Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 31

Today's Prompt:

Where do you hope to be on Jan 1, 2013?

Next year, I hope to be healthy and content, but I also hope to have passed all of my licensing exams and have figured out a bit more of my career.

And can I just say, woohoo, December is over.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 30

Today's Prompt:

Were you happy with who you were in 2011? Who do you want to be in 2012 and beyond?

Looking back on 2011, I'd have to say that I am content with who I was.  I may not be content with my employment, but I am content with how I handled the situation.  I think I'll always believe that I could have done more, but reflecting on who I am is definitely positive.  That being said, in 2012, I would like to be more proactive about ways to earn an income.  Whether that means pursuing more freelance work or making some things to list on etsy, but I can't wait around trying to find someone to employ me.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 29

Today's Prompt:

Begin to create a plan for “My friends day out 2012″ – tell us what you envision.

I'd love to go and visit my friend in London, but she usually comes home to Austin at least once a year, and it often coincides with one of my trips to San Antonio (much cheaper scenario).  So I head up to Austin and our friend, located in Houston, comes over as well, and we hang out, get Amy's ice cream and queso (different times of the day) and just reminisce about our time at school in Austin.  We play with her mom's dogs and visit with her mom (who is awesome), we act silly, relax and just have a great time.

Now, if I could just get my Seattle friends there too...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 28

Today's Prompt:

Describe a random act of kindness that you benefited from in 2011. How will you pay it forward in 2012?

Feed an expired meter

Goodness, I feel bad that none come to mind.  Something 'random' must have happened, and I just can't remember it.  I can think of plenty of kind acts that I benefited from, but all from people I know.  In 2012, I will try to do more of the small things.  I've always volunteered and tried to be helpful, but the completely random and small acts are the ones that seem to really brighten someone's day.  Something like any of these stories.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 27

Today's prompt:

Where did your money go this year? Where do you want it to go in 2012?

Besides bills and the standard expenses, a lot of my money has gone to tests. Between the study materials and testing fees, it's been quite an endeavor.

Next year, I'd love my money to go towards travel, it's always the best use.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 26

Today's prompt:

Share a favorite photo from the past year. What was happening behind the scenes? What were you thinking or feeling? What could you smell, taste, see, hear at that moment?


This photo was taken on our 2nd wedding anniversary.  We spent the weekend out in Malibu and visited Point Dume, the beach where we were married.  This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of T.  In fact, I already sketched it earlier this month, but this time I painted it as a gift for his parents.  It's not perfect, but that's why I'm practicing.

We went out to the beach and had a picnic (baguette with Irish butter, cheese and meat), we read and I sketched and the weather was great.  I was excited, because we were using our new beach chairs.  I usually have about an hour max attention span at the beach because I get uncomfortable, but those chairs stretched it out to at least 2 hours, which T loved, because he could spend all day there.  It was just a lovely, relaxing day.  And, even though we weren't too far out of town, going to a hotel is a big mental shift that helps you to unwind.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 25

Today's prompt:

What did you celebrate in 2011? Are you looking forward to any celebrations in 2012?


This year, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary, birthdays, holidays and a few milestones. T and I make a point of celebrating eachother's accomplishments. When T got accepted into his MBA program and made all A's his first semester and when I passed my tests we went out to dinner to let the other know how proud we were. It's great to have someone to share those moments with. Next year, I hope to be celebrating licensure.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 24

Today's Prompt:

What did you finally let go of in 2011? What will you let go of in 2012

I do enjoy a certain amount of control over things, but this year has taught me that certain things are out of my control.  In 2011, I finally let go of knowing my path.  I guess one can never really know the path that their life will take, but mine had followed the path I set for quite some time before the economy decided to meltdown and take forever to recover.
In 2012, I’d like to let go of some not so pleasant feelings that are still lingering about my move to California.  I still miss Seattle a lot, but Los Angeles has a lot to offer if I’d just go for it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Cheer!

