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just trying to have fun on the road less traveled

Updated: 2018-03-05T11:50:16.043-08:00


Seasonal Confusion Disorder


November is upon us, and generally for me that means I'm loving all the pumpkin food choices. I'm a sucker for pumpkin ale, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup. I like me some pumpkin seeds to snack on. I'll grab some pumpkin ice cream if I can.

Except this year.

This year, I'm in warmer climates and it just seems too warm for pumpkin anything.

I was picking up some beer for some weekend socializing and not once did I entertain the idea of Pumpkin-head Ale. I went straight for the hefeweizen. Grocery shopping, I'm still leaning toward salads and veggie stir fries. Not even thinking of squash soup. And for a nice after dinner warm beverage? Leaning toward green or chamomile tea. I'm still in late summer mode.

Which is messing me up a bit. I go on social media and people are posting these crazy memes like "Only 7 weeks till Christmas". Christmas? I'm not even ready for pumpkins!

Sunday Gratitude


It's not unusual in November for thoughts to turn toward gratitude. It IS the start of the holiday season and the month of Thanksgiving, after all. I usually do things a little differently, though.

It seems that everyone is thankful for the same things. The big things. Family, friends, children, health, etc. Which, of course, are perfectly wonderful things to be thankful for. We all should be grateful for the big things. They are important.

In November, however, I always like to challenge myself to be grateful for the small things. To me, it forces me to be a bit more present, to really pay attention. It seems easy to list off the big things- it almost takes no thought at all. But to notice all the little things during the day and to be grateful? That  takes focus.

Plus, it ends up being rather silly and fun- two things the world needs more of.

JeepGirl's List of Random Things To Be Grateful For:

1) Warm, comfy socks
2) A decadent extra 9 minutes of snoozy sleep in the morning
3) Beautiful pink, orange, and red sunsets
4) Meal prepping for the week
5) Sitting under a tree and reading

Oh, November, surprise me in the days to come!

Saturday Hike


Last Saturday was pretty epic.Last Saturday, I got to cross off a big item on the Life List.Last Saturday, I hiked the Grand Canyon.I have dreamed about hiking the Grand Canyon for- I don't even know how long. Since before I discovered my love of hiking, even. Long before I considered purchasing a backpack, I thought "Why would anyone ride a mule down when they could hike?" And I fully intended to do just that.First off, I have to say that I would much rather have hiked down, spent the night at a campground, and hiked out the next day. That kind of trip takes a lot of advance planning, however. Six to 12 months in advance, especially this time of year when the weather is perfect. I attempted to secure some cancellation campsites, but to no avail. I would have to go down and up in one day.Grand Canyon National Park is filled with signs warning people not to attempt this. I wasn't worried, though. These warnings are mostly for folks who arrive at the park and decide - spur of the moment - to try hiking down and up. The warnings are also for the heat. It is not uncommon for the temperature difference between the rim and the floor of the canyon to be 30 degrees or more.  Ninety degrees at the rim with no humidity isn't nearly as uncomfortable as 90 degrees say in Washington DC with 90% humidity. People get overconfident by the lack of humidity and end up in 123 degree heat at the floor of the canyon. I was not in either one of those situations.It would be a strenuous hike, no doubt. Seventeen and a half miles with 10,000 feet of elevation gain and loss (or loss and gain, more accurately). I had done worse, though. And since I would NOT be camping, I'd only be carrying a day pack. I could do this!I had booked a cheap room right outside the park entrance, so I could get the early hiker's shuttle.  My planned route would take me down South Kaibab Trail, on the east side of the South Rim, across the Colorado River, and back up Bright Angel Trail, more west on the South Rim. I would park my car near the Bright Angel Trailhead and take the 6 am shuttle to the South Kaibab Trailhead. Me and about 80 other people.Sunrise was at 6:45am, which explained the popularity of that early shuttle. About half the bus jumped out with their expensive camera equipment and sprinted to the trail. They converged at a spot 1/4 mile down called "Ooh-ahh Point" which had a great view of the sunrise.  Though I only had an iPhone and took the shot while moving, I still like my sunrise shot!Even more spectacular than the actual rising sun, in my opinion, was the way the light played with the colors on the rock. The red rocks are spectacular!The temperature at the start of the hike was 36 degrees, but as the sun came up, so did the temperature. And I soon found myself dropping layers. The trail was steep and windy with lots of switchbacks. I was warm and comfortable and loving the scenery! I reached the canyon floor in about 3 hours. The trail goes through a rock tunnel to the Black Suspension Bridge. I had to wait, with 15 or so other hikers, since the mule train was crossing the bridge. Since there is a chance a mule can get spooked and bolt back up the trail, hikers are not allowed on the bridge when the mules are crossing. I used that time to drink up and eat a little snack. (I hadn't eaten much on the way down and was feeling a little tired and hungry)On the canyon floor, I headed to Phantom Ranch. I have a friend who honeymooned here and she had a beloved hat from Phantom Ranch. A few years ago, her dog ate her hat, and she has been unable to replace the hat, since it is sold ONLY at the ranch itself. So I had the task of replacing the hat. Phantom Ranch also has really good lemonade, so I ate and drank two glasses of lemonade before heading back up to the rim.Once again, I had to cross the river, this time via the Silver Bridge, which is too narrow for mule trains to cross. No waiting this time! Just a quick stop to watch the river for a couple minutes.Once across the bridge[...]

November Goals


After a rocky October, goal wise, I'm excited for November goals. And as if to match my newfound excitement and motivation, the weather has dropped just a couple of degrees and with it, my sinuses are just a little more clear. So that's promising.

One of the things I ponder when moving from one month to another is what to do about outstanding goals from last month. Is it a sign that now is not a good time to focus on that area? Or should continue with some goals, giving myself a running start? It's a tough call. And the answer varies from month to month, depending upon the reason the goals were not met in the first place. This month, it's a pretty clear decision to me: I'm continuing with a number of the goals from last month. 


1) Work out every day: Good goal. Good to continue. I'm on it

2) Clean eating: Ditto. (the word "ditto" always reminds me of the movie Ghost)

3) Get the damn car fixed Come on, girl! You deserve to drive around in a pristine ride.

4) Finish up the Remaining 2 Online classes: Got to be done.

5) Journal and Blog Daily: Off to a good start

6) Get rid of one thing every day: This is something I've done every November for the last few years. Its a good reminder to simplify and a good reminder to be intentional with the possessions I do keep

7) Daily gratitude challenge: You see these everywhere in November. And for good reason

8) Start teaching POUND: Got the certification, time to spread the love

9) Read and get rid of 5 books: I got a plane ride this month. Should help

10) Get next summer's family trip Booked. Ya gotta do it way in advance!

October Goal Review


Last month was a bit of a crap shoot for me- full of excitement to tackle all the goals, and then sidelined by some pollen and smoke. But I made some decent progress, I think

1) Work out every day: About 3/4 of the way on this one. Some late evenings in October, after a busy day, found me doing lunges with a weighted vest in my bedroom as I got my stuff ready for the next day. And of course, I was putting together a POUND routine for a demo class (next month!!) And then there were days I couldn't breathe. So overall, not bad.

2) Hike South Kaibab to Bright Angel: SUCCESS! Best day of the month! (followed by the sorest 3 days of the month)

3) Halloween gifts for the kids: SUCCESS! Nothing beats a Halloween text video of kids in costume saying "Thanks!"

4) Clean Easting: 1/2 Credit: good for a while, and then I fell victim to Halloween candy :(

5) Get the car fixed: Oh, not yet- soon.

6) Finish up outstanding classes: Half credit. 2 of the 4 done, tackling the next two in November

7) Journaling and Blogging Daily: Journaling (yes) Blogging (no)

8) 4 Handwritten Letter to Friends: SUCCESS! And probably the nicest part of the month

9) POUND certification done: YES! And the demo class is ready to go

10)  Sleep Outside One Night: No. Had planned on it before the hike, but the area was really smoky and ended up happily able to get a last minute hotel room.

One of the nicer things about a long history of setting goals is that my perfectionism has been reined in. So on a month like this, when my success was sketchy, I can look back and say: "Great start, lots to continue on! And it points me in the right direction for November Goals. 

Desert Blues


It's weird.

When I was younger, I would always hear about people with respiratory issues who moved to the desert to get relief. The cold, wet, New England climate wreaked havoc on their lungs, so they'd move to Arizona and breathe easier for the rest of their days.

For me, that's not working.

I didn't move to Arizona for respiratory relief. I moved here for adventure. Which I have gotten in spades. However, for the last several weeks, I have been sniffling and snorting, coughing and sneezing and - quite frankly limiting the adventure side of my life because breathing has become such an issue.

It started around the last week of September, when the weather changed from highs of 110 or so to highs of 99. At first the air was much more pleasant and being outside much more comfortable. (The adventures could start when the sun came up and could continue past 10 am!) But shortly thereafter, the sneezing began. Some plant, it appears, started releasing pollen when the temperature dropped. Some plant that I had not grown up with and was not used to.

The local folks told me that both sagebrush and juniper pollen was high right now. Makes sense. Years ago, when backpacking in Utah, I discovered that I was sensitive to sagebrush. (People were simply calling it "sage", though. And I was so sensitive to it, that I became concerned that maybe I should not eat food with sage in it, for fear of going into anaphylactic shock. No worries, though. Sagebrush and the spice sage are completely different) The desert plant, though, that kicks my butt.

The pollen isn't the worst of it, though. It's also the time of year for controlled burns. In the mountainous areas surrounding me, there have been a series of controlled burns over the past few weeks (as well as a handful of unexpected fires). Smoke has been in the air. And all the symptoms that go with breathing in smoke have plagued me, as well- dry throat, dry eyes, itchy nose and ears, sore throat, dry cough. I've been a mess!

Then it occurred to me that maybe it's not the pollen or the fires, but the convergence of the two- maybe I've been breathing in the smoke from burning sagebrush. That can't be good. ( I knew somebody who once accidentally made a campfire from poison oak. It was bad. He was way worse than I am now.) But still.

The best laid plans of mice and men sometimes are toppled by pollen and smoke! I'll keep pushing through the best I can.

I just keep pondering the irony of the idea that the desert is the best place for people with respiratory issues and my current state.

Oh wait! Maybe it was people with arthritis who moved to the desert!

Fitness Schmitness


Last May, I found and fell in love with a new fitness class. In general, I'm not a new-trend kind of girl when it comes to fitness. I prefer go to the gym: cardio, lift, abs, done. (Or better yet, bypass the gym altogether and go outside!) Spinning, soul-cycle, hot yoga; not my cup of tea. For a while, I just assumed I have gotten too old for the new fitness classes. Then, I discovered Pound!Pound isn't so much a workout class, as a trip down memory lane. Remember coming home from school and blasting Mtv when your Mom wasn't home to turn down the volume? Drumming on the desk with pencils when you were supposed to be doing your math homework ? Or later- cranking the radio and driving faster than the speed limit as you banged out the beat on the steering wheel? That's Pound.In Pound, you have a set of lightly weighted plastic drumsticks which you bang on the floor, clap together over your head, reach to the side, reach forward, reach back- the possibilities are endless. But hitting the floor is the most fun. All the while, great music is playing- LOUD. I'm not talking the  dance/house/electronic music that usually accompanies workout classes. I'm talking classic rock, grunge, heavy metal, and some bad-ass rocker-chic empowerment songs. This was my kind of class!At the end of my first Pound class, I thought: well, that was fun, but I don't really think I got a good workout. I'll just do extra tomorrow.Then tomorrow came, and I could barely drag myself out of bed to the warm shower to stretch my aching body. Wow! I've never encountered a workout class that works the obliques more. I was as sore as I am the day after a tough mudder. I was immediately hooked.And so summer passed, and my favorite part of the week was Pound. (Even when they played more top-40-ish songs, instead of classic rock!) I started to learn the moves, I started to get less sore, I started to think that maybe I was a fitness-trend kind of girl, after all. I loved it!At the end of my work contract, I found another job in another town. My first order of business after moving and getting settled was to find the gym with the best Pound class. To my dismay, I learned that none of the area gyms HAD a Pound class! What was I ever going to do? My favorite part of the week was gone!I got a DVD from the Pound website. Which was okay- but for some reason had generic, bland house music in the background. Plus, pounding alone isn't nearly as much fun as pounding with a group. Every time I went to the gym to workout (cardio, lift, abs, done), I thought: "Somebody around here really needs to start a Pound class!"And then I thought: "I'm somebody."Which is how last weekend I found myself at a class to become a fitness rebel- with Pound certification!to be continued...[...]

