Saturday, December 13, 2014

To my mom: Part II the road trip edition

My brother and I in 1985, somewhere in California waiting for our "driver"
My mom LOVED road trips. And I'm not kidding at all. It was in her blood. She would get itchy. There was a need to get out on the road. To get out of the house. Away from the familiar.

To have an adventure.

Perhaps this is in my head because my father just wrote about their (my mom and dad's) last epic road trip which was her road trip with cancer. You made me cry dad, that was quite the epic adventurous road trip.

Along the lines of what I wrote in Part I, I also inherited that gene. I LOVE road trips. I need them. I itch. I crave. And I need one, RIGHT NOW. It's in the works, (a small one). It better be in the works, you know who you are, boo!

But Mom's road trips were epic. I'm glad I was included in some of them. Not like I had any choice in the matter. I, along with my brother, would be pulled out of school for weeks at a time, and we'd get in the car, and off we went.

Dad wasn't on these trips. Dad would take us camping every summer, and mom would take us on epic road trips. Perhaps I'm using epic too much, but they were epic. Especially to an 8-year old, who got to leave school a month early.

There were lots of road trips. Mom and dad would pile all three of us kids in the back of a car with sleeping bags in the wee hours of the morning and we'd wake up in Nevada on our almost yearly summer trip to Wyoming. But there are two trips that I remember quite well.
My brother and I at Mt. Shasta
She took us north in 1985. I got to see snow for the first time.

already an archaeologist at age 7
I saw Crater Lake.
She stopped, and I got to scoop up ash from Mt. Saint Helens along the side of the highway. I rowed in a boat for the first time (that I actually remember) in Oregon.
I also met mean sheep at Aunt Babe's house in Washington.

She took us east in 1989. She drove us south through California, through Arizona, (we did stop at the Grand Canyon, brother, I found pictures to prove it) New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma to Arkansas. To Grandpa Perk's Ranch (her father).
I met cousins, aunts, uncles, 2nd, 3rd, 4th cousins and I don't know how you're related but you are.
I'm related to them somehow
Learned a new game of cow pucky fights via 4-wheelers. Mom would have to hose us down in the yard. From Arkansas she took us north. Through Missouri and Iowa to Minnesota to a Larsen family reunion. Where I got to float down a river in an innertube and watch my brother and other cousins pee on Wisconsin.
Watch my grandparents dance. See June bugs. Oh and see my dad after a month or so.
hanging out with Cousin Dawn
can you tell we are Pepsi fans?
She then decided that after the reunion that we should take a detour... around Lake Superior before driving back down. "It won't take that long", she said.
Oh Canada!
Canada is cold
Well, we can tell you, they don't call it Lake Superior for it being so small. I got to spend my first night in a foreign country, by the name of Canada that trip. I saw Canadian money for the first time and drank a Canadian coke. And for the first time on this long trip, I got my own hotel bed. I didn't sleep with my mom that night. We saw Lake Superior, from all sides. It's a big lake. Somehow we ended up in Ohio. Where family friends were and their twin daughters put my hair in such tight pig-tales that I got a headache.
But I also saw fireflies for the first time.

From Ohio, she drove us back south to Grandpa Perk's in Arkansas for a bit, and then northwest to Wyoming to the Larsen stronghold in Cheyenne, then finally back home to California.

So now maybe you can see why I call her road trips epic. Especially to a kid. She did all the driving. There are a lot of stories we could tell. My brother has quite a few regarding our Grandpa Perk, for sure. But they are his to tell.

But mom was game for anything. "I wonder what it's like to drive on the salt flats", she'd say. So she'd take the car onto the flats in Utah. "I wonder what it's like to hit a road construction cone", she'd say. So she ran one over in Nevada... and dragged it under the car for a mile. "I wonder what it's like to hit a bird" she never said, but it happened anyway. And part of the bird was stuck on the front grill, and other parts of it were on the back.

It was a lot of miles in the car with mom. We'd listen to tapes. The Carpenters, Beach Boys, and The Nylons were ones I remember. We'd wear the tapes out till they started to warp. And we'd sing the miles away. I'm sure there were boring parts (Nevada and Oklahoma ring a bell) but I don't remember being bored in the car with mom and my brother.

She was truly happy on the road. There was a mischievousness to her and a true sense of adventure. We could go anywhere we wanted, and we did.

When I was a practicing archaeologist, this need of road tripping was satiated. I was traveling. I was on the road. Some places were not so fun, but others were great. I saw things and places that I'd never seen before. I got to explore the Sierra Mountains, Eastern California (Lone Pine), the Mohave Dessert, etc. Now that I'm not a traveling shovel bum, the need isn't being met regularly.

Mom had an epic road trip planned. She and dad were going to leave for it 3 days after she got her cancer diagnosis. They never got to do it. Instead she went on her final epic road trip of doctor's appointments, chemo and radiation treatments, and surgeries. No one thought it would be her last road trip. It shouldn't have been. But she was a trooper. She was adventurous. She was mischievous. She made the most of her last road trip.

It was epic.

I am determined to continue the tradition. For her, in memory, and for myself. Because it is in me. The need. The itch. I have to go. Somewhere. The force is strong in this padowan.

Adventure awaits.

I'll see you on the road, mom. I'll belt out the harmony to your melody.

To Part I

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

To my mom: Part I

I've been avoiding this blog like ebola. But it is time. I got the headphones on. Music is playing. No more excuses. So without further ado, here is the first of probably many posts about my mom.

Here she is at age 18, a freshman at Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa Idaho.

After my mom's memorial service, people commented on how much I really look like her.  I always knew I took after my mom, more so than my father. But then all these people kept saying, "Wow, you look so much like her, I never realized". Well, neither did I. I do now.

I have her hair, widows peak included. Freckles, nose, smile, eyes (except in color - I got the recessive gene from both parents to turn mine green), body type, height, and hands. Internal things as well, but we won't go into that. I always knew I took after her especially after puberty. That's when you really start to notice things.
Mom and I (age 3) at Grandma and Grandpa Larsen's, Wyoming.

During those fun times of puberty and after in high school and later in my 20's, I did not like that I took after her. And not just in looks and appearance. I was never comfortable with my looks, or my body. I didn't like that I have a widows peak, or a round face, and short stature, or that weight is always an issue of loosing. I hated it. I was so self conscious, that I was too scared to even talk to a guy that I liked. I never "dated", didn't have boyfriends. One in college, but we won't talk about that here, not important to the story.

My mom and I (age 18) at her dad's (Grandpa Perk's) ranch, Arkansas.
I think I even resented her for it. I was adamant not to ever have children, because I didn't want to pass on what I had inherited from her. How bad is that? I wanted to be more like my sister. She was tall, and slender, had a more outgoing personality. I thought she was pretty (she still is, by the way). She took after my dad. She looked like my dad's sisters, my Aunts.

I'm in my mid 30's now and still working through many of these things. But I am so proud, grateful, lucky, and did I say stinking proud to be carrying my mom in me. In my face, smile, eyes, humor, in every way possible. Especially now that she is gone. And I am so thankful that I realized this before she left us. I may not have told her this specifically, but I think she saw this change in me. The change from hate to acceptance to pride and love.

Thanks mom.

 She was beautiful, inside and out.

To Part II

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Letting out the silent killer

me in 1999
I'm listening to Muse with the big headphones because I took my ipod to work so that I could listen to music during my lunch break, because I needed to drown the brain. I chose a playlist, and hit shuffle. The last song was Muse's Follow Me from their 2nd Law album. And then hit replay. There is nothing special about that song... I think*. But then tonight after work, I wanted, or more to the point, needed to listen to music. So again, I chose Muse.

I needed to shut my brain up for many reasons. Most recently due to the death of Robin Williams. Some famous deaths aren't all that shocking (Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain) or unexpected (Amy Winehouse). But his was. It's just sad. I haven't been on Twitter since I heard because I just don't want to see it all. His death, of course, brings up the discussion of depression and how debilitating of a disease it can be. I've written about my depression a bit here on the blog, but I've never truly discussed it at any great length. Maybe I should.

Depression runs in my family, as I'm sure in most. Both of my parents suffer varying degrees. One uses medication. But both of them and myself included, don't suffer from say... "deep depression" or get to the point where the thought of suicide would help. I have fallen pretty deep before, but I can only stay holed up for so long before I force myself out. I have always pulled myself out of a "funk" sometimes it's as "easy" as going outside and soaking up the sun. (easy is in quotes because it is NOT easy.)

I've found that since I have started running, more than two years ago now, I don't get into those deep, long bouts as much or for as long anymore. I mentioned to a friend just this past week, that I now use running as an escape. I run so that I don't have to think about how crappy life is that day, or week, or what-have-you for 30-40 minutes. I run to quiet the brain. And by running I get outside into the sun for at least 30 minutes a day, and exercise also gets the metabolism going and endorphins flowing which is critical for depression sufferers.

So thank you running. With out it, I'm not sure how well off mentally I would be right now. Everyone suffers things silently. I have quite a list going right now in my life, much of which I don't share publicly, (as in this blog) but I think, no, I know for a fact that I am handling it better than I would if I wasn't running my ass off 4-5 days a week.

Of course there are days I don't want to get out there. Almost all the time. But I put the "outfit" on and lace the shoes, and get out the door. Once I'm out the door, it's easy. It's getting out the door that is difficult. I always know how to break out of, or more like climb out of a bout of depression, it's the actual doing of it that is difficult. So it is always very hard to hear when someone doesn't make it out. It is an ever constant disease. It never truly goes away. It lays there in wait, unsuspecting. I don't realize I'm slipping til I'm full in it, and I realize I'm mad and emotional about everyone and everything, and tired and sleeping the days away.

I've been on the brink of tears when reading or watching something about Robin Williams. Other famous deaths haven't done that to me before. Whatever it is about him, his life and death has affected me.

So, guess what I'm doing tomorrow after breakfast and checking how many people read this... That's right, strapping these puppies on and getting OUT THE DOOR!
These are my very first pair of actual running shoes. I like them!
*It definitely has meaning. Here are the lyrics: Give a listen here:
When darkness falls
And surrounds you.
When you fall down,
When you're scared
And you're lost. Be brave,
I'm coming to hold you now.
When all your strength has gone
And you feel wrong,
Like your life has slipped away.
Follow me.
You can follow me
And I, I will not desert you now.
When your fire's died out,
No one's there,
They have left you for dead.
Follow me.
You can follow me.
I will keep you safe,
Follow me.
You can follow me,
I will protect you.
I won't let them hurt, hurt you, no.
Ooh yeah.
When your heart is breaking.
You can follow me.
You can follow me.
I will always keep you safe,
Follow me,
You can trust in me.
I will always protect you, my love.
Feel my love
Feel my love.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Picture Number 7

The Not So Random Photo Project: #7
Dusk at Shaver Lake, California. December 2006

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Stay-cation: Day 5

Today was awesome. I am sore. But that's a good thing. Sort of. Today I had my breakfast and coffee. Nephew pulled through and we now have MILK! YEAH! I went running. Only did 2.3 miles, but Mr. Creepy said I did my fastest mile. It's interesting that when I feel like I am not going particularly fast and just plugging along, I have a faster pace than when I am consciously trying to go a bit faster. Whatever.

I got on the internet and played. Was going to watch "Futbol", but the U.S. game was already over. Oops. I sat outside in the sun for a bit and soaked up some rays, made more freckles, then got to work sanding the rest of the beams for the pergola. I don't think you know how big it really is so here is proof.
 The big beam in front I did yesterday. The four in the back are halfway sanded at the point of this picture. I had to take a few breaks from sanding for my hands/wrists. I didn't want my carpel tunnel to flare up. That bastard!

And then it was time to paint. And paint. And paint some more. I painted till I ran out of paint... which was here.
So will have to go to Home Depot tomorrow. Oh darn. Heh heh, I love that store. Sis came home and watched me paint, and we both vented to her best friend who came by to hang out with us. Made her feel better. We then traveled the very far distance to my parents house. And by far I mean 1.5 miles. And we ate really bad food (Taco Bell) and played cards. I didn't win, but came in second. So I improved my standing.

With all I did today, I should sleep pretty good tonight. Tomorrow will be interesting. We will be putting the pergola back together. Hopefully with my dad as supervisor, no one will have to go to the hospital. Also tomorrow is my last day of the stay-cation. It went by too fast. I feel like I need 3 more days. Oh well. I have more vacation hours, I can cash them in later. Take another week off later this summer perhaps.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Stay-cation: Day 3 & 4

I didn't really do anything on Day 3. So it didn't really warrant it's own post. However, I did realize two things yesterday.

1: I can't do nothing on a stay-cation. I can't just sit in my room all day on my computer or watching t.v. I get too bored and frustrated and kinda pissy. So I decided that I had to get out of the house for the rest of the week. The back yard would do fine. I just have to do something. Anything.

2: While on my walk on Day 3, (I didn't go running) I decided to walk up the hill. If I walk all the way to the top where my street dead ends and back down, it is about 3 miles. And by up the hill, I mean UP THE HILL. People drive to this street just to walk/run/bike this hill. I thought that maybe I should actually try and run it sometime... I also decided that today (Day 4) was not that day. But I digress. I've known before, and it sunk in that if I had the money (1 to 2 million dollars) to afford to live on top of the hill, I wouldn't want to. Sure they are practically castles, but all they are are huge homes with little to no yard space with a view. I don't want a pink palace (there is a pink palace up there, I'm not making this up). I wouldn't fit in there. My priorities aren't palace with a view, luxury car, and hired help. There isn't anything wrong with that, it just isn't me. I don't need all that house space, or a luxury car or a Mercedes SUV. I'm a simple girl. It just doesn't seem practical to me. Just walking up there, I feel out of place.

So anyway, that was Day 3. Today, I got out of the house. I went to my local coffee shop for breakfast, since we are out of milk. But don't worry, I have... faith???? that the $4.00 I gave to the nephew who works at the grocery store, will come home with said milk after his shift. Faith, you gotta have faith, faith faith...

I ran another 3 miles today. No records or milestones, so no creepy Tiger Woods. I sat out in the back yard for a bit. And then I got to work sanding and painting the large beam for our large pergola that we took down when we got our new roof. It's been in pieces on our patio for months now. I want my patio back. Unfortunately, both dogs now have white paint on them. It's they're own fault. They aren't the brightest of their species.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Stay-cation: Day 2

It's okay that I really didn't do much today, right? It is a vacation after all.

I slept til 11:00 am. Awoke to a nephew taking a shower while playing very loud music. I put in my earplugs... I still heard it.

Made coffee.

Ate breakfast and drank coffee and played on the internet.

Went running. This isn't a vacation from exercise, must maintain the wondrously formed muffin top. I did 3 miles today. The creepy Tiger Woods told me I had logged my fastest mile on my ipod. yay

I sat out in the backyard and watched the bees. And a wasp. Will have to find that nest.

Decided to watch the Mexico World Cup game, but it wasn't on. :(

So decided to go to Wallgreens for toothpaste and shampoo. The person who I thought was taking a nap in their car all day in the shade of our trees was actually out of gas. I saw her putting gas in her car. She then asked for a jump, so I did my "good deed" of the day and gave her a jump... and then went to Wallgreens.

I watched a movie.

Then I watched the latest episode of my favorite "guilty pleasure", the CW's Beauty and the Beast.

So not much today, but still a good one, I think.