Sister.

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I’ve been blessed many times by the people in my life. I am blessed that I have been given so many opportunities. Many challenges have presented themselves to me which have rocked me to my core – challenging who I am, what I believe and what my purpose is in this world…in my life.

I have had low, lows and high, highs. Every trial or speed bump, every tear of joy, laughter, and kind humanity blesses me.  I have been so grateful in my life and the best part is my heart is open not hardened and dark from my struggle.   I do, have a wonderful life.  Yes, I am a work in progress and I am always learning.  I learn from “my people,” my friend’s, my family, I learn from reading, I learn from my experiences small and large.

I have this friend, who…I can’t quite explain in words how much she means to me.  How much I need her and I believe she needs me just as much. (Or at least, that’s what I would like to think.) We aren’t neighbors but if the circumstances presented themselves, I would jump on that train in a heartbeat.  I am amazed by her compassion, her loyalty, her attitude – nothing gets in her way and she is the most determined woman I know. Her laughter and kindness can and will change the world.

We have spent hours and hours talking – the light conversation and the heavy dirty shit that we bury deep inside, we sit in silence, we laugh and we laugh well – without control, we do not guard our souls, our secrets, or truths from each other.  We are exactly alike but also different. We fit together perfectly, we balance each other, when I am weak she is strong, when she is weak I am strong.  Our playfulness began years ago, now when it gets physical she somehow, can pin me to the floor and cover me in spray cheese until I beg for mercy.  Someday, I will get her back and I will be the champion.

She pushes me to charge full speed ahead toward my fears and we both find humor in things that others would not.  This is the best feeling – we just get each.  There could be a room of hundreds of people but for us, we are the only ones there.  We cry together, I feel safe with her, I lean on her – when she is in town, I fight for the seat next to her. I drive her crazy like I did when I was younger but we don’t have the line down the center of the room any more and she hasn’t tied me up in tights lately (due to me annoying her).

I love her deeply and wish I could see her every day. If you know someone like this tell them, let them know because moments pass and the opportunity can too.

She came first and I came second.

My sister, my friend.

Turning Over a New Leaf

There are times when situations are put in our path and it is up to you to pay attention to them or not.  As individuals we have the opportunity to make choices daily.  We decide whether to go left or right, forward or backwards, or pick door one or door two.  It’s as simple as saying yes or no but it is never that simple, is it? I think most people tend to over think things and sometimes I am one of these people. However, I am trying something different lately.

I think many people live in the realm of actions cause reactions and choices have consequences so we get so wrapped up in what if this or what if that… that we don’t ever just go with living in the moment.  Living in the moment comes more naturally to some people and not so much to others.

I crave more spontaneity in life but often I find myself trying to make a plan or a list of tasks to accomplish things.  I am a planner by nature but am realizing lately that I don’t always need a plan. I would like to think I am always prepared but that doesn’t really jive with living in the moment.  Why is this?  Does life really require a schedule?  In my mind, I am trained to create this schedule but when it comes to relishing in the moments, life won’t end without a schedule.  It would in fact bring more spontaneity into my life and this is what I crave.  I want to try new things and test my own limits.  So, I am going to stick to this way of thinking for awhile and see what happens.

Last week my sister called and asked me if I had plans for this weekend.  Normally, we are both booked weeks in advance.  But not this weekend. Her spontaneous suggestion of getting away to McMenamins for a few nights and getting a few more stamps in our passports was a brilliant idea. So, I decided to jump at the chance and booked our room that day.  I always need sister time, heck, I would live next door to her if I could.  She is one of my favorite people in this whole world.  The laughter, honesty, and trust we have is limitless.

This new leaf I have turned over is to live in the moment and get out of my head, so to speak. Spend less time worrying and more time living.  More time with experiences and less time planning them. I will keep you posted on this works out for me.

How do you look at life?

Sedona, AZ.

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We spent a week in Sedona in a single wide trailer, slightly reminiscent of an old folks trailer park with a rustic Spanish feel.  Inside the gated area was everything we needed.  The walk way through the entirety of the trailer was one person wide. It was a cool place to stay.  Pool, a breakfast cafe on site, and daily art classes.

We were lucky enough to get signed up for an art classes at a nominal fee.  We were thrilled to do a water color painting class.  Now, for my sister this was second nature for her.  She is an amazing artist.  Everything that one needs to be, to be called an artist: creative, thoughtful, and paints as if each brush stroke is preplanned for the the next one as if she sees the finished piece of art in her mind.  It is actually a beautiful thing to watch someone be with their art, in the moment… creating it.

