#OperationThunderChicken — Part 1

I survived my first hunting trip!

Trip seems a little over adventurous of a term.  This wasn’t a big epic back packing trip into the mystical, mountain backcountry.  I spent a couple days hanging out in a field about 45 minutes from the house I grew up in.  I maybe was harboring delusions of grandeur about what my first hunt about be like.  It wasn’t nearly as glamorous as I had imagined, nor was it the smashing success that I had hoped for.

The Engineer used some connections and lined up permission to hunt some private farm land.  We arrived out at the farm around noon on Saturday and initially set up on the North edge of his hay field next to several fallen turkey feathers…..everything was seeming very promising.  After receiving a real time location tip off on the turkeys from the farmer, The Engineer and I decided to pack up and move to the southeast corner of the farm’s property.  We were using a small blind we borrowed from The Engineer’s Dad, and we had a couple turkey decoys from one of his hunting friends, so moving camp was a little bit of work, but overall not that bad.

It’s maybe about 1:30, perfectly nice, slightly warm fall day…..and disaster struck.  The Engineer wanted me to practice drawing my bow in the blind so I could make sure I had enough room to move without bumping the blind.  Everything was fine until I tried to release my bow.  Before you jump to conclusions….I didn’t dry fire my bow.  I didn’t have an arrow nocked, but it is possible to just slowing release a draw back.  That’s the effect I was striving to have.  What ended up happening was that my string popped off the bottom cam of my bow.  So now……we are sitting in a field, calling for turkeys, and I don’t have a bow that would be good for anything except maybe throwing at a turkey in the hopes of knocking one unconscious.

So for the second time in maybe….an hour…..The Engineer and I were forced to pack everything back up and schlep it back up out of the pasture to the truck.  Bows can’t be restrung without a press to release the tension, so we had to drive into town and head to the sporting goods store.  I haven’t always had the best experiences at the shop in town, mostly because I think they thought I was just a stupid girl buying a bow she wasn’t going to use.  I was surprised at their willingness to get my bow back in shape and help me get back out into the field.  They didn’t even charge me, and in the time it took me to walk back out to the truck to get my wallet they had it all put back together!  After a couple practice shots at the range to make sure everything was still tuned in the way it was supposed to be, The Engineer and I headed back out to the farm.

We once again hauled everything out, for the third time that day, and set up underneath the same tree.  We could hear turkeys, they would answer back almost every time we would call, however we never saw any.  So, there we sat.  The Engineer scrolled through his phone while I fidgeted around like a small child, until almost dark.  At this point I was a bit cold and wanted to actually do some moving around.  I convinced The Engineer that maybe we had missed the turkeys crossing back over in the North tree line……so we went on a bit of a hike back towards our initial set-up location.  Still no sign of the elusive flock we were told resided on the property, but it was nice to move around a little bit and warm up.  The 30 minute shooting window after sundown closed, and we packed up and headed back to Momma Jules house.

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That’s a direct quote from The Engineer about what’s standard practice while hunting!  He’s super serious in a blind….but at least he shared the snacks!

 

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If by share you of course mean giving me the tough pieces.  Couple of glamorous jerky models we are though!

The part of hunting I have always dreaded and used as a perpetual reason to not participate in hunting adventures….is that premium hunting always seems to occur at the absolute earliest possible butt crack of dawn.  I am really not at all a morning bunny, but apparently the prospect of shooting my first turkey is all it takes to get me out of bed and dressed at 5:30 in the morning when it’s 23 degrees outside!  On the dark drive back to the farm we decided that we would try the North tree line we had originally set up on the day before.  Of course you have to get there early, so there we sat, mostly frozen, almost half an hour before shooting time…..which is already half an hour before sunrise!

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Couples who freeze together stay together!

We sat in the blind and called turkeys and watched the cows and calves meander around the pasture till about 10 with still no sign of a turkey in sight.  Even though I didn’t end up with a turkey, I will say that listening to them all do their morning round up calls shortly after the sun came up was the high point of the weekend.  To hear the change from silence to everything around you getting up and start moving around is something you just don’t really get to hear and appreciate when you live in town.  From a purely hunting perspective, it was proof that the flock was indeed close, and hopefully they were hopping down out of roosting trees near us!

