Monday, August 13, 2012

Life List Addition: America's Best Swimming Hole

Havasu Falls (Photo: pommekiwi1/flickr via CC Attribution)

I am officially adding to my Life List - a trip to Havasu Falls.

"This shocking Caribbean-blue pool—on the bottom of the Grand Canyon near the Native American community of Supai—is for the most tenacious of swimming-hole devotees. There are only three ways to get to Havasu Falls: hire a helicopter, hike 10 miles, or ride a pack mule. Plus, you'll need to purchase an entry permit, and, unless you're a hardcore trail runner, book a night at the Havasupai Lodge or campsite. But it's so worth it. Pancho Doll, who wrote two books on America's swimming holes, calls it the best in the world. After a long desert trek, even the mist from the 120-foot cascade is refreshing. Swimming behind the torrential falls or floating on your back and taking in the view is the real reward."

Link to Original Article

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Cape Cod

As a wedding gift, our [extremely wonderful and appreciated] friend, Kenda, lent us her house in Cape Cod for a week this summer. I can't tell you how fancy [and a little ridiculous] I felt anytime someone asked where we were going for vacation, and I heard the words "to a beach house... in Cape Cod" came out of my mouth. There's something about "the Cape" that just seems like a class above me. It is definitely not a trip I would have thought to take without it being dropped in my lap.

But MAN am I glad we went. I think after 4 days, Anthony and I were both ready to relocate permanently. Not that we could ever afford it, but we did discuss, at length, the idea of squatting in Kenda's house in the off season (now that we know where the spare key is hidden). We also developed elaborate conspiracies to get our whole family to relocate to a beach. Really, why live anywhere else?

I'm not sure I've ever felt more relaxed. The ocean on the South side of the cape is so still, so you get the ocean experience without getting hammered by waves. I really enjoyed the quiet at night. Philly is so LOUD and you don't realize how constantly your ears are assaulted when you live here, until you leave and all the yelling/honking/truck-driving sounds --halt.

The house was devoid of television, and though there was internet - I barely used it. I spent hours just sitting in front of a screen door with a book. Just the kind of break I needed.

Here's some photos to make you jealous:

Kenda and Anthony at the beach.

The three of us - 6 years (almost to the day!) after AmeriCorps NCCC.

Anthony and I had our first experience with lobster.  Kenda insisted we have an authentic Cape experience and do all the... *ahem*... "deconstruction" ourselves.

I definitely had a pang of guilt looking at this little guys face... But I quickly got over it, when I realized he was filled with delicious meat!  YUM. Lobster = Worth the Fuss.

And THAT is how you vacation.  One of the BEST trips I've taken in 10 years of travels.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Today is my 30th Birthday.

I recently saw an interview, wherein a woman in her sixties described her life in "three acts", 0-30, 30-60, 60-X.  In those terms, I've just finished the first third of my life.  

I think I've reached an age, where birthdays feel like a count-down instead of a count up.  In the back of my mind is always the sense that the time I've been allotted is slipping like sand through my fingers.  

Having said that, I feel pretty good about how I spent the last decade.  In my twenties, I graduated from college, I joined AmeriCorps and volunteered full time for 10 months, I met and married my husband, and I spent four years rebuilding a great American city.

I lived in 8 different cities*, experienced a "real Northern winter", visited the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, and became a decent cook.  I experienced the high highs (and woeful lows) of being in love.  I learned how to advocate for myself in a work setting, and I learned a lot about what makes me happy.

Not sure what else a girl can ask out of 10 years.  Here's to the next decade and my second act.

Austin, Charleston, Jackson, Key West, New Orleans, Pensacola, Denton and Philadelphia

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012: More Fun.

Every year I make New Year's Resolutions. Usually it's a long list full of unpleasant chores or personal qualities I wish I had, but clearly don't; And every year I am disappointed when I fail to make myself a better person or check all of the unpleasant things off the list.

This year I made resolutions again... But instead of a list that overwhelms me in it's drudgery, I resolved to have more fun. For so many reasons, Philadelphia has been a hard destination for me. Joy takes an effort here; An uphill battle that I too often feel I am losing. I guess this list is my last stand. A full assault against loneliness and boredom.

