Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Written Word

I haven't been getting my butt in the writing chair over the last week or so. Ambrose and I did go on a short backpacking trip last weekend, so I have a partial excuse, but that's not really enough. I want to finish my solo write up by the end of the month and have the book for sale before I visit family in October. Though I won't likely have finished copies to give them at the visit.

I know once I finish the write up, the photo part can be accomplished in a weekend's steady work. Formatting the book and getting the layout right for print is not a hard part for me. I enjoy creating the photos and captions and making it all come together. It's simple work, repetitive, steady. When a mistake is made, it is simple, if not always fast or easy, to correct.

The writing part is different. I don't have a template. I don't have as much structure to dictate what I should or shouldn't be doing. I look at the photos I took as I write, but they don't provide the narrative. They can't convey the harshness of the wind, how cold it was and how it sometimes drove particles of sand into my face or blew so hard that I had trouble walking forward. Even the video I took of the wind whipping my tent doesn't tell as much of the story as my words must bear.

I have to find the story, create it and frame it without knowing exactly what its shape should be before I start. I know what I want to do - I want to share my adventure. And I want to share how these adventures have changed me and how I approach life. Hiking alone grows self reliance. It makes me more confident and sure of myself. It proves to me that I have the ability to do more than I realize.

And, if I write my book right, it will give others a taste of those results, and encourage others to strive and try to do things that they never would have thought possible.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Everything and Nothing

I'm going through another period of having IBS issues. I have to say that what I like least about this whole diagnosis is how random it seems to be. I don't know how to control what's happening. I really thought I had things under control last winter after I started taking the mint pills, but it didn't last. I don't know if the mint pills really had any effect, or if they just happened to coincide with a time that I was feeling better. 

Changing what I eat doesn't help, at least not for long. Excluding certain items, including others, drinking more water, drinking less water, nothing seems to make a difference for long, as if my digestive system just has trouble making up its mind, what will affect it and what will leave it calm. 

There's a burning pain going on that is pretty constant at the moment, but it isn't heartburn. Too low, too frequent, not helped by heart burn remedies. It keeps me awake past bed time and disturbs my sleep so I feel exhausted, which stresses me out more, which surely doesn't help anything. 

Gas buildups cause pain and nausea, but I'm almost at the point where I've accepted that the feeling like I'm going to puke is really just a burp. There does linger a trace of paranoia that this time, that burp will be more than just gas. But so far, I haven't had any vomiting even though it has felt like it was going to happen. 

The gas pains can get intense. They don't like to stay the same, so sometimes it feels like pressure, other times like a stitch from running, and sometimes it feels like ripping inside. 

My husband is frustrated to see me in pain and be unable to do anything about it. I know he's not mad at me, but I still feel like it's my fault that I'm not feeling better faster. 

I suppose I'll have to start looking at more unconventional methods, perhaps starting with dancing naked under a full moon, followed by a snipe hunt. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


I finally got my butt in the writing seat over the last week or so! The write up of my solo trip is proceeding nicely, nearly finished, and then I can get serious on the Chamberlain Guidebook that Ambrose wants me to write and the Queens River Guidebook.

The guidebooks will be short pieces meant to help people who want to explore those areas with a little more recent information than is readily available right now. After our eclipse trip into the Queens River area, we learned that the area isn't well described in the guidebook that we learned about it from, in part because the terrain has changed and the trail has been rerouted in places. The Queens River literally changed its course between last year and this year at one of the crossings, so a short guidebook that could be updated every year might be useful.

I'm almost done with the third day of my solo trip write up. One more good weekend of work and I'll be done with the writing. Then it's Ambrose's turn to do the proofreading and I'll start with the photos. I'll definitely have these books ready for Christmas gifts.

I just hope the air around here clears up soon. Boise has a red air quality alert going on right now, and I'm definitely feeling the effects. Everything smells like smoke, even indoors, and my eyes have been burning all day. Not conducive to focusing on writing or anything else.

But I know that I just need to get my butt in the seat and I can get it done.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


My ankle is still bugging me. But I managed to take it on a 24 mile backpacking trip and saw the eclipse totality in the wilderness, no one around but my husband. We had an entire meadow to ourselves, and a full view of Mount Everly. Well, technically, we had a little company. A small plane was flying overhead and managed to sneak itself into my totality pictures. I actually think it adds something to them.

Totality and airplane. I don't have the best camera (or camera skills) for this shot.
And after my husband and I returned from the trip, I tried giving my ankle a few more days of rest to see if it would finally stop hurting.

It wouldn't, so I've moved on to another tactic. I'm getting back into my exercise routine. I'm going to do my best and take what care with my ankle that I need to, but I'm back going to cross fit and the gym.

I keep wondering if I should have gone to the doctor about it. Or if it would be worthwhile to go now, since my ankle is still hurting and its been several weeks. But at this point, I'm thinking I'll just gut it out. Give it support, ice now and then, stretch it and do ankle abc's.

Yesterday at cross fit, I read a quote written on one of the chalkboards:
Accept your circumstances. Accept exactly where you are and strive for progress. Stay present and fall back in love with the process of getting better. Because focusing on the future can destroy us. - Michael Cazayoux

It really hit home to me that I need to accept that right now, my ankle isn't 100%, but I'll get it there. I just need to do what I can and focus on healing and improving.

Easier written than done.

But I'll try.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


I got a massage last week. I'd been looking forward to it this time especially because I hoped the therapist could help calm down the leg muscles that kept pulling on my hurt ankle. I'd been trying to rub the muscles into submission myself, but there's only so much I know how to do.

She did indeed do a lot of work that helped my body feel better. But I think the most important thing I got out of the experience was a realization that I had been stressing. A lot.

I stressed that I was injured and had to cancel a backpacking trip. I stressed about being ready for the next backpacking trip - the one to go and view the eclipse that I'd been planning for years. And I had the normal stresses of work.

What I didn't have was my normal method of stress release, namely, vigorous exercise of the backpacking and Crossfit varieties preferably. I was being cautious, perhaps excessively cautious, about working the hurt ankle. I wanted it to heal in time for the eclipse trip so much. Just heal the heck up and let me hike.

I realized that I need to have a game plan for the next time I can't use vigorous exercise for stress relief for whatever reason (hopefully not injury again). I don't really know what that plan is going to look like, but even just acknowledging what I was doing to my body, especially my muscles, helped. After the massage I was more conscious of not tensing up because of stress.

Not sure what I'll come up with, but I'm going to figure something out, because I really don't like the way I feel when I'm stressed.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Hot Seat

I tend to be cold. When my husband is stripped down to shorts, pushing me away because my body heat is making him sweat, I'm nearly shivering in a sweatshirt, huddled under blankets. I've warmed up a bit since I started backpacking, especially when I'm out there, working hard and breaking a sweat. But at home (and at work, where they air condition the spaces extra cool), I get chilly.

Sometimes I solve this with layers of clothing. Others with hot tea or a quick set of calisthenics. But the best and most reliable solution is actually writing.

For some reason I have yet to figure out, sitting at my desk and writing always warms me up. If I'm already a comfortable temperature, it won't be long before I'm sweating. If I'm bundled up in a sweatshirt, it won't be long before I tear it off. This phenomena cannot be explained by the heat of my laptop alone. There has to be more to it.

It is nearer the window than the couch where I sit with my husband, but not that much nearer. And in the winter, that should make it colder. Except we usually set up a heater near the window to counteract that. Okay, in the winter it makes sense I'd get hot, with the heater and all. But not in the summer or spring or fall.

Writing doesn't make me tense or stressed. There's really no reason to become heated. But I do.

I guess the only way to find out if it's the writing or the position is to move things around, but there's really not room in our studio apartment for much rearrangement. We haven't rearranged any furniture since we moved in. There's just room enough for everything to stay in its place.

The mystery shall remain. I really should start using it to my advantage more often though.

Too cold? Time to write!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Spinning Wheels

I don't feel that I've gotten very much done in the last week. I haven't been getting my butt in the writing chair because it doesn't seem the best place for the ankle. And also I'm a little sad about the whole being injured thing and sorely missing going to Crossfit. And last week was incredibly hectic at work, because I had been planning on being out this week.

But since I'm not going backpacking, I'm not taking the days. What would be the point of taking a vacation if I wasn't going to use it to go somewhere? At least, a vacation of a whole week. I hardly know what to do with myself over the winter break when work shuts down for a week. No way am I voluntarily doing that when I can't even go exercise.

But I do have some more books up, though I need to turn focus to creating paper versions of them, as well as publishing the rest of the shorts and working on a collection. Plus get to writing. That's the trick. Somehow, I'm able to get my butt in the chair for at least a few minutes each week and get something posted on this blog and my gym blog, but I'm not getting there at other times.

I know I can get work done if I get my butt in the chair. I just need to get myself there more often. Which should be a lot easier now that my ankle isn't all swollen. It's still a bit sore and tender but I walked with just a brace yesterday, no crutch, all day. I even went to the gym, though I only did weight machines and upper body work.

I might be able to get back to Crossfit - with no running - as early as Sunday. And I'm feeling more positive than ever that I'll be taking my planned backpacking trip to the Sawtooth Wilderness for the eclipse.