There is a certain freedom in being on the road, traveling at will. I have always harbored a theory that I would be footloose and fancy-free while traveling. But the reality is always that I rush from place to place and never do all that I wanted to do, or see all the people I want to see. Until this trip. This time I have more time to spend than money, but since my goal was to visit with people and see the familiar sights of home it’s a perfect visit. And because of that I have more sense of being ‘home’ than I have for a long time. Maybe it’s the old friends that were lost and now found. And finding out that the treasured memories of my childhood are shared by the ‘kids’ I who populated the neighborhood with me. It’s a validation of sorts. I love the weathered shingles, the flowering shrubs, it’s not fancy, but it’s home…If there was a for rent sign in front of this tiny house I would have been tempted to snap it up and to stay a while…
Obviously I’ve left the Nature Coast of Florida and am currently on a road trip, having made stops in Charleston, Pennsylvania, and now the Hudson Valley area of NY. I seem to have brought the FL weather with me, it’s been hot! At the last minute I was reading comments from friends and relatives about how cold it was up here, so I tossed every pair of jeans and several jackets into my suitcase. But so far it’s been flip flop weather. And today I’ll leave for New England, which is where I call ‘home’ when I’m in Florida and homesick. Now I’m seeing beautiful pictures from my current home in the Tampa Bay Area and I know that I’ll be ready to go back when the time comes. But not yet, I’ve barely begun.
The photo above is the sunset as seen from my son’s front porch a day or two ago, and captured with the iPhone. This morning I was shocked to see this sky, again from the front porch as I let Ozzie out. Mike’s house sits on a hill but there are tall trees to his east, so I walked down the driveway out into the cul de sac to try to see as much sky as possible. Seems I roam the neighborhood in my pajamas everywhere I go…
When my daughter-in-law saw my photos from Goshen she was surprised that I didn’t include any from the harness racing museum. What museum, was my question. She said that I must have walked right past it because it’s exactly where the photos I took yesterday were. So I went back today and yes, it was right where she said it was, but tucked away a little. Not so easy to spot. I took a few photos outside and then was told that there was racing today, and it was nearly post time! It’s a tiny little harness track, it gives you an up close and personal experience. Quite a lot of entertainment for $5. And just so you know, Tinkerbell won her race today. My son was lamenting that he wasn’t there since he would have bet on a horse by that name, and he’d have won.
Yes, I did mostly stick to major highways on this trip, but not always on purpose. Route 301 in Florida came up at the beginning of the trip when I was fresh and excited to be on the trip, but also with an eye out for photo ops. And since it winds through little towns with big speed traps you must slow down and savor the photo ops. Many that I drove past, unfortunately, but we have to blame Ozzie for that. He hadn’t yet settled down for the drive, maybe he thought I found a new vet that was farther away, but he was worried. And every time I stopped he got upset about what was up. It’s always been my contention that as long as life is going on as normal and your dog knows what to expect he will be fine. But throw them a curveball, like three days in the car, and his applecart will be officially upset. So after a few photos I decided to take pity on the boy.
I have a friend who has lots to say on the subject of UFOs and aliens. He asked if I believed in them, and while I couldn’t say that I do think they are ‘real’, I certainly wouldn’t stake my life on them not being real. They are among the many things that I haven’t given a lot of thought to, or any thought to at all. Even after he brought it up I spent no time pondering the possibilities.
But I have moved on from the person I’ve been since Charley died, the one who was home every night, happily I might add, feeling snug, and safe, and proud of herself for making it through another day. No, I’ve turned into a person who is looking at the world a little differently, able to admit that maybe there could be more to life, but not willing to bet any money that anything will change. It’s made me see things differently. And finding yourself single as you hang onto the last vestiges of your 60s is a lot like you have been dropped here from a UFO and are expected to make heads or tails out of this society. One which bears no resemblance to what the world was like the last time I was single. To me the ‘rules’ of behavior are still the same rules that I grew up with all those years ago. But if TV is to be believed it’s a whole new world out there and I am totally not ready for it. I don’t know the rules, or maybe the biggest rule is that there aren’t any rules. I am as unprepared for a social life now that I’m old as I was when I was 18.
I was looking for something to watch on Netflix, and saw a show called “Love”, and thought it would be harmless, kind of like the Hallmark Channel, or the easy listening channel on the radio. Boy, was I wrong. But I was looking at Netflix because I’m tired of the Hallmark Channel and it’s sappy, happily-ever-after stories. That’s not real life. But this is real life, and maybe I’m already living the only happily ever after that I’m going to get. Would that be so bad? No, not really…
I may have been the last person in America to read this book,
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo
Sorry for the size of the text but I had no hope of remembering the title so I lifted it from Google. I went on an organizational binge after my husband died. His hobby, well, one of them, was collecting coins, and I was in fear that somehow I would throw away one or more of his treasures, so I had to go through all of his stuff immediately in order to prevent a disaster. Part of me didn’t think I could make such a mistake, but he was secretive with his stuff so I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I had asked him if there was any sort of inventory, if he had ever written instructions down in case something would happen to him. But that was when we never dreamed anything would actually happen, and when he said that yes he had written out instructions I thought he was lying. Fibbing. And he was, and I let him. And, to my relief really, after digging through his closet, which I not-so-affectionately called his ‘toss-in closet’, I found no coins in pockets or any other odd ball places. They were all in the safe deposit box. But I had to look, I had to know, I had to be sure. The responsibility I felt for taking care of his stuff was quite overwhelming.
I mention this because in this book the author doesn’t believe in organization. You don’t organize your stuff, you get rid of it. Actually you thank each piece for it’s service, and then you get rid of it. Hey, I didn’t write the book. And I did get rid of a LOT of my own stuff after I read the book last year sometime, but I didn’t thank each piece of clothing before it got sent to Goodwill. So by her standards all my prior efforts to organize Charley’s stuff and my stuff was for naught.
But the big take-away from the book, for me anyhow, is that I have faithfully used her method of folding and storing your clothes every day since. I haven’t even been tempted to NOT use her method almost from day one. In her method your things stack in drawers, and not only can you fit a ton of stuff into a small space, you can see everything perfectly. There is no digging for the particular tee shirt or pants that you might be looking for. My only cheat has been with my socks, that drawer still looks like a bomb went off in there. Socks should be folded neatly together, and not turned one inside the other to keep a pair together. That would cause them stress you see. So she said anyhow.
But her method has proven itself to me again as I get ready for a pilgrimage of sorts, up north to visit with family and friends. I’ve had lots of time to get ready this week, so I started transferring pants into the big travel bag I use when I have to bring a lot of stuff. And, amazingly, I didn’t even use half the bag, so I added the shirts I wanted to bring, and it all fits! I’ll be comfortable, although not prepared for a formal event, but since that hasn’t ever happened before I think I’ll be safe. I used to always bring this bag plus it’s slightly smaller matching cousin on a big trip, but not this time…I see fuzzy socks! I should pack them too. Last time this Floridian went north she just about froze to death…