6.29.2010

Record Breaking Heat


 

Ice Cream makes it a little bit less miserable

A Sunday by the River


6.28.2010

It’s a give and take

I have been working for a publishing company for nearly two years. I have had some good times and also some very bad times. I have had the opportunity to travel and meet new people and I have also learned that people are deceiving and un-trustworthy. I gave my all to this job and once the give overweighed everything else it became draining emotionally and physically. After the work day ended and the night time would fall there was a rush of emotions that overpowered me and I felt sadness and anger. I would try so hard to remind myself that it is just a job, that I was blessed to have a job, and that whatever happened in the office did not matter. But when you are working in a negative, manipulative office for 37 hours a week it becomes very hard to escape the feelings I had. The negativity in the office wore me down and I started feeling like I had a ton of bricks on my back, and the demands along with the low appreciation started making me feel like I was worthless. After a lot of time thinking, praying, and endless amounts of support from Bear, I have decided that it is time to move on to the next chapter in my life. I quit my job. My last day is on Friday and although I am very nervous, I know that I am doing the right thing. I am starting to feel like the bricks are one by one being taken off of my back and I can breathe again. Halleluiah!!

P.S Special thanks to Bear who loves and supports me unconditionally.

6.24.2010

Afternoon in New Brunswick


Lucky in Love


We spent a lot of time reminiscing about memories that we have made with each other, talking about lessons learned throughout the past 2 years of marriage, and dreaming what our life will be like in the years to come. Our Anniversary was a lovely peaceful day spent by the river. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and had ourselves a competitive game of gen rummy (card game). We played in the water, splashing around with each other and throwing the stick for our puppy. It was a great day to forget about our crazy life that surrounds us and remember how much we love each other.

6.21.2010

24 months of Marital Bliss

  

 

  
          

Everyday I fall more and more in love with my best friend. 
These past two years have been delightful. 
We have  grown together in ways I never thought possible, we have loved each other through good times and bad, we have laughed at each others craziness, we have leaned on each other and have learned to go through each days trials as a team. 
But most importantly we have enjoyed each other to the fullest. 
My life is so complete with Bear by my side 
and I look forward to all the many years we have ahead.
 Happy 2nd Anniversary to Us.

Photos taken by Brody Dezember Photography

6.19.2010

Home Grown

 

 
  In our back yard you will find lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, radishes, and basil. 
I will give credit to Bear for all of these home-grown veggies, he grew them all by seeds. 

Last Weekend

 

 

  

 


This past weekend Ryan came into town and we had a great time. We spent Friday in Princeton looking around the Art Museum, having lunch at nassau inn, and walking around the town. That night we headed into New Brunswick to go get dinner at one of our favorite local places, stuf yer face. On Saturday, we went to the river to get away from the heat. We spent the whole day playing in the water and relaxing. Later that night we came home and made a fire in our pit outside and talked the night away while eating s'mores. 

6.11.2010

Summer Inspired

I have been feeling less than inspired recently. And in return my blogging has taken the brunt of it. I sit down at my computer, put my hand on the keyboard, but the movement of typing never comes. After a couple of minutes of feeling frustrated I close my computer and continue with my evening. I apologize. My mind feels full with the needs and responsibilities that have taken over my life for the time being. I am not complaining whatsoever; I am so blessed to be able to have these responsibilities and I am loving every minute of it.


Ryan has come into town this weekend and we have some fun things planned. I am excited to relax and leave the worry of the work week behind. Happy weekend everyone.



