a life to love

United States Strongman Nationals is next weekend in Detroit…. It’s been over a year since I competed.  Some days I’m ok with this, other days I miss it; but the being ok outweighs the missing.

Two weeks before last year’s Nationals, I wrote a blog after swapping out the license plate bracket on my Jeep. time to start doing the things I talked about the nerves leading up to last year’s competition, I talked how I was ready mentally for a break from training… what I didn’t realize at the time, how desperately my body needed the break too.  But most of all I talked about how I didn’t want to spend my summer just training for another competition, I didn’t want to, what felt like, waste my summer and miss out on the few short warm summer months of Michigan, only training.

Last year my Valkyrie sister Brandi took some time off and headed out with her “man-friend” (I freakin LOVE that term) to Montana for some amazing camping.  I cannot even begin to describe how jealous I am.  That is something I have always wanted to do but just kept saying, someday.  Well.  Enough with this someday shit.

I am very happy to say, a little over a year after this blog was written, I have gone hiking countless times, camping in several different locations in lower Michigan -I have yet to make it to the Upper Peninsula (that’s on this year’s plans).  I have been indoor rock climbing; off-roading at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, run other muddy off-road trails.  Traveled to Louisiana to spend my birthday….  I went snowshoeing! Even though our winter wasn’t nearly what they usually are, I still managed to get out at least once.

 

In the not so distant past, too many times I’ve said some day, I’m gonna do this or go here…. last year I definitely decided enough of that. Enough of living my weekdays counting down till the weekend only to really do nothing more than house work and grocery shopping.Literally, wasting the days, weeks, months and years away.  Or at least that’s how I saw that mentality.  While my life has been no where near boring; I’ve always told myself, my best days are not in the past, my best days are right now and tomorrow. While I haven’t been out traveling the world, I’ve been exploring my local state in all four seasons. I’ve shared pictures on Instagram and Facebook, I’ve written short blogs on some of the adventures and my feelings.

Thursday evening, my boyfriend says to me: looking at your photos and your sister Ellie’s photos, I realize aside from deployments, I haven’t had the adventurous life that you two are living….and I want us to have that together.  I cannot even express how this made my heart absolutely SORE!!

Immediately after, I called my sister to share my excitement. She laughed but with almost as much excitement. See, Ellie and I are planning a backpacking trip. There’s no exact date yet due to all the things you on with both our jobs, and that’s ok. She recently started dating a fellow adventurer and I’m super stoked for her. But just the idea of being able to plan adventures….I’m literally beaming all over again.

Also in the past year, even more so in the past month, I’ve become determined not to be so mechanically illiterate… While, I have learned I am leaps and bounds ahead of your average woman my age, I still feel rather lost once I pop the hood on my Jeep and start looking at the engine.

So last weekend, I changed my headlights and fog lights -upgrading them from factory to LEDs.  Then my neighbor and I cut the ends of my stock JKU bumper, yesterday we secured the new stubby a little better and removed the plastic aesthetic “skid plate.”  We also got an overhead counsel smittybilt MOLLIE system installed (which I am seriously in love with this thing); I also changed the hood lettering from Rubicon to Lady Jaye.  There is a handful of other small things that was accomplished; but over all I am quiet proud of myself.  My neighbor is teaching me with hands on lessons how to tool my own Jeep which I am absolutely ecstatic!  In fact last night I sent the boyfriend a text:

me: It’s 250 on a Saturday night and I’m reading about catalytic converters.  This started because my check engine light is on.  Code came back for on the of the o2 sensors.  I had no idea there was 2.  There’s an up and down stream, I actually know the difference and which banks.  You’re probably laughing right now.  But it’s clicking, all these little things.  So I need to change one of my sensors and I’m watching a YouTube video on it…

him:  O2 sensors are easy to do

me: Well.  I’m gonna be changing one and finding out

him: lol, I love you

As minor as this exchange may seem to some, I am very proud of expanding my knowledge.  For the most part I still feel like an idiot when I pop the hood and began looking at everything, I still feel overwhelmed, however I know that I am no longer totally lost anymore.  God bless the ability to YouTube pretty much anything, and Google everything.

