Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I LOVE Christmastime...I love everything about it. I love the lights, the snow and baking cookies (even if they do come from Toll House). I love decorating the house and sitting in the dark with only the glow of the Christmas tree and fireplace to light up the house. I like that people seem to be more charitable, forgiving and just plain nicer. I even like the cheesy imitation Santas in the malls and the craziness of trying to pick out just the right gift for the people we love. The thing I love most about the Holidays though is spending time with family and friends. Traditions that we've created over the years, no matter how big or small they may be, make Christmastime my favorite time of the year. As I sit here over a thousand miles away from those friends and family, I realize that Perry Como was right. There really is, No Place like Home for the Holidays. I'll admit, being away has made me more nostalgic than ever, but I truly cannot wait to get home to all the hustle and bustle that the Holidays bring. So my friends, not to worry...I'll Be Home for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More than just a picnic table...

Looking out my front window I see the park. People seem to get good use out of it and I feel like I should take advantage of it more than I do. When we first moved into this house I was so excited to have this wonderful park so close to us. I've been over there a few times but haven't really used it the way I should. I look over there everyday. Families, groups of friends, couples...all enjoying the park. It's a nice sight, I really should join in the fun. Then there is one picnic table that always gets my attention. Probably because it is the one directly across from my front window, but also because it is the one table that is ALWAYS occupied. It never crossed my mind that this nice picnic area was anything more than that. Until about a week ago that is. It was then that I realized that table was something more...much more. After dinner out one night we drove through the park. Once again that table was taken and as I looked over at the man sitting there it finally dawned on me. This man wasn't just enjoying the beauty of the park for a few hours. No, he had made this his home. I had seen this man before, many times. He is often seen on a bench outside the Walgreen's when it's dark. Probably because it's open 24hrs. and it seems like a safe area to hang out. After all, you can only be in the park until dark so then he must find somewhere else to go. When I realized that this picnic table was this man's refuge I had so many emotions running through me. Sadness, anger, embarrassment, fear, name it I felt it in that moment. One of the things that I was both embarrassed and angered by was that for weeks I had looked over into that park and all I saw were people enjoying their day. It never even crossed my mind that I was looking at a man who was homeless. Now my husband has always accused me of being the least observant person he knows, and although he has a valid point, I would have never thought I could overlook something so important. Maybe it's because I have had limited contact with the homeless. Growing up in a small town it wasn't a problem that smacked me in the face everyday. Sometimes I think that's what makes it easy for us to ignore..if we don't SEE it then it doesn't exist. Now I witness the problem everyday when I look out my front window. I find myself looking over at that table and seeing if he is there each day. I think about him, wondering what circumstances led him there. Is he mentally ill? Did he fall on hard times in our unstable economy? Perhaps he chose a life of drugs and alcohol and spiralled out of control. I don't know his story but it occupies my thoughts now. I wonder if his family has disowned him or if he has family at all. Maybe his children are worried where he might be. I've THOUGHT about going over there...talking to him, asking him about his life, and yet I stop myself each time. I tell myself that I'm being cautious. If he is mentally ill or angry maybe he would attack me or follow me home. But if I'm completely honest with myself I think it just makes me uncomfortable. I'm not proud to admit that, but it's the truth. We don't like things that make us uncomfortable and we rarely step outside of what affects our lives directly. I thought about NOT writing about this ...I don't think it paints me in a very good light, but that's the point isn't it. To admit that we need to pull our heads out of the look BEYOND just seeing the people having fun in the park? Sometimes, a picnic table is a whole lot more....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back at it...

Well I guess maybe I'm not the best Blogger since I am so sporadic about it, but here I go again. Since my last post Joel and I spent a great summer back home and now we are back on the road again. This time..destination Crystal River, Florida. While we were home we had a lot of loose ends to tie up with the house and it ended with a big garage sale. it just me or are garage salers a CRAZY breed? I dreaded having the sale to begin with because they are soooo much work and to be perfectly honest I just didn't feel like doing it. However, I will tell you that for two days I was amazed, amused, entertained, dumbfounded, and at times a little saddened by human behavior. I realize that one man's trash is another man's treasure, but when my hubby came up to me and told me a man was literally digging through our garbage and actually finding things to purchase I was shocked! Then there was the woman that bought 3/4 empty bottles of bleach and cleaning supplies that I had simply not moved yet..but hey lady if you want to buy them have at it!! I even had a man buy the marker that I made the garage sale sign with...amazing I tell you, just amazing. When all was said and done the sale was definitely worth the time and effort but I can say whole heartily...I do NOT want to have another sale anytime soon.

