Saturday, December 31, 2005

Year in review

2005 was a year full of change. It was a year that flew by in a flash. It can't possibly be New Year's Eve! Just yesterday Joe and I were getting ready to attend the New Year's Eve bash at Southgate House in Newport! It can not have been 365 days ago. No way.

January: Joe is in Newport, Ky and I am living in our home in central Kentucky. It is difficult being apart as he is taking a temporary position in Cinti until he finds something else. Got DSL and wondered how I ever lived without it! Spend weekends in Newport and take lots and lots of pictures of the Ohio River area. Very inspiring

February: Decide to give up liquor for lent. Fall down in front of on-coming traffic crossing street infront of the Levee....sober! Joe learns that he is being promoted and transferred to Ft. Wayne! Join to try and reach Cathy. She ignores me or misunderstands.

March: Another Birthday. Move Joe from Newport to Ft. Wayne. "You're a Hoosier Now" was shouted at our departure from Mad Anthony's! I run the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of running...the 5K.

April: See Tempest in Dayton with Joe. Put our house on the market and begin to "remodel". End up in emergency room with dry wall dust (felt like rocks) stuck in my eye! Give my notice at work. Interviewed for a position with the same company in a totally different area I am accustomed to. Hope to God I am not offered the job, because it is in the middle of nowhere.

May: Offered the job and I take it. For the first time in many years we did have the annual pre-Derby Slither in Louisville. A rowdy evening of drinking and pub crawling through all the pubs located in the Germantown section. Begin to pack up the house and prepare to move. I am to report to my new job the first week in June. Joe and I celebrate our 1st anniversary. We close on a house the same day in New Haven. We are given an offer on our home in Ky. We have huge yard sale.

June: Begin new job and hate it. All I do is work work work and drive drive drive. I am particularly taken with the Amish who are everywhere in this area. I try to sneak photographs of them from my moving vehicle. I have one friend at work, Deep Throat.

July: Finally have a day off! Rip to Kentucky to see my family after three weeks!! The job is altering my personality.

August:Attend the Irish Festival in Dublin Ohio!. After one incredibly awful day I realize it is not going to change. That I am miserable at this job and accept my failure and turn in my resignation effective immediately. It take days to decompress. Get to the Woodland Park Art Festival and run in the Midsummer Night Run in the same week-end. Joe and I go to Indianapolis for a job interview for me and to Detroit for his job! I am offered a job. I decline. I read many many books and work in my garden. I am growing too comfortable not working. I am walking/running everyday.

September: Attend the Auburn Car Show and see my good
friend from Kentucky who is working the event. Meet Coach Z. at the local High School track and he cracks my neck and fixes my bum knee! Attend the Indianapolis Irish Festival and have a great time. I interview with a cellular company and I am offered a job! Then, out of the blue my old company calls and would like me to interview for a position in Ft. Wayne. The position is the same thing I did in Kentucky. I am excited, but not allow myself to become too convinced they will offer it to me.

October: Go to Louisville for the St. James Court Art Festival with my sisters. I am offered the job!! I accept. Joe and I go to Cancun for a vacation. Hurricane Wilma hits. We are stuck for a week. So much for our all inclusive vacation. I will never eat tuna again. ( unless there is another hurricane). I am on TV! I start work again.

November: Joined a fitness center. Received the VIVI award for best travel journal. Am totally blown away. Love my job...but there is another alpha-female there. Joe becomes a Grandpa! I blab about having this second journal when most of my journal pals leave AOL because of the banners. Thanksgiving is wonderful spent with family in Kentucky. Tried again to contact Cathy and by-Golly this time it worked!!

December: Put tree up first week-end. Tree manages to fall over three times before I finally get it balanced correctly! First huge snowfall. Eight inches in one evening. I am expected at work as if nothing unusual happened! WTF!! I am 1/2 hour late. Spend Christmas with my family in Kentucky. Find out the Saw Doctors are going to be in Cleveland on St. Patrick's tickets and room reservation. Had wonderful Christmas in Ft. Wayne with my honey.

I realize 2005 would have been the most boring year of my life if it had been for the Hurricane and all the wonderful people met. It was my Odyssey. I think you are very lucky if you have one in your lifetime. I had mine.

I am looking forward to 2006. I truly am. I have such great fantastic dreams for 2006.

Gathering Dreams

It has become a tradition for me at the end of each year to write the mandatory list of New year Resolutions. This year I am changing to something much more satisfying and adventurous! I'm going to collect my abandoned dreams. Seek them out like wild flowers lost in the green meadows of my fertile mind! Gather them into a beautiful colorful fragrant bouquet of hopes and desires.

Isn't that much more interesting than laboring over a list of resolutions that I will forget in a weeks time? That I will carry around the guilt of not trying harder to achieve, of being a quitter, not being committed enough?

The more outrageous that better!!!!!

I want to go to Cuba! I know that it is almost impossible and that Americans suffer great fines if they are flushed out. Yet, I think of Cuba as a lush forgotten island full of beauty and music and wonderful people. I truly think that Castro will be gone in the next 10 years and that the portal to that country will be opened up. I want to be first in line.

I need to return to Ireland. I felt like I had returned home when I first visited. When that strong emotional bond is just so fierce it can only mean one thing! I belong there.

I want to own a "house car" as my young step daughter would call it. A home on wheels that Joe and I can travel around this country to anywhere and everywhere. Our hearts desire. Watch the sun go down over the beautiful deserts of the American West. That's what I want.

I want to go to Italy. I want to go this year! I'm not certain I can talk Joe into it, but who knows. If not this year, then soon.

I want to write short stories. I know I have a book in me, maybe several. I think the short story is the first baby step for me. Not that this blog has not been the major step for overcoming my shyness in having my words read! It truly has. I have just become too addicted to this format and the wonderful feed back I receive from the community. The real world is not so forgiving, not so caring.

I want to write travel articles for a living!! The adventures of Joe and Mary on the road. Nothing can be as lively and entertaining with my soul mate by my side giving me the best material imaginable.

I dream that I will bite the bullet and just buy that expensive DSLR camera I want so badly but cringe in horror at the price. I am too much of my mother. If I would just do it!!! Do it do it do it. Never look back.

I dream of completing a half marathon. I have done it before and I can do it again! I love to run and have left it behind for some reason.

And that is a small collection of the dreams I have found among all the weeds of trying to lead a responsible and mature life.

Friday, December 30, 2005


This is one of my favorite pictures of 2005. This beautiful child was visiting us at the second shelter we were shuttled to in Cancun during the hurricane in late october, Hurricane Wilma.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Good golly! I just read an entry totally bashing Classmates! And then about 45 comments mostly agreeing with her!

You know what I saw over and over? "Who wants to see them or hear from them anyway. They did not like me then, they probably will not like me now."

"There is a reason I have not tried to contact anyone in 20 years."....and that is?

I found it amusing that people had such a terrible time in High School. Mine was not that great. I had to travel to another city to attend. Geez. That was a buzz kill. And calling anyone was out of the question since it was long distance way back know, when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

High School was pretty bad and then high school was pretty good. Maybe I need to do a series on my experiences. What ever it was, I gained a lot from it. Gained a great education (Catholic, don't you know), have many good friends still (no one lives in the area much anymore) and I actually had the best of two worlds because I went to school with one set of kids in Lexington, and lived in another town with another set of kids!

I led two distinct lives!

Following your Dreams

The last entry took on a life of its own as I wrote it. At first I was focusing on the dreams I had as a child and how they vanished as I became an adult. I can barely recall them. And only a handful.

How do they fade? And why? Is it because as we age we tend to accept the hand dealt to us? Do we tend to cope with the disappointments that accompanies leaving childhood behind as we enter adulthood? The crushing expectations of others thrust upon us, responsibilities and obligations....are these the things that squeeze our hopes from our souls?

I always have had a vivid imagination. I wanted to grow up and be a writer. I remember taking a creative wiritng class my Junior year in High School. At the end of the quarter we handed in our stories. After she graded them, without telling us who wrote them, she began to read selected ones aloud to us. She picked up the last one telling us it was the best. Imagine my shock as she began to read my paper! I was so embarrassed. I can still feel how flushed and hot my face became. I distinctly remember sliding down in my desk and trying to disappear. Bonnie was sitting next to me and at the end of my story I looked over at her and was astonished to see her wiping tears from her face. I could move someone to tears?? It was a very poignant story told from a childs point of view about the death of his older brother.

It was then that I realized how tricky writing actually can be. To offer up a part of yourself in the written work for others to read and criticize, love or hate, ridicule or admire. It is just very scary stuff.

Where did that dream go? Is there a heaven for discarded dreams?

I started college in the early 1970's as an English major. That ended in disaster! I actually majored in Having Fun. I got A's in that, and failed pretty much everything else. When I returned to school in the 1980's, I no longer had those dreams of writing and being a journalist. I wanted to be in business. Yuck!! What was I thinking????!!!!!

If only I had followed that dream......

It would be interesting to know whatpaths I would have walked down rather than the ones I stumbled upon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Where do discarded dreams go?

