Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year Resolutions

Sea Change for 2006

It has become a tradition for me at the end of each year to write the mandatory list of New year Resolutions. This year I am changing to something much more satisfying and adventurous! I'm going to collect my abandoned dreams. Seek them out like wild flowers lost in the green meadows of my fertile mind! Gather them into a beautiful colorful fragrant bouquet of hopes and desires.

Isn't that much more interesting than laboring over a list of resolutions that I will forget in a weeks time? That I will carry around the guilt of not trying harder to achieve, of being a quitter, not being committed enough?

The more outrageous that better!!!!!

I want to go to Cuba! I know that it is almost impossible and that Americans suffer great fines if they are flushed out. Yet, I think of Cuba as a lush forgotten island full of beauty and music and wonderful people. I truly think that Castro will be gone in the next 10 years and that the portal to that country will be opened up. I want to be first in line.

I need to return to Ireland. I felt like I had returned home when I first visited. When that strong emotional bond is just so fierce it can only mean one thing! I belong there.

I want to own a "house car" as my young step daughter would call it. A home on wheels that Joe and I can travel around this country to anywhere and everywhere. Our hearts desire. Watch the sun go down over the beautiful deserts of the American West. That's what I want.

I want to go to Italy. I want to go this year! I'm not certain I can talk Joe into it, but who knows. If not this year, then soon.

I want to write short stories. I know I have a book in me, maybe several. I think the short story is the first baby step for me. Not that this blog has not been the major step for overcoming my shyness in having my words read! It truly has. I have just become too addicted to this format and the wonderful feed back I receive from the community. The real world is not so forgiving, not so caring.

I want to write travel articles for a living!! The adventures of Joe and Mary on the road. Nothing can be as lively and entertaining with my soul mate by my side giving me the best material imaginable.

I dream that I will bite the bullet and just buy that expensive DSLR camera I want so badly but cringe in horror at the price. I am too much of my mother. If I would just do it!!! Do it do it do it. Never look back.

I dream of completing a half marathon. I have done it before and I can do it again! I love to run and have left it behind for some reason.

And that is a small collection of the dreams I have found among all the weeds of trying to lead a responsible and mature life.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Child at Head Water Park, Ft. Wayne

Took this picture for the now defunct Round Robin challenge during the summer. Those were the days......When I sorted through the pictures I liked the best, they were all of children! I especially liked the two little girls in Mexico in front of the taco stand in Tulum. If the background wasn't so busy, it would be up there. I did not alter any of the Cancun pictures.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Following Your Dreams

The last entry took on a life of its own as I wrote it. At first I was focusing on the dreams I had as a child and how they vanished as I became an adult. I can barely recall them. And only a handful.  

How do they fade? And why? Is it because as we age we tend to accept the hand dealt to us? Do we tend to cope with the disappointments that accompanies leaving childhood behind as we enter adulthood? The crushing expectations of others thrust upon us, responsibilities and obligations....are these the things that squeeze the hope from our souls?  

I always have had a vivid imagination. I wanted to grow up and  be a writer. I remember  taking a creative wiritng class my Junior year in High School. At the end of the quarter we handed in our stories. After she graded them, without telling us who wrote them, she began to read selected ones aloud to us.   She picked up the last one telling us it was the best. Imagine my shock as she began to read my paper! I was so embarrassed. I can still feel how flushed and hot my face became. I distinctly remember sliding down in my desk and trying to disappear. Bonnie was sitting next to me and at the end of my story I looked over at her and was astonished to see her wiping tears from her face. I could move someone to tears?? It was a very poignant story told from a childs point of view about the death of his older brother.  

It was then that I realized how tricky writing actually can be. To offer up a part of yourself in the written work for others to read and criticize, love or hate, ridicule or admire. It is just very scary stuff.  

Where did that dream go? Is there a heaven for discarded dreams? 

I started college in the early 1970's as an English major. That ended in disaster! I actually majored in Having Fun. I got A's in that, and failed pretty much everything else. When I returned to school in the 1980's, I no longer had those dreams of writing and being a journalist. I wanted to be in business. Yuck!! What was I thinking????!!!!!  

If only I had followed that dream......  

It would be interesting to know which paths I would have walked down rather than the ones I stumbled upon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Where do Discarded Dreams go?

I have a journal in my Bloglines that I rarely access. I allow it to fill up to overflowing!! 137 posts! A journalist, no less. I clicked on her blog yesterday and then linked to another blog that has had me thinking for two days!

The fascinating entry is here.

"........All those moments when they finally did that thing they've always wanted to do and how it made them feel."

I immediately began to run the film titled "Mary's 2005" looking for that dream I fulfilled. Certainly I did a lot of things this year. I moved from my small home town to a city 300 miles away. I survived a category 4 hurricane. I quit a job, got offered several jobs, then basically got my old job back. I failed. I adjusted. I endured. I stretched myself. And I amazed myself!

The most significant undertaking that I have yearned to do for over 20 years, was to reconnect with my college friend, no my closest college friend who marched into middle age with me (if you call 30 years old middle age) then we had a terrible falling out and had not spoken for 20 years.

I think about her often. Usually around her birthday, which is close to the first day of Spring. I always think about her at Christmas time, taking the ornaments out of boxes and hanging all her treasures that I inherited. (We shared apartments for years and years.) I think about her whenever I reminisce about Murray State University, get dreamy about all the years I lived in Louisville, or watch a Louisville game, or go to Louisville. Whenever it is Derby time or Octoberfest, I think about her. When I go to the Chow Wagon or the Cherokee Triangle Art Show, drive by Phoenix Hill, drive down Bardstown Road I see her ghost among all the people.

I tried to find her, track her down many different ways over the years. All led to dead ends.

Then I tried about a year ago! And there she was!!! I signed up for the Gold Membership with great hope. It seemed such a perfect plan! I was so psyched and so excited and practically giddy with anticipation.

And it bombed. Nothing.

I felt maybe that she had not forgiven me after all these years. The evil words that I had spoken were still a great wall between us. The things that best friends put each other through at times were too monumental for her to allow to flow under the bridge.

After several nights of vivid dreams about Murray State I decided to give it another try. So what if I get my feelings hurt again! Damn it, I'll just try again later!

This time she answered.

How did it make me feel?  I cried for joy. I have never actually cried from joy before. The feeling was like fireworks going off. Fireworks of exultation!

When you love someone you carry them around forever in your heart.

The cracks in my heart, and there are many, one of them is healing now.

And that is the thing I have wished for. For 20 years

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Don't Hate Me Because I love Walmart

I must admit, I'm glad the shopping part of the Christmas holiday is behind me. I do not enjoy being in large crowds with short tempered, impatient customers and overworked, underpaid and overwhelmed clerks.

I did all my shopping in a matter of days thanks to phenomenal planning and being able to get to the stores at an extraordinarily early hour!! Beat the crowds!! It works every time!!

And a hardy thanks goes out to Walmart for just being there all the time 24 hours a day. Except for the eggnog incident, it would be the perfect store. And it will continue to be the perfect store as long as it stays out of my home town in Kentucky. I, for one, do not mind driving the 20 minutes to either Lexington or Frankfort.

While having a conversation with one of my customers we were discussing the long underwear fad. I remarked that I would not go to Victoria Secret to purchase them when Walmart carried a perfectly good brand called Hanes. She remarked that she found her daughter's at Value City.

Value City?? I remember that name from when I lived in Louisville! I traipsed myself into the store (which I pass practically everyday!!) and that was the end of my shopping spree!! They had everything I wanted!! For me!! I found the cutest little pair of fur trimmed boots....a must in the white tundra waste land....., designer pants, wonderful marked down racks! I was in heaven! My shopping was completed.

I promise that next year (I make this solemn pledge every year at this time) I will start earlier, keep better records of what I think people would like, and use the Internet. Joe did not even have to leave the house!

But...just the fact of being there, of tapping into some cosmic affiliation with all the last minute grabbers, I mean shoppers. It is almost magical, if not hysterical.

I know I would miss it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Wonderful Life

There is so much I love about this season that I hardly know where to begin. I love the anticipation on the drive home, and how it builds the closer I get to my house. I know that the moment I open that mail box I will find Christmas Cards from my friends and family. I get such a thrill from that. I find that my spirits lift sky high when I see  red envelopes or handwritten address. Nothing can compete with the delight of  holding them, opening them and reading them.

I wish I could trade cards all year long. But it is not that easy. I should be happy and content that I hear from long lost friends at least once a year. I wish I could hold on to it longer.

I love the smell of the Christmas tree. It begins to fade in short time, so a candle from Walmart has been unexpectedly wonderful. I went back to purchase a few more and they were sold out!! At three stores!

I love egg nog. I think I love egg nog too much. Thank God it is only during the holidays! The Southern Comfort vanilla spice was a pleasant surprise! It has quickly been ushered in as a  new Christmas staple.

I love buying things for other people. I do not like shopping in crowded stores, and I have put off doing this for way too long. I will find myself once again among the procrastinators and panicked stricken in the last few shopping days. But.....I know exactly what I want, so it shouldn't be too awful.

I love all the cookies that are offered to everyone at work! It is as if everyone tries to chip in and bring an assortment. It has been wonderful at this new facility! And I just realized that everyone is probably wondering when my contribution to the expanding waist line will appear. Guess I know what I will be doing tomorrow night!

I love Christmas Lights. I love getting into the car and driving slowly around in the neighborhoods and oooohhhhing and aaaahhhing.

