Miss Independent is Back

I have seen Josh for about five whole days in the last month and a half or so.  For this Redeemed Tour Citizen Way started up in our neck of the woods then headed down south, all the way west, up to Washington and over to Montana and then, finally, one month later I picked him up at a McDonald’s off the freeway in MN.  He had gone a total of around 8094 miles and 128 hours of driving for 19 shows at 19 different venues in 12 different states in 31 days and only slept 2 – 5 hours per night.  Josh and Ben Blascoe split all those miles and all those hours in the driver’s seat of their 15 passenger van.

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 9.48.10 AMThis map shows the first 31 days of the tour, February 1 – March 4.

Needless to say, after all those miles with high energy and sold out shows in so many cities and states Josh was in need of some serious sleep.  Instead, he meets me in Minnesota to sing for my Grandma’s memorial service.  For him this meant sacrificing his big need for rest and pouring any remaining energy into loving on me, working on memorial service details, and entertaining my extended family.  And he did it all with such grace and love.  He is incredible.

If you haven’t guessed, marriage for us is different.

Because of all our time apart and weeks spent fending for myself I have found that I have reconnected with the little Miss Independent from my teenage years.  While Josh is gone I adopt a different lifestyle; I work all morning, around 1 or 2 I take a break or a nap, I get back to work, and come evening I read a book until I’m sleepy.  I mix it up with the occasional hang with a friend, a walk with the dogs, a home project, or some knitting.  It’s seems to be a very healthy pattern.  Instead of powering through 8 – 10 hours of work every day I put in 4 or 5, take a break so I can power back up and get excited and inspired, then I work the remaining 4 to 5 hours.

I also have a whole manner of affairs to tend to on my own.  Because of these little items I have to work on I have been finding that at the end of every day I feel very accomplished.  By sweeping, doing the dishes, buying groceries, juicing, getting the oil changed, shoveling the driveway, clipping the dog’s nails, or paying bills I can feel like I’ve been productive even if I’ve only been working on editing the same wedding for three days straight.

Then Josh comes home and we try to squeeze in as much togetherness as my work load can afford.  It’s a confusing back and forth because on one had I’m left to fend for myself and on the other hand I suddenly have someone around 24/7.  Talk about some whiplash.  We’re still navigating how to go between these two extremes in the ways that are easiest and most beneficial for both of us.  For the rest of this Redeemed Tour the art of this back-and-forth will be put to the test.  According to the schedule Josh is gone 4 – 5 days at a time then he’s home for 2 – 3.  As for today and the rest of this week I am Miss Independent, then come Monday I am a Mrs again for a couple of days 😉

It’s My Mom’s Birthday!

Today is my Mom’s Birthday!  And in honor of her I am going to tell you a favorite memory with her.

There are a few memories that stand out above them all… my mom tends to be HILARIOUS when under the influence of her sleeping medication, she is a riot while playing any game (especially our game of UNO while we were in Lochness, Scotland) and she is the perfect road trip buddy when faced with unknown territory and no navigation.  One such road trip occurrence happened on our epic California trip in the summer of 2010.  This trip took us from San Francisco to Napa Valley and all the way down to Los Angeles.  We delighted in wine country, mother-daughter time, and Hollywood in good company.

On our last day near San Francisco I resolved to make it into the heart of city before we left for Los Angeles.  My mom committed to making it happen.  So after a morning spent by the pool watching my second cousin in her swim competition we grabbed our rental car and hit the pavement.

When we reached the city limits, just off the bridge, our Garmin died.  For the next 40 minutes we putted along on Embarcadero Drive.  Why do I remember that street name you ask?  Because we were on a 1.5 mile road for 40 MINUTES.  I also must mention that we were on a time crunch.  With an hour budgeted to hang in the city before we had to be off to get me to a photo shoot our time was cut to 15 minutes by the time we parked which meant walked up a wharf, stared at the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz off far, far away, then walked back up the wharf and drove the 50 minutes back to Orinda.

With my mom though, I loved this adventure.  We mostly spent that 40 minutes of stuck in-between people and more people on that dreadful road laughing about it and dreaming up our blog-worthy story 🙂

I wrote a blog post about this experience a while back and, if you’re interested, you may CLICK HERE to read the original story and see all the pictures from that day 🙂

Also, if you haven’t already… check out my 100th Blog Post HERE!  Psst… I’m having a giveaway drawing over there :)

California – Day 2 (July 20)

So it must be confusing to be reading these blogs for yesterday a day later and I am feeling a lack of direction for this particular piece, but  here it goes.  And just so we understand each other, it’s hard to post on the day without staying up super late to write on the day that just happen.  So, here we are.

