Arizona

Like all good things it went by too fast. Our trip to Arizona was a 3 day whirlwind, filled with new experiences, new people and a whole Lotta fun. As much as we did and as far as we drove each day I felt energized and excited and immensely happy.

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My favorite place we went was Tombstone. Tombstone was rich with history and excitement, and we learned so much as we took many tours of the one, including one that was in the ‘Good enough mine’. I was surprised by how much fun we had especially when we drove through the town and I thought my boyfriend had gone crazy. By first appearances it didn’t look like much. Much more broken down than I had expected. I expected a revamped old town much like Old Town Sacramento and at first I was disappointed. But once we took the tours and walked around the town I realized how brilliant they were to leave the town as original as possible. Almost everything was historical or darn near original and we spent a good eight hours that day until everything but the bars had closed down.

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I fell in love with Arizona that trip. Granted it was the beginning of October and the rain had just passed so the weather was more than perfect the whole time we were there. So I don’t really know how I would feel in the middle of summer with the heat beating down but what I saw I liked. Western style everywhere and people proud of where they live. Horse country was just about everywhere even in some of the city limits. It was somewhere I could seriously consider living and believe me I have sense that trip.

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Coming back into California I thought about how I could just keep driving and traveling farther and farther away from California instead of coming back into it. It wasn’t long before we were met by the smog that fills up central and southern California. I just wanted to turn back to the blue skies of Arizona which were especially blue because of the week long rain they got right before we got there.

And did I mention the cacti? There was a ton of it! I kind of have a thing for it and seeing it everywhere was amazing for someone coming out of central valley, California.

However, the closer we came to home the more I knew I missed my dogs and horses and little home in the country. For all the longing I had to keep traveling it felt good to come home. Sometimes I just wonder where else home could be. Could it be in Texas? Idaho? Nevada? Or maybe it

Trash to Treasure

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Working at a trash transfer center can be very challenging. Yes, it can be very demanding and very busy and my God was the initial training process brutal but that’s not what I’m talking about.

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$4 Nightstand cleaned and painted.

Nope, I’m talking about seeing people bring in old furniture, paintings and or just other interesting items that are in fantastic shape and dumping them in the trash. I’ll tell you sometimes it just kills me to see the gems people just throw out everyday. I see a new life for it (and sometimes I want it) and maybe I’ve seen way too many hgtv shows like rehab addict, junk gypsies and flea market flip, but I want to give everything a second chance. (Unfortunately there’s a no salvaging rule here.)

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An old nightstand stripped, sanded and painted white to pop in my living room.

I’m one of those people who are simply addicted to rehabbing junk. I love taking some furniture, a picture frame or whatever catches my eye and seeing it transform with a coat of paint. Sometimes it takes a little more than that, sometimes it’s something that has been broken but is still very fixable. I guess I love a project. I love going to thrift stores and seeing clothing, furniture and other every day items or décor and giving them a new life.

My current obsession is learning to sew and already I have altered a couple of clothing items to fit me. One was just hemming a pair of jeans because they were about seven inches too long but the other was a men’s collared shirt I made some alterations to in order to transform it into a cute little button down with rolled up sleeves sewn in place and a tie up bottom to create somewhat of a crop top that I could wear with high waisted shorts for the summer.

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A heart made out of old shotgun shells that now hangs proudly on my kitchen wall.

I am constantly shocked that everyone doesn’t do this. All you need a little vision of what it could be and sometimes it’s just a matter of liking something but hating the color and these little things are such an easy fix. You save so much money and it’s shocking more people don’t jump on this band wagon.

 

 

 

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This frame now has a new way of displaying memories

Although I suppose I understand. Once I started earning more money I realized I could buy things that cost more than five bucks so I did buy some things that I actually didn’t have to rehab. Looking back I don’t regret it, sometimes you have to splurge and get things that you may not be able to find at an antique or thrift store.

That being said, I’m back to my roots and I’ve found some new thrift stores and I bought a new sewing machine so hey, if I could save myself hundreds of dollars on clothes then I’ll do it in a heartbeat. To me it’s absolutely worth all the labor and time put into it to make it something I love.

Everything you see for under $20! Score!

