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Samish Bay

Summer is here and it is time to go and explore more new places. I have been working my way to the west coast since April. Yesterday I finally got to touch the Pacific Ocean at Samish Bay, Washington. I felt like I was being welcomed home.

Where have I been? I have been to some really interesting and fun places since I began the drive west, including two weeks in Alaska (without Elsie or the Roadtrek). Cruising the Inside Passage on a small ship cruise was really cool.

I have stopped in many places and all of them have been interesting. Since you have last heard of the places I have been, here is the list. I know some may be a repeat, please be patient.

  • Glacier National Park-one week on the east side and one week in the Kalispell area on the west side. Flowers and wild animals were certainly a highlight.
  • Western Montana for the 4th of July, camping on a beautiful lake with friends.
  • I revisited Idaho and had my first Boondockers Welcome experience. Boondockers is an organization RV,er’s can join. People sign up to be hosts and you can stay in their yards or driveways for 2-3 nights. I stayed with a lovely couple near Farragut State Park on Lake Pend Orielle. I camped in their tree covered yard, visited with the neighbors, visited with my hosts and rode my bike into a beautiful state park. I visited the town of Bayview and saw the floating houses. There are always so many cool things where ever I go.
  • I bicycled the Hiawatha Trail on the Montana-Idaho border. It was very good day.
  • I finally made my way out of Idaho into Washington state. I started in the middle-Cascades, visiting a good friend, Lori, who I have not see in years. It was a really good visit.

Hiking Cascade Pass

  • I arrived in the Northern Cascades and Northern Cascade National Park to spend five days exploring. Wow-that is all I can say. I hiked and walked and took photos. What an amazing place. I chose not to stop in the small towns as there were too many people and events were happening. I camped in a National Forest Campground and loved every minute of it. I hope to go back, maybe when it is not so crazy busy. You should have seen the parade of cars, RV’s, jeeps and trucks driving east along route 20 on Friday afternoon. Everyone from the greater Seattle area was leaving town, or so it seemed.

The last three days I have been in Burlington, WA. I am catching up on chores and fixing EmmyLou the rig so she is ready for tomorrow. Tires?-check. Slow leak in one tire?-check. (it was a screw) After a crazy incident all parts fixed on my rig?-check. Headlight replaced?-check. (one went out when I got here. I even changed it myself) Laundry done?-check. Pedicure done?-check (I have sparklie green toenails) Chiropractor appointment?-check. Billing done?-check. All records ready for entry into Canada tomorrow?-check, I  hope.

I did take time to drive to the coast yesterday afternoon. I visited the small town of Samish. What a pretty little town. I was able to drive to a point in Samish Bay and finally greet the ocean and Jim. (he is buried out there) The flowers are beautiful in people’s yards. It reminded me of my mom and dad, especially when I saw the giant dahlias. My parents loved to garden. It was good to return to the ocean after almost four months away.

Tomorrow I head out on a new adventure. Elsie and I are going to be taking the morning ferry from Anacortes, WA to Vancouver Island, Canada. I first visited this island as a tour director. I remember taking my group to Boutchart Gardens, worth a visit.

Two years ago Cat, my friend who bicycled the Pacific Coast, and I took the ferry from Vancouver to the Island and started south. I knew then that I would return. It is a beautiful Island and I wanted to see more. Tomorrow I get that opportunity. I plan to be there for at least a month and discover interesting and magical places and meet new people. I plan to cover the island, driving biking and walking. If it takes longer, I will stay. I am ready to go into the unknown.

So stay tuned. Come along on the adventure. El and I are getting ready to roll.

 

 

Glacier National Park, Personality, Adventure, Beauty, Exploring Inside and Out, Grief

I continue to remain in Montana near Glacier National Park. The Roadtrek Rally was a success. I managed all the people by remaining scarce, thanks to my friends Linda and Steve. Each day we hiked in Glacier National Park and returned to the rally site around six or seven in the evening.

In the evenings or mornings, people would stop by and visit. If I got peopled out I would disappear into my rig. It worked out, yet, to be honest I don’t think I gave this rally a fair try. I was overwhelmed by the numbers of people that were there. I was overwhelmed before I even arrived. If I choose to attend another one I might stay around for more of the group activities. I believe that if I pick and choose what I want to attend then I will have a little more control over the people time. I know I can be a bit more social than what I ended up doing on this trip.

Glacier National Park was amazing. It has been many years since I traveled in this part of the USA. My first introduction to this park was a backpacking trip with a good friend of mine, Diane, back in the early 80’s. I loved the remoteness and majesty of it then and I find that has not changed one bit. I saw a lot of animals and amazing sites. It was awe inspiring at the least.

