What awakening means to me

spt morning     What does awakening mean to me? It has taken a lot of thought to come up with an answer and I am not sure that there really is a definitive answer. It has to be something that is so personal that only the soul knows. Yet, there must be a level of established acknowledgement; there has to be a place of achievement. As I face the blank page and reminisce about the thoughts that I sought to answer this, I hear the birds in my garden. I see the golden sunlight streaming as it pokes its head over my garden fence. I hear a chipmunk scolding my dogs for interrupting its breakfast. I see the golden spots mixed within the dark green of the leaves in my trees. The air is sweet, filled with the dusky smell of damp earth and fall blooms. The dew is still cast on the lawn leaving a gossamer film that shimmers and sparkles in the light. My flowers are radiant in the saturation of colors of pink and red. Even the grain on the wooden deck demonstrates the life force there in. I am one with this all. To me, this is part of being awakened.

I walked through life surrounded in a claustrophobic wrapper that I thought was protecting me from being hurt anymore. I had become something I did not like. I was fearful all the time. I did not trust and I did not love much of anything. My anger and pain was a cloak that never came off but was becoming so heavy I could not move. And so I did not.

Without going into too much history, I reached an apex when one night in the light of the full moon. I stood within the parameters of my garden circle that I had created and cried with my arms out to the Goddess, Mother Moon and all the spirits that could hear me to heal me. My words were, “I do not want to be so afraid anymore.”  full moon

The rest of my life will be spent in healing. I am in such an early stage of being truly receptive to learn and understand my intended purpose. Part of that is awakening. I have spent my lifetime learning. But the learning I am doing now engages not only my brain, but my heart and soul. I feel, therefore I am. I see with my heart as well as my eyes. The compassion within has always been there, but not felt. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and so I progress in stages of release. My vulnerability is apparent to the predator that smells the eagerness in me to serve and love. I am learning to protect myself in a whole new manner that allows the innocent me to be wise. This too is part of awakening.

The decisive moment in awakening for me is that I decided to do any and all of this. I knew as I stood in the garden that night there was a better way. There was something within that I still cannot explain well that said, “stop, look, learn and be whole.” I knew enough to ask to be healed, even after years of attempts in finding salvation from external resources. It has to come from within. All the money and success and credentialing was never going to make me whole and I knew it intrinsically. There was a seed planted that needed to be nurtured and grow. I always had a hollow feeling within my solar plexus. It ached constantly as if something was haunting me. I thought it was because I was alone and scared and that was part of it. But now I know it is the true essence of me needing to be cultivated and cherished. I need to find my real place in this world and do what I am meant to do. But I understand that I need to grow into it because no plant flowers without early intervention. It needs nutrients and energy to reach its full potential.

So awakening to me is this process. It is opening the door and asking for help. It is the inner knowledge that something needs to change. It is the acceptance that there is more to life and that not everyone gets that and that is ok too. Awakening to me is like being in a dark void which is ok because there is no harm or danger, but there are also no feelings of any kind. And then one day, you come upon a door that is closed, but through the crack of the door jamb you see a brilliant light. You want to open it, but you think it is locked and you are not allowed. And then one day, something makes you push that door ajar. You peek through and see the most beautiful place you can imagine. And that vision is different for each person. You want to be of that place but fear holds you back. But something with in you tells you to take the next step, whatever that maybe. There are hands outstretched to guide you and support you. All you need to do is be available and aware. You need to be open and receptive and learn. You know mistakes will be made but it is all part of the process. Awakening is not the final result of anything. It is only the beginning. It is the opening portal and each step, each lesson, each breath taking moment, each sorrow and loss, and the resolve that there is a purpose to your life.Flying heron

Sacred Space

morning 2014 We have returned from our second visit this year from The River. I want to share not only my pictures from this trip, but also a lesson I received about Sacred Space. I did not have a clue what Sacred Space meant until I was working with MarDrag in my ongoing lessons with her. She has taught me many, many things. Sacred Space to me is somewhere that I go, mentally, that is safe. It is the most safe space in the world. No harm, no danger, and no one else can be there unless I allow it. It is where I go to do a lot of the work I am doing on myself and where I go to pray and also send gratitude. It is mental and so it goes with me where ever I go.

