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39 years….WOW!

39. Thirty-nine years. As of today, that is the number of years that my parents have been married. I would say that is dang amazing!!! As with any relationship, they have had ups and downs but through it all, they have fought to keep their marriage strong and together.

Awww

Awww I love my folks 🙂

My parents were young college kids when they met and fell in love.  I won’t share all of the details but suffice it to say they had their own struggles with finances, as young couples often do, but they welcomed my older sister and me into the world and into a family that is one of the strongest units I have ever seen.

My parents were just 21 & 20 when they welcomed my sister and 24 when I rocketed onto the scene.  Can you imagine dealing with a very sick child who would have to undergo several surgeries while you were 24? Heck most 24 year olds are out partying it up, but not my folks…

First time for everything...including sushi!

First time for everything…including sushi!

My sister and I are beyond blessed to have our parents to look to for support, friendship, encouragement, and so much more. The four of us are tight as could be; my parents and sister are my best friends; they always will be.  The bond that we all share is all thanks to the love that we have experienced throughout our 30+ years on this planet.

Salzmann Christmas

I could write pages upon pages of ways that my parents helped me become the person I am today and how they are still there for me in every aspect, but instead I will simply say that I am beyond blessed and lucky to have two loving parents celebrating 39 years of marriage today!!!

Jamaica

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!!!

A move forward

FYI, this one is a bit personal 🙂

“Single”

The first definition of single in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “not having or including another.” But if you look a little further, something happens and you find this definition: “having no equal or like.”  I tend to like this second definition better.

As I look around the corner at 35 (eek yes, I just admitted my age for the entire world to see!), I find myself in the place of the first definition.  I had thought I would never again use this definition of single with respect to myself, but alas, with less than a month of 2015 under my belt, I am just that, single.

BUT, and this is a big one, as I see the true light of things begin to emerge and realize the betrayals of those in my past, I realize that I am not alone and am indeed not without another.  I have absolutely AMAZING family and friends, who have once again proven that they will be there for me through thick and thin alike.  So while I may not have a romantic partner, I have more “others” than I could’ve ever truly hoped for.

These are just some of the amazing people in my life

These are just some of the amazing people in my life

On top of all of that, I am beginning to once again see my individual, single worth.  I do have no equal or like because we are all different and special.  I had seemingly begun to lose that reality, but you better believe I have it back in full strength!

Sadness passes, hearts mend, and forgiveness comes. Along with those, acceptance begins; acceptance of the past and belief that the future will be amazing. As I say goodbye and move on from past things, I believe that 2015 will be an amazing year filled with adventure, happiness, peace, and forward movement!

My Dog-Boy

In a nod to National Dog Day, I thought I would do a short write-up about the boy who won my heart over seven years ago and still holds major control over it today. It all started with a trip to the Humane Society in Milwaukee, WI…

This somewhat silly looking, floppy-eared four month old mutt bounded towards me with excitement in his eyes; of course I soon found out that he (then named Fuzby) was more interested in tearing up the paper I was holding than playing with me…until I moved the paper away and those big brown eyes focused on me. I quickly decided to adopt him and save him from his silly name, so I renamed him Sydney and took him home.

Sydney with his pack

Sydney with his pack

Those first few years were a bit tumultuous for us as Sydney learned that eating windowsills was not a good thing and taking a quick solo janut to the nearby Culvers might land him in trouble. It was also an amazing time as we bonded, and I learned how to read his cues when he thought I was in trouble or didn’t like someone. I used to have a car magnet that said “Who rescued who?” and that couldn’t be truer of our relationship. I may have taken him home from the shelter, but during those first few years, he saved me in many ways.

As we transitioned from life in the Coast Guard and semi-regular visits to “the farm” to see Momma Sheri and Poppa Bruce, Sydney and I set out on our own adventure. Over the past 4 years, Syd has been my confidant, my adventure partner, and my best bud. He has helped me through heartbreak, loneliness, fear, and sadness. All it takes is a wag from his curled up tail and a look of playfulness in his eyes to make me forget my woes.

Syd & I at the summit of Harney Peak, 2012

Syd & I at the summit of Harney Peak, 2012

Last week, while Brian and I were away on vacation, Sydney (& Brian’s dog Pup) were left with a friend. Apparently Sydney, my little wandering adventurer, decided to escape the fenced in yard and go for a jog. Sadly, his jog took him into danger. I received a phone message saying that Sydney had been hit by a car with no further information. I immediately burst into tears thinking the worst and started hyperventilating at the thought of my boy hurt or worse; I was a major mess and wouldn’t have been able to do anything if it weren’t for Brian. He quickly had us listen to the second message which told us Sydney had been taken to his vet’s office. Brian took it from there and the next thing I know, Syd was going to be ok and would be having surgery the next day for a spiral fracture in the tibia of his hind left leg.

scary spiral fracture

scary spiral fracture

Dr. Moore and his staff at Cody Veterinary Hospital were amazing! They sent me pictures of Sydney’s broken leg pre and post-surgery and kept me updated on his progress.

Sydney a bit doped up post-surgery

Sydney a bit doped up post-surgery

When we returned from vacation this weekend, Dr. Moore made special arrangements by coming in on a Sunday just so I could take Sydney home.

He is resting and healing these days

He is resting and healing these days

My boy has a few months of recovery ahead of him, to include a second surgery to remove a rod in his leg, but before the end of the year, I will have my adventure buddy of seven years back out with me on the trails!

Looking forward to many more hikes!

Looking forward to many more hikes!

This past week has been a great reminder to me of just how important a role Sydney has played in my life since that early-July day in 2007 (& that I am lucky to be marrying the man I am!). I know my life wouldn’t be as full of love and happiness if I had not taken him home that day 🙂

The Rogue is forever in my heart

Every once in a while you are fortunate enough to have an experience that is so fantastic that it can take some time to really wrap your brain around it.  It can take time to put your thoughts and feelings into words which will truly express how profound of an experience you have had. 

We are the #OmniTen!! (picture courtesy of David Creech)

We are the #OmniTen!! (picture courtesy of David Creech)

As my fellow #Omniten friends began posting their write-ups on our awesomesauce (that’s just for you Krystl!) trip with Columbia Sportswear, I found myself flailing to find a way to express what the trip meant to me.  After almost a month, I have finally come to the point where I have found the right words:

THANK YOU!!

Thank you to the guides from Rogue Wilderness Adventures for being amazing, telling good jokes, sharing stories of flaming salmon spears, cooking superb food, and “allowing” us to jump off things when your backs were turned 😉

Thank you to the team from Columbia Sportswear.  Daniel, Krystl, Katie, Kristen, Mark, and Becca: You made the experience of rafting the Rogue River one I will truly never forget.  Not only do you do amazing work, but I am happy and proud to now call you my friends.

Day 1: Leaving the hotel, paddling lessons, I climbed rocks, we drank beers on inflatable couches, and Ducky Wars were born! (pictures courtesy of Columbia Sportswear and Mark Going

Day 1: Leaving the hotel, paddling lessons, I climbed rocks, we drank beers on inflatable couches, and Ducky Wars were born! (pictures courtesy of Columbia Sportswear and Mark Going)

Thank you to Columbia Sportswear for picking me to be a part of such a great adventure with amazing people and stunning views.  Thank you for allowing me to become a part of your #Omnifamily and for trusting me to be a part of your online reviewing team.  Thank you for the oodles of amazing gear.  Thank you for being the company that you are, focused on real people living everyday adventures in the name of #tryingstuff.

Day 2: Morning coffee, I can teach you how to Ducky, we saw bears, we made it through the "Coffeepot"!, and no campfires allowed, no problem (pictures courtesy of Columbia Sportswear and Mark Going)

Day 2: Morning coffee, I can teach you how to Ducky, we saw bears, we made it through the “Coffeepot”!, and no campfires allowed, no problem (pictures courtesy of Columbia Sportswear and Mark Going)

Thank you to my #Omniten family for reminding me that by taking chances, jumping off things, paddling through Class III rapids in a Ducky (inflatable kayak), creating Ducky Wars, and enjoying good ol’ camp shenanigans, I will always be me, a “fearless” woman 🙂

Day 3: No one wants to leave the river, we saw amazing sights, beer on the river for no reason :), I smiled A LOT, and Aleya lived the easy life (pictures courtesy of Columbia Sportswear and Mark Going)

Day 3: No one wanted to leave the river, we saw amazing sights, beer on the river no reason needed, I smiled A LOT, and Aleya lived the easy life (pictures courtesy of Columbia Sportswear and Mark Going)

My three days on the Rogue, as well as the time in Grants Pass with the entire crew, were full of memorable moments through which I believe I have strengthened and established lifelong friendships.  After all, isn’t that what #tryingstuff is all about?  Getting out of your normal comfort zone and doing something different is what it means to me…what does it mean to you?

Homeless dog finds love

This post is something completely new to my blog and something very dear to my heart.

