Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New York, New York

The Advertising at night, bigger than life

This post should have been written weeks ago but I've been so busy with so many other things in life that posting has not been on the top of my list but I'm sitting in the airport right now and thought I'd place some photos up. Back at the beginning of November David and I had the opportunity to spend an evening and day in NYC and it being my first time in the city it was quite an adventure. David went on Friday early with his classmates and enjoyed the day at a couple different galleries and speaking with professional photographers in the city and I joined up Friday evening, spending the night at a local hostile and then wandering around the city the next day. It rained off and on but we enjoyed the MET, Central Park, stopped by a gallery that represents one of David's professors and were able to visit some friends of mine from college that I hadn't seen in a couple years. Overall it was a wonderful time.

The city at night, it was amazing
Our bunks in our hostle
We enjoyed breakfast at this delicious French Bakery, right on 79th next to the park
Central Park
The M.E.T.
David and I in the MET 

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A wedding to remember...

Jeff & Jess the morning of the wedding

I know many of you have been asking to see pictures from Jess & Jeff Hipp's wedding but before I posted them I wanted to make sure they had seen the photographs before sharing with the world. We have handed off the photographs so I am excited to be able to post a couple from a very fun wedding.

Jess and Jeff got married at a quaker meeting house in the traditional quaker way for the most part, in silent worship. It was an absolutely incredibly beautiful day and the service was amazing, filled with family and friends who have been moved by these two people in so many ways, we were all celebrating with words, prayers, tears and laughter. 

Bride and groom morning of the wedding

Jeff and his grandmother

Jess and her father before the ceremony 

The happy couple after the ceremony - no pictures were taken during the ceremony, it's quaker tradition which was upheld. 

Parading from the ceremony to the reception in Harvard Sq.

Father-Daughter Dance

First dance

Table settings with Jessica's incredible homemade pear butter - a gift for each guest

The cake

Sunday, October 4, 2009

40+hrs per week


As having just graduated this past May and passing my boards in June I spent July and August doing research and applying to jobs in Boston for my first full time position as a licensed physical therapist. This past summer I chose to work at two previous clinical locations as a per diem PT to provide them with help over the summer when others are taking vacation and giving myself the freedom to not work a definite 40hrs every week if I didn't want to. However I am now buckled down and getting into a routine.

I have decided to work at a local LTAC (long term acute chronic) hospital, Radius Specialty Hospital. Now this title may seem a little confusing but a quick explanation is that our patient population consists of people who were recently in an acute hospital and are unsafe to go home, still needing a lot of medical care. We usually see patients for 4-6 wks; however at my particular setting there are a few cases that have been at the hospital for months because honestly there is no where else for them to go, they are too sick for a nursing home and unable to care for themselves at home so we keep them and provide their home away from home.  

As a full time PT at Radius, I oversee the two medically complex floors, we also have a vent unit, and two dementia units. I personally have a caseload of 16-18 patients, I see anywhere from 2x-5x/wk. It's a lot as a new grad because we also have a very difficult population, with many co-morbidities (diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, kidney failure, lung conditions, morbid obesity and the list goes on), often with polysubstance abuse history and coming from unstable home situations. I am constantly in challenging situations that I rack my brain to find a solution for. But so far I feel that I have been a positive, stable person for these patients and am proud of the work I do. It's been incredible the amount I am learning as well, working with diagnoses ranging from stroke, amputation, morbid obesity, balance impairments, and general de-conditioning from bed-rest, along with a wide range of ages from 25 to 90 yrs old. 

I also have the pleasure of working with a great rehab team, consisting of two other PTs, two OTs (occupational therapy), two SLP (speech language pathologists), a COTA (OT assistant) and a rehab assistant. I hope to maximize my learning experience while I'm here, meet incredible people and grow as a person and a physical therapist. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

         We now call Jamaica Plain (JP for short) our home!! We moved here about three weeks ago and are loving it already. JP has a wonderful community filled with great activities, food and drink. This past weekend there was a JP wide yard sale all afternoon, I didn't buy anything but it was wonderful to walk around and see everyone buzzing around peoples' tables with questions and excitement over other's old and used things.  Today our block is having their annual block party where everyone donate $10 for beer, wine, juice and soda and each house provides a main, side or dessert. We are all looking forward to it because the neighbors we have met so far have been wonderful. 

