Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Half Century Mark

When I wrote this blog (that I found buried in my purse recently), I was still enjoying a country weekend--house had been cleaned, plants watered, candles lit in every room, so good smells were wafting about and I took pen (keyboard) in hand to write.

Right before Christmas was my birthday. My 50th Birthday. I was the first in my Elder Group to turn 50. Expected to set a precident? I hoped not. I'm quite uncomfortable being the center of attention so I was hoping no big secret plans were made. I heard a phrase and ran with it--I wanted to elope with my birthday.

Papa turned 50 several years ago. He had worked himself into such a state that I had to plan a trip and we left town so he wouldn't have to endure any birthday festivities around home or work. We had a very nice trip to Sanibel Island, Florida laying on the beach in the daytime and going to spring training baseball games in the evening. By the time we came home, he was relaxed and had moved past his birthday.

I wasn't quite this bad. I wanted it to be a non-event though. Haven't enjoyed my birthday in several years, not connected to aging, that's never been the issue.

I suggested maybe a weekend away at a lodge in the Ozarks but Papa isn't the trip planner in our family. Unless I plan it, it doesn't happen. I guess I could have planned it but it was pre-Christmas and I was getting exhausted already and didn't have much initiative myself.

We had planned to drive to Phoenix over the holiday break from work (we get two weeks off), but then Papa cmae home one night telling me he may have to work during the break but wouldn't know until the last minute! GRRRR.

I was missing Fantastic Son something awful and told Papa if we couldn't drive to Phoenix, then I, at least, wanted to fly down myself for a short visit.

So as my birthday loomed closer, Papa started hounding me for a birthday gift idea from him. So I said buy me a ticket to Phoenix to I can go see my son. Done.

So even though it was another Christmas without having FS there, I knew I was at least going to get to see him and Serious Girlfriend and the Three Bonus Kids and that improved my mood terrifically.

So as the actual date of my 50th year arrived we were in the country. I was happy and it was a low key day. Papa wanted to go to dinner and a movie and kept pushing that all day but by dark the wind had picked up, it was drizzling and sleeting, biting cold and I had to play the "it's my birthday, let me do what I want to" card. What I didn't want to do was go outside at all. So I popped two Salisbury Steak tv dinners in the oven and we ate those in front of the tv and watched White Christmas two times that night and let my birthday pass on by. And that was that.

An Older Grammy

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Long Time--No See(Read/Blog)

Boy, so glad I didn't sign that contract with Blogher! That way I can have these four month vacations from blogging without repurcussions.

Let's see since October, when I last wrote, there has been: Halloween, Thanksgiving, snow, my half century birthday, a long overdue medical physical, snow, holiday stress, car issues, sock monkeys, more snow, Christmas, medical tests including a colonoscopy, tornadoes, New Year's Eve, a trip to Phoenix, more car problems, being sick, back to work, snow, snow, snow, ice, stuck in the ice and snow, more snow and continual car problems, the P's started a soccer career, Pollyanna's 50th, and now you are pretty much caught up with me!!!

So you want some more details? Let's condense--holidays. Ok Halloween with the P's.

Both Perfect and Precious were Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. Precious so wants to emulate her big brother and no talk of being a princess or even Jessie, the cowgirl, from Toy Story would change her mind. Perfect was going to be Buzz so Precious woul be Buzz.

Thanksgiving was low key. DD had to work and had big Black Friday plans (spreadsheets and all!) and so SIL took the P's to Iowa for a long weekend with extended family on his side of the family. Papa, DD, and I had a low key Thanksgiving with the usual fixings, an afternoon movie, and some last minute help with DD's Black Friday planning.

I finished the weekend at a Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute show with a couple of my elders. Here's Tiny Sun.

Soon after Thanksgiving, the weather changed and winter set in. We had the usual pre-holiday stress, shopping, wrapping, shipping, work functions, holiday dinners, happy hours, decorating....just a lot of work. This year we again focused on the city house for the holiday and didn't put up a tree in the country.

We'd been busy during the Fall weekends with moving and unpacking things from #2 Massey Gardens back to #1 MG until the bad weather hit and the road between the two places got undriveable for the winter. So things slowed down on the weekends and I just didn't want to stress out during my small amount of weekend free time with putting up and then taking down decorations at a second house. That and I fell once again in early December on a Christmas walk in Augusta (the weekend I had planned to decorate) and was sore for some time afterward. Just a plain snow/ice mishap.

Now here I sit in February enjoying my country weekends once again. My books are all unpacked and we are spending weekends watching movies (and ID tv), reading, napping, going into town to eat at the diner pretty often, and over to the Walk for an occasional movie out.

The snow has finally melted but it's pretty much a muddy mess out here right now. It rained earlier today (this was written Saturday, 2/19 actually, just had some delay in proofing and publishing!) as well, so Snoopy and my walks don't look to be happening either any time soon. So guess I'll become one with the recliner and murders on tv--maybe a bowl of popcorn would be appropriate now.