I love wrapping presents, maybe a bit too much.  Here are some pictures of this year's batch.  I used white kraft paper, acrylic paint, lots of tape and ribbons.

All wrapped up

 I played with crinkling the paper and dry brush acrylics to add texture.

Poinsettia closeup.  I just painted some crinkled paper, cut the leaves, folded them down the center to create the 'vein', taped them all at the center and then taped on that wad of paper with a little yellow paint for the center.

But white-on-white looks pretty too.

Presents piled up under a tree are the best.

Day 23

Today's Prompt:

Describe something that you actively engaged in learning to do this year.

I love to learn in all ways.  Whether it's knowledge or a skill, I want to acquire it, so I've done a few of these this year.  My uncle has been teaching me how to turn wood, I've been actively trying to get better at painting, drawing and photography through my blank-a-day projects and I've been spending many hours studying for my architecture licensing exams.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 22

Today's Prompt:

What is one thing you want to do before you bid adieu to 2011? How will you make it happen?

Charcoal pencil

Not much time left, hmm.  I'd really like to make those macarons on my thirty-before-thirty list before the end of the year.  My sister and I are hosting a tea party after Christmas, so I guess I better buy some almond flour to make this happen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 21

Today's Prompt:

The butterfly effect posits that a small change can ripple across whole ecosystems. Who do you credit for the small action that made all the difference in your life this year?


One small thing that made a big impact was simply meeting someone through volunteer work.  I volunteer every couple of weeks with the West LA Burrito Project and I've gotten to know some of the regulars pretty well. One of those regulars passed my name along to a friend of hers and now I'm a freelance drafter for that person.  This is great, because it's actual architectural drafting, which I haven't done since I left Seattle.  It's been great to think about architectural concerns and use that part of my brain again.  It's a pretty standard story about putting yourself out there and something good happening.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 20

Today's Prompt:

How has technology affected your life (positively or negatively) in 2011? Do you want this to continue for 2012?

Acrylic on gift wrap

Hmm, one might say I'm addicted to certain forms of technology (ahem, iPhone). It's normal to wake up and reach for your phone, right?  And I just got a 4S yesterday, so that obsession will probably continue into the new year, but as far as a favorite thing from this year, I'd have to go with Google Reader.  Though I occasionally spend way too much time looking at blogs, I subscribe to mostly visual blogs and scrolling through it all helps keep me inspired.

Next year, I'll continue to use Reader, but I'm going to try and concentrate on more artistic blogs and be sure to implement the ideas that come from the inspiration, rather than just think of great things to do.  And in the future, I just need to limit myself to a certain amount of time at my computer, my worst habit is just clicking over to check 'one thing' and then noticing that half an hour has gone by.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 19

Today's Prompt:

Tell us about your biggest belly laugh in 2011.

My funniest moment would have to be the Great Cookie Face Race of 2011.  I volunteer with the West LA Burrito Project a couple of times a month.  We make burritos from scratch to pass out to the homeless, and we always have a bit of time to kill while things are cooking.  We decided to try out a cookie face race one evening and had a blast.  There is a video of our race, but I'm not showing it.  Just imagine about 15 adults with cookies on their faces all yelling at each other about strategy. The gist of the race is that you lean your head back a bit, place a cookie on your forehead and wiggle your face around until the cookie gets into your mouth.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 18

Today's Prompt:

What lesson or advice were you able to pass on to others this year? Why was it important to share this information? (Or… what lesson would you like to pass on to others that read this?)

It's just paper

This year, I learned that you have to just keep making, creating and producing.  You can't fear a blank page and be upset that whatever you're attempting to make didn't turn out as expected.  It's important to know, because that fear can be incredibly stifling.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 17

Today's Prompt:

What did you discover (big or small) in 2011?

