Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there was a female who felt herself to be (in the words of the immortal Ms. Spears) not a girl, not yet a woman. After all, on the cusp of 28 years old she was well past her girlhood and probably didn’t even qualify as a young woman anymore. But for a number of reasons she could not escape her family home and live a life with full adult responsibilities and therefore often felt like a child. (Although, for the record, she was very thankful that her family home was a pleasant place to live. Just wanna put that out there.)

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Additionally, there were aspects of her personality that occasionally made her feel childish. For instance, she would much rather stay in and play a video game than go out into the world and make connections that could perhaps advance her adult life. She had no long term goals besides “be happy and be able to support myself” which really was getting in the way of finding a job that would help her achieve those goals, as she had no firm direction to point herself in. When she reached her point of ultimate frustration, her body’s reaction was to cry (and then to cry more out of embarrassment for having cried).

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However, her greatest problem was that she had very little discipline. This can be traced back to her years in college. After spending high school driving herself crazy to get good grades in her full course load of high level classes, she very quickly noticed that she had enrolled in a college that was perhaps slightly too easy for her. She realized that she could do the bare minimum and still get good grades, and so that is what she did (while somehow still managing to graduate a semester early). By the time she left the mountains to return home to the land of Jersey, her discipline had fluttered away on a breeze.

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She turned her attention to various endeavors as she started her adult life, but she had lost her ability to follow through when it was not required by an employer. She took up the ukulele and wrote a handful of songs that were well received by people she knew, but when her inspiration fled, so to did her relationship with her ukulele. She bought a beautiful blue guitar and attended lessons, but when her teacher left the community center she let the guitar sit in the corner because there was no outside force compelling her to practice. There was a watercolor kit that she’d purchased after watching a few videos that had been barely touched. She couldn’t get herself to stick to an exercise regimen even though her overweight body begged her to by developing hypertension. There was a box of video games in her room that had been started, but never finished.

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Then there was the whole slew of internet videos, over 100 of them, made over the course of many years. YouTube was her most successful attempt at keeping up with a hobby long term. She occasionally took breaks for months at a time, but always returned. Until one day it hit her that she did not want to go back. There wasn’t any particular reason, she just somehow lost interest in creating online videos (although she did still spend an inordinate amount of time watching online videos instead of doing any of the things mentioned in the last two paragraphs).

If she was being really honest with herself, in most of the things she tried she grew to feel she was hopelessly mediocre and would never be good or worth notice no matter how much effort she put in, so why should she even bother?

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But just because she had given up on talking to a camera did not mean that she never wanted to talk to anyone about her more long-winded thoughts on the internet ever again. The internet can give the impression that we are meant to share everything about our lives, and while she knew that many aspects of her life were probably too dull to share, she still wanted to share some things. So she started a blog. She could have kept a physical journal, but the notion that someone might read her words and interact with her because of them excited her. She had made some quality internet friends on YouTube and thought that once she got going she might make some blogging friends as well.

She plugged away at her blog, dedicating time to make sure there would be a new post each week. While she didn’t make any new friends, she did feel herself to be free to talk about topics that she never felt alright talking about on YouTube. She finally unburdened herself regarding a few heavy stories from her life and was more open and raw about her mental health than she’d ever been before. She had friends and family to talk about these things with, but she could be clearer and take her time composing her thoughts. Somehow it was easier to write everything down instead of having to use her actual voice. It was freeing.

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But then, the inevitable happened. After taking a week off to go on a trip, her posting became more irregular and ultimately ceased entirely. Her main excuse at the time that she stopped was “it’s too hot to sit at my laptop for hours during the summer to put these posts together” and she swore she’d return in the fall. But autumn came and went and winter began and still she had not really posted anything, besides a post saying that she would be posting again soon that had actually been posted quite some time ago.

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The blog tugged at the back of her mind, but she was nervous about returning. She realized that was scared that she had nothing new left to say after all of the YouTube videos and blog posts she had already made. Nothing interesting anyway. But she wanted to write. So just after the new year started she put Google Docs on her phone so she could work on the same documents both at her desk and away from it and she started typing away. She wasn’t sure if it was any good, or if she would even be consistent about it, but she very badly wanted to be. She wanted to prove to herself that she could follow through, even if she felt like a worthless mediocrity while doing it.

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It was a new year, a new start, a new chance to do and be better. Hopefully this time something would stick.

[All images are from my collection of photos/YouTube thumbnails that I’ve taken over the years.]

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.

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