definitely some of the best eating we did on this trip!

After that, we headed back south to Colorado Springs to tour the Academy. For those who didn't know, C is a United States Air Force Academy graduate, and he hasn't really been back to USAFA since 2007, when he graduated. I had never been, so it was a must see for the trip.

We did a nice pass through the visitors center, and we both bought USAFA sweatshirts. I have a tshirt from the Academy, and an AF zip up hoodie, so a regular hoodie was a definite must. I have worn it several times (not in Texas lol) and am a huge fan.

Then C toured me around. I learned a lot haha. First of all, we could hear basics getting screamed at, but unfortunately they were out of sight. Only cadets (and those who work at USAFA I guess) are allowed on the actual campus/terrazzo, but there is a wall that looks over the campus where visitors are allowed to go. From there, you can see most of the campus anyway. C pointed where he lived, where they ate, and the skinny pieces of marble that line the terrazzo where all 4 degrees (freshman) have to run......they literally have to run everywhere. (Counting my blessings that it never crossed my mind to join the military haha). We also got to see the Chapel (incredibly gorgeous) and Arnold Hall, which was kind of a student union I guess?

It was SO much fun to finally get to see the place that made C jaded and cynical......uh.......that made my Captain the best darn Air Force Officer he can be!

Seriously though, since I didn't know C at the Academy (we met on his 60 days of leave right after graduation), it was really cool to go there and see this place that had such an impact on his life. It was also extra fun to watch him involuntarily squirm and convulse at the feeling of being back :)

This is yet another Colorado stop that I encourage people to see! It won't hold as much meaning, but it is still pretty awesome!

N and C......they go back to high school together!


Driving into USAFA

First view of the campus

USAFA chapel

looking over the terrazzo

Telling me all about the campus. See those lighter lines on path? Those are the lines that the 4 degrees have to run on.

The honor code on the wall......they take it very seriously.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WW Update!

Well, as of Sunday July 17, I am down 12 lbs!

I am still working on the workout aspect of things, but I have been in contact with a personal trainer, and once things calm down around work, I am definitely going to be utilizing her!

I am also AMAZED at my weight loss these last two weigh in on July 3 had me up a couple pounds, and then we went on vacation from the 9th-13th and paid NO attention to what I was eating. Actually, scratch that.....I paid attention and ate every delicious unhealthy morsel :)

And once we got back from the trip on Wednesday, I ate in vacation mode for the rest of the week, to include numerous margaritas, a cheeseburger, potatoes, and a huge piece of chocolate cake at Perini's for a friend's birthday! My surprise was obvious when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw any kind of loss!

Since July 3, I have lost 3.5 lbs and now my weight loss since starting WW is at its highest! I KNOW that once I really pull the eating piece into focus (eating healthier options so I am not so hungry) and get on the workout bandwagon again, the pounds will melt off. At least I hope so, because I am going to be a bridesmaid in 5 months!

And don't forget.....I will be giving away a WW membership pretty soon! Keep an eye out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 1: Pikes Peak!

Finally, a Colorado post! I have been so lazy since we got back to Abilene, so forgive my lack of posting.

When C and I got to Colorado last Saturday, he was debating whether we should do Pikes Peak or hike Eagle's Peak. I am SO glad he picked Pikes Peak!

It is a 20+ mile trek.......we started in this adorable town called Manitou Springs. If you are ever in Colorado, check out Manitou was touristy and cute, with a lot of small town charm. We ate lunch at a local pizza place called Marilyn's, which you might be able to guess was covered with pictures of Marilyn Monroe.

After wandering Manitou Springs, we hopped in the car for our trek up to Pikes Peak. I had no idea what to expect, so when I learned it was a 20 mile drive, I was pretty shocked. We drove into the mountains for a bit before getting the the entrance where, like any good tourist location, you had to pay the price of admission. They did offer a military discount, though, which was nice!

We took C's Civic to Colorado, and he has experience driving in the mountains, so I was pretty comfortable the whole way up. Early in our drive, it was basically hilly, driving through wooded areas. Then we started the steep climb up.....super windy roads that were literally on the edge of a mountain. I am not really scared of heights, but I think it's a different kind of fear when you think you will plunge to your death in a firey car crash. C got a kick out of making me nervous, though.

We stopped at one point in an open area where we climbed a little hill. There were some big rock formations, which I happily took pictures of my flyboy posing on. We also got my favorite picture of the trip in that location! Taking pictures on our way up Pikes Peak made every penny I spent on my camera 100% worth it. The picture quality alone is incredible.

It was also really strange to feel it get so cold! Luckily, I had a sweater in the car. But you can see that we added layers as we got to the top! Somehow, C got warmer as we got closer to the top cause he ditched his sweater lol.

At the The views were incredible and the number of tourists was incredible! They offer a train ride up too, which could be cool. I am glad we drove up though. It was interesting, though, that on the way down, they have a little touristy shop and a brake check area.......people have to brake so much on the first few miles down from the top that a lot of the times, your brakes are WAY too hot. C and I wanted to stop anyway at the gift shop, but his brakes were pretty warm so the ranger wanted us to stop too.

I am throwing in some pictures here.......they don't do it justice though. I have encouraged everyone I know to go to Pikes Peak and Colorado. I am a coastal girl, so I never thought much about the mountains.......but being there, 14000 feet above sea really puts things in perspective.

favorite pic of the trip!

Let me know what you think, and book your trip to Colorado ASAP!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation = Over :(

End of vacation emotions.

I can’t be the only person who has them.

Especially on road trips. You’ve been living out of your car and a suitcase, staying in different hotels every night, driving all over the place to see everything you need to see to make the vacation worthwhile. Part of you is super happy that you will be back in your own place, with your own routine.

But part of you never wants to go back to the real world.

C and I had an AWESOME time in Colorado, and I will be writing up some posts about our adventures. But for now, we got home about an hour ago and I am in that post vacation lull.

This was an especially weird trip, because it was the first vacation I’ve ever taken that has not ended up with me back in Maryland. Being in beautiful Colorado, with so many more options for things to do, places to shop, people to see, etc., made it really hard to think about coming back to Abilene, of all places. We left Colorado last night in order to break up the drive a bit, and I know C was really sad to leave.

It was also more of a reminder to me of all the things that other parts of the country have to offer, including Maryland. Seeing the Colorado landscape was a reminder of how ugly (I think) this part of Texas is. Getting afternoon thunderstorms in Colorado was a reminder that it actually does rain, except in this part of Texas. Even though Colorado and Maryland are completely different, I think it was just a reminder to us of what we are missing in Abilene and what I miss every day about Maryland.

Post vacation downer post over. We all know how much going back to the real world sucks, so forgive my depressing post today. I will be back soon with Colorado pictures!