Quit your whining. Move.

Running. Trying to run.

Gasping. Stopping. Whining

Two weeks off.

A trip.

Of gastronomic proportions.

Eating. It all.

Jet lag.

No movement.

One with the couch.

Gasping. Last one in at run’s end.

Feeling bitchy about how easy it doesn’t feel.

Round the corner.

Head down. Eyes to the ground.

Almost.

There.

Glint. In my eye.

A car. Parked. The door opens.

Eyes still down, in view are two rubber stoppers.

Those things at the bottom. Bottom of crutches.

Two stoppers. One shoe.

Shit.

I have two legs.

Shit.

Run. Run. Run.

Dig deep, woman.

YOU.Can.Run.

Heart rate picks up. Pace picks up.

Momentum surges.

Still last runner in.

Still gasping.

But running.

On two legs.

Quit your whining.

Move.

+

This memory, from a few months back upon returning from our Paris trip, is still SO vivid in my mind, in ME, and was triggered by yet another  lapse in momentum.

sig4

She had to ask

Standing at street’s edge; waiting for the light.

A dynamic, vibrant, bustling world class city.

Next to us a young woman stands, waiting.

Poised, stylish, together, confident in her own skin kind of way.

An unlit cigarette in hand.

The signature scarf worn in that effortless and elegant way;

the way of Parisian women.

We catch a moment’s contact of eyes

and then return to our impersonal, stoic forward stares.

Waiting.

I sense movement to my left and turn.

She leans in, so subtly in her graceful way.

Parlez vous Francais?

She had not pegged us as tourists.

There was the chance.

She had to ask.

travel

Non.

But my eyes said more.

Merci.

Merci beaucoup.

sig4

The Third Dimension

It’s a common comment among those of us who have been fortunate to have found a sense of, albeit unexpected, community by way of blogging. Finding kindred spirits in the spaces between the keys on our keyboards, by simply joining the conversation, one often started in the quiet of our minds, one that sometimes feels that it is just between our keyboards and fingers. We come across the words of another and find a resonance, something that feels familiar, puts words to something we have felt or experienced but haven’t yet found a way to articulate, or knew that we even could.

It is not news to say, that friendships have been formed, and bonds created, because we dare greatly, in this space. At least, I know that I do. I risk sharing from a place that often finds no other outlet.

To me, blogging is one dimensional at this point.  We write. We read.

If we are lucky our words jump off the screen and into the mind and thoughts of another. Even luckier, when as writers, we find out that our words, strung together like a strand of popcorn on a holiday tree, have an impact on at the very least, one other soul.

Connections are formed, and bonds begin to weave a web throughout blogland. Across miles, states, cities, time zones and even the international date line. We start to recognize each other in ways that both surprisingly and not surprisingly at all, feel so familiar.

Then, with some, we start to go beyond the boundaries of blogland, when we go off blog, ironically. When we realize that our posts, comments and the extra layers of conversation compel us to somehow require more conversation. More than can be contained or conveyed in a comment.

In jumping over state lines from comments to emails and messages, our blogs become two dimensional.

Last year I created my virtual bloggin’ road trip because I knew I needed to know some of these incredible people, I really wanted to take blogging into the third dimension and found the closest way to achieve this, if only virtually. If I could, I would in a New York minute load up my little Triumph and hit the open road, and ring some doorbells.To allow the opportunity for real time talk. In person.

I have just returned home from a trip down the east coast, working my way from NYC through Pennsylvania, and Delaware to end up in Northern Virginia, aka, Mimi’s neighborhood by way of planes, trains and automobiles. I emerged from Union Station in DC, with no need of a taxi or metro because instead, Waiting for me was Mimi and the awesome Karma Truck! Guys, it’s as awesome as it seems!

mimi and bonnie

What a cool moment, seeing her petite but magnanimous self waving at me from behind the wheel as I made my way to her with my 6’4″ nephew in tow, carrying my suitcase like a true young gentleman.  He’s studying at one of my old stomping grounds and I got to buy a poor starving college student a couple of beers at a fancy bar in a fantastic city.

Quick introductions between Michael and Mimi – imagine introducing someone that you are only just meeting?!  Fun! And then quick goodbyes between Michael and I.

