Christmas, Trucks and Easy Bake Ovens

We’re all hooked up and ready to rock and roll to yet another TSL at daybreak. Having almost, but not quite, conquered our HUAD (Hitching Up Anxiety Disorder) we decided to do all the hooking and unhooking today so we can hit the road before we get parked in tomorrow. That meant hauling around the furniture and pulling in all 4 slides.

We’re successfully hitched and the slides are back out but it certainly wasn’t worth dragging the furniture around again. I’m holding the computer – which is the first time my laptop has ever been on top of my lap – sitting in the recliner, which is perfectly upright, wedged between the table and the sofa.

The satellite and sewer and water hose are all packed away. Only the electrical line remains as a tentative umbilical cord, tying us to the nurse wagon until morning.

Getting ready a day ahead did give us a smaller audience of onlookers than usual. It’s a little like a being an old-fashioned carnival side-show attraction. Whenever we get ready to hook up, crowds gather. Step right up folks! You have to see it to believe it! Two Women, One Truck!

People (men mainly) are amazed that a woman can back up a dually. Seriously, it’s just like driving forward, except in reverse. They’re stunned that two women, with no help from a fellow, can hook up and haul a 40 ft 5th Wheel.

I feel like that little girl who started a petition for a gender neutral Easy Bake Ovens. I think that just meant an EBO that wasn’t pink since boys aren’t supposed to like pink. If you’re a boy and you like pink, you might grow up to be a man who likes pink. And everyone knows that if you’re a man who likes pink, you’ll have to become a professional football player or join the WWF to prove your manliness.

Most folks down here in Texas know that boys can cook. They just don’t all know that girls can drive trucks. Anyway, as my fellow TSAs know, we never know until we arrive at our secret assignment whether or not we’ll have any internet or phone service. Since I may be out of range after tonight, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

If you’re a frequent flyer here, you know I’m crazy about The Piano Guys. I recently posted Steven’s cheery cello rendition of Carol of the Bells. I thought it might be fun to include the piano guy (Jon) this time. 😀

I liked the Christmas message they posted with their video. It seems to fit with my readers, too, so I’m including it here:.

We love the Holiday Season. Why? It’s a great excuse to be extra nice to each other. =) … And we love Christmas music, lights, presents, and the excitement of our sleepless children anticipating the advent of Christmas day. We know there are many out there who do not celebrate Christmas or believe in what it may represent. This song is not meant to exclude anyone. We hope this song is an opportunity to reflect on everything we are blessed with in life — family, a beautiful earth, a place to rest our head, the warmth of the sun. The lyrics of this piece speak of being “ransomed” from captivity. In general terms, at some point or another in our lives we find ourselves at the receiving end of a “ransom” — a rescue by someone or something — even as simple as a note from a friend, a hug from a child, a much-needed vacation, or the unconditional affection of a loyal dog. That is what this song represents to us. People may define the “rescue” moments in life differently, but the meaning of the moments remain the same. To many, including us, the story of The Savior is the sweetest and most priceless “ransom” of all. To Him we dedicate this song.  ~The Piano Guys

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – traditional
Performed by
Steven Sharp Nelson: Cello
Jon Schmidt: Piano

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
[Refrain] Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
[Refrain]
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
[Refrain]
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
[Refrain]
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace

Before my signal fades away, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

The Four Seasons (Minus Three)

I have an affection for those transitional seasons, the way they take the edge off the intense cold of winter, or heat of summer. ~Whitney Otto

Seasons… I’ve been thinking about seasons because I keep forgetting which one I’m in. I miss having real seasons. Back in the Midwest I knew what month it was because I could see and smell and touch Spring (lilacs and crocus) and Summer (fireflies and freeze tag) and Fall (bonfires and a potpourri of colors) and Winter (snowflakes and hot chocolate).

As a TSA in southern TX, I only know what month it is by seeing which holiday cards Hallmark is selling or what gaudy items Walmart has on the end racks or from the ads on TV. However, since I record more than I watch, I’ve learned not to rely too heavily on the TV. Last night I saw an ad encouraging me to take advantage of Back to School sales.

I don’t seem to be alone in this state of un-seasonal confusion. A few days ago, when it was 85 degrees, someone wrote 7/7/12 on the TS log and from then on – for hours – everyone else did the same. It was August for most of a day that first week in December on paper and on the thermometer.

But tonight is something special. We’re having a brief bit of cool weather. Tonight, and for the next 2 nights, the prediction is for temps to be right at freezing (which isn’t freezing as in terribly cold – just freezing as in 32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Some folks here love it. Some, not so much. Some, especially those who have never been north of Dallas, (no kidding – never, ever) started wearing stocking caps and coats when it got down in the 50’s at night. I couldn’t even get my kids to wear coats to school in the middle of the real winter in Iowa and people here are wearing Down Jackets when it dips below 60!

