I Question, Therefore, I Am… I Think

Sometimes i lay awake at night wondering how much of this is real.

Is all of life like The Matrix , an image that is planted in our brain to give us the illusion of a full life? Do i really have three amazing children? Has it really been nearly 52 years since i was born? Are there really such things as blue skies and flowers and beaches and waterfalls? Am i really human? Is this mattress really so shot that i need to replace it, or is someone manipulating controls in a central processing area that makes me think the surface underneath me is starting to get lumpy?

To the controllers, i say, would it kill you to conjure up Liam Neeson at my doorstep?

Or is this all a dream? Am i really still an infant in a crib, and the last 51 years have been nothing but a 5 hour dream? Am i projecting my own future in some fierce REM state?Will i wake up soon and discover that i am just an insanely prolific and virulent dreamer? And if that is the case, does that make me something special? Some person of previously unseen depth and talent?

Am i some 6 month old future DaVinci?

Maybe i am delusional. I’m really 32. Or 102. And i live in an old shack by the beach. The life that i have is a creation of my own mind. Some kind of daydream i thought up to distract me from a pitiful and lonely existence. A way to escape the fact that i don’t even have 20 cats to keep me company. Maybe this decent, but often frustrating, life is merely my coping mechanism.

If i imagined all this, then why the hell didn’t i make myself a little more financially solid?

Are we characters in some larger beings’ computer game? Or maybe they are really tiny, and we only feel full size because that is how we were programmed. All of our movements and actions are controlled by someone in pajama pants who has had a really crappy day and just needs to escape. Maybe we are SIMS, and our day-to-day is just some 12 year old’s imagination.

In which case, that 12 year old needs to get out more.

And could use a good psychologist.

Maybe i am schizophrenic and all of this is a hallucination. Maybe i am really some mousey brown man who just has brain waves so different that it forked off into a boisterous white female in order to cope with all the dichotomy and chemical imbalance and cross-circuitry. Maybe i have another self that this self isn’t aware of. Two distinct selves unaware of each other – And probably better off that way, as awareness of each other would, i think, be a daily fight for control. Maybe all of us have more than one self, but only the stronger one ever gets the chance to be in the lead. How would we know?

It really makes me question those bouts of short-term memory loss, like forgetting what i came into the room for. Maybe it was the other self that needed something from the kitchen.

Now you are wondering the same thing, aren’t you?

Maybe this is all just a single dimension in a very multifaceted whole. Like in Richard Bach’s One, or in one of Heinlein’s novels. Maybe there is another me in another time who leads a very different life. Who is both the most sought-after ME and much-loved author. Maybe there is another thread in time where i look like a beautiful and exotic version of me, and have a life of such love and adventure, that it is the stuff of my wildest dreams.

But then again, that would also mean there is a thread where i am angry and disconsolate and totally hideous. That thought makes this me really sad.

Am i the only one who wonders about this? Whose mind is full of theories on being and life? I’ve always done it… Pondered what is real. It isn’t like i’m some kind of philosophical genius… It’s more that i like, i need, explanation. I need to know why. Why do people behave like they do? Why do i behave like i do? Why do we, as humans, do so many irrational things? Why do i keep making the same mistakes? Why are things the way they are? And why are bacon and salami and full-fat ice cream so delicious, when they are the worst things for our waistlines? And how high were the creators of all this when they designed the aardvark?

Maybe the atheists are right and this is all there is. All of this is real and our perceptions are all there is to reality. I really have been on this earth for 51 years. My budget really has consequences, it isn’t just an educational computer game. There is not another me somewhere who has accomplished all i set out to,  or looks like i do in my best dreams. I will not wake up and discover i have another chance to do it all differently. I am not all i could be, and Liam Neeson doesn’t know i exist. These things are true. This is my reality.

