Happy New Year! 2018 was a great year. I moved into my own place, got a dog, met my boyfriend, learned more about myself, and started getting plugged into a new church. And, I finished the year out pretty strong, goals-wise. I ended up reading 12 books (though I never did finish reading The Secret Life of Lobsters, haha), joined a gym, took lots of pictures, and, for the most part, went to bed at a reasonable time.

I’m turning 31 tomorrow, so I’ll have a new word and set of goals for this new year ahead. Today I’m spending the day at Disneyland with my sister. Because even 30 year olds want to be at Disney.

Goals for 30 Refresh

Hello World. The Rachel Things is back. This year has just flow by. This week has flown by, too.

I’ve let life get busy, which has gotten in the way of some things I planned to make space for this year. That’s why I’m revisiting my goals for 30, because I have 79 days to go before I turn 31, so there’s still time!

1. Read ten books this year.
I definitely have not read ten books this year. I’ve barely even finished one, honestly. But part of this refresh means getting back into reading, so I recently picked up The Female Brain, and I’m very into it and having been reading a little everyday.

2. Become a certified foster care sitter.
Turns out this isn’t a thing in California. It’s a thing in Massachusetts, which is where this idea first sprouted, but not here. So my next plan of action was to find a way to be more involved with the foster care system here in Orange County, but then Stella happened, and my time was given elsewhere. This is still something I’d like to be involved in at some point, but I’ll be pushing this one to another point in time.

3. Stick to a budget.
This has been horrible lately. My solution is to currently be on a spending freeze, where I’m only purchasing gas, groceries, and trying to not eat out as much. This will be tough once we get closer to the holidays, but if all else fails, maybe I’ll get a second job? Ha.

4. Go to sleep earlier at night.
Not too bad on this front. I still find it difficult to get out of the bed in the morning, and it doesn’t help that it’s darker in the mornings now, but for the most part I haven’t been going to sleep too late.

5. Run more.
Since making these goals, I have gone running maybe three times. How shameful. I have plenty of Stella-related excuses for this one, but the true reason is that I’m just a lazy girl. But I have a run scheduled for tomorrow after work. Someone keep me accountable.

6. Blog monthly.
Haha. I’m bringing the blog back and making up for my lack of blogging throughout the year. Coming down the pipeline is more on my cross-country road trip, a Life With Stella update, and other various trips I’ve taken.

7. Master the C chord on guitar.
I’m giving up on this for now. Tabling to another time.

8. Expand my Dutch vocabulary.
Also giving up on this one. Despite my obsession and fascination with the Dutch, it’s just not practical to utilize brain power on this right now. I don’t know when I’ll be visiting the Netherlands again, and I don’t have anyone to practice with nearby, so I’ll revisit this at some point as well.

9. Adopt a dog.

10. Take more pictures of people (myself included).
I’ve been pretty good at this one.

Thank you for reading about my goals. Hope your goal progress is going well, and if it isn’t, I hope this spurs you on to get back to them!

#crosscountryrachel – Massachusetts to Ohio

I’m in Boston these next few days to attend a wedding, so I figured, what better time than to write about when I officially left. I’ve been putting off writing this, because something about posting it will make it feel real, like I really did drive away and I no longer live here. Obviously, whether I post this or not, it is all real. I really did drive away and I no longer live here. But, there’s just something about putting it out there into the world.

As my plane landed yesterday morning, I had this sense like I was just coming home; as if this whole time, I’ve just been on one, really long, California vacation, and now it’s back to reality. I’m already an emotional person in a normal state, but the fact that I flew in on a red eye and got four hours of sleep means that the emotions were heightened, and Keytar Bear waved at me yesterday morning when I was downtown and I wanted to cry. But that’s not what this post is about. There is crying involved, of course, but it’s about my departure from Boston, not my return. So here we go…2017-05-30 09.13.22On May 30, I packed up my entire life into The Yaris. Amy came over, and Joey and Katie got up to see me off, as well. The weather matched my emotions perfectly. The air was crisp and the sun was bright, and I felt light and happy and ready for this new journey. I drove through Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio that day. Halfway through the drive, it started getting super foggy, and then it started to down pour. This all happened right around the time that I was asking myself if I had made a mistake. Did I leave too soon? Was it the right time? What was I thinking? Rain and tears fell together. It was very therapeutic, really. 13Almost ten hours later, I arrived in Cleveland. Cleveland is so cool. Granted, my judgment of the city may be a bit blemished due to all the emotions and excitement surrounding my big move, but I loved it. I stayed in The Cleveland Hostel, which is in a hip neighborhood, with a coffee shop on the first floor, the hostel in the middle, and a roof deck with a great view on the top. I had my own private room and bathroom, so it really felt more like a hotel than a hostel, save for the traveling European teens I met in the common room. I freshened up and walked over to Great Lakes Brewing Company for dinner, and of course, beers. I felt so empowered asking for a table for one. Though I wasn’t completely alone; some birds came and joined me, so that was a magical Snow White moment if there ever was one.2017-05-30 20.10.03I had what I was ready to dub my new favorite beer, and was quite tempted to buy a six pack of it, but I refrained since this was only the very first stop on my trip, and I knew there would be plenty more beers to taste. That, and I didn’t think I could possibly fit anything else into The Yaris. Both were valid points. I ended the night with some Mitchell’s Ice Cream, and went to bed. That night, I kept waking up, so I did what any good millennial does, and looked at Twitter. I found that #covfefe was going viral, and I quickly learned why. 56.pngThe replies and memes provided some entertainment, and I was so glad that I had woken up to witness this monumental moment in our history. Ha.

