Sunday, June 30, 2013

Epic Hike

No lie, it was epic.  I discovered my super power (and it is the most annoying super power on the planet), I found some awesome new settings on my camera that did wonderful things to the pictures (but in the process forgot minor little details, like focusing, so some of the pictures were a little less awesome than they could have been), and oh, yeah! I also hiked a little bit.

It all started innocently enough.  I knew I needed to hike (for various reasons, it's been about 2 weeks since I've even been outside much), but I had no plan as to which direction to head or what kind of hike to do.  It wasn't until a friend suggested the wrong kind of hike that I knew what it was that I needed.

The characteristics of a wrong hike:
1) Local- we are very fortunate to have a number of great local hikes.  But what's wrong about it is that I have done a number of them, and when repeat hikes were suggested, I knew I wanted something new.
2) Short- I know I have a skewed view, but I realized I didn't want to get out of bed for less than 8 miles (both suggested hikes were six).
3) Seeing as how both of the above are attractive to a lot of the normal population, they would also both be extremely populated.

I guess I even wanted the drive, that aspect of getting away for a day on a mini vacation. So I did a little research and found one that fit the bill.  It even required me getting a hotel for the night (which is not necessarily a plus, but since I found a decent deal, it wasn't too much of minus).  The two caveats that I had to deal with is that the weather forecast included afternoon thunderstorms (thank goodness, as long as they also include rain!) and that if I wanted really long, I should probably find something with a little less elevation, seeing as how my hiking's been all too limited in the recent weeks.

But I found the perfect hike.  It was LONG, but only 2,500 ft elevation gain, which is not bad when spread out over that many miles.  It had the advantage of 2 waterfalls and 2 lakes along the way, and a stream much of the hike.  Gotta love that as background noise along with the birds singing!  That led to the disadvantage of mosquitos, but that's okay, because it kept me a little more goal oriented so I didn't stop and take quite as many pictures as usual.

As I said, I found some new features on my camera.  They've been there all along, but I didn't bother to dig any deeper, so I haven't gotten to use any of them.  When I was at the hotel, I was trying to figure out  the right settings for the white balance filter (which I forgot to try at the appropriate time, because I'm a genius like that).  I found that AND I found a couple of other things.  So, messing around at the hotel, I found that this:
A mess on an end table with bad lighting
Becomes this:
I don't know, it's still a mess, but it almost looks like something.  Or I'm still on a high from thin air and hiking.
And I found a few other things as well, which were more useful on the hike.

I was at the trailhead before six, which is the only proper time to begin a hike, and especially an epic one.  You know it's going to be a good day when you start off with this in the first mile:

I'm very excited about this particular picture, because it is the type of picture that has plagued me when it comes to lighting, in that I will see it, but can't capture it. Thank goodness for playing around with more of my camera's capabilities!

Before mile 2, I had also gotten to see both of these waterfalls:

Now, I don't want you to think that it's all fun and games on these hikes.

Sometimes there's poop, too.  Just keeping it real for you.
I would like to take a moment to thank the mosquitoes. Not words that I usually use, but here's the thing.  The wildflowers were blooming, and that's usually a huge distraction for me.  They were beautiful, but because the mosquitoes kept me moving, I didn't take any flower pictures.

Well, except this one.  I didn't take any of the kinds I already have pictures of.
But I'm not being sarcastic about the mosquitoes!  Really.  Because normally I would have taken so much time with taking pictures of the flowers, that I wouldn't have made it to the lakes so early in the day.  And there is a magical time of the morning before the breeze picks up and the light is at a perfect angle for reflections.  And you can never, ever, have too many pictures of reflections in lakes.  Not possible.

