i’m on a roll

I’m traveling once again.

This past weekend one of my sons came for a visit. Today I’m going to visit my other son. I’ll have seen both of my sons within just days of each other. Lots of joy for me.

Looks like a good day to take a seat in my chair in the sky.

“I’m travellin’ light…”

Just now in my head I heard Brandi Carlile singing “I’m travellin’ light”, a Dirks Bentley song. Today I am travellin’ light, ready to soar once again.

A small send off from “my club”.
Adding some zip in my oldering body for navigating ATL

Come along!

Traveling mercies.

off campus activity

After my visit with my granddaughter, I went on a road trip with my best friend. We journeyed to Bastrop, Texas, a small town surrounded by The Lost Pine Forest. If I understand it correctly, the Loblolly Pines around Bastrop were once a part of a much larger community of loblolly pines. The lost pines were separated during a possible geological event, such as a moving glacier, from their East Texas cousins about 80 miles to the east.

I’m not actually certain we saw any loblolly pines. I just felt the need to understand the loblolly pine forest history a bit, given it’s central to the description of Bastrop.

We filled up at Perico’s Mexican Cafe for the 2 1/2 hour drive west, northwest.

Driving west out of Houston we gradually gained some beauty with the skies growing blue, and the grass taking on shades of green.

Colorado River

Turning north we arrived in time for sunset.

The reason for the journey was because my friend was the preacher and celebrant for Sunday services at Calvary Episcopal Church in Bastrop.

It’s such a beautiful church…

…with such a warm welcome.

The music and worship were exquisite…and of course the sermon was off the chart!

The reverse slog home was pretty much that – a slog. We had beautiful scenes at the start of the drive to send us on our way.

Sunset tonight as we each pack up for separate travel early tomorrow morning.

Traveling mercies.

on campus

I met Valerie just after noon in front of Jones College where she lives.

We decided the first thing we should do is have lunch. I tapped the Uber app and in just minutes we had our ride to Bistro Menil, the restaurant just adjacent to The Menil Collection.

Oh what fine dining we enjoyed! Salmon Salad for Val, Cheese Selection with bread, fig jam, pecans and pears for me. I was too full for dessert, but my delightful lunch companion enjoyed Caramelized Banana and Nutella Crêpes.

After the delicious lunch and delightful conversation, we visited The Menil Collection. The Menil Collection is a museum that houses the art collection of founders John and Dominique de Menil. The collection is comprised of “approximately 17,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and rare book”. I have enjoyed this museum countless times over the years.

Designed by architect Renzo Piano, to me the structure itself is a piece of art.

We then returned to the campus by Uber, and Valerie provided a tour of places she wanted me to see.

Walking to the library, we stopped to watch…

Impromptu dancing

…then a much needed…

Coffee break

I was told by the barista that my hair is sick! That’s a new description that I think is a positive take on the blue.

The Fondren library.

Valerie often studies here. She reserves a room on an upper floor. She told me the higher you go up – six floors – the quieter one has to be. We did not go higher than the 4th level. Probably a good idea, given I was along.

Rice Memorial Chapel.

It’s a stunning campus to walk…

…made all the more so with Val as my guide.

We ended our time together with plans for a return visit early next year. We have the women’s basketball team schedule from which we’ll choose the dates to reunite. Go OWLS!

I had so much joy hanging out with my granddaughter. I believe the joy feeling was mutual.

i’m going to college!

I’m actually going to college to visit my granddaughter. She’s a freshman at Rice University. I’m so proud of her, and I’m oh-so-happy for her as well.

She moved into her college (this is what dorms are called at Rice) about seven weeks ago. It’s definitely time for a visit from Nana.

She’s free tomorrow afternoon, so I’ve planned my travel accordingly. Of course I begin by taking my seat in my chair in the sky.

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

Traveling mercies.

nothing like a lamb lark

Who could have imagined the joy that we would have just because I gave my friend a sheep adoption? And then we went to visit Daphne.

Daphne’s twins

During our conversations with Tammy, the sheep farm shepherd, we sat in our chairs and shared sheep experiences my friend and I have had in other countries. Ireland, Iona, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.

