california: las trampas on film

// Sunday, November 1, 2015

I’m gradually starting to settle into a new daily routine. I’m getting used to the logistics involved with commuting by car (versus by walking + taking the mbta + walking), and I’m brainstorming ways to make up for the 40 minutes of walking a day I’m no longer doing. (I hadn’t realized how healthy my commute in Boston was? I worked in so much walking without even thinking about it.) I went to a yoga class yesterday – for the first time since July! – and I am acutely aware today of how much sitting I’ve been doing. I am sore. I’m hoping to make yoga – and more walking – a regular thing again.

I’ve also got some ambitious non-athletic goals for November. I’m torn over whether or not I want to attempt NaNoWriMo again, or if I want to do the “easier” route and commit to NaBloPoMo ( encouragement here), which honestly is kind of a ridiculous acronym, but whatever. I’m still deciding: my plan is to write something, at least, today, so I can either build on that momentum or not, and if I don’t, I can commit to spamming filling your feeds and inboxes with delightful posts for the next thirty days. Because in spite of my best intentions, I haven’t been great about blogging.

So far, November 1st weekend is off to a good start: yesterday, I went to my first yoga class in three months (even though it was 10/31, I’m counting it here), and this morning T and I went for a walk in Del Valle Regional Park, which was pretty and kind of wonderful (there will be film pictures once we get them developed, hopefully this week!).

Earlier in October, though, we went to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, which was also great (but I’m pretty sure I like Del Valle better? To be determined by future visits…). And since I already have some film developed from there, I figured I’d share. A thing to note: if you’re like me and from New England-ish and think of hiking as “tree covered dirt paths with tree roots”, Las Trampas is very much more of a “walk up a long hot gravel and sand road for a while, and then get to some tree-root filled trails” type of place. A lot of the trees also have the cool-looking but kind of concerning moss-bark stuff that is kind of visible in the third picture. And also: coming down the trails at Las Trampas is terrifying, because you’re basically walking on microsand that looks like dirt. #Slippery.

All of that said: Las Trampas was nice, and quite scenic, and there’s a ton of it that I haven’t seen or explored, so I’m looking forward to doing that in the future.



trampas03    trampas04


life updates: california edition

// Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hi. I’ve been radio silent for a while – I’ve alluded, briefly, to the fact that there were big changes on the horizon, that I was thinking in futures, but I never actually got around to writing that post when I wanted to write it. I didn’t have an appreciation for just how much goes into moving, for how little time there is to do all the things and see all the people and pack up an entire life. The image above is my bedroom from my apartment, after everything was all emptied out. It was my first real post-college apartment: a wonderful space shared with a wonderful human, with a kitchen that I will likely always kind of miss (because as far as I can figure, kitchens like that do not exist in California; neither do pine floors), and the best light (kitchen in morning, living room in afternoon). I’ll write more about that space when I’m in a place where writing about the apartment and (formerly) local things seems like an exercise in good nostalgia and not just writing about last month. Or I’ll write about it next week, if I manage to properly sort through my pictures and/or get some film (!) developed.

In keeping with my recent trend of burying the lead, all of this is to say that I now living in California in the East Bay. My boyfriend finished his PhD (!), got a job offer out here, and accepted said job offer – and we decided we would move out here together. So! That’s what we did: my last day at my job in Massachusetts was August 20th, the movers came on August 21st, and we started driving west on August 22nd. (It made sense, for a variety of reasons, for me to do it that way, but in an ideal situation I absolutely would’ve tried to have at least a few days off in between work and moving to allow for…less frenzied last minute details and packing and seeing more people. Because I was as prepared as I could be, and super organized, but there was only so much that could be tangibly, physically done until the last few days.)

leaving-massachusettsEn route to leave Massachusetts on August 22nd, possibly the last time my car will be driven on 93?? That’s weird to realize. I’m definitely going to be visiting family and such, but I feel like the chances of me driving across the country to do that (versus flying) are slim.

ca-leaving-oregonLeaving Oregon/entering California! For some reason, California is the only state we entered that didn’t have any sort of “California welcomes you!” sign, so this is the best I’ve got. But still! This was on Friday, September 4th: who doesn’t plan to end a road trip with a ten hour day of driving on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend??? (We got lucky and didn’t hit much traffic at all, but whooooops.)

I’m currently sitting in a local coffee shop, bouncing between reading things to apply to and drafting a cover letter and this, but the overhead play is Matchbox 20, and that is much more writing music than it is professional cover letter writing music. And it’s ‘Real World’, so I mean, if the lyric of the song is I wish the real world would just stop hassling me… So, you know. Blogging. (Also: I kid. I don’t mind the real world at all; I am very much looking forward to having a job again and a routine that involves coworkers. I’ve been hitting the job search hard; I’m just trying to get better about fitting in the personal things that are important to make time for.)

