1. indelibleimprint:

    Audubon aquarium and insectarium. Do you see the harry potter spider? Actually not venomous. The jellyfish and moths were my favorite - Niki has a tattoo of the middle moth, so jelly. And a butterfly tried to make it’s home in Waylon’s backpack. Good times.

    Fun with Jo and Jamin at the New Orleans Aquarium and Insectarium! My favorite part was definitely the Japanese Gardens / butterfly room!

     
  2. I stayed the night in Rawlins, Wyoming last night. The snow was getting pretty intense, and I was fatigued. I awoke this morning to the news that I80E was closed until Cheyenne, so I had to find an alternate route. I took these pics along that detour, and it made me happy in the end that I had to take the long way around. I want to spend more time in Wyoming, because there is a lot of beautiful country there!

     

  3. Vacation as Struggle

    When I posted to facebook about the icy/snowy/windy conditions of my travel, my aunt, with good intentions, said I should go somewhere warm. I totally understand what she is saying. My mom was saying something similar: “but do you have to do the trip in February?” That is the archetypical vacation, right? Go to a beach and relax. Read a fiction novel and get a tan. 

    In a word, escape

    I didn’t, and won’t, respond to my aunt. I am not trying to change anyone’s ideas about vacation. It can be for you whatever you want it to be.

    This time around I wanted my vacation to be a challenge. Doing a road trip is already challenging. It requires sitting in a car for long periods of time, finding something to do with your mind that allows you not to be overwhelmed by boredom. Compounding on that some extreme weather and you are pretty much guaranteed some challenges.

    One thing I have come to understand about myself is that I like challenges. I had fun preparing for the trip. I wanted to see how much I would be able to plan for, and how much would take me by surprise. I most definitely was surprised by the extremity of the weather. I have had to be extremely attentive while driving, because the ice and snow and wind have been very intense.

    These things don’t bum me out though. I’m having fun. It’s just a different kind of trip. Life is all about challenges. I think vacation is just about navigating a new set of challenges.

     
  4. Northern Utah, covered in snow.

     

  5. I woke up in Twin Falls, Idaho, where snow was falling persistently. I thanked my former self for having the foresight to pack winter gloves and boots. 

    But you never know where your challenges are going to come from. My iPhone stopped being able to charge, and after spending a few hours this morning trying to figure that out, I ended up at the local Sprint Store (where, I should add, customer service was top notch) cashing in on my eligible hardware upgrade.

    After the relative chaos this morning I am at a local coffee shop, sipping a tea/matte mixture called “Zen”, restoring both my iPhone and sense of equanimity.

    I’m just about ready to embark on day 2 of this adventure.

     
  6. On my way to Twin Falls I kept hearing this song in my head!

     
     

  7. On The Road

    I just finished day 1 of a 13 day road trip. I started in Portland, OR, and am going to be hitting several spots in this ice-laden country! Tonight I’m in Twin Falls, ID, and tomorrow I’m going to Cheyenne, WY. From there it’s Kansas City -> Birmingham, AL -> Baton Rouge, LA -> Austin, TX -> Albuquerque, NM -> Salt Lake City, UT -> Klamath Falls, OR -> Portland, OR.

    I’m going to post to tumblr because I’ll be seeing some friends who are tumblrites and I want to keep them in the loop as my journey continues!

     

  8. When I get home I am changed into my pajamas within 1-3 minutes, depending on how badly I have to pee.

     

  9. The Holiday Anxiety Line

    I’m feeling it, and I see other people are feeling it. The holidays, with their mixed bag of joy and anxiety, are upon us in full force! What to do? Crawl in a hole and cry ourselves to sleep, rocking back and forth in a fetal position? Well, hopefully not.

    Things started good. I was in the spirit, brainstorming on things I could get/make for others — having fun with the process. It actually feels really great to consciously think of ways to make other people in your life happy! But then something changed. I began feeling behind, like I didn’t have enough time in the day. I got into that zone that I think people can relate to, where you are feeling highly anxious because you have overextended yourself — stretching past an already full plate. The feeling was becoming overwhelming, bringing up all of those feelings of failure and inadequacy, leaving me feeling like shit.

    I had a great appointment with my counselor yesterday where I basically fell apart and then came back together again. Upon reassembly, I realized that all of this pressure I was putting on myself was a choice. And I’m choosing to say “Eff you” to the anxiety and etc!

    The way I see it, I made it as far as I’m going to make it this holiday season. At this point, if I made or bought something for you before I crossed the anxiety line, then you will get something from me. However, if you are on the other side of that line, I refuse to beat myself up trying to cram it all in. Nobody really wants something that came from negativity, right? I think that point gets lost in the holiday season.

    My goal is to start the process earlier next year, trying to do all of the brainstorming, etc, when it is fun — before I hit that anxiety line. That will mean more joy for me and for the other people in my life.

    [This post can also be taken as a preemptive apology :P]

     

  10. Carve yourself out of stone.

    todayievolve:

    You are your own masterpiece waiting to happen. You have more power than you know. The world around you may seem like stone sometimes. What can you really do to change the world? What can you do to even change yourself? People seem to be “the way they are” and situations feel insurmountable. This is not the case. The stone is only in your mind. And your mind can change. Do not let your days pass by. Find meaning in every day, find new wisdom in every moment, and carve yourself out of the stone.

    "When you drink your coffee as if it is the most important act in the world, savoring the flavor as it flows over your tongue, you are practicing." - Vernon Kitabu Turner

    You know what is important to you and you know what you love, so radiate it. Do not fear mistakes and do not fear possibilities. Whatever you’ve done today, reflect on it (honestly). Did you make yourself proud today? When you decide to live the path of a warrior within your mind, you decide not to give up on yourself. You decide to be a beautiful, strong person in whatever way you desire. Don’t settle. Make every day a new adventure. Take the stone that you see before you and reach out to touch it. You’ll find that it’s not stone after all, it is clay. You can scrape away at anger and replace it with calm. You can reshape everything you have been told to settle for over the years and prove to yourself once and for all that you are more than a trembling cog in a giant machine. You are no cog. You are no stone. You are a gem in a beautiful mosaic.

    I was just reflecting on this today, or some aspects of it. There are a few things at play here. In one way, it is good to see ourselves, our perspectives, our relationship with the world as an evolving medium, like clay. But one of my bigger issues is holding onto who I am within my relationships with people and the world. In that sense, I want to be more like the stone, and less like the clay, for fear of losing the “me” in these relationships.