The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cold mountain stream ... Sigh ...

I wasn't really thinking about bears when I thought this adventure would be good for the soul ... and ... you can smell the bears. Really.

These cables are for pulley-ing your desirables out of bear range for overnight
Right up there is the summit ... 4000'feet. I really liked standing on a big rock in the clouds.

The air was cool ... 72°F, wet, and clean. Welcome respite after a climb over rough loose rocks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lyrics ... The Only Exception

When I was younger
I saw my daddy cry
And curse at the wind
He broke his own heart
And I watched
As he tried to reassemble it
And my momma swore that
She would never let herself forget
And that was the day that I promised
I'd never sing of love
If it does not exist

But darlin'
You are the only exception

Maybe I know, somewhere
Deep in my soul
That love never lasts
And we've got to find other ways
To make it alone
Or keep a straight face
And I've always lived like this
Keeping a comfortable, distance
And up until now
I had sworn to myself that I'm content
With loneliness
Because none of it was ever worth the risk

You are the only exception

I've got a tight grip on reality, but I can't
Let go of what's in front of me here
I know you're leaving in the morning, when you wake up
Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream
Ooh Ooh...

You are the only exception

And I'm on my way to believing
Oh, and I'm on my way to believing

Wow ... Seriously. Wow. The bathrooms are clean ... tile squeaky clean ... toilet paper pointed lookin' for a little smile from the next one up ... a little smile in the john ... BTW, the privy on the trail ... leaves ... really (I was wondering). Lunch ... done ... still talking about razors like that could possibly matter. Dishes done ... Now it's clothes folding time. I am listening to "ADELE radio" on the iPad when the second stanza of this song swings my head around. Deep in my soul ... comfortable distance ... proof it's not a dream.. I don't like it, but I get it. I went looking for the lyrics ... my life might have written some of these words. I am on my way to believing ... that God is the only exception ... Is that cynical or sweetly sane? I really don't know. It seems like God has to be the only exception ... anyone else ... everyone else ... life has taught me something about risks ...

I've got a tight grip on reality, but I can't
Let go of what's in front of me here
I know you're leaving in the morning, when you wake up
Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream
Ooh Ooh...
. Boy howdy ... Are those the saddest words ever sung? Wouldn't I hate to risk being in that place where I can't let go ... here ... can't let go anchors me here ... for better or worse ... where better seems to be the only thing on the table when all the promises are made. ... aren't we really always in a state of letting go and holding on ... aren't we at very least in the process of changing/that me leaving, this me home in time for dinner ... until one day you don't recognize maybe even yourself, but you remember to hold on ... essential you promised to not let go. Here you will become ... you. That's what I am betting on.
... The sages have been calling this a dream for ... written history and likely before. Way before I began to learn the philosophies of men, little me sang Row Row Row Your Boat. I remember wondering ... if I shut my eyes long enough would I wake up somewhere different ... was life just a dream? It was a pretty scary concept ... now, not so much. Hmmmm.
I stumbled upon a dream symbol dictionary ... It is seriously amusing ... my dreams may so much more ... just more interesting then my daily activities imply ... turns out my dog may be a symbol for loyalty ... and a restaurant may be a time of spiritual/emotional nourishment ... and lace curtains means both feminine sensuality and traditional values ... and swimming with a telepathic dolphin may signal a different time in my life ... who knew? I laugh, but I wonder too ... seems like the more I think about it, the clearer it becomes. Does the divine within try to shed dream light on the lessons we are learning? I feel some internal resonance when I am near ... some events ... some people ... some places ... sometimes. There is some sense of recognition ... something known on the journey through the unknown. Risky.

I am going to look at some information on a divining rod ... it vibrates when water is near and sensitivity allows one to believe even the unseen. Or maybe it is Hollywood horse hooey.

This I know ...
Laundry, and boy does it smell good. It's going to rain here ... but I'm inside ... and I'm going to glance at a flight out of Florida on flight aware and listen to more Adele and her compadres ... and pretty soon the laundry will be done for the week. Later, I'm going to shave my legs, maybe with a cheap razor to see if it's maybe not so horrible, and then I'm going to put on a cute dress and my most bodacious cowboy boots because tonight we are going to go find out everything I'm not sure I want to know about COWBOYS and ALIENS ... and tomorrow ... another bit of the Trail.
Laundry ... Those towels don't fold themselves!
This morning when I woke up, before I stretched and strained to hear the birds chirping, I said "I have a full day of housework to do today." Last night was wings night, a tradition that has carried on from when I was unavailable to cook dinner on Thursday nights because I was teaching ... now I go with and we all pile in to a large booth and share onions rings and answers to trivia questions. Buffalo Wild Wings ... fun. Afterwards Yo Mo (yogurt mountain) and a bit of shopping for the girls ... Four is at camp this week ... somebody thinks all their clean underwear made it in to her suitcase ... I doubt it. At Target the girls scoot off laughing, their heads close together. V is almost as tall as her big sister. Husband asks me if I need anything ... I say maybe a cuticle stick and we head over towards the nail tools. Suddenly he says he is going to buy the cheap razors ... He is tired of those high end blades that I buy ... and I just laugh and say "Good luck with that ... " because I was thinking about how he never ever ever not once since I've known him ... never rinses out the blade or the sink after he shaves ... gunky blades don't perform well, no matter how much potential they started out with ... Gunky blades belong in the waste basket ... disposable blades make sense ... all I was trying to communicate with my light hearted good luck response was, I hope that works out better for you. This morning I should be thinking about how nice it is that he shaves, but today I am thinking about foam in the sink. I'm thinking about foam in the sink, because his answer last night to my censored response was ... "I will have good luck with that because I'm the one who pays for things around here." that didn't even make sense to me ... but I didn't ask for clarification as he walked off. Last year me would have followed after him cajoling him out of this little funk ... this year me continued looking for a cuticle stick ... they didn't have any ... then I briefly wondered if I need to put a larger waste basket near the bathroom sink ... then I thought I might sit in Starbucks and wait for everyone ... but I didn't want to order anything and I didn't have my purse with me anyway. He really does pay for everything around here. This morning I am notified that this is his last white t-shirt. You know ... How could you say that any nicer? He needs me to do a load of whites. I say I will do that first thing so he doesn't have to give it another thought. I actually had a basket of whites starting yesterday ... yesterday morning I did a couple of loads while I tried to prepare for that interview. This is what rubbed me wrong ... raw ... I don't like the clothes draped over the bedroom chair ... spilling over on to the floor ... the shoes kicked off ... several pair not even beside their mate ... I don't like the loose change tossed down with tiny pieces of trash and papers with notes that may or may not be important. I don't like the toilet paper rolls in the floor ... I don't like the foam in the sink. He tells me he is running late and will put on his tie when he comes home for lunch ... when he comes home for lunch hoping for, expecting, something delicious to appear ... and freshly laundered t-shirts to be folded in his drawer ... and that bag of dress shirts dropped off at the cleaners ... and the house ... and the walkway ... and ... . This is the secret life of housewives ... it never ends. Yesterday, during the interview, I was asked how I would respond to working with a student who threw up during the lesson ... I said I have a background in changing diapers ... throw up would be a step up ... no problem.

Baseline on "Love"

26 June 2011

I said I wanted to start thinking about love ... As I have been thinking about trust here over the past couple of years. So love. It never even occurred to me to try to define or quantify trust. Trust seems intuitive to me. But I don't see love that way at all I just want to make a couple of notes about how I think of love right now ... inside this very moment. Not all the words with all the connotations ... just my little perspective today. Now. I think it might turn out to be a totally different thing then how I think about it.

I think love is a choice which is supported by conscious actions ... loving actions. I love a handful of people. Those people are always given pass keys to the very front of the line of loving actions. I choose to love them because they are in my heart ... . They are my handful of people.

But I behave lovingly towards more then just my few ... That is what I like about smaller cities ... Life moves slow enough for people to behave lovingly.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it." ~ The Minpins by Roald Dahl

I like this quote. On my short list of things to think about ... Precisely the same quote minus magic ... So many words make very strong substitutes.

Hmmm ... Love ... Which I say I am not thinking about as it softly smiles my eyes. How about hope ... peace ... rest ... joy. I think it is most likely that one sees what they most need to see in the whole world around ... . Perspective. Honor.