Only a little fuzzy.  Here's the thing, if you choose to use manual focus, then actually remember to focus the dumb thing. This has been your photography PSA.
As you can see, there are some clouds starting to build, even at that time of morning.  There were actually some darker ones to the right of the picture.  I had also gotten sprinkled on by that point.  (I had to stop to figure out what the strange noise was that I was hearing.  Both because I didn't initially feel any sprinkles, and because it'd been so long since I'd heard such a sound.)  See, the goal here was to make it to the end of the hike before it started to rain or thunder.  Because once that happens, you have to turn around (or you should, though most people keep heading up the mountain as if the sun is shining and there's no possible way that THEY could ever get struck by lightening).  And if you're already on your way down, then you just have to keep going; and you didn't have to miss out on your destination.  I'm pretty sure there's something a little wrong with that logic, but I was working too hard to get to the second lake before any of the fun started to spend much time figuring it out.

I have this theory that if dandelions are by a mountain stream by a bridge that they count as a wildflower and not a weed.  Thoughts?
This is where I started to get really excited, because I guessed that I was almost to my final destination.
Yep!  There it is!
Again with the clouds.  I did get to spend some time enjoying the lake, but there were still a lot of mosquitoes, and I didn't want to be too exposed when the rain did finally decide to start (or rather, the lightening, since you can see there wasn't a lot of cover by the lake), so I wasn't there for a long time. Worth every step, though.

Now, there's something that you have to know about me and hiking.  I overpack.  It's kind of an illness.  Because I'm high maintenance, primarily, but also because if something happens, I'm probably one of the ones that gets to spend extra time on the mountain (because I know a little more about first aid than most).  This hike, I also added that I wanted to do some training, so I added a little more water than I technically needed as well.  Plus, I wanted room in my bag for my big a** camera if it started to rain.

You hear all the over justifications here?  It's because I sometimes feel a little silly about my big, huge backpack when some people do the same hike with a fanny pack.  (Granted, those are mostly inexperienced hikers who do not have enough stuff, but the experienced hikers do it with way less than I do as well).

Anyway, as part of my high maintenance, I have rain gear.  Because I detest being wet.  Now, if it just sprinkles, leave the gear in the bag.  You'll dry fast enough.  Well, this particular hike once I hit the way down, it could not decide what to do.  It would sprinkle, then it would start to rain for real (and throw in some tiny hail for the fun of it), then it would stop.  Then it would start.  I could NOT figure out what I wanted to wear!  Do I wear the rain gear? Because if it's not raining for real, it's hot and it looks funny. Or not?  But if I don't and it starts raining too hard before I get it on, I get soaked, and walk a long way soaked.  I hate being soaked.

Finally, I put on the pants, and then it started raining for real, so I grabbed the jacket as well.  Now, the pants are too hard to take on and off, so I'd leave them on and unzip the sides.  You think I'm over thinking how silly I look?  I'm over thinking a lot, but not that.  This conversation happened:

Random hiker: "Catch anything?"

Huh? What?

Me (still confused, but rolling with it): "Nope."

Him: "That's too bad."

By this time, we'd passed each other, so I was left on my own to consider the fact that it wasn't too bad because I wasn't trying to fish and don't want to fish because I might catch something slimy and wiggly and slippery and then have to touch it and what in the world made him think that I was fishing, anyway?  Oh.  He thought my pants were waders.  Yeah.  So much for trying to tell myself that no one would pay too much attention to what I was wearing.

Then there was the rain jacket issue.  Here is where my super power comes in.  If I put the rain jacket on, the rain was guaranteed to slow or stop within minutes.  But if I took it off, it wouldn't be long before it was raining for real, the big drops.  I would have been much faster coming down if I hadn't spent so much time futzing around with my jacket.  On, off, on but unzipped, back off, etc.

And so, epic distances, rain, hail, thunder, stupid super powers and definitely epic views.  This was one of those hikes that left me sore, but the soreness made me happy.  Because if your legs aren't sore and you don't have a blister or two, you didn't go far enough.

And since you made it this far in the post, I saved the best for last.

The sun came out for a minute!

Friday, June 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)

1) It is amazing how lovely it is to decide that you're hungry, and then just go eat.  And you're body is happy that you've listened and eaten, instead of still hungry because you didn't eat much but also a little annoyed that you ate at all.  Also fantastic is to be upright for a whole entire day and not be tired.  And even though my workouts are a little pathetic, I'm working out again and that feels fantastic as well. I'm very excited about these things right now. Seriously, I was only sick for a couple of days, but I'm really appreciating the not being sick!