The outside of our new condo, the second story porch is ours
         And you wonder how we ended up withthis wonderful apartment in this wonderful neighborhood? Well we have connections ;-) David and my high school photography teacher, Jonathan lived in this very apartment for years, owning the whole house at one point he now owns the upstairs. He recently decided to move his family closer to work and wanting to have excellent tenants, and good people to live above and around close friends of he and his wife's, he asked if David and I would be interested in looking at it. 

Tons of windows in all the rooms provide wonderful natural light

Our new kitchen which consists of new cabinets and stainless steel appliances

Our incredible stove with a convection oven and grill with a high powered vent so we can grill year round!!!

         I said no right from the start. It's in a beautiful neighborhood, it sounded like a beautiful apartment, it was in a great location, Jonathan would be our landlord. Too good to be true and too expensive. But he was persistent and after looking at apartments on our one day in JP and being sorely disappointed with the selection given to us we decided to give him a call. And all the things I said prior are true, we all fell inlove with it immediately. So then we worked out our budget and he worked out his and with a paint job of the apartment and some odds and ends to be fixed we decided on a price that worked for all of us. So we now live in JP with David's sister Jessica and her husband Andrew and it's awesome!!!

Our new backyard where our wonderful neighbor Joann has a beautiful garden

         Our downstairs neighbor Joann is incredible. She is also a photographer, was a nurse in NYC and is a social worker. She has amazing stories to share and is so gracious. She sometimes leaves us gifts on our doorstep from the farmers market, tells us about fun events that are going on in the neighborhood, and is always a friendly face when we run into each other in the yard. She has done incredible work on the yard, filling it with flowers, herbs and vegetables. It's awesome.

Our hallway which the two bedrooms, the porch, multiple closets, bathroom & extra "blue" room all run off of

And the weekend we moved in so many of the neighbors came up and introduced themselves and welcomed us to the neighborhood, despite missing Jonathan and Lynn greatly. It was wonderful and very unusual for most Boston or even Massachusetts neighborhoods. Or at least that is my experience from moves that I have done. We are all really happy to meet the neighborhood families. It also appears that there are tons of families with young children running around which I am very excited about. I love kids but as many of you know not quite ready to have my own.

Our living room with a beautiful working fire place

             We also have found that we all have nice easy commutes to work and school. Jessica and David are both going to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, which David can bike to on a bike path in 15min and Jessica and take the T or bus to in 20min. Andrew is working in downtown crossing and now has a commute that is 20-30min instead of an hour long and I am working at a local hospital 2mile down the road in Roxbury which I can bike to on a nice quiet street and be there in 10min without rushing. It is wonderful and has taken away so much stress in many of our commutes. 

Dining room with great light, built in china cupboard that holds all our dishes, wine glasses and serving dishes which saves a ton of space in our kitchen

Well this is our new home, it's been really wonderful so far and we hope to have you all over soon. We are slowly working through our huge list of family and friends so if you haven't been over yet you'll be invited soon hopefully. We do hope to stay here for a couple years though so we have time. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 8 - 80mi to Grimsby

We woke up and could barely believe that our tour was almost over. I had mixed feelings, it was great being on the road with David, camping out and only riding all day but my butt was happy to be almost over and it would be nice to sleep in a bed. We woke up early, got on the road early and were cruising at 18mph toward Niagra falls. 

At one point we stopped after biking about 30mi to see how far from Niagra Falls we actually were and another biker stopped to help us out. We asked him about how far we were from Niagra, estimating between 10-15mi and the biker says "Well your about 8mi from Lewiston and Niagra Falls is about 20mi from Lewiston so you have about 28mi" (WHAT!!!! well that was what I was saying to myself) David and I both looked at each other kind of surprised, we new we had 35mi after Niagra falls and we had already gone 30mi and now we had another 30mi before we even got to the falls, oh my gosh this is going to be impossible!!! I was so down, discouraged and sad after feeling so great at our pace for the morning. But we got back on our bikes and starting riding.

About 100yards down the road we came to a sign, a blessing really that read: NIAGRA FALLS 11mi. Oh man I was so happy I could barely stop smiling but we both laughed and couldn't figure out what that guy was thinking.

We arrived at the Rainbow bridge around 11:30 and biked through customs. It cost 50 cents for each bike to go over the bridge and questioning went smoothly. My favorite question of the customs agent was "and what are you carrying with you to protect yourself?" We both pause and didn't really respond (later we talked and realized we both were thinking the same thing...what our helments?) but the agent then clarified...pepper spray, knives, guns? ohh right of course that makes way more sense. 

