Tag: travel (Page 1 of 3)

Babymoon, Day 1

Come February 2023, I’ll be Bubbles (my grandmother name) to a third Sprite! I’m calling her Junior for now ‘cause she’ll be named after me, though my daughter doesn’t plan to call her Jeanne. In case you’re wondering, I’m named after an uncle I never met.

New parents apparently celebrate upcoming arrivals by dedicating a weekend to a babymoon- a play on “honeymoon” – enjoying a last fling of freedom and gaiety before a life of diapers, feedings, and sleep deprivation begins. Since Alison is a single parent, I get to enjoy this special weekend with her, and it started yesterday. I’m telling you about it in past tense because by the time we got to our hotel room last night, I was too tired to open my computer.

a reserved space!

We kicked the day off with a 2-hour glamor shot photo shoot (a.k.a. sonogram) because to date, Junior insists on refusing to give the medical professionals the views they desire. They want to see her cleft palate, and she insists on putting her foot not in (that’ll come later), but in front of her face. They want to see her spine, she lays on her back. You get the, well, picture. Frustrating as it is, I can’t help but be a teensy little bit tickled by the early signs of Junior’s independent streak and authority issues. I sense her arrival will be more of a “buckle up” than birth event.

 

After photos and a bite of breakfast, Alison and I made our way to an old Charleston building now serving as offices for several attorneys. On a car-ined street, there was one available parking space right in front (and I do mean RIGHT IN FRONT) of the building. We we made our way to the back of the building, I enjoyed the old, old bricks and the determined green plant life – mostly ferns and dandelions – poking their heads out of tiny little nooks and crannies.

The conversation on the drive went something like this . . .
Alison: Mom, you know to be quiet, right. Don’t say anything.

Jeanne: Alison, you don’t have to worry about me. This isn’t my first psychic reading. Every September in the Way Back When, Mrs Fincher and I would buckle you, Kipp, and Blake up on the merry mixer at the Kiwanis Club Fayette County Fair, and go have a reading done by the woman with a card table set up in the parking lot.

Yes, my friends, behind the door we entered was the most delightful, inviting room where the most delightful Andrea conducted our psychic reading. The first word out of Andrea’s mouth was “mom”, and I felt it was wrong not to tell her that Alison is pregnant, but she’d gone to such great lengths to hide her pregnant belly, I knew things would go badly if I so much as looked in Alison’s direction, so I zipped my lips and let Andrea focus on me as the obvious mom. Daddy came to call first, wanting me to apologize to Mother for something, and honestly, y’all, I silently whispered to him that since I was paying for this, I’d sure appreciate it if he’d talk to and about me. He must’ve heard me ‘cause he shifted to another lane and talked a good long time about how he trusts me and how I’ve taken such good care of somebody (who is obviously Mother), that now it’s time for me to spread my wings and fly – spread my wings, he said multiple times, always with Andrea doing hand motions –  to work on something that’s important to me – which I choose to interpret as this book I’ve been writing on for umpteen plus one years now. He said he trusts me implicitly, and Andrea offered that he meant that it’s okay for me to take intuitive leaps in whatever it is I’m working on (cause thought i might have thought about the book, I knew better than to say anything about writing a book)!

The Engineer’s mother shocked the stew out of Alison and me by coming in with great fanfare (that’s not the shocking part. That she came at all is the surprising part.) She seems just as excited over Junior’s birth as she was over Alison’s birth. Andrea rather emphatically conveyed to us that there is something Grammaw (Mrs. Chambers’ grandmother name) really wants Junior to have – something she made or purchased, something that has been handed down. [She bought Alison a christening gown to wear home from the hospital when Alison was born. I’d never heard of such a thing or such a tradition, but Alison wore that dress home as did my son Kipp as did Kipp and Marnie’s 2 children who were born in Colorado. And that christening gown is in a box somewhere in the chaos that is their new and almost-remodeled home in Colorado. Amid everything else they’re doing, they’re searching for that little white gown and bringing it to  Alison at Christmas.] Yep, gotta be the christening gown.

There were many other things that came through via Andrea, including one female wearing a hat who died and traveled across the Atlantic before her death. Alison and I have an idea of who that could be until we get to the part about traveling across the Atlantic. Thank goodness we recorded the entire session.

