South Lake Tahoe, A Love Letter

Dear South Lake Tahoe,

I didn’t want to meet you. I thought the timing of this trip couldn’t have been worse with so much going on in my life. I just knew that my absence from my regular life would be detrimental TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. I may have over estimated my importance a little, maybe. Surprisingly, the people in my life survived without me and had I not gone, I would never have experienced the splendor of your beauty.

As it turned out, this trip came at the exact right time. While it was a work related trip, I feel as though it was a gift to me for so many reasons. It coincided with a time that my soul needed something. It’s a different kind of hunger when it comes from my soul. I truthfully had no idea what I needed. Maybe a reminder. A reminder of who I am.  A reminder that no matter who or what surrounds me, I am grounded, I am centered and I know what is true. It is so easy to get lost in the day to day and I forget the big picture of my life.

Off I went. Slim Jim’s, check. Playlist, check. Stress, check!

I arrived not knowing what was in store, but boy did you feed my soul.

The last hour of the drive to meet you was worth the trip alone. Oh, hello trees. There are so many of you, you are so green and happy. Why wouldn’t you be? You are hugged every day by beautiful mountains with surprise waterfalls that pour with delight at the chance to nourish you. Lest I forget the streams. They flowed in a way that told me I was headed to a place where peace would abound. Yes, please. That’s one thing I wanted for sure, peace.

My Buddhist tendencies keep me from going into new situations with expectations and I found it quite easy to just take the experience for what it was and be grateful.

Something I’m adamant about when traveling is walking as much as possible. Not only is it great after sitting in a car for so long, but for me it’s a better way to get a feel for my new surroundings.

I learned a few things about myself while in this gorgeous place…

One, I LOVE to travel alone. Being able to explore whatever I wanted and not having to consult another living soul was liberating. I loved driving through the mountains and performing the most amazing car karaoke that the world will never have the pleasure of witnessing. (Some gifts aren’t meant to be shared)

Two, I adore me. I thoroughly enjoy my own company. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with me. I’m adventurous, fun and might I add, a little easy on the eyes most days. My inner monologue keeps me highly entertained and I am one of the funniest people I know. Did I mention I’m also humble?

Three, the older I get, the more I talk to myself. Not a low mumble, but like regular conversation level volume talk to myself. I think the people in my life have gotten used to it, but go to a new place and all of a sudden you’re “the weird girl who wanders and has an imaginary friend”. All I have to say to that is, DROP DEAD FRED!

Let me take you through a bit of my journey..

Day one, meeting the lake.

Sunshine, but only 83°. It was 106° back home so enjoying the warmth of the sun without feeling like it was trying to murder me was fantastic.

The bluest lake I’ve ever seen..

IMG_20170709_191721_148Music is life. I feel like every situation can only get better when you have some good tunes.

Since I love music so much, I was naturally drawn to the center of town where live bands seemed to be everywhere. I listened to three different bands at various venues. All of them were great. There’s something about live music that makes me surrender to the moment.

I crossed over to the Nevada side for a bit, not as fun in my opinion, but cool nonetheless. I spent so much time walking and exploring the town that I forgot to eat dinner so I grabbed a tasty pizza from Vinny’s on my way back to the hotel. I washed it down with a Tallboy Bud Light because I am nothing, if not classy.

Day two…

Work obligations took half of the day. However, my coworker/friend and I accomplished our goal and graduated from a program we’ve been working on for a couple of years so yay to that!

We also got to enjoy lunch at Heaven’s Little Cafe which was indeed heavenly. The fish tacos were amaaaazing.

With responsibility out of the way, I ran back to the hotel to change and I was gone. I did a little Googling earlier in the day and read about Emerald Bay. I can’t explain it, but I knew I had to go. I wanted to see that view for myself. I just needed to be there so up the mountain I drove.

Along the way I saw 2 beautiful Ravens which I took as a good omen. Most of you probably know that my left wrist is adorned with one of these beauties.

My love of birds has been with me since I was a child. Yes, my last name is Nightengale. No, not like the bird and no, that’s not why.

