Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Funday

Spring is here in Newport. FINALLY. It has been sunny for 4 days straight now with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees.              


I cannot even begin to describe my excitement for this season and all that comes with it.  As a New England newbie I am learning to appreciate and enjoy these four distinct seasons. I am now TOTALLY and completely grasping why people love to live here.  Aside from the beautiful scenery and historic seafaring towns, Rhode Island boasts four lovable seasons.  Where I grew up in Virginia there were two seasons: Summer and Winter, and to be honest, looking back, neither were really that enjoyable seasons. The summers are hot as hell and the winters are damp and not accessible to good winter sports.  Newport in spring is inspiring - you should all come for a visit....the daffodils and dogwood trees are in full bloom, the sea breeze fills in around 10:30am leaving just enough time for a tranquil paddle boarding session early in the morning, and the streets come alive by afternoon with people browsing the local shops and eating ice cream cones on the park benches.  I don't know where all these people came from all of a sudden, but the excitable energy and vibe is contagious.

Back in November when the weather had taken on the epitome of New England fall, Andrew and I decided to institute "Sunday Funday".  For us it has either meant exploring Rhode Island and the surrounding areas together or encouraging one another in pursuing hobbies on Sunday. It all started out with a memorable trip to Westerly, Rhode Island via Narragansett on a crisp but beautiful Sunday.  The towns were shut down from Hurricane Sandy and preparing for the harsh winter ahead.  It was exactly the time to see that part of the state - in its most pristine state with no tourists to damage the views.  We ended the afternoon at a brew pub that featured soft pretzels, beer and high top tables with gluten free options - it was heaven!  Throughout the winter we tried our best to get out and about despite the blizzards, temperatures in the teens and grayness.  Andrew helped me most Sundays (when I hadn't escaped!) launch my laser at Sail Newport and go out for a few fun races in the harbor.  But now that spring is here, we are taking Sunday Funday a bit more seriously.

Even though we have 6 weeks until the start of summer and our jobs, Andrew and I both recognize that time is not on our sides. We need to do what we want NOW, for there is no time LATER.   Today meant a morning paddle through Newport harbor and over to the war college, just to get the body going.  Then we headed across the Pell and Jamestown bridges to Exeter, RI.  We took a 2 hour hike through the Arcadia Park to Breakheart Pond for a little sweat and camaraderie to celebrate the first day of wearing shorts.  And what's not to love about going to Ben's Chili Dogs for a cold soda and a chili cheese dog afterwards?!   I can now say I have been to this fine establishment in Newport - remember, cash only!  And then to top it all off I gave my car a nice bath.  As far as I'm concerned, THAT my friends is a Sunday Funday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Twenty Six

Today I came back to the house at 4:30pm grumpy and worn down by anxiety, stress and the seven hours of staring at a computer screen.  I don't think the grey, drizzling New England kind of day helped, but none the less, I was grumpy on the eve of my birthday.  But as I walked up to my front door, my mailbox sat looking at me bulging to the brim with birthday cards. I love birthdays. There really is no greater feeling than, "I made it through another year" and I get to see what this next year has in store. It really is super exciting. Besides, who doesn't love a delicious funfetti cake with luscious vanilla icing and sprinkles?!

So I opened my "Aunt Bethy's" birthday card, and leave it to her to give me one that sings. It really is so fitting. And what is playing as I open the card?! The Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want".  I exhaled deeply.
Oh 26.

It has been one hell of a year.  It has been a LOT of changes. As my best friend Anne puts it, there are 3 areas in life: Relationships, Career and Location. There are usually one or more of these areas in line with one another that make you happy and then there is that pesky last one that goes astray.  It has been a lot of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" in my career and job corner of life.  I have struggled with this over the course of the past 8 months. But in reality, "You Get What You Need" is what I got this year for my 26th year of life.  I have been blessed with the growth of my relationships, but personally and otherwise.  Andrew and I's love for one another would not be where it is today if I had not moved here to Newport, and for that I am eternally grateful. There is nothing better in this life than pure, unconditional love.