I have a friend who is an architect.  I have seen her drawings on paper, on a computer screen, and even more impressive the buildings she has designed. She is an artist also.  She gets that same look my sister has when she paints and the same ease and grace when she speaks about her designs.

The first full day we had, we were both nursing our way down the hill to a little building.  Putting one step in front of the other-a bit too much fun the night before and our inability to stop talking is often difficult on our trips. Conversations go on and on, unconsciously fighting over the last word, the last laugh, and soon 2am rolls around.

We signed in with a skinny man wearing a beret, small build, no hair with a gentle voice and the sheer sight of this man gave us a little chuckle.  I am not sure if it was his demeanor, the way he spoke and looked perfectly like someone in an 80’s comedy about a painter…a complete stereotype on my part, but he was fun to be with for a few hours. The icing on the cake, his name. Art Gecko.  I think that his name was the kicker to our whispering giggles. Still to this day, I wonder if that was his real name??

I had a surprise for the next day but turns out, not actually a surprise because I told her. I am so bad at keeping surprises. We were headed for a Jeep Adventure.  Alone, she and I would go off road with a penciled paper map in a brand new Cherry Red Rubicon.  This still is one of my favorite adventures.

I started driving through town as we made it to the dirt roads and I remember us looking at each other like we were entering a wonderland of excitment.  The red rocks towered around us, brush and tumble weeds wiped the sides of this awesome toy.  A rather expensive toy but it was SO SWEET! We drove for what seemed like a few miles before our surroundings started to change, the roads narrowed, we began to drive over  uneven ground and rock. My stomach seemed to flutter with nerves or it could have just been sore from all the laughter from the day before and laughter that was happening inside that open-topped jeep of joy.

The terrain again changed drastically after a few S curves and the dirt underneath us started to disappear, we were driving and climbing rocks. At this point, I knew it wasn’t sore stomach muscles, it was fluttering nerves. Another jeep approaches as we sweep by each other nearly hitting mirrors, they warn us of what is ahead.  We climbed the large hill and came around the left bend in the path. About 20 feet in front of us, was solid rock on a 45-degree incline and it sharpened off about ½ way up probably to a 75-degree incline.  After some discussion, about putting the Rubicon in 4-wheel drive manually, my sister says, “now once you start driving you have to make it to the top, there is no stopping half way.” The incline didn’t seem that scary from the flat path we addressed in front of us. I decisively decide… I got this.

I start to accelerate slowly and my sister urges more gas, more gas, and I know my facial expression right then, and my laugh turned to a terrified nervous giggle.  My sister is holding on for dear life, leaned forward as if that would help move us forward faster. Her urgency for me to give it more gas grew quickly and my weightless numb foot couldn’t push any harder.

I started babbling, “oh shit, oh shit. I can’t, I can’t.” I use both feet to slam the break into the floor board and in that exact position, at that angle my entire upper body felt as though I couldn’t lean forward even if it was life or death.  My sister yells, “what the hell,” and looks like she is going to punch me in the face. We both looked forward and all we saw was the sky.  In a split second, I decided I was done driving, at that moment, at that angle, and I was done. I absolutely pictured that if I went up any further the Jeep would somehow tip over backwards and flip end over end down the hill.

I needed my sister to drive.  She decided we were not exactly in the right place to do a Chinese fire drill and switch drivers. I slowly let off the brake which allowed us to roll backwards to where the incline began. Emergency brake engaged, we switch places by me sliding in the passenger seat inside the Jeep and her passing in front of the Jeep to get in the driver’s side.

She took over and charged the climb.  Up slowly we went and once that incline hit 75 degrees I swear those tires had suction cups on them to keep us attached to the rock.  We drove a bit further, another climb or two and we finally reached the top. Red rock towered on one side of us. We stopped in the center of the rock.  Our laughter echoed for miles, I’m sure of it.  We replayed my abort mission mid rock climb and couldn’t catch our breath. We explored a bit, tried to take selfies in the middle of nowhere, yelled to see if voices would echo, talked and relished in the hot humid afternoon drinking water and celebrating with trail mix.

Our journey in the Rubicon was not over.  We had to find our way back and together we decided we were loosing too much daylight. We headed forward off the grid where the map just ended and figured we would make it back just fine.

 

 

 

The Largest Round About Ever

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We travelled many trips before but this one we took by storm because of the heat we were told we would encounter as summer drew closer in Arizona.

I left Portland and she left Seattle joining forces in the Phoenix airport.  Beyond the excitement of just being in this new state together and the enjoyment of embarking on another sister trip we simply couldn’t contain ourselves. We were interrupting each other and laughing as we wandered to the rental car counter and bounced about like young girls with pigtails in a make-believe world.  Neither of us could get a word in edge wise.  We filled out paperwork and as always argued about who would pay.

