Saturday, July 28, 2018

July 28, 2018 It's been a busy month

It’s been a busy month.

Brownie at Black Elk Peak aka Harney Peak
After we shipped our grandson back home, we rested a little then got right back in to  having fun. If you can call cleaning shower houses and fire pits fun. Well it is in its own way, kind of like a meditation. Become the mop, become the toilet brush, become the shovel and be in the moment. Okay I know, stop trying to glorify the job. But I have received positive comments from visitors who really do appreciate having a clean bathroom and everyone so far on my watch has been friendly. People have a few questions, about the trails(which of course, I love to talk about), the Wildlife Loop, the fastest way to Spearfish, Rapid, Deadwood (there is no fast way to anywhere) or where the good fishing is. I am happy to help make their experience a good one.

Besides, its only 2 days a week and only until after Labor Day, I think I can manage that. And as the boss says, ‘gives you some WAM!’ (that’s Walking Around Money). Barely that because I am using this opportunity to pay some income tax, the money I earn teaching yoga is contract pay so there’s nothing taken out and I really hate to have a big tax bill at the end of the year.

view of the Needles

T from Colorado at Harney Peak
Moving on, let’s get to some pictures! I know that’s what you really want here is just to see the beauty of this place. I had the pleasure of a friend visit from Colorado for a few days. We did some fun touristy things like a short tour of Rapid City, a scenic drive on Iron Mountain Road and going to the Blackhills Playhouse to see the musical Oklahoma!, on a Thursday. The next day I played tour guide and drove up the Needles Highway, we hiked to Little Devil’s Tower and Black Elk Peak, ending the day with a drive around the Wildlife Loop to see the buffalo (who cooperated by putting on a show near the road). We had a wonderful time and I was so happy to have a playmate for a few days.

eye of the needle tunnel

Mind you, I do have other people to play with, but one of them went away for a couple of weeks and the others work more days than I do. One day Jay and I loaded up my kayak and went with Tricia and Ferg to Deerfield Lake to paddle around and have a picnic. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and only a light wind that whipped up occasionally. Ooops, no photos of that outing.
view at the Needles

But there are photos of the abundant wildflowers Deb and I saw on our Prairie Loop hike. 

wild rose

even a prickly pear cactus
And for those of you who don’t visit FB, here’s some pics of my recent adventure with Tricia and Ferg. With all the rain we’ve been having the creeks are high. We didn’t know it was going to be a problem, and with only 1/2 mile left of our 5 mile hike we weren’t going to turn around. So we acted like mountain goats and went across the rocks above the creek which was scarier I think than crossing the creek would have been. We came away without incident of a fall or getting wet, or both. 

in the beginning
thunderstorm a-brewin'

can't cross here either
nope, can't cross here

yep, way up there in the loose rocks
my backside across the rocks

Jay is still working full time, he drives 75-100 miles a day, all over the park taking care of the water supply for all the visitors. This includes taking water samples at the swimming beaches to make sure the goose poop hasn’t caused too much contamination.

Have a great day! If the rain keeps up there will likely be more to see here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4, 2018 Grateful that nothing happened

at Dora Dufran's grave
I read this article yesterday and it made me think about our drive to Spearfish Canyon last Saturday. We had our grandson visiting us in South Dakota for 10 days and we were busy doing all sorts of touristy things. We had some rainy days and Friday afternoon was one of those days. It had been a beautiful morning and Jay and Austin went out for a ride in the RZR, Jay's day off had been switched from Thursday to Friday, which worked out well. Because of that change we postponed our scenic drive to Austin's last day with us. And it was a good thing. There was a crazy storm that blew in to the north of us Friday afternoon. All we got in Custer was heavy rain mixed with hail. We had dinner in town at the Burger and Bun and since it was raining so hard we just went home to watch the storm.

AJ and Val at Wild Bill's grave
What a storm it was up north. We headed out Saturday around 11:00 on State Highway 385 to Deadwood and the Mt. Moriah Cemetery. We had some rain along the way but by the time we got there it had let up and the sky was clearing. As we walked around the cemetery, seeing where Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Dora Dufran were buried I noticed a lot of branches and debris on the ground. I had noticed some on the streets, but didn't pay attention to any of the parked vehicles. After strolling around I stopped in to the gift shop and chatted with the friendly sales clerk. He asked if I had experienced any of the storm last night, and I replied, just some heavy rain with a little hail. He said he hopes his insurance company will total his truck because of all the hail damage. He then pulled out his smart phone and showed me a picture of three golf ball size hail stones he was holding in his hand. He said those were the small ones, there were others that were the size of his fist or larger.

