Thursday, June 9, 2016

Going East of Eden

"All great and precious things are lonely" - Steinbeck, East of Eden

... Tomorrow, I leave on an epic adventure.

There are a handful of things that I feel anxious about on the eve of this adventure. I haven't really camped by myself before. And I haven't really camped for more than a weekend. And I haven't really camped without reservations, without a solid plan. And yet here I am, about to drive off to Glacier National Park, by myself, for a full week. I'll camp on the way out and the way back, and generally be on the road for the next twelve days. Which I've also never done before.

To be fair, I didn't plan for it to go this way. Since this is my big Year of Thirty, I thought an epic trip to Glacier National Park would be a great way to celebrate three decades. In the past couple of years, I've taken to traveling on my birthday weekend with friends, going on little trips here and there that force exploration of nearby places. And why not go big when you're turning thirty? So I pushed the date back for snow-free potential and invited everyone I thought would want to join. I picked solid dates, made solid plans, and was hopeful. This would be my big adventure full of games and friends and beauty.

But life got in the way, which is apt to happen when you must wear the mantle of adulthood. One by one between new jobs and new babies and new houses and obligations, I found myself facing this epic celebratory adventure alone. I didn't expect everyone to come, but I also didn't expect to be alone. I only halfheartedly planned for the possibility, when I probably should have been more serious about it.

And yet, that seems to be life, and this is just the next adventure and challenge. I've grown in my ability to adventure, from camping now and again with friends in college, to moving across the country to unknown places, taking trips throughout the Midwest, and now attempting to relish adventuring to the unknown for the hashtag-yearofthirty. Why wouldn't I do this alone, on top of all the other uncertain, unplanned, and unexpected things this year has contained? As friends develop relationships and families and we all settle into adulthood, I've got to learn again to make my way, to continue to embrace adventure even if I'm the only one going. I've done this before, I'll do it again, and I'll leave for it tomorrow. It's just that this time, it looks different.

And so it's okay. It must be okay, and it will be okay. I allowed myself the disappointment so that I can take up the challenge. No better way to learn than to go. To do. To jump in, all in, and embrace whatever comes. I don't have everything planned except what needs to be known (though I have purchased and packed everything I think I could possibly need because you can't completely shake out the Christy). I'm an open book for an epic solo adventure in a beautiful place that is only just the beginning.

As long as a bear doesn't eat me first. I'll let you know.

One exciting purchase: freeze-dried food kit. I am so excited about this because I get to make my own meals! It even has leek flakes! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April Showers bring May, and Summer, Flowers

I feel noticeably better today, almost intensely so, than yesterday. Yesterday, as I struggled to appreciate, as I wanted to cry, as I got angry at sadness.

I became angry, because what do I have to be sad about? I had just come off of three days full of birthday celebrations. Friends joined me playing board games, drinking wine, made me cake, gave me thoughtful (and incredible) gifts, made me pancakes, joined me in Milwaukee for ice cream, bought me drinks, went dancing, drove me back, then celebrated again. Friends sent me cards and letters and notes and texts and reached out in all these various ways to say, Happy Birthday (or, I Love You). It was fantastic.

I love my birthday with the enthusiasm you'd expect of a child, and have for as long as I can remember. Age has not diminished the excitement that builds towards April 9th, except that I've learned to no longer count the days down from 100. However, I have wondered why I care so much about my birthday, when it seems most children grow out of the crazed excitement. I've lost a job on my birthday, had a pet die when younger, and even missed out on an anticipated adventure, yet still been steadfast in my excitement for the day. And why?

I think it's love. I think that my birthday is the one day of the year when everyone reaches out to express their feelings for me, in little and big ways, all at once. With Happy Birthdays, with cards, with cakes and gifts or nothing at all. I can, without shame, dwell and smile and celebrate in the love and admiration. I can expect these things, and I can enjoy them. I can be loved, and love in return, and it feels normal and okay.

And maybe this should feel normal and okay everyday. Maybe I shouldn't need one single day to feel okay with being loved, with being important to people, with being a friend that's appreciated. Maybe I can work to see this type of love in the everyday, in the small ways, in the texts and the notes and the adventures that don't fall on April 9th. And maybe that sadness is this. Maybe it's knowing what could and should be, and how that deep kind of thoughtful, heart heavy work is never done. Some days I may cry in the face of nothing to cry about. I may not see or appreciate or believe what I'm told, what I know is true. But at least on those days, I can remember birthdays. And birthday like days. And all of those little ways we're connected, that we love, that we're human with each other.

