A Different Road

Back in mid-December on a puffy cloud day, Maycee was home sick.  We spent the hours resting, me by de-fault, and in the afternoon I decided to head over to her school to pick up her homework.  I left a little early to make sure I got there in time to find a parking space.  On my way, however, instead of going straight something within me said, “No need to rush….take a different road…”

I don’t travel, at least not in the way folks think of “traveling”.  I haven’t gone anywhere more than two hours away since, well, since I don’t know when.  To my mom’s, to my dad’s, to my sister’s, up the road, down the road, around the block….that’s the extent of it.  Mostly, this is because of money and time (in that order), and over the last couple of years my daughter’s anxiety has also played a part.  Honestly, it doesn’t bother me much, probably because I’m too busy to dwell.

I also have come to love where I live and still feel like a tourist needing directions.

On this puffy cloud day I took my curious mind’s advice and turned left onto a road I had always wanted to drive.  It was clear once I made the left why I was drawn to go this way, denying myself the opportunity for the past six years since moving to the Yellow Submarine.  Denying no more.

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For a gal who has a small-town heart, it’s befitting that I live within minutes of what is still considered an actual “town”.  Halcyon is the foundation of what became a bigger city, but the post office still operates today.  I had never gone inside until a couple of years ago, and now on this day, I traveled the road on which it sits.

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I felt a magical, whimsical presence within me…I imagined myself living in this quaint cottage.

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As I drove I marveled at the neighbors’ quiet contributions and the eclectic nature of design within each space.

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To have your horse in the backyard, well, that is every horse person’s dream.  My momentary escape began, and I could smell the coffee brewing in the morning while Chief grazes on sweet green grass.

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Sunday morning services at 10:00.  The Temple of the People sounds like my kind of place.  I couldn’t see inside, but I wanted to…..

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I wondered…did a dad, playing with his children, decide to lean these logs up against the big old tree in teepee form?  Maybe a single mom?

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After coffee in the morning, I’d jump on Chief and ride up to my art-teacher friend’s home, pictured here.  We’d work on abstract water-color paintings, using the puffy clouds as our inspiration.  Then, I’d head back in the afternoon to work in the garden.

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Upon pulling up to the cottage I’d see that Maycee had come for a visit.  I’d enjoy hearing all about the latest horse she was training, and I’d bring out homemade chocolate chip cookies, her favorite.

The garden can wait.

I so enjoyed my 10-minute drive on a different road.  I pulled up to the school just before 3:00, the end of the day…why did I wait so many years to see what was simply around the corner?

Funny how we are.

Now I wonder, what will I find the next time I decide to travel a different road?

Life is short, so don’t wait to do what presses on your heart, and every chance you can, give a chuckle!

XOXO,

SWM

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Quickly, I post!

It’s been almost six weeks since my last post!  Holy cramoly! A lot has happened in those six weeks…so here’s a rundown:

  • I officially became “attached” again, and I’m super duper excited over it! He’s wonderful, sweet, loving, a great dad, and puts me FIRST.  Say what?!  Yep….I’m sticking with my New Year’s Resolution, and so far all I’m seeing ahead are green lights.
  • Maycee had an absolutely awesome first day of school!  We practiced and practiced in preparation for the change of going from summer camp back to the school yard, and it went off without a hitch.  I’m so proud of my girl, so proud of all of her progress.  Anxiety Disorder is tricky; it really tries to undermine the soul at any chance it gets, but neither one of us is willing to let that happen.
  • I turned 40.  It’s true. It happened.  I’m alive, and I’M LOVING IT!
  • My horse lease on Hi-C ended, abruptly, and without much grace on the part of the lessor.  So, I’m having to move on to greener pastures and have decided to take the plunge into horse ownership.  I’m leaving it in God’s hands….if it’s meant to be, it will be.  Yes, I know, as a single mom it is probably not the most financially fit decision I will make, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I know it will fill a big hole that is gaping right now.  In turn, Maycee and I have found a terrific new ranch, Greengate Ranch, to take lessons at, and we will both be learning the discipline of Western riding.  Maycee has dreams to barrel race, and I plan to help her fulfill them.  Hopefully, we will be able to board “our” horse there one day and ride the trails around the vineyard, which just happens to have been planted by my very own workplace!
  • We’ve begun harvest!  Yes!  My work duties have doubled , our crop is quite large, leading to more hours and more excitement.  This is a much-needed situation for this single working mom, so I’m counting my blessings and looking forward to a fast and furious harvest season!
  • Intertwined and in between all of these events we’ve been having fun.  Yes, HAVING FUN! Trips to Heaven Can Wait, the beach, visiting family, and last weekend, doing the I Madonnari Street Painting Festival for the 4th year in a row!

