Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beach Day - Nantasket and Nahant Beaches

Well, these last couple weeks of August have been quite unpredictable and unfortunately not as beautiful.  Though the rain is a nice relief from the humidity, its timing couldn't be any worse.  It rained on a Wednesday a couple of weeks ago, and it interfered with the summer program's beach day.

But on Friday, August 12th, the summer program made it's way to Nantasket Beach, in Hull.  I was looking forward to slightly warmer waters, even though it's still close to the Boston area.

The way the beach area is set up, there's a boardwalk that's raised above the actual beach area.  Since it's a thin stretch of land, it's possible that the concrete wall really helped to ensure that the high tide wouldn't overtake the boardwalk.

The water was also really not as bad as it could have been, though we arrived at really high tide.  It was still a tad bit colder than I would have liked, and yet it was really manageable.  I didn't get to explore the area that much since I had to stay with the kids, but it looks like a nice place to revisit.
Decent beaches in the Boston area
The next day, a friend and I went to Nahant Beach, on the opposite side of the Boston area bay.  The area that the public beach is located on is also another thin stretch of land and isn't too far from the city.  On this day, perhaps because we got there later in the afternoon, the tide was extremely low.  We walked quite a bit to get close enough to the water.
the shore and me
I'd have to say that I appreciate beaches with bath houses.  It's nice to not have to worry about restrooms and changing rooms.

At Nahant, the water was surprisingly not bad for being more north of the city.  It was also fairly shallow for quite a while.  At one point, I noticed some interesting debris in the water.  I thought it was small bits of seaweed, but as I looked closer I realized that whatever it was had legs and it looked like many of them were swimming towards me.  I quickly ran out of the water for fear of being overtaken by a bunch of little creatures.

I asked my friend to come out into the water with me just to get a second opinion on what the little creatures were.  She said that perhaps they were baby shrimp or other crustacean.  I felt a little bit better about having possibly identified them.  Then she said, "Hmm...well...I think I might have just gotten bitten."  I quickly turned around again and made my way out of the water.

I don't know if it was just the specific time of the year or what, but there are little creatures at Nahant Beach.  Otherwise, the water and the beach are really nice.
houses on Nahant
It was great to be out on the water for 2 days in a row.  I haven't had the pleasure of doing something like this since last year at Santorini.  It's also great to know that there are some decent beaches in the Boston area, and that I don't have to travel too far to get to them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Thoughts about Drama

I'm not going to get into the details, but I do have some thoughts.

I think a lot of drama is caused by miscommunication or lack of communication.  Different communications styles and different personalities just don't mix as well sometimes, I guess.

You get your people who are all about confrontation and you get your people who avoid confrontation like the plague.  Sometimes those two combine, and they get to teach each other something.  Sometimes confrontation meets confrontation and avoiding meets avoiding.  Sometimes they learn, too.  Sometimes they explode.

I think a lot of drama is caused by inconsistency.  Inconsistency just means that there's a lot of instability in certain aspects.  Instability can make people nervous and feel unsafe.

Some folks can adapt and be flexible.  But sometimes needing to be on your toes all the time will make you walk on eggshells all the time.

Now those are just my thoughts about general drama.  Work drama is a different story altogether.

It's always interesting to see what the culture is at different work places. 

Are people super friendly if you're new?  Or are they kind of stand-offish and keep to their already formed groups?  Are you given a tour of your work place?  Or are you still uncertain about policies and procedures?  Are the staff sharing responsibilities?  Or are some people being taken advantage of or not pushing their weight?

How do those qualities play into the drama? Then when you include the different styles of communication, see where I'm going.

Sometimes, people aren't aware of the weight that they carry.  Be it with a supervisor or be it with other staff.  Some people happen to carry the power, and not necessarily the role of supervisor or boss.  This isn't necessarily a negative thing, however, since most people will use their power to ensure a positive working environment.

At least, I would hope so.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toesies of the Month - August 2011

In the height of summer, it was time to revisit one of my favorite nail colors.  Sonic Bloom by OPI is the perfect bluish-greenish color. It's good for playing up your summer tan.

I was feeling the need for some pampering, and really felt that going after my physical therapy (where I get a bit of a shoulder massage at the end) would be the best time.  The physical therapy office happens to be in the South End section of Boston, which meant that any nail place might be slightly more pricey.  But I was pretty impressed with Town's Nails & Skin Salon.

But I was pleasantly surprised by the pricing for how nice the salon is.  I believe the salon is fairly new, since the Google Maps Street View shows that it's still "Coming Soon."  But everything was very sleek and quite clean.

Also, I was expecting that the nail technician would bring me a bunch of sample designs.  But then, she just asked if I wanted flowers or lines.  I said lines, but that I didn't really care.  I was really also pleasantly surprised by the awesome design, though I'm more of a fan of mirror image designs.
Designed by Kimmy at City Nails & Spa
Color: OPI - Sonic Bloom
Occasion: Time up play up the tan
August 2011

Here's a better image of the design
So, high marks for City Nails & Spa.

I'm also just loving my nails right now.  They're making me feel relaxed and calm amidst a lot of turmoil.

Yes, I'm still uncertain about what my next employment venture will be, though I am still a part of the summer/after school program.  Yes, I'm still busy with different projects and social engagements, though I'm trying to be kinder to myself and my immune system. 

But, things have felt rather unstable, to say the least.  So, I guess my toes are reminding me that I'm still here, feet on the ground.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hedonism Lite

As part of the summer rituals, my friends and I travel up to the woods of Vermont to participate in the weekend of the All Night Costume Dance Party at Quarry Hill.  Though it is usually on the first weekend of August, this year it was in the last weekend of July.

What is the All Night Costume Dance Party, you ask?  Well, it started in 1984 as a birthday celebration for one of my good friends, when she was asked what she wanted to do for her birthday.  She answered that she liked dancing, staying up all night, and costumes.  Thus the All Night Costume Dance Party was born.  Through the 27 years, it's grown into a reunion for the multitude of people who've lived there at some point, including international guests and children who grew up there.  But at its core, it's a celebration of life.

female Oscar
What happens at the All Night Costume Dance Party, you ask?  Well, it's pretty self-explanatory, don't you think?  Every year, there's a theme.  This year, the theme was "Hollywood."  Though I initially thought of dressing as a homeless person, I decided to go for an Oscar award instead.  Now, on the day of the party, there is also somewhat of a variety show/talent show.  Different people sing, dance, and do other random interesting and entertaining acts.  Then at 10pm, the party begins.  Hopefully, you've got your nap on at some point that afternoon or evening, because the night can get difficult if you're not well rested.  So, if you manage to dance the night away (while intermittently visiting the bonfire) and you see the sky starting to lighten, it's time to head to my friend's house where 1 batter of vegan and 1 batter of regular blueberry pancakes are awaiting the frying pan.  The blueberries are from a farm right next door, and the batter is a secret recipe from my friend's step-father.  After you've feasted on the delicious pancakes, it's time to crash out in your tent until the heat of the morning sun wakes you up.

It's an amazing weekend.  One that's worth sharing with people who you know enjoy a good time with a bit of adventure. 

Though our group wasn't as big or as small as it's been in the past couple of years, there were 3 newbies to the converts.  One of the newbies spoke a bit about how she was exploring the idea of pleasure, and we decided to continuously remind her about finding her pleasure and exhibiting a bit of hedonism.
dancing and costuming
Of all the times and places, this weekend in Vermont was definitely a place to explore ones hedonistic side.

In the grand scheme of camping, this is really camping lite.  There's still some access to bathrooms and running water, and usually access to a shower.  Though the shower was out of commission this year, we still got a chance to clean up a bit at the nearby creek.

We even got to cook and share a delicious pasta dinner together with several other campers.
veggie pasta action
But there are still mosquitoes.  And once again, I managed to get bitten several times in the course of 3 days.  Bug spray was my friend, and I even invested in a clip on bug repellant.

This year, time seemed to fly by.  It didn't seem like there was too much activity, and yet we managed to dance the night away without realizing how fast time was flying.  Before we knew it, it was time for pancakes.

Though it was pouring rain the night we drove up, the rest of the weekend was absolutely wonderful.

Then it was time to rejoin civilization.  But, as it turned out, the hedonism wasn't quite over.

Early on the 2nd, another friend who was unable to join us in Vermont decided we needed to continue our friend's birthday celebration by doing a bit of skinny dipping at one of the local beaches.

As the evening neared, I became uncertain about whether I would join.  I attended a Hawaiian slack key guitar performance that was so beautiful and relaxing that I was literally falling asleep in the restaurant.  It had been a long day already, and I was exhausted. 

But at the last minute, it turned out that I didn't actually have a choice about whether I would be attending or not.  My friend and I were to pick up another friend and meet the other 3 at Revere Beach.

I was so glad I didn't lame out.  I would have been devastated if I didn't make it to the beach that night!

At first we were nervous.  Was it illegal for us to be on the beach after sunset?  It was definitely illegal for us to get into the water completely naked.  Was it going to be freezing since it had rained earlier that day?

But then we decided, to hell with it.  How often do we get to do this?  We had decided to just go in topless at the chance that the cops did show up; it would also make for a quick get-away.  After we set up our blanket near the water, we checked the temperature.  It was surprisingly not as bad as it could have been, and that just made us more determined to go for it.

At the stroke of midnight, the 6 of us went running into the Atlantic Ocean, alive and free.  It felt so good, we did it twice!  I don't believe anyone went in completely, but we definitely got ourselves good and wet.
free women
It was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  What a wonderful way to spend a 40th birthday.

After dining on some delicious banana bread and reflecting on our spontaneous adventure, we were all ready to head to dreamland.  I truly feel blessed to know that I have these type of women in my life.  I can only hope that my 30th and my 40th birthdays are spent with such powerful and inspiring people.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beach Day: Crane Beach

On Wednesday, July 27th, the summer program got on several yellow school buses and headed for the North Shore of Massachusetts.  This beach day was spent at Crane Beach, where the water is freezing once again.

But the sand was fine and the weather was gorgeous!
Crane Beach
There's something quintessential about sand dunes at New England beaches.  Whereas the beaches stretch out for miles on the California coast, these beaches are punctuated by grassy dunes and marshes.  Though, I'd have to say that I don't agree with how the majority of nice beaches have a fee.

Regardless of the freezing cold water, I still braved it and managed to stay in the water the majority of the time.  Believe you me, this is really difficult for someone who's been blessed enough to know the pleasure of more tropical waters.  But, for the kids, I braved it.
my poor freezing toesies
The water was amazing, however.  Clear and casting a blueish-green hue.

Crane Beach is really nicely kept.  There are outdoor showers to help rinse off the sand, and a fairly accommodating changing area.  Though, this isn't necessarily surprising to anyone who noticed the signs for the Crane Estate as we were pulling up to the beach parking area.

The one part about these New England beaches that I'm not the biggest fan of is the bugs.  Big green flies and mosquitoes are just flying around the more marshy areas of the beaches, waiting to bite at my ankles.  In fact, I had 1 huge bug bite from Crane Beach that made my ankle swell up a bit and itch for a week. 

Still, Crane Beach was a good time with the program.  I had fun swimming around with the kids and joking around with the staff.

I'd have to say, speaking of the staff, that it's been a pleasant work environment.  Though I'm one of the older staff and I'm probably the one with the most advanced degree among the group leaders, I know that I'm blessed to have a bunch of like-minded people to work with.  Even when the kids frustrate us to no end, we all are still able to laugh about the ridiculous things kids try to pull among other more adult levels of hilarity.

Working full-time in the summer isn't ideal, but at least we get to play and have fun.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Beach Day: Houghton's Pond

Goodness. It's been a busy summer.  I have so much to share!!

Though it's not as relaxing as it can be, I've been able to go to the beach almost every week at the summer program.  So, I'm going to write a little bit about the beaches we've been to.

Houghton's Pond is located in the Blue Hills of the Greater Boston area.  It seems like it's a great place to go hiking and to have some outdoor BBQ action.  When we went on July 20th, the program took advantage of the BBQ pits and the beach area of the pond.

I had never swum in a pond before.  Up in Maine, the boyfriend's family took me canoeing and we swam around a bit in the river.  But swimming in a pond has not really come up.

Compared to the coldness of Singing Beach, Houghton's Pond was an absolute pleasure to swim in.  It really felt like bath water.  I suppose that in general pond water isn't super clear, since there's dirt and rocks from the forest floor.  But it felt really pleasant to swim in.  We also got to share the water with some geese.
honk honk, said the goose
The swimming area was pretty shallow, so it was a great place to take the younger kids.  At some point, the little kids decided that they wanted to hold on to me while I swam under water like a mermaid.  That was pretty fun, actually.

There were quite a number of people at Houghton's Pond for a Wednesday.  It was difficult not to run into other people while playing around in the water.  Still, it was a pretty nice place to be.
Gorgeous day for a swim

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