Friday, July 31, 2015

YAY!!! It's July 31!

SO, it is my birthday!!!  And it has been delightful so far- I have children and grandchildren, texts, phone calls, facebook messages galore!  You all have no idea how much I appreciate it and get such pleasure for such simple things.  It seriously is  big part of my day.

It is sunny and it is cool and breezy.  I don't have anything planned beyond dinner tonight with a possible margarita sighting to come.

I want to thank all of you my wonderful and amazing friends and family- how special you make my life and my day today.  And yesterday.  And I imagine coming up here for the rest of the weekend, and indeed the rest of the year.  The things I have done and experienced in the last year have surprised me and I love it.  Some things I would not have chosen, but there was a lot of good that came out of the bad.  Joy comes in all sorts of unexpected ways....

And meow for the requisite grandchild pix!  :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday morning musings

Well one more day of birthday month is coming up - after today I guess.  Somehow I feel like my birthday is like a little separate entity unto itself....  I hesitate to say it's own "month" but should have its own page on my calendar!  :D

Anyway, I am trying to rustle up some enthusiasm for the day.  I have had a lovely couple days with my sister and niece, we have done some really nice things and it has been spectacular to spend some unexpected time with them.  I had today planned for a week or so, and I will be kayaking with a friend who I hadn't seen in a year!  My friend Jen who I constantly channel when I am paddling.  I always imagine myself kayaking like her, relaxed, calm, and not working too hard to accomplish what needs to be done- and by that I mean she never looks like she is expending unnecessary energy.  If this sounds negative at all, I don't mean it that way.  I think she is the zen master of kayak!!

I am a tired girl today.  I have not been sleeping the best, and I have not been getting the "cardio" that I am used to and that actually wears on me quite a bit.  Basically, I have worn myself to a frazzle and I am feeling the effects.  I need a vacation from myself I think.

Today has some promise of surprises  as well as some great friends sharing their thoughts as we paddle on a lake.  Sounds like a restaurant stop will happen for lunch- paddle up dining anyone?  This is cool beyond belief.   

The next few days will also be a whirlwind of company, and Ella, and Flambeaurama and cooking and hopefully a lot of family time.  I hope it doesn't rain Sunday, as the big parade will be going on as well.  

So I hope I didn't sound ungrateful or spoiled or something, but it is not my most happy morning today.  But hey, it is my birthday month and my blog and I can whine a little if I want to!  :)

So I am going to have a little more coffee and get ready for the day and wait for surprises and for Ella and the Mad-first son and his lovely Sarah and anything else that the day throws at me...

And it is sure to be a joy!

Monday, July 27, 2015

MUCH higher hopes for this Friday! :)

Guys, I realized this morning how I got freaking gyped out of my birthday last year!!  I had forgotten no, blotted, hmmmmm no, scrubbed and bleached the memory right out of my mind.  But I was reminded of it this morning and I had an aha moment.  This is the synopsis of that particular week- I am glad that I wrote it down, because I hadn't remembered the chain of events a bit.  Stupid Lymes.

Anyway, this year I will have company on my birthday! The Mad-Oldest son and his lovely Sarah-Grace and Ella will be coming for the local celebration:  Flambeau-rama!  And to visit us and also to attend his class reunion.  The number of which I do not care to think about.  So that is pretty awesome, and of course the mad-middle son and his lovely Sarah and lil Greg are up here now.  And then the elusive Mike.....  Apparently we are all going out to eat on Friday as well.  So yay for me I guess.  As an added bonus my seester-Rose and her Emily are on their way here and the fact that it is just before my birthday makes things even better!

And I am going to be very VERY selfish and say that no one and NOTHING had  better dull my sparkle this year!  HAHA.  Actually I am so happy to know that I will see almost all of my close friends in the next week or two.  I love that my birthday visits and lunches and trips go on for a while after the actual day, because it would be too hard to get quality time with everyone.  Having my kids around will be so awesome, as that doesn't happen all that much.  And talking to and spending time with my friends here is just so special.  Summer is the best time to connect and enjoy people that I either don't see often or spend time with at school, and that is usually not too relaxing!  But that is what it is.

So many people lately have wanted to imply that my summer is going fast and that I must be regretful/sad/panicky.  But no, that is not the case this year and I am not going to push it along.  I have a lot of time left in my summer.  Have I mentioned this before?  If I have, sorry.  If you find yourself asking a teacher that, then may I ask you to not do that.  We have a very keen radar that knows exactly how much time is left before school starts.  Some people, like me, totally shut that radar down until sometime in mid-August.  I prefer to live in the moment and these moments are for continuing my quest for health and strength and relaxation and renewal.... and other aspects of life that will remain unmentioned I guess.

