Wednesday, January 8, 2014

14 in 14

Here we go again...some repeats and carry overs because it's what I do.

14 Things I Want to Do in 2014:

1. Create monthly goals
2. Visit Mt. Washington
3. Renew my passport
4. Run
5. Declutter my apartment
6. See 10+ Maine lighthouses
8. Try paddleboarding
9. NYC
10. Coding class
11. Summit Mt. Monadnock
12. Knit
13. Go on a summer adventure
14. ???

You can check out my previous lists here:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hello January

January is a tough month. Christmas has come, New Year's has passed and all the excited about the holiday season has waned. Sure, there is the hope and promise of a new year but the reality is that January is cold and dark. It's snowy and blizzardy and it seems like spring and the promise of warm weather is oh so far away. 

Because of this, January seems like the perfect time to buckle down and work on some goals.

1. Clean my apartment...for real.
5. Get new tires.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Thing 3: Go on a Summer Adventure

The summer of 2013 was all about lighthouses. I don't know what it is about lighthouses but I love them so much. So my mom and I spent two days in Mid-Coast Maine seeing as many lighthouses as possible.

The only hiccup was that we didn't have a boat. And seeing as how most lighthouses are designed to face the ocean, we had to get creative.

Our first stop was Lincolnville, ME. We got there just in time to miss the ferry and had to wait two hours for the next one. Oops!

They crammed tons of cars, trucks, a giant dump truck, and an ambulance onto the ferry. We spent an hour on the island checking out the lighthouse and marveling at the yachts that were docked nearby.

Grindle Point lighthouse was the only lighthouse we were able to go into. Mom and I climbed the tower (which was quite short) and scaled a ladder to get up to the tippy top.

Another highlight of the lighthouse tour was Rockland Breakwater. If you want to see this lighthouse you have to work for it. The lighthouse is 7/8ths of a mile out on a rocky breakwater. You could barely see the lighthouse from the shore.

It was super low tide when we visited so the side dock was down an extremely steep ramp. But I braved the steep grade to get a side photo. At high tide, the water is known to wash over the breakwater.

Mom on the breakwater.

The low tide and setting sun made for a gorgeous photo!

On day two of our mid-coast lighthouse tour we hit up Owl's Head Light. I loved this lighthouse! We had to walk quite a ways from the parking lot and climb a hill and many stairs but it was worth it. Owl's Head sits way up high on the edge of a cliff. From the top you had almost a 360 degree view of the surrounding bay.

We also stopped at the picturesque Marshall Point lighthouse. This was a small light but it was gorgeous. The house located on the grounds is super fancy.

Marshall Point lighthouse is in St. George so there were dragons everywhere!

Through our many, many miles we saw cool things. We stopped at this tiny gift shop that featured oreo cow (Belted Galloway) products. Mom chatted up the lady to learn about the brown oreo bull that was a little too friendly for my liking. It kept coming up to the fence with it's giant, snotty, ring-filled nose and I was all "OMG it's so big get it away from me!"

People love their lobster buoys in Maine.

Our last stop was a river cruise of the Kennebec River. Before it started, Mom and I had an "eat out of the trunk picnic" with some PB&J that we stole borrowed from the hotel's breakfast spread.

The river cruise took us past 7 lighthouses...many of which were very small and rundown.

It was the Hell's Gate cruise which meant that we went upriver as the tide was going out. It was crazy how fast the tide was going out. It was rushing so quickly that giant metal buoys were pulled completely underwater and our boat had many turbulent moments. 

Our lighthouse summer adventure was awesome. We ended up seeing 11 lighthouses in two days. Only 40+ more to go!

Thing 4: Sell Something that I Make

When I put this item on the list, I assumed it would be a photograph or block print or homemade card. I still have plans to pursue paper crafts and an Etsy shop. But this goal manifested in a way that I never anticipated.

2013 turned out to be the year of the cupcake. I know that cupcakes were trendy like 5 years ago...but I've always been a late bloomer. So it wasn't until this year that I began baking them like fiend. 

And I came to learn one thing about cupcakes...people love them. 

There is really never a wrong time for cupcakes. I've brought them to work on Mondays and Fridays. I've baked them for birthdays and Christmas. I sent them to people who were mourning loved ones and celebrating long-term accomplishments.

This year I turned my love of cupcakes into Bay State at home, kitchen bakery. My first commission was a 75 cupcakes for a graduation party. Go big or go home!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thing 12: Take a Photo a Day

One of the reasons my blogging dropped off this past year is because I got an iPhone. And with that iPhone came a love of Instagram. Instead of downloading pictures from my camera to my computer then uploading them in a blog post, all I had to do was upload to Instagram and hit share. In the coming year I hope to get back to writing blog posts (in addition to continuing my love affair with Instagram).

So without further ado:

Talk about a photo collage! If I did the math correctly (6 pictures per row x 8 rows per collage x 9 collages) I have 432 pictures...which is way more than 365 days. Forever an overachiever. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Thing 11: Spend Time in Maine

When I was 10ish my parents bought a small house (cabin) in the Western Maine lakes region. Growing up we spent many weekends there. But eventually I outgrew hanging out with my parents in a small cabin with no tv/internet/civilization nearby. I spent years avoiding the place because it was "boring." 