Enjoy xoxoxo

6.09.2010

roaming free


. For the past 41 months Shento has seldom been able to roam the house while the hubby or I are not there. I quickly learned that leaving him for as little as five minutes will make our house look like a shredder went through it. Pillows torn up, the carpet dug, and all the curtains pulled down. After having to go through that ordeal a couple of times we decided it would be best to buy a cage and cage him while we left the house. He has grown to love his (big) cage. It is his comfort place. If something scares him he runs to his cage and always seems to find reassure that things will be okay. Although he seems to love his cage, the hubby and I would always feel so bad having to lock him up. We always said that we wished he could roam freely in the house, take a nap on the bed, be able to eat when he wants, and chew on his bone without the restriction of a cage. A couple weeks ago when I got home from work the hubby had an announcement to make, it was that he left Shento in the house to roam freely while he went to class. I immediately went into panic mode, until I soon realized that everything in the house still looked in-tacked. Shento made a huge leap forward in his doggy life. He now stays home alone everyday while the hubby goes off to class. And everyday I feel a hint of excitement knowing that he did not tear anything up.

6.05.2010

A Walk in the Woods / New Jersey Foolishness

The absurd obfuscates life as we think it should happen. It is the illogical intersection and intertwining of disparate factors, resulting in a single senseless experience. This past Memorial Day weekend we met absurdity.


We woke early Monday morning. Katrina made breakfast in the kitchen while I sat down at the computer researching where we should go hiking for the day. We decided on the Delaware National Water Gap, a long stretch of state parks and natural reserve areas along the Delaware River. We had heard it was one of New Jersey’s most picturesque locales and had some good hiking, so decided it seemed like a great place to spend our Memorial Day.

Our plan was to hike for six or seven miles in the state park. I mapped out our path along a series of trails that I hoped would take us on a circuous route through the forest, then along the river’s edge and back to our starting point. We started along the river - which by the way, is also for a time paralleled by interstate-80, before it turns sharply west for its long journey across the U.S. and onto Utah and California. Hiking inland and uphill, our path brought us up 600 feet in elevation in just a few hundred yards. Initially, we had hoped to get some good views of the river valley, but the trail instead took us through beautiful forests of towering deciduous trees and sprawling fern beds. Eventually, we made our lunch along a small stream in the woods before following it downstream to its final destination at another parking area immediately off the highway.

It was at this point in the trek that I had planned on making a turn along another trail paralleling the river’s edge and back up towards where our car was parked. The map I had looked at on the internet at home said there’d be a trail, but there sure wasn’t one on the ground when we got there. Our only options were to either retrace the route we had just taken, or walk on the biggest footpath available – I-80 – an option that didn’t seem all too safe.

Luckily, I was in cub scouts for a year when I was 9 years old, which provided me with just enough misguided naivety to lead the wife and dog off-trail, through the woods, on a shortcut back to our car. It’s not often that we get in the car to go somewhere and Katrina doesn’t question my directional skills. Unjustly, I might add, because for the most part I get us where we need to go just fine. So when she began questioning whether we should be taking this particular course through the forest I assumed she simply thought we’d get lost. Obviously questioning my innate sense of direction! I told her to just listen and trust me. Bolstering my position, I noted to her that it was quite impossible to get lost. The river was directly to our left at all times, so if at any point we didn’t know where we were we could simply turn left and walk until we ran into the edge of the cliff overlooking the river again. Not to mention, the roar of I-80 in the background provided a reassuring audible guidance for our endeavor. Stay within earshot of the highway and we’d be sure to reach our destination. We couldn’t get lost, so no fears. I didn’t think that maybe she had a better intuition about the possible dangers of my boldness than I did.

A mile or so into our uncharted trek we had yet to reconnect with a trail of any sorts, and weren’t entirely sure that we were indeed heading back to our car. But no big deal, we had been following the contour of the river’s edge just fine and I definitely could still hear the highway. It was slow going and cumbersome, however, as the terrain was a crumpled accordion of closely aligned hills. So as we trudged through bushes and over rock faces we were repeatedly making our way up a hill, down its other side, and back up again.

