Vacation day… something

Featured photo: an outdoor outhouse

It’s Wednesday morning. We’re in Utah and I’m planning on being back in Michigan Saturday. But first one night in Rocky Mountain park. Then somewhere in Nebraska probably and a night at my friends house in Illinois.  

Last I mentioned we were in Denver for Avett brothers concerts at Red Rocks. That was pretty amazing. Since then we camped in a campsite in the valley of mountains. We hit the continental divide at 11,500 ft elevation, we made it to Arches National Park, explored a bit and now we’re on the Canyonlands Nat Park land just not in the park. 

This campsite is on top of a mountain, and with a tiny dirt road that runs along the cliff. There are fire rings and picnic tables but it’s rustic other than that. The outhouse is a pit toilet with no doors or roof. Just kind of a fence around it. When we first arrived it came with its own lizard. We’re not in Kansas anymore Dorthy. 

This trip has been awesome. I’ve seen so many mountains, desert landscapes, we drove through sleet in Wyoming, touched snow in Yellowstone and ranged in temps from 50-96. 

Can’t wait to see Rocky Mountain Park next, then in a few days I get to wash my clothes, take showers daily again, try a balanced diet and hit the gym. This has to be my wake up call. I’ve got pictures of me and I don’t like what I see. I think I’m 100 lbs lighter than what I am. It’s not preventing me from enjoying this trip but I’m going to work on getting to a healthier me again. That will be good. 

Vacation day 8

Part of me can’t believe it’s only been 8 days with what we’ve seen and done. Part of me knows it’s flying by. Part of me what’s to shout, Get Up Get Up! To my friend and conquer the world. Part of me wishes my internal clock didn’t wake up so early!

I know I’ve done a poor job at keeping up to date with my travels but I’ve got a good excuse. I had no internet or reception throughout South Dakota. As in the entire state. Yellowstone only had reception on top of one Mountain. The past 3 nights we’ve been in hotels but I’ve been exhausted. So here I am. Finally getting a moment. 

I don’t know what I’ve said before so let me try to piece it together. 

We started 1/2 day late. Saturday we made it to the Field of Dreams movie site, then a random campsite in Minnesota. Tuesday we made it to the Badlands and got a campsite at an ok place just outside the park. Wednesday we camped directly below Devils Tower at a KOA. Talk about pricey and posh camping. Thursday we took a detour North to get to the Paradise Valley area. John Mayer lives near here and his snapchats were crazy beautiful of the area around his house. We found a random wildlife/fishing rustic campsite. It was so remote and amazing. All the other campsites were full and we were considering a cabin for nearly $80 at KOA until we found this gem. See featured photo for our scenery. This site was only $18. Nice. 

We drove an hour south into the North gate of Yellowstone. We drove 35 miles to the West Gate, which is midway down the park, in hopes of finding a campsite. By a miracle someone in the back said, we just got one site for 1 small tent, as we pleaded for anything in the park that might be open. We never actually expected to be able to camp in Yellowstone but we weren’t sure where to go if we didn’t. The site was small but perfect. We spent 1/2 day driving around the north loop and taking quick .25 – 1.5 mile paths to see the sites. Desert atmosphere with boiling water and mud pots to Mt. Washburn where we grabbed some snow! We saw wild Buffalo, Elk, Deer, and the top of one Black Bear. We didn’t get mauled by bears in our sleep as I feared and it was wonderful. The park is truly beautiful and a wonder. Thursday morning we headed to Old Faithful and arrived perfectly on time to see it shoot off! Ridiculously lucky, it only goes off every 2 hours! We saw a few more sites but needed to head south to the Grand Tetons. 

Now I thought Yellowstone was beautiful, the Grand Tetons were the most beautiful. I feel like the park is left in Yellowstones shadow but the views are awe inspiring. I must return and camp in this park. There is a section with swimming and the mountains are right there. We stuck our warm swollen bug bitten feet in the cold water and suddenly all was right with the world. If we hadn’t needed to get closer to Denver, if the time crunch wasn’t so big, we would have stayed and swam and slept and experienced more of the Grand Tetons. 

