Saturday, July 25, 2015

Running

A few years ago, I was talking with my friend Mike, and I told him how I wanted to lose weight. I was going to the gym or dieting or whatever I was doing at the time. He told me, "Just start running."
Three words. Simple as that. He went on to explain that any time he wanted to tone up, he would do that. He also said how he used to jog in Central Park when he lived in New York.

At the time that Mike gave me that advice, I thought- there is no way that running could solve everything. However, I still always admired runners. Ever since I was a kid, I got exhausted after running even the shortest distances. I remember feeling extremely self-conscious about how hard I would breathe, and how red my face would get during the days in gym class when we had to run the mile.

Now, years after, I decided to start running. I would jog in the past, but it would only be maybe once a week, even at my best times. I was always trying different health food kicks, going to the gym, etc. etc. but my weight never stayed off.

I got a container of C4 Sports powder from the marketing guy at the company, asking me to write a review. At first, I was like- What the hell do I do with this? I can get into the gym for free at the college where I work, but since it's the summer, they are doing renovations on the entire police academy, where the gym is located. That means I can't get to the gym until September. I thought- What can I do to test this powder out NOW? Reviews need to be written quickly, after all.

It wasn't just Mike's advice, either. I began seeing signs everywhere, as if it was a sign from God. I randomly watched an episode of The Flash, which I never do- and the scientists are telling him; "When you run that fast, you're losing so many calories, you're going to pass out if you don't eat more," and watch him stuff his face every episode. I just started noticing signs all around me lately.

So, I went running. I decided to just push myself as far and long as I could go, and I felt amazing afterwards. I did it again the next day...and the next. Before I knew it, I was running every day for two weeks straight. As soon as I took a day off, I noticed a huge difference. I have been happy...I mean REALLY happy. Consistently in betters moods every single day whenever I run. (Endorphins are real). I also sleep better, I have more energy, I think more clearly, and I really am toning up.

It has been 3 weeks so far. My stomach is getting flatter and flatter by the day, and my legs are more toned. I'm already basically cellulite-free on the back of my thighs. My calves are rock-hard. Pretty soon my stomach will not only be flat, but afterwards, it will hopefully concave. And this is all without even really dieting. I think the running naturally curbs my appetite, and I watch what I eat, but I still eat candy, coffee, etc. When I can afford to, I am going to go out and get all of the organic fruits and vegetables I can get.

Even right now, as I am typing this, I just had a really bad day. Until a few minutes ago, I struggled to calm myself down. My first instinct was to punch a pillow or something.
Now, I am thinking, "Run." I realize now that it's so much more constructive. It's an outlet for so many things.
Angry? Go run.
Ate too many sweets today, so now you feel guilty? Go run.
Can't figure this issue out? Go run.
"Run" seems to be the answer to almost anything, and it works.

I get addicted to things really easily. This is why I know I need to be careful around alcohol, and why I can never try drugs. However, if I get addicted to running, I am totally OK with that.

Now, I think about Mike's story in entirely new light. I envy how easy it must have been to walk across the street from his house and enter Central Park- giving him miles upon miles of safe, shaded, paved running space where he could see interesting things all around him, and possibly choose different routes on any given day. I have yet to see all of Central Park. I see a new section every time I visit. Now, I daydream of jogging my way through it all. Right now, I run in a park too, but I'm confined to the same little paved circle, passing by the same things over, and over, and over again in the raging summer sun.

This is me right now, after 3 weeks. I guess the only real difference between Week 2 and Week 3 is that my waist looks the same by my hips look smaller, and you can kinda sorta see the lines of abs beginning to form?
In a few more weeks, I'll feel confident enough to run with just my
sports bra like this. I gave myself blonde highlights last week, and I have been allowing myself to keep
nicer clothes that I find, because I'm feeling like I finally going to "deserve" them, if that makes any sense. I'm not going to stop this time. Writing about it makes it real. I'm going to do this.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Love

I realized something about myself this week: Love is the one thing that motivates me and pushes me forward above all other things. It's not enough for me to want something for myself. It's not enough for me to want a lot of money, or anything else. Any "selfish" desire is not enough to push me to work as hard as I possibly can. I realized this week that I need someone I love tied to that goal in order for me to do my best.
I have always felt this way deep down, but I honestly did not put two and two together until now. For the past two years, I have been trying every possible trick in the book to get myself more motivated, and nothing has been working.

This week, my dad told me that he can no longer afford to buy food for the family. He is on Social Security Disability, and since my younger brother just graduated from High School, the amount of money he got every month  was cut in half. Every single cent he has needs to go into the property taxes on the house and utilities, and it leaves nothing left to eat. He is afraid to apply for food stamps, because they often force any adult in the house to go to Welfare jobs that pay roughly $3 per hour. People don't understand how shitty having welfare and food stamps can be until you have to go through it. It's literally not worth it. When we are all adults, it just makes more sense to hustle and find ways to feed ourselves.

My dad knew this moment was coming, and he warned me about a year ago. That's why I got so good at couponing. I have stocked up shampoo, laundry detergent, razors, soap, deodorant, etc. for the entire family. It has helped us save roughly $3,000 so far. I have been able to donate to friends of mine who are also struggling, but I have never gotten very good at stockpiling food.

I only heard the news that the day had come from my dad two days ago. It has been enough motivation for me to jolt out of bed at 8AM instead of 10:30 or 11:00. It has been enough for me to go into overdrive when it comes to cleaning, cooking, and couponing. I have also been working harder than ever on my business, because I know we need more money. It's not about me needing the money anymore. "I want to be rich" was never enough motivation for me...but when I am told my younger brothers, who I love more than anything on this planet, are going to go hungry if I don't do something, then I am running around like I've had 5 cups of coffee.

Believe it or not, I am actually pretty excited about this. I do not resent this new responsibility at all. I see it as being handed the motivation I was severely lacking for the past two years. I cannot concentrate when the rest of the family is home, which has been a huge set-back for my productivity, so the answer is waking up earlier than the rest of the family. Honestly, 8AM probably isn't early enough. I may have to start aiming for 6AM.

My hope is that from here on out, our family may lose weight and become healthier. I plan on spending most of my money on fruits, vegetables, meat, and whole grains. Sure, I'll still buy pasta and things like that, but if I am in control of the food, I am going to make sure it's healthy, especially since I know it's actually cheaper to shop at the farmer's market. I can make $20 of veggies last longer through cooking meals than $100 of packaged garbage from the grocery store.

Working harder to earn food money will also probably mean making more money for myself, too. I have had dreams of making my business into this massive thing, but I never had enough motivation to push me harder before. My dad compared me to Willy Wonka. He said, "You already built the candy factory, but you just need to up your production."

Hardship does not have to be a bad thing. It does not have to cause fights. It is just an opportunity to push yourself to work harder and be the best person you can be for the people you love. There can be no resentment for the sacrifices I am about to make when there is so much love that is being protected. 






Saturday, June 6, 2015

Goodbye, Harry. And Other Life Updates.

My dog Harry died on Tuesday morning. He was 15 years old, so he lived much longer than most large dogs. (He was half Great Dane and half Lab.) He was sick for a long time. He couldn't even walk for the past few weeks. So we could sense the end was near, but that doesn't take away all of the sadness. I keep forgetting that he is gone. The rest of my family is experiencing the same things. He was part of our
daily routines since we were kids, so it's really strange to suddenly have that part of our lives completely gone. My mom has been affected by it the most, so we have been trying to spend a lot of time with her.

Ever since then, my week has been non-stop busy with one thing after another. Car repairs, doctor's visits, doing favors for my family...So much so that my work has gone on the back-burner, and yet I still managed to buy a decent amount of inventory and make some sales.

I am beginning (hopefully) a new chapter of my life- I'm going to be a Publicist.
A friend of mine needs help with PR stuff for his company, and I have a little bit of experience with that already. He told me I could give myself any title I wanted. (For a while it was just Pepper Potts, because that is what he calls me.)
I thought about it for a long time, and I had to do some research. I realized that what I am doing basically falls under the duties of a "Publicist". That just so happens to be the coolest-sounding title.
I like having a one-word title. It's very refreshing. My other work doesn't have a title, so it just turns into a long rambley explanation that often leaves people confused afterwards.

For a couple years now, my friend has been asking me to help him, and I kept saying "No". There are a lot of reasons for this. One major problem is the fact that he lives really far away, and he wanted me to be up there working for him full-time. There were other issues floating through my head, but honestly, 80% of it was hypothetical what-if-this-happened sort of scenarios. Normally, my intuition is right, so I always listened to my gut when I knew it was not the right time.

A few weeks ago, my brother John graduated from college, and the keynote speaker was a female astronaut. She said that the reason why she ended up an astronaut was because she said "yes" to practically every opportunity that came her way, and that was her advice to all of us...Just to say "yes", and success will follow. I have been trying to say "yes" more often this year. Sometimes, it backfires, bu that's OK...and this Publicist thing is just another opportunity that I am trying to explore.

I think one of the biggest things that was holding me back for so long was my stubborn goals of what I want my life to be. I was NOT going to back down from the lifestyle I wanted, and any other opportunity was just there to steer me off my path. On one hand, it was good that I did not back down for at least a year. If I had given up, who knows what sort of life I would be living now. It was only recently that I realized I can still live the lifestyle I want, but still work other jobs.

This will be my third job. It's crazy how I can work 3 jobs and still be below the poverty line, but at least I am making strides to try to get my student loans paid off.

I realized that for the first time in my life, I feel like I do not want to be saved. 
Most of my life, I wished there was an easy answer to get away from all of my problems. I thought a lot about working abroad or other equally dramatic solutions to running.  I spent most of my life wishing I could escape.
I am happy to say that those feelings have finally changed.


Now, for the first time, I realize that I feel very defensive of the life I have created. I want being a Publicist to work around my current way of life, and not the other way around. I do not want being a Publicist to give me an entirely new identity, location,  etc. I no longer want to escape.

I felt like a cat with its back arched, ready to fight; "You can't make me leave. I have plans for this life."
It shocked me how much I wanted to stay on the path I am on right now. Coming to that realization suddenly made me much happier, because now I know I am doing exactly what I want to do with my life right now. The threat of losing this life made me able to appreciate it, and find solutions to keeping my over-arching goals a priority.

Anyway, here's to hoping things are going to change for the better very soon. May Harry rest in peace, and may all of your pets live long and prosper.



Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Daily Adventure: Spoiled

I was kind of confused and amused as to why Tillie is on this sign?
My daily adventure is not so much going to a new place, but experiencing an old place with a new perspective.

As I said in other entries, I have been spending a lot of time at the beach, helping to fix up a lot of the issues with our shore house. The house has two bedrooms, but it is only 750 square feet. My brother was with us for the first time in a while.
I told him, "For about 24 hours, I considered renting this from the family so I could have my own house for a while."
In reply to that, he said, "The problem is, it's just so small." (This is coming from the guy who considered building a tiny house, which is only like 250 square feet.)

It's true that I feel a bit claustrophobic in the house, but in all honesty, it is much larger than a lot of apartments....almost all apartments in major cities, actually. It's larger than the space in which the majority of the world population live. So, it sounds extremely spoiled for those words to have come out of my brother's mouth, but honestly, I feel the same way, because we were both raised in a huge house...Despite all of our problems, we have the luxury of the private space to get away from one another when we need to. Once you've lived that way all your life, it's really hard to go backwards.

Growing up, I used to always think of myself as "poor", because I was comparing myself to the kids I went to school with. We never went to Disney World. I never had great clothes. We  went on and off of food stamps over the years. I could go on and on about why I classified myself as "poor"...but lately, I feel rich.

Nothing has changed. In fact, in a lot of ways, money has gotten worse for all of us ever since 2008. We are struggling with money, but my family has so much that other families do not have, and it has taken me until now to fully appreciate it.

This isn't bragging, so much as a call to everyone to just step back and appreciate what you have. If you are on the Internet reading this blog post right now, that means you are more wealthy than the majority of the world's population. I don't know who you are, but I already know this:
 a) You have some kind of expensive technology to read this on. If sold, the money from that device could feed a family in a third world country for years.
b) You have internet access- either at home or somewhere near your home. Which means you are in a developed country/area, and you are not being denied access to information.
c) You have the luxury of free time to be reading this, instead of working crazy hours in a sweat shop or fields somewhere until you are ready to pass out from exhaustion.
d) You have the education to know how to read...and not just any language, but English, which is one of the most-used languages in the world.

I could go on, and on, and on. Some of you may roll your eyes, and think, "Well obviously. Are you going to tell me to finish my all of my food because children are starving in Cambodia, too?" 
I bring this up, hypothetical sassy reader, because all of us are so ingrained in our society to believe that this is "normal"....That anything less than 1,2000+ square feet and vacations to Disney every year is "poor." And it's just not. I can be at the bottom of the barrel in life..and trust me, I have. I have hit Rock Bottom, but the Shannon version of Rock Bottom will never be as impoverished and destitute as much of the world. And for that, I am grateful. Really, truly coming to that realization and internalizing it as part of my identity is an adventure within itself.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Summer's Starting

I don't know why anyone would want to read this blog, when all I ever talk about lately is rocks, but according to Google Analytics, I still get views on those entries? So here it goes...

A week ago, semester ended, and my campus job stopped along with it. I was sort of worried about myself. I got used to having a paycheck to count on, and sadly, my business hustle had slacked a bit when I concentrated more on work. I thought, "Will I be able to make enough money? Will I make it? Will I get bored?" Thankfully, this past week has been jam-packed, and I am so happy that I do not have work anymore until September.

My brother Phil has been in a lot of tennis tournaments, since he is on varsity. This is his senior year of High School, he will graduate in June. He got accepted to an honors program for engineering, and he has so many scholarships that college is almost completely paid for. I have been slowly buying everything he will need to live on campus; shampoo, razors, a mini-fridge, etc. etc as my graduation present to him, because I do not want him to have to worry about necessities the way I did.

The Peacock was sitting next to the Bald Eagles as if trying to show them up
On Mother's Day, we went to the Cape May Zoo, which was fun. Being anywhere outside on an 80-degree day makes me really happy. The winter was so long and terrible, it was making me depressed. On the drive home, I was a passenger, so I could look at the trees and feel just so content and happy to be alive. I seriously thrive in the heat.

My brother John graduated with his Bachelor's in Bio-chemistry, and we heard a NASA astronaut give her inspiring keynote speech. Again, our whole family had a great day outside and going out to eat.

Any spare time in-between all of these outings has been spent hustling to get more merch online, and my sales are pretty good. Since the holidays are over, I can finally use my SwagBucks to get myself free stuff rather than getting presents for everyone else. I got the new Alpha Sapphire Pokemon 3DS game, and I'm ordering professional photography lighting so I can improve my product pictures. I'm easy to please when it comes to "toys", so all is good.

Well, you can probably guess what's next- I went to the secret beach again and gathered more rocks.
Here is a photo of an example of some of the rocks I find. A couple of those are semi-translucent, so they may actually be sea glass.

When my dad saw the rocks on the driveway that I brought home a week or two ago, he said something that I did not expect;
"These rocks from the beach are really pretty...and the best part of them is that they are real. The gravel we bought before was man-made from breaking down larger rocks. I like these rocks you brought home so much better, because they were made by God."

I was taken aback. All I could say was, "Wow, I didn't think about it that way, but it's a beautiful sentiment, Dad." I really do love anything that is All-Natural, especially when it comes to food, but it made me realize that in a way, once it is done, it will be sort of a luxurious driveway. Not many people have stones hand-picked and delivered from the shore. Recently, I have been thinking about all the improvements I would pay for at my parent's house if I could afford it. I would rather put money into my future inherited property than wasting it away on renting some shitty studio somewhere. Sadly, I can't afford anything at all right now, so the best I can do is help with saving money on things like this.

When I was at the beach a couple days ago,  I was not alone. One woman was tanning in a chair, and another elderly woman was just sitting in her car with the windows rolled down. I think she just wanted the peace of being at the beach. It was cold and windy, so I understand why she would want to stay in the car. I actually felt bad that the lady had to listen to my shh-shh-shh-shh noise shaking the sand out with my strainer, and left as quickly as possible so she could get on with her peace and quiet. 

Sometimes I get embarrassed over the stupid things I do like gathering rocks, but seeing these two women got me thinking- They are there literally doing nothing, and no one would judge them negatively for sitting and listening to the waves. They are decompressing, deep in thought, relaxing. I am doing the same thing, except I am spending my time here trying to reach a goal. It also made me realize that maybe I am doing this to satisfy my need to be in control of something.

When I was in High School and College, my goals were very clear. There was an obvious beginning, middle, and end. There was also an end-date in sight, and everyone knew what to do in order to succeed. Just study, work hard, get good grades. It was that simple, and I succeeded at that. I was also really in love back then. I thought that I had found The One, and that when I graduated college, things would all just fall into place. Even when my ex and I broke up, I always knew deep down that we would end up together again. When we did, every time, it would re-assure me that everything would be OK, A weight would lift from my shoulders, and I would feel like I am not crazy or stupid for holding on to my feelings, and I could still end up with my perfect Happy Ending.

