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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ted, Breakfast and New Years' Eve




















A short little post on this New Year's Eve. Ted made it home but an hour late to arrive at the airport. The flights out of Atlanta were backed up.
We were all at the airport to greet him. He stopped by his house to pick up his Christmas gifts then he and Carrie and another friend came to my house to spend the afternoon. He was excited with all the new X Box games and the Rock Band for his system. It's just not my thing.
His mom just arrived with all the breakfast fixings and is in the kitchen preparing the promised breakfast feast. Cinnabon cake, waffles, bacon, ham and cheese omelets, whipped creme and strawberries. I'm hiding out in the living room. She doesn't look like she needs any help and I'm not going to ask.
I was so looking forward to a quiet evening after the breakfast feast but Ted wanted to spend the night. Then he wanted to invite a friend so I'll be sharing the house with them. I'm going to ban them to the bedroom and the X Box. Maybe I won't even know they are here. (to be continued)
2hrs. later:
Dinner is done and so am I. Ted and friend are down the street, Carrie, mom and boyfriend are gone. I've spent the last 1/2hr cleaning up. There wasn't that much damage done to my kitchen.
LSU is playing their bowl game. What a dismal year for my Alma mater. Win some and lose some I guess. I don't know if I'll make it to midnight. I can hear the fireworks from my spot here. This is not a night I enjoy being out in a crowd. I did do New Year's eve in New Orleans one year but I didn't find it any different then a regular night in the Quarters. Everyone is drunk and being log carried out by 10PM. Every night in the Quarters is New Years. Different holiday, same craziness. The last Mardi Gras I went to was the absolute worst I had ever been to. It was so bad I can't even blog on it. What I saw that night would make it a porn blog. I try not to think about it often. I've been to many Mardi Gras but none can compare to that last one. This was pre Katrina when Bourbon would have a million people strolling, stumbling and exposing themselves. The girls had on painted on T-Shirts. Just paint. A neckline and sleeves outlined their torsos. At first it looked like they were braless and wearing tight t's. Not so. That was the mildest thing that night.
I'm leaving that. Enough already.
I think I'll go park myself in front of the TV for a while. It's quiet at the moment except for the sound of the dishwasher. Soon enough Ted and friend will be back from their visit down the street. I may be back. I may not. Here's to a happy healthy New Year.

Busy Morning a Drifty Mind

Ted arrives this morning! He called me 5 times last night and texted me a couple of times. I think he is excited to be coming home. We've promised him omelets here tonight for supper and tomorrow night I will take him to the Royal Panda, a favored place for him. He eats sushi, I eat crab legs.

This restaurant is owned by "Tony" and he lives here in my neighborhood. I remember when we first moved here, Tony had a little restaurant in a strip mall. Oriental food and good oriental food. As time when on and Tony's business prospered, he built a huge ornate building next to a Walmart store. Smart man. He catches all the Walmart traffic or at least a part of it. Now I know "Tony" isn't his given name. I'm sure it's something none of us could pronounce and Tony barely spoke English when we first met him. I'm sure he bastardized his name for the country he was in.

I remember shortly after 9/11 when this country had gone stark raving nuts. Accusations were flying accusing people of being anti-American. If you were of a nationality that was easily spotted as being from another country, you were beaten, verbally abused, your store was burned or you were run out of business. I was so proud of this country (said sarcastically). Tony was very nervous. He could see what was going on. He embraced this country and all he was able to accomplish here but it didn't help.
Tony is a soft spoken man; he spent years building up his business and I've had him sit at our table many times while we dined. I had never heard Tony disparage this country. He was just trying to survive in a country where he had basic knowledge of the language.

Some woman here went into his business and then went public accusing him of slandering the United States. I thought I would never know that kind of hate here. I was watching television when the story broke on the local news channel. I found emails being circulated accusing Tony of defaming the flag and spouting hate against the USA. I knew this was impossible and every email I received, I blasted back with a "reply to all" on their stupidity. People were forwarding this hateful email and new ones were being built. Tony was scared. I went to see him at his restaurant. We spoke minimally about it. He was bowed. We knew with the hysteria about at that time that the least said and reported was best.
Months later after the initial big page news article on this, an apology was issued by the paper. The woman had made up this story. Of course the apology was not front page news. It was good news and that seldom sells.

People world wide condemn the country of Germany for following Hitler's rein of terror. Condemnation for the prison interment of the Japanese US citizen during WWII here. They say it couldn't happen again. They say they don't know why the people followed Hitler. I know. I saw it here. I saw the small snow ball start rolling and picking up speed. I listened and watched and was frightened. We were supposed to be frightened. Propaganda is a powerful tool. It works. I saw it in action; something I never thought I would experience. We were getting primed for an invasion. Tempers were flaring; we were staged for an invasion.
And we did.

Did I get side tracked in this post?

This started as a post on my plans for today and ended right ...................HERE.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Variety of Nothing

Carrie and I left around 2:3o to see the Gr.Grandparents. They were thrilled to see her and she received much lovin from them. We stayed for a few hours then went to the other Gr.Grandparent. Grandma is not bed fast but she doesn't get around or get out much. She just lights up when Carrie is bought to visit her. Carrie has no idea how much joy she is spreading by just being herself and being with this Gr.Grandmother. I try to take her to visit as often as I can. We don't know how long they will be with us and I don't want to wish later that I had taken her to see them. This is Carrie's paternal side of the family. I had never met these people until she was born. This is the the best gift you can give these people and it takes so little time to give it.

My brother had his procedure today and came through it with out any problems. He had a carotid endartectomy. This is considered a minor procedure but with risks. I've taken care of patients that had not had a stroke but were bound to have one because of the blockage in the carotids. The problem with this procedure is the plaque lining the carotids. If even a minuscule amount should flake off during the procedure, the patient usually strokes out. It's sad that they came into the hospital with no deficits but leave partially paralyzed. You have to explain the risks to them and they weigh this out. My brother was hesitant but agreed to the procedure. He is doing fine tonight.

It's getting late and I'm starting to wind down. My eyelids are heavy and I'm doing way too much correction on this typing so it must be time for me to slide between the sheets and recharge.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow just because it is there.

Bitching

I'm hoping this gets defeated.http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/T/TEC_AUSTRALIA_INTERNET_FILTER?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2008-12-26-11-40-17

Internet censorship. Whose to say what they will censor. Bad enough the embedded reporters in Iraq during out quest to spread democracy to people that didn't request our intervention and when this was going on I would go to Iraqi newspapers to read what un in bedded reporters were saying. I may lose this option with internet censorship. I think it's just a way to eventually control peoples' access to the real news. I believe half of what I hear reported from the journalist here. You can get a different slant on things by reading news reported from other countries.