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I almost actually kinda look like I know what I’m doing……

I had already stolen a pack of hot hands from The Engineer’s hunting bag, and we were both getting hungrier than peanut butter crackers and jerky was going to fix.  Before we headed back to town for lunch and a thawing, we thought maybe we would walk the tree line and see if we could find out exactly where the turkeys were hanging out.  This was our last day to hunt, and a day only lasts so long after all…..crunch time was looming!!

We did eventually find the turkeys……across the county road from the field we had permission to hunt.  We found them because we……probably mostly me…..were making too much noise as we neared where the tree line we were walking met the road.  The line of trees extended across the road to a cut corn field.  I’m sure the flock was hanging out over there because the eating prospects were easier.  No need to contend with the cattle herd, and cut field means corn on the ground for easy snacking.  Not that this does me any good, I needed them to move North across the road onto the land we had permission to hunt.  We were operating under the assumption that if our farmer knew the owner of the field South of him and if it would have been okay for us to follow the flock over there……he would have told us the first day when he said he saw the flock.  Since he didn’t, we were forced to assume that was a no-go zone.  We packed up and headed back to town for some food and heat, and hoped that something would happen to drive the flock back north across the road.

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Headed back out to the farm for one last shot at a Thanksgiving turkey!

We set up for a final time on the edge of the tree line, as close to the road as you’d probably want to be.  To get to this spot, we parked the truck on a little access path between the farmer’s pasture land and the neighboring corn field.  We then hiked in, past were we had set up the night before and climbed up out of the creek bed and crossed into the farmer’s cut hay field.  It’s important to note that the path we took was clear….on the way in.

The decoys were set up in full view of the flock…..who still hadn’t motivated to cross the road.  We hoped that calling and being able to see the decoys would be enough to pull them across.  We had been researching and googling all weekend that fall turkeys are notoriously hard to move because they are set up in family flocks and not breeding, but all we could do was try.  It was about 2pm when we got back out, so we had about 3.5 hours to try and persuade them across…..even if we just got one stupid one…..that would have been enough!

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You can’t see them in the picture, but there’s the road….and the flock is just around the curve of the tree line on the left side of the picture!

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Our excellent bait turkeys…..or so we thought!  For reference the road is just skimming the left side of the picture.  They didn’t even have to motivate that far!

It became apparent around 4:45 or 5 that we were not going to get a turkey.  Especially if they were roosting in the trees on the South side of the road.  By this time they would slowly be waddling back towards the safety of their roosts before night fall.  Around this time we started to hear some crunching from the pasture behind us, but we obviously knew there were cows wandering around so we didn’t think too terribly much of it.

Feeling a bit sad and defeated, we packed up the gear for the last time.  Our inventory becomes important so I’ll give you a quick recap of what we are hauling back to the truck.

The Engineer-

  • The blind

Me-

  • My bow
  • Two camping chairs
  • Bag with the two decoys

Nothing that either of us was carrying was heavy……just a bit cumbersome and a tad hard to wrangle.  We both also had backpacks on, and I had the slight added struggle of trying to not bang my bow around too much on the various trees and brush we were trudging through.  We were slowly making our way back down to the creek bed when we ran into a sort of wall of evergreen trees.  They weren’t tall, but they were a bit dense and while we could have been pushed through, we decided to go around.  We headed left to skirt the heavier brush when we had to stop short because The Engineer saw cows.  I’m not sure if he saw exactly what they were, or if he just heard them….but in any case we turned around.  We headed back up the hill a bit and back South towards the road.  We weren’t on any beaten cattle trails, but I sorta just picked a path and went.  We ended up between two much taller evergreen trees that you could sorta duck underneath because the lowest branches were about shoulder height.

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Hindsight being 20/20…..we should have just skirted this tree line on the outside of the fence down to the road……..

This seemed like a good way down the hill, until I got the bottom near the creek, stood up and turned to come up almost face to face with a bull who was not at all happy to see me near his creek!!  Now I grew up with grandparents who raised cattle, so it’s not that I’m totally unfamiliar with their behavior, but we also weren’t allowed to be around and in the pastures and such when the bulls were out.  We turned south and sorta jogged off behind a fallen tree and looked back to see him loping and bucking in our direction.  He wasn’t really running…..he certainly would have been able to out run us, but he could have started at anytime.  I got a swift push to the shoulder and two words from The Engineer…..”Go, run!”  So we ran back up the hill….crashing through the thick trees and bushes…..hauling all our stuff!  We then had to jump back across the barbed wire fence which essentially put us 20 yards south of where we had been set up hunting!  It’s moments like that I’m glad I work out.  It’s nice to be able to count on your body when you need it, although again my hill sprints have nothing on charging bull pace had he actually been interested in following us.

