Friday, November 11, 2011

Yeah, I'm kinda Badass

Welding isn't really something too many people get to even try in life. This week, I did it underwater. Oh yeah, and I used a giant torch to cut shit up! Not gonna was a pretty badass week :) So how exactly does one get to this point?

Well the first step was learning how to do these things "topside." I've never welded anything in my life, nor do I really know jack about it (despite being a structural engineer!). But last week we learned! First we spent a half day or so going over information and then we were out running practice beads on scrap! We had several mini projects: 1) practice running beads on a plate topside, 2) practice a lap joint, 3) weld a small plate onto a bigger plate, 4) weld a plate onto a tank to cover a crack (we will leak test the tank soon). I was doing pretty OK with it all.... not too too shabby. Mostly just having trouble getting my welds started. Stick welding sure does freaking stick! I only got a little slag in my shirt and only retardedly grabbed my hot electrode end once. The hole in my thumb is almost healed!

After that, we were pretty much ready to go try it all on bottom. Eek! I was definitely intimidated. Electricty makes me nervous enough. Doing this underwater was a tough pill to swallow. We do have to wear latex gloves to insulate your hands from any shocks (sort of...) but other than that, it's pretty much the same. Oh yeah, except you can't see ANYTHING. Kinda hard to get any sort of decent bead when all you see is bubbles. But I sure as hell as tried and I was told that mine actually came out fairly good! Plus I managed to rack up about 70 minutes of bottom time :)

My first underwater welds!

After the practice beads, we got to do our next "project" - again, welding a 4x4 onto a 6x6. I tried a little different method for this one and actually held the electrode, which I had prviously been skeptical about. Soooo much easier, even though you still couldn't see anything.

Not too shabby indeed! Kicked quite a bit of ass compared to some dudes!

Oh yes, and for those that are curious and know a little about welding - we do wearing shields over our hats to protect our eyes. The arc isn't nearly as dangerous, but you still need some sort of screen.  Unfortunately, the screen was directly above my line of sight, so I had to get in the strangest positions while attempting to do these things. Let me tell you - those hats are not light. 70 min of bottom time with a cranked neck and I'm still recovering 4 days later! Apparently need some seriously neck exercises! 

This is me post welding in a SuperLite hat!

Finally, I got to burrrrrn! We were doing oxy-acetlyene burning with a Broco torch. Basically, a stream of oxygen is shot down through a hollow metal rod and the oxygen and rod react to burn through just about anything. We had created about a 2'x2' plate of 6x6 plates and just got to burn whatever of it we could. Each rod gives you about 8" of cutting, so they go fasssst. But let me tell you, it kicks ass! Luckily, I did recognize that my ground wire was directly behind the project before I started burning and moved it out of the way. This time, I was back in a Desco and was lucky enough to aquire video of me coming up and over.  Just a bit of a giant sea monster look when you're in it :)

And that my friends was my week. What did you do?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The first of many.

**Note to readers: in my absence, it seems as if blogger has deleted links to many a photo on my blog. I will work on getting those back up when I get a chance.**

Well hello world!! Still working on the internet situation down here in good ol’ Jersey, but I really wanted to get blogging again. Text at a minimum… We’ll see how long the library puts up with me. So, quick summary for those that aren’t totally in the loop. About a month ago, I quit my job, moved to NJ and began attending a commercial diving program! I’m open to where it takes me, but mostly I’m trying to get into dive-engineering with a focus in bridge inspection. 

Or this could be me... welding underwater.

Up until now, we’ve been learning mostly the theory behind everything. Well, that and the 1001 ways that we can die. It’s fun when every page of your chapter has at least one big bold warning – “Warning, you could die diving if you do X.” Thanks. Luckily, the dive medicine book did confirm that women are not more prone to shark attacks while on their periods. Yes, it really said that. So no, I’m not more likely to die that way than anybody else.

Today though, man… today was THE DAY. I know it sounds cheesey, but honestly it’s probably a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life. My first day doing a legit commercial style dive. Holy awesome!!! So not at all like scuba. Most of my class of course had done their orientation dives a few days ago but I was behind (funny story). The rest of the class was going to be starting their first projects. Basically they send a bucket down with a bunch of pipes and elbow fittings that you have to put together to make a square. I was only supposed to be doing my orientation dive though (hold that thought).

A desco hat - the type we used for our first dives.

So I go and get ready to get in the water. They suit me up, I walk over, I manage to conquer the ladder (seems silly, but climbing down that ladder in all your gear is actually mildly terrifying) and get in the water. First part of orientation dives – loss of air drills. Basically, they turn off your air so you can get used to how it feels so you won’t panic if it really does happen and then you have to try out the various backup systems (we have multiple! – yay for safety!) Now in the classroom, when we practiced on land, I didn’t really get to experience the feel of this at all. The neck dams that seal you into the hat are generally huge on my. So even with the air off, I still get a very good amount of air from outside and can’t really tell a difference. Definitely different in the water though! It doesn’t go off all at once, but you can feel it starting to back off and slowly get harder to breath. So I finally got to experience it a little more.

