talking about my uterus

I wore my “Fight Like A Girl” t-shirt for Endometriosis Awareness to the volunteer event last weekend as promised. I was nervous before I left the apartment because I haven’t been very open about discussing my surgery or endometriosis diagnosis with most people around me. I am still trying to deal with it internally. It was a very emotionally painful experience for me at the time and not sure how to put all of it into words.

But, I there were several comments about my t-shirt through-out the day. I was glad that it was noticed but I kept my replies to a minimum. One guy said, “I don’t know how to pronounce that word or what it is.” As it was explained by another lady, he exclaimed, “UTERUS! Stop, I don’t want to know anymore after hearing words like uterus.”

I was not offended by the comment because it is to be expected by some people. There isn’t much known about endometriosis and I am learning quite a bit myself lately. I am wearing my t-shirt to raise awareness because it is important to me and many other women who suffer from it every day. I read horror stories about infertility and chronic pain that women are sharing on their personal blogs and websites – it truly breaks my heart.

But, I am disappointed that he disregarded the subject based on one word that made him uncomfortable because it could affect a woman in his life such as his wife, sister, or friend. Having endometriosis is uncomfortable. Explaining it to someone is uncomfortable. But, I want to talk about my uterus! I want to get to the point where I can be comfortable talking about this. Either way, it was a good start for me.

-Holli

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planting beach grass at far rockaway

When I leave the apartment the sidewalk is wet from the early morning rain. The sky is now clear and the sun is peaking out from behind a cloud. I am hoping it turns out to be good weather today! I am on my way out to the Rockaways to plant beach grass on the dunes of Beach 180- 115 with the New York City Parks Department.

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The bus stops right in front of Surfside Bagels – the cheese and spinach topped bagel is 4000 calories and delicious and the coffee will give you a jolt to  last the entire day! I wanted to stop here first to get coffee – of course, and then walk to Beach 108 to meet up with the City Parks Department and the other volunteers.

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There are some luxury condos for rent here on the Rockaway Beach – I wish I could rent one for the summer! Anyone who pays the rent can join me!

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The staff for the City Parks Department are really friendly, organized, and ready to get the volunteers working right away. We are armed with one little shovel and beach grass. We are instructed to dig a small hole and plop in two shoots and fill in. It’s simple, easy, and everyone seems eager to start.

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There are a lot of big groups of volunteers so the process goes quickly and soon we have a huge area covered in grass. The beach grass is said to take root and start growing within the month.

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 After event I decide to walk back down to Beach 86th to relax and eat my lunch. The sun has been creeping out slowly all morning and by mid afternoon I’m in my tank top and applying sunscreen. It’s a great opportunity to relax on the beach. As you can see (below) there is a lot of construction along the way. The Rockaway Beach Restoration project has been an ongoing effort since Hurricane Sandy hit the coast and a lot of work has to be done. If you want to read more information about the restoration project please click here.

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I notice that Beach 106 rest area is almost complete. They are installing the cement pathway to the pavilion and new New York City recycling bins have arrived! Thankfully these bins have a cover. There are several trash bins on the beach here at the Rockaways but they are open on the top for birds to dig in and high winds cause litter to fly around on the beach.

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I love going to the beach during this time of year. It’s a peaceful place to unwind. I love watching the surfers and paddle boaters in the water. A few weeks ago I a cute surfer had stopped to chat with me- too bad I can’t find HIM again! :) That was the first time I thought a wet suit was sexy.

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As I was sitting there relaxing I set my phone to record five minutes of the ocean, just to have a reminder to carry with me every day. Some days I could use the sound of the ocean in my headphones from the place I love the most during my chaotic commute on the subway.

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at far rockaway beach….again

It’s supposed to be 71 deg today so I have decided to pack my beach bag and go to Far Rockaway Beach! My plan to do my laundry on a Saturday morning was not as FUN as going to the beach! :)

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I can hear the waves crashing on shore from across the street and I’m eager to get onto the sand. I take off my shoes and the sand is hot on the bottom of my feet – which feels amazing! It’s quiet out here today – just a few dog walkers and surfers again.

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I spend a few hours combing the beach looking for seashells and picking litter, stopping to watch dogs happily splashing in the ocean fetching sticks and the surfers braving the freezing water to catch a wave.

I had a few beach goers approach me today asking me what I was doing and appreciating my efforts. A dog walker ran up to me with his hands full of trash to put into the bags, eager to help. A surfer stopped to chat and thank me for cleaning up. One lady said “We all have to do our part in keeping this beach clean, I think it’s amazing that you are here today picking litter. Thank you so much for doing that.” YOU ARE WELCOME! I was so HAPPY that people noticed what I was doing and talked to me about it.

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DANGER: There may be litter on the beach that your child or dog will step on and get hurt! Please take your trash with you when you leave the beach. Thank you! :)

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I filled 9 small shopping bags with litter from the beach in two hours. I found some really large pieces of styrofoam and metal that have blown in from the construction sites.

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I wandered past Beach 90 where the boardwalk is under construction and closed off to the public. The sand is accessible and that is where I found most of the litter. I couldn’t fit all of it in my bags and there was no garbage cans for me to dispose of what I found so I had to carry all the bags back to the nearest trash bin.

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A list of SOME items I found on the beach today:

12 cigarette butts
38 plastic bags/plastic film pieces
25 plastic bottle caps
9 pieces of cloth
4 large styrofoam pieces
1 construction Danger sign
3 balloons
3 cig lighters
9 random obects
8 pieces rope/cord
1 black styrofoam piece
17 bags of chips/snacks
3 snickers bars wrapper
1 blue plastic kids sand shovel
3 large corona beer glass bottles
3 beer cans
2 tampons
7 piles of doggie poop
1 glove
10 random plastic pieces
and the list goes on…

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The bright pink balloon I found on the beach this morning – and my birthday is coming up in a few days! Is that a coincidence??

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I’m not sure why these mountain bikers are taking their bikes on the break wall rocks but I’m curious if they are doing some extreme rock jumping. Also hoping nobody gets hurt!

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If you want more motivation to get out and make a difference I found this great video last night on the Daily Ocean blog. Sara Bayles has done 365 beach cleanups in her local area with a mission to inspire others all around the world to care about our oceans and their beaches. And she is quite an INSPIRATION to me! Read all about it!

Thank you for reading my blog post. If you have any questions or comments write em down! I’d love to hear from you!

in need of beach therapy

It’s 42° out and I am taking the bus to Far Rockaway for some “beach therapy” this morning. I’ve spent the last few weeks at home lying on the couch recovering from surgery. The most excitement I’ve had is walking six … Continue reading

a winter weekend in north fork

On Saturday morning we took a leisurely drive to North Fork, the heart of Long Island’s wine country. It was a last minute trip since the beach cleanup had been canceled earlier that day. It was rainy and foggy but warm for a winter day so we decided to find a different adventure  instead of sitting at home or running errands. We both decided that taking down the Christmas tree and packing the decorations could wait just one more week even though it is the middle of January.

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Our first stop was the Horton Point Lighthouse located high on the cliffs overlooking the Long Island Sound in Southhold, NY. This lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington himself in the 1700’s. We didn’t get any pictures of the lighthouse because it was still raining and very foggy. Our adventure took us down the long rickety wooden steps to the beach. The beach was extremely rocky and slippery and dangerous so we couldn’t wander too far.

We did find some small pieces of trash on the beach to pick up quickly but it was relatively cleaner than we had expected. We hadn’t planned to clean the beach that day anyways and the rain prevented us from staying too long.

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Why did the wild turkeys cross the road? I don’t know but we had to chase them into a yard because the road was windy and cars were speeding by and we didn’t want to take a chance they wouldn’t get to the other side.

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Since it is winter time, most of the vineyards close early so we are off to find a wine tasting event soon. There are 52 vineyards on Long Island with 26 wineries open to the public. You can find more information on the official website of the Long Island Wine Council at www.liwines.com. We stopped at a Bedell Cellar and Winery which closed at 7 pm and had a nice atmosphere and a diverse menu.

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Bedell Cellars Winery is a fully sustainable vineyard in Cutchogue, NY area. We chose the Estate Flight tasting off the menu pricing at $15, which includes five wines. It was nice to relax by the toasty fireplace. The staff at Bedell Cellars were friendly and informative and Jack gave us a private tour in the back where the “magic happens.” We both learned a lot about wine making, how the grapes are grown in the sandy rocky soil and when they are harvested.  We also had a chance to taste the wine that was served at the last Presidential inauguration dinner. It was a great experience!

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On the crisp winter afternoon the sleeping vines showed their raw beauty of stark browns and reds contrasting with the white snow and pale green grass. Visiting a vineyard in winter seems unintentional but the area is quiet and lazy with fewer visitors. I enjoyed the quieter time of the countryside because it was a nice escape from the busy city life for a weekend.

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Sunday morning didn’t start off well with a dead car battery and a few hours to fix the issue but eventually we got back on the road to enjoy the clear skies and visit a few places we missed during the fog from the previous day.

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Did you know that agriculture is Long Island’s largest industry? We drove past many farmstands that sell their fresh vegetables and fruit, cut firewood for $5, and even homemade pies during the season.  There isn’t many restaurants or farmstands open in the winter time so be prepared with snacks or a picnic lunch.

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Our last destination was to Orient Point, which is literally the end of the road. The next stop is to jump a ferry boat to Shelter Island or Plum Island from the marina or sail to the coast of Connecticut. The sign below is before the ferry for visitors getting off their boat. Welcome to New York!

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The drive on Main Road to Orient Beach State Park gives you beautiful views of the small towns like East Marion, rocky beaches, horse farms, and seafood restaurants. At one point the road narrows and there is only water on both sides. We saw flocks of geese feeding in the shallow water, white-tailed deer running through the tall reeds, and an abandoned boat on the shore.

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The beach at Orient Point near the marina was quite beautiful with a far away view of a lighthouse and a perfect spot to have a picnic and watch the ferry dock.

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Apparently this beach is a shell collectors paradise because most of the beaches are covered in seashells and we had heard that there were rare yellow ones that could be found on only one beach in the area and we found some here!

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We had a great time exploring the north side of Long Island over the weekend. I can’t wait to go visit again in the summer!

along the hudson river we will go…

Hi! Today I ventured up to the Upper West Side of Manhattan to the beautiful Riverside Park to volunteer with New York Cares for their first NYC park project of the 2013 year.

I love Riverside Park! It is a really beautiful city park  along the Hudson River on the Upper West Side with a spectacular view. This park is only 4 miles, 330 acres and stretches from 72nd to 158th streets and considered a scenic landmark. The park has several soccer and baseball fields, a dog park, tennis courts, and a skate park, boat launch, and gardens. This park even has a thick forest near 124th Street that is a bird sanctuary that is popular for local bird watchers.

There is also a Hudson Beach Café on the promenade that is open in the summer, serving burgers and drinks. They set up umbrella topped tables in the summer by the sand and swings giving city dwellers a local beach-like oasis.

The 79th Street Marina is the only such public access facility in Manhattan. In addition to 105 slips for boats, it offers launch sites for kayaks, canoes and sailboats.

Since it was the first project of the season we spent time weeding the vine beds by the soccer fields and picking trash. I’ve volunteered at this park last summer and hiked through the park and noticed it is very well maintained and clean.

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girlvolunteerIf you haven’t been to this city park I suggest going soon! sign up and volunteer today also! It is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy your local park, meet new people, enjoy the warm weather, and give back to your community!

If you would like to read more about the Riverside Park please click here: http://riversideparknyc.org/discover-park/