Next Time

I’m human.  I say things about people when they aren’t present.  I try to keep this to a minimum, but every now and again you need a friend to listen and let you vent.  Recently I found myself in a very uncomfortable place where I was with someone who was not just venting, but bashing someone.  Having been in this situation before I tried not to engage too much or say something I could regret.

Last time this happened I told myself, “Next time I will say something” or “Next time I will just leave the room”.  It is so uncomfortable and I find myself losing sleep and feeling guilty over the words being shared.  I find myself saying things I wouldn’t or agreeing with something just to keep things moving along and get it over with.  It’s really sad.  Sad that it happens, and more sad that I lose my voice in this scenario.

So when it happened again I felt terrible that I didn’t speak up.  I have a voice and I am strong and why can’t I say the words to someone to make the madness end?  I was going to call the person today and discuss this, but I decided that it is best said in the moment and since I participated I am not really any better. I guess we will have to wait and see how strong I will be Next time.

The Country Life

My husband and I took a trip to the farm this weekend.  I’ve only been a handful of times and each time is unique.  This particular trip was a party in our honor to celebrate our marriage with their family friends who were not part of the wedding.  With harvest being finished we found ourselves at his fathers home with land as far as the eye could see.  It is so quiet-which is always the first thing I notice.  It’s nice.  Given the hustle and bustle of life, the sirens, horns, and expletives that occur, the quiet is always welcome.

The party was better than I could have imagined.  There is a massive shed where all the farm equipment is stored (pictures to follow) and everything was moved outside so that we could have the food and tables inside to eat.  There was a huge bonfire outside.  Straw bales were surrounding the fire in a circle-cliche’ and perfect!  It was just as you might expect it to be.  There was weenie roasting and smore toasting!

The day turned to night and a real life rainbow happened.  It was truly beautiful.  Hard to imagine nature surpassing that, but it did.  After the sun set and night fell the sky was lit with stars.  Not city stars, but a whole entire night sky bursting with stars everywhere.  One of my favorite parts about the country is this….the stars.  We saw so many shooting stars with long tails.  We saw the dipper and Orion’s belt.  We saw constellations that of course we have no idea what they were, but it didn’t really matter.

A night full of laughter, food, and fun was had by all.  Slowly friends got into their trucks and headed down the country lanes to their homes.  We cleaned up the shed and turned off the lights and I found myself back at the confire.  So many memories and laughs were shared that evening.  And the ending was perfect. The quiet country, a crackling fire, and the bright lights up in the sky.bonfire farm equiptment real life rainbow

And just like that…

The whirling top falls.   The thing about the spinning top is that you get a little wobble before it stops spinning.  A warning sign.  Sometimes in life we are lucky and we get a warning sign.  Other times the news hits you and your world feels like it is instantly turned to rubble.  It can be so hard to comprehend.

This is the world my friend family finds itself in today.  Most people have friend family, the people who are not your blood relatives but they are on or above that level.  The main supporter of the family lost their job, after years and years of service.  They have children, a baby, and just like that…POOF…no income.  I can’t say I personally have been there, but I can only imagine the pain, sadness, fear that could easily consume someone when you are blindsided by this type of event.  When you meet goals, surpass them even, and then are left to clear up your belongings and leave.

This family of mine, they will be ok.  What looks like shambles today will likely be next years twist of fate for the better.  But it doesn’t change the feelings of today.

Well Hello….again

It has been so long since I have logged in to write.  To say I have been undergoing a metamorphosis is an understatement.  I started this blog a year ago…A YEAR AGO!!!  Since then, I have been purchased a home, gotten married, been on a honeymoon, and have had some serious family events occur.  It’s safe to say who I was a year ago is not who I am today.  In fact as I am typing this, I am wondering if this particular blog and title and reason for this blog are even still relevant.  I think it’s ok that I am unsure at the moment.  This will all sort itself out as I continue typing again.