It’s 31 wonderful degrees right now. Some nights, after hours of looking longingly at the fake fireplace, I turn it on just for ambiance. But tonight, Henry VIII and I are enjoying the real heat from the real blower above the very fake logs!

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year. ~ Texas

This is really a quote by Edna St. Vincent Millay but she could be speaking as Texas where it is perpetually summer. My heart longs for the full four seasons … fleetingly.

Mostly I just miss Spring and Fall which only last about 3 weeks each, but they’re such glorious weeks! And at Christmas time, I miss snow – just for a few days.

If you love Winter (the real Winter), or if you miss snow just a little, or if you’re happy to say you don’t have to shovel rain (or caliche), or just because it’s great music, I hope you enjoy this is a new video by The Piano Guys (ironically featuring just the cello guy). May this be your perfect snow fix – no shoveling required!

Happy Together

Instead of responding to all the comments from On the Fence, I’ve decided to add a couple more thoughts.

Mostly, I just want to thank you all for offering so many different points of view – and for commenting, period – many of you for the first time. Your comments were more interesting than my post, without a doubt!

For those of you who are interested in the topic, I hope you’ll go back to the post and read the comments. Many great (and some really funny) points were made!

Speaking of points, at this point, I want to clarify a couple of things:

1. I like my job

2. I want / need to keep my job 😀

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In this job, as with any, it’s important to be responsive to what your employers ask. My post yesterday was offered by way of explanation re: the future or lack of future of Fork. The rules were new to me and took me a bit by surprise but they’re things that I’ll honor.

It’s just a blog. 😀

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But boy howdy! after reading all your comments, I surely know that if our RV ever gets blown over into Louisiana by a Texas twister or some stranger bonks me on the head in the middle of the night, you’ll take note and care!

Thanks for all your kind support and encouragement!

In hopes of encouraging you back, I’m posting one of my favorite videos from The Piano Guys. Most of you are probably old enough to remember Happy Together by The Turtles. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard or seen it performed quite like this!

Thanks again for taking the time to read The Fork in the Road and for making such thoughtful comments.

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Monday Music

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when you find yourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
‘Til by turning, turning we come ’round right.

~Simple Gifts by Elder Joseph Brackett

Those of you who read both of my blogs, know that on Two Minutes of Grace, I generally post a song on Sunday. I’ve decided to do the same at Fork on Mondays – from time to time with different songs and different messages.

It’s been exactly two weeks since I rode through Houston in the rain, in a one ton dually pulling a 40 foot RV with 6-8 teeming lanes of traffic. I’m not sure when I quit breathing, but at some point I realized that I was pressing so hard on the floorboard that my right foot had gone to sleep, my jaw was locked, my eyes were glazed, my fingers were numb and my head was throbbing – and I wasn’t even driving! 😀

I took stock, took two Ibuprofen, took some deep breaths and thought about the trap of getting so tense over things completely out of my control.

It can be easy to wait for sometime, somewhere over the rainbow for things to become simpler. Many of you who read Fork are RVers. That doesn’t guarantee simplicity, but full-timers or part timers, you’ve learned how to pare down and live with much ‘less’.

I wrote a post a while back for TMG called Simple Gifts. In contains the Simple Gifts section of Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring, with photos by Ansel Adams. Copeland’s music to the Adams’ black and whites is quite lovely. You can skip to the bottom of the page to play the video.

This video from The Piano Guys is my newest favorite. It intertwines ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple with Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I hope you enjoy it!

The Professor, The Piano Guys and Star Wars

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest city in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of 579 square miles. ~ Wikipedia

I was in Houston for 3 days. In the 4th largest city in the U.S., I had dinner with a college professor from New Jersey. As I got into the cab in Houston to meet the man from Ewing, the cab driver was quietly crying while he listened to the funeral of “Miss Whitney Houston” on the radio that was taking place in Ewing, New Jersey.

It was all sort of surreal. Whitney Houston and Houston and Ewing all merging for a few moments in the rain in a Yellow Cab in Texas.

It went from surreal to really special when the elevator opened at the Holiday Inn and out stepped the professor, my son, whom I hadn’t seen in 2 1/2 years. It was a glorious 8 hours of catching up on so much more than just the everyday things. If small talking is like my regular book and bobber and a worm on the hook, then this was like chartering a private boat to unknown places and deep-sea fishing.

We had dinner at Pappadeaux where we ate Cajun style seafood and grits and dirty rice. As is always the case when I have the privilege of spending time with either of my children, who are long past childhood, I learned so much and treasured every moment.

I can’t remember Dan and I ever having a conflict. I don’t happen to share his love of football but I did watch all the Star Wars movies with him. So Dan, this video is for you. I’m pretty sure you’ll love The Piano Guys (even though this one just features Steven Sharp Nelson on dueling cellos). 😀

And to all you Star Wars fans, or cello fans, this is such an amazing video! I hope you have some fun with it and may the force be with you!