American Woman, redux.

So many good things today.  But this was a  highlight:

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I had lunch with my friend, Russ, today at the lovely Indian restaurant Gandhi Mahal, in South Minneapolis, near Lake St. and Hiawatha.  We ordered the lunch buffet, which was loaded up with all gluten-free choices, plus a few dairy-free options. And dessert: 3 options, all gluten free.  And some kind of magical fried chickpea patties, also gluten free. He had read an earlier post re: this album, and just happened to have it in his collection, and gifted it to me (Thanks Russ! Cherishing this as we speak!). A funny bit in this: Russ and I worked at a coffee shop together back when blogs were just becoming a thing. And I lamented them endlessly! How boring to read about what some joker had for lunch, or went on vacation… Clearly, I didn’t understand the depth and breadth of what one is capable of communicating via this commendable medium.

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beautiful. fighter.

There’s not much that either one, or both of these songs cannot cure.  Pretty sure of it.

Sometimes you have to get a little angry.

Then remember: Yes, you are.

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.

today, part II: and then. (or, how to shake the blues!)

This afternoon, I had a little shift from the wackiness of the morning, and I just felt a little down.  In a nugget, moping. You know how sometimes you just feel it?  Probably just the lack of chocolate in the week’s diet, but it just stuck around.  And wouldn’t go away.  So, I just let it be there, and went about the business of working.  Which really is the best way to get through it anyway.  Much better than lying on the bed, listening to old Cold Play songs that, perhaps, remind you of happier days, say 10 or so years ago, and approximately, oh, 9,000 miles away.  With palm trees, and sunrise diving, and midday hammock time…

Digressing.  Self-pity.  Pity party.  It’s so pathetic, because you can identify it, and you know it’s not rational, and YET.  I was on my way to a friend’s house, to visit her newborn, and I really f*cking needed to shake it, at least a little.  So I started employing some tactics, and I thought I would share.  Yes, I still feel a bit blue, but not so much as earlier.

How to: Debbie Downer

  1. Say thank you.  Say it out loud, or in your mind, or in the windows-up radio-down seclusion of your Ford Focus.  For whatever damn thing that comes to mind: your car, the fact that you have a pair of shoes that fit, whatever.  And not in a smart-assy way.  Say it genuinely, or as close to genuine as you can get.
  2. See the opportunity, if applicable, in the situation that upset you.  In my case, I recently lost a client.  If you can remove yourself from the situation (e.g. it’s so damn nice to have a regular gig), and gain some perspective on the actual situation (I didn’t feel particularly good about the type of biz said client was in), you can see that it might, somehow — in even the minutest sort of way — be a good thing.  And really, it is just a matter of allowing yourself to see the tiniest speck of light that can make all the difference some days.
  3. Get the hello out of the house!  Depression equals wanting to sequester yourself and bask in the badness of it all.  If you can, get your butt outside, even if you’re only going to scowl at people at the library.  Just get away, if only briefly, from the energetic raincloud you’ve been inhabiting.  Stare at a tree.  Buy some notebooks and new pens at CVS.  Eat 15 samples of homeopathic-organic-vegan brioche at Whole Foods.  Make fun of hipsters getting lunch from the food trucks.  Just. get. out.
  4. Exercise.  This should really be higher up on the list, because it’s the best one.  It’s hard to cry when you’re at the gym, watching reruns of House Hunters.  Also, you just feel better when you’re doing something great for yourself and your body.
  5. Go to sleep.  Sometimes it’s just better (unless it’s a habit, then you need to talk to someone).
  6. Listen to a good/inspirational/high-energy song.  Faves include “I can only imagine,” by MercyMe (a disclaimer here, this song is highly, highly religious, but it is bound, indelibly, to Team Hoyt [see vid below], and that is one amaze-balls story, right there.  Much inspiration.), maybe a little Eminem, and loads of other either cheesy or horrible songs that I’d prefer not to make you privy to.  Start paying attention to songs that make you feel good, that give you a little boost when you’re driving, check the interwebs for exercise/running playlists to get some ideas.
  7. Write it out.  I tend to express myself better in writing than I do with the speaking, so it’s always worked for me to have a come-to-Jesus with some loose leaf.  I like a little Q&A, though it can just be a rant, or a drawn-out wallow.  Simply expressing it outwardly can extricate it from your body, and leave you some room for relief.
  8. Scream.  Preferably where no one can hear you.  Again, the car works pretty well for this particular option.
  9. Talk to someone.  A friend, parent, spouse, whomever will listen.  Don’t go on and on for an hour, or they may never listen again 😉 but if there’s a trusted someone you can talk to, see if they’ll lend an ear.
  10. Spend time with an animal.  I love dogs, because they just love you.  Cats sometimes let you get close to them, and they might let you pet them, and it’s possible they’ll purr.  Pets don’t carry around the stuff we do, they just love.  You know what they want, and they want to give it right back to you.  I hug my roomy’s dog as often as I can.  I kiss him between the eyes, I talk to him and call him stinky, I’m intoxicated by his dog-smell.  There’s nothing more joyful than watching him swim in the lake.  Even just thinking about him makes me happier.
  11. Find a way to gain some perspective.  I lost a client.  In the scheme of things, so what!?  As I drove away from the house this afternoon, the aforementioned song “I can only imagine” song was on the radio and I was instantly reminded of the video below.  Lost a client?  Boo f’ing hoo.  This dude runs/jumps/swims/bikes in IRONMAN competitions with his full-grown son in tow.  I like to call this method buck-the-f@ck-up, because sometimes the touchy-feely shite doesn’t work, and you just have to knock it out of yourself.  Which I think is what just happened for me (finally!).
  12. Which leads to the last suggestion: help someone else.  Volunteer, stalk old people in parking lots to help them carry things, wait at a door somewhere and just open it for people.  It feels good to help people out, and it moves your focus away from what’s bothering you.

