30.

As of this time last year, I had written this fantastic list of goals to achieve for my 29th year on this planet. Let us review it for a moment…

  1. Run in 30 different races.- Hmm… I ran 3
  2. Run in a half marathon.- Nope
  3. Run a 10k in under an hour.- Not quite, BUT, I did run my FIRST 10k
  4. Take a trip outside of Vermont.-Yes! We drove from VT to Wyoming on our honeymoon! A 2 week wild west adventure.
  5. Take Matthew to Assateague Island. Seriously. Best place on earth.-Went to Wall, SD instead- also am amazing place- check it out!
  6. Hike and Thru-Hike for at least a week.-I did a lot of day hikes, but no overnights yet.
  7. Family trip to Acadia.-Nope
  8. Get another tattoo.-This month, and ON my birthday! So this will count!
  9. Maintain the highest grades at my College. (For myself, lets not be crazy)- 3.3, not upset.
  10. Visit all 106 covered bridges in Vermont.-I drove over the normal amount in my life. I’ll keep in on my bucket list.
  11. Become financially secure (adult like) and pay off my house loan.-No- but we moved and bought a real house so now we have an even bigger loan!
  12. Go to the Planetarium in Northern Vermont.-Bucket list item!
  13. Take an awesome, all girls trip. (Someplace warm I hope!)-Does my bachelorette party count? We spent the night after an awesome pizza and cake dinner and then hiked up a mountain the next day. We ate oreos at the peak and had a beer in the parking lot afterwards. I count this one as a big win.
  14. Vacation with Matthew, my step-mom and younger brothers.-This summer I have my heart set on a camping trip
  15. Hike all of the Vermont tallest mountains.-I think I got 1 done. Onto the NY ranges!
  16. Become a NH48 member, with Sirius. (http://www.amc4000footer.org/)-We will work on NY this summer.
  17. Visit all of the Vermont towns.-Proved an interesting challenge to keep track of. Not giving up on this one, just re-evaluating 
  18. Teach yoga again, renew my registration.-I am not teaching, but I am working at a studio at the front desk. I have started taking classes again and it feels good to be in the presence of yoga. 
  19. Help 30 dogs find forever homes. (http://www.longtraildogs.org/)-About 5 fosters and a few more with transport! 
  20. Ski outside of Vermont.-I SKIED AT SONG MOUNTAIN! IT WAS KILLER!
  21. Learn how to make bagels.-I STILL HAVE TIME!
  22. See a live filming of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.-Those tickets sell fast! I’m trying for a summer show this year.
  23. Spartan Sprint at Killington, in 4-hours or less. (http://www.spartan.com/en/race/detail/841/overview)-We moved to NY so I didn’t bother- i’m all over 2017!
  24. Share new bagel making skill with family.-See #21 update
  25. Have a lunch adventure in the Southern most town of Vermont.-No
  26. Visit Dog Mountain. (http://www.dogmt.com/)-Summer VT hopefully
  27. See DMB live at SPAC with Matthew.-How about this shit- DMB isn’t touring anymore?! Dave and Tim are playing this summer but who knows…
  28. Camp and visit the Wild Center- do the Wild Walk. (http://www.wildcenter.org/)-Summer 2017! Our honeymoon was to all encompassing 
  29. Spend and entire day at a state park, swimming and eating a picnic.-Lots of all day adventures at Kingsland Bay<3 
  30. Go on a sunset cruise on our local lake. (http://www.soea.com/daily-cruises/)-Maybe they have some Syracuse ones?

I remember writing this and feeling so unstoppable. So ready to take on my life and conquer all these outrageous goals.

In the year, we got married (June), went on a 2 week honeymoon from Vermont to Wyoming and back (August). We moved to Syracuse (October), bought our first house(December), and started new jobs (October). My list got pushed to the back and forgotten about. Admittedly, I made myself forget about it because it seemed if I couldn’t accomplish 30 things that I love doing in 365 days, what on earth would I be able to do with the rest of my life.

Obviously none of that self doubt is true. Life is about being adaptable and loving and finding the uniqueness and challenges that are presented and just working them into your hopes and dreams. I try not to have “plans” because we feel disappointment when plans go wrong. I try to have ideas and dreams and visions. Hopes of what I might be able to do with my talents, and people I may be able to help with my love.

So, in honor of my plans, my ambitions, my dreams and those things that will be moved to my bucket list- here are 31 things i’d like to do before my next birthday.

