8:30 PM EDT

I got a voice mail from my mother. “Jennifer, I’m so sorry. I just saw the news. Steve Jobs died. I know he was a friend of yours and that you used to work for him. I’m so sorry, honey.”

He wasn’t a friend, and he didn’t know me at all. But I worked for the company he created for some eight years. His company gave me a job when I needed it, and a purpose I didn’t know I cared about – education. And those eight years changed my life.

I’m alone in a hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky, reading news, talking on the phone to my husband, and chatting with friends on Twitter. On a MacBook Pro I bought when I still worked there.

Bawling like a child.

Immortal Words

“Death is the destination we all share. Your time is limited. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

“Your time is so limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by the dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Thanks, Steve, we hardly knew ye. Come back soon.

And Then One Day I Just Got Tired of Talking

Actually, that happens every day. I’m a salesman; I talk all day long, five (or more) days a week.

But it’s not like I don’t have anything to say. I actually have a lot to say – I’ve just been keeping most of it in my little head. Anyway…

Since I last wrote on this little page:

I have kicked some serious ass in my work – until the past month when closing the business has been more difficult than I expected. I’ve also been to Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, and DC. All in the past month.

Oh, AND I went to New Orleans with my friends Pam, Ellie, and Sarah. And April and Rachel. And new friends Helen Jane and Mir and Christine. And was photographed by Karen.

We decided to buy a new house, and we’ll be moving in this Saturday. We are very excited. And also nervous. And excited.

Also, OH MY GOD, everything always happens all at once!

I’ll be very happy to see May 1st.

I’ve Been Everywhere, Man

Yeah, so like two months got away from me. Bet you’d like to know what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been to:
North Carolina
Houston, Texas (twice)
South Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
South Carolina
San Diego, California
Dallas, Texas

Plus there was the Thanksgiving trip to Conroe/Willis. And a few days here in lovely Austin.

I am tired. But I’m inspired by the end-of-year writing prompts from I think I’ll share some of my answers over the next three weeks.

Thanks for being patient and not giving up on this weary traveler.

See? Told Ya.

Smallest plane ever:

That was Monday afternoon. Today I rode back to Denver in what was probably the exact same plane, with a pilot who can’t be two years out of high school, through non-stop turbulence. I kept my eyes closed the whole flight. It was almost enough to give a girl a phobia.

Because I have no real fear of flying. But when sitting in a little tin can like this, flying through the air a few miles above the surface of the planet, you realize that there is really nothing at all between you and a smear on the ground but a thin sheet of metal being pummeled by violent winds. Disturbing.

Up, Up and Away

So, I’m in Cheyenne, Wyoming, by way of Denver, Colorado, today. Some observations:

Massive B.O. should be considered a security risk. I have no idea how a man smelling so obscene would be allowed through security.

There should be a special First Time Flyers section in the airplane where the newbies can congregate to violate all the unspoken in-air rules together.

The Beechcraft 1900D Turboprop is officially the smallest plane I’ve ever been on. It’s unsettling to be able to see clearly out the cockpit windows from the back row. At least it was a short flight.

The Cheyenne airport is officially the smallest airport I’ve ever entered, and that includes Yakima, Washington, and Bend, Oregon. These little out-of-the-way towns really know how to frighten the tourists.

You can see for miles and miles out here. It makes me nervous.

And Then Two Weeks Passed

Best laid plans of mice and saleswomen, and all that jazz. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been running up and down the IH-35 corridor as far north as Dallas and Fort Worth and as far south as San Antonio, and a lot of places in between. Needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of miles in a short period of time.

I’ve also seen my two college roommates, Julie and Tanja, and had cocktails with friends, Pam and Mandy. And let’s talk about all these beautiful, delightful, fascinating women.

Julie and Tanja are two of the people dearest to my heart, having spent some of the most impressionable years of my life in their company. Julie is clever, passionate, and absolutely effervescent. Tanja is thoughtful, determined, and wickedly smart. (Really, you could switch the names around and the descriptions would still apply. They are extraordinary women!) Julie is expecting a son soon, and Tanja is a new mom.

The two of them are more than just a hallmark moment in time to remember fondly; they are part of the fabric of my life, weaving a beautiful pattern on my heart and soul, changing the texture of my little world. I owe them debts of gratitude for kindnesses large and small, and I just love them.

Pam was my roommate at BlogHer this summer and an online friend of several years, and Mandy is a new friend introduced just this week. They are funny, witty, fascinating women, and I hope to spend more time in their company and to get to know them both better. With cocktails.

What’s been both surprising and reassuring is the way the conversations with each of these lovely ladies has the tone of just picking up where we last left off – whether that was a month ago or a year ago or for the first time today.

And here is where I make a little confession: I have always yearned for some magical life-long friend. You know what I mean: the girl you met in first grade and stayed friends with forever. You double-dated in high school and were bride’s maids in each others weddings. You talk on the phone almost every day, even now. And for me, at least, that’s a fantasy, especially given the fact that my sister totally and completely qualifies here. (Note: that’s the problem with fantasy. You ignore the blessing in your midst.)

These friends I have now are life-long friends, whether we met nearly 20 years ago or more recently or at birth. What is suddenly more important to me, and I think to most women I know, is that our friendships are deep and real and honest. That we can be exactly who we are with each other, without fear or regret.

I was struck by a part of the conversation with Tanja and Julie. Our lives have taken us separate and interesting places and yet some of the fundamentals (faith, beliefs, values, ethics, and such) have taken similar though sometimes winding paths to bring us again to a new, different common ground. And now, looking at each other, we see those same kindred spirits that drew us together in the first place.

We’ve changed so much and not at all.