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Salem, Mass (Witch City) resident with deep southern roots! Love New England - let it snow! Still making up for all those years south! I'm a widow attempting to make merry but it is very hard. This is my way to vent, share, and talk about my path to finding happiness again. September 2006 I became a widow. My road out of the abyss of grief, guilt, and anger hasn't been easy but I'm clawing my way to something better. Seeing rays of hope and joy. Feel free to comment, share words of wisdom, or just read about my fairly mundane life. Slainte!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Annual Christmas Missive

19 trips... 20 States... 48 flights... 1 US Territory... 4 Countries... 4 rock concerts

Holiday Greetings to you and yours! You can see how I've spent my 2009 - on the road. Most of this was for work but I squeezed in some personal travel and activities, though it is such a blur. I hope this finds you welcoming the Holiday season with health and happiness. I am doing fairly well. I am healthy - despite a couple of tough bouts with colds and sinus infections lately. I am blessed with a job that I truly love and it's a good thing or I would be pretty miserable with all that travel!

It has been over three years since Charlie passed and I have found that I will survive. I will always miss him and love him but I realized I need to make time for my life now. That said, I have yet to do much of that. I have also found how difficult and scary it is as an adult to make friends and look for possibilities. When did I grow up? Gosh those 30 years went by so fast! But I am determined not to feel sorry for myself and to enjoy life again as myself. I believe the past three years have been mourning and trying to discover who I am as Kathy, not as defined by Charlie and Kathy. I'm not quite the same, both good and bad, but I kind of like myself, which is a good thing! He would want that for sure.

My personal travel this year included reconnecting with old friends in Florida. I spent a week sharing some beach time with friends from OH and seeing friends from Salem who have left winter behind forever. In May a girlfriend and I took a trip to St. Kitts down in the West Indies. Beautiful island - I think we explored every nook and cranny and she enjoyed lots of beach time. My skin turns red in about 15 minutes so not too much sun for me! I spent a weekend in Chicago by exploring the city and seeing U2 in concert the first two nights of their US tour. Don't you know I was in heaven - listening to my wild Irish rockers and dancing all night long! I'm off to Toronto in July to see them again! Maybe I'm a little obsessed? Nah!

In September another girlfriend and I met in London and proceeded to tour England, Scotland, and Wales. Wonderful trip but not enough time to see everything! The last day in London was an exhilarating mad dash to see whatever we could before heading back the next day. I'm going back for sure.

I also made two visits to my parents in Louisiana. My Dad continues to enjoy life despite his health challenges and my Stepmom continues to be such a wonderful wife to him and friend to me. Dear friends and relatives are encountering health issues and I ask for their renewal and healing. I think this is called life, which sometimes lacks gravity but also can be so beautiful and full of wonder. Enjoy every single moment!

Nothing much exciting except some of the travel - whoever thought I would end up in Puerto Rico?! My healing and growth as a single person continues and I realize it has its own pace. I'm getting out and about and trying not to cocoon myself at home. It's an interesting ride.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Baby Steps?

Okay so I formed a little plot with a couple of friends.  Find out when the guy comes in to the place where I always see him, find out what they know about him, and make contact again.  I went as far as to give my phone # and address to one of them to give to him.  She offered to text me when he showed up.  She texted but not to my phone! LOL!  I found out he is always in on Fridays - my usual night.

Friday night I showed up and found out he had my card with my info.  Now I'm really scared - what do I do if/when I seen him?!  I sipped margaritas slowly for an hour or so. All the sudden the owner (one of my conspirators) comes down says "he just walked in the door".  Sure enough.  Looking good too.  I was so nervous but knew he didn't see me from where he was standing.  So I decided to say hello.  It was a long walk around the bar but he saw me and smiled.  I apologized for being half in the bag when I saw him the last week.  He said I was fine.  We talked about how really glad we were to see one another again after two years.  Then I owned up to setting up the card thing.  He said he still had it and was really flattered.  I apologized for being so forward - not me at all.  Told him I wanted to be friends and have fun.  He said something about he just recently became very alone and he understands how it is.  I asked him to join me for a drink if he felt like it.

Many minutes (it seemed like forever), I'm no longer paying attention and he sneaks up behind me. Scares me! We start chatting and he starts telling me pretty much his story - divorced, two kids, etc.  He mentioned a girlfriend, which he quickly corrected to "girl friend" also named Kathy.  (I need to clarify that one.)  I let it slide - he can tell me what he wants.

It was nice.  We talked about how live changes and you have to deal whether you like it or not.  We discussed music, sports, etc.  Then he asks where would I like to go on a date. Date? Duh? I'm blank.  I shrug. Is there a movie I want to see?  Then he jokes about movies being boring dates (unless you sneak in beer).  We chat then instead of doing his disappearing act, he tells me he has to leave and wants to walk me out. 

My point is we had a wonderful conversation.  We will be friends and if that's all then that's fine.  I feel a little more at ease about it (not freaking out about it as badly).  He walked me to my car and we said goodnight. He says he will call.  We'll see.   He's a nice guy.  I'm lucky to know him.  Now I have to not freak every time we're both there. We both hang out there - that's how we met- neutral territory.  But we spent two hours chatting and both had a good time.  Hopefully we wil again...soon.

It's a baby step. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life is Scary Sometimes

I'm not talking scary because of violence or crime, I'm talking about just general survival.  My skills are so rusty!  I'm really bad a meeting new people at the friendship, potential relationship level.  For years that was automatic because Charlie was the gregarious type - loud, funny, Irishman.  I guess I road his coattails a little.  Now I find myself looking for these friendships and am coming up at a loss at times.  I've met a couple of women close to my age that may be fun to pal around with but the guy thing is really, really hard.

