Saturday, May 20, 2023

One Way to Get a Helicopter Ride

Last week my husband and I joined 2 leaders and 7 other hikers on a four day hike of the Grand Canyon. We were prepared, we'd hiked a bunch to get ready, tested all our gear and made adjustments, we consulted frequently with our Appalachian Trail-hiking son, the weather was glorious, and we were excited! We spent most of the day like class nerds, right behind the group leader, asking lots about the trail ahead.

And then it all went wrong. I went from hiking on the trail to face down, like I had been picked up and thrown down by some unseen force. I had an alarming cut on my forehead and my wrist was in bad shape - my watchband was quickly becoming a tourniquet. How could this happen? I was doing everything right - I fell forward on the established trail. I knew right away that our dream hike was now over and kept repeating "I'm so sorry" to my husband. 

And then everything went right. The hiker from Alaska who was especially feeling the Arizona heat found a flat spot in the shade for me and kept handing me water to drink. The quiet Californian who earlier had said he was retired "from public health" was actually a doctor and dug stuff out of his pack and the various first aid kits to patch me up. The hike leaders and my husband pooled resources to get word to the National Park Service to get me out. My gear got divvied up amongst the other hikers and amazingly, everyone was completely calm. A plan came together to continue to the camping area where we'd be met by a helicopter. 

The helicopter crew was completely badass, and made room for Greg and our gear, solving so many problems for us. The closest ER was in Flagstaff, a 90 minute ambulance ride (another first). It turns out, when you arrive by ambulance, you get a lot of immediate attention, and I was treated well.

It's very rare to see your loved ones respond to a crisis, when you are the actual crisis, and I am incredibly thankful for Greg, Emma and Mike. Funny (now) side story - when we hit the SOS button on our GPS tracker, they called the house to confirm it was an actual emergency and Mike answered. He got minimal info other than an accident had happened. He kept his cool, provided what he could to help, then called Emma to confer. We had spent a lot of time talking through what to do if something happened to our 14 year old pup Layla, not realizing this plan worked for other crises. We made contact once back at the South Rim and had cell service.

By the way, taking our GPS was last minute decision - a "we have it, why not use it" kinda deal (we knew the trek leaders had a satellite phone) but it ended up being the most direct way to get help. We're never leaving it behind now.

We will return to the Grand Canyon, for sure, this can't be the end of our story. 

But not this specific trail, I'm good :-)

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Eat the Frog First

I heard this on Glennon Doyle's We Can Do Hard Things podcast. The episode was Life Hacks: Strategies to Suffer Less. I don't remember much from the episode, other than this sage advice.

What does this mean? 

When you start your day, pick the one thing you are dreading the most, and do it first. It's not a productivity thing, but a removing dread from your day thing. It doesn't mean on Monday eat all the frogs. It doesn't eat 365 frogs today. Just the one that you are dreading. By eating the frog first, you remove yourself from the dread that comes with it. You can finish the rest of your day lighter and happier.

It's something I NEED TO DO on the daily, and haven't been great at lately. Procrastination feels so much better at first - but not at the end of the day - right?


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

I'm Not the Last

Happy International Women's Day!

I saw a great interview on the Today show with Captain Janet Days, the first African American female commander of Naval Station Norfolk. Man is she impressive! In the interview, she was asked, "What does it mean to be the first?"

Her answer: "It means that I am not the last."

Amen sister!


Monday, January 23, 2023

It's All Good


I guess collecting awesome mantras I what I am all about these days. What can I say - I love words. When someone puts them together in a way that makes me think, I want to share with everyone.

These sage words are from Stacy London, queen icon of favorite show What Not to Wear in a recent Fast Company article, "Stacy London's Post-Pandemic Pivot Was Inspired By a Mistake She Made.

I'll bottom line it for you: her mistake was staying in a job too long because it was comfortable, and it took getting fired to get to a place that was actually right for her.

Here's the kicker, the advice that my younger self needed: "We cannot look at life as this trajectory where you choose one career path and then you’re stuck. I’m going into my fifth career. That does not mean that I was not successful in the other four, it means that I am allowing myself to evolve to what gives me meaning and purpose and a reason to get up every morning...If you play it safe because you’re uncomfortable with change, you will never know what else you are capable of."

This sounds impossible for someone in the military, who often receive a one sheet "career pyramid" when they are a lieutenant (do THIS and you will have a successful career). The secret they don't tell you is that there's far more wiggle room than you think. 

Friday, January 13, 2023


This quote is from a Wall Street Journal article, "Some Days, Having It All Means It All Falls Apart." 

"Shouldering many roles, from dad to dog owner to team leader, makes us happier, says Yael Schonbrun, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Brown University, though it can also make some situations harder. 'When we have a life that has a lot of meaning and purpose, it's often quite uncomfortable,' she says."

Funny that the quote says "dad" even though all of the examples in the article were of women.  But I digress. The article's steps to take when messiness happens were on point:

1. Pause. Take three breaths.

2. Reach out to a peer first (so you are not constantly bringing crises to your boss); then bring your boss some possible solutions.

3. Try and find the silver lining.

What's hard in the moment is feeling like you are the only one that doesn't have their shit together. I wish I had figured out when I was much younger that I wasn't the only one on the struggle bus from time to time. 

I can certainly appreciate now how often a shared eye roll, a kind word, or a helping hand made all the difference -- fellow moms and battle buddies that provided invaluable support. Not to discount my awesome husband, but sometimes we needed more than the two of us to keep the plates spinning. That's what makes those messy times good stories to laugh about now.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Holiday Mantra

Yesterday I came home from Costco with a carton of 90 eggs. Did I need 90 eggs? Eventually, but not right now. They had either the 90 eggs package or nothing. Could I have made another stop at the grocery to get a "regular" amount of eggs? 100%. Why didn't I? Because my new and improved holiday (and soon to be 2023) mantra:

Don't Over Think It

We'll use the eggs, and I saved myself a stop at another chaotic location - a grocery store right before Christmas and a pending massive winter storm. 

For the record, I tend to over think (and re-think) EVERYTHING. It's the #1 thing I would like to change about myself. I'm not advocating abandoning common sense and other rules and regulations that keep the chaos relatively in check. I just want to reduce the "dither" and not constantly review the past for ways I should have done it better. 

Does it work right now with the information you have? Yes? Then do it. Done.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Beauty Advice I Can Get Behind

I did not say this. I have a beauty routine. My routine is getting sucked into Instagram ads and their ridiculous promises, which then floods my feed with even more ads, and buying whatever "no more wrinkles ever" face lotion catches my eye at Costco.

The entire quote is "I do not have a beauty routine. My life is too inconsistent and I have authority issues. Life changes. We change. That's OK. We don't have to be so strict about things."

Who said it? Can you guess?

Jared Leto. 

Bet you didn't guess that. 

To be honest I think he's a bit of a weirdo (See: accent he used in House of Gucci and also every red carpet appearance since then). But I do agree with this sentiment. We don't have to be so strict about any kind of routine thing.

Last March I decided, after going to an Anne Lamott reading, where she extolled the virtues of pen and paper over writing on a computer, to start a daily journal. I've always thought those that journaled daily for a lifetime were sooooo cool. Consistency when establishing a habit is tough for me, so this would be a good challenge on a couple fronts. I've been pretty good, but lately it has been more of an every-three-days habit of journalling. Gah! 

This goofy quote was a great reminder to not be so strict sometimes. I am still writing more days than I am not. Giving myself a little leeway is a good idea, especially because being strict is the best way to abandon things altogether. 

Side note - did you know Jared Leto played Jordan Catalano on "My So Called Life?" Mind. Blown.