Still Cold with Hopes of Change, Amazing Day Hiking, Dog Booties…

The cold continues...

The cold continues…

The cold is holding on tight around here. The sun is out every day, but its still cold and even colder at night. NOAA is forecasting that tonight is going to be the bone chilling lower 20’s, again, slightly warmer tomorrow night at 31 degrees, and, then, the nights begin to warm up with temperatures in the 40’s for a few nights. Is it almost Spring, yet?

The hike on Tiger Mountain Trail South with my friend, yesterday, was great. The whole day was amazing, restorative, centering. Google Maps threw us some bad info for getting to the actual trailhead itself, but we figured it out and didn’t have to walk too far out of our way and back before finding it. At the top, there was a wonderful 180 degree view of the Olympics and Puget Sound area. This is where I would insert a photo into things, but the new WordPress format is more than frustrating and I can’t seem to figure out how to make it text wrap around a photo.

Wait. I just figured out how to get back into the old admin page. Inserting photos works

View from the top of Tiger Mountain Trail South

View from the top of Tiger Mountain Trail South

here. Now, to upload some photos from yesterday. I didn’t take many. I was too busy enjoying chatting with my friend. She is such an incredible person. She has one of those souls that just radiates from her through her heart. I’d hug her a million times, if that wasn’t too creepy.

Today has been all about being super lazy. I’ve read a little, played a little on my phone, watched a movie with my husband, and, now that it has warmed up to something a little more reasonable (a whopping 36 degrees!), writing. My plans following this are more reading with the possibility of a nap. Back to the left foot, right foot march tomorrow.

Lance is out, taking the dogs for a walk. He needed to wait until the ground wasn’t completely frosted over so their little paws don’t freeze. He likes to walk for hours and the poor babies have been coming home with frozen, aching feet. No frostbite, which is good. Lance, half jokingly, said we would need to get them some little booties. I, personally, don’t see that going well with our pack. I see each one working on getting them off while he is attempting to boot up the next one. I could be wrong, but I doubt we shall find out. I just can’t bring myself to buy shoes for our dogs, especially with the miles they put on.

Perhaps I have that backwards. Maybe I should be thinking getting them little dog booties is the right thing to do since they walk so many miles each day. Maybe I’m over thinking it. I don’t know. I have pretty much always found dog clothing to be quite ridiculous (my opinion. do what you do), booties and hats to be the worst of the worst. They are dogs, not children, even if we treat them as so. I guess its something I need to roll around a bit longer.

Well, my fingers are beginning to get stiff from the cold. I’m headed in. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and a Hike with a Friend on Tiger Mountain…

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, full of amazingly wonderful memories. I also hope everyone made it through Black Friday with all of the items they were after now tucked away securely for Christmas morning. My slow cooker turkey breast turned out well, though a bit dry because I forgot to throw part of an apple in there to help keep it moist. It was still delicious, and my Thanksgiving turkey quota was met.

My Black Friday outing was also successful and went off without a hitch. I was actually really surprised how quickly I was able to grab the items I was after, check out, and load the Jeep. My longest line wait time was waiting for the sale to start. I actually was capable of walking straight up to a register to check out, no line. I have to admit I felt a little charmed by this. Just a couple more things to grab between now and Christmas and my present purchases are complete. YAY!!

I’m heading out with a friend of mine for a hike today. We are meeting at the Tiger Mountain Trail South trailhead a few hours from now. I’m so excited. The hike is 4 miles, roundtrip, and has a 600 foot gain. A quick, fairly moderate hike. I’ve never hiked around on Tiger Mountain. This and the fact that I am going hiking with a friend of mine, which means I won’t be hiking alone, has me super, super excited about this hike. I have to remember to grab my camera and make sure that I have fresh batteries in it.

It has been really cold for days! Its in the low 20’s, again, this morning. We had to buy a small heater yesterday to help supplement our propane heater because we couldn’t get the temperature above 60 degrees in the trailer. The night before yesterday, the temperature in the trailer topped out around 58 degrees. Since we set up the new heater, we have been able to get the temp up in the trailer to the much more comfortable level of 70, which, in the trailer, is almost too warm. Another upside is that we don’t have to run both heaters for too long before we can achieve the desired temp, then we can shut one of them off for a while. Success!

