Changing My State of Mind-Feeling Grateful

This morning I woke up feeling a bit sorry for myself. I miss Elsie, I miss Jim, I miss having a permanent home (sometimes-Oh wait isn’t my RV a permanent home?), I miss, I miss, I miss. Isn’t that a pleasant way to wake up? Not!

Once I climbed out of bed I decided I was going to look around me and find things I am grateful for. It is way past time to walk away from the “oh woe is me” thinking. After doing this, the sorries are gone and I am back on track, ready to take on another day.

What did I see that made me grateful and happy, if not, content?

I live in a pretty amazing small space. When I am cold I can turn on the heat. I am warm and dry and comfortable. I have a very comfortable bed, one I have been creating for as long as I have been fulltiming, to make it just this comfortable. It is hard to get out of comfort in the morning. This is a complete home, minus the cat, that fills my needs just as much as if I had a permanent spot on the map. I am so grateful for this little home on wheels.

Recently friends of mine, Helen & David, told me that the latest research shows that coffee may be good for a person. When I left their home in Nebraska this past fall I left with a filter, coffee filters, coffee, and a scoop. About once a week I indulge myself in a rather weak yet good cup of joe. Every time I pull out the filters and coffee I immediately think of my friends. It reminds me of how loved I am by them and so many others. Funny how just getting out the makings for a routine cup of coffee can remind me of such good friends and make me grateful.

Zentangles

I look at the front of the cabinets and there are small Zentangles that were drawn by a very long-time friend of mine. It reminds me of how the two of us have gone through so many changes in our friendship of close to thirty years and we still endure. I am glad I have Nancy to go to when I need an in-depth and hopefully honest conversation. We have helped each other over the years. Again I am reminded of friends near and far who love and support me, even when I am not at my best

Last night I had another potential Elsie sighting. I am so grateful to the people on the Santee Nextdoor App. More than likely this will not be Elsie, the description is wrong, yet I am so grateful for all these unknown people out there who have been supporting me through this hard process of trying to locate my lost kitty. They have been amazing and I will remain grateful for this community for the rest of my life. You might want to check out Nextdoor and become active in a different way, in your community.

I take for granted that I have clothes on my back and when they get dirty I have the money to go to the local laundromat to wash them. There are people who struggle to have one pair of shoes. As I look toward my sleeping area I see two pairs of shoes there. Today I am grateful I can have my pick of shoes and clothes and food and well just about everything else that makes my life a bit easier.

Have you ever noticed how unique and incredible the people around you can be? When I get up in the morning I usually check my emails, and then social media. It is not unusual to read a little of people’s lives on Facebook in the morning. I know that most of the time we present the better side of ourselves to the world, but, what amazing people I know. One couple is very involved with the San Diego Maritime Museum. They are always doing the coolest things with the ships that are a part of the museum. Their interest in the museum has even led James to a part-time job working for Scripps Institute of Oceanography, helping to captain their research vessel. How cool is that? Pretty darn cool, I think.

Others travel and learn. I have had friends who have hiked the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. I follow them with interest and a bit of desire and take pride in knowing them and sharing, even vicariously, in their achievement.

Ginny

My family is becoming more and more important as I have grown older, not old. I love the moments when I talk with my sister, Ginny, on the phone. We don’t often talk of anything important, though sometimes we do, it is the talking and sharing that is important. I follow my other sister and nieces through Photo Sharing and Facebook. I can share their joys and sorrows, if not directly through all these forms of media that keep us connected across the miles. My one niece is expecting a new baby in March. Yes, I am excited, although an absentee Aunt.

Everyone continues to teach me about love, acceptance, being human and more. I have friends who stand by me through thick and thin. Others, thank you Cynthia, teach me new and old forgotten skills such as crocheting. It is not just the skill that is important, it is the gathering and conversation and sharing that is. Each friendship expands my world and teaches me value.

