Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is Anybody Still Out There?

Wanna know what I've been up to the last couple of months?  Well, I've been building a new website/blog!  I know I was talking about it and hinting at it, but it is finally live.  Well, actually, it's been live since January 1st, but I've been kinda nervous about promoting it, well, anywhere.  It's a work in progress, as this has been, with more of a focus on getting where I want to be.  Hopefully, you'll go visit!  Here's the link: WannaBe Vagabond

Thanks to everyone who read and commented here!  Sorry about the long radio silence!  Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Recently I've had a couple of opportunities pop up to complete number 8 on my 30 Before 30 List.: Volunteer. 

Last Tuesday night, I attended a volunteer orientation for the Ohio Wildlife Center.  They are a non-profit wild animal rehabilitation and conservation center.  They treat and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wild animals.  They also provide non-lethal animal control and conservation and wildlife education.  I'm planning on training to work on the education side, to learn to handle the animal ambassadors and teaching and doing presentations with them.  The center has brought animals to my workplace several times, and I've wanted to get involved with them for a while now. 

I'm really excited to get to work with animals and help educate the public about our native species, but from what I've learned already, I need to remember a couple of things about the center.  First, these animals are wild animals, not pets.  They don't necessarily love you back like our domesticated animals.  Also, it is important to know exactly how to handle each one.  Especially when working with the raptors, they can hurt you pretty seriously if you're not careful.  It will definitely be an eye opening experience, but I'm looking forward to starting!

I also had the opportunity to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house here in Columbus, across from Nationwide Children's Hospital.  A group of us from work went to bake goodies for the families.  Between the 8 of us that went, we bagged up over 250 packets of treats!  We had brownies, rice crispy treats, iced cut-out cookies, chocolate chip cookies, S'mores on a stick, and candy Buckeyes!  We had a really good time and got to take a tour of the facility.  It really is an amazing place. 

They are a non-profit organization, operated almost completely on donations.  The house provides a place to stay for the families of seriously ill children.  There are 70 rooms, similar to hotel rooms with private bathrooms, and 10 suites, with a bedroom and separate living space with a kitchen and washer and dryer.  Almost all of the work is done by volunteers, including all of the cleaning, laundry and food preparation.  Supplies are provided by donation, including laundry soap, paper towels, toilet paper, food, toys, clothing, cleaning supplies and anything else you can imagine to run a home or a hotel.  If you have a Ronald McDonald House near you, I encourage you to volunteer or donate supplies, they are always in need!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Goodbye Hannah

Today we said goodbye to my Mother-In-Law's dog Hannah.  She was truly one of the sweetest, gentlest souls I've ever known.  She hated cats and other small mammals that ran from her, but loved pretty much every human.  My funniest memory is of her and our old dog Dexter eating apples they would pick right from the tree. 

Goodbye Hannah-Banana, we'll miss your tail-thumping.  Say hi to Dexter for us, we miss him too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Some Rambling and Some Pictures

I haven't written in a week.  Not, I haven't posted in a week, no, I haven't even been writing.  It feels a little strange after the binge I was on there for a while.  I've got to get back in the groove. 

It's not even that I've had writer's block or anything, I just haven't done it.  Not really out of laziness, or lack of motivation, just nothing. 

I have been working a little bit on the new blog.  I did complete the tasks I gave myself last week!  Yay!  I bought the domain name (not telling cause there's nothing there yet!) and got hosting up and running and downloaded WordPress.  So, getting somewhere.  I'm still a little hung up on themes though, not sure if I should suck it up and buy a paid one, or use a free one.  Also, logo design, need to do that. 

Sorry for the to-do list, I do that sometimes.

Just so this isn't a completely worthless (to you anyway!) post, here are a couple of underwater pictures from Roatan.  And have a great day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Which I Set a Goal For Myself

Obviously fate keeps kicking me in the behind, and I keep ignoring it. 