Then we start making out way over to the descent line. In commercial diving, you’re really heavily weighted down. For scuba, you want to be neutral in the water, but commercial is negative buoyancy. So when you’re in the water, you’re going to sink. So to descend, you have to lower yourself down a line slowly so you have time to clear your ears. I finally get to the bottom (only about 30’ down) and then they start sending me out to go walk around. It’s trippy and awesome and I don’t have good enough words to describe it. I had a hard time getting my footing (we wear boots instead of fins because we’re walking around, not swimming) but was pretty comfortable.

What I'll look like soon.... (in a dry suit with a superlite hat)

Finally, done walking around and I think they’re going to bring me back up. Nope. Bam! Here’s your project coming down, better be ready. Minus having gloves that were way too big on me, I was pretty ok. Got it all fitted up, sent it back up and found out I passed. And then my girly moment. We’re supposed to be professional over the communication lines and I of course SQUEAL out “Oooh! A fish” as this foot long fish starts swimming around with me. Sorry topside. I eventually get over to the descent line, make my way back up (mind you, you then have to hoist yourself up the line when you’re all done – my back is going to be ripped when I get outta here!), and re-conquer the ladder!

And that my friends, was basically my first day diving! Holy cool Batman!

And finally, me doing my "dry dive" during class.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Warrior Dash, Part Deux

Well I'm super late on a lot of blogging, but here we go! Let's catch up! A few weeks ago I participated for the second time in the New England Warrior Dash. What an experience! This was totally different than last year, but still muddy fun.

My Sis with Beer and Turkey Legs!! Warrior Staples. Hope she'll do it with me sometime!

So the day started with RAIN. Lots and lots and LOTS of rain. So much rain (and hangovers) that most of my friends bailed on me lol. But I was not to be stopped. I love this stuff. So my posse turned into my boyfriend, my sister and her husband. We were all going home afterwards for my parents 35th wedding anniversary, but that's a different story. First problem with the rain - parking! It took us over 1.25 hours to get parked and settled. Ack! I missed my heat and we got over to the start line as soon as possible. Then, I found out that they had handed my packed out to someone else by accident! Crappers! I finally got my bib, used the DISGUSTING port-a-potty and made my way to the start line with about 1.5 min to spare!

Eww - Port-a-potty!

Our heat was insane. It pretty much had everyone in the 10, 1030 and 11pm heats because of all the parking problems. I was about 3/4 of the way back, which was very frustrating. Impossible to try to pass people when you're consistently running in a foot of mud - no joke. The place was a swamp! And areas were definitely cow infested at some points - they stunk!! Everyone was falling and slipping and sinking and loosing shoes! I managed to only fall twice and they were minor falls, thanks to my many years of mountaineering with my Garrisonites.

My wave...or waves?

So now onto the obstacles - we had running through the tress, through a mess of ropes, tire swings, plank walks, over walls and under barbed wire, over a 15'+ wall with a rope, vertical cargo nets, horizontal cargo nets, fire leaping, slip'n'slide and a mud pit. Overall I placed 2913 out of about 10300 men and women! I think that's even better than last year, which is awesome, but I don't think I tried nearly as hard. With all the mud through literally the whole course, you just couldn't run at all. You just had to keep trekking through and hope you don't fall. Luckily, I have a good strong, fast walk so that helps me out, especially on hills.

That's me running down the hill in orange!

One thing I love about races like this are the random friends you make doing it. For a while I tagged along with a group of girls dressed as the TMNT. I follow this guy in an orange shirt labeled "Coach" about 90% of the way. And then was my girl near the fire pit - she was a riot! We're both running near each other and she finally see's the camera and goes "Oh crap, they just got footage of my fixing my boobs"!!! hahaha. Been there too!

"Coach" finishing up :)

Afterwards, it was off to the warrior wash. I did pretty good overall in not getting too messy, but that doesn't mean you dont need to get clean. Instead of the lame showers from last year, we had this crazy ass fan blowing water from a high power hose at you! It was freezing and painful and AWESOME. I would duck down, wash a bit, jump up, get more wet, repeat.  It's hysterically seeing everyone strip down to their underwear and just not care. <3 you Warrior Dash. I of course wore stuff I intended to trash, and definitely did so. $5 shorts from Big Lots and a freebie Tshirt. I wasn't thrilled about donating my shoes but I certainly wasn't going to try to clean them myself and the bunnies had already chewed through the shoelaces, so why not! It's a good cause and excuse to shop :)

Warrior Wash!

So yeah, overall it was fun. Not sure how many more times I'll do the Dash. Definitely ready for something a little harder, like Tough Mudder. The Dash you just don't even really need to train for and you can def finish. It's challenging but I wan't something tough. I still definitely recommend it! We'll see what my next race is!

