This one says it all! Once again, Roda has found an answer to one of my many life questions 🙂
It’s October! We are running the TMC Get Moving Tucson Half Marathon in about 4 Weeks! We chose this run because we just bought a second home in Tucson and thought it made sense to run in our new community, and it would be a new challenge to run in the desert environment. It does make sense, but we really underestimated how much of a challenge it would be to run in the heat, at elevation (Tucson in 2200 ft) and the hills! Oh my, the hills! But I am getting ahead of myself, let’s take the month in order!
This was the plan for September.
|Run 5||Run 4||Run 9|
|Run 5||Run 4||Run 9||10k fun run|
The first part of September went as scheduled, we ran our 8, 5, 4 and 9 miles here in Washington and they went quite well.
The weather was mild and the temperatures were perfect in Seattle.
After this 9 mile run we flew to Tucson to start setting up the house and train in the new environment. What a culture shock! 98F, hills, less oxygen at elevation and this:
Running was hard. We had to start right at sunrise to avoid the high temps, which was gorgeous, and still 70F!
We signed up for a local 10K to get a feel for what it would be like to run a race in Tucson. Bottom line: It was tough! 80F at the 7am start, and 400 feet of elevation gain! I was happy just to survive! Here is my Instagram post that day.
I ran another 6 and 5 miles and my hubby did what he could, as he was working remotely during the whole trip in Tucson, and then we flew back to Washington for the 10 mile runs on 9/23 and 9/30. This gave me a total of 89.33 miles for the month.
Now we are heading into the home stretch and our schedule for October.
|Run 4||Run 5||Run 11|
|Run 5||Run 4||Run 12|
|Run 4-5||Run 4-5||Carb load||13.1|
The tricky part here will be running while we are in Kauai from 10/6 to 10/11. We are not sure how many times or how far we will be able to run while away, but we will try to be ready for the half marathon on the 29th. Again, the goal will be to survive! No PR or crazy goals with this one!
The amazing and efferveiscent Roda has issued a challenge! Check out her inspiring blog and this post: https://growingself.blog/2017/09/19/critter-connection-challenge/ if you want to play along at home!
I was not sure that I was following the spirit of the challenge as it is to capture critters through photography, while they are interacting with nature. But I checked with Roda first to approve my photo for the day, and she said to go for it! This black, male Arizona Desert Tarantula decided to pop through an impossibly small drainage hole near our pool. This was just the second night in our new home here in Tucson and we had no idea that these even existed! I am by no means a squeamish girly, girl but I will confess to hopping on top of the nearest bench when this started toward me!
I guess you could say this arachnid was interacting with nature, if you count my husband as the organic life form since he was the one to use the broom handle to coax this little beast back into the hole.
We quickly jumped on the computer, once our heart rates slowed down, and found out that these are really quite docile and not prone to attacking unless aggressively provoked. It was true that this guy just turned around and lumbered back down the hole with very little persuasion. We figured we had dodged that bullet until the next morning!
My hubby told me that he had a “surprise” in the other room and I should look under the cup in the middle of the floor. Fearing a scorpion (that post is tomorrow!) I did not take the bait. This is what he had trapped early in the morning.
This little lady, we know it is female due to the color, decided to get into the house! She was smaller but, UGH! Not what I wanted to see first thing in the morning! She calmly walked into the waste basket and was released outside to continue (hopefully) feasting on the scorpions! This was not the only “interesting” and potentially harmful creature we have encountered in the desert, but those pictures will have to wait for the next Critter Connection installment!
Have a wonderful and tarantula free day everyone!
The wonderful and hilarious Linda, from Everybody Else Has the Best Titles asked for submissions for her “Guest in Jest” series. If you have not met Linda, aka mainepaperpusher, you really should check out her blog! She has some fun series and great, edgy sense of humor that I really appreciate! I decided to post this on my own blog because it gives a little snapshot into my past and maybe some mom out there can relate.