Jackson Hole Wy is a cute touristy BUSY town. A little too much for tired campers to deal with. The rest of Wy was natural gas fields. Uh what? I still haven’t researched it. I’ve been meaning to. The section was boring. Night fell, it was dark and we thought it would be best to drive further and get a motel if need be just to be closer to Denver. The motel was fine, we had BK for breakfast and hit the road by 7 am. We drove straight to our hotel in Denver. Checked in, got our concert tickets and VIP passes, then chilled in the hotel room until we boarded a shuttle to Red Rocks! Part of the VIP trip packaged included a pre-party dinner, first night taco bar, second night Pulled pork and BBQ beef sandwich bar, and I’m excited to see what’s in store this afternoon. 

The food is delish, the venue is incredible and I really enjoy the Avett Brothers, they are a really good band! And yea, if you hadn’t been following along… I didn’t know their music. My friend bought these tickets ages ago and I wanted to go on a vacation. So I said I’d go with IF we took a road trip to Yellowstone, and the rest happened. 

Now, today is the last night in Denver. We meant to explore more but the shuttle leaves at 4 pm and gets back at midnight. A long day at a concert and it makes a late morning. 

We still haven’t planned what to do after we leave the hotel tomorrow, or for the rest of the week for that matter. It’s like the trip is over but we could still do so much. 

I promise to update with some photos but the shower and breakfast are calling my name. 

Night 3

Featured photo: the Badlands

My phone didn’t work for almost all of South Dakota. We’re now in Wyoming at a KOA campground below Devils Tower. 

I haven’t had more than 7 hours of sleep in the last 2-3 weeks. Usually teetering between 4-5 hours per night and vacation has done nothing more for me. My internal clock goes off at 7 am EAstern time zone, but we’re now 2 hours earlier so I’m awake by 5 am while my road trip friend snores on beside me. 

Last night a storm came in. The wind almost blew the tent down. Like it actually bent the tent down and a corner pole hit me in the head a few times. Miracously the tent stakes held true and the rain fly never flew off. We stayed up for a few hours in the middle of the night. Me holding one corner of the tent up while watching the rain puddle inside of the tent. It was dramatic and the worst I’d ever experienced in a tent, but sogginess and all we slept for another few hours once the storm passed. 

Wall Drug is my least favorite place on earth… for touristy stuff. 

My travel buddy has decided to ignore lunch and instead “snack”. While on the road she refuses to stop to buy food but thus far I’m the only one cooking. Annoying to say the least. But last night I fell ill, and she did give me ice to put on my blazing hot head and allowed me to nap for an hour while my head tried to crack my skull open from the inside out. 

That’s about it for now. I’m still exhausted. But we’re one days worth of driving from Yellowstone. That’s exciting!

Vacation, finally

Featured photo: the 55′ Green Giant Statue in Blue Earth MN. 

Well. Last week was insane. We spent 69 hours in the office working on our proposal. Our longest day was 18 hours and the shortest was 12.  I don’t even want to talk about it except to say, Thank God that’s over… for me at least. 

I left, after 12 hours on Friday and drove 6.5 hours to my friends house. After a week of no sleep, then 4 hours of sleep we got on the road finally Saturday AM. 1/2 a day later than we wanted. We finally stopped randomly in Blue Earth MN. After stopping to see the Field of Dreams movie set in Iowa. Our camping site was odd, small 9 site spot in a fairground, but cozy. We reek like campfire smoke since we barely could get a fire going. It was so humid here condensation set on everything and the wood was damp. 

So far lots of laughs. Today we’re heading for the Bad Lands National Park then Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone. Super excited for all of it!

Especially after how insane work has been. 

Follow along for more pictures and details. 

Out of town: Day 1 of 22 

Featured photo: sunset from my parents town

I meant to leave town yesterday. I thought I’d be here for my parents 50th wedding anniversary surprise party. Yup. Fail bus. 

