Thursday, August 30, 2012

i am breathing again

I'll be joining Jr and his friend on the trip after all.

And we're taking some little girl cousins who will be soooo excited to see their girl cousins.

ROAD TRIP!!!  I seriously love me some road trip.

i am awake

It is late, almost late enough to be early.  And I cannot sleep.  Thoughts large and small consume my mind and push sleep away.

It is nearing the time when I think often of a family I don't know who gave a gift that restored health and life.

Jr is headed to California in a few hours with a friend, but not with me, and I can hardly breathe, knowing I'm missing out on time spent with the Californians.

My black eye?  Nearly gone.  My not-a-stye red bump?  Still here.

And the news.  The constant blahblahblah that passes as reporting.  I've been thinking lately that anyone who comments on the news, rather than simply reporting events, should be banned.  First offense = one month out of the news office.  Second offense = three months out of the office.  Third offense = three strikes, you're out for life.  Go get a different job.

And this:

This is how I feel about politics right now.  

Now, perhaps, because I have cleverly emptied my mind on the internet, maybe now I will be able to sleep.

Friday, August 24, 2012

how long does it take?

For a black eye to go away?
These shots don't really do it justice.
But they do show how hard it is to take a picture of my eye...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

it's my birthday

And now I know the true purpose of Facebook.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

remember when you were a kid

Remember when a fever lasted three days at most and then you'd start feeling better?

Remember when a cold lasted 14 days or two weeks and then you'd be feeling better?

Remember when a few doses of that pink bubblegum flavored medicine made you feel better?

What is going on?  You get older and your ailments take a year or two to recover from, unless you agree to some tortuous treatment. 

Shoulder manipulation seemed cruel enough last year.  Recuperation took months.

And now, now that little stye?

Not a stye at all.  Blocked oil gland.  Did you know you have oil glands around your eyelids?  Their purpose is to keep small amounts of oil in your eyes in order to keep your tears from evaporating too quickly.

So those red, dry, itchy eyes?  Blocked oil glands, which, if you are really lucky will become chalazions.

And the treatment for chalazions?  A year of hot moist washcloths on your eyes three times a day for a year or more will cause them to shrink and eventually go away.

Or you can do the quicker and way more fun thing:  injections in your eyelid.  Today and then again in a month just to be sure.

Really nice doctor.  I asked him if the injections would hurt.  He said just a little poke, they give them to children.  Seriously?  Big ole' manipulator, that's what he was.

He didn't feel a thing.  I did.  And because I'm such a delicate flower, I also got a black eye.

Boo.  Hoo.  for me.  Right?

Monday, August 20, 2012


Sometimes, if you get really lucky, you will totally score at a yard sail. You might find a deal on something that somebody doesn't want anymore because her ex-husband had to have it and it just isn't her style.
Thirty bucks (that's $30) for a like-new custom made recliner from the Lazyboy factory in LA. 
So great, right?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

have you ever seen a real sailor?

Walking through the airport when I got home the other night I passed three sailors.  Youngsters (okay they were probably all in their late teens/early twenties) but all three in their white sailor uniforms.

So handsome.  Totally stood out in the crowd. All bright white with those flared pants and those ties.  And the hats?  Ooh, the hats.

I've always like sailor dresses for little girls, but until I saw those three guys, I'd never fully understood the attraction to a man in a sailor uniform.  Not sure I do now either, but those uniforms?  Wow.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

i take it all back

You know all those negative vibes coming from me in Orlando?

It is amazing what a trip to the beach can do to erase that negative stuff.

Yesterday, after my class finished up I had a few hours.  The old, non-wandering me would have headed directly to the airport to drop off the rental car and wait for the flight.

Not the new me.

I looked very closely at my rental car map and headed east to Daytona Beach.

Not only did I end up driving right alongside the Daytona Speedway(!), but I also drove on the beach.

Yep.  $5 gets you and your car right on the sand for six miles.