As I am finding out with this travelling gig, we don't get much notice before we have to be at a new location. We had less then a week's notice to be in Florida and this job is "suppose" to last until mid December so we are going to be gone for quite a while this time. So we scrambled to get some last minute things done, had a last hurrah at the Corn Fest (which was WAY fun!), and packed up the truck and headed down to Florida. We had no place to live but we were pretty sure we could find something when we got here. Boy did we get lucky there. After just driving around Crystal River we saw a rental sign at this cute little house and just stopped to peek in the windows. The owner of the house saw us and stopped over and showed us around. It was a really cute little house, across from a little park with beach access and just PERFECT for our needs! Fortunately, they accepted Ashley (our doggie) and within a couple hours we had our home away from home!!

So far we have found several local watering holes that we have been hanging out at. There is just something relaxing about hanging out at a tiki bar on the water. I love the atmosphere and the people have been really friendly too. One character we ran into is named Pete and he is in his late 70's I would guess. He's a funny old kook and from what the bartender says he's in everyday and always leaves a whole quarter tip...woohoo don't spend it all in one place ladies! While we were sitting next to him bellied up to the bar something strange caught my eye. His stomach looked like he had an alien trying to escape. In fact, I almost spit my beer out when I noticed a small furry head pop out of his shirt! Sure as shit the old guy had his small dog stuffed in his shirt! Says he doesn't go anywhere without him and since dogs aren't allowed in the bar he hides him in his shirt! I didn't want to burst his bubble but he's not doing a very good job of hiding the little guy. I mean he squirms all over the place and from what I can tell the waitresses and bartenders just turn a blind eye to it. I thought it was a hoot! We've actually met quite a few neat people down here so far, the only thing is most of them are in there 60's and 70's. Not exactly our age group but what the hell, good people are good people!

Signing off for now..but I'll try to do better with my blogging...I just know you are all on pins and needles waiting for my posts!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A busy week...

Boy what a week...a lot on my mind, on happenings in my own life, as well as thoughts about stories in the news. First let me get to the BEST news of the dad's procedure was a HUGE SUCCESS! I truly believe that all of the prayers and positive energy that were sent to my dad and our family over this last week made a difference. I cannot thank you all enough. It was agonizing being so far away and waiting to hear news but thankfully our prayers were answered and dad was given some much needed good news. I know there are more hurdles ahead, but it just feels so good to actually get over one of them! The next great thing this week was that Joel and I went on a little road trip Thursday. Our plan was to drive up to Mt. Rainier and spend the day. A friend from high school, Scott Lewis, lives in or near Seattle so I asked him about what we should plan to do. I got online and researched the area and we made a plan to go to Longmire and Paradise within the Mt. Rainier National Park. Well, as with most well laid plans, things did not go exactly as we thought. I checked the road status report just like Scott said to, because some of the roads are closed due to debris from the winter months and other unsafe conditions. And although the park is open year round it can sometimes be quite tricky to get to where you want to be. Well, wouldn't you know that after our 2 1/2 hr. drive when we went to access the park the road that was said to be open online was, in fact, NOT open. We flagged down a worker and he said that if we wanted to drive around the Mountain that another entrance should probably be open. was going to be another 100 miles to get there and then it would "probably" be open? We chose to turn back and just enjoy the Mountain from a bit of a distance and also the drive to the Mountain was unbelievably beautiful. It was really breathtaking! We got some great shots of Mt. Rainier and I played with our new Flip video, but honestly it doesn't really do it justice...guess I need a little more work with it. We drove up US 12 and went through the Wenatchee Forest and saw many beautiful sites along the way. They have Heritage Points along the route where you can stop and take in the scenery and learn more about the area. I never realized just how incredible the State of Washington is and I am really enjoying seeing parts of our Country I would have probably never gotten to if not for Joel's work. I had the misconception that Washington was a rainy, dreary place and that really couldn't be further from the truth. This State has a little of everything here...the Pacific Coastline, the Rivers, Forests, Mountains, Desert...if you can't find something you like here then you are a hard person to please. I am looking forward to seeing more sites when we make our journey home, and by the looks of things that could be in just a couple weeks.

Now moving on to the other happenings of the week.......

