Archives for category: 15 Minutes

1:05 p.m. Feb. 11:

I’m in a Facebook group right now that discusses mindful eating. Basically, pay attention to how you eat, how your body processes it, how you feel when you’re eating, WHY are you eating, etc.

Today’s challenge was to just sit down with a meal – do just that. Eat the meal, no multi-tasking, no reading, no working, no standing over a sink, no eating behind the wheel.

After a unusually cranky morning, I scrapped my plans to go running but decided a brisk walk would do me good, before the rain came this afternoon. Bonus – found a nice forested walking trail by my office, so that will be utilized often as the days get nicer. Even did a little trail jogging.

Then, I came back to my “Garbage Can Salad” – tossed whatever I had in the fridge this morning. Some kale/broccoli greens/cabbage/hardy greens, feta cheese, cubed and baked yam, shredded chicken, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and some homemade honey mustard dressing.

Instead of normally reaching for the newspapers that arrive daily in my office or checking Facebook, I decided I should try this mindful eating challenge. Kinda like a meditation on eating.

It was actually kind of hard.

Here’s how it went via the thought process:

I’ll take in this view from my office (I have practically floor to ceiling windows that look out on to a greenbelt and other office buildings)

I’m gonna prop my dirty trail shoes up on this desk and take it all in for the next 10 minutes.

Man, these greens REALLY need to be massaged with some oil and salt. They are just too rough for my liking. Maybe some lemon juice would do (which was sitting on a shelf behind me but I never reached for it).

Oh, this is a super dry salad – the dry greens and the store bought shredded chicken is really dry. Good thing I have feta and yam in here. But it could use some more dressing.

I should write something up about this in the group. No, I’ll do a 15 minutes blog! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of those.

The gold in the dead grass over there is actually quite pretty.

I think I see some mist.

Man, this salad IS really dry. Screw it. I’m going to go over the allotment and add a little more. (Goes to fridge, sprinkles some on, comes back).

*Pierces a huge chunk of salad with fork and shoves in mouth* OH that’s MUCH better.


Huh. This is kind of like meditating, I think. Focusing on one task at hand and doing nothing else. This is kind of hard. My brain is so flakey and wants to do this and this and that and this ….


But, I stuck it out and found myself thinking more and more about my salad and what was in it and briefly thinking about the “fullness” scale.

And then I took the last bite, thought to myself, “that was pretty damn good” and tossed it aside.

And that is 15 minutes.



I make a lot of excuses for everything. I know this. I’ve always known this. I’m actually a lot of talk and no action, contrary to what y’all think.

These ideas have been brought to my attention recently. On a deeper level. Don’t ask. Just go with it.

I woke up this morning with the uncomfortable feeling, like, yeah, get off your duff and actually do something. You ARE all talk and no action. I’ve been bitching for years about things I REALLY want to do and have I done them?

NO, because I am the QUEEN OF EXCUSES. Look at my past relations and jobs and extracurricular activities – why I can’t/don’t/shouldn’t get out of it, change it, do it.

F that.

I sat down with breakfast and a scrap piece of paper and a pen and scrawled across the top:

What makes me feel alive?


(Speaking of, at this moment, a Florence and the Machines song just came on KEXP. It’s not the song that reminds me of my trip to Australia in 2011, but this band had a song that came out around that time that was totally the theme of that trip. And that trip made me feeling so fucking alive.)



hiking/skiing uphill


good home cooked food

my favorite people


busy work

helping people


creating things with my hands


traveling and exploring



NOW, this list is all fine and good but HOW or WHAT am I going to do about each one.

Next to each item, I started writing out ideas:

Running – sign up for a trail run once a month. it costs money but whatever. Sign up early enough, it’s not as expensive. Every time I got off a trail run in 2014, it was the best feeling ever. Better than climbing, hiking, biking, swimming, whatever other sport i’ve tried.

hiking/skiing uphill – it’s winter, so it’s snow season, so I need to get my knee brace fitted which I’m doing next friday. YAY! Then I can cross country ski this year!

dogs – Don called me out last night on every excuse for not having a dog, as I’ve been moaning for years that I’ve wanted one. I essentially live in the equivalent of a big apartment (big indoor space, no fenced yard). Start researching good types of dogs for me – one who enjoys exercise and being worked but also knows how to chill.

good home cooked food – CHECK. ALL THE TIME.

my favorite people – who in my life makes me feel happy and real and myself. mentors and people i respect and look up to.

sunshine – continue to take 3,000 IUs of Vitamin D, go to the tanning beds or just fucking move.

busy work – i’m trying hard at work to do this while we’re in a slow season, as most my people are at their computers doing reports and data crunching, so field season is slow. time to plan long-term projects?

helping people – mountain rescue allows for this, but not enough. my job allows for this, but not enough. my career counseling last year shed light on working in a non-traditional teaching environment. Both my job and mountain rescue allow plenty of opportunities to do this. I need to sit down with a calendar and resources and do some research on how to incorporate this.

cleaning/organizing – i’m really good at this, no matter what it is. it just comes as required.

creating things with my hands – woodworking is the first thing that comes to mind. I just signed up for a free online four-day creative class. I would like to sit down and go through it, but see, I’m not creating an action plan here to make sure I follow through with it. I guess a bigger priority is the pile of fabric in my living room for two sets of pajama pants, three quilts, a dress and lots of mending …

music – most of the time, KEXP. Also, I have a ukelele and a guitar in my living room. In their cases. Someone told me to buy music stands so they’ll sit out and I’ll pick them up more. I need to buy two music stands. Cheap.

traveling and exploring – this takes planning. I see on Facebook (yes, the Facebook syndrome) all the trips and ideas and think, man, I need to plan some trips. Yes, I know I just went to Ireland (which was amazing) but wanderlust is getting to me again. I WILL BLOCK OUT THAT LAST WEEK OF MARCH FOR MY WEEKLONG ROAD TRIP FROM CALIFORNIA TO WASHINGTON DAMNIT. I’VE BEEN WANTING TO DO THAT TRIP FOR SIX YEARS NOW.

Gardening – that pink binder on the table? the one you keep meaning to organize by month so you know what to do for each plant, as well as layout where each plant is in your gardens? that needs to be done. again though where’s the action plan to make sure it gets done?

(Irony? KEXP is now playing ALIVE by Empire of the Sun)

it feels good to get all this out, but it also means planning and budgeting. that’s where i get blocked. when do i have time to sit down and plan and budget? that’s my problem.

the other question – in a year, after i do all these things, will i finally be happy? i constantly feel like there is something else there, something else that i need to satisfy me, because apparently my charmed life right now (i’m not going to lie, i know i have it good, on paper, my life looks fantastic) isn’t enough.

there you go.

No one ever said i didn’t wear my heart on my sleeve.






10:22 a.m.

It’s been a busy three months since I last wrote. I shamed myself on such a long period of time without posting and wondered why – oh, right I’ve been in the field for work for the past three months. Then other things happened that were sad and now everyone at work is trying to continue to work and keep fighting the good fight in honor of the man that we worked so hard for.

Within those three months, I’ve amassed a long list of stories to write (but have posted the pictures!) and a video or two to make. I want to get these stories started/done this week before Magazine Crunchtime starts next week (I’m assuming next week). They should be really easy to write, honestly, but I often overthink them and then struggle with it and then kick myself later when I just send a simple five paragraph story to my boss and he says, that’s good.

Oh angst how you are my friend AND my enemy.

I thought doing some speedwriting would help get started but I’m really not feeling much of it since I really don’t have much of anything interesting to say. Everyone knows about my shoulder issue since everything posted on Facebook makes it true and real. it’s weird in today’s conversations when I catch up with someone and they say, “Oh yeah, I read it on your Facebook.” And weird how it’s normal today too. 20 years ago that would have been creepy.  At the same time, it’s like a conversation starter for today’s age. “Hey I saw you went to Wales, that looked so cool, tell me more about it!” Or “hey, thanks for that link to that site for that information, it was really helpful!” or “hey you are SO BUSY, your posts make me tired just reading them.”

But ever since I had that  “come to jesus” moment with my shoulder (STOP EVERYTHING JUST STOP my shoulder was finally screaming at me), imagine that, it’s stopped bugging me. A teeny few swing moves the other night at the cabin sorta irritated it, as well as four hours and then five hours in the Jetta (god that is the most uncomfortable car to drive for long distances, seriously) but other than that, my scapula and sub-scap haven’t been sore like they have since I started PT in March. The cause of this whole ruckus, the torn tendon that connects the bicep to the shoulder is still tweaky and weak when I do certain things, but not nearly as bad as it was in March.  However, I do know my future holds an MRI and/or a steroid shot and/or if i’m not careful, surgery. Everyone has their own stories, horror and otherwise, they are sharing with me, which is fine, I like to hear all the possibilities of what I could go through. Just, well, it sucks. But at the same time (oooohhh here we go again) since I finally made the call that I’m not doing any major climbs or hikes or backpacks this year, I suddenly feel relaxed and no pressure on myself to do these things and give myself a break (DAD NO COMMENT FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY).

four minutes four minutes four minutes

really missing the nephew these days and we’re talking all the time on the phone and Skype and he’s telling me he’s running fast and he’s swimming and he’s coloring and he wants a big red car for his birthday. I’m going to go see him for his birthday and bring him his red car. I find myself looking at pictures and videos of him often on my sister’s FB. My favorite is a picture of a big squeezy hug he gave me at Thanksgiving. You can tell in both of our faces we’re squeezing as hard as we can (well, he is, I’d crush the bugger if I’d squeezed truly hard, so I just give him a hard nephew squeeze).

