Tag Archives: travel

In the Pink – Red Faced Part 2

I like to say my vacation in Texas was pure joy. In some ways the time was heavenly, but…

An infection raging on the tip of my nose, cast an unsightly, frustrating, painful shadow on the long-anticipated departure. I’m not exaggerating, the slightest twitch, sniffle or sneeze sent painful shock waves radiating across what must have been the entire room or vehicle.

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When I arrived late on Thursday, SecondBorn was pre-occupied navigating the back roads from Austin. If he noticed my extra makeup, he didn’t let on. Still, my apex nasi throbbed. Even as we rode I prayed for a quick, miraculous healing.

“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8 9 (NLT)

That first evening seemed to fly by for us all. Pretty sure nobody was any wiser about my misery, I had a good cry in a hot shower. Later as I drifted off to sleep I remember wondering if it was something I said, or maybe something I didn’t say brought on this painful and obvious infirmity. Then sleep took over.

**

The next day checking in at the grade school office, if anyone noticed my nose the secret remained safe. Surprising my grand children and their friends with lunch together satisfied an old longing. By the time classes resumed I was so elated I forgot to look in the mirror.

AlmostSixYearOld can easily charm sugar from an ant. EightYearOld has nearly changed my mind about Ten-Year-Old-Boys being God’s perfect creation. For the next two days we played, explored, and streamed texts and photos with cousins in Illinois making everything seem even more fun.

Soon the heat flow had subsided, pain turned to discomfort, the vivid colors began fading and unless affronted by mirrors, I forgot about my nose. After full, active days, with everyone tucked snugly into bed, I thanked God for the rare, amazing contentment I had been experiencing. For a while I stopped wondering how the world elsewhere spun without me.

I swear the room immediately began to glow and the most delightful, perfectly conditioned warmth filled the space. One of the first Bible lessons I got my head around came to mind:

“…I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, [becoming uglified] and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NLT)

God only knows why the infection happened when it did.  Sisters and I could joke about it for days, but reality check: my family and friends care that I’m healthy and happy – not about how I look.

I also like to believe they understand that whenever I finally show up God made it happen.

 

*Image courtesy ABSFreepix

**Image courtesy Pinterest

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Red Faced

For the first time in way too long I took a vacation.

I don’t mean a road trip on the way to my next home, a wedding or a funeral. For two years I saved for this leave. Even with the kids’ help my carefully planned time away from home included lots of air travel departing during inconvenient hours. Most important, it provided down-time with my darling offspring.

Since I would not be available to help gather the tomatoes, they had to be harvested before I left.

Seasoned travelers and most smart girls know to get together with friends the week before a vacation. Together you shop, update your wardrobe, enjoy a meal or two, and they share the little details that enhanced their recent journeys.

Instead, Izzy and I spent that time spreading tarps beneath tomato vines. Then we shook and cut the vines, loosing tomatoes. This also scattered THE DUST that collected since the sprinklers stopped rinsing everything clean daily. And then we drug and lifted the loaded tarps into wheelbarrows, stirring up the dirt that had been drying for a week.

Yeah. We know how to have a good time!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 (NIV)

Despite masks and goggles, the dust set me to sneezing, with my sinuses filling and then draining profusely. My skin also itched terribly – especially the tip of my nose. The following day, my apex nasi* became tender and by the next day it was incredibly sore. *I looked it up. It’s a thing.

And did I mention RED? Not a flattering shade either.

The day before I was to depart on the next length of my travel, despite all known precautions and remedies, the redness became deep purplish-red. Yes, a painful heat radiated from above my columella. (*It’s the flesh that separates the nostrils.)

Makeup barely concealed the colors resembling orangutans backsides. What’s more, it needed touch-ups every couple of hours…

As I boarded my first flight I felt like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer guiding the last remaining passengers onto our plane. Still, I actually appreciated people quickly averting their eyes from my bleak beak.

