Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Thank you, and goodnight!

Hello, blog readers!

If you’ve been following our blog regularly, you’ve probably noticed a lack of new posts lately, and for that, we sincerely apologize. As seems to be the case so often, we’ve found that life is getting away from us and we cannot devote the time needed to maintain an interesting and entertaining blog, so this will be our last post. We’ve enjoyed sharing our insights with you and appreciate your comments and for following us on this journey.

Very best,

The “Our View From Here” team

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2011: Reflection on a Year of Big Changes

2011 was a year fraught with changes for me. I started the year being freshly laid off and looking for a new job. I found a job, moved to a new state and, to put it mildly, its been an eye opening year. It’s been fraught with unexpected joys like root canals and dental crowns and meeting a wide array of new people. I’ve gotten the chance to spend more time with friends I rarely got to see and miss seeing friends and people who used to be there everyday.

I suppose that’s normal in every year. People will come in and out of your life. Friends will get married or have children. I suppose this is all part of being a grown up. I’ve had more than one day where I’ve longed for those days I couldn’t wait to be all grown up. I don’t know what I was in such a hurry for. In all fairness to that young kid this is not at all what she had in mind when she grew up.

I’d like to say moving worked out wonderfully and my job is fantastic and that every decision was the right one . Sadly that’s not the case. I supposed that’s part of being an adult too, making a decision and dealing with the consequences if it turns out it wasn’t the right one for you. I was hoping to find exactly what I need right out of the gate this year but that didn’t happen. That’s ok though. One thing I’ve learned from this year is that if this isn’t right its ok. It isn’t permanent(A mantra I’ve had to repeat on the really bad days). I can go back to the drawing board and find the place that’s right for me.

Overall it’s been a very educational year and a big test of my character. I’ve been reminded that I have many wonderful and supportive friends that are there for me when things get tricky. This year might not have turned out exactly as I planned but it’s taught me a lot about who I am and how much learning and growing I still need to do. I’ll stumble through until I get an epiphany showing me exactly what I should do but as  I muddle through that I know my friends and family will help me while I try to figure it out.

Much like Isabella, I’ve made some resolutions. Most of them pertain to getting my life where I want it. I’m not going to share them here, also like Isabella, I like to keep them private. I don’t even plan on writing them down. They are just going to remain deposited in my mind. Some are big far reaching goals and some are small baby steps to a happier me. One resolution I will share, I am going to create a bucket list. I’ve spent a lot of this year focused on just my job. A bucket list will help me focus on all the other things I want that have nothing to do with my job.

This past year might not have been the best but hopefully way down the road I’ll look back on it as a big turning point in my life or maybe just as the year I got my first root canal.

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Cooking for One

One of the things I dreaded when I once again set out on my own was going back to cooking for one. It’s not that I can’t cook. If you give me a recipe I can follow it and turn out something pretty tasty but rarely are recipes for one serving. Most of the recipes I have are for 4-6 people and honestly leftovers get tiresome by the third meal. I also I have little desire to go through read and follow the directions for a recipe to whip up dinner after a long day of work. In my opinions recipes are for the weekend. It makes me miss all those days of my life living at home where there was a below from the house and magically there was a version of a home cooked meal waiting.

The last time I was out of my own I relied heavily on Lean Cuisines and canned soup. Every so often I would feel very grown up and cook myself dinner. I’d “grill” (heat up) a ham steak on my George Foreman and cook up a box of Mac & Cheese. In my mind, especially after a long day of work, boiling water for macaroni was a serious culinary operation.

Now that I’m back in my own apartment again I’m attempting to do a little better than frozen dinners and boxed Mac & Cheese. Don’t get me wrong my specialty, ham steak with mac & cheese, is still on the menu from time to time but I’m attempting to be a little healthier and diverse with my dinners.

The local farm stands have helped. I have whipped up some seriously tasty salads courtesy of those fine establishments. Just last week I was debating what to eat and was about to heat up a can of Chef Boyardee that I had purchased to prepare for a certain large storm that hit the northeast. I then remembered I had purchased spaghetti and a jar of sauce waaaay back when I first moved in.I opted for boiling my pasta rather than going for the canned variety. I was so proud of my adult behavior (It’s the little things).

