Monthly Archives: October 2011

Lonely or Annoyed?

I’ve been sick. A friend recommended I take a supplement, and that I should probably take it for the rest of my life. I stared at those words in the email and for a full minute. I could not feel my legs. FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE? I sat there (since I couldn’t move my legs) and tried to think of something – anything I wanted to do every day for the rest of my life. I barely want to do things I like every day for the rest of my life. Then it occurred to me, is this visceral reaction the reason I am single? 

I haven’t always been single.  I have been in very long relationships. And I have spent long periods of time alone. And when I look back, if I am being completely honest I tend to have been a happier person when I am alone. Maybe it’s a testament to my bad taste in men… But I don’t think so. When I was a little girl, my dream relationship was Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas because they were married and they lived in separate cities. It seemed ideal.

I have a theory. There are only two kinds of people in the world: lonely (and single) or annoyed (and in a relationship). I think we all have a higher tolerance for one – either you’re better at being lonely or you’re better at being annoyed. But they are really your only options.  Either you’re lonely or you’re annoyed.

Lonely

I mean sure – early love is great and you want to be with that person all the time. When you live with someone, you can get a hug at the end of a long day, or someone to make your coffee in the morning. I have been there. But sooner or later, the lust wears off and their annoying habits and idiosyncrasies start to surface – like I don’t know –  their breathing – in and out, in and out, in and out…

When you are alone, sometimes it is awesome – like when you are so comfy because you have the whole bed to yourself. Or no one is around to judge you when eat an entire can of frosting or don’t wash dishes for a week. But sometimes you want someone to talk to, or make you tea when you’re sick, or have sex with you.

 So when I get really lonely, it usually helps to call an attached friend – who without any encouragement begins complaining about their spouses while their children scream in the background (my hand to God one called expressly to complain AS I WAS WRITING THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE). And I thank them for once again for validating my life choices.

-Jen

*I must thank Chris Rock for his inspiration as I once heard him say “You’re either married and bored or single and lonely.”

Just do it !

I always say life is short and we need to take opportunities to do the things we want to do now but I haven’t always followed that approach to life.  It’s easy to start thinking that I’ll do this or that when I retire and have more time.  My husband has no problem jumping on any opportunity to go on a trip, meet up with friends and grandkids.  For me it’s been a bit harder because of last minute work travel.  I hate committing to something then having to back out.   That’s resulted in skipping some things I would really like to do.  Not anymore.  I am ready to start committing!  Over the past few weeks I’ve committed to a girls’ weekend at the Ozarks and a cooking class with my friend Karen.

Karen and I have been talking about signing up for a class for years.  You have to sign up weeks in advance or the classes sell out.  A few weeks ago she said, “We really need to do this,” and I committed.   There were lots of options but we signed up for a “How to make pasta 101.”

I love to cook and I love trying new things.   I blogged recently about all the gadgets I have and I have a brand spanking new pasta maker (Okay, 10 years old but never out of the box – which makes it new to me) and while I wanted to make fresh pasta, was a bit leery of the process.  It turns out that pasta making, just like about everything else in the kitchen, is easy.  But it sure was nice having a culinary instructor standing at my shoulder while painstakingly mixing my flour and eggs to make my first batch then coaching me as I was putting it thru the pasta roller several times until it was just right.  Now I’m set.  

Me with my flour covered wine glass in the prep area (class no-no).

It also turns out they serve wine at these things and I think Karen and I got our money’s worth on the class in wine consumption. 

 I’m starting to make plans.  If I have a personal commitment on my calendar, I’m going to do my best to push a last minute trip a day or two so I can make it. 

While I am planning on a great retirement and we have been committed to planning financially for a long and enjoyable one, retirement isn’t a given.  I’m now taking action to make sure I am making my life more enjoyable and letting work be work.  A cooking class may seem trivial but after talking about doing it for more than 2 years it came at a time when I really needed to be reminded that all we may have is now and we better be enjoying it.  And GO STL CARDINALS !!!

Susan

Fall is here!

Fall is here (although someone should remind Mother Nature – it was 85 in Philadelphia last weekend)!  This is my favorite time of year… the food, the beer, pumpkin EVERYTHING, it just all makes me so happy.

So I decided to share with you a few of my favorite fall things!

Fall festivals

I’m not sure it gets much better than fall festivals and right now there are so many to choose from!  If you live in the Philadelphia area, my favorite site for finding fun fall ideas (and weekend ideas in general) is uwishunu.  It’s a blog that is always updated with suggestions for dinner, drinks, nightlife, music, etc., and… fall festivals!   For those of you that live in other areas of the country, say… St. Louis, Jacksonville, New York, or San Francisco, there is a lot going on, so get out there.  Most are dog friendly, as long as you have a friendly dog J

Pumpkin everything at Trader Joes

I am a little obsessed with those things pumpkin this time of year.  And I’m a lot obsessed with Trader Joes every time of year… and it just so happens that some of my favorite pumpkin things are from Trader Joes.

Go figure.  A few of these things include:

–          Pumpkin spice coffee

–          Pumpkin bread mix

–          Pumpkin cream cheese

–          Pumpkin pancake mix – by far my favorite, and unfortunately they don’t have a link for this.

And if you don’t have a Trader Joes near you, one of my favorite fall recipes is Pumpkin bread pudding .  Give it a try – you won’t regret it.

Oktoberfest(s) and fall adult beverages

Fall = best beer season.  It just is.  And pair delicious beer with a fun Oktoberfest celebration and, well, I’m sold.  This weekend I’m going to Oktoberfest at Frankford Hall in Philadelphia.

Frankford Hall is one of my favorite places anyway, and the fact that they are celebrating fall all month long just puts them that much higher on my list.

