Thursday, October 2, 2014

Eyes like wild flowers within demons of change...


Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.
...Keep your mind set, keep your hair long.
Oh my my darlin' keep your head up, keep your heart strong. 
Ben Howard

When I stated unequivocally that my 40th year was going to be a game changer, I don't think I had the last 9 months in mind. 2014 in all itz glory

There have been some pretty major milestones, along with a few minor ones: 
MAJOR: M and I have been married for 10 years (together for 18)!!!
minor: I changed oil for the first time in my life. 

REALLY MAJOR: I trekked 34 miles in one day: so-this-did-happen and I can prove it: show
major-ish: I did not suffer any injuries after trekking for 35 in less than 15 hours. 
Minor: The kid survived her freshman year, and her exceptionally boring summer at home.

MAJOR: We have lived in Pittsburgh for five years!!! Which also means I've actively maintained a blog about moving to Pittsburgh for five years and I am still as excited about living here as I was to move here. 
MAJOR: The kid returned to her sophomore year with two jobs, two radio shows, determination and enthusiasm. SO PROUD. 

This past year has provided me with many opportunities to reflect upon where I started and where I've arrived in this year with so many milestones. There have been many moments in the last 25 years where I could not contemplate what my life would look like at 40. There have even been moments I did not think I would be alive at 40 (they've been few and far between, but they've happened). 

So this is it, eh? Forty...

Materialistically - Got stuff. Nice stuff. Meaningful stuff, some random stuff, I try not to hold on to crappy stuff. 

Professionally - Although my current duties in cube life leave something to be desired at the moment, I know that I am VERY LUCKY to have a job and specifically a job that comes with a living wage, good benefits, reasonable hours and expectations. I am also lucky to have this job because there was a time in my life I did not have excellent prospects in the job dept. Certainly a job that came with all the aforementioned qualities was not one I thought I (a single mother with no college education) would be having. While my skills and drive have led me to maintain a decent professional career I can not deny that I have had more than my fair share of lucky breaks along the way.

Health - I definitely indulge, but I exercise and drink gallons of water, so I'm doing okay.

Friends - what can I say about those who provide me with counsel, laughter, support, respect and compassion not in spite of my crazy ways, but because of my crazy ways - for that I am forever indebted to them.

Family - while my family connections are smaller than some - those that I have keep me rooted in truth, loyalty, and belief.

Last but not least, in fact most important - LOVE - love is simple and complicated all at once. IT is worth it. IT has saved me from fear and from ignorance, IT has saved me from myself more than once and IT will likely save me again in the future. love is a gift and I work hard not to take it for granted, including the love I have for myself. 

40 has kicked my ass. 40 has shown me what I am capable of and who I can be. 40 was not what I expected, but it has been everything I asked for. 40 is so good.

There are three months left in this carnival ride of a year, I'm looking forward to settling in to my fourth decade in this fourth quarter of my fortieth year: beginning with my first South Side Step Trek, and our fifth hockey season (#LetsGoPens). 40 is good and its only getting better.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

exactly six months in...

... to forty. 40. 4-tay. 


a drop in the bucket of the first six months of each of the previous 39 years. some of which I tried to capture on instagram via a photo a day for the 39 days leading up to my 40th.

#fortytoforty the first twelve days
a good collection of pondering looks in this set
here, there, and everywhere
me and some ladies who are very dear to me
and these 39 photos are just a drop in the bucket of the photographs I have accumulated over this life, often with camera in hand (mostly now my phone/camera/radio/news//////) of myself, my family, friends, moments and memories.

I am grateful for this hobby it reminds me of all that has come before these last six months; despite life not always being easy - my life has been rich with friendship, ripe with fun, and most of all love. For me these photographs remind me I am valued, and I am valuable.

To this day Im not fully certain of what my purpose is in this life... maybe it is just to love the people who have loved me. I am pretty good at that. It's possible that in the next 30+ years I have an A-HA moment about my purpose. Regardless I will continue to be grateful for all the love I have been shown and I will do my best to pay it forward.

Technically still 39 in this first photo:



This one was taken later that day after the time at which I was officially born:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

so this is going to happen....

hopefully. if I train properly....

from here it looks so managable
and still I think I can do this
Little more than a month after registration was opened, the limit was reached. And there are already those on the wait list. So how many people is this limited to you might ask... 600. Some folks wait the morning of the challenge to get a spot, if at the end someone has just not shown up (because they woke up and said, "Uh uh, no way no how").

Thankfully there are awesome volunteers who run training hikes. I am doing all but one, scheduling conflicts and all; hoping doing so will contribute to my successful completion of the full challenge.

It was a real challenging winter, and I am grateful to have this event to keep me focused on brighter days (the actual challenge is on the Summer Solstice). Training requires me to eat better, exercise, and take care of myself - all things which help beat the blues (any time of year).

The other awesome benefit of doing this is developing a friendship with a woman who I admire, respect, and laughs with me. 
first steps on first training hike
first major dahn'ill
my ma's encouraging spirit is with me always
the edge
the bottom of the above edge
one of many vistas
rust bucket in the back hills
I think we interrupted some courting "love birds"
another lovely vista
sometimes you just hear the trains, and sometimes you see them
not bad, documenting where to put my band-aids next time

Friday, January 17, 2014

Destination Empty Nest

the opposite of stopclassic diner dinner100+ years of learningtradition nowalways just a one night experience for menever get this chance again
morning has spokenbeepboopboopWelcomeSquirrlies everywhere1910rawr
more flashing before my eyesSo many new thingsbecause bowling is huge in Ohio!that decides thatthe deluge outside reflected the deluge in my heartthrough the rain
any other cloudy dayafter the stormold soullet the college staging begin....beauty personifiedmorphing pile of stuff
Destination Empty Nest, a set on Flickr.
The holidays barely behind us, and deep in to hockey season and nary a peep from me about my daughter's initial departure to college. I don't feel too terribly horrible about it. I'd like to think it is the result of my free time being occupied with things other than non-work screen time. Though admittedly I did probably/totally spend some time using my small screen (iPhone) to edit photos (via some great apps) I took in the second half of 2013.

I tried several times to write a post documenting my girlie's send off to higher education and her first real test as an adult succeeding in the world; but I guess for me it is best done through my favorite story telling medium.

I am very proud of my daughter. I know that she knows this is an amazing opportunity and she is taking full advantage of it. It is the biggest compliment I could ask from her. That and her new found love of hockey.

Way to go kid, WAY TO GO.