challenge accepted…

the other day, i talked to my friend, g***e. when we got off of the phone, she mentioned that i should do something, that hadn’t occurred to me before. 

she suggested that i put an array of photos together, that could be used as a measure to see exactly how far…i’ve come on this journey. i decided to see for myself.

(i know that a couple of these got a little cut-off, but you can still see my cheeks.) 

i guess that my biggest takeaways were the fact that i looked much less, heavily medicated. my eyes seem to open wider. i have healthy color and more clear skin. i also seem to have developed a giant, pointy chin, and roman nose.

(oh and that damn moustache…that’s what happens when menopause grabs your ass.)

and…there you have it…

my journey so far – still a long way to go

tonight…

i went to my bedroom quite early, about 9:15 pm. i’ve begun a new ritual every night before going to bed.

i’ve begun stretching, doing some yoga, planking, doing sit-ups and crunches, and using resistance bands.

i’m walking during the day to get my cardio in and then doing strengthening and toning at night. 

the combination of the two forms of exercise really gives my body a better workout and tires me out for bed.

i’ve also reintroduced something that i’ve been missing and really needing the last few months…meditation. 

i guess in all of the hubbub of my new surroundings and living situation, i allowed it to fall by the wayside. 

i feel like i’ve done myself a great disservice, but now i’ve started back up and am back in the swing of things. 

meditation has been both so healing and so centering for me, without it, my body winds down, wears out, and gets sick.

it helps with my mood and quiets my restless, chattering mind that never sleeps completely. 

it helps me to fully relax and get a good night of sleep. it keeps me from having bad and lucid dreams for the most part.

tonight, i had a really great one. it focused on using your own thoughts and energy, to heal your body.

after twenty minutes of awareness of only my heartbeat, i was able to focus attention to my foot pain and it lessened.

as i sit here now writing, it’s completely gone. the centering thoughts were: i am perfection. i am worthy. i am healed.

“but, i am from iowa…”

a lifetime ago, about nineteen-ninety-one, when i had my very first, tiny, studio apartment…wendy and i were sitting on the floor, watching my old, thirteen inch, color tv…while sweating, in front of our “makeshift air conditioner”…a block of ice, sitting in front of an ancient, rusting, metal, box fan…which blew the “cool” air directly on us.

we sat mesmerized watching a brand-new breed of television show, as it unfolded before our eyes. it was the nineteen-nineties, the show was “cutting edge,””raw,” and “graphic.” the show, a pioneer in reality television, was “cops.” the show portrayed the “real” lives of men and women, in law enforcement.

wendy and i, were just enthralled by the “crazy” people screaming at each other…the drunks who failed field sobriety tests…the gang bangers who ran from and were taken down by police dog’s…and, the prostitutes and john’s getting caught in the act. we had never seen anything like it before.

we happened to catch one particular episode, where a very intoxicated woman was sitting in some bushes, drinking and harassing passers-by. she was throwing bottles, cursing, spitting, and kicking at the officer’s, whenever they attempted to crawl in and drag her out.

finally, it took two officer’s, but they were able to drag her out of the bushes. they cuffed her hands, behind her back and made her sit down on a cement, parking pylon. one of the the officer’s asked her what she was doing and why. then, he read the irate woman her rights.

the woman began talking. she was very adamant and passionate, in her message. she looked at the officer and insisted, “but, i am from iowa. but, i am from iowa. but, i am from iowa.” the episode ended, when she was placed in the back of a squad car, still insisting, “but, i am from iowa…”

to this day, wendy and i still laugh about that episode. when one of us makes a mistake and are called out on it, the excuse…”but, i am from iowa.” 

it’s funny, but that was my very first impression of what, i thought a person from iowa, might be like. i made it through forty-eight years of life, without ever personally meeting anyone from iowa. i guess that the fact never occurred to me, until i actually met, an iowan.

the iowan that i became friends with, blew my simple, ridiculous, first impression out of the water. she was very educated, well-spoken, intelligent, funny, grounded, curious, full of wonder, intuitive, feeling, and multidimensional. 

my friend from iowa was pretty special. she sang and studied opera, was an ordained minister, an interior designer with a love of architecture, a social services advocate, a handywoman who remodeled her basement, a potter, a jewelry maker, an artist, a business owner, a fantastic mother, a great friend, a gourmand, an incredibly hard worker, a professional, a dreamer, a full time student, and a registered nurse.

