Friday, June 21, 2013

Fireflies and Sunsets

I am so surprised by my visit home! I can't remember the last time I ran into someone from my high school. Yes, I grew up in a small town and everybody know my mom. I've come home for holidays primarily to see family. Last night, my little family and a I (minus Adam) went to the music in the park for Logan-Jenkins Band. And they played some awesome songs. I have to give them credit for being awesome themselves too. Warren Haynes, OCMS, Cash, and their own songs too- it was stellar. I recorded a song that I plan on posting FB because it is a true southern boys' heart felt song. Lyrics that pull at the heart strings- it was so good! And a nice time to see old friends from school- people that are dear to my heart even though I don't see them often. Today is the Summer Solstice and it means that every day gets shorter from here on out. It also reminds me that I should look around and enjoy the view. Last night we had a spectacular sunset outside my mom's back door and fireflies abundant. They lit up the meadow filled with rolled hay bales. Their flicker is just mesmerizing and the sudns that fill the air seem beautifully orchestrated. It was a good warm night with a huge waxing moon rising to the East. I smiled and thought of my husband- we love looking at La Luna. We've been apart a week now and I miss him! He's working hard in this heat, making himself meals, and calling us when possible. I know he would have loved the live music and I would have liked to have him in my little town to see our girl dance and play the way I used to. She wanted to dance as we love dance parties, but I have to admit it wasn't the same with out my dance partner, Adam. We still did dance, but it made me miss dancing with him. And under the sweet Southern sunset would have made it even more memorable. Anyway, I love seeing people doing well, and these fellas (Logan-Jenkins Band) that played last night- they are going to do well. i'm glad I could witness them in their early stages!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Luxury Life

I call it luxury because I have tan. I get to rest and cook as I please. We are having fun just playing. My sister and I have been bonding and working on other projects that I will share later. Today my sister and I made a day of a swimming outing. She had Vacation Bible School and I made a picnic lunch to go. We had fruit, BBQ chicken and bisuits, chips and drinks. It reminded me of growing up and being at the pool with other kids who spent all day there. We didn't do that since my mom worked full time though. But,today, I got to be the cool mom with food and snacks. It may not happen often since I'll got back to work but for one day I was! We also used the invention of floaties too and my little girl is a swimmer! She's seemingly been pretty acclimated to the pool since we were members of Maplewood pool last summer. My little family and I would ride almost dailyto the pool on the bike and swim. We have a nice wave area and big slides. It was a memorable summer of 108 degree weather. And the bike ride was work- the reward was the pool. And then, we would ride home. What I love though, and miss now while write about it, is biking through downtown Maplewood. Cute little shops and restaurants, people watching, and the feel of a small town. I recommend driving through it and sampling Schafly's Brewery and Foundation Grounds for coffee. Other stores that I love included on the strip are Vom Fass, Penzey's Spices, and Cacao Chocolate. It's a lovely area. Back to my point, it is a luxury to have things available like pools and specialty shops. It's a luxury to play with my child. And I'm soaking it up. We are playing in swings, riding see-saws, sliding slides, and swimming- passing away the dog days of summer. It's such an life to be able to have this chance to live the luxury life. We are headed to the Somerville Sqaure for music in the park- and the band members are fellas I grew up with in elementary school. And since I love live music, I'm in. I'm going to enjoy this night.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


A very wise friend would say: "Your family is where you came from, your home is where you came from, but it's all about where you go." And as I grow up, it rings true.I do love my home- its southern. There's the people who'll always know your name. And those people who never forget you, no matter how long you are gone. It's always home, and this time around it is refreshing.

 I can get pretty nostalagic- the road I drove home during my high school years looks exactly the same. The back yard at my house is lush and green. The fields high with corn remind me of what summer really looks like. It even makes me want to walk down to the lagoon near the country club to go swim. A childhood friend of mine that passed spent many hours there. The trees are oak and big. The warm winds blow and never cool off. It's cliche to say that the tea is sweet, and the people are sweeter. It just never leaves me, and I carry pieces of my home with.        me where ever I go. I love it- to be southern is to be blessed. Blessed in social graces of yes ma'ams- blessed in the gift of hospitality- and blessed in the thought of living close to the Earth. Now I can't say that midwesterners or coast dwellers don't have the same feeling, but I know we do it with flair. It's just that talk- the twang and the slow speed. I just love it. It makes me miss my accent cause it's faded a bit. I hope it returns with this visit. Have you seen big rolled hay bales? Oh man. I have a weakness for them. And open air churches? And old barns?

 I'm home.