So I drove a bit on the beach and then parked near a hamburger stand.  Ordered a deluxe cheeseburger and a diet coke from a kid who said he'd spent time in LaVerkin in Utah (I wondered aloud if he'd been a bit of a rascal to get sent there and he agreed he was once, but he learned his lesson in Utah).  I took my burger and soda and walked down to stand in the Atlantic.

There is something magical about the ocean, feeling the waves on your skin and the sand under your feet and the sun on your face.

It was glorious.  Even when the giant Florida raindrops started to fall.

That little sliver of time by the water soothed my anxiety and calmed my soul.

Those moments at the beach were just what I needed.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I've got the streets figured out.  Not boasting, just, well, it's about time, right?

Had to stop last night at the Firestone to get a new tire because, well, if you get a flat, the rental company will send someone to help you, but if you only get the low air message, you have to find a place to either swap cars with you or fix the tire.  And since my low tire had a big screw in it and couldn't be repaired, my rental car got a new tire.

So I'm feeling pretty smart about driving around the streets of this town on my new tire.  Even got myself to class by taking a route I devised without the help of google maps.  Pretty smart, right?

And then today at lunchtime, I got in the rental with the new tire, turned on the road to Wendy's and what popped up on the windshield right in front of my face?

Of course.

A lizard.

He was a crafty one.  Running here and there in circles and zigzags across the hood and up onto the windshield.

He was not intimidated by the 40 mph breeze blowing around him, and in a show of complete fearlessness, he did not even flinch when I screamed at his initial appearance.  It felt like I was in a cartoon, a Jurasic Park cartoon.

So holy cow.  What is it with these critters?  Really?  On the hood of my car?

And yes, as terrified of him as I was (and grateful my windows were closed), I was equally afraid he was going to fall or jump off the car while we were driving 40 mph.

Luckily for him, he waited until I was slowing for the turn into Wendy's before hopping off.  The Wendy's girl told me I should be glad my windows were closed because if a lizard gets into your car, you just have to wait for it to die because you can't capture and release them.

I'm going to be so happy to be back home where we only have normal creatures running around and none of them pop up unexpectedly on the hood of my vehicle.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

i did it

Not only did I drive directly to my class from my hotel this morning, but tonight, I drove directly from my class to my hotel!!!  No circling around the city for hours for me tonight.  No Sireeee!


Monday, August 13, 2012

this florida thing

This is the last of my work trips for this year.  Another week of classes.  This time it's Source Selection: The Best Value Process.  I know, I know, stimulating and informative and well, yawn...But not really.  It is a good class for my line of work.

The flight was uneventful, except for the storm that hit between the time we touched down and two seconds later...lightning, immediate thunder, and Florida cloudburst instantaneously.  Which caused a delay in getting to our gate since the crew had to move the metal ramp away from the building until the storm passed.

But not a big deal really since the crew let us get up and move about the cabin until it was time to move that last 100 feet to the gate.

I checked my bag this time.  The part about not having to drag it everywhere and hoist it overhead?  I like that part.  The part about having to wait to check it and then wait wait wait to get it from the baggage carosell?  Not like.  And then I had to drag it through the airport to the rental car parking garage. 

Where I picked up yet another white Impala.  This one already had the air conditioning blowing full speed on high when I got in.  Sweet blessed coolness escape from the 85% humidity and 85 degrees.  Yes, that is me whining about being in Florida.

Or perhaps it isn't really me, but is instead my companion, the stye.  If it's still here tomorrow morning, I'll be taking suggestions for a name for it.  But boy howdy am I saving time getting ready to go out in the morning not having to bother with eye makeup.  (See that was me, not the stye.  It is cranky because I'm going out without eye makeup and Lord knows how scary that is to everyone around me.)

While we're complaining, let's just say how much we don't like driving in Orlando.  How in the hell is anybody supposed to know how to get anyplace?  The signage sucks.  There are no mountains to help determine which way is east and which way is west.  And it's been overcast so I can't use my mountaineering skills to determine directions based on where the sun is in the sky.

(Yep, that was the stye again.)

