Well, it’s been a few years, but here is part two. In light of the New Zealand massacre I feel obliged, again, to Never Forget,
Not so much obliged. It is my honor. My duty, as a human.
It is important. I never stopped.
And, Rainer is important.
He is a huge part of my past and my memories. And has dedicated his life to um, not, ‘reversing’ but, healing the scars of his ancestry.
He made me grow as a person.
I always fall head first into anything that intrigues me, and yes, at first, it was the documentary. But, once I knew him, I felt so comfortable and safe and later so loved.
But, that was years ago.
We managed, somehow, to reconnect.
I asked him, “What haven’t you been asked about, that you want to answer?”
I think the best way to share this interview is in our emails.
I should mention, he’s ill. And, in keeping with our friendship – and secrets – I can’t divulge the facts.
So, thinking on a topic, I decided (after he declined) God. To choose Religion.
Having death in our path causes one to ponder no?
I lost one of my best friends to cancer. She was an advocate for children. Unselfish. Completely fucking amazing – and – told me, “I don’t wan’t to go, I’m not ready.”
What ‘God’ takes someone who gives so much on the planet?
How is it that completely awful people still stride this earth and those with love and compassion in their hearts are taken??
And in keeping with my personal theory, here are our emails.
Me: Do you believe in God? Why or why not?
Me: I also think, what kind of ‘father’ would allow such horror, as you mentioned. So many good things hurt and harmed that were innocent. I also asked “In pain or in despair you don’t reach out to something ‘bigger’ than you or the planet?”
Him: Unfortunately I have to disappoint you, with my heart operation it was not possible any more in time, everything went so fast.
With everything else I also ask of course: Why me ?
But I do not address it to God, I can explain it to you also only with difficulty.
I was also too much disappointed by the Protestant Church, which is why I left it long ago. There you don’t get adequate help, pious sayings that mean nothing to me and can do without you.
They should rather change their politics and also admit if they have done something wrong and do not hide behind the institution church.
And to know exactly, they regulate that so that it does not cast a bad permanent light on the church.
No I do not pray.
It comes as it has to come, that doesn’t change the church either.
I believe in true love and friendship, even if it was denied me often enough in my life, or even abused. But I continue to believe in it, and at some point it will be true.
And I believe in what I am doing and that it is sincere and good and helps even if it is a slow success but it is one to see. I believe in many things but not in the institution church.
Me: Notice, the door to the cage is open. Even a fake birdcage I can’t close. I care too much. I agree, love and friendship is a higher power. And, I’m hoping the bible was right when it said, Jesus can see into your heart. I’m not religious, but, should I be judged, ‘it’ will see the real me in my heart. I do have one question for you. What do you to regret? If you could say something different or be different, what would it be?
Him: Our situation back then that I deeply regret, but otherwise I don’t really regret anything.
I see it all in a certain area of fate… You can’t change it in advance anyway, it comes as it comes.
Every day is a new challenge.
And I don’t mean by fate the biblical variant… I have done the most possible thing in my life that I can do to make my environment more beautiful.
I’ve always been faithful in life, I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs…I think more doesn’t work…and I’ve always treated friends as friends and stood by their side like a rock in the surf in an emergency.
I take care of people who need help, I have taken care of my mum self-sacrificingly without thinking of myself. I have always been a good caring father and grandfather.
We continue this journey together as friends. And, he IS an amazing father and grand-father. And friend. I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed.
As a side note, which, seems completely awful calling it so – I also interviewed a survivor – and I didn’t want to make this a piece about the past. But, (again) in light of current events, supremacists are gaining ground and feeling comfortable. I shall never forget the survivor who told me more than any history book could. That they ate their own lice for protein in the camp. I shudder. I’m disgusted and am SO proud that New Zealand has instantly said they are going to change their gun laws. That’s my personal opinion, not Rainer’s or any one else.
Well! Big news.
1) I’m in escrow
2) I’m in escrow with that guy I hike with
3) I have a ring on my finger
4) I’m having a nervous breakdown
And I swear to God, if one more person tells me ‘worrying won’t fix anything’ I’m going to end up in the news. Yes, yes I AM aware that worrying will not help anything. I however, AM a worrier. Kinda had to be raising a son completely, physically and financially alone. I’m also that person who you share a sad story with and I’ll cry FOR you. An empath through and through – so, imagine being alone in my own head unattended!
I am stressing the hell out. And I would be lying if I said that there is a small part of me hoping the house does not appraise. Horrible, I know. But, I’m nothing but honest.
This is a HUGE commitment!
It all began because my guy and I have some distance between us. This month will be a year since we met – we needed to find a solution to our 45 minute drive. That solution was apparently moving somewhere where I’ll have a twice daily 35 minute drive.