2) When I told someone that I probably had given myself food poisoning, they were all, "You gave yourself food poisoning?!?!?!!!!" And I was all, "Ye-, mayb-, uhhh". Didn't come out as quite the smart retort that I was going for. It's not like I did it on purpose. Sheesh, did they think I seasoned my food with bacteria for the fun of it?

I know my initial answer above pretty much clears it all up, but I might want to add a little here.  I wanted to go with "maybe", but I'd only eaten my own cooking all weekend, which means that it was my fault, all the way. Or the recipe's fault.  Yeah, that's it! Blame the recipe.  I was making a recipe in the crockpot that called for cooking on low.  I rarely do that because I never trust it to get things hot enough to kill all the little buggers in meats.  But on this day, I said to myself, "Surely the recipe knows what it is calling for and wouldn't call for a low cooking temperature if it wasn't enough to fully cook things."  So I followed the recipe.  Yep, that is the last time I ever use the low setting of a crockpot! (Unless there's no meat involved.  Then who cares?)

Also, I may have started overcooking every meat or seafood I've eaten this week. Don't bring steak to my house right now, unless you're reconciled to no pink and who cares if it's dry as dust!

3) While I do not recommend the food poisoning diet plan, I will say that the scale was the lowest I have seen it in a LONG time.  Now, it was almost there before the incident, but there was this barrier that the scale would not pass.  It would laugh at me.  And then my weight would go back up a few pounds (or sometimes 10). And then it might get close and taunt me again, and then it would go back up. For- literally*- years. I don't know if the below barrier weight will last for long, but I saw below the barrier for a couple of days anyway!  (Though I can't lose too much more, because even though they say you can't spot lose fat, I swear it all comes off one spot on me... My chest. And it's not like I've ever had a ton to spare there! The butt, she is still there. Always.) But if I could make it just two more pounds down, I could tie my lowest adult weight ever.  The last time that happened? Junior in college. So, while I am not actively working on losing weight, I'd like to try that weight on for size again and see what I think. But if I lose 4 or 5 more pounds, I think I'm going to celebrate with ice cream. (Non-dairy, though. And hope that I spot gain weight, too!)

Side note: You want to know another way that I lost a couple of pounds this week? I got to go to confession.  It was one of those times that I really, really needed it. Dang! I love being Catholic! Of course, those didn't show up on the scale, but my feet were definitely lighter on the way out!

4) In other (not) interesting news, I have been stuck with a disc of Downton Abbey at my house from Netflix for weeks.  For no other reason than I watch what I'm in the mood for, and I'm not in the mood for DA, and I am in the mood for West Wing and Parks and Recreation.  (I'm pretty sure the fact that Rob Lowe is in both of those is just a coincidence; I think he's a good actor that I enjoy watching, but it's not like I seek his stuff out.)  Perhaps my DA issue is because I know of deaths that happen. And as long as I don't watch, the characters are still alive.  So... I will never finish Season 3 and they will live forever. (Except I will, because how could I not?)

5) Thanks so much for your awesome comments on this post. I wasn't considering getting rid of the blog anyway, but now I'm REALLY not considering it.  I'm definitely not looking for lots of deep and profound new posts to write.  When they happen, great, but I can't really plan those. Not to worry, because I also like to deal in inanity and fluff (Exhibit A: this post), and maybe a return to writing a little more about what the Catholic Church teaches.  I miss writing/talking about that stuff. I like a mix.

6) So... The whole feed reader situation... I'm really behind on all that.  I don't use a feed reader.  I follow blogs through my dashboard.  But EVERYone who is anyone has buttons and stuff for Bloglovin'.  I don't need one just to feel like one of the cool kids ('cause ain't no amount of buttons that can make that happen), but is it something that I have to get in order for other people to be able to follow my blog on Bloglovin' if that's what they want to do?  If it is, let me know. If that's what you want, it's no skin off my nose to take care of that.  Otherwise, I'll continue on my oblivious way as feed readers come and feed readers go.

