Running Away = The Best Medicine. This time.

I ran away from you and I’m not sure what I was thinking.  At first.

I feel like I went to a commune during summer vacation while all the rest of the kids went to the same camp.  I’m out of the loop, but I’m back.  How are you?  Remember me?

Maybe I was running away from the world, but it turns out that one can only slip away for so long before we’re forced to admit we need to get back to real life.  Trials and tribulations will never cease to interrupt our lives, so it’s impossible to wait for peacetime to begin living again.

Living life got in the way of blogging about it, even though I was hell bent on doing the 365 bit.  I was mad at myself each day that I didn’t write because I continuously fooled myself into saying, “no, I’m really going to do it tomorrow”; only to be even more annoyed with myself and too embarrassed to reassess my 2012 writing challenge I’d made to myself.

I did reassess.  But I know now that I did not fail.  As a matter of fact, I kicked 2012’s ass.

Hell, I accomplished so many of my goals from last year that I didn’t have time to sit still.  Not that you would know that.  But you can trust me.  We are friends from the good ol’ days.

I changed careers, traveled, learned, I’m happy and I’m working on a new resolution, even though I hate that concept.

Are you ready?

  • I’ve decided to live more for me and less for the expectations others have of me.

It’s a fresh approach I’ve heard, I don’t know, my whole life, but never took into action.  It’s a revelation that coincides with the unfortunate passing of another close relative and being caught in the waves of it’s aftermath.  I wish it hadn’t taken a second painful demise to figure this out, but it turns out I’m a little behind.  My teachers must’ve been right after all.  Is that why my handwriting is crooked?

But I’m here.  I’m a little late to the party, but ready to be the life of it.  Who’s with me on this vague and exciting adventure?

“That’s Not a Reason”; a Fruit Story

When I was really little, let’s say around three or so, I still over-thought things a bit.

I wasn’t a bad little girl but I had strict parents who kept me in line and helped me be a proper little lady. Looking back, for that I’m grateful. I was reminded lately of something my young mind used to ponder…and though it’s just a goofy little kid story, I’m sharing it anyway.

Mom: “Mae, why did you do that?” (Envision wagging finger and some sort of naughty childish behavior.)

Mae: “I don’t know…”

Mom: “That’s not a reason.”

Mae: No words, just staring blankly at Mom.

She must’ve thought something was wrong with me. As a matter of fact, I’m sure she did, because apparently I always had this crazy look of confusion. But to be perfectly honest, I was thinking about raisins. Raisins were my favorite snack, I’d eat them out of the little boxes with my “pinchers”. I didn’t understand why Mom would bring up raisins at a time like this, when raisins had nothing to do with what I did wrong. Maybe it was her accent, maybe I was hungry. But I remember trying to process this thought for what felt like years, whenever I got in trouble.

Oh, reasons are different from raisins. Got it. I finally told my Mom about it recently and luckily, I got a good laugh out of her. She’ll probably reward me with a box of raisins the next time I see her too. Unfortunately, my pinchers probably don’t fit in those miniature boxes anymore.

The Subway Is Not Your Personal Chauffeur

 

© Mae East 2012

I’ve started taking the train to “work” recently. I say that loosely, because although I am working, it is for free.  I used to take the train and subway regularly as a kid in high school, and I probably never really paid attention to everything that was going on around me. Sure, I looked out for my friends and lectured them on street smarts, but I’m sure I was pretty careless when it came to watching my own back.

The other day I sat there, as the train shot into the city and found it fascinating how different people are, even though we are crammed into the same environment. I suppose one could say the same thing for humans living on earth together, but in such a small and compact location, the differences in behavior were amusing.