Perhaps in upcoming posts I can show some of the pictures displaying changes that have occurred.  The first thing that happened was living with my now husband.  After a year I can say that it has worked out pretty darn well.  I think we are lucky that we have not had too many issues.  We each take care of various portions of the house and help out equally.  I appreciate this so much.  There are chores he does that I can’t stand (folding laundry for example) that he does easily while watching a ballgame.  We also have an unspoken rule that whoever cooks doesn’t have to clean.  We split this 70/30 with me doing more cooking, which is great because I love to cook!    Perhaps I will put a post in later about the new recipes we have tried since we have been married.  Either way, we are continuing to learn our way in an environment that is shared, respected, and a place of love (with the occasional argument…hey, we’re human!). I’m looking forward to emerging back to the blogging world and seeing who is out there and what is getting blogged about!

Is too many options a bad thing?

My fiancé would say that I am the most indecisive person he knows.  What can I say-I love options!  Thankfully, choosing him was easy 🙂

I have noticed in a few situations recently that too many options has become overwhelming, and even confusing.  If you saw my bathroom it looks like Sephora exploded, which is to say that the options are endless.  How about wedding dress shopping?  I have now successfully found four dresses that look nothing like each other that I really think look beautiful.  Should we even open the spice cabinet or refrigerator?  I think you are getting the picture here.

I am not saying I want to change my love for options-it is a bit of who I am and it brings out the best at times.  Cooking, rocking a smokey eye or bright bold lip, and a new book to read are all great examples of where options are the best!  But, perhaps there is something to finding what you love or enjoy and sticking with that-like a partner in life.  Maybe it’s the adventurer in me that wants to make sure that I am not missing out on something. And just maybe that is okay.

Climate Change-Where to begin?

Climate change may be a hot topic right now at the UN Climate Summit but it is a new topic for me.  I am reading “Before Their Gone…” by Michael Lanza and climate change is a consistent theme throughout the book.  Living in the St. Louis, MO, I am sad to say that this has never been a topic that I have discussed with anyone in any real detail in my 30-plus years.  I am a bit embarrassed by this, partly because I feel so uneducated.  But that will change as I continue to read more and connect with more people.

I was originally drawn to the book because I enjoy the outdoors and the adventure of travel.  Mr. Lanza’s family is often times ambitious in their trips, but I must say there is not one that I would not want to jump on their traveling bandwagon.  As I am reading though I become shocked and saddened as each chapter demonstrates how climate change will eradicate something, whether it is the glaciers, trees, land, etc.  Being new to blogging, I stumbled across a great blog yesterday with an article entitled “Creepers Against Climate”.  It was wonderful being able to reach out to a fellow blogger and share thoughts, and hopefully become more educated.

If you read this and have any good links to share or books please leave a message in the comments.  I look forward to sharing more about this topic as I learn more.  Who knows…maybe I will be a catalyst for education in my own midwestern town 🙂

White. Ivory. Champagne. Blush.

Thankfully, time is on my side and no need to make any decisions today, or tomorrow.  Colors, Beads, Sparkle, Satin, Lace.  The list of options is endless.  Dress store number 4 happened tonight, and I should say I LOVE trying on dresses. Will it ever get old?  Unlikely!  I have never put on these types of gowns, and have never worn anything even close to these beauties!  I know people say you will know when you find your wedding dress.  I have to admit though that tears have nearly surfaced for a variety of gowns, and NONE of them look the same.

I am thankful to have actually found some that I like though.  Being open-minded I have tried on all styles, fabrics, and necklines.  The clear winners are ball gown, A-line, and Sheath dresses.  My first dress that I fell in love with is a gown by Demetrios-1449.  It is a V neck sheath dress that has a high keyhole back, lace and sparkle, and really shines!  I also won a contest awarding me $1000 towards a dress….cha-ching! Then I found Ivonne by Enzoani.  With it’s beautiful illusion neckline and sheer beaded back with full skirt it is just stunning.  I truly feel like a princess, which for the record was never really something I was looking for, but I like it!  Just when I thought I had sorted out that I like having a little bling-bling on the dress, I tried on a silk Atelier Pronovias gown-Kalea.  Add a sparkly belt and voila-magic!