7) Is it a cop out to post a picture every time?  If it is, I'll own it and happily continue my cop out ways.  I'm hoping to get some new stuff this weekend.  (I got a new white balance filter, which is kind of dumb because I barely know how to run my camera as it is.  But it was cheap and could be interesting.) But for now, let's go with this.
The Bells.

Have a wonderful weekend and head over to Jen's for more QT's!

*TOTALLY hear Chris Traeger in my head with that word and it cracks me up.  Man, I love Parks and Recreation.  One of the few comedies that- literally- has me laughing out loud.  I don't think even Big Bang Theory makes me actually laugh as much, though I think both shows are hilarious.  I'm usually just amused without laughing. If you're not familiar, watch the first 10-15 seconds of this video, and you'll get the inflection (but I'm not sure if it's that funny if you don't know the characters and what's going on.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


You know, marriage was not redefined today.  There are two very important reasons for this.  One is that marriage cannot be redefined any more than the law of gravity can be redefined.  These are things that can be described, but not changed because we find that they do not suit us.  We can redefine different types of relationships, we can assign various legal statuses (stati?) to relationships, but marriage is not something that we get to make up what it is or is not.

Yep.  I know about the many variations of things that have been called marriage throughout the years.  But I never considered those true marriage either.  Don't worry, I'm equal opportunity in my judgements of these variations throughout history.  If it's not between one man and one woman for the purpose of unity and the potential for new life, then it is a distortion of the real thing, not the real thing.
Now, in many of these various variations, there is very real love.  It may have some things that are not completely rightly ordered, but it is real nonetheless.  If the feelings themselves were what made marriage a reality, then I would not be writing this post, but an entirely different one.

The other reason that marriage was not redefined today is that it was redefined many years ago.  If sex is a must whenever, with whomever, then marriage is redefined.  If marriage can be sterilized temporarily or permanently by the will of the couple, marriage is redefined. If children can be had by whatever means science allows, marriage is redefined. If marriage can be entered into and left as many times as a person so desires with (presumably) different people each time, marriage is redefined.  If marriage is all and only about feelings, then all of these things become necessary as feelings change.  And if it's all about feelings, then the millions of people that have such deep feelings for their same sex partners should, indeed, be allowed to marry. Either none of these things apply to marriage, or they all do.  You can't pick and choose.

Here's the thing.  If you want me to change my views about marriage, don't try to tell me what great people gay people are.  I know a lot of fantastic people who are gay.  I'll agree with you after zero argument. Don't try to tell me that people of the same sex can love each other with deep and lasting devotion.  I know.  I've seen it.  Don't try to convince me what awesome parents two same sex parents can be.  I already believe you.  I already know that to be true.  That is not why I object.

If you want to convince me that gay marriage should be fully recognized and that it is in no way different than two heterosexuals being married, then what you have to convince me is that sex is about love and pleasure- and nothing else-, and that procreation is to be decided in whatever way a couple sees fit, whether that means keeping it from happening via any number of different methods or whether it means having children in any way science can come up with, even without sex. That is what would get me to leave the Catholic Church and join the 21st century. Until then, I will stand with that which never changes, yet is always new, that which calls us to a higher love, even when that requires a greater sacrifice than we can possibly fathom.

I'm honestly not sure if there is a huge loss with DOMA repealed.  The fact that DOMA existed in the first place means that there was already a fundamental redefinition going on in the minds and hearts of the country, or there would have been no need to try to stop the redefinition with DOMA. Further, if the repeal of DOMA leads to less hatred and greater protections for families with same sex unions (in terms of medical/legal rights, etc), then I don't object to that part of it.  As for the "redefinition of marriage" aspect, that's already been done and can't be done as explained before.  The redefinition that really concerns me is that my view on this can now redefine me as a bigot and a hater.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Minor Existential Crisis

I've been looking back an recent blog posts...

Okay, that's a lie, I haven't been because I would find that too depressing.  There are a couple of posts that I liked, but not too many.  I find that I don't know what to write, exactly.  And what I do write, I don't love.  One was bad enough recently that I took it down out of frustration of not being able to express what I was trying to express. I think the blog is having a bit of an existential crisis in terms of what to say and where to go with it.

