Monday, June 29, 2015

no happier

I moved because I wasn't happy in New York.  It was very stressful living alone, working with a lower salary, paying student loans, the commute, the lack of good friends, the dark dreariness of fall & winter.  I hoped that Colorado would bring some happiness back into my life.

But I am the same person.  I didn't change just because I moved.  I still have a hard time meeting people, so I don't really have friends, I am still living this extremely solo independent life.  I am still at a job that pays less than it should, so my financial situation hasn't really improved.  I am still paying off my student loans, but now I also have a car payment.  My current commute sucks, I wonder how did I complain about taking a train to work when I sit in traffic in the car which is worse in my opinion. I have a roommate.  The sun...the sun is an area of improvement.  I love it.  And when it is cloudy or overcast for the whole day, I feel it.

Was this all worth it?? I am at the same happiness level I think.  But it has been good for me because I don't have anyone I can rely on here and that is a bit of a test.  I had space to think. I had space to mourn. I had time to cry.  I have so much free time that I am wasting because I am either tired of doing things alone or don't have the finances to do it, or don't know where to go.

I've met a few people who also moved out here, and they adjusted much better than I have.  They made friends, they keep busier, they met guys or are dating.

Maybe that just isn't the life I am destined to have.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

someone I used to know

I've been needing a sign, or rather, I need to figure out how to identify and interpret the signs.  I feel so confused, more so this month than in the last 4 months.  A friend gave me this stone to rub for clarification.   I tried it; I thought about the areas I want clarification in while gently rubbing the stone, then I put it down on got on with my to-do.

Someone LinkedIn requested me, so I go on to accept that, and under People You May Know is SI.  This is within 2 minutes of rubbing the stone.  I haven't thought about SI in any kind of way in ages.  I miss that period of my life when I had a somewhat reliable person to have feelings for and thought I had a future involved with a man...but other than that....nothing.  Was this a sign?  And if so, what the fuck does it mean???  It's bad enough his mistress and best friend occasionally view me and he popped into my feed one day 2 years ago, but I had his email blocked, he shouldn't appear on my screen.  Hmm, maybe he has a different email.

I stared at his picture for probably 4 minutes.  Thoughts came to me.

I clearly remember a conversation he had with me about 3 years into our relationship about him feeling less attracted to me because I gained about 5-10 pounds.  He told me I needed to take care of myself and go to the gym.  I ended up buying a treadmill and spent a bit of time on that...but of course it wasn't enough.  Mind you at the time he gained probably the same amount of weight but that was fine with him.

As I stare at his picture, I can't help but think of what time does.  I haven't seen him in person since 2010 and just those two times his photo appeared in my email/linkedin.   He looks a good 50 pounds heavier than he did ten years ago.  Add 5-10 years too because of all the facial hair.  If I didn't know who he was and he approached me...I highly doubt I would have been interested, as desperate as I think I might be...I am not.   But that tiny smile, it might have eventually got me again and he somewhat resembles my father with that full beard and they say you go for people who look like your parents/siblings.   It's a fine look, but when you know what someone looked like, it is a bit drastic.

I'm not saying I look as good now as I did ten
2001 or 2002 (few months in).  2006 (end of relationship).  2015
years ago.  It is clear I am aging and gained weight.  I have grey hair, bags under my eyes and a huge crease under my cheek that is evident when I smile.  In all my 'professional' pictures l look exhausted.  Probably because they were all taken during or after a long day/conference and I have little makeup left and can't fake a good smile.  Maybe I should look into a portrait studio or something cause I don't want to be seen by people who haven't seen me in years to look old and weathered.

Does attraction lesson when you haven't seen someone?  When I see a picture of Cop#1, I am still so attracted to him, if I stare long enough, I might get a little wet.  He sees me the same way.  That kind of attraction is incredible. I had it with ManFriend too, but with him it wasn't just the attraction, it was more of a magnetic pull.  I felt nothing looking at SI, but maybe it also has something to do with me not being attracted to him when we first met over 13 years ago but he grew on me the longer we were together and I soon found him cute.  If I ended up with SI, would he look how he does now? Would he have taken into consideration what I find attractive with his style?  It doesn't matter because the reality is if we were still together, I'd love him no matter what he looked like because of love, the emotional connection and well, just because it is who I chose to be with.

I was very happy to see he is doing well salary-wise, making a salary 2-4 times what I make (not counting the benefits, bonuses and all those extras that I don't get) based on his title and place of employment.  I am not surprised; when we were together he was doing well, but then I guess you'd have to be if you were in two relationship and had all those expenses of dates and guilt gifts.  Did he look happy?  I don't know, it was hard to tell, but I am sure he's met most of his goals both professionally and personally.