There is this guy I've known as a "bar" acquaintance for years.  He, Charlie and I used to always have these great debates and conversations when we saw one another. He talked to me a lot more than Charlie and we both love the same music.  About a year after Charlie passed I saw him for the first time since.  He was desperately trying to quit smoking.  We talked for a while and then he had to leave - the temptation to smoke was too great (even thought you can't smoke in a bar in Mass, there are smokers lurking outside).  As he left, he looked at me and said "I hope to God you're here when I come back.  I really really do."  Sigh...

Friday night I'm at the bar, yakking with a girlfriend, when she tells me he is across the bar desperately trying to get my attention.  I looked, almost didn't recognize him, then waved.  He was close to the jukebox so I went and played some U2.  He came up and said something about how I always play the best music.  I responded stupidly I'm sure (too many beers maybe) but he came over to talk to me.  He keep trying to convince me it was really him with a little extra weight because he actually did quit smoking.  I'm just smiling and staring.  I finally saide I know you look good.  Then we chatted a bit - the place is huge and loud - makes it difficult.  My girlfriend decided to give us some space and leave.  Well in the midst of telling her goodbye, he disappears.  I hung around for a bit and he must have just left (he's always done this quit disappearnce thing). But he seemed so happy to see me.  I was thrilled to see him but can't piece together the bits of the inane conversation we had.

Here's the scary bit - I am realizing that I could maybe like this guy.  I can't quit thinking about it.  I'm obsessing (why else am I writing this!) and that's not good.  I don't know who to find him except to get up the nerve to go back to the bar and pray he is there.  He's great fun, good-looking, and lord help me - Irish.

The whole potential is a bit overwhelming.  Even if nothing comes of this except his friendship, I am rediscovering feelings that I didn't know I could have again.  That anticipation, anxiety, excitement that there may be someone out there.  Now I'm sitting here crying.  I even took a chill pill.  It's been over 3 years and I've been so alone.  When I saw him two years ago I was definitely not ready for anything - I was still grieving and trying to survive. I'm in a much better place now.  But this really is driving me loopy.

I was so shy, so scared of people when I was in high school that I had a very small circle of friends.  Lots of people thought I was stuck up.  Nope - scared!  Why?  Tons of reasons - none that make sense.  When I got to LSU and then to New Orleans, I gained confidence in myself.  Now it's like starting over again.  I am not that sexy little 20-something with the sassy attitude down in NOLA.  I have great self-confidence when it comes to work and I can carry on a conversation with most people.  Now I'm that 50-something that looks pretty good but has very little confidence in meeting people, or getting to know people better.  I'm back in that shell and I need to break out.

So life is hard and sometimes very scary.  Maybe this is some type of epiphany for me that it's OK to think of other guys and to think of having another relationship. 

So here I go steps!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Swear I thought turkeys could fly!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Now does anyone remember where the title quote came from?  A hilarious Thanksgiving edition of WKRP in Cincinnatti!  It still makes me laugh! Just imagine turkeys dive bombing from a helicopter!  Well I'm shortly going to give in to the turkey sleeping disorder so I thought I'd at least post something about Thanksgiving.

We are very lucky to have this Holiday - only the US and Canada do! So even though I am spending today by myself, I know I'm not truly alone.  There is so much to be thankful for.  A FB friend posted each day of November what she was thankful for.  I like that.  We should do it every day of the year.  I'm thankful for my friends and family, for health (despite my current sinus infection I am overall healthy), for living in this beautifl part of the country, for having a job that I really love, for an income that allows me to enjoy the things I enjoy most in life - travel, reading, movies, good music (U2!), and many others.  Most of all I am thankful for my friends and family.  This is a small group and they are scattered around the world but they are so dear to me.  Without them I would have become a lost soul many times over the years.

I was going to write something grandiose but have decided to keep it simple.  What with the prescription meds, the turkey, and that one glass of wine, nap time is coming any minute now.

To all my friends and family - I love you.  I am so blessed to have you. 

Happy Thanksgiving all!  (Next - the Christmas list!)

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Lion Sleeps

We are saying goodbye to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, scion on the Kennedy clan, Lion of the Senate, good Irishman.  He was my Senator but much more than that.  He was a Kennedy - but much more than that.  He was man who had his trials and tribulations.  He was a man who put other things and most importantly others before himself.  He has made such an impact on this country having been not only a politician but a master craftsman of policy that has changed this country for the better in so many ways.  I won't go into all that  he has done, the news and historians are doing a much better job than that.  I am brought to tears whenever I see news about his passing on TV or read about it on the web.  I was shocked Wednesday morning when I turned on the early early edition of CBS Boston and heard he had passed in the night.  I cried before I left for work. 
He was a man who could have never worked a day in his life but he chose to serve his country.  He served it tirelessly, working up until the day he passed.  He never took a salary for his job.  I had the privilege of meeting him a few times.  For a while I seemed to be boarding the same flight from DC to Boston as he and his wife about every other week. (She's from Louisiana too you now.)  He was very approachable, outgoing, and chatted easily with everyone.  He always sat in coach with the rest of us, usually chatting with his wife and other seatmates while glancing at a magazine or newspaper.  I remember a young father introducing his son to him after we landed at the Boston airport.  He shook the little boy's hand and asked him all about himself - age, grade, school, sports.  He then told him to be a good boy, listen to his father, and keep cheering on the Red Sox.  The father beamed with pride as Sen. Kennedy went to pick up his luggage. There was also a flight when he was coming home for an extended time and waited anxiously for their two Portuguese water dogs to be brought to them in their crates.  When they arrived, he quickly unlatched them, gave them each a quick series of pets, then led them outside for a quick potty stop.  How humanizing to see him taking his dogs to do their business! 
Teddy, as I fondly thought of him, was a great man.  He will be greatly missed by so many.  He leaves behind a heck of a legacy.  I will miss his efforts for Massachusetts and this country.  I think next time I fly the US Airways Shuttle from DC to Boston I'll be thinking of him.
He's in good company now.  I thought of my Charlie up in heaven looking up to see Teddy walking by and saying "You too huh?  Have a pint on me!" One great Irishman to another.
May God Bless.  My sympathies and prayers are with his family.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hot Fun in the Summertime

or is it really the "dog days" of summer. I swear if people don't believe we're experiencing climate change, they need to come to New England! We had nothing but rain and really cool (60s) temperatures up until the last few weeks - June and July were both mostly a washout. It's crazy! Now it's hot and humid. The kind of weather that makes you just want to sit and sip something cool until it's time to go to sleep. Unfortunately that does not pay the bills or get anything constructive done. Though why I worry abut the latter, I sometimes wonder.
Went to see the Red Sox with friends the last Saturday in July - had a blast! See Daily Dose of Diva for her posting and pictures! Thanks so much for coming guys!
Unfortunately after that event and the next day in Salem, I totally devolved into being a summer slug. If I could work at home every day of this HHH weather I would. Actually I could but the air conditioning in the office is much better than my two window units supplemented by a couple of fans. So the chill of air conditioning spurs me to the train every morning so I can keep cool.
So how the heck did this southern girl - from really HHH Louisiana - become such a hot weather hater. I think that something peculiar happens when you cross that imaginary line between north and south and your blood thickens up for the cold. Which is what we need to survive our winters BUT doesn't help in the summer. There's nothing more miserable to me than sitting outside (or in an unair-conditioned house) without a breeze stirring and feeling the perspiration run down your body. And you know us women have a few more cracks and crevices for that to flow through than guys, plus we can't take our shirts off (in public anyway).
How did I survive my formative years in the south?!? I remember huge attic fans with all the windows open that pulled the air through. These were replaced by huge 20gazillion BTU window units that made it feel like meat locker (when they worked). Finally somewhere along the way central AC was invented. Thank you! But you know growing up with that heat, you almost get used to it. You know you are going to move form an AC house to an AC car to an AC office to the AC bar and back to the AC house. You also dress appropriately - no stockings, no slips - sleeveless tops and dresses with short skirts.
So this is my summer heat lament. One good thing is it kills the appetite. I eat a lot of salad anyway but in the summer I become almost a rabbit (with a few cold beverages of course). So now I am off to make a salad and pour some tea (no additives tonight, tomorrow is work). Enjoy the summer while it's here and keep cool.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pops Goes the Fourth - No One Does it Better!

Happy Independence Day! Our nation's birthday is celebrated in so many ways - small and large, privately and publicly. Even in this recession economy most of the cities and towns in this area are still having parades and fireworks. Salem's show will go on with a concert on Salem Green followed by a parade and fireworks over the harbor. I may or may not walk down to watch the show. I can see most of the fireworks from my back porch. But I will be glued to he television set for the best of the best - the Boston Pops!

The real celebratory show is down the road in Boston. The Boston Pops have been celebrating the Fourth of July with a concert at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade for many years - long before I actually knew what the Shell and the Esplanade even were. Families come prepared for rain or shine and camp out for the day. The Pops play a beautiful 2-3 hour program of music that builds toward its crescendo of he 1812 Overture and the Stars and Stripes Forever with the cannon fire and he bells ringing. It is inpiring, chokes me up every single time! Then the fireworks over the Charles River/Boston Harbor begin. It is one heck of a show! Families are decked out in red, white, and blue and have no inhibitions dancing (can-cans) on national TV. I adore it!

I remember first discovering this when I was living in New Orleans. New Orleans back then had little to no organized celebration. I remember once there were fireworks planned on the Lakefront but were so short we missed them. Anyway, back in the day we always had a big party for anyone looking for a place to have some good grilled food and a cold brew. It was such fun. My parents even came down a couple of times to join us. But after the food and booze we always found ourselves parked in front of the television watching the Boston show to end our evening.

I invite you to join the rest of the world watching this class act tonight. Neil Diamond is the celebrity guest. They've been trying to get him for years. What better place for him to sing "Coming to America" or "Sweet Caroline" than Boston! After yesterday's soundcheck he wondered if the crowd would get into "Sweet Caroline". Well for those of you who don't know, this is one of the Red Sox songs! Every 8th inning at Fenway, we sing our version of "Sweet Caroline". Oh the words are still the same, we just add a few sound effects and extra words but everyone knows it! Such fun!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Fourth. Peace!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's become a blur!

My gosh - I know I wanted to stay busy but I'm thinking things are getting out of control! How is it that I went on vacation to St. Kitts less than two weeks ago and now it feels like it was a year ago. Not fair! I didn't get to savor that after vacation lull where you sit back and rerun it in your head. My 100+ pictures are still on the memory card in my camera. I have almost stopped peeling from my sunburn (even with SPF 50 I burned). I've already made a business trip and been to a Red Sox game. Busy was good but not blurry! Life is rushing past too quickly these days. Okay I know I can't have my cake and eat it too. At this point I have a few days before I make a quick trip to Nashville (overnighter) for business then I get to relax (I pray!) for a couple of weeks before I'm off on another trip.

Oh well guess I'd just better follow my friend's advice of "quit bitching" and enjoy what does come around. At least I'm not sitting at home with nothing to do and complaining about that! I don't think that will ever be me (note to self - remember this when retirement rolls around).

Spring was almost summer here in New England but has quickly come back almost to winter with chilling rain and gray skies. But we know that we will have some beautiful sunny weekends with sea breezes coming up soon. Maybe that's when I'll be able to refocus on those sunny beach days with the trade winds blowing.