I keep coming across blog posts that should boost me into high gear, but I keep procrastinating.  And then I feel guilty.  And then I procrastinate some more.

I did finally figure out a name for my new blog, and I've written up a To-Do list for the startup.  But I haven't pulled the trigger to get myself started. 

Am I lazy?  Am I afraid?  Probably a little of both.  I'm just too easily de-motivated.

So tonight I'm going to do it.  I'm going to finally take those first steps; buy the domain name, download WordPress.  Baby steps.  But I've got to keep moving forward, and keep up the writing too. 

P.S. Here's the link to the most recent post that smacked me upside the head.  From "the middle finger project" blog: The Greatest Form of Suffering of All: Inaction.

P.P.S Read the rest of Ashley's stuff on there too, she's pretty awesome!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Roatan: - Part 1 - The Surprise

It's about 4:45am, September 18, and Jeff is already chattering at me in bed, the alarm to get us up and out the door to the airport not due to go off for another 15 minutes or so.  I am not quite ready for his level of alertness.  Thankfully, we are already about 90% packed and loaded, but we know that the others may not be as low-stress as we are.

We're actually looking forward to the relatively easy flights and being in Roatan by early afternoon.  The last 2 trips have been 20+ and 30+ hours each way, 5 hours was going to be downright relaxing.  However, we also know that there are 4 others going on this trip that we have to worry about, and 3 of them have never been out of the country.

We get to the airport on time, there is some fumbling around, a little confusion, impatience, but overall, no biggies.  Flight takes off, lands in Atlanta, no hitches.  So far, so good.  Oh, there's a flight delay of an hour, eh, okay, so we get there an hour later than planned, all we have to do when we get there is go to the beach.

So, we have about an hour and a half to kill in ATL, we grab breakfast and coffee.  I see my dad start to fumble with his camera, we find out that he's got a full battery, but left the memory card at home.  He figures maybe he'd better go get one while he's still in the States, might be cheaper.  He takes off.

We're all just sitting there, hanging out.  I'm thinking about getting my Kindle out, and I hear "Hey, friend!", look up, and my best friend Dani is strolling casually up to me.
Wait, what?
I'm stunned into silence.  Speechless. 
"Yeah, we've been lying to you for months.  I didn't really go to England." (quick background on that: she'd supposedly been to London with her mom the week of Labor Day, and had been planning that trip for months before, which was why she couldn't come to Roatan for my birthday)
I think my responses are still just blinks, recognition has barely even set in yet.
Um, what?
Where did you come from?
What are you doing here?
Seriously, is this happening?
But this is all in my head, because my jaw is still on the floor and I'm not yet able to form words.

Obviously, the surprise that had been planned, was a success.
I look at Jeff, "Yeah, everybody knew about this but you, I've been talking to her since June."

Needless to say, I'm pretty shocked.  Apparently Jeff and Dani had been conspiring for months to get her booked on the trip.  And everybody knew about it, except for me of course!  I had no clue whatsoever.

I was thrilled!  All along, I just assumed that I would be the only girl on the trip, as with most diving related excursions, and now my best friend and Sherice, a friend of Dani's from Pennsylvania, were going too!  Pretty good surprise. 

Anyway, we land in Roatan, and make it to Anthony's Key Resort without incident.  All in all, a great start to the trip!

Up next, the diving, and then, another surprise!

And now for a few pictures:

Flying into Roatan

The view from our bungalows.

Looking across the water to Anthony's Key.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Regret and Change

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

I wanted to share this quote because it is one that I heard a long time ago and has always been inspiring to me.  I've always thought that you cannot regret the things you have done, because they have taught you something.  Only the things that you didn't do are regretable.  Thankfully, that is something you can change. 

Growing up, my dad always subscribed to National Geographic.  In fact, he still does.  He has always loved learning about different places and different cultures, but had never been out of the country.  I know that there are so many places that he would love to visit, but he's held back by the fear that it's new, and he's never done it before.  Last month, he joined us on our trip to Roatan.  It really opened his eyes to traveling, and the potentially life-altering consequences (in a good way!) of it.  I hope he catches the bug and joins us on our next trip, or even better, suggests a new place to visit.

