Posted in Adventure

A Year in Review: 2020

Well, friends, we made it to the end of 2020. I think we should all get an award. This has been a stormy year like no other and I think we’re all still reeling. The months swept by so fast, yet not quite fast enough. So much happened, for the better and of course for the worse. But I’m not going to talk about the bad things—especially, that-which-shall-not-be-named, because if 2020 taught me anything, it’s that there is a silver lining to everything. Even in something as mundane as the sun rising up over the mountains, that’s a powerful reminder that light still exists. Or when a bird sings from high atop the trees, that too, is a reminder that joy still exists. God’s wonderful creation still exists, and we can find solace in that. So join me, as I look back at some of the events of this year that still make me smile when I remember them.

The year started out feeling new, but not so different from any year before it. I made plans, hoped to travel, pledged to be more disciplined, etc., etc., the typical New Year’s resolutions. Many didn’t end up happening, but one of them actually did. Early in the year, during that brief window when things were still normal, I scored tickets for… (you guessed it–) a concert! It was a spur of the moment decision—which are the best kind of decisions, in my opinion. (I think my family is getting used to me springing these ideas on them.) The concert venue was several hours drive away, but it wasn’t too bad as we’d driven that way dozens of times before. So in February, my mom and sisters, (and me, of course), hopped in the car and sped off for another adventure. The trip was a short one, but we managed to pack in everything we wanted to do; mainly, shop at IKEA. (Does anyone else stay in there for hours and hours?) Oh, and did I mention we went to see Stray Kids, in concert? Another one of my favorite K-Pop groups.

Remember when crowds were a thing?

Just before we entered the venue, a disaster struck! I’d handed out everyone’s tickets in the car before we arrived, which was a big mistake on my part. The line to get into the building was HUGE, wrapping around an entire block. After standing in the never ending sea of people, my older sister realized she didn’t have her ticket. We panicked, and everyone left me alone and went back to the car to find it. They searched and searched and were really beginning to lose hope. Meanwhile, I remained in line all alone among thousands of strangers, wondering who would have to stay behind?
Finally, when all hope was nearly lost, at the last moment before entering the building, my sisters came running back…with the ticket! Thankfully, the crisis was averted, and we were able to enjoy a great show. The drive home turned out to be a treacherous journey, as a blizzard decided to sweep in. But we made it home safe and sound, and for that, we were were grateful.

I’m so happy I got to see them live! ❤
“Stray Kids everywhere, all around the world.”

Fast forward to late spring, when I finally finished my first novel! To be honest, I felt like that day would never come. (Since it took me over three years to complete.) I progressed like a turtle, but that’s okay because I did finish it after all. And not only did I finish writing it, but I actually allowed other people to read it—which was the most nerve-wracking part of it all. I’m usually one of those people who guard their writings like a fierce dragon with its horde of treasures. But I knew that I needed feedback, and I needed to get comfortable with other people reading my work. Thankfully, my family was very supportive about reading my work, and my sister was excited for the job of “editor”, and left me several notes throughout. I’m proud of the accomplishment, but I was more excited to be free of the story, and move on to new ones.

I said I was only going to talk about good things this year, but I have to mention one of the biggest disappointments for me, and many, many, other people—but even still, it wasn’t without a silver lining. Remember last year, I talked a bit about the struggle trying to get tickets for a BTS concert? Well, we planned to go again this year, but we weren’t going to be so naive during the ticketing period. If we were going to score tickets, we had to be aggressively, proactive this time. The tour was to take place in early summer, but in January we entered a drawing for a chance to be chosen for the pre-sale. We weren’t guaranteed a slot to participate, but we took our chances anyway. Unbelievably, the night before the sale, we found out we were chosen! Not taking anything for granted, we knew it was too early to celebrate, as we still had to get the actual tickets. The next day arrived, and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. After another harrowing hour-or-so battle against unseen, online foes, we secured the tickets, in our ideal section! We couldn’t believe our success!

We had big plans for this concert, and the trip we would take, but as you probably know, most concerts were cancelled this year. A sad ending to our hard fought victory, but as I said, there was still a silver lining. The Bangtan Boys came through, and held not only one, but three online concerts throughout the year. I had to wake up at 3 a.m. to watch them because of the time difference from South Korea, but every minute of sleeplessness was worth it. And even though nothing can mimic actual, in-person events, it still meant a lot to me, and countless others, that BTS held these concerts. And in a small way, we were still able to feel connected, even miles and miles apart.

3 a.m. concert time!

2020 was the year I planned to write my next big novel. I say big, because this story has been developing on the back burner for a very long time. And when I was able to set aside my previous project, I could finally run full force with my new story. I’m currently about 40k words into it, and this process feels so much different than my last, though not without it’s own struggles. In honor of this this new chapter, (no pun intended), I wanted to bring you along with me so I launched my first ever series here called, The Writing Diaries. I wanted to document all of the triumphs and tribulations I experience over the course of this new novel. Writing is a very long, and evolving process, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I’m trying to embrace the struggles, instead of fighting them.
You can check out part one here.

During the summer months, my family and I went on a couple of mini “road trips” in our home state. Since traveling far and wide is a bit out of the question, we stayed close to home and found new places to visit. We found two beautiful lakes, (reservoirs, technically), that I’d never even heard about before. (We also visited an “ice cave” in the middle of summer. Read about it here!) It was so nice to spend the day under the blue sky, and appreciate the calm stillness of the water. I was so happy to find such lovely places not so very far from home.

Of course, the year was also filled with all of the little mundane moments that we don’t pay much attention to, yet still make each day special. Take-out became the new dine-in, online shopping became a regular hobby for me, and my favorite evening activity was still watching K-Drama’s. (Some things will never change.) Despite the horrors and heartaches, the sun still shone, alarms still woke us up each morning—and life went on. Things are harder than they were, but that only makes them more valuable. The little everyday things we may have thought meaningless, are the very things still holding us together. That cup of coffee this morning that burnt your tongue, that late-night snack you regretted the next day, and those other small moments are reminders that we’re still okay. And we will continue to be “okay” even if things go south. Because there is one constant, that never left us this year, nor will it leave us in years to come. It’s something so simple, yet we tend forget it underneath the clamor of the world’s groaning. I heard someone talk about it in a video a few months back, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

My grace is sufficient for you.”

I’ve read those words before, but they have never quite hit home like they did, this year. No matter what the world throws at us, or takes away, the one thing that can’t be taken from us is the love, and sacrifice of Christ. And because of that, His grace is sufficient for me, (and you). For what else is there?

I hope that you were still able to find joy, and light this year. Thank you so much for reading this far, and sticking with me this year. Tell me, what are some of the bright, silver-lining, moments you’ve experienced this year? I’d love to hear from you. Oh, and before I forget—have a Merry Christmas!

