Looking back at you, 2017!

I’d rather not gloss over 2017 and make it look like a banner year, since, well, it wasn’t.  Not that it was the annus horribilis of 2016 (personally, one of the worst years on the books), but I can’t say that it was *awesome*.  However, there were definite highlights amidst a sense of “what am I doing with my life?!”.  While I don’t intend to pretend that those blue days or the mean reds didn’t happen, I think that it’s healthier to take a positive view, especially when reflecting on what went right, what worked, what were some of the highlights of an experience, in this case, that “experience” being the year.  So, here goes…  2017: Continue reading “Looking back at you, 2017!”

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Crying over burnt soup

As much as I originally wanted and planned and plotted to write about exciting adventures and all of the cool stuff that I took up when we left California and planted ourselves in Colorado, I find myself totally stuck and not wanting to write, to share, to open up about anything these days.  It seems that life has taken a turn or two, and the idea of ‘tales and trails’ is false. To wax poetically about our mountain adventures is absurd because we’ve settled, recently, into a pretty basic and boring life.  Not that it’s a bad thing, as some stability after a year or so of uncertainty and, at times, turmoil, has come as a relief.  BUT…  It also feels exceedingly boring, and I think that there’s a part of me that is embarrassed about the mundane quality of my day-to-day life experience.

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I will, however, share one gratuitous photo of Sammy and me on a nice fall hike around Frisco, CO!

Perhaps I should include something in the name of this here blog that truly resonates with my life – “Elevated tales of a mid-life crisis”?

At any rate, the mid-life crisis is REAL.  I think – no, I know – that I’ve referred to it here and there, but I’ve tried to treat it with a lighter tone, not making a big deal out of anything, because why would I do that?  The truth is, however, I find myself questioning everything in my life, from my decisions that I made back in college (yes) to smaller forks in the road over recent months.  There is no ‘straw-that-broke-the-proverbial-camel’s-back’, but a multitude of small grievances and frustrations and an accumulation of self-doubt.  I started to look around the internets to see if there were good articles and/or blogs on women and mid-life crises, but apparently most of them touch on the idea of “how to feel more attractive in your 40s”.  REALLY?  That is supposed to lift my spirits and my existential angst?  Rather than getting a nip/tuck here or investing in a new wardrobe, I’ve considered getting yet another dog or two – it seems like a more productive use of time and money.  It does not, however, really answer any of the questions brewing in my mind.

I’m thinking that last week, maybe, was the nadir – I had cooked up a nice big pot of lentil butternut squash soup, early in the week and was looking forward to NOT having to worry about dinner for the rest of the week.  And then, ahem, someone burned it.  Not just a bowl or a small pot, but the entire pot of soup.  The one positive is that the house didn’t burn down!  But I was so incredibly and ridiculously and illogically upset.  It seems that you are not supposed to cry over spilt milk, but burnt soup is a different matter altogether – I shed copious amounts of tears, most of which had nothing to do with the soup and everything to do with things that were intangible but pernicious – negative thoughts, rages against myself, my life and the world.

I can laugh about the episode now, shake my head at myself for being such a fool, but laughing it off doesn’t get at the heart of the matter.

I do plan on making yet another pot of soup this week, something to enjoy over the holidays with family.  It’s not quite a peace-offering to myself, but it won’t, at least, feed my anger and despair.

Fall potpourri

Yes, it’s fall, so this will be one of those ubiquitous (why isn’t there another word for “ubiquitous” which I seem to use every time I feel like a cliché which then makes the word a cliché?) “It’s fall” wordy posts.  I swear that I won’t mention sweaters, fleece jackets (although I’m currently wearing a newish Melanzana pullover – fully embracing the cult-like adoration of this Colorado company), pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween.  Or I won’t after this! Continue reading “Fall potpourri”

Is it summer or something?

A rhetorical question because I can say, with a resounding YES, that it is, indeed, summer.  Apparently it began last week, on the 21st, but I’d say that I kicked it off as soon as school ended.  So, right around May 30/June 1.  There were, as always, a few loose ends to tie up the school year, but I’m happy to say that it didn’t take me long (maybe 5 minutes?) to switch gears and embrace the summer pace.  While we don’t have a major trip planned or anything that seems ambitious, I also can’t complain about lots of small getaways, both near and somewhat further afield, but this will, hopefully, give us the time and space to enjoy the summer.  We have good plans with friends and family and will try to take advantage of the mountains when we can.  Continue reading “Is it summer or something?”

2016: The annual year-in-review

I’ve read some great “16 in ’16” posts, and I like the format but can’t bring myself to motivate THAT much, but a look back is still in order.  Just a few thoughts about the year as a whole – I’m too lazy to burn the year in effigy, but I have already done so in my thoughts – many a time, believe me!  So, while there were some bright spots in 2016, I really feel like saying “Screw you” to the year and moving on.  How’s that for positive thinking? Continue reading “2016: The annual year-in-review”

Hitting the reset button

Seeing as I’ve fallen off the interweb ‘face of the earth’, it seems that a renewed commitment to blogging would be a good shift.  I have the time these days, but finding the energy, focus and, most important of all, the content has been elusive.  As Michael and I have shifted from a life of constant limbo and uncertainty to a more settled experience here in Colorado, I feel compelled and I finally WANT to reflect on where I’ve been over the past 16 months and to look towards the future without the anxiety that has been a constant companion for so many months.

