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Why freaking not

Today was the epitome of taking advantage of every moment and not letting anything pass by.

We got up early and started the day with fresh made waffles courtesy of our motel. Nom.

Our first stop was the Bug Farm. We almost missed it but we turned around and I’m really glad we did.

It’s the VW Bug version of Cadillac Ranch. I love me some VW Beetles. Obviously it was extremely windy again. However this time no whales, humans or half buried cars were flashed.

Then it was on to Cadillac Ranch for more buried car fun.

We should have thought to bring some spray paint. Not something we keep in the trunk of the car. I know, you’re shocked.

Love him so.

Phoebe was decidedly not impressed. Her face here cracks. me. up.

We passed the midpoint!

As we entered New Mexico Route 66 turned into a dirt road. We debated taking the interstate for all of two minutes but where’s the adventure in that?

Best part of dirt roads? Being able to stop whenever you want to pose for a mini photo shoot.

By far the highlight of the day though was when we reached Santa Rosa. I was looking through our little guide and noticed something called Blue Hole that was a little off Route 66. It was described as a large well that’s 81 feet deep with crystal blue waters. It sounded neat so we decided to detour a little.

When we got there we realized that not only does it look neat but it’s actually a popular free place on a hot summer day. Anyone can just jump in. Now the water is seriously 64 degrees so it’s not exactly a swimming hole but there was a steady stream of jumpers.

(That old dude about to jump? Not Joel. Or me. In case you were wondering)

Joel and I wandered around with Phoebe and took a few pictures. I must have had a look on my face because Joel turned to me and said, “You want to jump in, don’t you?”

I so did.

However, I didn’t feel like being the only soaking wet one so I made Joel agree to jump in too.  Joel didn’t really want to because he was nervous about his swimming skills. Since there were two lifeguards on duty though I told him that was no excuse. Plus, I knew he’d really love it once he did it.

I think deep down he knew it too because it didn’t take much convincing before we were back at our car pulling on our bathing suits.

Unfortunately we couldn’t go at the same time because we didn’t have anywhere safe to leave Phoebe. I made him jump first because I was a little afraid he’d back out if I had already jumped. Once it was my turn I was surprised that my legs shook a little as I got out onto the ledge. From up there it looks way scarier than it does on the ground. The scariness was nothing though compared to the icy shock of the water. I’m pretty sure I’ve never felt water that cold in my life. It took my breath away.

Totally worth it though.

And just like that we were on our way again. I can’t believe I even considered not jumping for a minute because it was a little inconvenient to change into my swim suit in the car. Or that I didn’t want to get my hair wet. Good grief.

We jumped off a high rock into ice-cold water. Why? Because why not?

And that’s exactly what this trip is about. Why freaking not.

It’s all about the journey

Hm, blogging… let’s see if I remember how to do this.

First of all, thank all of you for your kind comments here and on Twitter about my dad. Things could have been so much worse than what they were. He’s not all better yet but he is recovering and for that I’m so thankful.

So much else has happened since I fell off the blogging wagon I don’t even know where to start so I’m just going to skip to current time. I may eventually try to recap things but my current adventure is way too exciting to bother with that right now.

Yesterday Joel, Phoebe and I began Epic Road Trip 2011. We’re in the process of completing number 27 on my 30 by 30 list. Driving across the country on Route 66.

Or getting our kicks on Route 66 as they say.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been on more road trips than I can count. They’ve always been to get somewhere in particular, as most road trips tend to be. Because they’re destination focused it doesn’t leave time for the random things in between.

Like the word’s largest rocking chair.

Every time I’ve taken a road trip I’ve always said that someday I want to take a trip where I get to stop at every strange and stupid thing. Just for the heck of it.

This is that trip.

And it’s even better than I hoped it would be.

It’s unbelievable how true flexibility makes things so much more enjoyable. Any time-table? Ours. Any rules or guidelines? Ours. If we decide something looks cool, we stop. If not, we don’t. If there’s a particularly dull stretch of road we may hop on the interstate for a few miles to save a few minutes that we can later use on something interesting.

We stopped at that ridiculously large rocking chair.

I kissed Mater.*

We’ve laughed and talked and joked and dreamed out loud and just had the most amazing time ever.

