I Am Not Really Sure What Is Happening

Life is a crazy wild ride, is it not? I mean I will admit, there are days when I am like ‘this is boring!’ And then I try to spice things up a bit. But lately…lately I am overwhelmed by the crazy whips and turns and corners my life seems to take. I am not sure what is happeneing…..I am trying to just go with the flow.

Which gives me a good jumping off point – where the fuck is my period? Before you get excited, I tested on the Friday after Thanksgiving and no….nothing. I was telling my buddy how silly this whole situation is. Three years ago I started acupuncture because I was on the cycle from hell (200 days, fuck me) without a hope in the world. The acu got me cycling again and voila! Pregnant with Jack. This go-round I was cycling, though a little strangely, but not getting pregnant, so I start up acu and now I am not cycling. Are you confused? Because I am. Who knows what is going on?

Shhiiiittt!!! I forgot to tell you dudes! I finished my run! My SIL turned on her “map my run” and we ended up running 4.3 miles in a 4 mile race….how one might ask? I will tell you – assholes. I shit you not, I was ready to tear some heads off because people would start walking right in front of us and create a giant 30 foot wide baracade so we had to zig zag back and forth the entire race. I was about to yell “walkers move to the RIGHT!” until I realized I would look like an ass, oh, and also it was Thanksgiving…..whoopsies.

Before pic

Have I mentioned I am an angry runner? I was just so determined to run the entire way and I saw all these people as de-motivators. Like they were billboards saying “you should just walk, it is easier!”. I just wanted them out of my way. In retrospect I signed up for the wrong heat. I should have gone a couple of heats earlier, but I wasn’t certain when I signed up that I would be ready to run the whole way. I will know better next time.

After photo….sunbeams hiding how freaking red I am

Anyway, back to crazy life. I don’t really want to get too deep into it right now, but basically there are three major forces all impacting me at once:

  1. The job awesomeness
  2. A job prospect
  3. Oh and….Andy wants to move to Alaska…..and I kind of do too.

Basically I am a little like deer-in-the-headlights, just stunned and confused. I don’t know exactly what will happen, but I can say that changes appear to be inevitable. What they are though, I have no idea. Hang on to yer panties, these winds might get wild.

 

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Here’s What You Are Looking For

So I returned from vacation to see something really strange on my blog. For those of you who don’t have wordpress, there is this thingy in the top bar that shows you activity on your blog. Mine is usually pretty minimal, there are like 8 people (the same ones who are on my payroll), who check in every once in a while. Normally that sucker looks pretty small. So when I got back and saw this strange graphic I was like ‘What the Hell?’

Basically my readership spiked, giving a penis-effect, if you will, to my bar graph….so what happened? Well SIF talked about me visiting. She is like an actual blogger, not just a word-vomit blogger like me. So she has a readership of like a billion people. She’s good people though, she still pretends like we are friends and that she knows my name or something even though her fame has taken her far beyond us little people, just kidding.

Anyway since she linked me apparently like 150 of her readers came over to see who the fuck I am…that answer is – no one. But I got the penis-graph going on in my bar up there. When I figured out what must have caused it, I texted her that people were just checking to see if I would slip up and release any juicy details about our amazing time in the sack. She said it was time the truth came out, since her blog is all business (bahhaaa) I figured it should happen here. So here is what you were all looking for….assuming any of you stuck around to find out:

Let me tell you now SIF is Aaaammazing in bed. She is beautiful and passionate and just…just…so wonderful. I was about to say ‘if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend hooking up with her’, but then I realized that might be turning a fun little joke into an actual inappropriate comment and makes her sound like a prostitute….SIF is not a prostitue. Me on the other hand?…..hmmm 🙂

I am pretty sure folks came over, realized I had nothing super juicy to talk about and left, so now we are back to it just being the 8 of us again. Whew, so much better with less pressure to perform. I was going to have a flacid penis-effect if I had to deal with the kind of readership she has….now that it is back to just us we can get down to the real juicy stuff……as in not a whole heck of a lot.