This makes me angry. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is only half reported. If you give rockets to one side and support everything they do then of course you will make enemies of the unsupported side.

I have no idea what will solve the conflicts between the Muslims and the Jews. Better minds then mine have failed to come up with a solution. I don't think the USA has been anywhere close to being fair in their approach to these two countries. Muslim are automatically called the terroists or portrayed as the aggressors. Hamas was elected democratically. Isn't that what we support?

I've had my little say. I'm done but I can't help but watch with horror as the slaughters continue.

Sis and Me

Remember?

Was it Worth It?

This is a post ski season shot. I was skiing a run called "Ski Team"; it was a steep mogul run. A black diamond run. I don't remember the fall. I do know when I regained consciousness the other skiers were digging snow out of my throat. I must have caught an edge as I shoved off the top of that mountain. It was a yard sale. Ski's and poles were not even in the same vicinity on the slope. My goggles remained on my face. They were packed with snow and I couldn't see. My right knee was blown. Six months of rehab and recouping to be ready to hit the slopes the next season. My ortho surgeon asked me "Is it really worth it?"
After this fall my knee was unstable and swollen. I had torn the ACL and the MCL. If you sit around the lodge you can hear the skiers talking these initials.
This happened in the spring. Easter ski egg hunt event was approaching. I wrapped that knee with an ace wrap and skied one last time for the egg hunt. I told the surgeon to get it ready before the next season. Screws, bolts and staples have held it together. Was it worth it?
I guess I could have had a very sedate lifestyle but I'm not one that can tolerate boredom. I had to be moving. I skied and loved every minute of it. I didn't "off trail ski" and when I hear a report of a skier being buried in an avalanche I know they were off trail skiing and that's skiing at your own risk.
The slopes are blown before the season starts. Dynamite charges are set off to fall the loose snow. That is not done for off trail.
I didn't do extreme skiing. No telemark, just alpine. I did do a little snow shoeing and cross country but my favorite was the downhill.
I've skied from Pennsylvania to Arizona. If I was close to a slope and it was winter, I skied it. My car broke down on a trip in the summer passing through Flagstaff, Arizona. I left that car and continued on to Pa. but before I left I told the mechanic not to call me till there was loads of snow on the ground. When he called Snow Bowl had just got 22 inches of new snow. I flew from Pa. to Phoenix and caught a commuter to Flagstaff. The weather was killer. They had a show of hands at the airport in Phoenix on how many would get on that flight. Of course my hand shot into the air. We took off and the weather was so bad we thought we might have to land on the upper rim of the Grand Canyon and be bussed back to Flagstaff. The pilot kept circling that small airport in Flagstaff; finally an opening and we went in. We were all holding hands on that flight when we landed. The things I've done to go skiing. Driving through blizzards in Wyoming and Colorado; chaining up to get to the slope and hoping I could get back which I didn't worry about until it was time to head home.
Was it worth it?
You can point those boards straight down the slope for a thrill or do some traversing for a slower ride. All your choice. I skied through the week with abandon but weekend skiing was purely to watch the tourists and be entertained. When skiing the weekend you had to dodge em but the week days were mostly seasoned skiers.
I remember my first few times. I'm standing in the ski lift line after being on my butt most of the run and I hear and see someone in front of me looking back and screaming "SINGLE"?
I had no clue. He was looking at me and I'm thinking how brazen.
Does it show? I have to laugh at this now. I didn't know at the time that the lift operators tried to fill the lift seat with two skiers and if a single skier came to the lift they would look down the line and scream out "SINGLE"? At that point you left your place in the line and moved to the lift chair with the other "single" skier that was ready to board.
I skied Park City West where the Olympic skiers are trained. They were training while I was there for two days. I decided to hang back and follow them. Not a good decision. By the time I realized they were headed for a double black diamond there was no turning back. After a long lift ride, we skied down a narrow gradual path to the run. The path was not a run. It was a path to get across the mountain to the run. There wasn't another run that could be taken. Once you headed down this path you were committed. Wish I had known that.
I watched as each skier would go forward and then disappear. I knew this was not a good sign. After they had all launched I slipped to the run and saw vertical. Now I'm thinking following the ski team was NOT a wise move.You shoved your tips forward then leaned out and dropped! Let's say it wasn't the most graceful run I've done and I don't do double black diamonds then or ever again.
I waited at the bottom of that run for those Olympic skiers to do it again so I could just watch this time. It wasn't easy on some of them either. The tumbles were magnificent when they happened!
Was it worth it?
Skiing is one of those sports that attract like minded who love the sport. I never met a jerk on the slopes. We were there for one thing and that was the snow and the ride. An instant bond with other skiers just because you are there. Apres ski didn't include getting drunk on your butt. It was early to bed and early to the slope if you were a serious skier. I'm not talking the once a year vacationer. I never wanted to be one of those and when I had to leave the Rockies during the 80's oil industry slump, I have not been on the boards since. I don't know if my knee would have lasted this long if I had stayed and skied.
Was it worth it?
YES! I can't imagine never having enjoyed all the snow and the people I met. Yes, it was worth it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just an update

I didn't do a darn thing today except look after Carrie which was no mean feat. She entertained herself at the computer. I was amazed that after she left there was nothing to pickup and put away.


I do have to curtail how much time she spends on the computer. I'm going to make it a point to get her outside on the nice days.


I called the ortho surgeon today and made an appointment to see him. I have an appointment on Jan.8th. I was surprised that I could get in that soon. I'm going to see what he has to say about my knee. I dread the thought of surgery but I don't like the limits this knee is placing on me right now. I've taken care of many of this surgeons' ortho patients. He is the best in town and he is who I want for this surgery. I had to make sure he took my insurance which he does so now we shall see how this goes.

I just spent hours on the phone with Ms. K. and we did nothing related to computer learning. She was listening to life stories, mine. The things that happened to me while I was on the road, the places and the near disasters that were my life. She said she was surprised I wasn't dead and it surprises me too. I told her my mom carried life insurance on me till I was thirty years old because she knew I wouldn't live to see thirty!

I must be paying for all that fun time now. If I hadn't rode a cycle or if I hadn't crashed while skiing, my knee wouldn't need surgery. I've broken bones in my ankle and a few ribs. All in all I think I survived it well. I know it could have been worse. I could NOT be here writing this.

I talked with Ted in Florida. He is ready to come home and I'm ready to see him. His only request was to have "breakfast" for dinner when he gets home. That we can do.

I'm going to try to take that trip to Lydia tomorrow. It's late and I need to be in bed.
The end!

