A very happy holiday season, indeed!

It has been quite an eventful week! Matt and I had a good chunk of time off this past weekend (I had a four-day, he had a three-’n'-half-day), which was spent frolicking around Maryland and generally having a great time.

I got to meet another internet friend this past Thursday! Bethany (Beatnik Betty) and I have been LiveJournal friends for ages. Seriously, I don’t even remember when we became friends — it had to have been at least four years ago. She lived in DC before Matt and I moved up, but she ended up moving to Portland a few months before we got up here, so we never had the chance to meet! Recently, she came back to DC to pursue a new job opportunity in Baltimore (which she greatly deserves and where she is thoroughly kicking ass), and we finally met one another!

Jane, Bethany, me, and Ilya… my first time meeting all of them!

It was a really fun night, and I’m looking forward to hanging with her again. :)

(Ilya is from the internet, too! Looks like I’ll have to count up just how many people I’ve met and see if I managed to nix off #23!)

It’s such a bizarre feeling, knowing so much about someone strictly because of the internet and finally getting to greet that person face to face. If you’ve never done that before, it’s akin to having a best (albeit imaginary) friend that you’ve never hugged before, only to finally get to and know that this person is real. Such a cool experience, especially when that friend is as cool as Bethany.

Friday was spent cleaning the house in preparation for our realtor’s wife (who is a mortgage loan officer — meant to be, am I right?), who came over to get our signatures for a refinance on our home. We only bought the house in February, but with the refi, we managed to cut our interest rate by 0.65%, which was fantastic! While things are financially tight around here for a little bit as a result, it’s going to help us out so much in the long run. And we love working with Mike DeHaut and his wife, so that was an added bonus.

Saturday, Christmas Eve, was pretty quiet. We had been lighting the candles all through Chanukah, and after doing so that night, we settled in for a tradition that started with my family and that I force Matt to continue at home: Watching Christmas Vacation by the light of our Yule tree and laughing maniacally to the whole Jelly Club rant! I swear, that movie never gets old. Matt immediately followed it up with The Hebrew Hammer, which I predict is going to be a new tradition in our house, haha.

When, you know, the future kiddies go to bed.

I’m pretty sure we’re not gonna let them watch that movie until they’re at least sixteen.

Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

And finally, Christmas Day! We planned on having a pretty relaxing day, but it seriously kicked off running, starting with a get-together at a Chinese restaurant in Rockville with a friend of Matt’s and his wife. Oh, yes. We got your Jewish Christmas right here! We filled up on more MSG than we probably should have stomached and chatted a bit about their baby boy, who is due anytime next month!

We started feeling exhausted on our drive home, but somehow managed to get the energy to drop off gingerbread cookies to the neighbors we’ve met since we lived here. We were able to personally wish a happy holiday to three of the four homes we visited, and they all invited us in, even for a short time, to chat a bit and, in the case of two families, meet their relatives.

The last house we visited was a family who I admit is my favorite on the block. They have two adorable little girls, aged six and almost three, and their parents, John and Megan, are just all-around kickass. When we dropped off their cookies, Megan asked us what we were doing for the holidays, and we said something about probably just going back home and having a quiet evening. There was NO HAVING THAT, of course, so she invited us in for drinks and to meet their crazy relatives! As they gave us full glasses of red wine, Megan announced to everyone, “These are our neighbors, Matt and Steph. They’re all alone for Christmas!

And it just kind of went from there, lol.

It was a wonderful time! Sure, there was the fact that John, and pretty much everyone else, was three sheets to the wind, but after meeting his father-in-law (who referred to Barack Obama’s daughters as “the little bitches” and complained about wasting government funds even after learning that my husband works for the most poorly-funded faction of the federal government…), I totally understood why. We were poured a second glass of wine by John as his father-in-law told us WWI stories and used at least one racial slur or wisecrack about government money every other line.

I was pretty impressed that he didn’t say anything about Matt being Jewish (and I quietly kept my Paganism under wraps), but we learned that he had a Jewish friend who passed away earlier this year, so I guess he didn’t have anything to say about Jews then and there.

