family

I just want to say that I am one of the lucky ones.

I am spending this week with my parents and two of my kiddos. We are together 24/7. I am even sharing a bed with my mom. The boys and I had an adventure today then came home and spent the evening with the grandparents.

There has been laughter and quality conversation and sharing and honesty and openness and sincerity and love.

What there hasn’t been…

Strife

Family “dynamics”

Stress

Disagreement

Arguing

Traumatic triggering

Anger

Resentment

Passive aggression

Disgruntlement

A desire to be anywhere else

I dig my parents.

I fucking adore my kids.

There is no where that I would rather be this week. Any week. Any time.

There are absolutely no people with whom I would rather be.

I have the most amazing family in the world.

I know that this is rare – that so many families have undercurrents of shit.

Not us.

And I do NOT take that for granted in any way.

I say that we are lucky but the reality is, when you put this many fantastic people in the same place at the same time, you can’t help but love every second.

#sayingaprayerofthanks, #lovemymommyanddaddy, #mykidsarebadass, #mydadisafuckingriot, #momsmybestfriend, #howdmykidsturnoutsowell?

Vacation?

The boys and I are headed to Florida in a couple of days – for a couple of days.

It started with “I need to get back to Florida.”

Then, “I really need to get the boys to Florida.”

Then, trying to find dates that work for all three work schedules, which included contacting one boss and working out a schedule with him while the child was on the river.

Then, the next one, trying to figure out schedule and getting permission from the parole officer to leave the state.

Because that’s our new normal.

Then, trying to schedule a trip over a weekend so that someone doesn’t have to cover me for a full work week. But that didn’t happen.

Flights?

$2300 to go to Florida for 5 days.

Plus a rental car.

Then I had to find a house sitter – someone with whom Elvis will bond not bite.

All of that taken care of and suddenly I realize…

I’m going on vacation with my children.

Holy shit, it’s been years.

It’s also been eons since I’ve gone to see my folks when no one is in the hospital.

Vacation.

VACATION.

Granted, August in Florida might sound a little torturous, but it’s the beach and the ocean and snorkeling and my mommy and daddy and my amazing boys, and their birthdays, and dune grass and palm trees and sea glass and chocolate milkshakes.

And no smoke.

After all of that squeezing in and finagling and coordinating I get to sit still, do something fun, relax, read a book, and hang out with my favorite people in the whole world.

Yay Florida in August.

 

I need something

Besides sex, I need something else – a purpose or a change – something to get excited about, look forward to, to ponder, to wonder, to wish for – something positive to occupy my brain.

I am depressed and lonely – not horribly so, but it’s there enough that I have to consciously fight against it to get out of bed and do the day.

After sleeping most of the weekend away, I forced myself out yesterday and went on one of my go-to adventures: a trip to Silverton.

Silverton is where I had some of the best times of my life, where I felt strong and competent and light. Plus, it’s so fucking beautiful and feels like home. Going there usually helps any negative feelings wash right off and all I am left with are elation and joy.

It didn’t really work yesterday. I spent most of the day driving around crying; loud crying that just wouldn’t stop.

I was going to drive up one of the passes and hike along a ridge above tree line to get to an old haunt that I haven’t visited in years, but on my way up 550, it rained a bit and I resigned myself to not hiking above tree line for fear of lightning.

The day just fell apart from there. I got in my head that there was going to be lightning (danger) everywhere so hiking as an activity was off the list.

Then I decided that I would still drive the pass but after dealing with one mildly rough road and a bunch of OHV’s I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to go four-wheeling either.

So I chose to drive up into a gulch that I remember as beautiful. The road was more narrow and steep than I recalled. I got a few miles up and then hit a turn that would have sent me plummeting had I made one wrong move and I turned back.

What happened Sally? What happened to your ease and comfort in the mountains? Where’s your badassery?

I used to drive HUGE F350 cage trucks up, down, and over way worse, fearlessly, and yesterday I couldn’t make it around a simple bend.

And, the skies were clear.

Why did I sabotage my own day?

