I’ve been busy


It’s later in the morning than I usually get up… However, last night was a good exception.  My ‘little’ brother called me via FaceTime, he got home earlier this week from his umpth deployment.  We stayed on FaceTime for several hours, drinking, laughing and hot fuckin damn if it wasn’t good to hear his voice and see his asshole face.

So this morning, I enjoyed sleeping in and snuggling with my pups in a warm bed.  See, Michigan this year decided to have some weird freakish fall…. a 95+ degree weekend the end of September, October stayed mostly warm, then right before Halloween BAM fridged fall, freezing rain and oh hey some snow.  The past couple of days it has been in the 20s and I’m still wishing it was flip flop weather.  I also realized, I have not written in almost three months….


There has been a lot of good in the past three months a a little bad, but mostly good.  I’ve completed a lot of work to Lady Jaye, fenders cut, muffler changed out for an inline, CB finally successfully installed, lots of two track time with some great people, football games a friend’s homes with bonfires, Halloween costume party -dressed up as a steampunk witch and it was phenomenal, more two-track exploring with just old school map books (up to date ones of course), and the sad part -the end of a relationship.

My friends haven’t let the grass grow under my feet thou and I love them for it.

I truly have a good life….
I am blessed with wonderful friendships, the unconditional love of my two fur babies, a great job, an adventurous mindset -whether it’s tooling my Jeep or getting out and trying something new, and then there is the amazing bond with my family.  I truly don’t wish for anyone else’s life; nor do I wish for a better life….I make it happen.


Silver Lake Jeep weekend

Back in December, a friend of mine hits me and another Jeep gal up and says his Jeep club is looking at going to Silver Lake Sand Dunes the first weekend of June for the Jeep Invasion.  I remember thinking, wow, we’re talking six months out…planning a Jeep/camping weekend that far out seems a bit excessive.  I didn’t realize that in the end there would be over 800 Jeeps at this invasion.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes is between Muskegon and Ludington, Michigan; about two and a half hours, maybe three, up the Lake Michigan coast line.


Randomly over the next 6 months we would discuss a few things, who was bringing what for camping.  Splitting the cost of the campsite.  Who need Dunes flags and all the random things that go into planning any kind of small group trip.  I didn’t fully realize the extensive work that my buddy “D” or Dimitri was putting into bringing his club up.

A quick side note….. You can see more of D’s club here: Windy City Jeep Force Which, I’m gonna brag a hot minute on D’s crew.  I seriously could not have had a better time with this rag-tag band of awesome-saused group.  Everyone was very welcoming, and the longer Jackie and I were around them the better things got.  I highly recommend if you are in their area and get a chance to do meet n’ greet or hit a trail with ’em, DO IT.

The week arrived and text messages back and forth were regular as excitement built until Friday morning arrived and my boys were dropped off at the vet for boarding.  My friend Jacki and D were already on the road; Jackie solo because she was driving up from Detroit.  D was in a convoy of 50 some Jeeps coming out of the greater Chicago area, and their final pit stop before heading to camp in Mears, Michigan, was where Jackie and I were planning on jumping in.

Then it was off to set up our camp sites and head to registration, frankly that part could have been skipped.  We stood in a forever and a day line, to get a frisbee and a koozie.  Actually, it was to register your Jeep for voting, which if I would have known, I would of skipped.  There was some amazing rigs there, but Lady Jaye is no where near me dropping that much money into her.  Which I have mass respect for those that put that kind of work into their Jeeps.  It is truly an art form.



The next morning consist of a hangover, campfire coffee with bacon and eggs and some badass company.  Before dropping tire pressure and 50 Jeeps being organized to roll out to the Dunes.  Which ended up being in at least two different groups.  The first group wanted to do the parade through town, the group Jackie and I stayed with, skipped the parade and went straight for the Dunes.  In truth, this meant we got to attempt to sleep in a little longer -which, with as late as we were up enjoying adult beverages and fellow Jeepers company, the sleeping in was a bit more important.



