Traveling Solo

So I did end up going up to Portland this weekend.  One thing I hadn’t considered was that this weekend started Spring Break.  Everywhere I went, there were college age young people, and lines to get into some of the more popular spot.

One thing I hadn’t counted on that was very new to me is that my social anxiety has gotten much worst.  I knew I was socially awkward but being surround by people in that sort of environment made me happy to get back to where I’m on detail too.

From that statement along, there are a couple things I want to say:

  1. Social anxiety: Freaking sucks.  So here I am in a city I love and have wanted to move to for a very long time and I feel like I’m drowning, floundering even, because of the sheer volume of people.  I’m already socially awkward as it is, especially lately (several months of people looking at you like what you say and do isn’t valuable doesn’t help).  I’m in a bookstore where I’m saying excuse me every few seconds because I’m looking for a book they don’t have and I’m terrified someone is going to not hear me, then get pissed off when I walk in front of them.  I didn’t used to be this way, or maybe at least I didn’t notice it as much.
  2. Touristy things: Are not for the faint of heart.  Sure, there are great things that everyone has discovered and is doing.  Don’t do them unless you don’t have any other options.  There is almost always another location that is just as cool as the one where people are standing in line.  Or has better food, like Georgetown Cupcakes vs Curbside (R.I.P).
  3. Weightloss surgery: This is where I’m drawing in a big breathe and remembering to breathe out slowly.  I’m not the same person I was when I went to Portland years ago.  I can’t eat how I used to, I certainly can’t drink like I used to, and the walking around was a lot easier now vs then.  So what’s the problem with this picture?  The problem is my mentality.  I still see myself as this big person who is taking up more space than she should, but when I was that big, I never thought I was that big.  I knew I could lose some weight, and I still could, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me back then.  Now, and this a complaint, I have to think about food differently.  I have to think about my alcoholic nature differently.  I even have to sit at the bar differently than I used people.  I could start a conversation with people and not feel like I was being judged.  I don’t now because I’ve had several months of people’s eyes glazing over that’s trained me to not bother.  And that makes me feel like I’m not good enough anymore except to the people who I know love me, even though sometimes even then I wonder.  This is where the social anxiety aspect kicks in too, although there are a few other underlying things that I’m not going to voice until I have a long, hard conversation with a therapist when I get back.
  4. Travel with a partner!: I would probably have had more fun walking around, doing the scavenger hunt, enough the warm day, had I been with someone.  Not just any someone, but someone I wanted to share the city with, who knows that I’m crazy, and would have shared the food with me along with the experience.  Traveling by myself is great, but there is nothing like seeing the city with someone who actually wants to be there with you.

So my trip to Downtown Portland…

Lackluster?  Yes.  I still love the city.

Worth it?  Meh.  Eugene was slightly better and I only stopped there for food.

Short?  Most definitively!  I spent more time driving to and from than I actually did in the city itself, mostly because I couldn’t enjoy it the way I had before, which really freaking sucked.

Got sixteen new books out of that trip though.

Happy Monday.

Listening to:  White noise.

Reading:  The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

Quote of the Day:  “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ― Napoleon Hill


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Filed under Books/Classes, Driving, Vacations/Travel, Weightloss

Stress and Anxiety

Imagined danger and nervousness.  Imagined danger and worry.  Imagined danger and fear.

That’s where my brain is at 3 something this morning.

Most of it comes down to money, honestly.  I’m on this trip and taking the trip to Portland this weekend is slightly anxiety-inducing.  How much do I need to bring with me?  What all am I going to get myself into while I’m there?  Do I have enough time off to head up there tonight or do I wait until super early tomorrow?  Do I drive all the way into the city or do I park somewhere and talk public transportation?  Do I spend the night or do this in a day?

That’s where my brain is this morning.  I’m worried the paperwork I did won’t go through the system.

On a good note:  I have to finish my paperwork and then submit it to school for in state tuition because I got financial aid for another year.  I have nine classes to go and my hopefully new position when I get back will help with some of the costs.

Sigh.  Happy Friday.

Listening to:  Ray and Ethan laughing at me typing.  “You’re killing your keys!”

