Getting the Hang of Hanging out in a Tree

Getting the Hang of Hanging out in a Tree

img_20160514_164123516

Last year I had the misfortune to break my foot and I spent a long, depressing and lonely 3 months sitting in my Lazy Boy with my leg elevated in a cast trying to heal. When my young Orthopedic Surgeon first told me I was going to have to keep my leg elevated in order to heal, I remember looking at him in disbelief and asking him, in all sincerity, I must add, “well, what CAN I do?” and his earnest answer delivered with just the slightest hint of a smirk, “well, you can do anything you want as long as your leg is elevated.” Ya, right, junior. The fact is, you can’t do much of anything in that position other than read, watch TV and research grand bucket list adventures on the Internet. Guess which one held my attention the best for the next 12 long weeks?

Yes, you guessed correctly. I researched and researched away. My fingers clicking furiously over the keys of my trusty but old laptop computer, and boy did I find some cool but obscure stuff out there!

I stumbled upon a website called Vertical Voyages and discovered that right here in my great state an outfitter existed that taught you how to climb vertically up into the branches of a mature and stately live old tree. The technique sounded a lot like rock climbing and upon further research I learned the owner was in fact, originally a science teacher and rock-climbing guide who had branched out, pardon the pun, into climbing trees. He now had a successful business teaching people how to do this using a rope technique he had designed and modified. In one of his adventure classes, he could get you up 50-70 feet in a mature tree suspended from one of the tree branches.

I was hooked and totally intrigued. I needed to try this! This had to go on my bucket list!

img_20160514_153649395

After months of waiting and healing and physical therapy and exercise I was ready to take this adventure on.

13177754_560555287403047_2474281001811718850_n

The process of climbing was awkward at first, but not really physically demanding. You were outfitted with a seat harness or saddle and secured in carefully in a harness. Then you had to master the art of tree climbing with ropes, a system where you sat in the saddle, lifted one leg up maybe chest high and put it in a looped rope and then stood up on that foot. Then you pushed a special knot up as far as your hands would reach and sat back down in the saddle and repeated the process, basically inching your way up the tree in this fashion. It was awkward at first and you felt like you expended a lot of energy and got nowhere, but after a few minutes the process seemed to smooth out and you realized you actually were making progress.

img_20160514_165306151

My first thoughts were that this was going to take forever to get way up in the tree but part of the experience of having new adventures is practicing the art of patience. After several more minutes of attempting to climb, I paused for a rest and surveyed my progress. I was about 12-15 feet up and had, in fact, actually made pretty good progress, although my view didn’t feel all that impressive yet, it dawned on me I was getting the hang of hanging out in the tree!

Back to work, I dug deep and worked to improve my technique, remembering to breathe along the way and hold my core strong, this helped tremendously and 20 minutes or so later I was a solid 50 feet up in the canopy of this really cool old White Oak tree.

13239954_560651644060078_738793948394480669_n

Others around me were in various stages of progress, some were as far up as their rope would allow them to go. Others had been able to reach over to one of the huge branches and were perched there like a Robin taking in the sights, others still were already on their way down ready to conquer another tree. Me? Well I discovered that for me being up in the canopy of a beautiful old tree had magical qualities to it. I just wanted to hang there and well, kind of speak to the tree. I know, that sounds a bit corny and more than a little bit quirky, but honestly, that’s how I felt. It was like the tree was alive and talking quietly to me. My senses were ultra alert. I could smell the earthiness of the tree. The leaves sashaying in the slight breeze almost sounded like they were playing a soft instrument, mapping out a calming tune that I just couldn’t quite match with my own breath.

I just sat there in my saddle and harness and hung out, it’s that simple. I felt very at home and at peace. I wondered if this is what it felt like to be a bird or a monkey. Suddenly I envied Tarzan and yearned for a tree house where I could sleep and watch the stars twinkling between the leaves singing me to sleep.

13230201_560560264069216_1332605802046369065_n
When it was finally time to descend and return back to earth I looked up at the spot where I had been and I realized I liked the view from up above far more than the view from below. Now, everywhere I go I notice huge old mature trees and I see a quiet beauty in them that I never took the time to notice before. This adventure taught me more about myself than many more adrenaline filled things I have done before, but it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

If you ever get the chance to join a Vertical Voyages Tree Canopy Climb you simply must do it. I am blessed that I had a broken foot that forced me to slow life down, and in the process I found a treasure of an adventure that changed me a little bit the day I finally hung out in a tree.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time

Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time
Empower Your Estrogen Adventure

20150623_105758
Calling all Ladies! Beat the winter blues by joining the Empower Your Estrogen girls for a wintertime girlfriend adventure right here in Nebraska!

