Portland, Oregon: Also, 100th Post!

Portland, Oregon: Also, 100th Post!

As stated in my April goals post, in the last week of April I flew to Portland, OR, to visit the boyfriend on his days off. It was his birthday present to me (my birthday is the 22nd.). It was a wonderful trip, though my second flight there was a less than ideal.

Honestly I had forgotten all about that flight until now. As usual, the night before my travel day, I could not sleep for excitement. I had been at work for eight hours that day, and my flight was just before six in the morning, but I couldn’t sleep. It always happens, so I don’t know why I’m always surprised and frustrated. I was in an aisle seat, which I hate, but can deal with, as flights are only a few hours long and the aisle won’t kill me. But the man in the middle seat was a manspreader, and also snored disgustingly the entire flight, so I couldn’t sleep at all. It was physically painful. Another thing was that the man in the window seat had closed the blind and fallen asleep. He stayed asleep the entire flight, and I missed the bird’s eye view of Mount Hood. But I lived.

I forgot all that as I got in the car with my driver, who made my morning much better. The weather was gorgeous, and it was projected to continue my entire trip. At the hotel and famished, I ordered food and waited for Ben to show. He did, and I saw him first. He joined me, and we shared my flatbread and discovered that he hates figs.

We went upstairs to nap, then walked to a coffee shop, where we sat and talked and drank before walking to Powell’s. DSC_0334Powell’s was a labyrinth of books, some new, some used. I bought the new book composed of a collection of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s inspirational tweets, a used copy of one of my new very-favorite books, The Sun Is Also A Star, and a copy of a book I had begun in another bookstore but never bought, Bittersweet, by the author of one of my other favorites, June. DSC_0341We had a snack at a pizza place catty-corner from Powell’s (Sizzle Pie) and decided to go to the Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden.

The Portland Japanese Garden was stunning! I couldn’t help laughing aloud sometimes because I could not contain my joy. It was a perfect storm; I love to be outside, to travel, in nice weather, with my love. We climbed up many flights of stairs set in the side of a steep hill, which had some pretty plants along it as well. It was the perfect time of year to visit, and the perfect time of day: golden hour. There was even a vista where we could see Mount Hood, finally. The International Rose Test Garden was much less impressive, as the roses are not yet even budding, but still delightful.

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We dined at Kell’s Irish Pub. I had a barley risotto with pesto and butternut squash, which was delicious. Dessert was at a Salt and Straw.

The next day, we picked up a rental car and some Voodoo Doughnuts for our ninety-minute car ride to Cannon Beach.

Upon our arrival, we drove the Pacific Coast Highway for a short time, then walked on the beach for awhile. I found a shark tooth.

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We walked through some stores, and lunched at a pub on the main street. I got some candy at a candy store, and we headed back to Portland, where we dined outside at a German place called Prost. My flight was a redeye that night, and I arrived at Reagan National before noon the next day.

Thank you, love. It was my best birthday yet.us japanese garden

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Monthly Goals for April

Monthly Goals for April

Hello! It appears another month has begun, and you know what that means. It’s time for the monthly goals for April!

I don’t know that this is a goal, per se, because the tickets are already bought, but I’m going to Portland, OR the last weekend in April to visit the boyfriend! I’m so excited; I’ve never been further west than Houston, and that only happened last Christmas. I love traveling, exploring new places, and learning new things. If you have any recommendations of things to do, see, eat, or drink in Portland, please leave a comment down below!

In the last week of March I lost four pounds. I don’t know if that was because I’d been bedridden from a bout of bronchitis where I didn’t eat very much, but I’m happy about it and proud of it. I’d like to lose two pounds a week this month. I’ve been eating like crap in the recent past, and I’ve been noticing the difference in how I feel. It isn’t worth it, and I have to remember that.

I want to look at my phone less, pay more attention, listen better, and read more paper books. My phone and laptop are crutches I use to escape being social, and I need to realize that not only do people like me, they want to hear what I have to say. I like to be listened and paid attention to, so I’d like to do the same for the other people in my life.

These are a few of my April goals. Hopefully I meet them. If not, I’ll try not to beat myself up about it. Happy spring!

Monthly Goals for March

Monthly Goals for March

A new month has begun. How is it March already?! Here in the DC area March is practically spring, though yesterday and today have been bitterly cold. Next week should be better, and hopefully from there, as they said in the new Mary Poppins movie, there’s nowhere to go but up.