long shot   However, there are places that can be sacred space that are physical and nature offers many opportunities for us to find them. The River is my sacred space where I go to recharge, find my spirit and soul, and release and heal. Often I draw upon this place in my head when I am stressed, and I have surrounded myself with photos in my office to focus on when I need to. The River is so special to me and I am so blessed that I have this to go to. I have been coming here to this spot now for many years.

edgewood from boat         Edgewood and cover from boat   The Edgewood Resort is located in Alexandria Bay. Many think of that town as a tourist trap. It is. The Resort itself sits on the opposite side of the Bay and is on its own land with a private road. It sits right on the river. The room we always get is the last room on the most distant part of the property overlooking a private cove. Most of the time we have this to ourselves as there is a pool on the property and many people do not come down this far. There is a rock ledge surrounding most of the cove. The water is gorgeous, but not really good for swimming as there is a lot of weeds. I will walk on the rocks and wade in. Most often, I walk to the back of the cove to where an old piece of dock remains. That is where I sit, with my legs in the water for hours. med dock  This spot to me is my sacred space.  The River offers many beautiful spots where you disconnect with all the garbage in our lives and reconnect with what is important. It is very difficult for me to leave at the end of our stay and so with the mental images and internal feelings I create, I can bring this sacred space to me anytime I need to.

Sometimes, I figure out some pretty important things about life while I am there. For example, life is not easy and there is always something coming at you. It used to create terrible fear within me, but I have learn to become much more resilient and go with the flow. From the geese, I have learned that no matter how you fly,            crooked flying            It is the landing that counts.

geeze td                     geeze t 1        geeze t 2rain   Rain will fall and there will be tough times.

But we can fly through it if we remember who we really are.                                   opsrey                                  c and friends       There are people to support us.

The sun does come out again. Namaste. sun set

 

 

 

All photos jdemeis@2014

August Garden

garden August 2014

Somehow so quickly, the summer has past. It was a cool and wet summer but the flowers loved it. I spent as much time as I could, which is never enough, sitting out and enjoying the beauty. This is my canvas and I paint  in spring with my flowers. Mother Earth fills in and takes over as the summer progresses. It is the first place I retreat to when I come home and I end my day out there. This is my garden at night.

At dusk

At dusk

The long view from my chair

The corner of the deck

The corner of the deck

View from my chair

View from my chair

View of my chair

View of my chair

During the day I have many visitors. I also have my favorite tree named Elgin in honor of Rising Hawk. Elgin gives me great advice.

Mrs. Bunny                       Elgin in the light

This weekend we leave for Sacred Ground. We are off to The River for a long week.

My meditation spot at the River

My meditation spot at the River

 

The suitcases are packed. However, I had to face this look all day. They know we are going. But they have their Auntie Carolyn to cuddle and smooch them up all day and every night and Uncle John, their favorite is coming over too. So they will be fine. However, I still had this face.

ms attitude

Namaste.

 

A Passing Storm

storm and heron

It is pouring out and we have had a series of thunderstorms blow in tonight. I love storms, except blizzards when I have to go somewhere. It can snow if I can stay home. But I have a passion for thunderstorms. It fits my mood tonight. I am not sure why I am so stormy…ok, I do. But it is alright. I will get through this.

0mist on the water

When someone like me goes through trying to negotiate life in the present moment, it takes an abundant amount of focus and stamina to stay in the present moment. After all this time of working things out, I still struggle with memories that haunt me. They are a mere vapor as opposed to the huge specters they used to be. But every once in a while, I get hooked up by their gossamer tentacles. This most recent visit is my father’s voice. In this case, it is not something about me as much as I hear myself sound like him. It is very disappointing that I hear my father’s anger and hatred in my own thoughts. I do not vocalize it, but I hear it in my head. An example of this is when I look at people and his judgment would pop in. I am not like him, but there is this moment when I hear his critical comment on EVERY thing. I think, “wow, I hope they do not see that on my face.” And if you know me, you know my face shows everything.

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But there are times when I do make a judgment and then say it. I can be very opinionated. I gave up for a long time and went belly up. And people would roll over me as I suffered in silence. Now I do ask for my needs to be met and I also know when it is not my turn. But lately, I see there are times when I am too strong or too weak and finding balance is tough.

Rain coming up the River

My dear friend told me that she was going through a phase of weird dreams. This weekend, the phase hit me. I had very lucid and mildly disturbing dreams. But I wake suddenly and feel the fear that was plaguing me in my dream. It is very frustrating to start your day with the first breath of morning being one of sadness or fear. This morning I actually had tears spill out of my eyes and I cannot tell you why. I think I shake it off, but then I know I have not as the day progresses. I am in a freeze and it manifests in my physically.