I love the feeling that comes over me, knowing that I have a wonderful family and a wonderful husband, and a wonderful job, and a wonderful life.

A wonderful life. I rejoice knowing  I realize that.


Friday, December 16, 2005


Ever since moving up here to the Cold, White, Frozen, Tundra of the North (new horror today, treacherous blowing snow) I made double certain that our little old local weekly paper would follow us. It arrives in our mail box around Tuesday, four days behind the issue date of the previous Thursday. (but, you can purchase it Wednesday evening after 7pm at Krogers....if I were home).

I really look forward to it.

It is a cornucopia of vital information for those of us living away from our beloved small town and hungry for news of home. On the second page, known as the editorial page, under the letters to the Editor is a step back in time with the "From Our Files" section. Terse news clips from 10 years ago, 25 years ago and my new favorite, 40 years ago. I can now relive  who attended the 12th birthday party of Tabby D., or who attended cotilion during holidays, which family is on a trip to Florida to visit an Aunt, who made deans list this fall semester at Transy U., and who is most recently admitted to the Elks Lodge. All this happened in 1965.

I love it.

I usually just get right to the meat of the matter and start at the back of the issue and find the police report. This is where all the action and dirt is to be found. Who was speeding, who was drinking and driving, who was threatening someone, who did not pay their child support and who was smoking pot driving through town. It is so delicious!!! So small town!

Just as interesting as who is doing what and getting caught is the crime report. The criminality usually revolves around throwing rocks at cars, or egging them, purses stolen out of cars at the Kroger parking lot, tractors stolen from barns and ditched, theft of fishing rods, passing funny money, and leaving the gas pump without paying.

A long list of who is suing who, who is divorcing who, who is marrying who, who is buying, who is selling and, how much they paid for it, and who is turning 50. The 50 information is usually accompanied with a photo of the birthday boy or gal as a young child and some sentimental poem....

                    Life is Iffy
                    Mike sure is Spiffy
                    By, Golly he is turning fifty!!

                         Love, Lorraine, Mama and Papa, Bubba and Irene, 
                         Bufford and Little Bufford.


I realize it is very corny. And I am realizing it is Friday and I have not received my copy of last weeks "Woof-it Sun". Dang it!!

This is the issue with all the 2005 Christmas babies in it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Memories of Snow Falls Past

Weather Report

We are bracing ourselves for THE BIG ONE. If this is the Big One what was that last week? A pre-tuner? More  than eight inches headed this way? Now I thoroughly understand the meaning of White Death.

Snow surrounds me. Everywhere I look there is the dullish blue white carpet of snow. It continues to fall occasionally in a lazy manner, like a drunken ballerina. Gentle flurries. If I did not have to drive in it, I would be smitten with its dazzling beauty.

The angelic charm of the newly fallen snow takes me back to those of years long ago when I was in grammar school in the 1960's. It seemed to snow more back in those childhood memories. At the bedtime prayer we would bow our heads. We would pray fervently and with great passion for a severe snow storm. We would rise earlier than usual and sit at the breakfast table, ears glued and focused on the early morning radio talk show...Artie Kay... and continue with our prayers with fingers crossed. He would read off the list of school closings. Our county, which begins with the letter "W" was always at the end. The list would be agonizingly long and cause us to lose hope...then finally, when it seemed nature had turned her back on us, it would be announced, "No School"!  We would run up the stairs and tumble back into bed and give thanks that God answered our prayers! I was always especially thankful, because I was known to not complete homework on the gamble of ice and snow.

A snow day was akin to an unexpected holiday. The whole neighborhood would come out dressed in their snow clothes. Make shift snow suits of double pants, mittens pinned to the coat, double layered sweaters and sweat shirts, knitted scarfs and hats, black rubber boots that had heavy buckles up the front.
We all had sleds back in those days! We would head towards the hill on Kilmer Drive which had a steep incline that extended a good block and landed you at the bottom where it connected with the busy cross street of Douglas Ave. The more bodies you piled on a sled, the faster you plummeted down the slope. We would sit behind each other and lock together. The last person would push until they got a good speed going then fling themselves on the back. The person up front had to steer not only with the ropes attached to the cross bar, but also with their feet!
Down the hill we would plunge, gaining speed at a reckless and break neck intensity, screaming and laughing as we hung on for dear life. The cross street, Douglas, would appear all too soon adding the element of danger to the excitement. It was necessary for the driver to maneuver towards one of the side yards to break the downward charge. If not, it was certain death and destruction to shoot out into the traffic of Douglas Ave.

It was not uncommon to dismount as the sled was moving at 60 mph (at least!!!) by flinging oneself off the out of control sled! Many a time the  empty sled would shoot into traffic. My youngest brother Patrick, who was probably around four then, would not give it up and hung on as it crossed the street and plowed into the front porch of the house on the other side of Douglas! I vividly remember being alarmed thinking he could have been creamed and worse (!) what trouble the rest of us would be in. We more than likely beat him up a little for being so fool hardy. Hard to hurt a kid who has ten inches of clothes layered on them.

Those memories come back to me on days like today, with the snow beginning to fall and thoughts of slick hazardous roads dance in my head. The above photo is from my High School Days. Nothing changed much from grammar school till then. I still prayed, I still did not complete my homework and I still ran to the nearest hillside with a sled. We still piled on and careened down snowy slopes!

Finding this picture, I thought it would be so much fun to gather the participants and see if we could still all fit on the sled?  I, for one, know that if I were to jump on top of the pile (on Gayle), Howie (on bottom) would meet with instant death, not by treacherous cross street, but by the mashing memories of middle age.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


There was an accident this morning. The Christmas Tree fell over. It was awful! I thought I had done such a good job putting it up by myself. I noticed it was leaning a little toward the left, so I strung it up! Not good enough.

Seabiscuit was injured. I am going to have to put him down. It is so sad in so many ways! First, he was a great champion. A champion among champions! Second, I can not located a store in Ft. Wayne that has thoroughbred ornaments!

So I went to E-bay. I found what I was looking for and so much more! I went over the edge and bid on several Triple Crown winners. I will be happy if I win even one. I just hit the "buy now" button on the Seabiscuit replacement.

I could so easily become an E-Bay junkie. I love that web site. I have located the most obscure stuff there. For example, the Animal Orgy coffee cups. Long ago, in a far away land known as My Younger Self,  I had a bear cup from (then) Shillito's. I marveled that such a vulgar item would be available at a classy store! That only added to the charm. I always thought it amusing. I envisioned unsuspecting shoppers  purchasing these cups and sitting at their middle class breakfast tables sipping coffee out of a cup painted with fornicating bears!

"Honey, I think these bears are....OH MY GOD!!!" 

That was around 1980. I had that cup for a long time until one day, it was in an accident and the handle broke off. After that, I used it as a small planter for tiny Irish Shamrocks (aka, friendship plant).

One day, I realized it was gone. I have no idea if I tossed it out or it was just forgotten and left behind on one of my many kitchen window sills.

Every time I entered a flea market for 20 years, I looked for them. I poked through many highly dangerous and dusty booths of china, pottery and glass searching for those naughty bears.

E-Bay. One day this autumn, I thought I'd take a look! Next thing I know, I have four of those mugs from 1979! Not only the bears, but bunnies and elephants! I was ecstatic!

I also love STEALITBACK. I have discovered the jewelry. God Help Me. You would not believe the beautiful stuff they have and how cheap you can get it! Maybe I should not be telling you all about it.

Forget it, it does not exist.


Friday, December 9, 2005


Feeling cocky.

Everyone tells me that this is highly unusual. The temperatures, the snow, the whole dang thing! They are concerned about me, being from the South and not accustomed to a snow fall every single week! According to them, neither are they! I'm going to play this hand to the dire end! Poor little southerner, scared of the snow.

Actually, I was feeling cocky this morning. It took me thirty minutes to dig myself out of the drifts and the accumulated snow on the car. For a few dreadful moments I thought I had burnt up my windshield wiper motor, but alas, only frozen. When I finally began driving I was alright. I took a longer route to work that avoided the expressway, which is the kiss of death in the dark before seven a.m. on snow filled sleety and ice kissed days.

The frozen wiper reminded me of an afternoon long ago when I drove from Ashland Kentucky to home on I-64 in the midst of a blizzard. I had to pull over because my windshield wipers were frozen and ineffective. A family friend was at the gas station I landed in and helped me thaw them out. That afternoon I took the longest drive of my life. I was behind semi's and in a white out snow storm.

I realized that eight inches of snow, powder snow with no ice, was not something to be afraid of.

Hell, I went through a category four hurricane!!!

Like I said, I was feeling cocky. Then I began to skid a little. Reality bites.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

To Tree or Not to Tree

I got a lot done today. All my Christmas cards are addressed. I made a pot of Beef soup. I had the kids next door scrape the five inches of snow off the drive way for a nominal fee. I bought the worlds easiest and best Christmas tree stand. And I bought a Christmas tree.

Now I suppose there are two types of people in this world. Those who prefer artificial trees and those who go for the much more adventurous Real Live Evergreen. We are masochists at heart.

As I tried to load the tree into the stand and was poked in the eye by one of the needles the fact about masochism was rammed home! It is quite the task to put one of those trees up by yourself. I was up for the challenge and thanks to the wonderful tree stand, it was a piece of cake once I got the tree centered on the "spike".