Turns out this storm that blew in hit hard near Piedmont, SD and Sundance, WY. The news reports said the hail only lasted about 2 minutes around I-90 but with hail that size it wouldn't take long to do a lot of damage. As we drove down the hill from the cemetery we noticed that just about every vehicle parked on the street was covered with dents and had a broken windshield.We didn't spend any time in Deadwood and headed toward Spearfish to continue with our scenic drive. We needed a snack and the local McDonald's was closed, but right next door was a Taco Bell. Yes, I actually ate something there. I likely won't do that again, but I was trying not to be a picky eater. More on that later. The young man behind the counter was forthcoming with more information about the storm and that there were actually two tornadoes that touched down in the area, one near Sundance and the other near Savoy, which is a small community in the Spearfish Canyon.

Bridal Veil Falls
As we continued on our drive, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls for a photo opportunity.

Roughlock Falls
tree down at Roughlock Falls

From there we went to Roughlock Falls. There are two parking areas, the lower one allows for a 1 mile walk along the nature area and I jokingly told the guys we were going to park there and walk up. There was near mutiny in the car. We drove on up to the upper parking area and once there I could see why the lower parking area was empty. The trail was closed near the falls and likely other places along the way. There were huge trees downed every where around. Lots of water over the falls because of all the recent rain. We spent a short time there and got back on our way only to see more damage from the storm. Huge trees snapped 20'-30' up, like toothpicks or ripped out of the ground entirely. It was quite the sight to see.

I'll digress here about picky eaters. Austin expressed his dislike for tomatoes
 and cooked onions, among other things he doesn't like to eat. We mentioned that he was being kind of a picky eater. The discussion went on to things I don't like to eat like bananas, peanut butter, hotdogs, white bread and so on. Even Jay has things he doesn't care to eat such as kimchi, sour cream and bell peppers. So we figured out that we are all picky eaters, everyone could be considered a picky eater and maybe we could be a little more kind to each other by saying we are selective about what we like to eat. We don't have allergies or sensitivities to foods and I have complete respect for people who do, or people who choose vegetarian or vegan or wheat free or whatever way they want to eat. How about if we all just give each other some respect to our food choices and understand that not everyone likes everything that we do? Let's be kind and have compassion when it comes to nourishing our bodies.

And now back to being grateful that nothing happened. We had another crazy storm last night. It was a beautiful sunny day and about 6:00 the sky began to darken. Around 9:00 the light show began, shortly after that the rain let loose. Toby had managed to sneak under the trailer and it wasn't until we were getting ready to go to bed I realized he was still outside. I got him in just in time, then the wind picked up and the storm began in earnest. We all huddled inside watching the sky flash, Jay and I wondering if this is what precedes a tornado? Are we going to get giant hail?  Then this morning, clear skies for a beautiful 4th of July. And I am grateful once again that nothing happened.

Friday, June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018 a poem

This has been an interesting journey for me. Without having to report to a job, either paid or volunteer, my time is truly my own. Not every waking moment includes introspection or productivity, or doing of anything. I'm even hesitant to establish any kind of schedule for anything, except meditation and yoga practices. I do begin most days with both of those habits. With that I can feel pretty complete and let the rest of the day unfold as it will.

I know this will change, everything does. So I am doing my best to be in the present moment each day. I am always surprised at how quickly the time passes with whatever I choose to do. Today I made the effort to work on my Chair Yoga teacher training course outline. Something that is important to me and yet, I can procrastinate getting to it quite well.

me and Brownie on the Mickelson trail
The weather was fine the other day so I went for a 20 mile bike ride on the Mickelson Trail. Yesterday it was blazing hot,(100+ degrees) so the neighbor and I decided it would be a good goof off day, going for a drive, doing some shopping, lunch, all things that would provide AC to keep us cool. I also make a little time for knitting, picking my banjo and writing.

