A Sunflowers, Bees, and Coffee Morning…

Can you see the bee tucked into this hollyhock?

Can you see the bee tucked into this hollyhock?


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Difficult Morning…

I am overwhelmed with sadness, this morning. I want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over my head, but I crawled out of bed in the first place because my brain, The Committee, was jabbering on and on about this and that, real or not, good or bad, bad or just undecided…and on and on and on. I have not had to deal with this for a while and am unsure what triggered this episode. I hate that I am incapable of making it stop and that I have to be extra vigilant in stalking my thoughts, focusing at least half of my energies toward reminding myself that this will pass and it’s not as bad as it feels, seems, ‘looks’ like.

I don’t think I can have my husband cleaning with me any more. We are starting to get call backs, something I seldom ever get, and what is being pointed out is the stuff that he is supposed to take care of on the cleans. I don’t know how to talk with him about it. I’ve tried and it always turns out the same: he gets his feelings hurt, gets upset with me, we argue, I have to deal with it and take care of the problem. Seeing as I absolutely hate call backs, it’s just not a good situation all the way around.

I have been looking into school, yet again. I’ve come to realize that I have started doing this whenever I am feeling really stuck in my life. “Go back to school, get a better/different job, get unstuck” I believe is the thought process on this. It’s not a bad thought but… I don’t know how I make school work and still have an income. Hell, I’m not sure how I make school work, period.

I have maxed out funding for school for anything that is associate level, which is where I would be looking. I could get some funding if I wanted to work on my BS in Criminal Justice, but…well, I just am not feeling that right now. I think, because I’m feeling really stuck, it feels like it would take way too long to accomplish anything that would improve my life walking down the criminal justice path. Yeah, I’m feeling irretrievably stuck, the perpetual catch 22, real or perceived.

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Wildfire Devastation in Eastern Washington…

Firefighters work to dig a fire line

Firefighters work to dig a fire line

The air is a bit less smoky over here this morning. Yesterday, we experienced a day long haze that was somewhat disturbing, especially when you consider how far away all of the wildfires are burning and that there is a significant mountain range between us and the fires. The smell was very light but the visual was a constant reminder of the devastation occurring for so many on other side of the state.

One can’t help but want to help in some way. My husband feels drawn to cross the mountains and go volunteer. My mind circles around the fact that so many are losing their homes, the annihilation of forests, the amount of wildlife destroyed, the people who will never quite be the same. My soul aches for them all and it leaves me feeling helpless. What do I have to offer these people in their time of trauma? It seems somewhat inadequate but all I have is my sincere desire for the wildfires to be extinguished, quickly, and the healing to begin.

Part of me would like to start a clothing, bedding, and food drive to collect the basic necessities for those that have lost so much. I have no idea how to go about doing something like that. Perhaps that is something I should research when I get home from work today. I want to do something more than just pray for these people. I’ll post any info I find on here later today or tomorrow morning so anyone that may want to help can. Until then, please pray for those that are dealing with so much, that the fire fighters begin to win this battle, that the deaths remain as low as possible, and that the recovery is swift.

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My Lazy Audiobooks Plans for Today…

I went out with my best friend last night. We had a pretty good time. Played some pool, talked a whole lot…it was a really good night. I slept in late, really late, today and really don’t feel like doing much. I have the day off, which is great since I haven’t really been feeling like being at work the last few days. I have lazy plans for today that will probably eat up the entire day, especially since I am starting so late in the day. My plans?

My Plan for Today

My Plan for Today

Fifteen audiobooks to download, the biggest one, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, is 15 discs. I can say that I am set for a bit on audiobooks. I think with this stack, that’s just over twenty new audiobooks to listen to.

A lot of them are about spirituality, some are learning more about myself books through recognition and healing, and then there are some that are stories about and/or from the view-point of dogs. I’m still working on reading my Inside of a Dog book, but am finding I don’t have a bunch of time to dedicate to it. Maybe that’s just poor time management on my part.

Anyway, the day is slipping past and I’m going to go enjoy it while I’m downloading all of these audiobooks. I hope everyone has a great day!!!

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The Federation Forest Hike and Learning Things about Myself…

Hiking in Federation Forest

Hiking in Federation Forest

Federation Forest was amazing!! I’ve been wanting to write about it since we got home, but I just haven’t been able to get to my laptop. Sometimes life gets busy, hectic even, and the wants fall to the wayside in exchange for keeping life moving forward.

The hike we had planned to take turned out a bit differently. Ok. A lot differently. The trail I had read about on the Washington Trails Association web site talked about a relatively level hike. What we found is that the Forest Service has closed many of the forest service roads leading up to the trailheads due to how dry and hot it has been this summer. Fire safety measures.

