Friday, September 19, 2014

My Experience in Weed After the Fire

I work for a restoration company.  We clean up fire and smoke damage, mold, biohazard, water damage and many things no one wants to clean.  Sometimes, when catastrophic events occur we go to help out afterwards.  I was blessed to be part of a storm response to the small town of Weed, CA.  I always knew I loved what I do, but

I met so many incredible people...friendly, giving, kind.  The devastation here was like stepping into a war movie.  Whole blocks, just leveled.  Then, a house here, there a house, there charred remains.  I was overwhelmed and at the same time, hopeful for this little town.

That hope blossomed after helping out at a community barbeque put on by Mt. Shasta Resort and a team of dedicated volunteers.  I happened to see the flyer posted at the local diner and called the fellow who was spearheading the event, Casey Day.  I offered my services to serve food to the townsfolk and help in any way I could.  I was thrilled when he accepted my offer.

All my years of Relay for Life could not prepare me for the emotions that flooded over me this evening.  People sharing their stories....the outpouring of support and love to one another was ineffable.  I stayed until the end - helped with schlepping cases of sodas and waters left over after feeding hundreds of people.  As we packed up, I heard Casey say there was still enough food left over to do it again!  Phenomenal!

I have really come to love this town.  As I leave tomorrow morning to go home to my family, I take with me all the hugs, kisses and camaraderie of a small town with a huge heart and leave a part of mine here.  God bless you, Weed, CA.  I will see you again.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Peace and quiet and EXCITEMENT!

I'm a girl usually surrounded with noise and confusion.  That's usually the way I like it.  Really.  However, i gotta' say....I'm loving this peace and quiet today.  My daughters are at their father's home; my and my husband's son is at church and my hubby is sleeping.  Ahhhhhhh.  The remote control is ALL MINE.  Guess what?  I'm not watching TV!  No music, no Facebook.....just me and my blog.

I'm in the final stages of preparing for my husband's and my trip to Europe.  Hotels are reserved, plane fare purchased, passports ordered....just have to finish paying for the Eurail pass and the registration for the class reunion.  It's going to be a tight squeeze, but that's okay.  I'll be "squeezing" in Europe.

Day one through 3:  Budapest - a forbidden city to my husband and I when we lived in Germany in the mid '80's.  I've never been to Hungary and understand from my reading that it is completely unique to most Eastern European countries.

Day 3-5:  Prague.  I had the pleasure of visiting it in 2006.  This time it's extra special because my friend, Subin Cho lives there and owns a sushi restaurant.  I promised when she left for Korea in 2012 that I would see her again.  I never realized it would be this soon and certainly not in Prague.

Day 6-9:  Berlin.  Twenty-Fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and class reunion.  So excited to see my husband's face when we exit the bahnhof to a whole new city.  I am honored to have been a tiny part of the history of this ancient city and have the opportunity to celebrate this anniversary there.

Day 10-11:  Overnight train back to Budapest and flight home.  I haven't been on an overnight train since my days as a Berlin Brat and the Duty Train.  I am looking forward to this journey.

The following three months:  Putting the finishing touches on my book so I can release it three months following the trip.  I think my biggest challenge in this area is finding the time to write.  I will probably be on 24 hour call for the three weeks upon my return....and I will want to catch up with my kidlets and enjoy them - and of course, Christmas and Thanksgiving....  I am a determined sort, so I'm certain I will figure it out somehow.  I will be keeping a journal for the entire trip and possibly recording some of it for posterity (let's face it, I will be videotaping a lot).

I can't help but think that this trip will be a turning point of some kind for me.  Call it a premonition - or mistaken expectation; only time will tell.  I do know this:  this will the the last big trip for a while.  My folks are experiencing some health challenges that will not go away and I'm choosing to stay close by and only go on short jaunts during this time.  I will make the most of this adventure.