Monday, May 24, 2010

My Travel Bucket List

I decided it's time I wrote a travel bucket list... it's so big on my list... it deserves a list all on it's own.

So let me start by saying these are in no particular order:

  • To feel the mist of the Iguazu Falls on my face
  • To feel the soles of my boots against the ice of Pantagonia
  • To discover Alaskan wild life and natural structures via kayak
  • Surfing lessons in Ocean County, CA
  • To hike to the last sector of Machu Picchu in Peru with a local guide, food for the trip, and a shelter
  • To ride the snow of Cerro Cathedral in the Andes in Argentina
  • To have a private yoga lesson, on a beach, in a park, somewhere natural... the real yoga, the spiritual and physical experience are all important to me
  • To crawl through the tight spaces of Mammoth Cave while taking the Wild Cave tour
  • To munch on fresh sardines after a swim in the Adriatic Sea on the Croatian Coast
  • To explore the baltic region via plane, boat and rail
  • To cheer for Barcelona during a home match and then exploring the tastes, sounds and sites
  • To wake up to the sun and waves and walk out of my private over the water home... into the sea
  • To shield my eyes as I stair up at the tips of the Egyptian pyramids
  • To go on an African Safari
  • To go on a tour of the Australian Outback
  • To explore the beaches on Palawan Island in the Philippines
There are so many more on this list... but it's exhausting me just thinking it... and knowing that I'd be lucky if even 1/2 of these things even occurred in my life.

For now... I'll shoot small... camping in upstate NY anyone?

And now he's gone...

So Paul was here and now he's gone. After 3 nights together... he is now in Chicago ... today is his 1st day of work. I don't have much to say... except that I'm glad I took Friday off and that we spend the day together.

While here we went to Social Square to meet friends, went to the farmers market, went to the Cloisters, had a picnic lunch, went to dinner with my sister and her husband and went bowling. Then he was off bright and early Saturday morning.

Here are some pictures:

Fresh bread at the Green Market

Some fresh cheese from the Green Market (made w/ raw milk)

Waiting for the train at 14th street

The beginning of the walk in Fort Tryon Park to the Cloisters

Up so many stairs

Till we get to the top and see the view (Hudson River)



At the Cloisters getting a closer look at the hand woven ancient tapestry


One of the many court yards

One of my favorite rooms - This is a tapestry that depicts The Attack of the Unicorn

While sitting in a room the Monks would have their meetings in, I took a picture of what I saw - this huge beautiful wooden door

Yet another court yard

This bust piece holds scull bones of a saint, it's so simple yet so detailed. It was placed on a beautiful alter to the left of 2 others. The face of this particular bust always startled me.

The view from outside the top of the Cloisters (GW Bridge)

Where we picnicked

This is what was left of our delicious lunch of homemade bread, raw almonds, avocado, homemade strawberry mint jam (made by a friend), sopressata, beef jerkey (eww), unsweetened iced tea, sliced pears and that yummy cheese!

as always, click the pictures for larger image

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paul's Home

He is home for 3 days... no more... no less. It sucks.

But he's home.

We met up after my softball game last night... got showered up and took a nice 1+ mile walk to a brick oven pizza spot where we shared a Farmers Market pie and a salad with green apple and blue cheese mmmmmm. Then we took the over a mile walk home... which was not as fun on a full stomach and heavy head.

While walking up and down the ritzy street on the other side of the tracks, we talked. While munching on some delicious eats, we talked. We caught up... and we talked. He said, I already picture myself written about in your blog tomorrow... he was right, but maybe not in how he might think.

We talked about our future, what type of life we want to live, how big our house will be, how he will subject me to a detached garage with no heat for sewing, about our priorities, about him taking more solo vacations (to which I was a bit sad), to our sacrifices, to how much this long distance thing sucks, to how he texted me 'bitch' earlier that day (not a happy moment), to my stellar softball skills, to my sister, my cousin, our friends... we covered a lot. It had been a while.