So, there you have it.  Now enjoy some pics below, and have a blast clicking on the links above to check out some of my older posts that I love.  I hope all of YOU have been doing wonderfully, and even though I might not get to write as often as I like for the moment, I will be hanging around indefinitely!

Remember…life is short…it’s important to do the footwork, enjoy the view, and follow your dreams.  And, when you hit a bumpy patch, well, naturally, give a chuckle.

XOXO,

SWM

First Day of 4th Grade
First Day of 4th Grade
Grooming Leo at Greengate
Grooming Leo at Greengate
Morro Bay
Morro Bay
I Madonnari SLO 2013 "First Date"
I Madonnari SLO 2013 “First Date”

Sunday Afternoon Mish-Mosh and More Metaphors

Ahhhhhh, it’s Sunday afternoon, and I don’t have to drive down to Santa Barbara to pick up Maycee because it’s “my” weekend.  I love Sunday afternoons.  I typically have completed whatever tasks I set out to accomplish over the two days off, and if I haven’t, well, I just don’t care.  It’s been a long week.  Every week is a long week.  I can’t remember not having a long week in many, many years, ha! 

This weekend my mom and step-dad came up for a visit.  I love it when they come, as I get incredibly home sick for my family and friends after many months pass without seeing them.  I’m grateful that I don’t live too far away to get these impromptu visits, as then I can look forward to them, and also rest assured that at least it is only months that pass and not years.  During the course of the five days prior I managed to fit in many extra hours of chores intermingled with making dinner, reviewing homework, and the regular evening routine each night after getting home from work and school, crashing into bed around the 11 o’clock hour, exhausted and left wondering…How and Why do I do this?  I just do.  And, because I’m a total Type A personality, heaven forbid I would not trim the bushes in my front yard, cut the grass in the backyard (and edge it), pick the weeds growing along the walkway, vacuum the carpets, clean the linoleum, sanitize the bathrooms, wash the linens and put all fresh ones out, make sure no dishes were in the sink upon my folks’ arrival, and oops, didn’t get to the fish tank-DARNIT!  Hmmmmm, let me remind myself (and you, if you are like me) my folks do not care about any of this.  Nope.  They are coming up to visit me and Maycee, not my freshly trimmed bushes!  Again, How and Why do I do this?  I just do.  Regardless, we had a fabulously fun visit and…cupcakes.  Yum!

Sparkling? Naaah, it's the light.

So, due to my need to have every little detail perfect in the Yellow Submarine, I neglected to write last week’s post. Aghhhh!  Alert the masses! Nooooooooooooo! Here’s at least part of what I intended to tell you all:

Life has settled down for this SWM (Repeat after me: This really can and will happen.  This really can and will happen.  This really can and…okay…you get it), and I feel it’s important to share the rainbows just as much, if not more, as it is to share the struggles.  I know many women who are and/or were single moms.  The closest people to me are part of this category.  Most of us face the same issues: financial difficulties (even with child support), ex-spouse mania, discipline problems (for our kids and for ourselves), time management troubles, childcare worries, and plain and simple can’ttakeonemorethinghappeningtome-isms.  We fight the inner turmoil of finding “me” time mixed with knowing that “them” time is more important than anything else.   We spend hours wondering when we will get into a groove, when the tension will ease, when will life seem “normal”-whatever that means.   I’m getting a glimpse…and I want to pass it on…

