Saturday, July 2, 2022

Girls' Vacay

 My girls, granddaughter, and I loaded up in June and took a girls’ vacation to Florida. It’s not at all that we had a burning desire to go to Florida, but that we wanted to visit my mother (their grandmother/great-grandmother) who lives in Jacksonville. We drove because Sarah didn’t want to expose baby Catherine to Covid on planes and in airports. It’s a little more than 11 hours to drive to Jacksonville from our hometown in Kentucky. We took turns driving, although Emily and Sarah did most of the grunt work.  Trust me, it was plenty miserable to drive with wrecks, construction, high traffic areas, and “sharing” the road with complete idiots who should have never been granted a license. 

All of us girls have cars that are too small for four adults (five adults when we went places with my mother) and a baby car seat (with baby installed, of course).  I rented a Nissan Pathfinder which was a perfect size for our needs.  The Pathfinder is plenty roomy but it’s not like driving a big bus down the highway. The gas mileage was not great, but that’s expected with a non-hybrid SUV.  

Loading the Pathfinder

Two days to get to Florida, two days in Florida, and two days to get home. I expected Catherine to fuss at least 75% of the time in the car.  This was not the case at all. Catherine fretted a little, very little, only when she was hungry or wanted her diaper changed. At eight months old, Catherine is quite deft at using a potty thanks to her mother’s attention, so she is not pleased to wear anything beyond a pristine diaper.  It’s remarkable!  I got lots of time to sit beside her in the car, play with her, and just gaze at her beauty (because I’m totally smitten with her, as you can probably tell). 

Best view during the road trip

road trip lunch selfie

at the NC Arboretum (morning side trip before hitting the road on day 2)

I had not seen my mother for a year. The girls had not seen her since Sarah’s wedding several years ago. I’m so glad we had opportunity to visit with her because, well, nobody knows how long any of us will be here in this world. Someone always declares that he (or we) need to do something with his parents because this might be the last time; they might not be around much longer.  Heck, any of us might not be around much longer. Shit happens. We don’t have to be old for shit to happen to us. 

Catherine meets her great grandmother

Jacksonville is a big city. We stayed at Jacksonville Beach on the ocean because the girls don’t go to beaches often. Such is life when you don’t live near the ocean.  Personally, I hate the beach. It’s all sand and sun – very boring landscape. I do like to walk on the beach in the early morning and late evening, but the beach has zero appeal in the bright sunshine. Palm trees are highly overrated. I also hate big cities. It’s too much clutter, dirt, people, and noise. 

Baby meets beach


Four generations

The best part of the vacation was just being with my girls and grandbaby. We are all so busy with life these days. My mother’s birthday is today. While we were in Florida with her, I told her I wanted to take her to her favorite store and let her pick out a birthday present.  She told me she didn’t need a present because our visit was the best present she could ever imagine. Time is such a limited resource. Why do we waste so much of it?  


Thursday, June 30, 2022

oh deer!

Things are starting to slow down a little bit – finally. OK, let me be a little more realistic.  There is no slow down. There are so many things (like, SO MANY things) that need to get done before August 1, but to maintain a happy life, I’m choosing to procrastinate a little bit just now because the weather this entire week (and today) has been utterly divine. Say what you will about Kentucky, but 75 degrees and a few puffy clouds in blue sky cannot be beat anywhere in the world. 

This morning, before other things could stomp on the day, I loaded up my kayak and went out on the lake.  This is the first time in 2022!  What is wrong with me? Getting out on the water is something I absolutely love doing. Delightfully, I pretty much had the lake all to myself but for a few fishermen standing on the dock. There’s no better way to enjoy the splendor of nature – solitude. No people talking, no vehicles, no other boats.  Just me, the wind in the leaves, birds singing, woodpeckers pecking, and an occasional creature splashing in the water.  

On Greenbo Lake

On my drive to the lake, I rounded a curve to see three deer standing in the road. I slowed and finally stopped because nothing was behind me. Mama deer and two babies made no effort to move. Finally, I inched forward. The babies ran into the woods on the right and mama jumped over the guard rail into the woods on the left. Balls! I hate when they split.  It probably means one of them will get hit by a car when they try to meet up again. 

While paddling the lake this morning, I saw several deer (solo deer) down by the shore. They watched me and I watched them. Beautiful creatures. I can’t imagine killing one for sport, yet people do that.  How is it sport when you use a high-powered rifle with a scope? It’s illegal to bait them, but people do that too. People are just every kind of evil and horrible…well, some people are.  

I heard turkeys chirping on the hills in several places around the lake. We have lots of wild turkeys in this area. It’s probably why we are getting so many coyotes around here. I usually see at least one large flock (15?) on my way to work in the mornings…when I drive to work. I have one more month off work…although, I really need to be getting stuff done before the semester starts.  But, not today. 

Golf is consuming much of my summer free time. Someone and I play a few times a week. I’m glad he likes to play. We have fun on the golf course, but he is a man and leisure golf is just different for men than it is for women (in my experience). Men are excruciatingly competitive. Every shot symbolizes their manhood. If they hit a bad shot, or God forbid, they’re having a bad day (so there are lots of bad shots), they whine and pout and refuse to finish the hole. Good God, man, it’s just a game!  Get over it.  

Hidden Cove Golf Course in early spring (I don't remember the hole #)

I used to play on a golf league at work. It was mostly men in my flight, so I have played with a variety of men. Most men do not want to get beat by a woman on the golf course. I’ve had my opponent forfeit after a few holes to save face. It’s not that I’m so good or even obnoxious. I like quiet on the golf course because to play well, I have to focus on each of my shots. Someone is a talker, unfortunately. I’ve learned to tune him out as best I can, but it’s a real challenge sometimes. When he’s playing well, it’s constant chatter.  

Old KyLady is feeling like she’s almost back in the saddle on the golf course. Over the years, I’ve lost distance. Finally, earlier this year, I got a lesson to see if a pro could help me figure things out. Pretty quickly, he identified the problem that I’ve been working on now to correct. I was not following all the way through on my swing. I was stopping short without realizing it. I blame my bad hip – it’s been going bad for years and getting stiffer and stiffer over time. Now that I’m aware (and my hip was repaired in December 2020), I am making the full turn toward the target and my distance is improving (better than ever, actually). Drive for show, putt for dough.  There’s no dough in my level of golf, but the next thing I want to work on is my short game. 

I want to write more often than I have been. Some people are prolific writers…but not me.  Not so much. Too many things get in the way. I start posts and then delete them. Do better. Be better.  I’m trying.  

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Bird Brain

 I feel like writing a blog post – it helps to clear my brain. Right now, my brain could use a good cleaning. For that matter, my whole house could use a good clearing and cleaning. Perhaps that is the true source of the moss in my brain. So many tasks, so little time! More significantly, so little motivation!

The world is going to hell in a handbasket, but my little microcosm for today, at least, is defined by the plot of ground outside my window. Here at my desk, which sits beside a window, I can see four bird feeding stations. My favorite is a clear acrylic feeder affixed directly to the window with suction cups.  It’s delightful to have birds and squirrels visit less than three feet from me.

The excessive snow and ice this winter have driven the birds and squirrels to our yard – there’s the silver lining to the raincloud that is our winter. I do love winter, but enough with the snow and ice already!  My favorite of all the wildlife visitors is the Northern Flicker woodpecker. One visited regularly during the lockdown winter 2021. Finally, just a week or so ago, he came back! Now I see him every day. He likes the suet feeder, but more often than not, he feeds on suet crumbs dropped by other birds (and squirrels) at the base of the tree.

view from the porch

Where I usually walk Gracie

Work is crazy hectic as hell right now. I don’t want to go into it (because I don’t want to think about it), but let’s just say that once I post this blog entry, I will be repotting some plants, walking my Gracie, and then working until I drop into bed. No housework.  No Netflix. Instead, we shall press forward with work tasks that MUST be done ASAP.  I mean that in every sense of the words – as soon as possible, like, no later than tomorrow. UGH!  I’m getting too old for this kind of work stress.

Catherine is just amazing. I got to visit her last weekend (or course Sarah and Desmond too)…but really, it’s all about snuggling with that irresistible baby!  She’s just so much fun to play with now at 3.5 months old. Her little coos and squeals are delightful. When she smiles at me, the world stands still. Everyone should be so lucky in their lives to have a grandbaby.  Alas, it will likely be a few weeks before I see her in person again. The mean Covid is spreading throughout campus (“like a gender-reveal wildfire”) and we’re hosting a covid super-spreader event next Friday. We’re having kids from four high schools come to our campus for a competition. I won't be visiting anyone until I'm sure I haven't caught a germ. 

Sweet baby 💗

The many faces of Catherine

Life doesn’t happen in a chair in front of a screen. It’s time to get moving and make some things happen today.  It’s go time!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Smitten

 I am smitten. Totally. Baby Catherine graced our world on October 21. She is beautiful and marvelous and loved beyond any measure.

newborn Catherine 💖

Flashback, it was a very rough entrance for both mama and baby. Those who have borne children can imagine the experience of giving birth to a nearly 11-pound baby. It seemed that everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Mama and baby had to transfer to a bigger hospital shortly after the birth. It was all so scary, and I didn’t really know how bad things were until it was mostly over. Hospitals around our state still have strict Covid rules in place. I didn’t get to put eyes on the sweet baby until she and Sarah were discharged. I was thankful that Sarah and Catherine came home together. I myself had the experience of leaving a baby (Erin) behind in the NICU and going home without her – it was traumatic for me. We can thank the good Lord that all the pieces fell into place, perfectly.