I find that part of the problem comes from a bit of an existential crisis of my own.  When I say that I am in a different place of being able to surrender and enjoy my life as it is, that is true.  As I heard it put recently, kicking against the truth (against what is) just gives you a bruised foot.  My toes are feeling better, thank you, but where does that leave me?  What can I do and what should I do to make the world a better place? This isn't some sort of cry for help or frustration.  I'm just truly looking for those answers.  Really, how do I get past my selfishness and live in this moment the best possible way that I can?

I got nothing.

I suppose that's part of the reason that I have nothing to write about and so settle for crap.  I have come up with and rejected several solutions.

1. Delete the blog.
        -Pro: Gets rid of a lot of embarrassing stuff.  I'm not talking about embarrassing things that I wish I hadn't told you about (frankly, I don't really care because I find embarrassing stories kind of fun to share and laugh at).  I'm talking about a lot of poorly written stuff and repetitive and boring stuff that possibly didn't even seem like a good idea at the time, but I just decided to blather on about it anyway.
        -Con: Gets rid of a lot of stuff that I really enjoyed writing and am glad to have written.

Pros and cons are moot in this case anyway.  There's no way I would delete the blog at this point in my life.  I'm too attached to having a place to go and people that are supportive, no matter what I'm spouting, even (and maybe especially) if the answer is to get over myself.

2. Delete some of the posts that I don't like.
    -Pro: See above.
    -Con: Way too lazy for that crap. Besides, it's hard to define what I don't like.  It depends on what mood I'm in.

3. Find a direction for this blog.
   -Pro: Gives me a certain focus to maybe generate some quality content.
   -Con: This blog really is an outlet for wherever my brain is headed at a given moment.  Forcing a focus could potentially kill the blog altogether.  And if focus didn't kill it, the pressure for quality content would!

I think that the only answer of what to do for the blog is the answer that is always true when I'm having blog issues.  Just freaking write some stuff.  I'm thinking for the month of July, I may have to try to write something three times per week and limit it to no more than one link up per week.

As to my whining yesterday, thanks for all the well wishes!  I do feel much better today, though my body is quite confused.  Because on the one hand, it's ridiculously hungry.  On the other hand, it's still protesting a touch at food. But overall, I feel SO much better.  I sort of contemplated going to work this morning because I was feeling better, but that's only because I hate calling in sick.  Also because the contrast between yesterday and today was so great, I was fooled into thinking that I was all better. As I slept in and napped and rested and drank fluids and started to catch up on eating, I realized that calling in was definitely the right thing to do and I'll be much better off when I go to work tomorrow.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

'Cuz Whiners Gotta Whine

Well, I think I get the day off tomorrow.  Not for anything fun.  I think I have food poisoning.  All I know is that it's been a looong 24 hours.  I really got off easy compared to some.  The worst was last night, and today is more just fever and achiness.  I have currently been up for almost 30 minutes, which is a record for me.  Earlier this afternoon, I was sitting up for 20 minutes, and then took an hour nap.

Here's the thing, I have been extremely fortunate and hadn't had any kind of a stomach bug in almost 20 years.  I forgot how much it hurts.  I was so melodramatic as to lie on my couch and moan and groan last night.  I live alone, so I can get away with those kinds of theatrics. I didn't even mind having to pay homage to the porcelain god, because it took the edge off the pain, so I was all for it.

The point of bringing this all up (besides the fact that I'm bored, and that I like to fill you in on waaay more than you ever wanted to know) is to salute moms.  I was thinking at one point yesterday when I couldn't even stand up straight "Holy crap!  What if I had to take care of kids right now, and what if they were puking their guts out ALL over the place?"  And so I was instantly convinced that I live a life of ease and comfort because I have the luxury of just being sick when I'm sick.

Believe me, if I had the opportunity to be sick while taking care of my sick kids, I would do it in a heartbeat.  Would I just be grateful to have the opportunity to have a family with all that entails?  HEELLLL, no. I could do it, and it would be well worth it, but it would still suck.  Also? Good reason not to purposely seek single parenthood.