On the way north from Boise I lost a part on the outside of my Roadtrek. I have remained in the area while waiting for the part to arrive. I had it put on this afternoon and now EmmyLou the Roadtrek is once again whole, well almost. I still need to find another missing part. That one is not visible to the eye.

As I came out of the drive across Logan Pass (Going to the Sun Road) I received news from friends back east. Once again I am struggling with the basics of life. Many years back, 2013, I posted regarding my friend Zoe. We met on a breast cancer support web site. She and I quickly became friends. Her support was so instrumental in my struggle with breast cancer and it’s treatment. She has helped many people while going through her own struggle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Her support around Jim’s death was that of a good friend who was always there, no matter what time of the day or night.

Zoe & Kay

Zoe is now approaching the end of her life. I struggle to write this here as I am not really sure what to say. For the last few days I have sat in a forest and dove deep into grief. Grief for the struggle that her and her partner Kay are going through. Grief knowing I won’t be able to see my friend again. Grief for my own suffering and broken heart, no matter how selfish that sounds. Grief for the sake of grief. I have only done this adventure into this area of my life since Jim’s death. I am beginning to recognize when it comes. I tell myself, OK go feel it, you have forty eight hours and then get out of there. Deep grief is not somewhere I want to stay long.

the view from my campsite on the river.

Forty eight hours is now up. I moved out of the forest and am now nested along the Flathead River. Moving out of the forest may be a symbolic move, yet it helps to look out and see the whole world, not just trees. I ventured out tonight and talked with others in the campground. Moving out of grief means moving out of my small and tight world and stretching myself to get back to ” normal” once again. I am not sure what normal is.

I need to ask myself how is it that I can best support my friends during this end of life process? Zoe is not dead, she is dying and no one, including her knows the length of this process. It could be days, weeks or months. She is lovingly supported in hospice and surrounded by friends, her church and mostly her wife, Kay. I don’t know if there is a term for this observing and supporting the dying process, yet that is what we are all doing, for whatever length of time it requires of all of us.

I love Zoe. We have not always seen eye to eye but that is what sisters do. She is my sister and my friend and I am heart broken at the impending loss of her on this planet.

I share this with you all because that is all I can do. “Thoughts and Prayers” seem to lose their intense meaning today and yet that is all any of us can do, think of those we love and pray. That is what I am doing. I carry Zoe and Kay close to me and when I see amazing natural places I hope they know that I see them there too. Nature is a wonderful healer.

In a few days time I will be moving slowly west. I am looking forward to seeing beautiful mountains and seeing friends along the way. I will choose for this moment in time not to spend too much time alone. I can easily sit in a campground and enjoy those around me, even at a distance. I don’t necessarily need to talk to anyone. It is good to have them near by, just in case I feel a social call coming on.

I am back to the present moment. I am remembering to breath. I know that many of you are there if I need to reach out and talk to someone. I am grateful for this knowledge, love and caring support.

Sunset on the Flathead

Now I will be off to enjoy the rest of the evening by the river before the doors shut and I head for bed.

Another Year-Reflections

Tomorrow is my birthday.

The day after tomorrow will mark the sixth anniversary of Jim’s death. Time stands still. Time flies. It is amazing that it is six years since I last saw him. It is amazing that it has been six years since I last heard his voice. Well this whole process is pretty amazing and not always much fun.

I grieved when my mom died. I grieved when my dad died. I have grieved over the loss of friends and over the loss of others in tragedy, which we have seen so much of this year. The loss of Jim was different. I lost my life partner, my friend and my companion in mischief and dance. I describe the three and a half years leading to his departure, like a deck of cards thrown in the air. Just as they started to come down and I was picking them up, something else happened and the cards were thrown back up in the air again.

I am still picking up cards from six years ago. I didn’t know there were so many cards. Yet I have accomplished a bit along the way and each day I attempt to live life to its fullest. Some days it is a wee, tiny bit and other days are big a luscious and overflowing with awe and beauty.

I am beginning to realize that I may never have an answer to the question “What’s Next?” At my best I look for the large and small around me and find some marvel in it all. At my worst, I still find I can treasure my current surroundings and who I am.

  • I am not homeless.
  • I have this lovely little Roadtrek to call home.
  • My home is heated, which feels good on these chilly fall nights.
  • Elsie is always my faithful companion, in adventure and silence.
  • I know, oh how I know, I have many out there that support me daily, mostly in thought and prayer. Yet I know you are out there.
  • There are many books to read. On days where I don’t have much energy, I sit and read.
  • When I was younger I went through a short, period where everything was gray. I appreciate that I have never gone back to that place. I still can see and marvel at the loveliness of the places I visit and the people I meet. Color is a wonderful medium.
  • I have a family, sisters and nieces, that though not often heard from love me and support me.
  • And there is always my camera-I love taking pics even at my lowest.