The good thing is when I look at his picture, I feel nothing.  And if that is who I am associating my past is easier to not feel than think about what I am missing out on.  If he looked more-or-less the same as when we were together, maybe I would have wondered.  But at this point, it was so long ago and the damage was too devastating to even want to think of what might have been.  He is just someone I used to know.  Talk about progress and how far I've come.  So, really, what does he have to do with my seeking clarification in my life???

If he is out there and going through a hard time, I wish him well. If he was diagnosed with some terminal disease...karma's a bitch and I hope he thinks about what he did to me and the lasting effects/damage on my life.  But that would also mean the death of 3 of 4 special men in my life (preceded by Kevin & ManFriend) what would be the odds of that?  So, SI wherever you've consumed my energy for the last few days...I hope that you received all that energy/focus and used it however you needed.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

18 months without ManFriend

It's been 18 months since you passed, and your unbirthday is near.  I have your blurry picture hanging up in my room, so I am greeted with your flirty smile everyday.  I cry less than I did last year, but every once in a while I will think of something or see something that brings back a memory and I tear up.  I have debated sending your family a thinking of you card again, but they never met me and knew virtually nothing about does that seem weird, crazy or stalker like? Or is it a comfort knowing that someone loved you and misses you?  Or are other women doing the same thing - and I just look like a fool?

I've reread some of my posts from when we were involved and we were so stupid.  There were so many ups and downs.  I thought I was ready for a relationship but I didn't find what I was looking for with you.  You weren't ready.  Did the cancer hold you back from doing the fun companionship things I needed? Was it me? Or you?  Why was I so stubborn and refused to tell you I loved you until you almost moved to NJ, when I felt it many months before, even before you did?

It's done. I can't change the past.  And I don't think you knew how deeply I felt about you.  And that is what saddens me.  I came so close to telling you the last time I saw you...that I (still) loved you and I wanted to hug and kiss you so badly.  I didn't think it would be the last time I saw you.

So, I asked you to watch over me for two years.  I guess there is only 6 months left of the angel watching over me thing I requested.  It's been a busy 18 months.  The depression, the sale of the apartment, moving twice, quitting a job, finding a job, finding a temporary place to live.  I guess all that turned out OK.   All that is left of my list is finding a more permanent place to live - am I supposed to be in Colorado? or somewhere else?  Will I rent or buy? and finding a man.  I'd like to give love a third try.  Maybe this time I'll stop messing it up and actually find a guy that loves me just as much as I love him.  I learned a lot from my first relationship and with our nonrelationship and I think I am ready this time around.  Also, I am still debating the fostering/adopting a child(ren) thing.  Colorado isn't as cheap as I had hoped it would it would be financially challenging as well as the regular challenges of doing it solo....but so many conquer one or both of I shouldn't let those fears hold me back.

I miss our friendship.  I miss how comfortable I was with you.  I miss watching and learning about sports with you. I miss cooking and baking for you.  I miss kissing you.  And as much as I hated it at the time, I miss knowing exactly what you wanted and how to please variety but just knowing how much I turned you on....that is hot in and of itself.

A ladybug flew into my car the other day when I was sitting in traffic for over an hour.  I hadn't seen a lady bug since I moved out here and one other day when kids were playing in my backyard and found one.  Somehow now, I associate a ladybug with you.  I like to think you are nearby.


Monday, June 8, 2015

I did it again....camping

Well, I did it again. I camped.  My first attempt was in September 2012 and after that, I figured, sure, I could sleep in a tent.

So, when I started looking into Moab, the hotels were selling out fast and I didn't want to spend $200 a night for hotels when I wanted to be there for at least 4 days.  It seemed I either had to wait or suck it up and try sleeping in a tent.

I remembered my last experience when I was freezing.  This time I researched sleeping bags and ended up buying one of those mummy 0 degree ones and a sleeping pad.  I borrowed a tent and lantern from my room mate.

Site.  See how close the neighbors are.
I had full days planned, so really, this was just a place to sleep and I chose this RV resort because it had a bathroom/shower and other people close by, since I'd be alone, this seemed safe.  (And I didn't want to chance the non reservations at the parks...but also that is real camping, I am not ready for that).

yea, finally, a mallet.  Now we can get this up
My friend ended up joining me.  She never did this before, so it was the blind leading the blind with me some how being the 'expert' since I booked the trip.  When we arrived at the campsite, we attempted to put up the tent.  Tent assembly is relatively easy, however the ground was as hard as a rock, and a mallet was not included in my roommates tent bag.  We struggled trying to get our posts into the ground.  I asked a neighbor if they had a mallet I could borrow, but he said they also didn't bring one and he struggled to get his in.  We continued for about 20 minutes trying to swirl and push and pound the pegs.  My friend didn't stop complaining and kept saying we needed a mallet, but yet was unwilling to ask anyone.  I finally got up and asked the other neighbor if they had one and they graciously let us borrow it.  Then it was fairly easy.  Note to self, buy a mallet, maybe keep it in the car.

