Cafe de Desiree

August 26, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — desi83 @ 11:03 pm

Okay, I finally got the time and the nerve to send a query letter to some agents: a total of 4 so far. It felt good to actually try to get my book out there. I love what I wrote-it was from my heart. I want to share it with the world. And yes, it would be nice to get paid for doing what I love. The only way to make it happen is to persevere. I am also going to let one of my friends read it this week. I’ve never let anyone read the entire book before. I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit sensitive to any criticism that I may receive from him or from an agent. But, I know that criticism could possibly make it better, so I’m going to make myself be open to it. For those of you who are interested, this is the synopsis of my book.


The premise is a reunion at a grocery store between two high school sweethearts after ten years of being apart. It begins as a sweet, unexpected encounter, but transitions between the present time of their meeting again and memories of how their love fell apart in the first place. Brandon, the male part of this troubled on-again off-again couple, has been a tortured fool in love ever since he met Lauren in high school. Lauren has loved him just as much, but she has been too busy battling her own demons of alcohol addiction and manic depression to fully be with him. Brandon sees his last chance with Lauren at the grocery store as they decide to reunite at a local diner that they used to frequent as high school sweethearts. However, he knows it won’t be simple as soon as he meets Lauren’s daughter and learns of Lauren’s on-again off-again boyfriend, Joshua. Lauren sees yet another complication in her life, but she also sees a possibility to finally be happy with Brandon. She and her daughter have just moved back to her hometown in Clover County, Tennessee after being juggled between Oregon and California by her controlling, emotionally abusive boyfriend, Joshua. He dreams of being an artist, but he can’t decide what he really wants out of life or what he wants from Lauren. He also happens to be her daughter’s father. Rachel, the daughter, is highly aware and intellectually gifted, but she throws tantrums as a form of acting out because of her poor upbringing by these irresponsible, selfish parents. Brandon is looking at his last chance at happiness with his fragile, emotionally troubled high school sweetheart. He has based his happiness solely on Lauren, so his purpose in life is gone if he can’t be with her. He has spent his time away from Lauren holding onto the hope that one day he will have her back in his life. Lauren believes her biggest challenge is to choose between Brandon and Joshua, but she really must face her alcohol addiction. Her emotional breakdowns from her fragile mental state are calmed by downing liquor at the local bar or sometimes at home with her daughter hiding in the bedroom, dreaming of a better life. Lauren’s mom reluctantly takes care of Rachel and picks up the pieces after Lauren’s drunken nights. She isn’t shy about showing Lauren her disappointment in her, which only makes Lauren’s fragile mental state even worse. Joshua is a lost soul who must decide if he’s willing to put aside his selfish desires to take care of his family, or if a life of an artist alone is what he wants. In the end, one character’s story ends in tragedy while another finds salvation. Image

I believe this is a book that deals with universal issues that a large audience could appreciate. I also believe in this book because I wrote it from my heart, from my own experiences and experiences from those close to me. I wrote it with the intention to show that no one can make you happy-you must find happiness within yourself. It is a simple lesson, but it is a lesson that I think most people go through life without ever fully learning. I am a fan of imagery, flashbacks, and symbolism, so I tried to incorporate all of this in this book. It may be considered a short book, but I have never been the type of writer to drag out a point or go overboard with details that lose the reader’s interest.


August 22, 2012

Just do it!

Filed under: Uncategorized — desi83 @ 1:48 am
Tags: ,

Why is this one of the best brand tag lines of all times? Because it is simply stated yet a perfect mantra to live your life by. Just do it. Whomever thought of that tag line for Nike is a marketing genius. Don’t be afraid, don’t worry about what other think of you, and remember that there will always be something to hold you back from what you want to do. I have a close friend who is needing to “just do it” right now. He’s in a marriage he hates with a wife who also hates the marriage, and he’s in a job that he hates. Why does he stay? There are kids involved, there are money issues, and most importantly, there is that fear of…what next? My advice to him? Formulate a plan to get out of your misery and do it. Don’t sit on your hands, don’t keep hoping that all of the sudden everything will turn from darkness to light without making any changes. Because most of the time, a bad situation will not get better if you don’t do something about it. The light will not turn on by itself. You have to switch it on yourself. 

I am also working on my own plan to get to happiness. I have been hiding in the dark all of this time, and I’ve complained a lot. I’ve said what I want to do, what I wish would happen, but I haven’t done anything to make life better for myself. I’ve responded to negativity with more negativity. I’ve blamed others. I’ve even blamed God. But the truth is, it’s up to me. I have gotten myself in this situation because of fear and giving into weakness. I have been too afraid to just do it. Sometimes it takes baby steps. So, look at your life. Is there something that your desperately want, but something keeps holding you back? Find a way, even a small way, to overcome your fear and take a step toward your desire. If you hate your job, take a day and apply every where that interests you, even if you’re not sure that you’re qualified or not. Practice your interview skills in the mirror. Be ready and know that you are good enough to land the job that you want. If you can, get away from the computer and go to these companies. Show them who you are and that you really want that job.If you have feelings that you’re too afraid to share with a certain person, just tell them. If that person doesn’t respond how you hope, then you can move on and not feel tortured by the fear of rejection anymore. You’ll be glad that you tried.

That includes if you are a writer, and you’re trying to get published. Nicolas Sparks, every romantic’s favorite modern author, was rejected several times when he submitted his manuscript to publishers. Then, he submitted “Message in a Bottle,” and he was paid a million dollars to have it transformed into a screenplay. Now, anything he writes is turned into the next love story that has everyone in the theater crying into their tissues. If you are a writer, even if you don’t like his writing, I suggest that you read his non-fiction, semi-autobiographical book titled “Three Weeks with my Brother”. It is a truly inspiring story for anyone wishing they could live their dream of being a paid writer. It’s not about money, but it’s about being able to be free from the confines of a career that doesn’t allow you to express yourself as the creative person you were born to be. He had this dream of being a writer. He found inspiration in his family, his relationships, and the place where he grew up. He worked in insurance while persistently writing and submitting his manuscripts. He didn’t give up until he achieved his life’s dream. He just did it, no fear, no giving up, no questioning anything.

Just. Do. It.

August 14, 2012

Hiking in the Smokies-Getting out!

Filed under: Athletics,Blogging,Exercise,Health,hiking,photography — desi83 @ 10:07 pm

(Please read the previous two posts beginning with “Hiking in the Smokies” before you read this if you haven’t yet done so)

(Yes, we climbed down these rocks and weeds)

I gathered my sleeping bag, tent, and backpack, and I took a deep breath as I stood up and looked down at our destination. I took a step forward, and I felt a sharp pain shoot through my leg. My ankle and knee had been banged up pretty badly the day prior. I dreaded the idea of climbing down the mountain with fifty pounds of weight strapped to my back on a bum leg. “Hey, Zack, do you mind helping Desiree carry her pack?” Mike called to him. “Sure thing, man,” Zack replied. He already had his own bag on his back that probably weighed at least as much as my pack. I strapped my sleeping bag and tent to my backpack and handed it to him. He strapped it to his front. “Alright, now I’m more balanced,” he joked. “Alright, I’m going to help you slide down this thing,” Jeff offered. “Slide?” I asked. It had rained some the previous night, so the ground was wet. “Zack and I got a little wet last night while we were sleeping. Did you manage to stay dry?” Jeff asked. “I did, I wrapped up in the thick hammock that Mike let me use. Mike was under me, so he didn’t get rained on,” I replied. Jeff laughed. “So, Mike was under you all last night, huh?” he joked. “He slept in a sleeping bag on the ground under my hammock. Shut up!” I said laughing. I limped over to a clearing, and I knew that I was going to just have to ignore the pain. “Hey guys, I’m going to go ahead and plow down this mountain to try to find us some water. Just meet me at the first stream,” Mike announced. “Alright, but you better not get water for yourself and take off,” Jeff shouted. Mike had the purifier, and the last thing we needed to do was risk ingesting bacteria and having it come out both ends the rest of the hike. “I could, but I’m not that mean,” Mike answered him. Miked took off down the mountain, literally plowing his way down. We could no longer see him. Next, Zack started struggling down with both of our packs. He was still moving down it pretty quickly. “Go towards your right when you come down. You’ll avoid the thick brush,” Zack advised. “You ready?” Jeff asked. He sat down. “Okay, I’m thinking the easiest way to do this is for us to just slide on our butts,” he advised. I looked down at the wet mud, but I reluctantly obliged. We started sliding down as if we were about to plow down a water slide. I wished I was at a water park right now instead of atop a scary mountain. I felt the mud soak through my pants and then through my bikini bottoms. I wanted so badly to be in clean underwear and clothes, but there wasn’t anywhere to change up there. A shower was going to be the most beautiful thing I’d experience once we got away from the trails and to the facilities. It wasn’t nearly as horrifying as I had thought, though. We were literally sliding, and it became kind of fun and surreal. Jeff made an animal-like noise, and Zack responded. “It sounds like he’s towards the right,” Jeff noticed. “I don’t think we’ll be sliding down those,” I pointed out. There in front of us was a shallow stream covered by several large and small rocks. Jeff got up and carefully stepped down the rocks, leaning backwards. I took his hand, and we made our way down the rocky death trap. I had taken possession of one of Mike’s walking sticks, so between that and Jeff, I felt confident that I wasn’t going to fall down the mountain. I took a step forward, and I felt my foot slip on a slick rock. I held onto his hand as I almost fell. “Be careful,” he said. I led myself with the walking stick so that I wouldn’t have to put pressure on my bad leg. I let Jeff walk ahead of me. We came to another muddy, grassy area and slid down a bit.

