Coffee in a college town

wp-1464611943472.jpegI’m sitting  here at Java Jack’s in Nacogdoches, drinking a latte and eating a vegetarian croissant. I always seem to find a good coffee shop wherever I am. This one is in a geodesic dome, has an upstairs and a really good vibe. Perfect for this college town.

I’m here to help my youngest daughter move. We spent yesterday going in and out, up and down. For her senior year she’s moving from a first floor two bedroom to a studio, which just happens to be up a hill and second floor. And it was HOT! My fitbit tells me I walked nearly 7 miles, and I feel it. It was a good workout, though!

We got everything out yesterday, so this morning, before I head back to H-town, will be spent in unpacking and putting away what we can. Inside in the air conditioning, so it won’t be a sweaty endeavor like yesterday. However, her new place is packed with boxes, and some of this stuff has got to go!

She has a lot of clothes and things she’s collected from her favorite hobby, thrift store shopping. I’m hoping we find her silverware and some food staples today, among other necessities.

This is an eye-opening experience for her- to see how much stuff one can accumulate in a short time. Since she plans to move to another city in a year, she has a directive from MOM (me).  1) Stop shopping! 2) every day put one or two items (or more) in a box to give away. Easy for me to say, I know. She’ll thank me, next year.

 

Iowa day 4 – going home, musings, and a little history

Today I head home. Rachel and Geoff left for church around 9:30, and I departed shortly afterward. The train that was passing when I left was a double decker, which stopped for a few minutes, then started backwards. I wonder what that was all about.

I decided that I couldn’t leave town without visiting Cafe Diem one more time. Their coffee is really good, and I wanted another waffle. It is a good place to hang out and write. I had originally thought to drive into Des Moines and find a coffee shop there, but the warm and friendly atmosphere here beckoned me to come inside.

After I ate my delicious waffle, I spent a little time browsing around looking at travel blogs, and all the ones I found are to exotic faraway places. My little trip to Ames pales in comparison in some respects, but I am of the opinion that everywhere is interesting. Here’s a little information about this quaint midwest city, from Wikipedia:

The city was founded in 1864 as a station stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad and was named after 19th century U.S. Congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, who was influential in the building of the transcontinental railroad. Ames was founded by local resident Cynthia Olive Duff  and railroad magnate John Insley Blair,near a location that was deemed favorable for a railroad crossing of the Skunk River.

Ames is also the home of Iowa State University, whose campus takes up a major part of the city proper, and whose mascot can be found around town in various attire. This mirror mosaic version on Main Street is my favorite!

 

Writing while I wait in the Des Moines airport…

 I love to take back roads, when I have time, so I took the opportunity. Miles and miles and miles of newly planted cornfields flew past me. I marveled at the wide open spaces, and the big sky. Very mind clearing and heart opening. Along the way, I got a phone call that my flight was delayed 45 min. So I got here with time to spare, still feeling pretty relaxed.
Announcement overhead: They need 12 volunteers to check their carry on bags or they will check boarding group 4’s bags. I’m in boarding group 4, and I want to hang on to my bag! If I didn’t have a connection I’d check it, but I don’t trust the airline to care about my stuff and get it moved to the right plane.
Another announcement: The flight is overbooked and they need 6 volunteers to take a later flight. Are you kidding me? Does this happen all the time? Seems crazy to me. What do they do if no one volunteers? Draw straws?
Now at Dallas Fort Worth Airport….
No rushing this time. Google just notified me that my connecting flight is delayed 2 hours!!

Obviously, I made it onto the plane and they didn’t confiscate my bag. I was imagining myself wrestling someone over it, and am very glad that fantasy didn’t come to pass! I had a window seat this time, so I got to see the farmland from the air, and later the beautiful changing clouds as we flew above them. I was very hungry when I got here, glad for some time to rest and recoup. I got a veggie burger at a place called UFood Grill. It had to be the worst veggie burger ever. I only ate a few bites, but the baked potato fries were a little better, so I ate enough of them to ease my hunger pangs. Airport food, yuk. By this time I was feeling very imbalanced, shaky, and tired.

So I decided to sit right there in the middle of the busy airport and meditate. I wrapped my silk shawl around me (I had read that silk can keep negative energy away), put one hand on my suitcase, closed my eyes, and went inward. It was an interesting endeavor, and 20 minutes later I opened my eyes feeling more grounded and alert.
Checking google on my phone, I found that my flight is delayed even more, not leaving here until 10:12 pm, arriving in Houston at 11:30. Then I have to get my car, and drive the 30 min home.
I again observe the people around me. Young, old, all shapes and sizes, some rushing frantically to catch their next flight, others taking their time, or just sitting. People on their phones. I wonder about their stories. I see a team of adolescent girls all dressed alike, most likely returning home from a tournament . There are couples, friends, family groups, lone travelers like me. Some are traveling for a happy visit, or a wedding, some for a funeral. This is an international airport, so I see a diverse crowd and hear snatches of different languages.

