If you were to ask me if I’m a biker, I’d probably say no. Which is just one reason why it might seem crazy that I plan on biking from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia this coming September and October. The Transamerica Route is 4,241.5 miles and should take my boyfriend, Don, and I 68 days to complete. We are planning for 6 “zero” or non-biking days and will be carrying most of what we need with us. The plan is to bike, camp, explore, take photos, and blog about our experience. So how did I come up with this crazy idea and why might a non-biker want to do something like this?

It all started Sophomore year of college when a friend of mine took a semester off to bike across the country with her brother. I followed her blog with envy, promising to myself that someday I too would make that journey. I think initially it was the challenge that seemed most enticing. I like to push myself and see what my body is capable of. It was the same reason that I signed up for and ran the Chicago Marathon back in 2008. I also liked the idea of living simply for an extended period of time. On bike tour, or long-distance hiking, or any other long-term adventure, you are consistently living in the moment. Fewer worries or distractions and more being present.

As the years have gone by, my reasons for wanting to bike across the country have only matured and multiplied. There is so much that I want to see, especially in my own country, but with gas prices always on the rise, I feel more and more confined to my own small world. Our country is incredibly diverse, both geographically and socially. I want to meet more people from different walks of life. The older I get the more clear it is to me that I fit very definitively into a certain demographic and the vast majority of people that I interact with fit into that same demographic. I have always believed that when it comes to people “to know is to love” and without knowing anyone outside of my own group, I feel like I am missing out on the ability to really love all people. Also, since living in Portland I have grown in my respect for the bicycle as a mode of transportation. Many people in my city choose to own a bike instead of a car, and they get along just fine. Traveling by bike is a win-win scenario. Not only is it costly to own and drive a car, but it pollutes our air and wastes natural resources. Now don’t get me wrong. I own a Subaru Outback that I love, and I am the last person to go around judging people for driving a car, but I look forward to proving to myself and others that there is really no distance so far that you have to ditch the bike and take a car. Riding your bike is healthy, simple as that. I look forward to the physical fitness involved in so much biking. I am getting older and I know that when it comes to my body it’s “use it or lose it”. I consider this bike tour an investment in my overall health. I expect my heart, lungs, muscles, and all other organs to be healthier when I finish bike tour than they have probably been since I was a child. Earlier generations used their bodies for everything, but with modern inventions, we have found more and more ways to move less. When Europeans were first exploring this country they did it using human and animal power. I look forward to the clarification that will come as I discover what I really “need” versus what I “want.”

Society is quick to offer reasons why this kind of a trip cannot or should not happen. The two that I have felt most compellingly are time and money…those precious commodities that rule our lives. They’re related of course. How, people ask, can I take over two months off of work and still survive? How will I pay bills while I’m gone? What about rent or storage for my belongings? How will I save enough money to pay for trip expenses? There is a frighteningly steep curve that happens between the ages of 18 and 26. At 18 people expect you to “find yourself”. There are a good 5 post-high-school years where it is perfectly acceptable, and quite easy, to take off for long periods of time for travel and growth. But around age 24 or 25, expectations change and people begin to settle down. Most people rapidly acquire things, people, animals, and jobs that make the idea of leaving for 2 months challenging if not impossible. I have already run into this problem myself and it scares me. Am I really supposed to confine all of my adventures to a week or less from here on out? This trip is my attempt to work around the many barriers that keep others only dreaming.

