Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Today I was chosen

Today the story chose me.

Monday, July 30, 2012

blood is flowing to my face

I jogged a 13-minute mile tonight, and in case anyone was wondering, I am no Wilson Kipsang, who will run a 4-minute 43-second mile in this year's Olympics.

Now that we've clarified that, I'd like to say this is a little bit of a big deal for me. I am not a runner, so please erase any graceful mental image you may have of me running in circles around my neighbor's house. I'm very self-conscious about how I look while chugging away, to the point that when the yard men pulled into the driveway this morning, my morning exercise session promptly ended, at 9/10 of a mile.

Two weeks ago I decided to run a 5k (a midnight run), and it's this Friday. It's not the first time, you know, I've made spontaneous physical decisions, and put complete trust in my body to get me through.

We've been through a lot in the past two years, this body and I.

If you'd have told me two years ago that I'd be running jogging twice a day and doubling my distance in a week, and that I'd be a vegetarian and constructing my grocery list with a copy of "The Doctors Book of Food Remedies" open next to me, and drinking copious amounts of water and green tea, and rarely touching fast food and not eating after 7 p.m., I'd have laughed at you.

It's about the small steps adding up to big ones, and we all have to start somewhere.

I started almost two years ago at the heaviest I've ever been, and gradually I've worked myself to where I am today. Of course, there's been mess-ups and fluctuation. I've been frustrated with myself and my body, which is really like a system of dials and knobs, each one having to be adjusted just-so in order to get the results I want. And half the time it feels like a giant guessing game. I'm not the skinniest I want to be or the most athletic.

But for today, I'm where I need to be....

...jogging my little mile a couple times a day, eating fresh pineapple for its benefits to my joints, and consuming fish a few times a week for Omega-3 fatty acids...

...and having no preconceived fantasies of how I look while sweating it out.

Make a choice!

Today I choose laughter.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

my two cents in a sea of pennies

What Chick-fil-A has become in the past week is a western problem. I think it's probably only here in 2012 that a fast food restaurant owner can declare his support of traditional marriage, and party lines are drawn - those who will eat chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, and those who won't.

Think about that for a second.

"I don't like you, Dan Cathey. I'm not going to spend my expendable western cash for a spicy chicken sandwich, which means I'll deny myself those handy packets of ketchup that allow me to squeeze the sauce so easily onto my piping hot waffle fries."

"Dan Cathey, I love you so much, I'm going to eat only fast food from your establishment, and I may even increase my consumption."

Meanwhile, it's illegal to be gay in Uganda.

Chicken sandwich and waffle fries - first-world problem.

Violence, imprisonment, loss of jobs for sexual orientation- third-world problem.

It's easy for us to solve the first-world problem. Photoshop some photos and text together, disseminate on Facebook, schedule an eat-in to support the restaurant. An eat-in. Ah, the struggle of expressing our support.

The third-world problem is much more...uncomfortable...messy.

Those on both sides of the chasm are demanding freedom (and the right!) to express their opinions, and neither giving the respect they're asking the other for.

So you won't eat at Chick-fil-A.
You're going to eat there more, dammit.

Personally it doesn't matter to me whether you indulge or deny a hot-off-the-grill chicken fillet on your way back to your job in a country where you can vote, but good for you for standing up for your beliefs in criticism/support of one man voicing his.

Meanwhile Syria is imploding and Iraqis are dying in attacks ruled the most deadly. Viatnamese children are being trafficked into Europe to work in marijuana factories and reporters in Mexico fear for their lives in covering the drug war. Africans don't have access to clean drinking water and girls in Afghanistan are attending underground schools.

This is what 2012 looks like for nations outside our own.

Here, chicken sandwiches and waffle fries are at the epicenter of an Internet debate that galvanizes two sides. It's good to know we're passionate about something (albeit fast food), but I'm beginning to question the integrity of the fight.

I respect the efforts of both sides, but I'm just not impressed by the facts I'm seeing.

A man and his corporation supports traditional marriage.
People eat more or less of his chicken.

I really think Chick-fil-A can fend for/support itself.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns

The title hooked me and I was Facebooking about it before I even read the first sentence on the first page. It only got better from there, and disappointing at the same time.

Margaret Dilloway does an excellent job of portraying characters with uncanny real-to-life scenarios and attitudes to the point that the reader might wonder: "This is strangely my life...does it have a happy ending?" For Galilee Garner, hers is a difficult lonely life exaserbated with a chronic illness and the arrival of her niece, who brings an entirely new (difficult) dynamic to Garner's monotonous routine. Riley, a teenager in need of structure and substance, delivers coarse life to the pages of this novel and gives the reader an identifying factor. We might not all suffer from a kidney disease and an unsatiable thirst to breed roses, but at some point, we've encountered an obstinate teen. Riley is the character we can all most relate to.

There were moments in this story when I didn't like Garner - she was rude, brash and harsh to her best friends, she was unyielding, a stickler for following the rules, and consumed in her own misery that she failed to see the best in the people around her. Perhaps I didn't like her, because she mirrors some of my own worst attributes.

This story doesn't end happily and it doesn't end sadly. It just fades off with some questions answered and others left undone. I would've liked to have seen more resolution between the main characters, but it falls in line with Dilloway's seemingly overarching goal: to give the reader a slice of life, a snapshot of realism in a world that's real{ly} unfair and oftentimes doesn't end with the results we want.

You won't be given the fairytale ending in this tale.

To join the discussion, visit: http://www.blogher.com/bookclub/why-i-was-scared-red-roses

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I made a choice today

Today I choose...to use my time wisely.

What are you choosing today?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I just got in from running half a mile...straight.

Yeah, I'm admitting this in public...to you all...including my triathlon and marathon-running (and winning) friends. And yes, you too...the ones who have completed an Ironman. Smile and cheer for me.

If you should know one thing about me, it's that I don't run. If I had to run for my life, I would die, and don't get the idea that I'm out here sprinting a half mile. I mean, these ol' legs and I are limping along praying to God the end is near.

But we're doing it.

That's the important part, right? And we're doing it twice a day, so maybe the increase in pace will help kick up my recently sluggish metabolism. The dogs and I have been power-walking a couple miles a day since April, but we're getting down to the nitty-gritty now.

Time to get serious.

I've alluded to it here and there, but I don't like complaining about my bad health spells. I'm getting through one that started about a month ago...all the usual symptoms that accompany me and my Lyme disease. I've said it before, but hosting this bacteria makes me acutely aware of the signals my body sends me.

Listening (and obeying) are imperative to my health.

So that's what I've been doing.

And I take a two-hour nap when I get home from work.

Eat fresh!
I  make a mid-week trip to the farmers market.

I force myself to be unproductive on the couch.

Walk gently.
I slow my pace.

Run slowly.
I do.

I go to bed early.

Get warm!
I take a hot shower, wear a jacket, turn the AC down.

Stop stressing!
I breath peace.

Listening and obeying, as necessary for me as breathing.

I've been blessed with more good days than bad the last two years.

And I'm blessed to be moving with strength on most days, including running that half a mile at night.

We'll keep dominating.

Monday, July 23, 2012

creating and resting

I emailed my life coach yesterday: "Is it normal that I'm perfectly content to stay in my house all day on a day that I have off? ... it makes me happy to write, blog, read, clean my house, listen to music, cook and not speak to a lot of people on a day that I don't HAVE to go anywhere. Does that make me antisocial?"

And then somewhere between me crawling in bed and turning off the lamp, after I'd hit 'play' on the DVD player and finished Rob Bell's "Everything is Spiritual" message, I had my answer.

Not only is it normal, it's what I was created to do.

Creating and resting.

It's a rthymic seasonal thing, not an accident.

Create for six days. Rest for one.

It's not antisocial, or abnormal. It's what we're wired for.

Create. Rest. Replenish. Restore.

Fill yourself up to go back out and create for another six days.

We're all creating different things. I'm creating a tangible product every day, but you might be creating school lunches, or inspiring creativity among coworkers, your kids.

We all rest in different ways. For me, I write, listen to music, clean, cook, water my garden, play with my dogs. You might meet friends for a drink, or go to a concert, or spend two hours in the gym.

In any case, we are all creating.

And we all need rest.

Today I choose...

...a positive (new) outlook.

What's your mantra today?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

the Choosing Project

Tragic choices, heroic ones.
Questionable, arguable, defenseless, bad ones.
Spontaneous, reckless, risky, terrible ones.
Passionate, unwavering, no-brainers.

We all have choices. We all make choices.

We choose our course of action, our response, our attitude, our reaction.

It's true that each of us are living a life as a consequence of someone else's decisions. I reflect on my own life - a conglomeration of choices made that put my feet on a path that if I had been born into a different family at a different time might not be the same journey I'm traveling today.

But I don't want a different journey.
"Do you regret your childhood?" people ask me, and in a way they're asking, "Do you regret the choices that were made for you as a kid..."

I always say, "No. No regrets. I wouldn't change my story," because somewhere along the way of growing up, it becomes mine and your responsibility to harness those choices and choose how they're going to influence our lives.

In April I started losing some of the most important components of my life - my family. My energetic, organic, beautifully messy family .... our unit began dissolving. One choice snowballed into another and another and another until now here we are, fragmented.

The pain is majestic, brutal.

The choice that is mine is how I respond.

In June I felt as if I were in a dryer, heat set high on tumble - people's choices swirling around me, bouncing me from one emotion to the next, putting me in one situation and then another.

Wait a second.

You only have as much control over me as I choose to give you.

There is it again: MY CHOICE.

So I started asking myself, "What do you choose for today?" and I would answer.

That simply it was born, a routine of asking myself every morning, "What do you choose for today?" and me jotting down on a piece of paper: "Today I choose..." The pieces of paper have stacked up on my desk. People ask me when they visit: "What are these pieces of paper?"

"Oh, those are my choices for the day, what I'm embracing."

Because sometimes it's as simple as that. Choosing.

I invite you to this mindset, this Choosing Project.

Here, I'll start.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Do I need a pregnancy test?

If immaculate conceptions were run of the mill every day occcurences, I would think I fell prey to one.

What other explantion, besides pregnancy, is there for fatigue, crying for 6 days straight, lack of appetite and then being so ravenously hungry that you tell your waitress in the Dallas airport terminal, "No, I'll keep the menu. I'm not done"?

The only difference between me and my nine friends (NINE! I ticked them off on my fingers on my delayed flight from Point A to Point B) who are really and trulio pregnant, is that I am not. I am woefully not pregnant.

I say woefully, not because I want to be pregnant, but because I have no other explanation for my pregnancy-like symptoms. (Ha! Symptoms. As if pregnancy is a disease you can catch.)

But it would make sense if it was.

Have you every noticed that as soon as one friend's Facebook status changes to something along the lines of: "There's a bun in my oven!" it spreads quicker than those annoying: "If you love Jesus, repost this or you'll reserve your place in hell" pictures? One friend and then another and another, and the one you probably weren't supposed to find out via Facebook, but you did anyway...they're everywhere! Pregnant people are freaking dominating my Facebook news feed. And if they're not pregnant, their baby is fresh (I mean, fresh) out of the oven.

So maybe I have pregnancy-sympathy pains. Is that possible?

Why else would someone devour their Strawberry Fields salad and then ponder what next (what IS next?!) to order. Should it just be French fries, or maybe the hummus that's on the menu? Or fried shrimp? Ohhhh, fried shrimp. Can I just have it all?

Did I really just think that?

The girl who's trying to calculate how many carbs are in her morning oatmeal and lunch pita pocket? The girl who is in major crisis mode after gaining eight pounds, and the girl who shops at a farmer's market every other Friday? Is this even the same person?

Then you add in the crying. Folks, I cried every day starting Monday, July 2, through Saturday, July 7. That's six days straight of tears falling, and an event so momentous that I noted the dates. Why? Because I never cry that much. (Like, ever.) And because I, like you, am trying to figure out why. I could give you some details, which would make you go, "Ah, I see," but I don't want to. How does the saying go: "it's between me and the fence post"? The fence post and I are splendid friends.

And the fatigue, which is really so terrifying that the only explanation is that I have another human inside of me. Fatigue so pronounced that every day my eyelids fall and I think, "It must be 2 p.m." and I look at the clock and it surely is. On the dot. And fatigue so bothersome that when I get home, I've been known to take a two-hour nap before bed, and then sleep all night?

It will not take me pissing on a stick to tell you I am not pregnant. To assure you and my mother that there is no possible way (outside of immaculate conception) I am preggers. And if I were, I would never say "preggers" or "prego." I am not a spaghetti sauce, or anything resembling one.

The waitress just took my leftover spinach dip, and my flight is even more delayed.

Now I want ice cream.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

dumping the dogs

I'm going out of town this weekend and for the first time in my life, I'm boarding my dogs at an actual facility. No leaving them with their grandmother, or shacking them with a friend. They're getting the boneified drop-off at the daycare.

What the hell am I supposed to tell these people?
Tuck likes to chew hard plastics and swallow the small pieces. He also rises at 6:30 every damn morning.
Skye has a WILL BITE sticker in her folder at the vet. She should be kept far away from baby deer, sheep and kittens. You can pet her head, just not her body. 

But first, let's just get them there.

Because I'm a bit obsessive, I called the boarding place yesterday to find out exactly what I needed to bring with them. I'd made the reservation a month ago, but I have a problem with short-term memory loss and I hadn't written anything down from that first conversation.

Dog food and vaccine records. OK. I can handle that.

Two hours later, the owner of the place calls me and says he doesn't have a reservation on file for my dogs. First words out of my mouth: "WHAT? Nooooooo...." because a lot of people board their dogs and getting last minute reservations is like impossible. But he graciously finagled it for me and squeezed us (well, them) in. And then the housekeeping items:

"Do you want to keep them together or separate?"
"Separate, please." Tuck gets too rough with Skye and without supervision, they're liable to be at each other's throats all day. 

"If you want to bring any bedding with them, you can."
"It's OK...they rough it." Ha, yeah right! They have the entire life of one human that revolves around them.

"You can bring any toys that they might like to have."
"OK." Do dustpans, tupperware containers, tote bags and sticks count? Because, really, those are the most favorite toys around here.

"The kennels are five-feet high and we've never had a dog jump them."
"Hmmm...well, that's good." At what point do I warn you about my dogs? That when they're determined to do something, they're going to do it?

I've never done this before. Does a dog boarder want your dog's life story, because I'm tempted to give it? Is it like leaving your kid with a babysitter?

Tuck gets up at 6:30 every morning and prefers to be let outside for approximately 15 minutes. But then he gets bored and starts barking, so you need to bring him back inside and re-crate him, OR at this point you can take them for their 1.5 mile walk. Skye can either go out at 6:30, but she's used to sleeping a bit later, so she can wait till you want to get out of bed at like 8 or something. If they both go stand at the farm gate after your evening walk, that means they want to go to the river. Feel free to take them, but keep Skye on a leash until you know no one else is at the river. Tuck doesn't need to be leashed, because he'll stay with you and if he runs ahead a bit, he'll listen and come back. When you get to the river and if no one is there, you can let them loose and throw rocks in the water to let them swim. Just don't throw sticks because they'll both want to retrieve it and they'll fight in the water over it. They might drown. When you're ready to leave, say "Let's go home," and they should go home, no leashes necessary. Tie them up outside so they'll dry off. Tuck will dry off much faster; it takes Skye hours.

They speak German, have I told you that? Am I supposed to leave a list of their German commands? And warn you they're probably not going to listen to you anyway?

Do I mention that Tuck gets bored easily and WILL find something to chew, and that neither of them are going to eat very much and will probably look like shit when I pick them up? Do I talk about the fact that Skye likes to jump on you and put her paws on your shoulders, while Tuck will just leeeeaaaaannnn into the front of your legs with no concern at all if you're mid-step, just so you can pet him? And that when you scratch his ears and head, he'll leave his mouth open and you'll be covered in slobber? Do I need to talk about bloodlines and pedigree and their intelligence levels, training schedules?

When should I mention that my world revolves around them, that they're my dream dogs, my friends, my roommates, my protectors, my investments, my incentives to exercise?

Maybe I don't talk about any of that. Maybe I'm just supposed to kiss their foreheads, scratch their ears and say, "Momma loves you...I'll be home soon," just like I do every morning.

There's no manual for life, is there? Not even for dumping your dogs.

Friday, July 13, 2012

everyone needs....me?

I believe that everyone needs an eccentric neighbor.

The kind you can talk about, whisper about, text your friends about (OMG, you'll never believe what my neighbor just did...)

I've had neighbors who slept on a mattress on their second-story roof. I've had neighbors who mowed their lawn every.day. I've had neighbors who were my friends, and neighbors who I'm sure hated being my neighbor. I've had neighbors who stared at me through the rain (that image will forever be engraved in my soul), and neighbors who brought me cookies.

I am the eccentric neighbor everyone needs to have.

I walk in circles around my neighbor's house every morning and every evening, sometimes 20 times. (Ten circles equal a mile.)

I can be heard calling or speaking to my dogs starting at 6:30 a.m. until as late as midnight. Sometimes I whisper-yell their names.

I speak in full conversational language to my animals, and sometimes to my tomato plants.

I do not pay particular attention to the clothes I wear (or don't wear) when I let my dogs in/out for their last potty break of the night.

I never wear a bra on my days off.

I will fire up my little charcoal grill on the front stoop, and then ask my neighbors if they want to use my leftover hot coals.

I beat my dogs with sticks off of kittens.

I go through a mental checklist every morning before I leave for work and when I'm satisfied that I have everything I need, I say, "Yep," out loud.

I have an unusual supply of VHS movies.

I can be heard saying, "Bye, Skye, momma loves you. I'll be home soon," every morning when I leave the Cottage.

I do not collect the newspaper every day that's thrown in my driveway.

I speak random words in German.

I hang my clothes outside to dry sometimes.

I walk around barefoot.

I encourage my dogs to engage in play with me that looks as though I'm being mauled.

I have few visitors and almost never men.

I pull random shit out of burn piles and build bookshelves, reconstruct picture frames and paint old tin.

I bring in all my groceries in one trip. Two, maximum.

I'd like to think it's normal to have abnormal neighbors, because if it weren't then where would I fit in?

So, 'fess up. Are you the eccentric neighbor?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I don't like whiteboards

I think whiteboards are clunky and institutional, but in the Cottage where there is a surplus of thoughts and to-do lists, a whiteboard-like item is necessary. When I discovered a couple years ago that dry erase markers on mirrors and window panes served the same functional purpose as a whiteboard, I was relieved.

Now I could have a space to spew thoughts (and erase them) and not have my office or bedroom or bathroom cluttered with the ugly white board.

All that to say, I needed one to hang above my desktop, so I rummaged in the old barn for the window frame I wanted and went to work on it. 

I hosed off, cleaned, scraped, hosed again, painted, distressed, and painted the wood again. I took the glass out and cleaned the pieces. I lost one in the process of this project, and when it came time to put it all together, one of the pieces was now too small for the frame. Why? Because of the nasty caulk-like substance holding it all in was now removed. I don't want that stuff chipping off onto my desk.

But here it is. I'm bad at taking before-pictures, but just envision an old white window frame being drug out of an old barn. You'll have the mental picture.


My helper for the day.

Putting the glass back in (I'm surprised I didn't break it)

Paying my helper some attention

The semi-finished project. Just have to find something for the empty frame hole. If you can't read the quote, it says: "She decided to start living the life she imagined." But the beauty of glass is that I can change it when I want to! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

weight loss, weight smoss

What's smoss, you might ask?
I don't know.
Just like I don't know why the hell I'm gaining weight right now.
I'm exercising.
I'm eating fresh.
It's a (frustrating) quandry.

Every time I go grocery shopping, I have a complex. And the complex is that while I'm unloading my cart stocked to the nines of fresh fruit and weird healthy shit, that the person behind me, the people next to me, my cashier, the loss prevention dude in the cat walk above me are all thinking: "Hmm..so the fat lady is going on a diet. Interesting."

And then I want to yell: "This isn't a diet! This is actually how I eat, and how I shop every two weeks. I prommmmmmissee!"

Here's photo proof of the groceries I brought home yesterday, minus the veggies I'll buy today at the farmer's market (these will last me about 12-14 days):

Bad groceries: chips, cookies, candy

Good groceries: watermelon, tuna, oatmeal, diced tomatoes, pineapple, cantaloupe, oranges, pita pockets, salmon, apples, strawberries, sparkling water, bananas, avacados, skim milk, parmesan cheese, pepperjack cheese, half-n-half, kiwi and chereries.
Maybe I'm eating too many carbs. Maybe I'm eating too many starches. Maybe if I slept more and walked harder...

But who really gives a rat's ass?

I mean, I'm power-walking twice a day. I eat whole oats with cinnamon and a banana every morning. I drink coffee. I eat fish and veggies. I splurge on chips with my tuna. I don't down alchohol or diet drinks. My M&M intake is nearly non-existant. I'm eating organic and fresh when I can.

What else is there? A liquid diet?


At the end of the day, I love food. Yes, sometimes obsessively, but a lot less of that these (healthy) days, and a lot more of whatever thoughts one uses to convince oneself a cheeseburger will not cure all mental and emotional ails.

Sometimes the best you can do is all you can do.

I told a friend of mine: "I will never be a stick."
And he said, "Good. Sticks are brittle."

Brittle is something I could never be accused of being.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I'm a bit beat up, or as my doctor said today, "damaged." I have bruises on every limb, two nasty scrapes on one leg, a cut and bruised foot-arch and scrapes on my toes from rocks and Tuck's claws. It's a gallery of adventure and the results of living with two large beasts. I even have a bruise on a boob.

I refueled on my tetanus today and stocked up on band-aids and triple antibiotic ointment since apparently I've reverted to my tomboy adolescence. The only difference is that mom's not around to assure me that I'm not bleeding too badly and that I will be OK. That was always my panicked line, "Am I going to be OK? Am I going to be OK?" As long as she said yes, I was good. The moment she hesitated, I was inconsolable. I'm sure she faked it plenty of times.

I called her today after I fired my dentist. They were trying to double-bill me for a bill my insurance had paid, and my dentist's office had sent it to collections.

"I don't even know why I'm crying," I blubbered. "I'm just so mad." She got mad for me and then said it would be OK. And she was right - they resolved the issue and it was OK.

Other things are going to take time.

My heart's pretty bruised right now, parts of it battered. I've done a lot of crying today. I've said things like, "I just never saw life going this way," and it's true. I never did. I've spent a lot of time making sure it wouldn't - mediating, tending, negotiating, running interference, reasoning, counseling - and now, it seems for nothing. For this. For this ache, for this sadness, for this loss. It's a deep sadness, this one, and sometimes, like today, I have to let my soul sit down and admit: this really hurts.

This really fucking hurts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

the falls

I like to be adventerous.

Well, I like to think I am.

Two trips down this series of three waterfalls yesterday and I was seriously questioning my capacity for bravery.

You might know I like plans. I like to know where I'm going and what's waiting for me at the bottom, say, of three waterfalls. So when I asked, I was informed that there were steps off the side leading back up to shore. I can handle steps.


Nobody mentioned the fact that the current would be so effing strong that after baling out of my tube, I would be struggling to just stand upright on a sharp rocky ledge in the middle of the river, much less get my ass to unseen steps by the shore. A spry-looking woman just in front of me was struggling too. And when I say struggling, folks, I mean that had we stopped fighting to just stay standing, the current would have swept us down the river so fast we'd be gone for hours. She had a husband. And husband managed to get their kid to shore and then she begged him to come back for her.

We were reaching near crisis mode, and this thought flashed through my mind:

"I would never last on Survivor." Eff that shit. I wanted my feet on shore, not on the sharp rocks that had now deeply cut the bottom of one foot. I knew it had to be bleeding profusely. Sharks would be there any minute.

My peeps were on the shore telling me to come on, and I was yelling that I couldn't. My little brother came to get me, and told me I'd have to swim just a little ways to the rock ledge.

But I can't swim across this current!! Pretty sure I whined that out.

I mustered whatever swimming capability I had and prepared for the long haul. Two strokes later, I could touch again.

"Wow, really. Two strokes? Why didn't you tell me?" And then I felt like the person who was drowning in two feet of water (Stand up, just stand up!) I turned back to my water-friend who was still waiting for hubby (taking forever!) and I encouraged her that once you swam like two strokes, you could touch again.

So, I survived that round.

Let's go again.

First waterfall flipped me out of my tube, which sent me headfirst into the water and through a maze of death, I swear. Primarily, I could not breath, which is always concerning for me. Secondly, the water through the falls is shallow and there are big-ass rocks waiting, taunting. I imagined my face (the one still underwater.....God, if you love me, bring me to the surface!) being smashed into an underwater rock. Maybe I would pass out and drown. Maybe I would need plastic surgery. But since breathing was still a top priority at this point, I didn't dwell on it.

God loves me. I could breath again. And just in time to hear my brother yell that the next waterfall was coming and to plug my nose.

Eff my life.

What nose? I didn't even have time to touch it before I was plunged and pinned underwater again.

How is this fun?! I think I made a lot of promises I knew I wouldn't be able to keep while I was swirling around in the crevices of water-darkness. Now I know what toilet paper feels like when it's flushed. So not pleasant.

I found the surface again and just before the third waterfall. I did not fall off a watermelon truck yesterday. There was no way in hell I was tumbling over a third one.

The ravage woman-survivor in me reared up and clawed my way out of the path of the most heavy current and to big rocks, cutting in front of a fellow tuber who did not appreciate me interrupting his ride. Dude, I'm sorry. I've escaped death three times today. I'm no fool.

And then, while I'm on my hands and knees, completely not caring if the people in front of me were getting a full view of the girls, crawling my way out of the water and muttering, "That was not fun, that was not fun," I realized: You are not brave. You are a little bit of a pussy.

I did not go down the waterfalls again. Instead, I nursed my wounds (seen here):

and threatened to go find one of the little paramedics on four-wheelers for a first aid kit. I was advised not to do that, for the sake of honor.

I stared death in its watery eye, folks.

I lived. Limping, but surviving.