10 Reasons Why a Challenge is Worth the Whiplash

As we get into our comfort zone of routine, we challenge ourselves less and less.

I took on a challenge last weekend and learned why facing fear and abject humiliation is important for personal growth. I still have a lot of growing up to do. Ask anyone!

I’ve been a skier since the seventh grade. It took years to master the intermediate runs and even more time on the slopes to tackle the expert black diamonds, and moguls, let alone the double blacks. I’ve been heli-skiing where the guide led me right into the trees of Canada while I prayed Hail Marys. I got the hang of it and my skiing skills greatly improved. Now I can ski just about any part of a mountain.

I skied this bowl right after I was released into the wild after double boobectomies.

Double black diamond sign at Breckenridge

Here’s the thing. You can slap on a pair of skis and make it down the hill pretty easily in “pizza position,” toes pointed toward each other like a plow. But it takes tons of practice to “carve up” the harder, steeper, faster runs. It’s a bell curve created over years and years.

Learning to snowboard is the polar opposite of skiing.

The beginning of the learning curve for snowboarding is a freakin’ headwall. It’s super hard at first and painful, but after a week or so, most snowboarders are linking turns down most of the mountain. They make it look so easy!

Years ago, I left my skis at home and snowboarded. I fell so hard and so often, I bruised my tailbone and couldn’t sit down for a week. Ouch.

A few weeks later, I decided to try again and prepared for pratfalls. I wore every pair of snow pants in the house along with children’s mittens with thumb and wrist guards. Overdressed and sweating, I could hardly move. I hoped a lesson would give me the confidence to “shred.”

While the rest of the class focused on their boards, I stood on my toe edge and looked up the mountain. After a few feet of sliding sideways, I fell backward so fast I didn’t know what happened! I smacked my head into the snow and saw stars for the first time in my life. It was a slight concussion. I toughed it out and got through the rest of the day. My butt survived, but I ended up with a nasty case of whiplash.

Flash forward fifteen years to the next challenge.

It’s been the worst ski season ever for Summit County in Colorado, at least in my memory. Days have been too warm and the snow too lean. When the weatherman predicted 50-degree temperatures on Saturday, my daughter, Courtney, suggested we all switch equipment. She’s a snowboarder and rented skis. My husband, Danny, Courtney’s boyfriend, Dan, and I all geared up for snowboarding.

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous. With a partial knee replacement only three years ago, I couldn’t rely on falling forward uphill, which is so much easier on my body. Luckily, Danny brought up some sturdy knee pads and I wore elastic braces. This time, I didn’t worry about my rear end and wore regular ski clothes. It was hot outside.

While pulling on my boots, I strained my thumb. No lie! I was in denial since it was such a stupid injury. I hoped it wasn’t foreshadowing of injuries to come.

When we arrived at the mountain, I stood and stared at the toddlers on the super small bunny slope. I wondered if adults could join them. Then I noticed a longer 1% grade hill with a moving sidewalk. YES!

After walking up the small slope, I strapped on my board, scooched myself forward to slide and fell backward! I smacked the ground and heard my neck snap. Dang! Not a good start. I knew endorphins would kick in and I wouldn’t feel anything until tomorrow. There was no way I’d give up that easily.

I used special effects so it looks like I’m moving faster than 10 yards per hour.

 

10 Reasons why facing any challenge is worth the whiplash

I thought I would remember how to snowboard, but too much time had passed.

My daughter and her boyfriend watched while Danny and I took super slow turns on the 1% incline with others, age four to adult. Ha! I was cool with that.

Courtney warned me not to take the Poma lift. “It’s easier to take the chairlift.” I looked up the slope at the throngs of people skiing and riding down the mountain. I’d kill someone.

Instead, I hiked up the baby slope and rode down a few times. Then I graduated to another area for rank beginners with a 3% grade. My driveway is steeper.

Slowly but surely I got the rhythm of heel edge (falling leaf) and toe-edge. Every time I tried to link them, I face-planted. Exhausted from hiking up the hill, I tried the Poma lift. When I was almost at the top, my boot slipped from the board and I wiped out. I dragged myself out of the way. I rode my board down and tried the lift again.

With only one successful trip to the top out of six attempts, I tried again. As I approached the end of the lift, I thought I had made it! Just as I moved to release the lift, I fell hard. My elbow struck the ground and my head hit my shoulder as if someone struck me with a baseball bat. How is that even possible????

I avoided the Poma lift the rest of the day and didn’t fall. During my last two runs, I linked turns from heel-edge to toe! YES. The feeling of victory!

A successful day of challenges

That night, I woke up and couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. My neck and shoulders had seized up. As my muscles warmed up the next morning, I was able to see my toes. The pain wasn’t too bad.

Why put myself through this?

Because challenges are good for us!

It’s what we ALL did as kids. We were introduced to new activities all the time. As we age, we settle into routines and seldom try anything new. That’s a mistake.

10 reasons why you should challenge yourself:

  • Challenges provide choices. When you make the choice to keep trying instead of bailing out, it’s good practice for life in general.
  • You’re capable of a lot more than you think.
  • Every challenge builds character and confidence. This is true! I’m a real character.
  • Being out of your comfort zone presents new problems to solve. In my case, I had to learn that the lift was harder than snowboarding.
  • Taking a risk by trying something new carries over to everything else in life. I risked several limbs and a noggin and lived to tell the tale. Working out in the gym is cake compared to this.
  • Pride is won through achievement. Life is good at putting us in our place. A little bit of pride won’t hurt you.
  • Saying yes to new activities or anything else that may be uncomfortable will broaden your horizons and can make you feel proud. That’s a very good thing!
  • No pain, no gain. In this case, the pain was REAL!
  • Even if you fall short of your expectations or fail, at least you tried.
  • The more you get out of your comfort zone, the less you have to be afraid of, especially if you survive.

Bored and uninspired? Challenge yourself and move forward!I double dog dare you to make a list of all your fears. 

Now I triple dog dare you to face them.

Imagine if we faced all of our fears. Since I haven’t spoken in front of a huge crowd, public speaking remains one of my biggest. Someday, I’ll face that one head on, literally. It will be terrifying, just like edging downhill with a board strapped to my feet.

Will I snowboard ever again?

I’m traveling to Lake Tahoe to ski for a week. I hope to take a snowboarding lesson. My main goal? To take the chairlift without killing myself or anyone else. I won’t have to hike up the mountain while carrying my board.  I’ll be on my way. Three more times this season and I’ll be on the leeward side of that bell curve!

Do you avoid challenges or embrace them? Do you see a steady decline in trying new things? How could you get out of your comfort zone?

Click here for more inspirational misadventure on the Wild Ride.

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Boob Report – Anxiety and the Fantastic Five-Year Finish Line

When scheduling my six-month cancer checkup, I made the mistake of booking a flight to California right afterward. Talk about anxiety. Nothing like racing against the ticking clock before a blood pressure test. These appointments are stressful enough! I planned to talk to my oncologist about the exact date when I could stop taking the cancer drug, Anastrozole when I hit my five-year finish line. Six more months…

I can see the light fantastic at the end of a long five-year road.

End of the tunnel

As I dressed in a fun traveling outfit, I got the dog ready for the kennel with my fingers crossed. Little did I know how frantic the day would become.

A little backstory:

Since my double boobectomies in May of 2013, I’ve endured many checkups; nine in fact. Afterward, I would freak out when the phone rang, imagining bad results. The check-up itself is always more than pleasant. I’ve been fortunate to have an absolutely wonderful oncologist who gets my sense of humor. That’s hard to find.

Why no chemo or radiation?

Because my doctors caught my breast cancer when I was stage 1 and I got rid of both boobs, my “numbers” came in really low, which is good. It didn’t make sense to have chemo or radiation for an increased result of 3% less chance of recurrence.

A daily dose of Tamoxifen and then Anastrozole became my routine. I would take them for five years. They both dissolved estrogen, which is what my cancer ate. Everyone has estrogen in their bodies. Men have estrogen. Post-menopausal women have estrogen through their adrenal glands and fatty tissues. I don’t have any!

In some ways, these drugs have been worse than the double boobectomies. At least my boobs healed up and I could move on with my life. Because of the drug, I wake up every day with anxiety. Not the freakout kind, but that icky feeling that I’ve done something wrong even though I haven’t. It reminds me of PMS. Ugh.

They also have other “delightful” side effects:

Tamoxifen raises the risk of blood clots and uterine cancer. When I had knee surgery, I had to give myself blood thinner stomach shots. Without the ability to clot, my knee swelled up and didn’t heal. I am still working hard to build strength in my left leg after muscle atrophy. It’s getting a little stronger.

