Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category
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Now that we have been in our house for six months I feel like I can have a clear head again. The unpacking, updating, painting, this-and-that of moving into a house is time consuming and we’ll be doing it for awhile.
However, my studio is basically complete. All I need to paint is a baseboard on the wall that I did not paint white and the painting is complete. The general organization is done and I just need to buy some frames to hang some art. Hopefully I’ll be acquiring more art and creating more art to hang on the walls in the future.
Since that is done, I have a creative space to linger in, make things, and to write. I know, you don’t need a space like that to do anything creative but it certainly is a nice thing to have. I’m excited! I have a lot planned that requires my action, the word I’ve chosen for this year. There are several things I will take action on:
- Finish my Florida Trail thru-hike book. It’ll be two years here in a few days since we started that hike, I think it is time to get the book finished and done with. What needs to happen? Finish writing about the hike, edit, add in goodies and background on the places we walked through. That will require some research but first I want to focus on getting our story written. I go back and forth about writing about this hike. It wasn’t some life changing hike and it probably won’t be as adventurous sounding as other trail memoirs but I’m hoping I will be able to convey the mental, physical and emotional aspects of thru-hiking.
- Start our Appalachian Trail hike book. I wasn’t planning on this one but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to write it. I didn’t want to write it initially because there are many, many AT books already out there, but I can at least start it and see how it goes. It won’t be finished this year as it isn’t my priority.
- ART! I want to draw, paint and draw some more. I’m planning two separate AT series and would like to start a third series of garden drawings or paintings.
- Photography….Chris and I had a discussion about where Wildscape Photo is going to go in the next year and it turns out he isn’t interested in currently focusing on that. I’ve been kind of lingering with it, wanting to do something but waiting for him and now that I know he isn’t setting his sights on it heavy this year I’m going to be starting out and doing it on my side. So, that means I will probably start listing photos on Etsy within the next month in order to get some kind of selling going on. We registered our name with the state last year (2011) but I really need to get on the up and up with sales tax and that good stuff. So, if you are a photographer or artist and have any insight into it, particularly in Texas but anywhere would help, I would *love* some advice. I’m going to be dropping the portrait aspect of it, while it interests me I just don’t have the time to chase after clients and to do that right now—but that said, I wouldn’t turn down anyone who actively emailed me with interest. I’m just not making it my priority.
- Running 1 mile 5x’s a week. I like to run but I always tend to get ahead of myself mentally and then get down on myself when I just can’t run a lot of miles. A mile, some weights, stretching….just some action on active routine, that’s all I want. No goals for marathons or 5k’s….
Small, actionable steps towards bigger goals.
My word for 2012 was Prolific. I’d say the first half of the year was pretty good word wise but the last half went downhill, unless you count endless work on the house and yard as being prolific!
I definitely find that the first half of any year is better word-wise but some years are better than others. The year I turned 28 I had a list of 28 things I wanted to do. I made my way through the list pretty well but didn’t manage to get them all done. Oh well, but the point was having something tangible, writing actual goals down instead of something general.
Picking a word is also enjoyable but lends itself to being more creative too. Sometimes words surprise you too, you never know where they will take you.
Prolific didn’t quite get me where I thought it would but here I am at the end of the year and am still glad I chose the word anyway. What happened over the last year, prolifically or otherwise?
It wasn’t a crazy adventurous year of the last couple of years but it was still full of exciting things and prolific in other ways I suppose.
Here’s to 2013….and another word.
The habit of writing here definitely begets more writing. My head was cluttered and the urge to just be away from writing in this space overtook me. Spending time working on photos, writing, thinking of something to say, to share—all of it went away. It still isn’t back, but I will force myself to spend a little time writing here again and maybe I will be creative again.
There are times that I just miss walking in the woods. The only thing I had to do was to walk and in the evenings I could read books.
Sometimes it is just nice to live life and now worry about documenting or writing or creating.
Just to be.
And I get my husband back in a week or so; his project is almost over. Which means we can make serious progress around here, I won’t be so lonely and maybe we can get into some more adventures. I try with all my might not to think that we’re coming up on three years since we left Florida and went backpacking on the AT.
Time. Flies. Too. Fast.
Maybe this will be some inspiration for you (and me) if you are uninspired (like me) at the moment. A little sunstar through the Hoh Rainforest, some ferns dappled in morning glow.
