Wednesday, May 29

Airstream Dream

Have you ever had a dream that was so important to you, so real in your mind, that you were hesitant to move forward because of an unconscious fear that reality might not live up to your expectations? Yeah, me too, but since it was subconscious I didn't know that until yesterday.

As our boy has become a pre-man over the last several years, the topic of "What Happens When Our Boy Flies the Coop" has come up more and more often. The converstations were quickly discarded as the two of us realized that Kirk's retirement dream looked a little like this:

And mine was more like this:
No, no...I don't plan to develop a moose fetish. But I as much as I like travel at the end of the day I enjoy having a place to hang my hat. So while I was thinking cabin in the woods, Kirk was thinking car on the road.

There was also the issue of location. First off, we have one great kiddo. And as much as I don't want to be showing up on his doorstep every morning for coffee (okay I do, but I also recognize that wouldn't be a good plan ultimately. There is a slight chance Jaybird would become resentful or if he wasn't resentful then he would be flat out weird), I do want to be at most a one day car ride away. Jaybird is an apt nickname for our son, there is no telling where he will ultimately end up. He wants to be a luthier and play in a band. He loves Oregon, the Rockies, and Minneapolis. When he finally travels more to the southwest and east coast, I suspect he will be drawn there as well.

Second, Kirk's heart is here:
And mine is constantly calling for:
So we were in quite a conundrum. And then we took a trip in 2010 that changed everything. Kirk's brother runs rivers in the Oregon/Washington area and invited us on a week long rustic trip with his friends on the Salmon River. Everything you need for a week on a raft. Kirk was excited. I was nervous. It wasn't just needing to poop in a bucket that comes along for the ride. Yeah. You heard me. It was more the idea of no turning back. Once you are on the river you can't decide that it isn't really your cup of tea so let's do something else. You start at point A. End at point B. Come what may you are along for the middle. And we both loved it.

Three rafts. Nine new friends. Our family. After a week of rafting in the wilderness we realized we really didn't need much to be happy. We really couldn't stand watching commercial television. I realized that I loved being outdoors and a tent could become home. And then I saw a picture of an Airstream. A home that rolls. And so the dream began. We will sell everything and live in an Airstream full time.

I bought a talisman from a talented jewelry artist, Katrina, to remind me of our dream and I had the date of my retirement eligibility engraved on the back.
And I bought books and put up pictures. And became an Airstream stalker. Yup. I know the Airstreams in our neighborhood and I will change my route to drive by. If I am out for a stroll, I have been known to choose my path so I can nonchalantly pet the side of an Airstream as I walk by. Yes, I know that if anyone catches me that will be mighty hard to explain. But I never have actually been in one until yesterday.

And I realized that this dream is much closer than I had dared to hope. And the person we met at Ewald Airstream, Jody, was so friendly and down to earth and he is a camper. In an Airstream. And he got it. And didn't think that owning nearly nothing and being on the road is unusual. And he insisted we go in every model so we know exactly what we are going to want. And I know. A Flying Cloud 27 FB.

It felt like home.

Saturday, May 18

There Once Was a Girl...

When I was a wee one my mother used to sing me a poem:

There Once Was a Girl
Who Had a Little Curl
Right in the Middle of her Forehead.
And When She Was Good,
She was Very, Very, Good.
And When She Was Bad,
She Was Horrid.

Now, before you envision that my Mom walked around calling her tossle headed tot horrid, please understand that this was a happy acknowledgement for both of us. It allowed me to find a light side to strong feelings and it allowed her to find a light side to a tantrum of epic proportions. Despite having lost my Mom years ago, I know this because my son is very similarly dispositioned. Easy going, flexible, and full of humor most of the time. And then, very rarely...indignation right down to the last spark of our soul.

This past week tested me right down to my last curl. And last Thursday there was a choice to be made. A fork in the road. One can give in and let frustration take over in wave after wave or one can choose another path...

And take a 6 mile walk around Lake Wingra and let wave after wave of gratitude wash over you as you realize how lucky it is to live in a city with three beautiful lakes.

There are funky, crumbling stair cases that lead to meadows and duck ponds.

The magnolia and lilac and fruit trees are all in bloom and the fragrance is amazing.

The Arboretum has these old markers everywhere and I just love the patina.

One of my favorite spots. My house is almost directly across the lake from this view. The cattails are full of red winged black birds which throw the most glorious fit clearly thinking that you are there to nab their prime nesting spot. 

With all this green you can feel tension melting away.

And visit some friends at the free zoo.

Or, if all else fails you can join the college kids who just finished finals. They are there, playing kickball...and...if you zoom in you will see they are all running with beer cups and there is a half barrel on home and second base. Ah, Wisconsin.

And then top off the evening with Bora Bora Fireballs. A new family favorite and another amazing recipe from Melissa at The Clothes Make the Girl. We had these with zucchini pancakes from the Moosewood cookbook. We used almond flour in place of the wheat flour. Yum. No picture of the pancakes. We ate them too quickly!

Monday, April 15

Journeys and Jaybird

Sometimes it is helpful to know where a person is coming from. I thought perhaps the somewhat random nature of my blog could be enhanced by sharing what are the the themes most influencing my life right now. I will blog in more detail on each soon.

Well for one, I would like to go:
On the left you see me last summer at the top of Harney's Peak in South Dakota. On the right it is 2003, I am 95# lighter and hiking a trail in Yellowstone. What happened in between is a combination of second career as an RN, full time school while working full time, half a thyroid that has given up the ghost, and a less forgiving metabolism as I age. And so some changes are in order which will provide many stories with buzzwords like Paleo, Wholehearted Living, and 10,000 Steps. But with a twist, of course.

Next up, Kirk and I would like to move:
We have lived in our home since 1993 and love it. This was the best place in the world to raise Jaybird. It is near a lake and he would spend summers exploring the shoreline and getting penny candy from the tiny pharmacy down the street. But Kirk and I will retire in 10-12 years and that has us thinking about our next chapter. For us it will be in an Airstream. We will sell everything and get a 25 to 28 foot Airstream with double panoramic windows and solar panels. Not that I have thought about it much. Kirk dreams of travel, I am a bit of a homebody, and so our home will roll. Everything we own will be in the trailer. Just the idea is liberating.

Finally, and most importantly, we will be launching this little Jaybird:

Who is no longer so little and actually towers over me. Who will be 18 this year. Who has a delightful plan for his life already. Who is independent but still loves hanging out with his folks once in a while.

So, what are the themes directing your life and choices?

Sunday, December 16

Love and Cinnamon

Sunday is the day in my family when we most often look at each other in the morning and utter that well worn phrase, "Sweet or savory?" Today was a gray day in Wisconsin and Jaybird was recovering from some Heavy-Metal-crowd-surfing-teenage-judgement injuries and we all agreed that the comfort of a sweet would be welcomed indeed.

Cinnamon Biscuits from Taste and Tell are amazing. I did not have time for the fussiness of a yeast cinnamon roll and this recipe was the first that came up on a google of "cinnamon biscuit". Fortuitous googling has never tasted so good. Usually biscuit recipes leave me feeling more parched than comforted but the secret here is a dousing with a 1/2 cup of milk when you remove them from the oven. You would think you would have a squishy mess but somehow this transforms the biscuit into a light fluffy mass with just the right amount of gooey goodness.

Even better, an opportunity to be reminded that we have the best neighbors ever. People who don't bat an eyelash when I call desperately for said milk babbling about the need to pour it over hot cinnamon biscuits and arriving 30 seconds later in my pajamas.