There is always hope. In this coming year I am going to attempt to not be so hard on myself. I really don’t need to make far reaching decisions about anything. I want to focus on what is best for me at this moment in time, in this day and in this year. I want to experience a little more joy, wherever I can find it. And, although I am not sure I may want to settle down. I shall see on that statement.

I now understand a bit more of the statement from others that “you can move forward, while treasuring the moments Jim and you had”. I know that I can do both. And, ever since Jim’s passing he has been very good at helping me find my car keys. I have called on him more than once. This is one of the important reasons to keep him nearby as I adventure forth into life.

If you look on this site you will see a Go Fund Me tag. I have been raising money for the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship for 6 years. I am close to my goal of $25,ooo to make this a perpetual scholarship. I have about $8,000 more to go. I have been constant and steady in trying to raise this amount. If you would like to donate, small or large, some student out there at Grossmont Community College will thank you for your efforts.  I treasure each donation because I know about the thought and caring behind it. If you would prefer to donate directly to the college, here is their information.

Mail your donation to:

Scholarship Specialist
Financial Aid Office
8800 Grossmont College Dr
El Cajon, CA 92020-1799
Contributions are tax deductible

On to another year of discovery. Who knows what it will bring. I will continue to follow my own path, carrying the memories of my time with Jim forward. This year I pray that it will be just a wee bit easier. Each year seems to be getting that way. I am thankful for this.

I am thankful for 21 years of love, caring and relationship. I am thankful for being able to have those memories to help me move forward with my life, no matter what direction it takes.

Today I am thankful.

 

 

 

Elsie, A Little Cat Exploring a Big World

Elsie on the road Again

Elsie on the road Again

Wow has my life changed. One minute I am in my house and the next minute Janet and I are in the Roadtrek, and living in her friend’s driveway. I knew for a while, something wasn’t right. The furniture started to disappear, everything in the house was getting spiffed up and then, just like that the house is gone and I am on-the-road with Janet.

I am glad Janet is a constant in my life. I am just a little kitty (under 6 pounds) and change is a bit overwhelming for me. Where did the house go? Why am I in the trek? Where are we going? Why?

I am a traveling kitty. Last summer I rode in this magic, mobile home for four whole months. I experienced many things and saw so much that was new. I am at it again.

Janet made sure that some of my favorite things were in this little home. I still sleep under my sheepskin every day. I have toys, and my food and treats. Even my catnip is here. Janet remembers to comb me. I like that a lot. At night I curl up next to her and sleep. Life is not too bad. Oh, I almost forgot my favorite string to play with is also in my current home.

The first part of the trip, once we left San Diego, was up the coast (I am not sure what that means but it seems to involve water and sand). The water scares me a little bit but the sand is really kind of cool. I love to roll in it.

My private patio

My private patio

Staying in peoples homes seems to be a part of travel. The first home we stayed in was big. Janet and I had our own suite. My favorite part of that house was the private french doors to our own patio. I felt safer when no one was around. I could go in and out. There was a lot to explore and if I got nervous I could run inside.

I have seen big trees, Janet says they are redwoods. I can’t imagine trying to climb one of those. It might take me weeks to get to the top. I wonder what is up at the top. I guess I will just have to imagine it.

Elsie & the Bird

Elsie & the Bird

 

 

At one of the campsites I got a close up view of a little bird.  I think it wanted me to come out and play. It may have been taunting me. It sat just outside the Roadtrek and looked in. It might have been a good meal. Janet gives me yummy food from a can and I don’t have to work for it. I guess that little birds will continue to taunt me.

We spent about a week somewhere called Crescent City. It was in those big tall trees. I thought it was going to be peaceful but then this woman, Cat showed up. I immediately liked her. How could you nor like person with the name Cat? I think I have seen her before. Right after I saw her, two dogs showed up. I know I have seen them before. They make me really nervous. I am suspicious they aren’t going away too soon.

Now I am somewhere called Oregon. There are a lot of trees and it is green. I don’t know what happened but all of a sudden I moved into house #2, with a cool back yard. Mary seems to be in charge here. She tries to be my friend but I am just a bit wary. I don’t know why we are here. It is kind of a nice break from the little home I travel in. Janet and I have a nice room and it is upstairs. It is private. When things make me nervous I run for the stairs.