The Artist's Way- Week One


Week One: Recovering a Sense of SafetyI think my favorite aspect of this program is that it embraces silliness. So often in life, we get caught up in our responsibilities: our jobs, our bills, our chores around the house, taking care of the kids, driving the kids to all of their activities, walking the dog, getting our 10,000 steps in, and posting on our carefully crafted social media accounts. All those things we HAVE to do, in order to be a responsible adult.This program forces you to do things for no other reason than stepping out of that role of responsible adult. What were all those things you did as a kid when you had a few hours of unstructured time after school? Did you listen to a record over and over and over again, memorizing the lyrics so you could sing it at the top of your lungs? Did you draw medieval castles? Did you play guitar? (Or air guitar?) Did you make up dances in your basement? Did you go on endless walks around the neighborhood or in the woods by your house? Did you practice tricks on your skateboard? Did you build a fort or redecorate your room? Those things. Those are the kinds of things that pop up in the exercises at the end of the chapter each week.Strangely, those silly things end up becoming really profound at the end of 12 weeks.One of my favorite exercises week one is: Imaginary Lives.  Pretend you have 5 more lives to live. What would you do? And it doesn't matter if you aren't good at whatever you choose. You can still be a lounge singer in your imaginary life if you are completely tone deaf in this one. You can be an accountant if you failed math 3 times in high school. (though why anyone would spend one of their imaginary lives on accountant is beyond me!)One of my favorite techniques is one I picked up at the Julia Cameron retreat a couple weeks ago: do it fast! Don't overthink things. Set a timer for 3 minutes and write furiously for 3 minutes. (When we allow ourselves a long time to think about things, we often venture out of silly land and into the kingdom of responsibility.) Plus, I found that when I did the exercises this way- fast and furious- I often looked back at my answer and thought "Wow. I didn't know I thought that until right now."  Because those fast and furious answers had a definite aura of truth to them.See? Silly and profound!MY FIVE IMAGINARY LIVES:WRITER Of course. Always. My fast and furious self chose not a fiction writer or a travel writer (as my brain would pick),  bit more of an investigative or research journalist in the vein of Malcolm Gladwell or Gretchen Rubin. Looking around at the piles of books I have yet to read, I see that this type of writing is what I gravitate toward. Even if many of the books are now serving as unread decorations.ROCK STAR And, of course. Doesn't everyone want to be a rock star? We've even commandeered  the term rock star to mean excellence in ANY field! But seriously- a life of creating and collaborating and experimenting with different styles. And travel. Quite frankly, I'd be happy with the life of most non-rockstar musicians- crammed in a van with the long road ahead and a big bag of snacks. SCIENTIST Not a laboratory scientist, but more like a field scientist. Gathering samples of ocean water or living amongst the apes like Jane Goodall. Or a social scientist studying the motivations and habits of us weird humans. I think the only thing that would be really frustrating about this profession is that I find that the more  I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.SPECIAL EFFECTS EXPERT Kind of a strange one for me, since these are people who spend lots of times indoors and have that pasty skin. But I imagine the chance to collaborate with a team of smart, creative people all working toward the same goal. The chance to think outside the norm. Plus, I really like movies.TOUR GUIDE: Somewhere cool[...]



A couple years ago, I worked with a guy who was REALLY into Crossfit. He was one of those super extreme type A people who talked incessantly about "the box" and a paleo lifestyle. He was also really good at his job.Anyway, one of the tools they used at his Crossfit box was the 30 Day Challenge. Each month, the members would pick a challenge that they pursued for 30 days. At the end of the month, the successful participants would get their name up on The Board.I thought that was a great idea. After all, I am a super-big fan of goal setting and Challenges, be they 14 day, 21 day, 30 day or anything else.I was not, however, a fan of this guy when he was doing a 30 day challenge.The first challenge of the year was "No Complaining" for 30 days. A decent challenge- certainly well intentioned and good for self improvement. The challenge went pretty well for about 4-5 days. And then he'd suddenly get really agitated and frustrated. "I have to start over one day one!"This pattern continued until mid-way through February. He'd start off, do well for a few days, then he'd inadvertently complain about something. And start over on day one. Again and again and again.Finally, one day I asked him "Wasn't No Complaining January's challenge? How come you haven't moved on to the next challenge?""I haven't completed the first challenge" he said. "I have to go 30 full days in order to complete the challenge. Then, and only then can I move on to the next one.""But that doesn't seem to be working" I responded. "Wouldn't it make more sense to, maybe, keep a journal during the challenge? If you end up complaining about something, then you write it down and include when you complained and about what and what was going on when you complained. Then, you could look for patterns. For instance, if you notice that every Monday morning, you complain about traffic, you may realize that you are leaving the house late every Monday and vow to get yourself organized on Sunday night so you can leave on time. Or if you notice that you complain mainly in the mid afternoon hours, you may conclude that paleo is completely insane and eat some chocolate, already!"  (I didn't say that. I actually said that maybe you need to eat a handful of almonds or some cheese. But I totally THOUGHT chocolate!)"Well, I can see how that would have some benefits. And that does make sense. But that's not what the challenge is. The challenge is to get through 30 days.""Is that really the point?" I asked. "Isn't the bottom like to learn and grow as a person? Not just to get up on the board.""Well, learning and growing is desirable," he said. "But the real point IS to get up on the board."I tell that story not to belittle my former co-worker, nor to make myself look superior. I tell that story simply because it is very similar to my life last week. Last week, I set a number of ambitious goals for myself that meant a lot to me and are things that I strongly aspire to. And then, last week, a number of those goals fell apart.Some of the time it was completely out of my control. Like when my computer crapped out on my and lost all the documentation I had on every single patient I had seen that day. And I had to stay and extra 2 1/2 hours to re-do all my paper work on a computer that kept freezing up on me.  Some of the time, I had to make choices between two equally desirable occurrences. Since there is not an infinite number of hours in the day and also since I cannot split myself in two, I had to choose one over the other. And a couple times I was just too exhausted and needed an extra 30 minutes of sleep.So this week, I am starting anew. Not in a "Oh, crap! I have to start over from the very beginning!" kind of way. More in a "This week is a blank slate and I can get back on track" kind of way. My end goal, after all, is to grow as a person, not to get my name o[...]

Artist Way


Many, many years ago, I discovered a 12 week program called The Artist's Way, quite by accident. I was attending a holistic health seminar in Boston, and for my afternoon session, I had planned on seeing a talk by Dr Andrew Weil. To my dismay, I found that you needed to reserve your spots for the afternoon sessions beforehand and there were no more seats available for Dr Weil. I was directed to a syllabus that included sessions that still have available seats. And I ended up in a lecture given by Julia Cameron.

I had never heard of Julia Cameron, I had no idea what this lecture was about. I was a bit unnerved when this blonde, flowy, colorful person came out and made us all get up and SING. I was even more skeptical when she had us turn to the person next to us and take turns describing in intimate detail, our earliest three minutes....go! What had I gotten myself into?

At the end of the 90 minute session, I had reached the conclusion that this Julia Cameron character- was an absolute genius! She was spectacular! I came out of the lecture and walked right to the book table in the foyer to purchase her book, The Artist Way.

I have completed the 12 week program a number of times since then (once outlining the task on this very blog) with great success. The program is as much a journey of self discovery as it is a path to creativity. It makes use of various tools, the big three are "morning pages", "the artist date", and walking. It's pretty powerful.

It's been a while since  I last did the Artist Way.

Then, a couple weeks ago something quite serendipitous happened; I went to the waiting room to get a patient at work and on the table, I found a flyer for an Artist Way retreat. Led by none other than Julia Cameron. For that coming weekend. In Sedona.

(I should probably clarify at this point, that right now, I'm living in Sedona.)

I checked it out online and saw that there were still spots left. And I spent the weekend with ol' Julia.

It's been a very long time since that seminar in Boston. Julia is still just as blonde and just as flowy. She's a bit less colorful, but that's because she's taken to that artist-y habit of dressing in all black. Her colorful flair was relegated to her spectacular necklace, scarf, and shoes.

Yes, she made us sing.

Yes, she made up break up into groups and share things like: "If your inner critic had a name and occupation, what would they be?" (Patricia. And she's a rich socialite with no discernible profession) "Who was the first friend in school who betrayed you?" and "What advice would Obi Wan Kenobe give to you right now?

It sounds ridiculous and trite. And sometimes it even FELT ridiculous and trite. But as the exercises progressed from Obi Wan Kenobe to your parents to your "most important relationship when you were between 18-25", it became less trite. And when you started pondering things like "Growing up, if your concept of God was NOT the Adam and Eve, judgmental God that you learned about in church, but maybe more like Dumbledore or Santa Claus, would your actions and decisions have been different", you start questioning things about yourself that your thought were just YOU.

There were lots of tissues going around. I had a headache at the lunchtime the first day.

At the end of the weekend, I was fuzzyheaded and over-full but simultaneously empty. I had a lot to think about. And I pulled out my old copy of The Artist's Way for another go-round.

That Julia Cameron, she's a frickin genius!




I used to be such a goals setter. Well, I still am kind of a goal setter. Unfortunately, I somehow got the idea in my head that I could just keep all the goals inside my head. That doesn't work. They goals get all mixed up and lost with all the bad ideas in there.

There's something about writing down the goals that make you commit just  little bit more. There's something extra about posting them where others can see that takes it up one more notch. I like going up one more notch.

1) Work Out Every Day: Not just weekdays. Or not just weekends. And especially not just on days when I feel like it. There were way too many of those days over the summer. Sitting in the sun is nice. But working the body is even nicer.

2) Big Hiking Goal- South Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail I've been wanting to do a Grand Canyon hike for a while, but haven't gotten around to getting permits, which means there are no more overnight permits. So I'm taking the plunge- 18 miles, down and up. Weather permitting and body permitting. I can do this!

3) Get Halloween gifts for the kids and mail them out It's tough being away from the munchkins. Especially when its costume time. (or as Brandon says- "October! Breast cancer awareness month! I can wear pink every day!") So I need to get them a little something to smile about and mail it out.

4) Clean Eating: In addition to all the usual reasons for clean eating (health, weight, performance, etc) I have another, really important reason to stick with this. I need to show somebody that clean eating is not only possible, but advantageous. It would be pretty hypocritical of me to preach clean eating and then down as much junk as I can get my hands on, wouldn't it?

5) Get the dent on my car fixed, already! 

6) Finish up the outstanding classes I have half finished: Manual therapy for Sciatica Treatment, Modalities, Skillshare class, and Daring Greatly. (Hey! Four classes for 4 weeks!)

7) Journaling and Blogging Daily Cause even just one day of journaling and blogging has made me feel so much more centered!

8) Four Handwritten Letters to Friends. Social media has gone beyond impersonal. It's just mean, now. But a handwritten note in the mailbox? So uplifting. I hope.

9)  POUND certification and start teaching. POUND is just about the greatest thing I've come across in fitness since triathlons and hiking. Plus, I get to pretend I'm a rock star.

10) Sleep Outside at least one night I've pretty much embraced the idea that the only way I'm going to get a spot to pitch my tent around here is in a really remote, primitive campsite with no water. Of course, that's my favorite kind of camping. So there's really no reason I haven't just DONE IT already! (Maybe because I didn't commit to it as a goal and write it down)

Hiking, camping, working out, learning, and connecting with loved ones. Pretty good intentions for October!!



Once upon a time, I had a blog. I started it during a hard time in my life, a time when I was going through a difficult break-up, a time when I felt discarded, lost, and directionless. A time when I felt as if I had lost myself. I started a blog to find myself once again.

I never really expected anyone to read my blog. I'm unclear as to why I didn't just journal in a notebook. Probably because I had heard the concept of a blog and thought I'd start one. Not because I thought I'd meet people and form a little network of bloggers that I'd come to think of as my friends. But that's exactly what happened.

Somehow, I found a handful of people whose blogs I eagerly read and who in turn read and commented on mine. They became my lifeboat. They became my cheerleaders. They became my online family.

Through the process of blogging and bonding, I found myself once again. I found my voice. I found my sense of humor. I found my sense of self. I found my confidence. I found the courage to change my outlook and my life. And I documented it all on the blog, encouraged and congratulated by my family of bloggers.

At the same time, I saw those people going through life events and growing, changing, taking risks. I laughed with them, cried with them, was anxious and fearful with them. I celebrated with them. I met possible love interests with them and followed along to their end or the jump to the next step.

And in my own life, I took the next step.

My next step wasn't a romantic endeavor, but an adventurous endeavor. In 2013, and then again in 2015, I quit my job and I hiked the country south to north first on the Appalachian Trail and then on the Pacific Crest Trail. I recorded THOSE adventures on a different blog ( For some reason, I wanted to keep that blog completely separate from Jeepgirl. (It seemed really important to me at the time, but I cannot recall why now.) In any case, while I was out there hiking and camping and getting blisters and getting rained on, I let Jeepgirl go silent.

It's been silent around here for a long time.

And then, today, for no particular reason, I decided to see if this blog was still active.

It was.

And that made me so happy.

I've checked in on my blog family from time to time, and many of them have let their blogs go silent, as well. They have moved on, gotten married (or divorced); developed an illness or overcome one; started families, bought houses, traveled around the world.

Or so I imagine.

I wish them all well.

And I hope that maybe sometime, if they decide to check in on Jeepgirl, they will be pleasantly surprised that I have emerged once again.

This blog has always been a happy place for me. I'm glad to be back.