On one of my hikes shortly after my arrival here I sat down and came up with this poem. I call it,
My Old Friend.

My Old Friend

The trail is like an old friend
Always with me to the end
Listening with an open ear
To help me face my fear.

And when I go off the path as if to stray
The old friend is there to guide my way
I watch the sunlight dance on the water’s surface
As we both flow on to our purpose.

Travel lightly, travel long
Know all the while you’re not alone
Along the trail, whether dusty or dry
The old friend will be there when you cry.

The beauty of each long mile 
Will bring back that beautiful smile
Moss gives comfort cushioning a rock
Giving me time to think and maybe talk

When I feel like falling apart
The trail will be there to warm my heart
Even thought there’s no one to listen 
I watch the suns rays as they glisten.

And wonder at the blue sky
Asking myself the question, why?
Where on the trail it might be hidden
I know the answer lies within.

The end of my walk is near
I know there is nothing to fear
The trail is like an old friend
Always with me to the end

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018 A little pain to slow me down

I think there’s nothing quite like pain that will make a person stand up and take notice, or as the case may be lie down on a heating pad and hope for some relief. 

Brownie and Humpty having a story
On long days of driving when I wasn’t going to be with someone, I would take a break after 2 or 3 hours of driving and go for a long walk or a bike ride. It was a nice way to explore the communities a little, have some lunch and get some exercise. From Missoula to Billings I stopped in Bozeman for my break. They have a wonderful trail system with free parking near the library, so Brownie and I took a walk in the park.There were may others out enjoying the beautiful spring day too. The sky truly is big in Montana, with wide open spaces and big puffy clouds.
view from the top

I made it to Billings and checked in to an historic old hotel downtown, the Dude Rancher Lodge. Not my best choice, but their ad made it sound like it had been renovated like some other old hotels I’ve been in. The room was frighteningly dirty. I was afraid if I took my shoes off, my feet would stick to the carpet. The bathroom was relatively clean, but the sheets were questionable. My phone rang shortly after I walked in to survey this accommodation and I chatted with my friend Debbie for a few minutes. This gave me more time to really see what this room looked like and I decided there was no way I was going to stay here. I didn’t say anything to her about it, just told her I needed to call Jay and that I would catch up with her later. 

downtown Billings
I went to the front desk and politely inquired if they didn’t have a cleaner room available? I told her the carpet in that room was beyond filthy. She said why yes, we do. I can put you on the second floor in the renovated rooms. They are much nicer, we just haven’t gotten around to the first floor and a lot of dirt gets tracked in from the parking lot on those carpets. Honey, I’ve got news for you, those carpets have a lot more than dirt from the parking lot on them, and by the way, what in the hell is all over the walls?

So I moved up to the second floor which was much cleaner but in the renovation work they failed to upgrade the AC unit which blew air out of it, but none of it was cool. I shut that off, cracked open the window, and unplugged the fridge which of course was running constantly, and after wandering downtown to get some supper I settled down to get a little sleep so I could safely finish my journey to CSP the next day.

It was a warm, sunny morning, good for getting an early start for about a 5 hour drive. I was very happy to be leaving the Dude Rancher Lodge, definitely mark that one off the list of places to go back to, and headed east toward Sheridan, Wyoming.

Since I didn’t sleep very well I thought Sheridan would be a good place for my break. About 2 hours driving, and a good place to get fuel and lunch. It was my lucky day, at the gas station there was a food truck selling burritos. I got a burrito the size of my head full of grass fed beef, beans, lettuce and salsa verde. Making my way again to the library parking lot, near the town park and trails, I found a little bit of shade for my lunch and a nap.

After resting and letting my lunch settle, I wanted to take my bike out and explore Kendrick Park. It’s a nature preserve right in town with elk and buffalo. Not like I’m not going to see plenty of those where I’m going, but a bike ride will be a great way to explore. I got all geared up and slowly set out, there being a lot of people in the park, and not knowing exactly which way to go. The path crossed a residential street that had cars parked on both sides. I saw a pick-up truck coming my direction and thought I would cross as it was going slow. But I didn’t see on the other side of the parked car that there was another car on the street right at the crossing. I had just pedaled down and saw it out of the corner of my eye, slammed on my brakes and managed to land on the crossbar of my bike on the inner left side of my groin. 

