Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Taking a Break

Give a Girl a Break

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Hello dear readers,

We at Our View From Here have enjoyed writing these posts each week for the last 14 months. However, life seems to have caught up with us recently and we are having a hard time creating meaningful blog posts every week. But don’t worry! We aren’t giving up the blog. Rather, we’ve opted to go on hiatus for a bit. This fall has been exceptionally busy with new jobs, new living situations, injuries, etc. We’ve decided to take a break and come back refreshed and with new things to say. Look for our next regular posts to occur in the new year. Thank you for following us on this journey so far and we look forward to sharing with you in January.

Yours truly,

The Our View From Here Bloggers:






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It’s that time of year again.

You may recall last year I became very distracted right around October thanks to playoff baseball. Well it’s happening again. I will not post again about how I react to watching these games as, quite frankly, it’s a little embarrassing. Instead I am hoping to use this post as a distraction. We’ll see how is goes.

I do have one thing I need to get off my chest. In truth, something I really need to vent about. Today on my drive home it was raining. It’s been raining a lot around these parts lately. As some of you may know, when you’re driving down a multi-lane highway in the rain visibility becomes very limited thanks to the mist flying off all the cars and semi-trucks.  So why do people NOT have their lights on.?I can’t tell you how many cars I passed or passed me that didn’t have their lights on. Two of them I nearly pulled out in front of but suddenly noticed the dark shadow that was their car. One car was silver, SILVER!, as in the same color as the mist surrounding everyone and the sky. Memo to people with silver cars: Since your car’s finish is basically the equivalent of highway mist camouflage, turn on your flipping lights! (If you can’t tell I came really close to pulling out in front of this person.)

Now on a positive note. If you haven’t found yourself a corn maze to frolic in this fall go find one!  I happened to find myself in one this weekend and it was a delight. This is the third or forth corn maze I’ve been to and I’ve yet to be disappointed. I’m not sure why I find these so fun. The mazes I’ve been to give you a map but I rarely use them. Truth be told this is an activity that requires a fun group of friends with you. I think it taps into the kid in me that apparently finds joy in frolicking in a corn field.

Camo-silver cars aside this is still the best time of year. Finally cooler temperatures (Yay sweaters!) and fun  fall activities abound. I said it before and I’ll said it again. It really is my favorite time of year. Enjoy the cooler weather folks and seriously find a corn maze with a fun group of friends. It really is a hoot!

PS- Sorry for the dis-jointed post. It was that sort of a day. Honestly, I was like Dug from “Up” today (Squirrel!)

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It’s Coming from the Attic!!

I’ve been racking my brain all night trying to think of a lovely anecdote to share and I’m coming up empty. I blame this on my complete lack of sleep last night. Some of it was my fault but a significant portion wasn’t.

You see I drove back from PA yesterday and probably had too much caffeine between the coffee in the morning and the soda for the drive that I wasn’t tired at my normal bedtime. I finally forced myself to bed a good 3 hours after I should’ve been there. I finally was getting myself to sleep and it happened. A random skittering noise. I tried to tell myself I was hearing things and then it happened again. I was suddenly awake and alert all over again.  I turned the light on and figured there was no where it could be coming from in the room . I turned the light out and tried to settle back to my nearly asleep state and it happened again. This time I pinpointed the sound. It was coming from the attic!! There is some small varmint living in the attic above my apartment. My current hope is that it stays there. I cede the territory that is the attic to the small skittering critter. I just ask that it does its late night skittering over the laundry room or the bathroom where I can’t hear it and stays in the attic.

I’m hoping tonight will be a little quieter. There is a steady rain falling making the attic good and cold. A good night for critters to hunker down and not skitter across the ceiling above my head; ’cause I could really use a solid night of sleep.

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Making a List. Not Necessarily Checking it Twice.