Interview went well. I will know something early next week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Next book in the cue for me ... to be sung underwater by Tom McNeal ... and this provocative quote from the novel is why:

"There really isn't anything of importance except maybe who gets handed your heart and what they do with it."

Wow ... What a thought. ... my heart and the hearts I have the privilege and responsibility to hold well. What a wonderful thing to have one's heart safely held ... .

Well ... That is just a little of what I'm thinking about while I take a break from reviewing commercial maneuvers, and the POH. Call came in awhile ago ... Interview scheduled for 9:30 tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
Vaclav Havel

“A human action becomes genuinely important when it springs from the soil of a clear-sighted awareness of the temporality and the ephemerally of everything human. It is only this awareness that can breathe any greatness into an action.”
Vaclav Havel

I stopped flying somewhat frequently about this time last year. There were several different fires, none related to me, but turns out my track was significantly affected ... so it seems. I mightah got burned. I waited for three months ... not flying at all, then went out of state to a two week program ... finished there. It was really good for me because I got to see how my flying stacked up with other pilots who had similar aspirations. I came away feeling very confident in my ability to instruct ... pilots. Then ... I couldn't find a job. Where I had planned to work wasn't hiring. Who was maybe hiring would be quite a drive away ... working with young men who don't speak English ... contract instruction. The fuel bill and drive time back and forth would have kept me in the red. ... I liked the determination I saw in the eyes of the students. These kids are culled from a peasant life and given the opportunity to ... fly airplanes. If they succeed ... glory ... and a life that must look very glamorous when compared with potato farming. They want to make life easier for their parents and siblings. If they fail ... all of their educational and travel expenses must be repaid ... by their family. That's the deal. I was told that the family of those students could never really hope to repay the costs incurred ... failure really isn't an option ... disgrace ... bleak poverty ... worse yet watching the back breaking toil as your people struggle under the yolk of debt service. Yeah ... I've heard them in the air. Their communication skills suck. But I admire the ... what? The audacity? The courage? Every pilot I know strongly encouraged me to steer clear of the operation. I couldn't see losing money and time for the chance to work with those guys with all the red flags blowing about.
Last week I looked at a start up operation. Their chief was bragging about his advertised fifteen dollar discovery flight ... He spends time during the pre-flight wetting their appetite and announces before the crosswind turn that the fight is over ... 15 bucks doesn't buy much ... . He said if they've got the jingle he'll keep them up 'till they say when. . That wasn't even the worst of it ... by a long shot. He said his CFIs will spend twenty hours dual with his customers ... not point anything more ... sign 'em off and put 'em in the air. I'd rather not ... .
Now the place where I did all my training is hiring. I can still see fires ... and smoke from fires ... and char and soot ... . I don't expect a work situation to be challenge free. It looks like an environment that is able to provide quality flight instruction. That's the bottom line. I turned in my application today.
Husband came home while I was still cooking dinner ... Meatloaf Parmesan, summer squash, sauted spinach and butter beans. How'd it go he asks as he fixes a drink, and I tell him ... not much to it ... . Dropped off the paper work as promised and Chief asked me how my week looks for scheduling the process ... a written with questions pulled from the Gleim ... a knowledge oral portion with a demonstration of teaching a commercial maneuver or two ... And a practical check. Sounds pretty standard. I'm fretting the flight portion just a bit. I've flown only 23 hours in the past 12 months ... 8 of those ... getting the sign off and flying the plane to the check ride location with 1.5 for the actual CFI ride. A couple of hours were sightseeing trips up as gifts ... another two flights were rental checkouts ... one of which doubled as a Flight Review. Two flights were ride alongs with buddies. None of them included commercial maneuvers or performance take offs or landings. I have 5.1 over the past 12 months in a C172 ... the demonstration plane for the check ride. I told my husband that I thought I better brush up a bit ... Didn't even have time to say maybe two hours would get it done. Two hours would be another three hundred bucks ... . My husband is really tired of spending money on airplane stuff. He's pretty exasperated with the whole deal. I understand that. It'll take me ten hours of instructing to pay back an hour of airplane rental ... that's before taxes, he doesn't even have to remind me ... just do whatever you want he says. They should be familiar enough with you're abilities he says and I remind him that I have never flown with this chief or assistant chief ... the guys I worked with are gone. Well, they've talked with people who know how good you are he says ... and he goes on to what probably was intended to be a pep talk. Honestly ... I might be able to nail a short field landing ... pretty sure I can lay down a pretty lazy eight. Eights on pylons ... mine used to sizzle ... maybe they still do. I don't know. Just do whatever you want.
I've been rubbing my tongue back and forth across the top of my mouth while I type here. I have something called Geographic tongue ... it's a little bit painful, a reaction to stress. I've been pretty stressed out these past many months ... partly from trying to make flying stuff work. Now ... I'm just pretty close to worn out. I don't feel discouraged or ... bad. I just feel really tired. I understand that nobody ever "gets" everything they want ... that life is about negotiating compromise ... I am onboard with making choices that honor and support the choices I have already made. I just wanted a little job that I could be proud of ... doing something interesting ... challenging ... helping someone else a tiny bit as they grow towards flight.
My husband would really like a full time wife ... and I would really like to work ... preferable at flying ... . Instructing was supposed to be the compromise that allowed room for both.
Maybe I should be happy with my hour a month up in the air. It's complicated.

Now, I've slept on it ... and clearly, I have to take my shot at this.

Some time in the plane would help ... 5.1 over the past year isn't much to work with, but ... well, just introducing the Chief's two hundred and fifty some odd presence in to the left seat will significantly change the feel of the plane (2450 max TO wt.) Winds and weather will come in to play ... .
Last Sunday at church, the message was about covetousness. The speaker defined it as "wanting something that is not yours ... inappropriate" (that would be like sticking your finger in to someone else's ice cream), as "wanting something appropriate, but at the wrong time" (that would be like enjoying your own ice cream ... maybe for breakfast), as "wanting something appropriate, but to excess (only ice cream) ... my notes aren't handy, but he said it better then that. I want this. It's really starting to seem like more trouble then it's worth though. It doesn't pay well. The value isn't financial gain. It can become suddenly dangerous, and I still have children to raise ... . It demands a lot of time and attention ... and my family resents that. I don't know. Maybe I need to put the lid back on the ice cream bucket. I just want to do the right thing. Just wanting something so bad you can taste it, doesn't make it the right thing. I already know that. I accept that.

So ... all that goes into a box ... and I will give myself a shot at this. The shot I have. And we will see if it has enough uummphhh to hit the mark.
Just completed filling out a stack of papers for the application to flight instruct for the job I really want. I can feel my desire for that particular thing coiling through me. This job represents what I thought I was working for when I took on the challenge. The path to here has been ... trying. I do not like how I feel today ... right now. My flight hours for the past 12 months don't look that great. I don't feel as confident about demonstrating the skill set in the airplane as I would like. I like to be pretty close to amazing. The fall from that pinnacle has me feeling bruised and unsure. All the swagger will be bluff ... And of course the interviewers will know that. Here's what I am telling myself as I buck up to deliver the application: I am qualified to do the job. I will work very diligently at delivering an outstanding performance for the student and the school. I will do my best. Yes, it is true that my best has deteriorated over the past several months of relative inactivity, but ... The best I have today is all I can offer.

It surprises me that I at this time in my life can be ... how I feel. This has been important to me for several years now. I have reluctantly stepped away from this twice now ... . This is an okay thing to want. This is an okay time to want it.

Okay ... . It feels like falling ... . I don't like this feeling.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blisters and red sandals

I snapped this picture on the way out the door to see Captain America (pretty good) ... husband saw it when looking at hike album and said ... this picture is like a self portrait. He was unable to elaborate on how or why.
I do like that rag rug, and the sandals are old favorites ... maybe it was about working with the oowies, or ignoring the bandaids. Idk. I cropped the snazzy vermillion red pedicure out before saving the image here. I think what he said may have been a compliment, maybe it was simply an observation.

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.
Chinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC - 479 BC)
"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost." ~ Dante

Shelter. Near Springer Mountain, the Southern terminis for the Apalachain Trail.

