Operation Recuperation - Day 5

Day 5 was a much better day! I took a healthy 2 mile hike to Horseshoe Bend. Was a bit grueling for me, especially since I am not fit for this kind of excersize. Up and down a hill both ways with a good portion very sandy, so slow. It definitely got my heart beat up. I know now that when I do excersize, I want to do much of it outside.

It has been much colder up here than I expected it to feel and so have been staying at hotels mostly. It is getting a bit expensive and I am starting to miss the warmth of phoenix. Plus, I forgot my long johns! :)

Anyway, after the hike to Horseshoe Bend, I went on a boat tour to Antelope Canyon. Beatiful high "painted" canyon walls. The sandstone layers and sheer cliffs were spotted with flora and fauna. We saw a couple blue herons and some kayakers on the way. Took lots of pictures, of course. I will be posting them when I get back home.

I stayed at the Marble Canyon Lodge, just south of Lees Ferry. A qauint little lodge in the middle of nowhere, had an open hot roast beef sandwhich and mashed potatos, which was ok. The hotel room bed was hard, but nicely furnished with solid wood. A real cabin feel. The TV only picked up a couple channels, which was fine. Read a book anyway. Unfortunately, woke up to a cold room as the heater wasn't working well. All and all it was a good day/night.

So, I have decided to make my way home. This has been a refreshing adventure, no doubt. But, I think it has been enough, for now. I have gained courage and ambition, and a sense of self that I haven't had in a while. I am now thinking of all the wonderful things at home and feel it a sign that I make my way back. I still have a week of vacation, but plan on doing a few things in phoenix I haven't done in a while. I think I will visit the art and science museums, go on a hike (camelback/south mountains, maybe). Go see a movie... my eyes are more open to what fun I can have right at home.

The biggest lesson I have learned is how to relax, especially in times of turmoil. I have found ways to manage my stress and some new triggers to avoid. The second biggest lesson is that I now have fully realized is that there is a big world out there that I can afford to discover. Yes, it may take time and some effort, but my dreams are only goals and now I have the courage to attain them! :) I will continue to post after reaching home, as I think part of this process is also finding ways to deal with being at home, close to the stresses that started this whole ball of wax.

So, I have decided that I have had enough vacationing away from home for a while. I am going to visit a couple more
Shannon R Medlin Web Developer


Operation Recuperation - Day 4

All that running around really caught up with me on Day 4 caught up with me, eh?!

So much so, that after getting up, sending out emails, etc and going to the Glen Canyon Visitor center, I was tired again. Took another nap and before I knew it, it was sundown. I really need to take this trip a little more liesurely. Anyway, I thought I might try a shot at setting up camp at night. I have done it before, it's never fun, but is possible. So, I went down to the Wahweap camp ground close to the visitor center, paid the park fee ($15) and went on in to see if maybe the Dinner Cruise had left yet, only to find out that they weren't doing it except on Friday's....

So, on to the idea about camping... found that the camp registration office was closed and it was $19 to camp anyway. So, thought I might try the next camp site, Lone Rock. It had restrooms and a firepit, all I needed right? Well, what I didn't know it that if you go the wrong way, you can get stuck in the sand. So, there I am, stuck in the deep sand with my poor car, calling the park service for help. I was referred to a guy who pulls people out all the time, he came quickly, but it cost $150. Let met tell you... at this point, I was about ready to head home. But, decided to spend the night at the hotel again, which they gave me a $5 discount for staying the night before. Oh, and I also picked up some B-12 and St Johns Wort from the local Walmart. A friend noted that it might help instead of the drowsy inducing Zanax.

I think I might just go do the touristy thing today, maybe spend another night.
Shannon R Medlin Web Developer


Operation Recuperation - Day 3

What an insteresting day.... Started the day out early, about 7 am... Got camp packed up, then drove down to an island mini-mountain at lymon lake. Found out that there were some petroglyphs there. So, took the mile hike, saw a caterpilar, got out of breath a few times, but didn't see any petroglyphs. Found out later that I went the wrong way on the trail..... oh well.

