Part two
Tuesday October 05th 2010, 11:07 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Family,Friends,Life,LYS

Here’s where I’ve been: about eight years ago, during the worst of the brainstem lupus stuff, I set myself a goal to walk all the way around my block once. Without shortness of breath, without chest pains, without weakness. That was my goal for the year. And the next.  I did not make it.

And for awhile there, it was also to feel well enough again to be able to drive a car without worrying about my blood pressure getting too low. I did not make it. I chose, and will always choose, to err on the side of caution on that one, this driver‘s choices being a good reason why.

Now, back when my kids were little, I used to racewalk four to five miles every morning before my husband left for work–my much-needed time to myself in the great outdoors, time to work out, time to just be out and SEE to recharge the batteries before starting in on the day with three children four and under.

Then the fourth child arrived, the lupus hit, the no-sun issue surfaced, and all together it added up to years of wishing keenly for all sorts of things.

And one of those was to just get in the car and go see the ocean again. Not our close-by Bay but the actual ocean. It wasn’t like it was very far. (Oh yeah, sun, right.)

My younger brother Bryan was here about eight or ten years ago and we did exactly that: we got in the car, him at the wheel, and the two of us drove down to Monterey, reveling in the rare time together.

Pebble Beach. The 17-Mile Drive. Got out from time to time (took the risk, how often do I get to with him) and looked at the seascapes below. The funky Monterey cypresses, the redwoods on Highway 17, the weirdness of the sign claiming copyright on all images anyone ever might make of that one lone tree on that outcropping as belonging to… You can’t copyright a picture you didn’t take! Silly people! Hanging out. Having a day to just go be siblings again.

I so wanted to go back there. I so wanted to cruise down Highway 1 and just be free of all health-related cares and just go. I tried to ignore how confining lupus can feel.

The B’s did not know that when they booked a cottage where they did for their vacation. It was simply a good spot for the things they wanted to do.

Bryan and I had driven right down that road. You go past the sign to 17-Mile Drive and there you are.

The best part of my trip yesterday, by far, was getting to see and spend time with the B’s. With serious chronic illness for two of us and a 3000 mile distance, this is a rare and wonderful thing. I think we two were both surprised at how well the other was looking. Acknowledging, yes, but acknowledging too how things are holding together in spite of all that as we created new memories to rejoice over with the old.

On a side note: going such a distance, and down a highway that occasionally turns into a country lane, a kick back and relax in the scenery type of road with slow produce trucks hauling artichokes from the coast and ambling at their own pace, one never knows what to expect. So I’d left early with the idea of Monarch Knitting as my time buffer: I’d wanted to meet LYSO Joan there anyway, very much so, for over three years now.

There was a big knitting retreat going on back then at Asilomar (wait–not SOAR, it was June–trying to remember its name) and my friend Nina was attending. She asked for, and got from me before she left, my author’s proof pages that I’d had spiral bound.

The first day of the retreat happened to be the day that Wrapped in Comfort was released, and the conference also happened to have a show-and-tell scheduled then.

Nina, bless her, held up that book, wearing the shawl in that book (she had wanted to own the very one, not a copy, even if it meant waiting for months to get it back from the publisher, so I did that for her), pointed to the page, and she announced, “I am Nina. This is the shawl in this book. You want this book. Go buy this book!”

And thus she led a posse of 50 knitters over to Monarch, where, she and Joan both told me later, Joan was just opening a box shipped from Martingale that had six copies in it.

And everybody wanted them.

Joan took a deep breath, made a decision, and pleaded with them: please, if I do this, promise me you’ll come back tomorrow?

They did. So she did: she called Martingale, on a Friday afternoon close to quitting time, and asked them to Federal Express Weekend Overnight her those 50 copies. And they did it! They got them out in time! The next day, they all sold except the copy Joan wanted to keep for herself.

She told me the shipping fees had eaten any profit from the sales but oh what a good time they’d all had!

I thanked her for giving me a book story to brag on for life. And I do.

So, yesterday I was making good time, on my way, passing several bicyclists who were off the road talking to each other, when suddenly a cop passed me, lights and sirens. A few minutes later, another. Oookay. There was a long curve there near Moss Landing, too far away to see why traffic had by then come to a stop.

And there we sat.

It was one of those times I was glad I was in a Prius: I turned off the fan to save electricity and thereby gas. We sat. Pretty scenery… But I really hoped things would get going; I did want to stop by Monarch.

After a half hour it all started to clear up again. No tow trucks, no fire engines, no sign of anything having been out of the ordinary. Curious.

To either side of the power towers at the Landing, there were swamps and birds that I wished I could see closer up.

I did get to go to Monarch. I walked in and the first person I saw, having cheated and looked at her website, I asked in delight, “Are you Joan?”

