Sunday, January 20, 2019

New Year 2019 Update

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday season and are having a good start to 2019. I figured this new beginning was a good time for another update since my blog has had a long silence recently. Overall my life hasn't changed much, I've mostly just had ups and downs with the same issues I've been dealing with (if you haven't already, you can read what I wrote about my health and job issues in previous posts here and here). However, I do have updates in three areas of my life, so I will start with the biggest and most exciting one which is...


I bought a car! After over five years of not having a car, I finally decided that the time had come. For most of those past five years, it was my own choice not to have a car, and the occasional difficulty of getting around without one didn't bother me that much. However, Hyannis is not the easiest place to get around, especially once it started getting cold and walking to work was not as enjoyable. So after spending over a month looking, I finally found a great car. So without further ado, here's my new car!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sea Change: Cape Cod Summer 2018 Update

Hello Family and Friends! As usual it has been way too long since I have updated you about my life, but this time it is not for positive reasons like having way too much fun to write a blog post. As some of you know, but many of you don't, my life has changed quite a bit since I last wrote, and I haven't really felt like talking about it to anyone other than my immediate family. But now I feel the time is overdue to let you all know what's going on.

I moved to Cape Cod for a job doing shellfishing with the Town of Barnstable, and that was all going great for the first couple of months that I was here. Around that time, though, the back injury I had been dealing with when I was in Florida reared its ugly head again, and the eventual culmination was that I was let go from my job because I wasn't physically able to do it anymore. That was a huge blow at first because I had moved here specifically for that job, and I started to doubt whether I should even be here at all without it. I went through a few weeks of feeling very low and unhappy as I scrambled to find work so I could afford to keep living here. However, my fortunes were good, and I was able to get a full-time position with the company I had been doing catering for on the weekends, called the Casual Gourmet. So now I work at the cafe they run at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, and although it's not what I ideally would like to be doing, the work is way less physically demanding and much better for my healing process.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Spring 2018 Update: Return to Cape Cod

Hello family and friends! It has been way too long since I've updated you all on what's going on in my life, and I'm sorry about that. Some of you know what I've been up to but I realize that many of you don't, so here is a quick recap of my life since leaving Crater Lake last fall. 

I wish I could say that it was all good things, but unfortunately that's not the case. I returned to Florida at the end of October to stay with my mom for the winter and worked for UPS and the liquor store like I had the previous winter. I also decided to use the time of relative calm in my life to focus on addressing some health problems that had been going on for about a year. I don't remember how much of this I've talked about on the blog in the past, but for those of you who don't know, about a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disorder called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Basically my immune system thinks that the cells of my thyroid gland are foreign invaders, so it mistakenly attacks them, leading to destruction of the gland and continuously decreasing thyroid hormone levels in the body. This diagnosis led me down a path of wanting to know what else might be going on, and I subsequently found out that many other hormones in my body are out of balance, I'm gluten intolerant (most likely Celiac) along with various other digestive complaints, have positive antibodies for several viruses my body has been fighting off, and I might have Lyme Disease, and could have had it most of my life. That was quite a shock to me, since I've never had any major symptoms that would lead me to suspect Lyme at all. However, this slew of diagnoses made me examine how I was really feeling and I realized that it had been a while since I'd felt 100% healthy. I just kept pushing through life, ignoring symptoms or thinking that it was normal. Everyone complains about being tired or having random aches and pains, so it didn't seem like a big deal until it was brought to my attention just how much my body had to handle.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Oregon Update: The Smoke Continues

In my last post I wrote about how smokey it was from the fires burning in the park, and how much of a relief it was to take a trip to the coast to escape from it. Little did I know, that was just the beginning of our smoke problems. Since then, we have had many days that the smoke settled into the park and did not dissipate for a long time. Air quality has been so bad sometimes that we have spent the whole day doing office work instead of going out into the field, and even inside we could still smell the smoke. The amount of smoke in the air changes day to day, and even hour to hour, but for the past several weeks it has basically been fluctuating between various levels of terrible. Words can only go so far in describing the situation, so here are some pictures to help.

This was our view while driving to our work site the first day that the smoke was really bad. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Oregon Update: Sea, Sand and Smoke

A lot has been going on here at the park recently, but I'm still a bit behind on writing about what I've been doing the past several weeks so I'll give a bit of a recap of that first. 

Me in my official Park Service uniform

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pacific Crest Trail: My First Solo Backpacking Experience

As I mentioned in my last two posts, I went on my first solo backpacking trip over 4th of July weekend. It's something that I've thought about doing for years now, and I finally got up the nerve to go for it. Part of the motivation came from finding out that Anette, the woman I did WWOOFing with in Norway when I traveled in Europe a few years ago, was starting to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that week in Ashland, OR. For those of you who may not know, the PCT is a long-distance hiking trail that runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through California, Oregon and Washington, and it just so happens to go right through Crater Lake National Park. It was perfect for me because I don't have a car so I didn't have to worry about getting to some far away trailhead, so I decided I would hike south for a day (my plan was about 10 miles), camp for one night, and retrace my steps the next day. I was hoping the timing might work out for me to meet up with Anette on the trail and we could hike back to the park together, but I also knew that might not happen, so I was equally prepared to do the whole trip alone.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oregon Excursions, Part I: Silver Falls State Park and Oregon Coast

Here is the first of hopefully several posts about trips I take while I'm in Oregon. This one is about my trip a few weeks ago to Silver Falls State Park and the coast with two of my coworkers. We had a great time, and I enjoyed getting to see more of Oregon. It's a beautiful state and I hope to see as much of it as possible while I'm here for the season.

So our first stop on the journey was Silver Falls State Park, which is several hours north of Crater Lake. The hike we did was called Trail of Ten Falls, and it was a a loop of about 8 miles (exact distance is questionable because none of the maps and signs at the park seemed to agree with each other) that passed ten waterfalls along the way. The scenery was amazing lush greenery which was reminiscent of a tropical landscape and reminded me of Costa Rica in certain places, and some of the waterfalls were breathtaking. Here are some pictures of our hike (the following group of photos is courtesy of my coworker Tara Chizinski).

This waterfall was the main attraction (I believe it was the tallest one) so there were lots of people around. As soon as we got past the first few falls, the crowd decreased dramatically and the hike was very quiet and calm.