gozarks.com weblog

Today is the present… be the gift.

Master Plan June 6, 2016

Fourteen month ago (aka: April 2015, about two months into my recovery from death) I contrived a ‘master plan’ with a multi-prong purpose. Aside from the obvious of getting my affairs in order, I set my sights on recreating my life; making my surroundings most amenable to me; doing things I always wanted (but never had time) to do.

Thus the necessity to ‘clear the decks’, take stock, and renegotiate (with myself) what is ‘important’ to me… and what is not. Which, as I have pursued various means of ‘downsizing’, has provoked me to ponder the proverbial question: “What’s it all about?”

Why do we ‘do’ whatever we do? What makes one thing more interesting or important or worthwhile than another? And what it all comes down to for me is that once you have the comfort of a decent place to live and the security of knowing that you may reside there for as long as you wish and will always have sufficient nourishment, the only thing that makes anything truly worthwhile is feeling the warm-fuzzies that flow from convivial companionship.

shop05_060316

Front entrance to the artisan workshop and gallery that my daughter and I put together so we could ‘yard sale’ our trash & treasure .

And for these last many months I have had the joy of working with my youngest daughter on a (HUGE) project: to de-clutter, reorganize and convert my backyard garage (pictured above) into the artisan workshop and gallery I’ve dreamed of since the day we moved to this household a decade ago.

shop04_060316

Our yard sales have become popular with our neighbors who often consign clothing, books, and housewares to our yard sale.

We closed the shop over the winter, but reopened this past Sunday (June 5, 2016).

shop01_060316

Our newly reorganized yard sale shop.

Though I know it may not look like it, the way we now have things set up, the left side of the above area now rather easily converts to 8′ x 12′ artisan workshop with workbench including table saw (not pictured) which are along the left wall, behind the hanging clothes.

shop02_060316

Fancy dishware, athletic bags, home furnishings, hair curlers, school desks and gift baskets are among the ever-changing processional of oddities, goodies, and collectibles that parade through our gallery.

My daughter has dubbed the shop “Shaundeli” — and you can see more of the stuff we offer on our Facebook Page. We are planning now for the 4th of July weekend and invite you to come by for a visit and maybe to join us in a game of horsehoes…!!!

Because, like I said, it’s really all and only about the warm-fuzzies… <smile>

Anyway, the following pic is of the completed dinette-booth I created in the mid-cabin of my RV, which I initially set-up about 3 weeks ago save for the detailing, ie: since then I have fabricated and installed a ‘trim & support’ edge for the clear plastic tabletop, covered the (ugly green) cooler with a fabric skirt (which you cannot see in the pic), added a decorative (but durable) cover to the seat cushion, and topped it all off with a nifty decorative pillow.

dinette_complete060616

My mid-cabin dinette.

So… it looks like I am ready for lunch on the road…!!! Now, to figure out just where I want to go…

Anyway, my Japan Chronicles shall continue next time with our visit to Hasedera Temple..(((hugs))) ~Christine

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
 

Japan Chronicles: Homecoming May 2, 2016

Some of the best advice I ever got was “Start with the End in Mind.” It came, as I recall, from a management training program I attended back in the 1970’s. And, truth be told, to fully appreciate the reality of my present moment, we would have to go back that far and stroll through what all I’ve experienced since (and even prior to) then… and you would also have to be sitting next to me right now, in my bedroom, ensconced through big-window glory by a lush variegation of sun-dappled forest green with the lighthearted hymn of my tiny brook babbling in the background.

ASIDE: Did you know that, as new historians (an oxymoron?) now tell it, the first published author and also the first known person to utilize the phrase “I am” in print – which was a total linguistic anomaly at that time – was a woman. A high priestess, to be exact, who wielded more political clout in her day than did Karl Rove during GW’s administration. But don’t take my word for it… have a gander at “The Ascent of Woman” the next time you Netflix.

Back to the moment, at least for me (as I write), this space/time of here-in-now is pretty-damn perfect: I sit in my grandmother’s old rocking chair (that I reupholstered a few months back), tiny laptop (atop an old – 1930’s? – folding table) at my fingertips, immersed in the stunning beauty of nature, surrounded by an array of (what to me are) interesting, comfortable and somewhat unique accouterments of daily life, sipping fresh coffee (laced with just a touch of Irish Cream <smile>), fresh off a two week sojourn in Japan.

RANDOM NOTE: Add imaginary echo here, in a child-like girlish voice to replicate the lilt of my youngest daughter, Shawna, who is nearing 23, repeating the word as a cadenced mantra — “Japan… Japan, Japan, Japan… J-a-p-a-n” – which grew with daily intensity as we packed and prepared for the trip.

Adam (29), Josh (24), Shalom (27) and Shawna (22), siblings together in our 'trip of a lifetime' family vacation in Japan.