Oh! Speaking of religion, John asked me at some point (away from his father-in-law, ha) if I was Pagan! I was like, uh…? A few weeks ago, I was wearing a shirt I had bought in Salem with the wheel of the year on it, and he recognized it! Apparently, he was a Pagan while growing up, and though he doesn’t celebrate the Sabbats too much anymore, he still regards himself a Pagan, and we had a good ol’ time talking about converting as teenagers and the ridiculous things we did back then.

“Ha! Did you cast a circle and everything?”
“TOTALLY. And I did spells pretty regularly until I was about 18!”
“Dude, we were so young and ridiculous back then…!”

Shirt looks a lot like this, actually.

All in all, it was a great weekend! We have some plans coming up for the new year — spending some time with my cousin and his family in Bethesda — and we’re looking forward to 2012 and the many plans we have ahead of us. :)

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and have a very happy New Year coming up!

Oh yeah, and as for Chanukah? We actually made it through all eight nights! Thank you, iPhone, for capturing this moment. Proof that it did, in fact, happen. ;)

*****

ETA before this post posts automatically: Oh my god, and today! TODAY! Awesome attorney-boss and I often talk about random stuff, one of which is scuba diving. I don’t remember if this came up before or after showing him my 30 Before 30 list, but we had long talks about his scuba diving escapades and his love of sharks. Seriously, sharks! The kind of stuff that would make Matt’s skin crawl, lol.

Anyway, for the holidays, awesome attorney-boss kept talking about an inspirational gift. I was thoroughly confused until, after being told where it was, I received this:

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

Seriously, cue the spazz-attack I had! Under wraps, of course, because I’m at work and all, but still! Scuba diving is on my List, and to have this kind of, well… inspiration is just…! Just!! I’m still kind of coming down from the high of checking out these pictures and these beautiful places to someday hopefully visit!

(I don’t think there was a single non-exclamation-pointed sentence just then. If that gives you ANY INDICATION of my excitement. :D )

After thanking him for the book, he said, “Now go get certified.” You don’t have to tell me twice! I’ve been researching some local dive instruction places ever since. (Though I honestly may wait until a trip to visit family in Florida to do this. Maybe even in the Keys? Yes, please, as I’ve never been!)

Matt’s reaction, by the way, when I told him about the book and my subsequent spazzing? “Hah, cool! Now if only I wasn’t scared shitless of a) sharks, and b) deep water.” Well… at least I can still dive, right? ;)

Special Beginnings

Matt and I have been tossing around the idea of trying for a baby at some point, and considering my complete objection to a hospital birth unless something dire were to happen, we’ve been researching other options. I’m most partial to a homebirth, but I’ve found it rather difficult to find a homebirth midwife in my area, so we’ve been searching around for birth centers.

One of them is about 30 minutes from our house: Special Beginnings in Arnold. We learned that they had guided Motherhood Experience tours, so we decided, well… why not! Better to plan now than later, right?

Our tour was at 7pm, and we thought we would be the only ones there. To our surprise, the waiting room (then the classroom) was packed! Most were already expecting, but Matt and I were there just to explore our options. A bit after 7pm, a nurse midwife, David, came in and talked to us a bit about what the birth center does, his philosophies on pregnancy and birth, and how “labor day” would go.

I should probably warn you right now — as if you didn’t already know! ;) — that I’m a rather crunchy person, especially when it comes to labor and childbirth. I’m pro-natural birth, pro-breastfeeding, pro-homebirth, pro-birth center, pro-cloth diapering, pro-attachment parenting, pro-cosleeping… pretty much the whole nine yards.

But these are my decisions, and I would never, ever say that my decisions are any better than or superior to those of another woman. Like in many other ways, I’m pro-empowerment, so whatever way you want to do it, I’m absolutely down for that.

Anyway! Down off my soapbox and back to the babies!

That all being said, I really appreciated what David was saying and how the birth center operates. They encourage laboring at home until contractions are about 5 minutes apart for an hour, then have you(r partner!) drive to the center. There, you’re greeted at the door and led to one of three birthing rooms of your choosing, which are all done up to look like actual bedrooms instead of hospital rooms. Baby blankets are warmed, tubs are filled if wanted, and you can bring your own music, food, and other stuff to make yourself comfortable while there.