Me a la finish line@!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Not sure what to do with this week. Not sure what to say. How much. How little. What really needs to be said. But when in doubt, there's usually someone else that said it better. So that's what I'm going with. Quotes from songs that are capturing my somewhat morbid, realistic and hopefully hopeful feelings for the week. And in that, hopefully doing a little bit of SOARing.

You're taught to divide the world into buddies and wives, sluts and wimps;
And ever since, you've kept a scorecard - how else to prove you're such the pimp.
You are just a robot, executing a program.
You are just a robot, an imitation of a man.
                    - Robot, Nada Surf

I'm left with yesterday
Left with trouble on my mind
No more the warm caress
Just emptiness & despair
I see my dreams burn before my eye
                     -Nick Northern, Snuff

You'll feel good for ten minutes
She'll be screwed up for life
What if they did that to your sister?
What if they did that to your mother?
                         -Mother's Day, Nada Surf     

Yes I wore a slinky red thing
Does that mean I should spread
For you, your friends your father, Mr. Ed
                        -Me and a Gun, Tori Amos

Here I am still intact
And I should give myself
Credit for that
                         -Weave and Unravel, Tilt

And when there's nothing to gain
Or bring me pain or pin the blame
On you or myself....
How ill feel like a beautiful child
Such a beautiful child again
                        -Beautiful Child, Rufus Wainwright

Monday, April 18, 2011

Katarina, donde esta?

Man oh man, so I have been one busy chica these last few weeks and I'm going to continue to be one over the next few. So this is kinda one of those bs interim blog posts to say "Hey! Hey you! I'm alive still! Don't forget about me and stop reading!"

Let's see, so my biggest adventure (which I will blog about) was SCUBA lessons last weekend. They were, well, AH-mazing. Bought myself a wetsuit on ebay already. This past weekend I went to a very unique party - a CHILI COOKOFF!!!! Again, AH-mazing. Nine different types of chili, all of which my stomach is still working on. Next weekend is Easter and the end of my Lenten experiment, overall with which I am very pleased. But more importantly, Friday is the premier of a fantastically cheeky little film called Rubber about Robert the killer tire. The boy and I will be seeing it before traversing home for the holiday.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I've been planning a bachelorette party for my lovely friend D and getting ready for her wedding. This means the boy and I are going to have to use our groupon for Boston Swing Central, where we get a free lesson and then a night of dancing. We'd like to be somewhat in tune for the wedding and we've never really danced. We have a dinner party. I have a massage. Jumping out of a plane in a week. And there might be a Steampunk mini-convention. Oh yeah, and still trying to make that durned t-shirt quilt!

So phew! That's about what's been up with me. Hopefully many of those will have awesome blogs to accompany them. But I wanted to send an update so you all knew I was still here, still kicking, just super busy! Good things, good times. Photo worthiness.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down!

So maybe we fell down quite a bit, but my snowboarding/romantic vacation last weekend was AWESOME. Definitely blog and photo worthy. I've been feeling in a bit of a rut lately, so my boyfriend and I literally googled "cheap new england excursions" and it worked! When does that happen? We found a link through the New England Inn Crowd (I highly suggest signing up for discounts) that allowed us any room in the 1785 Inn for $69!?!?! So we got an amazing suite with a tub and gorgeous view. It was a sweet room - exactly what you wanted for a B&B. Breakfast both mornings was amazing. There was a great common room with games and movies (who kicked butt at Scrabble first time ever playing - THIS GIRL). I would definitely recommend the Inn even at full prices.

The 1785 Inn, our lovely home away from home.

We arrived Friday afternoon and checked in. The staff was great and let us switch rooms so we could have a tub - when you live in an downtown apt, this is a MUST on vacation. Hung out for a bit and settled in before heading over to Moat Mountain, a local brewery and BBQ suggested by a friend of mine. There was a solid beer sampler (nothing amazing, but good beers for sure). Then we foolishly decided to order the FULL rack of ribs. Now these ribs admittedly weren't the best I've ever had, but the meat was tender, the rack was HUGE, mashed potatoes were amazing and it came with toast! I was super happy to say the least. Even the two of us combined and hungry couldn't finish it, but it was a great snack later.

Mmmmmmmmm, ribs.

Finally we decided to top off Friday night with some late night tubing at Cranmore. Neither of us had any idea what to expect, but were glad we ended up being wimps and wearing our snow pants. It was cold flying down that hill! We did the last hour discount package and that was perfect. Not too many people there and we could pretty much continuously go up the carpet and down the hill. Nothing like giggling like school girls together with your significant other. It was definitely worthwhile.

Saturday morning was the big shabang - snowboarding at Wildcat Mountain. I've taken a lesson at Mt. Sunapee once earlier this year but haven't gone since then and TJ hadn't done it since he was maybe 8, but had skateboarded. So we decided to do the beginner lesson package - lift ticket, rental and 2.5 hours lesson for $65. Seemed like a great deal to me for people still trying to learn. TJ had a little trouble on the bunny hill but as soon as we moved to the slope, he went flying. I was super impressed. I got much more comfortable with my heel edge and tried to push myself on that toe edge as much as I could. The lesson was pretty hard work with a good instructor, but after we were done we just kind of took it easy and had fun. We were both beat and wanted to have fun. Hopefully next time I'll keep pushing myself to try to get my skills even better. I've learned I have a "strong falling leaf" and that I can avoid wacking my head even when I fall off the chair lift. So yay me! No injuries and much fun had by all.

