Take a Hike

It’s National Take a Hike Day!

Rocky Falls! I took this picture I think in 2009.

And I had to work… and I’m taking a shift on the ambulance so I have to be ready to respond. So no hikes for me…

Dammit.

But if you have a chance, go take a hike!

Well, because I didn’t plan this well we’re doing a #waybackwednesday post. I’m also planning on revisiting this particular hike next week. I’m hoping to get some new photos and maybe see the “wild horses” while I’m there.

Ozark Trail: November of 2007

Wow, I was styling.

This particular section of the Ozark Trail is my favorite. Partly because it’s really close to the old family farm but mainly because it used to be my great grandmother’s family homestead. Up the creek from Klepzig Mill she used to watch bobcats play on the bluff.

Rocky Creek, the bluff in question is upstream and behind me in this picture.

We did a family trip and hike over the Thanksgiving Holiday. My aunt on my dad’s side and her family and myself. Mom and Dad didn’t feel up to it from my memory and my sister was working up until Thanksgiving itself. Or I just dreamed all that up and they just didn’t want to hike with us…

Rocky Falls

Either way we hit up the Current River Section hiking from Klepzig Mill to Rocky Falls and back. Or vice versa… seriously my memory is already going.

The crisp fall air and lingering campfire heartened me. The Ozark hills spoke to me and they still do. I was a transitioning from high school to community college and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do yet. I was going back and forth between agricultural business and history. It would take me two years to figure out history and go on to finish my degree at Arkansas State University.

Honestly, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life…

It wasn’t a long hike by any means but it was full of family stories, traditions, and jocularity.

I’m looking forward to next week. I will get to take Hunter out for a jaunt and hang out with family and friends.

Keep wandering,

BJ

I could have been a model. I also need to learn how to change the date on my digital camera…

Wannabe on the Trail: Influencing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately— inspired by a documentary.

Imagine that.

Anyways, I watched Fake Famous. It’s an interesting look at how we view influencing and a social experiment into how to become a mega influencer.

Me, trying to be “on brand”

I related the most with Chris but I don’t think I deserve to be famous in the same way he does. However, I do admire his principles about going with the 100 real followers over the thousands of bots. I also agree with not changing myself drastically in order to get famous either.

I have no inclination to be a mega influencer, yeah, the perks are kind of cool. But I don’t really want to do merch advertising for other people or paid partnerships. Collaborations with other posters in my niche would be cool. I’m happy with people buying my designs, photos, and the ad revenue. Maybe write some books.

I don’t plan on getting rich off any of it or being “famous” like most influencers.  All I want is a little extra money to fund a college/trade school fund for my kid (maybe kiddos), fund a hiking/rafting trip each year, and the rest into savings.

This little guy!

Lofty goals I know—right now, I’m just starting out in the grand scheme of things and the possibilities are endless.

However, as I watched I realized at all the wasted time I could have been building this blog or my Instagram. I’m late to social media bubble. It honestly doesn’t appeal to me in the way it does most people. Partly because I have luddite tendencies but also, I thought I was boring. I also didn’t think I was pretty enough to cash in on the selfies either. Plus, with the dopamine chasing from ADHD if I didn’t have Facebook, Instagram, or now TikTok actually open I sometimes forget they exist—which was great in college.

But mainly, I’m boring.

I liked to read (still do). Canoe or kayak. Hike. Ride horses. Take photos—basically some of the stuff I still do now but at the time I didn’t realize I could brand any of that, because, to reiterate, I thought I was boring.

Now, that I’ve been messing around trying to find my niche with this wannabe blog I realize had I started back in early days with Instagram I could have cultivated a bookstagram theme and reviewed books on YouTube. Because I am a huge bookworm—although I prefer Ink Drinker, and daydreamed about reviewing and reading books all day.

Books!

I could have gotten into cosplay—it would have been mainly Lord of the Rings, but it would have been cool.

I could have become a “horse girl” on there.

Really pushed out canoe and kayak content—photos, videos, and articles on how to handle the gear… (stares at day job media webpage…never mind).

Had I settled into the seasonal park ranger life a little more I could have been a lifestyle guru fulfilling Chris Farley’s inspirational “living in a van down by a river!”

Some saw this as bad thing…others wanted to live the dream

Okay, maybe I wasn’t as boring as I thought I was.

I was not feeling bored.

Had I built on any of my interests or hobbies I might have cultivated a larger following and had a totally different brand.

 I could have done a lot of cool stuff, but would I have wound up where I am?

Great job, sharing happiness (and a little grumpiness) with the love of my life, the best little man ever, and the cute dogs. The grumpy cat is starting to like me which is nice. Or would I have fame, fortune, and a branding deal? Would I be happier?

Nah, I’m happy were I’m at and who I’m with, plus who I am as a person, but it would be kind of cool to be a micro-influencer. I still don’t plan on chasing the fame. I’ll continue to plod along with my rambles, thoughts, and cute photos. Maybe I’ll turn into a “mommy blogger” for ADHD wannabes that think they lack the mom gene sometimes but try their darndest to make their kiddos happy—maybe by taking a hike.  

Or playing in the leaves!

Keep wandering,

BJ

Return to Girl, Take a Hike

I really want to go hike on a beach somewhere. It’s been an insane week already. It’s also starting to get cold. I don’t like it. Well, I do but it’s a weird toxic love hate relationship with cold weather. The snow makes it so pretty. Luckily, we only had a little light dusting of snow that didn’t stick but it’s coming.

Took this last year– see I do get out in the cold weather!

And because I have a tendency to binge watch YouTube and hide under a blanket this time of year, I fall into my other weird toxic love hate relationship: Anti-MLM videos and in particular Rachel Hollis videos. Or I watch music videos, lately Bo Burnham Inside has been a major focus. All Eyes On Me is hauntingly beautiful.

I love that people are deconstructing these groups and people but at the same time they are giving them attention… it’s cyclic folks. Yet here I am ranting about Rachel Hollis, so I love and hate myself for the same reasons…

But this time as I was listening to Not The Good Girl’s take on Hollis. Not The Good Girl does an awesome job breaking this all down in a documentary style format.

There was two things Hollis said really stuck me:

“We all have the same 24 hours.”