I have a lot I want to write about: a review/recommendation/love letter to Forge Baking Company (and in double checking that that link was correct, I just realized they have online ordering. Guys, seriously, once I’m employed again: mail order business to California?); my final summer 2015 weeks in and around Boston; our road trip out here; how I’m adjusting and liking California so far (spoiler alert, I like it a lot); and all the other things that I’ve been meaning to write and can’t think of right now. But right now, really, I just wanted to check in: to say I’m still here, just three thousand miles away from where here was the last time I wrote; to say that things are good, even if there’s still a lot I’m trying to get done; to start getting back into blogging again, because I’m not thrilled with myself that it’s been over two months since my last post, but it also makes sense, because there was so much more to do than I think I’d realized with regards to moving.

I obviously will be posting a lot more pictures, and a lot more about the trip out west. We viewed it as a true vacation road trip: highlights include the Badlands, SD; Mount Rushmore; Shoshone National Forest; Yellowstone; Jackson Hole, WY; and Portland, OR. But for now, here’s a few pictures from California thus far (and apologies if you follow me on instagram and some of these are repeats):

ca-nightstandA partial glimpse at where we’re currently staying. We’re lucky to be able to stay with (and rent from) friends while we look for a place of our own. Apartment hunting from here is difficult-ish; I can’t imagine how hard this would’ve been to do from Massachusetts. I also am quite amused by the fact that the accent wall is very much my color scheme. (File under: things that make me happy, things that make it feel like home, even if a temporary one.) ALSO: all my plants survived the road trip!! The spider plant is living inside a tiny bit worse for wear after breaking a few leaves in the car (but it’s growing again!), and my succulents are all outside. One of the succulents is a little sad because I didn’t appropriately increase the water for 105 degree direct sun from how I was watering it when it lived inside on my nightstand in Massachusetts, but the other two are flourishing. At least for now, i’m counting that as a win.

ca-coffee-morningsA typical morning for me now. I’ll be happier when this includes a desk of some kind, but for now I’m loving being able to sit outside and drink coffee out of my Diesel Cafe mug and look at a whole bunch of succulents and cacti in the backyard.

ca-palm-tree-sunset:). Sunsets and palm trees are great.

ca-las-trampasLas Trampas Regional Wildness. I’ve only seen a tiny portion of it so far – there are “5,342 acres of wilderness” with a whole bunch of trails. It’s pretty great, but it’s also going to take me a while to get used to the fact that sometimes “hiking” means “walking up a gravel path hill with no trees” – but that said, one you walk up the gravel path road with no trees, you get to a place with trees and roots that feels more like hiking in New England, only you’re walking on weird slippery sand-like dirt. But it was super pretty once we got up to the top of the trail we were walking on.

More posts to come soon. As I’ve mentioned, I have a lot I want to write about. It’s good to be writing here again.

thinking in futures

// Friday, June 12, 2015

I was doing so well for a little while: I was writing regularly, thinking about writing regularly, consuming content in an intentional way where – barring the occasional endless link spiral – the blogs/news/articles I was taking the time to read were being read with a purpose. And then suddenly I wasn’t writing or reading much, because free time was spent outdoors with T, or day-dreaming and thinking in futures about summer plans and new adventures, or grabbing lunch or dinner with friends, or building up our sun-porch herb garden (so much mint and basil!! I am the heart-eyed emoji at our plants). I’ve been wonderfully social recently, but that means I’ve been falling behind in other things, because there is only so much time in the day, and when the choice comes down to being fun!productive (see: this space; organizing my desk) or regular!productive (see: laundry? oops) versus hanging out on the couch catching up on tv with my boyfriend, sometimes – lately more often than not – it’s the latter option that wins out. And I’m not saying it shouldn’t: not by a long shot. But the reason that choice is happening, lately, is because I’ll have nights where I get home from work and suddenly I’ve wasted three hours on the Internet, with nothing to show for it other than being caught up on reading other people’s words, seeing other people’s pictures. When I mentioned in my last post about ideas for posts, I somehow did the thing where I went from wanting to write about all of the things to feeling like nothing I wanted to write about would be, you know, perfect.

And that’s, for lack of a better word, silly: I am not perfect. I don’t want to be, though I definitely have a perfectionist streak. But what I like about writing, what I like about my writing and what I like about me, is that there are moments where the how-I-think-and-slightly-polished words become something else: when the moment where my fingers are moving faster than my conscious brain produces a typo, a slip, an incorrect word that is perfect and fitting and where I wanted the words to lead even though I didn’t know it until those words were on the page in front of me. And if I over-analyze to the point of paralysis, that magic can’t happen, won’t happen.

