Last week, on the first anniversary of my son’s death, I took a little trip.
I flew to Kansas City to visit friends. They showed me warm hospitality and took me on a tour of a place that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, Unity Village.
I haven’t written out a formal bucket list, but if I had done it, “Visit Unity Village” would have been on it. Their gardens, labyrinth, and nature trails offer tranquility. Their five chapels offer peace. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be on that day.
Guess where I spent last weekend.
In case you don’t recognize the location, I was in beautiful Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That’s a photo of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
I was in Milwaukee to attend the Women in Travel Summit, #WiTS17, produced by She’s Wanderful. I’ve attended various conferences over the years, but none that amazed me like this one.
A few weeks ago, I joined a new (to me) group called She’s Wanderful.
She’s Wanderful is an “international membership community of independent, adventurous, globally minded women who travel,” says their website. Ding! Ticks every box for me.
They have chapters, events, and trips. Far as I can tell, I’m the only person in New Mexico who has signed up, so at the moment, there are no regular events or meetings near me, but I have signed up to be a Wanderful hostess.
With the upcoming ban on using laptops and tablets on flights to the US from 56 routes, I’ve heard many laments and questions about how to pass the time on long flights.
In a online group, I saw the question posed, “What do I do with my 4-year old on our 12-hour flight?”
Keeping young children busy on a long flight is a real challenge for parents. Back in the Dark Ages, pre-computer days, when I used to fly with Phillip, I always went shopping ahead of time. In the carry-on, I packed his favorite snacks, books both familiar and new, and a special grab bag of never-before-seen (or played with) items that I’d bought especially for the trip. Little items picked up at the dollar store could entertain my hyperactive child for a long time.
Adulting is so tedious. And I find myself with so many “adult” things on my To-Do list.
There’s paying the car insurance that is due on March 12. Thanks to an encounter with a motorcyclist that was driving in the bicycle lane, my auto insurance is now $300/year more expensive than last year.
It wasn’t even my fault. How did I know that he was going to try to dash around me in the bike lane just as I was attempting to make a right-hand turn out of a traffic jam?
Last week, I left Albuquerque to visit Texas and Oklahoma.
Instead of driving from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City, I had decided to fly to Dallas, rent a car, and go from there.
I spent one night in Dallas, where I met up with an old friend or, as we agreed sounded better, a friend I’ve known for a long time. We worked together years ago when I’d first graduated from college. She treated me to dinner and we enjoyed gabbing, catching up for several hours.
As a life-long learner, I enjoy being a scholar. Here in Albuquerque, the University of New Mexico offers continuing education classes in the summer, fall, and spring. I always look through their catalogue to see what’s available.
By trial and error, I’ve discovered that I do better with classes that are shorter, that only run for a few weeks or even are one-timers, like the UNM Writers’ Conference “From Start to Sales.” It’s an annual day-long seminar for writers.
I have the best problem in the world. What’s good about it? I have many, many friends.
So what’s the problem? They’re scattered to the four winds.
Last week, I read an article about how difficult it is to say goodbye to friends. The article was referring to the life of an expat who was preparing for a move to a new location. The author was concerned about “losing friends” in the move.
On Thursday, I will be winging my way to New York for Christmas. I’ll be joined there by Francisca, the young lady from Chile who was a student in one of my original English classes there.
Here in Albuquerque today, it was 61º and sunny. I went out wearing a light jacket and a scarf and discovered that I didn’t need either of them.
In New York, it’s 31º and snowing at the moment. Last week, I started thinking about packing for the trip. The winter coat that I have here is a long, black, dressy wool coat. It doesn’t button all the way up. It’s heavy. Hard to pack. Cumbersome to wear on a plane. Not as warm as I will need for freezing temperatures.
I survived winters in Chile wearing a wool “car” coat. I withstood last winter in Edinburgh, Scotland, wearing a short puffy “down” coat with a hood, a parka.
This time last year, I was in the UK. Still in England, I think, maybe the Lake District.
I’d already been to London, where I’d indulged my passion for theatre, and Manchester, where I’d visited friends. I’d been to Beatrix Potter’s home and toured the Yorkshire Dales. Scotland was yet to come.
Feeling a bit nostalgic about that trip, about the friends I made, the scenery, the writing inspiration, I nicked (Note use of British word) this photo from a Scottish friend of mine. Though I’m not a fan of G & T’s, I can appreciate the nuances of lime and potato crisps (Note another use of swanky British word. Remember: Fries are chips, and chips are crisps).