Can’t believe that it’s already 2020. Crazy how fast time is moving!
Back in October, hubs and I went on a small vacation. We were looking for something a little different, something slower paced – where we could relax. We found it in West Virginia. One of the first places we visited was an exhibition coal mine. Not being from a coal mining area, I never gave too much thought to how difficult mining could be. After visiting the mine, I came away with a new respect for the miners.
We ventured north to Cass where we took a train ride. We chose the trip up to Bald Knob. The scenery was beautiful and the smell of Red Spruce was spectacular. Our trip included a hobo lunch (sack lunch of a sandwich, chips, pasta salad and a cookie). The engineer was very entertaining. (click here for link to Cass Scenic Railroad)
About twenty miles from the New River Gorge, you’ll find Babcock State Park. This was one of my favorite stops. While at the park, we took time to check out the Grist Mill before we went hiking. We chose to hike around the lake. I think the trail was classified as easy to moderate.
This little vacation comes highly recommended. It’s perfect for those who want to unplug from daily stresses and recharge. Totally felt like a new person when the vacation was over.
Nothing crazy. Visit family. Hiking. A little sight-seeing. A lot of relaxing…
I’d waited all summer.
We were about 20 minutes into the flight to Atlanta when the pilot announced that a sensor on our plane had activated and we’d have to return to the airport. Mind you, we had to fly around for another 20 minutes or so to burn up some fuel as our plane was too heavy to land. (Side note: Our pilot made sure to fly over areas that were very rural. I’m assuming that was done to minimize potential ground casualties if something would have gone wrong.) Long story short – a missed flight and luggage delay, we made it to Utah.
Before going to Utah, I’d researched some places that I wanted to hike in Cache Valley. The Wind Caves were at the top of my list. One of my sons offered to carry me on a short evening hike in Dry Canyon – kind of a warm up if you will. All I can say is when you’re live at sea level, the air in the mountains gets really, really thin. At about 6500 feet above see level, I thought my lungs were going to collapse. Suffocation seemed like a possibility. I seriously drank water hoping my body could pull some oxygen from it. Not sure how mountain folks manage to breathe “nothing” and survive. I’m convinced they have something evolutionary happening in their bodies in real-time.
View from Dry Canyon:
Rode the train out of Heber City. Saw some sights:
Discovered Tiger Blood flavored slushies – which is kinda like what would happen if a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada had a baby – alcohol free of course.
And got hooked on Stranger Things – seriously hooked.
Back to North Carolina – where the air is so heavy with humidity, it feels as though you’re being hugged. It was the best welcome home ever – the weight of the air – breathing never felt so good!
All in all – my vacation was pretty close to perfect – marked some things off my bucket list, hung out with my family and relaxed.
I was back at work on Monday the 10th. On the 12th, I was evacuating for Florence. My husband and son stayed behind to work the storm (LEOs) and for the first time, I packed my things and left them – not knowing what I’d be coming back to.
Evacuation became a semi-vacation to the mountains of North Carolina.
Bat Cave, North Carolina
We (my mom and me) stayed in Bat Cave until Hurricane Florence decided that she wanted to visit the same area. Potential mudslides had us heading to Mt. Airy.
I got home without a problem – before all the serious flooding set in. My home was fine. It was like God placed His hand over it – not a shingle missing. I’m blessed. I have friends who weren’t so fortunate.
Back to Work: Receptionist at a busy insurance agency
Work has been stressful to say the least – long days, weekends, and the calls don’t stop. Finished week 3 post Florence – and my brain is mush. A visit to the chiropractor and to the massage therapist and the horrible headaches have eased. Life is better when you’re head isn’t exploding. For that I’m grateful. And – strange as it may seem -I’m grateful for Stranger Things. That little bit of time away from all the worries and stress, where I just get sucked into the story, that’s what is keeping me sane.
