Posted in adventure, escape, family, kids, Life, People, travel

Into Massachusetts!

I have been the absolute worst about following up since I have been home, and there is really no reason why, other than my work schedule has changed and adjusting is always hard for me. So please, accept my apologies, and enjoy these photos from the last leg of my trip to the East Coast!

So, we took our time on our way to Massachusetts- got lost on a few detours to find bathrooms, and ended up having the best time on the winding little roads past beautiful homes interspersed with amazing houses, and of course, the requisite cemeteries every few miles. I am endlessly fascinated with the graveyards on the East Coast, and could spend days just reading the headstones. I know that sounds morbid, but really it isn’t. I love the history and the artwork on the stones, and…well, I’ve always loved cemeteries. They are peaceful and beautiful, and the ones in Maine and Massachusetts are super cool.

I think this is in Kittery?

There are woods like this everywhere!

Another beautiful graveyard!

From Maine to our place in Rockport, Massachusetts, was only about an hour and a half drive! For me, a born and bred Californian, this is mind-boggling. It takes hours and hours to get out of California, but on the East Coast, I was in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts all within the span of a few hours! I was trying to take a picture of some river or another and missed the New Hampshire sign, which bummed me out, but oh well!

Me, missing the New Hampshire sign.

The little air bnb that my mom rented in Rockport was just perfect. We both felt like it was the most comfortable little house, as if we’d been there a million times already and were just returning. It felt like going to grandma’s house, if you know what I mean. That first afternoon, we dropped off our stuff and strolled into Rockport. The funny thing is, I’d been there only eight months before, but somehow missed a ton of the town. In my defense, it was freezing cold when I had been there in October, and we were on the opposite side of town searching for beanie’s to warm our frozen ears, so we weren’t really strolling very much.

Our little rental house. It was perfect!

Rockport is incredible in cold weather, but it is PERFECT when it’s warm. We spent some time on the little beach right before town, then wandered around Bearskin Neck (pretty sure that’s what the street is called, for some odd reason) and looked in the shops. Eventually, we were starving to death, so we decided to eat at Roy Moore’s Fish Shack, mostly because they had items other than seafood on their menu- at that point, I was sick of seafood and needed something else! I had a BLT, Cam had her normal cheeseburger, and my mom had the lobster mac & cheese. I was all lobstered out. 🙂

Our first foray into Rockport.

To be honest with you, the next few days are all kind of a blur to me now. We did spend one afternoon in Salem which was cool! Funny thing is, I loved Salem so much the first time I was there but it was too crowded for my taste in October- going back in June, it was much less crowded, but after seeing so many beautiful places in the preceding days, it wasn’t as awesome as I remembered. Maybe it was the Fall magic that was missing? I did get to visit the Salem Witch Museum, which was very cool, and Camryn REALLY liked it there. We also visited Salem Willows, a super old-timey park with old rides and an arcade. I got sunburned like crazy that day, and we were very tired by the time we headed back to the house. I believe Cam and I stayed in that night playing dice while my mom went to town and ate dinner alone.

All Salem & Salem Willows

We spent a lot of time just driving around, looking at houses, to be honest. I’m really glad my mom was into that, too, because it’s just so much fun back east. Even though it’s all in the USA, it couldn’t be more different than California- and that’s what makes it so incredible!

You can’t get a bad shot in Rockport. It’s beautiful.

We never made it to Boston, and we didn’t do the walking history tour at night in Salem like I’d hoped, but I was more than willing to let those things go just to enjoy the little town where we were. We walked so, so much and just did a lot of sightseeing, and I couldn’t have been happier with the way it all worked out.

Before I knew it, it was time to head home. I was glad to be back, but I will always, always love New England- and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if one day I called it home.

Cam took this one. Headed home!
Posted in Blogging, family, friendship, Goals, Holidays, Life, manifestation, Musings, People, relationships, women

Ready for What’s Next: Part 1

connection

I don’t want to jinx myself, but it looks as if I will be ending 2018 on a high note- I’ve had a fabulous past few days, filled with fun interactions with old friends that I haven’t seen in years. Lots and lots of laughter- the kind you can only really have face to face, with people who truly get you. And there is nothing better to me than people who not only laugh at my funny stories, but can make me laugh just as hard with theirs. Humor is just the top thing for me. I also went on a date that 100% did not suck- just easy conversation, not awkward, really nice…we all know how awful a first date can be, don’t we? Enough to keep me from going on very many, that’s for sure. So whether we go out again or not, it’s just really good to know there is hope- well mannered, funny, gainfully employed, grown up men do exist. I’m just happy for the experience.

But what really stands out to me about all of those things is the common thread of connection, and how it affected me. As you may know, I work from home about 95% of the time- I only work in the office for about 16 hours per month. The rest of the time, I’m here, at this computer, alone. There are many days when the only other adults I see are the mailman, if he has a package for me, and my friend Harmony who picks Camryn up from school for me. This generally seemed okay to me- I didn’t realize the impact all my isolation was having on my mood, my motivation, and my life. Until now, that is. After spending some real-life time with people recently, it was hard to miss the elevation in my mood, and the subsequent rise in my motivation to do things even later, when I was alone. I’m still basically an introvert- I will always relish time alone to recharge and decompress. But too much time alone is just as bad for my spirit as too much of anything else, and I intend to be mindful of that.

In 2019, my mission in life will be to continue in this fashion, spending time with people who make me laugh, and who laugh with me. People who I can talk about anything with, and never feel weird or bad. I want my friends to know that I care very much about them, and I am going to make a real effort to be there for them when they are struggling or in pain, and to reach out when they need someone. In 2018, I thought I was ready to come out of my cocoon, but looking back, I can see that I still had some resting to do. I do not feel any kind of way about this- it’s over, basically, and I must have needed that time or it would have been different. But I feel in my heart that this coming year will be different as can be, and I look forward to a lot of joy and good memories to be made.