Everyday can be celebrated like my birthday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spring in Southern Wisconsin, storm headed our way.
Last night in the absence of sleep, I started thinking about my tattoo. Efforts towards clearing the mind were, as usual, unsuccessful. Finding the post where I first wrote about it, I remembered the reasoning, the adventure that took us there, and the words of meaning behind it. I can still trace my fingers along the bumpy lines, thankful and not regretful of the odd little leaf on my shoulder. Those words and that meaning still hold true today, reminding me that it will, as it was before, be okay.

Lately, the air feels restless with spring as the weather bounces between warm days of sunshine and cold days of dreary. I'm hesitant to celebrate spring, despite the swelling buds and sprouting seeds. I can look back on years of Facebook posts to find jubilation at the first outdoor run of the season, of the warm kiss of sunshine on the skin, of excitement for what's to come. But this year, I just don't feel it. The dreary grasp of winter seems unshakable, and sinks in with the other odd things of note. Like my waning perfectionism. Usually I don't wait until the last minute. Usually I take time to put my best foot forward. But not recently. There's trash still left in my car, weeks later. I am seemingly fine hastily putting together something that will work. I frequently show up late to work, and seem less worried with punctuality. I've stopped playing with calligraphy, haven't picked up my knitting needles in a while, and seem only to get lost in books and internet distractions. All little things that wave like little warning flags to tread careful on this ledge. Tread ever so carefully.

I'm going on my fourth year and fifth winter of the Midwest, a majority of that now in Wisconsin. Luckily I first landed in Iowa, with the friends and community of Decorah. That first summer remains the most magical of my lifetime, filled with adventures and all of what makes life burst forth with love and friendship. But summer ends as winter comes, and so did my time in Decorah. Luck landed me a job in Janesville, working a position I felt lucky to have and made to do. Life settled into normal expectations. I found less community, but solid friendships that were more of what you expected out of adulthood. I began to enjoy being alone, and grew stronger into myself, in my emotions, in my being. I could take care of myself, which was important as my friends got married, had babies, and life moved forward.

And I adventured. I found friends. I found hobbies. A few short relationships. I did my best.

Somewhere along the line, I developed the idea of the five year plan. In five years, I would figure out if I wanted to settle down permanently here or move on to something else. That five year mark would involve a serious endeavor towards non-apartment living and accepting the long-term inevitability of where I am. But two years in, there was a massive budget cut made to the UW-System. With a shift in organizational structure, job security was on the line. A year later this January, newly revealed plans put me squarely in the 'ah fuck' party. With further uncertainty of my job existing next year, I realized my timeline had moved forward. And what the fuck do I do now? Continue to wait it out, hoping a position exists somewhere in Wisconsin? Someplace where I can build a friendship base again, successfully date, and find a settled place to be? Or do I look for adventure elsewhere? Do I open myself to opportunities, make a plan to pack up my things and my dog, and head someplace to do it all over again, all over in a new place? Fuck. I hate unanswerable questions.

In any case, I plan to do both. One will work before the other, I hope. But - uncertainty. Uncertainty is the hardest for me. Not knowing where and when, what next. And having that uncertainty, the "me and my dog moving forward" take on the cusp of turning thirty. When I thought I'd have it settled. And here then, I find myself on that ledge. Unable to sleep as my mind frantically runs through everything. But I realize I'm okay because of my friends. Because of where I've brought myself personally. Because despite the unknowns, it is okay, and it will be okay, even if it doesn't look great. I can, and I will, have bad days. And I won't be the shining example of hopes and dreams I wish I could be. But I will be okay. I will always be okay. Just as that leaf reminds me. Change happens, but I am still here. Permanent as the leaf on my shoulder, but able to shift as the seasons do. And as I've done before, I'll make it through again.

