Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First Stop: Hanoi

Actually, this video was shot upon our return to Hanoi from a side-trip.  Pebbles and Slater were "upgraded" to a balcony room.  Unfortunately, it was street side.  This is just a taste of what the traffic was like.  It was both terrifying and exhilarating. 

Our flight from DFW to Seoul on Korea Air was amazing.  The service was awesome.  What wasn't awesome was the brutal nature of a 14 hour flight.  Even with careful planning, everyone's feet, ankles and legs swelled something terrible.  It was two days before we were all back to normal.

We had a pretty quick plane change to make the next leg - from Seoul to Hanoi, this time on Vietnam Airlines.  Russian pilot, which was a first for me.  And when we landed in Hanoi, Slater thought our plan was on fire due to the smokey smell that permeates the city.  While waiting to deplane, I looked out the window at the runway - the edges of the runway were FULL of deep ruts - all cordioned off with crime scene-like tape.  Yep, nothing stops a screaming 777 like some crime tape! 

I had arranged with our hotel to have a car pick us up at the airport and that worked beautifully.  There was a man waiting holding a sign that had most of my name on it - and off we went - on the ride of our life.  Oh.My.Gee - I've never in my life seen such chaos and honking and thousands of motorbikes, scooters and bicycles, going in all directions with absolutely no regard for any sort of traffic patterns.  There were few  - I mean as in TWO traffic signals - between the airport and arriving at our hotel in the old quarter some forty minutes later.  And even those were not minded!  And this was a Sunday night!  What would it be like during the day?  We were soon to find out. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Travel Grace

I'm home.  It was an amazing trip.  I am swamped and exhausted and still processing the many things I saw. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stepping Off

There is a scene at the end of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid  where they sort of grab hold of a belt and jump.  I'm feeling a little like that - not that we have a posse on our heels but there is a feeling of stepping off and hoping for the best!  That's where the adventure comes in.

I've gotten pretty still over the past few days - mostly in gratitude and amazement that I/we are really doing this.  As I said to Pebbles on Wednesday - "Sixteen years ago, it would have been impossible for me to imagine me, you, us doing this".  Really, it's just an illustration of how windy the road is and what unexpected and unplanned for events can take your breath away - both in a bad or extremely good way. 

Sixteen years ago, I had not yet "got up off the couch" and I seemed constitutionally unable to act in my own best interest.  A great deal has changed in that time.  Back then, I couldn't even imagine/dream/believe that my life would or even could get better.  But better it is.  Much better.

At this point, if we haven't thought about it or planned for it, it's too late.  We'll just jump and crochet our parachute as we can.  My expectations are low - and high at the same time - this won't be a relaxing vacation - this has the potential to be a grueling, but adventurous outting.  Bad weather and bad tempers could put a pinch on things, but no matter what I see or what I do, it will be more than what I'd done before, so I shall be grateful.  It is my hope to keep in the "now" and to really take in, really breathe in, that which I am seeing.  My overall goal on this odyssey is to get there and really "be" - to not get so caught up in touring this and seeing that, that I miss the spirit and the essence of the country and her people.

Take good care of yourself while I am away.

Mai mốt gặp lại


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Post Festivities Post

I know it's wrong
If this is Tuesday, I must be done.  Done with the wedding prep and done with four days of hosting three houseguests.

The wedding turned out to be a learning experience for Pebbles and there is absolutely no pleasure in "I told you so" - I could see some writing on the wall, but she couldn't. Everyone walks their own path.  There wasn't any drama of any sort but Pebbles' fabulous organizational skills and talent were no match for an incompetent venue, bad weather and guests that arrive an hour early.  Sometimes one just has to let go of their "vision" and deal with what is.  Acceptance of the now and acting as if you chose it are some of the toughest concepts to grasp in all areas of life.  She's none the worse for wear and just a tad bit wiser.  And I just let it unfold as it did.  I did say what I thought and then just let it go.  And, of course, I would never say " I told you so" as it isn't productive or even pleasurable - at least with her :-).

I thoroughly enjoyed Rhoda and Mary and their son, Barrett.  Barrett is 8 and quiet enjoyable.  He and I bonded a couple of years ago when I visited them and we've kept direct contact ever since.  I'm not a "kid" person, but he and I have a lot of fun together - and of course, I adore his moms.  We were a little cozy here in CSH, but it worked out just fine.  I put Rhoda and Mary in my bedroom and put Barrett on the barge (day bed/sofa thingy) in the sitting room.  I brought in all the air mattresses and pumps from Pebbles' and was going to put them in the dining-room-that-I-don't use as such for me to sleep on.  However, I just wasn't happy with the taking them up and down each night.  So the night before they arrived, I went to Costco for groceries and there I found the mat-in-a-bag solution.  Worked like a dream.  It comes in it's own bag and it's comfortable enough and it is easy to fold out and then fold up for storage.  I'm getting ready to leave for southeast Asia and I suspect my sleeping arrangements there won't be much different.  So I'll bundle up all the inflatables and send them back to Big D and I'll be all set should I ever host this many guests again.  Of course Rhoda and Mary wanted to put Barrett in the temporary bed, but this allowed me to get up at my usual insane hour, get outside, in the kitchen, on my computer, etc without having to step over or disturb anyone.

And it's Tuesday and I am worn smooth out.  Pebbles is coming over to stay tomorrow night, as she has an early morning appointment on Thursday and we'll give our plans the final run through.  If it's not done by now, it's probably too late :-).

