And Christmas


My relationships with the camera has significantly changed in the past few years. My girls both protest to loathe pictures and I've moved into more of a present focused mode where I don't constantly think about documenting things. The result is fewer pictures and it's hard to say whether I'm ultimately at peace with that. But once or twice a holiday I put on my firm mommy voice and demand that my girls pretend for the camera that we're all happy and enjoying ourselves. Which was most certainly true before I made my request but not after. I can't decide if my favorite picture is Tessa's hidden protestation in the second picture or the gingerbread shot where Haley had to force-ably grab her face so she'd stop hiding behind her hands. So true to form.

It was a lovely holiday. Food, family, pajamas, and of course more food. Good times. Tessa requested gobs of art supplies and has been hiding in her room drawing ever since. Sylvie wanted all things Sims and has become even more of a screen zombie if that's even possible. What happened to my girls that wouldn't let me have a moment's peace to myself?


Thanksgiving is always made better for a larger table. My loveliest of sisters and her baby whom I try my hardest not to kidnap came and made our holiday so much better. Their visits are never long enough.


It's been so long since I've felt able to write here. One good measure of the explanation is that I am stretched thin and my free hours are spent more in the vein of recuperation and vegetation than productivity or creativity. (Yeah, yeah, that old excuse again.) But the other part is the fact that my experiences have been difficult to articulate and felt intensely private, not easy to divulge by way of keyboard. That's not to say that I've been in a bad place. Difficult is not the same thing as painful in this instance. But now I'm just being obtuse.

The short version is that Dave and I have divorced. Amicable but certainly. I am seeing someone seriously, his name is Nathan, and he is wonderful and amazing and I am crazy in love. Also, I am having questions and doubts and concerns about my faith and am smack dab in the messy middle of sorting that out. It's a lot.

None of this is as new or sudden as it feels when I write it here for the first time. Years in the making truthfully. Nor are they necessarily related or connected except in the fact that they are large moments in my life that it's taken me some good time to be ready to share here. I've tried to organize my thoughts dozens of times in order to explain things here, keep my written personal history in tact. But now I don't feel the urge to rationalize or articulate at all. Perhaps reasons will leak out in fits and spurts, but I just don't feel the desire to lay it out end to end. So I'll just pick up where I'm at and carry things forward as I can.

I am well. So happy and well.



That we still exist. And existence is all the more sweet on a singular glorious day of sunshine after weeks of freezing and wind and rain. Sunshine, art, and candy combine to make a perfect day.

Fast forward a bit


I'm existentially stuck with the purpose of my little blog here. Things are just not meshing well in my head with the private/public, all/nothing, weird quasi truth that seems to be happening here. I'm sad that I've let some fun happenings go without documenting them here, but at least for now, I need to let this document sit in moratorium. I imagine I will be back, but not until it sits right in my belly.

Summer Day 59


Jellyfish sting. Thank you Gulf Coast.

Summer Day 56


Ray Lamontagne at the Long Center. Delicious.

Summer Day 55


Starting off birthday number 10 right.

Summer Day 54 (and a few others)

I documented my trip to D.C. in pretty good detail last year so I won't belabor my ardor of this amazing city. A few notes from this tour:

I think I walked just as much as on the AT and ended up with feet just as sore at the end of every day.

I ate more than enough to reverse any weight I may have lost while hiking. And then some. Food was a major focus while in D.C.; I had some truly amazing meals.

Being clean is nice.

Being home is joy. I missed my girls more than I could ever say. 

Summer Day 49


I took no pictures today. I am hoping that results in me forgetting all the sooner about my first (and hopefully last) Megabus experience.

Summer Day 46

Nine or so miles today. I had written more about this day when it was fresh but my phone garbled the post and I'm shocked how difficult it is to recreate it just a few days later. I suppose that's a testament to how many miles of trees I've seen. 

Summer Day 48


Only three or four miles today and even though I was giddy at the prospect of a shower and a bed, I found myself really slowing down the last mile to delay the end of a great adventure. My dear friend Melody picked us up and drove us back to her lovely town of Blacksburg. We stopped at a Target on our way back to pick up a few essentials and I've never felt like such a pariah in my life. My filth was excruciating. But the blessed shower was had and we had a lovely evening eating great southern food and catching up.

P.S. I cannot possibly overstate how marvelous it is to be clean.

Summer Day 47

We covered around 12 miles today and it was the longest I've gone without major foot pain. It feels like we're finally hitting a stride which makes it a little bitter sweet that today is our last full day on the trail. Back in the doldrums of this little adventure when Xandy's course of action was unsure, my enthusiasm was low, and Nathan's leg was in a bad way, we decided to leave the trail early and take a detour to Washington DC. I am still glad to be going to DC (I do love me some museums), but I also now realize that I would have been happy to stick it out on the trail. Provided I found a shower. My little stream bath has worn off and I am revolting enough to really hamper my own enjoyment.