During the flights I imagined AlmostSixYearOld taking one look at my face and bursting into tears in fear of this unfamiliar, scary-looking person. I could well imagine EightYearOld staring in wonder or stifling giggles.

Unfair as it was, I was determined to enjoy time with my gang – and to shop around the airports between flights for a miraculous concealer, mask or perhaps a stylish niqab. As anticipation rose, I imagined the heat and pressure on my face did also.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

To be continued…

 

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Acquiesce

I was to board another plane soon. Nothing new: hurry, clear security, find the right gate, and then wait. Walk around. And wait…

With planning and foresight long journeys have never been that big a deal. But as this third departure date neared the deal felt huge. Traveling on an unforgiving budget required me rising at ungodly hours. By ungodly I mean – no matter how I tried to rest – I’d drag my exhausted self up 60 – 90 minutes after I finally drifted off to sleep.

Despite all my forethought and intentions, as desperately as I wanted restful sleep before traveling, my mind unfailingly kept me awake. The beast is simply unruly.

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I was packed and ready to walk out the door. And yet hours after praying and retiring as I’d planned I was still awake, rehashing my mental check list:

  • Clean house.
    • Why? First thing upon returning I will clean again.
      • Wait. Did I vacuum under the bed…
  • It’s been too long since I visited the grand kids. Skype and Phone calls don’t tell all.
    • What if they don’t like their gifts?
  • What if my hand washables don’t dry in time – a first ever since the 1960’s?

This is crazy. I  MUST sleep.

  • Did I chuck perishables from my ‘fridge? I don’t want foul ‘fridge when I get back.
    • I refuse to get up and check.
  • What is that smell? Did I overlook something?
  • Crap. Did I pack the new underwear?
    • I am NOT getting up to check.
  • Did I send the final version of my last submission?
    • (Still haunted by that time I actually posted a first draft by mistake,) a panic-stricken Roo sprang from the bed, unpacked the laptop, started it up… Yes, I’d sent the “final.”
      • I repacked even better this time.

Before long I wondered if I dozed through my alarm. My phone blindingly insisted it was after midnight. Hmmm… The date was the 29th.

My flight is at oh-dark-thirty – on the 30th.

I laughed out loud. And then prayed again, “Okay Lord, the joke’s on me. Please, please take over now.”

With that amen I was sound asleep.

I awoke the next morning refreshed, energized, all packed and ready to go. After a great work out I hiked the river trail and then gathered from the garden. When it was time I went right to sleep and woke as planned.

You’d think God planned it all that way.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:6, 7 (NLT)

 

*Image and Feature Image courtesy APSFreePic.com

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More Variety

From September 18, 2016:

First Danny at Dream Big Dream Often and then Anne Mehrling recently posed the question, “Do you have a favorite season?

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tree-fall-pixabay tree-winter-pixabay

I wonder what makes any one season favored about the others. I enjoy them all!

Variety enhances life, especially seasonally. I thrive in climates with four distinctive, equal seasons. Early signs of the approaching season exhilarates me, but I don’t really have a favorite. I love bundling up to take in the silence of snowfall in winter, the invigorating, color displays and refreshing air in spring and autumn and warm, balmy summers delight me. But I especially like change when the current weather becomes tedious.

Following are photos from our recent visit around Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Carbondale, before autumn falls 😉

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“For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Christ our God, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.”
Folliot S. Pierpoint,in Lyra Eucharistica, by Orby Shipley, second edition, 1864

Four Seasons Tree images courtesy Pixabay

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Weather

20160731_133228Of course it’s raining today.

 

Rain fell as we left Arlington. Scattered showers continued intermittently most of the way across Texas, New Mexico to the Western Slope of Colorado.

 

Why wouldn’t it rain the day we load the trailer taking me to Washington tomorrow?

 

 

That’s right. More change. Another move. New photos coming.

