Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello from Cheyenne, Wyoming!  It is currently 0 degrees Fahrenheit and snowing sideways.  My dearest cousin is checking in with her new Air Force unit while I cruise around downtown.  I visited The Plains Hotel and chatted with the band Atomic Tom, who were on there way from New York to the west coast for their first cross-country tour.  Now I'm taking advantage of the free wireless internet at the Cheyenne Depot, or "The most beautiful railroad station between Omaha and Sacramento".  Check out the picture above; impressive, yes?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pika went for a polar bear swim last weekend in Fagan Creek!  She used to be afraid of water and now we can't keep her dry even in January!

Michael kayaed today on Town Creek while I worked on my Thermodynamics II homework.  Tomorrow we're going to spend at least a part of the day installing plumbing for the liquid nitrogen system I'm contributing to at work!  I feel kind of like a teenager learning to drive stick-shift on this project - there's lots of starts and stops as a result of my lack of experience and constant self-doubt.  However, it's such a neat project, and I'm thrilled to learn how to do this stuff (even if there's some pain and growth involved!).     

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I swam this morning (wake up time:  4:10AM.....are you impressed?), and Michael took the dogs on a walk.  He saw a great horned owl but didn't get a picture.  Well, he got a picture, but you couldn't see the owl in it so it doesn't count.  Instead, I'm posting the picture he took of the breaking dawn over beautiful Huntsville!  I love walking in the woods in the morning - such a great way to start the day!  So is swimming.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pika has claimed a new chair.
The snow is melting - resulting in our yard being a muddy mess!  The dogs are restless with the muddy conditions because we have to walk them on the street instead of the very muddy Land Trust trails they normally enjoy.
Michael and I tried to go for a mountain bike ride on Saturday.  Really, it was my idea; I'd been nagging him to go snow biking with me since Monday.  By the time he agreed to go, the snow was so slushy and slick we couldn't bike on it!  Oh well.  It was fun anyway!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We went kayaking last weekend to instruct on a Huntsville Canoe Club sponsored "progression series" trip on the Locust Fork, and it was so cold!  There were a number of relative newbies on the trip, and so we had people flipping and swimming out of their boats like you'd expect on a beginner trip (plus one guy who hit his head on a rock and ended up with 21 stitches - yikes!).  The whole experience made me reminisce back to the last time I went boating when it was warm, which was on the Upper Gauley at this year's Gauley Fest!  The photo above is of me somewhere in the middle.  It was such a great trip; I can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Work was cancelled for the second day in a row!  We took advantage of the change in scenery by spending some time in the yard - it's amazing how different the house looks in the snow.

We also went for a hike in the Land Trust.  This photo of Michael and the pups was taken on the Waterline Trail right before we ran into a guy trail running in shorts - whoa!  He said he was training for Mountain Mist, so he's clearly not one to be dissuaded by a little snow!
Michael does most of the cooking, and tonight's dinner was especially good.  Purple sweet potato (I'm sure there's a proper name, but I don't remember what it is) and salad with homemade dressing.  So simple, so tasty!   
New Years Resolutions:

1.  Kayak, mountain bike, and trail run as often as possible.  Swim three times per week.  Stretch every day.
2.  Do my job with more competence and confidence.  Learn how to plumb a cryogenic fluid system.  Have fun!
3.  Cook more.  Spend less on eating out.  Eat vegetarian.  Drink more water
3.  Get rid of all the stuff we never use, and organize the stuff we do use (especially tools and art supplies).
4.  Read all the assignments in my Heat and Mass Transfer and Thermo II textbooks.  Don't slack.
5.  Build a fence around the yard.
6.  Expand our vegetable garden.
7.  Volunteer with the Land Trust of North Alabama.
8.  Go on vacation.
This past weekend we celebrated Pika's first anniversary with our family!  The photo above was taken right after we picked her up south of Atlanta on January 9, 2010.  I remember having this vivid realization after putting her in the car and driving away that our lives were never going to be the same - what an understatement!  She adds so much joy and energy to our family!

Monday, January 10, 2011

We took a recent hike on the Arrowhead Trail.  Michael took a bunch of pictures, and I snapped this one of him and Nacho.

We bought a 1946 mid-century modern house in Huntsville, Alabama in October 2009.  The original owners sold it to us.  They owned the only concrete company in Huntsville at the time and decided to build the house out of concrete; it's unusual for this area to say the least.  You can check out the real estate pictures here.  The house hadn't been well maintained for at least the last decade when we bought it - it hadn't been occupied for over four years.  Our first order of business was tearing out all the drywall in the den.  There was a hole in the exterior wall so large that ivy was growing inside the wall, and the drywall was so moldy it gave in when you touched it.  The smell was not so great.  We're almost finished completely refurbishing that room - all we're missing is the totally rebuilt sets of french doors (completed by Alan Harp Design).  Next up:  fix the flooding in the basement bedroom.


This blog documents the observations and inspirations of the Middlewood household - Michael, Jess, Pika, and Nacho.