I forgot how nice it feels to get away.

The sun was beginning to set directly in front of us. The clouds got darker in almost a tunnel-like fashion. We were about to drive through some rain, but there was light just beyond the dark. The whole time the rain splattered against my car, we could see where it would end and the sun begin to dip behind the mountains. The pale yellow light peaking through the billowing clouds cast a perfect backdrop to the incredible rising and falling of the Rockies.

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So this isn’t the view described here, because I was driving when that was all happening and I didn’t think to ask AJ to take pictures for me. But this was still a nice view. Of course, pictures of this stuff never portray the real beauty of it.

This view instantly relaxed me and I thought to myself, “Ah yes. It’s truly vacation time.”

About two years ago, AJ and I moved back from China. On the way we went to Amsterdam to visit a college friend of AJ’s and we stayed with him and his girlfriend.

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Holland is just amazing.

It was a week long break before facing the reality that I didn’t have a job to come back to in Iowa and I would quickly run out of the little stash of money I made while teaching abroad. It was a remarkable trip and it was the last time AJ and I had a break for the last 2 years.

We had talked about going on vacation last summer but I was working every signal day between all of my jobs. The only days I had off were ones that I specifically asked for and usually they were do to something else (weddings, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, a triathlon). So it just didn’t happen. Especially since even though I worked so much, I wasn’t earning enough to make ends meet.

So when this summer came around, we made the decision that we needed to take a break and get out of here for a while and voila! Colorado was a plan! And it was just the most perfect vacation I could have hoped for. It far exceeded our expectations and recharged us. I felt ecstatic and relaxed in a way that I haven’t felt in a very long time.

Spending time with good people and catching up with a wonderful friend. Waking up to beautiful weather and intense views everywhere we went. Eating good food and breathing fresh, not-humid air. Having way too much coffee and being outside nearly all the time. I’m so glad we took this break and treated ourselves to a trip like this. I’m lucky to have friends and family who live in cool places to visit.

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I almost died last night…

So not really. I’m exaggerating. I didn’t even come close to being hurt and the only after effect was a slight headache. And I think that was less from the jolt of the car than from the stress of having to adult while slightly panicking. But let me tell you. At the moment, I really thought I was going to die. I’m quite proud of myself for keeping my cool and not having a total and complete meltdown.

And the thing is that this isn’t even the first time that something like this has happened to me.

When I was in community college in Iowa Falls, I worked at Pizza Hut.

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I was never really that excited to be at work. 

I worked on the evening of Valentine’s day, a Saturday night, and was driving home at the end of my shift. I was planning to meet with my boyfriend at the time and spend time with another couple that we knew. We were going to watch a movie or something but we ended up trying to put the spare tire on, with the help from the security guard.

So anyway, on my way home from work, I’m driving down the road that the dorm was on. I’m almost to the parking lot when the car coming from the other direction drifts into my lane. I lay on the horn and have to swerve up the curb to avoid hitting the other car. The other car turns back into their own lane and drives off. I slowly pull into the parking lot, get out of the car, and then start crying because I’ve never had a flat before. My poor car! Technically, it was my dad’s poor car. We got the spare on and I got a new tire. (No thanks to the crappy service center at one of the places in Iowa Falls. I had to take my car back to Grinnell to get if fixed finally, about a month later)

That was a hectic experience for me, and I don’t do hectic very well.

And I was put into another hectic situation again last night.

I’m driving home from a friend’s house. I’m on a four lane road, speed limit of 45 and I’m going about 47. There’s a large median through the road. I’m in the left lane because eventually I need to turn left to get on the interstate. I’m listening to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. I’m tired and ready to be home, because it’s really hard to me to stay up past 10 anymore.

I look in my rearview and see two cars coming up on me and they are going very fast. I kind of get one of those feelings where you know something is going to happen. So then these cars keep gaining on me and the one in my lane moves over to go around me. They have to be going at least 60 because it doesn’t take long for them to come even with me. One is a van and the other a small SUV. It’s almost like they were racing each other and the van was impatient to get back in the left lane to go around the SUV.