So there we stand…….a bit out of breath…..basically on the highway.  I’m sure we were a sight trudging down the side of the road like hitchhikers.  The distance to the truck was probably shorter this way, and definitely easier to travel, but it’s probably not great form to be looking like total delinquents on the side of a country road as the sun is setting and it’s getting dark.  We had just sort of started to regroup and trudge when a badger comes scurrying across the road and stops at probably 15 yards from us and turns to face us.  Having not packed in his hand gun, our only “badger defense” was my bow, so The Engineer took the decoys from me and had me nock an arrow.  The badger didn’t end up causing us any trouble, but he would occasionally turn to look at us while we all walked in the same direction.  Trudging the country road with an arrow nocked on your bow probably doesn’t look great either, but ya know……..ya gotta do what you gotta do!

By the time we turned down the field access road and were headed back North to where we had left the truck, it was clear that we had ended up taking the only acceptable path out of the field.  I’m honestly not sure why we didn’t just walk the road back to begin with, but I’m sure The Engineer had his reasons…..I mostly just did what I was told.  The whole herd……mommas, calves, and a few more bulls…….had moved South into the corner of the field we had hunted the night before.  Even if we had managed to get across the creek without being chased out by the bull we would have climbed up out of the creek bed to face the whole herd.  Getting out of that situation would have been much harder, and it probably would have called for more evasive maneuvers than just running back up a hill.

So I guess all is well that ends well, and even though I didn’t get a turkey to cook for Thanksgiving next week, I’m glad we took the weekend and tried to fill the tag.  The Engineer was a bit sad I didn’t get to shoot any arrows all weekend except at the range and suggested I should have shot the badger.  Technically, they are nuisance animals and therefore can be shot on my license.  I don’t really have a use of a badger and would have only shot the animal if it had messed with us.  Badgers are known to be a bit feisty and are not afraid of taking on something much bigger than themselves.  The Engineer does have a coworker who really wants a taxidermy badger…..for whatever reason, but I’m fine having not shot anything.

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I think pretty much everything makes a badger angry…..beware the angry badger!

It’s called hunting not shooting after all, and to expect to go shooting your very first weekend out hunting is a stroke of luck that mother nature doesn’t allow everyone to have.  Probably, having my first hunting trip be an exercise in actually hunting and not shooting was helpful, after all…..if I wanted to just fling arrows all day I could have just headed to the archery range.

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Well…..That Did Not Go As Planned

I’m on my own for the weekend.  The Engineer is off on his yearly West River mule deer hunt with a friend, so Scout-A-Roo and I are having a girl’s weekend.  Friday night started off strong with neither of us moving off the couch till bedtime.  Our Netflix and chill game was super strong last night.  Not that The Engineer and I ever fight over the remote, but he isn’t necessarily interested in the shows I find interesting.  Last night was a British Royal Family sort of night.  I don’t know why I’m so interested, but really any documentary about monarchies and history I’ve always found very interesting.  That’s maybe a bit un-American of me, but you can’t help your interests I suppose.

Any who……I was awakened by a text early this morning from The Engineer that they had arrived at the hunting field.  Since I was awake anyway I decided to hit up the gym.  Single girl life was coming right on back to me!  Good workout followed by lounging and a good breakfast and some coffee is the stuff my weekends used to be made for.  Nothing like a piece of avocado toast with two poached eggs to start off a Saturday!

I realistically should have just stayed on the couch and maybe done a couple loads of laundry today.  But did I do that……nope, cuz I had to be stupid and over achieve!

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When Momma, The Engineer, and I put up my crown molding the other weekend, we obviously created a lot of nail holes.  Since we own a nail gun and we basically had little to no idea where the studs were until the end…..more nails are always better.  You think that anyway, until you have to fill holes.  I figured I needed to do something with myself other than Netflix and chilling all weekend so I decided to tackle filling all the holes.

I have several thoughts on spackle.  You may or may not what to hear them…..but it’s my blog and I do what I wanna so here it goes!

  • Why does it have to be so smelly?!
  • Crumbles……as far as the eye can see!  This is the contributing factor to my failure later in the day.
  • I have no idea what the ideal texture of spackle is supposed to be, but I’m quite sure mine is never right!

To be fair, I’m pretty sure that my spackle was a bit dried out, which probably didn’t help the severe crumble issues, but who’s gonna buy a new container for nails holes?!  As it is I’ve used my container twice and it’s still basically full.  I did blend in a little water which made it a bit more workable, but that just made the smell come out.  It’s probably the worst stuff I’ve ever had to use inside the house.  I’ve used paints and stains that smell better than this crap.  Why has no one else ever complained about this and gotten it changed?!

So there I am…..red dirt country music playing in the background……filling the most difficult holes first.  The most difficult holes belong to some fancy oak trim we added to the door frames in the bathroom.  The trim and my nail gun didn’t at all get along, and this lead to some cracks and other less than desirable spots to fix.  I’m cruising along scooping out little BBs of spackle and working it into holes when all of the sudden….SLIVER!!  Thank you cracked up oak trim for impaling me right in the middle of my spackling finger!

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I was semi tempted to just give up at this point….but ya know I didn’t have anything else to be doing really.  Plus, it’s gotta get done sometime I guess.  I’m a bit convinced that the thing that stopped the bleeding was that the hole got speckled shut….but ya know….two birds one stone I guess.  I got all the holes filled and managed to smooth out a couple seams in the crown.  I was tempted to fill in a couple of the coped corners, but given the questionable state of my spackle I decided to pass on that for now.  The plus side was that right in the middle of my spackle session The Engineer got his deer!  Between his buck today and the rest of his elk meat, we should be set for red meat for quite some time!

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Just look at that rack!  Would ya just look at it?!

My intense spackle session produced plenty of crumbles that needed to be vacuumed.  Also, there may or may not have been some epic, epic fur bunnies squirreled in and around behind the toilet.  Whoops!  So, riding my wave of over achieving and generally superb adultiness….I of course decided to clean up the disaster area.  Here is where the real nightmare of the day started.  If I thought that semi dried out spackle was a disaster….this was upping the game.

So there I am…..just trying to be my best adulting self….and I sucked up a toilet bolt cap!  Seriously, this is what happens when you clean……things just go to crap.  But ya know those little white bubble things that cover up the bolts that hold your toilet down….yea mine aren’t attached anymore.  And ya know how sometimes ya forget…..well I forgot.  Ya know what vacuums and vacuum hoses really don’t like…..toilet bubble caps being sucked forcefully into them.  Getting a toilet cap outta my vacuum hose wasn’t really an activity I had planned on doing, nor had any idea how to do.  I basically ended up having to massage the cap all the way through the hose to the other end because the opening was larger.  I’m not sure if you’re aware how much random dust and crap are in your vacuum hose.  I wasn’t until I started working on my hose massage skills.  Ughs, so much crud……crud piles as far as the eye can see.  At one point I tried hooking the hose back up to the vacuum and using suction on the cap….it was futile.  I can’t at all recommend that technique.

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Accurate depiction of me working on my vacuum hose.

I decided to celebrate my day of accomplishments with candles and a bath bomb.  My candles didn’t want to stay lit, and the bomb turned my bath water into something that closely resembled glittery pond scum water.  However, it smelled good and was nice to chill a al my former single girl self.  It wasn’t the exact weekend I had in mind, and things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped, but everything came together in the end!

4 Years…..

This past week marks 4 years since my Dad passed.  I never know what to say in posts like this.  After all….there are only so many things to say, and also so many things to say.  It’s always been a weird feeling, and I doubt that will ever change.  At the risk of repeating myself from year to year I’ll just say that cancer is a bitch and I’ve really had enough of it.

Cancer took the mother of one of my childhood friends this week as well.  I’ve gotten to the point of losing track of the friends and family I’ve lost to cancer.  It’s depressing, and it isn’t something that they teach you to deal with growing up.

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My family, right before Dad started his chemotherapy treatments.

Trying Some New Things

You may remember a few weeks ago when I was ranting about feeling like a chubby panda.  Well, I decided to take a positive step towards at least feeling like I’m getting myself back on track, and I bought some protein powder.  Technically speaking, I bought some collagen peptides, but at it’s core, collagen is a protein.  It’s a protein source many people ignore now, because we don’t need to cook and eat every part of an animal anymore.  Modern society has allowed us to pick and choose what we want to eat, but modern choices aren’t necessary what our bodies need or want to function well.  It makes me feel “fitter”, but that might only be because I know lots of cross fitters and fitness bloggers use this particular brand.