 

Well I guess I should confess that I am starting to get old
All the latest music fads all passed me by and left me cold
All the kids are talking slang I won’t pretend to understand
All my friends are getting married, mortagages and pension plans
And it’s obvious my angry adolescent days are done
And I’m happy and I’m settled in the person I’ve become
But that doesn’t mean I’m settled up and sitting out the game
Time may change a lot but some things may stay the same

And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all I will not grow up
And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all I yeah I won’t grow up

Oh maturity’s a wrapped up package deal so it seems
And ditching teenage fantasy means ditching all your dreams
All your friends and peers and family solemnly tell you you will
Have to grow up be an adult yeah be bored and unfulfilled
Oh when no ones yet explained to me exactly what’s so great
About slaving 50 years away on something that you hate
Look I’m meekly shuffling down the path of mediocrity
Well if that’s your road then take it but it’s not the road for me

And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all I will not grow up
And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all I yeah I won’t grow up
And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all I will not grow up

And if all you ever do with your life
Is photosynthesize
Then you deserve every hour of these sleepless nights
That you waste wondering when you’re gonna die

Now I’ll play and you sing
The perfect way for the evening to begin
Now I’ll play and you sing
The perfect way for the evening to begin

And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all yeah I won’t grow up
And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all I will not grow up
And I won’t sit down
And I won’t shut up
And most of all I will not grow up

-Frank Turner
Photosynthesis

My beautiful doorless Lady Jaye is sitting in the garage, just waiting for me…. Yea, this morning is doing the adulting things, like going to get groceries.  But just because were adults doesn’t mean we have to be boring; living an unfulfilling life.  I also still have no interest in talking mortgages or pension plans.

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Zombie Jesus day

Let me start by saying I do not celebrate Easter, Passover, Yom Kippur, or any other of these types…hell I don’t even celebrate Christmas, I think proof of that is the fact that I spent it solo snowshoeing.


To me, today is just another beautiful day that I woke up on the right side of the daises.  Usually, Easter in Michigan, it either snows or it’s pouring cold rain.  However, this year being the end of April and with a very weird winter followed by the early arrival of spring… I have two trees blooming their bright green leaves.  My lilies are several inches above the dirt and I fully expect to see their flowers in the next two, three weeks.  Last weekend it was a glorious mid seventy degrees, yesterday it was eighty.  These weekend temperatures keep up and I’m going to have o put in the ac window unit early.  Heck, I was able to pull my Jeep doors yesterday, in APRIL!!  I truly believe this is the earliest I have every been able to pull the doors.  Last year I may have gotten them off by the end of May, but most years it is the first or second weekend in June.  This weather is absolutely wonderful!!

Last month, month and a half, life has been a bit hectic, a bit stressful; but after last Sunday’s mental and physically cleansing; late that night I felt a bit of relief, ok actually a lot of relief, I felt a dark spot from my soul lift.  This week at work, I was able to get a week of vacation approved by my supervisor and I will be spending my birthday next month visiting my boyfriend… which, with everything going on at work, I am super excited to be able to get away in the midst of everything going on. Yesterday, pulling the doors off the Jeep, first thing in the morning, buying new luggage for my trip and running errands with a doorless Jeep at 80 degrees…its just good for the soul.  This morning I woke up to the smell of wet dirt from open windows and Nora Jones softly playing from the speaker in my bedroom.

This morning, this morning is a good morning, a very good morning…. There is just something about the full arrival of spring in the mitten state that is an absolute glorious feeling.  Even though our winter this year was no where near it’s normal abrasive brutality.  There is still something about the trees coming back to life, flowers growing and blooming, even seeing the first of the bees and bumble bees.  It makes my heart happy and fills my soul.

