Archives for posts with tag: healing heart

 

This is how I started my journey this morning…practicing my selfie lessons my Jenni taught me! Boy, do I ever look different tonight!

2017-6-23 CalbMe

Jenni taught me selfie art!

If you saw pictures from Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma, then you saw Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba! I dated a man from Saskatchewan a couple of decades ago who was born there and ran away from home at fourteen and never looked back because it had nothing there. I didn’t see anything either and their main road, Hwy. 1 is a divided highway with cross traffic access, variable speed limits ranging from 35 MPH to 68 MPH…give or take translation from MPH to KPH!

It took about twelve hours to drive from Medicine Hat to Winnipeg. Gotta just say it was some of the most boring drive I’ve ever done on my 130,000+ miles driving the  backroads of the US and eastern Canada.

DO’s and DON’Ts:

DO:     Get great audio book to keep you occupied and lots of caffeine to keep you awake on this drive. It’s not a hard drive but a pain. I was lucky to find a great rock n’ roll radio station that helped me push through it. GPS only works until you get to a certain point where the highway was changed and GPS doesn’t know about it. Also, the only time I’ve ever gotten lost was trying to find my hotel in Winnipeg which is buried in the middle of a tiny strip mall between the Dollar General and a bar!

DON’T:    NEVER pay with a credit card at the gas pumps like we do in US. It will eat your credit card and it’s impossible to cancel transaction at the pump. Pump your gas (sometimes a paid employee will pump it) and then you go inside to pay much like we did up until the 1980’s here in states. Don’t rely on GPS alone. Get a current map of areas you want to visit. Even Google screwed up my directions!

2017-6-24 Csask1

This is what all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba look like!

2017-6-24 Csask2

I even got excited to see a train but that really doesn’t count because I love trains.

Was worried that all the Canadian Geese were in Georgia! Guess I don’t have to worry about that any more! If I’d known the Canadians wanted their snow birds back, I’d have packed up as many as I could and brought them back on this trip! They’re aggressive and nasty! The geese not the Canadians!

2017-6-24 Csask3

Only in Canada will 5:00 traffic stop on both sides of a busy street for a gaggle of Canadian Geese!

2017-6-24 Csask4

Really?

2017-6-24 Csask5

Still? The light green, people! This would never happen in Atlanta!

Tomorrow? Thunder Bay. Let’s see how that rolls.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Advertisement

Not only have I been totally confused about the day of the week this whole trip but where I am because, like today, I could have been in eastern Idaho, western Montana or northern Oklahoma from the looks of things! And, although I was in northern Montana for awhile, it was with Glacier National Park mountain range in my rear view mirror, in my heart and with the impact from Mother Nature’s mystical power which pushed me off the cliff toward my solo voyage across Canada with Alberta as the reminder of places I’d just been.

2017-6-23 Calb1

Farmland in northern Montana looks a great deal like eastern Idaho!

The cliff, you say? Well, God teaches us to pray believing with the faith of a child and, to do that, it means you “believe” in the power of prayer. I do. Every time I’ve jumped off that proverbial cliff to start my own business or homeschool a recalcitrant child while trying to make money with that business or travel alone across the backroads of US and Canada, I’m doing just that…claiming God as my parachute. Some say I’m brave. Some say I’m crazy. I say I have faith.

I must say that I had a moment or two before Jenni left to go home where I wasn’t sure about that parachute opening, but yesterday’s visit to West Glacier’s t Western Red Cedar grove, that nature walk restored my soul and gave me confidence for this healing journey to continue. So many amazing non-coincidences have been integral parts of it. Miracles of sun rainbows, finding new Chirrens, meeting babies born to some of those Chirrens whose parents weren’t sure if their precious one would ever be born, meeting so many kindred souls and reconnecting with Mother Earth in a way I haven’t been able to do since Ava died. Yep. That parachute is open and God keeps showing me how big it is!

2017-6-23 Calb2

Long, roads with nothing but fields of cows and crops.

2017-6-23 Calb3

That’s the storm I’m running away from.

Now, for those of you who have followed my posts thus far, you, too, might be confused about where I was today. Tom (my GPS) even took me down a very long and lonely dirt road, but our 150,000 mile relationship and my parachute kept the devil of doubt out of my soul and helped me embrace the wonders of the dirt road headed toward the border and away from the upcoming storm, above.

2017-6-23 Calb4

Dirt road, Tom? Really?

2017-6-23 Calb5

Wish this picture showed how bright these yellow blooms were. There were hundreds of acres of them!

2017-6-23 Calb6

See that tiny white dot to the right in the grass? That’s a farm. The first one I’ve seen in many miles!

