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Thursday, June 28, 2012

All Good Things Must Come To An End

It was an interesting vacation. I didn't get to go swimming, but if I'd really wanted to we both know it would have happened. What I really wanted was  to spend time with my family, with us so far flung that is a rare and precious  thing these days. We went out to eat a few times, all seven of us and spent time at Cogans, beer and pizza. I got to spend time with both boys - well, they're really not boys anymore, are they? I find it strange that neither of them has lived home since they were 18 - Adam left 10 years ago and Jackson 4. But when I see them they will always be in elementary and high school for me. It's hard to keep up with them being adults because I see them so seldom. They're different people every time I see them - Adam is figuring out college and working, Jackson seems to get bigger every time we see him and moves ahead in his navy career. Anyhow, we did all sorts of things - I did get down to the beach for a stroll, we shopped, did the movies out to dinner and a few beers here and there. And there. We saw Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter which was good but a bit hard to go with at times, we did the mall a few times and I found TWO yarn shops. I was probably more excited about that then anyone else. I stayed on base - the   barracks have been converted into rooms - they use them for familes staying over and military in transition. It's about half the price of a hotel room and what fun - I had my own kitchenette, dining area, livingroom and bedroom. I usually bring my own coffee creamer and milk and breakfast stuff so I don't have to go sclepping about looking for coffee.  Or redemption, whichever comes first. The big difference between Penn Hall and the Hilton is helicoptors tend to buzz the buildings and they play revelry at 8 am every morning.  ANYHOO - one thing I did was go to the taping of the 700 Club which my cousin John thought would be a good idea. I have no idea why. Jackson, Carleen and I went - it was pretty interesting. We saw Pat Robertson, Head Of The Christians, got the tour of the studio, all the paintings, assorted and sundry items. At the end we had to do a prayer circle for a "brief prayer" which droned on and on and on about saving us, Jesus seeing Into Your Heart, Jesus Knows Who You Are, etc.. Anyone wondering what I did? I held hands and bowed my head of course. I may be a devout nonbeliever but I am not rude- why hurt someone's feelings over something so small? When I go into the temple of the Krishnas my shoes are off and my voice is low - same song different chorus. Overall, I've never seen a show taped and everyone was very nice. Jackson ate the entire time we were down there - he eats amazing amounts of food, the minute he sits in the car, on a chair, etc - he is hungry and wondering what there is to eat. Seeing John and Carleen's kids is sort of the same as seeing my boys,before they were into soccer and boating, now Katie is driving, John Jr is getting ready for high school. It would be nice if everyone lived closer, but I'll take what I can.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Vacation - Part Three.

 We left early yesterday - I wanted to get here early enough that we didn't have to sleepy through dinner and bolt to bed. David's turn to stay home - we had decided with Pearl being so ill putting her in a kennel at this point would be cruel and we have Jackson for 3 week so everyone got time with him. Jackson and I were ready to go at 6 am, last good byes and pictures with Dad and the dogs. Jackson mentioned to me he didn't remember his dad getting so emotional - I said you didn't used to go away for years at a time. We don't want the boys to live at home, we want them to have their own lives and enjoy it - but that doesn't make it any easier to say good bye, time and time again. So off we went with frequent pit stops and out of the car to stretch our legs. I took a route that was about 25 miles longer but avoided Washington while at the same time stayed on the highway. The scenic route is fine, but after a hundred miles or so behind a tractor the breathtaking vista wears a little thin and homicidal thoughts start to form.  Anyhoo, we made excellent time arriving in the Norfolk area about 12:30 - we would have gotten here a little earlier had it not been for that meanie cop that insisted on giving me a speeding ticket. I did pull the nurse card, the I Work With Sick Children Card, etc.. but he checked my driving record and apparently thought I deserved YET ANOTHER speeding ticket. And there will be points on my license and I might have to go to driving safety school if I want them to not be there. Life is very unfair at times. SO, we were sailing along but not quite so fast -  then we hit I-64 and the dreaded Beach Traffic. No, there is no way around it. We sat for an hour and half - or so. We got to the gate and got in fine, then called Adam who was typically not ready and still dithering around somewhere in the Greater Virginia Beach Area. John and Carleen look wonderful of course - her Dad is doing well. Adam finally joined us and we spent the afternoon catching up. We did dinner at Cogan's - we had the vegetarian pizza with the Soy Chicken - it was pretty good I have to say. We went back to the house for dessert and then Adam and Jackson darted off together. They have, in the past 5 or 6 years spent a total of 2 weeks together. Since Adam joined the navy at 18 I think Jackson has been able to see him for a total of a couple of months if you added up the time. I know they call each other constantly - but it's not the same, is it? Adam has to work most of the week so I'll see him after work and I'm sure Jackson will be spending most of his time there. As for me I'll be enjoying my time off and what ever time I can get with them will be fine. I see them more then they see each other - I'm just glad we were able to work it out so they could spend some time together.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tripping The Light Fantastic.