I have a few goals for the month of March. I hope to accomplish them in the next twenty-six days. It’s a reasonable request, but we’ll see. I’ll try not to beat myself up about it if I don’t accomplish them all.

This month, I’m going to try to blog five days a week. I’m shooting for Monday-Friday. I’ve noticed that when I sit down, determined to create, I typically do, almost prolifically. Writing leads to more writing, which leads to more content.

I’m also going to catch up on my journal entries. As a busy woman, I have a habit of typing my journal entries, promising myself to write them out in the paper-and-ink journal soon after. You can imagine how well this has gone lately, I’m sure. I just checked, and my last written entry is from September 14, 2018. I don’t journal daily, perhaps on average weekly, but it has been a few weeks since that one in mid-September.

I am going to finish the two library books that I checked out and mentioned in a previous post, and get more, and finish them too. Along that line, I am also going to read more blogs, a habit I have never truly had, but probably should begin.

Lastly, at least for this list, I’m going to begin working out at least three times a week again. I’ll work my way up to five days. I don’t care how long it takes. I need to exercise, for my physical, mental, and emotional health. I do exercise at work, where I regularly walk a few miles while lifting ten or more pounds over my head. But work doesn’t supply me with as many hours as I need to exercise.

These are some of my March goals. Do you have any monthly goals? Let me know how they’re going in the comments!

Trying to Adult

Trying to Adult

Everyone wants to improve. Change is the only thing that is constant in this world – change, and death, which is its own change. Improvement is a type of change, as well. We should all strive to improve, as we are humans, and humans are innately flawed beings. In the same vein, because humans are flawed, there is no way for us to achieve perfection, so improvement is always possible, no matter how large or small. I’ve taken a few steps to improve myself and my life lately, and I’d like to share them with you, perhaps as a source of inspiration.

I’ve been reading more. I’ve been reading novels, in particular. For some time I was in a rut of buying and checking out self-help books and essay collections, and found after a while that my mind was craving a story. Right now I’m reading Big Cherry Holler, the second book in Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series, The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee, and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

In that vein, I have also been writing more. I’ve been trying to blog more, as you might have noticed, and I’ve been journaling again, too. Journaling especially has been helping with my mood, emotional wellbeing, and the general depth of my thoughts. It’s a lovely and difficult challenge to write, truly write and not just type how much I want to write and call it a day, every day. Sometimes what I write is absolute garbage that goes nowhere, but sometimes it is the beginning of the articulation of a concept that has been floating in my mind for ages.

I’ve been listening to more podcasts – news podcasts, TED podcasts, true crime podcasts – to keep myself aware and informed. Who knows, maybe it will allow me to be more interesting at future cocktail parties. I love stories, and podcasts are the modern, adult way of being read to or told a story, like many children are every night before bed.

I have been discovering different music. A great big thank-you and shoutout to the love of my life for introducing me to Lake Street Dive and reintroducing me to ZZ Ward. Music enriches my life, especially with my synesthesia, and brings me catharsis and true joy.

I have been purging my life of material things, mostly clothing and decorations. I wear the same twenty or so items in my wardrobe. I asked myself why I keep things I rarely ever wear, when someone else can love and get use out of them instead. I’ve cleaned out old and unused makeup, books that will never be reread and are not favorites to forgive that fact.

I’ve been taking extra care with my skin and hair. I’ll admit, sometimes I would slip up and not add my oils to my hair, or not moisturize my skin after a shower, but I have been much more consistent lately. I have also been taking my vitamins (yes, they’re gummies, but the pills make me sick) and my medications with perfect compliance.

I’ve been keeping up with my chores. I make my bed almost every single morning, only skipping that step when I know I will inevitably crawl back in it before bedtime. I have been dusting and vacuuming my bedroom and cleaning my bathroom with regularity.

I’ve been trying to be a responsible, proactive adult. Sometimes that can be difficult when one lives with one’s parents, especially in one’s childhood home. But, I am making a conscious effort not to fall into old habits and behaviors. Here’s to adulting!

Resolutions

Resolutions

I realize I’m a little late on this, as it is now the end of January. Though, to be completely honest, I’ve never really been into New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s silly to wait to change yourself, your life, your situation, what have you, for one specific day. I know change is constant.

