Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Attitude is most important

I'm currently reading a great book by Geshe Michael Roach called The Diamond Cutter. With stories from his life working in the jewelry trade, I am easily able to relate with him. What has been most fascinating is the Buddha's advice on how to manage your personal and professional life.

I'm not going to review the book, but I've come across several profound comments so far that I feel are worthwhile to share here, as they have gotten me thinking at length. In fact, I have trouble bringing my mind away from the concepts.

For starters; that everything that we perceive is not coming from an outside source, but rather, from ourselves. At least that is what I've taken away from it. The book uses the example of someone who is irritating to us but may be caring and lovable to another. Something in our past has triggered us to think of this person as irritating, but what?

I'm not sure I can answer that fully...yet.

There is also a scenario of being around people who always seem to be fighting with one another. The solution is not to go to them, rather avoid these situations, whether or not you are involved, or just a spectator. I have allowed this experience into my world and the only way to fix it, is to fix myself. The key is to break the cycle...do not respond to negativity with negativity.

Just halfway through the book, I am beginning to realized that all of my complications, and joys are solely my doing. I am the only person to blame for my unhappiness, and the only one who can make myself happy.

Kind of a big pill to swallow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

All done

Well, almost. Tomorrow I turn in the keys to my first apartment here in Missoula. I've kept them for tonight, just in case Justin and I decide to soak in the hot tub one last time. I am so happy to be out of there and in my new place. Just driving up there to grab the last few items remaining was a pain.

It seems that I only drive now if I have to, which is not very much. I am enjoying riding my bike (or walking) to work and to friend's homes. I'm feeling great and enjoying the neighborhood, although it is time to change up my running route. I have gotten bored with the way home, which is the same way there.

Tomorrow will be a new route, and a longer one as well, as I am preparing to run my first 5k (perhaps 10k but we will see) at the end of July. Anyone out there who runs a lot probably thinks "5k, who mentions a 5k?" This is a big deal to me, as I have never run one, and have had a pretty painful year due to running. I am shooting to finish in 25 minutes or less (I have short legs, and am only 5'4" tall), but will not push my body past it's breaking point. So far so good. I've had a few "twitches" in my lower back and right hip in the afternoons after my run, but nothing that has persisted much more than a couple of hours. I also think that my body is getting used to running again because I am no longer getting side cramps that about make me want to curl up and die. :) For now I am running every other day, and on those off days, I am lifting weights.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Need sleep...but must run

My newest thing is not sleeping...at least not very much. I wake up thinking about things that I shouldn't be thinking about as much as I am...after I have stayed up until 1am and need to be up before 7am to work out. Really, I just need to go to bed earlier. Must work on that a bit. :)

Right now, it is 12:33 am. Billy Joel is singing "Piano Man" to me. I am drinking water, as prescribed by Justin (thanks).

Tomorrow I MUST run 3 miles. I took today off because I was lazy, which is okay...every now and then a lazy day is acceptable.

Tomorrow, strike that, TODAY (after my 3 mile run), and half day of work, I head to Helena with Justin for a BBQ. I look forward to being in a family setting again.

I received some good news today. A couple of my friends from Iowa are planning a trip out this way in August. It just so happens that it is the same week that I am to be off work for a visit from some of my family. Ironic? I think so too. Sometimes luck just finds a way. I look forward to their visit.

That's all for now...a bit of a random post but that's ok with me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Out of focus

Lately it seems that I am unable to focus. I realized just how bad it was today when I was trying to get out of Kimber's truck and couldn't...because I had forgotten to unbuckle my seatbelt. Just like I space out eating some days, miss a familiar turn, etc., I forget to do things that should be done everyday. My mind is going every which way, and does not stay focused on one thing for very long.

Just like taking pictures with my camera, every now and then adjustments must be made. I have started to read more, have gotten rid of my television, and am running again. Eating healthy foods has been a regular thing for almost a year. With all of this, I am wondering what it is that I need to regain my focus. Regular meditation? Yoga? Long walks alone? I'm not sure what it will take, but now that I am aware of it, I'm certain that I can make the proper adjustments.

