The (One) Time I Nearly Crapped My Pants


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Mother, Mothering, Nature | Posted on 03-09-2016

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There are several instances in my adulthood when I nearly crapped my pants. The most recent was last month, on a hike near Mount St. Helens. Upon entering the trail, the sign is warning enough to induce that stomach-is-churning-poop-is-coming feeling: Danger! Several fatalities have occurred in and around these waters. Stay on the trail.

Oh, crap!

Um, we’re staying on the trail. We hiked this same trail four years ago and I wrote about the seven lessons learned. Read that here.

The scenery is spectacular. It’s in a forest, at the base of Mount St. Helens. Surrounded by lush, Fir trees, there’s an aqua river that pounds through the lava canyon with such force, it has eroded the lava walls. Jagged cliffs greet you and the drop-offs are enough start crapping, especially if you have a fear of heights. Then, there’s the suspension bridge.

Suspended with cables, high above the crashing waters and lava rocks, the bridge sways. The slats are made of wooden boards with spaces in between, spaces so big that you fear your toes might get stuck like poor Vern crossing the railroad bridge in Stand By Me. Such big spaces, that our dog Otis wasn’t allowed to cross because of his innocent paws. I later read this about the bridge: “The bridge has no stiffening members under the deck at all, so each board is free to move bound only by the two cables it hangs from. Each board sinks a couple of inches with each step, giving the bridge what some have called a ‘trampoline’ feel…People with height phobias should probably turn back…”

I took a deep breath and took one step at a time. Gripping the handrails with white knuckles. My feet moved slowly, but my heart was racing. I reached the other side and my FitBit reported that my heart rate was 135 bpm. Pure adrenaline and fear.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to take a selfie while on the bridge. Added to my fear of plummeting was my fear of dropping my phone. Proof, I guess. Proof that I did it. I knew I could. I had to. I had to overcome my fears, be brave, and set an example for my children.

But not really. Because I had sent them across first. 🙂

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All Hail the Dandelion


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Magic, Metaphor, Nature | Posted on 29-06-2015

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California poppies grow in cement cracks and flourish amidst rocks alongside of the freeway. Similarly, dandelions can grow through asphalt cracks…or almost anywhere the wind takes them.

Both are examples of flowers that thrive, despite adversity. Both are symbols of strength and life.

One single dandelion can produce up to 172 seeds per head, sending its dandelion babies up to five miles. Oh! And the endless wishes and magic a dandelion brings when you blow its fluffy white head, spreading wishes seeds.

Beauty is everywhere.

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Check out this cool video about the transformation of a dandelion flower:








Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Nature, Photography | Posted on 19-11-2014

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I was on a mission to photograph some birds. I was in prime territory: a nature preserve and home of migrating winter birds. The timing was perfect, a fall day with a little sun, a little rain. It was just me and my camera and my parka. Oops, no parka.

Shielding my camera lens from the rain, under my t-shirt, I journeyed and meandered with my eyes peeled.

Beautiful ponds! Beautiful clouds! Beautiful nature all around!

I was looking for birds, yet I found everything but. Sometimes you find things when you’re not looking for them…ah, yes, another life metaphor…

Where were the birds? I looked high. I looked low. I looked near. I looked far. This was beginning to seem like a Dr.-Seuss-Meets-Where’s-Waldo book. WTF? Where’re the fowl? 🙂

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Then I stumbled upon this sign. Well, whaddya know? It was September 30. I was one day early. Ah, that must be it. The birds had a schedule and they were sticking to it.

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As I was heading to the car, I suddenly heard geese in the distance. I looked up and there they were: migrating Canadian Geese!

Their timing was perfect. Arriving one day ahead of schedule (according to the sign), and five minutes before I was about to leave.

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The Enchanted Forest


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Metaphor, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Nature | Posted on 21-10-2014

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Once upon a time, there was an enchanted forest. With giant, moss-covered trees with welcoming branches. With a bubbling brook that sang. With falling leaves that danced in the breeze. With miniature mushroom fairy homes sprinkled across the clover hillside. With a lake so still, the reflections of the trees were mirrored in the waters.

A girl with wings gazed in wonderment. A boy with magical socks ran with glee.

This magical, enchanted forest beckoned us on a sun-kissed fall day. On that day, she didn’t wear wings. She had wings. On that day, he didn’t forget his socks. He wore his mother’s magical socks, gifted with love when his blister appeared, preventing him from taking one more step.

We didn’t go for a hike. We went exploring. Exploring a fairy tale.

All kinds of awesome right there.

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We spotted fairy houses.

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I’m On Top of the World


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Friends, Nature | Posted on 11-06-2014

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Two friends invited me to go on a hike. On a Tuesday. Right in the middle of my work day.

Yeah, I can’t go. I have to work.

But the wildflowers! They are in bloom right now! If we don’t go today, we might miss them.

They’re right. Timing was everything. I was presented with a small window of opportunity. So I seized it.

Yeah, I can’t work. I have to hike.

