A Very Finger Lakes Vacation

I’m back from vacation, relaxed and refreshed! (Kind of. Mostly I wish I hadn’t come home!)

The Finger Lakes region is beautiful. I’ll start with that. I’m sure it’s beautiful year-round, but my impression is that it’s even more beautiful in the fall. See what I mean?

the view from Glenora Wine Cellars on 9/22/13

the view from Glenora Wine Cellars, 9/22/13


Keuka Lake on 9/23/13

Keuka Lake, 9/23/13


grapes at Hunt Country Vineyards on 9/23/13

grapes at Hunt Country Vineyards, 9/23/13


Hunt Country Vineyards on 9/22/13

Hunt Country Vineyards, 9/22/13


just a roadside vineyard

just a picturesque roadside field


view from the northwest shore of Seneca Lake on 9/23/13

view of sailboats from the northwest shore of Seneca Lake, 9/23/13


across the road from our Inn on 9/24/13

a vineyard across Route 14 from our Inn, 9/24/13


Watkins Glen State Park on 9/24/13

Watkins Glen State Park, 9/24/13


95% sure this was the view from Standing Stone Vineyards, 9/24/13

95% sure this was the view from Standing Stone Vineyards, 9/24/13


the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13

the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13


panorama of the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13

panorama of the view from Chateau Lafayette Reneau Winery, 9/24/13


just a casual waterfall on the side of the road

just a casual waterfall on the side of Route 414

We got home on Wednesday night, and I’ve been trying to decide since then how to summarize the trip. I’ve considered a budget breakdown and a day-by-day breakdown (kind of like I did with our Road Trip to Cape May in July), but I haven’t fully decided yet. I want to write it all down before I forget any of the details, but something has been stopping me and I’m not quite sure what that is.

For now, I’ll say this: it was wonderful. I’d go back in a heartbeat. It was 4 days of relaxation and pure one-on-one time with P. Since we don’t see each other as often as I’d like, I always really love when we get to spend extended time together. I loved having him all to myself and exploring a whole new part of the world together. It was a perfect birthday present.


the big 2-5

I know I said I’d be participating in Jenni’s Blogtember challenge, but from the looks of it, I lied. Sorry ’bout it!

Friday is my 25th birthday. I’m going to be a quarter of a century old. It comes and goes, but I’m actually feeling fairly anxious about this milestone. 25 sounds so old to me. It seems that I should have things a little more together. I should know what I want to do with my life by now, right? Yet I have no idea.

I’ve been saying for a year or so that I want to quit my job and go at it on my own, pursuing the interior design thing or the self-employed thing or some other “thing” altogether (truthfully, I think it’s been less time than that, but everything feels like ‘forever‘ to members of my instant-gratification generation). Then on other days, I realize that 21 already feels like it was ages ago, and 30 feels even farther away, and really, I’ve got my whole life to “pursue my dreams”–why do I feel such a strong urge to do it now? And then I reply: “because right now I’m young and not tied down and have no adult obligations, and I have the money and the health and the desire to travel / quit my job / save the animals / be a professional Pinterester now, and I might not in 5 or 10 or 30 years.” And then I’m like, “okay, so what am I going to do about it?” And that’s pretty much as far as I get.

Anyway, I’ve been a bit wrapped up in the gravity of reaching my quarter-life mark and yet feeling like my life hasn’t yet started, in the sense that I have no idea what my real purpose is. I’ve been trapped in my head even more than usual lately. (And that’s a lot.)

So this weekend, P and I are stealing away for the trip that I never actually thought we’d take. We’re going to Watkins Glen Sunday through Wednesday, and I’m really looking forward to the chance to relax and re-charge, just the two of us. We’ll be wine tasting (definitely), kayaking (hopefully), hiking (maybe), and taking in the scenery (absolutely). P’s work travel schedule has picked up lately, so he’s been busy (and kind of all over the place, geographically speaking) often, and as I mentioned, I feel like I’ve basically retreated into the dark corners of my mind and haven’t come up for air and to simply enjoy things for months.

I’m really, really looking forward to it. I feel like I’m attaching a lot of weight to turning 25, when maybe it doesn’t need to be that way. At a minimum, I’m hoping that this trip will chill me out a little. A stretch goal, though, is that the crisp fall weather of upstate New York will breathe new life into me, and I’ll come back completely sure of my purpose in life, and armed with a sure-fire, 100-step plan for getting there! (If only.)