Uninspired lately to sit down and work on photos, to write, to blog, to paint the studio, to do anything creative. Now I am coming down with something that I haven’t pinpointed yet—doesn’t feel like a cold, feels like something possibly worse. Sore neck, extremely sore glands, back of my head hurts. Not sure.
Hoping to return soon to wrap up some trip reports and get back to being creative. This holiday weekend will be full getting yard and house work done and maybe some furniture shopping if I think the masses of people are lessened late in the weekend (who am I kidding?).
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S. and if you are reading from elsewhere in the world, I hope you have a wonderful Thursday and take a moment to count all of your blessings.
+I’ve been eating a lot of massaged kale salads lately which led me to start some kale seeds in the garden. I have mustard and collards doing well but the swiss chard bit the dust thanks to the deer. I’m going to try my luck with kale in the garden and hope we don’t have the issue of aphids we had last year at the community garden. My kale salads are just a bit of olive oil, some tarragon vinegar (oh, this stuff is so good!) and sea salt (or any salt will work). Sometimes it is just kale and those items, but lately I’ve been adding in a mixture of chopped onions, carrots, and radishes. Sometimes that is my dinner! So good!
+October went quickly but November is shaping up to be full as well. We’re still debating on our Thanksgiving plans. Our usual Thanksgiving habit of camping might not happen this year…you know new house chores and all. Initially we thought about hosting Thanksgiving at the house, but we are completely not ready for that. Next year.
+Some things I’ve been bookmarking throughout the month:
+The Cairngorms in Winter….looks cold and exciting!
+Buy a Happy Turkey From a Happy Farm It is reading things like this that just reaffirm my vegetarianism and the the value of food and items that are worth spending the money on. I love her blog and she always shares wonderful things. On the food note, I’ve heard several things recently regarding the value of the locavore movement and they weren’t good things. I’d like to hear more about the refute before I pass judgement but on the surface some of their reasoning sounds as craptastic as that organic food study that came out in early September. That said, I love my mangoes and bananas from South America, and chowing on some lychees in July.
+Decomposition Stacks via Bromeleighad. I can’t remember where I found this blog but I’ve loved it over the last few months. This particular post highlights her fiber art installation of fungi. Her installations are pretty cool!
+By the Numbers via That Hike Guy He made some pretty cool natural number art to highlight his 100 hikes and 700 miles challenge.
+Drop Biscuits with Cheddar and Mustard greens via Food in Jars. Um, does that have ‘the south’ written all over it. Might need a little brown gravy and potatoes to go with that!
+Butternut Squash Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds via Our Wicked Ways. I’ve been attempting to actually make some healthy meals around here and using a lot of winter squashes so this salad is on my to-make list. Plus, pumpkin seeds…mmmm!
+The Limits of Volunteer Trail Maintenance in the White Mountains via Section Hiker. This was posted earlier in the month but it is even more important now that superstorm Sandy just pummeled the east coast. But, the problems presented are really nationwide, something I can highly relate to in regards to the Florida Trail and certain sections of it. It also makes me interested in trying hard to get involved with the Lone Star Trail club which is right in my area.
+I recently finished Christina Rosalie’s A Field Guide to Now: Notes on Mindfulness and Life in the Present Tense. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I ordered it but I had been following her blog since long before she wrote this book, but I’ve also followed during the process of her writing it and what she shared online. It was a sweet book, a set of essays about her life right then as she was writing the book and living life in the present. There are beautiful art postcards throughout the book and small creative challenges for the reader, but really, the best part was the writing and the storytelling. I was left wanting more, more of her writing, more of her thoughts, the writing of the tangledness of everyday life. It was something I related to so much. I really hope there is a follow up sometime in the future!
….or working in the last bits of light. Either one. That’s what happened this evening as dusk settled in and despite the grey throughout the entire day the sun decided to peek through and throw some red, orange and yellow into the evening sky. Only for a bit. Then it faded off into other countries for the night.
I’m thankful that I am able to come home for lunch if I choose to. This is a complete difference from my job in Florida where my commute was anywhere from 30 minutes when I lived in western Miami-Dade county or an hour to an hour and ten minutes when I lived in west-central Broward country. On the good, nice days when I come home for lunch I’m always wishing I could play hooky for the rest of the day to work in the yard. Sometimes I’ll eat my lunch and surf Facebook or read a blog or two and then head off to the side yard and check on the vegetable garden (when is the garlic going to sprout already?!!). It is then that I think of all the things I could weed, plant, or toss into the burn pile.
