...most recently GLAMPING!
(For those not "in the know," and as defined by Urban Dictionary: "Going camping, but with glamour. A combination of the two words. It's like regular camping, but with nicer things than usual, being warmer, and more comfortable. Glamping isn't done by usual outdoor types who climb mountains.")
It's an actual thing all over the world! Check out Glamping.com:
I want to try them ALL... especially the tree houses, or more remote locations... we are "off-the-beaten-path people," and I very much dislike crowds. Getting away, for me, means getting away from PEOPLE, LOL.
I've been trying very hard to pick up where I left off here, but every time I do, something derails my efforts... usually a time/energy shortage in real life... because it takes an inordinate amount of time and energy to bridge an emotional chasm the likes of which develops when one drops threads while weaving the fabric of one's life... or in this case, the fabric of a journey shared with compatriots (because SparkPeople is like a little country all unto itself, isn't it?).
I will get to a proper explanation (not necessarily in this entry), but right now, if I don't just jump in somewhere, I will never pick up the threads, and that I am not willing to risk. So, I'm starting simply... right here... right now (much like one would re-boot a weight-loss/fitness journey)... seizing the moment, and praying that those who do take an interest will forgive me my recent prolonged reticence.
This entry is SPARKed by a SparkFriend who recently commented that camping was just not her 'thing'... no bugs, dirt, excessive heat, manual labour for her... even while she admired my talk of building fires, chopping wood, cooking over a fire, foraging for wild mushrooms and berries... things I relish doing.
I was made further (and sheepishly) aware of my unintended misrepresentation of my holiday, when friends we'd invited to join us for a day arrived, chideding me for down-playing (unintentionally) our situation as *just* a camper by an very small slough-ish lake.
...And, if you compare our situation with a lakeside cottage, it still doesn't compare... shoot! Our situation doesn't compare to our lake neighbours, LOL... as you'll soon see... but, I guess, I also can't really say I was strictly camping... which I still love, and have done much of, and will do again; but this holiday was courtesy of my wonderful MIL and FIL.
About 6 years ago, now, my FIL wanted a summer retreat that would entice the whole family to gather more often, and that he could leave behind for us all to enjoy with our families long after he was gone. Thus, "the camper" became a reality at a small overly busy/crowded lake an hour out of the city... close enough to seem doable with little notice/planning, yet far enough to qualify as "away."
Usually we only go out when the whole family gathers to visit and maintain a sense of connection... a couple of times a summer, for the day. The last 3 years, since FIL has been in care, we've gone out overnight a few of times a summer to visit with Mom and keep her company. She loves it out there, but finds it a bit lonely without Dad... though less so, as time passes.
...and she's started to travel some on her own. When she isn't using the camper, she offers it to all of us. Now usually, (said tongue-in-cheek) Mr.'s greedy older brother snaps it up without considering anyone else (and we don't usually take holidays in the summer), but this year Mom asked us specifically if we'd like to be out there while she was gone, and we jumped on it. We are so very tired, and we really needed the break. BIL's sense of entitlement took a hit (he whined), but too bad, LOL.
So, let me show you where I've most recently been....
Front view as you drive up...
The deck, bunkhouse, awning (which is louvered and motorized so it can offer varying degrees of sun or shade), and railings... ALL built by "the boys" for their mother in a weekend! Nothing like farm boys for ingenuity and skill (the weekend they built everything was magical... watching them work together was a treat... they are so dang SMART... and funny)!
Front door of the camper... I'm taking the picture from the part of the deck that abuts the length of the bunkhouse... note the ice making machine by the door... no tepid drinks for us!
Back door of the camper... we can easily seat and feed the whole family and a , few guests... 30 people, or so... gives you a sense of the scope of the space.
The Bunkhouse... holds a very comfortable queen bed, a dresser... and all of the deck furniture when no one is using it (the bunkhouse, or the furniture), LOL... the Divine Miss O made it her own personal home for the week. It's a good thing she still prefers our company to her own (and that she likes to eat, LOL), or we may not have seen her at all.
The 'backyard' that extends into the bush... storage shed (with a second fridge), wood box, and fire pit... where most of our evenings were spent.
