on the road….

Jordan and I are currently in North Carolina on a two month long road trip.  We left Utah in mid October in Jordan’s Roadtrek called Cornellia after getting me all moved in and moved out of the room i had been renting on and off for the past three years.  Our plans for coming back east was to come out to help my best friend who just had her second baby two months ago to visit and give some relief while also visiting friends and family along the way.

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We stopped in Iowa for a day to visit Jordan’s friends and to have a rest.  In Iowa we stayed in Ankeny and were able to go to a state park for hiking and mountain biking.  While Jordan was working I had the opportunity to go and explore Pella,Iowa.  It is a historic dutch town with plenty of windmills, bakeries and brick streets for your enjoyment.

Then we went on to Ohio to visit my family and stayed there for half a week.  Its always nice to get family time.  Things always seem to change yet stay the same. Odd how that happens…. Its been awhile since I have had quality time with my family and something I have been needing.   We parked for a night in Columbus at my cousin and her families house and I was able to spend a day with her and then all of us go out for dinner.

Jordan and I then headed up to my home town of Ashland to park at my aunt and uncles house.   We spent the majority of the time there so I could visit with my brothers, antagonize my uncle and get to meet the newest addition to the family. We also got the best fall cookies at Hawkin’s Market. They are a fall staple in our family.

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Driving….

We are trying to iron out the kinks when it comes to drive, work, sightseeing and relax time.  We tend to have to go a bit slower due to Jordan working through out the week and then having only so much time on the weekends yet also managing time that Jordan gets to get out and explore himself.  Its a lot of conversing with one another and checking up on how we are each doing.

Are we staying somewhere too long,

Are we driving too much,

Are we getting to explore together,

Are we exercising enough….

It’s a work in progress and maintaince to be sure that both of us our getting out of this what we need.   Its learning even more about communication and also giving one another the space one needs to figure it out as well.

 

North Carolina has been a lot of fun and we have been here for a few weeks now.  I have plenty I plan on writing about each with their own posts.  My goddaughter is now two and has gotten so big and I have had plenty baby time with the newest addition.  Kelsey has taken me out to explore and we have gotten our much needed girl time we each have been lacking.

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until next time…..

with love,

jess

Mesa Verde part 1…..

For the trip to Mesa Verde Jordan and I had a little more time to plan. So while Jordan worked I researched what I could on where we could stay and a possible itinerary for us. 

With Jordan’s Van(camper) we are pretty self sufficient.  We have a stove top, fridge, bed, and toilet.  So for us its just finding a good spot to park for the night.   
A few sites I used to research the trip was: 

MesaVerdeCountry.com, 

Colorado.com, 

freecampsites.net

And yelp- to look up ice cream shops. 

The book I used was  Your Guide to The National Parks– Michael Joseph Oswald. 

For the most part I used exclusively meseveredcountry.com. its easy to use, tabs on the side bar of places nearby to explore, events happening, the towns close by, places to eat and where to stay. 

The only thing I wish this site had was something more on the trails in Mesa Verde.  This is where my book came in handy and very useful.  
Your Guide had the dwelling tours and hikes not to be missed out on. 

I wasn’t sure how big the park was and how quickly we would get through everything. So I planned for us to go to the Canyons of the Ancients and to Cortez visitor center on Sunday.  We ended up scratching these plans Saturday morning when we got to the visitor center at mesa Verde and realized we could do the three dwelling tours we wanted,  Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House. 

Friday night we got in late and a little turned around so we stayed at the wal-mart parking lot in Cortez.  We pulled up sometime after 2 am. 
Saturday morning we got up around 8 or 9 walked Charles and then drove over to the park. It only took 15 minutes from Cortez to the park entrance.  We went into the visitor center to take a look but then realized we needed to get in line for our tickets for the cliff dwellings. Since it is the off season we were able to do two tours in one day.  

