Occupy 30

One Lady's denial and acceptance into adulthood

Ladies in the Big Apple

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18. go to the top of the Statue of Liberty

Check (and a little).

I’ve been prone to get nicknames. I think it’s because half the time people don’t know how to pronounce my name. The other half is I think personality. Who wouldn’t want to give this face another name? And just a little bit has to do with friends. They can’t help themselves (Thank you Herr Bornbusch).

But Lady Liberty was all me.

I was in charge of organizing the Hausbar’s pub quiz and I needed a stage name. Something catchy and something American. Lady Liberty might have been an unoriginal choice, but it was a classic one. She was the iconic statue; just right for the quiz. A perfect and logical choice. Plus, I got to wear a crown.

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Oh the crown. I made it so crudely… it had to be no other way. It looked like a kindergartener made it, but it lasted all those years. At one point it even broke (it was made of styrofoam), but I duck taped in back together. I even sat on it, but the foam crown points just popped right back up. It’s a miracle it never got stolen. It’s a miracle I never forgot it after a night of … sipping.

The crown still exists. I bequeathed it to the Hausbar; no one deserved it more. Plus I wasn’t sure if it would survive the trip over (it’s still amazing my three boxes came).

But as all those years masking around as one Lady Liberty I had never been to the actual one. The closest I came was a high school trip to Ellis Island; still we never set foot on that other island. Then last year I was determined to go, but the Statue was closed. One of the hurricanes damaged it or they were remodeling; nonetheless it would be closed for a year. But Lady Liberty reopened this year on July fourth (I get special Lady Liberty urgent e-mail alerts) and I had envisions of climbing to the top, wearing the cheesy New York City crowns and crying, “I’m the Lady of the world!!”.

Unfortunately, everyone else had similar plans too. In fact, to reach the crown required months of reservations in advance; even during the weekday (don’t people work around here?).

I for one wasn’t that organized. But with two Germans waiting in the wings to do the ultimate New York experience; I was going. Even if the monument stand section would be the highest we could get.

The trip itself was a quick one. Going inbetween off days of work; getting up at the crack of dawn, driving to New York City (G.W. Bridge!!! -shake angry fist-); relying on my schizo phone service (Virgin Mobile!!! -shake angry fist-); not really sure where or what Battery Park was (What’s White Hall??? -shake angry fist-); but  somehow I made it. Right on time (American time, not German).

IMG_20130909_132657It was a gorgeous day. Sunny, blue skies, a fantastic ferry ride and just all around pleasant. Lady Liberty glowed in the sunlight. She was a beacon for me.

We reached the island and security let us through. I felt veklempt; Mike Myers would be proud. But in actuality, I did feel choked up.
And I felt even more so as I climbed the 192 steps to the Pedestal observation deck. Who knows if my mascara would have held up if  I had reached the crown.

But this Lady finally met her match. And it might not have been the most organized, or everything I had hoped to do at the statue, it was still breath-taking and emotional as it could get. Or it was as simple as a couple of Ladies just taking in the scenery and the moment.

Sometimes you can’t plan it any better.

Six down.
Twenty-four to go.

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Occupy 30 Marathon

I’m still here.

This is why I can’t be trusted with a blog. Let alone a credit card. It’s been weeks, no months since a last post. And while most of you thought maybe I’ve dropped the whole Occupy 30 project, oh contra. I’ve been doing things on the List. Just haven’t posted them.

I could blame work. (Damn you part-time!)

I could blame my fella (Damn your enchanting eyes!)

I could blame Germans visiting me 24/7 (When is someone from Russia coming?).

I could blame Health insurance. (Everyone else does. But, heck, I’m insured!)

I could blame the Red Sox. (Can we stop winning Championships?)

I could blame the changing weather (just pick a Season!)

I could blame eggs. (Ate way too many this week. Damn that egg salad).

But in the end, it’s me. I’ve been lazy writing, BUT not in doing. I’ve done, let me count them, 4 things, and 2 that somewhat count, but not really, but we are going to count them. I’ve also made progress on many things on that List (just read a recipe how to make sweetbread over the weekend).

So no, I haven’t dropped Occupy 30. But I need to get the ball rolling.  In the next 48 hours I’ll be posting. No sleep. No beer. No coffee. That’s how serious I am. But knowing me….

Hmmm.

That’s maybe too serious. Okay.

I’m going to push to get out the the next posts before I embark on probably my most traditional Thanksgiving ever in the Mid-west of Illinois. Cause I know we all want a post on that experience.

