Repeat, please!

About every two months or so, I try to scheme some ways in which I can buy a house at the beach. These ideas basically involve me renting out the house for years and years to pay off the mortgage and then having it free and clear so that I can enjoy it for the rest of my life. Any other ideas? I’m accepting them.

Because this?

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This is what I want to experience on an extremely frequent basis. We had never been to Chincoteague before, and it sure delivered. It is a shore town without the hustle and bustle of commercialized islands, without a boat load of tourists, and without many attractions. It’s a barrier island to Assateague National Seashore, which is it’s biggest (and most beautiful) attraction. And that was perfectly alright with me.

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A few friends came with us on this vacation to help me celebrate my birthday. It was good times.

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I can tell I’m getting old. Having a class of wine before noon, continuing to indulge in alcoholic beverages throughout the day, made it difficult to stay awake past 11. I guess that’s what happens when you hit 30.

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The horses were my favorite part. They were mostly really far away, which I understand happens during the summer months because they are hot and getting eaten by mosquitos and just want to be under the trees in the shade. Still, they were beautiful.

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Some places on the island had rescue horses, so we got to see them up close. That is, when kids weren’t running around like nut jobs trying to stab the horses faces with their chubby little hands. Nice job, parents!

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I’m still thinking about that place. I hope we get to go again next year. In the meantime, I’ll check out zillow every few months and torture myself.

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City girl camps

Here’s the thing. I never camped growing up. EVER. I am from the city and it’s just not something we did. I was probably 22ish the first time I ever went camping. I went with my ex and her friend late on a Friday night to the woods, about 45 minutes from my house in Jersey. It was dark by the time we all got there, and pouring rain. They set up the tent in the downpour while I was inside blowing up air mattresses and making beds. We had Frosted Flakes for dinner and then went to sleep. It’s a memory I look back on fondly, but I’m not really interested in repeating. After that, our tent camping became a little more high tech until eventually we got a camper. SUPER HIGH TECH! We were able to take the dogs with us, have air conditioning, and keep the bugs out. It was my kind of camping. And then, we split and the camper was no more.

Back to tent camping.

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I actually love tent camping. You know what I DON’T love? Setting it up.

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It gets me cranky just thinking about it. The tent is awesome, and both Brooke and I know how to put it up, but it just takes a while. It’s a big tent! There are lots of poles to put together and rods to snap into place and a million straps to tie. Uhh, and that’s just the first thing! This year, we bought a canopy to put over the picnic table. Yea, it’s a lot of work, but it almost always rains during camping season (and especially when we camp). This allows us to cook and get out of the tent no matter what the weather.

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After we set up the canopy, we start getting the kitchen together. Also new to our camping gear lineup this year is a camp stove. Brooked cooked exclusively over a fire before this. And although we still do that, sometimes it’s nice to be able to cook on the fly, especially if there’s some other things you have planned for the day. And see that fancy kitchen table thing it’s sitting on? We found someone who was selling it last year for super cheap, so we bought it from them. A camping chef’s dream. At least, I imagine.

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For instance, I’d rather be doing this than setting up the campsite:

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You know what would be nice? If we could hire someone to show up before us and have everything set up by the time we got there. And then they could come take down camp when we’re done and drop it off at home. And while they’re at it, they might as well put it all away. What? Oprah did it.

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The setup is usually always worth it though. We went to Ricketts Glen State Park over Memorial Day weekend, and it was sweet.

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Sticker that was holding on by a thread on Brooke’s kayak. We lost her after this trip

Ricketts is also home to incredible hiking and waterfalls. We only did about a mile hike, but still saw some beautiful nature.

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Camping is awesome. Camping at this state park is even more awesome. You know what would be even more awesome? Getting a pop-up :)

Look at this. This is some fun shit.

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Chincoteague Sneak Peak

I have a couple of posts in draft, but here’s a sneak peak at my 30th birthday vacation trip to Chincoteague, VA. Uh, hello? It was amazeballs.