In college, back when I was writing creatively regularly (thank you, creative writing fiction and poetry classes), during a time of…typical college-age-twenty-something-emotional-turmoil, I wrote a thing – a poem – that based on the way I’m introducing it should be terrible, but it wasn’t. And it’s not something I’m going to reproduce here (because, college? because there are parts of it I love but I don’t want to rework it to post it here? because posting creative writing – in the real, I wrote this story/poem/prose poem, way – is a kind of terrifying I’m not ready for yet?), but what the whole five part thing stemmed from was the idea that thinking in futures is – was – a thing that I Did Not Do. And it’s funny, to me, how much a person can change in four, five years while still being the same person, only older and wiser and hopefully improved.

I know I haven’t been posting much, but one of my goals this summer and definitely over the next few weeks is to work on that more, consistently. I have a lot I want to talk about, to think about, to think through words and write about, and some wonderful coffee shops (see: local and slightly less local) I want to review. And at some point – maybe? I think? – I want to dive in a little to what is bound to be a very interesting election season. I have some lofty goals.

I’ve become a person who spends time thinking in futures: not all the time, and I’m still pretty consistently grounded in whatever my current reality is, but I’ve also reached a point where thinking in futures is feasible, and exciting, and wonderful, and only a little bit terrifying.

And that’s kind of great.

on accidental springtime hiatuses

// Friday, May 22, 2015

It’s been a month, nearly, since I’ve been on here. And I realize that that’s not that long in the grand scheme of things, or even in the how-often-I-usually-post scheme of things, but it feels longer, if only because I’ve been pretty absent from the internet overall.

I’m overdue for a Travel Thursday post: I haven’t forgotten, but I’ve been so focused on spring, on the spring fever that seems to have overtaken me without raising any alarms. I’ve spent the last several weekends making trips to and from Mahoney’s Garden Center (I swear to you: no exaggeration, I would live there if I could and if my allergies somehow disappeared.)

I’ve started a plant table in my room: my cactus is dying (and I think it’s beyond fixing; I tried, but I realized what was wrong too late), but the succulents are thriving so far. I hadn’t realized how much I like having plants around, how calming and peaceful they look on a rehabbed old white table from goodwill that I snagged from my grandparents when they moved out of New England. 

I hope to be around here more soon: my spring fever is settling a little (/I think it is physically impossible, space-wise, to purchase more plants, which means more free time), and I’ve got a number of ideas in various stages of development.  The next few weeks should be a good mix of fun and low-key: camping hopefully, helping sort/organize/purge the basement at my dad’s, having barbecues with fancy homemade cocktails and mocktails, and writing in sunshine filled rooms and outside spaces. 

This weekend, I’m visiting a friend in New York City (hi e!) in a whirlwind twenty-four hour trip, and I am the most excited. (Loosely, I’ve been meaning to visit for two years, it’s fine. Sometimes I am the worst. But! Visiting now! And, well, :)!) For the rest of the weekend, I’ve got low-key plans to fix up our window boxes, bunny sit, and go to a barbecue. It’s going to be a wonderful weekend indeed, and an excellent start to the unofficial beginning of summer. 

Travel Thursday: Roadtrip to Minnesota via Instragram

// Thursday, April 2, 2015

So! In putting together this post and going through pictures, it occurred to me that I never actually got around to writing the post I meant to write about roadtripping out to Minneosta in December to visit my boyfriend’s family for pre-Christmas Christmas: I want to talk about the drive out there, about time spent playing tourist, about the coffee. And I plan to do that one of these days – or, at the very least, write a review/cheer/love letter to Five Watt Coffee in Minneapolis, which was amazing. I’m hoping to do that soon (god am I behind in things I want to write about, while also trying to write actual words in a way that is not just documenting, but. There is time, and I will make more.)

But anyways: for now, I’ve decided to structure Travel Thursdays in such a way that I’m working my way backwards. Last week was the BVI, from January; the next couple of weeks will be about Minneosta, from December; and so on. I was originally going to make the roadtrip to Minnesota and time spent in Minnesota one post, but after going through only iPhone pictures (admittedly we didn’t take many DSLR pictures on this trip but there are still more than a handful), I only managed to narrow it down to twenty-two pictures. Which seems like kind of a lot, and more than a little overwhelming to read/view in one post. This week is the roadtrip; next week likely will be the rest.

