Friday, August 23, 2013

Steeler Game: The Pre-Season

Redskin vs. Steelers
FedEx Field

I was not a huge sports fan growing up but I really am now, as long as it is in person. We have been going to a lot more sporting events in the past two years and I am thoroughly loving it. The energy of the crowd, the energy of the players, being there in person, and just watching is awesome. The game didn't start till 8pm but we were in when the gates opened at 6p, and just watched the teams warm up, the prep on the sidelines for the game, and the fanbase get ready to cheer. Despite this being the DC area where there is both the Ravens and Redskins, there is a HUGE Steelers there has been everywhere that we have gone, and this was no exception.
The night was the perfect temperature, clear skies, and absolutely perfect for a game of football. Our seats were only $5 each due to it being a pre-season game, they were in the nosebleed section, but due to the stadium not being full, we ended up in good seats only about 20 rows back from the field. Though we lost, it was a great time. I am really looking forward to the Steelers game in London next month (yes, we will be there for it!!!)!!!

Arrived early to watch the teams warm up

Steeler Love

So many players....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Date Nights and FREAKIN' GO CARTS!!!!!!!

An off handed comment to my husband...
Me: "We should have a date night this week."
Him: "Oh yeah?"
Me: "Yeah, plan something, surprise me."

What I literally meant: "Let's go out for a happy hour somewhere, surprise me as to which day and which restaurant it will be at, an evening after work this week".
What he literally interpreted: "Plan something, anything, surprise me."

So I pick him up from work (we carpool most days of the week)....
Him: "It's date night are you ready?"
Me: "Sure, where are we going?"
Him: "It's a surprise! We have to go home and change first, but we have to hurry."
Me: "Hurry? Why? Aren't my work clothes okay?"
Him: "No, you need not a dress and closed toes shoes."
Me: "Where are we going to happy hour?!?!?!?!"
Him: "Happy hour???"


Luckily my husband is awesome and it was the BEST surprise.
GO CARTS! Indoor racing and they go FAST!


GAME ON! I am ready to go!

The Monaco track

Lined up and ready to race
It was awesome. It was fantastic. We had A TON of fun. It is totally addictive. I can't stop thinking about it. My body hurts SO bad. These little carts are for ADULT racing, meaning that they are fast and brutal. I have bruises from people spinning out and crashing into me and the seat holding me in against the g-force around the corners, my muscles ache from the death grip on the steering wheel and the holding of my body against the forces in the turns, and I have a nice hickey on my neck from where the 4-point restraint and helmet pinched together in the corners. Yes, I will need to scarves at work! This WILL be happening again.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Camp: Round 2

As foretold, there was a return to Adam's family camp! When I heard that the Perseid Meteor Shower was coming, there was no doubt that we had to get far away from anywhere near our current residence...right smack in between DC and Baltimore, and all of the light pollution. I am OBSESSED with all things stars, as evidenced by this is the only thing that I would ever have tattooed on my body. Where better else to go that middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, where the cell reception dies, the English language changes dramatically, and beer is unbelievable cheap? To Cousins-4-Camp we go! This place is absolutely amazing in its breathtaking beauty, absolute peace and quiet, and simple "rightness in life".  Seriously, pulling into the camp driveway, the stress melts away and the calm and relaxation kicks in. The only other physical location that gives me this effect is the ocean, it is wonderful!

These year's fawns

We watch them, they watch us...a nice cycle


One of the swimming hole streams

Blackberries...time to make the mead!

ELK! You would not believe my freak out over this....

The previous freak out paled compare to seeing the baby....!!!! for $3 or less?!?!? This is nice...Benezette Hotel.

My husband's cute little hand...

It was a wonderful weekend full of stargazing, swimming hole exploring, blackberry picking, camp cleaning, people visiting, Steeler game watching, deer and elk scouting, and relaxing. I could seriously do this more often, or live like this periodically. No electricity, no running water, no traffic...nothing but nature. The beautiful solace of the woods.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Home? Well, that's difficult...

"Hey, where are you from?"

This is one of the first questions that are often asked when you are meeting someone new, and I find it to be one of the most difficult questions to answer. Do they mean, "where I am from" right now, "when I am from" meaning where we grew up, or "where are you from" where we call home? This seems like it should be a simple question, but it is complex for us. Where we currently live is not where we would call "home". Where we currently reside is exactly what it is, a residence.
What kicked up this quandary? One of Adam's uncle's asked us "Where is home for you?" at one of the recent gatherings, and we really couldn't answer it other than wherever we are together. And it's absolutely true. As long as we are together, the world is good, we ARE home. Separated, I suppose home would be where our parents are, as we both refer to Johnstown (Adam) and New Hampshire (me) as home too.