Ever since entering "the real world", I feel like nothing in my life fits perfectly like a puzzle piece anymore. Nothing is simple, and almost nothing has a clear-cut path within my control. I can market and advertise for my business, but ultimately, I cannot control if or when people buy anything I put online. I cannot control the economy. I cannot control what sort of inventory I can find- it's all luck and timing, mixed with persistence. I also cannot control if I will ever find love again, but honestly, that is on the back-burner while I am fighting to make a real career for myself.
Some of my family members have told me that they don't think I can make it. Again, I feel the familiar emotion over and over that I am crazy and stupid for holding on to this idea, but I am really stubborn, because I see other people who are succeeding, and I think, "If they can, why can't I?"

When times get tough, I can't tell myself, "You just have a year left to go", the way I would in school. This is Real Life, so there is no telling how long it will take me. I wish my future self could come back in a time machine and say, "It's OK! Only two more years of this, and you'll be fine!" I think if that happened, I would feel alright, because I could endure the bad times knowing that there was an end in sight. That's just life. I will never know if I will ever get anything I want, and all I can do is fight for the things that are within my grasp, and climb higher from there.

Since these rocks are a different color than the driveway's previous gravel, it's easy for me to see my progress, and know that there will eventually be a time when the project is completed. It's tangible. It's something that I can walk outside and see growing with every bucket I bring home. For some people, decompressing is about just sitting and doing nothing. I guess for me, I need to know that my efforts can actually make something better.
So, even though my family is shaking their head, they think it's stupid, they think it's pointless- it makes me happy. It is almost like a physical manifestation of what I am trying to do online, except that I can see the driveway's progress in front of my eyes, while my online success is intangible. Hopefully, even if it takes years, if I keep gathering more buckets, it will eventually be a full driveway. Maybe, even if it takes years, if I keep working for my small victories, it will eventually be a full career.
At least, I hope so, anyway.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I'm Ruined Forever


Yes, two laptops were necessary. And I spent 8 hours in that chair.
I joke about it a lot, but I really, truly am ruined from ever going back and getting a "normal" job ever again.
 
Ever since I started my business, once I accepted part-time work again at the college, it was such a small amount of hours at night and with summers off that it was totally fine. However, this week, since they needed extra help for final exams, I had a temporary schedule that forced me to do all of the things that normal full time 9-5 workers do.

When times are tough with my business or if things are not progressing as quickly as I would like them to, I consider just giving up my business, caving, and finding any full-time job....if I could even find one in this economy.

I recently made a whole post about wanting to be a work-at-home or work-at-my-own-studio mom some day in the future so that I can basically be Wonder Woman and not let a nanny raise my child 100% of their life while I am slaving away at a law firm 60-80 hours a week...but since I am still single, and there is not even a guy in the picture, it's hard for me to make my children that are years away from existing the only motivation to keep going. I want to make list in order to motivate myself any time I wonder, "So, WHY am I killing myself over this business again?"

Reasons Why I Am Ruined Forever:

1. Traffic.
I like driving. I like traveling. I actually love being a passenger when I travel, because I can give myself permission to read one of the many magazines I subscribe to and yet never read, or play on my Nintendo 3DS. But I DO NOT like driving in traffic. It has been so long since I had to deal with rush-hour, I forgot how horrible it truly is. It takes literally 10 times longer to get anywhere than it normally does. The time stuck bumper-to-bumper is a huge waste of nothingness. Unless you are listening to an audiobook or spending quality time with someone you carpool with, waiting in traffic is the least productive thing you could possibly be doing with your life. I am so Type-A and such a multi-tasker that it drives me insane. I can only imagine the time wasted in traffic would add up to days, weeks, or months of time off of your life that could have been used in better ways. Being stuck in traffic this week did not stress me out, because I knew it would only last a few days, but I am reminded now that when it becomes an every day occurrence for me, I get really frustrated, and that turns into road rage.

2. Stress
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with traffic, but stress comes from sooo many sources in the work place. This is one of the major reasons why I chose not to become a lawyer. High blood pressure runs in my family, and I tend to stress-eat, so it is just an unhealthy thing to get on a daily basis.

3. Gossip
I have been so socially isolated for the past year that once I was re-introduced to female gossip...I hate it So. Much. I already hated it to begin with, but now that I lived for so long without being forced to deal with it, I truly can't handle all of the negativity. Why can't we just do our jobs and leave each other alone? I know that gossip is unavoidable when you work in a company or an organization that has hundreds of employees, and you are there all day long, so it feels like a small village. Most of these people spend more time with one another than they do with their own families. So I get it. I understand. I just don't care, and I do not want to participate.

