Monday, March 18, 2013


Last week I surpassed a large-ish milestone...but before I get to that, let me back up.

As December 2012 was winding down, I was feeling, for lack of a better phrase, real yucky. Physical yuck, mental yuck, emotional yuck. I knew that I needed to do something, something to jump start my system...

So, I decided to try a detox (more on that in a later post). On January 1st I started changing my eating habits, while doing yoga a few times a week. I started weighing myself, and pounds started to fall off!

Then, it hit me. About a week and a half in, I decided that 2013 will be the year that I lose this cursed emotional baggage that puts me just shy of 60 pounds overweight. I decided just like that, and this time, I had the strength to stick with it.

So, I joined a gym, and started running again. Then I learned how to lift weights.

Last week, I surpassed the 20 pounds lost mark. 21.

I'm still far from where I would like to be, but proud that I have made it this far. I am a work in progress, and I feel like I'm making strides toward becoming a better, stronger version of myself!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Things I Put Up With

When my cat, Hobbes, woke me up at 6:30am by licking the edge of a plastic garbage bag...I became borderline murderous. It's a habit that she's had since she was a kitten, and I find it to be the most irritating sound on the planet.

But, I suppressed the urge to kill, fed her instead, and then she does this. While purring. LOUDLY.

Ah yes, this is why we put up with our pets' crazy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Little Bits of Happy

Picking up two beautiful vintage coats at the thrift...

An impromptu night of local music, Tiger Belly, and beer, Southern Tier Double Milk Stout, with friends at the Barley Pub.

Coming across my friend Abbie's beautiful mixed media artwork on my feed reader.

Hearing the new Laura Stevenson and the Cans tunes for the first time.

Day-dreaming about vacationing in faraway states.

What bits of happy are you experiencing this week?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Four Shows

Again, if you followed my adventures on my old blog, you would know that my job revolves around theatre and dance. The month of February has been particularly bananas as I took on four different projects at once.

This might have been over ambitious of me. Maybe just a little.

But exhaustion, and my house looking like a disaster zone aside, I love this stuff! So, I thought it would be fun to share a glimpse of each of the four shows.

Back Alley Productions asked me to join the cast of The Vagina Monologues for a second year and I had the pleasure of participating in V-Day celebrations in two cities.

Extra fun, one of those cities was my home town, Rochester, NH. Above is a view of the beautiful Rochester Opera House stage from the balcony. The audiences in Rochester were amazingly receptive and warm to us.

I performed "The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy" again, and received a nice mention in a local paper. 

The cast and the performances were joyous, but the most rewarding part of being involved in V-Day is knowing that my time onstage is contributing to fundraising efforts that help organizations in my community fight violence against women. I'm already looking forward to next year!

At school, our musical this season was "Little Women." Pictured above is the set, in progress. Isn't it just lovely?! My role in this show was that of choreographer. I created dances for a waltz scene, a skating scene and for Marmie and the beloved March sisters.

Following close at the heels of "Little Women" was our winter dance concert. My director, and best friend, Allison and I decided to set Act II of "Giselle" on our students. This was a mildly insane choice...

And we both went mildly insane while setting it! The corps de ballet of women are supposed to portray ghosts of betrayed women. Think zombie man killing brides, (who says ballet isn't fun?). Anyways, in a moment of frustration, I may have shouted at my students "IF YOU SMILE, I WILL COME FOR YOU!" Ahem. Insane.

You see, the choreography and acting for this ballet is particularly challenging. However, our students rose to the challenge and pulled it off beautifully.

Lastly, March 1-24th. I'm appearing as "Tricia," one of the cut dancers, in the opening number in Seacoast Repertory Theatre's production of "A Chorus Line." In addition to my ten minutes of fame onstage, I'm the female swing for the show. For those unfamiliar with the term, that means that I understudy the female leads, all eight of them. The choreography, music and book are so complicated for this show, it's been a real mental challenge to undertake, but I'm so grateful to have a tiny part within this phenomenal ensemble.

Also, this is the first time I've appeared onstage in nothing but a leotard and tights in a VERY LONG TIME. Hell hath officially frozen over people.

So, that has been my February. It took me four days to write this post! I'm off to enjoy my Saturday, until tonight...then it's

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Finding Signs of Life at the Greenhouse

Oh look, it's Sunday, and yet again there is snow dumping down from the sky.

Beautiful? Yes. However, I've officially reached my winter quota for this year, and I am ready to move on!

Earlier this week, I found myself with an hour to spare, and wanted to go someplace where I could feel the warmth of spring, so I drove myself to Wentworth Greenhouses. It was such a treat to escape the cold for just a moment and step through the doors into an environment where everything is lush and green and WARM.

If my Pinterest boards were any indication, you might surmise I live in a ski lodge or chalet, over run floor to ceiling with books and enough plants to fill a freaking rainforest. You would, however, be surmising incorrectly, as 1) I do not own a chalet, YET 2) More like I'm drowning in a sea of Martha Stewart Living back issues and 3) I am a notorious black thumb.

But, house plants are good for us, right? Yes, yes they are, Martha told me so, (see I've learned something from those stacks!), thus I've been hankering to turn this black thumb green.

After successfully taking care of two succulent plant for the past few months, and not murdering them, I decided to splurge on some new, slightly more difficult to care for, plants to give my bedroom a much needed boost of oxygen.

The petit green leaves poking out on the left side of the grouping is an artillery plant, the larger green leaves belong to a prayer plant and my favorite of the bunch is the fittonia, or nerve plant  with its pretty pink leaves. All three of these are shade lovers, which is perfect, because they were coming home to live in a fairly dim little corner! The kind greenhouse employee potted all of it up for me in a handcrafted pot by Tom's Thumb Pottery (SPLURGE!) and she topped the soil with some chartreuse moss for an added pop of color.

I love my new bedside, hopefully I won't kill it. For inspiration on incorporating plants into your home check out the following links -

My DIY-Grow Pinterest board
5 Tips for Adding Green to Your Home via A Beautiful Mess

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

PIP: Organizing Christmas

Journeying towards ones best self does not always have to involve the heavy emotional navel-gazing described in yesterday's post. Sometimes a few bucks, SOLO cups, duck tape and some color coding is all you need! Today's post will be my first Pinterest Inspired Project or "PIP" for short! By the way, if you would like to follow me on Pinterest, click the Pinterest icon in the sidebar on the right!

If you read my old blog, you would know that my favorite holiday is Christmas. As one could imagine, Christmas being my favorite holiday and all, I own a TON of Christmas ornaments. For years, I moved them from place to place in one inadequately sized plastic bin and a motley crew of disintegrating cardboard boxes. This year, with another move on the horizon in June, I decided NO MORE!

Inspired by similar projects on Pinterest I created my own ornament storage using SOLO cups, industrial strength Duck Tape, flattened cardboard mailers, and plastic bins.

As you can see, I wrapped fragile ornaments in tissue paper, but I put multiple sturdy ornaments into other cups. Three layers of cups fit in one bin! I was able to fit all of my ornaments, with room to spare in one storage bin. Off-size ornaments, that did not fit into the cups, were wrapped in tissue and tucked in with the top layer. 

Lastly, I took a page from blogger Sew Many Way's  book and purchased Christmas colored bins to store everything. This way, I will never be searching for the Christmas bins, they will be easily recognizable in the disaster zone that is my storage unit. As I said, all of my ornaments fit into one bin, and the other houses my lights, wreathes, tree skirt, etc. 

I was so pumped to organize this one little corner of my life, and all it took was about $20 of supplies and a free afternoon. However, before you pat me on the back for my domestic goddessry, take note...

My Christmas tree is STILL up...and it's February 20th. Sigh. One thing at a time, right? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Pilgrimage

When my marriage broke up, I was working at a very demanding job. So demanding, that in retrospect, I can see that I had no time to look inward and process everything that had happened. September of last year brought a welcome career shift, and with that shift came more free time. And then, CRASH.

The final months of 2012 were very difficult for me. It was as if all of a sudden the reality of past two years just hit me like a ton of bricks. Thoughts included: "Holy crap I'm DIVORCED! Holy crap I'm THIRTY! Holy crap I'm 60 pounds heavier than the last time I was in the dating arena and I look like a TROLL, no one will ever want to date me, I'll never have babies and I'll DIE ALONE! Holy crap, WOW, that guy that I was married to was a TOTAL ASSHAT who stole my twenties and left me with ENORMOUS TRUST ISSUES! I'm never going to be able to function again!" Add in a dash of the anniversary of losing a child and a fast approaching holiday season, where oh hey, all of my friends and family members are either A) getting married or B) getting pregnant.and it was a recipe for feeling wildly overwhelmed. AWESOME.

Every year, I carefully construct the time leading up to and around Liam's birthday. This year, I decided that there was only one place that I wanted to be - and that was Silver Bay. Where the ex and I were married. 

Self torture? Not as much as one would think. I've felt a connection to The Bay from the first time that I laid eyes on it; Bordered by snow drifts, recklessly tobogganing down the hill in front of Hepbron lodge, staring out at the surface of Lake George, black, reflecting the brightness of the winter moon and the many stars. Looking out into the Bay has always brought me a sense of immediate peace, and this past November, that is exactly what I needed. 

And I almost didn't go. 

My best friend, Allison, was supposed to come with, and she accidentally double booked herself. I was upset that my plans had been foiled, and even more so to spend that day by myself. I dragged my feet...but eventually I went. 

I spent a lot of time staring into the middle distance on that drive. It's easy to do on I-89 in New Hampshire and Vermont. There is little traffic, and the highways curves and bends, leading drivers gently through the mountains. 

Right as the sun was setting, Asobi Seksu's Thursday began to play, and the trees were whizzing by, and I thought, and thought and thought some more.

Suddenly, I was so glad to be alone. It was important that I was alone. 