January Goals


And then it was 2015! It seems really weird to say. Especially when I think back to 2000, when I said that I was "officially old." I wonder what that makes me now?Motivated, that's what! At the start of 2015 I feel very, very motivated. Time to make a list of monthly goals. But first, let's look back at December.DECEMBER GOALS: 1) Back on track for marathon training: I'm gonna call this a success. Even though my running continues to be sporadic. And Hal Higdon would be berating me, perhaps even beating me with a stick. I certainly won't be setting any time records. But I feel pretty confident in my ability to complete a 26.2 mile run in Feb. Maybe all the previous hiking has established a baseline level of fitness that will allow me to these things on a whim. Or maybe its just a change in mindset when I think "Oh, its only 18 miles. I can do that." Whatever. I'm slow. But I can go forever.2) Get Xmas cards sent out before I move: check!3) Complete FMA certification: Last minute and just under the wire, but I finished that bad boy!4) Complete licensure renewals: done!5) 30 days of Dailey Method Workout: fail. I underestimated the time constraints of moving. But I do like the workouts and I'll definitely be incorporating into fitness in the future.6) Holiday Lights 5K with the family: success. What is better than watching a tree lighting ceremony and running 3 miles behind Santa Claus?7) Downsize the storage unit: success. Little by little, I'm paring down. Soon, I'll   be able to adopt the title of minimalist. But not quite yet.8) Hike in the mountains: Fail. Moved to NC, first weekend I spent exploring the town and finishing Xmas shopping, and then I flew home for Xmas. I had briefly considered camping on NYE, but by the time I got out of work, I'd have been driving and setting up camp in the dark. January, then.9) Girl's Nite with S and J: success.10) Begin the photo book: Big fat fail.Not bad.JANUARY GOALS: 1) Do the Whole 30: Basically a 30 day challenge of no processed food. I'm jumping in.2) Long Hike in the Mountains: 2014 is gone, but the mountains are still there.3) Try out 5 new recipes: going hand in hand with #1. The official Whole 30 site tends to be a bit meat heavy for my tastes, but recipes are meant to be tinkered with, I say! I'll have to, anyway. I have limited kitchen facilities.4) Increase that running consistency with 3-4 per week. I know, a ridiculous statement 6 weeks before a marathon. But I'm a ridiculous gal.5) Plan a weekend with my hiker trash friends!6) Read (and get rid of) 5 books: Moving toward minimalist!7) Really get that photo book started: I rarely let the sheer magnitude of physical challenges stop me. And yet I did with a photo book.8) Begin hard core planning for this year's distance hike9) Journal daily10) Blog more consistently!   Crashing out of the gate, y'all![...]

Good-bye 2014


The last few minutes of 2014 are ticking away and though it seems so cliche, I am thinking "Wow, did that go fast!" Maybe because I didn't have a BIG project in 2014. Maybe because the time was taken up with so many little projects. Or maybe because I'm getting old. Whatever the reason, 2014 seemed really short.

I thought of 2014 as "the year after my hike." My entire life has taken on that theme, actually. There's my life pre-hike and my life post-hike. 2014 makes up the majority of my post-hike life. And while it wasn't overly exciting and adventurous, it was a good year. I guess life works out that way -- there are years of expansion and excitement and years of quiet reflection and preparation. I spent 2014 preparing for another year of adventure.

2015 will hopefully be "the year of my next hike".

This year, on New Year's Eve, I am once again away from home, where my family lives. I have once again embraced a nomadic lifestyle. I am out in the world, in a new place, deciding where I am going to run and hike this weekend. And I feel more at home than I ever do at home. I am happy.

2014 was exactly what I needed it to be.

I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store.

A December Rant


Today's post is a rant. Generally, I don't post rants. Ranting  is an art form, really, and only a select few people are good at it. I'm not one of them.George Carlin-- now he knew how to rant! He could go on forever, attacking serious topics with controversial (even radical) viewpoints all the while making you laugh until you cried. Jon Stewart can rant, too. And he backs up his rants with ridiculous video clips from cable news. Dennis Miller is another good ranter. Me, I get too emotional. I end up sounding like an insane person and then delete everything I wrote. Then I go for a run.But today I am going to rant.Today, I spent the morning de-friending a bunch of people on Facebook. I don't like to do that. I've never done that. In the past, if somebody's posts rubbed me the wrong way, I'd simply block their posts from appearing on my wall. I'd still be their virtual friend. Especially if they were relatives. Or old classmates. We all don't have to think alike or have the same dreams or goals or values to respect and like one another.I've noticed a trend over the past couple years, though. People seem to think that if your viewpoint differs from theirs, then it is okay to be disrespectful. To start arguments. To try to prove how wrong you are, and how right they are. To name call.  To attack who you are at your very core. It's pretty disheartening.I'm not sure where this comes from. I'm guessing the cable news outlets, which quite frankly treat "news" as subjective information that can be changed or manipulated as needed. Or our insane political system, in which elections are basically mud slinging contests.  Now it seems that social media is, too.Yesterday, I woke up in a wonderful mood. It was warm out. Warm in that way that you can just FEEL it, even with the windows closed. Maybe the heat hasn't kicked on as much. Maybe its the way the morning light filters in through the glass. Whatever the case, it was a wonderful gift -- an unseasonably warm day on the first day of December.And it was the first day of the month! On a Monday! Did I mention that I find this very neat and tidy and organized? It makes me happy.On this wonderfully neat and tidy and unseasonably warm Monday, I was thinking that it is hard to go back to work after a holiday weekend. But I could do something to make it easier for everyone. I could post a positive, uplifting message that would put everyone in a good mood and make that transition a bit easier.So I did.I posted a close up picture of a Christmas tree from Disney World. And next to that, I wrote: Happy Monday. Happy December. Happy Everything! It was truly inspirational.  Yay me!Then, feeling really good about myself, I went about my day.Sometime later, my phone started pinging. That little chime that lets you know that you have a message. Many, many pings throughout the day. I smiled to myself. My happy little post worked. People were messaging me to let me know how I had made them smile! And it was warm out. And sunny. And the calendar was neat and tidy and organized. It was the best day!Until it wasn't.In the evening, I logged onto my Facebook account and saw that I had 7 messages. This was going to be good! I hunkered down like I was pulling a bow off a great big present. What I got was a stocking full of coal.Not one of the 7 messages said how the post made them smile. Or made them happy. Or wished me a nice day in return. Every single one of the messages was an angry, confrontational remark. How dare I wish people a happy Monday? It is December! And therefore, if you don't say "Merry Christmas" every time you open your mouth (or your keyboard) you are apparently violating somebody's rights. [...]

December Goals


Oh, the start of a new month. It seems so tidy when it starts on a Monday, doesn't it? And December 1st is all the more nice when you can go for a walk on the beach in a T-shirt! Took advantage of that, because that nice weather will be gone tomorrow.