I have a journal in my Bloglines that I rarely access. I allow it to fill up to overflowing!! 137 posts! A journalist, no less. I clicked on her blog yesterday and then linked to another blog that has had me thinking for two days!

The fascinating entry is here.

"........All those moments when they finally did that thing they've always wanted to do and how it made them feel."

I immediately began to run the film titled, "Mary's 2005" looking for that dream I fulfilled. Certainly I did a lot of things this year. I moved from my small home town to a city 300 miles away. I survived a category 4 hurricane. I quit a job, got offered several jobs, then basically got my old job back. I failed. I adjusted. I endured. I stretched myself. And I amazed myself!

The most significant undertaking that I have yearned to do for over 20 years, was to reconnect with my college friend, no my closest college friend who marched into middle age with me (if you call 30 years old middle age) then we had a terrible falling out and had not spoken for 20 years.

I thought about her often. Usually around her birthday, which is close to the first day of Spring. I always think about her at Christmas time, taking the ornaments out of boxes and hanging all her ornaments that I inherited. (We shared apartments for years and years.) I think about her whenever I reminisce about Murray State University, get dreamy about all the years I lived in Louisville, or watch a Louisville game, or go to Louisville. Whenever it is Derby time or Octoberfest, I think about her. When I go to the Chow Wagon or the Cherokee Triangle Art Show, drive by Phoenix Hill, drive down Bardstown Road I see her ghost among all the people.

I tried to find her, track her down many different ways over the years. All led to dead ends.

Then I tried about a year ago! And there she was!!! I signed up for the Gold Membership with great hope. It seemed such a perfect plan! I was so psyched and so excited and practically giddy with anticipation.

And it bombed. Nothing.

I felt maybe that she had not forgiven me after all these years. The evil words that I had spoken were still a great wall between us. The things that best friends put each other through at times were too monumental for her to allow to flow under the bridge.

Yet, I decided to give it another try after having several nights of vivid dreams about Murray. Around Thanksgiving I gave it another shot. So what if I get my feelings hurt again! Damn it, I'll just try again later!

This time she answered.

How did it make me feel? I cried for joy. I have never actually cried from joy before. The feeling was like fireworks going off. Fireworks of exultation!

When you love someone you carry them around forever in your heart.

The cracks in my heart, and there are many, one of them is healing now.

And that is the thing I have wished for. For 20 years.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Don't Hate Me Because I Love Walmart

I must admit, I'm glad the shopping part of the Christmas holiday is behind me. I do not enjoy being in large crowds with short tempered, impatient customers and overworked, underpaid and overwhelmed clerks.

I did all my shopping in a matter of days thanks to phenomenal planning and being able to get to the stores at an extraordinarily early hour!! Beat the crowds!! It works every time!!

And a hardy thanks goes out to Walmart for just being there all the time 24 hours a day. Except for the eggnog incident, it would be the perfect store. And it will continue to be the perfect store as long as it stays out of my home town in Kentucky. I, for one, do not mind driving the 20 minutes to either Lexington or Frankfort.

While having a conversation with one of my customers we were discussing the long underwear fad. I remarked that I would not go to Victoria Secret to purchase them when Walmart carried a perfectly good brand called Hanes. She remarked that she found her daughter's at Value City.

Value City?? I remember that name from when I lived in Louisville! I traipsed myself into the store (which I pass practically everyday!!) and that was the end of my shopping spree!! They had everything I wanted!! For me!! I found the cutest little pair of fur trimmed boots....a must in the white tundra waste land....., designer pants, wonderful marked down racks! I was in heaven! My shopping was completed.

I promise that next year (I make this solemn pledge every year at this time) I will start earlier, keep better records of what I think people would like, and use the Internet. Joe did not even have to leave the house!

But...just the fact of being there, of tapping into some cosmic affiliation with all the last minute grabbers, I mean shoppers. It is almost magical, if not hysterical.

I know I would miss it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I am agitated!!!!!!!

I'm not sure where it came from. It may have started when I was standing in Walmart and realized they did not have anymore Southern Comfort Vanilla Spice Eggnog! I looked in every possible nook and cranty trying to find one bottle, please just one bottle. The I just dragged myself to the spice row and purchased pure vanilla extract to add to the 1/2 gallon run of the mill ho-hum eggnog.

But wait, it started before that. It may have started because I was sitting in my vehicle at 8am getting ready to fill the gas tank for a jaunt into Ohio when my cell phone rang and it was Bridget. When ever she calls this early, it is not good. Her car won't start.

From 300 miles away I call my brother, get the phone number of the mechanic he uses and I use to use when I lived in Louisville during the 1980's. I called Bridget back and told her to be sure to let Dick know that she was that little girl got such a thrill riding in his tow truck so many years ago!!

Maybe it was even before then, when Dave was making Kentucky jokes Tuesday afternoon. I usually just tune it out. I don't quite understand why they make such fun of Kentuckians up here. He asked me who the people in Kentucky made fun of, I said "IFI'S"

"What's that?" he asked as he fell into my trap.

"Idiots From Indiana." I responded.

Or maybe it happened when I had to have a cup of coffee and I was closest to a bakery. I am so weak. That cherry fritter looked so good. I'm on weight watchers for Goodness Sakes!!! Well, I will be after my eggnog supply runs out.

On the way home I even began to doubt the stories about the Angel. The Angel being the woman who helps my Mom take care of Dad...everyday. The latest bit of trouble she has been in is as always, unbelievable! This time, she totaled her cousins car while trying to make it to a bank in Nicholasville with $600 cash so that they would not take her house away from her. Every week it is something else. She is totally reliable, she shows genuine affection for my Mom and Dad, she is practically one of the family after all these months. If all this was not the case, I would think she was a con artist of the highest quality.

The day was one that had a lot of irritants flying around.

Then I come to the computer and I find an email from one of the people we went through all the shelters and the Hurricane with.

(Dave and Joe)

Suddenly, everything is okay again. Tomorrow is another day.

And St Paddy's Day is only 86 days away!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why I love Christmas

There is so much I love that I hardly know where to begin. I love the anticipation on the drive home, and how it builds the closer I get. I know that the moment I open that mail box I will find Christmas Cards from my friends and family. I get such a thrill from that. I find that my spirits lift sky high when I see the red envelopes or the handwritten address. Nothing like that sensation of delight attached to handling them, opening them and reading them.

I wish I could trade cards all year long. But it is not that easy. I should be happy and content that I hear from long lost friends at least once a year.

I love the smell of the Christmas tree. It begins to fade in short time, so a candle from Walmart has been exceptionable wonderful. I went back to purchase a few more and they were gone!!

I love egg nog. I think I love egg nog too much. Thank God it is only during the holidays! The Southern Comfort vanilla spice was a pleasant surprise! It has quickly been urshered in as a Christmas staple.

I love buying things for other people. I do not like shopping in crowded stores, and I have put off doing this for way too long. I will find myself once again among the procrastinators and panicked stricken in the last few shopping days. But.....I know exactly what I want, so it shouldn't be to awful.

I love all the cookies that are offered to everyone at work! It is as if everyone tries to chip in and bring an assortment. It has been wonderful at this new facility! And I just realized that everyone is probably wondering when my contribution to the expanding waist line will appear. Guess I know what I will be doing tomorrow night!

I love Christmas Lights. I love getting into the car and driving slowly around in the neighborhoods and oooohhhhing and aaaahhhing.

I love the feeling that comes over me, knowing that I have a wonderful family and a wonderful husband, and a wonderful job, and a wonderful life.

A wonderful life. I love knowing that I realize that.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Saint Patrick's Day is 89 Day's Away

Guess who is playing the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland on St. Paddy's Day?

One Guess?

Its THE SAW DOCTORS!!!!!!!!!!!!

About a month ago the date was posted and my sister Omega and I decided we had to go once it became a definite date. She even got a hotel room for us.

They went on sale December 2nd! I was not paying attention! I am so thrilled. I had hoped to see them once a year for the rest of my life or their performing career, which ever ends first.

Saint Patrick's Day! Am I insane!!!!

This is going to be some party.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


This is when this journal is so useful. I would never post this harsh post on my AOL blog. Never. I could not imagine the response I would get!! Ha!!!

I can not understand why some people go private and do not invite me to read their journal!! Me!! Sweet little of me who never hurt anyone or anything. ("I swear officer I didn't know that 45 was loaded).

Last year, one journal I read and faithfully commented (because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to) went private and locked me out. I sent and email asking "what's up" (paraphrasing) and was told that they thought I would not be interested in reading the journal. WTF?

She admitted me, and nothing was the same after that. Then she became public again, then private again and once again I was locked out, so I just figured she did not welcome me.

I see it happening all over AOL-J land. It is understandable with the Ad's and all the ruckus that followed that. The exodus, the migration to Blogger, Expatriate Land. Yet, most gave some warning. Some farewell, adieu, cheerio, auf wiedersehen, arrivederci, gesundheit.

