Currently living/working in: December was dedicated to catching up to life administrative tasks and full of back-and-forth edits for Backpacker (my Spring Gear Guide Pole Reviews went through NINE passes). We purposely planned to have way fewer work projects these next few months while at our cabin in Alaska, a welcome break from the months of head-spinning hustle we just survived, but obviously not good for the wallet. With that being said, we won’t see the paychecks from this recent work until the spring, so it sort of works out?? #freelancerealities
Current mood: Recent life administrative tasks unfortunately put me in high anxiety mode this month!
Current confession: Which brings me to my current confession. I’ve been experiencing more and more bouts of anxiety, something I definitely correlate to hormones (sorry dudes). I am trying different methods to keep myself in working order, but this month, I put a lot of pressure on myself and felt extremely burdened. It didn’t help that the smallest of tasks took so much longer than they should have. I am a lover of to-do lists, and pride myself at being organized and a get-sh&%-done person, but there was a lot of unraveling this month and drowning in a river of panic, for probably no good reason. When I sit here now and think back to the things that seemed enormous in the moment, I shrug. #dramaqueen I still think this real-talk mental health is not something to ignore … so if you are struggling too, know you aren’t alone!
Currently thankful for: This is a repeat gratitude for our flexible work situation that affords me the availability to spend extended periods of time on the East Coast with my family. Everyone knows I do not love the tristate area, but love our family & friends that live here. Justin & I realize we have been spending—and will continue to spend—extended periods of time in NJ, just being more present for whatever. My mom & sister would say they don’t need me, but I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t use my free time to help where I can. And Justin deserves a gold star for encouraging me to allocate the time for all of that. We are selfish—I mean we bought a cabin in Alaska, the furthest away we could be—but we also know when to make a little sacrifice. So I feel accomplished about completing another NJ-specific task list tying up never-ending loose ends surrounding my dad’s death (i.e., finally cancelling my dad’s credit cards, one of those aforementioned list items that was way more involved than I ever imagined). Plus, it was nice to see lots of friends and family in between!
Currently worried about: My sister calls me all the time with reports of our stubborn mother. She forgot her inhaler. She never turns on lights and walks around in the dark. She doesn’t lock the doors. I leave most of that panicking to my sister, but I still realize she is alone and anything could happen. My mom is just about the most stubborn person you could meet, and will do what she wants no matter what we bellyache over. Case in point with this picture. She changes her drapes 4 times a year (so 1970s), but insists on using the arm of the chair and unstable end tables as her step stool, even though she owns several perfectly capable folding stools. OR, she could have easily asked ME to do it for her!!
Currently proud of: This lil blog is up for a “Best of the Rockies” award sponsored by Elevation Outdoors!!! Just being recognized in one of these blog contests is an honor in itself, as I labor over keeping the blog going. But I love it! I can’t believe how much my blog has grown and evolved during the past 11 years. While I don’t expect to win because I have some very stiff competition, here are instructions to vote for me! It is very simple—click on the link and scroll down to the “People” category, choose “Patrice and Justin La Vigne – Wanderinglavignes.com.” You can only vote once, but can vote on all your devices. Thank you in advance!
Currently excited about: Justin & I have been on a bit of a winning streak. It started when I won a piece of halibut at a craft fair in Alaska (#onlyinAlaska), then I split football pool winnings with 4 other people, then I won Jersey Mike’s subs at a Tricky Tray in NJ. Justin took first in one of his football pools (shared with a friend), second in another and won our Christmas “gift unboxing” contest at my sister’s house!
Currently not excited about: I truly did not think using our outhouse in Alaska was a big deal when we were there in Oct/Nov, but the lowest temperature we experienced was -3. I’m pretty sure -3 will be the new high. We are in route to Alaska today Dec. 26, and our 10-day forecast includes a range of -18 to -36. I know I willingly signed up for living in the arctic, but I am definitely a little frightened.
Current guilty pleasure: I finally made the switch from my 2012 MacBook Pro to my dad’s 2015 MacBook. I wrote last October about the slow death of my beloved MacBook Pro, and how I knew the doomsday was looming, but I couldn’t quite give up my 750 GB of internal hard drive space. When my dad passed, I coveted his 2015 MacBook. But then I let it sit. I finally decided no time like the present and got on the ball—mainly because my taped up power cord finally bit the dust and my choice was buy a new one for $45-100, or succumb to the computer switch. It only took 36 hours of headache-inducing googling and calls to Apple to switch ver (apparently the old-fashioned way of Migration Assistant is no longer; I only learned that 28 hours into the task). After all my resistance to change, I cannot believe how much faster my dad’s computer runs. And Justin sold mine on eBay for $250!!
Currently amazed by: One of my best friends (Sara) knew I’d be in NJ for an extended period of time and knew I love exercise classes, so she coaxed me to join her gym for Jazzercise classes. And they were having a holiday special—two weeks of unlimited classes for $20. A no brainer. I went so much during the 2 weeks, I ended up paying $2.22 per class! I love a good deal, but more importantly, self care and best friends.
Currently regretting: New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument has been upgraded to a national park (#62 to be exact). Justin visited it back in 2002, but for whatever reason we did not visit it when we LIVED in New Mexico (to be fair, it was at least 6 hours from us). I’m sure we’ll travel to Southeast NM at some point again.
Currently reading: Nada. That’s what cozy Alaskan cabins are for!!
Currently watching on Netflix: Also nada, but we’ve downloaded hoards of movies to watch in Alaska these next few months.
Great photos and evidence of your mom showing off her balancing skills! We missed you both in Colorado. Stay warm in Alaska!
We are still laughing at the “Justin sold the old one on eBay for $250”.
Kristens reply – “of course he did”
Thanks for the update! Lots of wonderful photos and such great writing. I’m glad the two of you could enjoy the holidays in NJ surrounded by family and friends. Stay warm and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Woot to making that CO list! I voted for you!
As for anxiety—so, now that we’re creeping up to that age, I keep seeing women who are hitting perimenopause talk about mood swings. So, maybe that’s what’s up? And now I’m totally afraid because anxiety has been my new friend since having Forest. booooo. Hugs, friend!
Have fun while back in Alaska—there’s a small piece of mail from us! 🙂
Enjoyed seeing all the pics. Happy New Year to you two!!