Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hot to Cold...

On Sunday, we enjoyed 80 degree weather as we walked around the Sonora Desert Museum for four hours. The Saguaro cacti were very impressive to look at. Knowing that they are at least fifty years old before they start growing "arms" I realized how old the desert really is. I don't feel I'm getting old anymore!

Myself, Mindy, and Michelle enjoying a bit of shade...

After lunch we made our way to a free flight demonstration of several Harris's hawk. They were amazing birds. The females are larger, and thus dominate the males. They are one of few species that will perch together and are very family oriented. At times during the demonstration, they flew between our heads, or just barely cleared the crowd.

It was not long before it was
time to head back to Mesa, where we would meet up with our Aunt and Uncle and say goodbye to Mindy. Before we parted ways, we went out for pizza and a show at Organ Stop Pizza. What a neat place! We all enjoyed great pizza (veggie for my Aunt and I) and a good deal of awesome music.

After Mindy left, the four of us headed back to Chuck and Mary's place. We played cards for several hours and then called it a night. The next morning, we went out for breakfast and enjoyed catching up further. Half past ten, we dropped Michelle off at the airport and said our goodbyes, for what will probably be another three to four months. My plane didn't leave for several more hours so the three of us went up South Mountain and enjoyed some more sun, although it was only in the lower 60's. I'm not complaining, because by that time, I had heard that it was 11 degrees in Missoula!

The time had come for me to leave. As I waited for my flight, I sat reflecting on the weekend. I was disappointed that the weekend had been so short, but thankful for being able to meet up with so many people that I knew. I realized just how much I miss my family, especially my dad. That is of course because Chuck is his brother. I never realized how much they look, speak and act alike. I find myself looking forward to a visit back home, to play cards, go golfing, and just hang out with my family.

Just minutes from landing in Missoula, the sun was setting. It was a beautiful way to end a wonderful three day weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Winter in Arizona

When I left Missoula on Friday night it was 20 degrees...I could see my breath in the air and was wishing that I had a heavier coat. When I landed in Mesa, Arizona, it was in the upper 60's and I was overwhelmed with humidity. I hadn't felt this kind of humidity since I was back in Iowa.

My sister and Mindy were there waiting for me, and I couldn't have been happier! Just three weeks since I had seen Mindy, it was a great reunion. However, it had been a bit longer since I had seen Michelle...almost four months to the day to be exact. It was/is almost bittersweet, as we will only have just over two days together. We are making the most of our time though. Enjoying a few drinks together last night, we all called it a night around 1:30am, tired from our travels and wanting to be rested for our fun filled weekend.

Saturday morning we headed to the Air Force base where Mindy works, and then we were off to Nogales, Mexico. This would be my first trip over the border, and it was an eye opener. I believe that I have taken what I have for granted...as I don't have to beg on the streets, or barter my goods for next to nothing. Outside every shop there were vendors telling us we should come in to their store. They claimed that they had cheap junk. Yeah, that's just what I need. The walkways were packed with people and stuff. A very claustrophobic environment, but at the same, strangely beautiful.

This evening we met up with a fellow former Iowan for drinks at a local brewery. She joined us at Mindy's apartment for appetizers and supper and then we were off to Hotel Congress for drinks and dancing. Some of Emily's friends joined us and were fun to be around. Good times were had by all and I do look forward to my next visit to Tucson.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are off to the Sonora Desert Museum. I'm sure that there will be lots to tell about that. Later in the afternoon we will head back to Mesa and meet up with my Aunt and Uncle for supper and cards. Mindy will head back to Tucson and we will stay in Mesa. Our visit will come to a close all to quickly. As for now, I am off to bed, with the windows open to sleep in the fresh air.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Sleeping seems to be on my mind a lot lately...I'm starting to think that I don't get enough sleep. Which is all my fault because for some reason I find it necessary to stay up until midnight or later. And when I finally do go to bed, most of the time I just lay there, wishing that my brain would shut off and that sleep would finally come over me. Then I'm suddenly woken up by my alarm when I feel that I've only been asleep a few moments. I've come to need coffee more than not, just to get started in the morning. Good thing that I like coffee...

The only reason I bring this up is that it was the topic of a reading at a meditation group I went to tonight. A bit of what was said was that some people have anxiety about going to sleep, because they know that they will have trouble letting their minds settle down enough for sleep. My mind is always going a million directions at once, but when asked what I am thinking about, I can't narrow it down. Even when I'm exhausted, I can't seem to slow my thoughts down.