We are getting pretty close to a "three day hike". This trip was a little bit about seeing what the official camp sites look like, and getting eyes on a trail "shelter". It's pretty nice ... (the privy was at a discreet distance, just down the hill). We stopped there for maybe twenty minutes and visited with several other hikers. One couple had accidentally taken a picture of a bobcat just fifteen minutes before arriving at the shelter. He said he was taking a picture of something else when he saw it. I asked him if it came up to about his friends knee, and he said, no... it kept it's distance ... he looked at me warily, as though I was out there smokin' crack! Too funny ... I wish you coulda seen his face. I was wondering about the relative size of the cat, not its social skills!
V says she is definitely not sleeping outside where there are spiders and snakes and bobcats ... and all these crazy hikers. Dad said she is not experienced enough to decide not to try something at least once ... Frankly, I would rather she not participate in the first round of sleep outs.
I moved out of ear shot as it became a contest of wills. The trail feels safe to me ... It feels like a lot of people with a lot of discretionary income out sorta roughing it with super cool nano stoves and filtration systems ... mostly college kids, scout troops, and families like ours ... camera happy mom, disgruntled pre-teen, and a dad with a handheld GPS.
We are figuring out what to carry in. Water is the primary consideration ... Next week we plan to drink water drawn from a stream ... and cleaned ... we'll try to tap in to some Dansani. My husband is handling the details on that. So far we have brought our own water ... and food. Substanence isn't a big deal on a day trip. I have devised a little first aid kit ... and this week went heavy on the deep woods OFF ... I spent the day in an impermeable aerosol activated bubble ... all insect sounds ceased as I approached. Even the cricket in my waistband would have been impressed had cell service been available. We lost the Starbucks app right about where I could hear airline traffic inbound ATL making power adjustments for arrival on the 27 runways. While they descended, we climbed ... up to 3000'MSL ... first by vehicle as slow as ten mph on the single lane loose gravel "road" stuck wily nily to the planet like a strand of errant ramen noodle. There were tree-studded sheer drop offs on either and sometimes both sides ... kinda got my attention.
I wonder what the average equipment cost each set of these tracks represents ... this used to be Cherokee country ... my mind wanders back and forth through time ... what stories the trees might tell were they given to more then just the faintest rustlings ... these strategically placed branches are a welcome sight ...
My hiking buddies both cooled their feet in this stream ... Husband scooped up sand, sifting for a fleck of the gold that marched the Cherokee off this land and over to the fields of black gold later discovered in Oklahoma ... did their children splash in this very stream ... did their eyes dance with mischief while the rocks rebounded laughter?

I kept my shoes laced, but did sit risking tender flesh to whatever might not be repelled.
Provides protection from biting insects, especially in heavily wooded areas. Protects against disease carrying ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, sand flies, chiggers, gnats, and no-see-ums. Contains 25% DEET.
Add to Shopping List
... Uh huh ... two cans, one for each hand ... .
The DEET, whatever noxious toxin that may be ... well, I didn't spray my face, but I can still taste it tongue is sorta numb, but ... pretty sure only my nails will need a clear coat this week!

Beautiful trail ...

... sporting blisters on the tops of my feet. I haven't had blisters on my feet since forth grade when I spent every spare moment trying to roller skate myself airborne ... with varying degrees of success. These blisters are probably going to be just as worth it. Memory making. Little miss slept all the way home. She didn't hear me say I'd like to ride some roller coasters next weekend (that slippery winding road wound me up) ... She has never been to Six Flags. Her daddy said she would definitely not like that ... He did have the good grace to harumph in recognition when I asked him if she was experienced enough to decide that without first trying it. This hiking may be enough out of the box for us! I like it more then I imagined I would.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Something funny ... So I can laugh at myself again another day.
I've already said my alarm is seldom used, but when it might be necessary...well, it's crickets. Crickets seem very reliable, kinda Jiminy-esque ("A fine conscience I turned out to be!")... And of course the charming song about wishing upon a star (I have put a telescope on my wish list ... Love those NASA images).
Crickets. Chirping.
H is was in town today. We made a walking date for five thirty this morning. Then I heard my phone ping a text message in before the five fifteen alarm sounded ... She is awake and ready to go just anytime ... Okay. I can do earlier no prob. I'm out the door in basically five minutes. I don't have pockets, so I just tuck the phone under the band of my yoga pants. Man, it was a great morning ... Out as the sun rose. Frogs were croaking, birds were singing ... some really weird bird seemed to be following us ... it was the strangest thing. The chirping ... chirp,chirp, chirp, chirp ... . Yes, it seemed to have a very specific pattern ... and it was coming from right up there ... now over there ... what?! ... now there. "Could it be the electrical lines?" H wondered. Uhhh ... no, I didn't think so ... hmmmm. It seemed so perfectly timed ... and identical. Uh huh ... My alarm ... set for 5:15 just in case ... valiently trying to wake me up! H was like, "Uhhhhh, is that your phone ...?"
Yes, skippedee do dah I believe it is! So ... nice start on the day. And it was a great day. I spent some time in a bonanza today ... awesome fun. I painted my toenails red today ... pretty, and nice change, they have been deep purple for a week now. I rolled up my pants and washed a plane today ... I grossed my friend out by scratching bug crust off with my finger nail ... Eeewwww. I decided to put my name in the hat at the place I would really really like to work, if everything (or at least enough everythings) could just work out right ... worth a shot to shoot for what you want. I saw Captain America tonight ... rocked! ... Tomorrow, we are going to get up early and drive to a new piece of the trail ... everything is ready to go. The chigger bites are bearable. What will I learn about next ... something pleasant I hope. ... A new book came in for me today ... That Counterfeit God book ... I've still got two others opened so that will have to wait. And today is my oldest friend's birthday ...
Many things to be thankful for today.
Dual given ... !

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ummm ... Just in case anyone doesn't already know this ... chiggers do not make nice reminders of a day in the woods ... lol. Beach walking may be my thing! I'm just saying that ... the challenge offered by the woods is more than offset by the many little wonders found hidden in the filtered light. I've been seeing things ... little flowers for example ... which may be seen by a very few before they fade.

Many of the things I would like to do and see, those bucket list items, are supported by a willingness and ableness to hike in. I would like to see the wild horses run from the air, but the giant sequoias deserve a viewing from where they come up out of the ground stretching for the sky. I sense reverence expanding within my soul.

Wouldn't a perfect time hold a little flying in a small plane heavy with supplies and companionship ... landing to camp and explore ... nourished with friend and place ... flying, soaring, living, landing, loving ... . Lovely ... big smile at the very thought. I hadn't even thought of landing a small plane away from some type of airport until I started reading about Mr. Turrell's search for his crater canvas. So cool. To integrate what I have seen as different. A composite journey. I love it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Revel wrapped my hair like this ... cute up ... great soft curls when unwrapped. Perfect for summer damp hair.

Thanks, Rev ... I love it!

A vessel repaired holds love better

These may be chigger bites ... I can't see them, because they are located only (and apparently all over) my backside. They are little points of fire that grit my teeth with their picking ... itching.
I ventured out for a walk and I sat down in some inappropriate place. Now I have an itch that I dare not scratch ... It is truly a pain in the ahem.
"Can chigger bites cause a fever?" I asked my husband this morning ... I have a low grade fever and a two day persistent headache. This walking in the woods is proving to be a bit more then putting one Chaco in front of the other. I am learning about a lot of things I have never even thought of before. I like the idea of being able to flourish in different settings. Better clarify ... Man verses Wild ... love that show (except when he bit in to the live fish ... Seemed a bit over the top to me ... unnecessary roughness). I like to watch Wild from the air-conditioned den ... just a few steps away from the cold water in the door of the frig, all that nature drama makes me thirsty!
This hiking deal, to me, was a way to get my husband alone and away ... unplugged for ... well, I was thinking a month at a time. I wasn't thinking about chiggers (they dig me) or mosquitos and demon possessed black flies. That heat rash ... has dissipated, but my doctor friend at church says once you've dabbled in that fiery mess you are forever more vulnerable ... I like stuff like chicken pox ... once done always done! I will be mindful of my vulnerability to excessive heat.
The soles of my feet are now calloused ... I think that is there because of all the walking I've been doing ... since I've been flying less. This walking business isn't what I thought it might be ... but it is good. I walk in front ... with my sun glasses on. We have hiked only in very densely forested areas so far ... shady ... the Oakley's shield my eyes from those maniacal flying insects. Except that yellow jacket who flew in under ... briefly, testing my reflexes. Sometimes spider webs crisscross the trail ... you can't see those, you just feel them. I am not a fan of spiders, but I think webs are ... amazing. Sometimes fallen trees or partially fallen trees will block the trail. My husband clears the way or forges an alternative path. Pretty nice. He likes for me to go first so that I can set the pace I'm comfortable with. I walk with a camera in my hand most of the time ... there are so many beautiful little things out there. We've seen wild blueberries and also blackberries. My husband picks the ripe ones and eats them ... He laughs when I decline. I know bear food when I see it! It's the bears unseen who tell me to keep it moving! Frozen fruits are plentiful behind the cold water door. We rarely see wildlife, although the scampering ... chirping ... uh, slithering ... is uninterrupted by our trail crunching.