Then… the fun starts! They have several options for laboring, from birthing tubs to jacuzzis, birthing stools to balls, and of course, a bed (that doesn’t come apart! It’s an actual bed!) at your disposal. You can labor as long as you need, cervical checks are rare, and a midwife will come in every 30 minutes or so to check on the baby’s heart rate with a doppler. Otherwise, you’re pretty much left alone.

They hold very strong stances on skin-to-skin, not taking the baby away from the momma for at least two hours, breastfeeding, and other “crunchy” stuff… all of which I absolutely want to achieve with our eventual baby. I also really loved his demeanor — I would not be at all disappointed if David one day ended up being my midwife!

And of course, they’re not even 5 minutes away from Anne Arundel Medical Center, so if anything does go wrong (and it very rarely does in the case of low-risk pregnancies), they’re just a short drive away.

AAMC, by the way, has some abysmal cesarean rates for 2008-2009: 38.4%! While not the worst in Maryland — that honor goes to GBMC with 44.8% in 2008-2009 — it’s ridiculous compared to the birth center, which has a very low rate of emergency cesareans: “Extremely rare” according to their website, and 8% according to David.

That is one of the main reasons why I don’t want to go to a hospital. Aside from the whole “I fucking hate hospitals” thing, I’m incredibly nervous about interventions of any and every sort. That nervousness would turn into anxiety, which is very likely to turn into a panic attack… so if I can avoid that, then that’s obviously for the better!

Not to mention that cesareans are major abdominal surgery, and it would only be a consideration for me in case of an emergency (and I’m not stupid — it IS on the table, but only in that situation). That plus the facts that cesareans are on the rise and that one in three babies are already delivered via cesarean, makes me incredibly wary of hospitals.

I wouldn’t be sick, yo.

Oh god, more soapboxing! ANYWAY.

We ended up learning a lot from that one visit, and the brief tour we had also made me think that it might not be so bad to give birth there after all. I mean, I would strongly prefer at home over every other option, and I’m going to continue searching for a midwife in the area who will do a homebirth… but if it came down to a birth center? I’d actually clamor for Special Beginnings. :)

Oh, and why the hell not. ;)

Recipe: Tofu in Peanut-Ginger Sauce

When Matt’s out of town, as he is this week, I consider it “me time” in the kitchen. Two reasons for this: First, I can make whatever the eff I want, and on that note, I typically try out a new recipe or two in that week. Second, I can make huge batches of whatever it is, knowing full well that I’ll be the one eating it.

Which means… I can make tofu galore!

This is one, though, that I’m absolutely sure that Matt will love. It combines tender bits of tofu, delicious sauteed mushrooms, delicate wilted spinach, and zesty scallions. Oh, and let’s not forget the peanut butter or, my favorite… fresh grated ginger. Lots of it.

Ingredients

Sauce:

* 5 tbsp. water
* 4 tbsp. smooth natural peanut butter
* 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar or white vinegar
* 4 tsp. Trader Ming’s Soyaki (or equivalent)
* 2 tsp. agave nectar
* 3 tsp. minced ginger (plus more to taste)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced

Tofu and Vegetables:

* 14 oz. extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
* 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 package portobello mushroom slices
* 2 generous handfuls baby spinach (about 4 oz.)
* 4 scallions, sliced (about 1 cup)

Method

1. Slice the tofu, already pressed and drained, into 1/2-inch thick cubes.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook in a single layer without stirring, until pieces turn golden brown on the bottom. Gently stir and continue cooking until all sides are golden brown.

3. While the tofu is cooking, prepare the sauce: Whisk together water, peanut butter, rice or white vinegar, Soyaki, agave nectar, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl.

4. Add mushrooms to the pan with the tofu, sauteeing lightly for a few minutes until slightly wet on the outside. Add spinach until slightly wilted, then scallions, and finally peanut sauce. Continue stirring until all vegetables are cooked, only a couple minutes longer.

