I have a long standing friend, Matt, who I have random conversations with in text message.  His life is busy with a wife, two young kids and a very patience dog.  He once commented how he enjoys reading my blog.  How it’s like listening to me tell a story and he enjoys the preview into my life even though we now live a thousand miles apart.  Aaaaaand he apologized for being THAT guy who was first to text message me and wake me up on Christmas morning.  I couldn’t help but laugh reading that text.  I also had to explain, that not only did my iPhone ding, but the Bluetooth speaker it is hooked up to for music (which I usually sleep to music) and then my Garmin watch buzzed with the new message alert.  There was no escaping the one ding of the phone.  But I also smiled, hearing how he enjoys these random topics, rants and self conversations from inside my head.  To me, this blog is more an electronic diary…. maybe I should start a few entries, Dear Blog…. nahhhh, lol.

Dear Diary, 😉

We are two weeks into the new year….
I’ve seen the New Year, New Me posts on social media and I’ve seen the New Year, same asshole posts. I’ve also seen the taunting tabs at the New Year Resolutioners and the return of how we were all beginners at one point.  At some point or another, we have all posted these…if you’ve had a gym membership for more than a year, you know what January brings.  Crowded gyms and wait lines for just about any piece of equipment.  While the gym owners love the sudden flow of new members, the dedicated members tend to dread this time of year.  It starts to slow in February and usually by March it is over.  Deal with it.  It will happen again next year, and the year after, and the year following that…

Last year I posted a blog, New Year, New Me….bite me. Besides the weekly summary and rambling on strongman training, in the first paragraph I talk about how I’ve never made a New Years Resolution and I was planning on sticking with that.  I talked about how things in 2015 had worked out pretty well for me, so why change anything.  Then between March and May a change started, slow at first then slowly gaining momentum, until it felt like a hurricane inside me. In May, I posted a blog (time to start doing the things), trying to put my feelings into words, feelings I had not even realized yet.  I was two weeks out from what was my last strongman competition, before an unknown injury became so bad I couldn’t even get out of bed.

In the May blog, I talked about how I was tired of saying someday to all the things I want to do in life, I talked about how it was time to start crossing things off my bucket list.  While I didn’t do any further “tooling” on my Jeep myself, I did start venturing out hiking, camping, snowshoeing…heck even my first rock climbing experience…ok, so rock climbing was after the first of the year.  But looking at how far I’ve come since making the decision of even with some day and just do it.  I’m proud of 2016 and I don’t plan for things to go stagnate in 2017.

They say, if you talk about your goals constantly, you’ll never achieve them, it’s just talk.  To an extent I’ll agree with this.  But I’ve never been one to blast my goals all over social media or to anyone who will listen.  I have a few select close friends that I confide my feelings, dreams and wishes to.  But today, I think I’m going to put a few things down here.  Going back to the opening of this blog, I told my friend Matt, how I do enjoy writing.  He commented how it must be a liberating feeling.  I distinctively remember I was standing outside in the cold January Michigan air and I lifted my face to the cold and smiled.  Yes.  Yes it is rather liberating.  Posting several very scary feelings and confessions…leaving this out there for anyone who cares to see and read.  Baring my bruised and battered heart in some aspects.  Other times, sharing my joy or sudden conquered fear. It is liberating.  This is my public diary…and in one year I want to be able to look back on this entry and compare, like I am today, on how far I have come.  How many things I accomplished and what did I add to my list as the year progressed.

So here is to a new year, a new you if you want it, the same you if you want… To finding happiness in all that you do and a full and happy soul.

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
-C.S. Lewis

  • get my passport
  • travel outside the United States
  • get better at yoga
  • paint more
  • continue to work on MY happiness
  • rock climb, frequently
  • more camping
  • backpacking trips, yes TRIPS, multiple
  • cut back on the junk and clutter in my house …dare I say, go minimalist
  • read more


-Inked Amazon 💋


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.

