On the other foot

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I went away for our annual industry conference in Baltimore a few weeks ago. If you’re a long time reader of my blog, you’ll know how I get when I travel alone. Even though I find myself among thousands of people in an interesting new city, the tendency to isolate comes pretty easily to me, staring down the social phobia and awkwardness that these types of events just simply are.

Driving into Baltimore freaked me out a bit. I have this recurring nightmare, like the dream where you are falling and you startle yourself awake, only in mine, I’m in a car, leaving a huge cement bridge over water, and plummeting into the water below. I get irrationally fearful of highway on ramps that go very high in the air and bridges over water, and didn’t realize I had to hit one of each on my way into the city. Unpleasant to say the least.

My time in Baltimore was no different than last year in Boston or DC the year before that. I get in my head, struggling with my depression, but working on writing and hitting the gym helps a bit. The saddest part though is being away from my family. As my son gets older, he’s much more aware about the time we spend away from him. My husband travels regularly overnight for work, often one night a week, sometimes more. I sometimes have late nights for work once a month, and do a late night yoga class once a week, but being gone for four days is really out of the norm for me.

My husband kept an eye on my son while I was gone, taking him on a grand adventure to the beach, where they could use the indoor pool and play in a new environment as a treat. He did amazingly well, and hearing how much fun they had made me miss them that much more.

Of course, I did find some things to do while I was there. I walked around the Inner Harbor area until sunset one night. I stumbled on a German market, which sold crafts and local goods and beer and food. I bought some wooden ornaments and a tree topper.

I headed back up the main drag to my hotel to find an increased police presence at every intersection. There were people demonstrating about the police brutality in Ferguson and New York, screaming “I can’t breathe!” into the night. You could hear them for blocks and blocks afterward.

I stumbled on to a tiny craft beer bar called Alewife, which was an amazing find beer-wise. I had a flight of three Jolly Pumpkin ales and a Saison DuPont (my go-to favorite beer) along with some amazing steamed clams and buffalo chicken bisque. My server was awesome, very attentive and knowledgeable about the beers. Although I had to walk past the strip club on my way back and saw some guy staggering to keep himself upright, I felt like it was an overall successful venture into the outside world.

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The conference itself was awesome. I managed to go the whole thing without seeing my colleagues, bumping into my boss only once. The sessions were great, very informative and well planned. I did spot a gem in the convention’s bathroom stall, someone posted their phone number and “350+only.” I have tried not to think what kind of individual you’d have to be to sneak into the women’s bathroom at the Baltimore Convention center to post such a thing. And, were I a 350 lb woman, would I be so foolish as to call a number I saw posted in such a manner.IMG_0982.JPG

When I got home, I was surprised to learn that my husband had a new-found appreciation of the time I spend with my son when he’s overnight. And, I found a new respect for the emotional fortitude to be able to work away from home so often, as I was an emotional mess most of the time I was gone. And, although I’m still paying for the time away with my son, it was a mostly positive, eye opening experience for us all.

Mantra – Be Legendary

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People use the phrase ‘Big fish in a little pond’ as a derogatory way.

And in a way it sort of is, but only if you’re not aware of it.

But to have that skill set and be fully aware of one’s potential, that is a substantial warrior indeed.

If you are the big fish, be the biggest fucking fish out there.

Be a legend.

well, well, well, how the turntables…

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If you know me IRL, at one point or another, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of some of my shenanigans. Most likely, I find something ridiculous to send or email you. Usually I do it without warning, or attribution, so that my friends end up going, “WTF?! Who did this?!”

Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be there when it all goes down, and have to contain my giddy laughter. Other times, it’s a sleeper prank, taking months to unfold before, finally, beautifully, it all comes together.

As much as I enjoy being the source of shenanigans, I never expect to be pranked back, but I think someone finally got me. An email arrived from a “Friend” with this lovely comic, which I actually read pretty regularly.

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(If you’ve never read, it, please check out Married to the Sea because it’s funny as hell and it will make your life so much better.)

Emails to my friends produced no leads, all of the usual suspects denied sending, which left me wondering if it was just a random thing from their site. But the concealer joke is one I’d make, so it seemed perfectly selected for me. A few weeks go by and then this comes in today’s email:

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Again, this is totally my sense of humor, and while no one’s owning up to it, I’m actually loving it. This is funny as hell to me, so whoever you are, if you’re reading this, well done! I love it! Thanks for making me laugh, random friendo! Keep them coming! And, if I ever determine which of my pals you are, it’s on like Donkey Kong!!!

Mantra – Be You

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At the end of the day, be you.

Do nothing more than every inch of your truest self.

Hold back nothing for in that moment, there is freedom, honesty and truth.

Say the things that have to be said, but with love and compassion.

Hear criticism for its truth and discard the rest.

Practice unconditional positive regard.

If there is one thing you are capable of, it is making a person feel wholly loved.

Be that.

Be that, always.

Tears

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If you have to cry,
Cry.
Cry away.
Never apologize
For your tears.
They fall silently,
Even at the worst of times.
But no matter how quiet
You let your tears fall,
The breath you held
Must be let go
Eventually
And the moment
Of release
Can’t hide anymore
Be kind to yourself
In those moments too.
Because the breath
That you draw after
Is the sound
Of moving on.

The winter haul

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I had a brief indulgence at the local bottle & cheese shop. From left to right:

IMG_0435.JPGPanil – Italian Sour Brown Ale
Sofie – Belgian Style Farm House Ale – Goose Island Brewing Company
Delirium Red – Rare Belgian Red Ale
(Growler) St. Bernadus Tripel – A rare treat on tap, on $20 USD on the 64 oz Growler!
Jolly Pumplin La Roja – Red Sour Ale
Rodenback Flemish Red  (Sensing a trend here?)

Also picked up some decadent cheeses: IMG_0433.JPG

All told, I spent about $130, including the half gallon of apple cider and crackers needed for the cheese. Worth it! All of it was amazing! <3

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