We went for a drive today- listlessly for once. We drove down Raleigh-LaGrange road. It's beautiful. Big white stately homes line the road. Farm land abundant. We drove to LaGrange which holds a special place in my heart. My granddaddy is buried at the cemetery there. It's been a long time since I'd driven through but we did today. It's so old and unique. It's also an official arboretum. Trees so big around and loving the good untouched soil. It was a nice spot to remember him- especially since I recently wrote of him and it was published in the 2013 National Field Trial Review.

So I came full circle- I see it. I've been traveling a good while now and it always means more when you have family to love. Remember your home and keep carrying on.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Walking in Memphis

It's been a long week. It's been a great one though.
We left Jamestown, ND and camped in Iowa. We camped out in 78 degree weather, watched a glorious sunset... slept under huge ancient Aspens. We flew our kite by sunset- we ate steak by candlelight. We had another lovely camping spot at Lewis and Clark State Park.  It was a clear night so we star gazed with Ryan on a blanket, and told stories about mythology. It was pretty memorable.

Then, we made it to St. Louis. We saw our house really quickly. Adam and I had a sushi date, and after a month of being away- we left again. Ryan and I are in Tennessee and we're loving it. We had fathers day with my dad, and we called sweet daddy Adam in Texarkana. It's hard to be away, but it will be a good reunion.

Ryan and I have been swimming and we've seen my side of the family. We had a cookout and I made asparagus "green machine" risotto. It was pretty good. We saw my cousins and my uncle... some dear close friends and we fellowshiped as good friends do.

It's raining today, so we've read lots of stories: Miss Rumphius which is now one of my very favorite and Three Billy Goats Gruff. And the poem Wykin, Blyinkin, and Nod.

We have had some good family time, and I'm hoping we work out our plans for the next week. It'll be good either way.

Here's a quick update... sorry there's not more exciting yet!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Jamestown, North Dakota

We've been here two full days, and today is the first time I've ventured out and about. We didn't hike though, but, it's on my list for this afternoon or evening if I can swing it.

We've had a bit of housekeeping today since we arrived. I forgot to pay a bill at home before we left, so I did that. I had to wash clothes again- at a laundromat. And, it was awesome compared to Rapid City. It was called Rainbow, and it was a laundromat/tanning salon. We had wifi and the staff was really attentive and kind.

Adam's been working lots of hours, but last night, we helped him. It was pretty fun! One of the best things was a dance party in the hallway of a vacant hotel to Neon Trees song "Everybody Talks." Which I happen to love. It's pretty happy- got some good beats and lyrics. Ryan loved it. Mom and Dad bouncing around dancing-- being free and happy. It was a moment.

My job was to put hardware on doors i.e. hinges. So I used my powertool knowledge and we got to work. I'm pretty sure we made a lot of progress, and that helps us. Adam and I make a pretty good team, and tonight, we might help him with a few other small jobs. I'm his help partner, and I want to be active in this decision we made. I am Ryan's mom, the cook, the organizer, and the planner. I try to be supportive and thankful for a sweet husband that wants to work and provide. So, eventhough we were working last evening until about 8:45, we still made time for fun. And fun is what keeps you going through really tedious tasks.

Today Ryan and I slept in... which never happens. I guess we stayed up too late last night after our work. We had breakfast and then we made a plan of the other tasks that we have to take care of before our trip south. We did find out that the western author Louis L'amour was born here. We also went to the frontier village (which was cool) and saw the largest Bison structure in the world. And we went to the National Buffalo Museum where we also an albino bison that's considered sacred called White Cloud.

Next, We're headed to TX-- but I may get to stop in and say hello to good ol' Tennessee. I sure hope so. It's still in the works right now, but I hope that I do.

Otherwise, we'll still be on the road tomorrow. We'll be camping all the way down. I probably won't get to post much but I need a break from technology already.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Montage of Photos-

Missing Friends and Family

It's wonderful for my little family unit to be together all the time, and we're tight. It's the longest period of time we've all being together in months. And, we've dealt with major life changes, hesitation, and the unknown.

We are so fortunate to have a wonderful blended family from our marriage. Adam's family is big and wonderful! We often ask for advice and help. We mull things over with his parents, sisters, and brother.  We also get a perspective from my parents, and they are usually pretty different from what we've heard; however, they usually aren't conflicting ideas. That's gives us a lot to think about, and it gives us a great ability to make an educated decision, too. I think it would be difficult if both sides had an opinion that were conflicting.  Our family sets interact well together, and that's amazing really.

When we were doing our premarital counseling, we learned how often in-laws become "out-laws." It would be a pretty challenging relationship because there would be drama. And, I, for one, am so thankful that we have caring, interested, helpful family members on both sides.