Things I decided to never do on the train, based on observation:

  1. Wear headphones, at least not on both ears. I see people of all ages and demographics walking through the subway in a total fog because they do not hear what is going on around them. To be honest, it makes me nervous. They’d never hear feet pounding the linoleum behind them, or a warning call. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Be like the people who touch everything and then eat with their hands. I’m not a germaphobe, but don’t grip the handrails, door handles, ticket machines and escalator rails and then eat your apple. You might as well have passed the apple through the hands of five hundred people before gripping your fruit and taking a bite. Gross.
  3. Bring a million bags on the train and plop them all down on the ground. One, you’re creating an issue for people to get in and out of the train car without falling. Some people act like the train is their personal shuttle and there’s no need to be considerate.  You’re wrong.  No one wants to trip on your bananas. I’m making it sound like people are eating healthy here, and while I’m at it, no they aren’t.
  4. Pulling through one of the worst neighborhoods in the country, literally, and whipping out every electronic gadget you have. I suppose people aren’t watching the news on their iPads, because it’s a common trend that thieves walk down subway cars and simply slip your smartphone, iPad, etc., out of your hands and keep moving, exiting the train with your fancy devices and all your personal information. Maybe if you heard the guy coming and your bags weren’t scattered all of the floor, you’d still have it.  Be smart.
  5. Exhibiting a lack of manners. I have no problem moving out of your way when we get to your stop. You could not just nudge me. Maybe a simple “excuse me” would suffice. I’ll even stand up and not just slide my legs to the side, so you have more room. I feel like a freak when I say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” or smile. I’m not a Pollyanna, even though that is one of my favorite movies, but a little common decency can get one a long way. Being rude just gets people mad at you. It’s almost like the zombie apocalypse has already occurred under the streets of this city. There’s got to be something they’re happy about, especially you, girl with cute shoes.

We all have somewhere to go and we all paid to hitch a ride, might as well be wise and pleasant about it.

Old Soul Works for Free

I’ve started as a volunteer for a local Historical Society.  Mainly because I need the experience to advance myself in a direction I’d like to go.  I find it nearly impossible to get the experience in the history and genealogy fields without putting in the time for free.  I’m ok with that, particularly since I never did an internship in college and it seems that is the way to go these days.  I’m eager to learn and I’m hoping they see some sort of potential in me so I can eventually sign on as a regular fixture.

I tried to tell them I’m an old soul, so I had a lot of historical knowledge first hand already, but they said, well, they didn’t say anything.  No, I didn’t really say that to them, but I’ll bet a lot of old souls are drawn to that field simply because there is something familiar to reel them in.  Maybe it’s not obvious and maybe some of these people just love history, but I always wonder how stories of yesteryear fascinate some so much and others could really care less.

None of us are the same and thank God for that.  Although there are a few people I’d have liked to clone; if I were into that modern technology sort of thing.

Brussels: More Seedy than Chocolatey

On a partly sunny late June morning, our redeye landed in Brussels. With dreams of chocolate and architecture, we waited in the immigration line, eager to hit the cobblestone, rather Belgian stone. Our plan, per Rick Steves, was to peruse the town for a few hours and later ride the rails to Bruges. We hopped the train to city centre, stowed our carry-on suitcases in a locker and approached our first outdoor look at Belgium with a warm welcome from…drunk bums. Upon exiting the main train station in Brussels, we found trash, drunk confrontational homeless people and open outdoor toilets. Yay, we made it!

Don’t get me wrong, we like to make our own adventures but since we were foreigners, I suggested we just keep walking toward the Grand Place or Grote Markt like Rick said and get the heck away from the train station. He did mention Brussels was a little seedy, but Brussels sounds so fancy and French, so the only seediness I envisioned was that of chocolate dipped strawberries. Still, each city has its less desirable areas, so we ventured on and found what our little hearts desired…cappuccinos and chocolate filled pastries amid tall and ornate structures.

It became more and more overcast and eventually started to downpour, but the flowers that lined the windowsills of La Grand Place were still beautiful. The architecture consumed hundreds of pictures on our memory card, with each angle or sculpted archway appearing more intricate and astonishing than the last. This was the Belgium I wanted to see, shortly followed by a little peeing baby. “Let’s go see Mannequin Pis”, I tell my husband. “A pissing mannequin? What? Why?” I expected a response like this, since the only portion of the Belgium book he read was on the beer. But we did find the tiny statue of the baby boy peeing into a fountain, which seems to capture quite the crowd of tourists. It is a national symbol afterall…and there are many different variations that poke fun at the original. I found these much more amusing and not quite G-rated enough to post for your viewing pleasure.