During all this – my debit card was declined… At Taco Bell no less. Why? Because some jerk stole my card number. Not sure where, when or how they did it but they were shopping on my dime. (Thank goodness my credit union froze it because of suspicious activity.) And Taco Bell – the cashier insisted I take the drink and breakfast quesadilla – because she’d been there and knew how it felt to have her account information/money stolen. On the bright side – I got my money back. More importantly, I was reminded that even though some people choose to be #@%%$, there are people who are just genuinely nice – like the cashier at Taco Bell.
Apologies for the long and rambling post but carrying all this inside me – it was – well, I needed to let it out and let it go.
I’m not sure where the first half of 2018 has gone. It seems like only yesterday I was writing down my new year’s resolutions – some of which I’ve actually managed to maintain. Others were abandoned/forgotten.
July feels like a good time to re-evaluate my progress.
I’m healthier. I made walking/hiking part of my life. I started strength training and while I need to be more consistent, my body is stronger. I feel better than I have in years. I’ve lost weight – not as much as I had hoped but I still have 6 months to go.
One of the things I wanted to work on that still needs improvement is utilizing my “down-time.” I’ve spent time on my photography but there’s other things I enjoy. So in this next half of the year, I’m going to finish the baby blanket I started crocheting. I have a beautiful puzzle that needs to be put together. After working all day, it’ll feel good to engage my mind on something I enjoy.
During June, I spent a lot of time staining my deck – never realized how many pickets we had on that sucker. I thought my hand was permanently stuck in the “holding the brush” position. While the work was time-consuming, the pay-off has been so rewarding. Most evenings I’m out on my hammock, torches burning, crickets singing, frogs croaking and me – doing my best to unwind. I think the alone time has helped with my stress.
Life goes by so quickly. It wasn’t that long ago that I was at ballgames cheering for my boys. Now, two of them have children. It’s quite challenging to build a new life (in a matter of speaking) when your world has changed. I want to make sure that I’m living the best life I can. I don’t want to look back with regret. So that’s what July 2018 is for – editing my life and evaluating my progress.
I’m proud of my successes but there’s room for improvement.
How about you? How’s things going with your resolutions/goals?
If you’re like me – Mondays can be a struggle. It’s the whole “time to adult” thing that gets me. I find it too easy to hit the snooze button and to be honest – by the time I roll out of bed the race is on. The funny thing – I know better. The weekend is gone and a new day has dawned and I am forced to acknowledge that I haven’t won the lottery yet and bills still have to be paid.
But on the bright side – I have a job. I work with some great people and I have the ability to get of bed. All in all – that’s pretty dang good.
It’s Friday and all I can say is – FINALLY! I’m one of those folks who lives for the weekend. And when the weekend comes, I try to make the most of it.
Last weekend, my brother and I went hiking. Hiking has become one of my favorite activities. After being cooped up in an office all week, being out on the trails is quite restorative.
Being 51 years old, I can remember the time before cellphones and the internet. I gotta say – those were some good days. We didn’t have crap being shoved in our faces 24/7. Living in a rural area, we had an antenna for our television. We could count on ABC, CBS and NBC and when the weather was good, we might get PBS. We knew our neighbors and we looked out for each other.
I spent my childhood playing in the woods, floating on inner-tubes in the river and hanging out at the fish house where I got my first “job” heading shrimp. I was in second grade. That job gave me spending money and later helped buy my school clothes. It taught me the value of honest work.
I look at the world now and realize that we (my generation) were the lucky ones. Our parents weren’t hovering over us every moment. Seriously, it never occurred to my folks that it might not be safe for my sister and I to be floating on inner-tubes in a river by ourselves. They told us where we could float and they expected us to listen. And we did.
I see kids now – still in elementary school carrying cellphones. Their little faces glued to the screens. I can’t help but wish that I could wave a magic wand and drop them in the middle of 1976. No cellphones or video games to occupy their time/mind. Instead, they’d have the opportunity to explore the world around them, to build forts, walk the woods, catch clams and chew on sour weed.
The world wasn’t perfect then. It’s not perfect now. But for a kid – growing up “unplugged” was about as perfect as we could get.
Maybe that’s why I like hiking so much. For a few hours, I’m on an adventure, exploring new paths with no unwanted interruptions. I’m unplugged and I’m lucky.