#1 Jon and Kate + 8 : O.K. these two make me crazy...who really gives a shit if Jon was out all night partying or even if he had an affair..quite honestly if I had to live with Kate I'd want to run away and find someone else that didn't complain about everything I did too. Kate is a perfect example of "watch what you wish for"....she wanted the fame and fortune and now she doesn't like what comes along with that. I heard Jon say that this all started because they wanted record and document the kids growing up. Hmmm...I think parents have been doing that for years WITHOUT a camera crew and TV's called a video camera!!! (you know...home movies!) Oh and..BooHoo...she said about a million times how she had to plan the sextuplets 5 yr. old birthday party all ALONE....YEAH RIGHT!! I mean, Jon was noticeably absent from the planning process but if you are trying to get me to believe that she didn't have help, then I have some ocean property in Arizona I'd like to sell ya too. The whole show is just a train wreck,,, but I betcha Kate will go kicking and screaming before she gives up the show. Even if it is the best thing for her kids and her family. GREAT role model don't ya think....NOT!

#2 Kris Allen wins American Idol...I'll admit I was rooting for Adam Lambert but as many others have pointed out Adam is going to have many opportunities that Kris probably would not have gotten had he been the runner-up. and don't get me wrong..I like Kris. I think he has a great voice, I just don't happen to think he is the caliber of artist that Adam is. And yes, even I think that Adam doesn't have to prove to us with each song that he can really belt out those notes. It reminds me a little of Mariah Carey who ALWAYS seemed to have to hit that mind blowing note in each and every song she sang...ENOUGH ALREADY! Regardless of that though, I think Adam is gonna be just fine without American Idol steering his ship...probably better. I do wish the very best to Kris too...hopefully he will ride this ride into a great recording career. (Oh and just as a side note..the dude that has the room next to us is NOT going to be the next American Idol..I've been listening to him sing all morning and he really doesn't stand a

#3 is a list of the people I would like to punch in the face this week:

Kate Gosselin (already covered this one)

Drew Peterson...someone really needs to pull the plug on this asshole

Don't know her name, but the chick that just faked her and her daughter's abduction , falsely accused 2 black men of the abduction, and then was found in a luxury hotel at Disney World....WTF?????

I could probably think of more but it's been a good week so I don't want to waste my time on more negativity!!! Think I'll go next door and help my neighbor put on a concert...LOL!!!

Peace Out!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

With the Good comes the .....

Ok...I have definitely learned a couple things so far...#1 I MUST have access to a car at least a couple days a week or I will go MAD being stuck at the Hotel all day...I mean I don't mind being there occasionally but all day every day is NOT going to work. Joel said we could rent a car but that seems a bit excessive to me right now. However, the couple that we went to dinner with Friday night are staying right down the road from us soooooo....Joel and Bama (that's what Joel calls him) are going to car pool on some days so that both wives will have a car a couple days a week. For now I think that is enough for me. Much better than spending big bucks for a rental car. Besides, I don't need the pressure of coming up with places to go just so I can justify the expense of a car.

#2 Our Hotel NEEDS to get the pool up and running PRONTO! The weather here is beautiful but today for instance it's suppose to get up to 90 degrees...laying out at the pool would be an ideal way of spending my Sunday afternoon...surely the management of the Hotel can understand this, right!? Joel says they were working on it last week so I'm hoping that means I will be laying out sipping FooFoo drinks very soon! (fingers crossed!)

#3 I learned a VERY important lesson this afternoon..DO NOT..I repeat..DO NOT go to Winco grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon. Apparently it is Bring your 8 kids, 85 yr. old mother and husband to Winco Day! What a circus!! Now maybe I'm a little neurotic at the grocery store. I mean I believe there are certain unwritten rules everyone should follow: Thou shalt push your cart down the right side of the aisle (I mean treat it like a road for pete's sake.. is that so tough)...Thou shalt know what you want BEFORE you take a number at the deli counter...and Thou shalt NOT let your kids use the grocery store as their own personal playground!!! Oh and I also believe there should be a special checkout lane for anyone using coupons..but that's another story. Anyway...back to the playground thing...I must have been run into 3 times by these sweet little angels (I'm typing this with the most sarcasm possible while gritting my teeth) Two more screaming and laughing as they pulled about 5 things off the shelves as they ran past me. Where in the HELL are their parents?? And the parents that WERE with their kids said nothing to them at all...truly amazing! All I know is that I needed to get out of there before I did or said something that was less than politically correct! I don't even know what I bought I was so flustered...I just hope I have something to fix for dinner tonight!

#4 I have also learned that even though I don't see my friends and family every day when I am home, I still miss them when I am 2300 miles away!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The first couple days...