We're tired of spending 90 minutes driving here and there, round and round, turning the wrong direction every single time we turn.

(Uh, yes, stye.)

As soon as I start to figure out the roads, I'm going to find a beach.  I'll be sure to allow myself plenty of time to get back to homebase before dark.  Being lost during the daytime in places where no one speaks English is not so good.  Doing that in the dark might just reduce us to tears.  That is me.  And the stye.

Oh.  One more thing.  The lizards?  Still here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

and now

I'm in Florida.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

my stye, out takes, and what was that?

I realized after posting about our trip to Glacier that I forgot to mention a couple of things.

After our bug omen, late start, near miss car crash, and near death event with the gas pump, when we finally arrived in Helena, I realized there was something wrong with my right eye.  It hurt to blink.  And it really hurt if I rubbed it.

I checked it out in the hotel mirror and immediately spotted a red area that looked like it had a sesame seed stuck to it.  Yep.  A stye.  It lasted the entire time we were there and is still a bit tender.  We all know I'm a baby about pain, and this was apparently no exception, or at least that's what I took from my conversation with Jr over dinner one night when he said my eye must be really bothering me because I was kind of grumpy.  Like, was it me or was it my cranky stye talking?

Yeh, it hurt.  We googled stye and learned that as much as Jr wanted to poke or squeeze or scratch it off, the recommended treatment was to hold warm compresses on it several times a day while waiting for it to heal on its own.  Jack suggested we pick up some neosporin, which we did, which I used, even though the label specifically states "Not for use in eyes".  Jack pointed out I wasn't putting it in my eye, but only near my eye.  Except that of course it got smeared into my eye and made everything look really blurry.

Yeh.  I was probably a bit whiny about the stye.  Or it was whiny about me.

For your viewing pleasure, I'll next post several pictures that didn't make the first post about our Glacier trip.

 He had a good time too...his eyes are smiling.
 This is Jr getting on his horse.  And if you look carefully, you can see my leg poking straight out as I try to get my hip joint back in the socket so I can sit on that wide-bodied animal...yes, baby about pain me.
 Have you ridden a horse as an adult?  It kills your knees and makes you walk funny when you get off...

And one other thing.  While we were driving home through Montana, we noticed these shiny new unmarked trucks that looked like armored cars.  And in front of every one of them, was a shiny new unmarked semi.  The windows were tinted nearly black so you couldn't see inside.  And there were several other vans and trucks loaded with equipment and tools.  There were a bunch of these various vehicles, all totally unmarked, but all with US government license plates.  Some kind of secret convoy driving across Montana.

When we stopped for gas, Jack noticed one of the vehicles was also there getting gas, so he approached the driver and asked him what they were doing and said we'd seen them all driving along together.  

The guy totally ignored Jack.  Acted like he wasn't even there.  Like if I don't look at you, you can't see me.

When I came out of the restroom, Jack said maybe I should ask the guy what they were up to but as I started towards the truck, Jack pointed out that maybe I should really just get in the truck since I'd already had the border patrol upset with me and we didn't need one more run in with the government, right?

But seriously, what was that whole convoy about?  What the heck is going on in Montana?

  Jazz hands everybody!

Finally, just want to confirm that Canadians really do say "eh."  Frequently.  And the ones we met were all such nice people.  Especially the border patrol.  Real friendly while they were searching our suitcases.  Eh.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


We're back.  Last night, actually.  This was quite a vacation.

It started a bit badly, and ended a bit off, but the middle part was awesome.

We'd planned to be packed and ready to go by 2:00 on Saturday.  But our City replaced some of our sidewalk early last week and damaged some of our sprinklers in the process, and Jack needed to try to repair all of that before we left.  While he was working on that project, I was moving stuff around in the garage so I could park my car inside.

That's when I found the bug.