I am a list-maker. Since I first understood the concept of a list, I began making them. Grocery lists, to do lists, lists of books I want to read, packing lists….essentially, if I could find a reason to put somewhat related items down on a piece of paper, I would do so.  I am constantly finding little scraps of paper containing forgotten or discarded lists in my pockets and purse, on my nightstand and in other random spots around my house. You could probably build a full-sized person with all the paper from all the lists I’ve made over the course of my life, though that would be weird and I’m not sure why you would want to. But you probably could.

I’m currently looking at perhaps my crowning achievement of lists – a to do lists with over 30 items on it. It’s not that insane. Most of the items don’t have any particular deadline, but rather are things I would like to accomplish by the end of the year. It’s a pretty random mishmash of items. I have everything from changing an electrical outlet in my bedroom that shot green sparks at me the last time I tried to use it (several years ago) to going to the bank to deposit a few checks. I have researching how to properly dispose of VHS tapes and sending in a warranty slip for the tires I just bought. I need to update my GPS and make travel arrangements for a friend’s upcoming wedding.

 Lists have a way of reassuring me. I have a hard time shutting my brain off. At least if I can write down the things I’m thinking about in a list they’re somewhat consolidated and organized so I don’t feel like I have a million little insects floating around my brain. I always feel much more productive when I have a list as well. Even if I were to get the same things done without having my list, there’s just something about crossing things off my list that makes me feel like I accomplished more. I’m one of those people who will add things to my list that are nearly complete already, just so I can cross something off right away. I like looking as slowly but surely the crossed off items begin to outnumber the items yet to be completed.

My lists also help to keep me honest. I have a great knack for procrastinating on things I don’t want to do, but once I put them in a list, they become real, and I’ll start feeling guilty for not tackling them. Of course, I usually only get to a list of 30+ items when I’ve been procrastinating for months (or years) to begin with. But by finally writing them down rather than just thinking about them, I’m now obligated to finish them. Perhaps it’s just a weird way my brain works, but if I ever want to get anything practical yet somewhat mundane and responsible done, I have to rely upon my lists.

On a trip, the packing list is an essential part of the preparation for the trip itself. It helps me to remember things I might forget, like my phone charger or toothpaste, but I put everything I could conceivably need on the list, even the most basic, obvious items – like shirts. Now, with the possible exception of when I was very small and didn’t have a concept of modesty, I’ve never left the house without a shirt. I don’t know why I need to explicitly state “shirts” on my list, but I do. Conversely, I’ve never forgotten to bring shirts, so perhaps it works.

As this post shows, I’m a bit neurotic about my lists. But I’ve been making lists for so long and they’ve become such an invaluable tool to my life organization that if I tried to change things and not make lists, I’d be lost. Who knows? Maybe if I stopped making lists I really would forget to bring shirts with me when I travelled. I think given the risks, I’d rather not chance it.

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50 reasons to be happy

I’m in contentment limbo right now. Totally self-explanatory right?  No?  Ok, what I mean is I’m at a point where contentment (with life, job, etc) is meant to have been attained, and I have achieved a KIND of contentment, but I’m not really content with the flavor of contentment I’m now “enjoying.”  Got it?  Still no? Ok.  I’m not super happy with my life, but it works….kind of.

Anyway (and thanks a lot for distracting me and making me write all that out because I almost lost my train of thought), I thought I’d spend today writing about 50 reasons to be happy.  This is sort of like the blog, 1000 Awesome Things, but shorter, less in-depth and infinitely less awesome.  Seriously, you should probably just go to that site and stop reading this one.  So, here is my list of 50 things that make me happy. You can’t judge me, but you can put your happy things in the comments and then I’ll judge you.  You’re welcome.