So, I will head out and finish up my preparations for company.  I hope you have a fabulous week!  I am going to give it my best shot personally.  :)

And that will be a joy!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

5 years ago and my needle scratch moment

I have very much been enjoying the Memories aspect of Facebook these days.  I guess summer is so full of activity and joy that it has been quite a hoot to relive the last few years.

But talk about a needle scratch yesterday when I came across a former profile pic of myself.  And my flinching reaction to it absolutely defies everything that I now believe and how I live my life.



These are not before and after.  I am not a work in progress, or a project and neither are you!  We are on a journey 

Between these two photos there has been a long journey.  LOOOONG journey, and it has only been 5 years. This first photo was taken in the summer of 2010, about 6 months before I couldn't take my deteriorating health and began my stint with Loseit and losing weight.  Between now and that day, I started using the Loseit app, started walking regularly, ate less, walked a lot more, ate EVEN less, began weight lifting, stopped drinking soda, gave up eating Doritos, became a VEGETARIAN!!  (never regretted that!) started running, hurt my knee and stopped running, began training for a canoe trip, became stronger and ate even less, but upped my protein, canoed and camped, became a gym rat (which I am going back to), starved myself and broke down over eating one morsel more than I thought I should, hit goal weight, did not stay at goal weight.....  so stressed over weight, but still had to eat, began looking for something else.  Found body acceptance bloggers, got a life coach, quit weighing myself, looked for a way to live and not think about food every god damn minute, found it! Did a LOT of work on myself and while I have my days, I am way better off.  In SPITE of the fact that I lost a lot of my strength from the Lymes bout last August and the flipping broken elbows in January.

I HATE that I reacted that way yesterday.  I have not totally accepted myself, apparently, but I am working on it.  I go out in public in shorts, though I do not weight my "goal weight" and I NEVER EVER would have done that 5 years ago. This morning I had a moment with my tummy, but I shrugged and said, eh, I look fine and went on with my day.  But then I remembered that reaction yesterday, so I am blogging about it and working out my feelings today.

My lovely coach has helped me understand that we are subjected to thousands of daily images that tell us that we are not good enough, that these photo-shopped people are how we are "supposed" to look.  Our eyes and psyches are filled with this propaganda and we have a hard time feeling that we are worthy, even though we are the same wonderful people as we were before.  Now from a health standpoint, I can not argue I am not way better off than I was before.  I am not zero medications.  NO high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, or hormones, or sleeping pills or what have you....  I take ibuprofen because I tend to over do it.  :)  I do not have heart palpitations anymore, nor heartburn, nor this weird thing with my stomach, nor any of the other ailments that besieged me.  I can walk 5 miles without thinking about it, I recently biked 30 miles and all of you know how I feel about a good long kayak session!!  These daily joyful activities have helped me maintain the fitness level that I achieved when I was starving myself and over training.  But now I don't freak out if I miss a day, and I don't punish myself with exercise if I have a cookie- or cake- or icecream or whatever.  I treat food as food now.  I don't glorify it nor demonize it.  Even if I do still like to take pictures of it sometimes, but that is me and a camera!

People still try to talk to me about food and diet in the traditional way, but they find that my story has changed.  I try to tell them now to just relax and don't think about it so much.  If you make things illegal or off limits, you KNOW you will be filling  your face with it by weeks' end.  But I don't want to preach.  Taking that power AWAY from the food is the place to start.  And then the hard part comes, figuring out what it is that makes you want to soothe yourself, or stimulate yourself or comfort yourself with the food.  That is the part that causes some major discomfort.  Makes you cry.  Has you filling out notebook after notebook of writings that examine what it is that makes you sad, or lonely or what you are missing in your life.  AND when you rid yourself of constant attention to food and exercise and health and all that, you have so much time to do other things!  This seems simplistic but WOW! You can begin practicing your piano and learn Italian and obsessively kayak or talk about kayaking or planning to kayak....  or insert the word hike there too.  Because all of those things are just vehicles to photography...  ;)

I do not regret my time on Loseit and dieting, because it led to the place that I am in right now. I feel so bad for some of the people I know who worry and worry about what they are eating/ate and over pounds that just don't need to be addressed. Who CARES what other people think, you have to do what is right for you, even if it doesn't fit into society's wish to shrink females down to nothing. #bemorenotless

It just does no good to be upset about the past, as it can be instructive for your future.  But I am SO glad that I do not worry about my "weight" anymore. I want to maintain where I am right now, basically, because I love my clothes!  Haha!  However, if I gained, I would buy some cool new clothes and rock on.  And then maybe try to decipher why I am eating more- what is it that I am trying to avoid or comfort myself about.  The biggest aha for me is truly understanding that my weight will fluctuate through the year and it is OK.  It is not a given that if you gain or lose that you will always do that.  And mostly that I am still ok, no matter what my body does, because it lets me do what I want to do.   Because I remain me.  And I love the adventurous person I have become, a really more authentic me.  I feel right.  Except I want my muscles back.  And I am going to go get them!  Because that is ok too.

