It didn’t occur to me until pretty late in the week that normal people take Labor Day off, even go somewhere. So I decided to see if I could work a schedule out to head up to my parents’ – and now boyfriend’s- town for the weekend. It involved one overnight 10-hour train ride, but I got there care of a pickup from Z. The train ride wasn’t so bad – there was even a span of 2+ hours I could use both seats and sleep rather absurdly curled up. But let’s face it, I was a bit of a zombie during the first day. I got home and pretty quickly a tailor arrived to figure out and then take my bridesmaid dress for hemming. It was a convoluted process but he was great, and then asked when I was leaving the area. When I told him a day and a half later, his eyes lit up: he took it as a personal challenge. My parents and I then raced off to the Farmer’s Market, which was beautiful as always. I’m almost never home when it’s still going, so it was neat to see everything. I even found a cute new skirt!

Later I went to Z’s to catch up on some episodes of Orange is the New Black, which we started together so must finish together. I think we only have a few left now! I also fell fast asleep and he let me nap until about dinnertime. I was still a zombie, possibly worse after the nap. But it did feel great. I rushed to shower off the overnight-train-it’s-been-too-long-since-the-last-clean and then the four of us went out for dinner at a place I love and requested. That was delicious as expected, and we followed it up with gelato – mm-mm!

The next day we woke up and went up to my parents’ for Belgian waffles and watermelon before heading out to browse through EMS. I picked up some small details for my hike, and then we went mini-golfing. I really wished I’d found my shorts at home before then – hot and humid! But still a fun time, with random holes (Funspot is always tops) and sometimes pretty things:

Before heading home, we stopped off at a grocery store that’s going out of business (actually, as of this writing, I think it’s gone). It was very strange to see it so empty.

Nothing! And they’d consolidated the few remaining items to the center of the store, resulting in this:

And this:

Strange but fun outing. When I got home, I found my shorts and helped my mom make yummy chocolate chip cookies for the BBQ/get-together with Z’s family. We fed a few to some thru-hikers who stopped by, and I tried to gather more information from them. Both were glad I was going to try it, saying it was an incredible experience. One, Rabbit, cautioned me to take 8-mile days for the first week rather than trying to power ahead (thus injuring myself). Your joints need time to adjust to the intensive walking.

The BBQ wound up being a celebration party and involved many more people than we’d thought! Thankfully we weren’t the only ones assigned to dessert, and there is always plenty of food there. We are lucky. We all oohed and ahhed over Z’s photos of my brother’s wedding, for the thousandth time. They are great. After, we headed up to my house for one last night of VT sleep. One more Orange is the New Black, and sleep. The morning, as usual with me, was a runaround of pack-shower-pack-organize-pack-ahhhhh-breakfast-pack-gogogo. Brunch down at Z’s was great and they packed me lunch and snacks because they are the greatest (both families). And: the tailor finished my dress, so it’s sitting in my suitcase with me now. Wow.

It was nice being home.

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All kinds of things are coming together these days. I’m starting to feel more settled, somehow. Maybe from moving, maybe from other things.

The major coming together of the month was my brother’s wedding! I realized I never wrote about that. Everything about it was beautiful and perfect. I’ve never seen two people so much in love. Maybe I’ve just never been in a wedding, so didn’t get to see everything up front, but wow. These two. Add to that a beach in Hawaii, and you’re golden. It was stunning.

The first day became a beach day, which was lovely. Spread out, chill out, read, nap, check out the water and fish. And with nearly all my favorite people. My other brother and his family (super cool sister-in-law, two precious nieces), parents, boyfriend and his family, my new sister-in-law, aunt, cousin…

There were chill days, adventure days around the island, rehearsals and dinners, volcanoes, the wedding itself. Getting ready. I’m so excited to see pictures! There were some precious moments: getting “Bridesmaid” shirts from the bride, figuring out hair and makeup, my dad coming in and out – I think the photographer got one of both him and the bride fixing hair in the mirror -, the first look at her in her dress, helping her get her train into the pickup truck she drove to the wedding (oh man. Amazing). Watching her watch my brother, my brother sitting faced away from her at the front. Distracting her when she kept saying, “I look at [him] and I’m gonna start crying.” For goodness, sake, I almost started crying then! Walking in with my other brother, the ring they both bought me for my 18th on my hand. Listening to them say their vows, watching them just be so, so in love. The delicious food, the hilarity of the dancing.

Pololū Valley

lava

lava

So that trip was amazing. In every way. Took a day to run around practically the whole island, then slowed down to one of the most delicious meals out I’ve ever had, with this guy who continues to make me happy.

Things are coming together.

