Wednesday, July 29, 2009

that is just disgusting...

You know, I really don't like to sweat. Or perspire. Or whatever you want to call that dampness that permeates your clothes, makes unpleasant wet spots and usually makes the person standing in line in front of you stink all to high hell...

And this weather? This is making people sweat. And stink. And puke.

Well, it's not making THEM puke, it's making me want to vomit because I'm locked in line with them. (and all the while they have no idea they IS that, I wonder?)

It's not really even the heat, it's the humidity.

It plays havoc with my hair, my clothes, my make-up. It does, however, give me a dewy glow that those young girls have, so I guess I have that going for me.

But when you get out of the shower and as you dry your hair you can feel that sweat dripping down your rib cage from your breasts? (you know what I'm talking about ladies...) That is just wrong. I've not even gotten dressed yet, for God's sake!

I live in a house that has tons of charm. Built in 1905, they don't make them like this anymore. I suppose you could have them made, but it would cost a fortune. The problem with said charming old house is that it is fixed with water radiator heat. Which is good in the winter, because it doesn't dry out your skin and it's rather affordable to heat the house in today's market.

The downside of having this old house is that because of the radiator heat, it cannot be fitted for central air...

I DID have someone come out that works on old houses such as mine. But the quote he gave me to put in central air could make a nice down payment on a home that already has it. So every summer, there about 2 to 3 weeks where I just want to check into the Ritz-Carlton until the humidity and heat have passed. Or buy a new house.

I guess I should stop complaining though. It HAS been a rather mild summer thus far. We've only hit the 90's once or twice as compared to some of the summers of past years when we would have week or months in the 90's and 100's. The people out west are getting hit hard with temperatures in the triple digits, so I should keep my mouth shut, since I'm sure that is all probably coming my way. Soon.

But standing in line at the grocery store today put me over the edge with the smelly guy in front on me. I was a swimmer, so I'm able to hold my breath for some time. But there was no getting away from the stank odor emanating from this poor bastards body. Something inside of me thought I should run over to Isle 2 and pick him up some body wash. And deodorant. And maybe a new T-shirt to boot. I'd be happy to foot the bill...

It'd be my way of paying it forward into the world. It'd help one less person have to deal with the odoriferous horror that I did for that short period of time today. It seemed an eternity. I was wondering if Isle 10 had any gas masks in stock.

But I didn't.

I would just step back a foot or two, take a deep breath and try to hold it as long as possible.

I was praying to the checkout Gods that there wouldn't be the need for any price-checks or coupon delays...

My lungs got some good exercise though.
Which is good. Because in this heat...there ain't no way I'm getting on the treadmill.

I hate to sweat. Or perspire. Or whatever you want to call it.
If I did, I'd be a size 2.


Monday, July 27, 2009

an addict in need of therapy...

I think I need some counseling. Or therapy. Or a therapist...
Perhaps a mixture of all three.

I am an addict.
Yes. I've said it. It's out there. No taking it back now.

"Hi. I'm Nancy...(cue applause) I'm an addict."
"Hi Nancy!"

I'm addicted to buying things online.

Oh, so sorry. You thought this was going to be juicy. Get some dirt on the Nanster. It's nothing that great, sorry to disappoint. But, when I get a little depressed, I like to buy little trinkets online. Jewelry mostly. I like shiny things. And I like diamonds. And gold. I like and they like me...

Very much.

I used to just put the things I found pretty in my 'watchlist' just to see what they ended up selling for. Then I found myself buying things. They were such a great deal. Then I got hooked.

But when you start setting your alarm so you can wake up in the middle of the fringin' night for an auction closing?...that's when it's time to talk to someone about a problem about to explode.

Recession? Cut backs? Pleazzzzeeeee. I'll hear nothing of the sort. Not when that super gorgeous 3 stone diamond ring is presently selling for a mere $1500 when it's valued at $14000. I mean, wouldn't that just look grand on me?