So, my point. When we decided to take this traveling gig, a lot happened quickly.  We had another scenario offered to Adam in October/November of last year, and we tried to work it all out. It obviously did not, but we talked to everyone. We got lots of ideas, and I really didn't feel comfortable yet about things. A few unsaid things just gave me the intuition to stay put for a while longer.

When this opportunity came along, it was from the same person for whom Adam had been working. We had just been to Buffalo, and we had a brief interaction. It was a positive one. With in a day of Adam taking his new offer, I had put in my two weeks notice at work. And, plans just started falling into place.

We talked to my family, and we got affirmation again to go for it. Then, everything with our house, our money, our new situation just fell into place. God had his hand in it. We had no real problems with the change. Everyone was sad that we would be out of town for a while, but they understood that we needed to be together.

Then, I think about the future. I think about my "career" and how this break in my work history will look. Adam questions his future with his company in St. Louis, and how he will maintain relationships and connections for work. It's a very scary thing to look to the future after this wonderful experience.  We know that this isn't the traditional American lifestyle. Most people want a house and a car and to grow in their work.... We do too, and we have those things! However, I'm a traveler, and I can't help it.

I know lots of people who travel and are often away from their families and friends. And, I'm feeling that. I miss my girlfriends, and I do miss the dinner parties and friends that are back home. I also miss our sweet family and how often we see them. We missed a few big family events, and that isn't something we planned. I have been so fortunate for my dearest friend to move back to St. Louis, and for 10 months we got to play together. A friend from college was travelling with her family, and she's now back in St. Louis too with her children.... then, we leave. I know it's part of life and they will still be there- it's just a reminder that life is always changing.

Change can be really difficult with to deal. One thing that I have learned while being with Adam-- that I really didn't know before is that change is constant. In Tennessee, life was pretty steady. Things started changing a great deal after I left for college.  Once I lived in Wyoming, I learned that as soon as I felt comfortable, things were about to change big time.... and they did. Every time.

I left work at Signal Mountain, and got an apartment. I lived in a loft with another person-- smaller than a dorm room. Adam stayed there sometimes. I had no privacy at all. I worked at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and then I moved to nannying. Soon, I moved apartments again.  Adam and I got comfortable there, and then, he decided to go to Chile. I moved to TN. I applied for a job in Chile. I got it. I moved to Chile. I would settle in and finally get comfortable, then we'd leave. We lived in IL, and then, moved to St. Louis.  We settled for the longest thus far-- 4 years. But, then, again, we moved once while there when we bought our house. And, then, we left it. It's still belongs to us, but someone else is staying there. It's home and I miss it. But, I miss our friends and family most.

The mountain are calling, and I must go.  - John Muir  (And I did.)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Earth Conscious?

Yesterday, sadly, we left the mountainous region of our country. We headed east for Adam's work in Jamestown, North Dakota. On our way out we decided to go through Montana, and we went through the Beartooth Absaroka Ranges. We took the scenic route. And boy, was it scenic! After we exited Yellowstone at the Northeast entrance, we had coffee in Silver Gate, Montana. We enjoyed the view and read the Prayer of the Woods. Beautiful.


 am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights, the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun, and my fruits are refreshing draughts quenching your thirst as you journey on.
I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat.
I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead, the wood of your cradle, and the shell of your coffin.
I am the bread of and the flower of beauty. Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer: Harm me not.

I am a lover of the woods. I appreciate our Earth. In the wild, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. We have trees all around us and we breath the air they create. The lichen in Yellowstone grows because the air is so clean. Oh, trees. I love thee.  

This got me thinking about an old Indain Proverb- that my sweet friend always had above her desk. I love it because sooner than later, we as a human race, will have to figure out what it si that we are going to do to protect our world for our children.  It follows here: 

"Only when the last tree has died, and the last river been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money. ” Cree Indian Proverb

I'd like to think that my family and I are conscious about our decisions of what we purchase and what we use. I used cloth diapers for a year. And, then, Ryan started to have really bad diaper rashes. And, now, I really wish she would just use the bathroom. She does, but I think she's not quite there yet on how to hold it and when she really needs to go. It's frustrating though because we battle the diaper! I do not want to use them. And, we've used Seventh Generation, and then out of convenience, we've used the regular old diapers. Ugh! 

Everything now, we should be conscious about. Food, Soaps, laundry detergent, soda, wasting water, garbage, recycling, paper, and electronic waste. It's disgusting. It's frustrating. We, as in all of us, don't use everything we buy. We have garbage, wasted food, and container waste which I despise the most.  Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.... every little bit counts. 

So, I battle with purchasing organic items. I battle with buying soaps that have no detergents that are bad for water. I battle using plastic sacks because we need garbage sacks (we reuse them as such.) We  use reusable sacks. We reuse bottles. We recycle at every opportunity. 

I guess my point in this rant (ouch!) is that I battle with doing what's best- out of convenience. Is it better that I recognize that there's a choice? Is it bad that I don't always choose the best "eco" option? I get overwhelmed, but I do think that we should be conscious, and I try. I try diligently. 

So, here's one of my arguments-- just for the heck of it.  In Yellowstone, the hotels and franchises use Keurig's for coffee and tea. Ok, those make the single serve coffees, and they apparently save water. However, the containers that the coffee/tea come in are not recyclable.... Which is worse? Losing water, or filling up landfills with plastic? I vote plastic. I guess they have researched the less of two evils, but I still think that plastic waste is worse as it's toxic. And, water is water... at least we can purify it. 

Do you turn your water off when you're brushing your teeth? Do you wash dishes with running water? Do you hand wash dishes?  Do you shower longer than 6 minutes? Do you let it mellow when it's yellow? (sorry, yuck factor?)  

I do turn the water off when I'm brushing my teeth. I do hand wash dishes, and I try not to always wash with running water. Yes, I shower longer than 6 minutes.. have you seen my hair? And, sometimes we let it mellow..... Do those things count too?

Other things we do for our conscience:

1. Try not to waste food. 

2.  Turn lights off/energy off when we're not using it.
3. Don't run the A/C... we open the windows until we can't take it anymore.
4. We don't use the oven in the summer. 
5. We use programmable thermostats. 

This list can go on and on. We try!!

As long as Adam and I have been together, we have recycled. I turned him on to it. It just takes alittle bit more effort, and it helps. It all helps, so this is just a reminder for myself-- through rant... that we can't always do it all, but we can try to make a difference in choices we make. I would like to forever go to places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and with out these small choices, they wouldn't be continuing to thrive. 

The Last Week

Yellowstone. The words to describe this place do not give it justice.  I'm glad that I had 5 days to spend in this National Park. It's enormous and spread out. It's expensive (ugh)--  But, the views and vistas make it totally worth the drive.

When we got to the Park, Adam immediately had to start working, so Ryan and I got settled in to the cabin at the old Lake Lodge. It wasn't open for the season, so it was placement of temporary  "employees." We were in a tiny, tiny room, but it was comfortable. We had no hot water for the first 2 days, but hey, that's okay too. We were camping in!

The fun we had was unmatched thus far. I figured that I'd just list what we saw and write about my favorite things.

1. Storm Point Hike.
2. Uncle Tom's Hike/Upper and Lower Falls.
3. Artist's Point.
4. Norris Geyser Basin.
5. Artist Paint Pots.
6. Hayden Valley.
7. Virginia Cascades.
8. Tower.
9. Lost Lake Hike at Roosevelt Lodge. (my favorite).
10. Mammoth Hot Springs.

The hike to Lost Lake was great. It's loop that starts and ends at Roosevelt Lodge. We (Adam, Ryan and I) gained only about 300 ft. to hike to the lake. We had a lunch there beside the lake under a tree. Lilypads lined the lake and a sage covered hill. We continued on the hike to Petrified Tree, and up a steep butte. Once we hit the top of the butte, the view of the Beartooth and Absarokas was breath-taking. It was worth it. Sweet Ryan fell asleep on the way down, but this hike was the most memorable. The lodge had closed the gate on us, so I had to push it open for us to leave.  It was spectacular.

Storm Point was a ranger-led hike for Ryan and I. I totally recommend these if you are by yourself and want to hike. I am terrified of bears, so it was the perfect way to still go hiking without Adam. I learned a great amount of information too. Yellowstone is a breathing active part of our Earth, and it's just incredibly abstract to wrap my brain around. However, the ranger helped explain questions and also share information about wildlife too.

We saw wildlife galore! Mountain Bluebirds (one of my favorite things west!), Black bears, bison, elk, otters, ducks, canadian geese, ravens... the list goes on and on.

I also still did some cooking! Although some of our meat went bad in the cooler. W
e lost ten dollars in meat. That was really challenging the last two days. For our dinner after our hike, we had homemade french fries, and they were delicious. I should say, my husband cooked those in olive oil--- out of this world good.  We had a whole chicken in the crockpot, pasta with chicken in a tomato garlic sauce, and quesadillas.

I have a camera!! So, I'll leave you with some photos from the last week--- From Dubois until yesterday:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A short story of weight.

I've been weight conscious for a good part of my life. I was an overweight child. I have stretch marks from early adolescence, and I have done weight watchers more than I can count. My father is overweight, and my mother is a healthy eater. When I was in eighth grade, I weighed 200 lbs. And, I decided on my own that I was going to learn how to be healthy. I have learned a great deal about my body, about gaining and losing weight, and I also know that my weight is a forever journey of ups and downs.

I don't know what my ideal weight is. I have liked my body when I felt healthiest. Right now, I feel healthy. And, I just weighed myself for the first time in 8 months. And, How do I put this? It wasn't what I expected. I still feel great. But, I'm heavier than what I think I am. I'm less than I weighed when I went to the doctor 8 months ago, and I looked at the scale. We don't own a scale.  I weigh the same amount as my husband. How's that for a comparison? Now, Adam is tall and has a great metabolism. I'm active and eat healthy, but I'm a woman- I have curves, I have muscle, and I'm pretty darn strong. I can carry a 30 lbs. baby on my back for a good long time. But, I'm not a skinny girl, and I like food. I enjoy eating... I have a good relationship with food in that I don't overeat. I enjoy good flavors. I love fruit and veggies more than meat. And, fish is my favorite thing on this earth. So, what gives??

I know genetics are something that people excuse themselves with, but I don't. I have lost weight where I was thin. 120 lbs thin. I was eating soy and I was eating enough to give me energy to get by. But, now, I have a child. I get emotionally tired. I burn lots of calories, and I'm happy. Weight doesn't define happiness, or does it?

I think that everyone should be different. The skinny jean style that we're in right now, I can handle. It's not my favorite, but I wear my skinny jeans. And, I am curvy. That's okay. I feel good. I have a couple of places  where I wish things looked a little different-- and maybe it will change.

Yet, this is my body. I earned it. I lost 80 pounds once.I gained 65 pounds when I had my little baby girl. I lost that again. I workout. I run. I hike. I bike. I  play. I drink water. I eat fruit and veggies. I feel like we should own our bodies and their imperfections. Be it known, that yes, I have stretchmarks, and I didn't get them from my pregnancy with my child. I have flab under my arms that I am constantly working on. It's a process. But, a body is a tool-- it's a organ. It needs love and protection. NO MATTER WHAT! Nurture it- spend time loving it by drinking water and getting enough sleep. Exercise or hike or what ever you want to do to get those endorphines going!

Hey, our bodies are our bodies, and they aren't perfect. Mine isn't at all- I have scars and battlewounds, and I had a baby, but I love my body--- even if I'm not skinny. I'm me and I love me (faults and all.)

Cowgirl Boots

I inherited a pair of boots from my mom, and they are now really old. They've been to Chile, to Europe, around the United States a couple of times, and they are some of my favorite daily wear. In St. Louis, I'd get looks for wearing them, but I'm from Good Ol' Somerville, Tennessee, and I just can't bear to part with them. I have two other pair, but there's nothing like those- I've had them since I was 16 years old, and I've had them resoled at least once.

My husband got a pair of boots a few years ago from his family for Christmas, and he wasn't really keen on the idea of wearing them. When we lived in Jackson, I tried desperately a couple of times to invest in a pair for him to no avail. Well, let me tell you what--- he has worn the pair that he finally recieved out. He's worn them around everywhere too. When I first met Adam, he wasn't really opposed to cowboy boots, he just wasn't ready to embrace his love of the boot. With help, my sister in laws got him really feeling how wonderful they are. And, now, I can't really get him to wear much of anything else. He says, "They just feel so good on my feet. I love 'em."

Yeah, baby, I know. They are the most amazing footwear, and for that reason, they aren't going out of style for me anytime soon.

On our way through Wyoming, we bought Ryan a pair of pink boots. I was bummed that they were out of the red style in her size. But, she's just as attached to her boots already-- just like we are. We bought them at one of the lovely Co-ops that have gas, food, farm materials, etc. Just like in my hometown--- I miss that.

So, our little girl has a pair of her own boots, and now, we're all in style.

Update on a past post:
In regards to a last post, about climbing to Louise Lake, we have been talking to the locals, and we climbed a mountain. We climbed to the top of Whiskey mountain, and it was 3000 feet up. They (the locals) were pretty darn impressed that some city slickers like us made it to the top. And, we, being uneducated, didn't know until yesterday that we'd topped it. Wow.

So, We've made it to the top of a mountain, We hiked to Leidy. We're taking it easy today--- and I'm planning on making a nice dinner.

More later... I promise.