If Br’er Rabbit had an iPhone, life would look like this

macaque

Jane Doh selfie… eat your heart out Kim Kardashian!

Despite a foot that’s none to happy with me for my inability to sit around and wait for it to un-break itself, I’ve still been getting out to either go hiking, or mountain biking. And though I did make a good go of it running one day, the results on my bloody, stupid appendage and its digit were enough to curb that drive for the time being.  (Update.  No it wasn’t.  I did it again, but it wasn’t as bad.)

The irony of getting out more is that you tend to spend less time inside blogging… which is a good thing to take a break from, from time to time anyway.
(Everything in moderation except cheese, wine, digital photos, and chocolate, and you should live to a ripe old age… or at least ripe.)

I’m also making the effort to take better pictures with this iPhone, as it’s usually all I ever have on me. A purse and its trappings are a thing of the past, and I’m not entirely unhappy to see them go as I like being unladen by domestic baggage and a twenty pound camera.

Primarily I’ve been riding a few trail systems by my house. One is mapped out and easy to navigate, while the other was unquestionably mapped by a blind macaque with an inner ear disorder and a blatant disregard for numerical sequence. Twice in one week I’ve found myself wandering dead-end trails that involve ravines and rock slides, and Br’er Rabbits briar patch. (I’m certain of the latter after having dug out said briars from beneath my skin more times than I can count.)

Which brings me to today’s lessons:

Mountain Biking Lesson #43
Scout out new trails before you launch yourself down them. This will save you the trouble of rocketing off the virtual cliff you didn’t see coming, and tumbling down a rock slide that you will then have to climb back up. With your bike in tow.  And if you’re like me, you get to do this with a broken toe / finger / arm / neck (Choose a body part, I’m not picky.) … which will not thank you for your senseless desire to punish it by proving how stupid you can be awesome  you are time and time again.

Having said that, should you find yourself in a briar patch with your bike anyway, remember to take the time to shoot a few photos so that you can remember this vital life lesson. You will thank yourself for it later… your family will just laugh at you.  Win – Win.

… Which now segues nicely into todays iPhone photography lesson…

iPhone Photography for Dummies; Lesson #3
While lying on your back as you assess whether you’ve broken anything before you attempt to move, take a look around. Chances are there is something beautiful going on around you, aside from your body’s remarkable ability to heal.
Take out your phone and start shooting anything that looks remotely interesting, and be sure to take numerous shots from various angles, even if this causes excruciating pain.  Art is pain people.

Being that this is the digital age, click to your heart’s content .. and then keep doing it. When you get home from the hospital and are laying in bed you’ll have ample time to sort through the thousands of photos of your recent adventure. Most of them will likely be mediocre and nothing worth saving, but once in a great while you might surprise yourself, and discover you’ve managed to get a unique and strange shot that almost looks like you knew what you were doing.  Or, nature may step in and offer you compensation for trying to kill you earlier… don’t question it.  Own it like a Rock Star.

These are recent acquisitions to my iPhoto library while spending some quality time in the briar patch.

We can all pretend I knew what I was doing. I call this photo shoot
“Dumb Luck and Persistence”.

Enjoy.

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-Jane

Posted in Art; term used loosely, Mountain Biking, Olympic Peninsuala, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Honky-tonk Badonkadonk and the demise of Pooh Bear

winnie the pooh, fear and loathing in las vegas, funny, parody, bizarre, oddThere is a creaking, wrenching, protesting, grind of metal against wood. A house shaking, wall groaning, pounding going on over my head this morning.

In the cloud shaded crack of dawn I’ve a handful of surly roofers stomping and swearing their way back and forth across the heavens in steel toed boots. Somewhere between, “Where the f*ck are the goddam roofing nails!” and the hastily hushed rantings of someone who just put their size elevens through this rotting fortress into my living room, the strains of “Honky-tonk Badonkadonk” sidestep the madness to add an element of class.

Hammers pound, rusted nails scream and squeak, and the crackling sound of rotted wood tearing from its foundation before being thrown onto the deck has replaced the birdcalls and gentle wind through bamboo wind chimes that normally reside in this corner of the 500 acre woods.

Winnie the Pooh would take up drinking. Eeyore would be having a field day with all the misery, and Tigger would be shot with a nail gun and strapped to the front of one of the multiple pickups that now decorate my lawn…. his tail festooned to a C.B. antenna and flapping in diesel laden breezes.

winnie the pooh mental health disordersYes, the glory that is the pomp and circumstance of a new roof has graced our doorstep.

This house that we have lived in for the last four years; the one that has leaked and rotted and hosted troves of wasps in a warped and tangled roof, is finally being attended to. Now. The very same time we’re attempting to pack up this house so that we can move out of it.

Our landlord’s timing couldn’t be more ill-timed and sardonic… crazy witch that she is.