1. Being busy.
2. Using fancy words in everyday conversation.
3. The moment I finish working out.
4. The first sip of coffee in the morning.
5. Getting recognition for my accomplishments from unlikely sources.
6. When my sister surprises me with cookies.
7. Being able to amaze people with trivial bits of information (e.g. blue eyes didn’t exist 10,000 years ago, a raindrop is an accelerated sphere)
8. Traveling to faraway places.
9. Coming home.
10. Days with low humidity and bright sunshine.
11. The fact that wind is my favorite meteorological phenomenon.
12. The number 7.
13. Good TV.
14. Bad TV.
15. When my dad likes the same things as I do.
16. When people think I’m funny.
17. Finishing a writing assignment.
18. Good books.
19. Clean closets.
20. Yarn.
21. Knitting needles.
22. The fact that my obsessions with yarn and knitting needles leads everyone to think I’m a crazy person.
23. Dirty jokes.
24. People who like it when I repeat dirty jokes.
25. Board games.
26. Competing.
27. Go-carts.
28. Finding a new type of pen that writes really well and has the perfect width of ink line.
29. Getting good deals on groceries.
30. Shoe shopping.
31. Farmers markets.
32. Thanksgiving.
33. Shaking incandescent lighbulbs to see if they’re burnt out.
34. Gerber daisies.
35. My dog.
36. My scars.
37. The ways little kids pronounce things.
38. Being a strong swimmer.
39. Stargazing.
40. barbecuing.
41. Being able to do quick math in my head (I’m talking like, “how much do i tip?” no advanced calculus).
42. Saying good morning to the woman who collects aluminum cans on recycling day.
43. Sunglasses that flatter my face.
44. Summertime.
45. The first snowfall.
46. Boat rides.
47. Good music.
48. Chocolate.
49. Being 98% done with this list.
50. Surprising myself that I can actually think of 50 things.

I should add that these are really in no particular order.

What are your things?

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Make New Friends but Keep the Old

So I left work a little late today because I was chatting with a couple co-workers. The one had asked if I’d gotten a boyfriend up here yet. I know I’ve been in Connecticut for a full 6 months but it was inferred that after finding the apartment and where I was supposed to get my groceries I have to find a boyfriend.

He then mentioned finding friends. “It’s gotta be depressing just going back to your apartment and sitting alone all night. You need to go out and get a life.” Actually I didn’t feel like it was until he said something. I was told I need to make some friends so I have plans on weeknights and want to race home to go to said plans. This is a lovely theory except that its not how I operate. I love hanging out with friends and having plans, on the weekends. Every so often to go out and do something on a weeknight is fun but or the most part I don’t mind not having plans after work. I like to come home after an exhausting day and just decompress. It may make me boring but oh well. And I do have a life (To be honest that part stung a bit) it just tends to revolve around the weekend and is rarely local.

I would like to meet new people but to be honest I’m not sure where to start. All of my friends have come from school and a couple from work. I’ve never actually gone out to seek new friends. Its always been our paths passing from common activities, classes, or employers. Most of the people I work with aren’t my age or don’t speak English very well (and my Spanish is even worse) so I don’t foresee many lasting friendships happening there.

I’m at least doing better with exploring my new area. I’m trying to make it a point to try a new restaurant at least once a week. I go on random “explores” to see where things are after work. I know these are things I should’ve done when I first moved here but Spring in the horticulture industry isn’t conducive to that. It’s pretty much a work and sleep scenario for three months.

As for the friend thing, I know I need to try to meet people. I’ll  start looking in to ways to do that where I’m comfortable. Going to a bar and chatting with people just isn’t me. If I try to do that the only person I’m likely to talk to is the bartender when I order my drink.  Maybe a community theater, or a local hiking club, heck maybe even the PSU Alum Association in the area. I’ll see what I can find. For the time being my weekends have been comfortably full hanging with the friends I have scattered all over and I’m ok with that…for now.

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How to not do anything

Last week was insanely busy.  From Tuesday through Friday, I didn’t get home from work before 10:30 at night.  Friday I didn’t get home until nearly 2 am.  It was a lot of work, some nerves and a great deal of fun.  By Friday night, I didn’t really want it to end, and I wanted to stay at the hotel and do it all over again on Saturday…someone offered their extra bed.  But, I was completely exhausted.  Physically and mentally.  I was worn out. 