So enjoy the Occupy 30 forty-eight/week marathon.

Happy posting
and if anyone is still out there…
reading.

Working Girl

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0. find a job (no wait, this is a serious list, plus that’s for my 40s)

Check!

Wait, it’s not really on the List.

I’m alive?

I love blogging. When I started this “project” I went into it thinking I wasn’t going to write everyday. Who would want to hear about my mundane going ons everyday?

Well, it’s be a while since my last post. A long time. Too long in fact. A lot has happened. Visitors. Driving. Road trips. More driving.  Cooking. Driving. Watching The Sopranos. More driving. Wondering how Tom Brady can be so damn good-looking. And a lot more driving. Working.

Wooooooahhhhh….. Working???!!???

Yep, after my money ran out after my shopping spree at Dollywood (hey, I still stand by that tie-dye t-shirt purchase), and the tension between my Mom and me reached escalated heights (she thought about charging me for water usage), it was finally time to start applying. I had a resume. I had a cover letter. I just need to apply.

So I did. I checked out craigslist. I checked out food jobs. I checked boston.com. I checked out Whole Foods (just for their 20% discount) And I applied. And heard nothing. It was defeating.

Then a sweet of light!

An e-mail came and they were interested. A chance.

And the rest is history.

I work at Flour, a bakery and cafe owned by Joanne Chang in the South End of Boston. I had actually been there before I got the job. With my first visitor we went to the exact bakery way back in March and now here I am working there. I remember what I ordered too. An egg sandwich and a cookie. Actually hold the cookie; I was way too hungover. Yep, my first time in Flour I was nursing a hangover from the Beacon Hill Pub the night before. I couldn’t even eat the cookie, cause I was just in need of bacon, egg and fat. Thankfully I didn’t mention that in the interview.

Now all I’m doing is eating cookies. And sticky buns. And Oreo cookies. And making those egg sandwiches. It’s a blast.

It’s a small space, but I love it. So far. The early mornings (ugh 7 a.m. work shifts) haven’t bothered me yet. I’m still in training. Just finished my second full shift Friday. I haven’t burned myself and I’m learning the difference between vegan and gluten free (oh, those poor people). I haven’t seen a pay check, but it’s coming (is it??) and after they take out taxes (wait, I’m paying taxes??), I will have my first earnings in the USandA.

I’m back, America. And employed.

God save us all.

Zero down.

A lot more to go.

Hello Dolly!

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2. visit Dollywood, Tennessee

Check.

I’m on the road. That’s partly why there hasn’t been a post recently. Right now I’m writing this in the early morning hours in a Nashville hotel, which was worth every penny, but that’s another story for a another blog. Nonetheless, I’ve finished something on the list. So here goes.

Dollywood wasn’t a life long dream. In fact, I wanted to go to Disney World in celebration of my 30th birthday. But Disney was too much money (Mickey (shake angry fist!)), and when the idea of visiting Nashville came up for a road trip, somehow Dollywood just fit right in. It was a done deal. Dolly here we come.

It took 4 days and over 1,000 miles, but I made it to Dollywood. We drove to it the scenic way (I’m a scenic person); down the Skyline Drive, over the Appalachian Mountain and finally through the Smoky Mountains; so scenic, that the minute we entered the Smoky Mountains a large elk or stag galloped across the road. Majestic. Awe-inspiring. Nature.

That can’t be described for the Dollywood surroundings. Once we left the Mountains it was Hillbilly Vegas.

One long Strip, that had everything; a large boardwalk that interchanged between crosses, honkey tonk amusement parks, Santa Clause’s village, BBQ, and a museum on the Titanic, that was in a building shaped as the Titanic. How did this all come with Dollywood?

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In fact we should have suspected this was how it would be. Before entering the Smoky Mountains, we had to drive through Cherokee, NC. A town that turned the Native Americans into a mockery. It wasn’t enough we took their mountains. That should have been an indication of what was to come.

Anyway, after our shock, we headed to Dollywood. That had to erase some of the Strip. Thank god it did.

Dollywood is like a town of Dolly and it happens to have an amusement park.

Nestled in the Smokey Mountains, I’ve never seen an amusement park so happily situated in so many trees. The trees. Oh the trees. They were so tall and so many that most of the rides would be just peaking over. Beautiful.