God bless,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure, nature

All the Fall Feelings

Guess what? Fall is finally here, like really here. The sky is wide open and blue, all of the trees are turning orange and gold, the nights are chilly, the birds are starting to migrate, and the list goes on. Fall is one of the most beloved seasons, and it’s for a good reason. Seldom is a change in the earth felt so keenly, as when the end of summer approaches–the temperature cools, and a rainbow of colors burst forth from every green thing, transforming the landscape. Back in September, we got a sudden cold snap and for a couple of days it was actually freezing. In only a matter of days, the temperature went from upper 90s F, then dropping below 40 F. I thought winter had decided to come early and skip right over autumn– but it was only a false flag as a few days later the temperature shot back up to 80/90 degrees. But those two days served as a wake-up call, signalling that the end of the Summer was nigh.

Now that we’re over halfway into October, the weather is much more mild, and it feels like a proper autumn. A few days ago, I went shopping and came home with eight giant pumpkins for the front porch. Before that, it had been suffering from a rather disappointing lack of orange–but I took care of that and now I can rest easy. (Alas, I had to give most of them away. I mean, eight giant pumpkins on my front porch may have been a little excessive.)

October is a peaceful month, with no major holidays to overshadow, or steal away these quiet days. It’s a wonderful time to just be, and sit back and enjoy the beauty around us. So today, in honor of this most favored season, I thought I would gather up some of my favorite fall-time things, and share them with you.

Let’s start with one of my personal year-round favorites: tea.

Homemade Ginger Cinnamon Tea

Ingredients:

  • 2 cinnamon sticks (make sure they're the edible kind!)
  • ginger root (about 2 inches)
  • honey, sugar, or maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 C water
  • Directions:
  • Fill a medium sauce pot with water. Peel your ginger nub, (spoons work great for this), and slice it into discs. Place ginger, and two cinnamon sticks in the pot. Turn heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover partially to reduce evaporation, and simmer for 15 minutes. (Simmer only 10 minutes for a more mild infusion.) Let cool slightly, pour into cups and add sweetener of choice. You can also add milk or cream, if that's your thing. (Makes 2 cups)
  • Enjoy!
  • *When using fresh ginger, it can be quite strong, so adjust amount to your preference.

Ginger is incredibly warming, so it’s great to drink on cold nights. It’s also an immune booster, and a powerful anti-viral/anti-bacterial, which is perfect for all of the nasties that come along with colder weather. Cinnamon is also very warming, and useful in improving digestion, and circulation–plus it’s pleasantly tasty. I’ve been drinking this tea in the evenings, when I want something warm, and comforting.

Now that we’ve got our drink covered, I think we should sit down to enjoy our cuppa, and do some reading. I wracked my brain, and came up with a few titles to recommend for your autumn TBR. These books aren’t specifically fall-ish, but they have that certain wistful feeling that often reminds me of fall.

  1. The Scent of Water, by Elizabeth Goudge

You can’t spell autumn, without the word British…wait, that doesn’t make sense. What I’m trying to say is, there is nothing more cozy or heart-warming, than good ol’ British fiction. The Scent of Water, is about a woman who inherits a cottage in the country from a distant relative. We follow Mary, as she gets to know the villagers, and transitions to country-life. Isn’t it everyone’s dream to receive a letter, saying that a distant relative has left you their entire estate, which just happens to be in the country?

2. The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Steifvater

On the small windswept island of Thisby, the capaill uisce are beginning to wash ashore before the Scorpio Races–the only place in the world where the ravenous water horses are trained to compete. Puck Connolly finds herself a contender for the prize in the deadly races, the only girl ever to do so. I read this book during the summer months, but even then, it transported me straight to October, and I could almost feel the sea spray on my face. This story is intense, and the atmosphere is so vivid, I can’t think of a better autumn read.

3. Into the Fire, by Kim Vandel

Kate is an ordinary college freshman, until one day she receives a calling to become a Guardian–chosen by God, and given supernatural abilities. It’s a call she must accept, and her life is changed forevermore. Set in Seattle, with gloomy days, and drizzly skies, Into the Fire has the perfect fall vibe. This is one of my all-time favorite books.

4. The Dark Hills Divide, by Patrick Carman

Twelve-year-old Alexa Daley, has found herself caught in the middle of a dangerous scheme which threatens the entire Land of Elyon. With strange forests, and talking beasts, Alexa must solve the dark mystery before it’s too late.

5. The Maine Woods, by Henry David Thoreau

A collection of letters, and journal entries, Thoreau writes about the times he would would visit and explore the yet-unknown parts of the Maine woods. He recites stories from his guides, records moose encounters, and offers much wisdom from his experiences. It’s been a couple years since I read this book, but I still think back on it fondly, and it’s one of my favorite non-fiction reads.

One of the first ways I notice the changing of the seasons, even when the days are still long and hot, is by the stars. The Bible says the stars are for signs and seasons, and I never understand that so well as when I see constellations like the Big Dipper, and even the Milky Way inching their way across the sky as winter approaches. Winter is a great time to stargaze, though it’s usually too cold to do so. But even in autumn, the stars are so clear, and nearly every night I see something spectacular, like planets and “falling” stars. If you are able, I highly suggest doing a bit of stargazing yourself.

By this time of year, most of the garden has either died, or been pulled up, save for a few tomato plants still clinging to life. But as the cooler months settle in, you have an opportunity to start up a whole new crop. Things like carrots, peas, lettuce, and kale rather prefer the not-so-hot days. A couple of weeks ago, I planted some bush beans from seeds I saved in the spring. They took a while to break through the soil, and I was starting to get nervous they weren’t viable, but one morning I noticed a tiny green shoot poking out, and now they’re growing by leaps and bounds. I’m hoping we’ll get a couple of harvests in before it freezes too hard. Which reminds me, I still have potatoes to harvest… I’d better get digging.

And lastly, to truly set the mood for any occasion, one must have music. In autumn, I tend to listen to more acoustic genres, or songs that are a bit melancholy. Maybe it’s the chill in the air, or the crispy leaves, but I often listen to songs that are even a little creepy, (like the classic Goosebumps theme song). I listen to lots of different styles of music, and I’ve put together a playlist of songs that I think suit fall-time well. Give it a listen, if you’re looking for something new. Check it out

I’ll conclude this post here, before I go on any longer, and you start getting sleepy. I hope you enjoyed this post, and maybe feel inspired to try some new ideas this autumn. Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end. May you enjoy this season, and all of its changes. I’ll see you on the other side.

What are some of your favorite fall things?

Lady S

Posted in Adventure, nature, photography

A Little Bit of Adventure

Do you ever like to hop in the car, and go for a drive? Leaving the city far behind, just to enjoy the passing scenes of nature? Sometimes, if you travel far enough and the last remnants of civilization are no longer visible, you can gain a new perspective on life. No houses, no people, and not many cars. Only endless hills, and mountains stretching out farther than the eye can see. When you are suddenly outside of your normal environment, many things in life feel trivial. Arguments, grievances, or unpleasant matters feel so small compared to the vast expanse before you. It’s a lovely feeling, especially when society is pressing so hard on every side and clouding our vision, doing its very best to control our emotions, according to what it says matters. Sometimes you need to break away from all of that, and steep yourself in the beauty of God’s creation. It can help reorient your heart and mind. A few days ago, my family and I did just that. We piled into the car, and headed West for a bit of good old fashioned exploring.20200823_122112

We went to an area I’ve never visited much, so everything felt new and interesting. And after leaving the city behind, the great wide nothingness of the desert opened before us. It was a grand, beautiful nothingness, which is my favorite thing to see. After driving for nearly two hours we finally came to a town. It wasn’t a big town, just a little blip in the middle of the desert. Sadly the boarded up windows, and old crumbling architecture showed the tragic state of small towns these days. As cities grow wider and wider, the little ol’ towns that once thrived are slowly becoming extinct.