And…

 “Sometimes it’s okay if the only thing you did today was breathe,” and Hollis’s ensuing rant video about the Pinterest quote and people not ‘hustling.’

In some ways, yes, she’s right about how we all have the same amount of time and we should hustle to make our goals.

However, I sure as hell don’t have the same quality of 24 hours as Hollis. I don’t have a nanny and maid to assist with my child or housework or a husband (now ex) that could offset what my business costs would be. A ‘team’ to pass the blam…eh assist when something goes wrong or to help put on any speaking engagement.  

I’m my own editor, maid, nanny, content creator, graphic designer, cook, bottlewasher, and this list is getting ridiculously long—if I make a mistake, I own it because I’m literally the only one on my ‘team.’ Do I get everything I want to do done? No, because I like sleep and now that I’m not suffering from insomnia as much, I can actually enjoy it and wake up refreshed at 6 am…

It’s really easy to say we all have the same amount of time when you have a safety net. Now, in fairness she didn’t have that all her life—but once she started the self-help guru stuff (and really pushed this messaging) she did. And it’s a bit of a problem that she doesn’t acknowledge that aspect. I mentioned on a previous post about this that she did hustle, she did accomplish a lot, but this type of glamorizing comes off as a bit of a red flag for me. When you make it seem like it was simply your hustle that elevated you but don’t acknowledge that you have someone in your life that added in making those connections and provided a safety net (even if he was a huge walking red flag) it’s a bit disingenuous.

Which opens us up to a lovely discussion about curated authenticity and its relationship to toxic positivity.

Hollis made waves when she posted about her stretch marks which in some ways was groundbreaking but honestly, she’s attractive, had a decent following, and simply capitalized on that. Hollis curated a form of voluble authenticity that highlighted her “flaws” that she totally demolished with her “What is it about me that made you think I want to be relatable?”  

I post curated photos to an extent but I don’t highlight my flaws in a funny quirky way– I just don’t post or if I do it’s not a glam shot of me being funny and quirky in a misadventure. I also don’t wax poetic about my overcoming anything. I usually talk about how I wannabe doing something but get sucked into why I didn’t or a rant about something/someone. *scrolls back up post, cringe.*

I also don’t put my family in the center of the blog. I did add in about hiking with Hunter but that’s more because I just can’t leave him at home for a weekend hike… plus he’s adorable. But I don’t claim to be a marriage help guru or post how wonderful we all are. I’d rather have what I have now with my husband—he supports me in what I do (and vice versa) but we work on a budget and we compromise what we do and how to fund that endeavor. He also doesn’t have the same priorities as me, he would rather spend the weekend gaming on his PlayStation while I would rather hike or read a book. We compromise. Some weekends we stay in, some we go hiking. It works for us. He doesn’t make snide comments or inspire me to make passive aggressive jewelry once I have a successful moment. Or totally pigeonhole maid services into the most demeaning part of cleaning your house. If I had a maid—I’d pay her, make her cookies, and hype her up to my friends to support her small business.

Just a little cutie in a hiking carrier!

Now—I used to be the self-described queen of hustle mainly because my ADHD wouldn’t let me sit still long enough. Before I had Hunter, I worked my forty-hour week, volunteered twelve hour shifts on my local ambulance two-three nights a week, taught CPR/First Aid classes at least once a month if not more, pursued grad, professional, and continuing education classes for education now history, work, and EMS, and for a while waited tables. *

The extra money was great, but I didn’t need it (although, it did pad my emergency account). I did it because I wanted the dopamine hit and I like giving back to my community.  I could have taken a lot of that “hustle” and worked on this blog but at the time the dopamine wasn’t there for this—it’s back and I don’t know for how long… *crazy ADHD inspired moments*

Which is probably why I’ll never go very far with my “brand” because if the dopamine isn’t there or I put it on a shelf in the basement (or even in the middle of the living room) I will forget about it for a while. Instagram is the only thing I seem to do regularly and even that I skip a few weeks depending on what’s going on in my life. (I’m on a Bo Burnham kick… don’t judge).

Some would argue that I wasn’t hustling for ‘myself’ since I wasn’t doing a home business. But yeah—that was all for me to keep boredom away.

Now, I have a toddler to keep the boredom at bay. Plus, everyone is retiring at my day job, so I have a slew of collateral duties to tire out my brain. History grad classes that require lots of reading which I can hyper focus on since it’s a topic I like. On top of that, my sleep apnea machine is helping with the insomnia—I sleep which is weird and awesome.

I’m also learning how nice it is to have free time– after talking with some doctors after having Hunter we discovered I have ADHD. I received some strategies to help with (healthy) coping and now I don’t feel a driving need to constantly be doing something. Although, the song is about the Internet, Bo Burnham’s “little bit of everything all of the time,” could have been my theme song for a long time.

The added benefit it is now I can take a little time to write about this and that in the evenings while relaxing on the couch. I don’t write every day—but since it’s National Novel Writing Month (#nanowrimo) I’m trying to hit that 50,000-word count.  The other thing is I’m trying to incorporate my wannabe plans into my writing. In fact, I’m going to do some day hikes (maybe an overnight) on the Ozark Trail this November. So, I really am going to take a hike! But a lot of days I read—just to make me happy.

There are also days where all I do is breathe…well in my case sleep/nap/zone out.

Now, the “breathe” rant happened before a lot of this but I caught it back when it was first made and it royally ticked me off. Someone shared it in a depression related group on Facebook. The group was small and we didn’t go jump on her post or page. We just commented on how she missed the point.

Because the original pin poster was talking about dealing with depression. If you’ve never dealt with depression, it’s easy to think—oh just get out of bed and go for a hike! You’re the only one in charge of making yourself happy!

I dislike that mentally. I know they are trying to be helpful and inspiring, but it doesn’t actually help. If anything, once the person tries that and fails it could send them deeper into the pit. In a lot of cases a person’s brain is literally not performing or producing the chemicals to “make” you happy. Or your hormones are totally off the flipping wall and you go from laughing to crying in less than 30 seconds. However, in mild cases of depression going out for a walk might help—it does for me about 90% of the time. The other 10%? I hung on by my mental nails to make it through the day. Once I was home I would shut down.

There’s no hustling yourself out of depression.

There is just a wide empty maw of failure. And because we don’t like to think about mental illnesses as any other type of medical malady, we are ashamed by it. We don’t reach out for help like we should.