1. Organize my bills

2. Set up my courses for these next 2 semesters.

3. File my taxes, because I am married now it is super annoying

4. Finish unpacking the house, like taxes, super annoying

5. Start coaching kids NoBo!

6. Start participating in NoBo, but actually go

7. Start, and finish my first half marathon (April 23, 2017)

8. Sign up for my second half marathon

9. Take a trip to Chicago to see my best friends first child

10. Learn to make good brownies- no joke- I can bake anything, except brownies.

11. De-clutter house, one room at a time

12. Make a house cleaning chart for monthly breakdowns

13. Organize office

14. Attend a doula workshop

15. Find a job in Syracuse I can feel accomplished at

16. Read 5 more new books

17. Train for first full marathon

18. Take my test for TA certification level 1

19. Build outdoor dog potty box for easy maintenance

20. Go to the dentist

21. Go to a regular doctor, find a regular doctor and then go. Being an adult means you just never go to the doctors because your parents never made the appointment

22. Hang out with new Syracuse friends

23. Hike in 5 new places in Central New York

24. Hike 2 of the tallest peaks in Vermont

25. Hike 1 of the tallest peaks in New York

26. Fix guest bedroom windows

27. Plant flower beds in front lawn

28. Organize bathroom shelving

29. Try a new class, or group

30. Killington Spartan Sprint

31. Practice Ahimsa.

What I learned from my 2016 list is that my goals were perfect, but if I have a job, I should pick small goals to mix in with my large ones. A few big mountains mixed in with a few domestic bliss items- adds for a perfect combination.

As for Ahmisa- look it up, you might want to add it to your list too.

 

 

 

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30 Before 25… I mean 30

So. Here it is. My 29th birthday is quickly approaching, and I love my birthday. Typically, OK, always, I celebrate the entire month long. So What?

As of today my 29th birthday is only 37 days away- that is hardly anything. So in my constant attempt to live life completely and without disappointment- I created my 30 Before 30 list. This list is a compilation of achievements I want to have under my belt by the time the calendar says, March 18, 2017. Though, I can’t start until March 18, 2016… I like to be prepared.

Here you go, and in no particular order:

  1. Run in 30 different races.
  2. Run in a half marathon.
  3. Run a 10k in under an hour.
  4. Take a trip outside of Vermont.
  5. Take Matthew to Assateague Island. Seriously. Best place on earth.
  6. Hike and Thru-Hike for at least a week.
  7. Family trip to Acadia.
  8. Get another tattoo.
  9. Maintain the highest grades at my College. (For myself, lets not be crazy)
  10. Visit all 106 covered bridges in Vermont.
  11. Become financially secure (adult like) and pay off my house loan.
  12. Go to the Planetarium in Northern Vermont.
  13. Take an awesome, all girls trip. (Someplace warm I hope!)
  14. Vacation with Matthew, my step-mom and younger brothers.
  15. Hike all of the Vermont tallest mountains.
  16. Become a NH48 member, with Sirius. (http://www.amc4000footer.org/)
  17. Visit all of the Vermont towns.
  18. Teach yoga again, renew my registration.
  19. Help 30 dogs find forever homes. (http://www.longtraildogs.org/)
  20. Ski outside of Vermont.
  21. Learn how to make homemade bagels.
  22. See a live filming of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.
  23. Spartan Sprint at Killington, in 4-hours or less. (http://www.spartan.com/en/race/detail/841/overview)
  24. Share new bagel making skill with family.
  25. Have a lunch adventure in the Southern most town of Vermont.
  26. Visit Dog Mountain. (http://www.dogmt.com/)
  27. See DMB live at SPAC with Matthew.
  28. Camp and visit the Wild Center- do the Wild Walk. (http://www.wildcenter.org/)
  29. Spend and entire day at a state park, swimming and eating a picnic.
  30. Go on a sunset cruise on our local lake. (http://www.soea.com/daily-cruises/)

A goal without a plan is just a dream? Let’s make some plans!

To Fill The Soul

It was a Sunday. April 10, 2011. It was sunny and just after 11am, the Sunday Morning program just ended on TV. I remember laughing with my mother and grandmother, though I can’t remember why. I was so happy, I wish I could remember why. 

The phone rang, if I never answered, would have been different? My Step-Mom was on the other line. She was calling to say, my father had a heart attack and they were going to the hospital. At the time, I couldn’t hear her. He had already died, he was already gone, everything else was too late. 

Four years later, my heart aches just like it did when I answered the phone. I feel such grief, everyday, that I feel sick.

Day by day, time passes. Some days I don’t think about crying at all, though I don’t count those days as blessings. Only until recently, I found myself helpless to find something to fill my soul again. My dad was my best friend. He new everything about me and was my biggest supporter. We hiked, camped, kayaked, visited family and talked about my goals. Without him around, I have nobody to share every success and every failure.

Then the rescue dogs came back into my life. I’m not sure how, but one conversation led to another and then I was back to fostering. Her name was Emma, she was a tri-colored hound pup and she was so sweet. She had been a stray, who couldn’t take a good photo and was wasting away at the shelter. I took her home and she was perfect. Sweet, goofy and a great running partner. Six weeks later, her forever family came along and they are so happy to be growing together. 

When you lose yourself in your sorrow, you forgot everything else. You forget that, “Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats”. 