The next day, I walked around the West Side Market, then took a Lyft to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. After spending a good amount of time there, I walked around the iconic Arcade, ate pizza and drank beer at Masthead Brewing Co, and visited the Cleveland Botanical Garden. I ended the day with another solo dinner at Bakersfield, because #racheleatstacos.

Up next, Ohio to Wisconsin…

Thoughts From When I Can’t Sleep

  • I wish I knew all the words to the song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
  • Julie Andrews is so great.
  • what is the name of that one guy’s girlfriend again? I can never remember her name. and I’m usually good with names. she reminds me of Mary Poppins.
  • I love that sidewalk chalk scene. it’s like they’re stepping into a carnival.
  • who invented that carnival popcorn machine thing?
  • carnival weather is great. I should buy sunblock in preparation.
  • I probably should start moisturizing my face more. I need a moisturizing routine.
  • I hate the word moist, but moisturizing is OK.
  • speaking of words, how did the phrase “cat caught your tongue” originate?
  • are cats known for silencing people, or something?
  • cats like to eat birds… does this mean they also enjoy eating eggs?
  • should I freeze my eggs?
  • am I even sleepy?
  • if I fall asleep now, I’ll get six hours of sleep. like Chandler in that episode of Friends.
  • one time when Chandler can’t sleep, he decides to try heating up warm milk to drink. does that really work?
  • I forgot to buy milk.
  • did I turn off the stove?
  • yes, I did, because when do I ever cook?
  • what about the coffee pot?
  • it’d be nice to have a coffee butler.
  • I guess that’s basically what the brew timer feature is for.
  • but it’d be nice if someone else prepared it for me.
  • *Googles the words to the song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”*
  • I like the color of Mary Poppins’ scarf.
  • I own too many scarves.
  • like, I live in Orange County. I don’t need scarves.
  • I should clean my closet out tomorrow…
  • get rid of some of those scarves.
  • should I just clean it now?
  • probably not, because then I’ll only get five hours of sleep.
  • Lindsay! her name is Lindsay!
  • I should paint my nails the color of Mary Poppins’ scarf.
  • fingernails are so weird. why do they exist? why not just have phalanges of finger skin?
  • “phalanges” is a weird word, and I’m a little impressed with myself for knowing it.
  • “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, if you say it loud enough you’ll always sound precocious, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!…”

Stella Maude

Well, so much for my goal to blog monthly. This counts though, right? It’s still February. But speaking of goals, I did actually meet one–and a pretty big one at that.

I adopted a dog!
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I found Stella at the OC Humane Society earlier this month. She was super sweet and I knew she was mine. I couldn’t take her that day because I didn’t have my rental agreement that stated that I could have a pet, and they’ll only hold animals for you for an hour. Fortunately, because I was there close to closing time, the rule was they would hold her for me up to an hour after opening the next day. I was able to get my rental agreement that night, and left work for a few hours to go get her the next day. My sister had been visiting, and had planned on leaving that same day, but extended her stay by a day so that she could hang with Stella while I went back to work.
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Her name is Stella because I wanted a name that was nature- or space-related, and Stella means “star” in Latin. Plus, it’s the name of both beer and wine that I enjoy, so there’s that too.

Her middle name is Maude (pronounced “mod”) for a few reasons. I loved watching Anne of Green Gables growing up, and the author of the books was named Lucy Maud Montgomery. In the series, Anne is insistent that her name be spelled with an E–“Anne with an E.” So, inspired by Lucy Maud and Anne, I gave Stella the middle name Maude. Maud is also a common name in The Netherlands, and we all know how obsessed I am with the Dutch.
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She’s really great, but it hasn’t all been a magical time. Stella suffers from separation anxiety when left alone, which then gives me separation anxiety. I hate having to leave her during the day. She’s made some improvements these past few weeks, though, so my hope is that eventually she’ll get used to it and be OK with being alone. She also gets super excited when she sees other dogs (or any animal, really) while out on our walks, so I’m trying to teach her impulse control so that she doesn’t bark, lunge, or cry when she sees a creature she’d like to befriend, but that progress has been a little slower.

Being a dog-mom is hard. Haha, what a funny sentence. Good thing I don’t have human children. But it’s great, too. If you want to follow Stella on her adventures, you can follow her Instagram account (yes, I made my dog an Instagram) @stellamaudedog.