Summer Day 45


Xandy left for home today which was sad for me, but what she needed to do. Something about working and getting paid. Silly. After seeing her off, we made our first real progress in about three days. It felt great. About 10 trail miles logged as well as our first day hiking in the rain. It seems my feet are perpetually the problem because even though my blisters have finally healed, excruciating foot fatigue seems to set in always around nine or ten miles. I have yet to be sore in my legs or joints or back, just my stupid feet. C'est la vie.

Summer Day 44

We didn't hike far today, but we did decide to tent camp for the first time since being out here. Seemed appropriate to use these things since we've been lugging them so far. My favorite part of today was the couple of hours we spent picking wild blueberries.

Summer Day 43


Persistent injuries in the group and some lagging enthusiasm sent us to town today to resupply and take more rest. A two mile hike to the road and then a ride to tiny Glasgow, which surely must be one of the friendliest towns for hikers. Tonight we're staying in a free shelter that the local boyscout Troup built and enjoying the junk food we can procure at the Dollar General. A good diversion but I'll be glad to head back to the trail tomorrow.

Summer Day 42

And then the phones died... Fast forward 29 miles, some good moods, and some bad moods and we've decided to take our first zero day. Some injuries among the group have made that the most prudent course of action. That plus I'm just real tired of walking.

Summer Day 38

Day six and we decided it was time to head to town to resupply. Four miles from our shelter to US-60 then one of the many friendly local shuttle drivers took us the 9 miles into Buena Vista. We availed ourselves of the local Food Lion then a kindly stranger approached us and asked if we could use a ride anywhere. She was also from out of town, here doing some camping with her dog, and could tell from our fine coiffure that we were AT hikers. (I have surely, never in my life, smelled worse than I did right then.) She took us a few miles to the center of town where we caught a hot lunch and then another shuttle back to the trail. Another two miles to the shelter where we immediately jumped in the stream to feel semi clean before the rain started and we settled in for the night. In bed by 5:30 is heralded by all as a win.

Summer Day 37


10 miles today of much easier terrain. Which made for a cheery and social and just plain pleasant day. Which I think has tipped the scales for me on how I want the rest of this little adventure to play out. One of the through hikers we met joking told us that it was "all miles, no smiles" and I'll be honest that it's hard to not feel wimpy when monster hikers roll through the shelters boasting of their 20-30 mile days, or starting back out after dinner to casually tack on the hike that it took me a whole day and all the energy I possess to complete, but I'm okay with the hike that's evolving for us.

Also, we saw sunshine for the first time all week as we headed out of the trees to a mountaintop meadow. As much as I love the deep forest, the change in scenery was welcome. So many beautiful places on God's green earth.

Summer Day 36

All told, today we hiked 15 or 16 miles. It would be easiest to say that the 4 or 5 miles climbing 3,000 feet up The Priest was the hardest, but the last two of the day were the ones that made me cry. My feet are in pretty bad shape. I was quite optimistic the first chunk of the day that my blisters had gotten to a manageable place, but every step turned into fire as the day went on. The lovely shoes (second pair now) that have seen me down and up the Grand Canyon three times without a single blister don't seem to handle this terrain so well. I guess the weight of my pack my factor in as well.

The views today were incredible. Truly beyond description. Unfortunately, the insane amount of sweat from hiking up The Priest completely fogged up the lens on my phone's camera so much I did not capture. Spy Rock and the 300 degree view of mountain tops and trees was more than a camera could capture anyhow. Really, all of it is. Being in the forest is much more than seeing the forest.

Summer Day 35

Heavy rain last night made for a late start this morning. The benefit to the rain was bringing all our nearby fellow hikers to the shelter and the sociality was nice. It's amazing how many different types of people we've met after just a few days. But the later start and still nursing some pain from yesterday's hike caused us to shorten our mileage goal for the day and stop at an intermediate shelter only 6 miles along the trail. My pride was a little wounded that we're deviating from Plan A already, but the afternoon to relax and rest has been delightful. The quiet of the forest is perfection and a chance to wash in the stream was rejuvenating. As I lay here typing I am reminded that I am out here not for a badge with a number on it, but to be in the green.

Summer Day 34

Today was significantly more ambitious. After 16 miles and some decent elevation changes I was pretty wrecked. Carrying a 40ish pound pack everywhere you go is hard work. My feet are blistered and my clavicle feels bruised. Hopefully nothing more than a long night's sleep can repair.

Oh, and beautiful. Did I mention that? We were thick in the forest the entire day and it was amazing.

Summer Day 33

Day 1 of my three week hike on the Appalachian Trail. We started in Waynesboro, VA and headed South. The first day was short, just about 5 miles, since most of the day was taken up by air travel. It is sensationally beautiful here and the euphoria of that is somewhat masking my concerns over the ambitious itinerary I've set out. Here we go.