Traveling Light-Part Two

TRAVELING CAN BE FUN … EVEN exciting. But, there are certain things that can freak me out.

American Airlines has been great so far. Courteous staff at every point. Once on the plane, technical difficulties with the safety video required a flight attendant to do a “manual” run through—done cheerfully, in a very animated fashion with occasional “I’m watching you” hand signals to someone behind me, which made me giggle—and then he asked if there were questions. Very upbeat … but the electrical issues were reminiscent of one flight I don’t really want to repeat, leaving me a wee bit on edge. One of these days, I’ll tell that story, but not now. Apparently only about four of the monitors worked in sync on my flight, with the whole right

Monitors on the Blink

Note the monitors … not in sync

bank freezing and the rest alternating between being blank or frozen. Glad it wasn’t an international flight … and I do pity those who are digital or entertainment dependent. Yes, I had my iPhone (I used it to work on my blog), but I also had an old-school notebook. I could just as easily use that (if needed). As it turned out … I did get hooked on a tv show special with four celebs (William Shatner, Henry Winkler, George Foreman and Terry Bradshaw—strange combo, eh?) and their “handler” as they toured a few Asian countries. It was actually rather hilarious. Once it was over I pulled off my headphones and turned to other things.

The upbeat and delightfully cheery attendants took my mind off that flight from long ago and I forgot all about my past experience. I was actually able to get some thoughts on paper (a quiet little yay-yay … hip-hip-hurray from this corner—turns out it was over 2300 words!). Between written

Dry with Snow Caps

Tiniest bit of snow on the otherwise brown mountain-scape

thoughts, I watched the change of scenery—it is amazing to see the drastic transformation of the

Dry, Dry ...

Dry & brown …

landscape as one crosses from the west coast to Tennessee (with a stop in Dallas/Ft. Worth). Dry and brown (mostly) into mountainous, to green valleys, with plenty of cloud formations … and the closer we approached my destination,

Green Patches

LOL … I see a Pacman amongst these circles …

water in the form of lakes, streams and ponds abound. Ooh, do I ever covet that water … California is so Beautiful Mountainsdry—tinder dry and there is so much of it that has burned … or is burning even as I write this. Still.  I pray for rain, every day. Weather fronts have taunted California Clouds ... image imagewith the possibilities, only to peter out to nothing …

But—oh, boy— I digress. Back to traveling.

Trying to remember all the necessities —and the few comforts—necessary to make the trip is important. Things (at least for me) like a cervical neck pillow are pretty handy, especially since this was my first long trip after my neck surgery—and I forgot mine (pout). A list is an excellent idea (especially for me … which I did not do—note to self: make a list … check it twice …), listing essentials like medications, a full list of the electronic devices AND their chargers you want to take, itineraries, airline approved snacks (sealed, prepackaged usually works) …

Everybody’s list will be different. For me, I need to remember my camera and computer … plus all the accessories that entails. It’s no fun getting to your destination and realising you’ve left an important item back home. Some items can, of course, be purchased at your destination … if you don’t mind wasting time making the purchase and the redundancies once you get back home—or the added cost. Others may be unobtainable (especially medications if you are flying out of state or out of country) unless you visit a doctor at your destination, or too expensive, so make that list … and check it twice—if you’re a list maker, that is. I certainly find it useful—when I remember to make one …

A great flight (actually both ways) and great flight attendants made this flying journey doable, even though there was turbulence and electronic glitches for them to solve and quite a few things I forgot. Next time, I’ll talk about my adventures in Tennessee. T’was a wonderful time.

Tomorrow I’ll be camped out at Compass Church in Salinas selling my books and art. Until next week, I wish blessings of the day—and week—on you. Have a serendipitous day and week.