It feels like a slammed door. With Bloglines you can read the final posts, even if that door is closed. At least some, "Exclusive Club" statement.

I sent an email and it was DELETED! Not even read. I guess I am hurt. And confused. I never should have written that Bad Bunnie post! No telling how many people I offended! Actually, I must have offended her long before that. What is also so astonishing is that I care! And I want an explanation. I would even accept that she feels I am not interested in her journal.

Several times in this wonderful online connection to the lives of others I have felt that we are acting like High School children. I am guilty of this also. I can't tell you how much I wanted to shoot off another email to this woman and use that unloaded 45....instead, I am here. I am about to move up to Junior Standing from the sophomoric detention class.

But not yet. Just let me have one punch!! Please!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Where is my Paper?

Ever since moving up here to the Cold, White, Frozen Tundra of the North (new horror today,treacherous blowing snow) I made double certain that our little old local weekly paper would follow us. It arrives in our mail box around Tuesday, four days behind the issue date of the previous Thursday. (but, you can purchase it Wednesday evening after 7pm at Krogers..if I were still there).

I really look forward to it.

It is a cornucopia of vital information for those of us living away from our beloved small town and hungry for news of home. On the second page,known as the editorial page, under the letters to the Editor is a step back in time with the "From Our Files" section. Terse news clips from 10 years ago, 25 years ago and my new favorite, 40 years ago. I can now relive who attended the 12th birthday party of Tabby D. or who attended cotillion during holidays, which family is on a trip to Florida to visit an Aunt, who made deans list this fall semester at Transy U., and who is most recently admitted to the Elks Lodge. All this happened in 1965.

I love it.

I usually just get right to the meat of the matter and start at the back of the issue and find the police report. This is where all the action is to be found. Who was speeding, who was drinking and driving, who was threatening someone, who did not pay their child support and who was smoking pot driving through town. It is so delicious!!! So small town!

Just as interesting as who is doing what and getting caught is the crime report! The criminality usually revolves around throwing rocks at cars, and egging them, purses stolen out of cars at the Kroger parking lot, tractors stolen from barns and ditched, theft of fishing rods, passing funny money, and leaving the gas pump without paying.

A long list of who is suing who, who is divorcing who, who is marrying who, who is buying, who is selling and, how much they paid for it, and who is turning 50. The 50 information is usually accompanied with a photo of the birthday boy or gal as a young child and some sentimental poem....

Life is Iffy
Mike sure is Spiffy
By, Golly he is turning fifty!!

Love, Lorraine, Mama and Papa, Bubba and Irene,
Bufford and Little Bufford.

I realize it is very corny. And I am realizing it is Friday and I have not received my copy of last weeks "Woof-it Sun". Dang it!!

This is the issue with all the 2005 Christmas babies in it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Memories of Snow Falls Past

Weather report.

We are bracing ourselves for THE BIG ONE. If this is the Big One what was that last week? A pre-tuner? Larger than eight inches? Now I thoroughly understand the meaning of White Death.

Snow surrounds me. Everywhere I look there is the dullish blue white carpet of snow. It continues to fall occasionally in a lazy manner, like a drunken ballerina. Gentle flurries. If I did not have to drive in it, I would be smitten with its dazzling beauty.

The angelic beauty of the newly fallen snow takes me back to those of years long ago when I was in grammar school in the 1960's. It seemed to snow more back in those childhood memories. At the bedtime prayer we would bow our heads. We would pray fervently and with great passion for a severe snow storm. We would rise earlier than usual and sit at the breakfast table, ears glued and focused on the early morning radio talk show...Artie Kay... and continue with our prayers with fingers crossed. He would read off the list of school closings. Our county, which begins with the letter "W" was always at the end. The list would be agonizingly long and cause us to lose hope...then finally, when it seemed nature had turned her back on us, it would be announced, "No School"! We would run up the stairs and tumble back into bed and give thanks that God answered our prayers! I was always especially thankful, because I was known to not complete homework on the gamble of ice and snow.

A snow day was akin to an unexpected holiday. The whole neighborhood would come out dressed in their snow clothes. Make shift snow suits of double pants, mittens pinned to the coat, double layered sweaters and sweat shirts, knitted scarfs and hats, black rubber boots that had heavy buckles up the front.

We all had sleds back in those days! We would head towards the hill on Kilmer Drive which had a steep incline that extended a good block and landed you at the bottom where it connected with the busy cross street of Douglas Ave. The more bodies you piled on a sled, the faster you plummeted down the slope. We would sit behind each other and lock together. The last person would push until they got a good speed going then fling themselves on the back. The person up front had to steer not only with the ropes attached to the cross bar, but also with their feet!

Down the hill we would plunge, gaining speed at a reckless and break neck intensity, screaming and laughing as we hung on for dear life. The cross street, Douglas, would appear all too soon adding the element of danger to the excitement. It was necessary for the driver to maneuver towards one of the side yards to break the downward charge. If not, it was certain death and destruction to shoot out into the traffic of Douglas Ave.

It was not uncommon to dismount as the sled was moving at 60 mph (at least!!!) by flinging oneself off the out of control sled! Many a time the empty sled would shoot into traffic. My youngest brother Patrick, who was probably around four then, would not give it up and hung on as it crossed the street and plowed into the front porch of the house on the other side of Douglas! I vividly remember being alarmed thinking he could have been creamed and worse (!) what trouble the rest of us would be in. We more than likely beat him up a little for being so fool hardy. Hard to hurt a kid who has ten inches of clothes layered on them.

Those memories come back to me on days like today, with the snow beginning to fall and thoughts of slick hazardous roads play in my head. The above photo is from my High School Days. Nothing changed much from grammar school till then. I still prayed, I still did not complete my homework and I still ran to the nearest hillside with a sled. We still piled on and careened down snowy slopes!

Finding this picture, I thought it would be so much fun to gather the participants and see if we could still all fit on the sled? I, for one, know that if I were to jump on top of the pile (on Gayle), Howie (on bottom) would meet with instant death, not by treacherous cross street, but by the menacing memories of middle age.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


There was an accident this morning. The Christmas Tree fell over. It was awful! I thought I had done such a good job putting it up by myself. I noticed it was leaning a little toward the left, so I strung it up! Not good enough.

Seabiscuit was injured. I am going to have to put him down. It is so sad in so many ways! First, he was a great champion. A champion among champions! Second, I can not located a store in Ft. Wayne that has thoroughbred ornaments!

So I went to E-bay. I found what I was looking for and so much more! I went over the edge and bid on several Triple Crown winners. I will be happy if I win even one. I just hit the "buy now" button on the Seabiscuit replacement.

I could so easily become an E-Bay junkie. I love that web site. I have located the most obscure stuff there. For example, the Animal Orgy coffee cups. Long ago, in a far away land known as My Younger Self I had a bear cup from (then) Shillito's. I marveled that such a vulgar item would be available at a classy store! That only added to the charm. I always thought it amusing. I envisioned unsuspecting shoppers purchasing these cups and sitting at their middle class breakfast tables sipping coffee out of a cup painted with fornicating bears!

"Honey, I think these bears are....OH MY GOD!!!"

That was around 1980. I had that cup for a long time until one day, it was in an accident and the handle broke off. After that, I used it as a small planter for tiny Irish Shamrocks (aka, friendship plant).

One day, I realized it was gone. I have no idea if I tossed it out or it was just forgotten and left behind on one of my many kitchen window sills.

Every time I entered a flea market for 20 years, I looked for them. I poked through many highly dangerous and dusty booths of china, pottery and glass searching for those naughty bears.

E-Bay. One day this autumn, I thought I'd take a look! Next ting I know, I have four of those mugs from 1979! Not only the bears, but bunnies and elephants! I was ecstatic!

I also love STEALITBACK. I have discovered the jewelry. God Help Me. You would not believe the beautiful stuff they have and how cheap you can get it! Maybe I should not be telling you all about it.

Forget it, it does not exist!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tell me again why I stopped drinking coffee?


About a year ago, out of the blue I stopped consuming caffeine in the form of coffee and soda. There actually was not a reason, I just stopped. While in Mexico, I had to have something, so I had a cup here and there. It was delicious. Like liquid heaven.

There is something about coffee that is hard to communicate. It is one of those drugs that affects each individual in a different way. Making some nervous and for others it provides the zip needed to open the eyes in the morning and keep them open through out the day.There is something so comforting about wrapping your hands around a hot cup of java with the aroma tickling your nose making you sigh with anticipation. I have found myself at the counter of Panera two times this week ordering a medium coffee....and a cinnamon Crunch.

I have used the time sipping coffee to write out my Christmas Cards. I am not one to just sign my name (and Joe's) oh no, I must add several paragraphs about this and that, usually how much I miss them and hope to see them in the coming year. With the Java Juice flowing through my veins, I become very energetic which has added a very definate literary florish to many of the cards.

As I sat there I had an onslaught of turbo charged thoughts about possible journal topics. The tables at Panera were filled with people sharing coffee and companionship. Murmuring and muffled laughter. So low key. What was missing? Missing and Journal Topics. I hit upon my two favorites subject in one!

