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Things Are a Lot Different in a Small Town

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As you all know, I recently moved away from New York City and it’s not going well. I never considered myself that much a of a city girl. Sure, I was taking the train alone by the age of 10 but I also owned a car and drove it regularly. I lived in the most suburban part of NYC for the last 18 years of my life so I thought I could handle a small town.

I didn’t think there would be that much of a difference. Boy was I wrong!

If you actually live in a small town, you’re probably going to roll your eyes at a lot of what I’m going to say. Considering that my town has a population of 11,000 I am not exactly sure how small it’s considered. But for me, this shit is very small. Every day something new happens that makes me think, “Holy shit, I am living in the boondocks!”

This has been quite the learning experience for me. Below are just some of the many thoughts I’ve had since moving to the boondocks.

What is up with volunteer firefighters? Coming from a city where firefighters are revered, I just cannot get behind the idea of volunteer firefighters! Any child here who dreams about growing up to be a firefighter one day, needs to be put in their place. “Sorry sweetie, fighting fires is just a hobby. You’ll need a real job.” Cause apparently risking your life to save people from fire is not worthy of a paycheck. Since this is a small town, and the surrounding areas are even smaller, I can understand not needing a HUGE staff. Maybe have some people who want to volunteer if there is a big issue. But to not have any paid staff members is absurd to me.

If I get sick or hurt here, I am going to die. As a hypochondriac, doctors are very important to me. I had reliable doctors back in Staten Island and I even had 1-2 urgent cares that I trusted for same day issues. Now I have to start all over again and at a place where the doctors do not have the best reputation. I turned to my coworkers for references when I first moved here but practically all of them do not have a primary care physician. These are grown ass adults so this boggles my mind. I finally settled on a doctor that had decent reviews. However, I couldn’t get in for 2 months and the office is 45 minutes away from my home. I need to drive almost two hours just to see a mediocre doctor. There’s also no hospital in my town so if I fell down the stairs I’d have to drag my ass to the next town over, 20 minutes away!

I question the whole cost of living theory. When I was moving up north from NYC, so many people commented on how my cost of living is going to be much cheaper. When it came to rent, they were absolutely right. In NYC, I would be living in a studio basement paying what I pay for my 2-bedroom apartment up here. But plenty of other things are either just as expensive or even more expensive than the city. I have never spent more money grocery shopping than I have here. It’s unreal. I’ll go in for just some fruits and veggies for the week and spend over $60.

Maybe taxes aren’t so bad. This is one that I NEVER thought I’d say. Every 2 weeks getting paid in NYC, I would die a little inside. “Why does half my paycheck get taken away?” Then I moved to a place with volunteer firefighters and it all made sense. NYC may take a bit too much taxes but a lot of those taxes do go to good use. I’ll take some out of my paycheck to make sure those putting out fires are compensated. I’m also willing to pay out of my paycheck to make recycling easy cause recycling is a real bitch here. In NYC you could leave a three-piece bedroom set outside and sanitation would easily take it. Here, it’s like they don’t want you to recycle. Since I’m renting I don’t have to pay for garbage pickup. However, the garbage pickup does not recycle. So if I want to do my part for this world that’s wasting away, I have to lug all my recyclables to a dumpster down the road. Now, I get this is a first world problem complaint. However, not a lot of people can be bothered with going that extra step. Where I live, my neighbors don’t recycle. They just put all their giant Amazon boxes with all the other garbage. This world is falling apart, towns should be doing everything they can to make recycling as easy and accessible as possible.

Who comes up with these business hours? My current library is off a main street. And when I say main street that’s the actually name of the street. I am convinced that only small towns have a main street. And they are usually incredibly quaint and cute. My main street is no exception. However, the hours of the shops and restaurants are bizarre. My sisters came to visit on a Monday and decided to walk around main street while I was working. They came back to complain that only TWO stores were open. There are some shops that are open for three hours a day, two days a week.

I miss rats and cockroaches. Now this is a statement I really never thought I’d say. I’m not suddenly a fan of rats and cockroaches but I’d take them over ticks, bears, and rattlesnakes. The wild creatures living in this neck of the woods freak me out on a daily basis.

