Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Break

 One of the things about going back to school is that all of a sudden, after seven years of spending time in offices, only having time for beach trips on weekends, summer break becomes a thing again. I've always been pretty big on summer, but this year, there is something about the sudden freedom from classes that prepared me to really seize the adventure in a way that I hadn't in a long time. This year, I'm making lists and buying passes to Walden Pond and Crane Beach because even if I'm working almost full time, I have flexible hours and dammit, I want to spend all my time outdoors and maybe go to the beach on a Wednesday because I can.


Over Memorial Day weekend, I had to work on Sunday*, but that meant Saturday and Monday were free. James and his fiance, Aaron, and I all piled into their little red car and took to the mountains for a hike. I made sandwiches with rotisserie chicken, cheddar cheese, avocado, and mayo even though it freaks me out a little, and at the last minute I bought a pound of cherries. Less than a mile into the hike, we got to a fork in the trail and decided to take the less-direct path, which turned out to be exactly the right choice: beautiful views almost all the way up, plus far fewer companions on the trail, which meant we could stop for instagrams or water breaks whenever we wanted, without worrying that we were getting in someone's way.


We got to the top, where we tried really hard not to get blown over by the wind as we admired the view. We snapchatted a selfie to the friends who stayed home (learning to unplug is a work in progress), then scooted back down a little ways for our picnic. The mayo was a good choice. The cherries were an even better one. We took the popular route down, where we saw many college students who think it's cool to wear Greek letters on your sweatshirt or your butt. I felt a little bit old when I remembered that ten years ago, I used to think that, too. On the drive home, we stopped for ice cream cones as big as our heads.


There's something about adventures, I find, that beget more adventures. Having spend Saturday on the mountain, when I found myself with a free Wednesday afternoon, I hopped in my car (I got a car! and it's been a surprisingly transformative experience) and booked it to the Crane Estate to explore. This weekend, I'm going to the Jersey Shore, of all places.

Here's to a summer break positively filled with adventures.


*you're not supposed to write about your job on the internet, but just to clarify, I love what I do- I get to drive all over Massachusetts and talk to moms about their lives and their kids for research purposes, and it's the sort of thing that I'd happily do on a Sunday even if they weren't paying me.

Friday, November 7, 2014

More on Balance

Last time I wrote a post, I wrote about the importance of balance in my life, of finding time to do the things that matter.

Today, I'm taking some time for balance. There are statistics to be done and papers to write and SO many mothers to call (this is the nature of doing research in child development- there are always more mothers to call), but right now I'm going to sit here in a beautiful library and read a novel that I am finding delightful. Tonight I am going to the ballet, and tomorrow morning I will pick a friend up at the airport before going into the lab for a couple of hours. Sunday will be spent working on two different projects and, I hope, fitting in some homework. Right now, though, I will sit, and I will read.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On gaining a tiny bit of wisdom

[I have learned that even a short walk in the woods is very good, indeed]

One of the reasons that I waited so long to go back to graduate school is that I have, traditionally, hated being a student.

Now, though, I think (and I hope) that things have changed a little bit. While I would never claim to be old and wise at 29, I do think that I've learned some things, I feel like I've settled into myself more than I had at 22, or even 25. I've learned that giving up my daily rituals when I'm stressed or overwhelmed doesn't help me accomplish anything besides feeling more stressed and overwhelmed. I've learned that it's important to me to spend time outdoors, to empty my dishwasher daily, and to go to move my body a couple of times a week. I've learned that I actually enjoy eating vegetables, and that I do have time to cook them. I've even learned that sleep actually is important to my daily functioning. (New parents, my hat goes off to you.)

This is not to say that I'm not still working on finding a balance: in these past couple months, I've also learned that maybe training for a half marathon doesn't work so well with studying midterms, and that even knowing all I do about balance doesn't stop me from doing that stay-up-till-midnight-then-wake-up-at-five thing the day before a paper is due.

The important, thing, though, is that I am aware of it, and that I am trying in a way that I never was able to in undergrad. Back then, I think that I thought that the more miserable you made yourself, the more likely you were to succeed. Now that I'm older and have a little more experience, I'm learning that the opposite is true; that all those things they told me when I was in high school and college about "making time for yourself" and even the dreaded "self-care" (no really, does anybody like that phrase?) couldn't be more on the mark.