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I’m not really living a strict Whole 30 life, I still like a sprinkling of cheese on a taco or an occasional drink, however overall I’m being much more mindful of what I’m putting into my system and the effects my diet has on the way I feel and look.  I do think it’s made a big impact, and if chugging some greens and adding collagen into my coffee helps me be more mindful of everything else, then so be it.

Throwing a scoop of the collagen into my morning coffee, whether it’s hot or cold, with a splash of unsweetened coconut milk has become my daily breakfast.  I might supplement it with some fruit, but I find that the added protein is enough most days.  It’s flavorless, so I’ve tried to convince The Engineer to add some to his Moscow mules….he’s not having it.  I’ve also blended it into smoothies with flax seed, greek yogurt, and whatever frozen fruit has been laying around.  Really, I think you could add it to anything.  I did learn that even though it dissolves in cold solutions, it needs to be stirred quickly.  One morning I threw a scoop with some ice into my travel mug and had the Ninja “Brew Over Ice”.  Since I wasn’t there to stir it, it did start to form a sort of jello-y blob that took quite a bit of vicious stirring to break up.

The Beauty Greens have taken some getting used to, but now I find that I don’t mind them really at all.  First things first, don’t let the “Coconut Vanilla” flavor make you think they are going to taste like anything….because they don’t.  They honestly taste like a bunch of green veggies that have been steamed and pureed with no spices.  Just….greenness….  I don’t recommend smelling them, they smell a bit like pond water.  I promise that they taste much better than they smell, but the smell leaves serious things to be desired.  I usually drink these with lunch every other day.  It’s just become part of my routine.  I’m not sure that they are doing much for me, but it’s not like more veggies and vitamins ever hurt anyone.

I’ve only taken the vitamin pills a few times.  I wasn’t really after more vitamin pills, but it was cheaper to get the bundle pack.  Plus, it’s not like having vitamins around hurts anyone.  I did take them one morning, but like most vitamins do, they sort of made my tummy upset.  I think if I took them at night I would be fine, but I’d also have to remember to take them.

Like I said, I’m not sure that any of these products are helping me slim down.  Granted, protein has been shown to be an important part of weight loss, so that might be helping some.  Mostly, just having a set routine and knowing I’m taking these products has kept me more responsible and thoughtful about what I eat the rest of the day.  Starting off my day with collagen coffee seems silly if I’m just gonna pound down ice cream, snacks, and a burger later in the day.  Not that I always say no to these things, but I’m just getting myself back to a level that feels good and sustainable to me.  Bodies are a constant work in progress, so I’m not sure that the work is ever really done, but I definitely feel like I’m headed down the right path again.

In more fun, and less “diet-y” news….I got my nails done last weekend!  Technically, I got them done for a wedding…..The Engineer wanted to send me for some fancy pampering while he was doing Best Man things for a wedding.  I’ve been having some trouble with getting my regular gel polish nails to stay bonded correctly.  It has it’s pros and cons…..pros being I no longer have to spend anytime soaking off my polish, it just peels right off.  Cons….when I want/need it to stay looking nice it almost never does.  To try and remedy this, I tried a new acrylic/gel system called Slickpour.  You’ve maybe seen the videos of people dipping their nails into colored powders.  It’s the same concept, only at my local salon, they pour the powder onto the nails.

I tried to find a good picture or gif of the process, but I couldn’t really.  I didn’t want to just post the stock videos of the process as that seemed just sorta boring.  Basically it’s a laying process of colored powered and activator polishes.  I did a very light blue, so it needed three coats to cover well, although that apparently isn’t the norm.  My salon topped the whole process with the gel polish top coat, but that isn’t a requirement, it’s just how they do it there.  They are supposed to last 3-4 weeks and wear more like an acrylic set of nails than just a polish.  Once you’re done with them, you’re supposed to just be able to file off the shine and then wrap and soak them off just like regular gel polish.  So far so good I guess, although I did have the corner of one of my longer nails crack yesterday.  However, I was able to file everything down and even it all out and there doesn’t seem to be any lasting bad effects.  They aren’t lifting, and my nails feel much stronger than they normally would at their current length.  I’m only a week in, but so far I like them.  I like them enough that I might even consider buying the products so I can do them at home.  I’m not much for paying people to do what I learn and do myself.  I’ll keep you posted though I’m sure!

Puppy Problems and Other Random Events

Lil B came to visit!!!

It was a great long weekend!  Plenty of drinks and good food….with some homework sprinkled in for good measure.  Thursday night we watched the BFB and the Hubby in Law play volleyball.  Actually B, ended up playing too.  Thank goodness they didn’t need two extra girls because my sport skills are probably not where they should be.  After volleyball came dinner and drinks.  B discovered Ace Pineapple Cider, and that might be one of her new favorites.  Over the weekend she also discovered Moscow mules…..because The Engineer and I are mule people after all.  Friday, B and I did homework while everyone else went to work or slept after their night at work.  We had a big family dinner of spicy chicken tacos at BFB’s house Friday night.

Sadly, Saturday wasn’t very warm.  We had visions of going to the pool, but the wind made that sort of miserable.  I mean we went……but it was less than stellar.  Had the wind been calmer I think we would have been fine…..but it was gusty enough that it was moving lounge chairs around the deck.

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Bikinis and blankets…..dedication!

 

Saturday night we had another big family dinner at BFB’s house to celebrate Lil B’s birthday last week.  Steak with shrimp and alfredo anyone?!  The Hubby in Law makes a restaurant quality pan seared steak and it’s always a nice treat.  It’s usually our ‘super fancy’ celebratory dinner.  Generally, we celebrate at home anymore.  No one has to tipsy drive home, and between all of us we can cook pretty much anything we would want to order at a restaurant anyway.

Sunday was a lazy and casual morning brunch on my patio before B had to take off for home.  The only person who didn’t get the lazy memo was Scout.  Even though she had spent all weekend with everyone, apparently the excitement was just too much for her.  In a confused state of panic about whether to sit outside with everyone or follow BFB to the bathroom…..she ran full speed into the screen door and plowed right through it!  Ughs……needless to say I was a rather annoyed Fur Momma.  Eventually The Engineer and I did get it bent back, put back in it’s track, and it’s mostly functioning like it did before.

Scout-a-Roo rounded off her naughty weekend by eating my newest bikini bottoms.  The bikini isn’t exactly new, I bought it last year before that vacation that will not be named, but I like the way it makes my ass-ests and twins look, and it’s only been wet maybe twice….so I was way less than amped.  Thankfully, I found an identical pair of replacement bottoms on Ebay so I just have to wait for them to be delivered.  Since Victoria’s Secret is no longer making swim suits, I maybe should shop around Ebay for a couple new ones before they become impossible to find commodities.  Of course, how many bikinis does a nearly thirty year old need?  Not like I get to put in that much quality pool/beach time anymore really.  Adulting sucks the fun right outta everything!

Speaking of the Scout-a-Roo….she got to spend the first part of the week living her best puppy life with The Engineer.  I was in Minneapolis Monday through Wednesday for the annual Fuel Ethanol Workshop.  Don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness that was me going up there to sit and hand out swag in an expo booth for 3 days….but whatever I guess.  The Engineer agreed to puppy-sitting duties….probably mostly because my house as central AC and his apartment does not.  I think she likes him better than me anyway.  Come to think of it….maybe she ate my swim suit out of anger because she’s now forced to hangout with me again.

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Well that’s a weird good morning picture…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The morning snackie routine doesn’t stop just cuz Momma is gone!

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He always gets the best cuddles……I still just get butt cuddles……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pretty sure this is just her “Is it dinner time yet?!” face……

 

Father’s Day Again

This is my first Father’s Day without a Grandpa or my Dad living. It’s a little strange that my family ties don’t go back to a patriarchal figure anymore. Day to day life goes on, but it’s strange when you stop to think about it.

I never really know what to say  on days like today. It’s a weird feeling, and it’s hard to express, but slowly I’ve come to terms with it.

I know the pain and loss will always be there, it comes out as a random outburst of angry tears that happens every year around this time of year. It’s the annoyance at Father’s Day commercials and sales, and listening to people complain and whine about the struggles of finding a good gift. It’s always there simmering away, but some days it’s easy easier to control that others.

At the risk of posting photos I’ve already posted before, I thought I would share pictures of my Dad just being my Dad.

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Miss you always.

Learning to Love Yourself

You wouldn’t know it by the weather this week, but summer time and bikini season is looming.  Usually, I’m always amped to throw on a swimmy suit and hit the beach or the pool, but this year, something is different…..

I think I’ve given myself unrealistic body goals.

