A New Friendship, and an Authentic St. Paddy’s Day

There’s nothing like meeting someone new and a friendship seems to develop effortlessly from your acquaintance. One day you’re shaking hands, and a few weeks down the road you’re sitting in pjs together on the couch, beer in hand, analyzing Jersey Shore.

My friend Maura started working at my company in early January and we have since become fast friends. It probably helped that two weeks after meeting one another, we had to share a hotel room for 5 days at a company trade show. Living in such close quarters helped us form a quick bond, and I have found myself more comfortable in her company than I have with some people I’ve known for years.

Last Saturday, we ventured to San Francisco for St. Paddy’s day with Maura’s boyfriend and our friend Emily. While St. Paddy’s day is always a blast, it was made even better by the fact that Maura is 100% Irish. She misses her friends and family back home, so St. Paddy’s day is her chance to feel at home in the U.S.

From left: Emily, myself and Maura.

We started the afternoon at the Irish Bank near Union Square, which was complete insanity. I asked Paul to take a picture of the crowd:

People crowded in the alley outside the Irish Bank as far as the eye can see! Luckily we were able to get our beers (in green bottles, no less) without much trouble. The highlight of the afternoon was when Maura was asked by the band to jump on stage to help sing “Back Home in Derry” seeing as she hails from County Derry and is a true Derry Lass!

It was great to experience something new, and the St. Paddy’s day excitement humming through San Francisco’s Union Square was infectious. It was even better to celebrate with a new friend!


My Happy Place

A few weekends ago, I discovered my happy place, and best of all it’s not just a metaphorical one (although those are good too!).

Helen Putnam State Park rests in the rolling hills on the outskirts of Petaluma, surrounded by farmland. Most people I’ve met who were born and raised in Petaluma tend to think Helen Putnam is no big deal. It’s certainly not as strenuous as other hikes, the trails don’t wind through gigantic redwoods and it’s in their own back yard. But I, for one, am blown away every time I wander the trails there.

The view from the top of the first hill. Definitely reminds me of the rolling, green hills of Ireland. Most of the trails are open land at first and then wind into tree covered trails.

Harrison looking very stoic underneath a treetop covered trail.

I’ve been taking Harrison there every weekend. (Side note: It used to be impossible to walk him, but I finally purchased a front lead halter and it is working wonders!) I find myself looking forward to our hikes every week, and I think something about the openness of Helen Putnam really allows me to reflect. Harrison does some reflecting too. Here he is checking out the wildlife:

a.k.a longingly staring at all the other dogs who pass by.

When I’m stressed out during the week, I think about my upcoming hike to feel better (well, that and wrapping my fingers are an ice-cold beer!). It may not mean a lot to everyone, but it has special meaning for me, and I’m so happy to have discovered it!




A Beautiful Birthday

I turned 26 on Saturday. I’ve been so busy with work I’ve hardly had a moment to process the fact that I’m not in the “25 or less club” anymore (as someone so succinctly pointed out on my Facebook wall!).

My 25th year was one of my best despite the many challenges I faced, and I’m proud of what I was able to achieve. I rang in the arrival of 26 years by celebrating with close friends, and felt the love of friends and family far and near.

My friend Maura threw a get together for a few of our close friends from work:

We had a great time drinking cocktails, laughing, and eating a mound of sweets.

Two of my best friends (who were away for the actual day, but will celebrate with me when they return) left me cupcakes, which were delicious.

My parents and closest friends from Arizona called to sing me “Happy Birthday” and even made a cake to eat in my honor.

Even though getting older is often slightly depressing, I appreciate the fact that birthdays remind me that the people I love love me back. I was stunned and humbled by the reminder that there are so many people in the world who care about me, and go out of their way to express it. In the past, I’ve often felt empty on my birthdays, sad at the idea of getting older. But when Saturday ended, I went to bed feeling fulfilled and happier than ever before.

Puppies and Patience, How Harrison is Making Me a Better Human Being

Harrison did something the other night he has never done before…he peed on my bed. He squatted down on my brand new, beloved ivory bedspread, and peed. I was beyond livid. Why, I ask, after a year of peeing outside does he suddenly decide to pee on my place of rest?

I ordered him out of the room and shut the door. Apparently this was torturous for him since he’s attached to my butt at all hours of the day, and he lay outside my door whimpering while I seethed.

I immediately did what any dog owner looking for answers does and googled “Why do dogs pee on beds?” Many people think dogs are expressing their anger when they pee on beloved couches or clothes, but from my past dog training experience, I know that dogs are not vindictive creatures (that’s what cats are for).

After reading all the potential reasons (of which, there are many) my anger slowly ebbed. I walked over to the door and saw this face:

The same worried, furrowed brows that say “Do you still love me?” (or in the case of the photo above, terrified brows that say “Get me off this boat!”). My heart instantly melted and within minutes, Harrison was back up on the bed (after I removed the bedspread to wash, of course).

So what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? I realize that I forgive Harrison for any and all transgressions ten times faster than I forgive my boyfriend, friends or coworkers. Even when he is being mischievous, I don’t harbor anger about his actions. Why? Because I have no doubt in his intentions and know beyond a shadow of a doubt he loves me. In short, I trust him.

I’m not sure if I’m the only one who struggles with this, but I often have pangs of self-doubt. I wonder if my friends really like me, or my coworkers actually value having me on the team. I find it hard to trust, and to give people the benefit of the doubt. I have found lately though, that the more I try to put trust in others, the less anger I feel.

After all, if Harrison can brave his fear of canoes simply because he trusts me to protect him, I can put my trust in others to love and support me.