I wish you well! Peace!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spinning My Wheels or Having Fun

Been a while since I wrote anything. I've been very busy, hence the title. Work is always busy but the Recovery Act funds is making it especially crazy! We have a lot of money to push out to worthy (yes we vet them) systems projects. All this takes up a lot of time on top of our regular projects. I'll survive but I tell you the hours and days are flying by! But I can assure you that the ARRA funds going through my agency are being put to excellent use helping Americans who need food assistance. Rest assure there is no pork to be found here unless the recipient buys it with our funds.
Been trying to plan things to keep my promise to get out and about. Concerts and baseball are high on my list. I have four sets of concert tickets in hand. Next week I'm off to the Garden to see Springsteen and the E Street Band. They put on an awesome show. They were so good at Gillette last summer, I jumped right on a ticket at the Garden - a smaller venue but not intimate by any means. Then there's Jimmy Buffet down at Comcast Center (formerly Great Woods) in June. I'm not a Parrothead but I love his music.
But the biggest coup was getting pre-public sale tickets to U2! Unfortunately I will not be in the country when they play Gillette but I had to see them. I have never ever seen them in concert and they are my favorite band ever! So, I got tickets to both shows in Chicago. There is so much in Chi-town I have not seen yet I figured I'd spend a September weekend sightseeing and going to both shows. That had better sate my U2 appetite until next year! I love their new album - No Line on the Horizon! Unknown Caller, Magnificent, etc. are great songs! I was so happy when I purchased that first concert ticket in Chicago I did a little dance - in my cubicle at work! Then they added the 2nd show and I was chomping at the bit! Cheers to you U2 - see you in September.
Ah - travel. Just got back from a short vacation in Florida. Only had about three beach days (and let's face it I don't tan, I burn) but it was fun. Joined some dear friends from Ohio who were there and visited from expats from Salem who have retired to the area. Good friends - good times. Now work travel is calling again - Kentucky for two nights last week of the month then a week in DC in mid-May. I do have another short vacation planned for Memorial Day week. A girlfriend and I are going to St Kitts in the Carribean! It's a small island east of Puerto Rico that sounds gorgeous. We're going for four days of sun, sand, and total relaxation. A few cute beach guys would be nice too!
But will work give me a rest? No. I come back from St. Kitts on a Friday, getting into Boston early Saturday a.m. On Sunday I fly to Salt Lake City for a couple days then straight to Santa Fe for the rest of the week. Sometime later in June I have to go to Kentucky. July is either San Francisco or Boise. (I know - Boise?) Late August is Chicago for work followed by my U2 weekend. Then four days after U2 another girlfriend and I are going to Europe! We're doing a 12 tour of England and Scotland.
I am so excited but getting dizzy thinking of all this. I said I wanted to get out and about this year. Well, I'm certainly doing that! There even more travel in the last three months of the year and I need to visit my parents again sometime.
But you know what? It beats sitting home. No one going to come and drag me out (well a couple of friends do occasionally when they can find me at home), so I'm getting out. I just hope I can keep pace with the pace I'm setting for myself!
Hey we only go around once in this life, so I'm determined to enjoy it. So far - I think I'm begining to have fun again! That's a very good thing for me. I need it. Now if I could just figure out the "making friends as an adult" thing, I'd be set. But that's a whole different subject.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Time Flies - Trying to Catch Up

I cannot believe how long it has been since I wrote anything here! This was part of my New Year's resolution and I'm not keeping it up as well as I should. Lots of reasons why not - work is crazy - non-stop madness, I am becoming addicted to Facebook, I have been so excited about the new U2 album and tour, and busy traveling. The purpose of my blogging was not to make it another task or job, but to be able to vent and enjoy this outlet.
So what's new? Not much - I was away for two weeks in February (first week for work, second week to visit my family) and am going away for work again next week. I've bought tickets to two concerts (Springsteen and Buffet) and to two Red Sox games. I've been stressing over finding a new bathing suit for Florida and St. Kitts. Something that will make my tummy and butt look no so big. I think the most exciting thing I've done is visit my family.
That was an interesting visit. I drove down from Little Rock to my hometown in Louisiana - about a 4 1/2 hour drive. Very depressing scenery until I hit Louisiana where you get rolling hills and pine trees. I swear Arkansas looked like a war zone in areas, definitely very depressed. I wonder how the heck they ever came up with that "Land of Opportunity" slogan!
My dad and stepmom are doing well all things considered. Dad was doing really while I visited though he does go to bed really early - like 7:30! I know he's tired (his heart only has 20% working capacity) but that left me with not too much to do other than update their PC and try to get on the internet with their dial-up connection. What a pain! I don't know how I never survived without a hi-speed connection. Of course, they don't use their PC the same way I do.
I had made contact with some friends letting them know I would be in town. This led to a really interesting experience. It was Valentine's Day and four of us got together to go out for dinner then hit the action in Jackson Parish. We drove to another town that had a Chili's for dinner (whoo-hoo) then back towards my hometown to check out the two clubs (bars) where you can actually hear music and get an alcoholic drink (why didn't my parents live closer to New Orleans - my old stomping grounds?). Despite my anxiety, this turned out to be a pretty fun night. The clubs were both dives and filled with smoke (still smoking 'em everywhere down there) but the people were hilarious. Our first stop was Rob's - I think it was a converted convenience store. It is actually owned by some folks I went to school with. They had pool tables, a bar, and karaoke - even free crawfish (yum!). We go in and I don't recognize a soul. No problem. We get drinks and sit at a table, listening to the performers (LOL). I see a guy at the bar who looks a little familiar. He keeps looking at me - I keep looking at him. We kept up this little "don't let him/her see me looking" dance for a while. I finally squinted through smoke and recognized him. He was my stepmother's brother. Technically I guess that makes him my uncle but I just know him as Bubba (yeah, I know). So I wandered up to him and said "how's it going?" He looks at me again and I started laughing! Then I told him who I was - let him off the hook. Yes, my hair is longer and I've lost 55 lbs - maybe he wasn't sure who I was. One of us daughters was there. So this was nice - we talked and had a drink together while my friends beat each other at pool. This was good for maybe an hour, then we had to get fresh air! At this point one of our party (the male part of it) said they wanted to go home and play video games. Fine - the ladies will carry on!
Next stop is the other club (bar) which is even divier than the first one. This one is called the Lazy Gator - just love the name! The beer was warm and when I asked for scotch they looked at me like I had three heads, so I settled for warm lite beer. Music was better here - more rock mixed in with the country, even dancing, and more pool tables. My friends ran into friends of theirs and we settled in down by the pool tables. I kept looking for faces I might recognize - none there. Then this friend of a friend says "hey see that good-looking tall guy playing pool down there with the dark hair? I'd love to take him home and see what he can do." Well that got my attention. I looked and then verified which pool table she meant. I looked a little closer - damn! I knew him! He is so cute, I have to say hello! So I told her "I'll check him out" and sashayed down to the end of the table. He was playing alone, practicing his shots and didn't notice me until he sank the last ball. Then he looked up and saw me. He broke into a big grin, hugged and kissed me. I spent the rest of the evening until last call talking very cosily and catching up with him. He is a pool shark and played against one of my friends (I wouldn't play him without more alcohol). Whenever he wasn't playing pool, he would wrap his arms around me and we would catch up. I felt so many people staring it made me feel so good! Finally he asked for a ride home. I'm sure this really made some people jealous. They were probably wondering how did she pick up that young stud?!? Well heck, he's my nephew and we really like one another! We wanted to party together. I also hadn't seen him in about a year. I just loved the feeling of that little mystery I left behind.
So that's my excitement other than new U2 music, ticket buying, and planning more travel. We also had a few more snowstorms. My life hasn't changed much but I've had some fun and excitement. That's a very good thing!
Peace and health to all!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Traveling on My Mind

As much as I love winter and snow, lately my mind as been on warmer weather! Maybe its because two weeks ago I was supposed to go to Lexington, KY on business. My supervisor was meeting me in Charlotte where we were to connect to our Lexington flight. I knew there was a big snowstorm headed for Salem but figured if I miss one, big deal. Had a good flight to Charlotte and met my boss who flew in from DC. She had been watching the weather while waiting for me to arrive and there was a huge ice storm covering KY! We keep checking the weather on-line and on the airport televisions - it didn't look good. We boarded our flight and sure enough about 20 minutes later they announced it was cancelled. So we said ' what do we do, try go get there or not?'. I called our contact in KY and was told that the state had just been officially shut down due to the ice storm, which was covering 5-6 inches of snow that fell the night before. We were able to catch flights back home that evening. I got back in time to get ready for our latest snowstorm while my boss was battling freezing rain down in DC. We didn't get the 18 inches of snow forecast but we did get about 8 inchs before we got ice on top of it. The storm had followed me home! Then our temperatures plummeted and we've had two more snows since. It's warming up today to almost 40 then it will get colder again. Happy New England Winter.

I'm off to Arkansas on business Monday for a week where it will be in the 50s! That will feel like summer compared to our winter. My parents live in Louisiana about 5 hours south of Little Rock so will take about six days and drive down to visit them. By that time I will be nice and warm and spoiled by their weather. Then I'll come back to winter. It's OK - I'd be upset if I didn't. In March I get to go to beautiful (it may be, I'm not sure but I know it's small) Columbia, SC for a week. I'll spend St. Patrick's Day in the south - it's been 21 years since I did that. In May I go to San Francisco (yes!) for six days. In June I will probably go to Nashville for a week (no country music lover here). This is all for work with the side trip to my parents thrown in. I have even more work travel scheduled later in the year.

But I've been looking at what I'm going to do for vacation this year. I am planning to go to Florida for five days in April to meet some old friends who will be visiting there from Cincy. I also have friends who moved from Salem to Melbourne to escape our winters in the area and I'll stop in to see how they're doing.

I've decided to treat myself to five days on St. Kitts in the Caribbean. Never been there, don't know a thing about it except it is warm with a beach and a beautiful warm ocean. I have reservations at the Marriott Royal Beach Club and Casino for Memorial Day week. Thank you Marriott Rewards! A beach loving girlfriend is going to accompany me. I don't care if there's nothing there to do but drink and soak up the sun. I'll bring plenty of sunscreen!

The big thrill this week was a call from a girlfriend in NC. We have gotten together for a week together for the past three years (since she retired and moved south). Instead of doing a beach vacation, she asked if I'd like to go to Europe. Well, that was a hard decision! NOT! Heck yes! I've only been to Ireland six times and never gotten across the Irish sea! We're going to fly to London and then tour England and Scotland in September! I am so thrilled! The price is decent and I get to fly on British Airways, which is supposed to be luxurious no matter what class you are seated in. I think they had beds or first class, but I won't be there. It doesn't matter - I'm going away - to new places!

Remember this is my year for discovery and health! I'm trying my best to take care of the health so here's the discovery and adventure! Yippee!! I pray this all comes about. I am so ecstatic!

I think it must be the cocooning I do because it is so cold (though I've out more this past two weeks than normal when it was single digits or lower), but I feel like I have so much to look forward to now. I even bought tickets to two concerts already - Springsteen in April an Jimmy Buffett in June! Come on U2 and announce a tour with our new CD next month! I am ready!

Now if I just could get over that next hurdle - finding friends close to home to hang with. I dearly love my friends all over the world but it would be nice to have a couple really close here to get together with. I'm even considering the possibility that I might want to meet a guy one of these days. I still ache for Charlie but my life is still here on this earth and I don't want to be alone. There I finally said it! Big revelation - I've been beating around it since I decided to start this blog.