We ended up parking at the bottom of one forest service road and hiking in. Unfortunately, the one we ended up picking was a steady, uphill hike. Nothing like hopping out of the truck and finding out just how out of shape you are, and I’ll have you know I am VERY out of shape. I kept going though, with the belief that I would come to a nice trailhead that would lead me into the deeper woods where it would level out a bit. Optimistic me in full force. Unfortunately, this never happened. Up hill, though exhausting, was really not that bad. Yes, at every bend, I kept expecting to see things level out only to find that it didn’t, but I kept going.

Lance is not as out of shape as I am. He walks the dogs every morning, almost always for around an hour and a half, and a lot of times does the same in the evening. This made him much quicker on the trail than me and I spent a lot of time by myself. The dogs are used to walking with him, so that is where they were, too.

I found myself thinking I need my own dog. This hike just wasn’t the same without my Tru-dog, who always stayed by me or would go adventuring and check back in quite regularly. Enzo came and checked on me a couple of times, even walking with me for a bit one time, but when Lance would be too far out of his sight for too long, Enzo would go back to Lance.

Achilles would bring me a branch sometimes to throw for him. Not a stick, a branch. The bigger the better, in his mind. That little dog sure does believe he is 10 feet tall and stronger than anything. I love him. The second he noticed Lance would be going out of sight, he would grab his branch and run to catch up to him.

Luna…well, Luna is her own dog with Lance as her visual safety zone. She wanders here and there, will look into the woods, convinced she saw or heard something, then barrel in or run further up the trail to stop and look, again. She is the water finder and at one point found a very muddy puddle and they all looked like their legs had been dipped in chocolate for a minute. Dirt just falls off these dogs.

I thought downhill, heading back to the truck, would be easier, and in many ways it was. This is also when my right foot began to swell. The arch support went from cradling the arch of my right foot to pressing into it. I had to stop at one point to loosen my boot because it had swollen that much.

And my knees! I was not expecting that. Half way back to the truck, my knees began to ache, then hurt. When I spoke with the chiropractor, yesterday, he seemed unsurprised by this. I haven’t hiked for quite a while. The muscles that would normally make it less painful on my knees are just as out of shape as the rest of me. Fine. At least this means that they should eventually get there and it will be less painful. He also recommended custom insoles. I’ll be looking into those and figuring out how I make that happen.

When we got back to the truck, I took my boots off immediately. My right foot thanked me and I found this beauty on the back of my left foot:



I’m not sure if I am supposed to pop this or just let it do its thing. I’m letting it do its thing, at this point. Thankfully, the weather hasn’t changed so much that I can’t wear my flip-flops. I’ll be picking up some blister pads for next time.

We stopped at the ranger station as you head back into Enumclaw and picked up their trail guide. I talked with the ranger about where I’m at in my hiking level and she graciously recommended a few hikes that would match it.

The back, bottom, outside of my thighs, almost my knees, hurts a bit when I walk, now. Hey, I said I am out of shape. I’ll admit that this ache is something I had not expected, and one I can’t remember ever having before. I’m sure this will be something that doesn’t hurt as much the more hiking we do. Other than the listed aches, I’m feeling pretty good and looking forward to our next hike.

The dogs had a blast and the effects of the hike lasted through yesterday for them. They are more mellow, seem to be a little more focused, and happier. I think if I am going to have a dog of my own, I may just have to go for a few hikes by myself with one of them. Enzo seems the most likely choice to do this with but…well, I don’t know. It’s just really weird for me to not have my own dog after having Truman. I won’t be getting a puppy, though. We are down to three dogs and that seems to be plenty. If none of the three decide to be my dog, I will just have to find space to be good with that, I guess.

Here are some of the photos I took:

The start of the hike...

The start of the hike…

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Headed out to Federation Forest…


Drinks for humans and four leggeds: check
Gas: check
Fresh batteries plus spares for camera: check
Camera: check
Snacks: check
Discover pass: check
Map to get there: check
Leashes: check
Excitement: check
Smiles: check


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Changing of the Seasons, Preparing for the Hike, and Visiting…

my pink zinnia

my pink zinnia

The mornings have started to have that “fall is coming” slight chill to the air. I can’t say that I am particularly upset about the changing of the seasons, this time. Summer has been a long one, a challenging one, a good one. This year, I’m ready for the change, at least emotionally.

My borage has spent the last month trying to tell me its done for the season. I finally pulled about half of the plants the other day and laid them down where they were so they can drop their seeds there. Hopefully, they will decide to sprout new borage there next year.

I’ve stopped dead heading the sunflowers, which is really hard for me to do, especially since many of the sunflowers stalks still have about a million buds on them. I want seeds, though, so deadheading must come to an end. Hopefully I’ve left enough time for the sunflowers to go to seed. If not, well, I guess I’ll just have to get more seeds for things next year.

