Introducing Pudgey

I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for a year and a half now and I still haven’t introduced you all to Pudgey!

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Pudgey was my very first beanie baby; I got her for Christmas when I was seven. Over the years, she’s come just about everywhere with me – gymnastics meets, camping trips, hikes, vacations, etc. At this point, she’s basically a member of the family. If something ever happened to her, I would be bawling my eyes out.

My mom loves Pudgey just about as much as I do, so when I went off to college, we decided to do a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants type thing with her. Every time we see each other, Pudgey switches hands. And when she’s with my mom, she goes on adventures with her instead.

Despite Pudgey being quite well-traveled, she didn’t really feature in many photographs until recently. When I moved to CT in 2012, Pudgey came with me. When I went home for Christmas that year, Pudgey stayed with my mom and sister until they came out to CT the following August. Not only did Pudgey go on adventures with them, but they also started taking pictures of her at each destination. Originally it was so they could send them to me to prove that Pudgey wasn’t sitting at home alone while they went hiking. Somehow – I’m not completely clear on the details – it morphed into a photobook called Pigtures. I’m pretty sure the discovery of the “pigtures” pun was what spawned the idea. Regardless of how it began, I received a hilarious and very unexpected Christmas present that year. Continue reading

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Our all-time most epic vacation fail

If you travel enough, it’s inevitable that things will go wrong. I count myself very fortunate that, so far, I’ve managed to avoid any extreme crises while traveling (knock on wood).

We’ve had a few hiccups – a couple flat tires, almost running out of gas once (this one was 100% my dad’s fault), forgetting something (this has happened more than once, we now own 3 hammers…), and I remember as a kid I once left one of my favorite books on the plane. But these are all minor inconveniences.

The time we drove 2 hours out of our way to visit Four Corners and arrived to find it closed certainly wasn’t one of our best moments.

But in all honestly, our biggest vacation fail didn’t really involve our vacation at all. In fact, we didn’t even realize what we’d done until we arrived back at home. Continue reading

Autumn in New England

I’m just going to come out and say it: New England isn’t my favorite place. It’s been a good experience for me to live somewhere different, and I’ve largely enjoyed my time here, but it’s not a place I want to stay after Pat and I finish school. Too many people, too much traffic, too many months of crappy weather…you get the idea.

But one thing that New England does better than anywhere else I’ve ever been is autumn. The colors here are just amazing!

Fortunately, I was able to begin learning this within a few short weeks. One of my then-roommates and one of her friends are as adventurous as I am; the 3 of us hit it off and began spending our weekends exploring the area.

Over the course of my first New England fall, we visited two local state parks, a state forest, and hiked a couple of local trails. I also went apple picking and pumpkin picking for the first time ever – two important New England fall traditions! Continue reading

Eastward Bound (part III) – Ontario to the Atlantic 

Day 5. The last day of our cross-country road trip.

After catching one last glimpse of Niagara Falls, my mom and I set off for the long drive across upstate New York. We drove I-90 from Niagara Falls all the way to Schenectady before branching off onto Highway 7. This wasn’t the fastest way to Connecticut. But as per usual, my mom and I decided that if we were going to be in New England, we were going to visit as many states as we could. We ended up hitting 5 of the 6, so I’d say we did a pretty good job.

First stop: Vermont. Continue reading

Eastward Bound (part I) – Montana to Indiana

August 10, 2012: Moving Day.

I don’t think it had hit me yet that I would be spending the next few years of my life in Connecticut. I’d never been there before. I’d never been anywhere in the northeast. All I had was warnings from various people that northeasterners are rude and everyone has a Boston accent. And though people do tend to drive like total jackasses here, I quickly learned that most people are friendly and the Boston accent is pretty well confined to Boston.

Anyway, the point of my story is that I hadn’t quite realized what I was getting myself into. It didn’t really hit me until I was sitting in my new house in Connecticut and my mom was on a plane back home. My roommates hadn’t yet arrived and my grad school advisor was on vacation. I was alone. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t the best day I’ve ever had.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading

Sunshine Blogger Award III

I think I’ve set a new record here for longest time taken to accept an award. Image Earth Travel nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award about 9 months ago. I started answering the questions, saved it as a draft, and completely forgot about it. Oops. But now that I’ve stumbled across it, I should probably finish it and post it. So here goes….

This award is given to bloggers by other bloggers, with the criteria being “bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” I’m very humbled to have received this nomination once again…thank you Nilla for the nomination, and I apologize for taking so long to accept it. Continue reading

Exploring Montana on Skis

I never used to mind winter. And then I moved to New England. Winters here are horrible. The sun sets at 4:15. It’s usually cloudy and cold and windy. And dark. All the time. And when it snows in New England, it really snows. Two feet at a time, leaving us to dig our way out of the house and then figure out where to pile up all the snow.

But winter in Montana never bothered me. Maybe because I grew up with it and I’m used to it. Or maybe because it doesn’t get dark quite as early and it’s not nearly as overcast. Or maybe because even though it snows more, it almost never dumps two feet at a time. And when it does snow, it clears up afterwards and it’s beautiful. Winter is still my least favorite season, but the way the Montana landscape shimmers in the sunlight after a snow storm is something that’s hard to beat. Continue reading