Friday, October 25, 2013

Just be.

“People are always worried about what's happening next. They often find it difficult to stand still, to occupy the now without worrying about the future. People are generally not satisfied with what they have; they are very concerned with what they are going to have.”

Garth Stein
The Art of Racing in the Rain


So I am a little late on this one, but it is time for me to officially say goodbye to summer. A great one at that. This summer was pretty damn near perfect. Most of my free time spent on the St. Lawrence River with family and friends, which is one of my favorite things in the world to do.

So now that summer is over, and fall is practically done, I want to go back and do it all again. Do you ever feel like you are never living in the present? Always dreaming and thinking about the future? Never happy with where you are in life? I am so guilty of this. This entire time in PA school I have been wishing time away. I constantly dream about May 10th, 2014 and never stop to think about and appreciate where I am right now. All I have been obsessing about is graduating, moving to our next duty station, and living with Travis again. All good things mind you, but as soon as we get to where we are going, I know I am going to look back on my time spent in upstate New York and yearn for it. Because that is what I do. Why?

I will miss summer Sunday dinners with my family on the porch watching the sunset over the River. I will miss my grandfather (Mimp) making fun of me, "Don't you have enough pictures of the sunset by now?" I will miss playing golf with my family and congregating with everyone at the 19th hole for a refreshing beverage. I will miss time visiting with the new additions to the family, like my adorable godson. I will miss the girls from school who have become some of my closest friends and who have saved me numerous times. I will miss the changing of the seasons. I will miss the incredible fall foliage, hiking, canoeing, and enjoying all the Adirondacks have to offer. I will miss my college friends scattered throughout the New England area. I will even miss PA school. Well a little. 

I need to slow down. I need to stop and appreciate all I have at this very moment. Because where I am in life is not as bad as I have been making it out to be. And I will never be here again. So the last 6 months of school are going to be different. I am not going to wish time away. Instead I am going to spend my time enjoying and remembering these precious moments with friends and family before they are gone. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hurry up and wait

Marine Corps Duty Stations

 A common conversation topic is starting our new life together. A life after two and a half years apart. A life after graduate school, separate apartments, 800 mile round trips and tear jerking Sunday goodbyes. A life where we are living together again as husband and wife. So this is something we have talked and dreamt about for so many months. Finally, it is starting to become real. Well, maybe I shouldn't get too ahead of myself. We still have another 6 and a half months. But hey, that is better than 28 right?

A common topic is WHERE we are going. It works out perfectly (for once) that when I graduate next summer Travis will be finishing up his time in Marine Corps Recruiting. After taking this job to be on the same coast and closer to me during school, it is time to start thinking about and ranking our next duty stations.  The way the Marine Corps assigns it's personnel is a little complicated.  Each military occupational specialty (MOS) has a person called a monitor in charge of placing all the officers with that MOS where they are needed throughout the Marine Corps, some are in the fleet (deployable) and some are not in the fleet (non-deployable).  Because Travis has been out of the fleet for two and a half years, it is time to go back.  Now back to the monitor, every fall the monitor puts out a billet (open jobs) list for all the officers scheduled to move the following summer, once the list comes out, Travis has to give the monitor a list of his top six billets and wouldn't you know it, the list just came out this past Friday. There is a pretty good spread of billets everywhere with the exception of Hawaii where there are only two. 

Possible Fleet Locations:
1. Camp Pendleton Oceanside, CA
2. Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kane'ohe Bay, HI
3. Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC
4. Camp Smedley D. Butler Okinawa, Japan

For the past year or so Travis and I have been back and forth between the east coast and the west coast. I have been itching to travel and do something different while he is wanting to go back to California. While we have only spent approximately 8 months total there together, I feel like it is time for something completely new and different. Clearly we are not on the same page about this. So to compromise we placed our two top choices (Hawaii for me and California for Travis) and handed them in. Now it is out of our hands and up to the Marine Corps. When it comes down to it both places will be amazing and fun. Plus, no matter where we go I won't have to deal with another upstate NY winter! So I am happy. I have a feeling deep down that we will probably end back up in California and I am ok with that. There are still so many places we didn't get to see and things we didn't do. Time for a new travel list!

In reality it doesn't really matter where we end up. Even though we rank choices, the needs of the Marine Corps always come first and there's always the chance of being thrown a curve ball. Who knows maybe we will end up in Okinawa Japan! The most important thing though, regardless of where we end, is that we are finally together and starting our life together all over again. Too bad we have to wait until February to find out our next duty station location. Until then better hurry up and wait. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Climbing Cascade

Earlier this fall Travis and I had the brilliant idea to head up to the Adirondack State Park to hike and explore one Sunday. I can't believe how long it has taken us to finally get up there! Granted, I did not have a lot of free time didactic year, but what have we been doing? Seriously, if you have never been, better start planning a trip, right now! I highly recommend a nice long weekend in the fall. 

