Colorado’s Wonders

Back from our trip and I’ve spent countless hours uploading photos to Facebook.  I had a blast and came back rejuvenated and ready to start my school year in a couple of weeks.  Some of my favorites:

View From Trail Ridge Road - Rocky Mountain National Park

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View From Trail Ridge Road - Rocky Mountain National Park

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison #2

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison - Lookout Point

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Mule Deer at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

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Mule Deer Fawn @ Black Canyon

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison - Beautiful Morning

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Inside the Black Canyon - Pontoon Boat Tour

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Turquoise Lake Approaching Monsoon Storms

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Me Blowing Kisses to the Two Tallest Mountains in Colorado Before We Left

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View From the Capitol Building in Denver

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Trip Planning is Exhausting!

I am EXHAUSTED from so much vacation planning. Mike and I are doing a pattern of 1 day lots of activities, next day taking it easy, then another day of activities, etc. I’m really excited to see how many free and inexpensively priced activities there are in the National Parks.
So far, weather permitting, we are planning on doing a Tundra Nature Walk in the Alpines, a Bear Lake Stroll, hitting the Holzworth Historic Site, and finally Going on a twilight Ranger Led hike called “A Glimpse of Paradise”, all in Rocky Mountain National Park!
The next day, we are hoping to slow things down and take a Scenic Gondola Ride near Dillon Reservoir. A ski gondola that is!
When we get to the Black Canyon the following day, there are a few scenic trails we have to choose from. In the morning, we plan on taking a ranger led pontoon trip in the Canyon itself.
Then just before we head to Denver, we will hit up Leadville and Turquoise Lake, hopefully visiting the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum and the Tabor Opera House, all the while taking in the great vistas surrounding us as we gaze at the two tallest mountains in Colorado.
This is as far as I’ve gotten with my detailed planning. I’ve got maps, projected times, etc., all the way up to Leadville. Even if we don’t get to do everything, at least we have the info. I can’t wait!

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Days Getting Better

Not only did I hit my 50 fl. oz. water mark for the day, I shattered it and did 60 fl. oz.!! I feel much more alert and the headaches are staying at bay for now.  The water really helped to keep me from overeating today while Mike was at work.  Then in the evening I broke out the tilapia we bought yesterday and made this …

Our Dinner of Tilapia with Potato Crust and Chive Rosemary Oil

As always the requisite salad and/or veggies ... this time salad alone!

I have to say, I made it a little heavy on the oil since I was trying to taper down the serving size.  Next time, I will cut back on the olive oil substantially.  Mike and I also decided we would rather have a few more thinly cut potatoes on the fish, and cut out the potato wedges all together.  Too much potato starch!  I’m beginning to train both of us away from heavy starches.  Instead, we both prefer tons of veggies and salad on the side.

Today Mike and I power walked, but I also added in some Cardio Kickboxing and amped up my good chemicals. I will gradually add in more time and intensity, but I feel good about what I did today.

I didn’t want this to turn into a health and fitness blog.  I’ve had those, but I have to say this is much more cohesive than anything I’ve done before.  My focus on health and fitness at the moment is very necessary.

On a bright note … for those of you who didn’t know that our car engine exploded and burst into flames a few weeks ago, yes, I have been sweating it. State Farm has been really dragging its heels, and messed up our entire contract with them.  We were told that we were going to have to pay 1000 dollars and then some to get back to where we should be, even after they were the ones that messed up.  Well, the Lord knew, because our payout on the junked car will just cover the payoff to Credit Union on the note and … will also just cover that 1000 dollars.

We are also going to Credit Union tomorrow to get a pre-approval on a new car note so we can look for another car.  There is a possibility that we have in mind, so really pray that if this is the car we buy, we can get it quickly.  If possible, we would love to have something in time for our vacation so we don’t have to spend the bucks to rent.

Our vacation in Colorado is literally just around the bend, so I’ve really been working to make sure all our ducks are in a row. I’m excited!  My first road trip with my husband, and our first real vacation together!  I MUST get loads of sleep to get ready!

What was your favorite vacation?

Lemony Smoothness!

Being 33 has its drawbacks. Those inexpensive drugstore facial treatments don’t always seem to do the trick with my leathering skin.  Okay, who am I fooling?  My skin isn’t leather yet, but I certainly have to work really hard to get it smooth and healthy.

That is why I was super excited to discover and try my new Youtube find Kandee’s “Lemon Trick” Video. With just half a lemon (or lemon juice), sugar and cotton pads or balls, I was able to gently buff my face to smooth, delicious smelling sweetness.  When you get older, the real shock is discovering a product that tightens and tones the skin without drying you out.  This does!!!

My skin feels really tight, but when I touch it, it is super soft and smooth! How crazy is that! I’m also over halfway through my water for today (50oz) and haven’t had a headache since I woke up.  Loving it! =)

Here is the link to “The Skin Doctor: Lemon Trick”.

