Wednesday, September 22, 2010

All Gone To Look For America

Simon & Garfunkel's song "All Gone to Look for America" played over and over in my head before the trip even started. Who knew I would have 2 flats in less than 12 hours....??? I chose not to look at it as "a sign", rather according to Caitlin, "Lola just wanted some new accessories." 4 tires and an oil change later, I was off, "Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike They've all gone, to look for America..."

A brief stay in New Brunswick, I drove to Newark, Delaware. How nice that the town would announce my arrival with a sign. I knew I was going to love that town when I happened upon a strip mall on the main drag that had a bike shop, a yoga studio, and a Goodwill!!! So many treasures!!!!

In between volleyball matches, I rented a bike, got lost on some roads, found myself on a trail in White Clay Creek State Park. Sitting by my bike, with a puzzled look on my face, many strangers stopped to give me directions. I ended up taking a lovely ride along the creek that brought me back to right where I was supposed to be! Without having to go on roads!!! I love America!!!! Part of the bike ride included riding along part of the Mason Dixon Line.
After the bike ride, the first nurse I officially mentored, Allison, came to Caitlin's games, we got to hang in the stands and cheer. She brought along her husband Javi and son Alex. I call them "the Sweet Little Family". I love reconnecting with some of the people that I just love on the last year of volleyball adventures!From Newark, Delaware to Takoma Park, Maryland, for a visit with my friend Stan from Fiddle and Dance Camp. He gave me a behind the scenes tour of his town, his yard, his Glen Echo National Park! He was a Park Ranger there for many years. The day included the merry go round, The Spanish Ballroom, puppet show, stream, the Pottery Yurts, it was a fun filled, jam packed day! I still can't waltz, maybe after volleyball ends, I'll take some lessons. From there it was off to Herndon, Virginia!Herndon is where my dearest girlfriend in the world lives, Shelly. We worked together as young cardiac nurses, she would move and come back, we always stayed in touch. The sister I never had. She told me about 17 years ago that they were moving back to Encinitas. I'm still waiting. She works with her sister Mary now, painting and selling glassware, "Glorious Goblets". I got to sell glassware with them at the Herndon Wine and Music Festival. Another fun day, perhaps I missed my calling doing sales? I was just happy to be with her and her family.
What day is it and what state am I in? I got up early tuesday morning to drive back to New Jersey.... by that evening after a Rutgers volleyball game, I realized it had been 5 Days - 500 miles - 5 States. And I still had 5 more days!!!This is Rosie. She and her mom and sister Fran come to our house for Christmas every year. She graduated from college, sold all her stuff, and up and moved to New York City!!! Well, there's a whole other adventure in that story, you'll have to read her blog.... She ended up staying a few days with Caitlin and the rest of the girls... Wednesday brought me to Nyack, New York. My friend Maggie from Fiddle Camp lives there with her husband Laren and dog Chester. I had a great walking tour of Her town, THREE thrift stores!!! a delicious lunch, but mostly a great visit with a new friend. The drive to her house was beautiful, I kept having to stop and look at things along the Palisades Parkway... After my visit with Maggie, I was back to stay put in New Brunswick for a week end of Volleyball, Volleyball, and Volleyball. Oh, and Caitlin had to go to class. I did get to have one dinner with her and Adam. I love to just sit back at Old Man Rafferty's, feed the kids, and listen to the stories of their lives. I am so grateful. It overwhelms me at times. Adam is also the "car savior", he stayed with Lola while Emma came to get Caitlin when she was stranded on the turnpike at 11:30 at night.While all the girls were at class, I was grateful for the quiet in the house, with just street sounds coming through the windows. I had asked Caitlin if there was something she wanted me to do while they were gone. "Do you think you could do something with our stove? We tried a lot of things and it's got years of dirt" I love a challenge. I call this the "Zen and the Art of Stove Cleaning" photo. 2 hours and a lot of elbow grease and toxic chemicals later... the stove was clean. I actually loved the cleaning, my thoughts could just go where ever they wanted, a lot of love went in to that scrubbing, as well as a feeling of great accomplishment. All from cleaning a stove....This has to be one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. Fiores Mozzarella in Hoboken. Caitlin and I took a brief food journey to Hoboken. Just get the special, whatever it is.
Missy, Emma's mom and I wanted to get the parents together between games on Saturday. Potluck was the original idea, then it was suggested we meet at "The Olive Branch", thank you KB!!!! Wings and beer, it was a good time! We may have a new way of tailgating.... A special note of thanks to these fine women for allowing me to share their space. At one point there were 5 girls, 2 moms, and one bathroom. It all worked out and I was missing them terribly the first few days I was home.

Hopefully, on the next leg of my journey, I'll write less, more frequently. I love that I have an iphone and a gps. The gps has opened a world to me that I would not have ventured into, given my terrible sense of direction. The iphone allows me to look things up at a moments notice. It also has a gps but I need something talking to me with a visual so Gar takes care of that. The thought foremost in my mind is that for many years, I thought I had to fly across the ocean to lands where I don't speak the language for adventure. Yes, it's there too, but I have learned it's here in my own country. Travel and adventure is all about the food you eat, the people you meet, and the things you see. It's how you deal with flat tires and wrong turns.
Round two of volleyball travel starts tomorrow. Caitlin's friend Rosie remarked as we walked home from the College Ave Gym one afternoon, "Catherine, I think your life is a soundtrack." I like that. Originally, the next leg of the journey would be called GTLFA Part II, I decided to call the next phase, "This Land is My Land." Woodie Guthrie's music...... and Robert will accompany me.

First stop, Kentucky! Birthplace of my Dad, Puppa. Stay tuned.

In Health and Love, Catherine