Uncategorized

Life of late

One last frigid glimpse of my beloved Connelly. Burrh!
One last frigid glimpse of my beloved Connelly. Burrh!
The Shrek float.
The Shrek float.
My favorite float. Who can resist an enormous skull with a nasty habit? I sure can’t!
My favorite float. Who can resist an enormous skull with a nasty habit? I sure can’t!

It’s been a hectic few days but I did find the time between moving back and forth to enjoy Kingston’s St. Paddy’s Day parade which is held just a mere hop, skip, and a jump from Connelly. Some friends came over beforehand to cook me brunch and we made the most of my apartment’s minimal furnishings. Then it was off to enjoy the festivities. It was a cold day, but people came out in droves to celebrate. Admittedly, I was a bit tired so I cut out early to take a nap. Pretty lame, I know. The days leading up to this were all about packing, moving everything by myself (including a queen-size bed), renting a cargo van, hitting a deer with the rental, Petunia hyperventilating the entire seven hour trip because she was terrified of riding in the van, trying to find someone to sublet my place (easier said than done), saying goodbyes…the usual craziness.

Life of late has been all about letting go, looking forward and wanting to sleep all the freakin’ time. Nevertheless, I’m really excited to be returning home for a little while. It’ll be great to see all my old friends and play Auntie Jaime to their little munchkins. I’m also pondering my plans post-Yellowstone. So many options. Last night, I convinced myself that I was going to boondock across the country in a stealth van. The pluses of that plan outweigh the minuses but we shall see… If this sounds up your alley, you definitely have to check out Nomadic Fanatic on Youtube. That dude is my hero! Last night I was up until 4 am watching his videos. Yikes!

Packed and stacked, especially in the back! (Name that tune.) If there’s one thing in life I excel at, it’s most certainly packing.
Packed and stacked, especially in the back! (Name that tune.) If there’s one thing in life that I excel at, it’s without a doubt packing.
Health, Wellness & Enjoyment

Building more than I burn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh October, I’m not even through my first day of you and already you have me grabbing my ankles! I’m already at an emotional disadvantage because I told my better half that I needed October off to get my head on straight and now I find myself laid up with a sinus infection from hell AND my job has been further downsized to only one day a week. What the heck is happening here? How am I supposed to get through this seemingly never-ending downward spiral? Well, like the cockroach I am, I know deep down inside that I’ll be the last one standing. I’m stubbornly tenacious like that. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARight now–instead of completely panicking–I’m trying to take the zen approach to these recent setbacks. The reality is that I need to build more bridges and burn less of them. I need to expand Sweet Pea’s Groceries, sew more Hazardous Materials, create more jewelry, and really put my shit out there. I think there’s been this internal assumption that no one wants what I offer. Crazy but true. I didn’t even realize it until last week when I meekly contacted a store owner to ask if she was interested in carrying my products and she was like of course I want your stuff, duh! This was a revelation for me. People want my stuff. Who would have thought?! Why aren’t I giving the people what they want? What’s my problem? This could be my full-time job if I only built the proper bridges. Uh Duh! (Is this what Oprah calls a lightbulb moment?) So October, that’s what you’re going to be about. I’m reaching out, not shrinking back. I’m silencing my mother’s voice which is on an ingrained continuous loop in my subconscious mind. Thirty-seven years of teaching me that failure is something to be feared. Thirty-seven years of teaching me that it’s better to never have tried than to have tried and failed. I can’t do it anymore. (And no, this is nothing against my mother in any way. I’m grateful that I have her. We all have fears and she’s certainly not the only person to have projected them onto his/her kids as a means of protecting them.) Oh October, you’re either going to be good for me or the death of me and I’m not giving up until I know for sure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also want to take the chance to express my gratitude for the bridges that are continuously being built by others that lead directly to me. I’m so lucky to meet people through this blog, my websites, through Etsy, and at tabling events who completely take my breath away. A perfect example is Lisa. She contacted me a few weeks ago through my Etsy shop because she wanted to learn more about my natural laundry soap. Come to find out, Lisa’s a single mother with end stage liver disease. I was completely blown away by her honesty, humor, and determination. Well, we’ve been trading information on insomnia cures, health insurance and soap making ever since. Let me tell you, she has the most amazing sense of humor. Her emails leave me rolling! She recently published her own website–www.checkinguout.wordpress.com–where she writes product reviews. Hopefully, she will write more about herself in the future because she’s such an inspiration. Knowing her, even briefly, has definitely helped put my life in perspective. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe above photos were taken of and from the Wurts bridge which extends over the Roundout Creek in Kingston. I absolutely love this bridge. Petunia and I try to walk it several times a week. Ironically, I read a passage from Anne Rice’s The Tale of the Body Thief last night that captures my sentiment (and it’s about New Orleans so it’s doubly apt):

