Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Relationship Update

I went to visit Greg for two and a half weeks and had a wonderful time. We spent lots of time just hanging out with friends, talking, playing games and of course, going to football games!

I arrived Friday night and we headed straight to Dragon*Con to go see Valerie and Tyler and to see all the crazy costumes that people wear! Feel free to browse my Dragon*Con photo album. It was so much fun to check out all the costumes and just people watch. I want to go next year and stay for the whole weekend. We didn't stay the whole weekend this time because we were scheduled to go to the first Georgia Bulldogs game of the season...

While I was getting ready on Saturday morning, Greg surprised me with a piece of jewelry! A necklace with one charm that said "My Heart Belongs to" and the other has a Georgia logo on it. I told him it was true in a sense. Unsurprisingly, my Georgia fan of a boyfriend has given me two gifts that are Bulldog-related. The first is my favorite teddy bear, Harrington, who sports a super-cute Georgia hooded sweatshirt.

Greg with a fellow newbie... Miller!

The game started at 12:30, so we started tailgating around 9:30. It was my first time ever tailgating, so I shared that honor with the two other new people at tailgating: babies who were born this past spring!! :-)

These Georgia Bulldog fans go all out! Here's a picture of the spread they had from our second game:

Steph in her Georgia gear by the snack table

The games we went to were smaller games, but FULL of people! A sea of red wherever you looked! And man, oh man, they were hoooooooooot! Both Saturdays, the temperature was about 90! We slathered ourselves in sunscreen because his seats in the first row of the visitors side right at the 50 yard line and in full sunlight the whole game. By the end of the game, we were both drenched in sweat! Mmmmm.... sexy... We got home and showered and just collapsed. Being in the sun all day is exhasting. Here's a picture towards the end of the second game (and you can see the necklace!)

Steph & Greg after a loooong, hot game

Other than football, we ended up hanging out a lot with his friends playing games, both board games and some Rock Band! That was super-fun and I got a chance to practice my drum skills, so now I'm getting decent at the foot pedal and can do the double and triple bass kicks. I can definitely tell that I'm getting better.

I also had a chance to cook for Greg a bunch and his dad a couple times. His dad is really sweet and was very kind to me the whole visit. I can see why Greg likes him so much. We invited Greg's dad and sister (who was in town the last weekend I was there) over for dinner and to watch the Bulldog game on TV. I made my favorite beef stew on the planet (Barefoot Contessa's recipe called "Parker's Beef Stew") and it was a huge hit. They all loved it, even Greg, who doesn't care for onions all that much.

Overall, it was a great visit... I was worried about spending that much time together, but it was better than I expected. I went out for "Girls' Night Out" one Thursday with some of his girlfriends and one of them said, "I was telling my husband, 'If they haven't killed each other after spending two weeks together, that's a good sign!' " Greg has never lived with a woman before, so I know I was probably encroaching his space, especially since he's a bit neater than I am, but he said that he liked it. We make a good team at home too! I do the cooking and he does all the cleaning! It works out great!

After three months of dating, I still am amazed by what a great person he is. He's sweet and thoughtful and I love him. And I told him so. He's so wonderful, it's hard to imagine not loving him. It's different from anything I've felt before. In fact, he's a walking version of my "Ideal Husband List." We don't fight, in fact, we hardly ever have disagreements. Not all that surprising considering we agree about all major subjects. That alone is completely different from being with Jason and some of the guys I've dated over the last couple years. And I like it. I like not feeling at odds with my boyfriend. It's relaxing and it makes it so easy to talk to him. He doesn't get upset when I bring up anything and likes to talk about whatever might be bothering me. I really appreciate that about him.

I'm happy that he's coming out to visit me in a couple weeks. Our plans will probably consist of hanging with friends and some gaming. I'm trying to figure out some other "L.A." stuff for us to do... I'm planning on going to see him for Thanksgiving after BGG.CON.

Another thing we did while I was there was spend time discussing a book I borrowed from my friend Chia called The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do". We're not engaged, but since we're both interested in getting married, we thought those questions would be good ones to discuss. The book is split up into several chapters that have questions about your home, money, work, sex, health & food, children, community & friends, and spiritual life. We started covering a few of the questions, but it's going to be an on-going project. Some of the questions are no-brainers, but they are all things you should discuss with your partner. So far, it's been fun going through them together. I think we're going to have to start doing some over the phone too, otherwise, it'll take forever to get through the book.

I'm curious how the next few months will go. I'm looking forward to seeing him more and more and extremely thankful for my job which allows me the flexibility to stay with him and work from his home. I shudder to think how awful it would be having my old job and not being able to see him nearly as much. I would be very, very sad. As it is, I'm hoping we'll start talking more than we have been lately, but I think it's more of a question about setting aside time for each other because we both have pretty busy schedules. I think our relationship will continue to improve as we get to know each other more and more! I know I'm certainly looking forward to the process!