We have decided on Federation Forest for our hike tomorrow. I’m really excited about this. I haven’t gotten out into the forest for soooo long. When I think about how long it has been, I can’t believe it. I used to get out there all the time, never more than a month between visits. Now, its been longer than I can actually put a time on. Not good. My soul thrives there.

We have a clean today, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo. It shouldn’t take too long. Then, we are coming home and getting the truck ready to head out first thing tomorrow morning for our hike. We stopped and picked up our Discover Pass, yesterday, so we are set. YAY!! I bought the annual pass at $30 instead of the daily pass, which costs $10. I’m sure we will need it more than three times before August 2016 and we can transfer the pass between both vehicles.

After work, I need to go pick up batteries for my camera. Then, I am heading up to my best friend’s house because her oldest is in town and I haven’t seen her is what feels like a million years. I also haven’t seen my best friend for a while so it will be great to see them both. Then, back home to help get everything ready for tomorrow. I can’t wait!!!

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Restorative Weekend, Back to Audiobooks, and Planning Hikes…

wpid-20150818_074939.jpgI had a really relaxing, restorative weekend. I read a little from my book (Inside of a Dog), did some gardening, harvested more lemon balm than I know what to do with, sat and took pictures of the butterfly/moths and bees swarming the Blazing Stars, watched a little Netflix (rewatching X-Files), said yes when I felt up to or wanted to do something, and no when I didn’t. I can’t say I feel that I am back up to maximum super hero status but I can no longer feel the steady pull of the dark side. :-)

I remembered this weekend, for unknown reasons, that I can start downloading audiobooks, again, so I spent some time on the local library’s website placing holds on audiobooks that sound good to me. I can not even begin to tell you how many I have put on hold, but I picked up my first lot of 5, yesterday. Excited doesn’t begin to cover it. Its more than that, but I guess excited is going to have to do as a descriptor.

Here is the list of the 5 latest audiobooks:

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Native American Healing Meditations: Guided Practices to Invoke the Spirit of Healing
(i may have checked this one out before but never downloaded it. it feels moderately familiar)

You had me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam

The Quiet by Paul Wilson – Four simple steps to peace and contentment-without spending the rest of your life on a mountaintop

True Happiness by Pema Chodron

Which to listen to first? I’m drawn in many directions with this decision. I have missed audiobooks more than I have realized and part of me just can’t make up its mind on where to begin. Each book offers things I want, but what do I need to hear the most right now?

My knee jerk reaction reaches for the dog book, You had me at Woof, then I immediately think “wait. maybe I’ll start with The Quiet.” It goes from there until I am back at the first book, again. Seeing as I am already reading Inside of a Dog, I think I may just go with You had me at Woof. I don’t know. I guess I’m just downloading them all and can pick and choose as the mood hits me. You Had me at Woof’s first disc is in the disc drive of my laptop, now, downloading.

As the schedule sits right now, I have Thursday and Friday off. I have said I want to start hiking, and I have to admit I have been a little bit obsessive about it. I have scoured the internet for trails that aren’t too far away and rated at a level that fits my current, perceived abilities. That said, we have blocked out Thursday to take a hike with the dogs.

Here I am at another decision to make. Which of the three or so trails that I have chosen as potential first hikes do I want to really do first? Each trail has a review of 3-4 stars out of 5, so each should be a hike I will enjoy and will give me plenty of opportunities to use my camera.

The first trail I picked is the Lower Skokomish River. It has a rating of 3 out of 5 stars, difficulty rating of 1 diamond out of 5, is 6.5 miles long, roundtrip, and has only a 350 foot gain. Travel time to get to the trail is about an hour or so.

Another trail is Summit Lake. 6.1 miles, roundtrip, 1300ft gain, 4 out of 5 stars. The Washington Trail Association website does not have a difficulty ratings on the hikes listed. This trail takes almost 2 hours to get to, though it sounds like it would be a gorgeous hike.

There are a couple of hikes that lead to Sheep Lake, about two and a hours away. One trail has 3.5 stars out of 5, 1100 ft gain, and is 7 miles roundtrip. The other has 3 out of 5 stars, has a 400 ft gain, and is 4.2 miles roundtrip. Both trails offer “stunning views of Mt. Rainier,” along with lake views, wildlife, and plant life in various stages of flowering.

Federation Forest is 5 miles, roundtrip, has 3 out of 5 stars, has a 150ft gain, and takes only about an hour to get to. This one is in the forest, with “green, mossy old growth trees and miles of level hiking” (http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/federation-forest). When I pulled this one up, we both perked up. We do so love the forests, especially ones like this one. We will probably be hiking this one on Thursday. The site says it has more than 12 miles of trails so it is adaptable to every hiking ability. Should be fun!!

