A LOT Has Been Going On!

Sorry I’ve been silent the past few weeks but wow, it has been quite the whirlwind!

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Try to handle the cuteness in this picture if you can. I <3 Bonkers and Osito.

I couldn’t say things publicly but I was in the midst of making some big changes. You may have remembered my musing at times about finding some workamping gigs and my planning on doing Amazon Camperforce in the fall months. Well, I interviewed for three different workamping gigs and was offered positions at all three! (For the curious, they were at Yellowstone National Park, Cedar Pass Lodge in the Badlands, and also Lake Powell Resort in AZ.)

I couldn’t believe that three different people so quickly wanted to hire me! I was extremely flattered, and I made sure to tell the two employers with whom I decided to not pursue employment that I was going to be taking a job elsewhere and my reasons why. I decided to go with Lake Powell for many reasons.

Lake Powell is only 75 miles from where I am currently located, and the weather would be nicest. I’ve been there many times, and I love the area (did I mention there is a huge, huge, HUGE lake there?) Plus, the pay was pretty good, the housing was very, very inexpensive, and last but not least, I already knew people who lived in the area, both in Page, and also my friends here in Kanab. I thought it would be a good way of easing myself into the workamping lifestyle, and it gave me a lot of options, RV-wise. I could easily move my current RV there (the big fifth wheel) by having someone transport it for me, and not have it cost an arm and a leg. To move the fifth wheel to either of the other locations would be HUGELY expensive. Or, I could sell my fifth wheel and look into buying a smaller rig, with a different tow vehicle, before I would move in a few months.

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I took this pic from the beach that is located just below the Wahweap RV & Campground at the Lake Powell Resort. The difference in the colors you see in the rocks across the water shows how high the water used to be in Lake Powell, compared to today.

So flash forward to a few weeks ago. A friend asked me if I might be interested in pursuing a full-time position as a campground supervisor at Lake Powell! So I went and interviewed with who will be my future boss, and spent a few hours there, meeting some of the employees and the outgoing supervisor. They wanted me to think about it over the weekend and I did (a lot) and then we talked that following Monday, and they wanted me to take the job!  There are three permanent employees, who are all in what they call Lead positions, and then the rest are temporary, seasonal workers, and I understand that some of them are returning. Hearing that makes me feel better – if you keep coming back year after year, there must be something good going on there.

I should mention – during that weekend while I thought about the job, I was also able to see a lot of family members that I haven’t seen a ton of over the years. My younger brother, (who long time readers will remember is an amazing runner who has done several marathons and (now) four ultra marathons!) traveled out to the Phoenix area to run another 100 mile trail race. I am so proud of him for having completed it in 21 hours, 27 minutes, and 32 seconds!! He was pretty amazing, as always. The course was a 20 mile loop that they ran 5 times. He led the race in first place for the first 80 miles (and that includes his first 20 mile lap at a pace of about 8:30/mile.) He was only overtaken at about mile 85. He came in third overall and set a PR for himself at this distance, beating his first two races by about 7 hours!!

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This pic was taken from higher up than the beach, toward where the employee campground and lodging location is. My phone camera just doesn’t show the elevation change well.

I must say, I don’t take this job switch lightly, and a few people very close to me have expressed guilt in thinking that they were, in some way, partly to blame for my looking to move on from my current situation. Here’s the thing. Yes, I do take their opinions seriously.  I also consider these folks to be very close to me and always have my best interests at heart. However, no one forced me to make the decision to uproot myself and move from a big northeastern city to a small town in Utah. That was my decision to make. And it’s not one that I regret. That’s because I think the decision to come here was one that I was meant to make. Every decision has moved me closer to where I am supposed to be, and who I am supposed to be, and what I am supposed to be in this world. I have faith in that being true.  It’s been a learning experience and those are not always easy and comfortable. Unfortunately, learning can sometimes be painful, in the moment, anyway.