Day 20 of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge is “Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now.”


In February, I wrote about a change I was planning to make. I’ve written before about purchasing my first home. I’ve written about my LDR with P. More recently, I wrote about what I’d do at this moment if money were no object.

Basically, what it boils down to is this: I’m at a crossroads. I have been for quite some time. The facts are these:

1) I’m unhappy with the career path I’ve wound up on.

2) I want to buy a house. (Either to live in with a roommate supplementing my mortgage payment, or to rent out completely for a profit while I go somewhere else and use that revenue to supplement my income.)

3) Although we’ve nearly mastered the delicate art of the long-distance relationship, I would much prefer living in the same place as P once more.

4) In February, I resolved not to stay at my job beyond May. I had since forgotten about that resolution, and have recently re-resolved to leave my job by August.

5) I want to pursue a career in interior design or something similar. (I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly stated that before, but if I can’t say it here, where can I say it?)

6) I’ve now got a full year’s salary in savings.

With all those things in mind at all times, it’s been hard to make any real decisions lately. (Hence the aforementioned crossroads, and the long time I’ve been standing in the middle of it.) Oh, and:

7) I recently applied to a Master’s program in English at Longwood, with the thinking that their full-time graduate assistantship + the location (same place as P) + a 2-year break from the workforce might = a chance for a nice change and a resetting of my professional compass. I should find out whether I’ve been accepted in a few weeks.

Again, with all these things churning around in my brain all the time, it’s been pretty hard to make any decisions or to feel any degree of settlement or stability lately. I’ve found some solace in knowing that, one way or another, I’ll be leaving my job to pursue something else by August.

But I’m still having a hard time settling in to any mindset. I want to buy a house. If I decide to stay in Charlottesville, I’ll have to go the roommate route, because I’ll also want to quit my job and take on something part-time (therefore with no benefits…and I turn 26 and have to get off my dad’s insurance next September…), while trying to pursue something to do with interior design on the side. If I decide to leave Charlottesville (either to go back to school, to travel, or to do something else entirely), I’ll rent my whole house out. But then I won’t get to enjoy the benefits of owning and decorating a house!

Then there’s the issue of “I don’t think I want to stay in Charlottesville,” on which I vacillate weekly.

Too many issues, too little time…

(And, for the record, I was leaning one way when I started writing this post. Now I’m leaning entirely in the other.)

(Oh, and: I met with my realtor to view another house during my lunch break today. I hated it!)

Am I crazy?

Zeal, or: If Money Were No Object

John and Sherry announced today that they’ve purchased a new house and will be moving in as soon as they sell their current one. My first reaction upon reading their post was jealousy. My second? Anger. And I’m talking inappropriate levels of jealous anger. (How embarrassing, right?!)

I’ve been reading their blog since my senior year of college (so sometime during the fall of 2009 or the spring of 2010), and I’ve always been envious of the incredible lifestyle they’ve been able to build for their family through their blog. When it comes to DIY/design/home improvement blogs, theirs is the biggest there is. It’s what everyone else in that arena aspires to. I’m no exception. (I know, it sounds crazy. Bear with me.)

Although my blog is seriously lacking in DIY and design (duh, I don’t even own a house), that’s what I initially set out for this site to be. I chose my blog’s name because it would allow me to write about the house I eventually buy, as well as my various adventures in my hometown. I’ve written before about how buying my own house has long been my biggest life goal. Well, my reaction to their post today really brought that to the forefront. As soon as I finished digesting their post, I fired off an email to P. Here’s an excerpt:

YHL announced this morning that they bought a new house and I’m so freaking jealous. Like, so jealous that I’m actually mad. I don’t want to work in a job that I hate in order to save up money to buy a house some day… I want to buy a house NOW and have a job that I love and have people read my awesome blog about how I’m fixing my super-awesome beautiful house. GEEZ!!!

I realize that it’s melodramatic, but behind that, there’s some true logic. I’ve been uttering different versions of “I hate my job” for the last 21 months…and ironically, that’s exactly how long I’ve been in the workforce.

I want a house. I want a job that I love. I want enough money to live comfortably and to allow me to do things like travel and build the life of my dreams. (Spoiler: that really wouldn’t require all that much money. I’m a pretty simple girl.)

So that’s where the titular ‘zeal’ comes in.



fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.

I need to turn my raging jealousy into a zealous effort to get where I want to be – personally, professionally, and… blog-ally? Jealous –> Zealous. Make sense?

