Whirlwind!

Frazzled is probably too bold of a word.

Perhaps – busy?

Otherwise indisposed..?

Life is definitely catching up, and while I’m wielding my Photoshop Skilz with more and more power and taking (literally!) thousands of pictures (thankfully not all need editing, but crikey!) for Photography class and my own personal stuff – the schedule is definitely jam-packed. The fun meter isn’t quite tapped, and while I’m most definitely loving what I’m doing, I’m also becoming more adept at time management.

As in…. When N asked me which Housewives show was on last night – I didn’t have a clue. I haven’t had time to watch.

And as someone who uses reality television to escape the rigors of everyday life, that’s a pretty big shift. Not that I ever watched that much crap TV to begin with… but seriously? Housewives are a staple – like Peanut Butter and Pizza Port’s Golden Ale “Revelations” (not together). It’s just what I do.

I definitely miss seeing my friends. There is NO WAY that I could have gotten through last year without them (along with Housewives and way too much wine for my own good)… but with a massive Photoshop Project looming on Thursday  (aaaaack!!!!!!!), I’ve reached that desperate pitch. It also doesn’t escape my notice that the 17-year old wunderkids in class are able to finish their projects in – oh – an hour. Whereas it takes me an hour to properly cut out and layer one image.

Yeah.

That being said…. I love this. I LOVE it – I love the process of design, creating new meaning with images, of pursuing an artistic endeavor and telling a story through photographs. Had I known back then what I know now, I definitely would have majored in photography eons ago in college. But if that were the case, I most definitely wouldn’t be me, probably wouldn’t have me the Love of my Life, and stuff would be very different.

So I take it back… what I’m doing right now, the timing of Life, sport, writing, music, my appreciation for living (surviving my DVT/PE and diagnosis of Lupus), the direction that N’s career has taken – it’s all lead to this point, to where I am. And for that, I’m grateful.

Harried.

But grateful.

Last week was tough with the latest helicopter crash, and dealing with yet more loss – you never want to think about the Worst. But if anything, it’s a reminder that life is short… to really LOVE what you’re doing while you’re doing it…. to tell your friends and your family that you love them (I love you guys – even if I hardly see you anymore!), and to eat the Peanut Butter and Pizza Port “Revelations” (preferably not together, but if that’s your thing – great).

Over the weekend, the Yank and I – along with our friend J – went hiking in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. It’s been in the works for a while, and taking a day to just hike outside was the perfect thing to do. The goal was to summit Villager Peak – one of the more challenging peaks in San Diego County. With 5000+ feet of elevation gain over 6.5 miles (the first of which is “gradual” up instead of “oh-my-god-I’m-in-zone-5-heart-rate”, the steep, trail-less ridge line offered expansive views of the desert and surrounding mountains. Lots of sweat + hard work + rewarding summit was totally worth it….as the last time N and I hiked this two years ago, we lost our way.

I guess that’s why it was so important to the two of us… In April 2010, we tried to summit Villager, but it just didn’t happen. (Pre DVT/PE, pre-lupus, pre-deployment, pre-Dealer 54, pre-massive shit and hard times). We assumed we would make it, check it off the list, that the peak was a given. Ending up on a 4000 foot drop-off with no-where to go but up or down was NOT good. Definitely an OH SHIT moment. We vowed to return together . Someday.

It was pretty symbolic of life, I guess. WE don’t always succeed….success isn’t a given at all….and failure along the way can result. Getting lost can happen to the very best of ’em, in hiking and in life. Taking a step back, re-evaluating, learning from the past mistakes and using failure as a stepping stone to success – that’s the key.

So we pulled our heads out of our asses – we’ve recently been hiking together, I’ve started strength training to help with my arthritis (second knee surgery = BAD), we mapped the route and researched the trail, and last year I hiked the ridge line with an organized hiking group and figured out where exactly we went wrong – we were better prepared.

We’ve both been through a lot of shit, and at this point have a VERY different perspective on life and what’s important vs what just doesn’t matter. Touching the top and signing in to the register with N was one of the most rewarding things we’ve done together in a long time… I know how much it’s taken to get to this point. It hasn’t been easy – but we did it. And for that – I’m grateful.

I’m including a few pictures from the hike, because, well – that’s just what I do. Schlepping my tripod and nice camera gear to the top was definitely more work – but the end result and photographs of the day made it totally worth it.

Love it while you live it, people. The rest is just icing.

J - getting ready to go.

Under way in the early morning light.

J & N - and the expansive Clark Dry Lake, ABDSP stretching 4000 feet below.

N, on the way up, enjoying the expansive views.

We made it! Signing the register with the HPS box in the background makes it official.

Happy - at the top! Thank you automatic timer + tripod!!

What goes up - must come down. The three of us + Villager ride line route over my shoulder + USGS marker at the trail head. Awesome!

Helpful information about Villager Peak and our route - taken from the West Overlook, ABDSP

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