The icing on this week’s cake is the pending arrival of my sister and her two kids tomorrow. Knowing my sister like I do she’ll apologize profusely for something she had no control over, and her children will certainly find the whole situation less than glamorous. Thankfully the Daughterling and I will be leaving with them for a week on our last Peninsula adventure for the foreseeable future. While we’re gone Manchild will get to deal with the roofers, and lament his decision to stay up all hours of the night playing World of Warcraft only to try to sleep with the cacophonous lullaby of chaos above him.

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Welcome to life a la Jane. At least when we get back we’ll have a new roof to move out from under.

And so it goes…. much like the skylight the other day when a hammer fell through it. … Though I will say, the blue tarp overhead does lend a lovely sapphire hue to the house that the silly glass covering just couldn’t compete with.

-Jane

funny-winnie-the-pooh

Posted in Photography, Sarcasm / Humor, The Daily Grind, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Full Circle; I run in them often… it’s good exercise.

Washington state mountainsOver the weekend I awoke to the thrum of fat, round raindrops as they fell from a sunny sky onto the wooden deck outside my bedroom window.  Each connection of wood and water was a symphony of natural exuberance, a sloshing and fragrant revival of life to a parched and yellowing world.

August in the northwest is the scent of seaweed baking in the sun.  The cascading trill of birdsong as early as 4 a.m..  A heavy, salty sky that leaves volcanoes shimmering above the earth as they strain for the cooler air high in a cloudless atmosphere.

The rain was a welcome reordering to a hot and hazy summer that has seen change transform this little family once again.  And amidst those raindrops that fell so hard and heavy, I spoke to the husband about this new path in life.  My new path.

every cloud has a silver lining

Find your silver lining.

Words I spoke, as gentle and as firmly as I could, to get my point and intentions across was met with some resistance, but also with an overall feeling of dismissal.  Another denial to the state of things, which wasn’t at all surprising.  Here’s the overall point, I don’t make threats, and I don’t play games.  What I do is state my intentions and then follow through with them … so maybe this is his way of handling it … by letting me.  (And here the words “not surprised” enter my vernacular one more time… I wasn’t expecting otherwise, sad to say.)  I’m not bitter about it, not really.  It comes as more of a bittersweet knowledge that some things remain the same while the world spins on fast forward into tomorrow.  If anything, it reminds me why I am headed down the road I am, and confirms all those reasons for doing so.

There has been some attempt to speak kinder words, and a clinginess that is unusual, but as the weekend faded to a close, so to did the niceties; business as usual under this roof.  However, my focus right now isn’t on relationships, it’s on getting this house fully packed for the move that lingers in the peripheral … so close.

I’ve also a sister coming for a visit.  Olive is flying up with her two kids for one last Olympic Peninsula adventure before this chapter is closed.  … The timing is horrible, but Olive lives in a world where money isn’t in short supply, and the concept of packing up an entire house is left to hired hands.  It’s not a good thing, or a bad thing, it’s merely a thing to shake my head at and laugh about; funny, sweet girl that she is.  So the focus won’t be on how behind I am at this point, but on the memories we can make, and that’s the brighter perspective.

Thus it begins.

good-hope-beauty-blue-bright-cool-warm

-Jane

Posted in New Beginnings, Olympic Peninsuala, Positive Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All You Need Is Love. (And a bunch of other stuff.)

love wingsPeace comes when you stop fearing the unknown, and start living in the moment. In the end, when we look back over our steps and decisions in this life, we are going to remember the moments, and for those whom we leave behind .. that is all we can truly offer them of any worth… moments of our time. Pieces of our life.

Speaking for myself, I doubt I’ll have the passing thought that I should have worried more. Took less time off and worked harder. Somehow I doubt any of us will look back and find value in having climbed social ladders, or the prestigious contacts we achieved.. or anything else quite so meretricious and shallow… like the number of friends we have on Facebook that we never really took the time to honestly know.

sad birdPeople are silly creatures, aren’t we? So quick to judge, jump to conclusions, assume and join the majority vote. When did living turn into a political one-upmanship?

When you really break it down, none of that has anything to do with existing. And simply existing isn’t living. What if the whole point, the deep philosophical meaning of life is just that … to live. To be born, discover our families, help each other through our troubles, and treat our love as though it were the sole commodity, or currency. To offer it out as though it were pulled from an endless well, so that others could find a measure of joy in their own lives. Given generously so it could multiply, not hidden behind greed, or agendas, or favors. Freely given, gratefully received. And in the end when our time has come, to move on with the knowledge that we did indeed love, and we did it the best we could.

Nobody takes anything but memories from this life. Make sure your’s are worth remembering.

winter birds shareGranted, I understand this sounds a bit like a fairy tale… but is it really? Have we all become so jaded that we can’t leave open the possibility that it is ours for the taking? Because love is also a choice. We chose what we love, and whom we love… and we go to great lengths to protect that which we do love. That’s fact… not a fairy tale.

