Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Walking Through My Imagination

I probably make my neighborhood walks more stressful than they have to be.

We have great walking trails which I love.  I would 1000 times rather walk on trails than I would on paved road.  It's more interesting, feels more nature-y, and I don't have to say Hi to people (which isn't awful, but I walk with music in my ears, and I forget what level I'm supposed to speak at).


at various times in the 10+ years we've lived here, there have been a handful of bear sightings in the vicinity of these trails.  So... like... two.

But two is more than zero, so sometimes I look around and realize how forest-y it looks, and think, "Oh my god.  What would happen if I came across a bear right now?... I am going to die and get eaten on this trail."  The adrenaline alone kicks my heartrate up to full-speed.

The potential for bears, though, isn't enough.  Oh no.

See... I make up stories in my head all the time.  Not just ones about bears.  There's this house along the end of one of the trails, and they have these crates in the back of their yard.  Like the kind you'd house a dog in.  There's a lot of them and they're not in great condition.

Well... one day, I was walking by this house, and I made up a story in my head that this house was really a witch's house.  And the crates in the backyard were not for animals, but for the children she kidnaps and imprisons until she decides to cook and eat them.

Now, I know this is a story -- sort of
... but... I'm genuinely a little frightened when I walk by her house.  Because.. what if it's NOT just a story??

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Weight of Limbo

It is possible to stand at the fork in the road for too long.

Maybe you don't know which road to take. Maybe you do and you just don't want to. Maybe both choices seem equally good... or equally awful. Maybe you just want someone else to choose for you.

Maybe you've spent far too long peering down each road, imagining every turn that each could take. Maybe you've just spent way too much time thinking about it, exerted way too much energy and emotion on the what-ifs and the buts.

Maybe the more time you give it, the weightier it feels.

Which is why it feels at least relieving to finally choose.

The road may bring a weight of a different kind... but at least you can release the one that being in limbo holds.

Journal Prompts

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Getting My Shit Together

In my perfect world, I'm one of those people.

I am always current on my reading list. I'm a tender, supportive - but funny and sexy -- wife. I'm an amazing patient mom who always does the right thing. I successfully maintain a diverse network of friends, making time for social interaction and in-depth support. I exercise regularly, I meal-plan and create a range of deliciously healthy food for my family to enjoy. I always call my parents and know everything going on with my sisters. I have it all down. I'm one of those people.

In my perfect world.

In my real world....

This week, my daughter peered with resignation into the refrigerator, stocked with milk, coffee creamer, and weeks-old apples that no one is going to eat, and sighed.

"Mom... I don't want this to sound mean. But, it kind of seems like you've been trying to get your life together since February."

"I know... I'm sorry."

"You know it's June, right?"

The truth is I'm never ever going to be one of those people. It's not that I can't do those things. I absolutely can. At times, I've been successful at every one.

I just can't do them all at once.

But maybe I can do... two.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Decision Made

Something happened at the retreat and it changed things.  Changed me, I guess.

I feel like I've been grappling with variations of the same question for a long time... even when I sat on the beach journaling in the early morning, I scribbled "What do I want to do?" across the top of one of the pages.  Because I just never know which is the right path to take.

And then the something happened.  I don't really know if it was that it was a big thing... or if it was a little thing on top of a pile of a whole bunch of other little things and it just tipped the scales.

But it changed things. I don't think that it makes the decision any easier to carry out... It's still disappointing and sad to me. But it feels like it made the decision easier to make. It made it clearer which path lay along the lines of my values.

And so, there it is.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

2018 Byrne and Kelly Retreat, Days 3 and 4

Day 3 Tuesday -- I have lots of stories today!

Today, we had quite a bit of downtime, which was nice.  It's half groupie-ville, half vacation.  I liked that.

I woke up early this morning, made myself a cup of coffee, and snuck out of the room with my writing bag. I jumped off the dock and found a little log to sit on.  I wanted to actually get some thoughts down without interruption, so I went on the side that no one ever goes on.  I think that's because it was on the side of the guys' cabin but it was freak o'clock in the morning and I'm pretty sure that I was far enough away not to bother anyone.  (Well, until I started singing, anyway.)

It was super peaceful out there, and I got a lot of writing done as I listened to music on my headphones, watched the fog slowly roll back, and smiled at the birds flitting around.  As the morning wore on, I kind of got into my music a bit and started singing and dancing along. I didn't care, it was fun. :)

I eventually got hungry, packed myself into the main building for breakfast and ran into Neil and Peter on the way. We talked for a couple minutes about the show the night before, and we both went on our ways... me thinking, "Neil smells good!"  Like... not normal Celtic Thunder guy "I bathed in cologne today" good, but lightly scented.  That makes him sound like a laundry detergent.  Shut up, it was happy and I bounced my way to breakfast.

I have practically ignored Neil at M&Gs for years. But, he's so funny and sweet and I adore him and please don't destroy my illusion. Neil is the only one I have left!

After breakfast, Perri and I went for a hike on the nature trails.  Now... she will tell you that this was a 25 mile hike.  It was three. I do feel bad that it was mostly just trails through the forest with no amazing vistas because Perri was a totally good sport. Kinda.  When we got to the trail, we realized Ryan was JUST ahead of us...  which we knew because my first conversation with a passing hiker went like this:

Me: Good morning! How was your hike?
Hiker: Amazing! I just ran into Ryan! He smells so good!

I think I caught a glance of his shoes.  I have a feeling he had to stop and talk to every person he passed because when we (as walkers) reached the other side of the mountain for the descent back to the resort, we heard him laughing all the way up the mountain.

I'm not sure that Perri is a great fan of Washington trail running -- largely due to the death-inducing drop-offs.

Perri: How could he run on these these trails??
Me: Well, he's an idiot.

At one point, we passed this sweet lady... we'd met her a few times on the retreat and she was really nice. I imagine that she's a regular attender of renaissance fairs.  She was telling us all about the different fauna that ancient women used to collect...  something, something, something, and chickweed. We went on our way and Perri mused... "Chickweed... I wonder what that looks like."

I told her, "I don't know... but I think it's what the ladies smoke."  And then I laughed for five minutes. Because I think I'm hilarious.

Upon our return to the resort, Perri complained to John the Doorman that we had been on this superlong hike and there were no views!!  He told her, "Oh, there are!..... They're on the short hike."
So she's not speaking to me anymore.

I sent Ryan a joke about people thinking he smells good -- which is a bit of a longstanding joke -- and then recalled that I spent the morning thinking the same thing about Neil. So basically, I fail.

Lunch and Quick Fire
After our hike and a little break, we went down for an outdoor Mexican lunch.  This made me laugh like heck. So we ended up at the table next to the B&K people.  At our table, there is a family.. Dad, Mom, teenage/young adult daughter.  I feel like maybe Dad is not the Celtic Thunder/Byrne and Kelly fan.  Mom is trying to be nonchalant sitting within spitting distance of the guys.  Dad is whispering..."Stalker..."  And Mom is freaking PISSED.  Like I would NOT want to be that guy for the next six months.

After lunch, the guys did a "Quick Fire" session... Where they answer questions like "Sweet or salty? Shorts or trousers?" etc, etc.  This was honestly not my favorite thing. It's cute on YouTube but I could have skipped it.  I did have Perri and Louisiana Girl with me, so mostly I just sat in the back and muttered slightly snarky things the whole time -- so that was okay.

It was a super nice day, so we sat out in the sun for a little bit... and then escaped to inside for a nap before I became a tomato.

Drinks with Chuck
Chuck took this photo
We wandered down to dinner... but it turned out that we were a little early.  So we stopped at the hotel lounge for a drink. Chuck was the bartender, and we really liked Chuck.  He was a lot of fun!!  We also met Angie's friend, Jill, here.  I actually really enjoyed this little refuge. We mostly talked about family and kids, not much centered on the guys or the retreat, and it felt like a nice little break from the craziness.  We promised Chuck we'd return and went off to dinner.

So... at dinner... I don't know, we were just in fine form.  Perri is a great storyteller (especially when she's had a rum and coke). If I have a captive laughing audience, I'm not awful either.  So between the two of us, we got on a roll.  She started with a VERY EMBELLISHED story about our hike... and then it turned into her wondering what the frick kind of bird we were eating for dinner (SEAGULL).  There were these two ladies at our table, and I was a little unsure that they could take us. Like they might be entirely disapproving and complain to management about the insane ladies at dinner.  But they started laughing at the antics... so we were good.

From there, it sort of morphed into this GREAT IDEA I had to replace a meal with a Dessert Buffet with a different dessert at every table... two of which would be anatomically correct chocolate figurines of the principals... which would require a variety of different Quick Fire questions for accuracy... which turned into a regaling of my Great Ryan Kelly Button Quest.

You guys... we made those ladies LAUGH SO MUCH.  I felt like I'd done my good deed for the day. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Then, we went back to the bar for another drink with Chuck. Who loved us. We also met a couple at the bar not-from-the-retreat, and we invited them out to the upcoming lawn show when they were done with their dinner.  Oh, then we got a drink to-go.  God, no wonder Perri was so drunk. Chuck sent her off with a rum and coke that rum and a TEENSY bit of coke.

Show and Drinks with Chuck
So, then the boys had their last show.

I'm going to be honest. I did not love this show. I don't know if I didn't like the songs as much. Maybe I was just tired and worn out. But it was my least favorite.  (But New Hampshire couple was there... and they taught us how to have... New Hampshire smores?  Which only have one graham cracker. Actually not bad.)

Maybe it was the intros. Jesus and a half.  Like the LONGEST SONG INTROS KNOWN TO MAN FOR SO MANY SONGS. Perri's drunk and her filter is completely gone, so I'm shushing her from complaining too loudly.  The people we met at the bar showed up... but they showed up during a song that the guys love but I don't really think is that great, and then they WOULD NOT SHUT UP TALKING.  I couldn't get them to stay any longer and they left.

After the show, we went back to the bar (I know!).  This time, we took along a couple friends and I hung behind a bit with Louisiana Girl.  Finally, I was like... "Ok, this is embarrassing. We've been hanging out off and on for three days... I like you... but I forgot your name on the first day and I've been too embarrassed to ask, and have just been calling you Louisiana Girl all the time."  She goes, "ME TOO!"  So now she has a name in my head.  We actually talked for a long time, and I had a really good time.

Eventually, Perri disappeared.... so I had to go find her... and then she magically showed up in our room. Actually, I think she was delivered.

We had a real heart-to-heart about her drinking problem and then...  No, I'm kidding. Actually we had a real heart-to-heart talk because I'm completely messed up.  And then we went to sleep.  Which was good. But I'm sure Chuck missed us.

Day 4

So....  getting up was hard today.

We slowly got dressed and made it downstairs for the lightest breakfast we could find. I think I had four pieces of pineapple and that's about all I could stand.  I chatted with a few people that I had made friends with, and then the guys came in for the final Q&A event.

I enjoyed this a lot more than the Quick Fire session.  I think it was just more interesting... Even though I've been around long enough to guess at answers pretty accurately, it was still interesting to listen to.  And Neil is freaking funny.

After that, we went outside for a group photo and lots of people hung around for a final hug with the guys.  I was tempted to skip this part...  but Perri made me -- and I'm glad that she did.

And then we packed up and went home -- with a little stop at the beach so Perri could touch the ocean. :)

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