I know. I already have a bunch of jewelry that I don't even wear. I've still got my wedding ring that is quite stunning. I feel a little funny wearing it (since I'm no longer married) but I did wear it to my mothers funeral and I have to admit, I saw several people checking it out. It's not a traditional wedding set, but a custom made yellow gold ring with four matching princess cut square diamonds across the top and four radiant diamonds on the Grecian sides. It's rather spectacular...but such a waste to leave in my jewelry box. I don't really want to sell it, nor remake it. I figure I'll give it to my daughter someday. But every so often, I do pull it out to wear.

If anyone in my neighborhood has some fancy event to go to, they always call me for accessories. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, evening bags...I have them all. I like them. I collect them. I used to use them, but I no longer get dressed up very often to use the things I've acquired over the years. Dangling diamond earrings just don't cut it at the Brew Kettle. The Ritz perhaps, but not at the local pub.

I sometimes wish I still had the life that went with my jewelry box. Room service while on business trips. Waiters by the pool. But that's a thing of the past.

I suppose that I should maybe sell a few of my items and stash the cash away because of today's market. But I'll hold on to them. I like to pull them out to look at every so often. They send rainbows of light across the dressing room. It's a beautiful sight.

The other day I had to educate my daughter and her friends that when they play dress up, they need to stay out of my jewelry box. They have a jewelry box full of rhinestones that they can play with. But one day they were playing dress up and put on a little show. I watched and enjoyed it, but afterwards had to collect the things they had found to put on.

They had mixed with the rhinestones some of my diamond bracelets, necklaces and antique diamond brooches. They didn't know the difference and were treating them like the play jewelry. Little did they know that the bracelet was valued more than four of my mortgage payments.

Yet, here I sit. Typing on the laptop with the streaming on the desktop next to me. that's a pretty little necklace! And it's over 90% off!

Did I happen to mention that when I'm a little depressed? And when I'm depressed I like to buy pretty, bright, shiny things? Did I happen to mention that perhaps I might need a counselor or therapy or a therapist?

I much do those people cost? Maybe I could find them at 90% off as well?
Hell. Just hit the bid button. It's so much more rewarding...


Friday, July 24, 2009

the loss of my mother...

I have some very sad news to spread.

Early Tuesday morning my mother passed away...

As some of you may know, my mother had suffered several strokes over the last several years. The last one she had in February had landed her in a nursing home where she's been since. On Saturday evening the staff had alerted us that her body was struggling and that her passing may be eminent. The staff at Swanton Valley Rehabilitation Center were fabulous is treating my mother with the utmost respect and kept her as comfortable as possible in her last hours.

She will be sorely missed.

My mother was a wonderful, caring, loving individual. She was the kindest person that I ever met, and that isn't a biased opinion. There wasn't anyone who came into contact with her that wasn't drawn to her because of her sweet nature. Her smile was infectious and her mild manner calming. She touched so many lives over the years. As a mother, a teacher, a friend, a co-worker...there isn't a person that met her that wasn't affected by her positive attitude and outlook on life.

Even when she had the first stroke, the doctors all thought that she wouldn't recover. Although sapped of her strength and vitality, physically she was sound. It was her mind that was affected and the doctors prognosis was that she wouldn't recover and her remaining days would be confined to hospital care.

She proved them all wrong. She made them cupcakes to than k them for their care 3 months later.

She was never able to cook again on her own, tell the difference between colors or easily grasp some words, she nonetheless continued to fill our lives with joy with her smile and presence. The last 3 years were a gift...and we cherished them.

But unfortunately vascular dementia cannot be reversed and the veins that fed the brain with much needed nourishment continued to deteriorate. And it is with tremendous sadness that she has left this world, but has continued her journey onto the next. The love she gave to me, will never be forgotten.

The funeral for my mother was this morning. Reverend Scott Weaver officiated and did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of my mother and what she meant to so many. It was quite eloquent. Even his own voice broke with emotion several times while speaking. If you'd care to read the mediation, it is listed below.