It was an empty field close to the wharves, stretching beneath the giant pylons of the freeways which led to the high twin river bridges which I have always called, since the first moment I beheld them, the Dixie Gates. I must confess these bridges have been given some other, less charming name by the official world. But I pay very little attention to the official world. To me these bridges will alway be the Dixie Gates, and I never wait too long after returning home before I go to walk near them and admire them, with all their thousands of tiny twinkling lights. Understand they are not fine aesthetic creations such as the Brooklyn Bridge….They do not have the solemn grandeur of San Francisco’s Golden Gate. But they are bridges, nevertheless, and all bridges are beautiful and thought-provoking; and when they are fully illuminated as these bridges are, their many ribs and girders take on a grand mystique.

Travel

A Hudson Valley Hamlet: Connelly, New York

I'm obsessed with this old firehouse.
I’m obsessed with this old firehouse.

I wanted to share with you some photos of where I live. In January of 2008, I was offered a dream job (turtle biologist!) in the Hudson Valley with the stipulation that I would start almost immediately. This was particularly challenging since I lived almost four hours away, I didn’t know the area very well, and it was the dead of winter–thus making it hard to just whizz on down there to look for suitable lodgings. Even worse, my sweet Petunia is a pit bull so most landlords won’t even consider us. My task seemed im-freakin-possible. However, my friend/supervisor ran into an acquaintance who was looking for a tenant. And as luck would have it, she was having an open house the next day. Petunia and I jumped in the car Dukes of Hazzard style, prayed for good weather, and made the slushy drive. Three and a half hours later, we found ourselves in perhaps the quirkiest place that this crazy state of New York has to offer. And that’s saying a lot! It has the claustrophobic street layout of New Orleans, the feral cat population of Key West and the diversity of New York City.

For simplicities sake, Connelly is three marinas in various states of shabbiness with a few adjoining streets. It’s on the Roudout Creek and is almost directly across from Kingston’s bustling Roudout-West Strand Historic District. Being that it’s only a few streets wide and a few streets long, it’s not on anyone’s radar. Some of its quirks include a dog poop station, a fix-it station, a community tomato garden, a memorial to residents who’ve passed, and a sketchy bait and tackle shop. Plus it has the amenities of a larger town such as its own post office (located in a house) and even its own fire department. I loved it as soon as we drove in, even in its snow-covered state. Petunia immediately won over the landlord, the apartment was perfect, and the rest is history…or so I thought. In 2009, the place I worked for nearly went under so I moved back upstate–leaving my sweet Connelly behind. Throughout the years, my landlord (who I would now consider a friend) would contact me to let me know that “my apartment” would soon be available and that the place isn’t the same without Petunia. I’ve been tempted many times to return but the timing just didn’t align until now. I’ve always told my friends that this place is magic and I definitely believe it. Just yesterday, Petunia and I took our early morning walk with an older lady who paints pet portraits for a living. The day before, my car-hoarding Jamaican neighbor threw butternuts at me and cracked up laughing because I couldn’t figure out where the heck they were coming from. There’s hijinx everywhere. Oh, it’s grand to be back!

This is where I live.
This is where I live.
This lovely abandoned building is actually the view from my porch.  The owner is hoping to make it into a creative space for makers.
This lovely abandoned building is actually the view from my porch. It was once an old school house.
A view from my street. That brick house is seemingly abandoned and it's a crying shame.
A view from my street. That brick house is one of my favorites. It was seemingly abandoned for a while but now a family has moved in.

DSCF2639

Our lovely park complete with playground equipment, a b-ball court and baseball field. Sadly, all underutilized.
Our lovely park complete with playground equipment, a b-ball court and baseball field. Sadly, all underutilized.
I adore the bright yellow house on the left.
I adore the bright yellow house on the left.
Tuna-butt!
Tuna-butt!

DSCF2640DSCF2643

Why the heck don't I have a boat? I clearly didn't get the memo.
Why the heck don’t I have a boat? I clearly didn’t get the memo.

DSCF2649DSCF2650DSCF2669DSCF2671

One of Connelly's wonderful quirks.
One of Connelly’s wonderful quirks.
It's all mine...as soon as it goes up for sale.
It’s all mine…as soon as it goes up for sale.
Standing at the four corners.
Standing at the four corners.
A memorial for resident who have passed.
A memorial for residents who have served our country.