A Change

in plans. One of the grGrandparents will be out of town today so I've postponed this little trip until tomorrow.
Carrie just arrived and is already at the computer. It's quiet time here still but I know that isn't going to last long. I've already had the first request of the day for something to drink.
I'll get dressed while she is at the computer. I'll blog again later today maybe.

Flower Search


I did find some flowers.......

A house down the street had lots of flowers blooming. They must have covered them when it frosted.

It's a bright clear morning. No rain in sight and my lawn is again bright green from all the rain. If it warms up again I'll be mowing it in January.
I have nothing planned for today. The munchkin will be here at 10:30 then the fun starts. I've been munchkin free all weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The house is tidy; there are no toys scattered everywhere, the floors are without sticky spots and the tv has been off most of the weekend.

I've had the computer all to myself. I haven't heard my name called every 5 minutes requesting the bathroom light be turned on, "i'm thirsty", "i can't do it!" or "i'm hungry". My weekend vacation is over.

I think I may pack her up today and go visit her grGrandparents in Lydia. Lydia is a small sugar cane and crawl fish town about 25 minutes from here. There isn't a stop light in town and only one stop sign. The two service stations have booths along the walls and serve stuffed bread, fried chicken, potato logs and fried shrimp. Everybody knows everybody and when I stop in though they don't know me they recognize Carrie from her visits there.

The post office is as big as a Goodwill drop off station. One church and many bars where the locals get together for card games each week. They just got a Dollar Store in town and everyone was ecstatic. I don't think any one's name there ends in "Smith" or "Jones". It's pure Cajun country. The locals still speak French.

Carrie's grandmother lives in a house on stilts in the swamp. She and her husband built this house around the time Carrie was born. It sits about 15 ft in the air and you can drive a tall truck beneath it on the concrete pad. They have been hit by the effects of 3 hurricanes in the short time they have been there. Water didn't enter their house but they had to use their air boat to get to town because of the Gulf surge that would come in. Salt water into the pond they have, salt water into the lawn equipment and the pumps they have and now they have the property up for sale.
Insurance didn't cover the loss of any of the peripheral stuff .

The house on stilts is beautiful. All the walls and floors are done in cypress. It has a cathedral ceiling with a short set of stairs that lead to a half loft where they have a bed for guests. The main floor has one bedroom, one bathroom and a small kitchen open to the living area. A porch with railings surrounds the entire perimeter of the house. The stairs leading up to the house are about 10ft wide and on a gradual incline. The view from anywhere in the house is awesome. It's a view of the swamp but the swamp is an interesting place. Alligators can be see in the pond. I don't think it's a real pond in the sense of the word. I think it's a "walled off section of the swamp water". Birds, vegetation, snakes and alligators and I wouldn't live out there for all the tea in china! After the last surge Carrie could't visit till they removed all the snakes from the yard! She keeps a loaded gun on the kitchen counter. It's secluded and isolated. Who knows who could sneak back there and murder you in broad daylight??? There is a one lane trail thru a tunnel of foliage and deer can be seen leaping across this lane on the drive to the house. There is a metal gate that has to be unlocked and phone calls have to be made if you intend on driving in.

It's a great place to visit. I like my house in the subdivision. It's scary enough living in any town surrounded by neighbors; I would have that gun strapped to my hip if I lived in the swamp.

The morning is flying by. If I want an uninterrupted shower, I must get it done now. Munchkin will be here in a couple of hours.

I'll take my camera and get some pictures of Carrie and the Gr.Grandparents for her album. I do a yearly album of her and it's almost time to close the 2008 album and start a new one.

I copy all her 2008 pics onto a CD and give them as gifts to the Gr.Grandparents. I make a nice CD label with her picture on it and the year printed in nice script. What else can you get people that are 75plus that they don't already have? They can put the CD in the DVD player and watch a slideshow of her thru the year. They love it!

Now that I know what I am doing today, I'm off to the shower. I have to pack all that stuff that goes along with taking a child somewhere and get my cameras ready.

I might even get some swamp shots today.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another 5 years

It may be another 5 years before I attempt another movie adventure. I stayed for an hour then left the theatre. The movie I went to see was Bedtime Stories. Juvenile, boring and predictable.
Ok..so now I'm a movie critic. It's bad enough to have to sit still but to attempt it while faced with a movie full of trite and predictable dialogue was just too much for me.
I called my daughter; I told her I had just left the theatre. "Oh Oh" she said. "What did you go see?" I told her and she asked "Why?"
"Well" I said, "isn't that the movie you went to on Christmas afternoon?" She said it was and I wanted to know why. Because Adam Sandler was in it she says. She also said she wouldn't have recommended it to me because she knows I don't like "stupid".
****This is a review I cut and pasted here. Unfortunately I read this review AFTER I went to the movie!

A return to the cloying sweetness of Big Daddy territory for Adam Sandler. He's a hotel maintenance guy who tells stories to his niece and nephew that sort of come true. The shortage of wit and the excess of goo can be summed up in Sandler's line to these children of divorce: "I'm like the stink on your feet — I'll always be there."

Great! I wasted an 1 1/2 hrs! She also said she didn't think it was that good. She recommened the Brad Pitt movie. Personally I think the Tom Cruise movie Valkrie is more my thing. Some history stretched a bit I'm sure but realistic enough for me to believe. I do like comedies but not hokey stuff.
Daughter had me sit through the movie "Weather Man". She laughed through the whole movie while I sat there trying to see and hear the humor she was enjoying. It didn't happen.

I may check the listings here in a bit and try again. It is now pouring down the rain. That soft drizzle has been replaced by a deluge. I may cuddle up with a book instead.

Rainy Movie Day

Since the day is gloomy and wet, I am going to a movie. This is something that is not high on my list of fav things to do, but I'm going to attempt to get to the theatre on time and leap into fantasy land.
I've made this threat before but always find something that leads me away from this goal. It might be that I'm not all that intent on going but today I'll try once again.
This sounds like a chore instead of the great fun that avid movie goers look forward to as entertainment.
I'm off. Lets see what happens.

Overboard

Yesterday it was so dang hot here I was ladylike developing a glow OR sweating like a hog while I was taking the clothes off the clothes line. The a/c unit has been running for days now.
Last night it started raining and the temps started dropping. I'm looking outside on a dreary rainy day. I can hear thunder booming in the distance and the rain is at a steady fall splashing off the concrete patio. It's not a heavy rain as it was last night but just a steady soft cold rain. I'm going to take my camera and drive around today in search of any flowers that may still be blooming. They may be all frozen from the previous frosts. I'm sure no one will be mowing their lawns as they were just a week ago when I was out in the city.