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Skyline Drive Road Trip

A few weekends ago we took a very impromptu day trip in the middle of the afternoon, and headed down 81 South to Shenandoah National Park. Over an hour later, we started our trip on Skyline Drive at the beginning, in Front Royal.

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Even when I lived back home in Jersey, I wanted to take a long weekend to camp down here, as I had heard how beautiful it was. The drive was pretty peaceful most of the way, as there wasn’t a ton of traffic. I imagine in the fall it would be beautiful & crowded.

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There was a storm in the distance that we could see when at the overlooks on our left (I’m not sure what direction that would be. East maybe?)

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The lookouts on our right were still pretty sunny, although we could see the fog rolling in.

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I can’t believe we’ve lived this close to the park for a year and a half and haven’t been here. We bought a season pass, good till next May, so hopefully we’ll get some good use out of it.

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Then, the fog came. And it made looking out at overlooks sort of difficult.

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I REALLY wanted to see a bear. Like, especially since we were in a car and not hiking. No bears, but I did see two forms of wildlife:

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Getting away from the house, doing something different, and exploring nature is good for the soul.

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We’ll be camping in two days at Rickett’s Glen State Park in upstate PA, where we’ll be able to hike and kayak and see lots of nature. I’m looking forward to it.

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Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Dear Mom

I forgive you for this.

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Have a great Mother’s Day. Wish I could spend it with you, but I’ll see you soon.

Love,

Your Favorite

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

Biking is great exercise and great cross-training for derby. Plus, it’s fun. Ever since we moved to this area we’ve been told to check out the C&O Canal, but we’ve been putting it off. Some friends invited us to bike with them a few weeks ago, so we finally did.

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It was early Spring, so the weather was beautiful. We set off from Brunswick, MD, for a 5 and a half mile ride to Harper’s Ferry, WV.

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The canal is really historical, built between 1828 and 1850. It runs 184.5 miles between Washington, DC and Cumberland, MD, and lots of people bike the whole way through in one shot. I’m not sure that kind of a ride is in my future, but maybe sections at a time : )

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The towpath was along the Potomac River, which was pretty.

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It made me want to go fishing.

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Harper’s Ferry is a cool little town. It’s about 25 minutes from where we live, yet we’ve never been.

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(Doesn’t this look real?)

We ate lunch outdoors with appropriate beverages.

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And walked around some more.

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(Do you see the advertisement on the side of the mountain?)

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(I make my loved ones pose)

It is a really historical town, very much a part of the Civil War. It reminded me of Old City in Philly a bit, minus the steep hills and mountains.

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We ended with some ice cream, and then strolled back across the bridge, back to our bikes.

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An 11 mile total bike ride, plus exploring a new place, plus a great lunch, plus friends = WIN.

My first tractor trailer ride-a-long

In the beginning of April, Brooke got a really crappy dispatch for a Friday night – she had to leave the yard around 6pm to exchange trailers with another truck in Ohio at 11pm. So, I decided to go with her. I mean, that wasn’t my first choice of action for a Friday night, and I also wasn’t excited about the destination, and I also would be asleep for half of the ride since I had been up since 5:00am that morning, but hey – we’d get to spend some time together! Plus, I’ve always wanted to ride in those big ass trucks.

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Here she is, filling out some boring paperwork.

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This was on my passenger door. Helpful.

There was A LOT of buttons and gadgets. I felt like we were going to take off in an airplane.

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Trucks have a lot of mirrors.

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Brooke on the phone with dispatch before we even get started.

We drove through parts of Pennsylvania I had never driven through before. This valley was really pretty, with a cute little white church in the middle.

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Once we got on the PA turnpike, the scenery got a little boring, but the conversation and company was good. The absolute worst part about the ride? The passenger seat does not move. AT ALL. Wherever you’re at right now, sit up. Sit up straighter than a stripper pole with your chest out and face looking straight forward. There you go, that’s what it was like to sit in the passenger seat. It’s ok though, I was a trooper – only readjusted myself every 15 minutes or so. Thank goodness that for the latter 5 hour part of the ride would I would be sleeping in the back.

