Walden Pond in the Fall

I went to Walden Pond a few weeks ago. Some friends were visiting and so we strolled along and I watched them skip rocks.
The air was crisp and the sun was setting over the pond and it was almost too much to take in because it was so beautiful. It was one of those moments one wants to remember for always.

A New Day

A lot of people woke up yesterday feeling like this, myself included.@gemmacorrell

But today is a new day. I’ve never been much of a wallower, so while yesterday was very much a time of mourning for many in our country, I’m ready for today, along with the next four years and beyond, to be a time for grit.

We all need someone who will help us to not quit on a bad day. Let’s be those people for each other.

I Ran a 10k…

I ran a 10k. And didn’t twist an ankle, or faint, or slip and fall, or do any of the things that would make my cousin Lily say, “you would, Rachel.”

My runner friends say that the first two miles are always the toughest, and then you feel like you can go on forever. I agree with the first half of that sentence. I’m a slow runner, which means that there were parents pushing strollers keeping pace with me. All was well until the Mile 3 marker. There were trees with autumnal leaves all about, and it smelled a little like burning firewood out, which is one of my favorite scents. And then there was a long and slow-ascending hill.

That hill was horrendous. I ended up walking up it because walking was faster than running at that point. I also spent those .5 miles talking to myself. If running is mostly mental, I was embodying that. At this point, I had lost sight of my stroller/parent friends, and was on that hill alone. So I only had myself for encouragement to keep going.

Finally, the path flattened out a bit, and it took everything in me to start running again, but once I did, all was well once more. Before I knew it, I was at the Mile 4 marker, and my brain erupted in a celebratory “only two more miles to go!” chant.

Only it was 2.2 miles more to go, and that extra .2 miles feels like way more when you’ve been running for an hour and your nose is running with you because it’s 42 degrees out and suddenly you’re being passed by a 67 year-old woman. Only she was probably actually 87 because running keeps you young.

And then, just like that, I was done.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.”
― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running


Hello. Here are some things for you to read.
Looking forward to: a road trip! I’m leaving for California tonight to embark on a road trip in the Pacific North West with my sister. We’ll be in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, and maybe other random spots.

Watching: Seinfeld. I’ve seen many episodes before, but I’ve never watched the entire series all the way through, and now I know that I have been missing out. Seinfeld: a show about everything.

Loving: autumn in Boston. It really is just the absolute best time to be here, and I’m a little bummed that I’ll be missing most of October here since I’ll be on the west coast for so long. But really, fall anywhere is wonderful.

Training: for a 10k. A group of us are running the Genesis Battlegreen 10k next month, so training is in full swing. I’m by no means a runner, but living by the JP Pond has certainly helped with making it easy to go out and run. And reading this helped motivate me. And because it’s fall. Fall even makes running better.

Happy Autumn!

What Keys Taught Me About Being Needy

I don’t like asking for help. I like to do things myself and I like to figure out how to get them done on my own.

Yesterday, I walked home from the post office, carrying a 13-pound box. The post office is just under a mile away, and 13 pounds isn’t that heavy, but I hadn’t eaten, was out of water, and it was 80 degrees and I hate being hot, so I was getting a little grumpy. I made it home, rummaged through my bag for my keys, and just as I was about to unlock the door, I dropped the keys. 2016-08-24 16.12.51I watched them fall in, what felt like, slow-motion. “There’s no way they’re going to fall down that little opening,” I thought.

But, of course, they did. I sat down on my porch steps, feeling defeated. I usually don’t allow myself time to wallow, but in that moment, I felt so alone. My friends were all at work, my family lives on the other side of the country, and I was locked out of my apartment.

There’s a small crawl space underneath our front stairs, so I figured that once I was able to get back inside, I would just find my screwdriver (because I am a capable woman who owns a screwdriver!) and open the crawl space right up. But I didn’t have the right screw tip. So I asked for help.

I borrowed a screw tip that I thought would work from a friend (thanks Tim!), only to discover that it was too big. I visited Home Depot, which was fine by me because I really love going to Home Depot, and bought two different size tips, just in case.

And here’s how it went, as told by my Instagram story:

Once I got the hole opened, I realized that all I wanted in that moment was for someone to help me. I was about to be ankle deep in dried leaves and spiders, and I had to take care of it myself, just like I thought I wanted.
2016-08-25 10.06.25My next steps were a wardrobe change and a brainstorm on how to retrieve my keys without actually entering the Cave of Spiders. I found a mop and a hanger and started with that.2016-08-25 10.13.27And it worked! It couldn’t have worked better, in fact. The keys hooked onto the hanger perfectly, and good thing, too, because I had accidentally locked myself out again. Like I said, ya can’t make this stuff up.2016-08-25 10.13.30In the end, it turned out that I had everything that I needed all along. And I’m not being poetic—I actually ended up finding a tool kit in my pantry with the exact size screw tip that I needed all along.

But I did learn that sometimes, even if you can do something yourself, or even if you have to do something yourself, it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to be needy.

A Holland Jaunt

A month ago I embarked on another journey to the Netherlands. I still love it there. And we did so many things.
2016-07-21 06.20.56Nicole was visiting her sister there, so she and I traveled together, which made the flight fly by (ha). We had a quick layover in Iceland, and arrived at Schiphol late morning. My aunt and cousin picked me up and we headed straight to Utrecht for food and beer. From there we visited Amersfoort, grabbed a drink by the water in Almere-Haven, then went to my other cousin’s house for takeout ribs in her backyard.

The next day, my aunt and cousin took me to the famous kaasmarkt (cheese market) in Alkmaar. During this time of year, on Fridays, you can go and see how cheese negotiations used to be made (more info here). Anything involving cheese is usually of interest to me, so it was quite enjoyable. We snacked on some poffertjes (Dutch pancakes), walked around the city center, then headed to Volendam.

We walked around a bit, then took a ferry to the island of Marken. We walked around some more (this trip involved lots of walking around), ate patats (Dutch fries), and visited the wooden shoe factory. I had to work hard to resist getting clogs, because how much more Snow White can this get?!

Later that night, back in Almere, my cousin and I went on a short bike ride, and I almost crashed into some teenagers who were playing PokemonGo. Fortunately, we all made it out without injury.

The rest of my visit included seeing Haarlem, Bloemendal, the Anne Frank House, eating so many more patats, and canal biking in Amsterdam.

For my last full day in this part of the world, my cousins took me to Bruges, Belgium. By this point of the trip, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by beauty, but that didn’t keep me from appreciating Bruges. The entire city is beautiful. We drank Belgium beer, ate Belgium waffles with Belgium chocolate, looked at Belgium buildings.
2016-07-25 17.33.05-1
Tot ziens, Nederland!