Thursday, August 28, 2014

Very Random Thoughts

It's been a tough and strange week, but I'm feeling more positive this afternoon and am looking forward to the upcoming long weekend.

Some of the weirder things from this week:

- On Tuesday while walking to work I witnessed a pretty bad car accident. Had I not crossed over the street just a few minutes before I likely would have been hit. I spent the rest of the day feeling so crazy and panicking about life being too short.

- Later that night I had to get interviewed by a government agent of sorts...I think (I imagine I shouldn't write about the specifics here?) -- it was nothing serious but was a little scary when a guy showed up at our apartment at 9 pm.

- On Wednesday I was walking into CVS and basically got pummeled by a man running out with stolen stuff. I didn't know what to do and basically stood there like a deer in headlights.

So now it's Thursday. I'm heading to the stores after work today and I hopefully will come home with some new bedding or at least something new for my room. I'm in serious need of an environment change and I just have to find something.

I am going to California in November and need to plot how I will go to my first ever Michelin star restaurant while out there. Hopefully I can find someone to join me or else it'll be a couple of firsts for me!

I also want to:
- see the Redwood trees
- go to Alcatraz (couldn't do this last time because of the government shut down)
- drink both Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder
- go to Napa

I'm thinking about doing gymnastics again (remember that?) I stopped going because I had hurt my knee but I think it'd be fun to try it again. Unfortunately I can't find any other adult classes besides the ones at MIT and that's not really convenient anymore. We'll see...

Some random photos to wrap up this weird post:

Been too long since I walked through the Boston Gardens
Healthy dinners.
Endless garden zucchini noodles.
Where I eat my lunch just about every day.
Picnic for one.
The sky looked a lot cooler in person than it does here...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Autobiography"

I recently came across Portia Nelson's "Autobiography In Five Short Chapters." I'm sure I'm not the only one who can relate so I thought I'd share it here...

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in... it's a habit... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another Weekend in Dartmouth

If it feels like I just wrote about a visit to Dartmouth, you are right! I liked it so much that I invited myself back for another weekend with the Schoenings and company.


We drove down on Friday night to the promise of some seriously fresh seafood. One of Cara's friends had recently caught a giant tuna, and he invited some people over Friday night to enjoy it for dinner. We had it raw and seared...I was seriously impressed and couldn't stop eating it.



Soooo amazing. We also had some food made on the grill -- burgers, potatoes and veggies:


And lots of wine:


We had taken Cara's boyfriend's boat over to their friend's house, and then we took it over to a local bar a few hours later. I felt like I was in an alternate Dawson's Creek universe -- who takes their boat to the bar??

It was even creepier heading home in the boat once the bar closed. It was pitch black and the empty boats were freaking me out. Are you Afraid of the Dark, anyone?






We survived, and spent the night at Alex's house where we all had our own rooms! I woke up to this view out the window...


And through the glass...



Once I was up I went outside to lounge by the pool and was joined by new best friend:




He was so cuddly. I need a dog, stat.

Eventually we gobbled up some breakfast sandwiches and hopped back on the boat for a day at sea! The boat ride started off normally enough...



But once we hit Buzzards Bay it became ROUGH and there were giant waves tossing the boat around! I did not grow up on boats, so flying over waves and holding on for dear life is just not something I'm interested in doing. I started to have a bit of a panic attack and was able to find a good spot where I couldn't fly backwards off the boat. It was terrifying to say the least, and my arms/back are so sore from holding on.

It was all worth it though, because we ended up spending the day at Tarpaulin Cove, a small beautiful beach that we had practically to ourselves. We had to anchor the boat a bit of a ways out and swim to the beach. It was my first time in the ocean all summer!

I didn't take my phone with me since we were swimming (so I don't have any pictures), but this beach was amazing. There was a small lighthouse, and a farm with cows roaming free! Weird, right?

We stayed at the beach for the day and headed home around 5. The ride back was just as rough and there were moments when I was seeing my life flash before my eyes. I am such a pansy.