I miss Lexington so much. How many more times can I say that? I miss the familiar places. Have I mentioned that before? I had this one coffee shop on Broadway that I loved. I would sit in one of the window spots and endure the draft that always accompanied that particular table int he winter . What seperates this place from others (maybe not Starbucks, but I rarely go in there.....) is the intoxicating Classical Music that engulfs and wraps itself around the people, the coffee, the expereince.

I think my coffee abstinence is over.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I got a lot done today. All my Christmas cards are addressed. I made a pot of Beef soup. I had the kids next door scrape the five inches of snow off the drive way for a nominal fee. I bought the worlds easiest and best Christmas tree stand. And I bought a Christmas tree.

Now I suppose there are two types of people in this world. Those who prefer artificial trees and those who go for the much more adventurous Real Live Evergreen. We are masochists at heart.

As I tried to load the tree into the stand and was poked in the eye by one of the needles the fact about masochism was rammed home! It is quite the task to put one of those trees up by yourself. I was up for the challenge and thanks to the wonderful tree stand, it was a piece of cake once I got the tree centered on the "spike".

My tree runneth over with Christmas ornaments. I must limit myself to only one or two a year. As you get older, the amount of glass, plastic, painted wood, horses and angels becomes unbelievable. I love antique ornaments and find them easily in Goodwill and Salvation Army stores during the season. One of my favorites, old English Christmas painted ornaments, I found in a Flea Market for $3.00. Twelve of them in a beautiful box.

I live for those moments.

I recently began collecting horse racing ornaments. They are so beautiful. My MO is to wait until the day after Christmas and hit the Keeneland Gift shop and the Gift Shop at the Horse Park. Half price. I also purchase next years Christmas Cards at that time too.

I'm not certain how I am going to pull it off this year.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


I was reading Unhinged (and trying to comment! I have been trying to comment without success to anyone on Blogger! Guess my eyes are very, very bad if I can't make out those stupid letters). She was telling us she hated LA. And I guess the rest of the that is how much she misses home.

I am only four hours from home, yet I know what she means. Here it is Christmas time and I can't shop! I really can't shop. I know where to go, there is a Mall and there is one of those new fangled outdoor type malls, with all the right stores. As a matter of fact, some of my favorite stores are represented there. Such as ULTA. Gosh, I love that place. Get to play with all the make-up before buying. Wish it were discounted, but you can't have it all. Barnes and Noble. Old Navy. What did we do before Old Navy?

But I had that all at home and so much more. I just knew where to go to get what I wanted. Its different here, I really have to hunt and search. I found this candy shop in town and went in to purchase a small box of chocolates for my best buddy Debbie in Florida. It's her birthday and I get tremendous pleasure from sending her a box of goodies each year! I go into this store and once inside I realize it is not what I thought it was. Yes, they did have boxes of chocolates, but you had to ask them to put a box together if you wanted their stuff. WTF. I commented to the lady how stange that seemed. I said that I frequented quite a few candy stores in Kentucky and how odd it seemed to have to ask for a box of their private brand. She said, "You haven't been here very long have you?" WTF. The she proceeds to tell me she knows the stores in Kentucky and they do not make their own. WTF. I have been in their kitchens!!!!!!! I have eaten enough bourbon balls to wind up in the bourbon ball hall of fame. I started to name names, Rebecca-Ruth, Old Kentucky Chocolates, Ruth Hunt, (to die for Blue Monday candy bar) and Schneiders (opera creams) in Newport. She did not say anything more to me other than, "$23.28"...I also got 1/4 pound of those luscious licorice assorts. (I love candy).

How many people will I offend it I say I hate this place. I hate it because it is not home. I know how unreasonable that is, how unreasonalbe I am being. But that is how I feel.

Today, I am behind a car driving the speed limit. Everyone here drives the speed limit! It drives me insane. While I was in Hell City I was told not to speed on the deserted desolate country roads, "they are everywhere" I was told. To hell with that. This is the flattest land outside of the desert and I am going to book it. It is like people are born with this innate gene that makes them drive slow....I mean the speed limit. It drives me crazy.

NASCAR was created in the South. We all have attended events at the drag strip. Hell, we all have taken a crack at the drag strip! We amuse ourselves on self made drag strips. I guess it is innate in Southerns to drive fast. For a variety of reasons. To outrun the cops, make it home before our parents, to arrive at the bootleggers before they close, to be at work on time.

Another thing that bugs the hell out of me, while I am on it, is how entire families go shopping together here. It's not like everyone is Amish and it is an event! I just got home from Walmart and it was a mad house. Families of five, six hell even families of eight were all shopping together and having a great time. I would never deny anyone a good time mind you. But at Walmart?

For God's Sake.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


My immediate boss is a woman. It has been a long time since I have had a female boss. And somewhere in the back files of my mind I remember telling myself to never ever work for a woman again!!

I prefer men (duh). They are.....less emotional, say what they mean (most the time, unless they are trying to trick you), answer their phones, don't have PMS, and usually do not have the sixth sense. They are basically pretty easy to work with (for) and manipulate. (did I really write that down!)

For example, this morning my boss called one of my co-workers. He was on his way out and standing in the hallway halfway in the door of another co-workers office across the way. I could hear her voice. Not exactly what she was saying, but knew it was her. He said "Arby's" and then the next thing I know both of them have vanished.

I immediately think that they are meeting for breakfast and not invited me. This is exactly why I should not work for a woman. I expect the worst. My imagination runs wild. My uncanny sixth sense and intuitive nature are working overtime.

Actually, she is between a rock and a hard place. The day after I returned from the Hurricane, Friday, I tried all day to call her. She never returned my calls. On Monday when I just showed up at the plant hoping I had a job, she told me she had received her "pink slip" that day. Nothing she had done, but just cutting out another level of unnecessary middle management. Not the greatest way to start off with her.

I have been with the company a couple of years more than her. I realize that if they like you and you are a hard worker and valuable to the company, they find a place for you. (hopefully not in Hell City). She will bounce back. She will land on her feet. She will be okay.

But....I still feel some sort of negative feelings coming at me from her. I may even deserve them, because I can be a royal pain in the ass. And I don't even try, it just comes natural.

Anyway, my feelings were not exactly hurt this morning....but I was amused. Once again feeling like the outsider.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Familiar Haunts

This morning after leaving Bridget's I decided to treat myself to breakfast. Lynn's Paradise Cafe was too crowded, Ditto's looked closed so I ended up at the Shoney's on Eastern Parkway & Preston. And what a treat it was! First of all, to be surrounded by southern accents. Music to my ears. And the service! I recgonized it last night also, when we ate at the pub attached to the Marriott downtown. Service was spectacular! Friendly, prompt. I can not begin to count the times I have walked out of places in Indiana because I was not acknowledged by the staff and servers! Astonishing! Little do they know, I am a great (and I do mean Great)tipper. But, I have to get good service.

I am not expected anywhere today, so I have the entire day to so what ever it is I want to do! I went downtown and took pictures! It is a gray overcast day and I loved it. I miss the dismal gray of a Ohio Valley sky. So familiar and expected. All the better to appreciate the sunshine when he makes an appearance. I wish I could put into works why Louisville is so beautiful to me. It is a large city like very other large city, yet it shines even in the overcast skies of late November. From the funky stores and streets of Bardstown Road to the breathtaking expanse of the Ohio River stretching towards Indiana every little nook and cranty is familiar and a welcome sight.

Then Lexington. I find myself racing to the Friends Book Cellar because I have not been able to find the time to visit since May. I am due for a fix. A very over due fix! First off, Joe, one of the staff volunteers is on duty! He greets me with a hug, tells my how beautiful I look, and how he has missed me! Now that is service!

I find in the aisles two of my favorite books ever in Hard Back! A terrific find! I am buried in the Travel section and find six books I must have! In total, I have 12 books. Total....$29. I love this place! I wonder about sneaking them into the house in Ft. Wayne, as my book collection is totally out of hand. It is actually housed in our storage area!

I am now at the computer room casually casting my eyes around looking for the mutterer. Very bad to make eye contact with him, I would think. I doubt he is here since I don't hear him.

My next stop will be the liquor Barn, which I will just run up and down the aisles and rejoice at the selection and the prices. There is not a single store in Ft. Wayne anywhere close to the gigantic liquor stores in this area. Not only liquor, but the best greeting cards, gifts, party favors, a deli, balloons, gift baskets, designer coffees, gourmet foods and candy, and of course lots and lots of beer! Lots and lots of quirky beers from all over the world! I live for these moments.

I am then off to the consignment shop. I love that place. I need a new winter coat for the harsh North East winds! I know I will find it there. Plus, no telling what else.

