Summer Has Arrived

At the end of the day when I enter the lobby of the building where I work, I can feel some of the heat while I’m still a couple of yards from the revolving door. I push through, freeing myself from my air conditioned office prison, and for the first minute or so the heat is a refreshing contrast. But by the time I’ve crossed the courtyard and properly entered the parking lot, I’m wilting. Halfway across the asphalt that separates me and my car, I feel sweat pooling on my forehead, on my upper lip, under my arms.

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All of the photos in this post are from more pleasant summer times than the sticky week I’m currently enduring. Here’s the first Dippin Dots I ever had, taken at Six Flags in 2009.

I make it to the car and haul myself inside, desperately turning the key in the ignition as quickly as possible so I can roll down the windows. I feel blood rushing to my face and the sensation of all my pores opening up like I’ve just steamed them for a skincare treatment. The breeze from driving with the windows open calms my heat borne agitation (the AC is reserved for only the hottest of days, or when it rains).

I get home, and do I get to go inside where it’s cooler? Not yet — I have the task of pulling the rest of the family cars into our long narrow driveway once mine (the last to leave in the morning) is properly situated at in the back of the property. My brother’s car is black, with a black vinyl interior. Even if he remembers to crack the windows and park in the shade, I feel like I am sitting in hell.

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Here’s a weird baby head that was on one of the carousel horses in Dorney Park. This was the second carousel, way in the back of the park, that played hilariously out of tune music. Taken 2010.

Once that’s done, I go inside and eat dinner before going up to my room and cranking on my big boxfan. Last summer I successfully shunned the window air conditioner on the floor of the spare room that has my name on it, as it dries me up inside and out, usually giving me a cold. Hopefully this year I shall remain strong again. I’m usually wearing long pants or a cardigan in the interest of being office appropriate, and I curse them as I peel the sweaty cloth from my body. I flop down on my bed in my undergarments and let the cool air of the fan blow over my sticky skin.

Yes, I hate being cold. But I hate the heat even more. When it’s cold you can put on a sweater or grab another blanket. But when it’s hot, you can remove all of your garments and still be miserable, and I am absolutely not about that life.

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A beautiful view from the fortress of Wulzberg in Germany. Taken in 2012.

Romeo, oh, Romeo!

This is Romeo.

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He is my aunt’s cat. She adopted him over five years ago from a local shelter. (I’m not sure exactly how many, since I was still in college while she did it.) He chose her before she chose him. She’d been to the shelter a few times to check out the cats, and finally came the day when she was going to make her final decision. When she set down her cat carrier on the floor, Romeo ran right inside, and that’s how she knew it was meant to be.

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He is a big boy, weighing in at around 20 pounds. He’s a little tubby, but even if he wasn’t he would still be a large cat. Not sure if this picture shows his proper scale, but I just want you to know this lad is an absolute unit. That vest was actually made for a small dog.

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Romeo is not really a lap cat, the above picture is the closest he’s ever gotten to sitting in my lap. This is not to say that he’s not affectionate. He is a very sweet, loving boy, and a very sociable cat. Sometimes all you have to do to set him off purring loudly is walk into the same room as him and say something in a friendly voice. He loves to be scratched, and to be brushed (which is good, because he’s a very shed-y cat). But what he loves more than anything is food! He gets food twice a day, and treats once, and as my aunt puts it, “he knows how to tell time.” He gets his snack at 8PM, and when the time comes, he’ll walk into whichever room you’re in and just look at you until you get up and give it to him.

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He and I have gotten properly acquainted in the past couple of years because my aunt has started to travel more. The first time I housesat/babysat Romeo was when my aunt and younger brother went to Germany for the 900th anniversary of the village where she grew up. Why was I not invited? I will never know (I do have some guesses), but living alone in my aunt’s apartment for the week and a half they were gone was a nice consolation prize, and a tantalizing taste of what my proper dream adult could be like. I’ve also stayed with Romeo on a few other occasions since then, when my aunt has gone on trips with a seniors group in the area.

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I’m always very glad to babysit him and spend time with him. It makes me feel like I have my own cat again, and I’m sure he loves the company since my aunt is half-retired and he’s probably used to having her around a lot. He makes me laugh a lot, like when he hangs out in the doorway of whatever room I’m in at 9 or 10PM because he thinks it’s bedtime, or like the most recent time I babysat him, when I walked out of the kitchen while I was making dinner to find him sitting on the sofa somewhat like a person. It was so funny, I just had to snap the picture above.

So you’ve caught me, this whole blog post was just an excuse to post some highly excellent cat pictures. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it even if you’re a dog person instead!

–Krys

 

 

Thawing

When the long winter ends, and the first really nice warm day arrives, you ache to be outside. So when you’re finally released from your day of work, you acquire provisions and drive to your favorite field.

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It’s a simple pleasure to sit in a sun-filled field on a warm evening, a breeze caressing shoulders that have finally been able to shed their cardigan exoskeleton. The sun slowly sinks toward sleep behind the trees as the air is filled with the scents of warm grass and the cigar that a stranger is smoking a ways away from you. You’re not even sure if your grandfather smoked cigars, but somehow the scent reminds you of him, which in turn reminds you of how he loved taking you on your childhood Disney trip so much that he talked about it until he died. But the bittersweet sadness of this memory is whisked away on the wind before it can properly take root and ruin everything, thank god.

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You lie on the old soft blanket you keep in the trunk of your car, reading a good book, and feel real deep peace steal over you for the first time since the long season of storms began. There is sweet music around you — someone calling their dog, the breeze shaking the still leafless tree limbs, and yes, actual music, Latin rhythms softly coming from the radio of the stranger with the cigar.

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You’ve experienced all of these individual sensations before, but somehow taken as a whole, all at once, it feels lovely and new. You can’t remember the last time your heart felt so light, but as your skin warms up, you feel part of yourself blossoming like the yellow flowers on the bushes by your office. The cold times have passed, and it feels like this is actually the proper start of the year, that enchanted time when everything feels possible.

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The world is coming alive around you, and it perks you up to no end.

(I hope you all are getting to enjoy nice weather too, where ever you are!
— Krys)

 

 

Bring Me the Sun!

Hello, as I write this it is the first week of spring, and where I live in New Jersey is about to get slammed with our THIRD Nor’easter this month. (My posts go live on Thursdays, so by the time you read this, it’ll be over.) One of the storms was only rain, but it was the heaviest, windiest rain I’ve witnessed in a long time. It broke my umbrella!

As much as I’d like to get a snow day, I have to say, I am fucking tired of snow and cold. I want to have the choice to spend time outside, to feel the sun on my face, to drive with the windows down. So here’s a photostream post of the kind of weather I’m missing. All photos were taken by me at various points, I’ll be sure to write in proper informative captions!

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Taken in my backyard in Spring 2011.

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A view from up high, taken on my Summer 2012 trip to Germany.

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On a trail at the Cape May Lighthouse, trying out my camera remote for the first time, September 2017.

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This was a fun time! In 2015 the New Jersey Renaissance Faire came to visit my town, and my friends and I spent the day there. (These are the Lords of Adventure, and they are amazingly funny, fyi.)

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Taken in 2014 at a picnic with my friends in a local park.

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Rainbow over Cape May Beach in 2015.

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Beautiful sunset sky at Pt. Pleasant Beach, 2013.

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And let’s end on a bit of as self-indulgent note — I found this cute selfie in the same folder as the previous sunset sky photo, and wanted to share it!

This post is basically a wish I’m putting out into the universe for better, warmer weather! I hope it gets here soon!

–Krys

The First 10,000 Miles

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In September 2016, I reluctantly gave up my 20 year old Ford station wagon. I didn’t want to get rid of my car, but after years of reliability (I was the third in my family to drive it), it had suddenly decided to need repairs almost every single month. We were coming to a crossroads where the station wagon was coming up on its biennial inspection, and it needed a costly repair that wasn’t life threatening, but which caused the “check engine” light to be constantly on. This little light will cause you to instantly fail inspection.  So after some consideration of all my various options, I decided to go in on a car lease, and my 2016 Nissan Rogue came into my life. It was a big adjustment (being high off the ground being one of them!), but I’ve come to love it dearly.

Recently my Rogue and I drove our 10,000th mile together, a landmark crossed while I was looking for parking at my friends’ apartment complex. (It somehow feels appropriate, lol.) I thought it might be nice to look back at some of the places my car took me in our first 1.25 years together, which also kind of serves as a 2017 retrospective as well! So without further ado:

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This is from Halloween at Target. I’m at Target at least once a week, usually popping over during my lunch.

 

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In October ’16 I housesat for my Aunt, looking after this big boy named Romeo.

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Work. Every fall the people who run my office building put one of these outside both buildings in the complex. I call it the Sacrificial Altar.

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These weird mosaics are in the lobby of the school where the community center housed guitar lessons.

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I was only gonna include one picture from each place, but this bizarre painting in the music room at the school was too good to pass up, lol.

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My favorite locally-owned burrito place!

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This isn’t a place I went, per se, but I this spring I discovered the quiet joy of spending my lunch reading in my car.

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The field that I park in when I want to run away from home, but don’t have the time. I remember I texted this picture to someone and they said, “Don’t get lost.”

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A sad day at the beach, when I really just needed to run away from home and actually did it. Perhaps someday I’ll blog about it.

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Jury duty! Which I actually weirdly enjoyed, probably because I mostly just got to sit in a corner and devour a book all day.

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A happy day at the beach! There were a few of these in this particular town.

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In September 2017 I took a vacation alone for the first time — two nights in one of my favorite faraway shore towns!

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A trip so good it deserves two pictures in this little retrospective. I’ll try to remember to blog this trip soon!

 

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Spent one Friday night on emergency trip to Ikea to replace my beloved lamp, which I smashed in a stupidly clumsy accident. 

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Countless visits to my friend’s apartment to visit them, and their two lovely little bean boys. So precious. ❤

 

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This is from my office’s Christmas party last week! The fancy restaurant we were at had this massive, beautiful tree in the foyer, so you know I had to strike a pose.

As human beings, we mostly tend to take pictures of good moments, so this photo set doesn’t really betray how hard 2017 was for me. But the fact that I was able to revisit all of these good moments when I looked back for these pictures gives me a little hope that next year could have even more positivity in it.

–Krys

New England Nostalgia

I went to college (university, for you non-Americans) in a tiny town in northwestern Massachusetts called North Adams. It’s just about as far from Boston as you can get and still be in the state — many of the students came from upstate New York and the town is so close to the Vermont border that some of the faculty lived there.

My first semester of college my mom wanted to make the four hour trip to visit me on Columbus Weekend, since it was a long weekend for both of us, and when she couldn’t get a hotel room in the immediate area we found out about the phenomenon known as “leaf peeping.” Leaf peeping is a form of tourism where people travel to go look at the changed leaves in the autumn. On the East Coast, New England is a popular area for this, probably because the comparatively lower temperatures cause the trees to change earlier.

In most instances, I think travelling a long distance just to look at some trees is pretty silly. However, I never miss North Adams more than I do in the fall, and when you see the photos below maybe you’ll see why!

These are all photos that I took when I was in college (mostly even before I had my nice DSLR) — I haven’t been back in the fall since I graduated at the end of 2012.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(I remember that I liked this tree because it looks sort of like a paintbrush partially dipped in paint.)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(A nearly leafless tree  with some kind of berries on it, taken from inside the library. It looks like a spring picture, but I swear it’s not, lol.)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(This yellow tree was my favorite one on campus every year, and that’s why I’ve included two photos of it! When I picture fall in North Adams, this tree is usually the first thing I think of.)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(A view of the quad.)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Path in front of one of the main classroom buildings.)

 

IMG_3998(This picture is kind of crummy quality, because I took it through the window of an elevator lobby, but I fucking love the cloud clinging to those mountains.)

 

IMG_4164(The view from my dorm window my last, happiest semester of college. Those trees on the left were gorgeous study companions!)

 

IMG_4263(A friend wanted to take some cosplay photos down by the train tracks that we definitely weren’t supposed to be near, but that people hung out by / used as a shortcut for walking to Walmart anyway.)

 

I hope you’ve all enjoyed this little nostalgia trip into my photograph archives! I’ve taken so many photos and they’re mostly just rotting away inside my hard drive, so I think I’ll pull together little posts of old photos like this in the future.

How do you guys feel about fall?

Much love,
Krys