Wednesday, August 24, 2011

4 weeks and counting!


  E. and I have four weeks before we take off for Italy!  With all the brain drain that has gone on since our wonderful trip to Colorado in July, I am finally getting back into the excitement of a journey.  And this will be a journey.

    I am packing different than I normally do.  I won't have a big strong man to lift my luggage all the time.  After talking with my dear friend L. about how she and her hubby packed for their trip to Spain I decided to go her way.  I bought a Rick Steves Convertible bag that can be used as a carry on and a backpack.  I haven't done a backpack since I was on my honeymoon!  Thankfully this is a frameless backpack and has a decent waist belt to keep the weight off my neck and shoulders (please, hopefully...).  It can be carried from the top and the side as well.  Lots of zippered pockets and compartments too.

     I don't think of myself as an overpacker but I do want to pack as light as possible.  One weeks worth of clothes to last for our 16 days gone.  I have this mental list that keeps swirling in my head of what to bring and the list does keep changing.  I am trying to check the weather even though it is too far off to get a good idea of what the temperatures will be.  It should have cooled off enough that the temperatures should be in the 70's to 80's which is perfect for traveling. 

     Normally I would check luggage but that is not our plan and that opens up of how much liquids can I carry.  I don't wear makeup but I do have a fair amount of daily pampering that I use.  Somewhere in my careless dreamy travel state of mind I was thinking that I would get all these little containers that I saw at The Container Store and fill them with my daily lotions and such.   I bought some small prefilled bottles too like:

mouthwash (must have a fresh breath in the morning)
hairspray (must continue to keep some style to my flyaway hair)
eye cream (to smooth the potential lines that want to appear)
moisturizer with sunscreen (it helps me with the illusion that my freckles / age **** are fading every time I use is a must to bring)
anti-bacterial lotion (bought a small bottle at Trader Joe's and added Lavender oil for fragrance.....germs begone!) 
foot cream (keeps my feet smooth and soft...all that walking is going to cause callouses).  
facial exfoliating wash (my face always feels so soft afterwards)

     Then I remembered that I have to bring a week's worth of my progesterone cream and thankfully they come in individual daily plastic pod containers (need to keep my hormones happy).  To round out my arsenal of products I have:

shampoo (two containers as I like to trade off on my shampoo)
volume conditioner and volume styling gel
bath shower liquid soap (found some of coconut and mango that smelled yummy....remembering the odd odors that come up the drains in Italian plumbing...trying to mask that so I can breath through my nose)

  Ha!  This should all fit in the bag...right?  Big brother has no idea that our last phone call made me realize that I can't bring a GALLON size I can only bring a QUART size!   He was talking to me of the 3  3  1 deal with TSA and I ended up going to their website and saying to myself "oh no".

     Process of elimination begins....first to go was the mouthwash.  Small tube of toothpaste has Scope in it.   No eyecream...I will have to use my daily moisturizer for that.  No progesterone more week without....okay I hope I maintain decent hormone levels

(EARTHQUAKE just happened....sorry...pause for heart to stop racing)

.......where was I?   Oh yes...hormones.  E. will have to deal with it and maybe I will be just fine and dandy  (smile!).  I need to get smaller containers for the stuff I NEED to bring.  Do you realize how small a quart bag is?  Really how is a woman to bring her essential items?  Everything will have to shrink in size....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Time of Year


      Come late August I think of the many times my parents would rent a home in Carmel, just blocks up from the beach.  They would rent the home for a month and stay for a week, come home for a few days or week and then head back.  They would invite us to come for a weekend during their stay and with the passage of time I fell in love with the home.

     It was called Steel-A-Way and my parents knew the woman who owned it.  The variety of home styles in Carmel has changed over the years, thankfully they have a building code in place that you cannot demolish a home that is over 50 years old.  Unfortunately before that was in place many charming homes were "remodeled" or torn down to put some mega home on a tiny lot.  You can easily tell the new homes from the historic old homes even if they did try to "charm" them up.

     Steel-A-Way has a sunny location since it doesn't have any trees on the lot.  This can be good or bad but to me it gives it an English Cottage look with it's dutch style front door, thick shake high pitched roof and multi-pane windows.  In August the Dahlias are blooming out front.  The western sea breeze brings the sound of the crashing waves to our ears, the foggy mornings that give way to brilliant blue skies, and the peaceful quiet of the neighborhood.  We use to wish we owned the old home because of the tranquility.

     As a child we lived quite close to Carmel and often would go to the beach on a weekend or just a drive along the beach in the late afternoon to maybe catch the sunset.  Sometimes it was a bucket of Colonel Sanders at Mission Beach and a climb on the rocks nearby.  Other times my mom and I with some other lady friends would go into Carmel town for a bit of shopping in the tiny little shops.  That was when the shops were unique and no T-Shirt shops in sight.  Still I love to walk up and down the narrow paths that wind between some of the art galleries that are off the main street of Ocean Ave.  That is where it feels most like the Carmel I remember.  I like it after dark when the tourist have left and you walk almost all alone, pausing to look at the art hanging in the windows, or going inside to look around and talk with the art dealers.  I like a walk on the beach when the sand has turned cool between my toes.  That white sand so fine in texture that dusts your feet.  To feel the pound that settles around you as you watch the crash of the waves rhythmically pull back and fall forward.  To walk along the street that follows the curve of the shore for an evening stroll, greeting the passer-byers, many with their dogs of more breeds than you normally see in one location.  We look at all the homes and talk about how we like this house or that, what has been done to that one or how neglected another might look.  Carmel off of Ocean Ave. is truly quiet with mostly those who live there taking the ritual walk morning and night.

     Steel-A-Way....stole my heart because it will forever remind me of Papa.  Not because of any other reason than when we came he was delighted to see us.  We always would take the drive to Rocky's Point close to Big Sur,  for a glorious sunset and a dinner where we could look at the ocean below.  The wind would whip around us while we were outside and to look at Papa's face at those times was like feeling at home.  Nothing else mattered. 

     He would putter around the house during the day fixing this or that, talking about how much work needed to be done here.  He liked to putter.   Inside the garage was the old surrey.  Some years it was in better shape than other years.  My Love and he would work on getting it in some state of running order so whomever wanted to take it out for a ride could.  Up and down the long driveway the surrey would go, sometimes out on the street.  The surrey was as much a part of that home and I could never imagine it not being there when we would open the garage.  I think I would even ask Papa before a visit if the surrey was in the garage.  That last time it was getting pretty rickety.

     Inside the home was a large beamed ceiling living room with a big fireplace at the far end.  French doors (that were never opened oddly) flanked the inner rear courtyard in the back.  Opposite the living room was the dining room, which we ate at when we all were together in the evening.  Through the swinging door you entered the large bright kitchen.  There was a small breakfast table and a large kitchen island long before most normal homes had them.  We always served up on it buffet style.  Between the dining room and living room the hallway went straight back to a cozy den / tv room that had a card table that many a game of scrabble or puzzle was done at.  There was a bedroom with two twin beds in the door to the left after the den.  Our daughters would sleep in there.  Two on the beds and perhaps someone in a sleeping bag.  A tiny guest bathroom attached inside the room.  At the end of the hall was the master bedroom with a large bathroom with a tv above the tub so you could watch when you took a bath.  The girls loved that.  The master bedroom was sunny and light during the day with several large windows.

      My Love and I slept in the petite cottage out the side door from the den in the courtyard.  It always had a musty mildew smell inside.  Two twin beds and a tv filled the room with a tall highboy.  It had a very nice bathroom that stayed cozy warm after a shower.  We often would leave the door open during the day to air the room out as it had an old squeaky screen door.   Most all the years we stayed here we had a Sheltie or two with us, Heidi, Tess and or Jesse who came later.  They loved the brick courtyard with the pastel flower beds and ivy beds surrounding the parameter.  Rose trees and a birdbath were here and there.  Outdoor  was a table with chairs  and lounge chairs to actually soak up some mild warm sunshine.

     Steel-A-Way.....we only have been there once after my Papa passed away, with my mom.  It was different without him.  She had rented it for the month of September a couple of years after Papa had passed away.  A mistake for her.  I think she only visited twice.  She was not in a good frame of mind when she had us visit as well as some dear family friends.   It was awkward and unpleasant.  My family went without her another weekend and enjoyed ourselves though for that weekend for the first time my Love and I slept in the master bedroom.  I secretly wanted to be in the cottage.  I don't remember who slept in there. 

     Thank goodness for those waves that pounded in my ears and heart that trip.

     We have not stayed there since that time.  My mom never rented the home again.  She just couldn't go back.  Too many memories of the man she loved so much.  My Love and I whenever we visit Carmel have always driven or walked by Steel-A-Way.  I still dream of owning it......

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Snoring spouse

I cannot sleep.  I try but my Love breathes so loud my brain pops awake.  I hear him and like counting sheep, each breath, snort, snore I am more awake than before.  I try.  I do try to ignore and drift back to where I was in that blissful state of rest.  Then a loud snort pierces my relaxation and I am a bit ticked off. 

I bump him.  I roll him.  I wake him with, "Your snoring" of which he says "I am?".  Yes..........

What to do?  How is it that some nights peace and calm prevail?  Never a snort or snore to be heard.  Dreams of my own to be in.  Oh I would lie if I wasn't to say that I haven't heard myself make some odd noise of snorting or breathing oddly.  Yes, he has bumped me too.  I teasingly tell him in the morning he heard it wrong as I don't snore.  We laugh or joke of that.

Am I sleeping lighter?  Am I already in a state of wakefulness?  How is it that when we were first sleeping together all those years ago that this night oddity did not happen?  The only thing that woke us then was the sensual dream that one would have and wake the other to complete! 

I haven't decided this state of life at 50 and of sleep.  I no longer have the insomnia of my 40's.  I barely have a night sweat anymore.  Now I lay next to a man who sleeps me.  He seems warmer and it is harder to spoon.  His hip bothers him and he sleeps sometimes half back and half side, thus the snoring position is achieved.  His pillow provides the support to keep him in this position and I have tried to yank his pillow so his head rolls fully sideways rather than tilted.

Is this why some couples sleep in different rooms?  The need for sleep becomes greater than the need for a warm partner to lie with?  Truly I need my sleep.  I want to lay with my down pillow below my head, cradling the brain that wants to fly into dreamland.  I want to pull my sheet up under my chin, over my shoulder, my toes feeling the softness beneath.  Sinking

I will go back.  I cannot stay awake.  I ate a bowl of cereal as once up my tummy begins to awaken too.  A growl of discontent.  I will go back and bump him if he continues his unusual serenade.  My eyes long to close.....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Tribute to Annie

Annie from Ellen F. on Vimeo.

It wouldn't be me if I did not do this.  I who hold the camera steady, waiting for the shot, waiting for the moment.  The memory that will remain for me to see time and again.  It wouldn't be me if I didn't find the music that fit the image.  These almost three weeks have slipped by as life does and most mornings I wait for Annie to shake, clink her collar with her name tag and rabies tag which in turn wakes Stewie and I at the same time.  Morning, time to get up, time to go outside and then be fed.  The routine, but the routine is different now.

She was just a dog some would say.  But who are they to say that when they did or do not know the bounds of love and companionship we shared?  All the animals in my life have filled a void of love that I must have needed.  My heart is full when I have my pets near me, walking, sitting, sleeping.  Annie would look deep into my eyes, those deep brown eyes, sometimes gaily sometimes with a hint of sorrow, all depending on how I was that day.  No judgement only a soft lick of my hand or my face.  A wag of her tail as if to say "all is well, I am here".  

Now we go on without our Golden girl.  Stewie is sleeping longer.  I may have to use an alarm clock which I haven't used on a regular basis in years and years.  I lay in bed waiting but she is gone.  How grateful I am to have had those past almost 11 years with her, to have filled us with such good times.  She had a good life.  She liked everyone.  

See you someday sweet dog.....with all my dear pups of days gone by.... 

The Long Road

And I wished for so long, cannot stay...
All the precious moments, cannot stay...
It's not like wings have fallen, cannot stay...
But I feel something's missing, cannot say...

Holding hands are daughters and sons

And their faiths just falling down, down, down, down...
I have wished for so long
How I wish for you today

We all walk the long road. Cannot stay...

There's no need to say goodbye...
All the friends and family
All the memories going round, round, round, round
I have wished for so long
How I wish for you today

And the wind keeps roaring

And the sky keeps turning gray
And the sun is set
The sun will rise another day...

We all walk the long road. Cannot stay...

There's no need to say goodbye...
All the friends and family
All the memories going round, round, round, round
I have wished for so long
How I wish for you today
How I've wished for so long
How I wish for you today

We all walk the long road

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Longing to Belong

Longing To Belong

I'm falling harder than I've

ever fell before
I'm falling fast while hoping
I'll land in your arms
'cause all my time is spent here
longing to belong
to you

I dream of circles perfect

eyes within your face
my heart's an open wound that
only you'd replace
and though the moon is rising
can't put your picture down
love can be frightening when you fall

And when the time is right, I

hope that you'll respond
like when the wind gets tired
the ocean becomes calm
I may be dreaming but I'm
longing to belong
to you 


Now isn't that just beautiful?  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Up and down

These days I am up and I am down.  I want to go on a hike with my two favorite pals but one is gone.  

Stewie and I did take a hike on the trail I broke my wrist on almost a year ago.  I felt off balance without Annie leading us up.  Even Stewie lacked enthusiasm.  We started off gaily but nearing the fork in the trail he looked glum.  I brought water and shared my trail bar with him.  We continued on for a bit then I felt it was time to turn around.

First of all I was glad to pass the spot where I fell, but I also held my arm has I descended the trail.  Stewie looked back at me like he was telling me to hurry up.  I thought of Annie who would have swished her golden plume tail had she been with us.  She would have been less antsy and more about the moment.  Isn't that like a Golden?  Live in the moment?  It wouldn't be how far we went or how much farther we needed to go.  It would be lifting the head and sniffing the air, wagging a tail and smiling her doggy smile.  She would be happy to just BE.

Then  the stupid email on the Silver Goblets came at me like a pie in the face.  

A friend had this on her facebook page and I asked if I could use it....

An old woman once said, "There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."
  How I need to heed those words.  I should waste no time on those who do not know me and appear to condem me.  
 Thank you Marla for letting me share these very true words.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Birthday Cake and the Birthday Girl

The cake turned out just wonderful....thank goodness!

The Birthday day girl, my mother by marriage and my sister by them dearly!

88 years young...I can't even think that.  I've been a part of this family for over 36 years.   One could not have a finer, more loving mother by marriage that is for sure.  Sister?  Oh yes, I lucked out there too!   I owe a great many recipes to both these women.  I try to live up to their experience but the lesson of trying is the what I have learned most.  Sometimes a recipe works and other times it goes it's own way.  Laugh and learn is my motto.


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