The major catalyst for my decision to make this trip happen came in the form of a love story. Back in October, there was this handsome man that I worked with who made my heart a-flutter and whom I was sure was unavailable. We had exchanged a few words, but mostly I just tried to keep from tripping when walking past him at work. Then one morning he approached me and brought up the fact that he had heard I wanted to bike across the country. A week before I had been on a radio ad for our store where they asked me what adventures I wanted to go on and they kept playing it over and over while we were at work. I tried to respond calmly that yes, I wanted to bike across the country, ideally this coming summer, and no, I didn’t know who I would be going with. To that, Mr. Too-good-to-be-true nonchalantly remarked that he, too, wanted to bike across the country and maybe we should talk about the possibility of going together. My mind began to race. He must be single! What did he mean by this invitation? Did he really expect us to bike for 2 months together just as friends? Could he not see how smitten I was? Did he feel the same? I made an embarrassing attempt at continuing the conversation later in the day. I believe I said something like, “Hey, we should keep in touch about the bike ride…that would be really cool to do it together!” before running home nervous and excited. To make a long story short, it was another month before I had the courage to ask Don if he wanted to hang out. As our friendship developed and eventually grew into love, a cross-country bike tour only seemed more plausible and likely, especially considering that Don is a certified bike mechanic! As it turns out, Don had no ulterior motives when he first asked me about bike tour. He legitimately wanted a bike partner…but in the end we both ended up with so much more.

It was January when we officially decided that we would do everything we could to complete a cross-country bike tour this year. In the last 4 months, we have learned a lot and tried to plan as best we can at this stage in the process. It has already been an interesting journey, and one that I will write about in more detail in my next post. We can’t be sure if we are doing everything correctly, but so long as we complete our tour, we hope that our process can be a resource for others who want to attempt this kind of long-distance trip.

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Yesterday morning I ran 8 miles and I am very happy to report that I did not feel any pain, nor have I experienced any soreness since then. Just a few weeks ago it was typical for me to feel pain in 3 different places after any run that was longer than about 4 miles. Unfortunately, this change is not because I am suddenly in significantly better shape than I was one month ago, or because my body has finally adjusted to longer distances. I believe the change is due to some awesome advice that I was given by my friend who is studying to get her doctorate in physical therapy.

I, for one, have never given physical therapy much thought, nor was I a good physical therapy patient when I went as a high school student for bercitis in my shoulder from swimming. I didn’t do any of the exercises given to me and I think I might have iced my shoulder one or two times total. And guess what? I still don’t have full range of motion in my right shoulder joint and it feels sore and tired when I swim or climb. My friend made sure to point out the obvious to me when I told her all this. But despite my poor PT record, my friend was willing to hear me out when I complained about my running pains, and then thoughtfully work with me to make them go away.

Here is my list of ailments, (I am hoping people will be able to relate to some of them). First, an ongoing problem that I have had ever since I started running longer distances three and a half years ago has to do with my little toes. A few miles in they start to feel smashed (especially the right one) and then they go numb, throb, and eventually cause me to cry out in pain. They were the reason that I practically crawled  the last couple miles of the Chicago Marathon, and an issue that no running store has been able to help by selling me different shoes. Second, on a long run a few months ago, my lower back started to feel pressure and soreness and the next day I could barely sit down. Lastly, I went out for a run just a couple weeks ago and within the first mile I started to feel the beginnings of shin splints. I tried to run through it, but ended up walking the last 2 miles. My PT friend was able to help me with ALL of these, and now I am running pain-free (for now at least.)

Before I share the simple ideas that she gave me, I must state that I am NOT a doctor and this blog post is NOT intended to diagnose or treat anyone’s physical ailments. There are many professionals and professional resources available for treating my issues, but I like what my friend offered because it is so clear, easy, and helpful. I am sharing these tips because they worked for me and I am hoping that they might also help others. If you are in pain, you should see a doctor…and I recommend finding a good physical therapist and then doing what they tell you to do 🙂

Here is what my friend taught me, easy as pie. For my toes, the comment that helped me most was “you want to make sure you are pushing off from your big toe, or the cushioned pad at the front underneath side of your foot, with every step.” That’s it. As my friend gave me her medical advice she stated that I should not necessarily think about everything she was telling me while running because then I might overcompensate and injure myself somewhere else. But now, on my longer runs, whenever I start to notice some pain in my baby toes I just picture a laser beam coming out of my big toes and I try to shoot a nice straight line. It works great and I feel way less pain. For my back my friend taught me all about my pelvic floor. (Turns out this is the same thing pregnant women should learn about before delivering their child). Basically she said that there was a muscle that went all the way from my spine in my lower back around my sides to the middle of my belly. If I could strengthen that muscle then it would stabilize me and prevent me from rotating my torso too much (or was it too loosely) with each step and my back might not hurt. So every once in a while I will find that muscle (you can find it right underneath your hip bones within your pelvic region by laughing or making monkey sounds) and then I will practice flexing and releasing that muscle. Apparently if you get really strong you can flex it and then breathe in and out in a nice and controlled fashion. I’m still getting there. But my back no longer hurts and I generally feel more stable.