Take good care of  yourself.  Be kind to others.  Know when to fold 'em.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Vagaries Of Age

Ah, the vagaries of age.  I just finished all of my sewing for the upcoming wedding.  Nothing like threading (sewing) machine needles at 5am with eyes that are another year older to remind one that time, indeed, does march on.  These are chairbacks now, but after the wedding will be turned into little pillows for the newlywedded.  Cute idea, but a PITA to deal with.  Mostly because the embroidery company was ALL.KINDS. of incompetent.  I was ready to unleash all manner of fury on them via a YELP review, but Pebbles reminded me it was my birthday and so, perhaps, that negativity shouldn't be stoked.  She was right, I suppose.  I know I won't ever use them again.

Anyway, the birthday was lovely.  I chose to postpone all celebrations until next week or next month, as I wanted to be able to finish the sewing and get the house ready for company in a leisurely and enjoyable fashion.  Mindfully, as it were - no more "stash and dash" for me (I hope).

As for the wedding, well, October weather has taken an interesting turn.  High on Saturday is suppose to be in the 50's.  Don't know if anyone expected that - don't know if the ceremony will take place outside (as planned) or will have to be moved inside (as not-really-planned for).  Pebbles and I talked over some plausible scenarios using the space and I think we can make it work, if it comes to that and I think it will.  No one wants to see a shivering bride and bridesmaids in little strapless dresses with goosepimples.  I swear it was a hundred degrees just the day before yesterday.  Oh, and the chance of rain keeps increasing.  I think they just need to call the whole outdoor ceremony and move the whole deal into the reception space.  But, it's not my pig roast - I'm just the unpaid labor round here.

But tonight, the weather is perfect for being out-of-doors.  I've been invited by Christine, one of my new biking buddies, to attend an event (fund-raiser) where her husband is playing lead guitar in the band!  It's at a newish venue in town, so if my NY friend Rhoda, doesn't call me, then I'll go - and hell, maybe if Rhoda can get away from the business that brought her to town, we'll both go.  Could be fun.  Flexible like Gumby, I am.  If I don't do that, then my plan is to do some flower arranging.  One of my dear friends left a bunch of birthday gerbera daisies on my doorstep, so I think I'll create some floral arrangements using greenery from my yard and those daisies, along with some mums that are blooming, for a few pops of color.  Now that is a fun way to spend an evening!

Take good care of yourself.  Be kind to others.  Transform yourself.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Safety First

I was looking back at my paper journals written over the last couple of years.  At the time, the theme seemed to be safety.  I mean I had written "I am safe" as an affirmation almost daily.  Obviously, there was some real fear going on there.  I know I wasn't concerned for my physical safety, no, it was more for my emotional health.  It's both interesting and affirming to see the progression.  While I do miss the good parts of the life I once had, I don't miss them enough to walk back through the door to it.  I was given an "opening" a few weeks ago, but chose to let it be.  That's a story for another day.

But yea, safety.  It hasn't cropped up for quite some time.  I've survived.  And now the path points to thriving rather than just surviving.  The lowest level, the physiological needs, are taken care of.  Shelter, my shelter, here at the CSH continues to be such a warm, positive, nurturing space.  Even though I sometimes feel badly that I choose not to devote as much time and effort to it as the previous owner, it's still fully made of awesome.  And it still gives my heart a rush everytime I pull up in the driveway.  Food is okay enough without the daily scale slap and sleep is a little better than usual.  Water, well, I'm carrying my insulated water bottle with me and I'm drinking more of it - I won't say a lot, but any is good.  And air, obviously, I'm getting enough air.  As for sex, well, my doctor released me to start having sex next week.  Does he know something that I don't?  ;-)

No, the physiological, safety and security needs are being met.  And today, on my birthday, I'm feeling lots of love from friends, both new and old.  This whole belongingness thing is pretty awesome.  I have taken me, a pretty isolated, solitary person and knitted a social circle out of whole cloth through affirmation and intention.  Moved out of my comfort zone and into a larger social circle populated by a few good friends and lots of people with whom I enjoy hanging out.  I used to say that it was easier to get a date than to find another woman to go shoe shopping with.  I'm happy to say that my 'droid is full of contacts with whom I would have no hesitation to call and invite to do cruise the clearance racks at DSW.  I'm both humbled and grateful at the AMAZING people who have come into my life.  And the fact that I am able to "hold on loosely" to them, if that makes any sense.

I've also begun to think of self-esteem more as self-compassion.  There's a link on the sidebar to an article that talks about this and it has been very helpful in reminding me to talk to myself with the same level of compassion and love that I use for my daughter.  I was just thinking about Pebbles yesterday as we come up to this wedding that she's working so hard on.  In my past and possibly even my current state of self, I would be working buttonholes and if things didn't go perfectly, I would carry those imperfections and regrets forward.  I just realized that Pebbles doesn't do that, or if she does, it's not at all obvious.  She just gives things her best shot, I mean, seriously, her best shot, with time and talent devoted to all the details and fiddly bits and when it's over, well, it's over.  It's not as though she gains or loses based upon external things.  She just is.  Honest to the powers that be, I.do.not.know.how she got that smart, so young, growing up in the family business of Craziness, Inc.

So on my 52nd, I'm happy to relish the gifts of this level of recovery.  Happy Birthday to me.  As I turn my attention to the next year, I'm thinking of what my intention will be for the upcoming 12 months.  I'm sure that just the right thing will bubble up to the top.  It's worked so far.

With much gratitude,