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Well, there you all are wondering what the hell is going on. You’re probably saying, “Jacque, we almost gave up on you. What’s going on?” I’m here. I always have been. But the truth of the matter is just this simple – HEY _ I’M A REAL LIVE PERSON AND LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS SOMETIMES.

Good news is, I know the recipe for lemonade – I also know how to stick lemons in my bra so it makes my boobs look bigger, or how to squeeze those lemons in the faces of my enemies! So, here we go.funny-when-life-gives-you-lemons-squeeze-them-in-peoples-eyes-pictures

It all starts with a problem. Of course, as a scientisty type gal, I usually love this part – it’s the part where I get to be creative, intuitive, intelligent, heroic, and cool. But this time – not so much. You see, I like problems that have solutions. It seems that, so far as I know, the problems life can throw don’t always have solutions. Sometimes you just gotta ride the thing out, take the hits, and walk away with the bruises and wisdom that you’re made of some pretty tough stuff.

So I wanted to share with anyone (I’m sure we all know someone like this) who is having a life problem that seems to have no solution and no end in sight.

  1. Be a man (well, not literally, but figuratively – we know women are stronger lol)
  2. Once the crisis is over – it won’t hurt so much – if it does, you are probably fooling yourself and it’s not quite over – brace yourself
  3. There are legal ways to make people disappear – seriously – of course they all involve lots of money but hey – you never know right
  4. Not everything is your fault – even if other people say so – what the heck do they know anyway
  5. Yoga – Yogi – or YoYo – any one of these three things will either relax you, screw with your mind, confuse you until you forget your problems, totally baffle you, or keep you entertained until the damned string gets all wonky and it won’t go up and down like it used to and the problem passes
  6. Think of worse things that have happened – unless of course this makes you feel worse – in that case – refer to number 6yy
  7. Ask for help or support – you’re really not alone. Well, you can always email or message me if you are alone and I will apologize for number 7
  8. Break the problem up into smaller problems – I know this sounds crazy, but once you do this – some of the smaller ones become solvable and then the main problem smaller – this is a trick I learned from being in the wilds so long….then you can always ignore the leftover problem – leave it for someone else to solve when they take over your job lol
  9. Deny there is a problem – Oh, no, this won’t help but it does delay the inevitable…refer to number 6 again
  10. Suck it up Buttercup – best advice ever from my dear Mr. Jeff Davis – all time champion of telling it like it is

So, I know this might not solve all the problems, that’s not my job lol. That’s your job….and believe it not, rule number 10 is the quickest way to get through it – of course, number 6 is still my all time favorite.

If you want, print this list out and post it near the copier, engine of your old car, laundry room, Dr. office, dramatic family member’s Facebook – or wherever you think it will do the most good…..of course, as always – One last resort – go outside, take a deep breath, Hey sucker – you’re alive!

I know, I know, you are thinking, “Jacque, you are covered in ants. Shouldn’t you be jumping around like a freak?” No, I shouldn’t. You know why? I am a man! No not really, I am only covered from head to toe in red ants.

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Native red ants and not fire ants. You know WHY I am covered in red ants to include inside both my pant legs? I am happy. Why am I happy? That’s a great question. You see I know you are expecting some insightful, poetic, deep and meaningful answer. You want to hear all about how a life event has changed me or made me ponder life and it’s meaning once again.

Phooey! Screw life and its meanings. I just got to tromp in the woods. Simple. It’s been a freaking long week already. Once of those weeks that makes you really think about whether or not to come home FROM the woods. I really wanted to say to the team I was with, “Hey worky pants, I am going to just hang out here for a few days until mother nature stops pissing on me. I will catch you all later – ants and all!”

But instead, I left the cool damp woods next to the small river. I turned my back, once again on what I know is right. I walked out the scarred surveyor’s path and went on about my grown up business. Left behind was the healing sounds of the woods. The soft voice of the river calling to me like it always does.

I could have stayed you know. Could have laid there on the banks of that river and solved all of my life’s puzzles. I should have stayed in the poison ivy and vine-covered trail that would hide anything. It would have hidden my furrowed brow, my tired eyes, my unshed tears. It would have hidden my doubt and expectations of myself.

It would have been easier. The coward’s way. But instead I stood in the bright sunshine. It is apparent I have a hangover, it’s obvious something is amiss, but you know what?

Nothing worth having is easy!20161207_111258

 

Have Patience….

Marie Curie: Physicist and Chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize twice for her work in radioactivity: “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” […]

via THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY – WOMEN IN SCIENCE — Haddon Musings

Itchy and Scratchy

That’s right, I’m itchy….and scratchy. No, silly, not the cartoon characters from The Simpsons….SERIOUSLY! I have discovered what happens when you wear far too many layers in the hot Florida sun.

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Prickly heat – heat rash – or whatever you wanna call it! I was trying to be smarter than the average nerd working out in the Florida sun (104 degrees). I wore layers so that I could shed them as I needed. Only problem, you know me, I got caught up in my work and forgot to shed layers.

