Monday, December 29, 2003

2003 in Review

Before I begin a list of things I would like to accomplish in 2004, I like to look back on the ending year .....

January I decided to take skiing lessons.  Big mistake.  Once you are middle aged, you are afraid of getting hurt.  Zooming down an ice covered hill out of control in sub freezing weather, covered in layers of clothing while sweating, swinging the poles wildly is not fun!  Plus, I fell and hyper-extended my thumb.  Took months to heal.

February,  the devastating ice storm to central Kentucky which brought us to our knees.

March was my first cruise to the Bahamas.

April saw the  the Triple Crown of Running in Louisville where I competed and completed the 10K, 10 miler, and then the mini marathon.

May brought the annual Slither in German town...which is the night before the Kentucky Derby, hosted by my brother in law, Daniel.  About 60 to 80 of his friends and family walk to as many bars as humanly possible in the Germantown area of Louisville....I'm certain I will compose an entry about this "happening".

June...the Lake.  Every year my family has a long week end at my other brother in law's (Karl) family  lakehouse on TVA Lake Norris in Tenn....the greatest time.

July...Bluegrass 10,000 another 10K. Bluegrass Fair, work is crazy. Had the worst case of Posion Ivy ever in the history of mankind.

August still crazy at work, Bridget's Birthday. The dreaded and expected August 3rd alert.

September, going to elope in Tenn but my Dad is admitted to hospital with congestive heart failure.  He recovers, elopement put on back burner.

October...fall in love with AOL-journals.

November - December means family and remembering. Had the worst case of swollen lips in the history of mankind.

One last thing...matched one number on the Powerball game!  The Powerball!  Win $3.00.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

12 Days of Christmas

I have been sitting in front of the computer for about two hours reading all the journals I love and needed catching up on.  I have so much running around in my head, how I have come to care about so many of you guys. It is almost an emotional gauntlet.

Today is the last of the Christmas get togethers, ending at my Mothers in about three hours.  I still need to get my butt to Krogers and purchase the ingredients for candied yams and cook them.  I will make it, I have it down to a science.  Plus, Mom lives five minute from here.

And then, the big UK verses UofL game at five pm!  I have a tough time knowing who to cheer for, since I've had a crush on Rick Pitino since I first laid eyes on him in the late 80's when he saved the UK team from ruin.  Now, in this area, he is considered a traitor for returning to college B-Ball and of all the dag gone teams, to pick Louisville!  What an insult to UK (this is about 85% of UK fans talking, not me, I LOVE it).  Secretly, I will cheer for Louisville, outwardly I will need to watch when I say, "Damn!" and "Hooray!".


Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas Everyone

She has to be about three years old, twenty years ago.  Still believed in Santa Clause, still believed that her Mama was the smartest, strongest woman in the world!

She and her boyfriend learned yesterday that he has been offered a job in Louisville at a research center with the University Hospital.  Even though they knew he had a good shot at it, it stunned both of them.

I'm certain he will take it. 

Today I am feeling a little stunned.  Even though Louisville is only 50+ miles to the means for the first time ever, my baby will be outside my reach.  I was an unmarried mother.  She and I braved much together.  In most ways, she is the best part of me.  I'm not sure how it will be with her that far away.

But, in many ways it is a good thing.  I have a brother and a sister who both live in Louisville.  Her father lives in Louisville.  Her boyfriends father is from Louisville and he has plenty of relatives there.  As a matter of fact, Bridget and I lived in Louisville for close to ten years.  She started school in the catholic school system (is there any other in Louisville?) there.  She could very well reestablish old relationships from her childhood, because people leave Louisville, but they always return. 

Wow.  I am so happy for him.  I realize the job opportunities for Bridget are better in Louisville also.  Maybe she will follow in her Mama's footsteps and go to the University of Louisville! Ha.  That would be the greatest of all.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Sunday, December 21, 2003

True Meaning of Christmas

Everything is in full swing for the holidays.  Last night was the Company Christmas party, tonight was the gift exchange and dinner at Joe's side of the family. The four gatherings have been reduced to three! Thank goodness.  All the shopping is almost done...only several items that can be easily picked up.  The bourbon balls were more like Bourbon flats...but they were still very good.

There is a  little voice in the back of my head that is becoming louder and not so easily ignored.  I have made one donation to a childrens charity this past week, and God knows my daughter is a charity also, but I still feel I am missing something. Or missing out on something.

I know what it is I want to do.  I am really good at thinking about doing things but have no action plan.  Maybe that would be the greatest Christmas gift I could ever give, to give back somehow, someway.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Bahama Mama

Look what came fed ex today!  You know what this means don't you?  I have less than one month to fit into my bathing suit!  Yikes.  I'll have to join the ranks with SloMo and commit to losing 10 pounds.

Last winter I found this cruise.  It is a four night five day (yea right) cruise, but the beauty of this one is that every day you are somewhere, no "day at sea'.  So we decided to go with the same cruise.  Second time around will be great.  Little does he know that I have my sights set on a seven day cruise the next time!

Making bourbon balls tonight, or beginning to make bourbon balls, as there is a lot of refrigerate time.  So, I am making Egg Nog to pass the time.


Come shop with me

Yesterday I went to the Sharker Village in Mercer Co. to check out their Gift Shop.  I have so many people to buy for, four Christmas celebrations!  Its crazy, this "blended" family existence I live.

Anyway, the Shakers, hard working people.  The way they did things is still demonstrated at this quaint village set close to the Kentucky River.  Everything except that.....ever wonder why there are no longer any Shakers.....?

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Trip to the Flea Market

I love junk.  I love to go look for junk.  I have several places that I go when I feel the need. I'll find an auction or estate sale. I'll go to the Goodwill Store or the Salvation Army thrift store. And Yard Sales. Its a shame that I have to work on Fridays, which any authentic collector will tell you, get there early in the morning to find the good stuff.

Another of my favorite places is the Flea Market. Its incredible what you can find there if you have patience and don't give in to the sensory overload. 

preview I really found some good stuff there today! A box of victorian angel ornaments for $7.50.  A Guy Coheleach framed print, Baby Snow Leopard, for $20 (the print alone is worth over $60), the Hop On Pop book I have been looking for, $1.00.  Two baskets, $2.50, and a troll doll (which in the 60's we called Wishnic's) for 50 cents.

I am trying to teach myself cut and paste etc. The pictures should be reversed. I have not mastered it yet. HA! I think it is the computer. HA!

Happy shopping everyone.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

The weather outside......

We had snow!  It is fairly pretty, wet and icy.  Not like the folks up North. Causing havoc on the roadways just the same.  Us Southerners do not know how to drive in winter!

Friday, December 12, 2003

Kids were tougher back then

I found the above B-day card at the Liquor Barn today and a rush of memories flooded over me.  The sliding board bears an uncanny resemblance to the old school playground equipment I grew up with in the 1960's.

Only, ours had sides along the legnth.  The old yard where we played sat behind the three room school house.  The Catholic grammer school was housed in an old Victorian structure with the upstairs serving  as a  home to the nuns.  The playground equipment was made of metal, more metal, and then heavy duty metal.  You did not want to get a lip or a tongue stuck on any part of it during the winter months. We had the sliding board, two swing sets, and the creme de la creme of the yard, the envy of all the public school kids.....the merry-go-round!  Not just any merry go round, but the Monster of all Merry go Rounds. It was a bell type structure of engineering genius which not only went around in a circle, but also tilted wildly on the axis so the effect was a death defying up and down at 90 degree angles while going around and around at 100 miles per hour.

When the bell rang and everyone rushed out to the play ground, usually the older boys leaped on the Beast ahead of everyone else.  It was divided off into eight sections and eight boys would stand and begin the ride.  We were allowed on after. That is if one of us wasn't selected, put in the middle and made to dodge the mad thrust of the Beast.  Needless to say, lots of injuries.  This was a different time.  If you weren't bleeding, and nothing was broken, you were tossed aside and another victim took your place.

Another game was to pack as many "little" kids as possible on it, about three to a section,  thats a lot of little bodies. The Beast was run around and around until it picked up enough speed that the small bodies began flying through the air! .

I left home when I finished high school.  When I returned and would find myself close to the school yard, I would coax someone to climb on the Merry go Round with me and close my eyes, and begin to make that thing sing.

It was "retired" in the eighties.  Some kid broke his arm and it was deemed too dangerous for children.  70 years and many  generations just must have been tougher back then.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Nonsense in my head

I returned to work this morning because I waited too long to purchase a lottery ticket and they wouldn't let me have one!  Damn it.

I have one nonsense story Actually I have a ton of nonsense stories, but I only choose to tell this one tonight. When the state of Kentucky initiated the lottery way back in 1990 it seemed that the winning numbers were always in the 20's...So I go visit a friend in Florida.  The lottery there was HUGE compared to the money pot in KY.  I was compelled  to play in Florida and I  played a group of numbers in the 20's.

Guess what?  I hit 3 out of 6 numbers and won about $100.  I was at the airport leaving and I was feeling lucky! So I left my friend  two sets of numbers to play for me. He calls me later that week and say's, "I have good new and bad news, which do you want first?"

The good news....I had the pick five. ($100,000)

The bad news, he added a number and played the pick six. It seems in my haste to catch the plane, I scribbled down only five numbers for the second play.  Oh well, money eludes my family, so I'm told.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Christmas card morning

I have taken three days off from the grind to play around the house etc. etc. and the project today was the Christmas card list.  This is the year to send them out.  I tend to alternate with a send year, a no-send year.  I purchased these cards at the KY Horse Park Gift Shop last year after the season, so this year is a go.

