Susan WonderStone's Blog

May 26, 2011, 1:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I hiked to the top of Mt Si for my weekend adventure this week.  Lots to tell about the hike, but one thing sticks out the most.  Just after reaching the top, before taking pictures and really taking in the view, my phone rang.  I recognized it as a school district phone number.  It was 3:23pm.  My kid is in track after school.  I answered the phone.  It was the school nurse.  My heart rate went up.  She asked if I was sitting down.  “No”, I answered. She asked if I was driving. “No”, I answered.  So many things were going through my mind.  Did he biff the hurdle and break an arm?  A leg?  Bleeding from road rash?  A head injury?  I was 50 miles away from the school, 4,200 feet elevation to descend over 4 miles to the parking lot.   I couldn’t do anything from where I was.  I asked her what was going on. 

She proceeded to tell me that often times in the class after lunch, my kid has to hurry out of class to go to the bathroom.  “Really?” I asked, hopefully in a sarcastic tone.  I told her he probably has to poop.  She wanted to know if he had medical problems that would cause this.  I was wondering if this was a prank…was I getting Punk’d? Was she looking for a “diagnosis” to put in his permanent school record? 
I’m thinking she’s calling to tell me my kid is hurt, but she’s only calling to tell me he poops after lunch.  I told her I’ve taught him that when he has to go, he needs to go.  I was a little dumbfounded I was getting a call telling me my kid poops.  I’m pretty sure all healthy babies poop shortly after they eat.  Every time they eat.  Somewhere along the way, someone has told them they have to wait.  The longer you wait to take out the garbage, the more it stinks.  A healthy digestive system eliminates on a regular basis.
  I told him he has my permission to poop in the garbage can if he’s ever told he can’t go when he needs to.  Not sure if I need to alert the school or let them find out on their own. 

Skydiving Comeback
May 20, 2011, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Inspiration

Tuesday morning at a meeting, someone picked a card that said “take risks”.  I thought about how the risks I take affect the people around me.  I’ve often thought about how Cameron feels about the things I do…especially the “out of the box” things.  I won’t go into details, but most of you already know I don’t fit into any box.  Nothing about me is “normal”.  I’m okay with that.  I love the things I do.  I love my life the way I’ve created it.  Okay, so there are a few things I think about changing, but sometimes wonder if I really want them different. 

Someone said they always think about their family and how they would be affected if the risk didn’t work out.  I wonder about how those around me will be if I’m no longer around, or worse – incapacitated.  But my bigger question seems to be…How does it affect them if I don’t take risks?  How does it affect me if I don’t take risks?  After the 10 minute conversation, I said “I think I’m going to jump tomorrow”.  Where did that come from?   I don’t know if I said it to get them to talk me out of it or to support my almost decision.  I’ve been out to the drop zone several times in the last 2 months.  Every time, I understand the symptoms people talk about when they’re experiencing an anxiety attack.  My heart rate went up, I had sweat dripping from my hair into my face and everywhere else.   I had difficulty breathing normally.  Why would I think I was ready to jump again?  I’m shaking as I write this.  I’ve often thought about the look on Cameron’s face when he got to the hospital when I crashed and broke my back after my last jump.  Poor judgment on my part paired with an unexpected wind. What if it happens again?  I’ve thought about how mom lost 6 weeks of her life, taking care of me so I wouldn’t be put in a nursing home.  So many what ifs! 

My chiropractor said I had his permission to jump.  Not sure if it was because he thought he could help put me back together if I got hurt or because he believed I wouldn’t.  Someone else told me to have fun.  Nobody tried to talk me out of it.  They were all in my life 4 years ago when I had my accident.  Hmm.  My roommate had 2 jumps scheduled on Wed. I knew I was going to go to the drop zone to watch him, but still was unsure if I was going to jump.  I called a couple friends who I knew wouldn’t try to talk me out of it and told them what I was going to do.  I texted another friend, knowing he was working and probably wouldn’t text me back regardless of what he thought.  I know many, many people who would not only try to talk me out of it, but would have a lot of negative comments.  I didn’t need that.  I was so scared, but felt like I needed to jump.  As I approached the airport, 4 skydivers were drifting toward the ground.  I had a huge grin on my face.  I leaned up to look in the mirror to check and see if I was really smiling that big.  I was.  How could this be so wrong if I was so excited?! I got to the drop zone.  I saw a few people I knew.  Tyson was at the desk.  I asked him “Is today my day?”  We both had huge grins. He said “I don’t know, is it?”  I told him I think so.  He wanted me to make sure I was ready.  At first I told him I wanted to go to the east field to watch the next group of jumpers, then decided I was as ready as I would ever be.   I filled out the paperwork with all the waivers.  They have names of many property owners in the area included in the “hold harmless” section. After the accident in 07, the insurance company contacted me several times wanting to know who’s property the accident occurred on.  I had no idea who owned the property, and really didn’t care, but still have a very clear picture in my mind of the blackberry bushes and the dirt road I hit.  I’ll refrain from an insurance company tangent. 