Thankfully, I don’t have to decide today, or tomorrow.  I am so grateful to have my good friend from Paris joining me in a few days in little ‘ol St. Louis.  I know that she will have great feedback, which I welcome with open arms.  Not only that, but I welcome and cherish these opportunities to see her, which at best are once a year.  It is so special to have her coming here and sharing her time with me and my family.  This entire experience is eye-opening…planning a wedding.  The people who matter most are around and the small moments and comments and smiles are something I hope to keep with me forever.  I also look forward to continue to share these experiences with you the reader.  If you have any advice on stories please feel free to share!

Tread Lightly

Today I reached out to a friend that I purposefully have pulled away from.  Why?  Well, honestly, I miss her. My friend started dating a new guy (2.5 years ago) who is a functioning alcoholic, and is now her fiancé.  Needless to say, things changed between us.

Early on in their relationship I mentioned that I was worried for her.  She was partying throughout the week, missing work, and drinking while driving (which is a big NO for me).  I come from a family with a parent that is a recovering alcoholic (20 years) and I have first hand experience of what that can look like.  After I voiced my concern she didn’t talk to me for weeks-yes, it didn’t go over well.

Here is this person who I have cherished as a friend for so long and I am watching her change in a way that is destructive.  Now two and a half years in to the relationship they are engaged, own a house together, and she helps with his two kids.  I am happy for her if she is happy, which she seems to be.

About a year ago I started to pull away from her (* Adult Decisions as my father would call them).  There were a few crazy drunk nights she shared with me:  one involving the kids, one involving someone being arrested, and all involving driving.  After each of these calls, or texts asking me to join them out, I would begin to stress and fret for her and about her wellbeing (and the others on the road).  That’s when I decided this was not a healthy relationship for me to be a part of and I needed some space.

Here I am a year later.  Throughout this time we have exchanged messages and emails and occasional breakfast meetings or gatherings.  It has been 3 months since I have physically seen her.  Am I ready to see her?  Am I ready to start this up again?  I don’t know.  I am willing to see where she is at and how she is doing.  I am also willing to see if anything has changed: for better or worse.

If anyone has been in this scenario and has advice it is much appreciated.  This is unchartered waters for me and I am willing to tread ever so lightly in hope that maybe this friendship can be rekindled.

The View from Above

Having been gone for a few days to Red Rocks, outside of Las Vegas, NV, I return a stronger person.  I have been out hiking, scrambling rocks, and climbing up them.  Last Wednesday I left St. Louis and today I return a different person.  First, I should start with how beautiful the country is there, all the reds and brown striations and black varnish overlay. It is really something to marvel at in amazement, how small I am in comparison and how lucky I am to be in this hot, arid landscape.  Then you see the plant life-yes things actually grow here!  So many cactus varieties, and even some fall wildflowers blooming.  It is funny though, almost everything that grows here is pointy and wants to poke you…lessons learned.  The scrub oak bushes, with all their ten pointy edged leaves, seem to have liked my clothing so much they have made it back to St. Louis 🙂  Another lovely surprise was an actual creek running through one of the gully’s.  I could definitely hear it before I could see it, which was much later after scrambling some rocks to get to the base of our climb on day two.

This blog is about change-so when I say I am different you may wonder what I mean.  The mountains I think always “change” me. I find myself so happy hear, always a bit teary to leave them no matter what range I am visiting.  The real difference this trip though was in the climbing.  I have been climbing indoors for about a year, with one day trip to a local area.  I would call this trip a real outdoor climbing adventure.  Two full days in Red Rocks doing so many things that I have heard of but could not relate to until I was in the actual situation.  The first half of day one were some “easier” climbs-similar to what I have done in a gym setting in the sense of difficulty and type of climbing (single pitch 5.6-5.8 for any climbing buffs out there).  That said it was double the height, 80-90 feet, compared to my gym climbs of 40-50 feet.