I just heard on the news about a female passenger on a cruise that can't be found on the ship and they think she went overboard. The problem is her husband didn't report her missing for hours and hours. (making note here to not take any cruise with husband).
I have a friend here, a female friend that loves to take cruises and takes sometimes 2 cruises a year and even 3 sometimes.
She has asked me many times to go with her to which I respond, "not no, but hell NO!" I have a deep and long lived fear of water. I go to the beach and do not stray pass ankle deep water. I didn't learn to swim until I was in my teens and only because a friend horsing around at the pool pushed me in. After that, I taught myself to swim and I have never won any medals at that activity. I will swim at the hotel pools but I stay out of oceans, ponds and rivers. If I can't see the bottom, I'm not going.

I did tell my cruise friend that I would go but I wasn't sure the cruise director would allow me to be wearing that bright orange life vest and towing an inflated raft all over the ship during the entire cruise. (I did see that movie Titanic!).

My husband would mention a cruise every now and again but after he worked off shore for years, he has no longer a desire to spend any time at sea.

When I hear an "overboard" story as I did this morning, my over-active imagination goes into overdrive. I almost get physically ill imagining being in that ocean with no land in sight, in water over my head, the waves, the sharks and all the other critters that live in that water. I'll stay out of their territory and they can stay out of mine. I can't even watch a movie containing ships, sharks and stranded. I bought the DVD of Titanic. I knew I would never be able to sit through it at the theatre. It took me a week to watch the Titanic movie. I don't sit still for long and I would put the movie on, watch the uneventful part and move to another room when any scene showed ocean views, then come back and catch the movie in the middle, get frightened, leave the room, come back and watch a little more of it. I watched that movie in chunks and not in order. I would restart it and after a week I had seen the whole movie. My heart rate picks up when I start remembering some of the scenes right now!
Nope...you can keep those cruises. I would be miserable on one.
I am happy you may like to do this. I don't envy you going at all. Bring me an island shell and Bon Voyage!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An Advil Day

I'm looking around to make sure nobody related to me crept into this house after I went to bed last night. Could it be that I have the whole house to myself? Everyone left around 6PM last night and apparently they are still "left".

After they were gone, Ms. K. and I played "discover word processing". Yep, we did another lesson last night. After about 3 hrs. of lessons, we were both brain numb. She could pass a proficiency test now on email and Microsoft Word. One month ago she got her own computer. Until then she would occasionally send an email when she visited her daughter who does not live close to her. Her daughter would open an email for her and she would type a one liner or two. Oh my! Haven't we progressed! After she got past the fear of trashing out the computer, she explores on her own. She is learning the correct terminology and now when I ask her to type in her browser window, she knows where that is located. Doing this over the phone, she has had to learn the computer speak and Internet speak as I can't stand beside her and point things out. She feels the phone instructions are more beneficial then me actually standing beside her to point these things out.
Much like in college when the professors would not spell everything out for you. They wanted you to figure it out on your own. They said you retained it better if you had to put some reasoning along with the lesson they were teaching. Gosh, how frustrated I would be with that.

I took a nice long hot UNINTERRUPTED shower and slipped into bed. I slept with the TV on which I don't usually do.

My knee is swollen and painful. It takes a while to get it to flex and extend when I first get out of bed. This coming year might be the year to get a total knee replacement. I've known for years that it would eventually have to be done and it looks like 2009 will be the year. I injured this knee when I put a dirt bike down in a river bed after riding a hair scramble. It had to be rebuilt. Years later, while skiing the Rockies, I took a nasty tumble down a black diamond run and again it had to be rebuilt. Now there is nothing remaining in the knee to rebuild. The last two months of this year, it's been my back or my knee. My back is just an occasional, once every few years event, but this knee never gets better.

My eldest brother and sibling is in the hospital recuperating from a light stroke. He has to have a carotid endartectomy next week and at times like these, I wish I lived closer to family. My sister keeps me informed on what is going on and I called and spoke with him a few days ago. It would be nice to be there though.

I'm boring myself to tears here. Will this ever be posted or will it be a "draft" forever?
I'm off to run some errands. The one where you go to Walmart and stock up on supplies and get there and out before the rest of the population gets out of bed.

It might be an Advil day here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Afternoon Quickie

I have Carrie in her high chair facing a big plate of spaghetti. Lesie is still in bed and I've been busy all morning.
Carrie sat at the computer while I took down the tree, packed up all the Christmas decorations and hauled them out to the little house. I've done loads of laundry, hung it on the line, cleaned up the kitchen and as soon as Carrie finishes her lunch, I'll put her down for a nap. If I don't get another thing done today I won't complain. I got more done then I thought I would with Carrie here.
I've discovered she will sit at the computer for hours but not in front of the TV. I think she may be a bit like me.
I make sure she is doing educational computer games. Noggin.com is great.
I'm looking forward to the whole weekend with nobody here but me. I may tell everyone I'm leaving town for the weekend. I can get started on some painting. Painting rooms not portraits. It's past due and I'll just concentrate on one room.
I'm off to nap time. Aren't I lucky?

Memory Lane

Wedding pic Solitare


Carrie spent the night. Lesie spent the night. Lesie went to the movies with her mom while Carrie stayed with me. Later Lesie showed back up again and I'm sure she stayed because she had the XBox hooked up in one of the bedrooms. It was just easier for her to stay then have to unhook everything to take it home.

I hope Carrie stays in bed a while longer this morning. I have some things I would like to get done without interruptions.

I received Christmas calls from family and friends yesterday. Most were calls from family that do not live close. The call that wins the award for "farthest away" goes to my niece who is in Germany.
Saddest story I heard yesterday was the one about the Santa that shot and killed 8 people in California. Apparently he was distraught because his wife of one year had left him. He went to his inlaws house who were together for Christmas and dressed in a Santa suit knocked on the door. An 8 yr. old answered the door who he shot in the face. He torched the house and so far the body count is at 8.

Every Christmas from this year forward will be a sad reminder to that family of this one year.
My mother passed away Dec. 1st and each year that date leaps out as December approaches.
I once asked my aunt if she still misses her mother. This is an elderly aunt. Her reply "I think about her every day" "I miss her every day".

A little chunk of one's life is missing. The one person you knew for sure that harbored no jealousies or ill will for you is gone. The one person that you could trust to be truly happy at any and all accomplishments you attained is gone. The one person you wanted around when you were ill is gone. The one person that could tell you stories about yourself from cradle on is gone.

I can't pick up the phone and call her to ask her about some family history. That time is gone.

