Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Year of Blogging!

I almost forgot this milestone!! It has been one whole year. I never would have imagined how much I would come to enjoy this activity. This has been my refuge, my sounding board, and a place to meet some awesome people!

I am not computer savvy...just in case you haven't noticed. My daughter had to push me into this. She had to stay on the phone with me and walk me through the process step by step. Then she had to answer a thousand stupid questions. She was very patient and loving until she finally told me to read the instructions at each step.

I started writing my blog just to my thoughts down and see if I could actually write something that others might want to read. I was only going to write about things pertaining to owning this campground. That thought was pretty much abandoned with the very first post. I wrote about my love of Novocaine; yes, I did. So, I thought this would be a way to communicate with my family. They could read my thoughts (and between the lines, knowing me as well as they do) and keep up with our day to day life.

One day I discovered Blogs of Note!!! I started reading the thoughts of other bloggers and cautiously commenting. You cannot imagine how surprised I was when someone other than a family member commented on my blog. I called my daughter right away so excited! She laughed at my excitement and told me to get over myself! In this past year I have had others tell me that I am a good writer, that I can express myself well and that I tell a good story. That all pales in comparison to having my children tell me that I am a good writer.

It has been an amazing year of discovery for me. I have learned to do a lot on the computer, even post pictures. I have met some pretty wonderful people, even a couple in person! In this vast world of blogging I have found a whole community of of wonderful people who have rejoiced in my accomplishments and held me up in times of petty annoyances and a time of horrific grief.

In a few minutes we will welcome a brand new year. I look forward to another year of sharing my thoughts and reading those of my blogging family. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Plans for the Upcoming Season

A new season for the campground will be here before I can blink. It is time to start planning for next year and as much as I would like to put it off....... well, I that is not going to happen. The physical work won't begin until the bitter cold wind dies down a bit.

Best friend ever, Deb came out and spent her weekend building a new web site for me! One look and everyone who knows me and my computer savvy will know that I didn't do it! Go check it out at . We (and when I say we, I mean Deb) will be updating the events monthly. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

We have an itinerary for the season all ready to go beginning April 24th with a welcome back potluck supper to enjoy after a day of site clean up getting ready for a long summer. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate with our plans! May will be a Mother's Day breakfast and In June we will have a fishing derby in honor of Father's Day. This year for the 4th of July we will have a parade of golf carts, ATVs, bicycles, and you can even join in on foot with your pet! After this we will gather for a BBQ and pot luck side dish before the awesome fireworks display. August will be a pot luck and Bingo for those gamblers among us while the braver ones will present a display of Karaoke talent (me, me, I love a micro-phone!!!). Labor day weekend will bring my church crowd back and we will have a fish fry, too. And last, but not least we will have our annual Octoberfeast celebrating all things scary and ghoulish.

I am getting excited again as I write this. I will be so happy to see all my seasonal campers after the hibernation of winter.... not to mention all those bulbs I planted. Any of you that are traveling my way, be sure to stop in and see us! I am thinking everyone should camp at least once in their lives...... might as well camp here....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Family Member

Meet Georgie. She is the newest member of our family. Just a pup now, she will get a lot bigger. She belongs to my daughter and her family....... so that makes me Georgie's Gramma, right? I met her for the first time and we had an instant connection. I can't wait to see what happens when she meets her canine relatives here at my house.
Georgie naps alot. She is, after all, just a baby. Needs her sleep to grow.

Still sleeping and totally unaware of her surroundings.

Tell me.... who could not love that slack jawed face? Look at the size of those feet! Seriously, Georgie possesses a sweet disposition and her only fault would be an appetite for socks!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just Girls and Travel

I flew home yesterday from Minnesota. I hated leaving my girls, but duty calls.....

I miss my girls today! I am soooooo tired! Travel is always tiring, but yesterday's flight was the flight from hell.