Anastrozole dissolves bone, another reason to hit the gym and lift weights. I’ve been lucky to not have the joint and muscle aches.

Both drugs drained my energy level and enthusiasm. Not cool for a Wild Rider.

When I was between drugs, I didn’t take anything for two weeks. I woke up feeling super happy and energized. I was my old self! I prayed Anastrozole wouldn’t sucker punch me. It did.

Why did I stay on the drugs?

I would do anything to increase my chances of being cancer-free after five years. I never want to go through it again.

As you can imagine, I’ve been counting down the months until August when I can stop taking Anastrozole. With only two appointments to go, I wanted to know the exact date I could throw out my pills.

I scheduled my appointment February 8th, on the dot of six months.

Then I piled on the anxiety with a super tight schedule!

The morning of my appointment, I finished packing for my vacation and then drove the dog to the kennel. I was running a little behind but figured I’d have plenty of time to make my flight after my appointment. I was super organized so I tried to stay calm. I could do this!

I arrived at the kennel with my Bichon, Roxy, with twenty minutes to spare before my checkup. It was a little tighter than I thought, but no one was in line. Easy peasy!

The cute receptionist with curly brown hair greeted me and I handed her my vet’s note about Roxy’s updated kennel cough shot vaccination.

Her smile faded as she handed it back. “We don’t accept handwritten notes.”

Frowning, I took a look at the vets stationary with their letterhead and logo. “How do you take them?”

“With a printout of the shots. Let me ask my manager.”

She left the pet intake room for a couple of minutes while I watched the clock. The minutes ticked away. Oh, God, I didn’t want to miss my cancer checkup. My palms broke out in a sweat as I clung to the strap of my purse.

She returned with a look of concern on her face. “Sorry, but we can’t accept this.”

I looked at the clock. 9:03. My appointment was at 9:15. If I was late, they’d have to work me in. Worse, I may have to reschedule. That might mean being on that horrible pill longer than the six months!

“Call my vet!”

She dialed and got the answering service, then hung up and shrugged.

For God’s sake woman!

“Ask the after-hours receptionist for his cell number!” He’s a country doctor who works from 6:00 until 9:00 AM. If I’d been there at 8:45 like I’d planned, he would still be in his office. I clenched my jaw.

She dialed again and walked into the other room.

My heart pounded and I soaked my cute outfit for California. What if I missed my flight?

A jumble of thoughts raced through my head.

My appointment was only a couple miles away. I could make it, but what if the kennel didn’t accept the note? I would have to cancel my doctor’s appointment. Then I would take Roxy home and still try to make my flight. First, I’d have to get a hold of my daughter to see if she could pick up Roxy after work to take care of her for the weekend.

The young woman came back into the room with a big smile on her face. “You’re all set!”

My body collapsed with relief. “Thank you so much!” I said and sprinted out the door.

I raced to my car and tried to drive the speed limit to my appointment. I didn’t want to get a ticket. As soon as I sat down in the waiting room, my name was called.

After giving a couple of quarts of blood, the nurse took my blood pressure.

“I bet it’s through the roof,” I said.

“It’s 129 over 86,” she said with a smile.

I laughed. “I’m usually under 100 over 76.”

The doctor came in and did his routine exam. While examining my left fake boob, he took a little more time.

My heart began to pound with alarm. “Is everything okay?” Dear, God. I didn’t want any bad news after four and a half years!

“Yes, I’m just being thorough.” He smiled and sat down at his computer to check some of my blood test results.

“How are my results?” I wondered when my heart would stop hammering in my chest.

“Very good. Well within the normal range.”

I let out a held breath. “How long do I have to stay on the Anastrozole. I hate that drug. It flatlines my personality.”

He peered at the computer and said, “Looks like I prescribed it on June 6th in 2013.”

I remembered the old bottle I found at home. It said I filled it in July. “I don’t think I started taking it then.”

“You can stop taking it in June. In fact, take your last pill on May 31st.”

My heart soared! The thought of not having to take it until August thrilled me. But what about my last six-month appointment?

“When should I come in again?”

“A year from now. You’re doing really well!”

I hopped off the table and gave him big hug not thinking about how the gown opens in the front. “Thank you,” I said as tears ran down my cheeks.

Knowing I’ll still have cancer checks once a year for another five was a huge relief. If anything goes south, he’ll catch it. Once I’m off Anastrozole, which annihilates estrogen, I’ll be even more anti-soy, (it raises estrogen levels) and will continue not to drink alcohol. These two lifestyle changes keep me from worrying about cancer recurrence.