Wow!! Did that hurt or what?, I thought. Never done that before in all my years of riding. The car went on it’s merry way, I let the truck pass by, then continued to cross to the other side and the path. My inner groin was sore and I thought I’ll probably have a pretty bad bruise there. I kept going, taking in the sights of the kids playing, the amphitheater, the swimming pool and uphill to the game preserve seeing a couple of buffalo and elk hanging out together. I went on to another part of the loop trail, all nicely paved and then downhill back to my car. I checked on my inner leg and it was sore, but I didn’t think much of it. Loaded up the bike, stowed my gear and headed on my way east. 

I finally made it to CSP about 5:00 in the afternoon and Jay was pretty darn happy to see me. I told him about my escapade in Sheridan and he asked if I was wearing my helmet. Yes I was, but I think a cup would have been a better safety option for this little accident.

my bike having a rest
The next morning I checked on my inner leg to assess the damage as I was feeling some serious discomfort there. I had a bruise the size of a goose egg, very tender spot on my pubic bone and a very purple bruise. (sorry, no pictures! Private parts you know.) Dang! What a way to start my summer, with an injury. It really didn’t seem to bother me too much, until I went for another bike ride, that was uncomfortable. So I thought I’ll give that a rest and just hike until it heals. The first 3 mile hike was okay. The next 4 mile hike a few days later, the last uphill mile was a challenge, mostly for my low back. Then I did an easy 7 miles, meaning not much grade change and after that, my back was giving me more pain than my groin. Great. No, not great. I hurt, a lot. I didn’t know where that back pain was coming from. Pulled muscle? Pinched nerve? Didn’t feel like either of those, but I was recently given the diagnoses of arthritis there and in my hips. If that’s what arthritis feels like, I’d like to take a pass on that. 

I'm so happy to see you, Ruby says
A couple of days of heat and ice, anti-inflammatory meds and some easy walking, I feel like a new person. The goose egg has all but vanished, the purple bruise is lightening in color, my low back feels like nothing happened. I know the arthritis can flare at any time, and that I might fall again on my bike. But I know I must still allow for some healing. It takes longer the older I get. 

This short experience with chronic pain has given me good insight into what Jay feels with his back pain, and what many of my students who come to my yoga classes might be experiencing. As I moved through my yoga practice I spent time checking in with what my body needed during this time of healing and did less than what might be a typical practice for me. I reminded myself to explore the sensations in my body, how does a particular movement feel in my groin, my low back? Is this helping or hurting at this time? How can I take this experience back to my students? 

It was another gentle reminder from the universe to be present and to take care of myself. I also noted that this accident happened on the last day of my long driving trip. I had been on the road for 20 days. I was beginning to feel tired, even with my breaks. Travel can do that. Even though we are excited for the adventure, to have new experiences, even with the best intentions of awareness and rest, when we go too long, our senses can become overwhelmed. It helps to know my limits. Now having been at CSP for 2 weeks, I am enjoying my time, waiting for the next adventure to begin.
I'm happy to see you too!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May 31, 2018 Traveling solo

3,602 miles of driving, I arrive at Custer State Park in South Dakota, our home for the summer. I began this journey May 4, leaving Green Valley as the temperature neared 100 F degrees. Brownie was ready for adventure and I too was excited for this solo road trip. Jay left home with the 5th wheel, the RZR on a 10’ trailer behind, and both cats on April 19th.

It was a fun journey, emotional at times and long stretches of road with some incredibly beautiful scenery through Montana and Wyoming. After arriving at the Park and spending a couple of days with Jay resting, we went for a drive through the park, stopping to pick up the new copy of Tatanka, the park guide book. The message from the park superintendent included a quote from Traveling Light,  a book by Max Lucado:

“Somewhere between the first step on the floor and the last step out the door, you grabbed some luggage. You  stepped over to the baggage carousel and looked up. Don’t remember doing so? That’s because you did it without thinking. Don’t remember seeing a baggage carousel? That’s because the carousel is not the one in the airport, it’s the one in the mind. And the bags we grabbed are not made of leather; they're made of burdens.

