Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fun with English...

Check out the text above this vending machine (and thanks to Meraiah and Tim for the photo).

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Turns out, I'm not crazy.

So on our road trip, a few weeks back, I became obsessed with license plates. This obsession has a long history, and dates back to when my family moved to Maine. I was in 7th grade, and was less than enthusiastic about being moved from New Hampshire to Maine in the middle of the school year. I didn't know much about Maine, so I focused my hatred of the state on the license plates (“What a stupid state with a stupid lobster on the license plate!”).

Eventually, after settling into Maine life and making some friends and (joy of joys!) getting my license, the lobster plates grew on me – so much so that when Maine switched their plates from lobsters to chickadees, I was as upset that we no longer had the lobsters as I had been to have to be in the state with lobster plates to begin with!

After college, I moved to Colorado, and then to California, where my interest in license plates continued to grow (oh, how I hated the idea of having plates with “California” scrawled across the top in tacky cursive! I even contemplated getting specialty plates just to avoid having such ugly plates on my car).

So on our trip across the country, I was on the lookout for interesting license plates. Kansas had interesting designs (please note blatant shout-out to Jme and JME), we caught a Hawaii plate somewhere on our journey, and Tennessee’s were the most beautiful (if you can call a license plate “beautiful”), but the license plate moment where I thought I had gone crazy occurred when we were in New England…

We were driving through Massachusetts (entirely boring plates), and I caught sight of what I thought was a moose on a license plate.

“EMILY!” I exclaimed excitedly, “Did Maine get new plates!? I think I just saw a moose!”

My sister (who hadn’t seen the plate, and who lives in Maine) humored me, telling me she wasn’t sure about new plates, and keeping an eye out to see if we could spot another car with the seemingly moose-y plates.

But in the next few hours of driving, not one moose plate was to be seen. I wondered if perhaps the days upon days of driving had finally taken their toll, and I had started to see things… perhaps the lobster on the Maine license plate had looked brown in a shadow, and I had mistaken it for a moose?

By the end of our trip, we still had not seen another moose, so I had accepted the fact that I had gone crazy, and forgot about it.

UNTIL TODAY. I was up in New Hampshire meeting my dad for lunch, and we pulled into a parking lot and there it was in front of me:

Mystery solved.

That should be where the blog ends, but in searching for images of license plates, I had to give a special shout-out:

To West Virginia:

I never actually saw these plates, but just knowing they exist is enough for me.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ho Hum

Well, here I sit on a rainy August afternoon, not quite sure where to begin unpacking, but recognizing that now that I have hangers and shelves, at least SOME things can get unpacked.

The first few days here have been productive, but also draining. My first (full) day here, I spent the morning on craigslist trying to find furniture, and then spent the afternoon at an interview for my internship. Yesterday, I did more craigslist work, helped a friend move in the afternoon*, picked up shelves from all around town, and had dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Today, I have managed to buy soap, inquire about a lot of furniture that I won’t end up purchasing, and open a bank account.

It might be the rain (or the exhaustion setting in from the marathon day I had yesterday), but I seem to have lost my motivation today. It’s hard moving to a new place. I knew that before I got here, but the reality of it is hitting me now.

I’m trying to take my own advice – advice I gave to a friend who just moved a few months ago – and do at least one major thing every day so that I can feel like I'm making progress. Yesterday it was getting my bed, today it was setting up my bank accounts…

Eventually I’ll have a routine and be so busy that I won’t have time to sit around and miss my life in San Francisco. I know that, of course, but on a rainy afternoon, when all my Boston friends are at work, and I am staring a lot of boxes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

And now, as my moment of self-pity comes to an end, I will open up some boxes and begin the unpacking process. I don't know what is in any of the boxes, so it's a little bit like Christmas ("Hey look! A power strip! Woohoo!").

P.S. A special shout-out to the new link to the right: Brother Matt's blog There are No Bad Experiences. More to come when I have time to work on the blog again, but that will do for now.

