pulling a Captain Call

“He didn’t tell him that even when life seemed easy, it kept on getting harder.”

“Well you could always pull a Captain Call,” – Matt LeBlanc, my maid of honor and our best friend said when we told him how upset we were that Basil died in New England.
A place that isn’t home to any of us. As always, that man is a gift to us and I don’t think he realizes it.
I’ve never thought about where I’ll die, because it never mattered to me whether I lived or not. I figure when I die my bones will be where they lay. I’ll be dust to the wind and no one will mourn because they’ll know how free I am. However, with Basil it always mattered. If I could change one thing I would have walked Basil back to Texas, even if it meant walking right through my shoes. Every stone making me wince but my bloody feet would have carried us home no matter what.

“It’s like I told you last night son. The earth is mostly just a boneyard. But pretty in the sunlight, he added,”
Augustus McCrae.

Everything went so fast and suddenly. Just a month ago he was still playing, running and being the beagle he always has been. He never stopped wanting to play, but by the end he just couldn’t. I wanted so desperately for him to feel the warmth of the Texas sunset on his face again, to roll around in the hottest and most dangerous grass of America again — where we all felt safe. After all. Basil was a Texas boy just like Jack. I do wonder if bringing him home in time would have changed anything, but realistically his legs would still have begun to drag, so I don’t know that it could’ve helped — but we all loved Texas. So it just might have.

“I’m glad I’ve been wrong enough to keep in practice. . . You can’t avoid it, you’ve got to learn to handle it. If you only come face to face with your own mistakes once or twice in your life it’s bound to be extra painful. I face mine every day–that way they ain’t usually much worse than a dry shave.”
Augustus McCrae.

Those who know me intimately know that I am to be cremated with my favorite book, Lonesome Dove. Jack bought Lonesome Dove for me from goodwill telling me “its a classic and you have to read it.” I remember the day we bought it. We’d had double Daves pizza with bacon and pepperoni, rummaged around goodwill and then ended up in Hobby lobby as we often do.
He didn’t tell me it would change my life. That it would shake every bone in my body and be the worst book hang over I have ever experienced in my entire life.
It took me a while to get around to reading it, because my reading list is from here to everywhere; but I started reading it a few months before we made our big move up north, I read it along the way and I finished it in our first months in our new place.  Six months it took me. We were making as big a trip as they were in the book. It is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Just like Gus — Basil’s legs were ultimately the death of him. I didn’t realize that our ending would be somewhat the same, but it fits that Basil was our Gus McCrae. Because of the two I am definitely Woodrow.
Basil was a wonderful reminder that things can be good and life is precious we just have to realize it. Things aren’t always as bad as they seem.

“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” Spoken by Augustus McCrae. 

A memory that I cherish, that I have secretly treasured all these years is from when we lived in bum fuck Egypt Texas, in the little red brick house with snakes in the piping… where frogs in the yard were the size of a finger nail. The army of coyotes that we lived with sang us to sleep every night and where Basil got addicted to meth.

“The stars in Texas could have been taken from Van Gogh’s Starry night. They shine like crystals freckled across a deep velvet sky and are laced in a fluff of cloud. They bring the coyotes to song and lullaby bluejays to sleep. Crickets hum and tweak somewhere in the brush. When I looked up I was surrounded by a circle of what seemed the worlds tallest trees. The moon danced delicately around; being kissed by stars as it swung by. How small I was here. I was so far from anything familiar. Yet, I think I found it. “It.” What many never find in a lifetime, I found by the time I was 20.
I found me, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t find me in Texas.

So here I stand staring at the sky holding his hand: stars rolling on and time passing. Mosquitoes buzzing and bleeding us dry. Texas taught me that freedom does exist you just have to find it: whether it’s riding in the dusty brush or sitting at the bar with two southern gentlemen talking about absolutely nothing. Jack taught me how to find happiness in the darkest corners, how to fight for love and how to make tacos. Now I’m living in a wild and dangerous country, and everything is trying to eat me alive. Its true, Texas made a woman out of me and I wouldn’t change a thing.” 

This was taken from a previous piece I wrote about moving to Texas, and this is the memory that I have been visiting. It wounds me but its a place that I can escape to because it was a moment where there was peace, and we had everything ahead of us. We were three. Though Basil is not mentioned, he is in there. You just have to look. In every word. Every breath. Every single letter — he’s in there somewhere. As much apart of the words as the stars above us or the air we breathed. He was at our feet watching the stars just as we were. Watching us. Knowing probably that one day we’d be ok when he wasn’t around. That little comfort didn’t know how big he was. Truly. That boy could carry the world on his shoulders. He is the tank you wanna ride into war, because he will carry you out. Every time. And he’ll never complain. But he’ll be there. Taking every bullet and every piece of shrapnel.

So as our final thank you to you Basil, we’ll carry you home to Texas. Just as Woodrow Call carried Gus McCrea. We made a promise, and though others may find it stupid or too much for “just a dog”, it was a promise made in utter love. I would do it for Jack and I would do it for you. We’ll take you back to where the stars are so big you could pick them. Where we all were so happy, even through our growing pains. Where we were all so young, so stupid and ready to get out and live. That’s where we’ll all go — and we’ll go together. Like always.

How stupid we were to want to get out and live, when we were already dreaming.

“Yesterday’s gone on down the river and you can’t get it back.”
Augustus McCrae.

Live through it,” Call said. “That’s all we can do.”

four books for travelling girls

I’m not really the kind of person who discusses what books i read with other people, i don’t know what that is, but thats how it it is. I don’t like to share them all that much because they’re so special to me and it feels like i’m telling someone a dark secret. That being said, there are a few books that made me feel less alone when i moved far away from my family and those are always worth sharing, if they can help someone else.
These books became the friends i needed, the inspiration i craved and gave me the boost to carry on when everything seemed too hard.
And thus i’ve decided to share them with you, whether you’re an expat or just looking for something new to read — these books are golden.

I’m lucky to come from a family who have read enough books to fill most of the libraries the earth can hold.
My mother gave me these books that i now give to you — they’d spent 18 years in our library waiting for me to grow up.
She saved them for me till i was old enough to appreciate the hardships, understand the power i had to do anything i wanted and even to believe in love.
Yep — that beautiful old fashioned cliché, but i didn’t move to America for the supersized fast food portions or the tan lines after all.

Mrs. Mike and Shaman’s Daughter, they are the two that really impacted me most.
They are my sisters.
My soul.
So much so that i think of both Kathy and Supaya when the days become tiresome.
They were read during times when i was truly struggling.
Not “i’ve lost my bag along with my patience” struggling but “i want to give up because i can’t breathe” struggling.
I read Mrs.Mike when i was separated from Jack for almost 8 months — a very difficult time. It was like sitting alone in limbo. Most of the women in my family have been given a copy of “Mrs.Mike” because the book is so incredible. I also specifically buy any copy of the book i see. Just incase.

Shamans Daughter i read when i wasn’t able to work legally in the USA yet, so i was volunteering at a state park as much as i could. I’m the kind of person who likes to make my own way, i don’t like to be paid for or “kept.” So the not working and having no life outside of my house was pretty tough. The state park was a release — even though all i did was drive around and pick up litter. I quite enjoyed it. I got to sit in a gator and be social with a 7ft ex-police officer, all the while doing a little to help the environment. As i said being an expat isn’t glamourous. You have to do what you to do, and a lot of the times you get some great memories to look back on, even through the hardships.
As i was reading Shamans Daughter i just felt so inspired to find the new version of me and it gave me a push to believe in whatever was coming my way. What would be — would be as it should be.
The earth looks after her own.

I’d lived in America for a few years before i received Tisha and Brooklyn as birthday presents.
I read Tisha recently. It is such a wonderful story. It’ll make you feel everything so deeply. Theres so much in this little book about clashing cultures, settling in in a harsh place and trying to find solstice in hard decisions.
Tisha is one determined bad-ass girl with a heart as beautiful as a wildflower in the spring.

In all honesty, Brooklyn wasn’t as great a read for me as the other three — but it still deserves to be in this group, because i know a lot of people would love this book. I can guarantee its better than the film — the film was pretty spot on however.
I think this one is important because it deals with distance, grief and the mind of a very mixed up young girl who doesn’t know the right decision — even when it slaps her wide across the chops. Its beautiful in its own right and i think this one would appeal to the younger readers.


Anyway, these books are wonderful stories of young women who got up and left.
They packed their bags, kissed their mothers goodbye and left everything comfortable & familiar.
All that with just a suitcase of their most precious belongings.
Just like i did.
Just like so many other expats have done and will do again.
Just like you might do too — one day.
And these books would help get you there and keep you grounded.
I promise.
And — you’re welcome.


If you end up giving any of these books a read — i’d love to know what you think!
How did they make you feel?

(side note — this is not an ad or a paid review, no nothing like that. Just something for those literary expats out there and just general bibliophiles.) 

books and tea by candlelight

I’m definitely a a snow baby — i was born in June but i’ve always preferred winter over summer, not that both don’t have their good and bad sides. Well its officially the first of December — the first advent has started and i enjoyed my day by sipping piping hot tea and flicking through and old book handed down to me called ” Dronningens Læge.” Its an old book with old newspaper cutouts from articles about the real story behind the book.  This little spine of pages smells like the magic of the forest and whisper of the wind, and i can’t wait till i have the time to sit down and really focus on the words and the story.
Its on my to read list and its pretty high up there so when i finish “Buffalo Girls” and “Vorherres rævefælde” this might be my next stop on the literary path. However its a matter of how i feel when i finish a book that determines my next step. If i have a book hang over — all betters are off and shit hits the fan. But for now i’ll pretend i’ll read it soon because its a warming thought.

Now, back to the candlelight and hot tea.
A goodnight, i bid thee!

tea