I know I have more than this, so I’ll update when I can think of them.  What works for you?  Leave your suggestions in the comments!  (Also, see if you can make it through Team Hoyt without crying…)

today, part I: wild.

I started today with a run.  You know what I’ve found?  Before I go to bed, if I set out the clothes I’m going to wear in the morning, it becomes a no-brainer to go for a run.  I mean, for the most part.  If you’re going to sleep, you’re going to sleep, and some days there’s not a damn thing that can be done to change it.  But, most of the time, this simple maneuver gets me up out of bed, and onto the trails before I even know what’s happening.  It’s like you’ve already scheduled it into your subconscious calendar, so it’s automatic.

My point being, that I set out my clothes last night, and went for a run first thing this morning.  A longer route around the lake, to turn the 2.7 of the shoreline trail into a 4-miler.  Easy peasy.  Except that I was wearing a new pair of socks, which are smart wool, which everyone swears by, but I can’t get behind.  They’re still wool, and they still itch a bit sometimes, and I’m already damn picky about what I wear on my feet.  So, the run was sort of whiny and bitchy, and I stopped 3 blocks from the house and removed shoes and said socks, and happily walked the remaining distance barefooteded.

I worked from home today, which is always lovely.  After the run, I had some coffee, and started to work.  I took a short break mid morning to read a bit, because I am currently experiencing the wanderlust, in anticipation of a road trip to KC, then Denver and maybe the Black Hills, and this book has got me roped in:

http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Found-Pacific-Crest-Oprahs/dp/0307592731/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340815040&sr=8-1&keywords=wild%3A+from+lost+to+found#reader_0307592731

I saw this featured somewhere a few months ago (and yes, it may have been in a trashy People-mag type publication), and thought it sounded interesting.  When it came up in the library queue, I scanned the prologue, which, I suppose, really has to be the most dramatic piece of the whole book.  It read a bit too indulgently, somewhat reminiscent of “Eat, Pray, Love,” which, while a decent read, is kind of unpleasant somehow.  I picked “Wild” up again another day, just to give it one more chance before returning it to the masses, and found that it’s really good.  The woman is from Minnesota, so there are all manner of references to this great state.  The bulk of it, when she’s on trail, rewinds my mind instantly to all those ill-advised backpacking trips of the college years, the love and the hate and the dehydration-induced drama and waterworks…  She makes it funny, poking fun at herself and seeing the humor in her surroundings and inner dialogues.  It’s mildly painful.  And yet… it’s got me thinking about that old Dana Design holed up somewhere in the basement.

Then this:

popped into my head.  And I felt a little less wild.

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).

wagon wheel, 1st ed.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are some nuggets (or nougat, if your taste buds swing that way), that I’ve happened upon during this week’s frolicks amidst the interwebs. 

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True)

Cracked is one of those horribly wonderful sites that ropes you in with some random Facebook post (in this case 6 Great Old-Timey Comics for [Traumatizing] Kids) and then keep you sucked in by peppering each and every page with lists of stupidly innocuous things that for some reason you MUST find out about right this very second.  I found 5 Creepiest when I navigated over to their Horror section, seems like it might actually be worth a read.

Radiolab : Crossroads short

I love me some radiolab.  Topics are usually pretty obscure but well researched, and the production is kind of campy and odd, so it makes for a fun and experiential listening experience.  Perusing podcasts this week to facilitate my morning toilette (which, in French, means getting ready, and not anything gross or poop-related), I came across this short which piqued my interest ginormously.  The subject is Robert Johnson, a 1920s Blues musician who, initially, was really, really bad.  Until, that is, he sold his soul to the devil.  He is still considered today to be one of the best Blues guitarists who’s ever lived.

Outside Mag + Gluten-free feature

And, heading back into the known world… I’m pretty sure pre- and post-race festivities (read pasta feed and beer gardens) are not nearly as fun for gluten-free runners they appear to be for the non-allergic counterparts.  It’s been an interesting challenge to find advice suitable to my needs, to the extent that I basically stopped trying, and just rely on my Clif and Luna bars to get me through.  This article (Are You Too Sensitive? The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.) popped up in an email and, while it’s a bummer that more and more peeps are becoming sensitive/allergic to gluten, it does make me happy that there’s more exposure and thereby more info available.

Pre-run eating, quelle PITA.

In case you’re wondering, I’m basing the quelle above on my belief that pain, in French, is douleur (and I’m totally not even bothering to look this up right hyeh), which would make PITA (aka pain-in-the-arse) feminine, necessitating an appropriate, um… ah, I don’t have any idea what form of speech or whatevs that would be.  Rejoinder?  Nope.  It’s quantifying something.  Again, not looking it up, yo.

Back to the original point: trying to figure out when and what to eat before runs makes me want to stab myself in the groin with an icepick.  It really doesn’t, but it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhoo, this is a good post to check out if you want some suggestions about how long in advance to eat stuff if you’re doing a long run, or a shorter run, or what-have-you. Basically, I think it all comes back to this: eat a Clif bar.

1 space after a period. It’s a real thing (and yet it feels so wrong).

This is a real thing.  It’s not just laziness.  And yet… I simply DO NOT WANT to do it.  It’s in my make up to double-space after the full stop!  Yes!  I did learn to type on a typewriter!  It was in a dingy old classroom at Harding High — on green typewriters, I’m almost certain of it!  Alas, I must move with the times.

And finally, in honor of 2 beautiful babies born to friends this week, a bit of Monty Python irreverence: