Getting there is half the fun…

I don’t know who said that but I hope they’re wrong. Travel is amazing, and interesting but I wouldn’t call it fun.

I and all my devices got in the truck and made our way to Minneapolis last night. We had a short sleep in a motel, where I left the truck. Everything went so smoothly at the airport that I started wondering why. I finally realized that it’s one of the benefits of traveling solo. Don’t get me wrong – I love traveling with companions as well, but this kind of freedom has a charm all its own. I don’t have to match anyone in my likes, dislikes or pace. I can be as early or as late as I choose. I can eat or go without. I have one person to watch out for – me.

I am now safely in Arizona, sitting in the waiting area for the flight to Flagstaff. I decided to check in here with a short post because I have over four hours to wait and have to fill the time. I know it won’t be long before I will have to forget my “devices” and start experiencing this hike without them.

This is my first trip in a long time without my computer. Instead I’m using my phone for everything – it’s camera, tablet, caretaker of boarding passes, as well as communication central. What a device! And I have paired it with this tiny little bluetooth keyboard, which so far is doing a great job.

I sat next to a dog! I saw a fairly large man walking around in the gate area before the flight and noticed him because he had this tiny dog on a bright red leash. You don’t see this every day. Later, much later because I was in the last zone to board the plane, I got to my seat and there they were again. The little fella was so quite, slept all the way to Phoenix, and licked my hand when he woke up after we landed. Make me decide between sitting next to a kid or a dog, I’ll take the dog.

In addition to being a travel day, yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was so nice to spend it this year with my mom, my youngest daughter and my brother’s family. We went to church, had a wonderful family brunch that I wish I had taken a picture of but didn’t. We took walks and talked. Later, at the motel, I got a call from eldest daughter to round out the day.

Thanks again for the book Ryan! And this is my mini-keyboard folio.

So here goes four hours of waiting. I have a book to read. Food and drink is close at hand. Fun is ahead as I look forward to meeting up with brother Bob and Elizabeth. It’s hard to believe I’m here, so far from where I started this morning, in such a different place.

A very different place than the one I left this morning. Yes, real mountains…

It’s Happening!

The Adventure Starts

Now the rest of the events will unfold, sort of like the domino that falls and starts the whole line up toppling, one after the other.

Suitcase (and daughter) finally made it.

I consider the adventure to have started yesterday when I left for the Minneapolis airport to fetch youngest daughter to us. It was a successful trip with the usual number of unexpected turns. Her route from Seattle was through Dallas (everyone’s intuitive path…) so the storms there delayed the flight 90 minutes. Then her luggage got put on another plane and we waited another hour for that to arrive. But she made it! We were home by 11 pm.

We have Mother’s Day to celebrate with a family brunch after church today. I have packing to finish and hopefully a relaxing walk somewhere – it is warm and sunny and spring is springing. This evening I will drive back to Minneapolis and hopefully get some sleep before my early flight out to Flagstaff. It seems quite unreal that one week from this moment I will be back here, sitting in this chair probably, having gone through it all.  One week of unknown adventure and unique Grand Canyon views (and possibly physical torture…). It will be over. How does time do that to us?

For Mother’s Day

20170512_162317-1Hi Mom,

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and I can’t be with you – seems we’re hardly ever together this time of year. I wish that was not the case. I’ve been thinking ever so hard about what I could do or say to show you how much I love you, care about you, respect you and enjoy you. Nothing I think of quite fits the bill. We should talk sometime about what things make your heart glad so that I won’t be wondering.

I guess we all like to know that we’ve accomplished worthwhile things, helped others, added to the well-being of society… all that sort of thing. Do you wonder what you have done? I ask because I think we all have those alone moments when we are uncertain we’ve mattered in any way (I have them). Even if we think we have done our job, we’re not sure anyone else would second our opinion, ha ha. So I’ve thought of a few things you’ve done for me and will try to express them in a thankful way.

One of the most important things centers around the idea of contentment. There are so many people who are not content and are difficult to be around. They can’t even voice a statement of fact without it sounding like a complaint. You, on the other hand, are able to express even things that trouble you without complaining. I can’t imagine you whining about anything. You’ve shown me it’s possible to be this way and that it is a good choice. I’ve seen that everything doesn’t have to be perfect for me to be content. And because you are content in so many situations, it is a pleasure to be with you. I want to emulate that so that people will want to be with me as well.

From you, I’ve learned that pleasure can be pursued in many small ways – anyone can do it! (Should do it!) The pleasure of coffee in a special cup, a favorite meal (even though it be fast food), a preferred morning ritual, a favorite view of the neighborhood, a pleasurable activity (even though it be thought of as work) – are all the kind of things that should be included to make life happy.

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You’ve shown me that grieving and joy are not mutually exclusive. You’ve accepted loss as a part of life and don’t let it spoil the present or take hope away from the future. That’s huge.

You’ve been a champion of humor, of adventure, of seeing new places and doing things differently. I guess I would call that bravery. Sometimes it is brave to laugh when you could cry. It is brave to go, to join, to do, when you could sit home and do nothing. It is brave to choose “different” when we suddenly find we can no longer do “the same”.

There is much I’ve learned from your gracious way of stepping back from things too. It’s not always about saying “yes”. Sometimes it’s necessary and right to say “no”. I say you do it graciously, because you do not make others feel sorry for you, or make them feel guilty for their own choices. I guess that ties back in with being content and showing it to others.

I am more and more aware that there is no avoiding the process of aging (at least no desirable way) and am so thankful that, in you, I have an example that I want to emulate. You are the leader, you are showing the way, and you are helping me to not be afraid. Thank you.

Other miscellaneous things you’ve taught me:

  • Never stop drinking coffee.
  • Never stop digging in the dirt, gardening in some fashion.
  • It’s just money.
  • Being clean can make things almost like new, use Oxiclean.
  • Never pass up a colorful piece of cloth.
  • Always be reading something.
  • Let people know you like them.
  • Never assume you have it all figured out, or that you even should.

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For Gwendolyn with no middle name… on Mother’s Day

Mom, I am so blessed to have you as my parent. Thank you so much for:

  • my family unit of which you are the hub, the one around which we gather
  • your style, the objects you surround yourself with and hold dear, even though they sometimes come from garage sales
  • your availability, our early morning talks
  • your love of coffee and willingness to share it with everyone
  • well, hey, your love of food in general, and the way you make it a part of every good gathering of people (cinnamon roll queen…)
  • your total lack of complaining. I don’t know how you do it.
  • for not giving up on people or things too easily.
  • for helping Dad when he needs it.
  • for continuing to be curious about relationships, about technology, about faith
  • for making me feel special by sharing things with me that you probably don’t tell anyone else
  • for taking responsibility for your own feelings and not putting guilt trips on other people
  • for taking independent action when it’s needed, for being brave and willing to offend the right people at the right time
  • for loving books and being a reader
  • for your devotion to solitaire challenges and keeping your mind sharp
  • for faithfully reading my blog and liking my posts. I write for you most of the time.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I will always love you.

Not about to win any contests but we are beautiful to each other, and that's not a small thing.
Not about to win any contests but we are beautiful to each other, and that’s not a small thing.

A 21st Century Mother’s Day

Things I did on Mother’s Day weekend 2014:

Giant rose takes over dining room table
Giant rose takes over dining room table

– The husband started things out by taking me to Miller’s Dutch Family Restaurant. We went on Saturday night because Miller’s is always closed on Sunday, so we thought.  We were greeted by signs everywhere that they were now open 7 days a week.  Wonder what brought about this change? But we stayed.

– Went to the evening service of Exalt Church, which was fortunate because it was the only social celebrating of the M.D. occasion the whole weekend.  Received a beautiful rose and there were tasty desserts.  I was pretty full of Miller’s strawberry pie but managed to  put down a piece of  chocolate cake, a sacrificial act, to be polite of course.

– Talked on phone with the eldest daughter who was agonizing over our inability as a family to make much of holidays. Evidently I don’t make people feel guilty enough when they forget when the holiday is, therefore they develop the habit of forgetting. This daughter calls several times a week and we talk a lot so I have no trouble forgiving her for not driving for four hours and appearing on my doorstep.  I tell her not to feel guilty. We perpetuate our habit of not keeping holidays.

– I try to send my email Mother’s Day greeting to my mother.  Called her earlier to apologize for not mailing the card I bought her on time for her to get it. She doesn’t make me feel guilty… hmm, something familiar about this scenario.  Computer is being really difficult and won’t let me send so I go to bed.

– Sunday morning and the computer has healed. I send the letter to my mom.

– The husband has met up with a virus overnight (he didn’t catch a cold, it caught him). He doesn’t want to be coughing and hacking all over people at church so I go alone. Received nice Mother’s Day hugs from several friends. Oddly enough, no mention in the service about it being Mother’s Day (or was I just not listening?)

– Made a call to a young mother and had a good chat.

– Received a long email from youngest daughter yesterday but also today, a picture via text of the card she bought me.  This gives me great idea because theoretically, one would not even have to buy the card – just take phone camera to the card shop and click away. Clever.

– Another text greeting from a “not quite, but almost like a son” young man in California. Came with a virtual hug.

– For fun, I relax by catching up on all 5 types of solitaire challenges for month of May until I am hallucinating and feeling weird.  I see a 6 and immediately think 7, numbers are coming at me from all directions. I go to kitchen for my favorite, Cozy Shack rice pudding.

There are still several hours of this holiday left and who can guess what wonders await me.  Feeling happy and blessed.