Monday, October 14, 2013

It turns out.

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It turns out when you work full time and go to grad school full time you are way too busy to blog.

It turns out you are also way too busy to do anything except go to work, go to class, study, and sleep. And watch Scandal and Downton Abbey whenever you have a spare two hours, because time must be made for Olivia Pope and Lady Mary. I'd sacrifice a shower too for another hour with Walter White. RIP Breaking Bad. Today being Columbus Day is the only reason I have a spare five minutes to sit down and write this post.

It also turns out I miss more things about California. Namely, the absence of intersections that have 7 cross-streets and the consistency of the weather. Weather reports are actually accurate in California. I know. Weird. Also, I miss the locks on the gas pumps. It's the little things, people.

It turns out the grass is always greener on the other side, obviously. Since I complained about the consistency of the weather when I lived there. Consistency = monotony. Consistency also = convenience when getting dressed every day.

It turns out home doesn't really feel like home too much after you've been gone so long.

But it also turns out it's pretty fun playing tourist in a place you know how to get around.

And it turns out fall in New England is just as magical as I remember.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8 things I miss about California.

I'm kind of sad writing this post because this is pretty much the last thing I'm going to write about California. I wasn't that sad to leave California. Not like I was sad when we left Hawaii. I sobbed uncontrollably on the plane from Hawaii. It was a full on ugly cry. When we left California, I was mostly just sad to leave my friends. But I've been gone two full months now (!!!) and there are some things I definitely miss.


>> In-N-Out. Self-explanatory.

>> The lack of humidity and therefore a more manageable head of hair.

>> The lack of mosquitos and therefore a significantly less itchy life. Every time I take Jack outside after 6:30 it's like I'm asking for death by EEE.

>> Being able to drive 80 miles per hour on the highway and that being perfectly okay even though the speed limit is only 65.
>> California burritos. Until you've had a burrito with french fries in it, you haven't really lived.

>> Fish tacos. Seriously I was mourning the loss of fish tacos before we even left California.

>> I really can't believe I'm saying this but... my house. Namely, my washer and dryer. And cable. And a fenced in yard. And my gas stove.

>> The way it gets chilly at night no matter what temperature it is during the day AKA perfect snuggle under a blanket with the windows open temperature.

So yeah. I'm pretty sad that this is one of the last posts I'll ever tag California. Kind of like the end of an era, no?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Just me and my Lightning McQueen sheets.

The reason I moved home even though Matt isn't totally done with the Marine Corps is because of school (I start next week!). We initially thought Matt wouldn't be home until October-ish and that we could persuade them to move our stuff back to Massachusetts when I did. When they said no, I was kind of mad, but then thought, like, no big deal. I'll have my laptop and a bed and books and stuff, I'll be fine.

This is all I have.


Few things about that:

1. Sleeping on an air mattress isn't that bad until about week 3. My back fucking ACHES and I have never been one to have back pain. Also, I'm borrowing my nephew's Lightning McQueen sheets because we need all new bedding and I don't want to buy it without having a bed to put it on. I'm thinking about this duvet in gray and these sheets in horseradish. What do you think? New bedding is the best.

2. We didn't have a microwave until I bought one on Saturday. My old boss didn't believe in microwaves, and I didn't understand how she lived. I made it 5 weeks and this is the healthiest I've ever eaten in my life. The only reason I even wanted a microwave was because I was sick of cooking one portion of brown rice at a time. Not fun, my friends. But truth be told, I actually miss my toaster more. I'd do anything for a whole wheat Eggo right about now.

3. I wouldn't have believed it myself, but Netflix and books get old pretty fast when that's ALL you have to do all the time. Before Matt left, we caught up on two seasons of True Blood and a season of Dexter. Matt left on the 31st and I have since watched:

>> The entire Downton Abbey series (amazing)
>> The entire Scandal series (also amazing)
>> The last two seasons of The Office (why did they fuck with Jim and Pam - and subsequently/most importantly my emotions - like that?)
>> The first season of Orange is the New Black (so raunchy, so awesome)
>> The entire Freaks and Geeks series (so many cringeworthy moments, plus young Jason Segel is a heartthrob)
>> Not to mention probably a dozen movies on my Amazon Prime free trial (Sleepless in Seattle and Steel Magnolias are on there. go now.)

I'm afraid to count up the hours of screen watching there. I feel like there are more productive things I should have been doing. Not packing at least art supplies was the biggest mistake of my life.

When we found out Matt's paperwork had gone through last month, I was pissed at first. Because we could have done everything a much easier way. We could have both been home in early August. We could have moved together at the same time as our stuff. But I'm so, so grateful he will be home next week and our stuff will follow soon after because this is my life now and it is pretty lame, people. Also it's starting to get chilly at night (hooray for fall!) and I want my duvet. In two weeks when I have 40 hours of work and 12 hours of class I know I'll be wishing for a day full of Netflix. But right now, and I can't believe I'm saying this, all I can think is hallelujah for a full week of work.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to school shopping.

As much as I love the summer, I have always loved back to school time. Something about it is just so exciting to me. I think it's just because I love new beginnings. Also, I love school supplies. I KNOW I'm not the only one. This year, I'm actually going back to school as a student too, so I get double the excitement and double the shopping. ;)

My school is forcing me to buy an iPad (really, like they charged it to my tuition and I'll just be handed one when school starts) because teachers use them in and out of the classroom for so many purposes. But I really need a new laptop too (my MacBook is almost 5 years old!), so it's kind of a joke that I have to buy both at once. Am I going to be kicking myself for getting that Herschel iPad case instead of the folder type? If anyone has any recommendations for iPad cases I'd love to hear them because I haven't bit the bullet on that one yet.

