Musings from home after my 2 week road trip

I traveled 4400 miles in 15 days, and crossed state lines 21 times. Only two of those states were new to me – New Jersey and West Virginia. I think I’ve been in 44 of the lower 48 states now.

My time on the road, driving, was about 80 hours. I slept on 2 couches and a day bed for free, 3 hotels, and 9 airbnb’s. I spent $2200, about half of that for lodging, around $400 for gas, the rest for food and miscellaneous. Not bad, really, I had budgeted $3000.

I feel overstuffed with travel, kind of like that overstuffed feeling you get after a Thanksgiving feast. You look forward to the meal, enjoy it immensely, and afterwards think you might not ever want to eat again. That’s kind of how I feel about travel right now. Stuffed. Not only did I take this trip, I spent two months in Chattanooga and two months in Carson City (for work) this year. I looked forward to it, enjoyed it, but right now, I don’t want to make any more travel plans!

The best food I ate was that prepared by my kids. The rest of the time I struggled to find anything that was really good. I ate in the car on the road for lunch quite a bit – leftover pizza, cookies, and apples. The apples I picked in Massachusetts saved my life, I think. I got a really bad pizza in Niagara Falls. I’ve learned to really dislike eating out. Yesterday at home was lovely. Oatmeal for breakfast, omelette with the eggs and veggies I was given in New York for lunch, and a delicious butternut squash soup made by my husband for dinner.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live other places, and staying in airbnb’s gives a tiny taste of that. They were mostly great, but a couple of the beds were like marshmallows. My favorite, I think, was the one near Goshen, NY with the fabulous patio.

Most places have keurig coffee makers.I really dislike that kind of coffee. I did bring my French Press and supplies, but water heated in the microwave for coffee just isn’t the same. I was glad for coffee shops.

In this not quite post pandemic world, masks are still a thing. In some places, all the signs were down, in others, masks are required. I pretty much wore my mask when I went inside anywhere. Why not? Even though I’ve been vaccinated, it certainly doesn’t hurt me or anyone else to wear a mask, and it could make a difference for someone.

I didn’t do anything “touristy”. Even when I went to Niagara Falls, I only paid for parking, and spent time in the public areas. I didn’t go to museums or other attractions, although I sometimes enjoy doing so. Sleeping in a different place every night and having those experiences was really what I wanted out of this trip, after seeing my kids of course!

So now, I will nest at home. I will enjoy cooking, crocheting, playing with the grandkids, embracing the uncertainty of life as it unfolds. I will start working full time again, after the first of the year. I plan to keep writing here, just not as often.

And, no doubt, at some point, I will be on the road again.

Road Trip Day 15 – 800 miles across 4 states to home

I didn’t plan to drive nearly 800 miles in a day, but that is what I did. I write this from home, where I slept last night. I have been writing this blog in the evenings, but last night I was pretty exhausted. This morning, I am sitting in my happy place, drinking coffee.

I didn’t leave the Secret Lodge Bed and Breakfast until 9:30 am, because I wanted to have breakfast! and it was satisfying, as was my stay there. The view is unbelievable.

The previous couple of days I had been looking around for a place to stop on my last night – I was thinking Baton Rouge area. But I had nothing, so decided to just drive until I got tired, and get a hotel. I set the google map to home, and headed south.

The weather was clear, the road was primarily straight, and with minimal stops for gas and bathroom, (I ate my leftover Mellow Mushroom pizza in the car as I drove) I found myself crossing the Mississippi in Baton Rouge at 5:30. I had two more hours of daylight, I felt good, and I kept going. By then, I was sure I would drive all the way. There were no sights I wanted to see except home and husband.

I drove straight towards a beautiful sunset, made even more so with the reflections off the water in the Atchafalaya Basin. No pictures except the images in my mind. I broke my rule about driving after dark, knowing that the rest of the way home was familiar territory on Interstate 10 to Houston. I entered Texas around 8 pm, and it was only 2 1/2 hours til home. I was sustained by apples from Massachusetts and cookies from Chattanooga.

I broke all records, mine anyway, on this drive. I hardly stopped except for necessities. The only other time I had driven a long way without stopping for a real sleep was when I drove my oldest daughter to Chicago to go to college, circa 2005. That distance is 1100 miles, and on the way back, I drove all night, stopping at rest areas for short naps. My youngest daughter was with me in the back seat, but way too young to drive. That was really just stupid. This time, I knew I would be home by 10:30, or I would have stopped.

The worse part of the drive was through the city. Had it been daytime, I would have taken more northern roads to avoid it, but it felt safer to be on the interstate after dark.

It was wonderful to be greeted by my loving husband, and sleep in my own bed. I have no pictures from the road yesterday, so here are some flowers blooming in my yard.

Not my first rodeo! (or why getting married at 60 is better than at 20)

Well, obviously, I’m a lot smarter than I was 40 years ago. I’ve made a lot of choices, and in spite of some of them looking bad at the time, I have no regrets.

As I muse, on the eve of my marriage to the man who will be my third (and last?!) husband, I do ponder my life with some amazement!

I married my high school sweetheart at 19. What babies we were! I thought it was forever, certainly planned for it to be forever. We had a roller coaster ride, and along the way seven wonderful little lives were created and birthed into this world. Certainly can’t regret that!

Midlife came along, and until you are there, and then well beyond, you don’t understand what a midlife crisis is really all about. For me, I had the first realization that life was short and I didn’t want to keep living the life I was living. And the only way I knew to change it, because of the rather narrow vision I had at the time,  was to change husbands.

Now I know that I created my world, and I could have created change in a different and more healthy way. But that’s not what happened, and I got just what I thought I wanted. At 43 I divorced and quickly married again, tried to make it work for 12 years. I had wanted more pizzazz in my life, and I got it, but not in a healthy way. What got birthed through all that was an older and wiser woman! I learned to take responsibility for my choices and learned to make better ones! I don’t regret that!

And I was done with marriage! I was 56 years young, feeling strong, and made plans to have a whole lot of fun that I had missed out on in my pursuit of living the perfect marriage. I minimized and moved, and started living the exciting single life.

I joined meetup, because I only wanted to meet people, not date. Oh no, I was done with men! I went to parties, happy hours, restaurants, went to running groups, did all kinds of things I’d never done. I did get involved with someone, but it was always known that it was just for fun. I  went out with a few guys, but it was more out of curiosity then wanting a real relationship.  Then, only a year after I was divorced, I met Robert.

I’d gone to yet another meetup, at the wine bar down the street. He was there, along with a bunch of other people, and there was no love at first sight. Just another guy. But we met again, at another meetup a week later, and that is when something magical happened. I had this moment when we were sitting at the table talking, and the rest of the world just kind of faded away, like in a movie.

So, long story short, that was four years ago. A year ago Robert proposed to me right before my fabulous 60th birthday. (He threw me a great party, btw!)  I’ve had enough time and experience with him to know that he is the real deal, for me. I know what I want, and don’t want.

The biggest deal is that I am entirely safe to be who I am in this relationship. There’s no big drama, no narcissism. There is a constant love and acceptance, and an understanding that love isn’t always FELT. Rather, love, the marriage kind of love, is a knowing. Knowing that you feel good with this other who is a mirror of your true self. Knowing that life is great lived without a partner, but somehow, with this person, life is a whole lot better.

So, never say never. Be open, be careful, be ready to be surprised!

Am I saying “til death do us part” ? No, not this time. Said it twice before, broke that promise. I fully expect it to be til one of us leaves this body, but saying that just doesn’t seem to be necessary.

I am getting married tomorrow!

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No place like home

After taking two trips in a month, fantastic as they were, it is great to be home, be it ever so humble.

It took me about three days to recover from the 10 mile hike in the mountains of Montana after the late nights exploring Yellowstone! The air here on the Texas Gulf Coast is thick with humidity, it has rained torrentially followed by suffocating heat.  But here I have an incredible partner who I share daily love with. I have my writing corner, my books, my art supplies, my view. My little granddaughter isn’t too far away, and she loves her “sassy”!

My lake isn’t the clear blue of the lakes in Montana, but it is beautiful and it is home. home lake

We are expecting more rain today with the arrival of Tropical Storm Bill. I’m heading off to work this morning, and hoping I can get home! One of the biggest dangers around here when we have a lot of rain is flash floods. People get in big trouble when they attempt to drive through water and it is either deeper than they thought or rises quickly while they are in it. The storm is heading for a bit south of here so we will be on the wet side of it.

Another day, another adventure!

Photography 101 – Home

The assignment – home.  ” Home is elusive. When we think about this word, we might picture different physical locations. And while home is often found on a map, it can also be less tangible: a loved one, a state of mind.”

I live in an apartment building, and I love being here. Inside is warm and welcoming and I live with a beautiful person.My grownup children I get to see sunrises and sunsets over the lake out my bedroom window, and lots of birds and other bits of nature. But home is where my heart is – and each one of my children has a piece of it.  I took this picture of my grownup kids at Thanksgiving of 2011. They are rarely all together now, and I don’t see them much either. They are each strong, unique, independent, and that was my hope for them.