A week of updates!

I have been horrible with updating this week, but it’s for good reason, I promise. I was out of the house every day from about 7am to 10pm, and had an incredibly busy weekend to boot. It was a fantastic week, though!

This whole week was spent volunteering as an orchestra member for a local summer opera workshop. In case you don’t know, I’m a violinist, have been since I was 13. I only started playing recently up here in Baltimore, but I’ve been finding opportunities all over the place, which is great! This one came about from a mutual contact, and I was more than happy to help out.

We did some selections from Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Magic Flute. I had never played for an opera before, but I had played in the pit for musicals before, so I imagined it wasn’t too much different. In some ways it was wildly different, and in others, very much the same.

Some excerpts:

Papageno Papagena (from Magic Flute) (start at about 0:45!)

Toreador (from Carmen)

It was a TON of fun, and I’m so glad I did it! Sure, it was exhausting (rehearsals were from 7pm – 10pm every night), but I love participating in this kind of stuff.

Matt and I had a lot of great conversations the end of this week and through the weekend about future plans and goals. I’m not ready to discuss them here, but it was a significant part of the past week, so I thought I’d mention it.

On Friday, I was at work getting some stuff done, and had to get my mail for the day. Nestled in there was a packet from NALA. I started getting very nervous about it — if you’re not aware, I spent months preparing for the NALA Certified Paralegal exam. It was a goal I had since I started my Legal Studies degree, and I finally resolved to take it after I had a couple years of experience under my belt.

The CP exam consists of five sections: Communications, Legal Research, Ethics, Judgment and Analytical Ability, and the American Legal System (with five sub-parts consisting of substantive legal questions). Some had essays as well. Many people consider it the “mini-Bar”, as it’s an intense two-day test that covers the whole gamut and then some.

The packet had a window in the envelope, and the first thing I saw was “Stephanie A. Fox, CP.” I swear to you guys, my hands started shaking and my heart started racing right then and there. I had fully anticipated failing at least one of the sections, so I was prepared for a letter to come in saying I needed to retake it.

But y’all. I peeked deeper into that window and found the one word I was hoping I’d see: “Congratulations!” And that’s when I lost it.

I ran back to my desk, not telling anyone before I had the chance to scan and email the acceptance letter to both Matt and my supervising attorney. Then I ran downstairs to burn off the energy that had built as a result, called Matt… and came back upstairs to share the news with others.

It was a fantastic day, and I feel so proud of myself for having reached my goal! It was a grueling test (10+ hours of testing!), but it was entirely worth it to see my certificate and to officially call myself a certified paralegal. ;)

Finally! My lease was finally up last month, and I had until 20 July to buy out my 2008 Mazda3. I had full intention on doing so, so I did all the steps to achieve that: Went for an inspection, got the wiper blades replaced, and got all my paperwork together. Then we got to the lot.

Matt came with me, and when I approached the salesman who was going to help me buy out the lease, he asked, “So… just curious, what are your deals on new cars?” Apparently, they were selling 2011 Mazda3s for 0.0% APR for qualified buyers. Since we had gone there with other intentions but didn’t want to go for it entirely without checking out our options (and really, at Matt’s prodding, haha), we decided to check it out.

Long story short, for a bit more a month and for a lot more amenities than my 2008 (like power windows and locks! I don’t even know how to use them yet!), I ended up driving home with a brand new car! They gave me an awesome trade-in deal considering what I had to start with, I didn’t have to pay for any mileage as I bought the car then traded it in (technically), and I got a car that I am incredibly happy with.

Check it, yo! My little Silvira! The name actually comes from a friend of mine, who said that “because I imagine that’s what silver would look like if it crossed over into the dark side. Hahaha! Silver + Elvira = Silvira.” What can I say, it stuck! ;)

Oh yes, we also got to watch HP7P2, which was FANTASTIC and y’all need to see it if you haven’t yet. It doesn’t follow the book too closely, so ignore that… but if you watch it just as a movie, it’s great.

So… good week, if a bit long, and very eventful! I hope y’all had a wonderful week as well, and now I’m off to follow up on your own blogs!

