Thursday, August 24, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 28

How's your week going? Can you believe that August is almost over? Unreal, but I'm ready for a fresh month, bring it on. My week has been surprisingly busy outside of work, it's like I haven't been back at my apartment at all since Sunday night. Here's an important question, have you treated yo self lately? I went and got a long deep tissue, hot-stone massage a few nights ago and it was wonderful. So was the walk afterwards through the neighborhood at sunset with a friend and her adorable dog. It's also been a recent wave of huge triumphant success on the DIY front. I fixed a few things on my car, started a woodworking project, changed out the locks on my apartment for $30 (sorry landlord, I'll do it myself instead of paying you $200) and the front suspension upgrade on my aging Camaro was finally finished last night with the help of one of my best friends, Mark. We may have battled with a torque wrench and a snapped socket but we won. We capped off the evening with a raging bonfire and cold craft beer. What's been the worst thing to happen this week? My doctor told me to put the kibosh on rock climbing for awhile as there's a strong probable chance some more cartilage broke off in my right knee. Great..... annnnnnd off to buy a kayak for the meantime!

Day 28: What Fear Are You Grateful For?

Well, this one took me a few minutes to ponder about. Thankfully my coffee maker was brewing at the same time. We all have something we're afraid of. Big fears, little fears, realistic fears, ridiculous fears. For example, I'm terrified of open water. I love being on a boat, kayaking, swimming in a pool- but as soon as I'm forced into some body of water where I can't see anything below me, I freak out. It sucks, because I hope to someday fully conquer that fear. A month ago while up in Door County, I jumped off a sailboat into the lake and didn't feel as scared as had thought. It was a relief.

True fact, up until about three years ago, I used to be deathly afraid of dogs. Absolutely scared. When I'd be around one or if one would come up to me, I would almost retreat in panic. Why? I remember getting bit and scratched in the middle of night by a babysitter's dog when I was super little. And for whatever reason that experience haunted me for ages. When I got into my adulting years, I realized it was just a stupid, unnecessary thing to be afraid of. Then, during the summer of 2014 while working at a YMCA camp as the Activities Director (Gosh loved that job), I had a phone interview for a seasonal job out in beautiful Granby, Colorado at YMCA of the Rockies- Snow Mountain Ranch. At the end of the interview I remember being asked "Do you have any interest in working on our dog sledding team?" Without hesitation I immediately answered with "Yes, absolutely!" Even though at the time I was still nervous around dogs. But hey, why not give it a chance....maybe this opportunity that I couldn't pass up, will erase that fear, I thought to myself.

Yep. That was a really, really, really good decision to commit to that. When I arrived at SMR (Snow Mountain Ranch) in October, after a few weeks of getting settled in and once November rolled in, a few of us had our orientation for this YMCA's dog sledding program. Head musher and Chaplin, Steve Peterson would take families, guests and kids on dog sledding rides throughout the ranch lands. What an amazing experience to provide. Steve taught us all about dogsledding 101, the handling and care of the dogs, how and when they're fed, how to call them, break-up bad behavior, safety risks and considerations, how to operate the sled and the history behind this spirited sport. I also oversaw the riding logistics and grooming of the trails. Nothing beats heading out at 6am, in below-zero temperatures at sunrise to smooth the trails that weave through the woods, up and down hills, on a big snowmobile pulling a roller. It was tranquility like none other. We got to learn all the dogs' names and personalities, from Glacier to Yukon, to Eli, Anna (my favorite) and Tip. All twenty something full-size Alaskan huskies and even three rambunctious puppies-Moose, Aspen and Juniper. Twice a week, from December till March we'd run dogsledding programs at the ranch. It was the best part of my sixth months I spent working and living in Colorado. It was the quintessential demonstration of why teamwork and having faith is important. I'd go back there and a heartbeat and do it all over again. I'm grateful I decided to face that fear of dogs head-on and come out on top not scared anymore. Now I'm desperately trying to figure out how I can have a dog in my flat in Shorewood. Hmmm.