Continuing on our way, we crested a hill, one just like all the rest. I was leading the pack and had just been looking back over my shoulder, calling for Shento to keep up the pace. I turned my head back around, down into the next valley. I froze; it was at this moment that I caught sight of absurdity, and she came in the form of a hurling black streak blazing through the dimly lit forest in front of us. I spun around, vehemently urging Katrina to immediately turn around and keep walking. The mother bear had spotted us, and the little black mounds of fur I saw laying in the grass around her gave me every reason to believe she didn’t want to see us anymore. Katrina saw her as well; fear and alarm welled up in her face. We frantically began to scurry back through the forest, scraping our legs and arms as we passed through thick stands of woody shrubs that reached as high as our shoulders, hoping we were heading back the same way we had come.

[Just that morning I had been reading a woman’s blog about her adventures hiking in the Delaware Water Gap. She considered herself lucky on the rare occasions she sighted a bear. One time, she said, a bear followed her all the way back to the parking lot where she had left her car and her bear spray.]

I made quick glances over my shoulder, scanning the knoll’s edge behind us for the dark splotch in the sea of green I was sure I would find. “Let’s keep it up! Keep going! We’re Ok!” I loudly repeated my mantra over my and Katrina’s heavy breathing. My voice, I had hoped, would both alert any other bears in the vicinity of our presence, and would give Katrina (and me) something else to focus on other than our predicament. All I could think was that at any second Katrina’s knee could go out, or I could twist an ankle, effectively stranding us.

As I said, absurdity emerges in the most unlikely of places and times, under circumstances not easily foreseen. In hindsight, bears are an increasingly common presence in northwest New Jersey. You can’t pave over three quarters of your state, as New Jersey has done, and then be surprised when the local wildlife starts to encroach on your backyard. But after countless hours spent trekking through wilderness areas across the United States (as Katrina and I have done) one hardly expects that it would be in New Jersey, the state with the highest population density, that we would both have our first true wild bear encounter. So in the moment that I looked into Katrina’s face after spotting the bears I felt absurdity close around me, and it continued to pound in my head throughout our retreat. To be clear, fear only partially contributed to the experience, and my own sense of responsibility another. Absurdity, however, best explains my immediate reaction (even now I vividly remember having that word in my head as everything was happening), as it was the illogical senselessness of our situation that struck me most forcefully at the time: I had brought my wife and dog to NEW JERSEY (of all places), for ME to go to grad school, taken them into unmarked terrain, not five hundred yards away from one of the largest interstates in the world (which we could hear and partially see through the trees!), and I was going to get us eaten by an angry momma bear who I was defenseless against, save for my pocket knife, the very first time either of us had even seen one in the wild!

In the end we made it back safely, only a few scratches on our shins as evidence of our ordeal. I therefore must apologize, as our story ends fairly anti-climactically. We simply made it back, eventually got to our car, and returned home. But really, I’m thankful for that. A story about bear encounters shouldn’t end any other way. If it did, you’d probably be reading it in a newspaper instead of on our blog, so really you should be thankful too. I also apologize for no pictures; I hope you understand.

So in the end I’ve left you with a somewhat exciting and somewhat disappointing story, depending on your own perverse inclinations. But maybe on an additional introspective note I’ll say this: life is absurd. Don’t look for narratives to life, and don’t try to construct too many around your own. Life emerges through our daily experiences somewhat haphazardly. Life isn’t about actualizing the plot of a story in which you play the lead role. It’s about appreciating the absurdities that are always all around us. To think otherwise is to set yourself up for disappointment and the inevitable fear you’ll face when your “story” doesn’t pan out the way you thought it would. Life is about marveling at the absurdities that will inevitably erupt in life, like meeting a bear in the woods.

Epilogue –

I read a story in the news a few days after we returned home, it was about a man in a town (near where we were hiking) who had recently been “attacked” by a bear at his home. He had been packing up the back of his truck when a bear came from behind and knocked him to the ground. The man came to just enough to kick the bear in the nose and throat, finally making it leave. It turns out all the bear wanted was the man’s pastrami sandwich which had been sitting, quite enticingly, on the back of his tail-gate.