i miss my friend and although we no longer talk, her stories and notions of iowa have stayed with me. at one point, i thought that, we might have lived in iowa, or at least visited together…it never happened, but iowa never entirely left my mind.

so here it is…monday, december twelfth, two-thousand-sixteen…at nine-thirty-nine pm. here i am…in henderson, nevada…the middle of the desert…during the late fall, early winter. 

my wardrobe consists of: twenty-three pairs of socks and underwear, seven bras, nine pairs of shorts, nine t-shirts, one polo shirt, one short-sleeved-button-up-shirt, one set of jammies, one long-sleeved-thermal-shirt, one baseball cap, one bathrobe, and two pairs of tennis shoes.

when i look down into my lap, i see a tiny bundle, a physical-mental-and-emotional blessing, my service and support buddy, buggs, who was recently placed with me. buggs now encourages me to keep going, doing, and moving on a daily basis. he can and does go with me everywhere, and keeps me on an exercise schedule and routine, each day. 

so here’s the ironic, missing piece of this peculiar, jigsaw story…on thursday, december fifteenth, two-thousand-sixteen…at three-oh-seven pm…buggs and i will be boarding allegiant air, flight four-ninety-six…headed to des moines, iowa.

once we arrive in des moines, we will pick-up our rental car and drive to a town called, greenfield. once in greenfield, buggs and i, will be spending the holiday with my friend and her family. 

this trip is something that i would’ve never even entertained eight months ago. i was nearly one hundred pounds heavier, severely out of shape, unable to breathe or catch my breath upon exertion. i had an extremely difficult time staying awake, staying asleep, and sometimes even sleeping. i was a complete and utter train wreck. i was sad, lonely, and felt very poorly about myself. 

i am very grateful for iowa, she spun my head around and got it on straight. now, i am better prepared and ready to be absolutely present, as buggs and i, embark on this exciting, new adventure to someplace that seems to hold some kind of significance for the two of us…whether it’s just because we’ve never been there before, or because we’ve always been meant to go…we will go and come back different.

and when wendy comes to pick us up, at the las vegas airport…i am going to greet my friend of nearly twenty-seven years, with a gigantic hug, and whisper, “but, i am from iowa…”

thank you…

thank you…

eight months ago, i couldn’t walk up and down a flight of stairs, without huffing and puffing, and gasping for breath. i saw the look on your face. i felt your worry and concern, for me and my health…

today, i can walk and hike. i can move about relatively freely, unencumbered. i no longer huff and puff, struggle for each breath, or cramp up. i don’t need for anyone to go anywhere with me. i like to hike off by myself, go my own way, do my own thing. no one waits for me…

thank you…

for caring enough about me and my poor health to say something, call my attention to it, and offer me practical, easy, life-changers to help me, to help myself. i have continued down that road of healthy nutrition, coupled with exercise, to promote weight loss and to boost endurance…

having utilized those ideas, for becoming a health warrior, i am living proof that with the right information and suggestions, coupled with true desire for life change, anything is possible…

thank you…

for being a role model. for showing me what a healthy, independent, confident, caring, compassionate, feeling, playful, inquisitive, strong-minded woman of substance looks like…

because for as mentally and emotionally aware that i thought that i was, i wasn’t quite there yet. i definitely needed to work on some things. i needed to move away from my source of fear and self-doubt. i needed to spend a lot of time and effort, focusing on myself, to heal, to grow, and to thrive…

so, thank you…

without you…

without you, i wouldn’t have ever been able to accomplish the things that i have physically over the last six months.

you ignited a fire inside of me, that has pushed me and propelled me forward to help myself, save myself, find myself.

you forced me to see the true value of good health, my good health. your concern set this journey in motion.

without you, i would’ve never had the desire to choose myself. i wouldn’t have had the passion or heart to change.

thank you.

never seen one of these before – henderson, nv – november 20, 2016

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30 minute parking – henderson, nv – november 20, 2016

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on the way to mt. charleston – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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joshua trees and storm clouds over the valley – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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standing in the middle of the road, facing east – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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standing in the middle of the road, facing west – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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joshua tree l – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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joshua tree ll – mt. charleston, nv -november 20, 2016

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i hiked out there amidst the joshua trees – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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illuminated joshua tree – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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i hiked out here in the sage brush – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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hiking – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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the road up to the ski area – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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real trees in nevada, amazing – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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hiking and exploring l – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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hiking and exploring ll – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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bristlecone pines – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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down the trail i go – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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coming back up the trail – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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bark – lee canyon, nv – november 2016