I fear that I sound like a broken record as I keep going on and on about the past year, but it’s been a doozy!  While we knew that leaving California way back in June 2015 (seems like a lifetime ago) would present challenges, I never ever expected the ups and downs that came with the past year.  I’d say that, for 15 months or so, the highs and lows were both extreme.  Enjoying friends and family in CO, spending 3 months in Switzerland, traveling to Asia, and skiing all spring were just a few of those peaks, but the valleys felt more like deep ravines, and I questioned our decision to pick up and move to one of the MOST POPULAR PLACES IN THE US.  Or, if I didn’t doubt the decision, I questioned our timing.  As different fantasmal job opportunities appeared and, poof, disappeared, Michael and I were constantly stressed, and we wondered if Colorado would work out long-term.

Fortunately, after much teeth-gnashing and all of this uncertainty (Yes, I know), I think that we’re finally ‘nesting’.  While I don’t love my current teaching position and might review the what-do-I-want-to-do-with-life question, as a family, we are okay – good, even.  By mid-September, Michael’s job situation fell into place, and we both exhaled.  It felt as though a huge burden of stress just rolled off our backs.  With new jobs that took us both to Denver, it seemed absurd to continue to live in Boulder, so we began to shop around for a new place (to rent, at this point), thinking that we would move for a November 1st deadline. However, a place opened up October 1st and we scrambled to make that date.  To our surprise, we find ourselves living in Golden, Colorado – yes, Golden, the home of Coors Brewing!  I say “surprise” because I assumed that we would find a place in Denver, but Michael was somewhat opposed to returning to an urban living experience.  PLUS, living in Denver, depending on the area, wouldn’t have necessarily been an ‘easy’ commute for either of us.  Golden seemed, in many ways, like a good compromise – it’s still a bit of a commute for him, but he’s driving against traffic which helps, and we’re close to TONS of open space.  We feel that we are about 25 minutes from ‘everywhere’ – meaning Boulder and Denver – and it’s easy to get to the mountains.  I think that we’ll end up exploring Denver a bit more, and while I’m okay that we aren’t living there, I am definitely looking forward to venturing out and about in the city – going to museums, eating at a greater variety of restaurants, having more options in general.

Throughout this process, it’s been interesting to think about what makes a place feel like home or my life feel ‘settled’.  We still see our current situation as a 12-month gig, and after that, we probably will look to buy a house and fully commit to the area.  Even so, compared to where and how we were living in Boulder, I feel more like an adult (at age 44!), and our place, while still small and not what we want long-term, gives me a sense that we’re creating a home.  I’m not overly attached to material possessions, but it is nice to have moved all of our crap out of storage and to find items that we’ve missed for the past 12 months – pictures, books, paintings…   We miss certain aspects of living in Boulder, no doubt, but it is nice to feel that we are no longer in transition.

Another shift is that we’re back to cooking more- real recipes, not just grilling everything. At the moment we’re on a Vietnamese kick thanks to Charles Phan’s (from The Slanted Door in San Francisco) Vietnamese Home Cooking.  I find it funny  that we came from LA with FOUR bottles of fish sauce  and several types of soy sauce  (I’m sure that they have fish sauce and soy sauce in Colorado, but…), but apparently we are now putting all of this to good use, especially since we rediscovered our wok which had been in storage since June of last year.  I’m not sure if my current read, The Sympathizer, which I highly recommend, has influenced our current cooking kick. But, back to cooking in general – there is something so comforting and grounding in looking through a cookbook, trying out a new recipe or returning to an old favorite.  It’s one of those activities that settles me in more ways than one.

Along the same line of renewal and returns, I’m back to a training schedule.  The summer months really got away from me, although I felt quite inspired when I spectated/crewed (sort of crewed; our main contribution was dinner for the “main” crew experts and pacers) at the Leadville Trail 100 which my cousin ran for the TENTH time.  He barely made one of the cutoffs, so it was something of a nail-biter for the spectators/crew (oh, and also for him), but, in the end, he pulled through.  It was an amazing experience, and it definitely makes me think harder about the ultra-running/trail running community and the opportunities to connect with people and places.

My cousin with his 1,000 mile buckle!  His second of the summer because he also earned one for the 100 mile bike race!  He has a wall of bibs in his house – and he might have to start a new wall soon.  The other photos are of his trusty crew.

While that served as inspiration, it still took a while for me to seriously think about returning to some sort of training routine, but as a new month (November) grew closer and closer, I began to seriously think about a new coach and a renewed commitment to training.  It’s been a while, and I cannot deny that I’m out of shape (I am!).  While I’ve kept up my running fitness, to a certain degree, I’ve spent months without swimming or biking once.  So, this will be a long, slow and challenging process, especially as I compare “where I was” to “where I am”.  Obviously I can’t use my old fitness as a yardstick, and it’s okay that I’ve taken a prolonged break.  I might feel even *more* excited to start over again.  We shall see…  But the fun is beginning as I’ve already spent time in the pool and on the trainer this week.  2017 triathlon season – here we go!