2:11am

In a feeble attempt to calm her nerves, she focuses instead on the red numbers from the digital clock that illuminates the kitchen as they walk by. Wow, it is late, she thinks absentmindedly.

He follows only a few steps behind her, and she wonders if he can smell the day campers and movie theatre popcorn on her clothes… or if, beyond all that, he can smell her apprehension. She really has nothing to fear — they had been hanging out together for a couple weeks, and he was nothing but friendly, gentle, and kind — but she can’t help but feel that something is coming, that wheels are turning.

The doorknob feels cool in her hand as she clasps it, a strange feeling considering the Florida summer heat outside. Even in the dead of night, temperatures hover in the lower 90s, so the cool knob must be a result of her warm skin from flushing so often that evening. She shakes the thought out of her mind, the way he sat next to her during Batman Begins and how she couldn’t remember a single thing from the movie but could remember every nuance about how he ate his candy and how his elbow just barely brushed her arm so as to give her goosebumps and how his cologne made her swoon as he leaned over and mentioned something about the plot (without actually hearing what he had said), and swings the door open.

He stands in the doorway, smiling his soft smile and hanging his hands by his sides. He is typically so fidgety, so to see him do nothing means something is up. A warm breeze blows over them, wafting his cologne in her direction and making her knees weak.

“I know we go to different colleges, but I really want to make a long-distance thing work,” he says quietly, looking into her eyes and searching for a sign of agreement.

Just a few days prior, they were at the beach, walking back to his car as a summer rain rolled in from the west and merged with the crashing waves upon the shoreline. The warm droplets, little beads of sunshine, coursed through their hair and down their bodies as they walked through the sand, so deep in conversation that the rain went unnoticed. It would be several months later when he would tell her that it was that summer rain, the way she walked through it without a care in the world, focusing only on him and laughing the whole way… that he had fallen in love.

She can feel her body quake and prays that he can’t see by the light of the moon shining through the open door. After some hesitation, she raises her head and locks eyes with his: “I was thinking the same thing.”

A huge smile spreads over his face as he cups her face in his hands and kisses her quivering lips.

As she floats from the front door back to her bedroom, the sound of his car unconsciously registering in her brain, she catches sight of the red numbers again: 2:11am. This time, the number is burned into her memory forever. The number — and the kiss — that changes her life.

Today is Matt’s and my six-year dating anniversary. Every year, on 25 June at 2:11am, we celebrate with a kiss, reminiscent of our first one in my parents’ doorway. This year, we’ll be sharing a kiss as husband and wife. :)

Happy anniversary, baby. I love you.

Coexisting isn’t always easy.

Sometimes, coexisting is actually really hard. And can result in some heated debates.

Matt and I argued about food yesterday, from our different diets (which  isn’t typically a problem but holy crap yesterday) to how to raise healthy kids with healthy diets, and pretty much everything in between. Of course, we started when we got to bed at 10pm, and probably passed out (finally!) around midnight. I am exhausted this morning!

Anyway, the end result is this: We still have to  figure out what we want to do about kids, since Matt’s okay with them eating meat every day and I’m all, no, no more than twice a week. And no chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs, lol. ;) I know, that’s being a bit utopian, but if my kids are going to have meat, it’s going to be quality meat, okay?

Chickens are not naturally shaped like dinosaurs.
Don’t let Tyson’s fool you.

As far as meals are concerned… we’ve come up with a plan. This coming week, Matt’s going to be out of  town and, aside from work, I have nothing going on but my paralegal exams coming up. (Will probably have a freakout post over the weekend.) During that week, I’m going to pick between 6 and 8 veg*n recipes that I  think Matt would enjoy, and will have him choose three of them — two vegetarian, one vegan — for me to cook the following week.

Why are we doing this? Two reasons. First, we really need some kind of  system in place where we can go to the supermarket/farmer’s market/Amish market and get fresh ingredients for a purpose, not just to have them  and “maybe we’ll do something with them.” We waste a lot of food that way, and I’ve been wanting to do weekly menus for years to combat this issue. Matt is FINALLY on board, so I’m snatching up the opportunity while I can.