So if we find ourselves in this life we are living, without the measure of love each of us needs and deserves, we have the choice to accept that way of living, or to seek out a new path. Find a way to love ourselves enough to open our lives up to hope and possibility.

But, it’s not guaranteed. More than likely we’re going to have to work hard for it. Forgive to make room for it. Move forward so you’re not swallowed by the past. If you want a life with love in it, seek it out, but first understand that in order to feel it, you have to own it. Accept that you are worth loving, love others without condition, and understand that love doesn’t always equate to passion. Love has no boundary. No gender. No relationship status. It simply is.

Beautiful-Bird-ocean…. Being the flawed creatures we are, we’re going to slip up sometimes and do or say things that are harmful. (Read: Amazingly and abundantly stupid.  I’ve got this trait mastered!) That’s okay… perfection isn’t a prerequisite to a joyful life. Acknowledge what the cause was, forgive, and move on. If you can’t forgive, then you’re only limiting yourself… so very cliché, but true. … and sometimes the person we need to forgive is ourselves… keep that in mind.

This.  All this, is where I’ve found myself at the end of a day that started with a lot of angst. Indecision. Hesitation and fear. It was an email from a friend that brought me around. I’ve been trying to come to terms with this new direction in my life… fear, uncertainty, and guilt still firmly anchoring me to the past.  And as silly as it sounds, just reading it, hearing if from someone not in the thick of it, flipped that switch inside.

“Futures. The same things can be as scary as hell or thrillingly exciting. The only difference being attitude or approach. You know this.”

Owl-Bird-NatureAnd they were right, I did know this, I had simply buried it behind my mountain of “what if’s” and thickheadedness.  Which is why I’ve chosen (Yet again.. it’s starting to be a theme around here.) to change my attitude, and approach this future of mine with anticipation in place of worry. I will try to move forward from here on out with love. … and buckets of forgiveness… because until I truly do – forgive myself and others – I will remain anchored (and have issues with burning people’s underwear), when what I really need to do, is fly.

Life may not always go the way we want, or planned, or anticipated… and that’s probably the best thing that could ever happen to us.

Run with it.

-Jane

bird-branch-trust her own wings

Posted in Hope, Mental Health, Motivation, Positive Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blow. Then I get to make a wish.

Warning:
This post may contain sarcasm and a slightly bitter slant.  And fire.

blow off wife's birthday-burn

Rather than describe in vast detail how the birthday weekend went down, and risk turning this blog into a wailing wall over the state of things around here, I’ll offer a summary.

The day of my birthday I stayed in bed. It wasn’t just that I had a visit with a few kidney stones … they were small, and not nearly enough to keep me down … but I used them as an excuse to not have to get out of bed and deal with people.
Why?
Because every year my birthday turns into a fiasco.  Someone, who shan’t be named, either forgets altogether, or does nothing… then makes a point of telling me why they had to do nothing.  Then they’ll get mad at me for feeling like crap when they behave this way .. which makes them feel like a cad, and thats not nice.. Or they’ll buy something they would like, then wonder why I’m not impressed.  Clearly I have some shaping up to do behavior-wise, because making people feel bad on my birthday is just shit of me.  Absolute shite.

(Note: It’s amazing how saying nothing can turn into me making people feel something.)

Delicious Power, I had no idea I owned you!

Maleficent

 

So the weekend ends, and as per the norm I’m left with mountains of laundry to do. More specifically, I’ve got a mound of someone’s dirty under-things needing to be cleaned.

If you could get to these that would be great.
Thus, I smile sweetly, blink my gigantic eyes and say, “I would be happy to.

Clarification for the masses; If I am unhappy with you, and you then ask a favor of me and I smile sweetly and agree to do it …. perhaps you should question the wisdom of having asked me in the first place.  (Universally NOT a secret.)

I did better than wash them. I sanitized the holy hell out of them….

the-burning-of-the-underpants

Dirty underthings: ✔ Lighter fluid: ✔ Matches: ✔

roman candle

Happy Birthday to Me!

Make a wish

Then I got to blow it out and make a wish. It wasn’t for a new washing machine.

 

Okay, I didn’t burn all of them, I’m not that horrible.  Some are still on the floor… mostly because I didn’t want to have to buy someone a gift for my birthday.

-Jane

nah!

Posted in Cooking, Decoding Marriage, Housekeeping, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

On being 21^² … this body is NOT at rest.

Washington state beautyMy time in this place of cedar draped peaks and salmon filled seas is coming to a close. The bustle of Pike Place, the spice market, the fish throwers, and the unshaven friendly hippies that hustle rolling papers and clay flutes along the ever rising tide of Seattle’s waterfront …. will all be yesterday’s memories within a month.