090

I am also in a learning phase again of my journey to connect more pieces of my mind, body and soul. I have come to a place of feeling blocked. All of this will pass eventually, but for now it is unpleasant. Much like the storms that are blowing through tonight, the day will break eventually and things will be better than before.

sunset view

All photos @Jdemeis 2014  taken at the River

Views from the River 6-2014

I decided to do something nice for myself and work on publishing some of my photos. I never get tired of sharing views from the River. This visit, there were a lot of babies to take pictures of. In the four days, I shot over 260 photos. Heron in the clouds

My favorite bird and totem is the Blue Heron. I shoot an extraordinary amount of them when I see them. I like this shot of the blue sky and the clouds. flying heron This one’s wings are a bit messed up. heron 2 Not this one. Magnificent. heron 4

I waited every morning to see one on the rock as traditionally there is usually one there. Finally on the fourth day she appeared. heron3 and then sailed off in front of me. I swear she knows I have a camera.

There were a lot of geese but not as many as in previous years. It was because the winter was so hard. I was wondering if the goose I named BW made it. I hope so. But here is Momma and her nursery. There were three different families that camped on the rocks below the room.

quiet nursery  nightsleeping babies

There were other Mommas.    Here is a turkey and an Osprey for Rising Hawk.

Mom Turkey       Hawk

Here is a grown up bunch of geese taking off.   I love the dance they do.    take off

This shot is where I go at least once a day to meditate and sit in the River. This time, the rocks were covered with slim and I slipped and found out how cold the water is in June. Fortunately I caught myself. I hope they dry up a bit before we go back.

my sitting spot  and this shot is the view when I sit up in bed. Every morning I am greeted with this view. view from bedAll photos copyright of Jdemeis @ 2014

 

Summer Transitions

looking ahead

I survived. Not sure what option I had, but I got through my 60th birthday. I had a lovely week of celebration. I think people should be honored at their birthday and I like to have it linger. It is a holdover from childhood that I think is a good one. We went to the River for a long weekend. I took over 260 photos which I will share as time moves on. Today I want to muse about the upcoming summer, the summer solstice and the energy that seems to be currently around a lot. This is my circle that I am reflecting on and it may not be like this elsewhere. Does it not seem lately that the energy seems pinched? It is like so many of us are going through a tiny passage and we are being squeezed as we pass. Some people are not making their way and others are reacting by being snarky or frustrated. I too seem to be in another place where I am dealing with a big issue that I have had all my life. It is so deep that I am not even ready to share it. Just the concept of working on it has been very overwhelming.

Summer to me is a time of doing things outdoors, so I am at my most connected. The garden is gorgeous and I have a series of pictures which somehow I ended up creating a second blog page when I posted it. I enjoy sitting out at night and meditating and this is the time of year where the nights are the longest. When I was a child, I used to hate having to go to bed when it was still light out. I love it now as it is like having a gift of freedom to enjoy even when you work until 5PM. In the winter here, I go to work in the dark and return in the dark and it really gets to me. The solstice is the point where things will start to shift and the light will begin to decrease. The month before the solstice is my favorite time of the year. But it may be that energy of the shift that I am sensing and seeing in others. The energy that we are headed to a new period and the transmission is causing unrest. The solstice is a time to honor the Earth Mother and all her gifts to us. I love the greenness of the area I live in and the beauty of the flowers and plants. It is amazing that every year this gift comes back to us. This year I sense another energy just on the other side and I am not sure what or why. It is making me a bit off center, a little dizzy.

That is what it feels like, unrest. It is not always bad but can be disturbing. People who I talk are describing this feeling in their lives and how unsettled they feel. At work, we have a lot of turmoil and have recently found out our CEO is leaving. When you work in healthcare, there is nothing but change but having your leader leave can be altering. I know people who seem to be normally pretty focused now seem unraveled and disheartened as to their life direction. I am struggling to articulate this well.

To me it seems like many are on a roller coaster ride. You pay to take the ride and then spend most of it trying to get off the ride. I do not feel that off kilter, that I am up and down. I feel more like I am going through a tunnel again with a tiny speck of light just beginning to appear. I have done this before and came through to a wonderful place, so the fear factor is minimal. Actually, there is some excitement about whatever is coming and I feel that for others too. For now, I will hold on and encourage those around me to do the same.

