A Quick Check-In Post SF

Hi friends! I’m home! And it’s been a doozy of a first day back already. I had my annual wellness exam (always extra fun for the ladies), and almost ran out of gas on my way to work. And now I’m in the throes of my busiest two weeks of the quarter so I will be flat our at work the next few days.

I’ll get a trip recap post up eventually, but for now I’ll just say I had an AMAZING time, did all the things, ate all the food, and I wish I could have stayed another week.

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Friday Free-For-All – 06/23/17

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I’m off to San Francisco! I’m taking a half day from work today and flying out this afternoon. I probably won’t be posting much here, but you can follow my adventures on Instagram. I’ll be back home some time on Tuesday night.

I’m a packing ninja. I bought United “basic economy” tickets, which means I don’t get a free carry on bag for my flights. Because buying last-minute tickets was already so expensive, I didn’t want to pay the extra $25 per flight for a bag. This means that I packed everything I need for a 3 day, 4 night trip to San Francisco in a backpack. Are you impressed? Cause I know I am!

Today is Ben’s first day of summer vacation. And he’s such a good husband, he got up early to drop me off at work so I wouldn’t have to pay for airport parking. While I’m madly jealous of his summer, I know he worked is ass off this school year, and deserves the break. Now, someone remind me of that later this summer while he’s gallivanting around Prague and I’m stuck here…

If you’re interested in a sneak peek at Dogfight the Musical you’re in luck! Stowe Theater Guild’s promotion team is killing it this year, and they made a great little video, which you can view by clicking right here. It’s our first time running through Act 1 with the accompanist so it’s a little rough, but many of you have asked for more video of me in action, so here you go!

Do you tend to overpack for trips? I usually do, but this time around I had to FORCE myself to pack light.

Friday Free-For-All – 06/09/17

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San Francisco is a go!  I managed to get the time off from both work and rehearsal, and find flights that weren’t totally unreasonable. I’m flying United basic economy, which means I don’t even get a free carry-on bag, but I’m pretty confident that I can pack everything I need for three days in a “personal item” sized backpack. Hooray for spontaneity and adventure!

I’ve rediscovered my love for my Hydro Flask water bottle. For months, it had been sitting unused in a drawer, and for whatever reason, I busted it out recently to bring to a rehearsal. It pretty much hasn’t left my side since. It keeps my water SO COLD and the straw top makes it easy peasy to just grab a quick sip and get on with my life. I feel like I’ve been drinking a ton more water lately, and want to just buy another one of these and recycle every single other water bottle I have.

Event planning is the WORST. Honestly. Half the reason we didn’t do a big traditional wedding is because neither Ben nor I wanted to deal with all of the associated bullshit. Coordinating vendors. Pricing venues. Budgeting. Insurance. Blah blah blah. I’m on the planning committee for my company’s annual United Way campaign, and have been four years running. I know it’s ultimately all for a good cause, but I just don’t have a head for this stuff. This year I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility that I have in the past and I do NOT like it. I’m currently in charge of an event that should have been fairly simple, but due to serious communication problems, it has turned into something of a nightmare right at the last minute and I’m ready to jump off a cliff. Thankfully, the event in question is this Sunday, and once it’s done, I can relax a bit. Until I have to start corralling vendors for the NEXT event that I’m responsible for. Ugh! I’m planning to try to excuse myself from the committee next year, but I’m not sure whether or not that will fly with my bosses 😦

I’ve been reading and following a lot of “frugal living,” “simple living,” and “minimalist” blogs lately. I’m DEFINITELY not ready to chuck it all and have bare walls and a 30 piece wardrobe and live like a monk, that’s so not me. HOWEVER, I am trying to a) get a grip on my finances (I spend too much on unnecessary crap), b) get rid of the clutter that we’ve accumulated over the last 8 years of living together before we move into a house, and c) slowly get myself off the wheel of consumerism that causes me to spend so much money and have so much clutter in the first place. Changing is HARD, but I’m committed to getting my sh*t together a bit more before buying a house and hopefully bringing a kid into the mix. If we want to live off a single income, I can’t keep spending the way I have been.

What’s your favorite water bottle? Have you ever read up on minimalism?

 

Friday Free-For-All 06/02/17

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I scheduled two very adult-y things this week. One, I scheduled my annual physical. Two, I FINALLY scheduled a consult for wisdom teeth extraction that I originally got a referral for OVER A YEAR AGO. I’m trying to get all this icky surgery/blood work etc out of the way before we start trying to get pregnant, and this week helped me move toward accomplishing that. Unfortunately, the wisdom teeth consult isn’t even until July, which means actual extraction won’t be until August at the earliest, but whatever, I’m making moves!

I’ve got another busy weekend on tap. Tomorrow I have not one, not two, but THREE events to attend: a housewarming party, a birthday party, and a going away party. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE seeing my friends and doing fun things, but I only have so much bandwidth. I really need some quiet down time! Hopefully I can just chill out tomorrow morning to brace myself for the onslaught of socialization.

I received the audition materials for my Fun Home audition. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t freaked out a bit. God bless them for providing us with the scene and song cut, because I haven’t had to pick and prepare my own audition pieces in a looooong time. It’s still scary because I’ve been spoiled rotten by my local community theatre group that very kindly and patiently teaches the songs to everyone workshop style before the auditions. I’m pretty much on my own for this. I have the soundtrack and I know the plot of the show, but AAAAAHHHHHHHH. I’m trying to remain calm and just DO THE WORK. I have another whole week to really dive into the audition pieces and try to put together some semblance of a decent audition.

I may be taking a super quick, last-minute trip to San Francisco. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while may remember that back in 2014, I took a quick trip to SF over 4th of July weekend. My friend Krissy’s 30th birthday is June 25, and she had been talking about a big birthday shindig, but due to the insane nature of her work she wasn’t able to plan anything formal, and I thought the trip wasn’t happening. But we talked this week, and she told me how much it would mean to her for me to come. I’m cleared to take the time off work and rehearsal, I’m just waiting to hear back from Krissy if the flights I found will work with her schedule, and then I’ll be booking. Aaaah! It’s a bit expensive to book a flight three weeks out, but I figure you can’t put a price on friendship and adventure.

What’s the most adult-y thing you’ve done lately?

 

San Francisco Recap

Guys, this was a whirlwind of a trip.  I only spent 2 full days in San Francisco, and pretty much spent another 2 full days travelling.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.

I’m gonna break it down on a day-by-day basis, to help me remember what happened.  It’s all a little fuzzy due to lack of sleep!

Thursday

Tigger and I hopped in the car at about 8am to drive down to Boston since I was flying out of Logan.  I stopped for coffee, gas, and some Trader Joe’s snacks.  Yum!  And then we were off!

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I’m gonna skim over all the driving and long flight and such, except to say that it was smooth sailing, and I got my first glimpse of the Pacific ocean around 7 pm San Francisco time.

Immediately upon landing, Krissy and her bf Dave picked me up and we headed into the Mission district to meet their friend Schumann for sushi.  We went to this place called Kiji, and I can say with all honesty that this was the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life.  Fresh, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth tender pieces of fish, and wonderful flavor combinations.  I’m so sorry I don’t have any pictures, but I left my phone in the truck.  It didn’t really last long enough for pictures anyway!  Dave knew the chef, so we got a few complimentary plates, as well as 2 complimentary bottles of Sake, which I’d never had before, and is quite tasty.  I highly recommend Kiji if you’re in the Mission–great service and amazing food!

When we were finally done eating (we ordered 2 separate rounds of food!) we headed over to a bar called Amnesia.  Little did we know that they had a honky tonk band competition happening, so we got to see two live bands that were both pretty good!  This bar was great because it reminded me a lot of the way one of my favorite local coffee shop/bar/music house combos used to be, before it got “hipster-ified.”  We danced and had a few drinks, and headed home around 1:30.

Friday

Krissy and Dave live in the Presidio, which is a former Army base, and it’s actually a wildlife area, built mostly on sand dunes.  There are some cool trails that wind around the dunes and across the street to Baker Beach and Marshall Beach.  This is the view off their front porch.

