Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: travel

Travel Anxiety Ended: Podcast Roundup #3

Oh, my goodness, you guys! Another Podcast Review is here already! Are you excited? I am. I have successfully ended my trouble with travel anxiety through technology.

I have a lot to share, but this time I’ll do it slightly different. It took some effort to get the computer out and get started today. I’m tired after yesterday’s adventure. It was worth it though! Breakfast on the pier with a friend and then a walk around Balboa Park and a fancy lunch with my son. Not to mention, the six hours of podcasts I got to listen to. Bonus!

Let’s see…getting out the playlist on my phone…

This time, since I heard I’m going to write ONE sentence about each of the nine episodes I listened to, but there was so much more.

Practicing Human – Simplify This Moment

You can’t see the whole movie at once, only one frame at a time through until the end.

Secular Buddhism – 142 – Wisdom and Fear

The point isn’t to be fearless, it’s to be brave.

Rationally Speaking – Understanding Moral Disagreements with Jonathan Haidt

You CAN understand other people’s ways and needs without accepting them as right for you.

Practicing Human – Energetic Discharge

After a traumatic experience (physical or emotional) we all must rest, and then move.

EconTalk – Don Boudreaux on the Pandemic

The science doesn’t tell you what to do, it simply gives you data (risk assessments) that humans must use to make decisions and judgements.

People I (Mostly) Admire – 35 – David Epstein Knows Something About Everything

Shortcuts that show us instant visible progress hamper our long-term development.

Side Note: As I sat in 15mph traffic, I saw a sign that said “60mph Zone Will Be Enforced” and laughed out loud at the image of someone panicking, attempting to get around people and stay at 60mph to avoid a ticket. Those comical signs are all over the freeways, as I drive ten miles an hour over every week while people angrily blaze around me. How exactly are they doing this “enforcement”? It’s not trivial. I may write a whole post about just that in the future.

Practicing Human – Growth, Death, and Birth

Death makes room for birth, both of which are uncomfortable.

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O’Meara – Episode 266: The Expansive Nothing You Have to Fill with Kristen Radtke

Do the bad work to get to your good work.

No Stupid Questions – 59 – Do Dreams Actually Mean Anything?

It’s the feelings that we continually dream about that we should be concerned about, not the objects and people we see in our dreams.

I did it! I didn’t think I could for all of them. There were a few that I started to apologize about and just write two or three sentences, but I sat back and thought again. It was possible to put it into one, concise sentence. The cooler part is that there was a lot more to those episodes that I took notes on and might write about in the future. And I found at least three new books to add to my TBR list!

Yes, I went back and added up the hours/minutes of each episode. And, yes, it was hard because I’m not that bright when it comes to numbers. It totaled up to almost six hours, give or take few minutes. I spent a lot of time in the car and not a minute was agonized over.

Technology has ended my travel anxiety and made driving much more peaceful in so many ways, but that is another post my friends. Have a great day and go listen to some podcasts while you get where you’re going. You won’t regret it!

Want to read more about the podcasts I’ve heard? Go back to the beginning and check out my first Podcast Roundup #1. At the bottom, you’ll find links to more.

Why Do I Get Up in the Morning – Episode 9

You might think that I know exactly what my Monday post will be about each week, but you’re so wrong. Like the rest of my life, I have a basic structure and a set of principles to guide me in general, but I let things fall as they may (as much as possible). It’s a system that has taken me most of my life to develop and accept, but it has certainly served me well.

The basic structure of the Monday post is that on Sunday I go through my pictures (I take a lot of pictures…of everything) and think about my week. Then I sit with my computer for thirty minutes and see what comes up.

The principle I follow here is “positivity.” What has triggered a sense of happiness, peace, or joy? What reason did I have this week to smile?

This week it was snow. And not JUST snow, my feet in snow. The sound of fresh snow as I take a that first step onto it and it crunches and compacts beneath my feet.

I grew up in Southern California. Snow is a foreign concept to us southern coastal types. Now that I think about it, cold in general is a bizarre notion to us. Dressing warm means the heavy sweatshirt and possibly socks.

The first time I remember experiencing snow was when my Mom moved away, and I went up to visit her. I was about twenty years old and had flown up to see her. It was snowy cold at the airport, but not spectacular, nothing beautiful. It was when we arrived at her house and stepped out of the car and onto the snow-covered grass. My foot sunk into the inch of snow with a quiet crunch that I could feel in my shoes. I stopped immediately and listened as I purposefully sunk my other foot into the snow. It was a sound I had never heard before, and I was fascinated.