Our rolling suitcases trailed behind and we were off to find our car.  This car was claimed to be an upgrade but from what I do not know.  Not any bigger than a smurf’s turd, our tan car was squeaky clean and we rolled off to take on this state.

One of the best things about our trips is that we are open to anything that comes our way.  There is always adventure, some fear (for me, anyway), a little ass kickin’ of both of ours, a challenge, laughter, outdoors, staying up late, and the most amazing conversations that makes me relish in the moment…exist in that one second and breathe deep to not miss a thing.  I know everyone has their favorite person, and she is mine!! (Listen up! I am not slighting my husband in anyway, he is “my” person. But it is distinctly different than a sister.)

I am behind the wheel and getting myself situated in a car that has no power what so ever and feels like I am driving a steel tank from the 80’s we circle around the inside loop of the airport.  She is looking at a map, the airport signs to get on the freeway, and digging in her purse for chap stick.  We are still enthralled in conversation and laughter as we continue in the largest round about in the world.

She is searching for music and honestly, I think she noticed first that we were passing the rental car exit from the airport again. Not only did we exit there with our rental car but we had now finished a complete circle, she laughed that glorious, addicting laugh while looking slightly irritated. I had no option to change directions or stop on the side of the road.

If you have been to the Phoenix airport, you know what it is like to leave that airport or at least, now you know how hard it was for me to ‘try” and leave that airport for the first time.  There is no way of knowing if I could leave it again without making the same mistake.

She instructs me to pay attention and get my shit together as she dumps the map because we still haven’t left the terminal gate.  I begin to circle over my first tracks and am determined not to circle the entire airport again.  I wait for my sister to tell me something.

It’s four lanes wide…what the hell lane was I supposed to be in?? We continue to find the situation hilarious and know we are going to be late getting to where we were supposed to be.  She shouts, “exit there” and in our gutless smurf turd, I floor it and shoot across the other three lanes of traffic to an actual exit from the airport.  What the hell?  It took us over 30 minutes to get the hell out of there!

My sister is back on map duty and the city scape starts to disappear, it’s dry, hot, and the freeway stretches behind us and in front of us for miles.  My blood pressure drops now that we have actually left the airport and we start chatting in a calm manner, excitement fills the car, and what are plans are for the week; while miles and miles pass.  Maybe eight songs run through the radio in their entirety and we wonder how close we are to our destination.

We start to actually pay attention to the freeway signs and wonder what town is next.  Map reading, her head is down and I report, “we are 38 miles to Tucson.” She looks at me puzzled, in an empty stare and says, “wait, what? Isn’t that the wrong direction?”  In my stammer, I look at her laughing and make the statement, “I don’t know?” Annoyed, she looks back at me, “what the fuck?”  She looks up from the map and declares, “we have to turn around,” which is hysterical to me and frustrating to her. I figured it was as good a time as any to ask her, how far out of the way did we actually travel??

Again, we exit and turn the car around to get headed in the opposite direction.  If you ask me whether we were headed north, south, east or west…I deny, deny, deny…because, I simple have no sense of direction.  Easier put, I wonder if it is a birth defect I was born with?

As we head the opposite direction from Tucson back the way we came, I question will we actually get to where we are going.  I look to my older sister for guidance and she was less than enthused. She said, “Phoenix, we are supposed to be in Phoenix.”

Ice Cream Issues

Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey

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We climbed back in our car after losing about 2 hours’ time and drove on.  The chatter picked back up and our singing out loud filled the car. I think, we compete subconsciously at who sounds better but let’s face it, we both equally suck.

We made it the Oregon border, where we stopped for a potty break and decided ice cream was a good idea.  However, I don’t think I mentioned it was nearly 115 degrees outside and the minute I stepped out the door with my vanilla cone it turned to sweet cream.  It was running all over the place.  My hand was white and it continued down my forearm and as I begged for help with the one napkin we were given, she laughed the kind of laugh that was infectious.  We stood there for a few seconds laughing as I struggled to get my shit together. Tears streamed down my face and as we came to the back parking lot we passed a car with the bumper sticker that read “I have issues,” and at the moment, I had some serious issues!  I posed for a photo, we made it back in the car and I sucked down an ice cream cone in a way that most people would think was savage.

The scenery around us had started changing. The Oregon green had changed to browns of many and tumbled weeds were blowing in the distance.  The miles and hours passed until we made it to the Idaho border.  We needed to fill up the car, use the restroom, and gather snacks.  The gas station had two very unfortunate characters behind the counter. I attached myself to my sister’s hip, I knew she would always be the one to do the ass kicking on our trips.  We filled a tiny plastic bag with unhealthy snacks, drinks, paid for gas, and there was no bathroom.

Next door in the middle of nowhere was a questionable casino.  We knew it was our only chance at a real toilet. Although we were hesitant to enter, our bulging bladders drew us in and what was inside those doors was unbelievable.  If one could picture the most redneck version of a casino, the smell of dust, dirty body, sweat and a big room cropped dusted by cigarette smoke – that is what we walked into. It was some place I wish we never entered and knowing what it was like inside, in retrospect, I defiantly would have chosen to squat and pee between two cars rather than use that bathroom. As we left, a little person with a cowboy hat, cut off shirt, sitting on a stool so high it was twice his height, gave us a head nod.

As we exited the building of smells, a ploom of what was trapped inside that building followed us to the car.  It was my turn to drive, we jumped inside and in my uncomfortable state of glee, I left the parking lot over one curb and then another and we were on the road again.

 

Cline Falls Road

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She arrived later than she thought.  We unpacked her car and repacked into my car.  The tank was full and we were off on the first leg of our trip from Independence to Redmond.  Not really considered a “leg” of the trip because we had 17 hours ahead of us to Utah.

She had just driven over four hours to my place, drained the bladder and jumped back in for almost another three hours. As soon as we were both trapped inside, the chatter started and we carried it all the way to Sisters.  We started at least 15 stories and only finished six of them but we always made it back around to one that we didn’t finish, sooner or later we always finished them but it might be on the fourth day we were together.  Today, we still have unfinished stories.

It was not our first trip but it always felt like the first time.  The excitement…for me was like a kid on Christmas morning.  As an adult travelling was with my sister was like Christmas morning.  Our trips were this way.  The entire trip wrapped like a huge gift under the tree and we never really knew what was inside, every step or mile of the way it was thrilling like tearing open the gift you wanted all year long.

We talked and talked, she made sure to toss in a bag of peanut butter chocolate cups and we shared them as the odometer numbers increased and emptied a Nalgene bottle of water.  Hours passed and carried us to our resting place. We made our way to Cline Falls Road, she turned left, left again, and as the curves in the road wrapped us closer to our destination. We realized how late it was.

We were both sleepy, the windows opened to keep us awake, and our long hair tossed around us. I told her to slow her speed and in the darkness police lights flashed around the car.  As she struggled to find a place to pull over in the central desert, she drove on…further than my instincts would have taken me.  As I insisted her pull over, we came to our left hand turn. She turns and pulls over to the right curb barely out of the entrance and as we giggle and are slightly nervous about what we did wrong.

She insisted she wasn’t going too fast…the officer walked to the left side of the car and just as he asks for her license and tells her she was speeding; I start screaming at the top of my lungs as a sprinkler hoses me down from the top of my head to the middle of the chest.  It passes by once, screaming, it passes and again as my sister tries to silence me and politely insists I roll the window up. The officer looks down at me and shines his flashlight in my eyes without a smile, I babble about the sprinkler.  He was not entertained as I struggled in the front seat to not continue laughing and as well as I know my sister…she would break at any time, I kept it together until she got her ticket.

We continued on to our resting place laughing so hard we couldn’t catch us breathe until we drifted to sleep. The next morning, we woke before 6am and we still laughing.

 

The Great Wall

My Sister by Reba

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She and I weren’t always close.  We fought all the time.  Our room was divided down the middle with masking tape.  I was the tag-along to her, always sneaking her clothes and shoes after she left for school, borrowing her eye shadow, stealing a quick spritz of her Colors perfume.  I was the typical envious younger sister who wanted so much to be like her big sister.

Sharing a room was difficult for her more than me. The masking tape served as a barrier like the Great Wall, for if anything of mine crossed that line it was thrown in frustration on top of my bed or hurled into my closet. This was a frequent occurrence in our red, black, and white themed room. A table separated our twin beds with a boom box that we turned on every night at bedtime, the music ran all night, so low that we strained to hear it and drifted to sleep. My sister used to hum and sometimes whisper the lyrics. I loved sharing a room with her. Although there was always a point of contention in our room usually because of messy me, I think that I loved being on her heels because it was attention she was forced to give me because I was annoying the hell out of her.

I wanted to be where she was, I wanted to be like her, and I longed to be included in her daily life.  Even if that meant being tied up knee socks and tights by her at the ankles, knees, wrists and arms while she and a friend laughed at me as I struggled to move or fell on my face when I did actually get to my feet. I do remember feeling upset but I don’t remember if I actually cried. I suppose I deserved the friendly torture after all the little sister pestering she had to put up with. It’s funny how now, when I write about it, I remember it fondly.

She had the perfect hair, the prettiest dresses when she went to school dances, she had the coolest clothes and this amazing leather jacket that I took from her closet numerous times she wasn’t wearing it, I would pack it in my backpack and put it on when I got to school then pack it home and quickly hang it back in her closet.

She was beautiful, had everything I didn’t because she was older, and she did everything first. She was the best role model a little sister could have. What an impression our shared room has left on my heart and mind. This box shaped space she shared first selflessly with me and it became so much more than just a room we shared that I annoyed her in daily.  This room where she and I shared our childhood gave me great understanding of how simple acts of love, torture, companionship, frustration, and laughter would propel our relationship to break down the Great Wall. I love my sister for everything that she is, strives to be, and the relationship we have is like none other.

I am often told by people that they are so envious of the relationship I have with my sister, the way I talk about her as if I see her everyday, sharing simple details as if we lived next door to each other. We lift one another up every day, every step, one foot in front of the other as the time passes between our visits.

Did she or didn’t she??

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Few may know this about me, but I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat.  It can happen anytime as long as I feel safe and comfortable.  I can fall asleep in the middle of an action-packed triller, a romantic comedy, or any movie or book for that matter.  At the end of every day, no matter what was happening that day–my body relaxes and my eyes just shut.  Yes, I am one of those people who try to fight it-sometimes one eye open, then two, then one again….this could go on for an hour. In and out, in and out as I fight sleep-sometimes even being taunted by those who claim they love me.

My husband and children think it’s hilarious to shout and yell mom just as my eyes close, always I am startled awake and the room fills with laughter.

Just this weekend, while on a quick trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. with my sister and her two daughters, I was reminded of their love for me.  I was told at the end of the trip, that they all were trying to talk to me and mess with me…just as I was falling asleep each night.  Asking me questions, and I was answering them with nonsense as if, I was coherent.

Yes, Yes, my sister of all people, know I can fall asleep anywhere.  I think her least favorite past time is starting movies with me-any genre, no matter the movie title or who’s in it, or how bad we wanted to see it together-I usually miss 3/4 of the movie and she is left awake giggling to herself because she can never stop a movie in the the middle and restart it later.  She and my husband have this same problem, they can’t sleep until it’s over. And for me, that’s not really a problem.

Does it really matter, how many movies that I have started one night with someone and finished the next day alone?  I don’t think so but to some, I could say, I understand this frustration when they lean over to me to say something and again I am sawing ZZZ’s as they are trapped awake and can’t possible hit pause on the movie and join me in my slumber. I know, I am not the only one who suffers from early on set sleep mode when the play button is pushed at the beginning of a movie.  Come on, I know you people exist out there.

Anyway, this weekend, I remember begin curled up under the most wonderful Chenille blanket on my sister’s side of the double bed we shared for the weekend…kids running around making noise…I remember feeling this smooth wave of rest wash over me and no, the t.v. was not on. I dozed off again.  At one point, I continuously remember feeling a small brush or tickle on the bottom of my feet or foot, I was not awake enough to know whether it was happening on one foot or both.  I was in a sleep state where I don’t actually know if someone was messing with me or if in my dream there were bugs tickling my feet, or feathers grazing across my bare feet, or for that matter, whether or not it was dear ol’ sis freaking messing with me.  I don’t remember her ever speaking or making a sound as I slept. The last thing I do remember was hearing my sister, say, “we will get our swimsuits on and meet you down at the pool, shortly.”

So, I am on the bed in my tortured bug infested dream…imagining or feeling (in real life) that my feet were being -ucked with…I lurch forward at the hips to what felt like slamming my head up against a brick wall and awake by my dear sister, who decides it would be a good idea….while her wonderful little sister sleeps…to tickle her forehead and nose with the corner of the feather weight Chenille blanket.

I am now awake…not really awake in the way, I like to wake up slowly. But jerked up by her stupid humor…..and who actually thought that was hilarious but herself and the empty quiet room she was in. Oh’ boy did she ever think it was hilarious!

As for myself, not so much.  We get dressed and I begin to tell her about my foot issue….was it a dream or was she actually messing with me??  Of course, she denied nothing of the sort.  And she stuck with that answer.

The weekend passes and it’s never brought up again…did I ever get even with her for tickling my forehead and nose??? No.  Oh, but I will!

So, I am asking you. Do you think she was messing with me the whole time….were the bugs on my feet disguised and it was really my sister’s fingers?? Or, if I know her as well as I think I do, possibly a plastic fork?

Either way, she’ll get hers next time we see each other!