By this time, everyone was starting to feel hungry, and a little cranky (if I do say so). But in such a small town, we didn’t have many options. I’m quite a staunch McDonald’s hater, but if there is one thing I know, when you’re hungry in the Middle of Nowhere, USA, McDonald’s is pretty darn good. Needless to say, our bellies were filled, and our hearts lifted for the rest of the journey.20200829_091001

After a few more miles the terrain became steeper, and more foresty. We passed a sign that said, Ice Cave This Way, so of course we had to go. After turning off the highway onto a dirt road, we came to a stop outside of an old trading post, turned gift shop. Tall pine trees surrounded the grounds, and a few little cabins dotted the area. It was the perfect little forest getaway. I explored a bit, nabbed a couple of pine cones because I just couldn’t help myself, and enjoyed the mountain air before starting on the hike to the cave.20200823_111506(1)

“Four-hundred yards, and seventy two steps down,” the lady at the front desk said. That sounded like a breeze, until we remembered that it was summer, and there would be no breeze. Nonetheless, we ambled along the path, strictly adhering to the rules to not leave said path at any time. Even though I desperately wanted to climb across the lava rocks. Oh, did I mention the lava? Before arriving at the cave, we drove for miles through a sea of lava rock. At one point, I had to wonder if the massive volcanic eruption was what caused the dinosaurs to go extinct all those years ago. Volcanoes are fearsome wonders to be sure, and I’m glad whichever volcano once existed there, is no longer active. (For the time being, anyway.)20200823_111604(1)

After traversing some four-hundred yards, we arrived at the cave entrance. I wasn’t sure what to expect because it was allegedly an ice cave… in the middle of the desert. Pushing doubts aside, we began to descend the seventy two steps. The creaky old wood was a bit questionable, but I tried to ignore that, and seventy two steps didn’t sound terribly hard. (More on that later.)

20200823_112424(1)

Something strange began to happen the lower I went.

During the first few steps the sun was beating down on us, and it was very hot—but as I stepped down one peculiar, particular step…WHOOSH. We suddenly felt an arctic wind blow over us. It was so shocking, I had to step back up and come down again. As we went down the remainder of steps the temperature kept plummeting. I don’t know exactly how cold it was, but apparently the temperature in the cave never exceeds 31 degrees (Fahrenheit), thanks to the thick rock walls, and perfect shape of the cave to capture the frigid air. When we arrived at the bottom, the cave opened up before us and there was a hug slab of green ice. Yes, green! According to the information pamphlet it’s apparently caused by Arctic algae. There’s a lot of history regarding the cave. Ancient Indians once mined the ice, and made their dwellings in the caves of the other lava tubes nearby. (Did I mention the cave was actually an old lava tube?) Many years later, settlers also mined the ice until the practice was stopped to preserve the cave. 20200823_113137

Also according to the pamphlet, the circular walls of lava rocks we noticed along the path in some of the other lava tube/caves, were remnants of the Anasazi Indians who lived in the region many hundreds of years ago. (And if you’ve never heard of the Anasazi, there are many mysteries related to the ancient tribe.) After basking in the glorious arctic air, it was time to head back to base camp. Remember when I said seventy two steps wasn’t all that bad? Well that was going down. I had forgotten that in the mountains the elevation was a bit higher than at home, and boy did I feel it. Seventy two steps never felt so far or  so painful. When I reached the top, I had to take a break and remember how to breathe normally again. My poor heart was pounding out of my chest.20200823_112145

Back in the car and on the road again, we continued our excursion into the wilds. We came to yet another town, this one even smaller than the last. My dad said there was even a lake there. But after seeing no evidence to support that fact, I doubted that his memory was serving him correctly. We searched and hunted and followed some dilapidated signs and finally found the parking lot for this evasive lake. We parked, and still saw no sign of a lake. But I knew that it must be somewhere hidden behind all of the brush, and shrubbery, so I took it upon myself to hunt it down. This time I brought my water bottle, and again, headed out into the blazing sun.

As my steps took me deeper and deeper into the thicket, I couldn’t help but wish I was back inside that dark cave where I could be nice and frozen like the ice. But just as I began to lose all hope and call this lake search a farce, I climbed up a steep embankment, and behold! A lake! A big, shiny, glorious lake! (Reservoir, to get technical.) It truly exceeded my expectations. It was still blisteringly hot, but just the sight of the water made me feel better. It smelled very swampy and, and looked a bit gooey, but I’ll take what I can get. We took lots of pictures, explored the rocky shores, imagined what it would be like to jump in, and then decided to make the trek back to the car. I’m glad I didn’t give up on my search for this hidden place, because it was a treasure indeed.20200823_132005

By this time we were all pretty tired and still had a couple hours on the road to get home so we decided to head out. But alas, we took a wrong turn on a dirt road, and ended up on someone’s “private” property. The owners were none too happy about it. We apologized as best we could, then left as quickly as possible. But not before getting chewed out for allegedly running over some plants, (which looked suspiciously like weeds, if you ask me). Unfortunately, the hostile encounter left a bad taste in our mouths, but we tried not to dwell on it.20200823_134726

Speaking of dwelling, just when we thought we’d seen all the interesting wonders there were to see in one day, we spotted some “prehistoric Indian dwellings” high up on the cliffs. A little plaque said they were some 800 years old! (Yet more remnants of the Anasazi, a.k.a., Ancestral Puebloans.) It’s fascinating to imagine what life looked like back then. To think there were whole civilizations that once thrived in these lands, and people who lived just like you and me is amazing to consider.

Eventually we made it home, and I was grateful to have air-conditioning once again, since I don’t have the luxury of an arctic ice cave in my backyard. It was a long day, but I’m grateful for all the sights and sounds I was able to experience. 20200823_130843

I hope you’re enjoying the last bits of summer, and spending time with your family, and maybe getting out of the city to enjoy the majesty nature has to offer you. It really is good for your soul! Blessings to you, my friend.

Have you gone on any adventures this summer? Or explored any ancient wonders lately? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure

A Week in the Life

Hi there!

How’s it going? I thought I’d do something a little different from my usual posts.

Have you ever been curious about the way others live their lives? What does a normal day look like, for someone who lives a completely different life from yours? If that’s the case, then today is your lucky day, because I’ll be revealing what a “normal” day/week looks like for me, in a journal type format. You may be stuck at home, or you might be little affected by all of the strangeness going on right now, (at least on the outside), but whichever it is – I hope you’ll read on to see the many trials, and triumphs of my daily life.

Monday, April 27

Ah, Mondays; you either love ’em, or hate ’em. I don’t particularly hate Mondays, because I like to get back to my regular schedule, after loafing around over the weekend. Though I have to admit, Monday’s during my work season at the greenhouse, are a little more dreaded.