Where I live now, it snows about once a year. The first time there was enough snow on the ground to perform the crunch, I ran out with my children and took video of them experiencing it themselves. I was excited to say the least and to my joy, so were they. To this day, every time it snows, I’m excited to go out and feel it again. I usually take a quick video of a step or two to send to my mom.

I don’t know why it makes me smile. It just does. Maybe if I lived where it snows heavily all winter every year, I’d grow weary of it, but I don’t. It’s still new to me every time. The quiet rural air muffled even more by a blanket of soft snow. The crisp feel of the icy air in my nose. I stand on the porch ready to take my first step into frosty white. Heel first… a rolling crunch…it’s just so strange. It’s not a true crunch. Can you feel it? It’s more of a rough sliding, compacting of fluffy ice.

This week, as I drove home from a visit with my mom, I stopped at a roadside rest area covered in snow. It was 17 degrees outside and all I had on was a hoodie, jeans, and tennis shoes. I shivered as I ran to the bathroom and was ready to run straight back to the truck, but there before me was a big patch of untrodden snow. All alone on the side of the road, not a soul in sight, surrounded by snowy hills and huge trees, I smiled and took that step…crunch…ahh…so satisfying.

How does a sound transport one so quickly? I can see myself at 90 years old, my grown grandchildren taking me out of the home for a picnic, but I make them stop at patch of new snow just so I can feel it again. I hope they know why.

THIS is Why I Drink – Episode 1

Earlier this week I read an article in the paper that made me think, “THIS is why I drink!” I laughed (LOL’d you might even say) and thought to myself, I should write a blog post with that title. I even went so far as to laughingly post the thought to my Facebook page and my “friends” and I had a good chuckle over it.

This morning I had the thought again. What if I did? An assignment, even one assigned by myself, helps me to be a bit more productive sometimes. That’s it! No more rationalizing needed. I’m doing it!

And now, my friends, I bring you, the first episode of “THIS is Why I Drink,” a short, hopefully at least mildly humorous, post about the one (or two) things this week that have driven me to drink yet again.

On the docket this week, my neighbors. Not my actual neighbors, the ones that live on my street or the ones that come over for drinks, but the wider circle. The people in general that live in my town and surrounding area. Here’s what set me off.

I’ve been avoiding Facebook. I was about to say “like the plague” but now that everyone has come to a consensus we are in one and are acting accordingly, I should say I’m not going quite that far. I have been limiting my exposure though. The fear-based dumb-assery I started to find among the groups I belonged to and my acquaintances from past lives started spreading like wildfire once the plague landed here in the US. To be completely honest, I’ve been more afraid of people than the virus since the first weeks of the shutdown.

But, you know what they say…

And since I can’t control what the rest of the world does, I took control of what I do and took a big step back from social media for awhile. I must say, it helped my mental health tremendously.

But this week, as I took my quick daily scan of my closest friends and family, a suggested group popped up and I clicked it. Like a fool, I ran my socially thirsty eyes over a few posts to see what the tone of the group was and that’s when I saw it.

It was a question from someone asking what are some good sights to see around the area since they’d be taking a drive up over the next week. The comments were overwhelmingly hostile and I was (again) embarrassed that I live here.

There were many very aggressive and nasty comments ranging from “Stay home you piece of trash.” To “Why would you come here and spread your filth to us?” But the one that really struck me was, “We moved out here to get away from you people.”

Did you now? That’s very odd. I mean, it is a desert town outside of the city, yes, but it is also a town outside a large National Park. So, I’m not sure if that really constitutes, “getting away from people.” Yes, our homes are further apart for the most part. We don’t have a big movie theater or mall, but we do have the only Walmart in a 50 mile radius.

The town is here mostly because of the Marine Base and the National Park. It is definitely a smaller rural town, but if you wanted to get away from tourists, visitors just passing through, this is NOT the place to live. Our economy depends on those people on their way to see the park and/or to go camping.

So that was the moment, this week, that I closed what I was reading and sighed to myself, “This is why I drink.”

If I simply could not ignore a question like this, because I was truly afraid of the spread of the virus and couldn’t mind my own business…wait, that’s the thing right there! If I were so terrified of the spread, I would be at home so it wouldn’t matter one wit if a tourist came out to my town, so I would mind my own business.

But if I were somehow forced to comment, I would have tried a more positive approach. Like, “A lot of things are closed in town right now because of the shutdown. There are only drive-thru restaurants, no place to stop and use the bathroom, and it’s very hot, like over 100 degrees by 11 am. I’d suggest bringing a car picnic and doing an air-conditioned drive-through of the park or the deeper deserts. You could see the town, make plans for better times, or go see the wide-open spaces. This is a gorgeous place to hike the rest of the year though! Here are some links to my favorite places!”