The help for shin splints is what I am most excited about. According to my friend, the short of it is that shins hurt when the calf muscles are not working hard enough, or are not strong enough. So now I do two things. First, I strengthen my calf muscles whenever I can. This is simple. Just stand up on your toes (feet parallel facing forward) and then slowly lower your heels to the floor. Repeat a lot of times. It helps if you have a job where you get to stand around a lot. Then do the same thing with your feet pigeon-toed, and then with toes pointed away from each other like a ballerina. Second, and this is my favorite part, whenever I start to feel even the smallest burn in my shins while running, I remind my calves that they are strong and the pain goes away like magic. I think of how cool calves strong calves look, and I let myself notice the work they are doing, and then I say out loud, “Damn, my calves are strong” and just like that, no more shin splints. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. Amazing!

So needless to say, I plan on hiring my PT friend to be my personal coach when I thru-hike the PCT, because I know I’ll be experiencing some aches and pains. Hopefully what I’ve explained makes sense and it is able to help some other runners stay strong and pain-free on those fulfilling long runs. Our bodies are incredible machines, but it is our job to take care of them so that they continue functioning properly. Here’s to all the physical therapists out there! Keep up the good work!

To plan or not to plan, that is the question. When I fill in my calendar with events, meetings, obligations, and activities I feel a sense of importance and urgency. I find myself prioritizing and making difficult scheduling decisions. Can I possibly squeeze in a yoga class there? Would that be enough time to meet my friend for coffee? What time will I have to wake up to make sure I get that 5 mile run in? It feels a lot like putting together a puzzle; fitting together the people, places, and things that help define who I am. It is always amazing to me how much I can do when I take the time to plan out my week. I like having a reason to get up early in the morning and I like feeling tired at the end of a long day. Those are some of the pros to scheduling.

Unfortunately, when every day is filled up and I always have somewhere to be, I find myself having to say no to many spontaneous activities and opportunities. I sometimes feel stuck in the plans I have made and then I do not enjoy myself fully. I might be wishing I was somewhere else, or with someone else. I miss out on some of life’s biggest and best surprises. Also, with little to no down time, I find it harder to justify sleeping in, wearing pajamas all day, or even going for a long walk. There is joy in simple relaxation and availability. I suppose it comes back to balance. The balance between plans and spontaneity, productivity and laziness, society and solitude, adventure and comfort.

I encountered this need for balance recently when my life went from 5 mph to 60 mph in less than a week’s time. For months I was unemployed, unencumbered, and unplanned. There was so little for me to do that there was no need to schedule anything at all. I woke up every day and said yes to every opportunity that arose. If someone wanted to have lunch, sure, I could do that. If it was a sunny day then I might decide to drive out to Mt. Hood National Forest and go for a hike. Heck, I could even decide to do a spontaneous backpacking trip if I wanted. It probably sounds great to most, but I was bored and I longed for structure and plans. Everything changed when I got hired at my new job a couple weeks ago. Now, with limited availability, I can’t do everything and be everywhere. I have to make choices about how I want to spend my precious time. And so I have begun to plan. This is something I can spend hours doing. Looking up events, activities, etc. and then plugging them into my calendar. Calling friends and scheduling time to get together. “I can do Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, or between noon and 3 on Sunday.” Even penciling in chores and phone calls: “Vacuum Thursday morning after yoga and before work.”