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

an October weekend

After July’s camping experience of 95+degrees with 90% humidity and one hell of a thunderstorm; we had discussed going camping in October and attempt to catch the color change.  The decision was going to be between two weekends based around other events in schedules.  Early September Bee and I settled on the weekend of the 14-16th and after a handful of searches between the two of us, we settled on Crooked Lake in the Pinckney Recreation Area; which is mostly known as Potawatomi or The Poto, because of the massive mountain bike trail the state park contains.  This site has no electricity or running water; so this would cut the RVs and since we were going in October we had hoped this would also cut the amount of fellow campers.  Well, we didn’t have any RVs and were actually to see that all the other sites were full both nights.  Michiganders trying to get in the last few weekends of good weather, I guess.  I can’t say I blame them, we were out there doing the same thing.

Friday the temperature reached a balmy 64 degrees.  Now to some this may not seem like a lot, but this is Michigan in October, this is not normal.  In fact, the same time last year upper Michigan go the first snow fall of 6″ and lower Michigan got dusted with a few themselves.  Usually, October weather is hit or miss with rain and in the low 50s.  The amazing part, Friday’s temperatures 63/44 were the coolest tempatures forecasted for the entire weekend.  Saturday was suppose to be low 72/60 and Sunday was supposed to be another round of low 70s but with rain.  Which Bee had her yoga instructor class and needed to break camp early; I figured this was as good an excuse as any to beat the rain our as long as it didn’t move in overnight.

Friday night did drop into the low 40s according to the weather forecast on my phone.  Which, out in the woods, makes me believe it was easily into the high 30s.  Plus I slept fully cocooned in my sleeping bag, wearing a pair of my Lulu running shorts, Smartwool socks and a base layer long sleeve top.  Some time in the middle of the night I searched around for my Smartwool beanie and put that on too.  I silently squealed when the cold knit wrapped around my already cool head.  The handful of times my bag got a little too warm and I poked my nose out for cooler air, each time was pretty much an instant shock to just how much cooler the air outside was, definitely not just lower 40s.

Which these cooler temperatures would be why it sounded like our immediate neighbors were attempting to bath a cat…. We learned in the morning was actually a toddler, maybe two years old.  Frankly, if I was that kid, I’d be pissed too.  Drag me from my warm house and bed to sleep in a small tent with my 8 other siblings.

Saturday morning brought a beautiful crisp fall feeling.  Adding in the campfire breakfast of eggs, coffee and some sausage patties.  I could definitely stay out here for so much longer than just a few short days.


However about this time my fall allergies decided to go absolutely apeshit, and of course the woman who has exciderine stashed in every damn bag, has absolutely nothing this trip (lesson learned, don’t empty the allergy or headache meds from your Jeep, ever again).  So quick trip into town, snagged a couple more bundles of wood while were out an then back for what we planned as a short little hike.

Well, the Crooked Lake trail is a nice little 5.3 mile hike.  Nice right?  Nope about halfway in Bee and I decide that The Poto trail sounds good now that we know there is a cut off that will cut the 18 mile trail in half for us.  Uh-huh.  We ended up hiking 13 miles and my Garmin fenix3 tracked the equivalent of going up 78 flights of stairs….total elevation gain during the hike: 1,394 ft.  Well then (laughing) that breaks our like 9.6 mile hike on Highland.


The hike around The Poto was absolutely beautiful, I expected nothing less from Michigan, but with the change of color starting and the varieties of deep reds, vibrant yellows and the occasional fire orange; I was no where near disappointed.  A few times I almost tripped here and there because I was too busy looking off to the side and not at the tree roots in the path.

Six hours latter and back at our little camp site.  My feet felt pretty good, my body was just ready for real food, I had only been munching on trail snacks since breakfast.