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got to Washington. I mean all that's really been on my mind is seeing Joel. Now that I am here I want to know what this state has to offer, and so far, it's just great. After our initial reunion we went and got something to eat and then just back to the hotel to relax. Joel has one day off a week and it just happens that it's Thursday which worked out perfectly for us since I got there on Wednesday. We got up pretty early and got around and then we were off for the day. First we stopped at this little drive-thru coffee shop that Joel stops at each morning. It's called Dutch Bros. and it was awesome. It's just a small little drive-thru and the owner works there with one other girl. They were fun and lively and friendly and the owner even remembered what Joel orders...sort of reminded me of when we walk into Lomas and they have our drinks to us before we can even get to the bar! I've always thought that was really cool but do realize that some may think it means we go to Lomas too much..personally, I don't think that's possible. After the coffee shop Joel started to drive me around and show me the area. As we drove out towards where Joel works I was in awe. The mountains are beautiful and after living in Ohio it was just amazing to see this scenery. Joel pointed out a mountain called Rattlesnake Mountain and it was beautiful, although if it gets it's name because there are a lot of rattlesnakes there then I will be content to admire it from afar. As we got closer to Joel's jobsite the terrain turned to desert. He told me there was desert there but I guess I didn't think of it an "actual desert", but it was. There were tumbleweeds blowing across the road just like you see in an old western film. Maybe some people wouldn't think much of this, but it was a sight I have never seen before so I thought it was pretty great. The rest of the afternoon consisted of running errands and then just relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

Today was the first day that Joel went off to work and I was back at the hotel alone. It's a little strange getting use to the time difference but I haven't really felt jet lag or anything yet. I spent the day piddling around the place and it was pretty uneventful. Joel called and said he wanted to take me to a nice restaurant for dinner. We went to a place called Anthony's and it is right off of the Columbia River. We met another couple there (Joel works with the husband) and it was a really nice evening. An awesome dinner ( I had Australian Lobster Fettuccine..hheeelllllloooo it was incredible) and drinks with new people and a beautiful view. the only bad thing was that I forgot to take the camera so I don't' have any pics to share. Hmmmmm....guess we'll just have to go back there again....darn!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The journey begins...

So I have now been in Washington for a little over 27 hrs. The trip here really went as smoothly as it could have. Each flight was on time and each flight was pretty painless. I sat next to nice incessant talkers or stinky people who hog the middle was quite pleasant actually. But do not let that fool you into thinking that I did not encounter some interesting folks along they way. I LOVE to people watch. I always have, in fact, when we would go to Cedar Point every year as a kid I loved watching the couples with the matching shirts just about as much as riding the rides. It just really amuses me to watch human behavior.

So I need to tell you about some of the interesting folks I encountered along the way. It started in Detroit. From the woman in the check in line who I think wanted to become my best friend. At least she acted that way..asking me all about where I was going, who I was going to see, why I wanted to see was little annoying, but at the same time a little sad because I felt like if I didn't take interest in her she wouldn't have any meaningful contact with another person that day. It seemed that she travelled all the time for her job and yet had no one to travel made me really appreciate that I have had Joel to miss for the past month and that I am now getting to go be with him again. But the one person that took the cake was a young woman in Detroit. I was sitting at my gate reading a magazine when I heard a woman raising her voice and telling someone to "stay there". of course i turned to see where the commotion was coming from and there was a young woman, maybe mid to late twenties, walking down the hallway with one boy in her arms and yelling at two more boys who were running down the walk tram. All of the boys looked to be in the 4-6 yr. old range. Now I'm not sure if she was the mother or caretaker or what but she definitely was overwhelmed. The boy in her arms was crying and the other two were running wild on the walk tram. She was screaming at them and they would get to the end of the tram and then jump on going the other way. This had to happen 3-4 times before she finally disappeared from the direction she came. People sitting around me looked at each other. Some were smiling, others rolling their eyes, and I was texting Joel like crazy telling him what was going on. Well sure enough, here they come again. Except this time she had the two that were on the walk tram by the hands and was yelling at them..saying "There are BAD people in the airport that will take you! Is that what you want? Do you want to be DEAD??!! Now we were all looking at each other in disbelief. And where was the 3rd kid? You got it...the walk tram...running up and down it like the other two were earlier. This woman had NO control and I wasn't sure if I was mad at her or just felt sorry for her that she had no help with these children. I do know one thing..I was praying they were not on my flight! (thankfully, they weren't) Finally another young woman who was probably in her 30's stepped up to the woman and asked if she could help. She went down to the one end of the tram and rode with the 3rd boy back towards the crazy lady. Once they reached her the lady took him by the hand and the saintly woman who jumped in to help took the other two by the hand. The last I saw the good Samaritan was walking nicely with the two boys she had by the hand and the crazy lady was dragging the 3rd boy by one arm down the corridor because he refused to stand and walk. I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole spectacle but it sure did make for some interesting people watching.