My tree runneth over with Christmas ornaments. I must limit myself to only one or two a year. As you get older, the amount of glass, plastic, painted wood, horses and angels becomes unbelievable. I love antique ornaments and find them easily in Goodwill and Salvation Army stores during the season. One of my favorites, old English Christmas painted ornaments, I found in a Flea Market for $3.00. Twelve of them in a beautiful box.

I live for those moments.

I recently began collecting horse racing ornaments. They are so beautiful. My MO is to wait until the day after Christmas and hit the Keeneland Gift shop and the Gift Shop at the Horse Park. Half price. I also purchase next years Christmas Cards at that time too.

I'm not certain how I am going to pull it off this year.


My ad today is ....."SIZE DOESN'T MATTER"


Oh my God!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Familiar Haunts

A Funky picture from Light Up Louisville Friday night. (Fireworks!! as they throw the switch for all the Christmas lights in Downtown Lou.)

This morning after leaving Bridget's I decided to treat myself to breakfast. Lynn's Paradise Cafe was too crowded, Ditto's looked closed so I ended up at the Shoney's on Eastern Parkway & Preston. And what a treat it was! First of all, to be surrounded by southern accents. Music to my ears. And the service! I also recognized it last night  when we ate at the pub attached to the Marriott downtown. Service was spectacular! Friendly, prompt. I can not begin to count the times I have walked out of places "up North" because I was not acknowledged by the staff and servers! Astonishing! Little do they know, I am a great (and I do mean Great)tipper. But, I have to get good service.

I am not expected anywhere today, so I have the entire day to so what ever it is I want to do! I went downtown and took pictures! It is a gray overcast day and I loved it. I miss the dismal gray of a Ohio Valley sky. So familiar and expected. All the better to appreciate the sunshine when he makes an appearance. I wish I could put into works why Louisville is so beautiful to me. It is a large city like very other large city, yet it shines even in the overcast skies of late November. From the funky stores and streets of Bardstown Road to the breathtaking expanse of the Ohio River stretching towards Indiana every little nook and crannie is familiar and a welcome sight.

Then Lexington. I find myself racing to the Friends Book Cellar, at the downtown library branh, because I have not been able to find the time to visit since May. I am  very over due for a fix!  First off  Joe, one of the staff volunteers, is on duty! He greets me with a hug, tells my how beautiful I look, and how he has missed me! Now that is service!

I find in the aisles two of my favorite books ever in Hard Back! A terrific find! I am buried in the Travel section and find six books I must have! In total, I have 12 books. Total....$29. I love this place! I wonder about sneaking them into the house in Ft. Wayne, as my book collection is totally out of hand. It is actually housed in our storage area!

I am now at the computer room casually casting my eyes around looking for the mutterer.  He haunts and terrorizes the cubicles. Very bad to make eye contact with him, I would think.I doubt he is here since I don't hear him.

My next stop will be the liquor Barn, which I will just run up and down the aisles and rejoice at the selection and the prices. There is not a single store in Ft. Wayne anywhere close to the gigantic liquor stores in this area. Not only liquor, but the best greeting cards, gifts, party favors, a deli, balloons, gift baskets, designer coffees, gourmet foods and candy, and of course lots and lots of beer! Lots and lots of quirky beers from all over the world! I live for these moments.

I am then off to the consignment shop. I love that place. I need a new winter coat for the harsh North East winds! I know I will find it there. Plus, no telling what else.

I have an 18 pound Turkey in the back of my car. I certainly hope it thaws out before tomorrow morning. I feel strange with the bird in my back area. I keep checking on it. I know this is the most unconventional method I have ever using for thawing out a turkey.


Is spell check not working for anyone else?

Are the ads gone or is my eyesight getting worse?....dang it I don't see any!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


First Snowfall of the Year!!

Snowed all morning. Very treacherous for this Southern Belle! Drove very slow in second gear! Probably pissed a lot of people off!

Fragments from the week

That was the week that was (ongoing)

Life is a blur. Rapidly streaking by at mach speed. The older I grow the faster it flashes and turns the calendar pages. As a child Christmas arrived at an excruciating slow pace. The build up of expectation, the time away from school, the anticipation of snow was an overwhelming pleasure that I looked forward to all year.

Now I wish time would slow down. At times I wish it would even reverse. What I would give to have my Bridget as an inquisitive four year old again, snuggled up beside me in bed sleeping the dreams of angels.

What I do have now are fragments of memories from the past few days that will serve as tiny souvenirs of the waning days of 2005.

Joe and I traveling to Van Wert Saturday morning and I putting the new CD I had found at Borders into the player. Buena Vista Social Club. I feel as if I tricked him into listening to my "wacky Latin music" by saying it had Ry Cooder on it. I look back on that morning and him listening to the album in its entirely as symbolic of his love for me. And his tolerance of my wacky ways as I leaned over and sang "Ay ay ay ay....I am the Frito Bandito" inserted into the music.

Monday mid-afternoon found me having the attacks in my chest again. I was driving north on I-69 and began to semi-panic. I felt for certain I was having the beginning of a heart attack now! I turned around and headed back to Ft. Wayne and an urgent treatment center while in the waiting room I positioned myself into an incline posture that took the pressure off my chest. The doctor examined me and told me the news. I have a pulled muscle in my chest.

It has not hurt once since.

We were having a visitor at the Sales Center. Someone from my past! Someone who has been promoted from the Center in Lexington to the biggest position in the Regional area. I have not seen him in four years, and feel he was very instrumental in helping me find my way back. Or course I wake up yesterday with a red blemish on the tip of my nose! Good lord!!! All day long I had to keep reapplying make-up to the affected area. When the day was winding down into the final moments and I thought I had missed him and abandoned my nose charade, there he was.

Oh it was good to see him!

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is tomorrow. I found this terrific Arkansas Bar-B-Que place in the downtown area and we will have smoked brisket and the fixings for dinner tomorrow. Then I travel to Kentucky for time with my family.

That is what I am thoroughly thankful for.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Risk Aversion

A Different Drummer

One of the dangers to having an on line journal is the risk you are taking when you lay it all out there. You never know who is reading. Secondly, you have absolutely no control over how people perceive what you are writing. Something written in jest is taken as serious. Tongue in cheek is taken as a position on a subject.

One of the by-products from the great exodus from AOL I see is a tremendous surge of freedom beginning to form. So many of us have been so careful not to hurt feelings, say the wrong things, and God forbid, be misunderstood. And then there was the dreaded TOS! I, for one, have held back writing about certain subjects because of my concern for offending anyone. I sweated bullets the time when I wrote about smoking pot at a Rolling Stones concert over 20 years ago!!!

For all my bravado, I still have a strong drive to be accepted and one of the crowd. Yet, most my life, I have always been on the outside fringes of the crowd! Why is this, I wonder? I'm not a leader and not much of a joiner. I am attracted to the wild and devil may care type of personality, the risk takers. The ones who attract attention. The ones who are in trouble all the time.

The ones who live life and do not waste one moment. Except maybe when they are sitting in jail (hahah).

I was a rebellious child and as I grow older I still tend to be rebellious. I realize that I am a part of this wonderful community on AOL, that is so diverse and interesting. I marvel that I have been able to fit in!!

I always like the bad boys and the incorrigible girls.

And that is all I have to say about that.  

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Did I act rashly leaving AOL?

I have put two years of myself on these pages to abandon them so quickly?

I have been thinking and commenting in the journals of others that I hate the fact that the AOL monster destroyed and razed the J-Land community virtually overnight.

Well, I am going to protest by remaining on AOL and not allowing them to chase me away!

I am joining Brian (aka the Love Train) and will link to all his postings! 

(P.S. needed the spell check big time)


Sunday, November 13, 2005


(Cave Hill Cemetery Nov. 2005)

We are under a Wind Advisory in North East Indiana. And they are not joking, the wind is pretty strong. Strong enough to make it near impossible to open and close a car door. No one told me that I should expect such fierce winds. Since the land is so flat up here maybe they thought I could figure it out.

The wind and rain have stripped off the beautiful leaves and have sent them dancing all over the streets and lawns. The kids next door came over during the week and made me an offer I could not refuse. To rake my leaves. For $5..........each! Such enterprise should be rewarded.

I guess I will grow accustomed to the Wind Advisory Alerts. Since I found out the hard way snow around these parts is not cause for concern. I will not be receiving the obligatory Snow Alerts that are common a little further south.

Last March I was up here and walked outside and it was a blizzard! At least six inches since I had entered the apartment only hours before. No Bread, Milk and Beer Alerts for these seasoned Mid-Westerners.

I usually do not write much about Joe's family, as we are a blended family and I feel that their privacy is important. But I have to announce that Joe is now A GRANDPA!!!! And I guess I am a Step-Grandma.

Hopefully pictures to come. He went home to see the latest addition to the family. I gave him my camera. You have seen (the last post with that blurry picture of a travel weary Alphawoman) his handiwork with a camera.

I can only hope.

Welcome to the world Tinkerbelle.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005


(The airport at Merida waiting to board the plane....why I never let Joe take pictures with my camera)

There is absolutely nothing as shocking as seeing yourself on television.  I was ill prepared for it. That is the reason it has taken me almost two weeks to even come up with some type of entry about it.

When we were trying to get out of Mexico, Joe thought it would be a good idea to call our friend in Ft. Wayne, who is connected to the local media mob, to help us. We suggested she call CNN, MSNBC, or even the CIA! She called a radio station who interviewed Joe that afternoon via the infamous cell phone! I'm certain that the "greased wheels" had more to do with us getting out that night than his radio interview.