 

 

Turing 60

river morning

This coming week, we are off to the River. It is the first trip this year. Usually, we go up just when the ice is flowing off and the trees are just starting to wake up. But we did not this year. I need the River so much right now. Next Sunday, I will turn 60 and I cannot think of a better place to be. I am struggling mightily with this. I have all sorts of phobias and fears associated with aging. The alternative is not very enticing either. I am grateful for being alive this long.

fledgling eagle

The last couple of years have been a review of my past. I have been looking at things with the guidance of some wonderful people who have helped me to see things for what they are. I feel I have grown wiser and more balanced. I would not trade the experience for anything and yet, I never want to go through it again either.

But now, here is this number staring at me. I cannot avoid it. My mother did not see 60. She died at 59 from an aggressive lung cancer. I was 23. I thought she was not really old. I remember her mother, my Gram, when she was 65 and she WAS old. She had kinky grey hair, and boney gnarled fingers. Her eyes were sunken with dark circles. She had a tough life until her daughter, my Aunt took her in. My Aunt and Uncle were millionaires and they took great care of her. Gram died in her sleep at 92. My Aunt died bitter at 89. Her life was her husband and my Uncle died suddenly six years before and nothing was the same for her. She too, went in her sleep while in hospice care. Although my Aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer at 21, she survived with no re-occurrence. She and my Uncle had a great life, especially in retirement. I never saw my Aunt as being old.

My Aunts Ashes and Flowers

MY Aunt B

My father lived to be 71. He went in pieces. He had several bypass surgeries and had his leg amputated when he was in his early 50’s. His side of the family has factor V Leiden which is a blood condition that causes clots. They did not know much about it back then. His mother, my Nana, had it too. He slowly built up plague on his tubing and that caused him to lose the leg and other plumbing issues. It is his illness that causes me great fear. I also have the condition. There is nothing to do about it accept take Coumadin. I was diagnosed with it in 2003 when they found five clots, one located almost in my heart. I was totally blessed and have written about the experience as they all miraculously disappeared. But every time I have cramping in my legs, which I have often, I think…crap…here it comes.

dancing geese

This past month I have been having some major health issues. I have been like the golden goose and passing kidney stones. This condition came about from being over medicated years ago. The drugs caused my right kidney to stop working. I got it functioning back to 41%. This past few months, I have been passing stones again after none for several years. This past week, Tuesday, I was pleased to give birth to triplets, one stone being almost an inch long. One of my dearest friends, who lacks sympathy, has decided I should polish the stones (I have over 30 ) and open up a jewelry shop and call it Pissery Barn. In reaction to having a slow moving collection of stones in my urinary plumbing, I ended up becoming toxic. My output slowed down and what was coming out was battery acid. Yes, I have an immensely high threshold for pain. This was coming on for a couple of weeks. I finally went to the doctor who immediately reacted with more drugs. These drugs, I think, have caused another reaction which is to thin my blood too much. Yesterday and the night before, I was in horrible pain with leg cramps. The solution was to simply stop the drugs and eat a salad.

End of day

End of day

But all this, after not having anything so critical was very scary and disheartening. And then…there is turning 60.

I know I have so much to live for. This is the best time of my life so far. I have something I never had before and that is feeling safe. I think the fear of being so ill suddenly shook my newly built foundation. I have so little faith in western medicine. It was just like I was just getting my head fixed and my spirit in line and then the body went out of alignment. I have heard though that this is not that unusual in the healing process. I am hopeful that this too shall pass. I will find solace in the beauty and peace of the River and I am sure it will help heal me.

What amuses me is that the age of 61 does not bother me a bit. Maybe I will just skip 60.

all photos @jdemeis 2014

Floating

roses

New rose bush 2013

I can believe it is Sunday again. This week went by very rapidly. Makes me sad to think we are already at the end of May. My favorite month and time of year is June. Not because it is my birthday month, which it is, but because it is the most beautiful month of the year. The weather is usually perfect. The animals are visible and have babies. There herons are here and at the River. My plants are in and it is primetime for my favorite flower, the rose. A beautiful rose will capture my heart and my breath. I have several bushes, some I just put in last year and some have been here forever, and all are doing terrific.