Anyway, moms, I salute you.  Because even when you have a helpful, supportive husband, you're still a mom even when you're sick.

And now I'm going to see if I can eat a little rice.  My first meal of the day, and not so much in keeping with paleo, but it's the only thing I have that sounds even a little possible, and I should probably try to eat something.

Also, please pray for rain in the West.  There are fires everywhere, some are threatening entire towns, and many people have lost everything. Makes a little bug seem pretty minor in comparison.

Friday, June 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday: Obsession Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)
Many of you know that there is stuff going on here, but there is stuff going on everywhere.  I choose to avoid the stuff for this post and focus on my current mundane and inane obsessions instead.

1) I'm sort of becoming that annoying health nut.  I mean, it's been a long slow process and I was not overly healthy there for a while, so I didn't recognize it.  But I am currently obsessed with whole foods. Not the grocery store chain, but the kinds of foods that you buy that don't have all the ingredients and nutrient labels because they are an apple or a hunk of meat.  Those things that do have ingredient lists are the ones that I only want to see a couple of ingredients.  It is to the point that I walk up and down the aisles of a grocery store and see few things that appeal to me as something that I would want to eat. Obnoxious?  Yes, most definitely.  But the way that I feel when I eat this way reinforces the behavior.  Also the scale reinforces the behavior.

2) Bacon.  Yep.  I know it's not the first thing that we all think of when we think of healthy eating.  In fact, I do not claim that it is healthy. Nor do I claim to be consistent.  All I can tell you is that I am obsessed with it and loving it and I don't feel crappy when I eat it, so I probably won't stop right away.  Of course, because of #1 it has to be all preservative free and nitrate free.

3) Because of the stuff going on, I turned to comfort food earlier this week.  The junk foods of choice? Sweet potato chips and a couple of peanut butter chocolate chip La.rabar (which is a fruit and nut bar).  All organic, of course.  I got it home and shook my head because it's neither respectable junk food nor health food.  It was good, though.  And it's better than other things that I could be stress eating.

4) Pine nuts.  Oh my goodness.  I have never had these before and they are so amazing.  They are expensive and they are fatty (17g of fat per ounce!), but they are SO tasty.  I toast them up in a dry skillet and then eat them on greens with a bit of raspberry vinaigrette. YUM!  Of course, I try to use them sparingly both due to economic and calorie cost.

5) Freezing blended fruits.  It's so nice to have something cold to eat when it's hot.  I like to throw some berries and a banana in the blender along with a bit of baby spinach and freeze it.  My new and most dangerous one is bananas with cocoa and almond butter.

So, let's see.  I think I'm being healthy, but I'm obsessed with fatty and sweet things.  I mean, that much fruit is a LOT of sugar, even though it's the kind I'm okay with (no processed sugar or added sugar).  I guess that makes me an extra obnoxious health nut as I am also hypocritical.

6) I am obsessed with other things besides food.  I am also obsessed with Parks and Recreation right now.  It cracks me up! The Chris guy?  (I think that's his name, the one played by Rob Lowe. ) Cracks me up, and totally the kind of obnoxious health nut that I'm talking about.

7) Okay, you've made it through that most boring of QT's, so I feel that I should see if I can find a picture rather than subject you to another take.

Sunrise; also an obsession for me.

There you go.  Have a great one and head over to Jen's for more (and better!) QT's!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

WIWS and Other Stories

What I Wore Sunday linkup
I had so much fun the other week joining up with the ladies at FLAP that I thought I'd join up again.  There is no way this will be a weekly thing for me.  As many of you saw on fb, the week after the first photo, I was visiting my family and wore the exact same outfit the next week to church.  Hey, it was new to them.  My point being that there are a lot of repeats in my outfits, and some outfits aren't much to write home about on the first peat.  So, I'll join up here and there when I can. I will say that one of the reasons that I like this meme is that it gives us all an excuse to make Sunday a little special in terms of what we're wearing and doing.  The last couple of weeks have emphasized for me that a lot of people ignore any hint that Sunday is a day for anything besides continuing their crazy schedules.  For some of us, there is still more to it than that.

