Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish. Author Unknown
In April, my husband and I began a five-week trip-of-a-lifetime to New Zealand, Australia, and the Cook Islands. Yup. Dream trip come true. The two of us exploring -- from Milford Sound to the Great Barrier Reef, finishing with a weeklong stint in a one-bedroom cottage steps from the lagoon in Raratonga. Floating in the South Pacific. Heaven.
Our dream trip remains a dream. As does all the travel everyone else in the world has planned. Not much excitement for any of us -- except the navigation of life in the time of Covid-19. Due to a dedicated stance on masks, social distancing, and maintaining our "pod," we've been fortunate to escape the illness and loss many have suffered and continue to endure. For us, a long stint stuck in our home has proven to be our adventure.
I'm not one to get bored. I can't recall the last time I was bored. The pandemic hasn't changed that. My unread books pile up on my ToBeRead shelf like always and I'm borrowing audio books from the library, via Overdrive, like normal. (Okay, maybe a little more.)
Yup -- that front line of books has a back line.
Playing with watercolors and acrylics and practicing patience with my lack of ability while organizing my thoughts? I haven't even begun to scratch the surface in that venture.
Of course, there is the online ordering of groceries and the creative cooking. Ina Garten's Instagram entries have certainly added variety to my repertoire of the past 42 years. Continuous watering of the container garden vegetables, since I didn't plant a garden this year, takes up time. (I wasn't supposed to be here for the spring planting and harvest. Right?)
And, one can always clean house. (For me an occasional necessity -- an activity I accomplish with efficiency and speed.)
But, still, somedays, I get itchy.
Not bored. Just itchy to be somewhere different.
So itchy, I announced to my husband I was pulling out all our old camping equipment and we were going camping. The tent. The campstove. The coffee pot. The lantern. The clothesline. Everything. We were getting out of Dodge.
My husband shuddered in his chair. "I'm too old to sleep on the ground."
"We'll buy a huge blowup air mattress for your tender body," I snapped.
Once upon a time, we were big campers. On our honeymoon, we drove from Michigan to the Pacific Coast Highway, camping from Astoria, Oregon to below Big Sur. We didn't have much money in our early years so campouts at Lake Michigan, and, later, while living in Colorado, Utah, and Connecticut, became our vacations and getaways. Our entertainment.
Having all three sons become Eagle Scouts meant we did significant time at campgrounds. Since getting rid of the kids, we've taken to seeing the world. We don't stay in the fanciest of hotels as we only use them for siesta, shower, and sleep. But much nicer to sleep in a hotel on the Zambezi River than a tent where the crocodiles can have you for a midnight snack.
With those future adventures on hold -- and even road trips curtailed from visiting family or anywhere to get out of the relentless Texas summer heat, camping was the only solution I could come up with to avoid hotels and restaurants. Camping with a river to cool myself.
My husband wasn't on board. While I researched open campsites on the Frio River, he pounded away on his laptop. One morning he said there was something we needed to see in Houston - a three-hour drive away.
Next thing I knew, this happened.
This was not an idea out of the blue. Our plan in our retirement was to purchase a used Airstream -- after we satisfied ourselves with more international travel. The afore-mentioned Oceania areas of the globe followed by South America, Asia, and Spain/Portugal/Morocco. And, and, and...
As long as our bodies and pocketbook held out, we were going for it. No fancy cruises. Rental cars and roadmaps, picnic lunches and guidebooks in hand. The Airstream would come after, when we were older farts traveling the US and Canada, leeching real showers off friends along the way.
Enter the virus. Adaptation. The re-arrangement of the plan. Online shopping to explore grey/black water hoses. And, our first adventure. 60 miles from home at Blanco State Park. Floating down the river. Oilcloth on the picnic table. AC! on a hot August night in a campground.
I write this post today as my husband and I celebrate 42 years of marriage. Where we had to use our wedding gift money to fund that 6000-mile honeymoon trek, and our VW broke down in Chicago, and my parents towed it home, and lent us a car, and it snowed while we figured out how to put up our new tent in Yellowstone National Park--in the dark -- we are now in a little better position to purchase our used 2014 Airstream.
Although we're not snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef or watching the glowworms in New Zealand or hiking up to Machu Pichu this year, we are back where we started -- at a campground.
Poetic, I'd say.
Now, if this thing could just learn how to back up by itself.
Hope you're all doing well as we all plod through this, our newest lesson, in perseverance --
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
In this day and age of Shelter-In-Place, I must say that I, the closet introvert, is not having that hard of a time. The virus has made me take notice that I've cut a world out for myself where not having to go anywhere is sort of what I prefer to do.
I'm not a total recluse. I do like people. I'm in lots of groups. Book Club (18 years), Bunco Bitches (29 years), writing groups, creative circles. I love worldwide travel and studying new cultures, museums, and talking with the local people--whether we speak the same language or not. I'm a foodie, so eating in restaurants that have tasty and delightful dishes works for me.
However, I do get weary if I'm out and about for too long. Back in normal times, once a month I had what I called my Social Week. Bunco, Book Club, and writing group all met during the same week. Dinner out or in with friends and family, too, most often.