4. Exhaustion
This part really hit me on my 9-hour day. All I was doing was sitting in a chair. A nice, fluffy, comfortable office chair. The work I was doing was not hard or stressful. It did not require a lot of brain power. It was literally the easiest job anyone could have... and yet I was ready to pass out by the end of the day, and I needed twice as much caffeine to even stay awake all day long.
I work at my home computer all day long, and it is normal for me to spend 9 hours sitting, but I do not get tired. I still have plenty of energy to go out and live life. I guess the key difference with working at home is that I can get up and walk around whenever I want to. I can drive to the store and come back. Get up and cook a meal. Do some chores around the house to get a little bit of light activity. Those little breaks keep me going longer throughout the day, and it makes me more productive.

5. Bad Eating Habits
Despite the fact that I prepared ahead of time, ate a healthy breakfast, and packed a really healthy lunch, I still went home after my 9-hour day wanting to eat anything, not really caring if it was healthy or not. I stuffed myself that night. It reminded me of the days when I used to work at a bank office, and I gained so much weight. When you are exhausted, it really is just so much easier to go get fast food. If you're too exhausted to shop and cook, how can you be expected to stay healthy?  I was too tired to prepare healthy snacks for the next day, and it kind of snow-balled after that, and I need to get myself back on track. It's honestly no mystery why Americans are so fat. We are too exhausted to make the right choices for our own bodies!

6. Lack of Control
Along with gossip, I listened to a lot of legitimate concerns my co-workers had...And unfortunately, my answer to those issues was, "Well, neither of us can do anything to change it."
I think and talk so much about global issues, and yet I do not even have the power to change an issue within the community where I work. I have no control over that, but with my business, I have 100% of the control. If an issues arises, I think or write out the potential solutions, and I make a decision based on my best judgement. Sometimes, I am wrong, but there is no one else to blame.
With my business, my actions are direct causes and effects. When you work with other people, the decisions of the people higher up have caused a trickle-down effect that can screw you over, and you have no power to stop it.

7. Missing Out/No Freedom
When I had to request off to go see something my younger brother had participated in, I actually felt sort of angry. I got over it really quickly, but after being free and independent for so long, my initial reaction was; what do you mean I can't just do whatever I want, whenever I want? I do not like missing out on anything, especially if it is something that is a milestone moment for my family. I helped raise my youngest brother Phil, so I really like showing up to his events whenever I possibly can. I know that it's just part of being an adult to miss out on fun, but I have been functioning as an adult for a while now without missing out on anything, so it's really hard for me to go back to the old life without feeling trapped.

The terrible thing is, I actually have it really good where I work. I like my co-workers, I like the location, the atmosphere, and the tasks I am doing...I could make an even longer list about the reasons why I love that job, and yet I still find problems with it, which is why I say I am ruined forever. I told myself, "If you got a full-time job here, this is the best you could possibly ask for in the 25-mile radius."
I know that a job is a lot like a relationship. Nothing will ever be perfect. Everything has faults. And yet I cannot imagine myself living out the rest of my life working at this place.
My business has faults too, but I can imagine myself doing it until the day I die, hopefully well into my 90's. There are some faults and stresses that you can live with, and others that you just can't. So I'm ruined. I need to be an entrepreneur.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Daily Adventures: Rock Hunting

After finishing up the last day of the semester this morning at work, I got home, and my mom said she was going back to the shore house to do some repairs. I took the opportunity to...you guessed it, collect more rocks! I took my phone with me this time, so I could actually take a couple pictures so you know what I'm dealing with.

As you can see, The Secret Beach is REALLY rocky. You do not want to be frolicking barefoot, ever. My mom said, "What you're doing is sort of a public service."
"Yeah, people should appreciate me," I replied.

There was a large pile of sand and rocks near the front entrance, probably because someone from the
township had attempted to level out the sand as much as they possibly could after Hurricane Sandy. I mostly stuck to that pile, since it was the easiest to gather rocks from. I had my bucket and a little sand-sifting shovel that worked perfectly for what I needed.

I found some pretty blue sea glass, straight-up broken glass, and...a used condom. I stayed 4 feet away from the condom at all times. Not it. Not me. That's not my job, I thought.
Honestly, I don't blame the original owner of that condom. I mean, come on- it's a secret beach! Taking a girl to have sex on a secret beach? Talk about romantic. I just bet they would appreciate what I'm doing, because uh...I can't imagine that their night was very comfortable.

I only spent about 10 minutes there. My mom and I got to see a beautiful sunset, and I am going to put a pretty decent dent into adding gravel to my driveway. If I keep this up, the project should be done by the end of the summer.