On this Monday, I had the morning shift at work, so it was actually pleasant. Everything went off without a hitch. And when I got home, I sat down and dug into some third draft edits on my novel. It felt good to make some progress, after not touching it for a few days. But later, I had to leave the comfort of my desk, and take my dog for a much needed walk. He’s been a good boy lately, and deserved the reward. It was a really nice evening, and we found a new place to explore. The night concluded with chocolate cream pie, and a random disco music party.

Monday was a good day. IMG_3514

Tuesday, April 28

Tuesday… my old nemesis. I don’t know why Tuesday has become my enemy, but we simply can’t get along. I had the afternoon shift at work, which left the morning completely free. With a million possibilities before me, I couldn’t make up my mind on how to spend my time, and in the end, I did nothing. Before I knew it, the morning was gone, and it was time for work.

When people hear that I work at a greenhouse, or when they visit one, they often view it through rose colored lenses. (Literally.) But I am here to shatter that illusion. On one hand, I truly love my job, because I get to work with flowers, and seeds, and dig my hands into the dirt. But on the other hand, it’s a very challenging job, physically and mentally. There’s a lot involved, and many different aspects to this line of work, which I’m not going to get into. I’ll share a few pictures, instead, to offer some insight as to what it’s like.

A: Flower arrangements that I’ve just planted.20200430_142954

B: The temperature in which they were planted.20200428_150107

Bonus: Everything in this picture was planted by hand. Impressive, right? (And this is just ONE greenhouse, of many.)20200415_170138

Eventually, I made it home to food, and AIR CONDITIONING. Not to mention, I did a little late-night online shopping, to soothe my worn out mind and body. It helped a bit. And thus, Tuesday came to a close.

Wednesday, April 29

Back to work for another long, hot shift. I planted many more flower arrangements, which turned out lovely, if I do say so myself. The day was a little more bearable, because I remembered to bring my Hydroflask, which saved my life. But even so, by the end of the day, I was hobbling out of there, because my feet hurt so bad. But in all, it was a productive day. The highlight was definitely a quick stop at my favorite ice cream shop on the way home. (Hooray for drive-thru’s!)

I was ready for bed by 8:30, but instead of getting well needed rest, I stayed up and watched random videos on YouTube. Then somehow, I wound up reading a bunch of old journal entries. (And I must say, I crack myself up.) Do you ever go back and read your old journals? It’s something I have fun doing once in a while, because I either cringe, or laugh! Then it was finally lights out, after a long day.20200503_205318

Thursday, April 30

A day off – F I N A L L Y! I was able to sleep late, but instead of feeling strengthened and refreshed, I woke up feeling like a corpse – groggy, and extra stiff. But the feeling wore off, and I felt alive again. That is, until I plunged myself into some hard-core cleaning/organizing. We currently have a lot of projects going on around the house, and since I had the day off, it was time for me to pitch in. After I got that done, another task was calling my name. My poor desk was getting more and more buried, underneath old coffee cups, shoe boxes, cookies, and other things that do not belong. It really needed some TLC, just like me.

20200430_141043

The rest of the day consisted of writing, editing, and some reading. I had planned on taking a nap, but things just didn’t work out. But speaking of which, I did manage to get in some exercise. A few lunges, a few pushups, and a few squats, before I called it quits. I didn’t do too, much because I knew I’d regret it the next day – and I did, but it still felt good to be moving. To finish off my night, I settled in to watch a K-Drama – and my day was complete.20200501_114034

Friday, May 1

Friyay? Not here, just a regular ol’ Friday, with nothing special to celebrate. Once again, I awoke feeling like I had been run over by a truck – a sensation that I’m becoming quite familiar with by now. Exhaustion is expected at this time of year, until the growing season is over. In the greenhouse world, business isn’t year round, otherwise, it just might kill a person! And luckily, the end is already in sight. For breakfast, I made myself a lovely egg-toast, and tea, (Lady Gray, my current favorite tea. <3). Then I parked myself at my desk, to read through some articles, and catch up on emails.

Before long, it was time to head to work. It was very busy, and very hot, and I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (Sorry to be so graphic.) At one point, I got my finger stuck in a container, and injured it quite nicely. (It’s still sore.) By the end of the day, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry, or faint – but the important part is that I didn’t do either. I made it home in (mostly) one piece, and for that I was grateful.20200501_170654

Later, when it cooled off, I went outside to read, and hang out with my dog. I love to be outside when the sun is setting; it’s so peaceful with the purple desert sky, birds chattering with one another, and the sweet scent of blossoms on the air. It was a pleasant evening, but the best part was when a robin perched up in the tree dropped a squishy surprise on my sister’s head. (If you know what I mean… ;p) But she failed to see the humor, and did not appreciate the gesture. In the end, Friday was a tough day, but I’m still thankful for every minute of it.20200501_18411920200501_193512

Saturday, May 2

Work again. Today was another long shift, but I got donuts – and no matter what anyone says, ya’ just can’t beat that. It was long, and it was hot…just like every other day. But after work, I had pizza, and received a much anticipated package in the mail. Remember when I did that impulse buying? Well, that impulsive order had very fast shipping! Excitedly, I tore into the box, and pulled out the most beautiful, obnoxiously colorful pair of shoes I’ve ever owned in my life. (Actually, the most colorful anything that I’ve owned, period.) You may be wondering if I plan on wearing these bad boys out in public, and the answer is – no. But around the house, my tired feet will be very happy. And very eye-catching.20200502_184118

Later that night, my sisters and I, gathered up a bunch of snacks, and we brought out the old Nintendo 64′, to play some serious throw-back video games. Super Smash Bro’s, and Snowboard Kids, were the games of choice, and even though I wasn’t very good, it was fun to reminisce about our childhood days. But the party couldn’t go on all night, as it was almost passed my bed time. After putting the games away, I managed to read a chapter in my book, Paranormia, by Paul Regnier. Before I knew it, my eyes were too heavy to hold open a minute longer, and I checked out for the night.20200502_211249

Sunday, May 3

A day of rest, at last. After having weird dreams about tarantula’s, (don’t ask) I awoke feeling not very awake at all. But even so, I got out of bed and made some much needed, herbal tea. Then I headed outside for my weekly, outdoor Bible reading, with my sisters. When warmer days come, I always look forward to quiet mornings outside with my Bible. Surrounded by trees, and flowers in the open air is my favorite way to study Scripture. For the rest of the day, I didn’t have big plans – resting, reading, and writing were the main agenda – just what I needed.20200503_110030

Looking back, it was a very full week. I didn’t have much time, or energy to get done everything that I wanted to, but I’m thankful for what I did accomplish. And I’m happy that I survived another tough week at work.

Also, I found that I listened to a lot of the same music last week, which kind of made it the soundtrack of my week. That soundtrack was, Hoppípolla – their new album, Spring to Spring. I listened to it almost exclusively. So if you want to know what my week sounded like, and you enjoy the sound of the cello, and lovely harmonies, I think you might like them.Screenshot_20200503-125343_YouTube

Hopefully you all had a good week – working hard accomplishing tasks, or maybe just taking things slowly, one day at a time. No matter what your days look like, I hope you are well, and feeling blessed. I hope that you can find a moment to remember what you have to be thankful for, even though everything around us seems quite rough.