While I have travel on my mind, I need to go pack up for Arkansas. Monday morning will be here soon enough.

Peace to all!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Faith, Hope, and Patience

Bet you thought all had been said that could be about the inauguration of President Obama and Vice President Biden. Probably, but I want to add my thoughts. I found myself getting teary just watching the crowd at the One Concert on Sunday. U2 and the Boss - how can you go wrong with them in the same lineup and they didn't disappoint. Then yesterday morning watching the sea of people on the Mall setting record attendance for an inauguration was another thrilling, teary moment! We have waited 8 years for a ray of hope and someone who cares about the future of this country to lead us. He is here! I thought it funny that the oath got flubbed - first because Obama started racing ahead of Roberts then waited to make sure he got it right. Then Roberts completely flubbed it on his end. Good thing Obama had it memorized! I heard most of his speech before having to step out for an appointment. I later read the text of the speech on-line and heard most of it in bites on MSNBC. What a day - scary with Sen. Kennedy (one of my senators) being taken away due to fatigue (God Bless him) and then Sen. Byrd getting upset about Sen. Kennedy and having to leave the luncheon. High emotions all around! These people care so much! Just as we, the American public, care!

We all have out pet causes or just want the country to be good to us I have many things I want changed for the better and I am willing to be a participant! I found myself out of curiosity going to yesterday evening after I heard the first e-mail had been sent. The web site has been totally overhauled. It is now professional, easy to use, and dignified! I immediately took advantage of signing up for e-mail updates and sent a congratulatory e-mail to President Obama and VP Biden. I've been serving my country as a Federal employee for many years. Now I want to do even more! I want to be active in rebuilding our infrastructure and getting this country back on its feet so it can provide health care, feed itself, harness alternative energies, and live up to the expectations of us, the US, from around the world.

But it will not be easy. That was the message of President Obama's speech. A lot of things have gone badly; a lot of bad things have taken the place of rights and liberties on which the USA was founded. It will take patience and time to change these but WE CAN! That's why with faith in ourselves, in our country and its leaders, and in God, we can keep this new found hope alive and have patience while the country heals and even make things even better for ourselves and future generations.

Thank you voters for giving us this chance. I also thought it only fitting that the Eastern States Ball was the last on the list for President and Mrs. Obama last night. As many said, "they saved the best for last". To quote James Taylor, "What a different world we live in nw, my friends. In the heart of Massachusetts, in true-blue Massachusetts, we feel like we got the country back."

Yes, we are the bluest of the blue! Keep the faith! Be proud! Peace!

Monday, January 19, 2009

When your parents get old

it can really be an adventure and at times it can really suck! My mom never had the chance to get old. She retired at 65 and within weeks was diagnose with colon cancer. At 66 she passed away. My dad, God willing, will be 86 in July! He remarried a wonderful woman that has become one of my best friends. He had a heart attack and a quadruple bypass by deBakey nonetheless back in the 1980s. They gave him five years if he didn't change his life style. Well, he's proven to like a cat with more than nine lives - survivding almost 30 years since then. He's been pronounced dead three times (his claim...I'm not certain). He's had at least one major stroke (right after the heart surgery though no one told me until he was all over) and several TIAs. He retired early and spent many years seeing the USA in his silver bullet (read Airstream). He and my stepmom even drove from Louisiana to Alaska and back! But Dad isn't Dad anymore.
Over two years ago (ironically at the same time my dear husband was dying of lung cancer) dad had an episode where his oxygen levels (he suffers from a heart that is barely working and congestive heart failure among other things) dropped dangerously low. He was rushed to intensive care and the family kept vigil. Mine was long distance as I stayed close to Charlie's side who was fighting hard against cancer. I bought my plane ticket to go back to Louisiana only when told there was no hope. I changed the reservation three times - the last was to cancel. Dad had rallied back and was moved from intensive care to a nursing home for six weeks of rehab. He couldn't walk without assistance and was suffering from short term memory loss. Meanwhile, Charlie lost his fight and we said our goodbyes in this life
Dad is still with us, though he is weaker than ever, will never walk again without assistance and his short term memory is really shot. I still love him so much but our relationship has changed. He tries so hard to hold conversations but he gets confused so easily. I try not to correct unless it is really important so I have to bite my tongue sometimes. In the past two years he has been in and out of the hospital so many times I've lost count. He's had staph infection in his elbow from a cut that took months of IV antibiotics followed by surgery to heal, a hip replacement, and surgery for a fractured vertebrae! Like I said - a cat with many lives!
He is such a trooper but at the same time he is demanding and can be so frustrating. He insists that he will/can walk and he will/can drive. Thus, the crux of my angst today. He can walk only short distances with his walker. He has been told by every doctor never to drive again. This is a huge issue for him. I've been told its very common - a loss of independence - but it hurts and worries the entire family. He even called the local dealership (there is only one in this small town) and asked them to bring a car for him to test drive. (My stepmom was gone for all of 60 minutes!) The dealership did their job and showed up with a car. They let him drive it! I don't know how far he got or how he drove but this is scary! The last time I know of Dad driving, he backed my stepmom's car out of the garage and ran into the fence. He sold his Lincoln over a year ago knowing he would never be able to drive again. But this resurfaces ever so often (too often) and causes all of us much distress. So I played the bad guy and told Dad he didn't need a car and he shouldn't be driving! He is angry and his feelings are very hurt. He will get over it and may not even remember it clearly after today.
But it is so depressing to see someone who was so vibrant, strong, and full of life wear down and not be able to do the things he loved to do. Sometimes I'm at my wits end and my poor stepmom is beside herself. God bless her! I love Dad dearly but he is giving us a run for the money. Patience is a virtue and I'm learning it the hard way!
To be continued...

