#152 Complete: Went House Shopping

Today’s Resolution: Pretend-Shop for Your Dream House

So you know, whatever… we took this one to the extreme today by actually meeting with a real estate agent and checking out some houses. I fell madly in love with one in Lecanto, FL. It was all newly painted, had two rooms for separate offices, a sweet guest bedroom, three bathrooms, and a giant freaking indoor pool in the middle of it that you can see from almost every room. Oh yeah, and the kitchen windows open to the pool.

And yeah that was pretty much my dream house today. We decided that the only thing that could have made it better was a little more room on the sides of the house for a wee bit more privacy. Also a fence for Napa, but we could put one of those in. Ohhh and the pool was all tile which means Napa could swim as much as he wanted to.

Obviously we’re having too much fun down here.


#147 Complete: Made Orange Juice from Scratch

Today’s Resolution: Make Something From Scratch

We’ve been murdering oranges left and right down here in Florida, I really can’t get enough. Generally it starts with me squeezing with all my might, and then Patrick comes in with man hands and obliterates the thing. Still, the oranges we’re getting don’t make a heck of a lot of oranges.

Tomorrow I’m buying an electric juicer.

#145 Complete: Tried a New Route, Felt Like We Were on LOST

Today’s Resolution: Drive a New Route Home

Since we arrived in the south, we’ve been explorers. We’ve been eating everywhere and seeing everything. Our ride home, however, usually ends at our street where we drive straight to the house we’re renting. Patrick’s idea for this resolution was to keep driving past our street because we thought that maybe there would be some new hidden restaurants (there are so many awesome ones down here).

Well, we were wrong. About 30 seconds past our street is a scary dead end that leads directly into the water. And the surrounding streets are just as spooky; mostly littered with dead ends and giant tropical trees, plants and noises. We really thought we were dropped right into the set of LOST.

So we probably won’t be heading that way again but we did give imaginary high-fives to Hurley, Jack and Sawyer while we were in the jungle hunting for polar bears.

#135 Complete: Connected with Nature… Killed a Cockroach… Saw Manatees…

 Today’s Resolution: Connect with Nature

Maybe it’s counterintuitive to try and connect with nature whilst killing bugs, but sweet mother of Raid, there are a lot of bugs down here in Florida. Spiders the size of my palm, these obnoxious invisible “no see’em” bugs that only come out at night and will bite the crap out of you if you’re not walking or in a breezy place, and giant cockroaches (although my Grandfather would have you call them “palmetto bugs” which… are still cockroaches). Living on the water has its perks, but bugs are a very certain and clear drawback.

So despite turning into a bug-killing ninja lately (and we definitely killed a hornet and a “palmetto bug” tonight), we did spend most of the day outside (and with the door open too, hence the hornet).

To kick off the day we went flea-marketing which is starting to become my favorite hobby. You can spend all day getting exercising, searching for treasures, making new friends, learning new stuff and getting fresh air. As a bonus, you can do it all for free (unless you find something neat!)

I realize that’s not too nature-y though, so we also visited a few farmstands after realizing that we needed a longer day to go orange picking like we wanted to.

We ended the with the most obvious answer to this resolution: a float on the boat! Not sure if I mentioned this but uh, we’re living in a nature park! Seriously, check out Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park and you’ll get an idea.

So a hop on the boat and up the river we were watching fish jump out of the water. A little further down and we could see the manatees poke their big noses up to breathe and blow. To top it off, we had a dolphin swimming right next to us! It’s pretty insane down here. Apparently all the manatees come to this area in the winter to keep warm, so you can’t float down the river without seeing one.

Also, you can swim with the manatees in a few areas, but I was a little too afraid to connect that closely with nature today.

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#130 Complete: Talked to a Stranger and Found a Dog Beach

Today’s Resolution: Strike Up a Conversation with a Stranger

Well we’re in Florida for a month or two to work on a project and of course enjoy every extra minute we have swimming, boating, flea-marketing and yes, nomming on new foods! Today we met a lot of people but possibly most influential was a woman and her happy doberman Mika at the dog park. She told us about all the places around that we need to go including a great dog beach nearby (dogs aren’t even allowed ON the beach in Rhode Island, so this is great).

