Loki, Cleopatra and UB got to go on another adventure with Mummy a couple of weeks ago when they joined me in our 3/4 ton Dodge Ram and headed out east to spend a few days with Daddy!
Loki, who has always been an excellent traveler got to ride shotgun in the cab with me.
Which means she also got to listen to me sing along to my 80’s and 90’s musical selections I chose for this trip.
(I also had brand new Coldplay, which I highly recommend and am deeply addicted to but most of the musical journey was more nostalgic than that).
There is nothing like belting out ‘Hey, Jealousy’ under clear blue skies on an open road headed straight towards North Dakota.
And I was doing fine with Loki until I got going with Vertical Horizon. For whatever reason, as I was lamenting along with the lead singer about “grey sky mornings”, Loki cocked her head up at me and I swear she sneered.
Which isn’t really very obvious because of her squished-in Boston Terrier face and her accompanying harelip but I’m pretty sure I got a look.
Music has been and always will be a huge part of my life. I usually have some sort of soundtrack running through my head and at times I’m choreographing figure skating or dance moves in my mind. (As a note, this can be dangerous when you are on a treadmill and you start to add physical movements imagining you’re on Dancing With the Stars. Maybe you already know that. I’m sure its quite common…)
But I digress.
I’m sure my love of music and movement to it stems from spending so much time in ice rinks doing just that. I loved making up routines to everyone else’s music which may have annoyed my coaches early on but led to requests for my choreographic skills later on.
I love listening to lyrics and trying to figure out what the singers are trying to tell me. I’m curious if the song has any real meaning or if its just a catchy beat. I like introspective writing with music but I also enjoy songs about loving the mountains, the ocean and nature itself.
John Denver was a master at that. A lot of Canadian singers and bands do a good job of that, too.
I also am enjoying how my perspective has changed the more years I’m on this planet towards particular songs or styles.
I finally got some of Sting’s songs that he wrote after his father died many years ago.Or, I think I got them. What I originally thought were songs penned for unrequited or lost love, I actually now think were for his father.
“Why should I cry for you?”
Great question! I don’t know if he had the greatest relationship with his Pops or the Catholic church but I wonder. The song, All This Time is catchy and perky and radio friendly but the more I listened (and repeated, sorry, Loki) the more I heard about a boy’s father dying and a whole whack of Catholic images.
Music plays a big role in the books I write more for myself than my characters.
None of the characters in Missing Lake are figure skaters and the songs they analyze are given to them by their English Teacher.
The books are another part of the reason I loaded UB and Cleo into crates in the enclosed back of my pickup and traveled east. My second book signing in Watford City finally took place!
I combined it with my Chloe & Isabel bling and we had a heck of a good time at a cute new coffee shop in the former teensy town that almost burst its seams in the middle of the oil patch a few years ago.
My friend, Wendy joined me for the 2 1/2 hour drive (dogs stayed in Bismarck this time) and we had a wonderful time seeing so many of our friends from the years in the early 90s when we both lived there.
So much has changed.
I’m not a 21 year-old professional figure skater with a long, curly pony-tail shacked up with the new doc in town who was just a few years older.
I’m not a one-dog, one-cat and one-ferret young Canadian with only a student visa and no hope in sight of getting a Green Card.
I’m not the step-mom of 2 cute, blonde little Canadian kids sitting at lunch with them and their friends or volunteering for track meets, watching them play softball, baking endless dozens of cookies, helping them do homework and taking them to swimming lessons or hosting Hallowe’en parties, or crafting Happy Parties for them to break through the grey skies and cold winds of a North Dakota winter.
Our friends in Watford City have watched me become so many different things and while many changes have been huge our friendships have remained. I felt so lucky and loved the day we were back there and wish it could have been for longer.
Alistair and I also had things to address back on our farm in Bismarck.
Like the horses.
They, like every other animal on the Fyfe Farm are aging and some decisions are going to have to be made.
It was good for me to see the changes he has told me about all winter and to watch how the herd moved.
To see the older mare who used to run the herd looking weedy and standing off by herself with my own eyes.
She’s not sick, she’s just old. When older horses start losing weight it can turn into a rapid deal.
Counseling clients on end-of-life decisions with horses is different than with smaller companion animals in some respects. I often ask what the rest of the herd would do with a particular horse in question.
Would they form a circle around them to protect them like many herds do with young foals? Or would the herd move on, aware that the older or wounded individual was slowing them down, making them all easier targets for prey animals?
I believe, with this particular mare, the herd has moved on.
Decisions were made but nothing needed to be done just yet so we got to enjoy our time together with the dogs back in Bismarck. We tried new restaurants and enjoyed old favorites. We sat with the 3 dogs in our 2 recliners sipping wine or martinis at night. Alistair chipped golf balls and we hot tubbed under a gorgeous blanket of stars each night.
We went to his clinic’s Christmas party and even though I must have missed the ‘casual attire’ memo we both looked and felt great.
And then it was time to load up 2 vehicles with boxes of books, bling, golf clubs, fancy shoes and fancy dresses, jackets and dogs.
The trip back was much easier handling the 3 dogs with Alistair there to help.
I am sure I was a spectacle on my own trying to manage blind Loki and the other 2 wrapped around my legs or each other at the rest stops. Cleo and UB used to have leash manners but living in the middle of nowhere with an entire forest or 40 acres of prairie for a back yard we’ve let that training lapse.
Loki didn’t seem to mind my singing as she nestled into her magic blanket in the front seat for the 11 hour journey back to Montana.
And now we’re back and we had snow for 3 days which Loki wasn’t impressed with.
We have enjoyed it, though, getting out on snowshoes and the snowmobiles.
And throughout all of this our household has changed once again, which is one more reason I needed to go away to Bismarck to be with Alistair for a few days.
I’m not ready to write about this one because it broke my heart even though it wasn’t a surprise and I was alone except for 3 friends on Facebook and Alistair on the phone helping me through a very difficult act and my subsequent grief.
But that’s for another time.
There were so many reasons for me to load up the truck with so much stuff and 3 special spirits and I am so glad to have had the chance to once again go to our other home. The drive is long but if the companions are fun and the weather is great and the music is just right the journeys can be pretty special.
For the books. The bling. The Christmas party. The horses. The decisions. And the need to be away and the need to come back to another new normal with my support group around me.