At this point I should mention two things: we have an excellent guide, Doug, with American Alpine Institute to lead the way AND my crazy fear of heights.  I remember my first climb in the gym-lets just say there were almost tears!  This fear is something that has occurred as an adult, and after this trip I certainly want to explore how and why this happened, and focus more on moving beyond this fear…but I digress.  Back to the trip.

Second half of day 1 was a climb called Physical Graffiti .  Now I was prepared for an “approach”, which is the hike to the actual base of the climb.  I was not prepared for the uphill scrambling rocks for 40 min battle.  I am a fairly fit person, trying to be more fit, but holy smokes!  By the time we reached the base of the climb I was feeling a little winded!  Then I was promptly reminded that we are at 3500-4000ft above sea level, so I think I will go ahead and push my sucking air on that 🙂  This next climb is going to be 300 plus feet and well beyond my gym climbing experience on so many levels.  For those who climb: it is 3 pitches with hanging belays with some natural pro.  What does this mean for the non climber…imagine climbing something in three segments.  As you climb to each segment instead of having a ledge to stand on you are now anchored in to the wall but hanging and at one point instead of having bolts in the rock our guide had set an anchor with a few pieces of gear.  Safe? Yes.  Terrifying? Yes. Exposed? Yes.  This was new to me and beyond terrifying.  At one point, Doug had to remind me to breathe and then to breathe slowly.  One might say I was having a freak out!  That said, the wall was beautiful.  Lovely colors and holds to cling to, along with a crack, which was also new to me.  This requires a little different technique to climbing-which I wish I could say I mastered but alas I definitely have a lot of room to improve.  We all made it to the top and felt so relived and excited!  I was told this was a hike off climb, meaning that when you get to the top you hike down-which sounded great and not so scary.  FALSE!  When looking down I thought, there is NO WAY we can hike down this, it’s steep and all over the place.  Of course, we made it down, moving slowly and cautiously one foot in front of the other.  When we made it to the bottom I couldn’t believe what I had just accomplished.  I had been so scared-approaching this mountain was petrifying.  My mind had been racing on the way up and throughout of all the things that could go wrong or why I couldn’t do this climb.  At points it weakened me-I know I am a better climber than what I actually did out there that day.  But I DID IT!  I faced the fears, tried new things, all without having to change my drawers, so I would call it a huge success.  Plus there was always the next day and I felt like I was stronger and could tackle the new challenge.  That night I slept about 10 hours-I was physically and mentally exhausted and I knew that I would need that energy for the next day.

The next morning we met Doug at 6AM and the sun was just starting to come up.  It was beautiful driving in and seeing the mountains take on their morning color.  A jackrabbit also made a quick appearance-so cute with its tall ears pointing upwards.  Today our challenge was a classic climb-Cat in the Hat.  It is at least double the height of yesterday-which had me nervous, but I was feeling strong.  The approach was about 45 minutes in and not as killer as the previous day.  It was a bit more flat and in a gully (where the water and greenery were).  Another interesting plant we encountered all over was the manzanita tree with its reddish branches and its rebar-like strength. As we approached I looked up thinking, “WOW”.  Why wow?  Well, Mescalito is massive compared to anything I’ve done-cue fear, wonder at it’s beauty and my smallness, and excitement because we are going up this.  This climb is 6 pitches traditional climbing-meaning we are setting all our own gear and anchors.  I felt great, moved up the first 3 pitches with my confident mindset. Even saw a little hummingbird buzz by checking us out! Then we hit the fourth leg and I got scared….again.  This is when it gets more exposed and I now had to traverse across under a roof and continue upward.  Even though I was nervous, I succeeded.  This was probably my favorite pitch of the climb.  The black varnish is just beautiful.  I thought I had really tested my skills and mental focus.  At this point I was starting to feel a bit drained.