Tomorrow? Twelve hour drive through Saskatchewan (supposed to be a real sleeper) and across Manitoba to Winnipeg.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

My good friend, daughter-by-another-mother, confidant and outstanding travel companion just flew home to get back to work and her life. We almost cried at the airport but promised new adventures for another day and she’s already conjuring one up for next year! I miss my Jenni already.

However short in the greater picture, it was incredible in the amount of quality time, fun, laughter, insanity, states, cities, places we left our unique one-two-punch of us…two very confident, powerful, exciting women with great laughter and joy to share!

Today, we decided to go back to West Glacier to hike the one trail I wanted to revisit from my 2003 trip which was the Great Red Cedar trail.

2017-6-22 MTwG1

Where I come from, this AIN’T no creek!

2017-6-22 MTwG2

Western Red Cedar

2017-6-22 MTwG3

Along the Cedar Nature Trail

2017-6-22 MTwG4

Roaring water is a bit of an understatement!

2017-6-22 MTwG5

Temple of Hemlocks, Red Cedars and Cottonwoods

2017-6-22 MTwG6

My baby’s great great granddaddy! Too bad you can’t see how big the base of this Big Daddy is but figure two people can comfortably pass each other on this boardwalk and compare the width of that with the tree at the end. Four feet? 

2017-6-22 MTwG7

This HUGE boulder is covered in a lush carpet of moss. There again, tough to describe how big!

Tomorrow? Waterton Park and Prince of Wales National Historic site (just across the border of East Glacier) and then on to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Yeehaw!

Last but not least, some of Mother Nature’s art to ponder ’til we meet again!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! PERSONALLY, I’LL TAKE ALL THREE!

2017-6-22 MTwG8

One bites the dust and leaves a most outstanding piece of art for us to love & enjoy…even if for a minute or two. Don’t you just love Mother Nature? If you don’t, try getting to know her before she’s been totally destroyed!

We finally made it here today and it’s been a dream come true for us both but only one of us knew how outstanding the whole park and surrounding areas are. The great news is that now both of us know! Even though the “Going-to-the-Sun” Road isn’t open yet (probably not until July but they really don’t know when because of snow), we drove up about fourteen miles along the West side of Glacier.

But before we even get to Glacier National Park, we drive from Kalispell, Montana because it’s one of the prettiest drives anywhere and especially with such a magnificent destination awaiting our arrival!

2017-6-20 MTg1

Driving from Kalispell to Glacier National West Gate seeing these mountains is life changing!

2017-6-20 MTg2

Yeah!

2017-6-20 MTg3

Truly majestic!

Jenni was a happy young woman when we got to the Park entrance! She looks so cute in this chair!

2017-6-20 MTg4

Inside the Park, we drove up to Lake McDonald Lodge built in early 1900’s.

2017-6-20 MTg5

Lake McDonald Lodge (front)

2017-6-20 MTg6

Lake McDonald Lodge Great Room at entrance

2017-6-20 MTg7

Lake McDonald Lodge (back facing lake) where Montana and I had our picture taken last year. (tear)

2017-6-20 MTg8

Lake McDonald

2017-6-20 MTg9

Cabins for rent overlooking Snyder Creek

2017-6-20 MTg10

Rushing waters of Snyder Creek emptying into Lake McDonald

2016-5-19MT1aMcDLake

Montana in Montana resting at Lake McDonald one year ago!

2016-5-19MT3CamasRdRvr7

Raging waters that feed Lake McDonald near McDonald Falls!

Tomorrow? More Glacier but from the East side! St. Mary’s, for sure!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! JUST DO IT!

For the whole year of 1982, my 16-year-old son, 5-year-old daughter and I underwent the divorce process. An ugly, painful, gut wrenching, damaging divorce from a person who I thought was my “soul” mate.

In the divorce, I got all the bills, the kids, the sewing machine (a Christmas present) and a 1963 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible which looked more like something waiting for a crusher than for refurbishment.

1963 Ford Falcon Futura-11963 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible – looks pretty good in this photo!

The car had been abandoned near Underground Atlanta in the mid-1970′s and my then husband bought it for $25.00. My mom thought he’d overpaid until she saw first hand what I needed it for.  I moved me, kids and car into Mom’s. I put the car up on cinder blocks and pulled off all the tires and chrome. It was when I started beating the dents out with a 2″x2″ board and sledge-hammer instead of killing my husband when Mom “saw the light”.

Yep. I did all the body work with a 2″x2″ and a sledge-hammer. It did wonders for my soul. I played “What’s love got to do with it” by Tina Turner on the boombox full blast singing along with every WHAM of the sledge-hammer. I kept getting more and more empowered with every strike at the SOB… my ex… n0t the car!

