relaxation

365 Challenge: Day 160 – Beach

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Beach: a pebbly or sandy shore, especially by the ocean between high- and low-water marks

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If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know that I am not a fan of the heat. I’m also not really a fan of the beach, which makes it a bit unusual for today’s 365 Daily Challenge word of the day to be ‘beach.’ As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Fire Island is a kaleidoscope of many things, including my life. Many years ago, I went out on a date with someone to Fire Island, where we had a few drinks, danced and walked around on the beach. It was a fun little trip, but it is a lot of effort to get there. Fast-forward to about six years ago, when my new significant other tells me all about the share he has on Fire Island. And such began my life of making the trek out to the beach every summer.

For the first few years, we rented a house every other week for the whole summer, making about 12 trips from NYC each season. We’d usually stay Friday through Sunday, but sometimes we’d take off a few extra days to make use of the whole summer share. It’s expensive, but not any more than a really nice summer vacation for a few weeks. The houses are usually well kept, with AC and a pool. There are anywhere from 2 to 5 bedrooms depending on what you choose to rent. And often, you have a group of friends that all pool together to purchase the summer lease so you can sort it out yourselves and choose the weekends that work best for your lifestyle and priorities. Two years ago, the group we went with all started doing their own thing rather than go to Fire Island every other weekend, so we dropped our share to a 2 bedroom and invited out different friends. We didn’t get a rental this summer, but some friends did and invited us out to their place.

Fire Island is a bit of heaven in so many different ways. You’re less than a 5 minute walk to the beach from any house. You can rent on the north or the south shore, as well as in anyone of the 6 or 7 different communities depending on the type of crowd you’re looking to be around. There are no cars. There are only 10 to 12 stores at the dock, otherwise, it’s just houses and a few small hotels. It’s about slowing down and relaxing. Not running all over the place every minute of the day. Our trip began this Thursday and will end tomorrow evening, just a 3-day stay as a mini-getaway this summer. I’m not one for the beach, but every once in a while, I don’t mind the experience. We’ll hang around the house for a few hours, take a trip to the sandy shores, and see a comedy or music show, as there’s usually one every Saturday evening. The greatest part is all the cooking… we take turns with who prepares meals so it’s never too consuming, but it’s always an opportunity to show off your culinary skills among your friends and any guests that stop over.

Tonight, W and I are cooking. Just got back from a trip to “The Pantry” to purchase everything we needed and will be prepping for a bit this afternoon. Pork tenderloins in an Asian sauce grilled on the barbecue. English Pea Salad. Garlic bread. And a berry and whipped cream torte with fruit salad. Over the course of the afternoon, we’ll lounge at the pool, take a trip to the beach and head out for a performance by Margaret Cho. We’ll get back home around 9 tonight and begin cooking dinner. Meals are always late here, it’s very European. And by 11, you’re either part of the “in-crowd” who head back out to the bars or you’re the “mature” crowd who play a few rousing board or card games. I’m sure you can guess which one I would most likely fall under!

I’ve put together a brief collection of some photos I took yesterday and today upon arriving on the ferry, the walk across the beach, and the house we’re staying at. I may go for a walk and take more of all the nature around here… deer, pine trees, beautiful homes and landscaping. For now, hopefully these give you a sense of my little respite this weekend. Ah the beach weekend where I will enjoy perhaps getting a little tan (no sun burn please!), an entire bottle of Jack Daniels with a mild helping of ginger ale and a break from the gym!

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Looking out while on the ferry ride over to Fire Island.

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The ferry arriving at the dock the next morning.

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A view from the beach of a few houses along the walk this morning.

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Another view on the way back from the grocery store.

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The waves rolling in.

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The entrance to the house.

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The pool in the backyard.

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The outdoor seating area.

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The kitchen and dining room.

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The living room.

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The bedrooms are small as you’re rarely in them! Queen size bed with dressers in the closet. Each bedroom gets its own bathroom. There’s an outdoor shower with hot water, which I absolutely love. I hate cold showers. It’s a great place and we may rent a few weeks again for next summer. But for now, it’s time to turn off the computer and take a dip in the pool. And if anyone remember my struggle to find a bathing suit, I’ll tell you now… I was NOT successful. So I will be wearing my old one which is fine, as I hardly ever use it given I don’t like the beach! Wait… why I am here again? Just kidding. Happy Saturday, Friends… oh and there will be no pictures of me since I’m the one operating the phone camera for these shots!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 46 – Simple

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Simple: easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty; composed of a single element; straightforward

Simple is usually a good thing, when it’s applied to things or actions. You can accomplish more and feel less restricted when something is simple to do. When it’s applied to people, it can more often mean something negative as well as something positive, even at the same time.

I consider myself simple, when it comes to keeping myself entertained or interested in others. I tend to follow that ole familiar saying: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), meaning don’t over-complicate whatever it is you are trying to do. Ensure everyone can understand, then you make a bigger impression with whatever is the goal.

For me, I apply the simple approach for most things right out of the gate, increasing the intensity or complexity depending on whatever I’m trying to accomplish. I’m not focusing on work-related items, as that’s similar but in a different manner. I’m referring to how I keep myself focused during the day. Examples:

  • I don’t need to be entertained 24/7. I’m perfectly comfortable reading, watching TV, wandering around the house… not needing a lot of conversation or interaction with others. Of course, I couldn’t do that all the time, but generally, that’s a simple approach.

  • I attempt to limit any and all stress in my life by keeping my days simple. Certain things get me worked up, but generally, I’m not going to get upset when I don’t need to.  It’s all a matter of perspective and analysis, understanding what the real item at hand is.
  • If I have multiple paths to complete something, I tend to look for the easiest one that will accomplish the most. “Biggest bang for the buck.”

I certainly don’t take those tendencies overboard… but it’s a fair balance to be able to do more with less. I’d rather not spend hours trying to design something until it’s perfect, when I can find a good/solid approach and be comfortable knowing there might be something better and I didn’t get there or do that. I don’t see this as not being a perfectionist, which I’ve already confessed I am. A perfectionist needs things to be perfect, but simple can also be perfect.

When things are simple, you have less expectations. When things are simple, you can observe the beauty of something in its natural state or its innocence. When things are simple, you have a moment to breathe and enjoy it.

Things we should all try to find simplicity in:

  • Don’t get caught up in “what should we do” today… enjoy the time together, even if it’s just sitting in a quiet room and doing nothing for an hour.
  • Find a picturesque landscape and reflect on different aspects of its beauty. Think about your five senses: see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
  • Don’t over-analyze why the other person did something that made you upset / confused. Ask them… or let it go… or choose to accept the simplest answer (I’m talking about the little things!)
  • Don’t get angry about things (again, minor items) and be sure to find a way not to let it impact you.
  • Don’t over-plan such that you can’t sit back and let something happen naturally.

Having a simple approach can make your day and your life a whole lot better. That said, I am not always simple. A few points I need to improve on as the way I work below can be stressful and the opposite of simple:

  1. If I have company, the apartment needs to be spotless. I always clean.
  2. If I’m cooking a meal, it is usually not simple. Must have 20 ingredients.
  3. If I’m doing anything financial (bills, projections, investments), it is never simple. I obsess over pennies, and we’ve talked about that part of me before.

Just be careful you don’t become uncaring or lackadaisical about things. Sometimes it is important to be more focused. You also don’t want to give off an impression that you are non-committal or too removed from a situation.

How do you ensure more simplicity in your life? I’m asking for a friend… who is me… so I can keep on improving every day. Give me 20 ways please, it’s on my mind all the time… and I must improve. LOL

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

The Cozy Mystery Series – One Reader’s View

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The cozy mystery series genre is my favorite type of book — hands down, I even dream about them.  While I’m an invested fan of general fiction, historical fiction, crime thrillers and general mysteries, the cozy is that old faithful friend guaranteed to make my day just a little bit better whether I’m curled up on a chair in my bedroom corner, relaxing on my NYC terrace observing the skyline or keeping myself occupied on trains, planes and automobiles.

I’ve been adding tons of books on my Goodreads “To Read” list over the course of 2016 not realizing along the way that over 50% of them fell into the cozy category.  It happened naturally as I saw the title or cover of the book — just clicked “Want to Read” and suddenly hundreds of books showed up.  When I went to categorize them to make my actual selection process easier (seriously, how do you choose from a list of nearly 500 TBR books when you personally picked them all?),  lo’ and behold — the cozy stood out.

Perhaps it’s because I’m an only child and looking for the drama.  It could be that I am a bit of an introvert but also a little bit nosy!  Or maybe it’s that the cozy takes you into a magical world where you continuously create and build on the characters, setting and background.  Of course, it’s the author who creates your initial picture, but when you read series fiction, each successive book adds more to the town, the family tree, the history — up until you as a reader have suddenly immersed yourself in this make-believe land that you could swear is real.

But when the series is actually a cozy series, you have every type of character including the nosy neighbor (no, that’s not really me), the scary cop, the well-meaning friends, the awkward yet lovable helper, the “is (s)he / isn’t (s)he” my love interest, and the sometimes super villain.  Each character feels real, and the setting and backdrop become somewhere you hope to visit in the future.  In other types of series fiction, you may have a couple of the same characters recur throughout the series, but it’s usually a very different setting and story where only the basic elements carry through.

And YES, there have been one or two occasions (I won’t admit to anymore) where I mentioned some name or place and the person to whom I was speaking thought I was losing my mind.  “Yes, I did just tell you I visited a fictional place in a book. Sorry, I must just be tired.” has been an excuse I’ve had to use.

Have you ever talked with another fan of a cozy series you follow?  Do you picture the characters the same way and then get all riled up over who is closest?  Do you want to draw out the town on a map to get it all straight in your head?  Do you create your own little family tree diagrams to keep remembering who is who?  Do you write reviews where you imagine yourself as one of the characters?  It happens a lot to me… especially when I’m following over 50 different authors and series.  Where else can you find a genre that can accomplish all of this?

And so… as I get started with my day, knowing at some point I’ll have to pick the next book to begin reading tonight, I found myself just feeling pretty psyched that this cozy little (well not so little!) world exists…  you should definitely give it a shot if you have never read one before.  Feel free to reach out to me for any recommendations.

If you’re new to me or my site, you can find more about me by clicking here.

-jjciv