reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the rest area. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

rest area

we haven’t just dreamed at the rest area.  we have out and out drooled at the rest area.  faces planted against the window, pillow smushed between forehead and glass, i’m sure we’ve been a spectacle.

one time we pulled into a rest area in iowa when it was still dark.  we chose a spot close to the building.  we just needed a few minutes to close our eyes.  when we woke up, the sun was up, the rest area was full of people coming and going and our bodies were stiff from a shocking three hours of rest-area-sleeping.  barely able to move, i slowly unfurled from my up-close-and-personal relationship with the steering wheel and d attempted to bring his foot down from the dashboard.  with plenty of square-car-glass making us visible – like a snowglobe scene without the snow –  we were right in the line of vision of absolutely anyone who had stopped to use the facilities.  our wrinkled faces and the fog on the windows next to our baked-sweet-potato-smushy-visages belied any other story except resting-at-the-rest-area.  i’m sure we were charming to look at.

it is not without stopping at a few rest areas that little baby scion has 237,000 miles on it.  our road warrior days are accompanied by snacks and punctuated by rest areas.  it’s a roadtrip symphony of necessities.

when we were driving long distance just a few days ago we googled the approximate distance across the united states, which, surprisingly,  is around 3000 miles.  (kansas and pennsylvania and north dakota make it seem so much further, and, going the other way, so do georgia and indiana.)   but i digress.  so that means that the current mileage equates to having driven this little vehicle 79 times across the country.

we have visited rest areas in most states in this nation and we can tell you where the nice ones are, like the ones in ohio on i80.  we can also tell you where the scary ones are:  montana, a certain rest area down south where you drive about a mile off the road and a couple security guards watch you walk in and out of the building.  you can get a free cup of coffee at the rest area on the eastern side of colorado and orange or grapefruit juice entering florida.  you can get maps and brochures at most rest areas and the ones in indiana specialize in those magazines where you can find coupons for hotels you would rather not stay in.  pennsylvania has full-service areas, as does one little spot in kansas.  you can “eat and get gas” as they say, the word-smithing on that not expected to be classy.  you are reminded that this is a rest area, after all.

the rest area on the way home from on-island is always a stopping ground these days.  for various reasons we won’t list, the little blue sign on the side of the road is a welcome sight and we eagerly pull into a spot.  recently, after packing for hours and then leaving, we leaned back and closed our eyes at this wayside.  full-out dreaming commenced.  when we woke, which wasn’t too long after, we shared notes and our surprise about falling asleep in a matter of minutes.  d said, “if you can dream at the rest area, you’re supposed to be there.” yup.  i bet all kinds of safety engineers would agree with that.

it was in iowa again – this state must make us tired – just a few days ago on a trip when we traveled 24 hours in a 36 hour period of time.  having sampled (read: gorged on) the whole buffet of snacks, i was driving, desperately seeking the little blue sign, pining for the chance to close my eyes.

alas, finally.  the rest area.  we pulled in.  d handed me a pillow.  i laid my face against the window.  and voila!  a sight to behold.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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little-baby-scion sisu. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

scion sisu

for starters, i was raised by beaky and pa.  my sweet momma and poppo grew up in the time of the depression, born in 1921 and 1920, respectively.  so my propensity to turn the shampoo bottle upside down and squeeze the last ever-lovin’ drop out of it – till there are no more molecules left in the bottle – is something i come by honestly.  my momma may not have been the inventor of the soap sock or the wait-and-save-this-new-thing-for-something-special but she had it all down pat.

and so, it seems to run true that i do not easily replace stuff with brand-spanking-new stuff.  our stove/oven is over 40 years old; it still works and why fill up the landfill with yet another stove/oven?  i know that a new stove/oven would probably grace our little kitchen with more flare, but then the whole kitchen would have to be re-done around the new appliance.

among other clothing items i can carbon-date, i have, in my closet and drawers, clothing that was my girl’s or my boy’s – sport sweats or t-shirts, jeans or even shorts – not only do those connect me to memories with them, but, sheesh, why not?  i have shoes from waaaaay back, not hoarding…really.  the last time i bought a pair of shoes – other than my infamous old navy flipflops –  was a few years ago, the black suede boots with fringe were on clearance and i couldn’t resist.  i have worn the heck out of them.

and that brings me to little-baby-scion.  a 2006 model, this little toastermobile is scrappy.  equipped with few amenities, there is far less equipment to break on this little vehicle. (i turn to knock on wood as i write this.)  this scion has been a rock – taking me/us cross-country to see my sweet momma when she was struggling, to see our girl in the high mountains, our boy on the east coast.  it drove babycat home from florida, dogdog home from the other side of wisconsin and was our luxury vehicle of choice on our honeymoon.  it kept me safe driving cartons of cds to concerts and wholesale shows.  it has withstood ferry rides to and from the island.  through rain, sleet, snow and ice it has prevailed.  every time we get in, especially on a long-drive-day, we root, “you go, little baby scion!”

and so the other day i asked d to take a picture as it landed on this mileage.  no real reason, just gratitude for something that has been lasting and lasting.  i have no real drive (no pun intended) to have a new lavish car nor is it necessarily in the budget at the moment to replace something that doesn’t need replacing. little-baby-scion rocks and packs like a u-haul.  and is now joined by big red, our 1998 ford F150 pick-up.  we celebrate both of them, inanimate, yes, i know.  but still…

today i just want to say – way to go, toyota!  way to make a vehicle that is dependable and trustworthy.  it’s a sturdy little car, full of sisu.

and, the best part, around some design table at some point in the early 2000’s, i can picture some 20-something saying, “hey!  let’s put blue lights under the dashboard.  we can do away with map lights and light people’s feet.”  yes!  the real merits of our sweet scion.

keep goin’, little-baby-scion!

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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big red. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

CO to WI copy

colorado to wisconsin.  with a stop in columbia, missouri.  the first day is long.  twelve hours give or take.  we drive out of colorado into kansas, which has to be one of the wider states in the journey, and head for wendy’s.  she and keith are tolerant of whatever-time-we-get-there, knowing the challenges of a long drive.  this time, it was different.

this time we weren’t in our littlebabyscion toodling along, huffing and puffing up hills.  this time we were in Big Red, a giant ford F150.  she hadn’t been driven this-far-at-one-time in years.  we were high up and felt like road warriors.

columbus gave us a couple cassette tapes to play in the player and, in planning ahead, i had brought a dozen favorites from years past (ok, the 70s are many years past.)  we played each of them, singing along.  and then switched to the radio.  it only seemed right that country music be blaring out of the speakers, so we obliged.

although we blasted cassettes of john denver, loggins and messina, alabama, england dan & john ford coley among others, i have a few favorite radio songs of the journey east and north.  one direction’s what makes you beautiful, lady gaga and bradley cooper singing shallow, toby keith’s i wanna talk about me and my new fave, billy currington’s good directions and turnip greens.  a sweet country-music story.

we were talking with jen and brad last night in their kitchen, lingering over our potluck together.  we talked about compromise and life and decisions and chance.  like everyone, david and i have had our share of each of those.  decisions sorted and pondered, and compromises, bending to the things that make life meaningful, balancing reality with idealism.  and then there’s chance.  we could relate to the story of turnip greens…happenstance changing life.   a choice, one direction taken, a turn, one click…and everything changes.  what comes is predicated on what was and what is this very second.  we second those lyrics – thank God for good directions and turnip greens.

we turned up the stereo in Big Red and opened the windows with the AC on.  somewhere along the way, we decided it was a she, for she had gently mothered columbus as he drove a bit more gingerly in recent days and she sturdily and protectively lumbered us across the country.  laughing and certain of everything and absolutely nothing, we turned this beautiful big old pickup truck toward home.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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HH. perfect. [d.r. thursday]

HH sketches

david’s sketches on hilton head

i researched.  for months.  looked at tons of sites and reviews.  i ordered brochures from the chamber of commerce (which, incidentally and almost predictably, arrived after we returned from the trip.)  i poured over other people’s adventures and stories, made lists of things to do and places to go.  it was a really important time for me and i wanted it to be perfect:  my-children-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  the perfect mom-gift.

always up for a roadtrip adventure, we drove to hilton head in our littlebabyscion.  first thing upon arrival, we opened the shades in the living room.  the dunes and the ocean exploded into view, the sunset beckoned us.  without unloading, we took two juice glasses of wine and a blanket down to the water’s edge and watched the sky relinquish day.  night arrived and it was perfect.

My Girl flew in the next morning and My Boy the very next day.  the sun was bright, the sky was blue, the sand hot, the ocean was a constant lure.  walks and conversation, games and homemade sangria, bold coffee and generous glasses of wine, watching crabs on the sandbar and googling jellyfish, chips and guac and kirsten-margaritas, eating out on the deck under the umbrella and time in the pool, watching kirsten or craig prepare a meal or two, relaxing on lounge chairs and a one-time bowling adventure.  this was the stuff.  it was hot; over 100 degrees with the heat index; a bit too hot for kayaking or standupboarding under a sunburning sun.  but time seemed to morph and days passed us by in the way time on the beach does.

later i wondered why i didn’t take out my lists, my research, my reviews, the brochures i got from the grocery store.  why i didn’t insist on an adventure-a-day, an activity.  but jen encouraged me to let that go.  she said she does that every time she is lucky enough to have her children all-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time as well. a mother’s brain (and heart) on overdrive.

it isn’t the activities or the adventures.  it’s simply the time.  when you are there and you are real and you share bits and snatches of life, joyful or trying.  when you catch your breath gazing at your children, beautiful human beings experiencing the wide spectrum that life offers.  and you love them beyond words, grateful that they have given you this time.  together.  under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  HH.  hilton head.  perfect.

drc website header copy 2

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

juiceglassesonHH website box

 


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ice pops. [two artists tuesday]

ice pops copy.PNG

i know it comes as no surprise to you that we watch the national geographic show ‘life below zero’.  we’ve talked about it before and have even quoted snippets of wisdom from some of the show’s regulars.

