Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Travel plans + traveling solo

10 Things to Learn about Yourself When Traveling Alone

I have also been researching some Spanish immersion programs in Latin America. I found flights, round trip, for $400 to $600 and a place in Honduras that's $800 for a month. I have also been reading about the Peace Corps (probably not for me), and contemplating all the possibilities and what responsibilities I have here that I would have to deal with (get out of cell phone contract, rent out apartment, etc.)

I got to go snowboarding today for the first time this season, I rented a helmet (at a mere $3/day) and it gave me the confidence to try linking my turns more and it was, in my opinion, one of my most successful days! I am now looking into where I can go for cheap in the NE when I get back... and hopefully I can get some friends to come along as well!

I'm not sure what will be happening in the next few months... let alone the next one month. I thought I knew what I wanted, then it changed some when I met him and now I don't know what I want. As many friends suggested, it's the perfect time to travel. I'm not really ready to commit to any specific career. I'm in a time of exploring. And that's ok. I am where I need to be. And everything is going to work out. Things happen for a reason.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The world is my oyster

What to do, what to do?

exploring my options, heading back to NY in a few days, going to pack up, sell some books, get rid of some possessions, finally get back my bottle deposits, etc. Move everything to my mom's house, go to NYC, sign up for some spring classes (hopefully hear back about the one job I have a chance of hearing back from with Habitat for Humanity) then figuring out what to do next. Travel to Latin America and learn Spanish? Go work on organic and farm in Italy or Greece in April? Road trip around the US visiting family? Apply to the Yestermorrow of Costa Rica for their internship?

My mom introduced me to insight meditation over Xmas and it has really been helping and I'm excited about living more in the present. I'm a very driven person and have always looked at the future and not really enjoyed the present. I'm excited about running, meditating, hopefully boxing and shooting again, exploring new neighborhoods in NYC, exploring the wonderful world of architecture in school and through informational interviews - to see where I fit into the scheme of things, and taking a step back from the career path I've been on for so long- to reassess and figure out what I really want.

I'm seriously considering a trip to Latin America. For $500 I can fly there, for $800 I can learn Spanish, get 3 meals a day and stay with a family in Honduras for a month. Immersion is the best way to learn, and that's way less than I spend on rent in NY. Hmmm, might have to wait until April... or even Jan 2011 if I get the Habitat job. So many possibilities!

The world is my oyster. I was handed lemons and now I am going to explore many varieties of lemonade, before I decide which kind to make.

Monday, December 21, 2009

So much to think about

I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I applied for a job with Habitat for Humanity that I really hope I get, which would give me time to be working and thinking about what I will do next. But I don't want to count my chicks before they hatch so I am researching school programs, Masters, Certificates, etc. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for. I really enjoyed the Green Remodeling course I took this summer at Yestermorrow. It made a lot of sense to me about building science.

I'm trying to figure out why I veered off towards Landscape Architecture... it made so much sense to me when I did it, but I was originally going to apply to Sustainable Architecture programs and I am ironically finding myself there again. Either Sustainable architecture or construction management. It's only been two weeks since I made the decision to leave Cornell, and had my heart broken, and trying to figure out what to do, where to go, especially in this economy, is exhausting. And I don't know how to turn my brain off and just deal with it later and enjoy where I'm at which is on vacation.

And none of this is cheap. To find a new person to take over my lease, pain in the butt in a city that is not NYC. To move all my stuff. I should just sell a bunch of my stuff. I have so many books, I don't even reference them all that often. I have a lot of arts/crafts/sewing supplies, those add up. I need to simplify my material possessions. I need to find a place to live where I can cook, and have people over to cook with. (Or maybe just go to friends' homes and cook for them...) I need to get my priorities back in line. Me, me, me, me. Career, school, home, food, exercise. I want to start running again. There's a half-marathon in NYC at the end of April. It is hard to apply for jobs when I don't have an address. I want a social life again. I am sort of beginning to understand what happened in the last few months with me, but now I need to figure out how to make things better.

I won't even be back in Ithaca for 2 more weeks, crazy! So much time. So much to do (I didn't pack a thing, and I will return with a day and a half to pack!) Hopefully sell some books, take my bottles back for deposit, etc. Pack my car with the things I want to have access too... probably drive to NYC in Jan, so I can drive to Ithaca if I need to... probably wait until A is back from Mexico to go back up...

Back to tv and school research and coffee with S soon in Eugene. Remember self. You are on vacation!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Portland is a foodie town

And I finally started to look into it. Last time I was in Portland with KE I really wanted to go out to a meal at one of Portland's well known foodie places but money was an issue so we didn't explore the food offerings. But now... I used my Xmas money that was supposed to be for our new years plans and I went out for dinner with my friend L and her new beau at Toro Bravo in NE Portland.

I had a few glasses of a tasty Rioja-- Bold and smooth. I forgot how much I like red wine, it had been so long! Why I do not know! Then I had a bacon wrapped date with an almond in the middle. I didn't care for the almond in the middle, but the date and bacon made a fantastic pair! I'm glad the waitress told us that there were almonds in the middle or I would have thought I bit into the pit! I shared some of L's salad that was quite tasty, as well as a squash ravioli thingy that was tasty with a little spice. I ended my meal with a flatbread with black truffle cheese and arugula. Oh my, that was good. I love cheese with the bitter bite of arugula. I wish I'd had that earlier in the meal. We were all too full to get a dessert but it was a delicious meal. I'm sure if I had less to drink and hadn't spent all the dinner time in catch up mode with L that my restaurant review would be much more interesting and wordy :P

It's about time to go to sleep... one of the benefits of drinking wine. Mmmm wine.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oregon, shopping and eating

It's so nice to be back in Portland. I still don't see myself moving back here, despite recurring 'where should I live' tests telling me Portland is the place for me. The economy. I don't have a network of friends here... I have a line of friends (2 people) and some family. Maybe when I fall out of love with New York City but, I'm just not ready to give up on NYC!

I have eaten more today than I have any day in the last week and a half, so that's probably good. I'm feeling inspired to start running. I want to find a race in NYC to start training for and, more importantly, find some people to start training with!

I did a bit of shopping today too, got some new skinny jeans, a sexy V-neck sweater, some white ballerina flats, and a couple black tanktops. I like black and dark clothes. Which is fine except my dad's two awesomest cats ever (Xena and Xerxes- who jump up on your lap when you pat it, come when you call them, and Xerxes curls up with me under the covers) are white Siamese cats. Black clothing's worst enemy!!

I also did some book shopping today. I picked up a couple books as gifts for my brother and his fiancee I think they are going to enjoy. I got a couple cover letter and resume writing books (and promptly applied for a Habitat for Humanity position- fingers crossed!!!!!!!) and a book recommended to me by my neighbor in Ithaca called The Beauty Myth. I'm looking forward to reading it but for now, I'm ending my night watching Funny People.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interesting and thought provoking articles

Singles: Patterns of Pursuit Psychology Today

Sexual Energy and the Single Woman Psychology Today

The Art of Now Psychology Today

Travel to Create Your Self Psychology Today

I like this magazine :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

heading home-ish

I'm so glad I'm heading back to Oregon, I actually extended my stay so that I wouldn't be alone over New Years Eve (I'd had plans with KE). I'm freaking out about money because I haven't found someone to take over my apartment yet, so my next best bet is someone to take over in Feb, but this isn't the city- there aren't as many people constantly moving.

I'm trying to keep myself pumped about the benefits of being single now. I'm sad that this man who was so important to me won't be in my life anymore, but it work me up to the fact that I had made him such a priority and lost myself a bit. So now I am trying to find myself again. After my trip to Oregon, I'll come back and move my stuff to my mom's and then I don't know what. I might stay with her for a bit and drive back up to show the apartment, I might head straight to the city, I might do something else. Going back to NYC is my first instinct because that was home for the last 8 years. But the economy isn't great there for my field, but it isn't great anywhere. I took an online quiz again to see where I should live at findyourspot.com and Portland came up first, again. New York didn't actually show up on my list, I think because I checked the box for medium cities so mostly that's what I got. Providence was on the list as well and I like Providence but the unemployment rate there is really high, and that's where KE is from, so I don't see that happening. Albuquerque, NM was second on the list, but I'm not really into the SE... I'm a Yankee :P

Being single means I can focus on myself, rediscover the things that I like, go out and meet new people, things that I have done in the past and enjoyed when I was doing them before I met KE. There was life before him, there will be life after him. I'm so glad I'm going home to spend time with family. I'm a planner and generally make along term plan but at this point I don't have one. This is new territory for me. I'm also dealing with some personal stuff and may start to see a counselor after the holidays before I make any decisions about where to go or what to do. I've been following this path since like 8th grade when I decided my career path. I have always been driven in my career, but I have derived so much of my happiness from my work and I need more.

If this isn't a quarter-life crisis, I don't know what is. These decisions aren't cheap, but figuring out myself and following my dreams and trying to be happy... are things worth splurging on. It is, after all, just money. (Hopefully I feel this way when I'm job hunting for months.) I just have to remind myself that this is a phase. I will find a new job, I will figure out my path, I will learn to enjoy the journey and take pressure off the destination, and eventually I will find a man who wants to share the journey together.

I have been exploring working abroad, Outward Bound courses, entry level jobs in NY, taking a road trip, sustainable jobs, reading up on the economy, career path options, selling my car, finding a new tenant, exercises in personal exploration and positive thinking. Oh and trying not to plan.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Making lemonade, finding the silver lining in a broken heart

I just drew this trying to do some art therapy for myself...

Moving away from learning to be cheap my recent decisions will not be cheap at all... except hopefully in the long run. Last weekend KE and I broke up. I spent a lot of time thinking and talking to my mom and I was telling her how I was not happy at school. I have been less and less passionate about my career path. After my summer at Yestermorrow I went straight into school without time to process how the experience changed me. In part because I don't feel solid in my program and in part because I wanted to be closer to KE I said I wanted to move back to the city. KE decided that he needs to focus on his career fully which means no time for me. I am devastated, dropping weight like crazy for lack of appetite and still planning to move back to the city.

I emailed everyone I know, I have a couple friends I can stay with while I look for a sublet apartment and a new job. I believe that KE and I will be friends but I need to really take a break in order to be ready for that. I still want him to be a part of my life, he was my rock for the last 6 months when I went through a lot of change. Now I need to be my own rock and face change again. Luckily I have many great friends and very supportive family. I have already had offers of places to crash all over the country. I am taking this opportunity to really reevaluate my own career goals. I lost sight of my goals because I had KE and he became my goal. I had my eggs in many baskets and then suddenly I had one basket and it was him and he wasn't ready for it. This has been easier than the last break up, I have grown a lot and I am both dreading and looking forward to even more personal growth to come in the months ahead.

For this move I will be traveling light. I will put all my things in storage near my mom's house, and coordinate my move with her move (again!) so that we only rent one truck. This way we can also help each other move. I will keep my car at her house in DE and come up to NY with what I can carry in a backpack and a duffel bag. I have already contacted friends and gotten a couple offers of places to stay while I look for a sublet, which is near impossible when outside the city. I am going to push this time of change for myself and try to move to an area that is outside my comfort zone. I lived in the Pratt area for 8 years and it is what I know. I am going to try living in Manhattan. Even if that means more money and less space. I am also going to do what I was doing in my last between relationship time: self improvement. I want to say yes to going out. I want to be more involved. If I am living in a small apartment I will go out. If I start out with just a few months sublet I can see how this new approach works for me.