Second, Matt said he’d try more vegetarian dishes if I cooked them more often, but here’s the problem: He’s really picky. He says he isn’t, but he really is, especially when it comes to vegetarian dishes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suggested things to him and he’d say, “No, that doesn’t sound good” or “I’m not really in the mood for [insert ONE ingredient that completely tosses out the whole recipe here].” Having him choose from a series of recipes will make him partially responsible for what we (read: I) make that week, and I have  some pressure relieved from my own shoulders from having to be so damn creative all the time.

Of course, I’ll be sharing these recipes with you, and documenting along the way. Hopefully our trials and tribulations with living in a coexisting home will work to your advantage, and you won’t end up with arguments when you’re supposed to be sleeping. :)

Do you have any recipes that you’d recommend we try? My Google-fu and other blogs that I read offer a plethora of ideas, but I like to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak)!

Fitness Friday: 8-Min Abs to a rock-hard bod.

I’m not feelin’ so fine lately, so today starts my 30-day 8-Min Abs challenge!
I did this once before, a month or so before Matt’s and my wedding. As the days wore on and my patience stretched thin, I started noticing two amazing things: We’re talking a huge change from where I began, and not only in my body. I wanted to eat better, drink more water, and otherwise stay healthy while doing this challenge, so that helped me with the Second: My abs were INSANE. I’m talking, even though they were still covered by a little residual layer of fluff, what was underneath was rock hard. AWESOME.
Unfortunately, since then, I haven’t done nearly as many ab exercises, limiting my physical activity to running around the firm (seriously, you can work of a sweat doing that!) and yoga on Saturday mornings. The other day, I checked myself in the mirror and noticed that I wasn’t as toned anymore as I was just before our wedding… even though I had lost weight since then. I had obviously lost some muscle in that weight!
 Obviously not my abs, though I wish.
As a result, I’ve decided to start the challenge back up again. This time, I’m adding a twist: I noticed last time that the challenge became less and less of one, as my abs started to adjust to the level of exercise they were receiving. So this time, I’ll be doing a regular set of 8-Min Abs in the evenings, then halfway through, doing two sets, one in the morning and one in the evening.
I’ll also be featuring some lighter vegetarian recipes during Meatless Monday this month — and I promise, they won’t (all) be salads.
Sure, the video is cheesy and the attire is retro (well, to us New Boomers/Millennials, at least), but it really is a great workout! If you want to try the challenge with me, below is the video I use. I’ll be posting here with my progress every Friday, and I look forward to hearing how y’all are doing, too!

Concert at Peabody Conservatory’s Griswold Hall

We’re getting internet on 11 March at home, thank heavens. While I love this little coffeeshop (Caribou Cafe, in case any of you are local), it’s a bit cumbersome to have to drive all the way out here just to get some internet. And delicious coffee, of course, but chiefly the internet, haha.

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything planned quite yet for Meatless Monday or Theological Thursday coming up. We just moved in last Thursday, and have been scrambling ever since to get things put away, furniture decided, and utilities installed (hence our internet installation date). Work, yoga class, and orchestra rehearsals thankfully remain constants, but otherwise, our schedules are completely turned upside down. Hopefully they’ll start to level off in the coming week, and I can get back to regular posting. There’s so much I still want to tell you guys about!

In the meantime, some news on the orchestral front: I was recently asked by the conductor of my community orchestra, the Baltimore Philharmonia, to help him and a cello professor in an upcoming recital. Of course, I said yes, and that was even before I knew where it’d be.

Um, the freakin’ PEABODY CONSERVATORY. Hell to the yes, I’ll help out!

He gave me the repertoire that evening (YouTube videos below), and I still have yet to practice thanks to aforementioned Busy Week From Gods Know Where. Fortunately, it’s not ridiculous, but they are challenging pieces that I’ll definitely need to work on before they’re perfect for next week.

Anyway, the rehearsals are Monday and Wednesday afternoons, with concert Wednesday early evening. I’m so excited to help out, and hope that this leads to even more opportunities!