On Saturday we did both Balcony House and Cliff Palace. There is a lot of driving time between the cliff house parking and the visitor center. So be sure to give your self some allowance on that. We had about 45 minutes before our first tour so we had a quick breakfast and then gathered with the rest of the group.  For our second tour we drove to the next and had an hour to kill so we had a quick snack, let Charles out and then met with the new group.

The tours were only an hour long each.  For hour hiking ability they were rather easy.  The paths are all we defined and mostly paved.  We climbed up ladders that are very well bulleted in. So as safety goes your well taken care of.  Just be sure to either wear a hat, sun block and drink a good amount of water. 

After our tours on Saturday, we were done for.  With driving in late and then waking up early we were ready for a nap. We took a good two hour nap in the parking lot of the last dwelling.  By the time we woke we were ready for some dinner and to explore Cortez and of course our favorite thing…. ice cream!

Yelp, helped us locate a locale ice cream shop.  There are two shops but we chose MooseandMore, they are right there in downtown. They had chocolat and house made ice cream.  I had their lemon custard….yum We settled for our scoop and walked around town scouting for a good place to eat.  

Downtown Cortez has several bars and restaurants. We walked around checking out each place trying to figure out what we would wanted.  There is a locale brewery/restaurant that sounded fun but we kept walking around and smelled pizza. 

Loung’en Lizard is kinda of an upscale restaurant, yet the prices are reasonable.  We shared a vegetarian pizza and salad and each a locale craft beer.  

After dinner we drove back towards the national park to camp for the night. We found a site near the park that is bml free parking on freecampsites.net.. We parked on a dirt road and pulled up underneath amfew trees and called it good. 

With love, 

Jess

…….cont…..

Three years

Yesterday I was riding down from my bank to kafe merc and for a moment I couldn’t remember the date.  Does it really matter at this point?  This time of the year always gives me time for pause. More than just the fact that the weather is slowly shifting or the leaves starting to change and fall, litering the ground with its leaves and color.  I realize the shifts and change in myself as fall approaches and sets in. 

 Three years ago Kelsey and I woke early to drive to Provo to pick up local energy bars that were being donated to us for the 5k that we (mainly Kelsey) was putting on.   She drove as we drank our coffee and I watched out the passanger window, silent.  Trying to calm my nerves, quiet my mind and find stillness within myself.  Trying with everything I could to keep the tears at bay for as long as possible. 

Kelsey started talking and i was grateful that it wasn’t on the conversation I had buzzing in my mind.  She talked about the 5k everything we needed to finish doing that week to prepare for that upcoming Saturday.  We talked about a hike we wanted to do, a trip we wanted to start planning. About the new guy she was starting to see (which is now her husband). We talked about everything except about what I would have to do later that day.  I was grateful. 

My tears couldn’t hold they started falling my words choking as I answered her back. I’m sorry, I’d tell her. Though I didn’t have to. She understood.  “He doesn’t deserve you.” She told me. She lifted me up and encouraged me.  “Your a good person, you try and you get back up and keep climbing.”  I nodded trying to take everything she was saying in. Trying to believe her. “Your a strong Women, Jess.” 

 “One day this will be nothing to you, one day you’ll meet someone who see’s who you really are. One day you’ll see yourself…..” 

And what we did a lot during those time she had me list of what I was grateful for.  Better to stay positive. So I listed. 

“1. For rainy days, 2. Charlie, 3. Best friends, 4. A home, 5 a job, 6 music, 7 toothpaste, 8 hardtimes.” 

I listed them, stopping to think on each one, stopping to choke down my cries. 

We pulled up into provo , into the parking lot and we had a few minutes to wait before the store opened.  It was cloudy, chilly a perfect mold for the day. We stepped out looking up to the mountains. 

“Stop there.” Kelsey told me. “Let’s take a picture of you. ” so I posed and she snapped.  “This can go on your blog, for you to remember that your strong, that your a writer, that your going places. ”

We got the bars, thanked the owners and drove back to Ogden.  My nerveness, anticipation didn’t go away but I calmed down a bit until making our way around the bend to Ogden. 

” I can do this.” I repeated over and over. 

