2015: in review

// Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 was a lot of things: it was an absolutely wonderful year, but it was also the year of all of the change. I moved from the East Coast, from the state where I’d lived in a 25-mile radius my entire life, to California, to the place where I peripherally knew three people and two other people I’d gone to college with. I went from living in a wonderful, wonderful apartment with a friend just outside of Boston to living with my boyfriend in a rented room in a lovely house and then a one-bedroom apartment, which is finally starting to come into its own in the best of ways. (We still need dining room chairs, but other than that we’re pretty much set, other than hanging up the artwork that is currently under our bed.)

I’ve learned a lot this year. I left my first post-college job, and I moved across the country and found a new job. I learned I have an extensive support network – and that it’s okay to lean on them when I need to do so (and I’ve also grown to tangibly appreciate just how wonderful all of the people in my life are, and for that I am incredibly grateful). I’ve struggled with distance but not with homesickness, knock-on-wood, and that both surprised and impressed me. I’ve realized that I have more strength than I sometimes give myself credit for. I haven’t been as good at keeping in touch with people as I’d like to be, but I’m working on it: adjusting to the time difference has been a little harder than I would have thought, especially combined with having a driving commute instead of a subway commute. The length of the commute is about the same, but being productive doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with driving a car…

I’d love to do a numbers breakdown of this year, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin, and while I did an excellent job of taking a ridiculous amount of photographs on the roadtrip out here and before I left Massachusetts, I’m not exactly on top of my game re: having everything organized. Time is a funny thing, and the month and a half I spent hardcore looking for jobs was more a job than I’d bargained for, I think? And then moving and settling into our apartment has been a time-consuming process (though I’ve loved it and it’s really satisfying to see everything come together: still a time-suck).

A (very) brief monthly breakdown, for posterity:


I went to the British Virgin Islands with my boyfriend and his family; sailing for a week: not something I was sure if I’d be able to do, but I enjoyed it immensely. Also, snorkeling. And sunsets. And having forced lack of screen/connectivity time. It was excellent.


All of the snow: so much snow, in fact, that Theresa and I went snowshoeing to a local coffee shop. The month of all of the snow and a 2.5 hour commute home, part of it walking through a blizzard. Boston got buried by snow, and the MBTA sucked, and people developed a sense of humor about it. Valentine’s Day was great. T and Kathleen and I went to the Chili Fest in Boston, which was great and also I had venison for the first time (yum).


The month I started thinking about all of the words, about writing and the purpose of writing and what I want and wanted to write. March was my most active posting month here, by far, and I’m a little sad at myself that I lost the momentum. Theresa visited grad schools and I bunny-sat Eloise a whole bunch, and it was wonderful. <3 that bun. I went running. I went to Forge a lot. I drank a lot of coffee and wrote.


April was a low key month. We went on a double-date to the aquarium and watched the penguins forever. Because, penguins. T came up to my dad’s for Easter, which was nice and also very low-key. And in hilarious, wonderful, ridiculous things, a group of friends and I saw Kesha at Tufts Spring Fling.


I saw Of Monsters and Men at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. HEARTS IN MY EYES. But seriously: this was one of those shows where I barely took any pictures and most/all of the pictures I took are terrible, but being there was incredible. I made a lot of smoothies. I bought a whole bunch of succulents (sidenote: the big green rose-looking one – that survived the move to California, and the roadtrip, couldn’t handle us being gone for four days over Christmas, and was composted & replaced this morning, and it makes me the saddest). I finally visited Elizabeth, after meaning to visit for literal years – and we got excellent coffee and spent a whole bunch of time in Central Park and it was lovely and wonderful.


Theresa’s birthday and low-key celebrations mixed in with watching The Bachelorette (I miss our house quote-unquote viewing parties, as ridiculous as the show is/is not. I may or may not be planning to watch the upcoming season without having the house bonding time as an excuse.) I saw the new Jumbo at Tufts. T and I started an herb garden, which grew wonderfully though we had to leave it behind in August because of California’s plant-import rules (the plants lived both inside and outside. We didn’t plan ahead well.) We took a day trip up to Portsmouth, NH. I watched Caitlin play roller derby. Same-sex marriage became legal, across the board (!!!!). I began the daunting task of sorting through childhood nostalgia, which my dad has been asking me to do for years.


I visited a friend from college in Philadelphia over July 4th weekend, which was a blast. It’s fun to both play tourist and decidedly not play tourist in a city that’s vitally important to that date. I spent more time sorting through childhood stuff and ate all of the blueberries. T and I went to see Minions. T passed his defense – which was super awesome and exciting not only because, you know, PhD, but also because that meant that the wheels of everything else were getting set in motion, also known as moving to California. July was the month I stressed and stressed about giving notice at work and my family and packing, and then confirmed the moving thing and gave notice and started figuring out what the future was going to maybe look like. I went to Old Orchard Beach with my dad, which has been a thing for as long as I can remember, and it was perfect and quintessentially summer in New England.


I saw more friends in a two week period than I would have thought possible, which got easier when it turned into a three week period that also included needing to pack up my entire life from my apartment and a decent amount of my life from my parents’ places. I went to yoga. I went to Forge and Diesel way more than I should have for the sake of my wallet, but the part of me that loves good coffee (and the current!me that misses them tremendously) has no regrets about that at all. Colin visited Boston and I got to see him for the first time in over a year. I played tourist on my lunch hour. I worked my last day at the place I worked in Boston and wrote all of the thank you notes and had all of the feelings. I said goodbye to our apartment and goodbye to Eloise in what I thought was a see-you-later but turned out to be more final and that breaks my heart. I left Massachusetts and went on a two-week road trip with T. I haven’t done a good job of putting pictures on here, but my instagram is a good place to get a general pictorial overview. New states this go-round: South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. We visited (in order, if not grammatically great) the Badlands and Mount Rushmore and I went camping for the first time and missed Old Faithful but had an awesome time exploring Yellowstone. We saw Jackson Lake and spent time in Jackson Hole, WY (and had awesome coffee).


