Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye to my Friend Maryanne

Sydney and I had a very good morning today. I had some work "work" to do in the office for a while, but she was an angel and entertained my housekeeper until I had finished. She watched me for a few minutes from the wing chair but that quickly became boring (to me, too).

She doesn't like to eat breakfast until she has been up a while, but when she finally decided she was hungry, she requested HOT DOGS, again ! One of the very best parts of being a Mimi who doesn't get to be with her grand children much is that I CAN do that, so yes, Syd had hot dogs for breakfast. I love it!

We spent the remainder of the morning getting her things together and playing a little along the way. We dawdled a lot, went to the post office and before we knew it, it was 2:00 pm. Her favorite place to eat out is O'Charley's and I just happened to have received a nice gift certificate for Christmas so off we went for a late lunch. Fortunately,
O'Charley's does not serve hot dogs, so her lunch consisted of macaroni and cheese with cheetos. The picture shows her with her ice cream dessert! How I have loved spoiling her these past two days!

After our late lunch, we took off for Hodgenville, where visitation was being held at the funeral home for Sydney's babysitter and my bunco friend Maryanne. This is such a sad thing for everyone concerned. (see previous posts) I did get an opportunity to seriously hug her 17 year old daughter Jessi and to speak to her husband, but I walked away with the somber knowledge that I won't see Maryanne again on this earth. Another place, another time, but not here again.

I have such conflicting thoughts, not about my faith, but about death itself. It seems that people expect me to feel different or that it should affect me differently because that's what I do for a living every day. When the day comes that I am hardened to death, that is the day I need to leave it.

I still write about my Dad a lot. He died in May and I am STILL dealing with the loss, almost daily. So friends, I am no different than any of you.

I will miss you, Maryanne, and pray for Jessi and her family.

As a postscript, on the way home I saw the most beautiful crescent moon I have seen in a long time. I used to date a fine man who called them "fingernail" moons, I think. I don't really even remember why, I just thought of that when I saw it and remembered him.

Somber thoughts are filling my head, not a good time to share. Until next time.....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sydney's Day

Checking out at Peebles

Ready for the Movie to START

BOLT was a pretty good movie!

Sydney with her Hannah Montana cap

Checking out at Claire's

And how does this purse look?

First Manicure

Blue Nail Polish with Gold Glitter

Blessed is the grandmother who gets to spend an entire day bonding with one of four grandchildren! We had such a "girly" fun day and did everything Syd could think of that she wanted to do. Tonight's menu consisted of 3 pieces of bacon with macaroni and cheese! (and look how thin she is). Great child full of wonder, great day!

Tub time now so I have to RUN ! (literally) :)

Sydney comes to Visit!

Yesterday Mother and I made the drive to Buffalo to get my 5 year old granddaughter Sydney and bring her back to Hopkinsville to my house for her very first overnight with me! It was the first time I had driven that far since back surgery and it really wasn't too bad. I used a pillow on my back and other than being tired, it posed no problems.

We went directly to my son David's house where Sydney was waiting to show me all her wonderful surprises from Santa this year! Apparently she was a very good girl last year!Sydney and her new Horse from Santa

David was outside working on a vehicle but I did at least get to see him for a few minutes. Her mother Barbie was, I could tell, choking back tears as we left but Sydney was in high spirits!

We moved on to my daughter April's house to visit for a few minutes so I could see the things Santa had left at THEIR house! April and Bruce, along with Kristin and Tristin, were all so excited to see us. Lots of hugs and love to spread around there! We did get to see many gifts and also "the missing tooth" from the boy with the big smile.

We didn't tarry long as we had a long way to travel. TRISTIN


Of course, we were all hungry so we stopped at Sydney's favorite place to eat, McDonald's, in Leitchfield on our way back.Sydney at McDonalds

After we dropped Mom off at Chapel House, we made a quick stop at Food Lion for dinner supplies. Dinner consisted of hot dogs and chocolate ice cream! I think I like having a five year old create the menu!

A sad note to an otherwise delightful evening. David, April and others called to tell me that Sydney's babysitter, Maryanne Carpenter, had unexpectedly DIED. My son works with the rescue team there in Larue County and actually made the run. I still don't know what happened exactly, but Maryanne was even a friend to me. I had driven to her house to play bunco several times and knew her relatively well. This is such a tragedy for their family as she was only 45 years old. She has a 20 year old son and a 17 year old daughter.

Things are still up in the air re: that situation but I think David and Barbie want Sydney to come back home for the services. We will know more later. Barbie asked me to talk to Syd about it, and I did, but very gently. She does not fully grasp what has happened, but we talked about it again right before she went to sleep and included Maryanne and her family in our prayers.

She is still asleep this morning but we have a full day planned! More on this later.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Reflections on Christmas Past

It has certainly been a quiet Christmas for me, all in all. Of course, as you have read in previous posts, I had lots of company at various times, but not all at once, thank goodness.

There were few, if any, instances out of the ordinary unless you count Tristin losing his first tooth on Christmas Day. He has certainly been fearful of the pain, but was extremely excited about the "tooth fairy" coming the very next night after Santa came! Times certainly have changed since the tooth fairy came and left me a quarter. Tristin found $5.00 under HIS pillow.

My friends Mike and Gail had travelled to Lexington to be with their children on Christmas this year, starting a new tradition for their family. With the advent of a new granddaughter, Jolee, I guess this might have been expected. But all worked out well and they had a magical Christmas. I am glad they are back home safely.

I have been thinking today about how calmly this Christmas passed and how much I have to be thankful for. My back surgery has healed to the point that I know it is time to go back to work. I am scheduled to return a week from today. I hope my body will keep up. I have gained a lot of weight since being at home (hopefully due to the massive doses of steroids I had to take for a while) so will have to work diligently on losing some of this weight. I just feel better all over when I am not so heavy.

Brother Rodney is still here and is at Mother's. I didn't see them today as they had company there for the majority of the day. Spoke to them earlier and they were thinking about dinner. He is planning to take her shopping tomorrow and then maybe we will all go to the movies together. She needs to get out, but hope she is up for it.

I haven't started gathering Christmas decorations for storage yet. That is yet to come. Brenda and Mike Hale are great friends and are coming to help with that one day next week, we still haven't decided when. Maybe I will be able to take a few pictures to post!

My blog seems to have become a diary of sorts and not much is new around here. So, later my friends!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quiet Christmas Eve

It truly was a quiet Christmas Eve at my house. Had a solitary dinner guest (who cooked for ME) and a gift exchange afterwards.

Thinking of where my family is tonight. It seems they are scattered to the winds, but all with purpose.

My son and his family are celebrating with his in-laws in Magnolia, KY tonight.

My daughter and her husband are battling a serious leak in their kitchen with water, water everywhere. Doesn't matter to Santa, he still knows where they live.

Mother went to my niece's home today and will stay through dinner tomorrow. My brother Rodney is battling the weather and traffic to get there by morning. Hope and pray he travels safely.

My other brother Wayne is at home still recuperating from a "delicate" surgical procedure. I think his son and grandchildren will be there tomorrow.

Now I know where everyone is and peaceful sleep will find me soon. Remembering my Dad tonight on my first Christmas without him in many years. Christmas changes for me from year to year but most important is that we remember what we are celebrating and why. Next comes the children and their joy and awe.

Sleep well, my blogging friends and Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Work Day at Home and About

This was the mess waiting for me in my home "office" this morning when I got up, thanks to lots of wonderful company last night and reading until the wee hours today. So I put a big pot of coffee on and got right to it. I seriously set about to reaching for my organizational skills and it took about 4 or 5 hours of true diligence, but eventually it all got done. The bills are paid and mailed !! I'm so proud of me.

My poor house looked like a cyclone had been through here, but thankfully my housekeeper Teresa shows up on Tuesdays (if the weather's not too bad and if she is not sick). She is heaven-sent..... Teresa even goes to my Mother's apartment every other Monday and helps her out. Sometimes I think if my phone didn't ring every 15 minutes I could actually get into this :) Well, people care about me and need to reassure themselves that I am okay, so I guess that is a good thing.

After Teresa left I made my way to Walgreen's to pick up drugs for Mother. The parking lot was jammed and I had to wait until 3 cars left before I could actually park my car. Going inside the store was ANOTHER event!

I headed directly for the pharmacy and placed myself in a LONG line. I happened to be in line behind a nice young man with whom I naturally, struck up a conversation. He had stepped out of line for a moment and upon returning, got in line BEHIND me. I told him to get right back where he was which was directly in front of me. He said he thought the adage applied "move it and lose it" but I assured him we are in Kentucky and manners rule the day. (I wish that were true for everyone everywhere).

He let me know that he had been in a car with his wife, three children and the dog for more than 3 hours and was very grateful for common courtesy. Hopefully he will pass it on. I love to meet new people and hear bits and pieces of their lives. That young man was so frazzled and tired. But this time in his life will pass all too soon. The children will grow up and these days will be happy memories for him.

Took Mom her medicine. She is all packed and ready to go to Bunny's for a few days. Called me a moment ago to assure me she is picking up her apartment and putting things away tonight. I will miss her but want her to have a happy period. She is so depressed without Dad this year.

Going to eat leftover vegetable soup, my friends. Be safe.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Salem Carolers

As a joyous postscript to the day, as I was preparing to set the table for dinner tonight, who should show up but 30-35 members of my church !!

They piled out of Church vans and private vehicles and gathered in my front yard joyously lifting their voices in song (and my Christmas spirits). It was an absolutely breathtaking gathering of angels singing in my front yard. I surely hope my neighbors enjoyed it half as much as I did! I have had the most fabulous unexpected guests these past few days and am oh, so blessed.

Before finding my house, they went to Chapel House where my Mother lives and gathered in the foyer to sing. Many of the residents heard them and came out to join in the fun. I think it took mother an hour or so to stop crying enough to call me.

God is good.

A Christmas Visit

Me and Lynn

Today my friend Lynn and her family came to visit. What makes this visit so special is that I really don't remember the last time I had seen her. She used to live here in Hopkinsville in my neighborhood and actually even worked for me for a short time! We became fast friends even though I am about 10 years older than her.

Then a year or two ago her husband got a much better job and they moved to her home state of Georgia. We communicate almost daily through Facebook, but it is not the same as a hug.

I got an extra added treat in that she brought her husband Tim and two children Josh and Mara along for the visit. Tim's parents live here so they were back for a Christmas visit with them.Mara East

Josh East

After coaxing them into trying my homemade peanut brittle and some cake with coffee, we spent some time catching up on news from around here. They all seem to be doing so well and seem so happy and settled in their new home.

Josh is off at his first year of college and Mara is a very intelligent high school sophomore. She has just turned 16 and is driving.

It was just great for them to be here, even if only for a couple of hours this afternoon.

After they left, I set about to make homemade vegetable soup on this frigid Kentucky day. Will be good tonight (and tomorrow) !

Yes, I got my afternoon call from my April. She shared with me her Christmas "buys" for her husband Bruce, plans for my granddaughter Kristin's slumber birthday party in January (I need to call her as April says she wants me to be there and I CAN'T). I hate to disappoint my family in any way, but I will be back at work and absolutely not able to be away. Wish me luck with that, and that a 13, almost 14 year old can truly understand.

I am smelling the aroma of some wonderful, warming vegetable soup and am on my way after it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas with Mom

What a great day this was! I had planned to have Mother over for lunch today and exchange Christmas gifts with her since she is now planning to be at my niece Bunny's Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. Mom went to church this morning and I told her to call when she got home.

Well, she called and shortly after that my brother Wayne called to tell me that his wife Bridget and her grandson Taylen were almost to Hopkinsville! They live in northern Indiana and were coming to bring Mother her Christmas gift. My brother has had surgery recently and is not able to travel yet. What a grand surprise! I, of course, expanded lunch to include them and we had a great visit. I know Mom was as happy to see them as I was. (Bridget IS my favorite sister-in-law) Of course, she is my ONLY sister-in-law, so that makes it easier :)

Taylen is an absolute wonder of a child! His birthday is on Christmas Eve and he will be 9 then. His manners are just impeccable and he is a loving and precious boy. I was just so glad to see them, even if only for a while. In this picture, he is helping Granny put her new bracelet on!
On to the living room so Granny could open her remaining gifts. She is somewhat child-like in that she thrills at the aspect of opening gifts. It is joyful to watch her. Lately it seems that she always has a scowl on her face, so it was wonderful to see her smile. Of course, Bridget and Taylen's visit alone improved on her attitude.

My daughter April called this evening. She is so conscientious and tries to call me at least once every day. I wish I had always been as thoughtful as she is. She and her husband Bruce were trying the caramel pie recipe I gave them and was calling to report progress. This is that silly recipe where you BOIL three unopened cans of Eagle Brand milk and then just open them and pour into a graham cracker pie crust. Well, THEIR cans tried to explode and got gooey caramel all over their cabinets! Almost hit Tristin (who is 6) as he was very close to the cans when they came out of the boiling water. Also, their 3 cans made WAY too much filling. Alas, I should have written it down for her (meaning I probably forgot some vital fact). Well, the pie was saved and Bruce can take it to his work tomorrow and have stories to tell about his silly mother-in-laws recipe.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Valentino's in Nashville

What a GREAT evening I had tonight! I guess I should back way up and let you all know I did the "daughterly thing" and took my Mother to Wal-Mart today even though I stayed in the car and read a book while she shopped. Good thinking on my part if you ask me. That parking lot was incredible so I can only imagine how crowded it must have been inside! The older my Mother gets, the more she seems to thrive on that crap and the more I find I cannot tolerate it at all.

Finally got home and bathed and dressed for a night out in Nashville. I find I cannot even dress myself without great problems and even tore up two pair of pantyhose trying to get them on. It will get easier with time, I suppose. What a treat, especially after being cooped up for so long with this back thing. Went to Valentino's for dinner and I had not been there before. We actually passed it on the way to my Nashville neurosurgeon's office and looked it up on the computer before making the investment of time and money to go. Wow, it was certainly worth it. Champagne, grouper and bananas foster at the table. Come to find out, our server had worked at Arthur's for 23 years up until they closed a few years ago. If you didn't have the opportunity to go there, they were in the old Union Station and it was a grand place.

So now I have had my Christmas dinner and am ready to get to bed and pass out (literally and figuratively). The weather was perfect, as was the company and the meal!

If you ever get to Nashville, try it. And by the way, ask for Dino.....he's the best!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yikes! December 18 Already!

I can hardly believe it is so deep into December and I am such a poor blogger! My children and grandchildren came last weekend and we had our "Christmas at Mimi's" house. It was great fun, as always. I guess they actually have THREE Christmases. One at my house early, then one at their other grandparents and then the BIG SANTA comes. I, of course, do this early since they live away and I want them ALL here at the same time.

Since my back surgery in November and a slow healing, I hadn't cooked much at all, but made up for it by baking lots of cookies and making candy, even dog treats for my granddogs. The recipe is simple and the dogs LOVE them. If you're interested, here it is.

2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter

Mix well and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutter for shapes and bake on well-greased cookie sheet until browning, appox. 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. No, I'm not tasting them but like I said, Copper, Sunny, Sam and Jake love them!

While the kids were here, our town sponsors a "Polar Bear Express" event in downtown Hopkinsville, and they all love it. Santa was there and he read the story of Polar Bear Express. The youngest three, Tristin, Sydney and Hayden were totally involved with him!

So now, the bulk of my Christmas is over, the kids are back home and I focus on Mother and getting her through the first Christmas without Dad. She is severely depressed and not feeling well, so I have a job to do. My brother Rodney will be here and that will be a big help. She may even go to my niece's house for dinner on Christmas and that would be great!

Going to bed but I will try to get into this blogging as a routine............

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving and Getting 2008

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, this one a little different from those before.  I had back surgery on November 10 and have been confined to the house and unable to lift ANYTHING, so my wonderful children volunteered to come to my house and cook the meal AND clean up.  I tell you, adult children are God's gift for all the nights you sat up rocking and singing those crying infants.  :) 

My housekeeper came on Tuesday and helped get out the linens and set the table. Thanksgiving 2008 002                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Everything looked so  pretty andThanksgiving 2008 042 tasted so good.  The kids were in rare form, too.  Adorable little tikes, they are! Thanksgiving 2008 015 Thanksgiving 2008 043

April and I wore cute little Thanksgiving aprons (because Barbie wouldn't wear hers, I did.)  David did the lifting and even mashed the potatoes for us!  Barbie cleaned and cleaned in the kitchen, she is a whizz at that, for sure.  Thanksgiving 2008 020 Thanksgiving 2008 021 Thanksgiving 2008 059

The weather was perfect and the kids (with Mimi played outside all afternoon).  Of course we couldn't get the hot tub going so we canned that and built a wet fire. 

We all thanked God for something before the prayer was offered and my grandbabies are so adorable.  3 year old Hayden thanked God for Chuckie Cheese, 5 year old Sydney for her dog and her cat, 6 year old Tristin for God and his church and 13 year old Kristin for her dog Jake.  It is just so important to actually GIVE THANKS for all the wonderful things we have to be thankful for. Thanksgiving 2008 052

Sunday, September 7, 2008

ANOTHER Hurricane ?

Okay, this is ridiculous.  Gwen, my next-door neighbor and very best friend and I,              100_0098along with my brother Wayne and his wife Bridget have a LONG-planned cruise leaving out of Mobile Saturday morning.......maybe.  Seems after my last trip down south a couple of weeks ago and having Hurricane Gustav run me out of town with a mandatory evacuation that I would have paid my dues by now.  But no, here comes Ike full steam ahead.  All we can do is keep an eye on the storm and the other eye on Carnival's website for any changes.


Oh yeah, we've got a big plan!  When we dock at port upon our return, we are going directly to the beach for 3 MORE days.  Dropping the brother and with 2 or 3 more gals joining us, this could be a great time.  Hear that, Ike......GO AWAY!


In line with keeping the faith, I have done laundry all day today and gone through paperwork to get ready to pack.  It will be a seriously busy week.  Work, work, work, take Mom to Wally World, get nails done (a priority!), go to bank, finish packing and load up that car.  On Friday morning, I even get to drive 2 1/2 hours each way to get to attend  a Grandparents Day breakfast at my oldest granddaughter's school in LaRue County, KY .  I think I'll be busy alright.


Keep your fingers crossed for us that Ike dissipates or turns some other way and I may even get the car loaded in time to leave.  Maybe not, too.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Missing Dad

I am missing my Dad today.

My Father died on May 12, 2008. How profound that sentence looks! But even more, how it feels.

2002 christmas dad

My mother and father divorced when I was 7 years old and I never knew him growing up. He never sent Christmas or birthday cards. He never called, he never came. I never had an opportunity to know him.

Don't get me wrong here. I had two, count 'em two GREAT stepfathers. Both of them died at relatively young ages (younger than I am now) and were great Dads to me. But I think I always wondered what it would have been like if I had my real Dad in my life somehow.

I never heard my Mother say one harsh word about him nor did she excuse his behavior, or lack thereof. I know now that she married my stepfathers to help provide security for us, to help give us a stable home life. I think she loved them, in her own way, but I know she never stopped loving my Father.

DSC00470 (Small)

When my second stepfather died, she made a bold move and went back to live her retirement years in the small town in Kentucky where she had made her home as a young woman, with my Dad. Evidently he had spent his life in a rural western Kentucky town with a woman he met after the divorce. To make a long story short, he showed up, they rekindled their relationship and he and my Mom remarried!

Not speaking for my two brothers, I had a lot of bitterness and hostility toward him. Not just for me, but for my Mom and my brothers and all the years without him. We had lived a life without him and it seemed that he just waltzed back in as if he had never left. After the hasty and secretive vows were exchanged, so did my Mother change. She adored him and put every want and whim of his at the forefront of her being. We (their children) all had lives of our own with young adult children and even grandchildren. I should have taken comfort in the knowledge that she would not have to live her senior years alone, but he was just so possessive of her and seemingly jealous of any time at all spent with any of us. He was not at all the man I thought he would be.

He never wanted to be around any of the grandchildren or great-grandchildren. When children were in the house he would turn into a surly, ugly man. Of course, eventually most of them didn't visit anymore, or if they did, it was not often and not pleasant. Upon reflection, it must have been his guilt and insecurity about his "place" in our family.

Twelve years ago or so, my husband left me and our life together. I became very ill and my father showed compassion toward me that I did not believe he possessed. He and Mom drove to Lexington (KY) where I lived at the time and sacrificed a lot to get me emotionally and physically back on my feet. I saw a different side of him and knew there had to be a man in there that I could be proud to call my Dad. My Mom had loved him since she was 16 years old.

Eventually life and a great job opportunity brought me to Hopkinsville, KY to live which is very near the small town my parents lived in. I know there was a divine plan involved in that offer. I had never even visited Hopkinsville and didn't know one person there.

We got to visit a lot more and I began to know him. Just a little. He was such a private man with private thoughts. And very different when we were alone. I found it strange that he couldn't share his deepest thoughts with me UNLESS we were alone. But that was okay. Eventually and over time (without his asking) I began to truly forgive him in my heart for all the hurt I placed on him. Heck, we all turned out okay !

About two years ago, my chain-smoking father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He endured radiation treatments but not chemo. He had no pain, but was thinner and more frail. His mind was as sharp as a razor and never dulled, even to the very end.

Eventually he had to receive nursing home care and was taken to the Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, Kentucky. What a GREAT place to be cared for! It is the finest facility of its kind that I have ever even visited. My Mother drove the 20 miles each way every day to see him, every day. She was unfailing in her devotion. I went at least once a week, more if I made the time. It was those evening visits alone with him that I came to know the MAN.

He lived long enough to tell me he was proud of me and what I had done with my life. He told me he was sorry for not being a part of it, but that he had lost as much as I had. More than anything else, he came to know Jesus Christ in that nursing home and was baptized a year before he left. I am so thankful for the time I shared with him. Thankful that I am a Christian and we were able to love each other deeply.

He was still a "weird guy" with strange ways. But we settled it all. And for that I am grateful, so grateful. I am so sorry we didn't have time to get there and be with him when he died, I know it would have meant a LOT to my Mom. The nurses assured us that he was not in pain. He just slowly stopped breathing. I like to envision that he just stepped over into the other side and through the gates of heaven.

I am missing my Dad today.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Calm Before The Storm

I remember quite clearly the day I first saw the ocean. I was thirty years old with two children. My husband (at the time) and I had long planned a trip to the beach and saved all year for it. We chose Dauphin Island, Alabama only because I had a friend from my work who went there every year and her suggestions made me feel comfortable going there.

I got out of the car and walked in the direction of the roar of the Gulf and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw it. I was so overwhelmed by the majesty that God that created for all of us to enjoy that I fell to my knees where I was and cried. I will never forget that day nor that feeling.
I have seen the ocean countless times since then, lived very near it several times, but continue to visit Dauphin Island with some regularity ever since then. It has become "where I go" . I am blessed and you will read much more about that island in many future posts.

My schedule at work permitted me to plan a long weekend there for Labor Day this year, regardless of the weather predictions that Hurricane Gustav had formed and was heading with some degree of certainty to the Gulf coast. The thing about hurricanes is that they are often likely to change course, build strength, weaken, or any number of other things that can drastically change predictions when they are made a week or so in advance, so on with my plans. My friend Bev who manages the rentals for Dauphin Island Real Estate called to make sure I was aware of Gustav and to give me the option of not coming with a return of my monies. The deposit on the condo had been paid and I WAS going.

Excitement was high! I drove down Friday morning and it was an uneventful trip, thank goodness. Friday night a friend and I went to a familiar place and had dinner outside on a decking overlooking a small harbor at Fowl River. Tired and full, off to bed.
Saturday morning brought bright sunshine and lots of heat and humidity. I had never felt the humidity so strong and with the air almost still, it hung around. Off to the beach, my blessed beach. Wow, the Gulf was calmer than I have ever seen it. NO waves and the water was as warm as a bath. The calm before the storm. I was able to walk out a very long way. I was so far out I turned around and came back thinking I might walk farther than I could swim back :)

My patio off the condo was on ground floor this time very near the pool. Upon returning from the beach I took a yummy book and cool glass of white zin outside to read for a bit. My senses were pummeled with sound, the sounds of babies crying, children laughing, mothers calling to their children. Oh, life is good.

David Graves, who manages the condo association, came by and asked when I was leaving and said the Island had issued a voluntary evacuation. I know I looked at him like he was crazy. Um, no, I don't plan to leave until Monday.

Saturday night was dress-up night for a new-to-me restaurant in Mobile 30 minutes away, Pillars. Of course I checked it out online before making reservations and the menu was exquisite. Duck, rack of lamb, sushi, etc. I could hardly wait! Upon arrival at Pillars the parking lot was jammed with no option for valet parking. Hmm, this is not good. We created a place to park and made our way to the entrance. This is not good. Turns out they had double-booked a class reunion AND a huge wedding reception! Okay, they find our reservation and take us to a very small private dining area with 3 or 4 other couples in it. We couldn't hear ourselves think. It was almost too dark to read the menu so ordered what our server suggested. Grouper and a filet. Yum, I have never eaten better food ! BUT, the noise level was incredible. Needing to leave the atmosphere we declined a dessert but probably WILL try it again someday. Needless to say, we will ask if there are special events scheduled simultaneously before we do it again!

Back to the condo and off to sleep.

Sunday morning brought with it wind and noise. The sounds of plywood being cut and hurricane shutters going up. I drove around the Island and took pictures. Upon my return Bev called again and said we needed to leave. This time it was a mandatory evacuation. David came by and wanted to get the shutters up. Okay, okay, I will go. But I don't want to.

Packed everything up, started the dishwasher but decided not to start the washer in the event they couldn't get back there for a while to move laundry to the dryer. I took more pictures on the way out. The strangest thing, I think, was that there were NO boats anywhere. They had moved them all during the night. Either out to a safe harbor or out of the water, depending on size, I guess. The travel trailer park was void of trailers. Never seen these things before and it scared me, I think.

I stopped in at the Real Estate office to drop off my keys and found my friend and her husband boarding up the windows at the strip mall where the office is. Working hard and fast, I knew if I didn't go then, I would only be in the way of the islanders who were staying and working feverishly to ready themselves for the storm.
Thirty minutes up the road and onto I-65. Yikes, I didn't know all of Mobile had been ordered to evacuate as well! Bumper to bumper to bumper. An hour and a half more than usual, I finally made it to Montgomery. Whew! Huge signs at every exit offering shelter and fuel. I left with a full tank of gas, but was ready for more by the time I reached Birmingham but could not get over to get off the interstate. When I reached the split that goes to Atlanta, thankfully about half of the traffic veered in that direction and I was able to get off at Prattville for gas.
Traffic was heavy but moved in an orderly fashion the remainder of the way home. Getting home late last night, I was tired but thankful and prayerful for all those I had left in Dauphin Island and of course, all those folks along the Gulf Coast in harms' way.
This morning I see the familiar face of Anderson Cooper and the landfall of Gustav and am so thankful. Thankful that the storm was downgraded to a Category 2, thankful for those who got out and thankful for the path of the storm that spared so many lives.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Falling Apart

Whew! Another day done. Seems all I do these days is run, run, run, but I have decided I am not alone in this crazy life we live in. Today my right hip is hurting?? Isn't that something for old folks? I am only 55. But to some people, wow, she's 55 and that's pretty old. But to me, I should still be 35. 55 is still an age that sounds as if it only belongs to others. Anyway, about 4 weeks ago, I got a sharp, searing pain in my lower back. I don't think I did something in particular to cause it, it just CAME. Three weeks of countless visits to the chiropracter, one visit to my GP and a serious injection of cortisone in my lower back later, and I was up moving again. Back to my old self for about a week and pow, here comes something new. This is ridiculous.

Go to the dentist for a regular cleaning and HE determines I have an old filling that needs to be replaced. So make another appointment and back I go. $195.00, another needle or two, and at least my mouth is back to normal.

Woke up this morning with a splitting headache and the whole side of my face is hurting. Feels like a sinus infection or some such nonsense. Got up, did some OTC drugs and it went away after a couple of hours.

The sick list is a little long for me. It is 10:30 p.m. now. I worked today, took Mom to the grocery during my lunch time, took her to church tonight and am ready for bed. Ooh, ooh, pinch myself, am I dreaming? NOTHING is hurting. Maybe I AM 35 again after all. Sleep well, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Professional Courtesy

Today was a most interesting day at the funeral home (as most of them are). I took a death call on the phone from a funeral director in Louisville as the family had requested that we take care of the burial part of the service. They wanted to have a graveside service here in my town and that was all, meaning no visitation or use of our facilities at all.

Customarily the originating funeral home will make the removal and prepare the remains, dress and casket the deceased for visitation and/or funeral service before sending along to us for the committal service at the cemetery. We would, out of professional courtesy, be afforded the outer burial container (or vault) sale. Everything is going along as smooth as sticky honey until I find out that there is going to be NOTHING done as far as a service in Louisville. GRRRRR. Trying not to dig too deep into how we do what we do, if the family chooses no visitation and no service in the originating city, we would do it ALL except the removal and preparation of remains. I just feel like we got the shaft this time in such a way that our firm would never have done. Tsk, tsk, tsk is all I can say. Okay, now I feel better.

Actually, the day was interesting before I got to work. Let me back up and make you smile. 55 year old woman hurt my lower back 3 weeks ago and am just now able to function and walk like a normal person. Hence after going to the grocery store the other night, I left 2 12-packs of Diet Coke on my steps going into the house from the garage thinking my next visitor, whoever he or she was, would be kind enough to bring them in. Well, in a frantic "I'm late again" mode this morning, of course I tripped over the Cokes and fell down the steps onto a big pile of Mom's "stuff".

Gets better, since I got old, I have to take an 81 mg aspirin every day to thin my old lady blood. Well, let me tell ya, it works. I have bled like a leaky faucet all day long. At least that may have helped decrease my blood pressure.

THEN, my much-anticipated i-phone that arrived a few days ago became my least favorite new toy. My daughter told me I had not set up my voice mail. I have a personal office techie geek (a/k/a Frank) who knows everything, so I had Frank show me how to do this. NOT working. Frank sends me to the AT&T store. Bad move when the customer service guy (and I use that term quite loosely) says, "you know, you're right, this IS a defective phone". I ask him to send it back and order me another one. "Oh no, I guess you'll have to call customer service on the phone, I can't do anything here." WOW........ So have you heard the one about the lady at the AT&T store this week. It was not pretty. In the end, "Rob" got them on the phone and after way too much wasted time, my voicemail is working. Still don't have everything up and running, but I'm menopausal and I can only take one thing at a time with this phone .

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mama Mia !!

This is going to sound like a movie review to most of you, but for me it was just a GREAT night out with girlfriends. I laughed and cried and left the movie with a really good feeling. I think all ladies of my generation should make the effort to see this movie, and if you can take your daughters with you, even better.

No, I did NOT have any illegitimate children nor did I raise my two children not knowing who their father was, so I do NOT relate to Meryl Streep in that way in this movie, but wow, she is the oldest lady I know that can still move like that. She just seems to get better with age. I am definitely going to make a committment to act crazier, if that's at all possible. Life is short, and getting shorter. On Facebook the other night, I did actually change my status to read that I was at home alone and singing out loud. Good for me.

Christine Baranski has long been a favorite actress of mine. She is just beautiful and is so hilarious in this movie. I want to be just like her when I grow up. And Pierce Brosnan, well, he was Pierce Brosnan. WOW, he's still got it and must be in his sixties, too.

What I came away with was reinforcement that I am "right on". People may think I do not always act my age and I say, "good for me", I am living my life.....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Parties at Polly's

Whew, another party has come and gone. I had a very successful Christmas dinner party for 10 or 12 of my closest friends, then came Mardi Gras time and I threw a HUGE party (in February...in the house). Umm. Lots of folks came. Shared lots of fun. Anyway, it just seems that I am ALWAYS planning to have a party or just had one. It is SO much work and does not come cheap. So why do I do this? WHY? Do I just want to be the one without a designated driver (because I live here)? Do I want to invite people that I know wouldn't get invited anywhere else? Do I just love all my friends that much? I think so to all of the above. I live alone and as much as I talk about how I love it, I must not love it all the time. I surely do love my house and love my company. The work is getting to me, though. Sunday morning I had to get up and scoot off to church and then work all afternoon just to get this place put back together. Lots of work. Will I do this again soon? Heck no ! (Ask me again this time next week)