Charcoal pencil

This year, I discovered that you have to do things other than running to become better at running.  You have to do drills and strength training and yoga and eat properly and get enough sleep.  Seems like common sense, but sometimes you just like to keep on running, and then you get injured and have to come up with another idea.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 16:

Today's Prompt:

Describe something that disappointed you in 2011 and how you persevered.

Charcoal pencil of that light at the end of the current tunnel.

God, I sound like a broken record...  Losing my job was a definite disappointment, but even more disappointing was failing one of my licensing exams.  I've passed a couple, but I failed one and was totally devastated.  I still don't know what I did incorrectly on the drawings, because there is no way to know with the testing process, but you have to wait 6 months before retesting, so I can put it out of mind a little while longer.  To persevere, I simply redoubled my study efforts and took another test, which I passed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 15

Today's Prompt:

What event of 2011 affected you in an unexpected way?

Today, I'm calling gift wrap and ribbon sketch materials.

This year, I suppose the unexpected event was my 5+ months of unemployment.  It certainly wasn't what we were planning on, but it's had some advantages.  Concentrating on art and architecture has been a wonderful side effect.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 14

Today's Prompt:

How did you make space + peace for yourself in 2011?

Patterns in pen

The best way that I add a hint of peacefulness to my life is a long run.  My route takes me to the Pacific Ocean for a beautiful view at my halfway point.  Escaping with some music and the rhythm of my feet as they propel me just can't be beat.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 13 & Ira Glass

Today's Prompt:

What article or book changed your outlook on an issue or life?

Charcoal pencil sketch of iterations
sorry the drawings have been lackluster the last couple of days, I have a big test tomorrow, more time will be spent on them soon

That's funny, my friend just posted this article, covering the 30 things you need to stop doing to yourself, on her facebook yesterday.  And, while I'm not guilty of all of those things, I'm certainly guilty of a few and I need to work on that.

There was also an Ira Glass quote floating around the internet a while back that really spoke to me and has invigorated me, creatively speaking.  In fact, it's sort of been an impetus behind my daily projects.  I'm just trying to create more and often, knowing that my skill level will eventually match what I am envisioning and what I know to be good.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” 
― Ira Glass

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 12 & Diet/Exercise Update

Today's Prompt:

What was your healthiest habit of 2011? What would you like to change or do differently in 2012?

Charcoal sketch of real food for breakfast.

My healthiest habit of the year has been changing up my diet and exercise with the help of Ali at Complete Physique.  I'm not perfect at the diet, but I do my best and I like that I have some accountability.  The exercises have been an awesome change up from my standard running routine, and have made me faster.  This past Saturday, I shaved 3+ minutes off of my 10K time.  And, in 4+ weeks, I've lost almost 4".  I feel stronger and leaner, which is awesome.  I don't have a picture right now, because my current lens doesn't have auto-focus and I can't get my tripod photos to turn out right, but I'm getting a new one for Christmas, so it's coming.  In 2012, I'd like most of what I'm doing to just be a habit, and not part of a program, I also want to start training for triathlons again, when I concentrate too much on running, I just get injured and don't really see progress.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 11

Today's Prompt:

What 12 new things do you want to do/accomplish in 2012?

Pencil sketch of those macarons I'm going to make.

Instead of 12 things to do in 2012, I'm going to revisit my thirty before thirty list.  I've got until March 5th, 2013.

  1. Run a half Iron Man
  2. Run a half marathon in 2:11 (10 minute miles), my most recent attempt was 2:13
  3. Run a full marathon in 4:45 (I never said I was a fast runner), so far, my fastest is 5:01
  4. Complete my ARE (architect's registration exam), 2 out of 7 exams passed
  5. Make croissants from scratch, tried and they were bad, must try again
  6. Make a new quilt for our bed
  7. Go to New York
  8. Develop remaining black/white film
  9. Make a legitimate wedding album
  10. Go to either Central or South America
  11. Make macarons from scratch
  12. Sell something on Etsy, I've made more than a few prototypes
  13. Design and purchase fabric from Spoonflower
  14. Get my IRA into a proper mutual fund
  15. Add something every month to my IRA for at least 6 months
  16. Paint something worth framing, working on this one
  17. Ride a century
  18. Fill a sketchbook with drawings, not to do lists, just about done
  19. Learn some French
  20. Help and encourage T to make a short film
  21. Have a vegetable garden, I had an herb garden, I'm counting that as done, there was a fennel bulb in it
  22. Get licensed (the architectural variety, I can already drive)
  23. Learn Revit
  24. Learn how to use manual settings on my camera, learned a few in October, I'm counting it as done
  25. Make 2 new dresses
  26. Make a pair of pants (or shorts)
  27. Read 20 books, totally done
  28. Blog every weekday for a month, if my photo-a-day counts, then yes, I'm counting it
  29. Write a short story
  30. Photograph something every day for a month, done, that was fun
I've made some progress, but there's still a lot to be done.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 10 & Woodturning

Today's Prompt:

Share a creative project you undertook this year (art, writing, DIY, cooking, home decoration, crafts, photography … whatever comes to mind). How do you use your creativity to express yourself?

Acrylic and gold leaf

This year, I've been trying to do a lot of creating.  I've been drawing, taking photos, sewing, baking, turning wood, blogging, and painting.  I always get spurts of creativity, but since I've been unemployed, I've been trying to make a daily habit of it.  I would say that my favorite projects this year have been my photo-a-day series on the blog and the turned objects I've made with my uncle.  During the photo-a-day project, I was working on getting better at a hobby of mine that's been around for a while.  With the woodturning, I was learning something that is still very new to me, which is always fun.

For the vase, we started out with this chunk of wood.

Then there was a good bit of time that looked like this (man, my hand cramped up).  And I occasionally used the grinder to sharpen blades, whoa!

I added some gold leaf and polyuerthane and ended up with this.  We made the bowl earlier this year.

Doing the vase was so fun, because I could actually smooth it out by myself this time (the bowl required a bit more help from my uncle) and I love gold leaf on wood.  I am now looking for other things to add some shine to.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 9

Today's Prompt

In which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude? How will you rally around gratitude in 2012?

How could you not be grateful for this guy?
Pencil sketch

Both of the times I passed a licensing exam this year!  I always come out of those tests drained and totally unsure of what just happened.  Now, gratitude wouldn't normally be associated with studying for and then passing a test, but I think it's applicable in this case.  There are so many random questions that are never in the study materials and end up on these tests, that I'm thankful for whatever divine intervention or random recess of my brain is responsible for allowing me to come up with enough correct answers.

I'm also extremely grateful that my husband has been so supportive throughout all of this, and that my mom has been graciously paying for my random plane tickets home, recharging in my hometown has been entirely therapeutic.

In 2012, I hope that I can be grateful for all of the really simple and basic things that I take for granted.  It would be a great way to stay focused on the positive.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 8

Today's Prompt:

What was the biggest choice you made in 2011? What caused you to choose what you chose?

Charcoal pencil sketch of Shigeru Ban's Curtain Wall House
Ever since design school, this has been a favorite building of mine, and Shigeru Ban is amazing, his work with paper is breathtaking and beyond belief.

The biggest choice I made in 2011 was how I chose to handle this bout of unemployment (this would be bout 3 in 3 years, oh, and it's totally the longest).  But part of that is by design.  This time around, I've decided to concentrate on architecture as a career path.  I will not accept a position unless it is employment for an architect.  In order to become a licensed architect, I have to have that work experience.  I'm also using my time to take my licensing exams.  The exams are fairly intense, so it feels a bit like being back in school, which is something I'm very comfortable with.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 7

Today's Prompt:

Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?