I don't do a lot of daydreaming when I'm flying ... my trips have usually short cruise segments, and when there is time for chillin' I'm anxious to soak up all that can be seen from up there. Walking ... leaves a lot of time for just thinking. Yeah, not even exactly thinking ... it's more like waiting to hear what silence seeps in. (I'm thinking about what love wants to birth ... I'm thinking about what restricting love may abort) I'm thinking about how fully alive the woods are ... each of the senses is pinged. I feel my body working in ways flying doesn't require. I like the activity of that. (I'm thinking about how feeling fully makes me feel ... vulnerable, yes a little, and the flip side: the real me fully engaged ... risking, yet unafraid ... my soul unfiltered ... unfettered ... unrestrained ... and that is a bit of how flying well feels to me ... freedom purchased by self-discipline and respect for ... challenges ... alive ... fully alive)

And the washer has stopped ... time to get going ... it's floors and bathrooms today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bottle tree

A riot of rebar ... This one is about ten feet tall. I like this style better then any other I have seen. My brother said it should have an electrical outlet hidden in it's branches for little twinkle lights. It's very pretty in real life ... This photo barely captures the idea.

Love ... and melting ice ... and grey twilight/ time and place between

Ephesians 1:4a (MSG)
Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.


And this ...
Psalm 19 (MSG) not all here
 1-2 God's glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
   Madame Day holds classes every morning,
      Professor Night lectures each evening.

 3-4 Their words aren't heard,
      their voices aren't recorded,
   But their silence fills the earth:
      unspoken truth is spoken everywhere

 4-5 God makes a huge dome
      for the sun—a superdome!
   The morning sun's a new husband
      leaping from his honeymoon bed,
   The daybreaking sun an athlete
      racing to the tape.

 6 That's how God's Word vaults across the skies
      from sunrise to sunset,
   Melting ice, scorching deserts,
      warming hearts to faith.

 7-9 The revelation of God is whole
      and pulls our lives together.
   The signposts of God are clear
      and point out the right road.
   The life-maps of God are right,
      showing the way to joy.
   The directions of God are plain
      and easy on the eyes.

Photo taken by crew member on Columbia's final flight ... That's how it was presented to me. I naively believed it until today when I saw many conflicting stories about how and who ... Maybe it is just a stack ... composite satellite images. I first saw it accompanied by an e-mail written by a crew member to her family ... a last message about the majesty seen from so high up above. Why would anyone want to lie about something like that? Maybe it's like my bacon gravy ... it's just a better story. A fuzzy line between dark and light. Hmmm

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I like how the sunlight streams down in to this woods. The way the camera rendered this light shaft as stained glass ... The tall canopy does seem cathedral like.

I made what is surely a novices mistake ... today I have itchy welts from my bottom to the inside of my knees ... bites. I do not know what kind of little critter, and it gives me the willies to think they may have burrowed rather then just the snacked. 'Til now, I could gently ease a long day away with a soak in epsom salts ... I really love the scented variety (available at walmart and several local pharmacies) ... Perfect for days when I have trouble pulling off my boots ... or sandals. Long days turn in to long nights when you're itchy! In awhile, V and I are going out to the waterpark ... see if that helps! It's really almost funny ... Okay, it is funny. I thought it would be okay to sit on a big rock ... Guess it was just okay for the natives!

Photos from Tennessee hike

Friday, July 15, 2011

Notes from 1000 gifts

I make my notes in the margins ... unfortunately, it kind of ruins the book for anyone else to enjoy it fresh ... working their way through my scratches ... page numbers for a few specifically interesting bits of text noted inside the front cover ... words (like coruscates) which I do not know written in the back for looking up later. Normally, I blaze through a book ... Reading it more slowly a second and maybe third time through. This book ... . Well, it's pretty strange, I don't recall a book even sorta like this one ... it's not just a story, I get it. The first fifty pages, or so, I have read several times ... I get my Bible out to see ... is that what I also think it said ... .

On page 27 she writes:
It's the life in between, the days of walking lifeless, the years callouses and simply going throughout the hollow motions, the self-protecting by self-distracting, the body never waking, that's lost all capacity to fully feel - this is the life in between that makes us the wild walking dead.

Self-protecting by self-distracting ... Yes, that is what I have recently seen as a pattern in me ... going through the hollow motions because ... I shut myself down on fully feeling. I did that ... and I understand why. I know some essential part of me was curled up in a fetal-like ball of ... what? Sadness come undone? Unsheltered, exposed teeth chattering soul cold ... Looking for scraps to fashion a quilt ... .

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." ~ Albert Camus

And then ... something like that quote ... that little bit of me became soul strong enough to reach out a hand in trust. To un-hug myself and reach that one scraunty blue tinged arm out towards who knows what, just hoping that God really was where He said he would be ...
... And it was just like I have already said ... I fell backwards heart first through some golden light ... . No not really, it's just the best description I can express ... It was nothing like a hallucination or dream ... It was something that my soul knows ... It unfolded my soul ... I know that doesn't make much sense, I'm really trying to find the words ... .
Over time pain came in to my body ... Worked it's way through my heart ... And rolled my soul up in to the tiniest possible little hurting bit. Not really useful ... benched. I knew my only hope would be God. God was the only one who could find me ... the tiny soul me ... . Part of me said ... Hug yourself, you obviously can't trust God ... He may not even exist ... And if He does ... He certainly has more important things to do then ... you.
And I thought trust must be the key ... my truster was busted ... so I asked God to fix it. And when it was better ... I started exercising it ... You know ... I tune a nav aid on the ground and start looking for indications on the receiver, when nothing shows up, maybe the equipment out there is faulty ... maybe my receiver is just fine ... maybe that VOR (for example) is down for service ... or maybe there is terrain or weather in the way. My truster ... has been upgraded ... wowie! I am learning how to use it ... state of the art and interactive with other onboard systems. All good.
God came in via the same path that pain forged ... He touched my body on His way to my heart and from there He unfolded my soul. I'm not saying I understand it ... I'm just trying to note here ... for my loves, for myself, and maybe a few visiting strangers ... God showed up in a mysterious ... way. He knows what He is doing and I trust him ... He seems very present and very real to me.

"This constellation in the dark - grace, thanksgiving, joy - it might be like that - reaching for the stars. So hard. So hard." ~ Ann Voskamp


He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23

added 21 January 2013:


  1. Deliverance from sin and its consequences.
  2. Preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.
rescue - saving - deliverance - redemption - escape

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can you believe that it is quiet in a home that houses so many? The hum of the air-conditioner pushes on me. I send my husband a text ... Thank you for working so hard that I can take an air-conditioned house for granted .... My youngest is luxuriating in some sleep late. I don't like to go back to bed once I've gotten up ... and, I am sleeping better, maybe better then ever ... there is a ten dollar box fan blowing all the little wake up sounds away. Sam is sitting here trying to nudge my hand off the keyboard and just anywhere around his ears ... Sammy boy will doze off and on all day long ... right now he thinks he sees an uninterrupted shot at my attention.

That dog is a freaking genius ... unable, or unwilling, to speak, he somehow got me to stop my quiet time, and cook him some bacon gravy ... He is out on the back porch nudging his food bowl now.

