Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So....I titled my post "in hopes of living bigger". But what, exactly, am I doing lately in those hopes? I've been so busy and so overwhelmed with the day to day life that the hopes of living bigger have merely turned in to hopes of surviving each day and making it by to the next.

My hopes of becoming an amazing teacher, while not over, are definitely (I feel) on hold. I have gone from planning inventive, insightful lessons to merely surviving the lessons. Yes, I still have the students' attention and my classroom is still a pretty decent place to be- but it hasn't been *amazing* lately. I haven't gone out of my way to pull students into my office and offer them additional assistance. I haven't scheduled out an amazing plan to make sure all students leave my classroom with that awesome feeling of wonder and excitement that I had planned. Lately, I just feel like i'm...surviving.

What else am I doing to be "living bigger" lately? Nothing, really. And it's not that I need to do these amazing things or travel to these amazing places to feel like i'm living a bigger life. No, it's the small things. It's making time for a monthly pedicure, making time to read those inspirational blogs that I so love at the coffee shop with the lattes topped with foam pictures of hearts and leaves, it's making time to do what ever it is that I am doing with gusto and ambition and inspiration.

So, what do I do now? What do I do now that I most certainly won't get the teaching job I've been going to school for the last 7 years for, most certainly am not with the guy that I'm going to marry that, when I met him, I waited for and only imagined us being the most perfect of couples, and most certainly feeling like I'm lacking the usual inspiration that I really feel makes me...me? Well, I guess I adapt. I change. I go back to square one.

Isn't that crazy...square one. After all the millions of things I've been through- the jobs I've had, the guys I've dated, the experiences I've had....square one. However, I'm not really sure square one is the worst place to be. Here I am, so many years later, with a clear picture of what I want out of life. No, not the perfect guy in my head, the perfect job, or the perfect picture of what my life is going to be like. But the idea of who I am and the things that I plan to get out of life. The feeling, above all, of hope. The feeling that anything is possible. I find myself, after a bad breakup, after getting fired, after a big loss of some sort, going back to that square one. This place is a beautiful place to me- a place where anything is possible. Everything is in front of you and any choice is possible. I'm not locked into anything. Everything I do, from this point on out, is my choice. I think this is something many people overlook: I choose to be where I'm at. No one chooses where they are from, where you now is an unchangable thing, but where you are going- that, my friends, is changable for anyone at anytime.

So now, I choose to go forward. I chose to have the world in front of me. And, you know what, if I choose to be here in Salem, substitute teach, waitress, be single....well, that sounds like a pretty great life to me. And it will be, because I chose it. And if it doesn't turn out to be what I want, well, I guess I'll go back to square one again =)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why I am in love with music....

Because music is like putting feelings into art. Music gives my uncreative soul a way to express itself. Yes, perhaps it is through other artists- but that's why music is amazing. There are so many songs that take me back: to a person, to a moment, to a situation, to a friend's situation. They take me back to good memories, to moments and situations I'm happy to have overcome, and bring back mixtures of feelings that just make me feel so...alive. They also help me to see and realize my hopes and dreams. What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of love do I want to find someday? I love that I can think and feel all of this through music. It amazes me actually.

I love when I hear a song and it just...takes me back. For better or worse, it reminds me how much I can feel (which, to me, is always a positive thing). I can't listen to Jason Wade's "You Belong To Me" (my go-to travel song) without it transporting me back to the rocks in Italy, staring at the sunset for hours. I listened to B&D's "It's Getting Better All The Time" on repeat for...about a week straight when my first love (of four years) and I broke up- really my first experience with lost and/or relationshipinal (<--- that word, copyright MGM) loss. It takes me back to my dorm bed, crying and "ruined" and wasting away with greasy food, a best friend, and Tylenol PM. But, my point is- these songs seriously take me back to these places- no time travel necessary.

Anyways, I'm sure everyone hears songs and thinks, "Hey! That's me! That is my situation." Sometimes, it's awesome to realize how alike we all are and how we are all so different. What made me think of this to begin with was that I was listening to Kenny Chesney's "Somewhere With You" on youtube...I happened to scroll through the comments and saw:
what do u do if your wife
feels different then you
i just want to b with her
dont think i have the fight anymore
drove all the way from billings mt 2
wagner sd put this song on replay the whole
719 miles
tk u kenny4 a great song

I thought to myself...I've been this person! (After I thought..."this person has horrible English skills!") Anyways...I've been there. I've felt that feeling. It's crazy how all of our situations feel (key word) so unique to only us...but they probably aren't. We all feel. We all experience happiness, sadness, loss, gain- sometimes in immense amounts. At least, that is what I hope for everyone. The greatest blessing this life has given us is the capability to FEEL. For better or worse, use it wisely.

The Soundtrack that inspired this blog (and my life)...

Dave Matthews Band- Grace Is Gone
Levi Lowrey- Wherever We Break Down
Brooks and Dunn- It's Getting Better All The Time
Kenny Chesney- Somewhere With You
Joshua Radin- I'd Rather Be With You
Jerrod Niemann- What Do You Want From Me
Jason Wade- You Belong To Me
Montgomery Gentry- Gone
Jay-Z- Empire State of Mind (aka Cause We're in Nnneeewwww YYooorrrkkkk)
Taylor Swift- The Way I Loved You
Jack Johnson- Better Together
Eric Church- Love Your Love The Most

Of course this list is not near fully complete (not at all!)...and is subject to change, to growth, to subtraction...as is my life =)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conquering My List: #82- Watch a baby being born.

So...I'm actually really excited about this- my first cross off I can officially do since my list went "public". (I put "public" in quotations because I'm sure the ten-ish people that read it hardly count as the public! haha). Anyways, here I am: #82- Watch someone give birth...

My amazing friend (and yes, boss) Alison and I were joking months ago, when she found out she was pregnant, about me watching her give birth to her child (fourth) so I could cross it off my bucket list. It slowly turned from a full out joke- to a thought- to a hmm....why not- to a plan to do it! I can't tell you the fear or excitement or nervousness that went through me as the "event" got closer. You see, it's not as if I ever actually WANTED to see a birth, I just think it's something everyone has to do to have fully lived (just like a good old fashioned heart break).

So, when I got the call that morning from her husband that the baby was on its way, I was mortified. However, I was also ecstatic and honored that Ali & her husband were gracious enough to let me in on their special moment. Slight background- I have somewhat adopted myself into the Fladwood's family. My family, very sadly, lives four hours away. Sometimes, it's nice to have that security and atmosphere that a noisy, funny, sometimes obnoxious, always eventful, REAL family holds. So, in my mind, what's the next natural step? Being there when a real Fladwood moves on into this world.

The birth- took around 36 hours at the hospital. I was there for pretty much all of it- I got to hold Ali's hand as they gave her the epidural (if that isn't birth control for me I don't know what is!), I got to eat cup-o-noodle in the nurse station while spending almost two days at the hospital, and I got to see beautiful baby Olive come into this world. I saw her take her first breaths; I heard her cry her first cry; I held her two minutes after she was born. Let me reemphasize that- I held a two minute old baby! There is an amazing feeling of...well, I'm not even sure what that feeling was: honor, excitement, amazement, world-connectedness, disbelief, etc when you see a baby being brought into this world. I didn't expect to cry or be moved in the way I was- but I most certainly did. One minute there were four family members in the room (including me and Grandpa Gary, of course)- and the next there was five. I don't know what baby Olive's life has in store for her- I hope its amazing and beautiful and I hope I'm there to be a part of it. But I do know this for a fact and forever...I was there the moment she was born. No matter what she goes on to accomplish, to not accomplish, who she ends up falling in love with, where she lives, what she says, whatever she does with this life she has been given- I was there for the beginning. To me, that's an amazing thing.

"A possibility was born the day you were born, and it will live as long as you live." - Marcus Solero


Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Easy Way....

Far and few between, life lets you learn very big and VERY important life lesson the easy way. My example....

Every year when I drive down to Klamath Falls during bad weather, I am scared out of my mind. I am that horriblly cautious driver- I drive 20 mph; I go unbelievably slow around corners. Not that I don't care how annoyed the drivers are behind me- I am well aware and it drives me insane. I am just more concered for, well, my life. Mostly, I'm just a scaredy cat who clenches the wheel for my life in the slightest of unfavorable driving conditions. However, this year was different. The roads were horrible coming down on Thanksgiving day, and many cars were stopping to put on chains. I was feeling rather adventurous that day so I refrained. For about two hours, the Jetta and I ruled the road. We passed cars chaining up, cars pulling over, and those women that I usually am- driving obnoxiously slow- hugging the right side of the snow bank. There were many moments when I thought to myself how much fun I was having conquering the snow ridden roads and really imagined never going back to the old and much more boring me.

