Wednesday this week I am going on vacation!!!! Like a real vacation.
I am not exaggerating when I say I haven’t been on a real vacation since Japan in 2005.
I realize I’ve been a lot of places during those years including Hawaii three times but each time I was working at least at a minimum level.
Anytime I see my folks I end up working because my Dad is my boss. I’ve usually brought some checks with me, written wires, checked emails the whole nine yards.
My problem is letting things go that only I can do. I never have had a sub or back up so if it needed to be done I had to do it. That is hard to let go. One time my boss told me ‘get off the phone and enjoy Hawaii!’.
But not this time! My work responsibilities for Poler are minimal and can be done by other people while I’m gone. My roommate is kind enough to get the mail and make deposits. My supervisor and Dad are taking over wires and checks so that’s taken care of. And as far as my new job goes it hasn’t started yet so no worries on that front!
2 of my Hawaii trips I was actually working and going to school so that was interesting. My first trip I tried to get people to fill in for me but it was a disaster and I had to do an entire team project in 3 days or fail the class (sigh…).
Last year I got pretty close to real vacation in the trip to Disneyland but I still did some work and I will probably still check my email on this trip out of habit more than anything else (plus it goes to my phone so kind of hard to not check it)
Anyway, I’m very excited to be taking a true vacation and to a place I know very little about. I never thought about going to Tampa or traveling to Florida but my high school friend Kim was kind enough to invite me and probably to her surprise I accepted.
She’s taking time off from her job and has purchased tickets to baseball games and other activities. Thursday we are going to Harry Potter World in Orlando!
Mostly I am greatly looking forward to the ocean. I love the ocean. The first time I went to Hawaii was one of the toughest times of my life. I was so unhappy and I went to the North Shore and called my Dad the day I was to leave and cried my eyes out.
It had been so beautiful and going back to the cubicle dungeon of my life seemed to much. I can’t even tell you how many times I have been sad and thought of my beloved North Shore and felt happy again (I even have it featured in artwork above my bed and in my office).
I love the sound of the beach. I love swimming in the beach. I love reading and then swimming and then reading. I love wearing floppy hats and big sunglasses soaking up the sun and hearing the wish-wash of the tide. It is heaven. Last year I got to spend one day in Seal Beach, CA and realized that was the truly happiest place on earth not Disneyland!
I also hope to just relax, maybe go to a movie or two, watch the Survivor finale, go to good restaurants and have a great trip!
How fortunate I am to be in this position to take a trip. I am so grateful for my friend for having me and to have the resources to travel. I am also grateful that I planned the trip, accepted the invite and am making the effort to go. It was such perfect planning right before starting my new job. I could never have known it would work out that way but it worked out great!
I’m so excited to have a non-working vacation and hopefully I come back to you more tan than burned and full of great stories of my trip. I will update the blog while I’m away but there will be a gap in videos.
If any of you have been to Tampa and have some suggestions let me know.
Tonight I am exhausted but wanted to give you an update on my last weekend.
It all started on Friday with my most recent 8 at 8 singles activity. I was expecting around 15 people and to my shock 56 people came. I felt kind of bad that I wasn’t more organized but luckily everyone was easy going and the restaurant was very good to us (especially because I had been confused over the reservation). I am also very grateful to a girl in the group named Carly who took a leadership role on the activity and saved the day. I still can’t believe that so many people came! Who knew speed dating would get such a crowd?
Saturday and Sunday I spent with my sisters Megan and Anna. Meg was in town for the weekend on a special discounted airfare from a an airline called allegiant airlines. I think her ticket was around $100. Just as a point of contrast my last ticket to California was nearly $400, so its a tremendous bargain.
Sometimes I think the small breather of a trips are the best and most refreshing. Doesn’t give you enough time to be sick of each other and you don’t have to do as much bending to change work, school and other schedules around to accommodate visitors. We kept it pretty simple but went to my favorite bakery Bake 360, watched Best in Show and then Sunday took a walk on Draper trail, taking a photo by the dinosaur a resident has in their backyard (random I know).
One last update, I have been having success in my work and in preparing for Slam the Dam. I feel confident in both. Just today my boss said I was a ‘lifesaver’. It meant a lot to me especially given I was gone for so long. The other great thing was that I truly took a vacation and hardly worked at all for the 10 days I was gone. I haven’t done that in nearly all my adult work-life. I’m not exaggerating with that statement. When I worked for JWA I worked so much my boss had to tell me to get off the computer and enjoy Hawaii. The same when I was doing the rentals full time and definitely true when I worked for Grabber.