This is a park not for the thrill and fast ride seekers. It’s a park for families (and two ladies that liked Dolly), it’s a park just to hangout in. In fact, many of the local has season passes. They just come over and enjoy the atmosphere and the playfulness of the whole experience. Most of the people couldn’t figure us out. We weren’t wearing Believe in God t-shirts, and we weren’t with any children. We didn’t even have blonde hair. But it didn’t matter. We played on.

Because we had a Play another Day ticket; one ticket for the price of two days. It was worth every penny. After a night of raiding the Dollywood souvenir shop (I’m pretty sure those fireworks every night were made possible by Julia H.); the next day we spent more time in the souvenir shop (and that new ice cream stand was again made possible by Julia H.), but more time in Dolly’s Museum; (tears were shed) and the Park itself.

I’m a big amusement park fan. As a kid I loved them, but I was terrified to ride the roller coasters. As I grew older I pushed the fear aside and now I’m just a kid that I should have been in an amusement park. You can’t make me not enjoy myself.

Yet, Dollywood is a different type of Park. There’s more things for the non-amusement park people (which happened to be my Julia H.). There were streets filled with shops with things made and run by local people. Glass blowing, wood carving, metal carving, hats; there was even an Association for Front Porches (wouldn’t life be great if we all had a front porch, preached Dolly).

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To top it on a grander note, there was even a real life steamed engine, which took us through the woods and around the Park. Oh Dolly. Can she ever go wrong?

Yes. She can’t control the weather. During the early evening Dollywood temporarily shut down due to lightening and thunder. Then it started to downpour. But no worries, we just found shelter in a Ice Cream Parlor, which conveniently had Vanilla Milkshakes for all.

Once the Park resumed full operating status, I jumped at my chance to ride the rides. Two in particular stood out: Tennessee Tornado and the Thunderbird. The newest ride, the Wild Eagle, I was too chicken to ride alone, but a looping coaster and a wooden one I couldn’t resist. It helped that there were virtually no lines; the families cleared out during the rain. Leaving the Ladies behind.

SAM_2642The Thunderbird was okay for a wooden coaster (I’ll stick to the Colossos in Heide Park), but the Tennessee Tornado was a highlight.  Riding at 70 mph and again beautifully situated in the woods, I screamed the whole time (puncturing the man’s eardrum next to me no doubt). It was exhilarating and just awesome. It was also cool we did a butterfly loop; the logo for Dollywood.

The day ended with a trip on the Ferris Wheel. The same one that Dolly rode back in 1986 when the Park opened. It went high above the trees; it was the perfect ending on the right note; Dolly’s notes of course.

In my Tennessee mountain home
life is as peaceful as a baby’s sigh
In my Tennessee mountain home
crickets sing in the fields near by

Five down.
Twenty-five to go.

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Drive

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* No hedgehogs were harmed during this post *

It’s been a tough week.

I haven’t been on this type of emotional wave since moving back Home. Well, maybe not that extreme, but it’s been one hell of a week; personally, professionally (I wish), newsly, and sportly.

It’s been so intense, that yesterday while I was driving a hedgehog attempted and was crossing the four lane mini-highway. And instead of slowing down, I sped up. Reckless. Out of Control. Emotionally drained. Mind else where.

Did the Hog make it? Or was it a causality of a hit and run?

What led me down this road?

After two months of intense, ulcer-inducing, inspiring, destiny-playing hockey, my beloved Bruins loss in a heartbreaking, typical Boston fashion. I could have handled a Game seven loss. Not that 17 second loss in the third period of Game 6. Just thinking about it breaks my heart. Angers me. Breaks my heart. Angers me. Breaks… (this goes in unexpected cycles).

In the end, ultimately my feelings go towards disappointment. I’m starting to think I’m the problem. Every time I am able to watch one of my teams play a meaningful game in the USA, they lose. I moved back for this? Nope, my pity week is coming to an end. Time to move on…

to football. Oh wait.

The Aaron “OJ” Hernandez story has taken over the news and boston.com for days. It has truly been a media circus. It’s gripped the region. While other newspaper sites had the DOMA ruling as the headliner (another draining victory), good old reliable boston.com kept Hernandez on top.

I tried not to watch the coverage yesterday. But I was riveted. I’d like to blame it on my lower back pain, lying on the couch all day with our new 50 inch HD TV, but I can’t. It even took me away from the second hour of 90210. Damn.

Now the latest. I just read later into the hours Thursday that not only have we lost Doc Rivers, but Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are being traded to Brooklyn, NY.

What’s next?

Tom Brady in a Tiger Woods-esque scandal?