Great Ending to the Day =)

I found a great new makeup artist on Youtube.  Kandee the Makeup Artist!  Her link is in my makeup blog list.  I love her spunk, and it is finally great to see someone with brown eyes and eyelids that show  in one package!  I’ve been splicing together ideas from different artists, but none of them have matched my own face quite so well as lovely Kandee!

I am also inspired to lose weight.  On top of all the health issues that I have been focused on, I am beginning to forget what I look like with a thin face.  My face has always been well defined, but lately, not so much.  Time to get to work.

After my prior post about depression and lack of motivation, I am happy to post that after ridding myself of that nasty headache, I managed to reach just about all of my goals on my list for the day.  I was much more realistic.  In fact, I was so realistic that I ended up completing things that weren’t on my list!  Woo hoo!

The best goal that I completed was drinking 40 oz plus of water!!!!  </Jumps around ringing that happy bell>  I’m hoping that I won’t wake up tomorrow with the same killer headache that has been plaguing me.  My goal tomorrow is to up it to 50 oz of water.  This is especially important considering that my other big goal is to complete one of the numerous FitTV programs I have been recording since we got Direct TV.

On an annoying note … my almost six foot tall husband has taken to turning off the light in the kitchen via the very short string hanging from the light fixture.  He wants to keep the fan running and hence doesn’t use the switch.  I can’t reach the string. My being ten inches shorter than him doesn’t help.  He has agreed on numerous occasions to stop doing this.  He has NOT stopped doing this.  I’m not truly angry at him, just royally annoyed and ready to take a bucket of very cold water to his cuddly lazy body as it rests in bed sleeping at this very moment.

This follows the fact that my cat thinks bare legs in summer equal a leg tasting fest for him.  The water bottle is definitely getting a workout June-August.

Definitely a much better end to the day than I’ve had in a while.  I feel calm and reassured.  Thank you Jesus!

Depression … out with you!

After a long hiatus of job-hunting and overwhelming vacation planning … I’m back!  For me, job-hunting is really, really depressing, as I’m sure it is for most of you out there.  A couple of months before the school year ended, I found out that my position was being eliminated.  Needless to say, I stayed hopeful, but slipped into a medium depression.

I’ve been depressed before, so the way that I distinguish between having a hard time and really being depressed is in the way I function with everyday life.  At the beginning of the summer, I found myself thinking about all the things I wanted to do.  I was almost cheerful at the thought of doing them.  However, I just couldn’t muster up the energy to actually do them.  That is my biggest red flag.

The apartment really needed to be thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom.  I would make lists, set up a schedule, and then just sit there staring at the schedule feeling overwhelmed.

I had a really fabulous interview with a private Christian school for a fourth grade position.  It is everything I want with regard to environment, supportiveness of staff, cohesiveness of staff, and, of course, the ability to talk with students about faith.  It is everything I expected with regard to salary, but nothing that can’t be done with work in the summer as well.

On July 1st I accepted their offer of employment.  I was really pleased, but couldn’t muster the kind of happiness I was expecting.  I feel certain this is where I should be.  There is a connection there that is rare.  However, depression doesn’t end just because something wonderful happens to you.

I’ve been struggling since then to renew myself.  It wasn’t until a few days ago, when I borrowed a book on organization from my sister, that I had a breakthrough, and the upswing has begun.  I realized that I had been pressuring myself back into being depressed by expecting far too much from myself.  My lists included everything that needed to be done in the entire house on one sheet.  I figured that whatever I didn’t get done could go on the next day’s work.  My expectation was that I would get about half the list done each day.

This book said to break off tasks into really manageable chunks.  On Monday, I got started.  I still gave myself too much to do, without knowing it.  I was schlepping items from home to school, then driving the forty minutes to my sister’s to watch my nephews so she and her husband could go to a  doctor’s appointment.  I started at 10:00 in the morning and didn’t arrive back home until close to 7p.m.  After a trying incident with Direct TV(not DTV’s fault, btw) being installed, we dropped off my mom’s car and didn’t have a moment to ourselves until after 10:00p.m.

I looked at the remaining items on my list and cut myself a break.  I felt pretty good about what I’d done.

The next day, I mowed through a ton of items on my new list.  I still underestimated how much time all those things were going to take to do.  I find myself doing this a lot in my life.  I overburden myself with responsibilities, and then have to dig myself out.  Again, I allowed myself to be pleased with the amount of work that I had completed, especially when I have been dealing with a headache for the last few days.

Yesterday, my depression returned, but not as strong as before.  I didn’t get more than five items done on my list.  I was fighting a headache all day.  Mike and I went on a walk for the first time together since our car engine caught on fire.  It was nasty and humid the whole way, but we did it.