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Surgery, Self-Care Plans, The Changing of the Weather, and the Garden…

Surgery went perfectly yesterday. The waiting for them to take her into surgery was the longest part. They took her back about 9 o’clock and she didn’t go into surgery until about noon. Surgery lasted maybe all of 15 minutes.

A little while after surgery, the doctor came out to talk with me about how things went, what they found, how she will feel and heal over the next couple of weeks, and how long it will take to get results back from the polyp testing (7-10 days, ish). Her thoughts on the polyps are that they are benign and, though more polyps could form, she is confident that this is the last of what she will have to deal with on this one. YAY!! She had photos of the polyps and her work, and both looked real good, from my completely uneducated on the topic view.

One more challenge faced and dealt with. *deep sigh* Today, I have no plans. Well, I guess that isn’t exactly true. My plans are self-care plans and I think I really need to start looking at self-care plans as immobile, inflexible plans. I’m too willingly push self-care plans out of the way for other things, usually taxing things. No balance in that at all.

Inside-of-a-Dog-coverThat said, I have plans today. I am going to read some of the book I picked up, Inside of a Dog; What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. I’m thinking I might clean off and reorganize my desk but I have that in the ‘if I feel like it’ category. I should because there are benefits to doing so. Just the clean and organized appearance afterward is destressing. I’m thinking napping and possibly some Netflix could be part of this day, along with maybe painting my toenails, something I haven’t done for a while.

Tomorrow, I think maybe we will go somewhere with the dogs for a hike/walk. I’m feeling completely drained, today, but am thinking, after a solid day of self-care and rest, I’ll be up to getting out and hiking about with the doggers. I need to get some hiking shoes/boots before we start doing any serious hiking, though. For now, I think I have what I need.

The weather is going to start its seasonal changing. It rained yesterday, somewhat relentlessly at times, and I could feel the change coming in it. The forecast for the week is sunny, with temps ranging from the upper 70’s to the upper 80’s. I know that doesn’t sound much different from what we have been having this summer, but the feel is different.

Time to stop dead heading my plants so they can form seeds for next year’s garden. It hard not to dead head when I can see so many other blooms working their way toward their beauty, but there are too many blooms and I want that energy to go toward seed production. I clipped off some tiny buds from some of the sunflowers today and I felt guilty for doing so. I’m a weird one, I am aware of this.

My first Thumbergia bloom!!

My first Thunbergia bloom!!

My Thunbergia vine bloomed while I was gone at my daughter’s. I am really loving this flower this year. Every time I have seen them in Home Depot or some nursery, I have been very drawn to them. Since this is my first time growing them, I am not instantly aware of what it is I am looking at, so I check the tag. When I find out it is Thunbergia, I get excited because I can’t wait to see mine bloom here at home. I have about 6 blooms right now.

Well, I think its time for me to start my self-care day. I have the book sitting next to the laptop and I keep finding myself looking at it. I’m really interested in learning whats inside of it. Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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In the Waiting Room…

Patient Status Board

Patient Status Board

We have made it to the hospital, checked my daughter in, sat for a few in the waiting room, then hugged each other before for they took her back. I have to admit that a part of me is a bit nervous about this all. Everything should go great but… Well, there are those tiny possibilities that always like to make themselves known as loudly as they can so one can sit and do battle with them while they wait for their loved one to come out of surgery.

I have done three tarot readings, via my phone, and they each seemed to be messages for me and not about my daughter, which is what my focus is. I guess the ancient wisdoms are being held back from me on this one. Deep breaths. Everything will be just fine. It has to be.

I’m feeling a bit out of sorts, again, this morning. The surgery, of course, has me worried a little bit (probably more than I am letting myself know), and, since I stayed at my daughter’s last night, I am not getting to go through my morning ritual. I miss my plants. They are so soothing for me in the morning and gently carry me from barely awake to ready to take on my day. At least, that is what I tell myself and have made myself believe by having most summers include a garden.

Is it just me or am I sounding negative? I’m having a hard time finding my joy, I guess. I’m tired, emotionally tapped, not in my comfort zone, and too much is incomplete in my world right now. Maybe I am needing to just let myself scream at the top of my lungs at the sky until I can no longer feel the damages of the past few months or so.

I’ve cried. Oh how I have cried, from the depths of my soul, against my will, and without the ability to make it stop. Truman gave me that.

I think I would like to be a caterpillar. If I were a caterpillar, I could make myself a strong, safe cocoon where I could rest, heal from life’s challenges, and emerge light as a feather and able to fly. I’m feeling like the heaviest of stones right now.

I just re-read that. I guess one could say it is a suicidal statement, though I do not mean it as one. I have no desire to die, just rest for a minute, recharge, process some of the larger happenings, then get up and face life once again without the cement on my feet. I’m just so tired.

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