I have an 18 pound Turkey in the back of my car. I certainly hope it thaws out before tomorrow morning. I feel strange with the bird in my back area. I keep checking on it. I know this is the most unconventional method I have ever using for thawing out a turkey.
Light Up Louisville

I made it down here to Louisville in only three hours! Not much of a rush hour in Indianpolis. Great way to not lose time. It's amazing how much more young kids remember. We arrived at the square moments before Santa plugged in the gigantic electrical plug. Scott noted that we arrived just in time last year too. Hmmmm. Bridget thought the lights and the fireworks were more elaborate last year too. Hmmmmmmmmm again.

They thought it was very cold walking from the building to the square. I thought "Ha!" This is not cold. This is chilly! Every morning in Ft. Wayne the wind chill has put the temperature in the teens. Walking in 30 degree weather was like a day at the beach. Ha hahaha.

I am worried about Bridget. She has not been feeling well for some time now. She went to the doctor almost two months ago to try and diagnosis what is ailing her. It was thought that she might have pancreatic (sp?) this past summer. The doctor began by trying to eliminate things. Unfortunately, she told Bridget that as a last result they would scope her. Immediately she began to collect stories about how horrible that is! I am too far away to force her to go. Like those years of long past......she is an adult now. I worry. My sister has suggested Crohns disease.

I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree.

If I could find their ubc plug I would see how the pictures turned out from last night. I have not purchased a DSLR as of yet. I found a great deal on the Internet, but they tried so hard to up sell me that it turned me off. A re-chargeable battery pack for $80! I hate recharge able batteries!!! And then he tired to tell me that I needed a very expensive flash card.....I said, "I think I need to rethink this purchase."

I truly want one. Hey,I need one!!! I really do.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Home away from Home

I have found a great library on State Street. What that means is, no waiting for a computer! My favorite library in Lexington required a waiting period at times. Not too too bad. There were some crazies in that library. One man in particular that once threatened a woman for supposedly stealing his keys! He also was a mutterer. And he usually sat close to me...and muttered.

This library is brand spanking new. And if school were not out, I bet I would be in here alone.

I am packed and ready to hit the road. I am just biding my time until it is maybe....230 - 245 before I hit the road. It is an approximate three and half hour drive. I hope to be there well before the Light up Louisville festival begins. I think there may be singing and a speech from the mayor and then Santa throws the switch.

The best part will be being able to see Bridget! And spend time with her. I bought her the cutest scarf at the Mall several days ago. It is a shaggy thing in a pale blue that should light up her eyes...

Cathy wrote me back. I burst out crying when I saw the email! Her mother is in the hospital recovering from triple by-pass surgery. Her father is a wreck. I am so psyched that we are talking...writing....after all this time.

There is this terrific journal, I forget the name right now, that I was reading last week and she had posted several letters that she had kept that had very sentimental memories attached to them. It reminded me that before email, we had to correspond through the US mail. While I was living in Houston, pregnant with Bridget, Cathy and I wrote each other all the time. I know I have those letters somewhere in all my stuff...I can see the box in my storage shed right now!

I am thrilled to have that door open again. We had such great times together at Murray and in Louisville. She was my closest friend for the longest time. Always there for me.

There is so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. I like the idea of taking a toll of all the things recently that have been good.

My Dad receiving new "ears" and being able to make declarative statements and even asking questions? It had been so long since he has been able to participate.

Joe becoming a Grandpa and making me a Grandma!

Being re-hired and in a job I love.

Reconnecting with Cathy after all these years.

Receiving the Vivi award.

Going to Mexico and surviving a hurricane and then having the adventure of a lifetime!

Omega and I making plans to see the Saw Doctors on St.Patrick's Day in Cleveland this coming March! Yea! Rah!

Not hitting that car and rear ending it when it was snowing Wednesday when I could not come to a stop and just slid towards it.

Getting able to leave and go home to Kentucky early today!

I could go on and on. I think that life seems much nicer and doable when you take time to reflect on things that are good in your life. It is so easy to slip into a depression and a sour mood if you allow yourself to only make a litany of those things that make you sad.

It's almost 2pm. Time to mosey on along.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Cathy and Bridget....1981


Yesterday I received one of those mass span's from It began by telling me that someone was searching for me. I usually just delete them, but I went ahead and opened it up! Lo and Behold it was allowing me access to my Gold Membership!!

I know, I'm "clueless", that's why I purchase services. Could it be because I can afford it! Ha!! (that's a whole other entry that I am avoiding because I am astounded that people throw rocks at!!!) I bought it earlier this year after writing an entry about Cathy. I was determined to find her! And I did with Classmates. Only problem was, she never responded to my e-mail.

So, I tried again.

Our history is long and puzzling. I hate the fact that I have not seen or heard from her in over 20 years.

One of my friends once told me that I hang on to people with tenacity the likes he has never seen before. It is so true.

So, I have tried again with the hope that this time she will forgive me for my rashness and anger that I displayed all those years ago and hurt her. As David Letterman would say, "Put bygones behind us, the water under the bridge, over the dam, wherever water goes--standing in your basement"...(I loved that!).

That is why I think I had that vivid dream about Murray State University last night. In technicolor! I hopped into my Pinto (which is the car I owned all those years ago) and traveled the 250 miles down the West Kentucky Parkway. (surprised it could make it after all these years. A Pinto is not a vehicle you see around everyday, and for a reason!). Once I arrived there I ran into my pal Marilyn and we had a tour of the house on 1206 Main Street that I once lived in. I was concerned that my name was still on the lease and called the police. I was damned that if I wasn't receiving some of the profits from this "boarding" house that I would be responsible for it!!

It was right after I spoke to the police, who arrived in plain clothes with his wife, that I realized I had left my computer at home! How could I live without my computer and on-line journals????

I also began to realize I had packed neither my computer nor a tooth brush! I understood that it was my subconscious talking, I did not want to return to college, especially as a 50 something woman! These students were young enough to be my kids!! And they were smoking pot! "Don't you all know that they drug test out there!!" I clued them. I did not fit in anymore.

I drove around campus, "up the hill" and did not recognize a thing. I'm certain it was then that I turned around and headed the four hours home.

I've been recently having some very detailed dreams about Murray and the people I knew from that time in my life. I wonder what my subconscious is trying to tell me, or remember? Actually, I am just enjoying the movies my dreams are giving to me, like a present, about that time so long ago.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fragments from the week

Life is a blur. Rapidly streaking by at mach speed. The older I grow the faster it flashes and turns the calendar pages. When I was a child Christmas came at an excruciating slow pace. The build up of expectation, the time away from school, the anticipation of snow was an overwhelming pleasure that I looked forward to all year.

Now I wish time would slow down. At times I wish it would even reverse. What I would give to have my Bridget as an inquisitive four year old again, snuggled up beside me in bed sleeping the dreams of angels.

What I do have now are fragments of memories from the past few days that will serve as tiny souvenirs of the waning days of 2005.

Joe and I traveling to Van Wert Saturday morning and I putting the new CD I had found at Borders into the player. Buena Vista Social Club. I feel as if I tricked him into listening to my "wacky Latin music" by saying it had Ry Cooder on it. I look back on that morning and him listening to the album in its entirely as symbolic of his love for me. And his tolerance of my wacky ways as I leaned over and sang "Ay ay ay ay....I am the Frito Bandito" inserted into the music.

Monday mid-afternoon found me having the attacks in my chest again. I was driving north on I-69 and began to semi-panic. I felt for certain I was having the beginning of a heart attack now! I turned around and headed back to Ft. Wayne and an urgent treatment center when I positioned myself while in the waiting room into an incline posture that took the pressure off my chest. The doctor examined me and told me the news. I have a pulled muscle in my chest.

It has not hurt once since.

We were having a visitor at the Sales Center. Someone from my past! Someone who has been promoted from the Center in Lexington to the biggest position in the Regional area. I have not seen him in four years, and feel he was very instrumental in helping me find my way back. Or course I wake up yesterday with a red blemish on the tip of my nose! Good lord!!! All day long I had to keep reapplying make-up to the affected area. When they day was winding down into the final moments and I thought I had missed him and abandoned my nose charade, there he was.

Oh it was good to see him!

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is tomorrow. I found this terrific Arkansas Bar-B-Que place in the downtown area and we will have smoked brisket and the fixings for dinner tomorrow. Then I travel to Kentucky for time with my family.

That is what I am thoroughly thankful for.

Monday, November 21, 2005

From the Archives....November 13, 2003

I read an entry in "Coming to terms with Middle Age" by miraminiak about a Simon & Garfunkel concert she had just seen. It triggered memories of all the concerts I have attended over the past several decades.

A sound track has accompanied my life ever since I have been about 12 years old. The Rolling Stones were a major force in the movie of my life from about 1978 till mid 80's. The above photo is from the Start Me Up tour. The photo's are bootleg...(oops, you don't think I will be in trouble do you?)...and I have several of them.

I was living in Louisville. My best friend had a friend who was the door man at Phoenix Hill Tavern. He secured a lot of tickets for this concert. He begrudgingly sold us four tickets. He was unsure which were the best seats. I could not find anyone I wanted to go with and so we ended up in front of Broadbent arena with an extra ticket. It was sold pretty quickly to someone in the crowd outside hoping to score a seat.

OH MY GOD! The seats were left hand stage! On the upper deck, first row, overlooking the stage! When the Stones came out, I could see everything on the stage. Everything and everyone. I could practically reach out and touch Keith.

Then, this attitude heavy dude comes up and sits next to me. The fortunate one who got the extra ticket. All I remember about him was that he had a hash pipe and he was sharing.

The next day I go to work and everyone knew how excited I was to see the Stones and were asking questions about the concert. For some reason....I remembered the beginning and .....

The phone rings, its Lloyd (who got the tickets from Phoenix Hill). "So, how did you like those seats?" (Unfortunately, he had chosen the lesser of the two). "They were great! Too bad they didn't play very long". Lloyd was silent for several seconds, then just said, "Good-bye".

When I finally got to talk to my friend she told me the rest of the story. The guy with the hash pipe was shot-gunning me and I passed out. Mick Jagger got in the cherry picker and came right up to us. She tried to wake me up (smacking me!) but I was out cold. She swears, Mick looked at me, shook his head and rolled his eyes.

These may have been my best seats ever and I blew it!
A Different Drummer

One of the dangers to having an on line journal is the risk you are taking when you lay it all out there. You never know who is reading. Secondly, you have absolutely no control over how people perceive what you are writing. Something written in jest is taken as serious. Tongue in cheek is taken as a position on a subject.

One of the by-products from the great exodus from AOL I see is a tremendous surge of freedom beginning to form. So many of us have been so careful not to hurt feelings, say the wrong things, and God forbid, be misunderstood. And then there was the dreaded TOS! I, for one, have held back writing about certain subjects because of my concern for offending anyone. I sweated bullets the time when I wrote about smoking pot at a Rolling Stones concert over 20 years ago!!!

For all my bravado, I still have a strong drive to be accepted and one of the crowd. Yet, most my life, I have always been on the outside fringes of the crowd! Why is this, I wonder? I'm not a leader and not much of a joiner. I am attracted to the wild and devil may care type of personality, the risk takers. The ones who attract attention. The ones who are in trouble all the time.

The ones who live life and do not waste one moment. Except maybe when they are sitting in jail (hahah).

I was a rebellious child and as I grow older I still tend to be rebellious. I realize that I am a part of this wonderful community on AOL, that is so diverse and interesting. I marvel that I have been able to fit in!!

I always like the bad boys and the incorrigible girls.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


A long time ago, in a far away land, when we were limited to the amount of words we could use in our postings on AOL, I was always in trouble.

I can not spell. I have my theories on this. I read quite a bit when I am able, so I usually recognize the words are wrong. I loved the dictionary/thesaurus drop down AOL use to have (boo for removing it and replacing it with a slower and complicated upgraded version). Yet, quite a few snafus got past me. If I go back and re-read some of my very early entries, I cringe at the spelling, grammar and syntax. Not that I am much better now!

I think it was the Nuns at the Catholic Grammar school. They were on the cutting edge of educating the Baby Boomers and taught us to read using Phonics. That doomed me to be a rotten speller ever since first grade.

I read in Time magazine years and years ago that there is a spelling dyslexia. A part of the brain that can have trouble. Yes, that's the ticket! There it is. I have a brain problem with spelling. So did F. Scott Fitzgerald. They said he was the worst and sometimes they had no idea what the hell he was trying to write! When we read his brilliant writing we should wonder....F. Scott, or the Editor?

So that is how and why I ended up with Blogger. I have been using it for a long time. I find that if I write my entries here there is the semi-wonderful spell check. I am able to copy my entries and transfer then without any trouble with the Html. It was near impossible writing my entries in mail and transferring it.

Html hell.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Joe and I went to this little shop in a small town in Ohio, about 30 miles away. It was a quaint shop with many bottles of wine, candy, cigars and baskets. They would make divine gift baskets I think.

I bought peanut brittle and proceeded to eat it on the way home. For breakfast.

About an hour later, I began to get a pain. A sharp pain. Like someone is jabbing a knife into my chest....just under my left rib cage. It hurts, tiny thrusts of searing pain, then it goes away. Sometimes it really hurts, other times it just is an annoyance.

I finally went to Walmart and bought some acid reflux medication. I swallowed it on the way out of the store, as the pain hit me several times while there.

I thought I had it licked, but just a moment ago it hit me again. Just once. Letting me know I have not conquered it.

My liver?

God knows I drink enough for one person. In my lifetime, I probably have drunk enough to kill several people. Of Irish heritage, hailing from Kentucky. We are the worst of the lot when it comes to slugging them back.

In 2003 I thought I had totally destroyed myself and my innards after the Derby Eve Slither and a long evening of drinking cheap beer. I laid on the couch all Derby Day with a terrible pain in my right side. It lingered for a long time. It has finally gone away. I think my liver has petrified.

When ever it hurts anywhere in my stomach area, I'm certain it is my liver.
Trip Planner

Joe wants to start planning a trip for next year. He has decided on the first few weeks of January! So far his web searches have included a week on South Beach for five nights with air fare, approx. $800 for the two of us.

Then he found a cruise on Carnival $269 per and some great airfare of $169 each.

I, on the other hand purchased the new copy of Budget Travel and found a trip to Madrid for six nights from Chicago $619 each. London, $499 each for four nights.

Dominican Republic, all inclusive, four nights $499 each.

Decisions, decisions.

And there is always Italy. But, I would need at least two weeks for that.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Generation Gap

"What type of music do you listen to?" my new co-worker asked me. He leaned forward, his forearms resting on his knees. His counter part, my other co-worker, leaned forward as well.

I turned towards them and announced, "Celtic music, jazz, blues and as of lately, a lot of Mexican music."

Nothing. They said nothing. Both of them blank, just taking it in. Maybe it was because I pronounced Celtic with the hard "K", unlike the way most Americans recognize it pronounce as in the Boston "Celtics".

Maybe it was because Dave is 27 and Matt is 25.

I might as well have said that I listen to Mariachis Music, while dancing the merengue, throwing knives and tossing back tequila.

After a long pause Dave said "I listen to music I can understand".

Smart Aleck.

It's like working with my daughter and her friends!
I am having second thoughts about opening up this journal. After all, this was my journal that hardly anyone read and so I felt very anonymous. I was able to really write what I wanted without a care in the world. I have changed all that and now I feel that Alphawoman has barged in here and I am not so certain I like it.

The real Mary is different from Alpha. Alpha is the woman I think I am in my head. Smart, funny, sometimes witty. Sugar and Spice. Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? It certainly isn't Alpha. Alpha is like my alter ego. The good part of me.

I love this journal, which I first titled Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. I don't think I am going to alter things.

Proceed with caution, because I am not really all that nice. lol.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Somebody should have told me!

We are under a Wind Advisory in North East Indiana. And they are not joking, the wind is pretty strong. Strong enough to make it near impossible to open and close a car door. No one told me that I should expect such fierce winds. Since the land is so flat up here maybe they thought I could figure it out.

The wind and rain have stripped off the beautiful leaves and have sent them dancing all over the streets and lawns. The kids next door came over during the week and made me an offer I could not refuse. To rake my leaves. For $5..........each! Such enterprise should be rewarded.

I guess I will grow accustomed to the Wind Advisory Alerts. Since I found out the hard way snow around these parts is not cause for concern. I will not be receiving the obligatory Snow Alerts that are common a little further south.

Last March I was up here and walked outside and it was a blizzard! At least six inches since I had entered the apartment only hours before. No Bread, Milk and Beer Alerts for these seasoned Mid-Westerners.

I usually do not write much about Joe's family, as we are a blended family and I feel that their privacy is important. But I have to announce that Joe is now A GRANDPA!!!! And I guess I am a Step-Grandma.

Hopefully pictures to come. He went home to see the latest addition to the family. I gave him my camera. You have seen (the last post with that blurry picture of a travel weary Alphawoman) his handiwork with a camera.

I can only hope.

Welcome to the world Tinkerbelle.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

THE SEVENTIES (as I remember it)

When I started to blog, on line journal, I was hoping to write the story of my life. I thought it had some value, was interesting and entertaining. What I did not count on was being caught up in the Journal Community over at AOL. So, I departed from the original plan and began to combine my past with my present.

Yesterday one of the radio stations I listen to announced a week-end dedicated to all the music from the 1970's. Most of the music they played yesterday was awful The top five artists! Bah humbug. Paul McCartney and "Uncle Albert"...please, Elton John "Crocodile Rock", where was "Tiny Dancer"?. I missed the beginning with Chicago. Now I loved dancing to Chicago's music Down South in Tennessee while a student at MSU, so I agree with that.

I remember when my brother joined the Columbia Record Club and received all those albums with the contractual agreement that he would pay for more albums (very inflated price). We had some wonderful music playing up in our dormer! I remember Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens....

My music tastes are still the same today as they were 35 years ago....all over the place. Just today I ordered an album by Lila Downs online, plus some Mariachis music inspired by the Robert Rodriguez movies (yes I have seen them!) I purchased a John Cougar Mellencamp CD earlier this week and Santana. And I still listen faithfully to Ashley McIsaac! And Seven Nations.

