Bucket List: After

Months ago I happily published a whimsical list of activities I wanted to accomplish over the summer. Um, it’s almost November, ya’ll, even the occasional sunny afternoon has a bit of chill in the breeze; summer is long gone. That being said, I don’t like leaving loose ends, so, two months late, I would like to wrap up my Summer Bucket List, with annotations.

  1. Visit the farmer’s market - bonus points for riding my bike; No bonus points, but farmer’s market was visited.
  2. Wear white pants successfully Several times, even! Without spilling chocolate or salsa or anything on them!
  3. Climb a mountain, a big one; This is a big, fat, negative.
  4. Make homemade ice cream Strawberry, my grandpa’s favorite
  5. Roast marshmallows with my stepkids; Marshmallows roasted, campfire attended with stepkids, but not both things together
  6. Dangle my bare feet in a cold mountain stream
  7. Attend a bonfire – bonus points for spending the evening updating our plan for the zombie apocalypse
  8. Make out with that very handsome husband of mine, a lot
  9. Sleep under the stars – bonus points if I can see the milky way
  10. 21 days as a vegetarian; I am counting this complete, I went 13 days but this did not accomplish what I was hoping it would accomplish (healthier eating habits), so I cut out early on Harriet As A Vegetarian
  11. Go to a baseball game (one will suffice), and sit on the lawn
  12. Run a 5k for a good cause; I ran a 5k for no cause, does that count? (No.)
  13. Many, many photo walks around my neighborhood and the surrounding canyons; Nope, not a one. Fail. But I did get better at regular Instagram posting. Not the same, I know,  but it is something.
  14. Go to a rodeo, yeehaw!
  15. Hike in red rock country
  16. Read a whole pile of books, a big pile, obviously
  17. Dinner in the canyon – bonus points for cooking said dinner over an open fire
  18. Attend an outdoor concert
  19. Eat lots and lots of corn on the cob
  20. Watch the sunset from a beautiful vantage point
  21. Keep my tomato plant alive; People I harvested 5 tomatoes AND 7 green bell peppers. I’m like a pot-gardening diva! (Not really.)
  22. Make it to September without getting any tan lines (meaning, no tan, not nekkid tanning)
  23. Go to the wildflower festival, take an inordinate amount of photos
  24. Go to Food Truck Thursday for lunch
  25. Take a midnight walk, preferably with an enormous full moon and a sky full of stars
  26. Schedule a personal day off work, take myself out to brunch and get a pedicure, for no other reason than I can.
  27. Go camping
  28. Eat strawberries off the vine – bonus points if they are sun warmed
  29. Visit one of the formal gardens in my city
  30. Go on an overnight motorcycle adventure with my sweetheart; Not on a motorcycle, but there were plenty of day-long rides AND a romantic overnight getaway, so I’m counting it. Ish.

Ok, so, 21 of 30 items complete is nothing to snuff your nose at. And I didn’t even have listed the massive apartment overhaul that happened in June and July, so that has to give me a couple of bonus points in there somewhere, right? (Right.)

Is it totally uncool to attempt to rejoin the social conversation and ask you how your summer was? Or, you know, your fall?

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Back from the dead… kind of…

No, this post is not about zombies. It’s about me and my general outlook on the world of late, which is, in a word, dreadful. I feel like I am moving through my days only half-present, at best, and more often than not I am delirious with general exhaustion, fatigue, and an indescribable need to devour brains.

Ok, so maybe this is about zombies.

(No. Not really.)

In the last 4 months I have accomplished an insane amount of stuff from the Stressful Life Things list. And, zombie-like days aside, I have managed to live the tale and even come up for air for a minute, although do not expect this Writing About Life And Feelings And Stuff to be a thrice-weekly occurrence; you will be sorely disappointed.

October2014_feistyharrietIn no particular order, the main bullets of my life, since July:

1. Painted half of the rooms–and ceilings–in my apartment, transforming an increasingly bilious yellow-brown-gray box into a soothing gray with white ceilings (bedroom, hallway, bathroom) and pale grayish-greenish-blue with white ceilings (dining room). I added new art and gallery walls, made a headboard–my first in over a decade–and DIY’d the crap out of some light fixtures. I took before and during and after shots, with the best of intentions, all of which are still sitting there happily on my SD card.