On the other hand, there’s something to be said for stating your goals at one point during the year, and checking to see if they have or have not been accomplished at the same time the next year. I don’t think that it needs to be in the new year; it can be any time of year. I do, however, realize that it is much easier to count and remember where you are when you’ve started at one. So, here are my goals for 2019.

Lose weight.

You may have seen my post in May 2018 about my struggles with my weight. In the last month and a half I have lost about eleven pounds. I’d like to keep it up, and become healthier and happier. That being said, I am also trying to love my body as it is, and I’m actually making some headway in that.

Move out.

I moved back in with my parents in December 2018 to save them money on tuition and rent, and for me to begin to save for my own future. I’m grateful for their generosity, but I’m twenty-two years old, and living at home is stifling and grating. I’m excited to finally have my own space and my own rules and responsibilities.

Spend more time outside.

I’ve always loved being outside. When I was in high school, I worked at a day camp every day for nine weeks of the summer, and the vast majority of the day was spent outside. My memories of camp are some of the happiest memories I have, and those summers are some of the happiest times of my life. Lately, though, I haven’t been making time to be outside, and I’ve noticed a definite change in my mood and quality of life. I miss the casual exercise, the feel of the sun, the fresh air, the sound of wind through leaves.

Read more.

I’ve kind of already been doing this in the last month. There were a good few years that I just didn’t read much past what I had to for school. I had other priorities, I guess. However, as an aspiring writer, the only thing that comes anywhere close to as important as writing is reading. Reading more has brought an old joy into my life, and I intend to keep doing it.

Finish my Bachelor’s degree.

This one is self-explanatory. I’m very done with being a student, and have been since high school, unfortunately. I’m now so close to completion that I may as well finish my degree. I know it will open doors for me – at least, I hope so. It will be such a relief to have it done.

That’s it for now. If I accomplish all these things in 2019, that will be fantastic. If I don’t, I’ve more than likely got sixty more years to do so.

Update – 24 January 2019

I’ve slowly been working on the novel, still as yet untitled. One day I wrote five pages in half an hour, and the next I wrote a half a page in an hour. But I am doing it. I am writing.

I’ve changed my main character’s name again. Cora didn’t quite fit. She’s Sofia now, and it feels right. Anyone who’s written may understand the struggle of a difficult character. Still, I love her for it, and I love her lots. She already feels like a friend.

I’ve written a lot in the past two weeks. I’m not sure I’m going to keep all of what I’ve written. I may condense it. The scene I’m thinking of specifically is nonessential to the story. It is, however, essential to the characters and their relationships, and leads to smaller conflicts between characters. So, in a way, I guess it is essential. Plus, there’s the fact that I don’t plan on going as in-depth as I have on the building of this relationship throughout the rest of the story.

I think the action I’m going to take regarding this is no action at all. I’ll keep what I’ve written, for now, and just keep writing. If I feel the need to add or edit, I’ll do it later. God knows I have a problem with going back to what I’ve written and editing or adding to it, so there’s no need to worry that the scene in question will be forgotten, because it most definitely won’t be.

Reading

In addition to rewriting the book I started, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Some of it, unfortunately, has been rereading. But, sometimes you just need the company of an old friend. Mine are Rilla Blythe and Harry Potter.

The new books I’ve been reading (or, at least, new to me) are Tony’s Wife by my favorite contemporary author, Adriana Trigiani; An American Marriage by Tayari Jones; and Georgia, by Dawn Tripp. So far I’m enjoying them all. I’m the furthest along in An American Marriage, but I imagine Tony’s Wife will soon catch up to it.

Another book I was previously reading and will soon pick up again is Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss, which interested me mostly because one of the three main characters has synesthesia. I cannot express how much I love to read about characters with synesthesia. It is one of the reasons I have realized that representation in general, whether based on gender, race, sexuality, religion, or anything else, is so important. I love to be represented, and others should experience the same joy.

But I digress. Like I said, I have been reading. Reading is good, but I feel it is a little bit of a cop-out for me. “But I’m reading! That counts for writing!” The truth is, writing counts for writing, and I can’t call myself a writer without doing that activity. Reading is essential to the process, but writing is more so.

What are you reading? Leave a comment down below!