Saturday, March 28, 2015

Attitude of Gratitude week 1


So far starting a blog has been fun. It has been a little scary but I have enjoyed putting myself out there. I would like to keep up with it by at least making one post a week.
This week entire week I have spent on the couch sick so it has made it hard to reflect on what I am thankful for. However, I feel this habit is a good one. So if nothing else I would like to post each week what I am grateful for. So here are five things I am grateful for:

1. My husband

2. The beautiful perfect weather we have been having here in Colorado

3. Finally getting all our wedding Thank yous mailed out.

4. Netflix (essential for sickies)

5. Getting to live in this country

What are you grateful for?

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Tribute to Gila Bend

Rob has been down in Gila Bend all week jumping his butt off. He has been working that same butt off at work lately so I am happy that he was able to get away from the office and partake in the two activities he loves the most; flying and jumping. We went to Gila Bend for Spring Break as cadets and both got the opportunity to plan the Spring Break trip when we worked in Jump Flight.
The guys like to snap photos of Rob eating junk food and send them to me. Lol...I don't keep that stuff in the house.

Gila Bend is in the middle of nowhere Arizona. There is nothing there and nothing to do except skydive, which is what makes it so awesome. We have a lot of amazing memories there.

I know we both feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the Jump team for a second time in our lives. It brought us together in life and love. It gave us the confidence and experience we needed to be successful in pilot training. It gave us our closest friends. It taught us the important lessons we needed to be successful in our careers. It enabled us to become a leaders. We love the Team and always will.

Blue skies...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Savers vs. Tossers

"One of you needs to be a saver while the other needs to be a tosser" I have heard this advice from many married couples. One of you has to be willing to get rid of stuff while the other needs to be good a preserving things. My husband is definitely the saver while I am better at getting rid of things when they seem to no longer serve a purpose. We recently received a very thoughtful gift form Rob's Aunt and Uncle. These beautiful engraved glasses with our initials on them. We love them. 
Although, now we must get rid of some old glasses in order to make room for the new. Over the years this has become my policy as I seek to try and keep clutter from filling my life. In our modern lives it seems very easy to allow our lives to become overrun with stuff. Too many vitamins in my cabinet, too many bottles of medication, too many cans of nonperishable food, a linen closet full of towels, too many apps on my phone, TOO MANY charging cords to God knows what device. Sometimes all this stuff will make my blood pressure rise a little. 

So, I diligently cleaned out our glass cabinet in order to make room for them. I planned to take the old glasses to the ARC the next day. When I told Rob who was away on a trip I knew that he would have some objections to getting rid of perfectly good glasses.I know this difference in our personalities is reminiscent of our views on money. He is a much better saver than I am. I really want to be more like him in this manner.  

I was recently reading a financial blog who's focus was on obtaining 1 million dollars in net worth. What an awesome goal to obtain this financial freedom in order to be able to make decisions based on you desires rather than your needs. To be able to be give with extreme generosity. His philosophy is: 

I can and I will employ solid personal finance theories in my life.
I will spend less than I earn annually.
I will never buy a car just to keep up with appearances.
I will not buy a house that is more than myself or my family need.
I will not spend money just to spend it.

That last line is really the root of my stuff problem. So here is my public declaration: My commitment to not spending money just to spend money. To not walk into a grocery store and buy products not on my list just because I want to try it. To not buy bottled water just because I left my water bottle at home. To not buy trinkets in gift shops. To not buy a $3 coffee whenever and where ever I feel like it. This shopping absitenence is the habit of your next door millionaire. This will be my new habit. 

However, I am still taking the old glasses to the ARC. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Honeymoon Recap Part 3-Arenal

As we left Santa Theresa, we were torn, we wanted to blow off our planned trek to the volcano to stay a few extra days, but most hotels in Costa Rica require a non-refundable deposit. In order to not lose our money we had to leave.
The drive to Arenal was much less eventful than our first drive. The only thing significant about the drive was the beautiful Costa Rican country side and the opportunity to stop and buy an aloe vera drink that I had become addicted to on the trip. These stupid things are delicious. If you buy the aloe light you can enjoy it for only 30 calories. If you buy a cold one you can expect a deliciously refreshing taste of aloe, sugar and yummy squishy pulp in your mouth. But I digress.

