Posts Tagged With: Lifestyle

Sleepless in Anchorage

Last night Lynda and I decided to have a snuggle night and with my tv (she won’t claim to own one) we decided on “Sleepless in Seattle”. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.. Innocent enough, and Lynda mentioned she had never seen it.

For those of you that have not seen it, the story is about loss and renewal. The story is of a husband who loses his soul mate to some undefined disease. The opening scene is from a graveside service with the boy and the dad standing at the grave site and his dad is trying to explain to his son that there didn’t seem to be any specific reason for his wife dying, that it was simply life being random in its selection of those it takes. and even more so: “If we start asking why, we’ll go crazy”.. I quit asking why her very, very quickly. Anger is an emotion that can spin out of control.

While Lynda and I lie on the couch, the year 2001 came roaring back in vivid color. My emotions, while under some sense of control, was given the reminder of what it means to lose a soul-mate. Something, even as I write can cause my eyes to leak. The movie went on that since his loss, “Sam” the person that Tom Hanks plays, cannot sleep. I remember that well. At the very best,  I could catch 1/2 hour cat naps once or twice during the day. And for those that know my penchant for sleeping at the drop of a hat, that is a big statement.

At that point in time, as far as I was concerned, my married days were over.  Sure, I would date, but the idea of finding another soul mate in this life time was zero. I had my time in the sunshine, Connie was my girl and she was gone, much like Sam’s in the movie. Eventually I became functional, but the words that Tom Hanks uttered hit home harder than I expected.. he was quoting me… “Wake up, take a breath, remember to breathe out, take another step”.. repeat. and remember to breathe in.. and take another step.

It was if “Sam” and I had walked in the same shoes down the same dark trail. Scary indeed. Lynda checked in with me a couple of times, but I was determined to watch the movie through. I can remember doing much like the character, lying on a couch talking to Connie as if she were standing right there. that was my new normal.

At some point in the movie there was a part where Sam was about to get mixed up with the wrong person, and his son fixed it for him. I can remember coming dangerously close to the same thing. Someone I was dating was looking for much more than I was willing to give. But in the end that ended well.

As the movie progressed it told of “fate”. of “knowing” when you have met someone that you have no doubt you will love for the rest of your life. That you have “found home” even knowing you had never seen it before, that this was where you were meant to be.

To quote Sam: “I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic”

When Lynda and I reconnected, I was nervous.. scared. Worried that again, I was making a mistake in reaching out to someone, but the funny part? I knew it deep in my bones that Lynda was the only one on the planet that had a chance of pulling me out of the world I had grown into.

When we met at the airport, that world began to melt away, the darkness, the loss, the hurt suddenly began to dissipate, evaporate. The passion was there, but there was something else. Like with Connie, when I heard her laugh at that restaraunt, I knew something was about to happen, and when I laid eyes on her, I knew.. I knew in my heart, that she was going to be my wife.

Lynda and I left airport terminal and went out to my truck. We hopped in and I started the engine. I reached over and took Lynda’s hand and the world stopped. I mean it stopped cold. That touch, that hand hold, took both our breaths away. At that point, I realized two things.

One.

I had judged every hand I had ever held based on that very same hand that I held from my high school days. With no doubt, every girl I dated, every female I had ever held hands with, that hand, Lynda’s hand, was what I judged every woman on, for better or worse. It was one of the most wonderful epiphanies I have ever had

Two

I had just become the luckiest guy in the universe. I had found what I deemed impossible, a second soul mate. I mean that. When you meet someone, that one person, you know it. There is, and was, no doubt, that Lynda and I would spend the rest of our days together, however long those days would be.  I describe it as the world suddenly “clicking” into place and the hands of fate had come full circle.

The movie helped me to remember that sometimes, when you lose something special, that in that moment, the universe is by far the most cruel thing there is. And in the next moment, when you find yourself staring at a magical place in time, that you use that memory to reach out instead of hide.. take that leap of faith and see what may be.

There is magic in this world, just remember to keep your eyes open to it. Sometimes it is something as easy as an email to someone you haven’t seen in 22 years.

May your new year be just that, a new year, full of excitement, adventure, fun, and love. Keep those that you care about close to you, never let them doubt how you feel, and live with a sense of urgency… Live the life that you dream of, and keep your eyes open.. The universe is stranger than fiction.

 

 

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Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Cancer, Downhill Skiing, Family, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Love, Reconnection, Religious, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski, Spiritual, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colorado… land of dreams…

It was the back to school dance of 1980. I (Lynda) was starting my sophomore year: Erick was starting his Junior year at Goddard High School in Roswell, NM. That was when it all started.  Erick had seen me during the school year but I was going steady (remember that term) with a friend of his named Frank. Frank and I broke up over the summer and I was a single girl… until that Back to School dance. Erick wasted no time. He immediately asked me to dance and we danced all night together. Yes, he asked for my phone number and with much excitement I gave it to him.

When he called the next week (he was genius) he said that he was taking his younger sister to the circus in town and would I like to go. How could mom say no to that? He was such a gentleman. He, of course, met my parents and promised to have me home right after the circus. He opened my door and did all the things that a young man is supposed to do. Oh, and he cleaned up so nice. I was so proud to take his arm and hold his hand and walk next to him. Little did I know that 22 years later when I took that hand again it would take our breath away. More on that later…

As we began to get more and more serious in our dating he gave me a Promise Ring. It had our names down each side and a tiny diamond at the top. We talked about where we would go after we graduated high school. I had moved to Roswell in the summer of 1979 between ninth and tenth grade. My freshman year, 1978, was spent in Colorado Springs; CO. Colorado was greener than anything I had ever seen at the time.

My parents moved there from Oceanside, CA where I went to seventh and eights grade.  Oceanside was ok but it was a rough time for me and I was thrilled to leave. Colorado was different. I had always lived in the desert, never where the scent of pines filled the air and there was snow.  And yes, I had to walk a quarter mile in the snow to wait for the school bus. We had 3 acres just outside of Colorado Springs and we could look out over the city lights at night and see the tram lights as they went up the side of Pikes Peak. Under a full moon the snow on the mountains would glisten and reflect the moonlight. Twinkling stars were everywhere.

We decided after graduation we would move to Colorado and buy an A-frame house and grow old together. We talked about living in Colorado; what it would be like and what we would do.

Well, he had difficulty with a certain vice-principle in school. It was clear that Mr. Lair was going to do everything he could to see that Erick didn’t graduate. Erick knew he couldn’t support me without an education so he went to speak to the recruiters. He would have liked to join the Air Force but poor vision and glasses deleted that option so instead he enlisted in the Marines. He knew I would talk him out of it so he didn’t tell me until right before he left for boot camp. I was angry. No, I was Livid! But there was nothing I could do but let him go and promise to be here when he came home.

He came home after graduation from boot camp. OMG did he looked good. He walked taller and straighter than I had ever seen anyone walk. He was no longer a high school kid, he had become not just a man; he had become a Marine. He was home for about 15 days and then he was gone again. He had become a Marine, but I was still just a high school girl whose worth is measured by whether she had a date to the prom. Long story short, I lasted through boot camp but I didn’t have what it took to wait for him to come home again. So our romance ended with a letter.

It was 10 years ago; November seventh, 2003 when I got the email that said, “Is this the same Lynda Smith?” When he later asked, “What are you doing?” my response was “leaving a bad job and a bad relationship” He said, “Why don’t you come up to Alaska?” and I did. We knew that we had unfinished business. He met me in the airport with twenty-two red and pink roses (one for each year we had been apart) and a fur coat – it was winter in Alaska.

When we saw each other we both started running. he was trying to video me but dropped the camera to his side as the microphone of the still rolling camera recorded “oh my God.” We embraced, in the middle of the isle until security asked us to move. We gathered our things, I donned the fur and we walked – or should I say floated – outside to the parking area. Just like in high school he opened my door, helped me in and as I shook off the cool night air, he appeared in the driver’s seat of the Land Cruiser.

As if there had never been a day missed, our hands met on the console and our fingers interlaced. The moment our fingers found each other, we both gasped for air. The feeling of our hands together took both our breath away. Apparently every handhold for 22 years was unconsciously compared to that handhold. It was as though our hands found home. Once we found our breath, we kissed again. It was a long, hard, welcome-home kiss.

Now thirty-two years later as I type this we are traveling in Koko (our home on wheels) to set up in Breckenridge, Colorado for the ski season. He just asked me “how do you like our A-Frame” my response… “I think I‘ll adjust.” No, Koko isn’t exactly an A-Frame, I think maybe she is better.

Colorado Rocky Mountain High

Colorado Rocky Mountain High

We will spend the majority of the winter here in Breckenridge with our Epic Ski Pass. The Epic gives us access to several ski resorts in Colorado but also 2 in California and four in Europe – should we choose to go there. The month of December we will fly down to Belize where we will SCUBA dive the Blue Hole, tour the Mayan ruins in Guatemala, go hiking, cave tubing, zip lining, you name it.

And then? In January back here to finish out the ski season before meandering our way to the Florida Keys for more SCUBA diving.  We couldn’t do that sort of thing if we had a traditional A-Frame. So yes, I think I will adjust to our “A-Frame”

This dream took 33 years to bring to fruition. Let’s create another one that is 32 years in the making. But this time, lets enjoy all those years together. I love you, Babe.

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Downhill Skiing, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Leaving San Diego

Funny how a road trip can change your perspective, your attitude, and your mindset.

Lynda and I truly enjoyed our 3 month excursion into Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and back to San Diego. 8000 miles all in all. In that time we became aware of many lifestyle changes that fell into place as we boogied about the US.

The first? We slowed down. A lot. We found that when we don’t have a specific pushing reason to get up at the crack of dawn? We don’t. We snuggle for a couple of hours, and that truly is priceless. I can remember being up at 0430, stumbling for the coffee pot, hitting the shower, and bouncing out the door to fly down the road at 70mph+ so that I could get Lynda to work, then get myself parked in front of my laptop at work for another day at the grind.

I remember standing up one day and looking over the top of my cube and had this pressing thought. “If today were the last one I would ever have, if I knew that time was up at the end of the day, is this where I would want to be”? and the answer to that thought was an overwhelming

NO.

The thought that stimulated this was the remnants of an experience from Alaska while working for Chris Pecci a good friend, at Unocal. There was a very well liked Vice President out of Houston who was known for working hard, many hours a week, great person to work for and with, and was held in high regard by all. He had a massive heart attack at his desk. He was dead before he hit the floor. After his services, several executives at Unocal quit. They didn’t want their lives to end at a desk. Funny how the loss of a human life can sometimes save others.

The idea of being a “gopher” in a sea of cubes suddenly became revolting. The funny memory of all these heads popping up when there was a loud noise in the ocean of cubes was chucklacious, but, the humor suddenly escaped me. The pay was EXCELLENT, and the people, overall, were good folks to work with and to work for, but if someone had stepped up to me 10 years ago after a wild road trip across the US with my high school sweetheart and said “You, sir are going to spend the next 10 years of your life in a cube farm”, I would have smacked them in the head and told them they were stoned.

The scary part? They would have been spot on. Lynda and I became wrapped up in the idealistic life that we had been sold on by our environment, and that environment being our parents, Wall Street advertising, blame it on whatever you want, but we had purchased the “American Dream”.. Lock. Stock. and Barrel.

Now, honestly? Working with Lynda in our wood shop at our home on Fairburn Street was beyond fantastic, we enjoyed it. and we were wholly responsible for the dream we created. We built our own furniture, fixed up our home, enjoyed days of putzing in the yard, it was truly, the “American Dream” and we did cherish it. Then a serious kick in the ass came in from left field. Lynda had been diagnosed with stage IIIA breast cancer. and our world melted.

Doctors, Surgeons, questions.. above all, questions… what to do? The standard way or what? and we began our trek through the wonderful world of really scary shit. We rode the roller-coaster from hell. But buried in that roller coaster, we both turned our thoughts to our beginnings, our road trip in 2004 from Alaska to San Diego, via Key West… That was our happiest trip, our best of our best times, and how do we do that again? How do we reduce stress and re-learn how to focus on living and less on chasing the almighty dollar?

Finally, we had our answer.

Just do it. Scrape your cash together, toss out all that you are willing to cast off, point the boat of our lives to uncharted waters, give each other a huge kiss, and set sail. We bought our motor-home, donated our “stuff”, tossed our “stuff”, cried about our “stuff”, laughed about our “stuff”, but downsized our “stuff” to what we had when we met each other again… and in that, learn to live for the moment, to enjoy the now, and let life be, while we create memories that last for our lifetimes.

And so far? Can you remember the last time you got up and actually looked forward to your day? Truly enjoyed a long snuggle with your soul mate? Spent the day enjoying your surroundings? Made wild plans for the week, the month? the year? and knew that you could change them on a dime and it would be OK?

We want to share our journey with our friends of whom we truly miss. That was our other insight… We may not care for San Diego, but we truly miss our friends, all of them. We love sharing our stories, and listening to what their lives have going on in them… In that loss, our hearts can often ache for the warmth of their company… please remember that as we share our current story, you truly are missed.

The story is far from over, and the journey has just begun, and it begins with a fresh perspective, new ideals, goals. Easy? Easier than we expected, but not without concern.. If you follow the theory of the “law of attraction” essentially thoughts are reality generators, and in that, what you dream of, what you think of? You create. So in your day, spend some time thinking of what YOUR life should look like. How you would like it to be. Then make it so. It is NOT impossible, may not be EASY, but not impossible. Dream it. Do it.

Our dream? Travel the US, ski the mountains, scuba the oceans, but to SEE America on the road for the next decade or so. Meet new friends, and share our lives with everyone who is interested in our tale. As this goes along, you will find that we are fluid, things change, goals shift, and the wind blows.. but our course is set, our smiles are wide, and our love is deep. Please enjoy our crazy path, comment, laugh, share.. and please share yours… our friends life stories are wonderful to us as we hope ours is to you.

So, if nothing else, the take away from this current rant? For all our friends, and anyone who stumbles across this blog…

Life can be a short run thing. I have heard that since I was a teenager from my brother and it stuck with me.  I have been fortunate enough to have made it this far with only a few close calls. Many of my friends were not so fortunate. I cannot count how many lives seemed to end before they should have.

So before a “close call” becomes a permanent thing? Get passionate about your life’s dream, whatever it may be, and reach for that dream. Never give up, never surrender that vision, if you have buried it? Dig your dream up from the grave it is buried in, give it life’s breath, bring it back to the world of the living and set it free. See where that vision leads you, perhaps the road less traveled, maybe even the one you are on. But pursue it like a man on fire running for a lake.

Mark Twain

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore

Dream

Discover”

~Mark Twain

Categories: Adventure, Adventure Travel, Backpacking, Camping, Downhill Skiing, Hiking, Hot Tubbing!, Living Passionately, Love, Reconnection, RV Travel, Scuba, Ski | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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