Tag Archives: traveling

The Long Haul

I just made another addition to my voided driver’s license collection. Over the past three years, exactly 35 months, 3 weeks and 3 days, I’ve lived in Illinois, Washington, Texas and Colorado, also visited family in Arizona and driving through New Mexico twice in that time. I’m now back near the Tri-Cities in Washington State; near enough to the delta of the Columbia and Snake rivers to hit a ball into either major waterway.

Speaking of hits, Cubs Win! But this isn’t about baseball or the 2016 World Series. That’s a confirmation it was time to come back to the only place I actually felt at home. Surely I earned some time to drop a line in some water and rest a bit.

This latest chapter began with our branch of the family together here on The Ranch. Over the last decade Cole became our brother here – Lord, help him. Although sister Roan and Opal are still in Texas and Seagh walks beside Jesus now, such fond memories were born here I never wanted to leave. But that’s another story.

Six weeks ago I Googled the stats: It’s 908.6 miles from Erin’s house on the Western Slope of the Rockies to the hills and slopes of Finley. Days later Cole drove from Finley to Erin’s to collect me.

Five weeks ago Erin and I had talked it out, cried it out (separately, of course – it’s how we roll) so there was nothing left to do but the leg work. Days after I’d decided it was time to move on it took one phone call. In a few more days Erin and I loaded the boxes, and Cole tied down most of my worldly belongings into his trailer. With quick, teary-eyed, squishy hugs, very aware we were running out of daylight, Cole and I left Erin’s company and were on our way. Home. Where my hiraeth impetus can find peace.

Another four weeks later I’ve unpacked, burned the well-worn boxes and arranged the apartment to my liking, so I’m ready to return to work.

Following are photo highlights of our journey north and west. The photography from a constantly-moving vehicle doesn’t do the scenery justice, but we made excellent time. It’s not like I’ll never make the drive again and take the time to shoot it right.

img_1500 img_1506 img_1512 img_1520 img_1537 img_1542 img_1543 img_1558 img_1566 img_1572

With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home.”

Exodus 15:13 (NLT)

 

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Back Home Again

Two particular things stand out from my recent trip for a family funeral.

dawn val of sun 28jan2016

Stormy Daybreak, Valley of the Sun

 

First is the astounding amount of time I need to resettle after such a trip.

 

CA-AZ 1981 001CA-AZ 1981 001Not long ago we’d take up any opportunity to hit the road. Regardless of my boys’ ages we thought little of grabbing our packs on the way out the door, not knowing when exactly we’d actually walk back in. We’d cross a state line or two for a weekend adventure if for no other reason than because we could. What’s more, I recall only one instance where an eight hour drive through the night rendered me incapable of working my first shift. In all fairness that was the day after my niece took her sweet time being born – 355.7 miles from home at the time. Maybe that was long ago. That niece is in her thirties married over a decade ago.

Greens 001

Now, days after returning from the last trip I am amazed at how much time has actually passed.

This morning, thinking I had a pretty good handle on things, latte in hand, I sprang to work and immediately felt blindsided by the bulk of email awaiting me, some now six days old. I slouched leaned back in my chair, sipping my steamy, comforting mug contents, listening to the uproar in my head:

  • The Nano-Organized Micro-Manager Voice screamed End-of-the-world-NOW prophesies,
  • The Artist Voice called for blues, greens and reds all to be mixed with black,
  • The Comptroller Voice demanded we audit all accounts immediately,
  • The Editor-in-Chief voice demanded I post something, anything, NOW
  • Suzy Sunshine’s Voice feebly interjected about how popular we’ve become…

This took place mere nano-seconds before I noticed the figure “3” next to the Gmail Drafts folder (meaning something most likely did not go out as I thought before I left for the airport).  A loud scream, initially remote, rapidly pierced its way to my frontal lobe, nearly breaching Central Dispatch before I arrested it, saying instead, “Voithos, where are you?”

Though I actually had internet access the entire time I was away – time away with family being the operative term. Such occasions happen rarely in our circles, so they’ve moved up the priority scale dramatically. This morning I sipped, calculated and reminisced events of the past two weeks. I determined to break tradition, and not stay at the laptop until all two-hundred and some-odd items were opened and sorted, and then take time to catch my breath. That memory alone made my neck and shoulders stiffen.

Instead. I. thought.

