I Will Find My Way

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The Velcro on my Rand McNally road atlas had been rendered useless. Tan carpet fuzz from the back of the Jeep embedded itself irrevocably into the hook side of the mechanism.

The map was considered a “just in case” for getting lost, which happens often. The atlas was purchased well before there was something called a Google to provide maps on something called the internet.

That road atlas was aspirational. I bought it hoping that maybe I could travel a lot of those blue lined roads over the course of my life.

But suddenly the road atlas had meaning. It was more than a “just in case,” it was an essential tool.

The page for New Mexico was well worn, but the page for California was starting to show the dirt and grease of eager fingers tracing a path over and over again. A reduced scale journey west to my new home.

The compass rose became my bouquet, a present from the universe, welcoming me to my new life.

At a holiday cocktail party, the map became obsolete. A friend and professional truck driver wrote directions on the back of an envelope. “This is the faster way to go, you’ll shave several miles off the trip,” he told me.

He’d personally traveled those roads. Roads that were visible to me only as lines on a page in my mind.

He was the first of many milestones on my journey.

The tattered envelope with scrawled black pen, “I-40 west to Barstow” wasn’t anywhere near as magical as the pages produced by Rand McNally, but it was more useful, more functional. I clung to that envelope because my life really did depend upon it.

And then, finally, it was time.

May 1997, just a few days before Memorial Day, I climbed up behind the wheel of my Jeep while my best friend strapped into the passenger seat and took possession of both the envelope and the Rand McNally.

I-40 was a road I knew. Straight. West. No worries. Grants passed by quickly. Then before we knew it, there was Gallup.

Then the Arizona border.

My tires made a noise as they passed over, and I cried. I didn’t just cross this border casually. It meant something. It was a new frontier.

The entire State of Arizona lay ahead. Since Arizona was familiar, it eased me in. We settled into the miles while listening to Tom Jones and George Strait. We listened to everything I had in that Jeep and then tried to find decent radio stations.

Six hours. That’s how long it takes to traverse the State of Arizona.

Then my tires made another small sound and another border was crossed.

I was in California. I didn’t cry this time. Simply renewed my resolve and kept driving.

That was thirteen years ago, but it could be yesterday for how fresh it remains in my mind.

May I never lose my resolve. May I never lose my desire. May I never lose my ability to read a good old fashioned road map.

All it takes is a map, a little guidance from someone who bothers to care, and a step in the right direction and you can find your way.

If only someone could draw a map to help me navigate the more difficult emotional roads in my life. Those are uncharted.

I am both mapmaker and traveler and the journey never ends.

But the compass rose is still just as beautiful.

Photograph by Karin Lindstrom and used royalty free from stock.xchng

This week’s Theme Thursday is map.

Game 1 – Game On!

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It may be time for Primal Scream therapy.

As a long-suffering San Francisco Giants fan, it’s hard to wrap my tiny mind around my Giants being back in the post season.

The last time I watched my team in the post season, it was 2003 and Pudge Rodriguez (then with the Marlins) was counting coup over the body of JT Snow, laid flat across home plate, the last out of the fifth game of the first round.

It aches.

The year before that, in 2002, I watched my team go to the seventh game of the World Series…and lose.

That’s more of a soul searing pain.

So while I’m very happy my lowly Giants have made it to the postseason once more, it’s not without some trepidation on my part.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Fool me three times? Welcome to Giants fandom. Here’s your orange gear and your Costco pack of Prilosec.

This one is going to burn.

Last night was Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves, our old nemesis. The Giants history with the Braves is deep. Bobby Cox, in his retirement year, still has plenty in the tank and a good bullpen. Even plagued by injuries, the Braves are a team to be taken seriously.

At 6:37pm, The Good Man and I turned on the radio, dug into our positions on the couch, and held on for dear life while Tim Lincecum (nicknamed The Freak) blithely struck out 14 hitters and the Giants won the game 1-0.

Aaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Whew. Good. Ok. Got that pent up energy out.

Now. On to Game 2.

May this delicious agony last a very long time.


AP Photo by Ben Margot, from ESPN.com

This post is not only about fandom, it also fulfills a Theme Thursday challenge.

Ah, Spring

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In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

Yes, yes, it’s inevitable that the famous Tennyson quote will be trotted out when the weather turns warm. Especially after the winter we’ve had.

But is that true? Does a young man’s fancy lightly turn to thoughts of love?

Is it love? Or more like “damn, baby, it’s been a long cold winter.”

