Travel

Memaw Betty

I am lucky to have a large and loving family on both branches of my family tree.  My dad’s side of the family lives in North Texas and for the past few years, we would come down every December to visit my Memaw Betty and see the rest of the family.  An easy five-hour drive from Arkansas. Last year, after moving back to Tennessee I wanted to make sure that I was able to make the trip. A week before Christmas last year, I flew to Texas and met my Dad, sister, brother, and the nephews to visit Memaw Betty and have “Aunt Barbara’s Christmas at Diane’s.” Yes, that is the proper name. Looking back almost a year later, I am so glad we made time to make that trip. Memaw was too sick to make the Christmas party, but we stopped by her room at the Rehab center before heading out to Diane’s house. We spent the morning opening gifts and talking with Memaw. She got to hold her newest great-grandson. We took a picture of four generations of Wolfs. Then it was time to go so we kissed her goodbye and wished her a Merry Christmas.  Just seven days later, she was gone.

 

Now it has almost been a year.  There are times that I still can’t believe that she is gone. This year, we came down a weekend earlier and went to the Wolf family Christmas party at the KC Hall.  Flying into Dallas and pointing my rental car north to Gainesville, Texas, I couldn’t help but reflect on the last time I flew to town – for Memaw’s funeral.  This was the first year, I would be coming to Texas to celebrate Christmas and see family without Memaw here – bittersweet. I tried to focus more on the good memories and not on the sadness of knowing that she is gone. I know that she is looking down on us all and proud of the people we have become.  There were a few times that I teared up while thinking of years past or finding pictures of Christmas as kids.  I know I’m biased, but having Memaw Betty as a grandmother was a pretty special experience. When I was seven, my parents moved us twelve hours away to Tennessee.  My brother, sister, and I would come down every summer for two months and live with Memaw Betty (and Pepaw Lee until he passed).  Memaw would drive us around and make sure we had plenty to do. She put up with a lot from us grandkids, but you just knew she thought we hung the moon. She gave so much of herself to everyone, an example that I hope to live up to.  So as I sit at my gate waiting to board my flight home to Nashville, I couldn’t let the weekend close without paying a small tribute to her memory.

Memaw you are missed, but your love lives on in each one of us, and we could definitely feel that this weekend.

 

2 pics from this year’s celebration. 

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Travel Fitness and Then the Plague

I finally mastered keeping up with my workouts while on the road. Huzzah! I returned home two weekends ago after being gone from home for 11 days. I know that I’ve written about my struggle to workout while traveling, but I did it this time. I’m pretty proud. Now, I still ate terribly (like a gluttonous pig, actually. Thanksgiving took a toll on my waistline), but I did get in workouts five days a week.  A huge win for me.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I worked out in a hotel fitness center for the first time in my life.  As much as I travel, that’s inexcusable.  I didn’t realize that hotel gyms were havens for middle-aged white men killing the elliptical game and macho younger men who make sex noises while slinging weights around. Oh? Not your experience? Good to know.  However, I did not let that deter me and got in my requisite workout.  After I left the conference, I flew to Arkansas to spend the week with my family for Thanksgiving.  I asked my trainer to send body-weight workouts to complete during that week as I wouldn’t have access to the gym.  I ended up watching my baby nephew two of the days I had workouts. Man, I give big props to all you moms who try to workout at home.  It’s tough.  Hats off to you! My nephew did think that squats were hilarious though. So there’s that.  Once I made it back home in one piece, I immediately dove back into work.  Last week was a busy week (I have a theory that the work universe punishes me for taking any time off). I was trucking along and getting in my workouts.  I even got up early on Tuesday morning to lift weights because I got the opportunity to go see Tony Bennett (PS: He’s amazing! Even at 90!).

 

Then Thursday night, BAM! I got hit with the plague.  Not really.  But I did get really sick Thursday night (and I will spare you the gory details… you’re welcome).  Friday morning I woke up and just didn’t feel right. I felt like my skin was too heavy for my bones.  I was just so so tired. I drug myself out of bed and made it to work.  I lasted four hours and then had to take myself home.  I immediately crawled into bed and slept for two hours straight (I can never nap and rarely do.  This was a sign to me that I was definitely sick).  I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly what was wrong, but I definitely knew something was up.  I stayed in bed the rest of Friday and then slept until 11:30 Saturday (again a very rare thing – especially since I went to bed at 11 pm).  I pretty much stayed in bed all of Saturday.  Finally Sunday, I visited a convenient care clinic.  I had a staph infection and upper respiratory infection.  I got my meds filled and immediately crawled back in bed. I tried to go into work on Monday. I made it to my desk and then immediately ran to the bathroom and got sick. I quickly took myself back home and crawled back into bed.  Luckily, yesterday I finally returned to work and made it the full day (even after dumping coffee all down my sweater upon walking in the building – I can’t make this stuff up).

I know in my head that my body needed rest, but I felt so guilty missing my workouts.  I’ve worked so hard and stayed on track. I was scared that this illness was going to derail me from all my handwork. Crazy, I know. Luckily my trainer talked me down (thanks Dave!) and assured me that my body deserved the rest and that I needed to take it easy.

