Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Oh My Gourds

This October, I seem to have quite a few pumpkin photos.

Earlier in the month we went apple picking with the grandkids…

Then we went to our local farm to check out the corn maze…

And finally, we hired a guest artist to carve our pumpkin this year….

He wanted to create his art in a private place.

And… this was his masterpiece. We call it “Peekaboo”

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

The Mirror

I just read a few of my old posts. Interesting to go back and see what I wrote. Nice reflection on parts of my past.

I don’t know if I’ve written about this, and I doubt that I have, but I have another grandson. He’s just turned 6 months-old. I’m in love…. again. :0)

He’s recently begun sitting up and #4 had him sitting in front of a mirror. Here’s the video she took of him looking at himself:

My baby love, my baby love…

I watched this over and over, delighted by his giggles and his mother’s joy at seeing him so happy. About the 50th time, I had an epiphany.

When was the last time I’d looked in the mirror and had been this happy to see ME?

It’s amazing to me that I couldn’t really remember lookin in the mirror without making some kind of judgement or analyzing some portion of my reflection. Is my skin looking good, does this shirt look good on me, omg… my gut, my butt!! WTF?

How do we go from simply and joyfully looking at ourselves when we are brand new and being so delighted to be here and happy to see the body that contains what is really “us” to the hyper-critical, demoralizing and picky people who find fault and complain about the very vessel that gives us the ability to live? Why is it considered woo-woo if you look at the mirror and tell yourself you love you, but you can watch him lean into the sight of himself and think it’s adorable?

You know what, I don’t even care why or how or what things lead to this kind of behavior. I just want to stop it. It doesn’t feel right to be negative to the body that made my babies, has allowed me to walk miles and see beautiful things, allows me to type my thoughts and feels such pleasure, or yes, even feel pain.

I’ll admit that it’s taking some effort to remember not to grimace when I walk by the glass, but that’s just a habit of thought I can change.

So, hello beautiful!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Everett and a Techno CD

I played hookey today. Well, not really. I’m taking a legitimate day off, using sick leave, for a mental health day. The weather is glorious and I wanted to be out so I decided to do a few chores. I wanted to take my coupe out for a spin since he’s been sitting unused for at least a month. His name is Everett.

I love Everett. He just feels really good to drive. You basically “put him on” as opposed to sitting in him. When I pushed his button to start, he hesitated like he’d been sad he’d been left alone for so long. I could relate. But, trusty car that he’s always been, he came to life and off we went to the store. We took the long way to get his juices flowing and to be sure he’d start again.

After running my errands, I noticed Ev needed some gas and a bath. When I opened his gas door, it was clear that he’d decorated for Halloween. Thick spider webs had taken up residence by the gas cap. I thought, “Poor Ev.” I paid for the car wash.

Once rinsed clean, I decided we’d go for a spin to dry off. I live in a rural town that’s considered the big city around here, so there’s plenty of farmland around us. Ev and I started driving with no destination. We just took whatever roads seem to feel best; the smaller the better.

Everett didn’t disappoint. He was awake and ready to go. His smooth steering and healthy acceleration took us deep into country roads with a confident glide. We raced through the falling leaves and looked on fields of amber and gold. We found our way past a dome home and sparkling lakes. We rarely saw another car for the hour or more we drove around Maryland and Pennsylvania and when we did, it was usually a massive 70’s car oddly enough. With no one to follow, or following me, we could go at our pace (usually much faster than the posted speed) and make split decisions to pop down the road less traveled, especially if it was squiggly and looked interesting.

Being that Ev is 12 years old, he doesn’t have the most fancy infotainment system, but he does have a CD player and Bose speakers. And I have a favorite techno cd with 57 tracks. Enough for us to enjoy a banking curve to some thumping background.

I finally felt like my old boney self again. I felt free and happy and grateful to be with Everett, wandering wherever the road took us. Reminded me of an Alanis Morrisette song called “Giggling Again For No Reason”, wherein she sings about dipping out and taking a drive just to see the sunset. Instead of a seaside sunset, I was looking at the burgundy, yellow, orange, green, brown and red leaves against the brilliant blue sky and buttery sunshine. Sigh… felt so good.

I’d followed those lovely roads well up into PA and then remembered that one of my chores was to pick up some meat from the store. I had the windows down and the wind blowing through the car, so I knew it wasn’t too hot, but I did have to start looking for roads that led south again. I didn’t want to.

Without the fancy navigation of my new car, Ev and I found our way back to familiar territory and headed home. The closer I got, the sadder I felt. We’d made the decision to sell Everett, since he’s in wonderful shape and has low mileage. The new car I bought is more practical for driving to Pittsburgh and hauling smaller children and “schtuff” around. She’s a great car and is peppy in her own right, but she’s not Everett. She floats a curve while Everett hugs it. She has a bit of wobble while Everett feels glued to the road.

Just like selling the big house because it made sense, I know selling Everett is the logical thing to do. That doesn’t mean my heart is into it. At. All.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Yeti Sighted at Polar Bear Plunge

On January 25th, my very hairy, sized 14 shoe hubby has decided to do the Maryland Polar Bear Plunge in the Chesapeake Bay.

In a speedo.

To donate, please click this link: https://support.somd.org/FrankSpicherPlunge

I guess it’s addictive, because he did it in 2019 and he’s decided to do it again. He’ll be plunging into the frigid bay waters to support Maryland Special Olympics athletes and their programs while I am in a nice warm tent selling beer tickets and watching the bands (tough work, but someone has to do it). His goal is to do a repeat of last year and go all the way out to the divers, dunk himself under the water, and come all the way back. This is ambitious as most just run in to their hips or below and come right back out.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

I’ll take it where I can get it

Hubby and I went for a walk in our new neighborhood this evening. There’s a path not too far from our townhouse (oh, yeah…. we are in a townhouse now… obviously there’s tons to catch up on) and we walk it frequently.

This evening we were walking back when a kid started yelling “DUDE…. hey dude… DUUUUUUDE.” at Hubby. At first Hubby ignored the kid, but then I told him to turn around and march back aggressively to freak the kid out. As soon as Hubby turned around, the kid ran.

A few more steps and the kid again began to yell, “Hey, dude!”

So, this time I whirled around and yelled, “Hey, KID!” Again the kid took off.

I knew he was playing around and I thought it was funny. So, a few more steps and I hear, “Hey girl! Hey! Girl!”

I turned to look at Hubby and said, “I’ll take it!” Hubby looked at me a little oddly and I said, “He didn’t say ‘Hey LADY’, he said ‘Hey Girl’.”

Look, If the kid thinks I look like a girl instead of an old lady, I’m a happy camper and I’ll take the compliments wherever they come from!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

The Wedding

I know I posted a few photos while we were at the beach in Punta Cana, but I didn’t really let you see the gorgeous photos of the bride, nor did I tell you how everything went, so…

Hubby and I went to Punta Cana a few days ahead of the wedding party. We took this time to relax and get the lay of the land before the wedding.

We stayed at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel, which was nice. Far more grand than we are used to, but somehow we were able to adjust.

I fell in love with the Bali Beds. You are off the sand, you have shade, you are served drinks and food and the view is gorgeous. This is something I’d imagined for many years, and I was so wonderful to be experiencing what I’d only imagined previously.

Hubby and I decided we’d like to do an excursion, so we chose the 4×4 off road ride around the island. We were told we needed sunglasses and handkerchiefs because of the dust. We looked like bandits.

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The description of the excursion was far more interesting than the actuality of “off roading”. We drove along a few public roads, seeing the living conditions off the resort and fearing for the lives of the small children who would run up to you  for a “high-five”, but who were really hoping for money. They were so young, and ran right up to the buggies. Scary!

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When we did get off the regular roads, the dust was as bad as advertised. Even the people along the route with hoses to wet the road and cut down on the dust weren’t having much luck.

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It was during one of these dust clouds that the girl behind us couldn’t see we’d stopped and plowed into our buggy. We were ok, just a little shaken, but she’d wrecked her buggy and had to be taken away. We did go to a swimming hole in a cave which was pretty awesome, and a beach where the locals plied their wares and we got some interesting photos.

It was fun, but when we returned, we were a little stiff, so we took advantage of the all inclusive package and applied some alcohol to our tongues to loosen us up.

We had a great time watching #4 getting ready at the spa, trying all the different restaurants (read surviving all the restaurants), sunbathing and generally enjoying life at the Hard Rock in Punta Cana, but the big event was the most spectacular.

The sky was blue, the bride was strikingly beautiful and the groom was very handsome.

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All in all, we had a lovely time. It was our first experience with a resort setting. While not our normal type of travel, it set us up for some future resort-ish travel. More on that in a later post. ;0)

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Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Perfect ? Day at the Cay

Number 3 did a special thing for my birthday this year. I’d told him I wanted us to spend some time at the beach together, just the two of us, but he was to plan it. He took that request and ran with it, calling me to book time-off of work and letting me know that we were set up to go on a 3 day cruise in October. I was floored by his generosity and thoughtfulness and really excited to go away with him for a few days.

During the planning, we’d discussed doing things “that scared us”, just to say we could do them. He was afraid of the giant waterslide/water coaster which twisted and turned and eventually went through some clear tubing off the side of the ship and over the ocean. For me, it was going on a jet ski.

Our day started off overcast and breezy. We’d slept in and were headed out to the cay around noon. The first thing we did was go to the wave runner kiosk and book our time for an hour later. Then we found some chairs and relaxed while the weather grew slightly more ominous. Clouds were getting darker and the wind picked up. Just as we were putting our items in the lockers at the jet ski hut, it started to rain. Not a downpour, but enough that I got soaked trying to get our junk into a working locker.

We entered a room and watched a video explaining how the jet ski worked and what safety precautions and rules we needed to know. Biggest rule… don’t follow too close as a jet ski can take 100 yards to come to a stop. After a Q & A and assignment of line-up numbers (I was #10) we suited up in our life jackets and headed to our machines. We were told to idle out to a buoy and wait for instructions.

Now, I’ve never been on one of these contraptions, and there was one other young lady who hadn’t either. They’d told us the faster you go, the easier it is to control, and then they asked how many wanted to go FAST?! Most people nodded their heads vigorously. I thought, “Ok, I’m game. I got this.”

The leader took off and each person fell in-line after him. The “chaser” spaced each of us 100 yards apart. When it was my turn, she signaled and I squeezed the throttle for the gas and (YIKES) the jet ski lurched forward with FAR MORE power than I’d ever imagined. Clearly, I needed to try and catch up with the rest of the group, but I was so nervous that the more I tensed up with fear, the more I was steering in the exact same pattern the leader had warned us not to do, citing an unfortunate “mess” that had occurred the previous week by someone doing much the same.

The waves were choppy as the wind had picked up some. I tried my best to wrangle both my nerves (so thankful no one can hear you yelling at yourself in the middle of the water with the wind blowing) and the machine into working together. Every time I sped up over 30 mph I would start to waggle crazily, due to constantly trying to over correct my steering, and I could feel the jet ski starting to get squirrel-y underneath me. Couple that with the rough water and I wasn’t having the best time. I’d taken off my glasses before boarding the jetski, and while I can see well enough without them, when I looked around there were no other riders in sight. Eek! Best thing to do was to keep heading in the direction I’d last seen everyone else, and not think about the warning we’d had about staying on the exact path they’d guide us through, as there were some places that weren’t suitable for jet skis.

Thankfully, the “chaser” eventually realized I was having some issues, so she came back my way and signaled me to follow behind in her wake, thus creating a path for me to follow that was a bit less turbulent. Being mindful of the 100 yards rule, I kept falling behind to keep distance. She’d slow down for me, then speed up. I’d speed up, catch her and slow down. It was a rather awkward push and pull dance we did until we caught up with the others who were waiting for me in a nice grouping, listening to the guide give some information and history about the spot where they’d congregated. Of course, I was so late, that I barely got there and we’d start off again.

So, for the next 2.5 hours I did my best to stay with the pack, never able to control the damn machine at any speed over 38 mph, which when you think of it, is fast enough. I hit a few waves head on and the whine of the engine let me know we were briefly air-borne, but I was still dead last to every stop and trying not to dump myself off and be another “mess” the leader would caution others about in future safety meetings. We later found out that Miami had a tornado that day and while we were over 100 miles away, we were experiencing part of that strong system. I’m happy I didn’t overhear the leader or the others commenting on how rough the water was and how they were being bounced around BEFORE I went on the tour, but was a little comforted after the fact with the knowledge that I wasn’t a totally inept jet-ski driver.

When we finally returned to the docks, I pulled my jet ski up into it’s spot and was disembarking when the next guy gunned his machine and knocked my ski sideways just as I’d stepped off. Number 3 was there offering me his hand, and as we were walking down the pier, I wouldn’t let go. I marched myself straight over to the “adult beverage” cabana and enjoyed a celebratory sip. I’d done something that scared me, and survived!

I did it!
Posted in Musings and Mutterings

I’ll Be Mary, You Be George

All I ever wanted to be when I “grew up” was a wife and mom. I was never offended by the term “housewife”. I enjoyed raising the kids, keeping the house, decorating, running errands, grocery shopping and cooking dinner. Sure, there were times I needed a break, and chores I don’t like to do, but overall, I felt like I was doing something worthwhile. And when I needed something else to do, I’d volunteer.

I love to volunteer and help out. In fact, volunteering is how I go the job I currently have.

Slowly, over time, the kids grew up and moved on and my job demanded more and more time. For awhile it was ok. There weren’t kids who needed me as much and the kids I worked with became my new charges. As my job became more demanding, more staff and processes were needed and my connection with the kids became less and less. During this time, my own children were finishing up college and settling down with their own spouses.

Now it feels like I manage adults and processes only. I have a grandchild fairly close and when I get to visit, I enjoy playing with her, cleaning up the kitchen, cooking meals and settling into most of the things I did while her mom was growing up.  When I get that opportunity, I feel like myself again. I feel like I’m where I belong.

Number 4 is now having another baby within the next few months. She says this is the last baby and I’m looking forward to spending some more time with M and whatever the next one is named.

So, George (you know who you are), I’m going to go be Mary for a bit. I’d love to have you come home and realize there are people who love an appreciate you there. I’m hoping you will join us sooner rather than later.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

9 years and 6 months

My blog is 9 years old today, and it’s been 6 months since I’ve written in it. I find both of those time frames amazing.

I used to write in Snippets and Tidbits all the time. Now, I can’t seem to find the time to read a book, make my bed (who wants to do that anyway) or get regular exercise. So, what changed?

I do sleep more than I did. I was told caffeine wasn’t really my friend and to go with the natural flow for sleep with the goal to get a good solid 8 hours. And I decided to take a bit of time in the morning for meditation/reflection, which is good for me. But it seems these self-care health changes have impacted others. I used to get up and go for a walk, but now I’m sleeping in. I know the thought is to go to bed earlier, but 10 is early enough, and during the work season, I don’t get home until then anyway. In any case, I guess it’s a matter of priority. You can always make time for something you feel is a priority.

When I do find the time to sit down, I seem to have “lost my voice”. For a while there were things going on that I wanted to write about, but felt I couldn’t. When I could write about them, I didn’t want to anymore. I didn’t want to give the subject more power. And I didn’t feel, “I got up, ate food, worked, did chores and went to bed.” merited a blog post.

Over the last six months, I’ve certainly had a few things to write about. I’d like to find my “voice” again and exercise my sense of humor and blogging brain again.

Let’s start with a generic update, and I hope I can expand from there in future blogs.

M turned one and is now 18 months old. She’s amazing!

Work continues to grow and evolve .

We sold our BIG house and are living in a much smaller home.

We went on tour to England and Scotland. Hubby and I went to the Highlands after the tour group left, and I continued on to Ireland.

I guess those would be the highlights.

So, yeah… kinda boring post, but… it’s a post, and that’s a start.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

MTV

So, my biggest kick for the past year has been my daily dose of MTV. Not the channel MTV which used to actually play MUSIC ( insert deep inhale of shock here) but M-TV. Just about every day I get a video chat phone call from my daughter, but starring my granddaughter M!

M is almost a year old, and through this medium, I’ve been able to watch her grow from miles away. I’ve played peek-a-boo, watched her learn how to shake her head no.. often.. and then finally yes, watched her starting to crawl, get to her feet and now walk with help and enjoyed watching her learn how to feed herself in all her messy glory.

I remember looking at my dad’s copies of Popular Science back in the 70’s and looking at the articles about how we’ll be able to one day SEE the person on the other end of the phone. I always thought that would be a cool way to communicate. This cover is from ’88 and it feels ancient.

When my daughter went off to college, now just over 11 years ago, we set her up with a laptop and camera so she wouldn’t feel so homesick. She’d check in just about every day during that first year, easing the separation for both herself and me. Though grainy and sometimes stuttered, I still got to see my girl and we got to chat about how life was going on. I remember her friends commenting that this set up was so cool… and relatively new at the time.

As time moved on and technology rapidly progressed I now get to see my M with crystal clear clarity, whether at home or on the go. Definitely a change.