Alas, I return to work. Now that the sun is setting somewhere around 7pm I have to get all of my outdoor activities crunched into two hours, really an hour and a half, before the light is gone. Soon the time will change and I will only get an hour to do it all.
Tonight I planted eight azaleas, four each around two different trees. I still have another four to plant another night, but I don’t think we have even chosen where we want those. I picked up some onion sets and red cabbage seedlings yesterday when I went to trade out an azalea; we had bought the wrong variety. Those need to go in the ground too but the light escaped me too soon tonight.
Overhead lately we’ve been getting ducks and the ever magnificent pileated woodpeckers. They are generally a constant around here, but the ducks are a new addition. I’ve also been noticing the raptors are migrating in; lots of hawks on fence posts along the highway. I had a good look at what I think was a red-shouldered hawk the other day on my way home at lunch. The swallowtail kites we saw shortly after we moved in have migrated out of the country already, but I will look for them in the spring.
Along the roadways, in the wet ditches, wetland sunflowers are blazing and the goldenrod is getting ready to peak in the next week or so. I hadn’t paid much attention until a few days ago but the sunflowers are blooming along our pond too. I’ll have to get a photo soon or they will be gone before I know it!
As for fall colors, the trees showing the most foliage changes are the sycamores, though the oaks and a few others are working their way into their fall outfits. I am always drooling at every fall photo I see from people north of the deep south, particularly those in New England—Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire—I want to crawl into those photos. A year ago I was in those photos; I spent two weeks working in Pennsylvania.
I’ll leave you with a photo from then…
I went looking on my Flickr account for something pretty to post from years past taken on this date. I found this photo from 2008, four years ago, when I was at my parent’s house for two weeks for my ten year high school reunion, and one of my best friend’s weddings. The tree in the photo is a pecan in my parent’s backyard, but the atmosphere of the photo then versus this weekend was completely different. Sunny in the photo, chilly in the 50s and overcast this weekend.
It’s a little strange that the photo happens to be from a weekend home because I think it was somewhere around this time that my grandmother transitioned from being fairly independent and living on her own with minimal care, to falling and breaking her leg in her backyard, and then spending hours on the ground outside before someone noticed she had fallen. What has transpired since has been the even more rapid aging of my grandmother. She never regained the mobility she had before, but spent some time in a senior’s apartment complex until two weeks ago. That was when a flooding of the building she was in forced what had been talks about moving to assisted living to become reality.
This weekend I went home to help go through some of the items my mom was able to salvage from her apartment, to figure out what my grandmother would use in the future, throw away items no one wanted to keep, and to take any sentimental items I wanted. All of this had been done once before when she sold her house so it was strange doing it yet again. Of course just about every item we looked over held some sort of memory and sometimes it was hard to say no to something. Like the well-worn and burned-on-grease square Pyrex that she used to make cheese potatoes in (my favorite). I passed on that, but don’t get me wrong, I thought hard about that dish and all the meals it held over the years.
I last saw my grandmother a month ago when I drove up for my dad’s birthday. Today my mom and I went to visit her at the nursing home she is at until Medicaid kicks in and she can move to assisted living. When we walked in the door and around to her side of the room, her face darkened as she saw us. I couldn’t tell if she was angry we were there or what, but it wasn’t too long before I realized what it truly was—nonrecognition. A few seconds elapsed and she started talking to my mom like it wasn’t any big deal, launching into her usual tirades and talking about this-or-that with where she is living now, and gossiping about her roommate who sleeps in her wheelchair in what definitely appears to be a very uncomfortable position.
A white plastic patio chair is where I settled into and sat there for about twenty or thirty minutes before my grandmother looks at my mom and says something to the effect of “I know I should know, but who is this person?”….(mom says she said ‘him’, but I didn’t catch that), meaning me. I hadn’t thought about her not acknowledging me much because sometimes when she’s upset she likes to ignore people, but I hadn’t actually thought she didn’t recognize me. Suddenly her face at the beginning was understandable. Mom told her it was me, I gave her a weird look, and then she said something about my hair being different, which I didn’t understand because I’d had my hair cut the last time I saw her, and then she said something about it being such a long time. Now, I have gone months and months without seeing her before but, I saw her a month ago. I reminded her of that but it didn’t seem to register. I mean, I’m pretty much a mini-me version of my mom so for her not to recognize me is strange, and I am practically the only grandchild who visits her on any kind of regular basis.
