Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

I’m Sorry…I got Married…Life Got Busy… You Know…the Usual…

For the record, I’m not complaining. Just explaining.

Life got really busy, and I disappeared off the face of the earth, or, off the face of this blog. In my defense, I got married, and wedding planning is a form of modern torture right up there with makeup and high heels. I’m not sure why our gender imposes these hellacious rituals on ourselves. Again, not complaining – just explaining.

Thankfully, we survived the wedding planning, which leaves me convinced we can survive whatever life throws our way. You got nothing on us life – we’ve already endured tablecloth colors and seat arrangements!

So, while I owe my patient audience many posts about our winter trip to Spain, let’s review the biggest event of my life after the Cubs winning the World Series.

A quick review:

  • Wedding dress shopping is another form of torture and should be banned by the appropriate international committee. After two painful days of scouring the racks, my mom suggested we get my dress made – and use HER wedding dress as inspiration. I love that I didn’t look like a traditional white marshmallow.

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  • Instead of spending millions on floral arrangements, I asked my sister-in-law, who is an amazing baker and runs a bakery in Baltimore, to make cupcakes for our centerpieces. It was a great idea, if I do say so myself. The cupcakes were pretty and delicious!

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  • I insisted on making candy-filled place cards myself — chocolate hearts for the adults and lollipops for the kids. Seeing all the lollipop toting kids made me very happy.

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  • I asked the band to do a Cubs music set, and they obliged. My siblings and I rocked it out to “All the Way” and “Go Cubs Go” — never mind the curious stares.
  • M and I tried not to take ourselves too seriously, which is the best way to enjoy a wedding. The photographer was amused.

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I am legitimately napping in this photo. Weddings are exhausting!

  • The best part was being able to see so many friends and family members in one place. The worst part was that we only had about five minutes with each of them…

Six weeks after our wedding, people like to ask, “How is married life?” I tell them, “The best part about being married is we don’t have to plan the wedding anymore.” I am 80 percent joking.

Stay tuned for details on our upcoming trip to Iceland and Ireland. WHAT? Another trip? I know! Crazy.

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Miracles!

This has been a year of miracles.

First, the Cubs won the World Series… after 108 years.

Then, all of our candidates won on election night (no, not Trump).

Then, I got engaged.

WHAAAAT!?!?

cubsI know, crazy. Who believed the Cubs could actually pull it off?

In all seriousness, it’s been an exhausting, but a great year so far. Losing (in baseball and politics) sucks. And being single and doing the endless dating crawl sucks.

Dating is a crapshoot, and it often seemed like I was getting served a lot of crap and not so much of anything else.

I got lucky and met M. But before I got lucky, I went on bad dates, waited on ex-boyfriends, and despaired. I am, appropriately, a born and bred Cubs fan, of whom the famous Chicago writer Mike Royko once wrote: “A pessimists see the glass as half empty; a Cubs fan wonders when it’s gonna spill.”

Like the Cubs, I got my miracle. In a month, M and I are off to Spain. In a few months, we’ll get married. And we plan on having many more adventures, and hopefully, some more miracles along the way (Red Sox vs. Cubs World Series maybe???).

And in case, anyone doesn’t believe in miracles, I refer you to this definitive episode of How I Met Your Mother:

 

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Happy Birthday!

Crap, has it been a year already?

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Here’s the one nice part about getting older. It is the only way for things to change. For wounds to heal, for memories to fade, for new people and opportunities to present themselves. This year came along when I desperately needed something in my life to change. So I am happy to be older, happy to look back on the past year and remember all the amazing, new things.

I am happily in a new relationship with the wonderful M. Most importantly, my almost-four-year-old niece has given M her imprimatur of approval. I literally traveled around the world to Vietnam with one of my best friends and added two new national parks to my list (Arches and Canyonlands) with my sister. Finally, I have a bunch of exciting trips to look forward to, from Spain to Cleveland to a potential trip to Cuba (!!!!).

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Our first baseball game together. Cubs vs. Nats. Cubs win!

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Lisa and I laughing it up in Vietnam.

Life is far from perfect. There are stressful, difficult, blah-filled days. Like every human being, I worry about mundane things and big life things. There are things I should worry about, but stupidly push them to the space in my head where thoughts magically disappear. I struggle to remind myself that I can’t control everything and everyone (though the world would be a better place if I could). But….I am affirmatively happy. It is amazing how one person can change so much. I am thankful for that gift every single day. And I am looking forward to the many things M and I plan to share together. Especially the end of this oppressive heat wave. Until then, I am ensconced in my woman cave and have no intention of leaving.

Here’s to another year. And here’s to me.