Adam (29), Josh (24), Shalom (27) and Shawna (22), siblings together on our family vacation in Japan.

And the two glorious weeks that we were together there, on a family-outing ‘trip of a lifetime’ were by even my most self-indulgent standards, saturated with decadent luxuries that gave great gobs of simple-pleasures to all involved. Truly amazing on so many levels, rippling through every dimension of life, and for which I am deeply thankful and tremendously appreciative of the good will and generosity of my children, without whom I would not have been able to make this trip… and who (for the most part <smile>) treated me like a queen and endured my persnickety ways with loving good grace and aplomb…

Thank you Adam, Shalom, Josh and Shawna for everything that each of you did to make our time together in Japan so phenomenally enjoyable. And thank you Patty (my eldest)… though you could not join us in Japan, we know you were with us in spirit…

Breakfast, prepared by my darling daughters and served al fresco to me on the back porch of my youngest son's apartment.

Breakfast — scrambled eggs with two kinds of tiny mushrooms and cheese and garnished with fresh (celery-like) greens, accompanied by pan-fried potatoes and onions and a warm buttered roll — prepared by my darling daughters and served al fresco to me on the back porch of my youngest son’s apartment as I did my morning computering.

Tales about all of which – from the nightmare of our flight getting there, to our day touring Buddhist temples and including the gastronomical and shopping delights we encountered along our way, I shall relate in dazzling detail  with more splendid photos in coming weeks… <grin>.

Posters are everywhere in the city. These were in a 9-story shopping and food mall on in Yokosuka.

Posters are everywhere in the city. These were just a few of those that bedecked the hallways of a 9-story shopping and food mall in Yokosuka.

Right now, however, carrying forward the present moment and having elucidated the background harmony which carries the happy tune of my life, perhaps and hopefully you have sensed a glimmer of the awes and wonders that resonate in my little universe… the place where I live… the space where I make my home. And the profound joy that I feel just sitting here, absorbing the moment… super-saturated with the activity of simply being alive. Feeling so tremendously gratified to have — oh, so many years ago — started raising my family with the their successful adulthood clearly in mind.

Anyway, in the scope of my continuing present moments, I see some yard-work in my immediate future.

NOTE: It is phenomenally good to be home.

My youngest son, Josh, with some of his shipmates and friends, who assembled in Josh's honor at a local park (in the background is the retired Japanese battleship Mikasa, now a tourist attraction) for his Honorable Discharge and Reenlistment Ceremony, which he was totally secretive about and came as a complete surprise to the rest of us...!!! More about this as my Japan Chronicles unfold...!!! His superiors were VERY complimentary of Josh and also very appreciative that we (his family members) were present for the ceremony because it is such a rarity to have a sailor's kin present for such events. We each were given an official Certificate of Appreciation from the Navy, signed by the Captain of his ship, to thank us for our support of Josh's service to the Navy. And the officers, senior enlisted crew members and his peers were all HUGELY complimentary of Josh... saying to me personally what an outstanding person he is, how great he is to work with and how appreciative they are of having him around.

My youngest son, Josh (front row, 4th from the right), with some of his shipmates and friends, who assembled in Josh’s honor at a local park (in the background is the retired Japanese battleship Mikasa, now a tourist attraction) for his Honorable Discharge and Reenlistment Ceremony, which he was totally secretive about and came as a complete surprise to the rest of us…!!! More about this and lots more good news next time, as my Japan Chronicles unfold…!!!

(((hugs))) ~Christine

 

BirthDays March 2, 2011

If I had gone to our state capitol today, in the hopes of addressing the membership of one of the various legislative committees who are considering bills which — in my self-esteemed wisdom — deserve critical attention, then I would not have shared breakfast and conversation with my daughter. Reason enough, it could rightly be said, for not going. But the issue to me is bigger than that.

Today, I am 62.

Thus, in my self-esteemed wisdom applied to me, I have arrived at a new benchmark. The beginning of a time in space where I get to more freely choose those things that will fill my present moments. And, with my children now predominately at the helms fo their own lives, my business obligations all satisfied, a comfortable roof over my head, a reliable vehicle to drive and the benevolence of a tidy Social Security pension, the expanses of what I may if I wish to do with my time are, perhaps for the first real time since I was twelve, seemingly limitless.

This is an odd and wonderous place to be, the liberating sensations of which wash over me like warm effervescent tides of sunshine and smiles.  It is a lovely place of mind to simply be. No ‘pressure’ of any great magnitude to ‘get things done’. Not that there isn’t a ‘to-do’ list — which I know is a double negative, but serves the point well. Because there is and will always be a to-do list. Its rigors, whether consciously chosen or memetically engendered, are assigned from our first breath of life.

