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

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Status Update

The big move and my second cross-country drive to California are fast approaching.

We signed the real estate closing papers with the relocation company this week.  I’ve sold many of the items we will not need, use, nor want to move, and what didn’t sell will be donated for a tax deduction.  My stress level is a bit elevated, but I’m working on keeping it in check by spacing out the things on my to-do list.

My boys will be with me Easter weekend for some quality time before the moving company begins packing April 1st.  I’m praying the time with the boys isn’t too emotional.  So far I’ve had what I would consider normal emotional moments but could completely begin sobbing easily.  I really don’t want to do that, cause as good as a good cry is (releasing all those endorphins and all) crying gives me a headache and I hate feeling bad with a migraine.

So for now I’ll distract myself with the road trip planning.

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.