I realized this town is too small for me, and it doesn’t have enough going on to keep me happy. The town I am moving to is not a huge city like Boston but it does have more amenities than where I am now, relying so much on the tourism industry. Not that I love what Walmart stands for, but it is a huge advantage to have a store like Walmart so that if something breaks past 6 p.m., I will know that there is a place where I can likely buy a replacement part. Or, if I need a prescription filled on a weekend sometime after 12 noon on a Saturday, I have a hope of getting it filled.  To me, small things like that give me a measure of comfort. It’s not that I want to be spending all of my time at the local Walmart, but the fact that I won’t have to drive for 75 miles to get there, gives me comfort.

I’ve also realized I need to have some body of water near me. Back in Boston, my building had a beautiful reservoir out back. Even if I wasn’t going for a run around it, it was there if I wanted to just sit and “be.” To be able to sit and listen to the lap of waves on the shore is a huge comfort to me, even if I can see land on the other side. (In fact, I think seeing land on the other side actually makes me feel more comforted than sitting by the ocean and realizing the closest land mass is thousands of miles away.)

However, I feel guilt when I think of the fact that now the people with whom I work at the sanctuary have to look again for another staff member, leaving them short staffed again. And I also feel guilt when I think of leaving the amazing animals at the sanctuary behind. I know they are extremely well cared for, but caring for animals is what made me move 2600 miles. It’s what made me take such a huge cut in salary. I can’t ever give up on animals.

I really, really thought that when I made this big move, that this was IT. I really did. So, yes, I’m disappointed. But I’ve also made a very good friend or two over the past six months, and these are people I really feel like I was meant to meet and have in my life. They’ve taught me a lot about the goodness in people, and for that I am thankful. Sometimes I hear about such wickedness and crap going on in the world and wonder what makes some people the way they are.

So, I’ve already contacted the animal shelter in the town where I will be, and I plan on volunteering there as much as possible once I’m settled in. I stopped in this past weekend and immediately several cats came right up to me for attention. I didn’t let myself go visit with the dogs as I didn’t want to get them all excited and then not be able to take them on walks. As it was, I wanted to take home so many of the cats!! It is a small shelter but it does incredible work with the resources it has.

So now I’m thinking…maybe this is the reason I moved to this part of the US. To help share the beauty of this part of the country with visitors through my job.  To have a living situation that will allow me to be able to make some headway on paying off my RV and my car (and yes, that pesky private student loan), while also providing some comfort to shelter animals that can really use it.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. I’m sorry that I worried a few of you who wrote to me after not hearing from me on here for so long. I just had to focus my energies on things like job searching and stuff at certain times, so the blog had to step aside for a bit. Thanks for reading, as always.

 

 

 

 

No Matter How Old You Are, You’re Still Someone’s Baby

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These two will always be my babies, even though they are 14. (Bonkers and Osito)

I talked to my mom last night on the phone. As usual, she worried about me “freezing to death” in this RV of mine. No matter how many times I have told her I am ok, I have lots of warm blankets, and the animals to curl up with at night, plus two space heaters, she still worries. She worries about the heat and the money situation. She’s a mom. I’m 43, and she’s turning 77 this year, but I’m still her middle child.

After I hung up the phone, I realized I should have said to her, “Mom, don’t worry about me. You taught me right.” We didn’t have a lot growing up, and she ended up cleaning houses after my parents split, to make ends meet and also to be home when we got home from school. But what she taught me is that there is always a way to make things work. I may not make a lot of money right now, and it does seem frustrating when I figure out my bills for the next pay period and see “wow, I’ve got like 120 to make it through including my food and gas” but then I remind myself, it’s doable. I don’t need a lot. And I only have that small amount because I am insisting on putting some money into savings every month. I refuse to live, as they say “paycheck to paycheck.” It is very, very important to me to have a cushion. If there’s one thing I have learned over the past several years, it’s that I never EVER want to go back to that feeling of having pretty much nothing in the bank and a maxed out credit card to boot.

When I tell people that I think my fifth wheel is too big for me and my fur family, you should see the looks I get from some people. It’s quite clear that they think I’m insane. But what I see is a big trailer that has high ceilings, which, while I love their sense of openness, cost more to heat, and cool. What I see is that in the evenings, after I eat my dinner, we all hang out together in the bedroom portion of the fifth wheel (in my case, it’s a front bedroom so it would be the part of the trailer that would be hanging over the bed of the truck, if there was one attached.) We all hang out on my cozy bed, with a space heater cranking away, and either a good book or a TV show or something on netflix to keep us comfy. They tend to gather close to me, and I feel very loved. When I wake up in the morning, they are usually all still there.

