I’m not a writer………NO, I’m not, I’m not…………but I have something to say.

Crap! This blog thing is driving me nuts. I have so much I want to say, and yet, I don’t like to write. I’m trying to keep my brain from drying up by learning how to blog and the biggest challenge I’m having this morning, as I’m trying to do this, is stumbling thru WordPress. #frustrated! Ozzie, my ten-year old Cairn Terrier is scratching…. licking….. smacking…OZZIE! Stop!! Just be quiet already!! STOP! (said in a hushed yell, cause it IS still early) D is still in bed, the sun is rising, traffic is picking up on the nearby road……..So what’s the problem………Pick a subject to write about that won’t absolutely bore the readers, all 4 of you. I have so much I want to share. But first I really need to get my thoughts in order, or at least start a list of things to talk about. There in lies a problem…..I’m a verbal processor. I’d rather talk than write. Okay, I just need to figure out a better way to do get the thoughts from the head and out through the fingers. Yes, I know there is u tube. And silly me thought that is how it was spelled, cause you know, “U”…. short for “you”. Can’t you just hear the kids, going, “Mom!, its Y..o..u..T.u.b..e..!” As you can probably tell I don’t spend much time on that site. They do though, watching funny videos. I’d rather not…I’d rather look at Pinterest.

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Two weeks ago I left the town I’ve called home for the past 21 years to embark on a new life adventure with my husband.  What a whirl the past 14 days have been!   Our household belongings were wrapped, packed, stashed and moved to California except for the “valuables and important papers” the moving company suggested not get shipped, but transported by me….I also needed to transport the family dog Ozzie and a few other things.

I love how life works out the way it is supposed to.   While I could have driven from Memphis to Sacramento alone,  I was relieved my friend Leanne wanted to go along.  Leanne and I went to high school together and had only seen each other a few times over the past 30+ years but had reconnected on Facebook a few years ago.  Gotta love Facebook!!  In a moment of  “why not ask” on Facebook who wants to go on an all expense paid cross country road trip with me, Leanne, a photographer, said she did.  Her words, “What’s the use of being an empty nester if you can’t just pick up an go…..no job either!!!”.  It was meant to be…..FUN! Leanne documented the two thousand mile journey with photos and Facebook posts along the way,  feeling like many of our family and friends were on the trip with us with the ever flowing Facebook comments.   But….. I really wish there had been a video camera filming us like Oprah and Gayle’s road trip adventure.  Oh my….. at times we were laughing so hard we were crying and more tears shed when we talked about our lives and heart breaks of the past 30 years.  I’ve had a lot of fun trips in my life but this trip will rank up there as one of the top!

While I also wish we had more time to zig zag across the country to see ALL the sights on both of our bucket lists, what we did see and experience was amazing.  Check out a few of the photos below.

Leanne wanted me to pull over on the bridge crossing the Mississppi River into Akansas so she could get a shot of me with Memphis in the rear view mirror……. I had to disappoint her early on…… it wasn’t safe.  So this was the pic she got.

Crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas

We thought these teepee picnic tables were cool at a Oklahoma rest stop.

Oklahoma Rest Stop

After a day and a half of rain we were happy to see the end of the clouds as we entered the Texas panhandle.

Welcome to Texas

We were up before the sun to see the Cadillac Ranch just outside of Amarillo.  It was so cold, but what a beautiful sunrise!

Sunrise at Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX

We first saw windmills in Oklahoma, but look how pretty the sun looks on these in Texas.  I think they are amazing to see.

IMG_2063

Leanne had asked if we could stop here during the trip and the timing could not have been better for a lunch stop at Tim’s Place.  BTW, the food was delicious, as was the hug from Tim!

Tim's Place!

Ozzie pit stop.  He really is a great dog, low maintenance, but we did have a few minor issues.  He didn’t like being left in a hotel room alone and to avoid that one evening we left him in the car (the temps were mild so no need to be concerned) while we had dinner and Ozzie found his own dinner, Leanne’s $10 bag of jerky she had purchased earlier in the day and left in the car.  I was really concerned he would be sick either that night or the next day, but thankfully that didn’t happen.  He did break out of the portable crate to drink a lot of water, which resulted in me having to take him out twice in the middle of the night to relieve himself,  down the curving staircase of the historic El Rancho Hotel  and locking myself out.

Pit stop for Ozzie

No animals were harmed in the making of these photos.  Yes, that is Ozzie not looking so thrilled to be at the Grand Canyon.

Ozzie at the Grand Canyon

Both Leanne and I had a bit of a panic attack as well.  Goodness, it is so BIG and DEEP!  But beautiful!!

Grand Canyon, South Rim

When my husband I drove thru the Mojave Desert in late February it was brown and although it was beautiful on it’s own, I cannot express the difference I witnessed 6 weeks later.  Most of the plants were green and we saw so many flowers blooming yellow, orange, purple and blue.  Even in the asphalt along the side of the I40 W there were flowers growing….  I realize what a gift it was to see and all the other sights we saw along the way!  Life memories.

Mojave Desert Blooms

Photos by Leanne Simmons McConnell

A Realization

Life is full of changes….  It’s what life’s about.  How we adapt to the changes says a lot about who we are.  I’m realizing I need more time to process big changes the older I get.

A year ago I sold the home I had lived in for 13 years.  We (me, my ex-husband and our two boys) moved in when our youngest son was two and our oldest was about to begin kindergarten.  They grew up in that house.  It was a great house; I’d made it a home for them and fought to keep our home through the divorce of their father and me.  There’s a lot of memories, the good outweigh the bad though.

This morning after visiting a friend in our former neighborhood I realized the house D and I have been living in for the past year was a transition necessary for me (mostly me) and D to be more open to relocating outside of the Mid-South.  If the previous house was the house we are currently selling to move to California…….I’d be having a harder time than I am.   Oh, I’ve had some emotional ups and downs but transition is the process necessary for change to occur.  My friend and colleague Sue West has built a successful business Organizing for a Fresh Start helping folks with life changes and transitions just like this.

The realization this morning for me was this: the holder of memories is our mind, not a physical place or thing.  The place (in my case, my old house) only reminds of me the memories.

 

 

More than enough

I was told yesterday that I am spoiled.  After about a half second of thought I agreed with the woman; yes, I’ll admit I am spoiled.  In fact, pretty much everyone I know is as well.  If they are offended by this, they’ll get over it.  Sometimes the truth stings a bit.  I want us to no longer take for granted our luxurious way of life.  Yes, we have a luxurious life!  We have spacious homes and most of the children have their own spacious rooms AND a bonus/play/media room in which to collect stuff that they whined about wanting and then don’t care about it once they have it.  It’s the same with the adults.  We want to live like we are rich.  By most of the world’s standards we are rich, even those of us who think we need more.  We tell ourselves we deserve IT.  Whatever IT is.  Really?  Life is hard, we all have challenges and if you haven’t you will, just wait, so stop telling yourself you deserve it.

We have more than enough.

Traveling With Angels

Treacherous. Ice covered roads, heavy fog, and 18 wheelers passing us by. Not good conditions for driving. What we learned……to pay attention when a truck changes lanes and wondering why when he’s not passing another vehicle. The reason, to get out of the way of the wreck in the right hand lane with emergency vehicles we couldn’t see due to the fog. I about wet my pants when another truck blew his horn just as we came upon the scene I just described. We also learned we need to remember to turn off the headlights when sitting for long periods of time when the car is off. You might be wondering what? We came to a slippery stop narrowly missing the car in front of us. Minutes added up to two and a half hours later when the music stopped that we were listening to. Huh, what was going on? Well, talk about feeling dumb. We had turned the car’s engine off not knowing how long we would be sitting there till traffic began moving again forgetting we had the car lights on and now we had a dead battery…… Yes, we did. A sweet older man had one of those portable battery jumper, didn’t work. We kept asking folks in other vehicles around us, finally someone had a set of jumper cables and the driver of the 18-wheeler behind us jumped us off just as the traffic began to move. YAY!! Now there was hope I could pee in toilet and not along the side of the road in the snow I seriously had been considering.

So thankful for the angels that were with us today. TWA, traveling with angels. Thanks KK….and everyone else who was praying.

Shopping Evolution

I’ll never be ready for grand-mama clothing.  You know what I mean, someone you know came to mind as you read that.

I like to think I have some style…..  I do buy comfortable shoes, but they have to have style if they are going to live in my closet.  My practicality and budget minded self doesn’t allow for many frivolous impulsive purchases.

Recently I noticed the clothing retailers I’ve shopped for years haven’t seemed to age with me.  Maybe I need to find different stores.  You know what I mean?  I’m a baby boomer, the tail end of the boom, but still a AARP boomer.  I don’t think AARP is lobbying for designers to design clothing and shoes that are somewhat currently fashionable, well made, AND the biggie, reasonably priced.  Am I wanting too much?  Surely I’m not alone in this quest. Where should I be shopping?  Where are the folks who design, make and sell clothes for women like me, average 50+ (fashionista wantabe) American woman.

I’ll tell you what brought on this rant…..  I visited my older son last weekend (he’s a freshman at a major southern university).  I had about 3 hours while my boys hung out in the dorm (they really don’t want mom to hang with them, I know this…. they didn’t tell me) to do a bit of shopping. Ooooh, I was excited at the possibilities…..I used to love to shop when I was younger, thinner and had more discretionary cash.  All that has changed, including the husband.  I don’t shop much now…. But I had some cash to spend and hit a few retailers; JC Penny, Belk’s, Chico’s and a few others in between.  I prefer smaller shops rather than department stores, as I quickly feel overwhelmed by the amount of merchandise in department stores.  I was frustrated I couldn’t find something that seem just right.  You know what I mean?  Something fresh, current, but not crossing that fine line of being too young, but not looking too old and frumpy.  When I did find something at Chico’s I choose to leave the items due to poor customer service. There was none. It was bad. What’s the point of a boutique shop if you don’t get boutique service? (BTW, I did send an email to their customer service department regarding my experience with a reply that it would be passed on to the store’s management. A lot of good it will do, not likely.)

I guess I need to seek out different places to shop, I know fashion is out there, it just has to fit my style and (gasp) age… My shopping habits need to evolve to fit my aging self, as challenging as it seems to be, I’m trying to embrace it.

My sweet grandmother showed me that you can have style regardless of age. At 93 she made sure she was well put together prior to leaving for the hospital unaware she would “cross on to glory”. (God blessed me with you Meme, I miss you still) I can only pray that I carry off style and grace she did.