We are calling this one “A Rootn’, Tootn’ Gun Shootn’ Good Time” with a weekend of shooting, yes real guns, and snowshoeing, sledding and more!! We are going to have a rootn’, tootn’ gun shootn’ good time and we want you to join us!

Where:

Ashland, NE at Mahoney State Park where we have rented a adorable cabin complete with a cozy fireplace, and guess what, you don’t even have to pee in the woods on this adventure!

When:

January 29-30-31, 2016
We will meet at the cabin at 6:00 pm Friday January 29 to kick off the event and Check out is 11:00 am Sunday January 31st.

What:
How does this sound? We have a full weekend scheduled to ensure it’s full of fun, laughter, adventure and getting you out of your comfort zone! The list of activities includes: yoga, snowshoeing, sledding, gun shooting, games, and all the Empower Your Estrogen fun you can handle! On Saturday we will participate in an instructor led full day NRA Ladies Handgun class!

Cost:
The cost of the adventure is $275 per person and includes all activities, gun and snowshoe gear rental and instruction, food, beverages, and lodging. (Note: the cabin sleeps 8 but we will be bunking together in some rooms, you can bring a cot if you like) You just need to handle travel expense to get there!

What to bring:

Warm winter clothes for outdoor hikes, snowshoeing and sledding, toiletries and your favorite book to share with others. We will have the snowshoes and sleds for you. Guns, ammo and shooting instruction will be provided at the gun range. Bring your bright smile and a great attitude willing to try new things, make new friends and renew old friendships, we will handle all the rest!

For Fun: Bring the funkiest hat you can find for our funky hat snowshoeing group picture and a cowboy hat for the group gun shooting picture!

Sign up today and reserve your place! Spots are limited so don’t set this aside to think about it. Give yourself the gift of this weekend and come home refreshed and recharged!

Registration is only open from today through December 15 and is on a first come first served bases. We need payment in full at the time of registration, if you live in the Omaha area please give Vicki a check or cash. Because of our upfront costs on this one your registration is not accepted and a spot held for you until payment is received. If for some reason we don’t get enough registrations to fill this event we will cancel and offer a refund on Dec. 15 but we fully expect to fill up and to fill up quickly! Space is really limited so register as soon as you get this!!!!

If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call. Jackie can be reached at 720-260-1660 or Vicki at 402-980-0262.

This is going to be so fun!!!!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Budweiser Might Be the King of Beers but Duke was King of the Clydesdales

IMG_7552

My favorite part of the whole New Year celebration thing is not ringing in the actual midnight hour, I am usually fast asleep long before that time arrives. No, my favorite way to celebrate the New Year is by anxiously awaiting the newest Budweiser Beer Clydesdale Super Bowl commercial. Seriously, I love these commercials and I can’t wait to see what they come up with every year.
IMG_7462
This fall we finally got the chance to go visit one of the few places you can actually see these magnificent animals up close and personal, Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri. The ranch is hard to get a tour at; in fact I tried for a fall weekend and was told in August that the weekend tours were already booked until the end of the year! Not one to be told no, I am glad to say I persevered and was able to score reservations for two for a beautiful non weekend day in September when my daughter had a day off from school. It was a perfect day for a ranch visit.

IMG_7663

It looks just like you imagine it would, 14 miles of white fence surrounding the pristine rolling hills and pasture of Warm Springs Ranch. The red barn sits high on the hill with ten separate pastures full of happy, contented and extremely well cared for Clydesdales. We stopped to say hi to several on the long winding road in,\ and were greeted with enthusiasm by these gentle giants, all of them anxious for some loving attention. I felt like a paparazzi as I ran from photo op to photo op while the celebrity horses pranced and patiently waited for me to get all the pictures my heart desired.

The barn had to be the cleanest barn I have ever seen, each section well marked showing all phases of horse care including where they are bred, exercised, trained and cared for by loving staff.

This grand experience was shared with my daughter and certainly makes the top ten things I’d recommend to anyone looking for a Missouri highlight.