“Hey, there is a karn!” Jeff shouted. I remembered it. Oh, it felt great to see something familiar. “I think we’re about half way down, and it’s only been about thirty minutes. It took us almost eight hours for the whole hike yesterday. I’ll bet we finish this in four hours today,” Jeff guessed. I laughed, “I don’t know about that, but it definitely won’t take as long, that’s for sure.” We continued down, climbing over rocks, sliding down mud, hacking away at thick brush and weeds. “Hey, guys, I’m at the next karn!” Zack shouted. We were catching up to him. I felt guilty that he was carrying my pack. However, I don’t know that I would’ve made it down the mountain if I had worn it. We made it to the karn, and Zack was waiting for us there. We were at a fairly large creek bed, and we were almost to the bottom. Zack and Jeff studied the area and the direction of the karn to figure out which was the best way to go down. “Mike better stop and wait for us, because I’m fucking thirsty,” Jeff complained. We were completely out of water.

We continued down, and I kept hoping to see the the bottom of this mountain, to be walking on a somewhat flat trail. Then, we came to the “wall of karns”. It was this huge wall that someone had made with the river stones. We were there, at the bottom, and it had only taken two hours. We were all shouting with glee. “Oh man, now I have to deal with those damned nettles again,” Jeff complained. Nettles are devious little plants. They look soft and feathery, but the little hairs get in your skin and sting for a good hour or so afterwards. Apparently, they release formic acid, serotonin and histamine into your skin. Jeff was especially freaked out by these things.

We made our way through the first batch of nettles and rhododendron by hacking away at them with our walking sticks. Jeff and Zack had picked up a couple along the way. Once we made it through this first part of the blinding, unmarked trail, we came to a clearing, and there was Mike at the creek.

“You made it! Alright, hand me your bottles,” Mike shouted to us. Zack and Jeff through down the packs and dug out all of our bottles. I couldn’t look Mike in the eye. I was embarrassed about throwing a temper tantrum when he said we’d half to climb down the mountain. He had been right-we made it, and it wasn’t as bad as it had been climbing up. “Okay, do you guys mind taking the sleeping bag and tent from Desiree’s pack? I need to take some weight off,” Zack pleaded. Now I felt really guilty. I asked myself the question, can I make it the rest of the way holding my pack? “I can take my pack, Zack. Thanks for hauling it down for me. I think I can take it if you guys can handle my sleeping bag and tent,” I offered. Jeff took my sleeping bag, and Mike took my tent and shoved it into his pack. Mike handed us our bottles one at a time, and we guzzled down the water as if we hadn’t had any for days. Well, it had been about a day, and we had come a long way on a difficult trail. He ended up refilling our bottles a second time after we drank the first fill. “Do you guys mind if I take off ahead of you? I want to make it to the road before dark so that I can get a park ranger to help us out. I figure we can meet at the old houses that we passed before we got to our camp the first day. There is a dirt road that leads to the main road nearby. I’ll find a ranger who can get us a ride to our car, or we can hitch a ride,” he suggested. We agreed. We would agree to anything that would get us home. He handed us the remains of his trail mix and some beef jerky, and he practically did run through the trail. We passed around the mix and jerky, devouring it until it was almost gone. I kept a little bit of the mix in my pack for later. We strapped on our packs, and I leaned heavily on my walking stick. I didn’t even feel the pain. I just felt confident and determined at that point.

