A Moment in Time

Looking back…the moment lost…we forget….

How often do we think back to something and think “I wish I had a picture of that?” Back in the day, we had the convenient excuse of forgetting to bring our camera,  but since most of us now have smart phones, we have a camera all the time . So that old excuse really doesn’t work so much anymore, does it (unless you’re like I was the other day and completely forgot to even bring my phone along)?We have no excuse to miss that moment. So what’s the problem?

I was glancing back through our pictures of our trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota last fall, and a hike we took up to Harney Peak. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s not a hike for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of climbing, some of it over roots, trees, rocks, boulders, sand, and goes from about 6100-7100 feet of elevation. And in the middle, you actually go downhill, just to have to go back uphill again.

At the summit is a stone lookout tower that was used for fires, and the view is incredible. You can see a long distance view of the tower in the photo at the lower right…yep, we had a LONG climb to get there! As you can see, we had cameras along and took pictures. Word to the wise, if you do this hike, do it on a cool day, take snacks and plenty of water, and start early in the day. If you’re in good shape, this is under a 4 hour hike. Shape not so good? Plan on 6 hours. We made it in about 4.5 hours, although I have no idea how. (Sheer stubbornness would be my best guess. )

As we neared the top, we met larger groups of people coming down with what seemed like ridiculously happy grins on their faces – which I would understand a short time later – and they all were saying things like “you can do it” and “you’re almost there”. I can remember I was so tired and feeling like I couldn’t do it, that I wanted to slap that stupid grin right off their faces. Then we started to notice that the boulders were different, more like big smooth slabs, and all of a sudden we were ducking under a big stone archway, before turning and seeing the end, and _MG_3004then there it was, with only about 50 more steps to go. The end. Still steep, but doable.

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I got a lovely little screen shot of my “What’s My Altitude” app too! While it didn’t show the air temperature, I remember it was a bit cooler, and you can see that the boiling point of water was lower.

 

You know, two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to even do an hour of this climb, let alone the whole thing. I remember going to Scottsdale, AZ, and sitting down partway up the “easy side” of Camelback, waiting for my husband while he climbed to the top, because I was so overweight then, and there was no way I could do it. But this trip, being healthier, thinner and in much better shape, I knew I could make it, and was determined to get to the top, stopping periodically for water breaks and snack breaks, but that was it. When we got there, oh, the view.

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Isn’t that amazing? It looks out over 4 states, and if you walk around the station, you can see the backside of Mt Rushmore. We took photos of that, of some great big bird soaring around, all kinds of stuff. You know what view we don’t have? The one of me standing there, tears in my eyes, being completely overwhelmed with elation that I did it! I think hubby was going to and I seem to recall I didn’t want him to but I don’t remember why not. In retrospect, I wish he would have anyway. I would have loved to have captured that moment of energy and triumph shining through. Particularly because when I think back to that moment, that’s the feeling that I remember having…that my best self, right then, was completely and totally shining through. The tears, messy hair, sweaty skin and red face – those were badges of honor to be worn proudly, not hidden away. Silly me. What a missed Kodak moment, but a lesson learned, nonetheless.

So next time you want to push someone away when they want your picture, think twice about it. So what if you’re all sweaty, hair is a mess, face is covered in dirt. Maybe you don’t have on makeup, or your mascara is running down your cheeks…or your eyes are puffy…or your shirt is torn, or whatever. Who cares? Freeze that moment before it’s gone, because remember you can’t capture lightning in a bottle.

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Betwixt and Between

I recently had a birthday. Note I didn’t say “celebrated”, so please don’t feel compelled to offer felicitations, congratulations, or other similar happy sentiments. I had it, I’m over it. I’m becoming ‘a woman of a certain age’, and each year I’m less happy about it, and I can admit it freely. It’s a confounding state to find oneself in…chronologically the calendar insists that I am eligble for senior discounts at restaurants, auto service centers, and other businesses, every morning before I get out of bed my joints tell me I’m older than dirt and I ought to be grateful I’m waking up on this side of it, but my spirit? I feel like I’m about 35 – there is still so much world out there! I want to explore new places I’ve never been in the world, flirt with 35 year-old waiters, and keep feeling like I have all the time in the world. I don’t want to be this age. I don’t like it one bit! I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t! (picture me stomping my foot in protest, a la Herman Munster.)

“40 is the new 30”, we heard that one a few years ago, then along came “50 is the new 40”. In some ways it’s true, living in a world that is as connected as we are, with easy transportation and technology we can get places better and faster than generations before us could. There is work on new supersonic transport starting, and seeing watching “Planet Earth” a few years ago in high definition was pretty darned amazing. We can Skype with people halfway around the world from us to stay in immediate contact, instead of waiting weeks for letters.

And yet….