Maybe I’m really just addicted to saving money. I’m going to brag for a moment and say I bought six tops for under fifteen dollars and I’ve bought furniture for about the same price, saving me a ton of money by just painting it or adding new stain or altering a piece of clothing to fit.

I think that’s pretty incredible and in an economy where everything seems to just keep going up it’s reassuring to know I can simply turn something from trash to treasure with a little elbow grease and a few crafting tools. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t do the same. But I guess to each their own and by the way… that leaves more for me.

Words in Numbers

words-in-numbersI remember when I was in junior high and if you got in trouble for one reason or another the teacher would sit you down and have you write 200 words on why you were in trouble and what you have learned from it. If for some reason you couldn’t do gym class you would sit down and write about a topic or your thoughts on gym class. If you just read a book in class they would have you sit down and write so many hundreds of words about what you just read, what it was about, what your thoughts are on it, what have you learned and why you thought the author wrote it.

As a kid having writing used as a punishment (as we all then viewed it who attendant school at SRM) made me feel like writing wasn’t very fun and in some ways back then turned me into a lazy writer whenever I had to write about something that I wasn’t into. I remember me and whoever else would sit with me at various times would sit and write out half and page and sit there counting the number of words until we reached 200. Little did we know back then that that only slowed us down as we often had to count and recount again and again until we were done.

We never realized it until one irritated gym teacher told us to “Just fill up the page front and back, that’s about 200 words.” Well that got us excited and I remembered all of us taking much less time after that to fill our pages rather than counting and counting the words rather worrying about the number of words we just wrote than the quality of the words we had just written.

If I had one of those papers left over today I would probably see choppy sentences, reappearances of the word ‘really’ and ‘very’ and a lot of disconnected thoughts, jumbled together in order to finish the assignment as quickly as I possibly could. Because who really wanted to write an essay on football?

Other times I would really try to dig into a subject like literature, when we would analyze a story we just read. However, I would always think to myself why we had to analyze a story so closely. Everyone had a different opinion on it anyway and apparently no one was wrong because it was all opinion based. It frustrated me because as a kid I didn’t understand the importance of discussion all I knew was I just read a story I did or did not enjoy and either I liked it and felt it was being ruined by being over analyzed or I hated it and I just wanted to move on with my life.

Again writing was such a chore and I didn’t realized the real joy of writing aside from my occasional diary use. That probably came to me around high school when I learned about words not in terms of numbers but in terms of feeling and meaning and sending a message and telling a story. I always loved reading ever sense I could remember but writing never seemed as fun. Writing was for school assignments and punishment. Reading had always been fun.

High school changed everything. Yes we still wrote for assignments, but now it was counted in pages not number of words and we got to write stories and be graded on quality and creativity. We got to brainstorm and writing was fun, really fun for the first time. That’s when I started writing stories and songs and poetry. I did a little of that in junior high on my own time but it kicked into another gear my freshman year of high school. Suddenly I didn’t see words in terms of numbers I saw them for what they (in my opinion) were always meant to be… art, expression, communication and one of the few things that seems to give me complete peace of mind. It’s something I can always count on.

Unreasonable Guilt

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guilt_carry-manLogically it’s pretty absurd to feel guilty over things you can’t do anything about. And though we know this we can’t help but feel a responsibility for them and so we keep trying feeling guilty when we can’t fix the problem.

For some people maybe you have a self destructive friend or family member who seems to always make the wrong decisions and no matter how hard you try to be the voice of reason and help them out and make better choices they continue to do the thing that is bringing them so much unhappiness. Sometimes we even feel guilty about things that have happened to us and aren’t our fault. I can’t tell you how many times a man has been inappropriate with me and sometimes I have even wondered “Is it something that I did? Did I send the wrong message?” I have learned over the years that you can’t help people who won’t help themselves and some men are pigs and that is not your fault but sometimes there are still some situations that you wish you could make better and you just have no control at that time.

In my case my old mare developed a pretty bad case of thrush from all the rain we’ve finally been getting in California. For those that don’t know thrush is basically an infection in the hoof that happens when they are in too much mud or moisture for too long. So even though I called the vet and she’s been treated she’s been in pain the past couple of days and I’ve been feeling guilty. Guilty that I didn’t catch this sooner, guilty that she has to heal while dealing with more rainy weather and especially guilty that we don’t have a proper shelter for her. We haven’t had rain out here for years and so tree shelter has always been plenty. However, even if I wanted to build a shelter I can’t. I keep the horses on my parents property and my dad, being the traditional dairyman that he is, believes that the horses don’t make us money and so we shouldn’t spend money on them. Absurd reasoning for someone like me who has always loved horses and find value in them that could not possibly be measured.

However, that is the sad fact and if I want to get my mare into a dryer place I’m going to have to board her and I’m going to have to pay. I would much rather pay for a couple stalls or covers but my dad had a fit when I even bought the panels for her. It’s amazing to me how little freedom I have with my  parents, even when it’s my own money. So what do I have to feel guilty about? It’s out of my hands until I have my own property for my own horses. Unfortunately, I still care and worry about it all the time so until I have more control in my own life I’ll continue to feel guilty for the things I cannot change.

Before My Sand Runs Out

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hourglassI was a small child and had a large fascination with hourglasses. I remember going to my sister’s gymnastics class with my mom to wait for her to finish but I didn’t mind because there was a toy hourglass there. I would flip it up and down until the sand would run out and then I would flip it again to watch the sand run out all over again. I did this repeatedly and somehow never grew tired of it. If there was an hourglass around I would watch the sand fall down and run out over and over again.

As an adult I wonder if it was the fascination with the time running out that drew me to the hourglass. I remember becoming sad when the sand was about to run out and becoming happy again when I could flip it over and start again. But life has no redo button, I can’t flip it over and start again. Perhaps that’s why running out of time can send me into a panic. Why I’m always worried about growing too old to do something or worried about not doing enough in my life before my sand runs out. I worry that if I don’t accomplish certain things in the time I think it should take it will never be done and I will have missed my chance.

These and other worries I’m sure I share with many other people. It can be a terrifying thought to think you will go before you have succeeded at building and prosperous and meaningful life for yourself. But maybe that’s why it’s so important that in the end our sand does run out. Because death is what gives our life meaning and importance and why we strive so hard for a good life. If our sand never ran out there would be no point in life except to exist. Life would be dull and we would probably have no path, no directions, no goals, no dreams. I suppose it could be like running a race. The race is pointless if it has no end.

And if I think about it this way, I believe in life after death so maybe in that way, I’ll just be flipping my hourglass over to start again.

Z is for “Zigzag”

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imagesGrowing up I think most of us imagined a steady incline up towards our future, we just keep moving along this straight line that leads us towards our future. Reality is that it’s more of a zigzag with ups and downs and we never know what is next. Like the stock market one minute we’re up and the next we can crash to an all time low. But that’s life.

More times than I could count I thought I was going up and up and life threw me a curveball and knocked me down. Then there were times where all I thought I was going was down and how could I possibly get back up. But somehow it happened. You shouldn’t get too discouraged when you get thrown off your path in life. Roads aren’t always straight, mountains aren’t flat and sometimes to climb the highest one you have to climb up and down the smaller ones first.

Highs and lows are what make life so special, highs feel great but without experiencing the lows we could never appreciate the good times and we don’t learn. We learn how to deal with the lows and how to appreciate the highs. We revel in the successes and hopefully learn to stay strong during the bad times, knowing that they don’t last forever and it’s just the zigzags that make life interesting.

Y is for “Yellow”

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southern-cornbread-square-1200“Yellow, Yellow!” my two year old nephew proclaims. He’s so excited about his colors and points out each one. It makes me realize what a blessing children truly are. After a certain age you don’t often see the little details that make up the bigger picture. I forgot that cornbread is yellow and soft because I don’t think of it being more than simply cornbread. So many times I just look at something and see what it is, I don’t often think about why it is what it is or how it got to be there, but children do.

They are experiencing things for the first time and everything is new and wonderful. Everything is a discovery and exciting. If only we got excited about the little things. If only we could get excited about some of the big things for that matter. So many times I realize that I don’t get excited about much anymore and for that perhaps I only have myself to blame. We all have our cell phones and our technology where we can get instant gratification in the way we receive entertainment, news, gossip and games. I remember getting excited about getting to play a game or talk to my friend the next day at school. Maybe it’s because I had to wait so when I finally got what I wanted it was exciting. Today we are rarely or never bored, we have everything we need at our fingertips. Perhaps that’s why we are getting harder and harder to please.

I also dont always see whats around me because I am looking for a distraction from my phone because waiting in the starbucks line is boring. But maybe it isn’t every once in a while I look up and I see people, some interacting and some interacting with their phone or computer. Are they happy or sad? Are they with family? What color is their shirt? I probably couldn’t tell you because I don’t see things like I used to. I look to see what kind of coffee I want to order and I think about all the things I have to do that day, that week, that month, that year. I think about how busy I am and how I don’t have time to slow down that day.

But right now I am sitting next to my nephew and he is showing me the colors of his blocks, red, blue and orange and he is laughing as hard as he can, showing me all the colors he sees. And as I give him a bite of his cornbread I think to myself that I will always remember his blocks are red, blue and orange and that the cornbread that he loves so much, is yellow.

X is for “X Chromesome”

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x-chromosomeBeing a girl naturally comes with challenges, periods and pregnancy alone. But what about day to day struggles?

I work in a job where sexist, good ol boys club, tobacco smoking, NASCAR racing, shameless flirts come to dump… garbage that is. I work in a scalehouse where I am on display in a window for 10 hours. I take weight, write tickets, assign decals, give information and the sort. My job can actually be pretty great but it can also be really stressful. Most people don’t know it’s a hard job so I just love it when men love to tell me that I have “the easy job”.

Along with all the other crap I get from men like,

“Who do you think you are? Next time you ask me, don’t tell me what to do”

“You’re sexiest when you’re rushing.”

“Hey pretty lady! How are you sweetheart?”

“I was going to ask you to dinner but I see you’re married and your husband probably wouldn’t like that.”

“Women are my weakness. I like pretty women too much.”

I also get to deal with those who love to complain about the price.

“That’s ridiculous! Next time I’m dumping on the side of the freeway.”

“It’s cheaper dumping in the country.”

“That’s highway robbery!”

“I was here yesterday and they didn’t charge me for my refrigerator. This is unbelievable!”

“I’ve been coming here for 20 years. I’ve never had to sign. You’re new, you’ll get the hang of it.”

Just doing my job here folks… For the past year. So what has this got to do with being a girl. Aside from the sexual harrassment when I’m trying to do my job, in contrast I’ve seen how people talk to and treat my male coworker, who also works in the scalehouse. One day I sat in with him on my day off and boy what a difference. People were calmer, even when they didn’t like the price they didn’t argue or question his authority. They paid attention and spoke to him with respect.

Unfortunately women are more judged by their looks then the job they are doing and the job they are doing is never good enough by certain men’s standards.

According to them I don’t work as hard as the men in the back, I sit there all day, I don’t know what hard work is and I need help lifting things.

They only see that I’m a girl. What they don’t see is I started getting up before the sun to go to work with my dad on my own when I was 8 years old. 15 minutes before he woke up because I could never find my second sock on time and if I wasn’t ready he had to go to work and he would gently say I could go back to bed. I would rush because I didn’t want to go back to bed. I wanted to be out on the dairy farm with my dad.

What they don’t know is I would get up at 4:30 every day for high school so I could catch the early morning train and watch the sunrise as it pulled into another town. They don’t know I worked my butt off between school and sports and graduating is one of the best days of my life; the best reward for my hard work.

What they don’t see is me hooking up the trailer, loading the tack room, catching and loading my horses, then driving to wherever I’m going and tacking them up and going. On my own.. without a man.

What they don’t see is me at my other job, loading up 50 pound bags of animal feed for customers, without a man and sometimes for a man.

But hey, girls are weak and lazy right?

I guess men just can’t get passed those double X chromosomes, or double D’s for that matter. But maybe one day we’ll get rid of that double standard too.

W is for “Wandering”

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“Not all who wander are lost.”

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The first time I wandered I felt like I had found myself. That was a year ago. Ever sense then I have tried my best to be a wanderer. I also tried to find places I could wander to. Finally I needed someone I could wander with.

My best friend has a little gypsy in her and she was the one who I took my first big girl trip with exactly a year ago. She truly is my inspiration for the person I want to get back to. But we live hours away and getting in touch with my soul mate isn’t always easy. But I think of her often and can almost feel her with me when I think of the many adventures I can’t wait to have.