 

 

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2015 In Review

2015 hasn’t been the easiest year, but it’s been filled with a lot of good things, and I’ve come to realize that’s the key to surviving this world: Focus on the good, ignore the bad. And so here is the good: Two new nephews, new friends (and old), amazing trips, two new countries, and a newfound love of boxing. I’ve mastered the yoga headstand, started painting again, ran a 15K and didn’t die, and enjoyed many, many Facetime conversations and several visits with my adorably precocious three-year-old niece.

I expect 2016 to be pretty busy, but hopefully there will be a few trips in store for me. This year I’m focusing on jet-lag free countries. I want to hike a sputtering volcano in Guatemala and see the Atacama Desert in Chile. I just bought a book on Nicaragua, so who knows? Here’s to a kick-ass year.

2015 in numbers:

1: New state visited – Missouri. I have now visited 39 out of 50 states.

2: New countries visited – Mexico and Vietnam.

6: Countries visited, including the U.S.

7: New credit cards. Better than last year’s dismal four.

18: States visited, including Washington D.C.

18: Amtrak trips taken.

43: Flights – more than last year’s 40.

3,884: Amtrak points earned – just shy of one free trip from DC to New York City.

16,250: Number of Amtrak points purchased (the equivalent of four trips between DC and New York City).

28,000: Number of Amtrak points redeemed for seven Northeast trips.

52,171: Number of miles flown. 12,495 more than last year.

226,000: Number of miles redeemed. This includes a round trip flight from DC to Cancun (economy), a round trip flight from DC to Scotland (economy), and a round trip flight from New York/DC to Vietnam (business).

390,500: Number of points redeemed at hotels, including four free nights due to credit cards. This includes three nights at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, three nights at the Radisson Blu Edinburgh, one night at the Double Tree Dundee, three nights at the Holiday Inn Inverness, two nights at the Radisson Blu Glasgow, two nights at the Intercontinental Asiana Residences in HCMC, three nights at the Hyatt Regency Danang, and three nights at the Sheraton Hanoi.

 

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AN ODE TO FRIENDSHIP

It was 1998. I was a terrified college freshman enrolling in an art class called Intro to Design, emphasis on the word Intro. I had no clue what I was doing. But at least there were two of us.

Lisa and I gravitated towards each other because everyone else in the class was drawing circles (and other shapes) around us. Wait – you want me to draw with dots? What the hell does an excited line look like?

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Drawing with dots…

Thus, a beautiful friendship was born.

Many years and a bagillion birthday cards later, we still talk almost every day (texting counts as talking, right?) even though we haven’t lived in the same city since 2005. She’s the person I call when pretty much anything happens – big or small. Like: “Lisa, I only slept five hours last night.” “Lisa, I can do a headstand!” “Lisa, I spend too much on groceries.” “Lisa, I hate everyone.”

We’ve been to Croatia and Peru, and today we embark for Scotland. In a couple of months, we will circle the globe to Vietnam.

There’s a lot of things I would like to change about this fundamentally unfair world we live in, but this isn’t one of them. At the risk of being overly sentimental, I’m very lucky to have a friend I can literally and figuratively share the world with.

Off to Scotland, bitches!

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The dynamic duo hiking in Pennsylvania circa 2009

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The dynamic duo in Croatia in 2012

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The dynamic duo in Peru in 2014

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The dynamic duo in 2015

 

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Another Birthday, Another Deep Thought

I’m not a big believer in birthdays. I don’t believe in parties or birthday specific presents. If I want to treat myself to something nice, I shouldn’t have to wait until my birthday. And if you want to buy me a present you should do it any damn day you want. Personally, I think I deserve to be treated nicely all year round. But since I’m officially a year older, it’s a good time to reflect on the year behind me.

Highlights:

  • I’ve had some amazing trips and experiences. I hiked to Havasu Falls in Arizona over Labor Day, visited Cambodia, Thailand and Hong Kong over Thanksgiving, and just came back from Peru. These were all awesome experiences, filled with good people and beautiful scenery.
  • I’ve kind of fallen in like with Yoga – something I used to think was stupid and hipstery.

Lowlights:

  • I lost my best friend, the love of my life, and the guy I thought I was going to spend my life with (those are all descriptions of one person, not three different people). To borrow a classic cliche, my heart is broken and feels like it will never be whole again.

Looking Forward:

  • I know this makes me a political nerd, but the presidential cycle will be exciting and chaotic – all things I love in politics.
  • I am planning a December trip – I don’t know where yet, but I love the planning process. Maybe it will be Eastern Europe, or Argentina or someplace else entirely. Stay tuned.
  • My niece is nearly two, adorable and wickedly smart. She is at the age where everything coming out of her mouth is hysterical, even when I don’t understand it.
  • I am making an effort to try new things. Now that I’ve surprised myself by liking yoga, I’ve signed up for a stand-up paddle class in a week. Stay tuned for more on that as well.
  • When I feel sad, it sometimes seems like there is no way things will turn around. Rationally, I know that isn’t true. The rational part of my brain knows that life is full of surprises and some of them are bound to be good ones. I am looking forward to being positively surprised.

