A weekend away

So I’m back in the land of orange juice but my plane boards in a couple of hours.

Since I was working all through my spring break, I decided to take a weekend break and visit that cute guy looking at the boats.

Not only did I get to see him, but I met his family as well. Yesterday. On Easter.

I have to say we got a lot done yesterday. One of the most unorthodox Easters I have ever had but its nice to change it up every once and a while.

I met both sets of grandparents in ONE day. I met cousins, I met and and uncles, and we were done with dinner by 2 p.m.

With so much daylight left we decided to take advantage of it and go do one of our favorite things, go to the beach.

I haven’t been to the beach seen November. Being four hours from the coast at school was killing me so I made up for some lost time this weekend.

We saw dolphins on Saturday (they were six feet away from us) and we attempted to watch the sunset yesterday.

Unfortunately the clouds decided not to clear up so watching the sunset turned into watching the boats drive by.

But hey. I was in a hammock set up between two palm trees laying back up against a very cute boy.

So I didn’t get to see a sunset, I guess that just means I’ll have to come back (meaning that he wants me to of course).

After all of our adventures yesterday, we decided to be lazy bums and watch movies all day. I forgot how nice doing nothing is.

Now he’s on his way to work, I’m about to go through security soon, and I have a full week ahead of me when I get back to school.

This weekend was something I needed (I’ve been getting headaches everyday for a week straight and I haven’t had one in four days. I’d categorize that as improvement). And I hope he had as nice of a time as I did.

Long distance is hard but laying on the hammock last night is one of those moments that makes all of this worth it.

Fingers crossed he’ll be able to come to my formal in a few weeks. If not, my sister has already claimed his place as my date.

If I do get to see him that’s great and if I don’t, in his words, “we’ll figure something out.”

And so far we always have and I think we will.

Until next time Florida. Maybe when I come back I’ll see more blue skies than grey.

img_9223-2

It’s been real Florida

So my time in the Sunshine state has come to an end. Well, it will tomorrow after I board.

I had some experiences this summer I never expected, and I learned some things along the way too.

Highlights Summer 2015 (thus far)

  • Going to Universal (something I haven’t done since I was 16)
  • Surviving a 3-day swim meet (it’s not all chlorine and swim caps let me tell you)
  • Seeing Nelly, TLC, and New Kids on The Block all in one night (feeling very young)
  • Meeting some amazing friends at camp (PIGOLIET)
  • Laughing until I almost fell out of my chain in a Menchies
  • Dancing until 4 am, being at camp at 8, and making it through the day on 3hrs of sleep
  • Getting to teach my own swim lane
  • Having a week off to fly home and relax at my happy place (aka the beach)
  • Seeing my old babysitter for the first time in almost 10 years and meeting her kids (who love me by the way. She told me herself :D)
  • Doing Disney in 2 and a half days with my friends
  • Experiencing the Florida Keys for the first time
  • My dancing skills were completely judged by a 1 year old (to be fair his brother thought I was great)
  • Being called coach Ashleigh (I could get used to that one)

For me, experiences aren’t all about what I see and do, but what I learned as well.

Things I learned along the way

  • Not wearing make-up for about 2 months or so clears up your skin considerably
  • How to properly do/teach breast stroke
  • One can survive on 3hrs of sleep and function (mostly) the next day
  • How to paddle board
  • I discovered that my sweat glands have sweat glands (I was sweating standing still at 7 am)
  • When you’re tired, teeshirts make a great pillow
  • Restraint (I’ve been dealing with kids for 7 weeks)
  • Disney is expensive without your parents
  • Life is what you make it, take advantage of all that you can

And that’s just a very long story short. Explaining all of it would take a couple of hours and only my journal would go into such detail (and that’s private for at least the next 6 months so you’re out of luck).

Let me also use this as a way to say thank you so much to my aunt, uncle, and cousins for housing me these past two months. It has been so much fun and I can’t wait to see you again in Vermont at Christmas.

So Mom, I know you’re reading this, I’ll be home in 15 hours or so. Can’t wait to see you!

And for those friends in Jersey who have been there all summer, I have 9 days. Plan your next week accordingly. I have a lot to do, limited time, but I want to see as many of you as I can.

