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Family Vacation version 26.0

30 May

I have not been on a vacation with my family in at least a decade. I honestly don’t even remember because once I started working this concept became increasingly more difficult. I became a slave to the dollar almost as soon as I started earning them for myself. I like a hefty savings account to take care of all of my stupid mistakes.

Mom proposed the idea to me several months ago and the planning process was hell until I washed my hands of it and told her to just tell me when to take time off work (I may be too OCD for my own good). It all came together in the end, and they arrived a couple weeks ago. We had Easter at my house, which I largely failed at. You see my boyfriend also decided to come out and meet them and between a life crisis, trying to plan a meal to host and overwhelming myself in the process, and having limited funds, we ended up going out to eat instead. It was pleasant none-the-less and everyone survived the meeting of the significant other so we will still call it a win.

My favorite boys

My favorite boys

Me, the BF, and the rents

Me, the BF, and the rents

My parents then left the following Monday to go to California for a week, returning Saturday. I took off a few days that week and we went on a mini road trip from Phoenix to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, and Vegas. Other than four days being an awfully long time to be together non-stop, it went well and I saw some really cool things I have never had the chance to see before..and all free of charge (yay parents!).

Sedona was stop number one and it was absolutely gorgeous. We took a jeep tour up into the mountains on this old road that needs some major TLC but GPS still considers the shortest route from Sedona to Flagstaff (I’ll go the long way thank you). The views were amazing and when we got back we ate at this restaraunt where there were cowboys serving your food (yum). I ate bison just for shits and giggles…tasted like a cheeseburger. The only disappointment I had there was that Giselle was in town and I had not even one spotting!

Smokey the Bear Sedona Mom, Dad and I in Sedona

The next day we were off to the Grand Canyon, a stop I have been meaning to make for quite some time. I don’t think it is possible to describe the vastness of this place. I mean it exceeded my wildest dreams and I could have spent days there and still probably wouldn’t fully appreciate the magnitude. The downer was that some lady jumped off the edge shortly before we arrived. Apparently death follows my parents because the same thing happened on their visit to Niagra Falls.

It doesn't even seem real, I felt like I was staring at a painting

It doesn’t even seem real, I felt like I was staring at a painting

I loved this one with mom

I loved this one with mom

Family at Grand Canyon

After spending a day there just soaking it all in we headed off to Nevada. Another attraction that I have been meaning to make time for and also I was not entirely prepared for – the Hoover Dam. So many dam jokes were told my ears were bleeding, but we had a cool tour guide and it was neat to see the inside and learn about the history of this crazy engineering feat. Mom and I even high-fived across state lines.

Hoover Dam Hoover Dam Hoover Dam Hoover Dam

High fiving over the NV/AZ state line

High fiving over the NV/AZ state line

 

After spending a few hours there we headed up to Las Vegas!! Mom really wanted to see it, dad was no so much excited, neither left feeling it was worth the time. We stayed a the Flamingo for super cheap and they upgraded us to a suit which was pretty sweet. I had fun showing them around a little and actually managed to stay sober the whole time (yay self control!).

Las Vegas

Riding the moped in "Italy" at Caesar's Pa;ace

Riding the moped in “Italy” at Caesar’s Pa;ace

Dad and I

Dad and I

Mom and I

Mom and I

All in all it was a good trip, but as soon as we got home it hit me hard I had been non stop with my parents for four days and I needed some me time. I have a hard time doing that with anyone and I didn’t even have my house as a safe haven…ugh!! Anyway, we survived and I will be planning my next road trip hopefully very soon.

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Landmark Reflections

25 Mar

I am a little late in doing this, but the beginning of the month was my one year anniversary in moving to Arizona. I wanted to reflect now that things are mostly stable and I have a handful of experience.