The good news about not joining up every week is that I don't have to go through the ordeal of trying to get a self portrait every week!  Good grief, what a pain!  This one is an especially lovely torso shot because I didn't get my feet in the first few pictures, and then the pictures kept getting worse instead of better and I eventually had to throw in the towel.  For the feet, just imagine flat feet in fairly plain brown flip flops.

Okay, so here it is.

For extra creepiness, cut off both the head AND the feet.
I think the sweater and the skirt are from Anne Taylor Loft and the shirt is from New York and Company.

Now, I was disappointed that the feet wouldn't show (but not disappointed enough to keep going with the self portrait madness), because we need to have a discussion about the footwear.  I figured that wedges would have looked cute with this outfit, but when I went to pull out my wedges, I couldn't find them anywhere.  Who even knows what happened to them?  The point of all this being is that I do like cute shoes, but maybe not as much as the next girl.  Which is not to say that I don't care about shoes, but my primary concerns seem to run a little different direction. 

Here's what I mean.

In which I prove that hiking shoes can be water shoes, too, provided you walk in the water with them.
Both hiking shoes and hiking boots are a big part of my footwear wardrobe.  And, yes, I have a pair of each.  The shoes are more comfortable and are great for shorter, lower hikes while the boots are more necessary for higher altitudes, longer treks, rockier terrain and the possibility of snow.

Yay, pink!
These are my newest acquisition.  I haven't had new running shoes in 5-7 years.  Yes, I know that's horrible for your feet to run in old shoes, but no worries!  I didn't actually run in them most of the time.  As soon as I decided that maybe I would like to to a little more running, I got new shoes.  Wanna hear a story about these shoes? (Probably not, but if you made it this far, you may be bored enough to continue anyway.) I wanted to try more of the minimalist approach, but I have very flat feet, y'all.  Plus, we're throwing an attempt to get back to a mild amount of running while pushing my feet to something new and different.  I would like to decrease my knee pain while running, not add to it.  And that is a definite risk when dealing with shoes that have decreased support.

So, I prayed before I shopped.  Yes, about shoes.  I don't mind spending some money for a decent pair, but I don't want to spend money for a good pair of shoes that are horrible for my feet.  I went to the running store and explained exactly my dilemma, and they thought I should try this in between shoe. It has more support than some, but still is moving toward the minimalist construction.  This was the first shoe he pointed out, and I knew it was the one for me because, hello! Pink.  Not that I would tend to say that I am a "pink" person, but maybe I am because I saw them and I loved them.  Then I bought them, and I wore them, and it seems to be good.  I will say that after wearing these for a few hours and then changing into my hiking shoes, I could definitely notice the increased impact on my body with the regular shoes.

Then of course there are these.

No idea why my friend took a picture of my feet in this case, but it works for this post!
I love my rock shoes! Now, it is true that rock shoes are not really made for standing on a rock like this, but I remember that I was having a heck of a time getting off the ground in this situation.  Anyway, I love my rock shoes.  They are for climbing, and it hurts to walk in them, but they're great when you're on the wall.

All this to explain that when I say I don't care about shoes, what I mean is that I don't care (that much) about cute shoes that also hurt my feet.  But there are definitely shoes that I care about!

Okay, that's more than you wanted to know about my clothing and footwear. So let's talk about food.  As much as it's a pain to cook and plan for eating well, I'm LOVING the results.  It's so worth it in how I feel, and it only took me a week and a half to recover on the scale from my trip back to the Midwest.  That's way better than a month and a half, like usual!  And it tastes good, too.  Breakfast today was banana walnut pancakes and bacon (bacon often makes an appearance).  I would have taken a picture, but 1) there wasn't much to see and 2) I was eating it all too fast.

Can I just say I'm so glad it's Sunday?  I have needed a rest day for a couple of weeks, and my Sundays kept getting filled up.  Today has been so lovely and restful.  Yesterday was fun, too.  Went out camping with some friends and realized that I may come to like camping yet.  Especially when it's combined with spectacular views, beautiful wildflowers and some fun on the rocks.