But on the flip side, that means that i really do have three amazing weedlings who are going to make this world a better place. I have really worked for years in a field that saves and improves people’s lives. I have rescued some animals from euthanasia by taking them in. Tho not the exotic beauty of my dreams, I have an esoteric beauty of spirit. I have loved and been loved.  I have given comfort and laughter to many. I might not have made the biggest difference, but i have made some difference. This is also my reality.

And very little of it makes any sense to me.

For someone who needs to know “why”, reality will always be a question. Life itself makes very little sense, even to the most pragmatic of people, so it is understandable that we don’t accept it as fact. People who don’t question it, it seems to me, are people who don’t question much of anything. (In case you haven’t noticed, i don’t advocate that.) I am thankful that most of the people who surround me do question. I am not alone in these swirling thoughts that are probably both madness and genius. Or maybe neither. What do i know?

Hell, i don’t even know that i’m real.

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Dignity And Moth Wings

Ya God/Goddess/Universe… You’re really funny. Ha ha. You got me good.

As i have mentioned before, Chattanooga is the allergy capital of the country – or pretty damned close anyway. And this time of year it is off the charts, especially with tree (Oak) pollen, which apparently i am insanely allergic to. Every year at this time, my head fills up with enough snot to fill an Olympic pool, and then it begins doing daily sprints between my sinuses and my lungs. While it makes these laps, i am either sneezing uncontrollably, or coughing up everything north of my hips. It is very unpleasant.

Of course, because i am so old that, as my son once said, on the very first game show i ever saw, the prize was fire; my body has a hard time coping with the 300 mile per hour gust that is coming from my respiratory tract. (No, i’m not exaggerating. I actually looked it up. A cough can produce gusts up to 300 mph. A sneeze produces a wind up to 100 mph. I read it on the internet, so it must be true!)

Anyway, like i was saying… I’m old. And i’ve had 3 kids. So sneezing or coughing that hard, unless contorted into the bent over yoga pose that i affectionately call the “Mom Maneuver”, well…. All that force has to go somewhere. Especially if you are trying to hold in  said cough to avoid sounding like a duck who has smoked too many cigars, or are trying to kibosh the sneeze because you are in the middle of a parking lot with no tissue in sight. Your body has all this kinetic energy built up. If it doesn’t come out your mouth or nose…….

If you are lucky, you will only pee a little.

In the car driving home from the store yesterday, i wasn’t so lucky. I was in traffic when i felt that twinge that told me i was about to start a coughing jag that would scare a money-hungry Pulmonologist, so i pulled to the side as quickly as i could, but it hit me just as i stepped on the brake. The force! I exploded with a cough so hard that it made me shoot a fart that sounded like a cannon! That made me laugh – even tho i was still coughing – so then i couldn’t hold anything in. A good 15 minutes later, half my lung was in the pile of tissues, i had wet my pants, my tears had smeared my makeup so i looked like an old drag queen on a bender, i had snot on my shirt, and the car stunk of cheese toot.

If i had any dignity, it would have been lost.

But thankfully, i have very little dignity left, so i just wiped my face and drove home.

Since i have been plagued by this for a week, the coughing jags have gotten less frequent, and i was certain i was doing well enough to do my weekly girl maintenance last night before bed. Relaxing bath. Fancy schmancy face masque. Sugar scrub on the feet. Aaahhhh.

Then for the less enjoyable part. I had the wax in the warmer, the usual accoutrements laid out. All good and ready to go. Leg propped and body balanced like i’m in frigging Cirque du Soleil. After the third or fourth application, that lung tickle starts again.  I can feel that mucus engine racing and rumbling like a ’55 Thunderbird. I try to get one more swipe of wax on before it overtakes me….

Bad idea.

I try to bend over so i don’t pee (Because i already needed to before i started), but forgot that my leg was halfway up the wall, so i start to fall over. Toss the tongue depressor/applicator to grab something to keep me from hitting my head because OMG IF I KNOCK MYSELF OUT THE MEDICS WILL FIND ME LIKE THIS AND HOW THE HELL WILL I EXPLAIN IT AND THOSE PEOPLE KNOW ME!!!!!!!!!!! I reach out and grab whatever is beside me – I’m coughing and sneezing and tearing up too much to see it- and because my hand has wax on it, it sticks and jerks my arm back, and i end up on my back on the floor.

