(A little) into the wild …

Today is our last day in Alaska. It has been a fantastic trip. To say the sights here are beautiful is a gross understatement. Pictures certainly don’t do Alaska justice. To come here is a lesson in earth and nature and weather and light. It is an immersion of all your senses into a place that is both ominous and inviting. I could never fake being able to make it out there in the vast desolate freezing areas of this great state. I wouldn’t survive even a few hours out there. I am in awe of the animals who call it their home and the people who’s explorations go far deeper into the terrain than I would ever be brave enough to consider. Alaska demands respect. It has mine. I got a “taste” of Alaska on this trip. There is SO MUCH more to see and experience. I understand why people make Alaska their home and why so many people who don’t live here are drawn to come back time and time again. And this comes from a woman who doesn’t like to be cold and wet. I get it. You will see things in Alaska that make you feel small and yet somehow part of something bigger than you can ever explain. To experience the fraction of Alaska that we did is both an honor and a privilege. Alaska is simply magnificent.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you go (a little) into the wild!!!

Happily falling apart …

Most people who know me would say that I hold it together unusually well during times of stress and change. I deal with things straightforward. What’s on my plate that day, gets my effort and attention. When I was younger I was a worry wart. I was anxious about EVERYTHING. That all faded away. Now I save my efforts for the real stuff and even then I remain pretty calm. And optimistic. It drives my crew crazy sometimes. I think they want to see more “emotion” out of me. Trust me, I am one emotional woman. I’m a crier. I laugh at just about everything. And I’m usually the happiest person in the room. But when it comes to stressful situations or change I just gave up freaking out about them. It’s way easier to just deal with them. In a “matter-of-fact” kind of way I muddle through the tough times. I do make a TON of lists. They tend to keep me focused. Plus they are a great visual for me to measure my progress through the problem or situation I’m currently in the thick of.

Regardless of what I’ve been dealing with, when the day comes when I feel like I am finally passed it, I tend to fall apart. I’ll cry more, sleep like a rock and sometimes I get sick. It’s like my mind and body can finally let their defenses down. It’s funny. Even though this is when I feel like a mess, it’s also a time when I feel my strongest. It’s like earning another battle scar. And it’s a reminder that I am a survivor. Again.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you happily fall apart!!!

We survived …

Libs and I weathered the mall today. I knew it would be ugly and that it would require a special kind of inner peace. Just the parking lot alone made me thankful I carry pepper spray. It was rough.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you survived!!!

A wimp …

I watched The Martian today. Wow. It was fantastic!

Now I realize that I am never going to be an astronaut and that the movie was fictional but it really made me think. I usually consider myself to be a pretty tough cookie. But after seeing this movie I realized that I am definitely not cut out for space travel or being a space castaway. There is no way I would last very long on a deserted planet alone. In fact, if I had to guess I would say that I would probably succumb to the elements faster than anyone else ever would. I don’t like dirt, wind or the cold. Which apparently Mars has a lot of. Clearly a survivalist, I am not.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you didn’t realize that you are a total WIMP!!!

Know your limits there Mountain Man …

My son George is down right hilarious. This kid makes me laugh so hard. His “delivery” is absolutely comedic! I only write about him when he approves it though. He is a pretty private person so I respect that. But he is so funny I could seriously share something worth writing about almost every day.

This afternoon he was watching a show that I was unfamiliar with called Mountain Man. After he explained the premise to me, I thought about it a little. Perhaps it’s because Sid is less than 6 weeks away from moving into her dorm in San Francisco, but the thought of my son living out in the wild made me sad. So I said to him, “I would never want you to do that.”

He looked at me a little perplexed (like I was a crazy woman) and clarified, “You mean live in the wilderness and live off the land?”

I said, “Yes, why?”

Now you have to know George to appreciate his comment back to me. Although he is a pretty tough kid (I have mentioned he is a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do), he likes his comforts … A LOT. And his dry, matter-of-fact response back to me cracked me the heck up! “Well, I don’t think you have to worry mom. I would get cold the first night and say ‘Nope. I am going home.'”

I am sure it’s not translating written as funny as it was said, but suffice it to say I LAUGHED MY BUTT OFF! Heck, I am still laughing about it! Darn I love that kid!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you know your limits!!!

2014 … BRAVE indeed …

Before every New Year begins I come up with a new one word mantra. Not to be confused with my birthday mantra or my life mantra. My New Year mantra is a word that is chosen to snap me back into the feelings I had when I first thought of if. An instant motivator to keep me on track.

My 2014 mantra is BRAVE. I was not super excited to experience what 2014 had in store for me. On top of it being the 20th anniversary of my mother’s passing, it is also the year that I turned the age she was when she died. Talk about a DOOZEY.

But, finally, on the 28th day of December I feel I can confidently say, I MADE IT THROUGH.

The anniversary of her passing was in February. February 2nd, Groundhog Day, to be exact. I got super sick at the end of January and stayed that way for a hideous three weeks. I am pretty sure my emotions got the best of me. I ran a half marathon in Ventura on the actual day of her passing. I was feverish and coughing the whole way. To put it in perspective, I was on an inhaler for the first time in my life! Yet there I was … running a half marathon in the cold. Good. Lord.

As MISERABLE as I was the entire time I was there, it was my first opportunity to, in fact, be BRAVE. Typically on Groundhog Day, I can hardly move. Yes, even after 20 years without her, it still hurts THAT bad. I oscillate between the couch and my bed all day. I call it, “My pink fuzzy robe coma” … and it’s awful. Although I promised myself that I would NEVER again force myself out of the house on that day and be away from my family, the race proved to me that I am much stronger, emotionally and physically, than I ever give myself credit for. But I am still not doing that again. Nope. Not. Ever.

Throughout the year the opportunity to be BRAVE reared its’ head a multitude of times. Truthfully, too many to count. But none probably more poignant than facing down my birthday. The day I would turn the age she died. Forty-six. Wow.

Sure I know people MANY people who have lived far beyond the age of 46. But the person I identified most with … didn’t. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain how that feels. Words don’t seem to serve it justice. But I can tell you this: it’s scary, nerve-racking and sad. It was up to me now. I had to lead the way for myself. I had to write my own story and live without her example. At times, the thought completely overwhelmed me. But I took everything she taught me and forged on.

Here I am, over 5 months into 46 and I don’t think I’m doing too badly. I’ve faced a lot of demons this year. NONE of them went down without a fight … and many, I know, will soon return to try to break me all over again. Will it be hard? Absolutely. But this time I will do battle knowing that if I can survive the emotional warfare of 2014 … I can survive anything.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you prove to yourself that you are BRAVE!!!

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