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The sun was only up for about two hours of the ride, so I didn’t take many pictures.

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When I got to the point where I was super sleepy, I started to read to keep me awake. That made the last few hours go by, and before I knew it, we were in Zainesville, OH at the Love’s truck stop.

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After Brooke did her thing, we were back on the road, and I was ready for bed. I cuddled up into the sleeper (which was quite cozy for someone who doesn’t have to do it multiple times a week!) and closed my eyes. And then immediately opened them. This was like trying to go to sleep in a very loud roller coaster that frequently has to brake.

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At this point I was up for about 20 hours, so I just let that big ass truck rock me to sleep. Brooke pulled over at some godly hour of the morning, 2 or 3 or something, so she could take a nap. I don’t want to give up my king size bed, but fitting into the twin bed was kind of fun.

We got back to the yard at around 6am. The sun was on its way up and the moon was bright.

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Here she is, filling out more boring paperwork.

I kept saying to her throughout the trip, “I can’t believe you drive this thing!!” And it’s true, I really can’t. Those trucks are SO BIG. And people really do drive like assholes. Here are some tips for all of you regular car-driving folks: Don’t cut a tractor trailer off; Don’t brake-check a tractor trailer; and when you see them put on their turn signals, be kind and make room / move over / let them in. These are not easy vehicles to stop quickly, so don’t be an idiot! I can’t believe the extent to which people do not have adequate brain cells.

So yea, I was super impressed for the first 6 months she’s been driving these things and telling me stories. Now that I’ve really gotten a chance to experience this with her, I’m way more impressed. She’s a bad ass mother trucker, for sure.

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Photographing Roller Derby (or, I’d rather be skating)

I would probably love photographing roller derby more if I didn’t wish I was playing it. Still, I loved being there for my team and screaming cheering encouragement from the sidelines as they took on the Ohio Valley Rollergirls a week and a half ago.

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It is completely different to watch derby from the sidelines than to play it. And to watch at different stages of my derbyventure makes things even more interesting. Before I passed my WFTDA minimum skills test to become a Vixen this past October, I watched my team play with a half view of awe and a half view of student, trying to understand what in the hell was happening.

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I played in the two bouts immediately following my graduation into Vixen-hood, and after my second bout in December, we headed into the (very short) off-season. At the end of January, during a scrimmage against D.C., I tore my MCL – and just like that, I was off skates for 3 months.

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I kept myself busy with league business stuff, which I was doing anyhow, and read the rules and watched a lot of YouTube videos. I tried not to be depressed as February rolled by and I missed the opportunity to play in two bouts. Then came March, and another bout opportunity lost. I tried to think of all of the ways my injury could have been worse, which was usually helpful during the day. But let’s face it – I would go to practice at night and watch my teammates and be a sad, sad puppy when I left.

So I went back to watching the bouts. And tried to take away as much knowledge as I could from them. Trying to learn differently now that I’ve had the chance to also play.

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Mid-way through March I showed up to practice and began skating. Just skating, no contact. It hurt. It was challenging. It felt awesome to be skating again. Can you imagine, becoming that attached to something that after only 6 months of having it and then it being taken away, that you are blissfully happy to get it back again? (I mean, besides having a baby or something. Obviously you’d become attached to that pretty quickly. Work with me here, people.)

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I worked with the fresh meat for the first few weeks after I came back since I couldn’t fully participate in the Vixen practices. It was extremely helpful, getting back to basics. And also rewarding to teach new skaters.

And then, finally.

I started with some light hitting drills. I was scared. I didn’t want any special treatment, but I also knew I couldn’t function at 100% either. So, practice after practice, I pushed myself, listening to my body the whole time.