Holy hell.

I open my eyes. Over my head, the oversized popsicle stick that is the wax applicator is swinging far over my head where it apparently stuck to the light chain when i tossed it. Back and forth like a puttanesca pendulum. Poe would be pleased.

The fact that my hand is stuck to the toilet seat becomes a happy coincidence, as i would likely be unable to get up unassisted as i have only one leg on the floor, and the other is still up on the sink. I pull up with my hand and push up with my foot…. And make it about 6 inches before falling back on the floor.

My back and ass are stuck to the paper floor protector, and my foot was standing on it.

I wiggle myself til there is bare floor space to set my foot, and manage to stand. The paper is still stuck to my back and looks like giant moth wings. That makes me smile, so i leave them on while i rip off the last swipe of wax that caused my literal downfall and is now as hard as a Klingon Warrior.

There aren’t enough cusswords to describe that pain.

I smile one last time at the wings before trying to peel them off. Thank the heavens that i don’t have a hairy back! I managed to get most of it. (I thought i had all of it til i went to take off my nightclothes the next morning, and found them stuck to my left ass cheek by one last bit of wax.)  Then i started coughing again.

Well, shit. This sucks.

A hot toddy later, my cough subsided enough for me to sleep. The symptoms weren’t nearly as bad today, tho the pollen count climbs again later this week. I’m sure i still have plenty of coughing and sneezing in my future. But given the events yesterday, i’ll be lucky to make it out alive. And since i have no dignity left, i’ll only have indignity left to salvage.

I may have to make myself some more moth wings as a consolation prize.

Darwin Couldn’t Shop Amazon

Just because i have a bit of a cold and am feeling a bit cranky, let me tell you one more thing that really irritates the hell out of me….

I was shopping on Amazon today – Big surprise there – for a variety of things that i have never bought before. So i do my usual schtick and sort them by average customer rating and start to go through the products.

Item number one was a bamboo bathroom shelf. You know, because i’m still not done with the finishing touches on the back bathroom. Oy. Anyway, i need to find a particular size, so i hone in on that first. Then set my budget. Then sort them by review and go through them one by one. I was already a little frustrated because a few didn’t have the exact measurements listed up top, so i was having to dig for every third one. Then i see one that i really like the looks of, but it doesn’t have the measurements listed at all. I won’t go on a rant about how that is the daftest thing a shelf salesman would ever do – not list the size of the damned shelf. You already know that. And you would probably have done what i did. I went down to the “questions” section, because i figured i couldn’t possibly be the only person with this question. I mean, the picture didn’t even have a book or anything on the shelf to help you guess its size. So i skip to the questions, and there it is, number one on the list, “What are the dimensions of this shelf?”

Yeah! Finally! And then the response. The only response.

“I don’t know. I just ordered it and haven’t received mine yet.”

WTF? HOW IS THAT HELPFUL?!?!?!?!

I look through the rest of the questions while i unconsciously shake my head like i am crawling in my car behind someone who insists on walking down the middle of the parking lot straightaway.

Question number 4: “How wide is this shelf?”

Answer: “Don’t know yet. Will answer when mine arrives.”

SERIOUSLY?!?! Why not just wait to answer until it arrives?!?!?! Do you have nothing better to do? Or do you think the question was meant just for you?!?  ARRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!

I could feel my eye starting to twitch, so i retreated.

I picked one that actually had the measurements listed AND had helpful answers to the questions.  Then i went on to item number 2: A book of Japanese patterns.