When we got back to the house we quickly showered and hopped in the car to drive to New Bedford (where our friend Marissa lives) for another night of amazing food and fun:

Beers by the pool
Clams and chorizo
Amazing hodgepodge plate
Cards Against Humanity + bowls of candy
Swedish Fish <3
On Sunday, we slept in a bit and woke up to another beautiful day. Cara's mom made us chocolate chip pancakes and then we took a nice walk to the "secret beach" (as they call it). After a while of walking on the roads, we cut through a trail that eventually opened up to a tiny beach. We were the only ones there, it really was a secret!







We stayed for a while collecting sea glass, then gathered up our stuff to go to another beach where we'd be celebrating Cara's mom's birthday! I brought her a a bag of home grown tomatoes as a gift, which she made some amaaazing bruschetta out of. We spent the rest of the day reading, relaxing and eating on the beach. Not a bad day if you ask me!




Speaking of reading, I finished The Silent Wife at the beach and started Into Thin Air today...kind of a random transition as these books couldn't be any different. Into Thin Air is my 23rd book of 2014. Well on my way to crushing my goal of 30 books!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Word Wednesday

Three words per picture. Let's see if I can do it.

Pretty Afghan scarf
New camel journal
My new comforter (that got returned today...LOL...bad at change)
Veggies on veggies
Best purchase ever.
Real New England
Off to sea
Island field trip!
Sky on fire
Best summer dinner.
Pretty decent view!
City in lights
View from [the] top
Endless cherry tomatoes
Sprouting new leaves
Pretty in pink

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What's Holding You Back?

Let's be honest. It's really easy to set goals and declare grand dreams. But actually following through with it? Now that's another story.

I was recently contacted by a representative from Kabbage (a company that helps entrepreneurs succeed in achieving their goals by providing upfront, working capital) to write a post exploring some of my personal and professional goals. I do this quite a bit on the blog already, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to focus in on some of the items on my newly created Life List. I created this list on a whim, and as soon as I posted it I worried it would get lost and be forgotten. But really, what's holding me back? There is no reason I can't start working on some of my goals TODAY!

Learn another language OR improve one I already know
I've always been intrigued by languages. I think you can learn a lot about a culture by exploring a language, and it's so interesting to see how history influences a language's development. This is a goal I REALLY want to start working on soon. I took about 6 years of Spanish when I was younger, and would love to spend some time re-learning and improving on the language. I think it would be incredible to work on Spanish, then spend some time traveling through Central/South America. I also took two years of Swahili in college in hopes that some day I'd travel to East Africa and use it. I unfortunately can only remember bits and pieces of Swahili, but it was a fairly easy language to learn (even though VERY different from English). In order to achieve this goal, I've been looking into some courses at the Boston Center for Adult Education. They even have a Spanish for Travelers class! We'll see where this goes, but I think I need to just jump in head first. Perhaps I'll start by using Duolingo? No time like the present!

Establish a long-term volunteer commitment
As I think about my career path, I know where I've come from, but I don't quite know where I want to go. I've now worked in the nonprofit sector for 6 years, but I still don't feel like I've found my passion. Before I take a leap professionally, I think it's important for me to really start to discover what that passion is. A "risk free" way to do this is by finding a volunteer opportunity that I'm interested in. Some topics that peak my interest are:

- Mental health
- Addiction
- Physical health (especially obesity/weight issues)
- Food justice
- Foster youth aging out
- Prison recidivism
- College access and success

Kind of all over the place there! What can I say? There is a lot I care about, and it's time I explore these more deeply. I've started by joining a Boston Volunteers meetup group, and also subscribe to a few newsletters that alert me to volunteer events. What I really have to do is just take the leap and try something non committal at first -- I'm not quite ready to be say, a long term mentor, but there's no reason I can't start small.

So here's to always trying to improve! What's been holding you back from achieving your dreams?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Road trip!