I grew up with the idea that change is bad, scary.  Better to just go with the flow, stay safe.  The thing about the fear of change, is that in the long run, change is unavoidable.  No one is ever going to live their life, from beginning to end, without a couple of curve-balls thrown their way.  If you can't roll with the punches, you're going to be in big trouble!

I see this resistance to change at work all the time.  Since I work in a huge corporation that's been around for a while, I work with people who have been with the company for a long time.  Ones who have been in their positions for many years.  Anytime we try to introduce a new process, even if it makes their job easier and more efficient, it's like pulling teeth to try to get them to utilize it.  They're so stuck in the ways that it's "always been done" that they can't see that the new way is faster and easier.  It's terribly frustrating.

I never want to be that person who believes that change is bad.  It's not, it's just different.  I like different, it's way more interesting than the same.

P.S. Back to that quote at the top, thinking about incorporating that into the new and upcoming blog, what do you think?  "Throwing Off the Bowlines" maybe? 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

So Who the Heck Am I?

So it appears the first step on this whole personal journey thing, is to figure out who I am, really. 
I've been reading and writing like crazy lately.  I'm completely unsettled.  I'm pretty sure that's a good thing.  Although it can be a little annoying that I can't slow my brain down, there's a part of me that hopes that it doesn't!

I know a few things:
  • I need a new home online - a new blog that represents my journey a little bit better.
  • I need to keep writing.
  • I need to stay motivated.
  • I need to love what I'm writing about, so I can do the last two
  • I need to figure out how to make at least a little money at it
  • I need a NAME!
A few things I don't know:
  • I love travel, diving, cooking, gardening, photography, living a simpler life, knitting - can I integrate all/most of these things without it being too much or all over the place?
  • A blog name!! 
  • Lots of other stuff
Well, I'm getting somewhere, I think.  The one I'm struggling with the most is that blog name one.  I know I need something more general than knit n' diver, because that puts it in too small of a niche, and I don't really talk that much about knitting anymore anyway.  But I don't want to use my real name, nobody will ever find it!  So that's where I'm stuck.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Drive to DO Something

Monday was a bad day.  Mentally and physically. 

I mentioned that I've been doing a lot of soul-searching lately.  I've known for a long time that I'm not the type of person that is cut out for working in a cubicle day after day, plugging away for someone else, just for good pay and benefits.  I mean, that's what I've been doing for the past 12 years since I've been out of high school, but that doesn't mean that I've necessarily been happy about it.  I've done it because that's what I was told I was supposed to do.  Get good grades in school, go to college (preferably for something "worthwhile"), get a full-time job, get good benefits, go to work every day.  You're not supposed to like it, but that's what life is about.  Make more money, buy the bigger house, if you can't afford a nice one, get a fixer-upper and work on that for years at a time, sell it, do it all over again, only with a bigger and slightly more expensive house.  Oh yeah, you're supposed to get married and have kids while doing this too. 

This does not sound appealing to me.  I've rebelled a little against this so called "status quo", but without a whole lot of courage.  I went to college, but studied Fine Art instead of nursing or teaching or business, or whatever else I "should" have.  I got married but haven't had kids yet.  We bought the house, but haven't upgraded, even though we could technically afford something bigger and fancier.

I've always been afraid, it's the only way I've ever known, but lately, something inside me is cracking.  I'm not generally a person who gets depressed, but every day it gets just a little harder to get up and go in to do a job that I have no desire to do, no passion for.  Sure, I do a good job, but with no joy.  I have to do something else. Soon.

So what now?  Where do I go from here?  I've been obsessively reading blogs of passionate individuals, doing what they love to do, and while it inspires me, I'm still terrified. I can't just up and quit my job, we need the benefits, the money, the security.  My husband is self employed, it's stupid to think of not staying here, where I have a good job making good money (I just got another raise) with decent benefits.  I'm at a point where I don't know what I want to do, but I know it's not this.

