Saturday, March 31, 2012

Observations from the road

People are assholes.  Well, not all of them but a lot.  When we're in the passing lane and you come screaming up to our bumper, could you just friggin' count to 3 so we can pull over and then you can pass us?  Really?  You can't wait 3 seconds?  Oh, hell no.  You have to pass us ON THE RIGHT!
I've also noticed that when we're on a road with 3 or more lanes it just gives the assholes more opportunities to zoom from one lane to the next (without the use of their turning signals, of course) passing everyone in sight.
Another observation:  if you're hungry, there's a Subway every quarter mile.  That's swell if you're not sick to death of Subway sammies.
One more observation and then I'll let you go.  Not cuz I'm trying to cut you a break, because I'm tired after watching Petey drive for 10 hrs. 
Have you ever noticed that when you leave for a long day of driving (like going to FL) and you have a nice, normal breakfast at like 7-ish/8-ish, you're absolutely STARVING by 9:45a?  You start digging into the snack bag for Oreos, etc?  Why is that?
Thankfully our hotel is right across the street from Ruby Tuesday's and we had some really, really good ribs.  And sweet potato fries, too.  I mean, come on, we're in KY.  What else?
And . . . and . . . We're back in Eastern time.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Good night.

Friday, March 30, 2012

My School Experience

I've already told you about my one illustrious year at Stephens College so today I wanted to talk about my K through 12 life.
I loved school.  I started off with a bang in kindergarten because I had the best teacher on the face of the planet, Miss Adams.  It was her last year of teaching.  I'm sure it didn't have anything to do with me being in the room.
The rest of my elementary career was filled with "King on the Mountain", swinging as high as possible on the coolio swing set we had at the old Dawson, which was the coolest building EVER, and sliding down the hill behind the building during the winter months.
Junior High was in an equally cool building but scary at first.  Three stories high and a full basement.  Daunting in 7th grade but by 9th grade, I felt like I owned the joint.
High school was wonderful.  Years after graduation when I helped organize reunions I heard many former classmates say, "I hated high school."  Wow, really?  I had a blast.
My enjoyment was evident in my GPA.  I squeaked by - having fun the entire time.  I had wonderful teachers and many opportunities to improve my grades . . . . but the fun thing, ya know.
If I had it to do all over again would I have put my nose to the grindstone and pumped up that GPA?  If you've been reading along, what do you think?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hair Flicking/Swiping

It's a girl thing and I've noticed it for quite a while but it's really kicked into high gear with the new hair styles.  You know the ones where the part is way off to the side and the bangs are really long?  There's no way that hair is going to stay out of the eyes and it's just not quite long enough to tuck behind the ear although that doesn't stop them from trying.  Doesn't it drive them mad?  Or . . . do they like swiping it off their faces?  I had to stop watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent because of the female detective's hair. Yikes!
There are apparently different ways to move the hair too.  There's the head flick which seems like after a while would cause cervical damage.  There is also the smooth, dramatic finger drag.  The most dramatic being the index finger, palm out motion.
The other thing that simply mystifies me is when there really isn't any hair there to swipe and they do it anyway. Huh?
Now that I think of it, it's probably not just a girl thing.  I believe Justin Bieber brought the boys into the act with his "do."  Thankfully, he saw the light and got a haircut.  There are still plenty of boys out there that haven't gotten the message that the Bieber (am I even spelling his last name right?) style is soooo yesterday.
Now, I've never had long hair so maybe, deep down inside, I'm jealous because I've never had the opportunity to perform the flicking/swiping thing.  No, probably not.
Give me short with a fair amount of gel and spray, spike it up a bit and I'm good to go.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Katrina Trees

Before we left for NOLA I was Skyping with mom (Hi, mom) and she told me she'd recently read an article about the Katrina trees.
After the devastation there were many tree stumps left behind - live oaks and cypress.  A man from the Destin/Fort Walton Beach area offered to carve the stumps into works of art honoring the gulf.
As we approached the Mississippi state line on our way back from NO I remembered the info my wise mother imparted to me.  We stopped at the visitors bureau and asked about the trees and then headed down Scenic 90.
There were no signs and only general directions given at the bureau so it was like a scavenger hunt.  Petey spotted the first one - I would have totally missed it.
 This one was just off the road - north - so we were thinking the rest would be placed in the same way.  Not the case.  The remaining pieces were in the median along 90 ending at Biloxi. 
The Mississippi (do you still say the letters out loud when you spell this state?) gulf coast is beautiful.  The beaches are wonderful.
We couldn't get pictures of all the trees; there wasn't always a place to safely pull over and stopping in the middle of the road wasn't very smart.  Ask me how I know.
We would  never have been treated to the wonderful sights along this part of the gulf coast if it hadn't been for my "eagle-eyed" mother.  So this pic's for you, mom.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A rube goes to "The Big Easy"