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The Presidio is usually foggy and much cooler than the rest of the city, due to some funky weather patterns

Breakfast was sourdough bread from the famous Boudin (pronounced boo-deen) Bakery.  This bakery has been using the same sourdough starter for over 100 years, and it is AMAZING.  We each ate about 6 slices slathered in butter, lightly toasted, and then sprinkled with pure Vermont maple sugar crystals.  So, so good.

After breakfast, Krissy and I took their golden retriever, River, for a walk along Marshall Beach.  You have to walk down lots of steps and past an old battery to get there–that’s the stone structure in the forefront of this picture looking down at Marshall Beach.

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This beach is really cool, because at low tide, you can walk almost all the way up to the base of the Golden Gate bridge.

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In the afternoon, several of their friends came over for a BBQ, cause what’s the 4th of July without grilled meat?  And margaritas?  And homemade salsa?  A travesty, that’s what.  Thankfully, we had all those things and more, so life was good!

Around 7:30, we packed some blankets and a flask and hopped on bicycles to ride down to the Hyde Street Pier.  We had an exclusive invitation to watch the fireworks from the deck of the Balclutha, which is a windjammer class cargo ship that was first launched in 1866.  This is not something you can buy tickets for.  This is not something that you can pay for.  We only got an invitation because Krissy and Dave’s neighbor, Jo-Jo, works for the maritime museum and does the rigging for the ship.  Can you say, VIP?  Oh, yeah!

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Watching the fireworks from the ship was SO.FRICKEN.COOL.  First of all, the barge that was lighting off the fireworks was only about 200 yards away.  Second of all, the lights and explosions made me feel like I was in the midst of a naval battle.  I kept imagining what it would have been like, and I just sat there with an idiotic grin the whole 30 minute show.  Thirdly, the way we were positioned in SF bay meant that we could see not one, not two, but three different fireworks shows.  BALLER!

Can you see Old Glory flying in the upper right corner?  So patriotic!

Can you see Old Glory flying in the upper right corner? So patriotic!

Afterwards, we rode our bikes back through the crazy crowds of people, and Jo-Jo, his girlfriend Tessa, and another of the museum workers, Marcos, came over and we drank some beers and ate delicious popcorn with nutritional yeast sprinkled on it.  This was new to me, and as a popcorn aficionado, I was really pleased.  It’s almost cheesy, but with a really rich flavor.  Yum! Finally, around 1 am as I was struggling to keep my eyes open, we headed to bed.  I left my window open and I could hear the waves and the fog horns 🙂

Saturday

I awoke around 6 am to the aggravating dulcet tones of a baby hawk shrieking outside my window.  This is a long story, but basically there are two baby hawks, named Bob, and Steve.  But since you can’t tell them apart, I started calling them “Stevebob.”  So I’m lying there, thinking REALLY murderous thoughts, and threatening Stevebob under my breath.  Thankfully, he shut up and I got to sleep a bit longer.

Stevebob through the telescope

Stevebob through the telescope

Krissy and I got dressed and hopped on a bus (locals refer to public transportation as “muni”) and went to a delicious, New York style bagel bakery for breakfast.  We were trying to meet up with our friend Sophia’s tour bus company at Union Square for a 10 am tour, but unfortunately, we got “muni’d”–public transportation is not always that reliable in the bay area.

Instead, we headed down to Market Street.  Now, I’m gonna lay a little history lesson on you.  After the earthquake of 1906, most of the city was leveled.  What didn’t collapse during the earthquake itself generally caught fire and burned, so there’s very little historical architecture left in San Francisco.  This golden fountain is one of the few surviving structures.  In the aftermath of the quake, it was one of the few recognizable landmarks, and became an unofficial meeting place for people looking for friends and family.  They painted it gold after the fact, and it remains right downtown.

Tigger is having adventures

Tigger is having adventures

Next, we hopped on the F line, which is REALLY cool.  It’s made up of street cars from all over the world–the one we sat in was originally from Italy, and all of the signage was in Italian!