But it gets even better. Or worse. Or more. Cause that’s not even half the stuff that’s happened this week. (for more check out my imaginary blog Cherry Confidential. It’s like coming..). But lets just say it’s been a week of back pain, heartbreak, anger, disappointment and then some.

But the real clincher came today.
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After 20 years, my 1993 Subaru Legacy was sent to car heaven.

We got the Subaru on unpleasant conditions. It was Uncle Nicholas’s car. He passed away in January of 2001. He loved Subarus. He had a red one, before the Legacy. I still remember it. That one also ran itself into the ground. Over the years, I would still think of the Legacy as Uncle Nicholas’s car.  (And it is). But we inherited it and so began my long and fulfilling journey with is.

It’s gotten me to all my places (except that final trip, right across the New Hampshire border… live free or die).

 

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It got me home.
It got me to Parker.
It got me to Wheaton.
It got me through New York (with those bumper stickers in tack).

It got me to the Providence Place Mall.
It got me to the Lake House.
It got me to the National Football Hall of Fame.
It got me to the Chicago skyline.

It got me to the Jefferson Memorial.
It got me across the Zakim Bridge.
It got me to Cooperstown too many times (actually, the car just navigates there).

It got Tom Petty.

It’s gotten friends, family, neighbors, dogs, and even Germans to that final destination.

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I thought I was good about giving up the car. I was ready. The last week I was checking out new cars; excited about the new prospects and adventure. But it was bittersweet this morning. I had a heavy heart. I couldn’t grip that steering wheel one last time.

But that’s the theme of this year. It’s about closing old chapters in one’s life and starting new one’s. So maybe it seems fitting that the car finally went this year. It was time. We had one last joy ride.

 

 

And no, I didn’t hit that hedgehog.

Don’t stop

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I know it’s been a while since the posts. I could blame the Bruins. I could blame my lower back pain. I could blame laziness. I could blame my hectic job search (really?). I could blame a lot. But, enough with the blaming. I got something done on the List and that’s just enough to warrant a post.

21.

go to a  mainstream, major Band concert. Any concert. I’ve never been to one.

Check.

The first time I tuned into Fleetwood Mac was when I watched an episode of Behind the Music. The Mac were gearing up for their first ever reunion tour and VH1 was pulling out all the stops. Constant coverage of the band. And the Behind the Music episode was the hook, line, and sinker.

I was officially “Maced”. All that drama. Who needed soap operas?  And it played out in front of fantastic music. This was a rock band.

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I’m not a music person. I like music, but I don’t consider myself seduced by it (that’s reserved by Sports). So buying the live recording of Fleetwood Mac’s reunion tour was a big thing. I hadn’t bought many CDs (ahhh Ace of Base. You were my first). When I look back, I’m semi-impressed by my collection. I did buy Nirvana. I bought Alanis. Weezer. But I also had the 90210 soundtrack. And Bobby Darin (hey, don’t mac the Mack). So my taste in music was questionable.

But Fleetwood Mac hit a cord. When Stevie Nicks sang “Silver Springs”, I felt the anguish. The love. The heartbreak. It was almost haunting.

Over the years I was the only Mac fan I knew about. Other than my Mom (who was excited that I liked music from her days); most of my people were more into the current music. Plus, my music credibility was lost during the days of Cotton Eye Joe, Numma Numma Neh, and other one-hit wonders.

But I found the spirit in Germany. Most Germans I knew were very in-tuned with music. There are a number of festivals. I knew a lot of DJs. My friends opened a club. People were just into it. But when one of my new acquaintances started playing Fleetwood Mac one late night in the Hausbar, I was shocked and overjoyed. Vindication for Mick, Stevie, Lindsey, John, and Christine. Everyone. Bonds and friendships were formed that night.

IMG_1078The Mac fans came out over the years. Early mornings on Fuehr and the chain blasting from the stereo. Countless dinner parties were engaged with Lindsey belting out go your own way. Even in my DJaning days, an occasional don’t stop would sneak out late into the night.

So when I read in February that Fleetwood Mac was on tour and would be in town, I jumped at getting the tickets. It was a perfect gift for my Mom’s birthday too. I had never been to a major band’s concert. I always thought it was a waste of money. It would be too loud. The seats would be lousy. I’d rather spend my money on baseball games.