The suitcase of guilt. A sack of discontent. You drape a duffel bag of weariness on one shoulder and hanging bag of grief on the other. Throw on a backpack of anxiety. An overnight bag of loneliness and a duffle bag of fear. Add on a briefcase of perfectionism. Pretty soon we’re carrying more than a freight train. No wonder we are so tired at the end of the day. Lugging luggage is exhausting.”

The superintendent's message was to take a deep breath and set down all the baggage, at the “lost and never to be found” box. I can’t think of a better place to do that. I know, last year I talked about some of the negatives here, but mostly that was working in customer service and less than optimal working conditions and living next to a large dumpster for 2 months. The rest of it is amazing. Who gets to sit and write with 5 or 6 bull bison outside their window, rolling around and rubbing against picnic tables and power boxes, trying to lose their winter coats? Or take just a few steps out my door into a wonderland of trees, birds and a babbling brook?

It was so nice to be greeted with that message at a time when I really needed it. I love how the universe works to give us what we need at the right moment if we give ourselves the chance to be present so we can see it. It’s more of that slowing down I talked about before. 

The past few days I have had time to reconnect with my meditation and yoga practice. Both of which were needed, I really feel it in my body. Doing a shoulder opening sequence one day, a hip opener sequence the next, gets into all the spots that were crunched up over all those miles of driving. I’m going to get out and look for a work opportunity, either volunteer or for pay somewhere. And I’m going to get out and hike.

Throw on a backpack of anxiety. An overnight bag of lonelines
The superintendent's message was to take a deep breath and set down all the baggage, at the “lost and never to be found” box. I can’t think of

It was so nice to be greeted with that message at a time w

Thursday, May 3, 2018

May 3, 2018 Things you can see when you slow down

I was recently reminded of the need to slow down. It's something I think about a lot, my days are full, teaching yoga, planning classes, playing golf, hanging out with Jay and the cats, etc., etc. how can I slow down? Do I need to slow down? Am I missing something by keeping so busy, moving through life without necessary pauses?

Since I was given this kind reminder, yes, by a very nice young man in a uniform, I realized that I have been speeding through my life the past few months. (The aforementioned reminder was a warning, free of charge). I do need to slow down and I know how to do it. Clear the calendar, drive the speed limit and take notice of my surroundings. I don't have to listen to every interesting podcast or read every intriguing article about yoga and anatomy. I'm going to try a technique a friend of mine uses when reading articles and news, quickly skim the words, landing on just the ones that stand out and write them down. Then review them to see what seems important for that day. Our minds work in funny ways, I bet if I were to do this with the same articles a week apart, different words might stand out.

This practice reminds me of a writing technique called stream of consciousness writing. This is where you sit down and write whatever thoughts come in to your brain. Write them down, they don't have to make sense or be grammatically correct. It's just what you're thinking about in the moment, to try and get into the habit of writing everyday. It also helps to get ideas flowing for creating stories, to just get the words on the page and see where my mind takes them.

In my recent efforts to slow down I have been able to accomplish things on my list to ready myself for my departure from Green Valley for the summer. I was able to fix my sewing machine by taking time to see what had happened to it. My usual instinct is to get really upset, stomp around angrily for awhile, eat something and find someway to fix it, immediately. I calmly cleaned up my work area, put away projects and thought I’ll deal with it in the fall, I’m not going to need it until then. But the next day, I had some time so I sat down in front of it, in the clean work area and methodically went through rethreading the needle, the bobbin, removing the bobbin and the bobbin carrier and what did I find? A missing screw. I thought it was lost for sure, but it happened to have fallen into the tool compartment the last time I had it apart to clean all the lint out. I got the appropriate screwdriver, replaced the screw, but everything back together and tested it on a scrap of fabric and it worked! I was so happy and it was because I was able to take a pause, by slowing down.

flattened horny toad in the road
I have also had the extreme pleasure of seeing many beautiful cactus blooming. Instead of racing by on my bicycle in a hurry to get nowhere, as I caught a glimpse of color flashing by, I would stop and turn around to admire what the cacti are offering. Seeing the many lizards out this time of year, a big gila monster in my yard, the birds on their migratory paths and so many things nature has to offer.
Gila monster in my backyard
rattlesnake in the neighbor's yard