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I Give Credit to People Who Move Away From Home

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I moved in the middle of March to start a new job as the Youth Services Librarian for a small library. Between moving, starting a new job, and getting engaged, I have not had much time for anything else. I will blame some of all that on why I haven’t posted regularly. Hopefully now that things are starting to settle down a bit, I can start writing in this little old blog more. Lord knows I have a lot of material to write about.

I want to start with writing about my disastrous move up North. I may be a bit dramatic with my use of the word disastrous but it has not been easy. I moved about 2 1/2 hours away from where I lived and grew up. Doesn’t sound like too far away but a lot can change when you drive 2+ hours. I moved to the Catskills so technically I am still a New Yorker. However, for anyone familiar with New York, you know that New York City and the rest of the state are two completely different species. I don’t even know why they are considered the same state. They have nothing in common. I could have moved to New Jersey (an actual different state) and it would have been less of a culture shock.

This move up was not a smooth one. For starters, I was the only one who moved up full time. My fiance is a professor so he had to finish up the semester before moving up full time. He officially moves up this week. But before this week, I would spend Sunday night to Friday afternoon by myself. I am OK with living on my own. I did it for many years before I met Jonathan. However, living on your own in a new place, where you don’t know anyone, is difficult. Once I got to my house after work, I felt trapped (I’ll elaborate on that a little later). I was in a complete rut. I would wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to sleep, and then do it all over again. Jonathan would finally come on Friday and I’d have someone to hang out with only to have to say goodbye so quickly on Sunday.

Why did I feel trapped in my apartment? Why didn’t I step outside, take a walk, try to meet new people? Let me tell you why! Cause my apartment is in the middle of nowhere. I live on a route, not a street. I don’t have any sidewalks. There are woods behind me and across the street from me. If I want to go anywhere, even the supermarket, I have to get in my car. It’s also incredibly dark where I live, no street lights. Only bears (which have already attacked our garbage cans once so far!). I am not going out after work so I can come home after dark by myself. Am I a scaredy cat? Definitely. I have no shame in admitting this. When I get to my apartment after work, that is where I stay. I am not venturing outside to get attacked by a wild beast.

Speaking of my apartment in the boondocks, I am counting down the days until my lease is up. Jonathan and I worked with our landlord and she agreed to a 6-month lease instead of a year. I am so glad of it too because I am moving to a new apartment the second I can. A part of it is because I miss sidewalks and want to be able to leave my house without having to hop in my car. But the main reason I cannot wait to leave is because I have to hold my breath whenever I take a shower or do the dishes. My lovely apartment comes with sulfur water. If you’re not familiar with sulfur water, you’re incredibly lucky. Before March, neither was I so I didn’t think to run the water before renting an apartment. However, up here in the Catskills, many buildings get their water from wells which can result in sulfur water. What’s so horrible about sulfur water? It smells like rotten eggs! And I am not being dramatic with this one. I do not even brush my teeth with the water. My bathroom sink always has at least two jugs of store bought water next to it. (My mission for less plastic this year has not been as smooth since moving to a place where the water scares me.)

The only thing that I’ve been somewhat OK with is my job. Sure, I am still learning to get comfortable with the work and my coworkers, but I’ve only been here for two months so these things take time. Overall the new job has been the one bright spot with my move. However, it did not start that way. I started my job on a Monday and by Thursday I had to go home because I felt like I was dying. I got the flu my very first week of work and had to miss 7 days of my new job. Great first impression. Thankfully my boss was understanding and told me to take all the time I needed. However, I hated having to take an entire week off of work after only putting in 3 1/2 days. I also discovered that the flu fucking sucks. I know this is common knowledge but you never fully know how horrible it can be until you have it yourself. That was my first time getting the flu and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

With Jonathan moving up full time and our lease halfway over, I am sure that things will start to go a bit smoother. But I realized that I don’t think I ever would be able to move away from home on my own. I think if I didn’t have a fiance coming up with me, I would be back home as soon as my lease is over. (Sorry job, but you’re not that special.) I guess I am not as independent as I always thought I was. But moving away from home on your own is reallyyy hard. I give a lot of credit to all those people who have done it. Kudos to you!

There Is a Lot of Pressure When You Get Engaged

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After you say “Yes” to the question “Will you marry me?,” be prepared to answer a lot more questions. And I mean A LOT. The second you tell someone that you’re engaged they will immediately start asking a million questions.

Some are fun to answer: “How did he do it?” “Can I see the ring?” “Were you surprised?”