Once out at the Dunes, the line up of Windy City Jeeps sat for maybe 5 minutes before the first Jeep attempted the “test hill.”  Watching the first Jeep just narrowly miss getting over the crest of the hill, I looked at the Jeep to my right, our neighbor at the campsite.  She chuckled, looked down at her FitBit watch and said, “I’m just sitting here looking at this hill and my heartbeat is at 120!” That pretty much summed up how everyone was feeling, excitement and mass amounts of adrenaline.

I was riding shotgun to Wampa, Jackie’s rig; we ended up moving down 3 hills before Jackie got a LOOK on her face and a gleem in here eye.  Yep, this means we’re taking it on! And Wampa did an awesome job gliding right up, both of us hooted and hollered in the rush of cresting the hill.  The second hill was very similar…however the third hill would put Jackie into Windy City lore…. I believe I can fly


Don’t worry, Wampa is fine.  She was checked over on site and continued on for an hour or two before hitting a few “puddles.”  Which anyone who has been on the Dunes knows those puddles can be deceiving and the general rule… don’t drive where you can’t see the bottom, or you haven’t seen another Jeep go.  Well, Wampa got a little deep and we had to pull drain plugs.  However, the running joke was renaming her sWampa.  “I’m watching Wampa get a little deep and then OH SHIT….brakes!! She rolls out and no joke, I’m just waiting for fish to come flopping out of all that water”

After getting Wampa safely back to camp, it was time for a late lunch; where Jackie and I learned D, who had never camped before, makes for one hell of a campfire cook.  Washed down with lazy hammocks in a perfect summer Saturday and lots of laughter.



Saturday late afternoon was set for a local trail ride… The pictures don’t even do it justice, largely because it was growing dark as we were finishing the trail.


Sunday morning was set for more Dunes and then the Jeep Blessing, which more than a few of us skipped.  Opting instead for a lazy campfire breakfast…which was quiet the feast thanks to D.  Slowly breaking down camp and packing up, before heading to air tires back up and take our time saying good bye and heading back to the real world…. Ya know what, more like heading back to the average normal adult world.  Because this is my real world, this is my real life.

It was sad to see the weekend come to an end, but driving home a mud caked Lady Jaye had me in the best of spirits.  I even drove her to work, which we all know that first day back after a great weekend can be a little rough.  My Monday was no exception, hit with the reality of work and being an adult again, however when I walked outta work at 5pm and I hit the road in that glorious muddy girl…. Yea, being an adult isn’t always so bad.


she lives to run


I had taken two weeks off from work, what we call the last of my ‘use or loose leave,’ before the first pay-period of 2017.  My sister came to town a couple of days post Christmas, of course this was two days into a weird winter warm up.  The good two feet of snow that had still been on the ground Christmas day was gone along with any further plans of snowshoeing while she was here.

I should back up and say that my middle sister is a fellow adventure and contained gypsies soul.  Twelve years active duty Navy has afforded her the new scenery and constant moving around every few years, and I dare say each of her locations has been pretty amazing… California (3 duty stations), Florida, Italy…

So one of the things we had talked about was going rock climbing.  I have never been, my sister has been doing this a couple of years now, both at indoor gyms and outside.  Frankly.  This scares the crap outta me.


an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

Somewhere as an adult, I cannot remember exactly when, but I developed some stupid fear of heights.  I remember one night on patrol over ten years ago, my partner and I were standing on top of a 8 story building.  He walked right up to the edge and peered over.  I walked up ….woah…. and back peddled a few steps fast!

Recently, I decided this was stupid and it was time to get rid of it.  So in some wild hair idea, I decided rock climbing was the answer.  It is something I have expressed interest in for a few years. A few of the guys I have dated over the years all said they wanted to go or would take me, but the actions always fell short.  My sister on the other hand, saying I wanted to go and that there are two indoor rock climbing gyms here in Grand Rapids, there was no back peddling now.  Of course I also did not tell her about this stupid fear of heights I had developed, like the asshole that I am.