Things I still miss:

  • My family
  • Friends which slowly seem to be losing touch
  • Boston nights (especially Saint Pattie’s Day)
  • The subway
  • Living in Salem, a city full of history
  • Dog walking believe it or not (I keep stalking their Facebook page to check up on some of the pups)
  • Knowing how to get around without thinking
  • The ocean
  • Wider range of job opportunities

Things I would not trade for anything:

  • Finally having an adult apartment
  • Michigan
  • Pool season practically year-round
  • Sunshine sunshine sunshine
  • Minimal precipitation
  • Logical city design so even when I do get lost it is not that hard to figure it out
  • Living with my best friend
  • New friends
  • New adventures and new places to explore

Life changes whether you want it to or not, that is not up to us. I may miss a lot of things and my heart may ache some days, but the likelihood is that that would have happened eventually. We can either be a passive traveler, letting the winds shift us from one place to the next, or we can take an active role and set sail (caution: cheesy metaphor). Either way, we move forward and I would rather have some say in where I end up, I am stubborn like that.

Everyone says I am running away

17 Dec

I have a new post in the works, but for now here is someone else’s that I really enjoyed!

http://thoughtcatalog.com/matthew-kepnes/2013/11/everyone-says-i-am-running-away/

Every Blessing Comes with a set of Curses

7 May

You know the saying. Hindsight is 20/20. That’s all well and good except that most days I wish I could see the future as well as I can see the past. Not even the details, just the vague outline. But that’s what its all about right? Not knowing. Jumping into the abyss day after day and hoping you come out the other side with no major injuries. I mean, in reality, sometimes even the past takes some time to come into focus. It could be months, years, even decades before it all makes sense.

This is starting to sound decidedly negative-y which was not my intention in the least. I guess I’m just feeling reflective…or something.

Really I wanted to share some big news. As of this week, I am officially employed! (Jumps up and down in a very cheerleader type fashion) Not almost employed like before when I got all excited, but for real employed and starting on Monday. Clearly I have mixed feelings about it. It would be out of the norm for me to just simply be satisfied, let’s be honest. I am thankful to have a job again, something to do with my days, and an actual income. I am excited to start catching up on bills and start the arduous process of rebuilding my savings account. I am ecstatic to stop being anxious about failing in this great endeavor and having to return home with my head hung in shame. Seriously, probably would have become a hermit if that had happened for at least 6 months.

However, I can’t help but not be as excited as I could be. Reality did not meet expectation in the end and part of me is severely disappointed. I feel like I’m taking a huge step back. I guess starting over means starting from scratch, but I was kind of hoping I could start everything else over and still maintain the progress I had built in my career path. Perhaps that was too much to ask for.

The job is in a residential facility for teen coping with mental health and substance abuse. I’ve done this before so I know I can do it again, but I left originally for a reason. Its a lot of stress, a shit schedule, and the pay cut is significant. It IS in my field so its going to pay off in the end, but the question is how long the waiting will take.

I put a six month time stamp on it. I will work my ass off and focus on the positive until then. After I put in the time (and get financially stable again) then I can kick it into high gear and find something I actually want and can feel passionate about again. Not to say that I’ll entirely stop looking for six months or that if something works out that is better for me then I won’t take it, I just refuse to stress over it until then.

In other news, TOGA is all done fixing the bitch whore and soon she will be sold and a little extra cash will be coming my way.

In other boy news, add another one to the list. LP and I have been getting to know our new downstairs neighbors. There’s three guys, all single, but one of them, Jack-of-all-trades, and I have been spending a lot of time together. It started a couple weeks ago. LP had been out, I was partying with people at the complex, when she came home there were more people that came with her…one of those nights. As the night quieted down, LP, one of the Parasites, and I were outside on our porch-esque area having a conversation when we heard the guys downstairs. LP being LP said something and one thing lead to another before we were all outside their apartment making introductions and chatting. Jack is a talker to say the least and has some pretty amazing stories to tell and if you have caught on about LP much, she can get pretty social herself. Personally I was commenting where I had an input, but mostly just enjoying the atmosphere.

