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The Next Chapter

Updated: 2015-09-16T12:36:39.628-05:00


I'm Blending


Where have you been? You have missed soooooo much!

I have lived in this townhouse for well over a year now. I am the anomaly. I am convinced that the majority of people who live here are probably under 25 (based on the total lack of responsibility and disregard for others) . I'm not hating on the young people. I'm just following the stereotype that has been presented thus far. I realize it is strange to actually throw your trash away rather than have it spill out of your car into the parking lot--and when carrying trash to the dumpster it's just too much trouble to move two feet over to the next dumpster if the first one is full rather than to attempt to balance yet another bag on top of the overflowing pile--but, I guess I'm just a little bit crazy because I believe in personal responsibility and respect for other's living environment. What a crazy idea??

Yep, I'm the crazy lady that gets upset when someone parks in my spot. They are generally more than happy to move when I tell them they can have my spot if they want to pay my rent.

I also have no problem pulling on a bathrobe to knock on their door at all hours to let them know their stereo or TV is too loud. When met with resistance (imagine that!) I suggest I share the sounds of my early morning routine with these night owls. They have been amazingly receptive.

I have created my own little escape--my haven--within these four walls--these two floors.

It's all about communication...

In It For The Long Haul.


Yes, the header photograph is my car.

I purchased it new in Texas during December of 1999. I was taken by all the safety features, seeing as how my beautiful forest green Grand Am was totaled on the freeway about 7:30 am while carrying my children--and a neighbor child--to school.

Just days earlier, the family had suffered another tragic loss. Our German Shepherd, Sasha, was put to sleep after being part of our family for more than 13 years. We all cried and cried for days.

But within a couple of days after I brought the Saturn home, the girls' father met me at the kitchen door in the garage, hands behind him and a sheepish grin spreading uncontrollably across his face. When he brought his hands in front and displayed a five pound black and white pekingese, I met my current companion, Mr. Blue, for the first time.

He rode with me in my new Saturn to Puppy Kindergarten twice weekly for two months. The emergency brake still shows the teeth marks from a very anxious, teething Elijah Blue. I was anxious too. It was trying at times to juggle parenting two young girls and a demanding corporate job with training a new pup. But Elijah Blue and I came to an understanding eventually and he graduated with honors.

Once his training was complete, he'd occasionally ride with me across town to visit my friend the nurse or to watch the city-girl play tennis. When we had tournaments out of town, he'd travel two hours or more and stay with us at a hotel. The staff generally thought him to be too small to qualify for a pet fee.

The Saturn has carried other precious cargo as well. The city girl daughter's cello fit nicely in the trunk throughout her Philharmonic Orchestra endeavors--as did 250 Ipaqs for a client (when they were the hottest thing on the market). And more recently, I dismantled the Bowflex and moved it to my new digs in that car.

Blue had his longest ride ever when we traveled from Texas to Virginia in 2002. I really thought that two day trip would have broken his desire to "ride." I put his pillow in the back seat and stopped periodically at rest stops to walk him. Looking back, I think he was just happy to be with someone he knew loved and cared for him. He and I had a two-day road trip. And even after all that traveling, he still gets bouncy excited if I mention the word "ride."

The Saturn may not be the prettiest thing on the road, but it still gets me where I'm going. Through our 11 year relationship, we have both learned to communicate our needs to one another. The Saturn sometimes hesitates and expels a thick cloud of blue white smoke when it needs a little attention. I, in turn, do not cast a wandering eye on younger pretty cars. I appreciate the relationship--the understanding we have for one another. I know I have something in my worn little blue Saturn.

Just today, I loaded a wooden bench from Pop and Momo's house into the back seat. Pop cast a doubting gaze when I first suggested it would fit. I tried to explain to him that same bench he just repaired had originally fit in the back seat, along with one child, when I had first purchased it in Buffalo Gap, Texas years ago.

Needless to say, the bench fit--and I brought it home to my townhouse.

The car may be aging--as well as the dog--but both have a tremendous amount of good in them yet. They may well be my most prized possessions!

Moving on


A friend suggested I view this... It just about sums everything up!

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Faster and Faster


Life is moving swiftly on... (view from my living room window--very early A.M.)

I'm adjusting to a lifestyle that is so completely opposite from the past eight years of my life...
But time waits for no one, right?