So, Saturday came.  And I did nothing.

Now, when I say I did nothing, I’m afraid that what you read is “I didn’t do very much.”  What I mean is, I did NOTHING. 

My mom was supposed to come over, so I did shower, and put pants on, but when she called at 10:30am and said she would come on Sunday, I put my pj’s right back on. 

I didn’t cook for myself, or even put together a bowl of cereal.  I ate cake.  That’s all.  I had leftover cake from Tuesday’s reception.

I didn’t even go into the hallway outside my apartment. I don’t think I even went down the hall to my front door at all.

I was so unmotivated to move that I watched the same movie three times.  Start to finish. In one day.  Why? I was too tired to look for the remote. 

I’ve been slowly recouperating since Sunday.  I can now interact with people in a somewhat normal way.  I can leave my apartment for stretches of time.  I cooked for myself last night.  I change channels again. 

I’m not sure what happened.  I’ve been tired before, but never have my mind and body been in concert and so adamantly against any form of activity.  I hope it doesn’t happen again.  But if it does, I hope a good movie is on.

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Sometimes Wanna Go…

…where everybody knows your naaaame.

The past few weeks I’ve been suffering from some fairly bad homesickness. I missed having a lot of friends within reasonable driving distance. I missed knowing a plethora of restaurants where I was guaranteed a good meal. I missed understanding which frickin’ highways they’re talking about on the traffic report. I generally missed the familiarity of being in a place where everything was familiar. Its sort of funny that’s one of the reasons I wanted to leave.

I had already planned on going home for the weekend and decided to make it a 3-day visit. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. I was able to visit a couple old co-workers. Reminding me that I may not get to see them everyday anymore but that doesn’t mean I have to completely lose touch. I visited with friends. I went to a baseball game and watched my hometown team win. I went to Wawa.

I may not have gotten to see all of my friends but I was able to fit in some wonderful visits. It was great to talk to some of my nearest and dearest friends face to face while dining at some of my favorite restaurants that just aren’t anywhere else.

Even though I moved non stop for 3 straight days all weekend, I still felt refreshed when I got back to my apartment. Eventually things will feel familiar here. I’ll have a bunch of friends that I can go see. I’ll know what the heck they’re referring to on the traffic reports. I just need to remember I can always go home for a weekend when I need a recharge. The few hours it take are well worth the mental relaxation.

Random fun fact that only I may find interesting: One of the many exit signs they show in this video goes to my hometown.

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Naked Ambition

I’ve been meaning to tell this story for awhile now.  In fact, I wrote myself a note and left it on my desk.  I cleaned off my desk on Friday, and found the note, so now’s a good time to write this all out because to be honest, I had no idea what else I would write this week anyway.  But it’s also appropriate to tell this particular story now, because it took place on Memorial Day Weekend four years ago.  This is one of those stories that sticks with you, and the memory of it is so vivid, it could have taken place this weekend. 

The Scene:  Warm, sunny, Memorial Day, 2007.  Robert Moses State Park, Long Island, New York

My friends, Tim and Jen, and I drove out the the beach early, and grabbed a good spot for our blanket: close-ish to the car, the concession stand and the bathrooms.  Tim was recovering from an Achilles Tendon injury, so walking on sand wasn’t easy for him.  But, he was a great sport and played paddle-ball with us through the morning.   We sat in the sun through the morning and into the afternoon.  The early-day clouds cleared a bit and the sun was strong.    Jen and I decided to go for a walk down the beach.  Tim, because of his injury and because someone had to, volunteered to stay with our stuff.

Jen and I walked down the beach talking and joking.  We walked through a mostly empty section of the beach and then back into a busier section.  There was something different about this particular busy section of beach: everyone was naked.  We continued to walk and talk, and I was silently thankful that my sunglasses disguised what must have been some incredibly rude staring.  I tried to stay facing forward and not gape.  And, to be honest, these were not the best beach bodies I was surrounded by.   About this time, we noticed there was a man, naked, walking a few yards ahead of us.  He turned around:

“Hey, do you guys mind if I walk with you for a little while?”