A reporter from the local paper, the Toledo Blade, even was caught by the photo and obituary that was printed. He called to ask if it was possible for him to do a feature story on my mother, which of course I agreed to. Not only did he write a nice column, but published a large half page on her...she had the effect on people. Even those who didn't know her; wanted to.
So I close with my apology for not being 'around' the last week. It's been a roller coaster. It's a comfort to know that all thought as highly of my mom as I did...
Love to all,

Thelma Veres - Always with a Smile
Funeral Mediation, Rev. R. Scott Weaver - July 24, 2009

I’ve looked at the wonderful picture of Thelma Veres you find in your order of service over and over. What I see there is a woman whose joy could not be contained by her face. You feel it radiate from the page like a beacon calling out to share in her joy.

That beacon is so bright that even the Toledo Blade noticed it and last night contacted family and friends to do a story on Thelma that appears in today’s paper. And this is no small article because no small article could contain all that there is to remember of Thelma Veres.

I am one of the lucky ones, as are many of you, who was so blessed to have enjoyed that smile and to have felt that joy in person.

Though we gather here today to mourn the death of Thelma, the true reason we are here is to celebrate a life. Yes, her life on earth is over but her life in heaven with her beloved Savior Jesus Christ has only just begun. We can rejoice knowing that she gave us so much during her life with us. And we also praise God that a life free from pain, free from concerns, free from doubt, free from worry and blessed with understanding has begun with our Heavenly Father in her new home.

Oh, but what a life she shared with us! She was born on April 9, 1928 in Cardington , Ohio . She grew up on the farm but her parents knew that wasn’t the life for her and so her parents sent her to college. She graduated from Otterbein with a bachelor’s degree. She was the first woman in her family to go to college. Then she topped it with a Master’s Degree in Education from Bowling Green State University . She went on to teach Home Economics at Woodward High School for thirty years. Thelma’s daughter Nancy says that if you look up “Home Ec Teacher” in the dictionary, you could paste a photo of Thelma right there next to the definition!

She taught her students more than simply following a recipe. Her classes were all-encompassing: from what it meant to entertain guests to the work of running a home on a daily basis. Those lessons carried through to their lives. She built strength and character in her students.

I spoke with some of her coworkers last night and they describe a teacher who was devoted to her students who she affectionately called “her kids” She wanted to see them succeed. That smile, that caring, that joy helped her “kids”, her students, find a career path. She loved teaching and she loved seeing the results.

She also loved her family. She found tremendous joy in raising her children. What she taught at school was replicated at home. She believed in the lost art of “leading by example.” Her son Charles said the strength and drive in his life clearly emanated from the influence of his parents. He said, “they taught me how to live a life.”

Birthday parties at the Veres’ household were an events envied by all of the neighborhood children. Her children tell me it wasn’t simply that Thelma loved her Nancy and Charles, but that she truly enjoyed and took an interest in their friends. She loved people and she showed it with that smile.

I was blessed to have known and experienced the joy of seeing Thelma’s smile each Sunday morning. But apparently, I was seeing the more reserved and quiet side of Thelma. Friends have told me over this last week of how gatherings at the Veres’ household were full of laughter and joy.

Thelma was a wonderful hostess. All that she taught in her Home Economics classes she lived in her life. She was always whipping up something special for her guests. She loved to entertain and she wanted everyone to share in her joy.

On one particular evening, Frank and Thelma were hosting a white elephant gift exchange when some of the guests forgot to bring a gift to share. Thelma was quick to make sure that everyone could take part as she dashed around the house finding anything and everything they could wrap up as gifts so that no one would be left out. So it was quite a surprise when someone opened a gift that was an old candle with wax dripping down the sides. Soon everyone was caught up in the laughter and again, that smile lit up Thelma’s face.

Nancy stressed to me that Thelma always put her family first before everything else. She was the embodiment of ‘unconditional love’ and an inspiration to everyone. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, Thelma Veres has millions of words stored away in photo albums and boxes.

Her children felt like they were most photographed on the planet. She always had a camera. And to me, that is truly a sign of loving life and wanting to capture the moment and save it. Thelma Veres loved life. She loved her husband Frank, she loved her family, she loved her students, she loved her friends and she loved God.