At 55, I have more gray hair than not (trust me when I tell you this, although I’m not ready to let you see it yet), the word “retirement” creeps into more conversations every year, friends have begun moving to southern climes to escape Minnesota winters, and when I recently sorted through things for a garage sale, I found myself becoming rather maudlin. While not a hoarder or pack rat, I have some things I’ve saved over the years that were special for one reason or another. A hand puppet my parents gave me, an old kerosene lantern that matches one my mother has and keeps at her cabin, some treasures from travels as a child, and other mementos. They’re stored in plastic bins and I look at them perhaps once every few years and have a moment or two of nostalgia, then don’t think about them again until the next time. I have no other reason to save them, no children to pass them along to. So what’s the point? Saving them for someone to have to throw away when I die? (Which of course makes me think about “if I died today, what would they find?” and my reaction is a cross between ‘ugh’ and ‘oh dear God’!)

It’s difficult being at an age of having to think about your own mortality when you don’t feel old inside and at least for me, it’s like having two personalities. One on each shoulder as it were, like the angel and the devil. “Go out, live life! Have some fun! Go sky dive, zip line!” says one. The other? “Stay home, organize, dust, save your money, put more into that Roth”. I also REALLY hate it when I run across a story about someone that decided to give it all up to live the dream. Why? Because I wish I had that kind of courage, and willingness to give up my creature comforts. So many days I could do it but then there are just so many more of the days that I’m not quit there. I’m not talking about Starbucks, or Macy’s. I couldn’t care less about that. But I have a lovely home and we’re having fun (most of the time) fixing it up and putting our signature on it, filled with tchotchkes and treasures we’ve collected. Well, ok, mostly what hubby has collected, that’s his deal. I’d put myself more in the bucket of ‘get a couple of things here and there that coordinate, but not a whole series’. While living the easy life on an island someplace sounds lovely, paring back to only  critical clothing, a few electronics, 3 houseplants and the 2 cats just isn’t me quite yet. I have to at least wait until my niece and nephew have homes of their own so I can pass along some of those “treasured heirlooms” to them, lucky ducks.

And I don’t want to think about any of that anyway…I’m only 35 for heaven’s sake. I have light-years of time ahead of me, don’t I? I can’t possibly be old enough to have a niece that just got married, it feels like I just held her in my arms as an infant for the first time last week. And only a moment has passed since I held my nephew for his baptism…that same nephew who is now getting ready to be a senior in college and just passed his second actuarial exam (smartie!) Yet I look at them, and am amazed at how many years have flown by. How did this happen? Dear God, how did I become one of those people who needs someone to do their pedicures because they can’t reach their own toes, or their arthritis is so bad they can’t do it themselves? I guess I should be grateful we don’t need to buy Efferdent and Polygrip, but still…

On a happier note, I AM celebrating something else.

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It was my one year blog birthday on August 14. Here I am with 43 posts, and views in 26 countries later and still blabbing on. If I were going to have a cake, I imagine it would look like this one. Thank you to everyone for the encouragement, and stay tuned, there’s more to come. Remember, my brain says I’m only 35.

One final note, for all my blog buddies from Diane Henders’ blog “Probably Inappropriate” , as promised

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Now where did I put that article on parasailing in the Sea of Cortez?

 

 

 

 

A Little More And They Say Romance Is Dead

Taking a page from “Guru” Henders, rather than try to reinvent the proverbial wheel, I’m going to go with the theme from Tom Merriman’s blog in honor of Valentine’s Day, also known to some of my closest friends as Singles Appreciation Day, brought to you courtesy of Hallmark. The theme this month is

…and they say romance is dead…

I was going to go with dry, snarky and sarcastic, because that’s so much funnier. What’s coming out of my head instead is all the little ways that husband shows me it’s not. Sure, he forgets ALL THE TIME to put the seat down, but today he did the dishes without my asking, fixed something for me. And he takes the trash bins to the curb every week even in winter when it’s bitterly cold so I don’t have to and sometimes cleans the house. Now if only I could get him to put things away in the kitchen where they belong 🙂

Oh what the heck, who am I kidding. I was born with sarcastic as much a part of me as if it were a siamese twin. See, I even snuck it in the nice paragraph above. Can’t seem to help myself. So I thought I’d go looking for some funny evidence of our theme on the internet. Our first story is from Manchester, England, where a man is kicked out of his house by his wife. Apparently he posted a comment under a photo of a beautiful model saying he’d be willing to leave his family for one night with this woman. He got his wish.

This woman in England sends texts to her husband of all the things he says in his sleep. It’s actually funny and nonsensical. Wonder what the rest of us say?

