I’m thankful for my cool job(s)

I’ve been busy traveling for work again.  I got to travel to a conference to put on some training for a project I worked on nearly a decade ago now (where does the time go?!) and I gave a talk on cool, fun jobs that allow you to travel, make a little money, and earn some experience doing fun, geeky sciencey things.

My conference was 1,800 miles from home–that’s halfway across the U.S! And I drove.  Hubby came with me (he was involved in the training) and so did Stinker, for one last trip to see some family and friends.  So a quick word about my little Stinker–she’s now 13 1/2 years old and we found out this summer that in addition to her failing liver (which we learned about last year and she’s been on medication to aid its function) her kidneys are also failing now.  Earlier this summer she got really sick and I thought at least 3 times “Oh, this is it.  She’s not going to live to the weekend.”  But each time she rallied.  In late summer she began retaining fluid in her abdomen (she gained 7 lbs in August–all fluid. No bueno.)  By mid September I was working from home so I could spend every last possible minute with her before she died. Then we put her on a new drug (also an expensive drug, but whatever). Within a few days the fluid was gone from her abdomen. She regained her appetite.  Her energy levels soared. It was like she was 3 years younger!  Who is this dog?!  I LOVE her!

So, I love road trips.  Stinker is an awesome traveler.  She loves to go, too!  Hubby couldn’t take time off work to make a long road trip out of this adventure, so he flew home after the conference training and Stinker and I drove back.  Just us girls.  On a road trip out West.  We stopped in Colorado and I got to visit a friend from college and do some field work (I can never just go on a vacation, but that’s okay with me. Really.). I’m really grateful that I can travel, get paid, have the flexibility to do a little vacation-work road trip, and…I’m really grateful that, as a woman, I can drive across the country by myself (and my lovely doggie) and stop at rest areas, fuel up my car, stay in hotels, go to parks, and do the things I want and need to do without worrying about my safety.  I realize that I am fortunate to be able to do these things.  I realize that in some places in the world, I would have broken numerous laws doing what I just did–I am lucky to be a liberated, independent free-spirit…with a camera–check out some of my highlights!

 

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Thankful that I wasn’t backpacking this weekend

My friend and I make a point to do a backpacking trip, or at least a car camping trip if time is short, together every summer.  This year’s trip was scheduled for this weekend.  We met at a gas station parking lot and the skies were smoky and visibility was low.  Yuck.  You couldn’t see any of the mountain ranges that are normally visible.  Most of the smoke is blowing in from California, but there were a couple of fires in our general area.  We decided to call the Forest Service Ranger District office just to see where things stood, in case we needed to alter our plans into the backcountry.

The good news was the trails we intended to hike were open and there was no imminent threat of fire in our vicinity.  The bad news was there was plenty of smoke blowing in from those fires and it wasn’t going to clear up anytime soon.  Given my friend has asthma, we decided to bag the backpacking and just do a car camping trip this year.  Next year we’ll make a point to get out earlier, like sometime in July, in the hopes of beating the fires and smoke.  There was a Forest Service campground in the next canyon over from where we’d originally planned to be, so that’s where we headed.  On a Thursday, we figured we would have no problem securing a campsite.

We were correct.  There were two other occupied sites in the campground, including the camp host.  Sweet.  We got the pick of sites and we chose a nice shaded one near the end of the loop with no close neighbors, privies close by, and the stream right across the road, close enough to still sing us to sleep at night but not so loud that you had to shout to carry on a conversation.  Perfect.  We set up camp and spent the afternoon lounging near the stream, coloring, and snacking on my homemade snacks.  We were being lazy, but it felt good.  If only I’d brought my hammock, life would have been total bliss.  Next time I’ll be sure to stick it in the car, just in case…