Let's go back to the beginning, though......... Knowing that I was to fly out at 8:10 last week, I carefully laid out my clothes and had every thing ready to go very early in the morning. I wanted to leave no later than 6:30 and that would be pushing it, but I was feeling bad for my husband who had to work the evening before. I was up and finishing the packing when he got home and watched him set the alarm.

I woke up at 7:00...... we are 75 miles from the airport. I threw a pillow at love of my life and shouted the time. I was not happy. He calmly got out of bed and said, "Don't worry, we'll make it." WHAT? I think that is when I told him he was an idiot. I raced into my clothes and grabbed my carry-on and heavy coat and headed out the door as he was loading my luggage. He went back in to go to the bathroom (unnecessary, he could have held it).

So, there I was all riled up at him on our 35th anniversary. I have no idea why I was hurrying, I knew we wouldn't make it. But I was hurrying along in my slip-on shoes that would have to be removed to go through security. Aren't I ever so clever?

Okay, here I must back up a bit and tell you about an encounter between the flagstone and the loader on the front of the tractor.......... love of my life was operating the machine, in case you didn't already guess. I think he was trying to level the terrain and in doing so he lifted the flagstone and dropped it back down, slightly askew, and in doing so made it not be level with the rock surrounding it. I had stumbled on it a couple of times and told love of my life that he needed to fix it, because it was a hazard. Low on the priority list, taking second and third place to anything else that came up. I should have fixed it myself, really, I should have.

I know you have all figured out what happened by now. While my husband leisurely emptied his bladder I rushed out the front door annoyed to no end with my bag in front of me, blocking the view of my feet. The toe of my shoe hit that flagstone just right and the momentum carried me forward (I swear I was air born for a few seconds) and I came down with a whoof of air out of my lungs and slid along the gravel on my hands and knees as if I were sliding into home plate. Knocked the shoes right off my feet, it did. Thank goodness that bag and my coat were in my arms in front of me and blocked the fall on my belly and kept my face up. I have mixed feelings about the surveillance cameras on the front of the building. They didn't catch my performance and I was thankful. But..... I bet it would have been funny to watch. First thing I did when I stopped sliding was to look around to see if anyone saw me. Seeing no-one around, I got into the car and only then did I look at the palms of my hands and start picking the gravel out. My knees were stinging, but my pants were intact, so I thought they were okay. I later discovered I was wrong in the airport restroom.

Yes, I missed my flight, but was able to get a later one. I didn't arrive in Minnesota around noon as I had planned, but at 3:15. Had I left in my car when I got up, I would have made it in about the same amount of time.......

The return flight started out good. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time. Bought the nastiest tasting coffee ever and read quietly until I boarded my first flight. I knew I had a two hour lay-over in Chicago and wasn't really thrilled about it, but I figured I would grab a sandwich and read some more and that would take up the two hours.

I got off the plane and walked towards the concourse with my departure gate. Lots and lots of people everywhere. no big surprise there. I see a sign ahead announcing that flu shots are available in the direction I am going. This was set up in the middle of the walkway to take advantage of the central location to several concourses. It didn't block the flow of traffic, but was highly visible. There was a woman about to receive her shot standing next to the counter........ with her arm pulled out of one side of her shirt, leaving her bra and abdomen bare for all the world to see!

Gee, you would have thought they could have set up a partition providing a little privacy, don't you?

I kept walking after being treated to the peep show and found a seat near my gate. I was at the end of that concourse where 6 gates are merged together. I happened to look up from my book and see a man laying on the floor near a gate that wasn't being used. There was a young woman massaging him. At one point she flipped him onto his stomach and climbed on his back and dug her knees into his buttocks while digging into his back with her elbows. Other folks were watching, like me. It was hard not to watch. During this performance and in between announcements urging us all to cover our mouths when coughing or sneezing and washing our hands....... I hear that my flight has been delayed 25 minutes. What can you do?

