Friday, July 7, 2017

the adventure continues

44 years ago the journey began…

44 years ago tonight, after the vows and cake and rice and pictures, life together began, the road trip honeymoon started in Blue Ridge, then to Gatlinburg to Mammoth Cave, then across country to Colorado, across the Mississippi, through endless Kansas corn fields and on to the Rocky mountains. Keeping it simple through the gas shortage of '73 with a small car, tent, sleeping bags, Coleman stove and lantern. Making memories and starting a tradition of camping and seeing this great country of ours one mile at a time. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

the lucky one

the list grows

Construction is dangerous work. Not only the physical dangers of things falling on your head or you falling off the building or any number of things that could happen, but also the stress. The superintendents are under an enormous amount of stress. In Buddy's company just last year two superintendents passed away on the job, well not quite ON the job, found in their travel trailers after not showing up for work. Earlier this year, one had a stroke, then another stroke. Last I heard he is still kicking, not sure how high.

Then last week #4 on the downed superintendent list, 4 that we know of, the lack of communication is inconceivable. But this one was too close, a good friend and coworker of many, many years. He is okay for now, a wake up call in the form of a heart attack. 

After the initial emergency stent placement and while waiting around, resting, not working, not smoking… waiting on open heart surgery for bypass procedure, his wife described him as unusually quiet, he didn't want to talk to anyone. Understandable. 

So we got his e-mail address. Buddy was going to send something light, maybe a joke, but not me. At first I was so mad that I couldn’t say anything. Mad because of the stressful job and mad because my old man just keeps plugging along and ranting about all the things that go wrong and how he can't wait to retire, mad because I think he can retire right now, but he won't. But when I got over my mad, I wrote my note: 

Dear Mike, so you are just laying around, milking this thing for all its worth, right?
I guess everyone is walking on eggshells around you, not sure what to say, sorry not me. This 'incident' is just one of many that have happened over the last year or two that have me bitching at the old man to retire early, he gets so stressed with the job.
But you are the lucky one, you didn't wake up dead in your travel trailer, good for you!
You got a wake up call, a second chance, and today is literally the first day of the rest of your life.
So now you have been forced to rethink your priorities, there is a lot running through your mind right now. Just think of it as another job, lay out a plan, work through the steps, let your family help you, whatever it takes to get past this and on to better things.
Maybe you don't want to spend your days putting up with sorry subs, elite electricians, arrogant architects, lazy laborers, pushy project managers, corporate cronies.
Maybe you don't have to put up with mud or snow or rain or excuses or just plain sorriness like folks pissing in the shower.
Maybe you don’t have to live by looming deadlines and missed schedules and over budgets.
Maybe instead you want to be sitting somewhere on a dock fishing, or just being, your lady by your side, maybe traveling around not from job to job, but to see some of the real beauty of the world.
Maybe you are the lucky one, you have a chance to escape this rat race and leave the other rats running through the endless maze.
So, Mike, take care of you, let work go and enjoy your life, and then call all the other supers and tell them how you beat the odds, suckers!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

the bat

The night I slept on the bathroom floor

I tucked a towel under the door so he couldn't get in

I was awakened by the window fan bumping, figured the window was not tight down on it so in the dark went to check, something soft brushed my hand… its just a bug... its just a bug

Then couldn't go back to sleep so turned on bedside light and started reading. Something started circling and diving, a big moth? OMG it’s a bat!

Ran out to the couch on the balcony, I can sleep here. Read awhile longer, slipped down almost asleep when something hit the couch above my head. I shot off the couch and hit the overhead light shouting God Bless America!

There he was circling again on the balcony.

No more couch.

Sat in the computer chair so I could watch, he went downstairs and all was quiet. I knew I would never see him on our brown wooden walls but looked over the railing anyway, and there he was on the white curtains, sleeping?

I left all the lights on at the balcony area and went back to bed in the dark bedroom, closing the door, although I knew he could come through the opening at the top.

Wasn't in bed 5 minutes when heard the bumping at the fan again… got out of bed on the other side and hit the light, yep right on the fan, I think he wanted outside. Looked around for some shoes to throw but chickened out, what if I just made him mad and he came at me and bit my neck, eek!

Went to the bathroom and decided this is a nice safe place, got my pillow and blanket and kindle and phone and bedded down in the floor around 2 a.m. after stuffing a towel under the door just in case.

Up this morning at 5, shower, sitting at computer, no sign of him yet.

It is almost daylight now so I can venture down the stairs…

Okay it almost 7 a.m. I inspected the house up and down and finally spotted him asleep on top of the Mammoth Cave poster (according to Buddy the bat wants to go there)

Called next door, "Can you come get this bat for me?"

Fishing net and fireplace shovel transported the little feller (still asleep) out to the deck.

Thanks to son-in-law, Keith! 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


proud parents of a COLLEGE GRAD!!!

Sarah is a COLLEGE GRAD!!! And today is all about Sarah, so I have to apologize for this detour down memory lane.

The music of our lives.

Nothing quite invokes memories like music,

A song will come on the radio and I will be instantly transported back in time, remembering a certain place or person, and not just memories but emotions come rolling in like the tide.

They say music is one thing that reaches dementia patients, that part of the brain is still there, just waiting to catch a snippet of song from long ago to light up an otherwise blank face.

Songs like 'When a man loves a woman' transport me back to the gym in sock feet slow dancing in the late 60s.

Any John Denver song takes me back to our first apartment in the 70s, long ago youth.

The first chords of How Great Thou Art turns the switch on a scratchy film strip in my head of all the family funerals over the years, you can almost smell the flowers, and see all the cousins.

The wedding march always pulls on your heartstrings. 

And of course there is Pomp and Circumstance, that oh so traditional graduation march, which I heard today, which prompted all these thoughts.

I remember my high school graduation, and all those graduation ceremonies since then with kids and grandkids.

But Sarah is a COLLEGE GRAD!!! And today is all about Sarah so I am sorry to be going down memory lane on your special day. Thanks for the music and the memories and the fun times today. So proud to be a part of this MOMENTOUS DAY!

music makes pictures and often tells stories
all of it magic and all of it true
and all of the pictures and all of the stories
all of the magic, the music is you
~John Denver

Sunday, May 7, 2017


what do YOU see?

if it looks like I was just cleaning out the scrap bag you are partially correct

but I did have a design/theme in mind...

hint - my first attempt at a landscape quilt

like modern art, it is all in the interpretation

Friday, April 21, 2017



elevation changes
blue mountains
rushing water
moss covered rocks

sunrise over the mountain
and disappearing on the other side
family gathered in the kitchen
rocking on the porch
watching the traffic go by

only seeing your neighbors at the grocery store
but knowing they are nearby 
if you need them
old friends at the funeral home
cars stopping in respect

march flowers and tulips at the mailbox
reminders of past generations
dusty gravel driveway
rhodys shiny leaves
hemlock tiny cones

walking trails
rock piles marking land corners
bright tape marking house sites
history and hope of  
past and future generations


Friday, April 14, 2017

ode to Sarah

Sarah 2017 college graduate!

Ode to Sarah

Sarah's graduation day is almost here
her family will gather, ready to cheer
hundreds of millennials will fill up the chairs
a huge milestone, a momentous affair

she's the big sister in her family crew
her siblings follow her every move
what she wears, what she does, the risks that she takes
what she can get by with, the decisions she makes

they have watched her work hard over the years
earning her keep, overcoming her fears
hoping to be in her footsteps someday
walking the walk on Graduation Day

when she was not studying or working perhaps
you saw her on various social apps
facebook or twitter, posting selfies with friends
insta or snapchatting the latest makeup trends

all those years of school now ancient history
what comes next is still a mystery
minion or master, pursuit of the dollar
applying what she learned as a scholar

but a little time off, a break if you please
in between school and life, if she could just squeeze
five months at Disney, is that too much to ask
before choosing adulting as her life's task

no time like the present, just do it now
once life takes over, no way no how
so say bye to us and to Mickey hello
ride all the rides and see all the shows

diploma and degree, a real college grad
we are all so proud, your mom and your dad
your sisters and brothers and Matthew too
congratulations to Sarah, we all love you!

~granma Susan
April 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

counting down

Buddy set an official date for retirement, 12/31/19, and guess how long that is?

not that he is counting or anything...

Melissa made him the paper flip countdown calendar a while back, and just recently he received this nice electronic countdown clock from one of the girls in the main office, apparently he ends each conversation with anyone at the office, "2 years and 9 months" !!!

He is crunching numbers and making plans for projects to work on at the house. Any advice is appreciated on navigating the SSA and IRS etc.