I believe the root cause is in the fact that I sort of inadvertently lost so much weight last summer.  While struggling with and trying to get my anxiety and panic attacks under control last summer, I basically quit eating.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be eating, I’m not one of those girls who doesn’t eat…..food is always my jam!  I was just way too worked up all the time.  Eating just a couple bites of anything would just make me feel sick and nauseous.  I remember distinctly sitting at work trying to eat a cliff bar…..it took me 4 days to get through the whole bar!!  During this period I was also working out a ton, because ya know….that’s what they tell you to do when you’re stressed.  Run a bunch, lift all the heavy things and put them down, and get those happy endorphin feelings flowing!  I’m not sure how exactly I managed to function, but apparently anxiety gives you super powers….just not the sort of super powers anyone really wants or should have.

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It turns out that loosing 15 pounds in two weeks has a dramatic effect on your muffin top.  It also has a dramatic effect on your psyche…

I know that I only achieved my slimmed down self because I was unhappy, and that unhappiness and stress changed my body in ways that I normally cannot and would not do.  The worst part though….is that I felt so accomplished.  Maybe it was just the sense of control I had over things.  Nothing felt good, but I had finally achieved the look I had been craving since high school but never had.  It was the one little thing that seemed to be going in my favor.  I finally had reached a point where I didn’t have to squat stretch out my freshly washed jeans, I could throw on anything in my closet and there wasn’t a lump or bump to be found, and I think it just gave me this inflated and superficial sense of self-esteem…..which when you talk about it sounds super awful and unhealthy……BECAUSE IT WAS!

My body is obviously not meant to existing in a muffin top free state….I’m honestly not sure that even the strictest diet would have kept me looking that way.  Once I started feeling better the muffin top slowly but surely started making a come back.  I’m naturally curvy and just tend to carry and collect all my weight generally on my love handles and around my belly button…..a spot I’ve nicknamed “The Doughnut of Awful”.  I’m right around 5’10” so I’m overall very proportional and quite a healthy weight for my height.  I’ve never been told that I need to loose weight by any of my doctors, and even in high school at my most active, swimming and dancing for several hours everyday, I still was no where near as slim and lean as I was last summer.

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…..this photo stresses me out…..as much as I hate to say that and I want to rise above it all…..it still does.  I know that it’s only 12ish pounds and some summer time tan, but I’m not sure that this picture makes me feel as happy as the other one, which is my continual struggle.  There’s some muffin top and tummy squish, and my ribs and hips aren’t poking out of my body.  Idk….it’s not bad, I can rationalize that, but at the same time I don’t exactly feel good about it either.

Lately, I’ve been trying very hard to convince myself that a slightly squishy Miss Happenings is a happier Miss Happenings.

  • I try and remind myself that I’m in a happy relationship, and if I eat out a bit more or drink a bit more now than before it’s because I’m with someone who wants to spend time doing things and having fun with me.
  • I should be happy that my brain finally realizes that skipping a workout to have lunch with friends IS NOT AN ANNOYANCE OR AN INCONVENIENCE!!!  That’s just how my anxiety made me feel about it all the time.  It’s a rare chance to spend quality time with some of my favorite people.
  • I should realize that I rarely hang out in bikinis alone, so even if I’m looking slightly squishy in a bikini I’m still surrounded by people who love and care about me regardless of my muffin top.

I do honestly remind myself of all these things and more when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see.  I suppose that I probably will always occasionally struggle with my weight and how I look.  I always have from time to time, so it doesn’t make sense that it would mystically go away anytime soon.  The most annoying and hardest part is the small little diva voice in the back of my mind that sometimes quietly whispers that if I just stopped eating for a couple weeks I would slim right down again.  Ugh….go away crazy diva voice…..I have burgers and shit to eat, new beers to try, and things to do that have nothing to do with you!

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Going forward, the best I can do is continue to work out, maybe reign in the diet and kick up the cardio a bit, and just generally live the best and healthiest life I can live!  You only get one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.  I refuse to believe that anyone looks back on their life and regrets the fancy desserts they ate, or the summer time patio drinks with friends they drank.  That simply can’t be reality…..and if it is, I don’t want it to be my reality.  If I had continued on the stressed out path I was on, I know looking back that I would have regrets.  I already regret the things I did or didn’t do because my anxiety controlled my life.

I lived that life once, and I refuse to go back there.

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This summer, in the same jeans as last summer.  A little bit squishier than last summer, but I’m happy!  Ignore the sass face, The Engineer was mocking my photo skills….but he’s just jealous of my shooting skillz!

Happy is healthy….and that’s all there is to it!