Friday, June 19, 2009

One year later

Tonight is the anniversary of the eve of my departure from Boone, Iowa. Goodbyes had been occurring all day, actually all week, but my last day of work was difficult. I was leaving a wonderful staff and had many friends whom I would miss. Thoughtful gifts and cards were graciously accepted from friends, family, and even clients. One year later, I still have clients that ask how I'm doing and whether or not I am coming back (to which the answer is "no").

For the first time in my adult life, I knew the adventure that I was about to embark on was right. I was going out into the world alone. I could reinvent myself, start over, and move on. I didn't know anyone in Missoula, but I was okay with that. I knew that in time, great friendships would be made and Missoula would become home to me.

How have I done? Very well indeed! I'm happy to say that I have a wonderful group of friends that share common interests, a great boyfriend whom I learn something from everyday, a fantastic apartment that has put me smack dab in the middle of everything it seems, and of course, I have my work. I am happy here, and I am home.

So much has changed in the past year. I can only hope that it has all been for the better. The only change that is a visual one would be a picture of myself. Both were taken on June 17, the one on the left last year, and the one on the right, this year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Solo sunset hike

Tonight, I've been thinking about how distant I have gotten from people back home, and even people here. I've hardly spoken to my best friend, my sister, or my parents in the past couple of months. Maybe I am just growing up and cutting the proverbial cord. What I really think it is, is that I just don't have the patience to speak with people on the phone. I am easily distracted by things that are happening here and now. Not only that, but it seems that I am hardly sitting still long enough to have a conversation. If I'm not working, I'm reading, hiking, cooking, or getting ready to meet up with friends here.

I long for the days when I could just sit still, alone, and be happy about it. I've found that even though I do need that, and I know it, it still makes me anxious. I'm working on figuring out where this feeling is coming from, but I do know that it started about a month ago.

What calmed my anxiety tonight was a solo bike to and hike up the M trail. I've never done it alone, and only made it to the M once, with Justin back in November. I made it in 23 minutes, which was quite fast compared to the first time. However, I have been biking a lot the last week, and I have been working out and running again, so that must have helped. Anyway...I sat up there, over Missoula and took in the best part of the end of a day: sunset.


On Sunday, Kimber and I left Missoula at 11am to hike Sleeping Woman Trail to Cha-paa-qn (formally known as Squaw Peak). What we thought would be a 25 minute drive turned into an hour and twenty minute drive, mostly because after we left I90 onto Nine Mile Road, all the little dirt roads that led to the trailhead were impossible to drive over 15 miles an hour. The absurdity of how closed in, rough, and long the drive turned out to be had both of us laughing.

Using Kimber's book on day hikes around Missoula, we knew exactly how to get to the trailhead, what to expect on the hike, and approximately how long it would take us. What the book couldn't tell us was whether we would make it to the base of the peak before bad weather caught up with us.

We soon found our hiking rhythm, with me taking the lead, as she is a bit taller than I am, and as she said herself, she tends to go too fast and would exhaust herself. I set a nice, steady pace that ensured we would both make it up the 2200 foot elevation gain and back down again.

The forest bed was a lush green, just reborn from its Winter slumber. The scent of whitebark pines and firs overloaded my senses. I recall a bee buzzing around us for most of the hike, however, I don't remember the sound of birds until we had gotten much higher in elevation, when we were actually hiking more on snow banks than not. I've decided that dry ground is best for hiking, as the snow was melting a bit and thus much more slippery than I had expected, making the hike a bit precarious at times.

We almost made it to the base of the peak (making it to within 1/4 of a mile). The weather did not cooperate...or at least it got an attitude for a bit, causing Kimber concern, to which I urged her on for a couple of minutes, until a large boom of thunder brought me back to reality. The weather can change so fast in the mountains, and I didn't feel like running down what took us 1 hour and 40 minutes to climb up.