Charcoal pencil sketch of a detail from a New Orleans cemetery

This year, I went to Seattle in June, San Antonio in August and October (with a side trip to New Orleans).  I went to Seattle to run my second marathon and see all of my old friends.  My mom also flew up from Texas for this trip, because she misses visiting me in Seattle.  Seattle is quite possibly the most beautiful place in summer, but my favorite part was definitely getting to see old friends and eating at old favorite restaurants.  Ruining my toes in the marathon was my least favorite part.

I went home to San Antonio a couple of times this year, just because it seemed prudent to take advantage of all of that free time I have these days.  It seems pretty rare to have the opportunity to just go home and hang out for a couple of weeks, so I decided I should do that while I can.  Again, my favorite part was the people (and breakfast tacos).  It was great to see my family and friends.  The timing even worked out so that I got to see college friends living in London and Houston on a day trip to Austin, perfect.

While home in October, my parents and I took my grandparents to New Orleans.  My grandma grew up there and I'd never been.  I wanted her to show me the places she grew up and tell me all of her stories from growing up in and later visiting New Orleans.  My favorite part was sharing some of my grandma's history with her.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 6

Today's Prompt

What was your favorite month of 2011? Why did it beat out all 11 other months?

Okay, I cheated.  This pastel sketch is actually from this summer, but I didn't like anything I drew today.

The best month of 2011, for me, would have to be August.  It was the first month of no job, so I went to Texas for a few weeks and had a great time with my family.  Plus, the early part of unemployment can be awesome.  I got to unwind and let go of a schedule.  I studied for and took my first (of seven) licensing exam, which felt personally enriching.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 5

Today's Prompt:

Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?

Just playing with some pastels

I've been branching out, in terms of activities, this year and have met many new acquaintances, but I think it takes time and lots of shared experiences to really count someone as a friend.  That being said, some of the people I've met in recent years are now becoming friends and it's been great to see that.  We moved to Los Angeles almost 3 years ago, and luckily, we already had some family and friends here, but we've been trying to build our community.  It's rewarding to see those efforts coming through.  I've also had the opportunity to travel back to Seattle and San Antonio this year and see old friends.  In terms of impact, I would just say that friends bring joy and variety to your life.  They also help you make vital connections to your surroundings. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 4

Today's Prompt:

Sum up your year, via haiku.

Lose job, woe is me
Question, study and create
Flourish, hopefully

Someday, I will stop talking about this damn job loss.  I did other stuff too, I swear, see below.

Baked many a cake
Hundreds of miles were run
Travel to two homes

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 3

Today's Prompt.

What lesson did you learn in 2011 from “The School of Life” rather than a classroom?

Pencil sketch of how I choose to define myself (by my awesome bedhead)

In 2011, I learned that my career cannot be my definition.  In times like these, I simply can't count on it as a source of my identity.  It's been a hard lesson, but I've tried to be open to new experiences and I'm finally feeling positive enough about other things that I'm less upset about the fact that I can't find a job.  I've also learned that my career may not end up looking very standard.  Lately, I've been cobbling together random freelance work and that may be what the future has in store for me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 2

Today's WEverb11 prompt is about music.

What song did you listen to in 2011 to completely change your mood?  Think about ways you can add more music to your life in 2012.

Charcoal pencil drawing of some type of aloe plant

Agh, how to choose just one!  I'm going to choose 'Lost in the World' by Kanye West featuring Bon Iver.  It's upbeat and dancey, but with a slow, pretty part at the beginning.  My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy is a great, but totally explicit, album.  And, yeah, sometimes Kanye is a bit ridiculous, but there are so many songs that are great to dance/work out to.

In 2012, I'd like to add more live music to my life.  I don't even remember the last live show that I went to.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

WEverb11 and Sketch-a-day:1

I loved my Photo-a-day project in October, so for December, I planned to do a Sketch-a-day.  Then WEverb11 came along, and I decided to combine them.

Day 1 Prompt:

Choose one word.
Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?