My name is Dee Dee, and I go by Dtills on WordPress. I started my blog, Invisible-no-more.com because I felt, well, invisible! I had entered that magical time known as “the midlife crisis”, sort of fell into it really, and couldn’t figure out how to begin the painful process of pulling my life together. My youngest had gone off to college, my husband and I were not connecting well and I felt alone and isolated. My blog is a chronicle of those activities, actions and connections formed that have helped me piece together a future that I now feel is hopeful and engaging. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have helped me as I work through this transition!
As for an amusing story, well this was not all that amusing at the time, but with the passage of 23 years, it has taken on a warm and satisfying glow! In 1994 I was a graduate student working on my doctorate degree at USC in Los Angeles. At that time, the process required the Ph.D. candidates to finish a series of written exams, which, after the successful completion, then required an oral exam. The oral had to be completed within eight weeks of finishing the written tests, or the candidate would have to start over from the beginning. These are the kind of exams that take months to prepare for so starting over is not something anyone wanted to do, I assure you! I was deep into studying for these five written exams, when I found out, in February of 1994, that I was pregnant with our first child. Honestly, the timing could not have been less ideal as I would have to take the exams at the beginning of October that year, and Alex was born October 28th. This meant that my oral exam had to happen in mid November, or I would have to start over, effectively loosing a year of work in my program. The crux of this “amusing” story is that I was breastfeeding my new daughter during this time. Now, all of you lactation survivors know that producing pints of milk all day long comes along with a unique set of challenges. For one thing your milk doesn’t just flow for your little one, a number of triggers can cause milk to “let down”, as the specialists call it. My personal triggers were ANY child crying, my crying, Hallmark commercials and once a dog barked scaring me so much that my shirt was soaked before I could run home. Oh yeah, and stress. Standing up in front my oral testing panel, which was made up of five men, and two women, who choose not to have children in order to focus on their careers, while they fire questions at me was, indeed, stressful.
That day I felt prepared, not well rested with a 4 week old at home, but I had my presentation and had done my research. I also had two sets of nursing pads on and a thick knit sweater. I could have stacked books on my huge, busty chest. The exam started and everything was going well. I was almost done; just a few final questions and I could go home and feed my daughter. Then it happened. The committee member that I feared the most asked me a question and I had absolutely no idea how to answer. I could feel the cortisol rushing through my blood stream and hitting my lac glands. I was starting to sweat and the room went eerily silent as the milk raindrops started hitting my feet! All I could think about was “I am going to fail and my shoes will be squeaking as I walk to the car”! That same committee member, after what felt like a month, gently asked me if I would like to take a break. Hell yes, I wanted to take a break and die! As I was walking through the door I heard him tell the others “she just had a baby a couple weeks ago” and I thought, great now I am done for sure! I took a few minutes to wring out my pads and blot my sweater, as best I could, and most importantly, I figured out the answer to the question. I mustered up what little dignity I could find and entered the exam room. I was expecting them to tell me to pack up and head out but instead they took pity on me. That same, scary committee member told me to just write up the final questions and submit them the following week. He was so nice to me! I had passed on the contingency of submitting the final write up! I didn’t wait around for them to change their minds and got the hell out of there. I guess I didn’t really learn my lesson because I had my final doctoral defense in December of 1996, after giving birth to our son the preceding April. But this time I kept my milk tightly in my jugs!
Our first stop, after Southampton, England and our visit to Stonehenge, was in the port city of Cobh, Ireland. Cobh is a little town on the south side of Ireland and part of Cork County. It is a quaint, little area with farmlands and homes. It is important to the history of Ireland as it is the biggest harbor for transport of goods and assisted with the mass emigration during the tough times suffered by the Irish. It was also the last port of call for the Titanic, where 123 passengers were picked up for the fatal voyage. It was a beautiful day and we had some pretty views as we approached the port.
We had a limited amount of time (a common theme for any cruise) so we chose to see the Blarney Castle and Gardens in the town of Cork, which was nearby. Our bus dropped us at the visitor’s center and I was surprised at how large the estate was. We began to walk toward the Castle itself.
The Blarney Castle is most famous for its Blarney Stone, which people stand in line to visit. I had no desire to kiss a stone that had seen the lips of thousands of my fellow tourists. I had doubts that doing so would give me the “gift of gab”, which I have never coveted anyway, but was sure that I would contract the gift of herpes! What I did not know was that the line to kiss the stone, and to gain entry into the Castle, were one in the same. So, unfortunately I had to settle for the outside of the building.
