Here We Go Again…

Hey, Internet. It’s been awhile. Like, 2 years awhile. How ya been?😉

So, I’m on a new adventure. Because I needed one more thing to do on top of the garden, the house, the kids, the job, the boyfriend, the boyfriend’s boat… now seems like a great time to start a giant renovation project on something I know absolutely nothing about. For the moment, anyway.

In case you didn’t know, on pretty much the spur of the moment, I bought a vintage camper, a 1960 Trotwood Cub, and promptly named her Gracie. She’s one of the original “canned ham” variety travel trailers (more on her history later). I’ve been wanting a cute little camper for awhile now, even though the kids kept saying, “But Mom, you don’t camp.” To which I replied, “But I WOULD if I had a cute little camper.” That’s my logic, and I’m sticking to it. But just think! Music festivals. Weekend getaways at the lake (Home Away From Sailboat). Trips to visit the relatives in far away places we’ve always wanted to go. Or close places, even. But in a cute little camper.

I wasn’t planning on doing this right now. I was just window (Craigslist) shopping and day dreaming. And then the seemingly perfect lady just fell in my lap. So I ran out right away to see her and fell in love. And then panicked. And then bought her anyway.

So this weekend, I am finally going to bring her home. Hopefully. She’s got a seriously flat (and possibly rotted) tire that is causing her to list heavily to one side, so I am having her flat-bedded to a tire store, and then towing her back to my house with a rented truck for the holiday weekend for a more thorough examination of her insides. I am biting my nails in anticipation of all the things that can go wrong with this plan.

You guys, I am so scared. Who knows if the guy who sold her to me was truthful in anything he said about her not leaking (I already know that’s not true) and being road-worthy with just a new tire. Or that the electric works. Or that the tail lights work. Or that the propane is hooked up right. Or that the frame is in good condition. Or…I don’t even know. That’s the problem, isn’t it? I don’t even know what I don’t know yet. And it’s really just me. This is my project, and my baby, so I don’t expect anyone else to jump in (unless they want to).

And then… I read all these blogs with these amazing renovations, many of them done by single women. And I think “I can so do this.” And so I will do this. Slowly. Painfully. Joyfully. Incrementally. I will do this.

I have been lobbied hard to document this endeavor in a blog, and since I already have one, Bird Uncaged seemed like a logical place to start. I don’t know about the vlogging thing, though. Holding a camera with one hand while I pull rusty screws out with the other seems unlikely. But I will do the best I can to let you come along on my adventure. That way, I will have someone to cry with when I get overwhelmed and in over my head. And you will bring me wine out of pity.

One note to all the vintage camper purists out there (I had no idea of their fervor until I entered this world)…

I am not you. I love what you do, but I don’t have that kind of money or skill set. And I want to use Gracie, not just look at her in my driveway for the next 2 years. So as much I would love to completely overhaul her in the way she deserves, that level of restoration might not be in the cards just now. My short-term goal is to get her water-tight and resealed, maybe painted, and take care of any safety issues. And then just do the best I can for the rest. It might mean getting a paint job over some dents and bruises. It might mean fixing up some interior panels I will have to replace again at some point in the future. And I hope to someday have the means to really do her proud. But for right now, I am willing to forego my Vintage Camper Trailer Magazine spread so that I can round up the people I love and head out onto the road with Gracie in tow, sooner rather than later. I hope you understand. If you don’t, that’s ok too. Just keep your scoffing to yourself, because I already love her, bumps and bruises and all. I saw a camper blog recently that said “I’m a rescuer, not a restorer.” Yes, that.😉

And now that I have unburdened myself of that expectation, I feel my anxiety begin to subside. A little.

So here we go. Somebody please say whatever prayers you have to whatever God you think cares about vintage campers, because we’re about to get this party started. This bird is uncaged. Again.

Me and Gracie. Day 1.

Me and Gracie. Day 1.

 

 

Moment of Joy 6/Infinity – Be In The Moment You Are Given

(Editor’s note: Every time you see the words “you” or “we” in the following post, insert the word “I”. Because I am writing to myself as much as to anyone else.)

Yes, I know. I stopped blogging. After the year’s challenge, the rest seemed…forced. No matter my good intentions or good ideas, the words weren’t coming. So I let it go. I figured you would understand. Plus, you didn’t want to read drivel.

But recently, I was challenged to write one more post. So here goes…

When I wrote regularly, I had several rules for myself. One was not to repeat the same theme from any given day. I did pretty well with that.

The other was that I typically wrote at the end of the day, and not the beginning. The reason for this originally was that I wanted to gather the whole day’s events before reflecting. Seems logical. But there was an unintended consequence. Frequently, as I went through the day, the speculative subject of my thanks would float around in my head, waiting to be written. (One of the benefits of thankfulness is that when you go looking for it, you find more of it.) And so I would think early in the day that I knew what I was going to post by the end of the day when I sat down with my computer. But frequently, and today included, it morphed.

“What would you write today?”
“I would probably write something on being careful about your wishes.”

Guess what? That’s not what I’m writing about.😉

 

I believe that if you can step back from the details of your life and look with some perspective, you will start to see themes emerging. Hell, an entire profession has been created to help people do just that. (Thank you, therapy.) So today, as I was stepping back and listening to the world around me, I began to hear a clear and constant theme, one that has been discussed by me with several different people over the course of the last week. Staying in the moment.

Is it cliche? Possibly. Has it been beaten to death with Facebook memes and yoga mantras? Perhaps. So why, why, why are we so bad at it?

Because we are protecting ourselves. Because of ghosts from the past. Because we’re not sure if we can stand even one more piece of a broken heart.

But guess what? It doesn’t matter. You can worry and plan and cry yourself to sleep over the potential outcome of any given situation, and I would bet it rarely if ever matters one stinking bit. The future will get here, either the good one or the bad one. And you will get up and deal with it, exactly as you did all the other futures that are now in your past. Your track record is good. You’re still here.

So why waste one blazing second worrying about what comes next? If this moment is so spectacular that you absolutely don’t want to lose it, why on earth would you give it away?

Now, if the moment you are in is not so hot right now, I will give you a pass on the future planning. Go right ahead and do something that will catapult you back into some good new days. But more often than not, the things we worry about are far more disparaging than the things going on around us at this very second.

So be in your moment. It was given to you for a reason. Because you deserve it. Because that happy look on your face was a long time coming. Because joy is a gift you should receive with humility.

Today I am thankful for being given this moment of joy. I shall not waste it.

 

moment_155

 

(Post Editor’s Note: I reserve the right to post to this blog whenever I darn well feel like it, from now on.)

Moment of Joy 5/100 – The Anticipation Of Christmas On The Faces Of Children

Ok, I know, I’m woefully behind in posting. It’s not that I’ve lost interest. It’s just that, after a whole year of daily deadlines, I am taking advantage of the slacking off opportunities afforded me now.:)

So this is from a couple of weeks ago. The Worthington Kibourne High School choir was invited, along with the Thomas Worthington High School choir, to participate in the annual lighting of the Christmas tree on the Worthington Village Green. It was chilly, but overall, perfect weather for such an event. And by perfect, I mean not raining, which is always a possibility at this time of year for these events.

At first we got to hear the choirs sing as people started to gather, after which they broke out into small groups and carolled around the square to the delight of passersby. It was a fairly idyllic scene, with horse-drawn carriage rides parading by, hot chocolate to be had, and young voices in accapella song.

As the sun faded and the crowds gathered waiting for the arrival of Santa, the population of little people on the shoulders of their fathers threatened to outnumber those of us to had to stand on our own two feet. Looking up into a sea of faces under the age of five warmed my heart a bit. The memories those families were creating for those children are priceless.