Well, I should probably go start getting myself put together for the hike. Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I hope that everyone has a day filled with family, whether that be you and your spouse, you and your children, you and your best friend (four legged friends included), or you and multiple generations of family. For those that are spending this day in solitude for whatever reason(s), I hope that your day goes exactly as you have planned and that you feel the joys of your greatness and create a memory for yourself that you will look back on one day with a smile.

As an adult, Thanksgiving has always been an emotional grab bag for me, from happiness to longing. It is also a day that I take to reflect on the year that stands between the last Thanksgiving and the present one, taking note of all of the good things that have occurred in my life. Since I tend not to write gratitude lists very often, mostly because I’m too busy looking forward to stop and look at right here and now, I look at this designated day of thanks to be a great time to remind myself of all the good, the progresses made, and to leave the less than desirable on the shelf for a day. No yard stick is used to validate the good.

When I was growing up, I always dreamed of having large Thanksgiving gatherings at my own home when I grew up. I had the large Thanksgiving gatherings at my grandparents as a child and the connectedness feeling that provided me was something I wanted to carry forward to the next generations to come. My life has gone differently than what I had believed it would be. My family of origin is spread out across the country, I do not have a place that I could host a large gathering, or much of a gathering at all. Nor do my finances support the dream. I long for the large gatherings, again.

Many Thanksgivings, my children have gone to their dad’s family’s celebrations. I wanted to be able to give them the large gathering of the holiday, to give them those memories. That family has lost so many of its family members over the last 5-6 years, so many in such a short time, one of them being the kids’ dad, and it appears that the Thanksgiving gatherings there are not at all what they used to be, if there is much of a gathering at all. I hope they make it through today with only the fondest memories and a lot of laughter.

This Thanksgiving, my daughter will be spending with her boyfriend’s family. It sounds like there is going to be a small get together there. I’m not sure, but I think my son is going to spend the day with a good friend of his. That leaves just me and my husband to our own gathering of seven (us, three dogs, two cats).

I am putting a turkey breast in the slow cooker in a little bit. I’ve never tried this so I am excited about it. That is honestly the extent of our plans, other than the early Black Friday that is happening at a couple of stores this evening. I should be able to clear my list of Black Friday gifts tonight. YAY!

So, whatever your Thanksgiving plans may be, I  hope you take the time to reflect on all that is good in your world. If all one can find to be thankful for is the fact that they are alive, then grab onto that with all you have, for it is a gift to be cherished like none other. Love all those that touch your heart, thank the Universe (or whatever or whoever is your higher power) for the souls that have come into or through your life that have touched your soul with love, made it dance, and reminded you that you are a gift to be cherished. Love yourself, and all of your perfect imperfections. Above all, be grateful for the opportunity to have this experience of life, and everything that goes with it, for even though it can be challenging, painful, discouraging, soul damaging, it is in all of that that we find the best of who we are. Dance on.

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Back to Reality…

Well, I’m home, and real life is back in full swing. Its 28 degrees this morning, and I’m back outside, at my desk, writing. It was really nice to have a couple of mornings where I didn’t to have to weather the cold first thing in the morning, to write without my fingers getting cold and stiff, to not have to bundle up to do so.

Its also nice to be home, again. It has all of the familiar things that make it comfortable…the feels, the smells recognized by the subconscious mind, morning kissy face with my Mr. Achilles, tail wags that bend Mr. Enzo in half, one way then the other, at amazing speeds, the crushing closeness of Ms. Luna, the warmth of my husband lying next to me in bed, the ability to walk over to the 5th wheel to chat with my son. As wonderful as it was to get out of here for a couple of days, to leave all of my responsibilities behind, to be able to just focus on me, and to relax enough to stop trying to solve the problems of the world (or, at least, my world) for a little bit, there is some definite comfort in coming back home and being surrounding by the things that make it so.