I did—it helps. Not everyone that goes to a doctor winds up on meds, sometimes you just need to talk it all out and get therapy. Sometimes because your hormones are so out of whack due to just having a baby you do need to go on a mild anti-depressant but if you stay in communication with your doctor, you’re not on it long. Just long enough to help the hormones level off.

And in all those struggles weather your getting help or not—you accomplished one thing by just breathing. And that’s okay.

But Hollis didn’t see the pin in that context or if she did, she was self-absorbed on her brand that it didn’t matter.

She regulated it to just being “lazy” and not hustling or being positive to get what you want. That’s toxic. This push that if you hustle and appear to be happy about it you will get success is just gross to me. But it is a powerful message and people lap it up…sometimes to their own detriment.

This “breathe” rant was when I kind of realized Hollis was all hype and branding. So, when she had her epic TikTok rant I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised that she wanted to be privileged or unrelatable. I was surprised by how long it took her to backtrack though. She almost waited a week to respond to the havoc created by her own words.

The apology has been scrutinized in fact a writer, Shannon Ashley, at Medium provided a great commentary on Rachel Hollis. I used her article to get the block quotes.  

When Hollis issued an apology—it really was a non-apology. She twisted it back to make it seem like she was the victim. The sad part was had she left it with the first two images it would have been a better apology, not great or really authentic but authentic to her and solely with herself to blame.

“Someday I’ll learn.

Not yet apparently– but someday I’ll learn.

Someday I’ll learn that my intent and my impact can be wildly different things.

I made a post last week that was upsetting to people and even though that was never my intent, I own that it was and I apologize.”

[Should have stopped there! But she didn’t do that—she had to add to it and then spin it as her ‘team’ that ignored or hide comments… however, this to me was the most problematic part of the whole thing]

 “Was my post upsetting because I said I have someone who cleans my house twice a week?”

[This is a dog whistle. This is look at how all these people are focusing on me hiring a maid and making that the issue—when it wasn’t.

The issue was how Hollis prefaced the maid as the ‘person who cleans her toilets’ and made it seem like that job was so far beneath her. A lot of people hire maid and cleaning services nobody begrudges people that and it’s a viable small business option for a lot of women who are traditionally homemakers that now have free time for whatever reason. I thought about doing it for a while, but I got a permanent job that I like.

The rest of the image statement apology is equally flippant and shifts the blame from her to her team…again—she’s really good at pushing any criticism of any kind off on her team.]

“I’ve talked a lot about this over the years;

I have a nanny, I have someone who helps with cleaning, I have a team at work who helps to build this business and I think it’s CRUCIAL that I keep talking about it. I could very easily pretend that I don’t have any assistance.

I’m sure it would make my brand more likable and certainly more relatable if I act like I achieve all of these things through hard work and organization, but that’s bullshit. You don’t have to have a clean house or help with your kids or a business with 25 employees — but if you see those things in my life and wonder how they got there, I want you to know it’s a group effort.

A whole village in fact.”

[Hollis kind of does diminish how much they do help her and allow for her to achieve her goals]

“Was my post upsetting because I mentioned some of my favorite women in history?

This one is even harder for me because, those women are the most badass I could think of. Someone on my team said, “I think people believe you’re comparing yourself to them.” Comparing myself to the first woman to win a Nobel Prize? The first — and only — female monarch in the history of China?? To the most inspiring woman in America who freed herself and then risked her life — repeatedly — to lead others out of slavery? There is NO comparison.”

[Holy Batman! That has “that’s not what I said but totally what I meant” vibes. It was a comparison—when you state you are ‘unrelatable’ and then tag a bunch of women in the post that are historically relevant without providing context that you are “inspired by their qualities” you are implying that you are comparable and relatable to them. Therefore, making them unrelatable to the people you’re trying to gaslight with this apology.]

“To believe that because I mentioned them, I am comparing myself to them is ludicrous. Do I aspire to be as brave? As fierce? To live life on my own terms and — hopefully — inspire other women to do the same? Hell yes! But I cannot now, or ever, compare myself to them and I don’t want to. I don’t want to try and be the next fill-in-the-blank, I’d like to try and be the first me.

That was where things started, but, because I still haven’t learned, I didn’t respond to these things on Friday when I heard that people were upset. I listened to my team instead of my gut.”

[*eyeroll* Hollis used the same type of scapegoating when she was caught plagiarizing. Do it once and yeah, it might have been a team error but when it keeps happening and you keep passing it off as your ‘team misguided you’ it’s just your fault.]

“What you find on my social media feed, is me. For better or worse, it’s all me. And because it’s me, what you’re seeing is sometimes great and sometimes the fumbling’s of being human.

Because it’s me and not a perfectly polished statement written by a publicist, I’m going to get it wrong. But I’d rather get it wrong, and learn from it (painfully and publicly) then not show up at all.”

[Which is it? You or your team? Because you keep saying it’s you but then you turn around and blame the really sketchy stuff (plagiarizing, hiding POC comments, etc.) on your team.]

“I’m so disappointed in myself that I let y’all down. I’m so angry that I still haven’t learned this lesson. I’m going to get it at some point and unfortunately, you have a front row seat for how many times I’m going to make shitty mistakes along the way.”

[You’re right you haven’t learned any lessons and you keep making the same mistakes. You pass the blame onto your team and since it saved you the last few times, you’ll keep kicking that horse.]

It’s easy to harp on this stuff and when it’s 18 degrees I get sucked into the videos and drama of it…mainly because Wade doesn’t like it when I watch documentaries. So, I put my AirPods in and binge watch YouTube videos snuggled under a blanket. Soon the dopamine will dry up and I’ll tackle the books on my TBR pile. Maybe take a snow hike…but I doubt it…

I’m a wimp.

I probably will because how else will I get cute duck and geese shots.

Keep wandering,

BJ

*Fun fact: waiting tables isn’t easy, it is a lot of physical labor, smiling, and remembering orders. However, I found it relaxing and during the long shutdown because I was going stir crazy, something to do. I started picking up some shifts and kept with it for most of a year.

Oddly enough, it was a stressful job that brought me stress relief because it was a job I had for nearly nine years—muscle memory is a wonderful thing. Whereas the upheaval over the shutdown plus all the higher-level stuff that I didn’t know how to do that got dropped on me at my day job was a stress I wasn’t as adept to handle. I waited tables because I could “turn my brain off” for a couple hours a night—get a good night’s sleep because I exhausted myself and hit the ground running in order to handle the stuff I didn’t know the next morning.

It wasn’t because I didn’t have experience but I was taking on division lead duties that I never done before. Authorizing projects, determining budget needs, and trying to advocate for more seasonal employees. However, I was martialized and told I wouldn’t need to worry about a lot of that. And because I didn’t know what I didn’t know it bite me in the ass. It was so irritating because it created a short staff issue that led to me working far more than I should and until I approached the department head of my division in the regional capacity about closing our visitor center for two days during the week, so we wouldn’t be stretched so thin, borderline illegal. I asked a lot of questions that summer, got stymied by the person who was “helping me,” and nearly pulled my hair out… Now, I’m older and wiser and have the next person in my chain of command on speed dial if I ever have a boss that tries to pull a fast one again—because what my supervisor that summer did was shady (maybe even illegal) but I was young and naïve..*

Wannabe on the Trail: Musings on Timeshares

Cute photo to engage you… also I’ve not taken any in a few days

*** I haven’t got any cool photos for this post so I made memes…

Only late by what two decades?

So… on that last trip I took, that one to Branson, we went because of a timeshare offer. Yeah, yeah, I know…

We were walking through a popular outdoor store and Wade never learned to avoid sales desk people and interacted. Yay…

My normal reaction…

That will come back up later.

It was great going to my home state of Missouri and do some site seeing and visiting the family. But we had to give up a couple of hours to go to the timeshare pitch and sales meeting. I originally was saying to Wade, “We say no.”

He was on board with that!

While it was a bit of a pain and could be a costly mistake this particular timeshare isn’t as predatory as some and it had options. And that was a problem for me.

Plus, having Hunter provided enough of a distraction for our judgement to be clouded. We had to both take turns with him and missed parts of the talk and didn’t really get a moment to actually talk it through.

Had it been a traditional timeshare where it was one place, one week, and no flexibility I would have stuck to my gut and said no as soon as they ended the tour. Because I’ve looked into time shares in the past and they just barely skirt being a pyramid scheme…although I still think they are…

Just say no…

However, they started it out with a look at the cost benefit analysis of inflation on hotels. They do have a point with inflation continuing to rise—but so will wages and other offsetting factors. They also alluded that inflation was the reason for costs to increase during holidays…it doesn’t. As someone who works in the tourism industry, they left out how demand was a driving factor in pricing during the holidays.

I made a note about it… I took a lot of notes.

Then they explained how they were different—and they are. You can use your membership to go to several different places, your base points can be used anywhere at anytime as long as there is an opening in the schedule. You can also use your membership to pay for trips—with a little cash added—to other international places. They sold it as a way to go anywhere with your family for a decent price.

They really sold the family angle and it’s a great hook…

And in some cases, it would be worth the money and hassle. If we were making $250K a year maybe it would be worth it, but we don’t. They ended the talk with overall cost of the timeshare… it was a lot more than I was willing to pay and at that point, while tempting, I was still in the no category because of the price *before* associated fees.

I also did a little research on the agency and it did have some high points. But I always hate it when they pitch the overall cost but don’t mention what the annual and maintenance fees are. If I had those numbers while they were doing their inflation talk, I could have done the actual math and realized right then that it would be about the same either way… while they aren’t lying about the annual fees being stable—the maintenance fees will grow over time. Even I, the least math inclined person ever, can figure out the fees over time and the cost/benefit ratio.

But they don’t want you to know that until they lay the contract in front of you. And push you to sign before you get a chance to really review it.

Once the pitch was over, we moved on to the tour and hard sale.

Our salesman was nice, but you could tell he was a former auto sales guy—he was a big talker and a little pushy but that was expected.

He noticed my notes on the back and the love bombing began. Now, unlike cults this isn’t the same level but it’s a milder form.

“Oh, these are great questions—you asked about how maintenance fees can be offset by your points—they can. Oh, nice catch on the demand—that is true, but you won’t have to worry about demand costs around holidays with our program. You really know your stuff…”

Which appealing to your vanity makes it easy to ignore red flags. It’s also a red flag. (How many flags is that now? 3-4?)

…little bit of both…

The grounds and accommodations were nice, and the amenities were great for families. Which was another hook into us.

And he cold read us until he found what could hook us more.

We are both workaholics that feel guilty about taking time off for vacation. But now that we have a little one, we want him to have fun vacation memories.

I was a tad more susceptible to this because I want to take more fun vacations as Hunter gets older and take him to Missouri so he can see my side of the family more. Wade feels guilty for the same reason but he’s more the backyard camper because his family is where we live. Although, he does want to make me happy and thought it might be a good way for me to see my family more. Plus, it might get him more excited to go. Since we would have it and be paying for it…

And the salesman pushed that hard. *

I started to crack.

*Here’s the thing, this is a con—not a huge con but it is one. And you don’t think you will fall for it…until you do. Because you have a flaw in your ego—it’s too good a deal but I deserve it—that type of flaw. *

“It seems like a good deal.”

Wade was surprised by my shift in opinion but rolled with it.

Then the hard sale began.

When I said we couldn’t do the primary cost—they had two other options ready to go—one well in our price range.

I asked if I could talk it over with Wade… they gave us less than five minutes… red flag.

We were excited about the prospect of going to Missouri again, taking a cruise, or even going somewhere else. The fees associated weren’t a deal breaker “because we can pay with our points.”

We, sadly, thought it was a good deal.

Although, once we thought about it with the interest rate it would be horrible. And there was something that changed once we changed from the first offer to the cheaper one…

Even though I was agreeing to it—my gut or conscience was heavily cussing me in the back of my mind and telling me not to do it!

Which led to me asking some questions and I realized after the fact I should have pushed harder on some of them.

I asked repeatedly how to get out of the timeshare if we decided down the line we didn’t want it. They gave me a standard answer and pointed to a partner group (which is a red flag). If they cannot buy it back and send you to a third-party say no.

I should have had them clarify about how our points would pay the maintenance fees. Especially after we got the smaller contract. Had we gone with the larger package they could have—but the one we signed would not. But I didn’t push hard on that question again.  

And then they dropped the “this is only good for today…” line and we both said we should do it.

Bottom line we would have lost out on the extra club membership being “free” and the first year paid for—we should have just said we’ll think about it and that’s not important to us. Had we done that we would have been less stressed out.

Luckily, my gut or whatever made me fixate on a few things. I asked about their cancellation terms. They actually hedged a little and tossed two forms at us—one for Nebraska and one for Missouri. They did say we would fall under Missouri’s terms, but I had a feeling after we did all the paperwork that they hoped we would forget that. Mainly because they put Nebraska’s agreement on top and the Missouri section on the bottom…. I might just be paranoid.

…we didn’t think it through…

In Nebraska, you have three days to rescind the offer in writing and cancel the agreement—Missouri it’s five days. The cancellation has to be postmarked or hand delivered in that time frame.

After we walked out and weren’t being barraged with questions or being distracted with a bored toddler, we finally had the talk we should have had…

We both came to the same conclusion that this wasn’t something we should have done.

But even then, we still questioned it because it would be a great incentive to go on vacations and see my family more.

However, my gut kept pushing me and I went back and did some more googling. Sure, enough I found the answers I needed to remind me that while this particular timeshare does have far better options it’s still predatory. If we tried to get out of it after the five days, it would be very costly.

One positive thing I will say about this agency, they didn’t do hard “hard” sale tactics, they didn’t lie, and finally they did ask, nearly every time I brought it up about selling or cancelling, if we were sure we wanted to do this. It’s still questionable but they are not as predatory as some.

I sent the letter in under five days.

How I felt writing it…

Wade now gets to make fun of me because I gave him crap about smiling and talking to the sales desk folks that got us into this.

He did say we would take more vacations in the future though. We just might feel guilty about short staffing our respective jobs but for Hunter it will be worth it.

Just say no—if you still like it a week later then you can still sign up for it…

If you’ve never sat through a timeshare pitch but you somehow got roped into one here are some things to remember:

*You might think you will never fall for the sale—just remember they find a hook…

*They are salesmen—don’t let the fast-talking fool you—they are there to make a sale.

*They will do a form of love bombing to get you on the hook

*You can still get a deal if you say you want to think about it overnight.

*If even one little part of your brain is saying no—say no.

*In my opinion—timeshares are essentially a pyramid scheme.  Well maybe more akin to a Ponzi scheme…

Seriously change my mind…

Write—A—Ween

Work in progress!

Hey folks! Fall is starting to wither a little bit here—we’re already getting calls for snow but right now it’s misty and dreary. Perfect Halloween weather—or perfect Halloween writing weather. So, I’m starting my own writing prompt for the two weeks leading up to Halloween. #writeaween

Basically, from today, October 20, 2021, until the 31st you write everyday in any style or form, but it has to have a Halloween theme. Horror, hauntings, broomsticks, dreary days, or spooky nights—make it creepy or suspenseful and put it out there!  

I’ve been on a writing kick lately. I’ve actually posted here several days this week—wow!

#NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming up in November and I’m working on something for that. Plus finishing up some of Grandma’s books for the Pennington Book Project through JP Brand Books.

Here are three poems I wrote today over my lunch break! Check out my awesome doodles and errors on paper. I will be editing them to a photo and posting on my PraireRiverWitch social media accounts later tonight.

My writings are mainly poetry, but I had an idea for a spooky hiking short story. Poetry is easier for me time wise, but I wanted to expand a little haunted hike poem into something longer. The real reason is I couldn’t end it the way I wanted too without writing something longer. If you’re interesting see some of those poems for #writeaween check out my other Instagram, @prairieriverwitch.

There are times I feel a little funny about having multiple social media accounts, but I like the separation and being able to curate the feel of each facet of my personality. Occasionally, I cross post some stuff but for the most part it’s pretty compartmentalized by design. I’m blending my blog a little more, from my original backpacking blog, to a more generalized one. It kind of feels like a public facing journal at times right now– and that’s okay.

I don’t think people are just “one thing.” Or only have one singular passion. I have several! I feed them all, usually in waves. My ADHD will hyper focuses on one thing for a bit and then hop to the next. However, with the stuff I love I come back to it—it might take a while, but I’ll get back to it eventually *like this blog*.  

Happy Write–a–Ween!

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. You can never have too many writing notebooks…

One from Target, two are my designs, and the one I’m currently writing in I think is from Walmart…

Wannabe on the Trail: Musings

Musings, 10-19-2021

Summer’s over and Fall is almost done…

In my quest to be better at posting—here’s what you’re getting. My random musings. Some will be hiking related. Some work related. Maybe a few about life in general. I’ll try to keep the history rants to a minimum. There’s also a chance you’ll get a weird combination of all those elements.

Right now, things are getting shook up at work. We’re seeing some staffing shortages and some of our staff retired or are in the process of retiring. I’ve taken on some more responsibility. It also feels like I’ve been stuck inside most of the year. Which, yeah, I have. There are days I miss being a seasonal and doing all the fun field work. Now, I’m doing the back in things which is fun and I’m growing as aspiring manager. But I still want to just go grab a canoe and not come back for a day or two.

The exciting days of a seasonal ranger…

That said, I love my job. I get to talk to people, hike, canoe, try new things and wear different hats. However, I don’t love all the collateral duties I’ve accumulated. I’m getting some new ones, including IT. Which as a millennial isn’t too hard to figure out but I’m not thrilled with it when it’s all said and done. But here’s to new adventures at work!

I’ve taken to making random things, sayings, and stuff into stickers on my Redbubble site– please support my hiking fund 🙂
Redbubble also makes it easy to order framed photography, posters, and so on– I’ll be adding more of my photos there and on Etsy soon.

https://www.redbubble.com/i/canvas-print/Motherhood-on-the-Prairie-by-BJRoshone/88844347.5Y5V7

I’m fixing to head south on a kind of spur of the moment trip. I hope the hiking pans out. I know Wade wants to check out Bass Pro. Which is fun, but I don’t want to shop for hiking, camping, and hunting stuff all day. I want to actually go hike around Table Rock Lake and a few other places.

I’ve been working off and on, on a series of essays, poems, and general musings to maybe turn into a book someday. It’s a toss up between being a hiking book or a river ranger book. I haven’t made up my mind yet.