*Please note the appropriate wording on the side of the truck: America's Moving Adventure: Massachusetts

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Fibby apologizes profusely for the lack of postings as of late. A 100th reunion at camp and the long-awaited move to Boston have caused her to fall off the face of the earth temporarily.

Once she has secured furniture and has managed to make her new house a home, regular updates will resume.

For now, she is filling her days scouring craigslist for all kinds of furniture, and will be heading out to an interview for her internship this afternoon. Yippee!

While you wait for more updates, check this out to see why I'm pretty sure I just moved into the coolest neighborhood ever (the theater is a few blocks away).

Friday, August 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Rosie!

Sorry I can't be there in person to sing and play with you.

I love you and hope you get home soon!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Day 14: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

States: MA to NH to ME
Driving Hours: 5.5

“Home” is an interesting concept for me right now… Where is it, exactly? Is it in Boston, where my carload of possessions got dropped off this morning? Is it in Central Maine, where I now sit with my parents in the quiet night? Is it at summer camp, where I’ll be this weekend to catch up with friends from ages ago with whom I shared secrets and adventures throughout my childhood and early adulthood? Or is it still back in California – having lagged behind while I moved east, not quite ready to let go of my my life on the west coast?

Yes. It is all of those places. It is all of those people.

Home is the smell of Tim’s cooking while I catch up with Jme on the couch. It is the quiet of sitting in the living room with my mom while my dad does the ironing. It is having breakfast on the astroturf at the Poolside Cabana. It is a road trip across the country with my sister. It is the smell of pine trees and the sound of loons. And it is now Boston too, where friends - new and old - will help make this unfamiliar place a welcome one, and where many adventures will engage and empower me and move me into the next phase of my life.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Day 13: Butterflies Everywhere

States: MA
Total Car Hours: 1 (but not my car!)

As of today, I have been to 2 Butterfly Museums in my life: one in Denver, and one in Western Massachusetts. Both are amazing – lush, green, enclosed spaces filled with butterflies that flit and fly every which way, and sometimes (when one is very lucky) land on a person passing by.

My trip to the Butterfly Museum today was with my sister, cousin, her husband, and their 3 kids. Let me just say that going with multiple children is an entirely different experience than going with my parents or friends (which is what I did in Denver).

Today, we got the boys all excited for the museum before we even left the house. We told them that butterflies would be most likely to land on them if they were wearing brightly colored clothing, so they all wore fun Hawaiian shirts and bright hats/socks/shoes. One even made a “necklace” of sorts out of some green paper with multi-colored flowers taped to it. There was much excitement in the air, and when we finally arrived there, the boys couldn’t wait to go inside and have butterflies landing on them left and right.

The only thing is, the butterflies hadn’t gotten the memo that they should land on the kids.

To attract butterflies, they recommend (in addition to bright colors) that you stay still. This is hard enough for an adult to do, but even more difficult for 3 active boys. But stay still they did, and as they sat there, they looked with eager expectation at each and every butterfly that came near. But none stopped, and as each butterfly continued on without stopping, those eager faces fell a little more.

And as the adults in the situation, there was nothing we could do, but continue to sit quietly with the boys and will the butterflies with every fiber of our beings to make the boys’ day by landing on them just once.

In the end, I think each boy had a butterfly land on him at least one time, but I don’t think it was the mass landing of butterflies that each boy had hoped for while putting on their Hawaiian shirts in the morning. I was disappointed for them that more butterflies hadn’t chosen their shirts to land on throughout our time there, but now, hours later, they seem to be unscarred as they put together a pirate ship and practice riding their unicycles.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Day 12: Over the Highway and Through the State Line, to Grandmother’s House We Go

States: PA to NY to MA
Total Car Hours: 7

We left PA and headed north to NY state for lunch with Grandmother. Got there early, and hung out on the lawn while we waited for her to get home. It was wonderful to catch up (though not nearly long enough!) and we were on the road again around 2:30.