And lastly, there is Elsie the wandering kitty. I had fourteen years of her company. Her toys are still out and her blanket is still on the front seat. She may come back and she may not. I have been slowly working my way towards acceptance of the latter part of that statement. I am grateful for every moment I had with that little darling kitty. She taught me a lot and was quite the reluctant social butterfly. Because of her, I have met so many people in the Roadtrek and RV world. People have become my friends and I am grateful she was my introduction to some of them. Not everyone came to my rig to meet me, but because of her presence, I have met kind and wonderful people.

Now I am feeling stronger and better. Being grateful is always a good thing. Some days, like today, I need to start out small and look about me, be thankful and get myself back on track.

The wind has died down and it is time to get on that bike and ride.

I wish all of you a very Happy New Year. May it be filled with adventure and gratitude. See you next year.

 

 

 

My Inner Child, The Dentist & Jim

images-1I have been in San Diego for a little over a month. All scans, x-rays, and doctors appointments have been completed and the news is good. Well, almost all of the appointments have been completed. The only outstanding appointments at this time is the dentist. Yep, I arrived in San Diego with pain in my jaw (which of course I was sure was head & neck cancer). Day one was an appointment with my dentist, day two was an appointment with the periodontist, and day three was surgery to remove one of my back teeth and have a bone graft completed. Since then I have been through another gum surgery. I have one more to complete after I return from Christmas.

Have I told you that I really, really dread going to the dentist? All these dentists are very nice people but I have had very few good experiences with the dentist. It started when I was in fifth grade and continues to this day. Just in case you are not aware yet, dentists make me very uncomfortable.

No matter how hard I try to be adult and rational about all this, my little girl pops to the foreground and once again I am a mass of little girl feelings. I try to be an adult but often when I get to the dentist office and the news is not the best, I have found myself crying in the dental chair. I know I am not alone in these feelings. All I have to do is bring up the subject of the dentist and the person I am speaking with shares their own feelings of fear and dental dread.

13285233_143979346015699_1388150816_nAll of us have an inner child. I have read books about this. I have gone to workshops about this. I have, through meditation had conversations with my inner child. I think I acknowledge her existence but then, well, just mention the dentist and here she is again, taking over my present day existence.

It is bad enough I become a small girl at the mention of the dentist. This time, when I arrived for my first appointment with the periodontist, I discovered the office was in the same medical building that I took Jim to, three times a week for the last four months of his life. He received IV nutritional therapy to help him better tolerate his chemotherapy. People with head and neck cancer often receive feeding tubes because they cannot tolerate eating. This therapy also helped him live without the feeding tube.

Not only did I have to deal with all my dental fears, I also had to confront some issues around grief. Boy does that subject continue to pop up at interesting times. Once again I sat down in the dental chair, the tech came in and I started crying. Was this fear, was this grief, was this everything all mixed together? I will never know completely. It was hard to walk to elevator and return, once again to this building.

As I review these last several weeks and my visit to this dentist and building, in some ways I find this has been a bit healing for me. I have had time to reflect the moments Jim and I shared in our visits to the doctor who treated him. Jim and I always functioned well as a team. We shared everything. Some of those visits were fraught with anxiousness but we always were very good at supporting each other through our lives together. Sometimes he would sleep and I would go for a walk. Other times we sat and read. Yet other times we shared our thoughts and feelings with each other. It has made me miss him more. It has made me recognize how important those moments were in our relationship. It has made me realize how important all moments are in my relationship to all others.

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It is OK to acknowledge and accept my inner child. That little girl gives me the opportunity to laugh and play and look at the world with excitement and wonder. It is a little harder to acknowledge her when I am sobbing in the dental chair. I guess that is the time to acknowledge her most of all. At times like this I need to tell all of my selves “it’s OK”. If I need to cry, then cry. Usually after my sob session is over I can handle my time at the dentist better and I feel more adult.

Later this morning all of me is off to the dentist for a follow-up.

Giving Thanks

thanksgiving-quotes-13In the fall of 1621 A group of Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians sat down to celebrate the first harvest. After a winter of almost starvation it was time to celebrate and acknowledge friendship.  In 1863 Abraham Lincoln officially declared the third Thursday of November, Thanksgiving.