While talking... we discovered things about each other. We are changing. I notice it, I'm sure he does too. Every day that Paul spends learning something new, meeting new people, living that grad student life, he changes... he's not the same Paul I lived with for 2 years just like that Paul wasn't the same Paul from Michigan. He changed. Good & bad, he's changed.

I've changed too. Some might think that being apart is hard because you realize how much you will be lost without each other. I beg to differ. What's really hard is how much I love being alone. My own home, my own space, my own time, no one to answer to, know one to call and check in, no one to fret over, and no one to worry about. When he's gone, I'm single without the random hookups and flirting. My biggest decision at night is what to eat, whether to take a walk, what to crochet, and what to watch on TV. My biggest decision in the morning is whether I should wash my hair. The bathroom is always free, the TV is always mine, I never have to look for that item Paul had put away. Life is a lot simpler without him home. So what I've learned... I'd do just fine without him. I'd miss him, but I'd be good as gold.

So right now I'm teetering in the best of both worlds. I have my self-supporting independence, my empty home, my free spirit, but I also have a man who loves me, someone to call when I feel down, someone to visit or come home to when I need to cuddle (maybe not at the moment I wish, but eventually).

So yeah, I changed too, because now I know ... that I'm fine... with or without him.

He's changed... I think because he realizes that too. Why else would he ask about bachelor parties in Amsterdam? Why else would he choose a school in Boston rather than NY? Why else would he pick an internship in Chicago rather than NYC? I know some of it is because they are great opportunities... but so am I. And he chose them, not me. And I guess that's okay. For now. But one day... hopefully before our wedding... I want to know that we'll choose each other before something else. That living 'our dream' is OURS not mine or his. That we would sacrifice individual successes and happiness for a joined happiness and success. I hope that we shift back into what I thought we once had... but maybe never did...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Busy busy busy

This as been a busy last couple of days between work piling up, new projects, home obligations, family obligations, and commitments. I have not had 1 day to myself in ages. My schedule has become jam packed. My only days alone are Friday nights and the occasional Wednesday or Thursday (depending on the softball schedule).

But that's good.... sitting home alone all the time is depressing. Giving myself too much time to think can get me into trouble.

I took this Friday off to spend time with Paul. He's arrives tonight and leaves Saturday for Chicago. He has an internship there. Some QT is necessary before he goes.

Then next Friday I have off again to take my brother to school... lets see if that becomes more relaxing or less relaxing. I'm foreseeing a biking trip on the new bike path though. Oh yeah and it's my birthday :). I'll treat the kids out to eat for it HAHA

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Craft Update

Today I went to Joann Fabric like planned. While there I bought quite a few pieces of fabric all on sale. I also purchased a rotary cutter with ruler & board for 50% off and some doodads I thought I needed... but probably don't. Oh and another skein of yarn.

This might be my 1st official attempt at sewing something perfect. I've done a few pillow cases and the like... and they always had imperfections... but I was attempting at sewing items that I could give as gifts or even sell.

My 1st attempt was to sew the lining to the 1st crochet bag I made... it came out too small and too big at the same time... turns out I flipped the pattern by accident... and I almost did it again on my 2nd attempt... luckily I caught the mistake before making the 1st stitch.

Here is the finished bag. I'm going to make a flower pin as an optional accent for the bag. I'll probably get on that after I post this.

I also made my 1st attempt at a tote bag... it's The Twenty Minute Tote from The Purl Bee I have to admit... it took me just 20 minutes to cut the fabric correctly and measure everything.
I suppose everything in time. Crocheting is definitely easier to me than sewing.

Here is that tote. I think my cousin would like it. It's a pink bandanna type fabric (100% cotton).

Who woulda thought, the fabric was cheaper by the yard than the handle.

as always - you can click the pictures to get a closer look

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Eco-Friendly Wraping

I know I've said that I've wraped gifts in fabric... to be used again and again. Today is my brother's birthday party and I was about to buy a gift bag for $3.75 when I saw these adorable reusable grocery bags for $1.99. Not just was it cheaper, it was of good quality, reusable, and cute. Check it out.