It did not take long to recognize that by eliminating spontaneity, I was eliminating a major source of joy and comfort. I want to be free to take advantage of nice weather, to say yes to a friend who is going on an adventure, and to feel peace when I decide to spend 5 hours immersed in a good book instead of always going places and doing things. Recognition of limitations is really as far as I have come in my own planning experience. I hope to find a healthy balance between making plans (so that I get to do the things that matter to me) and having a flexible, open schedule (so that I can take advantage of opportunities as they arise).

Today I read a book by Anne Lamott called Imperfect Birds and I came across two different quotes that stood out to me. In their own way, they each relate perfectly to this topic. The first is from the poet Rilke. He says, “I know there is room in me for a huge and timeless life.” Wow. This gives me hope and reminds me that the time I have is sufficient for everything I need and want to do. Later in the book a character states, “There is wilderness inside you, and a banquet. Both.” Life cannot be all banquet or all wilderness. I must leave room for the different parts of me, and patiently learn how to embrace all of my needs.

Well here it is. My bucket lists, as they currently appear. These are works in progress and I am always happy to add more to them or take things off. Their separation into chronological categories is based solely on my rough estimates. I want you to know that I love these lists. I know that they will change drastically in the years to come, but for now they are a representation of where I want to spend my time and how I want to live my life. I get so excited just thinking about living out some of these adventures. Because not everything fits nicely into a bucket list, I also have a sort of “To Do” list that I have tagged onto the end.

One Year
Mail out an annual Christmas update letter
Watch all Planet Earth DVDs
Take train from Portland to Seattle
Be a Big Sister
Volunteer for a mental health emergency hotline
Run the Portland Marathon
Join the Station L rowing club
Go wine tasting with mom
Go to Europe with mom
Canoe trip in Canada
Bike across USA
Get TEFL certified
Work for Outward Bound
See an OMSI IMAX movie
See Body Worlds
Climb Mt. Hood
Spend a night at Breitenbush Hot Springs

Two Years
See fall colors on East Coast
Join a community orchestra
Shakespeare play in Ashland
Mountain bike in Bend
Road bike McKenzie Pass near Eugene
Surf in Newport, OR
Rock climb at Smith Rock
Climb Mt. Shasta
Climb Mt. Whitney
Kayak around perimeter of Lake Tahoe
Hike the Tahoe Rim Trail
Online photography course
Do a 5 day solo
Compete in a triathlon
Compete in an adventure race
Pay off all credit cards
Yoga/meditation retreat
Thru-hike the PCT
Learn whitewater kayaking

Five Years
Host a family reunion
Join the Peace Corps
Live in Latin America
Be fluent in Spanish
Get a dog
LASIK surgery
Climb Rainier
Run Lake Tahoe marathon
Sea kayak in Australia

Ten Years
Get my CADC I
Mush sled dogs
Read all of Shakespeare
Take an astronomy class
See Rob Thomas in concert
Skydive
Climb Denali
Take piano/guitar/violin lessons

Lifetime
Visit all 58 National Parks
See the Great Pyramid of Giza
See Victoria Falls
Hike Macchu Picchu
Thru-hike AT
Thru-hike CDT
Be a foster parent

Accomplished
BA in English
Work as a wilderness therapist
Climb a 14’er
Run the Chicago marathon
Run the Chicago half marathon
Get a Masters in Teaching
Get a teaching credential
Teach high school English
Substitute teach
Sea kayak in Alaska
Get my WFR
Take a NOLS course
Watch all Friends and Lost
Climb Mount St. Helens

To Do
Go through clothes
Organize stationary
Print pics for frames
Complete guide list
Talk to Dr. Knight
Get teaching binders back
Sign up for races

On a side note, I feel as though I can’t include get married and have children on my lists, but they’re there in spirit. Ideally they would be on my “Ten Years List”. All I can do is hope that that is somewhere in my future. On one more side note, I happened to type “Bucket List” into google and of course the first website to come us was actually called bucketlist.org. I haven’t had a chance to really poke around it much, but from what I saw, it seemed like a pretty great place for us bucket list fiends. Anyway, wanted to pass it along in case someone was looking for more bucket list inspiration.

What I really want to do is share my bucket list. I actually have multiple bucket lists…there are some things that I hope to check off within the year, some that I think I can do within 2, 5 or 10 years, and others that I hope to accomplish within my lifetime. I also have a bucket list of things I don’t actually expect to get to, and another one of things I’ve already accomplished. Normally, I would have posted my bucket lists by now and then spent multiple posts describing my various goals in more detail. The only reason I haven’t yet is because of one little 3-minute-long video called “Keep Your Goals to Yourself” that I can’t get out of my head.

It all started a few weeks ago when I went to a website called TED.com that a friend of mine had told me about when I was in Alaska. TED is a non-profit devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” Basically it is a site full of presentations and lectures that people have given covering a huge range of topics. I spent a couple hours browsing through videos and learning about everything from the sources of our drinking water to ancient Japanese musical styles. Some of the videos were interesting and some were simply a waste of time (like the one that taught be how to tie my shoes “the right way”). But there was one video that inspired, concerned, and intrigued me more than the others. Take a minute to watch it for yourself before I go on.

I can think of multiple instances in my past when I had a goal, I shared it with many people (usually within hours of setting the goal and always with much passion and enthusiasm), and then I moved on or gave up before taking further steps to reach my goal. I know what Derek Sivers means when he talks about the feeling of accomplishment that comes from just sharing my goal out loud. And this is why I’m hesitant to share my bucket lists. I don’t want to put everything down “on paper”, spend time composing long posts romanticizing many of my goals, feel like people have heard me out and that I have done a good job of explaining why I want to do this or that, and then never actually get out and do it! Truthfully, I don’t actually think that including my bucket lists in my blog means that I will never cross any of the items off, but this video did make me think about how I can share my goals in the most deliberate way possible.

There is one other thing that comes to mind when I think about sharing my bucket lists with others. Recently a friend of mine stated “I feel like sometimes people do things just so they can take pictures and then brag about doing them to everyone they meet.” This comment struck a chord in me because I do take a lot of pictures, especially when I am accomplishing a goal that I had set for myself, and then I usually post my pictures on Facebook to share my experience with others. I know this is a very normal practice, but it still made me think harder about the motivation behind my bucket lists. I want my goals to be for myself, and not for everyone else. In my opinion, a bucket list should consist of activities and goals that a person feels will enrich their life, bring them joy, and help them grow. I look forward to sharing the beauty and joy that results from doing many of the things on my bucket lists, but that is not my primary reason for doing them.

I will share my bucket lists in posts to come. But when I do, I will make a conscious effort to take myself seriously, remind myself of the most sincere reasons for wanting to accomplish my goals, and find ways to keep working toward my goals so that one day I can check them off my lists. Derek Sivers, I accept the challenge.

I just wanted to point out that I have a page on my blog (next to the About page which I have yet to create) called the “List Archive” where I keep all of the lists that have been posted in my blogs. I update these lists as necessary and may even reorganize them if that’s what makes sense. I want to encourage everyone to visit the “List Archive”, look through my lists, and then suggest in a comment items that I could either add to a list or other lists that you hope to see. Of course I am just getting started and I already have so many more lists to include, but you may have some ideas that I haven’t thought of, so please share! That’s all…thanks for listing!

I made a comment similar to this on Facebook once and my friend’s reaction really got me thinking. I actually stated, word for word, “Everyone is just trying to do the best they can” and my friend responded “I think that’s giving people too much credit.” I remember being surprised by my quick emotional reaction to his response. I felt like I needed to defend the human race. Without giving it much thought I wrote back “I don’t think so. I think everyone, at their core, wants to do well and be good…some people just have a harder time getting there,” and that’s where our short conversation ended.

I was reminded of this interaction again tonight while watching, for the second time, the movie “Our Idiot Brother.” At one point the protagonist of the film, Ned, states ,”I like to think that if you put your trust out there, that if you really give people the benefit of the doubt, see their best intentions, people will rise to the occasion.” I felt like saying “Amen brother” out loud in the theatre. I really feel like I resonate with what Ned is saying. I too believe in peoples’ inherent goodness. In my opinion, everyone wants to feel loved, accepted, important, and good. Even the most cynical, cruel, and selfish humans have within themselves a longing for love and goodness. I believe when people do bad things, they always have a reason. Maybe they feel trapped, or hopeless, or desperate. Or maybe they are imitating survival techniques that they have seen others use in their past.

It seems like to be a teacher, or any sort of counselor, or a parent even, a person would have to agree that people can and will “rise to the occasion.” This is one reason why I like working with a more “challenging” population of young adults. I like to be the person who sees the good in even the most rebellious and angry teens, and then helps them find other ways to meet their needs than whatever they are doing. Without exception, every person whom I have met, when I really peel away the layers, is good. No human truly delights in doing wrong or causing others pain just because they can.

I think it also helps that I believe in karma. I think a lot of people would agree with Ned and I that humans are inherently good, but I’m sure most people would not go so far as to say that they are really willing to trust everyone. Many would argue that with that mentality you are asking to be taken advantage of. And they are probably right. Just because people are inherently good does not mean that they will always act like it. Obviously, people are capable of horrible acts. People steal, lie, cheat, and kill. But that is not really my problem. I feel like my role is simply to give people the “benefit of the doubt” and hope that people will “rise to occasion.” When people don’t, I leave it up to karma to make things right. All I can do is love others, trust others, and provide others with opportunities to do the right thing.

If you haven’t seen “Our Idiot Brother” yet I highly recommend it. It is a sweet story about one man who reaps the benefits of living a life that is honest, trusting, and full of optimism.

So little time. It seems like every day I am reminded of one more cool activity or adventure that I want to include in my one short life. The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” applies quite accurately to me, or at least to what I aspire to. I don’t care about being the best in any one thing, which is good since the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim, but I do want to be competent at many different things.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to decide what to focus my time and energy on. One day, for example, I might hear about someone I know who is planning to bike across the country and I’ll feel a mixture of excitement, anticipation, envy, and longing. Sometimes the longing is so strong that I consider dropping everything and joining that person on their adventure! For anywhere from a few hours to a couple days I’ll concentrate on how much I love biking and how I really should do more to further my skills and incorporate more of it into my life. But then something else will come along, like I’ll see an ad for a free rowing clinic being offered in the Willamette, and then my mind will race around ideas of joining a club team and committing to 5:30 am practices so that I can get good at rowing and eventually compete. I have begun to notice that this is not the case for ALL activities and adventures, which is somewhat reassuring. As I get older, I am becoming more aware of the difference between my actual interests, and interests that other people like so I think I might like. For example, I know I don’t like (and don’t want to learn to like) jet skiing, or film making, or painting, or any number of other activities.

I imagine that as the years go by and as I make it into my 30’s I will be able to narrow down my interests even further. I don’t want to spread my time and energy so thin that I don’t get to fully participate in those things I really love to do. So here is a long list of the activities that I do enjoy, appreciate, care about, and want to make sure I fit into my life. I have split this list into sublists for my own organization and clarification. I hope this inspires you to make a list of the activities that you enjoy. Also, obviously this post is dedicated to my activities list, but hopefully future posts will continue to focus in on the activities themselves.

Activities
(ON WATER)
*Rowing
Sea kayaking
*River kayaking
*Canoeing
Paddle boarding
(ON FOOT)
Running
Mountain climbing
*Rock climbing
Hiking
Backpacking
Camping
(ON ROAD)
Road biking
Mountain biking
(ON SNOW)
Snowboarding
Snowshoeing
Cross country skiing
Alpine skiing
*Backcountry skiing
(OTHER)
*Photography
*Yoga
Reading
Music
*Cooking
Travel
Writing

*Activities I think I would enjoy, want to learn to enjoy, or still need to learn how to do to enjoy

And the award goes to….Debbie Comeaux! I just want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude for having such an incredible mother. My mom is always there for me, no matter what. She is funny, sincere, loving, intelligent, and compassionate. She is the type of mother I hope to be someday and the type that I wish more people were fortunate enough to have. She is one of a kind and she inspires me every day.

My mother is a woman who knows how to live deliberately. She sets good goals (she wants to read more), gets things done (she built a wooden kayak this summer), and she is always up for a challenge (she signed up for 2 races with me this fall). She is adventurous and has never let age or gender stand in her way. She does what she believes to be right so gracefully that she rarely even has to step on toes or ruffle feathers – people just naturally assume that she has things under control. And amazingly enough, she almost always does. She has made and held onto some incredible friends, and she is always making more – genuinely appreciative of peoples’ unique stories and paths.

My mom has done a great job of raising me. She filled so many roles, including mother, father, teacher, mentor, friend, therapist, and disciplinarian. Some might argue that I made it easy for her, that the disciplinarian role was hardly necessary, but I give her credit for that too. From a young age my mother taught me about patience, honesty, and the importance of doing the right thing. She told me I was beautiful, strong, smart, and capable every single day, and she still does. And the most incredible thing is that I believed her. With her support I have always felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. I want to share something that my mom typed up for me when I was a little kid and would read to me every night before I went to sleep. She called it “Affirmations For Rochelle” and it goes like this:

“It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to have feelings. It’s okay to say no. I like it that you can say no and have a mind of your own. It’s okay to explore, to be curious. It’s okay to touch and taste and smell and look. It’s okay to do things by yourself. I’ll be nearby. I won’t leave you if you do it your way. It’s okay to do things your way. I will help teach you to be safe and careful. I don’t want you to get hurt. You can be angry at me and I’ll still be here and I’ll still love you. I’m so glad to see you growing up and exploring and having this energy of wanting to live your own life. I’ll still hug and kiss you if you are mad. I’ll never say I won’t be your best friend. It’s okay to make a mistake. I will always respect your effort. I will always love you!”

This is my favorite piece of writing I have ever read. Better than the classics in my opinion. It contains so much goodness. We would also recite a rhyme together every night. Back and forth we would say, “Good night, sleep tight, wake up bright, in the morning light, do what’s right, with all your might, good night.” Just imagine if everyone woke up every day determined to do what was right with all of their might! This is how I want to live. I want to make my mom proud and I want her to know how much her wisdom is appreciated. So mom, thank you. You really do deserve an award. I love you.

And guess what else, my mom practically IS one of my lists! I always have a running “Mom” list that usually includes a bunch of little projects that I ask her to help me with when she visits me. There are so many practical reasons why my mom is the best that I can’t even fit into this blog, so you’ll just have to trust me. Here is what her list looks like right now…I’ll bet she’s excited to see it!

Mom
Fall decorations
Fix printer
Fix windshield wipers
Take home boxes
Fix bike rack
Send in sunglasses
TV sound
Connect laptop to TV

Can’t live with them, can’t live…oh wait, we did live without them for thousands of years! Sorry, I’m just frustrated because I spent almost two hours writing a post last night only to have my computer freeze up on me when I pressed the “Post” button. After waiting a good 15 minutes, I finally determined I needed to “Force Quit” my internet and just hope that my post had posted. Well guess what, it hadn’t. So rather than write another post late last night, and potentially regret all of the curse words on my blog when I woke up this morning, I went to bed and am posting now. It is the classic computer trick…delete someone’s writing that they spent hours of time on…and it never ceases to drive me crazy. I do believe that everything happens for a reason, so I like to think that for some crazy reason I was not supposed to post what I wrote about last night. Maybe when I do finally post about it the timing will be perfect and it will influence someone in a way that I could not have planned. I’m feeling better already. Since “computers” don’t show up on any of my current lists, I think I’ll start a new one:

Pet Peeves
When your computer erases something that took you hours to write

P.S. I plan to write another post later tonight in order to stay on track for PostADay2011…hopefully this one won’t freeze up on me!

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About Me

- 26 years old
- Pacific Northwest
- Educator, adventurer, friend

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