I had read that Costa Rica had a lot of American ex Pats however, on the Nicoyan peninsula we had not met many Americans. As we skirted the outer edge of Lake Arenal we realized this must be where they all lived. There were tons of real estate for sale signs all in English, like you see in the states "Homes from the 200's,"  "Lake View condos," "Great community". The homes up there were significantly bigger than we had been seeing along the road with more American looking architecture.  While, I applaud them for defecting to such a lovely tropical country, I think I would choose something smaller and closer to the ocean. It is hard not to day dream about moving to your destination while on vacation. What a cool place to retire.

After around 5 hours of driving we pulled up to our hotel. The Lost Iguana is set in the rain forest just a stones throw from the Hanging Bridges. We checked in an were shown to our room. I am aware this is not actually a word; but it was GYNORMOUS. I was complete with a patio hot tub, huge en suite and amazing view of Arenal Volcano.
As we sat on the deck and marveled at the view it occurred to me that the outside sounds were almost deafening. The sounds of frogs, birds, bugs and whatever else was out there was absolutely spectacular. I had been to rain forests before but never one so dense or loud. I felt the vibrations of the forest actually slowing down my brain waves and turning me into a pile of awesome, mellow-mush.
view from our room

The next day, Rob made my dream come true with a couples massage in the most spectacular spa I had ever been to. Most spas try to emulate the feel of the rain forest by pumping in sounds, but here we were in the reality listening to the sounds of the rain forest. The building was a beautiful eastern temple built from dark rain forest wood. We relaxed in the sauna, drank mint tea and were shown to our open air massage room complete with a wood burning fireplace. It was amazing. I could go on about all the little things that made this experience awesome but I think you get the picture.

To cap of our relaxing day we visited the natural hot springs at Ecothermales. It was smaller and more private than the other more well known ones of Tabacon or Baldi but that is what we wanted. As we continued our relaxation nirvana in the hot springs, I noticed I had lost the key they gave us for our lockers. It was rubberbanded to my wrist then suddenly it wasn't. Since I knew there was not a chance in hell we would find it. This prompted a very embarrassing admission of guilt to the staff. It just so happened they could not find the duplicate so they had to bring in the handy man and grounds lady to break open my locker. I felt so bad, but Costa Rican's are so nice I could tell even through our language barrier that they were not holding it against me. How incredibly gracious of them! I was THAT girl. I deserved any wrath or annoyance I received. When we got home later that night I jumped in the shower to rinse off. As I let down my wet hair I realized I had wrapped the key into my bun. Now I was even more embarrassed because I had to go back and return it, admitting my complete absentmindedness. In typical Costa Rican style they acted grateful that I had brought it back.

Picture of me with the key bun...also in case you are wondering there was zero retouching done on my husbands abs/pecs

The next day we did the loop to the hanging bridges then drove into La Fortuna to visit the La Fortuna waterfall. The Hanging Bridges hike was super fun. The suspension bridges are an architectural marvel. They are suspended across several deep ravines. We saw katamundi, a few tropical birds and tarantula holes. Although, I was on the lookout to see a toucan. We had seen every animal I had wanted to see on this trip except that. To no avail. However, it was a beautiful walk through the woods. The entire trek I felt like I was in a high tech rain forest museum exhibit and they were pumping in the sounds on full blast.

The La fortuna waterfall was amazing as well. I am sure it is the biggest waterfall I had ever seen. You had to walk 554 steps to the bottom of the ravine to experience it fully. When we were down there it started to rain heavily and we got drenched. I felt like this was the true rain forest experience I had imagined. The advertising material had mentioned that this was the place if you wanted to see a toucan, but again I wasn't able to find one.

The food in the Arenal area was good. All the food in CR was great, but we found the food in Arenal to be a bit overpriced and not as fresh as in Santa Theresa. The last night we had a delicious steak dinner at Novillo steak house. Everywhere in Costa Rica is open air, as we were shown to our table it started to rain again. By the time we got our drinks it was a complete down pour. The water was rushing off the shingles and pelting the plants in their mini atrium. The ferns lining the edge of the restaurant were getting pounded, swinging back and forth from all the wind and rain hitting them. This continued our entire meal, I was glad I had brought a light sweater with me. Moreover, the heavy rain seemed to symbolize the end to our wondrous trip.  Ok, A little cheesy but when I reflect, that is how I feel!

The last morning we reluctantly packed up and headed to breakfast at the hotel restaurant. As we sat there we were discussing all our favorite parts of the trip. I lamented a little that I never got to see a toucan, although was very grateful for all the cool wildlife I did get to see. Just then I glanced over at the bird feeder and there sat, you guessed it, A TOUCAN! 

I guess this guy came there every morning around 7 am. He hung out for 3 glorious minutes as the staff tossed fruit at him. When he was full he abruptly turned around and soared from the feeder into the woods. Just then about 10 birds flew back to the feeder. Our waiter explained that the Toucan is a very mean bird, he will eat the babies of the Montezuma bird who is his cousin. He will attack any other bird if they get in the way of a his meal. He is the king of the birds in the rain forest. I had no idea he was such a jerk. He is a gorgeous bird, but what d-bag. 
This was an umimaginable way to call our honeymoon complete. We are definitely coming back to Costa Rica for a second maybe third honeymoon.


Generals Don't Play

Lately, I have had the pleasure of flying an important General back and forth to Washington DC. He is a very nice man and always takes the time to chat with us about ourselves. The scenario for the flight always goes the same way. A van or SUV pulls up as close as they can get to our aircraft. The first pilot will be on board running the checklists while the other greets the party and loads their bags. By the time the second pilot gets everyone on board, the first pilot is starting the first engine. The second pilot closes up the door, gives everyone a short brief while the second engine is being started. Finally, the second pilot jumps up front, buckles in and picks of the duty of the radios by calling for taxi clearance. The jet then taxis to runway and and takes off. The entire process takes roughly 15 minutes.
When we arrive at our destination there is usually a small greeting party for our General. One pilot will jump out of the seat while the other shuts down the engines. By the time the last bag is unloaded from the back the General is enjoying the climate controlled environment of his SUV. As soon as the last garment bag is loaded in the vehicle the General is whisked off to whatever important meeting he has to attend. The entire process takes roughly 5 minutes. Although, he always takes the time to stop and say thank you to everyone for flying him.

In general (no pun intended), people try not to waste the time of the General. He must accomplish a lot of very important things and make lots of important decisions. His schedule is chocked full of meetings, events and social functions. Vise versa, the General tries not to waste anyones time. He is always on time to our plane, if not early. I am not so naive to think that he particularly cares about what time the pilots are going to get home that night, I am sure he is thinking about the meeting or event he must attend.  He knows that showing up late would be inconsiderate.

In my opinion, this General, is a great yogi.

What does a busy General have to do with a skinny, bendy-Indian guy? Before you stop reading, due to my apparent inability to make associations, let me explain.

The General's approach to time is very inlign with the 8 limbed path that forms the structural framework of yoga. In order, to follow this path one must practice social observances or Yamas. The General practices the Yama of Asteya or non-stealing.  He makes every effort to be on time thus he avoids stealing the time of others. Despite being rushed he always stops to ask others about themselves as well as say thank you. He gives of his time as though he has plenty even though we know his day is scheduled from wake to sleep.

The priciple of Asteya suggests that a person's need to steal comes from a place of scarcity. Believing that you are deprived will make you want to take it from others or perhaps hoard it when you do receive it. This is true for a lot of us when it comes to time. I know that I tend to overshedule myself then consequently will often find myself running late. There are also many times that I get distracted at home and get a late start. This is probably subconsciously driven from my constant feeling that I do not have enough time.

There are so many reasons not to show up late.

1. If you are meeting someone for the first time they will not remember what you said they will only remember that you were late.
2. People will know they can't can't on you.
3. That person may then turn around and be late to their next event thus stealing time from someone else.
4. If you are early then you avoid the stress of rushing.
5. You will have more time to drive around and find a good parking spot
6. You won't get stared at if you walk into a meeting late
7. You won't have to stumble through the dark in the movie theater looking for a seat
8. You will get the best pick of the party snacks
9. Your boss will consider you a good worker
10. You will be at the front of the line at the verizon store to get the new iphone

the list goes on and on...

There is an old saying in the military "if you aren't 10 minutes early, you are late!" As much as it annoyed me to hear it repeated at every briefing I attended, it is true. Being early is practicing Asteya. It is trusting in the abundance of time that God created. It is trusting in him to provide as much time as you need. There is plenty of time for everyone and everything that you truly need to do, all you have to do is be generous with your own.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Honeymoon Recap Part 2-Santa Theresa

As we plunged down the final stretch of unpaved dusty road I sincerely began to wonder if we would find actual civilization at the end of it. We emerged from a heavily wooded stretch of road to find Santa Theresa, an adorable little rustic beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula. The sidewalks were non-existent, the roads were rocky and covered in that familiar molasses covering they use to keep the dust down. The shops were small along with the few open air restaurants. I'm not sure there was a building there that would hold more than 30 people comfortably. It quickly became clear from the signs around town that this place was all about surfing, yoga and fresh food. PERFECTO! 

Finally, we pulled up to our Hotel. The gorgeous Hotel Horizon, set off the main road on the side of the hill that towers over Santa Theresa. We were shown to our cabin up some very steep cobblestone steps. We had made it just in time for sunset. 
Maybe I was just elated to finally be on our honeymoon, or perhaps I was relieved to not be trekking through the rain forest to find help for our broken 4X4 but this was the most beautiful sunset to date. We had a phenomenal ocean view with a beautiful eco-friendly cabin complete with a deck and a hammock. I kind of warned Rob but I had booked us into a yoga retreat. It had really good reviews and was moderately priced for the region. It had an Eastern feel with the main reception being a tea house, complete with a rooftop open air yoga studio. I was in heaven! 
To my somewhat surprise, Rob loved it as well. Our view was hard to beat. The waves were so big and loud it created the perfect white noise to lull us to sleep. The yoga space was absolutely amazing. This picture doesn't do it justice but imagine this view at sunset with the sound of the waves crashing in the background. This was a pinnacle yoga experience for me.  

The only slight catastrophe of the whole trip happened the first night. We left to walk into to town for dinner. We had carried the top to our wedding cake the entire trek from Tamarindo. Rob was super excited to finally get a slice of our cake after dinner. Well, I forgot about some of the issues involved with tropical climate and left it sitting on the kitchen counter. When we returned from dinner there was a very evident line of sugar ants from the floor to the cake. It was covered in ants. Rob was so disappointed he tried to bite into it anyway. I had to do the dirty work and save him from himself. I quickly snatched it from him and dumped it in the trash. C'est la vie. Twin Otter Cake; you were kinda cool but not worth ingesting full of bugs.

I won't bore you with all the trip details but here are a few of the highlights of our 3 nights in Santa Theresa. We played in the ocean, lounged by the pool, got a couple yoga sessions in and did an excursion to Tortuga island. 
Tortuga island was very relaxing. We did a little snorkeling then hung out the rest of the day on the white sand island island. On the 45 minute boat-ride home we saw a mom and baby Orca whales swimming side by side. 
However, I think Rob and I were equally as excited about the little town of Montezuma where we launched. It was a colorful little backpacker town set on a rocky beach. We ate breakfast at a small cafe and enjoyed walking up and down the street. We heard there was a nice waterfall there but we never got to visit it. We vowed to return someday. 

Finally, if you ever visit Santa Theresa, which if you like surfing and yoga then you totally should, go eat at this place called Pure. All of the food we had in Santa Theresa was fantastic, very fresh and super delicious, but Pure was our favorite. We stumbled on it one night when we met up with Steve for dinner. The ambiance was very contemporary with funky wooden tables and decorations. Our food was delicious and presented amazingly. The drinks were awesome despite a rough start with some sour sangria. They made up for it with free glasses of delicious sangria and passion fruit shots to cap off our meal. Our chef even came out to see how we liked the meal. The biggest surprise was that we never expected this amazing food to be available in such an out of the way tiny beach town. 
The whole time in Santa Theresa was magical. I mean adult disneyland fairy princess magical. I loved it. Wish we could go back tomorrow. But alas dreaded money and time will prevent that in the near future. Pura Vida! That saying really began to make sense after a few days here

Honeymoon Recap Part 1-The Drive

Honeymoons are the best! I am sure I will not do it justice by attempting to describe the amazingness but I am going to try and give you the cliff notes while still encompassing the awesomeness. I'll get to the wedding later when we get our edited wedding photos back. This will be the first part of a three part HM series. 

Costa Rica is an wonderful destination for both a wedding as well as the honeymoon. I'll be the first to say I think we did an amazing job with the planning and execution of this whole endeavour. I have been recently listening to Chalene Johnson's podcast (you know the face of Turbo Jam) and she reserves the phrase "" for particularly awesome things. Well, if you like big waves, adventure, rain forests, wildlife, nice people and good food then Costa Rica is

We hitched a ride with a friend of Rob's, Steve. As we pulled away from our hotel in Tamarindo we were drunk on the love and excitement from our big day. Well let's be honest we were probably still a little drunk from the open bar we paid for.
We didn't have any idea the adventure we were about to embark on. Our goal was to get to our first Honeymoon spot of Santa Theresa in about 3.5 hours. I had read about the roads on trip advisor and was expecting a bit of a bumpy ride. Although, according to the reviews we were suppose to hit the choppy dirt roads around 50 KM from our hotel. As we turned south from Jicaral we went over a bridge, just then Steve commented that he thought we may have taken a wrong turn. However, the GPS seemed to be guiding us down the road we were currently on, so we all just blew it off. We immediately started climbing a very steep, very rocky, very degraded dirt road. I didn't think this was right, but I had heard the roads in CR can be very bad so I tried to relax and nurse my hangover.

As we got deeper into the rain forest the road became more and more overgrown and the ups and downs got steeper and steeper. After an hour of this I began to wonder how this Mitsubishi 4x4 was not overheating. Rob informed me that a diesel engine was very resilient. This drive continued for another 3 hours and it got more and more awesome. I had never been on such a steep grade before or driven such a desolate wooded stretch of road. We drove through streams. We drove over embankments and through the middle of roaming cow and goat herds. The trees surrounded us and grew thicker as we drove deeper, and deeper and deeper.

As the GPS kept on guiding us down this road we were lulled into a sense of reliance on the accuracy of the GPS. If the satelites cut out then we would have been screwed. The road was very narrow and the brush was very thick. I contend that if we would have come across a downed tree we would have had to reverse all the way back to Jicaral. At one point I needed to make a stop to use the outdoor bathroom. I heard the screaming howler monkey's in the distance and had flashes of the mythical chupacabra jumping out of the woods to eat me. Obviously that never happened, but it very well could have if it was dark outside...

The last stretch of the drive we had to cross a stream that came all the way up to the bottom of the door, this was by far the deepest water I had ever driven through. 4 hours later, a total of 6 hours after we left Tamarindo, we finally reached our destination a little shaken and stirred from the bumpy ride but happy to have reached our hotel by sunset. The drive was definitely part of the Costa Rican adventure I was looking for. I guess the term "get lost in Costa Rica" is pretty accurate. What a fun adventure and definitely a drive to remember! Thanks Steve!

Love Burns Eternal

Hello there Friends, Family, Anyone who may be interested.

I am beginning this blog for a few reasons. First, our friends and family are scattered all over the planet and my hope that everyone I love will spontaneously decide to pick up there life and move to Colorado is rapidly starting to fade. I have come to terms with the fact that this dream may actually never come to fruition.  

Second, secretly I have envied the blogs of my loved ones. I have admired from afar the ability of one to put themselves out there for better or for worse. I thoroughly enjoy reading people's blogs who are real. I have recently been feeling bit of a pull to share myself with the online world. Thus you can expect a bit of reality in this blog. 
Finally, I just got married! On March of this year Rob and I began our mini-family in wedded bliss in Costa Rica. I want this blog to serve as a record of our adventures as we encounter them as well as other random things we are interested in.
Now, if you aren't interested in reading about any sappy love stuff you can stop reading now... 

Please pardon me as I go off on a tangent about my new husband, but I love this guy. He is humble, patient, kind, loving and he always makes me laugh if/when I get stressed out. I have to say after years on the dating scene and LOTS of married friends offering unsolicited advice I began to grow obstinate to cliches and advice. I was completely fine with living out my life single or without ever tying the knot. 

Enter Rob, who turned that philosophy upside down. As much as I don't want to admit it all that silly advice from married folks seemed to play out. "When you know you know", "If he is the right guy you will move to the moon for him", "It will just feel right." Dang you married people. I guess you do know a thing or two about relationships. 

When I think about our love a Bruce Lee quote is brought to mind...well ok, I looked it up but it still fits. I pray that our flame follows this metaphor put forth by the Karate legend

“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable"

Happy Monday