“Um…..”  Seriously, what do you say to that?  “I guess not.” We didn’t want to be rude to the nude stranger.  He seemed perfectly pleasant, and it was clear that he was not concealing a weapon. 

The naked stranger, whose name turned out to be Bill, joined us and walked us through the finer points of nude beach-going in New York.  Turns out, according to Bill, it is perfectly legal to be naked on National Park beaches, but on State Park beaches (like Robert Moses) you have to wear a suit, at least a bottom, you can go topless anywhere (again, according to Bill, I make it a rule not to fact-check the pantsless).  Bill demonstrated his willingness to follow the law when we crossed back into another State beach, he put his swim trunks on (seemingly from nowhere, seriously, to this day I have no recollection of him holding a swim suit when we met).  When we crossed back into the National Park, he asked, “do you mind if I take my suit off?” “At this point, why would we mind?  You were naked when we met, Bill.”

Bill chatted us up about our jobs briefly, before starting to talk about his new business:  an at-home spa services company.  They did massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and other spa treatments for parties and groups in people’s homes, hotel rooms, etc.  It sounded a bit sketchy to me, just this side of an escort service.  But the more Bill explained, the more legit it sounded.  After awhile, we turned around and headed back toward Robert Moses.  Bill again donned and de-donned his suit again as we passed through State Park territory.  When we got back to the place we had met him, he ran to his bag, and got out his business cards and some laminated sheets detailing the services his company provided. 

We shook his hand, said goodbye and walked back to Tim. 

We’d been gone about an hour, and in that time, the tide had come in, and poor Tim had to drag all of our stuff up the beach with his injured leg.  We apologized and told him why we’d taken so long.  He laughed, we gathered our things, got an ice cream, and headed home. 

In the car on the way back, it struck me:  Bill was giving us a sales pitch!   Who could forget something a naked man told you on a beach?  So simple, yet so brilliant.  If you’re interested in at home spa services, I know a guy.  He may or may not be wearing pants.

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It Never Hurt To Dream…

…it would help if I actually played the lottery.

I’ve imagined what I’d do if I won the lottery on many occasions. A big lottery, Enough so money isn’t a concern for awhile. I never play the lottery but this doesn’t stop me. I don’t care that you have to play to win.

If I did somehow magically win the lottery I have a vague idea what I’d do. Similar to Isabel I’d meet up with my financial and adviser and bring on a lawyer. I’d decide my ideal place where I’d want to live and by a reasonable house. I wouldn’t want a big fancy mansion but a nice house that’s a good size for me. I’d probably get myself a new car.

I’d make sure my family is all set. Take care of mortgages and other outstanding expenses to help my folks and my sister and brother-in-law. Then I’d take a look at how my money situation is and see what friends I could help out. I’m very aware that many of my close friends have huge student loan debt or other forms of debt. I don’t know that I could make it all go away but I’d love to put a big dent in it for them.

I’d make sizable donations to various groups. A few in particular would get larger shares than others. I know which ones those are. They change from year to year. I think I’d quit my job. Not because I wouldn’t work anymore but because I’d want to take time to travel. see a bunch of the places on my list. Maybe even take a full year. I’d still work but I think I might work part time and really think about what I want to do to fill my time and enjoy what I’m doing everyday. Ah to have the freedom to go to a job because you want to not because you have to. If it were a lot of money I might opt for no work and just volunteer and various places. Or work part time and volunteer other times. Not really sure on the work front. I’d figure it out when the time came.

Like I said the chances are minimal that I’d ever win the lottery since I don’t really play. Who knows. Maybe someday I’ll start. You never know what can happen.

To go with this week’s theme. Some old school Muppets. Enjoy!

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