So, we don’t need all this space. I don’t need the big closet that spans the width of my trailer. I have two dresses I brought with me from Boston, and have yet to wear them. None of my clothes need to be ironed. (In fact, I don’t even own one and plan on never needing one again.) I could fold them all and put them in bins and be just fine, which would most likely be the case in a smaller RV.)  My animals are all seniors (two turn 15 this year) so they don’t have all the crazy energy of young kittens and puppies. They like to be warm and to rest. (As I write this, one is sitting on my lap with his head on the table – if he could reach the computer keyboard to rest it there, trust me, he would.)

Making a lot less money than I ever have before in my life, I realize now what is important to me. The beauty of the natural world around me, good friends, the love of my animals, a great book to keep me company (currently reading Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl, which was  a gift from someone and I highly recommend it). Food that allows me to retain my health. Exercise to keep myself strong. Having my priorities straight for my life and trying to evade the negativity of others and the world when it rears its ugly head. Making sure I have enough food to feed myself and my animals. Knowing I will see family in just less than two weeks when my brother embarks on yes, another 100 mile race, and when my sister will be coming to visit in February. It’s these things I have been trying to focus on, rather than what I don’t have.

And yes, Mom, not freezing to death in the winter. :-)

What do you focus on to ground yourself in this life?

As always, thank you for reading.

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Alone…. But Surrounded by Beauty

Have you ever felt alone, while you’re in a crowd? I have, and I’m sure I’m not alone (no pun intended), in this.

Last weekend, I just felt the need to get out of town. I knew on Sunday the weather would be fine, but on Monday (my second weekend day), the weather would turn to crap with a mix of snow and rain. So, if I was going to get out of Dodge, I had to do it that day.

I have really missed being around a decent-sized body of water. Back east, I had a reservoir out back behind my apartment building, and even while I was there, I knew how much it could ground me, being able to walk near it or see it every day. There were days I was very stressed out when I came home from work, and a short walk outside with little Osito, watching the waves while she did her business and sniffed every leaf she could find on the ground, and I would feel a lot better.

Lone Rock in the distance. My friend Jason tells me that the water is a few hundred feet deep out there.

Lone Rock in the distance. My friend Jason tells me that the water is a few hundred feet deep out there.

So, I decided to go to Page, AZ – specifically, Lake Powell. I’ve posted pics of Lone Rock Beach before, but every time you go, it  looks a bit different. The changing light makes the lake look new  each time I go, and as the minutes tick by during the day, it changes as well. It’s one of those places I can breathe. And the other day, it was just so amazingly quiet. It’s colder here now, so there were no boats out on the water (other than in the marina). I had said to my friend Dan that day, I needed to hear some waves. There were no waves that day, as you can tell from the photos. The water was completely still.

While I was at Lone Rock, there were only a few other vehicles there. It was weird to be there and not see any RVs parked along the shore. (You can dry camp overnight there, I guess, however, only during certain times of the year. You need to pay for a camping permit with the NPS, if you are going to be there between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am.)  It’s weird, the things that you associate at times like that. I saw a couple with their dogs playing on the beach, running around and sniffing everywhere. It brought me back in my mind to a weekend trip I had taken once to Cape Cod when I was married. I remember watching my (then) husband play on the beach with our yellow lab, Ruthie, and remembered taking  a photo of him while he was taking a photo of the sunset. It’s at times like these that I have missed having someone in my life. Someone to share quiet moments with. Don’t get me wrong – I’m ok with being single, and having the freedom that comes with that. But sometimes it would be nice to have someone again.

Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell

Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell

I sat near the marina that day for a while and just marveled at all the boats still in the water, in January. Back east, that would not have been the case, as many times even parts of the Boston Harbor would freeze up. I just listened to what I thought were generators humming – not sure. It was so quiet there, that the sound of just two people walking on the dock could be heard quite far away. I saw a boat named “My Viagra” and it really cracked me up. I remember thinking “Compensate much, dude?” :-)   Being near the marina reminded me of many trips I’ve taken with my mom on vacations over the years. Anytime we were near a place with a marina, we liked to go and sit and watch the boats come in and out. We used to look at the bigger boats/yachts and think of what those people did for work to be able to afford them. (I know, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, lol.) There was something with this visit that I noticed, though, that I had not seen at a lot of other marinas back east. So many of the boats had water slides coming off of the back end. I guess that’s just one difference between the northeast and the southwest. The water is usually so cold in the northeast (especially if we are talking the Atlantic Ocean) that you don’t really spend a ton of time in the water. It’s refreshing to go into it once, but you get in and get out. At least I did!

Before I hit the marina, though, I tried (again, unsuccessfully) to take a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam. I had looked online and seen that tours were given at 9, 11, 1 and 3. But when I got there, at 12:40 pm, the guy said the 12:30 tour had just gone down. I told him that’s not the time I had seen online. Clearly, there’s an outdated web page up there. Next time, I will call to make sure what I’m seeing is up to date.

I didn’t feel like waiting around until 2:30 to take the next tour so I walked around the dam’s visitor center for a bit and saw pictures of Horseshoe Bend on a big digital display they have inside. I know that  walk to it can be pretty hot in the summer, so I decided to go look at it that day instead. I’m so glad I went.

Horseshoe Bend - this site is pretty famous

Horseshoe Bend – this site is pretty famous

It’s amazing how many people from different countries I saw there that day. And I realized I have missed being around people from many different cultures and walks of life. At my last job, I was exposed to students from all around the world, every day.  I saw couples taking pictures of themselves, standing close to the edge of the cliffs (you could tell who was afraid of heights by the tentative steps they would take toward the edge, and I admit, I was one of those folks.) I saw groups taking “action” shots and people posing as if they were “climbing” up the edges, yelling to one another “use your trying hard face!” It was funny, and I found myself laughing at some of the jokes.

And I wished I had someone with me. Even if it was just a friend, someone to say “oh hey, look at that little building down there near the rock in Horseshoe Bend – what do you think it is?” Just someone to share the experience with, you know?

Anyway, the picture below is from out back behind the Lake Powell Resort. As I stood near the one bench and looked at all the empty patios at the waterfront views, I marveled at the difference between now, which is their low season and what the place will be like in just a few months when the crowds return. I can’t wait to return there at that time.

view from sitting out back near the Lake Powell Resort - if you can go there, I highly suggest it. Imagine having this view outside of your hotel room!

view from sitting out back near the Lake Powell Resort – if you can go there, I highly suggest it. Imagine having this view outside of your hotel room!

Anyway, I just wanted to share some images of the beauty that is within a very short drive from me – just 75 miles away. If you’ve never been to Lake Powell, I suggest going. And the resort of the same name is the only one with property that has rooms on the lake, just an fyi.

Have you ever felt the same way, alone but not alone? Luckily for me, it was fleeting and I comforted myself with knowing I was surrounded by beauty.

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(re)discovering myself

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Bonkers and Osito, hanging out next to me at the dinette – the love I feel for them is just overpowering sometimes. They truly are my kids.

You may have noticed that I sometimes post a lot more than at other times. Sometimes a blog post feels like it’s forcing its way outside of me, and other times, it feels like it can take forever to get one completed. It’s those ones that I sometimes even wonder “is it worth it to hit the Publish button?” So yes, my writing can go in spurts, both on the blog and otherwise.

My very wise friend, Dan, said to me last week that life can sometimes be like working on a puzzle. You can be going along, really well, finding one piece after another that fits in, and then all of a sudden, you can hit a point where nothing happens. Or you question why you are doing something, and get really frustrated when you can’t find that next piece. You might have little sections of the puzzle done, but the whole thing just isn’t falling into place. He’s always coming up with good sayings and then thinks to himself, “I should write this down” so this time, I’ve done it for him. (In fact, I told him that day, I just might have to use his analogy.) So there you go, Dan, your words are in print. 

At the time of our conversation, I was feeling quite down after having returned home from a trip to Vegas. Just a quick trip, but it made me feel alive again – there were lots of people there! And a CVS and a Walgreens! (And yes, I thought it was pretty sad that seeing those two stores made me feel like I was in *city life* again.)  Anyway, I digress.