I realized today that if money were no object, I’d quit my job in a heartbeat and move to P’s town. (We’ve been in a long-distance relationship since November, and while it’s been an adjustment for us, it hasn’t been horrible.) I’d put a chunk of cash down on a house there and rent out a room or two, so that my mortgage would be mostly (if not completely) covered by my roommates. I’d take a few classes at Longwood – it’s not the most prestigious school in the state, but another Master’s degree couldn’t hurt. I’d live there for a few years, figure out life in a small town, make some personal and professional connections, and try to get involved in the community. (My Master’s degree is in Higher Education, and there are two colleges in Farmville, even if not much else.) Then, after a few years, hopefully P would be ready to move on to another job in another city, and we’d move together. (Obviously, this assumes a few things about the future of our relationship, but it’s what I’d do at this very moment — if money were no object.)

So. That’s that.

LDR: Week 3

This weekend, P came here! (Yes, for the first time since he moved!) He had a work thing on Friday night in Richmond, so he didn’t get here until Saturday afternoon. We went Christmas shopping and then out to dinner at the Citizen Burger Bar on the downtown mall. As we waited for our reservation, we walked around on the mall and popped in and out of a few stores–much like the ‘good old days’ when we both worked down there. After dinner, we came home to watch TV and relax for a bit, and then headed out (in the cold and the rain) to meet up with one of his grad school classmates at the Biltmore, to catch up over drinks. Today we slept in, had lunch at Jason’s Deli (a new place in Charlottesville that neither of us had been to), and came home to watch the Redskins game before he hit the road.

It’s still not fun being apart, but it’s getting easier. I guess just like any other change, it takes an adjustment period. The good news is that I still feel more happy and more like myself when I’m around him than when we’re apart. It’s definitely worth spending the weekdays physically apart in order to maintain all the other components of our relationship the remainder of the time.

LDR: Week 2

Week two of our LDR was better than the first, if this weekend’s visit was an indicator.

Last Tuesday or Wednesday night I was pretty lonely. I don’t remember why (I don’t remember anything specific happening), but I was just feeling lonely and sad and really missing P. It’s hard not to see each other every day anymore, when the first year of our relationship contained daily visits, regardless of whether we actually had anything to do. It’s easy to start to question feelings and intentions and dedication when we’re apart. It’s easy to overanalyze and to read hidden meaning into situations where there is none. It’s not an ideal setup, especially for a neurotic and obsessive scrutinizer like me.

By Friday, I was ready for our planned weekend visit. P called me during my drive home from work, and said that it was raining pretty hard there and that I should wait until Saturday morning to make the drive. I was upset, and angrily decided that I would wait, knowing that that meant I’d likely sleep until about 10 on Saturday, and then take my time in getting there. After stewing on that for a little while, I realized that would be a waste of a lot of time we could have been spending together, and decided to hit the road anyway, against his advice. So I left for Farmville and arrived around 9:30 on Friday night. P wasn’t in a great mood and didn’t seem very happy to see me at first, but after a while we slipped back in to our usual routine.

We spent all day yesterday and today together, and went to his office holiday party last night. It was nice to have a reminder of what it’s like to spend time just the two of us, doing regular “us” things.

I came home today knowing that we don’t have concrete plans to see each other next weekend. P has a big work function on Friday night and might come here on Saturday. I hope he will; I’m not looking forward to the possibility of heading into the holidays (separately) without seeing each other first!

LDR: Week 1

I thought I’d do a little recap of how my new LDR with P is going.

We both started new jobs last Monday, but we’ve both been able to email throughout the day. I call him every morning to wake him up at 7:30, and I call him every night once I’ve gotten in bed. (I used to wake him up every morning when he was in grad school and I had missed this part of our routine. I’m glad it’s back.)

I drove to Farmville for our first real weekend visit yesterday, and things went well. Last night we went to the one-and-only true bar in town to watch the Alabama v. Georgia SEC Championship game (yuck), and I met P’s coworker/office-mate, as well as two other Farmville-ites (Farmvillians?). P also found a roommate to move in with him for the next 13 weeks, and he moved in yesterday, too. Today we slept in and then ran a few errands around town–first we stopped at Moe’s for lunch, then went to Wal-Mart and Lowe’s, and then located the animal shelter for future visits (hopefully). I hit the road to come back home around 4:30, because I didn’t want to do the drive in the dark. It was a quick visit, but still pretty good.