8 October 2016 • 9 am – 4 pm
Harvest Jubilee at Compass Church
Books, Art, Crafts, Food and Fun
1044 S. Main St • Salinas CA

 

 

 

Traveling Light-Part One

THE INFO IN THIS PARTICULAR series of blogs is probably more for the “infrequent flyer”, rather than for those that fly regularly. But there are some fun tongue-in-cheek comments and stories peppered throughout, so give it a read, no matter what your flying status/prowess may be.

It’s been so long (well over a year for this traveler) since I’ve flown. It’s not my favourite way to travel—give me a car … or a chance to ride a train and I’ll jump at the opportunity every single time. But when time and/or funds necessitate flying, it’s a good thing the flying-option is available. Personally, I hate all the queues (standing still is hard on me). And the impatient waiting and grumpiness (not me … I just chill and smile—sniggle … I’m probably one of the reasons people grumble—too much cheeriness). One can get so much further in life by smiling and complimenting—puts people you’re dealing with more at ease and for some reason, they are more helpful—go figure.

Flying comes with certain rules. For me, it’s trying to remember all the rules and etiquette … it’s so much fun with my lousy memory. And of course, there are changes happening all the time due to changing safety issues and such … and, each airline has their own set of rules that may be different from other airlines. That’s where checking into the airline website has its payoffs. Knowing the different

On Your Mark

Traveling light—not this time …

things like allowable bag size for carry-ons (it’s changed—or will be changing soon) or how many bags are allowed and what you can and cannot have in your carry-on are important. Some rules are TSA motivated, others are specific to the airline. Make sure to know the facts. I sniggled at the announcement made whilst waiting for one leg of my flight—”your Samsung 7 must remain in the off position while in-flight due to newly discovered hazards” (exploding cellphone batteries are not such a good thing) … you just never know what their new rules will be. Glad my cell phone is an older model iPhone …

The kiosks at individual airlines for pre-registeration are still something that confound me—at least for a wee bit, every single time. I always get there early so I’m not rushed through the process—or worried about making it through the queue in time. One must use them before turning in luggage—yes, there’s queues for everything. One to do the ticket, one to weigh and turn your luggage in … then you wander off to your gate—wherever that might be. Still haven’t figured out what the “main” counter is actually for these days … it’s manned, and there are people up there—what they are doing, I’m not sure.

I usually fly United (at least for my last couple of trips). This time around, I’m on American Airlines. I booked it through AAA because I didn’t want to take the time to figure out all the options by myself. This was the best rate with reasonable layover times. American has different rules … and they charge for each bag you check. I usually travel very light and would simply carry on my bag, so that would have been free—and means I don’t have to wait for my luggage at the other end (if it shows up—more on that later). In the past, United didn’t charge for their first bag—haven’t checked their rules, since I’m flying AA this time. But, this

Some layovers are great—look! Outlets at each seat!

Some layovers are great! Look! Outlets at each seat!

time around, I’m not so lightly packed. Purse, one carry-on (backpack with computer, camera and electronic charging paraphernalia) plus two checked bags … oooh, it adds up, but it’s still cheaper for me to check my rolly with sixty books and other promotional material than to ship them to the destination. Plus a bag for all my personal stuff. Worth it. Yup. And by doing two bags, I kept each well under the fifty pound limit, allowing for purchases in and around Memphis. I will be buying books—that is a given … after all, I’m going to be at a book festival all day … right?

Next week I’ll delve more into travel—we’ll get to the actual reason for my travel in the third installment … I hope (sniggle). For now … I’ll be spending the rest of this week and all of next week getting ready for the Harvest Jubilee, with my art and books on sale at the Main Street campus of Compass Church. Maybe I’ll see you there! Have a blessed Friday and weekend.

Authors’ Book Signing and Art
Compass Church’s Harvest Jubilee
Saturday October 8 • 9am-3pm
1044 S. Main St Salinas CA 93901

 

 

Good Intentions and Detours

A WRITER FRIEND OF MINE POSTED on FB recently—something about procrastination—that she normally doesn’t and cannot understand the reasons for those that do.

As a confirmed procrastinator, I—perhaps too proudly—responded with my affirmation and preceded to explain why it happens with me.

And that got me to thinking—always…I repeat, always a dangerous thing 😉

My life is filled. Filled with lists of things to do, places to go, things to see, people to talk with, books to read (not necessarily in that order) … so much stuff. My intention is to get it all done. But, I find it seldom works out the way I plan. Life happens. Maybe, for lack of a better word, doldrums sets in, or pain happens or things explode (figuratively, of course) from out of nowhere. Or, I simply get lazy. Yes, I said lazy.

Hmmph. Not being accountable to anyone but God can and does make me lazy sometimes. It shouldn’t, but it does. Free will can definitely have it’s bad side. I can see Him staring down at me, slowly shaking his head when I choose to chill rather than be doing something—anything—on that long list of mine. My excuse—and yes, it is an excuse (even if it is legitimate)—is my pain. And/or fatigue. Once upon a time I’d just “do it” anyway. The heck with it—”…till you drop” is the way I used to go. But the level of pain and fatigue I’m willing to live with is beginning to be my decision maker. The big question is, should it be??

So, with these ideas fresh in my mind, I set out to knock out one or two of my “to do” items on my ever-growing list. Mind you, I was not looking at priorities, because if that was the case, I’d be working inside on my taxes. I wanted to be outside. It was beautiful. Not too hot, not too cold. “Just right”, as Goldilocks would say.

At first, my body resisted the idea of getting outside to weed. I couldn’t find the hula-hoe (this is an amazing little device—every gardener should have one!) … had to do some serious searching and wondered if it was worth it. Yes. But, I think I unconsciously chose the closest thing that needed weeding—just to get it done. It also happened to be one of the hardest bits of dirt around the yard. Filled with base rock (can you say cement??) I’m laughing now, but at the time … oh, the moaning and groaning (insert huge sweaty grin). It didn’t take too long—perhaps ten to fifteen minutes—of hard labor. It was just a tiny patch, under the eaves along the kitchen wall. Maybe a foot wide and twenty feet long. I drug myself back into the house to have a drink of tea and rested. Serious rest. Complaining all the while to myself at how out of shape I was. Panting, shaking from such little work. Honestly …

But, once I was feeling better, I cautiously went back out and looked at what I’d accomplished. Not bad. I felt good about it. So good that I went to work on weeding a much larger area out by the driveway. Last year I’d planned on creating a parking pad near the front drive’s gate … with a retaining wall, a plant-arbored gate … didn’t happen. I think I may actually get it done this year (insert grin)—yep, it will get done. I’m sure. When I finished the area, I was tired and sore, but felt very good about what I’d accomplished. It is nice to see the results of hard work.

I rewarded myself with lunch (and a yummy dessert—I’d burned enough calories to enjoy it without feeling guilty) and pondered what else I could do. The tax return—piles of receipts waiting to be sorted and recorded—was still waiting for me, quietly tapping me on the shoulder. I vetoed it. The mind-numbing number crunching would have to wait for another day. I went back out and did a bit more weeding—well, raking with a sort of thatcher rake (not sure what it’s real name is)—in the patio/”lawn” area. Not quite as much enthusiasm as before, but I was definitely getting excited at all of the “improvements” I was seeing. Did I mention I have a tendency of going overboard. I was going to do more, but my energy levels were diminishing fast.

And, I was also starting to feel the consequences of so much work. Not muscle pain from unused muscles—I keep myself busy enough so that is not much of an issue—but rather, flat-out fatigue … and my arthritis rearing it’s ugly head. This is the reason I usually try to reign in how much I do and when I do it. The problem is, when I’m really excited about what I’m accomplishing, that kinda goes out the window.

The same “bout of excitement” happened the Saturday Open Ground Studios was up for an award—while other members helped kids/adults paint and print things, I spent the whole day standing (a no-no) or bent over (a really bad no-no) working with kids and adults making accordion books. We all had a blast making our presence known and our director, Denese—and Open Ground Studios—won … and it took three days for me to recover from the enthusiasm. So worth every bit of the pain!