Upon arrival home, the television station contacted me and I agreed to an interview. Somewhere in my naive view of the world, I thought they would interview me and show some of the pictures from my digital camera. I thought this because I told them I did not want to be on TV.

They arrived with a camera, I should have had a clue I was in trouble.

I wanted to go fix my hair, change clothes, put on make up. They said, "We want you to look like you just survived a hurricane." They also had a dead line.

When I was aired on the 5 o'clock news.....I was struck dumb. And I was struck deaf. I only heard one thing....that southern twang. Slow and ......oh my God! What a southern accent.

Then it was my bad side. My scar, that I have had since childhood when I tumbled down the concrete stairs at age two was so evident that I could barely see anything else! Except the bags under my eyes. My eyes! My eyes!

I need an eye job!

I had my hair pulled up in a pony tail on top of my head. I looked like a mountain woman from the hills of Kentucky.

I did not hear once word I said. I was in such shock.

Word of advice...never ever go on television without makeup and your hair done.

I shall never recover.

Monday, November 7, 2005


I am honored and surprised!!! Pleasantly surprised! Thank you all so much for voting me into the Vivi awards. It is such an honor to win considering the competition. I was in a category with some great journals!

I have been wracking my brain for a way to follow up all those entries about Cancun. It is impossible.  I did learn quite a bit during the ordeal/adventure.

Number one, you never know what you can do until you have to do it. Looking back on it I just shake my head. I would have have a hissy fit if I had to sleep on that hard floor one more night at the second shelter. But I would have done it, had no choice.

Secondly, we must take care of each other. We must look out for each other.

Third, there are a lot of ugly Americans out there and it shames me.

The most important lesson I learned was about the people who live in Mexico. The Mexican people, the locals, were there greatest. When I first arrived in Mexico I was hesitant to leave the Hotel District because I did not know what I would find. I had some crazy idea of what I thought Mexico was like. What I found is that they are very kind. The locals around the second shelter were very poor. Yet what little they had, they offered to us. And wanted nothing in return. They took care of us.

I felt like I was in a movie. That everything was a trifle surreal and happening to someone else. It felt akin to an out of body experience.

Thank you all once again. Now somebody please help me get my award into my side bar!!!!

(please forgive me, no spell check)

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Day eight - October 27 Thursday

4:30 AM Touch Down St. Louis. Wild cheering!!!


The picture says it all. Family reunited at Chicago!


Day seven - Will it ever end?

I remember what it was like during my ninth month of pregnancy. I thought it would never end. That I was to remain this way the rest of my life. That is how it felt October 26th. This day would never end.

We lined up in groups according to which airport was your final destination. What a joke. We were there at 8am. Spirits so high because we were told there were four jets waiting for us at the airport!

Why do they do that? Don't they understand how devastating it is when you realized you have been duped. Yet again. There were no planes. No one was going to Chicago. No one was going anywhere. Once again planes flew in. Maybe one and hour. We cheered when they came into the airports air space! And fewer were leaving.

It made no sense. And it will never make any sense. It will never be explained. We waited for our planes. What else could we do? We jumped line. We will go to Dallas, we told them! Bob and Judy too. Israel and Bella also. Just get us back to the states.

There was no plane to Dallas.

The military showed up in the afternoon and took over the airport. Once again, I will never understand. The General showed up. Joe and I were standing there! I was negotiating a phone interview with a radio station in Ft. Wayne. I was taking pictures with my cell phone to try and send what I was seeing.

So corrupt and unbelievable that I dare not write it here.

GET US OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Once the corruption had taken place, things moved swiftly. Planes began to land and take off. Buses arrived and people got on planes and left. Our Holland friends showed up. They spent the night in a five star hotel! They got right on a plane and left.

What is up with Americans?

Desperate we begged to be allowed on a flight to St. Louis. A flight to Denver or Minneapolis had just taken off. Our names were added on the list. We clutched our carry on luggage. My suitcases were taken off the Dallas luggage cart and transferred to the St. Louis.

Dare I hope?

Suddenly..... nothing happens nothing happens...then everything happens!......we were ordered to get into the terminal and go through customs.

They made us stand on a concrete floor for over an hour while they checked and copied our passport information.

At 130am we boarded the plane. When it took off we cheered long and loud.

We were headed home.




Day Seven - Let the pictures do the talking


Weary tourists outside entrance to Airport



The line for "Chicago"



The masses of Funjet refugees



Someone should tell her Mama!



We became a Military Airport around mid-afternoon



Day one in Merida - October 26th - Wednesday

We make the caravan back to the airport. Except our van makes a detour. Our driver is totally unfamiliar with Merida. We are lucky we did not get lost more often. We had vans following us!!! So, we pretended that we wanted to make that wrong turn because there was a gas station on this road!

We arrive at the end of the caravan. We are forced to park outside the airport this morning. I do not know why. We just are. Rumor is it is too overcrowded inside.

Joe and I get out of the Van. Joe had to find a bathroom.

He is not gone two minutes when the word is out. "GET IN THE VANS!!! WE'RE GOING IN." I'm frantic. I do not want to be left behind again! One of the Smurf's assures me it is only a ten minute walk to the front of the airport. He will wait with me.

In the meantime, I search for our van to tell them I will catch up.

THEY"RE GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I look down the road and there they are. I break into a run! They are gesturing at me to run faster to catch up. I did a pantomime to get them to understand that Joe was in the bathroom! I just rubbed my tummy and yelled "JOE!"

Joe showed up moments later and the Smurf made us jump on one of the buses. Now I was worried that our luggage was going to be lost again!!! I went through too much to get that luggage back to let it out of my sight for one minute!

That is just the way it is. Everything is rush rush rush. Then nothing.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. For a very long time.


Day Six - Ticket to ride.

It's late. After midnight, so officially it is day seven. I am not in Cancun any longer, but now in a city some 200 miles away called Merida. It is rumored that there is an airport here. 38,000 of us feel like we are in some bizarre scavenger hunt. Looking for the allusive ticket out of here.

Now this is where it gets weird.

The airport is closing down and we are ordered to get the heck out of the parking lot. We are not allowed to spend the night. As always I am clueless as to who is ordering us to leave. Military? Private airport meanies? Anti-American activists?

We load up in the buses and vans and take off. Following each other out into the dark night. It must be after 1 am by now. We are all tired, cranky, and humorless. It is rumored that we are going to the parking lot of a movie house. Rumors, rumors, rumors.

We travel down the highway, across parts of the highway that are under construction but still being used. Very bumpy. We travel a long ways. I feel we are just going to drive around all night until the sun comes up and we are allowed back into the airport to begin our vigil again.

We are at the mercy of Funjet. And the foreigners are getting restless.

We do arrive at a parking lot. It is the parking lot for a Boston Restaurant! I ask the van driver if Joe and I can find space in a less crowded fan (I saw one at the airport) to lay down and get some sleep.

"Why would you want to do that when you can go into this nice restaurant and eat all night. Open bar?"  He had a very good point.

And that is the way it was. Very strange. They had a pizza buffet all night long. Drinks were on the house, but only non-alcoholic. Thank goodness there was not a crisis in this area, the bar was open and the drinks were flowing.

It was 2 am.

I was still fretting about Israel and Bella, but my fears were calmed when they walked in with Bob and Judy. Joe and I found an empty booth, he slept on one side, I on the other. At 330 am we fell into another dead sleep.

Awake at 6 am.

Back on the road to freedom.


Day Six - Nightmare in Merida

I think you all must know what happens next. All those buses heading to the only functioning airport in the area. I believe the estimate of tourists that night was 38,000.

Our caravan had four buses and 20 cargo vans full of stranded Funjet tourists. 2,000 of us was the estimate I overheard. We were able to drive into the airport parking lot and get out of the vehicles. Joe and I headed into the airport proper to check things out...and go to the bathroom.

We ran right into Bob and Judy our first friends we made at the Hotel Rui Caribe all those days before. Seemed like years!

It would be an understatement to announce that the place was crawling with people. Shoulder to shoulder, wall to wall. They were laid out on the floor everywhere in the airport, and on the outside lawn. Everywhere you looked, there were bodies. The  line into the restroom was long and I feared once again of being left behind.

After all we were told the planes to take us home were waiting for us on the run way. There were no planes. I can't remember how many I heard taking off that night. Only a few and even less coming in.

Total confusion.

Bob and Judy had hooked up with an elderly couple. They had more or less taken them under their wing to help them maneuver their way through the ordeal. Israel and Bella. Russian immigrants.

Bob lent us $20 as we had spent our last $10 with the Maestro. Hurricanes are expensive with all the tipping you have to do! We gleefully spent it on a Pizza hut pizza! We took the remainder back to share with Judy and Bob. What we found was Israel standing alone, under a tree holding Bella's pocketbook.

She had gone to the bathroom some time ago. Yes he would accept the pizza, but he would not eat until she came back. I was somewhat concerned. Here it was, closing in on midnight and a 75 year old man was alone in the dark, separated from his wife of 57 years. It saddened me.

Joe tried to find Bob. I laid on the wet, cold, hard ground with my suitcase for a pillow because there was no room in the van!

Joe was wandering around and ran once again into Israel, holding one piece of pizza and the purse. He had not found his wife. By my estimate, she had been gone for two hours. The line was long, but not that long!

Suddenly......once again, nothing happens, nothing happens, then everything happens!!!.....we were ordered to get into the van! The airport was shutting/closing and everyone had to evacuate the parking lot.

