Sunday Timbits

It’s Sunday morning and I’m eating timbits, drinking a latte, and listening to my nephew give me the play by play of whatever zombie video he is currently watching.  This could go on for hours. I am feeling the urge to write for the first time in a long time and I know that I have to strike while the iron’s hot.

 

As of this month, I have decided to say “yes” to more propositions.  So when my BIL asked if I wanted to go for a hike this morning, I said yes.  Cody and I are able to spend a lot of time outside together as he is very active, I enjoy a moderate level of exercise activity, and my sister is generally opposed to exercise.  So we kayak, we hike, he runs.

 

We head up to Waldenwoods together where it is exactly three miles around the lake.  It has been almost a year since I have gone around the lake. The last time we were out here together it was freezing cold and we were trudging through three feet of snow.   I asked him to leave me behind multiple times, but he refused to. This time we agreed that he would run, I would walk, and when he got to the end, he would turn around and meet me where I was and we would walk the rest of the way together.  Before we parted ways he asked if I had GPS on my phone. He said that if I got turned around, I just had to follow the dirt path. He took off and, after about five minutes, he was out of my sight.

 

 

I was fine for about half a mile and then I took a sharp turn into the thick of the woods and all dirt disappeared under a thick blanket of leaves.  It took me a moment before I realized that if I actually paid attention I could see some of his footsteps in the leaves where he disturbed them enough to show the mud underneath.  It was a very slight difference, but enough to get me back on the right path. A mile in I came across a tree that had fallen across the path. It was about waist height so I either had to go under it or over it.  I pushed on it and it gave enough that I knew I could swing my leg over it and then swing the other leg over. Cut to me straddling the log, my hands slipping on the snow, and me branch punching myself in the crotch with the snow covered branch.  That will wake you up!

 

I did some wide legged walking while I waited for my crotch to stop throbbing and thaw out.  It was a few more yards in when I heard the forest around my come to life as a giant buck ran across my path about 200 yards up ahead.  And that is when my first realization happened. My heart was pounding because it took me a moment to realize that it was not a giant wolf about to devour me.  And then I was worried that where one deer was, more could follow. So I stayed completely still as I waited to be trampled to death by the hooves of 12 prancing deer.  Yet, I didn’t even think about grabbing my phone. I just wanted to enjoy it, and not miss a minute of it (the moment, not actually being trampled to death). And then I realized that I am the only person in the entire world who will see that.  No one will watch it on tv, no one will thumb past it like another hit on You Tube, that moment was for me and me alone. In that moment, it was just me, alone in the woods, enjoying all of the nature around me. It was a great. I then began to ponder the difference between a good and a great moment.  I realized that in every great moment, I have never felt the urge to capture it or interrupt it by taking a picture or video. It is like I have felt that to introduce a foreign object into the moment to record it, I would somehow fracture the magic, and it would feel so intrusive for someone to look upon that moment in the future without truly being able to appreciate all of the feeling as well.   I just want to immerse myself in it because I want to savor it and keep it as a gift for only me to rewatch over and over again. I have been fortunate to have so very many good moments over the last few years, but I find that, now, I am truly in search of so very many great moments.

 

As I came upon the second mile the trail got confusing and I had to make a choice between two directions.  I made a poorly educated guess and walked to the left. I started to get the sense that I was going the wrong way, so I took out my GPS and had a look.  As I stared at the map I understood the basic idea of where I should go, but then I had the embarrassing thought that that still didn’t really help me. Damn it!  Why didn’t my mother ever let me be a Girl Scout? Or even a Daisy, that’s probably all of the training that I would have needed. So I kept walking as I watched my little blue line on the map.  I walked just far enough to grow a little appendage on the map to see that I was walking away from the lake instead of around it. And there was realization number two.

 

When we are younger we are all given a spoken, or unspoken, map of expectations to live by.  We will go school, graduate, go to college, graduate, meet someone, get married, grow your carreer, and start a family, grow old, and die.  We “see” this map, or the one we create for ourselves, and we have a general idea or where we are going and the path we will take to get there.  But the problem with a map isn’t always that you don’t know how to read it, but more often that you don’t know where you are on the map to start moving along.  I knew where the lake was on the map, but I didn’t know where I was in relation to the lake on the map, so it didn’t help me until I started moving and could see in which direction I was going.

 

I went to school, graduated, went to Americorps, went to college, graduated, and grew my career.  I have been occasionally frustrated by when I will hit the next step and I realized now that so much anxiety comes from not knowing when that next step is going to happen.  I would do myself a good service by taking a step back from trying to decide where to go on the map, and more time really figuring out where I actually am on the map.

 

Cody finished his three miles and turned around to meet back up with me.  We started walking to the end of the trail together and I started thinking about how he would complete six miles in the time it took me to do three.  And so began realization three. I have struggled in the past to be active because I have not felt compelled to be active in the same ways as other people.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the half marathons I’ve done and the anticipation of more to come, but I have felt slightly judged by people in the “running community” that my 13.1 miles are not as significant as their 13.1 miles because they did it faster than me.  But that’s the thing I needed to accept. I get enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment out of pushing myself harder, not out of pushing myself faster. I like climbing more hills with more obstacles, as opposed to getting to the end sooner than I did before. And that’s okay.  The real success is in pushing myself, not in HOW I push myself.

 

Damn, I really needed those woods today!  Thanks, Coco.

 

Books, Books, Books: I Am a Hoarder of Books

My name is Erin Elise and I am a hoarder of books. I’ve always known this on one level or another, but I haven’t always been willing to admit it. I’m finally ready to admit it to the world!

The weather in Cleveland, much like everywhere else in the U.S., has been frigid at best and downright murderous at worst. I had to stand outside for a full minute the other day and I was ready to just give up on any hope of feeling warmth ever again and let go of my grasp on this world. It was tragic and it broke my spirit just a little bit. I have a feeling that that is not what Elsa meant when she said, “Let it go.”

While I know there are snow bunnies in this country who feel delight in this weather, I have become less like a bunny and more like a bear, a grouchy bear that is huddling deep in my cave and is angry that I am not sleeping until the world thaws. Seriously though, how long until the world thaws? Today I decided to stop being such a Grumpy Gus and make use of all of the time I am spending indoors. I started the cleaning projects that I have been putting off for too long, like cleaning my craft room, organizing my junk drawer, and finally washing those Tupperware containers in my fridge that have long forgotten what it is that they hold.

During my deep cleaning process I kept finding books all over the place, like in every single room of my house. The thing about these books though is that these are the books that I have been collecting to read “someday”. These books are from bookstores, Amazon, library book sales, and most recently, a Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale. I went to a book sale knowing that I already had plenty of books at home still to read. I can’t help it though. When I see a book sale I start to feel a panicking deep inside. I start to feel like there might be a book there that I HAVE to read, like there might be a book there that could change my life. I will think about it until I drive myself crazy and eventually just go to the damn sale. I know it’s not entirely normal. I know I have a problem.

So today I gathered all of these “someday” books and brought them into one room. I organized them into their own categories and came up with the following inventory:

Fiction – 36
Biographies, Memoirs, Personal Essays – 20
Self-Help / Personal Improvement – 19
Business, Management, Leadership – 12
Random Non-Fiction – 5
Religious – 2

That is a whopping total of 94 books!!! Ninety-four books! I know some people who don’t even have 94 books in their home, let alone 94 in their home on their “someday” shelf. To read all of those books this year I would need to read roughly eight a month, or two a week. Yikes! To make matters worse, most of the biographies are 700-1000 pages long, so that’s not getting done in a week. But, I will give it my best shot.

I, Erin Elise, endeavor to read 94 books by the end of this year. Furthermore, as I need to stop hoarding books, once I am done with them, I will pass them along to their next home. I will make an effort to review each book. This review might be a paragraph, a sentence, or perhaps even just a word. So if you see a book on my page that interests you (if I really enjoyed the book I don’t intend to give it away), let me know and I will send if your way. Be forewarned though that I highlight most of my books.

So, enough writing, I’ve got some serious reading to do!

Books, Books, Books: I Am a Hoarder of Books

My name is Erin Elise and I am a hoarder of books.  I’ve always known this on one level or another, but I haven’t always been willing to admit it.  I’m finally ready to admit it to the world!

The weather in Cleveland, much like everywhere else in the U.S., has been frigid at best and downright murderous at worst.  I had to stand outside for a full minute the other day and I was ready to just give up on any hope of feeling warmth ever again and let go of my grasp on this world.  It was tragic and it broke my spirit just a little bit.  I have a feeling that that is not what Elsa meant when she said, “Let it go.”

While I know there are snow bunnies in this country who feel delight in this weather, I have become less like a bunny and more like a bear, a grouchy bear that is huddling deep in my cave and is angry that I am not sleeping until the world thaws.  Seriously though, how long until the world thaws?  Today I decided to stop being such a Grumpy Gus and make use of all of the time I am spending indoors.  I started the cleaning projects that I have been putting off for too long, like cleaning my craft room, organizing my junk drawer, and finally washing those Tupperware containers in my fridge that have long forgotten what it is that they hold.

During my deep cleaning process I kept finding books all over the place, like in every single room of my house.  The thing about these books though is that these are the books that I have been collecting to read “someday”.  These books are from bookstores, Amazon, library book sales, and most recently, a Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale.  I went to a book sale knowing that I already had plenty of books at home still to read.  I can’t help it though.  When I see a book sale I start to feel a panicking deep inside.  I start to feel like there might be a book there that I HAVE to read, like there might be a book there that could change my life.  I will think about it until I drive myself crazy and eventually just go to the damn sale.  I know it’s not entirely normal.  I know I have a problem.

So today I gathered all of these “someday” books and brought them into one room.  I organized them into their own categories and came up with the following inventory:

Fiction – 36

Biographies, Memoirs, Personal Essays – 20

Self-Help / Personal Improvement – 19

Business, Management, Leadership – 12

Random Non-Fiction – 5

Religious – 2

That is a whopping total of 94 books!!! Ninety-four books!  I know some people who don’t even have 94 books in their home, let alone 94 in their home on their “someday” shelf.  To read all of those books this year I would need to read roughly eight a month, or two a week.  Yikes!  To make matters worse, most of the biographies are 700-1000 pages long, so that’s not getting done in a week.  But, I will give it my best shot.

I, Erin Elise, endeavor to read 94 books by the end of this year.  Furthermore, as I need to stop hoarding books, once I am done with them, I will pass them along to their next home.  I will make an effort to review each book.  This review might be a paragraph, a sentence, or perhaps even just a word.  So if you see a book on my page that interests you (if I really enjoyed the book I don’t intend to give it away), let me know and I will send if your way.  Be forewarned though that I highlight most of my books.

So, enough writing, I’ve got some serious reading to do!