Not exactly flattering but us on the chair lift!

After snowboaring, we were both beat so it was relaxation time. That meant a nice bath and a movie. Then it was "fancy dinner time." There was a great restaurant downstairs so we just went with that. We shared awesome elk sausage for an appetizer and I had duck for dinner. I definitely mentally blocked out that section of the menu that said "Rabbit Prepared Two Ways." Finally we topped the meal off with an amazing bananas foster prepared table side of course! AWESOME. Dinner was excellent overall and I would definitely recommend it for someone looking for a nice night out.

And that was about it. Sunday we did a little exploring around town. Went into the Penguin Gallery to look at the beautiful gifts. We also went into Zeb's General Store and got some "Northern Comfort" to thank my lovely friends for bun-sitting for me! I got some wonderful candy for the ride home and just generally explored. Cute little store. Reminded me of going on vacation to Cape May, NJ. And of course we had to spend a few minutes at the infamous Settlers Green Outlets. Didn't really do too much shopping, but couldn't resist some Yanke Candles, which I'm burning now of course!

At last, it was time for the ride home. It was an amazing weekend and perfect timing. We had a really fun time tubing, snowboarding was a blast and it was nice to throw in some romantic dinner. Fortunately, this was the only moose we saw! Can't wait to go again!

Moose crossings everywhere scaring the crap outta me constantly!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chai anyone?

A while back I had posted some resolutions, most of which I'm doing pretty good with. One in particular was to lush-less - aka cut back on the booze. Overall, I think I've been doing a pretty good job of it. I've gotten more drunk than I wanted on one or two occasions, but not even close to the emotional hot mess of 2010. So yeah, pretty good. I've been proud of myself. I'm more in control. I like myself more. I'm sure others like me more. And it's just been better all around. But still not quite as good as I had hoped.
What does that mean? Time to kick it up a notch. The challenge: give up booze for Lent.

I've found that lately my problem with not being quite as on the ball as I would want has just been that I don't have the inspiration for it. Like I kinda want to and I do OK, but not great because I just don't have that something extra pushing me. Things are's easy to be tempted to settle at that. But I don't want to settle. So it occurred to me, literally sitting on the toilet, "Hey! It's Lent! Why don't I use that?" Lent has always been a good inspiration, solid reason and non-arguable excuse. Once I'm committed to something for Lent, I feel obligated. All things that are great for a task that yeah, for a young person is kinda hard to enforce. So off I go!!! Oh and P.S., my one planned break is after my skydiving - it's going to be a crazy event, it's an important day and I think I'll have earned a beer after that :)

Saturday was my first challenge - a St. Patty's Day party. :: Insert ominous "Ohhhhhhh" :: Tons of boozing, partying, kegs, and general shenanigans. I was going to be expected to be crazy, as I usually am a little. And it's been a rough few weeks so I wanted to make sure I had some damn fun. I was happy to find out that it was actually pretty easy. I brought a travel mug with some Chai tea (and an extra tea bag!) so that I had caffeine and chugged that and water most of the night. I've always been crazy without booze; it's just been a while since I partied that way. It was about time I did again.  No one suspected a thing and if they asked, it was my "mystery drink"  in the container. I had a total blast and really wasn't tempted at all. I also took the opportunity to unload a lot of my booze unto a party household so that they A) wouldn't tempt me and B) would be put to good use. Setting myself up for success! And I awarded myself with some cookies and swedish fish.

 Damn straight you're next.

So yeah, I guess for the next few weeks this is how it'll go. I'm looking forward to the challenge and hoping I can follow through. And if I fall, I just gotta get back up! After that, who knows how I'll re-integrate. Overall, I think it's going to be a very good thing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Overdue and Far Over the Ground!

So I'm very overdue in posting something new, especially if I'm going to be keeping up with my "one picture worthy event a month" goal. Well, as I already said, February was HELICOPTER FLYING!!! That's right - flying. None of this tour stuff. Actually flying a helicopter myself.  Booyeah.

Ages and ages ago (ok maybe like last april), a phenominal group-on came up for helicopter flying lessons. They were marketing it as a Father's day gift and I guess it worked, cause I picked up 2 - one for me and one for my Daddy! The company was East Coast Aero Club and for $70 each, we were going to get to FLY helicopters. SCORE.  I think they had sold like 1200 by noon and by 3 they were sold out with something like 2000 groupons sold.  It was the most amazing groupon feat I've ever seen. Long story short, it took a while until my Pops and I could make it work to come up here, but 2 weekends ago we finally made it happen!