First stop was the dungeon area and the network of tunnels that were below the castle.
I took in as much of the perimeter as I could. Love these old walls!
There were a number of gardens on the property and one of our favorites was the “Poison Garden”.
There were some truly nasty plantings in here like: Ricin, Opium, Mandrake, and Wolfsbane. There were also some lesser “poison” items that we know today to be not quite as life threatening, like Cannabis and Rosemary (yes, culinary Rosemary was thought to cause miscarriages in the 1800s!)
This was a beautiful garden and located just behind the battlements of the castle. See that stone wall above? We had some excellent views from over that wall across the valley.
The wall itself was home to many plants.
The wall led up to a turret of sorts which could have been for storage or for imprisonment.
It was fairly deep and also well covered with plant life.
We left the Poison Garden and started down one of the many pathways on the grounds, taking in the beauty as we went.
Then we saw Blarney House-WOW! I regret not going inside this home, I am sure it would have been stunning!
The Blarney home was definitely a high light for me. We needed to return to the village to meet our tour bus, and grab a quick Irish coffee, so we ambled down another path to circle back to the start.
And we ran into this….
We are from the Pacific Northwest where ferns and moss were practically invented! But this was a new fern species for us to be sure! It is tall and the leaves are produced at the top of the stalk.
I was expecting a dinosaur to come strolling along, they look so prehistoric.
As the path continued it wound down into a gully where this waterfall showed up out of nowhere.
Our final sights as we left the grounds were the residents of the manor. Both cattle and sheep were taking in the warm sun and grazing nearby.
The estate was glorious (and the Irish coffee was pretty great too)! If you go, make sure you have your expectation set. There will be a line, it will take the better part of the day to see it all and yes, it is worth it! I am already plotting my return!
Up next on the travel portion of my blog: Dublin and Belfast
If you remember from the first post, we had just finished our wonderful dinner and were feeling pretty groggy the next morning from our food coma, that actually started the night before. We decided to head over to American Camp Beach for an early hike to clear our heads. This park has some rather impressive historical roots dating back to the mid 1800s when the military established its presence during the British/US occupation. Today it is just a pretty place to hike around.
We were feeling considerably more awake as a result of dodging eagles and tourist with paddles, we headed back to the cottage to get ready for a round of golf.
I promised a tour of the cottage in the first post, so here it is!
Like I said before, it is small but the architecture allows for a lot of light, and it is really cozy. What is really stunning about the property is the location and views-more on that in a moment. Another bonus is that it is just 1/4 mile from the only golf course on the Island. We had a 1pm tee time.
I did not take a lot of pictures of the course because, well, it ain’t that pretty! I warmed up in the putting and chipping areas.
It was a good course for me, the beginner, because there were not too many trees, water features or sand traps. But, this was an 18 hole course with some long drives, so I did not play every hole. I did drive the cart and managed to sneak some action shots of my hubby.
It was fun and very hot! We went back to the cottage and I took some photos of the beautiful property.
We are up on a hill overlooking the water.
The woman who owns this property has a second rental right next door and a beautiful garden, I had to take pictures of that as well! All the islands in the San Juans grow lavender. There is so much of it I would say it is the primary crop here. There are lavender baked goods, soap, bath salts….anything you can think of will have been infused with the scent.
The owner has many wonderful and unique plantings throughout the garden.
There was a trellis that caught my eye. As I swung my camera up I spotted one of the largest bee hives I have ever seen.
I got a little closer
At this point we believed it was an abandoned hive and I tried to talk my husband into climbing up and using his head for scale. Then we saw this…
Obviously there were occupants at home and my hubby said it was a “no go” to the climbing up part. We estimate that the hive is just a little smaller than an adult head!
The rest of the garden was not as scary!
We ended this day with a light meal and happy hour at a beautiful spot over looking the ferry dock.
We watched the float planes, which were constantly present, land and take off.