My next trip to the grocery store I stepped up my game and bought a small bag of frozen meatballs. My family will vouch for me on this, I love a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Now that I’ve realized how quickly I can whip up a single plate, well let’s just say I’ve had more than my fair share of spaghetti dinners and I have yet to tire of them. Some nights I’ll just make an even bigger salad when I feel I need a really healthy dinner.

I’m hoping I can progress even further and come up with other quick single serve dinners I can throw together. I’m proud of my progress these last few weeks. I at least feel like I’m headed in the right direction. Now I just have Lean Cuisines for lunch.

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When I Grow Up….

As a kid I wanted to be any number of things. One week a teacher. The next a singer. There was a step up in to our sun room that made an ideal stage.Another week and actress. That was short lived when I got the lead in the school play in elementary school and could only manage to remember half of my lines.

When the Summer Olympics came on I wanted to be a gymnast. Our living rug had a cream colored border around it that closely enough resembled the out-of-bounds line on the large floor routine mat. Never mind that I couldn’t do a cartwheel or headstand. I was certain of my gold medal future based on my ability to do the classic gymnastic power run with a graceful leap of some kind in the middle across said rug.

By the end of middle school I had decided I wanted to be a landscape architect. Even in to high school when applying for colleges I was certain thats what I wanted to do. I had nearly changed my mind in a career day in high school when a local landscape architect came in a showed us her design…for a prison parking lot. Parking lots? THAT”S what landscape architects do? Based on all the parking lots I’ve ever been in I HATED landscape architects. It didn’t sway me. I applied to various schools with good programs and got in to all of them…except the one I wanted. It was known to be a very difficult one to get in so I can’t say I was surprised. I was accepted for a different program at the school and decided that was maybe a better plan.

Did I make the right decision? My wallet says no as a landscape architect gets paid A LOT more than I do. But my heart says yes. I realized after the fact that a landscape architect spends less time outside than I was looking for.

As far as what I want to be when I grow I’m still undecided. My current career is ok but I’m not sure if it’s the most ideal job for me. This unsettled feeling makes me mildly disappointed in myself. when I was younger I had it in my mind that this is the age when I’m settled in to my career and settled in to my own nuclear family like the one I grew up in (except I’d have a dog).

So looking back, I didn’t become a teacher (unless you count all the times I trained new folks at my old job), singer (unless you get trapped on a road trip with me), actress, or even a landscape architect. I don’t have a little nuclear family ( I don’t even have the flipping dog). To say my life didn’t turn out as I’d expected is putting it mildly. I try to look on the bright side. One day it will all come together. My personal/family life will come together (admittedly from more effort from me than I’ve exerted to date) and I will find my ideal job/career that will lead to contentment. That is my hope. I’ll check back in around 20 years and see how different that life is than the one I expect it to be today.

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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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First Anniversary Repost: Naked Ambition

In celebration of our first year of blogging, this week we’re reposting some of our favorite posts from the past year:

 

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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Status Report: Resolution Style

So this week we’re looking back to see how we did on our resolutions. I re-read my post stating my very simple resolution (“Find a job”). So did I follow through with my resolution? In a word: Yes.

I rather quickly found a job up here in CT and within a month of writing that post I was trying to find an apartment. The transition has been exhausting. Moving to a new place is as difficult as I thought it would be. The job isn’t quite what I expected it to be but I’m slowly figuring out how to make it work well. I’m really mostly tired. I had a long weekend recently where I was able to get away. It was just long enough to make me realize that I needed more time off. It also gave me a chance to reflect. I didn’t become totally refreshed but it was enough to make me change my perspective on my new home. I haven’t done much exploring and that doesn’t really help a person to learn a new area. So I’ve decide to try something new in the area once a week or at least go exploring in my car.

The job has had its ups and downs. Some days get to the point where I second guess my decision. I’ve decided this is also a waste of energy. The decision has been made. No matter how bad some days may be I’m getting good experience that will make me that much more marketable in the future. Builds character right?

I look at that old post and am reminded of the whirlwind of emotions I was dealing with that day. Some of them come back. I really do miss the people I used to work with. We really had a great time together. I was having a conversation with someone and she said, “It may be over but you can at least be grateful that you had it. Not many people get to work with a group like that.” I think that’s a pretty good way to see it. who knows maybe someday I’ll find it again. It’s amazing how things can change. I just need to look at the last 6 months to know that.

