Monday, December 31, 2012


by atomicity via Flickr
“Each of us has the power and responsibility to heal ourselves, to be our own medicine man or woman. Awakening our innate powers of being, loving, knowing, seeing, and healing involves ongoing work at all levels and in all dimensions of our self. Exploring the range of rhythms and emotions, achieving insights into our conditioning and ego, moving through the energy levels of spirit – these are all activities to be integrated into our daily lives.” -Gabrielle Roth from Maps to Ecstasy: A Healing Journey for the Untamed Spirit

Friday, December 28, 2012

Life happenings

by oxherder via Flickr
December was an interesting month for me. I managed to find an apartment at the last minute despite having a less than stellar visit to California. Jess and I have been busy planning our cross country road trip while I've also been getting all my ducks in a row to wrap up my life on the east coast. There's been some family drama, as per the usual. I've also been falling fast for a guy friend, in case, you know, there wasn't enough going on.

I'm currently spending an extended holiday stay with my brother, sister in law, and nephew to soak in some extra family time before I head out to the west coast.

Okay, enough about me! Here are some entertaining links I've come across:

Don't tell me what to do!

A fake British PSA on global warming.

Twas the night before Christmas mouse.

My favorite holiday Grumpy Cat.

I hope your December has been great and the new year ahead holds some wonderful opportunities for you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


by jbuc via Flickr
"Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed." -Vida Dutton Scrudder, The Privilege of Age

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy holidays

by jmsmith000 via Flickr
I want to wish all of my readers a very Merry Chrismakwanzika/Festivus. I know that this time can be stressful, trying, and or downright depressing for COH, so I just wanted to encourage you all to seek peace this season and to try to stay positive.

If there is something you can do to make your holidays better, I would recommend that you do it. Place a time limit for visiting your HP, find a neutral place (not in the hoard) to celebrate the holiday, limit the amount of gifts exchanged. I know that my Christmases became much more enjoyable when I started to stay with my brother and his wife rather than stay at my grandma's with my mother while I was visiting for the holiday. Focus on what you are thankful for and let everything else melt away.

Hugs to you all!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Free or inexpensive things to do in a city

by ecstaticist via Flickr
I originally wrote this post years ago for a now defunct blog. As Jess and I are starting to plan our cross country roadtrip, I thought back on this post for ideas for things to see and do in new cities. 

Watching your pennies doesn't always mean that you have to stay home all day, everyday. I live in Richmond, Virginia and the River City offers plenty of opportunities to get out and have fun without blowing your budget. I've broadened these categories so that they can be applied to most cities or larger towns in America. These ideas would also be a good starting point for inexpensive things to do while visiting another city. Always remember: it's not the amount of money you spend, but having a good, positive attitude that makes going out anywhere enjoyable.

Budget movie theatres. Never got around to seeing that big flick a few months ago? Check your local movie listings to see if a budget theatre picked it up. For a buck or two you can get a second chance to see it on the big screen.

Museums. Art, science, and history museums often have free admissions on certain days- usually Sundays. Also, if you get there a few hours or less before closing, they may waive the admission fee. Keep in mind there are a good number of well funded museums that always offer free admission. And of course, if you are a student or a member of a certain organization, you can often get free or reduced admission.

Local music scene. Shows for local bands at bars, restaurants, and venues often don't have a cover charge, or if they do, it's only a few bucks since they want to encourage as many people to come as possible. Local bands are always eager to see a few new faces at shows to help spread the word about their music. You might just be pleasantly surprised at how good some of the bands really are!

Festivals. Every city and its surrounding area usually have at least a few free festivals every summer, if not during the rest of the year as well. Whether it's a festival revolving around food, ethnicity, or a special event, you are sure to expand your world view for very little cost.

Art openings. Once a month, there is usually a designated day of the week that all art galleries in a certain area of a city stay open later than normal (for example, the first Friday or third Thursday of every month). Most of these galleries have free, light refreshments that you can munch on while you check out artwork and wander from gallery to gallery.

College speakers. Colleges and universities bring in a wide array of speakers throughout the school year to enhance the intellectual environment on their campuses. Many times, these events are open to the public and are free. Check the college's website or newsletter for announcements.