Alliiiivveee!!!!

I am alive! Both literally and figuratively.

Alaska was AMAZING! It awakened something inside of both Andy and I. Jack was just like ‘whatever, give me some applesauce and graham crackers and I will sleep on you’. But Andy and I were amazed. I honestly am not sure why Alaska wasn’t on the top of my “to explore” list? It should have been and I am so happy that it elbowed its way up to the top. That sneaky Alaska.

I am not really sure how to digest it all into a post, so I guess I will start with some pictures and use those pictures to turn it into a story. Picture-heavy books were always my favorite growing up.

I guess first off, I should say Alaska made me feel connected to my mom. I know she traveled there a couple of years before she died. She was in her “bucket list” mode and had a friend in Anchorage. I recall her talking about it. Bringing home a kitschy Inuit doll and signed copies of a children’s book for my brother and I…one of Jack’s favorite books (heart swell) – he grabs it every time. So I guess I should start there. I felt my mom there. I felt like I was seeing things she had seen, loving things she had loved,….it was wonderful and healing.

Alrighty pictures!

Our little travel bandit. So in the last few weeks, we discovered cheerios. Have you guys heard of these things? Well apparently they are now Jack’s favorite snack. Also that backpack – hilarious and awesome – hilawesome! He both loved wearing it, and carried his own snacks and toys! Genius.

This was hilarious. We got off the plane in Seattle and Jack was walking on his own and stopped to hug the columns…maybe he loves buildings as much as I do?

Next stop Anchorage….mkay, so Anchorage was our final destination, so what the heck were we doing? Well I’ll tell you. I wanted to see Denali basically. I had no idea if it was a good time of year to see it or what, but a little googling revealed there was a winter train from Fairbanks to Anchorage that runs on Sundays and goes through Denali. Um Done. So we flew from Denver to Fairbanks…yes stopping in 2 places and then the next day rode a train back to Anchorage. Andy laughed at me for the idea…until we got on the train. Then he was like ‘oh now I get it’….well he didn’t say that, but if boys did what they should do, he totally would have said: ‘OMG honey you were so right about this train thing, I am really glad we did this and I apologize profusely for teasing you about flying through Anchorage to come back to Anchorage’. Then he would do some sexual favors…or rub my back…or clean the house…maybe all three.

This post is going to be a mix of phone pics and camera pics, you’ll be able to tell the difference, but didn’t want you to be like “WTF is up with the quality Natalie?”…you are so judgey!

This is obviously a picture of alaska from above…aren’t you glad you have me here to translate this for you? me too.

Here’s what Fairbanks looks like in November at 5pm. So basically night time. And everyone was home apparently. We passed like two people walking around. It was quiet, yet beautiful.

Sunday morning we arrived at the train station. Jack explored and convinced us to buy a model train for him that is meant for ages 8 and up….he is so convincing though and we just really couldn’t disagree with his arguments on why we should buy it for him. He’s so crafty.

Throwing gang signs….this cracked me up. “Are we going to do the camera thing ALL day mom?” – Jack

A real-life conductor! This is Conductor Steve. And we just happened to pick the most awesome time to take the train – his last trip before retirement. That meant we got to stop several times (unscheduled stops) and there were balloons on board (score for Jack entertainment) and he gave us all a free poster and there was free cake. I know, we seriously lucked out.

blurry!

We got off at a couple of places to take pictures and see a “really old church” (Note: our house in New York was older, what should you expect from a state that was incorporated after most of our parents were born?). Nenana is the location of the “Ice Classic”. When the river freezes they put a giant wood tripod out on the ice and it is hooked to a 100 foot cable. People from all around pay $3.50 to select a date/time slot. We were told that every second is accounted for. The person who selects the correct second the tripod travels down river (on the ice) 100 feet wins the pot of money. It is usually about $300K. Sounds good to me!