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bristlecone pine needles – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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bristlecone pine trail – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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deadwood – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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fallen – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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rocks, needles, and half-a-pine cone – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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sunset through the trees – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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dusk – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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trail head – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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ethel climbing up the mountain – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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wendy walking the dog – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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fire restrictions – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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lower bristlecone trail – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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new rocks for my rock garden – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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more new rocks for my rock garden – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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twin trees reflected in a puddle – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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pine cone selfie – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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carload selfie – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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as we eased on down the road – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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the view over the valley – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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edge of the cliff, treeline – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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sun setting, behind the treeline – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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wanted – lee canyon, nv – november 20, 2016

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incredible view – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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view between the crags, at the top – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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rocks and pine cone – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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pointy rock – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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lucy and ethel – mt. charleston, nv – november 20, 2016

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my day…

i had a really good day, but it was really long and exhausting. i had 🌪 today, which went really well. 🦄 helped a lot. 

today, we centered on my feelings of anguish over promising my dogs that i would be back, and not being able to keep my promise.

the unresolved anger that i have, for being displaced from my home. how important it is to me and my health, to be where i chose to live, as a young adult, in 1996.

last week, i broke down in 🌪, talking about my surprise gift of roses, from “my little force of nature.” i thought that when we started the 🦄 session, that i was talking about, n*** a***.

i thought that we were talking about my role, in our (for lack of a better word) “parasitic symbiotic relationship.” one moment, i was talking about, seeing n.a. as cleopatra, on a barge floating down the nile, while i  fanned her.

the next moment, i was in a new place that upset me, so much, that i lost my shit…tears falling, snot dripping…all being experienced, while my eyes were closed, and my 🕵 was tapping.

my 🕵, asked me where i was and i remember choking, and growling,”here.” she asked me,”where was here?” i hissed back,”nevada.” then, the floodgates opened.

she then asked me,”where do you want to be, to be happy and whole?” i said,”i just want to go home.” pushing further, she asked,”where is home.” that question ripped me apart.

i snarled,”washington is my home.” she then asked me,”why are you so far from home?” my answer shook me to the core,”because my home was taken away from me. my pets were taken away from me. and, my relationship was taken away from me.”

my 🕵 had me open my eyes, breathe, and blow my nose. the problem was never about n.a. the deep rooted problem was that i never dealt with my anger, or grief…from the loss of my home, my family, my friends, my community, my pets, my doctors, my therapist, my medical insurance, and my environment.

so today, we began working on the day that i left vancouver. the promise that i made my dogs. the fact that i felt that i would never be back, but was placated, by someone that i trusted,”oh don’t worry, you’ll be back. we’ll be here.”

i’ve thought about it all, so much. i thought that i was over the whole displacement. i’m convinced that everything happened for a reason.

i believe that i was in montana, for a few very important reasons. i was there to care for my mom, spend time with her, and help her. i was there to finally confront my dad, forgive him, and let it go. and, i was there to meet the person that changed my life forever.

but, the fact remains that, i miss my home, no not the house that i lived in, but washington as a whole. i miss my dogs, my friends, and everything that, i feel was taken from me.

i am glad that s***h found her person. i am glad not to be wrapped up, in any of that drama. i wish her the best. i am good. i am healing. i am moving forward. i am healthy. i am strong. i know what i want and where i want to be. i am coming home.

october 7, 2016…

today, i’m grateful for…

…black coffee…

…purpose and meaning…

…good friends…

…several walks each day…

…a day free of appointments, obligations, and responsibilities…

…being able to turn off the phone, leave it my room, and just be present…

…a delicious, healthy breakfast and dinner prepared by, chef wendy…

…getting to watch the happy dogs in the complex, go off for their walks this evening…

…my sister and neil…

…music…all music…it feeds my spirit…it makes me feel…sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but it moves me…it makes me remember things…people, places, events…

…another exciting, evening adventure with, jenny. we always end up having quite an adventure. tonight, we went to the ninety-nine cent store. we stocked up on all of the essentials: yogurt, oatmeal, beans, jalapenos, salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, strawberries, mexican sour cream, and fruit loops for wendy. it’s always so exciting for me, to see the good quality produce, dairy products, and dry goods. it’s really hard for me to not go “wild,” in there…

…good conversation…

…a minimal amount of noisy talk from the old guy…

everyday i feel empowered, knowing that i can attain anything that i set my mind to. each new day brings renewed strength, energy, and health. i am enough for me.

namaste.