Welcome

Inside each and every one of us is more power and capability than we know. The last few years have been ones of incredible personal growth for me on this front and simultaneously society as a whole seems to be going through this same transition. My goal here at Damsel NOT in Distress is for you (yes, you) to realize just how powerful you are, how capable you can be, and how expansive life can feel when you move beyond your limits.

Welcome to Team Damsel NOT in Distress

I’d mudded sheetrock before. I’d hung it before with help. The whole house needed to be done, flooring needed to be laid, and cabinets painted. I held my brand new drill and told myself that I could, in fact, do this.

I was in a drive through at a bank, 350 miles from home, and heard a clunk. I could turn left but I couldn’t turn right. I pulled into a parking spot, shook the wheel and heard a much bigger clunk. Armed with Youtube and basic tools and a surplus of stubbornness I decided to get myself back on the road.

In the midst of divorcing, while much of my life felt out of my control, I seized that control in projects, vehicle maintenance, and long term plans. I dropped some plates and balanced many more. I began to use the hashtag, #damselNOTindistress on Instagram. Owning that seemed to give me a place to be bold, to do things that I had been pretty regularly told that I couldn’t do. I did more and that only inspired me to push myself to do even more.

Several of my friends have picked up the hashtag and used it for everything from hanging curtain rods to unclogging dishwashers, and tackling travel trailer renovation projects. However, the idea of “Damsel NOT in Distress” feels larger to me than that. It is women taking ownership of their lives, and perhaps even more so, the world around then in all sorts of ways and harnessing their inner power and strength to make that happen.

I originally launched my blog in 2011 to document my life as a partnered woman, and in retrospect, I let that partnership define me. My journey to embracing my own being and strengths (and weaknesses becoming strengths) has been halting at times but life changing and bracing. While I plan to continue to document my own #damselNOTindistress moments in this space, I also want to use this space to amplify the voices of other women living their damn lives to the fullest.

To that end, use the hashtag to share your #damselNOTindistress moments and those that you find in this vast internet space. Tweet stories you read to me so I can share them with you all. I’m toying with a link-round up once a week to share things I’ve found with my readers but I’m open to other suggestions and totally welcome input from the world of other damsels (or dames, if you prefer) who are NOT in distress.

You, yes, you, are part of Team #damselNOTinDistress. What will you do?

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On The Page: Juan Rivera’s Colorado, 1765

Last summer when my mom came to visit, she bought me a present: Juan Rivera’s Colorado, 1765. Fresh off my trip to OKC where my Spanish colonial history obsession was kindled by stops in Santa Fe and at the Pecos pueblo I had stopped in at Ouray’s Buckskin Bookseller to find a copy of the journals of the Dominguez-Escalate expedition. The owner pointed out this new release from Western Reflections Publishing (yes, I’m still slowly purchasing their entire catalog).

Steven Baker scrupulously traces Rivera’s expeditions to southwestern Colorado. Apparently there was some controversy about whether Rivera had gone to Moab or to Delta. I loved the detailed tracing of his route. I’m a map and geography nerd and the territory traveled by Rivera is my home ground. He passed by Chimney Rock then, on his fall expedition, up through the Dolores River canyon to what is now the west end of Montrose County and then over the Uncompaghre Plateau to Delta.  I find myself just astounded by what they were able to accomplish with such limited information!

This beautiful hard cover wasn’t cheap (thanks Mom!) but it is filled will gorgeous maps drawn by Gail Sargent of each section of the journey as well as photographs of many locations with notations of trails traversed by the expedition.

I’m so glad that this book has joined my library. I think it’s incredibly important to know the history of the area where you live and I learned so much (and added a few hikes to my list and … bonus! they’ll be spring accessible!).

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Las Vegas!

In the car on the way back from the airport, a friend texted me, “Vegas? That’s not your style.”

I would counter that a little bit of everything alongside a big helping of adventure is my style, but I digress.

Last weekend, I traveled with some friends and my mom to Vegas to see George Strait in concert (with Lyle Lovett!!! and Robert Earl Keen). While seeing King George was the headlining event of our weekend, we had a lot of fun “doing Vegas.”

Amanda and I caught a flight out of GJ Thursday afternoon and started the party as soon as we got into the terminal. We even bought our tickets months apart and sat next to each other.  Once we landed and checked into our hotel, we immediately set out in search of food and then engaged in heavy duty people watching at the Cosmopolitan.

The next morning, my mom arrived and we headed out for brunch and some sight seeing. My friend Helen and her husband arrived mid afternoon and we had some celebratory “we’re all in Vegas” champagne at the hotel before heading to dinner and some after dinner drinks. While most of the crew headed to bed, Amanda and I went out for some dancing.

Saturday was more sight seeing but the big event was that evening. It was time to see George! There was a lot of “Do you think he’ll play this song?” talk and general excitement as we got ready for the show.

Our dinner before the show was actually one of my favorite moments in Vegas. The food was good (we ate at Tom’s Urban in NY-NY) and we might have discussed Pure Country a lot. Mom ordered ghost pepper wings and basically stared down the waitress when she was warned that they’re the hottest pepper in the world. And then, to top it all off, as we stood up after dinner Mom reminded me she wanted to ride the roller coaster at NY-NY before the concert. So we did. I might have laughed at her the entire time. I’m kind of a pro at laughing at people on roller coasters.

The show definitely did not disappoint. (Okay, well, maybe I could have listed to Lyle Lovett open for another hour and George play all night but reasonable expectations are important.)

I sang along to each and every song. When I grew up, George Strait was in the tape deck on the way to every camping trip (except when the Mariners were on) and the sound track to more than a few family gatherings. On top of that, he’s the best looking 65 year old I’ve ever seen. Anyway.

The next day, everyone other than Amanda and I had to catch early (or really really early) flights so the two of us enjoyed a lazy morning getting out of the hotel, hit up their (free) Sunday bloody mary and mimosa bar, had one last brunch on the Strip and then headed to the airport.

I had been sort of nervous about this trip: it was a motley group of people and the common denominator was … me. In the end, it was fantastic. I even get to tease my mom for the time she forgot to tip the Transformer for the rest of time: “Bumble Bee need tip.”

Happy 8th Birthday Sprocky

Sprocket turned eight on Sunday. We woke up to snow gently drifting around the house and a couple of inches on the ground. I soaked up the loveliness of the light, some coffee, and the comfort of the couch for awhile before I remembered it was my sweet boy’s birthday.

There is little that my pupper loves more than to frolic in the snow. I knew the next move was to get dressed and head out for a run with him; especially since I had to head out for work shortly.

Guys, I forgot my phone.

That means there are no pictures. Which is probably fine. The weather was not particularly photogenic. The clouds were low and the snow was continually falling softly. The quiet, could not be captured on camera (even if it was occasionally punctuated by a plow on 550 below the trail).

But that also means there are no pictures of Sprocket running full out for a block and turning to look at me completely delighted.

There are no pictures of him standing in water just over his paws looking shocked I let him.

There’s no photos of me grinning in the perfect falling snow as I followed his wiggle-butt up the trail to the summit of Boot Hill.

I don’t have pictures of how perfect the little yuccas looked under their blanket of snow and how SP came to check them out with me.

There’s no video of him doing his best mountain bike impression zooming down hills to catch me after deer scents distracted him so I could get ahead.

There’s no capture of him nudging my hand before trying to get me to chase him on the path beside the river.

We put in almost five slow, snowy miles and I think I grinned the entire time. Back home, I ran in the house to capture this shot of me and my boy on his birthday. I’m a ridiculous dog owner but there’s nothing ridiculous really about loving a pup that loves life and helping me love life as much as he does.