I'm incredibly thankful for my friends. For board games and farmer meeples. For sharing books and dog walks. I'm grateful for adventures near and far, for parks to explore, for Nerd Nite talks and chances, baby pictures and manicures, letters and postcards, dinners, everything. Waking up today, I realized how much these small things have carried me through, kept me safely on the ledge. Keeping me hopeful, helping me believe in myself and what can come, keeping me from falling into the dark places I was before. Yes, Decorah was magical. But I was lost in a deep, painful loneliness that I've worked hard to get out of these past few years. Those demons aren't vanquished, and they regularly rear their heads to dance with my heart and mind. Especially as of late, when so much is uncertain. And I turn thirty, so soon. But I have tools, methods, and words to help myself, to keep myself from being lost. I've built myself a basement, a safe space, a net to land on, an anchor to keep me too far from shore. This time the storm is coming, but it feels different. Change is ready, and it doesn't feel so frightening. The ground feels so much more solid. And so I'm grateful. Thank you, friends. Thank you for carrying me through. Thank you for the love, the support, the net. Thank you.

hello, blooming cactus. thank you for the flower.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When a Book Permeates

It's been a while since I've posted, because life got to feel the same. Things got normal, life seemed understandable. And partially, I stopped believing anyone would care what life outside of California was like, since so much of my life moving forward seems to be non-Californian. I had the very odd experience of craving California, craving that belonging, and wishing someone cared that once I could bask in the warm summer sun of the central valley when in Texas a few weeks ago. Texas, at a National Farm to School Conference, where all movers and shakers in the Farm to School movement got together to share their stories. And in between my desire to learn, my wish to belong, my drive to enjoy, and my awe of being in Austin - I realized that I don't mind being out of California. I don't mind being a part of something smaller, but just as meaningful, being somewhere that doesn't seem to require some type of healthy eating, and where farm to school is the norm. I came to the Midwest to do what I felt driven to do because too many were already doing it in California. I can't fly into Texas with a warm California glow, but I can come with my sensible abilities and drive to persevere. And, a sickly pale tone craving the Texas sun.

Nevertheless, I didn't quite come to this page to talk about California or Texas. I came to talk about Love. Not a romantic, idealistic love - but simply these feelings that have welled up inside of me, a warm cascading of blanketing comfort when thinking of particular people, of certain situations. It's feels almost funny to love someone - to give your heart, your best wishes, to think fondly of and hope the best for, to forgive, to listen to and shift with. Shift from what you need to what they require, to forgive, and accept what may have been previously thought unacceptable. It feels funny, because I don't understand it. I don't understand the warmth created, the smile that plays across my face. I don't understand how I can give something to someone, and expect even less in return over time. I'm not familiar with placing love in someone, and in situations, that aren't guaranteed to deliver back and require nothing in return. And I'm slightly nervous at giving over love to hopeful things, knowing sometimes love bites back but understanding always, moving forward. It wells up inside, just the thought of these people, of what connects us, of the things people do and what they mean to each other, the simple connections.

This past winter, I feel in love with a baby. Holding the little baby on my chest, knowing the story of her and her mother, her father and their family, I felt that I had always known this baby, yet don't know anything she'll ever do. She felt so small, so innocent and perfect, so dependent and hopeful and capable. And in a swift moment I realized that I wanted to do everything I could for this baby, to make sure she never feels hurt, that the world doesn't stop her. And I knew her parents felt the same, and suddenly parenthood made sense.

My dog's love has recently become meaningful to me. Despite having been with her for several years, it seems that only the past few weeks I've fallen in love with her. I've always appreciated her quirks, missed her when away, and looked forward to her daily rituals. But suddenly I stopped telling myself she would love anyone just the same. I recognized how often she sat with me, how close she always is, and how she sees me as her whole world. I missed the feeling of her on my bed in Texas. And I found myself understanding love in a different way.

As everyone is, I'm searching for love of different kinds - love of place, love of family, love of friends and occupation. Love to fill the wounds of old, the unknowns of future, and the daily ups and downs. It just takes a long time when you look for love in the wrong places, and can't see what exists all around - just in ways you didn't at first see. And while life seems a lot more settled now than what the pages of this blog hold previously, my mind has all the more to discover.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


One of the silver-lined benefits of moving to a new place complete with a painfully slow build-up of new social connections is that you spend a lot of time with yourself. Sometimes, I feel like this opportunity could be better spent towards inward reflection with self-improvement books over knitting through 'Orange is the New Black' ... but I'm not going to argue when my mind wants some clicking-needles and well-played prison drama over digging into inward struggles, again.