“Okay, we crossed the creek about ten times yesterday, and there were karns at every crossing,” Zack remembered, “so we should come out of this area and to the first stream crossing.” We hacked through more nettles and rhododendron, and Jeff hiked his shorts down almost to his feet. “My bad, but I just can’t deal with more of those fucking nettles,” he apologized to me. I just laughed. As we plowed through the dangerous plant life, we noticed something awesome. There were tons of fresh blackberries! Jeff grabbed a handful and gave some to me. We munched on them as we hiked, and I grabbed a few more off the bush. We came to the first crossing and saw a karn. We crossed this section, but the next time that we attempted to cross the stream, there was no karn. There wasn’t a clear, distinct trail any where in sight. Zack headed down the creek to see if he could spot a clearing, but there was nothing but thick weeds and shrubbery all around us. “Okay, guys, we know that if we follow the creek, we’re going the right way. So, let’s just keep walking down the creek,” Zack suggested. I sighed. We walked over the rocks and through the creek. By that point, we had given up trying to avoid the water by stepping on the slippery rocks, and we just stomped through the knee-high water. We did this for awhile, and I was growing impatient. “Do you guys not see any sign of a trail or a karn?” I asked. “No, do you?” Zack asked. I stomped out of the creek and scoped out the woods for a sign of a trail. There was nothing. Zack was further down, and he checked out both directions. “Hey, there is one over here!” he shouted. “Thank God,” Jeff muttered. We stomped through the creek toward Zack, and we finally made it to the bank where Zack was. “Look, it’s a karn,” he pointed out.

We continued on without stopping. I was reliant upon my stick to carry me as fast as the guys were going. We made it away from the creek and plowed through the last part of the jungle-like trail with the dangerous nettles and blinding rhododendron, and we continued to scarf down blackberries. “We’ll take a break once we get to our original campground,” Zack suggested. He was proving to be a very reliable and encouraging leader on this hike. We finally came to the old campground, and there was a group of campers sitting by the fire where we had camped our first night. “Hey, how’s it going?” Zack greeted. “Hi, where did you guys come from?” one of the guys asked. “We did an unmarked trail yesterday and ended up sleeping on a mountain last night,” Jeff answered proudly. “Wow, that’s awesome. Hey, you guys are with the tall, bald guy, right?” the girl in the group asked. “Yes, did you see him?” Zack asked. “He went through here about an hour ago. He wanted us to tell you that if we saw you,” she answered. “Awesome,” I said. We didn’t stop there to take our break, but we decided to wait until we came to the creek that we had swam in the first day. It wasn’t far from the campground.

We sat down on some rocks by the creek by the bridge. Zack had brought some military meals, so he pulled out what they could eat without needing hot water. Jeff inhaled a strawberry “milkshake” after he poured some of his water into the container and shook it up. Zack ate some crackers, and I pulled out my last protein bar. “Alright, we’re almost to the meeting point, guys! I can’t believe how fast we’ve gone,” I suddenly realized. “It’s been three and a half hours. That’s not bad compared to the eight hours it took yesterday,” Jeff replied. “Well, let’s get a move on, then!” I said excitedly. We gathered our things and headed over to the bridge.

We crossed the bridge, and I remembered the ice cold swim that we had taken a couple of days ago. I normally would have whimped out and not jumped in, but this trip was definitely pushing me to do what I wanted but was afraid to do. We made it over the bridge, and we were coming close to the meeting point. Then, a strange looking young man with no pack or supplies approached us. “Hi, do you know if it’s too late to camp out here?” he asked. His eyes were darting back and forth. He was definitely high on something. “I think since you made it to this point, you should be fine. There is a camp about a half a mile past this creek,” I replied. “Thanks, thank you so much,” he said as he walked unsteadily past us. I hoped he wouldn’t fall off the bridge.

“Oh my God, what the hell is that smell?” Jeff asked. “What?” I asked. Then it hit me. “Zack, what the hell?” Jeff shouted. “You don’t smell that, Desiree?” he asked. “I do now. Damn those meals,” I commented. Zack just laughed. Then, the foul smell grew stronger followed by a loud noise coming from Jeff. “Oh, man, why did you guys drink those shakes?” I asked. We came to a strange crossing right before we got to the houses. We didn’t know where to go. “Hey, check this out! Mike totally did this!” Jeff noticed. There was a large stick in the ground with grass carefully tied to the top of it pointing to the left. “Oh, that Mike,” I said. We headed out of the trail going left, and we came to another Mike reminder. “Hey, look at that!” Zack pointed to the ground. ‘Jeff Stop Farting’ was drawn into the dirt. “Hey, how’s he going to call me out like that?” Jeff asked. We made it to the meeting point at the old houses, but there was no sign of Mike. “I’ll bet he’s gotten a ride. I say we walk down the dirt road since it’s only a mile long,” Zack suggested. “Well, you’re the leader,” I said in agreement. “There’s no way to miss him at this point. If he’s on his way with a car, we should see him on the road. Those people back there said he’s about an hour ahead of us, so he should be coming this way soon,” I said. “Okay, the sign says it is a mile long, so that’s not too bad,” Jeff noticed. I wasn’t even upset about having to continue walking. We were so close to salvation by now.