My mom & hero :)

Meet my mom & hero

My mother has an amazing talent for creating stories for children that focus on animals.  As she has finally decided that she would like to try to pursue doing something with these stories and ideas, she is letting me put her very first one out to the world here.  I would love to help her make her dream become a reality because as you read below, you will see that she truly has talent.

Homeless dog finds love

It was early August that year.  I was hungry and thirsty as I was traveling along a back country road in Virginia.  A man in a dusty tan pickup truck stopped, picked me up, took me to a shelter for homeless dogs, so I could get some food and water.

There were so many dogs all sizes and colors at the homeless shelter, but not enough love from the people for all the dogs.  The caretakers put me in my own pen, gave me food & water, but I wanted so much more.  I wanted LOVE …..and a home and a family where love would surround me forever and ever.

I was starting to worry I would never find love

I was starting to worry I would never find love

Each day I waited in my pen while people came to see the dogs at the shelter.  The people would come to decide on who they wanted to take home.  After 3 weeks of no one wanting me, I was getting more shy & sad.

Then one day as I was sitting in my pen, a nice lady with bright red hair stopped to talk to me.  The lady told me I was a beautiful black girl.  She asked the caretaker if she could take me out of my pen.  Oh she smelt so good and her hands were so gentle against my fur.  As she stroked my fur, she looked into my sad brown eyes and asked if I wanted to go home with her.  I wagged my tail & gave her a happy smile, since I don’t do much talking.

I was very happy to meet this lady!

I was very happy to meet this lady!

On that day Fia, the petite black lab mix was introduced to Renee’s life and love.  Oh so much love came Fia’s way from Renee.

My new mommy even took me hiking!

My new mommy even took me hiking!

My life grew and grew with love and with great adventures.  Over weeks and months afterwards, I met my people family & my cousin Sydney.  I now had a family, a home, and love to surround me forever and ever.

My family loves me :)

My family loves me 🙂

Stay tuned for more of Fia’s adventures!!!

Ice climbing fun

I was super honored when I was contacted by a company as awesome as Sierra Trading Post about doing a guest post on their SocialHub.

As luck would have it, I was about to embark upon a new adventure, so I decided to do a write up for them about my “cool” experience 🙂

Check it out here: http://hub.sierratradingpost.com/ice-climbing-adventure/

Wishing you all many happypanda adventures!

A time for reflection

I try to keep my blogs upbeat and not focus on personal items or be overly reflective.  However, I would like to change that a bit, for today at least (normal upbeat post to resume tomorrow, haha).  Today, I would like to reflect a bit and say a huge THANK YOU to my sister and parents!!!

You see, today’s date is a very important date in my personal story.  Four years ago today I had the pleasure of beginning work as a part of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.  At the time, I was in the Coast Guard and was station in Milwaukee.  Luck was going my way when I was selected for a 4 ½ month position as a part of this very cool joint forces entity; my luck continued as I was able to live with my sister in Washington, D.C. during this assignment. 

Yep, I got to meet then President-elect Obama!

It was also during this same timeframe that I took the initial steps to save myself.  While I would surely still be alive had I not taken the actions that I did, I would likely not be the confident, outgoing, upbeat Kristie you all know and love (what you don’t love me?  Come on… 🙂).  You see, I had lost myself.  I didn’t realize it when I was in the situation, but those closest to me have since expressed the concern they had at the time as I was not my normal bubbly self.

Why you ask? Well as most of you know (and I would rather not get too deep into here), I was in a toxic environment (read: super bad marriage).

And now you ask why am I sharing this with you all?  I had a conversation with a very dear friend this weekend (& it was crazy timing to coincide w/this date!).  He said something that made me reflect deeply.  If you still hold anger and hatred towards a person (be it an ex-husband, ex-friend, etc.), you are not truly over the person or the situation.  I realized that while I hate what my ex did to me and how I allowed myself to lose my true self for a few years, I no longer hate my ex…don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to ever see or speak to him again, but I no longer wish him the pain and other horrible things that I once did.

I have learned and moved on from my past.  I am happy that I have become the woman that I am today.  Instead of holding hatred and anger in my heart, I have replaced it with happiness and love.  So I guess my “after school special” lesson here is to learn from your past but don’t let it define your future. 

I know it sounds cliché, but when I hit the bottom, my parents and sister were there to pick me up, help dust me off, and will always be there to help me move forward as my biggest fans.  Mom, Dad, and Nee…thank you, I love you, and I will never be able to fully express how your love saved me.

My family 🙂