I decided upon the well-considered, conscious choice to sort all email into three categories (four including the Drafts folder) to address after I returned from a walk and shower with  a fresh pot of tea:

Absolutely First: Check Draft folder,

Folder 1: Stuff to open first to avoid apocalyptic catastrophe (stuff that could cost me money),

Folder 2: Stuff to deliberate over after sorting through Drafts and Folder 1,

Folder 3: Put other stuff here only if doing so won’t cost me money,

Folder 4: WordPress notifications. Get strong coffee, and then proceed.

Greens Dec 1960 Sdale 001The second thing that stands out is the very many gatherings with my siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews where we all emphatically agreed we must get together before another funeral summons us. At our advanced age, as approximated by no sign of our elders (until passing a mirror) and the horde of young people that look only vaguely familiar now, we should not press our luck as to when that gathering will happen.

So, dear readers, this post is not only me checking back in, but is also my figurative gauntlet landing solidly in the dust, a cloud billowing gently on the grass before my dearest relations. I shall again attach a link to this post in another round of family emails reminding us all that tomorrow is not promised. We must set a date.

I’ll get back to you on that.

 

“You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times.” Matthew 16:2,3 (NLT)

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Filed under The World According to Roo

Chatting Over Tea

So far, most of my readers are my good friends from all over the country. As most of my new friends/readers have gathered, my life took me all over the continental U.S. over the past thirty years. Although I manage to circle around, the past eight years my circles have been loops.

I’m especially blessed to count seven close, dear “best” friends; people with common values I can say anything with and never fear being judged or offending with a misstated word. While we keep in touch pretty well by phone, Skype, social media, email, texts and even old-school, greeting cards, handwritten (or printed) letters and printed photos, we haven’t been able to get together, not even for the kids’ weddings.

For a year I’ve poured myself into my blog. It’s working better for me than losing hours on Facebook and its many entertaining diversions. Still, my last long trip was two years ago for one Spice Girlfriend’s wedding.

I often imagine the surge of information we’d exchange over a steamy cup of something lovely. I’d finally be able to tell them about my latest roller coaster ride; the things one simply doesn’t say over the phone.

Take for instance one friend in particular that I’ve known since she was home schooling her children at elementary level, and some were in High School. She would be my first subject, only because I actually saw her last.

I can imagine her flying into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, exhausted, pouring her into our guest room bed, resting a few hours and then sharing coffee or tea on my balcony…

Josey coffee Annie Spratt

Me: Good morning! You look wonderful.

Josey (dressed and refreshed, steps through the french doors onto the balcony to find me just sitting down with a tray of tea and scones): “Thank you. I have a little jet lag. I’m wide awake but I think my brain is still in Washington. (Josey sits and reaches for a scone as I pour tea,) You start bringing me up to date and I’ll jump in with questions when I need to. These are such good scones, I don’t even feel bad for sleeping in and not helping you. You can send me the recipe. Go ahead while I munch.”

Me: “I know what you mean. Trying to sleep last night I thought about how we used to compare our lives to a long, cross country tour of famous roller coasters.”
“This stop’s been very different from all rest. Living with this part of my core family, far from my kids, no one would have imagined how hard it would be for all three of us, pulling our lives together – together.”
“You probably remember Roan from before her divorce, when we were so close. She’s so different now, you’ll hardly recognize her – I rarely recognize her. We’re three entirely different people compared to who we were ten years ago – the last time we all lived together in Finley. That year before I moved back from Illinois, we planned the next few years down to every minute detail we could imagine. We tried including any unexpected twists and turns. But this train seemed to have derailed last March.”

Josey: “I know what you mean. Sometimes I wonder how my life became so different from what I ever thought it would be.”

Me: “Does it ever blow you away how all three of us, you, Roan and I all separated from our husbands within the same 4 months? Even when I don’t text you, you know that you and the kids are all in my prayers – mostly daily. But how’re they adjusting to all the changes since the last move to Finley?”

Josey: “Oh they’re fine as far as I can see – now that they’re all grown and on their own…”

Me: “That’s as good as we can expect, I imagine.

Josey: “I know what you mean about building a new nest while living with siblings. And you, my friend already experienced losing a sibling to death, the first to leave this world. I can only imagine.”

Me: “And yet, we depended on Seagh in ways none of us realized till he was gone. His passing while he was so young actually was unimaginable. Although he was my kid brother – he was the wisest of us all. He earned all of our trust – said nobody else in our family, ever. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember you never met him.”

Josey: “True. And yet as close as you and I are, you’ve still never met my mom or my sister.”