Just as the Jetta and I were hitting 40-50ish on a straight road (past Chemult), feeling like nothing could ever stop us....the Jetta starts to fishtail. As my car is swerving right and left, I look up to see a semi truck barreling down towards us in the opposite lane of traffic. The Jetta pulls a slight left (semi-truck direction) then over-corrects itself right again (snow bank direction). Then slight left, then right. To be honest, I have no clue what I did in those moments. The car eventually pulled right and I let it take me, going 40 mph into a 3 ft deep snowbank.

Long story short (or shorter than it could be, atleast)- my car, being the badass it is, survived without a dent. I was completely fine. I sat on my phone for two (yes TWO) hours on Thanksgiving Day waiting for a tow truck to get me out of the mess I had put me in. The way I see it- there was a 50-50 chance. My car could've pulled me into the semi (lesson learned the very, very hard way). But it didn't. I suffered the embarrassment of atleast 30 cars stopping and making sure I was ok (Oregon drivers are AWESOME) and being a couple minutes late to my Family's Thanksgiving.
Needless to say- I'm back to the old me. For good.

I was thinking a lot more about this the last week because a friend of mine has been pretty distrought by a mistake he made. He left some prescription pills out (side note- he is a good and seemingly cautious dad, complete mistake) that his young son ended up getting into. A night of hell (I can only imagine) at the hospital....but yes, his son is fine. I can't imagine the fear he felt that night- but life gave him a break. He has his son....and I'm sure he'll never, ever, ever leave them out again. And I think thats a beautiful thing....when life does that for you.

So many people make mistakes and, just because life didn't punish them enough for them, they refuse to learn. But the way I see it (or atleast my life seems this way), life is just a series of messing up, big or small- then figuring out how not to mess up like that again. Life is about making those mistakes, losing that job, that boyfriend or girlfriend, that best friend......and vowing to yourself you'll learn. You'll make the necessary changes so that your life is only moving in a positive direction. Don't get me wrong, I've learned many of my lessons the hard way. Thats why I can be so thankful when life lets me slip up, gives me a motherly "don't do that again" stare, and lets me go on my way. I hope you can realize these moments when they come as well.

So anyways, if you pass me on your way to or from anywhere (on snowy roads going 10 mph) and I haven't pulled over to let you pass, feel free to flip me off. But I won't really care- because I'll be alive.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I want....

I want to be inspired!

I want to remember what its like to fall in love <3

I want to look at the world and be reminded just how beautiful everything is

I want great moments with great friends - that feeling where I am completely myself- and people actually love me anyways

I want to have my breath taken away

I want moments where I feel competely whole and happy and at peace

I want to feel like i'm right where I should be

I want to keep seeing magic and beauty in the tiny moments in life

I want to not be so afraid of change, but to embrace it

I want to let go, and let myself become the person this life is leading me towards becoming

Monday, December 6, 2010

My List...

So....I'm finally putting it up- my list. This list has been about a year in the making, and I've finally sped it up the last couple days because it feels wrong to cross something off as "done" when the list itself isn't even done. How would I ever get to 100? =) Writing this list has been a process for me. Some of these things are pretty personal and some of them are just kind of silly- it doesn't make any of them less significant to me. When my time comes, I don't actually care if i've done every single one of these things- but this is my road map. This list reminds me there is still so much life to be lived. There is so much of this world to see, so many people to meet, and so many crazy adventures to be lived. Now, more than ever, I have no clue what this life holds in store for me. All I know is this: my world is going to be huge.

100 Things To Do Before I Die (with commentary by yours truly)

1. Take a spur of the moment flight
-this is my favorite of all. I seriously just want to go to the airport, pick the next plane out, and go. End of story.

2. Get a teaching job

Call it being lucky, call it being prepared, or call it working my butt off...I ended up getting the teaching job of my dreams. 