River Ranger at work.

Keep Wandering,

BJ

P.S. Random Historical Fact of the Day:

General Cornwallis signed the surrender of the British forces at 2pm today in 1781, formally ending the Revolutionary War in the U.S. favor.

It has a few more stars now than it did in 1781.

Smith Falls State Park: Day Hikes & Baby Wipes

Wade and the Pups on the boardwalk to Smith Falls

We had a busy weekend! We took a day trip down to my sister-in-law’s house for a birthday party for my nephew. Did some shopping, spent way to much time in a car– fun times.

It actually was a lot of fun! The cake was amazing. Hunter got to hang out and celebrate with his same day birthday bud.

But I wanted to go hiking. We didn’t make any stops on the way home so yesterday we decided to go to Smith Falls State Park. It’s a little further east of Valentine than my usual stomping grounds at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s a gem– hybrid aspen that only occur at Smith Falls, tallest waterfall in Nebraska, and a pretty campground along the river.

Niobrara National Scenic River at Smith Falls State Park

**Side note I just realized I haven’t gone camping this year yet. Dammit.**

It was a late afternoon hike. Hunter had his nap and was ready to explore!

Heavy little boy rocking out in his carrier– look at those eyes when he sees the waterfall.

Momma, found out that she really needs to start just walking the dogs while carrying the little man because I was out of breath barely moving.

We didn’t take the full MacAllister Trail which goes up by the aspens but we still had a fun trip. But it was a bit of a trip getting out. Wade and I both were grumpy with each other, not a big fight or anything just general grumpiness. He did get a little mad at Freya because she was so excited to go outside that she kind of pulled him into the door frame. Little puppy, big muscles. Once we were out walking though the grumpiness and stress went away. Freya burned off most of her abundance of energy. Although, I was nice and didn’t take a bunch of pictures of my favorite guy like I would normally do since he doesn’t like it most of the time.

Waterfalls, river, and dogs– plus a few selfies. That’s it.

I’ve talked about Smith Falls before, so I won’t go into great detail about how amazing the location can be for folks. Ecosystems comingle, water and rock come together, and it’s just a relaxing place.

Check it out on your next visit to Valentine or Nebraska!

Keep wandering,

BJ

Girl, Take a Hike

Playing with medias.

I have a confession, over the last few months I went down the anti-MLM wormhole on YouTube and stumbled onto a series of videos over the ‘rise’ and fall of Rachel Hollis. Somehow, I missed out on Hollis becoming such a big name– I didn’t know about her books or even her social media presence.

I’m a dabbler in social media *side glance at the large gaps in posting on here, photos, reels, etc.* that’s probably why I missed the drama leading up to the fall. I was also dealing with being pregnant and being a first time mom when it really hit the fan. But I did see the “…what makes you think I’m relatable…” video and yeah, it was something all right.

One of the YouTube commentators did an excellent job of not only reviewing Hollis’s books but of the rise and fall, SAVY Writes Books. Savy also took a look at Rachel Hollis’s self-help RISE conference. Savy did a deep dive and looked at Hollis’s social media and had a field day with the plagiarizing posts Hollis shared as her own; including one of my favorites, “Still I rise,” by Maya Angelou.

This led to Savy uttering one of my most favorite lines ever, “Girl, stop plagiarizing.”
Which she made into a totally awesome sticker which you can find at her online store: https://savyleiser.bigcartel.com (support small businesses!).

So… by this point I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with hiking or really anything. In an odd turn, I kind of like *some* of Hollis’s ideas– stop apologizing, therapy isn’t bad, and you can do a lot through hustle. However, there are huge red flags to some of the other stuff she mentions. The biggest red flag, that you should cut *any* kind of negativity out of your life–this came up a lot in the MLM speeches she gave. There is something to cutting negativity out of your life but don’t cut off your mom, sister, or friend if they are genuinely asking if you are okay and are concerned when you drop a lot of money to start a business. The other red flag is how she “edits” her story. Hollis didn’t totally pull herself up by her bootstraps. Yes, she was accomplished. Heck, Hollis started out as an indie-author and event planner who hustled to make things work! That is amazing. However, my problem was that she sold her success as a testament to hard work but left out the key detail that as the wife of an executive at Disney she had more access and funds than the average small business owner.

But– you’re still asking what does any of this have to do with hiking?

Freya… the cute distraction to keep you reading!

Hiking is a form of self-help. It is a great way to get into shape, relax (hopefully), gain some mental clarity, and it can be a passion. Anyone can do it– all you really need to go on a hike is a decent pair of shoes and a bottle of water. It can get expensive but unlike some things you don’t have to put a lot of money into it unless it’s your passion.

It can also be a brand *cough*wannabebackpacker*cough.* I have no intention of becoming an influencer like Hollis though. I wouldn’t mind making enough on the ad revenue and swag to fund my hiking soirées. However, I don’t need to make a living off of this blog. I have a great job and one that I love. I started this as a way to work on my writing and share some of the cool places in the world. And document my successes and failures at backpacking. I’m also going to use it as motivation to get back into shape…for like the fifth time.

I’m good with being a wannabe. I wannabe a lot of things. Author, photographer, napping, in shape, backpacker, and so on. I’m now making stickers on RedBubble. Two were inspired by this Anti-MLM deep dive, “Girl, Read a Book,” and “Girl, Take a Hike.”

BJRoshone.redbubble.com

Check it out!

Thanks for letting me ramble,

BJ, the wannabe…

‘The Comeback Kid’

I’m still alive!

Well—par for the course I’ve been neglecting this blog for almost a year. I feel guilty about it sometimes but I’m not going to lie. I’m tired. I don’t feel like I have a lot going on other than work, Hunter, and trying to get caught up on all the other little projects and graduate classes I have. But it does build up overall and all I want to do is sleep. Plus, depression factored into most of the early part of the year—postpartum, fall out from the Covid-19 stuff, and just life in general. It happens, talk about it, we go to the doctor to fix physical ailments. Getting your brain checked out is good too. On a positive note, I’m doing a lot better and I’m trying to get out and about as much as possible before the weather gets ridiculous! Although… this might be the year I bite the bullet and invest in good winter gear and get out there.

