Good reads and the open road

Photo by Eric I E via Creative Commons

We are going on a road trip.

Yes, we are.

We are pointing the compass West and driving away from the flat terrain of the Great Lakes. We’ll be tearing across that big lawn that separates the Midwest from those pretty purple mountains. How far will we travel before we shed this sticky, scratchy blanket of humidity? How many miles before I breathe that sigh of release?

I look forward to inhaling the scent of sage and  alpine air and complaining of dry skin rather than leaking pores. I’m pretty sure I’ll perform prostrations at the base of the mountains and kiss the earth. Maybe I’ll post a picture.

This is my first road trip out West with full Internet/digital capabilities. As much as I’d like to unplug for 10 days, I know I’d rather document and share the experience.

This also is the first extended family trip — other than that haunted weekend last summerwe’ve had since March 2009, when the severe belt-tightening was just beginning to make our eyeballs pop. It will be on a nickel and dime. Frankly, I’m not sure we don’t have panhandling worked into our itinerary. Most of our adventure is possible due to the generosity of family. It will be challenging, but I also think it will be character building and oh-so-worth-it to see the land I love and spend quality time with family.

Road trips mean endless hours of the same scenery (cows! more cows! cows and barns and silos!), lousy radio stations, even lousier food choices, and my favorite part — books. I’ve already stuffed my backpack full of reading material.

In the spirit of summer vacations and road trips and good reads, here are a few new and recent finds on the Internets. I like to think of these sites as warm and welcoming down comforters on a cold afternoon, as eye-opening as the first cup of coffee of the morning, and as pleasantly wonderful as finding a new best friend right down the street.

Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce — I can’t get enough of this new blog. What a great concept not only for a blog but also for life.

The Suniverse — I met this blog’s author at the Detroit stop of Bossy’s (No)Book Tour and fell in love with her style. She makes me laugh and cry all at once. Her posts ring true.

You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me — Another  beautifully crafted blog that spins the stuff of life into colorfully touching tales.

Mrs. Blogalot — Always funny. Always on target.

Momma Mia, Mea Culpa & Redhead Ranting — I found these two blogs through Tribal Blogs and they fast became part of my daily/weekly blog habit. I think if you went out with these ladies for a few cocktails, the night would not be boring, I am sure of that.

Happy reading.

Next report: Live, from cattle country.

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Long-distance relationship

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I was flashed today.

It happened as I pulled back the curtains on my hotel room window. I was startled to find  a set of  voluptuous mountains popping out of the horizon. I stared, speechless. The rocky mounds flanked by swaying palms shimmied like some kind of hula dancer performing a show only I could understand.

Yesterday, outside the hotel I found a gathering of well-muscled, phallic cacti strutting around in the rock gardens. I could almost swear one of them whispered something dirty to me.

I’m nine years into a marriage. But I get weak in the knees when warm sun begins to massage my winterized flesh and achy blue sky winks at me wherever I turn. How can a girl stay faithful to her northern roots?

These trips out west, they’re almost like porn.

This latest tryst finds me pulling back the covers on a part-time lover named Arizona. He moves around a lot, changes his name. Sometimes he’s New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana. Always though, when we reunite, I melt into his broad shoulders, inhale his sage-scented coat of many colors and whisper promises of “someday.”

The torch was lighted in my childhood on a road trip to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and Devil’s Tower Monument in Wyoming. Throughout my youth, my family covered many miles of road stretching to all points on the compass. But it was the western sojourn that lodged itself in my psyche. Thirty some years later, the grip has not loosened.

It begs the question: Why haven’t I left Michigan? Can’t I divorce this Great Lakes relationship and run away with my Western lover?

The answer is always the same: The time is not yet right. I’ve had offers. I’ve had chances. But, I’m needed here — for now. I’m slowly preparing for my departure, saying my good-byes, biding my time.

Until then, I get my thrills any way I can.

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