October 12, 2014

I'm Running a Marathon

I think I have a fear of turning 30. Actually, I know I have a fear of turning 30.

What else would have lead me to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon the day before I turn 30? Because nothing else says "happy birthday" like running 26.2 miles, right?

I did actually put a decent amount of thought into it - I was looking for a race, either a  half or a full, and nothing was fitting in my schedule. Then an opportunity to run on a charity team came up, it fit in my schedule, and it did seem like something cool to do for my birthday.

Bonus: I'll get to see D.C.! While running myself to death, of course, but look at the route!

Wish me luck - I'll need it, as training was going great until last week. I've had to do a lot of mental adjusting from a slow, but respectable time of 5 hours, to a much slower goal of just finishing. (Thanks hip flexor for always being there for me! Or not!)

August 1, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Begin

I have so many things beginning (and thus ending) right now.

I'm still beginning a marriage. We've been officially doing life together less than three months. It's still strange and new and challenging. At the same time, it feels like we've been doing this since we first met severn (or is it eight?) years ago.

I'm finishing my summer and starting my last year of grad school. Unfortunately, there is little time in between for a break, which is hard for a person who likes time to transition. But it can't be helped. We're moving my busiest week of the summer, there's tons of group courses to run and I'm on my own leading our staff on the last trip of the summer. (Insert more boring job stuff here.) I'm starting to look for a job for the spring. Basically, it's a lot. It's from one flood to the next.

Last year, right before school started I signed up to run a marathon. I made it about two weeks of training before school got too time consuming. I haven't officially signed up this year, but I have began the training, with a race in mind. Because I like goals and challenges. I want to say I've ran a marathon. And I want to do one now. Will I make it? I don't know. Putting the money down would help me fully get on board, but I don't want to waste it like last year.

Point is, there is a lot of change. We are navigating doing all this as two people, when in some ways it was easier as one - Do I want to do a marathon? Great, signed up. What job should I take? Great, that one across the country looks perfect.

We move forward through trial and error, re-orientating ourselves still towards "us" rather than "me." It's better that way.

July 16, 2014

How to Honeymoon in Turkey on a Budget

To be honest, I didn't keep an exact budget of our costs to honeymoon in Turkey (it was a crazy time of year.) But, I'm fairly certain we had one of the cheaper international honeymoons that a couple can have, so I thought I'd share our tips - some which are more than applicable elsewhere, and some that are particular to Turkey.

Our Budget (by my memory):
Airfare (international and in-country): $1,700
Car in Goreme (and fuel): $175
Accommodations: $860
Admissions/fees: $300
Food: $400
Misc: $100

The Prince's Islands

Why traveling to Turkey may be more reasonable than you think:
When planning our honeymoon, we originally were leaning towards Iceland, but plane tickets went up significantly, and we couldn't justify it with our already stretched budget. So we started looking at other places. We wanted somewhere that neither of us had been before (ruling out Costa Rica and Italy) and we also thought getting a new continent in would be great. Eventually, we just started looking up prices for every single city we could think of. Outside of Central America, Turkey was consistently the cheapest, by far. Turkey had come up a few times when we discussed places, so when the tickets were significantly cheaper than everything else, with some brief research we were settled.

Suleyman Mosque

Secondly, almost every hotel, hostel, pension or what-have-you for accommodations includes breakfast - and a really filing, good one at that. The only time we didn't have breakfast included is in Istanbul when we had a room through AirBnB (and when there, we just bought groceries and made our own breakfast).

Hiking in the valley in Cappadocia

Why Turkey may not be as cheap as you think:
Admission fees, to literally EVERYTHING, are the norm in Turkey. I can only think of one a few places that we visited that didn't have admissions fees. Even tiny, fairly off-the beaten path old cave churches would have a family who was taking care of things, and if not charging straight admission, were asking for a donation.

More hiking in Cappadocia

Most of these fees were quite reasonable, but it is something to keep in mind.

Food also was a cost to keep in mind - it could be quite reasonable (especially in Selcuk and Goreme) but it varied a lot more in Istanbul.