How does one describe what happens next? Let’s just say it was awesome. How’s that? Kind of surreal too, let’s be honest, to be inches away, and hear the voice behind the sentences on the screen. The eyes twinkling. The smile on Mimi can light up a room! The mannerisms, the inflection. The conversation that was already real, just got that much more real. And true to form, Mimi wasted no time. In moments, we launched into a conversation that had been started and interrupted on email…Mimi just says, “ok, there is a lot to catch up on. Tell me about…” and off we went. Words flying back and forth. Nodding. Hmm-mmm-ing. Laughing. Agreement. Clarification. More. Stories.  Then, I got to meet Bogey and the Sirs. And Andy. And get a real sense of the amazing person driving that amazing Karma Truck. It was worth waiting for.

In the comfort of Mimi’s kitchen, it was blogging in in 3-D! Face to face. In the same room. Sustained conversation that flowed naturally and freely. I found myself realizing that the posts we have each written and read, are already part of our shared history. As if we had told those stories at that very kitchen table. When the frame of reference predates the time of meeting.

bogey

Bogey – more adorable than I could capture!

At the end of our visit, while taking Bogey out to do his business, I asked Mimi if she had been nervous at all, about my visit. She was not. I was. But not for the reasons you might suspect. Friends of mine who do not blog, expressed mild surprise with  my plan to visit- and stay – with someone I had never met in person. I tried  to explain this community we have, but it’s just not easy. You may have found yourself trying to do the same at some point, and if you have found a way to convey all of this, let me know. Please? I was nervous that in real life, in the third dimension, that I would not be the person she had come to know in the first and second dimensions. That I would possibly disappoint. Mimi has answered that, eloquently and exquisitely, as no one but her can.

friend

This sits proudly in the cozy room where Mimi’s friends settle in for the night

I will gladly hop aboard the Karma Truck anytime, or wave it down with open arms if I see her come rolling down my street! Thank you Mimi, and yes, Friend:Good. Very good.

signature2

Notes From the Road

RoadTrip2013

Summer Bloggin’ Road Trip 2013

We’re baaaack!  

The photo above captures it all for me; the easy breezy carefree feeling of cruising down the highway, just The Kiddo and I, and the natural beauty we enjoyed in so many spots along the way.

I had a loose plan; a general itinerary of points A to B to C, etc., but when I asked Kiddo as we set out if he wanted to know the plan, or be surprised as we went along, he surprised me and said he wanted to find out as we rolled on down the road.  I suppose that it’s true, how apples don’t fall far from the tree; I love spontaneity and was thrilled he was on board for what we came to jokingly refer to Mama’s Mystery Tour!

A few notes from the road:

  • Apparently, a pound of cherry sours is not enough for a 9 day, 18 city, 871 mile trek through California.
  • An impaired cell phone, that loses GPS signal more often that it finds one, could very easily resemble a frisbee.
  • As fun as all the driving was, it seems that being behind the wheel for many days is not good for the waistline!
  • Blogging from impaired cell phone mentioned above requires the use of a part of the brain I didn’t know existed!
  • My blogging friends have great taste in music!  We had so much fun with all the tunes on our Road Trip Song List, and a special shout out to Lori for the awesome mix CD that accompanied us all along.

If you happen to catch the road trip bug, here are a few items that you might want to pack for your next trip:

  • Roadtrippers.com:
     Co-founders James Fisher and Tatiana Parent suffer from an incurable case of wanderlust. So, they decided to design a web and mobile platform that streamlines discovery, planning, booking and navigation into one engaging road trip planner. (This is how I learned about Googleplex and the Steve Jobs garage!)
  • Waze:
    (Shout out to Rick for showing me this great app at the front end of the trip!)

    Waze is the world’s fastest-growing community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.
  • Gas Buddy:
    GasBuddy can help you find cheap gas prices near you

The not-nearly-as fun-as-packing-unpacking is almost done, back to work today, school starts Tuesday, photos to edit are waiting patiently for my attention, but in these moments of being back, I am simply savoring the experience. The time out on the open road with my kiddo. Great adventures. Making memories. Creating new inside jokes. Seeing new places and old places through new eyes. Experiencing a rite of passage together. Having my son get to spend time with an uncle, an aunt, a cousin, a granddad and more friends than I can count on two hands, all in one road trip.