The List is 52 things long. One for every week in the year. My goal is to get through at least 1/2 of them:

1. Snow Tubing!
2. Scavenger Race
3. Learn to Make Croissants
4. Make a Baking Portfolio
5. Cape Cod Trip
6. Visit Texas (Non Holiday)
7. Grow Extended Herb Garden
8. Participate in Farm CSA
9. Cook a whole fish
10. Seasonal Recipe for Winter, Spring, Fall
11. Make own tamale recipe
12. Make homemade ice cream
13. White Water Rafting
14. Make fresh pasta
15. Go to Italian Market in Philly
16. Bike Ride by River in Philly or Fairmont Park Loop
17. Rent a cabin for the weekend
18. Be in a baking or cooking contest
19. Dance Lessons w/ Anthony
20. Build or restore a piece of furniture
21. Cook lamb rack
22. Try a mussels/ seafood bowl
23. Create a reading list for Emma
24. NanoWrimo 2012 - volunteer/ NPO book
25. Dress up for Halloween
26. Make my own lamp
27. Make a quilt patch that is poster-styled
28. Preserve Tomatoes
29. Make pickles at home
30. Go on a movie date with Anthony
31. Go to nice restaurant (Cake or Drakes or Top of Hill Cafe or American Cookery) in Chestnut Hill
32. Go to Hershey with Mom
33. Take a trip to Smithsonian in DC
34. Road trip to Bluebird Cafe in R.I.
35. Go back to New York for a weekend.
36. Go to Jersey Shore Boardwalk / Ocean City
37. Get a deep tissue massage
38. Stay in a hotel with a big tub for a weekend and take a bubble bath.
39. Play mini golf with Choi
40. Go to a farm to table restaurant
41. Go to Getteysburg with Dad.
42. Go to the Mutter Museum
43. Put wedding vows on canvas
44. Race Car w/ Anthony
45. Manayunk Bike Race festival in Summer
46. Create Something with my Kodak photos.
47. Play a social sport/ Join a team
48. Go to a concert: streetlight, suburban legend, woody pines, etc.
49. Go to a drive-in movie
50. Longwood Gardens at night
51. Philly Art Museum (free Sunday mornings)
52. Hike on the Appalachian Trail

Friday, November 25, 2011

Life in November 2011

It's Fall in Philadelphia. Anthony and I got married in October and are living with a roommate in an apartment in Chestnut Hill. We have a big tree in the front yard that just dropped a thousand red leaves onto the yard.

Anthony is working for an electrical contractor. For the last few months they've been short on employees and heavy on work, so he works six or seven days a week. It's so strange to me that in the middle of this recession, they can't seem to find any new hires. I guess of all the thousands of unemployed out there, not many of them went to trade school.

They probably all went to College! Like they were supposed to! Only to be unemployed, underemployed or underpaid! Like me!

I'm still working at the "temporary" case management position I started almost a year ago. I actually got promoted to Senior Case Manager a few months ago after my boss was laid off.

When I took the job, I was thinking it would be a nice part-time pay check while I tried to start my own freelance business. Once I gave up on freelancing, I thought it would be "a nice part-time pay check" until I found a full-time job doing something more interesting and/or advanced. A few hundred resumes later, I find myself having worked only part-time for a whole year with no new prospects in sight.

This means I have 4 days off a week and Anthony has 1 or no days off a week, so I've become a master at entertaining myself.

We have a pet turtle named "B" that we rescued from an after school program, where she was regularly shaken, unfed and generally abused. After bringing her home, we found out that turtles don't really have a life span. As long as they aren't eaten or mistreated - they'll just keep on living. So suddenly instead of a pet, we have a new family member. Also, if she dies - It's definitely our fault.

Anthony has 3 friends and one cousin nearby that he grew up with. When he has a free weekend, we hang out with them. They are all true Philadelphians: sailor-mouthed and rough around the edges, but good people.

Philadelphians can be a little shocking at first. They're opinionated, outspoken, brash, impulsive. I blame this on their heritage. The settlers of Philadelphia were some of the first Americans. The constitution was signed in this city. I think of that generation of Americans as a slightly more eloquent version of modern day Philadelphians.

So that's our life now, an update that I hope will generally describe what I've been up to in three months of lapsed blogging. Living this life... oh! and getting married. Which was lovely!

The New Year is coming up... I hope in 2012 to be more ambitious, have more adventures and see my family more. And hopefully keep a record of it all here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Anthony Choi. King of All Things Practical. Went out and bought me a ring. And carried it around in his pocket for a month. And then today asked me to marry him.

Side note... Is it normal to feel like you're amped up on speed after saying yes to a marriage proposal?