Crochet Handbags

I've been working on these clutch bags. I haven't posted pics b/c I was neglecting the WIP posts so they are almost done. The actual bag is complete but they are awaiting lining and a snap closure.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What I need

I need a break. A break from myself. A break from all things stressing me out at the moment. I am considering a vacation. Maybe California? I just want to lay on a beach ... and relax.

Live has thrown me a few curve balls this month and I can't help but let it get me down. I know that all around me people have their own hardships and gripes. Babies are dying, people are starving, oil is spilling, animals are perishing, homes are flooding, etc... but right now, I'm facing this battle and it's hard for me.

I've tried yet again... an email, a phone call, and nothing...

Tomorrow is my brother's birthday. Before all this, we were given an invitation to a family BBQ at 3:30PM. But, is that still on? Do we assume it's still on because she didn't email us saying it is canceled or do we assume it's canceled because we haven't heard from her in weeks?

I'm going to go. I have to. Just in case. I want to show my brother that I'll be around no matter what. That I'll love him no matter what. And that he can count on me.

Once it's over... whatever happens has happened and I'll need to deal with it then. Until then, the stress of what may come is becoming overwhelming. But really... do I fear my own feelings... not too much. I know what it feels like to be hurt. I know what it feels like to be neglected. What I'm nervous about is my sister... who calls me daily to ask if I'd heard from my mother & uses me as her pillar. But, honestly, I can't be that for her anymore. I fear my grandmother who is already suffering so much... to feel worse. I fear my uncle, who has been known to get violent and enraged when situations do not happen the way he expected or planned. I fear my brother, having an awful 6th birthday. I fear my sister... 11 and already showing signs of stress, worry, and confusion. She hurts inside and hides it. She hides a lot. And she's still a child. Those are the things I fear.

I suspect tomorrow I'll be driving home in tears. I'll be worried and stressed and sad. But I won't count on any of those things happening... I'll just hope... like always... hope it will be okay.

So yeah, I need a break. I need to get away. Even if it's only for a few hours like last Saturday at the green market & battery park. Maybe Sunday will be better. I hope to get some light cleaning done, head over and pick up my wedding dress and then maybe hit joann fabrics for some stuff I need to finish the bags I've crocheted. Hopefully that will do the trick.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Women Stay

Today I woke up rolling over, worried I was late, and knotted up due to bad dreams and negative thoughts in my sleep. I dreamed about my brother, my uncle, my grandma... and my Mom.

I spoke with Paul this morning and we were calm and rational but getting on each others' nerves a bit. We talked about my mom and it's a topic that we can't talk about easily. He has been blessed, very blessed. And sometimes I think that it doesn't allow him to relate.

I told him that I was considering therapy. That when I speak to him or even a friend, I don't think that they understand. They think logically about the story I tell them. They tell me to walk away. To live my own life. But logic isn't enough. I'm an emotional person and when you couple logic with emotion... it results in illogical thoughts.

He has told me that my desire to move is running away from my problems. I told him that I didn't agree. If I'm here and I turn my back on my mother, I'd be consumed with guilt. But if circumstances caused me to have to at least turn my back a little... then I'd feel less guilt. At this point Paul compared me to an abused wife in an abusive relationship. That they just can't leave...

This made me think. I did a google search to see 'why women stay' and found this website. I began reading it and he is right (wow it's weird admitting that), a lot of what I feel is similar, but a lot is different as well.

The situational factors are hardly applicable. I'd say my biggest fear is her keeping me from my brother and sister. Which I suppose can be compared to fear of losing your children.

