As I have gotten older, I deliberately seek out tea for many different reasons. An alternative to plain filtered water. Hydration. Relaxation. Reading. Concentration. Warmth. Thought-provoking conversations. I no longer taint it with a heaping of sugar or artificial sweetener. I have become more knowledgeable of various flavor profiles teas offer. I drink hot tea mostly, only switching to iced during the toastiest days of the summer.

Governing one’s life through the claustrophobic guardrails of others’ expectations does not a pleasant experience make, I finally accepted. This is not to be misconstrued with ignoring trusted sources’ valuable advice or refusing to learn from others’ mistakes. Richie’s words were a reminder of a self-imposed call to action I heeded in June 2006 – stop wasting time, energy and money living up to expectations you had no role in setting.

Admittedly, I was an individual who considered those going “off the grid” as self-important wordsmiths. They are trying to make themselves sound so free and adventurous, I would judge. I had no acceptable reason to hold the phrase “off the grid” in contempt. I have learned along my journey of better contextualizing absolutes that different things have different meanings for different people – and it is okay! 

From the PCT, we could see Mount Thomson and Red Mountain.  The tops of both peaks were faintly hidden by clouds, yet Larry and I could fully appreciate the Cascade Range’s prominence. As we do while hiking along other trails, this specific spot along the PCT became of family photo shoot location. Closer to our elevation, moss covered rocks made for props and tabletops. I cannot further articulate the serenity and mindfulness arising from simply standing on the PCT and gazing at the landscape.

I always remembered my sister as being strong, funny, and resourceful.  When my sister would come home from college to visit, I could barely contain my excitement of her pulling into the driveway! This excitement was partly due to genuinely wanting to see her, hearing about her college and away-from-home stories. Her home visits were so welcoming because they ushered in a weekend of peace and quiet from my father.

A man publicly accused of sexual assault by three women — there may be more — was seated on the highest court in the land by 45 male and five female Senators. He faced accusations of repeated bouts of public intoxication, belligerence, and attempted rape as a young adult. Some of Dr. Blasey Ford’s worst critics probably see standing up to Brett Kavanaugh in her testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee as the epitome of selling out the white race – siding with them. How dare she not fall in line, they seethe.