If you have been following the saga of us for any amount of time, you will note that we have not lived ANYWHERE for more than two years. We lived in Hawaii for 4 years, but moved halfway through due to this "itch" of needing/wanting something different somewhere else. Fortunately, we both suffer from this disorder so we aren't driving each other crazy. In hindsight, Hawaii was the closest thing to us of feeling "at home" for either of us, and we are eager to return, but even there, we still had to move around. Where does my soul call home? I honestly don't know, either I haven't found it in a physical location or it is a place I cannot actually reside in. My happy place and place of absolute peace and happiness is about 30 feet under the ocean looking back up to the surface, watching the sun rays filter through and the waves roll over, with my amazing husband right beside me.

Though, I do really wonder if there is a physical "home". I know that I had a wonderful one provided to me by my awesome parents growing, and I am still completely comfortable being there and being with them, but I cannot say that I have had one since then. Honestly, I really  one either. I know that we are raised in a home, and the life goal is go grow up and create your own, but the further we go along, I don't know that creating a physical place to call home is a goal of ours. We absolutely thrive with our freedom, uncommitted (except to each other) lives, and passion for travel. It is what we work so hard for. We love new places, new experiences, and new views...having a permanent locale, a home, just doesn't meet that need.

I realize that this isn't the same for everyone, actually, I recognize that we are quite the rarity, especially within our given families. We just don't operate like that. We tried the homeownership thing. It was a lot of work, commitment, and obligation. Too much time was spent maintaining a location that we would rather spend elsewhere doing other things, and never spent much time at other than sleeping and maintaining.

What all of this is trying to say is, we are from nowhere and we are from everywhere. We once lived in many areas and we currently reside in a location that will become past tense at some point, another town on the growing list. Time spent in each locale has been wonderful, because we were together, growing and living an experiential and passionate life with each other. And Maia, the kitty. Each choice is thoughtful and intentional. We have absolutely no idea what the end point is and we really don't care. As the quote always goes, it's not about the finish line but rather about the journey taken to get there. We are not having our lives be on hold for "someday" or "eventually", every single day is the "someday" as we do not ever want to look back with regret on an opportunity not taken, or an experience not had. For us, this is us. Nomadic and blissful.

That being said, I am glad that our parents still have homes, and that our family and friends are building their own "homes", because that does give us a place to visit, a place to be familiar with. These homes serve as our constants, our bases. And maybe that is the point of all of this, my concept of home will never lie in a physical location, but in the people that occupy them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Johnstown and Horseshoes

It's that time of year again, the annual Adams Family Horseshoe Tournament! We ventured up Friday after work and spent a fine evening at the Elks with Mike and Dar followed by an evening snack at Coney Island. For those of you not familiar with Johnstown, Coney Island is an institution. Serving very basic burgers and hot dogs. This was only my second visit there in all the time that I have known Adam, as I was so off put the last time with the large lady stacking hot dog buns all the way up her bare arm and then filling them with hot dogs to serve. This is the secret ingredient I guess, and people LOVE this place. It is really known for its "sundowner" which is a cheeseburger with chili and a fried egg on it. Yes, heart attack on a bun. Again, it is much beloved and Adam is always asking to go when we are in town. This night I relented. Heck, I even tried a bite of the sundowner myself! ***SHOCK*** I don't understand the obsession, but I respect it. I can also now say that I have "been there, done that". Johnstown-ians look at you as though something is not right about you when you say that you have never experienced a sundowner.
This adventurous evening was followed by an absolutely gorgeous day of friends and family, horseshoes and good time out at the Adams abode. I didn't play because I was the referee with the whistle (OH MY GOD DO I LOVE HAVING THE WHISTLE) and "beer b*itch" making sure everyone had what they needed and keeping things civil...I LOVE THIS JOB. The tournament was followed by a family game of dingers and making moonpies around the fire. This was another first for me, moonpies, and the are AMAZING. They are white bread, sauce, cheese, and optional pepperoni, that are put together and placed in the fire to cook...think pizza. This is also a Western PA staple that I had apparently been missing out on. Two huge gastronomical feats in a single weekend.

Mom and her favorite...Michael?

Yes, I tried the sundowner...a single bite, mind you. We were ALL shocked.