Life is for living large not wasted on worrying!

After five years, Stage 1 breast cancer patients have almost a 100% survival rate. That’s a statistic I can get behind!!! I teared up just now while reviewing that research.

I made my flight to California and celebrated. Ninety more days!

Me, Leksy, my son, Kelly, and their roommate, Nick.

The Gang in California

If you’re on Tamoxifen or Anastrozole and you feel blue, meditation helps a ton! It really keeps the low-grade depression in check. Remembering that it’s caused by the drug helps too. It’s been proven to stop cancer recurrence so it was worth the side-effects. Some patients don’t get the “feels,’ the aches, or the pains .

For more of my breast cancer journey in Boob Reports, click here. 

Click here for more inspiration and misadventures on the Wild Ride!

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How to Be Creative in a World Full of Sellouts

Sometimes when I travel, I find a takeaway, which becomes a souvenir for my brain. It can enlighten me and inspire a new way of thinking. This time, it included thoughts of creativity, originality, and its risks in a world where selling out is common. That invisible souvenir was even better than the sunglasses I bought!

Susie in Sunglasses

Lots of ideas floated around in my tiny cranium after my California trip. I had been inspired by what I had seen and experienced. LA is a place where being different is embraced from fashion trends to lifestyle and everything in between. I really love its creative people. Their energy is contagious!

With stops at The Broad, a contemporary art museum, the art district in Downtown LA, and a conversation with a clothing designer, the five days filled me with all kinds of inspiration.

A famous Warhol in The Broad.

IMG_7504

But what was it about art, design, and the freedom of expression and how Californians wear clothing that kept my brain bouncing?

I was trying to reconcile it with what I’ve been seeing online, lately.

While surrounded by duplication, there’s a risk in originality, right?

When perusing Pinterest, I’ve noticed many blog posts that are super similar. Some promise huge increases in stats. Others, on how to make money. The similarities don’t stop at content. Their blogs are almost carbon copies.

Were they really successful or just snake oil salesmen? The straight-up bait-and-switch bloggers won’t get anywhere. What I do know is there are millions of lifestyle bloggers writing the same posts. Many will quit in less than a year when they become frustrated with their results.

Lari Pittman’s mural behind Jeff Koons’ Jim Beam Train at The Broad.

Abstract art at The Broad

Why should I care?

Like most bloggers, one of my goals is to increase views. I had been tempted to blog a bunch of bullet-pointed travel posts since I have tons of photos. They would do very well on Pinterest, which is becoming a huge traffic generator for bloggers.

After writing one about California, I laughed. I set it aside for a few days and then reread it and laughed again. “No way,” I said out loud to no one. I couldn’t blog it. My brain told me so.

Brain: Don’t do it. Don’t follow the crowd just to blow up on Pinterest.

Me: Why not sellout a little bit for a few extra clicks? This post would totally blow up. (That’s good, BTW. It means my post would soar with lots of views.)

Brain: Because it’s not your brand. Continue being original and creative. Be you!

Me: But being original and me? That is so risky!

Brain: That’s what it’s all about. How do you think the super bloggers became super? By being like everyone else?

Me: …no…

Brain: Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad to want to increase views and followers, but do it in a way where you don’t sell out. You’ve spent almost seven years building an audience. You don’t want to turn them away for more hits. Your goal is to write books while continuing to blog.

Me: I totally get that. So can I write about my travels as long as I make them personal stories?

My Brain: Sure, and don’t forget to include all the dumb stuff you do. Readers love that.

Me: I have tons of material.

Brain: Yeah, I know.

It took almost a week, but I finally wrapped my mind around my souvenir.

If you’re a musician, artist, writer, blogger, or any other creative person who is producing content or a product, make sure to capture a part of you in what you create. Originality is key. Duplicating what’s already popular almost always ends up being a mere shadow of the original. If you’re interested in a popular idea, personalize it somehow. Experiment. Come at it in a new way. Turn it upside down. Put it on your head and wear it for a while. Play with it.

Readers want to be entertained, educated, or inspired. The hardest part is to get them to click. It’s our job to give them something new to think about.

Wondering what to create? Ask yourself these questions:

Who are you? What is your unique perspective or what are you trying to say that’s different from everyone else? Where are you from? What’s your story? What are you afraid of? Why? It’s probably holding you back from your full potential.