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then packed up for a little jaunt up to a mountain lake a few miles up the road.  This lake has a winter yurt and is popular with backcountry skiers–Hubby has expressed interest in going here, so I thought this would be a perfect time to do a little reconnaissance for him.  We had the 3.2 mile hike to the lake all to ourselves.  The wildflowers were a little past their prime (two weeks earlier and we would have hit them at their peak) but still blooming.  The lake was not what we were expecting.  In the 1930s the CCC built an impoundment at the natural outlet to raise the lake levels by 8 feet or more.  There is a water control structure that a rancher has rights to–he had recently opened the gates and dropped the water levels of the lake by 10 feet, so there were mudflats surrounding the lake.  Also, there had been a huge mass wasting event a couple of weeks prior to our visit that dumped tons of sand at the edge of the lake.  At the lake the sand deposit was at least 6 or 7 feet deep and there were a number of Doug fir trees that were beginning to yellow and die due to the excess sediment around their trunks.  So it wasn’t really the pristine, scenic spot I thought it would be.  My friend and I were a little disappointed and so we ate a few snacks, drank some water, and began our trek back to the car.  The trail is quite rough because they do allow motorized traffic on the trail, so it is steep, rocky, loose, and the dry dirt is like flour, which makes walking treacherous at times.  I forgot my hiking poles back at camp, so my friend loaned me one of hers to use for the hike down.  I’m definitely glad I had that pole because some of the smaller rocks act like marbles under the boots and want to send the feet flying out from under you–I had a few skids, but no ass-busters.  Schwew.

Back at camp we refueled with snacks and water.  We sat at our picnic table and colored, listening to the stream gurgle and the wind rustle the leaves.  I thought I had a little heartburn so I took an antacid, hoping that would settle things down.  I ate dinner (spaghetti) even though I wasn’t really hungry, but it was a backpacking meal so we had to rehydrate the entire thing.  After dinner we went for a walk to the end of the campground just to aid digestion and it felt good to stretch the legs–they had begun to stiffen up while we sat around camp coloring.  When we made it back to camp it was dark, so we crawled in the tent.  My heartburn was really beginning to kick into high gear at this point and when I laid down in my sleeping bag, I realized something:  maybe this wasn’t heartburn at all because I could tell that I was going to have to vomit at some point.  Dammit.

Puking is not fun, and it’s only something I ever do when I have food poisoning.  I think in my entire adult life, I have puked a total of 3 times–wait, make that 4.  I did get really, really, really drunk once.  Sorta forgot about that one time in college…does that even count as being an ‘adult?’  Sometimes I think not…anyway, I digress.

Not knowing when I was going to need to barf, I decided I should probably just get out of the tent because if the situation became dire and I had to move in a hurry, being zipped inside a sleeping bag, having to put on shoes, unzip a tent AND a vestibule before hurling all over the place was probably not going to happen.  I could sit in my car if I needed to, close to the privy, and dash for it when the time came to purge.  I started out in the privy, thinking maybe I could just get this over with quickly.  No such luck.  Could I just maybe take a shit and work it out of my system that way without having to relive that evening’s spaghetti dinner?  Well, I did…3 times, actually, but that was not helping calm the situation.  It wasn’t even diarrhea, which was good, but also, if I’d just had a really terrible bout of diarrhea and could have been done with it—sign me up, please!  Then I could have gone back to bed.  It wasn’t going to be that easy.

After 45 minutes or so, I got tired of hanging my head over the pit toilet waiting for nothing.  I felt like something was on the verge of happening, but let’s be real here, I didn’t really want to puke in the pit toilet.  I racked my brain–did I have something I could use as a barf bag so that I could sit in my car and not have to stumble around in the dark with moths flying in my face (headlamp) while I tried to puke?  Ahhhhh!  I did!  I had my dry bag!  Since we weren’t backpacking, I didn’t have to use it for a bear hang!  PERFECT.

I dumped my food out of the bag in the back of my car and hoped to god 5 liters was enough to contain whatever purgatory was brewing in my gut.  I sat in the front passenger’s seat because 1) I didn’t want the steering wheel in my way and 2) it was closer to the privy in case I needed to make a run for it.  After sitting for several minutes with nothing happening I decided I was going to have to help matters along.  I have never forced myself to purge, so I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it–did I need to grab my spoon?  Nope.  I figured it out.  Ughhh, spaghetti never tastes quite as good the second time around.  But once I got started the subsequent purging became a little easier.  I cracked the door to my car open so it wouldn’t smell like vomit in the morning, but I didn’t want it open too much because 1) it was cold outside and 2) I didn’t want or need any curious critter coming to check out what yummy things I had that it might want to eat.

My body was being stubborn.  I had to force things to continue again.  And again.  And again.  After each purge, I found myself muttering ‘Please…‘ like I was trying to will away the pain in my gut–it felt like a brick inside a balloon that was being blown up and the pressure was terrible–I’d never really felt anything quite like this before.  ‘Please…‘ I begged my body to finish purging.  It was not lost on me that I sounded a little like Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Grey, only this was the 50 Shades of Vomit version, the one that never made it off the cutting room floor.

I leaned back in my seat and drifted in and out of consciousness for…how long?  I’m not sure.  Maybe an hour?  Longer?  I tried to puke again but couldn’t.  Okay.  Maybe this is the end.  I was so tired I just wanted to sleep, but I knew that sleeping sitting up in my car, with the door cracked, holding a bag of puke was somehow asking for trouble.  I made myself get up, walk over to the privy, dump the vomit in the toilet, rinse the bag with a little bit of water, close up the dry bag so it wouldn’t stink, and I crawled back in the tent.  “How are you doing?” my friend asked.  “Better.  I puked 7 or 8 times.  I think I’m finished now.”

And I was.  I felt a little better, but not great.  The pain began to subside and I was able to get some sleep.  The next morning I was thirsty.  So thirsty.  I drank some water but breakfast was not of interest.  We broke camp and parted ways.  It was nice to see my friend but this wasn’t exactly the best trip we’ve had together.  There’s always next year to look forward to and we’ll make sure we get into the backcountry then.  But I am eternally grateful that I wasn’t 4 miles from my car and a privy while I was sick.  I’m not even sure where I would have puked in the backcountry—not in a stream or lake, though it would be tempting, but not proper to contaminate a water source others might be using.  But digging a hole doesn’t seem feasible, especially if you are in a hurry.  And how big to dig it?  I puked A LOT and I’m sure a normal-sized cat hole would not have been big enough.  And critters would come around if I just puked under a shrub or something, so…I’m not exactly sure.  Maybe I’d just puke away from camp and try to carry water over to dilute it over the soil surface–a lot of work, especially at midnight, or whenever it was I found myself tossing my cookies.  But I’m glad I didn’t have to figure that out.

What made me sick?  I really have no idea.  Probably something I ate, but I haven’t been able to attribute my illness to anything.  My friend and I ate many of the same things and she didn’t get sick.  I thought that would help me narrow down the culprit(s), but I finished eating my almonds and crackers that my friend didn’t eat and I didn’t get sick again.  So I’m at a loss.  Two days later I’m better, but my tummy is still a little queasy at times.  I think I’m on the mend, though.  Thank goodness.

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What are YOU doing on a Saturday night?

I hope not what I’m doing.  I just sent this email to my vet:

Subject: Maggots in Stinker’s poo – Ew.

Hi there!
I know Stinker’s stool sample came back clean Friday, which was great news, and her poos are now much more firm–also good news.  But…
This afternoon I was cleaning up some of her poos from the backyard, ones from when she still had diarrhea, and one of them had a very dense population of maggots  inside the poo, not on the surface.  I know flies can lay eggs on the poop piles, but in 6 years of cleaning her poo here, I have never, ever found maggots in her poo.  And the fact that they were inside the poop, as well as the density of the maggots, caused me to think about it a little more closely.
I took a sample of several maggots and I put them in the freezer.  I was wondering if Doc might want to check them out.  I’m still trying to decide if I want to examine one under my microscope…probably not going to happen tonight.  Friend/Co-worker on Monday: “Hi Friend, how was your weekend?”  Me: “Well, Saturday night I looked at dog shit maggots under my microscope.”  Friend/Co-worker:  “Okay, well, I gotta go now….”
If Doc does want to take a look, if you could give me a call Monday morning before 11:30, I can run the sample out to the clinic before (or after) my barre class.
Thanks!
No kidding.  I actually sent that email.  I’m sure you are thinking….”Uh, huh?”  So here’s the brief:
Stinker has been doing quite a bit of traveling in recent weeks.  In July we went to Nebraska one weekend and then we went to Idaho the next weekend.  We spent time on the water in our kayaks on both trips, but after Nebraska Stinker got sick and had diarrhea the entire Idaho trip–traveling and camping with a Diarrhea Dog is not very fun, I can assure you.  I suspect she picked up something in Nebraska…  When we got back, I got her into the vet and her bloodwork showed no sign of infection and her stool sample came back clean.  Huh.  Well, that was $200 well spent…   Her poos are finally beginning to solidify and she is feeling much better than she did on our Idaho trip.  So things are on the up and up.  But, this whole maggot thing makes me think that maybe we just missed it and that she was full of eggs and then after they were evacuated they finally hatched.  So, I’ll see if the Doc wants to take a look.
And THAT, friends, is not how you want to spend your Saturday night.  But we did go kayaking today, and Stinker had a really good time:

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Evening kayaking is good for the soul

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Every once in a while Hubby, Stinker, and I load up the kayaks and head out for the water.  We have a few options that are pretty close to town, which is nice when you just need to get out and paddle for a little bit.  It was warm today, mid-80s, so Stinker was ready to cool off.  I’d been promising her all day that we would go swimming tonight after Daddy got home.  Boy, was she ready!  One of her all-time favorite water activities is rock relocating.  For some reason she is obsessed with plucking rocks out of the water (sometimes BIG ones!) and hauling them to shore.  Then she goes back to find another rock to bring to shore.  It’s so bizarre but she can do this for hours!  One time I joked that she might relocate an entire river!  Where we went tonight didn’t have many rocks, which was a disappointment for her.  There were plenty of sticks, though, so we did play fetch in the water for a little while.  But mostly we just rode around in the kayak and enjoyed the views.  We even saw an osprey nab a large fish from the water!  No one else was around so it was quite peaceful–just us, the osprey, and the the water.

Thank goodness for these loooooong summer days!  DSC_0799

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For this I am thankful: my modesty (and sense of humor)

I help run our local CSA–okay, I RUN the local CSA…but it was by accident that I found myself in this position.  Honest.  My time is all volunteer and it eats up quite a bit of my free time and work time.  But I am passionate about local foods, so I continue to make it fit into my schedule.

However….

My life has gotten really busy this summer.  For my ‘main’ job I am doing some travel.  I also took on some work with a local consultant that requires some travel.  Then I have a couple of pleasure trips planned and suddenly I look at the calendar and it appears that I will be gone more than I will be home this summer!

So that creates a bit of conflict with the CSA because I will miss nearly half of the pick up days.  And unfortunately, the other volunteers cannot work this year (one broke his back, the other had a change in her work schedule).  The good news is I found 3 volunteers to keep the CSA alive in my absence this summer.  One is a woman I worked with at a job a couple of years ago and she has been a CSA member for 2 years now–she has helped out here and there when we needed an extra set of hands to break down tables at the end of the day, but she doesn’t know the ropes all the way around.  Another volunteer has been a member for less than a year, but I had met her a few times at the pick up.  The 3rd volunteer is a complete stranger who answered a volunteer call ad on FaceBook.  Today was our orientation meeting so I could show them how the process works every week.

My experience with volunteers is often one of complete and total flakiness.  People SAY they want to help, but when it comes time to buckle down and actually put in the time, suddenly the numbers dwindle.  It varies widely depending on the volunteer project, but I was curious to see if all 3 women would actually show up today.  Wouldn’t you know, when I pulled up to the building ALL 3 were there!

This is a good sign…” I told myself, getting out of the car.  Something was bugging me, though.  As I was driving over from work, something was stuck inside my bra stabbing me on the underside of my boob.  As I got out of the car, I said hi to my former co-worker, re-introduced myself to the newer CSA member, and introduced myself to the complete stranger.  And then…

“Sorry, ladies,” I said as I reached down the front of my tank top, “but something is stabbing my boob.”  Not one of them blinked.  In fact, they encouraged me to dig it out since there were no dudes around.

“I hope it’s not a tick,” said my former co-worker.

A little shard of something stabbed my fingers.  I looked down and as I pulled my hand out of my shirt said, “Nope, just potato chip crumbs.”  That caused an eruption of laughter, and I was relieved to see that they weren’t running for their cars.  We had a great meeting and they are a lovely bunch of women.  The CSA is going to go well this year with their help.  What a relief!

One final thing: they were sea salt and vinegar potato chips.  In case you were wondering.

*Sigh*  My mother would be mortified.