Without further ado: a roadtrip to Minneosta via Instagram (and some regular iPhone pictures). Also, an adorable puppy that I very much wanted to transport back with us to Massachusetts.

tt2-01-dieselPre-roadtrip coffee and breakfast at Diesel Cafe in Davis Square. They’re wonderful, and we spend a significant amount of time there on weekends and some mornings before work, though trying to get better about making weekday coffee at home, because fresh roasted beans from Tonx Blue Bottle are great). Diesel, therefore, was a given on the Tuesday morning we left for our roadtrip. Excellent coffee + delightful food = happy passenger and happy driver.

tt2-02-i80-paThis was my obligatory, “I just took a nap at a rest stop?????” bathroom mirror shot. Because, why not. Also, I was tired. This picture came out far better than it probably should have, I think.

tt2-03-indianaSnow in Indiana. Also, my first time in Indiana. There were so many trucks.

tt2-04-chicagoChicago! From the interstate, but whatever. This marks the first time I’ve driven through Chicago and only the second time I’ve “been” there. (Though the first time, I did actually spend time in the city, but not enough that I’ve formed an opinion of it yet.) In spite of what I’ve been told, we didn’t hit any traffic at all. I was pleased.

tt2-05-wisconsinObligatory roadtrip progress / we’re kind of sort of almost there picture. Wisconsin!

tt2-07-accurateArrived in Minnesota! This is the next morning, and a very accurate representation of a lot of things. Hi, can you tell I like turquoise? Also coffee and notebooks and maybe my phone?

tt2-08-puppyPupppppppy. Cutest dog in the world. I very much wanted to bring her back to Massachusetts with us. Also this picture was taken about two minutes after the prior one, and I love that a lot. So many happy things.

Minneosta was absolutely wonderful – and not even that cold! I know it changed later in the winter, but it was definitely warmer than Boston at the time, which was funny. I love catching up on posts like this, but I’m very glad it’s officially spring in the present.

What’s your favorite photo?

on posting posts months after writing them?

// Friday, September 12, 2014

{Apologies. This post is a mess and about fifteen tenses but I’m posting it anyway, because I’m sick of telling myself that I’ll post it soon/as soon as I properly fix it. Because, well. I wrote pieces of this post originally in May. Early May. Let’s not talk about it…}

A couple of weekends months ago, I went on an accidental ~6mi hike, filled with water crossing adventures and realizations that any balance beam skills I had as a child are long gone. (See also: poorly marked trails -> much longer hikes than intended but also prettier ones with frogs and broken bridges and sunlight through trees).



It had been too long since I’d been outdoors in any meaningful sense of the word, and I’m going to try and get better about that this summer. (Update: I’ve succeeded! More tan than I’ve been in a long time, though in the “hey this just happened from being outside” healthy way. It’s the best.) I was considering joining the local gym my roommate joined recently, but I’ve realized that at least for now, my schedule isn’t consistent enough that I want to fork over a decent sum of money for something I’m not sure I’ll be able to use as much as I’d want to given the cost.

I’m looking forward to this summer, and July 4th travel and sailing (sparknotes update: it was absolutely wonderful) and being healthy and taking advantage of all the sunlit hours of the day. I’ve been reading an increasing number of travel blogs lately. I finally got around to purchasing an REI membership. I’ve also decided to purchase my first pair of real hiking boots (update: I purchased Merrell Moab waterproof leather low-top hiking boots and though I’ve only used them once I’m pretty sure I like them a lot.) Also, I want to go camping? I’ve never been – I’ve also never been on a ~serious~ hike – and I think it has the potential to be a great deal of fun. Mostly I just want to be outside more and do things.

Along those lines, I have a bunch of travel plans in the works. I’m excited about that;  I’ve been feeling a little static and I’m trying to find ways to work on that. So this summer, I’ll be going (see also: I went) to DC; Minnesota/Bayfield, WI; New York at some point to be determined, Montreal or and Quebec in August. It’s going to be a good summer. And in honor of said travel, I finally bought this small duffle from L.L. Bean in ‘sea holly’, which I’ve been meaning to do for forever. I have a great four-six day duffle and a wonderful messenger bag (an older version of this the Rothco Vintage Explorer Messenger Bag, which I’ve mentioned before) that’s great for an overnight but small for anything longer, but I’m lacking a good weekend away bag. I think the one from L.L. Bean will be perfect. [it is!!!]

Short term goals/to do list: go for runs, spend time with family/friends, and have some down time. [accomplished!]