I got to stay with Sarah and her husband for a few days as the new family adjusted to all the demands of a newborn in the house. What a delight it was to have so much time with them and baby Catherine, and to be able to help out a little.  

People say that grandchildren are very different from your own. As I see it, the biggest difference is that I have all the fun and none of the responsibility. As soon as my own babies fell asleep, I put them down and did chores, or went to sleep. When Catherine falls asleep, I can just sit, hold her, and drink her beauty into my memory. I have been going to visit at least once every two weeks just to get some sweet baby time.

Catherine - around 6 weeks

Sarah and Catherine 💕

I have not been blogging much this year. All work and no play make a dull life. I need more adventure in my life – good adventure.  Catherine is new frontier, but it’s time to plan something. I am thinking of potential places to visit: Zion National Park, Yosemite, the Blue Ridge Mountains (strong contender), and Florida (to visit my mother). Someone wants to go to Hawaii, but the Covid restrictions seem still to be too much hassle there. I would go more places if I had to wife to make the travel plans for me. 😊

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Milk pod

I was taking Miss Gracie for a walk and spied some milk pods growing on the hillside beside the road. For those who may be unfamiliar with what a milk pod is, it’s a seed pod that grows on milkweed plants which are native to this part of the US.  The plants are tall and the blooms of native milkweed are unspectacular, but the blooms and plants attract butterflies. I do have an affinity for butterflies. Monarch butterflies are particularly fond of them.

Milkweed pods

Whenever I see a milk pod, my Grandmother Starr (my mother’s mother) comes to mind. When I was very young, perhaps three or four years old, I remember walking with my grandmother through a field that had many milk pods in it. We made this walk when I visited her because it was a shortcut to get to a nearby town.  We walked because she didn’t have a driver’s license – through the field, down a dirt road and across some railroad tracks to a small town.  She sometimes took me to church meetings with her in the evening.  Church ladies met in the basement and there was no air conditioning, so the door was always standing open when we arrived.  The ladies sang hymns and talked while I was usually given paper and pencil to entertain myself, which I was happy to do.

I don’t know why I visited her without my brothers, but that is how it was.  Maybe she liked me best. 😊  After church, we sometimes stopped in the little town and got vanilla ice cream cones to eat as we walked back to her home. 

I remember asking my grandmother if the milk pods have milk in them.  She said they did, but I should never try to drink it.  She picked one off a plant and pulled a long pin out of her purse (I think it was a hat pin or perhaps a large straight pin that might be used to attach a corsage to a lapel). She pierced the pod and sure enough, white sap came oozing out of it.  I was in awe that she knew the pods had this magic in them.

I didn’t know Grandmother Starr very well.  She and my grandfather moved to California before I was five years old.  After they moved away, I rarely saw them. What I remember most about her is that she had red hair and she talked a lot. She was artistic – she painted pictures and wall murals.  She also wrote stories and wanted to have them published.  I never had opportunity to read her work; I presume nothing was ever published.

I hope to live close enough to my grandchildren that we know each other.  Someone’s daughter, Katie, has Alice who is now four years old and is great fun to play with.  Little ones are so unpredictable which makes for great adventure. Unfortunately, we only see Alice once every three months or so…just not often enough for her to get to know us. I don’t know if this will ever change – it’s complicated. 

Sweet Alice - 4th birthday party


Sarah will be having a baby any day now.  We are so excited!  I do hope to see this baby more often than I see Alice. I don’t want to be a stranger to it. I want it to recognize me and be happy to see me.  I want to spoil it rotten and show it wondrous things. We are dreaming of a life to be brought into the world soon.  God is good. 



Monday, July 5, 2021

Mourning Miss Molly

 Our Molly died a few weeks ago. I miss her greatly. She adopted us (actually, no, the girls invited her into our home despite my insistence that we could most certainly NOT keep another cat) about 13 years ago.  The vet estimated that she was about two years old at her first visit.  Molly was the most affectionate cat I’ve ever lived with. My belief was always that she was grateful to have a home and people who cared about her, and so, she spent a lot of time on my lap, on my desk, and on my bed. Maybe she was just wanting to be near the person who usually fed her.

