lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Snorkeling Sickness March 11, 2017

My husband and I aren’t usually seasick people. We’ve ridden on boats from canoes to cruise ships and neither of us has ever gotten ill. Until we went snorkeling a few weeks ago.

It was our first double day off since September, so we treated ourselves to a little trip to Key West. We rode the catamaran down. That was great! I read the whole way, my husband played his video game. We spent the evening exploring and woke up the next morning ready for a snorkeling adventure!

That’s where the problems began. We left to hotel too early for their breakfast and had to find food on the docks. My husband, feeling adventurous, chose a Cuban breakfast sandwich with pulled pork and chorizo. Then we got on the boat. Everything was still fine, but since it was a little choppy, they decided to take us to the soft coral instead of the actual barrier reef. Still super cool. I’d never snorkeled with soft coral before.

Then we got into the water, and I learned something very important: soft coral doesn’t hold down sand. It was like trying to swim through a sand storm. (more…)

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Well… That Happened (Or A Night at Casa Bonita) September 13, 2016

 

I’ve had the amazing opportunity, along with camping this summer, to go and visit my mother in her new western home. It was a great trip.

We saw huge and beautiful mountains.

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Found some great animals

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Drank tea, saw flowers, and… went to Casa Bonita.

Yep, that’s right, the Casa Bonita of South Park fame and home of “eatertainment.” It was an experience. (more…)

 

Another One off the List August 31, 2016

I’ve knocked something off my ever-filling bucket list!

The husband and I summited Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise!

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We woke up at 1:30. Yes, the one with the a.m . after it. It was early, but honestly to me it was like Christmas morning! The alarm went off, and I wanted to climb!

And the climb was magnificent. We were alone on the trail with only the Milky Way for company. It was breathtaking. Hiking under the stars is like adventuring under a nice, familiar blanket.

And we made it to the summit well before dawn.

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Then the sky turned just a tiny bit pink in the east, and the stars started to blink away one by one.

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Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the contiguous U.S. to see the sunrise. And we were there, sitting on a cliff, watching the sun paint the sky.

And I know this I going to sound cheesy as hell, but the hike had a super important meaning for me. Not just because the last time I was in Acadia I could barely walk, but also because sunrise on Cadillac Mountain has a very important place in The Tethering Series.

In The Siren’s Realm, Jacob and Emilia venture up Cadillac Mountain for sunrise, and we followed their path, though our journey did end a little differently. It was one of those climbs that reminds you that magic is real in our world. If only you look deep enough to find it.

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Back on the Trail August 26, 2016

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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Yesterday I hiked a trail; today I’m going to climb a mountain!

For those of you who have stopped by before – and thanks for coming back by the way – it won’t seem that weird at all. But right now I’m in Acadia, Maine. And last time I was here four years ago, I could barely walk.

I had just dislocated my knee dancing in a show and moving wasn’t really a thing I was very good at. I could walk for one mile max on flat surfaces only. Even that little bit of movement made my knee hurt like hell and swell like an evil monster. I had to stare at mountains and watch the little dots that were other hikers climbing with no hope of being able to join them. Acadia is beautiful, and my lovely husband helped me make the most of it. But it made my heart hurt. (more…)

 

Missing the Mountains April 30, 2016

It’s that time of year again. The seasonal workers are heading back up north to Alaska. But this time I’m not going with them. With two important weddings to attend on the east coast, going back to the land of the Midnight Sun just wasn’t a possibility.

My first summer in Denali, people talked about how the mountains got into your blood. How the fresh air is addictive and everything else feels suffocating. I didn’t really believe them. I missed getting to go to the mall when I needed new boots and running to Walmart when I ran out of snacks. You can’t do that in Denali. The nearest city is about three hours IF you don’t hit the roadwork that seems to never end. I wanted to go to the new movies and go to a real grocery store.

But the next summer I knew what was coming. I knew better how to hike in the mountains with the braided rivers as my landmarks. I had learned to love weekly poker at a local establishment as a time to check in with friends. And the Midnight Sun wasn’t a nuisance that kept me awake all night; it was a time to savor midnight hikes while awaiting the northern lights. I had learned the wonders of Amazon free super saver shipping. I knew what to buy on my few trips to the city.

Last year, I was brave enough to hike further off the beaten path with a topographical map and compass. We found brilliant hikes and even a way to have fresh organic produce delivered to us. We went to Seward and saw whales and camped by the bay. And it was brilliant.

Now my friends are posting pictures of the mountains, and it hurts my heart. It hurts that I’m not in the fresh, clean air worrying about if the rain or snow will get me. It hurts that I’m not making a list of hikes I want to do this season, knowing that it would take a miracle for time and weather to permit them all.

I love my job. I love my friends. I love my Disney annual pass.

But seeing the smiling faces surrounded by snowy peaks, I feel the pull of the mountains. It’s in my blood.

 

Adulting Vs Permanent Recluse March 16, 2016

Adulting is hard. Really, really freakin’ hard. And I don’t even own like a house or anything. Or have kids. Or a fish.

There are times, maybe a lot of times, that I want to be a recluse. And I’m not really sure what kind of recluse I want to be. I could go for the mountain man approach and live in a cabin far away from civilization. Maybe come to town once every few years to make sure that the local kids stayed scared of me. I mean, sure, there are some serious skills I would have to acquire, such as skinning an animal and making moonshine that doesn’t taste like rubbing alcohol cut with floor cleaner. But it might be worth it; lots of fresh air, mountains to climb, peace and quiet all around. But I have a thing about cutting small woodland creatures open, and even taxidermy has a tendency to freak me out, so maybe mountain recluse wouldn’t be my best bet. (more…)

 

A Mewing in the Night March 12, 2016

I want a kitten. I know I’ve said it a million times before, but damn I want a kitten. I want a kitten who will run up and greet me when I come home, snuggle with me when content edits become too much, and do funny things that will provide blog material for years to come.

Every time I get to the part where I want my cat to run up and greet me, I always get confused stares and, “I think you mean you want a dog. Dogs run up to greet you.”

But I had three cats when I was growing up. Three amazing cats we bottle-fed as kittens. They were indoor/outdoor cats, and when they heard the distinctive rattle of my mother’s car, they would come running to the driveway, weave in and of our legs as we tried to get to the door, and stare at us until we either sat down to cuddle them or fed them.

They would come when we called them, and always wanted attention. They were the best cats ever. And I know finding a cat as loving and amazing as those three were would be neigh on impossible. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to try.

I’ve been known to ugly cry over cute kittens. Open-mouth ugly cry over Facebook videos of kittens.

But I think I hit a new low a few nights ago. (more…)