Me: “Right.”
“Seagh wasn’t often gentle, like your mom, but he had a knack for knowing when the fur flies in our home to either leave the building, whistle loudly, or stand tall, staring blankly into the midst of the fray. He’d do that until we each noticed what he was doing and stopped – whatever. Then he’s say something remarkable, like, “So, where will you bury the body?”

We both laugh at the scene.

Me: “Lord, how I miss laughing at ourselves when he did that.”

Josey: “I can well imagine.”

Me: “The blog and my two manuscripts have helped me through the past year. So now, we’ve about hammered most of our kinks out. Opal living with her mother and me again now adds just the right amount of salt to the mix. We hated the apartment, so we bit the bullet and moved into this townhouse mostly because of this balcony. You remember when I’ve seen worse.”

Josey nods, saying only, “St. John Street,” Referring to the house she helped me renovate and move into years ago.

We both laugh again at the thought of the ramshackle house when my husband and I first bought it.

Me: “Thank you so much for reminding me! That is a great post for The Apex. Don’t you think?”

Josey nods in agreement as she sips thoughtfully.

Me: “I’d slant it toward the healing journey in general, both the house and me.”

We sit quietly for a comfortable pause as I pencil into my ever ready wire-bound tablet to remind me of the idea.

Josey: “Coming in I noticed how we’re walking distance from almost everything you need.”

Me: “It’s certainly a perk since I gave away my Chevy and salvaged my mini van just before I left Illinois. Oh, but running the girls around the Lakes in that van was fun. And to think, I bought it thinking mainly about the grand kids.”

Josey: “Yes. The notes you posted to Facebook about the retreats and road trips were very good. I enjoyed them as though I’d been along for the rides. I also noticed you publish a lot more since you linked your blog to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.” She smiled sincerely.

Me: “With everything so close, we manage to get by, the three of us sharing the two, well one and a quarter cars (ha ha ha). With her new job, Opal will replace her car soon. In the worst case scenario I go to church on line in my room. I trust I’ll pick up some more copywriting assignments soon and tuck that money away for another, more reliable, economical car. Now that I’m cancer free I’ll have the doctors paid off by the end of next year.” I sigh and smile feebly.

Josey: Raises both arms, palms up, saying: “Thank You, God.” I join her in the praise.

Me: “Sure, sometimes I get bogged down beneath all the trials, expenses and so little money coming in. Mostly over the grieving process – times three.
“Seriously, I think the hardest part of starting all over again is the finances; not being able to travel – yet – to see the grandkids. You well know, they don’t stay little for long and they forget so soon.”

Josey: “That’s why I’m glad you took Gilley’s advice and started your blog. Next thing we know you’ll submit one of your manuscripts. Who knows, maybe we’ll create an app to put our stories out there. I read that’s the up-and-coming-medium. It would be today’s spin of her Gilley’s first book.”

Me: “Sure. Maybe you’ll let me use some of your prose or poems. I think you might be just a little afraid you’d get caught up in blogging too.”

Josey: “I seriously don’t know when I’d find the time.”

Me: “No worries. Blogging U courses are so good, especially for connecting with other writers, artists, photographers, journalists bloggers – and even if only a small percent of your class offers to help you through a problem, that’s still a lot of help at your beck and call. You’d be schooling me at it in a few weeks. What’s more, the courses are free.”

Josey: “Go over your Categories for me again.”

Me: “Fine:

A Door Ajar: My stories illustrating some techniques I learned about relationships while I was pursuing my CPC; Boundaries, Anger Management and so on. The header: “Relationships are like doorways to our lives. When we close our doors fresh air, light and fresh perspectives don’t get in. Sometimes it’s best to leave the door ajar.”
Kitchen Sync: Foodies creating a better world from meager means. It all begins at home.
From the Apex: Enjoying the aging process from all perspectives.
The World According to Roo: Where I post my long reads
Blogging U: Where I compile my class assignments as I complete them. Maybe I’ll relocate some later on.

Josey: “I spend at least an hour catching up with you every other week.”

Me: “Feel free to comment any time. No, really. I approve or delete them all so you can’t embarrass me publicly – Hee Hee Hee!”

Josey: “I know. I didn’t realize I said that aloud.”

We laugh together and slip into comfortable quiet listening to the birds.

Feeling fatigue start to set in I suggest, “What do you think about taking a walk before these clouds get serious and rain?”

Josey: “Done.”

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Filed under A Door Ajar