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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Let's Talk About American Healthcare*

I never told my anonymous blog stalkers, but this summer I started training for a half marathon. The plan was to walk/run 13.1 miles in October in Maine. But jumping into training and wearing flip flops for months on end caught up with me and left me with a nagging case of posterior tibial tendonitis.

After two urgent care appointments, I was referred to orthopedics for plantar fasciitis. One month and a hefty copay later, the orthopedist (who is only there Monday mornings) referred me to physical therapy for plantar fasciitis. One month of PT later and she re-referred me back to orthopedics with tendonitis.

On Monday I went back to the orthopedist. He told me I need to wear a walking boot for four weeks. But his office didn't have any in stock. So he sent me to the cast office (across town) with a prescription for a boot. Yesterday I picked up the boot and brought it home, only to find it dug into my calf so badly that I had a bruise within a half hour. I womaned up and returned today. The casting guy went to a different office (in the same complex) to get me a new boot. Then he had to cancel yesterday's boot and walk me to the new office to do the insurance paper work.

Well...even though the new office is in the same complex, and my referring doctor works there, they refused to give me a boot without a referral from the original office. Could the referral/network/insurance system be ANY MORE COMPLICATED? (Chandler Bing reference.)

To top that off, the boot (which costs $60.00 on Amazon) costs $425.00 from the doctor's office. And insurance won't cover it until I reach my deductible...which after all the copays I've paid I must be almost there. But my insurance did notify me that I can have a baby for only $638.00 out of pocket. I have to pay hundreds of dollars to deal with a tendon but I can bring a life into the world for not much more!

So here is my lovely space boot that costs half a month's rent:


*I'm aware that compared to others this is a very minor inconvenience but there has to be a better way to do things. It's no wonder people go bankrupt so quickly after receiving medical care.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

4th of July: Part 2

The real reason I went to Maine for the 4th of July was to see a FREE Matt Nathanson concert at L.L. Bean. I headed to Freeport in the early afternoon, convinced that I'd be able to find a good seat. Well, apparently people put out chairs at 12:01 am for summer concerts. 

After tossing my blanket on an empty area of wood chips, I took on the task of wandering around Freeport by myself for 7 hours. It was super hot and humid so I spent an hour or so in Starbucks enjoying their air conditioning and wi-fi.

Eventually, I grabbed some dinner and headed back to my blanket. I quickly learned that a blanket on the ground in a sea of lawn chairs is a terrible way to see a concert. 

I ended up walking around a bit an eventually found an empty corner of grass where I was able to see much better.

The concert was amazing. I almost didn't go because I had to drive to Maine, then drive to Freeport, then spend the entire day alone just to see a concert alone. But I'm glad that I went because I got to see Matt Nathanson for free!

After the concert ended, I headed to the baseball field behind L.L. Bean to see the fireworks. I stayed very close to the edge of the field and it felt like the fireworks were falling right on top of me. 

After the fireworks ended, it took 45 minutes just to get out of the parking lot. Lesson learned, next time I'll park farther away on the main street! I had spent the entire day in the heat and was so sticky. By the time I got back to the house in Maine it was after midnight. I bypassed the house and drove straight down to the lake and took a midnight dip to cool off.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

4th of July...A Bit Late!

When I was growing up, I spent every 4th of July at camp. In recent years, I've attended my towns local 4th of July Eve festivities on the 3rd of July. And for many, many years in a row it has rained, poured, and thunderstormed.

But this year it was sunny and a tad humid. We watched majorettes dance, listened to patriotic tunes, and wrangled toddlers.

It looked like the weather was going to turn but it held out for the rest of the night.

The next morning I got up super early, stopped at Dunks for a patriotic breakfast:

And drove to Maine to celebrate 4th of July festivities in the pine tree state.

The (very) small town parade was disappointing compared to the craziness that my hometown puts on. The DPW was in charge of blocking off the road...no cops needed.

The parade marshall led the parade in style...a riding mower and a pomeranian! Just kidding...but this guy did drive down the road right before the parade began.

There were a few army trucks and one firetruck with an awesome mural on the side.

The parade was super short but there was the obligatory parade candy thrown by a giant strawberry.

Part two to come!

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