Then, yesterday I completely ignored everything on my to-do list—especially the piles of tax receipts—and spent a lovely late afternoon and evening with a friend. That’s important. I don’t have it on the to-do list, but it is equally important to spend time with friends. A delightful and necessary detour in my busy life. We had a grand time … dinner at the Fishwife Restaurant in Pacific Grove, then we braved blustery, chilly—no, rephrase that—icy cold weather as we climbed over rocks and across sand to get the perfect pictures of a moonrise, crashing waves and finally, a sunset (and I will reward you with a few shots taken yesterday). They are not perfect, as I still have not had the camera cleaned (insert huge frown).

Sunset at Asilomar

One of several view of a sunset along the coast of Pacific Grove

Rocky Vantage of Sunset

Playing with angles, ragged rock in foreground

Moonrise at Asilomar

Playing with surroundings to capture the moonrise

Moonrise at Asilomar2

More playing with imagery

Waiting for Sunset at Asilomar

Blustery weather as we waited for the sun to set along the coast

Moonrise and Chain Fence

Love capturing the landscape surrounding a moonrise or sunset

Procrastination has presented me with a mile long (and then some) list of things to do, in no order particular of priority or preference. I do an internal check of my energy/pain levels and decide from there. I used to get very frustrated at how much I could not accomplish. Now, I just go with the flow. Things will get done—eventually. And I’m happy when they do. No stressing now. That’s all that matters for me. In any case, I’m not sure I’d defend procrastination for others, but I do see that it has it’s place—at least in my life—if one doesn’t fret about the list that grows. And grows.

What’s on your procrastination list? And do you fret about it or take my philosophy?

May your days be filled with a list of blessings, peppered within your “to-do” list.

Stuff…

I AM ALWAYS FINDING MYSELF scurrying around, trying to accomplish way too many things and, at the end of the day, I am disappointed at how little I seemed to have accomplished. I am a list maker — it’s the only way I can remember things. And it’s all about the quantity of items on that list. Forget about the complexity of things, how long it takes to do them, or any unplanned things that popped into the midst of my scheduled plans. I never seem to count those things, so by discounting them, I’ve demeaned the actual productivity of my day.

I don’t stress about it as much as I did in the past. The marking off of all items at the end of the day is definitely a thing of the past…yeah, it’s taking me longer to accomplish things, too (insert loud sigh here). Now, even if I don’t consider the complexity or things not even on the list, I try to be satisfied that something has been accomplished. I keep telling myself I want to simplify my life, yet I do the exact opposite: fill my time and life with so much ‘stuff’, both physical and emotional, creating a complicated, action-packed, and sometimes stressful life.

Stuff. We all have it (well, a very large portion of the population, at least). Do we need it? Probably not as much as we fiercely cling to. I am a ‘collector of things’…that’s a nice way of saying I don’t throw things out — well, not much anyway. I’m not a hoarder (thankfully), but this collection certainly creates a pretty big clutter.  Those that have seen my house would agree. I have a friend that has offered to help purge my house. I’ve said no, not yet…not now, maybe later. Why? Because she’s ruthless. I mean, really ruthless…I once confided in another friend that she’d probably pick up an item and ask if I wanted it — and if I hesitated for even a nano-second, it’d be in the trash…giving me no time to evaluate the value (whether monetary or as a personal treasure) and I’m not ready to let go of things that fast.

So, my stuff continues taking up space. Thankfully I have room (way too much). But it would be nice to bid a permanent farewell to some of it. Who am I kidding? Most of it. Occasionally, I go into fits of purging and make a minuscule dent. I have a few rooms de-cluttered and it’s nice. There are still three rooms and (shudder) the garage to tackle. Oh. Did I mention the storage space? Things get tidier, then in the process of cleaning up, I create another clutter…it’s a Catch 22…definitely.