We continued to wander and saw a parade of Belgian police ride through the narrow streets on gorgeous horses. It was a procession that included drumming and what seemed like a ceremonious trot through the main square. And though it was raining and the sight was one that we’d remember, I remember most getting my jeans smattered by….”stuff” from a horse splattering on the Belgian stone. I think that is the most delicate way to put that. Wonderful, a post full of bodily functions. But luckily we had our handy laundry detergent and my husband stopped laughing long enough that I could get cleaned up and we could head over to Bruges, which would hopefully welcome our tired and cranky selves with open arms, clear skies and beer.

Take Care of Your Feet

Warning: This is a ridiculous lady rant about shoes. You’ve been warned. Paragraphs may imply awkwardness and whiney personality. It does not have “Whitney” writing as my spellcheck insists on telling you.

I spent almost four hours dodging fellow shoppers and navigating two shopping malls, traffic and a random shopping center after work tonight. Countless department stores, shoe stores, teen, sophisticated, hipster, skater, sport and anything-apparel type stores later, I found a decent pair of shoes. I didn’t have crazy criteria; somewhat stylish, comfortable, flat and with an ankle strap. I prefer non-man made material and I didn’t want to wear something resembling my grandmas cruise apparel from the early 90’s.

I learned a couple things tonight:

– All athletic shoe stores carry exactly the same brands, styles and colors. If you’ve been in one, you’ve seen them all.

– All retail employees ask how you are but they don’t listen to your reply. I learned you could respond with an array of ridiculous answers and they will still say, “great, if you need anything, let me know.” Well, salesperson, I can tell you right now that you are not the kind of person I can rely on, considering you think that my dog dying is great. (My dog didn’t die, but it still would not be great.)

– Old people know how to take care of their feet. Is it wisdom or refusal to cram their feet into awkward confining foot-shackles any longer? Either way, they have quite a selection to choose from. My younger feet even seemed old when I tried a couple on. Eek, glimpse into the future?

– Young people will pay for a flat piece of plastic, covered in cheep vinyl, with a piece of fibrous rope glued to it and be happy about it. My heels cringed thinking about wearing them for more than ten paces. And that’s coming from a kid who wore “jellies” in the 80’s.

– Lastly, I’m old. I’m not even 30 but as I shopped, I found myself in an undefined category. I saw professionals in gorgeous and costly shoes, twenty year olds with canvas wrapped loosely on their feet and old people with cushy leather clod-hoppers that have bulbous soles and unflattering bulky shapes.

I’m going on a trip where I will do a lot of walking, out of dozens of stores, I found one, just one part of sandals that were well made, comfortable and not from grandma’s or little cousin’s closet. Do I ask for too much? Is it too much to try to avoid blisters and pain but still care about appearance; is it too often one way or another? Such a silly argument, I know, but there I was thinking that I couldn’t be the only one that didn’t want to limp this summer with irritated and abused tootsies.

If only I could make Hush Puppies trendy for my generation. If you had a grandma who dressed up, you will know what I’m talking about.

Trust me…they do look cute on, I just don’t feel like being a foot model tonight.

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Thumbs Up for Thumbs

Thumbs.  Most people have two.  Some people have funny toes that resemble thumbs.  Ok, not people, maybe those are monkeys.  Regardless, I should have learned after the zucchini slicing incident of August 2011, which ruined my soaring guitar career, that one can get injured in the kitchen.  (Please note, by soaring, I mean I completed my first eight lessons and learned my scales.  Ok, I sort of learned a scale.)  Still, life goes on, people have barbeques, things need to get done, guests arrive early and parts of my thumb can get cut off in a mandolin.  Ouch.  Don’t worry folks, I threw away that cucumber.