If you’re not into beer, here are a few recipes for other fun fall drinks.

So what are your favorite things about fall?   Do you have a favorite fall recipe to share with us?  Any “go-to” sites for your cities?  We’d love to hear them all!

–          Erin

Tropical paradise, togetherness, appreciation of the good ole USA? What makes your favorite vacation memorable?

A few years ago my parents proposed the whole family go on a cruise to Alaska.  On one hand I really wanted to go as Alaska was the last of the 50 I needed to cross off my list of states I had sat foot in.  But I was more than a bit concerned because that’s a lot of togetherness for a family that hadn’t spent much time together.   My brother and I hadn’t been very close in recent years.  Another challenge was my husband’s hatred of cold weather.  After checking weather averages he said the weather would be cold and rainy every day and he would be miserable.  Oh Joy!  It was going to be so great to hear this complaint every hour of every day….

In the end, we all committed to the trip, my parents, my sister and her husband, my brother, his wife and three girls, my hubby and I. 

My favorite thing about this trip was not where we were but spending time with my family.  I enjoyed getting to know my nieces who had somehow completely grown up and it was like meeting them all over again.  Even better, they were three fabulous young ladies who were smart, funny and up for any adventure.

Many times a day we laughed until we were sick over the silliest things.  Another plus – the weather was HOT.  We raided the Gap in Anchorage before we sat out on our cruise to buy shorts and t-shirts because it was so warm.  We rarely broke out our sweatshirts during the trip and it did not rain one day.  Icing on the perfect vacation cake!

Susan

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I think I just got back from the perfect vacation.  Well, not actually a vacation – let’s call it an escape. 

I live in Philadelphia, and have been going to “the shore” my whole life (please, please, PLEASE don’t confuse what I’m about to say with the ‘Jersey Shore’ people you see on TV).  When we were little, my family would go for a week each year.  After college, I rented with about 17-20 other people in a small house each summer for a few years.  And this summer, I rented for the month of September ALONE.

The house sat on the bay, and was much larger than 1 person needs but perfect to have guests down… which is exactly what I did.  Each weekend there were different people coming through town, and I had the weeks to myself.  I only ‘vacationed’ for about 10 days of the month and worked the rest, but there was something about waking up in such a relaxing setting that made working so much more enjoyable.  Not that my home isn’t a relaxing setting – it is.  But drinking my morning coffee overlooking the water brought a whole new energy to my day.

I decided after this trip that I need to do this every year.  As much as I want to travel all over the place, there is also something so peaceful about renting a house at the beach and not having much of an agenda at all. 

Erin

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I live in New York City – with a lot of other people. A lot. So when I go on vacation I like to go places that are not like New York City – places that are pretty and quiet and natural and remote and as far away from the masses of humanity. I used to go to Europe a lot, but in the past few years, as the exchange rate and flight taxes have made it more expensive, I have been traveling more in the USA. Who knew that our National Parks are some of the most beautiful places on earth? I now have a goal to go to at least one a year (this year was Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii). The National Park Service preserves our most precious resources. There are over 84 million acres out there for all of us to enjoy, they contain 17,000 miles of trails, habitat protection for 421 species of threatened or endangered plants and animals and 1.5 million archeological sites. So go out and visit one! Watch the movie at the visitor’s center. Talk to a ranger. Read the placards. But please, leave it as you found it. Thanks.

Jen

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Pete (husband) and I have worked to perfect the ultimately relaxing trip. There is some crazy continuum that connects Maui and the bay area and, as residents of the latter, we find Maui is one of the most amazing places to relax. We attempt to escape there yearly and our trip generally involves an ohana rental on a beach on the North Shore of Maui, close to Paia. Paia is a funky hippy town with great food, lots of tattoos, great yoga and unfortunately, horrible traffic as it is the one intersection with a stop light on the north shore… but not if you don’t go anywhere.

With a view of waves, kiteboarders and a wonderful beach right out the sliding door, we do a heck of a lot of nothing. The days involve me doing yoga, some sort of amazing breakfast together with local coffee and then maybe one activity. We have found that one activity is about all that we want to do because it is key for us to work some lunch and dinner around that… then lots of reading, beach time, some movie catch-up, yahtzee, and surfing (internet that is).

We have honed in on 10 days being perfect… just enough time to completely relax, enjoy each other, connect, and recharge. 12 days actually is a little too much, and less than 10 is just not enough. This highly complex formula has come from careful study over twelve years and while it will always need tweaking, it is our perfect relaxing vacation.

Michaela

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My favorite vacation was my first trip to Costa Rica.  I had been out of the country many times, but never for a trip focused on nature.  The diversity and beauty of Costa Rica is amazing.  The people are friendly and hospitable.  We flew into the capital city and drove to the towns where we would sleep.  The mountainous roads led to paradise in different forms.  The first was a small hotel in the middle of a former banana plantation.  It is where I first experienced white-water rafting.  We drove on roads where the car skidded on rocks when we stopped.  We crossed bridges that didn’t look like they were intended for cars. 

 The second was near the beach and a rain forest.  I saw scarlet macaws in flight and in nests, butterflies with lace wings, ants that carried leaves to their home and many other creatures.   I experienced the ocean among small islands formed by volcanoes.  The third location was in the mountains near the cloud forest.  I sat in a garden with literally hundreds of hummingbirds zipping by my head until my travel companions begged me to leave. I relaxed in spring pools heated by a volcano and climbed to see waterfalls where only chains separated us from the edge of the mountain. 

I saw more natural beauty than I thought possible.  We enjoyed every moment and every person we met.  In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we returned twice.  Each trip was wonderful and different in its own way, but none compared with that first experience.  And I got to experience it all while creating memories with, and enjoying the vacation planned by, my Mother. 

~Lori