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The F line took us to the Castro, which is the “gay” district.  Rainbow flags everywhere!  We went to Philz coffee, which is AMAZING, by the way, and is attached to a laundromat called the Sit ‘n’ Spin.  Oh, San Francisco, you sassy thing!  We wandered around the Castro for a while, and stopped in at Hot Cookie.  All they sell is cookies, and they serve them warm.  I’m still drooling thinking about my cookie.

We got on a train for Union Square and stopped at the Westin Hotel.  This thing is enormous, and has elevators on the outside, so you get a fantastic view of the city.  Unfortunately, the elevators require a room key to operate.  We lurked by the elevator bays until some other people got on, and we rode up with them.  While we didn’t get to go all the way to the top, it was still really cool.  And those things move FAST!  It was almost like a roller coaster ride!

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We decided to catch Sophia’s 12 pm tour on the Magic Bus.  Guys, I can’t recommend this tour bus enough.

Not just a ride--it's a trip!

Not just a tour–it’s a trip!

This bus takes you to all the same places that any other tour bus would take you, but it’s way more fun and interesting.  It’s set in the historical and political context of the Summer of Love.  Projector screens roll down over the windows so you can watch video clips, and they roll up again so you can look out the window and see where you are, or yell things to passersby.

Sophia, or “Gaia,” as she’s called on the bus, is a riot.  This is basically a 2 hour one-woman show, and she’s perfectly in character at all times.

Yes, those are all her own clothes

Yes, those are all her own clothes

You will be offered LSD (melty mint candies) and directed to look at “blank white walls,” which actually have murals painted on them, to indicate whether or not your drugs are working 😉  You’ll be driven through the Haight-Ashbury, of course, the lower Haight, North Beach, the Conservatory of Flowers, past Golden Gate Park, and everywhere else you might want to go in downtown San Francisco, and you will laugh your butt off the whole time.  This is a small, independent business, so if you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, I highly recommend you take a trip on the Magic Bus.

After the bus ride, Krissy and I blasted over to City Hall, because apparently, the steps inside the front lobby are featured in the final scenes of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Sadly, City Hall was closed for the weekend, so all we could do was peek in the windows.  Next up, drinks at Zeitgeist.  I don’t have any pictures because there were actually signs around discouraging the use of camera and video equipment, which was sad.  Anyway, this place is pretty cool.  It’s cash only, which I think is really unusual.  The only foods they serve are burgers, grilled cheeses, and home fries, which are all VERY tasty.  They have a beautiful patio out back that’s jam-packed with picnic tables, and it sort of encourages more of a community feeling, because you usually end up sharing a table with another group.  Sophia and her bf Will, met us there for a couple of drinks, and then Krissy and I headed back to the Presidio.

We weren’t sure where the evening was going to take us, so we showered and changed, and then hopped in the truck with Dave.  He was heading back up to Napa to finish his concert gig, so Krissy and I needed to pick up her car, the Scubaru (Subaru WRX, and Krissy is a diver), so she could drive me to the airport in the morning.  We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, and it was really cool, because the sun’s rays were peeking out from beneath the fog cover.

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We took a spin up through the Marin Headlands and back around toward Sausalito, where Krissy’s friend Spike has a farm.  That’s where the Scubaru was stashed.  Spike gave us dinner and we stayed until almost 10:30.

The Scubaru is unfortunately about to be retired–K has had this car for over 10 years, and it’s unfortunately reached the point of no return, so we took her out for her final Krissy and Rachel sing-along road trip.  We drove up to the Palace of Fine Arts, which is affectionately referred to as a particular piece of female anatomy that I will be polite enough not to repeat, because it has a big dome on top.  It’s incredibly beautiful all lit up at night, and we actually scaled one of the walls to get a better view.

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Any Dr. Who fans out there?

Any Dr. Who fans out there?

Next, we drove up to Coit Tower, which is affectionately referred to as a particular piece of male anatomy due to its shape.  I’m sure you can figure that one out yourself from the picture.  There is a huge Diego Rivera mural all around the lobby, but of course since it was now 11 pm, the building was closed.  Thankfully, we could look through the windows and see it anyway.