Friday, September 26, 2008

From the TiVo to my iPod

I've been using the TiVo Desktop program for years. However, I just purchased the Desktop Plus program that allows me to convert programs from my TiVo at home to play on my iPod!! I'm so excited! I still haven't watched the Heroes premiere, so I've downloaded it to my iPod and I'm planning on watching it while I'm on the plane tomorrow morning, flying to Denver to see my sister! I'm so excited! I tested it out with an episode of Jeopardy and it works like a charm! This will be a great way for me to keep up with my TV watching when I'm on the go!

So far, I've transferred Heroes, Jeopardy! and Survivor: Gabon. I'm not usually a Survivor watcher, but Dave loves it so much, I gotta give it another looksie. We share the Amazing Race and Beauty & The Geek love, so I'm guessing I'll love Survivor too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rollover 401(k)

I rolled over my 401(k) to Vanguard in July. It was super easy to do, but earlier this week, I finally sat down and figured out what I wanted to invest my money in. When I did the transfer, it defaulted to a prime money market fund, which is basically a cash/savings account at 2%. I put a chunk of it in the Vanguard 500 index fund based on this recommendation, but then split some of it out into other index funds. I moved about 20% of it over and I'm going to set-up an automatic exchange every week or two to make it move money over so I can do some dollar-cost averaging. Although, I'm wondering if I do it over such a short period (six months to a year), if it will really matter or not?

When I get home, I do want to start looking at my finances a bit more to see if I can save more money. The longer I date Greg, the more I start thinking that not working (or cutting back) after having kids is a real possibility, so I want to save up as much as possible to prep for that! It's a ways off I'm sure, but saving early is always a good idea!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Cousin Donna

I found out last week that my cousin Donna died. I'm not sure exactly when, but I think it was a couple weeks ago. They are waiting on the results of an autopsy because she was a relatively healthy 40 year old. She smoked, I'm not sure how much, but I suspect it contributed to her death. The preliminary cause of death is due to an enlarged heart. Which, according to my aunt, may run in my family! I am going to schedule an appointment with my doctor to talk to her about it.

She's my favorite cousin and I can't believe that she died. I haven't talked to her in ages and I'm feeling terrible about that. It only emphasizes that you never know when someone is going to pass away. I keep imagining that she had no idea that she would just basically drop dead that day. What if she did know? What would she have done differently?

What should I do differently? I don't want that distance to happen with my other friends and family. I'm going to start reaching out to some that I haven't spoken with lately. To me, friends and family are important, but it's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day events that happen in my life. That whole "out of sight, out of mind" in motion, you know? I have a tendency to procrastinate also, which doesn't help anything.

First on my list of people to contact when I get home next week... Donna's sister and husband. And recontact my Aunt Terry to called to tell me about it. She's the person in my dad's family that I'm closest to and it's been ages since I've talked to her...

I encourage you to contact that friend or family member you haven't called lately. I know why I didn't call her... She was living in Virginia with her husband and kids, then moved back to the OC into my grandparents' house. We exchanged Christmas cards, but then I was having all my marital problems with Jason and I didn't want to call her just to dump my problems on her and admit that my marriage was having so much trouble. After enough time had gone by, it got to a point where it was just kind of embarassing that I hadn't contacted her sooner and thus, time passed. She moved back to Virginia and then I never saw her. The last time I did see her was at my grandfather's funeral. Why did I let pride get in the way? She would've understood and she would've been happy to hear from me... *sigh*

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Stir Crazy?

I've been working from Greg's house while he's at work all day which is fine. I started feeling antsy the other day though. I think it's because it's so quiet here. There are no cars going by, no planes flying overhead, no random people talking in my apartment complex and no kitties bugging me for affection and food (not necessarily in that order!).

I think I miss the random sounds of chaos. We'll see if I've adjusted to all the quietness by the time I leave. I do, however, thoroughly enjoy the absence of any real traffic. Oh, and cheaper groceries!

I think this time is a bit different than last time when I had the car and we were going out at least twice a day. This time, I've been hanging out at his house a bit more and I think I just need to get out of the house, or socialize more. I'm not used to being cooped up with just one other person (or alone!).

I had my first small-town experience yesterday! I played Power Grid on Tuesday night with Greg, Brett and Brandon. When I walked into Wal-Mart yesterday, I ran into Brett and we chatted for a while. He's a really nice guy and I found out all about him. It's not too often I run into people I just met at the store! I guess that's what it's like to live in a small town!

Meanwhile, Greg and I are getting along well. I've been cooking a lot since we went out for every meal last time I was here. His dad and friend are coming over tonight for dinner and then we're gaming afterwards. It should be fun! In fact, I gotta get started cooking, so I should probably post this...