Reading: The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban and Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Quote of the Day:  “The greatest discovery of any generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of their minds.” ― Albert Schweitzer


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I started planning my weekend on Monday morning.  By planning weekend trips, I’m trying to feed my wandering thoughts and find a place to run away to from a place I’ve run away to.  I like where I’m staying honestly but small town life, without the anonymity of the big town bustle, can be claustrophobic after years of big city living.

So my adventure this weekend hopefully takes me to Portland, OR.  There are a few factors weighing on that but otherwise, I’m off to Portland.

Why Portland?  Why not somewhere closer to where I’m staying?  Couple of reasons:

  1. The books.–If you know you me or have been on my blog longer enough, you know I’m a book connoisseur. I love books.  I love reading.  I have books that I’d like to getting and some that I need for my collection to complete series that I have finished and plan to read again or series that I need to finish.
  2. The food.–The last time I was in Portland, there was a great food culture there.  Pinterest was littered with what to eat in Portland, from the usual touristy things to the little known places that people have stumbled upon.  There are food cart clusters, each specializing in a few key things like pizza or burgers.  There’s restaurants with international fare and fantastic beer.  Speaking of beer…
  3. The beer.–This outside of the books and the food, is probably the number #1 reason to check out Portland.  There are over 100 different brew works so Portland is a micro-brew, small batch beer lover’s paradise.  There’s Rogue, there’s Deschuetes, there’s Hopsworks, there’s McMenagmn’s (first time I ever knew there was anything like a growler), and the list just keeps on going!
  4. The transportation.–Very rarely will I ever say I go to a city because they have a good transportation system.  I dog D.C. and Baltimore out like crazy, but Portland… Only place I am trying to find a park and ride so I can take public transit.  It’s well done, well scheduled and pretty well maintained.  And goes to the airport now.

Do you really need any other reasons to visit a great city that’s not so much a tourist trap as just an awesome place to be who you are?

I don’t.

Listening to:  Dinner cooking.

Reading:  The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban and Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Quote of the Day:  “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” ― Kristin Armstrong

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Filed under 1001 Days, Beer, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel

March’s Goals

So March…

February was another “stellar” month.  Shorter but no less exciting.  Completed:

  • Read 10 books.
  • Travel cross county (Day Zero Goal).
  • Visit California (Day Zero Goal).
  • Read 200 books (Day Zero Goal).

Awesome things happened last month though, and then some not so awesome things happened that are the reason my day is shaky.  However, moving past it and knocking things off my bucket list that I need to get done since it’s the first of the month.  Already posted my vlogs (March TBR and February Wrap-up) this morning before work.

Goals check-in:

  • Miles reached for Walk to Mordor: 1,293.7.  15.3 miles to Rauros!
  • Weight: 247.4 (down 5.2 lbs)
  • Books read: 14 books.
  • Blog Posts: 3
  • Vlog Posts: 4

March goals:

  • Reach 250+ miles.
  • Get under 245.
  • 10 blog posts.
  • 10 books.
  • 10 vlogs.
  • Start 1000 piece puzzle.
  • Edit my NaNoWriMo book.
  • Buy a lottery ticket.
  • Visit California’s North Coast (Eureka, CA).
  • Complete HRC’s Nargle 9k.
  • Complete a 24 in 48 hour readathon.
  • No fast food for the month.
  • Complete HRC’s DA 5k.

There are a few other things I’ll be adding to the list as completed this month that I don’t want to add here because I don’t know if I’ll actually do them.  *fingers crossed on them*

Happy Thursday!

Listening to:  Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Reading: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Quote of the Day:  “Some people may have greatness thrust upon them. Very few have excellence thrust upon them. They achieve it. They do not achieve it unwittingly, by ‘doing what comes naturally’; and they don’t stumble into it in the course of amusing themselves. All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.” ― John William Gardner

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Goals, HRC

Writing Prompt Wednesday

Haven’t done one of these since the first one.  So much for keep on top of things right?

Today’s writing prompt:  Name something you wish was “glow in the dark.”

When I read that, my immediate answer was “hearts.”