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The view from up on the hill is pretty phenomenal.  We could see the TransAmerica building, which has a giant LED light on top.  Apparently, the light isn’t lit every night, but it was on Saturday, so I felt pretty special 🙂

The TransAmerica building is that big blue light

The TransAmerica building is that big blue light

As the final stop for the night, we headed over to North Beach to check out Vesuvio cafe.  This place is a historic landmark, a “monument to jazz, poetry, art, and the good life of the Beat Generation.”  Jack Kerouac was a frequent visitor, and it remains a “hip” bar and tourist attraction.  It was really crowded, so we just went inside and poked around for a while, and then went across the street to Spec’s for a drink.

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This Vermont state flag was placed on the ceiling at Spec’s by an actor that Krissy has worked with back in VT.  Crazy, no?

Finally, we were exhausted and decided to head back to the Presidio.  We watched one of our absolute favorite chick flicks, Dirty Love, with Jenny McCarthy, and didn’t head to bed until 2 am.

Sunday

That 5 am wake up call was pretty rough after such a late night, but I managed to drag myself up and pull all my stuff together.  It was a beautiful morning, with fog pouring down the mountains like an avalanche.

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Since it was my last ride in the Scubaru, I had to take a final picture before heading into the terminal.

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So there you have it!  San Francisco.  Or at least, a tiny, tiny portion of it.  I can’t wait to go back when I’ve got more time.  And I really want Ben to come too.  His dad was stationed in SF during his time in the Navy, and Ben has always wanted to visit.

Ever been to San Francisco?  What’s your favorite thing to do there?

Where did you get the best sushi you’ve ever had?

Have you ever done a whirlwind weekend getaway?

Monday Morning Check-In

Happy Monday!  I’m back from my whirlwind trip to San Francisco, and I am seriously feeling it today.  I need a nap!

Normally, this would be a Manic Monday post, but considering that I took all of last week off from training of any kind, it would have been a pretty short post.  I just wanted to pop in and say hi, and that a SF recap is coming soon!  I had lots of adventures and crammed as much as I possibly could into the short time I was there.

This week is all about getting back into the groove–back to running, back to the gym, and back to healthy eating.  I’m feeling really good about my mindset right now and like I’m in a place where I can really commit to being a healthier person, so I’m going to ride that wave as long as I can.  Unfortunately, my right foot has been bothering me a bit since the half, so I need to take it easy, and maybe look into more supportive shoes to wear when I’m not running.

This is another short work week for me–Ben and I are headed to Warren, Maine this weekend for his annual family reunion.  It’s looking like it will be a significantly smaller turnout than usual, which might actually be nice–a little less hectic, and more time to actually talk to and hang out with the people who are there instead of trying to divide our time between so many.  Plus, we get to eat our fill of delicious seafood.  Nomnomnom.

I hope you all had a wonderful fourth of July weekend!

Off to the West Coast

Hi, friends!  I sort of mentioned this in passing, but haven’ t explicitly stated it yet:  I’m headed off to San Francisco for a few days to visit one of my best and dearest friends.

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K and I have been friends since middle school, and she moved out to San Fran last fall, right as I was moving back to VT.  Talk about poor timing!  She’s been trying to cajole me into visiting for months, but I kept having to say no because of financial constraints.  Well, crazy, generous gal that she is, she up and bought me plan tickets!  I fly out of Logan tomorrow afternoon and will have a whirlwind long weekend on the West Coast!

I’ve actually never been further west than Colorado, so I’m SUPER stoked!  The weather is looking totally fabulous, and I know K will have lots of adventures cooked up!

I’ll be bringing my buddy Tigger along for the ride, sort of like a Disney version of Flat Stanley, and he’ll be sharing in my adventures.  I’m not planning to post at all while I’m gone, but you can pop over to my Twitter and Instagram feeds if you simply can’t live without me until Monday (which I sincerely doubt–I’m not that cool).  And of course, I’ll have a nice vacation recap when I get back 🙂

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!