 

This morning, I got up and did my first workout since last Wednesday night. Whew. It was ugly.  I sweated a ton and struggled with balance, but I got it done. It felt really good to push my body again. Hell, it felt great to be no longer lying in bed. I flew into Atlanta this afternoon and walked around some, but I am definitely tired now. I hope that I keep my energy up and continue to workout on this trip. I’m flying from here to Dallas on Friday to see my dad’s side of the family.  I’ve already looked up gyms near my aunt’s house and hope to buy a one-day pass to get in my workout for Saturday morning. We’ll see.

 

Speaking of balance, you guys know that I have trouble with my ears and therefore, my balance is not the greatest.  When I landed in Atlanta, I took the escalator up to baggage claim from the train between terminals. Well, I got off-balance with my luggage and fell down the escalator! How embarrassing.  Of course I screamed as I was falling, and EVERYONE across four rows of escalators turned around to stare. One really nice man leapt up three stairs to try to save me and scooped my bags up for me after making sure I was okay.  Thanks airport stranger, I really appreciate you and your help. 🙂 Okay. Enough rambling.  Peace out y’all!

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The Ocean

A lot has happened in the past month, and I can’t help but feel like life is a little chaotic. I haven’t gotten to the gym as much as I’d like. I’ve spent too much time working and when not working, falling in love. But alas, I’m back to being broken-hearted, unfortunately.

Last weekend, I flew down to Florida to spend a (too short) weekend with my sister and my two oldest nephews. We had a really great time, but I got too much sun.

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However, I didn’t realize the emotional effect that the ocean would have on me. I’ve spent some time in the ocean in Jamaica, Mexico, and the Bahamas, but this was the first time I’ve ever experienced the power of the ocean and the waves because resorts usually have some kind of breaker in front of the beach. Standing in the water and feeling the various currents swirling all around me. Feeling the power of the waves and realizing their control over my body. It was very intense. And in a way, it felt like I was being washed clean and getting a fresh start. That is a very powerful feeling.  I felt so inconsequential and small compared to its vastness. At one point, standing there among the waves, I wondered if it would just wash me and all my worries out to sea.

The relationship that I mentioned above was not right for me. I love him. I absolutely love him, but there were various factors outside of my control and it was not the relationship that I deserved or needed. I don’t doubt that he loves me too, but unfortunately it had to end. I made the decision while I was on the beach last weekend. I know it sounds crazy, but standing in the ocean, I was unable to lie to myself any longer. Like I said, it felt like the ocean was washing away my transgressions and letting me start anew. This week has been really tough. I didn’t want to say goodbye, and I didn’t want it to end. I can’t imagine never seeing his face again or hearing his voice. He had quickly become my most favorite person and now he’s gone. It’s hard enough having your heartbroken out of the blue, but it is just as hard to be in love and know that he loves you, but you still walk away because it is the right thing to do. And now I sit here, not only mourning our love but also mourning the future that I thought we would have. I wish I was back out at sea, letting the ocean wash around me. Washing my sorrows out to the deep and letting me emerge from its depths anew.

……………………………………………………………….

I hold you in my heart,

For never to let go.

You’re nestled deep inside,

And know I love you so.

I can’t quite fathom,

All the many ways.

In which I am yours,

Until the end of days.

Love now lingers shortly,

For our end is near.

But these memories of us,

I hope you’ll always hold dear.

I’d rather feel the sharp pain,

That heartache does bring.

Than never know that feeling,

Of our love shining.

A million times I’m shattered,

For I loved our love the most.

But now you say goodbye,

Our love becomes a ghost.

You had my heart once, but

You have to set me free.

So remember our love,

When these words you see.

-KLW

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An American Soldier

I’m traveling for work this week, and meetings have landed me in Washington, DC until early Saturday morning. I’ve only been to DC as an adult one other time. Last year, Mars and I came up here and hit the tourist attractions hard. We walked pretty much non-stop for eight hours one day with only a twenty-minute lunch break to eat a hot dog from a vendor on the Mall. We were good travel companions and really maximized our two and a half days that we had here. Because the Universe is a funny thing, I am staying in the exact same hotel that we stayed at last year. As I walked around the hotel and neighboring area today, I was flooded with happy memories of us, and it made me mourn the us that is no longer. It’s funny how healing heartbreaks can sneak up on you like that. But, I won’t dwell on that anymore. I’ve got two days packed with work ahead of me so I don’t have time to wax nostalgic about a past trip with my former love.

One of the places that was on my list of things to see was Arlington National Cemetery and we did not get to it last time. So today, my flight got into town a little early, and I had some down time. I checked into my room and then set out for the metro. It was warm, but I was pretty smug that I could handle the heat being from the South and all. I was ill-equipped though. I didn’t realize how large the Cemetery is. I also had on a black t-shirt and jeans. I was roasting by the time I climbed the first hill. I climbed this hill at a very clipped pace because I (mistakenly) thought it was the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and I was trying to make it in time for the changing of the guard. It was not and I was not in time. I was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely. Some kind fellow-tourist offered to take my picture. I told him that I didn’t want to scare anyone with the picture since I was so sweaty and my hair was turning into a sweat-soaked mess. He was persistent though so here is the photo.

 

I quickly found my bearings and found the correct location.  As soon as I approached the tomb, I no longer worried about the sweat dripping freely down my back, or the blisters forming on my chocoed feet. I got to witness a memorial ceremony for the Cleveland Air Guard. Taps was performed, and I cried. What an incredibly emotional and inspiring place. I have always had such respect and gratitude for those men and women who serve our country, but what a poignant reminder of sacrifice that some heroes made. The tomb reads: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God” and it touched me being in that place as the guard changed and the wind softly blew. Thank you to all our nation’s service men and women. As I approached the cemetery I saw that the flag flew at half-mast, and I remembered anew the horrific events that unfolded in Chattanooga, TN – a place I called home for four years. I definitely felt many emotions in Arlington, VA today, but I’m very glad I went.

 

 

 

 

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Interstate Misadventures

I made a spontaneous trip to visit an old friend and drive up to Grand Rapids, MI to watch my uncle open for OneRepublic this past weekend. Those of you that know me, know that I’m not very spontaneous because I like to research and plan just about everything. So I said to hell with detailed planning and decided to embark on this four-day road trip two weeks before leaving. I’m glad I did it. I had a lot of fun and the concert was awesome. I started off heading to Tennessee. I met up with my high-school best friend in my hometown. I spent the night at her place and we left out for Michigan the next morning. We drove north through Kentucky and Indiana before finally making it to the Great Lakes State a couple of hours before the concert was to start. We headed east to Detroit the next morning because I had never been to Canada and Windsor, Ontario was right across the river from Detroit and only two hours from where we were staying. We spent some time walking along the river in Windsor, and of course I had to visit a Tim Hortons (any HIMYM fan?) for some coffee and a maple donut. We then drove back to Tennessee by way of Ohio and Kentucky. So yes, that’s six states and two countries in four days. I had a lovely, lovely time, but I was pretty tired. I got a serious case of the cankles from being in the car for four days straight, but I’m starting to be able to differentiate between my leg and foot again.

However, I had a few weird encounters with men that made me not so joyous at the thought of entering the dating world again. One was a customs agent at the Canada/US border. And then there was an encounter at an Ohio Jack-In-The-Box with three men that had me pretty much running out of the place.

The Canadian/US Border: I’ve never crossed into another county by car before. I wasn’t too sure on what to expect. Well, the agent barked orders at me the entire time. He ridiculed my reasons for being up north and asked if I had any ex-boyfriends in my trunk. He also kept asking if anyone gave me any packages and offered to pay me in the U.S.   Um no. I’ve seen Brokedown Palace and Bridget Jone’s Diary 2. I know better than all that. Mr. Customs Agent didn’t seem to believe me. My friend said she thought he was trying to flirt with me. If so, he was really bad at it.

Ohio: We meandered south taking our time. We stopped at Lake Erie so I could check off my second of the five Great Lakes. Then we continued on. Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE Jack-In-The-Box tacos. There are no Jack-In-The-Box restaurants anywhere near where I live in Arkansas. So when I spotted one at an exit in Cincinnati, OH I pulled off. Big mistake.

We ordered our food without incident (besides the fact that they were out of curly fries) and sat down to eat. I was in a sundress (nothing fancy), no makeup, and my dirty (hadn’t been washed in three days) hair was up in a bun.  Two men walked in and continuously stared our way while ordering. One of the men had on overalls and a wife-beater.  Oh great, I thought.  They then sat down right behind us and continued to stare periodically.  I was uncomfortable but not super creeped out.  Then a man pulls into to the parking lot (our booth was at the window), and I exclaimed, “Jesus! He pulled in here on two wheels!” He then got out of his car and glowered at me very intensely. I looked at my friend, “do you think he read my lips?” Amber: “It seems that way sine he keeps staring at you like that.” He walks inside with his (very-dressed up) lady-friend and continues to stare at me very intensely. “Amber, he is still staring at me. What do I do? He’s creeping me out, and I’m afraid he’s going to try to kick my ass.” In fact, the man was turned all the way around while he and his lady-friend waited in line to order.  I was very, very uncomfortable.  We then threw away our things, and I went to refill my drink.  Oh great, the guy was getting his drink just then.  His lady-friend walked away and he turns to me (got pretty close) and whispers, “I’m sorry I was staring, you are just soooo pretty.” I laughed uncomfortably with surprise and said thanks. I am a southern lady after all. I turned to Amber and told her that we needed to get the hell out of there now.  We walked out, and I’m not kidding, the original two creepers had their faces smashed up against the window to watch us walk out.  I pretty much ran to the car and peeled out of that parking lot.

 

Other than the brush with creeper men, the trip was pretty stellar.  I’d love to hear about everyone’s summer travels.

 

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My uncle playing guitar for Josh Kaufman:

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