We walked down the dirt road fairly quickly, and we were reminiscing about all that we had accomplished. “I think the sign lied. It has definitely been more than a mile,” I said. Zack looked down at his watch, which also served as a gps. “It’s been three-quarters of a mile. It just seems long because we’re tired,” he answered me. Zack noticed there was a car up ahead. “I wonder if that’s our ride?” I asked. “I hope not,” he said. It was a small hatchback, and a fairly old car. The headlights were still on, and it sounded like the motor or at least the radio might be on. There was no one in it, though. “That has to belong to that weird dude,” Jeff said. We came to the end of the dirt road and sat down on a log by one of the small parking lots. “I think we should wait here. He’s eventually got to pass through this area,” Zack suggested. I dug out the small bag of trail mix that I had held onto, as well as a small bottle of hand sanitizer. “Sanitizer, anyone?” I offered. Zack and Jeff both held out their hands. Zack inhaled his hand after he had rubbed it into his skin. “This smells amazing!” he said excitedly. I laughed. “Oh, did you jack this from Walgreens?” Jeff asked. “No, not exactly. It was in a free care package that the pharmacy was giving to new patients. So, yeah, I guess I did sort of jack it,” I realized. They laughed. We shared the trail mix, and Zack kept smelling his hands. “We just haven’t been clean in a long time, so it smells especially nice,” I pointed out.

We patiently waited for our ride, making fun of each other and chattering about what had just transpired. A park ranger finally emerged from the road and stopped to talk to us. “You guys need a ride,” the ranger said. We all jumped up. “I don’t know, we’re waiting for a friend to meet us here so that we can all ride together,” Zack answered. “No, that wasn’t a question. That was a statement. You need a ride. Your guy sent me over here to pick you up and take you to the ranger cabin. He’s waiting there, and you all are going to take a cab to your car,” he explained. “Yes, thank you,” I said. We were all so relieved. Yet, we were all in a pretty calm mood by this point. “Can I ride in the front? I mean, is that allowed?” Zack asked. “Sure, climb on in,” the ranger replied. There was a huge gun in the front seat. “Holy crap, look at this!” Zack pointed it out to us. The ranger climbed into the front seat. I was holding my and Zack’s packs in the seat, and Jeff crawled in beside me with his own stuff. “Oh man, I can’t wait to go home and have a shot of whiskey after this,” I half-joked. “I’m coming to your party,” Jeff replied. “You have to celebrate an anniversary with your girlfriend tonight,” I reminded him. “Yeah, if she doesn’t dump me for coming home too late to really celebrate it,” he pouted. “You know what, if she can’t deal with this, she can just go on,” he said grumpily. Zack laughed, “yeah right, you would take her back no matter what.” We arrived at the ranger’s house, and Mike was there waiting. He was a sight for sore eyes, for sure.

We got out of the jeep and sat on the porch of the ranger’s cabin. “So, is the cab headed over here?” the ranger asked Mike. “She said she’d be here in ten minutes,” he answered. “Okay, I’ll wait to make sure that you guys get picked up. I’d take you all myself, but it’d be out of my area, and I’m on duty right now,” he explained. “Thanks for helping us out though, man,” Mike said. “Does anyone need to use the restroom?” the ranger offered. “Oh my gosh, yes, thank you!” I said with glee. I wanted so badly to use a real bathroom after peeing in the woods all weekend. The cab driver called Mike and told him that she was lost. “How can you be lost when you’re a cab driver for the area?” Jeff said. Mike explained what restaurants were near the entrance and that there was a large Smokey Mountains sign at the entrance. It was dark, but still. The ranger was getting antsy, and I could tell that he wanted to give us a ride. He got a call about a lost hiker on his radio. This cab driver needed to get a move on.

She finally pulled into one of the spaces in front of the ranger’s cabin. “Have a safe trip home. I hope y’all will come back and finish the trail to the At next time,” the ranger said as he drove away to try to retrieve the lost hiker. We all climbed in the taxi and headed out. She started talking on her cell phone with one of her friends, and it was apparent that she wasn’t really paying attention to where she was going. “You know what I do every night. I’m driving. No, I only do that one night a week,” she said almost in a whisper. Jeff, Zack and I all had to cover our mouths to keep from bursting out laughing. We missed the sign for the trail head where our car was parked a couple of times, but we eventually found it. “Will you guys wait to leave until I do? I get scared in these woods,” she pleaded. We all wanted to laugh. You are a cab driver, for Christ’s sake. We got into Mike’s car, and we waited for her to pull out of the lot. Her car wouldn’t start. Oh, crap, we were going to have to stay and help fix this cab driver’s car. We would definitely need a refund for the ride if that was the case. With a few false starts, she finally succeeded in starting her struggling van and headed out.

