July Camping

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In July we went camping.  It was our first Colorado camping trip and we had a great time.  We went to Eleven Mile State Park.  I don’t even know how to describe where it is, but it’s on the other side of Pike’s Peak.  The reservoir runs along a river fed by snow melt.  The lake has Northern Pike, Salmon, Trout, Bass, and Crawdaddies.

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Yes, that’s right Crawdaddies, Mudbugs, or crawfish, the little red delights that are often found in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras.  They were in season when we got there.  Some of the park rangers were having a weekend seafood boil.    We were surprised to say the least.  Unfortunately, our boat is broken, and Shane had to take it to the shop after we got home.

While the kids and Shane went fishing, I walked around camp, and took some pictures of camp. I found one of the Colorado Springs Rocks.  The staff from a beauty salon in town had hidden rocks throughout the park.  There were a lot of song birds too.  The top two pictures posed for me on the picnic table.  The other bird and rabbit were regular visitors to our campsite.

 

And flowers galore!  We took hikes on the third day through the pine and birch trails.  I have traded tropical flowers for wild flowers.  Succulents, red poisonous berries, and other fragrant flowers.

 

And of course a new toy.  I sucked it up and bought a super wide angel lens.  It took perfect pictures of the landscapes around our camp.  I could get full mountains without turning my camera all sorts of different directions.  I still haven’t figured out astrophotography.   But hopefully I will be able to take pics when I get out of the hospital.

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And we had our security system.  She LOVED sleeping outside, and getting in touch with her wild side (chasing ground squirrels and birds).  Thor didn’t pose for me.  He would walk up to me every time I put up my camera.  The only time I can get a good picture of him is if I am at the end of the yard, and he’s running towards me.

 

Wow, It’s Been A Month!

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My dog is ready to run again, and I’m ready to write again.

I haven’t been writing much, I haven’t been doing much.  It’s been a rough summer, a rough fall, and now we are approaching a rough winter.  To recap, in June my father passed away.  Following his death, my son’s beloved teacher was murdered.  The killers are still at large.  I came down with bronchitis and ended up bed ridden for a week. Then a few weeks later, a police officer was gunned down, and the suspect was also killed.  Our city was on lock down for a few days.

I took some much needed personal time to get things in my personal life figured out.  It is hard to write, be positive, and even think when there is so much negative going on.  I did nothing to do with writing (except submitting the minimal number of articles for Many Kind Regards), instead I spent my days and nights playing Fantasy Football, running, and spending time with my kids.  You don’t realize how children are affected by tragedy and loss, until they are. I needed this time to think, to re-evaluate, and to figure things out.

I still don’t have everything figured out, but we are doing better.  I restarted writing the second novel.  I have yet to post another day in my writing challenge– just not ready for that yet.  And now I’m re-attacking the blog.  I have also lost 15 pounds (I have 10 more pounds to lose in preparation for my kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon).  I started a training plan in preparation for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  Last night I signed up for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  I find out next month if we are leaving our beloved home for five years for a new base, and since the leaves are falling, it’s time to turn a new leaf.

Expect to hear more from me shortly…

The Book

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I am not talking about the first book, or the second book, I’m writing; I’m talking about the book pictured above on my nightstand.  This summer has been an adventure for me, and it is not been a pleasant adventure.  It started out with a phone call from my mom, stating that my dad had had a massive heart attack.  The phone calls following that one phone call had confirmed that my dad had lost his battle with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity that had plagued him since he was in his forties.  After that, the summer was a blur.  I went from one thing to another kind of in a zombie state.

While I was in Orlando burying my dad, I restarted my second novel, I had been working on it kind of half assed all spring.  The first novel, I put down on the desk, and I have not touched it.  I became obsessed with finishing the second novel.  When I got home from Orlando, I struggled with everything.  I struggled to get up in the morning, I struggled with meaning in my life, and I struggled with some of the decisions I had made.  I started to even resent some of those decisions, and I felt completely powerless.

In July, my husband told me that he was going TDY the first week of August to fly, and then he was going to say good-bye to one of the Technical Sergeants working in the squadron that was leaving Oklahoma City to greener pastures, and he said that we were going to come with.  He took us to Shreveport, and we spent the days he was flying going bowling, at the SciPort, and then we went swimming at the base pool.  Before the bowling alley opened the first morning we were Shreveport, I decided to make a Target Run.

Growing up in Minneapolis, I have a love-passionate love for Target.  Needless to say that at most bases south of the Midwest the Targets are scant and rare.  You have to travel quite a distance to get to our favorite store.  There is a Target right outside of the base at Shreveport, so the kids and I ventured to Target.  I walked the aisles.  I didn’t know why I wanted to go Target in the first place.  Ryan shares my love for Target, perhaps we ventured there to get him a shirt, which we did.  I promised Sophie a toy of equal value to his shirt.  She picked out one of those old school 1980s coloring relief fashion designer toys.  I remember owning one as a child.  She was absolutely enamored with it.  I walked through the grocery section, looking for Boom Chicka Pop White Cheddar Popcorn (my weakness), and snagging a few boxes of fruit snacks. I then remembered I needed to pick up a gift card for someone, so we ventured to the gift section.

Target has a new aisle of dorky little gifts.  I remembered that I had bought a gag gift for the Holiday Party last year there.  It was a coffee mug that changes when you put hot water in it.  When the hot water hits the mug, a Great White Shark appears to be eating swimmers.  I saw that mug, and laughed at it.  Then the book caught my eye.  I picked it up, and turned it over in my hands. Shrugging I put it back down.  My daughter asked me about it, and I think I told her that it was a journal of some kind.  She shrugged too.  Ryan picked it up and put it in the basket.  I picked it up again, I think I was frowning, and I paged through it.  Something told me I should grab it.  I don’t know why.  It was the only book like it in the whole aisle.  I picked up a few blank journals.  I usually buy a journal and only half way fill it.  I put the journals down, and picked up the book.  I paged through it.  I put it back in the basket, shrugging again.

I checked out.  I thought about sending it to my mom.  It would be something she would appreciate.  It sat at the bottom of my backpack.  We got back from our road trip.  It took me several days to unpack.  The book was left untouched.  School was starting in a few days, my husband was preparing for yet another TDY, and I was back to struggling, resenting, and trying to adapt to my new normal (my parents and I are close, so this is tough loss for me).  I set the book on my nightstand, waiting for the perfect time to send it to my mom.  The time never came.  I will probably send it to her untouched, as I flipped through it, I decided that it was the perfect blog fodder.  The writing prompts are genius.  So for the next 642 days, I will be writing between 500-1200 words on the topics in the book.  Perhaps it will help me break the writer’s apathy I have (I don’t really call it writer’s block, as there is no block, namely it’s 100% apathy)…

Welcome To My New Blog…

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The school year has begun, and I sat down with my family this weekend to our last supper before the school year started.  I asked each family member what their goals were for this year.  It appears that this is our last year in Florida.  It is a bittersweet realization that this is the last 10 months in our home.  I love it here, and I hope that my husband can find a way for us all to stay for another year, yet with each passing day I feel more and more ready for the next step in our lives.

Anyway, back to the goal discussion, it was really cool to hear what my daughter’s goals were.  She’s 9, and every goal she had was a positive change, and not something like improve my score on Skylanders :).  Her first goal was to become a better writer.  She said that she was not happy that her grades were lower in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.  She wanted to be a straight-A student, and she struggles in those subjects.  Because she is an honor student, she doesn’t receive help with them at school.  She also wanted to improve her violin playing, and perhaps go to an art and music specialty school at our next base.  She wanted to improve her physical conditioning, and wants to get her black belt in TaiKwanDo.  Finally, she wants to make a new friend at school.

My son wasn’t really into discussing his goals, but my goal for him was to get him reading and writing, and get him ready for the next step in his schooling.  We would ideally like to get him back to school.

My husband’s main goal was to not get fired.  He also discussed some of the newest things he would like to do with the squadron before his change of command.  He wants to leave the squadron in a positive light.

It comes to my goal, and my new blog.  I have come to slow realization that I will not be able to go back to work in a traditional sense.  I love writing passionately, and I would like to get back to it.  I don’t need a 180-day deployment to inspire me to write.  I am going to work primarily on my second novel.  I am going to hire a editor (in the writing community I freelance for), and get my first manuscript published once and for all.  I’m going to start dedicating more time to the craft, and perhaps sell ad space and try to make this blog a source of income.  This last week, I invested some capital into the blog– if you noticed, I purchased jodisgoing180.com!  I changed the layout.

So welcome to the new and improved Jodi’s Going 180…