For those of you who don’t sew, Japanese patterns are unique. First off, the designs are minimalist and clean – almost like if Ikea made sewing patterns. Second, because they are sparse and minimalist, most don’t come in separate tissue pieces with papers of instructions like American patterns do. They generally come as a book with either instructions on how to draft the pattern, or pattern pieces on paper, overlaying each other, that need to be traced onto pattern paper. The instructions are in the margins or are in the book itself. It probably sounds like a terrible idea, but after having tried my first one, i can tell you that it is genius. First, the pieces and techniques are such that less fitting is required, and there are infinite variations possible. And not for nothing, if you’ve ever bought an article of clothing that has similar characteristics and style (i.e. Eileen Fisher), you know that they can be cost prohibitive for a lot of us to buy already made. So anyway, i had made one that i downloaded online, but wanted to pick out a book that had more designs. I hone in and have to laugh reading some of the reviews. Most of the critical reviews obviously come from people who thought that Japanese pattern books were simply books full of patterns, and not a particular aesthetic and construction method. An easy mistake to make, especially for those new to sewing. I could understand those reviews. But some of them…

“These patterns are made for tiny people. They are made for the twiggiest of twigs.” (Seriously, it said that. “The twiggiest of twigs”)  – Hello, they are Japanese patterns. And Japanese patterns for women, at that. Did you think they’d run large?

“There aren’t many instructions to go with the pictograms, and what there is appears to be in Chinese.” – Ummmm…. I’m going out on a limb here, but i’ll say the language you can’t identify is Japanese. Just a guess.

“All the measurements are in metric.” – Yes, you continental sweetie. Most of the world uses the metric system. These aren’t American patterns, ergo….

“All the dresses are loose and baggy. Not corporate at all. Nothing was fitted.” – Yes, dear heart. That is the point. And considering there is a picture on the front of the book that is very representative of the style, i’m shocked at your surprise. It’s not like there was a three-piece suit on the cover.

And my personal favorite… “I couldn’t get past the photographs… They all have plain white backgrounds and it made the models look like they were in a mental hospital.” Bwahahhahahaha! Ok, i can kind of see that point. But it is supposed to be a functional book, not a coffee table book. The photos are there so we can tell where the seams are and how it is supposed to drape. They obviously didn’t want a background to detract from that. (But i will never look at those pictures the same way again.)

I was a little less frustrated by this search, mostly because some of the critical reviews were so funny. I did eventually pick the book that i wanted. And i was still giggling when i did so.

Item 3 was silicone molds for soap making. Generally, these come 2 ways, individually like custard dishes, or something akin to a 6 muffin pan. Mind you, this is a harder search because you can use these things for baking, too, so you really have to look both places to get the full picture. In a lateral vein to item one, tho the overall dimensions of the pan are listed in each item page, very few list the actual volume of the molds, which is the important part. I don’t care that the pan itself is 9 by 8. Does it make full-sized soaps or the kind that are only good for people with excessive OCD who can’t use the bar more than once?

I find a set of two 6 pans in lovely Celtic designs and think, “Yes, that’ll be perfect, as long as they’re not the size of a truffle.” So i search for some kind of volume measurement. Or at least the measurement of the individual cups.

Nada. Zilch. Zip.

So i go to the questions. Oh boy! And there it is, number one on the list: “How big are the cups? What size soap will they make?”

And the answer… Are you ready? There was only one response. Just one. Even tho it had hundreds of ratings for the product. Just one answer.

“I don’t know. I’ve only bought their donut molds. And those are standard size.”

Dude.

It’s a good thing you aren’t sitting next to me. I would force you to explain why in anyone’s name you would think that was helpful in any way. And then i would smack you.

Am i the only one who is driven crazy by this? Does anyone else think it is possible that Amazon allows people to post useless remarks just because they know it will drive us nuts? Am i the only one who wishes that, in addition to “4 stars and above” and “Prime eligible”, there was a filter called,  “Ones with reviews that are actually worth a damn” or “Questions that actually contain meaningful answers”? I am about to prioritize my need for these just above my need for a bird finger in addition to a thumbs up and thumbs down on most social media platforms.

And you know how badly we all want that bird finger.

With all the money Amazon is raking in, you’d think someone would be policing such things.

Or maybe it is their idea of entertainment.

