Friday, February 12, 2010

Beach Snow

   How cool is this? Snow on the beach? How often to we think of those two together? If you live on a northern coast, sure. But for those of us who live for our precious vacation days on the beach, snow does not enter into that vacation equation.
   How odd that I've spent my last two years planning to move somewhere that doesn't have snow. No more snow, I've cried. No more winter! So off I've gone on my search for Home, the place of no winter. Right off the bat I learned that it was sun not temperature that mattered. Sunshine makes up for below zero, ice on the roads and ten days in a row of snow storms.
   And now, tonight, I accepted snow as an acceptable piece of my life. I am sitting in a condo on Myrtle Beach, SC on the night the 2010 Olympics officially begin which also happens to be the day that 49 of the 50 United States of America had measurable snowfall. Only the moutains of Hawaii held back. Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia. Think about it. How cool is this night? Pay attention. Mother Nature has the Floor...

Winter Storms Abound

   Listening to the weather this morning I've been debating the wisdom of packing up now to get out of here before the snow, yes, snow hits the beach. But then I looked at the regional forecast from here back to Kansas City, No matter which way I go, there will be snow. It hits today and continues through the night but by tomorrow, most of the storm will have passed. Knowing that the southern states are not well equipped for snow removal does give me pause but since the total accumulations are at best, 3", I'm thinking positive thoughts about watching a lovely storm from my balcony and then driving without incident on freeways headed north. I'm beginning to feel like the Johnny Appleseed of snow. At least I can't be blamed for the Dallas dumping!

   A comment was made on my last post about whether my hanging out on the beach is in the best interest of my stated goal. I thought I'd been more articulate on this point but as I read back through the last couple of posts, I see that I was more rambling than clear.
   There are many wonderful things about the south but there are two major things that have taken this region off my list.
   First and foremost is the humidity. If I hadn't done the southwestern search first, I would not have been as aware of the effects of climate. I have been focused on no snow (you gotta' laugh over that one!) and lots of sunshine but hadn't broken it down to the basic elements. For so many reasons I didn't think I would care in the least for the southwest. Until I was there. Now I can't get it out of my mind.
   But I decided to persevere with this southeastern leg of the search exactly because I hadn't seriously considered the southwest and look what happened with that assumption. So I've tried to keep an open mind as I traveled up, down and all around in North Carolina. Throughout this trip, one thing has remained constant: my arthritis. Even in winter, the humidity is a factor.
   The other reason I've made the decision that the south will not be my new home was hinted at in a previous post. I have tried to live according to the rules of engagement set by others. I find that living in such a fashion can be comforting in that you always know what to expect and what is expected of you. If you choose to branch out, living a wildly loud life, then you must be sure that you live in a place that supports individualism and flexible boundaries.
   I believe I have searched my soul to the depths of clarity and know that I can survive outside the confines of southern predetermination. Having made this decision, I am now free to enjoy all that the area has to offer and to appreciate the ocean, the sand and the time to write.
   The sun has struggled this morning. Early, it was a bright glow on horizon. As it rose, it was met by heavy cloud banks, keeping the light to themselves. I tracked the progress of the sun by the ever-rising bright spot in the clouds. It has now risen into a lesser cloud cover and is showing a glowing orb of light despite the clouds attempts to obscure it. You go, Sun! I'm pulling for you. You know I am!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ocean Front Living

  I haven't been to Myrtle Beach since I was married to husband #1. I have fond memories of visiting here with my wonderful inlaws. My then mother-in-law had great stories of visiting here when she and her sisters were growing up. Even though it's winter and chilly, still, it's the ocean.
  Because it's the off season I've lucked into a condo on the beach for less than I've paid for most of the motels on my trip. I can watch the sunrise and see the glow on the ocean as the sun sets. Had planned to be here for a day but can't pull myself away. Think I'll stay on till it's time to head home.
  Walked on the beach as the sun rose this morning and plan to go back out for a roam later this afternoon. In between, I have much writing to do and sorting out of thoughts. The sun is shining happily and the waves are encouraging this day of thoughtfulness.
  Spoke to friend Sabrina last night who says you can't move in DC. The second storm, while not dumping as much snow, came with high winds, much drifting and since the roads were not cleared from the previous storm, are now without redemption.
  For now, today, I am living the high life, enjoying the sounds, smells and views of the ocean. I'm soaking it up to save for future gray Kansas City moments. I don't think I could live here year round but absolutely have found my new favorite February vacation spot.
  Keep warm everyone. Hope you have some sunshine in your lives today too.