Evacuate!!! To where?????

Our fourth and last shelter.


Day Six - The Road to Merida

Joe and I must have been the last to arrive at the caravan pulled over to the side of the highway. We were rushed over and pushed into a cargo van, not the luxury bus. The van was already full to capacity.

Joe and I were cool. After all, we had just survived a Category 5 Hurricane. To crowd into a van for three hours....piece of cake.

I wish that was the story. The group of seven people already in the van had just gone through the Hurricane together. We were once again the intruders. They were nice enough, but the van was now very crowded and all our stories out trumped their stories.

You know how it is after a Category 5 Hurricane.

Joe and I decided to just be quiet and listen to them talk among themselves. Actually they were very nice.

We drove South at first. We came into a tourist town called Tulum which had to be legendary for its scuba diving taking into account all the shops on the main street. Our drive, Speedy Gonzales....actually Fernando Gonzales....pulled over to a taco stand in the middle of the town.

Everyone piled out and we immediately got ice cold 16 ounce bottles of Coca Cola handed to us with a straw. The first cold drinks we had had in six days! The most delicious sensation imaginable.

Everyone had tacos. Real authentic Mexican tacos. I decided that I was going to continue on the Cancun diet for awhile. No food just tuna. Lots of water if you have a working toilet. Minimal water if you do not.

And it is a good thing. Montezuma got his revenge on several of them a little later on.

The three hour trip was another one of the Smurf's sick little tricks on the silly tourists. Because the main regular road, which was a three hour trip, was flooded out, we had to take the long way. The back roads.

The nine hour trip.



Stranded! Standing in front of the gates in the throngs of people desperate to get out and get home. Our bus had left. The Smurf's spoke very little English. I understood they were trying to secure us a ride to the bus! A van approached and stopped. Lots of chattering between the Smurf's in the van and the Smurf's outside. The van drove off.

Joe and I were perplexed. I had no idea what to expect. All we could do was stand there and wait.

I looked at all the taxi cabs lined up in front of the LaSalle. They must have had a tremendous day the day before ferrying the unfortunate to the Hotel Zone for their luggage. Things were slower today. The tourists were all catching the buses this day. I looked over Joes shoulder and saw the Maestro! I was so very glad to see him since he had made all my dreams come true the day before!

We shot the bull together for awhile and then explained our plight to him. He immediately began talking to the Smurf's. Rapid fire Spanish, lots of shaking of the head, a phone call made on the only cell phone I ever saw in a Smurf's hand and it was settled.

For $10, he would take us to the bus!

We loaded out luggage in the back of the station wagon and off we went! He took us about 20 miles out of town towards Merida! I thought we were going to the Cancun airport! I was totally wrong. This was no time for idle chit chat. Traffic was dense and he had to concentrate on driving very fast. We took a wrong turn. The usual road to Merida was flooded out and there was no way to get through. He had to make his way to a turn around area and double back. He honked and swore and even went nose to nose with the Military man who tried to stop him. In a matter of moments he had us turned around and once again on the right path, chasing down the bus.

The bus had pulled over on the side of the road waiting for the caravan of Funjet evacuates to make the journey all together.

We made it. I felt like I had driven the 20 some odd miles. I only had the $10 to give him. He kissed me goodbye and told me not to worry about tipping him.

"I'm giving you the Friend rate." he said.

We left him and ran to catch up.

I never did know his name.


Day Six - October 25th, Tuesday

I awoke early, before the sun rose. I took a bottle of water and was determined to somehow wash my hair!!!!!!!!! I was totally blown away when I reached the bathroom and realized the lights were on. We had running water!!! First time since Thursday.

It was heaven. I did not even notice it was cold water! I was able to use a towel I had pinched from the hotel to wash my face, arms etc. When I finished I gasped at the dirt on the towel! A lady was next to me, we were the only two there so early in the morning.

I showed her the towel. She looked at the towel and then at me and then said in this droll throaty voice with an English accent.....

"You filthy bitch."

I laughed until I was doubled over.

This was definitely going to be a glorious day.

We began to leave. First Loretta and Tom at 430am, followed very quickly by Zoe and Martin who were summoned during the night that their flight to England was leaving early. (by way of the Dominican Republic).

Joe and I made ourselves a nuisance to the Smurf's. "I don't know."

"We are waiting word from our superiors. They are trying to open doors. One at a time."

"Maybe take a bus to Merida. A three hour trip."

This was the type of information everyone was getting. It was frustrating. People stood around in tight knots. People were stationed with their luggage at the front gates. Buses pulled in and out. Where were they going? No one knows! One thing for certain, the compound was clearing out, thinning down. It was rumored that the school was to be used for the locals who needed shelter.

We got on a list for a hotel, just in case. We all continued to want to stay together and ride the adventure out. We began this together, we will finish this together.

Joe and I returned to the room. Lunch was being served. Thick bread with ham and cheese. Bottle water. I was trying to write in my small diary, Joe was tossing basketballs on the school court yard.

Suddenly......(time goes on and on so slow. Nothing happens Nothing happens Then everything happens).......A Smurf runs into our room. "Quick! Quick! The bus is leaving! You must be on the bus!"

It was the only way to say goodbye. The only way. I could not have endured it any other fashion.

We were on the sidewalk.  The bus had left us behind.


DAY FIVE - What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun

Naturally when we went to our hotels we brought back much more than just our luggage. Although alcohol was prohibited during a crisis, we smuggled it back to the LaSalle. Joe and I did our usual of filling up water bottles with vodka and tequila. Dave had emptied his refrigerator of the cerveza. (Oh, I did learn a new word! cerveza - beer!) Others were much more cunning and deliberate, they ripped the bottles from the wall!

We hung up towels to hide us from prying eyes and then we threw ourselves a party on the veranda! The MP3 player was cranked up and we began to dance.

We did shots did tequila. We drank cerveza Cowboy Cold which I found out means room temperature! We did shots of everything actually, since mixers were scarce and ice was unavailable!

We even did the Limbo. "How low can you go. How low can you go."

A good time was had by all.

No pictures of this debauchery. What happens in Cancun stays in Cancun.



DAY FIVE - The first to leave

After returning to Lasalle I offered to share my clothes, perfume, soap, towels with everyone. I wanted to toss all my clean underwear on my pallet and roll around on it! In our absence the others had begun their journeys to the hotels! Luggage and suitcases were all on the way.

Then we began to focus on how to get out of there! Information was sketchy and inconsistent. We were informed that the Airport was closed. We were told it was open. We were told that you had to purchase a bus ticket to Merida and fly out of there.

It was chaos and confusion. Yet things were beginning to happen. The RUI hotel group that had been finding us shelters and feeding us now turned our fates over to the Group Charters we had booked our vacations through.

A Charter was a good thing. On the other hand a Charter was a bad thing. We were at the mercy of Funjet. Their representatives dressed in Caribbean blue shirts and white trousers. Much like Smurf's. Very few spoke English.

Dave was the first to go. Suddenly. The American Consulate was involved in getting those who had commercial flights out first. He was summoned to leave.

He picked up his back pack we all kissed him. And he was gone.

He was our Rock.


Day Five - The Hotel District


The beach was here. Reclaimed by the sea.


Our room.


The beautiful glass lobby.


Day Five  - The Maestro

We stood in the middle of the intersection and tried to hail a taxi. It seemed the city was waking from a long slumber. People were moving again. Taxi's were at a premium. Dave was able to flag one to pull over. He had a fare in the front seat, but agreed to take us to the Hotel District! We climbed into the back and took off.

He spoke broken English. He told us only four people were reported dead in Cancun by the Hurricane. Three in a gas explosion, and one had a tree fall on them. He told us the Airport was very bad, no tower and flooded. Yet, it was expected to be re-opened by Thursday! He sadly told us the beach was gone. And no Cerveza!!

He was going to take the long route to the Hotel District. We were absorbed into long lines of traffic. This did not deter him. He drove on the sidewalks and in the wrong lanes making the oncoming traffic pull to the right. If it was two lanes traveling forward, he made it three by squeezing in between vehicles going too slow for his liking. He used his horn like a refined musical instrument. He was a maestro! He only had to back up and retrace his steps once!

We were greeted by the "welcome to Cancun" sign laying half in the street, the other half in the medium. We laughed at this, a bizarre sight. The palm trees were sheared in half. Coconuts and palm leaves covered the medium. The new construction that was being put up would have to be restarted. It lay in ruins as if some big giant had bent the steel every which way. Many parts of the road were flooded, but he bravely drove through.

I think he was enjoying himself!

He pointed to the hotels as we passed, "Finiquito." I wish I knew the Spanish for "very sad".

Dave went to his hotel first and the taxi driver waited with Joe and me downstairs. He was inside for 20 minutes.

Then to our hotel. I will let the pictures tell the story. The beautiful glass lobby was a pile of rubble. There were many people inside. A hotel worker got a flashlight and led us up the four flights of stairs to our corner room.

And I wanted to fall to my knees to give thanks. Our luggage was sound and dry, sitting in the bath tub, covered in towels, awaiting our return!


October 24, Monday - Day Five

We laid out our pallets, lit our candles and laid down. One of Papa's sons took out his MP3 player and attached speakers. Now we had music. We fell asleep listening to the sweet sounds of Mexican music.

We slept the collective sleep of the dead. None of us had more than several hours of rest in the past three nights.

