72 hours

Our house sold in 72 hours at more than we were asking for. I couldn’t be happier for that. I’m still sad to be leaving our house after nearly three years, which doesn’t seem long enough, but I’m grateful for the time I spent there and the lessons I learned while overseeing projects, as well as seeing to my own projects.

I can feel myself slowly disconnecting from my house, like a love relationship ending.

I just hope they treat you as well as I treated you….

While all of this was happening over the weekend, I actually had three phone interviews for jobs! While I’m ever so grateful for this, it definitely was a challenge to do this, while getting the house ready for multiple showings. I had to clean up the house, get it looking as perfect as possible, turn on all the lights, light candles, etc., get two dogs and a kitten in the car, and keep them happy for hours, all while trying to prep for potential jobs. Luckily two of the interviews I was able to complete before the first showing, but the third was in my running car with two dogs in the back, one cat in my lap, in a library parking lot. The dogs did a fantastic job staying quiet, and little miss Edith slept most of the time.

20160916_175742
Neurotic Stan to my right, beady eyed Arthur behind me, and Edith on my shoulder – right before my interview.

Two of the jobs interviews went well, and the third….I didn’t feel into the company so I think I’ll refrain from that one. I have a follow-up today on my favorite of the three (yay!) so here’s to hoping!!

20160915_181823
Nobody puts baby Edith in a carrier

Now that the house selling is over, we can rest a little more, and just enjoy the house while we have it for one more month. I want to relax in my house, spend time enjoying it, adding any last fun memories I can before I have to fully let go.

This weekend we will be exploring Omaha for houses. I have a list of potential homes we’d like to see, and hopefully we can see all of them, barring that they’re still available by the time we get up there.

Anyone know a great realtor in the Omaha area?? Anyone?

 

 

Working on patience

We would like to move. We’ve been working on moving for a while now. On many occasions I’ve gotten impatient with the progress. I’ve started to focus so much on waiting for news, looking for a place to live, cleaning the house, getting it ready to list….that I’ve forgotten about everything else in life.

As important as it is to have the house looking nice for pictures, I don’t want to look back after we’ve moved (and I know it’ll eventually happen), thinking only about how much time I spent cleaning, not on any of the things we loved about Austin.

We recently made a list of a handful of restaurants we want to hit up one more time before we leave. So far we’ve hit none of them. This week and going forward, we’ll be refocusing our efforts on enjoying our time where we are before it’s gone. I’ve been in those moments of regret, looking back, thinking about how focused I was on the future, forgetting about my present. There will be plenty of time to wrap myself in those moments later.

Less dreaming and focusing on the future, and what may be, and more focusing on the here and now, while I’m still right here.

patience_quote-1.jpg

Travels, reflection and where you lay your head

I’ve been traveling a lot lately. More than I usually do, which has led to some reflection.

The first trip was out to Oregon, to see my dad’s side of the family. My grandfather had died and I wanted to attend the funeral. I booked a plane ticket and rental car the day before the funeral and headed out. I hadn’t been back to Oregon, my birthplace, in probably 15 years. I tried so hard to remember the last time I’d been but I couldn’t remember. Too long.

The trip was bittersweet; I was here for a funeral, but I was going to see my cousins, aunt, dad, step-mom and grandmother; people I hadn’t seen in so many years. Unfortunately, the last time I’d seen my dad was for another funeral – his sister’s. Why is it that we only seem to see people for weddings and funerals? Continue reading “Travels, reflection and where you lay your head”

Gratitude: Oliver Sacks

This is a collection of four short stories, or reflections, that Mr. Sacks wrote during the last few years of his life. The book read like a reflection on what really stood out in his life and what was important during those last few months on the earth. The musings he wrote were entertaining, insightful and sometimes humorous. For example, Oliver was a scientist by trade and had a love of the elements, so each year for his birthday, he would reflect on the element number of his age. His last one, 82, was Lead.

He also took an uplifting approach to life after learning that his cancer had returned again in his 80s. He reflected on the good in his life, and the gratitude he felt for the years that he had lived.

Even though I had different expectations for this book, it was still a good read and a great reminder to focus on this important things in life, to not worry about all the little piddly things that happen, and to be grateful for the day to day occurrences in our lives.

I’d recommend this short read as a reminder to seek out gratitude always.

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life. On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

Rating: 7.5/10

 

Books & Booze

We went on a mini vacation/anniversary trip to the Hill Country. It was about as perfect as one could make it. The weather was perfect, the town was small and quiet, and the food was delicious.

We stayed at a B&B in the town of Comfort and spent a lot of time just sitting quietly, relaxing, and wandering. It’s something we forget to do, or leave to do at the end of the day, once we’ve run out of time. Continue reading “Books & Booze”

Crossroads

When life starts pulling you apart, what do you do? Until today, we were at a crossroads. Both of us had job offers come our way. Sounds great at first, but the jobs are not in the same place. One is out of state. The out of state job would have been much more of a challenge up front because moving takes a lot of time, effort and money, but it would have brought us closer to our family and friends, and most likely would have lent to a less chaotic life a large city provides. The other offer would keep us here where we are, and give a good pay boost (not as good as the other one), but would help out, and possibly help enough so that we can at least fly home every once in a while instead of driving 19+ hours. Continue reading “Crossroads”

Lost Maples Nature Trail

Friday was a good day to get away from the city and plant ourselves into no-signal land. After work, we quickly finished packing up, grabbed the pups and headed out of town. Three hours later, we landed in Lost Maples Nature Trail, set up camp for the night, cracked a beer or two in front of a small fire, then proceeded to bed.

I had been in charge of most of the packing, as I was working from home that Friday, but I failed a bit in the food department. Continue reading “Lost Maples Nature Trail”

Encouragement & a Hedgehog

This last week or so has been trying. It seems like everyone has been on edge and people have had a problem with just about everything I did at work. Well last week, I said Enough! And I still believe that now. The week ended badly but the weekend was good and I intend for this week to go well too. Besides getting outside in the beautiful Texas weather, we got the house cleaned up, I sold a couple of items hanging around the house, we worked out, tried a new restaurant, and I applied for a job, and am 90% done with another application (I forgot how time consuming they were). It’s going to be a short week in the office (which is always a good thing), and then we fly out to see some friends in Phoenix!

But until then, I have to go to work, be productive, deal with some nasty attitudes, and work on the final stages of my guard training. Fortunately, no more tests, I’ve passed them all, but now I have writing to do. Not fun writing, like, If You Could Be Any Animal in the World, What Would You Be? (An Eagle or a Hawk), but more like, Write your Biography and Talk about Yourself. Ugh.

But I can make it through this week. I won’t let negative people affect me with their cancerous attitudes and I’ll press on with this writing so I have the free time while I’m on vacation. For some encouragement, I found this great picture.

Enjoy!

This-Hedgehog-Is-Cheering-For-You-Because-You-Can-Do-Anything-Thank-Bear-Graphic

Natchez Trace Parkway Pt. 4: Hurricane Creek to Tishomingo

In the last post, I’d mentioned that we stayed at Holmes County State Park in Mississippi, and that it definitely gave off creep vibes. When I walked into the bathroom to shower, it sounded like there was someone sweeping the central part of the building, but when I opened the door to leave, no one was there. Dylan mentioned to me as well that when he went into the bathroom, a toilet fully flushed on it’s own. Creepsville. Add on to the fact that the only other signs of life at this park were two trailers parked nearby but both looked abandoned. More creepsville. Needless to say, we left quickly.

Our first stop was Hurricane Creek. It was a nice educational trail that had posts every 20 feet or so, explaining the different types of vegetation and how even small levels of elevation or water levels change what trees and vegetation grow where.

DSC00622.JPG

What’s great about this trip is that, along the 444 mile path, you don’t just drive from one destination to the other. There is so much to see in between the stops. I took time to think about what this would have looked like as the first explorers, or what it was like even 50 years ago. I imagined this would have been a great destination for families to load up the Buick and spend a week on.

DSC00631 (1).JPG

DSC00632.JPG

I loved how descriptive the signs were. They didn’t just tell you what was ahead, but offered up excitement. “Whole new worlds unfold…” and sentences like this were inscribed in so many of these placards.

DSC00634.JPG

DSC00639.JPG

The Jeff Busby site was also a popular one. It’s one of Mississippi’s highest points at a staggering…..603 feet. But it still boasted a great overlook.DSC00653.JPG

I was excited to see another stop called Pigeon Roost, because, who doesn’t like Pigeons. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a let down, although I did learn something so I can’t completely discount it. The site was home to a man named Folsom. From the signage, I thought maybe he owned a bunch of Passenger Pigeons (this sounds like the start of a poem; There Once Was a Man Named Folsom, Who Found Pigeons to be Wholesome). I’d assumed this collection of Passenger Pigeons was for a business he had in the area, and obviously enough, all the Pigeons are now dead and the business shut down (stupid telephones).

*I decided to do some research before posting this and I was a bit off. Here’s what Natchez Trace Travel’s site says:

Pigeon Roost Creek is a reminder of the millions of migrating passenger pigeons that once roosted in trees in this area. The species has been completely destroyed. One mile east where the Natchez Trace crossed the creek Nathaniel Folsom of New England and his Choctaw wife had a trading post before 1790. Their son, David, later operated it and accommodated travelers. When the Reverend Thomas Nixon stopped here in 1815, David’s wife prepared suitable nourishment and would have no pay. David Folsom, strong supporter of Christianity and Indian education, was elected chief of the northeast district of the Choctaw Nation in 1826.

So, it looks like it was just a places that Passenger Pigeons liked to hang out, which is too bad because in my head, I had a vision of this man with a booming Passenger Pigeon business. My story is so much cooler.

The next stop was Bynum Mounds. These were mounds created by Native Americans. I don’t really recall a whole lot, because instead of learning about the mounds, we encountered three dogs that took a liking to our car. They seemed harmless; I think they were locals that wandered around looking for tourists to hand out scraps, but since we had our dogs out, I took them over to the displays. I didn’t want them to see the other dogs and get overly excited, so I distracted them by teaching them the differences between summer and winter housing units that were constructed by the Natives, while Dylan hustled the locals out of the area.

We left soon after, and headed to Witches Dance just up the road for some lunch. According to local lore, and Legends of America, Hopewell Indians escaped oppressive Mexico and came up to the Natchez Trace area, carrying bones of their ancestors (these bones supposedly became parts of the Bynum Mounds – maybe that’s why the dogs stick around). During their journey, their leader followed the path of a medicine stick he carried and was led by a white dog along the way. During this same time, after the people settled in to their new found home, witches would gather for nighttime ceremonies and dances, and wherever they danced, grass would die and never regrow. There is a lot of mystery rooted in these stories, but they were believable enough at the time that Andrew Jackson, who traveled the Trace frequently, kept the stories in his journal.

Next stop was the Tupelo National Battlefield. This site is actually in downtown Tupelo, not off the highway like the pamphlet said. We decided to skip this due to the fact it would take us so far off the path.

At a little over the halfway point is the Natchez Trace Visitor Center. It’s the only place on the whole path that has any sort of souvenirs, which is refreshing. We stopped for a bathroom break and Dylan went in to check it out. There were more displays and a few trinkets you could purchase if need be.

DSC00659.JPG

One of my favorite stops was the Confederate grave sites that marked 13 unidentified Confederate soldiers. You walk up a short winding path that leads you up a small hill, where 13 unidentified Confederate soldiers lay. No one really knows the complete story behind the 13 soldiers, but it serves as a reminder to one of the most deadly wars in American history. This area is also one of the few spots where you can walk the original Old Trace. I put myself back in time, in the shoes of soldiers and young explorers, thinking back to the conditions during the Civil War and what it would have been like during those times, walking this quiet, lonely path during a violent and changing time.

DSC00661.JPG

DSC00664.JPG

DSC00666.JPG

We made a couple more small stops, at the Dogwood Valley site to see Dogwood trees, and the Donivan Slough (pronounced “slew”), before heading to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

DSC00672.JPG

DSC00677.JPG

DSC00682.JPG

The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway & Jamie L. Whitten Bridge is a waterway that opens a navigable route between the Gulf of Mexico and the Tennessee River, and boasts some great scenery and picture taking opportunities to boot.

DSC00694.JPG

We finished our day, heading about seven miles up the road to Tishomingo State Park. This was a winding, beautiful park that I would love to come back to and spend more time at. This was a big, sprawling park loaded with activities, a pool, hiking trails, a suspension bridge, pioneer house, and more. It was all nicely taken care of, and had some of the nicest bathrooms that we stayed at during our whole trip (something you remember while camping for a week).

DSC00703.JPG

More pictures of Tishomingo to come during the next segment. Until then…

 

Natchez Trace Parkway pt. 2: Natchez State Park

We slept well in our first night in the trailer. The dogs acted as local heaters and kept us warm throughout the night. We were recommended to bring a mattress pad if we had one to compliment the one already in the trailer, but we didn’t have one, and have slept on dirt floors enough on camping trips that we figured we would be fine with the luxury of a trailer. So far, so good.

One of my favorite parts of camping is eating. I guess one of my favorite things is eating, but combine it with camping, the outdoors, hiking, smells of burning logs, cool and crisp air…it just makes food taste so good. With the built in cooler in the trailer, this made the food options expand from the usual camping food for the whole week. We started the morning with bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos (a staple in TX) and hot coffee. (Did I mention this thing comes with a 4-cup coffee pot too?). Breakfast was glorious. We prepped for the drive and took off to our next stop: Natchez State Park, our last stop before starting the Parkway.

DSC00495DSC00457DSC00460DSC00467DSC00470

This state park was well run, clean, and the bathrooms were warm, so I was happy. There was a cool breeze in the air but it wasn’t too cold, and wood was burning in the air so the smell was reminiscent of an October afternoon in the Minnesota countryside.

We took a hike before dinner, catching glimpses of chipmunks skirting about and seeing the boggy marshes, a precursor to our tour for the next week.

DSC00485

One of our best “investments” was long chains and an anchor for the dogs. Before we only had their leashes, which meant they didn’t have much for room to roam. These chains let them explore their new surroundings each night, keeping us sane so we could prep the trailer and make dinner each night.

Next up…the actual Natchez Trace Parkway….