Earlier in the week, Bee and I had decided that soup and sandwiches post hike sounded good.  Now the tomato bisque and cheese sandwiches didn’t just sound good, they sounded freakin amazing….and they were every bit as wonderful as they sounded the last 3 miles of our hike.  Bee had the “man-friend’s” cast iron old fashion sandwich grittle.  Which I clearly remember this from growing up and if I ever get my hands on one…
Soup and sandwiches were later followed up with hot chocolate and one round of s’mores.  We both laughed because we were not only full, but sugar-ed out.  “Being an adult means I can eat as many as I want.  As a kid I would have stuffed my face with at least 3.  Now, I’m one and done.”


Sunday morning was an earlier start, up just before the sun and breaking down camp trying to beat the rain out.  The original plan was to be leaving by 8am, which we just ahead of that plan by 15 minutes.  Having packed up and ready to roll out in 45 minutes, not too shabby in my book.
As I rolled the few minutes north into the town of Pinckney -maybe 10 minutes, it started to sprinkle.  Within another 10 minutes it was a full on downpour.  Sipping my McDonald’s coffee driving through the rain home, I decided to prolonged my too short weekend by taking the back country roads back to Grand Rapids, enjoying the rain and the change of color…and thankful for Bee’s yoga class that forced us to break camp early.  I really didn’t want to deal with breaking down a tent in the rain or drying it out in my garage, again.

I’ve been home closing on thirty-six hours and I’m already dreaming of the next trip, looking at what worked this past trip, what Bee and I agreed we needed for the next trip…. Maybe a 4 season tent?  Whose in on that? (laughing) I’m not so sure I’ll get Bee to agree to camping in the snow.  She did kind of look at me like I was crazy when I jokingly suggested January.

-Inked Amazon 💋💀

and the story goes on… on … on…

Have you met that person, that person who inspires you… not some to some insane bullshit.  I’m not talking about watching the Olympics and seeing a swimmer win his 27th gold medal or the track runner who falls to her knees crying, thanking God and her family. I’m talking about a real life person.  Someone in your every day life.  That friend you text regularly.  That person that just by knowing them, inspires you to want to do more with your life.  To be more….to be a better hooman

I have.
Brought together in friendship by what some women would consider the worst of experiences a friendship of the most rarities bloomed.  My Valkryie Sister.  The Tiny Tank and the Inked Amazon.

Friends who inspire you is a true gift of rarity. I’m not referring to the “My Tribe” hashtag movement. Although many could say a deeper meaning behind that, could have originated from this. Or it was just a bunch of basic white girl’s looking to start something new.

My entire adult life, I have been torn between the warrior and the artist that resides inside of me. Like the parable of the two wolves fighting; except mine is neither good nor evil. I am neutral. But, like the story, the one you feed more will grow.  The past three months I have been feeding both. Finding that balance for years was difficult. Yet in a kindred artistic soul I have manged to find that balance. That peace.

My friendship with her, in the past almost two years, has pushed me to be more well rounded. To get out of my comfort zone and do things I’ve wanted to. To push my own boundaries further. Hell, I’m a strength athlete, but I’ve started doing yoga.

The past month I’ve been putting quiet the distance in swimming laps. It started due to an injury that kept me out of the gym and off the weights. Unable to train I needed something to keep me sane. I turned back to an old high school sport. A sport I haven’t done in twenty years! The first day in the pool was just shy of a disaster in my head. By week three I’ve hit my grove and averaging 2800 yards in a hour. My shoulders feel more powerful than they have in years and I just feel good. I’m in no rush now to get back to the weights. I feel confident in giving my body the time it needs to heal and repair.

On top of swimming, I’ve turned to yoga. With the investment in a new quality yoga mat -I swear. Period. I slide all over a cheap mat like a drunk date. It’s ugly. The new Gaiam mat is amazing and I look forward to more time spent…aside from the fact my current state of flexibility is shit. It use to be so much better.

This fall I plan to learn how and conquer my fear of rock climbing. There are at least three local indoor places. Which I’ve already told my spider monkey friend I’m dragging her and she can teach me and laugh at me. ❤️ I cannot explain how excited that makes me.