In the early 1970's I had Beatle albums, The Four Tops, Wilson Pickett, Black Oak Arkansas, Carol King, Janis Joplin and on and on. My musical tastes really expanded when I hit college.

As did my head.

That is what triggered this new series. What the 1970's meant to me.

This has been a great week. I am so happy to be back at work in a job that I know so well. Even though the town is different, the people have different names it is all the same. After my experience on "the other side" I realize how good I have it. This job is a walk in the park, a piece of cake, a dream come true! I am thrilled. I am happy beyond words. If I were a poet I would write a poem about being so happy it is about to make me pop my head!

I joined a fitness center in the area. About five miles from our home. It may seem a far trek for me, yet it is still much closer than Shapes in Lex. And the location for gaining entry is also a walk in the park compared to Lex. Yikes, Shapes was in the same shopping center with Best Buys, Bath bed and Beyond and then the ultimate horror, Toys are Us...a nightmare at Christmas.

As if I even went! Maybe twice last year. Twice maybe! Maybe more. I can't remember, but not much.

I am working up to it today. I am very overweight. I would like to drop 20 pounds. I can not stop eating. Damn those donuts. Damn Dairy Queen (and extra damn Pumpkin Pie blizzards!)

And then the biggest thrill of them all....I ordered (finally) the Canon EOS Rebel! Yea Rah! Good price, over the internet. I know I shall discard my Minolta which has been so great since...April? And then the Fujifilm S3000 will be a total thing of the past. Even though it took some fantastic photo's in Cancun when the card on the Minolta was full. Very good pictures.

I am allowing Joe to take the camera (Minolta) to Lex because he is now a Grandpapa. Since 430am this morning!

And last but not least, on Sunday I awoke after visiting Bridget and logged onto AOL and found out my journal was voted the Best Travel Journal! That trip to Cancun helped! Even though most all the voting had already taken place.

It was a thrill. But not anything like being Journal of the Week July 2004. That was a thrill of a life time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Now I remember what I was going to write!!!

There is absolutely nothing as shocking as seeing yourself on television. I was ill prepared for it and therefore it has taken me almost two weeks to even come up with some type of entry about it.

When we were trying to get out of Mexico, Joe thought it would be a good idea to call our friend in Ft. Wayne, who is connected to the local media mob, to help us. We suggested she call CNN, MSNBC, or even the CIA! She called a radio station who interviewed Joe that afternoon via the infamous cell phone! I'm certain that the "greased wheels" had more to do with us getting out that night than his radio interview.

Upon arrival home, the television station contacted me and I agreed to an interview. Somewhere in my naive view of the world, I thought they would interview me and then show some of the pictures from my digital camera. I thought this because I told them I did not want to be on TV.

They arrived with a camera, I should have had a clue I was in trouble.

I wanted to go fix my hair, change clothes, put on make up. They said, "We want you to look like you just survived a hurricane."

When I was aired on the 5 o'clock news.....I was struck dumb. And I was struck deaf. I only heard one thing....that southern twang. Slow and ......oh my God! What a southern accent.

Then it was my bad side. My scar, that I have had since childhood when I tumbled down the concrete stairs at age two was so evident that I could barely see anything else! Except the bags under my eyes. My eyes! My eyes!

I need an eye job!

I had my hair pulled up in a pony tail on top of my head. I looked like a mountain woman from the hills of Kentucky.

I did not hear once word I said. I was so in shock.

Word of advice...never ever go on television without makeup and your hair done.

I shall never recover.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

This is why I do not let Joe use my camera.

Today I thought I had an idea for an entry. Somehow I have lost it. My last adventure to Mexico seems to have overshadowed everything in my life up to now. It was my own Oddesy. My time to come face to face with the Mary inside of me. My time to come into contact with a group of people/characters who touched my life at a ceratin time.

Homer had his Odyssey. Joyce his Ulysses . Mary had her Cancun.

It maybe awhile before I can write again. I hope we will go to Italy. And back o Ireland. Finally see Alaska.

One can dream.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Day seven - Will it ever end?

I remember what it was like during my ninth month of pregnancy. I thought it would never end. That I was to remain this way the rest of my life. That is how it felt October 26th. This day would never end.

We lined up in groups according to which airport was your final destination. What a joke. We were there at 8am. Spirits so high because we were told there were four jets waiting for us at the airport!

Why do they do that? Don't they understand how devastating it is when you realized you have been duped. Yet again. There were no planes. No one was going to Chicago. No one was going anywhere. Once again planes flew in. Maybe one and hour. We cheered when they came into the airports air space! And fewer were leaving.

It made no sense. And it will never make any sense. It will never be explained. We waited for our planes. What else could we do? We jumped line. We will go to Dallas, we told them! Bob and Judy too. Israel and Bella also. Just get us back to the states.

There was no plane to Dallas.

The military showed up in the afternoon and took over the airport. Once again, I will never understand. The General showed up. Joe and I were standing there! I was negotiating a phone interview with a radio station in Ft. Wayne. I was taking pictures with my cell phone to try and send what I was seeing.

So corrupt and unbelievable that I dare not write it here.

GET US OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once the corruption had taken place, things moved swiftly. Planes began to land and take odd. Buses arrived and people got on planes and left. Our Holland friends showed up. They spent the night in a five star hotel! They got right on a plane and left.

What is up with Americans?

Desperate we begged to be allowed on a flight to St. Louis. A flight to Denver or Minneapolis had just taken off. Our names were added on the list. We clutched our carry on luggage. My suitcases were taken off the Dallas luggage cart and transferred to the St. Louis.

Dare I hope?

Suddenly..... nothing happens nothing happens...then everything happens!......we were ordered to get into the terminal and go through customs.

They made us stand on a concrete floor for over an hour while they checked and copied our passport information.

At 130am we boarded the plane. When it took off we cheered long and loud.

The day became night.

Day one in Merida - October 26th - Wednesday

We make the caravan back to the airport. Except our van makes a detour. Our driver is totally unfamiliar with Merida. We are lucky we did not get lost more often. We had vans following us!!! So, we pretended that we wanted to make that wrong turn because there was a gas station on this road!

We arrive at the end of the caravan. We are forced to park outside the airport this morning. I do not know why. We just are. Rumor is it is too overcrowded inside.

Joe and I get out of the Van. Joe had to find a bathroom.

He is not gone two minutes when the word is out. "GET IN THE VANS!!! WE'RE GOING IN." I'm frantic. I do not want to be left behind again! One of the Smurf's assures me it is only a ten minute walk to the front of the airport. He will wait with me.

In the meantime, I search for our van to tell them I will catch up.

THEY"RE GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I look down the road and there they are. I break into a run! They are gesturing at me to run faster to catch up. I did a pantomime to get them to understand that Joe was in the bathroom! I just rubbed my tummy and yelled "JOE!"

Joe showed up moments later and the Smurf made us jump on one of the buses. Now I was worried that our luggage was going to be lost again!!! I went through too much to get that luggage back to let it out of my sight for one minute!

That is just the way it is. Everything is rush rush rush. Then nothing.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. For a very long time.
Six Days in Cancun

Day Six - Ticket to ride.

It's late. After midnight, so officially it is day seven. I am not in Cancun anylonger, but now in a city some 200 miles away called Merida. It is rumored that there is an airport here. 38,000 of us feel like we are in some bizarre scavenger hunt. Looking for the allusive ticket out of here.

Now this is where it gets weird.

The airport is closing down and we are ordered to get the heck out of the parking lot. We are not allowed to spend the night. As always I am clueless as to who is ordering us to leave. Military? Private airport meanies? Anti-American activists?

We load up in the buses and vans and take off. Following each other out into the dark night. It must be after 1am by now. We are all tired, cranky, and humorless. It is rumored that we are going to the parking lot of a movie house. Rumors, rumors, rumors.

We travel down the highway, across parts of the highway that are under construction but still being used. Very bumpy. We travel a long ways. I feel we are just going to drive around all night until the sun comes up and we are allowed back into the airport to begin our vigil again.

We are at the mercy of Funjet. And the foreigners are getting restless.

We do arrive at a parking lot. It is the parking lot for a Boston Restaurant! I ask the van driver if Joe and I can find space in a less crowded fan (I saw one at the airport) to lay down and get some sleep.

"Why would you want to do that when you can go into this nice restaurant and eat all night. Open bar?" He had a very good point.

And that is the way it was. Very strange. They had a pizza buffet all night long. Drinks were on the house, but only non-alcoholic. Thank goodness there was not a crisis in this area, the bar was open and the drinks were flowing.

It was 2am.

I was still fretting about Israel and Bella, but my fears were calmed when they walked in with Bob and Judy. Joe and I found an empty booth, he slept on one side, I on the other. At 330am we fell into another dead sleep.

Awake at 6am.

Back on the road to freedom.

Nightmare in Merida

I think you all must know what happens next. All those buses heading to the only functioning airport in the area. I believe the estimate of tourists that night was 38,000.