My husband has always said, that the happiest people do more for others than they do for themselves.  I'll be the first to admit that we don't live by this enough.  But, every time we travel, it gives us more and more perspective on it.  The kindness and generosity of strangers and people who have a fraction of what we have (not just us, everyone) in this country, is incredibly overwhelming and emotional.  Every time we come back from vacation, it feels a little more wrong to keep doing the same thing.
I want to do more, I NEED to do more.  I just don't know where to start.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My 30 Before 30 List - The Wrap-Up

Well, technically since my 30th birthday was a little over a week ago, I'm calling this the wrap up, but I'm not calling it finished. For obvious reasons. They're still things I want to accomplish, soon, so maybe I'll stretch it out, and hopefully I can actually get 30 things on it!

1. Get my Mandarin fish tattoo - would love to get this, but still sort of undecided on the location of the tattoo, and it's expensive (and I'm a cheapskate).
2. Sew myself a wearable skirt - only laziness to blame for this if I'm being honest with myself, well, that and my irrational phobia of cutting into fabric.
3. Sell at least 1 of my photographs - I think I'm going to work through RedBubble for this, I'll have a link up soon to my portfolio.
4. Paint again (canvas, not walls) - just haven't felt inspired to pick up a paintbrush, the camera has been my biggest source of artistic expression lately.
5. Embroider a pillowcase - ooh, just got a fantastic book - Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living by Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy, I intend to work on this as the weather gets colder.
6. Preserve vegetables that I’ve grown in my garden - I actually did really well with this.  I froze several bags of green beans, at least 7 two-cup bags of shredded zucchini, some cherry tomatoes, red peppers and jalepenos.  I also ventured into pickling and pickled 3 jars of green cherry tomatoes. Which, by the way are excellent, here's the recipe I used.
7. Go to a stitch and bitch or knitting group - was too shy to do this yet.
8. Volunteer - I have recently talked to a person at the Ohio Wildlife Center to start volunteering with the wild animal rescue center there, and hopefully mentor with her and learn to handle the animals and teach.
9. Run a 5K - still want to do this, but nowhere near the fitness level I need to be.
10. Read at least 5 books on my bookshelves (preferably that I haven’t read before) - Getting there, but still have a little ways to go.  The intention was originally to read five books so that I can get rid of them, however, two of the books below are Kindle books. I'm still counting them as I'm glad to have actually been completing books. I still would like to get several more books out of my house though.
11. Invest some money for retirement (auto 401K with work does not count) - opened a Roth IRA on ShareBuilder, but haven't moved any money there yet.
12. Yarn Diet-knit down my stash - success! sort of, I haven't brought any new yarn into the house, but, I didn't do a whole lot of knitting this summer. For some reason, during the summer, I don't knit as much, I think there's just too much else going on outside. But, I did finish a couple of projects, and only started one, and it was with stash yarn.
13. Bake and frost a layer cake from scratch - talked about this and have pictures here.

14. Sell or give away 50 things that I currently own - success with this as well! Got rid of quite a few articles of clothing, shoes, makeup, books. Just as importantly, I didn't add much to replace them.
15. Paint the hutch in the dining room - no, but I got it cleaned out fairly well. I'm still up in the air as to what I want to do with it. I kind of want to get rid of it/sell it, because it takes up quite a bit of space, but, it also has a lot of storage, so, I'm torn.
16. Get into an exercise routine - I feel pretty good about this one, and am proud of the fact that I have been working out 3-4 times a week for the last three months. I really enjoy it now too!

All in all, I'm not completely satisfied with my progress, but I want to keep at it. Wish me luck! Anybody else have a list? Leave me a link in the comments, I'd love to see it!

**Disclaimer-the Amazon links are affiliate links, just FYI.**