 

After hugging Andrea good bye, we needed to walk (something Grammaw encouraged Alison to do via Andrea), and there were 20 minutes left on the parking meter, so we started walking, and what do y’all think is the first thing we saw as our feet hit the Charleston sidewalk?  Right: our first found heart of the day!

Not knowing the area and having nowhere in particular to go, we just walked straight down the sidewalk, stopping at the first shop that caught our eye: the Old Whaling Store offering the most aromatic handmade soaps and lotions for sale. We left with lotion for me and lip balm for Alison. As we pulled away from our front-row parking spot, there was a line of cars waiting to take our place – ha.

Y’all look at this tree we parked beside and tell me what you see. At first I saw a tear because I have a thing for tears and see them as reliquaries. Then in a literal blink, I saw a womb cradling a cherub.

We then made our way to the Bye Bye Baby store, our first shopping spree, which turned out to be mostly a looking spree, though Alison found more things to add to her gift registry and  y’all know I found a few things . . .

a few must-have gifts for Junior, and

a little something to remember what Daddy repeatedly told me through Andrea. Oh wait. I thought those black lines were WINGS. Only now do I see them as eyelashes. Well, here’s how it’s gonna’ go down in the history books: those are wings, and wet macular degeneration or no, I absolutely love my vision. I mean Vision.

Moving on . . .

In the house between shopping and our next step at Urban Nirvana for facials and massages, my daughter-in-love Marnie called to tell Alison that she wants to host a baby shower for Alison and Junior! Alison is so touched and so excited, she actually cried a little bit . . . then got right to work on the invitation list.

 

I haven’t had a massage since they added an “e” to the word, and let me tell you, it was wonderful. Okay, it was beyond wonderful. Ditto that for the facial. (And it was 25% off thanks to the early Black Friday sale, so there’s that!) I want some of the cute and comfortable little sandals we wore at the spa, and i might actually want to go back to wearing robes after a multi-decades long absence. (Silly me, a former version of Jeanne decided that robes take up valuable closet space and besides, I need to get up, get dressed, and get to work ticking things off my (always massive) to do list. Jeanne 7.0 thinks Pfffft on that and will be shopping for a luxurious soft, fluffy robe in the Relative Soon time.)

We kicked off the weekend with Storm Hair, we closed out day one with Massage Hair.

Spying a Chili’s restaurant, we turned in, parked, walked up, and were seated promptly at a larger table for four instead of one of those tiny little tables for two. When we left the restaurant, the line of people waiting was way down the sidewalk.