One of those books I ordered is titled: one thousand gifts A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are. Honestly, I am intrigued by the title. Anyone who really really knows the me I keep hidden from view, knows I am a sucker for an elegant dare. Yeah, not just any little punk dare, but there is something about the truly audacious that overrides my normally quite thoughtful, staid (as in not flighty or capricious) demeanor ... . You don't grow up wearing smocked dresses and Mary Janes to elementary school without knowing how to mind your P&Qs.
I have been thinking about my mother lately. Those dresses were hand smocked. With the embroidery thread she would stitch out my whole name ... all twenty two letters of it ... into the hem or under the collar, back near the little pearl button. Boy ... Sitting here remembering and trying to see it through her eyes ... I wonder if I have really forgiven her for not forgiving me ... . She had only one daughter to carve into the image she had in mind to bear all twenty two letters of that carefully chosen name. Hmmm ... As likely as not, I would come home from school with a tear in my (her) dress where it had gotten snagged ... I wasn't mindful of staying on the sidewalks ... I needed to see what was rustling the hedgerow ... I was already dreaming about the day I would fly. She had only one chance to create a perfectly pink childhood ... . Everyday, the pink hair ribbons came home crumpled up ... stained with playground dirt and scraped knee blood. Boy ... How did she end up with just me? That must have been on her mind a lot ... she said I was my father's daughter. Here we are so many opportunities later, and the only thing I can think of that we have in common is ... we both love her son, my brother. I think of her everyday but call her only maybe twice a month. Surely I can do better then that.
I lied to my little girl this morning ... Sammy's isn't the only nose that perks up at the smell of bacon. I show her how much flour goes in the skillet and ask her to get the milk out ... she asked me who taught me how to make gravy ... I said, "I think it must have been my momma." I just said that ... I know it wasn't my momma who taught me how to make gravy. I need to forgive her for being not the mother I think I shoulda had ... If for no other reason, I need to forgive her as an acknowledgement of what I say I believe. I say God doesn't make mistakes ... But I seem to secretly, deep in my soul ... where I haven't seen it before ... I act like I think maybe he does make mistakes. ... Sounds pretty bad said like that.

So ... that bucket list ... I really do think the movie is sweet. I like the idea of having a few things in mind that would be fun to do. I think it's interesting to see where one's interests might lead them, were they free to meander. But ... this notion of dare to live fully right where you are ... ... has captured my imagination. I like the challenge encased within that dare. I think it's okay to be energized by that particular dare ... an adventure for growing my soul. I haven't read far enough in to the book to see what the deal is yet, but I think it is about finding ... enjoying ... embracing the grace and the gratitude that is all around right here, right now.

For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, ... Everything got started in him and finds it's purpose in him. Colossians 1:16 (MSG)

Starting now ... With two loads of laundry waiting on the sofa to be folded ... and my favorite candle (dune grass) chasing the bacon fumes from the kitchen ... and the wonderfully cool air pushing this summer heat back. It's going to rain today ... the storm will stay outside. From here ... this moment, I will go look at aviation weather ... And I will pray for the people I care about who may be flying today ... and I will go fold towels and clean some bathrooms. And honestly ... I feel good about that. My husband thinks I am still upset about flying work, but the truth is, I am not. I am really okay right here right now ... today I had time to think about my mother and I am certain that was more important then flying today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Uh huh!!!

Everyone is up and out of the house for the morning ... This would be the time to walk Sammy, and he is peeking in at me with a reminder of that wagging his tail. If we were to leave on a walk, he would be disappointed ... It is so hot/humid already. The dog days of summer ... Sirius business!

Aviation weather looks pretty good today for this time of year ... Just light showers where it is raining 'cept for a little patch in the middle of the country. Local forecast for this Saturday show showers supported by winds NNE ... Yep, probably will be a bad bet for hiking.

... Just made the call to that flight school, letting the Director know that I won't consider them further ... Yes, I said it better then that. He wanted to know why and I was the short and very sweet version of candid. I have the luxury of being able to turn down a job that wouldn't be a good fit ... I feel like I saved us all some grief. He very graciously said let's keep that door open in case things change down the way. Classy.

I think this might be a good day for cleaning window screens ... wonder if I can do that without messing up my manicure ... .


Weather. Fine until suddenly it seems to be ... not. Today one of my loves is rolling in the deep ... coming up for air she calls me and I hear the tremor of terror in her voice.
I know. Sometimes it's just overwhelming. Suddenly ... In second. Everything you think you know can change in a second.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ridiculously perfect day

The house is clean ... dinner, chicken and dumplings, is ready. I did a couple of loads of laundry and dusted all the lamps. Talked on the phone with H about my big lunch date at my favorite local restaurant ... followed her advice to wear my hair down ...received nice compliments on hair, nails, jewelry, and strappy dress ... . Basically, I have been lounging around reading all day today. That's how it is when you don't have a job outside the home. My husband would really like for me to consider organizing some research material ... That means read and compress it ... Get a seminar starting to simmer ... not on engineering stuff with a capital E, but stuff engineers would be interested in as far as communication type topics go. It actually sounds right up my alley.

Pretty much all that's left for me to do today is shake up and pour a cocktail. I'm sorta getting used to this ... Bloom where you're planted and all that ... .
~ stones from along the shore at Lake Michigan ~ as seen on Etsy

Yesterday I had a second look see with a start up flight school. I drove over with the windows unzipped, smelling the rain, and wondering should any of my excitement be attributed to the electrical charges within the approaching storm?

The interview went okay ... no details here. I will say this ... towards the end I could hear a wiser voice whispering in my head ... Don't burn any bridges, you never know who you may meet down the airway ... I told my hand not to reach for my bag which was sitting on the floor nearby ... three different times I stilled myself ... I made that hand reach into a couple of goodbye thank you for your time smiling out the door handshakes. I knew almost immediately it would not be a good fit for me. The excitement drained out of me as frustration sought to sour the drive home. 45 minutes at 45 miles per hour. I saw a sheriff's car waiting for a speeder on the drive over ... my feet were behaving as well as my hand was.

Oh well ... What evs ... Interesting times. I hear the mins for the regionals are at 500/50. I hear a huge sucking sound which indicates rainbows on the horizon for me. I can wait.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"... Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, it beckons not merely north and south but upward to the body, mind and soul of man." ~ attributed to Myron Avery concerning the Appalachian Trail
I really miss flying almost everyday. The big sweetness there for me, is I do get to fly enough to maintain proficiency ... Probably nothing feels worse to me then being good at something and loving it only to have to sit out to the extent that one becomes sucky at it. Almost nothing feels better then flying ... I cherish that feeling as a gift and as a luxury ... I hope I never take it for granted.

I am in love with my nothing less
Tear drops of joy run off my face
I will rise...
For someone that's afraid to
Love you knew what I feel
Then you couldn't be so sure
I'll be right here
Lying in the hands of god.

Now the floor is the ceiling
If you never flew why would you?
Why would you?
~ a last few words from a Dave Matthews Band song that I don't want to hear.

So what I think I'm really thinking about today is walking ... That one step in front of the other type of walking. I want to feel what walking can help me feel ... I want to feel its gift as I feel the gift that flying brings to me. I want to savor the little bits of it and the bigger bit as well. Walking is opposite of flying. My soul would prefer to fly everywhere it goes ... I am confident and in my element when I am flying. Walking ... almost everyone can walk ... we take it for granted ... . I've been really thinking about it for awhile now.

Back in April I wrote ...

Boy, that is a wonderful ... loving ...quote isn't it?  Love.  The writer of one of the few blogs I read is writing thoughts on I Cor. 13  ... probably my favorite chapter of the Bible ... the summit, so to speak, where the air is the cleanest, the view is the most expansive, where a climb is completed.  I guess I'm a bit spoiled ... as a pilot I believe I can skip the drudgery of trudging one foot in front of the other all the slippery slope way up  ... skip the often treacherous conditions confronted during the boot strap climb,  skip the sore muscles, blisters rubbed raw, snapped pieces, frayed ends where a knot is now tied, cold shoulder frost icing over where something resembling love once warmed the heart, you know ... all that crappy stuff, skip the work/pain required by the climb ... and just fly there.  Fly there.  Fly there ...full power ... airspeed alive ... all instruments in the green.
God, I love to fly.  Thank you, God, for making me a person who can sit in that seat!   Please help me towards the self discipline that a walk with You requires ... thank you for creating within me,  a flyer  ... but, help me to walk/climb as You see fit, because God ... honestly ... I want to fly all the time ... and I know You know that ... and I know You know what's best for me ... all the time.
... It's so hard to put on ones boots while kicking ... help me to be still

Ummm ... Flying is good. It has been really good for me ... It flew me to this place in my spiritual life where I ... well, it's hard to put in to words ... . It seems like a lot of the moments in life conspire to destroy our innocence ... the abiding place or shelter where God is real ... present ... caring ... Abba, holy Father. Maybe that place is lost in a second ... where second thoughts stray the path which leads home. Now I have asked my "Ifs" and I am satisfied that God is God enough to handle them ...every single little and big of them ... I hand Him the crumpled up little scrap of paper ... .