Such a winter!

  It's EVERYWHERE!! And won't quit! If I could figure out how to download pictures on this blog, I could show you my adventure in DC. Such lovely snow. I didn't think I could top what I'd had to endure in Sioux City while visiting my brother for Christmas. We topped out at 27" over the 4, count them 4 days of the storm. Ended up staying with my sweet, uncomplaining brother for 5 days. I really thought that was enough of winter for me for the rest of my life. But NOoooo. I decided to visit my dear friend, Sabrina, in DC. In half the time, Mother Nature dumped 32" inches in Sabrina's neighborhood. If you're interested in seeing photos of my car masquerading as an igloo, send me your email address:-).

  The roads around DC were a mess but I knew if I didn't get out on Monday that the next storm would keep me there for several more days. As much as I love my friend and loved being with her, staying in one place is not the purpose of this trip.
  So Sabrina and I spent 90 minutes Monday morning digging out our cars and then I hit the road. South. South is lovely. South is warmer. South is still experiencing winter. Seems no matter how far south I drive, I'm still in grayness.
  BUT that's OK because that is what I need to keep me focused on Finding my Home. Today I had a couple of "those" moments. I was driving through one cool little burg and thinking about what an inviting place it was. And before I was 5 blocks through the town I was thinking it was a neat little town where everyone knew everyone AND their secrets. Which means it's a great little town...for a nifty murder mystery. But not so great for Home.
  Then later, driving through a different burg, I was thinking how reassuring it looked. Familiar. It was a true southern town with the kinds of houses you'd expect to see in a lovely southern town. Which is when I thought about how nice it would be to live in this town IF I wanted to know exactly what was expected of me. It was the kind of town where the home you live in dictates your behavior, the expectations of your behavior and there would never be any need to doubt your actions since they have been predetermined since the south became The South. The South is my catch phrase for any predetermined, controlled atmosphere. Sometimes we need to fit in. And then it's OK.
  OK also to not live there. To live an independent existence of Self Discovery rather than to live safely, being "protected" by convention. Being "protected" by someone else's idea of what I need in my life.
  It has been quite a day.
  And I haven't even mentioned the two ferry rides. I would love to have a ferry close by. Great fun to hop on and travel across the water. Would have been a bit more fun if there had been sunshine instead of rain but hey, it still beats snow!
  Had planned to take a break from driving somewhere along the coast but with the rain and fog, just never found the place so kept driving and driving till after 9pm, stopping 30 miles short of Myrtle Beach, SC. That will be tomorrow's adventure.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stop with the snow already!

   I'm staring out my friend's kitchen window watching the never ending snow blow by. How weird is it to hear no traffic at all in DC? It's like sitting on the front porch of Linda and Lou's log cabin in northern Missouri. Very restful but odd!
   The federal government shut down yesterday early afternoon. I'm thinking they'll be lucky to get back to screwing up our lives by Monday. Which, of course, means that I'll not be getting out of here anytime soon.
   Since my next destination is North Carolina and since they are also experiencing this lovely blizzard, my hopes of strolling on a beach on the Outer Banks are fading with the rising snow drifts. Seriously thinking that it might be best to head back to KC and try this trip again next month.
   That, however, would be complicated since I wouldn't have my fabulous house sitter, Laura, available. Laura is a talented young stage manager who is currently working at the Missouri Rep in Kansas City. Sadly, once this show closes, she'll be off to her next adventure. Since traveling with cats has already been tried and rejected for future trips, this means arranging to test my dear, cat loving friends with having to go to my home to care for my favorite felines. Now I can just hear those of you who are not cat people scoffing and mumbling about what I can do with the cats. Ye of little heart!
   So I guess I'll just wait to see what unfolds next week as the snows recede and the roads reopen. Till then, DC friend Sabrina has lots of lovely projects to help us keep busy while waiting for this blizzard to stop.
   A final thought for you: If you've ever expereinced a loss of any magnitude, you know how difficult it can be to deal with it. Loss, grieving and how we handle these events shapes us and makes us the humans we are. Dear Friend Kathi has just started a blog on this very issue. Check it out:

Keep warm. More as the weather swirls...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Out running the snow

With the new storm threatening the DC and points south, I decided it would be best to get into DC prior to evil precipitation. Sadly, that means not getting to see my friend Celeste in Akron but I'm just not the wild thing I was in my youth and driving through ice and snow no longer holds any appeal. Especially if there are mountains involved. So I blasted out of Indy early yesterday and pulled into DC early evening. Take that nasty snow!

