Monthly Archives: February 2013

Beneath, Above and Beyond

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 “The world as we know it is a remarkable place.” – Jason Mraz

 the wave

Keeping up with the blog has proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated on this trip. Each day is filled with a wealth of novel beauty that I never know where to begin when I sit down to write. It’s all a bit overwhelming and I find myself struggling to be able to put into words the awe that I experience each and each every day that I am waking up on this trip.  I mean, how do I fit the White Sands into a blog piece—when the next day I’m soaring over Albuquerque in a hot air balloon. How do I cut a video of snowmobiling when I am taking the time to witness a brilliant sunset?  Or how do I give the Arches National Park a fair share of blog space—when the next day we are off to the next adventure?

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two week, it’s that beauty is everywhere we look—and that it doesn’t take very much to go and find it. Letting ourselves sit and enjoy it? Embrace it? Now that’s the hard part. But once we let ourselves do that? Whew. What a feeling. I’m glad I am letting myself do that–letting myself experience the world–our home as it exists–beneath, above, and beyond what we can ordinarily see–or let ourselves see

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One morning in New Mexico, we discovered the underworld as we explored the Carlsbad Caverns.  It’s extremely easy to forget that so much more exists when each day we wake up and go through the same routines. It’s easy to forget that years of development came before our city offices—and our streetlights. It’s easy to forget that a world often exists outside our focused lives—but it does.

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Over the course of two weeks, I’ve been reminded of this on a number of occasions—even if it wasn’t always underground. In fact—many of the experiences occurred above—and even beyond as we sledded down the slopes of the great White Sands:

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Danced ourselves silly in Danceyville, Tennessee on the side of the street:

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Floated in a hot air balloon above Albuquerque

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Conquered the Continental Divide by snow mobile.

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Shimmied our way up and down an icy path to a National Arch, laid under the stars at a remote location in New Mexico, hiked our way to The Wave in Coyote Buttes:

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And took a gander at the Grand Canyon:

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The road trip was meant to serve as a finale to the first Hobby Hoarder year—a celebration of sticking to a plan—and going through with it—and additionally a celebration of finding something to be passionate about, and scheduling time for it. It’s a celebration of making a choice–a choice to go on adventures– a choice to try something new– a choice to live life to it’s fullest–even when people or obstacles are challenging us not to.  What I’ve found is that the Road Trip, while it includes hobbies—has almost grown into it’s own project—but one that continues to fulfill a similar purpose as the The Hobby Hoarder year.
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Both have been steady reminders that waking up each morning is worth it; that saying you are going to do something—and going through with it can be the most rewarding experience; and that each hobby—or activity you choose to do or place you choose to visit—has something to offer—something worth looking more closely at—something to share–Something that we can then go on to smile about–and share with others.
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The exciting part is that this trip is not even half over yet—and the more I see—the more in awe I become. This world…it is a magical—beautiful place—filled with just an abundance of opportunities–and again, even before our apartments or our cities—it is our home.  And it feels good to be getting to know home—beneath, above and beyond.

IMG_8482Photo Taken by David Tierney Lerner

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Welcome Signs

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Millions of white dots

yellow solid lines–and exit signs

Add welcome signs

And suddenly I feel home

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The road winds on and on
Got me blasting my favorite song
Suddenly I don’t feel so alone
Suddenly I feel right at home

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At just three days into the journey, and nearly 1,300 miles of traveling, I’ve found it very comforting to sit idle–(and in motion at the same time)–I’ve found it very comforting not to document everything–even if I am still collecting a magnitude of footage for later. I’ve found it very comforting to get out and dance on the side of the road–sing in the driver’s seat at the top of my lungs–and giggle profusely through the silliness of missing a turn–or exiting too soon.

I’ve found it very comforting to stare out the window and get lost in the mountains. I’ve found it very comforting to watch the clouds move over my head. I’ve found it very comforting to forget what time it  is–even what day it is. I’ve found it very comforting to not know exactly where I am.
I’ve found it very comforting to just be.

It’s only been three days–but it’s very easy to tell what this road trip is meant for–at least for me.

Going on a road trip is meant for losing track of time–“saying oh well,” and getting excited when we get lost. It is meant for experiencing each moment as a new a place. It’s meant for being okay with these meanings–but also being okay if these meanings change. It’s meant for meeting people and having memorable conversations: 

“But you are doing what makes you happy–and that’s all that matters.” – Me to Jewelry Shop Owner
“And that’s worth millions.” — Owner
(Raleigh, NC)

It’s meant for having deep thoughts with close friends.