I read an entire book and got another out. I strolled a bit to stretch my legs, then as the area started to fill up decided to keep my seat, since my carry-on was getting heavier. More announcements urging common sense hygiene and my flight has been delayed another 20 minutes. The plane finally arrives and the area is packed with travelers, including lots of little old ladies in wheel chairs and tons of cologne. I start wheezing right away and wonder why the announcements don't include telling people who are gathering in tight spaces to not douse themselves in fragrance. I drag out my inhaler and suck albuterol into my lungs and stick a Halls cough drop in my mouth, then hunt another location.

After standing against a wall for 30 minutes it is finally time to board. It is open seating and I see two women with a seat between them and grab it. I am in the last group to board and am expecting to take off soon after I am situated. No such luck. The flight attendants keep counting us like we are a group of grade school children with one missing. Next they call out a man's name and ask that he raise his hand. After not being able to locate this man they all gather at the front of the plane and confer with the pilot, who is now using his finger to count as he looks out from the front of the plane at his passengers.

As we sit waiting I strike up a conversation with one of my seatmates. She has been flying since 6:00 AM and is coming from Canada to visit her son in Houston for the holidays. She is happy to tell me that she was on this plane when it landed in Chicago and will not have to get off and change flights again. This flight is stopping in St. Louis, then Tulsa, and finally in Houston. As we chat, one of the flight attendants asks that everyone who was on the plane when it landed raise their hand. The lady next to me was supposed to change planes and board another flight bound for Houston. She had to get off and the man who had been lost was now found and got on the plane. I felt so bad for the lady....she had asked and was told to stay seated. The flight attendant didn't ask to see the itinerary and assumed she was on the correct flight. I hope she made it to Houston.

So, we are all excited to finally be ready for take-off........ But, now they have determined we are too heavy for take-off and have to unload some cargo.

I was supposed to be home at 5:00 and that didn't happen. I am glad to be here and all my dog children are happy to see me, too. Love of my life is also happy that I am home. He is off to work and I will have a long evening to catch up on all my favorite blogs!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Up and Down

My emotional state has been all over the map since October. Two months ago I was told that my son was dead. I had not seen him in eight years. I had talked to him on the phone maybe three times in those eight years and had exchanged letters a couple of times. Our relationship was strained. He seemed to embrace a lifestyle that I not only disapproved of, but didn't really understand. He was addicted to heroin and was participating in a methadone clinic at the end of his life. I suppose my lack of understanding comes from my non-addictive personality. I have never smoked and never been dependent on alcohol. I like being in control of myself.

That is not to say that I am always in control. I am not a control freak and don't want to control anyone other than myself. But, even that is not always possible. Just as when my mother died; I can't control when a wave of grief will knock me off my feet. I try to remain standing, but am not always successful. Today has been a really down day. Seems to me that I have been hit from every side today.

Tomorrow morning I will board a plane and wing my way to Minnesota. My children need me. They were unable to attend the memorial service for their and need to achieve closure. My girls need me the most. Happens to coincide with Christmas, this trip and because the airline I am flying has free luggage I have spent the day stuffing presents for the little ones into the two pieces of luggage I am allowed. I am sure that I will no doubt forget something, but there are stores in Minnesota.

I should be in a festive mood and I am looking forward to seeing my children...... but, one phone call absolutely did me in today. And I was the one to make the call.

Have you ever known someone that made you feel like you were not as ..... I can't find the right word, I want to say good..... but that doesn't encompass it. Like you aren't deserving of their attention is as close as I can get in words. My husband has only one sibling, a sister, and she has always given me the impression that I never quite made the cut, so to speak. Nothing she would ever lend voice to and it is intangible, nothing overtly critical, but it is there. I am not the only one to have felt it.