Our caravan had four buses and 20 cargo vans full of stranded Funjet tourists. 2,000 of us was the estimate I overheard. We were able to drive into the airport parking lot and get out of the vehicles. Joe and I headed into the airport proper to check things out...and go to the bathroom.

We ran right into Bob and Judy our first friends we made at the Hotel Rui Caribe all those days before. Seemed like years!

It would be an understatement to announce that the place was crawling with people. Shoulder to shoulder, wall to wall. They were laid out on the floor everywhere in the airport, and on the outside lawn. Everywhere you looked, there were bodies. The line into the restroom was long and I feared once again of being left behind.

After all we were told the planes to take us home were waiting for us on the run way. There were no planes. I can't remember how many I heard taking off that night. Only a few and even less coming in.

Total confusion.

Bob and Judy had hooked up with an elderly couple. They had more or less taken them under their wing to help them maneuver their way through the ordeal. Israel and Bella. Russian immigrants.

Bob lent us $20 as we had spent our last $10 with the Maestro. Hurricanes are expensive with all the tipping you have to do! We gleefully spent it on a Pizza hut pizza! We took the remainder back to share with Judy and Bob. What we found was Israel standing alone, under a tree holding Bella's pocketbook.

She had gone to the bathroom some time ago. Yes he would accept the pizza, but he would not eat until she came back. I was somewhat concerned. Here it was, closing in on midnight and a 75 year old man was alone in the dark, separated from his wife of 57 years. It saddened me.

Joe tried to find Bob. I laid on the wet, cold, hard ground with my suitcase for a pillow because there was no room in the van!

Joe was wondering around and ran once again into Israel, holding one piece of pizza and the purse. He had not found his wife. By my estimate, she had been gone for two hours. The line was long, but not that long!

Suddenly......once again, nothing happens, nothing happens, then everything happens!!!.....we were ordered to get into the van! The airport was shutting/closing and everyone had to evacuate the parking lot.

Evacuate!!! To where?????

Our fourth and last shelter.

Six Days in Cancun - The Road to Merida

Joe and I must have been the last to arrive at the caravan pulled over to the side of the highway. We were rushed over and pushed into a cargo van, not the luxury bus.
We were forced into an already full van.

Joe and I were cool. After all, we had just survived a Category 5 Hurricane. To crowd into a van for three hours....piece of cake.

I wish that was the story. The group of seven people already in the van had just gone through the Hurricane together. We were once again the intruders. They were nice enough, but the van was now very crowded and all our stories out trumped their stories.

You know how it is after a Category 5 Hurricane.

Joe and I decided to just be quiet and listen to them talk among themselves. Actually they were very nice.

We drove South at first. We came into a tourist town called Tulum which had to be legendary for its scuba diving taking into account all the shops on the main street. Our drive, Speedy Gonzales....actually Fernando Gonzales....pulled over to a taco stand in the middle of the town.

Everyone piled out and we immediately got ice cold 16 ounce bottles of Coca Cola handed to us with a straw. The first cold drinks we had had in six days! The most delicious sensation imaginable.

Everyone had tacos. Real authentic Mexican tacos. I decided that I was going to continue on the Cancun diet for awhile. No food or tuna. Lots of water if you have a working toilet. Minimal water if you do not.

And it is a good thing. Montezuma got his revenge on several of them a little later on.

The three hour trip was another one of the Smurf's sick little tricks on the silly tourists. Because the main regular road, which was a three hour trip, was flooded out, we had to take the long way. The back roads.

The ten hour trip.


Stranded! Standing in front of the gates in the throngs of people desperate to get out and get home. Our bus had left. The Smurf's spoke very little English. I understood they were trying to secure us a ride to the bus! A van approached and stopped. Lots of chattering between the Smurf's in the van and the Smurf's outside. The van drove off.

Joe and I were perplexed. I had no idea what to expect. All we could do was stand there and wait.

I looked at all the taxi cabs lined up in front of the LaSalle. They must have had a tremendous day the day before ferrying the unfortunate to the Hotel Zone for their luggage. Things were slower today. The tourists were all catching the buses this day. I looked over Joes shoulder and saw the Maestro! I was so very glad to see him since he had made all my dreams come true the day before!

We shot the bull together for awhile and then explained our plight to him. He immediately began talking to the Smurf's. Rapid fire Spanish, lots of shaking of the head, a phone call made on the only cell phone I ever saw in a Smurf's hand and it was settled.

For $10, he would take us to the bus!

We loaded out luggage in the back of the station wagon and off we went! He took us about 20 miles out of town towards Merida! I thought we were going to the Cancun airport! I was totally wrong. This was no time for idle chit chat. Traffic was dense and he had to concentrate on driving very fast. We took a wrong turn. The usual road to Merida was flooded out and there was no way to get through. He had to make his way to a turn around area and double back. He honked and swore and even went nose to nose with the Military man who tried to stop him. In a matter of moments he had us turned around and once again on the right path, chasing down the bus.

The bus had pulled over on the side of the road waiting for the caravan of Funjet evacuates to make the journey all together.

We made it. I felt like I had driven the 20 some odd miles. I only had the $10 to give him. He kissed me goodbye and told me not to worry about tipping him.

"I'm giving you the Friend rate." he said.

We left him and ran to catch up.

I never did know his name.

Day Six - October 25th, Tuesday

I awoke early, before the sun rose. I took a bottle of water and was determined to somehow wash my hair!!!!!!!!! I was totally blown away when I reached the bathroom and realized the lights were on. We had running water!!! First time since Thursday.

It was heaven. I did not even notice it was cold water! I was able to use a towel I had pinched from the hotel to wash my face, arms etc. When I finished I gasped at the dirt on the towel! A lady was next to me, we were the only two there so early in the morning.

I showed her the towel. She looked at the towel and then at me and then said in this droll throaty voice with an English accent.....

"You filthy bitch."

I laughed until I was doubled over.

This was definitely going to be a glorious day.

We began to leave. First Loretta and Tom at 430am, followed very quickly by Zoe and Martin who were summoned during the night that their flight to England was leaving early. (by way of the Dominican Republic).

Joe and I made ourselves a nuisance to the Smurf's. "I don't know."

"We are waiting word from our superiors. They are trying to open doors. One at a time."

"Maybe take a bus to Merida. A three hour trip."

This was the type of information everyone was getting. It was frustrating. People stood around in tight knots. People were stationed with their luggage at the front gates. Buses pulled in and out. Where were they going? No one knows! One thing for certain, the compound was clearing out, thinning down. It was rumored that the school was to be used for the locals who needed shelter.

We got on a list for a hotel, just in case. We all continued to want to stay together and ride the adventure out. We began this together, we will finish this together.

Joe and I returned to the room. Lunch was being served. Thick bread with ham and cheese. Bottle water. I was trying to write in my small diary, Joe was tossing basketballs on the school court yard.

Suddenly......(time goes on and on so slow. Nothing happens Nothing happens Then everything happens).......A Smurf runs into our room. "Quick! Quick! The bus is leaving! You must be on the bus!"

It was the only way to say goodbye. The only way. I could not have endured it any other fashion.

We were on the sidewalk. The bus had left us behind.

What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun

Naturally when we went to our hotels we brought back much more than just our luggage. Althought alcohol was prohibited during a crisis, we smuggled it back to the LaSalle. Joe and I did our usual of filling up water bottles with vodka and tequila. Dave had emptied his refrigerator of the cerveza. (Oh, I did learn a new word! cerveza - beer!) Others were much more cunning and deliberate, they ripped the bottles from the wall!

We hung up towels to hide us from prying eyes and then we threw ourselves a party on the veranda! The MP3 player was cranked up and we began to dance.

We did shots did tequila. We drank cerveza Cowboy Cold which I found out means room temperature! We did shots of everything actually, since mixers were scarce and ice was unavailable!

We even did the Limbo. "How low can you go. How low can you go."

A good time was had by all.

No pictures of this debauchery. What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun.

And then there were 19.

After returning to Lasalle I offered to share my torturing, clothes, perfume, soap, towels with everyone. I wanted to toss all my clean underwear on my pallet and to roll around on it! In our absence the others had begun their journeys to the hotels! Luggage and suitcases were all on the way.

Then we began to focus on how to get out of there! Information was sketchy and inconsistent. We were informed that the Airport was closed. We were told it was open. We were told that you had to purchase a bus ticket to Merida and fly out of there.

It was chaos and confusion. Yet things were beginning to happen. The RUI hotel group that had been finding us shelters and feeding us now turned our fates over to the Group Charters we had booked our vacations through.

A Charter was a good thing. On the other hand a Charter was a bad thing. We were at the mercy of Funjet. Their representatives dressed in Caribbean blue shirts and white trousers. Much like Smurf's. Very few spoke English.

Dave was the first to go. Suddenly. The American Consulate was involved in getting those who had commercial flights out first. He was summoned to leave.

He picked up his back pack we all kissed him. And he was gone.

He was our Rock.