Things Are Changing

Change ahead sign
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As I mentioned in my last post, I took a mini-vacation and spent a long weekend climbing in Spearfish Canyon, SD. It was a fantastic trip and I swear I’m working on a post with pictures of pretty things, Evan making weird faces, and some insights on what it’s like to be in the area while Sturgis is happening. But in the meantime, this is a post about how, and why, things are changing on this blog.

First, there are going to be footnotes! Woo! Because I’m a dork and I think footnotes are fun, and also because random thoughts run amok through my head and sometimes I want to share them but they don’t fit well into the flow of whatever it is I’m trying to put together. Just click on the these little numbered bubbles 1 and you should see a little text bubble appear.

Second, I’m going to start writing more often. I’ve said this a thousand times before (to myself at least), but this time I really mean it, I swear! And I think I’ll actually do it, not because I’m going to grit my teeth and set a schedule and really stick to it, but because I’m going to change the way I do it. And below is the thought process that led me to that decision.

I don’t recall what initiated this monologue in my head, but I got to thinking about why I have friends. It looks weird when you write it out like that, but seriously, have you ever thought to yourself, “Why the hell do people even hang out with me?” And after some mental hemming and hawing, I came to a couple of conclusions.

First, it’s probably not because of my smashing good looks 2… And it’s also probably not because of my dainty sense of professionalism. Because professionalism, while it has it’s time and place, is kind of boring and stuffy and generally feels less than sincere or authentic. 3 And also, that’s just not how I generally behave, especially with my friends.

I think, maybe, one of the main reasons I have friends is because I say what I damn well please 90% of the time. 4 Sometimes it’s outrageous, it’s regularly inappropriate, and occasionally it’s funny, but it’s always very authentically ME. And I think people might like that. So I decided, maybe if I just write the same way I talk, it will be 1) easier to write more often since it will come more naturally, 2) people will actually like reading what I write. 5

So why didn’t I just start doing this sooner/from the beginning?

“Because I’m scared.” If you click that link it will take you to an article, written by one of my favorite bloggers, that talks about how most of us make excuses not to do bold things when the the real reason is usually just that we’re scared. Putting myself out here on the Internet as myself, instead of hiding behind a veneer of PC politeness, has its risks. Maybe I’ll continue to be mostly anonymous and only my dad will read these things and probably still love me anyway, or maybe all of the world wide web will descend on me and tell me I suck and I should just go away. The Internet is kind of a scary place like that sometimes. But odds are that’s a pretty unlikely scenario, so it seems silly to let that stop me from putting myself out there.

The other thing I’m scared of is my grandmother reading these things and being embarrassed by my bad language and occasionally crude sense of humor. But I’m really hoping that if she’s reading this she knows I love her and appreciate everything she’s ever done for me and that despite my bad language I’m actually a lot nicer to people than I used to be and I hope she’s proud of that part.

But anyway, hello world. Welcome to Natasha minus the filter.

I did that thing again.

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You know, the one where I go a really, really long time without posting an update. Also that thing where I completely change the way this site looks. I’m really going to try to stop doing that first thing, but I make no promises regarding the second. Even as I write this, I’m resisting the urge to delete all my previous posts and just start over from scratch. Again. But I’m not, because one day supposedly I’ll look back and be proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve improved, or some jazz like that. Or maybe I’ll just be embarrassed. Whatever, for now I’ll leave all that old stuff up.

Anyway, long story short, I let my Job-with-a-capital-J turn me into a frazzled human stress ball for the last couple of months. And when you’re feeling like a frayed welcome mat it can be difficult to find the motivation needed to produce anything, let alone anything creative. I’ve been working on accepting that my Job-with-a-capital-J might pay the bills for now, but I don’t have to let it steamroller over my entire life and turn me into a sad pancake. So, I’ve spent this week working not only on this blog, but also another side project that I’m excited to unveil soon. Oh, and also getting ready for a much needed mini-vacation. After work tomorrow I’ll be skipping town for a long weekend of climbing, and when I return, hopefully it will be with a tired body and a refreshed mind. 

