Thursday, June 20, 2024

Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year- lots of light and I feel like I am coming out of darkness. Here are some reminders for me and anyone else who might need it: 

1. Make Connections- Loneliness is a bad road to stay on. When you reach out you will be surprised how much compassion and understanding there is in this world. If you are not feeling it, expand your circle. Take a risk and find some new connections. 

 2. My peace cannot rely of the peace of others- If I can't control it, let it go. This is MUCH harder than it sounds and I still have a long way to go but this is basically the serenity prayer: Accept what I cannot change, Courage to change what I can and the Wisdom to know the difference. There are things I can control and things I can't control. I need to find joy in the life I can control and let go of the rest. 

3. Be Present- Find small joys everyday. The small joys will become a habit even in tough times. 

 4. Do something for others every single day. If we all could follow this tip the world would be so much better. It helps you and helps others at the same time. 

5. Embrace the unknown 

6. Break the freeze habit- release the tension. For years my default has been to hold it in. Here is my new strategy: MELT

Meet myself and others with love 

Everything is unfolding 

Live in the moment 

Take a deep breath 

7. Have hope- lean into positive words: Trust, Peace, Acceptance, Calm, Love, Awareness, Hope, Honesty, Non-judgement, Blessings, Faith

Monday, October 16, 2023

Seasons of Life

I love Autumn! I love the cooler temps and the bold colors and the flannel and the decorations. It also makes me think about my life. I feel like spring is up until 25. Still growing and learning. Summer is up until 50. Fun in the sun. Livin life. Autumn is now until 75 and Winter follows after. When I told my kids this they said that is so depressing. But it does not feel that way at all because I love autumn! I feel like I am the red and orange and yellow of life right now- bold and standing out. Autumn is when you reap all the efforts of your labor- I am harvesting all sorts of love right now. Autumn is when you get cozy and snuggle up with a good book. Related to this- when I turned 50 I said to myself -I want to exit this decade healthier than I entered it. I have had a lot of chronic pain, especially migraines. It effects my quality of life and my ability to enjoy my friends and family as much as i want to. So I have been on a journey these last couple of years. It has cost some money but as my husband reminds me, it is an investment in my health. I have gotten back to a more regular yoga practice, started getting massages while also going to a chiropractor and for physical therappy. All of these things combined have helped me feel better. I just finished reading a book called Die with Zero. This is a good read that helps as we transition from a lifetime of saving to the spending phase. The book mentioned "Memory Dividends" which refers to the idea that the sooner we create fantistic memories the longer we have to enjoy the memories. I really like this thinking as it is so easy to keep putting off great trips and memory makers waiting for the "right time" when it is very likely the right time is NOW... so pardon me while I start planning that trip to Costa Rica!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

My 2022 Playlist

If I had to pick three songs that sum up what 2022 has been like so far, here is what I would say: 

Both Sides Now  

I'm Still Standing  

Only a River 

Both Sides Now shows how I have matured. I used to be a lot more black and white and with more and more life experiences I see that when you look at both sides it is a lot easier to have empathy and see that everyone is doing the best they can. 

 I'm Still Standing is how I feel after this summer- it was one thing after another but I'm still standing and trying to see how challenging times help us grow. 

Only a River reminds me how healing nature is for us. Whenever I get out I always realize it is just what I need. I love the mountains but I also love the river- to me it is truly in the moment because the moment of a river is always there for that second never to be the same before or after. I love the sound and the view and the smell and the feel. The only sense that is not engaged is taste- although I usually am eating at the river also. It is just such a healing space for me.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Go with the Flow

Usually summer vacation means lots of down time to catch up and restore. But the summer of 2022 is not turning out that way. My summer began with a three week road trip out east to catch up with friends and family, especially my mom. The first week was great- lots of laughs with Justin, a fun stop in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio and getting to catch up with many friends while in NJ. But then things got challenging. We picked up Owen after a horrific 22 "direct" flight from Denver whihc then turned into a diversion to Cincinatti. Then we drove to Binghamton to get my mom and head to Vermont to see my cousin. The first 24 hours were fantastic and I was so happy to be with family. Then Owen tested positive with Covid and we quickly sent my mom off to stay at my sister's while we (hopefully) isolated and waited to be reunited. But then 5 days later Justin tested positive so we started the long drive home. As soon as we got home I tested positive. So pretty much the whole month of June was spent with a slow burn of covid. But we tried to regroup and figure out how to find tme for a re-do. In the meantime a job came up for me to work with an adventure travel company in Yosemite National Park. I always like to try new experiences so I decided to dive in and give this a try. It was an intense learning curve and a tremendous amount of hard work but the guests were fabulous and I enjoyed the experience. I was also happy to earn a little extra money to plan a return trip to NJ. But while Justin was waiting in the cell phone lot for my delayed flight our new car was totalled by a hit and run U-Hual truck. So much for earning a little extra money. (In case you do not already know- this is not the time to buy a car. We looked into it in May and cars are selling $5000 over sticker price with a 6-12 month wait.) So I can say I know the universerse is trying to tell me something but I am not sure yet what it is... In the meantime Justin is off to work a job in Glacier National Park and I am going to stick close to home- hoping to finally get my first hike of the summer in! Hiking always clears my head and helps me get perspective so hopefully that will happen this week.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Balancing Health, Money and Time