My Mother always called me a night owl because I never wanted to go to sleep at night. Side Note: I only ever got spanked once as a child because I didn’t want to put on underwear. I guess not much has changed. I still like to be up late and still hate underwear…and pants for that matter.

I think I was a bird in a past life. Imagine the freedom of flying and being able to take a crap on whoever you want. Amazing.

I digress….so back to the trip up the mountain. I made it to Emerald Bay and it was breathtaking.

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The presence of other humans was a minor annoyance, but I had plenty of solitude and my earphones so all was well. I think that was exactly the point you were making to me, all is well. There are small matters; stress, conflicts and people who will try to rob me of my joy and peace, but at the end of the day all is well with my soul. I have what matters most in life and I am grateful.

A few fun facts..

Emerald Bay is home to the one and only Island in Lake Tahoe.

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Fannette Island

There are days I would like to be air lifted to this Island so no one can talk to me. I could send a Raven with a message should anything of importance arise, but otherwise I should be left alone.

Then there is this gem. Captain Richard “Dick” Barter made his way to Lake Tahoe in the 1860’s. He was quite the character and would row his dinghy into town to visit the saloons. Captain Dick had a proclivity for Whiskey which only makes him more lovable. There’s a story about him amputating his own toes and showing them to visitors, but we’ll just focus on the positive here.

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Just to confirm that the birds love me right back..

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He was just a little shy.

 

The biggest challenge I face is being present in the moment and enjoying myself when all of the small stuff in life tries to get in the way. It was easy to do when I was with you, none of those things existed. I messaged a friend who frequently visits you and asked him, “Is this heaven?” He replied, “Of course it is”. And that was that.

I may have found my heaven on Earth. I think you’ve stolen my heart from the Ocean who I still hold in high regard and will always visit. However, nothing can compete with the clarity I feel standing under your giant trees and looking at the majestic view of your water and mountains.

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At Inspiration Point

 

Day three, a sad goodbye..

I will miss you. I debated going back to the lake one more time, but since a 5 hour energy drink was already going to be required for the trip home I decided to get on the road.

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Not to worry, I safely drove while the phone was stationary and capturing a bit of my drive. I could drive this road every day and never tire of it.

Until we meet again, South Lake Tahoe. Thank you for the reminders. Thank you for being so welcoming and thank you for the quiet.

There is value is saying nothing at all, in quiet reflection and in a little soul searching.

 

Crazy Train

“Omg, I just saw your message. I was running from Zombies through an obstacle course at the time. Sorry!”

That’s the message I sent my mother on Monday morning after realizing I didn’t read her message from Saturday night.

I’m 36.

So believe me when I tell you that I judge myself pretty hard sometimes. Then, I realize that I’m not so bad.

Fun? Yes.

Ridiculous? Absolutely.

Responsible? Most of the time.

And that’s good enough, dammit.


My boss handed me a project today and all I could think was, “Ugh. I don’t have time for this.”

I totally have time. I’m among the time havers today, I just don’t wanna.

I’m super busy trying to remember all of my boyfriend’s pet peeves that he mentioned over the weekend so I can maintain a list, obviously.

Why would I keep an account of his pet peeves?

Glad you asked. I’m keeping it on the off chance that we someday get married so I can list all of them off during our vows, thus solidifying his complete understanding of how deep my love is because I have taken the time to acknowledge and notate every little thing that irks him. Duh.

I also can’t be bothered today because I’m still pondering why the little old lady left the stall door open yesterday in the bathroom while peeing. Was it an accident and when she noticed, she was already much too cozy to get up and lock it? Did she not notice until she was mid-stream so it was too late? Was it intentional and she just doesn’t give a shit anymore (hopefully not yesterday at least)?  I hope the latter was the case, but the not knowing will haunt me until at least 3pm at which point my mind will move on something equally as unimportant..

Like the fact that I have to break it to my favorite Ginger pal that I disagree about the best song on the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album, but I hope we’ll still be Beer Friends Forever.

That’s it folks, the ADD train has left the station with only me on board. I think. I’m not even sure what train this is.