Because I am sad and lost and directionless. My self-esteem has been shot to hell.

I need something to which I can look forward; but it needs to be ongoing, not just a one day event. I’m going to Florida with my kids next week, which is great, but I am already dreading coming home to the humdrum.

Recently there was a possibility (again) of moving to Utah, and there was a not-boyfriend in the picture who had the potential of becoming a boyfriend.

Neither one happened. The stars did not align for the move (this town just will not let go) and the not-boyfriend became a not not-boyfriend, which is fine.

But those two things gave me reason to get up every day: I had something to anticipate, get excited about, hope for, and it helped.

Now I am left alone with my grief, my lack of direction, the weight of it being one year later and not feeling like I’ve landed on my feet – at least not yet.

It could be worse – my son could be in jail. Someone could have died that night. I know enough to be eternally grateful.

But with all the friends in the world, I am lonely. And not necessarily in a “I need a man” kind of way, but there is a hole in my world, in my heart, that still exists; it hasn’t filled itself in yet.

Part of me is thankful to have life be back to normal, uneventful. I keep saying “Boring is good” after this last drama-filled year.

But back to normal is relative. I no longer have a normal to return to – my normal was obliterated.

And I’m not the same person. This year has made me feel old, weary. I don’t have joy in my world like I used to, daily. I wouldn’t necessarily say cynical and jaded, but worn down?

Yes.

Less enthused. Sporting a blanket of sadness. Heavy.

I want something to bring me back to joy, excitement, enthusiasm, lighthearted happiness.

Any suggestions?

 

alone

I blew off paddle boarding with friends today to instead go alone with my dog.

I had to force myself to go to the coffee shop to have some human interaction before I hole up for the rest of the weekend.

I did not bring my dog because he didn’t want to sit in the hot car.

I keep looking for him.

I spoke to him in the car.

He was at home.

He loves to paddle board. He willingly hops on and is good for at least an hour before he needs to stretch his legs. Sometimes he sits at the helm, others, he scouts behind us for attacking sharks.

He loves to watch birds.

He’s afraid of buoys. I found this out recently when I got close to one and heard a sudden splash behind me. I have no idea if he backed off accidentally or jumped off to swim away, but either way, he ended up in over his head out of utter terror.

With entertainment like that, who needs friends?

 

my chair

Tonight I took the time to sit under the moon in my chair, a ritual that I lost over the winter.

Shortly after I lay down I got shaky – physically and emotionally – and it was suddenly a year ago and I was in my chair, on the Ranch, trying to continue breathing while I dealt with my devastation.

Then I thought, “In a couple of weeks it will be a year.”

A year.

I can’t say whether this year has gone fast or achingly slow; it’s been both.

The hours I spent under the Ranch cottonwood tree staring at the same mountains in my view tonight, just from a different angle.

I mentally sifted and sorted. I cried, I had a few moments of relief. There was too much noise in my daily life – my chair was the only place where I found some peace.

Prior to the breakup, as things fell apart, I had trouble sleeping. As things got worse, I barely slept at all. And when I did catch a wink of sleep, it was in my chair wrapped in a quilt under the stars.

Tonight while half my brain said this is good for the soul, the other half wanted to run inside.

But I stayed. I flitted in and out of sadness and solidity – memory and the present.

Such sorrow for having had to have gone through this.

And yet, I feel my strength too. I didn’t lie out there feeling morose for the entire time.

It’s beautiful and spiritual and utterly fascinating.

It is good for the soul.

Utah vs Colorado

I went to Moab this weekend to have dinner with my son.

What I am aware of when I go to Moab, is that I don’t call it going to Utah.

When I “go to Utah” I am going for desert and solitude and nature.

When I go to Moab I’m going for an urban experience, so the two barely feel like the same place.

When I am there, as beautiful as it is, I feel incredibly disconnected from the rocks around me; I’m distracted by cars and people and coffee shops and parking spots and sometimes even schedules.

But my boy is there, so there I go.

Tourists abound – it’s like a monstrous bus opened its doors and dumped out thousands of passengers then went away and came back with another busload.

