Monday, June 30, 2008

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

All I ever wanted
Had to get away
Meant to be spent alone

"Vacation" by The Go-Gos

My favorite line is the last one. I would never have said that a week ago. I was kind of excited about the 11 other people with whom I would be vacationing. I still love them . . . most of them.

The view was beautiful. We sat on our deck and enjoyed the blues and greens of the Gulf of Mexico. We took a few steps off the deck, onto the soft white sandy beach. We walked a few yards and dipped ourselves into the warm, calm water. We sat under a canopy, shaded from the sun and drank beverages with umbrellas in them. We hunted sand crabs and strolled on the beach at night.

And every single person in the house got in a fight with someone. Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, me too. My daughter's boyfriend and I had to have it out. It's kind of been coming. He crossed a line with me. I love Boyfriend like he is one of my own kids. And when my kids cross the line, I ain't skeered to put a stop to it quickly. Boyfriend crossed the line. I stopped it. And I still love him but it wore me out. I don't like to fight. Argue, yes but fight, no.

My friends Robin and Katie and I started doing these yearly trips about 6 years ago, usually going down for a long weekend. Katie hasn't been in a long time but Robin and I go every year. We added my Daughter a few years ago. Then Robin's long-term boyfriend joined us when he could be off work. Over the years we have added Daughter's Boyfriend and Best Friend and Robin's kids as they got old enough and stretched the time out to a full week. This year my son and his friend joined us as well as Daughter's Best Friend's Boyfriend (who happens to also be Boyfriend's best friend!). Robin said today "Remember when it was just you, me, and Daughter? I miss that."

We really had a wonderful time. I will share some more stories and a surprise in later posts during this week. I am glad to be home in my quiet house. There are no groceries or drinks with umbrellas but it IS quiet.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Where has the week gone?

Daylily Glow
Originally uploaded by MoonpieGirl
It's been a few days since I posted. I have been in Kansas City at a meeting. I always have the best intentions of posting but never seem to get the chance.

We are leaving at 5am on Saturday for the beach. There are 12 of us, ages 9 - 47 that will share a house on the beach in Panama City Beach, Florida for a week. It is my friend Robin's 40th birthday on Saturday also. I will be searching for a quiet place to sit and think and, since I will have my laptop with me, to post my thoughts.

I am off to pack. Talk to ya soon!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shhhh . . . It's Green Outside

Summer, in the early evening. Everything is emerald green - the leaves, the monkey grass, the stems of the daylillies.

The temperature has dropped from the mid 90's into the 80 degree range. In the late evening, the air feels cool and invites us outside where I have two green adirondack chairs in my front yard. Yes, in my FRONT yard.

Most people chill in their back yard. I have a deck with adirondack chairs in the back. But there are 3 large dogs and one small dog back there. As well as the tall grass that my son is "coming over to mow" every day.

I like my front yard. The chairs sit under a large tree right in the middle of the yard. They face the house so it feels private. My front yard feels good. I take a book or a magazine out, prop my feet up on the other chair, and chill for a while.

It feels quiet. The green chairs, and all the green in the yard, feels calm. The lush monkey grass borders another large tree, three hydrangea bushes, a daylily, five peony bushes, the path from our driveway and the stone of our doorsteps. It feels quiet.

I live in a small suburban neighborhood on a dead end street. It seems everyone in this neighborhood has a dog or two. It is rarely quiet. But as I sit reading, I look up and trace the path of the green monkey grass with my eye, look past my propped up feet to the trees and flowers , lean against my green chair, it is quiet. Really.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Off The Beaten Path

For 11 years I have been driving the same routes for work . . . From Knoxville 3 hours east to Nashville. On another day it's 1 and 1/2 hours south to Chattanooga, or 2 hours east to Kingsport and Johnson City. I travel the interstate, listen to my radio, talk business on my cell phone. For the last several years, because I live in one of the most beautiful places in Tennessee, I always have my camera so I can be prepared to capture that beauty.

As I fly down the intersate I pass many interesting places and historic places. I make mental notes that on some quiet weekend, we should come and investigate. I see unusual things. I take in the beautiful scenery. Why don't I stop?

Most of the time, I am not on a schedule. Usually people don't even know I am coming to visit. Why don't I stop?

For 11 years, on my way to Nashville early in the morning, I have seen fog hanging above the Caney Fork River. Caney Fork is a bendy river with many twists and turns. It crosses under the interstate 4 times. Early in the morning, the misty fog hangs just over the river. Sometimes it's heavy like a white cloud. Other times it's just a light mist. I pass by every time and think "Wow, I need to take a picture". For 11 years I've said that. Why don't I stop?

So last week I did stop. I pulled over on the side of the interstate, walked back to the bridge while 18 wheelers whizzed by, and took 6 quick shots, then scurried back to the car. And that day, I decided I would do that more often. When I see a sign for something interesting, I will investigate right then, time permitting of course. I will get off the interstate, turn on the GPS, and take a different route through the country. When I see something beautiful, I will stop.

So today, on my way to Johnson City and Kingsport, I stopped to get gas. As I was leaving I saw a sign I had seen many times for "Historic Dandridge, 2 miles" and I headed that way. Two miles wasn't going to delay me that much. Dandridge was a wonderful, sweet little town, the second oldest in Tennessee. I saw historic homes, city hall, an interesting drug store and hardware store. I didn't get out or stop. It was just a 15 minute diversion.

I headed back down the interstate calmer, happy, an oddly satisfied. It occured to me that sometimes you need to fill your soul and not your camera's memory card. I'm going to Chattanooga tomorrow. Maybe I can fill both.
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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summertime And The Livin' Is Easy

Hydrangeas remind me of summer. They are my favorite flowers. I have 3 bushes in my front yard. This week, the first blooms came out so summer must be here. I should have known from the 90 degree temps. I am not that big of a fan of summer, I prefer spring or fall. But I love summer evenings.

My grandmother had hydrangeas in her back yard. She and my grandfather lived on a farm in Western Kentucky. They had no air conditioning so when the sun went down, it was nice to be outside in the cool air. The smell of the flowers and honeysuckle in the air was intoxicating. The sound of the crickets and bullfrogs by the pond was relaxing. My brother, sister, and I ran around the yard catching fireflies while the adults rocked in chairs on the porch and talked about the weather, their day, the latest gossip. Later we would go back inside and have fresh strawberries or make coke floats.

Now when the hydrangeas start to bloom and the smell of honeysuckle drifts by, I recall the feel of the cool air, the background noise of adult conversation, and the discussions between bullfrogs and crickets.

I think I'll go make a coke float.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Music, Music, Music

I love music. I have always loved music.

When I was 4 years old, I figured out how to work the stereo in our living room. This was back when records were king. I don't remember the brand name of our system but for those that don't remember or were not born yet, you used to have to set the record on a spindle where it would drop about halfway down and catch on a tiny little "ledge" that jutted out. Then you moved a small arm over to help it stay balanced. You flipped a switch located off to the side of the turntable and the arm moved away, the record dropped onto the turntable, the needle arm moved over, dropped to the spinning record and the music began to play.

I loved Elvis, Trini Lopez, The Kingston Trio, but most of all, I loved The New Christie Minstrels. They were a large group with several men and several women. They sang folk songs - it was the 60's. I knew every word to every song on all 3 albums that my parents owned.

My dad also played the guitar. He taught himself and loved to entertain my brother and I when he came home from work. He sang popular songs of the time and we always sang along. Our favorite was "The Tennessee Waltz". We used to dance around the living room, thinking what we were doing was really a waltz - whatever that was. I learned to play the organ at 6, the recorder at 10, and took piano lessons at 12. I was never really that good because I played by ear and didn't want to take the time to read the music once I learned the song.

When I was 5, I became infatuated with the new hot group, The Beatles. From then on, there was always some music group that I just had to have their latest album or some singer I had a crush on. I never had "movie star" crushes - it was always musicians for me.

I still love music and my tastes cross many genres. I love hearing new music and my Ipod is filled with songs whose popularity spans generations. My daughter introduces me to different artists and then I share some with her. She recently shared that some of her friends will ask her if she has heard a certain song and she says "yeah, my Mom has that on her Ipod" and they look at her really funny!

I can't imagine a world without music. I think I would have to invent it if it didn't exist.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

7 Years

On Tuesday, it will be 7 years since my husband, Gary, died. I can't believe it has been 7 years. So much has happened since June 3rd, 2001 but it still feels like yesterday and I still get that "feeling" in the pit of my stomach when I allow myself to think about it.

When will that go away?

My mother-in-law said once that I was young, I would move on and find someone else. She would never get her son back.

At the time, even though it had only been a few months, I knew better than to get into a grieving match with her. No parent should ever have a child die. But I wondered then if I would really . . . move on, that is.

I think I have moved on as much as I can. But I think about him every day. He was my best friend and the father of my children. We talk about him.

I have not found someone else. I have hope that I will. I truly want to find someone. I want to get married again. I liked it. But I like being single too.

When will I be able to be happy as June approaches? I keep thinking that time will pass and it will lessen. It will soon be 7 years. Yet today is June 1st and I am dreading Tuesday. My stomach hurts. I am very glad I will be extremely busy at work that day. I am sad that his parents and brother and other family members will have to be reminded he is not with us. I wonder if my children remember even though I know they do.

Maybe it will never go away. Maybe I shouldn't expect it to go away. Secretly, I am a little fearful of the day that June 3rd comes and I don't notice. That still seems a long way away.