I’ve been exhausted. I’ve been trying to veg out, be a touch social and still get all my work done. I’ve been working 14 hour days. Working on the weekends and I’m still not prepared for this coming week. 

I thought I could go to the chiropractor and see my dentist for a check up then drive to my parents town 7 hours away on Friday. Easy peasey. 

Insert failbus. Like a huge tour bus of fail. You see, in order to leave from the dentist meant my work had to be done. It also meant on Thursday my house would need to be cleaned and I would be packed for a weekend at my parents, a week in the office downstate and 2 weeks of car camping/ possible backpacking in conditions from 40 degree mountains to 100 degree valleys.

Wanna know how I spent my Thursday night? Working until 11 pm at night. Yup. Awesome. 

Friday I was called to research more items, take pictures and measurements, send emails, answer phone calls etc. I decided by 4 pm I needed a nap then I could pack and drive. When I woke up at 6 pm I vetoed driving for fear of falling asleep. Suddenly it was 11 pm and I had time warped into the future somehow just by sitting on the couch. Still not packed, I went to bed.  Geared to wake up in 5 hours. 

Of course I laid in bed longer than I should, I debated on what to pack and how and finally crunch time came and went and in a hurricane action I threw stuff in bags, threw it in my car and without looking back I left. 3 hours later than I should have. 

I arrived 2 hours late to my parents party. So far on night one of 22 nights away from home, I already think I forgot to pack my glasses. MY GLASSSES! I’ve got at least one pair of extra contacts for the next 22 days and i do not have decent vision. I can’t drive, I can barely walk without glasses or contacts. Hopefully I threw them in my other bag and quickly searching in the dark I simply missed them. Otherwise I pray my dog sitter can express mail them to me. Ekk.  Not going to lie, I’m freaking out. 

Also, remember my sexting subcontractor? He texted me at 3 am again. I sent him a follow up text saying it was unfair he only texted after bar close and he needed to invite me out for a drink. He replied a few hours later, You’re right. I’ll make it up. 

We spoke several times on Wednesday and Thursday about work. I could hear him smiling on the other line, I enjoyed how he said Hello & Goodbye with my name. How we started just saying Hey when answering the phone and smiling. I’m smitten. Fully smitten with this boy. Now I have to wait 22 days before we’re even in the same town. 

22 days wondering if he’s sexting someone else at 3 am. If he remembers his promise to make it up to me or that I even exist. 

Arggg. He’s really really adorable. 

Some people say they met someone and instantly knew they were going to marry them. That they were going to pursue them until it happened. Sometimes I think that I think that about everyone. But I want to say that about this guy. He’s the bees knees. 

Sigh. It’s dreamy just thinking about him. 

Two weeks

Featured image: a calm Lake Superior looking innocent as a swimming pool

Oh Boy. Don’t think I’ve given up on you. I’ve thought about posting. I had thoughts to tell you. But I have been pulling 12-14 hour days for work. 

We’re developing a large project and everyone is out of time. I’m still out of time. In the past, well over a month, I’ve only missed 3 days of walking. Today is my 4th though I was active for work. Well, more than normal. 

Things have been exciting and crazy and drunken. I went to Chicago, saw Everclear, went to a German Fest, ran into an old HS friend. I went kayaking. It’s been 85 down to 52 degrees outside. There have been thunder and lighting storms, rain and full sunny days. Whoo, I mean so much!

But I’m still working. It’s 9 pm. I need to take the garbage out cuz I skipped it last week. I also need to do laundry and more work and dishes and pick up the house for the potential new dog sitter tomorrow. 

Oh yea, and more work. 

I have 2 more weeks before I leave for my epic vacation. But 1 more week before I leave my house to strangers for 3 weeks while they pet sit for me. 

Ekk. 

Ok. Back to work. I’ll be sure to try harder to take a minute to post. Especially while on my trip!

Time

Featured photo: icy harbor in my town. Taken a few days ago. 

I always make the excuse that I have no time. I’m traveling, I work so much, I spend the weekends out. 

How can I clean or repair my house when I have no time. 

