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Symobolic shaving of the beard

Yesterday was the day I decided that I’m moving on.  It was my “starting over” day.

I’m not sure what prompted it, but I knew this day was coming.  I’m super excited because I know that this means I’m focusing on me, which means I will no longer focus on the past, which means that it won’t be long until Sarah and I are just friends.  That also means it won’t be long until I’m back in the fold with that “clan” and friends again with all the wonderful friends I made while dating Sarah.  I miss them a lot.

I am big into symbolism.  In 2011, when I was getting over my now ex-wife, I decided that I was going to shave my head.  It was my “fresh start” day.  I woke up one day and said to myself “enough moping around feeling sorry for yourself – get off your ass and go live your life.”  That day I went to the barber shop and shaved my head bald.  To me it represented a new beginning, a re-birth if you will.

All along, I had this scenario in my head where I didn’t shave my beard or cut my hair until I could call Sarah and schedule an appointment with her.  A few days ago, I realized that this could be quite a while yet (because I was missing Sarah a bit) and I was sick of my hair as it was getting way to long!  So, about 2 days ago I got an itch to shave my beard.  It took me a couple days to finally ditch my original plan, but then I woke up and said “enough reliving the past – it was great, you learned something, no one got hurt, it’s time to move on.”  And you know what?  It felt great to say that!

The significance of the beard:

Abe LincolnThe reason I decided that shaving my beard was to be the symbolic move that I was moving on is because I shaved “The Abe” when I was with Sarah.  So to me, it makes sense that getting rid of “The Abe” was symbolic of me starting over because Sarah has never seen me with a clean shaven face.  She loved my beard and her friends said I looked good with a beard.  She wasn’t wild about “The Abe” but she didn’t hate it either.  Prior to “The Abe” I had a full beard that I kept trimmed and neat.

Since I have not had no facial hair in a long time – I decided that this was to my symbolic “starting over” gesture.  I broke out the clippers and went to work and you know what?  I actually like my clean shaven face!  I think I’ll keep it like this for a while and then maybe grow out my full beard (trimmed of course) this winter.

After the beard was gone – I decided that I could not wait around on me feeling comfortable with Sarah cutting my hair either.  I went to Great Clips and got a hair cut.

The end result of my day of symbolism was that I felt like a million bucks!  Yesterday was a great day.  I said “goodbye” to Sarah and I am embracing the future.

I have a date Sunday and I am very much looking forward to it.  “Allison” is cute, seems crazy nice, and we have some things in common.

Day 9 and beyond

Wow – just realized that I forgot to update Day’s 9 – 15 of the detoxification period.   I really don’t remember what happened during those days, but I know that I was doing very well for a bit and then I was a bit drunk one night (about a week ago) and I Falked (Facebook Stalked) Sarah.  When I say I “Falked” Sarah, I mean that I looked through our old pictures.  Of course this did not help me as all I did was reminisce about how awesome of a girlfriend she was, how great we looked together, and how much fun we had last summer.  Fortunately I did not text her (I’m sure I would have regretted that the next day because I know we are not meant to be together), but instead I texted another friend that has been my go to person in my moments of weekness.  This friend was happy to slap me back into reality and tell me that it was a mistake, but to have no regrets and get back to the process of moving on.

Anyways – the good news about this “episode” is that I was not all “sappy” about it the next day.  In fact, I felt just fine and wasn’t sad at all.

The truth is – I do miss Sarah.  I miss her from time to time.  I miss her warm embrace and her caring ways.  I miss the way she loved me.  I miss hanging out, talking, laughing etc.  I have second guessed whether or not I should reach out to her, maybe buy her a cup of coffee and just talk.  See if there is a way we can make it work.  I feel this way because I know that deep down, I did not give Sarah 100% of my heart.  I think if I had, if I had been able to let go and be 100% vulnerable, if I had tried a little harder to embrace Yoga (I could have asked her for private yoga that would have challenged me more and been more fun to me), looked at ways to find similar activities, and done a myriad of other things that one does when in love – we could have had something special.  Something really special.  Then, in the next breath I realize that maybe all of those things are the reasons for the disconnect.  Sure I could have done those things, I could have tried harder, I could have opened my heart more – but the reality is that because I could NOT do those things, it means I wasn’t ready and that my relationship with Sarah wasn’t “meant” to be.