Now. With all of this, I have found a new relationship with my middle sister. I dare say we have never been as close…which that doesn’t mean we were distant, because my family is super tight. It’s just we didn’t have as close of a relationship and we struggled to find that ground. But now, but now we have found this…thing…. This figurative place that has brought us together in such a way in the past three months. Her and I are planning at least two major vacations together; one being a backpacking trip across Ireland in 2018. I mean SERIOUSLY I am so freakishly excited to just talk to her now, about anything. My heart overflows at this new bond between us.


In the middle of the night, when the angels scream,
I don’t want to live a lie that I believe.
Time to do or die.

I will never forget the moment, the moment.
I will never forget the moment.

And the story goes on… on… on…
That’s how the story goes.
That’s how the story goes.

You and I’ll never die.
It’s a dark embrace.
In the beginning was life, a dawning age.
Time to be alive.

I will never forget the moment, the moment.
I will never forget this night.
We sing, we sing…

On… on… on…
That’s how the story goes.

Fate is coming, that I know.
Time is running, got to go.
Fate is coming, that I know.
Let it go.
Here right now
Under the banner of heaven, we dream out loud
Do or die, and the story goes
On… on… on…

And the story goes on… on…
This is the story

Fate is coming, that I know (this is the story)
Time is running, got to go (this is the story)
Fate is coming, that I know (this is the story)
Let it go.
Here right now,
Under the banner of heaven, we dream out loud
Dream out loud!
Fate is coming, that I know (time to do or die)
Time is running out (time to do or die)
Fate is coming, that I know (time to do or die)
Let it go…

-Thirty Seconds To Mars
“Do or Die”


On this lazy Saturday rainy morning, I feel so alive and rejuvenated.  My heart is full and excited.  I look forward to all these adventures to come, I look forward to everything I am planning with my friends and solo.  I look forward to what tomorrow, next week, next month, next year brings.  I look forward to seeing who my soul continues to evolve into.  I welcome all of it with open arms, open heart and open mind.
Like I’m sitting on the edge of that cliff and ready to leap…..

-Inked Amazon Warrior (and artist)

a free soul 

The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good -Charles Bukowski

A month ago, I posted a blog about getting out and doing more. More than just training and work.  Well… Planning weekends with friends has not been open until this weekend.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been putting plans into motion.

My middle sister read the last blog and when I went to the beach the following day, she was facebook messaging me from some where in the South Pacific -she is active duty Navy, and out to sea right now.  She made comments how she wished she was here to starting doing these things with me; but if you look at her facebook, this gal has already been doing the things I want to do.  So what better company to make long term plans with.  So quickly the conversation turned to the two of us making plans… One of them being camping, camping in Wyoming next year.

In the past handful of weeks, we have sent links for different areas of Wyoming back and forth.  I’ve asked her opinion on gear -the woman has hiked, camped, climbed and mountain biked in areas of Europe, California, Alaska and God knows where else! And largely just talking  about it, makes me so excited!

Along with making plans with my sister, my friend and fellow strongwoman, Brogan and I have gone hiking, tubing, stuffed our faces with all the good foods and topped it off with a touch of sunburns that smell like coconut suntan lotion. We are also made local plans for a camping weekend with several other girlfriends.  Which, I am hell bound I want to camp ON a Lake Michigan beach, which Brogan is just shaking her head at me.  My response, I said I don’t want to look at these cool pictures you see on REI, North Face or any of the other outdoor sites; I want to be the one taking the pictures and making these memories with my friends.  So at dinner Saturday night, Brogan was googling locations.


On my own there have been beach trips -yes we have real beaches here in Michigan; The Great Lakes are pretty much fresh water oceans.  I have also purchased new art supplies to replace those that have disappeared over the years, or just needed new.  I have also added a new design desk to my room, a small drawing table; and I saw small because anyone who knows the size of a drafting desk, knows just how big they usually are.  Anyway, I have spent my gym weekday rest days at my new desk, working on a few different projects.



And frankly it all feels amazing and good.

My soul is happy.  I have ended each one of these days with a glow and a genuine smile, or so my buddies on the other end of snap chat say so.


-Inked Amazon Warrior