I’m not trying to sound ungrateful for my past work experiences. Far from it. I’m just grateful to Poler for allowing me to take a real break from work. It may also be that I am learning to let go and relax a little more but I doubt it? Either way, I’m grateful for my job.
So we had a successful day in Disneyland. I was amazed at how much we go through in 1 day. I honestly did almost every ride I wanted aside from the one’s that were closed (thunder mountain railroad and haunted mansion are closed 😦 ). Its hard for me to stand and walk for hours. I was hoping as I got in better shape that would improve but it really hasn’t. In fact, if anything its gotten worse as my pain sensitivity and fibro has increased.
Tomorrow I plan on taking things more slowly with breaks. I also bought shoes today that should help. I just wish my feet and back weren’t so sensitive. It would make things like this a lot more fun.
It was also super hot today. 99 degrees with high humidity. Made the whole day challenging for me; nevertheless, it is the happiest place on earth and my first vacation in 3 years. Still had a great time and am very blessed. The prices also seemed more reasonable than I remembered them. I don’t know if that is because everything else has gotten more expensive or prices at Disney have gone down. Either way it wasn’t too bad.
Forgive me for writing quickly. I am so tired today. I stayed up to late and ended up getting around 4 hours of sleep. I hope I can crash tonight.
Anyway, I am down to my last two boxes for box month 😦 . The mail won’t be the same after this month and I still haven’t decided which one’s I’m going to keep. Which one’s have you liked or been interested in? Once box month is finished I will give the blog a rest and only do periodic updates but you will be able to find photos and such on my instagram.
Today I received a brand new box. Meaning this is the inaugural box. (This also means they are eager to get it out there so contact them if you have a blog with hits or a youtube channel). You can get 20% off using code ESCAPENOW. With this discount the box ends up being $39 and while that is a lot for the box you will find the value is there.
So the idea behind this box is you get all the stuff to get to know a vacation spot, including a guidebook if you decide to travel there. They also have a contest and give away said vacation with each box. There aren’t a ton of subscribers since it’s new so I think you chances are higher than in other sweepstakes.
The box this month was on Napa so unfortunately for me it had some wine/tea items I will not be able to eat. However, my friends will or I will use them for topical applications. Fortunately even with those items removed I still save $20 on the contents of my box. Pretty good.
So my name is Rachel and I’m a workaholic. Want to know the proof? I’ve had kind of a miserable day and do you know what it was- my day off! I will probably end up with close to 50 unused vacation hours this year (my strategy of no vacation/no distraction was great for training, not so great for mental health). The last 2 weeks I have tried to take full days off and have failed miserably ending up with 2-4 hours off if at all (Monday I tried to take off and I ended up working 9 hours…Sigh).
Today I thought ‘I’m just going to relax, watch some movies, pack some boxes and enjoy the day’. (I did go to the PO box, check emails and make a deposit but come on I can’t go from hero to zero all at once!).
Well, my plan didn’t work very well. I woke up way early (I’ve been doing that lately. Not sure why?) and by about noon I was in a bad mood. Feeling crotchety and frustrated.
Things that helped me out of my bad mood- my friend Miriam called just to chat who lives in Virginia and is in town for the holidays. She wasn’t even calling to get together- just to talk. I love that! Thanks. We have been friends for 10 years and as far as I’m concerned the best of friends are the longest lasting.
Then I watched Home Alone and that was hilarious. I forgot how funny it was. I went to see it when I was 10 with my grandparents and remember rolling in the aisles laughing. I had never laughed so hard in a theater. It holds up remarkably well and isn’t being home alone every kids dream? It was for me!
Then I went to mixed martial arts and that made me feel better. I could release some frustration. Frustration at being single on Christmas. Frustration about not finding out about my house. Frustration about my weird lazy day. Frustration about how I was feeling that I couldn’t even explain. I love it! I’m going to do a session Christmas Eve and I think it will be good to get the frustration out.
I know I should have a perfect response to being alone for Christmas but I don’t. I’m sorry. Being 32 and alone at Christmas is nobody’s dream least of all mine. Personally I think you’d be a little strange to not feel a little sad at being alone for Christmas.
But that really wasn’t while I was feeling frustrated. It’s just my life is in flux and I want it to be done. The waiting is driving me crazy! I guess at least work is a distraction from all the other things so trying to be lazy today just didn’t work. There’s something to be said for keeping busy.
Sometimes I also wonder if I’ve lost the ability to really relax? At least there is always Hawaii. I can relax there. Or perhaps my version of relaxation is just busier as much as it drives me crazy? I don’t know? I’m not sure the best way to order my life?
Do any of you struggle with that?
Thanks for all the Christmas cards I got today. That really cheered me up. I have the best friends! Merry Christmas! (and yes facebook friends I do think chasing our childhood Christmases is a mistake. Like the scripture says ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man [or woman], I put childish ways behind me.’. Part of growing up at least for me but still a lot to be merry about.
Anyway, so that’s my random thoughts on my day of laziness.
So the last day of my trip has come and gone. It was a fabulous day but the entry will probably be a little shorter because it was pretty simple.
Today was all about relaxation and inspiration
Started out with room service. I’ve only had room service one other time on my cruise (not as expensive as you think $11 plus tip)
Then I watched General Conference in my room. In April I discovered Conference twitter groups and I love it. I find I learn more because I’m involving more senses. Plus I make new friends and get more followers (like 35 new one’s today!).
I was so inspired by every talk. To me a lot on staying strong no matter what. A lot about loyalty and Christlike service. Of course, with the new announcement yesterday there was a lot about missionary work which I love. I am going to try and be bolder with my testimony.
My favorite talk from morning conference was Elder Holland’s talk. Elder Hollands teaches the scriptures in such a personal way. I felt like I was there with the early apostles. Powerfully Elder Holland asked the question to each of us asked Peter “Do you love me?”. If we do than we need to serve Him and feed His sheep. Gosh I just can’t do it justice. I honestly think it was a masterpiece. I don’t know how you don’t feel something when He testifies of the Gospel. I’ve listened to 3 times today and still blown away Just listen:
I know I want to be a better, more faithfully sensitive saint. I want to serve in any way I can. No half-hearted devotion for me. No complete returning to my normal life after this weekend. Powerful experience may only subtlety change you but they do change.
President Eyring’s talk also inspried me. Sometimes I feel like aiming high is aiming for the impossible. It has given me encouragement. Just this week I did a seemingly impossible thing for work and look, I got through it. His talk also reminded me that sometimes what we think would be good for our career or life may not be what God has in store. Powerful.
Then we got to the break and I had to get some lunch. Problem is most everything is closed on Sundays so I walked around until I found a large sports bar famous for subs and pizza I decided to give it a try. Glad I did. Delicious! It was called Maxwells Deli
After lunch got back for 2nd session (I’m seriously sore from all this city walking! Such a wimp!). 2nd session was also wonderful but the highlight for me was Elder Bednar and President Monson.
Elder Bednar spoke about the importance of loyalty to the church and not just testimony but true conversion. It is one I will have to reread over and over again because it was so deep with content and doctrine. Profound. Again it made me want to be more bold in my testimony and to make sure I am spiritually ready for any challenges.
I thought Elder Bednar’s distinction between a testimony and conversion was profound. “Conversion is an enlarging of the ungirding base of testimony” “Conversion is an offering of self, love, and loyalty. We give to God in gratitude for the gift of testimony”. But why should I quote Elder Bednar when you can listen to the address:
President Monson was inspirational of course and told a lot of new stories. Each story was about how the Lord will use you to answer promptings. He also reiterated President Uchtdorf’s thoughts about not losing God in the details of life. It’s so comforting to hear the words of a prophet and to know that we have a prophet to lead and guide my life. I have a testimony that President Monson is the prophet of our age.
After conference I was sad (the spiritual feeding was so wonderful. I wish I could have it every day!).
Anyway, I went up to the pool to relax and unwind, read
Once I was seriously unwound I had no more energy. I called a few friends and ate some food from the hotel. Then I watched some special TV
So there you go Friday I ate miraculously, Saturday I felt tons of love from my family, Sunday I prayed, contemplated and listened to the prophet.
I know I will be a better person after this weekend. I’m not saying I will never have an anxiety attack again but every year I’m getting more skills and learning how to deal. Every year I’m growing stronger in my testimony and more passionate in my faith. It is my everything. You could take away my swimming, singing, even my family as painful as that would be and it would be nothing to taking away my faith.
I have never wavered in my faith despite the trials that I have gone through. I Know it is true and it is my life. I know Jesus is the Christ. That the Book of Mormon is true. I know covenants are real if we chose to keep them they will give us power now and later.
The work of the gospel is progressing. We are going to have thousands of new missionaries. I wouldn’t be surprised if triple the sister missionaries go out. That means we will also have thousands of endowed individuals who will be able to do work for their family. Everything is moving up mountains as President Eyring would say. We have to be ready to follow. We have to be strong. We have to support each other and most important we have to be loyal, honest and examples of integrity
I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.
Ok. I’m super tired. What a relaxing wonderful weekend. I feel inspired. I know who I am. I know that I wasn’t listening to the what God wanted when I fought Him on the Slam the Dam. I know that Heavenly Father helped me through the anxiety attack and helped me make the right choice. I know He loves me and am grateful He allowed me to have this wonderful weekend. He knows our needs. He really cares.
I feel renewed, at peace and energized. (Remind me of this moment when things get rough)
Thanks to all my friends for putting up with my constant photos and ups and downs. I’m trying really hard to do what is right and to be happy, treat everyone right. I hope you all know that when you are down or happy I am here for you night or day. Seriously 2 in the morning call me and I’ll be there.
On to regular week. I’m going to be watching for ways to fill my daily life with pieces of this magical weekend. Goodnight 🙂
So I know I say things like this all the time but it doesn’t make it any less true- today was one of the best days of my life! It was so wonderful! Its hard to believe that I ever contemplated doing anything else and that I could be the same human being that was so miserable on Tuesday. I wish I wasn’t such a spazz and had a constant, even tone to my days but alas that’s just not my style.
The one thing about an insanely hard week with a seemingly impossible deadline and a near-panic attack is that everything can only go up from there and boy did it. I’m so glad I decided to spend the money (and it wasn’t too bad actually) and treat myself to a weekend of rehabilitation and rejuvenation. I needed it so badly!
For starters I finished the month end in time!!!! I still can’t believe it! Hurray! Heavenly Father really does answer prayers and help you do the impossible when you have faith. Seriously.
So done with my Friday free (hurray!) I set out for a massage at my gym. (Would have asked my dear friend Jill but she had to take a 9 to 5’er for insurance 😦 ). Anyway, got a one hour massage and it was heaven. Seriously if I was rich I’d have a massage every week.
Oh I forgot I got to the massage late because I was cleaning my car because my folks are using it this week and guess what I threw into the recycle dumpster? Yes, my keys. It was quite the endeavor to get them out climbing up on a laundry basket that was in the dumpster and hurling myself into the cardboard. It actually hurt and I have bruises but I got the keys! Nothing was going to get me down!
After the massage I got the car wash and then headed to the hotel. I am staying that the City Center Marriott in Salt Lake. I stayed here once before when in 2007 I along with 4 of my friends celebrated the last day of a job I hated and the beginning of a happy Rachel. It is honestly one of the happiest memories of my life. So, naturally I have a special fondness for the hotel and its luxurious accomadations (amazing robes, tons of pillows, soft sheets, thick curtains etc). Just look at the pillows!
They weren’t ready for me right away so I went off to have some lunch. At first I walked the wrong way and so I asked these businessmen if they knew of any good lunch places. “There’s Carl’s Jr” they responded. Isn’t that rude? For all they knew I was a visitor to their city. I would never do that. Anyway, nothing was going to get me down so I headed the other way and went to wells fargo to deposit a check and asked the teller if he knew a good place “The Robin’s Nest” he said. It was just around the corner so I went and checked it out.
I figure in lunch places it is always a good sign when the line is long and the tables are full. This was the case at Robin’s Nest. Everything was delicious from the bread to the orzo side pasta. I got the gobbler (turkey ‘thanksgiving’ style sandwich with cranberry relish, mayo, lettuce ect). The half was huge and the lunch combo came with drink (fresh squeezed lemonade no extra), orzo pasta or chips and a dessert bite (I got the lemon square although everything looked fabulous). I heard Bobby Flay say that ‘delicious’ was passe as a food adjective so I’m not sure what word to use. It was scrumptious. Perfect lunch.
Once I checked into the hotel I read for a little bit on my fluffy pillows and then napped for about 30 minutes. Feeling great I headed up to the pool/hot tub and had a great swim. As a Masters Swimmer (I was going to say competitive but I don’t know if last in every race really counts as competitive) I naturally always wear training swimsuits. So, it is nice to occasionally swim just for fun and wear a suit that feels a tiny bit more attractive. Is that terrible to say?
At the pool they had this sign that made me laugh. Kind of a challenge to the whole weekend in a way!
After a refreshing and relaxing swim/soak I came back and read some more and worked on my novel. It’s just a silly thing I’ve toyed with over the years. I am going to finish it for the national novel writing month in November. If I don’t I have to do a polar bear swim! (Its a bet with my friend Abby).
Next up I went headed to dinner. My friend Heidi had recommended The Copper Onion to me and as it is minutes from my hotel I thought it’d be a perfect fit. Boy was she right. I have never been to such a nice restaurant in my life. Everything was beautifully presented and tasted sublimely good. Best restaurant meal I’ve ever had.
I decided to try different things. Be bold and daring because that’s the kind of day it was! So here are the courses:
For appetizer crispy pork belly salad with pickled vegetables. I’ve always wanted to try pork belly and it did not disappoint. The salad was rich, decadent, salty, sweet, spicy (pickled jalapenos). So good!
Then I got the duck which I’ve never had before. I’ve always heard it was too fatty and I hate eating chicken fat. Figured wouldn’t like duck fat any more than chicken. But this was perfectly cooked. The fat was completely rendered out with a crispy skin, cooked medium rare. Then underneath the duck breast was duck confit (holy cow yum!) and a baby portabello mushroom that was the best mushroom I’ve ever had. All accompanied with a butternut squash puree that was like butter and a mixed green salad with roasted peppitas. (Salivating yet? Wait until you see the photo).
Then for dessert I had a chocolate pudding that was divine. It was rich with a crunchy topping and whipped cream. It had sea salt or something sprinkled in to counter the sweetness.
I cleaned my plate in every course but the great thing is I didn’t feel stuffed or even overly-full. I felt perfectly satisfied. The food was not overflowing like at chains but it was all delicious and memorable, which I’d take any day over quantity. I got all of that delicious food plus a drink for $40. Doesn’t that seem like a pretty good deal? You’d pay triple that in New York or San Fran.
The thing I appreciated the most about the restaurant was how accommodating they were to me as a single diner. I’ve tried to eat at nicer places by myself and felt literally singled out and that I was an inconvenience for a busy waiter wanting more tips. This is why I usually get take out not because I’m afraid of being alone at a meal but because it isn’t a pleasant experience as a rule.
Tonight was totally different. First of all The Copper Onion has a bar (a suggestion I often give single diners as it easy to find someone to talk with and does not feel so isolating as a big empty table) with a separate bar menu but they also have what they call the counter. This is like a separate bar area that faces the chefs. It was so much fun seeing everything get made and smelling all the dishes! My waitress was wonderful. Kind, accommodating and extremely knowledgeable about the entire menu (she was partly responsible for my bold orders!). See the smile on my face!
The meal was sublime and when I finished it was 6:50 and as I walked past The Broadway theater next door to the restaurant I noticed that Perks of Being a Wallflower was playing at 7. Perfect timing! The Broadway is one of the only independent theaters in Utah and while many of their choices seem a bit dreary for my tastes this was a film I’d been wanting to see.
It is definitely not for everyone but I loved it. Its funny, sad, different and the dialogue is perfect. I think it is one of the few movies I’ve seen that gets the feel a high school experience right. Most movies about teenagers feel like the show Glee that is mostly starring 30 year old actors in high school. This was much more authentic. I don’t know if I totally bought some of the darker elements but still very emotionally satisfying to see something original and different. I felt inspired!
Here’s the thing that made today special. I have obviously lived alone for many years of my adult life. I’ve gone to movies alone, eaten alone, even went on a cruise alone, but I don’t’ know if I have ever spent a day with basically no companionship and had such a spectacular time. It is really gratifying to know that I can be that happy all by myself. I think I have to remember that when I’m feeling lost and out of control. I have the power to feel happy all by myself even without all the luxurious trappings to prop me up.
I feel proud of myself. I did something that nobody else I know to my knowledge has done. I spent the whole day by myself and had a spectacular time. Granted most everyone I know doesn’t even have that option but still its nice to know I can do it.
Even more than that, its nice to know I can relax like a real human being. Feels like forever since I’ve relaxed. Since Hawaii for sure. And how great to have achieved my Hawaii zen right in my own hometown for pennies on the dollar of what I’d spend on any trip, anywhere. What a freeing concept! I look forward to many more adventures! It’d be great if some of my friends joined me but also great to do it alone. How freeing is that?
Most importantly I feel like I can conquer the world again. I wish I didn’t get the anxiety and I am getting better at dealing with it but I’m grateful in a way for it because it forced me to take action and create happiness for myself. I learned that making a decision is a freeing experience and then planning for joy is the only way to really get it. Rarely is it presented to you for free.
I’m grateful to God for giving me this day. In the world of billions of souls going about there day He proved once again this week to me that HE KNOWS ME and HE WORKS MIRACLES! I can’t wait to hear Him speak through His prophets tomorrow. I will have notebook in hand and am confident I will receive instruction and inspiration. I am so blessed. I am so grateful. I am so inspired. I am so HAPPY!