Straight back to the hotel we came, donning our pajamas and climbing into bed lest we fall asleep standing up. It was a day filled with the magic that comes from laughter, love, wonder, and loving, gleeful anticipation. What better way to spend Junior’s first all-girls three-generations outing, right?

~~~~~~~

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Wheels Up!

Monday, 25 Aug 2014.

IrelandFromUpHere1

It’s striking how much the sunrise looks like the sunset from this high up. I’d show you a picture to prove my point, except I can’t get my damn camera out of my new pink bag that’s under the seat in front of me in time to snap the sunset because the woman has her seat reclined to the maximum quarter inch allowed. We paid Delta $69 each for 3/4 inch more leg room . . . but we didn’t get it on account of an equipment change. How do I know? I asked the flight attendant. But not until we were in landing mode, knowing that I would spend the entire 8 hours worth of flight time fuming and feeling even more claustrophobic. “Will the extra fare we paid automatically be refunded to our credit card?” I asked.

“No. You’ll have to call a Delta agent at the one-eight-hundred number when we land,” she says.

This is ridiculous, and though it’s true to my experience with Delta, I remain hopeful that it’s untrue. I spent money texting my sister (a Delta gate agent) asking her to check and make sure we’re refunded. It ought to happen automatically, we both agree. Cross your fingers that she remembers to look into it and take care of it if needbe. For Delta’s sake, I hope to see a refund on our credit card statement without me having to spend an additional thirteen hours waiting online to request something we paid for but did not receive.

I am a firm believer in having those who work in the healthcare field being patients at least once a year, and I now suggest that the CEO of Delta who assured us of Delta’s commitment to service and satisfaction in the little video we were all forced to watch sit in the sucks-to-be-you seats at least twice a year. Without anybody knowing who he is, I mean.

The way the air conditioner blows behind me (no amount of readjustment changes it to blow anywhere near my hot self) and the way my light button turns on not my light but the light of my seat mate makes me suspect that Delta once ripped out all the seats in this plane and squished them together upon re-assembly, giving them a full 15 or so rows of tickets they could sell.

Yes, I am cranky. Not sleeping for 3 nights does that to a girl. I doubt even the sleeping pill would’ve induced sleep sitting straight up in a sardine can.

In honor of going to Ireland, I re-read John O’Donohue’s book Beauty. On page 18 I read about stale ways of seeing that block possibility, so I’m determined to find something, well, beautiful. Right here, right now that has to be The Engineer. Bless his heart, his brain is so brilliant, so simple, so exasperating at times. He sits there with his earbuds in, watching some movie on the tiny little screen in front of him and, when asked if he’d like something to drink, he shouts his answer quite loudly to be heard over the voices only he can hear. Yes, laughter is my beautiful, now and always.

To pass the time, I watch 6 episodes of Game of Thrones – episodes skip me seasons ahead of where we are watching at home, but it doesn’t pose much of a problem, really. Costumes that bring on drooling. Flags and banners that make me want to create one specially for us. Men and women who apparently don’t have enough to do tending to their own proverbial backyard, so they go out into the world and try to create a bigger backyard for themselves through conquest. I don’t think I missed all that much.

One of the documentaries is called Mondays in Racine, and it profiles two sisters who open their salon on Mondays to women who are going through the woes of cancer. “We feel beautiful when we are loved, and to evoke an awareness of beauty in another is to give them a precious gift they will never lose. When we say from our heart to someone, ‘You are beautiful,’ it is more than a statement or platitude, it is a recognition and invocation of the dignity, grandeur, and grace of their spirit.” (John O’Donohue, Beauty, page 15) This . . . this is what these sisters do. This . . . this right here is why I spill a few tears at the sight of the sisters holding the hands of women getting their heads shaved. At the sight of the sisters crying with them at the shock and loss and reality of it all. Yes. Beauty.

SunriseOverIreland2

I work up a sweat, but I do finally manage to wrench the camera from my bag – just in time to see sunrise over Ireland.

RibbonsForOurLanding

And ribbons for our landing.

Ah, beauty.

~~~~~~~

Next installment in Another Great Adventure 2014:
Things We Now Know and Things We Still Don’t Know

have studio will travel

OrangeBeach01Nov13b

Sunsetinthestudio

This is my makeshift studio for two weeks. Bless my heart, right?

Speaking of shopping (not that I was, exactly, but it’s never a big leap to shopping), as I dashed through a fabric store recently, I happened to catch a glimpse of stick-on finger protectors. Bought me a package and they work so good, I’m planning to buy ’em in bulk from here on out. Not like I need a bonus, but I figure I’ll make more friends now that I don’t have to walk around with my middle finger stuck up in the air to stop the throbbing.

Here’s the Church and Here’s the Steeple, Open the Doors and . . .

The Short Version:

  • New York is fun.
  • And beautiful.
  • And a bit wacky.

The Longer (Illustrated) Version:
I am in New York City visiting my cousin Stacy and my other cousin (and his wife), Ginger. Being here in their beautiful 3-bedroom apartment on the Episcopal compound (don’t know the official name since I’m not exactly fluent in Episcopal) is like being in the magical world of Hogwart’s . . .

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Gothic3

Gothic4

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Yesterday I spent some time roaming the Cathedral of St. John the Divine where I saw some pretty magnificent things . . . like stained glass:

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Stainedglass2

Stainedglass

and likenesses carved into pews:

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and floors that sure look like quilts to me (quilts that were much more captivating when I stood right there on them than when I climbed up high and tried to get a picture of the “quilt” in its entirety):

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On the way back to their apartment, I looked at the cracks in the sidewalks and saw churches and steeples, some caught in the act of being struck by lightning:

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Fortunately the lightning only took half the steeple each time:

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Sometimes lightning only sheered off the point at the top:

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I saw a high rise church built on a mountain (or half a high rise church built on half a mountain for those of you who are more factually inclined:

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And best I can tell, this is 5.25 of the Ten Commandments, undoubtedly put on legs to save them from The Flood:

Crack12

Oh, and we rode the subway last night (a first for me on my fourth visit to The Big Apple) to Little Italy for supper, and I want you to know: I hadn’t been on the train a nanosecond when a fella in a red jacket hopped up and offered me his seat. He’s in construction, and I’m a little offended that he didn’t whistle at me as he offered me his seat. I broke all the rules, though, and not only made eye contact with him, but enjoyed talking to him. (Something that would’ve been much easier had he come with subtitles.)

1 stitch, 2 stitch . . . and that’s about the size of it

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sometimes i think a piece will never get finished.

Budweiser

and then I remember how little I’ve been at home in the templum
since late january

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and i can’t decide whether to be
relieved to have an excuse

Ocean

or annoyed that i can’t seem to get
anything done when traveling..

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i like portability.
but just because it will fit in a bag I can sling over my shoulder

doesn’t mean any forward motion will happen.
i have to work on that.

[ ::: ]

today’s post is an excuse
(signed by my mom, of course, because she’s with me at the beach, you know)
(does this little tidbit help you read between the lines of this post?)
explaining why I have nothing
absolutely nothing
to take off the wall
as part of Nina Marie’s Off The Wall Friday.

sigh.

two sides to every ship

port (left) side of the ship:

 

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starboard (right) side of the same ship:

 

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there are fewer than 2 minutes separating the photos. i’m sure there’s a metaphor hidden in there somewhere, but i’m too tired to recognize it now.

 

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tonight was a night for swapping addresses and phone numbers
and saying good-bye-but-i-promise-i’ll-stay-in-touch
with new friends.
and you know what? i think we really will.

 

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our daughter sang to us in the piano bar tonight.
seems the perfect segue as we transition
out of one week into the next.

 

s . . . s . . . s

Mountains

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Sunsetca

i’ve been many places
in the past several weeks,

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traveling for many reasons,
all reasons involving other people.

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some folks are quick to divide people
into two groups:
those who like people
and those who don’t like people.
i continue to bump up against
that categorization,
but i no longer spend time and energy
trying to explain that i, too, like people
just in different doses.
defending and explaining is time and energy better devoted
to what my soul must have
as nourishment:
space,
silence,
solitude.

Solitude

i always said i was gonna’, day 10 (on 11)

i always said i was gonna’ take some little road trips all by myself, and well bless goodness if i didn’t just up and do it yesterday – and i wound up walking on holy ground . . .

~~~
i always said i was gonna’ just pull over and take pictures. i’ll admit to being a teensy bit worried about whether mother’s dainty little sedan could take pulling over on these country roads, but you know that ole’ girl did just fine. i believe she’s got an inner suv that had itself a big ole’ time.

now my boy kipp and i call them story (STOW ree) houses cause they just conjure up the storyteller in us, and we always said that one day we’re gonna’ just stop and take pictures when we see one. well, i started without you, kipp:
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i’d no doubt be telling completely different stories if i’d ever had to pick cotton:
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to prove i was where i said i was:
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“i ‘spect people picked at him on account of the way he dressed,” whispered blondell. “i got a cousin just like that,” i told her. “his mama didn’t have any more sense than to bring him down from new jersey dressed in linen shorts, knee socks, and a little ole’ beanie cap to match. he’s episcopalian now.”
youngtruman.jpg

a chunk of boo radley’s tree. the knot hole’s down in the gift shop. they sell chewing gum out of it.
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a juror’s chair. i tend to believe blondell when she says this is the original seat.
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me. sitting in the witness chair. (yes, of course i took the fifth.)
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the witness spittoon. “can you imagine,” blondell asked me, “spittin’ in public RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE?” i could not.
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the courtroom itself from the public entry:
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and finally, the picture de resistance snapped by me. sitting in the judge’s chair. you knew i’d do it, didn’t you?
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