There are certainly other goals I have in mind, but I think I will leave it at this one for now- connecting with friends and family, and looking forward to how it will color my life. That is 2019 Goal Number One. Stay tuned for the next few goals for the New Year!

Posted in fun, Holidays, humor, Learning, Life, Musings, People

5 Good Reasons to Go to the Party

christmas party

If you are like me, (and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but, no matter what you are telling yourself, you ARE) then something funny happens to you when you are invited to a party. I am not talking about a kids birthday party, either, because no one who has reached puberty ever wants to go to those, including the parents of the child whose birthday it is. We just go because it is the right thing to do, and also because if we don’t, they can opt out of OUR children’s future parties, and that, my friend, is where society starts to break down. We go to kids parties to fill seats at our own kids parties, essentially. Not pretty, but generally true. But, shockingly, I digress. What I AM talking about is an invitation to a grown-up party, say, perhaps, a Christmas party, for example. The kind that clearly, in writing, states “No Children”.

Sort of like the one I was given, about a month ago, by, ironically, the woman who runs my daycare. I know, I know- you are thinking “Your daycare lady invited you to an adults only Christmas party? Like, she’s a DAYCARE provider…so…I mean…how does she know about adult PARTIES?”, and I totally get where you are coming from. But, I assure you, this woman is not your typical mini-van, soccer mom, daycare lady. She is actually really cool. Way cooler than me, if I’m being real. She has ten, yes TEN, children of her own, most of whom are grown and out on their own. She is chill, in a “I raised ten kids, so there is pretty much nothing that can faze me” kind of way. She has cool hair, she works out in one of those cross-fit type gyms where it is pretty normal to throw up in the course of your morning, and she has a ton of friends. This lady knows how to throw a party. So, when I got my invitation, I felt like Charlie when he got the golden ticket.

I was fine, and super excited, until about Monday of last week. That’s when that weird thing that I have been trying to write about since the first paragraph started happening. And I am pretty sure you already know what I am going to say, since pretty much every single person I have brought it up to says they feel exactly the same. So, I am all set to go to the party. I have a sitter, I know what I am bringing (everyone was told to bring appetizers instead of kids) (that was not really how it was said, of course) and I am pretty clear on what I am wearing. Except…all of the sudden, I don’t really want to go. I am tired. I won’t even know anyone there. She only invited me to be polite…she doesn’t really want me to actually show up. These are actual thoughts I had leading up to the day of the party. The day of the party, yesterday, they only intensified, and it was like there was an actual battle going on inside of me- there was the me that was going to the goddamned party, if for no other reason than I said that I would, and there was the crazy me, who was like ” But I am TIRED!” “Why are you doing this to me? This is going to SUCK!” “You are going to feel so stupid walking in there all alone!” “You are definitely going to embarrass yourself.” And on and on and on…

But you know what? Fuck that crazy voiced me! I was going to the party. And I did. And you know what? It was way, super, fun. So, here are five reasons why you should squash that asshole part of you that wants you to stay home for the rest of your life, and go to the party, even when you are nervous:

1) Go because you don’t even remember the last time you wore high heels- I mean, yes, you may be wearing them with jeans, but they are tight, moderately uncomfortable jeans, and that counts for something, right? I mean, seriously, there is more to life than yoga pants (and scrubs, if you are me, which you clearly are not, but you know what I mean), Ugg boots or tennis shoes, and bra-optional environments (If you are over 30 and an A cup, home is really the only bra optional environment, just to be clear.). Suck it up for one night, and suck it in- it won’t kill you. If you aren’t sure how to doll yourself up for an evening event, just do what I did, and put on MORE make-up- wing your eyeliner, re-apply your mascara, pick the next darkest shade of eye shadow, wear red lipstick. Curl your hair. So what if it’s raining, you will still think you look like you did when you left your house, and besides…there may just be one 29 year old girl at the party who nearly dies of shock when she learns you are ten full years older than her. I loved that girl, bless her little heart.

2) Go because you will know at least a couple of people there, even if it’s just the person who invited you, and one or two of her friends. If you live in a smaller town, like I do, you will know at least two people well, and be familiar with others, and it will be good to talk again without kids interrupting- even if all you talk about are the kids that you are finally getting a break from.

3) Go because you have probably forgotten how awesome you are! Seriously, all that stuff you were thinking, about how socially awkward and inappropriate you are? Hogwash! The vision you had in your head of sitting, alone, in a corner chair, trying not to see the pity in everyone’s eyes as they avoided you? Uh…that is not going to happen. Chances are, if you have a night like I had, you will remember how good you are at talking to people, about anything at all, and you will realize that all the mean things your teenage daughter said about your awful personality were total LIES. People love you.

4) Go because you are almost certainly going to find yourself laughing out loud, with other people, not the “LOL” we use as a response on Facebook. It feels really good to actually laugh, out loud, with other grown ups.

5) Go, because all of these things, above, will make you feel really, really, good about yourself, and we could all use a little of that, am I right? You need to break from your stifling routine sometimes, painful as the process may be, simply because you have almost certainly forgotten how much fun you can have…And more importantly, how much fun you can BE.

I am so glad I did not allow the paranoid, reclusive, side of me to talk me out of what turned out to be a really great night. I hope you take my advice and go. There may be a million lame excuses you are making to stay home, but now you have five solid reasons you should go- have fun, and happy holidays!