That's where meditation has helped out a bit. Before meditation tonight, I felt overwhelmed with everything that I need to get done this week. Why do I bother myself with things that don't need to be done now? It seems to me that I am trying to make myself busy. I will admit that I don't like to just sit still. Now, post meditation, I feel calm, and ready for bed.

Hopefully sleep will find me quickly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowshoeing in Idaho

I can now add snowshoeing as something I've tried. Yet another new experience I have been blessed with.

Arthur, a new friend of mine has just gotten into snowshoeing and I asked if he would mind taking me. I rented some great snowshoes from The Trail Head, got some thermal clothing and was all set. With camera, extra clothes, snacks, and of course, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we were ready to go!

We set out just after noon from the Lolo Pass visitor center, taking it at a steady pace so I could figure out how to walk with the shoes. It wasn't long before we were surrounded by trees that reminded me just how small I am.

I only lost my balance a couple of times, which, if you know me, you would know that that is amazing. I trip on flat surfaces, so the fact that I didn't roll down at least one hill is a surprise.

There was such amazing beauty out there, and with it, great photographs, great conversation, and the start to what I think will be a great friendship filled with many more outdoor adventures.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Good week, bad 3 hours...

I've had a great week...no bad moods, no anger at anyone. Maybe it's because I have a feeling of accomplishment at all the projects that I have started and not abandoned. Perhaps it is that I have started doing Pilates again and have already noticed improvements in my posture, which was definitely needed. Maybe, just maybe, it is because my cat Oliver has let me sleep in peace until 6:30am instead of waking me two hours earlier. Maybe it is just realizing that when I'm happy, things and people are easier to "deal" with. Whatever it is, I want it to continue.

Today I woke up with the same happy feeling, thinking, "Wow, nothing can get me down!" That is until around 11am. I was in a foul mood. Stay away everyone! Perhaps I had exhausted my happiness and was to be this way for the rest of the day, or worse, a couple of days. Then, suddenly, around 3pm, I was back to happy Julie again.

And then, to end the workday on a high note, I was helping a woman and her daughter, both of whom were attractive and trendy. I left them for a couple of seconds to clean their jewelry and when I returned, they were smiling. That's when they said that they thought I "was cute", and "very pretty." They liked my hairstyle (which I had just gotten cut and colored on Tuesday) and thought that I was spunky. The mother then said that I looked like Farrah Fawcett. What a compliment! I did a bit of research on her, and see that she was an icon and sex symbol in the 70's. While I know that I will never be a sex symbol, the fact the two people thought that I looked like her was...nice. That's all I can say. Nice. I'm still smiling from that conversation.

So, if anyone is reading, I'd like to know if they were just blowing smoke, or if I should be truly flattered.

Here is to another great day tomorrow!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Change is a natural part of life I think. Sometimes it is sought out, other times, it just happens. It happened to me, though I may have been looking for it as well. It is only natural for change to occur when one is given the opportunity. I'm more patient (most of the time anyway), not as materialistic, healthier, more in tune with what I want, and most of all, happier. Are these such bad things? I say no. However, a good friend of mine seems to think it is too much. This has me worried. I plan to go home in a few months. What if everyone back there thinks the same? What if my visit in an uncomfortable one and I don't "click" with anyone anymore? I would be devastated.

I just need to be confident in who I am.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


My holiday guest has left and last night was my first real night by myself. It was great. I got a lot accomplished and enjoyed some reading and of course online surfing.

Going through a closet, I found several items which I had thought didn't make it in the move. It got me thinking that I have way too much stuff. Stuff I don't need and didn't even remember that I had, and I just moved and went through everything eight months ago! I think back to how easy it was too move just about 7 years ago...I had a bed and a few personal things that I could pack up and move in about a day. Now it takes me several days of careful packing, organizing and then actually moving. Geesh! And it's still only me! I have found that in the last several months, I am not adding to the physical "baggage" that I have. I am hoping to keep it that way, and don't think I will have any problems with that.

The nice thing about going through things is that it gives me a chance to look back and remember. Good times, bad times, funny times, and of course, sad times. While some of this could be viewed as baggage, I would not be the same without it. I have learned from my past what not to do in my future, or at the very least, to do it or approach it differently. Probably the most important lesson that I learned was to realize when to let go.