Sentimental Journey

Today was indeed a sentimental journey for me, as I ventured out to see Texas Raiders, the B-17 my dad helped restore decades ago when it was based at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, TX.   I had already seen her in the morning; knowing her ETA at Easterwood Airport here in College Station, I stepped outside and – lo and behold – there she was, approaching from the southeast, turning and making her approach to the airport.

Have you ever seen and heard a B-17 in flight?  If you haven’t, you have truly missed out.  There is nothing like it.

“There she is!”

Okay, so there wasn’t anyone around to hear me, but I still said it.

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Texas Raiders at Astin Aviation/Easterwood Airport, College Station.  Isn’t she just something?  Those folks are being briefed for their flight.

I had not been in her presence since 1997, when I dispersed my dad’s cremains from her overhead hatch in flight.

Seeing her again, my heart was full.  My eyes were leaky.  It was . . . moving.  I had expected to feel emotional, but I was a bit taken by surprise by the strength of those feelings.

I touched her, giving her a “hug” in those touches and saying “thank you.”

In those touches, was a connection to Dad, to a time gone by, to all that is good, right and honorable with our country.

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TR Nose Art

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Front gunner position

I stayed for a while, as her passengers boarded for their flight, heard her engines roar to life once again,  watched her take to the air in all her majesty and saw her back on the ground safe and sound. 

Not too many photos, as I was more into experiencing the moment. 

It was spiritual.  It was awesome.  It was noisy.  It was joyous. 

It was . . . a very meaningful experience for yours truly.

I went to see Her.  I went for Dad.  I went for me.

Mission accomplished.

Last Night in Alabama

This is our last evening in Hope Hull, AL. We’ll be on the road tomorrow headed to Gautier, MS for one night. We’ve got around 200 miles to go tomorrow. That’s not much for some folks, but it’s a full day for us.

Dave pedaled 51 miles today on his bike this morning, once again thoroughly enjoying the cycling here. He has racked up 208 miles in 5 days here. He has also been taking some photos with his new phone.

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Hope Hull Road Kill Cafe rest stop markers 10122015

From the charity ride, alerting riders of the upcoming rest stop named Road Kill Café. Cute, eh? Each rest stop is named with a theme.

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Also for the Road Kill Café, this says, “You kill it, we cook it.” Haha!

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Route markers

The park is full tonight, with 4 rigs parked in the new sites. Those sites do not have gravel yet, but the utilities are functional. We hitched up the truck a bit ago; that’s one less thing to do in the morning.

Maggie was definitely feeling better today and has had a bit of food at reduced amounts. She is certainly more her usual perky and alert self. I am so grateful and am keeping my fingers crossed that she (and I) has another restful night.

Roaming dogs have been less of an issue today, at least so far. Perhaps someone dropped a word or two to their owner down the road?

I am also happy, no, thrilled and relieved, to report that we have had no ants in our rig from day #1 since leaving the work site in South Carolina. Obviously they were coming in from outside. We are both grateful for that and happy to be away from that location.

One other cool thing I have forgotten to mention. When we were getting ready to leave Lexington, SC after the rain event had passed, Dave noticed a wee frog that came out from under our Lynx pad under one of the tires.

Little wee Frog. Good omen. Sent by Cousin Karen, I betcha. Watching over us. Yep. Indeed.

Hope you have had a great Columbus Day. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in Canada!

Thanks for stopping by!

It Must Be a Totally Awesome Door . . .

First, I’ll take a minute to answer Susan’s question in the comments from my last post. An RV park in Bryan, TX will be our initial, and perhaps long-term, landing spot. I would really like to be closer to Brenham, but there is only 1 park there, and the most recent reviews on it were less than stellar.

Brenham really could use a decent RV park. I believe there would be enough business from overnighters, sightseers to the area and snowbirds to keep a good park ticking over. Anyone out there interested? Let us know if you want to put one in; we’ll run it for you! (In my dreams . . .)

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I have believed for many years that when one door in Life closes, another opens. Actually, I have known this to be true from personal Life experiences. I also know that everything happens for a reason in our lives. These are two concepts I pass along to my Reiki students.

One could easily say these two beliefs are being tested these days. I was notified today that my virtual assistant job is ending due to the project coordinator leaving the company. 

That was just a wee bit of a bolt out of the blue.

So . . . our security work ends October 1, my VA (virtual assistant) job of 2 years is gone (at least for the moment; I’m sure I will be contacted should they have projects in the future) and we’re being forced back to Texas so we can continue to have health insurance coverage.