Nevertheless, an observation.

I like to tell stories. I observe many little seemingly insignificant things about my day-to-day life and collect them as treasured stories. Then I wait for the right person to share these stories with, opening that carefully kept treasure box to share an observation of a beautiful tree on the way home or about running from a mean looking wasp on a Bailey venture. And in doing such, I feel complete, that my life matters through these little life happenings, and I continue on feeling okay because someone listened to what was important to me.

So, when my treasure box fills with no one to share stories with, the treasures get lost and I don't get that validated experience of feeling like I matter. What do I do when my box is full, to prevent the inevitable downfall into lonely sadness?  I don't know. Yesterday, I started to write them down with accompanying illustrations to see if that would help. I kind of like it, and it gives me a reason to practice drawing things.

Of course, there is always the internet. While there isn't the instant feedback that comes with people, the internet can serve as a means to assume one is heard and is thus important. Why else would facebook promote status updates? And why else do people look for likes and comments on those updates, even when posting mundane things about every day life? To be heard, of course - to matter in a sea of information, in boats of loneliness.

However, I recognize that my friends would not tolerate, nor would I have the energy for, all that facebook updating. And there is something empty about trying to gain my importance of being through the internet.

All of this weaves into what I've been musing over the past few weeks, as the lack of constant friendship is placed in sharp focus when you're alone in a new place. Friendship. Specifically, friendship as a post-graduate adult in the land of couples and families. When you call friends who are married or partnered, who don't need your ear for their problems. When your friends are busy with making families or with their own jobs and lives, too busy to listen to your stories, to see their importance to you because your stories don't involve big life moves like marriage and kids. When you have a hard time seeing through those unmet needs to what is still being offered for comfort.

Because honestly, friendship is hard right now. And part of this is being in Janesville, which lacks the sort of community I so strongly want to be involved with. But, part of it is my phase of life - because now is when people make families, move onto that next stage, and move past where I am. Which leaves me behind. And in a new place, where those my age have kids who can talk, where does that leave me? It leaves me on that lonely boat, with a treasure box full of stories.

... I had no idea this was going to become a story about pirates.

Nevertheless -

Sometimes, when I find myself struggling the most, I want to blame everyone else, pitch myself as the victim, and cry over my lonely lot in life. But everything I've learned in the past few years teaches me that while some of what I think may be true, that does nothing towards actually fixing the problem. In fact, it only makes me feel worse, digs me deeper into dark places. So I have to take a step back, to see what the actual problem is, explore the roots of those feelings, and figure out what I need. And I need to speak those needs, to find a way for those needs to be met, and to be open for the responses to come from unexpected or unlikely places.

What makes it difficult is that these emotions I'm dealing with now are bound so tightly with innate needs and desires, to story lines that weave into childhood, to feelings that are as sensitive as the day the wound was first inflicted. But, knowing this process is a start, and it's something. Because I can't sink my boat of lonely into the sea of despair just because my treasure box is full. That does no one good.

And so, some stories.

First, an upward swing of connections. This past weekend, I was able to meet some lovely people at Angelic Organics Learning Center in Illinois, thanks to a new friend in Beloit that always feeds me delicious things. And I spent a full day on Sunday talking with women involved in farming and agriculture in the Southwest Wisconsin area, showing me that the community I long for exists - it's just more spread out. Thankfully, it also involves AMAZING ENCHILADAS.

Second, I'm going camping by myself for the first time with Bailey this weekend. If you don't hear from me by Monday, then I'm lost somewhere in the North Woods of Wisconsin. And I've probably been consumed by mosquitos.

Third, I've decided that I want to build a vermiculture bin for under my sink, since most of my compost will be kitchen scraps anyway and the castings would work well for the container gardens I'll start next year. I'm really excited about this.

And last, through reading my new favorite book American Canopy, John Muir has become my favorite naturalist. I may even try to name a future child or pet (it really depends on what happens in the next five year here folks, let's be real), Muir.

Until next time then, cheers.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not Your Normal 9 to 5.

I've discovered that I like to talk about myself and my life with other people. I guess I always knew this before (I have a blog for fuck's sake), it just never needed to be discussed before. Now I find that this desire and quasi need seems all the more apparent when I haven't folks to talk about my life with.