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

No sleigh bells but plenty of plows and snow blowers are going today after almost 16 inches of snow this weekend! It is absolutely gorgeous outside. The snow has turned everything into a world of white. It is almost surreal to see the tree branches draped in white just like on a Christmas card. After back to back storms, it is a good thing today is a Holiday. It started snowing Saturday night then we had a second storm come through yesterday midday. And guess what - there's more coming tonight and maybe even more Tuesday-Wednesday. I took pictures from the warmth of my house during the storms. I hope to post these soon. I may take my camera out when I run errands later to capture some more of this beauty.
Yesterday afternoon it was absolutely dreamlike. Big, fluffy flakes were falling really hard sticking to everything, covering up the plow tracks from earlier in the day. It was quiet outside and no one was out and about. If only I had been snuggled up with someone other than my book and hot tea, it would have been truly a dreamy day. There is something magical about snow to me. Yes, I know, it gets messy and dirty and we have to shovel and all that stuff. But, I'm talking about the beauty of it all and how there are no two snowflakes alike. I love walking in new fallen snow. It has a sparkle to it and that soft crunch sound that makes one realize you're the first person to walk this way today. Even as night closes in, you can tell it is still snowing. There is a stillness and a brightness from the snow that gives everything a feeling of twilight. This is what is known as "white nights" in Siberia. There is so much pristine snow that it bring light to the darkness of night. Oh to be able to share that feeling with the world; it is a beautiful thing. I wish you peace...and the glory of new fallen snow!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside!

No kidding! It's maybe 10 degrees and going below zero tonight. Tomorrow will be our coldest day in years! It's really nice that we have a lot of snow cover and this will make it stick around awhile but even I have to admit that this is cold. My house is 100 years old and drafty! I have all the storm windows down but one can still feel a breeze wafting through the house at times. Think I'll have to ratchet up the setting on the electric blanket tonight. My normal 2 - 2 1/2 isn't gonna do it.
I'm sitting here warm and snug in my slippers and just finished a wonderful cup of tea. But I'll brave the cold once more before tomorrow comes. I'm meeting a girlfriend for dinner so it should be worth it. We've had a time finding a day when we're both in town and have no conflicting plans. So I'll be off to visit "the moose" as my dear Charlie used to call it (Bugaboo Creek for those wondering) in a few minutes. I had thought I'd mosey over to Macy's to check out a sale but screw it - it's too damn cold to shop!
The entire weekend is supposed to be very cold - downright frigid with highs in the teens if we're lucky. We're supposed to warm up to the low 20's on Sunday and Monday and get more snow. My dear friends and neighbors - the wolf pack - are down in the Bahamas. They are going to love coming hold to this artic chill.
Oh well, what do I expect - it is New England. This is part of the package. If you don't like it, move on. I chose this and I like it. Though at times like this I do have fond memories of sipping Hurricanes outside at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans with a light jacket on.
So, my friends, snuggle up (hopefully you won't be alone like me), and keep it warm and cozy until spring! Brrrr...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let it Snow! I'm getting over Saturday night!

There's nothing like waking up to see big, fluffy flakes of snow drifting by your window. It is so quiet out and I am warm and cozy in my bed. It was so nice around 6 a.m. when I woke up long enough to check the snowfall from our latest storm. In the five minutes I was actually conscious, the snow started blowing and wind howling. Oooh, better jump back under the covers! Sure enough, I did and when I finally woke up for good at 9 a.m. the snow was just flurries but then the work started. First I heard I snow shovel and at least two snow blowers started up and roared down the sidewalks. This was followed by the sound of a plow and the beep-beep of the salt and sand truck. So much for my quiet Sunday morning. At least it was Sunday and I didn't have to worry about hurrying off to work, which would entail cleaning off the car and maybe shoveing a path to the street. Now that I've procrastinated much of the day, my car has been cleaned by a neighbor (he's off to the Bahamas tomorrow morning!) and the path to the street cleared by my landlord. Now I just have to shovel off the back porch. Not too shabby.
It is still only 21 degrees outside so I'll make sure that hot cocoa or tea waiting when I get done with the porch.

Well I ventured out late yesterday afternoon to mingle with friends over a few drinks. I started off at Bertini's where I saw a few people I hadn't seen since before Christmas. All was well. Had a couple of scotches and som good craic. Then I ventured up the road to Sidelines. It's been at least two months since I've been there. Luckily, Michelle was behind the bar and we had a nice chat catching up on things. She also makes an awesome dirty martini! :)

I still don't feel quite as comfortable going out on my on as when I went out with Charlie. His personality was so huge and gregarious that I just got swept along with it. Thanks to him I have all of these acquaintances and friends that remember me. It's a little different by myself. I'm not quite as outgoing, though I'm not shy either. I think it's hard when you've already done this bar scene thing once as a single, then as a couple, and now back as a single. You know all the things that can go bad. You don't want to drink too much - don't want to embarrass yourself now plus there's no one to help you get home! I'll hang in there and see how things go. Maybe I can get more comfortable doing it. And I am out talking to friends.

So, I was good. I stopped drinking after a glass of Sam Adams Winterfest. I ordered food to take home. I went home and had dinner and promptly fell asleep within two hours of getting home. I do remember checking outside to see if it was snowing (yes, started just after I got home) and that my car wasn't too close to the street so it wouldn't get plowed in. I woke up at midnight and put myself to bed. No wonder I woke up at 6 a.m. the first time!

Hopefully my future adventures into single territory and bar hopping won't always result in a snoozefest! I'm learning the ropes again...trying to anyway.