 We did the attractions up in Moundsville - Adam did the tour in November, Jackson did it yesterday. We hit the Krishna temple first, the tour started at 12:30 but the peevish Krishna came out and told us  to either cover or remove our shoes then informed us after we took our shoes off that  the tour didn't start for FOUR minutes, he would be back at the appropriate time  and left. The two other people didn't wear socks and it was so hot I envied them their bare feet against that cool marble floor! The tour is short but fun peevishness aside,then we headed to the main compound and since it was warm, the Krishna's were there worshipping - the chanting was amazing. We got buttonholed by one in an electric wheelchair - he was in a yammering mode. He also had the largest tufts of ear hair I've ever seen in my entire life and I could not stop looking.  I didn't hear half of what he said about the Glory of Our Lord Krishna or the medicinal benefits of the diet, my eyes just kept straying back to his ears. Eventually i was able to tear myself  away, we went and bothered some peacocks - I didn't know that when they spread their tails they also shake them in an attempt to scare you. It doesn't - until the other peacocks hear and come to see what's shaking. Since birds are high on the list of Things That Scare Me (I'm more scared of clowns but less afraid of puppets than I am of birds. I'm not afraid of Amish people but just don't like them) I thought it would be a good time to leave. Fast. We headed out to the prison then, when Adam was here it wasn't open but it was yesterday. It's a good tour, we did it years ago when Jackson was a teenager. The former guards are the guides, 2 hours or so of seeing the every inch of the prison with extensive history - there were two boys about 10 that were A-Gog. The tour guide was very nice and if there was something questionable he let the parents know and directed them to other more age appropriate areas. It was never air conditioned and given how hot it was at ground level I cannot imagine being incarcerated on the top level. I think the last time I was there they spent more time out in the prison yard but it was so searingly hot by them the guide kept the tour close to the shaded areas and didn't spend a lot of time outside. We also learned that Charles Manson's mother was incarcerated there for armed robbery and he was with her in the prison until he was almost 4. On Mondays you can come for the Haunted Tour and they'll bring you down in the basement and also The Hole - an underground, windowless cell with a dirt floor. You could be sentenced up to 30 days and the guard said the prisoners that served those sentences didn't usually come out too sane.  I bought Jackson a Tee-shirt and off we went across the street to visit Indian Burial mound. It was really hot by then and it did not make for a comfortable climb. But we did it since we were there and then back down. We stopped at the bookstore on the way home and then dinner at Apple Bee's. Jackson drove us home, he did pretty good for someone who has not driven in a couple of years. He's relieved to have his driving license current, I know that was weighing on him since he would like to get a car soon. He's also getting his social security card too and he'll be all set. We're heading out to Norfolk on Saturday morning  to start that end of the vacation. And on the 30th he flies back to San Diego. I've really been enjoying him here, I'll miss him when he leaves.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Legally Blonde

One of the things Jackson wanted to do while he was here was get his driver's license renewed. Easy? Ha ha. Ha. OK. Here are the issues: His wallet was lost and it contained both his social security card and license. He was unable to renew the license as he was not nearby and the license expired while it was busy being lost. He was in California, then Afghanistan. We moved from WV to the PA - only about 6 miles from our previous address but over the line. He no longer has a WV address but our address is not on the last W-2 form. AND the Navy will not let you change your state of origin while enlisted. Well, doesn't that sound like a fun afternoon? We went to DMV of WV first - took a number and waited. Waited. Got up to information and explained his situation. Manager called. Director called and state office in Charleston. The SS card was a big stumbling block - they gave him a copy of his driver's record(but no license)  and sent  us up to the SS building. As he has no WV address anymore he would have to get a PA license so they wished him well and off we went.  Guard asked if we had weapons, mace or any other lethal items. I got glared because I do indeed have a very cute little spray can of mace - it's bright pink and I keep it in my purse so I don't lose it (It's for hiking). Was told not to take it out and the guard kept an eye on me. Took a number and waited. Waited some more.Finally got in and the lady wanted a driver's license - I explained we needed a SS card for that -  she finally found after looking he could use his military ID. She gave us a receipt and I asked if that was the letter the DMV could use. Jackson asked her too - she said that was the only thing they ever gave out. Jackson and I took a break and saw Prometheus which was very good but I can't say anything because it would super spoil it for anyone planning to see it.  This morning we headed out to Uniontown first thing and found the DMV - hardly any line. We got in and were told we had the wrong paperwork from the SS office. He showed us a letter - and then gave us directions to the SS office in town. We got the real letter and headed back. They proceeded to do more paperwork, Jackson was chatting with the guy who was ex-air force and when we went to pay cash were informed cash only. Back in the car, sigh sigh sigh, there's a pharmacy down the road that does money orders. Back to DMV, more paperwork, Jackson has to take a vision test - which he sort of FAILS. I am not kidding. The second time around I was this far from shoving him out of the way and taking it myself. He finally gets the right line and reads it off - whew. Picture taken and out the door! Done!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jack's Back!

 Jackson FINALLY arrived on Thursday afternoon - hours before I expected them. He landed in Philly as planned the previous week and had a bang up time with Aunt Janet and Aunt Di -   I believe there was a bit of drinking going on but that happens. David retrieved him on that Friday and they headed over to Ray's in NJ. I believe drinking occurred there too. But they also visited the bookstore and of course The Stackhouse which is a favorite restaurant. David fixed a few things while he was there and they just had a good time in general, I think we've managed to see Ray more now then when we lived 2 hours from him! They then headed out to Long Island and Jackson got to see most everyone, drinking also commenced. Again. He is a good boy and keeps it under control unless he's with Aunt Diane and that we will not be discussing here even though it appears to be a Proud Navy Moment for him. (he was CROWING about it). Jackson especially enjoyed his visit with Grandpa Lester this time around, Bob was a marine in WW2 and really talked to Jackson about being in a war zone, coming back after going for help and finding an entire unit missing - the things he saw and the things he wished he hadn't. They came back earlier than I had planned - I'd taken a couple of hours personal time because I had originally expected them home Wednesday. It was a long week because the prednisone makes it hard on Pearl and without David here to come home at lunch - it was difficult. I scheduled my PA patients at the end of the day so I could at least make it home by 5:30 but Thursday I couldn't do that. So  I took the time and then they got home by2pm (they left super early) But I was able to meet them to return the rental car so it worked out. We have a busy couple of weeks planned - I'm stressing a little because I've never taken such a long time off - two weeks! At once! - but I most likely won't see him for another couple of years so I need to do this. Jackson has to get his driver's license straightened out, we are going to the movies, The Golden Palace of course, the Moundsville Prison tour, Cabella's. David took him shooting today at the West Virginia Gun Club and I'm sure they'll be visiting all  the way home. We're going out for dinner to celebrate Father's Day. But we've just been enjoying him home - Pearl was super happy to see him - she's been hugging all over him since he got here. Reuben was not sure - David said he played possum and went limp when Jackson came in and picked him up. That is his defense until he's sure you're not planning on making dog-burgers. He is actually a little weirder than Pearl. And if you're wondering - she's holding her own. She gets short of breath so we don't over do it -I am planning on going to Coopers Rock but we'll be doing the short flat trail - and only if it's not too hot. I'm glad she's well enough for both of them to enjoy this visit, Jackson has always considered Pearl his dog - and she's always been willing to be so.  Jackson would like to have a dog - someday - but since he's planning on staying in the military for awhile that's down the road a ways.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Never Saw That One Coming.