I've had three lovely nights on the road so far. First night was spent with Lynn and Karen who set the standard high for welcoming hospitality. Despite a pulpy, soggy log trying to put a damper on the night, the good conversation and fine cuisine blazed beyond the retardant fire. Thank you both for such a welcome and send off for my journey.

From central IL I journeyed to central IN. Yes, the home of the Colts. Caryl and Brady lived up to the standard set by their Illinois counterparts. Hospitality abounded and other than some really shady Cribbage playing (:-LOL) I had a fabulous time. Thank you both for sharing your home and your art with this adventurer. AND YOUR COFFEE!!!

I am now in DC. Because of the winter storms that we're all experiencing, it has proved to be a wise decision to beeline into DC. It started coming down gently here about 2 this afternoon but has increased in density and volume steadily. The forecasts as I drove in last night were from 6 to 10 inches. Now they're saying we could get as much as two feet. FEET!! Have I ever mentioned that I HATE WINTER???? And my true destination for this leg of Seeking Home is North Carolina. Looks like it may be mid-next week before the roads will be open throughout the state so much of what I was hoping to see will be set aside in the interest of safety and warmth. My deepest desire, which is to walk on a beach, is going to be so weirdly subverted. Walking on the beach in boots and parka is not what I was aiming for.

Gotta' love the forecast here: NEAR 100% chance of snow. HELLO! Honestly, that has been the forecast all afternoon here in DC. Straight talk from your nations capitol. But the DC wonderland is offering a beautiful backdrop for chilling out and enjoying the company of a dear friend. And thanks to my Illinois benefactors, I've got lots of good books to fill the extra time after putting together the bookcases that we risked our lives to buy this afternoon.

Life is good. May it be with all of you also.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

AT LAST!! The road to Home reopens...

Greetings Blog family,
I know I have been a very unresponsive blogger recently. Chalk it up to the winter blues. Midwest gray just sucks the life out of me so that I disappear into the gray for ever so long. However, one can only wallow for so long. SO, in the spirit of adventure that marked the first phase of my Seeking Home, I am returning to the road this morning, heading east.

There were car issues and weather issues that have kept me locked into Kansas City longer than expected. My wonderful mechanic has now cleared my car for take off and it seems Mother Nature is not letting up so off I go without hope of bright sunshine and warm breezes but at least I'll be driving which is my best therapy. Well, it is, right behind a sunny beach.

Zory is not making the trip with me this time and I'm quite torn on this. As much of a pain as it was to get her and all of her "luggage" in and out of our evening resting places, still, she was a great fun traveling companion. I shall miss her sweet presence. But I found that it wasn't the lugging of her "luggage" that swung the scales against her for this trip. It was the lack of freedom to get out of the car to roam and picture take. I couldn't leave her in the car, and wasn't about to go hiking with her. So she will remain behind and I shall strike off on my lonelier travels.

Another issue with Zory was visiting friends. Some don't mind a cat coming in for the night. Others have cat eating dogs and some, poor souls, have allergies. Visiting friends for the SW leg of my Seeking was not an option. Since she will not be with me for this next leg, I'm stopping to see friends whenever I can.

First up is friend Lynn in Illinois. Now, some of you may remember that I lived in Illinois for a few years while attending grad school.  The state and I have very different philosophies. When I left, I was thrilled to escape and have tried to avoid the whole land mass ever since. Obviously, my friend Lynn has a different opinion of the state and has created the most wonderful home space in the center of the state. I'm looking forward to visiting the surroundings as much as seeing a dear friend.

From there to Indiana and some serious Cribbage playing.

I'll leave things there. Now must get to power packing and road hitting. Looks like I won't be out driving the gray but I'll be driving and that is a wonderful thing.