The one thing I do remember talking about was my situation which at the time was still jobless and getting short on the financial side. Jack has a few projects he’s working on and said in a mostly off-hand way that he might be able to help me out. It was a nice thing to say, but I didn’t put much stock into it, I mean I had JUST met him. However, a few days later, there he was outside his apartment again when I came home in the afternoon from some distraction, and asked me if I had a second to talk. We went into his apartment, he told me about this project he’s been working on, and details about how I could get involved. Since then, I’ve been helping out where I can, less for the money, more because his personality makes it so hard to say no. Jack is very open and make you feel comfortable just by how he holds himself. Sometimes we hang out and work on something for his business, sometimes we just hang out, but I always lose track of time. I’m not getting all girly here, just stating facts.

Regardless of what happens with Jack, or with the job, or anything else that is in the development stages, I finally feel a bit more at peace and that is a nice feeling. The temperature is on the rise and so am I. New adventures await.

PS Happy Cinco de Mayo…meant to stick that story in here, but got a little carried away. Suffice it to say, it did not go as expected…aka I was convinced I could stay sober then ended up in bed (FULLY CLOTHED!) with two guys.

Home

26 Mar

What is a home?

If you Google it you get:

Noun
The place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.
Adjective
Of or relating to the place where one lives: “your home address”.
Adverb
To the place where one lives: “what time did he get home last night?”.
Verb
(of an animal) Return by instinct to its territory after leaving it: “geese homing to their summer nesting grounds”.
Synonyms
noun. house – residence – dwelling – abode – habitation
adjective. domestic – native
adverb. homewards – at home – indoors

Wikipedia will give a similar answer, but I am not the only one to contemplate the word’s meaning beyond a physical structure or area.

The saying goes that the home is where the heart is. What if you’re heart lives everywhere. Does that mean you are homeless? or schizophrenic? Then, what becomes of your body which can only remain in any one place at any one time?

Growing up, my family moved around a lot. My mother was never satisfied with the space we physically occupied. Never satisfied with the places that sheltered us. I never had one specific place to call my “home.” Perhaps that is why I wander so much, yet at the same time yearn to be grounded.

It perhaps is also why I struggle with that initial question so much. What is a home?

My home has always been where my family is. No matter where I go I always refer to where they are as my “home” (even if that changes often).

I also continuously end up calling the building where I sleep most often “home” as well. This can get very confusing in conversations I have with others who often find the need to ask “which home?”

To complicate things even further, although I would never verbally refer to either of these places as “home,” Gordon, where I found who I was, and Vermont, where I found who I was not, are both filed under the box in my heart as “home.”

The list could go on from there, but I think you get the point.

There is a line in a Something Corporate song that I love, “I met a girl who kept tattoos for homes that she had loved. If I were her I’d paint my body until all my skin was gone.” The song itself is fantastic, all about taking risks, seeing the world as an adventure and being a part of something bigger, at least that’s what I get out of it.

Its hard to leave the homes you love. Whether home means a place you’ve been your whole life, or the places your heart has found shelter. The more homes you have, the more full you feel, but the harder it is to look back, and sometimes to look forward.

LP and I went to Ikea yesterday. We bought a coffee table and while we were out I bought new sheets for my new bed along with some other random details that now are part of this home we’ve created. For now its complete, whole. She called it OUR home, and I agreed because that’s what it is. We live here together and form it into something that feels like we belong in it. Its a place to ground myself for awhile and I am blessed to share it with someone I love. I know I’ll have to leave it one day, and probably a piece of me will stay, always connected, but the memories will move with me me and I’ll always have this moment in time.

“I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. But right now these moments are not stories. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite.”

24 Mar

Turns out I’ve been in Tempe for almost 2 and a half weeks I guess, 3 by the time I’m posting this, since we all know I procrastinate. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Why haven’t you posted then dummy? I’ll tell you why…BECAUSE NOTHING HAS BEEN HAPPENING!! Ok stuff has been happening, fun stuff, really fun stuff. I should qualify that statement. Nothing productive has happened, well at least not until after I started this post.

