downtime.

I am foraying into the world of self-employ.  While I’ve been freelancing for almost a year, I am now at the point where the work I’m doing is enough to cut back my office-work schedule to 3 days/week, and I have more than enough work to do the remaining 4 days/week for my main client.  I’ve fantasized for years about working for myself; it’s quite a different story when confronted with the reality of the thing, am I right?  I don’t say this as a negative, it’s simply an adjustment in both daily habits and practices, and in mentality/perception. I’m loving it so far, and getting more disciplined about my work habits, primarily because I can see how easy it is to simply work all the time. Although, this isn’t really anything new for me, I’m fond of being a busy-busy-bee! I can also see the necessity of getting out and spending time with people, ie volunteering, and participating in a writing group (of which, incidentally, I found a really great one last week! through the Hennepin County Library system.  Have I ever mentioned how much I looooove the library? Home away from home for this word nerd!).

What I love about working from home, more than anything, is that I get to decide my schedule.  I do not enjoy the necessity of being at an office for a prescribed number of hours during a set time frame. This has always made me a little cray-cray, though I’ve spent years trying to convince myself that it’s what I need to adjust to to make a living in this world.  I’m soooo happy to be finding out that there are other options- and they’re even viable options!  What I love about freelance writing is, well, writing.  Because the more you do of something you love, the more you do of something you love! Or, something to the effect of, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While some may debunk this as bad career advice, I say it’s completely true!

At the moment, I’m taking a break from writing about various types of cancer for clients (just a little light writing for a Monday, thank you very much!).  These are the ways I like to give my mind a rest:

  • More writing, ovbi.  Though it’s nice to be able to vent the randomness in my brain
  • Trail running.  Today @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park, which is a bit of a jaunt, but definitely worth it.  It was grey and dreary, which made the leaves still clinging to the branches scream their vibrant colors.  I f’ing love autumn in Minnesota!
  • Regular running, too.
  • Or walking along the mighty Mississipp’, which is nearby.
  • Doing headstands, a la B.K.S. Iyengar. Like this:   Ha!  No, more like this:Except sh!ttier, with a lot of confused adjusting happening throughout.
  • Playing Words with Friends with a guy I used to date.  I suppose he would be considered some sort of ex, though he wasn’t technically a boyfriend (of course, this is my attitude about our relationship now. Had you asked while we were dating, he probably was considered a boyfriend.  Still, there needs to be some sort of nomenclature pertaining to people you formerly dated.  Ex… datees? No. Come up with something and leave it in the comments, if you would!).  Anyhoo, it’s weird because we don’t talk, but I soooooo want to beat him, so we keep playing.
  • Eat food.  Make food.  Think about going to get food or ordering food.  Looking at food in the cupboards. Making more coffee to drink for when my break is over.
  • Facebooking, tweeting, et cetera.  Truly, an addiction.  (Feel free to friend ‘n’ follow, btw.)
  • Daydreaming about getting a French Bulldog.
  • Perusing adopt-a-dog sites, searching for vicarious puppy-love
  • Many, many other interesting things.

What do you do on your breaks, peeps who work from home and otherwise?  I’m always fascinated by how people spend their downtime… or procrastinate-time.

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hosted!

I don’t know why it’s taken me forever to figure this out.  Installing WordPress on my computer so that I can do all sorts of wondrous things has been nearly as painful as contemplating chewing off my own arm, like that guy in 127 Hours, a movie which did not hold my attention.  Or else I was knitting or cooking and only marginally paying attention to a movie which probably required a lot of visual processing, so it was all just lost on me.  My point being that WP is hopefully installing as we speak.  Maybe.  And then, perhaps, I can figure out how to use it and not funk everything up!  Woo-hoo!

Did I mention I’m wanderlusting?  Whereas the Daily Show will give you a moment of Zen, I am giving myself a daily dose of torture, or inspiration, depending upon how you view it.  I’m somewhere in between, myself.  The image du jour:

I’m practically salivating over anything Montana-related at this point.  Except for fires and the like.  Except if I were salivating over wildfires, I would be, theoretically, helping the cause.  Anyway.

I’m not just fantasizing about any old place in MT, it’s one area in particular.  It starts in Red Lodge, stretches north by way of U.S. Route 212Beartooth Highway, which, according to Wikipedia, passes through portions of Custer National Forest, and Shoshone National Forest and near the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.  U.S. 212 winds in and out of Montana and Wyoming, with a layover in Cooke City, until it finally ends just a bit further along, at the northeast entrance of Yellowstone.

We camped along this route a million times when I was a kid.  An oft-repeated story of Ang-as-toddler occurred while staying at Island Lake Campground, elevation 9,600 ft.  Not ever a graceful child, I fell into the very-very cold water one night and, because I was pretty short, drenched all of my little jeans.  The jeans were hung outside overnight to dry, but the temps dipped that night, and we awoke to frozen pants, and I started to cry.  This is where opinions differ.  I’m quite certain that I was crying because I saw snow on the ground.  The three other members of my family insist it was because the jeans were frozen.  I have always disagreed with this premise, but no longer dispute it when told around the campfire.  There are other stories they don’t tell, like the time when, raising it too quickly, a flaming marshmallow launched from the stick, landing squarely on my cheek.  Or how, as a teenager, I insisted upon wearing makeup throughout our annual westward trek, secretly convinced I would pass some hunky guy on trail.

So, while we’re at it, let’s take a moment to ruminate on how much we love the National Parks and Forests, shall we?  What is your fave Park or Forest?  Share your memories in the comments!

wanderlusting (with links to CO donation sites).

I have a nearly-unbearable case of itchy feet.  I have some vacay planned mid-July, driving to KC for a conference, and then on to Colorado to visit friends, so there’s a goal in sight!  And that helps alleviate (somewhat, very mildly) the urge to pack up and drive away.  For now, I won’t do that.

In my mind, summer is for road trips to the mountains, and it’s been several years since I’ve stared at a high-altitude sky and counted falling stars and satellites.  It doesn’t help that I have an ever-growing playlist (found here) dedicated specifically to road trips, and here’s a little sip of the cheesiness (you expected nothing less, correct?):

Since our camping trips began when I was still in diapers (perhaps before, as my mother once hinted I was conceived in a camper.  We have never revisited this line of discussion.), many of the songs are old.  Most share the bluesy-country-alt country vibe: my mom has always been a lover of country music, my dad leaned more to rock and blues, while my brother, at one point, would listen to nothing but Led Zeppelin and the Guess Who.  Indeed, I cannot listen to any song from the American Woman album without being immediately transported to a rocky, secluded campsite in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, somewhere betwixt Red Lodge, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone.  We owned American Woman on cassette, and when we weren’t driving, would listen to the tape on a clunky old battery-powered tape player.  A little of this, anyone?

I experience strange satisfaction and joy in having reached an age when something so commonplace in childhood has now become an ungainly dinosaur, even to my eyes.

What are you summer songs?  Best road trip memories and locations?  Leave your comments below!

And quickly, since mountains are to Colorado what pretty toenails are to Essie polish, donation and volunteer info from the Summit Daily News follows:

• El Paso County Sheriff’s office: Large animal shelter at Norris-Penrose Equestrian Center needs volunteers: 719-520-7773.

• The Red Cross in Colorado Springs is at 719-632-3563. Those wanting to donate money to the Red Cross can go here.

• Help Colorado Now, a partnership of Colorado Division of Emergency Management (CDEM) and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (COVAD), has a list of donations needed and Fort Collins location for drop-off.

• The Salvation Army can take monetary donations; specify ‘Northern Colorado Chapter – High Park Fire’ or ‘Northern Colorado Chapter – Waldo Fire:’ 303-866-9216, The Salvation Army, 1370 Pennsylvania Ave., Denver, CO 80132.

• Donate online to Larimer Humane Society 15or mail checks to 5137 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80525. Society currently coordinating rescue of all animals in High Park Fire area, providing water to animals that have not been evacuated, reuniting owners and pets and sheltering evacuated animals: 970-226-3647, ext. 7.

• Text HIGHPARK to 80108 to donate $10 for fire relief in northern Colorado through The mGive Foundation: mgivefoundation.org

• Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department 17Donations can be mailed to: RCVFD-Treasurer, PO Box 2, Bellvue, CO 80521.

Or visit Help Colorado Now’s site, for more specs.

marathon photo (not foto).

Finally done! Unfortunately, iPhoto decided to be uncooperative this week, so it’s taken me a minute to get this all compiled, but here’s a recap of the race.  So fun to go back and look through them, even though it’s just a week past!

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…and returned, a marathon finisher.

After 18 weeks of training, it’s all over, and I crossed the finish line!  Not that I really doubted I would, I was more uncertain in what condition I’d cross it.  I want to do a whole recap, because I feel like this training, this process of the 18-week marathon training, has had a profound effect, but it’s more than I want to go into tonight.  I have yet to experience the 2nd day post-marathon, and as most would agree, that’s the day the toll of exertion is exacted, so sleep must be imminent.

of a holiday-weekend Sunday

I can’t sleep, which is always a bummer. Instead, I’m laying on the daybed, in the screened-in porch at the cabin, hiding under the blankets, playing with my phone. And figuring out how to use Siri. Which is awesome because now I don’t even have to write out what I want to say. And I can keep telling her things to write.

Here are some pics from my uber-relaxing, highly lazy, mostly solo weekend:

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Where I’ve been stationed for the majority of the past 2 days.

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Lake Superior Lake Trout

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Trying to impress with the screen-side camera lens, which Dad pointed out they already had on their iPads.

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My contribution to the meal: home-brewed kombucha (Dad isn’t a fan; hence, a mere sip in his glass).

goals: fear-seeking missiles!

Why is it that the goals you deem the scariest, are the ones that you most often have the opportunity to endeavor?  Last year I set the intention to run my first half-marathon; I ran 2.  This year, I have merely been considering the possibility of running my first marathon.  Just slightly thinking about it, a little!  I haven’t even set my goals for the year down on paper… yet BOOM!!!!!!!  Today, after a friend queried my interest, I signed up for Grandma’s Marathon on 16 June 2012.  That’s just over 19 weeks to train (I think).  Yikes.Disclaimer: I know I’ll do fine, and I’m not looking for validation (though encouragement is welcome, as are your success and/or horror stories!).  Just a bit gun-shy thinking about those Saturday-morning 20-milers come May…