Fear is deadly to creativity. Be courageous and unlock your brain. You might be surprised by its crazy ideas!

This is my brain on inspiration:

An illustration of my brain on inspiration.

 

My brain is super crazy. Ask anyone. Especially when it’s filled with invisible souvenirs!

Do vacations inspire you? Are you creative? Do you go out of your way to avoid fear or do you face them head on?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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Weird Thoughts from the Sick Bed

I arrived home from a trip to California on Tuesday night and sneezed.

I don’t want to get sick.

My mind raced back to the time when I pressed the button on an elevator with my knuckle (I’m so smart) and then rubbed my itchy eye with the same body part. (I’m so stupid!) Or it could have been the lady sneezing next to me on the plane. Or I could have been exposed by cold-suffering cooks the many times I ate in restaurants.

Oh, no. What if it’s the flu? At least I got my flu shot.

My nose turns a handle somewhere inside my nasal passages and becomes a faucet. I’m sick. Dang it!

Weird thoughts while sick in bed:

Self-portrait in Bed

Maybe the reason we get sick is our bodies want a day off and hijack our brains. I wish I could enjoy it. *sneeze*

My head feels like a giant zit.

Whoever (whomever? I’m too tired to remember) invented chicken noodle soup should be honored with a national holiday.

I’m afraid I’m getting a fever. I’m wearing my favorite fleece pajamas under the covers and haven’t broken out in a sweat. Plus I threw on an extra comforter. *shiver*

When I’m booked with a ton of activities, all I can think about is crawling into bed for a quick afternoon nap. When I’m sick, all I can think about are all the activities I’m missing.

I know this has been asked a million times, but where does all the snot come from?

I force myself to eat breakfast to keep up my strength. I have no appetite. Maybe I’ll lose some weight! I wonder how many calories I burn while laying in bed. 800 calories per day? I’ll probably gain weight…

Oh, my God! It’s 4:50 PM! When did I fall asleep? I don’t remember dreaming. I must have fallen asleep. This must be what a narcoleptic feels like. 

How can they (the Internet) say it’s not a fever unless a temperature is over 100.4 degrees? I’m chilled, achy, and my head feels like it’s going to explode. I don’t think a few tenths of a degree is going to change my symptoms.

There really is a huge difference between tissues. Thank you, Kleenex!

Two Tylenol would take care of my fever, chills, aches, and pains. I would feel so much better. I could get something done. AND THEY’RE SITTING ON MY BEDSIDE TABLE!

But someone told me a long time ago that the fever is caused by an army of white blood cells fighting germs. I hate whoever (whomever?) told me. What if it was a lie and all I have to do is take those pills to end all my suffering???? Dammit!

One day later.

Watching TV makes my eyes hurt.

How can I sleep so much?

I wonder how long it takes before my muscles atrophy.

My Bichon, Roxy, has been cuddling with me for two days. I never noticed how much dogs sleep.

Is it Wednesday or Thursday?

Taking my temperature has become a rhythmic, every thirty minutes, thing.

99.9. 99.5 99.7. 99.8 99.5 99.9 99.8 99.9 99.5 99.6 99.7 99.9. 99.6 99.8 99.9…

98.3!!!! My normal temperature!

Woohoo! I want to run around and dance, but I stand up and my bedroom spins.

*sneeze*

*sniff*

I can handle being sick when it’s only a cold.

Have you been hit with the flu? Do you push yourself unless you have a fever?

Click for more Wild Adventures! 

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Bad Luck Comes in Threes, Right?

When I landed on the floor of a restaurant with a BANG a couple of weeks ago, I breathed a sigh of relief. That had to be the last accident, right? It was the third time in three weeks I’d had very bad luck. I remembered that age-old superstition.

Bad luck comes in threes.

#1.  It all started after I cleaned the basement. A flash of light glinted off a strand of hair. When the flash became a lightning strike and all of my hair was swept back in a ponytail, I freaked out. I could see the bright white crackle of a line in the waning afternoon light. While driving to Urgent Care, the darkness around me made the strike even brighter. What could be happening?

lightning-over-water

I knew a little about torn retinas. They were emergency room-worthy. I have a blind mother. I didn’t want to lose my eyesight.

The nice man in reception and the nurse informed me the ER would have the equipment to make a diagnosis. They suspected some kind of tear. I freaked out. The last thing I wanted was more surgery.