(image) Elijah Blue is doing well. I have found these wonderful treats called Good Bites that contain glucosamine and chondroitin that are supposed to help his aging joints so he can climb the stairs at bedtime more easily. They seem to be working out--he doesn't need near as much coaxing.

I am tired. Too many hours this past week at at my war memorial job (it is the sesaon). More later...

Sometimes Its Just a Question of Character


I just finished catching the tail-end of The Story of Us. Every time I see this movie, it gets me. Marriage is hard work. The payoff is excellent if the necessary commitment--by both parties--is realized.

I see married couples everyday all day at my job. It's very easy to distinguish those who have put in the work and those who have not. It makes my day to hear the happiness in the voices of those who have taken the time to strengthen and maintain their relationship, long term. Like I said, marriage is hard work.

I didn't leave the kingdom on a whim. I tormented with the decision for some time. I attended marriage counseling, solo. But just two weeks after I had left, I began to get reports from neighbors--three, in fact--letting me know that JB had began seeing someone else on a consistent and regular basis.

I don't begrudge him for this. I just wish he had been honest. No, really--I expected him to be honest.

But his actions are just the confirmation I suspected would validate my decision to leave.

Everything Old Is New Again


I am six weeks in my new place. The city-girl and I are getting more acclimated every day.Blue has settled back into a leash routine. Thank goodness he is a Puppy Kindergarten graduate (10 years ago!). I take him out about 6:00 or 6:30 am each morning. One of the nice things about living in the city is no one takes notice of a middle aged woman walking a dog wearing a bathrobe decorated with dancing demons at the crack of dawn. The majority of my neighbors are night owls so I believe I'm safe!I make coffee before Blue and I go out the door. By the time we make a lap around all the oak trees and I gather up his morning business in a Target bag, deposit it in the dumpster at the end of the lot and race back to our living space, it's done. I can smell the Folgers when I open the front door.We are establishing a routine.I am adjusting to a smaller kitchen and have learned--begrudgingly--that I really don't need all those cake and muffins pans. But my daily cooking and baking has made this new space smell like home.Lina is loving the deep window sills!She has developed a morning routine of her own which involves watching playful squirrels off the back patio. We have 3 or 4 that are quite brazen and go nose-to-nose with her at the patio doors in the living room. Her tail twitches and she squeaks until she can stand it no more. Then she stretches her full length up the door like a ferret. This always makes the squirrels run away scared.I am still sorting things and have a new found wardrobe via the divorce diet. Back in my size 8s, it's like getting a new wardrobe! How great is it that I have a new wardrobe and haven't had to spend a dime?My large plants are spending time with Momo and Pop until I find more permanent homes for them.I have far too many plants here at the new place already and am forced to pick and choose. This is a difficult task, but I am getting there. The back patio area is shaded and I have planted pansies and I am considering a few bleeding hearts.More photos to come, I promise. I'm still arranging and rearranging as I settle in to my new place.Side note: I am attending BlogHer in August. Are you??[...]

Sanity Is Madness Put to Good Uses


A slight break in precipitation has Blue back on his morning routine. Out the east stoop he goes before daylight. He journey makes a complete circle around the house and he deposits himself at the kitchen porch on the west side. He barks to mark his arrival.When I opened the door to let him in before dawn, I noticed these very long icicles. I stepped out in the chill wrapped tight in my bathrobe to get this photograph.Usually, we race to his treat jar. The jar marked "Blue's Treats" holds something magical to him. I fill it with bite-size shredded wheat. The vet suggested this as a healthy alternative and it works just fine for Blue.He's almost completely blind so I have to talk him through a snack so he won't take off a finger.Lina perches in a central point to wait on daylight. She waits--sometimes patiently--for me to refill her food dish.When I go for coffee after daylight, Lina has already been sprayed once or twice with my plant mister for sneaking on the counter for a better look at the birds.Once Blue gets his treat, he settles in for his morning nap in my bedroom.If he's not quick enough, Lina will grab the pillow before him.Armed with coffee, I continue studying for tomorrow's test.I do my studying while taking calls for Crisis Line.Sometimes I get a lot of calls, other mornings are quieter.Once the sun is up, Lina settles in front of the patio doors to watch for birds.Her tail twitches and she meows as the birds swoop in and carry off the dogfood.After a job interview at 10 am this morning, it started snowing again.The city-girl was in the next county at college so I phoned herand suggested she head this way before things got any worse.It's a long way up to the top of the drive,but it sure beats shoveling and breaking up iceto get your car out! We're all getting our exercise, for sure.The snow is pretty on these tree branches right off my back deck.It makes the them look a bit like lightning bolts.But this stuff is down-right scary!Note: "Sanity is madness put to good uses" is actually a quote by George Santayana.[...]

Is it really better to have loved and lost?


This is a musical doll I bought for the city-girl daughter
the first Valentine's Day without her father.

(image) I love the innocence on her face and the song she plays: Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.
I have memories of watching Dean Martin sing that on his variety show. My greatest memory is of a young man calling me on the phone when I was in the sixth grade and singing it to me. That was back in the day of extension phones and I had two sisters. I did right by the fellow, though. He was never identified to my two sisters, who teased me mercilessly nonetheless.

I still remember Valentine's Day the first year JB and I were married. He came home from work and handed me a dozen roses and a card. I'll never forget the way he had signed it:
your worse nightmare,
your husband.

Interesting, isn't it? That was when he always told me how marrying me was his greatest accomplishment. Nowadays, he tells me it was his biggest mistake--over and over and over again.

More often that not, he doesn't speak to me at all. But I actually prefer the silent treatment to the angry outbursts.

Our relationship has deteriorated steadily within the past year, so the best either of us could hope for this Valentine's Day is the absence of the other.

A Smooth Start


The alarm startled me at 5:15 am, but I sprung up and bypassed the comforting warmth of my slippers in the rush to silence it’s squawking. Blue raised his head, looked at me and breathed a long, audible sigh. It was even too early for him. Mother Nature’s effort to wear us down with the artic temperatures and continual snow was working.

I prefer rising early. Pop has ingrained the benefits of staring your day early, as well as the fear that the day can get away from you. I step into the shower and feel the warmth of the running water on my skin. Lathering my hair, I can’t help but hear the howling wind outside and the rattling of my old house in resistance. I begin dreading the end of my shower before my hair is even rinsed. I’m too familiar with the rush of air when the shower curtain is pulled aside that chills my wet skin. Just dry off fast, I tell myself. Grab the fleece bathrobe. Tie it up tight.

I can hear the coffeemaker reach the final sputtering stretch as I enter my bedroom to snatch the pink Revlon hairdryer. The view outside stops me as I reach for the boar bristle brush on the dresser. I watch the tree limbs sway like outstretched arms performing a ceremonial dance. The force of the wind lifts the snow and tosses it momentarily before sending it spiraling back to the frozen ground erasing the footprints of the previous week.


Living in a Freezer


When the last round of snow hit, I pulled on my boots and climbed up the driveway. I decided it wise to retrieve the second snow shovel before it became buried until spring. I knew we'd need it before the day was out.A neighbor brought their tractor over and plowed the driveway. Once the sun came out, I gathered my best garden digging shovel to break up the melting ice and toss it aside. After clearing five to six feet of the driveway, I crawled into the Saturn to gauge my progress. After about fours hours of alternating these two tasks, I was finally able to make it to the top of the driveway.I actually embraced civilization yesterday and was able to venture out. The city-girl and I carpooled because her Mustang is still covered.Our schedules worked so that we could both attend classes--something that hasn't happened since last Thursday. Aware of the new bout of storms coming, I left the car at the cattleguard at when we returned home yesterday at dusk. She and I maneuvered the uneven terrain of the driveway with it's layers of ice and snow. The ground cracked and popped under our feet as we carried our books, purses and the few groceries we had picked up on the way home.This is where the Saturn sits today.I hiked up the drive in 28 degree weather early thismorning to check the road conditions.If only I were a teenager with no responsibilities or fears of injury,I'd spend the day sleigh-riding...[...]

Snow Daze


The gargoyle on the back deck, caught in the fallout from the last week's snowstorm seems to echo my sentiments exactly. If he could speak, I'd imagine he'd emit a cry similar to that of Dan Ackroyd in the coneheads when he caught his daughter making out with an Earthling--you know, Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtain?. I was hoping to put in an audio clip, but was once more reminded that the world has moved forward and now Coneheads could mean a band.The first snow covered my car.It took two days to dig it out andfive days before I was able to venture out into civilization.I busied myself with studies,cooking enormous pots of soup anddigging paths for grateful short-legged dogs.Just as the last traces of snow were sinking into the earth(and melting and seeping into the basement, I might add),we got snowstorm number two.The gods smiled upon on us this go 'round, thoughSensing our aching backs from the first round of shoveling,they made this a very dry snow.More tunnels for grateful short-legged dogs...more sweeping water down the drain in the basement...more soup!This time, I was able to venture out in just three days. Progress!But poor Blue is sighing more these days as he isno longer free to run far and wide each morningnor enjoy the privacy to which he's grown accustomed.And it's snowing again...[...]

Farmers Anonymous


Hello. My name is Mizmell and I’m a farmer.

It all started rather innocently just before finals in December. I was a wee bit stressed over the thought of exam essays and needed a slight diversion. I began with a small farm and planted crops that were ready to harvest in24 hours. This was the beginning of my morning ritual which involved harvesting and then planting as I had my morning coffee and cigarette.

But as the reward coins accumulated, I begin to look at ways to enhance my farm. I grew embarrassed by the covered tent—-the only shelter for my imagined self—-and sought ways to stockpile coins so I might be upgraded to a cottage. I analyzed crops by cost, maturity and coins yielded to achieve my new housing goal. Once I achieved a cottage though, I wanted a farm house. Now that I have a farm house, I want a manor--but it’s an awful lot of coins…

So I turned my focus to experience points. With the completion of each level, I calculated how many experience points to the next. I sought new avenues for gathering experience points.

I get several phones calls daily from a local “farmer.” This farmer is related to me. She shares her secrets for yielding more coins and experience points, as well as predictions for the challenges ahead. She has even offered her neighbors, if I’m interested.

With more neighbors, come more benefits-- but also more obligations! You fertilize their crops, feed their chickens and receive more experience points. I shamefully accepted two. After that the horror of my addiction became glaringly apparent and I have declined all further offers.

I have increased the size of my farm, so I can plant more, yield more, buy more and advance through the levels. But the larger area requires my attention twice a day, so I have also added farming to the end of my day and spend 15 or 20 minutes each night right before bed. I bought a tractor, then a seeder and a harvester. These new additions to my farm allowed me to do 4 plots at a time, rather than one at a time. I have become so efficient, twice a day isn’t really a big deal.

It was only after the change from once a day to twice daily farming, that I came to grips with the fact that I needed more neighbors to get the Mighty Plantation. I checked my friends list to see who I could perhaps sway. I sent out invitations and picked up a few. I even found a few old friends I hadn’t seen or spoke with for more than 30 years—but they were farmers, like me. I sent a request. They accepted and we became neighbors. Only one accepted with a polite email inquiry and well wishes.

Just yesterday, I got the Mighty Plantation. I’ve since planted more crops and purchased a hot rod tractor that allows me to plow 6 plots at a time. If I choose high-yield short-term crops, I’ll probably be able to stockpile quite a few coins. I still have my eye on that Manor.

A Real Decent Fine Boy


When Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, his host made a point of telling the audience that he was a "real decent fine boy." If Elvis had lived, he'd be 75 today.

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In honor of the King, I'm making a large pot of Elvis Presley's Homemade Vegetable soup. Rumor has it that Elvis wasn't the healthiest eater by a long shot. No need to worry, though. Even real decent fine boys can do with a little tweaking.
Momo did the honors for Elvis' soup and has tweaked this recipe to make it very healthy and very tasty. I promise there will be no yucky separation or fat on the top like some vegetable soup recipes. Give it a shot. It's delish!

EP's Homemade Vegetable Soup

1 large can tomatoes
2 pounds LEAN stew meat
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
5 pieces garlic
2 boxes frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups diced Russet potatoes
2 cans cream style corn
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper

Cook meat, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and tomatoes in large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add mixed vegetables and cook another half hour. Then mix in corn, potatoes, ketchup, salt and pepper.
Cook 30 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Serve.

Merry, Merry


I started the tree Saturday morning. It's been six years so, I had forgotten the time and effort involved. When the city-girl got home from work, she helped with the lights. By midnight we were looking good!

(image) But the decorating had taken its toll on us all.

Sharing The Girly Traditions


When the girls were young and still trying to figure themselves out--and we know they are all finished with that now at 23 and 25--I made every effort to offer them ample opportunities with varied efforts to make that task all the more easier.

Anything they wanted explore, I supported them. Of source the one stipulation was, anything they started they had to finish through--just to give themselves the full benefit of having explored it.

We--as a family--had so many creative outlets! Now, in hindsight, I have to say we are the more richer as a result (even though the "original" family is scattered!).

Part of that enrichment took the form of Philharmonic Orchestra and the once-a-year Nutcracker Ballet.

We were privileged to visit the Philharmonic Orchestra performances on a variety of occasions. I was tutoring the conductor's wife on computer and she was kind enough to provide me and my young girls with exceptionally good seats. So befitting the occasion, we dressed to the nines and attended with quiet respect. The girls ages were still in the singles digits. They were quiet and sat in awe of the precision in which the musicians played. And after each performance, they were privileged enough to go backstage and see all those shiny instruments up close and personal. I still think these visits had something to do with my eldest being first chair cello and my youngest being first chair flutist in their high school years. The seed was planted...

The ballet was a different matter altogether.

It was always such a special occasion. The girls would don their Christmas dresses. The good perfume would be brought out and used with wild abandon, Hair would be upswept and the "fancy" earrings would be pulled out of safe-keeping. This was a grand occasion.

In spite of their early years, I remember how the girls would sit mesmerized throughout the entire performance. During intermission, we'd venture into the lobby for bathroom breaks and keepsake Christmas ornaments were purchased.

At the end of the performance, we'd gather up our treasures and spend the ride each discussing out favorite parts of the evening.
This was a "girls only" outing-- not that Dad every felt slighted or showed any interest at all.

This was a girl thing.

This year--after a 10 year break from this holiday tradition--the city-girl and I will be introducing Momo to the Nutcracker Ballet. I'm really terribly excited.

I'm sure the city-girl will be happy to know that tickets have been purchased and the date has been marked on our calendars. Three generations will be seeing the Nutcracker this year.

The only upsetting part is that the youngest member pf our female entourage--Miss Jeni--will be unable to join us. But she will be there in spirit...

Potholes In The Road


The first time you travel through a pothole, it may startle you because you never saw it coming. This is your chosen path-- over all others -- and you have learned to lean with the curves in the road. There's a certain comfort found in familiarity.

Second time around, you might get angry at yourself--because you knew it was there, right? What were you thinking? When the jolt rattles your teeth and upsets everything, you may blame yourself for not fixing the broken part of the road, even though you know you are ill-equipped to do such things.

So you continue traveling the same way, thinking you will see the pothole in time to drive around it. Such confidence! Inevitably, the scenery proves to be distracting and you hit the damn hole again.

No blood, no foul. So you just keep going.

At some point, it may dawn on you that the pothole is not getting fixed. Others may not find it as unpleasant as you do. There must be some who may actually like potholes and accept them as part of the ride. In fact, they may drive right through the potholes at high speed just for the thrill of the jolt. So what if it takes a day or so to get everything adjusted and back in line?

But soon you notice, those who seek the jolt don't get everything adjusted and back in line. The papers that are scattered by the bump stay scattered. What has fell off the dash and rolls under the seat, stays under the seat. Yet they continue to plow right through the pothole as things scatter and roll.

You may find yourself wondering what is wrong with me that I can't see the thrill in the jolt? Jolt seekers may suggest you are too rigid and controlling because you choose the comfort of knowing where items are, over speculating where they may have shifted.

You may listen, but ultimately you decide you won't be spending time retrieving anything from under the seat. It may take a bit more effort while traveling to look for the pothole and drive around it, but you realize this plan nets the greatest benefit.

But as you swerve to miss the pothole, you may realize this old path just isn't as scenic as you once thought. This particular path has lost a bit of its charm. You may even begin to believe the journey doesn't justify the swerve in the road.

He's The Love Of My Life


I have better pictures of Elijah Blue--I just can't put my hands on them right now.

(image) This is how he looked before our move to Virginia in 2001.

He made the trip and has since, lost his sight. He moves around as if he hasn't, though. I admire his dignity.

What I love most about him is how he is always glad to see me, always forgiving and puts no other before me. He is my ever faithful companion, through thick and thin.

Makes me think of the saying "If you want undying love and affection, get a dog."

Happy Tenth Birthday, Elijah Blue.

Earning My Ride Out Of Town


(image) I got flowers yesterday. One dozen yellow yellow roses, to be exact.

From my youngest, they were. She had sent flowers for my birthday last week. But when the florist delivered them, I walked inside, vase in hand--and became outraged. At this point and time I hadn't even pulled the card to see WHO had been kind enough to send the flowers. I was too intent on the brown withering edges of the white petals to notice.

I promptly turned around and went out the front door, appalled. I chased the delivery driver. I pecked upon his window as he was driving off in an attempt to get him to stop. He seemed shocked and more than a little put out when I stopped him.

After he had stopped his vehicle, I asked him how he could possible equate what I held in my hand with the term "fresh flowers." He pulled one brown-edged stem from the vase and scrutinized it more closely. Then he snorted "Give 'em back to me."
No apology. Nothing. Might I add this was an elderly gentleman which I understand at one point was actively involved with young men's civic activities (but it was later revealed, not in the best possible light).

He was gone by the time I had realized I hadn't even read the card. Who had sent these flowers with the best possible intent and had been inadvertently screwed?

So, I spoke to Miss Jeni and explained (after I got a voicemail saying she hoped I enjoyed her birthday gift). She phoned and demanded a refund and the went online to order direct from the best florist in town.

This is what I received yesterday.

The funny thing is, from what I understand in speaking with Miss Jeni today, the dozen yellow roses were actually was less expensive than the shitty arrangement that was delivered first go round.

It's so nice to get what you pay for.

Play Bingo and Win A Condom


I received this notice in my campus mailbox last week.

A Condom Carnival! What an intriguing idea!
Safe should be a given, but fun intercourse got my attention.

I read further and had questions. Since I am over 50, who else would I go to except the 25-year-old city-girl?

What, I asked, is a dental dam? She threw her head back in laughter and said she could not believe I was asking her. Well, of course I was asking, because I didn't know and had decided that she may.

From the information I gathered, it is an apparatus used during oral sex to prevent the spread of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Due to the level of discomfort for the city-girl daughter and for myself, I let it go at that.

While I am thrilled that such things exist, I'm still curious... How does it work? Is it intended for the male or female? What does it look like?

Needless to say, I was not curious enough to attend the Condom Carnival, play a round of bingo and pick one out, should I win.

Momo and I discussed this very thing during a recent telephone conversation. She asked me if it was something new. I told her I had never heard of such a thing, so perhaps it was new. Without a moment's hesitation, she told me she sure hoped it had been around for some time.

Although I am not completely playing by the rules as outlined, I'm counting this post as "one more" for the wrap up for the Honest Scrap Award.
If I were to play by the rules and reveal my innermost thoughts, you would hear from me no more, as I would be run out of town on a rail!

Honestly, Though...


I'm going to lay it all out there and give you more. It wasn't really my idea, though. Well over a week or so, I got tagged for the Honest Scrap Award by my pal across the way.Here's the rules: I now have to say 10 honest things about myself... I'm going to bend the rules and break it up and do 5 and 5.1. I really enjoy the outdoors-- landscaping and gardening, that is. It's an escape.I'm a bit weary today as I moved the immediate yard yesterday. I quit when I couldn't see anymore--at just about dusk. My feet were tired. JB usually mows but his mower broke a belt about a week ago and he's just a bit too caught up with other things to replace it.I don't mow the big stuff! I just mow around the house so the knot-heads don't beat me around the ankles when I go from the driveway to the house. I use the mower I finagled from my ex-husband during our divorce. It's self-propelled, so after about 2 or 3 hours, it's pulling me around the house.And the house isn't really that big. There's a studio on the left that JB uses for woodworking. It's not attached, but does look like it from the road.2.I have been forced into learning patience.I love the back yard. When I first moved back to Virgina, I begin planning a walking garden. Now I am afraid I have created much more than I can keep up with.And I have great plans for that little guest house. One day...3. I'm a closet hairdresser.I cut JB's hair probably twice a year, although he needs it done more often. I usually badger him until he submits! He really needs a professional to do it for him, although I must admit I am getting better (and faster) at getting it done.4. I'm a bit obsessive.Generally, when I start a project, I go full steam. Unfortunately, I begin to wear out before I'm quite through. I always finish what I start, but end up dead tired. Let's just say I sleep well.Today for example, I cleaned the basement. The weather has turned cooler so I had to make room for all my plants. It's done, But I am ready to get horizontal!5. Sometimes I feel like I'm running out of time.I can't believe that more than 50 years of my life has passed! It makes me feel like I have to hurry to do everything that I'd like to get done.6. I wish we could all be honest.Why is honesty so hard? Really, it's the simpler way... and there'd be an end to assuming.Okay, so I did 6. That just means I'm ahead for tomorrow...[...]

I Had My Cake And Ate It Too


(image) Today I am 51.

What a day, indeed. But don't they all end up ultimately that way?

The city-girl daughter worked a lunch shift then waited patiently while I took my birthday cake out of the oven before taking me to dinner. That was quite a treat! I am so happy she is living close to me--living with me--so I am a part of her life (as she is mine) every day. That is a wonderful blessing. And yes, I tell her that at every opportunity.

But, this morning I went to visit Pop because he has a suspicious bruise on his side that is totally unwarranted. Looks like more of a large (12X14) blood blister...

He and I and Momo went to the ER to have it investigated. He is scheduled for a follow up with his personal physician tomorrow. The city-girl daughter is going to hoard in with the premise of birthday cake and then phone me to see if I need to cut my afternoon classes.

I'm sure Pop will be fine--he is a tough old buzzard. Sitting with him in the ER reminded me of visits with my children. You spend the bulk of your time finding conversations that are completely distracting in an effort to get them to forget where they are and what why they are there...

I feel so bad for not posting. There is so much going on and often I just have a difficult time putting everything into words. I will try to do better, because I know inquiring minds want to know, and the practice will do me great good as I have a ginormous number of papers to write this semester. Be patient with me as I am still learning so much...

I'll leave you with these shots of the city-girl daughter playing tennis last Thursday...

If nothing else, this is an example as to how very important is is to remain focused on our goals.


My Immortal Grandmother


When I let Blue out early this morning, this is what I saw on the east stoop:

(image) It's a succulent that came from a plant that was once Granny's (Pop's mother).
She passed away one year before the city-girl daughter was born.

My oldest sister had given me a piece of the plant a couple of years ago. While her plant has bloomed, mine had never produced anything other that twists and turns of thick rubbery leaves. Imagine my delight!

In fact, I'm so silly that I was thrilled when I got this rather odd tubular extension on the plant on the kitchen porch.

What a wonderful surprise to realize there is more to come.

I Was, Therefore, I Am


I played hookey today.My afternoon class was canceled and I had a one-day job opportunity utilizing my IT skills that payed quite handsomely so I jumped on it. What the hell...But this evening was truly delightful. I stopped by Momo and Pop's to check on their shared bronchitis--and met up with my Uncle Danny (Momo's youngest brother!). He's quite eccentric and always a treat.He followed me home and we all dined on a dinner of Shrimp Scampi--then I pulled out slides (yes! slides!) of my youth. He and I and the city-girl daughter watched them--complete with the groanings from a 30-year-old projector.After turning our heads left, then right to view the ones that were placed inappropriately--the city-girl daughter is convinced that I was, in fact, young at some point.Judging from this pic of JB and I back in the day, it looks like not much has changed besides our hairstyles...She got such a kick out of seeing her grandparents in their thirties and forties, too.She thought the furniture of the seventies was pretty "pimp." The cars back then were "crazy" and built like tanks. (Yes, they were. What happened to those good solid cars?)This photograph was taken in 1977--could that really have been 32 years ago???[...]

A Little Scientific Research


I took a guest with me to school last week.

I thought the students in my gender studies classes might like to visit with him a bit.

The FEMALE class noticed how large his feet are--right away.

The MALE class was more interested in hearing what Mr. Wonderful had to say and how I happened to own a Mr. Wonderful doll.
One fellow noted his smile was not unlike those guys in the commercials for the male enhancement products.

Part of Mr. Wonderful's charm is he "always says the right things."

No wonder he's smiling...

Update on Pop:I was right--he is a tough old buzzard. The x-rays were clean. All's in good order. The doctor suspects his recent bout with bronchitis created the bruise.

A Room With A View


I'm still putting my bedroom back together. I haven't hung pictures or the blinds. The main things are taken care of--the bed and the computer are fully functional. (Really, I'm just so damn tickled that the walls have no cracks for wind to whistle through this year!)

JB put up the new bedroom door (more than 2 weeks ago), but the doorknob hasn't made it to the door yet. It's still in the package on the kitchen counter.

A minor detail to him, I'm sure.

But the door opens and closes and if I want it to remain closed, I put a doorstop in front of it.

(image) Peering through the opening where the doorknob should be, I can see my chubby little dog (Blue) napping in the living room.