in the next day or so it will drop to a “feels like” temperature of -52.  that’s negative fifty-two.  the “actual” temperatures won’t even reach the single digit negative numbers.  now, that’s cold!  and yet, each time the temperature is posted on the screen when we watch ‘life below zero’ it is usually some negative number (which doesn’t include the wind chill.)  then, whichever arctic resident they are following will proceed to go miles to hunt or gather or fish, walking or driving snow machines in bitter winds, dragging behind them sleds upon which they will place their findings.  i think we watch it because it is so far from our own lives.  we love the vistas and can’t really imagine the life.

the whole town was closed today; the school system, the colleges, the city offices.  and we haven’t even gotten to the life-below-zero temperatures yet.  at lunchtime we took a walk and the snow was amazing.  it was quiet and the lakefront was full of ice.  our sedum plants looked like the lemonade ice pops i used to make The Girl and The Boy with the tupperware do-it-yourself-ice-pop-set i’m saving for the possibility of grandchildren.  the snow is everywhere; there are enormous baby-sled piles on the sides of the roads.  icicles abound.  it’s beautiful.  it’s a vision of real old-fashioned winter, a calendar entry on one of those the-year-in-wisconsin calendars, postcard images of this time of hibernation.

and so, in deference to the scope of mother nature’s ability to stop us in our tracks, we plan to limit our outdoor exposure the next few days.  we look outside at all the snow that has already fallen and, expecting more, make sure we have enough basics in the fridge and the cupboards to last, in case we can’t get out.  our little scion rocks, but unplowed roads and extreme cold are not necessarily its gig.

maybe we’ll take a little time and watch some more ‘life below zero’.  by sheer comparison, we’ll realize how easy we have it.  oh! and hey, maybe we’ll make some ice pops.  or not.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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#yougolittlescion

FullSizeRender(1)in 414 miles our little scion’s odometer will read 195,000 miles. i have driven in it all but 250 miles of that, having bought it used-brand-new. every time we get in it for roadtrips, we pat the dashboard and say, “you go, little scion!” we tell it we believe it will easily travel to 300,000 miles, its little organic self saying, “iknowican, i knowican, i knowican.”

i have two cars. one is this little scion (the 2006 model that looks like a toaster.) the other is my 1971 volkwagen super beetle. i treasure both. my sweet momma and poppo ordered the vw new before they went to europe back in 1971 and drove it around europe for weeks, before shipping it back to the docks in ny (i still remember driving there to get it and bring it home.) in 1976 it became mine and has been a thread since then.

which brings me to our little scion. the xb is one of the un-fanciest cars out there. you had to pay extra (which i didn’t) to have armrests. there are no maplights; there are, however, blue lights which light up your feet – which makes me wonder in amusement what the good folks at scion were doing when they decided that was an important feature. these lights generally come in handy when you have new shoes and like to look at them a lot. or if you like the color blue. the radio display has various colors you can choose from – early mood radio, i’m guessing. regardless, i carry a handy-dandy flashlight, cause it’s pretty dark with few dashboard lights and no maplights.

so two cars. neither of them new. we are surrounded by people who are in retirement or planning ahead to retirement or are in a position to purchase new vehicles. all of them are lovely, with conveniences and style. yet, right now, we choose to padiddle along in our little scion and i can’t help but think about how this little car has been a part of my life, has served me, and now us, through the years.

it was there when i drove back and forth across the country, wholesale-ing my cd’s at shows, rascal flatts and phil vassar music blaring. it was there the day i took the girl to college, glowing pink with dorm-room-stuff. more importantly, it was there when i drove home, tears streaming down my face. it was there, but not glowing any particular color, when i took the boy to college and each time i drove all over the midwest to watch him play tennis.   it was there, somehow getting me home from the airport in the early morning i flew home the day my daddy died; i have no recollection of that drive. it was there in every drive-straight-through to visit momma in florida, to be there in times of sickness, to celebrate her book release. it was there the day i got a text message while driving to florida that my sweet momma had died, keeping me safe as i steered to the shoulder. it was there bringing our adopted babycat home and it was there when dogdog became part of our life. it was there driving from the church to the beachhouse on lake michigan to celebrate our wedding and driving to the mountains of colorado for an amazing honeymoon. it was there when, somehow unnoticed prior to 186000 miles, the spark plugs and rings imploded right at the exit to a rest area, not too far from a dealership that immediately set to work on it so we could rush home to see the boy before he moved out east. with only five windshields (it has this propensity for attracting breakages), four sets of tires, and three sets of brakes, (and yes, new plugs and rings) it has moved the kiddos in or out of minneapolis, appleton, indianapolis, chicago, the high mountains of colorado. it looks a little worse for wear, a few dings and scratches, but who among us doesn’t? it was there in the snow, in ice and in sunshine, dutifully doing its little-scion-job.

so, talk about thready… i am attached to this little car. its un-fancy-ness makes me proud. it’s a workhorse, packs better than most vehicles its size, and has protected me and us for almost 200,000 miles. thready indeed.

300,000 here we come. #yougolittlescion