Okay ... I'll explain what I mean by that.
I sit with a child to gently facilitate their art making ... I have done this exact thing with many many children ... some of whom I dearly love. In real life, I've always been fortunate to be able to provide almost unlimited art supplies. For a child, the choices have to be limited, otherwise they are overwhelmed and unable to choose anything ... or, occasionally, you see a child who wants to choose everything, which is another kind of mess all together. Have you every seen a child erase the line they drew so many times that they wear a hole through the paper ... or a tear. Tears cause tears, especially for beginners. It's really hard to make art while you're crying. Crayons are a good place to start art.
As I type here this morning, I stop to remember all the little artists I've sat with. I smile. Here's why ...
On a round table there is a piece of perfectly clean paper. It's a nice weight and size. Along with the paper is a fresh box of crayola crayons (they smell the best), a little watercolor set (with some paper towel and a cup of clean water), and some blunt tipped scissors. At the table are two child size chairs. My 5'8" is folded up and perched in one of them ... the child timidly approaches the empty seat ... the place specifically prepared by me for them. I hope they will find joy there. If you've never done some version of this ... put a kid on a horse for their first time ... guided them to touch the fur of a big waggy-tailed dog ... tended a seed all the way up to a jalapeño for the most delicious salsa ever ... you know, those kind of things. Well, surely everyone has done their version of this with a novice. For me, this is what it's all about.n Life is about two seats. God figured out a way to sit in a seat that is small enough for me to see Him ... and He invited me to join Him at a table where I think He'd like me to find some joy.
Back to those kids. You really never know who is going to show up there in that little seat. I've met kids who are pretty weird ... Well, honestly, every single one of them is weird ... . One is afraid to get their hands dirty with art supplies ... another wants to take the brushes out of the cup and drink the water ... some of them cry if a crayon is broken while some of them just want to sit there and break crayons ... there's always a kid who refuses to do much more then a single slashing line on the paper, another who wants to be told exactly what to do, another who will sit there kicking you in the shins while smiling about it and acting like it was accidental ... one will demand the scissors and want to make confetti while looking longingly across the room at the hot wheels track. Most of them have never held a paintbrush or a pair of scissors ... even more unbelievable to me, several of them have never held a crayon.
This is what I hope to quide them through on their way to the joy, and yes, hopefully there are several little dollops of dopamine along the way:
I hope they will choose to come to the table, sit down, get comfortable with the items in front ot them and also with me.
Open a fresh box of colors and pick out their favorites ... sometimes that's one color ... sometimes that is every color. Scribble scrabble some color(s) on to the paper. They do this all kinds of ways ... their own unique way. Some will take instruction on how to hold the crayon (paintbrush/scissor), others know how to do it ... (smile).
Layer some watercolor over the crayon scribbles. Some are traumatized others are absolutely delighted by this step.
Ater the paper dries, cut a heart shape out of the paper. Again ... this step can and does evoke a wide range of responses.
We may sit down together and do something like this many times ... Eventually we will get to this place:
Take whatever the best representation of a heart shape this kid has been able to create ... It may be a pretty awesome piece of brilliantly executed genius, or ... it may be a pile of monochromatic slivers of paper (I can draw a heart and help them glue their little pieces willy-nilly sorta inside the lines) ...
The culmination of this little creative joint venture is that each little soul will have a heart that they have created ... Every single one of them unique ... Beautiful ... A product of their process. Every single one of these kids will practically burst with joy when they present this little "expression" to their significant other. My job is to help them take pleasure in what they have created ... introducing, guiding, listening, facilitating, encouraging ... all that and more.

I gotta go do my day ... I'll finish this train of thought later. What I'm trying to say is my soul knows how to fly ... walking well is a totally different and equally challenging kind of experience. I want to add walking well to my soul's experiences.
I couldn't even see the airplanes through the trees on my walk in the woods ... there wasn't one single pilot who was able to see the beauty that was near the ground. There's some pretty good stuff down there too. I'm looking forward to seeing what God has set up at this little round table table.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

bucket list toy ... Must have.

Quick Overview
Looking for a super-fun multisport boat for two? Meet the Hobie Mirage® Tandem Island. In its most elemental form, the Tandem Island is a super-fast, two-person kayak. But attach the aka crossbeams, the ama floats and the two-piece carbon fiber rig and sailing kit (all included), and you and your partner will be flying across the water, powered by a roller-furling, boomless mainsail. Both cockpits have steering and sail-control lines, making the Tandem Island ideal for partners of all abilities. And the boat’s generous storage space and carrying capacity means that your adventure potential is huge.

Sailing World – Boat of the Year – Recreational (2011)

Excellent ... Definitely in the bucket ... .

Ten miles in seven hours ... .

10 July ... Steamy Humid

3 July ... humid enough

Have to say ... I love the search window here. I typed in "trail". A hike on the Apalachian Trail has been on my mind for a long time now. We have spent two days hiking now. I do like it quite a bit. Yesterday, I wondered how many days it would take to "ease" in to the trail. By that I mean, leave the day to day concerns of life behind, and just put one foot in front of the other ... noticing the trail ... listening to the breeze ruffling the canopy ... . Yesterday I walked with my husband for seven hours. I wonder how seven days of that ... a week ... where could we walk to in a week. That's what this Trail fantasy is about. Out there ... there are no distraction ... well, 'cept for the jets ... we were hiking hidden in the trees under the departure path for ATL.

It was really hot yesterday ... and humid. You can see the moisture suspended in the air. I sweated the entire first half of the ten mile hike ... up and down over loose rocks ... huge boulders ... tree roots peeking up everywhere ... and several stream crossings (a couple were bridges with handrails ... Some where hop-scotch style rocks laying in the gently undulating stream, inviting me to dip my hands in to the clear cold water ... really good ... a couple were just logs secured inviting broken bones I thought). The trail was labeled strenuous ... average time to cover one 4.5 mile stretch was three hours. Sissy time I thought. I figured it would be no problem for me. My husband was awesome about stopping along the way ... I am still a city girl and I need to take a picture of every little thing. There are a lot of little things I've never seen before out in the woods. I love the variety of green ... moss is so artful ... really ... and the browns and golds and rusty orange brushed here and there ... it was almost total immersion because we seldom caught a glimpse of the sky. At about hour five of the seven hour hike, the skin on my ankles and calves was burning ... Like fire ant stings burning ... I sat down on a fallen tree trunk and pulled up my cute lightweight Columbia cargo pants leg ... omg ... now the other leg ... yep ... same problem. It looks sort of like a full blown poison ivy rash ... blotchy ... red ... swollen. I've never seen anything like it before. I noticed that I had stopped sweating ... And I noticed that I was really hot ... And when I ducked under a tree which was laying across the path, I noticed I felt a little light headed ... I noticed that my heart would suddenly just be racing ... I started wondering how much farther ... not the whole time, but a few times during the last two hours of the hike. I was so glad when the cicadas started singing ... sweet ... And I was hoping for fire flies, but we never saw any. I don't know what my favorite thing to see was ... It was beautiful in there ... almost magical sometimes ... . I saw some velvety black winged dragonflies with luminescent thorax. They were beautiful.

I saw some bright red capped mushrooms ... sunlight sparkling crystal clear water and pyrite shimmering flashes of gold back up in to the trees. Birds sang. I thought about the silken hammocks we had looked at during an early morning stop along the way. I would like to sleep out there very much. I wonder if I will be afraid or just too worn out to fret.