There’s no rush to be anywhere because here is exactly where we’re going.

I often have a hard time living in the moment because I’m so focused on my goals and where I want to be in the future. This trip is exactly what I need to remind me that there’s really nothing more important than right now because right now is my life.

It’s all about the journey.

*Oh hi Disney/Pixar, obviously I meant a Mater-like tow truck. Don’t sue me.

Denial

No no no no no no no.

This keeps going through my head over and over. My dad had a stroke.

Stroke.

No. Can’t be true. Nope.

Mentally I’m holding my ears and scrunching my eyes closed and saying la la la la la as loud as I can.

My dad had. A stroke.

My grandfather had a stroke. My dad’s dad. He had a couple actually. Ultimately he died. I was too young to remember the man he was before the stroke. I’m told it changed him a lot. I only have pinpoints of memories of my grandfather. His stroke made him much grumpier and as a small child I didn’t understand it. I loved him though despite the fact that he scared me a little. I wish I could remember him as he was before his strokes. I don’t think he would have scared me then.

I wonder if my dad had as hard a time accepting things when it was his dad as I’m having now that it’s mine. I wonder if his mind argued with itself. His dad was an amazing man, I’m told. I know my dad thought so. How did he handle it when it was his dad lying in a bed or sitting in a wheelchair? I wish I could ask him.

I visit my dad and I see the other stroke patients. They’re old. My dad can’t be old. My dad can’t possibly belong here with all these weak, sick old people. He doesn’t belong there.

Those can’t be my dad’s legs, so small and frail. Those can’t be my dad’s arms, barely able to lift himself an inch. My dad picks me up when I’ve fallen and hurt myself. His are the arms I can curl up in when I’ve had a scary dream. He gives me advice when I have a problem. The roles aren’t supposed to reverse like this. He’s my dad.

The worst is his mind though. He’s not there. At least not completely. My dad not only knows the year and the president but he’ll talk your ear off passionately for hours about exactly how said president has failed. My dad doesn’t stare off into space. My dad doesn’t just follow a conversation, he leads it.

No Dad, it’s not 2003. No Dad, it’s not 2012. No Dad, you’re not going home tomorrow. No Dad, that man in the next room isn’t your brother.

No.

I can’t stand it. It breaks my heart into a million pieces. It’s so unfair that my dad is almost 73 and I’m only 25. I feel like I’m desperately clawing, trying to hold onto every precious second I have with him and those seconds are sand, disintegrating underneath my nails faster and faster and faster.

It takes my breath away to think of losing him. How much less of a whole my family would be without his hearty, infectious laugh and goofy jokes. I’ve had that ticking clock in the back of my mind for years now. I knew I couldn’t keep him forever. Why do I feel like someone just sped up the countdown?

It could have been so much worse. He can walk and talk. If you didn’t know him you might not even know he’d had a stroke. But for me? The lack of mental clarity makes me nauseous. My dad is his mind. I want him back.

I can’t help but feel likes it’s the beginning of the end and that thought sends me swirling into a deep dark pit of despair. I want to be wrong. I’ve never wanted to be wrong so badly in my life. I desperately want everything to return to normal. I don’t want a reason to be in denial.

Outwardly I’m remaining positive and hopeful. Inside I’m holding my head and screaming at the top of my lungs. I want my dad back.

Nothing is wrong.

No no no no no no no.

A lifetime in seconds

The ring of a phone.

An unexpected name on the caller id.

Since my name starts with A-b, I generally expect unexpected calls to be butt dials. Happens a lot.

That moment of hope that it’s not. It’d be nice to hear from them.

Hello?

And then that awful return hello. The moment you know this call was no accident. They’re about to give you bad news.

And the world stops.

An impossible amount of time passes. Yet no time passes. How can so much time fit into a breath? Not even a breath because in that moment you’ve forgotten how to breath.

It’s the longest, most horrible moment. How can so many tragic possibilities run through a brain in a split second? How can every person you love flash through your head in less time than it takes to finish the word hello?

And even still there’s that hope that it’s nothing. Even while your stomach drops through your feet and you try to remember what inhaling is for there’s still that glimmer that it’s all okay.

And then it’s not.

Everything is not okay and the world freezes. You hear the news and there’s nothing but the echoing of the words.

