Based on recent experiences, I’ve been forced to conclude that the guys I’ve been dating must have only dated women like this…
Does this ring true for you, too?
Based on recent experiences, I’ve been forced to conclude that the guys I’ve been dating must have only dated women like this…
Does this ring true for you, too?
When I moved to Bend, Oregon in June 2019, I knew there’d be an adjustment period. (See: #NeverInNewJersey Round 1 and Round 2.) What I didn’t realize, but probably should have given that I lived in New Jersey for 37 years, was that
my people prefer clothes more than your average West Coaster that adjustment period would continue well into my second year in Bend.
Which means it’s time for…
These photos are just from this summer – that’s how common this central Oregon phenomenon of being…what’s it called…honorable…is. Lost glasses, keys, jackets, and water bottles are constantly placed in logical, visible spots, clearly with the hope that their owners will return. I’ve even seen a $200+ bike helmet.
And things like this [on a local community Facebook page] are far from uncommon:
I just love this sign so much. This is where my mind went as soon as I read it:
A group of stodgy, suited stiffs enters a windowless conference room, each taking a seat around a long, mahogany table.
“THIS MEETING OF RULE SETTING FOR CENTRAL OREGON IS NOW IN SESSION,” the woman at the head of the table booms, while her assistant jots down her every word with quill and ink. “RULE ONE: NO ONE MUST PARKETH AT ANY NATIONAL FOREST SITE WITHOUT A PASS.”
“RULE TWO: NO ONE – I REPEAT NO ONE – MAY MAKETH A PEEP ONCE THE CLOCK STRIKES TEN P.M.,” another councilperson adds.
“RULE THREE: CANINES MUST BE KEPT ON A LEASH AT ALL TIMES,” a third man continues, frowning. “AT. ALL. TIMES!” He clears his throat. “You know…except if the sweet little boofalicious doodle-y wonderfulness gets hot and needs a wittle drinky poo for his wittle mouth oh yes who’s a good boy he is yes he is.”
See what I’m saying? So. Great.
Look at these rogue cows, on hiking trails, giving zero f*@%s:
Not unlike these these cows:
This parking spot shouldn’t be allowed:
This beach-all-to-myself definitely shouldn’t be allowed:
And who does this frog think he is?
I noticed something strange as soon as I moved to Bend last June. No one seemed to follow a schedule. “It must just seem that way,” I told myself. “Because it’s a tourist town.”
But then I started seeing lots of these:
That’s right. Mid-week yard sales. They’re everywhere out here. They’re everywhere, and I don’t understand. In New Jersey, yard sales happen on Saturdays and Sundays. You know. When people are…available.
I was scrolling through Instagram the other day and did a double-take. “Wait. Do I know these people?” I thought.
I had to stare at the gorgeous family for several long seconds before realizing it was an advertisement.
Do you live in a place that catches you off guard? Are these examples surprising or commonplace to you?
Recently, my friend Dakota asked, “If you could acquire any two skills during quarantine, what would they be?”
Apparently, running three marathons in nine days didn’t count.
Based on Dakota’s prompt, I wrote a blog post within minutes. Before I could hit ‘Publish,’ SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENED.
A deep-seated wish come true.
A phoenix rising from the ashes!
A…much better version of the post I’d already drafted…what the f#%@?!
And it looked like not much had changed: HE WAS STILL INSIDE MY HEAD. So, I’ll let him cover the quarantine goals category, and I’ll gladly move on, my
party hat slap bracelet firmly in place. (Although it’s worth noting that I already had the rest of this post written as part of my original draft, including the retro B-Man shout-out.)
Acquiring new skills seems kinda hard, anyway. Besides, if these are end times (and who says they aren’t?), what are the most marketable skills we already possess? How can we prove to our quarantine comrades that they shouldn’t eat us first? I’ll take a crack at it, and then I want to hear from you!
So, what are your top quarantine/end of days skillz?
“Oh nooooo,” I moaned, slapping a hand to my forehead.
“What?” my sister, Lori, asked, her knuckles bone white against the steering wheel.
“I left my phone on top of the car!”
“Stop it,” she said as we rounded another butt-clenching hairpin turn.
At the last scenic overlook, I had been so distracted by taking pictures and picking up Uncle Jesse’s poop that I’d forgotten to take my phone off the roof, where I’d placed it as I’d loaded the dog back in the car.
Lori pulled over at the next viewpoint, and by the grace of Chipmunk Gods, my rubber phone case had had enough grip that my phone had stayed in place instead of flying into the Crater Lake National Park wilderness.
“Should we check out the lodge?” Lori asked.
I nodded, my heart still racing. She and my niece were visiting me in central Oregon for the week, and we had decided to spend a day and night exploring the iconic landmark.
While they went to the bathroom near the gift shop, I inspected the Crater Lake Park brochure. The next day, I was planning to hike with Uncle Jesse while they went on a non-dog-friendly boat tour.
I was excited to possibly tackle Union Peak, the park’s toughest hike, or at least scale Mount Scott, a 4.4-mile trek with a respectable elevation gain.
I flipped to the brochure’s hiking section and my stomach dropped. Of the 16 listed trails, only three were dog-friendly. Around parking lots. Less than a mile long.
“Looks like I’ll be going to Plan B,” I said to Lori when she got back to the car.
With an afternoon waterfall hike now out of the question, we decided to continue driving the heart attack-inducing, 33-mile Crater Lake Rim Drive before checking into our motel, 18 miles away.
Whispering Pines Motel was the sort of place where Betsy at the front desk scolds you for even suggesting she send an “e-lectronic mail” confirmation. Betsy handed us our key, attached to a giant log…
Since it was nearing 5 o’clock, we decided to tackle dinner plans.
“Betsy said there’s a place with great pizza at Diamond Lake and we can sit outside with the dog,” Lori said. “She also told us we could come and pick out some movies on VHS. You really need to go look inside the main office, Jul.”
When we got to the pizza place, Uncle Jesse and I manned the lone picnic table in the yard while Lori went inside to order. She soon returned looking triumphant.
“Well, their pizza sauce has meat – which is so weird,” she took a breath and shot me the we’re-from-New-Jersey-and-know-our-pizza look, “but they said they could do refried beans [for you] as the sauce instead.”
“Awesome, thanks,” I replied, my vegan-beggars-can’t-be-choosers hat firmly in place.
Ten minutes later, a large man bounded down the hill holding a giant red can.
“I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about in there!” he grumbled, beginning to read the ingredients on the can. We quickly realized he was the chef. “They’re trying to give you refried beans with lard instead of this tomato sauce. Last I checked vegans don’t eat lard.”
“Wow, good looking out!” I grinned.
I assured him that he was indeed correct and deserved to win whatever episode of Vegan Kitchen Wars I had inadvertently triggered. Forty-five minutes after my sister and niece had finished their meals, my food arrived.
We spent the following hour surgically removing picnic table splinters from our hands…
…and arrived back at the motel in time to enjoy some company right outside our door…
…a refreshing shower…
…and some of that new-fangled telly-vision.
Ah, well. At least Uncle Jesse wasn’t holding a grudge.
Have any fun, roadside motel stories?
Before I make the big move out west next week, two of my closest friends and I decided to spend Memorial Day weekend in one giant love fest.
We picked New Milford, Connecticut because Jenn told us to and everyone should listen to Jenn. Apparently I’ve never actually spent any time in the place just two hours from my home state, New Jersey. With Mother Nature on our side, I was shocked to discover Connecticut had it all.
Where have you traveled and found unexpected treasures?
“Excuse me,” a tall, voluptuous woman with bleached blonde dreadlocks beckoned the uniformed man over with her elaborately manicured finger.
Her voice was playful and husky and I noticed an Adam’s apple. She held up the slip of paper in her hand.
“It says my boarding group is ‘basic.’ I ain’t basic.”
“No no no,” the Delta employee laughed. “Don’t worry, ma’am. You’re not basic.”
They joked around for a few minutes while I thanked my lucky stars that I’d managed to score a window seat, where I planned to use my winter jacket as a pillow.
I knew I’d need to stockpile Zzz’s before five days of Duluth’s Homegrown Festival. A friend* I’d met during my Master’s degree residency had invited me to get out of Jersey and attend the festival, and I suspected she wasn’t on my same post-leaving-Corporate-America schedule.
In between seeing fantastic local musicians, we subjected her three-legged, one-eyed dog to all kinds of unbidden “fun”…
…saw the sights…
…ate so much plant-based foodie goodness…
…and of course, went on oodles of hikes.
The best part of the Duluth Homegrown Festival -a 20 year-strong, nonprofit tradition that features local musicians performing all over town for an entire week- was the close-knit community vibe. For eight straight days, like-minded music lovers united to support their fellow Duluthians, shouting, “Happy Homegrown!” and sharing smiles at every turn.
Besides the bargain booze, highlights included:
And now I’m back in New Jersey.
I may have just signed a year-long lease on an apartment in a city 3,000 miles away that I’ve never been to.
Hi there! …What’s that? Why are my eyes so bloodshot? I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m fully committed to the fine art of weekly blogging. I definitely planned ahead for this one. It’s gonna be a good one. Hoo boy.
…Are you ready? Today’s post is called, “Caption This!” I came up with it all on my own. Here’s how it works. …Are you sure you’re ready?
I’m gonna post a bunch of pictures that may or may not be from last night’s
37th 25th birthday celebration -and- (oh my God this is so exciting) YOU GET TO CAPTION THE PHOTOS YOURSELF.
I know. The things I do for you.
I love you.
I stared at the form on my lap, heart racing. Was my handwriting even legible?
I hadn’t been planning to fill out such a form so soon, but as had been the case with most things recently, an opportunity had arisen out of the blue. In fact, the minute I had decided to take inspired actions towards my dream life, chance meetings and synchronistic events tumbled forward like coins from a lucky slot machine. The more I acknowledged and embraced them, the more followed – all like little winks from the universe.
Let it be known, however, that stepping down Fate’s path isn’t always easy, even when all of the arrows are neon pink and screaming your name.
Usually after I acknowledge a coincidental opportunity, panic sets in and I think of all of the seemingly logical reasons to stay firmly planted in The Known. Then, a familiar internal battle begins: C’mon, Jules. This is how this works. If you want a different life, you have to do things differently. DO NOT LET FEAR WIN. This has been on your bucket list for fifteen years!
I took a deep breath and handed in my form to the spiky-haired woman behind the counter.
With that gesture, my tight, sweaty grip on Control released by another inch, allowing my frenemy, Flow, to take over.
I’m really doing this. At 36 years old, I’m really letting a 5-foot-2 man named “Pop” drive a needle through my nose at 6pm on a Thursday. What are his qualifications? Did he go to school for this? Why does he want to stab women with sharp objects? Wow, he really does seem excited about this…
After marking my nose with a purple pen -twice, to get it juuuust right- Pop told me to close my eyes and take a deep breath.
“Wow, that was a good one!” he said.
“I’ve been doing yoga,” I replied. “Is it in?”
“Well, the needle is.”
I clenched the sides of the chair and decided, for what seemed like the 20th time in two minutes, not to pass out.
Pop deftly finished up and then dabbed a tissue at the corner of my left eye.
“Everyone always sheds a tear. Here, have a look!”
He handed me a mirror and I smiled, surprised.
“It’s hardly even red!”
Normally prone to rashes at the slightest irritant (or out of thin air), it was as though my body had been waiting for this new accessory. Within two hours, it seemed like it had always been there. Every time I glanced in the mirror, I felt like I was seeing the real me.
The great part about doing things that scare the pee out of you is that it DOES get easier each time. And I’m now something of an expert at homemade saline solution.
…Oh, what’s that? You wanted to see a picture? I didn’t take any of th—
Next up? Pink highlights. Stay tuned.
(Psssst – I just added a new The Vegan Dollar video featuring my
new face jewelry tiny house tour! #shamelesscrosspromotion)
What bucket list item is FEAR keeping you from?!
In early 2019, I hinted that it was going to be a jaw-dropping year. What I didn’t yet realize at that point was just how far one’s jaw could drop.
And I suspect we’re only just getting started.
By approaching life from a mindset of, “How do I want to spend my life?” instead of, “How do I want to spend my dollars?”, over the past several years, I eschewed convention, made big (tiny) moves and created the runway to chase my dreams.
I’m so excited to share all I’ve learned via The Vegan Dollar’s forthcoming YouTube channel, where I’ll review hacks and practical tips, and talk about the mind-blowing lessons I’ve internalized when it comes to spending, saving and turning the status quo on its
ugly little head.
Do I know what I’m doing? Not really. Does it feel “too soon” to take the leap? Absolutely. Am I scared? Um, YES. Do I let those things stop me anymore?
HECK TO THE NO.
At the risk of sounding saccharine, it’s been both a bumpy and beautiful road to get to a place where I feel comfortable honoring my soul’s gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) nudging, and through The Vegan Dollar, I hope to empower others to explore and actualize their dream lives.
Starting March 13th, Uncle Jesse and I hit the open road. While there are so many exciting unknowns ahead, I DO know the coming months will include…
Anything you want to see me cover on The Vegan Dollar? What does chasing your dreams look like?
The tail end of 2018 saw a slew of surprises, leading me to believe that 2019 is bound to bring in more of The Unexpected. AND I EXPECT IT TO BE AWESOME.
To celebrate this, I thought it would be fun to relive December’s unexpected events and my surprising takeaway from each:
I got my friend Janeen a “1-hour medicine healing ceremony” session for her birthday
because she’s even kookier than I am. On a lovely Saturday in mid-December, we headed into New York City to get our crystal-woo-woo on. The shop was located on the 5th floor of a building in Greenwich Village.
We spent the first five minutes ringing the bell and asking the construction workers next door how to get in. Eventually, they pointed to a creepy stairwell and we ascended 8,000 flights to our destination.
Once inside a small, fragrant room, an attractive woman began ‘reading the collective energy’ of the 12 ladies forming a circle around her. (“Ma’am, I think you’re picking up ‘sweat’ and ‘confusion.'”) We then laid down on heated mats, nestled under blankets, while she chanted and waved incense, carefully stepping between our legs. Just as I was starting to relax, eyes closed and breathing deeply, she whacked my chest with a large, dried palm leaf.
The following weekend, my sister drove me over to Babs’ (mom’s), anticipating our “surprise early Christmas present” from Babs.
“What do you think it’ll be?” my sister asked.
“It’s either strippers or a vegan cooking class,” I replied. “Not that I’ve given this any thought. And you know what I just realized yesterday?” I paused before blurting, “Mom and Pop didn’t really do anything to celebrate me just getting the Masters. I feel like a jerk saying this, but I would have thought they’d want to go out to dinner or something...”
My sister and I were still talking about this as I opened my parents’ front door.
I was suddenly surrounded by friends and family, champagne, and gobs of gifts.
I wasn’t going to blog about this since the idea is to stay anonymous, but this was so much fun that I feel like I have to tell you to try it, too (especially if you can rope in some kiddos)…
To round out the end of 2018, I actually won money from one of the scratch-offs that my family loves to give each Christmas. Chyeahhh!
I took my big, fat $50 winnings, got a bunch of $5 bills, and then my nephew and I wrote encouraging note cards and left each $5 bill and a card all around town for people to find [in Ziploc bags lest Mother Nature not cooperate].
We’re definitely going to make it a new tradition. Here’s one of my 15-year-old nephew’s cards – can you see why I couldn’t keep this to myself?!