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I knew getting to bout in April wouldn’t happen either, so I did the next thing I love the best – I took pictures. I mean, they are not the best pictures I’ve ever taken, with fast movement and low lightining and a sub-par zoom lens, but still. I love looking through the photos a week later, seeing things that I didn’t see originally, admiring my teammates and skills I may have caught them doing. My favorite ones?

When I catch them smiling – genuinely.

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This is what this is about. We all have our reasons for doing this, but at the end of the day, isn’t it for some kind of self-fulfillment? Which usually does what? Well, makes us happy, of course.

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(Except during pre-game huddle. This is very serious business.)

I’m so happy to be back skating. Derby makes me HAPPY. I’ve pushed myself practice after practice, and it feels so good to accomplish things on the track. Again.

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In pursuit of skates: Brooklyn

After my unsuccessful trip to Virginia Beach, a few friends and I planned a day trip to Brooklyn in the middle of the week to go to a derby skate shop there. Five hours after we left, we arrived at 11am.

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Five Stride Skate Shop. Brooklyn, NY.

The shop is owned by two derby skaters who skate for Gotham: Bonnie Thunders and OMG WTF. Uh, awesomeness.

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The shop was super small, as expected, but filled with all of the goodness you could imagine of an only-derby shop.

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I began the (long) process of getting fitted for my skates, without knowing that my feet were abnormal, and therefore, causing the long fitting. Bonnie had me try on 4-5 different pairs of skates, in different sizes. She carefully laced them, sometimes re-lacing the same skate a different way so it would fit differently. She asked me tons of questions so she could understand how it fit and how I was feeling. She was extremely attentive – and considering we were there for about 3 hours from start to finish, I was impressed. I really can’t say enough good things about my experience here – it made me feel EXTREMELY comfortable, considering the big wad of cash I was about to drop on some leather boots with wheels.

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(This photo has nothing to do with the story. Just making sure you are paying attention.)

So, the thought of actually having skates that fit me, that weren’t two sizes two big, gave me the motivation to purchase them. I had to custom order them – as one foot was a half size bigger than the other. So off we went, with the promise that I would receive my skates in 5-7 weeks.

We headed to (what is apparently) a famous pizza shop in Brooklyn, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. It wasn’t bad, but then again, I’m a more Jersey style pizza girl. Good friends and root beer to top dinner off.

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By the time we left Brooklyn it was around 5, and we had a 5 hour trip to get back home. A long day is an understatement. But, two months later when they finally arrived, it was worth it.

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Bonnie and OMG told me it would be a solid 2 months before I really had them broken in… they were definitely not kidding. My feet have had better days. But, it’s worth it. The pain always is.

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Remy Roller

Springy

The kittens love the sun, and so far, Spring has not disappointed.

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(Maybe if I cleaned more instead of took pictures that door wouldn’t look so grimey).

All of our plants are popping up, and some are starting to bloom.

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I take zero credit for how our yard looks. It’s all Brooke’s doing. Sure, I may have some great ideas, and yea, maybe even help out from time to time. But I have no green thumb and no knowledge of most things plant-related, and that’s ok with me.

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We have a jade plant in the living room that the cats are obsessed with, and constantly try to destroy. I was getting ready for work the other morning and heard a loud thump, to come down and see that the whole plant and the very large ceramic planter it was in was knocked over and on the floor. They are evil. You see? Evil.

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All of this warm sunny weather and new plant growth and birds chirping really make me crave change. And I’m talking something a little more than a deep spring cleaning of the house. But what?

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I’ve already started roller derby, something I never thought I would ever be able to do – and yes, I still have a long way to go with that – lots of improvements to make and work to be had. But still. I feel a little antsy.

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Something will come to me. I hope.

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My team plans this weekend, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t bummed that I won’t be bouting with them. Healing and coming back from injury is HARD. Also, it would help tremendously in this endeavor if you were a patient person. And me? Wellll, I have stronger qualities, for sure.

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Look at those ladies! So kick-ass <3