We decided on a week day evening to go, of course we get to the gym about an hour after it opened and it is packed.  My nerves are at an all time high, I can feel the adrenaline running and I am doing my best outwardly to remain calm.  What the fuck am I do.  I’m listening and paying close attention to the individual teaching me how to put the harness on, how to tie in for climbing, then how to belay…. all while I can hear my own blood pumping in my ears.  Get it together woman, you were a paratrooper, get your shit together…

My sister does the first climb while I belay her.  fuck she moves almost faster than I can keep up with her.  But she comes down with a beaming smile upon her face and my instructor smiles and says have fun ladies  My sister looks to me and says, “alright your turn.”

Deep breath.  We switch, my hands are sweating and I can feel my heart racing inside my chest.

My first climb is kind of a blur, I remember looking for hand holds and just going up, refusing to look down. But I survived.  I didn’t fall to my death.  In fact, I absolutely loved it, but I still want to hide in the corner of the gym with the easier climbs and hopefully none of these insane climbers will notice the obvious newb in the corner.

Two more climbs on the beginner routes and I feel a bit more confident. img_0786 Confident enough to move up a level.  The holds are spread out a little more, my amazon height is a glorious help here.  Before I started this climb, two other seasoned climbers have moved into the little corner I’ve been wanting to hide in and we had made social with them before I started.  Now as I am climbing I can hear pointers being called out and it is openly welcomed.  In fact a few holds before the top, I missed a grip and slipped a little.  In the half a heartbeat my mind flashed, I hope she has the rope.  A split second later I felt the tug of the rope and I just hung there.

I can hear my sister call how she has me.  I can feel the fatigue in my fingers and grip.  I shake my hands out at the same time my sister calls for me to collect myself before trying again and how she isn’t letting me down the wall until I reach the top.  Bitch, I laugh to myself.  She knows exactly the encouragement I need, at this point I had already fessed up to doing this to kill my fear of heights.  She knows now that the first climb my heart was racing wildly.

I take a few moments to shake out my hands, take a could of deep breaths all while staring at the wall above me looking at the holds.  The roof and final grip seems so far away, but in truth it’s not.  It’s all in my head and I know it.  I mentally tell myself I’m not coming down until I reach that final stupid rock on the wall.

What felt like an eternity to me was probably less than 20 seconds reality.  I shook my hands out, chalked my fingers and re-set myself.  I had 3 or 4 rocks to reach and each one I could feel the pull in my forearms and finger tips, taking my time, I remember telling myself to keep my own head together…nothing out loud, everything in my head.  I’m pretty sure I resorted to my yoga breathing when I’m trying to hold some pose and my limbs are burning or balance when I’m trying not to fall over and introduce my face to the floor.  I felt extremely proud of myself when this breathing kicked in naturally to keep myself focused.  Next thing I realized, both my hands were on the final rock and my sister was calling that she had me.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.


After 4 climbs, my sister took me over to teach/work on bouldering.  My heart was already soaring and my soul happy.  We each took a handful of turns working on a route we had picked out and not deciding to call it quits or the day until we had reached the top.

To many, the routes or climbs I did that evening would be very easy.  To me, it was about learning something new and conquering a fear that had taken seed and I no longer had room for it in my life.

Christmas Day

My furkids have let me sleep in the past couple of days, being on vacation it is rather awesome, on Christmas Day that sleep lasted until about 8:45 when some friend with little kids decided to text message me.  Probably because he has been up since 5am.  The ding of my iPhone was echoed through my Bluetooth speaker and then the buzzing of my watch.  I groaned.  Feeling a slight twinge of a headache from the bottle and a half of shared wine the evening before. Ten minutes later another baby crazy friend sends me a text message…. At 9:15, after a trip outside for the boys, the boys’ breakfast and settling down with coffee, I still have not answered the first two text messages.  Why?  Well according to my brother I get weird about the holidays.
Now wait to the bombardment of “Merry Christmas” text messages from people I barely hear from the rest of the year… Could we not?

So back to this “she gets weird around the holidays.”