Anyway, thank you for listening to me complain. I’m sure i look and sound like a goose who just watched a busload of people disembark without a single bag of bread. But hopefully it made you laugh, or at least shake your head in agreement. Because i know you have been there. We’ve all been there. But sometimes it feels good to let it out.

Japanese patterns with Chinese instructions. Really? Sheesh.

 

 

Making It and Digging It

I spent the weekend on a creative bender. You know, like a regular bender, except without the barfing and with something to show for it other than a bad one night stand and unexplained car dent.

Yesterday i spent most of the day in my yard. I had about 2 1/2 square meters of jungle that i had yet to touch after almost 2 years in this house. There was a large shrub / small tree in the middle of it that i had hoped was a Rose of Sharon or something pretty like that. It turned out to be nothing more than some pitiful leaves on lame branches. Hardly decorative. More like the biological equivalent of a paper bag. So i cut it down.

Remember me saying that my tap dancing fitness routine didn’t prepare me for scraping and painting? Well, it didn’t prepare me for using a bow saw either.

After i got it down, i commenced to clearing out the weeds. We’re talking deep-rooted runner weeds growing for decades in the red clay. Old and rotted wood barriers sunk into the ground with rusty railroad nails. And vines that were dug into the brick of my porch with a grip that rivaled a man with compensating issues. This was no normal bit of garden variety weeding.

This was a green hell.

Two hours i spent clearing it. TWO HOURS for a space smaller than a pool table. That tells you how bad it was. But i got it done, dug two holes, and planted the climbing roses that have been sitting in my driveway for nearly two weeks. Between the dirt and the sun and the sight of the newly cleared area, i felt sore, but accomplished.

After cleaning myself up and making dinner, i went back to work on my sewing that i had started earlier in the week.  I finished up one dress and then took my fabric out to the porch to cut another design. Yes, i actually cut the pieces on my porch. It was too beautiful out to stay inside! A couple of my neighbors gave me an odd glance, but they’ll get used to my weird ways before long.

Sleep and breakfast and then back to the bender. Cleaned and repainted some plastic end tables for the porch. (I inherited them from the previous owner. Apparently, she not only liked her shrubbery boring, she liked beige plastic porch furniture. There is very little about me that is beige. Or boring. Those tables were bugging me with their blandness.) Got them dolled up apple red in between working on the dress i had cut out last night.

The dress is now done. My first time using a downloaded pattern. I won’t lie, it was a much bigger pain in the ass than a regular pattern. But the other dress i had made this week was a pattern i had drafted myself, and i wasn’t willing to trust myself with another so soon. I will say this, both dresses got positive reviews from my son – Remarkable because he isn’t one to give more than an offhand, “It’s ok, ” as a review of most everything that isn’t a computer game. So i guess i did good.

It’s getting towards the gloaming now. I’m chilling on my porch with my fabulously colorful tables while my new creations get their first washing as garments. I’m not quite over my bender, tho. I’ve got 2 more patterns to cut tonight. No doubt that i will keep on later than i should, and i’ll wake up tomorrow with a hangover. Granted, there will be no desperate prayers to the gods for my head to explode or stench of alcohol coming out of my pores, but it will be a hangover just the same. And just like any other bender, i will tell myself that i should exercise moderation more often, tho i know in my heart that i won’t. It may be weeks. It may be months. But some time in the future, i will once again be up to my ears in fabric or paint or dirt or all three, stiff and sore as hell because of the fun-but-not-quite-taxing-enough nature of my fitness plan.

Bless me, Father, for i have sinned. I got drunk on creativity.

And God/Goddess/Universe will smile pour me another.

Adventures in Renovation – The Baccalà Edition

I just spent 4 hours scraping and sanding an 8 by 9 foot bathroom. And when i tell you that a part of me wishes i had just moved to a newer house, I’m not talking about a small part of me. But i did it, and now i’m so sore and tired and angry, i’ll have to live in this house til i die so i can feel it was worth it.