My boyfriend is my rock and I can be my absolute self with him. We make plans and we’ve taken some trips together including another this October to Arizona. With our busy schedules it’s hard to get a full day together let alone plan a trip. Somehow we’re making it work and we plan to continue traveling.

In the meantime I try to think of all the places that are so nearby and yet I haven’t explored them yet. Where can I go next? What can I do?

I work two jobs so I can have extra money to save, because Lord knows gas alone isn’t cheap. So I continue to save money and make more plans so I can continue to do the things that make me happy.

Just this past week my dad, little sister and I went up to Springville just to look at a venue spot and seeing what every little town had to offer on the way there lifted my spirits. When we started to go past Springville into the mountains I felt my head soar with the possibilities. Seeing the gorgeous mountains with a high layer of fog skimming the tops made me feel exhilarated just looking at it. Unfortunately my little sister is a homebody and had a fit about wanting to go home. So as we turned around my heart sank again. But I know I will be wandering again soon.

V is for “Varicose Veins”

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Turning 26 has come with more growing pains and some varicose veins and dang do I get sick of it. Perhaps I’m overly paranoid and my quarter life crisis has kicked into third gear but I swear it’s all down hill from here. The clock is ticking, the sand is running out and I’m falling apart. Okay, now I know I’m over exaggerating.
I guess when you’re in your late 20’s you realize you’re not immortal, you’re not a kid and need to start acting like it and stressing out is a regular part of your day.

For me all I feel lately is the clock ticking. Time is running out to move up into a job that I can actually support myself in, save money for that house I want someday and getting married before I’ll have to edit out crows feet in the wedding album. Okay, there I go again. But my gosh it feels like everything is happening too fast. I realize now that I’ve lived a charmed and sheltered life and I am not prepared for adulthood. I feel like I’m stuck somewhere inbetween a woman and a child and right now I want my pacifier.

And money, forget about it. Trying to save seems like a fruitless effort. My savings is slowly slipping away. Taking care of myself and my animals is one thing but when did clothes get so expensive? These past two weeks I thought I had finally gotten ahead. I put $300 in savings, thinking this was a safe bet because I worked about 30 extra hours and my paycheck was pretty good. I gave myself about $150 and put some money in my college fund for classes and what was left was put into my checking. After using what was in my checking and cash, Tuesday morning I looked like I was going to be okay until Friday.

I was wrong.

Well first it was my horse having an allergic reaction to flies and having to go buy him some medicine and a new fly mask. So I transferred some money to my checking from my savings and made a decent little dent. Next I had a doctors appt with a copay of $15. Not bad so I thought I’d go to the mall to grab some makeup I’ve been needing. Little did I know it was inside of a JCpenny’s. So $20 later I was walking out when I saw some cute tops for fall and surely I will need new clothes for fall, I’ve lost over 20 pounds after all. I transferred some money to my checking and ended up buying six shirts. Almost $120 later I walked out with foolishly no buyers remorse.

Well I thought I was done until Wednesday I realized I should buy my horse some feed and buckets. $25 later I walk out with what I needed. Pretty much a bargain and she did need it after all. Thursday after shopping through my closet with my sister I realize, everything I once had for a nice occasion was all too large. Friday we had a charity dinner to go to and I had nothing to wear but shoes. Back to Penny’s we went.

I don’t remember how much I spent there, somewhere over $100, but I must’ve blocked it out because I also bought some makeup at Ulta earlier that day and as I sit here Friday morning, I wonder where all my money went. So now my savings is less than when I started. I still have my college money but that aside I’m pretty broke. I guess I’m tightening my belt a couple notches for next time.

Saving money is hard, getting older is harder. It doesn’t help when you wake up the day after your 26th birthday with dark circles you’ve never had before. Perhaps it was just lack of sleep or the worries of an old woman weighting on me… okay, I’ll stop. But seriously, it might be just me (and it probably is) but I swear, I’m seeing how my face has aged and where those inevitable wrinkles will most surely show up in the next several years. But I guess I shouldn’t worry about that now. After all there’s nothing we can do about the past or the future all we have is the present and I should probably learn how to appreciate that better.

At least I know I’m not the only one. Many people my age apparently feel this way. We talk about what we always thought we knew and how wrong we were. We now know that time is precious, There is no summer vacation (unless you’re a teacher), high heels aren’t always practical, money is tight and gravity is a b*tch.