Then it was Monday. Jeannie has been reunited with her lost friend. Thank God she was okay. We found her immediately upon our arrival at LaSalle. Me, Joe, Jeannie, Dave and Leona took off to find a phone. Even though my cell phone continued to work thanks to everyone contributing their Motorola batteries when one would run out. We were able to call out! I had the only phone that worked! I let everyone use it. I figure I will catch Cingular's ear and tell them the story and hopefully they will waive my charges....maybe they will give me cell service free for life in exchange for the testimony!

But I was unable to get through to Bridget. We waited in line for over an hour. Joe and Jeannie returned to the compound, Leona and I stayed in line and Dave watched over us. It was my turn. I had my phone card ready to go. And the phone went dead!

That was the only time I came to tears. Leona was able to reach her daughter on the other phone. She was kind enough to ask her to call my old friends in Lexington and have them call my new employer in Ft. Wayne.

I was suppose to start my job on this day, Monday October 24th!! We headed back to the compound and as we entered through the gates we encountered people returning from the Hotel District with their luggage.

They had hired a taxi driver to take them. We did not even need to communicate with words, Dave, Joe and I headed to the large intersection to find a taxi!


DAY 4 - Return to the Casa de la Cultura



The inside of the gym after Wilma. What we left behind.


The concrete stairs where we first set up camp and met Dave.


The Back Porch where we evacuated.


The kitchen. The wall. The window fan.


The roof is gone.


Day Four - "One step at a time."

We were ecstatic to arrive at the school. As Papa said, "one step at a time." We were moving forward and closer to returning home. LaSalle was overflowing. The 1,600 refugees from the gym were now crammed into the sprawling school campus. It had sustained much damage. The building had many windows in its concrete structure. It was surrounded at one time, by beautiful majestic trees. It was just short of being in ruins.

We were not greeted with open arms. The rooms were filled to overflowing capacity. Though they were larger than the ghetto school rooms, it was not comfortable for 50 to 60 people. When personal space is so cramped, tempers flair.

Jeannie and I were at the gate entrance sitting with a volunteer helping with the American consulate. She was giving information out, as limited and unreliable as it may be, it was at least news. We were told that our luggage was more than likely unretrievable. It would be gone through and cleaned then given to the poor.

This is when I lost it. I did not cry, I did not yell, I did not scream. I just become so angry that when a disgruntled woman appeared and began to complain to the Aid about the new people entering the LaSalle I let her have it.

"We were brought here by the military, just like you. We have nothing, just like you. We have been wearing the same clothes for four days, just like you. Do you think we want to be here? We feel just like you."

We were not to be separated. We were adamant that we stay together. Joe and Dave went across the street to the gym and salvaged rubber pallets. The RUI group hastily cleaned out a flooded area on the second floor of a back section of the school. We trooped up there and found a mansion on a hill! We had the room to ourselves! Twenty of us spread our pallets, set up housekeeping once again and then began to work on the next step.


SIX DAYS IN CANCUN - Day Four - The lost 200

We were the last of the RUI group to be found. The military brought in buses for us. Once again, we gathered our plastic bags and stood in line. The first bus was filled and took off. When the second bus arrived we decided to walk to the front of the school and exit through the broken fence rather than wade through the dirty water.

The second bus was filled! No more room! The military Sergeant turned toward the traffic that was patiently waiting for us to leave and commandeered a VW van directly behind the bus! Two young Mexican males offered no resistance and allowed twelve of us to board their vehicle. It was a tight squeeze. So overflowing was the human cargo, that the back doors would not shut, so the military took heavy duty vinyl twine and tied Dave and another gentleman in!

We followed the bus through the streets of devastation. The bus was able to plow through the high standing water on the flooded streets. Our driver could not and had to be more creative. At one point he drove on the higher ground, which happened to be the sidewalk. There was a roar from us on the bus as the front end went over the curb then another as the back followed!

We turned down alleys, through parking lots, over crushed glass and debris, on sidewalks and any surface that would allow us passage and to catch up with the bus.

Our fearless driver deposited us at the LaSalle, minutes behind the bus.

We were the last of the lost to be delivered. 




The Commandeered Duo.




Scene outside the bus.



Child from the neighborhood


The flooded street where we disembarked the bus on Friday


The rising water outside the school rooms


Military explaining to us we had to leave and return to LaSalle area


Devestation left behind by Wilma in our schools neighborhood




Tido, the Entertainer!



DAY FOUR - October 23 Sunday

At the first light our whole room was up and out the door. It was over. Now we had to concentrate on being rescued.

It had become apparent to us that we were lost. The RUI group had evacuated the gym the best way they could ensuring that the 1,600 people trapped in a rapidly deteriorating building would be taken to a safe place. The bus driver was a hero, finding us a safe sanctuary during the beginning of a Category 4 hurricane.

Tido, the Entertainer had stayed true to his promise to take care of us and share food. The men in our group were determined to take charge of our destiny from this point on.

Papa and his son's persuaded the taxi driver to take them back into the area we had originated from. Even though the streets were flooded, trees blocked the roads, wires were down and God knows what else was out there, he took them.

There was a collective sigh of relief felt in our compound. We had endured the Hurricane under the most adverse of conditions and had outsmarted, outlived, and persevered! We were true survivors!

We also stank. Each one of us had been wearing the same clothes since Thursday. We had some extra T-shirts, but for the most part....we smelled pretty ripe.

The men came back with news that the LaSalle school (the school across the street from the gym) was in worse condition than our little ghetto school. Windows broken, trees felled on the school and tempers raging over unsanitary conditions and lack of food and water.

We had to go back. We had no choice in the matter. The military showed up and so we packed up our possessions, which were becoming even more meager, and prepared to evacuate once again.

But photo!

Survivor Cancun.


DAY THREE - Second Night of Wilma 

There was less tension in the room the second night. Now we knew each other. During the past 24 hours we had really gotten to know each other very intimately! Situations of tremendous stress bring out the good, the bad and the ugly in every person.

We were a very diverse group. Twenty-four personalities randomly thrown together. An Armenian family from California traveling together for the first time and probably the last! The Mama and Papa, son and daughter, daughter-in-law (Sema) and the daughters boyfriend. Two couples from Holland who did not know each other before the disaster. A honeymooning couple from England. Two college students from Switzerland. A mother from England traveling with three teenage children. Jeannie, from Colorado who was separated from her friend at the gym during the evacuation. Her friend was the rumored victim of the cigarette smoke! And the remaining Americans, which are Dave, Tom and Loretta, Joe and myself.

A microcosm in group dynamics.

Papa remained in a chair the entire second night keeping on eye on the rising water, ready to alert us if the contaminated water would begin to flood the room. One of the Holland young men was stationed by the door most the night. Our meager pallets of just several blankets served as our beds.

It was dark by 730pm with the rain and wind beginning to howl again. We lit one candle and everyone got quiet and began the long ordeal of making it through the night.

At 1030 there was a loud knocking at the door. Everyone bolted upright and gasped!
"Who is it?" the Armenian son demanded!

"Tido, the Entertainer! I bring you coffee."

We threw open the door and shouted at him, "You scared the hell out of us!" We were now in the grip of a Category 3 hurricane! One thing for certain, the Mexican tourism industry takes their jobs seriously!

It was the longest night I have ever lived through.

Yet, I lived through it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


DAY THREE - Saturday Oct. 22 -  WE SURVIVED

You began to be able to hear the rain. That was a good sign! The day lightened and we opened our door. It was still raining, but the worst was over. We had made it! The little school house that could! The structure was solid concrete, built to withstand hurricanes! The Category 4 did not budge it one iota.

Everyone was fine. The smokers began to smoke furiously. We were reunited with Dan and Cindy, who were in the school room next door!!

For some inexplicable reason, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed my Mother. The call went through! It was a miracle! She was overjoyed to hear my voice and gave us the first solid CNN information from the states! Wilma was to hover over Cancun another 12 to 24 hours.

Impossible! It was Saturday morning! Wilma had been here since Thursday night!! She had to go!!

We began to take advantage of the semi-calm, thinking this must be the eye of the storm. The men left the school area and ventured out into the neighborhood. They first went to the small stores that were in the area to bring back such luxuries as toilet paper, candles, water, and of course junk food!

The locals began to come into the compound and help us. The bathrooms were horrible, and they cleaned them as best as they could. They gave us five gallon containers. We dipped them into the pools of water surrounding the school houses to flush the toilets. They took several of the men back into Cancun to the part closer to the Hotel district and the area we had evacuated the day before.

The taxi driver cooked for us. He boiled eggs and scrambled at least a dozen. The most delicious food I have ever tasted. He was able to round up a half bottle of wine for us. Very dry! We stood around eating the eggs and standing in little groups chatting and laughing. One would think they had stumbled on a cocktail party.

He refused to take money. When we returned the Tupperware container, we slipped him a Hershey candy bar and $20.

We passed the time putting together a 300 piece jig saw puzzle, playing Hangman on the chalk board and talking to each other.

The day turned into night, and the storm returned.


Day Two - WILMA

For the first time we had good information. She began to pick up steam as the evening progressed. We had no light other than one candle burning and a flashlight that we positioned by the bath room area.

Joe and Dave sat at the back window with the slats open keeping an eye on the little slice of the world behind the school room. It became darker, then night fell. Wilma began to rage.

A very nice couple from the Chicago area, Loretta and Tom offered us one of their blankets. Joe took it and handed it to Dave. Most of the others began to go to sleep. I doubt that they were sleeping, they were laying still and praying. I know that I was. I was saying the rosary using my fingers as beads.

