They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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A Whirlwind of Motion

It’s only mid-March and I’ve already done a lot of things, some for the first time and others because it’s a known favorite.

First, an old favorite: Snowboarding.

These were taken at Gore Mountain, which is part of the Andirondacks. It’s a pretty large mountain (none of which I explored because I’m a scaredy-cat and did the same run over and over) and I was fortunate enough to go on a weekend when it was actually warm and the sun was shining. It was a little too warm for me on day 1 but the snow was still great. I also finally invested in a helmet. Not because I’m looking to be the next Shaun White…more as a precaution like if I fell while getting off the ski lift and got hit on the back of the head (which happened to me while I was in the beginning stages of dating this guy…reason number 455 why I’ll never be the female equivalent of Hitch #noGame).

I’ve also been going at night locally (Greek Peak) since lift tickets are only $20 during the week and it’s only 45 minutes away! One night I went when it was 10 degrees… it’s a good thing I finally learned to put on my ski mask properly after years of owning it…

Then I switched gears and went all fancy that one weekend in February when it was 65 degrees! I went with friends to the Liberty Ball in Philadelphia, a formal, black tie event sponsored by the Four Diamonds Foundation in support of pediatric cancer research.

The nice weather didn’t last long (of course). The Northeast likes to tease around this time of year. So back to indoor activities, this time, indoor rock climbing at the Lindseth Climbing Center at Cornell!

And since we were at Cornell, my friend suggested we visit the “Harry Potter library.”

This library is easily the coolest one I’ve been to! If I had gone to school here I definitely would’ve been at the library a lot.

Even though I’ve been out and about, don’t think I’m not spending time enjoying my new home! When I bought the house it was a fishbowl (I.e. no window treatments) and now it’s a fishbowl with cool looking shades!

And last night I did my most favorite thing ever…I sat on the couch with my two kitties while watching a movie in my lion onesie! I’ve lived here for three months and I just now got to this! For shame!
What’s next in store for can’t-sit-still me? More snowboarding, this time at Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts, then meeting my Cali friends in Denver. Then possibly visiting my friends in Boston. Or perhaps the introvert side of me will put her foot down and insist on another onesie weekend, who knows. One thing I know for sure is 2017 has been amazing thus far and I can’t wait to see what’s next. 

Life has been so much better since I’ve let this little girl come out.


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Hiking is my therapy

“Hey, it’s supposed to be beautiful out this weekend. Care to join us for a hike?”

“I’m in town today! Free for dinner?”

“I have dinner plans in the evening so I can’t go hiking with you guys during the day…because, you know, timing…” …That doesn’t even sound convincing to ME…

“Errr…I would go but…I already made plans with my cats.” No, that’s not an acceptable answer.

“I’ll have to pass, but next time for sure!” There! Vague, but polite. Just make sure not to post pictures from my solo hike on the same day they went hiking and no ‘solo dinner, finally!’ type of posts either…

It’s still a struggle for me sometimes to say no to people I usually love spending time with without feeling guilty. I know it’s a cliche but really…

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The things is, I’m known for my need for alone time, my preference for doing things alone, and my love of staying at home in my lion onesie while hanging out with my cats. And yet…I still feel bad for saying no, especially when I intend to do the same activity I’m being invited to. Perhaps with time I will learn not to feel guilty for doing what I need to in order to recharge but for now…vague responses and setting a separate time to hang out it is!

Guilty or not I did end up pretty much not talking to anyone I know that weekend and it was exactly what I needed. First of all, it was an incredibly beautiful weekend due to the unusual occurrence of gorgeous autumn colors coupled with summer weather. Think fall foliage with 70 to 80 degrees F temperature. YES.

Thank you, Google Photos for this awesome stylized photo! (original wasn’t this cool)

Second, with the election going on and people commenting on the election on social media in ways that I feel are not conducive to intellectual and meaningful discussions, my social capacity bucket has been near empty pretty much everyday. Did someone poke a hole in it when I wasn’t looking? Because lately my inner grumpy cat has come out and I’m annoyed with everyone. Well, not everyone per se. Just certain types of people.

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This is not like me. I do enjoy being alone and I particularly love going on hikes by myself but spending time with those I consider my good friends usually makes me happy. But, unlike me or not it was clear to me that I needed to clear my head and so I pushed the guilt aside and went hiking. The day before I went to Sugar Hill State Park  in Watkins Glen, NY and this time I decided to check out Salt Springs State Park in Montrose, PA. I didn’t realize the food connection until just now lol! I guess I decided to go somewhere sweet since I was feeling salty. Pa dum ching! 😄

Salt Springs State Park is not actually maintained by the state contrary to what the name implies. It is, however maintained. What that means is there are marked trails and maps and everything!

Ooooh…

Aaaaahhh…

Even though the trails were marked, the path itself wasn’t as well maintained as state maintained parks, which means it looks really pretty with all the leaves on the ground!

It also means you have no idea what you’re possibly stepping on, as I came to find out when something jumped out from under my feet.

I’m very glad I stayed true to myself and went in anti-social mode this weekend because at the end of the weekend I felt more like myself again. Nature tends to have that effect on me. How could it not?

I was happy, my mind was quiet, and I felt excited about life again, even though Monday was fast approaching.

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Hiking is my therapy and I am very grateful to live in an area full of beautiful trails.


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Releasing my inner #basic

It’s fall season! That means it’s time for sugar and pumpkin spice and everything nice! Leggings and sweaters and fuggs (fake uggs) and pumpkin spice latte and my favorite…the fall foliage!

Yaaas! Look at ALL the trees!

Take all the pictures!

Even if you know the pictures will end up looking the same, take more pictures anyway!

Being from LA I had no idea what a true fall looked like. I mean, the leaves back home changed color too but they mostly just turned brown before dying. We did not have this explosion of colors that look almost fake in its brilliance.

I mean, just look at that! Doesn’t it look fake? Heavily filtered? Something out of a fantasy video game?

Pardon my excessive enthusiasm but I just can’t help it. Fall seems to get me every time.

Tired of looking at trees yet? Come on, just one more.

Oh come on. One more won’t hurt. Just the tip (of the tree, that is. Stop that dirty mind!).

Oh but right. Details. Where was I? I was in Sugar Hill State Forest Park in Watkins Glen, NY, a park that along with hiking trails also has horse trails and a cool fire tower. 

I thought you would be able to go all the way to the top where that enclosed shed looking thing is in the picture. Unfortunately, there was a locked shut trapdoor (that I almost walked into) on the last flight of stairs. Oh well. Maybe next time it’ll be open. 

This is the first state park that didn’t have any paper maps available. It’s also the first state park I’ve been to where I didn’t have to pay for parking so I’ll take it! But they did have this cool map:

I made sure to take this picture prior to my hike so I could follow the right trail (I didn’t follow the right trail) and so that I didn’t get lost this time (I got lost).

It was a very short hike (because I went the wrong way) but it was still exactly what I needed. It was such a beautiful day. Perfect for just being in the moment and getting away from everything else. I ended my day with a cup of hot mulled cider, and by cup I mean ginormous mug.

Just kidding. My day didn’t actually end there. It was a friend’s birthday party so I went out afterwards.

I know, I know. My face looks really different when I actually do something to it, right? 😀 

Today was actually a very good day. It was a great combination of enjoying my solitude on a beautiful day and having a blast at night with some good company. My favorite kind of day. 

Balance is key.


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The Clueless Rebel

This past weekend I did my first hike of the summer. I was trying to figure out why I hadn’t gone on any hikes before this weekend considering it’s already mid-summer and summer is short around here. Then I realized it’s because I could barely walk. Ah. That is a critical component of hiking so no wonder.

But no matter, at least I can walk with barely a limp now so I’m ready! And for my first hike I decided to go to Letchworth State Park, which is considered the Grand Canyon of the East. In hindsight I’m not sure why I thought that would make a good first hike considering it’s 7 miles one way, but in the end it didn’t matter. I got lost and inadvertently turned around about 2 miles in so yeah… that happened last time too…sigh…

But whatever, I got some pretty cool pictures and was able to relax a bit.

I noticed the waterfall seemed a lot more dried up than the last time I was there in September. It wasn’t as powerful but it was no less majestic. In fact, because it was pretty dried up you could actually go down on the river bed, which I did.
Not shown here is a man wearing a bright yellow shirt walking towards me, almost ruining this shot for me.

Also not shown here is me getting kicked out by said man in the bright yellow shirt because apparently you’re not supposed to be down there… Oops… but I took one last shot before I got out. Take that, bright yellow shirt man!

After my short hike I decided to go home. Well, more accurately, my stomach decided it was time to go eat and my stomach pretty much rules all so off I went. On the way home I noticed a few places where one could pull off to the side and check out the overlook. So this one did just that.

Then a child kindly informed me that sitting on the ledge was unsafe and started explaining to me the dangers of what I was doing. Boy, I just couldn’t win that day! 😁

So in conclusion, I found that I am a clueless rebel who has a terrible sense of direction. Next time, I swear I’ll be successful in finding and completing the trail AND won’t break any rules!


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Skinny Atlas

What is a Skinny Atlas?you may be thinking. “How does such a young girl even know what an atlas is?” was probably your next thought. (Like, ohemgee, thanks!)

Skinny Atlas is what I remember in order to pronounce Skaneateles correctly. Then when I try to spell it, I pronounce it as Skay-knee-ah-teh-lees. Why the strange spelling and pronunciation? Because it’s a Native American word just like Tongue Can Nick Falls, which is what I remember in order to pronounce Taughannock Falls correctly, pronounced as Tuh-han-nok in order to spell correctly.

What’s so special about Skinny Atlas? It’s freaking beautiful, that’s what.

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Look at how clear the water is.

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I made a day trip here during Memorial Day, which ended up being a beautiful day just like last year.

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For the most part, I hung out at Clift Park, which was right by the water.

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I also walked around and found this cool fishing area.

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Other activities included eating, reading, and daydreaming, my three favorite hobbies! Oh, and I’m pretty sure I took a nap at the park at some point, if the drool on my shirt was any indication…I couldn’t help it, it felt so good basking in the sun!

All in all it was a very beautiful day and just exactly the kind of day I was looking for. Have I mentioned how glad I am to have moved here? 🙂


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You know you miss someone when…

I saw this on my social media feed the other day and felt a little pang in my heart.

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I don’t currently feel this way about anyone but seeing this did remind me of a time when I felt exactly like this.

Around 5 years ago I was selected by my company to attend the National Space Symposium as part of the young leadership program. It was a great opportunity for networking and only one person in our division is selected every year. I felt extremely honored and excited, especially since I had been working my butt off at that time. I remember that year clearly…I was working constantly, to the point where I felt like I was burning out, but then I started to get recognition, I got promoted and even got a bonus, and then I was told that I was selected to go to the symposium. It was a very uplifting feeling and I remember just feeling so happy at that time.

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Look at that ecstatic face!

The National Space Symposium was held in Colorado Springs, Colorado and it was beautiful that time of year.

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I listened to various speakers from leaders in the space industry to astronauts, and I got to see some pretty cool things as well.

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It was business by day, all out fun by night, so at night I would network…and party at the same time!

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So what does this have to do with missing someone, considering I was having the time of my life? Well, at the end of the last night, right at the peak of my happiness and feeling of inspiration, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow I’m so happy right now. I want to call The Ex so I can share this moment with him,” and then feeling my heart sink when I realized it just wasn’t possible to do that anymore…so then I took one last sip of my drink and with a heavy sigh, I called it a night.

NOT! This was in my early twenties so of course I wasn’t smart enough to do that! What did I do instead?

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At least that’s what I attempted to do. Luckily, one of my new friends stopped me from doing it.

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I wish he was around to stop me when I made the stupid decision to reach out later on, but that’s a story for another time.

Back to the present…I’ve been feeling melancholy and a little lost this past week, not sure why. Maybe I really did leave my heart in Barcelona? Or maybe I’ve been seeing too many straight-to-the-heart memes lately? In any case, the weather was kind enough to allow me to do what I normally like to do when I feel like this, which is to take a walk.

 

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Glendale Park in Endicott, NY

 

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Can you spot the bunny?

It was really nice being there, especially because I remember the last time I was there I was in a completely different place in my life. At that time I had no idea how long I was going to be in  Binghamton, I couldn’t stop thinking about The One Who (Once) Made Me Crazy, and I just couldn’t have imagined the way my life has now turned out. Now I feel extremely grateful that my life has turned out better than I could have imagined despite my emotions bouncing all over the place at the moment. It’s funny how life turns out when you just let go and stop trying to plan every little detail. Being there was a great reminder that I should just let go and let God, as they say. Or chill the eff out as the younger generation would say. So yes, that is what I’ll do. No spreadsheets, no flow diagrams, just faith. 😛

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“The Preview”

I caught up with a friend of mine and we ended up talking about the philosophy of life and love, as we always seem to every time we talk (lol). We have one of those types of friendships where we don’t talk often but when we do we pick up right where we left off, and strangely enough despite the time and distance, we always seem to be on the same path in life. Perhaps not in things like career and such but more where we are in terms of life lessons.

Last time we talked, she seemed to be having her own version of The Man Who Drove Her Crazy, something which I am also unfortunately familiar with. Because I recognized the signs and knew that no amount of talking would help her out of the crazy pit, I just nodded my head and listened to her as she spouted words of poetic about this man, trusting that she would eventually see the truth in her own time. And she did.

This time around we spoke about how although that kind of love is very intense, all-encompassing, and kind of addicting, what we are really looking for is the Sunday kind of love. Something more like this:

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Instead of this:

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Then I told her about Mr. Nice Guy, a guy I started to get to know shortly before I made my official move to New York. I told her how it seemed different with him. He seemed to be exactly what I was looking for, and the feelings I was starting to develop seemed more real than even with The Man Who (Once) Made Me Crazy. Everything was…chill, for lack of a better word. There wasn’t this intense need to see each other or speak to each other every minute of every day; it was just a nice, relaxed “hey, I really wanna get to know you, but no pressure though” type of feeling. There were no games. There was no “oh I would love to be with you forever BUT” type of thing. All it was, was “hey, I kinda like you. Let’s hang out and see where this goes.” It was just really nice. Like, really, really nice.

I was telling her how I’m sure there’s a reason why it happened when it did, even though it was the one thing that made me sad to leave California. It was just strange because he was actually someone I had known for quite some time, even before I got sent on assignment to Binghamton and somehow when I moved back earlier this year we started getting to know each other better. Of course a part of me was like, “Dammit, universe, why??” and that’s when she said,

“Maybe he’s the preview.”

As in, perhaps he was meant to open my mind to the possibility that the person for me may be someone I already know. As opposed to my usual pattern of seeing someone across the room and automatically being drawn to that person and then just

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Huh. Maybe. In any case, I am in no hurry but I will say that my short but sweet experience with him certainly did open my eyes and I have to admit, he kinda made me want things I didn’t know I wanted…perhaps that’s a good thing though as I have been told a few times that I tend to be “too independent.” I didn’t realize that was a thing but…oops? 😀

In the meantime, I will revel in my independence and do exactly what I want to do, which usually means some sort of local adventure to bask in the beauty that is upstate New York. This particular weekend I decided to go to Robert Treman State Park, which I had gone with my parents last spring, but I wanted to hike a different trail and see what it looked like in the fall. So how did it look this time around? Beautifall, of course!

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Part of the appeal in my typical Sunday Funday adventures is the drive itself. It’s just so peaceful and a time when I can just let myself be.

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I’ve only been here for roughly a year and a half, counting my temporary relocation last year, but I really hope I never lose my sense of wonder every time I go for a hike or even just a drive. I hope I never become ungrateful or take this place for granted because it truly is a beautiful place to be.