10 Minutes in My Brain

My brain has been moving at the speed of dial up internet all day. I’m sick to death of adulting and adults in general. Not you, it’s others.

Like the overly cautious merger this morning on the Parkway. It’s a slight left buddy, no need to brake. 

Or the lady who decided to occupy the stall right next to mine when there were 4 other perfectly good empty stalls to choose from. Ma’am, you’re what we call a “turd burglar”. There were no turds happening mind you, because I am a lady, but you get it.

And right now all I can think is either I’m going crazy or this guy has been wearing the exact same outfit for 3 days in a row. Did he shower? Did he change his underwear? Why would you not change clothes?? You look like Jake from State Farm and I understand that he’s super cool, but c’mon. Maybe I’ll come dressed as Flo from Progressive tomorrow and we can battle it out West Side Story style.

I just ate a red Starburst and I think that any Starburst other than pink just tastes like sadness. I used to settle for red thinking, well at least it’s not orange, but I think I’m better than that now.

Clearly, this is a day of reflection.  A time for deep thoughts and focusing on what matters and OMG my friend didn’t understand my “Walker, Texas Ranger” reference. This is like the discussion of Care Bears all over again. Also, is there a Tipsy Bear? Because that’s my bear.

It’s Ash Wednesday, National Pig Day, and #whyIlovepizza is trending on Twitter. Obviously one of these things is near and dear to my heart and it’s this bucket of Sunshine right here….



 

Happy Hump Day.

Say Anything

Some days I think I  have my shit together and some days I seem to have lost my ability to count. I have somehow developed the nervous talking habit John Cusack had in the movie Say Anything which is, evidently, not as endearing on me.

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The following is an account of my lunch hour yesterday because I know you all care so deeply…

I spent a solid 60 seconds trying to remember if I put on underwear. As soon as I figured out that I wasn’t going commando, my thoughts shifted to my dogs. I made a mental note that I needed to get new name tag for my dog. He’s currently sporting the name tag of a dog I fostered last year because, hey, at least it has my phone number on it. This is probably causing him to have some kind of identity crisis and feel like he doesn’t matter as much as my other two dogs. Then, I’m like….dude, you’re worrying about the emotional state of a creature who has chased his own tail for 6 minutes straight. Chill.

I arrived at a gym nearby my work because in a moment of poor judgment I agreed to get a membership so as to join two of my coworkers for lunchtime cardio a few days a week. I know, but this is who I am now. As I’m discussing the deets of this torturous arrangement, the guy asked me what my fitness goals were. I paused and said, “To never check in on Facebook?” Clearly, he’s now going to take me about as seriously as I take myself.

I left and immediately started to scold myself. I was all, “Jesus, Mary & Joseph, can you just act like a freakin adult for 5 minutes?!”

About a minute later, I forgave myself for my juvenile ways and headed toward Panera because nothing starts off a new healthy lifestyle like a cup of Clam Chowder.

On my drive back to work I started eating the French Baguette they always give you. Let me be clear, there is no lady like way to eat a Baguette while driving. I looked like a character out of Game of Thrones who’s been on a long journey and has just gotten her hands on some nourishment. I kept eating it because, bread.

As I’m driving, I think….Have I heard from Pops lately? I try to recall if I’ve gotten any emails from him that day. Listen, if your Dad doesn’t email you weekly about an article that he found interesting, is he even you Dad?! I actually look forward to these emails because Pops is the best thing since chocolate and you know what, maybe I DO want to know how to properly store tomatoes in my kitchen so they maintain their fresh deliciousness!

I arrived back at the office and suddenly remember that at 7 years old, I thought becoming a Librarian would be the bestest thing ever because BOOKS…and I also had a slight obsession with wanting to scan barcodes. A grocery store checkout clerk was a close second to the coolest job a person could have. Whatta weird kid. Anyway, that’s a life long dream that will probably never see the light of day.

In a moment of rare silence, I think, am I the only one pretending to be an adult around here? Am I alone in feigning maturity all damn day?! Is the ridiculous train leaving the station with only me on board??

At that moment, the phone rang for the 73rd time and I shouted, “not it!” because I. Can’t. Even.