“I like this stuff”

I have done a few little hikes—nothing major. Mainly, because work tied me up a lot this year. While not as short staffed as we have been, we did have to hustle to get stuff done. I also took on some new duties and now, more than ever, I’m looking at a computer screen more. I don’t know why but I find this more exhausting than doing major events with hundreds of people. I just want to sleep or relax and not think about anything other than Hunter and engaging stuff for him on weekends.

Weekend fun!

Plus, figuring out how to travel, mitigate exploding diapers, and pack everything I need for a two-day trip is astronomical. But I’m working on it! It’s also a little tricky to juggle the dogs—some public lands they’re allowed but a lot of places *cough NPS sites* are not as dog friendly as others. **Side note, Freya is loving the hiking life.** I get the why but it’s tricky and boarding gets expensive. I’m thinking about doing a video about traveling/hiking/dogs/baby now that I actually have weekends off with Wade again. I’m privileged that I have an awesome husband that helps me work through stuff and is willing to help me with my “little side projects”—once I get a game plan figured out, I bounce it off him and we run through it. He keeps me from getting stubborn, pissy, and flouncing away in anger. I teach him patience, which I have a lot of unless I can’t figure out how to make something work or math’s involved. Wade doesn’t have patience but he’s working on it, lol.

Wade the lifesaver when shopping lol

I truly respect single mom’s and dad’s who do all this alone. I also think you’re a witch. Magic is involved somewhere I’m sure 😉

So aside from the doldrums early this year, it has been a wonderful year! Hunter just turned one, we’ve done some hikes, and I’m working on getting my writings out there. Plus, working on my photography, the Pennington Books project, and my little side hustles to fund my hiking passion.

I’m also going to make some more posts on here before the end of the year!

Here is a little catch up/way back Wednesday post of some of this year’s hiking/baby/traveling highlights so far!

We had to go to my hometown in Missouri for a funeral in February which was the first time Hunter got to meet his grandparents on my side of the family. It was a bittersweet trip to say the least, but we did some wanderings on the old family farm.

This spring we checked out the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge—I know I go there a lot… but it was Hunter’s first time! I talked about that in an Instagram/Facebook post, but I didn’t do a little blurb on here. Maybe I should just do a little one paragraph post on here to at least keep it active… I’ll think about that for the future.  

Wade did most of the heavy lifting that day—it was spur of the moment trip, so we didn’t have the carrier or even the chest harness. Hunter had a blast and wanted to grab everything; poison ivy worried me, but dad did a good job corralling him while I had the camera.

We came back out a couple of times—we brought the dogs and the baby hiker set up. Which worked out well if we had plenty of snacks.

I had a family reunion in Oklahoma and other than wandering in Bass Pro in Springfield, MO we didn’t really get any hiking done while we were there.

My sister made a return trip to Nebraska with my niece! They arrived to a concerned Hunter giving them a once over and then it was a week of fun and adventure. We checked out the pool, floated the river (sans Hunter), and checked out the Badlands!

Finally, Las Vegas… I still don’t care for cities, but the food was amazing. There were several fun things to do—the Stratosphere was awesome (if you’re not afraid of heights). Wade and I want to go back and do it at night (and do the jump, well I do) and check out some other stuff. Due to timing, scheduled events, and a few other things (Wade…) I didn’t get to check out Red Rocks Canyon NCA or the Hoover Dam. I was a little bummed by that, but Wade was like a kid in a candy shop—or one of those cartoon animals when food is involved, he really enjoyed Guy Ferrari’s burger joint.

Wade preparing to devour a monster burger…

Locally, we took Hunter for a nice hike through our local city park– which is amazing!

That’s the short, condensed version of what’s happened so far this year. We have some stuff coming up and I will keep you all posted—even if it’s just a photo and a blurb!

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Happy Birthday to my little man!

Focus? What’s that? (mini-post)

I got nothing. It’s been a trip that’s for sure.

I’d like to say I was just so busy with family, work, and grad school again but it wasn’t that.

I just lost focus.

I lost motivation.

I lost the concept of time.

Actually, what day is it?

I jest, but there were a few times where the weeks blurred together not going to lie.

I was just making it through the day and having joyous cuddles with my little man– he was the highlight of everything. And Wade, he’s a highlight too, except his ridiculous beard.

I’m finally bouncing back and feeling more motivated. Writing, reading, adventuring don’t seem like a chore to be avoided now.

I had some help though. I had a great doctor that helped talk through some options and did a full work up. It looks like my insomnia I’ve been dealing with for ages might be related to sleep apnea.

I’m finally coming back together!

Keep wandering,

BJ

Back and Ready for it!

It’s been a while!

Those of you that follow me on Instagram and Facebook probably know that I’ve been struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. In great news, I’m finally coming out of the fog and starting to do the things I enjoyed.

Here’s to new content, updates, and maybe some new videos and photos coming soon!

Hunter and I at the Fort Niobrara Overlook

Keep wandering,

BJ

Adventures in Motherhood

Hi all…

It’s been a minute.

I need coffee, a shower, and a nap… the order doesn’t matter.

Once again the blog got neglected but this time I have a good reason… a tiny almost ten pound reason. Hunter takes up a lot of my day- then there are the naps.

Plus, I wanted to wait to write about the birth story once I recovered and got all the funny details out of Wade. I don’t remember much once they gave me the “good stuff” during the C-section.

I’ve been rewording, rewriting, and rethinking this post- it’s a little personal but at the same time I think it’s worth telling.

It will be coming out here soon!

I’m also going to add a post about weeks 38-40 before I drop my birth story.

After that I hope to return to some more normal hiking posts but winter is creeping in…

Keep wandering,

BJ

He really is the best thing about 2020!

Feeling Lazy at Week 37…

Hi all,

I’ve been busy with grad school (again), “helping” Wade get the nursery done, and finishing up some stuff for work before I go on maternity leave. I haven’t gotten out an explored, nor have I done any book reviews. I’m hoping to change that soon…

I’m to the point in pregnancy where I just want to lay around, keep my feet propped up, and stay cool. I feel so lazy.

But! I’ve been working on some content for my Baby Wipes and Day Hikes page which is now live!

Introduction to Baby Wipes and Day Hikes page!

