The Storyteller

“I tried to go back, as if I could, all spec house and plywood.” CopperlineJames Taylor

I woke up this morning with an agenda. My mother and I planned on attending Greenville’s, “Pirate Festival” located downtown Greenville. I had thought about it for roughly a week before the event was to take place, and contemplated whether or not it would be something I would follow through with. Well, it seemed that I WAS going to go through with this today. I was about to get ready when mom said, “I really don’t feel well.” Knowing that she felt bad, I knew it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. So there wasn’t anything really lost by not attending and I wasn’t trying to put mom through something that was probably going to torture her.

So as I drank my coffee I started thinking about the conversation I had with my cousin Rick via text – by the way I feel like I should add into this that when Rick texts, he uses no commas so it takes a minute to decipher the text lol (I still love him). He lives in a very small town in Illinois called, “Cowden”. The population, last I heard, was around 400. I’m sure that number has grown since 1999. Let me check with the almighty Oracle………okay Google says it’s around 599. So there are roughly 600 people in this small town. The last time I was there, I was only aware of a post office, gas station, band stand and cemetery. Even though it was a small town, I was young and it was new so it has fond memories with me.

Rick

Rick is my mother’s first cousin. Have you ever heard someone say, “That guy is a trip!”? If you have, well, I’m most certain they were speaking of Rick. He’s hilarious. There’s no getting around that. As his reputation holds honest and true, he is funny and can tell a story that is out of this world interesting. He INSISTS he is NOT lying when he comes up with a tall tale that seems flabbergasting. No matter what tale he’s telling, you’re always entertained and it will stay with you forever. Not only are his tales outrageous, but he lives on a quiet little farm that is home to several horses and recently some baby chicks! The most recent news I became privy to was that he and his son Luke put up some fencing for his baby chickens that he purchased.

I’ve been to Illinois three times, and all of those times I stayed in Cowden at Rick’s farm. The first time I was 13 yrs old and attended a family reunion? I’m not entirely sure it was a family reunion but I’m almost positive. The second time I was 16. It was also my first plane ride! I stayed on the farm for around 2 – 3 weeks and it was really great. We rode 4-wheelers and visited people and went places. The third time I visited I was 18. That was even cooler because I was familiar with my surrounding and in a different age bracket so I enjoyed different things like hanging out with other people my age and riding around and doing silly stuff. Since 1999, I haven’t been back. Thinking about that makes it a little sad.

SO…what my parents and I have decided is that we will actually stop in and visit Rick on our way back from WA! YAY!! I’m REALLY excited about that and today I kind of sat back and day dreamed about what we will do when we visit. Will we ride horses? Yes. Will we ride 4-wheelers? Maybe. I’m not sure if he has one, but I’m pretty sure he does. Will we visit people? Yes. Will we enjoy our time with Rick? Absolutely. I’m hoping that we may even get to see Luke and Kim (Rick’s son and daughter in-law). It’s been many years since we’ve all seen each other. I would love to get ahold of those chickens. 🙂 But the one thing I’m most ready for is…

Rick’s story telling. 🙂

Bad Dream Takeover

“But when we wake, it’s all been erased. And so it seems, only in dreams” Only In DreamsWeezer

WOW! Talk about “Freaky Friday”! This is the third night in a row where I’ve had some wacky dream about something completely foreign to me. The first dream, I was in prison. Yes, that’s right I said it, PRISON! It was strangely realistic (which is the scary part because normally dreams are supposed to be NON-realistic). I found myself having to do terrible things to save myself from a beating, and selling weapons to other inmates in order to buy myself protection! My parents wouldn’t visit me, (obviously whatever I did warranted this absence of their presence) and I had been put in, “The Hole” for a week. WHOA! All of this has brought me to the most clear realization that I must completely avoid any violent television or movies. It’s obvious that I’m having these dreams based off of shows and movies I’ve watched. How can I be excited in the daytime if at night I’m worried where my mind will take me next?