I hope you can find a way to take a pause in your life, slowing down to rest your body and your mind. When you do this you actually have more energy to return to the busy-ness of your life.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22, 2018 Investing in the future

When I was young, my Dad did his best to teach me about money. He was always telling me to save for the future, save for emergencies, save for that special thing that you want to buy and to make wise decisions when spending money. I wouldn’t say he was a tightwad, but the terms thrifty and frugal come to mind. I recall a red ski jacket he had back in the 70’s when we went skiing a lot. He and my Mom split up, he moved away, married Carolyn and moved back. In the 90’s when I was visiting him one time, he was showing me something out in his garage and there was that red ski jacket hanging on a hook. It had become his gardening jacket. Even years later when they moved to Kent from the Bellevue house, that jacket was hanging in the garage for when he was tinkering or gardening. 

I couldn’t quite get the idea about saving money. I liked it when I was able to open a savings account at the bank and felt important when I would go in to deposit my babysitting money. When I was in my 20’s the idea of saving any money seemed a really foreign concept, I barely had enough to pay rent and buy groceries let alone set aside even five dollars for savings.

But now I need to go back in time a little to when I was 9 or 10 years old. That’s when Brownie came into my life. I had received some money for my birthday and was told I could do with it whatever I wanted, but it would be really wise to put it in the bank and save it, I was also told. I had other plans for that money. It must have been around Christmas when my Mom had taken us into 
Frederick and Nelson’s department store to do some shopping. She let us browse in the toy department, it was a wonderful toy department back then. Shelves lined with dolls, stuffed animals, trains and games, all beautifully displayed. There I spied the cutest little bear, in a pretty box with a cellophane cover, her shiny brown eyes peeking out as if to say to me, ‘please, take me home with you.’

Of course I couldn’t. We were shopping for others, not for ourselves. But I didn’t forget about that little bear. It was only two months later, my birthday being in February, when I received the money, likely from my grandparents. I asked my Mom if we could go back to Frederick and Nelson’s where I had seen the little bear to see if I had enough money to buy it. I don’t remember the dollar amount, but there was consternation from my parents on my decision, so it must have been what they felt too much to be spent on a toy that might just get relegated to the back of the shelf when I got tired of playing with it.

That didn’t happen. Brownie went everywhere with me. To the cabin, to my best friends house, she even played dress up with Barbie. As I got older, she didn’t go as often and spent more time with Mary Bear and Ted (the cross-dressing bear, he always wore a dress) on the side lines, but she was always waiting for me. I still have Mary and Ted too. Over the years there were times when she got to come along, but mostly she just waited at home for me.

Brownie is ready to go!
Then a few years ago, when Jay and I started traveling away from Arizona in the summer, I thought, we need a mascot. Brownie was willing to step in to that role. She can fit just about anywhere, doesn’t eat much and makes friends easily. It’s been almost 50 years since she came in to my life and has brought me so much happiness. Just looking at her sweet face makes me smile. I just wish my Dad were around to see that it was a good investment, to buy that stuffed bear so long ago. That sometimes spending the money is the better choice than saving it for later.

So that’s some history on Brownie. Now she is my travel buddy, other than Jay and the cats. She gets to go places where the cats don’t go, and to places where Jay won’t go and sometimes with me and Jay. She has an adventurous soul for a stuffed animal and is willing to go outside her comfort zone, except where water is concerned. In that regard she is not a typical bear.

She and I are about to set off in to a new adventure. A solo road trip in the new Subaru Outback, with a mountain bike. With a little help from Jay, I managed to install the trailer hitch and rack onto the new car. I wanted to bring the kayak along, but he didn’t think I needed to be packing that so he took it with him to South Dakota. 

Yes, he is solo, well almost solo, he has both cats with him, on his way to South Dakota. He got a job as a Water Technician there for the summer. They were unable to think outside the box for what I suggested a great volunteer job for me would be, so I have no commitment to the park to be there, just to my hubby. More on that later.

Pretty soon Brownie and I will be heading out, first to California to see my sister and her kids. It’s been a long time since we’ve been together and the kids are teenagers now so it will be fun to see them. Brownie might even get to try her hand at lacrosse, that’s the kids’ favorite sport these days, they both play.