And so, as I feel it bubbling over into a stressful ball of anxious, I turn to the internet to unleash some of my recent happenings, as most folks do. A one-sided conversation is better than a no-sided conversation.

First, work is going well, in a variable way. Some days I feel overwhelmed with information, other days I don't know what's going on or what I should be doing. And so I'm going to explain what's going on in the context of what my job is.

I'm a Horticulture Educator. I'm on a team of Horticulture Educators, where each of us comes from a different county. There are only a handful. As a team, we do professional development things and support each other. I've already been receiving a ton of support, which is fantastic. We have weekly conferences over the phone where we share what's going on in our county, then we learn something. Last week we learned about spotted wing drosophila, the week before that ornamental grasses. I've been spending a lot of time getting to know those around me, seeing what they're up to and what programs they run. Last week was Dane County and Walworth, tomorrow Racine, and the day after Waukesha. Meeting with Walworth was awesome, because I'll do joint projects with her, and being as we're neighbors, we'll work closely together. She has some great ideas, and I'm already being pulled into helping put together a conference for Stateline (Illinois and Wisconsin) green industry folk.

As a Horticulture Educator, I oversee the Master Gardener program in Rock County. So I've been meeting with members of my particular association to assess where the group is, and planning where we'll go next. Right now, the group needs some leadership - and now that I'm here, I'm going to lead it! Luckily I've been able to discuss it all with the support of my predecessor and oversee-er of the entire Master Gardener program in Wisconsin. I've been asking him all sorts of questions about my job related and unrelated to Master Gardeners, and he's been incredibly helpful and supportive. So that's awesome.

In my position, I also answer the questions of homeowners. To help me with this, I'm researching current pests, answering questions about wilted maples and pollinator problems in squash, connecting with specialist in Madison who have the answers I need, and learning a lot. I like that I get to learn things all the time, and look forward to the day when I know some of these things better on an instinctual level. But that takes time, and that's okay. I've been given plenty of time.

The UW Extension system is very supportive of me learning as much as I can. I've been encouraged and pushed to go to any and all field days and conferences I think would help me. Today I went to a Turf Grass Field Day, next week a Plant Health Field Day, the following week Organic Vegetables, then Invasive Plants, Emotional Intelligence way up in Minoqua, Community Food Systems, and others sprinkled throughout the rest of the year. Many others. And this is awesome. I simply asked my Regional Director about Emotional Intelligence, for instance, and he tells me how to sign up, and that the office will cover it as I have a certain amount of personal development paid for each year, and that I should do this for certain. And that's awesome - to be encouraged to go do this, to meet people, and to learn. And so I am.

(As a side note, at the Turf Grass Field day today I was one of a very, very small minority of women. Horticulture and organics have a fair number of women, but not as many women venture into conventional agriculture, production, livestock (cows mostly), or turf apparently. Also, I come from a different skew than most of the folks there in my approach to environmental systems. Thus, the presentation about carbon emissions left me wanting to grill the presenter on nitrogen run off and the production costs of fuel instead of its output in a mower when looking at emissions, in addition to the added values of many homeowners mowing many lawns when the minuscule differences looking at one mower seem like nothing ... but it wasn't my place. Personally, I think we should replace lawns with food, but professionally I help homeowners do what they want with their lawns. And so I listened and did learn a good deal about different grass types, and how they preform in various input systems and in drought, and that was cool. Plus, I nerded out to the various experimental set ups they had, so that was fun too. I love being a part of academia.)

My coworkers are really fantastic. My colleagues are incredibly supportive, and I'm connected to such an impressively large network. And maybe it's because these things are such a departure from my previous employment situation, but it feels incredible. And I sometimes feel taken aback by all of it, and incredibly grateful, and just so lucky. And I'm so very excited about being able to continue my work forward, to use all of these things I'm learning, and eventually do programs with it all.

Oh that's right, I do programs and stuff. I'm getting involved with the Farm to School program right now. In the fall I'll do a formal needs assessment to figure out what Rock County needs, and create programing to address that. Right now I just learn and meet people. But, I have incredible potential to do so many different things, and that's such a fantastic feeling.

Next on my list of things to do is reach out to all of the small farmers and green industry related folk in my county. I get to be friends with all sorts of farmers!

And so explaining what's going on with work, I feel like I've only scratched the surface of the day to day and everything all in between. Suffice it to say, it's going well. I feel incredibly blessed to be here, excited for what I can do, and am overwhelmed on a regular basis. And it feels great.

More on my personal life, and the rest of Christy happenings, later. I can only dispel so much on you at one time, right?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hello from the land of Beer, Cheese, and Packers.

It has been a long time since I've last posted, and a lot has happened.

It's hard to convince my friends to follow me on a blog when I rarely update, and to this I apologize. As much as I tried, posts trailed off for what I can ascertain as two main reasons: a settling of mild depression and the settling in of life as a Midwesterner.

However, being in a new place with a noticeable lack of people to share my observations and thoughts with, I felt a desire to share my experiences with you, and need to answer the twinge of guilt I feel by letting ya'll down relaying my adventures thus far.

The last weekend in June, I moved to Janesville, Wisconsin. On July 1st, I started a position as the Horticulture Educator (fancy name for Horticulture Agent) for the University of Wisconsin in Rock County, Wisconsin. Rock County sits below the capital of Madison and on the border of Illinois. To get a feel for the place, I found an apartment in the county seat, which is a few hours drive from Chicago and Milwaukee and under an hour to Madison. And thus, a new adventure begins.

Leaving Decorah was a long time coming. I had always tried to ignore the little voice that told me on a regular basis that I wouldn't be allowed to stay for very long, because who would ever want to leave Decorah? I had imbedded myself within the community, reveled in small town living, and was on the cusp of a second glorious summer of rivers and friends. But I had to seek other employment, and thus I was spurred onwards towards Wisconsin. Luckily Decorah is only a few hours away, and despite my lack of residence, Decorah touched me in ways that will forever shape me as a human being moving forward. It seemed as though I was there for a reason, and having learned what I needed to and made the connections meant to be, I was pushed onto bigger opportunities. Were I to list the things I learned and became, you'd quickly grow bored and your perceptions of me would wander into new-age-hippie-oh-my-god-who-is-this-woman bullshit, so I'll leave you on that side of the fence.

I've been in Janesville for a total of two weeks now, and it's vastly different than Decorah. I feel as though being here is giving me a truer perception of Midwest living, and challenging my California sensibilities even more so than before. I simply hope that I don't scream 'California!' that strongly ...  blending in would be best. I look forward to the day that I don't feel like such an outsider.

So far, my observations are thus: many people own dogs, but few actually walk them. Most dogs live on the ends of lines or in backyards, to bark as me as I walk by. I walk often, which gets strange looks and comments from neighbors. I live a 20 minute walk to the library, and even less to work - so why not walk? Yet I see few others doing such, and find myself being extra cautious around cars not used to pedestrians. Janesville has beautiful parks throughout the city, but somehow managed to line the river running downtown in concrete so that it looks more like a Los Angeles canal. An empty grass lot sits next to the river, and a parking lot next to that ... over the river. I miss Decorah's grassy riverbanks, with bike paths curving past. But, Janesville does have paths and beautiful parks south of downtown ... I have yet to explore them much yet, as dogs aren't allowed in parks or on trails from March 15-September 15th, and most of my exploring I do with Bailey.

As I walk Bailey, I'm slowly coming to learn my neighborhood and surrounding downtown areas, and I like that. Lots of character. I'm also enjoying living so close to Target, having a 24 hour grocery store that stocks my favorite California beers (no joke, Boont and Lagunitas IPA!), and options for most things.

Last weekend, I swam for the first time in Lake Michigan. This experience has significantly affected my thoughts on salt water, because the lack of it felt amazing as I dove into wave after wave of beautiful, blue water. I cannot wait to go back. On the Fourth of July, Bailey and I explored Devil's lake outside of Madison, and I came to see what lakes are to Midwesterners, trails simply an afterthought to BBQ'ing with radios lakeside. I'm compiling lists of other places to explore, less well traveled (Devil's Lake was still amazing, however).

And of course, I had bratwurst with sauerkraut for my July 4th dinner. The folks on the radio said it would be a sin to do otherwise. Thank you, Wisconsin!

For now, I head back to California to see my little brother get married, and will hopefully return to a internet ready apartment so I can share pictures and more thoughts on adventures and life moving forward (and probably, some retrospective adventure reporting). Evermore and still, undaunted.