I don't know what I was thinking.  I must have had some preconceived notion as to the size of New Orleans.  It was way bigger than I was prepared for!  It's also not a very clean city; at least in the French Quarter.  And it smells like garbage. It was Sunday - that might have had something to do with it.
Once I got past that, I enjoyed it.  The weather was perfect and the sky was crystal clear.  We walked and walked and walked.  And, yes, we had a beignet at the Cafe DuMonde.
We walked the streets.
We heard some really good music.  This group was my favorite.  Music in the bars was too loud for me.
When all was said and done I enjoyed my time in NOLA.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Loud Music

Just another thing I don't "get" that annoys the hell out of me.  Yesterday, mid morning, I was reading inside our condo in the sun room.  I could hear rap (I guess that's what it was - maybe hip hop - who knows) music coming from outside.  I looked out the window and couldn't see anyone out there; I thought maybe they were washing their car and had the speakers turned up to "I want to make your ears bleed" level. 
So, if I couldn't see them, where the hell were they?  Around the bend?  Two buildings over?
Hey, nobody loves music more than me but does it have to be so loud that I can hear it through my walls?
I envisioned myself going outside to do a bit of gardening or whatever with my boom box (do people still use those?) and crank up opera, or chamber or, god forbid, bluegrass music.  Wonder if those people would enjoy that?
Why does the music have to be loud?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5 years since diagnosis

Yesterday was my 5 year anniversary since being diagnosed with breast cancer.  My emotions bounced around a bit.  On the one hand, I know the 5 year rule isn't being used anymore.  That went out the window some time ago.  On the other hand (how many hands can I use in this example?) it still felt like I should celebrate it.
I remember several years ago talking with a group of ladies - one of them was my friend, Ann Elder, who had been through the whole breast cancer thing, and one of the ladies asked her when you stop thinking about recurrence.  She said "never."  Twelve years after Ann's (damn it, I can never remember if Ann has an "e" at the end or not.  Ah, heck, she'll forgive me) first "adventure", she had to deal with the bastard again.  Twelve years!
So, celebrating 5 years felt right and a little creepy.  It didn't stop me from talking Petey into an expensive dinner with valet parking.  He's still recovering from the bill. hahahaha

Friday, March 23, 2012

Confused by Gas Prices

I know I'm not the only one and I guess I'm not really looking for someone to come on in here and offer an explanation but - COME ON!!!
We're still here in Destin, FL and a new gas station, RaceWay, just opened down the road.  It's selling gas for $3.75.  On either side of this new place, not even a quarter mile in either direction, same side of the friggin' street, are gas stations selling at $4.05.
Now, why the hell would anyone in their right mind stop to get even more screwed at the pump?  Doesn't Shell and whatever that other one is, think, "Gee, Ralph, maybe we better lower our prices.  Everyone and their second cousin is going to the new RaceWay next door."  You could probably spit from one station to the next if you were a hefty gal or guy.  Not that I'd want to see anyone do that.  Spitting totally grosses me out.
So - the "gas conundrum" will probably go on forever now.  I don't see a resolution anytime soon.  Of course, I don't understand what the hell got us into this fix in the first place so why would I expect a resolution?
Just think how we'd revolt if the price of milk or bread fluctuated like gas does.  We'd be out there in front of the grocery store picketing and shouting slogans and burning our bras.  No, wait, that was another decade but you get my drift, eh?
See ya later.  I'm going to walk somewhere.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Another "friend" post

This is my friend, Kathi.
She's going to kill me for posting this picture because she's wearing her "crappy" clothes.  But we were just going to the dunes and no place after that (I promised) so . . .  I had to post this picture, though, because this is the essence of Kathi.  That smile says it all.
I met Kathi back in the early 70s when Petey was transferred to the Coast Guard station in St.Petersburg, FL.  She was dating a "Coastie" during that time and we met at a softball game.  If you remember the post about my friend, Susie, it was at the same game.  We became instant friends (just like, Susie) and have remained so all these years.
Kathi was a teacher and morphed into a kick-ass elementary school principal.  She was fair but took no prisoners.
She was a Harley rider for many years and is a complete sucker for animals.  She's always had rescued dogs and now that she's retired volunteers for Pet Pal animal shelter in St.Pete.
We've had more laughs than could possibly be counted over the years.  We enjoyed every moment of her brief visit here in Destin and can't wait until she comes to MI this summer.  Then we'll show her what dunes are all about - not those puny sand hills she's standing in front of, eh?
Notice how nicely I'm dressed?  It was totally unintentional. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