#125 Complete: Wrote a Blog Post About Mining for Emeralds in Hiddenite, NC

Today’s Resolution: Write a Blog Post

You’d think that as a professional blogger this would be easy for me, but actually we’re in the midst of our road trip to Florida, so technically I don’t need to write a dang thing. But here I am! So to make this a little more interesting than that, let’s talk about all the fun stuff we did today.

Basically we stopped for a hotel in North Carolina last night with the intention of spending the day at the Hiddenite Emerald Mine today, which is the only public emerald mine in the world! It’s also famous because it’s one of the few places you can find SO MANY varieties of gemstones and other rocks in one place.

The mine was a lot of fun. Basically you walk in and you have three options. You can dig for emeralds, you can go “creeking” where you pan the stones in the river, or you can just sit at the sluice with buckets that you buy and sift through them. Obviously we did all three.

The digging was the least of the fun, but I’m glad we started with it. Basically you have these huge buckets that are ridiculously heavy once you fill them with dirt. The sluicing station is about a half mile away, so dragging the buckets back and forth is not your average idea of a good time. Still though, we goofed off enough to laugh about the blood and tears and Napa dug some holes too.

Creeking was probably the most fun, especially since we were hot as heck from digging around and carrying buckets. You basically have this little sifter and you go around digging up the ground and then sifting  through the rocks and gems. Being barefoot in the river on a hot day was pretty much the best thing ever, especially after a new england winter and waiting for summer. Oh and wow, lots of gems in the river although I’m pretty sure they stock it.

Sluicing is pretty much the most relaxing part. You’re sort of sifting through the water and the dirt and the clay, and you’re examining, and you’re washing, and you’re dumping. And once in a while you find something cool and put it in a pile. It’s sort of like gambling, and if you buy one of their $25 or $100 buckets, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. I ended up buying an emerald bucket at the end of the day because I hadn’t found any yet and realized I’d been tossing them out all along. Oops. In any case, I got a ton of emeralds from the bucket and have a pair of 2.5 carat emerald earrings getting cut!

After spending the day (very relaxing and fun, by the way), the plan was to stay the night after mining. Interestingly enough though, we were energized rather than exhausted and decided that driving 10 hours tomorrow didn’t sound like a good time, so we decided to drive 3 hours tonight instead to make tomorrow’s end of the journey to Florida a little easier.

Onward to Homosassa!!

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#123 Complete: Made Breakfast for Each Other

Today’s Resolution: Bring Breakfast

Right now we’re staying at my mom’s house until we leave for our 2-month excursion to Florida and the nearest Dunkin Donuts is kind of a hike, so instead of “getting” breakfast, we made breakfast for each other. Patrick made an egg & cheese sandwich for me, and scrambled eggs for my mom and I made Patrick an egg and cheese sandwich. He says it tasted like love.

#110 Complete: Visited Pat’s Grandma

Today’s Resolution: Call or Visit an Elderly Relative

Pat’s grandma recently had a fall and has been spending some time in rehab — on her birthday! So while I stayed home with the flu and a rockin’ fever (so as not to kill all the old people), he went to visit for hugs and kisses that only a 98 year-old grandma can provide! And me? I called my Grandfather and made more solid plans about our upcoming trip to Florida where he’s renting us a house.

#106 Complete: Took the (Very Narrow) Stairs

Today’s Resolution: Take the Stairs

Today we went to Chinatown in Boston and although we accidentally took an elevator once only because there was no other choice, we did take the stairs a bunch of times. Seek proof in the below video of our trip to Chinatown!

#102 Complete: Public Speaking Nightmare # 2974734951

Today’s Resolution: Do Something That Terrifies You

Even though I do it often and get praised each time that I do it, public speaking is still pretty terrifying. You’d never know it once I start speaking, but the days and minutes leading up to those hours at the podium make me restless, and until recently I thought I was the only one until a well-known speaker told me that he’s just as terrified as the rest of us. Public speaking is something like the #1 most feared thing to do, and for me, I’d be nervous if I was at a podium talking about my favorite color, so presenting for three, to five, to eight hours takes some time preparing your nerves for the adrenaline.

In any case, I talked social media at the Mequoda Summit for the something-th time today, and as usual, once I got started I couldn’t shut up.