Today, for example. I was finally able to go to a yoga class this evening, for the first time since realizing there were classes my company would pay for through a gym membership. I’ve been wanting to go for a month or more. Tonight managed to open up enough that I went. I’m pretty intimidated by gyms, so it was nice to go in, be pointed in the right direction, and join others who were learning – getting direction for a workout. That’s the other thing about yoga. It’s hard, but it doesn’t quite feel like working out. And it’s a nice balance of workout and meditation for me, my own getaway from the madness. It was a pretty small class tonight, and for the most part I didn’t feel judged. Though there was that time I was stretching the opposite side as everyone else…

Then there is the continuous, seemingly-in-vain attempt at getting into a morning routine that I like. Ideally, it includes meditation, eating breakfast, writing my novel, showering, and making some try to look nice rather than running out the door. ONE of those things might start to happen, which might spur on the others. Baby steps. There is a local writing group, and some members also either write early or would like to. So it’s looking like some of us are going to create a kind of phone/e-mail tree to wake the others up when they want. If we all want to get up around 6am, then one has to and then calls the others. Maybe they call three times every five minutes and then stop. Or something. But that could be really awesome.

I also recently discovered and then tried out a super fast breakfast-making operation. You can bake eggs into hard-boiled-ness. Requires a muffin tin and eggs. Sunday night I bake-boiled a dozen eggs at once, leaving me an easy breakfast of 2 eggs each morning. If you keep the shells on, they’ll last about a week. Take them off, and it’s 2 days. Ready? Pre-heat oven to 325F (350 if your oven runs a touch cool), put one egg per muffin space (this prevents them from moving around too much), and then bake for 25-30 minutes. So far, I’ve found the yokes tend towards one side when you’re done, and there are some pinprick brown dots when you peel them. Neither is reason for concern. Between that and the occasional Instant Breakfast (provided I both have milk and it’s not gone bad), I might start eating breakfasts. The bagel place by work will still tempt me on occasion, I’m sure, but I’m trying to get away from the intake of carbs in the morning. The Internet* says it’s not good for your day energy. So there. So…there…toasted bagel with cream cheese. :-/

* Side note, my morning goals have been set for a long time before I saw an article like that. I already know TM, or transcendental meditation and love it. Etc. Carry on.

Writing, breakfast, meditation is sure to follow. As long as I don’t go back to sleep. I’ve gotta finish this novel before I leave for my hike, and time is decreasing rather more rapidly than I’d prefer!  That, and maybe weekly yoga, and then maybe weekly writing group (evening). Ohmygosh. Keep breathing. But that would be really great. This could be really great.

What a perfectly lovely weekend. Friday was a late working night, but a bunch of coworkers and I all went out for sushi for dinner. It was a lot of fun. I constantly find myself lucky to be there (long hours and all).

Country: Tim McGraw

I was also semi-spontaneosuly invited to go catch Tim McGraw Saturday night with some friends. We piled in and got there early for some tailgating. Veggies, hummus, chips, guacamole, cherries, cheese, pepperoni, drinks. I’ve been to a few country concerts, but haven’t tailgated at one until now, and let me tell you, the people-watching is fantastic. Country brings the dirty, the stunning, the shirtless (or, near shirtless, both sexes), the jeans, the intense American pride (people practically dressed in flags, bandanas, you name it, it’s got stars and stripes), the sundresses, the popped collars.

Also apparently top hats.

top hat

This guy was fun to watch throughout. He was having a great time.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Perfect for our lawn seats.

sunset

The concert itself started a little slow, to me, but got going quickly enough. It wasn’t a rock-out (to be fair, the last one I went to was Keith Urban), but it was a fun, sing-a-long time. It was nice to sit there and enjoy it, take the music in, the people, the views. He sang “Live Like You Were Dying” towards the end, which was great. Can’t go without the classic. He hardly even needed to sing; everyone has had those words memorized for years.

We did a small post-concert tailgate while waiting for the cars to clean up a little. They weren’t moving; we were sitting eating and drinking. I think we got some jealous dirty looks from some of the drivers. When we did decide to get going, it was easy.

Camp: Nokomis DC Reunion

I am a summer camp kid. Starting at age 8, I started going to a sleepaway camp on an island in New Hampshire, called Camp Nokomis (no-Koh-miss). I continued there, became an Aide (first year Counselor in Training, or CIT), CIT, and then staff member. It is an incredible place, and taught me so much, instilling values I carry with me today. There is a bond between camp people and particularly your-own-camp people, that is unlike anything else. So through this, one alumna hosted a DC reunion for all the Nokomis gals. It was so fun, meeting new alumna, finding connections – you were my counselor in 12! – and making new ones.

noko1

We looked through old camp calendars, photo albums, played camp-themed charades, and talked about what had changed – or not – through the collective time we were there.

noko2

There is no way to fully describe Camp to a non-camp person. It’s a beautiful thing, and made for a great way to spend part of my day. One of many camp songs:

“You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis,

you can tell her by her walk (wiggle wiggle).