The people are there for thrills, Arches, and shopping for Red Dirt T-shirts.

We have tourists too – they’re here for ruins and train rides.

The thing I notice the most about the adventure tourists is that they tend to be really uncomfortable in their bodies – these are people who do not spend a lot of time outside connecting with the dirt beneath their feet.

Everything in Moab is about the adventure; boatingbikingclimbing4-wheeling. It’s a scene.

My son loves it – he gets sick of the crowds, but as a river guide, he is right in the thick of the action – he’s part of the energy that creates the scene.

It’s a world that I used to be a part of but no longer am. I am conscious of bringing a little bit of country with me when I sit down at the dinner table at the restaurant owned by the boating company which caters to people in hiking boots and brand new Keens.

I used to feel so cool when I was a guide there. Now I’m totally not cool and totally okay with it.

After dinner, as I was leaving town, I thought about the fact that I no longer fit into that scene and I realized that after close to 23 years in a rural ranching community, I am very much a Colorado gal.

Albeit a Colorado gal from New Jersey.

2 hours away from each other, my town and my son’s town are like night and day – I feel like a hick – unsophisticated, working class, an intimate participant in the landscape of my home.

We work hard and get dirty a lot ’round these parts. W e are comfortable in our bodies because we use them and because we have a connection to the land.

On my way south to my very remote camping destination, I stopped at a used gear store on my son’s recommendation and my observations were proven correct.

In Moab, people buy pearl button shirts and straw cowboy hats at the same place they buy climbing equipment and wetsuits.

Hip, trendy, cool.

Over here, on this side of the border, we buy pearl buttons and hats at ranch stores.

Utilitarian.

 

 

mountaineering is for the birds

I used to be a mountaineer.

Now I just watch movies about mountains.

Sometimes.

I watched this one last night.

Now, I’ve never climbed anything even remotely close to a peak in the Himalaya, but I have been on top of a lot of mountains.

Until I spent my honeymoon at 20,000 feet, I dreamed of big mountains, in big ranges; after carrying a 90 pound pack to that altitude, I wasn’t so sure.

But everyone was doing it.

I had friends on Denali (one friend’s body is still up there), friends on Aconcagua, and friends on Everest.

Most of them weighed more than 115 pounds. I, on the other hand, did not.

A mountaineering expedition is exciting; you are consciously choosing to suffer just to feel like King of the Hill for a couple of minutes. I can only imagine what it would feel like to stand on top of Everest and have the whole world at your feet.

It’s the possibility of that feeling that keeps our feet moving uphill, carving out steps in the ice, bracing against ground blizzards, trying not to lose footing.

At 3:00 am, skirting around a house-sized crevasse in Bolivia, I said, “I’m not having fun.”

My friend laughed, “Oh no, it’s not fun until you get home.”

Back then, I could wrap my head around that, I lived by the old adage, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” I could drag my sorry ass all over the hills.

I made a living dragging other people’s sorry asses all over the hills.

And I loved it.

So last night when I sat down with my popcorn and remote, I fully expected to feel a pang of nostalgia, even a pull of longing.

I figured that at the very least, when I saw everyone in their ultra fluffy down suits that I would crave one more chance to run around with an ice axe and crampons.

But to be really honest, while I was waiting for the wistfulness to kick in, there was an onscreen moment when the climbers got blasted in the face with blowing ice and I thought,

I don’t miss it one fucking bit.

Not even a tiny little eensy teensy iota.

I don’t miss the heavy packs and the piles of equipment and the cold and the snow and the burning sun and not being able to breathe and struggling to take one step and the immense amount of time that it takes to do absolutely anything and the headache and not being able to sleep and getting up at 12:30 am to stumble around in the pitch black knowing that one small misstep could kill you…

Did I mention the cold?

And the dark?

And the monstrous packs?

And I was actually having this reaction long before the shit hit the fan in the story.

When the deadly storm began, I sunk as far into my recliner as I could possibly get, pulled my electric blanket up to my chin and thanked the good lord above for giving me the sense to put those days behind me.