So, instead, I have this amazingly sexy rash ALL OVER! I hate to admit it – but now is the perfect time – I was wrong! Yep, make your calendars folks and watch the icebergs grow – cause Hell just froze over. I was totally wrong to even think for one moment that I was going to remember my clothes.

“Why, Jacque? Why would you forget something so important to most gals?” Well, I am definitely NOT most gals. SO, while I was busy looking at my survey gear and constructing a designed creek plan, I just wandered around in way too many clothes.

So, lesson for the day, wear the minimum and bring the maximum. Pack it and keep it handy. Remember, weather changes all over the world at any time! Even MyRadar can be wrong….so make sure you have what you need to stay cool, warm, dry, bug free, sun free, and safe! If you aren’t sure, pack more! If you don’t need it, so be it – but if you don too much or pack too little, you might get caught in a storm, or you just might get heat rash!

For those who are unfamiliar, heat rash is simply sweat trapped under your skin. Sounds harmless…

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Now, someone give me some tips for how to treat it!! PLEASE…

 

Forget Black

The cracks, even the cracks of her feet were black with earth.

Her hair matted with black and hanging limp and wildly at her ears.

Her hands were stained black and there were small scars where the work showed through.

And just when it seemed she couldn’t get any blacker,

her heart stood still with the black mud.

Her eyes shed black tears that smudged her filthy cheeks.

Her mouth oozed.

She had stayed too long in the dark wet. She was one of them.

Yet there she crouched. Sobbing and shaken.

Her precious work torn asunder by those who spoke sharp words of machines.

All she knew lay raped and stranded in the bright sun.

It would be theirs tomorrow. Neat and shiny.

It would be organized and proper and clean.

It was always so sad to see them like this. Naked and lost.

No words would come to stay them from her treasure.

She would silently suffer.

It might kill her….

Yes, she would die if not for the others. They always come.

They take back their own into the dank woods.

Who knows what horrors lie there.

God it must be dreary and strange.

Oh, look, it must be time to go. The sun is sinking.

 

 

Brrrrring on the New Year

Happy New Year 2016 Images | New Year 2016 Quotes

That’s right, bring on the new year. I have just about had it with the last one. In fact, if this one isn’t better, I am quitting years.

The problem with last year is tenfold…didn’t go outdoors enough, didn’t camp enough, didn’t surf enough, didn’t tromp enough, didn’t climb enough trees, didn’t fish enough…..so….plan is to change that.

“But Jacque, last year wasn’t all bad!” Duh…of course it wasn’t. I have an amazing family, great kids, a job I love, and the world is my oyster. Problem  was that I forgot that the world was my oyster…and let it be my crab trap.Image result for funny oyster

So, if, like me, you let 2015 make you it’s bitch, here’s some ideas for how we are gonna show 2016 who wears the pants in this year…

  • Write a bunch of adventures on paper, fold and put in jar, take turns picking one out – and YOU HAVE TO DO IT
  • Pick up a copy of One Tank Trips
  • Get a map of your area that includes parks and such – make it a challenge to cross them all off with a visit
  • Let the family vote on a new activity to learn together
  • Call me to book a fun Guided Tromp in the woods or kayak trip
  • Go camping – or glamping if you don’t like tents
  • Try to go to different beaches or forests or both and collect a souvenir from each spot and make a brag shelf

Whatever you do – DO IT! And…

DO IT OUTSIDE! And…DO IT NOW! And…DO IT TOGETHER. 

There’s no time like the present…and no excuses!

Kick 2016’s ass!

 

 

Bah Humbug….I mean Merry Christmas!

Bah Humbug… IT’S TOO HOT FOR CHRISTMAS. It’s 85 degrees outside and yesterday we even had an afternoon shower. It’s so hard to get in the spirit when the only thing you want to get into is the pool. I asked my family if I could even boycott Christmas….celebrate UN-Christmas.

“But Jacque, isn’t it nice to have pleasant weather in December?” A resounding NO. It would be nice to have one or the other – I want Summer Vacation in December or Chilly Christmas Mornings in December. I’m so darned confused I’m not sure if I am living in some strange festive hell with tinsel and gifts or some twisted happy land filled with elves in board shorts and those weirdos who pretend it’s cold and wear boots and scarves.

This weather begs me to recall another similar year. I remember that nature did this El Nino thing and…then nature took a huge dump on us all here in Florida.

It wreaked all sorts of havoc on us and the creatures and plants we love so much. Birds got confused, trees and leaves sprouted out of turn, fish and frogs flip flipped along with the tourists and the rain just kept raining. I suspect we are all in for a real treat – in March.

Oh, it will get chilly. A balmy 60 something next week at 2am one morning. I may have to put on more than a bathing suit. I hope those of you who are enjoying a real Christmas feel sorry for us down here – I fear I will get a tan this week!

I know, I know – you’re thinking, “Jacque, why has it been so very long since your last post?” Well, I am here to tell you….because SO MUCH HAS BEEN GOING ON!!

