This scares me a little

I have known my Aunt Fern’s phone number since I was a girl. My mom used to call her sister regularly and I remember clearly how she would dial ‘0’ to contact the operator. Then she would say, “I’d like to make a long-distance call to area code 403, 249…” and then relay the rest of the number.

I can still see my mom standing in her house dress by the old-fashioned rotary-dial telephone, which was firmly attached to the wall between the kitchen and the living room.

I have never in my adult life had to think twice about Aunt Fern’s number. I just always knew it. I could pick up the phone anytime, anywhere, and get in touch with her if I had to.

Until today.

I wanted to phone Aunt Fern and the number just would NOT come to me. And it wasn’t like a “brain fart” moment where you forget for a second and then you remember. It was gone. With some concentration I could remember 249, but I never did get the last four digits. I finally had to look it up.

I probably shouldn’t let this bother me as much as it does, but I think I’ll start keeping a record all the same.

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Working remotely: why you need a virtual private network (VPN)

The find-an-apartment and move date will be in July. By then I will have finished up most other commitments and will have much more time and freedom.

Don't bother me; I'm busy!

Don’t bother me. I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

In the meantime, I am scheming and preparing, including gathering things together we’ll need. It’s fun buying towels and things for a new place. I figure if I do a little at a time, at each payday, I’ll have quite a little cache put together by the time I hit the road.

BUT, one of the most important discoveries to living and traveling remotely that I have found is this: a “virtual private network” tool, or VPN.

O. M. G. How did we live without this in the past? With it, I can access my home desktop computer and all its files and programs as if I were sitting right there in my office. I will be able to work from almost anywhere in the world that I have an Internet connection.

Seriously!

The one I chose is from LogMeIn.com and it is amazing. It is easy to use and seamless. The image of my home desktop, even from my laptop, is sharp and crystal clear (though small, laptop-monitor size). I can even toggle between my two home monitors.

I connected a decent-sized monitor to my laptop for when I am working remotely all day, but in a pinch it is perfectly readable for checking email or finding a file while on the road.

I would highly recommend this amazing tool if you plan to live and work away from the office.

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Dastardly Kirkpatricks

Most of the Kirkpatricks I have researched so far were respected, hard-working, family-oriented people who had a sense of humor and a sense of adventure. They were explorers and trail blazers. They were pillars of their communities.

I haven’t heard of too many “bad” Kirkpatricks, but there is the occasional one.

Recently I was searching through old west coast newspapers searching for information on my great-great grandfather, Thomas Gillham Kirkpatrick. He had spent time in California and Oregon during the gold rush, before he moved on to British Columbia, where he stayed.

I didn’t find anything on ol’ TGK, but I did find a fascinating series of 1858 articles about a Kirkpatrick who, along with his wife, poisoned his brother by putting arsenic in a Christmas pie of all things!

I want to transcribe these articles and post them here and in our family newsletter. Watch for them!

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The evolution of a plan

I am having a lot of fun hanging out with my children and grandchildren down in the Greater Vancouver Area of BC. We had a fantastic birthday party yesterday and today I am catching up on a few things.

Happy birthday to adorable 5-year-old twins I know. <3

Happy birthday to adorable 5-year-old twins I know. <3

Plans have evolved a bit since my previous posts. My husband and I decided, since I’ll be spending so much more time in BC anyway, we may as well expand our business there, as well. This opens up all kinds of new opportunities, including being able to employ some family members as we grow.

As well, my youngest son, a college student, may be sharing an apartment with me for awhile, until he gets on his feet. It’s pretty crowded where he is now and he’ll have “our” place to himself for much of the time, so that’s going to be a win/win scenario.

See how creative you can get when you start really thinking about things?

Have I mentioned lately how excited I am?

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I’m not the only one

One of the things I hope to achieve with this journal is to share stories about other far-seeing women who prefer to travel alone. A dear friend who knows me very well sent me a link to this article:

Holidays for one: why I love to hit the road alone

The author also enjoys getting away by herself for times of solitude and mobile-phone-silence. It contains such gems as:

Once I’m parked, I’ll cook myself a pretty spectacular dinner, if I do say so myself. It is possible to make gourmet meals for one in a teeny-tiny space, and this is important, because romancing your solo self is important.

Perhaps that is something I’ll have to start doing. My “solo self” could use a little romancing.

