I joined a program called WIN Alaska that's a health and fitness thing for state employees. Really, I'll just be earning points for things that I do normally, like eating lots of fruit and veg, exercising, and even practicing my violin. (For mental health and wellness.) It gives out prizes at two and then at four months, depending on how many points you've earned. At the very least I want the tier three prizes (a yoga mat at two months and $100 at four months), but the tier four prizes would be even better (a steel water bottle at two months, and both an Ipod touch and $200 at four months). I'm not betting I'll get those, though. You'd have to do a lot of stuff for those, like marathons. There aren't exactly a lot of marathons in Fairbanks in Feb. However, I am thinking of doing the Beat Beethoven 5k in April. (There, I've said it on my blog. I have to do it.) And I renewed my gym membership, even though the cost hurts right now.
I've been really stressed about money, because our roommate just moved out and I'm paying a lot more in rent. With his student job, Shane can't cover half, so I'm taking over the bulk and he'll reciprocate after he finds a decent job. (This summer.) So that's not so worrying, but our electric bills have been over the top. As in, there's absolutely no way we used that much electricity. I need to look at the bills tonight and figure out what's going on. I had a sort of crazy idea last night about what might be wrong. There was a lot of activity with our neighbors at about 5:00, then nothing. I went upstairs to ask Helen about something around 8:30, but no one was home. Oddly, the lights in the front hallway didn't turn on, so I went to the back stairs, but those lights didn't turn on, either. Could the electric company have mixed up our bills, and someone's didn't get paid so their electric was turned off? I don't know. I'll have to see what's going on this evening. But it's all very frustrating. I hate our electric company.
So I've been very stressed lately, and tired. Apparently in situations like these, bread is my tipping point. I made bread last night, but the loaves came out almost flat and they stuck in the pans. I managed to bang them out (literally, it took about five minutes of cutting around the edges and smacking the pans down to get each loaf out). Shane came into the kitchen a few minutes later to ask me something, saw that I'd been crying, and came right over to hug me. I know I sounded incredibly pathetic sobbing out, "My bread sucks!" All of my bread has been fairly flat for a little while now, and the last loaves (before last night's) were not only flat they burned. I blame Shane for that one, he distracted me and then held me back when I went to get them out of the oven. Anyway, I need new bread pans, and I think I need to turn the temperature of the oven down. At least in the winter. I didn't think of this before today, but I'm betting my loaves being flattened has something to do with the weather, because they weren't doing this over the summer. Air pressure, or the dryness, or something. It's been pretty cold this week (-28 when I got to work this morning) and it gets very dry when it's this cold. So we'll see. I'll have to mess with it.
My classes are going well, though. Actually, class. I still have two, but I don't yet have the book for the online course so I haven't been able to actually start doing the work yet. It should be here next week and then I'm going to try to get as many assignments and quizzes over with as quickly as possible.
In my paralegal class, I got a chance to impress my teacher. She divided us into groups and gave each group a sort of case scenario to discuss and look up info about in the legal journals in the law library. I just found something relating to our case that even she hadn't. (Apparently it's not only illegal in Indiana to homeschool your kids, but parents can be criminally prosecuted for it. Hamilton v. State, 1998.) It's interesting, and so far I'm really enjoying it.
No "Sweeney Todd" rehearsal this Friday, which is nice. It's very fun, but in my head it's become just one more thing that I have to do. It doesn't feel like my weekend has started until after rehearsal, and since I get home after 9:30 on Friday, that takes away a significant portion of the time I mentally have reserved for fun things. (Sundays are also mainly a loss, because that's my get things done day. Laundry, homework, baking, shopping, etc.)
The most fun thing I've done recently was that we went to Chena Hot Springs last weekend. I wish I could go out there every weekend. But it's about an hour out of town, and $10 each. Still, it was totally worth it. We went with James, Lucy and Devin and we all spent well over an hour in the geothermal pool. Usually we go when it's about -30, but this time it was right around zero and I actually like that better. It's cold enough that you don't really overheat in the pool, but warm enough that your ears and face don't freeze. Plus, there wasn't as much steam as there usually is so you could actually see the people you were talking to. So nice, and incredibly relaxing.
Shane and I realized that--oh crap!--Valentine's Day is coming up. It took even me about half an hour to remember that that means our anniversary is coming up. The 8th, to be exact. (Such an arbitrary date, that of our first real date together. We'd been "dating" for a few weeks before--a.k.a. hanging out in the dorms--but neither of us had a car, so no way to get off campus. We borrowed one to go to Thai food for an actual, real date. And then our second date was Valentine's Day, which was awkward until we both realized that neither of us had any grand, romantic ideas or expectations.) We're going out to dinner this weekend to celebrate our three years, and then Shane volunteered to make dinner for Valentine's Day. I haven't told him, but I'm going to make dessert. Now I just need to come up with something to make. He doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so chocolate cake (what I would choose) is out, but he loves pie. I'll look up some pie recipes. Maybe tarts? If nothing else, I can always just go with a pathetically easy favorite of his, chocolate pudding pie.