Category Archives: Vacations/Travel

Introvert in an Extroverted Location

I’m still trying to get over the amount of people I ended up around this weekend.  Family was fine.  I was good.  Glad today was a calm work day.


A couple months ago, I did a blog post about Portland and all the people.  Seattle:  Not much different, especially where I went.  Reminder: Pike’s Place at 7 a.m. when most of the shops are closed and getting ready to open is a much better time to visit versus 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday.


I did have fun with scavenger hunt I did Friday afternoon, although I would have gotten more points had I looked either down or at eye level.  I was too busy looking up at the Space Needle to get some of the clues.


My calves are still on fire from walking up and down the hills and then sitting for long periods of time in the car.  I did get to see a lot though, including a book nerd gem.


All in all, it was a good trip.  I was happy to be back in California though.  I want to say that this has been a great experience and has done wonders for my perspective on family and life and how much nicer it is to do things with other people.  Ray and I skyped while I was doing Pike’s Place after 9:30 a.m. PDT and I got to show her some cool things.  Would probably have been cooler had she been there with me.


My introvertedness was showing by the end of it all.  With family, it’s not so bad.  Without them… When you’re staring at your phone, with your headphones in, and (hopefully) talking to someone on the other end, things are a little better.  But there’s nothing like going somewhere with them and sharing your love of a place together.  I miss that.

Listening to:  Nothing right now.

Reading:  Just One Damned Things after Another by Jodi Taylor and The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.

Quote of the Day:  “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” ― Will Rogers


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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel

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


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

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

Summer Bucket Lists

I’ve had the song “Mad World” in my head for the last few days.  The last couple days have been a whirlwind of activities for just about everything.  It’s scary how things change and the things that set certain situations into motion.

I’ve been neglecting my blog, my workout routines, and just having a very blah attitude for the last six weeks.  It’s hard getting back into the groove of things after being in a down swing but here’s to trying.

Graduations are happening this week and next.  What better time to bring up summer bucket lists?

Ideas for Solo Travelers:

  • Explore your city as a Tourist.
  • Take a random road trip alone.
  • Get your passport.
  • Go camping and unplug.
  • Hike a mountain.
  • Go geocaching in your hometown.
  • Treat yourself to a spa day.
  • Go to a music festival and connect with people.
  • Skip rocks on a lake.
  • Try a fitness class at your local gym.

Ideas for Couples:

  • Explore your city as a tourist.
  • Start driving, using a coin to pick the directions.
  • Get your passports.
  • Go camping.
  • Hike a mountain.
  • Go geocaching in your hometown.
  • Try a fitness class at your local gym.
  • Explore your local farmer’s market.
  • Host a dinner party.
  • Plant a garden together.

Ideas for Families:

  • Explore your city as a Tourist.
  • Go camping and unplug.
  • Go geocaching in your hometown.
  • Skip rocks on a lake.
  • Take a family road trip.
  • Have standing Family Game nights.
  • Watch your local fireworks show together.
  • Go to a drive-in movie.
  • Clean out closets and host a yard sale.
  • Have a water balloon fight.

Ideas for Graduates:

  • Take a road trip with your best friend.
  • Go to the beach/senior week.
  • Watch your local fireworks show.
  • Go to a drive-in movie with friends.
  • Clean out closets and host a yard sale.
  • Have a water balloon fight before people leave for college.
  • Pick one thing you’ve never done/couldn’t do, and go do it.
  • Take a camping trip.
  • Do a solo road trip.
  • Read a book I’ve never read before.

Most of these I got off of Pinterest.  If you want more ideas, Pinterest and Google can provide great ideas or even starting points.  For road trip ideas, Pinterest and the Day Zero Project have things to do in each state.  Check it out and have a great summer!

Listening to:  people talking.

Reading:  The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton

Quote of the Day:  “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” ― Marie Curie

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


This past weekend, Ray and I went to Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.  We visited family and friends; got postcards, shot glasses, and magnets; ate good food (and not so great food); spent a lot of time in my car; did a facilitated scavenger hunt; stayed at a really nice resort; visited Charleston’s City Market and South of the Border; put in some solid miles on Charity Miles; and then came home.


Thankfully Ray took a lot of photos of the places we visited.

I had been to Savannah a few other times with other people.  This time was different though.  Not only was it a beautiful day, I was there was Ray.  Postcards, a magnet, and a shot glass was all I wanted to pick up.  Normally, after I had those, I would have left and gone on about my drive to Jesup.  We did make it to Jesup but before we left Savannah, I think we visited just about every shop on River Street.  We also didn’t get a lot of junk food either while we were there, which was a new one too.  If you haven’t been on River Street, they have some of the best sweets around.