In this season of busyness, I'm trying hard to remember that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Trip to the Seagull

I have mixed feelings about the end of summer. While the weather for the last couple of weeks has indicated that Fall is clearly on its way, and I do enjoy the fresh start that comes with the beginning of the school year, I'm also not inclined to willingly give up any days of the short warm season we get here in New England. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 91 degrees, so I'm inclined to believe that summer hasn't left us yet. Which means that the trip we took to the Seagull Inn last week was more just a summer trip than a "goodbye to summer" trip.

My mom wanted to have a trip with Dewey and me, and since Dew's about to marry Will, we invited his sister, Kathryn, along, too. We were at the Seagull for less than 24 hours, but it was long enough to feel like a vacation. I took two beachy novels out of the library, and I read for hours; first on the lovely lawn, and the next morning, on the steps up to the roof deck with a cup of tea. We had fried fish sandwiches and paper cups of pink wine on the beach at dinnertime, and the next morning, we took full advantage of the generous breakfast the BnB offers. I may have had second breakfast ten minutes after finishing the first one.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy Happy, Dewey!

Today is Dewey's birthday. Dewey is warm, loving, creative, and hilarious, and I'm SO glad she's my sister.

Happy happy, Dewey! I'm so glad you were born.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


One of the best parts about getting older is that the friendships you made in college gradually get more weight, more history. There is nothing better in the world than a friend who you've known for more than ten years; the sort of ease and comfort that happens when you're around people with whom you have a common history is just my favorite. When those people have a baby, it's even better.

I have known Lisa since freshman orientation, and Charlie since about two weeks after that. I was in their wedding, and when their son was born, I was honored to be asked to be his godmother. Teddy takes after his parents- he loves books, he's almost always happy (unless you're denying him goldfish), and he's generally a delight to be around. Unfortunately, the family lives in Cincinnati, which is altogether too far away from Boston, but I tried to make up for it by visiting them last week.

It was the perfect kind of visit; we visited the most amazing playground I have ever seen, went to a truly charming bookstore/cafe, ate delicious barbecue, and played with lots and lots of trains. It was relaxed and relaxing, the kind of vacation you can have with friends you've known forever. We cooked lots of food and drank plenty of pink wine, and spent lots and lots of time talking when Teddy was sleeping.

It should be noted that Lisa and Charlie just moved to Cincinnati from St. Louis, so Ferguson was on the forefront of all of our minds. We spent a lot of time talking about it; about where we go from here, how we deal with the fact that we live in a world where it is fundamentally dangerous to be black and male. I don't have any answers, but it's something I grapple with a lot, especially now. Talking about it with friends who have lived in St. Louis (Lisa is from there) gave me a new perspective.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Doing and Seeing

(I'm taking a little break from scenes like this for three weeks. I'm pretty excited.)
Historically, I have blogged the most prolifically during times of transition. When I graduated from college, when I moved to San Francisco, when I moved back from San Francisco, when I worked at a really awful job for six months, when I turned 25 and freaked. the eff. out. Those times, blogging gave me a different perspective on all of the changes that were happening. People spend a lot of time talking about how blogs make people feel inferior, how by reading blogs, you are giving yourself the opportunity to compare your very real life to a made-up ideal. Real always loses out.

Here's the thing, though: I think blogging can be really good for you. When I post on the regular, I am constantly looking for things to write about. I go on adventures and I bring my camera, I look for little moments of beauty in the day-to-day. I do more and I see more. My blog is like a gratitude journal and a little personal motivator, all in one tiny page on the internet.

Now, my life is changing once again. After working for six years, I am starting graduate school in the fall. (Well, actually, I started this summer. ) I'll still be working, but much less so, and I'll be in classes full time. I'm mostly excited about this transition, but I'm a little nervous, too: nervous that I made the wrong choice, nervous that graduate school is going to be awful, nervous about finding a job once I'm done. I hope that by coming back to my blog, I'll be able to see beyond the scariness of the transition. I hope that it will inspire me to do more and see more once again.