Maybe I was naive, but I really thought I would have a job and a car and maybe, like, a life by now.

I’ve been busy for sure, everyday pretty much goes like this:

wake up way earlier than necessary
check my email
check facebook
surf youtube
watch that show I miss the night before
convince myself its time to apply to some jobs
watch series on netflix…or Downtown Abbey
sit by the pool for a few hours (I do have some nice tan lines at this point…that’s exciting…for MARCH)
hang out with LP…and do…stuff

Then the weekend comes and well….there’s a lot of alcohol typically, and a lot more pool time. That happens when you move from one college city to another I guess.

Today (Wednesday actually, the day I started this) is out of the ordinary because my things are finally here!! It took almost three weeks but my cheap ass moving company finally came and I got to spend the whole day actually really seriously moving in. You have no idea how excited I am. I have been feeling kind of like a vagabond. The few things I brought were just dispersed and messy with no real rhyme or reason. I’ve been sleeping on an air mattress, which after so long is really starting to hurt my back. Its been hard to find a center and feel like I really belong because I’ve had nothing to make me feel grounded.

Now, as I’m finishing this post, it is Sunday (did you follow that?) and not only am I entirely unpacked, I ordered a bed which will be here tomorrow (YAY!) and I will no loger be sleeping on an air mattress. For the first time in my life its not a twin mattress either. Its a freakin’ big girl bed, so now my big girl sleepovers won’t be so….crowded. Clearly that’s the only reason not to have a twin bed, because clearly when I’m the only one in it, a twin bed is just fine.

Anyway, speaking of, apparently it doesn’t take long when I move to find a new set of men to play with. Oddly that was one thing I was worried about when I moved, losing my network of cuddle/make out buddies. I can’t quite explain why, residual low self-esteem or something I suppose.

The point is I’ve had a few encounters since moving in, one that almost got me arrested, one that was entirely unexpected…and a kind of odd, and one that may in fact be something I want to not just dead end because I get too bored to even try anymore.

Maybe I’ll tell the other stories later, but let me talk about the Hipster for a New York minute. I met him a little over a week ago while Lucky Penny and I were sitting at the pool all day drinking and decided to invite people over to join us. The Parasite buddies came who are two boys I knew from previous visits and then LP invited a friend from work, the Hipster. It was a fun day of feeling young and invincible, some other people dropped by, we threw the football around, went swimming, yada yada. The Hipster and I got to talking here and there and it turns out I was intrigued by him.

Of course boy-crazy me tends to like most boys that pay me any attention right off the bat so I didn’t put too much stock into it despite the make out session that ended the night. We have hung out a few more times though and I find myself getting excited every time I see a text from him and looking for excuses to talk to him. Obviously, I don’t need a boy in my life yet, I just started on this new chapter, but having one around isn’t so bad…right?

Minute over, I refuse to dwell and analyze because that would mean I’m in farther than I’d like to be already. Instead lets talk about the day after the pool, aka Saint Patrick’s Day.

I’m not even Irish and yet every year this holiday gets out of hand. This year it started at 6:30am and lasted 21 1/2 hours. It was almost going to last 24, but at around 4:00am it was very clear I was being irrational and needed to pass out. Instead of trying to remember details I’m going to give you a vague timeline of events (and clearly I’m into doing this today).