It’s a semi decent excuse but still a lie. I’ve been home for 1.5 weeks. My house, yup, still a mess. I realized how awful at first glance my house looks. A hanging planter , left upside down in the leaf covered flower bed. A electrical wire conduit flopped in the middle of a walkway outside. Broken solar spotlights and an old hose bib left by the front stairs. Bags of pebbles, firewood and random garbage at the end of the driveway. A broken plastic lawn chair in the backyard. What a mess! But I don’t have the time…

Today I bought a book on Audible, Maybe It’s You. It’s a self help book and I slightly listened to it while working. I get the gist that it’s cutting the crap with excuses and manning up to whatever it is that you are doing to prevent yourself from doing what you want or need to do. 

So at 4:30, with headphones in, I raked out all my flower beds that outline my property. Fall happened late this year after leaf pickup by the city. My yard is matted with blankets of wet old leaves. I then picked up a lot of the trash, there is now a big blue bin at the end of my driveway, waiting for the city dump to open. 

It was an hour & 1/2 of labor. Though all the leaves in the backyard are still in the backyard. Just not in the flower beds. Baby steps. 

Regardless, it felt good to get my ass up and accomplish something. Now just to finish the job and every other piece of my life. 

One day. 

But it’s time for me to make the time and get on track with my life. One day is today. 

Ps. 1 full week logging points and staying (very close) to goal. Let’s keep the streak going!

Budgets and Calories

Feature photo: today’s Sky in my town. 

I realized my goal for March came and went as quickly as I thought of it. Save money, don’t dine out unless invited, diet, study for an exam and exercise. Basically none of it happened. I racked up my credit cards again,gained weight, ate out a ton, didn’t study,  unsure if I went to the gym once. 

This month my goal will be to clean and keep my house clean. All I need to do is pretend a date is coming over. You want a clean house right? Then, if I get take-out food I must be thrifty. Under $10 unless you’re invited out. That should help with saving money. And by being thrifty I’m hoping I order less food, which helps with dieting! 

Let’s see what I can do. So far my house is still trashed, I ate a boatload of deep fried chicken wings, but it was 1/2 price wings tonight so I got them at a deal. 1 outta… like 5 ain’t bad. 

Bats in my belfry

It’s been 2 years since my relationship crumbled. 2 years since I’ve even kissed anyone. It’s strange to think about. 

I’ve never been a big dater. I go from relationship to dry spell to relationship. But being older, fatter, and a hermit (I like to poke fun at myself) decreases your luck of a new date. I’ve been trying, thinking about what I wear and putting on make-up rather than rolling out of bed and putting on anything that appeared clean, wrinkled or not. I’ve been on the dating sites, gone on a few dates, but this town is small and the online dating pool is even smaller. 

Friday I worked from Starbucks. Excited a young cute fellow with a charming southern accent asked if the seat next to me was taken. I attempted small talk for a minute but he was wrapped up in his iPad. 

Friday night I saw the new movie Life with married friends. The theater was empty. Saturday, I had brunch with the same married couple, then went to an RV/outdoor rec expo. I attempted to smile at any man in sight, but everyone is wrapped up in their phone, or friends, or obviously with a significant other, that communication doesn’t really happen between people. 

At one point my friend was talking to a sales guy, and his personality was charming. I stared at him, almost willing him to look at me. I inspected every detail of his face. His hair-do, it was different and suited his face, his framed glasses that were unique, the strands of grey/silver hair throughout his head, I couldn’t distinguish an age though his face was youthful.  I inspected all of it while obviously staring like a full on stalker, being annoyed he didn’t once glance at me. Now, part of me being such a creeper, and quite obvious to it, is the fact that he was a sales person. I’d be a horrific sales person. But you know their game, firm eye contact with their prey, making them feel like the only person who matters, which is why I assumed I’d get away with my extreme gaze. 

At the end of the conversation, his focus still locked on my married friend, who also was the person with intentions of purchasing something, he said goodbye and  as we all turned to walk away he quickly turned to me and said, I like your Misfits shirt. 