Then just as suddenly everything comes unfrozen and time makes up for lost time.

But that instant, right before bad news? How can an entire lifetime pass in less time than you can take a breath?

Ns and Ms

I was typing up an email for work and when that red squiggly line popped up under imput I was confused. I was even more confused when the only suggestion was input.

Huh?

Wait, I’ve been saying that word wrong? My entire life? Twenty-five years of mispronunciation and nobody said anything?! Rude.

Granted, N and M* sounds are kind of hard to distinguish. And I obviously do not write it down often. But hmph, I felt pretty dumb for not knowing that all this time. Especially since I get so annoyed when people pronounce certain words incorrectly or make common grammar mistakes.

Five things people say that make me twitch:

1. Exspresso. It’s ESpresso people. Not Expresso. Yes, it’s a tiny little bit of coffee that’s fast to drink but that is where the similarity to it and the word express ends.

2. Irregardless**. That is redundant. And not really a word.

3. Busted. My mom always used to tell me that it isn’t a word. I think she may have been wrong about that. Or at least I’m pretty sure it is a word now but still, to me it sounds ignorant. It’s broken, not busted please.

4.  Good (In response to how are you?). Nope, you’re well. You can have a good day. You can do a good job. But unless you are referring to the content of you’re character, AKA I’m a good person, you are well or fine or excellent or okay or crappy. Just not good.

5. Illinois. It is pronounced Ill-i-noy. There is no z sound at the end. If you say Ill-i-noyz I might slap you.

Despite my snark I’m obviously not above mispronouncing the occasional word or two. And because karma is a bitch I’m sure this post is rife with spelling and grammar mistakes. Feel free to point them out. Clearly I could use some im, er, input.

*my little sister used to pronounce M&M’s like that (en an emz). And now I want some…

** You know what else makes me twitch? The fact that there is no red line under this word. Have we sunk that low English language? Really? ::sigh::

In and out

All too often lately I become very aware of my own breathing. Awake in the middle of the night, thoughts racing, I realize my heart beat matches the speed of my thoughts and it too is racing. I realize my breath is coming short and fast.

I try to focus on steadying it.

In…. out… in… out….

Sometimes it’s calming. Other times my thoughts take over again until I realize my heart is again beating a mile a minute.

Refocus.

In…. out… in… out…

All too often I get the sensation of falling.

Or drowning.

I want to let loose and screeeeam.

Nothing comes.

My scream is caught between my soul and my vocal cords.

Just nothing.

Nothing but a racing heart and shallow quick breaths.

I’ve been alone a lot lately. Both physically and mentally.

The worst is being alone in a big group of people. Knowing that you’re the only one on your side. Being talked down to and criticized for every move. Always having to second guess everything I do. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

Eggshells hurt my feet.

But when I’m physically alone, that’s when I want to let loose. I’ve even tried screaming.

I can’t.

I work so hard to be excellent in my life. I make mistakes like everyone else of course but overall I felt like I do a pretty great job.

Until everything fell apart.

Now I’m left alone. Just a tangled ball of silent screams and unwept tears. Wanting more than anything to release the frustrations that so often leaves my heart sprinting so fast that I have to remember to catch my breath.

In…. out… in… out…

I focus on the feeling of my pants tightening and loosening around my waist with each slow, deliberate breath.

In… out… in… out…

It’s all going to be ok. But I’m left wondering, is it really worth this fight? Is it worth the stress? Will I feel worse about giving up than I do right now?

I’m not a quitter… I’m not.

In… out… in… out…

(p.s. oh hey blog, I missed you.)

Wordless Wednesday: Still rocking the red

Birthday Celebrations (part 1)

Because obviously I couldn’t celebrate my birthday all in one day. My birthday is way too important to be able to fit the celebrations into one day.

Or there are so many people in my life that it’s impossible to get them all together at once.

Either way.

Anyway, I had to work on my actual birthday. I got off early however and came home and took a three hour nap. I never take naps. Once I’m up I’m usually up for the day. Apparently turning 25 has changed me though because that was not the last nap I had this week.

Anyway, I came home, took a nap, relaxed around the house and then had a nice little dinner with Joel. Perfectly relaxing.