Though I’m back home, I haven’t found myself back in the superhero, save the world mode. This is good. I most definitely was not ready to step back into that part, yesterday. I’m hoping I can stave that off for a couple of days more, at least. Its so tiring to constantly be coming up with solutions in a life that presents new needs on a regular basis. But, this is my life and I think I do ok, usually.

This Friday is Black Friday and I’ll be heading out into the mobs. My list is super short so I won’t be in the chaos for too long. I actually believe I can probably get what I’m getting in one store, two at most. There is a large part of me that is grateful that is the extent of my Black Friday involvement. The is another part of me, equally as large, that sort of wishes I had more presents to buy because there are many people that I would love to get things for for Christmas, but I’m not there, financially, yet, so the kids are the sole focus. Its what I can do, and that’s enough for me to still be really excited about it and grateful that I can do that much.

Well, I had better go get ready for my day. Back to reality, but that reality helps bring me closer to the reality I would like to have, so its a good thing. Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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Heading Toward Home and Real Life…

The past 36+ hours have been the most relaxing, non-stressful hours I have had in quite a long time. I have been only doing the things I feel like doing and nothing else. I can’t remember the last time I was capable of acting so carefree and can honestly say it has been long over due.

Sure, there are the two dogs here to take care of and a few chickens, but I just don’t see those things as encroaching on my down time. As I’ve said many, many times, I love animals. The dogs only need food, some play time, and loves. Super easy. The chickens just need food and fresh water. Also super easy. These two ‘chores’ are not chores at all, in my mind. Just part of the daily mix, at least while I am here.

I am taking the remainder of my time here to straighten up, clean a little, and color my hair. The straightening up and cleaning are things I consider just what you do when you stay at someone’s house. Its not that I made messes or anything like that. The fact that I adore my friend makes me want to do nice things for her, and I think she will appreciate what I’m doing. I’m not going overboard, doing a thorough clean, just leaving things a little nicer than when I got here, not that things were a mess even a little bit. Its kind of a little thanks for my mini vacation from my RV life.

I’ll head home here in probably the next few hours. It will be nice to get home to see my puppies and my husband and son.  My husband told me the puppies have been moping around since I’ve been gone. Sure, they are great when they are out for a walk, but once they are home, the pouting begins, again. This is the first time in their life that Mom hasn’t been home at night. I’m sure they will just about wag their tails off when the see me. Maybe I’ll take a nap with them so they can cuddle me, and me them. Maybe I’ll go on the evening walk with them so we can play at the field. I’ve been doing things for the past day and a half in the manner of if I feel like it and I think I am going to try to hold onto that for the remainder of the day. Real life starts, again, tomorrow.

Well, there is the timer for my hair. Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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My Mini Vacation…

I am having one of the best mornings I have had in a really long time. I am house sitting/dog sitting for a friend of mine while she and her family are off at a chicken show. Its been so incredibly long since I have slept in a house. I knew I missed it, but…well, this just feels right in a way I can’t seem to adequately wrap words around.

There is just something about lazily half-waking, getting up to go potty then, crawling back into bed to see if you are really ready to get up. Sure, this is no different than when I am at home, other than the heat works way better when the dwelling you are in is properly insulated. Anyway, after laying down for a bit longer while I decided if I was ready for the day, the idea of being able to get up and walk across the hall for a shower (one that I don’t have to turn the water on and off so there is enough hot water for the whole shower) pushed me from the bed. What a luxury to be able to do that.

I brought my espresso machine with me. Yes, this is a self-spoiling item I possess that is small enough to take with me and do so whenever I can. After making my coffee, the dogs and I headed outside for a little bit. Its super cold, again, this morning (38 degrees), so I didn’t spend much time out there. Now, I am INSIDE writing. Isn’t that a treat!? I’m inside, in my jammies with barefeet, drinking my coffee that isn’t quickly becoming cold. I could get used to this. Good thing I’m heading home on Sunday.