 A couple of weeks ago I was playing in the yard with Frick and Frack (also known as Pearl and Reuben) - they were chasing each other around and so forth - I just happened to look in Pearl's direction - she was taking a break and I noticed a golf ball sized tumor on her neck. It was huge, I can't imagine how we missed that, but she already has one fatty benign tumor on her chest we didn't get too excited. And since Vizslas have a lot of loose skin on their face and neck - it could have been there for awhile. I will cut to the chase on this one - Pearl has lymphoma. It had already spread to her other lymph nodes by the time it had become noticeable, there is no way to fix her. A few weeks if we leave it untreated, 2 to 4 months average if we give her prednisone to shrink the tumors, a year or so if we do full on chemo. We have flirted a little with the idea of chemo - if they told me it would make her all better and keep her my Pearl, I would do it. But it won't. We are keeping her comfortable with the prednisone and it did shrink the tumor, the rest we will play by ear. I try not to think about it too much - she seems fine most of the time right now -  but then I'll see her end of the couch empty or just think about hiking Coopers Rock without her and I admit it, I lose it completely. It sneaks up on you - I was in Pet Co yesterday buying the puppy biscuits to train Reuben with that Pearl likes to steal just to show Reuben Boobin who's the boss and just welled up at the cash register. I felt stupid sitting in my car crying over a bag of dog biscuits - but this is so hard. Pearl is only 5 years old, we just bought her a friend, she loves to hike and hunt and thinks she owns the cats so she can boss them around. She is the Hostess with the Mostess and will not be denied even if the guest does not feel like being hostessed. She has the most personality of any dog we've even known or owned.  Maybe because the kids are no longer here David and I spend more time with the dogs - she and Reuben are my buddies, if we're out in the yard, so are they. Pearl and I have walked and hiked trails, forests, parks - we've been lost together in the National Forest and that was when I discovered not all dogs can find their way back. But she did watch me call 911 and had the ranger actually had to come get us she probably would have shown off her stellar Hostessing Skills.  We gave up years ago trying to make her sleep at the end of the bed, I wake up most mornings nose to nose with her as the second we're asleep she's sharing David's pillow. I can see she doesn't feel herself, she is under the bed a lot - David raised it higher so she can get in and out more easily, she lays her head on Reuben instead of the other way around now, I'm glad she has him for comfort. So who knows, maybe there will be some eleventh hour miracle - but I don't think so. I can only hope that I can let her go when the time comes with as much courage, understanding and love she has shown me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Count Down Has Begun

Reuben getting himself in trouble
I called Jackson this morning - he needed to get to the airport by 6 am to make his flight - and navy or no that boy is a notorious over sleeper.  He answered on the first ring and cheerfully informed me he was at the airport already - in an effort to not oversleep he had opted to simply stay up all night. Since he was up all night he also opted to go drinking with his friend Jenn and she had dropped his slouchy self off at the airport an hour ago. Since he was up he had progressed to hangover and was just getting ready to get his ticket. Sigh. There is something wrong with that method of not being late but damned if I have anything to say - he did as he was told and got to the airport on time so I have nothing to complain about. The Aunts are picking him up in any case so The Brewery will have others to entertain this evening. Since he'll be home for so long he's starting at The Aunts, then David is picking him up and taking him to see Ray. Then they go to Long Island for a few days and then back home. I am not starting my vacation until Friday - there's no point in being off if they're not here. Jackson will be here for a week and a half and then he and I take off for Norfolk to visit John, Carleen and crew and Adam. Jackson doesn't get to spend a lot of time with his brother so I have a week blocked off for that. Then I will leave and he will stay so they get a couple days on their own, then Adam will take Jackson to the airport down there and he'll fly home. I've learned from past experience to reserve flights near  family and not near home - we're so far flung now I have to figure out the straightest line for him to travel when he's here so he doesn't end up spending his entire vacation riding around in the car. So I usually get flights out of airports near the people we're visiting - and he just flies out of whatever town he's in - works for me. Since I will be on vacation too I have a knitting project started - a shawl made of lace weight Alpaca yarn - and I downloaded some books on my Kobo. I also figured out how to delete books so I got rid of the three accidental porno books. I read most of one because I had bought it (I thought it was a science fiction novel)  and since I had actually paid for it I felt obligated to at least give it a go - the other two I didn't read because they were free.  The problem with written porn is.......well, it's sort of stupid and boring - after the second interlude it's just all yada yada yada  and blah blah blah. Delete! I have some great sci-fi and mysteries all piled up and ready to go. Since we'll be near Virginia Beach I will be swimming - Adam says we can go but there is no cursing on the boardwalk. I asked him why he was telling ME that- he said so I wouldn't get thrown off the boardwalk. Oh Ye Of Little Faith. I'm trying to get everything done at work too - it's a forced march at best - it's a big scary thing at worst. David is busy trying to get finished up too - trying to figure out if he's renting a car or driving the truck. Not much else - I went to Weight Watchers and have  lost 3 of the 5 pounds I packed on due to the steroids from the poison ivy episode - that was a good thing, wasn't it?
ACCK!! No chewing!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Socks Are Done!

