My friend D and I went to Seattle for a day/night and hung out with my cousin and some friends before heading to Alaska for close to a week. Seattle was amazing as always, but holy shit...how Pikes Place Market has changed. It was totally packed. We walked several miles around town (a town with actual hills-kind of an ass kicker), and the sun was out (yes, in Seattle). I actually came out of there with quite the sunburn. It was a great day/night, though.
Alaska was full of rain the first few days, but we didn't let that stop us. You can't go into a rainforest and wait for better weather. The first full day we were in town, we went hiking with my sister Nealy and her family. It was a near monsoon, but to me it was awesome. The only downside was we weren't able to hike as long as we wanted, due to it getting too slippery. Later that day, we went out to a natural observatory with my aunt and uncle, along with another boat full of family, driven by another uncle. It was a really special day spent with family. We saw three brown bears and a grey wolf. It was only the second time in my life I'd seen a wolf. It was a very rare treat. I was so glad to share the day with family, especially some good quality time with my niece Mady. She fell asleep on my leg on our way back, and it made my heart smile. The night was finished with dinner with family and a night out with friends.
The next day was the 3rd of July, which is traditionally a really full day/night. I drove out the road (there is only one highway-so it really is called "out the road", I mean, it's an island), to show D some of my favorite parts of the island. We didn't have near enough time, but it was a really nice, relaxing time. Later in the day, I entered a canoe race with friends and family. I was really nervous about entering, as I was convinced I would tip the canoe, due to my weight. Thankfully, I rose above my fears and was just another gal in a canoe. I really didn't know how competitive I still was, but when we lost by inches, it was like a dagger in the heart. The only saving grace, was my friend Denise had already proclaimed us winners on Facebook (an hour before our race), so it must be true: Facebook doesn't lie. I felt so alive during that race. I wish I could bottle that feeling. Later that night, we had dinner with some family before heading to a friend's for their annual 3rd of July party. It was the first time I'd been around friends, that wasn't at a bar, shouting over people. It was so nice to visit one on one with so many. The party was one of my favorite moments of the trip. Afterward, we headed downtown for fireworks and some more night life.
Wrangell really does the 4th of July right. There is no place in the world that I'd rather be on that day. D and I entered a logging completion with a bunch of loggers (for the ax throwing and rolling pin toss). Traditionally women only toss the pin, but we grew a pair and threw axes. I don't know how in the fuck it happened, but I hit the bullseye on the log, where a $100 was folded over into a quarter. I came out of there in second place and $150 richer. Let me tell you, hitting the bull, was one of the best moments of my life. It was so unexpected and exciting. I felt like an athlete, like I belonged...which is a feeling I rarely experience. I also got lucky as all get out and won the rolling pin toss, too. I got a nice print for winning. It was so fun to go out of my comfort zone with that stuff, and awesome to see my friend, who had never been to Alaska, experience a logging competition. The day was full and ended with watching family friends sing and play guitar. Watching them is always a highlight of the 4th.
The next day was spent on a charter, roaming around the Stikine River. We went to a glacier, explored near a waterfall, and went to a natural hot spring "the outdoor tub." Being on the water, feeds my soul. I've been on that river so many times, but I never tire of any of it. That night, my Mom and aunt made a nice family dinner. Again, it was so nice to have one on one time with people.
Our last day began early with breakfast with a great friend and then was full of more hiking, lunch with another friend, her hubby and adorable baby and ended with souvenir shopping. We had a really beautiful flight to Seattle and was able to spend another hour with Nealy and her family at Sea-Tac. They had a slight layover, at the same time as us. It was nice to have one last glass of wine with my sister and laugh about things only we would understand. The trip was wonderful, but it certainly didn't feel as if there was enough time. I guess that's the feeling, when you haven't been home in 3 years or seen some of the members of the family and friends for even longer than that. More than anything on the trip, it was the time friends and family, that made the trip so special. I'm also really glad, a good friend was able to meet the people I speak about so often.
It was of course, great to get home to Brian and the boys. I missed them every day of the trip. Being back here, has been a tough pill to swollow, though. It has been a week and a half, and I'm still not back into my rhythm. My sleep is all jacked up. I can't put together anything more than a couple of hours. I've had such vivid dreams/nightmares over things I can't control. It's all been really unsettling. I know it mostly boils down to the fact, that I'm again so far from so many people who matter to me. I know being out here is best for Brian (he loves his job), it's better for the boys (school/environment) than that year we spent in Ellensburg, but it's not better for me. I'm always going to work on making it home, but actually going home, is a real reminder of all I've left behind.
I went into the vacation allowing myself to gain 10 pounds. I did not want to worry about what I did up there. I wanted to eat, drink, and be merry. I did, but I didn't go totally fucking crazy. I didn't gain near what I thought and think I'm back to about the weight I left at. The scale continues to be less of a concern to me, than it has been. I changed my official weigh-in to every other week, instead of weekly. I weigh myself every day (not a healthy thing for me to do), and I started the whole weigh in thing, because I needed accountability-but I know, I hold myself much more accountable than anyone else would. All that said, I ate like shit yesterday. I grazed all morning on dip, and had a burger and brat at lunch. Guess what? Eating like shit, makes me feel like shit...it was a good reminder. I'm back on it today-having the My Fitness Pal keep me honest. I'm hoping grabbing control of my diet, will help me get some control of my head as well. My head...oh, it's not a great place to be sometimes. I've had therapy, twice in the past 7 days, which has been helpful, but is tough work. I also continue to use my favorite form of therapy, hiking every Sat and Sun. I usually do between 5-6 1/2 miles each day. I love it....Nature's miracle right there.
To wrap up this very long entry (cut me some slack-it has been a month): this vacation has taught me a lot and made me realized a lot of things. I knew I would gain weight, but I was able to not totally beat myself up over it. I renewed friendships and quality time with family. I forgot about work, gaining some actual peace in my soul, even on a weekday. I let everything about Alaska engulf my being and remind me of the things that are most important. All of this is ironic, because I was so afraid of gaining on this trip...but there's nothing I would change.
I thought you might appreciate what a lady said to me this weekend, at a fair type event in our little town: "I knew you weren't from here. You're friendly." haha....This hasn't been an easy place to move to, but if I have to be so far away from so much, I'm glad we are in this little town.
As Steve Miller says so perfectly said in the attached song, goodbye to all my friends at home, goodbye to the people I've trusted....
Have a wonderful night,