And, while sitting on the beach in the photo above, our almost last stop, I quietly said, ‘what a great trip, huh honey?” not really expecting a nine yr old to answer directly. But he did. Oh did he.

“Best trip ever, mom.”

What kind of tour guide would I be, if I didn’t give you one last highlight? If you are viewing this on a Apple/Mac, an iPad, or iPhone, or listen to your tunes with an iPod, well this is where all those devices were, in a sense, born.  On the way home, our last ‘stop’ – we only stopped long enough for me to snap a photo – was a drive-by of the house where Steve Jobs started Apple in his garage!  We saw Googleplex and I wanted The Kiddo to see how something so big can start out so ordinary, so small.

2013-08-16 11.02.59

It all started in that garage

We are still working on the CA Dreamin’ Travel Trivia scores and the results [including the answers!] will be posted later this week.  I might even have a side-trip post or two; we shall see!  And, don’t forget, we have prizes!  In the meantime, thank you for riding along with us; it was so fun to have you as part of this experience, your comments and (sometimes humorous) trivia answers added SO much to our expedition.  I will leave you with a road trip song list highlight…the first time this song played, we were just heading out of San Francisco…thank you Lori!

…zoom-zoom…

Bonnie & The Kiddo

A Castle, A Campus and A Coast

Hello Roadies!

Though we are out of cherry sours, and may have slowed our pace ever so slightly, the adventures continue and the road trip carries on…

…a castle …
We spent a day looking into the lives of the rich and famous in an era gone by. Hearst Castle, visioned and built by none other than William Randolph Hearst is nothing short of opulent, stunning and rich with detail. It took 28 years to complete the masterpiece!

image

Hearst Castle

image

The Neptune Pool – come for a swim!

…a campus…
Our next stop was a look back and a look forward. We visited the university I attended for my graduate program. It was a study in contrasts – witnessing the incredible changes made on the campus over the years since my last visit, contrasted with the parts that remain not only unchanged but incredibly familiar; it was exciting to see the improvements and comforting to feel at home. But, it wasnt just a stroll down memory lane, it was also seeing it through the eyes of my friend who now works for this university and will be part of future change and so many young lives. And… exposing The Kiddo to life on a campus and all that his future may hold.

image

The halls of academia

image

My old building, with a ‘fresh’ face!

image

Kiddo, I can just ‘see’ you here!

…a coast…

And yet another study in contrasts; one coastline but two different experiences. Just minutes apart but one is socked in with a freezing damp marine layer and the other glimmering in the sunshine. We have one more day in this seaside gem, guess which beach we are choosing?!

image

Pismo Beach

image

Avila Beach

And now, for your
CA DREAMIN’ TRAVEL TRIVIA QUESTION #5 (4pts)

…Googling encouraged… 🙂

Hearst Castle took 28 years to complete, and was designed by the famous and foremost female architect in California. Who was she?

A. Julia Morgan
B. Julia Roberts
C. Julia Stiles

The Road Trip is nearing the end of the road, but we may have one or two things still up our sleeves…you will just have to keep riding along! We love having you along for the ride 🙂

Until next time, you know..
Safe travels: wheels, heart, mind and soul.

Bonnie & The Kiddo

Home and On The Range

Hello travelers and happiest of Mondays, though I do fully realize the oxymoron of that statement!

This last stop on our road trip travels was all about home. Oh, no, The Kiddo and I are not done with our travels, not even close…but the last stop took us to my hometown for the weekend.

image

A familiar landmark near my hometown

I took the old country roads I know like the back of my hand from the beach to my family home. I have to say, it was more than a little surreal to listen to music, with the current associations of today, while driving the roads filled with memories stacked up since my earliest driving days.

It was time for my brother and son to reconnect, and time for my little man to visit with my old man. And, we shared an afternoon and evening with the grown up kids from my days of childhood in a home more magical than any I’ve visited since. We shared stories of today; travels, tales of parenthood and ailing parents. We laughed until our bellies ached over stories about our parents’ shenanigans, wondering how there are still stories we haven’t all heard at this point in time. We drank Manhattan’s and Port. We were comforted, at least I was, simply by being in each others presence; knowing that this is a safe place of belonging. We all go way back, to the very beginning.

Earlier that day, my son and I shared a unique experience together that neither of us will forget. The world, and opinions are way too complicated for me to share photos here (but I have some awesome pictures!) of our morning out in a countryside vineyard where we both learned how to handle, respect and shoot a rifle. It was a rite of passage for the both of us; just in different ways. And, to see my son and brother bond is priceless. And apparently, I’m a natural. Be afraid…very afraid! 🙂

Before leaving, and heading to our next destination, I managed to get…

Dad-ism #4!
Me: Dad, what do you most regret NOT doing in your life?

…long pause…

Dad: Not being more friendly,  more kind.

I was stunned after that. I just nodded and thanked my dad for his answer. He’s so right. It reminded me, immediately, of the piece recently shared online – the commencement speaker who most regrets his failures of kindness. My dad, he’s a smart cookie.

image

Before we headed out, The Kiddo asked his Granddad to show him his Colonel uniform from his Army days, and with my brothers help, we got to see and touch and feel this incredible piece of history.

image

image

image

I loved our family stop; and it was hard to leave. Each place has that in common. After that,  we hit the road, turned up the volume and opened some candy for the next leg. Oh, the cherry sours? History. Thing of the past. GONE. (sigh)

And now, time for your thinkin’ and Googling hats…

CA DREAMIN’ TRAVEL TRIVIA QUESTION #4 (4 pts)

What small. CA town is considered the Earthquake Capital?

And today, we have a bonus round, for 3 points:

Which of the following CA towns is known as the artichoke capital of the world?
A. Greenfield
B. Barstow
C. Castroville
D. Artoville

Bonus bonus (extra 1pt) if you’ve ever HAD an artichoke!!

Until next time, safe travels
Wheels, heart, mind and soul.

Beep Beep,
Bonnie & The Kiddo

Fun and Games

Good morning roadies!

Today we did things a little differently; we stayed in one place. Well, for the most part. And we started the day off slowly with coffee, visiting and catching up with some friends.  The Kiddo invaded our host’s game closet and found this game for us to play: Real Dumb Laws.  Yes, this is a real game.

image

I wanted you all to get a sample of the questions; the asterisk indicates the answer.  These examples make me very glad that our road trip is not taking place anywhere in Rhode Island or Mount Vernon, Iowa. I wish I could understand the need to throw bricks onto a highway. Or, maybe not.

image

image

After a relatively quiet morning [there was a lot of laughter involved while playing the game of really dumb laws, probably enough to be able to pass on the left in Rhode Island!], we headed to a place from my own childhood. It was a treat to take The Kiddo to the Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk and revisit days of yesteryear.  We rode the rides, ate the hotdogs and played on the beach.

image

Did we ride or not ride?

The photos below are fuzzy; as we were in motion as I snapped away. I can remember summer days on this very same carousel, racing to get an outside horse that goes up-and-down so as to be positioned to grab the ring to throw into the clowns mouth. Back in the day, a ring in the mouth earned a free ride. Today, with one-price wrist-bands, a ring in the mouth earns pride and bragging rights!

image

Grab the ring…

It was pure  joy to relive this favorite memory with The Kiddo and teach him the horse-finding, ring-grabbing, and ring-tossing ways.  We gave it our best effort but other than the fun of a shared experience, our only bragging rights come from scoring the last two outside horses right next to each other. If you are wondering if I ran like a crazy mama around the carousel to find those two horses, I think you probably already know the answer to that question.

image

…get it in the clown’s mouth

image

Two generations…one carousel

As with all the days and miles behind us so far; this mama is loving the time with The Kiddo, finding our way out on the open road and making it up as we go.  I like driving…it truly is the getting that is most important. And while I left my heart in San Francisco, we realized today that The Kiddo left his computer charger in San Francisco.  Not quite the same, or is it? 🙂

CA DREAMIN’ TRAVEL TRIVIA QUESTION #3 (4pts)
CA is riddled with laws and litigation, so today’s question is inspired by today’s fun and games! Fill in the blank:

In California, in Los Angeles county, it is against the law at house parties to _________________.

a. serve alcohol
b. show home videos
c. eat fruitcake
d. charge admission

Until next time, safe travels:  wheels, heart, mind & soul.
Bonnie & The Kiddo