And so, I did. We did. And it was magical. When we first spotted the yellow wildflowers at the summit, it was that same feeling when Dorothy and her friends first encountered the fields of poppies on their journey to the Emerald City. Ahhhhh!

The nature, the friendships, and the exercise were the perfect excuse not to work that day. Because after all, work will still be there but the blooming flowers may not. And in that fleeting moment on the summit, I was on top of the world.

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I'm on top of the world!

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Not Busy as a Bee


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Happiness, Life, Nature | Posted on 26-07-2013

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“How have you been?”

“I’ve been SO busy.”

I didn’t ask you how busy you’ve been. But thanks for telling me. Yawn.

The other day, I wasn’t busy. Instead, I wandered my backyard with my camera. I took in the Summer colors, smells, and sounds: purple, lavender, buzzing.

I sat down to observe the bees busily humming. Like I was Jane Goodall or something. (But with bees, not gorillas.) It was nice not to be busy as a bee.

So, the next time someone asks me, “how have you been?”

“I’ve been enjoying Summer.”

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Serenity…Not Now


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Boys, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Daughters, Nature | Posted on 11-03-2013

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Some people take a walk in nature to find peace, quiet, and serenity

Some people. But not me.

When I bring my kids on a hike, it’s more like:

  • Can acid blow up snow?
  • What if I attached a rocket pack to a port-a-potty?
  • Are there piranhas in the lake?
  • Where do they mine emeralds?
  • Who would win, a python or a bear?

And then:

“Can we stop and get Dairy Queen on our way home?”

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.


The Sky Is Limitless


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Nature, Photography | Posted on 27-07-2012

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Ever stop to look at the sky? And see how amazing it is? Vast. Different colors. Always changing. And realize how small you are in comparison?

When I am complaining or worried or sad or stressed, I look at the sky. Because it reassures me about the bigger picture.

I took these shots on an evening right before a thunderstorm. Over the course of 45 minutes. See how quickly it changed? And let me tell you, seeing that sky sure changed my mood.

It’s the Journey, Silly, Not the Destination


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Attitude, Children, Family, Nature, Parenting, Photography, Travel | Posted on 26-07-2012

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I have high expectations. And I am a planner. These two traits sometimes get in the way of being mellow and living in the moment.

The other day was a go-with-the-flow day. I took two of my children to spend a day in the country. No plans. Just: let’s see what we will see and stop where and when we want.

Guess what?

It was awesome!

We visited a lavender field, bought fresh-off-the-tree peaches, met a fine horse, and encountered peaceful butterflies.

It was a fun-filled day–not forced or planned. And it exceeded my expectations. In fact, I’m thinking about planning another outing soon 🙂

I Could Never Be a Wildlife Photographer


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Beauty, Humor, Life Lessons | Posted on 16-05-2012

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I am in awe of nature. But I don’t always have the patience for it.

I love to watch nature shows on TV. You know, where the brown bear catches a salmon. Or the cheetahs attack the weak wildebeest. Or the dung beetle rolls on, well, a big ball of dung. Or the birds of the Amazon puff up their feathers and perform their mating rituals.

Knowing my luck, I’d travel to Kenya on a wildlife tour to see cheetahs…and this is what I would probably see. Uh, yeah. I would need a T-shirt that says, “I went to Africa and all I got was a photo of grass.”

That further proves my awe of the photographers and camera crews that have the patience to capture all of this wonderfulness to enlighten those of us who will never get the chance to experience–and film–spiders hatching, elephants trekking for new water holes, tiny tree frogs up so close you can see his pupils.

I mean, imagine how long you would have to camp out, with your tripod and camera and open shutter to capture lightning. Especially because, like, we don’t even have lightning where I live. Talk about patience.

I had a teensy little experience the other day to photograph wildlife: a robin feeding her young. I know, nothing jaw-dropping or exotic.

But it touched me, just the same.

My next door neighbor’s waterspout is a perfect place for a nest. The same robin parents come back every year to build a nest. It’s part of our family’s Spring ritual to check out the craftsmanship of nest-building. And then to hear the babies chirping. The parents use our back yard as their grocery store. Where, apparently, worms are on sale.

Oh and did you know that both parents are involved in food shopping, meal preparation, and feeding?

So the other day, I saw the baby birds peeking out with their eyes wide and beaks even wider. Methinks, “Grab the camera with the telephoto lens and transform yourself into wildlife photographer.” Yeah, I actually said that to myself. #dork

I placed my body up against the fence, about 10 feet away from the nest. Close enough to get a good shot. But not close enough to freak out the parents.

I waited. And waited. (I had to pee.) And waited. (Kids were arguing in the cul-de-sac. SHUT UP!) I waited some more.

I waited 18 minutes…which felt like an eternity.

The babies sat there, in their nest, with their beaks open. They, too, were waiting. “Where is my dinner??!!” (I was starting to wonder the same thing as my belly started to grumble.)

Here is what I saw.

Besides learning about bird behavior, methinks I also learned a little more about being patient. And being appreciative. And just being.

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