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My name is Jel. I am 24 and counting. Starting a blog is just another step in what I have been calling “The Year of Jel”. Continue reading “Hello!”

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A Day In Nature

   This Sunday was spent in nature and it was honestly so nice. A friend and I left around 9 headed for northern Indiana to Turkey Run State Park. The drive isn’t long but it is all at the same time. Which was nice, it gave us time to talk about anything and everything. We complained about ignorant people, swapped work stories, and whatever else popped into our heads. It was a nice way to distract ourselves as we drove through Indiana countryside and small towns.

      Finally, we reach Turkey Run Park. We pay our fee, receive our maps, and make our way in to park. A quick swing by the bathrooms and a spray of sunscreen later and we are on our way. We hit a couple of false starts before heading in the same direction as several other groups of hikers. Down 70 stairs (as a small child later informed us) to the suspension bridge and our adventure was started. 

    We found trail three and started off. Trail three is set in an old riverbed and involves climbing of all sorts. There were several families there with small children and I was absolutely amazed by their abilities to keep up. They climbed over rocks and logs more than half their height. Plunged through water that reached up almost to their waists. And yet nothing deterred them, none of them slowed or lost their way. While we two almost 25 year old adults picked less harrowing paths or jokingly complained about the water in our shoes. 

   The path split several times but we continued on our way that would take us to the more rugged parts. We climbed up small waterfall after small waterfall. Up natural steps worn in the wall with footholds just big enough for us to step. Next came a sign declaring we were close to the Punch Bowl.

    The Punch Bowl was a small waterfall that fell into a shallow pool. There was a small cave offset to the right side that the family we had followed wandered in to. A photographer sat off on a stone bench nearby snapping pictures while we turned around to continue on the trail. Down the riverbed we went. Through the mud and across the rocks we wove a path that others had carved before us. Occasionally we stopped to take pictures of the beautiful sights surrounding us.

    Onward we went. We finally reached some stairs that carved a path upward at the end of the river. So up we went and went and went. At the top we paused to catch our breath and drink some water. Afterwards we continued on and found more stairs. Some wooden, some stone mostly they were the most taxing part of the hike. After what felt like a constant up and down battle we reached the ladder part of the hike. My friend bravely climbed down the ladder and I took the small path carved in the side of the hill. Both of us took our time and it was slow going. By the end we both were covered in mud and decided it would be better to take trail five instead of attempting the other ladders.

      Trail five was less intense than trail three except for one small factor. The 140 steps. Don’t get me wrong stairs don’t bother me but by the time we reached the 140 we’d already climbed up and down several sets. Not to mention the river bed we had previously climbed through. So by the time the 140 came up we both were a bit less than thrilled, me more so than her. Yet we persisted. We paused a little over half way at a bench and took a water break. Two guys coming from the top smiled and jokingly said, “Its easier going down”. We laughed and agreed easily. They asked if we were headed for trail nine which quickly denied and said we were heading for five. Off they went on their way and up we went on ours. Now I’m not gonna lie at the top I definitely felt like doing the Rocky happy dance, or at least sing some Eye of the Tiger. 

     Trail five wound through the woods and was a gentle slope downward the whole way. We followed the path knowing eventually we’d hit trail three again. Which would ultimately lead to the bridge and back to the car. Except it didn’t. We were close. We could see the river but we had just ended up at the Ice Box which is where the ladders we avoided led to. We searched for a path a bit frustrated that we had miscalculated exactly where we were. Finally, a galnce upward revealed the path we needed and up we went.

      This part of five led us up and down for a bit until we reached non-stair path. The view of the river was now constant and we finally hit back on trail three again.  The end was so close we could taste. The sightings of chipmunks briefly disteacted us but soon we were back on our way. A brief stop for my friend to stretch and loosen up some before the final bit of trail. Now the bridge was in sight and we were slowly regaining speed. Our trek was over and we were tired and happy.

   Once back in the cool car we were on our way back home. Both a little tired, not really talking. Suddenly the hunger set in and we stopped by a McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. Energy mildly regained we were back to talkative and the ride home went by quickly. All in all it was a fun day that didn’t involve technology or us lazing about or getting food or drinking. It was a nice break from what had become the norm for us when we hang out. Although next time we hang out I did promise her it was gonna be nice and lazy. 

New Year, new me?

I don’t often make resolutions. It’s just not my thing. But this time is different. I started 2016 with a lot of mixed feelings. Heart break. Depression. Anger. So much wasn’t happening and I just felt like I was slowly limping along. On the last day of such a hellish year though I feel prepared. I feel ready to take on anyone and anything. This is going to be my year of accomplishments. My year to finally become me. I have a few major goals but it’s the minor goals that’ll really make the difference.

2016 was my year of me. It was about getting back to a mentally and emotionally stable place. I made a year long bucket list of stuff to help get me there. Simple stuff like buy yourself that thing you want, spend more time with your friends, write, etc. There’s a few things left on there and still time to finish them but you get the idea. This year has turned into one of such happiness that I don’t even recognize who I was at the start. That feeling of accomplishment is what I want to carry into 2017. I want to continue on this path of improvement.

Thus my goals are simple and few. Get a new job, don’t get me wrong I love my current job (something I haven’t experienced in years) but I need something permanent. Save money, this is the big one. And finally just get out there, I need to stop being such a homebody. I am 24 years old and single. My life is wasted spent at home playing games on my phone and watching trash TV. Hopefully I’ll be able to meet these few goals during 2017 and set myself up for an even better 2018.

Trees, toast, and giggles

Sunday’s don’t tend to be my favorite day or anyone’s really. But this Sunday will probably be my favorite day this week. It technically started Saturday night with a sleepover and Christmas movies. Two animated favorites and a classic. Which slowly dissolved into dozing off on the couch and being startled awake by a cat’s pounce. 

Sunday morning dawned gray and bitterly cold. Getting dressed happened quickly between the petting of cats. Shortly we headed out and made our way downtown. Of course we then proceeded to venture around and around looking for parking because it was game day. But finally we found a spot and set out to hunt for food. Soon after we sat, warm drinks were ordered and menus poured over in search of food. I ordered french toast that was the best I’d ever had. Smothered in blueberry compote, granola, and strawberries. I’m drooling now just thinking about it.

Next we took the round about route to the Indiana Historical Society. Of course what could have been a small little wander about turned into a rather long, work off breakfast walk. But we got there and it could not have been anymore magical walking in. There were four gorgeous trees just in the room where the reception desk is. Decorated in gorgeous colors. The hallway lead to the main gallery that was filled with trees and a birthday setup for Indiana. We strolled around taking in all the beautifully decorated trees. Each with its own theme. After a difficult elevator trip, in which we ended up on every floor except the one we want. We reached the second and third floors. Each tree more amazing than the last. After it was all said and done we voted for our favorite trees. Which in a few weeks the winner will be revealed and I can’t wait to see it.

To see more trees check out my vlog of the day: https://youtu.be/0j2YTlcBOxM

Jingle Rails

Yesterday was one of those days that I started out hating and ended up loving with my whole heart. It was a typical Thursday at work maybe just a little slower. I suppose the anticipation of the rest of the day could have made it seem so but the slowness was killing me. Finally two o’clock hit and I was out of there.

The Eiteljorg Musuem’ s holiday exhibit this year was called Jingle Rails. It was filled with trains, National Monuments, and Indiana Monuments. All of the monuments were made out if wood or various tree bits and we’re the coolest things ever (check out the pictures at the end of this to see). They had a mini Old Faithful that steamed and went off just like the actual geyser. Tipis that had fake fires glowing from the inside. Totem poles that were detailed beautifully. My friend and I absolutely loved it and her little boy enjoyed it twice as much as we did. Not to mention it made my heart so happy to see all those trains. It reminded me so much of my great grandpa and I just know he would have loved seeing it.

Hectic Times

I am weeks late in finally posting but frankly everything has been a blur. The election was heartbreaking. Threw a baby sprinkle with only 24hrs prep. Now it’s almost Thanksgiving. Where has November gone? I blinked and it’s almost ended. Normally I hate this time of year (working retail does that to you) but for once I wanted to enjoy it. Bask in all the fall things. Instead I missed out. Now I’m planning Christmas things back to back in hopes that I won’t miss anything else. No more blinking. 

   As a quick sidenote: what’s everyone’s favorite winter activity? I’m looking for ideas. I actually want to spend time outside doing things. I want to go places with people. My goal is to be constantly doing wintery good stuff with my favorite people. The first of this wintery goodness is plans to go see the Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg. I am so excited! Soon to follow that is a trip to see the Festival of Trees at the historic society. Not to mention Friendsmas! So many exciting things to do before heading south for Christmas. Expect tons of adventure posts incoming.

Time to take care of me

I spend a decent amount of my time doing things for others. Frankly I love it. But I’ve also reached that overextended point and time. September flew by. A vacation ended and it was right back to work. Plus the planning of a bridal shower. Fast forward to October and it’s Halloween everything and more work. Now it’s November 7th and I already feel like I’m a month behind.  All I’m trying to do is plan a very tiny baby sprinkle. Nothing big, nothing complicated. Just easy. Yet my anxiety and need to make everything the best have kicked into overdrive. 