Russlan & Ludmilla Overture
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka

Concerto for Violoncello in c minor, Op. 66 (1/3)
Nikolai Yakovlevich Myaskovsky
Concerto for Violoncello in c minor, Op. 66 (2/3)
Nikolai Yakovlevich Myaskovsky
Concerto for Violoncello in c minor, Op. 66 (3/3)
Nikolai Yakovlevich Myaskovsky

TurDunkin’. Yes, I’m serious.

This hot mess was featured on LiveJournal’s trashy_eats earlier this week, complete with recipe:

Upon reading the description (below), Matt turned to me and said, “I’m serious. That sounds awesome.”

My freakin’ husband, ladies and gentlemen.

The turDunkin’ is a turkey brined in Dunkin’ Donuts coolattas, stuffed with munchkins and served with coffee gravy and mashed hash browns. The turDunkin’ should not be confused with the hot meaty mess that is a turducken, which is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken.

Post-Theological Thursday: New Homes: Under Contract!

Remember the post about the new moon, and how it was a great time for anyone to put new actions in motion? If you recall, Matt and I put an offer on a townhome not even a quarter-mile from where we currently live, and we got the call back yesterday that they’ve accepted our offer. We’re officially under contract for our own home!

While the home is higher than our original budget, it’s still a steal considering what we’re getting. The sellers priced it a bit lower than anticipated as they’re anticipating a fast move, and we decided it was best to offer their asking price with closing cost help, and we got it! Thank heavens, too, as they had two showings scheduled yesterday that they canceled after they took our offer. Talk about close calls.

Anyway, below are some photos of the home! I’ll also detail some of the specs so you know what we’re getting into. Long story short, though, we’re incredibly happy with the home and we can’t wait to settle and move in!

 
From the front. End-unit townhome that backs to woods!
 
Foyer/sitting room.

 
Front door and half bath.
 
Kitchen(!!) and dining area.
 
Bumpout, which the current owners converted into a family room.
 
Staircase (that spirals!).
 
Master bedroom with vaulted ceilings and his/her closets.
What you can’t see is the incredibly bathroom, which totally sold Matt!
Double vanities, soaking tub, separate shower… the works.
 
Guest room.
 
Another bedroom or office.
 
Basement with gym equipment, which may or may not stay, and entertainment area.
 
Door from basement leading to the backyard.
 
HUGE backyard. And the woods!
 
Stairs from backyard to 2nd-level deck.
 
And the back!

Listing Price Information

  • Low Price: $329,999
  • Original Price: $329,999

Bedroom Information

  • 1st Upper Floor Beds: 3

Flooring Information

  • Master Bedroom: Carpet
  • Bedroom #2: Carpet
  • Bedroom #3: Carpet
  • Family Room: Carpet
  • Kitchen: Ceramic Tile
  • Living Room: Carpet
  • Breakfast Room: Ceramic Tile
  • Foyer: Ceramic Tile
  • Recreation Room: Carpet

Basement Information

  • Has Basement
  • Full
  • Fully Finished
  • Heated
  • Improved
  • Outside Entrance
  • Rear Entrance
  • Rough Bath Plumbing
  • Walkout Level
  • Walkout Stairs
  • Windows
  • Workshop
  • Sump Pump
  • Connect Stair
  • Outside Entrance
  • Rear Entrance

Additional Rooms

  • Living Room
  • Master Bedroom
  • Bedroom #2
  • Bedroom #3
  • Kitchen
  • Recreation Room
  • Family Room
  • Other Room 1
  • Foyer
  • Breakfast Room
  • Sun/Florida Room
  • Game/Exercise Room
  • Workshop

Property Information

  • Parcel #: 350
  • Condition: Shows Well
  • # of Blocks to Ocean: 16+
  • Tax Legal Subdivision: PINEY ORCHARD
  • Transportation: Commuter Rail (1 mile)
  • Transportation: Airport (5-10 Miles)
  • Transportation: Other
  • Has Public Road
  • Phase (Legal): 3
  • Folio #: 29
  • Election District: 4
  • Zoning: R5