We drove in to Ogden as if time slowed. My mind wondering.  She pulled onto my street then up to the curb in front of the house.  She stopped. “I’ll pick you up and drive you down. We’ll get some coffee before.”  I nodded. 

I went inside, grabbed my mail. Flipping through each one. I had a few hours before mediation. I thought about taking a nap but couldn’t do it. I grabbed my outfit I had picked out weeks before. Laying my skirt, blouse, shoes out on the bed.  I got in the shower, soaked and prayed. I got out and as I always did during that time. I layer on the floor, crying and praying. Asking for peace, asking for calmness, for comfort. I layed there, crying and quiet letting each one soak in.  Drifting in and out of sleep. When I was ready I got up, did my hair, makeup dressed and waited for Kelsey to pick me up. 

That whole day is engrade in my mind.  I think about who I was then and who I am now.  Laying there those few years ago I tried to imagine what my life would look like a year, two years, three and five years in the future.  I had a hard time imagining myself not as myself then. Heartbroken, in pain and lost.  Yet I did it everyday. Who did I want to be, what did I want, what did it look like traveling, writing, being in a new relationship.  How did it feel being a strong version of myself, more sure, more positive. What did it look like for myself being happy? 

 Who I am now is who I wanted to be three years ago, where i am in my life was what I couldn’t imagine but tried. I couldn’t fathom any of this but I put in the work, kept moving forward even when I thought I was going back words. 

Time heals, shifts and changes us. Makes us stronger gets us closer to where we want to be.  I have learned to be patient, more compassionate and understanding of others as I have given myself those allowances.  

 I am grateful for the last three years of my life. Those experiences could fill a novel, the last eight, nine years as well.  Yet as each novel ends as either happy or sad a new one begins. I regret nothing during those time. They are mine, to either share or keep to myself. Yet they benifit myself and others in either a direct or indirect way. 

And now as then I am ready to at least end that particular novel and to start a new one.  

She stood out in the summer rain on 25th street. Laughing to herself, her arms flung high in the air. She danced as she once did as a child. She neither cared nor worried how others saw her.  The rain washed and renewed her or perhaps she realized that it happened slowly.  She was strong, competent, happy, beautiful.  She had all she needed and more.  Thankful and grateful for the past, for the present and what life had to offer her.  There was a stillness a newness of something to come. Something Big, closer than she had ever been. She tasted it on her lips as if she tasted the rain that fell and dripped and gathered above her lip. Tasting each drop.  

With love, 

Jess

Thoughts on Mesa Verde and Travel

Last week was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, a lot has happened with family and I needed to get away, breath, refocus…center again.  Jordan asked what I wanted, what I was needing. I told him I wanted to run away… So we did, well at least for the weekend. 

 I bought a National Parks book this past spring. I like to flip through it. Get ideas, plan out my big Mobile adventure with it.  Jordan and I flipped through it together after deciding not to take a trip to meet with his friends in South Dakota. We really wanted to but his work schedule mandated we stay close.  So we flipped through the pages of my book and decided on Mesa Verde National Park. 

Mesa Verde has been on my radar for some time.  My bestfriend loves it down there, its an archeologist dream come true.  Studing geography and having a deep appreciation for native american culture myself I wanted to explore as much as I could.  As a kid flipping through my history books I would fixate on the images. Imaging myself there exploring, discovering something new.  I became the explorer, historian, archeologists, geologist, I became the people of those times.

Going to college and exploring my interest in geography, nature pops out to me.  How land is formed, where can we find water, what do the rocks look like, the colors of the dirt.  What flora do we find, what animals, insects are living, how do they adapt to the climate.  The desert is so appealing to me, what we think should be a livable climate-thrives and those species who do find ways to adapt, culltivate.  

We are told in history, science, social classes the the early humans live along-near rivers but so much of our history is right along desert habitats.  Places we think have no water but has rivers, lakes, pockets of water hidden or in plain sight.  Mesa Verde is unique in the fact that water is gathered and collected from rain fall and seeps down into the cliffs and there each drop is collected along the back walls.  

