Months in review: Jul-Sep 2019

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -St. Augustine

I have been so lucky as to read many, many pages of that book. And it is traveling that now disrupts the regular flow of my blog. It’s a good problem to have. Many people are not able to take time off work to visit family or for pleasure. I know how fortunate I am.

These past months, my writing career (such as it is) has been marked by an upswing in attendance of events, not performance of my own work. Open mics have been replaced with workshops, conferences, performances, and readings. And I have submitted my work for possible publication, I trend I hope to continue with more frequency.

On September 27-29, I attended the 16th annual Power of Words conference at the Casa Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. The conference ran Friday night to Sunday afternoon and though there were accommodations, I stayed in a hotel off-site with a patio by the pool and palm trees. Read more…

Mary & Christine’s Big Adventure- Part 6

Tuesday, June 25 to Friday, June 28 ~ SC-NC-TN-KY-IN (803 miles)

Charleston, SC; Asheville, NC; Columbus, IN

Mom: “There’s nothing wrong with the South Carolina map. That Georgia map is made of cheap paper… probably peach skins…” (Free Georgia map rant continues)

Charleston, SC is only 107 miles northeast of Savannah, GA. They are considered the ‘sister cities of the south’ with a longstanding rivalry over which city is ‘better’. We spoke to a number of locals in Savannah and the consensus among them is that she is the younger, wilder sister. Their impression is that Charleston is more polished and uppity. We didn’t talk to any locals in Charleston to get their side of the story… What I will say about it is that Savannah feels smaller, more relaxed, and artsy. It is true that Charleston’s metropolitan population is twice the size of Savannah. So bigger city, more bustle. Read more…

Mary & Christine’s Big Adventure- Part 5

Friday, June 21 to Monday, June 24 ~ FL-GA (496 miles)

Jacksonville, FL; Savannah, GA; Tybee Island, GA

Every trip has its ups and downs…

The trip from Pensacola to Savannah is a bit of a downer. Neither of us want to leave Pensacola yet. It is a special place for our family, full of happy memories, a beach escape from the vast fields of Illinois corn. But we have made a plan to also visit Savannah and Charleston. Mom is determined to stick to that plan, despite the two days we are short on travel due to our late start and early return.

We travel the interstate through the Florida panhandle, far from the coast and surrounded by thick green forest. We get to Tallahassee and mom announces she “wants to eat somewhere where they have tuna fish on tap.” And the search for the seafood restaurant marks the beginning of Lorraine’s bad behavior. Read more…

Mary & Christine’s Big Adventure- Part 4

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 to Thursday, June 20 ~ AL-FL (315 miles)

Birmingham, AL; Mobile, AL; Pensacola, FL

If you pay attention to my route, you might ask why I drove 60 miles out of the way to Mobile, AL instead of cutting south on the direct route of Hwy 113/29. And the answer is simple: there is no Florida Welcome Center along that route and therefore no official Florida state map. Mom was determined to collect a state map from every welcome center as a souvenir. Also, the way we always and forever entered Florida was through Mobile, so for the sake of upholding tradition, sacrifices must be made. Read more…

Mary & Christine’s Big Adventure- Part 3

Monday, June 17 to Tuesday, June 18, 2019 ~ TN-AL (212 miles)

Nashville, TN; Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament; Birmingham, AL

Today is mom’s 79th birthday.

At 450 miles, the drive yesterday from Peoria to Nashville is the longest stretch we attempt. It takes a lot of energy out of both of us, especially since I had come an additional 430 miles from Minneapolis and mom had chemo shots the previous week. This is going to be a short day and the mantra of our trip resonates: “Take it Easy”. Read more…

Mary & Christine’s Big Adventure- Part 2

Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 16, 2019 ~ MN-IL-KY-TN (901 miles)

Minneapolis, MN; Peoria, IL; Paducah, KY; Nashville, TN

I head out in Lorraine, my jet-black Chevy Spark, on Friday morning down the familiar route through Iowa, the separation between the home of my birth (Illinois) and the home of my choice (Minnesota). I ponder the usual worries: Did I pack enough of the right things… Will the cats be OK? Will the apartment be safe? Will my car make the trip?

Am I doing the right thing? Is mom too sick for this vacation? Read more…