Location Information

  • Directions: Piney Orchard Parkway to Piscatawy Run to Susquehannock Circle — Great Location to Fort Meade, NSA, Annapolis, DC, Baltimmore, MARC

Community Features

  • Basketball Courts
  • Bike Trail
  • Club House
  • Common Grounds
  • Community Center
  • Jogging/Walking Path
  • Pool (Outdoor)
  • Tot Lots/Playground

Documents & Disclosures

  • Property Disclaimer
  • Property Disclosure

Dining & Kitchen

  • Family Room Off Kitchen
  • Country Kitchen
  • Kitchen/Dining Combination
  • Island in Kitchen
  • Table Space in Kitchen
  • Other (See Remarks)
  • Separate Dining Room

Heating & Cooling

  • Forced Air Heat
  • Natural Gas Heating
  • Ceiling Fan(s)
  • Central A/C
  • Electric Cooling

Water & Sewer

  • Public Sewer
  • Public Water
  • Hot Water: Natural Gas

Building Information

  • # of Buildings: 1
  • # of Units: 1
  • Model: END UNIT GORGEOUS !
  • Building Floors: 3
  • Vacation Home
  • Vinyl Siding

Water Property Information

  • Body of Water: CHESAPEAKE BAY
  • On the Waterfront
  • Navigable Water
  • Riparian Rights Convey: No

Homeowners Association Information

  • Has Homeowners Association
  • Fee: $81.25
  • Fee Payment Frequency: Quarterly

Finances & Fees

  • Tax Year: 2010
  • Total Taxes: $3,700.77
  • Total Taxes Frequency: Annually
  • County Tax: $3,425.77
  • County Tax Frequency: Annually
  • Refuse Fee: $275.00
  • Possession: Close Date (0-30 Days)
  • Possession: Immediate
  • Possession: Negotiable
  • Possession: Settlement

Listing Information

  • Listing Date: Friday, December 10, 2010
  • Status Change Date: Friday, December 10, 2010 6:13 PM
  • Type: Exclusive Right To Sell
  • Not a Potential Short Sale

Bathroom Information

  • Main Floor Baths (1/2): 1
  • 1st Upper Floor Baths (Full): 2

Interior Features

  • Dry Wall
  • High Ceilings
  • Foyer Entrance
  • Living Room Entrance
  • Has Attic
  • Master Bathroom (Attached)
  • Double Vanities
  • Drapes/Curtains
  • Master Bath (Separate Shower)
  • Master Bath (Separate Tub)
  • Master Bedroom (Full Bath)
  • Master Walk-In Closet
  • Other
  • Shades/Blinds
  • Sump Pump
  • Tub (2+ Person)
  • Tub (Soaking)
  • Wall-to-Wall Carpeting
  • Walk-in Closet(s)
  • Washer/Dryer Hookup
  • Floor Plan (Open)
  • Floor Plan (Traditional)

Handicap Features

  • Low Pile Carpeting
  • Other

Room Level Information

  • Master Bedroom: Upper 1
  • Bedroom #2: Upper 1
  • Bedroom #3: Upper 1
  • Family Room: Lower 1
  • Kitchen: Main
  • Living Room: Main
  • Breakfast Room: Main
  • Foyer: Main
  • Recreation Room: Lower 1

Parking & Garage

  • # of Assigned Spaces: 2
  • Parking Included in List Price
  • Assigned

Lot Information

  • Lot #: 21
  • Acres (Lot Area): 0.050735
  • Backs to Trees
  • Lot Premium
  • Bump-Outs
  • Decks (Multiple)
  • Extensive Hardscape
  • Fenced (Fully)
  • Fenced (Rear)
  • Other Exterior Feature
  • Patio
  • Privacy Fence
  • Secure Storage
  • Near Bay

Condo/Co-op Information

  • # of Floors in Unit: 1

Assessment Information

  • Year: 2010
  • Total Assessment: $345,340.00
  • Total Assessment Frequency: Annually
  • Land Assessment: $190,000.00
  • Land Assessment Frequency: Annually
  • Improvement Assessment: $155,340.00
  • Improvement Assessment Frequency: Annually