Jan 272012
 

Tomorrow morning my youngest sister is dropping me off at the bus station, where my 24 hour trip to California begins. I’ll be in California for 30 hours, and then spend another 24 coming back. Sleep? When? Excited is just the beginning of how I feel about this trip…

 Posted by at 7:37 am
Dec 302011
 
Winter has hit the Pacific Northwest; the way my car swayed crossing the bridge coming home from work last night wouldn’t let me forget that. I listened to the sound of rain pounding down on the roof of the motor-home running from one end to the other duct-taping washcloths to the ceiling in hopes of keeping the water off my floor. The weather took a turn on Christmas day, and hasn’t let up since. There is a say about Oregon; Oregon has three seasons, rain, rain, rain, and road construction. Right now, it feels very true. It’s part of why I love this part of the country though.

Call me crazy, but I have a bond with the rain. It feels like communication from my Father, the heavenly one, and the one who is gone. The day my Dad passed away was beautiful and sunny in Missouri, until the moment I boarded the plan to go home to be with my Mom and sisters. As I passed through the “walk way” and onto the plane, I noticed the rain falling in the small gap between the two. I reached out to touch it; the feeling of wet on my fingers is something I have yet to forget.

For me, it was like his way of saying goodbye. On the day I decided to marry my husband (now ex) and move back to the Northwest from Kentucky, it rained. When I broke up with my husband, it rained. The day I moved in to my very first apartment, all by myself, it rained. The day my Mom and Step-dad offered me the motor-home as an alternative to living in a hotel, it rained. There are many other moments like these. Coincidence, maybe. In fact, as often as it rains here it would be almost impossible NOT to make some sort of life altering choice on a rainy day at least once in a while.

Still, the rain is special to me. I tried not to resent it last night as I found wet spots by the vents and ceiling lights. It’s all fixable, and truly a matter of perspective. My original intention was to post about New Year’s Resolutions, obviously I’ve strayed far.

Heavy on my mind lately has been something deeply personal, and the little drips from the ceiling were like an affirmation of how I decided to deal with these feelings. I am going to make this affirmation part of my New Year’s Resolutions. I have only four this year, and like Sarah of Clover Lane, they are one word each. Hopefully I won’t forget what they mean halfway through the year. I jotted them down in next year’s planner tonight, and hope to come back to this blog next year and celebrate achieving at least a few of them.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Nov 282011
 
The above image is an approximate rendering of the layout of my soon to be home. As each day goes by I get more and more excited. Yesterday I drove out to my Mom’s and took a “tour”. Before yesterday, I had only been in the motorhome once or twice and had visualized it to be much larger. When my Step-dad offered it as an alternative to the motel I am currently living in I was filled with excitement and ideas. The tour was a quick introduction to the reality of the situation.
It’s going to be snug, very very snug. The vehicle itself is old, it hankers back to the 1970s in design… the overwhelming use of brown and laminate is going to take some getting used to. There are some soft spots in the floor, and the lack of plugs has me wondering how the heck I am going to charge my laptop. There were upsides though, the fridge is larger than I expected, the sink has two sides, and the curtains and screens on the windows are all in good condition.
Sometimes I close my eyes and fantasize that this is going to be a long term project I fall in love with. That I will cherish the independence it allows me, and come to enjoy the simplicity such small quarters forces upon me. Other times I pray for nothing more than the next few months to pass speedily. In the best case scenario living in The Park will allow me to save money while paying off debt. Come summer it should grant me freedom to roam and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Oregon Coast.
It could be long term, it could only be for a few months. In the meantime I am making lists galore… what do I need? What do I already have? What do I want to fix? What do I want to experience? What goals do I need to focus on? I truly hope this adventure, however long it lasts allows me a chance to grow, learn, and enjoy life.
There is a petting zoo in The Park, surrounding woods, and plenty of room for my nephew to play on the days I whisk him away. The small church down the road might be a good place to explore the remnants of my relationship with God, and the short but scenic drive to work will give me plenty of time to think. 

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Nov 282011
 

When my Dad passed away in 2006, I knew nothing would ever be the same. A vital part of my heritage was gone in a blink of an eye. The first years worth of holidays were nothing more than reminders of everything missing in my life. I struggled through them, along with my Mom and sister. We smiled, laughed, cried, and forged ahead. To say it has become easier, would be a lie. It’s not easier, even after all this time… it’s just different.

We’ve learned to be, without him. We have welcomed new people into our lives, including my Step-dad and brother in law. Each of them brought families of their own into the mix. Their own history and tradition… their own struggle and pain. Three Thanksgivings ago we celebrated with my handsome nephew, and this year my niece joined us at the table.

There is so much to be thankful for in my life. I don’t know if my relationship with my Mom and sister would be so solid, if it weren’t for the three of us banding together after Dad died. Who is to say my sister would have still meet her husband and had her two beautiful babies? As much as I miss his physical presence in our daily lives, I am thankful for the legacy he has left behind.

He wasn’t a traditional man. He lived his life according to a deeply personal code of conduct that revolved around his relationship with God. We moved frequently as children, and often times celebrated the holidays at home, just the four of us. He taught us to cherish what existed in near proximity, to not get caught up in the commercial trappings of the holidays… and that sometimes, nachos and pizza for Christmas dinner is OK.

These things have carried on with us in the past 5 years. For Thanksgiving we celebrated with flat iron steak, french fries, and a fruit platter among other more traditional dishes. After eating we took pictures in the leaf covered yard, and then left the kids with Grandma to go start a new tradition.

My Step-dad drove us up into the hills, and we learned to shoot a 22. Neither my sister or I had ever shot a gun of any sort. Our Dad was a quiet, indoor sort of man whose love of books prevailed over all other pursuits of passions. My Ste-dad on the other hand is a more of an outdoors type.

How blessed are we to have been able to learn from two such wonderful men? I can tell you, squeezing the trigger of a gun was something I had never expected to do. Ever. I did, though. I even enjoyed it. Next year we will do the same thing…

 Posted by at 1:25 am