So, on to Flagstaff and Page (near Lake Powell). My Grandmother mentioned there was a petrified forest on my way to holbrook. So, I decided to stop in. Only to discover how big the place was! :) Well, anyway, stopped at the vistor's center, watched a video that was mostly about why taking any of the petrified wood from the park was illegal and immoral.... Booooring... of course I won't take any wood. Oh well, so on to the park, walked about 1/2 mile around the great logs trail, then on to what they calle the Crystal forest. I was excited to go on this mile walk becaus the brochure said there would be amethyst. But, didn't find much, if any of that. It was still a nice walk, took quite a few pictures of some awesome petrified logs. It was like nature had just lifed up these logs to the surface, saying, "see what I created 220 million years ago!, is't it neat?"... and it was. traveled my way up the park, didn't stop at everything. But, did stop near the north end of the park to see more petroglyphs, only to find out that I could get up close to them, they had binoculars setup.. Took a few more pics, not sure how they will turn out, but we'll see. Sat down for a moment to have lunch... Then, on up to the north end of the park which is littered with lookouts onto the "Painted Desert" with layers of carved away sediment revealing all of the beatiful reds, whites and blacks, like a beautiful painting.

Finally, after 3 hours of seeing the sites, I was back on the freeway, on my way to Flagstaff. Stopped off at a Circle K in Holbrook... got myself a caffenated engergy drink (and regretted it later). Made a pitstop in town where I found wireless again, sent a quick email, then looked online for the best price on hotels in flagstaff & page. Not being sure where I was going to end up as it was nearing sunset at this point. Made my way to flagstaff, at this point being night-time. Stopped off at a village in, had some more coffee and a small steak dinner.... Got some more gas, this time $3.06.... then made the 2 1/2 hour drive up to Page. Made it into town fine, but then started to stress about which hotel was cheapest... did some more war driving, and finally found the best place (motel 6, $50 for the night).

Then, started to worry about my money. So, called the bank, found out it was fine and started to reply/send emails. I think it was a combination of stress & the caffeine, but I started to have an anxiety attack. Being the type that has never had to take pills before, I tried a few things to calm me down. Walked around the building, went to get something to drink (thinking I might be dehydrated). Then it hit me, full force, felt like I was going to pass out one moment, then heart raced with adrenaline the next. It was like a semi truck was sitting on my chest, I was dizzy... I took my Xanax pill.... layed down, it got worse. Walked around a bit, drank some more water, watched TV, went to the bathroom... anything to distract me from the thought that I had a blood clot, waiting to make its way up to my brain, remembering all those hospital TV shows.... feeling like the pill wasn't working fast enough.... waited for 1/2 an hour... still felt horrible.... So, what else could I do... I went to the emergency room....

I checked out fine... no evidence of heart attack, just was having a bad attack and needed to take a higher dosage. By that time, I was much more calm, but felt like it was only because I had been able to ask the doctor more questions (would you have seen evidence of a past heart attack in the EKG?: "yes"; can anxiety cause this severe chest pain?: "yes"). In some ways hearing this from the doctor instead of just reading online help quite a bit... Still feeling a bit of chest pain, the doctor gave me three more pills and told me to take them when I got back to the apartment.

I took them and within 30 mins, I was asleep.... Waking up to a knock at the door at 10 AM: "Room Service!".

So, I am now diagnosed with Anxiety... why in the world has this started now? I have never had this problem before... I mean, I am not a New York Stock typhoon.... Or a thrill seeker.... I am 28 years old for goodness sake.... Well... I guess this is only Day 3, still 9 more to go... Hopefully, I will have this issue taken care of by then... Meantime... no cafeine.
Shannon R Medlin Web Developer

Operation Recuperation - Day 2

Started the day out from Payson at a liesurely 10 am. After realizing I had forgotten my camp chair and table, dish washing bin & scrub towels, camp soap, paper towels and toilet papter....

I went to buy a few things from the Payson WalMart. Ahhh... now I was really prepared and on my way. Traveled from Payson, throught Show Low. There, I found cheap gas (2.99/gal), which IS cheap for rural arizona, especially on tourist routes. Anyway, picked up gas, then onto Springerville. Stopped off at a rest stop and took some pics (posted on Moblog).

