Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

I’ve been a bit stressed out lately. My son lost his job. I worry that my husband or I might be next. My house is torn apart from doing some work on the floors and painting the walls. I never have enough time to even remotely catch up on the things I need/want to do. And I just seem to be so tired all the time. 

Stress…we’re all feeling it.

I started jotting down a list of things that might bring my stress level down. I think I got a little carried away:
  • My son soon gets a much better job than the one he had.
  • The economy turns around – not back to the crazy, out-of-control consumers, and crooked banks economy we had before the bottom fell out – but something better.
  • $20,000 magically falls into my lap. I suppose if you’re going to do some crazy dreaming you should go for $100,000 or a million, but I’ll settle for an extra $20,000.
  • Someone discovers me through my blog and signs me up for a book contract and weekly column gig.
  • I am a published author, sought out by many, including Oprah.
  • Days last 32 hours long (and that doesn’t mean we work more hours).
  • I meet a really cool horsewoman that lives near me and likes to go trail riding and would love to take care of my animals when I go out of town and is a completely trustworthy and sane person who has other horse friends and we become this awesome group of friends, like you see on TV, only with horses.
  • Java ALWAYS comes immediately when I call her.
  • My horses never shy and always follow my cues.
  • My horses neck rein so I can enjoy a “beverage” while I’m riding.
  • I wake up every morning full of energy.
  • I look and feel like I did before I turned 50. — I should maybe clarify that I want to “physically” look and feel like I did before I turned 50. Mentally, believe it or not for those who know me, I’m actually better off now.
  • I never have trouble completing a sentence because I can’t remember a word.
  • And I always remember people’s names.
  • My house is always organized – not a speck of clutter or undone paperwork anywhere.
  • All the walls inside the house are painted and everything is hung up and put back where it belongs.
  • I actually have time to read the books I buy and check out from the library.
  • During the winter, it is light out when I go to work and for 3 hours after I get home from work.
  • I own the perfect purse. (I’m so tired of thinking I finally found the purse that has a strap that is the right length and width and material so it won’t fall off my shoulder and it has just the right number and size of compartments that I’ll be able to find what I’m looking for, only to be completely disappointed within a week of owning it.)
  • I actually know how to garden so I have this abundant, veggy and herb filled garden – not a pest or fungus in sight.
  • Along with the garden wish, it would probably help if I was good at cooking and canning and that sort of thing.
  • I always have freshly baked bread available.
  • And homemade cookies with some kind of chocolate in or on or even next to them.
  • Groceries magically replenish themselves so I don’t ever have to go shopping.
Okay, I’ve started to think about food. I need to stop now. Besides, I think that list would do it. I’d be as calm as can be. 

In the meantime, I’m taking up meditation and prayer, lots of prayer…

No matter how cute it is, DO NOT buy your dog a squeaky toy! I know you think your little buddy will have so much fun with it, and it will be so entertaining to watch them figure out that the toy squeaks and see their reaction and everything. And it is adorable — for about 15 minutes.

Then, it quickly becomes annoying because once the dog has figured the squeak out, they are so proud of their new found skill that they just won’t stop! Java has the whole squeaking thing completely mastered to where she can rapid fire the squeaks with mini-mouth movements.

I’m just telling you — step away from the squeaky toy isle. And all you jokesters out there, don’t go buying these toys for your “friends” dogs either. 

I was trying to get the kitchen painted this morning, but Java was not cooperating. Her whining was getting on my nerves so I finished taping around the woodwork in the kitchen and decided to take a walk break (hopefully wear Java out) before I started in on the painting.

As I drove farther into the Rum River park, I discovered that the road I normally take wasn’t exactly plowed and the snow and water had frozen into some nasty ruts and ice. Not such a big deal if you are in a truck, but I was a little worried that I was going to get stuck in my Mini Cooper.

Mini Cooper

My Mini (photo obviously taken in greener, warmer times)

Mini Cooper

Java has her own little sweet pad in the back

It was a rough ride but, thanks to all those hard-earned, winter driving skills, we made it. The next challenge was taking a walk without falling on my butt. There wasn’t enough snow left for snowshoeing, but I sure could have used the grip of the teeth that are on the bottom of my snowshoes.

Icy PathDogs have to be on a leash in the park and I was worried Java was going to yank me off my feet, but she was a very good girl. When I had to carefully maneuver over an icy patch, I told Java to “heel” and she waited and walked by my side.

Rum River

Rum River with lots of snowmobile tracks

Java and I heard a hawk and a very, very loud owl, but we didn’t see them. I wish I would have had a recorder with me to capture all the birds sounds.

Java Listening

Java listening to the owl

 After our walk, I had to finesse the Mini back out of the park and head home to paint the kitchen.

Painting above the kitchen cupboards presented another bodily preservation challenge — not falling off the ladder.

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