Life Lesson #457: Be Flexible…

St Mary Lake - Mammoth Lakes, California

You would think I would have learned by now, but noooooo… I never do. If I post in advance about my plans, my plans never turn out that way. Oops.

I thought I was going to make it to Death Valley by last night. This trip has taught me though that sometimes, I just need to be flexible. Things will work out the way they are meant to be.

I was in Mammoth Lakes, so I did need to actually SEE the lakes before I left town. I drove up to St Mary Lake, took the photograph above, and then savored the view from the toasty warmth of my car. I didn’t drive beyond the first lake to see the others as the road had not been plowed. Then I went back down the mountain and off to Bishop, California.

Fall Colors in Bishop, California

While I was up at the lake, another storm had come in, so the rest of my afternoon was spent mostly under clouds. The fall colors in Bishop were stunning though, and I couldn’t resist their charm.

Then it was off to the south, with the intention of still making it to Whitney Portal. Until I saw the sign. “Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest” – just off to the left. I had forgotten that the oldest trees in the world are right here in California. Trees as old as 4750 years old.

How could I pass up seeing the oldest living trees? You’re right. I couldn’t. So I headed up in to the White Mountains.

It was sunny when I turned on the highway to get there. As I started to go up in elevation, the sun left and the clouds took over. By 7000 feet, there was light snow coming down, although it wasn’t staying on the road. By 9000 feet, the snow was thick and heavy. Beautiful fluffy snowflakes, with patches of it gathering roadside. I was within 2 miles of the forest, and by that point I was not turning back. I went as far as the visitor’s center parking lot. I saw the trees that are right there, but I did not go on a hike to see the Methuselah Grove where the Methuselah tree is – 4750 years old. I didn’t see the oldest tree in the world, but it was still amazing to see these ancient trees.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Inyo Forest

I did not stay for long though, as I knew the snow was picking up, and I wanted to get down off the mountain.

White Mountains at the Start of Sunset

The sun was just starting to set over the White Mountains to the east and the Sierras to the west. I drove on to Lone Pine, California to spend the night. Today, I will be heading off to Whitney Portal, which is about 15 minutes away. Then on to the Lone Pine Film History Museum and off to Death Valley.

My plans may have not turned out as expected, but I have no regrets. Being flexible allows me to experience some truly incredible things.

Sunset over White Mountains and Sierras, California

The Highest Highs and the Lowest Lows…

After being stuck in Mammoth Lakes, California for a day thanks to a lot of snow, I’m about to head out back on the road towards home. I lucked out on Sunday night when I stopped to find a hotel; the wind was picking up – eventually raging with gusts of 60-75 mph, which I dubbed a snowicane – and I didn’t want to drive in the dark. The internet led me to Juniper Springs Lodge here in Mammoth Lakes, and it was perfect for watching the snow come down. My hotel room turned out to be a small apartment, complete with a full kitchen including the best food processor from the breville bfp800xl review, a living room area with a fireplace, a wonderful and much needed hot shower, and a comfortable king size bed. The staff was so friendly, they even offered to take me down to the Vons grocery store in town to get groceries, since when I don’t I always look online for a places to eat near me. (I had my “camping food” with me, but I was craving fresh veggies that I could roast!) The roads were covered in snow, and it was still coming down quite heavily, so I gladly accepted the ride!

Juniper Springs Covered in Snow

My patio view as the snow came down.

Juniper Springs Lodge - Sunshine!

My view now that the snow has stopped and the clouds have parted.

Today I will see the highest point in the lower 48 states, Mount Whitney. 14,505 feet up to the top, not that I’m climbing it! I do plan to drive up to the Whitney Portal if the road is open. Then a short time later, I’ll be in Death Valley and at the lowest point, 282 feet BELOW sea level. So crazy that these two places are maybe 100 miles apart.

I’m most likely camping in Death Valley — no, I will not DIE, in spite of the name. Not sure how my body is going to react after a week at 6000-8000 feet of elevation to be back at or below sea level so suddenly. I have a long list of places to see there, and I’ve been told repeatedly how gorgeous it is, so I can’t wait!

Things You Should Know Thursdays – My “Wedding” Rings…

My "wedding" ringsI have a confession: if you’ve seen me wearing my wedding ring within the past 5 years, you did not see my real wedding ring.