The van swerves into the left lane too soon and I’m once again honking my horn and going up the curb to avoid a crash. My heart is beating a thousand beats per second and I can tell that I’ve popped a tire. So I pull over, pissed that the cars were going too fast to get license plates, and turn my hazards on. I get out of the car and see that my front driver’s side tire is super flat. I turn to check that there’s still no one coming and see that, OH! So is the back tire. Yay.

I got a tow and I’m sure it’ll get fixed on Monday sometime. AJ came to get me because he’s the best boyfriend ever. While we waited for the tow to come I stared at my awesome car that I bought about a year and a half ago and knew that I’d feel a little trapped when I woke up today and remembered that I can’t go anywhere unless AJ drives me because I’m too anxious to learn how to drive his manual.

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My first car that I actually own by myself.

So, anyway, this was the story of how I seem to become invisible on the road late on Saturday nights. I think I’ve learned my lesson that I just shouldn’t drive anywhere after 10pm on Saturdays ever again.

It’s thunderstorming outside

So I’m finally taking it upon myself to start this blog that I’ve been talking about doing for years. It’s about time that I got a jump on this. It’s been about 3 years since I graduated with my Master’s in English, in creative writing to be specific, and I haven’t really done much creative writing at all since then.

The problem is that I have this constant companion that holds me back from doing things that I really want to be doing because I’m afraid I’ll fail so I have all these ideas of things that I want to do but haven’t done because this friend, Anxiety, won’t stop nagging at me so I end up giving up and screaming “That’s enough, Anx! I cave!”

I honestly have no idea how I would pronounce “Anx” as a nickname for my friend, Anxiety. So don’t ask. Just make it up and read with confidence however you want to pronounce it because it really doesn’t matter in the end. I am conquering you, Anx. Go hide in the corner.

Also, I know that I am not being grammatically correct all the time and I’m supposed to be all crazy about making sure that everything is in it’s place and all that jazz but that’s hateful stereotyping. Not all English majors, man.

Anyway, it’s thunderstorming outside (YES, spellcheck, “thunderstorming” is totally a verb) and there’s a lot of lightning, which is awesome, and it keeps distracting me from what I’m trying to write, which is not awesome, so I am looking at my window and it’s looking back at me.

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This freaks me out. It’s like there’s an eye in my window and it’s watching me sitting on my bed and typing all of this and judging me for not knowing what I’m doing and telling me that Anx was right, and I shouldn’t write a blog because I’m already really really bad at it. So to get the Eye to shut up, I did this:

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So now the Eye looks like it’s really angry at me for trying to blind it and I’m like “Sorry, dude, but I can’t have you peeping on me.”

And now I have officially gotten completely off the topic of why I’m doing a blog… I figure that’s the right thing to do in the first post.

I work with kids with special needs at both of my jobs. I’ll probably write a little about that as it’s such a huge part of my life (without naming names of course, probably changing some details just to be safe). But there are some things that happen to me at my jobs that are just too good not to tell people about, because these kids are so awesome and they deserve to be seen and heard.

Like the kid who always asks me if I have carpet in my kitchen even though he’s been in my kitchen during respite and definitely knows that it has tile but he keeps asking anyway. Or the kid who constantly shows me his right arm and whines like there is something wrong with it even though we all know that his arm is fine. Or the kid who gets a real kick out of trying to steal my coffee in the morning, even though she knows that I’m way taller than her and there’s no way she’s gonna get it.

I also struggle with anxiety and depression and figure this is a pretty good way to reach out to others also struggling with mental illness because it’s important to have a community who understands.

I will also probably delve into other aspects of my life, such as my struggles with the Eye and other random crap that happens. Stupid arguments with my boyfriend. The way that jerk-face totally cut me off on the interstate. Issues with trying to be a writer.

Thank you, as-of-yet-non-existent-readers, for sticking with me through this confusing first post. I seriously have no idea what this is or what I’m doing. Which is a pretty good way of describing how I feel about living life in general.