I’d like to share a video with you of one of my favorite youtube channels. Brittany is a nomad and a minimalist (much more so than I could ever be, as sometimes she lives out of a backpack), but this was one of her more raw type of videos and it just really spoke to me, especially as I contemplate making more changes in my life.

My friend Dan is very wise, especially as we have only met in person once and that was during my cross-country road trip when me and all of my furballs crashed his place for two nights. He told me he thinks I’m basically two people.  And he is so right.

There is a part of me that really wants to get out and see things and experience new things and places. A part of me that constantly needs to be working toward something, a new goal, or a new plan. It’s what gets me up and keeps me feeling “up” when otherwise I might feel down or feel like I’m just treading water in place. And then there is this other part of me that needs to feel structure or feel *safe* and feel like there is enough money to do things. The part that worries about not being able to take care of my furballs or that if I do make a choice and it doesn’t work out, then I’ve screwed myself financially.

I take contentment in so many things – seeing my furballs all hanging out on the bed in my RV with the space heater blasting away, knowing they all feel comfortable enough to snooze. Dressing my little Osito in her sweater for the day when she first wakes up, so that in case the temps fall in the RV while I am at work, she can still stay warm and snuggly.

But then, there is this part of me that thinks, “there is still a lot out there for me to see and learn, and do.” It’s not FOMO (fear of missing out) but a curiosity, I think. The two are different. That’s the part of me that listens to this video of a popular RVer blogger, Becky Schade, (from Interstellar Orchard) when she was interviewed a couple years ago, and draws so much inspiration from it. She’s younger than me and wise beyond her years, and yes, I may have shared it before, but in my mind, it bears re-sharing again.

This *safe* part of me is the one that was so scared to make this last big change in my life. It’s the part that listened to all the concerns of others and let those concerns creep into my own mind. That’s the part that misses the fact that last year I had off between Christmas and New Year’s, and made so much more money. That’s the part that still occasionally asks “what the HELL are you doing, living on so little, being so far from home, having to work on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?!” That’s the part that doesn’t even feel like it’s the holidays time of year since I’ve done no shopping at all (just sending money to the nieces and nephews, and even those amounts are pitifully small but they are all I can handle right now.) That’s the part that looks back and says (along with so many who hear my story), you left HARVARD LAW to come and scoop poop?

And yes, that is the first time I’ve mentioned publicly on this blog where I used to work. Some of you already knew that, but I’ve now taken a big breath and decided to put it out there. I know all the images the big red H conjurs up with every mention of its name. I know. But I don’t regret leaving. And no, the place was not perfect. Far from it. And no, I didn’t go to school there either (that’s a usual question I get asked.) In fact, I got rejected from there pretty instantaneously upon having applied. So I always found it a bit ironic that I was then deemed good enough to teach their students how to find things. But I digress, and I’m going to jump off of that soapbox now before I start to aggravate myself.

So, now, I’ve gone ahead and made such a big change, and while I feel a bit disappointed in that it doesn’t seem to be THE place for me to be in this world, I do know that I CAN do something a lot of people are afraid to do. A lot of people are afraid to step outside of what is the *normal* or *expected* way of life. But now I’m wondering, where exactly should I be right now, and what should I be doing? It’s that part of me that envies those I know in my life who are willing to jump in and do something adventurous. The part that looks to what my younger brother did when he would make these huge life changes, and the part that sees what my brother and sister in law are doing with traveling the world (and you can read about it by reading their blog, It’s Not a Slow Car, It’s a Fast HouseAnd  yet, even then that fearful, compare-yourself-to-others voice makes itself be heard – “but they know so much more about cars, which you don’t….”

As my friend Dan has recognized in me, I am desperately trying to find my place in this world. And as he always reminds me, I need to take a breath. It will eventually come to me, or happen.

So, in Brittany’s words – “what is it that you think you can’t do? What would be too good to be true?” Please drop me a line below and share your thoughts.  For me, right now, I think it’s to workamp starting next summer, and to always be in a place that is warm and doesn’t get snow. So it would entail moving with the seasons (or to someplace like southern California) and to do that, I need a different camper. And believe me, I go back and forth in my mind over those scenarios over and over and over again, as to which is better for me to do. Over and over, ad nauseum.