Thread, pastel, pen, wire, gold leaf, pencil, acrylic, charcoal pencil

For 2011, I chose 'Discover'.  Since this summer, I've been unemployed and I've been using the extra time to try and discover what it is that I love to do.  I like doing and making lots of things, but I am still trying to find that one thing that I love.  The one thing that I can spend so much time with that I become amazing at it.  If anyone can tell me how to make a career out of being pretty good at a lot of things, please share.

For 2012, I hope that 'Doubtless' will be an appropriate term.  I just want to be back to the point where I am absolutely sure that I'm on the right path.  I lived that life until 2009 and it was pretty sweet.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving

Because I sure did!  We had Thanksgiving brunch and dinner at my Aunt and Uncle's place in Redondo Beach, and then we headed down to his Aunt and Uncle's place in San Diego for the rest of the weekend.

My Aunt Jeanne set a beautiful table for our meals.  Gourds, pumpkins, nuts, berries and candles.

Uncle Jim headed up the cooking (with a couple of people assisting), with this beautifully brined turkey as the main.  The starter was butternut squash soup with creme fraiche and olive oil on top.  For sides, we had two kinds of stuffing, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce

My Aunt Peggy was the mastermind  behind the pies.  Pecan, pumpkin and apple.  We used Trader Joe's frozen pie crust for all of these.  It's fantastic and we all heartily recommend them.  There's already so much going on in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, so a pre-made crust makes things a bit less hectic.

We used another crust to make the leaf decorations.  My Aunt Peggy and I just cut the pieces out by hand and placed them on the finished pie after they had been baked off.  We had minor supervision on placement from the engineer who was present, something about equally covering the whole thing.  But then, I informed him of the importance of negative space in a composition and the leaf placement was decided upon.

Apple pie is the hubs' favorite dessert, but I hate it so I've never made one for him.  Well, I helped a lot on this pie, so we'll just say that I've finally made an apple pie for him.  Tip for apple pies:  we doubled the crumb topping recipe for this pie.  Who doesn't love extra crumble?

To use up the the leftover pie pastry, we brushed on melted butter and sprinkled on cinnamon and sugar (you need more than you think).  Then we cut it into strips before twisting, braiding and rolling them up.  Simply bake them off at about 400 degrees until they brown.

So, that was our meal, and it was fantastic.  On Friday we headed down to San Diego to visit T's family.  We had a lot of fun relaxing, hanging out and eating more.  The highlights were a hike at Torrey Pines with T's cousin.

And a walk around the Balboa Park with T's Aunt.  There's so much to see.  Some of it's free, but you can also buy a day pass for entry into all of the museums.  You could bring a picnic lunch and make a whole day of it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Years!

Two years ago today, this happened.

T and I celebrated this weekend by spending a full day (OK, almost a full day, I had a volunteer thing in the morning) hanging out with each other, something we rarely get to do these days.

We started out horseback riding, something I've never done before.

And, I only fell off once.  I'm about as lame as they come when it comes to things involving coordination.  Luckily I fell into pretty soft dirt and was able to get back on and finish up.  Oh, and make fun of those helmets all you want, but some other girl fell off of her horse and got a gash on her head.  Always, better safe than sorry.

Then we went to Umami Burger for dinner.  We'd never been before and heard so many great things that we decided to try it out.  I broke my camera lens after we parked the car at Umami, so here's an iPhone pic.  We had a steak salad to start (fabulous) and we each got the Umami Burger and fries for dinner.  The burger was juicy and great, but the toppings were a little sweet for my taste, so I think I'll have to try something else on the menu one day.  The bun was super yummy and the fries were pretty darn good.  I'd definitely recommend it.

We took a little break at home before heading out to see George Clooney's new movie, The Descendants (great) to end the day.

All in all, a pretty full day.  But I think the best part was that we enjoyed each other and the day even though I fell off of a horse and we broke a $200 lens (so glad the body didn't break).  And what they say is true, new experiences with your partner are a great way to stay connected.