6:30 am crawl out of bed, kick the Hipster out, and get greened up
7:00 am go to the bar that was giving out t-shirt to the first 100 people, not get a t-shirt but share a pitcher for breakfast
8:00 am go home and actually eat breakfast because clearly that should have happened already
After breakfast, take a nap, then shortly after wake up from said nap because you feel like its time to get on with celebrating. Spoiler alert later comes the regret for not taking a long enough nap.
11:00ish go to Mill Ave. aka the street with all the bars
Drink all day at multiple bars. Meet up with a cop LP knows and try not to be awkward. Realize there are free tickets to see and meet Flogging Molly at the park and need to go.
6:30 pm get to the park, get tickets, never actually find where to go to meet the band and instead lose LP in the crowd and find a new friend that someone back home told you to meet up with. Go find LP, elbow to the front of the crowd, stay for less than a song and leave. On the way to the back of the crowd bump into Parasite2, have photo shoot, go back to the bar.
By this time it was like 9 maybe, met back up with the cop, drank some more, then went in search of food while Parasite2 went to find his wallet or something. We got food but lost Parasite2 because his phone died, but luckiest night ever means that we found him again wandering the street on the way to the cop’s car. On the way home I invited Parasite1 over and all of us continued drinking and chatting.
LP had to work in the morning so she went to bed early. Parasite1 passed out on our floor. Parasite2 and I went to the park.
4:00 am Parasite2 and I got back to the house and I got the fantastic idea to be up 24 hours straight. Instead we got into my bed and fell asleep to SNL.

Despite how awesomely entertaining the experience was, the next day I felt like hell. The decision was made that the rest of the week was detox week and mostly I kept to that resolution.

By Wednesday I was feeling much better and super excited for my things to come (like that full circle there?). Thursday I rented a car because I had two interviews! Neither was super close and the cost (and joy the driving would bring) outweighed that of cabs. Not only did one of them offer me the position, the other went really well and has contacted my references making me feel super confident that may end up being an option as well. Either way I finally have a job lined up.

The only thing missing at this point is a car and I am determined by the end of the week I will be mobile again.

Being as it is the last week in March all of this will mean that in less than a month I somehow managed to completely uproot my entire life in New England, transport it to Arizona, rebuild it entirely, and even add in some improvements. This has been the most terrifying and nerve-racking month of my life. I have never doubted myself more, never second guessed so many of the decisions I have made, and never been so happy with the results.

Wow this was a long one.

PS The quote is from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”…in case you were wondering. I edited it a bit.

Reckless on the Road: Part 4

5 Mar

Day 4: Yukon, Oklahoma to TEMPE, ARIZONA! – 940miles

States: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona

Last leg of the journey, it feels kind of cathartic. I think I needed to drive and for it to be hard. I needed to have to make a definite and absolute decision and wash away all though of return. I needed the time to come to terms with that choice and to fully embrace the life I was walking into. I feel I have taken my spirit walk into the bush and come out the other side standing taller and full of purpose.

With that said, the drivers out here are worse than the drivers back home and I want to make them all retake drivers ed. I mean constantly as I am clearly going a constant speed, coming up to a truck or other vehicle in front of me clearly going a slower speed and some ass hole in the left lane will sit in my corner just close enough to box me in. It drives me NUTS!

But other than that the drive has been nice. It’s amazing watching the scenery change and adapt, morph into different terrains and become something new. Not only that but there is clearly a different way of living out here. Giant roaming ranches, tiny shanty towns, sporadic “metropolitan” areas. All along route 66 we kept seeing tiny strips that are clearly from the hay day when 66 was the mode of travel in the west, but now have become run down pit stops like the town in Disney’s Cars since I40 was built. I can’t imagine growing up with so much space. I keep imagining life as depicted in the movies, but clearly the reality must be vastly different. I constantly have been asking myself what they do for work, what they do for fun, where they shop for groceries, and so on. It’s fascinating.

The end of the journey is always the longest and I must say I am happy to be here and start getting settled. Its going to be odd living with LP at first I think and I don’t think my brain has fully registered I’m not going back to Massachusetts yet, but here goes. Now lets just hope I get a job soon…and a car.

Side story, out of all the years I have been driving in New England, so all of them, I have never once even come close to hitting an animal. See deer all the time, even got a glimps at a family of moose one time, but never have I hit one. Tonight, after crossing into Arizona, I literally came within inches to taking out a young elk. WTF.

 

Afterward from Tapas:

I think I’m happy we’re out of the car. Much safer inside.