Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Golfing,Gaming and Gagging

You’ll recall from my earlier post that we’ve been in Palm Springs for the last couple of days. It was both a good time and a bad time. Most of the good times occurred in the casino for, miracle of miracles, we did very well. We gambled on our first day there and I won some money playing blackjack. Normally, this would have been our only gambling “fling” but because we simply had to stop at a different casino on the way home, we ended up winning even more money. I could scarcely believe it. We enjoy gambling, but we are not generally winners. We are much more in the category of dropping off money and then returning regularly to visit it and make more deposits. We rarely make withdrawals. However, this time, BOTH of us were hot. Rarity of rarities, I hit 7 out of 8 numbers on a Keno machine and almost had the big one. I had a run on the blackjack tables that took twenty dollars and turned it into several hundred. The Spouse said every machine she touched paid off. Gamblers who are winning are having the time of their life, so I can truly say it was FUN! It was kinda like when you’re hot your hot and generally we’re not, so it was mucho exciting. Because we were on a time deadline to get home, we actually were FORCED to leave the casino with our winnings in hand and we brought the moola home with us. Yeah!!! We totally paid for our trip and then some, so we are happy campers.

Speaking of being hot, hot, hot, golf was not so fun, at least part of the time. Let me preface this small story by saying the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the day was truly exceptionally beautiful. The only tiny, little problem is that it was 106ยบ and we had a 10 o’clock tee time. What this means, of course, is we were playing right through the very hottest part of the day. Don’t ask me what I was using for brains since I have no rational answer. Gee, I wonder why we were almost the only ones on the golf course? You think maybe it was too hot for intelligent people to play? Could be.

We knew it was hot and we were careful. Lots of sunscreen, all wearing hats, drinking, drinking, drinking in order to stay hydrated and, honestly, I felt fine. Yes, it was hot, but I wasn’t miserable from the heat. I wasn’t suffering. I really FELT FINE……. until I didn’t. Somewhere about the 14th hole, around 2 PM, I started feeling sick at my stomach. I sort of ignored it, thinking it would go away. It didn’t. It got worse. Then I added in a little dizziness. At this point, I told my golf partners that I was feeling a little sick. I guess at this point, they took a close look at my face and, VOILA! The game was over and I was sitting in an air-conditioned car heading back to the house. As I was riding along, I had one overriding, all consuming thought……I chanted to myself…..
I will not throw up in the car, I will not throw up in the car, I will not throw up in the car. I was a good girl, I did not throw up in the car!

We arrived back at the house and I got out of the car only to discover that my legs were suddenly very rubbery. I hung onto my friend and staggered into the house, into the bedroom and fell on the bed. My poor stomach was rolling and Oh Man! I thought I was dying. I’d rather be any kind of sick rather than sick at my stomach. I just hate that! I lurched back and forth from the bed to the bathroom a few times and when I finally decided I couldn’t make the walk anymore, I sorta sat/laid in the bed clutching a trash can……just in case.

The Spouse, smart girl that she is, finally gave me some Alka Mints, the most wonderful stomach stuff in the world, and my stomach finally started to settle down. Once my guts stopped heaving and rolling, I immediately went to sleep. I awoke a few hours later and felt just fine. “The sickness” was gone as though it had never existed. We went out to dinner, I ate, all was well. It’s amazing how fast you can go from “I’m dying” to “I’m hungry.” At least I think it’s amazing.

And a last thought……why is it so damn hard to find Alka Mints? It takes a major search to locate them on a shopping trip and sometimes I can’t find them at all. I can find 9 million bottles of Tums but no Alka Mints. Oh Wait! I know why. It’s because they really work, therefore, they will soon be taken off the market. This is the story of my life. If it works, if I like it, if I want to buy more? It has been discontinued……………….

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summertime And The Living Is Easy

I am writing on my laptop as I sit in a hotel room in Palm Springs. Yes, once again, we are in the hot and beautiful desert about to head out for a day on the golf course. The weather is spectacular. Blue skies, gentle breeze, hot, hot, hot. Supposed to be close to 100 today. Don’t worry. We’ll wear hats, use sunscreen and consume lots of water.

We spent last evening in the Indian casino and had a big time. I got on a roll on the blackjack table and actually walked away a winner. This is not the norm for, generally speaking, I prefer to leave a donation. I’m good like that.

Despite my love of all things fattening, we’re planning to go to The Fisherman’s Grill tonight. I’m not a MAJOR lover of fish, however, this place could change anybody’s mind on that subject. They have every kind of seafood you ever thought of and it’s prepared on an open charcoal grill, so it has the most spectacular flavor. My mouth is already watering in anticipation.

I expect I will be dragging by day’s end since I didn’t get to bed until very late last night. Unfortunately, it’s not because I was having fun in the casino. After I got back to the room last evening, I plugged in my laptop and got back to work. I had to finish grading Final Exams and posting grades. I’m fortunate in that all I need is a laptop and an Internet connection in order to do my work. I’m delighted to report that the deed is done and I’m a free woman. Yeah! Summer time and the living is easy.

No more school days, no more books,……………………………………..

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Kindred Soul


I’ve been out there roaming around the Internet again exploring new blogs. When I heard there were 70+ MILLION of them out there, I figured there might be a few more I would enjoy reading, so I’ve been out and about seeing what I could see.

I feel like I have found a kindred spirit in one of my “finds”. I linked to her blog from another blog that linked to my blog, etc. etc. etc…..anyway, I found her. The site is called “Always Reach For The Moon” and it can be found at
http://cyberboo7.blogspot.com/ .

Our similarities seem to be many and varied. She is a serious dog person as I am. Her Dad, named George, recently passed away and she is hurting over it. My Dad, named George, recently passed away and I am hurting over it. Her nickname is Boo. In my family “Boo” is the nickname of my sister and my niece. She is clearly a beach person as her blog header is full of pictures of the beach and starfish. I adore the beach, consider myself a “water baby”, and can’t imagine a better vacation that one spent at the beach. (Unless it is on a cruise ship that is constantly pulling up to new beaches every day or so.) She loves TV and is a big fan of The Amazing Race and American Idol which we adore. (I STILL can’t believe Melinda got dumped. Not that Jordin isn’t cute and a great singer, but Melinda was much better. Blake was a joke. The final should have been Melinda and Jordin.)

When writing about her Dad, you feel the closeness of her family and her siblings. The fact that they all gathered together and shared stories and food after the funeral….so much exactly what we did when my Dad passed away. The poem she read at her Dad’s funeral seems so perfect, that I want to share it, so here it is.


Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other

That we are still

Call me by my old familiar name

Speak to me in the easy way you always used

Put no difference into your tone

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

At the little jokes we always enjoyed together

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was

Let it be spoken without effort

Without the ghost of a shadow in it

Life means all that it ever meant

It is the same as it ever was

There is absolute unbroken continuity

What is death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind

Because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval

Somewhere very near

Just around the corner

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost

One brief moment and all will be as it was before

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral


This stranger and I seem to share a similar sense of humor and we certainly share ideas of what we think is cute. Just check out the animal pictures she has posted. Books, the Olympics, dreams, log cabins by the lake…..yada, yada, yada. And the piece de resistance? She has to have a fan running in the bedroom at night in order to sleep well. It’s the whole white noise thing. She definitely belongs in our family. I’m sure of it…………….

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. This American and that Canadian seem to have a whole lot in common. Check out her blog. If you enjoy mine, I think you’ll enjoy hers.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

An Interesting Phenomenon

As you read a couple of days ago, my blog got reviewed and the reviewer did not particularly like it. I was pissed off about it, but the damnedest thing has happened. I’ve had more traffic in the last couple of days than I’ve had in the last month. Apparently a lot of people read that reviewer’s blog and they all came by to see just how horrible I was. Some of them have corresponded with me, aside from my regular readers, and have let me know they will be back. I guess I’m not quite as bad as the lady thought. At least to some people.

Oh yeah, I found out the reviewer is a woman, not a man. That surprised me. Not sure why. I am fully aware that a woman can be just as mean and shitty as a man, and sometimes, considerably worse. However, fortunately for me, that’s never been my experience. The women in my life, and there’s lots of them, all seem to be good people. Loving, good hearted, dependable, considerate, devoted, etc. etc.

And there are a lot of women in my life. My family has a penchant for producing girls and my dear old Mom has 11 granddaughters, 2 daughters, 3 daughters-in-law and only 2 sons and 3 grandsons. (I’ll let you meditate on those numbers for a while-you’ll figure it out.)

I live with women. My classrooms are full of women for healthcare does attract the females. One class has 37 women and 3 men. Most of the classes in our major have those kinds of statistics, so when I say, I spend my life with mostly women, I’m not kidding.

Until these last few years, I’ve never had a male person in my life, with any great degree of regularity, other than my Dad and my brothers and my brother-in-law. Now, amazingly, I can truly say that one of my best friends in the world is a guy. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, however, dear Lou has made me change my mind.

We work together and when I first met him, I thought he was gay. He’s so sweet and gentle, sensitive and kind and, honestly, those are not traits I normally attribute to men. Gay men, yes. Straight men, no. I realize I am working with my own personal bias here but we all have our baggage to carry around, so be kind. I’ve learned over the years of our friendship that he is indeed straight; loves his wife and children dearly; never forgets a birthday; is perfectly capable of planning an executing a wonderful party; loves to shop and travel; is just as bad a golfer as I am; doesn’t mind at all when I hit the ball further than he does; is not the slightest bit egotistical or conceited even though he is tall and good looking; and all the coeds would give their left tit to nail him, but he’s just not interested. He loves his wife. Can you imagine? Not only does he have all these wonderful personal qualities, he is giving and generous of his time in his professional life. He works too hard, serves on too many committees, volunteers way too much and doesn’t know how to say no. Need I say he is much beloved by his students? He is my mentor, my golf buddy, my confidante, my advisor and my dear friend. He is the one who has taught me what a wonderful friend a man can be. I am a lucky girl to have such a good guy in my life.

And on that note, I will say goodnight. It’s very late here in the Golden State and my bed is calling my name. Until next time…….

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thought For The Day

I ran across this quote while wandering around the Web and decided it was so profound, I had to share it:

"Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you." ~Ogden Nash

Making the Grade

My blog got evaluated today by a webpage known as “Ask and Ye Shall Receive.” I, of course, asked and man oh man, did I receive. The reviewer was BRUTAL. It was so bad that I refuse to post it, however, he (?) did say one thing that I listened to. I’ve had more than one complaint about the color scheme on my blog being hard to read. I thought the pink and blue was fine and it’s very clear and legible on my screen. However, I do realize that everybody’s computer screen does not show the same colors in the same way. When I looked at the blog on my school computer, it looked horrible, so I decided to change it to something a little plainer, and hopefully, easier to read. Light background, dark writing. Seems hard to go wrong. Hope you don’t hate it.

Aside from all the brutal stuff about colors and layout and design and all that, the reviewer thought I was “innocuous and boring.” I thought about that one for a while. I certainly don’t think I’m a boring person and, unless they are all amazing liars, neither do my friends and family. I have a fairly interesting life. Not movie star interesting, not anything that would make the newspapers interesting, but still, not boring. I certainly don’t think I’m writing “War and Peace” but I didn’t think what I write would put people to sleep. Who knew?

Of course, I do realize that I disagree with almost every movie review I ever read. Movie reviewers are much too harsh, critical and nitpicky for my taste. Perhaps people who review blogs fall into the same category.

And as to being innocuous? Well, I hope I AM going through life doing no harm to anyone. I guess being gentle and loving and not saying shitty things about people is not in. If one must be mean and ugly and write cruel and biting satire to amuse potential readers, then let me tell you, this is not the place for you. Keep looking. There are more people out there (about 70 million bloggers according to the last article I read) than you could read in a lifetime, so you will have no difficulty finding something to your taste no matter what that taste may be.

However, if you like dog stories, a little human interest, some college humor, lots of family stories, reading about my travel adventures, golfing stories and maybe the occasional emotional outburst about something that is bothering me, then you’re in the right place. Come back often. I’ll be here.

Otherwise, bye.

And, oh yeah, Mr. Reviewer:



Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Graduation



It’s hard to believe, but over two months have gone flying by, and last night, Meggie graduated from her obedience class. As I suspected would happen, the original mob scene of dogs thinned down dramatically over the weeks, and last night only 10 beautiful and intelligent dogs finished the class.

Getting through to graduation is a challenging task and, without help, even Meg and I wouldn’t have made it. I’ve done a bit of traveling and have been away on Mondays 2 or 3 times during the class sessions. Fortunately, OMAS has stepped in for me and taken Meggie at those times I wasn’t available, so she hasn’t missed any of her lessons.

Meggie has followed in the footsteps of her two sisters, Bess and Lucy, and she learned rapidly, performed admirably, and graduated “with honors.” In this class, “with honors” means that during graduation, when the dogs were tested by doing a 3 minute sit and stay, she won the event by going the full three minutes. She didn’t break, she didn’t lay down, she didn’t even twitch until I said she could. In the world of wiggly, giggly, easily distracted dogs, 3 minutes is an incredibly long time to sit still and stay put. Try it with your dog. You’ll be impressed.

Since this was a “fun” class she didn’t win any blue ribbons, however, she did win the sunshine smiley face dog toy that is lying at her feet in the picture above and she received her certificate stating she had completed basic obedience training.

Does winning her smiley face toy and receiving her obedience certificate mean she is no longer a wild Indian? Not by a long shot. This little fur ball is only a year old, which in people years means she’s barely done being a toddler. She’s still obnoxious, pushy, messy, loves to run and jump and wrestle, and especially loves to shake water all over me. However, she’s definitely growing up and becoming a good girl. Labs are late bloomers and spend a long time being babies. But now this “baby” knows how to sit, stay, lay down, come when called, heel nicely on a leash, leave things alone on command and, in general, be a wonderful pet. She’s especially good at cuddling and giving sloppy, wet kisses.

She and I are discussing the next level of obedience which involves going over jumps, retrieving dumbbells and doing other “amazing feats” just because she can. We’ll see where those discussions lead. We might just prefer a lazy summer in the pool. We’re also talking about a tracking class. She’ll never be a hunting dog because I abhor hunting and killing animals. Calling it a “sport” is a perversion of the word in my opinion. There’s nothing sporting about killing a helpless animal. Anyway, the tracking class is about using her natural abilities and God given instincts to track and find things. You make it a game and, so I understand, these scent hounds really love it. We’ve also talked about looking into Pet Therapy. I think her gentle and loving personality might do well in a hospital environment and I think she could bring joy and pleasure to lots of children and others. We’re talking about all these things and I’m not sure where the future will lead. For now, I think we’ll just take a swim and lay in the sun for a while.

Bessie would be very proud of her, I have no doubt.

<


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ramblings - 3

Since I’m sure that all three of my regular readers are interested, I wanted to let you know that I haven’t forsaken Weight Watchers. Even though there are no weight postings for a couple of weeks, it’s because I was back East with my Mom for the last two Fridays, so I didn’t get to my regular meetings. I know I could have gone to a meeting in the area where I was, however, honestly, I’m just not that good. I’ll be heading over to my regular meeting this Friday to get the bad/glad news and I will post the results. Hopefully, it won’t be too painful. I’ve got this entire week to “atone” for my eating transgressions over the past week. Which do you suppose will do the most damage? The gooey, delicious, ridiculously rich chocolate Mother’s Day cake the kids brought over? Or the decadently rich and creamy frosted brownies I ate at my sister’s house? It’s a toss-up. I’ll let you know.

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Clearly my dogs missed me greatly. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such moaning from dear sweet Lucy. She was right next door to howling her joy at my return. See “The Moanin’ Dog.
Meggie was also happy I was home and wagged and twitched like a crazy woman, but no moaning. Dear Lucy takes after her cousin Data in the moaning department. However, since sweet Data is gone now. Lucy’s moaning is a one-of-a-kind character trait, at least in our family.

Oh yeah, The Spouse missed me too. But no moaning.

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Very little to no cooking gets done when I’m gone. I’m always amazed that two grown women, The Spouse and OMAS, are too lazy to cook for themselves when I’m not here. If something ever happens to me and they are left on their own, their fast food diet will kill them both in very short order. I’ve been home barely 24 hours and have already prepared a huge pot of spaghetti, which we had last night, and currently have Navy bean soup on the stove. I’ll make some crispy, sweet, southern style cornbread after while and those two will be like Lucy. Moaning for joy. They are perfectly capable of cooking. They just don’t. I really don’t understand.

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My trip home, to the West, was smooth and easy. Nothing like the trip heading East. You’ll recall from my earlier post, (see here)
that the trip home to see my Mom was the trip from hell with cancelled flights, long delays and midnight arrivals. Fortunately, the reverse was true on the trip home. All flights on time or early, no delays, pleasant seat mates and an on-time arrival at home. Good news all around.

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Our European trip is months away (6 months to be exact) but we are working on it, talking about it, planning for it, making hotel reservations, planning tour trips and carrying on as though it were happening next week. We are SO excited. I know the time will fly by but both of us can hardly wait! It is such a huge adventure! One of the things that we have discussed is that we will be gone over Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, we were wondering what we might do on that day while in Europe. Since The Spouse is a retired military officer, we discussed going to the local military base, hitting the Officer’s Club and having a big Thanksgiving dinner. We might decide to do that, or, since we’ll be in Italy, we may just have pasta for Thanksgiving. We will not actually board the ship until two days after Thanksgiving so having dinner on-board is not an option. I’ll let you know what we decide.

While we are traveling, I plan to post both pictures and newsworthy events in my blog. I will have my laptop with me and the cruise ship has wireless internet access so, hopefully all will go smoothly. Subject to be continued…….

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We are becoming real “gadabout girls” as we are heading for Palm Springs again at the end of the month. Once again we’re going to see our friends and play some golf. Then in June we are meeting some other friends over in Las Vegas for a couple of days of fun and games. Then in late July I’m heading back to Kentucky again for I surely can’t miss the 127, the world’s longest yard sale. It is truly an adventure in garage saleing and one that can’t be missed by any true bargain hunter. That visit will roll over into August as the 127 actually takes place during the first week in August. The promoters timed it very carefully to make sure that it occurs during the very hottest, most miserable time of the year to be outdoors. The temps will be in the 90’s and humidity will also be in the 90’s. What fun. It does, however, certainly make you appreciate the value of air conditioning. Just in case you think I’m crazy for venturing out into that kind of heat, let me tell you that at the 127 a couple of years ago, I paid $1.50 for a beautiful glass bowl. I turned around and sold that bowl on eBay for over $2000!! When I bought it, I had no idea it was that valuable. I just liked it and thought I could probably resell it for more than I paid. When I learned it was rare and valuable, I was pleased. When it sold for that much money, I almost had the big one right then and there. I actually bought two bowls that day. The second one which also cost $1.50, sold for $750. It was quite a day of garage saleing. See why I love the 127? You just never know………………………….

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School is almost over and, actually, as soon as I finish writing this blog post, I must get busy with grading papers. Next week is Final Exams and then I’m FREE for the whole summer. I can hardly wait. This is, without a doubt, the best part of being a teacher. I have the whole summer off and still receive paychecks. Does it get any better?? My sister always told me to be a teacher because of the perks. I should have listened years ago. She was/is so right.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Respect

Today I gained a whole new respect for my Mother. This is the same Mother who is 81 years old, has severe arthritis, and because of said arthritis, is currently receiving shots in her lower spine because of terrible leg pain.

A few months ago, because of my insistent urging, pushing, cajoling and downright demanding, my Mom started going to the local Wellness Center in order to participate in the water therapy exercise classes. I felt sure that the warm water and the act of moving her body around in the water would be beneficial to her overall health and would help her feel better. I was also sure that her legs, in particular, would feel better if she would go. Surely some small amount of exercise would be good to get that blood circulating and loosen up those muscles.

Well, because I would give her no peace, because she felt I was probably right, and because Medicare agreed to pay for the therapy, she started going. I have been incredibly supportive in all phone and email conversations. I have sent her new bathing suits, bought her beach towels and done anything I could think of to motivate her to keep it up. She actually admitted that it makes her feel better. She said she didn’t hurt as much and she has continued to go regularly. I am very pleased.

Now, you’ll recall that I am here in Kentucky for a Mother’s Day visit with my Mom. I brought my bathing suit since I planned to go to the Wellness Center with my Mom and swim a few laps and just enjoy the warm water myself. I thought if it seemed appropriate, I would join in the class with her. Why not? I’m working on the weight loss thing, as you know, and I figured any exercise I get is good, even if it is just joining a bunch of senior citizens while they paddle around in the pool.

So today we went. We got in the pool and my Mom began to show me her exercises and encouraged me to join in. So I did. Power walking, leg lifts, hip twirls, etc. etc. all underwater, of course, so there is very little stress on the joints. This was her regular warm-up.

Then the class started. A large group of elderly, overweight, charming ladies gathered in a circle in the pool and began to do their exercises. The leader led and encouraged them. I joined in. They were very sweet and welcoming. My Mom kept right up with her group, marching and twirling and toe touching and doing all manner of things with great enthusiasm and a big smile. She was in her element.

I managed to keep up, but with difficulty. I discovered I really couldn’t touch my toes very well and kicking my butt with the back of my heel, in the water or not, was a physical impossibility. As I did jumping jacks underwater, I could feel those hip muscles zinging. They kept this stuff up for an HOUR. My Mom was doing great. She bounced out of the pool with me dragging along behind. We showered and changed and headed for home. When we got home, Mom was buzzing around making lunch, chatting and just being her usual good humored self.

I got in the recliner and took a nap. Those old gals kicked my ass with their exercise routines!

I guess being a Marine Corps wife, having 4 children, being dragged halfway around the world, moving every two years while we were a military family, being a farmer’s wife, working a full time job for many years, and raising all of us made my Mom a lot tougher than I gave her credit for. My Mom rocks!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day


On this Mother’s Day I am in Kentucky spending the day with my Mom. I hopped a plane on Friday morning and flew home to see her. She didn’t know I was coming, so it was a real surprise.

As always, it’s nice to be home, but it’s different. Now my brother and sister-in-law live here with my Mom. It seems strange to come home and my Dad is not here. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to the idea? It still seems, in some ways, like a bad dream. Sometimes it’s like I “forget” that he’s gone. I walk into a room and expect to see him sitting there. I look out a window and expect to see him out on his tractor. His presence, his essence, is everywhere, but he is not. It’s strange.

I had the trip from hell while getting here. I left my home in L.A. about 4 AM and crawled through 2½ hours of rush hour traffic to get to the airport. Then my suitcase was overweight so I had to pay the overweight charges. (I am congenitally unable to pack light- I take everything but the kitchen sink when I travel – surely I NEED a dozen tee shirts, 8 pairs of shoes and 900 pairs of panties when I am going to be away for less than a week.)Then there’s the joys of going through security at the airport; taking your shoes, jacket and jewelry off, having all my carry-on stuff checked and rooted through, walking through the security scanner and setting off the beeper for no perceptible reason, etc. etc. Not fun. But finally I got to the gate and onto the plane and we left only about 30 minutes behind schedule.

Then we arrived in Charlotte about 10 minutes EARLY. I think plane schedules, and their arrival and departure times, are all really just a figment of somebody’s imagination. They certainly bear little resemblance to reality. Anyway, I have about an hour before I’m supposed to catch my connecting flight. I should note here, that it is impossible to fly directly to my home in the South. Nobody gets anywhere in the Southern U.S. without going through Atlanta or Charlotte. I think this is a rule in the airline book of etiquette.

So I get off the plane and begin the long, arduous, exhausting walk to the next gate. I walk, I ride, I use the people mover, and after 5 or 10 miles or so, I finally reach the right gate in the right concourse. I am carrying a ridiculously heavy backpack, using my waist purse and leaning on my cane as I make this trek. There seems to be a contradiction somewhere in that statement. Walking 5 miles? Heavy backpack? Cane? They don’t sound like they should go together but they do. I’m really very strong, I just have crappy knees, hence the interesting mix.

My God, airports are HUGE! Some of the hubs (like Atlanta and Charlotte) have gotten so big, they are like cities onto themselves. Anyway, when I finally arrive at my gate, the posted flight and time are up on the board and all looks normal. I go up to the desk because somewhere along the line, some fool gave me a window seat despite the fact that I requested an aisle. When I get to the desk, the lady informs me my flight has been cancelled. Not late, delayed or at a different gate, but CANCELLED. If I had just sat down and waited for my flight to be called, I wonder how long it would have been before they got around to changing the sign and telling all these people that their flight is not going anywhere.

“Why is it cancelled?” I say. She has no idea. So, I say, “when is the next flight?” It seems the next flight is almost 5 hours away and it is fully booked. She obligingly puts me on standby for this flight. I am not a happy girl. I ask if there is someway to find out if another airline has an earlier flight than the one that is 5 hours away. A flight, I might add, that is going to get me home at midnight, assuming, of course, that my standby ticket actually gets me on the plane. She sends me to an area called “Special Services”. While standing in line with all the other people at Special Services, all of whom are trying to get to my hometown, (the cancelled plane had been fully booked), I learn that I was apparently very lucky to get on the standby list. There is no other flight tonight. The one leaving in 5 hours is it until tomorrow. Most people were just rebooked on a flight leaving the following day and then were given hotel and food vouchers. I didn’t want a stupid hotel or food voucher, I want to go home. I wanted my mommy!!

So, to make a miserable 5 hour, boring wait sound interesting is beyond my writing skills, so I’ll just tell you that I ate, dozed and read an entire paperback novel and then it was time to try to get on the plane. After an excruciating 20 minutes of indecision with, “maybe we’ll let you on and maybe we won’t”, they decided they had room for me and on I went. What pissed me off, is after all the counting and recounting the seat vouchers, conversations between the gate agent and the stewardess, much indecision and hand-wringing by the gate agent, and lots of BS, the plane ended up taking off with several empty seats. It wasn’t even close. Why did the bastards have to make me suffer so about whether or not I could get on the flight? I hate people in “power”. It invariably goes to their head and they feel it is their “duty” to make people miserable.

So my dear sister-in-law met my very late plane, we went home, I kissed my sleeping Mom and shocked the hell out of her, and then I crashed into my bed, exhausted and very thankful for a soft place to lay my poor tired, beaten body.

Home. There’s no place like it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

An Interesting Question

I read a number of blogs regularly and the other day, one of them posed a very interesting question. The writer asked, if you could spend one day with someone who has passed away, who would it be and why?

Of course, I immediately thought of the loved ones that I have lost; my Granny, my daughter, my Dad, my Aunt Naomi. The list is blessedly short in comparison to some; however, each person on it is someone who was precious to me during their lifetime. There have been other family losses; close, dear, friends who have passed away, but these four were the ones that were nearest and dearest to me. Which one would I choose to spend another day with?

An interesting question indeed.

In the blog I was reading that made me think about this, the writer knew the answer immediately. She was sure of exactly who she wanted to spend that precious time with and she knew what she wanted to ask.

I’m not nearly that sure. Each of these four people had a major and important impact on my life. Each of them loved me dearly and each of them played a major starring role in the stage play that is my life.

My Granny accepted me always for exactly who I am. No ifs, no ands, no buts. She always said that if I committed murder, she would still stand up for me and stand beside me. She said there was nothing I could ever do that would make her stop loving me. She loved me without reservation, with no qualifications, without demands. That kind of love is rare. I know how lucky I was to have her. I know how it broke my heart when she died. I know how much I still miss her 13 years after her death. But I don’t think I have any unanswered questions. I don’t think I need a day with her to clear up any issues I might have. They were all discussed, all asked and answered. We spent more hours than I can count sitting on her front porch, rocking in our chairs, feeling the cool breeze of the fan, drinking our cold drinks in the Florida heat, and talking. About everything. She made me laugh and I loved her. I made her laugh and she loved me. We will be together again someday. I don’t know where or how or when, but we will. Our next conversation can wait until then.

Then I think about my Dad, who left us so very recently. It’s only been a few short months and yet sometimes it still feels like yesterday and other times it feels like years. Time and its passing is a strange thing. When we were kids, summer was endless; now, it seems to pass in the blink of an eye. When they talk about the sands of time slipping through your fingers, they aren’t kidding. I suppose it’s only how wide you spread your fingers. But as to spending another day of precious time with my Dad, I don’t think he’s the one I’d choose. We’ve had our talks, we cleared up our issues, I have no burning need to spend more time and ask more questions of him. Like my Granny, he and I will be together again one day and maybe on the next go around, he will understand me better. I always felt that I understood him much better than he understood me, but that could have just been my impression. He was really a fairly simple man and grasping and understanding his reality was not hard for me. I am a complex woman and understanding me and my reality often escaped him I think. I don’t fault him for it. He was who he was and I am who I am. We loved each other and sometimes that has to be enough.

My Aunt Nome (Naomi) was another very special woman. We are a large and blessed family in that we seem to have now, and have had in the past, so many incredibly strong, brave women. Women who get the job done, women who do what has to be done, women who endure what must be endured. My Aunt Nome was a fixture in my childhood. Whenever we went “home to the farm” she was there. She was my Dad’s sister and a person who just seemed to think that I was God’s gift to the world. I’m not sure why she thought so highly of me. I was a pretty much ordinary kid but she always made me feel so loved and so special. She always wanted me to come and spend the night at her house when we were at the farm, she always cooked special things that she knew I loved, she named her daughter after my Mom and she just loved our family so much. She was one of those very strong women who outlived three husbands, a woman who was mistreated and unappreciated by those three men and a woman, who finally, on the 4th go around, found a wonderful man who truly loved and appreciated her. She finally got it right. I spent many happy hours in her company and we talked about lots of things as I was growing up. What I wanted to be, where I wanted to live, my dreams. How can you not love somebody who wants to hear about your dreams? She and I were close and I’ll never forget her, but I don’t think she’s the one I’d choose if I could have one more day with a deceased loved one. We had our time together. Our issues are resolved, our conversations are completed.

And lastly, there is my daughter, my dearest Gina who left us at such a painfully young age. She was only 28 when she passed out of this world and into the next. She left many unanswered questions and I will always be puzzled by many of the choices she made. So, therefore, I guess I’ve answered my question. If I get only one day to spend with one deceased loved one, it would be my daughter. There’s so many things I would ask, some important, some not important but things that puzzle me or haunt me or bother me. Why did you start taking drugs? Did you know how much I loved you? When you could have chosen so many different paths for your life, why did you choose this one? Why were you in Houston? What really happened on that last day? Was your overdose an accident or were you killed intentionally by jealous rivals? After you got clean, why did you go back to drugs? Where is the tape you made in your journalism class? I’d certainly like to have it for posterity. I could go on and on about things I’d like to know, but since this is an exercise in futility I think I’ll stop here. Gina is the one I’d choose and if I knew we were going to have that time, I’d have an endless list of questions ready to go. But we’re not. Only in the movies or on TV do you get a “do-over”. Not in real life. So, she’s gone and I have questions and if they ever get answered, it will be when I go to join her some day in the distant future (I hope).

So, enough for one blogging day.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Playing Tag


I have been tagged by Pam over at Green Eggs & Pam to play “Chinese Freeze Tag” better known as making a list of 10 interesting things about me. I’m not sure that there are that many “interesting” things about me, but I’ll see what I can do.

1. I have lived in, vacationed in, or traveled through 35 of our 50 states.

2. As a result of #1 and the fact that I am the original “water baby”, I have swum in, fished in, or at least dipped my toes or fingers into the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, the South China Sea, the Caribbean, the Mississippi, the Kern River, the Colorado River, the Kentucky River, Lake Castaic, Lake Mead, the Everglades, the Rio Grande, The Sacramento River, The Salton Sea, Lake Tahoe, The Klamath River, Lake Piru, Los Angeles River, the Tujunga Wash, the Arroyo Seco, The San Gabriel River, Lake Elsinore, Lake Elizabeth, Lake Mohave, the San Gorgonio River, Chattahoochee River, Escambia River, Cave Creek, the Missouri, Blackwater River, Lake Okeechobee, Cumberland River, Lake Cumberland, Ohio River, Humboldt River, Willamette River, Tillamook River, Lake Powell and the Grand Coulee. There are probably others that I can’t remember. I’ve been “playing” in and around the water since I was a babe in arms. Upcoming in the Fall – the Mediterranean!!

3. I am a farmer at heart. The rose in the picture above is growing in my front yard. There are 7 different varieties and colors growing there right now. I have had up to 16 different varieties growing in my yards over the years and they are beautiful and truly spectacular to look at, not to mention wonderful to smell.

4. To continue the farmer theme, over the years I have grown, with my very own little hands, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers (several varieties), potatoes, onions, oranges, lemons, apples, avocados, peaches, squash (several varieties), corn, strawberries, blackberries, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower and green beans. Again, there are probably a few other things that I can’t recall right now, but that’s most of them. As of right now, the roses are all that I’m growing. My backyard consists of concrete and a swimming pool with very, very little dirt to be found. Hence, no garden at this time. The roses are in the front yard.

5. I’ve always been a sports enthusiast, hence my very bad, arthritic knees as I approach my senior years. I’ve rarely been a spectator but could usually be found on the field actively participating. I’ve played softball, baseball, field hockey, soccer, powder puff football, basketball, tennis, and today I am a golfer. Golf – the sport for once youthful jocks who are growing older.

6. I once tried out for the Roller Derby when I was young and athletic and full of myself. I could and can roller skate quite well and I thought I was a rough, tough mama. It only took a few turns around that banked track and a couple of sharp, blocking, elbows to my very tender boobs and I decided roller derby was not for me. I was not near as tough as I thought I was.

7. I used to be a square dancer. I danced for several years and went the whole nine yards with huge full skirts, dozens of petticoats, and numerous dance costumes. I was actually quite good and I loved it. I eventually gave it up as my knees were heading South and I was tired of beating the men off with a stick. If anybody’s looking to meet some very nice guys, take up square dancing. I guarantee you’ll find some.

8. I love to cook and bake. I particularly like baking bread, cakes, pies, cookies, etc. When I was a teenager, I used to start baking bread late in the day and by the time the dough had risen a couple of times and the baking commenced, the smell of fresh baking bread was wafting over our neighborhood at midnight. Our neighbors used to frequently ask my mother why they could smell the divine scent of fresh baking bread coming from our house in the middle of the night.

9. Continuing the baking theme, again when I was a young teenager, we lived in quarters that backed onto a lovely wooded area that happened to full of wild blackberry bushes. I picked blackberries by the bushel basket, baked fresh blackberry pies and sold them to the neighbors for spending money. In hindsight, I suppose I should have shared the money with my mother since she provided all the fixings and I only provided the berries. However, at the time, I never thought of it and she never said anything. Ya gotta love Moms!!

10. And finally, I am a Dog Whisperer. I think I’m just as good as the guy on TV who’s making millions, however, I just never thought of taking my show on the road. I can “talk” to the pups and they listen. I can train them very effectively and get them to do most anything I want them to do. I’ve only met one dog in my entire life who didn’t like me. I didn’t have the time to try and change that dog’s mind. It was probably just a misunderstanding. Dogs ALWAYS like me. They know who loves ‘em.

Well, as requested, there’s 10 interesting factoids about me. Now I’m supposed to “tag” 10 more people to continue this game of getting to know one another. I don’t know if they’ll all want to play, but I’ll tag Moose’s Mom; Mrs. Who, the librarian with infinite knowledge; Sarah the Bio Girl; the Blog Antagonist; the Woman with Kids; Swistle; Ann, who is definitely Salvageable; Redneck Mommy, who truly makes me laugh out loud; Antique Mommy, who also makes me laugh out loud; and lastly, just to make sure we are gender inclusive, Max’s Daddy over at Poop and Boogies.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Spoiled Brat


Hello Dear Readers. Sorry I have been MIA for a few days. Once again, The Spouse and I took off and left home for a few days. As you know from previous posts, the only way she can get away from the job is to get away from home. If she’s here they call her, clients call her, the courts call her, etc. etc. We have to run away for her to get the rest she desperately needs. I don’t have that problem with my work but I’m fortunate enough to be the one who goes along on these weekend jaunts, so I do get to enjoy lots of mini-vacations.

These past few days, we’ve been at the beach. We drove up to Central California with some friends and stayed in their timeshare place which is right on the water. The views from their patio are spectacular as you overlook the Pacific, with the soaring rock cliffs and pounding waves.The picture above was taken while standing on the patio. We were near Big Sur on the central coast and that is a rocky, magnificent looking coastal area, very different from the wide flat beaches we have here in Southern California.

The change in weather was dramatic. We went from the 90’s of dry desert heat to the 50’s with cool, damp, foggy coastal weather. It was great but quite a “shock” to the system. Fortunately we were expecting it, so we had the right clothes with us.

We shopped, ate wonderful seafood, walked on the beach, took long naps and slept late every day. It was definitely a time of recharging our batteries.

Our friends that we went with have a timeshare deal with this really nice resort that is right at the beach. They think they have the most incredible, most spectacular, most beautiful, place in the entire world and we would never, ever let them know that we don’t exactly agree. Don’t misunderstand, their place was very nice, had all the amenities, had a gorgeous view of the ocean and was very enjoyable for the few days that we were there.

The problem? The Spouse and I are rotten spoiled and that’s the truth. Their place was very small and we were tripping over each other in the living room, in the kitchen and on the patio. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for comparison purposes, we have rented condos at the beach many times and we are the kind of folks that rent the biggest, the best, the roomiest unit that we can possibly afford. We have taken family vacations, with shared costs, and rented literal mansions right on the beach. It does tend to spoil one for anything less, there’s no doubt about it.

We have the same situation with cruises. The very first cruise we ever went on, due to a cruise line situation, we got upgraded to a suite. From that point on, nothing less would do. If we can’t afford a suite, we just don’t go.

I guess I’m writing about this because these last few days have made me realize that I’m really a snob and a spoiled rotten snob at that. I’m not quite sure how this happened. I’ve always been a real “down to earth” kind of girl and now I suddenly discover that I’m actually a princess who wants only the best. Good Lord! What a surprise! When I look in the mirror, I certainly don’t see a princess, however, apparently that’s what I am.

At least no one knows except The Spouse. At least until now.