We were IHop bound, because by this time, Cracker Barrel would be closed. We were still in the Eastern time zone, so it was after eleven by now. We found an IHop, our oasis. We walked in with our muddy, sweaty clothes on and sat at a table. Okay, I’m not a huge fan of IHop, but these were the best eggs and bacon that I had ever put into my mouth. My taste buds and my stomach were throwing a party. The coffee was disgusting compared with the instant coffee we had drank by the fire on the first morning of camping, but the food made up for it. I inhaled all of this protein rich food, and then I downed a glass of water. Zack and Jeff downed a couple of pitches of tea between them, along with several pancakes, eggs, and steak. This was certainly the perfect reward for climbing up and down a mountain and plowing through unmarked trails. I did bring in clean clothes and change in the bathroom, because I just couldn’t bear to eat in those disgusting threads that I had to peel off of me. I guess in that sense, I was still being a girl about everything. However, I had hiked the most difficult trail in the smokies with the boys, and I was proud of growing a pair this weekend.

I have been stuck in this retail management job that I hate for the past five years because I’ve been too afraid of taking a risk and trying something else. This trip made me realize that fear is what has been holding me back. It’s also the reason that I have not kept trying to get my book published. It is the reason that I haven’t felt inspired to keep writing my second book. So, I’m finally looking fear into the eyes, and I’m shoving it out of my way as I begin to climb this new mountain in my life. I’m walking away from what is making me unhappy, and I’m pushing the reset button. I’m returning to school to start a new career, a journey to something better than what I have now. I’m having to take a low paying job and live with my parents in order to make this happen, but sometimes you have to walk through a few nettles and crawl through the mud and rocks to get where you need to be.

Let the new journey begin.




August 8, 2012

Single Problems

Filed under: Blogging,relationships — desi83 @ 7:42 am

For the first time in my life, literally all my friends that I regularly hang out with our in a relationship. My guy friends are almost always single because they love themselves and their video games, and they never seemed to need a girlfriend. Now, they all have girlfriends. Their girlfriends are all younger than me and more into appearance than I am, but as obnoxious as that is to me, they seem nice and most of them seem good for my guy friends. All but one of my female friends have been attached for awhile-either married or living with a guy. Now, the last one is in a relationship, and already they are basically living together. How the fuck did this happen? I don’t even want a boyfriend right now unless I meet someone that is just perfect for me in every way. Even then, I’d need massive space because I’m in the process of self-improvement and making a change from my presently unsatisfying situation. It would, however, be nice to have a friend or two to join me in impromptu movie nights or drinking binges or to call in the middle of the night about some random thought. Everyone is so wrapped up in their relationships, it is ridiculous. I haven’t heard from my newly coupled up friend since she started dating her boyfriend. As a matter of fact, I found out via social network. I know that I have been guilty of this in the past, but during my last few relationships, I made it a point to have time with my friends away from my boyfriend. That is important, because if the relationship fails, it is a bit awkward to suddenly want to be best friends with someone you dropped during the relationship. Or if you are married, after a awhile that spark will fade, and you may begin to resent that same face that you see every day. I mean, if you don’t have lives outside of each other, what will you talk about? I do appreciate the fact that my best friend does try hard to spend time with me as well as her other friends. She has three kids and a husband, yet I see her more than anyone else. She even makes a point to occasionally hang out with her friends without the kids, and I think that is important to her feeling like her own person outside of her role as mother and wife. I think that makes her an even better mother and wife. And she’s damn good at being those things. I do still long for Sex and the City type single girl friends, and I wonder if groups of adult females like that actually exist even in New York. Because here, most people are too busy to go out for brunch, shop at Barney’s, and check out the hottest club all in the same week. Instead of continuing to sulk on this matter, I’m taking myself out on a date this weekend. I’m going to an art museum and a concert by myself, and it’s going to be awesome. I mean, why stop doing fun things just because your single and all your friends are too busy with their relationships? That’s the great thing about Nashville. Whenever I go out to Nashville,  I always end up talking with random people, so you’re never really alone there.