 

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For this I am thankful: the changing seasons

It was a long and snowy winter in my neck of the Rocky Mountains this past winter.  Now that I get out and enjoy winter sports: skiing (downhill, XC, and backcountry), snowshoeing, winter hiking and running I don’t dread the winters like I did when I first moved to the West 15+ years ago.  The long, cold nights just mean more time spent in front of the wood stove with my loved ones, knitting, reading, blogging (or in rare instances, working).  So for me, winter sped by and now suddenly it’s spring!  Not everyone shares my views on winter–for many of my neighbors this was the “winter from hell.”  But I appreciate the fact that I live in a place that actually has seasons.  The actual 4 seasons you learn in grade school: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.  Where I grew up in the South, our 4 seasons consisted of The Gray-Brown season, Tornado season, Hot & Humid season, and Football season.  And if you are familiar with the South, you know there are lots of bugs there.  LOTS of bugs.  Bugs that bite you.  Bugs that bite your dog.  Bugs that eat your garden.  There just isn’t a cold enough winter to kill off all the bugs.  But here in the Mountain West?  It gets COLD in winter!  True, snow is an excellent insulator, and a deep blanket of snow plus -20 degrees does not equal death to all bugs, but it will definitely knock them back a little bit.  So while I can’t grow a lemon tree outside in my yard (I do grow lemons in containers, though) I also don’t have to worry about cutworms gnawing through my tomato seedlings.  Priorities.

Now that it is late April, spring seems to have finally made her way into my part of the world.  The days are longer.  The sun is shining more.  The days are finally warming up!  The spring rebirth has begun: my garden is awakening and I am already eating green onions.  Asparagus has begun to pop up and my globe artichoke survived its 2nd winter, despite the fact that it supposedly is only hardy to Zone 7 (I live in a Zone 4).  See?  That snow IS an excellent insulator!  It won’t be long and I’ll be harvesting chives and oregano from the garden, fresh spinach, and maybe even morels again, if they decide to come back this year (fingers crossed!).  It makes me happy to work out in my garden, get my hands dirty, cultivate my own food, and reconnect with the earth that sustains all of life.  I feel privileged to have my own little plot of land–a place to put down some roots–not only to grow my own food, but to simply have a place to call home.  A place to watch the changes of the seasons.  I know at what time in the morning the sun hits my living room window in the dead of winter.   I know where the snow melts first.  And I know where the little hot microclimates are in my garden where I can place my tomatoes for that little extra boost of warmth during our short summers.

If it weren’t for the seasons, I wouldn’t know these things.  Every day would be just like all the rest, all year long.  I like to watch the sun move from the south side of my house in winter to the north side in the summer.  I like knowing that by early February I can tell that the days are getting longer, which means spring is on its way.  I love the long summer days that stretch on for an eternity.  I love the smell of quaking aspen in the fall–and the golden color of the leaves is a sight to behold!  I like curling up on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, to read a book when a snowstorm is howling outside.  Somehow the change of seasons helps keep me grounded.  It must be evolutionarily ingrained in humans to acknowledge the seasons–our ancestors depended on cues from the changing seasons to tell them when to plant & harvest crops, after all.  How do we depend on the seasons now?  They signal when we can get really great deals on clearance–bathing suits, winter jackets, and shorts.

It may be a small thing, to be grateful for the changing seasons, but it’s big to me.  I embrace each new season as a new beginning–my gardening changes through the seasons, my hobbies change throughout the season, my cooking changes with the seasons, my jobs actually change through the seasons because of field work, thus my life never gets boring or in a rut.  And that’s something to be very thankful for.

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For this I am grateful: I am thankful for where I live

In the giant picture, I am grateful to live in the United States.  There are many reasons for this, but today is not the day to go into them.  I’m talking more locally, so local in fact, that I’m talking about the specific location of my house in the town where I live.  Why so specific?  It has to do with outdoor recreation and the access I have to trails in the mountains.

