Need a dirt road.

Need a dirt road.

Not to be confused with Makes Me Want to Take a Backroad.  Which is a great song and true to.  Can relate to that as well.  But for now …

When I wrote this it was about 1am and I was trying to unwind.  Had been a long day.  Have had a lot of them lately.  So was listening to music late at night.  And dreaming about how wonderful it would be to just get in the car and take a road trip to one of my favorite places on the face of this earth, Big Sky Country.

Some random thoughts:

Am loving right now, the Band Perry (along with throngs of others, I know).  Have been working on learning All Your Life on the guitar and Backroad from above (but not sure how that song sounds with a chick singing it) along with a bunch of others including a few from one of my favorite bands, Little Jane and the Pistol Whips who I believe are out of Bozeman, MT ..

Talked with the Cowboy for just a few minutes tonight on the video phone.  He was wiped out and was falling asleep as he was also playing guitar.  He figured he better call it a night before it was lights out either way in the armchair.

It’s Rodeo Bible Camp week in SD.  Heard some fun stories last night and was only the first day of camp.  Already done with school, the kids are with him for their first full week – he’s bummed they don’t have more down time together, but they seem to be having run regardless.  The four of them seem so happy to all be together for an extended period of time, and the kids that they are getting to go to camp with their dad.  One of the twins, who until now, has had a tough time getting his rope going in the right direction, gave us a demonstration this morning that he’s got it down and can now do it the way he’s supposed to.  Nothing like the look on a kids face when they realize they’ve learned something and really got it down, and they can now work on improving that skill.  Priceless.

Talked with my own daughter for a bit.  She’s still in school but excited there is now officially less than a week left for the 2012 academic year.  They had picnic lunch today and a presentation of poster boards they put together on a state.  Remember doing those?  She, no surprise, had Montana.  She really wanted me to see a couple others, including the boy’s that she has a crush on and her friend who had South Dakota.  To which she excitedly made some comments about the state, the Cowboy and possible life changes.  I gave her a squeeze, smiled and told the sweet girl who’s project we were looking at great job, and we moved onto the next.

As if I don’t have enough to do .. my workouts are suffering over getting other things that ‘need to get done, done.’  Think I need to find a triathlon this summer and start training.   That usually helps, but I’m not motivated.  Wanted to go to the gym for a swim tonight (last night).  Feeling like schlep that I chose not to and had glass of wine instead while going through paperwork and watching Wisconsin’s historic recall election results and speeches come in.

Feels like trying to get caught up is a never-ending battle.  Or trying to fit everything in, between family, friends, work, each other, etc etc etc .. is never possible without disappointing someone.  The Cowboy and I are trying to figure that out .. as we have events, graduations and various other commitments in towns hours apart this weekend for family and good friends, all of whom are important to us.  But that we know we can’t spend enough time with.  How do you juggle successfully?  Or, do you even try?

Is that ever possible anymore?  Feeling caught up?  Fitting everything in.  Getting things done?  Feeling like the important thing are taken care of so that you can take care of yourself, or your/our family in this case?  We know we could be so much better if we could all be under one roof.

But because for now, that’s not the case ..

Spent awhile last night trying to find the comfort of a dirt road or a small town in the middle of, if not South Dakota with the Cowboy .. Big Sky country (Even Bayfield will do, where I took the photo of my daughter and the Cowboy, below.) .. in my mind at the very least, since it’s the best I can do at the moment.  Looking at a big open sky.  Feeling the gravel and dirt below my feet.  Not seeing anyone or anything for miles.  Feels like there’s room to again breathe.

That whatever it is on the to-do list or that has me stressed isn’t all that big a deal, in fact, it’s small in the grand scheme of things.  And the busyness of the day-to-day is my/our choice.

Maybe I just need a good session of yoga or a massage.  But I like the dirt road theory.

Dirt roads usually take you somewhere more simple.  More quiet.  Calm.  It all re-grounds me.  And has me coming back at it all again today, refreshed.

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Just a crack …

It really has not been a bad past few months, in terms of winters.

Well..

If you like snow or rely on it for income, it pretty much sucked.

I didn’t ski once.  It’s been a long time since I haven’t gone at all.  Or, ice skate.  I love doing both, especially with my daughter.  We had planned to take the Cowboy in fact.  We live near a cool ice skating park with a shelter that serves hot cocoa and had looked forward to going.

This winter though, worked for me.  For many reasons.  The Cowboy and I have been on the road a ton between here and there.  I hate driving in snow.  Plus it’s allowed me to get away with the near balding tires I’ve had all winter.  I no longer have a yard to just throw open the back door to something fenced in to let the dogs out, I have to walk them.  And pick up after them.  In a lot of snow, neither of those are fun.  And I hate being cold.  I usually live in long underwear each winter.  I’m not sure that I put them on but twice over the past 5 months.  While I love skiing and hate that the hills around here or for that fact, many places took a huge hit this year.. I’ll take winters like the one we’ve had.  At least, every now and then.

………….

But I haven’t had the windows open (except to let the smoke out after cooking on a few occasions) since probably mid-November.

I cracked a few on Saturday morning in the apartment.

My daughter, who usually begs me to put the windows up because the wind is blowing her hair in her eyes, wanted all the windows down on the way home from church Sunday morning.

Ahhhhhhhhh….

FRESH, honest to goodness, crisp but not frigid, can crack the windows open all day and not let a ton of heat/money escape as my dad will say, makes you want to garden, feel the breeze on your face and it’s awesome, air.

Car windows, down.

The weekend like the one we’ve had .. has to be one of my favorites each year.  The first real buying into the fact spring may actually be here – kind of weekend.  Where people are back out in full force.  In shorts.  Running.  Biking.  Roller blading.  Walking their dogs.  Sweating again (those running).  Fishing.  (Not in an ice shanty.)  Sitting at the Terrace, walking State Street, finally putting the Christmas tree to the curb and taking down the lights, re-introduce yourself to your neighbor, windows open kind of weekend.

I’ve hardly sat at the computer.  I’ve hardly thought to tweet.  Log onto Facebook.  Blog.  Or do anything inside since Friday night when I left work at 9pm.

It’s helped my internet at home has been down.

But the weather had us out enjoying everything we could, with no jacket required.  The warming temps actually kept the Cowboy and I from talking as much as we usually do, too.  He and his kids didn’t set foot much inside all weekend.  It was a kite flying, bike riding, playing football in the yard until bath time kind of weekend in South Dakota.

My daughter and I enjoyed a date night at the Symphony.  We moseyed around the downtown deciding where we wanted to eat versus darting from the car to exactly where we knew we were heading.  We leisurely the dogs.  I cleaned our little porch to get it ready for the first sign its okay to plant any flowers.  We pulled our hula hoops (and these are some serious hula hoops) out of storage.  And hit the barn.

Post ride. A few more moments savoring the weekend.

As I think of how beautiful it was here, I wonder if the 14 inches of snow has melted yet at my dad’s to the north ..

I’m hoping everyone had such a weekend.

Spring, welcome back, old friend …

The South Shore …

We had planned this weekend for months.

Had it not been on the calendar, I would have still needed a getaway.  My dad’s .. quiet, calm and as far away from the chaos of my everyday.. at least as far as I could get in the state of Wisconsin, was the perfect getaway.

“Wish we could be there,” said the Cowboy, several times as we talked on the phone.

He had the kids this weekend and the hope was we’d all meet there.  But, the drive is just too much for the short time they all have together on any given weekend.   Some other time, we agreed … soon.

……

The temperatures on Sunday had warmed up to a balmy 20 degrees..

So before leaving to head back home… we decided it might be fun to hit the beach.

Explaining chaos of the ice

With half of Chequamegon Bay near Bayfield still open, the ice where it was frozen, was spectacular.

Even more precious, to me anyway..

As I grabbed a few things from the car, to look up and already see my dad, explaining to my daughter, why the ice was all chunked up along the shoreline versus what she might be used to seeing on the lakes at home.

Sandy Shores of Lake Superior

We spend time on this shore as often as we can during the summer, this was our first trip during the cold months of winter.  (The water during the summer, doesn’t seem like it is much warmer than it would be to take a swim at the moment, either.)