And that will be a joy!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trips of a lifetime..

Yesterday on Facebook, as usual, the memories from that day in years gone by popped up and low and behold- 3 years ago I was heading out to the Boundary Waters for that amazing canoe trip with my sister and niece and 3 other people who became my friends. Coincidentally, I was actually discussing that exact trip earlier in the day, so I was a little surprised to see it come up on my news feed.  That friend must have ESP, or else it is simply the right time of the year for thinking about it..... or it might merely be coincidental, like I said.  I prefer the whole ESP theory, that sounds much more fun and mysterious.....

It got me thinking about that trip, which indeed was one of my trips of a lifetime.  I did LOVE my trips to Florida and New York with the band/choir kids those three times,  I really did enjoy that whole thing.  I don't mind crowds, I loved being driven around and not worrying about transportation too much, and I enjoyed traveling with the kids, too.  Being a chaperone is a bit stressful at times, but it definitely had it's perks.  You will have to ask me in person about the perks.  HA!  But, as fun and exciting as they were, they are not in my top trips.

My college trips to Chicago and New York almost are in the top, and at one time would have been considered such.  They were brand new experiences and they were certainly exciting times where we did silly and somewhat stupid things.  I saw a tremendous amount of art, did a lot of walking and public transportation and partook in a little night life, but there wasn't a lot of depth to it, except of course for the art, which has stuck with me a long long time.

Those trips were easy.  I didn't have to think about much at all.  The meaningful adventures are the ones that have taken me so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn't see it while standing on a mountain.  The BW adventure absolutely did that.  I had trained for that canoe trip, worked darn hard at the gym to build my strength to be able to canoe like a champ.  I bought camping supplies for myself- a proclaimed motel camper.  I never have liked sleeping on the ground, and yet there I was!  I pushed through all of that. Of course one of the hardest and easiest things was to give up my phone for a week.  Though there were times I wanted to text someone to tell them something I saw or did, I really did not have a hard time not being connected.

My other trip of a lifetime, as you can imagine, is my Colorado trip.  Talk about lack of a comfort zone.  Flying.  Renting a car and driving around in a totally unfamiliar area and knew almost no one in the vicinity. Hiking mountains, experiencing the altitude, finding things to do that fit into a very wide range, that had to be close enough to drive to in an hour or so..... had to jam all the living into that 3 plus days that we could.  Experiencing those posted signs warning of what to do when you encounter rattlesnakes (eeeeeeeeeek- get the hell away from them) and mountain lions (if all else fails, fight back! yikes!).  All sorts of things that you notice and think about and pack away for future use.

These two trips were challenging in their own ways but brought the most spectacular rewards.  Of course the photography was outstanding, but transporting said photography equipment was something to deal with, as well as toting around all the gear that was needed for each.  The BW trip began my sojourn into more active and physical activities and adventures.  It is a journey I do not regret in any way.  I am tempted to say things like I wish I had sooner begun participating in the more active lifestyle that I have now, but I do not know that I could have.  I had not yet made that personal journey towards losing weight and gaining fitness, which later translated into eating and exercising in a way that enhances the life that I choose to live.  I had not yet discovered that I am indeed a brave person, and indeed an athletic person- I had yet to have others point it out to me.  I was not ready to see it.

But training at the gym and in a canoe gave me the confidence to take the trip.  Having my sister with me, who is very brave in my estimation, was also both comforting and energizing!  Not to mention being with my lovely niece, who rocked that trip like no body's business.  She was quite inspiring in her own 12  year old way.  Same thing with my Colorado week- I had someone who was just as excited as I was about this trip and is just as willing to push forward and try new things.

I booked a tour with my sister to Italy for next summer- through school, but I am decidedly not going as a chaperone.  I knew I needed to get on an airplane before I was on one for 10 plus hours.  I am so glad I did, it was so much fun, and I was grateful to have such a calm traveling partner.  Signing up for that trip was a HUGE step for me.  To go over seas, to fly, to enter a world where I won't know most of the language being spoken (though I am going to learn some basics) was just so frightening and so exhilarating!!   You know that this will be another one of the trips I will add to my lifetime favorite adventures.