I watched the next load at the east field.  Everyone did great.  Beautiful in the sky and they all landed like graceful birds.  I was just going to have enough time to get back before my class started.  Not much time to get more nervous, but enough.  Cameron was texting me about his track meet. I was responding, but didn’t tell him where I was or what I was doing.  Over the last 3 years, he’s gotten nervous every time I tell him I’m going to Snohomish.  He knew I would jump again.

Back at the airport… It was time to start the video. Tyson caught me texting and told me to pay attention. Probably a good idea! I was excited, but starting to sweat. I popped another Rescue Remedy gummy, hoping it would calm me down a little. Knowing how experienced the instructors are put me at ease, kinda. I was a little concerned that if they paired me with Jordan, that he would be nervous remembering my last jump. He was my static line instructor the day of my accident. It didn’t have anything to do with him, but he came to the hospital and I know he remembered. At the same time, I hoped it would be him and that we would have an amazing experience – ending with a perfect landing.

Sure enough. Jordan called me over to put on my suit. It was time. I quickly got dressed. He got the parachute on. I was getting the video, so he asked me a couple questions and we started toward the caravan. I wasn’t as freaked out as I was before getting to the airport. Nor as scared as I was on my first jump and my first static line. I climbed in the plane and sat where I was supposed to. We were all loaded in about a minute. I took a picture of everyone inside the plane and was posting it on facebook when I realized Jordan was videotaping and reading my post. I don’t think I appeared scared, but on the inside…I was! I don’t know if I would ever think “hey, it seems like a good idea to get in an airplane, go to 13,000 feet, and jump out” I took a few more pictures, laughed a lot and tried to calm myself about what I was about to willingly do. That huge grin is plastered on my face as I write this. When everyone yelled “DOOR” I knew it was almost time. 8 got out over the east field, and we and another tandem were headed to the airport. They got out first. As Jordan and I scooted toward the door, I realized I wasn’t scared. I don’t know why. He reminded me to wrap my legs under the plane and lean my head back on his shoulder. I did. Although I tried really hard to put my legs straight back, the 80mph speed of the plane forced them to my left. He yelled “arch” for me to arch my back. Thank you Dr Geier for putting flexible plastic rods in my back so I can still arch. We arched and were out the door. I really don’t know how to explain how it feels to see the ground so far below, be thousands of feet over the top of the nearby mountains, what appeared to be eye level with the top of Mt Rainier – almost, and out the door. The wind is so loud. The feeling of speed, not falling. At first, we seemed to be upside down. I knew he would get us in the right position. He did. They told me to occasionally look at the camera, but I guess I forgot. I was busy looking at everything I could look at. The mountains I hike and other people ski, the water I kayak in, the islands, the beautiful Pacific Northwest. It’s not the same as looking at it out an airplane window or seeing pictures. The sights, the sounds, the feelings, both physical and mental – the emotional came several hours later. Nobody could ever describe my experience for me to understand it without actually doing it. Speaking of doing it, I don’t think that can be fully described either. I don’t think it’s possible to understand how big God is, how small we are, and how small every problem can seem when you’re free falling towards the ground…or river…at 120mph, or however fast we were going. When the parachute opened, it was completely different. We could have done some crazy stuff, but he knew I wasn’t ready for that. He did offer to let me fly it, but not wanting to have any responsibility, I declined. We looked at the landscape from all directions. It was amazing! I kept seeing the river directly below us and remembered in my static line class they told us to look at where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. (This holds true in all areas of life!) I didn’t want to influence where we landed, so I quickly stopped looking at the river. As we got closer to the airport, the fear returned. I knew he knew what he was doing, but remembered about the altitude I was when I realized I was in trouble the last time. I was later told I stiffened up and straightened my legs. Immediately, one of my angels reminded me of the tandem where the student had her legs straight and ended up breaking one. I knew he would tell me when to lift my legs. I did what he said. Perfect landing! So many thoughts and emotions have run through me since we got back to the ground. My adrenaline high lasted about 48 hours. I’m exhausted right now.

I never regret the things I’ve done…only the things I haven’t done. Life is good!

Love, gratitude and blessings


response to Kathy…the sun go down
May 3, 2011, 2:23 pm
Filed under: coaching

I’ve been guilty of distracted driving several times I’m aware of and who knows how many I’m not.  By the way, driving home from the vet when putting down a family member should probably involve a designated driver.  Last night, I was thinking about how different people react to different events in their lives.  We all have the opportunity to let things go and learn from them, or become a victim and let it run us.  Yesterday, I listened to a lady cry about how her daughter wouldn’t help her when she needed a place to stay.  She was telling me how hurt and betrayed she felt. How her family had disowned her…..I didn’t ask her how she treated them before she needed help, but that doesn’t matter.  She chose to be hurt instead of moving forward.  Her anger and bitterness toward her family-  that probably started with little irritations,  has manifested itself into psychological problems, making her unable to function in society.  I believe she had the choice to find another way.  She may be too far gone to change it now, I don’t know. Find the blessings every moment of every day.  Let the little things go…and if you just can’t see them as “little”…jump out of a plane.  It puts things into perspective!

Love, gratitude and blessings,