Where the similarities were uncanny where in the emotional factors section:
  • Insecurity about being alone, on her own; she's afraid she can't cope with home and children by herself. n/a
  • Loyalty. "He's sick; if he had a broken leg or cancer--I would stay. This is no different." yes, I'm loyal to my family. blindly loyal.
  • Pity. He's worse off than she is; she feels sorry for him. I know she is damaged emotional. I know that she is weak and I know that she is hurting.
  • Wanting to help. "If I stay I can help him get better." She is alone raising 2 children and she needs my help and I provide it to her
  • Fear that he will commit suicide if she leaves (often he's told her this).This has crossed my mind. I've even wondered if my family would be better off. I still don't know the answer to that.
  • Denial. "It's really not that bad. Other people have it worse." I deny that I am in denial - I kid, I'm sure with this one you'd have to ask someone else.
  • Love. Often, the abuser is quite loving and lovable when he is not being abusive. She has shown me love... as I've shown her. It's just always been conditional.
  • Love, especially during the "honeymoon" stage; she remembers what he used to be like. I don't know if this is applicable, but yes, I remember the times that are good.
  • Guilt. She believes--and her partner and the other significant others are quick to agree--that their problems are her fault. I don't feel guilt at all that this is my fault, I do however feel guilt that I'm disappointing my siblings. In a lot of ways I feel as if I'm their parent, the only stable thing in their lives... and that they are my responsibility.
  • Shame and humiliation in front of the community. "I don't want anyone else to know." I'm maybe ashamed that my family is so dysfunctional, but I don't think the community would know and if they did, I don't know if it would really bother me.
  • Unfounded optimism that the abuser will change.Yes, I always pray to God that it will change
  • Unfounded optimism that things will get better, despite all evidence to the contrary. Same as above
  • Learned helplessness. Trying every possible method to change something in our environment, but with no success, so that we eventually expect to fail. Feeling helpless is a logical response to constant resistance to our efforts. This can be seen with prisoners of war, people taken hostage, people living in poverty who cannot get work, etc.Yes, people always ask me if I've spoken to her and on the few occasions I have, she has lashed out at me. She has accused me of stupid things, she has shown hatred for me and she has stopped talking to me. And nothing had changed. If anything, it made it worse. Because of that, I rarely even try anymore to improve the situation by asking her to improve. Instead I do what I can to supplement where she lacks.
  • False hope. "He's starting to do things I've been asking for." (counseling, anger management, things she sees as a chance of improvement.) Yes, there have been so many small steps she'd make that would give me hope, only to have them dashed by an undeserved outburst. (similar to my father)
  • Guilt. She believes that the violence is caused through some inadequacy of her own (she is often told this); feels as though she deserves it for failing. no
  • Responsibility. She feels as though she only needs to meet some set of vague expectations in order to earn the abuser's approval. no
  • Insecurity over her potential independence and lack of emotional support. no
  • Guilt about the failure of the marriage/relationship. no
  • Demolished self-esteem. "I thought I was too (fat, stupid, ugly, whatever he's been calling her) to leave." no
  • Lack of emotional support--she feels like she's doing this on her own, and it's just too much. Yes, I know that people want to help me but I don't think they can. Because of that I feel as if I'm in this alone.
  • Simple exhaustion. She's just too tired and worn out from the abuse to leave. Yes, I am tired and depressed because of the circumstances and sometimes It's better to just put it out of my mind and roll with the punches.
Again with the Personal Beliefs section there isn't too much that is similar. I suppose there is a little though. I was raised that family came 1st and no matter what they do to abuse you, you love them. I've done that. I don't know if it's cultural or just family beliefs that trigger this but my grandparents forgave all the evils their children had down to them. Those same children are now abusing their children. I am finding it hard to forgive over and over again, but it's always my goal, because I respect my grandparents and want to do what's right by them.

So am I the victim of a abusive relationship.... possibly. I'm not a wife, I'm not a small child, but I've being used, abused, and manipulated... and yet I stay.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's My Brother's Birthday Today

He turns 6. He's so big and so smart and so special. He's spoiled... he's the youngest and the only boy. How can he not be.

I've been calling my mother's house & cell all day. So have a few other people. It's evil of her not to pick up and allow us to wish him a Happy Birthday just because she resents us... and for no reason.