More recently I have enjoyed the time I spend in Maine and this year made an effort to go to Maine once a month. There were some months that I didn't make it up but others that I went up several times (I'm looking at you August). Now that I'm a grownup, I enjoy spending time in Maine much more than I did when I was younger. A big part of this is being able to drive and explore the state at my own will.

This year in Maine:
I went outlet shopping in Freeport. 
Took the dog for walks on the frozen lake.
Braved walking on the lake when it was all slushy.
Saw turkeys.
Mailed postcards.
Saw oreo cows.
And llamas.

I visited Screw Auger Falls.
Moose Falls.
And Snow Falls.
I put my feet in a waterfall in April.
It was cold.
I walked through snow in flip flops.
Also cold.

I saw deer.
Spent time in Kennebunkport.
Went to the beach.
Made s'mores.
Saw sunflower fields.
And fireworks.

I ate corn.
So much corn.
And lobster.
I took boat rides.
And drove countless miles up the coast.
I visited so many lighthouses.
Short ones, tall ones, fancy ones, and rundown ones.

I rode 4 wheelers with friends.
Went kayaking.
Watched the leaves change.
Scaled the tallest bridge observatory in the country.
Played in a fort with ghosts.

This year I covered a lot of miles in Maine. I began my mission to visit all the lighthouses and covered bridges in the state. I ate lots of ice cream. And I can't wait to do it all again in the coming year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thing 8: Run a Race

I've wanted to be a runner for a long time. I watch all the major marathons on TV and I follow a lot of running blogs. But I never actually put in the work to make myself a runner. But a wise person once said that if you run you're a runner. So it's been a goal of mine to participate in a race for a while.

Once again, I spend a lot of time talking about things and much less time following through. As I did with climbing Mt. Monadnock, I signed up for a race the night before I participated.

On a Saturday morning, with my sneakers laced tight and a water bottle strapped to my hand, I trekked 2.62 miles through 90 degree heat. The race was a benefit for Jeff Bauman who was severely injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.

I was nervous having never participated in an organized race knowing that I was going to walk most of it. But I put on a brave face, showed up, and finished. 

I was so slow because it was crazy hot and humid, but it wasn't about a finishing time.

This was a chance to walk/run for those who were not able to. It was about donating time and money to a good cause and challenging myself in a new way.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thing 5: Climb Mt. Monadnock

I've been talking about climbing Mt. Monadnock for years. People insisted that it was an easy hike...that kids clamber up it all the time (they do). It is one of the most climbed mountains in the world and I wanted to add my name to the list. On a Saturday afternoon, I decided that I would tackle the mountain the following morning. I packed a backpack with the essentials: bug spray, sun screen, tons of water, snacks, and a first aid kid. (I like to be prepared!)

As Mt. Monadnock is over an hour drive from my house I woke up super duper early so I could get their by 8:00 am. I was psyched!

 I drove though lots of fog on the way to the state park but as I got closer, the fog cleared and the mountain stood ahead of me. I gasped aloud when Mt. Monadnock first came in to view. It was a serious mountain. Suddenly, I was not so confident.

But I sprayed myself down with sunscreen and bug spray and headed off into the woods. My brand new hiking boots got dirty so quickly. (Did I mention I was doing a 2 mile round trip hike in brand new boots?)

At first the path was rocky but gradual. I was all, "I've got this."

And then it quickly turned into a rock climbing expedition. Kids were scampering up the rock faces and men were running down. But I just climbed slowly like a sloth.

I kept waiting for the "half-way" sign and eventually found it. I took a LONG break underneath that sign. I spent some time contemplating if I could really continue. It was taking me much longer than I anticipated and it was disgustingly hot. But I told myself that I didn't drive all the way there to climb to the half way point. So I continued on and soon passed the tree line.

A girl who walked by joked to her family that it was "Billy Goat" time. She wasn't kidding. I sat (in the sun) underneath this rock wall trying to figure out how I was going to scale it.

But the views were spectacular. And I had only just passed the tree line. There was a lot more to go!

I kept climbing and climbing but I was quickly running out of water. It was 90 degrees out and I could feel my shoulders burning as there was no more shade. I stopped at the false summit for a snack and took in the views. The breeze was amazing!

A little ways past the false summit, I took a break to assess the situation. I wanted to climb and climb until I reached the summit. I could see people crowded up on the summit and it looked so close yet so far. But the thing about climbing a mountain is that you still have to climb back down. I was exhausted and overheated and was quickly running out of water. So as much as I wanted to reach the summit, I decided it would be smarter to head back down.

Because of all the vertical rock walls I had to scale on the way up, I decided to take the "easy" way down. Haha...easy is a relative term.

Going down the mountain was the worst part of the hike. My quads were trashed and my knees didn't like the jarring rock steps. I felt like I walked down hill forever and ever. It felt like I'd never reach the parking lot. I was not impressed.

I finally reached the parking lot and headed straight for the air conditioned gift shop. I bought a super cold bottle of water which I downed immediately because I had run out on the way down. I was so dirty by the time I got to my car.

And I couldn't WAIT to take my hiking boots off and let my toes breathe.

Although I didn't reach the summit, I am so proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish. I finally set out to do something instead of just talking about it. Yes, I should have picked a cooler day and worn more sunscreen, but I am glad that I persevered and made smart decisions. I will definitely have to revisit Mt. Monadnock in the near future and hike to the summit.

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