We planned to leave this morning for a trip to "The Big Easy."  Do they still refer to New Orleans as The Big Easy?  Just the tourists?  Ok.
I will admit that NO is not on my bucket list but since we're down here in the Panhandle for the month and NO is only 4+ hours away, we thought we'd scoot over there for the night.  Arrive noon-ish, sight see, eat, stay at the LaQuinta in the French Quarter (they take pets) and come home the next afternoon.
But - and this is a big BUT - there's a big ass storm brewing.  I do not want my one and only trip to LA spent dodging lightning bolts and eating soggy beignets.  I'm pretty sure I spelled that correctly.  I don't think it's in my spell check.  I could have called it a "donut" like my friend, Sue Ross, does cuz she's not sure how to spell it either.
So, we canceled our reservation and will watch the weather over the next few days.  If we can't get there Sunday or Monday we probably won't go.  I'm not all that keen on going later in the week and then coming back here and packing up and heading north.  Don't ask me why, I just don't wanna.
If we never get there, my biggest sorrow will be that I know how disappointed Harry Konnick will be.  He's been pestering me for quite a spell to come hang with him.  You believe me, right?  Did I spell his name correctly?  Does that question make you doubt my "Harry" statement?
Anyway, stay tuned.  I know y'all are watching my every move.  Fascinating, eh?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Trip to Seaside

Peter and I drove to Seaside on 30A or also called Scenic 98 a while back and took a return trip with our friend, Kathi, two days ago.
All the communities along 30A have their own personalities and "look."  We liked Seaside the best because it appeared to be the most active.  Not so overly active that it drove me completely insane.  Just enough to give it a comfortable "buzz."
The best part of Seaside was the surprise called The Ruskin Shops.
As we walked into the area through the entry way, we were  delighted.  It looked like what I envisioned New Orleans would look like - maybe.  Never been there but I'll be able to make a better comparison tomorrow because that's where we're going for the day and night.
Shops below and private residences above.
I actually bought a dress in one of the shops.  I know - me - a dress!
I hope you get to see me in it cuz it looks way better on me than it does on the hanger.  I think. Pretty sure.
I also saw these cute little Coke bottles and wanted to buy one even though they cost way too much (resort prices, ya know) and then Petey reminded me that they sell them at Village Market in Allegan.  For waaaay less.  Really?  bummer
We're hoping to get back to Seaside before we head home on April 1.  There's a restaurant down there called Goat Feathers.  I don't even care what they serve, I just think I need a T-shirt from a place called Goat Feathers.  Right?

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Tattoo

No, I didn't get another one but I was asked about mine this morning at Jazzercise.  There are also a ton of tattoo joints here in Destin.  I'm wondering how many spring-breakers went home with ink last week.
I had been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo some years ago.  My friend, Sue Buese, and I thought it would be cool to get a toe ring tattoo - until we found out that it really hurt.  Now, all tattoos hurt, of course, but I guess the toe smarts quite a bit and we just weren't into the whole "ouchy" thing.
So a number of years went by when the tattoo idea came up again.  It was a few months after I'd been diagnosed with breast cancer and we were on a lighthouse tour in Wisconsin.  As I was falling asleep one night a vision/picture/idea came to me.  I knew if I ever got a tattoo it would have to have be pretty significant for me.  Not a cartoon character or a picture of my dog long since dead.  No, something that would never lose its meaning for me.

And this is what I saw as I was falling asleep.  People "get" the pink ribbon but they always ask me about the dark stuff surrounding it.  It's the "oh, shit, I have cancer" feeling I got when the doctor called with the news.
After the idea was formed the second part was - where on my body is this thing going to go?  That issue was quickly solved when I realized that the outside of my lower leg was probably the only place on my body that might not sag with age.
The third question was: how big should this sucker be?  Well, since I'd waited until my late 50s to get a tattoo, I really thought you should be able to see it  from a block away.  I think I achieved that goal.
For me, my tattoo is a salute to all the women who have gone before me.  It's also a show of support to the women who are walking the path right now and I like to think it also serves to remind all women to take care of themselves.  Get those mammograms.  If you're young but fall into a high risk category, don't let ANYONE tell you, you don't need a mammogram.  Beat down the doors until you find someone that will listen to you.
Oh, and yes, it hurt but just like many people will tell you who are sporting tats, it was worth it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

