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NaBloPoMo Day 21: A New Approach to My Lists Each Year

NaBloPoMo Day 21: A New Approach to My Lists Each Year

I’ve been doing ___ before ___ lists for a while now. My first one was a 30 before 30 list. I have since done similar lists leading up to years 31, 32 and 33.  I enjoyed writing the lists and really crystallizing the fun thing I want to do, and making sure they did not slip through the cracks.  By year 32, the enthusiasm started draining and I had a mad dash right before my birthday to cross off as many things as possible.  As my birthday approached for me to turn 33, there were plenty of things left on the list, and I didn’t even care anymore.  I was working on a bigger & better 40 before 40 list, but I don’t really love it right now, and have not decided whether I want to overhaul it or scrap it.

Jump the Shark

The lists, for me, focused me on what I wanted to do as I was working toward them, but also provided a nice retrospective at year’s end.  Often I would grumble about wanting to do so many things but never having the time, but I could look at these lists and say, wow, I really did do a lot of fun, nice things.

I don’t want to abandon the lists altogether, but there’s no sense in making myself do the same thing over again, just for the sake of doing it.  I’m turning things around a bit this year. Instead of listing 34 things I need to do before 34, I’m assembling a list of things as I go, and am memorializing 34 fun things I’ve done in the year before I hit 34. I’m open to suggestions for fun things you think I should check out.

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NaBloPoMo Day 9: Return to the Homestead

NaBloPoMo Day 9: Return to the Homestead

It’s incredible how refreshing a weekend away can be. Although our vacation was only 2 full days and 2 days spent mostly traveling, I have returned home feeling at least sane again. It’s not full on rested bliss, but I am rested enough to feel capable to dive back into real life.

When traveling, I try to hit as many “local favorites” as possible, even if totally kitschy. Before leaving Montreal today, I enjoyed a Montreal bagel (totally legit), as well as one last helping of Timbits (also legit, but in a totally different way).

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Timbits

Travel was smooth going. In the course of this weekend away, I started and finished one book (The Beach by Alex Garland, in case you are wondering) and also made significant progress in another audiobook (The Scorch Trials by James Dashner).

Baby Beez Spiderman

Returning home with presents was mandatory, of course, and the pom-pom slippers and Spiderman comic book en Francais were very well received.

I know it’s not even late enough to be grown-up bed time, but I’m beat. So g’night.

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NaBloPoMo Day 2: My 30s. The Best.

I remember the pain and awkwardness of my 20s. My teens was painful and awkward, too, but it was pre-widespread internet usage, so I was not as aware in realtime of how awkward I actually was.  When I was in my 20s, I could see everyone else being so put-together and grown up. Yet there I was, in the wobbly-baby-giraffe phase of my adulthood. It was no fun at all. I did have the benefit of several friends already in their 30s who had their acts more-or-less together (at least more together than mine) who were helpful beacons in navigating that decade of transition. Even though I claim to celebrate my 29th birthday again every year, I’m comfortably in the decade of “I certainly don’t have-it-all, but I’m satisfied with what I have.”

Inspiration for this post came to me in the shower this morning. The shower is my best thinking spot, especially when I make Mr. Beez take Baby Beez to school, leaving me to take a shower without a small person tapping on the glass door and demanding attention. 10 minutes of quiet do wonders for the brain.

Absolutely Fabulous

In my few minutes of thoughtful solitude, I thought about all the ways that my 30s have been better than my 20s:

  1. I am no longer terrified of going into the movies or a restaurant or a bar by myself. Sometimes I even go alone on purpose. And LIKE it.
  2. I can comfortably navigate a bar menu and wine list.
  3. I am OK with my tastes changing from time to time. I can acknowledge that things I used to hate have become things I now love (see: mint, Indian food, massages, popcorn balls, Bloody Mary’s), without fretting that a change in taste has destroyed my identity. Who knows, maybe someday I will even develop a taste for dark beers or sweet white wines.
  4. I’m less hung up on what other people think. I can’t claim I don’t care what other people think, I still do, but I do not allow my life to be driven by the judgment of others. Because sometimes the comfort of wearing yoga pants completely outweighs the side-eye tossed in your direction.
  5. I’ve become much better at finding the “bright side” of things, even tiny mundane things.  For example, recently I was stuck waiting in Family Court from 9am-4pm. In my 20s I’d be buzzing around furious. Now, I realize I have no control over when my case will be called, so might as well sit back, read a book on my phone, and relax. Maybe this has more to do with being better at realizing what I can control and what I cannot, but in any event, it makes life a lot easier.
  6. I have a better sense of my strengths. I am better at focusing my efforts (whether at work, volunteering, etc.) in ways that channel my strengths, and bringing in help to fill in the gaps where I am less strong.
  7. I have a better sense of my weaknesses. And I can tell which weaknesses are worthwhile to develop and overcome, and which ones I should accept and move on (I will never be a dancer or a concert pianist. And that is fine with me.)
  8. My friendships are closer and stronger than ever before. Your 20s is all about networking and casting your net as wide as possible. In your 30s, those friendships really develop into people you can count on, and who can count on you.
  9. I can finally do a reasonably good job at blowdrying my hair, applying my own nail polish and putting on liquid eyeliner. Those skills take PRACTICE. Relatedly, I can walk in heels without looking like a drunk flamingo.
  10. I can go to bed at 9pm and feel awesome about it. No more of this hitting the bar at 10pm business. That’s what happy hour is for. I like my sleep.
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Girls Weekend at Bedford Springs

Girls Weekend at Bedford Springs

My husband denies this conversation ever happened, but some time back I suggested to him that we go on a romantic weekend getaway to Bedford Springs resort. He said the idea sounded boring. This coming from the man who counts “sitting quietly and being left alone” amongst his favorite activities. So I said fine. I’ll go with friends. So I did. And then afterward I told him how my weekend involved eating good food, drinking good wine, time at the spa, and lots of sitting quietly in a chair and resting. All of his favorite things. So maybe I’ll just need to have another spa weekend soon.

My girls weekend was fantastic and so badly needed. I have a lot going on right now at work, so it’s go-go-go-go-go. A minute away to rest my mind was necessary to keep me form losing it entirely.

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Bedford Springs has long been known for its rejuvenating spring water. Appropriately, it has a very lovely spa. I treated myself to a luxurious mud wrap, spent a good long while soaking and scrubbing and showering through the spring spa ritual, and then spent several hours lounging in a chair quietly, reading, as my friends sat nearby reading or snoozing. It was amazing.

I didn’t take any pictures inside the spa, because when they check in they have you sign a thing that says NO TAKING PICTURES. Really though, it’s better for the ambiance, so I’m all for that restriction.

We visited Out of the Fire Cafe in Donegal for dinner. Despite being usually in the know about the Pittsburgh restaurant scene, I had never heard of this place. It’s a must-stop if you’re spending some time out in the Seven Springs/Hidden Valley, but is honestly so good that may even is worth its own trip out from the City. Better yet, make your dinner reservations the central event for a weekend in the Laurel Highlands.

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I’d classify the cuisine as “contemporary American” but without getting into anything too artsy and not getting too indulgent in the comfort food direction.

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I had the cocoa crusted lamb chop. I find that the more food posts I write, the fewer unique descriptions of delicious meals I am able to craft. So this is where you put all kinds of wonderful adjectives about the wonderful meal. Because wonderful.

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The mushroom bread pudding with truffle oil was one of the most surprising and decadent side dishes that I’ve had in ages. It’s so buttery and rich that the portion size is overwhelming. But that’s what take out boxes are for.

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One of my friends ordered bronzino. I usually opt for any meal with eyeballs, because why wouldn’t you? But this time the call of the lamb chop was overpowering. Next time, my fish friend, you will be mine.

Our stress melted away over the lovely weekend. But as we returned, and drove mile by mile closer to the city, it crept back up on us. Work remains full speed ahead through May. But Mr. Beez and I do have plans for a trip away to Nemacolin in the not-too-distant future. Believe me. I’ll need it.