I wanted to do more of an update about what I've been up to the last couple of weeks, but I'm going to forego that so that I can head to Adoration for a bit.  I haven't had much time for that in the last little bit either, and I need it, and there are a lot of people that I am praying for.  I will also be praying for anyone who happens to stop by and read this post.  This means you!

I agree, there should be a few more photos to finish this up.

Just two of the many, many varieties of wildflowers in bloom this weekend.  I love spring/summer!

Not a bad view out your back door; almost worth the fact that the back door is a zippered flap.

Oh, yeah! Putting the rock shoes to good use!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Most Unexpected Consequence of Surrender

I still can't believe how much my life has changed in just 3 years.  I still can't believe I left a job I thought I would stay with forever, or the absolute most wonderful friends ever, or my family, or the state that I grew up in (and I can't believe how much I still miss them all).  I can't believe how much my new job has challenged me to new levels as a physical therapist.  I can't believe I do the things I do out here. It's strange to realize that only 2 years ago, I was the newest and shakiest of rock climbers, and refused to agree with the statement that I was a climber.  I would tell people that just because I climbed a couple of routes a couple of times did not make me a climber (and I was dead right).  Now I say "I'm a climber" with the conviction of someone that knows it's true.  I still can't believe that I get to look at my mountains every day and breathe the pine scent every day and stare up at the awesome blue sky every most days.  I'm coming up on three years at my job, but I'm also coming up on about a year of another important anniversary.

I don't remember the exact date, but I do know it was about this same time last year.  I distinctly remember going to church and finally being so tired of everything to do with being single and not being the wife and mother that I have felt so called to be, and tired of the pain that would never go away.  I had prayed and prayed for God to either send the right one for me to be married to or to take away the pain of being single so that I would be okay with it.  I finally realized neither was going to happen, so I prayed a prayer that was not planned or beautiful or anything.  It just was.  And that prayer was something like, "Okay, God. Fine. Whatever." Fine, you want me to be single and in pain, so be it.  Whatever.

The pain did not go away then.  Not at all.  But surrendering to the pain was okay.  The weight was lifted.  Perhaps it didn't have to be fixed and I wasn't doing something wrong by not being fully okay with my state in life and the lack of what I still believe to be my primary vocation.  I didn't have to know how or when or if it would change.  I didn't have to be okay.  I just had to be, and to be in this moment.

However, over a couple of months the pain started to lift.  It was kind of like a cloudy day that finally started breaking away.  First there were patches without the constant ache, and soon those were only a few, until I rarely notice that anymore.  It happens occasionally, and I still remember one particularly bad night a few months ago.  But mostly?  Not so much. (Though when those moments happen, I am sure to regale you with all the whining and moaning about it on ye olde blog here.)

The strangest thing is that- and clearly something is wrong with this- I kind of miss the pain.  Okay, let me explain before you start calling to make reservations for me in a padded room somewhere.  It's not that I wanted to hurt.  It's that I wondered if not hurting meant that I cared less, or that I wanted to share my life less, or that I really was okay with being single. That and pain was familiar and I kind of knew what to do with it.  Suddenly I didn't have to steel myself every time I opened fb, or talked with my friends about their kids.  Okay, I don't always have to steel myself.  Sometimes I do, and sometimes going to baptisms of friends' kids is tough, or whatever other event you care to mention.  But it's a whole helluva lot easier than it was.

I have come to this.  I'm still not "okay" with being single on a certain level.  Somewhere, deep down, it still doesn't feel quite right.  I'm still not okay with the fact that another birthday is approaching and that each year single is a further decrease in the potential for children, and particularly for the big family I'd always hoped for. But letting go of all of it, including the pain, does not mean that having a husband and children matter less.  All it means is that I am letting go of control, and am focusing on living my story as it is now rather than worrying about what will be or may be or may not be.  It is freedom not to compare my story with anyone else's. It is freedom to live my story and all that it is, with all of the things in it that I still can't believe.  It's the freedom to write sappy blog posts for the whole internet to read, though you all also have the freedom to skip it.

I know for a fact that there will still be painful moments, and it wouldn't surprise me if the pain comes back to stay for a while.  It might or it might not.