to-do list

Remembering back to …

September 27, 2012

Bridget and I have been on the road for almost 10 months, and every day now, we are constantly aware of one thing – how free we feel. We can count up any number of ways we feel free, but at the bottom of it is that being on the road is what has set us free. I don’t think it’s the miles that we slice off, it’s really the idea of being wherever you want to be.

And as good as that sounds, we know that in another six weeks, this road trip of ours is going to be over and we’re going home. When we get there, Bridget’s got a job lined up for the winter in ski country New Hampshire; as for me, I’m getting my to-do list ready – everything I’ve got to get done at home before I can get back on the road again.  Put against a timeline, I figured 12 months minimum, 18 months max, everything on my to-do list would be done, and if I was lucky, I’d be down in New Orleans for Jazzfest 2014, and from there, wherever the road took me.

18 month later – March 25, 2014

Well, no Jazzfest for me, at least in 2014. Ever the optimist, I seriously underestimated just how long it can take to get things done. I’ll show you …

To-Do List When I Get Home

1. Finish writing up the travelog. I have the last three months of on the road to write up, and I figure a dedicated month at it and I should be able to get it done. I give myself a deadline of December 31, 2012. Gross error in timing. It took me until June 2013 to actually finish it. We go out and celebrate at Porcfest with the Free Staters in New Hampshire.

2. Get my website from my current web host and transfer it to a new host. I figure this should take about a week. It turned out to be wrest my website. A two-hour job that ends up taking to the middle of autumn to get done.

3. Get my web designer, the talented Travis Eden, to update my site, change it up and get it ready for the new me, the one who’s still at home, getting things done. Brilliance comes at a cost – in this case time – but four months later, mid-February 2014 we have lift-off, the site is ready to go. Just in time for me to post about my two-week trip to Ecuador. Great trip!

4. Decide what to do about the house. I figure I have two options before I head out on the road again: rent it or sell it. And if I sell it, do I buy another house, the little cabin in the woods by the lake? And if I do that, then I have to be thinking about renting that when I’m away too. It turns out that the trip to Ecuador was a big help. There’s something about spending afternoons lying in a hammock on the Pacific shore that’s great for clarifying one’s thoughts. I’m going to sell the house, divest myself of most of my worldly goods, and go lite. The bonus is this is going to save my kids endless hours of sorting out Mom’s stuff before they ship me off to a home.

5. Go to the periodontist. My dentist told me a month before Bridget and I left on our road trip that my gums were in very bad shape and it was all very dire. So I better get on that now that I’m home and see if we can’t get that all fixed up. Prognosis: expen$ive.

6. Get healthy. Lots to work on in this department. But I start with cutting way down on carbs, and it’s done its magic. I’m down to my fighting weight and it feels good. I’m going to a chiropractor, and that’s been a big contribution. And a serious wake-up call about the status of my innards.

7. Work on my next book (whose working title is The Irish Book). While Bridget and I were on the road, I was doing a lot of research for the book – it’s a historical novel that begins in 1848 Ireland, during the Famine. I don’t want to give away the ending, but the heroine makes her way to New Orleans before heading west. Oddly, the very route Bridget’s and my road trip took. My research in Ireland led to many notebooks filled with information, along with a handful of books to read plus a long list of books I should buy when I got home. As we continued on to New Orleans, more notebooks to fill, more books to buy, and so it went. My job during this time I am at home, working through my to-do list, is to read those books, go through those notes, put an order in to amazon for all those must-haves. And start on an outline, at the very least.
Current status: Not very much progress so far. I’ve been reading the books I bought, and they’ve been helpful, mostly their bibliographies with lists of more books I should be reading. This is not going to be your typical romantic novel, no it ain’t. Bridget, who did such an able job transcribing my Van Morrison notebooks, including everything from the Astral Weeks live year, has stepped up and is going to do the same for all my notebooks since, and getting The Irish Book notes in order. We’re getting there.

8. Put “Van Chronicles” up on my site. Van Chronicles (big thanks to Linda Rudd for the name) is the book I was working on before I wrote Astral Weeks Live: A Fan’s Notes, never to get finished. But I got a good start on it and it’s time to share. Some of the Van fans out there will enjoy reading it, and that’s better than leaving it in the bowels of my hard drive for my kids to read one day when I’m dead and gone. Progress: Finally, I can say, coming soon! Very soon.

It’s been a productive time, this time here at home, albeit slow going. Spring is just around the corner, though. The snow will melt, the spring flowers will bloom, the summer sun, and all of it will add a spring to my step and I’ll be crossing more things off that to-do list on the road to freedom.

One thought on “to-do list

  1. Betty Wright

    Shannon – You are an inspiration to me as this “to-do-list” of yours sums up beautifully the dilemma I’ve been facing for more than 2 years. Guess I’m a good procrastinator! How to get all the ideas and things on the list done is the big question for me? Or maybe, how do I overcome the procrastination and find the drive to just do it? I am so glad we met which wasn’t an accident. There is a message here so now I just have to process it all. I feel there will be some big changes in the offing not too far down the road.

    Love your style of writing. It’s as though you are talking to your readers, and also very insightful. Thanks for sharing that, too.



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