Hope to talk to you......sooner.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


So Aunt Cracker has been on a vacation at the beach, she's been sending me pictures through email and on my phone. Gorgeous place.....she can open the sliding door from her bedroom and there is the sand...ON THE BEACH....about 100 yards from the ocean....GORGEOUS I TELL YOU.....

She tells me, come down, you can make it happen, just do it. So I do. I scurry around doing lots and lots of laundry, working out details for work coverage. Don't have to stress about Snoopy, plants, or mail because Papa is not coming with me.

I'm going on a vacation and it's so nice because I'm really calm, unlike when I usually am planning on leaving for vacation. Other than all the massive amounts of laundry that I continue to do.

But then........

something happens.......

All of a sudden Cobie Calliat is blaring by my head.


Oh No,,,,,I open my eyes.....

It's 5 a.m.....that's the radio alarm telling me it's time to get up and go to work.


No vacation.....it was a dream? But it was so real. I was going to the beach. It was going to be big fun.

No beach? It was so real.

But it's just Wednesday.......time to get up.

Still stinging from the disappointment......Grammy

Monday, October 4, 2010


I probably shouldn't be getting too cocky but I did it! I spent the night at the country house. Just one night, but it was A NIGHT. My first since the snake sighting.

We got out to the country house after dark Friday, which wasn't my idea but when traveling with Papa, one mustn't get in too big of a hurry.

We then went, with me carrying a flashlight, room to room searching for any evidence of the snake's return. Papa just wanted to overview all the rooms but not I. I pointed out this and that and shone the light for him to look closer--under beds and on top of shelves and in all sorts of hidey holes.

I believe this snake came in along the pipe under the vanity in the back bathroom. When Papa opened the door, it looked like everything had just been swiped over. I had just put the contents back in this cabinet not long ago and know everything was upright and stacked nicely; not anymore though. Convinced me this was the point of entry. There looked to be a small area around the pipe that a boneless being might slither through so we're going to have to come up with something to close this off completely before I'm relaxed. Papa kept assuring me that he thought it was too small but still.....

After a complete search turned up nothing, I placed cedar oil containers (recommended by the Home Depot guy as a snake repellant) under all the bathroom vanities and in the corners of the bathrooms. Then I started strategicly placing mothballs everywhere (recommended by Billy the Exterminator on A&E) inside and then saturating the perimeter of the house on the outside with the mothballs.

Feeling a bit safer, I then turned to cleaning. By midnight the house had been vaccuumed, mopped, wiped, scrubbed, and was sparkling. Only two incidents of coming out of my skin......the first when I was remaking the bed after washing all the sheets and blankets. I heard a loud rattle and a hiss and jumped and screamed waking up Snoopy who was snoozing in her dog bed. It turned out to be my Glade sensor air freshener that I had walked past, hidden behind a picture.

Finally, I was so exhausted that I thought I could sleep, so leaving both bathroom lights on and the tv on in the bedroom, I laid down. I did not sleep deeply by any means and every time I rolled over, I raised my head to take a gander in the bathroom to see if anything was moving there. So far so good.

Then I must have gone in a deeper sleep because it was 8:00 before Snoopy finally resorted to licking the palm of my hand to try to wake me up. Needless to say, this was the second incident of my flying in the air, screaming. Usually she wakes me up easily at 5:30 so not sure what caused this delay---she couldn't wake me up or she decided to sleep in.

Saturday was a routine busy work day out there. We power washed the outside of the house and hauled in all houseplants and then had to pack up to leave as Papa had an early morning Sunday baseball game in the city. Before we left though, I wanted to take a shower and with the thought that snakes can also come up the water lines, I make sure Papa was in the house and within screaming range and I positioned Snoopy right by the tub, where she shook the whole time just knowing she was going to get a bath as well. I then showered very fast, keeping an eye to drain almost the entire time. Next time, I may just plug the sucker just for peace of mind.

But the main thing was I got a night behind me and nothing adverse happened and with time, I may just relax and enjoy my country time once again.

Your Brave Grammy

Monday, September 20, 2010


So three weeks ago me and Papa were at the country house one evening. He was laying on the couch watching tv and I was in the recliner reading or whatever I do when he is watching tv. At one point he kind of jumped up and started fiddling with the cushions on the couch…..always one to blame the evil cigarette, I asked if he dropped an ember or something and was I going to die a fiery death later that night after it had smoldered for hours? No, no he said but wouldn't elaborate and so I tended to go back to ignoring his behavior and HE LAID BACK DOWN……so last week we were out there again....now in my normal nightly routines I get up in the dark in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom and I usually get up in the predawn, DARK hours and let Snoopy out as she wakes up at 5:30 Monday-Monday, just normal nightly behavior for me.

This past weekend I stayed in the city because of obligations and he went down to the country on Saturday night to get the mail and check on things. He spent the night and yesterday we met up at a friend's house for a BBQ party. While we were there, Papa makes a comment "not sure if I should tell you or not but..." He did this in front of others knowing I wouldn't go into full blown hysterics in front of a crowd.

