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….

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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.

training again

Today marks the end of the 4th week back on a training program, almost a full month of ‘training’ again, since my injury this past summer that sidelined me from heavy lifting and any idea of a competition for a while.  I would love to say there was a specific date the injury actually occurred, however looking back it was a slow build up, signs I ignored or times I thought it was something far more simple.  I would get a tightness in my right trap, that would make it difficult to look over my shoulder, instead of simply being able to turn my head I would have to rotate at the waist.  Then there was also the weird elbow/arm pain.  It was not exactly the bone area of the elbow but more the muscle on top, there would be a tight weird feeling.  Some times the feeling would be worse if my arm was straight, other times it would be if the elbow was bent; there seemed to be no real rime or reason to it.  Also both areas of stiffness with a low grade pain, would come and go, there seemed to be no specific lift or accessory piece that aggravated it…except chin-ups, chin-ups seemed to drive it bezerk.

Leading into the 2016 March MotorCity competition, I remember having random elbow issues.  I solved this by just wearing my elbow sleeve, it seemed to help.  After MotorCity, I discovered voodoo floss (magical).  Using the voodoo floss regularly seemed to fix having the pain after training.  For the weird random stiffness in my trap, I seemed to help cut back on the flare-ups by carefully choosing which sports bra to train in.  Reserving my extreme support Nike’s for days that I had running or a lot of… bouncy …movements, which luckily then, were only once a week or every other week.

USS Nationals, beginning of June 2016; I went into that competition with a lot of concerns and no where near the mental state I had the year before.  I had a lot of lingering pain and stiffness in both my elbow and trap despite the week of deload. Hindsight, I should not have been competing.  My training felt good, I felt like I had been making progress, but again in hindsight, the upper body work was miss organized and the weights plugged to hit had been frustrating and obviously miscalculated for what I was capable of.  Also, last week I had one of those ‘oh fuck’ moments and realized what had been truly wrong with my dip-drive on my log press.  Despite the videos sent to a coach and all the others that use to give their advise, none of them noticed what I had been doing to loose all the transfer of power from the dip to driving the log overhead.

Post 2016 Nats, I was relieved it was over.  I didn’t really care where I placed, it was over.  Not having a Fickle-Finger to practice on, I was happy flipping the damn thing once.  This was one, a lot of gals in my weight class struggled with.  The Conan’s Wheel was lighter than I expected, after training on carrying a 300+ yoke, but the stone cobble road and not moving as fast as I should have been, cost me.  Stones went well…the previous year I did not get the 200 lapped, this year I flew past that and right through the 225 and onto the 250 like it was nothing.  The deadllift, there was argument whether it was 350 or 375; I was fully willing to believe it was a solid 375, I had moved 350 multiple times in training and that felt nothing like pulling the 350.  I was content for what my mental state had been, I knew I had a lot of reevaluating to do; I also knew I was overdue for a break.  Not just a deload week, but a genuine break, training just to maintain and not training to jump into another competition 15 or so weeks out.  In fact I had planned on not competing again until December, maybe March…Then shortly back into training my looming injury became so bad I couldn’t get out of bed without extreme pain.

During the deadlift at Nats, I had felt a pop in my neck on the 3rd pull, but I was refusing to let go of the bar.  I remember having that exact conversation in my head, telling myself don’t you dare let go, get it to lockout.  Afterwards, I seemingly felt fine…damn endorphin high. Similar pops, came again when deadlifting post Nats…I didn’t listen…I pushed through those training days.  Then finally my body had enough.  After one day of hitting my programmed numbers, I seemed fine…then a few hours further into my day, my neck stiffened up, pain began to run down my right shoulder into my bicep, then elbow.  By evening I could lay in bed but perfectly still, just trying to move the slightest amount caused such excruciating pain that I was literately crying and gasping.

A week spent on bed rest, another week spent taking daily movements very slow, week 3 was no different. It became clear very quickly I was going to need a good amount of time out of the gym.  By the 4th week I was ready to loose my mind.  This was when I decided to start swimming again, I needed something to distract me and make me feel like I was still doing something.  Shortly after I began swimming again, I started doing yoga.  The combination of the two made me feel semi normal again, or at least normal for me.

Fast forward four months, I finally felt like I was ready to step back to the weights, but I left my belts, wraps and straps at home.  I didn’t want my head getting to far ahead of what my body was saying it was ready for.  Which really was a smart move, because I wasn’t ready to even think about heavy training again yet. Two or three times a week I would get into the gym and just go through some basic movements, keep weights extremely light, focusing on body positioning and breathing.  It sucked.