No easy camaraderie between us, no particular sense of family other than the obligatory communication. She only calls my husband's cell phone and in the almost 6 years we have lived here, other than today I have only spoken to her on this phone twice. When our son died my husband made several attempts to call her and finally just left a message. I sent her an e-mail and after two weeks she responded saying she had been so busy and that she was sorry to hear that Bobby had died. No personal phone call, no inquiry about any services....... nothing. I wasn't particularly surprised or even bothered by it until today.

Today she called because she needed us to help with the cost of her mother's prescriptions. She called her brother, not me. I overheard his side of the conversation and asked about it a few hours later as he was getting ready to go to work. Off-season is always tight for us and with the unexpected expense of our son's burial expenses we find that we aren't able to send the amount needed. I offered to call her and try to find other avenues of help.

Having worked in a pharmacy before I know that there are samples tossed each month by doctor's offices due to expiration. They sometime bring them to pharmacies to dispose of. I suggested this and to look into some free programs that are offered by the pharmaceutical companies. My suggestions were not well received and she then went on to say that she felt that we weren't providing enough financial help with my mother-in-law. It escalated and words were spoken that probably were better left unsaid. We could then continue the superficial relationship of before.

Seems she was upset that we went to Georgia and only spent a few hours with my mother-in-law as opposed to the two nights spent at my Dad's house after spending two nights at our cousin's house. We stayed there because of the close proximity to the service. Given the fact that I had not heard from her after learning of my son's death, I guess I assumed her to be disinterested in the details. Apparently I should have notified her with the information about the service. I honestly thought that she would know about it from talking to her brother. I was dealing with a lot and said as much and went on to say that although I knew she didn't particularly care for my son that I was still grieving. To this she said "don't even go there" and hung up.

I was more mad than hurt and chose to vent my frustrations to my buddy (to whom I can say anything). I was going on with my chores and the phone rang........ love of my life wants to know "what the hell is going on". She told on me!!!!! No she didn't! She left messages on his phone, so I gave him a brief description of the phone call and let him go....... he was at work, after all. And as far as I was concerned it was over and I was done.

She called back to apologize. She was having a bad day. It might have been alright had she not taken on her condescending tone and told me that she knew how I felt. I lost it and told her that she did not know how I felt and furthermore did not care how I felt; that she didn't even know me and had never cared to know me. Yeah, I was mad and should have edited my thoughts before they became words. She then told me that it was the other way around and that I had always found fault with her family and with my mother-in-law. She was mad. In that state she proffered the apology again. I told her that I couldn't talk and then I hung up.

Food for thought. I suppose I need to search my memory for these transgressions that I seem to have committed against her and her family. Not tonight. My head hurts and my heart hurts. I thought that it would become clear to me with the writing, but the fog is not lifting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


As Mrs. Claus is looking on, lending some friendly supervision, I mixed and stirred and created some holiday goodies. All alone tonight, I set out the lot of my efforts just to enjoy the view before boxing and bagging.
My dilemma of finding no tins for sale in which to distribute my holiday cheer has solved itself. Thanks to all the suggestions on my previous post...... I was able to think outside the to speak. I discovered a plethora of stockings from Christmases past. No stockings will be hung by the non-existent chimney with care, so I decided to put the cookies in zip lock bags and use the stockings as my "containers".

Mr. and Mrs. Claus stand sentinel over the display as my camera clicks away.... I am, after all, easily amused.

On this tray are my fruitcake cookies. Before you wonder at my choice of recipe, let me assure you that they are yummy, no citron was involved in the making, just candied pineapple and red and green candied cherries. I was able to find them in the local market despite the blank looks on the faces of the young folks working there. There are also ginger puffs and some cookies called dishpan cookies from my friend, Deb. She left a lot more here, along with some peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses. Love of my life satisfied his sweet tooth.

On the plate above you will see my pecan brittle. I made two batches today while baking cookies and preparing a batch of Chex mix. This is some seriously decadent stuff.... highly addictive. And homemade to the nth degree. I picked these nuts up at my Dad's house and shelled them all out myself. And hidden away from love of my life. I made this for my kids.

Flanking the dish of chocolate cookies are my favorite cookies. Date nut balls and crushed nut balls. I seem to like balls. I have heard my crushed nut balls referred to as wedding cookies, too (balls?). I use butter and I crush the pecans in a food processor. I use a two to one ratio of nuts to flour and have totally changed the original recipe. I like nuts. The date nut balls, well, the recipe did not call for nuts. I like nuts.

It is a well known fact among my family that I don't care for chocolate. Yes, you read that correctly. I like mocha flavor in some things and I like really dark chocolate, although it would never be listed among my favorite foods. That being said, the man I love does love chocolate. The gastronomic delight on the plate above is all for him. It is a chocolate, chocolate chunk cookie (with nuts.... he likes them,too). As soon as you pull them out of the oven you smoosh half a marshmallow on top of the hot cookie. Then while the cookie is cooling, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips, add some butter, vanilla and heavy cream, beat it by hand and add enough powdered sugar to make it spreadable and then cover the top of the cookie with this.... I guess you could call it a ganache. No, I have not tasted the cookies, but I did taste the icing. Very rich.
Christmas comes but once a year........... and for that I am most grateful!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Howling Storm.....

This is how I feel today. The storm is sort of over.... and hot water has been restored to the bathroom. The wind and snow and ice blew through here like we are a tunnel for the wind........ blew down a lot of my lights and my sign outside. I would go and deal with the broken lights, but the 17 degree temp has discouraged me. Oscar (aka Spawn of Satan) expresses his displeasure when I leave him inside.
Oddly enough, the holiday stork remains standing and was supposed to be on my last post with the news of the new little boy in our campground. The wind does hinky things to the Sprint tower down the road. I can get online and read....just can't post. Some comments would post, others wouldn't.

Many years ago I bought this tablecloth with a stamped cross stitch pattern on it. I thought I would do it one winter, but my mother-in-law took over the project for me and finished it. I bought this table last year in a thrift store and now have a table long enough for my table cloth.

All ready for company, am I!

Mr. Snowman seems a little frustrated with trying to put lights on his tree...... I know how he feels!

These guys are a little too happy.... they must have been testing the Christmas spirits!
More snowmen are hanging out by the tree on the registration desk.... and look in the background on the cabinet by the coke sign. There sits my snowman of long, long legs.
I went into the city here close to home, the city with the flashing light at the four way stop. There is a small grocery that has all the basics for my cookie making venture and I did not want to get on the interstate and drive 23 miles to WalMart. There is an Alco store, too, so I ventured in to purchase some cookie tins and some replacement bulbs for my disgraced outdoor display. They had no bulbs and almost no lights left! No cookie tins to be found! I usually buy these items after Christmas for the following year! it will be interesting to see what will be on sale after the holiday! I will now be forced to travel far and wide..... or come up with something clever to hold those cookies. Any ideas would be most appreciated!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wishing You A Really Gaudy Holiday

Ho, Ho, Ho! I have managed to drag all manner of tacky, gaudy decor and display it merrily for all to see! I have cords everywhere, so watch your step!

Note the artistic sign.... created by yours truly. This is how one writes when one's hands are numb with cold. Oh, it is the thought that counts ....... can this be my Christmas card to everyone? Good, I am done with that, then!

My mother made these for me years ago...... I think it should be my theme this year. Mice..... so appropriate, since I have been in a war with rodents all year. These mice, though, can sick around ........ well, except for the one Wall-E, the wonder dog ate.

They look so happy to be beneath the tree, don't they? Must be the innocence of youth and rodents.

This mouse is one of my creations. I worked for a fabric chain in the late 80's. The store displays were made by the employees. Hence the mouse riding the candy cane. I just noticed that the wind blew his hat off.

There is more tackiness to be captured on film and displayed here for all of blogland to feast their eyes upon. I have been such a busy little bee. Hmmm, you never see bees depicted on Christmas scenes. Maybe next year.

Three batches of cookies have been made. Tomorrow I will be restocking my pantry with all the staples and five more kinds of cookies will be made. I will be standing in as a grandparent at the elementary school for Hannah and Logan who are in residence until their Dad's work on the pipeline is done. After that I will go out in search of cookie tins. I like to give cookies to all the campers who happen to be here. We have a brand new baby in the park

Sunday, December 6, 2009

3:00 AM Games

Sandpaper toe pads against my bare skin as dog legs stretch in preparation for a run outside. Really, it is 3:00 AM. The middle of the night. For the past two weeks or more the dogs have awakened me to go out in the 3 o'clock hour. I am already awake....... waiting. Waiting to see what method they will use tonight to get me out of the bed.

Love of my life usually sleeps blissfully through the 3 AM pee-pee break, but I know he is awake. He went to he bathroom and stuffed more wood in the wood stove not 20 minutes ago....... that is the reason I am awake. He has no idea how to be quiet.

Wall-E is walking around on top of the covers preparing to leap to the floor. Emmy is stretching, her little toes against my arm. Oscar stretches against my leg, Oscar of sandpaper toe pads and nails that need to be clipped. I want to push him away, but the game is on. You know the game if you have children...... you have all played it.

I am lying as still as possible. I have been getting up every night in the middle of the night for two weeks or more! It is his turn! And I know he is awake! I can tell by the way he is breathing. I can feel his awareness of the dogs. He is playing, too. Oscar is now emitting his low whimper. His legs are too short to jump to the floor. Wall-E, in he meantime is tapping across the floor (his nails need clipping, too). Emmy waits patiently for the male dogs to awaken a person to transport her to the back yard so that she can relieve herself. I continue to pretend to be asleep.... lying very, very still. He is also lying still and trying to breathe evenly (he is very good at this). I know he wants to turn over, but he is afraid to, any movement and I will say, "It's your turn." He knows this and he continues to lie still.

Wall-E jumps back into the bed and tries to pick up my hand with his nose..... I stay limp. Oscar takes the whining up a notch and move to the bench at the foot of the bed. Emmy waits patiently. Wall-E leaps back onto the floor and dances across the floor encouraging Oscar to try to jump down. He jumps up to bed and back to the floor demonstrating how it is done. Oscar is now whining in earnest and I cough!

I lost because I coughed! Not fair! I have been sick and for that reason he should let me win, but no, he knows the game too well. So, off I shuffle to the back door with three dogs railing behind me at 3:04 AM. Tonight I will have cough drops close by..... and I will win!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Maya!

Maya is six years old today. It doesn't seem that long ago that my son called me excitedly to tell me they were on their way to the airport to fly to Texas and meet their baby. We all waited for that first picture with great anticipation.
Now she is a big girl, in Kindergarten! She has been visited by the tooth fairy and sports a lovely toothless smile in the photo above. I will be traveling to Minnesota in February to see her and her sisters....... but my heart is there today, on this sweet girls birthday.
Missing milestones is hard, but it makes the time I do get with them even more precious. Happy Birthday to Maya!

Meeting Family

Meet my great granddaughter, Jailynn. She was born on Easter Sunday this year. We met her for the first time at my son's memorial service. She was blissfully unaware of the circumstance and was handed from person to person.
Love of my life is always enchanted with infants. He likes them small..... before they start walking away, having to be chased.

No signs of hair yet, but a solemn expression on that sweet little face. I remember that same expression on the face of her daddy, my grandson, Dan.

Here she is with her Mommy and Daddy..... I panned in on her, but you can see that lovely red hair that will no doubt be on her head soon.

This is my grandson, Dan. Yes, I see the tattoo and scolded him. What can I say, he is grown now and can do what he wants, doesn't need my approval.
That bald head is so kissable!