I wish you well. Until next time...peace!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hi Ho Hi Ho - Back to Work I Went

Well I returned to work on Tuesday and have now reacclimated to my cubicle and the office setting. Why is it that every time I am off from work for a week or so, I expect lots of things to happen? It's not that the work can't go on without me - believe me, it does! I just always re-enter the work environment expecting changes or something exciting to have happened. I am almost always disappointed. My workspace looks the same, is still covered with papers and to do lists. (Yes, give me a flat space and I will clutter it.) Nothing exciting happened to the agency or to any employees that was earth shattering. People celebrated Christmas or Hannakuh and New Year's and that's about it. No one I know even got that exciting a gift this year (any gift is happiness though). Maybe it's just the excitment (or anxiety) or going back to this place where we spent so much of our lives that generates these expectations (or apprehensions). My coworkers missed me and we're still catching up on things but otherwise, no big deal.
I really enjoy my job and I do get to travel a lot with it - not always to the most exciting places, but I'm still out of the office more than a lot of my coworkers. Maybe it's me searching for something exciting (so why am I looking at work?!) but anyway the bottom line is - work is nice, I like it. Re-entry was disappointing but non unpleasant. Maybe I should be thankful that nothing did happen!
I feel very lucky (blessed) to have a good job with benefits and job security. I feel so badly for those who have lost their jobs or are just hanging on by their fingertips! I really don't know how that feels. Good for me, not for them. I do have friends and relatives that are in those situations. I am carefully watching how Obama's team will affect my work. It will be indirectly but since I do work for a government agency that deals with human services (food and nutrition issues), there may be an impact. Maybe I should be looking at the holistic view of my workplace and not just what's going on in my cube.
Oh well, today's snow turned to ice and now freezing rain. Tomorrow night we get more snow - yeah! (Yes, I am a weather nut! So expect these little tidbits to creep into my thoughts quite often.) Be well!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Continuing Resolutions

My last day at home before going back to work. I haven't taken this much time off for the Holidays in years but had no choice - either "use it or lose it". Me give up a vacation day? Never! Those of you who have worked for government may recognize the Continuing Resolution (CR) term. In the Federal government it happens almost every October when Congress doesn't pass a budget to fund the government. So we continue to work on a CR until the budget is passed. A CR only funds us for the same amount as the year before. So this delays our ability to do some things - like purchase supplies or enter into contracts. So much for the civics lesson, my CR is all about those pesky New Year resolutions. No I don't make a list - never have. Tried it once and immediately broke at least two of them the same day. So I am adopting the CR for my life forever. My CR is composed of two parts: health and discovery. Health as in being healthy; continuing the diet I started January 2008 that actually works for me; exercising my body and my mind! Discovery is a path for me to rediscover myself, continue existing relationships with family and friends and find new ones. Discovery is also about looking at the world without any patina, going to new places and revisiting others. If I can accomplish any part of these, then I will find some happiness and even have some fun! So if you are making resolutions and then breaking them, try this tip. Keep them short and not too narrow. You may say lose weight. I think everyone has that one of a list! Well, maybe the better way to approach it is to say be healthy or address your health. This broadens the ways you can meet that resolution. Hopefully by getting healthy you will reach the more narrow goal you originally started with. I used to always say travel to such-and-such a place. Travel now falls under discovery! I don't box myself into one or two places that may or may not be achievable in a given timeframe. I broaden the horizon and can meet the goal and also keep the resolution in many ways. Try it! I lie challenges and this works well for me. I don't punish myself for not meeting a narrow goal but feel good about meeting something in the broader realm of health or discovery. So health and discovery are my continuing resolutions. Good luck with yours! Now I have to set the clock for 5:15 a.m. in order to go back to work tomorrow. the work, not the hours! Persevere!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

Does anyone remember that song? It was written by Kris Kristofferson back in the 60s. I have the Mark Lindsay version of it on vinyl and CD. Anyway, I woke up this Sunday morning and that song title popped into my head. Must be the cold meds at work but the lyrics were appropriate. Sunday's are my day, meaning they are special to me. I use them to relax and rejuvenate before starting the work week. I usually read both Boston papers, have a leisurely, nutritious breakfast, then turn on the TV and watch movies (and football). When Charlie was with me, we used to go out on Sunday afternoons to watch the games and drink a few brews. Now, I cocoon myself away and try to breathe deeply before the hectic schedule of the work week takes over. I have no clue what is on TV now - it is just noise. I reserve Saturdays for blasting the stereo and Sundays for TV. I am at loose ends today. Don't feel well enough to do much of anything useful around the house. I don't know why but I have this thing, this urge, to always be busy. I need to learn how to relax again. Charlie could make me relax. He used to tell me to sit down and not worry about anything else. I miss that and I need it. Sometimes I feel like the energizer bunny who keeps on going and going and going.
Sundays were made to rest and after I post this I am going to do my utmost to do just that! It's sunny but cold outside and I have nothing that absolutely has to get done. So this is when most people relax. I'm going to try. Peace!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's a New Year!

Why am I blogging? Because my dear friend "Diva" turned me onto her blog and I love to write. Also, because I am hoping that blogging will help me find myself and what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Why do I need to find myself? I lost my dear husband to lung cancer on September 15, 2006. We had been together almost 31 years. I have been sleepwalking - better yet - running ever since! I need to figure out who I am by myself and what I want and need to be happy. I miss him terribly but it has been long enough now that I need to wipe the patina from my view and get my act together. I have to figure out my life now as a, dare I say it - single woman in her 50s. Yikes! Where did the years go? I feel like I'm in my late 30s!
Anyway, this is one way for me to search for what makes me happy now that I am alone. Yes, I have friends and family that I love dearly and they have been so supportive. Alas, the majority of them are far away from Salem.
I travel a lot - mostly for work - and that keeps me occupied and is exciting, but it is also a form of escapism. So, as a form of New Year's resolution, 2009 is about finding my life and what I need and want from it to make me happy.
This may also give me a shoulder to cry on and a place to vent. Feel free to join me on my journey. Advice is welcome.
I wish you well.