Matter of fact, you saw a Sterling Silver & Cubic Zirconia ring, which cost me a whopping $45 on Overstock.com. (The price has dropped since then, you can get it for a bargain price of $35 on Overstock now.)

When Mike & I got married, my wedding ring was a perfect fit, but too small if my fingers swelled at all. Then I gained 5-10 pounds, and it was really tight. Then I gained another 10 pounds thanks to medicine I was prescribed (ugh, that was a FUN time). I refused to resize my wedding ring though – I was going to lose the weight. I wore no ring for a year or two.

Then I started photographing weddings. When you first get engaged, you look at EVERYONE else’s ring. Everyone. Imagine meeting with a wedding photographer who wore no wedding ring while talking about her husband? It raised a few eyebrows. I didn’t want to resize my real rings though because I really, really was going to lose that weight. I’d make excuses at client meetings, but it always felt weird to not have a ring on.

I started looking at fake rings to act as a stand-in. I found some gorgeous pearl rings from dest PearlsOnly.com that I liked. I had a fancy $10 one from a local box store, until the metal wore off of it. I went to Overstock to start looking at Cubic Zirconia rings. I picked one out and ordered it, and just like that I had a “wedding” ring again.

The most awkward moment? When I told one of my brides, who I knew had a ring from Tiffany’s in New York – where he proposed to her on one knee and all, that her ring was STUNNING. He looked at me and said, “Yes, but it isn’t as nice as YOURS. Yours is so beautiful!”

I mean, what do you do? Admit to him that it is a $45 ring? No. I just graciously said thank you and moved the conversation to a new topic.

People comment on them all the time. Sometimes I tell them, other times I don’t. Like the hair stylist who told me she wished her husband would buy her a ring like mine? I told her to do what I did and go buy it herself!

Now I’ve lost the weight. My wedding rings fit. In the years that passed, I’ve learned about conflict diamonds, and about why diamonds are a sham — the whole “they are rare” thing is hyped up thanks to DeBeers, not reality.

My “real” wedding rings no longer feel like my rings.

I feel weird wearing my real rings. Especially because out of the 9+ years Mike & I have been married, I wore them for a year or two, but I wore my “fake” ring for over 5 years now. It is the ring I’m used to seeing on my hand, not the other one.

A ring is a ring. The marriage is what matters. I felt the need to come clean though and confess that you’ve likely never seen my “real” wedding ring. Maybe one of these days I’ll take it back out and start wearing it again. Or maybe for our 10th anniversary, I’ll ask Mike if we can make a pair of earrings and a pendant out of it. It is a shame for it to just be sitting in a box. For now, on the road? It is nice knowing that if I lose my rings, it isn’t really much of a loss at all. Now that I know that a new set would only be $35, I might order one in my new size – the current set is huge on me!

Things You Should Know Thursdays – #TYSKT – were inspired by a prompt on Vivid & Brave, a coaching program for creative women who blog.

I’m Camping Today — and there is no Tent! I’m at Camp Mighty!

Heading to Camp Mighty

I’m camping today – at Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, and just being on the property made the stress of that never-ending road trip melted away quickly. I made it to my room, and spent a delightful evening with my roommate, Elizabeth of Flourish in Progress. She also told me refer to www.subconsciousmindpowertechniques.com to relieve my stress.

Now we are off to a day full of Camp Mighty goodness, and not a single tent is involved! (Mine is in the trunk of my Mini Cooper which is parked nearby in case I need it. You never know, there could be a tent-requiring emergency!) I can’t wait to share what I learn and plan for the future and making things happen on my Life List!

Things You Should Know Thursdays – Pedicures. Always.

Pedicures. Always. Things You Should Know Thursdays

Pedicures are essential. Always. I don’t care if my fingernails are polished, but toenails must be polished at all times — and I refuse to do it myself.

I even got a pedicure in North Dakota before I went camping in Montana this summer.

My favorite colors these days are dark purples, or rich reds. A blue red, not a cherry red. Yesterday I went with the manicure as well – so everything is a lovely dark purple. Essie’s Sexy Divide, for those who are curious.

Things You Should Know Thursdays – #TYSKT – is inspired by the journal posts that are part of Vivid & Brave. Join us and share something we should know about you!