For months after mom passed away, I would automatically pick up the phone and start to dial her number. Slowly I would place the phone back in it's cradle and pause for a while. Each time this happened I would have a sober time; a sad lonely lost feeling.

To all seven of us Mom would say "you guys stick together". She left her home in R.I. to marry my father and proceeded to have seven children in quick succession. There was never enough money or time for her to make visits to see her 5 siblings again. I know she missed her siblings. I know she missed her mother who died young. She lost a sister at a young age. She was one of the eldest of 7 children. The youngest sibling has no memories of her mother.(pic of Aunt Eve) Her sisters raised her.

We never got to know my mother's family. No family trips to R.I.

Mom would tell us stories of her family. She was very proud of all of them. I email her youngest sibling. I talk to her on the phone occasionally. I can shut my eyes while talking to her and she sounds like my mother with her New England accent. It's comforting to hear her voice heavily accented. I would like to make a trip to R.I. to see her. I planned on doing just that when I was northeast this past summer but it didn't work out. Maybe soon and in weather that is not choked with snow and roads that are icy.

I have no clue how I got to this point in this blog. I didn't intend to stroll down memory lane. I had to go back up and change the title of this post. Strange where one's keyboard fingers can take them.

Me at 6mo. Mom and me

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Link

My sister is a much better writer when she does it in rhyme.
She can sit down and let her fingers hit the keyboard without any struggle and in minutes she has something like this:
http://mooseetta.blogspot.com/2008/12/twas-night-before-christmas.html

It's Over!

Officially we are done for another year. The gifts were given and received; the wrapping paper and box mess was cleaned up. Dinner was cooked, served and is now being digested. The cleanup of the kitchen took longer then the meal itself but isn't that how it always goes? I can hear the dishwasher humming and clicking as it scrubs away on dishes and bowls which will still need to be assigned back to their cabinet positions.
Everyone is watching TV but Carrie and she is on the office computer playing Blues Clues games while I'm in the living room on the laptop. Lesie is in a bedroom playing the X Box 360 and Ted is still in Florida. A typical family get together is in progress.

Later this afternoon April will take her family minus Carrie and go see a movie. This is a tradition with her family post Christmas. We used to ski all day and have a late meal when we lived in the northwest.

As soon as everyone disappears I plan on creeping between the sheets to start one of my new books and drift off to dreamland.

Right now all the doors are flung open to the 76 degree temperatures and the humidity of southern Louisiana. I'm already eyeing that Christmas tree and everything related and thinking about how soon I can pack it all away again for another year. I plan on stripping this living room down next week and painting the ceiling and the walls.

I'm planning already now that it's over.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quick One

Christmas eve and hubby just got a call from the Wyoming office. He has to leave tomorrow morning early for a job in south Texas. He didn't go on the Utah job. The company was unable to get him a flight out of here in time and I'm grateful he didn't go into the bad weather the north west is having right now. This is not the first time nor will it be the last time he has to leave on a holiday or not get home for the holiday. It comes with the territory and I've never complained. At least he has a job when so many right now are without one.
I'll still fix that ham tomorrow and my daughter and the kids will be here although Ted is in Florida this year. It's a balmy 76 degrees. Shouldn't it be Easter instead of Christmas? Again, I'm not complaining. I keep watching the weather channel showing all that snow and auto accidents in the north and I'm happy I'm NOT those drivers sliding around on the black ice or plowing through all that snow.
We opened our Christmas gifts tonight. I got 3 books! My favorite thing to get is books. I won't get started on any of them for a few days and I might wait till we have a cold day or a rainy day.
I have to make sure my cameras are ready for tomorrow. I always video the Christmas gift unwrapping. I'll set up the tripod and point it in the direction of the tree.
Before this blog gets anymore strayed, I'm signing off for tonight!
Merry Christmas to one and all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Memory Lane Again?

Omg


Do I dare post these dorky pictures? My two female siblings are in these pictures. We won't name the guilty here. I'm going through some old albums and copying some pictures to digital so I can work on them with my photo editor. I haven't worked on any of these yet. This is not a good time of the year to try to have some computer time.


It's th 23rd of December that I am writing this but it may not be published till later; later meaning that when I get back to this.

Omg. I started this post in 2008 and today is almost a year later, NOV.6, 2009. I'm publishing this now. Nothing will be added. I just want to get this out of my "draft" section on blog spot!


































































Monday, December 22, 2008

Fgirue Tihs Bolg

My stiesr tlod me taht you cuold srcmalbe the wrdos in an atrcile and erevynoe soluhd be albe to raed it if you kpet the frsit lteter and the lsat lteter of ecah wrod in the crreoct palce. She aslo siad
taht tihs cuold olny be dnoe wtih the Egnilsh lnagauge.

Well? Is it true? If you know the answer to this question let me know in the comments.

I had never heard this before so you can imagine my surprise when I was out shopping for Christmas and actually found a t-shirt with this. I was so impressed I actually bought the shirt. Maybe I'm the last person to have heard about this. In that case, I will just turn the light out when I leave.

Fruitcake Craving

I know, I know! I've heard all the fruitcake jokes. I don't care a flip. I want one dang slice of fruitcake. Just one slice, not the whole cake. As I'm cruising through the grocery stores I look for it.
At first it was a mild case of looking. Today it has escalated into an obsession. An obsession to find one store that has a fruitcake.
If you have to have those chocolate covered cherry cordial things at Christmas, then I have to have a slice of fruitcake. I found a recipe online but I don't think my obsession with this is that extreme. I may be craving a slice but I know I'm not around the bend on this. The thought of mixing bowls, messes and the oven leads me to redirect my focus.
I'm up again at 3AM with all intentions of going back to bed for a while. If I don't go back to sleep soon, I'll be lazing around again all day. I have those good intentions but with that said, I think I'll go to my picture editor and play for a while. It's so quiet here!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2PM

It's 2PM and it's cold and windy. Yesterday everyone was wearing shorts and t-shirts and today sweatshirts and jeans. I've been up since 3AM and I'm ready to crawl into a toasty bed, pull the comforter up and go to sleep. It's a Sunday. Football, beer and Sunday.
I've done all my errands for today. I just bought a rib roast and along with the spiral ham in the fridge and I'm ready for Christmas meal. I don't know why I cook a turkey on Thanksgiving. I feel obligated. Everyone expects it but I think they enjoy Christmas dinner more.

One year we went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving thinking this was a great way to bypass all the stress of cooking that big meal. The food was wonderful and plentiful; turkey, dressing and all the trimmings along with a long table loaded down with desserts.

Stuffed as the turkey, we went back home and did nothing the rest of the day. Late evening we realized there were no leftovers to be had. Nada! The tradition of leftovers later in the day created a little glitch in the usual day of feasting.


Hamburgers on the George Foreman grill and some potato chips was dinner that day. Since then we have reverted back to the traditional feast.

Carrie left today to visit her gr.grandparents in Lydia. We met them halfway and handed over the squalling toddler. She was NOT happy. Between the cars during the exchange she wrapped her arms around my legs screaming "I go home with Nana".
I extracted myself and hid in my car. I sneaked a peak as they drove off and she was still crying. I called later and she was happy and playing with her cousin. I had to call so I could erase the last mental picture I had of her tear streaked face.
She will be back Tuesday evening. I always plan on getting a list of things done when she isn't here and lately I haven't even glanced at the list.

I'm sitting here listening to the wind whipping some cable around on the patio. I hope it survives. I'll care about it after my nap.

3AM

I must have went to bed way too early last night. My eyes popped opened at 3AM. I meant to go back to bed but I stumbled to the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee. Taking coffee to the office, I flipped the "on" switch on the computer and sat down to do some photo editing. At least it's a quiet activity and I won't wake anyone in the house. I'm working on those pics for my sister and at 6AM I emailed them to her to see what she thought of them.
I need to run to Walmart which is almost in sight of my house and beat the Sunday rush. I don't think the store will be busy this early. I'm in Catholic country and everyone is getting ready for church. There are some pluses, well at least one, to living in an area saturated with religion.

A strange observation. Very few people are displaying Christmas lights in their yards and on their houses. Usually our street is lit up. I don't know if this has something to do with the economy or if it's just coincidental.
It's going to be daylight soon and I want to be first in the store and first out almost.
Bless me, I'm outta here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bla Bla Blab Blab









Self explanatory on what I did today and shamefully this is the only thing I did. Carrie was back for a while to hang out while her mother did some Christmas shopping. She hung around for about 3 hours. I had enough time to bath her and dress her in a Christmas type dress and from the moment she had it on she was yelping about it itching. I told her she only had to wear it till I got some pictures. She said "well, let's get it done". She is 3 yrs old. I think I was more timid at 3 then she is. I know my vocabulary was not as extended as hers either. She told Poppy "Nana was pissed off when she hit the mailbox". First of all, who told her to tell on me and second of all "pissed off"? She helped me wrap Christmas gifts and a couple of days later she could remember what we wrapped and to who the gifts would go. I knew this because I walked into the room as she was selecting packages and telling her mother what was in them. I told her she was a blabber mouth. She started singing her song "blab, blab, bla, bla". I just shook my head and walked away.
She will cooperate for a few pictures then when she has had enough, I get a picture that looks like this:
This is when I say "the end"!



Friday, December 19, 2008

Trees, Kids and Photoshopping

The angels are back on the tree. They are freshly laundered and partially stiff! When I take them down this year I'll paint them in diluted Elmer's glue (thanks for the tip Buffalo) and store them till next year.
Ted had an uneventful flight thankfully. He was in Florida the last time I talked with him. Carrie went home with her Mom tonight. She tried to talk her Poppie and me into going and spending the night with her. We declined the invitation. We want to experience our house with a touch of quiet, without the chatter and without Sponge Bob on the television and with that said, she will be missed.

Teaching her to interact with the computer may not have been the best idea since I can only sneak in here when she is asleep. When awake, she is standing beside me begging to use the "compooter". It's at this time that I sneak off to turn the television to a news channel.
I need to brush up on PhotoShop skills which are at best an infant skill right now. My sister wants me to Photoshop some pictures for Christmas gifts to her family. I practiced today a bit just to figure out the procedure for cutting a person out of one pic and placing them on another background. I've done this before but it's been a while so I need a practice run again.
Here it is done with Carrie and new background:
Some serious blending needs to be done to smooth the picture into the background. I'll work on it tomorrow since I will be without the Carrie Girl. I am infatuated with the digital world. After all those years of SLR's and having the film developed, the digital concept has become my favorite medium. My first digital camera was nothing that inspired me to toss my Canon 35mm SLR. Finally, eight cameras later (digital) I have a camera that I can set adjustments for aperture and speed. Digitals, you have come a long way baby!
Failing that you own a good digital camera, you can fix almost anything with PhotoShop. I used to be very aware of background in scenes when shooting a subject. With PhotoShop it doesn't matter what is in the background. A little cloning and you can remove anything offensive. Movie stars have their own editing staff using PhotoShop on their pictures and many of them won't allow a picture to be released without their approval which means smoothing out the skin, removing blemishes and wrinkles etc. The downside of all this digital manipulation is you can't believe everything you see and I remember when the saying went "don't believe everything you hear".

PhotoShop is a huge and very expensive program and that's why I have the slimmed down version, PhotoShop Elements. It takes some time investment and can get very frustrating but I like discovering all the possibilities.
My immediate goal is to go to bed and get an uninterrupted 6hrs of sleep.
I'll correct all the errors on this page tomorrow!

Waiting on Angels and Atlanta

Waiting on "dry" and Ted is in Atlanta! That flight I heard must have been his leaving the airport here. He just called. He knows where he is to board his next flight, he knows what time he has to check in and he reset his watch to Atlanta time AND HE TURNED HIS CELL PHONE ON AND CALLED ME which is the best part. This is his first trip alone and I worry. That's what families are for.

Another Foggy Morning

I'm sitting here in my little office and through the door I can see the moisture heavy in the air. It's so heavy it appears as a fine mist. Almost rain but not quite. I live almost directly across from the airport and when the planes come in they don't fly directly over my house but about six houses down the street is below their flight pattern. This morning I can hear a flight coming in. An aircraft is flying in this fog? Ted is headed to the airport with his mother. If a flight goes out, the airline staff said they would try to have him on that flight. I am hoping that he gets to leave but not bad enough to have him fly in bad weather. Waiting is not that bad.

I've always disliked flying. I board the plane wondering if the pilot has just found out his wife has been sleeping with the postman; or that she spend all his savings at the casino, on a lover, or some frivolous something. I hope to catch a glimpse of him/her and determine if a he, is he old enough to grow a beard or is in the acne stage of his life? I tearfully say my goodbyes to my family and designate where my jewelry and life savings be distributed. I wonder why I watched a disaster movie involving airplanes and if I haven't watched one recently, I remember all the ones I've watched in the past. I inspect the plane for scorch marks, dents and loose screws. I watch the stewardess the entire flight. I want to see a calm face and watch for any signs of change. I breath a sigh of relief when we negotiate a take off and landing. I rush off the plane and try to NOT drop to Terra firma and offer a big kiss.
My knuckles resume their natural color once again and I calm down until the next time and I try not think about that expression "return flight".