With the open water from the rest of the bay, seeping where it can under the the ice..  there is this low, eery but beautiful, constant growl.

“Can you hear that, mom?” shouted my 10 year old.  “Did you hear that?!  What is that?” she asks from a distance as she pokes at the shoreline with a stick she’s found.  Dogs in tow.

Who needs a tennis ball. New game of fetch ..

Looking at this photo, I think its time my dog had her nails trimmed.

Sorry, sidetracked ..

Wish we could have stayed longer.  At the beach.  And at my dads.  I know my daughter felt the same, because she made that very comment, as we began the drive back home.

Had the dogs had a vote, I’m pretty sure they would have agreed.  At least before crashing in the back seat, exhausted from a weekend of running around.

I, on the other hand, enjoyed doing a whole lot of nothing other than spending total down time with two of the people I love most (only wish a few others, including the Cowboy and his little people could have joined us).  And am refreshed, ready to face the beautiful chaos of a new week.

At my dads..

It was a late night of driving up into the northwoods of northern Wisconsin..

The two lane highway last night once we were north of Minocqua was pretty quiet.  There was an occasional car.  Otherwise, only the wind was howling..

We pulled onto the dirt road heading to my dads at about 2:30 this morning.

February, unfortunatley is a month I can not take any time off of work unless death is knocking on the door.  Sincerely.  I work in news.  Ad rates are based off of ratings four months out of the year.  Which means no time off.  So we didn’t leave town for the 6 hour drive until about 8 o’clock last night. 

I’m usually up late nights, so that part wasn’t a big deal.  But I’m not always a fan of driving in rural areas at that hour. 

We were dodging deer.  Random snowdrifts across the road.  People leaving the bars in their vehicles and on snowmobile.  And, worst of all, try finding somewhere in northern Wisconsin open to use the bathroom in subzero temps just after midnight.  Not an easy task.

But my dad wants more time with us.  And us with him. 

And its been too long since we made the trip north.  SO.. we packed up the the car, all of our winter weather gear, skiis, skates, snacks and the dogs and .. arrived in the wee hours of the morning.

….

We slept in.

It’s below zero. 

Still….

We might go skiing.

We brought our ice skates.

We fed the birds.

We’ve watched our two labs run around like this is the time of their life.  NO leash, lots of animal scents to check out and no one else as far as the eye can see is like heaven for a dog.

Its almost 2pm and we’re just eating breakfast.

I feel like I’m in heaven.

While there are a ton of things we COULD be doing, running from one thing to the next, which often is my norm, we are doing much of nothing today.  Except spend time together.

Quality time.

In fact I just spent the past two hours on the computer with my dad.  Teaching him how to use something most of us use everyday and take for granted that it’s easy.  It isn’t for him. I have never understood why. I’ve been frustated he wouldn’t use it more to keep in touch with us.  And, I never would have understood why.  Had I not taken the opportunity today to just be still, and spend time with him this morning.

I’m going to write about why that was cathartic later tonight, perhaps.

But for now.. I’m going to eat the delicious breakfast he just made that reminds me of all the weekend mornings he used to cook for us when we were kids.

Nothing like cheese smothered eggs

(I’ll post pictures later, have some fun ones of today but can’t figure out on his computer where to download the pics off my camera!)

The Cowboy’s mom wrote about the importance of time in her plea this week to South Dakota state legislators in regard to passage of bills that give children in divorce, equal time wherever and whenever in their best interest, with both parents.  I won’t dwell on that.  What struck me as I was thinking about what I wanted to write today.. was the theme of time.

And how when we have it, or the opportunity to have it especially with family, it is a gift.

My mom isn’t around anymore.  She’s been gone now, almost 11 years.  I miss her more than anything.  And the last thing I did before leaving our house for the drive here last night, was touch the photo I have of her on my dresser.  I have many others who are like a mom to me – for so many reasons.  I love them all dearly.  So does my daughter and I want for her to know how each of them has played a role in who I am today.  At some point this year, you’ll meet them too, if you stick around long enough. 

But my mom, is gone.  And I would give anything for more time with her..

I know my dad would too. 

We’ll ony be here a day and a half, and have to head home.

Down time ...

But I know the time with him is precious.  We need to make more late night drives.