Next, I took Naval Jelly to remove the rust and primer to prevent more. I removed the seats, door panels fixing 25 year old problems. I spent every morning before work at the junkyard with Liquid Wrench, screwdriver, hammer and pliers in-hand pulling scuff plates and anything else I needed off the 1963 Ford Falcon Futura pickup truck there. Only problem was my vehicle not only was a convertible but a 1963-1/2 model which made most of the parts unusable and certainly not returnable. I couldn’t afford to buy new ones from J.C. Whitney Catalog and had to make do. It was more fun. I know… that sounds sick.
I joined a Falcon club to talk shop with other Futura owners and to glean some insider information about where to get parts not found in junkyards. Ava and I  proudly drove our topless “in-progress” vehicle to these meetings. Turned out the top I purchased from the catalog wouldn’t fit! Oh well, I still needed to finish the body work, paint job, rebuilding the rear floorboard and whole interior so a topless convertible just felt right.

My dear friend, Bunnie Seignious,  from high school used to ride around Sandy Springs with me to garage sales while the Falcon was in this condition, topless and all. It was on one of these excursions that a huge nest of some kind  (probably squirrel) fell out from under the dash onto her feet! She and I experienced simulcast, spontaneous screaming laughter! Ya’ see, Bunnie was used to riding around in my crazy cars. In the mid-60′s to late, I used to give her a ride to work every morning  in my 1960 Karman Ghia Convertible (“George”). It was on those cold, dark early winter mornings on a curvy road to the Interstate where first, the glovebox door would fall open. About that time, we’d be in full bore right turn mode when her car door would fly open! Every morning was an adventure!      Those cars didn’t have heat unless the engine was warm and moving forward. When you stopped, you had outside air inside. Gosh. I miss her. She went too soon.

So, once finished, who do you think got the first ride? Bunnie. She couldn’t believe the transformation any more than my mom.

1963 Ford Falcon Futura-2

1963 Ford Falcon Futura-3
My friends complained that I spent too much time on the car as did my young daughter. It was a necessity. It was therapy.

It was after the car “turned” on me that I became eager to sell it. Yep. It turned on me. Ava and I would be on a nice Sunday drive when it would just come to a dead S-T-O-P, and refuse to crank. I’d push the darn car over to the side of the road when it would then promptly crank. It was “Christine” before Stephen King ever dreamt it up. Actually, maybe it was him who witnessed this event and decided to make millions off my misery. Wish I’d thought of it first!

After all was said and done, I got out of it less than I had in it, monetarily speaking, but I certainly gained some level of sanity over the experience.

HAPPY TAILS!
© All posts are Copyright protected. All Rights reserved by author. Please do not use my original photos or reprint my writing without specific written permission. Thank you.

Wow! I had to go into hybernati0n to get back up to speed to even write about the last two days of my trip home! I didn’t feel like I was all that exhausted until I stopped! It’s like the old joke about the guy who keeps hitting his head against the wall and won’t stop. A fellow asks him why he doesn’t quit it and his reply is, “It doesn’t hurt until I stop!”

I knew I had a great deal to process once I got home and I understood I’d be tired but what caught me unawares was how mentally wiped out I’d become from all the hard work I’d done in pushing my way to a new level of grief healing. Don’t get me wrong! I loved every minute of my 2016 Great Adventure (except for the Lebanese LA restaurant thang and a couple of others) because I was focused, determined and motivated to my quest of how I wanted to live the rest of my life…or the third chapter. I’m still not sure of all the details as I’m still processing but going west annually is definitely in my future!

As this journey has been about contrasts…before and after Ava’s death; before and after my journey; west vs. east; desert mountains vs. Smokey Mountains; water vs. drought…I thought I’d post a couple of photos that struck me from my last day on the road that focus on the differences between the far west and the near east of US.

On the back roads in the west, I witnessed a great deal of drought; a great deal of wasted water irrigating to artificially stimulate growth with more moisture lost in evaporation than plants benefited in extreme arid climates; dry creek beds; river and lake levels atrociously low (Walker Lake in NV is 181 feet below normal per Wikipedia and Lake Mead is at a record low) yet Las Vegas continues to pump millions of gallons of water into artificial lakes, fountains and entertainment venues causing the drought to worsen; more strip mining than you’d ever think; outrageous heat (triple digits); very dry air; no green vegetation save cacti and succulents; 75 MPH speed limits and California’s aggressive drivers.