After that we will head north up I-5 on our way to Washington. We plan to make a couple of stops in Oregon to visit some friends there, then on to the Seattle area for a few days to connect with some family and friends. 

From there we’ll head east over the Cascade Mountains to the beautiful Wenatchee Valley, making a short stop there before making our way across the amber waves of grain to Spokane Valley to see my Mom and my brother. Should be fun for Brownie to see all the wonderful fountains and plants at my brother’s garden nursery there. 

Before we know it, it will be time to head further east and south to get ourselves to Custer State Park to meet up with Jay and Ruby and Toby. It will be a happy day when we are all together again.

Stay tuned for more! And here are some fun desert photos, cacti and gila monster.

in the garden 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April 4, 2018 Self-criticism and self-doubt, let them go.

What is success? Is it something we really want? Do we need it?
It seems that there are many articles out there written about how to achieve it. How we can be more productive in our lives, such as these headlines from Medium:

Want to Live a Life 99% of Other People Will Envy? Read This Immediately (click here for this article)
7 Small Things You Can Do In 10 Minutes That Will Improve Your Health Substantially (tips for healthy living here)

I’m not against finding things that will help make our lives better, or different from what they are. I encourage people to explore their inner self, to understand that they can be in charge of their own happiness and well-being. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by pressure I put on myself to study and to continue learning so I can pass on more information to my students. I feel that I always have to present something new, forgetting that something I already know might be new to my students, or I have new students and it’s new to them anyway. 

I wrote that a week ago, just trying to get some thoughts on the page. As I reread it today, I find it is still relevant to my current state of mind. I had the opportunity this morning to have a session with a ‘life coach’ or something like that. She recently obtained certification and part of her curriculum is to give 50 hours of coaching. I felt it was something I could use and I’m always eager to help someone achieve their goals. 

It was one of those conversations where the person asks you how you want to spend the time together. Really putting the ownership on to yourself of what you expect to get from the meeting. Then, as I start talking about how to put less pressure on myself, how to eliminate self-doubt and to know that I am competent, capable and complete, she would ask what do I do that nourishes me in these areas. Do I not already have resources that I have learned to know how to boost myself? Do I know how to self soothe? Do I take time to rest so I can feel energized? And the answer to all of those questions is yes, yes, yes. 

The self-criticism and self-doubt will always be present, and the only solution is to just act in spite of them. 

How true. That is exactly what I was talking about with my life coach.
This statement came from another article on Medium, by Thomas Oppong, titled, “You’ll Seriously Regret These Life Choices and What to do About Them.” (live without regret) Yet another well written article to help a person make positive changes in their life and to live authentically. I did take time to read again this article because that statement was highlighted, it’s exactly what I’m feeling, as are apparently a whole lot of other people. 

So when I have times of stress or performance anxiety, or are just feeling overwhelmed by all of what life throws at me, I know what to do. Sometimes it’s okay to just sit there, and not do anything, instead of “Don’t just stand there, do something!” Do nothing and see what happens. If you are interested in where that saying came from, click here 
And know that I am competent, capable and complete. 

By the way, did you know that April is National Poetry Month? I thought poetry was something I had to ‘get’, my 7th grade English teacher presented poetry as something to be dissected in order to be understood. But as I have been writing, I realize you can just read poetry and let it be what it is for you as you read it. It can rhyme, it cannot rhyme. It can tell a story, evoke feelings, describe nature, or any number of things. At any rate, it can be enjoyable. I hope you will enjoy the poem I have included here, along with some new cactus photos.


Tonight it’s quiet or in the quiet
Or, at least, the quiet
Is all around us. What is it
I’m worried about when I
Worry about anything? What is it
I tangle up in, wanting to go home?
From down here I look up at myself
In the little bright square of window
Staring down at me in bemusement
Querying what’s it worth. But that’s
A question snaps shut on itself
Thoughts with teeth or claws
To scrape away to the very core. What
Cares contains its value, a half life,
Mixed, no doubt, yet fair.
It’s always fair or anyway
It’s always what’s there...
And it’s not our fault.

By Norman Fischer

July 28, 2018 It's been a busy month

It’s been a busy month. Brownie at Black Elk Peak aka Harney Peak After we shipped our grandson back home, we rested a little t...