Some will fill you with immediate dread because holy hell you don’t even know the answer to them. No, I do not know when we’re getting married. No, I do not know where we’re getting married. No, I do not know what color dresses my bridesmaids will wear. I just got engaged Aunt Lucy, take it down a notch.

After the high of getting engaged wears off, it is time to start thinking about what you want to do. And you start to realize that what you want does not always align with everyone else. Many people in your life don’t want to hear that you’re not sure you want to have a wedding. You might as well spit in your mom’s face cause it’s basically just as disrespectful. People expect a wedding even though they are not the ones paying for it.

And even if you thought you didn’t want a wedding, it’s hard not to get caught up in it all. The venues, the dresses, the flowers. It is all very magical. But do you know what else it is? SO. FRIGGEN. EXPENSIVE!

We all know weddings are expensive. But I never realized quite how expensive everything can be until I started looking at venues/vendors. Even when you cut out some of the unnecessary stuff like save the dates (I think save the dates are so ridiculous. I won’t get into it now, we’ll save that rant for another post) and thousands of dollars on flower arrangements, things still add up quickly.

If you decide to have a wedding, there are certain things you can’t cheap out on. Sure guests are not going to notice if your flower arch at the altar doesn’t have the highest quality flowers, but they will notice if you run out of drinks. If I do have a wedding and invite people, the most important thing for me is that they have a good time. Have you ever gone to a cash bar wedding or even worse, a dry wedding? I haven’t because if I did, there would have been several posts on this blog written by me bitching about how horrible the wedding was. I probably would have convinced a few of my friends to guest blog so they could give their input about how horrible of a wedding it was. I want my wedding to be a party for everyone so I wouldn’t want to cheap out on food, alcohol, and music.

And speaking of everyone, deciding who to invite and who not to invite to a wedding is all sorts of stressful. My dad’s side of the family is big. He has three sisters and two brothers, and they all have children. All of those children are older and most of them have significant others. In my opinion, it seems pretty harsh to pick and choose between aunts/uncles and cousins. Either you invite them all or you invite none. You won’t realize how many distant relatives you have until you get engaged. Your parents will insist you have to invite your second cousin’s aunt once removed.

I know a few people in recent years who have opted out of a big wedding altogether and just went down to city hall to get married. And I don’t blame them. I’m starting to think they have the right idea. No fuss, just your closest friends and family there, and the focus is on you and your spouse committing to one another.

No matter where you are in the wedding planning process, just remember to take a step back and breathe. You’re going to get pressure from your friends, family and even yourself. Try not to let it stress you out too much. Focus on what the wedding really means: you marrying the person you love and want to spend the rest of your life with.

*And yes this post does mean that yours truly has gotten engaged. It happened about a month ago and I couldn’t wait to share it with all my blogging friends! And whether we decide to go big or small, I’ll be sure to bring you all along with me every step of the way.

Writing a Maid of Honor Speech

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One of my best friend’s is getting married this Sunday and I am the Maid of Honor. My thoughts about bridal parties haven’t really changed too much but when your best friend since PreK asks you to be her maid of honor, you’re not going to say no. Being asked to be in someone else’s bridal party is a curse and a privilege. If you say yes, then you know you’re agreeing to spend a shit ton of time and money but you’re also agreeing to stand by your friend during one of the best and most important days of her life.

Thankfully, my maid of honor duties are coming to an end. The bridal shower is done. We already partied it up for the bachelorette party. My dress is fitted and ready to go. The only thing left is to write a maid of honor speech. You would think someone who runs a blog where they write about their life and other random factoids would be able to put together a maid of honor speech. Well, you would be wrong.

I have known the bride-to-be since we were both 4-years-old. However, when I sat down to write the speech, I couldn’t come up with a single memory. Twenty eight years of knowing one another and apparently we’ve never done anything together. I stared at that blank screen as though I have never met my friend or her fiance before. I also forgot all the words I’ve ever known. Starting the speech was a struggle. Ending it is proving to be even harder. I want to say I’m about 80% done with the speech. Pray for me that the other 20% will come to me before Sunday afternoon. Either that or I get so drunk before the speech starts that I won’t care that none of the words coming out of my mouth make any sense.