Walker Lake, NV

2016-6-19NvtoCA11

Outside of Tonapah, NV

2016-6-4CA11

On the back roads in the east, I found Tennessee to have the most aggressive drivers (mostly between Memphis and Nashville); not as much evidence of strip mining as I’d seen before; full rivers, creeks and lakes; moist air and normal temps (high 80’s) and lots of vegetation. I was even glad to see the Kudzu!

NC mountains close to home!

2016-7-1Hm12016-7-1Hm2

My father raised us all to be very mindful of the earth and our need to protect it. I’m sad to say that my generation hasn’t appeared to do a very good job of that and it’s only going to get worse because society has moved into the instant gratification mindset and I’m afraid the new generation doesn’t care or understand  about the long term ramifications of such a lifestyle not only on them but on our precious earth.

As my children are gone and I have no grandchildren, it’s really up to those of you who do have them to teach the next generation to love Mother Earth and help resuscitate her back to a healthy normal!

HAPPY TAILS!

 

Today will be short and sweet…well, some not so sweet.

I stayed in a Motel 6 in Albuquerque last night in a very sketchy neighborhood. As I hadn’t eaten anything worth talking about, I needed to find some decent food. I turned right on the main street. Wrong! Even the hair salon had burglar bars on the windows! Really? Like the gangs are stealing hair goop now?

The good news is that I found a place to turn around and found the nicest Denny’s. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. Close call!

As far as New Mexico, there are only two pictures because I’m not in the exploring mode. I’m in the Get’er Done Donna mode. I hope to drive into my own driveway by Friday. That means I have about 1000 miles to go which, by my drive-aholic standards, ain’t all that bad.

Hasta la vista, New Mexico!

2016-6-29NM2

The not-s0-sweet part is when I was sorely reminded of the thousands of wind turbines for about a hundred miles on each side of Amarillo, Texas. Driving out this time, I bailed off I-40 and hit the back roads so I really didn’t see as many then as I saw today.

I couldn’t help but wonder so many things…like the adverse effects on the herds of cattle feeding in those thousands of acres of wind turbines churning and transmitting energy underground. Or exactly how long it will take to make back on the investment  and will it be before the footfall field sized unit is obsolete. Or what is the effect of all this electricity in the ground on us? The questions ticked constantly in my head as I tried to guesstimate how many there were in my field of vision not to mention all the ones not. Or in Kansas, Nebraska, and so on.

I’m not sure I really want to know the answers, but my brain is so geared to ask the hard questions that I can’t stop it. Look at these.

2016-6-29Tx1

2016-6-29Tx2

Tomorrow? Finish Oklahoma, cross Arkansas and get to Memphis or beyond.

HAPPY TAILS!

Traveling from Las Vegas on the end of my healing journey, crossing Arizona and New Mexico will always and forever remind me of Ava. In 2002, Ava and I went on our spiritual ancestral past in the Navajo Nation. We started at Window Rock and climbed Canyon de Chelly, hiked around the Four Corners and Monument Valley, visited the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff (to visit U of A), Sedona and the Petrified Forest in seven days.

In those days, traveling in the Navajo Nation was all back roads. We connected on a new level and she decided to not study at University of Arizona in Flagstaff and continue her opera training at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia (the Julliard of the south).

Staying in Flagstaff last night brought on a flood of memories. I digress here to share my healing journey…because this was/is the purpose of this 2016 Great Adventure. Flagstaff triggered memories of my son-of-another-mother, Mark M. was in school at U of A at the time when Ava and I were there to see if it was a good fit for her. However, it was my Georgia real estate expertise which brought him into my fold. I was the last person in the US to see him alive when he came to see me at the Southern Comfort Cabin in the summer of 2014. He came to tell me he was going to take his life. We talked thirteen hours straight until the wee hours. He said he felt better but I knew it was only a temporary fix because I could see his determination. My heart still breaks over his decision.

Ava decided to go to Shorter College (a Baptist college) which definitely didn’t fit Ava but it was her love of her early mentor, Madame Fiori, who was ninety when she started training eighteen year old Ava’s voice. Madame left everything to Shorter College when she died. It was for that reason Ava decided to go to that alien planet to study. It wasn’t until Ava went to UNLV (U of N, LV) when she found her kindred mentors.

Even though I avoided Flagstaff areas Ava and I had been in 2002, it was when I came across the brown national park sign announcing the Petrified Forest National Park that caused me to regress. I drove blindly into the park hoping to revisit those days to fell my girl and remembering how much fun we had on that trip. It worked.

I recommend taking your time immersing yourself in this beautiful, peaceful, magical geologic anomaly.

2016-6-28Az1

2016-6-28Az2

2016-6-28Az3

 

2016-6-28Az5

2016-6-28Az7

2016-6-28Az8

2016-6-28Az9

Blue Mesa

2016-6-28Az10

2016-6-28Az11

Painted rock

2016-6-28Az12

Petrified Jasper forest

2016-6-28Az13

It was too hot to actually get out of the car and look at Newspaper Rock. Look it up. So very historic and way cool.

 

2016-6-28Az17

2016-6-28Az18

The many times I’ve driven the I-40 east and west, I never stopped in Gallup to check out a place my dear friend, Fred (owner of Prairie Trails in Sautee, GA) had traveled for years to buy items for his Native American centered store. The trip is just too hard for him any more and I promised this time to go to Richardson Trading Post in Gallup.

I guess I used up all my camera battery life on the Petrified Forest because it died as I was snapping photos. I couldn’t get a pic of the front of the shop nor the vast array of items for sale…both old and new. Here’s a taste. Beware, however, if you go onto what appears to be their “official” site, McAfee puts up an alert so don’t click on it as I have a feeling they still work with an abacus!

There was so much to take in but the neatest part for me was the stuffed white buffalo! I so would have bought that!

 

2016-6-28NM2

 

2016-6-28NM4

2016-6-28NM5

2016-6-28NM6

2016-6-28NM7

2016-6-28NM8

HAPPY TAILS!

As I don’t drive over large dams or bridges, I go around Hoover Dam when I leave Vegas and plan to head east on I-40. Instead, I go South on Hwy 95 and cut across to Kingsland, AZ via Hwy. 153 to pick up either Route 66 or the 40. Today, I chose the historic route…Route 66.

The last time I was on this section of Route 66 (there’s a turn off for the Historic Route 66 Loop west near Kingsland), I was with my daughter, Ava, on s spiritual quest in 2001 or 2002 on the tail end of our trip and headed for the petrified forest. I should have remembered all the photo ops on it. It really should be savored and walked around in to enjoy the ambience of the diners and the early Americana history not to mention the magnificent landscape and geologic sights.

Here are a few that turned out good enough to publish. As the towns are few and far between, I’m posting them all together.

However, one must go through some amazing geologic formations in southwest Nevada along Hwy. 95 etc. before Arizona.

2016-6-27NV1

2016-6-27NV2

2016-6-27NV3

2016-6-27NV4

2016-6-27NV5

Enjoy Route 66!

Oops! It looks like some of my best pictures of the historic buildings have disappeared. The scenic landscapes  below are between the historic towns which have survived.

2016-6-27AZ66a

 

2016-6-27AZ66c

2016-6-27AZ66d

2016-6-25Red12

201606025Red13

2016-6-27NV1

2016-6-27NV2

2016-6-27NV3

2016-6-27NV4

2016-6-27NV5

2016-6-27AZ1

2016-6-27AZ2

2016-6-27AZ3

2016-6-27AZ4

2016-6-27AZ5

Dust Devil! Finally caught one!

2016-6-27AZ6

If you look closely, you’ll see a snow capped mountain range. Jenni and I kept seeing one similar to this in northern California and I thought, for a moment, this was the same one I called Kilimanjaro!

2016-6-27AZ14

The road we took coming from Auburn, CA to cross the state was Hwy. 299 which was gorgeous but had some road construction delays which were 45 minutes to an hour in 97 degree heat. However, the pay off before and after the wait was well worth it as you can see for yourself in my blog from last week.

Leaving started out well…but…

2016-6-25Red32016-6-25Red52016-6-25Red72016-6-24Red12016-6-25Red102016-6-25Red112016-6-25Red12201606025Red13

And please note that after this point, there are no pictures of us on Hwy. 36 because it was a hundred times more challenging than how I started this trip on The Tail of the Dragon, for those of you who have followed me from the beginning. This wonderful, beautiful road turned into a double-fisted, gut wrenching, switchback road from hell with all the familiar names of rivers, etc. on Hwy. 299 but n0ne of the views! There was a house or two, a ranch or two and nothing else for 138 miles but curve after curve to the point we were ALL sick! No joke! Even Montana!

When we reached Auburn, we were most happy to be with a loving friend who took us in, made jokes, gave us great lodgings and helped us recover our humor before going to bed. It was rough and I’ve driven many a back road but this one ain’t driving that one again!

Today was another nine hour driving day. It was hot and tough but we made it back to 113 degrees outside and 96 inside! Jenni’s A/C kicked the bucket while we were gone! Ain’t that just the way it is!

I’ll keep washing and packing; she’ll keep doing all her stuff; Montana will still be Montana; Boo will still be Boo; and there promises to be a Southern Comfort Cabin in my near future and A/C in hers!

HAPPY TAILS!