First though was HOMEWORK?!?!?! We had probably 10 hours of reading to do (if you really studied super hard) from various books and manuals to learn about how helicopters work, the controls, our specific helicopter (the R44 shown below) and the airfield that we were going to be at. Ok so the engineer in me is about to come out. Something I thought that was really cool is how the lift on the blades is created. Obviously, some is from the air foil passing through the blades and being pushed down. The other part is the Bernoulli effect - when the air goes over the blades it causes pressure changes that make a vaccuum that sucks the blades up. Ok, so you probably knew this, but did you know that the Bernoullie effect makes up 2/3 of the lift of the helicopter?!?! Two thirds! I was shocked! Anyways, meet the R44:

So after we did our homework, it was classtime! We were supposed to have about a 2-3 hour class to go over the material we read and make sure we really understood it. And then...duh duh duh...a test! Now, I have to say, even I was a little nervous about this test, so I couldn't blame my Dad for being really nervous. He totally understood ALL the mechanical parts though! Silly goose <3  Our instructor finally showed up and because it was the long holiday weekend, we had accidentally been locked out of the lecture room. And guess what was locked IN the lecture room - that's right! The tests!!!  Wooohooohooo! We were all stoked but told "just pay attention :) "  PHEW.

Next cool helicopter fact: if you loose your power, your engine just kinda disconnects from the blades and you float down. It's called autorotation and you can travel about a mile that way. So kinda hard to crash. Neat, yeah?

Next morning.... the day of the class... We're both getting psyched, doing silly little Kelly dances while my Mom grades papers in the hotel room. We drive to the airport, attempt to drive through the Air Force base and are kindly redirected. And BAM! Our dreamy sweedish instructor is there ready to go! We get a refresher on the controls, a tour of all the parts and in we go!  Now let me tell you, this helicopter is SMALL. It's all fiberglass and the doors feel paper thin. You're basically in a bubble up there.

Flying was incredible. We couldnt have had a better day for it. It was gorgeous weather and we could even see Boston downtown (we were about 40 minutes away). There's a kinda long startup list that you have to go through to get the copter ready for flight. So Dreamy helped us (my Dad went first) find all the controls and do things properly. Then he called into the tower, we were cleared for takeoff and there we went! So different than being in a plane! I got to ride in the back for my Dad and him for me, so we each got extra time in the heli. So once we were a bit away from the airport we were handed off controls one by one from the instructor. My Dad was AWESOME. So so smooth. Then we did some turns, then some steeper turns and that was about it. Probably 25 mintues up in the air but it goes so fast! Now turning, turning is a bit terrifying. You bank pretty far over and are basically looking through this plexiglass bubble right down to the ground below you. Freakkkkky at first, but then just really cool.

It was awesome to get to be a passenger and a pilot because you can relax a little more in the back. In the front you have to concentrate super hard. There are 3 different controls and you're trying to watch the horizon and for traffic and be smooth. It's a lot to think about the first time but I could definitely see myself getting into it. And definitely maybe my Dad in all seriousness.  So some more pictures from the heli:

Overall, AMAZING experience!!! Even without the groupon price, I would definitely recommend it. I mean, come on, how many people can say they've FLOWN a helicopter? I CAN BITCHES. Total bucket list task that's been taken over. So yes, go, fly! Enjoy it!

Soar Soar Soar!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Coming to Our Senses - A Meditation Review

Recently I've been trying to get into some meditation (this might be a kinda boring blog - sorry!). I've always enjoyed guided meditations and when we used to do some guided imagery before big meets (mostly flexing and relaxing various muscles in your body to relax yourself). It's been something that's super relaxing for me so I want to see if I can get motivated and add it in as a regular part of my life. I knew about a couple general techniques/ideas but I wanted to try to get more specifics. Recently, an author named John Kabat-Zinn was recommended to me. I was able to get his book Coming to Our Senses out of the library. Now this is a big honkin book on meditation, so I decided to stick to Part 4 - Embracing Formal Practice. Here's a bit of what I learned.

First, several basic forms of meditation that I was already kind of aware of were discussed. These includeded lying down, sitting, standing and walking. Most of these were based on the same premise of focusing on a feeling (hearing, touch, breathing, gravity, etc) and trying to stay aware of that sensation only. A key idea is that the mind is always going to wander, and that you should be aware of that and then bring it back into focus. Another option is to be aware of all of these at once and experience the state of being. No matter what, all thoughts should come and go without judgement. It's a thought, that's it. It doesn't define you or an event or who you are. It's just a thought.

In the lying section, Kabat-Zinn describes a method called the body scan, which was similar to what we used to do for swimming (flexing and relaxing each body part). He also briefly discussed yoga and the meditative benefits of different flows and how they combine breathing and the mind. It's something I still in theory would like to incorporate but never have fully taken that leap.