“I don’t mind.” Said cheerful, dreamy, smitten me. “I’ll commute as long as we’re together.” (Insert fingers down throat and go ahead and gag now.)
Now, I’ll have to hop in here and interrupt myself by pointing out that in fact, the ONLY thing I’m certain of right now is my unwavering love for this man. No, not the guy in the pic above, my guy. So yeah, I am willing to have a tedious commute in trade for sharing a home with my future husband. (Gulp. Hold on. Dizzy.)
“Tell us Amanda! How did you get engaged?!”
We went looking at a house that actually happened to have EVERYTHING we both wrote on our ‘wish list’. Acreage, HUGE ‘hangar’ ‘shed’ whatever. Completely fenced. In the area my honey is in love with. (Me, not so much. I could leave the desert tomorrow and be just fine.) AND, an actual house with a wood burning stove and in need of LOTS of projects and fixing up.
We checked it out – stopped at a local place for a beer and a chat deciding whether we make an offer or not.
We both knew we loved it. We both knew what our answer would be – but I had knots in my stomach. Share a mortgage with someone and then what? Can’t just walk away if you have an argument from a 30 year loan.
Well, not without serious repercussions.
So I asked the most important question:
“Most importantly, are you sure you want to do this with me?”
Him: “Yes, I’m never going to meet anyone like you. Maybe we need to go to Vegas.”
We went to my place and his response kept ringing in my ear. He’d dropped other hints. Like, when he bought into a claim put me down as ‘spouse’ and told me that. No guy who doesn’t want to put any thoughts in his girlfriends head would say that. Nor would they mention marriage at ALL or discuss anything close to the topic. LOL!
So after the Vegas comment – I just straight up said, “Look, you keep mentioning things, and I’ll tell you right now, I’m not doing Vegas. IF that’s what you meant.”
(I hurt my parents once before by eloping – so that wasn’t going to be an option.)
I then approached him, got down on one knee and I popped the question.
Romantic as hell huh?
So that was out of the way.
We’ll most likely do it at a courthouse. No guests, (except my parents). Just quick nuptials and onto life. We’ve both HAD the fancy, flouncy, over the top weddings. We don’t need all that again.
So here we are.
Then on Mother’s Day, I learned that my parents are moving. Leaving the area totally. And, doing it very soon. I NEED my ‘mummy’. Truly. There is just SO much going on and the last thing I thought could add itself to that pile would be the departure of my rock. My number one fan. We’ve never lived far from one another. This was a huge blow for me.
I’ve downed an entire box of M & M’s today – yes, a box. I’ve been spontaneously weeping. I haven’t packed a f$%#ing thing (our close of escrow is the 25th).
My stress level is at an eleven.
Am I going to be that girl at the altar, or more fittingly, the signing table that blurts out, “I’m sorry – I just can’t do this!” and runs dramatically out of the building? Probably not. I’ve got this ‘love’ thing going on with the other party.
But I needed everyone to know that it is TERRIFYING!!! And this is with a guy I love more than any other guy! This is with the person I WANT to spend the rest of my life with. It’s not all smiles, handshakes and keys being handed to you ya know! It’s “Oh shit, this is big.” It’s “What if my car breaks down now I have this insane uphill desert commute?” It’s “What if we move in together and hate it?” It’s “Does he truly love me?” It’s insecurities and fear and taking a leap when you’re sure there’s nothing to break your fall.
And being willing to regardless, because life has handed you something amazing.
To say our hike Saturday had its ups and downs would be a pretty fair assessment of the adventure.
I was excited about where we were going for a few reasons, one of them being it was the place I saw my first tarantulas over 15 years ago. (Still very hard to believe this fair English native, then Central Coast California transplant has been in the desert that long!)
And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.
We’ll touch back on that in a while.
Anyway, I’ve been chomping at the bit to capture wildlife on my camera. So far, lizards, butterflies, burros, cattle and long-horned sheep – but my secret deep down wish was to snap a close up of a scorpion or an arachnid and yes, even a snake. Oh, trust me, the zoom lens would be the key there! I’m wishful but would also not like to trust my snake guards that we wear to such an extent.
We arrived at Grapevine Canyon and my first mistake? I wore a cotton t-shirt. (Why oh why do they give those away at 5K events? Cotton is not conducive to a comfy hike or run.) I am usually sporting wicking wear, and I’ll have you know that I’ve successfully completed all previous hikes sans sweat. So, that either means that I didn’t push myself hard enough or … seriously, cotton is not the ideal choice.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m the Queen of Tangents, you’ll have to bear with me.
I don my pack and my snake guards and … my gift from my guy, trekking poles.
