On my way to DC

Who has two thumbs and is blogging at 30,000 feet?

Laptop selfie of moi with a "thumbs at me" pose

I needed one hand free to click the “shutter” for the laptop selfie, so you’ll just have to trust me on the whole “two thumbs” claim.

Everyone at my workplace has Monday off for Labor Day. I was feeling wanderlusty (heh – that should be a real word) and had three days with not much planned that couldn’t be put off. I browsed airfare to see if I could get anywhere close to Red Rock country; I’ve been wanting to get back to Arches or one of the other big parks in the southwest. Moab, Utah would have been good, but flights were in the $700-$900 range, which was more than I wanted to spend for a spur of the moment get-away.

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Cross-Country Connections: Clouds

Cross-Country Connections took a break, but I missed doing it so we’re bringing it back!

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Clouds.

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Cross-Country Connections: Sculpture

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Sculptures.

From Mom in Hagerstown, Maryland:

A large gold-colored sphere is poised on top of a metal column. In the foreground is a white bridge over a stone-riddled stream and a grassy park.This is the Sunsphere from the 1982 World’s Fair Park. Saw it with Brianne on our Southern tour last year. Love car trips.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

A giant spherical mass of curling glass hangs near a ceiling. Photo is in B&W and only the ball is in focus.Artsy-fartsy filtered photo of the artsy-fartsy Chihuly glass sculpture in the lobby of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

A green mowed field and blue sky with white clouds dominates the photo. In the distance an obelisk-style sculpture is seen.One of the 90+ memorial sculptures at Antietam National Battlefield in Western Maryland.

Cross-Country Connections: Hidden

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Hidden.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland: 

Small black dog digging in the dirt

Searching for groundhogs at Antietam National Battlefield.

From Mom in Hagerstown, Maryland:

A backyard garden with a large butterfly statue.Mary Maloney’s has a hidden garden right in the middle of Biloxi’s casino strip. The tree, The Patriarch, is said to be 2000 years old! The giant bug is not.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

CCC Hidden BrianneNO – do not want to wake up. Cannot make.

 

Cross-Country Connections: Adventure

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Adventure.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

A line of about ten bikes parked on asphalt, riders in various states of milling about.Sunday was a group ride with the Twin City Riders. We rode northeast out of the city, along the Mississippi River and through some really beautiful rural areas in Western Wisconsin. My friend and rider took this photo – that’s me in the foreground.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

A lake, grassy hill take up the majority of the photo. In the background, larger hills rise to meet the blue sky and white clouds.From our Memorial Day adventure to Lost River in West Virginia. It was a shocking beautiful trip. This view is of Kimsey Run Lake.

From Mom in Hagerstown, Maryland:

A large commercial jet gets refueled and restocked at the gate.This is usually the start of my adventures.

Cross-Country Connections: Owl

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Owl.

From Mom in Hagerstown, Maryland:

CCC Owl MomMy birthday cake from last year.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

A white stuffed owl rests against a giant "Metropolis" poster from the original movie.Disheartened owl wants nothing to do with your dystopian future.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

CCC Owl ErinAnother specimen from work at the National Museum of Natural History.

Cross-Country Connections: Scientific

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Scientific.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

A long, horizontally-displayed shell. It fades from dark brown to white from one of the shell to the other. It has a long spear-like projection, then a frilled opening, and a long spiral body.

Another shell shot from the Dept of Invertebrate Zoology. Continuing to show the science of biodiversity, this time with a Tibia fuscus.

From Mom in Hagerstown, Maryland:

Five seagulls in flight above water. In the background, a city skyline can be seen.

The Science of Flight

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

A t-shirt lays on a flat surface, a blue outline of a pipet is in the background. A banner with the words "GAME OF CLONES" is written in a font that is similar to the font used in Game of Thrones.While not really “scientific”, at least scientificish. Science t-shirt nerdery! 

Cross-Country Connections: Yellow

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Yellow.

From Mom in Hagerstown, Maryland:

Photo was taken through a car window (reflections from the car are visible on the glass) - buildings and streets lamps are visible. Rain misted on the glass gives the city lights a diffuse, speckled look.From a trip to Minneapolis – the lights just blend into yellow.  

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Baby zucchinis and small green and yellow squashes in a red bowlDinner last week: yellow squashes in a mix of baby zucchinis and green squashes.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

Two glossy and speckled shells on a white backgroundCyprea gutatta, one of the many beautiful cowrie shells I have been working on.