The other area, "Location", I am working on.  I am slowly but surely becoming a New England girl. For all you southerners out there, yes, it is hard to admit.  I will always pride myself on being from the south, but I am learning to adapt.  But let me ask, can we just get some good sweet tea and Chick fil a for crying out loud?!  And for the record, they don't even monogram things up here. People look at me like it's crazy to monogram computer covers and purses.  And shrimp & grits, well, that's a whole new subject!

I have had a lot of health issues for the past year as bank account certainly knows it! But after the latest and greatest "photo shoot" as Andrew calls it, I come to find I have nothing serious and after all this time can confirm that I don't have Celiacs Disease. For this I am ever so thankful.

At 26 I spent another summer in Nantucket, rock climbed for the first time, bought my first car, moved from duffles to drawers, traveled to France, finally bought my first paddle board, bravely experienced my first season of winter laser frostbiting, completed my third boat delivery from Newport to Antigua, and put an offer on my first house, among other things. Whew. It's funny how nothing seems like an accomplishment at the time until you write everything down you did in 12 months!!

I am hopeful that 27 has big things in store for me.  I'd really love for my everything to fall in line, but if I can't get what I want, I hope I continue to...

                           "Get What I NEEEEED"

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Art of Herding Chickens

Let me tell you people something...chicken herding ain't easy!!  Believe me, I know...I've had a year of experience.
My first experience with the chickens a year 1/2 ago

Andrew's sister lives out near Fort Adams in Newport and has chickens. Not exactly legal chickens, but a coop with chickens.  This batch started out at 10, we now have 7 - 3 white, 3 red and Falcon, the Chilean chicken who lays blue eggs.  Cath and her family live in NYC during the school year, so Andrew and I take care of the chickens while they're away.  The reward: the most delicious eggs you've ever tasted.  8-10 every other day. Straight from the chicken's butt.

Apparently chickens need showers too
Usually Andrew or myself let the chickens out in the morning and come back sometime between 5-7pm to put them away.  As a non-animal person, this is one of my least favorite parts of the day.  Just imagine the scene: Andrew and I are running around the muddy back yard, trying to coax the chickens to the coop, one goes this way and the other goes that way, usually into the prickly brambles and bushes; after 5 minutes of this I am yelling at the chickens, asking if they want to be eaten by a coyote for dinner, threatening to kick them and telling them they have got to be the dumbest animals alive.

This is where the art of chicken herding comes in... 

1. Leave the door of the run open.  
2. Andrew must be the "face" out in front, throwing some stale cracker or popcorn from the house.  They are soothed by his voice and come running to see him. Go figure. 
3. I must come from behind and never say a word, otherwise they run like hell.  
4. Then start the herd, moving them closer and closer to Andrew, thus closer to the coop. 
5. Eventually they will all run like idiots right into the run if the cracker is thrown just at the right angle and you have them cornered. 

                                           ....if only it were that easy every time. 

It varies by day, but sometimes we are missing a few: they are hiding under the porch, in the neighbor's yard, or just conveniently in the house (ie. the shower - chickens need a bath, right?!) My favorite is when one chicken is left. ONE. Really?!? What makes you so entitled Mr. Chicken that you think you don't have to go into the coop when everyone else does?! It's true with humans too - there is always one.

But, if you get her cornered, threaten to kick 'em and chase her yelling...she squats and you grab her...GAME OVER!  Another success in the art of chicken herding.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Advice from Monty Python

I got up at 6am this morning so that I could get started with my day. I am an overachiever, a morning person and a perfectionist. I take life way too seriously sometimes. Ok, who am I kidding, a LOT of the time.

Andrew reminded me of this the other night at dinner - he proceeded to flick large smushy (word?) clumps of mashed potatoes and green peas at me across the dinner table because again, I was taking life too seriously.  Suddenly the house woes were nothing compared to the mashed potatoes and peas that coated our kitchen walls and floors. Point taken.

I laughed this morning as I put on my "Morning Wakeup" playlist because the first song to play was "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python. I have only seen part of the movie, but my friend Andy Thorne from Sail Caribbean was its' biggest fan. We used to blast this song in the morning as we rolled out of our bunks, put on the coffee and got ready for another crazy ass day on the water with a gazillion (again, word?) teenagers to entertain and make sure stayed alive in the 24 hour day.  I will never forget that summer with Andy and our Monty Python seems to always remind me of perspective.