Another tangent. When we return from hiking, he’s sore. He, with the Popeye calves. He who can not only put his hands on the ground in a straight legged position, but also touch his forehead to his legs. I, on the other hand, feel no pain upon return – nor the following day. (Also can’t do any of those things.)
This weekend? It hurt to squat to reach the toilet seat lol! ‘Leg day’ happened.
We started out past the tourists who were there for the petroglyphs and the waterfall.
Surpassed them and began our trek.
Me, clumsy and awkward with my poles. My honey a little frustrated because he’d put so much thought into buying them for me. And, no, it does not escape me that he bought them for me because he wants to spend time with me. It also doesn’t escape me that he bought them because he loves them and wants me to have the same experience. So, I felt like an asshole and here’s why.
The terrain he fell in love with them for was the Pacific Crest Trail, so not only was that ideal for that, but he had MILES to become acquainted until they were like additional limbs. Me? I’m trying to snap pictures, which meant holding them in one hand or putting them down, and it seemed every time I did that, he happened to turn around. I felt awful. A gift not being utilized as intended.
We carried on.
Now might be a great time to mention that my guy also has experience rock climbing. Serious rock climbing. And, after the birth of my son I was suddenly scared of heights. And we were high.
I say this because he was like a freaking mountain goat and I kept being told, “Stay perpendicular!” This, after a particular steep rock with nothing to cling to. Thing is about such a rock, once you’re half way up, you’re kinda screwed.
It’s either, A) Have faith in the experts and just keep scaling without looking down and pray you don’t fall to your death or B) Get chastised for wanted to be on all fours. OR C) F#@* this, I know my limits and THIS isn’t happening today.
Well, it happened.
I am not going to lie (again) I was terrified. Literally. What I wanted to do was that dramatic, “Go on without me … save yourself with this hike and I’ll wait.” What I did? I kept going.
And the psychosomatic part of it is that if a hand is held out, you tend to suddenly become invincible without putting too much weight on said hand. It’s just the knowledge that someone has your back and is there to assist that tends to erase a majority of the worry.
Okay, so now I’m up. And ‘height’ phobia cracks in. I swear, I couldn’t even count how many times I heard, “This part is steep, but after this! It evens out.”
I always want to impress my guy, I also always want to live.
We kept going.
And, OH. MY. GAWD.
The day was perfect. The juxtaposition of desert meets … rustling trees … meets water? lol, was awesome!
An egg … I didn’t touch.
Crunching on leaves was bizarre!
Look easier than they were to navigate – but I nailed it. Thought of the Olympics and wanted to do a back flip and land it – then remembered I couldn’t even touch my hands to the floor straight legged lol.
The rustling tree. Was breezy for a bit. (Thank goodness for my pits lol! Remember, cotton … not conducive.)
Just … beauty in everything.
Zoomed in – this was my elephant rock.
This was my heavy-headed person resting their forehead on the peak.
This was freaking AWESOME! The curves get slimmer and slimmer to the point that yes, (OH, Yay!) You have to climb out of it. I think this, and the slides back down due to complete water smoothing (imagine a rock slide!) were my favorite parts.
We ended our hike on a flat rock and chatted.
Here’s where I touch on the beginning.
“And if I’m being truly honest, I’ve only just started to appreciate it since I’ve begun hiking.”
I said to my honey at one point, “You’re really good at a lot of things, but I’m just a beginner.”
And as we sat on that rock, he apologized for any impatience. But, the truth of it was that he was NOT impatient. Or, I didn’t read it that way.
He pushed me for sure – seeing things in me I didn’t. Seeing me capable and cheering me on the whole time. Mostly during our exit when I took a total (on purpose) slide down a steep rock – and it was fun!!!!!
He doesn’t coddle me. But, he does pay attention, even with his back to me. (Dad eyes in the back of his head lol!) And always has just the RIGHT way to encourage me to be a better version of myself.
Extras! Me the next day with my burros! (With the right gear on, but we ended up napping at his home. lol!)
This was Sunday, and we violated a mine – NOT ON PURPOSE!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s for sale! And, um, saw this a little too late.
Lastly, some fun pics.
Wait!! Wouldn’t be complete without those trekking poles. xxxx
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“Honey if I get restless
Baby you’re not that kind”
Turns out – I’m a very restless person. I took an ENTIRE day off from work to just BE.
To be a human being instead of a human doing‘ and … survey says …
I got bored.
It didn’t pan out. (Miner joke)
Speaking of … here’s us FINDING gold.
Well, I wasn’t the entire time.
I got up at 5 with my honey and gave him a lunch I had made for him the previous night.