If you haven’t figured this out already, let me say it. I should definitely be writing my friend’s speech instead of writing a new blog post. But procrastination is my game and that’s never gonna change. Instead of writing the speech that I need to, I am going to provide anyone else who may be struggling through writing a maid of honor speech with some solace.

No matter how long you’ve known the bride, you will forget everything you’ve ever done together. I mentioned this before but it’s worth saying again. This could be your sister who you’ve been attached to at the hip since birth and suddenly every memory of her will be erased from your mind.

And any memory you do think of will be highly inappropriate. “Omg, remember that time you got so drunk that you passed out in your own vomit.” While that story may be hilarious, it’s probably not wise to tell it at a wedding where parents and grandparents are present.

There will be no other way to describe love than with cliches. “She has truly found her better half.” “She has found her person who completes her.” “Blah, blah blah.” My God it is hard to describe love and two people getting married without sounding completely fake and corny. I do believe in love and I genuinely believe that my friend and her fiance are madly in love with one another. But for some reason expressing that sentiment in speech form screams of fake news.

You will suddenly think you’ve become Chris Rock. In the movies, wedding speeches are always hilarious. Only the funniest of speeches will become viral. I need to make guests pee from laughing so hard. Jokes are great if you can fit them in. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is worse than a forced joke.

And if you do think of some jokes, they will most likely be mean spirited. I think it’s OK to poke a little fun at the bride and groom, but you don’t want to turn this into a roast. An anecdote about your friend always being late and you being worried she wouldn’t make it to her own wedding on time can go over great in front of her friends and family who know her well. Going on and on about your friend’s selfishness without a story countering it is just mean. Making your friend cry cause of your speech isn’t a bad thing but you don’t want it to come from you relentlessly pointing out all her bad flaws.

Keep it short. Close friends and family may enjoy hearing you go on and on about the happy couple, but the majority of guests just want to go back to dancing and drinking. Five minutes tops. I am sure you don’t want to stand up there for hours talking and I can guarantee you that no one else wants you to stand up there for hours talking. Stick to the basics: your relationship with the bride, how she met the groom, their relationship, and their future.

To all those in the midst of writing a maid of honor speech, or those who need to write one in the future, I salute you. This shit is not easy. I am two seconds away from standing up there with a glass of champagne, shouting “cheers bitches,” and calling it a day.

Ways to De-Stress When Life Becomes Too Much

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Well I really let this blog get away from me. I am not sure how this happened. My last post was January 19th. It’s been almost a year since I’ve shared with everyone. I always had plans to write something. I even have a draft from May 30th titled Hopefully I am Back for Good. That post just has the title and a gif so clearly I didn’t even give coming back an honest try.

The second half of 2018 has been a stressful time for me. Some good stress and some bad stress. I almost moved in the summer. It fell through at the very last minute which resulted in the loss of my apartment. I’ve been living with my bf in his parent’s basement since July. I’ve spent the last several months applying for and interviewing for jobs outside of NYC. My mom was in the hospital last month for a little over a week. Thankfully she’s OK now. My best friend is getting married and I’m the maid of honor which has meant a lot of party planning, dress fittings, and other wedding events. Add a car accident into the mix and it’s safe to say that I am all ready to kiss 2018 goodbye.

I am an anxious and stressed out person naturally. I wish this wasn’t the case but it is who I am. So when things become hectic in my life they are amplified. I know that I am not alone with dealing with anxiety and I would be shocked if someone reading this claims they’ve never had to deal with stress. Stress is a part of life; it’s pretty hard to avoid.

While there’s no way to completely avoid stress, there are thankfully ways to deal with stress and make things a little bit easier.

Take a bubble bath – There is something about soaking in a suds-filled bath in a candlelit room with your favorite song playing that makes you feel like you’re on a vacation. This vacation may last only 30 mins but it’s a nice distraction from the world.

Don’t be afraid to talk to someone – This is something that I need to work on. When I am sad, I tend to like company but I don’t like to ask for company. Everyone else around you is going through their own stuff. They may not necessarily notice when you need a little extra TLC. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone you need them around.

Get lost in your favorite comedy – When I am feeling really down, nothing does the trick of putting me in a good mood quite like watching The Office. Something funny and familiar can help you to forget about the stresses of real life.

Get outside – And no, I am not advocating working out. You’re already stressed; the last thing you need is someone telling you about the wonders of working out. I am just letting you know about the wonders of fresh air. A simple walk around the block can be an amazing de-stresser.