Several obstacles to meditation were addressed. The two that were most releavant to me were falling asleep and motivation. I think I tend to like the ideas of sitting or standing meditation the best to address the first issue. As for motivation, I like his idea of "meditate like your life depends on it." In other words, don't let it be an option. Be dedicated. I can/do get super dedicated to other areas of my life, so I should be able to do it here if I just make myself. Finally there was the concept that you can't really be doing it wrong. No matter what, if you're aware of what's going on, then you're being mindful and you're doing it right. Can't mess up? Sounds good to me!

Lovingkindness meditation was a new and kind of bizzare sounding one to me honestly. The idea is to first get focused in on your breathing. When you're good with that, try to imagine someone that loves you unconditionally or what that would feel like. Then, you try to embody that emotion and apply it to yourself. In the example of a mother-child relationship, you become both the mother and the child simultaneously. You then repeat a series of phrases:
May I be safe and protected and free from inner and outer harm.
May I be happy and contented.
May I be healthy and whole to whatever degree possible.
May I experience the ease of well being.
After you get comfortable applying this to yourself, you work on applying it to love ones and then people further and further out of your circle of comfort. I think it will probably feel cheesy at first but would be a cool exercise to get in the habit of.

So yes, I guess that's my summary of the 75 pages or so that I read on meditation. Primarily the notes are for myself but maybe I've piqued your interest and you'll want to consider adding meditation into your life as well? I'll definitely do an update at some point to say how things are going!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Photo Worthy Update

So one of my resolutions this year was to do something photo-worthy every month. So far, this year has been of to a good start, so I thought I would do a little update! With a few photos of course.

This year I went snowboarding for the first time ever! Actually, first time I did a winter sport ever. My friends and I had purchsed a group-on to Mount Sunapee. For $40 we got all day lift tickets, rentals and a 2hr lesson. None of us had ever snowboarded before, so we decided to go with that. Our instructor was an adorable youte who was super nice and helpful, and thank goodness! That is some tough stuff. We started at the base of the bunny hill, learning simple things like strapping in, how to stand and how to awkwardly hop of the hill (which we were all pretty kickass at). Then we moved up to the base of the magic carpet and started to learn how to do some turns. I was doing fine when we just had to do one way at a time. But then.... then we moved onto the full height of the bunny hill and tried linking turns together. Well, I can go heel in, but digging in my toes has turned out to be nearly impossible. So I can really only go in one direction. After years of squatting and drilling it into my body to put the pressure on my heels, it's just so unnatural to move to your balls at all. Not sure I'm ever going to get the hang of it.

 Snow Bunnies!

That didn't stop me from attempting a trail though! My friends were much smarter and stayed on the hill, getting more comfortable with things. Meanwhile, I decided to plummet, bump and crash my way down in an "appalling" fashion :) Thank goodness I got a helmet!  It was quite intense and I was so sore the next day, but I was glad I did it. Next time I'm definitely going to try to slow down more (I seemed to have amnesia about that concept) and get better at my turns before I get on a run.  It was an awesome day and I was so glad to have gone with such awesome friends!

My next amazing event, that was sooooo photo-worthy I made it online, involved public nudity! But that's going to get it's own post :) So I've had a good January. February is going to be the Passion Plunge with BSOS, where we will run into the ocean in the middle of winter to raise money for the Special Olympics. I'm also supposed to be using another group-in with my Daddy to learn how to and fly and helicopter with East Coast Aero. In April, you all probably know that (assuming I raise the $$$) I will be jumping out of a plane for Operation Freefall! And my friends and I just registered again for this years Warrior Dash. You can read about our adventures last year on my friend's blog!

That just leaves something for March, which is my bday month. Sounds like a good excuse for an adventure to me! Ideas anyone?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flash what?

One of the more exciting things that I've done this year has been getting involved with a local flashmob group, The Societies of Spontaneity. "How?" you might be asking. Well, in my attempt to make new friends (aka meet a man) in Boston, I joined a meetup group called NerdFun. It was through them that I found a link to some even held by this BostonSOS. I went to the website and I was instantly in love. A whole group of people that like to do silly, random things just for fun? No shame whatsoever? It was my calling.

My first event was based on The Ministry of Silly Walks I met up with NerdFun and then we proceeded to meet up with BSOS at the Christian Science Center. This was when we were told the official details of our mission - to enter the fancy pants Prudential Shopping Center and walk around in the strangest fashion we could think of. Normal from the waist up, wacko from the waist down. Reactions were classic. I saw people walk into things from staring at us. Others just joined in for the heck of it. Security was FREAKED.  And I was in love.

For our flash mob anniversary, we had a simpler but still awesome mini-event. About 30 of us showed up on a weekday evening to pose as a group of communal cohabitants that were in the search of a new mattress for their love nest. We headed over to Macy's in downtown crossing and the adventure began! People piled up into beds everywhere. How many can we fit? This is too soft. I like this trundle. The buttons on this one hurt. This one is too thick. And so it went. Unfortunately, the mattress selling staff was off for the evening, so we didn't get to harass them too much. But the other staff was definitely getting a kick out of it. And we topped it off with a classy trip to Wendys.