The hike was a great experience. Kimber and I are both hoping to hike every weekend, and with the book of hikes close to Missoula, we can easily fill 3 summers and never have a repeat.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I used to be a confident individual. That was before the reality of people sunk in. Certain situations that I got myself into, and out of took their toll. In most situations, my confidence has soared, and so has my level of commitment to my work, while my personal confidence took a nose dive.

While I was winning praise
for my work, I was always second guessing my personal choices. I did what other people wanted to do, all the while, ignoring what I really wanted to do. I chalked all of this up to me being selfish, and just stopped being me.

That ended, and I started to see a glimpse of the old me. No longer burdened by another's decisions, I started making them on my own again. However, old habits die hard, and I was surprised how quickly I fell back into a submissive personality. "I don't care" became the answer to everything. Did I really care? Hell yeah! I'm a pretty head strong person that doesn't like to take other people's bull shit, but in certain instances I found myself backing down.

Also, I am not one of those people who can read whether someone is being sarcastic/joking, or if they are being serious. This is something that I tell people that I interact with on a regular basis early on, so as not to cause a misunderstanding later. Those misunderstanding do occur and I am never sure how to react. This is very exhausting at work, and at home, always. I find myself lacking the confidence in the areas that I know I am good at.

I believe that once one's confidence has been shattered, it can be pieced back together, however, it will never be as solid as it was originally. I am reminded of this fault I now carry on a regular basis, hoping that I am not shattering anyone's confidence in the meantime.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oliver's new friend

Monday morning was our first in the new apartment. While I was enjoying my morning coffee and reading the Missoulian, I noticed that we had a visitor out on the patio. A lone squirrel was very curious about Oliver, and Oliver was very curious about him. So this morning, I was ready with my camera when the little creature returned. He seemed to know that he was safely positioned on the opposite side of the glass door, and thus started his taunting. He would start on the railing, flicking his tail, then jump up on the roof, where he would peer down to see if he was setting the cat off. Oliver calmly watched, but after a few minutes he was jumping up against the door. I think he would not harm the squirrel, but rather just play with him. However, I'm certain that if it did turn into a fight, the squirrel would win, as Oliver has no claws.

The squirrel must have told his friends, because not long after all of this started, two more little guys showed up, and shared their little buddies antics of torment.

We will see if they show up tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A new rhythm

Yesterday was moving day for me. With the help of four great friends, my furniture is in my new apartment. This was no easy task. I have a queen size bed (with a split box spring), a very heavy chest of drawers, a recliner/rocking chair, and the killer of it all...a sleeper sofa. And, I was on the third floor, moving to a second floor apartment across town (with very steep stairs). The guys pulled it off very well, with some joking (I think) about just lowering the sofa over the last railing into the bed of the pickup.

After all the moving was done I headed across the street to the Food Farm and picked up the fixins' for spaghetti and some beer (from Bayern of course).

Oliver is adjusting quite well, however, he did have me a bit scared when Justin and I returned from our sunset perch. We searched high and low and there was no sign of him. He did emerge when he felt safe again (from where, I have no clue). Today he is busy trying to get into all of the places I would prefer he stay out of, as children will do.

What is great about this neighborhood is that so much is so close. Besides the grocery store, there is a bike shop a block and a half away (which I dropped my bike off at this morning and was ready for pickup within the hour), a veterinarian at the end of the alley, multiple friends within a few blocks, and Caras Park is within a few minutes bike ride.

My decorating plan is to only hang my art and have the apartment be a sort of gallery. I have no problem with this, as I am always looking for a reason to go out and shoot more of Montana's great vistas. Not that I need a reason, but rather just the motivation.

So, I set out now to find a new rhythm...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


As I lay awake last night, unable to sleep yet again, I had a lot of things enter my mind. Mostly frustrations about not being able to sleep, and then feeling stupid for getting frustrated about it, as that surely wasn't helping me fall asleep. I have no problem almost nodding off during meditaion, during a movie, etc...why can't I sleep when I'm supposed to?

I really do know what my problem is. I put too much thought into unimportant things. Who cares what happened three days ago, three weeks ago, or three years ago. I just need to chill out and focus on what is important.

I need to live and be present in this moment, not the past, and certainly not the future. Right now is what is important.