Color or craft – I am not as creative as I’d like to be. I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to awesome things I can make for my apartment by hand. I haven’t made a single one. The thought of having to make my own spice rack fills me with dread which is the exact opposite of what this list should do. But if crafting is your thing, then by all means dig in when you’re feeling stressed. For the rest of you, I’d like to suggest coloring. Adult coloring pages are all the rage right now and it’s one trend I 100% support.

Don’t add extra stress if you don’t need to – I said this before and I’ll say it again, stress is impossible to avoid. It’s a part of life, but when things are already super stressful don’t add any unnecessary extra stress. Learn to say no to things you really do not want to do. Stay off social media if it adds to your stress. Avoid watching the news because that shit will make you miserable and depressed.

Here’s to 2019 and it being the least stressful year yet. Or at least all of us knowing how to manage that stress as best as possible!

My Uterus Is Not Your Business

The title of this post may seem a little crass but that is exactly what I have felt like shouting to several people the past year. Something interesting happened when I entered my 30s. It seems that I entered an age where people start to become really concerned with whether or not I am going to have children. And I am not just talking about family members. It turns out that coworkers are highly concerned with what’s going on inside my uterus.

I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact that I’m in a serious relationship; it’s probably both of these factors combined. But either way, my decision to have children or not has been a very hot topic for many people.

“So are you going to have children?” “Do you want to have children?” “When are you having children?” “You have to have children.” “Wait until you have your own children.”

Children, children, children. Look, I love children. My nephews are two of my favorite humans in this world. I work with children and I absolutely adore them. But having your own children is a completely different thing.

I am still not sure yet if I want my own child. And to be honest, that’s a decision that only I can make and the guy I’m with.

I think as a society we should all agree that asking the current status of a woman’s uterus is something that we should all just stop doing! If a woman has a baby in her belly or is trying to get one in there, then she will tell you if she chooses. If she doesn’t, then it’s her decision.

Asking someone who doesn’t want to have kids about this puts their back against the wall. “Do I just say no or say that I don’t want kids?” “If I say I don’t want, then I’ll probably have to explain why.”

But do you know what is even worse? Asking someone who is trying to get pregnant if they are pregnant or when they’re going to have kids. You have just reminded this woman that she still does not have a baby in her belly which is probably the last thing that she needs. Trying to conceive and having a hard time is an incredibly difficult thing for any woman to go through. She does not need a constant reminder from her nosy Aunt Sally.

So if you ever feel like asking a lady about what’s happening in her uterus, DON’T! Ask her how work is, about her next vacation, if she prefers pancakes over waffles. Anything else is better than baby talk!

New Year, New Me

I already let my feelings about New Year’s resolutions known last year. You’re not going to automatically change who you are as a person because we are entering a new year. People who talk nonsense about “New Year, New Me” are dumb. I know that may sound harsh but it’s true.

However, I am all for setting goals for yourself. Sort of like a New Year’s bucket list. Every year there are new things that I want to try/accomplish. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not so much. So this year I am going to hold myself accountable by putting it in writing. This means that you get to share this journey with me. (Aren’t you so lucky?)

This year I’ve decided to set several goals for myself. Some are things that I’ve started improving on this year and some are things that I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I am being realistic with these goals. That’s the problem with goals and resolutions. Many times people strive too high too fast. You’re not going to go from taking the elevator everywhere to running a mile. It just doesn’t work like that. I do not want to set myself up for failure. So you may scoff at some of these goals but they are big changes for me. (And if I happen to exceed any them then even better!)

  1. Hike at least 10 new trails.
  2. Go meatless at least 3 times a week.
  3. Walk 10,000 steps or more at least 4 times a week.
  4. Visit two places I’ve never been before.
  5. Successfully make a loaf of bread.
  6. Write at least 12 new blog posts.
  7. Try out 2 new recipes a month.
  8. Volunteer my time.
  9. Find a way to better manage my stress/anxiety.
  10. Unplug from my cellphone more often.

Now that this is written down and about to be broadcast to the world (AKA all five of you reading), I have to try my hardest to follow through. At the halfway mark, I’m going to follow up on the post and check on my progress. Wish me luck!

Happy New Year!

*Question: What are some goals you have for 2018?