Could it be that I’m still healing from my divorce back in 2011?

Besides – I will NEVER rule out anything with Sarah.  I know we are going to be friends.  I know that we are going to hang out.  I know that when I am 100% over her (I’m 99.5% there now) and we can hang out together that I will be friends with her friends (that are now my friends too).  I’m looking forward to that day because I miss her friends as much I miss “us”.

This process has been very enlightening to me and I look forward to the future.  Rather than dwell on all those things listed above, I have chosen to resume my physical activities and have been cycling 3 times a week (in preparation for the STP) and running 2 times per week (because I miss running).  I’m training one of my overweight friends to run and we have a goal of getting her across the line of a 5k by the end of summer…. Another of her friends has recently joined us and I am loving running with them and training them.  I am back to being very active and I am close to loving life as much as I did pre-Sarah… stay tuned in my next post for the turning point!

Day’s 5 – 8

I definitely feel as though I’ve crested the hill and am on the downside of this breakup.  Friday was actually “hump” day for me during this process.  I was looking forward to Friday all week because I had plans to go out with friends to a karaoke bar.  I really NEEDED a night out with friends.  It was a great reminder that I have friends of my own, that I have a life of my own, that I can have fun on my own, and that I’m moving on with things. Friday ended up being a great day and I was very aware that something had happened inside me that signified a change.

Saturday was actually not as easy.  I was caught off guard a little bit at the fact I caught myself thinking about Sarah.  It probably didn’t help that I was a little hung over from the night before.  However, I kept myself from going down that rabbit hole and didn’t get overly sad.  I acknowledge my (temporary) sadness, then got off my ass and decided to get out.  My son and I ended up going for a walk.  We walked approximately 1 1/2 miles to Jersey Mikes subs and bought lunch.  We chose to sit outside on the curb and eat our sandwich in the sun.  It was a great distraction and totally brought my focus back to the fact that I am a great life, great friends, and great family.  It’s hard to be sad when you are exercising and living in the moment (something that, ironically, Sarah taught me to do).

Sunday was much better, but I still had a case of boredom.  I ended up doing a little work (to stay focused and productive).  I’ve realized that when I’m being productive, everything is ok.  I have this deep need to finish each day feeling as though I accomplished something.  It doesn’t matter if it is something like walking, going for a bike ride, or doing work for customers.  I just have to do something or I go stir crazy.  I’m not the guy to sit on the couch and watch movies all day.  I believe that is partly why this breakup has been more difficult than I ever thought it would be.  I always had something to do with Sarah.  Especially last summer.  Whether going to her house, having a BBQ, hanging out with friends, cooking together or just texting each other – I always had something to do.  Now I find myself alone (when my son is with his mother) with nothing to do and I guess I’m a bit “lonely”.  I’m learning to not be lonely though, and I feel myself getting back to the Chad before Sarah.  The Chad that actually liked his alone time.  The Chad that was scared to get into a relationship because he didn’t want to give up his alone time.  Of course, that Chad was training for an Ironman and always had something to do!  Hmmmm… more proof that I just have to do something, accomplish anything for the day.  I have to stay busy.

Anyways – Sunday my son and I ended up heading out for a drive.  We didn’t have a destination in mind, but we ended up at Big 5.  Then we came home and played a little frisbee.  Later that day – I went to Costco and did some serious shopping.  I finally bought a food saver (the vacuum seal system) that I’ve been wanting for a long time.  I also bought a new set of food storage containers because I’m sick of digging for matching lids in my mis matched collection of containers and lids.  I came home and cleaned out my old container drawer.  I’m still baffled by how it is possible to lose so many containers.  I had a bazillion lids with no matching containers.  It felt great to finally clean out that cabinet.

After that – I vacuum sealed my bulk purchased pork chops and other items… I LOVE THIS THING.

Then Kaden and I drove to Tacoma and purchased a board game I had played with my lil sis last weekend.  It’s a strategy game and was way more fun that I thought it would be when I played it with my lil sis.