Saturday, we did a Charleston-based Scavenger Hunt I had found on Groupon.  The scavenger hunt was 26 questions with directions, fun facts, and some awesome parts of Charleston, all done through Puzzling Adventures.

Yesterday, I sent out a lot of the postcards we picked up this weekend and already have one of the magnets on the fridge.  We still have some unpacking to do before I run off on my solo adventure this weekend…visiting more family.

Listening to:  My Own Worst Enemy by Lit

Reading:  Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Quote of the Day:   “Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”― Bradley Whitford

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Filed under 1001 Days, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel

DC Bucket List

I’ve been in D.C. now for almost twelve years this summer.  It’s really weird typing that.  If I had been told that I would spend that much time of my life in the Capital City of the “Free” World when I was in middle school, I would have laughed at you for dreaming big.  As it happens, I was 16 when I first visited D.C. and I knew then that this was where I would end up.  I just didn’t see myself sticking around this long.

Twelve years later and I’m still surprised by this city some days.  D.C. is almost always changing.  Restaurants and storefronts closing or moving on to other locations, the food trucks tooling around the city, taxis and ride sharing companies moving people around the city, old places I used to go when I first got here giving way to new places to meet the times…

Here’s my D.C. Bucket:

  • Busboys and Poets—The first time I went to Busboys and Poets on 14th and V Street NW, I was in shock at how low-key, laid back, and chill the atmosphere was. They offer poetry nights, events, and just awesomeness.  The food is good and if you are up for an adventure, try the DC Tap Water.
  • The National Mall—I’m not as much an outside person as I would like to be. The National Mall though offers a lot of interesting things though.  If you stand by the Washington Monument, you can see the Capital Building, the Smithsonian Museums, and the Lincoln Memorial.  I’ve played softball and dodgeball there, watched outdoor movies with friends, celebrated different cultures, watched the fireworks and walked two 5k’s there.  There’s always something interesting to do and it’s never the same things.
  • The Tidal Basin—From the Washington Monument, you can also see the Jefferson Memorial and the White House. To get to the Jefferson Memorial, you’ll have to walk around the Tidal Basin.  In the spring, you can see the Cherry Blossoms in bloom.  Continuing past the Jefferson Memorial, you’ll pass the FDR Memorial, another one of the great presidents.  Keep going and you’ll end up at the MLK Jr. Memorial, one of our more modern leaders.
  • Eastern Market—I’ve been here twice but Eastern Market started my love for open markets. There are so many vendors selling foods and crafts that it is easy to spend time looking through everything.
  • Dupont Circle—Dupont Circle is one of the many circles in D.C. I used to spend a lot of time here, either sitting in the Circle people watching or at Books-A-Million (closed) reading a book.  In June, be on the lookout for the Pride Festivals and join into the fun.  Stop by on Sundays to enjoy the Farmer’s market.
  • MLK Jr. Library—I was surprised to find a library with Sunday hours and so many books. There are different groups who meet here along with other events going on throughout the month.  Whether you need a break from walking around touring the city or just looking for a new book to read, this is definitely a place to stop along the way.
  • The Awakening—While not currently located in D.C., this statue was at one point. At over 70 feet across, this giant waking up is a really neat piece to look at.
  • Robert E. Lee’s home— You can see this building from the back of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s located upon a hilltop overlooking Arlington Cemetery and you’ll have to pass by JFK’s memorial to get up the hill.  It’s a great walk though.
  • Folklife Festival— Every summer for two weeks, the National Mall hosts three or four different cultures, showcasing the life, the times, the food, and people. I say I go for food every year but it’s really good food.  One year, Hawaii was featured so while we were eating lunch, we were able to hear the guy who re-did “Over the Rainbow” perform.  It can be very eclectic but it’s a nice way to “see” the world without really leaving D.C.
  • The Yards Waterfront—This one is newer but it looks awesome. I’ve dropped people off here and their Harris Teeter always has parking.  The Yards has plenty of walking space, outdoor movies and lots of food places near-by.

Happy Friday and best of luck on your own adventures!

Listening to:  Thirty Seconds to Mars Station on Amazon

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling.

Quote of the Day: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”― Aristotle

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Filed under Bucket List, Things to Do in DC, Vacations/Travel