Here’s one I can honestly say I’ve not heard of before, the weird world of wife carrying. This is actually a sporting event, complete with a prize at the end of taking home your wife’s weight in beer. Sounds like something my parroted friends would like, but sorry to say fellas, this year’s competition is full.

Google “is romance dead”. What an eye opener. Most of these real life examples that people have provided from an article on the Huffington post gave me pause. One romantic fella gave his wife the gift of a full body massage. Problem was, the massage therapist was his mother. Now she’s his ex-wife….

And here are a couple of jokes to leave you with.

A woman’s husband dies. He had $20,000 to his name.After everything is done at the funeral home and cemetery, she tells her closest friend that there is no money left.   The friend says, “How can that be?  You told me he had $20,000 a few days before he died. How could you be broke?”  The widow says, “Well, the funeral cost me $6,500. And of course, I had to make the obligatory donation for the church and the organist and all. That was $500 and I spent another $500 for the wake, food and drinks, you know. The rest went for the memorial stone.”  The friend says, “$12,500 for the memorial stone? My God, how big was it?  “The widow says, “Three carats.”

One day a housework‑challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt.  Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to his wife, “What setting do I use on the washing machine?”  “It depends,” she replied. “What does it say on your shirt?”  He yelled back, “University of Oklahoma.”  And they say blondes are dumb…

A woman was helping her computer-illiterate husband set up his computer, at the appropriate point in the process told him that he would now need to choose and enter a password.  Something he use to log on.  The husband was in a rather amorous mood and figured he would try for the shock effect to bring this to his wife’s attention.  So, when the computer asked him to enter his password, he made it plainly obvious to his wife that he was keying in, “p…e…n…i…s.”   His wife fell off her chair laughing when the computer replied:  PASSWORD REJECTED.  NOT LONG ENOUGH.

…and they say romance is dead…

Well holy smokes, it’s finally winter in Minnesota. We had Christmas this year touched with a hint of white, followed by the revenge of Old Man Winter. I’ve resigned myself to being cold for at least another 70 or so days, if I’m lucky. I hope to thaw in March sometime. Thank heavens for down booties, down comforters, electric mattress pads, electric foot warmers, spa booties that go in the microwave until they are toasty and all sorts of other accessories I require to make it safely through to “the other side”. I’m not complaining, not really. Because if I WERE, someone would be sure to remind me that I shouldn’t for the following reasons, blah, blah, blah. So I’m not, and you can hold yourself back.

We also made it through Christmas, or as I like to call it, the annual holiday obligatory gift card exchange. You know, you give a gift card because a) you don’t know what to get someone and b) they already have everything and c) god forbid we would forgo a time honored tradition. So I buy you a card as you buy me one. Silliness, pure, unadulterated silliness as near as I can tell.

Next up was amateur night also called New Year’s Eve. When  people all over the world go out, get together with 1000 of the closest friends they’ve never met before, and through the magic of alcohol by the end of the night are best friends! You stay up late for that magical second and suddenly it’s over, and now you have to drive home amidst thousands of other drunken revelers, hoping everyone knows how to stay between the right white lines. When you wake up it’s a new year, you’re hung over and wonder “what happened?”  “where are my underwear?” “why do I have a tattoo on my butt cheek that isn’t from a magic marker?” and “oh dear Lord, those had better not be my boobs on FB!” (Full disclosure, I’ve only heard about these things, and haven’t really experienced personally. I mean really, do you think I’d seriously put that stuff out here where my mother could see if I had? I might be a bit slow on the uptake about some things, but not THAT!)

No, I’d much rather do New Year’s the new, fuddy duddy way. Stay home, hang with the neighbors, stumble home 20 or 30 feet unless I was lucky enough to convince them to let US host, then it’s hang with the neighbors and kick em out, maybe we make it to midnight, maybe not. If we don’t, then we celebrate at the top of the hour with whatever time zone just rolled into the new year. Oh look, it’s 6 pm here and midnight in London? “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind, should auld acquaintance be forgot, in days of auld lang syne” which translates to “times gone by” in case you were unaware. Cue the noisemakers and funny hats.

This year it was just us, for a variety of excuses…oops, I mean reasons. “I’m sick”, “too tired”, “like some people better than you and already made plans with them”, you know, you’ve probably heard them too. So we watched a movie, laughed a lot, and turned off the light at 12:01 am, January 1, 2016. I’m waking up without a hangover or regrets and laughing at all my friends who aren’t. I can hear husband noises from upstairs, which means the promised gift of waffles and bacon aren’t very far away. He doesn’t cook a lot, but what he does is wonderful! (Probably best he doesn’t cook often if it’s bacon and waffles!)

A friend shared a quote with me yesterday that I’ll leave you with:

“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”

…Brad Paisley

I hope you all had a safe and fun celebration, don’t have too many regrets, and have wonderful things ahead in the coming year.

Angel