Monthly Archives: February 2014

Old Friends & Breakdown


“It’s all right if you love me.  It’s all right if you don’t.”  I’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Petty this week….however, I was not expecting Baby Blue to breakdown on the way to Quinn’s last soccer game of the season.  I pulled into Tallahassee FL to see my adorable friend Daphne who I have known since junior high school.  She has twin boys and a girl, Quinn.

Being with old friends is like an archaeological dig of your soul.

Daphne and I were high school friends and went off to ASU in Boone together.  We were naïve.  She left to go to NCSU, I left and went to UNC Chapel Hill.  I couldn’t handle the loading at UNC…deciding to take latin, calculus, and every freaking hard class they had to offer in one semester…so I just stopped going.  Daphne and Muzzy and I rented a Jartran truck and packed our possessions and drove to Boston.  We picked up Muzzy’s boyfriend along the way and ended up staying at his frat house until we could find an apartment.  We didn’t know you had to have a job to sign a lease, so we had to quickly find a job.  The only thing we could find were busgirls at a high end touristy restaurant at Faneuil Hall.  We felt a glimmer of what it must be like to be stereotyped and discriminated against ….two young girls with southern accents.  Let’s just say, we hung out with the dishwashers, not the waiters and bartenders.  Management hardly spoke to us and it was humbling.  Made us pretty sure that we needed to return and get our degrees from college.

So many experiences with Daphne…somehow the two of us together = much more trouble than just 1 + 1.  (This would be off-blog discussion)

Breaking down in Tallahassee allowed me to do several things:

1.  Give up control
2.  Slow down
3.  Learn basketball technique from Simon and Ollie, twin 10 year olds
4.  Go to a kundalini yoga class and focus on the crown chakra…Cathy Holt and the Divas would be proud!
5.  Work on being in the present, not the past or the future
6.  Have some great talks catching up with Daphne and her husband.
7.  Meet the great neighbors from Canada and help in the co-parenting.
8.  Rest and even breathe a little
9.  See the co-op in Tallahassee
10.  Trust in the Universe

Evidently the bolts sheared off that held the axle to the body of Baby Blue, thanks to a very nice tow truck operator and two very sweet mechanics, and a call to Sean @ Transporter Werks, we are back on the road.

Next stop is St. George Island, Florida on the Gulf of Mexico.



Day One and The Two Great Horned Baby Owls


Sabbatical officially started today as I left Virginia Keys Grassroots Festival and left Lyle with a pillow, his bag and a towel in the parking lot.  There was miscommunication and he is stuck without lodging for a night.  I hope the mosquitoes don’t bite too hard on the beach tonight.

Nicola Ross asked me to make note of how I felt at the beginning, middle and end of sabbatical.  She is writing a book about sabbaticals and has great insight.  I have been planning this journey for almost 6 months.  I look back at journals and I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years evidently.  But yesterday I almost bailed.  I had not actually thought about what it would be like to abandon my children for 45 days or to leave Lyle standing with his bags at Grassroots.  Yesterday I felt like I was going to throw up and I started thinking that maybe this was batshit crazy (as Lyle would say).   Damn, maybe I’m just too extreme…I could have just gone and gotten my toes done and spent a couple of days camping at Lake Jordan.   Also, driving Baby Blue, is an event.  She only goes between 55 and 65.  Staying in the slow lane is a must as she blows around quite a bit.  She is 32 years old and she has some issues, like the heat from the engine kind of comes into the floor boards and makes your feet really really hot.  Because Florida is also quite hot, both windows must come down and I’ve developed dreadlocks.  It’s fine because it goes with the look of the westfalia, but I may need to shave my head when I get home.  And I have a square head.  Just a few challenges I was thinking about.

Lyle and I walked to the Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne last night.  We were dirty, in running shoes, sunburnt and we ended up with the most beautiful view of Miami at sunset ever.  No one seemed to mind how bad we smelled at this fancy restaurant.  We watched the sun go down and the lights go on in the tall buildings and Lyle who professes to hate being alone said he would shove me off to get me to leave Grassroots.
I appreciate his shoving.  Carol and I sat in her tent in the dark Friday night and she gave me a pep talk…it helped a lot.  She said there are no expectations, if all you do is rest, that is enough.  She always mentions the jewish term Dayenu meaning it would have been enough.   Be grateful.

So, off I drove this morning. I kissed my Dad goodbye (camp ranger at Grassroots) and Lyle.  Big lump in throat.  I cranked the ABBA in honour of Melissa and Meredith (who went to school in Miami) and drove Baby Blue over those bridges and complicated highways and went west through Alligator Alley.  This highway goes right through the Everglades and it was just what I needed, not much traffic, gorgeous birds and I actually saw one alligator.  There is a thin body of water the whole way and you could see the spiny back of the alligator. Tons and tons of birds and I didn’t have my expert birder with me.  So, I’m just going to make up the names.  I think I saw blue herons, green herons, black herons, black and white herons, snowy egrets, crazy looking birds that looked like something out of Alice and Wonderland.  Gorgeous.

I stopped in Naples, thinking it was a cute little town.  I was confused with Italy.  Very very old people and very very manicured.  Had a lovely brunch though and kept going north to St. Petersburg.  Charlotte, who I work with insisted I stop at Fort De Soto, a place she and her husband had extremely fond memories.  You have to book months ahead to get a camping spot it is such a popular spot.  Her husband, Skip, passed away over a year ago and from what I’ve learned about him, I’m sorry I didn’t meet him.  Two baby owls were just born and my mission was to get a photo of these creatures.  So, I drove as fast as I could considering Baby Blue’s limitations and raced against sunset.  Pulled into the most beautiful place, pulled my bike off and biked 3 miles to where Charlotte said they would be.  Dense fog was setting in, but I made it to the tree and got the shot of the baby owls.  So, today is dedicated to Charlotte and Skip.

Uncle Bob died yesterday, Godspeed.

I think I can do this.
baby owls


Saying Goodbye and The Vicks Vapor Rub


A flashback occurred today as I went to say my goodbyes to Uncle Bob.  He will not be here when I get back. Bob suffered from a massive brain event, and when he came out of surgery he told me all about his wonderful sex life with Aunt Joyce.  Apparently the tumor took out some inhibitions.

Watching my Aunt Joyce taking care of him at the nursing home made me remember the time over 20 years ago when I went to have dinner with Granny, Mom and Aunt Joyce on a hot summer night at her house on Glenwood Ave. with the big wrap around porch.  I suddenly broke out into hives.  I guess they were pretty bad hives because Granny made me lie down in her bed and she started rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub all over my chest.

Aunt Joyce looked at me and said “are you pregnant?!”  (I kind of don’t think hives are a symptom of pregnancy, and I also don’t think that Vicks Vapor Rub is a remedy for hives…but what do I know?) These three southern women were running around the house trying to figure this out.  Finally my mother said, “get in the car, we are going to the emergency room.”   They are all take charge kind of women.

We got into the emergency room and the doctors came in and I casually mentioned that I had just gotten back from the Amazon.  They literally started backing out of the room and just left me alone thinking I was going to die at any minute.  Lyle and I had been working in Rio de Janeiro and made a special trip to the Amazon where we chartered a semi-private boat to check out the Amazon and Rio Negro.  We had prepared for the worst on this trip….all the travel guides tell you about how you will most likely get malaria and dengue fever with one mosquito bite.  We knew how bad DEET was, but evidently it was better than one of these diseases.  We had this wild rogue gringo tour guide that didn’t seem to think mosquito netting was important and threw caution to the wind.  We were a little nervous after he told us about all his near misses and accidents.

The first night we slept on the top of the pretty small boat in these horrific hammocks that looked like they were made of fishing line and you kind of slept in upside down fetal position.  At the same time you were hearing mosquitos buzzing in your ear the whole time and our mosquito netting was really old and holey.

The next day we grabbed the DEET and sprayed all it over our bodies.  Then we read the directions that said DO NOT MAKE CONTACT WITH SKIN.  Evidently you are supposed to only spray on your clothing….what the hell?  Who reads directions?  We were in a panic because you also couldn’t jump into the Amazon because there was threat that a little candiru (parasitic catfish that has razor sharp spines on it’s head) would swim up the urethra (more painful for men) and attach itself and drink your blood.  And only surgery would get them out.  Damn!

We stayed out of the water and just lived with all the DEET all over our bodies.  So, possibly there was a correlation to my emergency room visit.

These were the thoughts running through my head as I left Bob’s bedside.  I was too choked up to tell Bob safe journey and that I wish I had not let politics keep us from a real relationship.  I wanted to say I saw his brilliance while he was in the hospital.  I now know why Joyce was so enchanted with him.  I wanted to tell him that it makes me happy to know how good their sex life was…not that I had ever thought about that before.  And I wanted to tell Joyce it would be OK and that family and friends would take care of her when Bob has passed.