The only thing you could hear was the wind. It is impossible to describe it. It raced down the channel beside the wall and the side of the school. You knew it was raining, because it was pushing itself through the wooden slats. But you could not hear it. People shifted trying to not lay in water. We heard objects flying in the night and landing with hard crashes. Joe would open the slats and peer the flashlight out hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it was out there.

Sometimes there were lights. People were out in the hurricane. Walking the perimeter. Occasionally you would hear dogs barking. Mainly you just heard the overpowering monstrous fury of Wilma. She was a Category 4 all night long. Winds were 150 to 140 mph.

Around 10pm Tom offered me his bed. He told me he wanted to sit up with Joe. It was the kindest gesture I have ever been offered. Despite the violent storm raging two feet from me, I feel into a drugged sleep for about two hours.

That is how we slept. Several hours here and there. People moving in almost reverent quietness to visit the back window and sit for a while.

We were all silently praying.



Day Two - Survivor Cancun

Twenty-four stunned, drenched, and battered people found themselves randomly thrown together in a small school room. The Yellow Slickers gave a few parting words of caution and then were gone.

Its funny looking back the things you remember happening. We were the first in, so we ended up in the back corner with two chairs. The others spread out and sat down along side the walls. Only one woman sprung into action immediately taking charge of the situation, Sema. She barked orders at everyone, and for some unexplainable reason we followed her lead.

We piled all our supplies in the middle of the room. We contributed the bottles of water we managed to get out of the gym. So did the others. Flash lights, blankets and pillows (some people did not get the order to abandon the sleeping gear, thank God) batteries and candles. She had come with food! So had others. Peanut butter and jelly, chips, cookies etc. purchased the day before at the Walmart.

We examined the windows and water proofed them as best we could with several pillowcases we tore into strips. She even broke into the school supply cabinet and found some tape which we taped up the windows...just in case.

We fashioned a bathroom in the corner with several of the black garbage bags, the tape and a trash can. We moved furniture around so that those who wanted could lay under desks. We even positioned a large heavy box inside the door so that no one could get in, not even Wilma.

We had one visitor, Tido, the Entertainer. We had crashed the shelter being used by another hotel group. Only about 50 of them were already hunkered down. Tido told us that he was in charge of the other group and would do all he could to help take care of us, share food and water. And what ever we do, do not open the door! We are in a dangerous and very bad section of Cancun, a ghetto. Be very cautious.

We locked the door behind him and decided to heed his ominous words.

That is until someone knocked on the door. We did not even ask who it was, we just threw open the door! Two Mexicans stood in the door way with the hurricane beginning to rage behind them. They spoke only Spanish. We figured out that they were offering us canned tuna and canned beans. They would also be able to bring us little gifts.

At least this is what we thought they were saying.

Good Samaritan or Highway Robbers?

The Hurricane was scheduled to arrive in all her fury around 7pm. It was close.


Once we made the turn and could see into the Back Porch it became apparent they were loading us onto buses. Where were we being taken? Destination unknown. Maybe across the street. No one knew a thing. We just wanted out of the gym.
Outside the doors, leading to the waiting buses, lined up on both sides were the Civil Protection unit all dressed in identical yellow slickers forming a human wall to protect us from the surging winds and driving rains. One Yellow Slicker grabbed our bag of possessions. He ran along with us to the bus and once aboard, he handed over our bag. We had been ordered to leave behind our blankets and pallets. There was not enough room on the buses to remove us all quickly if we carried too much with us. I did manage to smuggle out a large plastic black bag! I was using it as a rain coat.
Joe and I were the last on the bus. I sat behind the driver, Joe sat next to Dave. Our bus pulled out and began to follow the bus in front of us. Immediately there were problems. The driver of the bus ahead of us was much more cautious than our bus driver felt was necessary. We had a Yellow Slicker ride shot gun on the bus and our driver continuously sent him out to yell at the other bus driver for him.
The first bus would come upon flooded out streets and slowly make his way through the high water. When it was our turn, we crashed through at breakneck speed immediately catching up with the first bus.
We drove through Cancun as the Hurricane began to make her entrance. People were still walking down the streets, faces silently watched us pass from open windows in concrete buildings. Trees were bending, lines were down, debris was flying all around us.
Ahead of us the other bus stopped. An entire section of a roof must have blown off and landed in the street breaking into many parts. The first bus carefully and cautiously drove over the sheets of metal as several more Yellow Slickers appeared and began to help. It made it! Now our turn.
Our bus driver threw it into gear and began to drive over the metal with all caution thrown to the howling winds. There was a hurricane after us!!! He made it! And quickly! Suddenly we heard the sound of one of the sheets of metal hung up and being dragged under us. We stopped and the Yellow Slickers, now four of them, began to yank and pull the metal free. The sound of airbrakes hissed loudly. Joe asked me to check over the drivers shoulder and see if the brake light was on. He worried the brakes may have been severed.
The Check Engine Soon light was glowing.
A Yellow light was on....
And the Green Left Turn Signal was flashing on and on.
This made me smile.
We continued on, the windshield wipers almost worthless against the barrage of rain. We once again quickly caught up with the first bus. I realized we were no longer on commercial  streets, but had entered the neighborhoods. The bus in front of us stopped at what appeared to be a car port and people were exiting the bus. They began to run like hell into the storm.
We continued on. Still following the bus in front of us. Down narrow flooded streets. Finally making a tight left turn into a much narrower street and stopping at an entrance. The Yellow Slickers waited until the first bus disembarked then turned towards was our turn.
Joe had our plastic bag. I ran like hell behind him and the Yellow Slicker. We ran into a compound that was surrounded by a concrete wall, we rounded a turn and headed left. Down a passage till we arrived at an open door. We rushed in, followed by 22 other people.
Our second shelter. This is where we rode out the hurricane.



Six Days in Cancun - Day Two The Second Evacuation

People began to gather up their belongings. The pillows, blankets, pallets and the plastic bags. We were unable to exit through the front door, as it was guarded by one of the Mexican Army with a rifle. No one was getting out that way.

We made a plan. There was an area between the kitchen and the back porch that led to the men's rest room. It appeared to be the safest place in the building. We would huddle in there.....after going out into the gym and locating the families with the infants and making them join us.

At least we had a Plan B.

The RUI group had a Plan B also. We were to be evacuated a second time. The information that made its way to us was this....they were taking us across the street to the school, LaSalle. All 1,600 of us lined up in an orderly fashion and waited patiently to exit out the Back Porch.

It was like going through the neck of a bottle. I was truly amazed at how calm everyone was on the outside. I'm certain, like me,  most of us were falling apart on the inside. Dan and Cindy were able to push up ahead quicker. We lost them.

Dave was with us. We were on the other side of the wall trying to make the turn to head out the exit. The wind continued to gain strength and intensity. It continued to lift the South corner. The rain was pounding. Loud crashes were heard on the metal roof and what sounded like coconuts rolling and loudly hurtling across its length.

The wind began to pick up the roof from the South corner and head in the opposite direction. Light continued to be seen each time it lifted. Higher and higher. More and more of the sections.

Without warning, a section in the middle was peeled back. Rain and debris began to fly into the gym. People gasped and cried out!

Still, no panic. People remained calm and the evacuation continued.

I looked at Dave who was standing stoic and patient. "I'm not going to panic until the hurricane hits." I said to him.

I felt I was going to be okay.  There was a strong feeling inside of me telling me it was not my time.

A thick calmness engulfed me.


SIX DAYS IN CANCUN - Day Two October 21st, Friday

I woke up from a restless sleep around 6am and tentatively made my way over the slumbering bodies to the bathroom.

Another arrival had joined us...bringing our total to seven (there was a lovely couple from Liverpool in the makeshift room when we arrived). I was relieved to see Dave, who had stayed behind on the concrete steps, had found us! Actually, he just stumbled into our area around 4am unable to deal with the rain any longer. Karma.

The day took on a frustrating rhythm. A television had been set up in the Back Porch area and was broadcasting in Spanish. All we wanted to do was to watch the picture and path of Wilma making her way, very slowly towards Cancun. Now a Category 4 with winds of 150 miles per hour.

When was it going to hit Cancun? That was the question on everyones mind. We were smashed together like sardines. It was hot, dank, sweaty and muggy. The roof was leaking. Babies were crying, the emergency medical staff had visited our gym numerous times.

A pattern was established. We were being given false information!!! The hurricane was to hit at 2am. At 2am? Nothing. Just false information to appease us.

A woman had been rushed out of the back porch area because she was overcome by the dense cigarette smoke.  Also false,  we met up with this lady at a later date and a different shelter.

The hurricane had split in two! One headed towards Cuba and the second towards Cancun!

The only thing we could trust was what we were seeing with our own eyes. Around noon, the roof above the South corner, directly above our first camp on the steps, was being lifted by the fierce winds and dropped back.

Each time a thunderous metal BAM vibrated and reverberated over us. At first it lifted one section along the seam on the edge. Light could be seen under it on each lift. It began to spread. First one section, then two, then three. Each time, the loud BAM as it slammed back down.

My heart began to beat faster. I felt the panic begin to rise from some deep part inside of me. Each BAM cause me to shudder and quickly look into the corner. In time, I could not tear my eyes away.

The wind was now lifting seven sections.