Its so fascinating to me, so much to learn and understand. The Anasazi people had learned to live and flourish for over 700 hundred years at Mesa Verde. Hunting and gathering, migrating and then eventually farming. Making dwellings underground, building villages and then building and living in the cliffs. The building work is very well done. Lasting this long.
I believe we have a duty to protect the ancestrial lands. The more I travel and learn the more I realize that we are caretakers.  We have an obligations that I feel stronger and stronger about as i get older, as I explore and learn. 

We are lucky to have places like Mesa Versa and all of the other parks. At there are caretakers and money put in to restore, educate and provide for our benifit and pleasure to seek out. 

The parks are a sanctuary from our busy, hectic and modern day lives. 

I am thankful for all the traveling I have been able to do this last month.  Each weekend has been somewhere new to explore.  An adventure that I have always dreamed of, its why so many years ago I moved out here and why I stay mainly in the west. 

I am grateful for Jordan and our new partnership, companionship and love. That he see’s the world a bit like I do – exploring, learning, understanding and protecting our lands.  The onset of our relationship has been about travel and it continues to be that as we plan. Its our priority, our passion and dream for ourselves.

With love, 

jess

Ogden’s very own tornado! 

I was sitting in Grounds for Coffee having a latte and catching up on my writing. For the first day of fall it was rather beautiful. Cloudy skies, breezy with cooler temps and leaves changing along 25th street. It was perfect, I sat at a table with the door open, my coffee in hand and working on future blog posts. 

I hadn’t been paying attention to the skies outside until Jordan had mentioned about circulation with the clouds outside via text, I laughed it off and said no, Utah doesn’t get tornadoes.  Then not even 2 minutes later another patron at the coffee shop had said “well its about to begin, any minute now”. I turned around from my seat and then in my surprise ” what’s about to start? The rain?”  Then others started walking outside and I glimpsed and notices the sky. 

A sky I hadn’t seen in over a decade. I am from Ohio, I am used to the skies changing quickly from a clear blue sunny warm day to all of the sudden the sky turns dark, ominous, wild and scary all at once.  I am used to seeing clouds rotate, winds wiping and then all of a sudden the rain and hail thudding along. But I am used to that in Ohio not in Utah, not over 25th street in downtown Ogden. 

All the partons helped the girls bring the outdoor furniture and bikes inside.  I hurried and called my roommate to report what i was seeing, to let her know to get herself and the dogs somewhere safe. I hurried out to grab my bike that i had locked down a few stores away. I called Jordan to afirm that yes he was correct and that i hadnt been paying attention. Then we (patrons and I) watched from the stoop as the funnel moved quick, we lost track of it wants the rains fell hard and fast. 

“Is that…is that really a funnel?

“It’s really happening.”

 “No tornado today, well we are lucky”

“A little excitement for an afternoon, uh?” 

“I’ve never seen a funnel before, wow! Can you believe that?” 

We all gathered and voices dwindled as the storm quickly moved past us.  We went back to our tables, chairs our busy work. We got on to our laptops and phones checking the weather reports. Checking in with our friends. We were all silent for a few minutes. Gathering information, data. 

“There was a tornado touch down!” Someone said. 

“Where?” 

Conversation was then on the tornado, where did it hit, was there any damage? 

When the storm finally passed a few left, went back to work, got back on the road. Whent back to their normal, daily lives. 

I went back trying to write, trying to calm my excitement of the tornado.  I drank the rest of my latte and waited for Jordan to get off work.  New people came in and more small chat of the storm.  

For a small part we all came together, friended one another. Asked where each other was from, where we all liked to travel to. For a small part of our lives we opened up to one another and came together all from the excitement of our current weather event that was abnormal for Ogden, Utah. 

With love, 

Jess

Recovering from Vaginismus

I wrote a post a year and a half ago about my very personal difficulties in my marriage stemming from sex. During those years I had vaginisum but didn’t know there was a name to it, that there were/are others who had the same problem as I did. 
Due to the shame and lack of conversation on sex I felt very isolated. Going online helped me a little. I started researching and found a few sites that discussed sex, ways to help it opened the conversation in a very private and safe setting. I still wasn’t sure what the problem was on my part I was clueless and a little in denial. 

When my ex shortly left I made a decision to go to a hypnotherapist. She was highly recommended to me.  So every Monday for three months I drove down to Lehi. I would walk into her small white farmhouse cottage, sat on her couch in her office filled with books.  I would cry or try to hold back my tears and we would work on me.  Everything from how I viewed sex, how I felt about it, what my relationship was with my parents, and how my parents relationships where in my view point. 

Everything that revolved around sex was either dirty, multipulation or abuse and power.   It was either my job to protect my body from how others viewed it or that no matter what I did my body was not my own.  Sex was dirty and it was a duty not something to enjoy or encourage.  It didn’t help that my body would freeze up and become like a brick wall while trying for intercourse. 

My therapist within two sessions asked me if I had ever been raped or molested as a child. She told me to go home and talk with my mother and family and to talk to them about any possible sexual abuse that might have occurred.  She felt very certain that something had.  E alarms were all there, from how I viewed sex and my body, how penetration was agonizing and my low libido. 

When I finally broached the subject with my mother she confirmed what was believed. We discussed what happened and why I possibly would have blocked the memory.   Our bodies and minds are very interesting in how it functions to survive. For myself survival meant burring the abuse along with many other memories from that time. My body on the other hand remembered and kept it there. Protecting me from any other possible abuse, even when as an adult it was meant to be consensual.  

 After going back to my therapist we did a lot of work to try and heal the damage inside of me.  We focused on my thoughts and correcting them and to learn to not think of my body as damaged but whole, healing loving and protecting.  I also had a lot of work to do on my own. I was able to go to an obgyn and get checked as well as discuss my issues and what I needed to do to correct and prepare myself for future healthy sex life.  

My doctor directed me to buy a training vibrator.  That the use of the vibrator would hopefully correct and help my body to be more excepting of penetration.  The use of the vibrator felt awkward and unnatural. I stuck with it and also worked on correcting those deep rooted negative thoughts I had.  

It took me years to get to place I was comfortable with sex, comfortable with my body and my image of who I was and my part in sex. 

For those who suffer, who have suffered there is hope and recovery from vaginismus.  It takes work, compassion and opening the dialogue to others and yourself.  Researching, therapy and practice helped me along to where I am now.  Forgiving my body for what I thought was failure, excepting and learning to move forward with my life in all other aspects added to my already rewarding life. 

Take time out for yourself, learn your ins and outs. Dig into your past find out what works for you. The time does come when clarity, forgiveness and moving forward happen. 

Your not in this alone. 

With love, 

Jess

Peach Days

On Saturday Jordan I headed to the Ogden famers market for coffee at daily rise. We walked around and then headed up to Brigham City for Peach Days. 

 We were looking forward to all things peach.  Saturday turned out to Be a beautiful late, early fall day.  Brigham City is a quaint little western town.  Shops along main street, American flags hanging in shop doors, trees lining the main street along the residential area as you head out of town.  Diners and drive- in galore to make you think of days gone by.  And the wasatch mountains has your backdrop. 

The festival wasn’t what we were expecting.  There were lots of shop vendors, a mini fair along the street, and fair food.  We had for lunch a peach smoothie and gyro.  

We had a good time whether or not we thought there should have been more peaches and peach activities. We walked around bought some local soup and enjoyed the last of summer. 

All and all I would possibly go again, maybe look up more of what was going on in the city calender for those unique activities. 

After we left peach days Jordan showed me some old abandoned military buildings in Brigham. 

The man has an art for finding all old buildings and envisioning what the restoration would be.  A town dance hall, art studios, apartments, shops.   I rather enjoy the way he see things differently, his perspective on life and how we could make it better for all of us. 
He’s a dream. End mush. 

With love, 

Jess