WTF. All that time. Staring at him, inspecting his every detail, trying to find a wedding ring, or lack there of (that hand was in a pocket). Thinking he hadn’t even noticed I was awkwardly standing by. But, I like your band tshirt, means little right?

Let me break it down, as I tend to over analyze everything. 

1. The Misfits are well known and not. They were/are an underground garage horror punk band from late 70s/early 80s. They weren’t really around long before Danzig got moody and decided to go solo. People have a cult following to the band, numerous bands have covered their songs, the skull logo, or Crimson ghost, is easily recognized, tho some people may not know what it’s for but I’m sure they’ll say they’ve seen it. Also the band kinda got back together in the 2000s, and just last year Danzig and 2 original (if you count Doyle as original but let’s not get picky…) performed 2 shows, one of which I was at. Now I’m going on a tangent. My point is, the band isn’t for everyone tho many may recognize it. 

2. He acknowledged my band tshirt. Is he a fan? Was it just a compliment to the shirt? The band? The person in the shirt? 

3. Was it still just a -I’m a likable guy, I like your friends, buy something from me ploy?

As we walked away my friend said, You should have given him your number! And I thought, What!?!

Dating before, it was all about slipping someone your number. There was no internet dating, social media, nothing. If you liked someone you could attempt to set up a meeting spot, if not connect on the spot, or give them your digits and pray you were home or an answering machine was around. Ok let’s be legit, by the time I was 20 I had a cell phone and before that I had a pager. Still it was a cut throat world. (I’m being dramatic I know, go with it)

How tho, in this day and age do you give someone, in passing, your number? Do you walk around with scraps of paper, prime to distribute? Do you hand out business cards randomly? How? Especially when they make one comment towards you at the end of a conversation? And did anyone see a ring? What about a girlfriend? How would we know?

Am I getting too crazy? Welcome to my brain.  How does one ask out someone now a days? How did we ever? It was different meeting someone in High school or college. Meeting friends of friends or being wasted at a bar and dancing up on someone until you’re in a corner making out and finally exchange numbers, and first names… that was easy. But now, in our late 30s with our phones applied directly in front of our faces, when we text and are surprised when our phones rings- who calls anymore anyway? – when we hit the bar less, go to bed early and wake up early and rarely do anything late, how do people meet?

I was excited that he spoke to me after purposefully assuming he wouldn’t. Is that just because I assumed he wouldn’t? Was it made more exciting by my friend thinking it was something? I immediately felt like a teenager and a boy I liked just punched me in the arm. I don’t know how to take it. I giggled and said no way I’d give him my number … but why?

As any good single lady of the late 2010s (do we have a name for this decade? You can’t just call it the 10s, and soon we’ll be in the 20’s but 1920 was ONLY 100 years ago. We’re more clever than that..aren’t we?) … can you tell I’m half asleep? My brain is wandering… anyway I got home and quickly googled searched him. 

Easy enough, I knew where he worked and his first name. Told you this town was small. His FB is a work profile. I browsed the white pages and an address listed is 2 blocks from me (if that’s accurate/recent). He’s 1 year older than me and no mention of family but no mention of the lack there of either. 

Is that creepy that I learned all that? Again it was a 10 sec google search. 

Part of me thinks, I could send a FB note. I could reach out to him, but all from a “I like your tshirt” comment? It’s esssntially the same as a craigslist missed connections ad right? Only this time you know the intended audience will see it. 

I dated a guy once from essentially the same situation. He stood behind while at a bar and said, “Hey Phil Collins” referring to the music playing. I had said the same to my friend at the same time and we acknowledged that Phil Collins is awesome (I mean duh). We chatted enough for him to tell me where he worked, I googled him and wrote him an email. He ended up being pretty crazy and we dated for a few months, he’s a whole different chapter for another time tho. 

Sigh. I’m kinda torn on where to go from here Mr. tshirt sales guy (he wasn’t selling tshirts lol). 

Featured Picture: Picture of a bat Halloween decoration on my porch. Yes, it’s March and he’s been up there since 2013