Last weekend there was a bizarre, out-of-nowhere thunderstorm that hit the Central Coast.  It came during Friday night and didn’t just pass by, it hit hard, rain that made a dent and not a faint drizzle.  Saturday morning I was all geared up to go to the local Italian Street Painting Festival.  It was my second year attending as a street painter, and this year I was going it alone-no Maycee-so I intended to work my a.s.s. off on the painting and show what I was made of (put my art degree to the test, since everyone wonders why a person gets an art degree with an emphasis in abstract painting).   I was going to be working a larger square than last year, too, 7′ by 7′, and for a different company than my own, so I wanted to be sure it turned out well.  I decided to draw a portrait of Maycee–for many reasons.  Number one: she couldn’t attend with me this year since it was her dad’s weekend.  Number two: I love doing portraits.  Number three: if you focus on a subject you are passionate about, your best work will present itself.  I awoke to the pitter patter of rain Saturday morning and thought: UH-OH, IS MY ENTIRE DAY SHOT?  Will the show go on?  Are the streets too wet?  What if it keeps raining?

Wet streets…not a problem!

I stayed in bed longer than had the sun been shining, almost until 8:30, waiting to see about Mother Nature’s mood.  Around 11:00 I decided to make a go of it, drive up the coast, hit the Mission, and see if other artists were working.  The rain has ceased for now, the clouds were breaking up, and streets were drying out.  For certain people wouldn’t give up and the downtown plaza would fill with colors as vibrant as a field of poppies.  I meandered onto the scene at 11:45, and I was right.  The other artists were there, all of them, amidst the dampness, many–like me–having decided to wait awhile before arriving.  The afternoon was marvelous as I staked out my spot and began frantically sketching my masterpiece, Maycee right by my side, albeit via picture frame.  As the hours passed tourists, locals, and other artists scoped out my work, and I found myself completely lost in the street, the colors, my canvas. From last year I picked up some tricks of the trade, as working on pavement is not an easy task–and with only a couple of snack breaks and chit-chats with intrigued onlookers, I put in a total of five hours of painting. 

Maycee’s little baby cheeks, her bonnet, her peaceful demeanor brought to life what typically is a thoroughfare for vehicles.  All ages related to the painting from toddlers to seniors, the comment of the day exclaiming, “Awwwwwe, look at the baby!”  I felt a sense of pride well up from deep within as I spent my afternoon immersed in creation.  Only a few sprinkles fell and nothing so much as to erase the beauty of hundreds of busy fingers, while the thunderheads passed above, only contemplating the night’s next storm.  I made it out of the Mission with my own mission accomplished.  I didn’t care whether or not all of my hard work would be washed away later.  I didn’t mind at all; every stroke of color, every line drawn, every single minute was worth it.

Making progress, always.

I drove home that evening feeling complete.  I love metaphors.  Don’t you?  I’ve written about them before; I never tire of noticing their appearance.  Three years ago a storm passed through my life that seemed as if it might destroy everything, and perhaps it did for a while.  Thunderheads continued to loom in the sky month after month, raindrops falling and washing away any bit of color I’d manage to paint, and then I’d be back at the canvas working again.  It took each and every stroke of the brush to create the picture that is now my life.  Today.  My life TODAY.  And, even though I know that a new storm is brewing at any moment, just having experienced the calm before it hits with some frequency, feeling whole for a space in time, I’m finding that I actually believe it may have been worth it.  Surviving storms is necessary.  My afternoon of Italian Street Painting last weekend wasn’t shot.  The rain was only a deterrent, not a road block.  The sunshine was only hiding, not completely gone.

Fitting in chores to appease my Type-A-Ness, running six to ten different tasks at once, wondering how I’m going to handle certain circumstances on my own as Maycee grows up, these things are not going to subside.  But, remember, they aren’t going to keep me down either, nor do they define who I am.  Life will work itself out , no matter if it is for the weekend or after a long period of thunderstorms.  And, when it does, I want to be aware enough to recognize it.  I want to see the metaphors, smile, and count my blessings.

Year number one, and we had fun!

Next year, if it rains again for the Italian Street Painting Festival, I’ll know what to expect, and I’ll be ready.  Think about it…I’LL KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.  And,  now that Sunday afternoon is over [I took a break from my earlier writing to let Maycee visit American Girl.com whilst I attempted carpentry and managed to nail not just the playhouse roof but my finger, as well], Maycee is tucked away under her polka-dotted covers, and I’ve relieved myself of bursting open from lack of blog posting, I can safely retreat to my own little bed.

Good night, Readers…and as always be happy….ahh, yes…and give a chuckle.