Conshy Firework Show, July 12, 2014

So it turns out that the little town I live in puts on a Independence Day firework show that puts the one in front of the the Philadelphia Museum of Art to shame. This ones lasted about half an hour rather than 10-15 minutes. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear patriotic music playing in the background.

These were cancelled last week because of the inclement weather, so I was able to enjoy them tonight. Lovely! I hope you enjoy this glimpse of the real deal.

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Conshy Connections at Tradestone Confections

It’s funny how life works out. How we just happen to make connections at just the right time and how these connections weave in and out of our lives disappearing when we no longer need them and randomly appearing and sometimes reappearing, as if by coincidence, at the most critical moments in time.

These moments, for me, seem to happen most during major life changes. It happened when I moved to New York, and it’s happening again, here in Conshy, where about a month ago, I found myself unexpectedly unemployed. My life plan had shattered. I was lost, with no compass to lead the way. The only thing I was certain about was that I needed time to nurture my emotional and spiritual health. Little did I know, that self-healing practices would set my life in motion.

I began taking yoga classes at the newly opened Yoga Home at 424 E.Elm street. At first, I was skeptical about attending these classes. I’ve never been a big fan of yoga. The classes I’d taken in Utah and New York had been fast-paced and focused on the physical attributes of the practice, which, let’s face it, only served to alienate a physically inflexible and competitive person like myself. Despite my apprehension, I decided to give this studio and the practice a try after an acquaintance mentioned how yoga had helped her through her divorce. I’m glad I listened.

The studio offers a variety of restorative and slow flow classes that are in line with my “go with the flow, ease into life, and fall into deep thought” mentality, but my favorite part of the classes has been the readings–particularly the ones about the roommate that lives in our head and how we can quiet him/her by being a good friend to ourselves.

I think that’s the biggest thing I learned in the past four weeks. I have never been the friend to myself that I have been to others. While I make it a point to constantly tell my friends about their strengths and attributes, I consistently focus on my personal flaws so much so that I’ve managed to convince myself that even my strengths are nothing more than weaknesses in disguise. Sounds ridiculous right? But it’s true. My self doubt has allowed the negative words of others to settle in the deepest crevices of my mind, and I am only now in the process of kicking them out.

I now understand how solitary confinement can be the worst form of torture. Despite attending yoga classes and playing soccer three days a week, I have been feeling isolated. Acquaintances are not the same as friends and phone calls do not replace the feeling that comes from physically sharing a moment in time with someone you care about. The lack of human interaction makes me  feel sad and lonely, and I escape these feelings with regular trips to New York, where I surround myself with friends and family for  a couple of days. The problem with this strategy is that when I come home, I crash into a sea of loneliness that is almost unbearable.

Enter Tradestone Confections. The day after I first learned about the “roommate” in my head I woke up and thought, “No. You do not get to drive my actions today. I refuse to feel lonely. I refuse to believe I’m not good enough. I refuse to give into self-doubt.” So, I got up, got dressed, and walked to the only coffee shop in town that reminded me of New York–Tradestone Confections — a small cafe that’s quickly becoming my muse. That is where I met Angelo.

I’d been sitting at the window for a couple of hours, diligently working on my job search when a sudden sense of hopelessness started to seep inside my head. At just that moment, I heard a voice say, “Hey, you must be a very driven person if you’re here studying on a Friday night.” I looked up to see the barista inquisitively smiling over at me.

That was it. All it took to redirect my thoughts. Like a sad patron at a bar I started divulging my story to this barista. He patiently listened as I disclosed aloud, for the first time in my life, every single one of my worries and doubts along with my aspirations. It was a long-needed verbal cleansing, to which he responded with a wisdom beyond his years. I refused to believe that this connection was coincidence. He, in turn, shared his own story with me, which then lead to a productive brain storming meeting for both of us. I was the first new connection of many that would start appearing and reappearing during this pivotal moment of my life. Since then, Tradestone Confections has become the hub of my connections.

Every time I show up with my computer in hand, I make a new local connection, or reconnect with an old friend who connects me to someone who in turn connects me to someone else. It’s the domino affect of networking and it began with one decision, which lead to a story, which lead to a connection which has lead to more connections. This cannot be a coincidence. I believe that there is an energy thread in life that connects and guides us like a compass if we’re willing to listen to it. It wields its power, pushing people apart and back together at just the right time as we carve our bath through the journey of life.

Even the Rain Couldn’t Keep Me From Exploring

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It was my second Friday night in PA, and I was determined to go exploring. Rain would not best me. So, armed with a rain jacket, boots, and a skirt, I went exploring, and discovered a river that runs underneath the building where I work and a cute little bar called Guppy’s.

Guppy’s ended up being the highlight of my night. I ordered their Happy Hour Special-the Conshy Crush.A little secret about the Conshy Crush, is that in contains Tang. Yup, you read that right, TANG. Who knew that orange powdered drink from the 80 was still around?

For dinner, I ordered the Caprese Burger.  It  was one of the best I’ve ever had. Made with fresh (unfrozen) meat, mozzarella, grilled onions, tomatoes, arugula, pest, and balsamic vinaigrette, this tasty treat satisfied my Greek food craving. 🙂

Meeting people ended up being easier than I thought. Within seconds of pulling up a seat at the bar, I started talking with the regulars, and met a nice guy who is very connected to the local soccer network. He gave me a list of places that I could look for intramural leagues, and offered to introduce me to people and teams.

I left around 7:30 so that I could hit the gym before it closed, but came back to the bar after. The party was still going and a girl had joined the group. Of coarse, she and I started talking, and despite the 8-year age difference, we found we had a lot in common–including our dread for shopping. We ended up hanging out until around 11:30, at which point this old lady was tired and ready for bed.

It felt good to go out and meet people. I had a great time and am looking forward to more adventures to come.