It's all fun but when the week is over, I breathe a sigh of relief and return to my quiet world.
As to those who might say I'm not an introvert? Those who call me the Camp Director? Well, I am a great hostess. Hundreds of people have stayed in my home. I've never been one to shy away from hosting a shower, a party, or out of town guests.
But there is introvert heaven in that, too. For if you're in your own home, you can always hide in your bedroom. Or leave the scene to get something, anything ready. Feign sleep while in your hammock. Introverts learn how to do these things. For me, it's often much easier being the hostess rather than a guest.
Enter Coronavirus 19. Enter Zoom. Oh. My. God.
If someone had told me years ago you could attend meetings from home, sitting in your favorite blue chair, via Zoom? Host Bunco, book club, happy hours or join your writing group, even a Yoga class, via Zoom? See your entire family or extended families all at once without airport pickups or having to change sheets, via Zoom?
Talk about a revelation. I can invite people into my home and not have to clean it first -- or wash my face. Or put on makeup. Or pluck my chin hairs. I can wear yesterday's clothes. No cooking or cleanup afterward.
Zoom? Where the hell have you been all my life?
I can now go to Happy Hour and not worry about driving home.
I can still bring people together and joy of all joys, if someone is monopolizing the conversation and not understanding they have to wait their turn to talk, I can mute them. Ha!
Having everyone before you on your computer screen, you can see their reactions to someone's tale. So fun to study them and see your friends and family laugh or frown as they chat.
|Bunco Bitches (missing a couple -- late to the photo taking)|
|Some of the Book Club (again, too late to get all 15)|
I check out my library books on my Overdrive App and load them on my Kindle or receive it in audio form.
Perhaps I fit into this world so well because I've dabbled in this direction for years. I'd rather write letters than talk on the phone. I'd rather argue in a letter, than in person. I'm a big fan of catalogs and online shopping. If I have to enter clothing stores, it's a surgical strike. I know what I want and get in, and out. I have better things to do than meander for hours in a store. Just ask my friends. I'll always meet for lunch, but don't call me to shop. (Unless it's a book store or garden center.)
Right now, I'm more than ready to travel somewhere. But, this isolation thing isn't bugging me too much. My husband retiring a couple years ago helped with having to see him every day -- all day long. We've actually managed our time together quite well. He goes for long walks. I hide in my hammock.
Other than him, that love of my life, I don't see anyone. Except for these guys. They get exemption from Zoom. After an initial several weeks of quarantine, to insure everyone's safety, we've helped care for them while their parents try to work from home without day care.
|A three-year-old -- sits still longer.|
As the world begins to open up, I know I'll have to rejoin it -- at some point. Meantime, I'll share the world outside my window. I'm humbled with gratitude to have it.
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Austin turned out to be a great place to raise our family. And that new little baby, my Jordan, well, he was a sweetheart.
|The first bath|
Watching my children with their children is something that leaves me in awe. I'm not quite certain how to describe what I see as I'm not certain how to interpret it. I still can't believe they are old enough to have babies of their own, yet I'm proud they participate in the raising, the doing, the work of raising children. Such an exciting time in their lives.
Or another day where I watched a tired new dad sit, his new son, Miles, lying in his lap, both content with the world.
But here's a little secret. This Grandma knows how to do boys. She's well seasoned in boys. We will have great fun. Just you watch.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Other than the additional surfing and boogie boarding, the trip sounded like a nightmare to my husband. But to me? I'm 62. The women I'd met in Next Tribe thus far were fascinating, creative, and adventurous. Why the hell not?
My friend, Beth, and I arrived in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and took a 30-minute taxi ride to Troncones, the small surfer village void of touristo crowds, marinas, and glitzy hotels.
|The yoga hut|
|My view when I looked back at those who move in the morning.|
All of a sudden, there was only one horse left -- at the end of the pack. An old plug, just like me. When I placed my foot in the stirrup, I discovered I couldn't get my old ass up in the saddle. I couldn't plant that bad knee and use it to thrust myself up there. Nor did my shoulder strength appear to exist.
My bad knee didn't like the position it was in and I recalled that last ride in the Black Hills was in 1998, a mere 21 years before. But, so what? We were only walking down the beach. How hard could this be? My horse's name was Caterina and I patted her neck and said, "Get me through this alive, Caterina."
|Off we went.|
|My traveling partner -- looking like she was born on that horse.|
All was well until we took a turn and started climbing up through the rocks. My horse wanted to wipe my knees on them. Well, I let her know that wasn't going to happen to me again and I steered her away from that trick. But then she stumbled on the rocks. And stumbled again.
We got through that and cruised along another beach until the next set of rocks, where my old plug stumbled again, greatly. I found myself perpendicular to a rock and I'm pretty sure I yelled out "Holy Shit" or something like that as my horse finally uprighted and stumbled again before coming out onto the next beach.
No hotels. No bars. Surely we'd turn around soon.
Get me home safely.
The next day, I was back in the saddle.