* * *

Thanks for sticking around, and reading about my week. If you found this at all interesting, perhaps I’ll do this again some time.

What were the trials, and triumphs of your week? Tell me about it down below, I’d love to hear from you!

Yours truly,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure

A Year In Review: 2019

The days are cold, the nights are long, and we are creeping ever closer to the end of another year…or the beginning of a new one, (depending on how you prefer to view it).

It’s sometimes hard to grasp how things have changed in the span of a year. What did we learn, what did we accomplish, what failed, and/or what were our experiences? Until we take a moment to pause, and hit the rewind button, we can’t always see the whole picture.

For me, a lot actually did happen, and I wanted to share some of the highlights.thumbnail_20190921_184506

Writing:

Firstly, back in February, I wrapped up the first draft of my first novel. At the time, it felt a little anticlimactic. Maybe I was waiting for a sign from the universe, that I had leveled up on the writing totem pole, or some such thing. But nothing like that happened. Instead, everything felt exactly the same. Currently, I’m nearing the end of the second draft, which already feels like a bigger accomplishment. Looking back, I can see that it’s the little tiny steps, (that may feel insignificant,) that grow into the big, monumental leaps. Patience, young grasshopper.

The other half of my writing time, was spent working on a brand new, cohesive, and detailed plot. I always thought I was a full-fledged pantser, but that’s changed. I’ve spent a lot of time studying structure and plot this year, and I’ve learned so much. For my next project, I don’t want to make the same mistakes. The way I intend NOT to do that, is by plotting, properly. ( I’ll talk more about my new story at the end of this post.) Basically, I took this year to go back to square one. Reviewing all the story principles the writing world had to offer, and take my time working on my projects.

Travel Adventures:

When I was younger, my family used to travel a fair bit. Now that everyone’s older, and has jobs, and other boring stuff, we don’t travel as much anymore. But this year, we went on not only one big trip, but TWO. (I know, I know, I might as well sell all of my belongings and start a new life as a backpacker in Europe.) They weren’t just any ol’ trips, friends. I somehow convinced my mom and sisters to travel across the country to attend the concerts of not only one, but two of my favorite musical groups! I honestly still can’t believe it actually happened. Seeing BTS live in concert, is not an everyday thing, you know. And even though my memories from that night are kinda foggy, I’m so grateful I was able to go. And to top it off, I also got to see Day6! After another online purchasing ordeal, we snagged tickets, for a much better price. The show was amazing, and we made a lot of crazy memories along the way. I’m so happy we went, even though it meant suffering through an eleven hour drive to get there.

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*Psst! Check out the vlogs of my travel adventures here, and here, on my sister’s YouTube channel.*

Though I never would have imagined crossing off two such events in one year, they still can’t compare to one even bigger and better thing; seeing the OCEAN again. Even though I dearly love my home, (that is far from any great body of water), I have always had a deep yearning for the sea. No matter how long time stretches between visits, that feeling never lessens. It’s a feeling that is always there. (I wonder if everyone feels that way?) I’m eternally grateful for the few days that I was able to sit on the sandy shore, soak up the cool mist, and watch the beautiful crashing waves. For me, being near the water is healing and I can truly feel the magnificence and majesty, of the One who created it.thumbnail_DSC03378

Study:

This year, I studied quite a bit, over a range of topics. Studying is no longer something that is “required” of me by someone else, but something that I now “require” of myself.  I really enjoy it and plan to continue always. Some of the topics I delved into were, plant science, the creation of the universe, herbal medicine, and WWII. It’s been so much fun choosing any subject that interests me, and dedicating my time to study it. I’m really grateful for the freedom I have to learn, and explore so many topics.thumbnail_20191222_141457

Life:

Another major event this past year, was the welcoming of a new life into our family! Babies are truly one of the best gifts in this life, and I’m so blessed to be an aunt again!

I’m also grateful for the precious visits with my family. Life can be rocky, and the future quite uncertain, but I hope that I will always remember to treasure and cherish the moments I have with loved ones.

Thinking back, 2019 was long, yet it feels like it ended in an instant. With each passing year, life feels scarier, and more unpredictable than the last. But I hope that we can all grow stronger in our FAITH, cling tightly to the TRUTH, and the love of CHRIST, and TRUST that tomorrow is in HIS control.thumbnail_20190627_202104

The Year Ahead:

An old decade is ending, and a new one is about to begin. 2020 sounds so strange, like it belongs in the title of a sci-fi film. It’s so weird… but we’re all in this together, right?

In 2020, if all goes according to plan, I’m going to begin a new writing journey. My next project is one that has been lingering in the back of my mind for several years now. Over time it has changed in subtle ways– new names, new faces and scenes, but at its core it’s still the same. I’ve held off from writing it, until I felt my skills were advanced enough to begin. Though I still don’t feel all that adequate, (and probably never will), I do believe I am ready to begin. I’m actually, even thinking of starting a new series on my blog. So early next year, I’m going to begin the first draft of my yet, unnamed novel, and I hope to chronicle that journey, here. Posting monthly updates on my progress, and sharing any wit, or wisdom I come across along the way.

A while back, I told my family I wanted to be published by the time I reach age twenty-five. And that number is not as far off as it once was (or as I’d wish it to be). But I’m hoping that by saying this aloud to the world, and having some accountability, it may propel me forward, and help me get down to business.