One of the MANY churches we visited. This is Chora Church, I believe

Keeping costs down:
We knew going in that we were fairly simple people as far as lodging goes. As long as it was safe and clean we didn't need much else. We ended up staying at a little "Pension" which is essentially the same as a hostel, by and large. We had a private room and bath, for all of $30 a night in Selcuk. Similar housing can be found pretty much everywhere in Turkey, leaving you with more cash to spend on other things.


Another thing about the Selcuk/Ephesus area - it is very walkable. Yes, we walked to Ephesus - a nice, two mile walk. We did pay for a van ride to the beach, but the cost was reasonable. Additionally we paid about $5 total for the train ride back to the airport.

The walk to Ephesus

We spent a bit more in Cappadocia, but we also had nicer accommodations (and staying in a cave hotel was worth the extra.) The couple that owned the hotel also owned a restaurant, which we ate at two out of three nights - first, it was good and fairly priced, and secondly, they gave hotel guests another 10% off.


One thing we didn't know about and we wished we had: There is a museum pass available for the major sites in Ephesus (and I believe it also covered Cappadocia sites.) There wasn't much advertising or posting about this card, so by the time we visited all the sites it covered (Ephesus, St. John's) we just realized the pass existed and would have saved us money.

We did buy the equivalent card for the Istanbul museums, and it was worth it. We could have spent more than one day at the Archeology Museum!

Not the Grand Bazaar, a market in a small town - so way better.

Also, unless you are incredibly centrally located by everything you want to see in Istanbul, buy a transportation card. They are good for ferries, busses and trams, and we used ours a lot, saving us on transportation costs (and we still walked what felt like FOREVER in Istanbul.) We then left the card for the next guests.

Istanbul at night

Affiliate links used

June 12, 2014

Catching Up

It turns out grad school, planning a wedding, and working 20-30 hours a week makes one fairly busy. But this summer, all I have is 20 hours of work. There's so much I'd like to do, including writing more (and editing what I have written.)

I figure a general update would be a good first "to do." I've borrowed the format from my friend Natalie at Little Things, Big Stuff.

Cooking: Lots of food. Since I'm working on the less than the 20 hour average, I've taken care of the food most nights. I made Balsamic Quinoa (essentially this recipe from The Pioneer Woman) and it was a smashing success recently. I'd make it again in a heartbeat, and it's easy to switch to vegan.

Drinking: lots of water, with all this running.

Reading: I just finished Love is a Decision and The Total Money Makeover. I just started Grace Filled Marriage. All of these were books we were given at our wedding. I'm hoping to get more books in (and not all marriage themed!)

Wanting: to accomplish a lot this summer. In an ideal world, I'd find time to do all the house stuff I've taken on (because I have the most time,) work, train for another half-marathon, edit my book, blog, read a book a week, cook, get ahead on school reading for the fall, and generally ease into married life. Somehow I don't think that's going to all actually happen.

Wasting: way too much time in the mornings. I generally wake up when B does, but I lay around, unless I need to run before going into work. Once he's gone, I again, spend more time doing little productive.

Enjoying: even more BBC period dramas. I basically finished Land Girls, and I just started Island At War (which I've enjoyed a great deal.) Thanks Netflix!

Loving: our deck. Our apartment is tiny (all told, probably only 300 sq. feet.!) But it comes with a long deck the whole length of the house we rent from, and it's covered by the roof and the upstairs deck, so we can sit out there every evening.

It started pouring as I wrote. There's a mountain behind all that.

Learning: how to be married to an extrovert. Okay, well, maybe not always loving it - for instance, we have VERY different ideas of an ideal Saturday morning. But it's new, and we're learning about each other. So it's still wonderful.

Hoping: that we make wise decisions now, primarily finically, so we can do all the things we want to do in the future (pay off our loans, buy a home, adopt, travel, etc.)

Needing: to be more graceful, with myself and with my husband.

Smelling: lots of rain. It's rained almost every evening or afternoon this past week - usually briefly.