Our final destination for the day was Western Massachusetts, for a visit with our cousin, her husband, and their 3 sons. We arrived in time for dinner, and got the tour of the basement, which is designed to look like the Gryffindor Common Room (from Harry Potter). There is a painted lady who asks for the password (ok, the kids behind the door ask for the password, but there IS a painted lady) and the walls are painted to look like castle walls with bookshelves and a fireplace and everything. There are even shelves with glass bottles full of magic potions and a place for each “student” to hang his robe and scarf.

Painted Lady:


I am sooooooo jealous.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Day 11: Tour of Cousins... Part II

States: KY to WV to MD to PA
Total Car Hours: 7.5
Our determination to get as far as we could yesterday paid off today, as we arrived in PA with plenty of hours of sunlight left in the day. Yippee!!!

Even more exciting was our 3-for-3 signage photos AND a visit with yet another cousin we hadn’t seen in a long while. Hurray for cousins!

(no, it wasn't raining – those are bugs smeared all over the windshield)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Day 10: In Which we Discover how Wide a State Tennessee Really Is

States: AR to TN to KY
Total Car Hours: 12.5

So the day started with Graceland, which was WICKED AWESOME (as already mentioned in a previous post). Seriously. I now love Elvis. Now that I’ve visited Graceland, my life is complete. ‘Nuff said.

We didn’t leave Graceland until 2pm, and we were determined to make it to Lexington, KY for dinner at Ramsey’s (a recommendation from our aunt). So we began driving… and driving… and driving… and after 4 hours, we were STILL in Tennessee! It was beautiful, though, and Kentucky (until dark) was even more beautiful still.

Ramsey’s was good, but having dinner at 10pm (it was only 9pm in the time zone from which we started the day, but though we tried to tell ourselves that, it really still felt like we were eating dinner at 10pm) was tough. Em got a fried chicken sandwich and I got a veggie platter where I got to choose a random assortment of vegetable dishes. I had corn on the cob, cole slaw, fried green tomatoes, and a mix of okra, tomatoes, and corn. Yum.

Back on the road for a few more hours of driving (“Just let us make it to the border!”) and we both crashed hard.

Day 9: Blast from the Past

States: AR
Total Driving Hours: None

We stayed in Conway, AR (home of the legendary “Toad Suck Daze”) with our aunt and cousin. Our aunt was just coming back from a visit up north with our parents, so our cousin spent the first day taking us to his favorite lunch place (Stoby's) and to Target & TJ Maxx (not his favorite places, but he was cool enough to chauffeur our outing). Our other cousin surprised us by showing up in the afternoon with his wife and 3 children. It was great to meet them all, and to get reacquainted with cousins we hadn’t seen in years.

At night, we surprised our aunt at the airport (she had been told we had left to continue our trip) and came home to play with the dogs (Weimaraners) and eat key lime pie.

The "tour of dogs" continues - Maggie on the left and Coach on the right.

Day 8: Nothing to Count

States: CO to KS to OK to AR
Total Car Hours:15.5

Sister and I began the day excited to play “Count the Roadkill” – a fun game my cousin and I had invented when we traveled I-70 from Colorado to Maine on a June road trip a few years back. We only managed to tally one dead bird in the first half of the day, so we hypothesized that perhaps June is a month in which higher numbers of road kills occur. Disappointing, as well, was the fact that we saw no tumbleweed (another tallied item on my last road trip).

Exciting, however, was driving through 4 states in one day (and BIG states too – not those wimpy New England-sized ones) and trying to photograph all the state signs as we drove through.

Kansas: (ok – not the Kansas sign, but we missed the Kansas sign, and this seemed like a good alternative)

Oklahoma: (yup – we know there’s no sign in this photo, but just to the left (or right) of the area encompassed by the photo is a sign that says “Oklahoma” – we swear)

(navigator/photographer was caught off-guard for this photo-op)

Just a pretty picture:

Day 7: In Which We Discover that Going from Sea Level to 12,000 Feet Can Really Do a Number on One’s Lungs - Part II

The most exciting part of the day came when Gibson (Bernese Mountain Dog) went for his second swim ever... ...and got stuck swimming in circles. Like a good drowning victim, he tried to climb on top of his dog friend Cabot, but like a well-trained lifeguard, Cabot got away. In the end, it was Gibson’s Uncle (not Mom or Dad) who jumped into the water to help him find his way to land, and then had to dry out after the rescue.