All those pre-notions, judgments were blown up in my face Friday night. It was amazing. Perfect weather. Seats high up but not too far back and a full moon in the background. Fleetwood Mac rocked it out. A lot of people left before the final curtain call (probably from Miami). They missed Mick’s drumming solo. Silver Springs. Stevie being as woosey and mystical as ever. And the end of a feel good time of 3+ hours of music.

The entire concert I just couldn’t believe I was there. Here was Fleetwood Mac playing live in front of me. Dancing. Singing. And that was just me. It was simply amazing. And it was worth every penny (don’t stop … playing!).

I’m not sure if I’ll become a concert junkie. Probably not. I can’t imagine going to a concert with that type of history and nostalgia with the band, the right and magical atmosphere, and an overall special connection and bond with a band that was further deepened during a beautiful night. It would be hard to top.

Four down.
Twenty-six to go.

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The Old Lady and the Sea

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23. Go whale watching.

Check.

I would have posted an entry sooner, but if anything trumps my List it’s sports playoffs. And my Bruins are making a surge towards the Stanley Cup Finals. Last night was a double overtime win. Skate till you drop (something I will do when I finally accomplish number 4.). Thrilling. Exhausting. And that was before the overtime. But we were calm and we delivered. One more win to the Stanley Cup Finals. Time to retire that other black and gold team (Pittsburgh is coming up on my hated Sports cities team… but that’s an entry for my other blog).

Back to important things.

It’s been 51 days since I accomplished something on the List. In between I’ve made eaten a lot steamers. Decorated too many cupcakes. Did my resume. Didn’t apply for a job. Bought too much stuff at Wallmart. Went to some baseball games. And got my hair cut (just a trim).

So the time was a blowing (warning there might be multiple blow references in this entry. Don’t worry it’s still at the PG level).

SAM_2584Finally with good friends blowing (warned you) through town and the weather just blowing right (not too hot, abundance of sun), we set out for the seas.

Call me Ishmael. Really call me. I want to go lobstering with you.

As usual, I was completely unprepared. I was inappropriately dressed. It’s a miracle I had shoes. No “real” coat. No rain jacket. No rubber boots. I’m surprised they let me on the boat. I’m on a boat! (warning there might also be multiple “I’m on a boat” music video references).

But the captain let me on (a boat!): in a white dress that was destined to flash the entire crew, green pearled necklace, big sunglasses, and my hair blowing in the wind. It worked.  I was on. A boat!

We sailed off from the New England Aquarium; this whale watch guaranteed whales or a free ride the next time around. Security. Phew. Something I wasn’t used too (who needs health insurance?).

But God, what if we didn’t see anything?

Still, I wasn’t going to get deterred yet; we were on the water and it turned into a gorgeous day. Blue skies and speeding away from the Boston skyline. Wind blowing in our faces. I was chilled, but calmed (like Bergeron) and tranquil with the sea. Where’s Baby Beluga when you need him?

The ocean sanctuary was about 20 miles off the Boston coast. It took an hour to get out there, but we were rewarded right off the dock. A common Minke whale spouted at the surface in the horizon. I blowed a squeal; like a little child. The Minke was small; it had a fin shaped like a dolphin’s. Nothing compared to the next species of whale that surfaced; the Fin whale.

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This is the second largest whale and one doesn’t quite get the largeness of these animals till you look at pictures after the boat docks. Actually we saw two Fin whales; all returning from the south and hungry.

Whales migrate, but the journey back from the Caribbean they starve themselves. So by the time they reach the cold waters and food supply; they are famished. These whales were doing a lot of diving; back to the food supply.

But it didn’t end there. Our final whale of a species we saw was the majestic Humpback whale. A lasting image in my mind will be seeing my first  humpback lifting her tail from the water to get a particular good dive. It was awe-inspiring. I was giddy. It was worth every penny. But this humpback made the moment even more special.

SAM_2596He name was Boomerang. The humpbacks are named in particular and easy to identify because of the back of their tail patterns. No one humpback are alike. Boomerang was the shape as a boomerang (no a rose). She was first spotted in the Boston wahters in 1985. 28 years. Younger than me; though basing by whale years, probably closer to my age. At least 30 or older.

Here we were. Two thirty year old ladies out on ocean. Blowing steam. Blowing the air. Diving our drinks. Blowing the breeze. Blowing through life (last blow reference).

Boomerang had a baby calf between last year and the year before (must have been on her List). It had probably just left her this past year while down in the Caribbean. But Boomerang continued on. A new phase in her life. She had made it back to Boston. She too had found her way back home.

Three down.
Twenty-seven to go.

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