I wish I was more spontaneous. I am a true planner, and usually I love it! Sometimes the planning for a vacation is almost as exciting as the vacation itself. I just love the anticipation.

Still, sometimes I wish I was more apt to just jump in the car/plane/train/boat and GO. So when my friend reached out last minute about taking a road trip I was hesitant. We couldn't decide where we wanted to go, so he suggested he pick me up in Boston and we "see where the road takes us." Ummm, not really in my comfort zone!

With his urging, I [over]packed a bag and jumped in the car on Friday when he showed up in Boston with another friend in tow. We got in the car and discussed quickly what we were looking for. We all wanted to do something outdoorsy, and all really needed a pick me up, so I suggested we take the nearly 5 hour drive to Acadia, Maine! I've really wanted to go to Acadia but the trips just never panned out, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. We were able to book a last minute room at the Days Inn right in Acadia. We arrived around 11 on Friday, stopped in town for a drink, then set our alarms for sunrise!

Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard and offers the first sign of sunrise in the continental US...in fall and winter. In the summer the first sunrise spot is actually Mars Hill, a mountain near the Canadian Border. Still, we decided it was worth the 4 AM alarm and did it!

Proof during the drive!
The sky when we first got up to the mountain
Just before the sun peeked out
Fireball!
Sunset on August 8th was at 5:36 am and I had read that the actual rise takes just under a minute. I really wanted to just enjoy it, so I put my phone away for the rise (the photo above is my friends). It was really one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen and I couldn't get this song out of my head for the rest of the day.

You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
It brought me back to life

The sun started as just a tiny disc on the water -- it looked like the horizon had erupted in flames. Pretty amazing stuff! As you can see in the photos, it was pretty cold on top of the mountain -- I was wearing sweat pants, a sweat shirt and had two towels around me! Supposedly it was only 50 degrees. How will I survive the winter??

Seeing as we slept for about 2 hours, we thought it wise to head back to the hotel for a quick nap. We slept until about 9, had some breakfast at the hotel, then drove over to Acadia's visitor center. We were looking for a 3-4 hour moderate hike and did some research. We settled on the Gorham Mountain Trail, the Beehive Trail, and a stop at the Bowl lake. The hike was AMAZING. It was my first hike in New England that involved climbing up boulders. It was pretty challenging at times. The views were insane and I really wish I had a better camera than my phone!














After the hike we were all super hungry and went in search for lobster. We stopped at the Bar Harbor lobster pound on the side of the road and it totally hit the spot.


Well deserved beer!



Since my friends had a much longer drive than I did, we decided to break it up by heading to Portland, Maine to spend the night. Unfortunately EVERY hotel was booked so we ended up staying in a pretty gross motel in South Portland. It looked like the motel from Identity...

We arrived in Portland around 8:30, cleaned up, and went downtown for some fun. I really loved Portland when I visited in the winter, so it was exciting to check it out in the summer. It was definitely more crowded! We started by going to Novare Res Bier Cafe, which many on yelp called "the best beer bar in New England." Founders was doing a tap takeover that night and KBS was on draft for 25 cents...so insane.


I ordered a few delicious brews...



Around midnight we wanted a change of scenery so we went to Bull Feeney's Irish Pub. This reminded me of some of the Boston bars I went to in college and was pretty fun, especially because of the awesome cover band.


The next morning, we were up around 10 and started the long drive home. We stopped in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for some exploring and lunch. I am trying to eat as much lobster as possible so we stopped at Surf Seafood for some views and rolls:



After lunch we stopped at Annabelle's for some ice cream -- it was listed as one of Travel & Leisure's top ice cream shops in America, so obviously I was going. I got an amazing cup of cookie dough with reeses pieces.



Portsmouth is really cute, and I'd love to spend more time there!

It was only about one more hour in the car for me after Portsmouth. It was an awesome weekend...perhaps I will be more spontaneous from now on!?