IMG_7650

For me the high point of the tour was when we were introduced to Duke, a massive Clydesdale of 13 years who had retired from being a team hitch member and was promoted to official greeter. Duke was a towering example of the best of the Budweiser Clydesdales. Every inch of this 18-hand horse was groomed, every hair on this animal was clean and brushed. All I could think of when I first layed eyes on him whas how much my mother would have loved this place!

IMG_7603

Like the celebrity he was, Duke knew he looked good too! His eyes sparkled as he pranced around and I swear every time someone pointed a camera at him he held his head up high and turned his head to his good side! He was a good sport too, because he was patient and kind and let everyone from the oldest and frailest guest in a wheelchair down to the 10 month old little girl pet him and love on him. He even posed for a selfie with my daughter and I swear I saw him look longingly at the cold glasses of Budweiser the guests had in their hands, I am sure he was wondering where his beer was too!

IMG_7658

I am even more in love with these gorgeous animals now that I had a little chance to spend time with them. Three more months until the New Year and the next round of Budweiser Clydesdale commercials and I can hardly wait.

So glad this was on my bucket list and we made time for an afternoon of warm September sunshine and a little Budweiser!

IMG_7668
So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”
IMG_7670

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

99 Bottles of Beer (or Wine) on the Wall

DSC_0369

What’s almost better than drinking beer? Ask my husband and he’ll tell you it’s making beer! When I watch him brew beer he’s like a kid in a candy store, he gets all his pots and pans, funnels and equipment out and soon the kitchen looks like one gigantic science experiment but it’s cute to watch him work away on something he enjoys so much!

This year I asked him to expand on his skill set and try making wine! Much to my pleasure he is getting almost as big of kick out of trying different wines as he does with his beer. In just a couple months he has done one batch of beer and 4 batches of wine! I am starting to think we might have a new retirement plan going on here!

DSC_0393

Plagued with a profound lack of space in our new no basement home, he got creative and improvised making my nice big pantry style closet in my laundry room the perfect storage spot for the carboys and buckets of wine. It is our new wine cellar of sorts!

Wine needs to stay at a constant temperature of 72 degrees while it is fermenting and I knew I was in trouble when one day I walked in to the laundry room with a basket full of clothes and was greeted with a toasty warm room complete with a heater! The room was exactly 72 degrees and I could see the wine “percolating” or whatever it is that it does in my pantry! While I may not have as much room in my laundry room anymore I do know we will have fun when friends come over to visit and we can share the fruits of our labor!

DSC_0376

I got to help with the bottling phase and was pretty impressed when I realized not only does this stuff taste great but each batch gave us 27-30 freshly minted bottles of wine to share with friends and family or savor in our own backyard by the fire pit this summer! When Dan partnered his wine and beer making efforts with his BBQ smoking skills I knew we were going to have a busy summer of guests! All I know is I am looking forward to sampling some of these wines in the near future and relishing his pork brisket wrapped in bacon!!

DSC_0372

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

I Left it All on China Wall

China Wall

IMG_0080 copy

Being a Jeep lover and an adrenaline junkie it should come as no surprise my eyes lit up when I heard our Jeep dealership sponsored Jeep Trail Rides periodically throughout the year. They would pick the trail, send the invite and lead the rally to the 4 wheeling adventure of the day. The best part was they would then carefully lead you through the steps of breaking in your Jeep on a real deal jaw breaking 4-wheel drive trail Colorado Style. White knuckling was considered just part of the initiation process for me.

China Wall is one of those trails that if you are a newbie can seem fairly intimidating and depending on the amount of snow received in the previous winter or the power of the spring run offs, the rocky, rutted and steeply angled trail can leave the more faint at heart trembling. The day we tackled it was rougher than normal according to a few Jeep veterans, but by then we were committed because the trail is so narrow once you start you can’t really go back until you have done the scary stuff.

IMG_9452

There must have been 30 Jeeps that day all creeping along the trail like an army of ants dutifully following a leader. One by one we took a deep breath and putting the game for anything Wrangler in 4 wheel drive Low I excitedly pushed the gas pedal and took my turn. This was it, now I was committed, like it or not, now I had to push on no matter what came next.

IMG_0041

Anticipation can be a good thing and a bad thing. That day it was a bit of both for me! This was what I’d always wanted to do, and this was a perfect way to test the waters so to speak, but like anything else that you have never done before, I had a case of the nervous jitters anyway. I had recruited my youngest daughter as my adventure co-pilot that day, she was torn between admitting she was excited, maintaining her teenager life- is-so-boring stance, and a tad of fear that she was with her mother instead of her father for this particular adventure. When I took one last look at her before we started the steep assent up China Wall I thought I could see fear in her eyes, I grinned and faked a round of rousing confidence and said, “Here goes nothing!”

IMG_0056

I don’t think I convinced her I had things under control exactly. Nevertheless, onward we drove. Up, up, and up.

On the right the trail dropped very suddenly into a deep gully. The trail was only one vehicle wide, very rocky and with a Jeep Wrangler suspension we bounced up and down, right and left and everything in-between. Rowdy, the Golden Retriever hung out in the back and seemed to be enjoying the rib, rattling ride up more than anyone else, but then again, he’s a Golden Retriever and is game for anything!

The steeper it went the rougher it got. With no idea what to expect next and knowing I was totally committed to following through, if only because there was no earthly way to turn around and go back at this point, I was like a fighter pilot on full alert, half scared to death, and half excited like a kid waiting for Santa!

At the top of the first stretch things calmed down a bit, the trail wound around the Aspens and Ponderosa Pines, but at least here you could see more than the spare tire of the Jeep in front of you so you could get some perspective.

IMG_9361

I relaxed and took it all in including a deep breath of fresh mountain air. Feeling instantly more confident, it was about at this point in the adventure I started feeling pretty proud of myself for jumping into something I’d always wanted to do, but had never gotten around to actually doing! Even more pleased with myself because I was doing this one on my own with out having the comfort of my very capable husband by my side. Under normal circumstances, he’d be here and he’d be driving, which would allow me to just sit back and enjoy the ride and not worry about all those pesky details like not leaving the bottom of the Wrangler on the trail or God forbid roll the thing and crush the life out of my child and myself! But reality was wicked and he was out of state working a new job and if I was going to do this I was going to have to pull out those dusty big girl panties and just do it myself. With confidence oozing out of every pore by now, I felt good! “Life was good! Would you just look at me and what I am doing,” I thought.

About then things took a dramatic turn for real. Suddenly, the cute little caravan of Jeep Wranglers came to a quick stop. There were big boulders on all sides of us and the trail had been snaking up and around for quite awhile. I waited. Soon curiosity got the better of me and I jumped out and snapped a few cool pictures to prove I really did this badass trail. As the curiosity started to take over I wandered up the trail, passing a half dozen or more Jeeps all waiting patiently for whatever came next.

IMG_9419

Then I saw it. Right there in front of me the trail took a sharp ninety-degree turn to the right and then just dropped. Before my wondering eyes I could see a dozen of the Jeep dealership staff all standing around on various sides of the trail helping guide and direct the poor sap whose turn it was, as he tried to navigate the simultaneous turn and drop of the trail. To complicate matters, there had been a lot of run off that spring and the trail was deeply washed away and rutted, leaving huge rocks exposed right in the middle of the road.

Each driver had to carefully position their vehicle at the start in just the right spot so that when they inched forward the vehicle could both clear the nasty rock below them and still be in a spot so that when the Jeep rocked forward it did not fall into the next series of rocks. The men on the side would squat down and watch the Jeep as it inched it forward bit by bit until it finally cleared one hurdle and pushed on to make it past the next one.

“Holy crap!” I apologize for the language but that is honestly all I could think at this point. Suddenly, my big idea to go 4-wheeling in the mountains seemed about the stupidest thing I had ever come up with. Desperately I looked around for a way out.

There was none. Jeeps were lined up before mine as far as I could see and as far behind as I could see. I scanned the crowd for a sympathetic face. Maybe someone would do this for me? Mostly I saw my own fear reflected back at me in the other drivers, but a couple of the more seasoned drivers just grinned an ornery grin back at me and one even laughed and told me everything would be just fine, ya right!

IMG_0066

I watched in horror as the six Jeeps before me all inched their way past the obstacle. Some did better than others, many of them sounded like they were leaving thousands of dollars of variously important Jeep parts behind as they scraped along the rock. I swear one even looked like it was going to roll over because the driver got too far to the right side.

The moment came, I had no choice to but to assume my position in the drivers seat and pull forward. My daughter was speechless as reality set in for her, hell even the dog layed down, as if he couldn’t bear to see what was coming next.