Thank you for another year, and thanks to those who read my posts! I really appreciate you. I hope you all have a blessed year ahead!

~~~

Do you have any goals for 2020?

Did anything special happen this year? I’d love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for visiting,

Lady S

 

Posted in Adventure

Boy Bands, Big Cities, and Being Home

I’ve said before, that I live a quiet life. And I like it that way. Going to work, shopping and taking my dog for walks, are some of the only things that get me out of the house.  With that being said, though, even the calmest and quietest among us go off and have themselves a real adventure sometimes. And that my friends, is where this story begins.

A couple of months ago, a particular music group announced their upcoming, world tour. It piqued my interest, (mildly). The closest stop to me was two states away, and I thought it would be too much trouble to attend. But, as the date for ticket sales grew ever closer, I just couldn’t banish the thought from my head. What if we actually went? I tossed the idea around with my sisters, and we all agreed, that if we managed to snag tickets, we’d go.

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Sounds easy, right? Wrong. It is very, V E R Y difficult to acquire concert tickets for this group. And when March first rolled around, I had a glimpse at taking part in the literal Hunger Games. Suffice it to say, you’ve got to be quick, and brutal to buy these tickets, or you’ll end up spending an exorbitant amount on RESALE tickets, in the nose-bleed section. Not speaking from experience or anything, *cough*.

To make a very long story slightly shorter, we fought our way to the internet battlefront; and by the skin of our teeth, bought three tickets. I couldn’t believe it! (Though my bank account would beg to differ.) That now meant it was time to start the madness of booking flights, and hotels. After stressing over the ordeal, we finally did it. Travel plans and accommodations, complete!

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With nerves running high, the fateful day arrived. Bags packed, we boarded the metal tube, which would be hurtling us at top speeds through the sky, eventually landing us in a place miles and miles away from home. Airplanes are not my favorite things, and I was very happy to be on the ground once again. Even if it meant sitting in the back of a shuttle bus, with a driver who was a gold medalist at bumper cars. We may or may not have slightly rear-ended another airport shuttle, but no worries, nobody seemed to care.

Finally, after a long stressful day of traveling, we reached the place I was most looking forward to: the sea. There it was, just as I had left it years ago. Looking out at the crashing waves, and breathing in the ocean air, I was instantly refreshed. I felt cured from all the motion sickness, and travel headaches. It was windy, and cold, but I didn’t mind. It was a moment of complete peace and awe. (Desert dweller that I am, the sea will always hold a piece of my heart.)

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Fast forward a bit, to the next two days of shopping, getting lost, and facing the scary monster that is, big city traffic. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like, sitting in the middle of a six lane highway with thousands of other commuters all around, but it’s something you have to see to believe. Big cities are truly something to experience. The phrase, ‘concrete jungle’, is quite an accurate description. Navigating the vast metropolis is it’s own kind of jungle expedition. You’ve got to keep your wits about you at all times, and be sure not to make any wrong turns, or you could end up in a heap of trouble. Another thing I concluded, was that cities are dirty things. It’s not all glittering skyscrapers, and sparkling sports cars, (though there is plenty of that too). For the most part, those things only serve as an exciting facade, disguising the harsh realities lurking just beneath the surface.

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Finally, it was the eve of the “real, big day”. Concert day. I tossed and turned the whole night, thinking about everything I should’ve considered a long time ago. (Parking, for example.) Despite all the worry, the day dawned bright and early. And I attempted to soothe my frazzled nerves with a steaming matcha latte, from a nearby cafe. (That helped a little.) I donned my “fan paraphernalia”, and was determined to push through, and complete the goal of this entire trip. So an hour’s car trip later, we arrived at the stadium. Yes, a football stadium. This was no small concert, friends. It was a twice-sold-out stadium concert.

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Sixty-thousand, is a big number. And you only get a grasp of just how big, when you find yourself swimming in a different sort of ocean; one made of living, breathing, two-legged humans, wearing a whole lot of pink. There were streams, and rivers of people everywhere, all with one thing on their brains, BTS! Seven boys from South-Korea, who somehow, manage to gather crowds of thousands upon thousands from all over the world… (including me and my sisters). It was a crazy, overwhelming, heart pounding, experience. A memory, etched into my brain, that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

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I have to say that it was quite a show, (even though we were far away). It was so wild to see my favorite songs performed live, right before my eyes. And the cheering crowd, all aglow with their brightly flashing light-sticks, was almost more spectacular than the show itself. I don’t think anyone can get a crowd going, like BTS!

So was it worth the trip? Yes, it was. Would I do it again? Probably.  ❤

The concert ended (sadly) and we made it back to the hotel, ready for a few hours of sleep before an early morning flight. Still buzzing from the concert, and with the prospect of home ahead, we had a much more enjoyable travel day. Throughout the airport, we saw several other people who had been at the concert too. (Their headbands, and t-shirts gave them away.) We realized we weren’t the only ones crazy enough to travel for BTS, but in fact, just a drop in the ocean, (as you can see below)!

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After all of that, it feels a little strange to be back home, sitting at my desk, telling you all about my adventure. The trip wasn’t all fun, all the time. But the funny thing about remembering, is that the memory of something can sometimes seem sweeter, than when you first experienced it. I’m very grateful, and content to be back home, settling into my daily life. And I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to experience a trip like this. After you get out and see the world, exploring new places, and learning new things, you just might find that home is still, one of the best places on earth.

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“Under the same moonlight, our hearts are forever one.”

Thank you for reading.

Lady S

P.S. If you want to see more of this trip, here’s a video that just so happens to be about it. 😉

Posted in Adventure, reading, WORDS

Get-To-Know-Me-Tag: Writer’s Edition

I have another tag to bring you all today!

This tag was created by Savannah Grace, and I was kindly tagged by my friends, Catwing, and Mariposa, and Aberdeen, over at Dino’s Digest. I may be the last person in the blogosphere to complete this tag, but I’m going to fix that right now.

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You might not know this, but in addition to being a writer of blogs, I’m also a writer of stories. Today I’m going to be answering some of the burning questions that you never knew you wanted to know about me.

Beginning with:

Vital Stats and Appearance 

Name:   You’ve probably guessed that one by now.

Nickname:   We’ll go with, Lady S.

Birthday:   Sometime in the spring. You may even call me a spring chicken! But that would  be stretching it.

Hair color/Length:   Dark brown, just above the shoulder.

Piercings/Tattoos:   Pierced ears, and a full sleeve of tattoos. In color. Just kidding. My ears aren’t actually pierced.

Righty/Lefty:   Righty

Ethnicity:   American, will suffice.

Firsts

Fist Novel Written:   Um…I’m still writing it.

First Novel Completed:   Haven’t completed any yet. Started a few, but they were all flops. None had names.

Award for Writing:   None currently.

First Publication:   Once upon a time, in an e-magazine far away, (RIP, Kingdom Pen) a short poem of mine was published. That is still the most crowning achievement of my writing career to date.

Conferences:   Conferences? Don’t you have to talk to, *shudders* people, at those things?

Query/Pitch:   At this moment in time, I don’t have one, thankfully.1020181211

Favorites

Novel (that you wrote):   Am I allowed to say, the one that I haven’t written yet? Because it’s definitely that one.

Genre:   A couple of years ago I would have said, fantasy. But these days, my horizon has broadened a little, to places such as, speculative, classics, and even into non-fiction.

Author:   The first that comes to mind, would be Diana Wynne Jones, for her epic fantasies, and of course, Howl’s Moving Castle. But also Gene Stratton-Porter, for the way she blends her love of story, with her love of nature, in a way that I can only dream of coming close to.

Writing Music:   Hmm… That changes pretty frequently. But lately it’s been anything from the YouTube channel, Smyang, his piano covers are lovely.

Writing Snack/Drink:   I don’t really eat while I write, but if I do, it’s usually something unhealthy. (Hot Cheetos, preferably, but then my keyboard suffers greatly!) On the healthier side of the street, apple slices are handy, and thankfully not very messy.