Must be one heck of a door that’s gonna open, eh?

I had decided not to begin the job search for medical transcription employment until we land in Texas with the reasoning that I want to be available to begin work immediately upon receipt of an offer and to arrange for cable Internet service if needed. I think what I may do is follow the same path for the VA work, too. We have only a bit over a week before we depart this location and then 12 days of travel. I think I’ll take this time to rest, recharge my spiritual and creative batteries and enjoy our trip back to the Lone Star State.

Well, I actually do have an interview for another VA gig tomorrow, a possible opportunity that arose a few weeks ago. We’ll see how that goes. If it’s a match, I will, of course, jump on it.

These two job endings could be seen as setbacks and/or negative happenings and I could be very discouraged.

I am, however, hopeful.

“Really?”

Well, yeah, really, when I get in touch once again with my core beliefs.

I can see – envision – our new direction. I can see me doing medical transcription again, making a decent living and our having a laid-back and pleasant life, perhaps with Dave eventually doing some work for our site/pay somewhere. Yes, an enjoyable life, even in Texas.  (gasp)

I did it before, and my original plan (when contemplating going full-time as a solo back in 2003/2004) was to take my job as an MT on the road. At that time, I was a home-based MT living in Brenham. Sure, I put in a lot of hours at the keyboard, but I paid my bills and had enough left over to attend yoga classes once a week, have an occasional lunch out, keep my hair cut regularly, etc.  My critters never went hungry and neither did I. I also did more than just sit at the keyboard. Much, much more – cycled, camped now and then, did volunteer work, walked, took care of my yard and home, attended drum circles, taught Reiki on weekends, hung out with friends . . . you get the picture.

Why not have all that again? Well, not specifically those things perhaps (although I sure would dig hooking up with a groovy drum circle and I do miss teaching Reiki), but a well-rounded life with a profession I enjoy.

Indeed!

So, no, “Oh man, why is this happening?” but instead, “Wow. This is a whole new beginning!”

I can’t wait to see the reason for all this.

It’s going to be freakin’ awesome!

Thanks for stopping by!

Winding Up the Week

We finally experienced what I considered a nice-weather day Friday.  The high maxxed out in the low 40s, but it was sunny with just a hint of breeze and much lower humidity.  Even though today was one of the colder days according to the thermometer, I enjoyed the abundant sunshine and absence of biting wind.  The lower humidity really made a difference, too.  I have felt subjectively much more chilled here on days when it has not been as cold, but the humidity makes it a “damp cold” which I don’t tolerate very well.  At any rate, it was absolutely lovely out today!  Of course, this evening it is in the mid 20s and we’ll be dropping lower than that in the coming nights this weekend.

The really exciting thing?

One of the forecast models calls for snow next week!  Woot!  Of course, we’re talking South Carolina here, so there won’t be accumulations, but hopefully we’ll get to experience snowfall again.  I think we have both been missing that magic.

I tackled laundry today, getting that out of the way in the unlikely event the pipes freeze during this cold snap.  The added bonus is both weekend days are free of that chore. 

This afternoon I whipped up a chicken noodle casserole and had a bit of that for my dinner, and we’ll have that on hand for tomorrow, too. 

This evening (we’re talking Friday here), saw us engaged in yet another brilliant chess match.  Intriguing game, chess.  Even though our respective opening moves are the same each time, it is fascinating how the game develops into a different scenario each time.  Our games run at least two hours and lately going on three hours. 

Oh wow . . . it’s almost 1 AM on Valentine’s Day. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We don’t have special plans for the day, unless you consider going out for a few groceries special.  You know what, though?   Really every day we’re together is special.  I don’t know how I got so lucky to be spending my life with Dave, but I am.  I remember when I was getting ready to board the plane with Dave to go to Scotland in November 2005.  We had spent about two weeks together here in the States after courting over the Internet.  (There is a longer story to that courtship, but I’ll save that for another time.)  I had said something to my aunt (she and my uncle were at the airport in Minnesota with us) about being so lucky, and she whispered in my ear “God knew what you needed.”  She also said at one point that Dave was my reward after everything I’d been through during the years before (cancer, heartbreaking divorce).  Well, I’m not a big “God” person, my spiritual beliefs being a sort of patchwork quilt of various philosophies, so I’d say that Spirit knew what I needed. Who would have thought that an instant message and a few emails would blossom into the bouquet my life is with this man I call Husband.

