Beauty in Nature

I am sharing a few photos with you from my trip to Charlotte, NC to spend the night with my best friend. We stayed in mostly, and only ventured out for a short trip to the store and then to a greenhouse/nursery on Sunday morning. We donned our masks and social distanced ourselves from other shoppers and viewers of the beauty before us all. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.

Peace lily
Blue-green: succulents
Part of my best friend’s collection. She’s got her own little nature sanctuary all throughout her home.
Isn’t this a beauty?!
Hoyas

gifts and blessings #3

Our trip to Asheville was such a welcome reprieve for both myself and my mother. We had such a lovely time and I was saddened to see the morning come as it ushered in our check-out date quicker than we expected. Although we only spent one day there, we were able to view some great sights, spend a bit of time with my friend E, walk Jernee and keep her entertained, and enjoy some great food as well. Here are a few pictures:

Steps leading up to the brewery across the street from where we stayed. Asheville, NC.
A creek along the trail near the brewery where we all walked on Sunday afternoon. Asheville, NC.
The river along the trail across the street from where we were staying. Asheville, NC.
A second shot of the same river. Asheville, NC.
The Buttermilk Chicken Plate (w/ gravy and two sides|fried) from Homegrown North. Asheville, NC.
Jernee, my happy Little Monster, sitting on the couch in our room. Asheville, NC.

As you can see, we had ourselves a mighty fine time. I intend to go back soon and Jernee will be in tow.


On the drive back to my neck of the woods for North Carolina, I received the call from the HR Rep/Recruiter who discussed the compensation (I’ll be making slightly more) and the end and start dates for my transfer. I am both content and relieved to have this hiring/transfer process complete. My last day with the facility (my current job) will be on Friday, November 6, 2020, and my start date with the Central Scheduling Department will be on Monday, November 09, 2020.

I can breathe a lot easier now and I will be more than happy when my last day comes. I am patient. I have been patient. And, I will end my last days there on the same scale I am on now–going above and beyond.

Thank you to everyone for the well-wishes!

Searching for Balance Away from the New Normal

But not too far away

Photo by Glen Carrie via Unsplash

We have become digital personas trapped behind the screens, typing or tapping frantically away to our loved ones. They are doing much of the same. Many of us are still fearful of sticking our toes into the waters; restrictions are slowly being lifted across the nation (and the globe), but the Coronavirus, COVID-19 still thrives. At every turn, this virus shapes and shifts into something our scientific professionals and honorable doctors cannot get a handle on — it’s much more intelligent in its development than they predicted or assumed.

My mother’s birthday was on Monday, September 14, 2020, and although I slipped some cash in a beautiful card to her, I wanted to do something more. I planned to do something more. I am hoping this event will be an enjoyable one for both of us. I jumped into the AirBnB booking lifestyle and commenced to researching properties and Superhosts — eager to find a safe space for my mom and me to stay for one night. 

I wanted the place to be conveniently located to various eateries, parks & trails, and have a decent to an outstanding view of the mountains. My love for Asheville, North Carolina showed its face and I decided this would be the perfect place to take my mom. She has never been and I had stated years ago, we would go together, but during a global pandemic, was not what I had in mind. The two of us have not been able to be around or with each other, as we are so accustomed and I focused on how we could have fun yet stay safe — this seemed the most plausible. 

I decided on The Pisgah Room at River Row Flats which is an extremely accommodating suite complete with twenty-eight amenities and is also pet-friendly. Jernee is sure to have a ball too. Our adventure will begin on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at my place, then we will drive to Asheville on Sunday, September 27, 2020 and our impending shenanigans will last for one day only.

While, I have had fun video-chatting, sending text messages to my friends, writing letters, and emailing loved ones regularly, my mom does not have the luxury of being submerged in digital life. She is a hands-on type of person and would rather not venture into the world of technology. She doesn’t even own a computer and is still struggling to find her way around the smartphone I gifted her almost two years ago. I wanted to usher in a sense of comfort for her, but one of safety too.

This, I hope will be our adventurous undertaking during what many has called “unprecedented times.” We are sticking our toes in, one by one, but we do not intend on having our entire feet — let alone our bodies completely submerged. 

Safety measures are in place at the suite and my complete itinerary greeted me in my email Friday evening. We will carry our face masks with us, Lysol wipes, our own bottled water, bedding & pillows, and just have as much fun as we can without being around anyone other than a friend or two of mine (social-distancing, of course). 

I’m a bit frightened to get out in the open a bit, but I know how I am. I have limitations and my mom and Jernee are my top priorities. 

But, damn it! We’re going to have some fun. Safely, though. Safely.

Far Out

Art by Guillermo Hernandez via Mixkit.co

“Jenna, get up here and get these toys off this floor right now!”

The pulsating voice of my mother thundered from blocks away. She was a Navy officer, an OF-2, Lieutenant well before I was born and hadn’t shaken the orderly and methodical ways of doing things from her life. She’d wake me up at the peak of dawn’s light, order me to “rise and shine,” promptly shower, put on my clothes, and meet her downstairs in our kitchen for breakfast. All of this, she expected in twenty minutes.

She said before I came along life was punctual and fully functioning, with no possibility of error. I often wondered about that — living such a life with no risks or deviations seemed strange to me. It still does.

The morning my mother yelled at the top of her lungs for me to clear my room of disorganized toys, I was eight years old. I lived freely in my imagination. It was the safest place to be. I played alone. I walked to school alone. At recess, I made up games on my own and did not invite others to accompany me. In solitude is where I wanted to be.

During that time, Randi Rocketeer was my favorite t. v. show. Randi Haltman, the show’s protagonist, was a trans woman with dark pink hair, rosy cheeks, and eyes of two different colors. She had the most amazing spacesuit! It came fully equipped with a water compartment, visors for protecting the eyes from direct sunlight, and custom-designed gloves monikered with Randi’s initials. Strapped to her waist, Randi had a can of compressed air, for what, I never knew.

Not only was the suit prepared for the dangers of space, but it was also tie-dyed the following colors; purple, pink, blue, and yellow.

I found myself mystified by Randi Rocketeer. Every day, promptly after doing my homework and eating dinner, I plopped my bony hind-end on my mother’s shiny, hardwood floors and switched on the television. For forty-five minutes, that’s where I’d be — taking in Randi Rocketeer. My mother would howl from the kitchen as soon as the credits began for me to wash the dishes and clean up before I went to bed.

Clockwork. Everything was clockwork.

“Jenna, right now!”

I thought about Randi Haltman. Did she have chores? Was her mother ever in the military? How was she a man before and a woman now? I asked my mother the last question one Friday after our school’s PTA meeting and the only response I received was, “Do I look like Randi Haltman?” I didn’t know what to say to that. I shrunk in the backseat of my mother’s Cadillac Seville, littler than I was before we left the house. I didn’t say another word for the rest of the night.

Randi Rocketeer’s motto was “Shoot for the sky and land on the moon.” They tasked her with the job of fighting crime in outer space and she did so with courage and a high success rate of capturing perpetrators and criminals. I begged my mother to buy me a spacesuit like Randi Haltman’s. Every Halloween, that was my request. By the time I was thirteen years old, I stopped asking for one. I thought — didn’t get one last year or the year before or the year before that, so I probably won’t get one this year, either. I was right.

I believed having a spacesuit like Randi Haltman’s would make me courageous — would help me be less me. Instead, I continued to feel as useless as the compressed air strapped to her waist.

“Don’t make me come down there, Jenna! These toys have a place to be. Put them there!”

I sat with my legs folded one over the other right in front of the t. v., mesmerized by Randi Rocketeer. I heard my mother. I tuned her out. Her voice was a nagging pang one couldn’t rid oneself of if the prescription was an equal dose of morphine and oxycodone.

My dad left when I was five. He took his four work uniforms, church shoes, a box of 1970s Playboy magazines, and a pack of cigarettes. Nothing else. I glued myself to his legs as he walked toward our door and begged him to take me with him.

“Your mother said I can’t, kiddo.”

And just like that, he vanished. No phone calls. No letters. No visits. The only thing I remember about my dad is the look on his face when he uttered, “Your mother said . . .” It was like he was being commanded — as if he had enlisted in my mother’s own form of a naval academy and was dishonorably discharged for lewd and lascivious behavior. My mother told me later on, “I don’t need anyone who weighs me down. I can do bad by myself.” I get it now, I didn’t then.

Self-Sufficiency, learn it.

Mother taught me how to cook, clean house, make up a bed “the Navy way,” change the oil in her car, and harvest our garden’s vegetables. By the time I was eleven, I was mowing our front and back yards. We hardly ever left the house unless it was to go to the grocery store or the gas station. Mother made all of my clothes, even my jeans. She bought fabric from Tina’s Fabric Shoppe on Fairview Avenue.

I had a favorite baseball cap I wore everywhere. One day, I misplaced it. I looked all over our house for it, even in my mother’s Cadillac. No luck. I ran to my mother, plump tears filling my eyes, and moaned, “I can’t find my ball cap anywhere, Mom.”

“That sounds like a personal problem. I can’t keep up with your things. You’re old enough to do that on your own.”

And that night . . . I left the toys out on my bedroom floor. I ignored her as she called me to tidy up my room. I turned the volume to our t. v. up louder, letting Randi Rocketeer drown out the droning of my mother’s voice. I sat there — simply sat there and dreamt of being far away from her. Far out and away from her.

I wanted to live in the sky. And so I did.


In 1996, Jenna Knight fulfilled her dream of becoming an astronaut and lives and works in Washington, D.C. She is married to her loving husband Jacob and has two children. In her spare time, she watches reruns of Randi Rocketeer and no longer feels as useless as the compressed air strapped to her favorite television superhero’s waist.


*Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium. *Special thanks to Terrye Turpin for helping me finesse this story a bit more.

Scintillating Saturday Share #17

Every Saturday, I will share a photo that touches my heart, makes me happy, or lifts my spirits in some way. The purpose? To send love, light, peace, and kindness out into the ether. Scintillating Saturdays: one definition of the word scintillating is as follows: witty; brilliantly clever.”

Can we do that here, beautiful people, spark something brilliantly clever that touches others every Saturday? Please share this to all of your social media outlets. We can do what we can by spreading a little love, can’t we?


One Love Sign, Raising Cane’s Chicken, Anchorage, AK|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Using up to 7 words, tell me what this photo sparks in you. Here’s mine:


love flaunts–
i t s e l f
everywhere


Now, it’s your turn. This’ll be our “Scintillating Saturday Share #17.” You can respond to this post, reblog and respond, or create a standalone post of your own, but please ping or tag this post so that I’ll know to read and respond to yours.

Using up to 7 words, tell me what this photo sparks in you.

Care to get creative with me for this scintillating Saturday share?