Day 7: In Which We Discover that Going from Sea Level to 12,000 Feet Can Really Do a Number on One’s Lungs - Part I

States: CO
Total driving hours: on the road: 1.5, off-road: 3

What a day for a hike… and some 4-wheeling! Today we loaded up 5 adults and 2 dogs into the “Range Rover”??? “Jeep”??? No – wait – “LAND ROVER” and headed up to the mountains.

And when I say “up” I do mean up – 12,000+ feet up. Brutal on the lungs, but absolutely heavenly on all other senses.

Days 3-6: In Which I Fall in Love with a Puppy Named Gibson

States: CO, CO, CO
Total driving hours: not enough to matter

The name of the game in Colorado was catching up with old friends. To begin, I stayed with two dear friends who are getting married in a month (and who have asked me to officiate) (yes, thanks to the magic of the internet, I can now be called “Reverend”).

These friends have a 6-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog named Gibson who quickly became my new best friend.
I and also managed to catch up with two friends from the days when I lived in Boulder, and a friend from camp. GREAT week full of fun meetings and lots of reminiscing and laughter.

I picked up Sister from DIA on Day 5, and on Day 6, we headed into Boulder so I could show her where I used to live and work and play. Burritos at Illegal Pete’s (though Tim & Jme are right – they’re not as amazing as I remember them, and are no match for Taqueria Cancun) made the Boulder experience complete, and then we returned home for a rousing game of Apples to Apples.

Day 2: Show Me the Mountains!

States: AZ to NM to CO
Total driving hours: 11

On the road by 8:30am to get all the way to Golden, Colorado before the day ended. I ended up pulling into my friends’ driveway at 8:30pm, making it a 12-hour day.

Along the way, I was blown away by the beauty of the scenery, and also by the strange things along the highway...

As I passed through a heavy storm in Colorado Springs, just south of my final destination, a rainbow made a beautiful show.

(Please note that all photos were taken while I was driving, which explains any blur and/or unfocused bits.)

Day 1: Standing on a Corner...

States: CA to AZ
Total driving hours: 9

I got a late (1pm) start on Sunday to begin my journey east. Stopped off in Glendale, AZ, where I had dinner with a friend (and met her dog, Sophie).

Kept going on the road until I couldn’t stay awake any longer, and ended up in Winslow, AZ (where I did NOT, unfortunately, think to stand on a corner).

Crashed at a motel and called it a day.

I Heart Elvis

Ok, it's 2am (EST), and I've been up since 6am (which was really 7am EST). I'm in the middle of nowhere, Kentucky - just on the border of West Virginia. I don't have cell phone service, but I DO have free internet, so I'm taking a few seconds to post a few of my favorite photos from today's big adventure: GRACELAND.

Me, SO excited to be holding my ticket to all 6 major Graceland attractions.

Abbie - if you dared me to drink this ancient Gatorade, I probably wouldn't (unless it was to wash down some 20-year-old gum).

Me, with just the base ticket left... and a plastic cup with a picture of Graceland on it. (I'm not in pain - it was just sunny and about 3,000 degrees outside - thus the "Take this quick!" urgency in my expression)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Not Dead Yet

Hi Friends -

This is a quick note to inform you that I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I was without internet during my time in Colorado last week, thus the lack of updates. I am now in Arkansas with my sister (who flew out to CO last week to join me). Tomorrow, we go to Memphis for the day, and then Thursday up to PA. Friday, we'll go through Binghamton on our way to Western MA, and then Sunday we'll drop things off at my new apartment on our way up to Maine.

Soon enough there will be postings about dogs and hikes and how Emily and I managed to miss getting photos of EVERY "Welcome to ___ (insert state name here)" we passed from Colorado to Arkansas.

For now, just a big thank you to those of you who have called to check in along the way (even though I have managed to miss EVERY check-in call!), and a promise for some fun updates soon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


The thing about being on a road trip alone is that in addition to giving me a lot of time to sing Broadway show tunes to keep myself awake, it also gives me a lot of time to think. I have the kind of mind that wanders at the speed of a gajillion thoughts a minute, and when I’m alone and have time to listen to it, I am given a lot of food for thought.

Today (Arizona to New Mexico to Colorado) I kept coming back to the theme of friendship. When I was little, the coolest thing in the world was to have a best friend. Only thing was, I didn’t really like the idea of having a best friend, because it made it sound like everyone else wasn’t as important to me. So one day, for my journal entry (I think it was first grade when we had required journaling), I started listing all my “best” friends. “My first best friend is ___. My second best friend is ___. My third best friend is ___…” I think I got to somewhere in the twenties before I ran out of paper in the journal. Some listed were close friends. Some were family members. Some were teachers. Some were acquaintances. And I think at least one was a cat. But the point is that even then, I think that on some level I knew that there was no such thing as a “best friend” to me – and that I would prefer to be surrounded by lots of best friends than to have to pick just one.

As I got older, that didn’t change. I had my “best friend” from the neighborhood with whom I made obstacle courses in the living room and played Tetris while we pondered the meaning of life (at age 11). I had my “best friend” from the bus stop and we shared secrets about who our favorite boys were in 7th grade. I had many “best friends” in high school who served as both study pals and partners in crime, and one who I even followed to college. In college, I made even more “best friends”- my roommate of 4 years who was goofy and serious and a perfect compliment to me, the women in my a cappella group who all lent their voices and personalities to create such beautiful music, freshman hall acquaintances that grew into friends both while in college and after graduation, and friends outside of that realm who brought new joy and laughter to my life.

Post-college, I found out quickly that it’s harder to find those friends. In school, I was surrounded by people of the same age, and with similar interests, and it was easy to make friends and keep them. After college, I became a little fish in a really large ocean, and it was hard to find people with whom I really connected – the kinds of people who made me laugh and challenged my way of thinking and supported me unconditionally and who knew what I was thinking without me needing to say a word. I did find them, though, and many have become very close friends.

A few years ago, I had a best friend I had to let go of. Due to a complicated situation and geography, it seemed easier to let go than to try to force a friendship that was no longer there. Recently, I reconnected with this friend, and was amazed at how well we both put the things we learned from our challenged relationship into practice. All the things that had made this person my “best friend” years ago were still there – only the other, negative, things had been replaced by positive. Where there had not been communication, there now was. Where there had been dependence, there was none.

Another friend I had thought I wouldn’t see again resurfaced in my life this past year as well, and right after we reconnected, this friend’s life got pretty complicated. I was fortunate enough to be able to see this friend almost weekly, over the course of the past few months, and was astounded at how we just picked up right where we left off, and at how close I felt to this friend and her child, despite the fact that they had only resurfaced in my life a few months before.

It always amazes me – the irony of life – when I rediscover a best friend just in time to move across the country – knowing that circumstances will more than likely lead to another hiatus in our friendship – or at least limit the growth of the friendship while we’re apart. I hate that instead of building friendships face-to-face, I’ll have to rely on phone and email and blogs to find out how these people who have again become so important to me are doing.

I have learned that there is very little I can control in my life (whether I like it or not). There have been friendships I had every intention of keeping that somehow slipped through my hands, and friendships I had resigned myself to letting go of, that have somehow held on tight.

I guess the whole point to this entry is appreciation for all of me “best friends” – those I’ve known for most of my life… those I have just discovered… those I’ve lost… and those I’ve rediscovered.

To all my BFFs (or “BFsF”- to be grammatically correct): thank you for the important roles you have played in my life – many without knowing it. I’m sorry for the relationships that didn’t work out. I’m grateful for the ones that did. And for those few in between – the surprise reconnections – I’m glad we’ve had the chance to get it right.