Kaden and I then played a game that evening.  It took 2 1/2 hours, but we had a lot of fun together.  After that it was time to cook, and my thoughts again drifted to Sarah (It’s always first thing in the a.m. and in the evening when I’m cooking dinner since she would often come over and I would cook for her.).  Rather than let those thoughts fester into negative emotions (sadness or loneliness) – I chose to go for a walk.  I wrapped the salmon in foil and threw it in the oven and then Kaden and I headed out for a walk. We ended up walking for about 45 minutes.  It was a great walk, and I’m really starting to love walking with my son.  It’s great quality time for me and my son.  Wow – there’s another positive to come out of this relationship!  (I’m great at finding the silver linings).

All in all this breakup is rather smooth and I’m progressing very quickly.  I’m actually thinking about dating again (not looking for a serious relationship, but I would like to go on a date).  Of course, relationships always find you when you are not looking right?  (That’s exactly what happened with Sarah and I).  Although, I’m very conscious of the fact that I may be susceptible to falling for someone because I’m lonely, and for that reason, I’m not going to date until I’m comfortable being me again.

I can actually imagine the day that Sarah and I are friends.  I’m going to stick to my 15 days of Radio Silence though.  I still don’t want to see pictures of us together as we had so much fun last summer and I know seeing those pictures will bring back a rush of great memories and has the potential to derail my “getting over Sarah” progress.

8 down – 7 to go!

Day 3 (and the start of Day 4)

Yesterday was Day 3 of my 15 days of radio silence.   If you are not aware of what I’m talking about, I’ll give you a quick summary now.

I’m going through a break up with an Amazing Woman that I love and respect.  She was perfect in every way, but our long term plans and our primary activities didn’t match up well.  She is passionate about Yoga (she’s an instructor), and I’m not.  I am passionate about cycling, skiing, and travelling – she’s not.  Sure we could have worked out ways to be together at some of the events, but overall if she’s not interested in attending a cycling event with me (or a triathlon)… and I’m not interested in Yoga retreats – I think that we would end up spending a lot of time apart.  That’s tough for even the best of relationships.  I also have some big trips coming up (1 month road trip with my son in August of 2015 – Tanzania for 4-6 weeks to climb Kilimanjaro and to Volunteer in Feb or March of 2016 – Rio for the Olympics in July of 2016) and those are just the big ones.  Throw in the fact I plan to train for and run the Boston Marathon and still have a long term goal of qualifying for Kona (or winning a slot).  I also like to do impromptu trips (skiing in the winter – which she does not do) and trips to Portland to see my family.  I take about 1 trip per year to Denver for a little skiing and to visit my friends.  The majority of these trips are not trips that my girlfriend ex-girlfriend would have very much fun on (except for maybe the Rio trip).

It totally sucks to break up with someone when you love and respect them so much.  Sarah loved me more than any other woman ever has.  It felt GREAT to be loved so much.  She supported me in every venture I did – even watching my son for an entire week when I did my trip to Tanzania last year to work for the charity I volunteer with.  She watched my dog for a weekend so I could go skiing in Whistler (the last weekend we were together).  When I was with her, I could feel her love and I loved that feeling.

Getting used to be single again is a tough transition.  Prior to meeting and falling for Sarah, I LOVED being single.  I was never lonely when I was home all alone.  Post breakup (especially last week) was a horrible experience.  The only time I have ever felt that lonely was after my ex-wife and I split up.  Last week (the first week we were apart) I mostly drank a lot of wine, and smoked a little lot of marijuana.  I would find myself jumping on Facebook (not to stalk Sarah but more searching for companionship with my other friends by staying connected).  What kept happening over and over was I would see a post that Sarah liked or a comment she made and then I would click on her profile, go to her pictures, and look through all the pictures from last summer.  Seeing these pictures and all the fun we had would only make me miss her more – which made me have another glass of wine.  Not a good cycle to be in!

I realized I was just covering up / masking my feelings and not dealing with them.  Fortunately (due to many years of soul searching / learning about myself) I realized that what I was doing was going to make this a longer, more difficult process so I decided, after 1 final weekend of partying that ended with me getting a STUPID ASS tattoo, that I was going to do 15 days of what I call “radio silence so I could focus on my life and get started moving on.  Best decision ever!

Radio Silence means that I’m staying off Facebook.  I refuse to look at Facebook or text Sarah for 15 days (the amount of time it takes to break a habit).   On day 1 – I went through my house and CLEANED LIKE CRAZY.  Part of this cleaning was removing all things “Sarah” that were in my house.  I took all the pictures, gifts, little items, candles etc and put them in the closet.  I did a little work that day – but not much.  It was very much a mental health day.