In Ireland the sheep have a unique color painted on their backs to designate whose flock they belong to. On a visit to Ireland, we encountered a situation that we felt needed our intervention. We became shepherds of one sheep whom we felt was in danger. In hindsight we thought we knew more than the shepherd. We persuaded the shepherd to return with us, and when we arrived on the scene, all was well.

In Iceland, shepherds on horseback ride across the country in early September to round up the sheep who have scattered great distances across the country since spring.

In the Faroe Islands, winter is not typically harsh. This lets the sheep remain out and about almost year-round. Years ago, in an effort to encourage Google to map the country, a local shepherd attached a specially built harness fitted with a Go-pro camera to five sheep to provide 360 degree views. It worked!

On Sunday, the day after our afternoon sheep sit, while enjoying coffee and maple sugar-covered breakfast items,

we decided to set our Sabbath worship as an “anything can happen” worship.

We began by choosing the Gospel for the day to be from John’s Gospel story of the Good Shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”

The day before we had passed the entrance to a scenic drive as we drove into Manchester. So after coffee and shopping (yes shopping) we decided to circle back and drive the scenic road to the summit of Mt. Equinox, the highest point in Bennington County.

We drove Sky Line Drive up to the summit, altitude 3,855’.

We stopped at every scenic overlook. We said Psalm 121 as we stood and gazed at God’s wondrous creation.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

We continued saying the psalm together, part King James, part contemporary.

“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.”

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

Along one side of the Saint Bruno viewing center at the summit, were a series of large marble blocks for sitting. We chose one, sat down and read John’s Gospel,

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me…. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd.”

What a great trip wrapped up in shepherding!”

Homeward bound. Traveling mercies.

meeting daphne

Yesterday we drove from Hartford, CT through Massachusetts to Shaftsbury, VT. We didn’t stay on the interstate for long. Instead, we chose “the roads less traveled”.

Grilled cheese sandwiches and potato chips for lunch at the Blue Benn Diner. When was the last time you dined at a diner?

Or topped off lunch with a stop at Tasty Freeze.

An hour later we arrived at A Wing and a Prayer Farm

We had a wonderful greeting from the owner, Tammy, and the long hoped for greeting by the sheep.

We first wandered around the barn, meeting rescue sheep who were in quarantine as they had some health issues to overcome before joining the flock.

Tammy also dyes the wool from the sheep, the colors of which come from flowers, onion skins and various plants. She explained it all as we walked by the dyeing vats on our way to the pasture.

Tammy tossed several metal chairs in a wheelbarrow and we set off to visit the sheep.

The way it works with sheep is that you sit in your chairs and wait for the sheep to come to you.

Gradually the sheep strolled over. Tammy called all 60-70 by name as they began to move about.


For well over two hours we sat with the sheep. It was a delight!! For us and the sheep I am sure. Tammy sat with us and told us all about being a sheep farmer – the joys and sorrows and the extraordinary amount of work it is. She’s an amazing woman.

We drove off smiling as we criss-crossed passed fields and through small villages to our destination for the night.

We mused about Tammy’s calling to shepherd her flock. Of course our conversation then turned to that of The Good Shepherd. More about that tomorrow.

lamb lark

I’m going on a travel lark – a lamb lark!

Wing and a Prayer Farm

A year ago, when I was thinking about what to give my best friend for Christmas, I happened upon a wonderful idea. My friend is a knitter and loves yarn.

I was browsing an Etsy yarn store. While I was looking at the various yarn offerings, I noticed an additional gift offering. I could adopt a sheep for a year for my friend. Now that was a perfect gift to give.

Included in the gift were adoption papers, a small and plush stuffed sheep, and… an invitation to visit the sheep anytime during the year.

My friend was charmed by the gift. It wasn’t long before she said she wanted to visit her adopted sheep, Daphne.

Daphne with her first newborn earlier this year.

And so we shall. We are going to Vermont!

Tonight we each fly to Hartford, Connecticut. It seems this is the only airport within a couple of hours of the farm, where each of us can fly nonstop from our home airports and on our preferred airlines. The flights arrive late between 10 and 11pm. Thankfully we’re staying at the Sheraton Hotel just a few yards from baggage claim. With a runway view!