I have been pondering giving thanks over the past three weeks. Someone recently said that giving thanks is putting gratitude into action. I like the sound of that statement. It resonated within me when it was said. Yet, can I be grateful without giving thanks? Can I give thanks without feeling grateful. I believe the answer is yes to both of these questions. When you bring gratitude and thankfulness together, it becomes a powerful and more complete experience.

This week is Thanksgiving. Many of us will sit down to the traditional turkey dinner. We will celebrate with family and friends and maybe a few strangers.

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My Thanksgiving is going to be celebrated in the desert. My friend Nancy and I are heading to the beautiful Anza Borrego State Park to camp, hike and celebrate. I hope to relax a bit, too.

This blog is titled Journeys of Thankfulness. Each day I find that I am thankful for at least one thing. This blog has helped me remember to bring thankfulness and gratitude into my life, daily.

Here a few things that Elsie the Cat and I are thankful for this year.

  • All of you that follow our adventures. Your comments and sharing moments have helped give me good insight. You have made me feel loved and cared for by people I have, often, never met.
  • My Roadtrek (RV) that takes me on adventures with a sense of comfort and ease. I love a bed to sleep on at night.
  • I am so thankful for chiropractors this year. There was one horseback ride to many last spring.
  • Elsie has been such a buck it up kitty and adjusts to most situations with a lot of ease. I am glad she is my traveling companion.
  • My friends locally have continued to love and support me. I am so thankful for their on-going presence in my life. I am also very grateful that I am able to find friends that are willing to go on mini-adventures with me.
  • My father instilled a sense of adventure in me. When we traveled as a family we often explored the back roads. We stayed in some interesting places at night.

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  • Super balls. This is Elsie, I love those small super balls. Janet just bought me a whole bag full. I can’t wait to play with them, under the couch, the chairs and the furniture. It is fun to watch Janet lay down on the floor and get them all back out again.
  • I am glad that I continue to grow and change through one of the hardest transitions of my life.
  • I am grateful for the silent presence of Jim in my life. I am learning how to keep his love and move on all at the same time.
  • I wish I could say I was thankful for the state of the world. It is hard to figure out gratitude when so many suffer. I can’t be thankful for the pain and sorrow yet I can be thankful that there are organizations and individuals who reach out to those in need and help, even when it involves danger.
  • Lastly I am grateful for a day where I can celebrate gratitude with friends and strangers alike.

Elsie and I want to wish each and everyone of you a Happy Thanksgiving. If you don’t celebrate this day, well we don’t care. We are wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving any way. Elsie says to go out and play with some super balls. You will feel better.

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Today and all this week and forever I am thankful for each and every person, who I know now and who I have yet to meet. Happy Thanksgiving.

Returning Home, Next trip on the Horizon.

IMG_6409It has been just over two weeks since Elsie and I came back to San Diego. I am home, I think. Living in and near my RT for the past four months makes me have to consider what is home. Elsie, on the other hand had no second thoughts about where she was. She is glad to have no leash attached to her halter.

Returning home for me is always a bit hard. I seem to feel a bit in limbo for a while after a trip. I am not home and I am not away. Where am I? I am not always sure. That is OK. And then there is the yard work…well I just won’t go there.

Miss Elsie, Rolling

Miss Elsie, Rolling

I have been asked if I had a great trip this summer. I am not always sure how to answer this question. Some of it was absolutely delightful and fun. Other times were different. When everything was running as smooth as a well oiled machine the traveling was fun. Most of my days were filled with interest yet there were times that I felt lonely and sad. I missed Jim and his companionship. And…maybe he was traveling with me but it is not the same as having him there in person.  Miss Elsie the Cat helped a lot with the lonely part.

Someone recently called me a road warrior. In some ways that can really describe any of us who take to the road for adventure. I see a warrior is someone who is always ready for whatever the circumstance. This is good and maybe, some times, a bit hard. I see it as vigilance, where I can never let my guard down. Does being vigilant not allow me to relax? I am not sure.

I do believe that I handled myself well in most situations. Stress since Jim has died has been a constant companion. I did’t invite it to be my companion yet for right now it seems to be. I have decided since the end of this trip that I want to handled unexpected situations a bit better. It is just hard sometimes.