The other nice thing about the start of a month is that I get to write my list of goals.
This month will be a little weird, as I am moving to a new place for a new (short term) job in the middle of the month, which always makes for a bit of upheaval. But hey, I'm nothing if not ambitious, so I'm gonna try to meet all my goals, move or no move!


1) Get back on track for marathon training: I signed up once again for one of my favorite races, the Myrtle Beach marathon. Training was going along great, until I went to Haiti for a week. (no real safe place to bang out miles. Plus really hot) I figured I'd just get back on track at home. Enter plane sickness, which knocked me out of commission for almost 2 weeks. And now I'm struggling back into training. I'll get it back in December. I have to!

2) Get Xmas cards sent out before the move. Gotta sit down with some envelopes in front of Netflix for a good long stretch.

3) Finish up FMS certification exam. What is it with me and certifications? I have like a million of em!

4) And get licensure renewals completed Got a million of them, too.

5) 30 days of Dailey Method workout. One of the girls I went to Haiti with swears by this. And my back has been feeling -- off for a while. So I'm jumping in.

6)  Holiday Lights 5K with the family My nieces and my dad are doing this fun race with me. Times will be slow, I'm sure. But Santa oversees the race! So its a must

7) Downsize the storage unit to the smallest size. I've had a storage unit for over a year. Storing stuff that really isn't worth the cost of storing. I mean, they have Ikea for a reason!

8) Go for a nice, long hike in the mountains. No sense in moving if you're not going to take advantage of the new surroundings!

9) Girls nite with J and S before I go

10)  Finally begin the digital photo book I've said I was going to do for about a year!

today's workout:
Dailey method legs
3 mile run
walk on beach

A Different Black Friday Tradition


Black Friday always leaves me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I don't want to begrudge anyone who wants to save money on their holiday shopping. On the other hand, I feel like Black Friday is nothing but a tribute to out of control materialism and a me-first mentality. Not a good start to the holiday season.

A few years ago, I started my own little Black Friday tradition. Ok, maybe "starting my own tradition" is overstating things a bit. I found that somehow I wasn't working on that day and decided that it would be the perfect time to clean out a few closets. Since then, it has become my Black Friday activity.

On Thanksgiving, we are supposed to get together with family and friends and take time to be grateful for all the things we have. It doesn't make sense that the next day we focus on what we DON'T have and then scramble around wildly to get as much as we can. Something as simple as cleaning out closets can take that grateful mentality and extend it one more day.

First, I take a good look around the house and really appreciate all that I have: the clothes in the closet, the food in the fridge, the books on the bookshelf, the toiletries in the bathroom, the knick-knacks and electronics and sporting gear and hiking boots. This is all stuff I am lucky enough to own; stuff that makes life a little nicer.

Then, I look things over a second time to determine if there are things I'm holding onto that AREN'T necessarily making my life better -- just a bit more cluttered. Do I really need 2 rain jackets? How did I end up with 5 navy blue T-shirts? How long have I had that scented candle that is still in the wrapping?Two years? Three? Why am I holding onto these things? Did somebody give it to me as a gift and I feel obligated to keep it? Am I afraid I might need it someday? No reason?

Now is when the real fun begins. I take stock of all the "extras" I have identified and ask: can I pass  these things along to somebody else? Maybe the scented candle would be perfect for Secret Santa or a Yankee Swap.  I know exactly who would enjoy that book that I've already read. I could part with a couple navy t-shirts (thrift shop). My niece has been saying she needs a raincoat -- the black one would look great on her!

Appreciating what you have and sharing it with others has a wonderful effect. I always end the day with fewer possessions, yet feeling way richer than I did at the start of the day.

I have yet to encounter a door buster sale that can do that!

Thoughts on Thanksgiving


 In my sporadic musings, my favorites have always been the Thanksgiving notes. While its important to bethankful,its even more important to be thankful for the small things. (Like the 5'0" and under things!)So here is the list of 27 small things I am grateful for in 2014:1) TREADMILLS: While the Winter Warrior Challenge SEEMS like a good idea, when you are ankle deepin ice water running on the road into oncoming traffic because the sidewalks are buried, you realize that treadmills were invented for a reason.2) Netflix3) New socks4) The indestructible nature of myJeep5) Rubbermaid storage containers (or the generic knockoffs. I don't discriminate)6) Pancakes (I can't say pancakes without thinking of Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates)7) Hiking8) Biking9) Vikings (ok, not really. I'm just trying to balance out the rhyming trifecta)9) Firepits (because the last number 9 was fake)10) Outdoor concerts11) Fireworks12) Weekend Festivals13) Micro-brews14) Thrift Stores (for dropping off and picking up)15) Farmer's markets16) Liz Gilbert17) Shooting stars18) The bike path on the Cape Cod Canal19) Amtrak20) Fresh clean sheets21) Books, books, books22) The opportunity to travel23) Clean water24) The precise balance of organized chaos25) American Horror Story26) A blank journal page and a purple pen27) Snow on Thanksgiving morningHave a good Thanksgiving Everyone!TODAYS WORKOUT:4 mile run2 mile after turkey walk with family[...]

Its Good to Be Back


Oh, its good to be back. Like the feeling you get after returning home to your own place, your own things, your own bed after a long vacation. The vacation was great, but its great to be home again.

I took a little (ok, a long) vacation from blogging. For a vast number of reasons. And I just didn't know how to get back into it. I became a lurker for a while; I found that a good number of my old blogging buddies were on hiatus, as well. (we were all apparently vacationing in different areas because I didn't run into any of them in my travels) Maybe they don't know how to jump back in, either.

But, eventually, I just came to the conclusion that jumping back into blogging required only one thing: writing.

I started this crazy thing called blogging many years ago when I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn't start a blog to generate a big following. I didn't do it because I thought I was such an amazing a prolific writer that I'd become world famous. I didn't do it to generate income. (and thank goodness, because I'd be in the poorhouse if that were the case) I did it simply go get my thoughts out somewhere and to find my voice again.

I had no idea that it would become such an important part of my life. I had no idea I'd become part of a community. I had no idea I'd actually make FRIENDS with people I'd never meet in real life, by connecting with these little snippets of insight we all put down in our blog posts.

I've missed it.

So today, with no fanfare or expectations. I'm putting it down on the page once again. Blog post number one after a very long hiatus.

The hard part is over.


60 min yogalates 
3 mile run
15 min stretching 



It's July. July!

I've been away from blogging for way too long. The dashboard tells me over three months. It doesn't seem like that long. Yet it seems like much longer.