I'm sitting here waiting on a phone call; did he fly or not?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stiffing an Angel or 12




Every year when I put up the tree I have these beautiful hand crocheted angels that I hang on the tree. Last year the angels were in dire need of a bath. I washed them, dried them and put them away. This year when I unpacked the decorations there they were. They were clean and limp! I know when I bought them there were stiff, firm and clean. I guess I washed the starch out of them.
Today I finally went out and bought some liquid starch with no clue how to do this. I'm from the age of spray starch. I know that people use to mix this stuff and dip the clothes? spray the clothes? Clueless here. Anyway, I poured a bunch of that liquid stuff in a pan and soaked the little angels, wrung em out and spread them on a towel to dry. These are made from thread, not yarn. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for stiff angels.
I did some weekend supervising at a nursing home. There was this little lady that made these angels and sold them for spending money (is there any other kind?).
She charged $1.00 per angel which I thought was one great deal. I bought a dozen. These are the angels that I washed. I miss them on my tree. I'm waiting for them to dry and I sure hope this works.
My weekend supervising job was to comply with the law which states an RN must be on duty for 8 hours in a 24hr period. I was the RN. I had a full time job but I always looked forward to my weekends at the nursing home.
I loved listening to the residents life stories and everyone of them had a story. Reminiscing is great therapy. Few people have or take the time to give the elderly attention. I would gather a bunch of them in a circle and ask them to pick 10yrs of their life and tell me about it. Some chose childhood years, some teen years and so on. What an interesting time we would have on the weekends! Some of these people were housewives; some were professionals but all of them were interesting.
I remember a time about 40yrs ago when I encountered an elderly white haired senior sitting in a chair on the porch of a little general store in Dubois, Wyoming. Dubois is a small mountain town that was a hideout for outlaws back in the day.
The town comes complete with it's own opium den remaining from the days the Chinese were bought there to lay the railroad.
As I exited the store and was waiting on my friend to pick me up I acknowledged this little lady. We started talking and I moved to the wooden steps of the porch and sat down. In the course of the conversation she took off her bonnet and showed me her scalp. Her head was covered by wispy thin hair. Scars were visible from the front of her head to mid line of her head. She had been scalped by Indians. She told me her story; I was enthralled. I'm sure I will never have the opportunity to meet anyone else with this story; they must be passed away now. I'm sure this little lady is long gone. She was feeble, small and frail when I met her. Since that time, I always make it a point to stop and acknowledge the elderly. You just might miss out on the most memorable story in your lifetime by ignoring them!



Another Little Post












videoTed's plane was grounded again and we don't know when he will be able to find an open space on another flight. Everything is booked for the next few days.
Carrie finally got to sleep last night after much stalling and was up again at 5AM this morning!
I placed her at the computer with some Sesame Street learning games and I headed for the shower. It was time.

I hope to get out of the house this morning and do a little much needed shopping. That's it for this update. If any ground breaking news happens here I will be back to post.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Short One

It's 10:30PM or 2230 hrs and I'm tired. I put Carrie down for a nap at 3PM which was a little late to start a nap. I have to lay down with her while she squirms, wiggles and rolls around to find just that right position for sleep. Eventually she does fall asleep at which time I slide out of bed and out of the bedroom. I usually use this nap time to use the computer or get some chores done uninterrupted. Today I fell asleep with her and slept the entire 3hrs that she napped!
When I woke up it was dark outside and I was disoriented. I thought we had went to bed for the night and it was early morning. I dragged myself out of bed and discovered is was 6PM. About a half hour later Carrie woke. Needless to say, it has been a long evening here. I knew she would not go back to bed for the night at 9PM, her usual bedtime. I've been entertaining her till now and right this moment she is eating her dinner of spaghetti. I intend on hustling her off to bed as soon as I scrape the sauce out of her ears. She is a messy eater.
I have her way off schedule because of the late nap. Tomorrow I promise to do better so she can go home with her mother at 6PM.
Tomorrow Ted tries the airport once again. I don't entertain high hopes for the flight leaving on time or at all. It is "froggy" as Carrie says and I don't expect it to lift till the sun reaches high sky tomorrow and burns it off. It is once again hot and humid. What happened to winter here? We will be wearing shorts on Christmas day if this keeps up.
This WAS going to be short post and maybe it still is. It is a meaningless post I'm afraid. Just an update on the day here.
I'll be back again but it might not be tomorrow or then it might be.
G'night. It's my bedtime and past.

Grounded in fog

It's 10:05 here and daughter and Ted have been at the airport since 5AM.
Fogged in. Houston is fogged in. After waiting this long, the flight was canceled. Better luck tomorrow!

Adventure

It's 8 more days till Christmas. I should write a list on what I HAVEN'T done. Every day I promise myself that I will get the gifts wrapped. Every year it becomes more difficult to find that holiday spirit. I'm one of those people that always finds the holidays depressing. I have no idea why, I just do. Maybe it signals the end of another year? Maybe it's part of being an adult? I do know some adults that love this time of year. I just get into a blah mood and it persists till January.

After all these years of living this far south, I still am not used to not having that white stuff all over the ground for Christmas. I don't miss it enough to move north but I do think it sets the scene for the holidays.

Here the sound of the furnace kicking on signals that the weather has changed. It changes a few days for a furnace workout then in a few days the a/c is needed. Yesterday the high was 50something and 76 is predicted today which means 80 degrees.

Ted is leaving this morning for Florida. He is supposed to catch a flight at 6AM and had to be at the airport at 5. His mother is taking him to the airport. I'm thinking she didn't bother going to bed as the thought of getting up that early is a totally foreign idea for her.

This is Ted's first flight alone. I've imagined all kinds of horrors. He has a layover at Hartsfield (Atlanta). That's a big airport. I can see him sitting there as they call boarding for his next flight and him not catching the announcement or him walking away from his luggage and never seeing it again or losing his ticket and on and on. He is taking a carry on only and it's my suitcase he is using. I've already been eying a replacement for it. Ted is a bit spacey. He and the world are on different speed zones. He was instructed to call me as soon as he deplanes in Atlanta and I'm hoping he remembers to turn his cell phone back on after the plane lands there.

My daughter started her flights alone when she was around 5yrs old. A stewardess or steward would accept her on the flight and stay with her till she was met by her father on the other side of the country. The flights were more expensive but I didn't worry about anything other then the safety of the aircraft. I don't know if I have that much trust in the airlines today. I read of a child that was abandoned at the airport by staff; put off the plane unsupervised. I know they still offer the flight arrangements my daughter flew with and I can't imagine a small child wondering around alone in some large airport.