   After Christmas I am going to be all about me. I am going to finally fix my room. Finish unpacking, since we’ve lived here for two years, and hang up the rest of my frames. Clean my room too. Because it continues to look like a tornado went off in there. Buy furniture that makes sense for my age/needs. And a mattress. An actual queen sized mattress. These are the biggest needs I have.

   Second, I’m going to need to take care of me. Take more time out to do what I want. To not feel guilty when I buy myself soemthing. Yet also save money and feel wise about it. For once I just need to take time out for me. I need to be selfish. Say no when I don’t want to do something with out that guilty feeling later. Speak my mind and be heard. Because I deserve this.

Costumes, costumes everywhere

Let it be no surprise but, I am a rather big fan of Halloween. Especially costumes. Always have been. When I was a kid my mom made them and a few years I’ve made my own. Some years it’s not what I started out shooting for but I always nail it in the end. I’ve never repeated a costume and for those of you about to point out that the same costume is worn twice above there was a different theme.

This year the annual Halloween party was at my house. There was food and scary movies galore. Not to mention memorable costumes. From onesies to Whovians to dead creepy. Games were played. Laughs were had. And an inside joke was made that’ll last awhile. All in all it was a blast. I had hoped for more people but there’s only so much one can do.

Our house, as per usual, was decorated to the nines. Receiving tons of compliments and pictures taken. Not to mention I really enjoy how it looks when it’s decorated. It just looks so awesome and magical. I wish it could be this way all the time. Can’t Halloweentown be a real thing?

(Sorry I’m a day late but I was busy passing out candy yesterday.) Hope your Halloweens were magical.

Scared Silly

Haunted houses are always abundant this time of year and the perfect way to get a little scared. So this past weekend a friend and I went out with that very intent in mind. We started with Chinese food to end a craving. Then as soon as the sun started to set we headed for the scares.

Hanna Haunted Acres has five different attractions. We made it through three. After all it was just the two of us and we made easy targets. We got there right before it got busy and made it trough the first attraction in no time. 

The line for Outbreak wasn’t long but the screams and noises from inside were definitely fear inducing. My heart started racing before we even made it up to the ticket taker. We got grouped together with a man and his faughters, who we promptly let go first. As we wandered through the lab into the morgue zombies of all kinds popped out. Following us asking for brains. Getting right in my friend’s face asking if her brains were tasty. On we went through a destroyed ambulance all the way to a fork in the road. We went left and survived the outbreak and the thrills with a few screams here and there. 

    Next we decided to try Carnevil next. Which gives away what haunts this haunt. Clowns, moving walls, and blacklights gave this an altogether kooky and spooky vibe. Everything moved and you had wear glasses. Not to mention all the clowns that popped out and called out to you. My friend probably hated that one the most since she hates clowns.

    To end our night we went on the Haunted Hayride which is a favorite of mine. It’s not the scariest but it definitely has its moments. Not to mention your fellow riders help make it better or worse. This year was amazing. Not only were there parts where you couldn’t tell if it was a dummy or actor but the people riding with us were hilarious. I think the hayride is my favorite because they climb up on the wagon with you. Not to mention they get as close to you as possible without touching you. But the people we rode with were scared silly and talking back to the actors like crazy. After the one actor got up on the wagon with us he got as close to the girl next to my friend as physical possible without touching. She was screaming and practically laying down. Then after he got back off the wagon she yelled after him, “Yea that’s right. I’m gonna come back for you when you’re sleeping.” Which caused him to pop up again right behind her. And cue the screams. It was just so much fun.

I definitely can’t wait for next year. Especially the potential to be scared bigger and better.

Halloween Time

This is my favorite time of year. Hands down. Everything from candy corn and caramel apples to haunted houses and decorations. I love it all. Not to mention all the scary movies that you can watch are always on. If I could I’d celebrate it more than once a year. 

    Since I’ve got the next several days off I plan on decorating my house. I’m going a bit more all out this year. Bigger is better after all. Ordered more spiderwebs. Got more bones and tombstones to help flesh out our “graveyard”. Now I just need more spiders and goods to further make everything spooky. I am so ready to make my house haunted and spookified. 

     The next step is to make my costume in preparations for our annual Halloween “party”. I am actually pretty excited about this year’s costume. I’ve decided to be Mabel from Gravity Falls this year. In her light-up Mabel sweater. Last year’s costume was a bit time consuming so I figured this year’s should be a bit easier. I’m hoping that at least a few people get it. Not many people I know watch the show so I’m a bit worried about it. Otherwise I’m really looking forward to it.

    And I think my next favorite thing for this year is going to be baking. As soon as October hits I get the baking bug like no other. So I’m planning on making witch brew brownies, tombstone cupcakes, a cookie haunted house, and so much more. Everyone is going to be so tired of all my baking that they’ll never what a baked goo ever again. 

(Sorry this is a few days late.)

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