I would love to catch you guys up, but as this is the week of Thanksgiving, I though I will, instead, give you guys some very helpful tips on how an outdoor adventurer survives the FAMILY THANKSGIVING!! So, here we go…

  1. Wear comfy pants – and by comfy I don’t mean a little roomy – I mean a LOT. This is for your comfort and to protect anyone else from flying buttons.
  2. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask “What can I bring?” because you are going to get hit with the UGH list…mashed potatoes are yummy – but making 50 pounds takes muscles, sweat, and quite frankly a mixer you don’t have….so, opt for something simple.
  3. Do NOT – under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES say to an elderly family member “Wow, I didn’t know you were still with us.” Won’t go over well.
  4. Sit quickly. You worked really hard not to sit at that kid table. You know, the one where everyone thinks it’s funny to show chewed up food. Grab that seat!
  5. No matter what, offer to help clean up. Even if you don’t mean it. Then, when the hostess inevitably says, “Oh, that’s okay.” Go relax with some pie. I mean – you gave the chance right?
  6. If there is turkey and ham – eat both. Just in case one is awful. Turkey is like wine – it takes years to perfect. Young cooks often dry out the turkey. Ham, well, it’s technically already cooked so all you have to do is really heat it up. Good choice!
  7. DO NOT GET DRUNK. This will end badly. Maybe not on this day, but I promise your family will never stop talking about the Thanksgiving So-and-so got smashed. And, you will forever be labelled the sot. Not something you want brought up when they are REALLY mad at you.
  8. Football is – well, football. Engage your family, but if you are a fan, find a sneaky way to be excused out of conversations so you can catch the game without making them feel offended. Like…start a conversation of interest with a gabber and then walk quietly away.
  9. Eat, eat, rest, eat, rest, dessert. Firsts, seconds, rest, nibbles, rest, then BIG dessert.
  10. Lastly, and most importantly, give thanks. Go around and thank each person for who and what they are in your life. Life is often too short. I am reminded of that each day now. Hugs and sincere sharing of fond memories and truly connecting will go a long way.

So, if you think you just CAN’T make it through the whole thing, pawn off that you have to share with your partner, spouse, or significant other…that works too!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am truly thankful that you read this blog, share with your friends, and support everyone Getting Outside and doing 

Tropical Tromping….

I know you are wondering what is going on in the world. You are asking why the Chicks with Ticks haven’t been around.

Kaleigh and Allison exploring the sand flats

Kaleigh and Allison exploring the sand flats

Well, IT’S SUMMER SILLY. That’s right – kids are out of school and adventures abound. So, in honor of summer I thought we would begin to tell you what AMAZING places we have been adventuring so far.

View of the shore.

View of the shore.

We are going to start with Caladesi State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Caladesi-Island. It is only the most beautiful island ever…well at least one we can paddle to.

Alex relaxing near an old log.

Alex relaxing near an old log.

So, we load up paddle boards, coolers, kayaks and 4 kids….me with 4 kids isn’t that unusual. In fact, I almost always travel with 4 kids. Just so happens that this trip included my two biologic kids and each of their best friends. IT also included loads of silliness at Wal Mart to get food and stuff, bouncy balls that flew out of the window (another story for another time) and an amazing parking spot.

Allison searching for adventure....and creatures.

Allison searching for adventure….and creatures.

We loaded up and paddled out to the tip of the island from the causeway. I recommend this for above average paddlers as there is a boat traffic pattern, channel, sand bar, and sometimes a strong current and winds. This paddling is very east most times – but occasionally it is a little tiresome for beginners – none the less – it’s a blast.

There are mangrove trails to paddles, crystal clear shallows to explore, lots of sea creatures to selfie with, clean sandy shores, bird watching, shelling, relaxing, and – our favorite – ADVENTURING. SO – don’t miss out. You can rent kayaks and paddle boards on the causeway. Also, if paddling is not for you – take the ferry – it’s affordable and fun. Bring your lunch – camera and RELAX and enjoy the amazing natural habitats of Florida beaches.

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For advanced paddlers (and drinkers) there is a marina and beach well into the islands that has amazing lunch and sangria. The beaches host tortoises and beautiful rare plants. You can paddle with porpoises sometimes and see some great mangroves.

Chapter 8 – We Became Wild

As I text Kristen between tears, I realize how long it has been since I have gone deep into the woods….and Now i understand my tears….

Chicks With Ticks....

As you might expect, we see a lot of wild things. I mean wild in every sense! We see wild flowers, wild animals, wild people, wild encounters, wild weather, wild places, and just wild things in general. It’s hard to imagine, but I much prefer wild things to anything else.

Somewhere along the path we lost our fears of most wild things. We forgot about the scratches and the thorns. The dangers were just dangers. We became more in tune with what we were doing. We became in tune with each other. We became in tune with nature. We became wild things.

It wasn’t apparent just how wild we had become until I got laid off recently and was removed from the wild places for a while. Don’t go sniveling now about that – it’s a story for another day. I look back, even right now, and it’s hard to…

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