Tuesday I worked so no real excitement there.

Yesterday was when the real celebrations began. After another luxurious two hour nap, I met up with my sister and brother-in-law and they treated Joel and I to a yummy dinner and some bowling.

It was dollar bowling night so there was about a 45 minute wait for a lane. We killed the time playing pool.*

Badly.

But we had fun. Mostly making fun of how bad we were.

In case you think I’m lying, Joel and I played against Naomi and Melvin. We won every game. Not because of any kind of skills on our part though. Every win was because of a scratch on the 8 ball or something similar. Lame. And hilarious. Thank goodness we weren’t playing for money.

We finally got a lane and then had a ton of fun bowling.

Badly.

I have mentioned before that I have no bowling skillz. I actually got what I’m pretty sure is a life time high score of 88. That included two strikes in one game. ::dies::

Joel got a high score of 130. That would be incredibly impressive if I didn’t tell you he was playing with bumpers. I’m sure he would rather you be all impressed though so I won’t mention the bumpers.

Er… oops.

For the record? My 88 was completely unassisted by bumpers. I got that practically pro score all on my own. Boo yah.

Anyway, it was a truly wonderful evening. I’m so lucky to have a sister that is one of my very best friends. I can’t get enough time with her and her hubby.

Thank you guys for a really fantastic night. Love you!

*Excuse the crappy iPhone pictures, somebody forgot the Nikon ::cough:: Joel ::cough::

Her new favorite spot

Phoebe has a chair.

It’s hers.

It was given to us by some friends and ever since she discovered how to jump into it it’s been one of her favorite spots. Of course she makes her rounds on all the other furniture in the room. Including occasionally trying to walk on the coffee table (grrrr) but she tends to like the chair the best.

When we took the Christmas tree down this year we rearranged the furniture in the living room so that it’s next to the window.

Phoebe is a huge fan. Her chair? Just got so much more interesting.

One year down

Five more to go. Until 30.

Yep, that means today I’m 25.

Yipes.

I’m firmly in my mid twenties. I held onto “early twenties” even this past year. Now there’s no denying it, I’m officially mid.

Again, yipes.

Despite what all the yipes may suggest I’m actually feeling good about turning 25. I’ve been slowly but surely crossing things off my 30 by 30 list and that is exciting.

One of the most major goals (at least financially) I crossed off was traveling to India. So incredible. It was everything I was hoping it would be and so much that I never expected.

The other major one I crossed off was keeping up this blog every day last year. I’m still kind of in shock that I did it. Especially when you consider how many days I just skipped blogging (ten, by the way. Although of course you know that already. You’ve been counting right?). I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person so it shouldn’t really surprise me that skipping “just today” turns into days of nothing. I need to work on that. Anyway, sticking with things isn’t my forte so the fact that I accomplished this the first year is a big deal.

In August I halfway crossed off my goal of dying my hair something other than it’s natural color. It was my own fault for chickening out and not going for it 100%. I had her add just a little red to my natural color plus I had her only use semi-permanent hair dye. The results were less than exciting. So this time I went all out. I couldn’t be happier. That will teach me to do things halfway.

The last thing I crossed off my list this year was joining a book club. The girls I met there were so fun and I had a great time. Unfortunately life happened, people got busy and stopped showing up to meetings. So, the club stopped meeting altogether. I’m disappointed because, like I said, I felt really connected to some of the girls. On the other hand, I work so much now that I doubt I’d be able to make meetings myself now. It was good for what it was at the time. Hopefully I can get back in touch with some of the girls I was closest too. Making that one of my mini goals for this year.

So, 4 things down, 26 to go. In order to finish I should have technically crossed off 5 things from my list. I’m not too worried about it though. I’m well on my way to crossing several things off. I’ll just have to make it a point to get 6 or 7 things done this year. I’m 25 and I feel ambitious!

Other exciting news? You probably noticed the new theme. Complete with a custom header designed by the incredibly talented love of my life. I’m loving it.

And last but probably most exciting was my birthday present……

I’M FREAKING GOING TO BLOGHER!!!

I’m so excited I can barely stand it. I’m such a nerd.

So yeah, this past year was great but I expect 25 to be even better.

Now, who wants to be my Blogher roommate?

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