open roses
I see a lot of growth happening with friends and myself. I have talked about this with my Spiritual Counselor who said this was a real phenomenon. It seems like the heavy stagnant energy that has been with us for a long while seems to be lifting. I know personally, I had a horrible winter which brought on some real moments of angst and fear. I felt lost and angry in all my relationships and felt I had fallen off my path and into a deep muddy gulch. I cannot express how grateful I am for the strong hands of support that helped me out and guided and worked with me to get back on my way. I highly recommend working with a mentor, guide, counselor and being with people who have similar interests to help facilitate growth and healing.

flying geese 1
Now is a great time for many to shake off the dust from their feathers and start to fly in the direction they feel is their path. For myself, I was stuck on having hard concrete path to follow. I have found it does not work that way. It is very difficult for someone like me who has been totally goal oriented and based her life on measurable achievement to refocus. This is a whole different approach for me to let go and float. I equate it to being on the air filled float in a pool or stream and just letting it take you where it wants to go. You do not fight it and you do not control it. I have discovered that when I let go, I automatically drift in a direction that really is amazing and where I wanted to go all along.

1 kid jump
The trick is to be in the right place to start. That takes lots of work to drop off unneeded baggage and things that weigh us down. It takes trust. That is the float or foundation that supports the journey. That has been extremely hard for me. Not so much trusting others, but to trust myself and to believe in myself. When my float is full of trust and confidence I move along but when it is deflated for whatever reason, I slow down.

geese to cove
We have to build at least a body of work to float on. This is figuring out the things you want in life and casting off the things that no longer work. I think of this as finding the right stream or body of water to float in or on. I am still working on this but as part of trusting, it is also forming on its own. I think we discover small rapids and difficult passages our whole life, but when the trust is there and the foundation is strong, the stream flows easily again and we prevail.

Annuals one of many flats

Annuals one of many flats

In upstate New York, this weekend heralds the summer with many traditions. People open their pools. The garden centers are mobbed as people rush to get their annuals and vegetables. Very few people grow from seed here as the season is too short. Farmers are turning their fields and planting. My backyard becomes my sanctuary. Even this space represents the feeling of this period of transition. When the snow finally left the yard, we did not have a lick of grass in most places. It was a mud pit and barren. With a little work and trust, it is now a lush green carpet.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend.

 

At the threshold

I feel like I am stepping up to a doorway lately. Behind me lies all the past grief and anguish and it is a soft dull grey cloud that is cold and stagnant. But it is familiar. I know I do not belong there anymore. Through the doorway lies a bright green field with a river running through it with very cerulean blue water. Everything is brilliant in color saturation, almost like a cartoon illustration. It is unfamiliar yet inviting.

.reaaching

There are hands pulling at me, trying to keep me from entering the threshold. Many of the hands are my own making. It is my ego telling me to stay and live in my life as it is. There are hands of those who have known me and expect me to remain as I have always been. The brunt of their anger and frustration transferred to me. There are those who want me to stay and fix them because that is what I have done.  It is all I have known but I have had glimpses of what could lie ahead. I have been so concerned with the reaction of others that I felt like I was trapped.

One of the things I am learning to do is pause. It takes great concentration for me to do that, I but I have been told that if I keep practicing this, it will become part of my nature. Instead of reacting to something someone says or does, I pause, think about it and try to see it from their place and not let it become mine. I used to do that with everything. I take it on. So now, I pause and I wait to see what really sticks, and so far, not much.

Also, something happened recently. I have been feeling very fearful, frightened and scared. It was a permanent state of being for me. I would wake up and when I would do a body check, I would find I was in a tense state with my neck and legs tense within seconds of awakening. I would put myself there by just thinking about an upcoming event or something I had to face. I have been very consistent with a morning meditation along with a hypnosis tape at night. The morning meditation gets me to physically relax before I start the day. The hypnosis tape is helping me deal with fear and undoing the freeze mode that I put myself into.

I was in meditation the other morning, and this was the vision I had: It was me as a small curly red-haired three year old running. This beautiful child was grimacing and crying and her hands were out stretched as she approached. I was the adult she ran to. I picked her up and embraced her and then enveloped her into me. As I did this, the voice in my head said, “I will keep you safe. You are safe small one; go back to being a loving and happy child.”  After the meditation, there was a big change in my peace level. I cannot really explain it, but I know it is there.