Besides the fact that anything involving water turned into a pre-planned event, it just hurt.  Those stupid finger cot things are great for showering and washing dishes (while avoiding the mandolin at all costs).  It is not fun however, when the highlight of your barbeque revolves around you having a tiny condom on your finger.  Ok, I’m lying, Continue reading

Creep at the Carnival

Last night I felt like a creep. I didn’t do anything wrong, mind you.

We are preparing to go on a trip soon. I like to call them adventures; we don’t have much planned out yet. But we bought new heavy duty backpacks and we’re feeling pretty ready to go. My husband wanted to try them out, so since we were going to the local Catholic School carnival, we’d get some walking in and this could be a good opportunity to try them out.

He loaded mine up with books and water bottles, which I thought was a bit excessive, considering it won’t be our main luggage, but used mostly for a large daypack.

We got some pretty strange looks when we show up childless, huge backpacks and taking pictures. I felt like a predator trying to take pictures of carnival rides and treats for sentimental and blog sake, while trying to avoid capturing the children belonging to the parents eerily watching us. Maybe we should have gone on a ride or two, or not acted as awkward as we appeared. Maybe we should’ve played another game besides the one where you use a big rifle to shoot out the paper star. Maybe we shouldn’t have run off with that stroller…

Just kidding.

We aren’t creepy generally, but we definitely appeared odd. Needless to say, I captured some decent shots and we determined that our backpacks are sufficient enough to join us.

Note to self: Next time bring friends with kids so we don’t feel so out of place; or at least don’t look like we’re surveying prospective kids to kidnap and take camping.

I’d Rather Be Blogging

I’d like to get that on a bumper sticker. I’m sure someone makes them.

I found myself falling asleep in awkward post-dinner positions on the couch with my contact lenses glued to my eyes a few times this week. I’m certainly not getting the physically activity that should be the culprit, since only my fingers have gotten the walking lately, clearly only at work, that is.

So as I awake at 2-something in the morning, and write out of guilt because I’ve missed a couple days, I ask you fellow bloggers, when do you find the time to write in between the daily grind?

Your typical day could be chasing kids around or fighting the daily commute to a full-time job. I’m curious because there are so many wonderful blogs; it makes me wonder if the writers have more time to ponder and mentally escape or if I’m not utilizing my time correctly.

Some days seem like a no brainer, I get so inspired that it just happens. Even more often, I’ll write something that I think is just ok and have it be a great hit. This often makes me contemplate my knack, particularly when I write something I think is one of my best and it’s posted with the accompaniment of cricket noises.

I’m always interested in learning more; I’d like to learn how my fellow bloggers do it. Please share if you have the time. Get it?

You know what I should do…I should utilize those Daily Posts with all those good ideas…yes, challenge accepted.  Thank you Captain Obvious.

 

I Turn 29 today…the real 29

I Turn 29 today…the real 29. But not until 2:45pm Eastern Standard Time; my parents are very particular about birth times. Mom says it was 2:45, Dad says it was 2:46…I don’t think it matters at all, but I generally throw my two cents in and say it was 2:45 to give Dad a hard time. He always says, “I was there Shan, I saw what time it was”; I always follow-up with “So was I, Dad”. Then he rolls his eyes.

I don’t know exactly what this year will bring. It’s a manmade fascination to divvy up time into little compartments. All these little compartments are building blocks that add up to a life. I have a lot of goals for this year and I’m hoping to create a solid foundation, to build a solid and sturdy existence.

I’m also finding that the more I’m inspired and the longer the daylight extends, the harder it is to sit down and complete my 365 project. I get antsy when the sun is shining and there are things to do. Then I fall asleep on the couch.  I’m happy, isn’t that all the matters?  Honestly, I do get slightly disappointed with my time management though.

Not today.

Today I head to Brooklyn.

No.  Sleep.  Till Brooklyn….Brooklyn!

I’m sure to find inspiration there and take lots of photos. I’ll be visiting one of my oldest and best friends, which should give me a proper shot for the “Friendship” weekly photo challenge this week. I’m excited and I think it’s a great start to the last year of my 20’s.

Let’s hope it’s not as hot as the day I was actually born. It was unbearable…so I’m told.

Have a wonderful weekend.