I hope you will all have a great holiday week and stay safe if you are traveling somewhere.  And as always, thanks for reading.

P.S. Yes, this is one of those posts that required me to inhale and take a VERY deep breath before hitting that Publish button. Also one that needed to be written.

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My Next RV

What?? You’re getting an RV?? But, but, but…..you just got yours last summer!!

Ok, so I am teasing a bit by the headline. But seriously, I am already thinking of what I want in my next RV, just a few short months after I bought mine this past July and moved into it in August.

What I Like About My RV:

  1. Cozy feeling of my bedroom.
  2. Easiness of heating my bedroom with  one small space heater.
  3. Enough room for me and all my animals.
  4. Closet that has a little hiding spot for my Callie to do her “observing from above.”
  5. Tall ceilings in the living portion.
  6. Dinette table that serves me in multiple ways – it’s an office and a dinner/breakfast table.

What I Don’t Like About My RV:

  1. It’s too big.
  2. Costs too much to heat. (See #1)
  3. Costs too much to cool.  (See #1)
  4. Can’t tow it without a huge ass, honkin’ truck, as its dry weight is over 8600 pounds. (See #1)
  5. Bed is too soft and tends to hurt my back unless I put a pillow under my knees when I sleep.
  6. Smallness of my shower (hey, I get in and do my business and get out. It works.)
  7. Tall ceilings in living portion (see #2 and #3)

What I Want:

  1. Something much smaller.
  2. Something much lighter.
  3. A motorhome? A travel trailer?? I can’t decide!
  4. A teardrop! (I know, I know, pretty unrealistic given my number of pets.)

What I Need: 

  1. Something that can cozily fit me, four cats and my tiny Osito.
  2. A toilet. (Because honestly, if I’m at a campground, and don’t have a shower, I’m fine with using the campground showers. Doesn’t bother me to shower away from home.)
  3. Something that will get decent gas mileage, whether it be by my driving it itself or by being towed behind something.
  4. Something in decent shape that won’t need a lot of repairs. (I’m not a super handy girl.)
  5. Something that won’t cost a lot of money as I will likely have to sell my RV on consignment if I can’t sell it on my own.

Yep, my needs are few, honestly. At least I think they are. I’m obsessed with fiberglass trailers as well as Class Bs, and I do like the little a-liners (because of the fuel thing) but am open to hearing people’s suggestions and thoughts. I’ve joined a lot of facebook groups so I can learn about the pros and cons of many. I just love dreaming of what can and will come next. Because I can say one thing,  I don’t plan on being someplace cold again next winter. (More info on my plans to come later. They’re still being formulated in my little ‘ole mind.)

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Thankful

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Yep, another pic from Zion. This is from a location that is east of the big tunnel. 

The other day I wrote how I’ve been feeling kind of down lately. It definitely helped to get it out onto paper (or in this case, the screen.) I also decided to write down a list of things that I was thankful for, as I figured that would make me realize how good things really are. You know, look at the glass as hall full, not half empty. So here is what I came up with, and it’s not in a particular order of importance.

  1. my animals and their good health
  2. a roof over my head
  3. a job that pays my bills (barely, but I do live frugally)
  4. warm clothes
  5. warm bed to sleep on
  6. my car runs reliably
  7. neighbors who look out for me
  8. my family is in good health (relatively, anyway)
  9. my best friend, Sarita
  10. my writing ability
  11. the full tank of gas that was in my car at the time
  12. I have friends that care about me
  13. I can choose where I want to be next year
  14. I can walk and breathe fresh air.

In addition to all of this, I had a really good conversation earlier this week with someone who has offered to mentor me with my writing. Out of the goodness of her heart. I’ve had people come out of the blue, just from reading my blog, offering to help me, in various ways. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

Thank you so much to everyone who read my last post and responded and offered support and encouragement. It helped a ton. Even though I’ve talked about depression and other things on this blog, I was still very afraid to write that post. There is still always this stigma about it. But it always helps me to write about it and get it out. Cathartic, in a way. And also, I got more back into my gym routine this week and it helped. One of the regular ladies there in the mornings reads my blog and we had a good talk.