Niagra falls was fun for about 30min, we enjoyed lunch, got our picture taken and then had to get out of the crowed "number 1 honeymoon location in the world."
I must say biking on the Canadian roads was not what I thought it would be like. The shoulder was all gravel so there was about 8in of space between the edge of the road and the white line so we were basically biking in the lane which was a little hairy at times. And I received my first flat. Our hand made tires from Germany that "can withstand 4000mi" didn't impress us too much but did a pretty good job. My tire got two huge holes in it, we found one, I changed the tube and then it went flat immediately again so there I was again having not only to switch my tube a second time but to switch my tire as well. We knew we had carried that extra tire for a reason. Other than our two flats there were no incidences. Which was great. We road the rest of our 20mi at a pretty quick pace wanting to arrive early and relax. 

And we did, we arrived at 3:30, upgraded our room to have a hot tub in the bathroom, ran upstairs and enjoyed a hot bath, cheesey twists and beer!!!! It was awesome, what an incredible accomplishment. We have finished 500mi and had only 20mi to do the following day and were enjoying fun food, good drink and a hot tub. And later that night Roger (David's Dad) met us at the hotel on his way up to Canada and bought us beer and dinner. The whole evening was awesome however for the first time we really noticed how bad my sunburn was even after wearing 70+ sunscreen that we put on twice a day. That's what I get for having irish blood in me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 7 - 104mi to Golden Hill State Park

Today was the true challenge but the great accomplishment. We went into the day unsure of how many miles we were truly going to do however we did have two campgrounds picked out about 15mi apartment and decided we would reassess which one we would stop at depending on how we felt. We both had a goal though, to get to the furtherest one because the more we biked today the less we would have to do the next day.  Overall the day was a pretty easy ride, we road along the lake ontario, the terrain was flat, the wind was at bay, the weather was hot but nice, and we were averaging about 17mph.

Nearing the end of the day we started to collect items for dinner, we couldn't a grocery store but we stopped at a convenient store, a farm stand and a bakery. And as you can see in the picture above we were in a sector of Amish country because there was not electrical wires going to this house and as I was walking away from that farm stand after picking out my onion, two boys on bikes road by in straw hats, overalls and flannel shirts despite the >80 degree weather. 
The bakery was awesome and was at a building in front of a farm house where two women worked who had heavy dutch accidents and wore bonnets, long sleeve blouses and full length skirts. The bakery smelled delicious and had a wonderful selection. We chose a delicious banana nut loaf that we enjoyed for breakfast and lunch the next day.

Me after my wonderful shower!!!

We had finally reached Golden Hill State Park, which was the only park not on top of a hill. But it was beautiful, right on the water, and we didn't have to pay for our site because we road in after the office was closed and road out before the office opened. Our site was nice, we camped in a shelter which was great because the forecast did predict rain which we didn't get hit with but it was nice to know we wouldn't have wet gear in the morning if  we did.

After a great dinner, we enjoyed watching the sunset across the lake and seeing Canada's shore off in the distance. 
The lighthouse at the park that saved boats from the 30mile sand dune that was on that park of the lake.
David standing out on the dock. It was so beautiful and a great place to stay on our last night camping. We were almost done, we couldn't believe it!!!! We had only 1 full day of biking left which ended at a hotel with a hot tub in our room!! We were so excited and so proud it was unbelievable. However we still hadn't found out how many miles we had truly ridden that day, Roger had estimated 86mi by googling the distance but with all our back road riding we ended up riding over 100mi, it was awesome!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 6 - 65mi to Sodus Point

No mans land...we were entering unknown territory. We were unsure starting out about where we were going to sleep that night or how many miles we were going to do, where there was food or water but we were feeling positive and excited. We had a wonderful night the previous evening and felt excited to be on a new adventure. We had a couple potentional places to stay thanks to Matt and Rachel who we met in Syracuse at there awesome coffee shop...Cafe Kubal. It's a great cafe where they roast there own coffee and have a wonderful atmosphere.

Matt and Rachel in Cafe Kubal

They looked up online for us an RV park about 65mi from where we started in Sodus Point which was shorter than we wanted to but after that it appeared there wasn't a campground for a number of miles so we kept that in mind and decided we would make a decision around lunch time depending on the number of miles we had done. Again it was super flat so we were biking between 17-18mph and by lunch we had completed 45mi, David was feeling great and I was officially exhausted!!!
Me looking and feeling exhausted

David looking and feeling great, enjoying some friendship bread from Michael and Erleen

At this point I didn't feel like I could do much more but we still didn't have a definite place to stay for the night. So I called Missy to have her check that there wasn't a campground a bit further from Sodus Point or something that we had missed that morning. She found nothing but she didn't have friends that lived about 20mi west of Rochester which would make our day about 80mi in total. So after saying by to her the plan was keep heading west and before going North to Sodus point we check in with Missy to see if she had heard from her friends. Well plans changed about 20min later when it started to rain...our first rain during the day of the trip. Bummer.