One of my favorite events to date was the MP3Experience2010. In this event, everyone downloads an mp3 track, synchorizes their watches, and at the same time, we all begin listening and following the magical adventure directions given to us! This year, we were on a search for our inner child. Everyone had been asked to wear a red/green/blue/yellow shirt and most of the directions gave different people different assignments at different points. We had dance parties, hugged parts of the park that don't normally get hugged, gave high fives to each other, gave strangers high fives, searched for squirrels, formed a circle around the playground, played tag, walked in slow motion, walked in fast motion and just plain overall had fun. The audio from this track was amazing. And my favorite picture (and blog wallpaper) was snapped by a fellow blogger of me (and the yellows) being the sun!

A quickie but goodie was when we invaded the opening of a new dog park in Somerville. But did we bring our dogs? Of course not. We all had those invisible dog leashes, named our new pups and brought them to the park to meet people, run around, poop, eat, use the agility course and make friends. Most people took it really well and were more than happy to talk to me and Copernicus, but a few were a little put off. Just some average, good ol' silliness.

Care of  our wonderful photographer, Chris A.

Finally, there was NoPants2011, but I think I'll have to do a whole blog for that one. Being part of BostonSOS has been AWESOME for me this year.I've always had just silly friends - the kind where everyone thinks your drunk when you're totally sober and just being yourselves. Yeah, that was us. And now I have new amazing friends (not to mention just random people at every event) that love doing just the same kind of thing. Silliness for the sake of silliness. I hope that I'll always be able to remember that life is fun and to live it that way. What a great community. <3

Coming soon!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cause I'm FREE!!! Freefalling!

You know you love the song. And you know it's appropriate for this entry because....

On April 30, 2011, I will be participating in the nation's boldest, highest-altitude, and most daring effort to put an end to sexual assault. It's called Operation Freefall: The Two-Mile High Stand Against Sexual Assault®.

I will join thousands of people at drop zones across the country who will take to the sky and jump. Our goal: to raise funds to help survivors throughout the healing process and increase awareness about sexual assault.

In order to participate in this event, I need to raise a minimum of $1,000 in funds! I’m hoping that you’ll help support me, the cause, and survivors around the world in this event. I’ve setup a page online where you can donate directly, or you can contact me and I’ll let you know how to donate with a check or cash. My goal is $1,250 - so every bit helps and I thank you so much in advance.

You can read more and donate on my page HERE.

This will be my first time diving and I can't think of a better way to do it or a more worthy cause. If you have any questions about the event or the issue, let me know and we can talk anytime.

Blue Skies!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bring on the beans....accountability here I come!

This isn't going to be a particularly long post, but after a huge pigout last night on a lot of cheese and multiple lean cuisines (doesn't sound so bad, but really, I was disgustingly overstuffed and still am the morning after), I've decided I need to make some sort of public commitment somewhere to get my ass back in gear. The ickies are slowly creeping back onto me (even though to those that haven't seen me in a while I probably look pretty good), and I'm not a fan. Granted, I'm eating like crap and haven't really been exercising, so it's totally understandable.

So, I guess I'll be trying to create some sort of section dedicated to my diet/exercise. I'll do my best to update daily, or near daily, with basically what I'm eating. Time to hit the rice+beans again and probably ban cheese from my apartment. Avacado = ok, cheese = piggy me.  

For those that don't know, I HATE resolution time of the year at the gym, so I asked for a TRX for Christmas and froze my gym membership for 2 months. Problem is making yourself actually work out at home. Well this week I'm going at it for real damnit! I want to get in 3 TRX workouts a week and 2 "other" (maybe exerciseTV, a DVD, something metabolic, jumping rope - whatever I'm in the mood for). So I'll try to add that into my updates as well.

I guess for anyone that has asked me "What do you do?" or "What do you eat?", this might give you some idea. Mostly, I just want some accountability because this vague accountability to myself is NOT cutting it. 
  • I have a wedding in 4 months that I'm in the bridal party for, so I can't really gain weight. 
  • I want to stay healthy and happy with myself. 
  • I want to use up my stores of food.
  • I want to save some money.
  • I want to use my CSA.
  • I want to cook more.
  • I want to try new things.
  • I want to put this TRX to use.
  • I want to be active and master my body weight.
  • I want to be confident and comfortable and happy.
  • I want my friggin back back.
  • And I need to be killing those pull ups, pushups and pistol squats. Lordy girl!
So yeah, I guess those are some reasons and motivations to keep in mind. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

So it goes....REBECCCCCAAAAAA!!!!

Time for Reading Rainbow Part 2. I know you're super excited to hear my reviews of the next bunch of books I've been reading, aren't ya, aren't ya??? I didn't make it a resolution, but it kinda is part of self-soothing in that it gives me something to do and focus on and stay calm about. And I want to keep it up if possible. So here we go!