I grew up in what I consider a large family, I’m one of 4 kids.  Christmas was every bit the insane sugar spun Hallmark card.  So when I got married at the way too young age of 21, I had every intention of recreating that family life.  In fact I use to joke that my family was the truly dysfunctional family.  Yes my siblings and I all beat the crap out of each other growing up, but moving into adult hood we were thick as thieves.  My parents were still married and loved each other.. Or so I thought.  A few years later my youngest sister discovers that my father has a girlfriend, it turns out a girlfriend the past 5 years.  After that, my parents marriage quickly falls apart.  My mother is served divorce papers at work on what would have been her 25th wedding anniversary.  At this point I’ve been married 3 years, it’s ok, but we spend so much time working or deployed with the military that we are truly unable to settle into a true married life.  Until we exit the military.  Fast forward a few years, a child, and a miserable life, a verbally abusive marriage.  I’ve already posted a blog discussing this…. me too  …..so I’m not going to dive back into it.  My first Christmas post divorce was an attempt at normalcy.  Myself and several friends got together and did a big happy dinner, it was truly wonderful.  But a year later we would all be moved to different states, myself living in Connecticut at the time, could not get the time off so I ended up spending Christmas alone.  This would not be the first or the last Christmas spent working and alone.  Mind you, I am in law enforcement, working Christmas is not exactly uncommon. However, I have lost count of how many Christmas’s my brother and father have spent with my ex-husband and the daughter he refuses to let travel to Michigan.  Oh, there have been other holidays too, like Thanksgiving.  They never tell me ahead of time, I usually find out because pictures have been posted on social media or like last year.  When my brother called our mom, who was with me, in the evening and after talking for about 10 minutes put my then 11 year old daughter on the phone.  You can imagine my upset.  Another year, I arrived at my father’s house middle of Christmas Day because due to weather and work, it was the earliest I could start out on the 11-12 hour road trip.  I found out two days later that my ex had been there for several days and only left when I was a few hours out.  So yea, maybe I get a little draw inward and disappointed in my own blood about the holidays.

Fast forward 9 years, another Christmas, by this point the flavor is lost.  I’m not moved by societies expectations of how I should be spending it re-married, with extended family and spending way too much money sinking myself into a temporary debt.  I enjoyed a friend’s extended family dinner last night and today, despite the warm ups Michigan has seen the past 5 days, I plan on heading out to one of the State Parks and breaking in my snowshoes… it’s 35 degrees outside at 9am, I might as well wear shorts!  Kidding…

Ok, I really didn’t mean to ramble about my family for 700 words, I did try to keep it brief.  I want this blog to be more about the new traditions I am setting for myself and ways that I refuse to feel holiday blues or disappointment anymore….and frankly, this year, listening to my boys wrestle in the dinning room in the mid morning low light of a Michigan December, I am happy, I am content.  The past several months has seen an even bigger change than the past 5 years and I am enjoying every bit of it.  I attribute this to my ‘get out and do more, be more’ plan.

I actually started contemplating what I was going to do for Christmas this year, back in October.  I had been invited back in July to spend Christmas in Dallas with friends and bring my boys, but I wasn’t 100% about making that drive.  The friend who had invited me, pretty much knows there is very little reasons I will board my boys, in fact it’s borderline in saying I’d rather stay home than go somewhere without them.  Work and camping are the only two reasons right now, camping because Reese is kind of an asshole who doesn’t listen well.  It’s gonna take some work to turn him into a camping companion.  Work, well, I think that is a fairly obvious reason.

So I had tossed around a few ideas in my head, the one I loved the most…renting a Winnebago and either taking off and just driving anywhere for a week or renting a camp site on one of our amazing lakes and just disappearing off the grid for a couple days to a week… Either option was not in my budget this year.  Don’t rule this out for next Christmas thou.

I had been planning on buying snowshoes for this winter since late summer.  Turning off my phone and going snowshoeing was as appealing and means that I can continue to save money for two possible trips in the works for this summer.