My “de-clutter project” is no where near the state I had hoped it would be by this time.  However the past three weekends I have made good progress.  Tackling the garage alone, was a huge step.  That was an almost all day project too.  Inside the house, I have taken to the theory of setting the kitchen timer for 30-45 minutes and just going after one room.  When the timer expires, I can stop, take a break or finish whatever I am on.  So far, this theory has worked better than any others I have attempted.  No, it doesn’t finalize that section or that room, not by a long shot.  What I have learned is that over the past seven years, I have been extremely good at organizing my physical baggage…which lets face facts, that translates to how well I have organized and hidden mental baggage.  By dealing with these physical things, I am efficiently decluttering and getting rid of the mental too.  It’s a good feeling, no, it’s a great and freeing feeling.

 

So now, it’s time to tackle another 30-45 minutes of the house; but first, more coffee…

Why am I still holding on?

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Why is sorting through the junk in my house so incredibly difficult.  What in the actual FUCK is still wrong with me?!
Why am I so frustrated trying to do this!!
Why do I have so many stupid cook books?  I hate cooking!

Some times, a lot of times, I have found that if I just start typing…verbal vomit, so to speak, sometimes I have those A-HA moments and realize what is holding me up.  Something just clicks.  So now, I’m trying to figure that out…

Late fall, early winter, I set the goal that I would have more control over this house.  I would do a mass de-cluttering.  Well, it’s April and I still feel closed in… there is too much shit and the further I dig into things, the more crammed into spaces I find things.

Let me back up.  I hate clutter.  I hate a messy house.  So in reality, this house is no where near a episode of hoarders, it just feels that way to me.  I have to much junk, too much junk that is not used.  It needs to go.  So why, when I am looking at a pile of cook books in my kitchen, that I pulled from their hiding spot last Sunday do I get anxious and want to put all of them back into their hiding spot on the rack?!  I hate cooking.  It’s not that I’m bad at it, I just don’t like it.  I managed to put half of the cook books into a box to go to Goodwill.  This morning, it dawned on me.  Pinterest.  I have Pinterest, if I need to find a recipe, I can just surf Pinterest and ditch 95% of these cook books.  Hell, one had so much dust on the top of it, that I’m sure I have not looked at it in four years.  I do not need this book, why have I been holding on?! When I sent that text message to my boyfriend, he responded with, “No baby, I know how to cook for us.”  This simple answer seemed to make it so much easier, so simple.

Hoodies… oh dear god I have a hoodie obsession.  I pulled all the ones hung on hooks behind my bedroom door, off yesterday and moved them to the chair in the front room.  I looked, picked up each one, put it back down at least four times.  I could not bring myself to put any of them into the pile for Goodwill.  FAK.

What the hell is wrong with me?  Abandonment issues?  Financial struggle?  Personal and or work stress?  All of the above??!

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Ok.  What am I holding on to, just in case… What if I need this dress for a special occasion?  What if I need… Or what if I want this later.  It’s time for it to go.  The trouble I have, is anxiety kicks up trying to place these things into the box to Goodwill.  Some how I need to force through it and just be done with it.

I’ve done a good job of cutting people out of my life that weighed me down, ones that made me feel bad about my life decisions or just in general made me feel bad about me.  Now it’s time to further disconnect from physical possessions. Physical possessions do not bring happiness, it brings a cluttered confined space, and this brings on more stress.  I feel it about mid week, when I feel my house has become a mess and I just become more frustrated by the way my house feels to me and I cannot get comfortable in my own space because it feels so confined.

Yesterday, going through one of the cook books, I found a handful of old pictures, yes actual pictures.  Pictures that were almost 20 years old to about 15.  One of the photographs was of my brother and my ex-husband, when my brother graduated crew chief school… The photograph stopped me in my tracks, a few heartbeats later I stuffed it somewhere and tried to re focus on something else to distract me.  This is not the first time this has happened.  There is an old ziplock bag full of pictures, stashed on a bookshelf semi out of sight.  These photos range from over 20, 25 years old to probably about 15 years.  I know there are pictures from my married life in there and I don’t want to look at them.  I’ve tried.  I start trembling and then I find myself shuffling the pile back together and stuffing them away again.  I know I need to do something with them, but what… just toss them?  Is this part of what I’m still clinging too??

I think one of the biggest bullshit lies as women we tell ourselves, is that retail therapy is good for the soul.  No, it’s not.  It’s clutter and trying to fix one problem with another problem.  A year or so ago, I made myself promise if I buy a bag (purse, gym bag, work bag) one goes out the door to Goodwill.  I have been rather successful at keeping to this.  Now, I need to apply this rule to everything else I buy.

  • Groceries -I have a horrible habit of not taking full inventory of my cupboards before going and buying things to cook with.
  • Clothes -aww hell.  I probably wear the same few articles of clothing over and over again.  I need to do another huge purge on my closet and dresser.  Yes I’ve done one or two since early winter and dragged out the obvious things I do not wear.  Now, it’s time to do it again. This applies to both gym clothes and everyday clothes.  I probably have way too many gym clothes too.  Hell my suits for work could probably use a purge too.  Am I holding on to extra stuff because what I wore use to be a huge fight?  Why are you wearing that?  Who are you trying to impress!
  • Books -holy fuckmonkeys.  This is probably one of the biggest.  I love books, I love being surrounded by books, real actual physical books.  Being in a bookstore or a library is probably one of my happiest places.  But how many books do I own, just because.  It’s time to purge those… That is the one thing I have yet to touch and their are piles of books in just about every room of my house.  Shut up.  It’s a tiny house.
  • Makeup.  I go through phases, I guess, what kind of makeup I wear and… No.  I just need to chuck most of it.  I’m not even sure how old some of it is.  Why am I holding on to it?  Because he (ex husband) said I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup to go to the grocery store?  Because he use to accuse me of cheating..

 

Text message with my boyfriend this morning, “Well, we can just set it on fire and I can come over to put it out.”
“Ya know.  Maybe that’s how I need to look at it.  If there was a fire, what would I want to replace.”
Maybe this is exactly how I need to look at it.  What would I truly be heartbroken loosing?

I need more coffee….

i need more coffee

It’s Sunday morning, a slow lazy morning sleeping in as late as my dogs would allow, today that’s 8am.  I’ve spent the past 45 minutes, surfing a few blogs, getting caught up on  a few that I enjoy, but now I need more coffee.

Taking the dogs outside this morning, the temperature is not as breath-robbing-fridged as yesterday’s blistering windy 18 degrees, but it’s still cold.  There’s no snow to justify our temperatures; in fact, it has been a very bizarre and wacky winter.  We’ve had a few random snow falls, a lot of ran, our temperatures have ranged from single digits to upper 60s in February.  The internet joke is that winter is drunk.  I think Mother Nature cannot make up her mind what she is doing.  A week or so ago I saw a picture of Picture Rocks on  Lake Superior, there is almost no ice….just a little bit at the shore line and even that is broken and chunky.  Usually the Coast Guard is taking the Ice Breaker ships through to keep the shipping lanes open and every one is talking how thick the ice is.  Not this year.  Two weeks ago, I noticed that I have lilies popping up out of the ground.

This winter has been weird to say the very least.  I bought new snowshoes last December when we had a couple feet on the ground, then everyone was predicting one of the snowiest winters on record…. Well that proved to a be a load of crap.  The snowshoes sit, in their storage bag on my shelf with other gear, used once this year.  I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed.

So now here it is March 12th and I’ve managed one short day of hiking, more a nature walk on a 60 degree day, since early January.  I also have not accomplished much around my house.  I had told myself in early January that I would set a winter goal to cut down on junk in this house.  I swear no matter how much stuff I donate to the Goodwill, it seems like it has not changed.

I guess I am just feeling frustrated; by this house, the winter, things at work…. Even this past week in the gym, I felt like it was just a crap week of lifting.  Don’t get me wrong, I was hitting decent numbers (especially only a month back into heavy lifting), so I should be content with that, for now.  Just with everything else, inside I feel something things to break.  Something needs to give.  I need to get back on track with all the things I had planned in my head back in January…all the things I had wanted to do or accomplish by April.

….and then I realize I totally forgot about the time change last night.  Ugh… it’s not 9am, it’s 10.  I truly despise daylight savings time.

I need more coffee.