Contrary to my laziness quip above, in the last two weeks Wade and I:  

  1. Cleaned up the house
  2. Went through all the baby shower gifts (I hope to get the thank you notes out soon…)
  3. Finally got around to putting the nursery together (99% was Wade… but I helped- someone had to hold stuff…)
  4. Packed our hospital bag
  5. And spent a little time at the river with friends!

It felt great sitting in cold water even though it took a few minutes for me to acclimate to it…

I’m hoping this week on my way down (or back) from the doctor I can swing into the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. Hopefully I can take a little time and at least wander through some of it- I need to get outside, I’m getting that itch. Even with the swollen feet I need to do some exploring.

I’m finishing up editing on my dad’s book we’re reprinting through Kindle Direct Publishing. I’m now working on redoing the cover art and getting it all uploaded for our Oct 1st deadline. So exciting!

Short post… I’m sorry…

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. I want cookies and a nap…

P.S.S. Technically, I’m at week 38 now but when I wrote this Monday night it was 37…

Book Review: Dances with Marmots…

Here goes the first ever book review! I decided to start with the book I just finished; Dances with Marmots: A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure by George Spearing.

“From Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail”

“4300 km, 5 months and a lifetime of unforgettable memories…”

For my non-imperial friends, 4300 km is roughly 2,672 miles.

I enjoyed this book immensely. I always like reading books from the point of view of “people from off.” This is a turn of phrase I heard a lot growing up in the Missouri Ozarks; it essentially means anyone that wasn’t from my neck of the woods. Now, that I’m older and have been “out” more I tend to use it for folks from other countries that come to the US for vacation, hiking, and travel.

I love the outsider looking in perspective.

Even if it’s almost twenty years old…

George Spearing’s writing style reminds me a little of Bill Bryson- it might stem from time spent in British countries but it is endearing. So are some of his short quip-like poems in the book.

The book kicks off by how he was influenced to go out and hike… by a book. Citing a book by Stephen Pern and the Continental Divide Trail- I’ve already added it to my extensive reading list.

“He wasn’t reading about it, he’d done it!”

And just like that I’ve been called out by a book.

George picked the PCT for ease of access and food delivery. I did find the international planning interesting- even though it is twenty years old he does provide decent information for international hikers and with better internet services that’s gotten easier!

I wonder if there are similar books about New Zealand… *fondly remembers childhood enjoyment of Xena and Hercules/LOTR and wanting to visit and hike some of the places shown…*

He gives us a rundown of his physical abilities- firemen, but hasn’t hiked extensively. Like many newbie or wannabe hikers…

His high spirits and get it done attitude help him out through the five month journey- plus the friends he makes on the trail.

As for the title… he has some encounters with Marmots along the PCT. He actually had an interesting conversation with them and had several run ins with the little critters throughout the book and liked their company.

I really enjoyed chapters 5 & 6, his adventures with bears, flatulence, and postal employees were funny in hindsight.

He includes several photos (in black and white) of his adventures which gives a richer picture of his journey.

He has a direct- simple and honest- approach in his writing and the humor makes it flow really well.

Like I said, I enjoyed it!

Possible Cons for some folks:
Some of the content is now outdated (published in 2005)- park and trail policies have changed a little, the trail is far more popular now, and a thru/section hiker will have a slightly different experience than George’s experiences.

The editing was a little loose- which coming from me, is funny considering I don’t notice a lot of my mistakes until nearly a week after I post something. And I proofread シ…

As a Kiwi (New Zealand) writer, some of his jokes and colloquialisms are hard to follow at times. But a quick Google search (woodland Noddy) or context clues make it easy enough to figure out. Plus, he does explain some of the misunderstandings.

It seems he shortchanges the northern section of the PCT- a lot of the more interesting adventures and learning curve stories happens on the southern section, California. But it would have been nice to see more information and stories from the Oregon and Washington sections.

Keep wander…eh…reading?,

BJ

P.S. I’ll have to come up with a new sign off for the book reviews…

P.S.S. If you want to pick this book up…
Just an FYI, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

P.S.S.S…? Drop a comment for the next book you want reviewed, pick from photo! Otherwise I’ll just go down the stack in order.

Baby Blues and Hiking Boots

I need bigger hiking boots…and flip flops…maybe I’ll just go barefoot. My feet are swelling and right now shoes of any kind are the bane of my existence right now.

Plus, fun fact a lot of women that have babies wind up moving up a shoe size- so, I might need to find bigger hiking boots for the future.

Joy, joy.

While I’m cranky about the changes, I’m happy to be a mom.

I just hate buying new shoes, jeans, etc.  It’s the whole reason I got back into shape several years ago- I didn’t want to buy new clothes.

It was another slow week/weekend for me. I didn’t do a lot of hiking- although, Wade and I checked out the Nature Trail at Cody Park in North Platte after my doctor’s appointment.

Cody Park is a nice little park off Highway 83. It’s not got a lot in the way of hiking trails- the Nature Trail only goes so far before it became to overgrown to comfortably walk in the flip flops and shorts. Plus, at 35 weeks on a hot day I wasn’t feeling too adventurous.

However, it’s great for kids and the plant life is beautiful. I also like the little zoo they have. They even have peafowl… FYI only the males are peacocks, the females are peahens, and when they are together peafowl. There’s your learning lesson for the day!

We then headed to McCook for the night. The next day we had a baby shower for my sister-in-law.

The Roshone siblings are having a banner year- three babies, all boys, within two months of each other, almost.

That’s a lot of blue… or in our case green*… clothes, blankets, and so on.

*I like green…I wear green for work…the bridal party colors were green; we did the accent wall in the nursery in green…. I might have issues.

I just feel so exhausted right now- which is, according to the books, normal. I felt bad at the baby shower because my feet were swollen, and I just sat around a lot- and at one point dozed off in my chair.

I’m now at week 36… I can no longer see my toes and bending over is a chore. Sleep is golden when you can get it and Hunter is using my lungs as a trampoline–the bladder as a speed bag.

Wade finally got to see Hunter moving his feet against my stomach… it reminded him of alien… he said he would see me in 18 years. He’s not as funny as he thinks he is…

We’re in the home stretch though!

We’ve been reviewing the books and prenatal classes.

Learning how to swaddle.

Trying to find cute little baby hiking boots.

In daddies’ case, cute little work boots to match the Carhart overalls he got for him…

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Compression socks are life now…