When I arrived in Montpelier, my friend Sonny's empty apartment was waiting for me, a cozy place for me to retreat and think. Sonny is a fan of Rilke, and is always reminding me to 

"Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

So, I made myself a cup of tea, sat down at the table armed with a fresh notebook and pen.

I jotted down another Rilke quote as a guiding mantra...

And asked myself some serious questions...trying, TRYING to love the process.

Who am I? What are the different roles that my life calls me to be? Sister, daughter, aunt, teacher etc. 

Are the following areas of my life at a high point, or a low point? Career, money, friends, fun, love, fitness, family, personal, etc.? 

Then I made categories...and SUB-categories...

Am I crazy? Am I the only one that makes charts and tries to categorize this stuff?! Moving on...

  • Heart 
  • Home
  • Mind+Body

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Dating 
  • 1 year goals 
  • 5 year goals 
  • 10 year goals
Each of these things deserve posts of their own, (and this is a blog about MY journey, right? So, guess what? There will be!), but it was cathartic to jot down these things in an organized fashion on paper. I tried to determine what the pros and cons were in each category, and how those roles fit into each of the categories. If there were cons, I thought about how I could improve upon what was bad. If there were pros, I thought about how I could maximize the good. 

Something important that I wrote down that evening? 

"Let go of things not bringing you joy."

Seems fairly simple doesn't it? But, we humans are collectors, and letting go is a process.

The next morning, I walked to a nearby bakery, got myself a delicious cinnamon roll and a hot coffee, then hit the road. 

That little strip of land on the right is Slim Point. That is where I was married. 

I walked myself along the shore to Slim, and ate a sandwich from Hague Market. It was cold and quiet, no sound except the wind and the waves. 

Then I noticed a plaque that I had never read, in all my years of visiting this spot. 

And, I thought of staring into the hills of New Hampshire, Vermont and now, New York, and thought, "How appropriate!" 

So, I lifted my eyes up again...and I had a cry. 

I learned so many things about myself on this trip. Primarily, I learned how tremendously important it can be to just get the hell out of Dodge! A change in scenery opened up my mind to think clearly, to take charge of what is in my power to change, and let go of things that I do not have control over. 

The past few months since the pilgrimage have been long...but life is slowly getting better, because I'm working hard to make it better.

P.S. If you made it through this post, you get a cookie! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Why "Life is Like Gum"?

I have been blogging since 2001, and under the moniker "Geek+Nerd" since 2004. In blogging years, I am an old timer, a pioneer, navigating the Oregon Trail of the interwebs. I have seen bloggers come and go, and I have seen blogging trends rise and fall.

I dearly loved blogging at Geek+Nerd, which probably begs the questions "Why start a new blog?" and "Why now?"

In a nutshell, it was time for a change.

Now here is the decidedly not in a nutshell, less cryptic, more verbose answer.

1. Blogger identity crisis...

As I mentioned, I came of age in a blogging era. In addition to perceiving all that was happening around me on the interwebs, I was also in the midst of finding my own identity and voice, which was sometimes overshadowed by me trying to be like the "cool kids." I would pimp my Etsy shop, because everybody was doing it, I would craft tutorials because everybody was doing it, etc. THEN BLAMMO!

2. Personal crisis...

My 20's were filled with lots of sorrow, tragedy and strife - namely stemming from this event and this event. I tried to return to blogging at G+N after the second event, but it never felt right, because...

3. Time for a new chapter...

Ultimately, when I found my blogging voice, I think G+N morphed into an epic love letter to my ex-husband. Little recollections of our day to day life, the love I poured into, and felt from, our extended families. G+N was never about just ME, it was about US, so continuing to blog in that space never felt right. That book is done, so time to write a new one! Which leads me to...

4. Why "Life is Like Gum"? 

One day, I was sitting in my current temporary digs, snapping bubble gum, trying to come up with a new clever blog name that was NOT taken. A bubble popped, and gum stuck to my nose, and suddenly I thought to myself, "Life is like gum...sometimes it's sweet and sometimes it's a sticky mess." Which is a perfect name for me because...

5. My life is not a magazine! 

Yes...sometimes I am a domestic goddess that dresses like an adorable zaftig Modcloth model, makes hand crafted gifts and bakes in my squeaky clean, serene kitchen.

Then sometimes I am rocking sweatpants and a mop of hair that hasn't been washed for five days and my kitchen looks like right now.

Don't get me wrong...I love blogs that look like magazines. I am glad that they exist. But my blog is never going to be one of them, and I am okay with that. Which brings me to...

6. What will Life is Like Gum be about? 

My elevator pitch? "Life is Like Gum is a blog about a 30-something girl's journey to becoming her best self." 

I recently read an article about blogging etiquette, (on one of those beautiful blogs that looks like a magazine no less), that outlined blogging rules such as Don't complain. Don't talk about your personal life. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Seriously? When did blogging develop all of these rules? Who died and said we need an Emily Post for the internet? I'm over it. 

I've decided that my voice wants to talk not just about the beauty in the world, but the ugly bits too. I hope that it resonates with people, because I think there are quite a few of you out there trying to figure shit out too. 

And yes...there will be swearing.