I am suspicious that this nice home is not going to last. Change seems to be in the air. I am going to keep a close eye on things. In the meantime I am getting braver and exploring this house before it disappears.

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House Sold-Feeling Thankful and Exhausted

imagesFriday, my house closed. I no longer own a “sticks & bricks” home. Now it is Elsie, me and the Roadtrek. It has been a very hectic and emotionally fraught month. And…it is done. The new owners were already there when I dropped my friend, Phyllis at her car.

The closing on Friday went smoothly, but Thursday night, whoa. As I stood, to get ready for bed, I just sat back down and sobbed. It is not something I do often and it is a bit over whelming when it happens. I felt like I was releasing the whole spring, from the moment I injured my ankle and forward. Although I have not been too focused on the fact that this was Jim’s and my home for 21 years, this certainly is signifying a closing of this chapter in my life.

I have been on a very busy and hectic path, first getting the house ready for sale and then working like crazy this past month after it sold, culminating in today, and the closing of the house. And it is done.

Where am I heading? I am not sure. I will be in San Diego until the third week of the month. I am giving myself time to recover and I am waiting to sell my car. I will be heading towards the northwest and from there, well, it will unfold a bit at a time. In other words, I am not sure. I am taking my time to nest into my new tiny home. Elsie the cat is doing the same.Friends-Text-Design-Facebook-Cover-Photo

I have amazing and wonderful friends. I know I may have expressed this in past posts but at this moment in time, I want to share with you some of my friendships.

Janet & Phyllis on moving day

Janet & Phyllis on moving day

Phyllis, has been amazing. This woman has been helping me with the house and the sale since last February. If she wasn’t there on her own, all I had to do was ask, and she was on her way. When I felt a bit directionless, she came over and helped me organize and move ahead. The day I broke my ankle she met me in the driveway and drove me to the hospital, staying with me until they sent me home. With the help of Dee, another good friend we dismantled the house, so work could be done on it, and then the three of us put it back together again.

The best part of my friendship with Phyllis is that we can get really angry at each other and then become friends again. This type of interaction is often seen in families. I have two sisters and I remember moments with them, similar to the one described above. Phyllis is one more sister, not by blood but by kind. I am glad to have such a selfless person as a friend.

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The beautiful pine

I am currently residing at Yvonne’s house. We work together, as tour guides in San Diego, and she is a friend. While she is off traveling she offered me a corner of her driveway, full hook-up included, for me to camp in my RV. The best part is the use of her home and the most amazing back yard. It has a huge pine tree which is where I am sitting as I write this. Even better is that Elsie is here with me, enjoying her much needed outdoor time. Even though it is warm, the wind is blowing gently and I am loving every minute of it. Somewhere in the distance mariachi music is playing. This is the perfect place for me to have some recovery time.

When I first broke my ankle, Yvonne came to the house, with food and good company. She used to work for Jim at Grossmont College. Now she and I are friends. I appreciate her generosity and support.

UnknownBarbara, well what can I say?  She was my realtor and is still my friend. I appreciate her high tolerance level for anxious moments in her clients lives. She was there every single step of the way, starting in February when the work on the house started. Barbara has continued to be there for me in person, by text, phone and e-mail. She made me feel respected and honored. I appreciate that she gave me the illusion of control. Without her, I would have been lost. I feel like our friendship has deepened through the whole experience of selling my house. We made quite a team. Thank you Barbara.

Me & My Kayak

Me & My Kayak

Nancy is storing my kayaks, and motor scooter. We have been friends for as long as I have lived here. When I asked for her help with these items she never flinched, just said yes and there they went. Sometime before I leave, we will create a pulley system in her garage and hang the kayaks. It will be fun, as many adventures with her are. Even though her life is busy we always seem to find time to spend together and I know I have her full support for the adventure ahead of me.

I could continue, yet hopefully you get the idea. It is important to have good and valued friends. I feel fortunate that there are several in my life, close by and at a distance. As I prepare to travel I will be visiting and spending time with some of my more far-away-friends. Having friends scattered to the 4 winds makes my adventure a bit less daunting. Friends make life more manageable when things are tough and more fun when life is running smoothly. Every day I am thankful for my friends. I am especially thankful for those who have so strongly supported me over the past month and the past three and half years since Jim’s death.

 

 

Change-Big Change is Coming

Search-Colorado-Springs-MLS-Homes-for-SaleThis past Monday, my realtor and I went “live”. My home is up for sale. I have been working on the house since February getting it ready for this moment. My broken ankle slowed the process down for a few months. Now that I am walking and doing better each day, it is time.