Today (meaning yesterday) mom and I woke up nice and early to start our adventures in Northern California.  I decided to run.  Up a hill.  Because they are unavoidable. By the time I reached my halfway point I realized I could walk as fast as I was running.  And when I reached the top the phrase “breathe-taking view” held some brand new meaning as I sucked for air while gazing out across this drier Rwandan-looking expanse of hills and gorges.

Then we headed to Santa Rosa to complete out missions for the day:  two business meetings for Mom and visits to Guernville and Healdsburg.  For the business meetings I had some work time and lunch and then we were set to trek out on our days real adventures.

Guernville is hippie central.  Right off the bat I stumbled across two incoherent beings, one mumbled something strange that I am now having trouble recollecting and the other was a young boy sitting on a fence mumbling for “spare change.”  Now, by the time I could decipher what the second was saying I was well past him and quickly realized he would probably turn around and use it for weed.

The majority of the stores in this town had something to do with marihuana.  We did not stay long because there was not much of a main street, but it was fun to visit the small stretch of bright stores and enjoy a couple yummy truffles.  Also, we actually got stuck talking to a store owner about best routes to get everywhere, and I mean everywhere, we were going while in California.  Can say I don’t remember a word, but he sure was enthusiastically helpful.

Healdsburg, for those of us Illinoisans, is a glorified downtown Geneva.  Everything is expensive and the food is not great.  We walked down the main street, the whole length of the down town area, without even rubbernecking at any given shop.  At the end of the road, however, we discovered the chamber of commerce and got our hands on a map.  Now, I was completely famished, but then we stepped into this fair trade store called One World Fair Trade.  Through this store I got to travel back to Africa and travel to all sorts of other countries.  New breath was blown into my lungs.  Our next chosen destination from our new handy-dandy map was this Upper Level Art Gallery.  It literally existed at in the upper level of a trendy bookstore and there was everything from oil paining, to photography, to ethnic sculpting, to jewelry making.  It was a brilliant niche of eclectic, local art.

After a few other lesser exciting stores and some super salty dinner we were on our way back to our Japanese-esk hotel for some wine and a chick flick.

P.S.  I do not recommend plum wine or “Just Go With It.”

California – Day 1 (July 19)

Yesterday I woke up to the wet blanket of humidity.  It made a habit of looming on top of Minnesota for a few days already, but nothing like yesterday.  By the end of the day I heard that the temperature peaked at 95 degrees, but with the humidity it was 120.

And I ran.  With the drip drip of sweat and dreams of a dry California I finished my shorter morning run.  Inside again I was greeted by a cool shower and bacon, toast, and eggs for breakfast with my family and grandparents.

The morning went by without a hitch until we got on the plane.  Our flight was supposed to take off at 11:18 and at 11:20 we were still parked at the terminal and listening to a flight attendant, in the language of broken intercom, tell us that we were instructed to remain grounded until a heavy storm blew by us.  Well, it blew right over us, just big enough to seemingly only dwell over the airport for an hour and a half.

I could literally watch the storm blow in and could even watch the sunny world just beyond our blanket of danger.  The sky looked like a table top of rolling, grey, burnt marshmallows.

Hail.  It came at us sideways, crab apple sized, with rain and lightening.  It all sounded like savage percussion in surround sound as the hail intermittently wailed on us, with the rain sheeting steadily against our metal shelter, and the lightening causing a base-like boom and a light show.

Then it left as quickly as it came and we mad our way into the air with the parade of other delayed planes.

The sky was gorgeous all across the country with visibility to the ground the whole way.  I got to watch as characters formed in the brilliant cotton ball clouds and varying, colorful landscapes passed below.

A smiling otter

A dog… namely Pluto I think 😉

A bunny laying in the clouds!

The Rockies

When we first landed in California I was not blow away, but I was startled by strangely bright colored pools of water.  Anyone know what they are for?

Then, as soon as I stepped outside, I was blown away by the perfect weather.  It was 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky—it feels like fall and looks like summer.

For dinner Dena brought us to a local Thai place.  We shared the most delicious Thai food we ever experienced.

We got back in the car and Dena decided to show us around a little.  We drove through a forest preserve and up to the top of a hill where I was startled by the breath-taking view of Ugandan-looking rounded, rolling hills saturated with the golden glow of a perfect sunset.  Unfortunately, since I was only planning on dinner, I did not bring my camera, so it looks like I’ll have to make a trip up there again ;).