The next morning it was time to head back home. We parked our car in the ferry line and set out on foot to find some breakfast. Cafe Demeter is the best bakery on the Island and just a few steps from the ferry dock. We have been here before and the wait in the long line is completely worth it! Highly recommend this one!
After my breakfast pizza, which I ate before I took any pictures, we wandered around town and checked out a few other places that are near the dock.
Our ferry arrived right on time
We said good bye for this year.
Friday Harbor is just one side of the Island of San Juan. Roche Harbor is on the opposite side of the Island. It is just as pretty but maybe a little more effort to get there. Abbey from abbeyco is a boater who lives here in Seattle and happen to be visiting Roche while we were in Friday Harbor. If you would like to see more about that side of the Island, check out her post. She has great pictures and an adorable little girl too!
So it is good bye for now, until next year…..
When people think of the Pacific Northwest they often conjure images of rain, coffee, the Space Needle and salmon flying through the air at Pike Place Market. All thoroughly acceptable iconic images that we deserve here in Seattle. But the true gem of Washington State is our ferry system and the many beautiful islands that we have spread around the Puget Sound. We patiently wait out the constant deluge from the clouds and near constant dark skies from October to May to get to the holy grail of summer. From June to (if we are lucky) the end of September the clouds part, the sun beams down and anyone with a dingy or inflatable tube hits the water. We PNWs live for the promise of summer and then we take full advantage of the precious time we have until we all are forced back into Starbucks to wait out the winter.
My hubby and I have our wedding anniversary at the end of July and last year we went to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We had such a great time that we did it again this year, and me with my camera in hand this time. We set out early Sunday morning which was quite foggy as we made our way to Anacortes to catch the ferry.
As expected there were many boats out on the water despite the early hour and foggy conditions. And the views from the our ferry deck were spectacular.
We were approaching Friday Harbor on the big Island, San Juan.
We were too early to go to our cottage and check in so we decided to mill around the waterfront for awhile. We began at the small park near the marina.
We made our way down onto the dock where the boats are tied up for the day and there are a few places to buy snacks.
One can not stop at the marina and not look for the harbor seal at the Seafood store. She has been coming to this exact spot for 30 years and recently brought her young pup by for a snack. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the baby this time.
By now, we were getting hungry too but dinner was not for awhile yet.
We wandered around a few more of our favorite stores, I do love this bookstore! And, marveled at the spectacular views until it was time to check in and get ready for our anniversary dinner.
This is the cottage that we have now stayed at twice. It is small, secluded and adorable. The view can’t be beat!
I spent some time photographing the cottage and surrounding garden but I will save that for the day 2 post, as this one is long already! We got cleaned up and prepared to head to the other side of the island where the Duck Soup Inn is located.
Our dinner last year was delicious and this year did not disappoint! We had high expectations and were so happy we returned this year.
We started off with cocktails, I don’t remember what these are exactly but isn’t memory loss the sign of a good drink!
We ordered two appetizers, the cured beef carpaccio with arugula pesto, parmesan, charred onion cream, toasted hazelnuts and berry gastrique
And Wescott Bay smoked and baked oysters. Both were fantastic and I don’t like oysters! These were not raw, which helped me greatly, and were served with fig aioli, bread crumbs and parmesan.
We both had the corn and spot prawn bisque, and loved it!
My husband went with the Seared Weathervane Scallops-this was good! The shellfish was flavored by braising in pork belly and served with a summer succotash and red bell pepper sauce-yum!
And I had the Fresh Ricotta Gnocchi-this was better! Really tasty! How can this be bad when it is served with cherry tomatoes, garlic, summer herbs, browned butter and Midnight Moon aged goat cheese?
We finished off with more cocktails and a chocolate fudge sundae-yes, more ice cream! The dinner was outstanding and just the right amount of food. Their portions were perfect and we cleaned our plates.
It was a wonderful day and even better evening! Day 2 will have more pictures of the town and the property where we stayed! Thanks for reading this far.