Rush tickets at theater productions. Many theatres offer a reduced ticket price, or rush tickets, for theatre goers who purchase their tickets (with no reservations) 5-10 minutes before a show begins. A cut in profit is better than a seat remaining empty. Also, high school and college's theatre productions are usually a fraction of the cost of a "professional" theatre's production.

Factory tours. Companies are usually all too eager to have present and potential customers take a tour through their factories. They should have a schedule of their tours posted on their website or recorded on their answering machine. Free samples are usually distributed at the end of the tour (especially at breweries, wineries, and factories that produce food).

Stroll through an interesting neighborhood. Whether it's for the architecture, the window shopping, or all around vibe, sometimes just hitting the street on a beautiful day can offer plenty of eye candy and entertainment.

Bodies of water. Lakes, oceans, and rivers usually have an abundance of things to do around them. Canal walks, islands, beaches, nature trails, swimming, boating, fishing... you name it, you can do it, and usually cheaply or for free.

Public parks and estates. When owners of vast estates pass away, some of them donate their property to the city and the city, in turn, converts them into museums and or public parks. A tour of the house itself may be a few bucks, but you can usually visit their gardens for free. If none of the estates are budget friendly, regular public parks are a nice escape as well. You can pick up a few items from a local market and enjoy a picnic watching kids fly kites or romp on the jungle gym. State or national parks are also good, frugal choices if they're nearby.

Dog parks. If you, a friend, or a family member owns a dog, see if there are any public dog parks in the area. Your dog will get some much needed exercise while you get to meet nice, interesting people who live in your city and share your love of dogs.

Historic landmarks. Monuments, memorials, cemeteries, battlefields, settlements, and birthplaces (just to name a few historic places) are usually free for the public to peruse. What better way to brush up on American history than to see it face to face?

Parades and marathons. Make sure you get to the route early so that you can pick a good spot to see all the action. Bring some drinks and maybe a few light snacks as these types of things seem to last a long time. Parades and marathons are even better if you know anyone who's going to be participating.

Book signings/readings and open mic nights. Independent bookstores often have local author readings and signings while chain stores usually attract more popular authors. Check bars, cafes, and even bookstores for listings of open mic nights.

Visit thrift stores and or used bookstores. Sometimes you just never know what you're going to find at an amazing price or what interesting characters you'll meet.

Volunteering. If you really want to attend a pricey event, see if they need any volunteers to usher, help set up or break down, or tend the refreshment stand. Chances are, they'll let you see/attend the event for free in exchange for your assistance. If you want more than just an excuse to get out of the house, volunteering on a regular basis for an organization or cause that you feel strongly about will not only have you rubbing shoulders with like minded people, but will also give you the opportunity to spend your time more productively than you would on any kind of entertainment.

Did I miss anything? What are your tips for exploring an area without spending a fortune?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day to day

by lalalaleeuh via Flickr
“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a daily basis." -Margaret Bonanno

Monday, December 17, 2012


by kaderli via Flickr
If you've been keeping up with my blog lately, you know that life's kind of been kicking me in the pants the last few months. There are way too many things going on to begin with, but then add in some people who are really stressing me out and I'm just about maxed out.

One of the things that I kind of just glossed over was the fact that I broke up with my boyfriend a few weeks ago. I don't think this bit of news was surprising to most people in real life because there were problems from the beginning. The impending cross country move was a catalyst to figure out how things really stood and when I took an honest look at what I really want out of a life partner, he simply came up short. He's a great guy and we had good times together, but in the long run, we weren't going to make each other happy. He wasn't ready for a big commitment and my gut reaction to marrying him was a big, fat no.

I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that, despite being bummed about ending a relationship, it has opened up opportunities that I would not have been able to pursue otherwise. Specifically, I have a guy friend whom I've known for 5 years. We had an instant connection when we met, but it's quite comical at how poor our timing has been. We managed to have a few romantic encounters a few years ago when we were both single, but living in two different states always put a damper on things. Regardless of what's been going on though, we've stayed in contact for the vast majority of the last 5 years. During my break up, we both realized that we should probably try to figure out what kind of potential we have before I move cross country. We've been making time to see each other and, let me tell you, it's been pretty great. Since we already know each other pretty well, it's like we've just naturally fallen into a rhythm.