Feeling: contented.

February 13, 2014

An Introverts Dilemma

To be honest, I handle constant being "on" better than I used to. I used to need alone time at least once a month. But since I started grad school, and more specifically, since B moved out here, I don't think I've had one day completely off. Which makes it 5-6 months, depending on how you count it. And to be honest, I didn't need one in a "I'm going to break down in a pile of tears and snot" sort of way. It was more of: "I haven't had a day completely OFF from everyone in a long while. That would be nice."

I searched the calendar for a time when that could actually be scheduled, an act that proved futile. Here's the problem with being engaged, but not living together yet (and I supposed being busy with work and school): when we aren't doing work/school things, we make the time to hang out with each other. And my semester is currently so busy, I wasn't really willing to sacrifice those times together.

However, the weather cooperated in my favor: we got dumped on yesterday and today. School/work was canceled after noon yesterday, and canceled all day today. Just the 24 hour break I was looking for.

Friends invited us to hang out last night. I wasn't completely unwilling, but I was already in sweats, and fairly set on at least the afternoon and evening by my lonesome, as I assumed B would want to get home to shovel the drive and wouldn't leave after that. I was faced with a bit of dilemma - hang out with friends who are likely moving in a few months, or continue into my introverted cave? Fortunately, everyone was fairly understanding (and given the roads, we probably made good choice to stay put for the night.)

B ended up having to work today, despite really wanting a snow day himself, so I went out and brought him Thai food. I'd been home alone for the 24 hours I needed, so I was ready to be "on" again. I don't need the breaks as much as I used to, but I still need them, occasionally.

January 27, 2014

Our Wedding is a Microcosm of Globalization

Two American kids with primarily German and English heritage are getting married.

Two American kids with primarily German and English heritage are getting married in a Greek Orthodox Church.

Two American kids with primarily German and English heritage are getting married in a Greek Orthodox Church by a Trinidadian-American priest.

Two American kids with primarily German and English heritage are getting married in a Greek Orthodox Church by a Trinidadian-American priest, who usually leads an Orthodox church with Russian roots.

December 31, 2013

2013 Books

This years book list ended up a little on the short end - let's blame Grad School! Technically, I did read more than this, but I decided not to include any school books on here, even the short ones that would appeal to a wider range of folks (See Generation on a Tightrope). You'll also notice something interesting happened towards the end of the list, lots of book about Orthodox Christianity and marriage. Whoops! Didn't see that coming!

Here's what I read in 2013:

Food, farming, and faith / Gary W. Fick. // Nothing revolutionary, but it was nice to read someone have the same thoughts on food as myself.

Gold diggers: striking it rich in the Klondike / Charlotte Gray // This was a random library find, but ended up be completely fascinating. It also made me feel like a slacker.

Bold Spirit: Helen Eastby's Forgotten Walk Across America / LInda Lawrence Hunt

Prairie Fever: British Aristocrats in the American West / Peter Pagnamenta // I'd hoped to like this as much as the Klondike book, but it was a snooze-fest.

The Winter harvest Handbook / Eliot Coleman // So good. Get if you have any interest in gardening. I don't say that about many gardening books.

The Orchardist / Amanda Choplin // A good, heartbreaking novel. Read it.

The Last American Man / Elizabeth Gilbert 

A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains / Bird

Travels with Charley / John Steinbeck // Steinbeck became my most read novelist this year, though this one isn't a novel. I dare you to read and not get a case of wanderlust.

Facing East / Frederica Mathews-Green 

Eastern Orthodox Christianity / Daniel Clendenin // I'd recommend this book over the Ware book if you have a mild interest in Orthodoxy. A much gentler, accessible intro.

Mastering the Art of Marriage / Fa. Constantine Nasr

The Orthodox Church / Timothy Ware

The Accidental Farmers / Tim Young // And here's my most hated book of the year, in right before the New Year!

*I've also included a few Amazon Affiliate links, but only to the books I really, truly enjoyed.

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Sweet friends, near and far: Merry Christmas & many blessings in 2014!