Day 2 I got more focused on work.  I was CRAZY tempted to go to the bar that night.  I was lonely and wanted company, but I toughed it out and stayed home and watched a little T.V.

Day 3 was yesterday and it was a weird day.  I actually woke up at 5:00 a.m. after a dream about Sarah.  In the dream I was at a bar with friends and I saw Sarah at the other end of the bar.  The dream took place in present day – so it was awkward to run into her.  I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep, but as you could imagine, Sarah was all that was on my mind.  I missed her greatly.  You see, I used to text her “good morning my darling” first thing in the a.m..  Rather than lie there in bed and torture myself with wanting to text her or jump on Facebook just to see her picture, I decided to get my ass out of bed and go to a spin class.  I’ve learned over the years that exercising makes me feel better and clears my head. But for some reason this spin class did not help in the way I’d hoped it would.  My mind kept going back to Sarah and then I kept reliving things that happened (not bad) in the relationship.  I kept torturing myself by telling myself that I hadn’t done enough of the little things (dropping notes, sending flowers, leaving messages that I love her) to make her feel special and that I should have.  Then somewhere around the 45 minute mark I stopped!  I decided that enough was enough.  I can’t do this.  It’s ridiculous.  The fact is that it wasn’t any one thing and no one is to blame.  It was a mutual breakup.  There was just something missing.  That extra little something that those who find true love have that Sarah and I couldn’t have.  It doesn’t matter why it wasn’t there, it’s just wasn’t.  It was a great moment of clarity.

I went home and, after breakfast, a shower, and a cup of coffee, started work (I’m a self employed web designer/developer and work out of my hosue).  I was having trouble focusing (my mind was still a little on Sarah but not as bad as the early morning hours) but then I had a phone call with a client (to show them their new website I had finished).  This is when great things started happening.  After that call, I had another call with my advertising consultant at Google (I also run Pay Per Click ad’s for my clients) so Google likes to help me optimized those campaigns.  It was during this call that EVERYTHING CHANGED.  I was learning about something new (with Google AdWords) and my mind cleared and I suddenly was 100% focused on what I was doing.  I LOVE learning new things about my job.  Especially when those new things will help my clients get a better R.O.I. on the money they spend.

Anyways – I was suddenly crazy focused on what I was doing and I didn’t think about Sarah once the rest of the day!  This clarity remained until about 7 pm when I stopped working so I could cook dinner for my son and myself.  Then the loneliness crept back in.  Then I started missing Sarah.  I quickly realized that it’s the morning’s and the evenings that are the worst.  The hours when I have nothing to do.  The evenings when Sarah would normally be at my house, or me at hers.  When we would crack a bottle of wine while I was cooking us dinner and we’d just talk a little.  These are the worst times.  I miss her when I’m sitting alone in my living room watching T.V. because I wish she was beside me so I could feel her presence and be with her.  I think that’s why last week was so hard, because my son was with his mother all week and I literally had NO ONE in the house during these times.  It was easy to smoke a bowl, drink some wine, and watch a movie to take my mind off of Sarah.

Well last night was different.  When that feeling of loneliness crept in, I acknowledged it (by literally saying to myself “ok, you are lonely, what are you going to do about it?”).  Then I asked my son if he would go for a walk with me.  He asked “where are we going” and I said I didn’t know – I just wanted to walk.  I explained to him why (I’m using this opportunity to teach my son about emotions and how to deal with the ones that make you feel sad in a healthy way) and he said “sure”.  It instantly perked me up.  We started walking and decided to walk to the local grocery store.  We picked up a couple items and then took the long way home.  We talked and cracked the stupid jokes that only him and I get.  The ones that anyone on the outside would think “WTF?”  We laughed, we walked, we had fun.  And guess what?  IT ALL MADE ME FEEL MUCH BETTER!  We got home about an hour later and I made us dinner then we watched some T.V.   All in all, it was an awesome evening.  I think I feel things starting to shift, and I am greatful that this process seems to be moving along sooner than later because I know for a fact that Sarah and I are going to be friends someday.  I just hope that day is sooner than later because she and her friends are awesome people that I want to hang out with again.  I also know that I won’t be able to do that until I can be in the same room with Sarah and not care if a guy is hitting on her.  When I can do that, we can be friends.  Or when I can go get my haircut from her (she’s a hairstylist also) and it doesn’t drive me wild when she washes my hair / massages my head.  She doesn’t know it yet, but I plan to let her be my stylist when I’m at a point that it will just be a friend cutting a friends hair.

I know that I’ll get there, because my breakup with my then wife was WAY more difficult and I’m friends with her now.

Today is the beginning of Day 4, and waking up was not a big deal.  My first thought was brewing my pot of coffee and not Sarah.  I had a fleeting thought of her while getting ready for the day, but it was only that.  It wasn’t a longing for her like the first 11 days (Day 4 only refers to the 4th day of “radio silence” but today is actually the 12th day since our breakup).  I’m about to go work now, and I’m looking forward to diving in.  I have a lot of projects that have to get done, and get done soon.  I’m going to be crazy busy for the next month or so, but it’s a very good problem to have when you are self employed.  I’m looking forward to getting my work done and getting caught up so I can enjoy my summer plans (and afford them) with my son.

Wow – this ended up being crazy long (not what I intended when I sat down to write it).

They dynamics of breaking up

As I go through this process of breaking up with my girlfriend ex- girlfriend, I’m amazed at the dynamics involved.  I am aware of the conflict between the heart and mind, and this morning came to understand that it is when the heart and mind line up that you will have that final closure that allows you to move on.

For example – when I think back to my relationship with Sarah – the truth is that I’ve known for a couple of months now that we were going to break up.  I just didn’t want to acknowledge it.  Why not?  What stopped me?  Well, my rational at the time was that it was never a good time – but is it ever?  I think it might be.  My delaying our breakup (for various reasons) ended up with us both arriving at the same place at the same time and no hearts were broken.

The weird part is that even though I know that we were not right for each other and that we needed to break up – I miss the hell out of her.  I miss having her around, I miss texting her in the morning, I miss going to her house, I miss it all. Why this conflict?  How can I miss someone that I know was not the right match for the long haul?

I think the answer lies within.  I think the fact is that I was afraid to break up with her because I was afraid to be alone.  I told myself that I didn’t want to hurt her, and while that’s partially true, I think the reality is that I didn’t want to hurt myself.  You see – deep down, I thought I would magically morph into the fat, lazy, depressed guy that I was after my divorce.  Well guess what – I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to a point where I liked being single, where I enjoyed my freedom, where I was in amazingly good shape.  The reality is, that while I’m scared I will fall into my old habits and turn into this fat, lazy, depressed guy – I WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN.   The fact is – I’m not that guy anymore and I never will be again.  I have big plans (some of which are the reason I had to break up with Sarah) – and nothing is going to stop them from coming true.

I have begun the arduous task of eliminating my feelings for Sarah.  I have to, or I’ll never be able to hang out with her again and I really want to be her friend in the long run.  She’s an amazing woman, and while I’m sorry that our romantic relationship did not work out, I’m confident that our personal relationship will blossom into us being GREAT friends in the long run.  I just have to get through these tough days now.  I know I can do it.  There was a time when the thought of another man being with my ex wife made me sick to my stomach and would bring tears to my eyes.  I now could care less.  Based on this – I know that I’ll be able to be Sarah’s friend one day, and that I’ll be nothing but happy for her when she finds the love that we were both hoping to find with each other.

How am I eliminating the emotional connection to Sarah?  With a VERY strict 15 days of NO SARAH and NO WINE.  Just to be clear, the no wine rule applies if I’m home alone, feeling lonely, and missing Sarah – If I’m out with friends in a social setting – I see no issue with having a glass or 2 of wine.  I set the no wine rule because in all honesty, last week I drank a lot smoked a lot (marijuana) and was trying to just cover the hurt.  I started my 15 days because that was not working, it was not making me lose my feelings for Sarah or miss her any less.  It was doing the opposite – making me more reliant on her and wanting her around even more.

The last straw was when I went to hang out with my little sister and her boyfriend Rob for the weekend.  This was done under the guise of party all weekend and move on with my life.  What happened was we partied real hard and I woke up with a stupid tattoo on my leg!  And it’s not even a good one (sorry Rob – no disrespect man).  🙂

I talked about Sarah all weekend.  I’m sure I did it so much that it annoyed my lil sis – who was a trooper none the less.  Saturday was the harder partying day of the 2 (and the night I got the tattoo).  The tatoo was supposed to be a simple “TW” on my left quad.  “TW” would stand for “The Weekend” and be a reference to our crazy ass, forget Sarah and move on with your life, party weekend.  Instead I had the brilliant idea to do a full moon, symbolizing a new cycle, starting over etc.  The issue with this is that Sarah LOVES the moon.  In fact, the first time she told me she loved me is when were hanging out down by the water just being present under the full moon.  The reflection off the water, the moment, it was a very special moment.

So here I am on Sunday morning – with a shitty looking full moon on my leg.  Not exactly what I had in mind when I went to my sisters place to party all weekend and forget Sarah!  I do however think it’s very funny that I ended up with the 1 symbol on my leg that would make me think of Sarah every time I see it!  There’s something very ironic in that.

Anyways – back to my “how I’m eliminating my emotional connection (aka LOVE) to Sarah”.  I had a great conversation with one of the guests at my sisters place on Saturday.  She told me that it takes 15 days to break a habit (which in some ways love and an emotional connection to someone could be described as a habit).  I remembered reading or hearing something similar about that with regards to breaking up with someone.  Give it 15 days of NO CONTACT.  NO FACEBOOK, NO TEXTS – nothing.  Zip, Zilch, Nada.

Today is Day 2 – and I’m determined to have a Terrific Tuesday (back in the pre-Sarah days I used to give all the days of the week a positive name and tell myself in the morning, while brushing my teeth, that today was going to be a Terrific Tuesday (or Wonderful Wednesday) etc.))

Day 1 was a bit rough.  I started by beginning the arduous task of cleaning my house thoroughly.  I’ve been meaning to do this as I’ve let it get dirtier than ever the last few months.  Being in a relationship is time consuming and I’ve just kind of been barely doing enough cleaning to not live in a pig pen.

While I was cleaning – I would run across things that Sarah had given me.  I put them all away in the closet.  I moved all T-shirts she has given me to a corner in the closet where I won’t see them.  I removed the body wash she gave me (that I love and that she uses) and put it under the sink.  I refused to go on Facebook (I don’t want to accidentally read a post of hers – then click on her profile, then go through our old pictures of all the fun we had as I will just get lonely and miss her more).  I did not drink any wine last night, I went for a 30 mile bike ride, and I watched hockey playoffs.  I had a VERY productive day.

I had moments where I missed her – and I would just stop and ackownledge it – have a good little cry – then get up, and resume whatever task I was in the middle of.

Day 2 – so far so good.  I will admit that my first thought this a.m. was Sarah.  My mind kept drifting to Sarah last night as I lay there trying to go to sleep.  I forced myself to think about something else and was finally able to go to sleep.  I came to the realization that right before bed, and when I wake up are the worst times.  That’s when I want to shoot her a “good morning my darling” text (that’s what I called her).  I’m now part way into my day – and I know that this will be a good day.  I’m going to look up spin classes at the Y or go swimming.  I’m started with a 2 mile walk with the dog today (to clear my head of the lingering “Sarah” thoughts).

While I’m still amazed how it is that I can miss someone that I knew I had to break up with  – I now have an understanding that my mind and my heart are conflicted.  I’m determined to get them back into alignment so that I can move on with my life and ultimately meet the person that is right for me (in all ways, not just most ways) or live my life being a single, happy, succesful person that makes his dreams a reality.

Breakups suck, but they can also teach you so much about yourself!  I’m going to embrace this one, because as breakups go – I’m very fortunate to being breaking up with such an amazing woman.  Oh the Irony!

Namaste Sarah

The love that found me when I wasn’t looking for it has left my life.  🙁

On Sunday (4 days ago) night I went to Sarah’s house to have a talk about the future.  That talk ended with us breaking up.  The good news is that it was a mutual decision.  The bad news is that I miss her.  She’s a GREAT woman.  She was the PERFECT girlfriend.  I’ve never felt more loved by anyone in my life.

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I survived my first night time solo hike!