The masses of humanity are everywhere. Tomorrow I return to work, to the patients and coworkers who are a part of it all too. Everywhere there is life, hope, and heartbreak. I am glad to be on this journey, one soul touching other souls.

Epilogue:
The plane didn’t take off from Dallas until midnight. Delay after delay until I was too tired to care, or write, or even sleep. I finally got home to my sweetie at 2 am! I am very glad I made this trip, and reconnected with my daughter. It’s been a long time since we had one on one time.

Morning Introspection

I went down to the lake this morning to drink my coffee. It is coffee, although I am gradually decreasing the coffee and increasing the Raja’s cup. Blended with butter, it is delicious.

The lake has a lot of vegetation floating on it. Robert thinks it is water hyacinth. Much haslake with water hyacinth gathered along the pier and boardwalk where I sat, contemplating and watching the birds. Lately, when I look out the window, I don’t see many birds. But sitting, they come. I don’t know the names of most of them.

There are gulls, of course, and an occasional egret. I think the large black bird is a grackle. There are smaller birds that flit quickly over the water, and seem to really like the water hyacinth islands. I wonder if there are insects there that are easy to catch. I saw a lone duck, flying low, quacking as he went. I wonder if he’s trying to catch up to his friends.

My favorite is the pelican, but there were none to be seen this morning.

My thoughts recently are wandering to the future. I want to stay in this present moment, mindfully, enjoying the beauty of the morning. Yet, I am in a spot where my life has had another turning point, and I have set a goal.

Next June, 2016, will see the culmination of some of these goals and the beginning of something else. It’s that something else that keeps causing me to wonder.

Sometime last summer or fall, it had become clear to me that it was time to think about my future. I don’t want to stay at my job forever, or even for a few more years. I want to travel, even live a gypy’s life, maybe.

Goal #1: save as much money as I can, for the time when I leave the job. Goal #2: work full time until June 2016. I will have been there for 6 years, and I will have had enough. I sometimes feel like I’ve had enough now, but practicality still reigns somewhat. I think there’s still purpose for me there. That month, I will be 59 1/2, the age of being able to withdraw some monies without penalty.

Those were my only real goals until I made the decision to enroll with New World Ayurveda. Not only is the course of study exactly what I am interested and the cost affordable, but the concluding week long intensive is in….. (drum roll, please)… June 2016!

A major shift has occurred since I began this study, a shift in my soul, a new sense of purpose. Robert, my partner, says it is visibly noticeable. I’ve had people ask me what  is happening, I have a more peaceful appearance. I can feel it inside.

I think it all started when I learned Primordial Sound Meditation and began the practice of twice daily meditation – March of last year. I don’t understand how it works, but it does.  I started stepping out of my comfort zone more and more, with painting, writing (this blog), decisions about ridding myself of toxic relationships, and other issues related to how I live day to day.

So, as I sat thinking on this, enjoying the beauty of the morning, I realized that the wondering about what would happen in June of 2016 was turning into worrying.  I was sitting in a place of beauty, so I closed my eyes, felt the air, took a few breaths, and decided that the best thing to do would be to write about it and let it go. I opened my eyes, drank in the beauty once more, and went inside to write.

It’s the little things

sunny table viewThe weather turned warm, so we decided to go to one of our favorite places for Fish Taco Tuesday. It is a popular place, with outdoor seating, and when we got there, it was packed, and we had to wait. We were next in line, and I wanted a sunny table right by the water, and said so, to no one in particular. Next thing I know, a couple got up from the very table I coveted, and we were escorted to it.

Say what you want! You just might get it!

Photography 101 – Bliss

I have 2 photos for this – the first is my youngest daughter at age 3 experiencing the ocean at Galveston beach. What childhood abandonment and pure bliss on her face! This is one of my all time favorites.

3 year old bliss
3 year old bliss

When we are older, bliss can be more difficult to capture. We have a multitude of important thoughts that can override happiness and bliss, so we have to be more mindful in seeking out these moments. One of my favorite activities is to sit on the boardwalk by the lake with a cup of coffee on a cool morning. Watching the sky and water, before the cares of the day creep upon me, is a simple joy.

middle-age bliss
middle-age bliss