Happy birthday to me!

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Deep Thoughts on Yoga and Peru

I was lying on my back in the relaxation stage of a yoga class on Friday and the instructor was blabbering on about energy and other yoga lingo I rarely understand. I am usually too busy trying to figure out how the hell my butt is supposed to balance in the air to worry about “finding my heart.” But then he said something that struck me: “The life you’re given is a gift.”

Sure, it’s a cliche, but in that moment, it felt like an epiphany. We only get one life, and it is a gift. Bad shit happens to people everyday. Just open up the newspaper or turn on the TV – or even go on Facebook. That morning, I heard about a man I knew tangentially through work who committed suicide. And so my life is a gift, even if it is not exactly the version I would like.

In a few hours, I board a flight for Peru via Panama. I am excited and apprehensive — excited for the obvious reasons. I am going to Peru! I am going to see Machu Picchu! Apprehensive because after five years of traveling with The Boyfriend, he is not exactly in the picture right now, and he has left a gnawing hole inside my heart that cannot be filled by exciting vacations.

But the life I was given is a gift, and I might as well make the most of it. So here is to traveling to a brand new continent with one of my best friends (I can’t believe we have been friends for 16 years). Here’s to seeing the wonders of the world in style (I am sitting in the business class lounger as I write these words). Here’s to enjoying the small things in life like summer days on my porch and friends that put up with my emotional swings. Here’s to family and a niece who thinks I am the best thing in the world after the iPad (also known as “tap tap!”).

Here is to living life with no regrets.

 

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Things We Have to Look Forward in 2015

I haven’t watched Back to the Future in years and totally forget that Back to the Future 2 takes place in the far distant future, otherwise known as the year …. 2015. So this weekend, I caught up on the things we have to look forward to in 2015:

  • Hover boards (Good thing I used to own a skateboard)
  • Flying cars
  • Self-drying jackets
  • The Cubs win the W0rld Series! (C’mon it could happen)
  • Abolishing lawyers
  • Massive inflation – Biff takes a taxi ride that costs $174
  • Pizza that cooks (or hydrates) in less than 10 seconds
  • Fruit plants that descends from the ceiling
  • Glasses that take incoming phone calls
  • And for some reason, we will still be using fax machines!!!

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HAPPY FEBRUARY: THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

Happy February!  While I have no major trips planned for this month, there are still a number of things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Spring: It’s the last month of winter! Okay, it’s not really, but in my mind, winter lasts from December – February. When March hits, the worst is over. So here’s to the worst being two-thirds of the way over.
  2. Boston: We’re hoping to take a weekend trip to Boston to visit The Boyfriend’s family.
  3. More time in NYC: My new job gives me much more flexibility to work from wherever. I hope to spend a lot of February in New York City.
  4. Earning British Airways miles: I applied and was approved for the British Airways credit card with its 100,000 miles promotion and am eagerly awaiting the card’s arrival in the mail. This is all part of a still undeveloped plan to take The Boyfriend and I to Thailand next December (more on that later).
  5. The Americans: Have you watch the new show on FX about Russian spies posing as ordinary Americans in the eighties? You should. It’s fascinating and features tons of great eighties music.
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HAPPY JANUARY: THINGS I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO

Is there anything more depressing than returning from a great vacation to a cold and dreary January and the prospect of another two months of freezing tempuratures? Probably, but I’m having trouble getting past the two more months of winter and the lack of any big travel plans on the horizon. Have no fear! There are still a number of big (and small) things to look forward this month.

1. New job: I’ll be switching jobs later this month. Here’s to all the adventures and craziness that big life changes inevitably bring. I shall embrace thee.

2. Running: Yeah, I never thought I’d utter such a blasphemous statement, but the downside of vacation is that I always come back feeling like a female version of the Pillsberry Dough Boy. No matter how many times I vow to use the hotel gym on vacation, it never actually happens. It’ll be nice to start running again and feeling more like a person and less like a dough girl.

3. Charlotte: I’ll be going to Charlotte, NC for work later this month. Granted, it’s not the most exotic destination, but I like exploring new cities.

4. Planning new trips: I love planning trips almost as mich as I love taking them. I’m not sure what our next big trip will look like, but I’m hoping to plan some weekend hiking outings in the spring. Any suggestions for the Northeast?

5. TV shows return: No more being forced to watch dopey holiday movies on the ABC Family Channel.

6. Music: On a similar note, the end of Christmas music on every radio station.

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