Life's a piece of shitWhen you look at itLife's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.You'll see it's all a showKeep 'em laughing as you goJust remember that the last laugh is on you.

If life seems jolly rottenThere's something you've forgottenAnd that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.When you're feeling in the dumpsDon't be silly chumpsJust purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing. 
And...always look on the bright side of life... Always look on the light side of life...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Viva Nash Vegas

Nashville. What an incredible southern city. Oh how I wish there was more than just a lake there because I would move there in a heartbeat. From the gorgeous spring weather to the boutiques and restaurants to the country music to the parks and concerts, Nashville is truly a must see! Add it to the bucket list people. 

I think it's fair to say I LOVED my visit last weekend! 

On Monday morning, back in surprisingly sunny New England, I couldn't get past the experiences of the weekend. What was my favorite part? What did I love most? The energy? The glutenis slather your hips yummy food? The surroundings of famous country singers and artists? What I came to realize this week is that I loved Nashville mostly because of the time I spent seeing it with my friends, Christa and Carter. They were the whole reason I went to visit and I can't believe its taken me this long to get just took them both leaving in a few weeks to get me there! Isn't that always how it works, we go somewhere to see a place or someone when "the end is near"...

Good quality time spent with those I love and know is what I needed most this month. It just so happens to be the theme of April (as I write I am currently on my way to North Carolina where my friend of 7 years, Jim Baker, is getting married!) and I welcome this time with open arms. Don't get me wrong, I love New England and the new friends I am slowly making here, but let me tell you, there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING better than a weekend with someone you've known for 7 and 27 years respectively. 

So thank you Christa for...letting me use your AAA card for $2 off at the Country Music Hall of Fame... I can now check that off the list; for taking me to Radnor Lake for a wonderful stretch of the legs and sunshine - and of course for letting me spill my guts on my winter ups and downs; for the most delicious BBQ at Edly's and seeing that patience goes a long way when you get a table outside, which makes the BBQ and sweet tea even better; for boutique shopping in Franklin; margaritas and chips at Chuy's Mexican; and an event to remember at the Grand Old Oprey - don't forget, "never take a laxative and a sleeping pill at the same time". 

And thank you Carter, my bestest friend of 27 years on April 27th (golden year!!), for always looking on the bright side and providing me with a laugh that at the same time involves tears, and for showing me "your Nashville". I loved Sweet 16 - featured in Southern Living yall, gotta go, get the blueberry crumble; the walks and parks were literally a breath of fresh air - along the "Cum" river...Nashville, wake up! 

But most of all, thank you for letting me come to hear you preach. I have never been so proud of any of my friends as I was on Sunday morning. Whoever gets Carter as their minister in North Carolina is going to be 
one lucky congregation!! Carter speaks with clarity, wisdom, and grace - it was truly an encouraging moment to see her 5 years of hard work paying off.

Nashville - you keep on doing what you're doing.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Self Portraiture

Last and final Intro to photography class. Check. 

First attempt at real self portraiture. Check. Check. 

Learning that it is much much harder to take creative self portraits than you thought. 
Check check check. 

I really enjoyed this last shooting assignment. I found it incredibly challenging to get the camera to focus on ME rather than other things in the background while I waited for the timer. I took a few photos each day for 4-5 days just to make sure I didn't embarrass myself in class.  I was so focused on making my pictures a representation of myself and my personalities.  Sometimes the more simple shots are the best ones. Practice makes perfect I suppose. 

3rd Beach

Ice Cream Love


When I used to work at Sail Caribbean we used to do feedback circles and at the end we would say our "take home point".  As "touchie feelie" as it may be, I have come to use the term in everyday life as a way to focus on the most important aspect of what I'm learning or doing.

Take Home Point: "Every picture that you take is a reflection of yourself, whether you are in the picture or not. Each photo is a representation of your ideas, creativity, style and shows who you are because you took the photograph!
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