The reservation at the campsite was for three nights, so once the hard part of putting it up was done, it was little work.  The following day my friend said she wanted to BBQ.  Yikes, this was not on my to-do because I didn't bring any of this equipment.  I hadn't started a fire except for in a fireplace at Mountain Man's house a few years ago.   I was dreading it, but it was something she really wanted to do, so we'd figure it out.    After the day at Arches, we were worn out and knew it would be an 'early' night, perfect for grilling.  We went to the store.  Spent like $25 on food.  Another $5 on wood and $5 on matches and Vaseline, oh and $1 for ice.  As I was dicing up the veggies and chicken, she begins the fire.  But it started to downpour; hard.  she runs into the car and I am left to clean up and get things in the cooler.  I sat in the car too and after 15 minutes we decide to go to the brewery to wait it out.  Along the way is when we got the ice so we wouldn't give ourselves food poisoning.  I ask Mountain Man how to start a fire when our wood was drenched.  He suggested the Vaseline.  Once the rain stopped and we headed back, friend needed to use bathroom and make calls.  Instead of just waiting around twiddling my thumbs, I figured I'd start on the fire, it was already 7.  It was slow, but I started to get it going, but let it die out when friend looked extremely upset that I started the fire when she wanted to.  So, after about 45 minutes, our fire was up and going.  We cooked our foil packets of chicken with vegetables and by 8:30 or 9:00 pm we were eating.  Since the fire was still going, we decided to make smores, because what kind of camping didn't involve smores?

All in all, I really enjoyed the 'camping' thing.  I can totally handle more than just sleeping in a tent at this point, but not ready enough to camp in an area that had no facilities.

My sleeping bag was so hot and restricting for someone who sleeps flamingo; I couldn't sleep in it this time but used it for padding and when the occasional chill happened.  I know it will be a good bag for the future.  The sleeping pad was good, and considering I got it at Costco for $36 instead of a place like REI for $120....because I wasn't sure if I'd do it again, it worked out perfectly and I didn't feel the rocks and uneven ground under me, which is kinda the point.

I left those few days thinking that if only I was willing to try this sooner, my moving trip from NY to CO could have been a lot different, longer and even more enjoyable.  I could have really taken my time, visited places and stayed in places longer than I could have by renting a hotel room, I could have seen more.   But, I try not to believe in regrets and what could have been, I just need to remember this for the future.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tower Arch Trail and overviews at Arches NP

I originally signed up for a hike at Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park.  The park service offers this hike for $10 (in addition to park entry fees) but books up months in advance.  Since I planned my trip only a month out, taking the tour with the park rangers was not an option, but several tour companies offer this tour for about $85-90 with a smaller group of people and have more availability on shorter notice.  I struggled with paying $85 for a hike, but all the reviews I read sounded incredible and thought since I was going alone, it would be great to see part of the park I normally wouldn't.

When my friend decided to come along, I called the tour company and they said no problem getting an extra permit, but alas, when we arrived the day of for the hike, they did not have permits for us.  I was pissed, naturally, and part of my "new york" came out, fine, I couldn't go on the hike, but what happened to contacting me prior to my arrival?  Anyway, so the guy who turned me away told me about Tower Arch trail, which is 7 miles off the main paved street that goes through the park.  He said I'd like the trail because it was terrain unlike I've ever seen.  

We stop at several overlooks (courthouse towers, balanced rock, and one other) before arriving at Salt Valley (dirt) road leading to the trail.  There was only one other car there that pulled in right after us, and that group soon passed us.

Tower Arch
The trail was a good one; but certainly not terrain I've never hiked before, as the guide implied.  It starts with some stairs and inclines, then goes through a valley, a view of the Marching Men then up and through sand and soon after you reach the arch.  It isn't shady, so it gets hot, I drank 2.5 liters of water round trip.  While the elevation gain is only about 100 feet, it is up, down, up, down, up. 

Tower Arch is a 92 foot span arch, which I believe was the arch used for publicity when the park first opened.  We stopped here for a small picnic lunch and then headed back the way we came, just as the thunder started to roll in.  On our way out, we passed two other small groups on their way to the arch, so this trail is definitely off the beaten path.