Anyhow, we touched down in Pasco, WA at 6:00pm Pacific Time. They have a very small airport and so when I came off the plane Joel was waiting just a few yards away. You couldn't wipe the smile off our faces and it was the best hug and kiss I've had in a long time. I was just relieved to be back with my best friend and for the first time in a long time I felt myself EXHALE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Countdown is On...

So in less than 48 hours I will be in Washington (the State of, not D.C.). It has been a month since I've seen Joel and although we talk and text everyday I have been missing him like crazy. I don't want to over dramatize this, I mean there are many people that live without their loved ones for much longer than a month, but nonetheless, I can't wait to see him. With that said, I am also scared, nervous, and full of guilt. Scared and nervous because I am travelling across the country and because change is a scary thing for me. Which should be pretty obvious to most since I was born and raised in the same area that I went to college and then chose to go back to to teach and coach. I've never been ashamed that I chose to stay home rather than go off to see the world like some of my other friends. I love my family and my friends and have had a good life so I have been content, but there is something to be said for stepping outside of your comfort zone. I am even a little proud of myself for taking this leap, but even so I would be lying if I didn't say I was scared to death. I believe it has been said that bravery is not the lack of fear but going forward in spite of it. The fear and nerves is nothing compared to the guilt I am feeling over this adventure though. Most of you reading this are probably well aware that my dad is very ill and has been for quite some time. The pain and misery he has had to suffer is inhumane as far as I'm concerned. And yet through everything he remains positive and determined. He is truly remarkable. My mom is incredible and takes care of him when he is home and when he is in the hospital or at the nursing home she never misses a day of spending time with him. I think far too often we forget how hard a chronic illness is on the caregiver as well as the person who is ill. She never complains, she just keeps taking care of him and loving him the way she has always done for all of us. I respect and admire her so much. My brother is living with my parents and helping out with my dad. He has been great and my dad tells me all the time what a great help he has been. The other part of Todd staying with them is that my parents get to see their grandson all the time, which regardless of anything else, is the best medicine for both of them. It's funny, but no matter how rotten a day is a 5 yr. old can always make you smile! So here my family is struggling through such a difficult time and I am running off across the country. There is a lot about that that doesn't sit well with me, but I also know that I will always be able to find reasons NOT to do this so I just have to find a way to come to grips with this. The reality is that we didn't really "choose" to set out on this adventure out of the blue. A series of circumstances have led us here and so we have chosen to embrace the changes and make the most out of the situation. I pray we are doing the right thing...I guess this is where I need to have a little faith.
On the lighter side...whew..about time for the lighter side I think...Joel says Washington is beautiful and the weather is great. I can't wait to see that part of the country and meet new people. I can't say I've ever even thought about going to Washington so this is an unexpected opportunity and I am going to try and make the absolute most of it. So in about 40 hours I"ll be "Leaving on a Jet Plane"...and I'll let you know how this crazy ride goes...hang on, I think it may be a little bumpy a times!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld when Jerry and George pitched NBC their idea for a new sitcom? It was going to be a show about it coming back to you now? Well I figured if they could make a TV show about nothing I could surely write a Blog about nothing. I mean "nothing" happens to me all the time so how hard could it be, right? Take ,for instance today, I woke up and nothing happened to me all day long! Right there is a blog entry and I didn't even have to try. Ok..ok..maybe I will write about "something", in fact, maybe I'll write about "everything". To be perfectly honest I don't really know how this whole thing is going to pan out, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Life has a funny way of knocking you down just to see if you're willing to get back up again. I have found that this happens on a pretty regular basis, and I think I've proven that YES I will indeed get back up. Our most recent knock to the ground has caused Joel and I to make some pretty radical changes in our lives. Downsizing and hitting the road is a new adventure for us, but one I am really looking forward to. I plan to use this blog to keep all my friends and family up to date on what's going on with us. I also think it will be a good way for me to still feel connected to the people I love. My thoughts, opinions and observations about the world around me is what I plan on writing about. Don't expect a captivating travel diary. The idea is just to stay connected and share my days with you. We are setting out on this new adventure and I hope to take you along for the ride...let's see where it takes us!