Meanwhile, I continue to seek out new things or variations on a theme of things I love to do.  I find life is so much more satisfying if you step out of the safety of your own house and life occasionally.  It has made the summer go slow, and has made it so fulfilling.  Life has turned in some interesting ways lately- ha to say the least - and there really is so much good to find instead of focusing on the negative.  If you are open to it, amazing things can happen even if you are pushed in a different direction than you thought you needed to go.

Keeping your eyes open and your mind free of "shoulds and shouldn'ts" is a sure way to find the authentic people and joys in your life.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

No internet, kayaking and why I should be sleeping - but am not

It's 10:45 right meow. And I should be sleeping. I have to follow my school schedule tomorrow morning as I am picking up the mad-English teacher EARLY and we are headed north to take a paddle up on the big lake. We want to be there early so we won't have to abandon our plans because of wind and waves. Our mamas didn't raise no idiots!!

The kayaks are loaded on the car and we have our stuff packed. Just have to pick up my passenger in the am after a quick breakfast and coffee at home. Another adventure awaits! Yay!

Saturday (of course) I woke up and there was no internet here. I was without earlier in the week and it miraculously reappeared, but this time it did not. In fact the nice Centurylink lady on the phone said that my line had multiple problems. 

It doesn't seem logical to be happy at that stated news, but it was kind exciting. It meant that they knew something was wrong and how to fixit!!  With the number of mysterious outages I've had over the last few years, it was like a breath of fresh air. So hooray!! The technician is coming sometime after noon on Tuesday.  And I don't even have to change my pedi appt as she assured me he would be there a while. The gleeful clapping that I had the urge to perform seemed wrong (not to mention strange), so I held my excitement in.... About the fact that some work will be done and things will be fixed. I'm pretty happy to be getting a pedi too. I might spring for a mani if she has time after! :) 

Being without the internet sort of throws off my day. I can find everything I need using my phone but even though my phone is a nice big size, it's small!! Sheesh. I want my Mac back!! 

 I think I might possibly be getting sleepy enough to put the phone down and close my eyes. I just set a reminder to find my little camera, which it seems I'd  never forget that but obviously I did. Almost. Sort of. Duh!

So off to dreamland before I begin another day of summer adventure and joy 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Denver Post #3- good food and some goofy back stories

So one of the three or four things that were on our list of things to do while in Colorado was to eat all the good food that we could!  And in reality, the only "bad" food we ate was breakfast at the motel one morning.  The rest of it was pretty darn tasty.
Have I mentioned how much I like to fly??  ;)  hence the obligatory cloud photo

We began our journey by eating in the lovely venue called the MPS airport. Thanks to my persistent to the point of obnoxious posting on Facebook and Yelp,  I can fairly quickly review the name of every single place that we paused at in our quest to immerse ourselves, and indeed exhaust ourselves, in the greater Denver/Golden, Colorado area.  I would say we made some very good choices, but I digress, as last we heard our heroes, er uh, travelers were last seen at the airport.  We had researched, as all good travelers with a gastronomic bent do, the places to eat after security, and it turns out there were quite a few vegetarian friendly places to try.  We settled on French Meadow, as it was on the way to our gate!  Seems like a good enough reason, right?  I am pretty sure I had a grilled veggie sandwich, but you know I have virtually no recollection of it as i was so excited to get on that plane! ** new flash- I had a veggie burger I was told** French Meadow was cute and I remember enjoying the food, but it was overshadowed by the adventure that was about to begin.  I was so right to be excited.

We, of course, ate nothing on the plane, because it was crazy to do that for a 2 hour flight.  So when we got to Golden, finally, after perhaps accidentally getting on a toll road, but that might be a rumor, hehehe.... and subsequently were unable to check into motel, we decided to go to Whole Foods and get some yummy stuff there- because: Whole foods!!  MMMMMM  I had some sort of quinoa salad and falafel and it was just fine.  After that we managed to get into our respective rooms for  few moments and then we struck out to find a mountain, which we did!  After which we sought out Mary's Mountain Cookies shop we had passed on the way to Whole Foods, and bought a couple of massively oversized cookies which were just awesome.  You will find more than a few desserts involved in this trip!  Because we do know how to enjoy ourselves!