It doesn’t occur to you that, “Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).” These are highly happy, friendly and loving animals. Not animals that deserve to die because someone didn’t want to own them anymore. The world isn’t fair. It wasn’t fair to me, but to die because you aren’t wanted, is a fate that nobody should have.

https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

As an animal lover, with the means, how can I do nothing?  My heart aches for these dogs when they come to my home, or the home of a foster. You can tell from their exhausted expressions, as they lay on a warm bed, that it has been a very long road. Shouldn’t we feel so blessed to give these animals the second chance they deserve? The most common question you will ever receive as a foster is, “don’t you love them and want to keep them all?”.

                      Of course. 

My soul fills and grows with each animal I help. It’s about that moment when you see a new family sign the adoption agreement. The moment that you can hear their heart scream with the joy of a new dog. How could I be so selfish to take that from them? When that is the part that I love so much.

Wherever dogs came from, I certainly feel blessed. They are constantly saving me from being lost in my own sadness. They help fill my soul and I’m eternally grateful to them.

   

    

Waiting 

Snow. A constant in Vermont. Though itsNovember 29 and I have yet to see any amount that I could celebrate. While larger ski mountain are able to create a few trails worth of man made snow- I can hardly be excited- not truly. While I look out my window every morning, hoping a blanket of white will be there, it has been consistently balmy. Balmy is not a word you should be able to use in Vermont, especially in November. I’m hoping this delay in winter means longer spring skiing, hoping. 

I do believe the people who live in Vermont take each day in stride. We survivors understand that the feeling about the weather is, “if you don’t like it, wait 5 minutes”. Or so they say. I believe, to  live in Vermont and truly love it, you must love winter. Or at least except that it’s going to last a long time and you should find a hobby. Essentials to surviving a Vermont winter, and to be happy about it include:

Warm clothes, lots of them, and lots of layers. I’m talking about warm socks, long underwear and maybe a few shirts for good measure. You want layers so as you warm up, you can shed them. Also, flannel sheets. Google it.

A hobby. Like I said, winter last a long time. Not just the cold and snow, but the dark. The sun sets at 4pm and you won’t see it until 6am the next morning. I suggest alpine skiing as the best hobby- I personally start waiting for the next ski season on the last day of the current season. I love the warm months in Vermont, but I spend my days, waiting for snow. Snowshoeing, winter hiking, and  sledding are all excellent choices to entertain not just you, but a group. Socializing in Vermont can be a challenge but it’s essential to not being a crazy mountain person. 

Dogs help. I think any adventure you could have, is made that much better by a dog by your side. A best friend who waits all day to play with you and never argues with you- seems smart.  

  So that leaves us with the reality of climate change. As our planet heats up, snow gets harder to find. Many of us are sitting and wishing, waiting for snow. Praying for snow. I think it wise for people to educate themselves on topics and activities they don’t know about. 

I recommend you start here.

https://www.climaterealityproject.org- to help save our winters

https://m.petfinder.com- to find your new best friend

http://www.skinet.com/ski/galleries/top-10-tips-beginners- a new favorite hobby

https://darntough.com- staying warm, like a pro

Everyday Awareness 

The Holiday season gives people the opportunity to show the best and the worst of their personalities. With so much negativity and sadness in the world, I try to keep my worries in perspective. I try. With this, there are some things that I always want to remember and feel grateful for. 

My furry family. As I type this I am covered in four, quite large dogs. They consume all my free time and possible extra money. They bark at people when they shouldn’t and drool. They also are the happiest of everyone to see me each morning and each night. They let me cry to them, and hug them endlessly. They embrace each day, and remind me to laugh and let struggles go. People might think four dogs is about four too many, but my heart explodes with love for each one.

My human family. For those who have such a large family as I do, it can be challenging to stay connected. I try to send a text, an e-mail, a quote phone call or voicemail. Something that lets them know they come into my mind, everyday. I hope for their health and celebrate their triumphs. For anyone that has lost a family member, you understand, that the fear of loosing the rest can be real and consuming. It can be so distracticting, you forget to celebrate all of your lives. Don’t let the fear keep you from showing all of your love.

My friends, who are basically my family. I am so grateful for friendships that have lasted more than 20 years. I’m also amazed at friendships that I’ve only had a few years and how important they are to me. In the end, these people are here for me and I’m always thankful to them.

Matthew, because without him, who would I adventure with? I don’t think he will read this so I can be honest. He gets me at my worst, all year. So when I remember to be aware of who is by my side, it is always him. He is my greatest advocate and my biggest fan. Everyday awareness. We improve ourselves for each other. We laugh together and spend our time apart, planning our adventures together. He makes my life better just by being my friend.

Public Radio. I understand this might be an odd thing to be grateful for, but it’s true. Before my life of public radio, I didn’t have any idea of what happened in the world. It opened my eyes to other avenues of knowledge. News, papers and my favorite website- http://newsmap.jp – which shows you articles from all over the world in how they are being promoted. The hard part is, the more you know, the more you realize how you don’t know enough. The search for knowledge is never ending. 

There is a lot in my life that I take for granted, these are just some of them. These are also the most important parts of my life. They all force me to be the best version of myself, because they all deserve it. 

I hope you choose greatness for those in your life too.