Then, I had the luxury of ‘sleeping in’. I am not one to usually be able to sleep after waking, but after countless nights of nightmares and tossing and turning, I slept. I slept hard. It was scrumptious.
That Saturday had consisted of us panning pay dirt AND me braving Karaoke!
I was awful. And Christopher didn’t know the song – thus the handing over the mic.
But, awful in a way that you were proud you displayed yourself and lived through it.
I DO warn you, I can NOT sing. So, go there with that knowledge.
AND stepped off of the stage and got a full applause because I just DID IT and knew I was awful but kept going and kept dancing and didn’t care. lol! (Thought of you Betty – and how much you’d have given anything to be alive and sing badly)
I can sing in the shower and the car. 😉
Next morning, I was so tired. We stayed up way past our bedtimes after being home and he sang (better than I ever will) and played guitar (better than I’ll ever try to). But, I got up, and got hiking. Feels SO good to be out there. Especially good to share it with someone I love.
Here’s a few pics, and honestly, they’re getting less and less the more we go because I’m focusing on us and not capturing ‘us’.
After yesterday’s hike, we went to a buffet and I gorged myself into having what I call a ‘food baby’ lol.
I’m thin – when I ‘gorge’ I look like a tick. Not THAT thin, ‘healthy’ but, ‘need to quit eating buffets or my existing clothes will not fit and I can’t afford a new wardrobe’ We then went home and napped – because – Walking Dead premiere!!!!!!!
The nap was more delicious than the food! We both slept, full as could be and spent! Woke refreshed and ready to go back to bed if that makes any sense.
Bottom line, I had an amazing weekend and it’s always hard to say ‘bye for now’.
I wished, at some point today, between horror movies, snacks and washing the dog that I was hiking with my guy.
I remembered the moment he put his arm around my waist while we were walking, I remember going off into another direction of our path because something interested me.
AND! Bonus. Here’s the gold we found, plus an amazing sunset that I didn’t get around to posting.
Overall, honestly? One of the best weekends of my life. I not only over-indulged, but completely under-indulged and I have decided, life is amazing. Period. I could be out in a shack and chopping wood and panning for gold and singing AWFULLY forever lol!
“And nobody told us
‘Cause nobody showed us
And now it’s up to us babe
I think we can make it”
I haven’t mused from the laundromat for a while – and that’s been odd. My weekends have been filled, to my delight.
When I DO go, I do try to be there when my laundry lady is there also. She told me I was missed.
I believe her, because I miss her too. The routine – the ‘regulars’. But I wouldn’t trade another Sunday there for what I have now.
I’ll start with this, I’ve been so happy lately that even my son, (who has moved again across country and who I haven’t seen since January 6th of this year) has commented on it.
Keep in mind, our chats have been minimal and our communications brief. So, it’s a pretty big deal that he sees a change in me.
My heart is more peaceful, my anxiety lessened. I smile more – I treasure moments no matter how fleeting. I’ve been exploring, forcing myself out of my comfort zone. Doing things to make someone else happy and in making the effort, found myself happier too.
Life has taken a turn and whether it’s for a reason, a season or a lifetime – I’m just very glad it happened.
And yet, I still find myself waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop’.
As if I’m not worthy of a happy ending. Or, just so used to not expecting one that the possibility is absurd.
I think the more I let go and the more I trust that I can pinch myself and not wake up, the less I’ll be waiting for things to go wrong.
I’m still also painfully aware at how brief and unpredictable life can be.
I’ll be participating in a 3K walk to benefit my sweet friend with stage 4 cancer on Saturday. There isn’t a day that goes by that I do not think of her.
Every visit is cherished.
I find myself wanting to curl up next to her and just … be. Of course, it hurts her too much to move or be bumped or even to hug. So, her toes are mine. I gently rub her feet in some attempt to offer comfort where I know I can’t.
I think I’ve been living for her lately too.
Pushing myself with the ever-present thought, ‘She would LOVE to be able to do this!’ I’m not just talking about adventures. It’s the little things like, getting out of bed, standing in the shower, dressing myself. Standing in line at a store! (I WILL give you the lecture if I hear you complain you know – “You realize there are some people who would give ANYTHING to be in this line?!”)
I especially thought of her when it was finally cool enough to join the man who has my heart in the desert. She would have given anything to sit where I sat after navigating a climb. She would have been in just as much awe of the view as I was and welcoming the sweet sleepiness that was sure to follow that night.
So there it is.
My life at the moment.
Filled with hope and also with impending sadness.
Certainty and uncertainty.
Immense joy knowing that I am capable of such love now and willing to offer it with no expectations.
To them both.
Knowing that losing either of them is going to break my heart. And yet, knowing them for however long I have makes it most definitely worth it.