Movie:   I’ve never had one movie that I’d call my ultimate favorite. So I’m just going to choose one that I have enjoyed, and that maybe you would too. And that movie is called, A Letter to Momo. It’s a movie with a unique storyline, accompanied by a cast of eclectic, and very memorable characters.

Writing Memory:   I don’t think I have any special memories, but if I had to pick, it would probably be when I wrote my first, decent story and got into such a rhythm that I was able to crank out seven pages in one sitting. (Being somewhat of a pantser, that’s quite a lot for me!)

Childhood Book:   Now that’s a pretty a tough question but, The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, is definitely a prominent one in my memory. Then there’s, The Tail of Emily Windsnap, by Liz Kessler. Those books were the mermaid stories of my childhood dreams.

Currently

Reading:   Orphans Song, by Gillian Bronte Adams, and also, What the Robin Knows, by Jon Young. (So far, the Robin doesn’t know anything very interesting. Wouldn’t recommend.)

Writing:   This. While procrastinating and not finishing my current writing project. (A.K.A., my first actual novel)

Listening To:   The wind howling through the trees, and rattling down the chimney pipe beside me. It’s quite a blustery day and rather rotten.

Watching:   Nothing at the moment, as I’m taking a short respite from TV shows. I’ve fallen very far, and very deep into the pit that is, K-Drama’s. After growing tired of nearly all Western entertainment, I had to travel all the way to Korea, (through the internet, of course) to find something interesting. But it’s a dangerous road to travel my friends, be forewarned.

Learning:   I’m actually attempting to re-teach myself piano. Not formally or anything, but since I played several years ago, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to jump back in. (…I was wrong)

Future

Want to be Published:   Yes, I think so.

Traditional or Indie:   That’s something I’ve been contemplating, but for now, I’m going to keep my options open.

Wildest Goal:   Get published! Or maybe just travel to, Japan. Though I’m not sure which one is more unlikely.  😉

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There you have it. I wonder if you feel like you know me just a little more now?

Thanks again, to Dino’s Digest, and Catwing, for tagging me! I had a lot of fun answering these questions, and I hope you had fun reading them, too.

And since I don’t have anyone to tag, I’m presenting the opportunity to all of you, if you’d like, to consider yourself tagged, or even leave your answers in a comment down below. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

 

 

 

Posted in Adventure, photography

S U M M E R

Ah, summer, a most beloved time of year. It’s the time for exploring, adventuring, and of course, the ever-important-staple… ice cream. Though we have some time yet, before summer officially transitions into fall; I can already feel the change in the air, (despite the still-hot temperatures). The change of seasons, is such an integral part of  life, yet it still manages to catch us by surprise.  It’s mysterious and magical when a season begins to change, and in some inexplicable way, it makes me feel closer to God. My senses seem to be more heightened and I feel more aware of life, itself.
So in tribute to my love of summer, and this year’s memories, here’s a look back:

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With any season, there are certain things that you only do at that particular time of year, and as I was thinking back to what I’ve done, I was thinking that I really hadn’t done much.

I didn’t go on any extravagant trips, or accomplish any spectacular feat, (as I always dream of). But then I remembered all of the small, seemingly insignificant things that I’d done. And I had to smile to myself, when I realized I hadn’t done “nothing” at all.DSC03666

Like the fact that I went swimming, in an actual pool. I once vowed that swimming pools were off limits, germaphobe that I am. It was only going to be oceans or some other great, natural body of water. (Both of which I live very far from.) But this year, I found myself neck deep, in a public swimming pool. Not once, but TWICE! I have to admit, though, it wasn’t as bad as I feared, and I actually had fun. Especially because I was able to spend time with my friends and family. And surprisingly, I managed to avoid catching a brain-eating amoeba along the way.
Hooray!

DSC03713Another unexpected surprise, was my sister convincing me to “camp” OUTSIDE. I’ve never  been camping, and I can’t really say that I’m sorry. The closest I’ve ever come, is sleeping in a hammock, in my backyard. And I never wanted to do that again, simply because I didn’t get any actual sleep at all. Why would I make myself miserable all night, when I have a nice comfy bed, right there; the notion baffled me. Yet at 3 a.m., I found myself in the back of my dad’s pick-up truck, piled with blankets, and pillows, staring into the night. I watched the stars streak their way across the sky, listened to coyotes howling in the hills, and felt the warm summer breeze on my face. While I didn’t get a wink of sleep all night, I did have a lot of fun playing card games, and eating snacks late into night, with my sisters.

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Summer is also the time when we harvest fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. This year happened to be a very good one for peaches. We didn’t get many, but the ones we did get were enormous, and beautiful, and exquisitely delicious. The memory of biting into the sweet, sun soaked fruit is one I won’t soon forget. Nothing beats a summer harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables! I’m just sad I ate them all.DSC04640

Something I don’t always do, yet is always a treat, is going to an all-American baseball game. Nothing else quite captures the essence of summer, like wading through swarming swathes of people, squeezing into hot crowded seats, and paying for exceedingly overpriced mediocre snacks. Though I’m not a huge fan of baseball, or large crowds, it’s nice to get out and enjoy it for an evening. Especially when fireworks are involved. DSC03170

There are dozens of other little things that filled those lurid, summer days. Like climbing onto the roof in the evening, for a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood. Or making late-night runs to the drive through for ice-cream, spending lazy afternoons watching stormclouds march across the horizon, and countless other ramblings.DSC04605

Whatever shape or size it comes in, summer is one of the most special times of the year. My life varies very little, but it’s the subtle changes that make all the difference. In a few months time, when I’m shivering beneath a blanket, I’ll be able to look back at these fond memories of the time when it was warm, and green. I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse of what my summer looked like this year. And no matter what you did, I hope you breathed in deep, and cherished even the tiniest, little flavor(s) of the season.

“For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11  

How about you?  Have you done anything special  this summer? What makes it “summer” for you?

Thank you for reading,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure, nature, photography

More Mountain Mishaps

A few weeks ago, I went on another mountain adventure. Or should I say- misadventure? It may seem like mountains and I don’t quite get along, but I can assure you, we like each other very much. We just tend to have a lot of mishaps, together. (Read here about my last excursion.) This time though, might just take the cake, for being the mightiest misadventure yet. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

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My sister had the day off and planned a hiking trip with a friend. It was supposed to be a hike to a ghost town. Since I had work, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go, but the prospect of seeing a real-live ghost town, was very enticing. So last minute, I was able to get the day off. Woohoo!

Unfortunately, my other sister wouldn’t be coming along due to a recent dental procedure, (I’ll spare you the details…). Though she kindly leant me her very expensive camera, to document the trip. Early the next morning, the three of us hopped in the car, and headed out to see this mysterious, ghost town.

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We were told that the hike is considered to be ‘intermediate’ and would be about three and a half miles, round-trip. I thought it sounded like a fair match for my abilities. I brought lots of water, a first aid kit, and a few other,  ‘just-incase’ items. When we arrived, it was still early morning and a bit chilly; I knew that would change later, so I enjoyed the cool air, while I could.

After only a few minutes in, we saw a serious issue ahead. The path forked. We had only seen one sign, (back in the parking lot) which had gotten us to where we were. Luckily, though, we had a book in our possessionwith “directions” to our destination. An old book, with simplistic, if not primitive, instructions. It went something like,  ‘After you pass this field, go right. And when you have passed that stream, go left.’ Clear and concise, right?

After an agonizing attempt at deciphering the directions, we did as the book suggested, and took the path to the right, though my gut was uneasy.  Nonetheless, we forged ahead, even with our doubts and uncertainties. The path was pleasant and peaceful. We passed a camp ground and a small stream,  just like the book said we would. But ever so slightly, and hardly noticeable at first, the trail began shrinking.