I will also be job hunting. Part of why I am leaving this prestigious school is the cost of the school and the benefits I will gain that require the degree I'm working towards just don't add up. After my summer on a construction site, where I was working with my hands, and I loved it. I have learned through my limited work experience I need an office that keeps me busy, especially with a variety of tasks or else I tend to get bored. I like working with my hands, I always have. In my free time I sew and bake and do crafty things- like a card cut out of paint chips with an exacto knife. Precision and detailed work. In architecture school I was well known for my detailed models and love of tweezers for assembling them. I need to do something using my hands. If I can't do it for my main career at least I can find a job where I am on a construction site, and over see schedules, planning and coordination. These are things I do in my spare time for myself. Right now, however, my plan extends until Feb. Move to NY, find a job. In December I will be reading a couple books to help me think about the kinds of jobs I want to apply for and to work on my cover letter writing skills. This trip to Oregon couldn't come at a better time. Xmas with family at the beach house will be comforting. Although the wedding weekend that I'm about to head into might be a little rough. Friday bachelorette party, Saturday bridal shower, Sunday wedding. But if I remind myself that I'm not ready, but like the last breakup, I want to do new things, get a hair cut, dress up, make myself feel attractive. Perhaps a ladies night out is just what I need.

This has been an exhausting week, and it hasn't even been a full week yet. I had to come home and de-KE my apartment, I have gifts for him for Xmas that are now sitting in a box making me sad. I understand his reasons for not being able to focus on a relationship but that doesn't make it hurt any less. I hope that he figures out what he wants just as I hope that I figure out what I want.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But don't just make regular lemonade. Think about how you can make better lemonade. What can you do to improve your lemonade? I am working on improving myself so that my next relationship will be even better because I will be stronger and remember keep my eggs in more than one basket.

Sigh. I'm looking forward to going back to the city in part to go to museums, maybe practice some more drawing, that was one of my favorite things in Rome was all the drawings we did. I need to get out more and being in school does not lead to me getting out more, it leads to me retreating into my hermit shell, having KE made that feel like it was ok but it really wasn't.

Time for yet another cup of tea.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Yeah, so... when I'm depressed I don't eat. 3 days and I've hardly eaten anything (fully dressed I weight less than I did after Thanksgiving. Now is not a good time for food in my life.

A big change behind me over the weekend (hence the depression). Big changes ahead... tbd planning in process, lots of thinking to do and some reading of some hopefully helpful books.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Brown Rice Chronicles

I made brown rice yesterday:
1/2 c long grain brown rice
1c + 1/4 c water

boiled covered until the water was gone

crunchy rice NO GOOD

I made brown rice today:
1/2 c long grain brown rice
2 cups water

boiled uncovered until the water was mostly gone

RESULT: It's goo. I have successfully made goo (KE must be so proud)

Tomorrow I will try again. Hopefully I'll get the hang of this brown rice thing, I still have a large bag of it!

I made this rice to go with curry, my new favorite cheap meal! So good and it tastes just like it does from the Thai places in Brooklyn!

Pineapple & Broccoli Red Coconut Curry
1 brick of tofu- pressed 1 hour and then fry (use a nonstick... I learned the hard way that stainless steel just doesn't work)
approx 1 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion chopped small,
3 spoonfuls Thai Red Curry Paste
1 cap coconut milk
3/4 c broccoli (if it's frozen, heat it up in water for a bit and drain before adding to curry)
1/2 c pineapple tidbits
Splash of fish sauce
Prepared Brown Rice

1. Prep Tofu and set aside.
2. Cook onion and olive oil covered to soften a bit (learned form watching Julia Child made French Onion Soup- on my list to attempt this winter!)
3. Add curry paste, stir around, add broccoli, stir some more. Add coconut milk and pineapple bits and sprinkle of fish sauce and simmer.
4. Add tofu and simmer a bit more til reheated.
5. Serve over brown rice (hopefully you know how to make it... or you buy the instant stuff... which has a better success rate!)