We Danced on TV

No, not on Dancing with the Stars and not on So You Think You Can Dance but on a country dance show many years ago.  Like American Bandstand for the "boy-howdy" set.
We decided it would be fun to learn how to do the two-step and a few other partner dances so we gathered up a bunch of friends and went over to Gun Lake and jumped right in for dance lessons.  I think we started with about 12 couples and they dropped like flies.  One woman went home with bloody toes - her husband wasn't exactly light on his feet, if you get my drift.
We hung in there, though, and although we didn't set the dance floor on fire we progressed and had a blast.  We also met some terrific people.
We used to make fun of my mother-in-law because she'd watch a country dance show everyday; I think it was called The Wildhorse or something like that.  Anyway, she got real involved in all the regulars' lives.  Even nicknamed them.
And then WE WERE ON THE SHOW OURSELVES.  We'd gotten sucked into her enthusiasm after we became expert dancers and traveled down to Knoxville.  It was a blast and, honestly, we were a bit star struck seeing all those people we'd been watching.  We each had crushes on specific people and got to meet them - for real.  I know, I know.  How hokey can you get?  Pretty darned hokey.
They taped 3 sessions and gave you the air dates so you could watch later from home.  We went to my best friend, Sue's, to see the show.  Sue's daughter, Katie, pulled up a stool and sat real close to the TV and every time we danced around near the camera she waved at us.
We also made a second trip but this time it was to Nashville to dance on another show - can't remember the name but the same idea.  That time I was like a pit bull for camera time because I wanted to wave and yell, "Hi, Katie."  Mission accomplished and watching the playback with her later and seeing her face when I yelled to her was priceless.
We haven't danced in a long time.  We had a good long run but it has passed.  We're left with great memories and the video tape to prove our dancing experience.  In case you'd like to see it (you know you would), come on over.  We look very young and slightly star-struck.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I Swear

I swear - not like in "I swear that is the best piece of chocolate cake I've EVER had."  I swear like in "drunken sailor" swearing.
I think I swear less than when I was a stupid, insensitive teenager.  I sure as hell hope so.  See?  There I go again.  Although, I have to say I don't consider "hell" and "shit" swearing.  Same with "damn." 
Many years ago my best friend, Sue, and I decided to clean things up.  We swore (as in taking an oath) that we were going to stop.  Even stop using the non-swear words because, let's face it, seeing/hearing an older woman use those words is just . . . . well, not really very nice. We were in our 40s. ha!
Sue owned a restaurant at the time and she didn't even make it through the day.  I lasted a bit longer.
If I'm going to be brutally honest here I might as well get it off my chest - I drop the F-bomb way too often but, really, I haven't been able to find another word that packs the same punch.
I went on one of the bead maker forums that I frequent and asked for substitutions for the big one and garnered quite a list.  I tried really, really hard to use some of them too but it didn't take.  I'm trying to cut down, though, so that has to count for something.  Right?
The others I try to curtail using are the god/jesus ones. We've already talked about the fact that I'm not religious but I am sensitive and really don't want to offend my religious friends.  I need a little more work in that department too.  I'm sure if someone passed by while I had Augie out for an early morning pee-pee walk or a late night one, they might think his name was god-damn-it- Augie.  Sorry.  I really don't mean to, it just rolls off my tongue.
I was thinking of trying to channel my old "Stephens Susie" self but then I remembered that I swore up a storm back then.  Nope, that's not going to work.  And don't suggest I drop a quarter into some stupid swearing can every time I utter a bad word.
I think I'm a lost cause. Damn it!

Friday, March 16, 2012

No More Word Verification

Thanks to my blog buddy, Bliss, I googled the instructions to get rid of that pesky word verification and it worked!!!  Yea, me!
So, it should be worry-free for commenting from now on.
Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Alien Abduction

Last night at Jazzercise - yes there's a Jazz site just 2.5 miles away - I was reminded of my alien abduction experience.  I was standing behind a woman who had  moles (or whoknowswhat) on her legs.  There was one on the back of each of her calves - in exactly the same place.  Weird, eh?  Well, let me tell you a little story about me.  Cuz, it's my blog and it's always all about me, right?
Several years ago I went to see a local surgeon to have some things (2) removed from my back.  I say things because they were kind of weird looking and were located exactly opposite from one another, just below my bra line. 
I didn't want to get all cancer-obsessed so I convinced myself that a ship from another planet had landed in my yard and a spooky skinny dude with huge eyes had put me into a coma-like state and then pulled out what looked like those big ass ice tongs that they use to move blocks of ice.  He/she/it then used those tongs to pick me up (hence those things on my back) and put me into the ship.  Who knows what happened after that but I seem to be drawn to spooky, skinny dudes with big eyes ever since - and there aren't a lot of them around.
So, to put my mind at ease I went to see a doctor.  She excised the things and sent them off to be analyzed.  I waited for what felt like forever (2 days) for the results.  She called - OLD SKIN was the diagnosis.
Really?  Does that mean I have to stop telling the story of my alien abduction?  Oh, hell, no.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Beach = Bathing Suit and Other Things

First off - we're really not beach people.  Used to be - well, at least I was.  I could sit on the beach in South Haven, MI for hours and just veg.  I always had on a hat, though, and in later years spent almost all of my time under an umbrella.
My parents bought a cottage in South Haven in the early 70s and we were there every weekend and then some for many, many years. The last few years before mom sold it, though, we never seemed to make the walk down to the sand.
So, here we are in Destin, FL where the white sand beaches are famous.  The first week or so was not warm enough for me to even think about checking those beaches out but yesterday was the day so off we went.
There were a few other people there too.  This picture does NOT capture the number of people that were sitting and playing in the area.  Most of them were "hard bodies", I might add.
The waves were fun and the water temp was perfect.  The sand is truly white.  It couldn't have been better - unless . . .
I hadn't had to struggle into the suit.  What the heck was I thinking when I bought that thing with the wonky straps?  I swear there should be instructions on how the hell to get into the thing.  There were several tries and some swearing before the fete was finally accomplished.
When we used to frequent the beach years ago, we always sat in beach chairs.  We didn't have any beach chairs yesterday.  We only had towels.  That meant we had to sit on the towels.  That meant we had to get down onto and back up from the towels.  Not as easy as it used to be.  Neither one of us wanted to do the "old person roll onto our knees" in order to get up.  It was humiliating.  Also exhausting - all that sucking in of the stomach while we walked down the beach next to all those hard bodies.
When all was said and done, we decided it was a lot of fun and we will definitely go back - hopefully several times before we return to MI.  There will be a quick trip to a store so we can buy some beach chairs, though.
I was going to add the video I took of the water doing its thing but it took for friggin' ever when I put it on Facebook yesterday and I just don't have the patience to do that again.  Take my word for it - fabu!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Turtle Tease

As I'm sure you remember (because I know you're following along daily), this condo complex we're living in for the month surrounds a small lake.  And I know the picture of the bridge that spans this little lake is etched in your memory.
Well, the other day when Augie and I were walking across said bridge, I noticed something swimming in the water.  I stood a while to see what is was and it was a good sized turtle.  An then - another - and another and so on and so on.  One (obviously a mother) was giving her baby a ride on her back.  What a good mama.
I thought they were just glad to see me so I started chatting with them.  Told them I was visiting the area for the month living in building 17 - "right over there" - gesturing.  I'm pretty sure I saw their little beady eyes follow my extended arm.
Pretty soon I had quite an audience.  I guess they were interested in what I had to stay.  Who wouldn't be, right?
Then - I noticed a little coin operated "turtle/fish food" dispenser nearby.  Oh, they were looking for food.  I tried not to take it personally.
I see them everyday now and never remember to bring the 2 quarters that I need to toss them their reward for swimming like champs toward the bridge.
Honestly, I don't mean to be a tease.  I feel a tiny bit guilty looking at them staring up at me from below the bridge.  They're treading water - waiting - waiting with hungry looks on their faces.  As I left this morning I thought I heard one of them call me a name.  It started with a "b." hmmmm  I'll need to make a note and stick it near the door that says "remember the .50 for the turtles, b."
Here are the little darlings - they're pretty cute even though one of them has a nasty mouth.
Nice markings, eh?  I think this is the one that was talkin' smack.
I was hoping for a bigger crowd.  Maybe the word has spread that I'm a tease.  Check out the young 'un in the lower left.  Hope he/she didn't hear the sass that other one was spouting.  I'm still smarting from that remark.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Scam