But most importantly, I HEAD BACK TO ATHENS IN 10 DAYS! Go Dawgs.

signature

p.s. 50th post! Yay 🙂

Obligatory best friend birthday blog post

You asked for it Vee (so you can’t get mad at any of the pictures :D), so here it is. I can’t wait to see you in EIGHT DAYS! So excited! I hope you’ve had an amazing birthday thus far 🙂

So I’ll let the pictures do the talking

I love you Vee!

IMG_9223

Channeling my inner Jimmy Buffett

But the rain is NOT helping. 

On the bright side, I did make it on a jet ski and check out a place Tom Sawyer would be proud of. 

Think tree house meets mangrove cove. They call it shipwreck around here. Maybe if I get back here again, and the sun shines, I’ll be able to explore it more to his liking. 

Anyway, we made the day pass. Would I have preferred to spend it on a paddle board or on a tube being dragged by a boat? Yes. No doubt there. 

But that just means I’ll have to come back. 

I can understand why Mr Buffett is so enamoured with this part of the world. My cousins friend put it perfectly today, “The Keys doesn’t feel like Florida.” 

And she’s right, it doesn’t. It’s got much more charm, neon paint, and slower life style. I much prefer it to the hustle and bustle of Boca. 

Maybe the next time I venture down this way I’ll wander down to Key West. Check out Hemmingway’s (not a huge fan but I am a history buff so of course I have to go) and see if I can find somewhere there that has better key lime pie than my Mom’s (which I highly doubt).

So there is another trip here in my future but tomorrow happens first. Hopefully the sun will break some of the clouds and I’ll be able to see this island place in the sunshine (I have to say I have seen some of the craziest rain while here. Lightning lit up the room and a crack of thunder woke me up out of a dead sleep last night. I thought the house was hit). 

As for the rest of my night, I’m on island time. Still a couple of months off of it being 5 o’clock somewhere but that’s nothing ice cream can’t help. I hear they make it with liquid nitrogen here. 

  

When in distress, doodle

Or do whatever else helps you relieve stress.

Everyone has those days, or weeks, when they’re just put through the ringer. You’re drinking coffee at 5 in the afternoon to help you stay awake and focused. Nothing seems to be going your way.

My relief from this, is drawing.

I’ll openly admit I am no artist. I can’t see something in my head and magically make it come to life on the medium in front of me. But what I can do is adapt other works. I can “copy” pretty well. And copying is okay in my book. I’m not claiming it as my own, I’m only claiming it as my outlet.

There’s something about being able to focus on something so mundane as grey lines that makes my mind unwind. My thoughts don’t run to that last text conversation I just had, the stress knot in my stomach, or the exhaustion I might be facing.

My entire world, for however long it takes (and it can take hours. Especially if I decide to color the thing in or make it pretty enough to give to someone), is focused on recreating that image, to the best of my ability, on paper.

Those times when you feel the world is against you, you just want to hit something or scream as loud as you can. Unfortunately today my pillow was not readily available but paper and a pencil was.

Releasing anger and stress through physical exertion is great too. I always feel better after a good workout. But there’s those days when the fatigue is just too much. So instead of hitting the thing closest to you (which could hurt your hand or whatever is nearby), find that other outlet.

Find minute details to dwell on. Fitting the pieces of the puzzle together (literally if that’s your thing or metaphorically as I’m using it) will seem like the most important thing.

Your world is only as big as you make it. We have the amazing ability to make it as large or small as we please. Every so often we need to shrink our world to a manageable size. To the size of something we can hold in the palm of our hands. A size we can shape at our will.

Today my focus was on Minions. My cousins and I are obsessed. There are three main minions and there are three of us. Ironically each of them shares a portion of our personalities. I’m constantly falling asleep, my one cousin is the tallest who tries to keep me awake, and my other cousin is a dancer (Bob falls asleep, a lot. Kevin is the leader of the pack as well as the tallest. Stuart is the most inclined with the arts and loves to be center stage).

I’m hoping to refine my skills, eventually, so that if I decide to draw something from Star Wars (like one of the human characters) they don’t look completely terrible. Until that day I’ll stick with cartoons and animations. Their proportions are easier to figure out.

signature

Sometimes you just have to eat the whole pint

I swear this is the first time that I have ever done that. But I had a bunch of good reasons.

  1. I was up before 6 am this morning
  2. I thought it was Thursday
  3. I worked a whole day of camp
  4. I spent five hours playing with two 1-year-olds

I’m exhausted, Ben and Jerry’s just sounded so good, and well, before you knew it. I was scraping the bottom.