Rebecca - Daphne de Maurier: LOVE IT. Love it. Love it.  Did you get that I loved it? Now admittedly, it took me a while to get into this book. The first hundred pages were kinda slow going, but after I hit that critical point, I was sucked in by Maxim (what woman wouldn't be?), Mrs. Danvers, Manderly and the mystery of Rebecca. Such dark romance. You could totally imagine yourself in the protagonist's shoes - wondering, was she more beautiful than me? Do I compare at all? Is he still in love with her? Do they all love her more than me? Will I ever live up to her?  She was utterly relateable. And Maxim, dear Maxim! He was as sexy as a brooding man could be! And the broodier, the sexier. The more secretive, the sexier. The more protective, of course, the sexier! And when you finally found out the truth of Rebecca, you were just so madly in love with him, it overwhelmed you and you had no choice but to fly through the book. As for reading environment, I highly suggest taking this book in a-la-spinster style....aka a nice candle (mine was Victorian Rose - totally fitting) and a good bottle of wine. It just makes the mood! A+ if you couldn't guess! Now I'm just waiting for the library to find me the Hitchcock movie, which I saw oh so many years ago, so I can see the book from another perspective.

Ethan Frome. Welp, I liked it, but I can't say I loved it. I feel like the forward from the copy that I had kinda gave away too much. I know there was a big tragic "smash-up" and that he was in love with his cousin. and that there was a supposed surprise ending. I kept assuming that it was going to something crazier than trying to run away with the cousin and getting in an accident with her from the talk about it, but nope. That's all it was, so it wasn't much of a surprise anymore.I liked the book - I read it in one sitting even - but it was really just a liking, definitely no love. I pitied Ethan, but wasn't overly moved by him. Maybe the book was just too short for me? Maybe he wasn't developed enough before everything started going wrong? Not too sure, but I never felt like I developed a true connection to him. So that being said, I gave it a B+. Solid, but not Amazing.

 Hate to say it, but I think I might like the movie better if I saw it.

Slaugtherhouse Five. Yay, yay! I'm really glad I finally read this. I wasn't positive how I felt about it at first honestly. I wasn't entirely sure if he was supposed to have been going crazy or not, and if it was sci-fi, I didn't think there was enough sci-fi to like it. I did a little sparknotes type reading and after I was sure I was interpreting the themes correctly, I decided that yes! I do really like this - a lot! I didn't really see it as an anti-war book, and I'm not sure that I agree that it was. I mean, I guess it has to be in part just because of the content/context, but I thought that the fate/free-will theme was much more powerful. And this was the theme I related too, at least in this point in my life. Just knowing that to an extent you have to let go. You can't control everything and you should focus on the positive. If I did that, hell yeah it would make a huge impact on my life; if I lived like the Tralfamadorians. Again, I read this book in one night. I wasn't enthralled, but I was captive for sure, trying to figure out what exactly was happening to Billy Pilgrim, where the book was going, what it meant to me and how I felt about it. I think this is one I would appreciate a lot more on second reading, now that I'm more confident in my understanding of it. Because I had trouble at first, I don't think I can fairly give this top ranks, so I'll give you an A, Mr. Vonnegut. I'm excited to read more of your stuff.

How are you not inspired by this?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resolutions, resolutions...Part 2.

OK, this will probably be another quickie, and unfortunately it will probably be another bloggy one. In my first post about my resolutions, I covered some good basics, but I forgot one and got some good feedback that I wanted to steal. Oh and I have a sub-part that I want to add.  So here it is, Part Deux.

2a. More Cooking for Good Looking! I think that this was probably implied, but in my attempts to do more cooking, I'd like to improve my usage of my CSA/Boston Organics. My first couple rounds didn't go so well. I didn't realize how fast these organic foods can go bad. So I'd like to bring my usage up to about 90% ideally. Better use of my $$$ and better for my body. Yes, even if that just means lots of soup!

6. Stolen from my friend Brad, Do at least one photoworthy thing per month. I was thinking that I wanted to try one new physical/sports thing a month but that's a pretty tough commitment to make. This idea works amazingly! Those events would be totally photoworthy, and I can definitely come up with enough other ones to fill in the other months! For example, this month I'm going skiing for the first time and next month I should be helicopter flying with my Dad and I think in April I will sky dive! All those work perfect!

7. Ok, here comes the bloggy...Stop being "that girl." I don't mean to be. I really really don't! But it's hard to not talk about your mother-friggin ex when he's been shoved into your face again out of nowhere. I've got no feelings for the kid and really just want nothing to do with him, but I can't have that and so he ends up popping out of my mouth way more than I want. Maybe no one notices and it's just something that I hate, but I hate it. Ugh. Blech. Gross. So yeah, I would like to put the kabosh on all utterances of him (after this post I guess, hahaha). Never was worth my time and certainly isn't now.  Unless it's something funny. Then I think I'm allowed :)

Ugh, so no need to advertise!

Alrighty then. I think that hopefully covers it. I've probably spread myself way thin and won't be able to keep on top of all this, but we'll see how it goes. Maybe i'll post myself a list at home so I think about them all. Keep your fingers crossed for me. 2011 started pretty kickass and I want it to keep going that way!