These lines spoke directly to me:

…a long drive on quiet roads can be soothing. The amniotic swoosh of passing tyres. The LEDs of the spaceship dashboard winking. The semi-trance of doing something on autopilot. And moving forwards with things rolling by in your peripheral vision, that literal unspooling. I really think there is as much potential for mindfulness in a long, lonely drive as there is in a yoga class.

Yes! Yes and yes. There is nothing so relaxing to me as just driving and driving. Sometimes with music or radio on, but often with just my own thoughts. To me, it is the very best therapy.

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Inspiring people

While I’m on the road, here’s a little something to inspire you.

I have started a folder of bookmarks called “Inspire.” It is full of people doing incredible things, often against all odds, many of them older than I am.

For instance, there is the 83-year-old supermodel Carmen Dell’Orefice, still looking absolutely stunning after all these years. There’s the “Never, Ever Give Up” guy. And, for when I need a dose of love, I have bookmarks to the Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers remixes. (They never fail to make me happy.)

Now that I am looking forward with excitement to the second half of my life, I am developing a sky’s-the-limit attitude and am getting kind of excited!

Could I be a supermodel like Carmen? Or a track star like Olga Kotelko, who is in her 90’s? Or, more humbly, could I become a writer or a singer? Maybe I’d like to just settle down in a cabin by a lake and live a quiet life amongst the birds and trees.

The point is, the sky really is the limit as long as I: a) keep breathing, and b) stay healthy.

All the more reason to keep working on losing weight and beating diabetes.

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On the road again!

Today I am heading out early for a long drive from Calgary to the BC coast. Going to spend some quality time with my offspring and the grandbabies. Good times will be had.

This is Part 1 of my new lifestyle as a mobile mama, living part-time in one place and part-time in another. Exciting stuff.

Catch you on the flip-flop!

Another trip I took last year, almost exactly a year ago.

Another trip I took almost a year ago.

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Buying stuff to define ourselves

I read somewhere recently that we will often start buying “things” after or during a major life change.

For instance, if we start college or get a divorce or lose a loved one, we will start making what seem to be random purchases for no good reason. A friend of mine recently lost her husband to cancer; since his passing, she has bought a lot of coats and jackets. That kind of thing.

Why do we do this? The theory, if I’m remembering correctly, is that we are trying on different styles and preferences in an effort to redefine ourselves in our new roles – as student or divorcee or widow, etc.

Will I start doing that, I wonder, as I seek to discover myself? I haven’t started the buying part yet, but I have started “trying on” new ideas in my mind.

Right now, I tend to be getting rid of stuff in an effort to downsize, but that’s a topic for another post.

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Making myself over (or not)

Hitting my fifties, gaining more independence, and a recent health scare have started the wheels of change in motion for me.

Off on new adventures in my trusty green van.

Off on new adventures in my trusty green van.

Before this point, I had always taken care of others. From the time I was six years old, helping to toilet train my baby sister, through raising my own children, then taking care of my ill mother and others, it was always about doing for others and putting my own life on the back burner for later.

Don’t get me wrong. I did it all by choice (okay, maybe not the potty training at six) and knew that one day “my day” would come. And it has.

After finally getting over my “empty nest” syndrome and being blessed with grandchildren… After having a health scare that forced me to begin dieting and taking better care of myself… After learning that I can work at our home-based business remotely from almost anywhere… And after learning that my husband doesn’t mind if I wander off on adventures as long as I check in periodically… Now it finally becomes about taking care of me.

It’s interesting that I’m “trying on” different personae already. For instance, I’ve never worn makeup much, or fussed about my hair, but now I’m looking at different styles and colors and thinking, “Could I do/wear/use this?” Sometimes it’s yes, sometimes it’s no, and sometimes it’s maybe.

But that’s the fun of it, right? I’ll be just as surprised as you to find out how it all sorts itself out.

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New me, new language

Messing around with Instagram; this is the obligatory mirror selfie.

Messing around with Instagram; the obligatory mirror selfie.

I am trying to think of new adjectives to describe myself these days. I used to use younger-sounding ones like “nerd girl” and “explorer chick,” or maternal-sounding ones like “da mama.”

But in this time of redefining myself I realize I need to come up with updated words to define the redefinition… if that makes sense. One I particularly like is “Far Seer.” You’ll be hearing more and more from Far-Seer in days to come.

I’m an elder now, not a girl. I still love to travel and learn and laugh, but there is a whole lot more wisdom and experience behind my adventures than there ever was. I need to learn how to start expressing that.

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