3. Start my own non-profit

4. Run a marathon

5. Skydive

6. Pubcrawl in Ireland

7. Live in Italy for a summer
-had this is mind BEFORE Eat, Pray, Love thank you very much!

8. Get my picture in front of all 50 US state signs

9. Learn Italian
-fell in love with this language the moment I heard it. Ciao Bella. Grazie! Prego!

10. Dive into a glacial lake

11. Go to S. Italy/Greece

12. Spend a month in El Salvador

13. Study in the Galapagos Islands

14. Teach a college Evolution class

15. Go to New York
-I have since done this....so it shall go in italics. Thanks L for being so random and adventurous with me.

16. Bungee jump (2017 update: I literally never want to do this). Must change.

17. Get married to the love of my life

18. Have kids

19. Adopt a kid
- Both my mom and grandma were "adopted" by family members when they were around 12. I'd love to adopt a kid around that age.

20. Take my grandparents to a nice dinner
- My grandparents ALWAYS pay....I asked them when I could pay and they said I could pay once, the first time I get my first paycheck from my career job. I thought I was there once but that didn't stick. Kind of my right of passage to adult hood I guess.

So, here it is- the dinner that Grandma and Grandpa let me pay for (if you know them, you know what a rare occurrence this is). It's weird to be an "adult"- and have a career and have all of these things set in stone and planned out for me. It still doesn't feel real most days.

21. Take my family on a vacation

22. Go white water rafting

23. Take a super random class
- Think basket weaving or can can dancing

24. Cook something out of a new cookbook every day for a month

25. Get thrown out of a bar
- I don't mean nicely asked to leave...I mean *thrown* out

26. Attend the coolest festival I can find
- Thinking something like a bbq, steak, and beer festival in the South?

27. Hang glide
- On a dorito? hahahah

28. Kayak San Juan Islands and see Orcas up close

29. Relax in the Maldives

30. Dedicate my time to a project that's bigger than what I'm doing.

31. Hike the Wonderland Trail, WA

32. Swim under a waterfall
- I have also done this! Butte Creek Falls this summer. I plan on doing this many more times in my life. Its amazing!

33. Do a century bike ride

34. Do a regular triathlon

35. Sail an island chain

36. Take a US pilgrimage
- You should all get the jist of a pilgrimage by now

37. See a tornado

38. Have Thanksgiving at my house

39. Catch a firefly

So...this is obviously *not* a picture of me catching a firefly- but a picture of me in Chicago. And maybe only a picture that means a lot to me. But Chicago (ish) is where I caught said firefly. An amazing trip.

40. Summer in New England

41. Country bar hop in Nashville

I didn't know what to expect from Nashville. I knew I would like it- I didn't know I would completely fall in love with it! A whole street full of live country music at all hours, no cover charge, dancing, laughing, staying out until 6 am. A whole week full of Mara- Spring Break 2014!

42. Be a contestant on the Price is Right

43. Road trip to Mt. Rushmore
- Oh yeah, saw Mt. Rushmore. It was very uneventful and touristy. But the Black Hills of South Dakota were beautiful <3 Spearfish Canyon: 

44. See the fall foliage in New England

 Not only did I get to see the leaves in New England, I got to do it with one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world. Live free or die! Xoxo- AER :)


45. Teach someone illiterate to read

46. Grow a garden

47. Start a shoe tree
-Its started! Lets see if it sticks! =)

48. Climb the largest staircase in the world
- I believe its the CN tower in Toronto (thats open to the public)

49. Make a hole in one (golf)

50. Make a hole in one (Frisbee golf)

51. Go on a vacation with just my sister

-Yosemite, Summer 2011. Love you BSF.

52. US road trip
- very different from the pilgrimage

53. Become a "regular" somewhere

- I would say I've accomplished this since then. Amy at Grand Vines knows how I like my lattes, what seat I like, and hooks me up with a free truffle now and then. I also shortly considered opening a charge account there, but then realized I would spend way too much money that way.

54. Spend a week by myself

55. "Invent" a popular blog/website

56. Hike the PCT, at least in Oregon

57. Pay off my credit cards

58. Pay off student loans
- This will most likely be the last thing checked off this list. Hah.

59. Summit Mt Hood
     - Thanks to the determination and encouragement of Brit Laurenti & Erin Currie! 

60. Rent a fire lookout

61. Have "Sex on the beach"
-Not the drink ;)

62. Spend an entire weekend being lazy and in pajamas

63. Tomato fight/festival in Spain

64. Live downtown in a city
- Yes, I'm counting West Seattle as "city". Because what I've learned in my seven years since writing this list is...I'm not a city girl. I can see the city from my rooftop patio here in my apartment that cost too much money and doesn't have a deck or a wood burning fireplace, and thats close enough for me. If I could write this list again (and I could), I would change it to "Own a comfortable house in a small town with at least five acres of land"

65. Win a prestigious award in teaching (or whatever I'm doing)

66. Create a drink that becomes so popular that I hear someone I don't know ordering it

67. Face my fear of the cold and go snow camping
Thank you, Brit Laurenti, for pushing me in ways I never want to be pushed. I love you :) 

68. Stay at a bed and breakfast
  - Thank you Theresa! I've learned two things from staying at B&B's, 1. They're adorable and cute and cozy. 2. I do not enjoy breakfast conversation with strangers that much. 
Pictured, the best B&B: Run of the River, Leavenworth, WA 

69. Graffiti, or have someone do it in my honor
-There is this awesome huge rock on my way from Klamath to Salem, and it always has all of this graffiti on it "I love Sally so and so, etc." How cool would it be to have someone love you that much that they would do something that stupid just to make you smile? =)

70. Watch the sun rise and set in the desert
  - Since my adventure life with Brit, I've had the opportunity to watch the sun rise and set in so many beautiful, amazing places. Alvord Desert. 

71. Write a memoir of some sort, even if it sucks

72. Golf par on 9 holes

73. Give someone something that significantly changes their life

74. Start a scholarship fund

75. Lay in a field for hours

76. Make a list of 1,000 things that make me happy

77. Swim with dolphins or turtles

Hawaii was amazing! Yes, I was in one of the most romantic places on earth with my mom and stepdad....but I couldn't think of a better place to be. And, yes, I swam with turtles AND dolphins (in the wild blue ocean ;)

78. Challenge myself professionally- work for a KIPP or inner-city school

79. Make out in the pouring rain

80. Work a completely random job
-Like....bread maker or gas station attendant

81. Take a bike trip
-Long distance, think bike around Holland, etc

82. Watch someone give birth

Introducing Miss Olive Fladwood

83. Go to a white sand beach

Can't believe I hadn't done this before Hawaii. Incredible!

84. Swim with sharks
-In a cage, duh

85. Bet a ridiculous amount of money on one hand

86. Explore in New Zealand

87. Write something that is published in a journal/magazine

88. Drink an obscene amount of beer at Oktoberfest

89. Make a photo book of my best photography (and have enough good photography to do so)
 - After our Trailer-Life trip, we did make a photobook- full of photography I never even dreamed I would be taking in moments I never dreamed I would be in

90. Watch every Academy Award winning movie

91. Get a complete makeover by a famous stylist

92. Start my own family tradition

93. Go ghost hunting

94. Get a moped for a day

95. Read the top 100 books
-In what list? I don't know yet...TBD

96. Find my home
-I hope life will figure this one out for me....

97. Watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean

Not only do I get a little sister that's my best friend in the world- I get a partner in crime. A person who will fly to the East Coast to watch the sun rise over to Atlantic Ocean with me. A person who asks "why not?" instead of "why?" My forever best friend...

98. Donate money, and put my name on something that will always be there

99. Own a vacation home on a lake

100. Visit Charleston, South Carolina

-For an old best friend.
While visiting Charleston I realized a couple things. One, Savannah is, in fact, better. Two, you need to live your life forward. You need to look forward. Only by doing this, do you grow and change the way that you need to. Keep memories in your heart, hold them close, and let them shape you as a better and stronger person. Far better things lay ahead than those you left behind. 

So I'm putting this up half to hopefully inspire other people to plan out their road map a little bit and half to hold myself to this. I don't want to be someone who finds out they have x amount of time left and try to live my life to the fullest then. We are all on a time clock, and everyone has x amount of time to live- be it 5 years or 50. So in the words of Henry David Thoreau, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the you've imagined."

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Three Day Pilgrimage

So I'll start out by correcting myself...our "three-day pilgrimage" ended up to be more of a 40 hour pilgrimage. However, this is how it was planned...and I've had this title in my head for a while, and it's my blog, so I refuse to change it.

When I told people I was going on a three day pilgrimage to a shoe tree that may or may not be there in Eastern Oregon (8 hour drive away) some people thought it was weird, some people thought it was awesome, and most people just thought it "sounded like something I would do." (which I take as quite the compliment!). Going to this particular shoe tree is on my TDBD (to do before I die) list, so sounds like a good way to spend a weekend to me. We did A LOT of exciting things on our little pilgrimage, but more importantly than any one thing we did on this pilgrimage, is to explain why this is a "pilgrimage" and not a vacation. And, oddly enough, I plan on doing this through the introduction of ANOTHER book- this one by author (and super-hippy) Dan Austin- The Road Trip Pilgrim's Guide.

"So what is a pilgrimage? Well, the way I've come to understand it, you can take a trip or you can take a pilgrimage. You can escape from life or escape to it. You must always return from a vacation, but you never return from a pilgrimage quite the same...

though historically religious in nature, pilgrimages do not need to be holy quests. At its heart, a pilgrimage is a journey of importance, to the pilgrim and maybe no one else. Road trip spirituality is as unique as the person who seeks it, often having little to do with any prescribed path. After all, most religions were started by vagabonds, mavericks, and idealistic visionaries with no great love for bureaucracy...

Your pilgrimage could involve fasting, penitence, and self-flagellation (not flatulation ;) hehe). But it could-should-also involve falling in love, dancing all night long, sleeping on the beach, reading Jacques Prevert, biking through torrential rain, crying your eyes out at something so beautiful (or so tragic), crashing with locals, breaking laws, sleeping in hammocks, guzzling Guinness, hitting midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, sleeping in banana fields, making out on top of Mayan temples, indulging in a Japanese onsen, and ultimately, finding that grail of happiness and meaning: truth to self."

So this is where the idea got started. I don't think enough people feel this way- and I feel like its almost faux pas to say so....but I LOVE MY LIFE. I love my life as imperfect, unstable, sometimes hectic, sometimes monotonous, and as average as it is. What other point is there in life if not to love it? I don't want an escape from my life. There is a quote that reminds me of this sad but abundant faux pas in our society, made famous by Nelson Mandela, that may be one of my favorites:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

People too often downplay their strengths and play off their weaknesses- because "who are they" to be that person. Well...who are they not to be? So anyways, all of that to say I don't want to escape from my life- I want every experience I have and every breathe I take to be PART of this thing called life. I don't want a trip to get a "break" from life- I want a trip to redefine who I am. I want to, every day of my life, walk away from the person I once was and become the person I will be.

So my pilgrimage involved driving through the night (well, passengering through the night), sleeping in a car in 20 degree weather, eating apple pie at 8 am, driving ten miles down a dirt road to knock on a cousin of a customer's door (second house to the left past the cattle grate ten miles down the dirt road across from the red church)- to be graciously invited in, fed calf testicles, and be put to work "fly-swattin' and feedin' cattle", wading a freezing cold river to get to a hot springs in the middle of the high desert, starting our own shoe tree, standing next to Lincoln (statue...not the man... sorry) in downtown Boise on a platform reciting the Gettysburg Address, illegally ringing Idaho's liberty bell, spending an uninterrupted two days with one of my best friends, and feeling the freedom that you only feel when you have no plans attached to your plans.

Long story short, my purpose of the trip was never techincally reached. The shoe tree in Juntura, OR died a couple years ago and was removed from the site. Tammy the waitress showed us a framed picture on the wall of the shoe tree that once was. RIP. However, this is where sometimes life throws you a curveball and thankfully my list is not a static process. I am hence forth changing number 47 on my list from "throw a pair of shoes on the shoe tree in Juntura" to "start my own shoe tree".

So do me a favor if you're ever driving down Highway 20 outside of Juntura, Oregon. Turn off just west of milepost 20, follow the dirt road by the river until it ends (about a mile), look out across the river to see the steam rising from the hot springs- and notice that big tree next to you. Looking up, you will hopefully see an old pair of Converse and some Sketchers tangled in the branches. Since every shoe tree has to have a purpose, use some old sneaker to cross that ridiculously cold river that takes you to the most beautiful hot springs I have ever seen. When you cross back, just make sure to toss those old sneakers up on the tree for me. I'll be back in one year to check.