2. Been offered and accepted a promotion at work which comes with a nice little raise and an enormous change in duties and responsibilities. Without getting too personal, I am now a Program Manager and am loving the freedom, thinking, and creativity that comes from creating a program from scratch and implementing it on a state-wide level. This is something I have been actively working towards for over 18 months, and I am beyond thrilled and also generally overwhelmed with my new position. It took about 8 weeks to hire my replacement, and another month to get her trained up to a point where I can attack my own To Do lists. I have worked a LOT of 12 and 13 and 14 hours days in the last few months trying to stay on top of everything.

3. As part of my job(s) I both planned and executed a professional development conference for 600 people, and 10 days later ran a 2-day training for another 175 people on a completely difference program.

4. For the 9th year in a row I have coached a competitive high school Shakespeare team (yes, it’s a thing) and costumed about 50 teenagers so they looked like the childhood pub pals of King Henry V, among other characters.

5. I have visited Phoenix (family) and Denver (fun) and Chicago (family/fun) and have hundreds of pictures to sort through.

6. I have decided on and started my application for a Master’s program, that I will begin next fall at the University.

7. Lastly, and this is definitely the biggest change of late, Blue Eyes has accepted a new position over 700 miles away and for the last month we have been–again–doing the long distance relationship thing. At this point we will be in a commuter marriage for about 3 years, until I finish my Master’s program. I am, generally, a weepy mess about this development, but I try and put on a good face and go to work and talk on the phone and answer (work) emails, because I do not have the luxury of running away from the rest of my life while I process what this enormous change will mean for me, for him, and for us.

In the meantime, I have responded to practically zero emails, voice-mails, and a half-dozen (or more) requests for help, or company, or whatever. And, to be honest, I don’t really feel all that terrible about it. I’ve been hunkered down trying to remember how to breathe, with various success rates, depending on the day. Yes, I’m talking to a therapist. Yes, I’m taking medication.  Yes, I am “making time” for myself. Yes, I’m in a state of general denial. Yes, I know I won’t be in this place forever, but most of the time it feels that way right now, and my therapist says that’s pretty normal.

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Elkhorn Mountains, Montana

Every summer Blue Eyes and I pack up and spend a week with his parents and family in a cabin deep in the Elkhorn Mountains in southwest Montana. I have very little cell service there, no internet, and miles and miles of open spaces. I usually have hours to spend searching out micro and macro vistas, fiddling with my camera settings trying to capture in pixels something that has no business being captured in pixels. Even in July the mountains have patches of snow on their peaks and the morning and evening temperatures leave you reaching for a jacket. The small towns and sprawling ranches that surround the mountains gave me and my camera plenty of raw material.

Montana Elkhorn 1_feistyharriet_July 2014

The view from my in-laws house. It really is just stunning!

Montana Elkhorn 2_feistyharriet_July 2014

Minty green lichen.

Montana Elkhorn Purple Flowers 3_feistyharriet_July 2014

Purple mountain lupine.

Montana Elkhorn Purple Flowers 5_feistyharriet_July 2014

There were fields and fields of this in bloom in early July! Entire hillsides were covered in clumps of purple blooms.

Montana Elkhorn Ranch 1_feistyharriet_July 2014

No idea…

Montana Elkhorn Ranch 3_feistyharriet_July 2014


Montana Elkhorn Ranch 5_feistyharriet_July 2014

An old abandoned Ford tractor.

Montana Elkhorn Ranch 8_feistyharriet_July 2014

Montana Elkhorn St John Catholic Church_feistyharriet_July 2014

St. John’s Catholic church, out in the middle of practically nowhere, no town close by, very few ranches, just this tiny white church and graveyard.

Montana Elkhorn Van 1_feistyharriet_July 2014

I love the old green paint on this bus! I stood gawking and snapping pics until the neighbors started asking questions. (In my bright red mini and giant camera I certainly don’t look like a local in this small rural town.)

Montana Elkhorn Van 2_feistyharriet_July 2014

Montana Elkhorn Canola 5_feistyharriet_July 2014

Fields of rapeseed/canola. Rapeseed is the official name of this bright yellow flower, but the Canadians have renamed it “canola” for it’s uses in vegetable oil and plastic production. Canada + ola (meaning “oil”) = canola. Brilliant.

Montana Elkhorn Canola 2_feistyharriet_July 2014

This might be one of my favorites from my whole trip.

Montana Elkhorn Canola 7_feistyharriet_July 2014

Such a beautiful stripe of bright color in the middle of miles of greenish-brown fields, mostly alfalfa and hay about ready to be cut and baled for winter.

Next summer I want to take myself and my camera on a few short day-trips to explore more of the surrounding area. On our last trip Blue Eyes and I crawled all over the abandoned Comet Mine and I would love to find something else like that to explore!

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