Today my legs look horrible. I think this is a heat rash ... In a minute I'll start looking for some information about this. My husband had me google heat stroke on our drive home. We stopped at Taco Bell ... I love that blue Mountain Dew. As soon as I started sipping it I felt unpleasant waves ... like chills ... sweeping over me ... and a headache. I drank all the water in my camelback on the trail ... I was well hydrated ... my muscles weren't tired . ... they don't bother me at all today either. The symptoms do sound heat related. I think I shoulda worn shorts and hiking sandals ... all of the heat rash is from my waist down.

That's what I'm supposed to figure out this week. Next Saturday we're going to hike a different section. Next hike at least a couple of our kids are going to go with us ... That will be a totally different kind of hike.

“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stress management - Balance is the GOAL

I love goals ... targets ... objectives ... planned outcomes. Well ... I sure do love to meander aimlessly also, but that's a different kind of thing. I like the structure that intentional supplies.

So, I feel comfortable with this approach as a place to start thinking about managing stress:

The goal is to balance time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun ... plus (or maybe and) develop the resilience to hold up to the demands of your life and meet your challenges head on.

Identify your stressors ... It's not just some random list. For example, driving in big city traffic in general doesn't bother me but it stresses my husband out ... I actually look forward to it. I like the hubbub of a lot of people moving about together ... on the roadways and just in life in general. A traffic jam means I can hear the entire segment of Hardcore History (Dan Carlin ... good stuff). I have developed an affinity for the slower pace that my life is lived at, but if I had only myself to think about, I know I would live in a more cosmopolitan setting and take breaks with nature. Tonight we will see a movie ... that is basically what is available entertainment-wise out here in the sticks. There is nothing showing that I would choose to see and haven't already seen. Yes, it is fortunate that I have a movie night to look forward to, but wouldn't it be great if we could actually go walk around the zoo rather then sit through a zoo movie? I did a lot of my homework at the zoo in Ft. Worth ... I love that zoo ... Zoo Atlanta rocks too, but it is too far away for a little date night ... that is an example of how a bucolic setting can wear on you. My big goofy deal for tonight's movie is playing that little dress up game I devised for movie night ... I have a zebra pattern clutch ... my nod to Zoo Keeper, my daughters will think it's pretty funny ... This is how we amuse ourselves out here. Three months in the middle of nowhere sounds heavenly, then, pretty soon, I know I'm going to be hoping to see some neon ... and hear some music (possible playing at high decibels). So, identify your stressors, and as you do this, find places where you can take responsibility for your role in creating and/or maintaining the stress load.
Someone recommended a "stress journal" where you note each stressful incident, what caused it, how you felt physically and emotionally at the time, how you responded to it, and did your response make you feel better. I will never do a stress journal. I know what is stressing me out most of the time ... if I don't, it's only because I choose not to.
Here's a little list of where stress tries to take us ...
Zoning with TV or computer
Sleeping too much
Filling up the day with activities in order to avoid facing problems
Releasing your stress on others - lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence
It's important to figure out what your stress default mode is, because, if it's one of these unhealthy ones, it just compounds the stressful problem. I know I was having a stress spike the other day when I sat down with Jose ... two shots did not make me feel better ... I knew they wouldn't. The deal is, you are absolutely able to change the situation, change your reaction to it, or a combination of the two. What's that quote about doing the same thing and expecting different results ... Brb.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
~Albert Einstein

Oh, hello Einstein!

So, how can I change the situation? Somewhere in the reading this idea surfaced: either avoid or alter the stressor. And change my reaction by either adapting to the stressor, or accepting the stressor. They had a few examples (I don't think it's quite this cut and dry, but maybe food for thought):
°Keep your workload manageable ... Say no to too much ... If too much has to happen, plan some recuperative time to offset it. I've gotten a lot better at managing my volunteer work over the years. Prioritizing helped me with that.
°Limit your exposure to people, events, places, etc. that stress you out. My mom stresses me out ... even at the beach, she stresses me out, and the truth is ... I probably stress her out too. That's a pretty significant relationship ... there are ways to avoid the stress without avoiding the point of stress. In this case, it was important enough to me to figure out to avoid the hot spots. Some people, events, or places are beyond the cost of exposure to ... Spend your time on more productive or pleasing pursuits. The reading mentioned finding a less stressful route to work or move close enough to walk ... be creative ... you're not stuck!
°avoid hot button topics ... Yours, Theirs, Ours ... Don't push buttons and don't let your buttons be pushed. It is actually fun to observe this button pushing dealio ... it has been developed to a science here in my house where we have two parents and five children. Over time, my children have taught me where my buttons are. I have observed that our most adroit button pusher of all is also the most adept at not allowing his buttons to be pushed ... AND ... He is also amazing at rebooting people when their buttons have been pushed. I love to watch him work his magic. Now that he is grown up, he just stirs the pot enough to make things interesting ... stopping short of sloshing people's stuff around.
ALTER I haven't been real successful here, but I'm working on this area ...
°express your feelings rather then bottle them up ... Maybe I do that here some.
°be more assertive ... don't take a back seat in your own life ... deal with problems head on, trying to anticipate and prevent problems from becoming too much. I think this is an important one ... There is a significant cost attached to constantly rolling over on everything. Assertive is absolutely appropriate ... advocate for yourself as you would a friend. Putting IT off, hoping things will improve, is risky business at best.
ADAPT ... This I actually rock ... I coulda written this section with no outside help!
°reframe - rather then fume about a traffic jam or a wait in line, see it as down time to listen to a podcast or people watch
°get a big picture picture perspective ... Will this matter a week/month from now? Look for the humor and humanity in things ... Give yourself and everyone else a break! Focus on gratitude, appreciation, your own strengths and good fortune.
ACCEPT ... If it's acceptable, those things you can not change. The behavior of other people is outside your/my control. Focus on how you choose to address difficult situations and difficult people. Major challenges are opportunities for personal growth. All the articles mentioned how important it is to learn how to forgive ... find a way to let go of anger and resentment ... it is a major key needed to unlock yourself from the bonds of stress. Something I read said something like, Anger keeps you from being able to see and address your route out of where angry takes you. Anger is part of stress soup, for sure.
those are some ideas for developing a proactive approach to filtering stress. Here are a few ideas for relieving stress.
Nurture yourself ... novel idea for a lot of people.
Here is the best of the to do list offered in my reading ... Walk, run, work out, be outside, savor a treat, get a massage, listen to music, laugh, ... Spend time with people you enjoy being around ... Enjoy your work ... Maintain a positive attitude about where and how you spend a lot of your time. I love that laughter was mentioned we several times. I really enjoy laughing and I'm actively seeking sure-fire places for a quick laugh stop.
Every article I read mentioned the importance of a healthy life style ... One article told me what that would look like in adulthood: balance means a calm state of energy, alertness, focus and productivity ... If you're not feeling like that most of the time, you may be too stressed.

This was my favorite part of the information I read . All that other stuff seems like stuff we've all heard many times before.

How do humans react to stress?
Internally, the body part of us, everyone experiences the same responses to stress (in varying degrees) ... blood pressure rises ... Heart pumps faster .... Muscles constrict . Stress works our bodies hard and undermines our immune system. ... Lotsa stress ... Lotsa fuel to burn that fire. Stress is an ager of people. Here comes the interesting part:
Externally, people tend to react in three separate ways:
1. Get angry and agitated ... aggressively confrontational
2. Zone out ... withdraw ... non-confrontational ... blow it off
3. Freeze up
And the antidotes to these responses: (yeah, I'm excited about this because I knowknowknow it's true)
1. Anger is an overexcited stress response ... Practice relief activities which will quiet you down ... Things like yoga and calming hikes through the woods ... prayer ... chill out.
2. Withdrawal is an under excited response ... which takes you towards depression ... Relief activities for this type responder would be to find stimulating, energizing activities ... like flying is for me, and like driving too fast (yes, on a motorcycle if that's what you get to do) and maybe roller coaster rides or racket ball ... white water rafting ... all the fun stuff ... thrill out.
3. Freeze up ... Uh ... I don't do this ever and they didn't offer a very satisfying antidote for this response ... All they said was find a safe and stimulating way to re-boot your system ... So I am going to make something up here ... take a tepid bath ... light some vanilla scented candles ... and have some safe predictable sex ... If that doesn't reboot you try one of the above activities.