You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis,

you can tell her by her talk (giggle giggle).

You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis by her sportsmanship and such (bang bang).

You can tell a girl from Camp Nokomis,

but you cannot tell her much! (how true)”

Well, here it is. The end of one glorious year and the start of another. Since lists seem to be the “in” thing these days, I’ve compiled a fun list of events (focused on perks) of 2012 and what I’m planning resolutions-wise and event-wise in 2013.

2012

  • Steampunk-themed contra dance party with fantastic costumes, goggles c/o la boyfriend (now of nearly 2 years)
  • Vacation to Seattle to visit cousins and play tourist
  • Finding out Dad had prostate cancer, supporting him from far away, and then having an “Adios, Cancer!” party when we found out he was cancer-free (44 radiation treatments later)
  • Incredible women’s climbing weekend in West Virginia
  • Interesting, if amusing, debates followed by re-election of President Obama (phew!)
  • Friends-filled college “reunion” going-away party
  • Vacation and travel through Peru, catching 15K heights and Machu Picchu
  • Maryland Renaissance Festival and dress-up
  • Started second novel
  • Joined/helped form an independent author’s collective/publishing imprint
  • Sent over 30 letters to Sandy Hook Elementary School
  • Spent first holiday with boyfriend’s family

2013

Resolutions:

  • Eat breakfast every morning
  • Spend 1 hour before work writing and/or editing
  • Meditate twice a day
  • Still arrive at work at sane hour
  • Make more home-cooked meals (cheaper and healthier!)

Events to Look Forward To:

  • Time-travel-themed contra dance party with boyfriend (yay more dress-up)
  • Parents visiting DC
  • Seeing more old college friends
  • First time going to Las Vegas (conference)
  • Seattle visit with cousins
  • Saturday classes for project management
  • possible Hunger Games food/watching event
  • I turn 25 (woo rental cars!)
  • Attending brother’s wedding in Hawai’i as bridesmaid
  • <Possibilities!>

Saturday night, we had Dad’s “Adios, Cancer!” party. It was awesome. I don’t think my dad’s had as much fun in years. At the end of the night, and into the days after, he couldn’t stop talking about it, or replaying the video of us dancing over and over. It was fantastic. AND it’s official: no cancer at all in his body! Not even his brain (brief scare there).

It felt like half the town was at the party (this may or may not actually be true) to cheer him on and support him. adios cancer button with date and "(Check those PSA's!)"We rented a renovated church-turned-event-center, and had buttons like the one here at every table. A stage hosted the band, Gumbo Loco, who eased us into the evening of scrumptious pizza, cannolis and other yummy desserts, a constant supply of M&Ms, and a wine/beer selection. The pizza, cooked as we ate in a woman’s mobile stone pizza oven outside, was incredible. The crowd favorite was the cheddar, thin apple slices, and sausage one. I think it had some maple on it and might as well have been pizza-for-dessert.

After dinner, a contra dance caller and I talked about getting the crowd dancing, and we started the dancing session. My dad did a great job! He’s never really contra danced, and it can be a workout. He’s still on meds and gets tired easily but he held his own for every dance. I was next my my 3-year-old niece for many of them, and she just giggled and bounced the whole time. Precious.

I let my mom and dad have the last dance (and waltz), since they, as a couple, have faced it much more than I. Cute 🙂

All in all an amazing evening and an amazing reason to celebrate!

I finally saw my first lightning bug of the summer last night. I saw it on my walk home, just at late dusk. And then another, and another. They’ve always fascinated me. I don’t recall ever putting them in jars; that would have seemed mean. But I do remember shyly cupping them in my hands, giggling as they flitted and lit, and watching them fly off again. What memories of summer.

Playing outside in the grass until dark, wondering when my parents were going to come looking and trying to play as far away as I could, so they’d have to find me, and I could play longer. We used to go to the beach, and follow the lightning bugs around, being careful not to step on the rock-crab-seaweed we couldn’t see in the receding light. There’s one. Then there. There. There. Was it the same one, making us hurry-hurry-wait…wait? Or lots of them, playing with us, with each other?

Sand has this amazing power of feeling perfect on your feet, beneath your toes. It’s almost a squish but a welcome one, not quite like mud. I used to plop down in the middle of the little playground and spread sand over my feet, burying and reburying, over and over. Make sand-cakes, trying to keep them whole until the tide came and swept them away. Or the determined combination of wet sand, dry sand, and wind, when all of a sudden my creation fell out from under itself.