But no, my lovely neighbors were hostile and nasty. It was not only disheartening, it was scary to see such vehemence from over 150 people in a few short hours.

And so…I drink. Bottoms up, everyone! Fear is in the air and it sure makes people do some ugly things!

DO get out and enjoy the sunshine as much as you can. Of course, try to maximize physical space, minimize contact with strangers, wash your hands, and most of all be kind to each other. We’re all having a rough time and we’re all doing the best we can with what we have.

I worried myself silly about sharing these thoughts with you here on my blog. I know you don’t need more negativity in the world, but you know what? No one is always roses and sunshine dust and that includes me. Now, don’t worry. This will only be a once a week rant style post. Some of them will be lighter than others. And I promise to balance it out with another weekly assignment at the beginning of the week called, “Why She Gets Up In The Morning!”

What Are You Trying to Tell Me?

I recently woke up from a dream that was so different, so excitingly new that instead of sighing peacefully and going back to sleep hoping I’d remember it in the morning, I jumped out of bed to jot down my impressions to insure it’s survival.

My journal was on my desk, not beside my bed, so I slipped out of bed and quietly padded to my office. I flipped on the light and sat down at my desk to write. As I opened my book and picked up my pen my phone dinged. A message at this hour. Everyone knows I’m sound asleep and I haven’t touched anything to alert the all-seeing social media of my activity.

“Are you sleeping?”

A message from an online friend.

“No! I just woke up from an amazing dream and came to write it down. And here you are!”

“About what?”

The conversation went on for half an hour. I dreamed that I was talking with an old comedienne that looked a lot like my Grandma Shirley. She told me that I was really funny, hilarious, and that I should try stand up comedy, try acting. I told her I had acted in the past but was never very good at it. She begged to differ and told me she knew talent when she saw it. She took me to a party with her and there were other famous people there, actors, directors and such. She introduced me and they all confirmed that I had something. And then I woke up. I wasn’t startled awake, I was laying there content. I felt accepted, proud, self-confident. I wanted to remember that feeling. That’s why I got up to write it down.

Telling my friend about it, he suggested that I do what my dream suggested. I’ll admit that I’ve thought about it before. When I was teenager, I took plenty of acting classes and was in several high school shows, but I was too self-conscious to do it well. Acting takes complete self abandonment; going up there as if you are the center of the universe, with no thought to whether or not anyone will like it. Talent or not, you can’t see it unless you throw the robes off and stand there naked before the whole audience. I could not do it. I hid myself.

These days I wonder, would I be able to do it now? Am I self-confident enough to let go? There is a small community theater here. I could go down and audition. I went back to bed with these thoughts on my mind.

When I woke up in the morning, I was still thinking about it. I’d slept soundly knowing the dream was safe in my journal and the idea tucked away in my messages. I started my morning routine thinking I’d go back in a few hours and rethink it all. Nestled down in my spot on the couch, book in hand, I relaxed into my morning.

After a bit, I mentioned the dream to my husband who listened attentively, but as I told it something started to swirl around in my head. This dream wasn’t about acting. It’s about self-confidence. I got another cup of coffee and picked up my journal.

As the morning progressed, more ideas started to fall into place. I accosted my teenage sons as they stumbled sleepily into the livingroom. I had to talk more of this idea out and they just happened across my path as it was coming together. I don’t know what I’ll do when they move out and I lose my captive audience. Pity my poor husband!

I’ve always been a dreamer, not the pie in the sky, big ideas kind of dreamer, but I almost always dream when I sleep. I dream vivid and realistic dreams generally every night, especially when my anxiety is high. While most of the time my dreams are varied and colorful, there are a few that are recurring. They revolve around being left behind, trying to be understood, or being without help in a crisis. This dream was different and that’s what got me so excited.

This dream was encouraging and left me feeling supported and loved, pushed from beyond. And it wasn’t about acting at all. It only took that form because that was my past experience. Like I told my sons, I know not everyone believes in spiritual dream stuff and, to be honest, I don’t either, but I do believe in subconscious work. I’ve been working on some big things the past couple of years. For the past few months I’ve felt stuck and unsure how or if to proceed. This dream shook something loose in me.

A side note, but related, I haven’t thought much about my Aunt or Grandmother since they passed away years ago, but over the last couple of weeks they have come up several times. I reconnected with my Uncle and cousin, I randomly met someone he knows, my cousin posted about his mother, and then this dream with the face of my Grandma. Those two women were a big part of my life growing up, but I lost them in my early thirties. I hadn’t thought I had lost much until now. What could they teach me now about being in my forties? Those were strong, bold beautiful women. I’m feeling a need for their confidence and support. This dream is a piece of that, another reason I believe in an afterlife that touches this one.

What in the world am I talking about? I’ve been rambling on for pages! Writing! I can’t say I’ve always wanted to write or that I’ve been writing since I could read. I can’t say that I have several stories, books, or poems stored up just waiting for the right publisher to come along. I can say that I have always had something to say.

I feel like I’ve had something hidden away from me for years. Like those stories you hear about a princess raised by farmers and finds out who she really is. I’ve never felt like I fit in with the women in my mother’s family and when the women in my father’s family were alive I was too afraid of them to really embrace them. I feel like a combination of both, not quite as crazy and wild (the slightly self destructive that I thought they were) and not as timid and reserved as my mother’s family. I need to tap into the “training” of my mother and her mom; the quiet, calm, and respectable side; AND the wild, free-ranging, self-assuredness of my dad’s sister and mother.

I wrote these words a couple of days ago and closed my notebook thinking it all seemed like it was an idea going nowhere, just like the thousand other times I’ve felt like I had something solid in my hands but when I looked directly at it, it turned to air.

Today, I’m in a RV park in Montpelier, Idaho, reading it over again and seeing something else. That’s a realization in and of itself. I’m reminded of a story somewhere when someone is blindfolded and writes in a trance, then goes back to read what is on the page and finds someone else’s words. It does make sense. There is a message there. And if the message is there for me, the odds are that someone else might need to hear it as well, so I keep writing.

Where am I going? That’s probably what you’re asking, and exactly what I’m asking myself. I think the point my subconscious is trying to make is that “fortune favors the bold.” I’ve never been one to self-promote. “I’m shy.” I tell people, but not in an introverted way. I’m not happier when I’m alone. While I do enjoy the pleasure of my own company, while I do love making time to sit quietly alone with my thoughts so better to write them down, I am not fueled by that. I crave regular interaction with people, as if fueled by the energy of our connections. But I am so self-conscious, worried about doing the wrong thing, offending someone with my words, not fitting in with others, that it sometimes stops me from doing the things I want to do. That’s something I am working to change and my next step is here.

I’ve been plagued with a few thoughts since I finished the big project of writing my first story. The first of which is, now that the story is down on paper, what should I do next? It’s memoir and very personal to me. I’m terrified of promoting it and then having to defend it. As I’m writing these words something just dawned on me. Maybe that story shouldn’t be the first thing I promote. I have so much more I could be writing and promoting.

I recently came across a Tim Hawkins sticker that struck me as perfect for what I really want to do here.

“Live Life. Take Notes. Tell Strangers.”

He was talking about comedy, but I think it’s so much bigger. Maybe comedy isn’t just an entertainment, maybe it’s philosophy for the light hearted. Which connects me to my dream again. I’ve always been someone who notices things. It’s probably one of the reasons I’ve always carried so much anxiety. I love to read. I love to watch, to experience. I love being among people, maybe not in front of, or leading, but quietly among them, soaking up their energy.

Throughout my life I’ve taken notes; journals and notebooks full of my thoughts and ideas, questions, and observances. When I write I rarely know where it will go, what will be the outcome of my tapping at the screen. The connections come to me while I write the same way they come to me during a conversation, spontaneously and not always fully formed. The more I write, the more I think, the more the idea takes a stronger form.

In the past, my blog posts are written on the spot. I have an idea, or want to review a book I just read, so I sit down and tap out the first words that come to mind. I immediately look back through it and post it that same hour. I’d like to change that.

As I spend my first two week vacation alone with my husband since we had kids, I’m spending a lot of time walking, driving, thinking, and talking. With no kids to care for, and an introverted husband that thoroughly enjoys his quiet time, I have had plenty of time to think, write, and rewrite. I have been using this time as a writing retreat and my intention is to build up a few articles, like this one and others, so that I can begin posting something more complete several days a week while I work on new observations to post later.

I’ve had a terrible time putting that into coherent words!

What will I write? Observations. I’ve struggled with that for a long time and with Tim Hawkin’s bumper sticker, it finally dawned on me. It’s perfectly acceptable to live life, take notes, and tell strangers. It is simple philosophy and something I enjoy and feel confident doing. Hopefully, someone out there will find my observations interesting or helpful!

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