Shedding stuff is very difficult. It’s time consuming. Heart-wrenching. Painful, at times. And I get mired in memories, losing track of time, making little progress.

So, we’re back to my scurrying around, eh? Finding a chunk of time — on a regular basis to concentrate on this perpetual (it really is a year-round thing) ‘Spring Cleaning’ is hard. And as a card-carrying Procrastinator, it’s quite a challenge. Am I up to it? Am I up to the challenge with so many other things that seem far more important, vying for my attention — like writing/editing my books, writing this blog, socializing…traveling (insert huge grin)? I would love to be able to take back ownership of my home. To be in charge instead of being a slave to trying to keep things manageable…oh, my. Ha! I’d rather be gardening…or writing. Or just about anything else, rather than house cleaning, sorting through all my stuff.

Is there a magic genie that could just do it for me? Please?

Sigh.

I can dream, can’t I? May you find your life unfettered by clutter, yet filled to overflowing with blessings of joy.

 

 

Priorities

AS I WALKED UP the stairs, careful not to spill the steaming-hot cup of coffee I was cradling, I worked on my mental list of things that really needed to be accomplished today:  feed & water the critters, laundry (never ending), pay bills…my priority list seems to keep growing longer daily!

I walked into the bedroom, took a careful sip of coffee before setting the cup on the night stand. As I sat on the edge of the bed, I kicked my slippers off of my socked-feet, but before I got any further, my cat sidled up next to me purring furiously.  Before I knew it, he was in my lap, snuggling. Well, I guess priority number one was to give him some attention.

He is a little love machine — when he wants to be. Purring & rooting, and more purring. I love it.  I think it’s rather calming. So, whenever possible, I make the time.   And, it’s not like I can let him do his purr-thing, then just walk away…there is the “let’s snuggle quietly” part afterward. I’ve never really figured out how long that should be. Sometimes I’ll let him be the judge of that and chill till he gets up, stretches and walks off. Other times, I’m counting the minutes–even seconds, since I sometimes do have things to do or errands to run (oh, why did I let him talk me into it this time??).  Today, it was my rapidly cooling cup of much needed coffee that was calling to me.  I did let him chill for awhile before I began tickling his ears, playing with his feet and tail (how dare I touch them!).  He was so zonked that it took quite a while before he finally had enough and stomped on me and made his getaway.  Finally, I got a sip of my now-tepid coffee.  Drats.

So, this brings me back to priorities.

After this last purr-fest, I decided to look up the word to see if my perception of the word was what it actually was. There are so many times I’ve questioned what I’ve learned a word meant because I discovered something completely different once I’ve researched it. I was hoping for this sort of revelation today.

My perception was validated, but left me wanting:  “prime concern, most important consideration, primary issue; 2 precedence, greater importance, preference, preeminence, predominance, primacy, first place.”

So, are priorities supposed to be elusive, fluid or established?  For me, priorities change and probably include all of the above.  And they change often.  I’m not sure that’s a good or a bad thing — the frequency, that is. I guess there are constants–established priorities:  put glasses on so I can see, robe & slippers on so I can check on & take care of all the critters (dog, cat, chickens, rabbit) needs for food and water  (after I’ve started my coffee), breakfast & getting dressed and ready for the day ahead (really, do I have to get dressed??) &  of course, collecting eggs.  A little more fluid: keep enough clothes & dishes clean to get through a few days (just joking–but it sure feels like it!).  Then there’s always yard chores (ever-necessary yard and house repairs or improvements), keep frig & critters food bins stocked…

As for elusive?  Like I said before, the list seems to keep growing, shift and I never catch up.

Well, now I’m actually going to write down (so I actually remember to do them?) those things that need doing and start to scratch them off my list, one by one by one…but I guess I should get dressed first (after I re-heat the cup of now stone-cold coffee).