Breakfast bagel 

So after we walked home clutching our cookie bags, we met up and discussed the next day's journey and most importantly, where we wanted to eat.  We began our morning at the ultra cool little Cafe 13 in downtown Golden.  It was a nice little 10 minute drive- thank you map lady- and we passed right by the Coors factory.  That thing is BIG! Anyway, I digress, yet again, we got there quite early- in spite of the fact that I may have overslept.  Passed out and dragged my bleary self out of bed is more like it.  But to begin ones' day with an excellent cup of latte and a delightful breakfast bagel in the coolest little cafe I've seen in a while was just amazing.  And perfect.

One of several lattes/mochas consumed by yours truly

Of course one latte was not enough to hold me over, so on our way to Target for a few provisions, like water and super glue, I may have stopped at Caribou Coffee.  In fact I am sure I did!  And I make no apologies for the daily run to Caribou that I made, because its good stuff.  Any company that hands over my coffee with a chocolate covered cocoa bean on top of it is top rate in my book.

Ok, I feel the need to explain super glue.  Turns out my the Mad-English teacher's walking shoe had sprung loose on the toe of the sole.  So we needed to make a little Target run.  We also got an 18 pack of mini water bottles, which turned out to be a genius move on our part.  Anywho, Super Glue was procured to fix said shoe and we sat out in the car while he fixed it- Debi meanwhile sipped on the Caribou deliciousness. Super Glue ended up all over his hands when the crimped back end opened up while the top side was being dealt with.  His hands "may" have been so full of glue that we had to go back to the motel - a remedy found online listed running ones hands under hot water for 10 minutes.  And yes, his hands were temporarily glued to the steering wheel....  This all was for the better, actually, since I had forgotten a bunch of things at the motel seeing I had gotten myself ready in a sleepy stupor....  so! There was that. :)
I was enthralled with this place!  Ali Baba Grill

We drove on to Panorama Point at Golden Gate Canyon Park, where we did our hiking and in the process became starved, ravenous hikers right around the 12:30 pm mark.  We had scoped out nearby restaurants as we drove into town and settled on Ali Baba Grill  in Golden as our next stop and we could not have made a better choice.  This restaurant is in a little strip mall in Golden,  with an unassuming demeanor, but wow what an elaborate little place inside.  And the food!  We each had the sampler plate that contained falafel, hummus, baba ganouche, taboulleh, a salad with lemony dressing and a yummy stuffed grape leaf.  The food was so so SO amazing.  And it fulfilled our requirements for it to either be ethnic or interesting- which this fit into both categories.  I could NOT finish it all in spite of being famished and so enjoying the flavors. Definitely our favorite spot to eat during the trip.
I need to go back here and eat this again.... 

This is the part of the story that will get it's own post- the afternoon spent at the Denver Art Museum.  I maybe have indicated that we got stuck downtown in a hail storm, or maybe that was facebook, I don't know, but we spent a good deal of time at Mad Beans and Greens that afternoon.  I had more very good latte, but not a lot, since I realized that I needed to limit my caffeine post noon.  Which could account for my crappy night sleep that night, but I am blaming it on the pillows from hell.  Regardless, after the weather calmed down a little, we walked a few blocks away, thinking that we would get some little something for supper.  We found the Corner Bakery Café where we ate some pretty tasty bakery items.  I got a sort of lemon hand pie and Adam got a great big cookie!  We were sitting there for a little while enjoying ourselves, and then the rain began again.  And so we had to dash- it was a rainy night.  We attempted to get in another hike, but again rainus interruptus.


I needed Leland's selfie stick for this one!  Love the giant milk can building!!

So, the next day was Thursday and that was the only mediocre meal we had----- motel breakfast.  Sigh. Thank the heavens above for my Caribou run and latté to go!  I made plans with my friend Lori for later in the morning, so we went to Lookout Mountain for a hike that day, and then the Tabletop North Park.   Adam went back to Whole Foods when I was gone, and I ended up going to have pizza with my dear friend Lori and those lovely girls of hers.  The place was called Beau Jo's and it was a pizza and salad bar, and there was nicely 3 vegetarian pizzas among the carnivore selections.  YAY.  We decided that we needed ice cream, so a trip was made to Little Man Ice Cream near Denver. That was a fun trip with the Duba women.  Zipping on the freeway to the right place, trying to find parking and then trying to find the place again.  We had such a wonderful chat and a lot of laughs.  And the ice cream was divine!! Peanut Butter cup fudge was da bomb!!  I miss them so much, but am glad I got to hang out with them all for a few hours in Arvada.  And I got my Lori hug fix.

If you pass this place, turn around and go back

 Both of these places were pretty awesome, made fantastic by the company that I was with!  I was so full that after our trip up into the mountains and frolicking in the snow, that I was unable to have ice cream yet again at Empire Dairy King!  Adam NEEDED to stop for ice cream, so I had an Italian Soda, which was amazing.  It was mango and very creamy. YUMMO.

Vegetarian curry and naan at Sherpa house  noisy children were <----- over there.  ;)

So apparently I could not eat enough that day, and we finished off Thursaday with a little visit to the Sherpa House- an Indian Restaurant in Golden.  We again were dodging a few raindrops, but had a very nice meal there.  We have an affinity for Indian food and we did our research for this one.  We chose it because of the proximity to our hotel and from Highway 70 and for the fact that we sort of knew where it was without map lady having to tell us until the very end of the drive.  It was very good food, the only problem was the kids.....  Now, you KNOW that I like little kids.  I have had little kids, I teach little kids, I talk to them and play with them, but for some reason, I felt like I shouldn't have to be subjected to them that night.  Maybe I was getting tired by that time (yes) or maybe I was cranky (um, no, I had just been up in the snow covered mountains and had Italian soda at the most freaking cute little ice cream dive, so that wasn't it at ALL) but we unfortunately had to sit at the table next to a family of four- and the two little children were not having any of this foreign food stuff.  Oh well.  I didn't make any nasty comments and I think I accidentally caught the mother's gaze in an uncomfortable glance over towards me.  They didn't do much to encourage them to stop hopping around and whining and such, but oh well.  The food was pretty good, I had a vegetarian curry, and some really good naan, Adam I believe had the  Chana Masala and we did enjoy our meal there.  Adam happened to have on a Wisconsin map on the back of his shirt and the people across the room began discussing Wisconsin, which we found infinitely amusing.  Or at least I did, I am not positive Adam wanted them discussing his shirt.  Lol. I don't remember what exactly they said, other than talked about where they had been and I think the cold might have been mentioned.

I love meeting my virtual friends, even if just for a short time.

So every night we had a discussion about the next day, and sadly Friday was our last one.  We wanted some different and close by for our breakfast, and right around the corner from the motel was a very divey spot that delivered some awesome pancakes and french toast...  JC's Café.  It was a really great way to start off the day.  I had French Toast, something I generally don't order, because I like to have eggs in various forms when I go out to have breakfast/ brunch.  But since I had eaten eggs for a few days, I thought a change was in order.  It was really good, though I did miss my real maple syrup.  Again- good coffee and then Caribou.  Because I am an addict and should be studied.  At this point we went over to Red Rock and hiked the trails there, which was a spectacular way to end our interaction with the landscape in the Golden area.   We then moved out of our temporary housing and began heading in the general direction of the Denver airport.  We stopped in the downtown area, and walked around an outdoor pedestrian mall, maybe called the 14th Street Mall- something on that order.  Some number.  I'm sorry if I get it wrong.  Anywho, I met a virtual friend (Hi Leland!) there and we had a nice time talking and having a little liquid refreshment (if it was coffee, I am not admitting it :D ) and then had fun taking a few shots with his selfie stick.  This is something that seems so ridiculous and yet I totally want one.  Adam had been over at Barnes and Noble and we went on to our final meal at Mad Greens, as I mentioned before.

Mad Greens is an awesome little place that makes fresh salads and other things for you while you stand in line.  There was a really cool bunch of specialty salads and they were so many yummy sounding choices.  While I was in line I struck up a conversation with the salad guy and then another one chimed in and we discussed different places in Wisconsin that they have visited/vacationed/have relatives in.  It was a hoot!  What nice people and really good salad!  Seems like I can always find some nice folks to talk to and find something in common with them.  It was so so sad to have to drive to the airport and surrender our cool white car and go home.  However, it did involve a fun plane ride again!  YAY!

Cut to 10:30    and it is dark on Hwy 8, just west of the Wisconsin/Minnesota state line.  Two bleary eyed travelers know that they need to find something to eat for supper since it had been a while since Mad Greens.  And it is not easy to find a veg. friendly place on the road.  We were thinking Subway, and then a glowing beacon of red and white appeared before us...... yes, folks it was a Dairy Queen.  You may have noticed that we had some nontraditional suppers and it was awesome.  So yes, there was a brownie sundae consumed under the guise of supper when we still had 2.5 hours to drive home.  It was a long drive, but we did it!

It is kind of hard to wrap this up concisely, as this was far from a concise post.  It was so fun to use the food we ate as a vehicle to remember some of the things that might have not been included in another summary.  The food was just wonderful, I am glad that we did some research before we went, as we had an idea of some places that were available.  I just can't say that there was any part of the trip that was disappointing.  It was a nice week, chock full of joy!  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A pause in the action

Ahhh yes, summer is rolling on and I for one am not one of those people who are saying- "Oh, the summer is going so fast!".  This is the first ever summer I think I have not bought into this somewhat negative outlook on this lovely season.