 Since this is called Yarns and Tall Tails I do have to expose yarn items on occasion. The socks are finally finished,  I ended up with enough yarn left over for half a sock so I bought another skein in green and will use the yellow for the tops or the toes - it's such a nice and expensive yarn I need to do something with it! Now onto the next project - I'm either doing a shawl or hats, not sure which. Shawls are more showy but I haven't done hats in awhile so we'll have to see. I have great yarn for a shawl, but I have to find a pattern to fit the amount and weight I have - not as easy as you think it is. There are tons of patterns but the ones I like call for more, the ones I don't call for the amount I have. Dammit. I continue to work on Jackson's travel plans - he wants to see everyone but not spend his leave in the car and since the family now extends from Long Island to Virginia Beach good luck with that. But I have it under control (for now) and even though there will be traveling it will be in a straight line and not back and forth. Today was beautiful - sunny not too warm - Pearl and I met our friend Charlene and her two dogs at the park to go walking. Reuben is not invited yet as he's a bit of a hooligan still and would most likely end up offending someone. After that we can home and did some yard work, then grilled. In other words a pretty nice day. We had a lot of rain the day before and the day before that - my garden got wet but that's about it. I do have some sunflowers growing and a row of things that are supposed to be carrots but I'm not sure if they are. I was going to sneaky peek but I think if you pull them up early they die so I'll just have to wait a bit longer. Darn it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Facebook Me!

I've had people tell me they don't like Face book - that people tell too much and they don't need to know what everyone is doing every second of the day. Not me - I'm on and off it all day every day. Since it started my entire family has populated it - grandparents, cousins, friends, kids. We've planned vacations, co-ordinated get- together, shared birthday greetings and announcements. I got to see my niece's graduation, my friend's grandchildren, my former babysitter and science teacher!. If I need to get hold of someone, chances are I can get them on Face book. Although I do have to say my sister got a little upset with me when I once face-booked her that mom was in the hospital. But in my defense - she answered. Jackson is home from Afghanistan for those two people that don't know - and I'm busy planning his leave with him and the rest of the crew - via face book. I've posted, messaged and chatted it - and it's all taken care of. I guess the thing with Face book, and any other social network is you need to treat it the same way you would any situation. I never post anything on there that I cannot say to some one's face. If I have an issue at work - it doesn't go on. There are no picture of me naked, performing any illegal acts or sitting on a roof with a Margarita in each hand. Because I also know that if you go for a job these days, chances are very good the recruiter is doing an Internet search of how you behave on-line.  Anything I want to pass on but not to everyone can go in a private message. I love the fact that I can share my life with all my cousins and friends no matter how far flung we are, that they can see my house, my kids and what we're doing - and I can see them. I know most people don't post the amount of pictures I do, but I like doing it and yarn is for sharing. Yes it is. Is too. Shut up. So we are waiting now for Jackson to get his leave as I'm sure he is - he's happy to be back I know and eager to see everyone. And we can't wait to see him!