It’s been a long winter here, and quite frankly, many people are completely over it.  It’s March, and dammit, it’s time for spring!  I’m not among those people, though.  Years ago, before I embraced outdoor winter sports, I fell into that category.  But once I took up skiing, my attitude began to change.  It doesn’t hurt that right now the days are getting noticeably longer and it is now light outside until after 6:00pm.  That’s a huge mood booster for me.  But even more than that is just getting outside in the winter, even on those cold, cold days, to just enjoying the outdoors for what it is this time of year.  The white snow, green conifers, and bluebird skies make for some pretty stunning eye candy in the winter.

This winter we’ve had so much snow that I have been able to ski on the trails near my house with my Stinker.  I have a new pair of skis this year, the Hoks from Altai Skis.  These skis are short and they have built-in skins for climbing.  They are often referred to as sliding snowshoes.  And they are a total hoot to play around on!  The trail I’ve been skiing this year is about 4 blocks from my house.  It’s not true backcountry skiing, but I’m using my own horsepower to ski up a hill, so it sort of counts.  Some days, especially right after a snowstorm, I can actually put my skis on at my house and ski up the road to the trailhead.  How awesome is that?!

Answer:  pretty awesome

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I can ski here from my house!

Stinker agrees.  She has had such a great winter.  She has played so hard in the snow, not just on the trails but also in her own yard.  She loves to wallow around in the snow.IMG_3570

I’m incredibly grateful that I live so close to the trails.  Some days we don’t see anyone else on the trail.  There aren’t many places left where you can experience that so close to a populated area.  I think where I live is pretty special and I’m so, so thankful that I was able to move here and that I have employment that allows me to stay here.  I’m quite lucky and I know it.  So I choose to enjoy where I live in all seasons.  And if winter sticks around for several more weeks, I will be okay with that.  Spring will come eventually and when it arrives, I will make the most of it.  Gratitude for all seasons (well, maybe not the smoky fire season–but all the others!) is my motto.

Final note:  Hubby has been skiing the trails near our house as well, and we can look out our living room window and see some S turns he’s made on the hill outside our house.  He’s been enjoying those bragging rights.

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For this I am thankful: Stinker can still trail run with me

Stinker is now 12 1/2 years old, has 2 bionic knees, arthritis in her front leg, a mass on her liver (that is not cancerous, thank goodness) but she can still kick my butt running on the trails.  Good for her.

Winter is most definitely her season.  She was built for winter.  -15 F?  What cold?  The cold and snow rejuvenates her back to puppyhood.   I mean, she still plays like a puppy in the house with her rocks and golf balls and she still wrestles with Hubby and me, but the heat of summer definitely was hard on her this year and her age began to show.  This past summer was hard on me, too.  It was so incredibly hot and uber smokey from wildfires.  I was really glad to see summer end–and that’s not something I would ever say given how much I love to hike, backpack, kayak, garden, lay in the grass….but it was so miserable outside this summer that you couldn’t do any of those things without choking on smokey air.  So when we finally got our first snow in early November, Stinker was so excited that she would just run around in circles in the yard spinning donuts–but not actually completing a full donut before beginning the next one.  She was in full puppy mode.  Like 10 years had been erased from her life.  She could not eat the snow fast enough and she could not head dive into it long enough before she had to come inside because I was freezing my butt off standing on the front stoop watching her play in the snow.  For whatever reason she will not play outside without adult supervision, despite having a doggy door of her very own to let herself out whenever she wants.  I think she likes having an audience.

Given her age and all her old lady issues, I wasn’t sure she would be up for trail running this year.  But she put all those questions to rest as soon as the snow hit, so we are back at it about once a week now.  The runs are short, but that’s ok.  I’d rather run a short run with her than a longer one by myself.  Besides, I teach barre 3 days a week at the gym and I’ve begun running a mile on the treadmill after I teach class to help burn off these extra holiday calories that keep finding their way into my diet. Then one day a week I hit the gym to lift weights and do a longer run on the treadmill. So a short run with my Stinker is just an added bonus to my fitness routine.

When we run, she runs ahead of me to sniff out pee spots to mark ‘her turf’ then once I have run past her, she’ll run hard to catch up, racing past me and nearly knocking my knees out from under me sometimes.  It gives me great joy to watch her blow past me so she can once again lead the way.  I think she enjoys the extra chase to catch up because she always seems to have a smile on her face.   Once she has passed me again, she’ll settle back into her mellow trot, sniffing out the next spot to mark.  And she actually hikes her leg to pee on things–weird, I know.

