Wednesday, May 28, 2014


This long weekend was for...

... mowing the lawn. Oh, how quickly it grows this time of year.

... getting a shiny new phone (and a new case to protect it). It was a pretty awesome surprise when my husband came home from the marina in the middle of the day and said, "Let's go get you a new phone."

... a 3 mile hike at my favorite place to go locally. The weather was perfect and the biting insects were almost non-existent.

... summery temperatures and sunshine ... shorts and tank tops ... sandals.

... live music at the Tiki Bar 3 days in a row, including my absolute favorite performer on Sunday afternoon.

... reading Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts ... fantasizing.

Linking up with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hiking Bald Mountain

Last Sunday my sister, her 3.5 year old son, and I drove up to the Old Forge area to hike Bald Mountain. It is 2 miles round trip and has a fire tower (Rondaxe Fire Tower) on the summit, making it one of the most popular hikes in the area.

Both my sister and I had hiked it before, so the focus of this particular hike was on my nephew. It seemed like a great little mountain for him. We'd hoped to time the hike to miss the black flies, but although neither of us had encountered any at home yet, as soon as we got out of the car we quickly realized they were already out. We were swarmed on most of the hike, but they weren't really biting (I got only 3 bites, which is practically nothing considering the amount of time we were on the trail and the numbers of black flies in evidence). The boy climbed up and down the entire mountain and the fire tower on his own two feet.

I consider it to have been a successful and FUN outing. And now it's really got me hankering for a serious High Peak hike.

Painted Trillium

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Eleven Questions

In the early years of blogging I posted a lot of quizzes and memes, so when I saw this one on two blogs I read (She Likes Purple and Pardon the Egg Salad) I thought why not. It's been years since I've answered some totally random internet questions.

1. What is your favorite type of cheese? Sharp cheddar, for sure. But I love cheese and would happily eat most kinds (except American "cheese," gag). Also, cheese should not be that gnarly orange color, so I should clarify: WHITE cheddar.

2. What are you excited about? Our first camping trip in mid-June.

3. How did you celebrate your last birthday? I didn't.

4. What is on your bedside table? Always: a lamp, box of tissues, alarm clock. Plus, at night: my cell phone, eye glasses, and Fitbit.

5. What do you order from the movie theater concession stand? Nothing (gads, I'm dull). They don't really have any candy I like and the prices offend me. Sometimes I sneak in a bottle of water (rebel).

6. Do you have a garden? What’s growing? No veggies and only perennial flowers. Nothing I have to plant each year. I like the idea of a veggie garden but not the work involved. If I weren't so lazy I would grow potatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini.

7. Any summer plans? We have 4 camping trips planned. I also hope to climb some mountains.

8. Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for? Uh, no. I watch tons of TV, but I try not to get emotionally invested in relationships that the writers will use to create drama and intrigue.

9. What’s the last thing you bought? A pint of Ben & Jerry's for my husband and a tub of hummus for me. Hopefully free of listeria.

10. What’s one thing you are passionate about? Hiking, reading, the environment.

11. What are you grateful for this week? A job I like. Good health. Green leaves. Ice cream. Yoga class.

If you feel so inspired, I'd love to see your answers too.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Random Updates

Since none of these items really merit their own blog  post, here is a collection of random updates:

Green Smoothies: I've been making green smoothies almost every day since late December and am still 100% on board with this activity. I finally tried using kale instead of spinach. I was not immediately won over, but as I've gone through the container I am more and more convinced. I think I prefer the taste and texture of the spinach slightly, but the kale has lasted much better. None has gotten slimy or weird, which the spinach does fairly quickly. Plus, I think I'm getting more smoothies from the same sized container of kale than I did with the spinach. Win, win. I've also branched out and tried different frozen fruit, although the selection at my grocery store is disappointingly poor, especially if I stick to the organic options. Right now I'm on a blueberry kick. One of my friends mentioned she throws in a few baby carrots, so I've been adding 2-3 of those to each smoothie now. Some other things I want to try including at some point are: avocados, cucumbers, mint, and pears.

