Monday, November 30, 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho

I am just not feeling the holidays his year. I wasn't going to put up a tree or drag out the lights or any of the festive things we all do. It will just be me and love of my life, so why bother?

That pesky friend of mine is up to her shenanigans again! When we returned home from our trip the table was dressed in Thanksgiving with tablecloth and runner, center piece and candle. The store was all decorated, too. She came out this weekend and as she left mentioned that she would come back and decorate if I didn't. She is so pushy, this friend of mine. I felt like crap. I have been coughing and wheezing since I started inhaling the Georgia pine trees last week. Love of my life had to work, so Deb came out and we spent Friday evening putting together a puzzle and singing along with the sounds of the 60's on the radio.

Feeling almost human again on Saturday we went shopping. All the while she is asking if I have enough lights, etc. I didn't dare tell her I had no intention of putting them up.... but I think she must have sensed it. On and on she went talking about what I needed to do and asking if I needed her to help. She is sooooo pushy.

I convinced her that I was going to do all the things we talked about and sent her home. She left and love of my life left for work and suddenly I was all alone. First I had a little pity party and reread my last post and cried some more. Then I watched a little TV, got bored....... felt guilty for saying I would decorate with no intention of doing so..........

There are now 6 wreaths adorning he front pillars of the building and 3 foot lighted Christmas trees flanking the entrance. Numerous old world Santas have appeared among the pictures of my family and snowmen are everywhere. I have tested all the lights and have a list going for what replacement items are needed.

As I drag out all the decor that we seem to accumulate over he years, I am reliving Christmases past. I am, of course, thinking of my children today. I found some sand dollars that had images of the kids on them. We lived on Jekyll Island that year and our neighbor was an artist. She painted sand dollars with scenes of wharfs and fishing boats. She painted the sand dollars for us for Christmas. That was nice, but what she did on Christmas Eve was downright magical.

My son, Bobby was eight that Christmas. Amber was five, Jeff and Jill were three and Adrienne was only six months old. Santa was very much alive in the hearts of all our children that year. Bobby had broken his arm and was still in a cast. He was a klutzy child, never very athletically adept and if I remember correctly, he was attempting to climb a tree. He was disappointed to still have a cast on for the break from school. Knowing this, our neighbor asked us to call her when the children were all asleep.

Finally after much coaxing and shushing, all was quiet in our house except for the rustle of wrapping paper and the grunts and whispered curses of he who assembled the big toys. I let our neighbor in (I cannot remember her name, I can see her face in my mind's eye, but her name eludes me). She had some acrylics and a brush with her and she tip-toed upstairs to the boys room. Since Bobby occupied the top bunk she stood on a chair to be able to reach his cast. She painted an image of Santa Claus on his cast! While he slept! She used acrylics, because they dry fast.

I still remember the look on his face as he showed me his cast the next morning. Utter amazement. He looked at us in wonder and said, "He really did come to our house."

I am very much in the Christmas spirit now as I share this memory with you. Thanks to my nagging friend who spent all her energy making me do this!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We gathered at this marker to say goodbye to my son last Saturday afternoon. This a good likeness of him. My son-in-law, Steve, did he artwork and captured him quite well I think. He included an image of the sports coat I made for him that I remembered in an earlier blog post.

He was only 39 years old. That is a short life....... so sad.

The sky was clear and the sun was shining. It was a fine day. I was in my own little world as the service proceeded. I shed a few tears and hugged a few people when approached, but mostly stayed to myself.

My mind was far away, filled with memories that only a mother can have. I remember the first time he was placed in my arms and all the times since as he grew up. I lost my son a long time ago. His death just made it official.

As we prepared for our trip south to bury my son's ashes, I wrestled with my feelings and finally decided to spread his ashes. I could not bear the thought of putting him in a hole. I talked to my children and they all told me to do what I thought was right. I thought about my son a lot in the past month and a half since his death. He was unconventional and rarely cared what others thought of his actions.

With that in mind, I carefully filled a big ziplock bag with ashes from my woodstove and took them along with us. I intended to swap the ashes so that I could set him free into the wind. I couldn't show up with an empty bag since all the arrangements for interment had been made. And.... the more I thought about it, the more I knew in my heart that Bobby would love it. So, on a hillside in north Georgia, at 11:23 in the morning I loosed my son's ashes to the wind. I was balanced precariously during this process, so that the pictures aren't all that great. I think he would have loved it had I rolled down the hill...........

It wasn't an easy thing to do. I had thought it would be emotional, letting him go for the final time. I thought I was prepared. We opened the box from the mortuary and lifted out the bag with the seal on it. I remarked that it was heavier than I thought it would be. I hefted the bag, then cradled it in my arms. It was about the weight of a baby and I held him one last time before I opened the bag and released him onto the ground and into the wind.

I thought about all those dreams you have for that new baby you hold in your arms. They were long gone, as children rarely perform as you want them to. You always think that you will protect your child from everyone and everyhing; but in the end you realize that it is not possible. As I stood on that slope with my face pushed into the bark of a pine tree crying I let him go for the very last time.

I am at peace with my decision to set him free. I like to think that he soared up to the heavens and is finally at peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am back from my pilgrimage south and have many stories to tell. I am so happy to be back in my own little home with my bed! It was not meant for two adults and three dogs to share a queen bed. We will all rejoice tonight when we climb into our bed.
But that is not the story in my mind. You see my Daddy and my Mama in the picture above. Have you ever seen sweeter looking folks? Well...... looks can be deceiving! This sweet duo were driving along, minding their own business, when they spied a sheriff's car with the door open and a struggle in progress. Did they simply dial 911 and wait in their vehicle? No, not these two. My Dad asked the deputy if he needed help and when the deputy answered in the affirmative he got out of his vehicle and presented himself for service. The detainee had managed to free himself of those pesky hand-cuffs and was attempting to over power the deputy.
When Daddy asked what he was needed to do, the deputy said he needed to cuff the man, so my Dad picked up the cuffs and applied them, not so gently to the prisoner. While Daddy did that, Mama got out of the car and picked up the deputies keys that he had tossed to the center of the highway to prevent them from being taken by his prisoner.
The prisoner in question was being transported for medical treatment and was in custody for armed robbery. I don't know whether to be proud or angry at them for putting themselves at risk. Since it all turned out okay, I will be proud. But I don't want these two to make a habit of being heroes!
I would have thought that the local news affiliations would have looked them up for the human interest story. But they remain anonymous in their little escapade. Well, they were until I wrote this!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Pimp

Talk about a good sport....... Here is love of my life. They had a contest in the convenience store to raise money for breast cancer research. The one to gather the most in donations had to wear a bra for one whole shift.

I guess you know who won. I had to loop two rubber bands and use the extra length to hook it on him. He is apparently quite popular, this man of mine. The convenience store was quite busy with all the regulars coming in to gawk at him. I am just wondering what he did for all that money!!

Legend has it that he raised another $118 that night. I have to admit that he is kind of cute.

We are leaving on our journey tomorrow to take my son's ashes south. I am full of mixed emotions as I ready us to leave. Thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers that I have felt drifting towards me. Closure seems like a cold concept, like I will shut the door on his life. I like to think that as I shut this door I will enter a new relationship with him as I remember him.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Hear Blondes Have More Fun

As my trip approaches and I am packing, getting everything ready to go.... I happened to look into the mirror. What did I see? Gray hair and a whole lot of it! When did this happen?

About two years ago I got tired of coloring my hair. I couldn't remember what color it was anyway. At the first sign of gray in my 30's I started getting my hair colored. I started with a light frosting that got heavier with each treatment. I tried to stop, really I did, but I was addicted.

From frosting I went to a full fledged color change; or should I say several color changes. Then I wanted to stop the madness again. I was convinced to try foiling. I loved the effect and the fact that I didn't have to have it done nearly as often. The cost was more, but I convinced myself that I was worth it. And, not having to have it done as often was cheaper in the long run, right?

Then we bought a campground. Now I had a problem. Money? No. Time, I could not afford the time. I suffered through the summer. I couldn't even find someone who could cut it the way I wanted, so color was the least of my worries.