There were so many wonderful places I saw. I am glad I traveled the distance I did to tour such wonderful unknown places. There were so many highlights it is hard to list them. Here are a few that stand out:

  • IMG_0423Hells A’Roaring Horse Round-up. This was so much fun. I love horses. I love the west. I love cowboys and cowgirls. For a weekend I got to be a cowgirl and it was fun, REALLY FUN.
  • Traveling through the Nebraska Sand Hill Country.
  • Discovering all kinds of campgrounds, Fairgrounds, Town Parks and parking behind the visitor center.
  • Visiting with my friend, Helen and her husband, Norb in Fish Lake, Indiana.
  • Zoe’s and Kay’s wedding.
  • Traveling to the Roadtrek RV mothership. I was treated so well.
  • Making new friends in Michigan and Penetanguishene, thanks to the Roadtrek Facebook Group.
  • Fourth of July at the lake in NJ. Visiting my family and long time friends.
  • My niece’s wedding. I am not always a fan of weddings. This one was truly fun.

    Loons-can you see the baby?

    Loons-can you see the baby?

  • Hot air ballooning and kayaking in Queechee, VT with more long time friends, Diane and Tom.
  • Chasing loons. It was a major photo shoot for loons. I love them.
  • Visiting with Missy and Dan at Moxie Lake in Maine. I got my very first Zumba lesson. Cool.
  • I really, really liked New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

 

Mary, a meeting on the Cabot Trail

Mary, a meeting on the Cabot Trail

  • Meeting a long time friend unexpectedly  on the Cabot Trail.
  • Exploring the Cabot Trail and camping on the ocean was a delight. The National Park on Cape Breton was beyond delightful.
  • Anything on the Cape Breton end of Nova Scotia was fun.
  • Biking, kayaking, walking, hiking…well you get the idea.
  • Driving west on the Trans-Canada Highway. Beautiful ride.
  • Meeting so many interesting people along the way. I hope that some of us really do stay in touch. Barbara, hopefully you are reading this.
  • Finally feeling brave enough to go to southwestern Colorado and camping for two nights on my land.

    Colorado Land

    Colorado Land

  • The last week I traveled through southern Colorado from friends to friends to friends. There is nothing better than being able to get hugs and good conversation. I really love all my friends.

Now I am home. I have finally culled the photographs. If you want to view them, click on the link below.

Roadtreking Photos, 2015

Travel is healing for me. I love getting out in nature and I really like exploring places I have always wanted to see. I enjoy meeting new people and learning.

Now I am home. I was hoping that this summer might clarify life for me a little. I am not sure it did. That is OK. Sometimes I get impatient so I am learning patience and enjoying the journey.

I am grateful today for traveling there and back again, safely and mostly happily. I am grateful for everyone who continues to support me. Thank you.

My adventures will continue and you are always welcome to come along. This blog will continue.

Stay tuned for more adventures of Miss Elsie and Janet.

Wrapped in the Loving Arms of Friends

Friday morning I left the land and started moving west. It was hard to leave. I have made such good friends in southern Colorado. Deana, Ron and Miss Carrie kept trying to get me to stay longer. I need to return to San Diego, though.

I left the loving support of my Colorado friends, only to arrive in Flagstaff and be swept up into the loving arms of a good friend, Sharon and her extended family.

For thIV fluidsose of you who have been following my blog since it’s conception, you might remember this photo. It was the first stop of the first trip and Sharon ended up in the ICU. It was touch and go for a few days. She made a miraculous recovery and, at 80 is going strong. She is independent and feisty and I love her.

Because I was instrumental in saving her life that morning, her wild extended family has taken me in. I am honored. Her five children are delightful and very different from each other. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren are beyond delightful, so full of life and adventure. Even though they complain about each other, they are tight and love being in each others company.

Sharon & Janet

Sharon a year later

When I went in to give Sharon a hug, a greeting, she announced to me that there would be a fish fry that evening as two of her grandsons had just come back from a very successful fishing trip in San Diego. By the time everyone arrived, ages 8 and up there were at least 15 people in the kitchen. This family, I believe will be eternally grateful to me for helping save their mom. I am eternally grateful to know the delight of a very loving and happy extended family which now includes me. We all save each other.