Sweet Molly MooMoo


Molly got sick and the vet was not sure which condition (heart or kidney) was the worst. Long story short, she just got too sick to live. Erin was home when she died…I am grateful. Molly was an outdoor/indoor cat and she conveyed clearly that she wanted to be outdoors. On her last full day of life, Erin and I sat outside with her to love on her and to keep her from wandering off into the woods to die. She mostly laid still (slept?) in the grass as we watched and tended to her.  She refused to drink.  We brought her inside that night because it seemed too cold for her, even on the porch.  The next morning, Erin got up to check on her and was with her when she took her last breath.

No euthanasia for Miss Molly because she did not seem to be suffering and she always stressed out terribly anytime we took her to the vet. I would have taken her if she showed signs of suffering. After she died, we washed her, brushed her, and laid her in a box for burial. Emily came home and we had a proper kitty funeral.  Miss Molly joins our other beloved pets in the family pet cemetery. 

Miss Molly Beans


For the first time in 40 years (perhaps more), there is no cat in my life. It is odd.  Someday, I can imagine going to the pound or an animal rescue to get another, or perhaps another stray will turn up.  For now, we will take time to grieve our Molly.

Molly



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Beautiful Lake Tahoe Adventure

Earlier this month (June, 2021), Someone and I went on a “real” vacation – just the two of us – to a place we’ve never been before.  We stayed for a week, which was plenty of time to explore and have dinner with my cousin (our grandmothers were sisters). 

We stayed at David Walley’s Resort in Minden, Nevada.  The resort (David Walley’s) was wonderful – everything about it.  It’s out in the middle of nowhere – you get that impression when you see it from the highway.  But, once you start getting familiar with the area, you realize that the resort is very close to Carson City which has anything you could want, and minutes from Kingsbury Grade and Route 50, both which take you over the mountains to Lake Tahoe.  Genoa is within easy walking distance from the resort.  It's the oldest settlement in Nevada and very quaint.   We loved our suite. The hot springs were…well…interesting and different, and very beautiful.

View of springs from our balcony. The lilac near the railing smelled heavenly!


The hot springs were what enticed David Walley to build a resort in that location (many years ago). Hot water bubbles up through the ground in puddles around there. It’s full of minerals that are somehow associated with good health.  People with arthritis and other ailments use to come and soak in the spring water long ago (as shown in old pictures posted around the resort).  On our last night at the resort, we tested out the hot springs. Because of our litigious society, the resort modernized the springs experience for guests by creating five small pools for people to sit in - they are much like swimming pools. They have to control the temperature and filter the water so that people don’t get burned or sick. We sat in several of the pools (some were just too hot for one or both of us).  It was interesting and pleasant at times, but the water made my skin and swimsuit smell like sulfur. I was grateful to take a shower afterwards.  It was very much like sitting in a bubbling, hot jacuzzi that smelled bad. 

We could see the hot spring (kind of like a creek) from our balcony at the resort.  Steam rose off of it in the mornings – the temperature there was in the 40s (F), even in June.  We were walking along the creek on the path when we came to a water puddle with what looked like little air bubbles.  I watched the bubbles for a moment and wondered if the water was actually boiling, or if perhaps a creature was below the surface, or perhaps something below such as a pipe was leaking and causing air bubbles.  Silly me, I stuck my fingers in the water to test it…yes, it was boiling water. 😊

Lake Tahoe is beautiful! The first time we saw it (just as we drove over the top of the last mountain), we said “OHHH” simultaneously.  Pictures cannot do it justice.  The water is bluest blue and along the shore where it’s not so deep, you can see rocks on the bottom: clean, clear water.  I took more than 300 photos of mountains, lakes, pinecones, trees, and flowers.  We hiked 9 to 14 miles everyday that we were there.

My two favorite places were Spooner Lake and Sugar Pines Point State Park. The sugar pines have the most gigantic pinecones I’ve ever seen in my life. They are 14 to 15 inches long and when you try to wrap your hands around them, your fingers don’t touch. Spooner Lake has a trail around the entire lake (a little less than three miles) with beautiful, tall aspen trees and lupines growing all around it. The Spooner Lake trail is easy walking – the trail is well worn so you don’t have to constantly look down to keep from tripping over rocks and roots.





Our flights out and back were uneventful and surprisingly (pleasantly) on time. Flying used to be fun, but these days, not so much.  We had to wear masks in the airports and on the flights.  I’m not a fan of masks, but I follow rules about such things. I am hoping the rules change for vaccinated adults (at least) before the next time I fly.  

For anyone who enjoys hiking and biking, swimming and boating, or just walking outside, visit Lake Tahoe. You won’t be disappointed.