Every time we go for a run or a long hike, it’s like she’s having the best day ever.  If only we could all be so grateful to alive and out running and sniffing and peeing on everything in sight.  I realize I am lucky.  And so I am incredibly grateful for these moments, because I don’t know how many more I will have with her.  But I’ll take each one I can get.

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‘For this I am thankful’–a new slant for this blog

Hello, blogosphere!  It has been ages since I last wrote on this blog (like almost a year).  There’s a lot going on in my life these days:  juggling 5-6 part time jobs, making cooking videos on YouTube (Intrigued?  Check ’em out here), building a fence to keep the deer out of my garden, dreaming up a new entrepreneurial idea, knitting for fun/family/my business…the list continues and I shall bore you no longer.

The real reason for this outpouring of random thoughts in my head is I feel like I need an outlet.  Despite what has happened in our crazy world over the past year (or longer, but why depress ourselves more than necessary?) I have a lot to be thankful for.  I stopped journaling years ago, which is something I wish I’d kept up, to be honest.  But I really feel in the depths of my soul that this outlet needs to be public.  To serve as a reminder to all of us who have the privilege of free time that allows us to blog (or for those who actually make a living writing blogs) that we have much to be thankful for.  And so I thought it might be nice to document some of these things.  Not because I need affirmation or attention or anything like that.  I feel like this outlet should be public because maybe someone out there having a bad day will stumble across these ‘thankful notes’ and it will help them realize what they have to be thankful for.  Maybe these ‘thankful notes’ will spread good spirit, or at least during this time of year, holiday spirit (but why should holiday spirit end come the new year?  It should be a year-round spirit for the benefit of mankind, don’t you think?  Would we not be in a better place if we were more conscious about goodwill towards our fellow humans all year and not just ‘during the holiday season’?  I mean, Santa is watching us year-round, after all…not just between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve).  Or maybe by documenting my ‘thankful notes’ I will remind myself to be more gracious for what I have in my life and how I view and treat others who don’t share the same luxuries I do.   Maybe these ‘thankful notes’ will…maybe all of this sounds pretentious.  Or maybe not.  Y’know, I’ve been avoiding spending much time on social media lately because it seems like every day the stories become more and more depressing/vitriolic/greedy/etc.  So maybe by focusing on the good in the world, the things I am grateful for, maybe it will help me feel more hopeful for what is to come in 2018.  So maybe this is just a way for me to keep myself grounded, but I hope it will resonate with meaning for you as well.  Will these posts bring peace on earth?  If only!  I mean…who knows?  Never say never…

What will my first post be about?  I’m not sure yet.  I have SO much to be thankful for in my life.

WAIT.

I can hear you now.  “You’re not even going to say what you are thankful for in your first ‘thankful note’ post?  Lame!”

Okay, fine!  I hear you loud and clear, along with all those other voices in my head.  Sheesh, it’s noisy in here!

So what AM I thankful for?  Well, tonight I am thankful to be sitting in a warm house, by a fire in my woodstove, drinking tea, and watching my 12 1/2 year old puppy dog, Stinker, sleep as I type this.  I am happy and I am at peace.  If only I could share this feeling to make everyone feel exactly as I feel at this moment…I honestly don’t know why there wouldn’t be world peace.

May you be happy and at peace as well.

sleeping stinker

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New year, new beginnings: a new project!

Hi everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog.  But I have a new venture in the works–I’ve started my own little company called Urban Farmgal and I have a new website where I blog about gardening, raising chickens, living sustainably and all-around living the farm lifestyle in an urban environment.  So….if you want to join me over there, click here to check out my new website.  Maybe I’ll see some of you on my new blog!  I’ve already noticed a few of you found me…  : )

I’m not sure I’ll completely give up blogging here, but for now this page won’t be my focus.  I’ll still blog about many of the same things I’ve written about here: food, chickens, projects I’m knitting or sewing, fitness….but I’m hoping to grow it into something more in the near future.  Right now with working 4-5 part-time jobs progress is slow, but I won’t have all of those jobs forever, so in the meantime I’ll just enjoy the ride and see where life takes me.  It’s all you can do, right?

Cheers!  And Happy New Year (3 weeks late)!

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