We typically don’t go out on weekends, but we’ll be stocking up on a few essentials in light of the wintry precipitation in the forecast next week.  Oh my god!  It’s gonna snow!  Get the bread, milk and eggs! Haha!  We will need to get propane Monday during the day, and that’s the last time we’ll be “oot and aboot” until after whatever falls from the sky is gone.  Folks in The South simply do not know how to drive in snow (even a dusting on the roads) and/or ice.  We may end up not getting anything like that, but we’ll be ready just in case.  We can just hunker down and enjoy it.

There’s still a load to get out of the dryer and fold before I hit the blankies in a while, so I’ll toddle off for now.

“You must stop your ears whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home . . . This country holds your father’s body.  Never sell  the bones of  your father and your mother.”

– Old Chief Joseph (tu-eka-kas), Nez Perce

365 Days of Walking the Red Road

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I am a Warrior

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max design

So Much More Than Just a Saying

“Life is short.” 

It’s not just a phrase or a saying.  It can be too true.  I became aware of some news today that brings this home in a way that is a punch in the gut.  To be honest, I am angered and saddened.  And frightened.  No, the news is not about me; however, it could so easily be news about me.  Or you.  Or someone you hold dear.

It is a stark reminder to embrace each day with joy celebrating what is truly of value in one’s life and shrug off what is of no real consequence in the fabric of our lives.

Happy Cheeks, I am wrapping my Warrior Scarf around my head in your honor and will walk by your side down this path, as will so many of your sisters in survivorship, now set before you.  Pinkie is stocked and at your beck and call.   Love you! 

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Maggie and I went to Palmetto Animal Hospital for her meet-and-greet Wednesday afternoon.   I was very pleased with the facility and with the staff.  She balked a bit going out the door of the exam room with a tech to have a blood draw (giving me a look of “Momma, where are they taking me?  Why aren’t you coming?”), but returned her usual wriggly-tail and cheery self.  That’s a good sign.  Stocked up on flea/tick and heartworm meds, got her food prescriptions, discussed treats that might sit well with her diva-delicate stomach (even a free sample) and made the appointment for her dental cleaning next week.  After researching vets in the area, I chose Palmetto based on reviews, location, services and the fact that they offer after-hours emergency care for existing clients. 

The doctor called today with the lab results; all is fine with our Maggie across the board (it was an extensive lab panel).  I’ll take her in next Wednesday afternoon, she’ll spend the night and undergo the procedure the next morning.  I think there has only been one other night she has been away from us, and that was back in 2012 when she had bladder stone surgery.  I say “I think” because that incident was on the heels of my surgeries that summer and I was still recovering; things are a bit foggy from that time.  She and I ended up spending time recovering from surgeries together.  Our wee Maggie girl . . . I love her dearly.

At any rate, it will be strange to be Maggie-less for an overnight.  We have never boarded her.  Where we go, Maggs goes.  Of course, that means I’ll have my entire bed to myself for a change.  Ha!  Seriously, though, I will miss that lump between my feet even for one night.

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We’re getting a dose of Winter here in South Carolina over the next days.  The wind has been brisk today (again as usual) and temps will dip into the 20s tonight.  We’re looking at shivery days and overnights in the teens over the weekend.  Currently, Monday night’s forecast indicates a “wintry mix” as a possibility!  Of course, that is more likely to be in the form of ice instead of snow and could disappear from the forecast.

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Then there’s the exciting news of Dave’s bike ride today . . . no dogs!  How cool is that?!

Okay.  It’s time for my midnight-ish patrol round.  Go hug  someone or something you love! 

Peace, ya’ll!

“Teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers.  So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.  Teach your children what we have taught our children – that the earth is our mother.  Whatever befalls the sons of the earth . . . This we know; all things are connected like the blood which  unites one family.”

– Chief Seattle (Seathl), Duwamish-Suquamish, 1785-1866

365 Days of Walking the Red Road

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I am a Warrior

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max design

Rising to the Challenge

Thank you, Phyllis and Jerry, for your encouraging words on my last post.  Ya’ll know me pretty darn well, recognizing and reminding me that I am a Warrior who thrives on challenges and for pointing out that the one presenting itself to me currently is to not only survive but to thrive in our current situation.  Here are my challenges:

  • Stay mentally stimulated
  • Remain spiritually awakened
  • Focus on positive aspects of my life and circumstances
  • Continue to nurture friendships and stay in touch
  • Integrate physical activity to these surroundings
  • Get off the property as feasible for interaction with others and as stimuli for all of the above

I have the resources to accomplish all the above and am already engaging in most of them.  I think what I need to do is be mindful of these goals every day and set my intention for each.

Just now I had a thought – “Is this what the newly retired grapple with after leaving the workforce?  That sense of lack of purpose, of direction?”  Yoinks!  Thing is, we are not retired but are working, so I do not  have the luxury of an open Life canvas.  So!  What I will try to do is paint my canvas within its confines – that is, working night shift seven days a week.

Staying mentally stimulated will be easier once my virtual assistant job resumes.  Right now I am in a holding pattern awaiting the next task on the project.  This lull has given me the opportunity to prepare and submit our 2014 taxes and to redesign my Reiki web site.  I have had the domain for at least a decade and even though I am not teaching at the current moment, I still maintain the domain.  One never knows what the future holds, and I do not want to relinquish the domain name.  The web builder software has been upgraded and my old site would at some point in the near future be inaccessible, so this needed to be done.  There may be some more fine tuning, but it is pretty much there.  Not thrilled with the prospect of a revamp (I really liked my previous design), I have to admit the new version has a more updated look . . . a more “going with the times” look.  Figuring I was on a “tech geek roll,” I did some tweaking of my Blogger blog.  If you are viewing the Blogger version of this post, you’ll notice it now includes a blog roll of sites I follow.  Our weekend chess sessions also help in this regard for both Dave and I, and we enjoy matching wits over the chessboard.  I do read and am currently returning to some of the books I kept from my fairly extensive library way back when . . . ones that feed my spirituality and give me pause to think and contemplate.

Remaining spiritually awakened is, I believe, a habit of remaining mindful and taking the time for meditation and other practices.  A deep spirituality is still very much part of my being, but I neglect it too often.  Like relationships, it needs nurturing.  This was a bit easier in surroundings which gifted me with the beauty of Mother Nature and her creatures, but I’ll work with what I’ve got.  Ha!

Focusing on the positive is a choice, so my intention (you remember that word, eh?) will be to choose to recognize the many positive aspects and blessings in my life and surroundings.  Sticking to the topics of our environment and situation, here’s a few:

  • A steady paycheck that is adequate for our needs with a bit left over.
  • We have our privacy and quiet, especially on weekends:  We’re not sandwiched between other RVs in a campground.  We can open our curtains without the possibility of curious eyes peeking in.  I can play my music as loud as I want (on weekends) when cleaning house, etc.. 
  • We have our washer and dryer on-site.
  • There are no drama queens in our workforce; no drama to the job and really no stress.
  • We have an office suite and restroom/shower facilities for our use.
  • The skies are more open here.
  • We are not micromanaged; actually, we’re not “managed” at all.  We just do our job.
  • Our RV home is under less stress in this more temperate climate.
  • There’s no road salt to wash off the truck after snowy winters.
  • Dave doesn’t have to get snow off our roof or change out propane bottles every 24 hours during Winter.
  • We don’t have to be concerned with slipping on ice.
  • The distance to get our propane tanks refilled is much closer.
  • We are finding the cost of living (so far) is a bit lower (on some items).
  • I don’t have to wear snow boots with cleats three months out of the year.

Continuing to nurture friendships is both easy and dicey.  Exchanging emails or yapping on the phone is easy with friends.  They’re friends, right, so it’s easy-peasy.  Living a nocturnal existence makes it a bit tricky at times, because most people live a “normal” schedule and are sleeping when it’s my “afternoon/evening.”  Still, there are weekly, every couple of weeks and monthly phone chats with longstanding friends.  Laughing, sharing and simply hearing their voices does my soul a world of good.  There’s the girlfriend of decades playing Words with Friends with me; we exchange messages now and then which doesn’t seem like much, but it is a daily connection.  There are all the folks on Facebook with whom I interact frequently.  “Are those real friends?” you may ask.  Well, yes, actually, they are.  There’s my godmother, the cousin I hadn’t been in touch with for decades, people I have been with in person over the years and those who have become friends and pals through sharing mutual interests, philosophies and activities via social media.  There is you, Awesome Reader of my ramblings, and those whose blogs I follow.  It’s pretty cool how one gets to know folks by reading each other’s blogs and commenting back and forth.  Long and short (probably too long) is that friendships require nurturing to keep them fresh.  This is a true labor of love and the rewards are . . . well, priceless.

Integrating physical activity is probably the kicker item in the list.  The everyday routine opportunities for physical work (mowing, gardening, walking, even shoveling snow) are simply not available here as they were in New Jersey.  It’s time to get a routine going for the bike on the stationary trainer, to dig out that Tai Chi DVD and, of course, continue my wall push-ups.

Getting off the property for fun and rejuvenation is something I do need to strive for a bit more, as we are very isolated here and have virtually no contact with others.  I confess, however, that after running two or three errands during the week, I am content to just stay put.  Yeah, I know, I need to get my hiney in the truck, crank up my tunes to “blow out the windows” volume and go for a drive.  I’m thinking 50 miles down the interstate, turn around and come back.  Well, okay, given the time constraints of our work schedule, I’ll settle for 30 miles.  Well, maybe 40.  I could do 40.  

So there you have it.  Challenges and a plan.  An intention, if you will.  I can do this.  May not be easy every day, but that’s why it’s called a challenge.

Today’s quote below speaks to me on a spiritual level somehow . . .

“To clothe a man falsely is only to distress his spirit . . . “

– Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux, 1868-1937

365 Days of Walking the Red Road

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I am a Warrior

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max design

 

 

 

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

It dawned on me the other evening that one aspect missing from my life here versus where we were in New Jersey is physical activity.  At our previous site, we both were mowing (okay, it was with a zero-turn mower, but it was still something somewhat physical), I had a walking routine in place on the property, there was snow to shovel in Winter, I had flowerbeds and veggie gardens to create and tend, and so forth.  Here we are performing no grounds maintenance, we do no building walk-thrus, the site does not lend itself to the creation of flowerbeds or vegetable gardens, and I am not straying far afield to walk the property due to the current stray dog issue. 

Although the terrain here is flat, I am definitely not inclined to get out on the road with my bike in light of the experiences Dave has had, i.e., chased by dogs on almost every ride, run off the road by vehicles and the near-misses he has encountered from negligent/careless, or even – shall we say – drivers who apparently hold cyclists in contempt.  Read all that as this being a higher than normal hazardous area for cycling.  He has had a guy lean out of a vehicle and yell at him, and a woman followed him down a road and . . . well, behaved bizarrely.  Yep, we’re living Deliverance.

So . . . the other evening I asked Dave to set up my bike on the turbo (stationary trainer) so I can get some physical exercise.  I believe the lack of physical exertion is one reason I have been in somewhat of a spiritual and emotional funk here.  Being the awesome husband and best friend that he is . . .

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My Trek set up in Dave’s office aka “the bike shop”

Riding indoors is not as fun or as stimulating (no, I’m not talking about the sort of stimulation one feels being chased by huge, snarling dogs!) as riding on the road, either alone or with buddies; however, one can do some things to help in this regard.  There are computer programs and even web sites that feature a program that simulates road riding or even racing.  Dave enjoys that.  Some folks have been known to read or listen to audiobooks. 

Me?

I listen to music.

Years ago, I had a stationary trainer and found a CD which provided me with a good workout routine . . . high-rhythm warm-up tune to get things going, followed by songs which maintain my pulse rate and varied in exertion levels, peaking with a flat-out effort and then a cool-down period.  I’ve used this same CD for over 12 years now, including during my breast cancer experience.  Following surgery and throughout radiation treatment, I was not physically up to cycling on the road; however, I could use the trainer effectively and with no ill physical effects.

This kept me “sane” and helped maintain my physical strength/energy levels.  It also made me a stronger cyclist by the time my wheels rolled on pavement again.

In case you’re wondering what that CD is . . .

Promise you won’t laugh?  Really?  Cross your heart?

Okay . . .

Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Oh man, you promised.

I could explain the routine to you, but it probably wouldn’t make any sense except to a cyclist.  Suffice it to say, it gives me a thorough and sensible workout. 

It also is taking me back to my “roots,” if you will . . . back to finding and calling upon not only my physical strength, but also my inner strength.

Sweet.

Some folks are content and fare well with essentially sedentary activities, and I have some of those, too; however, I have . . . I need . . . to have a balance of sedentary with pushing the physical envelope a bit.  Finding not only the physical strength but that inner Warrior strength.

Oh yeah.  This will work.  Definitely.

Peace, ya’ll . . .

“I hope the Great Heavenly Father, who will look down upon us, will give all the tribes His blessing, that e may go forth in peace and live in peace all our days, and that he will look down upon our children and finally lift us far above this earth; and that our Heavenly Father will look upon our children as His children, that all the tribes may be His children.  And as we shake hands to-day upon this broad plain, we may forever live in peace.”

– Red Cloud (Makhpiya-Luta), Oglala Sioux chief, late 19th century

365 Days of Walking the Red Road

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I am a Warrior