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Do you see a trail anywhere?

The terrain was getting more and more, rough. And at points, the trail would disappear altogether, and we’d have to wade through bushes, and ravines, to meet it again. The further we went, the more sure we were, that we had taken a wrong turn. So after climbing up a very steep hillside, and leaving the trail behind altogether, we decided we had to do something. GPS was finicky in the area, but after a few attempts, we got a signal.

Our suspicions were confirmed. We were definitely NOT on the right path. But we didn’t seem to be too far off, and thought, if we could just veer a bit to the west, we might bump into the correct trail. So we forged on, trekking uphill once more. When we checked the GPS again, we weren’t any closer. By this time we all agreed that our only option was to go back, and start again from the beginning. We had been traveling for over an hour in the wrong direction. Ouch.

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My ‘sloth’ sister.

With my energy level tanking, and several rough slides, and surfs down the mountain, I decided to employ the help of a sturdy stick, which was tremendously helpful in our slippery decent. We got plenty of scrapes and scratches, as thorns and twigs snagged at our skin and clothes along the way. Tired, grouchy, and by this time quite hot, we reached that cursed split in the trail, (another hour and a half later). After scouting around more throughly, we spotted a small map on the side of a tree, and we were shocked by what it showed. The path we had taken, was marked by a black line, snaking up the mountain. Black, indicated that the trail level was EXPERT!

I am proud to say, that I can now call myself an expert hiker, since I survived that trail. Just barely, though.

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That’s not creepy…

But the story isn’t over yet. With the help of our little friend, GPS, we started out once again, on the correct trail. It was hot, and we were tired and a bit discouraged, but we weren’t going to give up. We came here to see a ghost town and we weren’t leaving until we found it. The trail was definitely easier now, but still challenging. The path cut steadily upwards, and as we climbed higher, so did the temperature. Between the long stretches of burning hot sun, every small piece of shade felt like heaven. My dear old sister began walking at the pace of a prehistoric sloth. (I have no idea if such a thing existed, but if so, it probably would have walked faster than her.) Every fifty feet, she had to stop and take a break and would refuse to move, until I threatened to drag her behind me. Fortunately, these breaks did allow me to take some photographs. I myself, wanted to give up, but with my trusty stick in hand, I persevered. I imagined that I was Gandalf, leading the way through Mirkwood, with the help of my magical staff. That helped a little.

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My wizard’s staff.

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After another torturous two hours, of muscle twisting climbing, we saw the first actual hint that we were getting close. The “hint”, took the form of an ‘ancient red car’, as the book described. And the second hint, was an old wooden sign with the word, ‘hotel’ etched on it, and an arrow pointing ahead. With the teeny-tiny, bit of energy we had left, we forged on toward the abandoned ghost hotel. We noticed small remnants of civilization; just broken bits of debris, really. Despite the exhaustion, our hearts still stirred with some amount of excitement at the prospect of finding this ghost town. But then, we ran into another group of hikers, who were heading down the trail and, bluntly delivered the news. That pile of debris we had just passed, well… that was the so-called ‘town’.  It couldn’t be.

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…And the disappointment of the year goes to…

An old car, and some old boards, was a ghost town? It seemed too cruel to be true. But alas, the truth really does hurt. (In the knees, especially.) We had hiked for four exhausting hours, and were rewarded with a pile of old sticks. Our only consolation, was that we need go no further. We could finally have our lunch, and have a well deserved rest. Before hiking another two hours back to the car, that is.

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Worth nearly 7 hours of pain and hardship? I think not.

There you have it folks. If you thought this tale would have some kind of redeeming reward at the end, you are sure to be disappointed. But I can assure you, you won’t be nearly as disappointed as we were. The one small takeaway though, is that if you asked me beforehand, if I thought I could go on a nearly seven hour hike, I would answer with a resounding, no. But I surprised myself, and finished strong. And got some pretty good photos along the way. Yay me!

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In hindsight, it was quite a spectacular adventure and I’m glad I took it; misadventure, though it was. (I hope it was a bit entertaining for you too!)

P.S. If you happen to hear about a ghost town in the mountains, don’t believe it.
Trust me.

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

 

Posted in Adventure, photography

Spring At Last

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

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Spring has arrived, at long last. It’s become visible in the small green sprouts, poking out through the old leaves, and the small buds forming on the trees. Winter wasn’t much in terms of coldness, and snow, it was very dry and mild. Nonetheless, I’m excited to have leaves on the trees once again, and to see colors breaking up all the dull brown.

With every new season, there comes with it, its own set of tasks and duties.

One of spring’s first tasks is yard work. Lots and lots of yard work. Through the winter, the garden rests, and so do I. There’s very little that needs tending, but in the spring, oh my! The soil needs to be turned, beds need to be cleared, debris needs to be raked up, and plans need to be made. I don’t think I’ve ever really “liked” yard/garden work, but recently, I’ve really come to enjoy it.

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Another of my spring tasks, and one of the biggest undertakings of the season, is brushing out my dog’s fur, which may not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you, he has a lot of fur. Two layers, to be exact. Come spring/summer, he sheds an entire coat, (his winter insulation) and it takes me almost the entire summer to brush it all out before it starts growing back again. In the end I’m left with big bags full of ‘wool’. So much so, that if I knew how to spin, I could make enough yarn to turn it into a sweater. Who needs alpacas, anyway?

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Look at him, not a care in the world!

Spring is also very busy for me, because it means I go back to work, where my job-title is planter-in-chief. I work seasonally in a greenhouse, and in the early part of the year, we work fast, and furiously, to get thousands of flowers, and vegetables planted. All this must be done in time for folks to purchase the plants, and get them in the ground of their own gardens. Fortunately, the “growing season”  in the nursery is only about four months. But let me tell you, it’s a very tough four months! But I love my job, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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Each one of these has been planted, and placed by hand. (My own, and a couple others.)

Spring also means it’s my birthday, dun, dun dun. Which is both good, and bad, I guess. Good because, I get cake and presents. Bad because, who actually likes getting older every single year, and making the announcement to the entire world? This year is an especially dreaded one, because it happens to be a landmark birthday. I will be exactly two decades old. Perhaps it’s time to start saving for my funeral, and begin thinking about my will? Who will I leave all my books to?
I suppose I’ll get over my melancholia at some point. I mean, next year it’s just going to come round again, and I’ll have to bemoan the fact that I’ll be older still. I’ll never get used to this whole ‘growing up’ thing. Bleh.

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And finally, the next not so pleasant, sign that spring has sprung, is the timely arrival of my allergies. The loathsome side effect of this thing called ‘nature’. I actually begin to feel it in my very cells. Tissue and allergy meds become my constant companions. My face can get itchy, and my eyes can swell shut, but that’s just par for the course, right? Who’s complaining?

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In short, spring is probably my favorite time of year. It’s a nice in-between, where the days are warm, and the nights can be a little chilly. The trees are pink and flowery, and I can make grandiose plans for summer, all before the sweltering heat of summer sets in. For now, its time to enjoy my time time outdoors, and be grateful for my opportunity to see the world wake up.

So, just wanted to take a moment to commemorate the changing of the seasons, and what that entails for me. I hope that this spring will be a good one for you, (or Autumn, for my pals ‘down under’), and that you will take some time to touch, see, smell all the beauty that is, spring.

Thanks for reading, Lady S