Now here's where the real GLAMOUR comes in:
This is the kitchen where I could prepare all of our meals... while smaller, it's actually more luxurious than mine at home with a gas stove I covet, a full-size refrigerator, marble counters, a convection oven, and a limitless water supply... no struggling over a wood fire unless I want to, LOL. I made breakfast inside, but dinners were prepared on the BBQ out back.
Regular-size table for 4, queen hide-a-bed/couch, and recliner. Did I mention the whole unit is air conditioned? There's also a fireplace across from the recliner for cool evenings, and a 36" TV/DVD system (which I refuse to use... I have my limits... we're still camping, after all, LOL).
The bathroom... yes, that's a much appreciated full-size shower!
And, finally, the up-scaled king-size bed (my FIL is a tall man and he refused to have his feet dangling over the end of standard issue), with an standard box spring set.
...and, if you think this is something, take a look at our neighbour:
This one has a second story... and look at the backyard (bunkhouse and storage shed):
So Sam, you can see that there was no hardship involved in this camping trip, what-so-ever. I'm pretty sure you could enjoy camping of this sort, LOL.
...and we really did enjoy ourselves up until the weekend. As it is at most overcrowded resorts, the weekends are loud and obnoxious. Until then, however, we sat around the fire until late (told ghost stories and sang camp songs), and slept in until whenever it suited us. We ate breakfast at noon, and dinner at 7 PM. If anyone felt like it, they foraged for lunch/food as the need arose. Miss O lived in either a bathing suit, or her pyjamas... she read a whole 6-book series "The Mortal Instruments" series (the Shadowhunters novels) in six days, and polished off a gallon pail of home-roasted sunflower seeds.
I napped, read three novels: "The Alice Network" "The Sweetness of Forgetting" and "The Handmaids Tale" ...all of which I highly recommend, and went for leisurely strolls. We enjoyed the stars, the birds (we saw and heard some wonderful interactions), the squirrels... and mostly we enjoyed each other. We found our rhythm as a family again, without expectations. We taught the Divine Miss O how to drive the golf cart (she's finally tall enough)... only to discover under-age drivers were no longer allowed, LOL (just the act of demonstrating our belief in her despite the new rules has gone farther than we could have imagined). We talked about everything and nothing, all at once. We remembered to tell each other things we'd been storing away for "when we have time"... we even entertained guests one day.
I remembered how to breathe, and pause, and to ask myself what I really wanted... it's amazing just how rusty these reflexes can get without use. It was a joy to once again hear myself think. I've come home with a renewed sense of myself. And I'm deeply grateful for all of it. While I'm not entirely certain why it ceased to seem so, I once again feel like it's safe to 'come out'.
...So, here I am. Again. Still. Likely always.
Please, know that no matter how far away I may seem (there are some who have taken offense at my silence and have chosen to take it personally... even while they, too, 'disappear' on occasion without explanation... which, frankly, causes me to run the other way... one should always be careful to not hold anyone to a standard any higher than the one they can themselves uphold), you ALL remain firmly in my thoughts and prayers. Please, don't ever doubt that.
The journey here is at once uniquely personal, and exquisitely intimate... and it should also be the place where your own needs come ahead of anything, or anyone else. The world is a very demanding place, with obligations and responsibilities and social constructs that don't often serve us (or our healing) well. This place should be different... the inclination to make demands of others, or place rigid obligations upon yourself, should be "checked at the door." I reserve the right to keep it so for myself. You can't discover who you are called to become if you remain beholden to who you are expected to be.
Why I'm Still Here... my SparkJourney Saga
No more Mrs. Doubtfire... or Picture UPDATE at nearly 100 lbs. ELIMINATED!
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Losing a Lot of Weight
How I Am Eliminating 'EXCESS Weight'
CICO Shove Off! 'New Kid on the (Nutritional) Block' Hits Mainstream
(ponder this some and you come to see this SPARKjourney in a whole new light)
I am STILL 155 lbs.
The last six months has seen my weight bounce around some within a 10 lb. range... my clothes all still fit, so I have to assume the weight changes are inflammatory in nature, and I'm working on this.
Now that I can once again "hear myself think" I hope to solve the puzzle once and for all, and resume my elimination journey to goal weight.