Hiking in the Smokies Continued

Filed under: Athletics,Blogging,Exercise,Health,hiking — desi83 @ 7:07 am

So, I left you all stranded at the top of the mountain in my last blog. Now, I suppose I’ll let you know how we made it out of the Smokies alive. Zack and Mike were searching for the unmarked trail that was supposed to lead us to the AT, and Jeff and I were still sitting right below them trying not to think about dying. Jeff was shivering, but he was trying not to show his fear too much, so he just sat there quietly. I was worried about his getting hypothermia, but I was in too much pain to climb the rock to get his pack for him. So, I did what I do best. I started panicking in an annoying way. “Did you guys find it yet?” I yelled. They didn’t respond. “Hey! Is there a trail out of here? Jeff is getting hypothermia, and I can’t move my leg!” I yelled again. “We’re trying,” Mike called back calmly. Mike and Zack were both so calm about the fact that we were lost on a mountain. It was frustrating yet comforting, because as long as they seemed in control of the situation, I wasn’t totally doomed. Also, while my leg was in horrible pain, it was not broken or even sprained. “I want to get married to my girl before I die,” Jeff said. “I want to meet someone who I want to marry before I die,” I said. “I really want to have that meal at Cracker Barrel after this is over,” I said. “Yes, that is a good motivator for staying alive,” Jeff replied. We both laughed. I began to stare at the darkening sky and the tree tops that were now eye level. I finally noticed how breathtakingly beautiful this scene was-we were on top of the world almost literally. I smiled even as I still felt fear growing inside of my gut. “I need to see what is going on,” I said as I began climbing the rock above us. “Hey, be careful doing that,” Jeff said nervously. I was moving aggressively out of fear, so I practically jumped on top of the large and slightly unstable rock. Mike and Zack finally returned, still as calm and collected as ever.

“So?” Jeff asked. “No luck. We’re going to have to make camp right here because we don’t have much sun light left,” Mike announced. “What? No, no I can’t do that. Sleep on top of the mountain? Seriously? This is like some ‘Man vs Wild’ or ‘I Shouldn’t be Alive’ situation. Have you guys seen that show?” I panicked. “Yeah, I’ve seen that,” Jeff said with a laugh through his shivers. “I need to get into a dry shirt, man, can you hand me my pack?” he asked Zack. I had forgotten about his pack. I felt guilty, but I was too consumed with worry to think about anything but escaping the situation. I had found a somewhat level place to sit, but everything was pretty much on an incline. “I can try to call a ranger to see if we can get a helicopter as soon as my phone is charged,” Mike offered. He had a solar/fan powered usb charger. This guy had everything he needed to survive an apocalypse. “Yes, please, get us out of here,” I whined. “I could never look anyone from the guard in the eye if I took a chopper out of here,” Zack commented. He had been in the Air National Guard for quite awhile, and he had been in combat in the Middle East. He could definitely handle a situation like this. Jeff had also been in the guard. “I’m not in the military, nor am I an adventure hiker who watches way too much ‘Man vs Wild’, so I need a helicopter!” I said through tears. I hated being the only whimpy girl there. Mike called the ranger, and after losing signal several times and being transferred to different departments, he finally gave up. “They said to call in the morning. I told them that you have an injured leg, and they suggested that we try to help you down the mountain. They said going down the mountain and back down the trail from where we came is the best route,” Mike explained. I looked down in horror.

“I’m not climbing down a mountain with a bum leg! Are you serious? Is there no way to the At? I mean, I thought that was what you had planned?” I yelled, frustrated. “Somewhere along the way, we made a wrong turn. It is easy to do when there is no clear trail. The ranger said we just needed to climb down,” he said calmly. “I tell you what. Zack and I will try to track down the trail to the AT early in the morning. Then, I will call the ranger again to see if we can get the helicopter,” Mike promised. I felt a little better. He was like the Dali Lama in how calm and serene he was being in this time of doom. I spread out my sleeping bag and dug my pillow out of my pack. I swaddled myself inside of my sleeping bag and propped my feet against a sturdy root so that I wouldn’t slide down the mountain during the night. “Do you want to use my hammock?” Mike offered. “No, I’m okay,” I replied sleepily. “Well, I’m going to set it up, and you can use it if you like. I’m going to try to find a decent place to sleep,” he said slyly. I smiled through my tears. Suddenly, with the realization that I had no choice, I felt a peacefulness settle into me. I was going to sleep right here, next to the tree tops. Then a thought crossed my mind. “I’m kind of by myself over here, what if a wild animal comes? I’ll be the first one it gets,” I commented. They all laughed. “There are no wild animals this far up,” Zack said. I breathed a sigh of a relief. Even though they had gotten us lost up here, I knew Zack and Mike were skilled and knowledgeable about survival situations. I kept feeling myself slide down toward the tree root so that my knees were almost to my chest if I didn’t keep sliding myself back up. Frustrated, I decided to take Mike’s offer and sleep in his hammock. It was also getting cold, so I could cover myself with the hammock as it was quite thick and large enough for two people.