Knowing this, when posed with a meaningful and substantive equation to resolve — such as ‘what do I want to do with the rest of my life?’ — my solution is simple. I ask myself “What will I be doing the day after all the ‘problems’ are resolved?” And of course the operative ‘problems’, generally speaking, constiute a whole lot of different things and are usually respective of the circumstances immersing my moment-to-moment reality.

At one time in my life, for about ten years, the ‘problem’ was how to steward our family resources to make sure all the bills got paid, that we had a comfortable home, reliable transportation, nutritious food and suitable clothing while homeschooling four children and being the (hopefully) loving spouse of a disabled person.  That decade resounded with a series of life-quaking problems, such as arriving home from work one day to find all four of our children (then ages 9, 7, 5 and 3) ‘missing’ from our home and yard while their dad slept on the couch and, when awakened, had no idea where they were.

It was a revelation for me to come to grips at that moment with the inhibiting constraints of my husband’s disablilty.  The ‘problem’ was real and huge. That instant of cognition added a heaping of ‘new tasks’ to my to-do list, some immediate and many long-term.

Thankfully, the children were quickly found playing at a neighbor’s. And I resolved in that moment for everyone’s sake that my husband — whose dysfunction is predominantly cognitive — must never be left alone with reponsibility for our children ever again. Thus, until we divorced some years later (by that time our eldest was 18 and our youngest was 12) I was effectively a single-parent ‘head of household’ for a family of six. And trust me, there were many problems.

But always there was this vision of what life would be like ‘after’ all the problems were resolved, and a yearning for some sort of blissful meadow of contentment to prevail in my life and, to whatever degree it is in my power to affect it, in the lives of all others… all of which comes with its own set of problems. Such as, for example, the crossroads I am camped at now: Taking stock. Inventorying my ‘to do’ list. Assessing what is (and what is not) truly important to me… Asking myself, somewhat obsessively, ‘what do I want to do with my time now that I am more free than I have ever been as an adult to make the choice…??? 

And the truth of the matter is that I just don’t know yet…

What I do know is that I don’t want the rest of my life to be a recurring processional of things I have already done, which brings me back to the legislative hearings I did not attend. For better or worse I have been doing my bit as a ‘good citizen’ to uphold my civic duties for over forty years. And, respectfully, over the passage of time I have done this with increasing vigor. But now I have arrived at a break-point and before I take another step forward I need to assimilate, digest and ponder which direction I really want to go…

Which is exactly what I am doing and, as with the choice I made this morning, this path of ‘not’ doing is feeling pretty good…. except for the part of me that still feels a duty to share what I’ve learned about all of this stuff over the course of the last 62 years, in the hopes of making life better, easier, simpler and more satisfying for everyone, every day.  So I’ll have to see what I can do about that… (((hugs)))

 

Arizona June 24, 2010

Phoenix is a tribute to its name, at least from the perspective of the freeway by-passer. Surely, this city has won awards of some significant nature for the meticulous attention to detail expressed in the cultivated landscaping if its expressways… causing me to wonder: If the federal government is the ‘great equalizer’ in terms of maintaining a nationwide network of connecting arteries among the various states, what is Phoenix doing that the rest of us could model?

Because frankly, the state of our national roadways in other locations along our route unfavorably pales by comparison, with Colorado placing a somewhat distant second. In both places, however, one of the more impressive qualities is the mosaic embellished to the retaining and sound-deflecting walls that corridor the pavement. Denver has gone with a scribed ‘mountain & river’ motif, which scrolls along the top of the walls like an endless graphic tapestry that is surprisingly pleasant and much easier on the eyes than plain cement.

Phoenix, however, has captured the allure of Aztec temples with embossed geometrics and cultured landscaping, lush with flowering flora. Captivating.

Anyway, today we shall leave behind us the chimney rocks and blooming cacti of the Arizona high deserts. We spent last night in Globe, just a hop and skip to the New Mexico border on US 60, which we shall travel all the way to our current destination.

 

SeaSprites June 21, 2010

Tonight will likely be our last night in sunny/misty/foggy California, ending our quest for the last two days to camp in a place ‘by the beach’, optimally with some sun.  

Shawna sunbathing by the pool where we overnighted in Santa Barbara.

Shawna sunbathing by the pool where we overnighted in Santa Barbara.

  

Last night we camped in Santa Barbara. Very posh and pleasantly sunny, though unseasonably cool when we checked in, looking forward to a stroll on the beach just around the corner.  

Hunger called, however, so we set off to find dinner and ended up at an ornately bedecked and lavishly bedazzled India-cuisine restaurant in the heart of the tourist-trade district on (I think it was) Central St.  

The atmosphere was enchanting, lavish with tapestry ceiling and intricately carved woods. The presentation and service were charming and professional. Sadly for me, however, though I am certain the food was superbly prepared, I have never been a fan of curry and my hopes that perhaps my tastes had changed proved futile.  

View looking east from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

View looking east from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

  

Still, I reserved this news until Shawna — who was getting a first taste of the distinctive flavors — had finished her meal… or should I say stopped nibbling at it, sighed, and demurred that at least she liked the rice.  

View looking west from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

View looking west from our 2nd floor room on Hermosa Beach.

 When I gave her the news that I’d never been a big fan of India food she, with raised eyebrow, enquired as to why I had not objected before we’d dined… and I told her that I wanted her to experience the tastes for herself, without my prejudicial influence. She smiled and said something like, yeah… but you coulda told me and I woulda believed you. To which I responded, sure… but now you know for yourself.  

What she did not get to know for herself, however, was that longed-for walk on the beach which was postponed after dinner last night, ostensibly until this morning. But with the fresh daylight, the sky was overcast and the breeze nearly chilly. So we headed on down the coast.Wending our way, making several wrong turns, keeping close to the seashore, we managed to find a motel that is right on Hermosa Beach. Not nearly so splendiferous in accoutrement, and nestled alongside a mixed residential and business district, the beach is literally right outside our door, the sun shines brightly and Shawna is enthralled!!!!

 

Reno June 16, 2010

Night berfore last we stayed  somewhere-mid-northern-Nevada at a posh ‘casino’ motel. Last night we landed in Reno. Still, proximity does not change habit. At least not automatically. And never having been much of a gambler, I have yet to place a dime on the tables or in the slots.

Shawna collects some salt from the Nevada flats, home to the 'measured mile'.

Shawna collects some salt from the Nevada flats, home to the 'measured mile'.

Which should not be construed to mean that I am not a risk-taker. If that were true I wouldn’t be on this road trip!!! I mean, three glorious weeks with a teenager… no sane person could contemplate this without comprehending that they are putting sanity at risk!!

Still, this is the role of a parent: To do what can be done to assist and enable our children to grow and prosper by exposing them to and immersing them in the way life is and the way it ought to be.  And to do this well, we must come to grips with the fact that the ‘daily routine’ we maintain is the real master of this (subliminal/pervasive) communication.

Yet there are moments when our surroundings and the events taking place present opportunities to emphasize important bits of ‘reality’ in context of our cultivated perception… which is, realistically, critical to each of us in developing an innate sense of well-being and cognitive health.

This morning, for example, as Shawna and I took our time packing, getting ready for my business meeting this afternoon, we had a chat about double-standards prompted by her questions about the California man who was pursuing Bin Ladin.

Not completely comprehending the details of a report on the TV news about his arrest in Pakistan, I gave her a factual account: That a U.S. Citizen had taken it upon himself to hunt-down Osama bin Ladin. That he had done this because he was pissed that Osama was still at large and since there was a bounty posted on Osama’s head — making him a ‘legal target’ for any self-declared bounty-hunter — the man had set out to bring Osama to justice, but was arrested for taking pursuit.

What?!? Was her answer. How could they do this? Why did they arrest him? She wanted to know.

And thus ensued our chit-chat about double-standards. How ‘we’ (as society) get desensitized to our own moral infractions: Saying one thing (ie: putting a bounty on a man’s head — which itself is to my way of thinking a questionable and immoral practice) and then doing the opposite (ie: punishing a person for taking seriously and acting upon our public encouragement to do something we have said should be done).

As if to make my point, the next news item was a video of a police officer punching a woman in the face for j-walking, which elicited an astounded ‘OH MY GOD’ from my darling child. Capitalizing on this illuminating moment, I gently chided: See… that’s exactly what I’m talking about. And that is why I am so brutally intollerant of ‘little’ inconsistencies in personal moral-codes and standards. Our society has come to worship  violence. We tollerate and even celebrate it as a supposed means of ‘doing good’.

However, this is not normal. It is a learned/inculcated behavior resulting from the incremental desensitizing of our innate sense of ‘good conduct’. It happens a little, and a little, and a little at a time, this inculcated immoral ideology until — socio-cultrually speaking — we end up in a space of time where law enforcement officers commit agregious criminal behaviors which are voraciously defended by officials as ‘honorable’ and old men are sentenced to five years in Federal prison for growing plants. ~~~

 

7 days June 14, 2010

Seven days (six nights) on the road… and two weeks to go <smile>. And I must add more kudos for this Day’s Inn, for the easiest connection to the Internet (egads, some of these places make you click through all kinds of ‘permissions’ every time you want to sign-on) and for having a modestly pleasant view. Anyway…

Though we are ‘behind’ the original travel schedule we calcualted (due to the luxury time indulged with kin), we are still on track with getting where we want to go by when we want to get there. Today we will drive through Utah and cross over into Nevada where I am ‘supposed’ to have some business appointments but have not yet confirmed. Thus now, with the luggage cart loaded, it is time to get back on the road.