I’m a big believer in “everything in moderation” but we all have our indulgence days. Heck, my babysitter (well, she’s not really my babysitter any more because she has her own kids so I guess she’s my friend now? Still wrapping my head around that one) said she was proud of me for finishing it. Safe to say it won’t happen again for a while though. One can only handle so many mass quantities of frozen goodness at one time.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is that, everyone gets stressed out or fed up. Just like everyone has different ways of making themselves relax.

In a situation that has me deal with 20+ children (in total) for 12 hours of my day, my choice is ice cream. And you can never go wrong with Half-Baked.

Truth be told I was really hoping to find my favorite flavor, “Everything But The” because it has peanut butter cups in it. But Walgreens had a limited selection and I was not one to be picky tonight.

Different situations call for different ways to relieve stress. Sometimes a good work out does the trick, other times a good movie, and then there’s the consumption of decadent calories.

Which society tends to frown upon as of yet.

Like I said earlier, though. everything in moderation. That goes both ways. No excess amount of anything is good (and that includes even the stuff that’s good for us). Treating yourself in moderation goes along the same principle.

Maybe you’ve been really good lately and then you see one of your favorite things. For example, a slightly larger than normal cupcake. When was the last time you let yourself have a cupcake? And didn’t you get all of those errands done, clean your room, and work out yesterday?

Don’t forget to treat yourself every once and a while. Otherwise, you’ll be the person looking forlornly at the dessert table. Because you know if you get one, you’ll end up getting half the table. But, if you remember to treat yourself every once and a while, you’re used to moderation. You’re able to be satisfied with one piece of dessert instead of five or more (I’m using numbers to make a point here people).

In the hectic, connected, technology crazed lives we lead, we forget to treat ourselves every once and a while.

So go get that new frappuccino with whipped cream that Starbucks is advertising, go out for a nice steak dinner, or be like me. Run out to your local drug store, grab a pint of Vermont’s finest (if that’s your poison), and dig it.

I’ll have you know, mine was delicious.

signature

So today was Warped Tour…

And it was the first one I’ve missed since I was 15.

Pictured are the crazies that I always went with. We had a tradition: stayed up way too late, got up way too early, munched on bagels, and waited in line in the July heat.

Last year the other three didn’t accompany me, it wasn’t the same. This year, none of us made it. It was a combination of not being in town (me), no bands we wanted to see on the line up, and having real jobs the next day.

I have to say, I made some of the best memories at Warped Tour over the years. I also learned that you can survive on a bagel, multiple bottles of water, and sweat so much that you don’t have to go to the bathroom (they’re gross any way so that’s really a blessing in disguise).

I believe that music festivals, of any kind, are something that everyone should experience. There’s Firefly, Burning Man, Bonnaroo, and, of course, Warped Tour just to name a few (I’m sure there’s many more internationally that I don’t even know about).

You reach new levels of bonding when you’re about to pass out from heat exhaustion and just plain exhaustion. Not to mention, surviving crowds.

To quote one of my friends, “There is a special place in hell for crowd surfers.” Seriously there is.

I’ve been stomped on, kicked in the head and face, nearly had my eyes gouged, and been knocked to the ground. It’s always good to have friends, those you came with and those you’ve made, to protect you from flailing limbs above you.

I will admit, I have crowd surfed. But I’ve done it once and that’s enough for me. So hopefully that one time I did it doesn’t put me in the running for that special place in hell.

Another benefit of going to music festivals is being exposed to new bands, singers, and styles of music. Up coming artists pass out demos and stickers for free just to get you to listen to them (I’m a sticker junkie so I’ll take any as long as they’re appropriate). You never know who will see them or who will stumble across them in your iTunes. Who knows, you might discover the next big band before they make it and you can consider yourself one of those hipsters who always say “I knew them before…” And who doesn’t want to do that every once and a while?

Music festivals, whether they’re one day or one week, give you something that other experiences don’t. My Mom was TERRIFIED the first time I went to Warped. But, she let me go and I’m so glad she did.

To me, there’s no better form of music than listening to it live. I want my kids to have that experience too. So they might get kicked in the head by a crowd surfer and probably get a little dehydrated, but they’ll be making incredible memories and friends along the way.

So, Warped Tour, it’s been a great run. Hopefully it’s not over yet. I hope to see you during a summer in the near future.

signature