I’m not sure what I dreamt the second night, but on the third night I dreamt I was Marilyn Manson’s PR rep. *o* For those of you who don’t know who he is, he’s dubbed the, “King of Shock Rock” or was. Very androgynous and completely creepy/freaky, he acted very normal and sane in my dream but I was still mortified. I attribute my dream to having heard something about him throughout the day or someone must have mentioned him at some point in the passing week. I can tell you that I do not think about him at all, and to have a dream about him…well… Ugh! I was totally creeped out. I woke up feeling like maybe I needed to look at lots of pictures of puppies and butterflies. Very strange to say the least, but we all have those weird dreams we can’t quite put our finger on.

To get that feeling of creepiness away from me, I quickly helped my parents with the other side of their house. We organized some things, but mostly threw some things away. While we cleaned I was secretly hoping we would find something we could use for our trip out west; like maybe a duffel bag, or something we could camp with. Unfortunately we didn’t really find anything that was of use to us on our trip but we did run across some really old retro stuff!

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Some “Balsam of Myrrh”.

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What about “sani-white” shoe polish? So interesting how we don’t use illustrations to capture human figures anymore. We use real images in advertisements because it’s more personal and people identify with real versus illustrated images.

And, nothing would be complete without, “Watkins Petro-Carbo Salve”.

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Mom insisted it was still good, which I believe. I’m still just a little taken back by it. I mean, I grew up with this same tin of salve my whole life! This tin has been in this family for at LEAST 33 years! LOL But hey, if it’s still good, why not right?

I’m hoping that maybe our second venture to organize will be more successful in finding something useful. Haha It’s like shopping but free! I’m kind of in need of a duffel bag. I have a feeling one suitcase won’t do it for this trip. Then again we don’t have to pack more than necessary.

Maybe we should bring the salve?

Pets Pets Pets

“We’ll make great pets.” PetsPorno For Pyros

So, as stated in yesterday’s post, I have some concerns about some things while I’m gone. A lot of these concerns revolve around the animals. We have 5 pets in total:

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Madame Mouffette (my sassy cat)

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Lukkah (my loving and sweet dog)

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Ana and Curley Sue (my dad’s two dogs aka Pee-pants Babies)

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and Seren (my mom’s crochety cat)

Leaving 5 animals behind is hard enough when you know you’ll miss them desparately, but what about when two of them are knocking on the proverbial death’s door?! Lukkah is 12 yrs old and Seren is 13. Just to be realistic, there is a strong possibility that one or both of them could pass away while we are gone. It’s upsetting to think that this would happen while we were gone, but really…there’s nothing we can do about it. I can’t go through life not experiencing it because my animals might die while I’m gone. It’s just a serious concern I have in the back of my mind. I just have to continue to tell myself it will be okay.

I’m also concerned for Moo Moo (Madame Mouffette). She will be alone and by herself in the house. We have a house sitter so I’m not worried about her too much. It’s just hard to be away from her for too long 😉

Ana and Curly Sue are less of a worry because they are pretty resilient with most situations. They’re staying with my Aunt and they will have plenty of good care. I’m not too worried about them.

So you can see I’m thinking a bit much on this. What do you guys think?  Is there something I can do to ease my mind about this?

-Heather

Preparation is Important

“There ain’t a thing I’ve faced that’s been too much for me.” Inner Ninja – Classified, David Myles

Throughout my day, I have a lot of open area for my imagination to run wild and to meditate on current events as well as future goings on. So naturally the one thing that I am ALWAYS randomly thinking about is this trip! If you can remember back to when you were a child, you would anticipate Christmas day and what that would mean for you. For most people it was exciting and intense. The anticipation of what gifts you would get or maybe Santa Clause had brought some really amazing magical thing would overcome you and so life was barely tolerable until that moment. This is the same feeling I get when thinking about this trip, only it’s not as magnified due to my being an adult. *Enter in Debbie Downer sound effect*

To prepare for this trip, I have kept a checklist in my head and on paper of things I need to do before I leave. Some include:

  1. Showing the animal sitter how to administer flea medicine to my cat. (She’s got an attitude but super cute! You can follow her on Instagram @madamemouffette *the cat not the sitter*).
  2. Bathing my dog Lukkah.
  3. Preparing his sleeping quarters.
  4. Paying Bills.
  5. Going to the doctor.
  6. Exercising more.
  7. Contacting UNCG about educational matters.
  8. Paying a speeding ticket. Uhg!
  9. Shop for appropriate clothing.
  10. Making a list of what to pack for the trip.
  11. Ordering items for the trip: camping supplies, normal toiletries etc.