From the Draft Bin: Moving Mom

It’s amazing to me how much writing I do that gets thrown out, abandoned, forgotten or taken out back with a shovel and buried. I have written volumes will never, ever see the light of day or be stored anywhere on a computer. These are the cathartic writings, the nonsensical, the mopey drunk poetry, the overly passionate or sappy, the erotic, the angry screaming devoid of logic, the hurt, pathetic whining. The ugliness, the ecstasy, the doubts, the fragile dreams, the hate – these that are or have been part of my human experience have lived here. These are mine – creations that are rarely revisited, if they are saved at all.

I have a relationship with writing – it is there with me through the good times, the horrible times, and the bored, listless times. When I don’t know where to turn, I have writing. When I am in agony I can write, and almost blindly the pain flows from my fingers onto the page. Afterwards I still hurt, but the pain is now a thing that can be examined from an outside perspective. I have wielded my writing skillfully and clumsily; it has been my salvation, and once my damnation. I love writing – and just now I refuse to not be romantic about it!

But there are also the more generic false starts – or the true starts left incomplete. There are articles started with the best of intentions that grow obsolete in the fast-paced environment of instant communication. There are events that I have attempted to describe, but upon editing I felt that I failed to capture them adequately, truly or objectively. There are writings that I have doubted would be well-received in a public venue. There are articles that I wanted to write, started to write, but in the end was unsure of how to bring everything together.

What I’m saying is…I have a lot of shit in my draft folder.

And while I was digging around in there, I found this one about the first leg of last year’s adventure in moving mom out to Maryland. I like the photos of the planes. I think it stayed in draft because I had lofty dreams about capturing the entire move. But that’s okay.

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Last Wednesday began the great cross-country adventure of moving Mom to Hagerstown, Maryland. My contribution to the entire process was pretty minimal. Mom had nearly everything packed by the time I arrived on Wednesday, and she had hired movers to pack everything in a truck, get it to Maryland, and bring everything into the new house. I showed up on Wednesday, did some light cleaning at the old house, helped wrangle animals and drive the 13 hours east, ran some errands in Hagerstown, hung out with Mom and my sister, gave my brother-in-law a hug and then flew back home on Sunday.

That’s the TL;DR version. On a more leisurely note:

I flew down to southern Illinois on Wednesday morning. The waking up at 4:30am for the 7:05am flight kinda sucked, but I enjoy plane travel and being in airports so the suckiness was offset by travel excitement. There are no direct flights to Carbondale, IL. When I have flown down in the past, I have landed in St. Louis, Missouri and then either driven a rental car from the airport or been picked up by Mom. However, the drive from St. Louis to Carbondale is about two hours, and because time and resources were precious this time I did something different.

Cape Air runs a short distance plane service between St. Louis and smaller airports in Illinois. For $50 I was able to book a flight on a “puddle jumper” from St. Louis to Marion, Illinois, which is only a 20-minute drive from Carbondale.  It was a neat process. When I exited my plane from Minneapolis, I had to find a courtesy phone and let an agent know that I had a Cape Air connection. A driver was sent over to where I had made the call, and then I and one other person were escorted down to a shuttle on the tarmac and driven over to the Cape Air gate. We had a chance to see parts of the airport that I usually don’t see.

Cape Air Cesna planesThe planes parked outside of the Cape Air gate.

The plane that I would board, headed for Marion, IllinoisLook at this little Cessna! It’s cute ‘cuz it’s tiny!

Flying in the Cessna was a blast. Only I and one other passenger were on my flight. When it came time to board we were led across the tarmac and climbed on board the small plane. The captain said to sit wherever we wanted in the eight- (or was it ten?) seat cabin, so I sat in the row directly behind the copilot’s chair and was able to see the entire instrument panel. This was the first time I have seen someone actually fly a plane. It was awesome to watch the pilot steer with the yoke and rudder pedals, move the throttle levers during takeoff, and to see the controls and indicators adjust with the movements of the plane when we were in the sky.

When we landed in Marion I was met by my Aunt and Uncle, of whom I see far too little. They drove me directly to Carbondale and delivered me to the chaos that was churning at Mom’s soon-to-be-sold house. They left almost immediately, and I promised that we would stop by their house to say goodbye before we left town. The atmosphere at the house was explosive. Four moving people were hauling the last of boxes and heavy furniture to the moving truck. Mom was rushing to pack the last of the recently-used necessities, and all of the rooms contained bits and pieces that needed to be collected – the detritus that is unearthed when one moves furniture that hasn’t been moved in years: paper clips, lost storage bin lids, an old photo, loose change, dust bunny-covered pens, and so on.

I began collecting and sweeping and mopping. The owners did their final walk-through, but last minute packing and cleaning kept us much later than intended. We had to leave from the house and drive directly to the next town over for the closing, which meant we ran out of time for goodbyes to my aunt and uncle. *sniff* We left from the title company and immediately began the road trip east.