And then we all gathered in candlelight to wait for Santa, who would oversee the tree lighting.

But this little guy is the one who inspired this post. The anticipation of children, in full delight of the season, always brings me joy.

I couldn't resist that adorable face.

I couldn’t resist that adorable face. He was SO EXCITED.

Moment of Joy 5/100 – The Anticipation of Christmas On The Faces Of Children. May we all remember that feeling.

Moment of Joy 3/100 – Breath As Music

I was sitting on the couch this morning, sipping my coffee, scrolling through Facebook on my phone. The house was quiet. (The boy was at an all night church event. He will likely be sleeping till dinner.) The sun was up, but the gray sky gave the impression of it being earlier than it really was. And I was just sitting there. Feeling like I was wasting something.

I should get up and do something. I need something. I need… yoga.

Now, this may or may not be something that randomly occurs to you. It randomly occurs to me. But most of the time, it comes to me in that creaky body, wow I would feel so much better if I stretched, gosh I should really get to class kind of pull. The “shoulds”. This was a little different.

This morning I felt as if I was being pulled right off the couch and onto the ground. I couldn’t wait for a class. I have time to turn on the music. I needed to move, right then and there. So I set down my cup, pushed the coffee table aside just far enough to give me a narrow strip on the rug, and stood in my jammies (ok, fine, they were yoga pants, but that was just luck of the draw today). Facing out through the screen door, I could see the sky. Gosh, I miss my outdoor weekends on the deck with my mat. This is going to be a long winter.

Eyes closed. Breathe in 4 counts. Breathe out 5 counts. Hold for 3. Do it again. And again. And again. I stood there breathing. And when I began to feel the tightness in my shoulders start to release as breath took up the space, I knew I was ready.

Into sun salutations I went. Those familiar beautiful sun salutations. They are like friends now. We know each other. As I lowered into my first forward fold and couldn’t quite put my palms on the floor, the sun salutations forgave my aging back and said “don’t worry, hang with me, it will come.”

I could hear my breath loud and rhythmic in my ears. That and the hum of the refrigerator were my music. My breathing became pulse personified. It was the drum beat that counted out the moves as I ran though them. Exhale chataranga. Inhale up dog. Exhale down dog. Breathe. Move. Dance.

My favorite part of the sun salutation is the close of each one, moving from arms stretched overhead, bringing them back to heart’s center in prayer position. It feels like an amen. So I did another one, from the beginning. Moving now with a little less cracking and a little more grace. And back to heart’s center. Amen. And again. And amen.

With my breath, sun salutations made way to a warrior sequence I made up as a went along. All the familiar poses, in whatever felt right at the moment, and magically, they flowed beautifully and gracefully, one into the other. Alternating reaching out with pulling in, breathing out and breathing in, first the right side, and again on the left.

Without hesitation or much thought I planted my hands on the ground and took a shaky crow pose. But I managed. (Note to self: eat breakfast first). And then laid my head softly on the ground and inverted into a headstand I haven’t taken in many weeks. Yes. This. Even as I lifted, I thought “I can do this.”

Eventually lowering onto the ground after another series, I rested in child’s pose, giving thanks for the metaphor. And as my body asked for twists, I turned onto my back and did those as well. I told myself “stay in this pose until you forget that you are in this pose”, and I let my mind wander, distracted from the contortion and allowing gravity to have its way. It worked. And then go the other way. That side’s a little tighter; it took a little while longer, but it worked over there too. When I realized I had forgotten, that was when I knew it was ok to move again.

And then I drew in, hugged my knees tight, took a deep breath, and with a sigh lowered all the way to the ground, prone to the perceived sky. Relaxed. Freed.

It probably won’t last long as the day brings back the stresses of the world, of my own mind, of the tasks of the day. But for a brief period in time, I was perfectly at peace. With my body, with my failures and my successes. With my life.

Alone, in a quiet house, my breath as music, Moment of Joy 3/100.

Namaste

Namaste