This is not the bug I found but it was this kind of bug.  Excuse me, beetle.  It was some kind of long antennaed, flying, hissing beetle.  Nearly four inches long.  And A-ggressive.  It was in the garage, hiding in some coiled up plastic edging and after I finished screaming at the sight of it and frightened Jr with it, he decided to sweep it outside.  This seemed like a reasonable idea except I was pretty sure nobody was going to be willing to stomp on it and I sure didn't want it hanging around my gardens.  So as I pulled my car into the garage, I simply ran over it.  Yeh, I know, sick.  I may have felt my front tire go off the ground a bit.  And for good measure, Jack ran over it with the truck.

This bug/bug-smashing seemed like it might be a bad omen to me.  But I tried to put that out of my mind as we finally left around 3:30.

We drove for an hour and then decided to stop for a good meal at the Maddox.  Let's see.  Saturday afternoon, 4:30, hmmm...and hour and a half later, we pulled out, our bellies full of prime rib and corn on the cob and salad and rolls...and nearly got clobbered by a car we didn't see that was flying up the road.

Clearly, the bug was a bad omen, right?

But we pressed on into the dusk of Idaho.  Where there were about a billion bugs that all smashed into our windshield.  It got darker and darker outside and the windshield was covered with splats big and small.

On we drove, into Montana, and while it might be big sky country, it is also just plain big.  We drove and drove and stopped occasionally for gas.  Around midnight, we stopped in Lima to get gas.  Jack got out and started filling the tank.  Jr and I went inside to use the restrooms.  Jack cleaned and cleaned and cleaned the windshield, and then suggested that Jr might want to drive.  So we all traded up seats and Jr put it in drive and pulled forward.

Which is when we heard the scraping sound.  Thought for sure we had run over something.  But no.  Not that.

Have you seen that Camry commercial where the girl decides to get some gas even though her Camry isn't empty yet and while she's waiting, the guy at the pump pulls out without putting the pump handle back and blows up the gas station?  

That didn't happen to us.

Only the part about pulling away with the pump still attached to the truck.  Luckily, the station had breakaway pumps.  Apparently that happens often there.  It only costs $35 cash to repair it.

The bug was definitely an omen, right?  By now I'm wondering about my gramma's common reminder that deaths and bad stuff comes in threes, so was the bug the first or do we still have one more before we're done with the bad stuff?

That's when Montana seemed really big.  Dark and big and covered with signs warning about animals and animals crossing roads.

We made it to Helena around 1:00 or maybe it was 1:30.  Either way, the bug was the only critter we ran over and we were able to count the bug omen as part of the three bad stuffs.

So that was the crazy start of the trip.  After that, it was awesome.  Glacier is beautiful.  The biggest mountains I've ever seen.  

Lakes and streams and rivers and waterfalls everywhere you look.  

And smiling kids.

I hear there are animals everywhere, and we saw a few animals, but we stayed outside of the park and probably didn't get there earlier enough in the day or stay late enough in the evening to see them.  

These are not the same guy.  But we did see both of them on the same hike.

This guy was not alive when we saw him, but Jr was certain he's related to Gusgus.

We stopped to consult our map right in front of a fruit stand just outside the park and I bought a big bag of fresh cherries that I enjoyed all through the trip.  Cherries are a reminder of my childhood.  So sweet and juicy and perfect.

We saw this adorable little island.

 And flowers?  Oh my, the flowers

And TREES TREES TREES EVERYWHERE--these are all trees, big, tall pines!

We went on a couple of hikes.  One was more of a nature walk on a boardwalk with placards that contained haiku poetry describing the park...and a tree for Jack to hide in

and an amazing waterfall.

The second hike was supposed to be only a mile and a half, but I'm sure it was about six times that far.

But totally worth the view at the end. 

Did I mention the Going to the Sun Road?  Major cliff driving.

And of course, construction.

We rode horses.  I rode Yankee (Doodle stayed behind in the corral) and Jr rode Oscar.  Oscar White.

It was so so so fun.

We went to Canada one night.  

The Canadian border patrol guys were way more friendly than the US guys who sternly told me to "Get BACK in the VEHICLE, MA'AM" when I got out to look for a bathroom.  Harumph.

Jr kayaked.  Across the Canadian border from Alberta, into British Columbia, and across the US border. All on the same lake.

We did not stay here, but didn't I get a great shot of the Prince of Wales' place?


 Did I mention there were happy people on this trip?

It was a great trip.  Until we got home and found the sprinkler had been leaking towards the neighbor's house, nearly flooding his basement.  So he shut off the water to the house.  It was a good idea.  

Just glad we have such great memories of the last few days. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

and then it was next saturday

Whoa.  How did this happen?  Just a minute ago I was back from hot, humid, but still interesting Omaha, back to my gardens and Jack and Jr and bonus! the Californians had joined us here while I was away.

And now, now it's a week later.  They left early this morning.  Yes, there has been weeping--at least from my eyes.

But.  What a week it's been.  Perhaps that should have ended with ! 

This wasn't the usual visit though.  See, I had to go to work every day until Friday.  Sucks, right?  There are little girl voices in my house and I'm not there?  What planet is this?

But.  They had people to see besides me (seriously?  how can this be, right?)  So they came back here to home base as it were each evening, sometimes earlier, sometimes later, but each night I got kisses and hugs and tales of the day's activities before bed.

And Thursday, we had a sleepover.  All of the cousins came together and all but one stayed through the entire night.  And the one who went home before breakfast stayed quite late before she needed to go home with her daddy who was also here assembling a model aircraft, which is the latest hobby around these parts for the menfolk--model airplane building and flying.  Or crashing and repairing and flying.  

Yesterday, the morn after the sleepover began with pancakes and marshmallow mateys.  There was playing pretend and playing computer games and much playing inside and outside.  There was nearly no sadness but much sharing and giggling and probably large consumptions of orange soda and root beer and cheetos and doritos and perhaps ginormous marshmallows and/or oreos.  We also had grapes to try to include some nutritional content in the menu.  Some may have even eaten pb&j sandwiches and shepherd's pie at some point during the day or night yesterday.  Of course, there was swimming in the cold pool and splashing in the hot tub.  And I think I remember viewings of that Nemo movie, a couple of golden oldies from Sesame Street, and maybe even a few episodes of Dora or Diego or both.  The locals bid farewell to the Californians without too many tears and later, the day ended with all three of the Californians snuggled together on my lap in my big rocker recliner as one by one, they either dropped off to sleep or appeared ready to do so, at which point, their parents gathered them up and carefully plopped them into their beds for the night.

See, this is what's been happening around here:

 Hair a'flyin'
 See the signs of cheetos and orange soda and oreos?
 This amazing girl not only has three kids, is growing another (eek! a boy!) but she also sewed, no, created and sewed this pretty dang cute maternity swimsuit.  Yes, we can all agree that deserves an AWESOME!!!
 They always want to get into the cold pool...
 He loves his pool.  As does Jo--it's a great place to toss her ball...

 But they're usually pretty quick to get out of the cold water...
 And into the hot tub...
Not him...he loves his pool.
 This is a shot of the airplane building the dining may appear blurry, but it's actually because of all of the thinking and analyzing and crafting going on...hard to capture...
 Also this week, we started a new effort to get Oscar to stop being such a "BOY" cat.  The vet suggested we get several additional kitty litter boxes and a cat treehouse/condo, which we did.  She said we need to make a place that Oscar and the girl cats can consider as their sanctuary, a place where Gusgus can't terrorize them...apparently Oscar's been feeling anxious.  The vet also suggested we get a cat pheromone dispenser, she swears by them, says her cats are more content, less argumentative and less BOY cats since she got one.  So we got one of those too.
I don't know, what do you think?  Does he seem less stressed?

 In what I consider to be a stroke of genius, I planned a vacation for Jack, Jr, and me to Glacier National Park that we are leaving for this afternoon.  What better way to recover from the absence of little girl sounds than by heading to what I hear is the most beautiful place in America?  And, bonus, we will be spending a couple of days in

So off we go, up north later today.  

And when we return, this will note from Janey will still be on the whiteboard.