I sort of dropped out of the habit of recording my thoughts and dreams and goals and directions in this forum when I dropped into the mindset of "I'm not doing anything worth writing about." That was just an excuse, of course. Because during the time I've been away, I've read a myriad of blog posts from all over the place on the most mundane subjects imaginable. I read a blog post entitled "Why I Make My Bed Every Day." Until the end. It wasn't even written by Martha Stewart. And I still read it. When I finished reading it, I thought "That was surprisingly well written and persuasive." (I don't need to be persuaded. I make my bed every day. I just don't feel the need to share that bit of info with everyone.)

Therein lies the problem. I haven't felt the need to share.


For the last few months, I've been writing. I've been filling pages in journals and 3 subject notebooks. I've been making my beloved lists on scraps of paper and computer printouts and posting them on an ACTUAL bulletin board, rather than a pinterest board. I've been reading voraciously. I've been walking around in may bare feet outside, lying in a hammock, and riding my bike around just for the heck of it.

I guess I just needed to be a bit introverted for a while.

But now…now I feel like dipping my toe back in. I miss the habit. I miss the sharing. I miss the community.

In 2013, I discovered another community -- the thru-hiker community -- where I felt like I BELONGED. More so than any other group I have been a part of. Lately I have felt the pull of community. I've missed the small-- but somehow intimate, quirky, and cool -- community of bloggers I got to know so well when I was a regular blogger. I want to get to know you all again.

So happy July! And hello again.

March Addictions


MARCH ADDICTIONSI have noticed, time and time again, that blog posts tend to repeat in a cycle. I'm not talking about having a posting schedule where you do certain kinds of posts at certain times of the week or month. I mean that during certain times of the year, I (and others, I suppose) fall into particular moods or mindsets. And the pattern continues as the year progresses.Take, for instance, my addictions for March. I'm pretty sure if I scrolled back to addictions of Marches past (which I could totally do, I'm just too lazy, so I will continue to speak of it hypothetically) I would find the exact same addictions. Which would be slightly different from February's, and very different from Augusts. It's just that time of the yearly cycle to be addicted to:1)  TEAI like a nice cup of tea any time of the year, be it of the hot or iced variety. But I'm positively swimming in it at the moment!2) FLEECEThis weekend, we had our first real thaw. Temps were in the high 40's and the sun was shining. Everyone was out, walking around, in a good mood, saying hi to everyone else as if we all lived in a Disney movie. But then the sun went down. And it was time to wrap up in fleece once again.Today alone, I have worn, at some point, fleece socks, fleece PJ's, a fleece bathrobe, a fleece jacket, and a fleece hat. I'm under a fleece blanket as I write. Spring cannot be here soon enough!3) PARENTHOODThe TV show, not the lifestyle. Parenthood the movie, upon which the TV show is based, is one of my most favorite movies of all time. It has a great cast, is extremely well written, and makes me laugh and cry each and every time I see it. I was pretty skeptical when I heard there was a TV show. I stand corrected and converted. I have been streaming back to back episodes courtesy of Netflix and just like the movie, I find myself both laughing and crying underneath all my fleece.4) SPINACHI've been on a huge spinach kick lately. Spinach in my smoothies, my salads, my lasagna, and sometimes all by itself. Yummy!5) GROUP POWERI'm generally a run, bike, and swim kinda gal, with independent weight lifting thrown in there for good measure. But after my February slump and my overall winter blahs, I needed something to motivate me to work at the gym. Enter group power. Cardio, weight lifting, and a little dancing to classic rock all rolled into one. What's not to like?[...]

March Goals


March is funny: the past three days, everybody is talking about how "spring is coming." And technically, they are right. The first day of spring is on March 22, and daylight savings time is this coming Sunday. Technically, they ARE right.

But in reality, this is New England. No matter what the calendar says, step outside and its winter. Every single year, during the April snowstorm, everybody acts as if it's some kind of natural disaster. Like we didn't have a snowstorm last April. Or we won't have one next April. We will. It's New England. Spring comes in May.

Regardless, I still feel like March is the month to get moving! After the February slump, it's time to do double time to be prepared for race season (or hiking season, as it were). March is the month to really set some goals!


1) Make the move. Preferably somewhere south. Where spring comes in April.

2) Exercise daily. And get my butt back in the pool. I've been slacking on swimming!

3) Pick a big race and register already! I tend to be very deadline motivated. No deadline, no motivation!

4) Take the downsizing up a notch: sell off the furniture.

5) And speaking of hard to get rid of stuff: 6 more books read and given away.

6) Eliminate the junk food. Did I mention I've been eating not only comfort food but junk? A lot of it. I got some healthy snacks and a bunch of snack sized zip locks to carry them in. (I seriously need to buy stock in Zip Lock!) Now to implement!

7) Another girl's nite!

8) Get taxes done!

9) Complete online class

10) One long snowy hike!

February Goals


On February 28th, every year, I have the exact same thought: "Wow. February is the shortest month, but it seems like the longest month." It's like groundhog day 26 days later.February is the absolute hardest month in terms of motivation for me. The newness of the January 1st resolutions have worn off, but the summer is too far away to have any real effect. Plus, it's cold. Really really cold. And snowy.I've shoveled more times this February than I care to count. (and we are supposed to get another foot on Sunday night)  *sigh* That's what February does to me. Even on an Olympic year.So basically, this is just a very long winded way of saying - My February Goals? are a complete fail.FEBRUARY GOALS1) 28 day HIIT  plan plus cardio: Ok, I'm gonna give this half credit. Because guess what? HIIT every day for 28 days is not a good idea. I know this intellectually. But as with all of my ill-founded ideas, it started with my getting all psyched up and not knowing where to draw the line. 28 days of HIIT is over the line. As is replicating a professional free style snowboarder's workout routine (also a HIIT program). The end result? Injury.The upside? This unfortunate incident put me back in the slow, form-driven weight lifting mindset. I really really like lifting weights when my mind isn't all crowded with tabatta and HIIT and multi-plane functional movement exercises. Sometimes (for instance post injury) you just have to execute a no-nonsense weight program and some sensible cardio to get you past the February hump. And cut yourself some slack for calling an hour of shoveling snow "good enough for today's workout."2) 1 new recipe per week: Again, half credit. I made two yummy delicious soups I found on Pinterest. Big ol' pot of soup on Sunday, freeze and eat many times over. However, sometimes life throws you a curveball that can upset even something as wholesome as Sunday cooking.(Ever have a roommate who freaks out if you cook with garlic?) Yeah. Well, luckily my plan is to move soon.3) Continue Downsizing One Thing per Day: Still doing it, still oddly fun. A few years ago I did this same challenge and posted each day what I got rid of. Really didn't feel motivated to do that this time around. There are a lot of organizational blogs out there that can make the description of cleaning out a sock drawer actually entertaining. I fear that as much as I enjoy clearing out my space, I'm not obsessed enough to make others join in my reindeer games. But I did make a lot of trips to the thrift store.4) Secure Travel Job for March or April: Licenses? Check. Applications in? Check. Response? blank. I'm still waiting. That's okay. That's what February is for. Waiting.5) Go skiing 2x this month: Epic fail. Not at all. I did go cross country skiing with my friend and got a taste of not only skiing myself but assisting with cross country sit-skiing. (she has a spinal cord injury) Do I count this as skiing? No. That wasn't my goal. But it was my reality.6) Get cute Valentine's Day gifts for the nieces and nephews. Check. They really loved the gifts. And I got this out of the deal:7) Read (and get rid of) 6 Books.  Read 5 1/2 books. Got rid of 5. Not too shabby.8) Take off some of the weight I put back on: Ok, I was going for 6 pounds, I got rid of 2. But considering that it's February, I'll take it!9) Post 23 times this month: Um, THAT didn't happen. Can I blame the Olympics?10) Girl's nite out with J and S: Change that to girl[...]

To Russia with Love


The Olympics are officially over and they have left me with an unexpected side effect. (No, not my injury. Or my other injury. Those were pretty much expected.) As the closing ceremonies ended, I realized that much to my surprise, I had fallen in love with Russia.It hasn't always been like this between me and Russia. Far from it. In my life goal to visit every country on earth, Russia didn't even make it to the top ten. Though that's not Russia's fault. With countries like France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland to contend with, Russia just didn't stand a chance. It was like Jason Brown -- wonderful in his own right, but never seriously in medal contention.Russia isn't a popular surfing or yoga destination like Costa Rica or Bali. Russia isn't known for its rollicking parties like Brazil. On line travel agencies don't send me emails enticing me to climb Mt. Elbrus. (But oh, Kilimanjaro, someday you will be mine!) And on my one and only trip to a Russian restaurant left me thinking "Clearly the growing season in Russia is very short."In my formative years, Russia wasn't even Russia. It was the very scary and very dangerous Soviet Union! The Red Empire. The dark side of the force. The cauldron of bubbling scorn that hid behind the iron curtain. Or so I was told by the media and since I hadn't yet been forced to read George Orwell is school, I believed every bit of it. Russia was scary. I wouldn't go there if you forced me.Yet even if I didn't go there, I still wasn't safe. Russians were always pretty good at Biathlon. So all they had to do was strap on some skis and a backpack full of weapons. Then it would just be a short jaunt from Siberia across the frozen Bering Straight, past Sarah Palin's house, and south through British Columbia. Those evil Ruskies could invade at any time!Fortunately, it would only take a high school football team lead by Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen to defeat a legion of Russian spies, but still! That's scary stuff. (Plus, Boris and Natasha were virtually uncatchable)  Even by a championship team like the Wolverines!Of course, since the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, "the crazies who hate us because of our freedom" sort of leapfrogged for a while….Japan, China, France, India….before settling down on the Arabs. Or the Muslims. Or Arabs who are Muslim. And also people who are neither Arab nor Muslim, but live in countries that end in -istan.Whatever. The point is, Russia was pretty much forgotten.And then came Sochi. And suddenly, thanks to an exquisite opening ceremony and a moving closing ceremony, I no longer think "Russia: cold, gray, drab." I think "Russia: ballet, literature, art. Tolstoy, Chekov, Tchaikovsky, Chagall. Classic, beautiful, graceful, understated." Russia now has me feeling those romantic stirrings in my heart  feet. I have that familiar desire to walk along foreign streets, amongst the achingly beautiful architecture: St. Isaac's Cathedral, the State Historical Museum, Kremlin Palace, Smolny Convent. I want to experience the wonderful art and and culture that was hidden for so long behind a veil of sameness. I want to know the history of this country and these people once so grand, and then subdued, and once again -- with such great potential. And such pride. I now think "Russian: such a proud country." So congratulations Russia! You hosted a successful Olympics. You topped the medal count. And you made [...]

Olympic Injuries


The Olympics are currently in full swing, which in my world means one thing for sure: I am injured. Whenever the Olympics are on, I hurt myself.

It's not my fault! Ok, it is my fault. I have been trying for years to figure out how to blame the athletes, the announcers, the network, and the commercials. But the truth is, I have nobody to blame but myself.

It's always been this way for me. From the time I was just a little Jeepgirl, riding down the basement stairs in a plastic sled with my brothers until just last week when I tried to duplicate a training plan outlined in alluring videoclips on a commercial for an official-Olympic-sponsor, I watch the medals ceremonies with a package of frozen peas on some body part.

It always starts with the same sentence: "Hey! I bet I could do that!" The reality is quite different. I cannot do that.

Those darn Olympians, they make it look so easy! All those world class athletes who train for 6 to 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, for years on end are very well conditioned. Not only can they perform super-human feats, but they can do so smoothly and in control. Even the wipe-outs look choreographed and well orchestrated. I can't help but stare at the TV screen as the replay is superimposed over the live image of a medic sledding some Norwegian down the mountain and say "I could do that! I know I could!"

If the action in question was writhing in pain while being carted to the medical tent, I'd be right. Otherwise, not so much.

One year, after watching Evgeni Plushenko doing a warm up, I practically tore my rectus abdonimus right out of my body! I spent the next 5 days walking around like Quasimoto. (and that was just his warm up!) Another year, after seeing a training video of Apolo Ohno, I strained my medial collateral ligament and my knee swelled up like a softball. This year, it was Jamie Anderson and my rotator cuff tendon. I should know better by now! Yet somehow,  I don't.

OH! Then there's the summer Olympics. Don't even get me started on the training techniques of Bella Karolyi and their effects on my body throughout the years!

Every once in a while, though; every one in a  GREAT while….I pull something off. That's what keeps me trying. I'm looking for that elusive athletic feat, accomplishment, trick that  is-- in fact -- just a trick. Sometimes something that looks spectacular  is in reality not all that spectacular.

The summer I was 12, my best friend and I spent countless hours standing on the top rail of the swing set and executing the Olga Korbut flip. Successfully. It was actually way easier than it looked! (Way less dangerous than indoor bobsledding.)

Of course, that was when I was 12. Today, as I sit watching snowboard cross with frozen vegetables on my shoulder, I am making a vow NOT to climb the nearest swing set in 2016.  It may not be that easy now. And I'm sure Olga Korbut has been blamed for enough concussions already.