Some of these could be purchased or done on the trip. However I really feel more comfortable being prepared than having to do it later. A control thing? Maybe? A woman thing? Maybe. Either way it’s who I am.

I haven’t begun to imagine how to pack my bag. I really haven’t. But, the one thing I AM going to do before I leave is put my logo on my luggage! One thing I have noticed while traveling is that most everyone has the SAME luggage. This isn’t a new thing and people have taken lengths to try to distinguish their luggage from others. What better way to identify mine, than to put my logo on it. It’s a hard suitcase on rollers so I originally wanted to just take a Sharpie to the whole thing and do some creative design to it. Unfortunately I envision it getting worn off before I even get to California and frankly, as a designer I’m not interested in the end product becoming a mess, so I’m going to put my logo, in vinyl, on the suitcase. When I’m finished with it I will post a pic for you all to see!

I have some major concerns about specific things when I go on this trip, though I will save that for tomorrow.

If you all can think of some helpful tips on how to prepare for a two month trip, PLEASE let me know! I’d love to be as prepared as possible! 🙂

-Heather

Introduction

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I am everyday people.” Sly & The Family Stone

As an introduction, my name is Heather Wilkins. I’m 33 years old and am currently a part-time instructor at a local community college and teach Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign to Graphic Design students. You were wondering if I love my job? I ABSOLUTELY love my job! Every day I am teaching, I’m learning. It’s a great feeling and I’ve learned a lot about myself through my students. Being a graphic designer for 6 years has opened up a world to me that I never would have known and I attribute so much of my growth to that. Unfortunately this will be the last semester that I will teach because this fall I plan on attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for Interpreter Preparation Concentration (Interpreter of the Deaf)! I’m really stoked about that. In one hand I’m sad but in the other I’m excited and happy that I’m finding a new path. You’re probably wondering why I’m leaving something that I love…well…I have so much more of me that I want to give and more I want to learn. I’ve always been interested in sign language and recently became more interested in the Deaf Community. I think being an interpreter will open up a whole new world for me. I won’t quit designing – NEVER! I will always be a designer. Just veering off onto another path. 🙂

  Now, about the trip. So, if you haven’t read about it in my, “About This Journey” section in the menu, I’ve started this blog to document a cross country trip that myself and my parents are taking in May. We will leave May 14th by plane, land in California and stay with our cousins in Penryn for about 4 days. After that we will purchase a Nissan Quest minivan from them and drive it up the coast and arrive in Aberdeen Washington. My sister lives there along with my nieces (of whom I’m SO excited to see). We will stay there for two months (give or take a couple of days) then drive ALL THE WAY back in the Quest to North Carolina. For the journey back we are taking the middle route. So this is how the trip looks from start to finish:

Belhaven NC –> Penryn CA –> Aberdeen WA

Aberdeen WA –> ID –> MT–> WY –> CO –> KS –> MO –> IL –> KY –> TN –> Belhaven NC (You can also view this visual in the photo on the homepage.)

There are many sites we will visit and things we’ll do. One of our main purposes of taking this trip is to watch my 18 yr. old niece graduate high school! My heart swells when I think of her being so grown. 🙂 We will visit a couple of National Parks, visit Canada, go camping in Washington and several other things that I will share! We don’t have everything written down and nothing is set in stone. We have ideas and plans to go to certain places and we’ll let other events waft in as we go.

We’re just trying to have a good time and take it all in and really enjoy this trip. I mean, how many opportunities do you get to travel across this great nation?!