I’m not sure what to make of this. Part of me is heart-broken, part of me is being all scientific about it and understanding that memory loss and dementia is part of the aging process for many people, and part of me just wants to ignore it. Having lost one grandparent already this year I’m not up for losing another. And then Chris’ grandmother broke her hip early last week and has other health conditions as well, so it is just not a good year for grandparents.
I’ve always had this weird goal to live to a 100, but I definitely don’t want to live that long if I can’t remember anyone and am not able to be sane and somewhat mobile. Seeing my grandparents in the last few years has really brought attention to aging and the fact that it just plain sucks.
And there you have it.
On a lighter note, my brother is giving away seeds at Sprout Dispatch. Go check it out and comment to win!
I risked getting peed on just to get a shot of this cute toad. It was hopping around as we planted azaleas this weekend. Finally, fall is here. Well, for now, it is Texas after all. We’ll have another bout of warmth before Halloween and then hit the first real cold weather after that. I’m just enjoying the crisp mornings and warm but not overly sweaty afternoons for now.
So, October is going to be about showing up.
I plan on showing up this month for:
+Daily sketches, no matter how awful and rushed they might be. Something on paper to practice, that’s the goal.
+Showing up to write 10,000 words in my Florida Trail book. It has been months and months since I’ve written anything; it is time to get back on the writing train.
+Running 1 mile a day the entire month. Forgetting expectations of running more, but just running a mile. I can run a mile. It isn’t hard and takes about 12-15 minutes for me. I can spare that. It is more about establishing a routine than anything.
+Twice a week yoga and weights. I wanted to do this one daily (not the weights, that’s not a good idea) but I think it really should be at least a twice a week option at this point, not more.
That’s what I want to do for October with a few other things in the background.
What about you?
Orange blaze of the Florida Trail.
As I drive down the road during my lunch hour, heading home or back to work, the light is just right currently, and the pine trees and sandy soils around the area remind me a lot of Florida. It makes me think a lot about the pine sandhills and geocaching, though we haven’t geocached in ages. Of course then I think about the Florida Trail which results into the Appalachian Trail…and that is a vicious little cycle which leads to a rabbit hole of wishful thinking.
Our two year summit of Katahdin came and went (August 12th). I had planned on writing something before we left for WA but I sat at the computer several times unable to come up with words. As all of my fellow AT friends post their yearly summit anniversary photos on Facebook I get nostalgic and reminisce every time.
To be honest, I can’t believe it has been two years since we were out there hiking our way to Maine. It feels like yesterday and yet a lifetime ago. It doesn’t take much for me to think about one tiny instance on the trail—it could be the moment that we hit 500 miles, just north of the Grayson Highlands, a non-descript spot in the middle of the trail as we were descending a mountain mid-morning—or it could be evening at any one of the shelters, making meals, reading shelter-logs, and talking with the rest of our thru-hiker comrades.
One of the things that I loved about our trip to Washington was the eau de hiker that comes with a few days without a shower. Yes, I know, this is the weirdest thing ever, but it smelled of enjoyment and happiness if that makes any sense. A backpacking trip quickly brings back the appreciation for the smallest things during the hike and after when you are back in civilization—time to lounge and read a book (during), glorious sunsets (during), water you don’t have to treat (oh, public water treatment systems…!), hot water in the shower….
I’m envious of every single person out there hiking and being adventurous. And at the same time I’m thankful and happy that we’ve bought a house and I get to finally grow my own garden and call a place ‘mine’. Every month or so when the A.T. Journeys magazine comes I wish we lived somewhere within driving distance of the A.T. so we could hike on weekends or volunteer. I’m definitely envious of Deal and Steadee who get to walk less than a quarter of a mile, and could turn right or left and walk to Georgia or Maine if they wanted. (They run Bears Den hostel now.)
About a week ago someone posted a link to this photo gallery of A.T. hikers requesting anyone to identify themselves or others they knew. I thought I recognized one person from 2010 but wasn’t sure and the rest I didn’t think I knew. Not to say that I hadn’t run across them at one point, but what made me think a little bit more was that while we were in Maine, or whatever state, there was a group of people several days or a week, even weeks, behind or ahead of us that I didn’t know. I wondered about their trail experiences—did they have good days going over exciting mountains like we did or did they go through it in bad weather? How they experienced the trail in one part of Virginia might have been completely different for us—spring was just beginning there when we started through Virginia, maybe it was nearly summer when they walked through or perhaps it was fall if they were walking south.
Yes, strange thoughts, but it piques my interest—seeing the trail in many aspects and varying time frames. How different it all would be. Maybe that’s my problem…I know the A.T., but I don’t get to know it in ways that people who live near it get to know it if they wanted.
Right now I’m thinking…about the dreadfully long 24 mile day where we crossed from New Jersey to New York. The day started out rather pleasant but with twelve miles done by lunch and another twelve to go after, the afternoon tarried too long as we heard the sounds of boats on the lake below the ridge we were on. Instead of playing in the water, washing away the piles of sweat and grime, we were baking under the mid-day sun as it reflected off the rocks on the ridge. Thankfully we made it to a road crossing where we detoured to an ice cream shop for a pre-dinner snack before heading to the next shelter where we caught up with Merf, Snack Attack, Speaker, Spark and Caboose, and a group of AMC hikers. There was instant pudding for dessert thanks to the AMC group leaders…yeah the simple things that make you happy, things like instant pudding.
And so I will keep trying to remember the little bits of memories that fly into my brain in the middle of the day and be thankful that we had such an grand adventure.
+ One of my complaints about living a ‘normal’ life is that time speeds up too fast. While backpacking time slows down and it feels like life is mellow and enjoyable. You can stop and relish the way the light lands on different things throughout the day. The rhythm of hiking is simple: wake, eat, walk, eat, walk, eat, walk, eat, walk, eat, relax, sleep. And while I don’t really have a very complicated life (let’s keep it that way!) life sure does speed up through getting up and working, coming home doing chores and somehow finding time to relax and wind down.
+ While we still have a long way to go in getting the house organized and furnished, it feels like we are getting closer. Particularly with the yard. Having cut down or having a company cut down somewhere around 10 dead trees, mostly pines, we’ve been trying to clean up the mess associated with that. Not only that the yard was quite unkempt as the previous owners weren’t keen on yard work. Finally though we are seeing a vision and making things look better. We still have a lot of work cut out for us, but I am looking forward to getting things in the ground and growing.
+ After being tipped off by our neighbor that she thought some of the feral cats had moved on to her other neighbor, I went down to visit them last Friday. Yep, they were all there, including the really mean male that was in one of the first rounds of trapping, neutering and releasing. I was glad to see they were being taken care of and also to meet the neighbors who were very friendly as well. I trapped the remaining calico kitten, she was fixed over the weekend, and then I released her this morning.
+ After all of that we finally decided to name the cats that have hung around. For now there are five that have stayed as regulars. A black cat is around as well, but I haven’t seen him since I broke up a fight between him and the grey cat, and then sometimes Momma is transient and comes over from the neighbors two doors down. I’ll have to do a little photo series with their new names but we settled on Tom for the grey male, Fred for the male red tabby, Mr. Stripey for the regular tabby (I was going to go with Happy Cat after a cat I had in my childhood but decided Mr. Stripey just sounded funnier and more accurate), Ruby for the female red tabby kitten, and finally Isis for the muted tortoiseshell female.
And now for some things I’ve recently enjoyed:
+ Pastured Broiler Chickens on Butcher Day at Provenance Farm via Wayward Spark. If you are squeamish don’t read….but it isn’t that grotesque. Thinking about reading up again on chicken raising, though I probably won’t be butchering the ones I raise, but still interesting to know about all aspects of chicken farming.
+ Worlds First Ever Color Film Unveiled via Shelly at Demiurgiclust.
+ How Kid Culture Tells Our Children Lies and Destroys the Future of Science via The Last Word On Nothing…ok, so probably only picky science/nerdy types would ever get upset about these things, but I will say I do find myself correcting things I hear on t.v. or read.
+ Stop Throwing Away Free Tomato Sauce via NW Edible Life. If I ever feel like delving into more tomato sauce madness after the first round of tomato sauce madness, I may just attempt this.
+ The Travel Bug via The Familiar Wilderness…no this doesn’t relate to geocaching or to traveling, of humans at least, but let’s just say monarch butterflies—-this is a must click to see! Visiting the mountains of Mexico is on my list of places to visit to see them.
+ Ink and Paper
Planning to return to writing about our trip to Washington soon….