I really have no huge responsibilities while I’m here and my mind is thinking of all the different things I could go do, by myself, without having to worry about all the details of home. I can’t remember the last time I was able to do that. Of course, this means my mind is flooding with too many things and places I could go. It would take me a week to do them all and I would be exhausted by the end of it. I keep coming back to the idea of just staying here and enjoying my time in a real person’s dwelling, which is probably exactly what I will do, for the most part. There are a few things I would like to do, but, mostly, I am looking forward to having this time to myself without pressing demands.

Well, I had better go feed the chickens that didn’t go to the show.  Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Super Cold and Learning More about being Unapologetically Me…

Oh my goodness, its cold this morning!!! Its a whopping 25 degrees! NOAA’s forecast for the week is predicting that the temps at night are going to be more of the same for the week, with the highest low being 35 degrees. The high on Wednesday is forecasted to be 38 degrees, and 40 degrees on Thanksgiving, though  both Wednesday and Thanksgiving are supposed to be partly sunny to sunny. I’ll be layering up this week.

So, I was talking with Lance about Unapologetically You by Steve Maraboli. I was telling him that I wasn’t sure why I had felt so drawn to the book, especially after reading some of it. He picked up the book and opened it, randomly, and read one of the quotes on the page he opened. I don’t remember what the quote said, but it was one that hit us both right where it should have, in my opinion. He put the book down.

Lance started talking about something, building yurts, I believe. I picked up the book and opened it to a random page and let my eyes fall on whatever they may fall on. Again, the quote hit me directly in my soul at a vulnerable spot. Here is the quote:

“Never again will I underestimate the greatness inside of me just because of the hate and limited thinking inside of others” (Maraboli, S., Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience, pg. 117).

I know that I give too much credence to what others say about my abilities, regardless of what area or topic it may concern. I know I shouldn’t, but I am fortunate enough to have some really great people in my life that are quite intelligent, successful in what they do, and I trust their judgements and thoughts on things. Sure, I have my own input, but, in my heart, the words of these people are something I find value in.

Though this can be an invaluable resource for fact finding and bouncing ideas and thoughts off of, it also has the ability to rub up against insecurities I may have. Some of these insecurities, once bumped, can be very loud, and, sometimes, too many times, overwhelming to the point of paralyzing me in that area to the point of complete inaction. Intellectually, I can see the ridiculousness of this, but, emotionally, it still exists, with a life all its own. It can leave me feeling quite powerless, and knowing better doesn’t change that.

I am getting better about it, somewhat, in some areas, but its a work in progress. I have allowed my self esteem to be connected to others for too much of my life. Sometimes, I have to take in what someone else has said, feel what it feels like for an indeterminate amount of time, then let it go enough to see how I really feel about the whole situation. Thankfully, I have learned how to do that, somewhat, with varying degrees of success in making it to the feelings I have about something that are all my own. I need to trust myself better.

So, I guess I have found how I am supposed to read Unapologetically You: random page openings. The back of the book, and I think it was said in the introduction, as well, that the book was designed with random page openings in mind for its use. I, of course, believed that would be best applied after reading the book from beginning to end first. Apparently, that is not how I am to use the book. Got it.

I did about 5 or 6 more random page openings, and each one provided me with another quote or saying that found the damaged vulnerable spots in my soul, and, with each, I felt a shift, a change, as if I had finally heard what I needed to hear to repair the damages to my ever vulnerable, amazing soul. Now, to carry that forward into action so I may stop needing outside validation of my worth. Of course, I am always going to want feedback from the amazing people I mentioned before, but I believe this is going to change the information that I receive from them from being personal to hearing it as invaluable information for helping me come to fully informed decisions. What a gift.

Well, I had better get myself ready for my day. Have a great one, Everyone!!!

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Preparing to Research Starting a Pet-Based Business…

I’ve been having the idea of starting a petting sitting and/or dog walking business. Its something that has been stewing, in the background, for about the last year or so, though I’ve done absolutely no research on it until this morning, and that was limited to searching on Amazon for books on starting a pet-based business. I think I am just tip-toeing up to the real idea of what starting this type of business looks like.

My husband and I have discussed starting a couple of businesses over the last few years, businesses that are based on some of our strongest skills, such as handy man type things, landscaping, cleaning. I have steadfastly refused to move forward with any of the ideas, for a number of reasons. Mostly, I just don’t think we hit on one that made me think “Yep. That’s the one. We could make that work out really nicely.”

Then there is the cost of starting a business, plus having to work out of my current job, meaning income could get a bit sideways for a bit. This, of course, causes me some real angst. We have spent a lot of the past  years wondering where the money to just stay alive, fed, was going to come from, and I have that part covered, now. The idea of having to go back to that lack of security causes every fiber of my being to dig in its heels and refuse to move forward, moderately panicked at the prospect. Ok. Maybe a little more than moderately panicked.

I have had my current job for a year and a half now. I’ve stabilized our situation, mostly, but I’ve reached the point where I really want my income to do more than just stabilize us. I want it to really move us forward. I’d also like the way I create my income to be doing something I love, or, at least, like. Anyone that reads my blog regularly knows that, despite being really good at it, cleaning is not something I enjoy, even a little bit. But I love animals, dogs especially.

Back when I was a kid, long before I started screwing up life, I wanted to be a vet with every fiber of my being. In my mind, it wasn’t a matter of becoming a vet being a possibility, it was a fact, where I was going and what I was going to do. It would be my life, and I was excited to get there.

Then, pre-teen years came along and I lost my mind, I think, and never really got out of that until my late 30’s. So much time lost, so many opportunities passed up. By the time I went to college and earned my degree in Criminal Justice, I had completely lost my connection with that little girl that was so certain of her path, evidenced by the direction I chose for college. Now, I feel like starting on the path toward a veterinarian career is one that is a little late to be getting started on.

I’ve considered taking classes to become a vet tech, but I can’t honestly say that I have felt really compelled to follow through on it. I’m not sure why that is. The idea doesn’t really set my soul to dancing. This is one place where pet sitting and dog walking come in.

So, I’m giving it some thought, allowing myself to wrap my head around the specifics, gathering info in regard to how to bring the idea into reality. This, of course, requires some research, which I am starting now by ordering a couple of books on the subject from Amazon and scouring the web for what info I can glean from there. I bet I could figure in photography somewhere in there, too.

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Yesterday’s Storm and Unapologetically Me…

Well, we made it through the winds with minimal tarp resetting! There were quite a few times during the winds when I was certain we were going to lose a tarp but, other than the carport tarp, everything stayed where it was and attached. The carport tarp didn’t come down all the way, like it has in the past. One corner tore loose on the carport and Lance fixed that right away.

The only place I went yesterday was the grocery store, and that was an adventure in itself. The rain was coming down sideways, thanks to the winds, making seeing through the windshield at times a real guessing game as to what you were seeing as the water sheeted down the windshield. Imagine sitting in your car as you go through a car wash…nothing to see here. There were branches down, but I didn’t see anything that  completely blocked the road.

The road to my daughter’s place became blocked by a mudslide and they lost power. Thankfully, the last time I was up there, we had picked her up some candles just so she had some she could burn when she wanted to light a candle. These became her emergency candles last night.

I started reading Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience by Dr. Steve Maraboli. The book has 5 different sections – Inspirations & Motivation, Dreams & Goals, Life & Happiness, Love & Relationships, and God & Spirituality – with an Introduction at the beginning. Maraboli tells you in the introduction that “[t]he book contains more of my written work and spoken ideas that were gathered from my speeches, blogs, radio shows, and social media posts.” This clued me in that the book was a compilation of excerpts and quotes from Steve. Ok. Not a guide or story, but a place to potentially find some inspiration or inner strength when the tank is feeling low. Got it.

That said, I am liking it so far. Sure, there are quite a few things said that I have heard  or read in many different places and almost as many different ways. This doesn’t make the book useless. Sometimes, I need to hear something differently than I have heard it before to have it actually catch my attention and make me take notice. As I said, I am enjoying the book and have even bracketed a few things for easy retrieval later, when I feel like I need a refresher.

Well, that’s it for me, today. I hope everyone is having a great one!!

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