Back in the car again. It was a slow night at the ER, thank God, and I was seen almost immediately. After the doctor looked into the back of my eye, he said, “You have a vitreous separation. It will heal on its own.” He recommended a specialist who said the same thing a few days later. People with astigmatism have football-shaped eyes. We’re more susceptible to tearing. Good to know.

Whew! Disaster averted. I still have a small lightning strike noticeable when driving at night, but it’s on the mend.

#2.  A week later, I was cutting the heel of a crusty loaf of bread. You know where this is going.

Yep. I sliced my finger with a serrated blade. It didn’t hurt but bled like crazy. After a quick internet search, I let out a sigh knowing I’d have to go back to Urgent Care.

bread cutting

When I walked inside, the same man worked reception. “Hey, I remember you from last week.”

“Yep.” I hoped my trouble would end, but you know, threes.

After four quick stitches, I drove home and prepared for Thanksgiving. It was awkward to cook and clean with a bandage on my index finger. It had to be changed everytime it got wet. I survived.

#3.  That Friday, My family headed up to the mountains to ski. Conditions being pre-season and icy, we decided to eat brunch before taking the gondola. It was sixty degrees and sunny while walking from the car to a busy restaurant.

I followed the host to the table and my ski boot hit something super slippery. I swore the floor was wet. Just like when I broke my wrist, I fell in slow motion. First, I worried about my knee. Then I was afraid I’d smash my cell phone held tight in my left hand. I smacked the ground with that hand, then my hip. The rest of me followed with a thwump.

falling down

For a moment a hush fell inside the noisy restaurant. I was afraid to move. My ring finger stung and so did my hip. The manager rushed to my side.

“Your floor must be wet,” I said, and then looked. It was totally dry. As I pulled my feet underneath me, I slipped again and hit my head on the table in front of me. My cheeks heated up. I looked at the floors. Tile. Slippery tile. The manager rushed toward me, helped me up, and made sure I made it to my table. I grew up ice skating, but not in ski boots.

“I must have missed your sign about not wearing ski boots inside,” I said to him. It’s not uncommon to see warnings in ski towns.

“No, we don’t have one,” he said. “I’ve been meaning to post one on the door.”

Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.

Once safely at the table, I looked at my ring finger. It had turned black!

“Oh, no! There’s no way, I’m going to Urgent Care again. If it’s broken I’ll make a splint and tough it out.”

My son, Kelly thought it had dislocated on impact. I figured with my back luck of threes, I had probably broken a bone.

After excellent service (ahem) and a great meal, we drove to the gondola parking lot. My daughter, Courtney, found a purple crayon to use as a splint. It had probably been in the seat pocket since they were in middle school. I taped it up and skied without a problem.

A few hours later, I completely tightened up. I iced my finger and stretched out what seemed to be a pulled groin muscle. Sliding like Bambi in ski boots on a tile floor will do that.

The next morning I steeled myself as I stepped out of bed. Everything was fine! My finger looked bad but didn’t hurt. Kelly was right. I had only dislocated it.

The third accident was the charm. The bad luck of threes had ended. Yay! And just in time for Christmas preparations and card-making.

Avoiding another trip to Urgent Care, I clipped my stitches and pulled them out two days later. I vowed to be more careful with rustic bread and never to wear ski boots in restaurants. My eyes? Safety goggles, of course.

#4. How could there be a #4??? I should wear a helmet, like, all the time.

A few days later, I watched a squirrel slip through a broken tile on our roof and disappear. After a call to critter control and a brief inspection of our attic by an expert, I was told that something had scattered fiberglass across the narrow floor. Oh, no! He suggested sweeping it off to make sure.

squirrel

Later that day, I swept the puffs of yellow insulation back where they belonged. As I crept toward an eave, I struggled with the broom.

I stepped forward and speared my head with a roofing nail! It really stung. I barely bled, so I forgot about it… for a while.

Then I tried to remember the last tetanus shot I’d had. Was it in the last decade? I called around for my medical records and soon realized I was waaaay overdue.

I looked at the time. 5:00 on yet another Friday night! Would I make yet another trip to the Urgent Care? Oh, God! Why four? Why not threes????

Afraid another visit with the same staff would result in a trip to the psych ward for evaluation, I Googled Urgent Cares. I found another one close by.

In and out in a half an hour. Yes! 

It’s been several weeks and I’m holding steady at trouble coming in fours.

Why the number three?

Since pairs come up in nature, like two hands, two eyes, two feet, threes are considered abnormal or troublesome – Yahoo answers.

ABC’s summary of the number threes makes a lot of sense: People naturally seek patterns.

Until that third Friday, I hadn’t thought about threes. I mean, come on! The irony of the timing was hard to dismiss.

Running into the nail tossed the whole law of threes into oblivion. I have smacked my head so often, I have an indent on my forehead! I never saw that nail coming.

 

Do you believe that bad things come in threes? Are you superstitious? When was the last time you allyooped in a restaurant?

Click here for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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Escape Room – You Have to Try This!

Escape Room in Breckenridge

When I heard an Escape Room had opened in Breckenridge, I had to try it. The idea of solving clues in order to escape during an allotted time period piqued my wild imagination. When I told my family about it, one of them said, “I wouldn’t want you to be on my team. You would freak out.” I wondered if they were right. I have been known to be impulsive under pressure. The challenge was on!

When I met our team, I worried that eight of us inside a small room would be too many people. Would I end up being an onlooker while others solved riddles or would I become Little Miss Bossy Pants? I would soon find out. Our new teammates introduced themselves as family and friends from Texas who were engineers. Hmm. Engineers, a businessman – my husband, Danny, and a novelist/artist – moi. It would either be a great combo or a major failure in communication.

Our guide instructed us not to take photos or videos and then led us into the room. He showed us the TV that would count down from sixty minutes. We could ask for three clues. Then he shut the door and the game was ON!

Why you should try an Escape Room!It’s killing me NOT to share the details of the game, but I don’t want to prepare anyone before they go. We used a wide variety of tools. Surprise and discovery were the best parts!

One of the Texas women took charge of the group and made some suggestions. We spread out to search for the first piece of the puzzle. Every time we solved a clue, we made a huge stride. We hooted, hollered, and high-fived. It was such a rush!

As the clock wound down to thirty minutes remaining, I was surprised by how chilled-out I was. One of the men said we should ask for a clue. It seemed like cheating to me.

“Let’s wait another five minutes,” I said. When the minutes passed, we used the phone to ask for one.

Our leader read the clue on the TV and then we dashed around the room with this new piece of information. After that, we didn’t waste any time asking for the last two.

With a COUPLE MINUTES TO SPARE, one of the men was having a problem with a padlock. I asked if I could try. Danny told me the numbers. I took my time and swept the dial sequential order. IT OPENED! The Texas girl used the piece of information revealed and together we solved the last piece of the puzzle.

With one minute and thirty seconds left, WE ESCAPED!

Afterward, the Texan leader turned to me and said, “You were so good at finding clues!”

That surprised me. I hadn’t kept track of my contributions, but said, “Thanks. You were a great leader. I think we all helped one way or another.” It was true. We all focused on different parts of the room and kept moving around while working together. No one freaked out or gave up.

Victorious - Escape Room

V for Victory!

On our way home, Danny and I recounted the game. He insisted that I had done the lion’s share, but I was so in the moment, I didn’t notice. The biggest surprise was I was one of the calmer people in the room.

Somehow, working with everyone evenly distributed the stress. We all had one common goal. We depended on each other to escape in time. There was no question that we were all doing our best. It really taught me the value of teamwork.

Would I do it again? Absodanglutely! There are three levels of difficulty, so I expect the next escape room will be a lot harder. Don’t worry, I won’t wait thirty minutes for clues. Maybe we’ll escape five minutes sooner!

Have you ever gone to an Escape Room? Have you heard of them? How do you work under pressure?

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A Silhouetted Bonfire!

Last weekend, Frisco, Colorado hosted a roaring bonfire next to Lake Dillon. The Fire Department tended the blaze fueled by Christmas trees. That’s one way to get rid of them! Mesmerized by the crackling fire, I found magic in silhouettes of the onlookers.

Silhouette and bonfire

When the wind changed direction, sparks flew and the crowd moved to better locations out of the smokey haze.

Bonfire in Frisco

I had dressed in several layers to hang out in the long winter’s night. It seemed others were better prepared for the heat. A hoodie would have sufficed.

Bonfire at night

I took many videos, but the one that really struck me was a slow-motion recording of the fire. Click on the photo below to view and hear it consume the dry wood!

Have you ever been to a bonfire at night? Are you mesmerized by them? What do you do with your Christmas tree?

This post is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Silhouette.

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