When my beautiful black Wrangler with only 25,000 miles on it took the lead spot I was pretty sure there would be nothing left of it by the time this day ended. Motherhood responsibilities took over and I kicked my daughter out and made her stand on the sidelines, presumably to take the pictures, but honestly, I viewed it as my last show of love for a child who would soon be motherless! At least I would save my baby!

I stuck my head out the window and did a hasty confession to the Jeep staffer charged with motivating me to push the accelerator and launch my own death fall.

“Um, hi, I um, have no idea what the HELL I am doing! Are you sure I have to go this way? “ I uttered as fast as I could.

IMG_0069

“You will be just fine. Just follow my signals and only watch me,” he answered. I looked around. I could suddenly see a potential problem. A dozen men stood all around me ready to offer helpful advice. “Just watch him,” I repeated to my self.

Deep breath, ok, I tentatively pushed the gas. Nothing happened because the tires were up against rocks and I had not given the vehicle enough juice to go up and get on the first rock. I tried again, still very fearful to give it too much gas and launch myself like a rocket to a surefire death.

It took about a half dozen tries with my eyes locked into whomever he was standing beside me waving me on. Finally, the Jeep lurched up and forward and I instantly hit the breaks.

“Turn the wheels all the way this way,” he said. I complied.

“Now go forward until I say stop” he said. I complied.

Then my stomach hit the floor, I think Rowdy passed out, and I threw up a little in my mouth, because all of a sudden the Jeep rocked forward and to the right. My right wheel had dropped into the vast hole between the big boulders. As this happened, my back rear tire went airborne. I was certain this was it. My husband was going to kill me once he found out what I was doing. Then it dawned on me it wouldn’t matter because I was already going to be dead!

“It’s ok,” mister whoever he was said from behind me.

I am sure the look on my face was priceless about now because I could not figure out how in the HELL things were ok right now! Eyes as wide as saucers I stared at him, ready to bolt like a scared deer, if I could only figure out what way to go.

“You just need to give it gas now. You might here a scraping sound, but I will tell you if you need to stop. OK?” Mystery man directed me.

With no other option in sight I complied, but to say I might hear a scraping sound is putting it mildly. I heard only ear shattering, this must be expensive as hell scrapping sounds for what seemed like hours as my Jeep crept forward.

Finally after what seemed a lifetime I heard what’s his name say enthusiastically “You did it!”

“I did? Really? Are you sure? Did I mess anything up on my Jeep?” I asked.

“No you are good, I swear!” He grinned back at me!

Wave after wave of relief washed over me! I searched the crowd for my daughter and found her riveted to the sidelines. I am pretty sure she will never admit it but I hope secretly she was even just a tiny bit impressed at what she witnessed me do that day because I was scared to death and I did it anyway!

Another bucket list adventure for the books for me, but the lesson learned is that no great thing ever came from my comfort zone. I was the only female that day driving and I realized just how scary life could be when you can’t see what’s ahead in life, but maybe that’s the way it is supposed to be. When I think back on this day, if I had known what I had to do to get past that part of the trail, I know darn well I would have chickened out. Because the trail and life don’t work that way though, once I made the commitment and get on the trail in the drivers seat, I had to keep going even through the unknown parts where I had butterflies in my stomach and even when I could finally see the biggest fear I had to face. Just commit and do it.

10565016_427090657431957_2245512436604297703_n

So my friend, what’s next on your list?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Styx and Stones

Styx and Stones
I think one of the absolutely coolest things to do is attend a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. It simply has to be on everyone’s bucket list as an experience that can’t be matched at any other concert venue in the world!
IMG_3711

A couple summers ago we kicked off summer with a bang by attending the 70-80-s rock band tri-fecta at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Ted Nugent reminded us what free speech and guitar playing are for by opening the concert with classics like “Cat Scratch Fever.”

A bit later, REO Speedwagon took us back to our glory days with “Heard it From a Friend” and their classic song written about hiking in the Rocky Mountains with “Ridin the Storm Out”. As the stars started to fill the Colorado night sky we heard them serenade us to “Take it On the Run” and the rock ballad “Keep On Loving You”

IMG_3701
Styx then brought the starry night home with “Come Sail Away” “Renegade” “Too Much Time On My Hands” and “Babe”!