You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the Lord will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.” Isaiah 52:12 (NLT)

Chris Tomlin video courtesy YouTube

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Away

With the first snowfalls in the higher Colorado altitudes I’m away from Garfield County this week. From the scenic grandeur of Basalt, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and El Jebel which embellish my dreams when I’m not here, I must sacrifice my internet connection. As I did when I first arrived on the Western Slope, I must tether my laptop to my cell. Those who rely upon Metro PCS, understand – it’s sufficient temporary service, but it’s not the best.

Without Erin’s company on this trip I missed many of the shots we would ordinarily have stopped to take. Different paths and all that.

Rather than bore anyone with the details and complications I’ll share some of the scenery. Under the present circumstances loading photos takes approximately 20 minutes apiece. You’re welcome!

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“The heavens are Yours, and the earth is Yours; everything in the world is Yours – You created it all.” Psalm 89:11 (NLT)

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Contentment

Mother’s Day for me is typically an emotional roller-coaster ride. Actually it’s usually a week or so of reflecting, the day itself and then a few days afterward to get over it.

That’s not surprising. I grew up in the aftermath of a metaphoric bomb detonation; divorce (when it wasn’t common) and then our custodial parent’s suicide. Over the following decades my siblings and I labored to locate all our fragments. For the most part we succeeded and we relentlessly continue gluing the pieces back together.

I’m not I’m unique in any of this. And not surprising either, my sons also grew up within a patchwork family (divorces). So with that I’m now reflecting on how well we all live.

The Boys and Erin 1981

Roo’s brood with Erin, 1981

This year was different for me. Over the years many artifacts from my past stayed safely with dear Erin. Among them was a box of photographs that had been thought lost and forgotten for nearly two decades. These were photos of my young sons, old friends, and me from 1978 through 1983. Wow. Right?

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What I especially appreciate today is the new perspective they gave me. When I mainly recall the struggles and hardships, sometimes thinking I’d been the worst mother ever, the photos clearly depict much exploring, happy learning and a lot of fun. While not financially rich, we are indeed wealthy.

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I admit now, I like to imagine happy reunions with my loved ones every year at least. Realistically, disbursed all across the country, with different school schedules and very demanding careers, that’s not likely to happen – yet.

Realistically my siblings and I did not inherit any property or financial stability. What’s more, we have little to pass on to our offspring. Presently I feel blessed to afford myself the luxury of coffee for lattes. But, our offspring have US.

Roo is looking for Iain -who took picture

Roo, nervously looking for Iain – who took the picture

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So, we’ve been geographically distant for Mother’s Days, birthdays and most other holidays. But we’ve adjusted to celebrating our family’s individuals in the moments we find time to Skype, text or actually talk with one another, hoping for actual reunions – soon.

The truth is the best of families have their distances and challenges. We humans are all flawed somehow. Still, like expertly cut diamonds, those flaws brilliantly display our dazzling, true colors.

I’m covered with prisms from my offspring each moment I recall the fun as well as the hardships and sacrifices we made as they were growing up. But now that I’m without any living parents, step-parents, or in-laws I’m happy for one celebratory day a year – preferably my birthday, but actually any day spent with my family works for me.

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Reality; the sooner we understand this world isn’t perfect, and neither are the people in it, the sooner we find contentment. Once we recognize our unrealistic expectations we become free to love people as they are without the disappointments over what we want them to be. Likewise, the sooner I learn text files don’t automatically save, and my day’s work isn’t lost when the battery drains (like today’s), the better.

When it comes to my truly amazing family, better than ever before, I realize my relationships with my loved ones are what they are – literally marvelous!

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Now as I lounge in a folding lawn chair, feet atop a vintage milk crate, sipping an iced latte, in front of the garage where most of my belongings await, I think, “Bless God, this is good enough for me.”