This pause in my summery, exuberant postings is brought to you by the letter I for introspection.   I have had an extraordinary summer, I will say.  I've had my moments of reboot and shut down, but when I look back at the past several weeks I see nothing but full days of good things.

I've traveled a bit, I've seen the grandkiddos,  I've had a week with a very, very awesome friend, I've had great experiences kayaking and biking and walking and Bayfielding..... Oh yes it has been good.

Today, I am a very sore art teacher- well in a couple ways- I had my teeth poked and prodded by my new dental hygienist today, and weirdly it was a very entertaining visit, as i had NO IDEA how high tech dental offices are now.  LOL.  Yeah, that's another story, but not now.  Yesterday, I went back to the gym, such as it is, and began working out again.

In the past few weeks I have been feeling very well, as far as my elbows go, and I had a good discussion with my life coach about many things related to the state of affairs I am in right now.  I think I was afraid to start lifting again, afraid to begin the journey that I loved traveling on before.  And it just felt like the right time and thing to do.  So I spent 35 minutes working out, and it felt fantastic.  I laid under that bar on the bench press and I felt like I was home.  Now granted I was only lifting the freaking bar, but it felt amazing.  So between that and some Romanian deads, shoulder presses and arm and back things, I managed to make myself nice and sore today.  It is awesome.

I am sort of freaked out by the amount of work it will take to get myself anywhere near where I was before.  But at least I am not starting back at square one.  I don't have to start with the lightest weights on the rack, I don't have to learn the proper techniques and I don't have discover all over that indeed I am an athletic person who is really good at lifting weights.  This is a confidence that I immediately recognized as I was laying under that bar and looking up at my hand placement, as I braced my legs like I was going to push up heavy weight, as I slid my shoulders into the (duct taped, lol) bench to  brace myself for the lift.  I acted like I was lifting what I used to, and it was good.  My arm is mostly straight now and I felt in-balance and confident.  This sounds weird, but to wake up this morning and feel the stiffness and soreness of broken down muscle tissue was strangely comforting and uplifting.  It made me feel more like me.

So though I am doing my kayaking and biking and walking every week and I LOVE IT,  I love more the thought of getting back into something that gave me confidence in myself like I never in my life had before.  The Lyme's disease I had last summer gave me a temporary set back, my wonderful little gym closing sent me into a tailspin and of course the elbow incident.  I have decided, even though it is entertaining to tell people about that particular accident, that I can't define my life anymore by that one moment in time and the ramifications of it.  It was in it's own way, something that made more of an impact on my life than many events that came before it, but I just can't continue to let it rule my thinking.

It forced me into a state of quiet, it allowed my arms and hands to recover from some serious over training, it allowed me to discover that I can stay healthy without killing myself in a gym, it gave me some extra time that I didn't know I needed.  I also found out how many amazing people I have in my life, and it kindled and changed a few relationships in ways that I never would have guessed.  All so much for the good, no matter how much I agonize  (and smile usually) over some of the crazy things that have happened.  mmmm.

During this time, I recognized my need to have a kayak so I am not dependent on others to get myself out into water, which is something I love more than I can express.  It has challenged me to bike whenever I can, in spite of the pressure it puts on my elbows.  The more I bike, the better my elbows feel, which is sort of counterintuitive, but true.  I made plans for taking a mini vacation to Colorado because I understand how a person needs to be sure to do those things you are dreaming about, because you just never know....  So ** BAM ** mini vacation was just what I needed, I am in love with flying and with the mountains and cannot wait to get back to both.

So, after this particular post, my pause in the action that is usually birthday month, I will resume my Denver posts, and maybe a friend visit post, and possibly some other picture posts.... my usual fare. This morning, I was inspired to begin this, as I woke up feeling my muscles thanking me for beginning again.  Then I got several early morning texts and one early morning phone call from my friend who I am going to finally get to see again!  And kayak with!  YES!!  And I smiled thinking about how lucky I am to have such good friends, people who like me.  People who want to talk to me via text and phone.  And spend time with me.  Lol and yeah, there is the MA and my kiddos.  haha. I am so fortunate to be who I am right now.  And really fortunate to be able to do so many of the things I really want to, and I am hoping to continue on this journey doing the exciting, slightly scary, challenging and joyful trip that I am taking.  Funny that it took a couple of broken elbows for me to truly understand what I really want and need and the people that are going on this journey with me.  It is quite the ride.  xo

Monday, July 6, 2015

Birthday month continues.....