I’m trading this life for the smog laden, Salt Lake City valley where life is packed into cookie cutter neighborhoods like warm, mustard coated sardines. Where buying a cola product containing caffeine is enough to get you banned from the neighborhood BBQ. …. Where once, many years ago when I was a teenager, I watched as a neighborhood mother actually shielded her child’s eyes with her hands as my own mother … the bishop’s wife no less, was being rung up for not one, but three bottles of Barq’s root beer.

SLC-Inversion-gross

The land of milk and honey .. more honey hued smog it seems than milk.

(Barq’s has caffeine y’all. …. Quick! Circle the wagons and make ready the tar and feathers! The bishop’s wife done be commitin’ a sin of the beverage!)

Despite my use of countrified bumpkin slang, it’s a true story. I will concede I made up the part about circling the wagons. People in Utah don’t use wagons anymore, that went out of vogue about 200 years ago. These days they’re called “Shuttle buses”, or as they’re locally known, “Family Vans”.

My parents owned several of these 12 passenger vans over the years. And since my father worked for the government, they were often times …. well, always …well used older vans.
That broke down frequently.
At the most inopportune times.

One in particular brings back traumatic teenage memories that have scarred me for life. It was the pearled yellow-green van with shiny green tinted windows (half of which were either missing or stuck open) and … brace yourselves… had faded orange dingle-balls lining the front windshield.

ugly green van

Not ours, but it’s certainly close… this actually isn’t as ugly as ours was.

You think I’m kidding, or you will be in about three seconds…. I assure you, I am not. They picked it up in Tijuana, and what sort of connections a Mormon bishop had in Mexico … I couldn’t tell you, (Maybe that’s where the family got hooked on caffeine) but it’s where that particular family van came from. This also happened to be around the time my perpetually pregnant mum began wearing muumuus. Her favorite being a hideous tent-like one in various shades of dark green and road-apple brown.

I remember watching a cow chew its cud once while I was still fairly young. A trail of brownish-green slobber trailing from its nose to its mouth, and continuing down in a long, bead threaded string of snot-drool, to pool around its manure caked hooves while it stared with dim eyes at the world going on around it. This is still the image that comes to mind when I remember that horrible muumuu.

pretty cow with daisy

Did you really want to see cow snot? … I didn’t think so.

…. I’ve gone completely off point here, which was why I started this post in the first place. So follow me back around if you will to Seattle, and my swiftly approaching exit from the beautiful Emerald City into the land of root beer bans and cow cuds.

I am going to be completely lost. There is a part of me that simply thrums with light and joy when I smell the change of tide. When I hear gulls crying in their lonely way over snug harbors and rooftops streaked white with their blessings. The call of fishermen fresh in from Alaska with a boatload of Copper River salmon. The food. The people. And yes, even the rain.

This will be the second time I’ve had to leave this place my heart knows to be home, and the first time I’ve returned to Utah as a resident in over twenty years…. to move back in with my parents. It is as though time has folded back on itself. The prodigal daughter returning. Defeated … ruined … but never beaten.

wonder-woman

(My blog, my daydreams people.)

I am trying with everything in me to find the silver lining. To dig into my well of reserves and pull out some of the steel that has gotten me through so much in the last fifteen years. Yet there is still so much further I need to go to find solid footing again. My life exists in that moment of weightlessness between out of control, and impact, when everything is flying by at warp speed, yet you see it in excruciatingly long spans of infinite time, and in extraordinary detail .. just before it all comes to an abrupt and messy halt. The pain only waiting for cognizant recognition before slipping in, as unavoidable as time itself.

But I will get through it. I have the knowledge born from experience; no matter how messy it gets, how traumatic the injuries, nor how excruciating some moments may be .. I will get through this. With the hope and dignity I’ve had to discover buried inside this person I am. I will allow myself to make mistakes, and then forgive myself for them. I will accept that others will make mistakes, and will feel pain, and have their lives changed as a result… and I will (I hope) choose to be gentle with them, and remember their precious humanity. I also hope that in the end I find myself surrounded with love. With people who can stand my back when the cards fall… and who can run with me from the deep sorrow I see coming, and find a mountain high enough to touch those silver clouds with like minds and open hands.. fingertips trailing in the liquid silver of possibility. Life, within reach yet again.

This is where I leave off today. I’ve a weekend to contend with, and my 21st birthday^² I’m avoiding…. and avoidance demands attention.

(For the math geeks; the current body is at rest, and I would prefer a decrease of body mass similar to that of 21, so in my convoluted way it stands.. sort of. Work with me here.)

See you on the other side of the week.

birthday cake fire-Jane

Posted in Olympic Peninsuala, Photography, Sarcasm / Humor, Seattle, Writing, Writing about mental health | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments