City Vibes

20170624_151103We are laying in the park. Lonnie is reading. I’m watching sailboats float around on the Charles, people jogging and biking past, birds hopping around is search of… whatever birds search for. I’m listening to birds singing, wind rustling through the trees, the hum of traffic and sirens in the distance, and a crowd of ladies and babies on a blanket nearby laughing and gossiping. I _LOVE_ this. And just when I think I can’t love the moment any more, Lonnie looks up from his kindle and says, “I can’t wait until we live in a city and this is our life every day.” I know he doesn’t mean Boston, for a multitude of reasons, but I was so happy to hear he was drinking in the moment as much as I was. And even though I know we are on the same page about moving away from Maine in a few years, it’s nice to be reminded that he wants it just as much as I do.  (….another of those cobwebs left behind from my first marriage completely unrelated to anything Lonnie has ever said or done).

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Even a rainy day in Boston makes Colleen a happy, happy girl! Spoiler alert: The sun came out about 5 minutes after I bought this umbrella.

 

3ish more years until we can move to ___??___!! CAN’T WAIT!!!

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Flying Solo

20170506_180454 I realize some of you out there are jet setters, but I don’t think I have ever traveled solo before and learned it’s actually quite lovely! Of course, I missed my usual travel companions, Lonnie and/or the kids. But hanging out with my own damn self is pretty great! I can eat when I want, watch makeup Youtube videos to my heart’s content, people watch. And when Delta offered up $800, meal vouchers, and a hotel stay, to people to who agree to give up their seats and fly out the following morning… I was all “GET DAT MONAAAAAY!!”  A solo night in a hotel room was a major win because when I booked the trip, I hadn’t noticed it was finals week, and despite hustling all week long to try and get all my papers and projects done before I left, I did not. I had $45(!!) in meal vouchers, so I grabbed some overpriced lobster fried rice to take back to the hotel, spread myself out on the bed with my food, my tablet, and my laptop. Snapped on the TV and TBS had on Couples Retreat and THEN 50 Shades of Grey on LIKE THEY KNEW I WAS COMING!  Screenshot_20170515-152127

When I couldn’t stand to look at my homework anymore and decided to go to sleep, I suddenly realized I had NO IDEA what time to set the alarm to give myself time to get ready and over to the airport for breakfast before my flight. Lonnie always sets his alarm, gets up and does his thing, and then wakes me up and I do mine. I started laughing (right out loud, alone, like a psycho) because I knew how foolish it was and what a lazy princess of a traveler I have become! Up until my divorce in 2012, I usually travelled only with the kids because my ex didn’t like to travel, was wracked with anxiety when he did travel,  and only liked to use his vacation time for hunting. As a result, even when the ex begrudgingly came along, I always had to take care of everything and be “on,” the whole time. Well no more, baby!! Husband #2 LOVES to travel and also loves dealing with all the little details, so I have become a little duckling just following him around in a happy daze; clueless about gate numbers, time it will take to get from gate 25C to 13B, how much cash we have, where my passport is….

Somehow I figured out what time to get up, and I did end up cutting it a little close, but it wasn’t MY fault. If you haven’t been to Laguardia lately, it’s basically like being in the future. Rather than people waiting on you, you just touch pictures of what you want on any of 4672 ipads that are all over the place, and then pick up your food when you get a text that it’s ready. Well that’s all well and good until the network goes down and then you have mass confusion and not-waiter-guys running around with post-it notes taking orders. Pretty sure Lonnie would have had built in time for such shenanigans… 😉

 

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NASHVILLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Bayside Village, Northport Maine

My beloved Pentax k100d appears to have given up the ghost. I was excited to get out and take some seaside photos with a real camera , but alas, it was not meant to be.  Thank goodness for my phone! Northport is such a quaint little town.  The weather was absolutely perfect all week and visiting with mom was lovely!  I even got to see my niece and nephew which was a nice surprise.  We are already looking for next year’s coastal cottage!

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Our Vegas-on-a-budget trip

Bellagio fountain about to explode!  One of a zillion free things to do in Vegas!

This trip almost didn’t happen for us.  We had some dooooozy car repair bills and actually looked into cancelling, but it was non-refundable– and we already had our flight tickets to Dallas for my school program, so we needed somewhere to stay anyway.  We figured there was plenty of free stuff to see, even the hotels themselves are attractions.  So if all we could afford to do was walk around, and sit in our hotel and stare at each other (lol), we’d still be on VACATION! 

We booked a cheap on Expedia at Excalibur, which included a flight on Spirit Air.  At the time, we didn’t know about Spirit Air and their trick, tricky ways.   They even charge you for your carry on bags! So, sometimes Spirit LOOKS cheaper, but once you factor in bag costs, it’s possibly way more! In this case it was still way less as long as we kept it to one carry-on and a ‘personal item’ for each of us.
Loooooooong travel days are killer
Where we always fail:  Getting there– we spent around $200 on our first loooong day traveling. With flight delays and shenanigans we were in airports, cars, and shuttles from 8am to 2am the following day!  When you are stressed, stranded, and annoyed, it’s easy to just say, “fuck it!” and eat and drink whatever you want.    It’s the waters…. the iced coffees, and the ”I’m starving and I just want to sit down somewhere and relax and eat real actual food” that get us on days like that. I have to be really careful about what I eat on travel days too because of my propensity for motion sickness and restless legs. 
From now on we will be traveling with water bottles to refill!  And healthy snacks.   And a more realistic budget of dinner in an airport restaurant instead of delusions that we won’t eat at one 😉
For the Eating–Before we left,  we had decided to avoid the buffets due to the high cost. BUT, after our first day in Vegas, we learned how quickly snacks, meals, and iced coffees add up and ended up saving money the next 2 days by getting the all-day buffet wristbands that were good at Excalibur and Luxor. Both are mediocre, typical buffets,  but Luxor felt less like a cafeteria, so we mostly ate there.  Pretty sure I ate my weight in watermelon this week. 
For the drinking– we bought a bottle of Kraken to save on expensive drinks.  But that ended up being a fail because our room was so far away from everything.  It was also a fail because we learned that we actually LOVE video poker, and all you have to do is play $20 for all the drinks you want as long as you are playing.  They say this is true of slots too, but we played in a few different casinos and the servers around the slots are not in the least bit attentive.  SO, Good Samaritan’s that we are, we gave away our almost full bottle to some guy in the lobby when we left.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed BEFORE time-share hell
EPIC FAILURE–When we arrived at Excalibur,  we were immediately pounced on by timeshare reps offering free tickets to shows and a free 2 night Vegas getaway.  We figured, why Not? We had no plans and hadn’t planned on any shows because of brokeness.  (We HAD planned on long days lounging by the pool with a bottle of rum, BUT, 110 degrees and being on the surface of the sun, and staying at a cheap hotel that didn’t put a lot of effort into shade making landscaping cancelled those plans.  If you want shade at Excalibur  you have to pay 50 bucks for the “premium” lounge chairs with umbrellas or under the few trees.)  So, we signed up with the promise of a 2-3 hour presentation that included lunch and snacks.   Holy crap what a mistake! We were there from 1030 to around 4 being emotionally blackmailed with dying mother stories, ‘you will be divorced if you don’t do this,’ we paid 800 to get you here so the least you can do is listen,’ and my favorite—a long drawn out game of good cop/bad cop between our “personal tour guide” and his manager.  ….and that’s not even ¼ of the “techniques” used on us.  I just don’t have the personality for that shit and left there angry and on the verge of tears. All for some tickets to Zumanity, and a trip that I am not even sure is real.  ZUMANITY, btw… WAS AWESOME!  ….but in hindsight I would have just ripped out the plastic and worried about money later 😉
Zumanity!  Next time, we’ll just pay for a show 😉
ONE LAST TIP!!  My BFF got me this gorgeous scarf in Thailand, so I wanted to bring it with me to dress things up a bit.  I used it in Vegas to cover up from the scorching sun, and then to wrap myself in the freezing AC in the hotels.  I used it in the airport to look nice and not like a slob (Don’t even get me started on people traveling in PJs and ripped up, dirty clothes…..).  I used in on the plane as a light blanket. I alternated it with another scarf I brought to make it look like I had more outfits than I really did (we packed SUPER LIGHT– see Spirit Air discussion above…lol)!  Total WIN!  Scarves are my new travel essential!

I FREAKING LOVE VEGAS!!  And I REALLY didn’t think I was going to enjoy it at all. CAN’T WAIT to go back!!!
 

Dear Lady Who Screamed, What the heck did you think was going to happen??  Are you new?

Vegas Baby!

Lonnie and I are in the midst of a weird trip.  I have to be in Dallas from August 18 thru 22nd to attend 4 day residency for school, so OF COURSE we decided to make a vacation out of it!

Plan A: fly in to Dallas on the 13th and rent a car to drive down to Austin for a few days, then drive back to Dallas for my residency.  This plan was vacation/recon for our move in a few years; to see if Austin was a place we might like to live.
This plan kind of got scrapped when Jessi moved to Richmond because now we want to stay on the east coast  (well…. We did at the time.  More on that later).

When we decided we didn’t need to check out Austin for recon, we began researching other options and learned that Vegas and New Orleans would be cheaper to fly to add stay at than even just the car rental to Austin!  After  couple weeks of weighing the options  we booked Vegas.
It’s August and Dry heat>wet heat (also we figured, correctly, Vegas would be more of an indoor air conditioned trip)
We have plenty of other trips that can involve New Orleans, NOT in August!  We plan to go on a cruise within a couple years and can sail from there.  We also would like to go down for Mardi Gras sometime.
We thought food costs would be lower in Vegas, and due to recent massive car repair bills, we had to keep this trip on a budget!

So we flew to Dallas,  spent one night at the cheapo airport quality inn, and instead of renting  car, hopped the shuttle back to the airport and hopped a quick flight to Vegas!

Gonna give Vegas it’s own post!

Motivation

Some snaps from the 21-day challenge that I just SLAYED AND TOOK NO PRISONERS!!!

On June 27th I went to the doctor because I was a sicky-sicky and concerned about possible Lyme disease.  Not only was the number on the scale was no bueno, but I also had high blood pressure, which has never been an issue for me (except when I was pregnant).  She suspected that the HBP was due to illness, but said, “Well when we make your appointment for your yearly physical, we will want to check that again and possibly need to start treating it.”  We all know what that means. Drugs.  No, thank you.

I had already been exercising, and trying (<–note the word trying) to eat right, but I left at appointment feeling the need to kick things into gear and get into shape.  Part of my daily motivation was the August 25th appointment for a physical.  I daydream about going in and having a much better scale number and a normal blood pressure.  I daydream about the doctor (who I have never met) saying something about my weight and being able to say, "Well, as you can see, I have lost weight since my last visit here.  I run 3 miles every other day, and I do strength and flexibility training on the other days, so I'm good!"

Today they called and rescheduled my appointment for freaking October!  A tiny part of me feels like I have lost that ‘immediate motivator.’  I was even counting on that appointment to keep me in check during our upcoming trip to Vegas and Dallas since it was 2 days after arriving home.  Just a tiny part though… I have plenty of motivators in my husband, and even moreso the way I FEEL!  I am full of energy and yesterday I suddenly noticed that I had to be more careful shaving my legs because of the definition in my calves LOL!!!! 

I wasn’t going to join this month’s challenge group because we are traveling so much and have a lot going on, but maybe I should.  I may need those daily reminders and motivators.

FU July.

As I watch the second of our 2 cars being hauled off by a tow truck–both this morning, I thought myself, “WELL FUCK JULY SO FAR!”  Then I remembered my mom saying in an email the other day, “Blog, girl, blog.  It’s cheaper than psychotherapy 😉

So… July started with my baby moving 12 hours away, and not-at-all in the way we had planned.  The plan was to load her and her friend up in a moving truck, and wave goodbye as they drove off into the horizon.  Then her friend decided she couldn’t go for 2 more weeks, which threw Jessi (and the rest of us) in turmoil over whether or not to go or wait.  From a place of strength and determination, and despite being terrified,  Jessi decided just to go on her own.  ….which was great except we had to figure out how to get her, and at least SOME of her stuff there. After lots of discussion, we ended up buying her a plane ticket from Boston.  We would drive her down, stay one night down there with her, put her on the plane with 2 giant checked bags, and head home.  We also used http://www.busfreighter.com to ship her a bunch of boxes through greyhound.  Cheapest option by far; fingers crossed the boxes make it there.

Since I was dealing with all of Jessi’s stuff, and my emotions surrounding said ‘stuff,’ and was sick the whole beginning of the week with either the flu or Lyme, I totally flaked on my assignments due for school this week.  I did just get one done, but it was late, so I will be marked down, and I still have one more to get done.  I hate that shit.  I am a bit of a perfectionist about grad school.

One last tackle

Add onto this that this house is a complete shambles.  Since Jessi couldn’t take everything, she had to make choices about what she really wanted to keep and what she didn’t.  Since there was no time for her to dispose of (Goodwill, trash, friends, etc.doritos), it’s all left here for me to deal with.  Also, Sean is moving into her bedroom, and we are moving all of our clothes and stuff into his old room,  so that is also a work-in-progress-disaster.
Emotionally… well… I haven’t cried yet today-even while typing all this, so, just the fact that I consider that a triumph should hint to my recent emotional state.  I miss that girl like crazy!  My movie/shopping/cooking/roadtrip/hang out buddy is 12 hours away now 😦   …in a city all alone!

All I can picture is her when she looked like this, standing in the middle of Richmond, looking like this surrounded by her bags looking lost & confused —(Which is COMPLETELY not the case, BTW!  She is killing it!)

Saturday when we got home from Boston, I allowed myself ONE NIGHT to wallow in Doritos, sour cream, and rum.    Sunday morning we ALL,  even Sean, got back to healthy eating and exercise.   It feels good to be in control and mindful of the fact that I am going to want to eat junk because I am sad, but not giving in to that feeling!  The exercise and running has helped me immensely– just like it did when I went through my divorce.  Gives me something to focus on and also gets out the yucky energy!

Sean, Luna, and I out for an early run this morning… in between the cars breaking