On a midnight run to WalMart for pool supplies I meandered down the hair color aisle. So many choices........what to pick? Well, I think I have tried most variations of brown and blonde and for a short time I was a red head. I was now addicted to coloring my hair myself. Every few weeks I would choose a new box with lovely hair on a lovely model. It never turned out like I imagined it would and my habit was getting to be expensive and way out of control.

Intervention happened when my scalp became extremely itchy and I was literally scratching my hair out. I didn't have that much to start with! I went cold turkey! It was hard looking in the mirror and seeing those roots growing longer and longer. Every time I would get a hair cut more and more of the fake color would drop to the floor, until finally it was all gone. It has been color free for about 6 months.

Not anymore. The gray was kind of on the underside of my hair and as long as I didn't try to pull it up near my temples it was mostly hidden. But realization has hit and I am not as young as I used to be. Seems to have really gotten a lot more gray overnight!
Here I am. Good friend Deb is responsible for this. She added two more colors to my hair with a foiling. We left the gray, just enhanced it! All for the cost of two boxes of hair color! Do you think she knows that she has restarted my addiction? I won't tell if you don't!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Big Wheels Keep On Turning

Since my last post, I noticed a lot of questions in my comments. I would answer with a comment myself and actually started to...... but it turned into a rather lengthy one, so I decided to just do a new post.

The area above the cab is another bed. They would tell you that this coach sleeps eight. I guess it could in a pinch, but I would not want to be the one assigned to anything other than the queen bed. The over the cab bed is okay for the young agile crowd, but not so much for a weak bladdered lady of a certain age. The booth also makes a bed with the table lowered for support, but like the couch bed, you wouldn't be able to stretch out without your feet hanging off at some point. I guess kids could sleep there.

Now you saw the size of the booth. I suppose 4 people could sit there and eat..... as long as you don't throw a lefty in the mix. Here is my question to the manufacturer who touts this as sleeping eight......... Where do you feed these eight travelers? And, come on people, one toilet? This size will be just right for us.

Our previous home on wheels was a 40 foot class A with two slides. It had every luxury you would expect. We lived in it until we moved into the accommodations that went with the campground. It was tight, but we were comfy enough. Back then we traveled with four dogs. We had the two Dachshunds that will be going along now and a Collie and a St. Bernard. The Collie was nervous and would not sit down until we were about an hour into the trip. The Saint was a wonderful traveler, but she dominated the space. The little dogs like to ride in my lap.

About traveling with dogs..... Always take water that they are accustomed to, or buy drinking water for them. NEVER change the brand of dog food on a trip. This can be disastrous and result in excessive diarrhea. Now, this is bad enough with the little dogs, but you do not want to have this happen with the big ones. It can turn out to be an effective way to quell your appetite, lest you be tempted to eat a lot of junk while riding!

If you are looking into purchasing anytime in the near future, I would suggest looking at used models and doing a lot of research as to the blue book value before you purchase. It is almost like buying a home and a lot of my campers have traded up. Keep in mind that you may not even enjoy this lifestyle, so always keep resell value in mind. Craig's list is a good place to look. Most folks are honest and have done their homework on the value, too. Remember the Ford dealer in Kansas City was doing a bait and switch on us. Another good place to look is a campground. We have sold quite a few units for folks that have needed to sell theirs for one reason or another. Unfortunately, we had nothing here at the time we needed one. We will be selling ours after we make a couple of trips.

This trip will be the first for Wall-E. He is going on two and is still very nervous in the car. He will no doubt have a lot to blog about upon his return. My grandson, Gavin, is his boy and he tries to post a letter to him at least once a week. He possesses a sweet personality for such a homely little guy. I am growing quite attached to him. I am happy to take my animals with us. It will lessen my anxiety and they are a great comfort. I read somewhere that stroking a cat or dog can bring your blood pressure down. I don't know if it is true, but it does have a calming effect on everyone I know.

So, I am off to start gathering the clothes we will wear, as I jot endless lists of last minute items that cannot be forgotten.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ready To Roll

This is our new ride. It is all set to go, just needs our clothes. So, I thought I would take you on a little tour............
Here are the seats that we will sit in for about 18 hours. The one on the left is for love of my life. That seat on the right is mine. I am the navigator. I read one mean map, let me tell you! This RV is only 29 feet long and I will be spelling the pilot on long straight stretches (no city driving, you hear?).