Updates soon! I promise this time!

Picture of the Day: Raven in Gold

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Ravens have long been associated with dark omens and tales of woe, probably due to their habit of feasting on carrion, a quality that certainly doesn’t foster endearment. However, dark silhouette that it is, it’s difficult to be foreboding with such a bright, vibrant background. It’s this contrast and overall simplicity that makes this photo appealing to me. I’m doubly hopeful that all that “bad omen” stuff is overrated, since this guy was hanging out 20 feet from my front door when I came home yesterday.

Montezuma Tower at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods
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You wouldn’t know it from yesterday’s blizzard warning, but earlier this week it was a sunny 70 degrees in Colorado Springs, and with daylight savings suddenly making the days a reasonable length again, it was a perfect opportunity to get a little climbing in after work.

Montezuma Tower in the middle of Garden of the Gods is a super classic, super moderate climb with just enough exposure and runout spaces to make it interesting. And of course, it offers up some pretty awesome views.

#31nightsout

As we were driving to the campground to set up for the evening, this was the view that loomed ahead. Though somewhat intimidating, all worked out in the end. The rain held off until everyone was bedded down for the night, and was gone by morning when we were ready to climb.
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With all the unseasonably warm weather lately, I was finally able to get out this past weekend and have the first camping trip of the year. Cooked dinner over a campfire, slept in a tent, peed behind a tree, the whole nine yards. It was everything I had hoped and expected, a comforting reassurance that, yes, camping was as fun as I had remembered it to be. And so begins a personal challenge to myself – to spend at least a month sleeping outside this year.

Sometimes I spend an entire day climbing like a crippled giraffe, but as long as I inhaled a little fresh air and soaked up a couple brief rays of sunshine, eh, it was still a good day.

I can’t take credit for the idea (the original article that inspired me can be found here, and I highly recommend you go read it), but that doesn’t make me any less excited about it. The best part of all my favorite hobbies is that they take me outside, and the more time I’m able to spend outdoors, the better I feel. Sometimes I spend an entire day climbing like a crippled giraffe, but as long as I inhaled a little fresh air and soaked up a couple brief rays of sunshine, eh, it was still a good day.

So the logic seems pretty obvious. More time outside = more happiness, at least for me. (And if you google “the benefits of being outside”, you’ll find numerous articles that suggest an extra dose of nature is good for almost everyone.) And as noted by the author in the article I linked earlier, “the easiest way to feel like I’ve been outside as much as possible is to keep track of my nights sleeping under the stars.”

So, 1 down, 30 to go.

 

Check out the galleries on the Portfolio page to see a few shots from this weekend. I promise I’ll get around to artsy shots of headlamp-lit tents and Milky Way backdrops eventually, but this first trip deserved to be simply enjoyed.

 

Fruita

cactus flowers in the snow
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Before I bought my Nikon, I relied on my smartphone to capture moments, and in the spirit of #TBT I’m sifting through some of my older memories and taking a few of my favorites through a round of editing. They might not have the same quality as a DSLR capture, but the memories still make me smile.

These particular photos are from a weekend in Fruita, CO back in April 2015. The girls in the pictures signed up to run a half-marathon, and I volunteered to come for support. (I run about as well as a rock swims, so me participating in the race was out of the question.)

New Year, New Blog!

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I’m a bit late jumping on the New Year’s bandwagon, but I’m happy to announce the blog is back online and has been rebuilt from the ground up! In addition to a new look, you might also notice a slight change to the url. If you had the previous site bookmarked or were subscribed to notifications, you’ll (hopefully) want to update those settings to make sure you’re getting all the new stuff.

You’ll be seeing much more of a focus on photography this year, and I’ve already loaded a few small galleries for you to check out. Stay tuned for more, and don’t be too surprised if you continue to see the blog evolving in both design and content.