Photographing the Lunar Eclipse

Last night was the lunar eclipse.  It was a full lunar eclipse that was scheduled to occur around 3:25 a.m. my time.  As a budding photographer I really, really wanted to get a great shot of the “blood moon”.  I decided that I was going to go camping somewhere here in Washington and find that perfect spot away from the city lights, and with beautiful scenery around.  I decided on Granite Mountain as there is a lookout tower at the top that would have made a great backdrop for the blood moon.  I also didn’t want a spot that a million other amateur photographers have used to photograph full moons.

Granite Mountain description:

Granite Mountain is a vigorous hike about an hour from Seattle.  It’s a 4.1 mile climb that for at least 1/2 – you are gaining 1,000 feet per mile!

Granite Mountain elevation gain

That’s some serious climbing! Especially with a 30lb pack on your back

It was the first mountain I’ve ever summited, and Granite Mountain is responsible for getting me hooked on hiking and summiting.  If it wasn’t for Granite Mountain – I would never have summited Mt. Saint Helens (8,366′), climbed to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier (10,188′), nor summited Mt. Adams (12,280 feet).  I initially climbed Granite Mountain in the winter.  The picture of me at the top is the first one in my home page slideshow.  This was my first time climbing to the lookout tower in the summer.  What a treat!

Hiking at Night

I have never hiked at night – but I knew from past experiences that I should get up there fairly early as I didn’t know how  long it would take me to hike it.  I set out from my house in Gig Harbor (1 1/2 hours away from Granite Mountain) @ 6:30 p.m.   I stopped and bought a 300 mm zoom lense from a guy on craigslist.  I arrived at about 9:30 p.m. and told myself the minor fears I had creeping into the back of my mind were irrational.  Mountain Lions don’t hunt humans, Bears have their cubs earlier in the year, Bigfoot does NOT exist.  Once I had those facts straight – I headed out.

I have to say – it’s a weird feeling to be hiking along a trail, up a mountain, with a headlamp on.  It’s slightly eerie to only be able to see as far as the light will shine, and only in the direction you are hiking.  For about the first mile, I kept stopping and panning a full 360 degrees – just to make sure no critters were following me.  I was keenly aware of my sense of hearing as well.  It was sharpened.  Other than the 3 daddy long legs, the 2 beetles, and the giant banana slug, there were no critters on the trail.

I highly recommend hiking at night – especially at popular spots.  There was literally no one on the trail – and being alone is incredibly peaceful.

I hiked for approximately 2 hours 45 mins and arrived at the lookout at midnight.  It was locked!  I climbed on the outside and made my way onto the deck of the lookout.  I checked the doors and the windows hoping the last ranger up there had left one open thinking nobody would be dumb enough to climb on the outside of the railing with a 30 lb pack on their back!  They were all locked.  No worries – it was fairly warm and even though I had a tent, I decided to not set it up.  I figured I was only sleeping for a couple of hours so, after setting up my camera, the right lense, and the tripod, I set my sleeping pad and bag up on the deck of the tower.  When I crawled into my sleeping bag – the wind was blowing, but I was warm.  I set my alarm for 3:00 a.m. so I could be up in time to see the lunar eclipse.

At 1:45 a.m. I was awakened by a loud slam!  When you are on top of a mountain, in the middle of the woods, and you think you are all alone – a loud slam will sit you straight up with your heart racing!  I got up to investigate – but never figured out what had made the noise.  Later – on my hike out, I reasoned that it was probably a mouse or a rat that had gotten into the lookout and knocked something off the counter.  There is no other explanation.  I went back to sleep and awoke to my alarm at 3:00 a.m.

The Blood Moon:

I am sad to report that when I awoke at 3:00 a.m.  – the fog had rolled in.  Even at over 5,000 feet of elevation (which I had climbed hoping to be above the low level clouds) I couldn’t escape the clouds that seem to always be around in Washington at this time of the year.

The good news is that the wind was blowing, and the fog was moving fast.  I got glimpses of the moon as it was eclipsing, but it was never exposed long enough for me to get a good picture.  I did however see it completely eclipsed, and a few times I actually saw the blood moon.  It had an orangeish / reddish tint that covered about 3/4 of the moon.  It was quite a site.  I wish I could have taken the picture I had in mind – but the weather did not cooperate.  Oh well – I got to experience my first ever night hike, my first time sleeping on the deck of a lookout tower, and I still saw the moon I wanted to see.