Continuing he says "I found a 4 1/2 foot black snake in the back bathroom this morning when I went in to take a shower." Silence... He explained also that a few weeks ago when he jumped up from the couch and I had questioned what he was doing that he had seen a snakeskin by his foot. So he checked under the cushions for snake and seeing nothing laid back down to continue his tv viewing and contemplating whether to share this information with me or not. FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS. Continued silence but about this time I'm feeling physically sick.

Going back to Sunday's story. No, he didn't kill it, he caught it and took it outside and left it on the side of the road……STILL ALIVE where it's probably found it's way right back in my house, probably under the covers in the bed waiting for me as I type this…..No I don't think I can ever go back there…..

And being the empathic sort he is, Papa just keeps saying………"the black snake is your friend"….

I beg to differ. I consulted the internet this morning about said "black" snake.....if it's indeed that and not an "old cottonmouth---that IS posionious, who turns dark, almost black as it ages". It is non-poisionous but has excellent climbing ability (i.e., all the better for climbing into bed with me! When startled, they may freeze and wrinkle themselves into a series of kinks. If they feel further threatened, they may flee quickly or vibrate their tails in dead leaves (a form of mimicry, to make it sound like a rattlesnake). JUST WHAT I NEED TO HEAR NOW. They are also capable of producing a foul smelling musk which they will release onto a predator if picked up. PERFECT. The female lays about 12 to 20 eggs after five weeks and they hatch about 65 to 70 days later. SWEET, he couldn't tell if this was a male or female snake but it was an "adult" and so now there is the possibilty of 20 more of these in my house! These snakes eat anything they can catch that will fit down their throats, and are highly defensive. This does not mean they will chase you, it means if you corner them they will defend themselves, if you get between them and where they want to hide, they will run right under your feet to get to their hiding spot (making people think they're being chased). Once cornered black snakes put up a vigorous fight, biting hard and often.

Needless to say I had vivid nightmares last night (before I did the above research)and I believe I'll be consuming lots of wine just to sleep this week at the CITY HOUSE where we NEVER SEE SNAKES!

Extremely Distressed GRAMMY

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Son

My son has lived in Phoenix for about 7 years now...maybe...I've lost count. At least that long and from his house to mine is approximately 1508 miles....almost 22 hours by car and approximately 4 hours by plane. Definitely a long way but my worry for him and about him is constant. A mother never stops worrying.

He left for Phoenix when he was about 18 years old. Such a baby going off on such an adventure but it's something he had to do for himself. My first trip to Phoenix astounded me. How did this young boy drive down the mountain into this town and find his way around? Get himself to work every day or find his homes? Everything was so foreign to me and him as well or what he had known or done thus far during his life.

He came to see us in May of this year and visited the cemetary where his father is buried as he does on every visit home. I looked through the pictures his girlfriend took and noticed these two pictures next to each other.

I put them in a double frame on my desk at work and look at them quite often during the day. It is a good mantra for my son.

He has made a good life for himself. He has a very good job as a heavy equipment operator that he trained for for many years. He has a wide circle of very close friends, many acquaintances, and has a wonderful girlfriend with three small children that he's grown close to. But still I worry.

He is 25 years old now. This week he started a new work project in Yuma which is about 185 miles from Phoenix. He will drive there every Monday morning, work 4 11 hours days and then 8 hours on Friday and drive home to Phoenix---for approximately the next two years. A hard job; a hard life but he's young, I keep reminding myself.

He left for Yuma at 7:30 on Wednesday night (my time). I made him call me. He did. He's a good son. He arrived about 10:30 (my time) that night. I had asked that he text me that he was there safely. He did. So I got a good night's sleep on Wednesday knowing everyone I loved was safe.

He said it's a long, desolate drive from Phoenix to Yuma. There is nothing there. Thank God for cell phones, I thought. What would he do if his truck broke down out there in desert? Call for a tow truck, he answers. A simple answer but he has had learned lots and lots from this life he lives in the desert so far away from his family and his childhood.

But he's happy.

But still I will worry, every Friday afternoon and every Monday morning knowing he's on that deserted stretch of highway driving by himself. Until I get his safe calls....for at least the next two years.

Arizona is lucky to have him.



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On Writing

I've been meaning to write a blog entry but regardless of the fact that I keep a notebook where I jot ideas to write about, I just don't know what to say alot of the time.

I have always had numerous book ideas slam into me at odd hours, usually in the early morning, sleepless times. I can make outlines in my head laying out an entire novel and even including that elusive first sentence that I've always struggled with on college papers. But getting started in the daylight hours is really hard.

I tend to keep notes and have notebooks of this and that--daily journal, little journals for both the P's documenting their growing up, reading journal, blog ideas, book ideas but seem to do more collecting of things I want to write about than actually doing the writing. Why is that?

Is it that I have SOOOO much in my head that I'm overwhelmed? I feel like that somehow. I'm so backlogged with the notes and ideas that I'm collecting that I never can catch up with what I need to say. How to get organized? How to start?

I'll be working on these questions now and making more plans but doing the actual writing.....? Who knows.

Stay tuned.

Grammy, overwhelmed with words and thoughts.