“You have to believe in your art enough to stand behind it.” — Kimberly Manley
(Raleigh, NC)

Going on a road trip is meant for taking time to enjoy  things I otherwise may take for granted–like watching the sun rise in the middle of a battlefield:

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It’s meant for reminiscing with old friends.

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And making memories with new ones.

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Renegade


Going on a road trip is meant for having an agenda–and losing that agenda. It’s meant for making plans–but forgetting those plans. It’s meant for having a route in mind–and going off course–often. 

Going on a road trip isn’t meant for worrying. It’s meant for living.

 

This is only just the beginning
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Endless solid golden lines

Miles and miles of Welcome Signs
Gosh it feels good to feel so at home

 

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“No matter how far you travel, the sun is a constant reminder that we all live right here on the same beautiful planet.”
 

The Journey

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“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance–I hope you dance.”

The Hobby Hoarder Dances her Pants off
I want to thank each of you with all my heart for the endless support with The Hobby Hoarder project–for taking me seriously–for seeing my potential–and for believing in me. I want to thank you for giving me constructive criticism and positive feedback. I want to thank you for following along–watching the videos, reading the posts, and sharing the site. I want to thank you for being you.

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost a year ago now that I sent out the first email describing what my intentions for the year were. It’s hard to believe that I am officially on week 52.
As I look back on the year–I reflect on the transformation of the quest. How it went form gimmicky –to serious–and how it went from a project to a lifestyle.pole dancing
I hope that if you get anything out of any posts that I’ve shared–it’s that we are truly capable of anything–that we can take advantage of every opportunity we have–and succeed–no, wait–exceed expectations. Most of all, I hope that you’ve felt inspired–that you want to take on the world–that you want to dig the bucket list out of the sand and start checking things off the list.
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When the sun rises tomorrow, I won’t be in New York City anymore. I’ll be somewhere in Virginia on the first leg of the final chapter of The Hobby Hoarder year: a cross country round trip road trip.  I’ll be somewhere reflecting on everything I’ve put my mind to this year–everything I gave a chance–everything that gave me a chance–I’ll be somewhere reflecting on …well… everything.
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As certain chapters begin to close, it’s easy to confuse “closing” with an “ending.” But just because this is the final chapter–to the first hobby year–it does not mean it’s the end–in fact, it’s really just the beginning.
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This road trip is the culmination of a year that has helped me to build confidence–to meet people–to overcome fears–to say yes and to never look back–to live without regret–to take chances–to refuse the word no–to lose the words can’t and impossible–to see the glass as half full, as opposed to half empty–to focus without distraction–to be passionate again–to love endlessly–and to live relentlessly. This road trip is a symbol of going with the heart–and never looking back. This road trip–is the only way I could see celebrating this quest–extending this quest–and living it out as a lifestyle–rather than a project.
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Four months ago, when my most recent job asked me what my availability would be post-new year, I told them that as of February 1, I had something booked. When they asked me how booked it was? I told them that it was 100 percent booked–even though they were looking to extend me past that date. After work I called my mom and told her what I did. At first she was confused why I’d turn down a job extension. I responded by saying that, “When you get the chance to sit it out or dance–you dance.–And I love dancing.”  And then I added, “What would be a more epic way to mark the year than a cross-country road trip?”
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There was dead silence on the other end. But I could tell she understood. And a month later I knew for a fact, that not only did she understand but that she and my dad 100 percent supported me, as she and my dad offered to me take one of their cars across cross-country. We’ve since chosen a different car for several reasons, but I knew in that moment–what I’d known for quite a while–that my parents were just as passionate about this project as I was. I’ve been very fortunate to have parents who support my crazy ideas. I couldn’t be more grateful for their continuous pride in my endeavors and for them believing in me and all of my decisions. I know that I’ve driven them nuts over the years.

On the same night that I called my mom, I texted my good friend Kim (who’s joining on the road trip), and told her what happened. She asked if I was okay with my decision…and I responded very simply. “Of course. If not now–then when? I would regret NOT going on this trip–and I don’t want to have regrets.

Toward the end of November, Kim and my friend David both reached out to me to tell me that they were definitely in for the road trip–David would take a break from working–as well as Kim. When I asked David why the definite answer–he responded by telling me that he wanted to spend more time with friends–and that NOW’S the time to do it.David also took a chance when he came skydiving with me in November:
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Kim, on the other hand had told me very early on that she was interested in joining (before making a solid decision months later). Her reason? “I want to do it, because I know that when you say you are going to do something, you are going to do it.”

And  Kim happened to join me for my second pilot lesson:
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The truth is that too often we say we are going to do something–and then we don’t. We find excuses, create a bucket list and bury that bucket in the sand never to be found. I wasn’t going to make excuses for this trip–for this year–and I was happy to see that my friends weren’t ready to make excuses for things they wanted to do either. It’s important to recognize the things that we dream of doing–the things that we want to do with all our heart–and then actually go out and do them.
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When the sun rises tomorrow–I won’t be in New York City. No. I’ll be right where I’m meant to be–on the road–taking it all in. I’ll be kicking off a two month road trip with two of my rocks–David and Kim, and WE’LL be making our way to the beaded streets of New Orleans–the line dancing floors of Texas–the White Sands of New Mexico, the skies of Albuquerque, the waters of the west, and the mountains of the north. We’ll be dancing to 90’s music, singing as loud as we can in the car–and going through audio books galore–(don’t believe me?…..:
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Throughout the trek, we will be hobbying away, spreading happiness–and hopefully some luck (hehe)–giving thanks, and going with the wind. Most of all– we will be living life–and that’s pretty freaking awesome. I hope you’ll follow along –and hey–maybe even call to tag along. The road’s big enough for all of us.
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Cheers,
The Hobby Hoarder
trip

Breaking the Mold: Pottery

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clay

You might recall from my welding experience that I’ve never been good at working with my hands. So when my friend kept mentioning pottery–I kept putting it off. I was nervous that I’d get to class and be unable to “mold” my clay into much more than something that looked like an extremely flattened gumby. But alas, on Thursday night I headed over to my friend Lisa’s pottery shop called Mud, Sweat & Tears to give it a try.

As Sybil Bruncheon–our host–who kept it light and funny–explained all the different types of projects we could make, I stared in awe. I watched as she pulled out a pot–a candy dish–and a mug. The right side of my brain started churning. ‘Well I could always use another coffee mug…but that doesn’t seem very unique,’ I thought to myself.

Then I thought, ‘Well maybe I could make the coffee mug and then write The Hobby Hoarder on it…”

‘Boring.’ And then it hit me. ‘Scrabble pieces.’

Having last played scrabble back in August, I was having trouble imagining the best way to do it. I started rolling out a Gumby, until Sybil stopped me to ask me what i had in mind. When I explained it to her, she immediately began to help me start moving in the right direction–and in less than an hour, I was pasting the last R onto the back of the scrabble tray. My hands, full of clay, swung up into the air with joy. “This was awesome,” I exclaimed as I shot multiple photos of my project–for my made-up version of show and tell at work the next day.

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As I arrived at work the following morning, I immediately began to show off my project:

“I love the scrabble pieces I made last night! Did you see the photo I put on Facebook?” I say to my friend Pete, as I show whip out my iPhone to share my “pottery” art.

He looks at the photo and says, “That’s awesome!”

 “But I can’t wait until it’s fired and glazed–even though I won’t get to pick it up when it’s done, with the trip and everything.”

“I like it better like this,” he responds. “Think abut the metaphor you can use for it–when it’s in this molding stage. Look at how you’ve been molded through the hobby year.”

“GENIUS!,” I exclaim.

I wish I had come up with the “molding” metaphor myself.

I look at the photo of the clay scrabble pieces again.

I see the bent “O” in hobby and the scrunched up “D” in hoarder–and I laugh to myself. “It’s not perfect. Parts of it are a little awkward–there are some small flaws–small mistakes–moments where I probably could have scored a little more–or sludged on a little more water–But that’s okay. I’m pretty thrilled with the outcome. It’s novel and unique. It stands out–and I am proud of it.” Hmm. Sounds a lot like this year:

You see like working with clay–this hobby year has taken it’s metaphorical hands and rolled and molded me-however instead of using water/chalk– it’s pushed and kneaded me with happiness, passion and pride. It’s built me into a strong young woman with confidence–and a lack of fear. And it’s glazed me with a brightness that even my yellow sunglasses have trouble blocking out. The truth is that if someone put the hobby hoarder year into a kiln–and it for some reason exploded–it would only explode into a celebration of confetti–rather than a devastating disaster. And that’s pretty fantastic.

ThehobbyHoarderClay

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Like what I made? Looking to get crafty? Head over to Mud, Sweat & Tears Pottery on the northeast corner of 46th street and 10th Avenue for a good time. Thursday  nights are with Sybil Bruncheon–(who is absolutely hilarious) and Friday nights are with my good friend Lisa–Check – It – Out:

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