Sharon, and 2 grandchildren, Jared and Jaimie

Sharon, and 2 grandchildren, Jared and Jaimie

Ken (son), Jared & Jaimie

Ken (son), Jared & Jaimie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone took over the kitchen. At one point of time or another all her extended family has lived with her in this delightful house. They know where everything is and they make themselves feel very at home.

The fish tacos were yummy and the company was better. I loved being swept up in this loud and outgoing group. When I am with them I am definitely part of the family. They tease me and joke with me and I feel so welcomed.

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When I left yesterday morning to head home, I found it hard to leave. I love being loved and supported. I loved the fact that from the smallest one to the oldest, Sharon, I got hugs. I miss hugs. They are grateful and I am grateful. It makes for a great combination.

Seeing my friends from Alamosa, CO through Flagstaff, AZ was a great end to this summer’s journey (Fred & Judy, Deana, Ron, Miss Carrie, Sharon and the whole clan). Friends are wonderful and I have so many fine ones. I can almost weep for the joy of it. Even though I am on my own now, they remind that I truly am not. I am so surrounded by so many each moment of my day.

 

Now I am home and I promise you the postings are not over yet. Elsie is eyeing the computer as I speak.

Today I am beyond grateful for friends…All of Them.

Special Moments of the Holidays

I always tell myself that the holidays are just going to go by. However, it always seems that special moments creep in when I least expect them. It makes me realize that this doesn’t always happen on the holiday yet I tend to notice it more when it happens around the “Season of Giving”. I have to immediately ask what does that mean? Shouldn’t giving always be a part of my life? OK, enough of that back to the subject at hand, the surprise events that made my holidays a bit more special.

Bluebirds

Bluebirds

I know most of us have heard of the Bluebird of Happiness. This year I received my bluebird of happiness. I follow several wildlife photographers on facebook. Becca Wood is a wildlife photographer from Montana. She does incredibly beautiful wildlife photography. During the month of December she had a series of contests to win calendars, and prints. I entered everyone and never won a thing. This is quite the norm for me. I commented every time I lost another contest, in light-hearted jest. One morning a few weeks before Christmas I found an envelope sitting against my garage door. When I opened it there was my Bluebirds of Happiness. I was moved close to tears that Becca not only sent it to me but that she understood how much I love this print. A gift from a stranger touched me so deeply. I proudly display this photo on my wall. I also ordered her bluebird calendar which I also love.

If you want to explore Becca’s work more click here>B Wood Photography.

IMG_3378Last Tuesday I had dinner with good friends. Henry and Barbara ran with Jim every Saturday for years. I am very honored and pleased to be friends with them now. They are both very delightful, caring and kind people. For some time now Henry has been holding onto a plaque that he had made in memory of Jim. The original plan was to have it permanently placed at Pacific Beach where they all ran together. You know what happens when you attempt to get the city officials involved with this minor project?, a political mess. They wanted $3000 just to have plans drawn up. What? The runners decided to see if they could find a secluded place at  the beach to put this. It was decided, and wisely so, not to do this. It would most likely have been taken. Now I have this lovely plaque and we are still trying to decide what to do with it. Any ideas?

Barbara & HenryThis wonderful act by his friends has touched me deeply. When I saw the plaque on Tuesday all I could do was gently caress it. It wasn’t just because it reminded me of Jim. I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude to these two very special people. It makes me happy deep down inside to know others will always remember him.  And what a touching act the making of this plaque was to me, to Jim’s family, to all his friends and to the universe.

Now I want your suggestions. Please don’t hesitate if you can come up with a unique or not so unique idea for this natural plaque.

And…thank you Henry and Barbara for this thought, this act, this kindness. I am so glad we are friends.

There have been other touching moments during this past three weeks. How special these moments are. It reminds me that I want to pay more attention as the new year starts. I have decided that my “Season of Giving” will be all year long. What about yours?

Happy-New-Year-Background-Wallpapers-2015-3Happy New Year everyone.

Happy New Year.