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This is really like my me-as-a-student wishlist because I really don't know what I'm going to be wearing to work. Unlike my last job, there's no dress code except closed-toe shoes so that's there's a lot of room for interpretation. I really wanna go nuts buying a new work wardrobe but I kinda wanna work for a week or two and get a feel for what everyone else wears. Don't wanna stick out like a sore thumb, ya know? Matt is probably going to see that I want another watch and roll his eyes but I've had my eye on this one for a while. I have a watch problem. Maybe I'll reward myself when I get an A on my first paper... :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

My ideal road trip routes.

Naturally, going on a road trip just made me want to go on more road trips. As much as I want to travel internationally (Spain and Portugal 2014!) there are so many beautiful places in America, and I want to see all of them. When I started researching, I couldn't believe how many ridiculously beautiful natural wonders there are in the United States. I shortened our trip a few times and had to leave out some things I really wanted to see to get our life set up in Massachusetts, so I can't help but dream about more road trips.

If we were ever to go all the way cross country again...

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Niagara Falls, Cleveland, Chicago, Wall Drug, Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, Black Hills, Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, North Cascades National Park, Seattle. (I might add Grand Teton in there again if we had the time!)

My best friend drove home from California and drove all the way up the Pacific coast and across the northern route. If we hadn't already driven the Pacific coast of California twice and done an entire PNW road trip, this would have been the way we went. But I'm glad things worked out the waythey did because Utah and New Mexico were totally my favorites.

The one I most want to do...

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Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Shasta, Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, North Cascades National Park.

We did our road trip back in April and absolutely fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. We had more than few conversations about moving to Washington state. I want to go back so, so bad, and this is exactly what I would do if we did.

The one we would most likely take our kids on...

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Arches National Park, Dead Horse State Park, Canyonlands National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon (North Rim), Petrified Forest National Park, Mesa Verde National Park.

Obviously we did a lot of the Grand Circle, but I really think you could travel this area for a year and never get bored. I'd love to take our kids back to the Grand Canyon and Zion, especially. Really, I just want to go back to Zion!

I just love road trips. Even eating crappy road food, getting sick of everything on the iPod, and holding my pee for hours. Don't get me wrong, I love visiting cities, walking around in the hustle and bustle, shopping, eating, sightseeing. But there's just something liberating about a road trip. I think it's the perfect way to see our vast country and all its hidden gems.

Which one would you want to go on? What's the best road trip you've ever been on?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Smokies.

This is it! The final trip post. Because after the Smokies we decided to be maniacs and drive home in one day. I like to think of myself as adventurous, but apparently I need a little security, too, because not having a place to live or a job started stressing me out to the point that I wasn't really enjoying myself. I like to think that that's the responsible adult in me, not the boring ball of anxiety.

I said in my post about Grand Teton National Park that my one regret was that we didn't stay there long enough. I lied. I also regret that we didn't stay longer in the Smokies. When we cancelled our stop in Harpers Ferry, I thought about just extending another day in the Smokies, but the Smokies are a little more accessible to us than most of the places we stopped, so I know we'll be back.

Once we hit SMNP, it finally felt like we were getting closer to home. I don't know anything about plants but I think some of the trees were the same, or the way they grow, or the way the light hits them. It just reminded me of playing in the woods when I was little.

We were only there for a day so we did a lot of driving and stopping and driving and stopping again. I loved the Cades Cove area but if we ever go back I will purposely plan it around a time when you can bike it. You see, it's a one lane-one way road, and people ignored all the rules of driving etiquette (just like Yellowstone) where they would take as long as they pleased taking pictures from the road instead of pulling over and slam on their brakes if they saw something. It kind of took away from the experience, but what can ya do.

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So that was it! It was pretty incredible, but hopefully not a once in a lifetime kind of thing. I LOVE road trips (and plan to share a few ideal routes tomorrow), but we won't be taking any soon since I plan to go to Spain (and Portugal!) next summer to visit a friend, then back to California in September for a friend's wedding, and then back to Kauai in 2015 to hike the Na Pali coast for my graduation from grad school present, so that's where all our travel fund will be going.

If you have any questions about doing a cross country trip, please contact me! I wish I had someone I could reach out to for advice when I was planning, so I'd be happy to help.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Honky tonk.

I was honestly just super ready to be home by the time we got to Nashville. The closer we got to Massachusetts the more stressed I felt about how in transition everything was, and I got bad about documenting everything. But we really liked Nashville. Tennessee was beautiful just as I expected. We ate a lot in Austin, but I feel like we never stopped eating in Nashville. It wasn't pretty.

Matt loves history and he really enjoyed the Hermitage, which was the home of Andrew Jackson. The grounds were beautiful and I loved that so many outbuildings are still intact. Pictures weren't allowed inside the house but there was original, beautiful wallpaper almost 200 years old.

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We ate super delicious southern food (family style) at Monell's and we went with Jack's for barbecue. Neither disappointed. I'm fairly certain I left Nashville 10 pounds heavier than when we started the trip. I'm still working it off. Seriously.