I was also taught a trick that is similar to EFT by John. EFT does not work for me because I do not like the tapping on myself, especially in the head area. It should be obvious why. Instead, I use a stroking method and it is very soothing. I can disguise it easily as it looks like something someone does when they have a headache. Only I am saying in my head, “Even though I feel like this person is making me feel: bad, sad , mad….whatever….  I am safe.”  I say it over and over until I feel the calm.

flowers in space

Another thing I am doing is I am collecting things that make me happy. It is a simple thing to do. For example, when someone sends me an email and says something nice it, I keep it in a folder. When someone sends me something nasty, I delete it. It is satisfying. I took down all the clutter in my office and put up some of my photography. I have pictures of my favorite spot on THE River to my left and to my right. I play forest and bird sounds in my headset at work so I feel like I am at least hearing pleasant nature sounds. I am buying flowers to have in my writing spot. flower in window

And then this afternoon,  I had a small miracle happen. I love balloons. When I was a child, I thought they were magical, and I still do. My favorite color has always been pink. Any shade, but I love rosy pink the best. I was doing dishes and I looked out and there was a balloon bouquet stuck in my neighbor’s bushes. It is very windy today.  I was sad to think some little person had lost their balloons. I was thinking I would try to get them but they were in a place that would have been tricky, and then they blew away. I left the kitchen for a moment and when I came back and looked again, they had blown up into my fence and were caught. I went and got them. They are shades of pink and white and two pale blue ones on long curly ribbons. This brought me a lot of happiness and I see it as a message that I am on the right path again. And so I am joyfully celebrating this and all the messages and miracles that are happening.

Balloons

My Beloved Olive

06-07_Chevrolet_Malibu_MAXX

There have been a few very strange extreme spiritual moments in my life. One happened when I bought my beloved car. I just had my baby tuned up at the local shop. I love to anthropomorphize her. (great word) I thought I would write a tribute to her and tell the story of her acquisition.

My husband and I were still in school working on our Masters. We were so poor at the time we could barely survive and relied a lot on our school loans to get us through. My husband was working part time as substitute and at a local deli. His nickname was Baloney Boy which has stuck. I was working fulltime teaching at a small college. My car at the time was a Saturn which was having a lot of issues but we kept it running for 17 years. His car was a Malibu and had over 100000 miles on it. It died on me in the middle of an intersection. It was time for it to be replaced. We drove it onto the lot, limping along only to find out how bad it was. It would not pass inspection ever again and I am sure that it now resides somewhere as a coffee table in a landfill.

I had been noticing these olive green Malibu Maxx cars on the road and thought how cool they were. I had a dream about that color and type of car. We search the internet and found one locally. As soon as I saw her, I said she was mine. The deal was amazing as she had been purchased by a gentleman who buys new cars and drives them for less than a year and trades them. He work for GM and always was checking out new cars. This one had less than 9100 miles on it and was loaded with all kinds of features. I saw her and named her Olive.

Then came the moment of reckoning. We had nothing to put down on her. The trade on the beat up car was negligible.  I was panicking, which I certainly did a lot back then, about taking on another loan. But because we had no choice, I did. My credit rating is fabulous so we had no issues. Car loans are secured and so just about anyone can get one.

As I was walking towards the actually signing, I felt absolutely wretched. I thought I was going to toss my cookies, I was red in the face, sweating and my heart was pounding. This was not my first time buying a new car, it was my fourth. I do not remember why, but I remember the moment. I was standing alone in the show room for some reason. I felt this warm sensation and then it felt like someone had put their arm on my shoulders in an embrace of support. I felt calm fill me. I heard in my head a soothing voice say that it would be alright. I do not remember specific words but they encouraged me to continue with the transaction. And I did. I do not remember much else of the following moments other than I was shocked about the spiritual experience I just had. I remember it seven years later right down to the feeling on my shoulders.

Olive has been a great car. We have taken her to the River several times. We would take off in her on Sundays for afternoon drives as it was one of the few things we could afford to do. I do not like to drive to new places. In truth, I do not like to drive much anymore. It is on the list of fearful things I need to get over. Having Olive gave me confidence to drive to some places I would not have otherwise. When I had jobs that required me to drive to do visits, she was one of the supports that made me able to do that. She just had a visit to the local Chevy dealer who does the work on her. She has new eyeballs and lashes, (headlight lamps and wipers) a pedicure, (tire rotation) and a colonic (oil change) Every time I bring her in they want to buy her because they know they will get a good deal for her. We are not ready to part and I know there are a few more years of adventures in store for her. She looks brand new because I baby her. She is near the top on my gratitude list.