And if young men turn to thoughts of love, what about the thoughts of young ladies?

Well, I may not be young and I’m no lady, so what do my thoughts lightly turn to?

Well. Those cute little strappy sandals. You know the ones, with the heel, not to high, but high enough to make my legs look nice?

Oh, and if I’m wearing those, then I totally need a mani-pedi.

*ahem* Excuse me. Totally girled out there for a minute. Bringing it back to center….

My thoughts lightly turn to…

Margaritas on the patio of my favorite restaurant while nomming guacamole and hearing light mariachi music in the background.

Iced tea. Preferably made by the sun.

Liberating my legs from the tyranny of pants. (oops, better shave ’em. It *has* been a long winter!)

Apricots ripening in the side yard.

Farmer’s Markets with all of the rest of the produce that arrives with spring including nectarines, peaches and artichokes.

Daffodils on the dining room table. Followed by tulips. Followed by a cacophony of all the flowers of Spring and Summer.

Achoo! Sneezes. Because god knows all those fabulous flowers bring not so fabulous pollen.

Longer days and fabulous sunsets.

Riding my bike! (getting it tuned up today!)

Stepping outside and turning my face to the sun like an over ripened sunflower because oh-my-am-I happy to have that big fireball back in the sky where it’s visible. My vitamin D-cell batteries are running low!

Photo from: Kimberly Clark… time out, tired of Flickr!‘s photo stream.

Messin’ with mah mind

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This is false spring. I *know* this is false spring. Mother Nature has yanked my chain like this before.

Every year, in fact.

When I first moved here in 1997, it was a bad El Niño year, and I’d never seen so much rain in my life. Just when I thought I’d never see the sun again, the clouds parted and the temps warmed and flowers started to bloom. I was so relieved.

As I frolicked in my first false spring, a friend and lifetime Bay Area resident told me, “it always rains for Easter.”

I gave her a “feh!” and kept dancing in the cherry and almond blossoms, thrilled with the sun on my face.

Then, when Easter rolled around, dark and gray and cold, my kind, forgiving friend took a long drag off her cigarette and caustically said, “told you so.”

Yeah. And she’s been right every year since.

But I can’t help it. I hate the dark damp winter. It’s cold. It rains. It’s perpetually damp. I’m a desert rat! I am not built for rain!

So when, in February, the clouds part and the temps get up into the sixties and the first blossoms come on, the California poppies burst through the cracks in the pavement and tulips and irises find their way upward, I can’t help but be overjoyed!

In news from the east, I see feet and feet of snow, but for me, I’m digging out my favorite pair of flip-flops and trying to find my flowing skirts. I hate jackets! No more wellies!

Yes!

The temps are well into the sixties. My yard has exploded with clover and dandelion and all manner of life!

I love it! And every year I imagine it will stay like this.

I sing, I dance, and I frolic!

And as I do, a longtime Bay Area resident reminds me that there is more rain to come.

There always has to be a dream killer practical person, who is, of course, always right.

But forget about rains yet to come. I’m all about sun that is here TODAY!

Look at that, inn’it that purty? 67! Today! Yes!

I’m not ashamed to admit it

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I love the Olympics.

I really, really adore watching the Olympic games, both summer and winter.

I can’t explain why, but I’ve always been a fan of the Olympic games. I used to lament that it took SO long between games (back with both summer and winter games were done in the same year).

It probably harkens back to my youth. I’m of the era that watched the U.S. Men’s hockey team do the impossible (the so called “Miracle on Ice“) in 1980.

I am also of the Mary Lou Retton generation. Watching that tiny girl full of courage stick the landing on a flip over the vault and land squarely on a bad knee to win the gold. Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.

I’m also of the Dorothy Hamill era (tho I never had the haircut), the Kristi Yamaguchi era and while we’re at it, I’m of the Carl Lewis flying through air with the greatest of ease era.

Man. Am I ever excited for the games to start tonight!

And hey, this time around, I’m not so many time zones away from the games, so no events that I might want to see that are scheduled for 3:30am. Yes!

I’m fired up to watch Apollo Ohno skate again this year. I have a big fondness for men’s speed skating (and it’s not just the tight body stockings, but that sure doesn’t hurt!).

I’m also ready to see who emerges from these games as the athlete with heart, crazy endurance, or able to pull a feat of magic out of the Olympics. Michael Phelps did that for the summer games last year.

I wonder who will we be talking about long after the winter games are over?

The show begins tonight. I’m ready!