April Purge: While an April purge was a lovely idea, the reality of identifying one item per day to get rid of was much harder than I anticipated. It turns out that I don't operate well under those restraints. Apparently I work better in spurts during which I might get rid of 5-7 items before losing interest. I didn't want to think about it every day and I didn't want to stop at just one item when I did work up the motivation. In total I got rid of 15 things, which is better than nothing, but not as good as the 30 I'd hoped to purge. If I do this project again, I would structure it differently: 30 Things in 30 Days. That way I could do it all at once or anyway I felt so inspired. But frankly, I'm still feeling unmotivated on the topic as a whole. I need someone else to just come into my house and throw everything away.

Working: I briefly mentioned some work plans in this post back in January, but thus far things have not actually gone as expected. Most importantly, I do not regret leaving my last job. Not even for a second. It was slowly killing me. I have been happier in these last few months than I would've believed possible. I love the work I am doing part-time for our friend's business. It is such a comfortable and casual environment. It's so unusual for me to not dread having to go to work. Who knew the dread wasn't mandatory! I have not been working at my husband's business, for whatever reason, and I'm totally fine with that. I will also be fine if something changes and I am needed. The only source of negativity is the associated financial stress of a significantly lower income. It's been challenging to adjust to a lifestyle of spending NO money. Obviously, I still have expenses (bills, gas, birthday gifts, etc.), but other than the necessities, I've made every effort to prevent myself from buying the things I would've bought in the past. I have to keep telling myself that I don't need said item. And reminding myself that the sacrifices are completely worth it since it means not working a job I hate. I don't know how long I'll be able keep it up, and I know it's not a situation that would appeal to everyone. But everyone has different priorities, and making and saving tons of money has never been on my list.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


This past weekend was for...

... hanging out at the tiki bar listening to live music

... hiking with my nephew and sister ... finding baby painted turtles ... seeing water snakes and garter snakes and leopard frogs

... Thai iced tea and coconut ice cream

... a solo walk on a trail through a swamp without a single mosquito in evidence (YET) and enjoying every second of peace

... finishing Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Linking up with Amanda at the habit of being.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Brave in Action

I had a chance to put my word of the year to use again. Twice.

1.) On Saturday I worked an event that I'd been stressing about since I agreed to do it. As my anxiety levels increased my sleep quality decreased, which never improves a situation. I ended up working just 15 minutes shy of a 12 hour day, my leg muscles were so sore that I could barely hobble around for days after, and my joints still haven't recovered (mainly my knees). Aside from all that it went as smoothly as I could have hoped for and the best part is it is over. Hopefully I won't have to work another event like that for at least 4 months. Or never. Never would be fine too.

2.) A new yoga studio opened up in my town recently. I've been eyeballing the location and stalking their website ever since. It had developed into a minor obsession (because that's kind of how I roll). At the grocery store on Sunday I paused to check out the yoga mats and my husband told me to just get one if I wanted one. So I did. When we got home I registered for a beginner yoga class on Monday evening. I'd only been to one yoga class before and it was ages ago. Considering all of the things that make me anxious (going somewhere new by myself, finding parking, finding the studio entrance, interacting with the instructor and other students, what to wear, what to do with my hair, etc. etc.), I am rather proud of myself for going. Also, I am mad envious of everyone that floats through life unencumbered by anxiety.

Fortunately, the instructor was friendly and one of the other students started chatting with me almost immediately (perhaps she sensed my need for reassurance). I enjoyed the class immensely, even though I felt shaky and weak and at points very stiff. My glasses kept sliding down my nose and getting in my way and my hair was distracting, slipping out of the low pony tail and falling in my face. I will definitely have to try another way of restraining it. I couldn't help but admire the instructor's closely cropped hairstyle, although it's not anything I can see myself sporting.

I'm so glad I was brave enough to go and I can't wait to do it again. I'm already fantasizing about buying clothes designed for yoga (in hopes they'd be more comfortable than what I wore). I'm kind of loving these pants which are made from recycled plastic bottles. But don't worry I'm not going to rush out and buy a bunch of gear (at least not until I know this is something I will do A LOT and is therefore worth investing in). Right now it will be a challenge just finding a way to afford the occasional class. Especially since I'm already thinking about next Monday...