What would we do if we could see the color of someone’s heart?  Would the colors mean something different, i.e., red for in love, blue for depressed, black/no glow for extremely bad, pink for innocent, etc.  I could see why that is a writing prompt.

So short story time I guess and maybe longer story later (may work on it after work today):

A young woman who knows she is different has a heart where, when it glows in the dark, has multiple scars.  Her heart is soft shades of blue that changes to soft shades of purple when she’s happy but can’t ever quite reach red, where she feels the love she wants to feel.  After years of trying, she moves somewhere new, without changing the way she acts, so she is in a new place but still wants to protect her blue, scarred heart from people.  One day, she meets someone who calls her on hiding.  This other person shows her how to do things that make her happy, even though the other person has a bright purple heart.  One day, several months after they have met, they both look up at each other’s heart to realize they are both ruby red, bright with love.  They couldn’t tell you when it happened; but the young woman takes the others hand and together, they build a life with communication, family, and adventures.

It’s sort of cheesy but there you go.

What did that prompt make you think of?

Listening to:  Through Glass by Stone Sour

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Lirael by Garth Nix (Tim Curry is an awesome narrator!)

Quote of the Day:  “It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.” ― Steve Maraboli

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Filed under Writing, Writing Prompts

Change in Location

There have been few opportunities where I can change my life for the better.  One was going to DC, then having some amazing people who were great and supportive of my life and my career.  Another was meeting Ray.  I know I talk about Ray a lot but she’s pretty freaking special to me.

Then, just when life feels like it is going to break you, the Universe (or whatever external divinity you believe in) reminds you that good (and even great) things are out there.  You just have to be brave enough to take them.

Currently, I’m typing this on my laptop at a table 3,000 miles from home.  I’m still coming down off the high of even being given this opportunity.  I thought it wasn’t real up until I got told there was an action in the system for it.  Still didn’t believe it was real as I was driving out this way.  It probably won’t hit me that this is really happening to me until I get to work tomorrow and get settled.

Every missed opportunity from before…  I want to say has led to this moment.  It hasn’t though.  I screwed up on an interview years ago for almost the exact position in a different location.  Then there was Portland.  I had my hopes up and everything, only to have it land in my face 24 hours later with two words:  Not selected.  I kicked myself a lot for those, but I wouldn’t change the way all that happened.

Life is good and things are awesome.  And someone was willing to take the chance on me to allow me to the chance to work in the field.

All because I put my name in the hat to do something different.

Listening to:  Down with the Sickness by Disturbd

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Lirael by Garth Nix (Tim Curry is an awesome narrator!)

Quote of the Day:  “The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment – to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become!” ― Eric Thomas

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Filed under Advice Column, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel

February’s Monthly Goals


I think the only things I finished was “Read 10 books,” “Start RTY 2018 mile challenge,” and “Record 10 vlogs.”

It’s been a really slow start to 2018, but we’re already a month in.  How does that happen?  Oh right:  Because I procrastinate!


Work has been great so far this year and after focusing on the books, sending one more kid off to boot camp, traveling to another’s graduation, dealing with the uncertainty of work (furloughed government employee), and just the general moodiness of S.A.D., I didn’t do much of anything this month.

But check-in anyways:

  • Miles reached: 1,231.74.  77.26 miles to Rauros!
  • Weight: 252.6 (I’ve been fluctuating)
  • Books read: 27 books.
  • Blog Posts: 4
  • Vlog Posts:  11

For February, I have a detail coming up so I will complete a few things I didn’t think I’d get to do, and work is paying for it.

  • Reach 200+ miles.
  • Get under 245.
  • 10 blog posts.
  • 10 books.
  • 10 vlogs.
  • Travel cross county.
  • Start saving for honeymoon cruise.
  • Edit my NaNoWriMo book.
  • Submit “Finding Home” to Kindle Scout.
  • Buy a lottery ticket.
  • Visit California’s North Coast (Eureka, CA)
  • Complete HRC’s Nargle 9k

That’s it for now.  I’m looking at other things to add to my list while I’m away but we will see.

Happy Thursday!

Listening to:  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Quote of the Day:  “The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.” ― Osho

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Goals, Uncategorized