As I began to fall asleep, I heard something rustling underneath me. I covered my face with the excess material from the hammock and stiffened. Then, I heard a slight moan that sounded human. I peeked underneath the hammock and saw Mike lying in my old spot right underneath the hammock. I smiled. I had chosen the best spot in this area for sleeping because he had gone searching for another spot earlier. The temperature dropped dramatically, so I buried myself into the sleeping bag and hammock, including my face. I began to feel very comfortable and sleepy, so I drifted off until the sun came up. I uncovered my face and looked at the sky. The birds were flying closely above us, and the horse flies were surrounding me. I covered my face with the hammock again. Ah, the perils of nature. When was Mike going to wake up? They were supposed to get up early and find us a way out. I almost got up to wake them up, but I decided not to push it.

I finally heard Mike moving around below me, so I peaked to see what he was doing. He was reading the manual that he had brought with him of the Smokies. I heard Zack and Jeff talking below the boulder. Mike shouted to Zack, and they both took off into the wilderness in the clouds. “Hey, are you feeling better today?” I shouted to Jeff. “Yes, I just needed dry clothes last night. That, and I was fucking exhausted,” he replied. “How are you?” “I am really hoping that we can get a helicopter up here today,” I said. “Oh, is that the plan now?” he asked. “Mike said that he was going to try to get them to send out a chopper for us this morning,” I replied. “Oh, cool,” Jeff mumbled. Jeff called out loudly some kind of animal noise that maybe was supposed to be a bird call. Zack mimicked him. I hoped they were returning with good news. “Did you guys find anything?” I shouted. They didn’t say anything. “Did you find a trail?” Jeff shouted. “No,” Zack replied. “Oh, God,” I said in frustration.

Mike sat down underneath my hammock and continued looking at the manual. “Are you going to call for the helicopter?” I asked. “Yeah, in just a second,” he replied as he read. “Are you going to ride the chopper if it comes?” Zack asked Jeff. “I might,” Jeff responded half-jokingly. Mike grabbed his phone and put it on the solar charger. He called the ranger and was on the same cycle of getting transferred and losing signals as he had done last night. I brushed my teeth with the small amount of water that I had left, and I wiped my face clean with a wipe that I had in my pack. I couldn’t shower, but I could at least have a clean face and teeth. We didn’t have a water source up there, so I hoped that whatever happened, we’d get fresh water. I had some fruit juice and a protein bar in my pack, and I enjoyed that pitiful little breakfast as if it were bacon and eggs. Then I began to think about bacon and eggs. We were planning on going to Cracker Barrel after all of this, and I still wanted that to happen.

Mike hung up the phone and went to talk with Zack and Jeff. I was afraid that he was mad at me for being so whiny about the situation. I couldn’t help it, though, I was deathly afraid. I really didn’t want to die without doing any of the things that I want to do with my life. I’ve been in a slump for many years, and I haven’t done what I need to do to get out of it. I’m just always too afraid of making another mistake or getting into a situation that I can’t escape. Now, I was quite literally in that very type of situation, and I was hoping for a rescue. “Mike, what did they say?” I couldn’t wait anymore. I didn’t know why he hadn’t talked to me about it yet. “They said they couldn’t get out here until tomorrow,” he said reluctantly. I screamed. Then, I sighed. “Is there any way to get to the AT from here, or do we have to go down the mountain?” I asked, afraid of the answer. “We have to go down the mountain,” Mike stated. I covered my face and moaned. “Okay. Okay, you know what? I’m going to grow some metaphorical balls and climb down this fucking mountain!” I said. “Alright!” Jeff said with a laugh. I suddenly felt this self-assurance and strength that I had never allowed myself to reach, because I knew that I had to. There was no one to rescue me from my situation. I had to rescue myself with some assistance from my fellow hikers who were not much better off than I was. “Think of it this way. You will have an awesome story to tell your grandkids one day,” Zack pointed out. “Yes, we will definitely have a story to tell everyone,”

To be Contiued…I had no idea this would span more than 2 entries!

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