It’s important to always be thankful, isn’t it?

Thank you for reading, as always.

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Seeking answers

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I felt like this photo was my reward for being at Zion today. I felt honored they let me get so close. 

 

I’m sorry it has been a while since I posted. I’ve been trying to sort through some things – figuring out my place in this world, etc. I’m feeling like this town is too small for me to stay in permanently, having lived the last 20 or so years of my life in big cities. And I’m getting the urge to possibly pursue seasonal work as Becky does from Interstellar Orchard. But I don’t want to give up on helping animals either.  So, blog readers, I’m totally open to any and all suggestions you might have on that front! (And yes, I have signed up again with Workamper News so I can peruse the possibilities there in addition to Coolworks.com)

But seriously. I’ve been feeling down in the dumps lately. Not sure why. It might be the weather, the ever-shortening days, the smallness and consequently isolated-feeling I get from being in this town. Maybe it’s because with the trees having lost all of their leaves, I can see just what a dump the property is behind where my RV is parked. Literally. It looks like the owner of the house just let a whole bunch of cars or other types of machines park themselves out back, to just rust away. It’s depressing and an eye sore. I’m told the guy is like 90 years old, though, so I just kind of ignore it and try to not look at it or dwell upon it. But it is an eyesore, to be quite blunt.

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I was amazed at how close this family of mule deer let me get to them. 

I’m just having a hard time of it right now and it’s frustrating to not be able to snap out of it. I used to be able to rely on my workouts to keep my mood up, but lately, I just don’t even have that motivation to work out like I used to. It’s been several weeks since I went on a real run. I don’t count the one or two nights on the treadmill where I did walk/run/walk/run, etc. I’ve also been sleeping a lot more than I used to. I get bored to death at the gym with the same routines over and over. Last week, I went to the gym once. Once. That’s unheard of from me. And, most nights, it’s all I can do to stay awake past 8, which might be one of the reasons you’ve not seen many blog posts from me lately.

I went to one of my favorite (and cheap) places to go, today. Zion National Park. (It’s cheap because I have an annual pass so it doesn’t cost me anything more than the gas required to get there.) I made sure to go early enough that the sun would be out and feel warm for quite a while. I found a good spot on a bench outside of the Zion Lodge and read a book while occasionally looking at the massiveness of this tree, pictured below, and tried to figure out just how old it is. Any guesses?

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I decided at one point to drive and park at the visitor’s center. Once there, I decided instead of doing the Pa’Rus Trail again, I  would do some walking toward the town of Springdale. Springdale is a small, artsy town that borders the park, and while it’s small, as you can see in the photo below, at least it has a large screen movie theatre. (That’s more than I can say for the town I’m in right now. But I digress.)

The town is definitely in its off-season mode. It seemed like almost every business I passed was closed. A coffee shop was open, as were some of the outdoor gear type places, but most of the restaurants were shuttered. I soon gave up on the idea of eventually people-watching, and started walking back toward my car and that’s when I saw this family of mule deer, up close and personal. I took so many photos – the ones sprinkled throughout this post are just a sampling.

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Mama and baby. I was so lucky to get this shot with the baby’s big ears turned toward me. 

Another guy came over and started taking pictures too and we got to talking. Earlier today, he had hiked Angels Landing, and he said at the top he saw a California Condor, which he told me was made extinct in the wild in the late 1990s. He said they’ve only recently begun to be released into the wild in Zion and the Grand Canyon, so we agreed that it was pretty amazing that he saw one today. Together, we just marveled at how close the deer let us walk toward them. They clearly know they are safe there, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Seeing these deer lifted my spirits in a way it is hard to describe. I’ve always felt this connection to animals, like they just know I mean them no harm. I also enjoyed connecting with another human being over how it felt to be so close to them and to feel such wonderment together. It got me to thinking of ways I can help animals other than or in addition to what I do now for work. I’m still sorting it out in my mind, that and a lot of other things. I just know spring can’t come fast enough, for so many reasons.

Have you ever been down and just can’t snap out of it, even after a few weeks? What did you do to get out of it?

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