Anyway, almonds are almost gone – reminder –  need to buy those in bulk from Costco and not from the open bins at the grocery store as they are MUCH fresher in the bag. What an enticing way to end a 15 minutes of drivel as I’m staring at the clock waiting for 10:37 to hit come on come on come come on come on come on come on come one come on come on DONE.




2:25 p.m. July 30, 2012

I want to be at home. I want to be at home RIGHT NOW. I am SO done with this trip.

That was my first thought when I woke up at Camp Site 11 in the Seven Lakes Basin in the Olympic Mountains Sunday morning.

It’s rare for me to think that when backpacking. I typically relish in waking up snug in my little tent, with the sun starting to brighten the bright green walls that kept me warm and dry during the night. I woke to the rustling of my campmates starting to pack up and get ready for the day. It was probably 5:45 a.m. I knew we needed to get up and not dwaddle as the organizer of the trip had a long day planned, which included an attempt to climb Mt. Carrie. I was going to be hiking back to the trailhead instead but had a long day too – an 11 mile-long hike out.

I apparently wanted to leave this place quite badly.

Having that nagging thought really bugged me though and made me a cranky camper Sunday morning. Usually I’m pretty bright-eyed and content, looking forward to the day’s adventure and enjoying the chores of a camp morning. I even had a restful night of sleep, only waking up briefly but didn’t need to heed to nature’s call. I thought my unusual sourness was brought on by feeling rushed, knowing we had to get up and get going soon. And I was upset with myself having these negative thoughts. Were these the last days of my time in the mountains? Did I not enjoy camping anymore? Was I burned out?

Wait, I thought. I hadn’t been in the mountains like this in six weeks. I hadn’t been out nearly as much as I had wanted to be this summer. And this particular trip I’ve been dying to do for years. What happened? Read the rest of this entry »

1:15 p.m., Friday, July 27, 2012.

I’m going to see what I can conjure up in 15 minutes but I’m pretty sure I could write all afternoon. I haven’t updated this thing since March. My personal journal in which I actually put pen to paper, maybe six times since March.

It’s been bugging me that I haven’t written much. My job doesn’t involve as much writing as my previous life as a journalist. My coworkers and I are all former journalists and they seem to keep regular blogs (one is a photographer and constantly posts her pictures on FB). I… I don’t as much. My father’s bleating throbs in the back of my head: “Write every day. It will make you a better writer.”

Earlier this month, back in Ohio visiting family for 12 very long days, I found myself in my mother’s basement on Day 11, going through old college essays. Good lord, what bad writing. Lots of ideas, crammed into a small space, not thoroughly drawn out like they could have been. It was a bad habit I had in high school, college and still to this day, I feel I do cram too much into one space. Much like the lifestyles of many. Read the rest of this entry »

11:55 a.m., March 20, 2012

It’s been way too long and I’ve been craving this post for a while now. So, once again, an unedited, unabashed, all guts out 15 minute writing exercise. I love it because my hands are sweating… what absolute nonsense can I muster up in 15 minutes?

I think this will be a very link-y blog. I’ve been on a link-y browsing kick lately. This morning’s finds can be categorized under a few things: Sad Music, Psychology and Random Crap.

Sad Music: Oddly enough, I’ve been pretty damn happy lately. A year ago, it was pretty dark. Life threw bullets the previous, oh 18 months, and Jan-March 2011 had me at rock bottom. But I didn’t know until someone gave me a slap to the face that made me recognize how bad things were. However, it was the trip to Australia in  March 2011 that gave me the chance to recharge and I actually came back from this undeserved but much needed vacation relaxed. It was a strange experience, coming back from vacation not exhausted from some sort of climbing/camping/backpacking trip.

But I digress – THE MUSIC!

These two songs have captured my attention recently: Read the rest of this entry »

11:11 a.m. Oct. 25, 2011

That title above. It’s a weird statement. I was just checking my Twitter feed, which I’ve pretty much neglected this summer and fall due to just being barely having enough time to check Facebook (well, obsessively trolling the FB for pictures of my new nephew anyway).

So I checked in on Twitter, where most of my climbing/outdoor friends live. I clicked through to a few blogs I’ve missed reading and skimmed over articles about friends climbing this, biking that, hiking this, offering various philosophies on the outdoor lifestyle and mindset. It took me back to 2009 and 2010 when I was reading them consistently and embracing it all.

Then I thought: “Wow. I feel like I don’t get out anymore.” Read the rest of this entry »

11:13 a.m.

It’s quite late in the morning and I still feel like I just rolled out of bed. It was a sorta early morning, with the alarm going off at 6:15, but in usual form, I didn’t drag out until 6:50ish, after hitting the alarm 3 or 4 times (?). My roommates in college hated bunking with me. I don’t know where I picked up the habit.

I’ve been telling myself the past few days that my work schedule would be writing in the a.m., video and photo editing in the afternoon. I’ve kept up the afternoon schedule, but the a.m. schedule has been a little more difficult. Other things come up – phone calls, stuff to post to our blog/web site (which takes way longer than I really ever think it should, for some reason).

I thought I’d do a little warm up, try to crack open the brain a little so I can crank out what should be a relatively easy story that is already written in my head. Read the rest of this entry »

9:28 p.m.

I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to be a journalist.

I mean, I haven’t been a traditional journalist for five years. But my job is pretty much a journalist job. I seek out stories, write them, take pictures and throw in the occasional video. These days it feels more like a traditional journalist’s job than usual. But I’m not complaining.

In the past week, I sought out the same location of a historic photo so I could take a “Today” shot, stood in a river taking pictures of biologists taking fish egg samples from gravel, watched 160,000 juvenile fish be transferred from one hatchery to another, took pictures of biologists count thousands of slippery shiny silvery perch, counted fish from a smolt trap, and learned how SONAR is being used to count fish.

Huh. There’s a lot of fish counting in Indian Country.

The rest of the week will be way more diverse – finding otters and river dippers, testing the dissolved oxygen levels of a major creek and planting kelp in Puget Sound.

For feeling extremely sedentary this winter (which, unfortunately has been grayer than usual and has pushed most of the Puget Sound population to the edge of insanity, more so than the annual Spring Depression. Even the LOCALs have agreed it’s been an extremely hard winter), the busyness of recent weeks has been refreshing. It’s kept me on my toes, kept my brain fresh. It’s even helped me focus getting back to the gym on a regular basis, oddly enough. It goes back to high school, I think – when I’m at my busiest, I’m at my best. When my mind is engaged on a regular basis, good things happen.

what else (hey, the prompt on the “full-toggle” mode says “just write.” I like that).

The first 3 months of 2011 pretty much sucked. For some reason, there just didn’t seem to be anything to look forward to. I knew why I was feeling that way but it was hard to address. Then vacation came and went. While that vacation wasn’t deserving, I am absolutely convinced it was required. Ever since I got back, I have been the most productive, the most happy, the most energized I’ve been in a very very very long time. It’s weird because I haven’t really done anything different. Maybe coming out of hibernation helped too. The sun has been coming out more. I can still see light in the sky from my dining room table right now.

The shoulder/rib issue is getting better though. The doctor told me – “at your age, it takes 18 months for things to fully recover. In six months, if it’s still bothering you, come back.” In six months it will be 18 months and I’m feeling way better than I did a year ago when all this nonesense started. But what got me was, “At your age…”! What, am I 80, in need of a hip replacement?!

One last note – I was so sad to hear that The Best Ambiance on KEXP was going away, but tonight, its replacement is focusing on Latin music. Totally digging it. Adds a nice kick to Monday evenings.

BAM. 9:43 p.m.

6:14 p.m. Adelaide Tuesday 3/22/11

I have no idea how much time i have left on my hostel internet card here but i’m going ot try and give this a go for a 15 minutes post.

After 20  hours of travel and a day that   wa taken away due to crossing the international date line (i’m assuming) i’m in the southwest corner of Australia, in the town of Glenelg, a small beach down just SW of Adelaide, the major town in South Australia. It’s very much a beach town, neighborhood. The weather thwarted our  beach plans, so yesterday was walkning along boardwalks and neighborhoods in Glenelg, then buying food and cooking an amazing meal of shrimp sauteed in butter and garlice, plus salad and bread with cheese, and amazing Australian wine. I bought Tim Tams and they are pretty goo d- c hocolate covered biscuits.

Today, March 22, we went into Adelaide via the tram ( i SO love public transit  outside the  US) and walked around a large enclosed market area, not unlike Pike Place Market. Rather, I ATE my way t horugh the market… first coffe and a Lambington (cake covered in chocolate and coconut) and then a Spinach/Feta parcel, then a nectarine, then an afternoon Australian tea while Reba and I walked around downtown Adelaide even more. Tonight – marlin and tuna, with salad, bread and vegetables cooked in cheese and creme friche. Totally stoked about it.

it’s a pretty sleepy town here, Glenelg/ The hostel is chill, an 1800s buliding covereted in to  a hostel. Tomorrow, Reba And i fly up to Ayers Rock for three days of hiking  in The Outback , then back to Adelaide to meet Jan again  for a day before we head northeast to Barossa Valley for two days of wi ne tasting.

OK, may or may not be 15 minutes, bu ti’m posting before i get kicked off … until later…