You might remember that my house is over 100 years old. I can’t help it, i love the character of an old house. Even knowing that it comes with its own issues.

First there was the bit with the the pantry. Then The dead raccoon.  And The kitchen cabinets.  Then there was the beginning of this same room (the last adventure). Not to mention the bugs i battled, first with geckos and then with chemicals. The yard work. Or the squirrels who had sex in the soffits over my bed for an entire spring – annoying as hell and made me feel lonely besides.

Mind you, i’ve never lived in a brand new house. I’m sure they come with their own issues. Probably no mushrooms or dead trash pandas, but still… issues.

After $2500 and 2 weeks worth of days without a shower, we are finally in the home stretch. Old, ugly wall thingies are down. Holes spackled. Nasty, peeling paint chipped and sanded as much as is possible (This house is old enough that the bathroom used to be a mudroom, so it has lap siding for walls with 100 years of paint on them.) It is probably still going to look a bit rough, even with fresh paint, but i keep telling myself, that will go with the nautical theme. I have bought towel hooks that are whales (And tails of whales), toilet paper and towel holders that are anchors, and i even bought a new switch plate with a sexy mermaid on it (Don’t judge me.) It will look better when it’s finished, tho still nothing like a brand new house.

And that’s ok with me. I love that this cottage has character. I mean, i’m a character, so it suits. And as much as a day of painting prep has sucked, it was good for some exercise and for my creative psyche. Plus, my son and i got to spend some time together. (I would like to say we spent it discussing important things, but mostly we spent it singing pirate songs from Muppet Treasure Island and at least a dozen verses of Mah Nà Mah Nà, )   So it wasn’t a total loss.

But now that i have been sitting for an hour or so, i’m pretty sure my son is going to have to unfold me off the couch like a rusty lawn chair. Or at least bring me a muscle relaxer. I mean, i can barely raise my arms from sanding the ceiling. And my back and legs feel…  well, they feel like i’ve been climbing up and down a ladder all day. No big surprise there. Suffice it to say that i am sore all over and stiff as a baccalà. Damn, my exercise regime of tap dancing and planks didn’t prepare me for this. Go figure.

Maybe i should consider just giving up and buying a newer house, but, realistically, even if i did, i’d still be sore tomorrow. So i guess i’m screwed either way. Better to save my money and travel more.

Well, here comes my son now. I told him of my situation, and once he stops laughing, he’s going to help me up off the couch and get me some aspirin. So, if you’ll excuse me, i’ll be signing off and, like an elderly sloth, making my way to bed. Once my son stops laughing.

Which should be soon.

Any minute now.

Still waiting.

Crap.

 

For Santi

I know, little boy.

I know how you feel.

It’s hard to share the spotlight.

And i tell you now, he will hog it.

He is new

And small

And smells like powder.

And there will be days when you feel like your achievements are overlooked

Because he is all those things.

But i promise you,

They still love you.

They still think you are wonderful.

He is no threat to your awesomeness.

You don’t need the spotlight for you to shine.

And when he is always younger than you

And gets scared

Or worried

Or sad

You can be his nightlight~

Casting a bit of brightness into the dark.

Til then, know that you are seen.

You are loved by your parents.

You are special.

And every first born who knows how you feel

Is there for you.

We’ve got your back.

Welcome to the firstborn club.

 

If My Weedlings Only Knew

Over the weekend, my weedlings had some big stuff going on. Watching them adventure make me a wee bit jealous and anxious to have an adventure of my own, but it also makes me so proud of them and how full-on and large that they live life. Their hearts and minds are so open and beautiful that it makes my own heart bubble over. (Ok, that is sappy as hell, but i swear it is true none-the-less.)