Mayer men love their sundowners

Cousins love: Kayla, Gemma, and Adam

Amos and Uncle Kevin

Getting their tournament on: Kevin, Mark, Adam, and Brandon

Followed by the classic dingers: Uncle Kevin, Adam, Kevin, Brandon, Gemma, and Greyson

Family Style: Mike and Tasha vs. Tabitha and Uncle Kevin

We had to leave early Sunday morning to drive all the way out to Maryland's Eastern Shore for a Juniata event. President Kepple, the president who tenured over my and Adam's time at the college, retired last year and they hired a guy. Tom Kepple was an awesome president who did many great things for Juniata, and we were quite partial to him. He was the direct reason that Adam got his first government job out of school. The job that enabled us to move to Hawaii and afford us wonderful things in this life. He was also just a really great guy. Yes, we liked him a lot. This event was to introduce the new guy, Jim Troha, to the alumni (we have a large presence in the DC/Baltimore area). It was a nice luncheon out on the bay at a fellow alum's house, and we were able to mingle with other alum and spend some time with the new president. He seems like a great guy too, lots of potential, so I am hopeful for things to come for Juniata. This college will always hold a revered status in my heart, as it lead me to my dream guy and my dream life....and I just want everyone to wants to be able to have the same opportunity to experience such awesome things as we did. Ahhh, Juniata.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Millstone Cellars

Adam and I have been diverging a bit from out typical consumption and love of beer and wine. Don't get me wrong, we still thoroughly enjoy both, but we have been venturing into the ciders and meads lately, especially with Adam delving into making his own meads and I have been making true ginger beer. For his graduation present, my parents got Adam a bunch of supplies needed to start making mead at home and he is LOVING it. The first batch was a strawberry mead, apricot mead, and a plain honey mead. The strawberry mead was just bottled after months of fermenting and it is delicious. He wanted me to have a "brewing" project as well, to share the experience, so I took up ginger beer. This is not the stuff you buy off the shelf that is the equivalent of ginger ale, but packs quite an alcoholic punch and is amazingly delicious. I am currently on my 4th batch and I think that I am finally getting the process down and the flavoring fine tuned. It really is a lot of fun!
So, back to the point. We have really become interested in meads and small operations that are doing the same thing we are doing. We first came across Millstone Cellars at the Wine Festival at Pimlico in the Spring, and then again last month at a mead and cider tasting event we went to. Each time we came away with a couple of bottles because they are so tasty. Their location is a bit north of Baltimore, just far enough that it was slightly annoying to venture to just on its own, but when we found ourselves up there for Adam's Ferrari driving, we knew we had to go. GO HERE, IT IS AWESOME.
It is a small operation that just started up a couple of years ago run by a father, his son and daughter, and a daughter's friend from high school. That's it, and they produce 7000 gallons of mead and cider a year. The building they are housed in is literally an old millstone (thus the name) and is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. We were given a private tour (we were the only ones there) by the daughter, Sarah, and had an awesome time. We wandered throughout the entire building, her sharing both the history of the building and location, as well as their personal history in the business. After the tour, we did the complementary tasting (the entire experience is FREE), and ended up hanging out and just talking with her and the high school friend for a while...just a relaxing afternoon. While they are still up and coming, still working on renovating the building, you can completely envision them growing with their success, and the tasting room expanding. We told them that they needed an outdoor seating area with some charcuterie boards and fruit trays. Seriously, we could have easily spent all day there.
If you are ever in the area, and this intrigues you, please let us know, we would LOVE to accompany you!
The awesome building

Where the old water wheel use to be

Meads in the making, the old tasting room

Testing mixes for possible future production

So much cider and mead...happy place

Adam learning the trade

Friday, August 9, 2013

Adam and the Ferrari

Who isn't a fan of Groupon or LivingSocial deals? I don't know of anyone who wouldn't want to pay significantly less for something and these companies allow you just that. A few months ago, I was scouting through the Baltimore deals and came across one that allowed you to drive either a Ferrari or a Lamborghini around a race track. Adam was all over this deal!
We have scored some great opportunities through these websites: The Beer and Bacon Tasting, Annapolis Craft Brew Festival, Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ at National Harbor...ok, things that involve drinking apparently, as I review the list. That being said, both of these companies offer wonderful experiences that we are interested in and feeds my desire to be frugal with all things.
I cannot find the article that I read, but it was about how life is most meaningful and most sustained happiness felt when you acquire experiences instead of possessions. This fits Adam and I to a tee. If you ever visit our home, you will find it quite simple, us having adopted a minimalist approach to possessions with our constant need to move. We are all about getting out and experiencing everything that life has to offer and have a wonderful time doing it, not being bogged down by things.