High School in the 70’s- 80’s in the Midwest was a special time of innocence and bands like REO Spreedwagon, Styx, Rush, ADCD and legends like Bob Segar and Jackson Browne made a lasting imprint on my soul. It was a time of discovery, of lasting friendships and it helped shape me into the person I am today.

As I sat that night in early May surrounded by the towering Red Rocks that naturally made one of Gods’ most beautiful Amphitheatres, and watched rock legends take me back in time, I was flooded with memories of a simpler time.

Music can make such a difference in our lives and while Tommy Shaw and others serenaded me I suddenly found myself appreciating my youth and the dear friends I shared my life with during those early years.

Modern singers like Eric Church say it best in his current hit “Springsteen” in the lyrics:

When I think about you
I think about 17
I think about my old Jeep
I think about the stars in the sky

Funny how a melody sounds like a memory
Like a sound track to a July Saturday night “Springsteen”

Everyone should make sure they get to see a rock legend performing under the stars at Red Rocks in the Rocky Mountains.

So my friend what’s next on your list?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Do You Look Like a Hooker Too?

One day as I was wandering the quant little town in the Midwest full of mysterious antique shops, bed and breakfast inns and other little shops I strolled into one called the White Horse Antique shop. As I pulled open the old wooden door I was met with the crisp clean smells of handmade candles mingled with a strange spicy older smell, one of sage, old oak and wool. Interesting combination. The cheerful silver haired proprietor smiled an award-winning grin and greeted me with a welcoming “are you a hooker?”

IMG_4061

“Say what?” I thought, a bit taken aback.

“Well, no.” was my reply.

“Oh you look like you’d be one of my hookers!” she quipped in a friendly way.

Not sure if I should laugh, deny it adamantly, or maybe run for the door, I hesitated for just a second.

“I teach primitive rug hooking and have a group of several hundred women who shop here for their rug hooking supplies. You looked like you might be a hooker!” She explained, as if that made perfect sense.

By now I was more than a little amused and intrigued and took my time wandering the tiny old rooms of the vintage Victorian cottage turned into antique shop and rug hooking supply business. As I entered the back room I had to side step around Samuel, the resident mutt who was sunning himself in the afternoon sunlight taking a nap in front of the register counter. He wagged his tail at me, but other than that didn’t bother to move until he made eye contact with me and could sense I too was a dog lover. Then he jumped to his feet making his 12 years appear more like 1 or 2 with his enthusiasm. I petted him for several minutes as I took in the assortment of silver jewelry, colorful scarf’s, primitive rungs, unique primitive antiques and shelves of beautifully colored wool.

Taken in by the charm of the place instantly, and the warm smile of the owner and teacher, I too, signed up for the next class. I had no idea I wanted to be a hooker until I strolled into her store and was instantly beguiled by the wondrous items covering the walls.

A couple months later I returned for my afternoon class and was delighted when after meeting at the shop to select my rug kit I was escorted back to her private residence half a block away for my actual lesson. Samuel the mutt strolled along with us to the house. The house was as charming as the shop, also full of antiques and beautifully done rugs. We set up class in a small but sun kissed sunroom converted to a dining room and over the next 3 hours I was patiently taught how to work the burlap with my hooking tool and pull the wool through the small openings creating a loop and slowly filling in the blanks of my first rug. At break time we were even treated to an intoxicatingly delicious homemade cherry pie a la mode.

IMG_4060_2

It was a delightful afternoon and I have discovered while I might not be a natural hooker I do enjoy spending my evenings working on my new craft!

IMG_4074

Look in the mirror; do you look like a hooker too?

IMG_4076_2

IMG_4077_2

So I ask my friend, what’s next on your list?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Shit Happens Get Over It!

Shit Happens Get Over It!

toilet_paper_roll_clip_art_22957

It happens to everyone, nature calls. The question I had to ask is what exactly happens when I am enjoying the great outdoors and nature calls? I don’t want to seem look a goody too shoes here and I understand the basic mechanics but the question begs to be answered.

IMG_1169

Now I agree I had bigger problems that I should have been worried about like where would we sleep in the great outdoors? What kind of critters lived out there and how many of them might be interested in a toasty warm sleeping bag and excellent cuddlier? How difficult were the trails and would I get blisters on my feet? Would I be able to keep pace with the group? All these were relevant questions but the one that nagged me the most was where was I going to poop?