I’ve put the Do Not Disturb mode on, on my iPhone.  I’ve already pulled the new Osprey pack I spoiled myself with, out.  Pulled my hammock out and put it in the pack, hey you never know.  Grabbed my water resistant hiking pants, a thick pair of wool socks, it might be 35 degrees outside but I’m thinking the thicker hiking socks are the better idea.  Added one of my base layer SmartWool shirts to the pile.  My snowshoes are sitting in the front room just waiting to get outside…

Two cups of coffee and I’m awake and excited to start another solo adventure.

Processed with Rookie Cam


A few hours and five miles later, not bad for the first trip to break in my new snowshoes.  The temperature hung right above freezing, a few degrees cooler than it has been the past couple of days but not as down right cold as it was the previous two weeks.  I ended up snowshoeing in my hiking pants, the SmartWool top and vest with a beanie and gloves.  I had started out with my Loeka mountain biking jacket on, but after a mile it was too warm.  I knew this was going to happen, but getting started it was just to cold to go without it.

Heading home a little before dark, I am one happy gal.  Spending Christmas late morning and afternoon in nature with no one else in sight.  It was all mine for a change.  It was beautiful.

I cannot wait to go again, Michigan we need more snow.


-Inked Amazon

a very muddy Christmas?

Sunday I ordered snowshoes from REI, Tuesday the weather began to warm up.
Go figure (laughing).
After two weeks of temps in the single digits and teens, plus a week and a half of snow showers; it is now supposed to be 50 this weekend with rain on Christmas day (Sunday).

You’re welcome Michigan….🙄


-Inked Amazon

🎶 bicycle, my bicycle 🎶

Thanksgiving weekend has come to a close, my sister flew out early Sunday morning.  It was a weekend well spent, with a lazy Thanksgiving Day in pjs, movies a rotisserie chicken, pumpkin pie and wine.  Friday was not spent trying to catch sales, instead it was spent hiking in off and on rain with a little off roading in my Jeep, aka Lady Jaye.  Afterwards we grabbed a hot sandwich and soup, a shower then a late night movie.  Saturday, we decided to enjoy one of the local Mediterranean cafes for lunch, play in World Market and walk around a few other shops, just browsing, no actual shopping.  Thai food for dinner, some old movies out of a three dollar bin and just relaxing before getting up at four-thirty to drive her to the airport this morning.

After more sleep, a bunch of coffee on Sunday I set back to the task of working on the plant stand tables I keep in my bedroom, that double as end tables.  Then I turned my attention to the pile of t-shirts I have and have been sitting in a pile just collecting dust.  These are ‘participation’ t-shirts as I have dobbed them.  Shirts from competitions, a few Army PT shirts and a job in between.  We all have these shirts, in the bottom of a drawer or the back of the closet…. Instead of just getting rid of them, I am going to turn them into totes, produce bags for shopping.  I’m trying to get away from the standard plastic bag that every store uses.  1. I have about a bazillion of them stuffed inside each other in my house already. 2. I want to get completely away from being dependent on these bags at the store.  So I started prepping them, cutting off the sleeves, cutting out the collar and later this week, I will be digging out my sewing machine and stitching them together to create the bags.

With all this, my mind has been wandering since Ellie left… We had briefly discussed mountain biking, it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last.  Sadly, my bike, which is almost ten years old now and in much need of upgrade…so much, I should just replace it.  it is a 26 hardtail and I have wanted a 29’er for a long time.  Ellie has made a few small comments here and there how I should take mine in for the maintenance it needs… But I know it needs a new cassette, new brakes, cogs look like they could be replaced too, I’m sure the chain as well… Well, hell, what doesn’t need replacing?  The petals? The saddle?  The handle bars?!?