“I am!”

“I’m Alison Hyde.”

She knew exactly who I was! Totally, totally made my little ego’s day.

I looked around with the occasional exclaiming of delight as one room unfolded to another and ooh look there’s another back here! I bought a little baby alpaca. “Souvenir yarn.” I explained about the time buffer, thanking her for her offer to wind it but gotta run.

I had no idea when I got back in that car I was going to be retracing some of my brother’s steps from there. Hey! I recognize that restaurant!

And that’s where we all had lunch together.

The B’s happened to mention having gone birding at Elkhorn Slough over by Moss Landing a bit earlier, where a large group of bicyclists had gathered and traffic had backed up for two miles behind them.

Oh my goodness! You were there! *I* was there, at the far end of that! Too funny.  I asked Scott, Did you get to see your Bewick’s wren? Knowing he’d so wanted to and never had. I have one that hops across my view every day, moving like a cartoon figure the way it bounces almost faster than the eye can keep up with.

“I did!”

Cool! I told the three of them that I was now into birds and it was all their fault. They grinned.

Joan over at Monarch had offered to take the hanks and ball the two up for me and let me pick them up on my way back later, and that was really nice of her.  But…

I thought as I came back through Pacific Grove just after her quitting time, I was right. Don’t wait up. I was having too good a time just being friends in person again to get wound up.

And I did it. I know now I can do it. I knew, but I hadn’t tested, hadn’t pushed myself, and now I have. Along with their friendship, the B’s gave me back the most incredible, the most exquisite sense of freedom reclaimed.

14 Comments so far
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You know someone who’d be happy to come up again sometime and wind some yarn for you… 🙂

Comment by (formerly) no-blog-rachel 10.06.10 @ 5:58 am

No coincidences, but hooray for healing and reconnecting with old friends and … Just HOORAY!

Comment by Channon 10.06.10 @ 6:32 am

Praise God for the blessing of friends!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 10.06.10 @ 6:49 am

awesome, awesome — I remember driving that too — have always loved the way the Monterey cypresses look right out there over the edge of the ocean — someday I want to do a quilted piece of that — thanks for reminding me of the beauty of that area (even though it did make me homesick!)

Comment by Bev 10.06.10 @ 8:58 am

How wonderful that you were able to do all that! I’m also glad that you choose to err on the side of caution.

Now I’m trying to picture this: You drove down 101 to meet your friends. Then you were up at Moss Landing on Hwy 1, and then you went back to Pacific Grove? That’s a lot of driving. As I read through your posting, I thought you’d be coming back over Hwy 17, a stretch which I detest. But I gather you returned via 101, yes?

Comment by Don Meyer 10.06.10 @ 9:15 am

Nope–took 85 to 17 to 1, taking me past Moss Landing and on down to Pacific Grove, then came back the same way. Give me redwoods over near-desert anytime (and it’s faster), no 101 for me!

Comment by AlisonH 10.06.10 @ 10:35 am

These young, frivolous people and their cars, just cruising around . . . .

Comment by LauraN 10.06.10 @ 11:46 am

Reclamation and Validation are good for what ails one.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 10.06.10 @ 4:36 pm

Happy tears for you in my eyes, Alison. {{{{joyful hug}}}}
In early 1989 I drove on Highway 1, north of San Francisco with my cousin Brian on the way to Point Reyes. We saw a leopard, of all things, less than 50 feet from us in a field. We stopped (staying in the car) and just watched as he prowled across the field and over the hill.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 10.06.10 @ 6:14 pm

Hooray for you! Sometimes you just need to get out and go! And Monarch Knitting is one of my favorite stores; Joan is truly a friend to knitters. Visiting her and the store is part of my annual get-away to Pajaro Dunes.

Comment by DebbieR 10.06.10 @ 8:38 pm

Congratulations! On mission accomplished and getting to meet up with friends. Asilomar and that area are one of my favorite spots. My church has its annual retreat there. I always stay in one of the little cottages across from Asilomar and Monarch Yarns is one of my must-sees. As well as ocean, tide pools, walks on beaches, sunset, oh, all of it!

Comment by Linda W 10.07.10 @ 5:18 pm

Alison, I am so very happy for you. Your delight and deep satisfaction in making this trip just shines through your writing. It brought tears to my eyes too. Yikes, here I go again misting up. You go girl!!

Comment by Mary 10.07.10 @ 8:29 pm

No, I wouldn’t wish a serious and chronic illness on anyone, but I can’t help but thinking these memories and experiences are all the sweeter. I am so happy to read them.

Comment by twinsetellen 10.08.10 @ 5:46 am


Comment by twinsetjan 10.08.10 @ 7:08 am

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