In summary – I left my house @ 6:30 p.m. last night (10/7/14) – stopped and picked up a zoom lens – drove 1 1/2 more hours to the trailhead – hiked 2 hours 45 mins to the top of Granite Mountain – slept for a little over 2 hours – then hiked the 4 miles back down @ 4:00 a.m. – then drove the 1 1/2 hours home.

I’m going on very little sleep, but I’m not a napper.  So I sit in front of my computer writing this blog post, (because it’s one of those things I wanted to “document”) and drinking a lot of coffee.  I have a ton of work to do on a couple of website projects I’m working on now – so I have to go.

Maybe next time I’ll get that once in a lifetime shot of the blood moon.  My not capturing that image this time was definitely not from a lack of trying.

Global Warming

Climate Change / Global Warming

My thoughts on climate change have always been a bit neutral. There are good arguments for & against the idea that it is caused by humans. I have seen evidence years ago that carbon dioxide itself is such a small portion of the greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere that there is no way, even globally, that man is really affecting anything. One thing that I have never doubted is that THE EARTH IS WARMING. From what I’ve gathered, it seems that the bigger threat is methane gas deposits on the ocean floor.

That’s not saying man hasn’t had an influence in the matter. I think maybe human ingenuity and advancement has deposited a lot CO2 into the atmosphere. This extra CO2 has caused enough warming. This warming has melted some of the frozen methane deposits – and that methane release has warmed the planet even more. There is more than enough methane on the ocean floor today to cause runaway global warming.

Either way – the way I see it, the cause is irrelevant. If there is something we can do to stop global warming (or slow it down enough that we can come up with a solution) then we should do it.

The dumb part is that the solution (or at least only thing we can do on a mass scale) is right in front of us.  The solution is not in a small percentage of the population buying efficient light bulbs and recycling more.  The solution is not that we all run out and buy hybrid or electric cars (which I’ve read that the process to make the batteries and ultimately recycle / dispose of all the batteries that would be on the market if we all did buy electric cars, would actually leave a larger carbon footprint than just burning gasoline in the first place).  The solution is sustainable, renewable, energy.  But why is the US lacking far behind the rest of the world in implementing sustainable energy solutions?

My suspicion is money.  It always comes down to money.  If there was a way that the big oil companies could make MORE MONEY on sustainable energy than they currently make selling fossil fuel, you can bet your ass that the USA would be leading the way.  Had Big Oil companies been open to the transition from fossil burning fuel to sustainable, renewable energy 30 years ago – we would be so far ahead of where we are today.  Currently – these companies can’t make more money on renewable energy, so instead of embracing the future – these giant corporations fight the future.  They fight innovation, they fight progress, and they fight the fact that we are inevitably heading towards a future without them in it. Unless of course they change their way of thinking and get on board.  The ironic twist in this is that they are missing the boat because of their own action – or should I say inaction.

Maybe there is some common ground here.

As much as most “tree hugging hippie liberals” despise these mass corporations and their greed – there may be some common ground.  The Big Oil companies want to make money, and those concerned about the future want to see a switch to renewable energy.  If we can all put our heads together and come up with a way that big oil will not lose money by switching it’s efforts over to more sustainable solutions – progress could grow rapidly and maybe we could catch up with the rest of the world.

I admittedly haven’t been the always been the best shepherd for reducing greenhouse gases.  I am not intending to sit up here on my platform and preach like I live the perfect life.  I still use paper towels and I own a 95 Land Rover that gets 16 mpg on the freeway.  I only take the Rover out occasionally though, because I also own a little turbo diesel Jetta that get’s 43 mpg on the highway.   I’m guess I’m just venting a little bit and wondering why people can’t find common ground and work together.  If we don’t – it may cost us all in the end.

This is a great video, narrated by Leonardo Decaprio, on Global Warming (it inspired me to writethis post)

The “L” word has entered my life again.

The first date

Back on March 6, 2014 I had a date with a cute little red head that I met on Plenty of Fish.  I had pretty much given up on online dating at this point, but when “Sarah” replied to my initial email and said she’d be willing to meetup for a glass of wine – I figured “what do I have to lose?”

that initial date turned out to be a VERY GOOD date.  Sarah and I hit if off and the conversation was not lacking.

Read more

Amazing Volcanic Eruption

Absolutely one of the coolest video’s of a Volcanic Eruption I’ve ever seen!  Check it out

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