The roadtrip continued via a two-day detour in Portland, where we drank good beer and good coffee and were overwhelmed – in the best of ways – by books.
We arrived in California! Round one of car stuff survived the move. We unpacked; we made our staying-with-friends housing feel like home, and I made friends with their cats. I applied to a whole lot of jobs and drank a ton of coffee. We explored Las Trampas.


I continued applying to all of the jobs. We flew out to MN to pick up my car & marathon drive it back over Columbus Day weekend (which was a very, very pretty drive). I visited/drove through more new states: Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah. I finally got to see (and take a terrible picture of) a Welcome to California sign. I got a job (and started said job)! We went to Muir Woods. I turned 26. T took me to the San Francisco Symphony for my birthday.


We started the month by exploring Del Valle in gorgeous weather. And then we moved into our apartment in mid-November! I’d never realized before this how long it can take a place to come together when all parties involved not only work full time but are also adjusting to new jobs. But the apartment is coming together wonderfully, though November was largely a month of thinking about moving and furniture shopping and unpacking and organizing. In other notable events, I got my CA driver’s license. A friend came out to California on vacation/to visit family, and we went to Napa for the day. I had my first Thanksgiving outside of New England ever, which was weird but also lovely. Around Thanksgiving was the first time I was tangibly aware of not living near the homes I’d always known and I may or may not have had a disproportionately emotional reaction to breaking down a TV box. But! We cooked a successful Thanksgiving dinner together, just the two of us, in our California apartment, and used placemats on the coffee table and sat on the floor, and it was absolutely wonderful. And we only set off the smoke detector a few times (I blame the duck, not us…).


I worked and we organized the apartment and built IKEA furniture and continued unpacking. We bought a bunch of succulents. And a Rosemary bush in honor of Christmas (?????). I visited Berkeley for the first time with a friend from college, and I learned that parts of Berkeley are wonderful and remind me of Cambridge. Also, brunch is great. That same college friend and I went into the city the weekend before Christmas, and we won: we somehow skipped a crazy long wait at Brenda’s French Soul Food (website) because we were willing to sit at the counter, and we just kind of happened onto it without knowing it was a thing, and YUM. We also managed see a Christmas concert for free by wandering up some stairs after we were unable to walk the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral. And then we saw the Gingerbread House at the Fairmont San Francisco, also without knowing anything about it but wanting to get out of the rain. I started knitting again. I flew home for the holidays, visiting both Boston and my parents/friends for the first time since moving and hanging out with the best cat in the world. I snuggled with my mom and watched the final season of White Collar on DVD, finally. I made Christmas cookies with my dad. I remembered how wonderful all of my friends are (not that I forget, or take that for granted, but sometimes I just…realize in a tangible intangible way).

I’ve written nearly 2000 words and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. This year was wonderful and also more than I possibly would’ve imagined – in all possible ways – at the onset of 2015. I’ve been thinking a lot about what direction I’d like to head towards in 2016, and I don’t have it narrowed down to something concise yet. A number of blogs I read have been focusing on not focusing, and I like that: words of the year I’ve seen have been “enough” and “simple” and the like. And the general mantra seems to be more of x, less of y, and I rather like that a lot.

I’ve (actually really and truly) got a post planned about more words on that, on 2016 and goals or not goals; on words and plans or planning to not plan. But for now, since I have crossed over the 2000 word mark, I would just like to say this: thank you for being a part of my 2015, whether that’s through reading this or through more tangible means. I am looking forward to seeing what 2016 brings.

on New Year’s Eve and reflections

// Thursday, January 1, 2015

I’ll be doing a real 2014 in review post tomorrow, because I want to do one but I let time yet away from me; but: 2014 has been a good year. It’s been a complicated year, with family health scares and worries, with wonderful vacations and wonderful people, with small new beginnings like this blog. I went to Maine and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Quebec and Minnesota and Washington, D.C. I ran my first 5K. I spent quality time with family, and with friends. I devoured Parks and Rec. I learned watching reality tv with my roommate is really fun, and also I gained a new appreciation for how ridiculous reality tv is. I read more than I’ve read in a long time, and it was great and reminded me why I love reading and writing and learning. I started to write again, in the quote unquote real sense of the word. I hiked and I went climbing and I bought hiking boots.

So tonight I am thinking back on this year and forward towards 2015, and I have a lot of thoughts, some more coherent than others. I’m happy, by and large, with how this year has gone. I’m stronger than I was a year ago. I’m ~growing~ as a person or whatever. I’m fundamentally happy, which is lovely. And I get to spend New Year’s Eve with T, and we’re going to a party later hosted by good friends of mine.

2015 will be a good year. I have resolutions in my head that I plan to adhere to, and. 2015 is going to be good. Because it’s about moving forward and learning and improving. And writing, and photographing, and documenting more. I’ve done well in 2014 and it’s becoming more of a habit. Because: forward. And thinking through words.

I hope your New Year’s Eves are wonderful, and I hope 2015 brings only good things. This isn’t a real post; simply just: this has been an excellent year in so many ways, and I am very excited to see what 2015 will bring.

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.