At the six month mark… SIX FREAKIN MONTHS ….I was tired of just going to the gym and going through the motions, I was ready to start training heavy again.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy being fifteen pounds lighter than my last competition, my bank account loves the fact my grocery bill isn’t looking like it is feeding a family of 6 every week, and I am enjoying not being so exhausted by the weekend that I barely get outta bed the first day and then spend Sunday trying to get caught up just to start all over again.  However, I still miss the heavy weights.  So.  I decided to take the plunge and jump in a training group I had been watching on Instagram.

SOFLETE Training

Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back. — Heraclitus

The new training program is designed with the warrior in mind… Not the gym warrior who thinks doing a competition is the equivalent of going to war or combat.  It’s not, stfu. SOFlete is a veteran run company, created and designed for military and first responders types. Not saying that you have to be in this career path to train with them, but know that the training is geared towards being able to do our job better and survive longer; strength and endurance.  Ok the cardio shit just sucks, it’s like some sick version of a Crossfit workout but without all the bizarre things I saw when I was a Crossfitter once upon a time.  I have yet to see the endurance programming be a ‘wtf is this, how is THAT suppose to help.’ Four weeks in and I am extremely happy with what I have seen, some days I think, that was it?!  But then I wake up the next day going, oh holyfuckmonkey….ok, that was definitely good enough, YIKES!!

I specifically like the fact there is a program designed for women; and what one of the guys said, it’s based off the strength programming but scaled back and with more focus on upper body strength.  The strength program is designed for men “who is deadlifting 405×3, Cleaning 245, Benching 250, running a 6:30 mile, and looking to improve.”  Of course he goes on to say, that none of these numbers alone is impressive… uh-huh, sure.

Now the biggest game, is what’s in my head.  I know what my body was capable of back in early June, pre-injury.  I want it to be right there again, despite the 5-6 months away from truly training.  I want to be pulling that 375 deadlift again, closing on four plates; instead, reality, 3 plates yesterday told me to go fuck myself.  I want to be squatting 3 plates…instead, reality, it’s 2 plates for sets.  I have to forcibly remind myself it’s going to take time to rebuild.  I’m on a good program now, I just have to allow time and the work to take their course.

There is still no competition in sight, I don’t know when there will be.  I’m still enjoying my weekends, mostly full of energy.  I’m still enjoying my lower grocery bill and the lack of stress about a looming competition.  I’m definitely enjoying being back at 180 pounds instead of sitting at 195.  I’m enjoying other hobbies, such as hiking, camping, learning how to rock climb; I don’t want training for a competition to absorb all my spare time, to become a second job, again.  So I don’t know when I will look to compete again, I just miss my strength.

2017

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

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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.

fear:
ˈfir/

noun
1.
an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

verb
1.
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.

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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.

Soooo….

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

Happy Winter Solstices

I posted this to my facebook:

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🌜❄️Happy Winter Solstice ❄️🌛

Or hibernal solstice is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight hours and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the December Solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere this is the June Solstice.

The 2016 Winter Solstice officially arrives at 5:44am Eastern time on December 21st.
The winter solstice is when the Earth tilts to a position where the northern hemisphere is the furthest away from the sun, causing less light to reach that region. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Dec. 21st will be the shortest day and longest night of the year, with exactly 9 hours, 15 minutes and 6 seconds of daylight.

Each year, as the Daily Telegraph of London reminds us, the winter solstice is marked by cultural festivals and pagan celebrations, most famously at the historic Stonehenge monument in England.

But it’s so much more than just a Wikipedia like rehashed quote. Of course I have a several family members that are over the top christians, borderline bibile thumbing… I love them dearly and it’s not just worth the verbal arguments or responding posts to get into the religious debate on social media.

Instead I spent my evening, working on a painting, snuggling my boys, yoga in my front room with candles and then some meditation.  Saying thank you for everything I have learned and re discovered about myself this past year.  That I am open to the coming year and the continued growth and change.  I am open to receive.

I woke up December 22nd to a beautiful blue gray light. Driving to work, the feeling of happiness bubbling from deep with in. I have not been as excited about this holiday season, according to my brother I “get weird around the holidays.” It might not be the normal excited about the holidays as it is happiness and joy, not just in the holidays but in life itself.

At a traffic light, heading to work I sent a text message to a friend, “I’m genuinely going to try and make it out Saturday evening.  The weather is sounding decent.  Still the warm up coming.  5pm you said?”  I meant it, I wasn’t just saying I appreciate the invite but had all intentions of staying home.  She responded before I could drive a full block, how excited she was to having me coming out.  This warmed my heart even more.  It was a fabulous morning, a positive feeling I was able to carry the entire day at work, despite how absolutely insane things became.