I do not want to return to work.  I am going to play the lottery tonight and see if maybe I can get lucky.  I love my job, most the time.  But....a big but...I have become discontent.  I need challenge, and this job does not offer that.  I realize I suffer a little from SADD, lack of being able to run in the evenings because of the short days.  It happens every year.  I should expect it.  I gain weight, I am weary.

Then its spring and all is well again.

We booked a cruise for mid January.  Something to look forward to.  Also, I want to look into taking some type of Master Gardener class...not that I am all that, but I think it would be fun.  I need to exercise my mind as it has a tendency to become lazy along with the body during the winter months.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Ghost of christmas past

My Mother had three children within two and a half years.  Ned and Tom are what is known as Irish Twins, born within 11 months of each other.  They may as well have been twins, as they were inseperable. 

The above picture was taken in 1962.  Tom was as blonde as Ned is dark.  Who decided who got to represent the South and the North was proably left up to Mom.  This Christmas burns bright in my memory. 

One of my Mom's favorite Christmas stories.... The brood of children were pre-school age. She took us kids shopping in downtown Lexington during the Christmas season.  Downtowns were  the center of culture and shopping during that time.  We looked forward all year to visiting Santa and  whispering our wish lists in his ear.

Ned was older than Tom and the leader.  We  finished our audience with Santa and were on our way out of the store.  Ned and Tom had their heads together and Tom stopped in the center of the store and yells at the top of his lungs,


And then ran as fast as his chubby legs would take him, but not so fast as Mom couldn't grab him and exit the store red faced with Ned and I trailing, laughing all the way.


Monday, December 8, 2003

Christmas Tree Shopping

I went to the local Kroger store in search of a Christmas tree.  What was left were terrible!  I did not want to climb into the car and travel all over trying to locate that one perfect tree, so I pulled out our weekly local paper and checked the classified ads.

Sure enough, there was one phone number for a "cut your own tree" listed.  We called for directions and went on our way.  We made it a family outing. And  I thought Joe could use the extra help...just in case.

Once we got there, I'm not sure what I expected, but certainly not what we found.  An exotic animal farm!  This gentleman had so many breeds of birds I could not possibly remember every one.  Ducks, peacocks, chickens (who lay blue eggs),  stange looking ostrich's , was remarkable.  All watched over by a beagle named Maude, who was the most gentle animal I have ever met.

We had an extraordinary encounter.  Who knew that in search of a tree, we would have found such a surprise!

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Good for Babies, Brats, and Bikers

For the life of me, I can't get fired up about any subject this evening.  So I just thought I'd reflect on the events of the past few days.

Thank God, my lips went down by Monday morning.

I made a Birthday basket with all kinds of Kentucky food items for Debbie.  I could not resist the B-B-Q sauce featured above...Sissie Sauce. Also included bourbon balls (chocolate delicacy), Jim Beam steak sauce, Weisnenberger Fish Fry Batter Mix, special Bluegrass season salt, Derby black bean soup mix, and Blue Monday candy bars.

Saw a shooting star Monday night while running!

Sat with my Dad while my Mom went to Mass and prayer group.

Bridget came over and "borrowed" Christmas tree lights, and then "borrowed" all my ornaments!

This week end will include Christmas tree hunting and two parades! 

Life is so good.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Last Golden Days of Childhood

This Friday is Debbies birthday.  I met Debbie in the early 70's when we both attended Murray State University in extreme Western KY.  She came from New Jersey, via Germany.  She was an army brat.  She was to be the maid of honor in a wedding.  The bride was from a small town in west KY, so it made sense not to fly back and forth from Germany, but to enroll in school near by.

I love Debbie and cherish her as the closest friend I will ever have.  We had the greatest time that year at Murray.  We were at the tail end of childhood and we behaved accordingly.  We went to the 99th running of the Derby (1973) together, along with 100 of our closest friends, then I put her on a plane and never saw her again for over 20 years.

We kept in touch.  She had my parents permanent address along with the address of my brother in Louisville.  We were good at being able to find each other when we had allowed a lot of time to elaspe.

I sent her a letter in 2000 and included my email address.  On April fools day I received an email from her!  The internet is the best for keeping in touch.

Shortly after the first emails, her husband, I'll call him Zorro, emailed me.  "Hello, you don't know me, but I am Zorro, Debbies husband.  Debbie has been working day and night to get ready for her CPA exam.  As a present and surprise to her, I'd like to fly you down here after the test! What do you say?"  A no brainer.

My daughter and I fly down the weekend after Derby.  Zorro meets us at the airport holding a sign "Kentucky chicks" and off we go to surprise Debbie.

It was so great that it brings the sting of tears to my eyes right now.  I had never met Zorro and she had never met Bridget.  When she opened the door, Bridget was standing there.  She took one look and her eyes rolled into the back of her head! She did not need an introduction realizing immediately  who she was.

Zorro made three women very happy that week.  Zorro is so wonderful  I now understand why Deb fell in love, married him and never returned to Kentucky.

Childhoods have to end sometime.