Here you can see the "kitchen". It has a really cool feature. Can you see what looks like a cutting board on the counter? The trash can is concealed under it. The dogs can't turn it over and plunder the dinner remnants!

This the view looking back from the front of the motor home. See the refrigerator? Just beyond it is the shower and it is as small as it looks! But, it works.

The fridge is also a dry erase board! What shall I write?

The table has been removed to accommodate Wall-E's kennel. I thought about using a smaller kennel. I have one that I used for our cat, but it wouldn't be that familiar refuge that he needs for his anxiety. The booth area and the couch make beds.... for very short people!

This is the bathroom. I am impressed that it has two mirrors and a full size medicine cabinet.

Here is the fold down shelf that holds the 9 inch TV. Better not try to get up in the wee hours if the tray is down........... Hey, that is on my side of the bed!

Here we have the queen bed. This will be interesting with the three dogs. We have a king now and I am seriously considering two full beds pushed together. I end up with the least amount of room. The people who sold us this motor home were really nice. We found it on Craig's list. The bedding was black satin. I kid you not! The bedspread, bed skirt and pillow shams. Black. Slinky black satin. As we were negotiating the deal and signing the papers, I was mentally discarding this ensemble. Besides the fact that it clashed horribly with the other colors (sea foam green and a mauvy color) and I don't care for the sleekness, all I could see was Wall-E and his little white hairs stuck to it doubly bad from static electricity. The sweet lady says to me, "The bedding is yours to keep, I bought it just for this bed." To my credit I didn't say, "Why would you do that?" I just told her that she could take it, since it would clash with our dog.
As you can see the font has changed and I don't know why..............

Friday The 13th

In an effort to convince myself that I am feeling normal, I got up, showered and did my hair, and put on make-up. It is Friday.......the 13th.

While I was curling my sparse eyelashes I was reminded of a story that all my kids loved to hear me tell. The girls were horrified and the boys thought it to be hilarious.

When I was a young girl just beginning to discover make-up....... a long, long time ago... I convinced my mom to purchase eyelash curlers for me. My friends and I were all enchanted with these devices and HEAVY mascara. We would all examine each other upon arriving to school. It was called Junior High way back then. We would look at the angle of the eyelash closely and discuss how painful it had been to achieve this. We were all convince that if it hurt, we were doing it right.

One fine morning I was rushing to get ready for school and I whipped out my torture device to make my eyes presentable. I put the as close as possible to my eyelid and mashed with all my might. Something clicked..........I never heard a click before..... It was hurting more than usual, too, but that meant my eyelashes would stand more upright than anyone else. Imagine my horror when I pulled the devise away to find that the two metal pieces had clicked together and cut my entire eyelash off!!!!!!!!

I was mortified as only a girl of thirteen can be! It was a Friday and let's say it was the 13th (makes the story better, you know). I had one eye with and one without eyelashes and I was determined to stay home from school. My parents were just as determined that I was going. A power struggle ensued and since I had produced no blood with my injury I was forced to go. I was so mad at them, how could they be so cruel? I was disfigured, couldn't they see that?

Being the resourceful woman that I am (I started very young), I donned a pair of sunglasses and told everyone I had an eye infection and couldn't tolerate the lights. Well, everyone except my closest friends. We all gathered in the restroom and examined my plight and decided that maybe it shouldn't hurt when one curled one's lashes.

I am sure all my children loved to picture me lashless on the one eye and forced to go to school as horrified as I was as a young teen, I can now laugh about it. It was useful information to pass along to future generations of make-up experimenters.

They did grow back, just as sparse as before........

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Melancholy. Mr. Webster's definition of this word is depressed in spirit, dejected, sad. That is a pretty apt description of my current state of mind. I guess it is normal to feel this way and for the past few days I have been simply letting this dominate my life. Oh, I continue to function and do all the chores that are absolutely necessary, but with a heavy heart. I have been reading and commenting and I have started to post a couple of times and erased them. They were too depressing.

I don't want to feel this way and I don't want to share this state of melancholy with others. I am supposed to be upbeat and witty. I am supposed to make decisions and follow through. I am supposed to make you laugh. I can't do it today and don't think tomorrow will be any better. I also feel guilty that I am using my husband as a buffer and he is as melancholy as I am. He has only me to talk to about the way he feels. I have a friend who checks on me every day. I am able to tell her just how crappy I feel. She listens and never judges. Love of my life is trying to be there for me and he doesn't have a friend to lean on.

In order to make this pilgrimage to my son's memorial service we purchased a '97 Class C motor home. I checked into renting one and ....... it made more sense to purchase something, then sell it when we get back. I used all my cash reserves for winter to do this and hope that I can recoup my money when I return. I spent the morning cleaning the RV and beginning to load in the necessities to travel. It is very compact, this new ride and I ended up removing the table to accommodate the dogs' kennel. The dogs are the reason we travel in our own accommodations. The cost to kennel them...... plus the fact that Oscar (aka Spawn of Satan) would no doubt bite his keeper and we would have to pay extra for that,assures that the dogs go with us. Emmy is delicate, having broken her back and having her spine fused....I would be worried about her the whole time. And then there is Wall-E, the blogging dog. He is afraid of his own shadow and would pee himself and whimper the whole time. The kennel is for him. It contains all things familiar to him and is where he goes when he is overwhelmed by life. (Wish I had a kennel!)

The bed is made and bathroom is clean and stocked with all the necessities. It is so small that you can multi-task from a sitting position. The shower stall; what can I say. I was going to put the kennel in it, but it's not big enough. Showering should be quite an event. The kitchen is small, but all I need is the microwave to heat up the pizzas and sandwiches that didn't sell this past season. Paper plates will make the nice double sink useless. I am not outfitting the kitchen, since we plan on selling it as soon as we get back. It has a 9 inch TV and a dish! Love of my life will no doubt take a larger set for the trip. Hey, we have priorities! All I care about is that the bed is comfy and the dogs will be with us.

I am thinking that I should either go for a walk while the sun is shining or go bake some cookies for my husband. Maybe I will do both and this will be a day of great accomplishments........

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Red Sky At Night...Tulip's Delight?

I looked out yesterday evening and saw this beautiful sunset. I seem to be looking to the sky a lot lately....
What is it they say? Red sky at night, sailor's delight. This proved to be true and it was a beautiful day. I awoke early after a good night's sleep and was surprised to find that some of the gloom had lifted. I had energy to do more than simply make it through the day.

It is November... and I do have bulbs that need to go into the ground. So I gathered my one hundred and fifty tulip bulbs and eighty daffodil bulbs along with the new bulb planting tool that was a gift. I did not forget my kneeling pad. I was prepared! I looked at all the dead marigold plants that lie directly in the path of the wind and decided to go ahead and pull them all up to make the planting a little easier. A couple of the plants were still blooming and I left them to see if I could get a few more blooms to enjoy..... and they were alive with bees. It was 75 degrees here today.

So with a fresh slate I grab my handy dandy bulb digger and prepare to begin. How hard could it be? You shove the thing into the soil and pull the dirt up and release it, put the bulb in and then put the soil on top. Easy. I kneel on my knee saver and push my gadget into the ground.... then I gave it more power..... then I put both hands on the top and pushed with all my might and wiggled it and finally had it as deep as necessary. I pull it up with some difficulty and try to dislodge the dirt. I tap the devise and pull the little handle and the dirt remains lodged inside like a huge gob of peanut butter with glue in it. I try tapping it against a rock and finally pick up a good sturdy stick and jam it into the mucky clay like soil and finally loose it. I carefully choose a tulip and wonder what color it will be I place it pointed side up in the hole and then add a little layer of soil, then top it with a daffodil and top it off with the rest of the soil.

Two down, 228 to go. Hmmmm. Maybe I simply haven't mastered this new tool... but wait I had one similar to it before and never had this much trouble. Could it be the soil and all the rain? Maybe. But, I am determined. I get 14 more bulbs in the ground and I am exhausted. I go inside and grab a cold drink. I get a fire going in the bonfire pit to take care of all the dead branches and plants I have removed. I rake a little. But I am really determined to get these in the ground. Much to my relief Deb comes up, bucket in hand...... is she here to help? Not so much. She was sick all last week and she is looking not so good. She offers the bucket to me and says that she only got 6 of hers in the ground. She wonders if we should just hire someone to put them in.... What is wrong with her? She really is sick!

She did bring this tool that looks like a giant fat nail. You can shove this bad boy in with one hand and ream out a good sized hole with no soil to unclog. I am happy to report that although every muscle in my body hurts like hell I successfully planted all 230 bulbs!! I will confess that I had thoughts of just throwing them on the ground and buying potting soil and covering them. I even thought of tossing them in the compost bin and rescuing them in the spring. Mostly I thought of tossing them in the dumpster, but I could never do something that wasteful. They had better come up!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Free Motion

I was driving down the interstate today on a run to the grocery. The sky was blue with white fluffy clouds and the sun was shining. After all the rain I was in hopes that this would lighten my spirits. I have been sad since my son died. Sad seems like an inadequate word... and it is. I don't have words to express what has been in my mind and heart. I don't know that those words even exist. I have been in a sort of fog since I was told of his death and I know that I have a lot of feelings to sort and that will take time.

It was in this mood that I was driving along. Just staring out the window I happened to look up ahead to see a flock of birds suddenly swoop down and then up again and suddenly disappear. Then they reappeared as they turned and scattered into another formation. It was a huge flock. I am sure they are migrating south. They were far enough away to not be able to see what species they were, they appeared black. They swooped up and down and to the side, looking like the tail of a kite. When they turned a certain way they were invisible until turning again to darken the sky.

I longed to feel that freedom of motion. They appeared to be playing chicken with the cars and trucks on the interstate as they swooped down and then up. Were they just reveling in being? In the moment of exhilaration? Is that what my son's ashes would look like if I were to loose them into the sky?

My son's ashes arrived today. He will be interred on the 21st of this month in Georgia. My job is to bring his ashes to the service. This will be the last trip he will ever take... Forever is a long time.

Monday, November 2, 2009


The wizard won the witch...... and then she gave me a kiss!
This whole party was a success because of this woman and all her hard work and organization. My best friend, Deb. She held my hand through my grief and helped me put it all together. She picked me up when I fell down and gave me a shove when I felt I couldn't go on. I would have canceled the whole thing and held a pity party instead, but she would not let me. She is just what the doctor ordered and I love her for holding me together.

Despite the weather a hardy group of campers showed up for the party. These are the entries of the pumpkin carving contest.

Love of my life got our bonfire going before the sun went down. With a little help from a propane torch.........

Let the eating begin! Everyone went through the line and tasted each chili and salsa first and cast their ballot...... Then they were allowed to really eat.

Due to the bitter gusts of wind we had to put the buffet line inside the tent instead of outside. See the hay on the ground? To soak up the water squishing up out of the ground.

Hey, it's not Easter....... so why is there a bunny here? Ohhhh, I get it now.

The winning carving was....... M I C... K E Y.... MOUSE.

My personal favorite is the one that says.... KAN-DO ROCKS! I snuck a prize to Alyssa for this one.

Wicked cute little faces!

Cutest costume went to the smallest guy here. That shirt will swallow him, but he was so cute!

Check it out!

You just want to kiss those cheeks, don't you?

Trust me...... she is no angel! This really is a misleading costume!

It was hard to catch the winners for a photo op. Jan is a good sport and an excellent cook. See the glasses in her hand? My logo is etched on there! Thanks to Martha the Wizard! Hmmmmm.... I guess she really is a wizard.......

Winnie the Witch just came into being, She wants to be awarded as a prize.

I wonder what two of my fave campers are cooking up here.

This is supposed to be a shot of the full moon....... not so good.

I confess..... I am technology challenged, but these are the brave souls leaving for the hayride. Too windy for me..
The rest of us stayed here at the fire. What is that smell? Hey, Fred, are your shoes hot? Patrick would appear to be warming his backside. Good idea.
I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.