I’m hoping for this kind of greeting tomorrow.

Or maybe this.

Traveling mercies.

it’s a wrap, as iceland travel concludes.

Have you ever had to leave your best friend behind? In Iceland? I had to do just that. Some of this story I have told, but it deserves re-telling.

At that time, the United States required a negative COVID test to enter. My friend had tested positive; I had tested negative. That meant I would leave Iceland. My friend would remain behind.

I had a twenty-four hour window before I had to leave. So I stayed in Iceland an extra day to try to figure things out. For her and for myself. Too soon it was time for me to depart before the window closed on me.

It was a time of tears. Many tears. Before she dropped me off at the airport, we promised to meet as soon as possible so the end of the Iceland trip could end “properly”.

Today I’m on my way to Houston for that proper ending. It’s been two months to the day. It’s time.

Looking around as I enter the Delta Sky Club prior to my flight (yes, privilege), I see signs of reunion joy.

Traveling mercies.

family joy

A week ago I was part of a gathering of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncle, and cousins. All had traveled to Seattle to honor and celebrate a beautiful, smart, talented and loving young woman.

She is my granddaughter.

Including the graduate, we numbered thirteen. We were a joy-filled presence as we crisscrossed the Seattle area.

We gathered for the Baccalaureate Mass.

Following the baccalaureate, we celebrated Nathan’s birthday.

The next morning we gathered for the graduation. It was held at the Seattle Mariners Baseball Stadium.

New to me was the tradition of purchasing leis for the graduates. Lei craftspeople had small stands outside the stadium from which they offered leis for sale. I was quick to purchase one!

Our group was determined to make certain Valerie heard our cheers when her name was called. We practiced when her friends’ names were called. When Valerie received her diploma, I am certain she could hear her family cheering. We were loud and proud!

After the graduation ceremony we piled into several cars for a short drive to Serious Pizza. Nathan had turned sixteen the day before, so he was enlisted as a driver.

The dozen pizzas – and more – were seriously delicious!

The following day a variety of activities were offered. Sailing. Backyard games. Delightful conversations. AND a grill fest.

Our last full day was filled, of course. I rode along to the marina for a quick adjustment to the sailboat, followed by a quick stop for bagels extraordinaire.

In the afternoon all thirteen of us attended a Seattle Storm game. The Storm are one of the best teams in the WNBA. Few in our group had enjoyed a WNBA game.

It was so much fun!

After the game ended, we were off to a party celebrating Valerie and her two best friends.

And just like that, by noon the next day all travelers were on their way home. It was an extraordinary gathering to celebrate an extraordinary young woman. She is well on her way. Next stop, Rice University.

and now you know…

…the rest of the story.

I can now blog the final chapter of my recent Iceland travel. The last blog I had posted was a summary of my travels in Iceland during the previous ten days. The trip was filled with delight, glee, quiet moments and, of course, vast vistas.

On the day we were to fly out, we drove back roads to Keflavik, a town near the airport. It was a lovely drive.

Since a negative COVID test was required to enter the United States, we had made reservations in Keflavik for our tests.

After the tests were administered, we were asked to take a seat and wait 15 minutes for the email with the results.

I passed. My best friend and traveling companion did not.

My negative COVID test was good for two days, making it possible for me to leave this day or the next. So I changed my flights and stayed the night, in a separate room from my friend, at a nearby hotel. We began to make all the necessary arrangements for her to be on her own in Iceland. With no idea for how long.

I left the next evening for home. It was agony.

For the next five days my friend navigated the COVID testing system seeking a “fit-to-fly” document which when issued by a physician, can allow someone to fly to the United States. It’s for folks who continue to test positive, but have few or no symptoms. It’s kind of a “get-out-of-Iceland” card.

On the fifth day of isolation, my friend received clearance to fly! She chose to change airlines so she could fly to Frankfurt and from there, non-stop to Houston. The next day she set down in Houston. Home at last.

I didn’t feel I could write the last Iceland trip blog until we both had made it home. I’m so glad that saga is over.

We are already planning our next trip to Iceland. We think it’s important to write a different ending to our Icelandic travel story. Stay tuned.

Traveling mercies.