After we finished our trail, we figured we'd check out some of the arches and headed north to Devils Garden trail head.  I didn't look at the map or factor being there so long, so we didn't carry our water, but I wish we had.  The day grew very hot and I started dragging from exhaustion and thirst.  The paved path to Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch was easy enough and we continued on to Landscape Arch, which has the longest span of any arch in North America at 306 feet.  We stopped for a quick view at Lower Delicate Arch viewing area so my friend can see one of the most famous arches and we left the park, exhausted.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Canyoneering Morning Glory / Ephedra's Grotto

I was in Moab for a day back in 2008 and with this trip, I wanted to be sure that I experienced something different, especially if I was taking a solo trip.  I signed up with Red River Adventures to canyoneering/hiking Morning Glory / Ephedra's Grotto, the thought of rappelling kinda scared me, I did indoor rock climbing once about five years ago, and the first climb and rappel were scary, but I got used to it by the end, I was hoping that little bit of experience would help me with this, since instead of climbing up a wall, you are going down it, a lot less work.   But, naturally, I still panicked.

The first rappel - 85 feet
We start the hike by going over petrified sand dunes to get to our first of the two rappels was.  The first was a 90 foot drop through a classic water carved chamber that was quite narrow towards the top before opening up at the bottom.  Our tour guide set up all the ropes and attached himself so he could belay us from above.  He went over how to 'brake' by the position of our hands and the rope and ideally how to go down smoothly.   Walking backwards over the cliff is slightly terrifying at first.  I didn't look down, just straight ahead at my feet against the wall.  I kept taking deep breaths while slowly moving the rope through my hands to slowly decent and next thing I knew, I was on the ground.  Hands shaking a bit, but I was so proud of myself and was really glad I signed up for this excursion.

We exit this area through a small slot and need to scramble through rocks to get to a more open area.  Here our guide went to set up for rappel number two and we had a moment to explore a grotto.

Second rappel, 120 feet mostly free hanging
The second rappel was next to Morning Glory Bridge (243 feet span) and was a 120 foot drop down, with about 20 feet at the top to walk down and the rest was a free hanging drop.  Our ropes were attached to a stone pile and a tree, not anchored into the wall like the first.  Going over the side, I slipped and dangled until I was able to readjust my feet against the wall.  This area was more open and having just did the first one, I was slightly more comfortable, but yet a little worried what the free hanging part was going to be like.  Within moments the wall slipped back and very slowly I maneuvered down.  Sadly, I didn't really take the time to enjoy the view behind me, which many say is pretty, but focused on the fear and adrenaline and my accomplishment of having done this.  Since I was the first one down, I played photographer for the rest of our group and helped them release their ropes when they got to the bottom.

The hike out was on the Negro Bills Trail, which was about 2 miles crossing over, several times, a small stream with cottonwoods and willow trees and next to sandstone cliffs. Our guide pointed out where the poison ivy was, rock formations, soils, erosion, and other interesting information along the way.

I am so glad I tried this.  Would I do it again?  Yeah, I would...but I would want to go indoor rock climbing prior to get 'ready' so I could enjoy the views more next time around.

Monday, June 1, 2015


I was in Moab in 2008 but didn't get to Canyonlands National Park so it was a must see this time around.  Canyonlands is divided into three sections, Island in the Sky which is the most popular, the Needles about 60 miles south of Moab and the Maze which has no paved roads.  You can't pass through any of the districts within the park by car, you have to drive all the way around, which could take 2 to 6 hours.

Enjoying the view
My first stop was to the Needles District because it is less frequented by visitors and from what I heard, the hikes were better there than in the Island of the Sky.  I didn't really plan anything in particular, so I looked at the suggested short hikes in the newspaper I got at the pay station and selected the Slickrock Trail which is 2.4 miles and they claim 2 hours; I'd say we did the trail in 3.5 hours.  This was the first 'real' hike my friend ever did, so we went at a very slow leisurely pace.  My friend saw her first cactus, and had many other firsts.
The trail is an easy walk over sandstone and offers four 'view points' with each being more beautiful than the next, if that is possible.

The first over look offers views of six shooter peak, Elaterite Butte, Cathedral Butte, Ekker Butte, the Needles, La Sal Mountains and the Abajo Range.  Although this was within minutes of starting the trail, this is where we had a small picnic lunch.  The second view point looks over Upper Little Spring Canyon, where they claim you have a good chance of seeing big horn sheep; we didn't see any.  At the third viewpoint you see Lower Little Spring Canyon.  And the fourth viewpoint, is the most spectacular and there is a short path off this that requires a little more climbing, but it is well worth it.

Island in the Sky view
The following day we headed to Island of the Sky mesa, which is the northern part of the park, we were only here about 2-3 hours because of other plans, but we still were able to see magnificent views due to all the pullouts and over looks.  The mesa is over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain.