waiting…

the washer and the dryer.

in my mind,

i hear one say, “un-uh”

and the other one answer, “oh yeah,”

while sitting in a tiny kitchen,

in a familiar folding metal chair

waiting for the chili

that i prepared all day yesterday

to reheat, as no one including me ate it.

i am pondering the cornbread

reclining peacefully and untouched

in a simple, red dish made of crockery.

the cheddar is grated and in a bowl.

the sour cream and chopped onion

just waiting, like me.

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uncertainty…

that tiny bit of doubt

it manages to work it’s way into my mind

it may lie there dormant for weeks

springing back to life when least expected

or, it enters and immediately grows roots and takes over

in either case, it’s generally something so innocuous

that no one else would ever even think twice about it

but, i do

it’s the way something may or may not be said

a look that may or may not have been dismissive

it’s a simple word or line of text or phrase with no punctuation at the end

that leaves my wheels spinning over and over…round and round

my gut tied up in knots as my stomach churns and burns

everything spins out of control with no context, no resolution, and no clarity

things of absolutely no consequence are assigned random, but specific meaning

it drains every ounce of joy from my spirit and i am spent

 

 

 

a wild and crazy ride…

i know that i am still working on our second journey, both in writing and photography. there is so much left to show and to tell you all. i can’t wait!! but here i sit, in the middle of america on my way back to nevada from journey three and i am just full of emotion.

i feel a multitude of things right now…gratitude for a safe trip thus far, for myself, buggs, and passengers (lex a white german shepherd, log an orange cat, and bo a black and white attack cat)…gratitude to ryan, bill, and nathan at tuffy’s automotive in fort wayne, indiana for spending all day from 0930 until 1630 replacing my burnt out alternator and scraping my melted serpentine belt off of the pulleys and engine and in the meantime allowing myself and buggs and lex to occupy their waiting room, bringing the dogs water and providing buggs with a coat to lie down on…gratitude for r*****d, who kept insisting that i buy the extended warranty on my car, when i made that purchase…gratitude for m***n and c***s being so kind and understanding about my car breaking down and being patient when their pets arrival was delayed by a day…gratitude for my waze app always showing me the speed limit and keeping my speeding more in line…gratitude for my co-pilot buggs, who is a real trooper and is completely adaptive to every new situation and new person or pet that he meets…gratitude for my co-co-pilot j**s, who can text me through anything and almost any situation. she has been a real blessing to me and i wouldn’t want to imagine a life without her texts in it… gratitude for all that i have in life: a place to live, a car to drive, clothes to wear, a bathroom to get clean in, food to eat, improved health, improved strength and stamina, adventures to go on, friends that love and care about me, stories to tell, and photos to share.

i feel blessed and fortunate and lucky. i feel incredibly cared about and important and special. i feel exhilarated and curious and scared. i feel most days lately, like my heart just may explode because i feel so much, all at the same time…and it nearly paralyzes me and keeps me from moving…forward, backward, or from side to side.

lately, my life has been filled with so much beauty and excitement and adventure. my curiosity and sense of wonder are nourished and fed each and everyday. the photos begin to capture all that is there in that moment, but they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of seeing the golden gate bridge lit up at night…of a blood red, smokey sunset in the mountains with the lights of bakersfield flickering down below…the stark white, salt flats of utah…the all enveloping, very fluid and saturated, watercolor clouded landscape outside of wendover…the stark bleakness of sidney…the warmth and appeal of the barns and silos and my heart pangs over the bridges of madison county sign again outside of winterset, oh how i love iowa…losing my breath as i crossed the mississippi and entered into illinois…seeing the chicago skyline lit up at night and reflected in the water…realizing how dirty, gritty, and grimey fort wayne was…the beauty of the old downtown and buildings driving into cleveland (drew carrey was right…cleveland does rock!!)…my first stop in pennsylvania made me never want to leave and upstate new york be still my beating heart…jamestown the city that gave me my redheaded, idea filled, role model lucille ball…the tiny little towns unchanged for a hundred years like warsaw and portland…the strange turnpikes and toll roads of albany, somehow fees are accumulated, but no money ever changes hands…nothing could ever prepare for the niagara river, the niagara falls, or the maid of the mist – buggs and i walked for two miles soaking it all in, being penguins gathering the perfect stones to offer someone someday – it was deeply emotional the scene of jim and pam’s wedding from “the office”…the scene of a great ocean with sandy beaches and tall, crashing waves in the middle of pennsylvania, but how could that be – lake erie – enormous, majestic, breathtaking…driving in the pitch black night, with blizzard conditions, snow and ice to get from albany to niagara falls…seeing and staying in the place of my father’s birth – columbus…driving into st. louis as the sun had just set, crossing the beautifully lit suspension bridge and seeing the arch as i drove by…all things that will be forever in my head and heart. they’re in photos too, but the photos do these things no justice!!

it’s been one wild and crazy ride…

please…

…please don’t give up on me! i’m so sorry…i have been working my ass off trying to put journey number three together. there are many individual parts that need to fit together just right to make everything all work out together.

so far, there have been some surprising and miraculous occurrences. yesterday, a woman gave a sales clerk one hundred dollars and told him to give it to the next person that he helped. well, i was the next person that he helped and he gave it to me. i was shocked and speechless. i will be paying it forward.

so, i leave henderson on sunday, headed for vallejo, ca. i’m so excited to be going back out and having another bunch of adventures with my co-pilot buggs and my co-co-pilot j**s. i’m going back to places i know well and i’m going to a bunch of places that i’ve never been.

i’m excited to be marking some more things off of my bucket list among them…niagra falls…scene of jim and pam’s wedding, from “the office.” i’m taking my good camera this time and i’m going to be taking lots of photos…and i will be bringing my tripod and cable release for some night photography.

i’ve checked the weather the whole way for each location, on each day. it looks like a few showers, but mild temperatures and no snow or ice. i will bring my carhartt coat that m****a gave me last year in iowa and i will bring bugg’s iowa coat too. this time, i won’t forget my meds or toiletries. i’ve taken care of my seat, so, my lumbar spine will be supported.

tomorrow, i am going to try to tell some more about our second journey and share another set of photos. i still have so much to tell and share. i experienced so much, in such a short amount of time. i’m forever changed and bonded much more closely with both of my pilots.

i’ve been gathering the best stones, shiny, smooth, and strange from each location that i explore. i’ve been putting them into a rock tumbler/polisher and turning them into treasures of which i will present to someone special one day. j**s calls me her penguin…bent over searching for the perfect stone…obsessed.

photos of our second journey, set four…vancouver, wa to fife, wa to gig harbor, wa…

our second journey, part three…

…as we were driving, i could feel that something was just not right. we stopped at a rest stop in litchfield, ca and i took each dog out to potty. i noticed that maybe every fifty steps or so, i had excruciating pain running down my spine and into my legs and feet. it nearly laid me out on the ground each time it happened.

however, i was determined to deliver my cargo safely, have a good time, enjoy the sights, and take lots of photos. i drove on. we were listening to the playlist that j**s made for us. it kept me awake, in a good mood, and my mind off of going to the really bad place that i couldn’t let it go to.

(that place was a place of insecurity, fear, and self-doubt…what happens if i can’t walk…or pass out…or get hurt? i was bound and determined to keep myself from being anything other than confident, strong, and healthy.)

we stopped in alturas, ca to fuel up and get some coffee. it was sunday evening and only one place in town was open. we went there and i enjoyed some people watching and photo shooting, as i pumped gas. it was definitely an interesting place.

we sped back to the highway and i noticed that we were headed directly into some very thick, heavy, and visibility impairing smoke. there were forest fires and we were headed directly into the forest. i saw a rest stop ahead in chemult, or and thought that we should all get out and walk, before heading into the fires.

i needed to make sure that we were all taken care of and that all of our needs were met. the air was thick with soot and ash. the lighting was surreal. we were the only ones at the rest stop and it just seemed so eerie. as we were getting ready to leave, i looked to my left and two crows landed…bob and bud of course.

and, they very well may have been harbingers of things to come…

…until tomorrow…