The last legs were the most difficult for me, both mentally and physically. I was getting tired and on the last part there was a new technique I had not encountered much before in my climbing: smearing!  All this means is that you have not as many places for your feet so you plant them and “smear” across the rock.  Not having many hand holds nor foot holds set my head into a really dark place.  I felt scared and exposed and yet there I was 700 feet off the ground making my way to the top, one foot after another.  When I got to the top Doug could see that I was really frightened.  No need for words at that point.  Although I was scared, I made sure to take in the view.  It was magnificent being that high up and really seeing things from a new viewpoint.  I was ready to come down though-thinking maybe this trip had been a bit more aggressive than anticipated.  How did we get down you may wonder?  Oh well we rappelled of course!  Another new and scary technique to learn.  Nothing like leaning back over the rock with the rope (my life!) in my hands slowly lowering myself down.  We had to do this four times in a row-but each time it was easier, and I improved on my technique as I descended.  When we reached the bottom I must admit it was awesome to be on the ground—mostly to get the climbing shoes off!!! If you have never worn them just think about hiking around in shoes too small for 6 hours.  OUCH!  After a quick snack we started our hike out.  We were fortunate to have shade a good part of the day, but the hike out we were unlucky.  It was 90 and sunny….the kind of weather you want for a pool day….which is exactly where we headed when we returned to the hotel.

So why do I feel stronger, different?  Well as I have mentioned before, when I am outside of my comfort zone I am growing.  I didn’t stop or turn around when I was afraid, not that I didn’t think about it.  But I pushed forward.  Part of this was external-Doug was amazing, always making me feel like I could do it and that I was safe.  He provided pointers when I was trying something new and was really professional and comforting even when I was struggling.  The other part was internal-on some level I know that focusing my mind and rising above the fear was the answer.  I knew I didn’t need to be scared, even though I was.  I also knew that in quitting I was succumbing to the fear and I know that would have crushed me.  Moving forward was the best option and because of that I look back on an amazing trip and truly feel like a BadAss, or at least a baby BadAss.  I think about what I accomplished and feel grateful to have had these experiences with a great friend and an awesome guide, or I guess I should say a new friend.  I learned to trust not just the other members of my team, but mostly myself.  When I focused my mind of my movements, my feet and hands, and breathing I was able to power through. Don’t get me wrong, when I think about some of these instances I still feel a little bit of panic, but I know that I did it, so there is nothing to fear. The experience has prompted me to get educated as well-on new climbing techniques, but also on Fear.  Why it sneaks in and how we can overcome it. On this I will be sure to blog more as I learn more.

In the end Red Rocks, NV, inspired me with wonder, beauty, and humility.  I truly look forward to my next climbing adventure at Red Rocks in NV…and to seeing my new friend Doug again!

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group climbing selfie

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Moving Day!

Well it’s official….my fiancé has moved in!   I went to work today with a house that has been just mine for over five years (and Roman’s-my greyhound), and today I returned to a home I now share.  And it is fairly tidy at that for having just moved in…I’m impressed.  Having not really processed what was happening fully I was a bit curious how I would react or feel when I got home.   It feels great 🙂  I am actually feeling really happy, smiling on the inside and outside.  Not sure why I was worried, and really thought it would be fine.  But I guess with something that is such a big step and permanent (I hope) you never really know how you are going to feel I guess.

In actuality the timing is perfect!  Tomorrow I fly out to go rock climbing in Red Rocks outside of Las Vegas and my fiancé goal is to get some of the mess settled and unpacked while I am away.   Priceless!  Truly could not think of a better way for this to go down.  While I am off hanging from cliffs sweating in 100 degree temps loving every minute of it, he will put together our new bedroom furniture I purchased, replace the garage door, and set up the entertainment center in the basement.  Yes, yes he really is prince charming.  Feeling really lucky, grateful, and dare I say it, peaceful.