Today, Tuesday, two interested parties came to view the house. When I received the first call, I was nervous and excited and a bit anxious and scared all at the same time. There are so many mixed feelings with this move.

cardinstallation_02@2xEver since I was diagnosed with breast cancer I feel as if my life has been tossed up in the air, like a deck of cards. While I was picking up the cards from this incident, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. Up went the cards again. Eight months later he was diagnosed with a metastasis from the original cancer, up the cards went once again. With his death all those cards have been taking their time coming down. I have been slowly picking them up, one at a time. Picking up each one has certainly been taking time. No set schedule here.

I thought I would sell our home  3 months after Jim died. I now understand that was way to soon. Grief needs time and I needed somewhere comfortable and secure and safe to manage the initial stages of grief and loss. There was nowhere better than the home where Jim’s and my relationship flourished.

Janet driving in the alley in Chicago(3)

Me & the Trek

I have been trying to figure out what is next in my life since Jim’s  death. I have been waiting for a grand moment of awareness. It has not arrived. I am going looking for it. Miss Elsie the Cat and I are going to make my sweet little Roadtrek into our home for the next year. It may be longer than a year or it may be shorter but I have decided to go traveling. I love to travel. I enjoy learning and meeting new people and exploring this grand country I live in. And to create some expansiveness, I am including Canada in my travels, as well.

Link to Listing

I don’t plan to set out until the house sells, unless it is on the market for a while. If that happens then I will be heading out before it sells. Maybe I will figure out where I want to live. If not it will be one grand adventure. I look forward to seeing friends, friends who I have known forever and newer ones as well.

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The nervousness and anxiety comes from the unknown. It is a little overwhelming to put my trust out there in the universe that all will be OK. I have moved several times in my adult life. Each time has been just a wee bit harder than the last one. I am not sure why that happens, but I do think it has to do with age. Maybe as I have gotten more mature I have found myself more settled with each move. I do have friends in so many places and I hope to meet up with as many as I can. It is time to catch up.

I am getting ready to roll. What should I take? What should I leave? Where am I going? Is this crazy?

Then there is the house. It takes a bit of effort to dismantle a house. I have been in the process of doing this for the past few weeks. I still have a ways to go, yet even this is manageable as long as I don’t get too stressed.

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Miss Elsie

And then there are the memories. Sigh. Even this is OK. It can even be therapeutic. And the bottom line here, is I need move ahead with my life. I want to create adventure and exciting, happy challenges. I am ready. Miss Elsie, well who knows but she is coming along for the ride.

Getting ready, change is in there air.

 

 

 

Anyone Want a Bed?

imagesToday I sold my bed. Now that is usually not a big deal. You decide that you want to sell it and you put it up for sale and then it is sold. I wish it was that easy.

Here is my reality. I put the bed up for sale on Craigslist. I have received three e-mails in the past week. Today a very nice woman came to look at it and decided to buy it.  I instantly went into a panic. Did I want to sell it? Did I want to keep it? The anxiety is so real.

The ad has been on CL for months. When you advertise something on Craigslist it has to be renewed once a week. I always have the chance to not repost it or to take it down. I chose to leave it up.

So where is all the anxiety coming from? I have always known that I wanted to sell my home after Jim died. I still do. I don’t have a time line. It feels as if something is holding me back and I think it is fear of the unknown. Familiar is comfortable. Unfamiliar makes me ask myself many questions:  What do I do next? Do I want to stay in San Diego or do I move somewhere else? Where is my life taking me? Where am I taking my life? Arrrgh, the same old questions over and over. Maybe the only way to figure it out is to take the leap.

The bed is the first big item that I am selling. It symbolizes so much. Jim, of course-something to sleep in-the leap into the abyss. Even though I have been anxious about this I decided to move forward with the sale of the bed.

Into the Abyss

Into the Abyss

Now where do I sleep? Well I do have the tempurpedic mattress so I am reverting to college days and sleeping on the floor. I also have an air mattress that I can use. I am really fine. I hope the anxiety goes away once the bed is removed to it’s new home.

I read and believe in many of the tenants of Buddhism. Letting go of emotional attachment has been on my mind the last few days. This bed is just an object. If I look at this issue of selling my bed, I really find I don’t feel much emotional significance connected to this bed. With it’s disappearance I am saying goodby to the familiar and those many questions, mentioned previously,  come a bit closer to the surface.

And…would you like to know the outcome of all this. This woman contacted me last night and told she is not taking it?  Now, though I feel more ready and maybe the next offer won’t be so traumatic.

Anyone want a bed?