Friday, July 26, 2019

Questionable Choices: The Solo Road Trip

Have you ever done something, just to prove you could, only to regret being so damn hardheaded? Yeah, that's me. I sometimes make questionable decisions to prove that I'm not afraid (even if I am) and that I'm just as capable of doing these (sometimes difficult) things as anyone else. That's what happened this week when I drove from northern Utah to central Arizona... alone. It was a rough drive both ways. For reference, It's about 15 hours one way, accounting for stops, down some pretty tough highways. A flight would have taken about an hour and a half.

See, Matt isn't terribly keen on me taking solo road trips, and neither is my mom. But, this isn't the first time I've done this. I drove alone to California to see my family a few years ago. And when we lived in Texas, I tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to get Matt to let me drive alone to California (about 25 hours one way). If it was up to him, I would fly, but I am absolutely petrified to fly, so my anxiety goes absolutely crazy and I break down. I cannot even stand the smell of airports.

The really significant thing to note at this point is that I have a sort of moderate agoraphobia. I struggle to go out alone and when I do, I sometimes have trouble going into buildings alone. On more than one occasion, I've gone to Walmart, sat in my car for a half an hour, and unable to talk myself into going inside, have gone home. But, I don't want to be afraid to go out. I don't want to be so riddled with anxiety that I'm not able to function. I work overtime to reject what my body is telling me, to push back against the fear, and it results in things like this, where I do something drastically out of character and cause myself harm.

On the drive there, I was absolutely overcome with nausea. So, on top of the trip being a little bit tough, I was sick. Because I hadn't slept enough the night before and because the anxiety was trying to shut me down. I pushed through and kept going. I ignored the fear of the highway (I am terrified of traffic and road construction, I'm not much of a driver in general), the overwhelming fear that something terrible was going to happen to me, and the anxiety I always get when Matt and I are apart. It happens every time of us takes a trip. My brain goes to that place where I start to think that we will never see one another again.

It was actually an okay drive if you look past the road construction, major city traffic in Vegas and Salt Lake City, and the five or so hours I spent on the 95 South. That highway is narrow and has terrible visibility, the road winds and dips, and jackasses pass without being able to see if cars are coming. I am not a fan. This particular thing, the passing, caused me to come about ten feet from a very serious head on collision on the way back home. Passing is never worth your damn life or the lives of other drivers... just sayin'.

When it was time to leave, I was completely daunted by the prospect of having to make a 15 hour drive home and on the way back, I hit a monsoon on Hwy 95 North in Nevada. In my flurry of bad decisions, I decided to go to central Arizona during the hottest part of the year, during monsoon season. For forty miles the rain poured down with no visibility. The water on the road was so deep, my car was making waves as high as the side of my windows. It was absolutely the most terrifying part of the trip in either direction. I was never so happy to see anything as I was to see the inside of my garage when I pulled in at 11:30pm.

It was nice to see my family this week and I had a very nice 41st birthday (more about that later). But, I also learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes, it's better to listen to the people who love you. Sometimes, it's important to take self-care and listen to the voices inside that say something isn't a good idea, or that it's not a mentally healthy choice. Sometimes, doing something just to prove you can isn't a good enough reason to put yourself at risk. Next time, despite the fear, I'm going to fly. Because an hour and a half of anxiety is a heck of a lot healthier than the alternative.

The view south from Searchlight, Nevada just before I drove north into a monsoon

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Coffee and a Classic: Don Quixote

Better late than never, right? My Coffee and a Classic box for June came at the very end of the month and I'm just getting around to sharing the pics. I particularly like this month's box, though I'm a little bummed about the treat. But, we'll get to that. I cannot believe how absolutely blown away I still am with these boxes, even after 7 months. I'm still so thrilled when they come each month. Even Matt's interested in the unboxing each month. The Christmas subscription he got me has long expired and I've renewed twice more since then (3 months at a time). And, while I'm canceling a lot of unnecessary subscriptions right now (including FabFitFun), I will certainly not going to be cancelling this one. As you can see, June's book is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

This month's box included a lovely Word Cloud Classics Flexibound edition of Don Quixote. The lovely card that says what's in the box, of course, a bookmark, liquid absorbent car cup holder coasters, a mug with a quote from the book, a notebook, spiced cocoa, and a spicy trail mix treat.

The box is a gorgeous burnt sienna kind of color and has one of those sinky leather-ish covers. I absolutely love it. When I cracked the book open, the print is absolutely minuscule. It's 840 pages long and the print is so tiny, I'm not sure I'll actually read this one. But, I read it in college, so if I don't get back round to this edition, that's totally okay. If you haven't read this book, it's a must. I recall it making my best friend really sad, though.

The bookmark in the box is very thinly sliced wood. I got one of these one of the other books, they look so fragile, but are actually quite sturdy and make a nice addition to the book. I love the picture on this one, it really expresses the feel of the book. I have it stored inside the book, on my shelf, as I've done with almost all of my books.

This cocoa is so great. It comes from McStevens, as some of the others have, and made about mugs of cocoa. I'm not sure what the spices are, but it was a nice way to warm up on a cool June evening. It's been struggling to warm up here this year, we're just getting up to around 80 degrees in the middle of the afternoon. As with all things about these themed boxes, the picture on the outside of the cocoa packet is such a nice detailed touch to the box's theme.

"Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind." That, I think, is about how every avid reader hopes to go! Ha! The mug is so neat and not like anything else in my cabinet. Getting these mugs is seriously one of my favorite things about these boxes.

I actually had no idea what this was when I first saw them. Thankfully, it says what they are on both the back of the package and the neat little insert from the box. They are coasters for the car! Since my cup holders in my car always get sort of gross, I love this. I put them in my new car and they look great!

See, that's pretty neat, right? Please disregard the mess in my cup holder. The car only has 400 miles and yet, somehow, I have managed to get the cup holders gross already. I hope that it helps keep it from getting any more gross.

As a person who collects journals, even if I rarely write in them, this was a neat surprise. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the cover is bright teal. I love the embossed picture on the front. The notebook has lined pages and, in the back, there's a pocket. It's made by JournalBooks, who makes custom embossed notebooks.

I didn't actually eat the last thing in the box. I put one Spanish peanut into my mouth and then spit it out, it was so spicy! So, Matt ate the goodie from this month's box. He says it wasn't spicy, but he and I have different ideas about what's spicy. It did smell good and the picture on the front, like with the cocoa, is a lovely touch.

Overall impression of this box, very nice! I really liked this month and so did Matt. The July box sneak peek is up on their website, if you're interested in. No spoilers here. I'm looking forward to the next box, but there's nothing new there.

I have all the boxes, which are very nice photo boxes, stashed in a book shelf. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I can't see throwing such sturdy, lovely boxes away. There will be a lot of them around here soon, I hope I figure it out before I'm overrun!

**Absolutely not a paid endorsement, I pay for this subscription every month. I just love the product.