Then this morning I woke up with a killer headache again.  It is really hard to be logical and think when suffering from a massive headache.  Between getting some tuna in me (I’ve noticed at times that I get headaches when my body needs protein or just plain sustenance), taking a couple of Advil, and drinking several cups of water, I finally hit on a possible cause for the headaches.  DEHYDRATION.  To be quite frank, I think my cat has been drinking more water lately than I have.  I have taken to drinking far too much caffeine again, and when I don’t, headaches!!  So I’m thinking caffeine withdrawals and dehydration!

Oddly enough, one of the items on my list that wasn’t getting checked off was “64oz water”.  Maybe this is another item that I need to be realistic about and slowly increase.  So today, I’m going for 40 oz of water.  So far, I’ve had about 20 oz.  If I hit 40, I won’t stop, but I definitely think that I need to set the bar a little lower and work up to it.

The other aspect of besting depression that I have not been focusing on is exercise.  I have felt somewhat better when I walk with Mike, and I will continue to do so.  However, I realize that it is mainly intense exercise that helps me to chemically come into balance again.  We’re talking setting the elliptical at an 8-10 resistance and doing interval training that busts extreme amounts of sweat out of me.  I have a Bally’s membership, isn’t it time I started using it again?

No pictures this time, just a lot of thoughts.

Have you ever had a hard time rebounding from depression?

Sleep

Sleep

Here is where I wish to be, caught in the fresh-pressed innocence and sleep.  It isn’t that I want to be a child again, rather, to enjoy having one of my own at some point.  Innocence is so precious.

Aftermath

On Wednesday night, our area was hit by a massive storm front.  After last week’s storm in which lightening lopped off the top of a tree next to our building, we didn’t think it could be much worse.  We were wrong.

Cozi Scared By The Storm

I had just set up a towel behind the Trinitron monitor to take pictures for sale on craigslist, when lightning and thunder began to flash and crack its way into our small apartment. My cat immediately reacted by hiding behind the towel, his fur ruffing up in fear.

When I see lightning, my first instinct is to turn off all electronics to eliminate shorts.  I turned off the computer, and told my husband he’d better back away from the electronics he was holding.  It worked, not because I was telling him to do it, but because at that moment, the internet chose to go out.

A few minutes later, I peeked out the window as the rain began to pour down. The sky became an ugly, dark, greenish-gray-black to the south.  I’ve seen this color before several times.

When I was in grade school in Michigan, a tornado touched down on the football field between the grade school and the high school, while we shuddered and huddled inside the tiny space between the boys and girls bathrooms in the kindergarten room.  One of my stays with Hansens landed us in their basement, hovering in wait as a tornado roared through the area.  Another of my forays into the tornado realm had me huddled with my own students a couple of years ago, calming frayed nerves and nervously waiting out the storm.

Wednesday’s sky was perhaps the worst I had seen since kindergarten. There is some primal instinct that dictates caution when the truly dangerous approaches, and that instinct was out in full force.  The rain began to pour down, almost obscuring the malevolent sky.

It was minutes later that the tornado siren went off, jolting me from fear to jagged action. “Do you hear that?” I asked.  “Hear what?” asked my partially-deaf-in-one-ear husband.  “That … is the sound of a tornado siren.”  I ran for my cell phone and told him that we needed to go downstairs to the basement. It took him a few minutes.  I mean, urgency just doesn’t seem to be a part of the genetic factor for him.

Downstairs he opened the basement door to find that it was flooded with about a foot of water. We weren’t going to be staying there.  We sat in the hallway, worrying about Cosmo, and then Mike went up to get him and bring him downstairs with us.  It was at that point we noticed that we were sitting directly underneath a glass skylight located at the top of all the flights of stairs in our apartment.  The things you notice, eh?

We opted to stay inside our apartment, huddled in the hallway with our kitty. The power went out, the winds howled, and the rain pelted down for nearly forty-five minutes.  I have never experienced a storm with so much rain that lasted for so long.

The Aftermath: Street

When the storm finally ended, we were left with an aftermath of flooding that is the worst I’ve ever seen. Of course, Mike and I did decide to live in a town with “river” in the name.  The street was flooded all the way into our lawn.

Cars struggled to make their way into our small town. Police vehicles in constant motion sprayed water as they drove past, leading me to believe that other roadways were much worse.

The Aftermath: Backyard Seen From Our Back Stairs

The Aftermath: the Bottom of our Stairwell

Another Cosmo Great

Alien Cat

I love the way this photo captures the alien oddness of my peppery, little kitty. Okay, okay, strike that … my peppery, big kitty.  Sometimes he just stands in a doorway and really creeps my husband and I out.  He should be making millions as a scary creature in some horror flick.  All they’d have to do would be to have him stand there and play some shrieking music.

Community

I’m blessed to live in one of the best communities close to the city to photograph nature.

Butterfly Graveyard

The bottom of our stairs is always littered with dying butterflies.  I’m not sure how they find their way there, but this June has been no exception.

Wings

Rest in Peace

Of course, the best thing about Riverside is that it is lined with tree after tree. Including one of my favorites.

Olden Tree

Plus, the sky from my parking lot is no joke …

Beautiful Twilight