So, let me set the scene.  We're in a gated condo complex.  You need a code to get in.  It's 7a and I'm outside with Augie in my bathrobe with Petey's black jacket over it.  Nice, eh?  Oh, yeah, and a terrific case of bed head.
A young woman walks up to me (from I don't know where) saying she had a "really bizarre question for me."  I told her that I usually have bizarre answers so . . . Something about "me and my boyfriend (red flag: sucky grammar) are staying in a motel waiting for our tax refund - huh? - and we only need $10 more to pay for another night."
Wait for it - wait for it.  "I have a debit card (she holds it up in the air for me to see) with $10 on it and if you could give me ten in cash then I would give you this debit card."  huh?  Really?  Do I look that stupid?  Is it the bed head or the fact that I'm out here in my bathrobe and my husband's large jacket?
I didn't say any of those things nor did I laugh in her face.  Wow, like that's the best you could come up with?
No, I told her if she went to the office (did she know where that was?  "Yes" she replied) when it opened I was sure they would help her out.
All of a sudden her boyfriend drove up (no clue where he was hiding) and picked her up and they left quickly through the gate.
How did they get in in the first place?  They simply followed someone else in.  I know this because someone followed me in the other day.
And, yes, I reported both of these incidences to the office.
Streetwise - that's me.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I'm a hospice volunteer.  I've been volunteering for Wings of Hope Hospice and Palliative Care here in Allegan for about 12 years.  Sometime, later, I'll tell you what lead me to hospice.
I work exclusively in bereavement support.  99% of what I do is done over the phone.  We try, as best we can, to stay in touch with families for 13 months after death occurs.
I say 99% because sometimes I make it to the support meetings we hold in the area.  I'm also very honored to sing at our "Evening of Remembrance" every fall and am often a small group leader at our "Coping with the Holidays."
I am very proud to be associated with our hospice.  I am very proud of the fact that our bereavement services are open to anyone - whether their family member/friend died in our care or not.  No matter how long ago the death occurred.  We have an "open door" policy.
Most of my calls are checking up on family members; asking them how they are getting along.  How were the holidays? - I know his/her birthday was last week, how did that day go for you?  How long were you two married?  How did you meet? etc.
I have "met" many, many wonderful people during my telephone conversations.
When I tell people that I'm a hospice volunteer in bereavement they often say, "Wow, how do you do that?  I know I couldn't."  Well, first off - I'm on the phone so I don't have to worry about shedding a tear which happens now and then.  I'm a big cry baby; I don't think I would do well face-to-face.
Secondly - I always say, and I truly mean it, I get way more than I give.
I guess the seed was planted a long time ago as my mother was in the very first class of hospice volunteers.
Thanks, mom.  It was many years later, however, that I finally took the leap - for an entirely different reason.
Petey is also a hospice volunteer.  He's the "yard boy."  Everyone at hospice says the property has never looked so good.  He's a meticulous sucker.
I've been on the receiving end of hospice care in that my father was served by our local hospice and my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law died in hospice care out east. I was grateful for the wonderful attention they all received.
If you're looking to help out in your community in any way, think about hospice. There's always something to do.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Do You Chew?

Gum, that is - not tobacco.  This isn't going to be a judgmental post, (I don't chew gum) just another observation.  It will sound judgmental because I don't really like to see people chewing gum.  I really don't like to see the gum they are chewing either.  Or HEAR it.
I remember as a kid asking mom for gum.  She always had it in her purse but I don't recall ever seeing her chew it - back then anyway.  Remind me to tell you of her "chewing period" later.  Don't forget.
Mom would never give us a whole stick of gum.  We'd always get a half and it was always Doublemint.  There was an older lady (probably in her early 50's, ha!) that lived around the corner from us that would give me a whole stick.  I liked her a lot.
As I grew older my selection widened to Juicy Fruit, Spearmint and BlackJack.  Remember that one?  Didn't really like the taste so much but really liked molding it to my front teeth.  What a hoot, eh?
Fast forward many years.  Sign Language interpreters don't chew gum.  So, I stopped.  I don't think I was an avid chewer anyway so it wasn't a big deal.
I also always had my mom's words in the back of my head "she looks like a cow chewing her cud."  Nice.
Honestly, it's like looking at someone who is perpetually eating; jaws in constant motion.
I saw a bridesmaid chewing while doing the wedding march down the aisle.  Yuck.
How about the snapping?  I remember trying to learn how to snap my gum as a kid.  That was so cool. Now when I hear someone doing that I just want to . . . well, that would sound really judgmental if I went further, wouldn't it? And violent.
Back to mom:  you didn't remind me - I reminded myself. Neener, neener, neener.  In case you forgot, mom was all about the "cow" thing so it really threw me for a loop when she stopped smoking (yea, mom!) and was all over gum.  Her jaws were doing double time and the noise.  Yikes!  Thankfully that didn't last long.
So if you're chewing gum the next time we meet don't swallow it in embarrassment.  Wouldn't want you to choke.  I'll just look the other way until we finish our conversation.
BTW - I know you're reading this - why don't you leave a comment?  I notice hardly anyone leaves me a "howdy." Come on. Type a little something.  I love the whole interaction thing.  Give it a shot. 
I'm waiting. tap, tap, tap

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nook vs the library

I bought a Nook last fall.  Not the fancy one - just the reader.  I love it!  I love my library too, though, and I'm feeling a bit like a traitor.
On the one hand I don't feel the pressure of the due date when I have a book from the library.  It's not like I can't renew it online - so easy - and it's not like the fine is astronomical if I'm late.  It's me being anal for some odd reason about the whole "overdue" thing.  Yikes, just typing the word overdue gives me a shiver.
The convenience of the Nook is wonderful for me when I go out on freelance jobs.  Sitting and waiting for a client is a breeze now.  No more reading out dated magazines in some doctor's office.  No sir.  Just pull out my Nook and I'm cruising down some street filled with murder victims. 
I'm also reading a bunch of authors I've never heard of before because I'm too cheap to buy the expensive books from Barnes and Noble.  I have a rule:  nothing over $4.00. Or the free ones which I really love.  If it's a "stinker", who cares.  Off to the archives! 
That's all well and good but that means I'm missing out on the new stuff that my favorite authors are churning out.
Yes, I know.  I can download from my library - free - but I need another one-on-one tutorial from my geek buddy to help me figure out how to do that.  I seem to be missing one crucial step which is annoying the hell out of me.
Wait a second - there's a B&N right down the road from us here in Destin.  Maybe someone down there would help me.  Ya, think?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Opinion on Mainstreaming

I worked in Special Ed for many years with Deaf kids.  I have almost no use whatsoever for mainstreaming at the elementary level.  Ok, I'll give ya art and PE but other than those 2 classes, I say keep the kids in the Deaf Ed room with a Deaf Ed teacher that can help them with the basics before they are thrown  to the wolves later on.
There - I said it.
I'm only giving you my personal opinion based on my experience.  I saw a lot of wasted time and learning go down the drain out in the mainstream.
I'm ok with it after elementary school on a student-by-student basis.  If the "experts" feel a child is ready for the regular ed classes -  with back-up help -  then I say go for it.  You can always pull them out later if all doesn't go well.
"They need to mix with the other kids for socialization."  THAT'S WHAT RECESS IS FOR!!!
I remember coming into an elementary school many years ago (actually this happened in more than one school) and the kids were going to vocal music.  VOCAL MUSIC!  They were DEAF!!!
Those students needed instruction in their language.  Sign Language.  Their skills were lacking immensely.
It wasn't a popular move but we got them pulled from VOCAL MUSIC and language lessons began.
I have seen some success in mainstreaming Deaf students at the middle and high school levels but nothing to get all excited about.
So - what's the answer?  Beats the hell out of me.
If you had a Deaf child would you move the whole family to a city that had a Deaf school in it so your child could attend as a day student and have Deaf teachers and go to classes filled with other Deaf students?
No?  How about putting your child on a bus every Sunday afternoon (or a train) so he/she could go live at the school and then come home every Friday afternoon?  Not sounding too good?  Ok, then you're pretty much stuck with public ed and hope for the best.  Maybe they'll actually have a great program for your Deaf child.  A program that covers all the bases including American Sign Language.  Maybe you'd get lucky.  And maybe not.
After all those years working in Deaf Ed, I retired in 2006 disheartened.
Sorry for the downer post but that's life out there.  It sucks sometimes.  Too bad the kids have to suffer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Old Shoe

Remember my entry about the "jeans"?  You've read them all right?  Hello?  I didn't hear you???  Oh, never mind, I know you have.  Yes, you have.
Anyway, referring back to the "jeans" entry.  Remember I said those favorite jeans were comfy like a pair of old slippers? Well, actually, I believe I said "shoes" but you get my drift.
Well, I'll make the comparison today with friends.  I love meeting new people - but I love my "old" friends a whole lot.
Here's one of them right now.  Hi, Jane!  (insert enthusiastic wave)
That's her husband, Tom, and there's mine.  Petey.  I've talked about him before here but don't believe I've ever shown his face - he's in Witness Protection so, shhhhhhhh.
Anyway, Jane, and I met at 6th grade camp - right, Jane?  There are 4 elementary schools in Allegan and we went to different ones so, of course, we never crossed paths until our schools joined forces at camp.  I don't remember it being cold so it was probably spring.  Although spring in MI could easily still have 3 ft of snow on the ground so who knows.
The way I remember it, I made fast friends with Jane, Patty and Liz - the West Ward girls.
Jane and I double-dated to the prom our sophomore year - WITH SENIORS!!!  Were we cool or what?
We were cheerleaders together for several years.  Funny story: many years after we'd graduated from high school, Jane and I were looking at the old year book together.  There was a fantastico picture of us, mid-air, doing this really cool jump.  At the same time, we both pointed at the picture, noticing for the first time that Jane was doing it backward. hahahaha.  That's the way I remember the story, anyhoo.
Spending time with Jane is effortless.  We have all that history behind us, reference points don't need to be explained.  We pick up right where we left off even though we only see each other a few times a year.
Yesterday we met for lunch with our husbands (refer to the pic above if you need to be refreshed) here in FL - even though we only live about 10 miles apart back in MI.
Jane is one of only 2 childhood friends I have left (Hi, Joy).  As my mother-in-law used to say, "you're a very lucky person if you have a very good friend.  I count myself one lucky gal.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Livin' In Central Time

Sounds like a country tune, doesn't it?  You wouldn't think that one little hour would make such a difference but, yowza, I'm having trouble adjusting.  Wonder what that says about me?
First of all - it's really, really bright early in the morning.
Next is the whole television thing.  If you've been reading along you know I'm a fan of the television so prime time stuff starts @ 7p here.  Holy cow, I've missed a lot of my favorite programs.  But - but - but when you look at the online TV guide to see what's on the evening's agenda the times are in eastern time.  I'm almost embarrassed to say how long that took me to figure out.
I remember years ago when my sister, Lisa, was living in St.Louis and we were visiting for a few days.  We went to the movie about the building of the arch.  I fell asleep which wasn't easy to do because we were sitting in folding chairs.  Then we went to the planetarium.  Well, what did you expect?  It's dark in there and the chairs are so, so comfy.  At the end of the day Peter told me I'd taken $12 worth of naps! Last night was the first night since we arrived that I managed to stay awake until 11p.  Ok, I nodded off for a bit around 9p.
I'll probably get used to this central thing right about the time we all switch to Daylight Savings Time!  OMG, I'll probably be a wreck.
Then - at the end of the month, I'll go home TO EASTERN TIME! 
Look for me in a rubber room.  Staring at the clock.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Five Guys - I've Missed You So

We were introduced to Five Guys two years ago by our friend, Kathi, in St.Petersburg.  Oh my, what a pleasure that first meeting was.  The burgers are hand made - no frozen, pre-shaped patties.  The fries are TDF and not greasy and oh, so fresh.
We had plans to hang with the "guys" when we stopped in Franklin, TN, on our way to FL but after 10 hrs on the road, the last thing either of us wanted to do was get back in the car and drive for chow so . . . we walked out the back door of the LaQuinta Inn to the Crackle Barrel.
We had a bit of a challenge finding our way to the above joint last night as our GPS, "Jennifer" wasn't cooperating.  Plus it was in Ft.Walton Beach about 10 miles away and a rather busy place here in the panhandle.
Petey is like a dog with a bone, though.  He is nothing if not persistent and after crossing the same bridge twice and pulling an illegal U-turn, we got verbal directions from a gas station dude and finally arrived.

Warning: do NOT get a large bag of fries.  Unless you have 8 other people eating with you.  This is a medium and between the two of us, we struggled to finish it.
Mission accomplished!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Do You Pack for a Trip Early or Last Minute?

I've done it both ways, although never extremely early like I hear some people talk about, and I seem forget something no matter what.

So far I know I left behind two brushes:  Augie's and Peter's.  I have to shift the blame of Petey's brush on him, though, he packs for himself.

If I get to the task too early I have, at first, a very wonderful feeling of accomplishment.  Oh, so organized.  I am so proud.  And then - I forget what I've packed.

Did I pack my comfy black sandals?  How about those 3 sleeveless shirts - where the heck are they?  Aspirins and toothpaste?  It goes on and on.

Adding to the stress is when you go on a long car trip and make many motel/hotel stops.  When the room is small, how can you possibly leave stuff behind?  Ask me how I know.

  Ahhhhhhhhhh.  The best part of coming to Florida during March (other than escaping butt-deep snow) is that you get an early spring.  And then another one when you get back home in April.

That's all for now, folks.  Stay tuned; I plan on posting more pics.  White sands and Five Guys Burgers!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Welcome to Florida???????????????????

Well, we're here and are very pleased with our condo accommodations.  But are we pleased with the weather?
Uh, that would be a noooooo.  I'm so happy I thought to bring the big-ass golf umbrella.  I got Augie out this morning just before all hell broke loose.
I guess I'd have to say we've been lucky, though, because we dodged all the really dangerous stuff.  Got out of TN before things went bad for them.
We drove through some really heavy rain yesterday morning.  Poor Petey had a death grip on the steering wheel.

So today will be spent contemplating our navels and reading.  Oh, and also standing in the kitchen looking at these beautiful tiles over the sink.

Oh, wait, what's that I hear?  The sound of silence?  I believe the rain has stopped for a moment and Augie looks and smells (dog farts - yuck) like he needs some grass (even if it's wet) to poop on.