Anyways, we were so shocked to discover that the State Park "blue line" is only about an hour away! So we decided to start our 46er. This "46er" club is a group for individuals who climb all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks, meaning the elevation is above 4,000 feet. In actuality there are more than 46 high peaks in the State Park, but I digress. This is always something that has interested me, but I have never really been able to do it. So we made a pact that we would start while I am here in school and probably finish years on down the road. It makes me a little sad that I have found a spot and an activity that we both enjoy doing so close to graduation. Now as soon as we start our 46er we will be leaving, with the military's promise of never being this close again. Wow, I actually sad about leaving! Shocker. These are going to be some of the things I miss most about the North Country, specifically the fall and the Adirondacks. 

Now back to our 1st peak. We researched and decided on Cascade Mountain as our first climb. Most books and individuals claim this is the easiest climb and most often the first attempt. What is great about this hike is that the trail head is located right off the main road (always a plus). So we start out, you sign in at the beginning of the trail, put your names, address and phone numbers in a book. I always like to peek and see who else has been there. But this is actually an important part of hiking. It lets people know that you were there, climbed and came off the mountain. Actually at the time, a man had been missing for several days and was last spotted in the range right next to us. Scary stuff. So after we secured our whereabouts we began our ascent. The beginning is a beautiful meandering hiking trail. I start thinking to myself this is going to be cake. Then the incline starts to creep up. Gradually at first, then steeper and steeper. Now the trail isn't really a trail but a series of large boulders you are zig zagging your way through. Almost the entire time we were hiking I thought to myself, "We have got to be close." I had to refrain from asking every passing group making their way back down, "Excuse me, but how much further to the top?" Yeah, I am that girl. 

HALLELUJAH. Finally we make it to the top, or what I think is the top. Nope. It's not. Just another look out point. Come to find out the summit is another 1/2 mile up a steep slab of rock. Wait, I have to climb this I thought to myself? With the two dogs? After a couple slips and falls and one minor meltdown where I SWORE I tore my rotator cuff after I slide down a rock wall, we finally made it. At the summit we met a nice volunteer steward who chats with you, answers your questions and evens takes your picture for you. Proof that we made it! Now it was time for some trial mix and a cider to celebrate. And then I realized we had to get back down. 

Travis and I are making our way back up to the Adirondacks today to make good use of the long Columbus Day weekend (for him, I still have to work on Monday). But at least we get a full Saturday and Sunday with each other. Usually Travis has to leave on Sunday around 5 so I will very gladly take an extra night with him. Can't wait to get back up there see the changing colors, get another high peak under our belts and just spend some quality alone time with Travis! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A day trip to Nantucket.

Ever have one of those perfect summer days? You know the one I am talking about. Where the weather is gorgeous, not too hot and not too cold, and there isn't a cloud in the sky? One where you spend it with some of your favorite people. One in which you go on an adventure, laugh, eat, drink. One that you will always look back on and say, "That was one of my favorite summer memories."? 

Well, I experienced one of those days this summer while on vacation in Cape Cod. (Well, minus one small accident. More on that later). Anyways, back to the story. Travis and I gathered a great group of friends for a little day trip to Nantucket: Anna, Zan, Meg and Marisa. You are guaranteed a fun day with this group no matter what. 

So we started the day with an early ferry ride to ACK, which we surprisingly were on time for. As soon as we arrived on the island we made our way over to the Nantucket Bike Shop to pick up the scooters we rented. Yup, mopeds people. So the boys stood up and offered to drive. Thank goodness, I tried very unsuccessfully to navigate a scooter in Greece. Long story short, I was glad to hand over the reins to Travis who used to own a motorcycle. (You know, back in his single days). Anyways, Marisa also stepped up to the plate and took the lead on the bike. She only had to go around the block two times before the guy rented the bikes to us. You go girl! Then we were off. 

First stop was Brant Point Light House were we explored and took a few photos. Next, we were off to Madaket Beach, where we could have stayed all day. The beach was absolutely incredible and the water turquoise and warm. Pretty soon the gang was getting a little hungry so it was time to map out our route over to Cisco Brewers. For some reason we ended up on some sandy back roads. Should have taken that advice from a friend that scooters and sand don't mix. I happily report that both Marisa and Meg were ok and did not sustain any major injuries. Despite the fact that Marisa swore she broke her knee. Good news is that we got the scooters out of the sand and back on pavement and we were cruising yet again. 

After some food and drinks it was time to make the long trek to the other side of the island to Sconset. We probably angered many of the drivers as the scooters only maxed out at 30 mph and the road was mostly 45 mph. Sorry folks. Again, we made it all in one piece to explore the bluffs and Sankaty Lighthouse. Well, only after a stop for some mint chocolate chip ice cream of course. By the time we finished up, it was time to make the 20 minute ride back to the shop to return the bikes before 5. How did the time go by so fast? No worries, we had a little time to kill so we walked around town and even grabbed a drink at The Tavern before our Ferry ride back to the Mainland. 

Thank you so much for my favorite day of the summer. I will always remember it.

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