Suburban soccer mom’s are not supposed to worry about these things, at least according to convention, that is if we stay in the safety zone of PTA meetings, football and soccer practice, bible study, grocery shopping, work, dishes and general family nurturing the quandary of where and how to poop and pee in the wild would simply not come up. However, I am a self-professed adrenaline junkie, and as my husband describes me, at best a complicated woman.

See, I just can’t color between the lines. I want the best of both words so I flip back and forth between the world of my adventures and momville. Because of this I have to ask the questions no one else seems to want to ask.

When I interview a guide for a potential bucket list adventure I tend to be direct and cut to the chase pretty quickly. Let’s get to the meat of the situation, “where am I going to go potty and what conditions do I need to be able to handle?” I timidly toss out there.

Once I get the facts I can then begin to process the situation. Usually the unknown is worse than the reality. I like a good adventure, just not a bodily function surprise. It causes me stress, because I am a 50-year-old mother of three, I have the bladder of a pea and the minute you tell me I can’t go, face it, I have to go! The more I try to forget how bad I have to go the worse it gets so I figure I might as well put it on the table and let these young guides know what they are dealing with, heck it only seems fair.

On a recent epic adventure to Utah which would entail four days and three nights of back country camping in the desert I had to face the reality that I would be peeing behind a lot of rocks and at some point in time I was going to have to do the decidedly unladylike duty of pooping in the wild.

“Or dear Lord” was all I could think.

When I finally got the courage up to ask my guide and share my concerns with him we bonded instantly as he kindly and yet directly outlined the options. What won me over however was the sweet way he took my concerns, and those of the other women joining the adventure, to heart and came up with most enchanting solution ever!

1607038_10202575801174821_640304999_n

10002918_10202575799894789_124463985_n

On the first day of the trip as we set up camp he presented us with a homemade Homer bucket complete with a toilet seat, garbage bag liners, kitty litter, zip lock bags, hand sanitizer and even a toilet paper holder! Then just like a hero on a white horse he headed into the bluffs and located the perfect three-sided shelter of rocks and proceed to set up our throne worthy of a queen! He had thought of everything!

IMG_1675

When I invited women to join on the backcountry adventure several had turned me down because of “other” things, obstacles like work, family, travel time, expense, back aches and more were listed as why they couldn’t join the fun. It wasn’t until I probed a little deeper did I get an honest answer here and there. The honest truth was they couldn’t imagine pooping in the wild but I have to say it really wasn’t that bad and with the improvised system created by our ingenious and intrepid guide it was practically the Taj Mahal!

IMG_1680

Don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from the adventure of a lifetime. Face it everyone poops, and shit happens! Get over it, deal with it and move on! Time is wasting!!

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Don’t Be a Ya, But…Person

1506563_338948729579484_373790678_n

It takes me awhile to commit to something, whether that is a person, a friend, a job or an idea. I tend to think about it, dream about it and honestly, talk myself into it and out of it a dozen times or more before I take the plunge and commit. But when I do watch out then I turn into an obsessed woman. When I’m in, I’m all in. Good, bad, right or wrong. I’m in and you can count on me.

Take grad school for example, I’d thought about going back for my master’s degree for 20 years. It was just something I’d always wanted to do and I wasn’t even sure why. I thought about it immediately after undergraduate school but talked myself out of it then because I was sick of school. I didn’t want to take any more tests! I needed a break I just wanted to work and see how that went.

Soon I discovered working full time didn’t partner well with graduate school. Then we married and started our family. The idea got pushed farther and farther back in my mind. I wanted it yes, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of actually committing to it. I think it was because I knew once I made that commitment there was no way I wasn’t going to do it and it frankly scared me. How would I have the energy to get it all done and still work and raise my kids?

“I should have done this back when I had the chance right out of college” I thought to myself in a kind of mental conversation but in the end it didn’t change a thing.

Then one day I just decided enough was enough. It was time to make that commitment and jet get it done. I decided that I didn’t want to be a “Ya But…Person” You know the kind! The person you are talking to about all the great things they want to do with this life and they get all excited and you can tell they really do want to do all that cool stuff but then they roll out the self defeating fun sucker words “Ya, But…” and then they proceed to tell you all the silly reasons they can’t let themselves be amazing. “Ya, But…I just don’t have time, or money, or brains, or the drive… Ya, But…”

It was that simple. I woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to be a “Ya, But…Person.” It was time to get off my butt and make it happen.

