Tag Archives: Camping

Mixing it up and using the creation option

18 Aug

I tend to get single minded about things sometimes.  While that can be a good thing, there is also a tendency to go overboard, perhaps.  The truth of the matter is, too much of anything is not a good thing.  So, focusing on variety being the spice of life, I have mixed up things a bit more around more.  I do at least two things every day, and which two things can vary.  I write, almost every day, in one form or another.  Other days, it might a whole list of options that are considered.  One that has been at the forefront has been the act of creation.

Something about creating something, whether it is written text or an object  of some kind, seems to give me joy.  It’s even better when it’s something that gives other people pleasure.  This act of creation is a fantastic outlet for me.

So I have been busy with that creation stuff.  Like I made a trio of simple skirts for my niece’s oldest, along with matching hair barrettes.  I altered the pattern to be more creative and use that creation option too.  Several skirts for my granddaughter have come out from under the needle of my machine.  I tried my hand at a bit more fussy sewing with a set of mother-daughter aprons (shhhh!  She hasn’t gotten them yet, it’s her birthday gift, and I’ll deliver them tomorrow!) and a lined messenger bag with specially sized pockets, also for my daughter’s birthday.  The messenger bag was an act of determination, multiplied by dynamic creation, and infused with love too.

I don’t know if I’ll ever sew another apron requiring miles of bias tape.  I also don’t know if I will EVER make another lined bag.

Now I know from years of sewing that free patterns, whether from magazines (in the old days) or online (the modern day), does not mean quality patterns.  Anybody can post a pattern, and that does not mean it’s a good one.

This wasn’t a particularly good one.  The directions gave me headaches, and the finished example used to illustrate the article looked somewhat…sad.  I should have known better, right?

Yeah, well maybe I missed the brain train.  Lord knows the pain train pulls into my station regularly, I may have been confused that day…

I’ve also had serious computer issues.  I use a laptop (long story) and my “new” one took a dump and quit on me about 6 months ago.  Without being able to afford a repairman (it’s not a simple issue, it won’t power up at all) it has sat, waiting, after Greg removed the harddrive and cloned it onto another one, which ultimately went into my old laptop, which he had repaired from it’s near-fatal blow from some kind of malware attack I had received via a chat client I used to use.  (I don’t anymore, btw.)  So, I was happily working away, although regretting the loss of the faster computer with more RAM and thus better able to cope with my continual multi-tasking, and just dealing with the occasional freezing that such a tendency induces in older and underpowered computers.

On Saturday morning, I had a notice on the laptop that it had received a Microsoft update and had restarted.  Okay, no big deal, right?

It told me it was personalizing my desktop, and stayed that way.  Nothing we did resurrected it—it would not boot up.  I was on the verge of a melt down and we’ve not managed to drink our first cup of coffee yet.

Greg’s pretty patient, except when I’m melting down on him, then he’s not a very happy camper either.  He managed to pack me off to the office with my sewing machine, and he proceeded to try and solve the issue.  I took a nap.

A really long nap.

I guess melt downs wear me out?  It also gave him the peace he needed to work on solving the problem.  According to the flashing light on the cap lock, it was telling him that the CPU had crashed and burned.  That’s not a quick fix either, especially since it’s a laptop, which is really hard to work on.  We have no parts, nor do we have diagnostic tools to work on a laptop.  With Greg though, there is no such thing as defeat.  He also says there is no living with me without a functional computer AND my files, so he had a plan b to work on while I was snoring away.

He dug out his old laptop, which he had finally managed to repair.  (It was also damaged, but much more severely, by malware via the same chat client.)  It was the same brand as my old one—a Compaq.  He popped the harddrive from the laptop I had been using into the new one, added some RAM, and booted it up.  There were a few things to tweak, but soon, I was awake and had a computer I could use again.

But it had a really odd looking screen, and that was a clue as to what was coming next.  The video card driver on the harddrive was not compatible with the actual video card in the new old machine.  Should be an easy fix, right?

Nope

HP’s repair gizmo won’t install. Drivers for the video card don’t seem to exist.  Okay, I can live with an oddball looking screen, distorted pictures and all.  But that wasn’t the end of the video card driver problems.

The blue screen of death.

Yeah, we’ve all seen it.  The trouble was, I was seeing it often, and then the new old computer wouldn’t boot up either.  I was starting to feel like some kind of computerized jinx.

I’m testy, and I’m sent back to the office to talk to my sewing machine and play with my Kindle.  I start dreaming of embroidery machines and new laptops, but Greg manages to save the day despite my frazzled nerves.  He also attaches an external harddrive so I can back up the critical files: documents & pictures.  We even worked out a way to get it done easily without me freaking out and getting frustrated over complicated procedures.

Like the Cloud.

He couldn’t understand my objection to using the Cloud for backing up files, but Comcast, in their usual manner, managed to illustrate it in living color.

Our intermittent outage issues had been plaguing us all day on Sunday.  Sunday night, however, it’s a total no-internet-at-all situation resulting in a call to Comcast, where he started off the experience with a 30 minute wait to get to a human.

Keep in mind, we’re paying by the minute for this privilege, despite Comcast’s continual offers of telephone service (they can’t get the internet right, how would they get telephone right?) and then he gets “service is out in your area due to an accident.  It should be restored by 7 am on Monday morning.”

Now he knows why I do not like my files on the Cloud.  I cannot access them when the internet is down.  Just like I couldn’t access anything when I had no way to get to my harddrive and the data it contained, only with no cloud access, my computer is working just fine.  Sure, the cloud is fine for a general back up, but that’s not where I want my files kept.

He was thrilled.  Seriously thrilled.  But now, he understood what my objections were and why they were something that I was so adamant about.

But that sent my brain off onto another tangent too.

If a woman could sue McDonald’s for a cup of hot coffee scalding her, can I sue Comcast for frustrating Greg to the point of giving him another heart attack via their crappy customer service?

That’s the kind of thing I start to wonder in the wee hours, as I look at a screen that thinks it’s really a 16” CRT monitor but is really an LCD laptop screen…I think it’s a 17” one? (Heck I can tell you the model number, and have no idea what size the screen is.  Sad, huh?)  So, now I’m going to mix it up, wander off, and try to take a photo of the lovely messenger bag.

Or not.

I might wait and do it tomorrow, along with the aprons, when I have a model.  Actually 2 models.  Beautiful Daughter & her Mini Me, the spitting image of her mother, only with better hair.

See that’s another side of me too.  I am an official grandmother and I’m every bit as gaga as any grandma could be.  Plus, she’s my one and only, so I am seriously gaga about that little girl.  I have to keep a firm hand on myself to prevent me spoiling her excessively.

Yep, there is an “excessive” point when you are grandma too.

But she is a darling, most of the time.  When I see that less-than-endearing version, I am so disappointed too.  After all, as MY granddaughter, she is supposed to be perfect, right?

And since I do have to get up early to go see my darling, I’m going to leave it at that.

So tune in again tomorrow…or listen to me on the radio from 8-10 pm Central at bit.ly/uprn365  Oh, and go buy a book or two at bit.ly/giabooks  I’m trying to fund my project development for the next book, and could use some extra sales.

Just don’t forget–I really appreciate everyone who reads my blog posts, and for that, you deserve an atta-boy and a creation bonus point.  Create something, even if its something small.  It can be food or art or crafts or a really great poem or the best lawn mowing job that has ever hit your neighborhood.

Creation can be many things.

Here’s a cover of one of my books–my daughter and granddaughter were on the cover.

Kindle Parent handbook cover

You can find it right here.

Don’t forget–I’m moving my blog to www.exogenynetwork.com at the end of the month!

 

Vacation!

1 Jul

There has been a problem, and it’s all Facebook’s fault.

They kept advertising vacations in locations like Israel or at a nice, hot, sunny beach.

Now maybe to someone who is starved for warmth, that’s appealing.  Me, I hear Israel, and I think Middle East, and that isn’t a place that is apt to make me relax one bit.  They have entirely too much going on there right now, from political upheaval to religious issues, and my idea of a good time does not include wearing a burka, trying to decipher where I could or couldn’t go as a woman, or watching soldiers carry machine guns.

I have betrayed the fact that I’m not very worldly.  I’m terrified of tanks and soldiers with guns, and always have been.  It’s bad enough to see them on television.  I don’t want to vacation where I have to navigate check points or be “protected” by soldiers.  It’s bad enough if it’s your own country that is living like that, I sure don’t want to go visit one for “fun”.

No, I’m not anti-gun.  I’m anti-war.  I’m a mother and a grandmother, and I see wars as killing sons and daughters.  I’ve lost one, not due to war, but I know what it feels like.  I can’t imagine sacrificing a child to the war games of politicians.  I’m also not anti-soldier–I have friends and relatives who have or are currently serving in the military.  I don’t have a panic attack if I see them in uniform either.  Not even if they have a gun.  They aren’t on patrol.

I guess I regard the entire Middle East as this huge war zone, with periodic spaces under truces that don’t include me, as I’m not Muslim or Jewish.  I also have no need to make a pilgrimage to an ancient religious site there.

Plus it’s hot.

And sandy.

I spent most of my life in the American Southwest, which is predominantly semi-arid.  I’ve had enough “beach” for a lifetime–a beach is just more hot sand to me.  Never mind that the southwest is short on water–they have ample “beach”.  Even on the Gulf Coast, I prefer to visit the beaches in the winter.  Or at night.  Hot sand has zero thrills for me.  I don’t even want a sun tan.  I’ve spent the last thirty years avoiding that, why start trying to get one now?

So, I started thinking…

IF I could afford a vacation anywhere, where would I really want to visit?

Someplace cool.  Like really cool.   Not rock star cool, but ice and snow cool.  Like Mississippi winter cool, most likely.  Greenland and Iceland come up on the list fairly quickly.

The reality is, I don’t have a vacation budget this year.  I’m like most of America, and have a hand-to-mouth existence that is plagued with gaps between the two.  Our primary vehicle has broken down–our back up vehicle, our old mini-van, has expired tags.  We’re not going anywhere right now.

So how on earth to take a vacation?

Vacations for me are usually a camping trip somewhere.  Sometimes, I’ve gone on camping road trips, camping along the way to visit someone or something.  It’s entertaining and relaxing, and I got pretty good at setting up/tearing down.  Since those days, I’ve become disabled.  Setting up camp with Greg is now an endeavor that takes a lot out of us, even as we’ve simplified things immensely.  We’re also in need of a new tent now, as our old standby one with its easy set up and internal frame, has seen better days and leaks so badly we just use a tarp over the rain fly.  Without a functional and legal vehicle, we’re not going camping either–besides, I no  longer can cope with summer heat without air conditioning.  Our camping, when we can go, is confined to the other three seasons of the year.

But…

I’m a devious so and so sometimes.  I’ve heard of staycations.  Most of them sound like they aren’t all that much fun, or even save that much money.  But I thought about it, and what do I like to do when I go camping?

Obviously fishing is a big deal, but when we go out of Mississippi, I don’t fish, as I don’t buy an out-of-state license.  So what do I do then?

I hang out and do much of nothing, actually.  I do cook, especially if we have a group, but with the loss of the use of my arm, I have to have a fair amount of help to do that too.  So, it looks like I don’t do much except deal with meals, and when it’s just Greg & I, we tend to do very simple meals at that.

I’m going to hang my hammock in the yard on Wednesday, after the radio show is done tomorrow.  I’m going to take one of the books I need to read, a pillow, and go lay in the hammock and do nothing at all except read and watch people go by.  Maybe I’ll swing the hammock a bit.  I might get my little battery personal fan out to create an artificial breeze.  I might even take the laptop out for a bit, and see if the wi-fi reaches that far.

Sound silly?

Maybe it is.  But just a day of being silly can make a lot of difference in how we approach problems and figure out a way to solve them.  We could definitely use some increased brainpower!

Vacations, affordability, romantic…and not American?

30 Jul

I was sort of dreaming on the internet today.  I was wondering what kinds of vacations an average sort of American (you know, like me!) could take without waiting to get a passport (which I don’t have.)  It seems everyone and everything is advertised for vacations this time of year, and I’ve grown weary of the rut of every day life we seem to be stuck in.

I clicked on a lot of those “best of” and “Ten best” list articles.  I discovered something pretty quickly though

It seems we don’t have anything GOOD to do in the USA.  Everybody’s vacations are going somewhere else, some exotic locale with plenty of water, broad expanses of sand, and a sense of exotic luxury.

So, it soon dawned on me…apparently we don’t have water, beaches, OR luxury in the USA.  I find that a bit hard to believe, but are American vacations just too expensive for the Americans themselves to afford?

Greg and I have our first anniversary this fall.  Last year, when we got married, we took our honeymoon and went camping at Tishomingo State Park in Tishomingo, Mississippi.  We had a great time, despite inclimate weather, leaking tent seam, and all of the other things that can happen with a late season camping trip, even in the South.  It also was “in budget” which is a really big deal to us.  We don’t want to finance anything, be it a car, house, or vacation.  While it may have been horrible to more pampered characters than us, to us, it had the essentials: we were together, we could be comfortable and sleep late if we wanted, our dogs were along for the trip, and we could enjoy a bit of secluded self indulgence.  Since we’re both excellent cooks, meals were also gourmet quality, even if our stove WAS parked on a picnic table!  We enjoyed things like grilled steaks, burgers, sausage, omelets, pancakes…and anything else our hearts desired.  All for an average cost of (meals included) under $50 per day.  Okay, I’ll confess…we weren’t die-hard roughing it campers–we had our computers, we had our cell phone, we had our electric heater for the tent, and we even had an electric coffee pot.

But, thinking along the lines of a bit more luxurious aren’t exactly a bad thing, so I was honestly curious about what we COULD do to celebrate our first year of being legally married.  A weekend getaway, even if it was a long one, shouldn’t be too expensive, I thought.  At the same time, after our recent experiences at a budget wise motel in the Jackson, MS area…I wanted something a bit nicer than that!

We have the entire South within easy driving distance really (well, maybe not southern Florida).   There’s a lot of history, a lot of luxury, and a lot of interesting things to see and do.  We could indulge in a beach experience, a mountain experience, or something we’d never even thought of.

The latest thing in travel seems to be the “all inclusive resort.”  After numerous false starts after doing a search, I finally did find some.  However, at $200+ up per night, with incidentals ranging from extra fees for parking to internet, it didn’t look like it was really a viable option for an affordable getaway/mini-vacation for us.   They just seemed to offer not much more than a motel room and beach space, golf courses, or fishing/hunting options.

Search resumes…this time focusing on inns and b&b’s, which might be more affordable and better suited to our peculiarities.  Well, they were a bit cheaper, and definitely had more character…but ranging from $150 up per night, maybe that wasn’t exactly our cup of tea either.  I’ve never stayed at a B&B either, so I already had some prejudices against the concept.  It’s almost a bit creepy, like staying at a stranger’s house.

That left searching for a romantic Southern inn.  I was sure that Southern Living would have a answer for me, but…I was wrong.  We are prejudiced after living in Greater New Orleans, and aren’t thrilled with the idea of a romantic getaway there either.  We wanted something new and old and filled with character…so the hunt continued.

Sometimes, being frugal isn’t fun, I suppose.  I couldn’t help but mentally compare amenities with those found when we camp, and the camping was far less expensive usually.  Yes, we have to make our own beds, but is that really so horrible?  Yes, we have to set up our own “room”, but that too is a pretty familiar task.  For the price of a single night in a fancy hotel or inn, we could have as much as five nights in a really nice park in Florida, complete with beaches that are fantastically beautiful and other amenities within easy driving, biking, and walking distance.  Just like the hotel, the dogs weren’t totally welcome, but…asking someone to “babysit” the “kids” might not be a bad thing either.  We’d be free to enjoy ourselves without worrying about whether they were bored, hot, cold, or otherwise uncomfortable.

Okay, so we’re cheap, but I do prefer the term frugal, actually.  We like the privacy of our own tent, we enjoy the flexibility of our own schedules, and we don’t really MIND setting up the tent.  Heck, once upon a time, I felt totally comfortable using it as our motel solution, and I could set up or tear down camp in less than 45 minutes.  I can’t hardly get out of a motel room quicker than that, and we had dinner at set up and breakfast with tear down.

I guess since I couldn’t find luxury for under $150 per night in anything I regarded as “interesting”, I’d rather have interesting with a tent and a lot less money.

Shall I panic yet?

2 Aug

July is gone.  It’s over with.  We’ll never see it again.

In the meantime, it’s already August.  I question whether it is time to panic yet.

I’m getting married on October 29th, and I have a long list of things that haven’t been accomplished…

Things like:

  • Exact location of the wedding–we’ve made arrangements and contacted the Hancock County offices, we’re good to go to have our wedding on the beach in Hancock County, including the “Dog of Honor” and the “Groom’s best dog”.  We don’t have the exact spot yet though, and that requires that we drive over and choose the location according to the things that will matter, like parking and aesthetics of the beach area.
  • Blood tests–I can rant about the archaic nature of a blood test for syphillis until I am blue in the face.  We can’t get the license until we have those certified blood test results.  We need to get the tests run and get our license this month.
  • Canopies-I need to check with friends and see how many canopies we can borrow for the event, and determine if we need to rent or purchase more.
  • Meet with the minister–we need to have a meeting with the woman who will be doing the honors for us and finalize our ceremony’s details.
  • Order the wedding rings-they aren’t expensive (we can’t afford to get married let alone the expensive part!) but they do need ordered well in advance, which means this month.
  • Decide on our attire-I had thought to order a dress suitable for a hippy wedding…but…I’m now questioning whether that is really the ideal route.  If I don’t buy a dress, we’ll be able to afford a honeymoon.  (Low budget honeymoon=camping honeymoon!)  I am thinking barefoot, jeans, and t-shirts would work fine!  Maybe a skirt–I have a couple of those too!  Greg will undoubtedly choose jeans and a t-shirt, but the barefoot thing isn’t really his cup of tea.
  • Wedding cake decisions-I’m thinking small single layer “official” cake with cupcakes to serve.  Easy, breezy, multiple flavors.  I’m leaning towards abandoning the groom’s cake (that wonderful Rembrandt’s torte) in my KISS approach.  We do have to sample recipes though!
  • Food selections–We can’t make actual food selections until closer to the wedding when we know how many guests we’re going to be feeding, but we can narrow down our choices.
  • Email invitations–I need to sit down and email everyone individually to invite them, since my blanket invitations seem to have overwhelmed people and left them uncertain.  Abandoning the paper invitations has been confusing for our guests who are accustomed to something more formal, so emailing the “invitation” will help bridge the gap.  Miss Manners would say I’m totally wrong, but my ecological and economical soul says this was a good choice for us.
  • Make a list and check it twice–all the things that need taken care of in September will  need to be listed, just so I don’t forget an important detail.
  • Find out when the bridal shower is being held-I need to mark that on my calendar.  I’m uncertain if it is in September or early October.  Our daughter is giving the bridal shower.
  • Shop for the various items that will be needed to serve the food and drinks, as well as keeping things simple and convenient for us and our guests.  We’re also responsible for clean up after the wedding, so we need to think about that process as well.

 

 

It’s funny, as much fun as the planning is, and as much as I’m looking forward to the wedding, there is a faint sort of panic rising too.  It doesn’t feel like that old familiar friend that was labeled “fear of commitment”, as our commitment is a familiar friend these days, but more along the panic any woman faces when planning an important social occasion.  What if I forget something important?  What if nobody comes?  What if nobody has any fun?  What if the weather is nasty?  What if, what if, what if….until I want to scream and bury my head under my pillow.

I even had a dream last night that for some unknown reason, Greg presented me with a very large, very black, Persian kitten just before the wedding, and not even this cat would behave normally, instead choosing to behave like a dog so much I actually (in the dream) asked him if it was a Persian cat or a Pomeranian dog…

I’m not sure what THAT was all about…but it was also somehow intertwined with fishing and me panicking because we were no longer in the bayou on the boat (don’t remember if we’d entered the Gulf of Mexico or where else we were though.)

Are the dreams prophetic?  I don’t think so in this case, I think they are more symbolic dreams and messages from my subconscious.

The cat was likely representing my not wanting to be presented with something else to be responsible for, especially something that didn’t behave “right” and needed as much attention as a persian cat would.

The boat portion likely represented my fears about being adrift in a sea of unknown, not sure what to do or which way to go, while the big waves threatened to overwhelm our small boat.  That’s not an uncommon fear, even among older couples who have lived together for years as they approach their wedding.  We all wonder…will tying the knot officially change our relationship?  These are normal and natural fears, and it’s only logical that my dreams would express them.

So off we go, on the grand adventure of our wedding!

Where would you go if you could take a dream trip?

30 Jun

If money and time were not issues, what kind of a trip would you plan?  Where would you go?  What kind of trip would you take?  What would you do on your trip?  What would your goals be on that trip?

Me…I’d take a trip from “sea to shining sea” and explore the USA, nice and slow.  It would probably take me 12-24 months to do it but that’s okay…remember, time and money are  not worries on this dream trip’s plan.

Of course, we’d assume we’d be in perfect health and a state of fitness too, so while I’m at it, I’ll confess…I’d like it to be a bicycling & camping trip.  The whole self-supported thing.

Now why on earth would I want to do it that way, when money is no object?

Because, when you travel slowly, you have a more intimate experience and truly see things in a much different way.  You get the aromas (good and bad) and people see you too, unlike car travel, which is fast and impersonal.

So riding this bike, toting a trailer loaded with camping gear, spending a year or two on the road…what DO I want to see?

Acadia National Park in Maine…Key West & Hemingway’s cats…some crazy castle that one guy built in Florida, the pony round up on Chincoteague, Amish settlements in Ohio, sleepy villages in the Appalachian mountains, moose in Minnesota, to hear the cries of loons on a foggy morning in Minnesota…just before going to fish for our breakfast of sunfish.

I want to see the Ozarks, and visit quirky little towns.  I want to get all the way to the beaches of Texas, but I want to find out why anyone ever moved to North Dakota too.  I want to buy cheese in Wisconsin, and see the Dells as an adult, with Greg.  I want to see the soaring peaks of the Northern Rockies, and groan as we slowly make our way up the mountain passes.  I want to be kept awake at night by the sounds of elk bugling and wolves howling.  I want to hunt for gemstones in Idaho.  I want to see Yellowstone National Park and avoid the bears by wimping out and staying in a motel.  I want to visit the Black Hills, and see Mount Rushmore all over again after drinking ice water in Wall Drug and riding through the Badlands.

I want to visit Thermopolis, and laugh after Greg gets a whiff of the air there.  I want to visit more quirky little towns.  I want to stock up and ride across the Great Salt Desert on our bicycles, thankful that we can travel faster than the pioneers could, and thankful for the water we can carry in our trailers.  I want to camp in the giant redwoods and eat seafood on the Pacific coast.  I want to see the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Oh and there are people to visit too.  To share a meal with and laughter.  To curl my hands around a hot cup of coffee as we talk late into the night, and then get up early, our minds foggy from lack of sleep, and laugh again as we stumble around trying to find the minds we’d lost the night before.  We have friends and family all across the nation…and I’d love to see them all, even for an hour or two.

Crazy idea…but sometimes, even crazy ideas catch a ride on a handy nearby flying pig, don’t they?

I’m so excited!

28 May

Okay, so I’m 50 years old and a grandma…so what?  Anybody who’s BEEN 50 knows the truth of the matter is, there is an 18 year old girl inside of me who’s looking in the mirror and her jaw is hanging on the floor as she wonders what on earth has happened.

I’ve been engaged to my best friend for some time now.  (Okay, more than a year, less than a decade, is that specific enough?)  We’ve been living together, postponing that date thing because we “couldn’t afford it.”

We finally realized that we’re always going to be saying that we can’t afford it.  There will always be something else that needs bought or done.  Therefore, we were just going to DO it, whether we could afford it or not.

Now at our ages, I’ll admit, the actual ceremony isn’t as critical as having our friends and family around to celebrate both our relationship and life in general.  So of course there has to be a party!

We haven’t finalized a lot of things.  Okay, so we haven’t finalized anything…

That is okay.  We’ve chosen the approximate date–the last weekend of October.

That’s just before Halloween, so of course the first thing I was asked was whether or not we were doing a costumed wedding…

Oh yeah, a reason to dress up and have some fun?

We are having a hippy wedding.  Tie dye, flowing skirts, long hair, beards, beads, a little incense…you get the idea.  But at the same time, hippies represented an era of progressive and independent thinking, of social consciousness, and the earliest stages of New Age awareness…

What better theme for Greg and I?

We’re going to have it outdoors, but we haven’t chosen a location yet, hence the lack of firm date (Friday, Saturday or Sunday are all on the list.)  For our traveling friends, in keeping with the theme, we will have scoped out some camping locations to accommodate them.  For those who want more comfortable digs than a tarp or tent in the woods…we’ll check into special rates at some local motels.

Of course the party part will include food.  We haven’t chosen the menu yet, but I will promise that it will not be exclusively raccoon meat…

I’ve recruited my daughter as my designated caterer.  Not only is she an excellent cook, but on my budget I have to consider the cost of the caterer.  Being my daughter, she also has an affordable price.  While I’ll be helping with the before food to a degree, I also know that the last minute details are likely to consume my attention, so I don’t want to be the bride AND in charge of the food.  We will likely shoot for easy to serve and eat foods that can be mostly prepared one or two days before the event.  If we’re hosting a weekend-long event, there would have to be multiple meals served, which might get trickier on our budget.

We’re also “going green” on the invitations.  There will be NO paper invitations.  Just like in the “good old days” when news of a wedding or other gathering was spread through a community, we’re using the modern version of that grapevine.  Phone, email, text messages, and word of mouth are our invitations of choice.  Would it be approved by any etiquette queen?  Definitely not, but the bride is also debating whether to wear a brightly colored skirt or overalls to the ceremony…

We are planning a honeymoon too.  We’re going camping!  Just the two of us…and the dogs.  Our destination?  The Natchez Trace is appealing, especially for the season.   Some leisurely time together after the excitement will undoubtedly be appealing for all concerned.

Oh and the dogs…

We now have three, and while Sissy would be severely stressed by the commotion of the wedding, the other two would find it fun.  I think we’re going to dress them up in keeping with the hippy theme too.  The cats are more in line with Sissy, so the three of them will miss the party together, making do with their own party foods.  (Can anyone say “mackerel” here?)

While marriage is a very serious commitment, Greg & I are already a very committed couple.  The ceremony doesn’t change any of that, but rather indicates a shifting of our legal status in the eyes of the law.  So the ceremony itself is really more a legal requirement than a spiritual, emotional, or moral commitment event.  It does, however, provide us with the opportunity to share a celebration of our continued commitment with our friends and family in a fun and lighthearted way.  All of us have very serious lives, with very serious problems and struggles.  The costumed nature of our wedding and “reception” does not indicate a lack of seriousness on our part for the whole institution of marriage at all, but rather is an acknowledgement of the need to play in ourselves, our friends, and our family members.

The theme was chosen because no one will have to spend inordinate amounts of money on “appropriate” attire.  Any thrift shop can supply our guests with the basics for their “outfit.”  It’s also conducive to a casual outdoor celebration and gathering, as these types of gatherings were part of the nature of the hippy culture anyhow.  Hippies also advocated tolerance, love and peace, something we all could use more of.

Now we will undoubtedly have a tray of brownies somewhere for everyone, as a retro touch, but they won’t contain any “vegetable matter.”  Smoking will be tobacco, and while there will be some burning of incense, it won’t be to mask other aromas.  We’ll have coffee and sweet tea, and maybe some other soft drinks too, and while alcohol won’t be banned necessarily…we won’t supply that at the buffet table.

I wonder what my chances are of arranging for a coronet of dandelions with a florist are?

I must be crazy

30 Mar

Have you ever made a joke about doing something, and it has become a running joke…only to have the running joke turn out to really be a seed for a totally crazy idea that sounds really pretty good?

At least to you?

Yeah

Maybe it’s the turning fifty thing I have looming ahead in a few weeks and the realization that time is getting short for doing a lot of things.

I’ve decided that I want to travel around the United States.  That’s not unusual for someone my age, look at all the RVs that are sold each year and head down the highways.

The trouble is, to use an RV and do that requires a small fortune and a good pension, neither of which are something I have.  It also means being willing to consume gasoline in vast quantities on a regular basis as you travel.  I guess I find that rather unappealing too.

I want to do it a much greener fashion with a much more laid back attitude.

No, not on a motorcycle.  I find them intimidating with their noise, the helmets give me claustrophobic attacks, and I’m afraid I’d miss something.  Besides, most of them don’t get really good gas mileage, hovering around 50 or 60 miles to the gallon.

I want to do it by bicycle.

Granted, I realize that I am not a world class cyclist.  I realize that most touring cyclists typically ride 75-100 miles in a day, and I’m doing good with 10.  Does it really matter?  How fast did the pioneers travel with oxen and wagons?  I can even accept the possibility of adding a gasoline assist motor (they average about 100 mpg up to about 150, depending on the bike & load) to ensure that we get some miles done even if the slope is uphill and it’s hot outside.

It’s kind of crazy, I’d dreamed of doing that when I was a teenager and biking was easy and breezy.  I could ride my clunker of a 3 speed bike for 20 miles before lunch without breaking a sweat.  Now, I struggle with hills.

GM points out that it would take money to do this.  I point out it takes money to stay home too.  He points out my lack of physical conditioning, I point out it would obviously have to get better.  He sees 100 reasons why it is a crazy idea, and I agree.  It is crazy, so why not?

We could bike to Maine, and visit the Acadia National Park.  I’ve never seen the Atlantic coast, or any part of the northeastern USA.  I’d love to visit the Amish country of Ohio, and see the Appalachian mountains.  I can imagine crossing the prairies of middle America, and seeing the Rocky mountains looming ahead.  I can imagine how tiring it would be to pedal our way through the mountain passes, visiting former mining towns long past their glory days.  I can imagine our misery as we cross the Great Salt Desert with its shimmering heat waves, and entering the vast deserts of Nevada and seeing a herd of wild horses in the distance.  I can imagine the rising view of the coastal mountains ahead of us, and then…finally…the Pacific ocean and its great expanse in front of us.  I can imagine biking through the Redwood forests of California, and the maritime rain forests of the Northwest.

Oh, I know full well that some days, the rain would fall and the wind would blow.  I know sometimes I’d look at my bike and hate it.  I know I’d cry sometimes because parts hurt.  Sometimes I’d curse drivers, and sometimes, drivers would curse us.  There might be days when I wasn’t too thrilled with GM too.  There would be other days when he’d look at me and growl, informing me that this was all my fault because it was my idea.

I can accept that.

I know that doing this would be a monumental task.  We have two dogs and two cats, and our dogs are long past the age where they can run beside the bike all day.  They’d have to ride most of the time.  They are heavy.  So is camping gear.  I asked our daughter if she’d keep our cats while we made our epic journey.  I’d miss the grand baby.  It’s insane to think of devoting a year or two to doing nothing but riding a bike and taking pictures and making memories.  We should be responsible and work and save money and visit doctors and buy a house and a new car.

I want to make memories instead.  I want to taste adventure.  I want to feel the wind in my face.  I’ve spent a lifetime being responsible and hard working and boring.  I’ve done what society expected me to.

So is this a mid-life crisis?  Maybe.

Maybe its a symptom of insanity.

There are lots of reasons to not do it, and few besides the simple statement “I want to do this” for doing it.

It takes a lot longer than a bit of Botox and some liposuction, for sure.  Probably costs less and the side effects would certainly be different.

So if you see an overweight middle aged couple puttering alongside on the highway, with gasoline motors droning as we climb that long hill, towing a trailer with a couple of aging dogs and some  camping gear…slow down.

It just might be us.

Maybe.

If I can sell the concept to GM, that is.

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