These days are not getting any easier and I still don't know what to do.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I just finished another book. I finished reading The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larson. I loved it. Just like I loved the 1st in the series: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Larson who past in 2004 was a Swedish writer. He died suddenly and some suspect foul play. Before he past, he was able to provide a publisher with 3 manuscripts ... the 3 Lisbeth Salander novels. I've just finished reading two. I highly recommend them if you enjoy mystery, surprise, corruption, and intellect.

It's strange... many times when I put a book down because I'm through with it, I get a sense of loss. I feel as if I truly connect with the characters and the story. Finishing a book is always bittersweet for me.

Today I'll start a new book, and hopefully it can fill that void.

Reading is my only true escape from what plagues me in the world I live.

This is why you don't write when you are mad

I did get over it. So what... it's mother's day. We'll figure it out.

Yeah life is weird. After arriving at my Grandma's house she decided she'd rather spend time alone upstairs watching her show... which she is obsessed with. I sat alone downstairs.

Then my Uncle called wanting to treat her for dinner. I made reservations at a Steakhouse. It was just us + one cousin. None of her other children and none of her other grand kids. No wonder she accepted an offer from another family to celebrate mother's day. Most of her family falls flat on their faces when it comes to showing their love for her... if they love her.

My Mom, true to expectation, did not answer the phone once when I called. I just decided to let it be. Tomorrow is my brother's 6th birthday. I will call again... hopefully someone picks up and hands him the phone. I'd like to wish him a Happy Birthday. I'd like him and my sister to know that despite my Mother's difficulties in holding a relationship with their family... that they are still on top of our list... it is not out of site out of mind. They are so far from being out of my mind that it actually hurts.

So yeah, never write when you are mad, because you say harsh things. You go too far. You write what you feel... and what you feel is fueled by emotion and not well thought out.

Eh, but what you feel is never wrong, it's just how you feel. It's natural. You just don't want to write while you are mad.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Sometimes you have to wonder... knowing that my own mother doesn't want to see me and knowing that all of us intend to visit you on Mother's Day and basically spend the day with you... wouldn't you turn down a last minute invitation to go out in order to be with us?

It's just me, but when both your mother's ditch you on Mother's day, you feel like getting dressed and doing something along. They don't appreciate your company... and therefore don't deserve it.

I suppose this is a taste of what my mom and my uncle feel towards her. That's why they are so jealous, so annoyed, so aggravated. You never come 1st and you are always over looked.

I can't get over this. Not even an effing phone call.

Eh, deep breaths right?

Now time to call my Mom and either not be spoken to at all or be told off in every direction. I hate today... and it's only9:56 AM

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Green Market, Wind & Unwinding

Today I woke up feeling a little lost. Tomorrow is Mother's Day and my Mother... well she wants nothing to do with me. My birth... well it was her biggest inconvenience and this is only another reminder to her of why my existence was her 1st big mistake.

I didn't want to wallow, but the rain was definitely not helping bring me up. After a nice conversation with Paul, I decided I'd sit in my house no longer. I got up, showered, dressed (way too warmly by the way) and headed out the door with my trusty backpack. Inside my beloved backpack which has it's very own raincoat, I stuffed a skein of yarn, some hooks, 2 books, my camera, 2 cloth grocery bags and my rain jacket. Then... I was off. To my surprise the sun looked like it was on it's way out.

I hopped on a very slow local E train and transferred to the R at 34th street. Once I got the union square I was bombarded with people, colors, scents, ideas! What to do? I didn't want to purchase produce and head strait home. I wanted to explore. But produce in a bag while exploring... well that wont work. So I decided to find this sheep farm stand. I've read about it online. I searched for it, and now it was time to see it in person. So I walked and of course it was in the complete opposite side of the park than where I so happened to be!

When I got there I didn't know where to start. They had so man textures and colors and it was just overwhelming! I walked around twice needing to touch and feel everything. I even went so far as to smell each and ever piece of yarn I purchased... I don't know what I expected but the closest people to me know I'm a smeller. I decided to go with three skeins of a lightly spun, natural, non-died wool, 2 skeins of a gray blend, and 3 skeins of a greenish color. The colors are so nice, they have so many little imperfections. I can't wait to put them to good use. I spend a ridiculous $105, but hopefully what I make with these skeins will make it all worth it. It's nice to know where your textiles are coming from, especially if you intend to wrap yourself in them. I still have no idea what to make with them, but they did ask me to take pictures or bring them in because they'd love to post them up. I'll be sure to do so if they do these sheep any justice.

From there I wandered around and found myself at a honey stand. They had blocks of pure honeycomb, jars of fresh honey, and candles galore. I took a sniff and decided to buy 2 simple votive candles at a reasonable $2. They should burn about 5 hrs each. They smell delightful.

Then I decided I'd be heading downtown to battery park. I ran to an orchard stand, picked up two apples for $1.50 and jumped on the 5 train and headed WAY down town. Once I got to battery park, I walked around. I took some pictures of the memorials, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island & Governors Island. After I got my fill, I decided to walk up to Battery City along the Hudson River. I passed Pier A, Robert F Wagner Jr Park, South Cove Park, and found myself parking Near Liberty View just a block south of Rector. I found myself a nice bench and lounged about as I read my book. After about an hour my stomach was craving some food. I had noticed I passed a Chinese restaurant on the way right on the path. I walked back and knowing I'd be spending a boat load on food that wasn't even the best. I sat down. Why... for the view. After my beef, black mushroom and snow peas were in my stomach, I went walking. I went back to Robert F Wagner Jr Park and had a seat by the grass. I continued to read my book until the wind picked up to speeds that were bring water over the dock and onto the walk way. The water was ridiculously chopping... definitely the type that would have me needing to be hunched over the rail if I were out to sea.

I packed my stuff and headed to the 5 train when I thought I'd head back to the Green Market. Once I got there I picked up a few fingerling potatoes, cipollini onions, dandelion leaves and radishes. And right before I left, I picked up a tray of flowers to plant in my grandma's yard for mother's day. It's a wonder how I got it all back on the R train, then onto the E and then up to my apartment. 6 Hours later I'm sitting home exhausted... and hungry.

So I pulled the leg of lamb I had defrosted in the fridge out and put that into the oven. I prepped 2 potatoes, 2 onions, and 2 cloves of garlic from the farmers market for roasting, I chopped up some vegetables for a salad and am now sitting at my desk, listening to the wind as I tell you all about it.

Just because you are low, alone, or dealing with unsavory circumstances does not mean you shouldn't treat yourself to something good for you. Something that can bring you some peace. Something that can give you a little happiness. Today I did just that.

So I walked, a lot. I exercised my body, my mind, and my soul. I got lost in a book. I got lost in the waves of the river. I got lost in the beauty that is New York. And soon I'll be lost in the tastes that is my dinner.

Here are some photos from the Catskill Merino Sheep Farm stand at Union Square Green Market:

Pictures of the Memorial at South Ferry/ Battery Park:

I noticed when looking up towards Manhattan from Battery Park... the new and old peaking up from the trees:


The view from my walk into Battery City - at around Robert F Wagner, Jr Park:

My purchases from my first go at Union Square Green Market (2 Apples, Wool & Candles) - one apple ended up with a homeless man on the F train:
The Museum of Jewish Heritage:
The view from where I sat at lunch (yep that's a beer and a book... 2 good things on a Saturday afternoon):

I sat at this bench to read and looked above the bushes yet below the trees at this cement city in front of me. I thought the contrast was interesting:

I took this as the wind picked up and I had to get my things together and leave. Can you see the chop in the water?:

Some fresh picked dandelion leaves, radishes, potatoes and onions from my 2nd trip back to the Green Market:

as always you can see the enlarged pictures by clicking. Also these pictures were done on my new camera... and no I did not use the automatic setting this time =)