Got some firewood in Springerville... Then, to my surprise realized my phone said I was in roaming mode... grrr.... I had thought I had checked before-hand to make sure that I was in the VZW network area for the whole trip. Well, with no cell phone coverage at the lake campsite, I was lowered to war-driving in the local town, St Johns. Got a quick message out, then back to the campsite.

While getting camp setup, I discovered that one cannot squeeze the air matress into the tent after blowin it out side the tent. After a good laugh at myself and managing to work the blown up matress into the tiny entrance, I was pretty much setup. Well except for setting out the water and chair, lugging the firewood out near the fire.. Anyway, it was starting to get a little chilly, so donned my new hiking pants, over my sweat pant (man was that a squeeze too). I felt like a stuffed sausage. Which reminded me that I had a package of sausages and a new cast iron camp fire "pie iron" I had to get seasoned. So, I set out to get the fire going, the pie iron prepared and the sausages cooked. Man, did it turn out well! The sausages were perfectly cooked.

After eating, I just sat and tended the fire, looking up at the stars. I started to whisper to myself at some point... I had a few revelations by that fire... Increasingly, over the years, I have wrapped myself in a shroud of fear. This has not only prevented me from realizing my dreams fully, but also has frozen me like a statue at times, being unable to function. I think I have only been able to survive at times because of all the disctractions. Mental turmoil with my relationships (absence of parents in childhood, Aunt Sharon's antics, Amanda's Social Anxiety Disorder, my Mother's plethora of mental illnesses, then Lee's hipocrisy) has only served to give my mind something else to concentrate on. To come to feel responsible for the misgivings of others, blaming myself for thier failures if I was unable to make a difference. It has caused me, at times to retreat into my shell, frozen in time. Which only serves to create issues as well.

Long story short, I realized that my dreams are goals only if I am willing to grasp them. That I am powerful, beautiful and proud. That I still need to learn to be able to care and give without automatically taking responsibility for other's success and/or failure. To realize that I can save the world, but only if I save myself. That I need to find ways to manage my stress, instead of escaping them.

So, I have started.... not only have I started by going on this vacation, but also doing a bit of excersize, staying away from caffeine, getting out of town to relax.
Shannon R Medlin Web Developer


Operation Recuperation - Night 1

Many of you (that would read this) already know that I am on a much needed vacation. I have officially dubbed this adventure as "Operation Recuperation". My plan is to not have too much of a plan, just to relax, see the sights my home state offers & let the cool mountain air recharge my spirit.

I will be camping most nights, but this first night, I am in a hotel. The decision came late in the day to go ahead and start my journey. I hope to get a good start on sightseeing, setting up camp, ect by being now only 3 1/2 hours away from lyman lake.

I will have an internet connection when on the road via my cell phone tethered to my laptop. (for those techies reading this, I am using BDUN (Bluetooth Dial Up Networking))

Anyway, while I am in the hotel, I might as well soak up the free wireless internet service... even though it is much slower than home :) I get 20Mb at home, here I am getting only 1.9Mb. (speedtest.net results)

I am now getting a craving for something sweet.. but, can't have smores yet, so I think I am going to go on the hunt for dessert in payson... and then to sleep.
Shannon R Medlin Web Developer


Swiftweasel & Swiftdove a linux www/email client wonder

I love my Ubuntu Box.  I built the box last year and have been playing with it ever since.  I have only had to reboot a few times (maybe 6 times within the last year).  I am so impressed with all that linux offers.

The Swiftweasel Project was my newest discovery.  Even though linux is much faster, I have been experiencing issues with Firefox (web client) and Thunderbird (email client) freezing.  While looking for a 64-bit version of the new Lightning (calendar plugin for Thunderbird), I came across a forum post on ubuntuforums.org that mentioned this.  Looking into it, I thought I would try it out.  After about 5 mins, I had Swiftdove (enhance version of Thunderbird) and Swiftweasel (enhanced version of Firefox) installed and up and running.  I have had no freezing issue and am now browsing fast again.

Sometimes, in life, you come across something that just "works".  My advice is to try new things, who knows, you may be happier at the end of the day.  I know I am! :)

Swiftweasel Project Home Page
Swiftweasel Wiki
Swiftweasel Wikipedia Page
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tek Norah Web Developer