Here is a bonus item that I couldn't fit anywhere up above ... Age doesn't quash our spirit of adventure. I absolutely love that! The few extra years that making adjustments for stress ... finding creative ways to push back the penalties of stress ... systematically loosening the grio that stress has on your life ... it's worth it! Alot of the cool stuff is yet to come. If your job or where you live is stressing you out, figure out how to address it. Maybe the slightest tweak would make all the difference.
I read an article this morning about Alabama's former Governor Bob Riley ... He laid his Harley over during a little ride around up in Alaska ... I'm sorry he had an accident, but I'm really glad he was going for it. He worked hard and he rewarded himself with some playtime. I bet he'll be right back at it after he recuperates ... probably planning his next adventure already.

For me ... In this dance I do with stress ... I'm going to see if there are any patterns in what triggers my stress response. Sometimes I get angry or frustrated, sometimes I withdraw and blow it off sorta. As possible responses to stress, I like both yoga and taebo ... I like Amadeus and AC/DC ... knowing what approach will render the best results was worth the effort of looking at this again ... I'm all hooked up now. Stress breaks seem to be at least as important as any of the other stuff we all know to do for our physical/mental/spiritual health.
Watch the Salposky program. I read several of his articles ... Just skip to the findings if you go that far. I think his work is going to help us all.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wow ... Looking at aviation weather. What a mess from Florida all the way up to Boston and back over to Atlanta. Not a drop of rain here today. I've been watching it pretty closely as we contemplate a day hike this coming Saturday ... It's that time of year. To make it more interesting for me ... the weather that is, I've been listenning to ATC at DCA off and on today. They currently have TCUs in thé vicinity ... Doesn't seem to be wrinkling any brows though.

We are 072115Z 07004 10sm SCT065 SCT 07033/20 A2988
CSG 31009
ATL 22009G16
BHM 15004

Lotsa variation over a small area

Looks like a bit of a mess out towards California too. Summer.


Okay ... First of all, these are just notes, not an essay. I'm saying that, because there are so many excellent papers written on various aspects of stress. My reading on this topic has been enlightening ... I thought I had a pretty good handle on the stress deal, but ... well, I'm really glad I took another close look.

Back, maybe in December, whenever it was that we decided to rid our lives of the clutter that is cable TV, I began this flirtation with intentional viewing ... uh-huh ... documentaries baby. NetFlix and Hulu+ have been added to my nerdy enjoyment of listening to ATC live (which is pretty close to listening to love songs in and of itself). Anyway, whenever this started, it absolutely blew me out of my house slippers (no, not really, I am a barefoot kinda girl), riveting me to a seat on the sofa with absolutely nothing for my hands to do except sit there and pay attention along with the all the rest of a totally engrossed me. My first selection ... the first taste of documentary du jour was: Stress: Portrait of a Killer

National Geography serves up some ... very provocative info. I've viewed this material several times now and whole heartedly recommend it as a starting place for anyone wanting to learn a bit more about stress and it's insidiously corrosive impact on both the quality and quanity of our lives. Here's a link to a summary:
Dr. Sapolsky's scholarly research spans several decades and continents. Basically, he has been following a tribe of baboons ... collecting blood samples (to measure glucocoriticoids and probably other hormones) and documenting observational studies. He doesn't come right out and say it, but, I believe it's safe to infer ... Baboons can be real jerks. The Rank/Stress connection came as a huge surprise to me. See, for some reason I just thought the Alphas ( and I use that term loosely ... may explain later) were the guys with all the stress. Sapolsky says something like this; for every Alpha stuck glorying in power, there is an uncertain subordinate "marinating" in stress hormones. Wow. Who knew? Yes ... I have heard almost all my life that poopy rolls downhill ... yes it follows that the air and everything else else is more pleasant at the top ... how did I come to believe that go with the flow was the less stressful way to go?
The stress created by rising to a challenge is "good stress" ... The buzz of an adrenalin rush. (Hold that thought for later ... I'm pretty sure it's the real reason why so many pilots love their motorcycles ... yeah, seriously ... fast bikes may be medicinal! ... Next post.) Bad stress ... The kind that causes the almost constant burning sensation in my shoulder muscles ... The kind that grinds my molars as I sleep ... Is caused by "lack of control and lack of predicability".

Just a tiny personal pause here ... It's getting better for me. That bad dream about sitting in the backseat of a run-away vehicle ... that has stopped. Or morphed. Latest version is me on a bicycle zooming along a spagetti bowl big city interchange ... I was a little tense in the dream ... vulnerable/unprotected, but at least with some degree of a self determining role. Control. The word seems to have some negative connotations for some ... noticed Two doesn't hear the word in the context I am trying to use it ... so -
to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.
to hold in check; curb: to control a horse; to control one's emotions.
to test or verify (a scientific experiment) by a parallel experiment or other standard of comparison.
to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of: to control a forest fire.
Okay, I'm thinking of control as in "self-control or self moderating", not as under the thumb of a control freak.
I'm talking about ... say, in the experience ... collaborating for outcomes ... cooperative control ... wow ... I didn't realize this was such a difficult idea to express. In the airplane ... for example, I may have the controls, but that sure doesn't mean that I expect everyone else to sit there in awed silence. Everyone who wants a headset is invited to participate ... If you see traffic, yeah ... point it out ... If you want to fly for awhile, just say the word ... be mindful that there are times when idle chitchat is less desirable, but ... We are in this together ... . Additionally, some of my most fun times are in the airplane with no flying duties ... it is sooooo much fun to be an educated passenger ... maybe even with a camera. I love to sit back for the ride when some high skill stick is showing off ... just for the sheer joy of it. See ... I'm totally getting side-tracked here ... I can feel my shoulders relax and my smile blossom at just the thought of it. This is my happy place ... . I completely understand that the buck stops ... somewhere. I get the whole leadership thing ... just saying there are more and less effective styles of leadership which carry different results and different stress loads.

Now I havtah reread to pick up the train of thought!

How do we react to and how do we recover from the long reach of stress?
Stress erodes the hippocampus region of our brains ... The zone for memory storage, loss and recall. Ever draw a blank when trying to introduce a person or ... answer a question ...? That's a glitch in the hippocampus. A hiccup.
Dopamine binds to receptors signaling pleasure ... dominants have more dope ... subordinates have less ... less ability to store and less ability to recall stuff. We intuitively realize that we perform better when not totally stressed out. People on guard ... vigilant people are highly stressed. That thing I said about a seat near the emergency exit ... I know I can get the door open ... can you? ... the ass I'm saving may not just be my own!
Chronic unrelenting exposure to high stress is also linked to abdominal fat (its not just unsightly ... it's a killer) and ... depression. It fries your telomers ... those little boots at the ends of our chromosomes ... chronic stress unravels us ... premature aging ... an early death sentence. It's really unacceptable.

Back to the Salposky findings ... His baboons ate some stuff that killed the Alpha males ... Guess they get to eat first ... I don't know, I can't remember ... They showed a shot of a baboon with flies all over it and I just thought ... Bummer ... The guy's invested in these baboons. But it worked out okay. The super aggressive, antisocial, chest-bumping alphas died. The male baboons who were left were pretty good guys ... as citizens of a cooperate social dynamic. Social grooming increased, the females weren't getting dumped on, the stress penalty for the entire group decreased significantly. I think he said something like this; If being a good guy at the top of the hierarchy matters to you, go where you are happy. The "corporate" culture of this tribe became cooperative even as new males were introduced. Conditions that are vital for our health are more control and more justice ... Equating to lower stress. More rewards (dopamine)for the effort creates a more productive environment ... appreciation empowers your team. A true alpha male in my book is someone who can successfully lead a team effort ... giving direction and support rather then receiving constant personal gratification. I did look at several definitions on the net of alpha traits ... worth a look. Okay ... To be fair, those badboy baboons probably woulda been good warriors ... idk ... they may have used the weaker members as shields ... just looking for the positives here.

Tomorrow I'll try to get my notes on stress management posted ... there were a couple of lightbulb moments there. The simple realization that you are in control of your life is the foundation for stress management. In charge of your thoughts ... emotions ... schedule ... environment ... strategies for dealing with problems.