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“Vacation, Had to Get Away!”

As you read this I am finishing up what I am sure was a fabulous long weekend slash min-vacation. The last thing on my pre-vacation to do list. This is one of those things I always find amusing. The pre-vacation/trip/getaway “To Do”. The time away itself is usually very relaxing but the preparations leading up to it always feel so stressful. Maybe its just me…but I don’t think so and for some reason I feel like its more stressful for women.

There’s the packing itself. Making sure you have the proper clothes and footwear for whatever you may do. All the appropriate grooming necessities (crap I forgot to pack a comb…). Any books or music to pass the time. Proper linens. etc. etc. My male friends are always perplexed about why it takes so long to pack or why there’s so much stress involved with packing. It just is, and I over think things anyway, so it really is a stressful activity. i swear they just throw some things in a bag and it all works out. If I did that I’d be missing something vital, like pajamas, or deodorant, or a toothbrush (Sadly all examples from real life experience).

Then there is making sure everything at home is taken care of. The mail is stopped, dishes are done, random cleaning that should happen, bills that may come due are paid, etc, etc…again.

On top of this there is usually one or two things needed for the trip that you don’t have. It’s inevitable. I don’t know how but there is always something. Of course this means last minute shopping.

I had a co-worker on vacation this week and she was stressed all the week before getting things ready. She was going camping with her family. She had to make sure the camper was prepared, her sons packed all of their things. She needed to pack and get the food for the trip, etc, etc….do you see the trend here?

There was one point tonight where I went I almost just want to stay at my apartment but there is a reason to endure all this added stress. It’s completely worth it. It’s nice to get away and escape the everyday life. Relax somewhere new or someplace you go all the time that’s just a quiet place away from home. After the crazy few months I’ve had I can really use the break. I can’t wait, stressed out packing and all (I better go stow that comb before I forget again). *Sigh* I can already picture my feet up and the cold beer in my hand.

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Unexpected Fireworks Spectacular

I don’t remember what year it was. I don’t even remember if I was driving. Heck it might not have even been on Independence Day but it was a great memory and one of my favorite things about the Fourth of July. I was on my way back from somewhere…NJ possibly?  I feel like I might’ve been with my family. Anyway, we were going down the highway we suddenly discovered we had the optimum view for a local fireworks display. We pulled over and decided to take in the whole show. We weren’t the only ones. The show lasted for a few minutes and ended with a great finale. After the show we got back on the highway and continued home.

Ideally I love to be able to hang out with a bunch of friends and settle in for a great fireworks show. There was the great summer where I stayed up at school and walked with a group of friends to see the local fireworks. One of the best 4th of July displays I’ve ever seen to this day. The walk to and from the fireworks with a bunch of friends made the evening all the more enjoyable.

Sometimes you can’t make it to the fireworks show. You have to get home because of work the next day or some other reason. On those occasions, I love if I’m on the road and come around the bend on a highway to see a great display of fireworks right in front of me. Last night was a great example. I’m not sure of the fireworks laws in Connecticut but I’m thinking they aren’t too strict. Every couple miles down the highway there were more fireworks to see. Granted at highway speeds the distraction isn’t always good but it does put a smile on my face that I get to see some fireworks. And hey, if I have the time and the view is particularly good, I’ll pull over and take in the show.

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Work and Friends

Today’s post is late.  I have an excuse.  I was at work until 10pm last night, and I’ve been here since 7:45 this morning. So, you see, no time to post.  And this will be a short one since I’m on my way out to another function.

This week, we’re having a consultation.  We’re bringing together all the people we’ve worked with to talk about what we’re learning.  It’s an incredible amount of work. From logistics, which get started months in advance, to the content, which is completed in the week leading up to the meeting.  It’s a lot of writing, a lot of planning and a lot of talking.

But, apart from all the work, it’s an incredible amount of fun.  My friends from Norway, Cambodia, Indonesia, Madagascar and other places are all in town.  I’m awash in hugs, kisses and warm greetings.  I’m also meeting new people.  Names I’ve heard, people I’ve emailed, but faces I’ve never seen. 

It’s a great experience, and a fantastic opportunity to spend time with some of the smartest, most capable and funniest people I’ve ever met.  So you see why I have to go now to see them again.

good night all!

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