Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Sun shines through leafless
branches revealing mossy
abandoned bird nests.
I am lost. Unmoored. Adrift. Rudderless. In uncharted territory without a map. Shrouded in darkness, and no North Star in sight.
It’s time to make vacation requests at my place of work. My supervisor prefers to schedule vacations a year in advance whenever possible. I don’t blame her; her scheduling tasks must be a nightmare. But that’s her job. I have trouble deciding when to take vacations. Especially when it would suit me fine to have vacations every week.
I’ve never been a good vacationer. I love time off work, as there is so much to do around my home, which I love, not to mention my writing and reading. Not that I get that much done, but I have the time if I choose. I’m often uncomfortable leaving home, being in strange places with strangers, and I’ve never had access to sufficient funds for comfort and insulation while traveling. And while traveling I’ve always had the additional stress of cars breaking despite maintenance; stuff being lost and/or stolen from my home, campsite, or motel room; and my own quirky personal body requirements. I thought having a house sitter would help but they stole from me and damaged my property as well so that was not a solution. I’m just lucky, I guess.
I take vacations separately from the hubster. I’m a planner, a list maker, an organizer. I want to know where we are going, when, why, wherefore, and that a bed is waiting for me at the other end of the journey; this sassy queen is no longer able to camp. I want to know precisely where everything is packed in the luggage and in the car. The car has to be set up just right for easy access to what I need while traveling. I share itineraries with a couple people at either end of the journey in case I get lost or have vehicle break-downs and need help, or so they won’t worry if they can’t get in touch with me or haven’t seen me yet. The hubster can’t deal with this OCD element of my personality. By the time I have it all planned, organized, scheduled, and packed he’s ready to not go.
The hubster keeps a tent and a sleeping bag in his truck and goes when he goes. Like now, if he feels like it. Without a word. He might call if he is gone more than a few hours and thinks he’s going to be gone longer. Or not. Occasionally he’ll say, “I’m going to [whatever/wherever]. Wanna come?” to which I usually have to say no. My income is the only income for the household so I plan my days and nights according to my work schedule, and keeping my health well enough to continue to work; I know what is too much for me. Spontaneous travel can be just enough stress to compromise my system.
So, separate vacations work for us. I recommend it to others who have similar issues or for whom family vacations always break down into horrors.
The last ten years or so I had become accustomed to taking my “staycations” in the comfort of my mother’s home. Her home is an easy hour’s drive across the Portland metro area and the house she owned was my baby home, the home I remember seeing before Mom and Dad bought the place. I remember sitting beneath the picture window in the living room on the hardwood floor looking toward the brick fireplace, the bottom ledge of the window above my head, my baby sister seated beside me, not a stick of furniture in sight, and being excited about this pretty little house. This was the home I grew up in, learned to tie my shoes in, lost my baby teeth in, had music lessons in, had Camp Fire Girl meetings in, started my menses in, had girlfriends in, had crushes on boys and cried in my mother’s arms about them in, listened to my first rock and roll in, learned of my intuitive and spiritual nature in, only leaving after graduating high school and beauty school. It’s the house I’ve always gone home to. I still see my baby house in my dreams more than any other house, though I’ve finally nearly spent as many years in my current home.
Scheduling vacation time became rather routine as Mom had a garden. I scheduled according to a projected harvest. Certainly my youngest brother, who lived with my mom, did most of the work in the garden these last few years and when it came to harvest time, there was always more than enough to eat, to share, and to preserve. My brother still works full time also, so it was fun and convenient to have a staycation at Mom’s two or three times over the summer. While brother went to work Mom and I picked vegetables and fruit, and ate good fresh food, and pickled and canned and jammed and juiced and jelled. We’d visit neighbors with produce in hand to share. Family and friends in the old neighborhood would make an extra trip to Mom’s to visit while I was there closer to their homes and took advantage of the day’s pickings by taking home their share.
Mom and I would share stories and opinions. We could talk for days. We watched old movies together and I’d read while she watched the TV shows she liked. One of the last visits I took a DVD of Grapes of Wrath, the classic with Henry Fonda. Mom had been born in Oklahoma in November 1929, just a month after the Black Friday Stock Market Crash, and in 1932 her family loaded into Grandpa’s old Ford pick-up truck and moved to Idaho. She thanked me for bringing and sharing the movie saying it was very much what the actual experience had been like for her.
She also commented on the acting, especially the emotions portrayed, as seeming very true to her. She said people rarely touched each other in those days; there was little hugging, touching, kissing, or other personal displays of affection, not even in the privacy of one’s own home. I’m a hugger, a kisser, a toucher, and a snuggler, as are most of the people I know, but her comment made me wonder if familiarity does breed contempt as violence seems ever more prevalent than in generations past even as we work toward a peaceful, non-warring world.
When she had the strength we’d shop. She had a few stores she liked, and I’d help with her grocery shopping. As she grew more ill with the emphysema, I’d do her shopping for her while I was there. Mom was as fussy as myself about her groceries, and watched every penny as well as every dollar, so it was a huge gain when I was able to get a cell phone and I could call her at home if there was any discrepancy in quality or price when I got to the store. The system worked great for us.
Her home was not far from several major shopping centers, and large discount stores, so I would also plan my own shopping around visiting her. Her local K-Mart often has clothes I like, as well as the Ross store which usually has swimsuits in my size, and Bob’s Red Mill, where I get my organic grains, non-GMO cornmeal, evaporated cane juice sugar, and aluminum-free yeast, was even closer. I’d use the opportunity to stock up until the next visit. Mom had coupons from her local newspaper waiting for me for Bob’s purchases.
At least one meal during the visit, maybe lunch or dinner, Mom would insist on going out for a meal. She knew I didn’t get to go out much so she’d find a new place each time, sometimes she’d already tried the place, sometimes not. We enjoyed these culinary adventures together, some more successful than others, like the time we both had our courage up to try Thai food which neither of us had eaten before, and drove clear over to the restaurant she had read a review for, only to find we’d read the open hours wrong and they were closed. We ended up with Mexican food that day. I still haven’t eaten Thai food.
For me staycations at Mom’s was all about a comfort zone. I knew the house, the neighbors and neighborhoods, the roads, the stores, Mom’s and brother’s daily habits. I had my own room, knew my way around her bathroom and kitchen and garden. I could easily accommodate my body quirks to their routines. I read or napped at my leisure without pressure to go and do unless I wanted to.
Since Mom died last summer, I need to find a new vacation comfort zone. I like the beach and find it refreshing and restorative, so I’m looking for a small private home/cabin/cottage to rent cheap. I want some place that feels like a home, not a motel room, though if I can find the right motel with amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub and an ocean view at the right price, I may be convinced otherwise. Part of that is about money, which I’m not terribly fond of, so perhaps I can find some sort of trade or house sitting situation. I’m slow at these things so maybe I’ll have a comfort zone in place by the time I retire years from now. Then again maybe it’s time I learned how to be a better adventurer, peer beyond the darkness, and find a new North Star.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – watching green hyacinth heads peek up between green rosettes of leaves, soon to reveal their colors; seeing neighbors raking leaf mulch from flower beds to find tiny green tops of daffodils and snowdrops and crocuses;miniature emerald jewel-like mosses. I miss my narcissus.
Currently Reading – How To Be a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions (2011, philosophy, critical analysis) by Christopher Dicarlo; The Pumpkin Eater (1962, fiction novel) by Penelope Mortimer. Yes, concurrently.
Winter Classic Reading Choice 2014: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I’ve adjusted to the cadence, the slower flow of the language of the middle 1800s. If that was the way they spoke and wrote, despite their lack of technology, I suspect people of that time may have been a whole lot more intelligent and intellectual than contemporary society. But no less devious.
This week I have been grateful for:
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.