It started Thursday. My son, who was headed out for some jROTC adventure and competition in another state, was desperate for some old-school comfort food before he left. I would have made my meatloaf, his favorite, but i don’t keep meat in the house anymore. Besides, he wanted Cheerwine – Like, wth? Who drinks that on purpose? Anyway, we decided to go to this awesome diner downtown that has food we can both eat, and great desserts besides. We ended up parking in front of the soda shop, 8 blocks away, so he could stock up on Cheerwine. As we were walking from the shop to the diner, we get approached by a – i assume – homeless man who asks for spare change. My son says, “Sure,” with a sweet grin and hands the man a dollar. Mind you, my son probably only had $5 in his wallet. But he gave it, the man said thank you, and we walked on.

At the diner, we talked and laughed. He got his meat, and i got a Greek vegetarian platter. And of course, we both got the half-pound slabs of cake that they call dessert to take home. (For the record, he got Coke-a-Cola cake, and i got tiramisu cake.) Then another 8 block walk back to the car.

We pass another down-and-outer on the way back to the car who asked for spare change. Again, my son smiled and gave him a dollar. No hint of being annoyed. No pre-programmed message of blessings or reproach. No diatribe pro or con – A feat for the kid who lives to soapbox and debate. He just gave and smiled and walked on.

As we walked, i told him that i was proud of him. Proud that he would give a bit without second thought. That he had such a kind heart. His response was calm and nonchalant. “It was just a dollar. No big deal, but maybe it helped.” I told him that made me happy.  What i didn’t tell him was that i was a little surprised at his generosity.

Boys his age can be real schmucks. Selfish and self-righteous. And mine has a dream of a future in the realm of politics… With the ego, sometimes, to suit it. Don’t get me wrong, he is incredibly bright and has great ideas, but he hasn’t learned humility yet. Or, at least, i didn’t think he had. Obviously, i was wrong. He is at least on his way there. He idolizes Justin Trudeau, and it made me proud to see him grow towards that kind of politician.

********

On another note, my daughters are off on an adventure this week. nearly 10 years apart in age, they haven’t always been terribly close, but have been growing closer as of late. My middle weedling is still in college and on spring break, so she and my oldest decided to take a trip together. After a couple months of planning, they headed towards Spain.

On spring break, other weedlings are consumed with heading to a booze filled resort – Heading to a place where they will spend most of their time at a pool talking only with those who came with them. They might as well have found a good hotel in their own city. My daughters, however, opted for someplace off the usual track. They are exploring a smaller city at an air B&B and enjoying the local flavor.

I am pleased that they have my love for travel. The thrill of trying new foods, seeing new places, meeting new people – These are what i want my daughters to spend money on, as opposed to chasing the fancier house and glittery lifestyle. Getting to know fellow humans broadens the mind and heart and soul. And the deeper the understanding and appreciation,  the less likely we are to marginalize and hurt each other. On the grand scale, if all of us traveled more, there would be fewer wars. It’s hard to kill people you have visited, even if you disagree with their leaders.

But on its most basic level, this is two sisters, drastically different in vision, beliefs, and aesthetics, learning to appreciate each other and who they are. The love they have for each other as family being deepened as they build a strong friendship. As a mother, it makes me so happy. It means that long after i’m gone, they will have each other to lean on.

On a superficial level, it gets me jazzed for a trip with both my girls together. The three of us taking on a new place. Seeing it through each others’ eyes. And maybe sometimes after that, including my son as well. The whole caravan on adventure together. Learning about others and about each other.  The hippie, the leader, the politician, and the gypsy (Me). All together on an adventure!

And on a grand level, they will go on to touch people and spread what they have learned. That we are all one people. That in spite of our differences, we all enjoy sitting down to a good meal in a beautiful place. And when we do it together, we grow to appreciate the differences in each other, or at the very least, we take a step towards understanding them. Maybe even hand them a dollar when they need it, a smile on our face, and no judgement.

They may have gotten their love of adventure from me, but i have gotten so much from them. Their understanding. Their compassion. Their ability to forgive. Their willingness to fight for what’s right. If i never do another thing of value, i made these weedlings possible. I hope, tho i have told them the words, that they someday understand the depth of the pride and love i have behind those words.

No Ma could be more thrilled with her own weedlings than i am of them.