If you have been following me from the beginning, then you know that I have been searching for the answer to the question “what’s next?” The reason I began this blog was to work through this extremely tough question of transition, as we move from full time parenting into our empty nest phase. This has been a tumultuous year, to say the least. We have been roaming around, renting houses in a variety of states and environments looking for what feels right. We have spent time in Idaho, Eastern Washington, Oregon, Kansas, Nevada and Arizona. In each place we checked out the running paths, yoga studios, golf courses and climbing gyms. We wanted a place that was not too far from our extended family, all of which are in the Seattle area, and provided the activities that we have been enjoying the past few years. There was one more big requirement: SUN!
We love Seattle, especially in the late spring, summer and early fall when the weather is fabulous and the running and climbing are to be enjoyed outside.
But then, somewhere around mid October, it gets dark and the clouds open up and begin to pour and it does not stop until May! No, I am not exaggerating!
In late February we went to Scottsdale to explore the area. Now, we have been to Sedona and Phoenix before, but this time was different. I wrote a post about some of our time there, a few others as well. But when it came time to leave, it hit me. I knew, somehow, that I could be happy in Arizona. I told my husband and we talked about nothing else the entire drive back to Seattle. By the time we got home, we were making plans to look, really look, at the potential of buying a second home in AZ.
We got pre approved, found a realtor and went to Tucson for the first time ever. We liked the views, the mountains, and the potential for all our outdoor activities that we have become accustomed. We arrived in June, when it was 115°F, not exactly the best time for driving around and house hunting! Our first stop was the local indoor climbing gym. Rocks and Ropes which turned out to be perfect for us. The routes are tougher and longer than our home gym, which will keep us challenged while we are in Tucson.
We also made our way up Mt. Lemmon, which is great for hiking, climbing and has a ski resort in the winter.
Near the end of our trip we managed to get in a short run (it was 80°F at 8am) at a bike/run path that runs the entirety of the downtown area.
We fell in love with the place. Did I mention the views?
Our home was the third property we viewed on the first day of house hunting. We both knew, as soon as we set foot inside the door, that this was the place for us. It will take several months or so to know for sure if this snowbird lifestyle is right for us. In the meantime I am excited about moving in (we close in August) setting up the house and making it a home! I waited to post about the new place to make sure it would go through (you know, inspections and paperwork). I am sure there will be more posts and pictures to come once we take possession of the house.
Since today is our 27th Wedding Anniversary I decided that this would be the perfect time to talk about our new phase and life direction. Thank you for reading this far and sharing this special moment with me!
Working women experience a different mid-life crisis than men. -Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D.
As I explore this question of the female mid-life transition I have attempted to consider all possible scenarios. Of course, being human I often find myself drawn to those friends in similar circumstances. Specifically, the woman who is educated, career oriented and actively balancing the needs of the family with the demands of advancing in her chosen profession. I have also searched for meaning and guidance in literature where I have found a variety of definitions in numerous books, articles, blogs and musings. Each of these poignant and well meaning interpretations often center around the loss of purpose a woman experiences as children launch into the world. But, I personally know of many talented, intelligent, strong, amazing women who chose to focus on their careers and to remain childless, and they are not immune to this phase of questioning at this point in their lives. Conversely, I have rarely seen writings about the male mid-life crisis where child rearing is the main topic of angst. Of course, for many men the family is a tremendous concern for them but the main question they wrestle with is what do to with their careers, should they retire, or change avocation and the sterotypiccal dealing with the inevitable loss of youth (is this all there is?). It is not often that I come across an article that specifically focuses on the women, whether they have had children or not, addressing the question of “what’s next?” with respect to their lives and careers. In What a female mid-life crisis looks like, by Marcia Reynolds Psy.D., she says,
These women have not faced a crisis, but they are facing a mid-life quest for identity.
Reynolds postulates that for the educated, goal oriented woman, this is a particularly difficult time as one tries to first define greatness and then searches to achieve it. Woman are not interested in reclaiming their lost youth, but fear missing out on what they could have accomplished with the time they have left. This resonated for me as I know many women who want to use this next act for more than just the job, being the mom or care giver for those around her.
Most importantly, Reynolds provides the reader with permission. Permission to have these feelings, permission to explore these questions and permission to spend the time and energy on finding what is right for you.
Above all, don’t let people tell you that you have no right to be unhappy with your life.
Funny how a man never worries about this, only women feel guilty for putting their needs above others, for taking time to consider what is best for themselves. Men instinctually believe they have the right to self preservation, yet a woman has to be reminded that she too is worthy of self reflection, respect and consideration.
Carl Jung was the father of modern analytical psychology. He was heavily influenced by Freud and shared his belief that the unconscious mind holds the key to unlocking repressed memories that define our past and help shape our future aspirations. Jung did split from Freud on other matters, such as the Oedipal complex and the over sexualization with respect to dream analysis. Jung’s cornerstone concept was that of individuation, where the self evolves from its two main components, the conscious and unconscious elements. This life long process is achieved by recognizing and blending these repressed memories with the aspirations and wishes for the future. There must be a balance for self actualization to occur or we will feel a disconnect from our authentic selves.
This all leads to a whole lot of dream analysis as dreams are the only source of unconscious knowledge that can be brought to the conscious surface. And this is where I have a hard time with a number of the premises brought forth in James Hollis’s book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, How to Finally, Really Grow Up. Hollis is a Jungian psychoanalyst who uses multiple examples of how dream analysis can unlock what the mind is truly longing for in life. As a biologist I believe that dreams are a direct manifestation of neural connections that have been stimulated, perhaps without your conscious knowledge, to trigger memories, fears and anxiety responses (hence more dreams associated with negative emotions are remembered in greater detail than those associated with pleasant stimuli). Dreams are simply a processing mechanism required for the brain to function in the face of constant visual, auditory, taste and touch stimulation in our daily interactions. I do not ascribe spiritual or religious meaning to dreaming any more than I would any other biological function. I do not urinate more during the day because I secretly hate my parents!
The first half of this book spent a great deal of time outlining the problems we face moving into our mid life. Dealing with parents and their dreams for our lives and the difficulty we have in wanting desperately to assert our individualization without disappointing our progenitors. I did not find this part particularly helpful. I don’t know too many adults who, at this point in their lives, have not already dealt with this issue in some way they deem resolved. Either you have decided to disappoint those family members and let the chips fall where they may, or you have come to terms with the life you chose and the path taken. Either way the bigger issue is “how do I move on from here?” The past is exactly that, done and done.
The second half of the book is where Hollis is helpful. He addresses the specific issues of many of us who ask “what is happening?, why have I lost my sense of purpose?” He points to Jung’s own memoirs:
I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success or money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually contained within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears. -Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections p. 140
In chapter 7, career vs vocation, Hollis points out that the choices and paths that worked for the first half of our lives will fail us when we have achieved those early set goals. We need to keep our minds active and moving toward something more fulfilling. Of course, finding that something is hard to do! A vocations is a calling, not just a career, it is from a deeper need than just paying the mortgage. It is what you believe you were meant to do, not necessarily how your current talent is defined.
It is better to do your own duty badly, than to perfectly do another’s: you are safe from harm when you do what you should be doing. -Bhagavad-Gita, III, 35
It is common for us in this midlife transition to become overwhelmed with the enormity of finding your calling, especially at this point in our lives. We have children and aging parents, spouses and community commitments to consider. Wouldn’t it be selfish to put ourselves first and to ignore those relationships to focus on ourselves to find that calling? I struggle with this everyday. I am a mother, wife and child myself and take those responsibilities very seriously. How can I tell my family that I want to go into the peace corps and help others. Leave for months to “find myself”, would that be fair to them? So, instead what do we choose to do with our unhappy realities. Self medicate, have an affair, ignore those children. Is that a better choice? How is staying nearby but making disrespectful, hurtful, selfish choices that very well may tear the family apart be better than taking those six months to help others who are less fortunate in a third world nation? All the rest is just distraction. Eventually the drink is gone, the fantasy of the affair is broken and the children move on and you are right back to the original question “What’s next”? and the very people you were trying to accommodate are no longer in your life.
The final two chapters are worth the price of the book, if you read nothing else. They are powerful and everyone will find something relatable. Hollis posses thought provoking questions and encourages the reader to take responsibility for his or her own healing. I am a strong believer in that you cannot control other peoples actions, but you can control your reaction. I have been disrespected, deceived and hurt more than I ever thought possible, but I am not a victim.