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!!!