Yeah, so basically I went into a mini hibernation the last few days, and didn't do a whole lot of anything.  I have been cleaning a bit and doing some outside chores and other things that didn't require a lot of mental energy.  The Mad-Art Teacher needed a reset couple of days!  I go through times like this when life just seems too much to handle, and after retreating into my own little world,  I come out ready for action again.

I did have some very nice little birthday month treats for myself, not the least of which was seeing my little grandboy!  And my Mad-Second Son and his Sarah.  In case you haven't heard, they are in the process of moving up here, since he secured a good job in the area and well....  kids, I'm gonna have a grandbaby (and another son and one of my Sarahs!!!) near me!  Exciting stuff!

Another thing I began doing over the weekend was to pull out the piano bench and start playing again.  I was very happy when the pieces I used to play the most come right back after just 2 days of practice- mostly, that is.  When I got to a piece with 3 sharps I was totally blank on what that third sharp was- but my fingers remembered.  I have more practicing to do!  My hands and arms are really tired today from the baby holding and the piano playing.  I will begin my Italian lessons again in a week or so.  That stupid elbow breaking business certainly did make my life spin out in directions I didn't expect.

I also realize I have those 2 Denver posts to do yet, and I plan to, but it might be a while.  Today I go pick up my dear friend Cheri from the Amtrak station in Columbus!  She is going to spend the rest of the week with me, and I am so very excited!  You just KNOW that Bayfielding and kayaking and other enjoyable things will be happening.  And not only that, I get to see miss Ella tonight, since we are staying with Jon and Sarah for the night.

I have a little bit more finishing up here in the house and then I need to pack an overnight bag and it occurs to me I have no idea what I am going to have for meals when Cheri is here!  Lol, well I am pretty good at punting.  That is after all, what summer is all about.  Rolling with the way the day goes.

I needed this reset.  I feel good again, not letting life's little disappointments get me down for long.  And that is a joy!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2 of birthday month

I actually had a few things that could have qualified today for my birthday month celebration, but I HAVE to say that spending time with, shopping and lunching with my dear friend Cat was the highlight of 7/2/2015!  It was such a nice afternoon and we had a lovely lunch at the Crimson Cafe in Rhinelander.  It had been ages since we had spent more than a few minutes together, so we had a lot of ground to cover.  YAY for reconnecting with friends.

Rhinelander was a nice place to do a little thrift shopping and a little health food store visiting and it was super to head that way with Cat.  It was a gorgeous day,  and I am very sorry that I neglected to take a photo of the two of us like I usually do.  Falling down on the job, I guess.

Apparently this is  also the day that the Mad-Art teacher crashes from the excitement of the last few weeks.  I went from giddy to sad in about 5.5 seconds after I arrived home. I could actually feel it happening when I got up this morning.  I know that this is typical for me, but I really hate it when I fall.  sigh.  I am mostly back to myself, but the sads are lingering in the background. 

Ah yes.  Such is life, right?  But I did have a wonderful day and I am carrying out a plan that I made a couple days ago.  I am  not going to give it away quite yet!  :)  It is much more fun than I anticipated.  HAHAHA keep y'all in suspense!  **rubs hands gleefully together**

Anyway, nice end to the night- went for a mini photo shoot and took a couple photos of the orange sunset.  All courtesy of the wild fires out west.  It's sort of sullying up the blue skies, but I guess there is nothing we can do about that!  

Anyway, have yourself a pleasant evening and hope you have had a day with at least a little joy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1!

This begins my month of obnoxious birthday posts. I still, btw, have 2 more Denver posts planned. 

My kind thing I did for myself today- I took me kayaking! I stole the truck for the morning and went to Smith at 7:15 in the am. It was gorgeous!! And I saw a loon family and a deer wading in the river and it was so quiet. No music. Just the sounds of nature- with an occasional truck in the far away. What a perfect way to kick off birthday month!! :) 
It was a pleasure and a joy!

Some scenes from the river! 


Guess what guys!!!  

It is JULY!!!

That is right, it is Debi's birthday month!  :)  

I will definitely be making a point of doing something nice for myself every day (and let me tell you that Colorado trip is going to fill in any gaps, cuz that was freaking AWESOME) but I am thinking that I might do something else as well.  I have yet to decide for sure, but some of you *might* get a little surprise at some point.

One of the best things that is going to happen this month is the best gift - a dear friend is coming to visit me next week.  This will be awesome!

So, yeah, I decided to post this little reminder to anyone who enjoys celebrating birthdays in any way that you have 31 days until my own particular day.  YAY!!

And that could be quite the joy!