Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy (Changed) Camper!

Change tends to be difficult, and my changing from "spacious" Tillie the Turtle, my motorhome (and only home) for the past 9 years was no exception. I made the switch to TillieToo, or T2, at the end of September, and it has been a, well, difficult transition.

Change (almost, if ever) never happens the way you intend. I'm almost to the point of thinking "why plan?" since my best laid plans hit the shredder on a fairly regular basis. Despite my best efforts, downsizing, and planning for a smooth move, didn't make a difference. Friends had needs and unanticipated interruptions kept me from focusing on the task at hand.

But would I have focused had I not been otherwise distracted? I don't know. I suspect not.

I have the wherewithal--mental capacity, financial means, support network--to handle change, and yet I struggle with it. I can only wonder what happens when others, less endowed with ability and resources, get the "opportunity" to change tossed at them.

My inability to smoothly cope with change might serve as a clue to remind me that everyone struggles. I might need a bit more practice to grasp this concept. Maybe (!) I'm a slow learner.

After 3 months of struggling with a few major glitches in T2's inner operations (you don't want to know, trust me!), I did what I could do to get it fixed. It meant a trip to Austin, TX where the vehicle was outfitted. Luckily, they worked with me and addressed the problem.

Bunches of lessons to be learned from this time of change. The most basic that needs my entire attention is GRATITUDE. It flips the bad to not-so-bad, or even better. And sometimes that's all you can do with a bad set of circumstances.

So this happy camper will continue to pursue her mission of providing opportunities for families and youth experiencing homelessness to share their stories ( I'll try to keep in mind my recent episodes with change and use that perspective when I might be tempted to be judgmental, a shortcoming that I continue to struggle with despite my best efforts.

And I'll be grateful for the little things in my life that work, or that push me to look at what needs to change. Yeah.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

OK! Oklahoma Backroad Travel Gems

OK! Oklahoma Backroad Travel Gems
(musings and photos by Diane Nilan, © 2014)

I appreciate the value of the Interstate system, initiated by that last great Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s. But I also love the secondary, and third-ary pavement, too. Why? Today was a perfect example of the BR advantage. Strong winds compromise a vehicle's stability, especially taller ones, like 9’ Tillie2. Instead of dodging lane neighbors, I enjoyed weaving over lines without playing bumper cars. And, the bonus, I could swing through interesting towns and muse. And photograph. And learn.

Today's treasure chest included this statuary combo in El Reno, OK, a bleak oil industry town west of OK City. I did a UE (much easier in T2) and took a few shots. I'm not sure what this collection is all about, but I would have loved to get the story. I'll have to use my imagination.  But this person sure got serious about Lady Liberty. And the sea...?

Chickasha, OK had plenty of fascinating eye-candy, but the Verden Separate School sign got my attention. The "best 1-room school house" for, you guessed it, black kids (though I'll bet that's not how they were referred to back then). The concept of separate schools still exists, aka many public schools, as well as the illegal but still functioning schools for homeless students.

Moseying south on, yup, a secondary road, I was treated to more authentic OK sights. It was a rainy/stormy day, inspiring me to pull off into a gas station parking lot. Viola! Bargain divorces, a conflict with the Sooner State's largely Christian values, I suspect, but I guess Christians need to save money, too, especially when families are splitting up.

Plenty of old (you may insert "dead") towns along the route. I did some reminiscing back to my Dr Pepper days (I was a contrarian as a kid, rejecting Coke). I think this sign hearkens back to the good ol' 50s when high fructose corn syrup hadn't been devised.  Seeing the ever-darkening skies, I started to move on, but, last moment, I glommed onto the visual of the flag and (humble) Christmas decoration. Now, I mused, if "Jesus is the reason for the season" as the saying goes. Why do we have such pathetic birthday decor? Couldn't a local oil baron who got rich ravaging the land and people donate some nice decorations for the Savior?   Just askin'...

Stuff. We Americans have stuff. Wonder how many "antique" stores sell our trash, er, stuff? This one at least took a clever approach, using humor to evoke a chuckle from this stuff-adverse tiny home driver. I didn't stop to shop.

To my ongoing point of the death of many of American towns, I will use Ryan, OK as an example with their empty sidewalks. Rest assured I could find thousands of others. And what's with this raggy flag, flying, of all places, at the Ryan American Legion hall?!

Continuing to pick on Ryan, they might want to reconsider the "No Trespassing Oklahoma" sign. Just a tad on the hostile side. But it got me to smile!

I'll pick on TX with my next post. Thanks for traveling along!