As I’ve stated before, I’ve been mildly to moderately…okay…extremely distracted over the last few months. I’ve recounted to you the ever-moving blur that was the month of April, but I’ve offered nothing—barely anything more than a profound and almost unnatural love for my container tomato garden—by way of an explanation for my preternatural distraction. Preternatural – I like that.
If you are so inclined to read it, here is my explanation, my story, my wake-up call.
Recipes for Tuna Cavatappi be damned.
Tuesday, May 1
Oh MY GOD!!!
That’s how it began—at least that’s how it began for me. I was sitting at the computer desk in the office/ study/ glorified playroom that I affectionately call The Library, checking my e-mail for the third time that day. Some people are serial tweeters, others are constant Facebookers—me, I have an unhealthy addiction to e-mail. My e-mail inbox is what the rest of my life is not: neat, tidy, organized, sorted and dealt with. Something in my life has to be.
The sender column shouted Cheryl’s name.
Cheryl—one of my oldest friends—I don’t mean she is the oldest; I mean she’s been around pretty much the longest. In twenty-two years, we’ve only not said “Happy New Year” shortly after midnight to each other twice, both years when we had tiny little babies and didn’t know which end was up or day from night. However, up until February of this year, I had not actually been in the same room with her for almost nine years.* The calendar pages had turned quickly, and Facebook wall messages had taken the place of the annual holiday and birthday phone calls. Funny thing about that day, though. When she walked into my house that Saturday in February, it was like the intervening nine years didn’t exist. Somehow despite the five children between us and the pounds of baby weight that managed to creep up on us unawares, we were twenty-five again, if only for a couple of hours.
The subject line read Oh MY GOD!!!
Oh, my god, I thought. I wonder if she’s pregnant—three boys and she really is going to try for that girl.
And I clicked. And I read.
“Oh, my God,” I whispered.
“Oh, MY God,” I said.
“What?” Brian called from the kitchen.
“Oh, MY GOD!” I repeated. I clicked reply, I typed, and I hit send.
I blindly got up and found my way to the kitchen from which my husband had just emerged. “Cheryl. She. Contest. Claire Cook. Spa. Me. She wants me.”
“Read. Let me read.” Brian followed me back to the computer where I plopped down in the broken down office chair, my throne that used to regally reside in my classroom once-upon-a-time, and I pulled up the e-mail.
I won a spa weekend in Austin, TX, from my fave author, Claire Cook. And I get to take a friend. So guess who I’m asking??????? YOU!! It’s June 1-3, airfare, meals, spa treatments paid for. That’s all the details I have right now, but say you’ll at least think about it!
Think about it. Think about it.
You have to understand. Well…okay…you don’t really have to understand anything. Who am I to tell you what you should and shouldn’t understand? No one, that’s who. What I feel the need to explain here, though, is that I dream of traveling. If I could be anything, anything at all—okay, anything at all right behind globe-trotting archaeologist, I’d be a travel photographer/ writer. When I was in the seventh grade, my mom gave me her old National Geographic planning calendar. I was smitten by the photographs of far off places: crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, gleaming glaciers, red sand desserts. I wanted to see those places.
What does that have to do with anything?
Every now and again, I find myself scrolling through the airline sites looking for a good deal on a trip somewhere. Anywhere. Maybe it’d be fun to visit all of the state capitals. Maybe take a trip to Portland to see my brother, or what about a trip to Maine to see the lighthouses, or the Grand Canyon. An RV trip across the US to see the Grand Canyon. What more perfect place to shoot a series of photos?
Think about it, she writes. Like I have to think, I thought.
“You should go,” my husband said.
“I already said yes,” I replied.
“Who’s Claire Cook?”
“I have no idea.”
“Get to Googling.”
“We’re going to Austin. To a spa. To meet an author.”
So I googled.
*“However, up until February of this year, I had not actually been in the same room with her for almost nine years.”
As I reread this, I realize that what I’ve said is actually not true at all. Two and a half years ago, Cheryl, another high school friend of ours, and I met in a yogurt shop for about twenty minutes. Viv was only three weeks old at the time, so I could blame baby-brain…if it weren’t for the photographic evidence that I posted here just a couple of weeks ago. So, yeah. My brain burped.