Conductor Steve let us open the doors of the baggage car to take pictures. It was freaking sweet! And cold, but way fun!

These areas were great for spotting moose…but I never caught one on camera.

This bridge marks the entrance into Denali

The train was short – it is longer in the summer, but we just had 3 cars and 2 engines. A dining car, a passenger car, and the luggage car. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect taking a 20-month kid on a 12 hour train ride. But it actually went really well. He took a nice two hour nap and we were able to move around the cars. It was really the last two hours that were hard. It was dark outside, so nothing to see, Jack wanted to sleep but the overhead lights were on…so it was not his favorite part of the trip, but still it went pretty well!

McKinley was covered in clouds, so we couldn’t see more than just the base of it, but this beauty was like ‘hey there! take a picture of me instead!’. Okay old volcano, I will.

Another stop

Look! I was there!

Andy loved Alaska

He’s like ‘I can totally take off without you guys!’

So the train was really neat because there are a lot of remote places in Alaska that are inaccessible by car – like over 1/2 the state.  But people near the rail-line walk, ski, or snow machine to the train and then jump on and ride to the nearest city for supplies. We stopped and picked up people, and dropped them off the entire ride. We saw moose and caribou and a wolf. It was really just a very beautiful ride.

This picture just cracked me up – we arrived safely at our hotel in Anchorage and vegged out.

The week was mostly me working – so not that exciting. But we did go out to dinner each night and have breakfast together in the mornings. Andy and Jack hung out in the hotel, watched marathons of “Preppers”, went swimming, played in the snow, etc.

We had some amazing food while we were there, a great sushi restaurant the first night, a way-too-fancy-to-bring-a-baby Scandinavian restaurant the second night (but in Alaska they seemed cool with it), and then I took my boss to his favorite restaurant on the 3rd night…Outback. LOL.

Thursday afternoon I escaped from work and we resumed the “vacation” portion of the trip. We explored the area, drove into the hills, downtown, the “suburbs” (there are about 300,000 people in Anchorage, so it seems weird calling them suburbs…there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of “urbs”). Friday morning we set out for Girdwood, a 45 minute drive south from Anchorage. Girdwood is the location of the Alyeska ski area, the tram and some pretty amazing hiking trails, I’ve been told. We intended to hike out to a particular point recommended by a friend (more on that in a sec) but it was 8 degrees on Friday and we just didn’t think Jack would hold up for a 5 mile hike in 8 degrees. But the car ride was more than enough for us to fall in love.

Stomp stomp stomp

A second catching of the smile.

We ventured back to Anchorage for a late lunch with my SILs old roommate (who is from there and moved back). Then did some more Anchorage adventuring. We checked out an outdoor store…Jack picked out some more purchases for himself. Man does he get upset when you take away his tackle boxes.

Yes I am ridiculous – is this the first time you had that thought?

So another huge bonus on the trip, for me anyway (and Jack), was meeting SIF. She was the first blogger I found…three years ago! And we’ve stayed connected ever since. I told her straight off the bat that I wanted to come to Alaska and we’d meet, but when it finally happened I was like ‘wow I can’t believe I’ve known her for so long and never seen her face in front of me’.We nonchalantly scheduled dinner on the last day and showed up like we’d done it a million times before. “oh hi, how’s it going?”. Very cool, very easy and fun.

As if we see each other every day or something. Jack snuggled up into her ample bosoms and was like ‘hells yeah mom! This chick is mine!’. Flashfoward for me I guess where I have to watch my son checking out women with me right there….I am so not ready for that.

Andy and I peppered her and her friends with questions about living in Alaska…basically we ended things like ‘we’ll be moving here in a few weeks’. LOL…but seriously, we both fell madly in love with Alaska. It was a wonderful trip where Andy and I squeezed in some reconnection time, while spending it with our little sandwich in tow. Until next time Alaska!

The Great White North

I think I mentioned about 80 years ago, how this is a big year….alright you got me, I wasn’t alive 80 years ago. It is our 30.30.10 year, aka the year Andy and I both turn 30 and we celebrate our 10th anniversary…..it might be ridiculous to clarify this, but by “this is the year” I sort of just mean a 12 month period. It actually spans from 2012-2013 if you want to get technical about it….and maybe you do. In which case, there’s the information you need.  Basically this year we okay I wanted to do something BIG like Bigger than BIG.

The original “plan” (which was no plan at all more just my brain ramblings of places we could go), was Cape Town….I would still LOOOoooovveee to do that…..someday. The truth is, we have a kid! Who knew? There was no easy way of thinking about Africa with a two year old. We were either looking at leaving him for 12ish days, asking others to get him too/from daycare or to take off work, or take him with us on a 23-ish-hour one way trip….eerrrrr…..now I love my kid and I know he is awesome, but I also admit that he has his limits. And I am more than certain those limits end way before the 23 hours of travel mark.

Also there’s this other thing, perhaps you’ve heard of it?, money. So you have to have shit tons of money to get to Cape Town…namely about $2K per person just for the flights. I was all about breaking out the old credit card for this one and then something weird happened when I turned 30…I grew up. Whoa. Sad to admit this, but I realized having credit card debt looming over you at all times sucks total ass (have I mentioned how my blog is now blocked from some computers and it lists it as “pornographic”….and I see that as a bit of an accomplishment….Could be the language).

Thinking about adding $6-10K onto a credit card just seemed like the stupidest idea in the whole world. So…I sort of pushed South Africa onto the back burner for a sec and looked at other options.

Then something amazing happened, which I wrote about yesterday, work got awesomesauce. I found out I would be working on some seriously amazing new projects and one of them happens to be in the Great White North, i.e. Alaska. Andy and I have always wanted to go to Alaska, hell we’ve even considered moving to Alaska. So when the opportunity to go came up, I decided this was my 30.30.10 trip opportunity.

It perhaps isn’t as sexy and exotic as two weeks in South Africa, but considering 1/2 the trip will be paid for…I am thinking it is pretty sexy and exotic looking now. All this is to say that we are leaving for Alaska in 4 days. Yep Alaska in November, that is our big amazing trip. I can’t guarantee that we will ever come back. We might just stay there….although they did just pass that pot thing in Colorado…sooo…..

I promise to tell you all about it….or aboot it because Alaska is basically Canada right? wink wink 🙂 I have to say my main goal is to try and see the Aurora Borealis. I hear this is supposed to be one of the best years for it, but the chances are so low it is almost discouraging….but maybe just maybe we will see it. A girl can dream.

Maybe the Change is Here

Man I feel like a stood up prom date when it comes to this finding a new job thing. I feel like there have been so many amazing interviews and it feels like at the end of each one they are chomping at the bit and then I wait….and I wait…and I wait.

Basically I have deduced that these are all great people with so much to offer, but the timing is just really not right. Hopefully it is just for right now, hopefully if I hang out for a year or two and keep in contact that perfect/ideal/dream opportunity will pop.

But until then, I am finding myself re-dedicated to the here and now. I blame the Japanese for that one. I was watching a documentary and the subject said (loosely regurgitated by me) that you should dedicate every part of yourself to mastering your job. I have really been slacking on that….we should all be like that right? Fully dedicated to completely mastering our craft. Whatever that craft might be. I know I had a dry spell where I wasn’t present. I had even gotten to the point where, I will admit, I was not even interested in learning another thing about my current position. I was just ready to get out.

There is just something sexy about the whole starting fresh thing. I love to learn. LOVE IT. But I like to learn new things, about a plethora of different subjects….sitting at one job for 5 years just….well it was getting stale.

Well things have gotten un-stale and it is like I have turned a new leaf. I am finding myself challanged and engaged and…well overwhelmed at times, but that is good too. Shit has gotten a bit awesome around here and I am starting to wonder if I can turn this into what I want after all……we shall see.