We were plunged into total darkness. Immediately the Rui staff, who were interspersed throughout the gym switched on flashlights to guide our walking. Joe took off quickly with Dan and I following him through the sea of people trying to keep our feet off the pallets, blankets and bodies. It was very difficult, every inch of space was covered with only narrow paths for walking and at times, not even a path.

When he reached the steps, he gathered up the remainder of our belongings that were not sopping wet. One pallet and the plastic bag that housed our sparse belongings. He turned and headed back once again with Dan and I following him.

The kitchen area was located next to the back porch. The staff was operating from what actually was only a very large concession area, maybe 40 feet by 30 feet. Joe turned the corner and headed into the secluded area. Seven or so Mexican Rui staff were standing at the entrance to the area, located at the back end of a chest high wall. They were aware of the water problem in the South corner and immediately stepped aside to let us enter the kitchen.

We dropped our gear on the opposite side of the wall. The staff had moved the boxes of bananas and apples that were originally against the wall about eight feet giving us a small narrow room.

Dan went back and got Cindy.

We were able to lie on a floor that was a wrestling mat instead of concrete steps. We even had some ventilation!  We could see a tree through the fan. It was swaying and dancing with the strong wind.  I kept my eye on that tree, it became my barometer on how the storm was progressing.

Cindy arrived, we spread out and began the futile attempt of trying to get rest and just possibly some sleep. Everyone became very quiet. Almost peaceful.

Right before I fell asleep I heard a soft murmur coming from Cindy.....

"Tarantulas like to hide in banana's".

Friday, October 28, 2005


Day One -  Good Karma

The roll of the dice.

Luck of the draw.

Being in the right place at the right time.

Pure luck.


How do you try to explain the things that happen to you in your lifetime? How do you understand it? Wrap your mind around it? The unanswered questions. Each one of us is such a small piece of humanity. Like a grain of sand on the beach. All of us have families, histories, dreams and this unexplained thing known as Karma.

The guiding hand.

Joe and I stumbled into the gym and the inn was full. No room existed on the floor. We were forced to find an area on the side. This was the bleacher area.  Large green concrete steps on either side of the gym.

We moved to the right hand corner and set our stuff down. Every tiny space on the floor is covered with people. It is much better on the bleachers. We have room to spread out. We had nothing but two pillows. And then we give one of those away.

We begged and wrestled away two mats from a couple who wanted them as pillows! That is where the pillow went.

Life is getting better. We move around the gym making a kind of route. To the area in the back which will soon be dubbed, "the back porch" where the bathrooms are located and the smokers congregate, past the food station, down the side wall back to the steps.

The rains came. The roof began to leak only above our area of the bleachers. We all shifted around to avoid the drips. We confiscated a large trash can to catch the worst leak. We took empty liter water bottles and cut the tops off and used the bottoms for the smaller leaks.

That is where we found Dan and Cindy. A couple from(....gasp!!!!!.....)Indianapolis! Another gentlemen was sleeping above us, he later became known as Dave. We worked together to remain relatively dry.

Anyone who has been reading my journal for any amount of time knows I have a penchant for falling down. I will not disappoint you all and now I have many more fans. My flip flop went one way and my body went the other. That large gym of 1600 people all were silenced when my scream pierced the air as I went down.

I hobbled off to the bathroom on the back porch.

I actually was hiding out. Joe can back to hold my hand and tell me is was not all that bad, there were some people on the other side of the gym on the steps over there who did not see me fall.

Dan found us and brought the following news. The rain had become worse and the ceiling leaks had become more numerous. Unfortunately, it gushed all over our sleeping area. He and Cindy moved our stuff as best they could, but it was wet.

"Can it get any worse?" I laughed. 

Then the lights went out.


DAY ONE  -  Casa de la Cultura

But we just call it home.

We were one of the last groups to board the bus. That was to become our modus operandi. We took a short bus ride that was made a lot longer by the amount of people trying to escape the Hotel Zone.

We were driven into the city of Cancun and taken to an auditorium called the Casa de la Cultura, where we joined approximately 1,600 other evacuees from the Hotel group RIU. It was in their best interest to keep us all together. We were in two groups. The second group was setting up camp in the school across the street, LaSalle. I could not venture a guess how many. Hundreds. 

We arrived too late to be issued a sleeping pallet for the floor! Joe and I did not really mind, thinking that Wilma would blow through and we would resume our vacation. We even thought that maybe we would be offered extra days!

God bless us.

The day was bright and sunny. The wind was still strong, but not enough to stop the couple of thousand tourists from making a beeline to the WalMart on the adjacent street.

We purchased essentials. Sun glasses (ours were sacrificed to the Surf god the day before), bottled water, hair bands, moist towelettes, and a phone card. If only I had known then what I was facing........

On the way out there was a television set turned on CNN broadcasting in English. We were glued to the screen as the weather came on with news of Wilma. The hurricane was heading towards Cozumel. What he said next will be forever branded into my brain.



Day One - The Evacuation

We were handed a bulletin written in both Spanish and English outlining instructions for the evacuation. I was skimming the page and came to the part that read "From Thursday 20th at 8.00 a.m., we ask you to be prepared for the evacuation."

I read no further!!!

I began to run around the room picking up all the clothes and personal items and smashing them into suitcases. Joe took a shower, but I had showered before going to bed and decided not to waste time!!! It was 7.45 a.m. and closing in on 8.00 a.m.

What does one wear for an evacuation? I chose white Capri pants and a blue Old Navy V-neck tee. We proceeded to go down stairs to see what was going on and eat breakfast.

It was very close to 8AM. There was very little activity in the lobby. I asked at the front desk and was instructed to go eat breakfast....a good breakfast, the evacuation will take place in time.

In time. Time became our nemesis time.

There was no panic. Things moved along slowly. We watched the staff climb around the balcony area and tape the windows. We watched as they took apart the heavy glass doors leading to the swimming pool area and the beach. We watched people watch people.

The bars are closed in a crisis event. Any type of alcohol sales are prohibited. People were drinking the Corona's from the refrigerators in their room.

Joe and I returned to our room and gathered what the hotel staff had instructed...pillows, passports, money, personal cosmetic items. We skipped the blankets. We were only going to be gone for 12 to 24 hours! We placed our luggage in the bathroom later to be moved to the bathtub by the hotel staff. Naturally we filled a water bottle with tequila from the bottle supplied to us in the room. Survival.

We patiently waited for buses to pick us up. All our belongings resting in the large plastic bags supplied to us by the hotel. We watched the staff begin to remove coconuts from the excessive number of trees surrounding the hotel, then some of the limbs themselves.

Out of boredom we began to chat with a couple seated with us, close to the back of the lobby. Bob and Judy.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Thursday Morning October 20th - Day One

We rode the bus provided to us by our vacation package company, Funjet, to the resort. The representative gave us the low down on the hurricane status. "We don't know."

A familiar refrain we would hear the entire journey.

She assured us we would have Thursday to go sightseeing, to visit the local disco's on the bus tour, go into Cancun, visit the ruins, and participate in the various excursions. She informed us that the hurricane was scheduled to arrive in our area on Friday. What category? How close? "We don't know". Wilma is expected to miss us and continue to the east.

In the meantime, Wilma is south of us, with winds of 175 miles per hour, a Category 5 hurricane....destination: unknown. She is a monster and moving slowly.

We are frolicking on the beach and playing on the foamy waves. We are taking advantage of the waning hours of a beautiful sun drenched Caribe afternoon. We are drinking Pina Colada's with the innocence of the uninformed. We are now in a third world country with limited resources to information. Soon to become no access to information.

I slept fitfully during the night. The wind was picking up speed and intensity as the hours crept into morning. I opened the sliding glass door and retrieved our wet t-shirts and towels that laid on the patio chairs.

Joe went to the front lobby at 5am. The staff shook their heads. The kitchen staff was busy making breakfast for all the guests. It would open at 7am. Joe returned to our room. We were glued to CNN. Information? Little to none.

Joe and I had dozed back to sleep after spending most the night awake. A loud knocking on our door at 730AM caused us to bolt straight out of bed.

We were evacuating.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Wednesday October 19

We left on Tuesday for Chicago to spend the day before traveling on Wednesday to Cancun in the Quintana Roo area of Mexico. Also known as the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula.

We contacted our travel agency to get information on the storm Wilma, which was being reported on CNN and MSNBC as building to the largest and strongest hurricane ON RECORD.

No one  knew anything. Weather is like that. Fickle and unpredicable.

I could not imagine what I would do on an "all inclusive" vacation hotel. How much can you eat and drink? I took along some books and sun tan lotion (HA!!!) and looked forward to laying on the beach, sipping exotic cocktails.

The extent of my Spanish consists of the following ... Ola...gracious, Amigo....and Eye Yi Yi....

I wanted to venture out into Cancun Proper and look into the Bull Fights (please no hate mail.) I thought that the flea market would be cool. We were to be there for three nights and four days and I hoped to be able to get off the "Riviera" section into the city and take pictures.

It was  windy. The sea was choppy. The sky was ominous.  When we arrived we were able to go the beach and prance around in the surf. We tried to run them out of liquor by ordering every exotic drink we could think of. We ate several times at two restaurants in the hotel.

Then we retired to watch the very late broadcast of the last game of the Astro Cardinal series.

I fell asleep very late. In my broken and restless dreams I heard the wind howling.


(Kisses to Joe (AOL Journal Editor) who tells me this story is MINE. AOL can use parts of it (if they want)  because I wrote it here, but it is mine!!!)