Ferrari vs. Lamborghini...which will he chose????

The Ferrari it will be, waiting his turn

I have to admit, this looks good

Like a kid in a candy store

Pretty car

Unfortunately, the "track" was just a bunch of cones set up around a huge parking lot, so you were not able to go very fast. They also could stop your drive and kick you out if you squealed the tires, thus not as fun as it could be. Despite this, Adam got up to around 80 mph and had a great time. He also came away wanting one...surprise, surprise.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Family and Ocean City

Adam's family was heading down to Ocean City for a week of vacation, with us being "on the way" we were happy when his brother Michael and gf Johnna stopped in to spend the night. We absolutely love hosting people and showing them around, sharing things we love with them...thus why we ended up at Heavy Seas Brewery within ONE hour of their arrival to our apartment. Adam was excited to go back to this particular brewery because he 1.) likes the beer 2.) it is super close to our apt 3.) MOST IMPORTANTLY- MD had just implemented legislation that allowed breweries to fill growlers (think large refillable bottle of beer). Adam was practically dancing out the door. Fortunately, Michael and Johnna also both enjoy beer AND they had never done a brewery tour before, so it was good times by all.

My BELOVED Mayer boys

Brewery SUCCESS!

When they were leaving us the next day to head to the beach, they kept saying we should come down and welcomed us to crash in their room. Fortunes be had, I had Tuesday off and Adam's schedule is flexible, so we left after work on Monday and headed to Ocean City. The best part was that we didn't tell anyone that we were coming besides Michael and Johnna. Adam's parents and the Sabols pulled in about 5 minutes after we did, and everyone was super excited at our surprise appearance.
We hung out for a while enjoying some libations and snacks before venturing down to a favorite watering hole for more sustenance and SHUFFLEBOARD. If you are familiar with me, or this blog, you know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the game. Yeah, it took much convencing to get me to go. Dar (my mom-in-law) and I were partners and owned the table, kicking serious butt. It is such a fun game. We did eventually tire and had to put effort into losing. It was awesome.

Shuffleboard partners and MASTERS

Mother and son, vying for the win

My favoritest brother-in-law, he's pretty FANTASTIC

Adam getting his required dose of Sabol love

Me and my father-in-law, proud of our shuffleboard domination!

Out fun late night out was followed by a really nice and relaxing day spent visiting the Bischof family (Dad Mayer's side of the family) staying up the street and playing in the waves of the ocean. My entire being was jones-ing for sun, surf, and sand. We absolutely needed this trip. The water was ice cold, but it didn't matter and the numbness set in pretty quickly, we just needed to soak up some salt water. Every thing is so much better when you are in the ocean, there is something so indescribably therapeutic and cathartic about it. So it was a quick 24 hour trip to the shore, but awesome and worth it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

2013 Gold Cup Quarterfinals

Adam started playing soccer in-utero (not literally, but almost) and has always been a fan, due to his passion, my enthusiasm for the game continues to grow. Despite this, I really don't enjoy watching it on TV. No worries though, we are making it to the actual games which are so incredible! My obsession started when he took me to the Real Madrid game while in Spain last year, the crowds were just incredible. When we heard that the 2013 Gold Cup Quarter Finals were being played in Baltimore, us getting tickets was a given. United States versus El Salvador.
One would imagine that being in the US, and El Salvador being such a small country so very far away, that the US fans would greatly outnumber the El Salvadorian fans. One would be oh so very very wrong. We knew we were in for an interesting time when had to battle an obnoxious amount of traffic to get into the city, but none of the traffic were touting US flags. Oh no, lots and lots and LOTS of royal blue. The same was with the tailgating parties in the parking lot, and the mass of people we migrated to the stadium with, and then ALL around us. A very represented and proud people, and really fun to be in the camaraderie with.
There was such a HUGE outpouring of support and pride that Adam and I actually felt kind of bad that El Salvador lost...though we were ecstatic that the US won, it was mixed feelings due to the sadness of the majority of the crowd. One annoying feature of El Salvadorian celebration is that they throw their beer when their team scores. I am talking 22oz plastic cups. Full cups. $11 a beer cups. Everywhere. Every goal. Fortunately Adam was spared and I just got a little splashed. Many MANY people ended up very drenched and very sticky.

The blue are not cheering for the US team

Awesome view from our seats

The El Salvador rowdy fan base

The rowdy US fan base