Surfing facebook, I was looking at my old mountain biking pictures, there’s not a lot, and a few comments.  I guess to a lot of people the idea of a grown adult riding through trees on a single track (about double your shoulder width) as fast as possible, up and down hills, over roots and rocks and trying not to wipe out and land yourself in the emergency room (which I have, several times); well that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to some.
Anyway, the last of the comments was 2011… damn …I haven’t been on my bike in 5 years?!?  Has it really been five years?! This actually makes me kind of sad.  I loved riding.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was out of town on a work trip, Grimm (my pittie) some how or another found my mountain biking helmet, tucked away, got it out and chewed it to oblivion.  Ok, so one piece that would have to be replaced.  Along with the fact I doubt half my baggies fit anymore…(laughing)….I’m a tad more muscular than I was 5-10 years ago, but I still have all of my gear.  The clothing is kept safely tucked away along with my shoes and other protective gear, in the back of my closet. But. I’m gonna also need a new rack, too long in an old garage and my old bike rack is toast. It just might be time this winter to buy a new bike, dust off the gear and get back to the trails after this winter’s snow ends.  I’m not big on riding in subzero freezing temperatures, staying warm is one hell of a trick and the riding…well, I did a little snow riding a few years back, once it gets over a few inches deep it just SUCKS…like riding through sand and a lot of it.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a few months.  Hell any time I’m hiking a trail also shared by mountain bikers I think about it.  My friend Bee, comments about how I’m definitely nuts to ride through some of the areas we’ve hiked, but that’s half the fun of it.  Talking with Ellie this past weekend has the idea of riding again back at the front of my brain.

I never seem to keep cheap hobbies… I did try crocheting a few years ago; I got bored, lol.

-Inked Amazon


It’s was a long two weeks, between work and duty, Grim (my dog) getting sick, my own anxiety over Grimm’s sickness.  So last weekend I drove around for several hours, eventually I parked and debated on actually getting out of the Jeep and going for a hike.  Hell this was the sole reason I drove out here.

NewaygoCoMap.pngThe hike was an out an back, or if backpacking a thru-hike….  I had parked off M-20, west of M-37 and was only planning on hiking a few miles out and then basically turning around and hiking back.  I hit the 3 mile mark, and the signage for one of the camping grounds.  Checking my map, I could see it was only a short distance to the White Cloud River ….river being an optional term.

Frankly, when I think of a river, I see something in my head out of an Old West movie.  John Wayne as Marshal Roster Cogburn standing on the banks of the wide river watching Mattie Ross guide her horse across to catch up….. aaaaaand I’ve probably lost half of you, having no clue that I’m talking about the movie True Grit.  What can I say I’m a big John Wayne fan.

Ok, so I’ve already crossed one creek, “Rattle Snake Creek,” the two crossing bridges, one a normal looking foot bridge, the other being quiet a few 2x6s, two side by side and multiple laid end to end, creating a walking patch over a swampy area.  Rattle Snake Creek.  Most of the area is pine forest, it is very pretty in the mid afternoon fall sun light.  The pine needles make little noise under foot.  A few areas the pine turned to trees that their leeves had already fallen, crunching loudly underfoot.  I’ll admit I was disappointed in the loss of leaves already.  I had hoped to make it to this hike during peek or just before peek fall color change.  I had missed it by a week, maybe two; only a very few trees, still held onto their leaves.

So. Three miles into my I come across the sign. It also says .7 miles to the next main road crossing; the river is before the main road. Ok. Within a half mile I come across a very long but decent length foot bridge, bridging the gap of a twisting creek.  I decided this was a good spot to sit, have a clifbar and some water. What turned into a quick clifbar stretched out to over thirty minutes. The crickets, the slow trickling water and the breezy whisp of the dead grass softly rolling against itself. I could sit out here for hours, getting lost in the silence.  The sun is warm on my shoulders with a slight breeze.  This is why I hiked out here.  To find isolated little areas like this.

There is just something about a moving body of water; it doesn’t matter how slow it’s moving.  Just the sound of water, whether it’s a large body like Lake Michigan or something small like Rattle Snake Creek or White Cloud River.  Something about the way it just countinues rolling around it’s curves and bends, absorbing a stone tossed in or carrying the fallen leaf with it’s current.  From the gental sounds of a quiet river tapping the river banks, to a vicious sea, and her waves crashing violently against the sandy shore.  I find tranquility in the sounds and emotions of the water…Maybe this is why I find sleep so much easier with the sound of rain.  Only the realization of a 3 mile hike back and the quickly fading light breaks me from my serenity and gets me back on my feet to head back to my Jeep.
Inked Amazon