We stopped at a McDonalds soon after that to see if it would clear and learned that the weather forcast said rain until late tonight so we put our rain gear on, put our sandals on to keep our sneakers dry, put our lights on, made sure our gear was packed properly to stay dry and then headed out slow toward Sodus Point which was about 15mi from where we were. We ended up in Sodus Point around 3:30, the rain had stopped and we heard back from Missy as we were pulling up to the RV park that her friends had invited us to sleep in there guest room. A real bed, hot shower, we wouldn't have to set up camp. It all sounds great but I was exhausted and we were right outside the park. We decided to stay in Sodus Point, relax and set up camp while it wasn't raining. I still think that was the best decision looking back because after relaxing that afternoon I felt great the next day which is good cause I needed the energy.

At the RV Park after attempting to eat 3lbs of pasta

We ate out again that night because there was no grocery store in town. But we ended up getting a huge meal of salad, soup and an estimated 3lbs of pasta for each of us for $20. It was crazy. Of course even after biking 65mi neither one of us could finish our pasta so we both brought it back to our campsite and ate it for breakfast the next morning. Sodus Point is a beautiful and odd place, being right on Lake Ontario in this great bay we thought it would be bustling but it was the opposite, very quite with a small downtown consisting really only a couple of restuarants but we enjoyed our dinner, made margarita's back at the campsite and just before it started to rain again hoped in our tent for some reading of The Mysterious Benedict Society and to bed early. It was a great night and good prep for the next day which turned out to be over 100mi!!

David at the RV enjoying his Margarita and the view of the lake

Day 5 - 76mi to Green Lakes State Park

Ok so David and I admit we have been neglecting our blog. But we are going to push through because we also want to share with you about our move to Jamaica Plain, about our new apartment and our new housemates. Anyways lets return to our bike trip and we will fill you in on the other stuff later. 

David with our favorite type of sign!!!

Today was the day that we started our new route, heading north as soon as possible, getting off of Rt 20 and getting as close to Lake Ontario as we coul
d. We hadn't mapped out any of this area so other than where we were staying we didn't know much about what was to come. The day began meandering through the hills and then coasting at 40mph down a huge hill to the flats. Again our favorite sign!!! We came to Rt 5 soon after this and were in heaven, flat, flat, flat. It was awesome!!!!
Awesome until we hit Utica which was no fun because our nice Rt 5 turned into a 4 lane elevated highway through the city, so we quickly were in territory we didn't feel comfortable with and needed to reroute. As we were heading off the highway David got a flat :-( The first of the trip. We were prepared with all the right tools, stopped at a Dunkin Donuts (another sad face), replenished with lattes, bagels, water and sunscreen and then got to work on the tube. We also learned there was a bike shop two blocks away so w
hile David fixed his tire I headed to the bike shop to grab a coup
le things we needed (another tube, brake cable and directions for a safe way through Utica). And this is what I found when I got to the shop...

This crazy bike shop in Utica

Chaos!!! It was like nothing I had ever seen, and every single bike that was piled high to the ceiling was locked to the one next to it... incredible. The owner who was slightly deaf was helpful, provided us with what we needed and a map with a bike route to find us safely on the other side of the city and back onto Rt 5 when it was smaller again. Quite the experience.

The afternoon was pretty uneventful, we biked hard because we wanted to get to Green Lakes State Park early enough to run some errands, do laundry and get to bed early. We saw some beautiful scenery, watched yet another predicted rain storm pass us by leaving us dry and rolled into camp around 4pm, perfect.

A beautiful barn David caught on camera

After setting up camp, showered and were clean we headed to town where we new there was an EMS where we stocked up on GU packs, energy bars, a new water bottle for David and a couple other things and then we went to celebrate at Pizzeria Uno's...why celebrate? We were officially half way through our trip!!! We treated ourselves to good beer and good pizza. It was wonderful and so much fun.