By the time daughter was 10yrs old, she could fly thru Chicago O'Hare and know which concourse and which gate she was to find.

Lesie's first long car trip alone was this past summer. Those first trips are worrisome for everyone but the one doing the traveling. They are clueless to all the dangers out there. Lesie went to Oregon with a friend driving a BMW. It was this girl's first trip also. Before they left, I told them about the border patrol stops they might encounter in southern Arizona. I told her to just pull up, stop and when they ask your citizenship just say "American citizen". Sure enough they spot the border patrol ahead. What do they do? What any self respecting drug runner driving a BMW would do. They pull over to the side of the road and Lesie's friend finds her cell phone and makes a call. Now, I'm sure the border patrol was watching this little antic. The friend was calling her mother to ask if they were lost and going into Mexico. The border patrol didn't know that bit of info. When they got back on the road and got to the border patrol they were asked to get out of the car. They were searched, the car was searched and a drug sniffing dog was taken to the car. Let's see now: two teens in BMW, quick stop and phone call = something illegal.

When Lesie called me that evening and told me she saw the border patrol just as I predicted, she also said "we were only there an hour". An hour????? She then told me the story. I did have a good laugh later.

She was stranded on the way home because of the floods in Oregon then the fires in California. It was her first Big Girl trip and it was an adventure as should all trips be an escape from every day life. I firmly believe in adventure.

When my daughter was small during our travels and to allay her fears when we would be in a bind, I would tell her "it's an adventure". She say's she never worried; she knew I would fix it. If we were stranded in frigid temps, caught in a blizzard or buried in a river she knew it was an adventure. She did not have the most conventional upbringing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Opinion?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVH6tVKKwCo

I realize how disrespectful this was. I try to imagine myself a citizen of Iraq. I now have to look at the man that instigated this invasion on false pretenses. I have to look at this man that ran a campaign of propaganda to get the U.S. citizens to support this invasion. I have to look at the man that condoned torture of it's citizens; this man who incarcerated insurgents (read citizens) for years without benefit of council; this man who made sure Gitmo was outside the legal requirements of the constitution.
I have to look at this man that may be the reason I've lost family members; infrastructure is destroyed, hospitals unable to care for their sick or wounded, and children afraid to go to school or not allowed out of doors without fear of them being shot.

It may have been disrespectful but did he earn any respect from these people?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Travel and Surviving It

I was going through my photo album, an old one and found this picture. The little girl in this picture is around 42 yrs old now with two little girls of her own.
This picture was taken while on a trip to Florida; a "winter escape from the cold north" trip. This is a friend and her daughter. I spiffed up the picture a bit. Old and faded, I Photo Shopped it to correct the cast and color or at least to improve it a bit.
We were headed for Daytona Beach for some sun and fun.


I think we were in Daytona for two weeks. It's been a while and lots of years ago and I may be a bit off on the length of the stay.


There are many things about that trip I do remember. The parties we were invited to and the clubs we hung out in and the days on the beach I remember. Late nights followed by late mornings were our schedule.


The Pier, a bar that was built on the end of a pier that ran way out into the ocean is where we partied. I remember my friend parking her new Caddy convertible on the beach and we headed for the long walk down the pier to that bar.
I remember coming out hours later and the Caddy had disappeared. The beach had disappeared. It had disappeared into the ocean. High tide! Being inlanders, high tide was not something we thought much about. I think this might have been my last trip to Florida with this friend. I'm sure she made more trips. I wasn't on them with her. I'm sure this one trip was the most memorable for both of us though. We got home, the caddy didn't.


It was a year later I left the eastern part of the United States for the western USA. Exploring the states west of the Mississippi for the next years were adventure filled. I remember when I first saw the prairie, I was expecting Indians in full war paint to come riding bareback in a cloud of dust. I could almost see the covered wagons and I have to say I felt lots of sympathy for anyone crossing without air conditioning, soft tires and motel stops!
I had never seen so much land with so few people. I had never seen cowboy hats and cowboy boots as normal dress either. I thought they were dressed up for a parade and actually asked a waitress in a cafe if there was a parade in town. She answered "no, why do you ask?". I didn't mean to make her angry. I was serious when I said "why are they wearing cowboy hats and boots?" Thereafter I did more watching then asking questions.


I crossed Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa wondering where the corn stopped and the towns began, where the next gas station was or even a house or humans.
Seeing the Rocky Mountains for the first time was akin to my seeing the ocean for the first time. I was stunned. Huge and impressive. I went sledding in July on a cooler lid on the snow that was still high up in the mountains. I got to watch the Basque shepherds with their flocks of sheep in the high country for the summers. The shepherd's horse was hobbled; he lived in a two wheel 15ft homemade looking trailer and he stayed up there till the winter temperatures dropped and the grazing disappeared. Party time when they finally got back to town. Six months of pay saved and no human interaction; they were ready to rock and roll.


I was in a little town in Colorado during the oil boom period. A man walked into the supper club where I was dining with my boss and his famiy. The man was wearing a duster. The long duster concealed the gun. He walked up to the bar, laid the gun on the bar and removed the waitress's head with one shot. A sawed off shotgun does much damage especially close range. When he swung the gun back off the bar, I was sitting about 5 feet away with my group of people. To this day, I only remember the barrels of that gun. I have no recollection of what the shooter looked like. He dropped the gun back down; it disappeared at his side hid by the duster.
I had my hand around a mixed drink that the waitress had just served. The ice hadn't melted off the glass yet. I remember this because she was gone before the ice. (picture of duster------>
not the shooter)
My daughter was playing the juke box with quarters donated from the patrons. As soon as I realized what was happening I raced toward her, picked her up and headed for the double doors in the back. My next recollection is when I burst through those doors and saw some fellows sitting around a table peeling potatoes. I shoved her towards them and yelled "watch her for me".
Clearly, I wasn't thinking clearly because I headed back to my group in the front. I can describe the back bar in one word...grisly.
The gunman had left. He just walked out into the night and was gone. The police came and sealed off the bar and questioned everyone for hours. The bar was shut down for 3 days for the investigation and cleaning. When I transferred to Texas a few weeks later, I was contacted by the prosecutor. He wanted my testimony. I told him the only thing I can remember seeing was the end of that gun!


During those years I stayed on the road with stops of six months to a year in different states. From Portland to Providence and back across the U.S. more then once. I took pictures, met lots of people and had some great experiences and some not so great experiences (see above).
The west was definitely different then the east. The east of the Mississippi where I was raised.
Ah travel! An education without a classroom.