Current (as of September) goals: finally go through and edit some hiking/travel pictures so that I can post some here — a picture post is long overdue at this point. Post more. Write about coding, write about Quebec, and post reviews of books that I’ve been reading.

on wednesday week in review posts (or: sometimes weeks are months)

// Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This has been sitting as a draft for a while, because sometimes I am the worst at figuring out what I want to say. Therefore, this particular Wednesday has become a month in review post instead of a week in review post, but my goal is to start actual week in review posts next week.

I know Friday is often the day people choose for week in review posts, but I’ve decided to be more realistic about when I’m most likely to want to sit and think back on the previous seven days. On Fridays, I’m tired. I’ve had a full work week, typically with many (non-work) evening activities, and when I get out of work I don’t want to sit down in front of a computer again. I’m ready for a screen break. I’ve noticed over the past several months that Friday nights and Saturdays tend to be my digital detox days – for the most part, I tend to stay off the computer, tablet, and phone (save making plans). Wednesdays, though, are just a typical day/night, and for me, they tend to be relatively low-key, so it makes sense for me to do something that’s not only productive but also in keeping with the low-key theme. (tl;dr – Wednesday are now going to be week in review days.)

Anyways, for the most part, this has been a relatively low-key month. I’ve done a bunch of new things, though, and I’ve been pretty close to fully successful at completing my buy nothing month plan. Overall, I’d say it’s been a pretty good month for me, and I’m hoping to continue that into May. There’s been some chaos in limited aspects of my personal life, but I’ve largely gotten better at focusing on the positive and allowing the negatives to be experiences from which I learn instead of experiences that drag me down more than I want them to. I have never been one of those people who advocates the whole “You Choose To Be Happy Regardless of How Terrible Things Are or Seem” thing, but I do think that I can have some control over my degree of unhappiness, which is to say, really, control over how much I let one area of unhappiness affect the happiness in/with other areas of my life, if that makes sense. I’ve been working on that more, and it’s going relatively well.

To continue with focusing on the good, some of the fun and/or new things I’ve done this month:

  • Dinner at the Russell House Tavern (I’d never been), which I very much enjoyed. The group was fun – six people including me, two of whom I’d never met and one with whom I’d only spent limited time, varying in age from 24 to ~late thirties. But it worked well, and even though I was exhausted, conversation flowed wonderfully. Food wise,  I got the char, which I’d never had but is very much like salmon (see also: yum!).
  • Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. First time I’d seen them and first time they’d performed “on the road”, so to speak, because we saw them at Berwick Academy in Maine, which is decidedly not Portsmouth, NH. It was an all Mozart program, and it was absolutely lovely.
  • My first ever Red Sox game. I’d acquired tickets through work, and I really enjoyed myself, even though I’ve never particularly thought of myself as a baseball fan. I was also rather entertained that they were playing the Orioles, as the one and only baseball cap I’ve ever owned was an Orioles cap (it’s a long story, but it mostly boils down to six-year-old me really liking the colors black and orange.) We lost, but whatever. It was a good night with good people and free food/beer. And getting home on public transportation wasn’t nearly as horrible as I thought it would be.
  • Spending the day up in Portsmouth, which consisted of lunch at  Lexie’s Joint (fun fact: their cucumber mint lemonade is the actual very best thing. and their burgers and milkshakes ain’t half bad, either) and then walking around downtown for about four hours. We lucked out, because the weather was gorgeous.
  • Easter. Easter’s never been that big of a deal in my family. (Sidenote: I’m Unitarian Universalist, so while I often “celebrate” the major religious holidays, it’s definitely more of a secular thing in my family, meaning that it’s more of an excuse to have a nice dinner with the good china than anything else.) That said, there was a 10 lb ham for dinner with yams and asparagus, and there’s something nice about going home (/bringing T) and having a meal + wine with family. And there’s also the added bonus that I now have (well, had) a lot of leftovers to bring to work with me for lunches. There’s still a part of me that wishes I received an Easter basket, though, so I don’t really know what that says about me. But I did get to share an Easter basket/bag given to someone else, so I’m counting that as a win (Reese’s eggs! Lindt bunnies! plastic grass! Also, yes, I am six years old.)
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra thanks to their $20 under 40 special offer. We saw “Charles Dutoit conducts Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky featuring pianist Behzod Abduraimov” and it was a wonderful night. The pianist was AMAZING. Caps are seriously not even remotely enough to covey how good he was. Also, he’s only a year younger than I am, and I am now seriously questioning my accomplishments in life…). Also, had dinner at Helmand in Cambridge, and I highly recommend the Qabelee.

Like I said, overall it’s been a very good month. Here’s to hoping May is equally as good and fun and filled with good people/events.

*This post was also going to contain an update/reflection on my Buy Nothing month, but it’s gotten fairly long as is, so look for that post tomorrow.