David and I at Uno's enjoying great food and beer

After enjoying a wonderful dinner we headed out of town and back toward the campground with a quick stop at a Village called Minoa where there was a laundry mat. Now this laundry mat comes with a great story and this laundry mat seriously is near nothing, we biked 2-3mi down this street to get to it and there was nothing on the road and probably nothing beyond it...this was the village center...a laundry mat (at least we assume so).  And at this laundry mat we met a wonderful couple who shared there detergent with us and for about an hour we enjoyed their company. They were coming from a family reunion and visiting more family before heading home. Just as they were leaving David asked where they were from and coincidently they are come Crawfordsville, IN, the same small town that my grandparents live in. And not only do they know my grandparents but they go to the same church, Michael worked with my grandfather for years and Erleen worked at the country club that my grandparents were/are members of. Incredible how small this world is. It was great to meet you guys and we hope we can see you again in the future and maybe enjoy some more "Friendship Bread" (a wonderful cinnamon and sugar sweet bread) because it was delicious.

Michael, Erleen and I

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 4 - 66 miles to Glimmerglass State Park

Ok, so I am here to update you all on our trip, which is now over of course. I know there are many of you who have been eagerly awaiting the next installment in this adventure, so I won't delay. Here we go! Day 4. This day looked as though it would be a fairly easy day. Only 59 miles over what we thought was fairly flat terrain. As we got going, however, and by the time we stopped for coffee at a truck stop diner (see photo) we noticed that there was something about this highway we were on... something hilly-er about it.

  It turns out the terrain was not as flat as we had assumed. We had begun to cross the foot hills of the Catskills to the south. And, where a normal highway will veer north and south in order to created a more gentle terrain, this "scenic byway" simply cut due west across these hills like a laser. By the time 11:30 rolled around, at which point we had gone about 30 miles (a blazing 8 mph average), we were really struggling. I wish we had taken photographs to convey the hillyness of this section. As it was we were to tired to stop and get the camera out. It was very hilly. Up hill for one mile, down the next and so on. Mind you all this wasn't as steep or as difficult as crossing the green mountains, but you have to remember that in our minds this was to be an easy day. This was to be our rest day. When we headed out that morning I had foolishly thought that, figuring for a conservative 14 miles an hour average, we could arrive at camp before 1:00 pm. Luckily I didn't say this out loud to Alison, otherwise she may have beaten me to death with her bicycle pump by the end of the day.
Lunch. Being hungry and tired and it being 11:30 this is what we began to think about. I suggested that at the top of the next hill we stop and eat some of the snacks we had brought and check the map. Before we had left I had marked out all of the grocery stores that we would pass on our route. Well as it turns out, there was nothing on the map for at least another 20 miles. don't worry, don't worry, it must have been a mistake, anyways we had seen a sign for vegetables for sale up the road. The vegetables turned out to be cucumbers being sold by a toothless farm boy named Sammy (see photo), six for a dollar; pickling cucumbers that had grown too big to sell to Price Chopper. Sammy's mother Therese came out and informed us that we were not mistaken, that there was not so much as a corner store for at least another 20 miles. It looked for a moment that Alison and I would each be eating 6 large pickling cucumbers each for lunch. Then Therese offered to feed us! If you are reading this, Therese, thank you again! You are an angel. They turned out to be a very nice family (I am sorry, I can't remember the name of Therese's daughter). We ate well. Sammy took me to see the animals: goats, geese and pigs, then we were on our way again. Sammy asked us to come back again next time we passed that way again. 

The rest of the day was again as hard as the first part, but we did make it into the park by 4 pm. Of course the moment we rolled in we realized again that even though we had decided against it while riding through town, we really did want beer. Alison ended up asking our neighbor John (see photo). John however had suffered a heart attack earlier in life and had no beer to offer us. We did end up talking to him for a while and learning a bit about his life and left with a non-alcoholic beer. Not a complete failure; we met a friendly neighbor and got a cold bubbly beer-like drink. However John was not satisfied. A few minutes later he came back and gave us dinner. And when we went back to thank him and get a photo for our blog he and his wife Janet invited us back for bloody marys after dinner. By the way, John and Janet, if you are reading this, we lost your email address! please let us know what it is. And, we are serious about joining you in the white mountains for dinner when you visit!.
Anyways, dinner was great, drinks were great (Alison was taken by their chairs which "had real backs"), and John and Janet even advised us on our route. They had just come from the direction that we were going and they said that the hills only got worse (they had just barely made it in their RV). Using their maps, we mapped out an alternate route. The next day we would head north to Lake Ontario and ride west along it.