 

“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” 1 Timothy 6:6 (NLT)

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Roo Unplugged; Month in Review

vega rig

After the grueling weeks of sorting, liquidating, packing and hours on the phone planning, departure day finally arrived. This was no small feat for three women, each with physical restrictions, and my dear Roan who did what she does best, overseeing and helping we weary movers load the trailer.

The first day of our trek from Arlington, Texas to Colorado was actually the third day. The girls had departed Grand Junction early Sunday morning. It was already Wednesday.

Having followed their GPS instructions explicitly from western Colorado (not checking for alternate routes), the girls went due east to Wichita, Kansas and then due south. Compound the additional 238 miles, 3.5 driving hours with a fierce electrical storm and then softball-sized hail. We did not anticipate the storm or the layover in Blackwell, OK.

thunderstorm Iren Petrova

To quote a recent acquaintance, “It got worse…”

Trailer fully loaded, protecting everything possible with construction bags and tarps, checking the vehicles and the load, we noticed a problem with the trailer tail lights. After finding and employing a mechanic, we were finally prepared to depart – after resting up at the local Wyndham.

Following their experiences during the first half of our adventure, I entirely understood my girls’ fatigue by that time. My concerns and sense of weariness seemed trite by comparison. And yet, refreshed and smiling, the next morning we sprang to our tasks and set out on our merry way.

Minutes after leaving, I quickly became reacquainted with a world most of us have forgotten – the world outside of cyber space. {Audible screams as the scene fades to darkness.}

Our driver Electra Bolt (we call her Ellie) asked me to confirm our route. It was a fair question.

We then learned we were already out of range of my new cell carrier, so a Hot Spot also failed to connect my trusty, old backup S3. We tepidly proceeded as Ellie’s GPS directed.

a map

At Amarillo, TX, our first stop for the night, misinformation from the desk clerk disabled me from logging onto the Wifi. Fortunately the cell Hot Spot quickly enabled a connection. I investigated the route and alternates noting them on an app this time. The words “GPS signal lost” on previous excursions still haunt me now and then.

a compass

US-287 (specifying 4 linking turns) to US-50. Check. Approximately 15 hours of driving the Toyota FJ Cruiser and 12′ x 8′ trailer – no view out the back window.

We experienced new visuals on the road without old-school travel guides or printed maps.

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Unable to interrupt the unstable GPS on Ellie’s cell we also discovered:

– We could not determine the next fueling station. But we now know the fuel needle drops below Empty before it’s actually empty.
– We did not anticipate the windy, excessively bumpy back roads – but Ellie developed some impressive new grooves on her steering wheel. Erin and I became more limber.
– We could not enlist OK Google to identify the landmarks on the way.
– Unable to explore other food options we settled for what we could see a couple of blocks ahead of us.
– In hindsight we would have done well to research hotels before leaving. We were fortunate to spot a 3-star in Walsenberg, CO. No, we didn’t recall having heard of the town either. Then again, my girls had been five days on the road.

Day Six: Once more unto the breach*, our battle that day was to make it over the Rockies to the Western Slope before nightfall.

Shakespeare might have put our adventure:

If we were mark’d to arrive, we are enow
To do our journey loss; and if to awander,
The fewer women, the greater share of honour.
We few, we happy few, we band of sisters.
For she to-day that shares mileage with me
Shall be my sister; be she ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle her condition…

Forgive me, William.

“For you shall not go out with haste, Nor go by flight; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12 (NKJV)

*Paraphrased from William Shakespeare‘s King Henry the Fifth

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A New List

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During this monumental week I have reflected upon life, family and especially relationships. Creating space between my immediate family and me was heart wrenching. I anticipated the emotional as well as the more tangible hardships – and I’m glad to report we got through unscathed. So, I’ve titled my journals from the past two weeks, The Fine Line; Friends and Family.

Aside from moving to another different geographical climate, the most notable factor of this major life change is my new, immediate sense of belonging. Adjusting to the company of lifelong family friends came quick and easily. Even so, this week my journal sequel will be titled, Dude, Where’d We Pack My Clothes?