Do you know what happened next? I succeeded. I found the school and program for me. I as accepted, I got a student loan and a baby sitter, I went to class and realized I was going to not only do this but do it well. I thrived when I realized I was doing this just for me. I was going to have to earn this but I had what it took to do it. All the reasons why I couldn’t do this disappeared and I was simply just doing it and enjoying it.

I traded my “Ya, But…” for a “I did it!” I still catch myself ya butting myself every now and then but deep down I know all I have to do is make that commitment. No matter how hard something is if I let myself succeed instead of running away from the challenge cool things can happen.

22214_196742913800067_1207476075_n

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Learn to Love Yourself- Wear a Funky Hat

299189_2027188009546_4845067_n
IMG_1441

Fit is the new skinny. After 50 years I think I finally have it figured out-honestly. Self-confidence comes from within. It is not about how long and shiny your hair is, mine was always thin anyway, it is not about how long your legs are, I inherited short stout Cue family legs, and it is not about what the scale says. In fact, the scale can be deadly deceiving if you don’t know better. It isn’t about what size you wear, it’s about how you look in what you wear and it is about having a strong and healthy body but mostly it is about learning to love yourself.

I have decided that at this point in my life the only person I have to impress and please is myself. I don’t have to do anything to establish who I am other than to be myself. I just want to be healthy and have a body that will allow me to do all the fun stuff in life. I want to keep up with my kids, actually I want them to try and keep up with me!

IMG_8986

Society does a real number on us, especially as women. As young girls we just want to be grown up, we want long pretty hair and curves. As teenagers we want to be cool and popular, hoping others will see us as attractive. As soon as we become young women we want to be whatever we are not. We want to be in a relationship, or we want to be single, we want to have curly hair or long straight hair, we want a date to the dance and we all want to look like a model. Once we become mom’s it gets even worse, we now want to have a flat stomach and thinner thighs, we want the grey to go away and to be seen as sexy again and it is hard to do that with baby food carrots globing up your hair and a two year old wiping his runny nose on your pants. As we age a bit we find ourselves looking back longingly at pictures of us in our youth and find ourselves asking our friends “why didn’t I know I looked that good at 25?” or” I’d kill for that waist again.” Finally, it hits us. This is complete nonsense.

unnamed

For me this happened a few years ago when I found myself in a dark cramped dressing room trying on the newest style of skinny jeans and berating myself that when I looked in the long mirror under harsh lights I wasn’t thrilled with my reflection. I looked like a stuffed sausage complete with a muffin top spilling out from my tight waistband. Why don’t I look like I am supposed to? It was then that I realized what a fool I was being.

167_face0

No one looks good in skinny jeans; hell not even skinny 14-year-old pre-adolescent girls look good in them so why in the hell did I think I was supposed to? Because that’s what the magazines and TV shows told me what to think. In an act of defiance I peeled off the jeans and threw them down in disgust. This is not what I wanted and it sure as hell wasn’t healthy. Anything that makes me feel bad about myself is defiantly not healthy.

IMG_3307

I needed a new attitude and I needed it now. Heading back to the racks I searched until I found a modern cut pair of jeans, but ones that actually had a little fabric to them. I pulled them on and evaluated the look in the mirror. I decided then and there to focus on what looked good on me and to hell with the fashion hit of the day. This was a revelation for me. With a little research I realized I look good in A line dresses and skirts. I look nice in darker jeans. I like the look of a jacket with pants or jeans; it dresses things up a bit. I usually look better in shades of the same color; it makes me look taller somehow. I sure as hell don’t look good in base ball hats or in baggy sweats. I can however pull off a funky hat! Skintight dresses don’t do much for me either and I look downright sick in the color purple. It is important to figure these things out. Once you do I recommend sticking with it and to hell with what all these silly teenagers are wearing. Do what is right for you; a woman who knows she looks good is far more attractive than one who is trying too hard.

IMG_6949

So now what? Now I wear what I know looks good on me. I wear my hair in a style that compliments my face and personality. I stick to a few basic principles with my wardrobe and update it seasonally with funky accessories. I try to avoid looking older or younger than I really am. I wear things that work with my life. I do things. It’s who I am. I dream, I learn, I try new things. Some might call me nuts but I am out there hiking, biking, walking, skiing, dog sledding and rock climbing, face it. I am out there having fun. I am wearing funky hats.

603636_10202725261071225_3731129973899268025_n

IMG_2664

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter