Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Month: April, 2015

National Pet Day

I guess it was National Pet Day this past weekend. At work, we had a contest on our intranet site to post stories and photos about our pets. The COO posted this contest and then said she’d pick a winner with her young sons as judges. I posted this little bit that I thought I’d share here because I liked the story:

I’m not really a pet person as many of my family and friends know. So when I first saw this contest challenge, I just thought I’d sit by and watch the posts roll up. Then I thought, well, what about inanimate pets, like stuffed animals? When we were kids, my brothers and I loved our collection of stuffed animals. We used them for skits and puppet shows, took them on road trips, and had our favorites.

At one point, one of my brothers and I got matching little grey stuffed animals – a baby elephant for him, a baby hippo for me. We loved them! One summer, we were driving down the long 20+ hour ride from Maryland where we lived to Florida to go to Disneyworld. Somewhere along the way, the three of us (sitting in the middle section of our huge station wagon) were fighting over who would get to play with Hippo (we were creative with naming our stuffed animals – Beary for a puppet stuffed bear, Ele-y for the baby elephant, and yes, Hippo for baby hippo), driving my parents crazy. My dad had enough, stopped the car on the side of the highway, grabbed Hippo from us, and hurled him into the woods!!!! We were in shock. And I don’t remember anything else from there.

To this day, I have remembered that story, because it was so traumatic and also because my brother still has Ele-y, safe and sound as a new playmate for his kids! (Don’t worry, my brother and I get along great now, so I haven’t held a grudge… not really.). So anyways (don’t worry, this story ends on a happy note), I shared this story with my fiance D as we were getting to know each other, and it must have stuck because this past Christmas, I got a new Hippo to fill the hole in my heart!

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Wait, the story doesn’t end there! So New Hippo was handmade by D! He had gone online on Etsy, found and bought a pattern for making a stuffed hippo, gone to the thrift store and bought a used sweater and to the craft store and bought other essentials, and gotten a tutorial on using a sewing machine from his sister, and put the whole thing together. Mind you, D is not a sewer nor is he a crafter. This was the first thing he had ever sewn on a sewing machine, and it turned out so well! It was the best Christmas present ever – homemade, meaningful, and totally cute. So Happy Pet Day, to little New Hippo!

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Where Am I?

Life has been moving along at a steady pace, and I haven’t had a chance to take stock and see where I am. And then I’m going through my bag of Dove chocolates and come upon this!

IMG_7635How true is that? No matter where we are, good or bad, high or low, hot or cold, we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be. My “exactly where you’re supposed to be” is…

  • in decent shape but hoping to do more running and practicing yoga and hiking and bike riding. I guess that’s a place where I’m always at – wanting to do more physical outdoor activity. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’m doing just enough in that arena.
  • in a positive, soul-lifting, wonderful relationship where I’m learning everyday how to give and take, communicate, appreciate, and just “be.” I try not to jump ahead to fast or linger on the past but really cherish each moment we have, no matter how mundane.
  • in a job that holds just the right amount of stress and challenge where I’m not exhausted and burnt out nor am I bored and restless. I have some great colleagues and some interesting brain work. I’m so fortunate to have landed here.
  • at an age where I feel relatively secure, caring less about what others think, feeling a little more in touch with my own wants and needs and not afraid to express or prioritize them. That’s a nice solid feeling.

There is lots more to come in my life, but for now, I am content in the space I occupy. The roses smell sweet. The air feels refreshing. The sunlight is warming. I sleep well at night and enjoy the days as they come. Thank you, universe!

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A Year-ish Ago: Yosemite and Half Dome

Last June (2014), my parents, my friend (who went to the Grand Canyon with us), and I went to Yosemite National Park to tackle Half Dome. It started with some conversations with my parents the winter before about going to Yosemite. Followed by an email where my dad said he had secured a heated tent cabin reservation at Curry Village. And then another email in March saying he had submitted an application for a permit to Half Dome, following the process outlined which enters you into a lottery to “win” one of 225 permits granted each day during the season when the cables are up. Unlike the Grand Canyon trip I blogged about in the previous entry, I was totally along for the ride on this trip – my dad did all the research.

Sadly, we didn’t get a permit through the preseason process. As my dad emailed, “We’re out of luck. Accept w/ humility and God knows our desires.” But he didn’t give up and aimed for the daily lottery in which you apply two days before to hear back a day before whether you get one of the 50 daily permits that are given to go up Half Dome. We set our plans to go to Yosemite in June anyway, hoping we’d get a Half Dome permit but also being prepared to do other hikes if we didn’t get it. And in June, we got the permit on the day we arrived in Yosemite. We were so excited and yet not fully believing that we were to go up Half Dome the day after arriving!

The four of us arrived in Yosemite Valley, in awe of the views of the famous rocks – El Capitan, Half Dome, the beautiful sheer walls of rock rising above the valley floor. We settled into our tent cabin in Curry Village and turned in early. The next morning, we arose around 4am and hit the trails by 5:15am, leaving Curry Village for the Half Dome trailhead on the Mist Trail. I had no idea what was in store for this 14.2 mile, one-day, grueling hike; and that’s a good thing, otherwise, I probably would not have gotten out of bed that morning.

It was a crazy long, crazy strenuous, crazy beautiful, and crazy worth-it hike. We had day packs because we were going up and down in one day. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold and just gorgeous.

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We hit Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls along the way up and back. We ran into people of all shapes, ages, sizes going up the trail (all seeming to pass us – were we really that slow?). And we just kept on trudging along. One step at a time. Stopping for snacks and breaks. I won’t go in detail of the long long trek. But we made it to the bottom of the cables, and I was about to give up. It had been such a grueling hike, and then we were supposed to risk our lives climbing a sheer vertical cliff, pulling ourselves up by these cables? No way! In the photo below, see that line that goes up that rock? Look really closely – that’s a line of people going up the cables!

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With a lot of pep talking each other, we decided to keep going. After all, isn’t that what we came for? And we made it to the top. It was an amazing feeling, and we rejoiced! And then we had to go back down. I’ve never been so tired and so semi-conscious on a hike in my life.

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All in all, here are the stats:

  • 14.2 miles round trip
  • 4800 feet elevation change
  • 14.5 hours
  • no blisters
  • lots and lots of aching muscles

I’m glad I did some training beforehand (running a few miles once or twice a week, practicing yoga once or twice a week, walking the stairs wherever I could) otherwise, I don’t think I could have done it. It was amazing.

The next day, we did the Upper Yosemite Falls trail – another challenging hike. This was a 6.8 mile round trip with “only” 2700 feet elevation change, and it took us “only” 8 hours. This trail is notorious for its infinite number of switchbacks (in reality, about 60, but it sure felt like a neverending number!). No rest for us who came from far away to see the beauty of Yosemite National Park!

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Our final day, with muscles aching and energy spent, we drove up to Glacier Point, opting out of the Four Mile Hike which would have been a pretty strenuous hike. Thank goodness we just drove – there’s a lookout point, and an ice cream shop; it’s pretty touristy – definitely not a rewarding summit after a long hike. But we got to see a panoramic view of the hikes we had done the days before. Wow. In the photo below, Half Dome is the big bare rock on the left. And Vernal and Nevada Falls are on the right – that’s all part of the Mist Trail that we did.

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