You might remember in 2019 I posted about intentional spending of time, money and energy. My husband and I have continued along this path of asking when is enough enough when it comes to money and how to balance the need for money (and more importantly health insurance) with a solid balance of time and good health. In March my husband took a leave of absense to test out life on a teacher's salary and also to see what it is like to live without work as an anchor to your routine. He has greatly enjoyed this break. So much so that now that this leave is up he plans to give notice and officially stop working. A lot of people do not understand this mindset so let me try to explain. We have been very fiscally conservative and have saved a large portion of our income since the day we graduated college and started working. This path might not be for everyone but for us we were always happy with "enough" and put most raises and bonuses in mutual funds. Over time this money has given us freedom to leave a job when the match wasn't good, leave secure income and benefits in NJ and move to Colorado where the outdoors lifestyle better fit us and even take a break from full time work now and then. Much of what we enjoy doing requires good health so waiting until the elusive retirement that some choose to do at 70 just isn't appealing to us. So while we are healthy Justin is cashing in on some of his hard-earned frugal years and we are enjoying the pleasure of time and health over money that often creates as many problems as it solves. I know this might not be for everyone but it feels right for us. So now that Justin has all this time you might be wondering what he is going to do. First up he will plan and do some of the longer thru hikes he has always been longing for. First up was supposed to be the Superior Trail. But now it is closed because of smoke from forest fires and drought. So now he is looking for another trail. If you are interested in following along on his hiking adventures- this is his youtube channel.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Perfect Epiphany

This spring break we visited our daughter in Arizona. I was excited to visit Saguaro National Park since I had never been there before. We did several hikes and the scenery was beautiful. On the first two hikes I was looking for the "perfect" cactus. What does the perfect cactus look like? Just look at the emoji on an iPhone- or the Roadrunner cartoons. Basically a tall center body with two assymetrical arms, both pointing upwards. On my third hike- after passing hundreds if not thousands of cacti I finally realized it was not that I wasn't finding the perfect cactus, it is that my defintion of the perfect cactus was more based on clipart and cartoons than the real thing. Once I changed my defintion of "perfect" the trails were full of perfect cacti. It made me wonder how many other times have I had some vision of perfect that was in not why based on reality. Here are some photos of just some of the perfect cacti that I saw.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

 Segments 1, 2 and 3 on the Colorado Trail

This fall I was often meeting up with my friend Jenna to go hiking.  Since she lives south of Denver it was fun to look for new places to go that were a reasonable drive and not too crowded.  We went to Roxborough State Park and very much enjoyed the beauty and the trails there.  On the way to that park I noticed we passed Waterton Canyon which is the northern terminus of the Colorado Trail.  So then we met there to hike the start of the Colordao Trail.  The following week we did segment two and I lost my smurf so Justin kindly went back to help me find it.  So now he also completed segment two and the following week the three of us decided to do all of segment one which was made a little easier since Laurel dropped us off at the trailhead and we hiked back to our cars at the other end.  So now we had the first two segments complete.  This past weekend we did segment 3. So now we have 40 miles of the 567 miles completed.  Next time we are going to try a more efficient method.  Rather than doing the shuttle drop off which can add an hour each way to get from the start trailhead to the end trailhead (and then again at the end of the hike to get the drop off car), my friend and I will start at one end and Justin will start at the other.  Then we will drive the opposite car north to an agreed upon meeting point and I will hop back into our car.  This will save us the shuttle time.  We will hopefully still meet somewhere around the middle to eat lunch together.  We will see how far we get with this method.  At some point we will probably need to to transition to weekend backpacking trips because some of the segments are just too long for a day hike but for now it is a fun little project to chip away at.  Also, because of snowy back roads we will be haulting the project until spring.  But since the hikes are pretty hard with both distance and elevation it should keep me motivated to stay fit throughout the winter in order to be ready to hit the trails again in spring.  Here are the stats so far:

 Segment 1:  Just a taste- 13.4 miles Dec 5- start of the Colorado trail out and back

Segment 2: 11.5 miles Dec 20

Segment 2: Smurf Rescue with Justin Dec 24


Segment 1(17 miles): Dec 26

Segment 3 (13.4 miles) Jan 3