At the end of the day, I'm still moving cross country in a little over two weeks, so I'm trying to keep my expectations in check. In this moment though, moving to California is the last thing I want to do.

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's the journey, not the destination

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." -Albert Camus via Free People

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just breathe

from Office Space
Dear self,

I know that you are hurt right now. I know that what she said to you and how she said it was unfair and it made you feel so hurt and so small. But guess what? You are bigger and better than her misconceptions. What matters is that Dad loves you and things are fine with him. You are moving soon, a mere three weeks, and you will no longer have to see her, no longer have to deal with her. She is nothing, no one, and will continue to be nothing to you. Just hang on. You have had to deal with much worse for a much longer amount of time. This can be done.


P.S. The truth always wins out. It may not be revealed or realized immediately, but it is there and it is unwavering.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Someday is Today: Cross country road trip!

Guys, this is a big one. As a travel lover, I've always wanted to do the quintessential cross country road trip and, as my regular readers know, I am moving to San Francisco in January for an awesome library job. So naturally, I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity to actually get in the car and drive across the country!

Luckily, my doll of a college roommate, Jess of Animated Cardigan, has agreed to embark on this trip with me and my two cats (poor babies). We've been on a few road trips together in the past and she's a great travel companion, so I'm super psyched for her to be my accomplice. 

We don't have all the details hammered out yet, but it looks like I'll be joining her in South Carolina shortly after the new year and then we'll predominately follow 40 through the mid-west, stopping to see the sights and ticking off lots of states, then hop on the Pacific Coast Highway once we're in California and land in San Francisco a few days before I have to start work.

As important as it is to take care of the goals in life that make us more responsible, healthy, and put together people, it's just as important to make headway towards goals that are fun and expose you to new experiences. Right? Right.

Have you ever taken a cross country road trip? Do you have any tips or suggested stops for us?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Launch yourself on every wave

by mikeyskatie via Flickr
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” - Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Woe is me

by a_ninjamonkey via Flickr
If you are having a rough day, just think of me having very little luck apartment hunting in a city where I know next to no one while I'm sick with a cold and cough.

Happy Wednesday, all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

From the archives: teenage exuberance

by kaysha via Flickr
Sometimes, especially when I feel down, I like to go back and read things I wrote when I was a teenager. This entry I wrote in 2005 made me smile and remember that life is fleeting, so you better fucking live.

Oh the possibilities, the endless possibilities. Germany, Switzerland, Fiji. Fucking Fiji. Life is so abundant, I want to be filled with its wonderment. I love these moments, when my seemingly dead soul is revived. A phoenix from the flames. Moving, living, breathing. Really fucking living. Laughter from the inside. The tickling of my heart. My ticklish heart. I wish to never fake a laugh, a chuckle, the plastic manufactured emotions. Cut it off, sever, snip snip, no wounds because it never really was a part of you. Effervescence. Inhale the contentment, exhale the charisma. Exfoliate the calluses. Let your new skin be caressed. Conventions don't have a hold on me. Break down the barriers and really make something of worth. Cut the cookie cutter crap, bring on some reality. Oh life, take me where I want to go. Allow me to pose and capture the picture. Compose the story and read its glory. Radiate and feel the sun's warmth. Expose the life that is living inside. Energy. Tiptoe down this high wire and enjoy the view. Trip and allow the clouds to catch your fall. Keep on going down that line and build momentum. Reach your destination at a full sprint and laugh your head off when you get there, choking on the simultaneous inhale and exhale. Collapse on the grass and just die. Oh, it'll make a great story for your grandchildren. They'll love you and your cookies. Wings. The ones you always wanted and never could convince gravity to defy with. Keep yourself grounded. Bored and safe. Crawl into bed and dream of all the things you never had the guts to do and achieve. Slice your skin open with the edge of regrets. Fear, so irrational. Live, love, and be loved. Welcome the pain along the way, it means you're learning and trying and that you're still alive. Alive. Live. Life.