In short, my list of profound revelations today are:

  • As much as the world changes some things never will – boiled okra is still slimy.
  • We may grow, learn, shrink, wrinkle and sag, but underneath it all we’re pretty much the same people.
  • Those who take speed limits too seriously tend to annoy the rest of us.
  • God indeed compensates for most of what I once thought I missed in life – and in amazing ways.
  • After following a truckload of freshly baled hay a few hours, it’s flying debris can appear to be grasshoppers. Hay doesn’t stick to the windshield.
  • Friends often have a clearer perspective of who we actually are and what we’ve accomplished than we do.
  • Friends don’t need to know your deepest darkest secrets to understand you.
  • Normal may actually be exclusive to a setting on a dryer.
  • Braving rough waters is easier in the company of a trusted old friend.
  • Boxes of stuff seem heavier in the rain.
  • A good internet connection is invaluable. I’m still working on that!

That’s it for this night from western Colorado.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

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The Road Again; Still

My life long friends, Erin and her baby sister Ellie and I hadn’t seen or spent actual live, local face time in about 15 years. With technology one can keep in touch on the phone and internet, etc. But it’s not the same as getting together in the same place, at the same time.

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My thirty-something-eth relocation brought about our reunion. These heroines drove a trailer south and east, through wind and amazing hail to collect my belongings and me, and then we three set out on our first road trip in decades. Crossing Texas and New Mexico en route to western Colorado I particularly noticed :

first Rockies

  • Hugs. Especially random hugs for no apparent reason. When they’re few and far between one really misses them. I’m glad to report they’re very easy to get used to again.
  • Body language and reading faces is kind of a big deal.
  • Coffee. I’m jealous of my girls who can drink coffee late in the day and still sleep like a baby. It’s so not fair while I must cut off all forms of caffeine before noon!
  • Aches and Pains. I’m astounded at how our bodies have aged over the years. The packing, lugging and loading took its toll on our bodies – before we hit the road on the 4 day journey. After the first 8 hours in the car, I re-discovered places that can ache from sitting.
  • Dings in our armor – we’ve discovered torn cuticles, broken fingernails and colorful shin bones. No bloodshed, no harm, no foul.
  • Junk food rules. Our healthy diets went out the window.
  • Exercise/physical therapy regime; in such tight quarters as a car, it’s hard to do the stuff we do to keep bodies moving freely
  • Older bodies adjusting to altitude changes can be entertaining.

With all of the above challenges, reconnecting with old, family roots makes the entire trip worth any stress leading up to the drive. What feels like home to me:

  • Remembering we were “green,” conserving resources and doing our parts to preserve the earth long before there was a Greenpeace.
  • We know every line and lyric to most of the classic rock hits, as well as the renown parodies and personalities of our generation (we all fondly remember Doctor Demento, Wolfman Jack and Wierd Al Yankovich).
  • We can drop a quote from a classic movie without explaining what it means.
  • We totally get each others’ fashion genre. Not too old to appreciate well fitted mid-rise jeans, we vowed to just shoot each other the day we eye stretch denim or elastic waistbands. This does not include jeggings. 😀
  • None of us minded coasting through Vega on HWY 385 (Route 66, people) to fill a stick of photos – without stopping the engine.
  • We like nice hotels. We agree we need a housekeeper and a spa at home.

Entertainment: Road Trip Games:

  • License Plate Bingo (no one keeps score)
  • Truth or dare is still a classic.

truck gamestruckingPlaying road tag with truckers (waving, coaxing them to blow the horn). Bonus points for getting one to use a Jake break 😉

 

 

  • Naming our favorite concerts ever and confessing our most embarrassing (or happiest) memories there.
    • Note: arriving at The Dead Show without tickets won, hands down.

At the end of day two on the road I look forward to more adventure and settling in – soon.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

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