Her children remember attending a small church with those hard, wooden pews, singing many of those classic hymns that are a part of our service today. Frank and Thelma have been members of First Baptist Church of Greater Toledo for 28 years. They are a fixture here. I have wonderful memories of talking to the Veres’ following Sunday morning services. Frank would approach me and inform me of how I could have emphasized a point or two in my sermon a little more strongly. And there would be Thelma standing right beside Frank, that beautiful smile on her face as she gazed affectionately at him and nodded as he spoke.

But time began to catch up with her and slow her down. The last few years were hard on her and on Frank as she suddenly moved from the caretaker role to the one who required care. As I thought about what she faced, it reminded me of the experience of Job we find in Scripture.

Job had it all. He had fields of livestock, money, land and ten children. But out of the blue, tragedy struck. He lost his crops, his land, his servants and all ten of his children. And then, he lost his health. He was in profound pain and suffering.

But in the midst of this pain, he made a statement that seems entirely out of character for someone who is suffering. It was a statement of faith found in chapter 19, verses 25 to 27.

Job writes, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at latter day upon the earth; And after my [body] is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Job made it clear that he knew his body wasn’t permanent and the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians takes up this same thought when he says, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven… So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.”

There is no uncertainty in the words of Job. Even in his pain, he says with conviction that his Redeemer lives. That word Redeemer is very important because it means someone who delivers from bondage by paying a ransom. And the only person who could do that for us is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Thelma’s Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Job knew that death is not the end. He knew that one day he would be clothed with a new body. Again the words of the Apostle Paul: “For we know that when this earthly tent we live is taken down – when we die and leave these bodies – we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.”

I live with that joy in my life. Thelma lived with that joy in her life. It is a joy in knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Jesus said in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…”

We can rejoice knowing that Thelma is safely home with God and that we will see her again. But I believe Thelma is still right here with us. She left a legacy that lives on as we remember the all that she shared with the world.

Nancy told me that someone once asked her who her hero was. She said, “without a doubt it has been my mother. I strive to emulate her as I raise my own daughter, Amelia. If I could be just a smidge of what my mom was, my life will have been a success. She was quiet, but strong...a rock for the family.” Amelia, you are a part of that legacy. What your Mom gained through life due to the influence of your grandma will live on. What a legacy!

It is also a legacy of “sweetness” that Thelma left for us. The word “sweetness” came up over and over as I spoke with family and friends. During Thelma’s final time with us, Charles called her everyday and said that she had the “sweetest” voice ever. He described it as “hug through the phone.” And in describing Thelma, Nancy said “my mom truly was the sweetest woman.” Another lady last night said, “she truly had the sweetest smile.” What a legacy!

I keep returning to that smile. I am looking forward to the joy of seeing her smile again face to face as we gather at the river that flows by the throne of God. God has ushered a very sweet woman into the corridors of heaven.

Thelma, you have fought the good fight. You have laid your burden down. You have finished your journey. You have kept the faith. Now you receive your reward. You are walking where bright angel feet have trod, with its crystal tide forever flowing by the thrown of God. We miss you . . . but your legacy - your sweetness - your joy - your passion for life lives on in all of us. Keep smiling!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

wife carrying championships...?

So I was a little bored and looking through some of the 'weird news' that gets sent around the web...

C'mon. Doesn't everybody check out all the weird news? It's hysterical! Plus in comparison, it makes my own life seem very droll.

Oh, did I say 'seem'? It is droll...but I like it that way.

Anyway, the news was that Finland won this years Wife Carrying World Championships! Can I get a woo-hoo! (woo-hoo!)

It's actually a rather big deal since Taisto Meittinen and Kristiina Haapanen of Finland, put an end to Estonia's 11 year reign. They took both the Gold and the Bronze. Wow. He ran 273 yards with two hurdles and a pool in 62 seconds.

62 seconds! With his wife on his back! Crazy...

But what I find most interesting is that there IS a World Championship. Who knew? Apparently, I don't live in an area where wife carrying is a sport. There are competitions all over. They have a huge competition in Canada, Europe and even Maine has a big festival where the winner could possibly move to the finals in Finland. I'm to understand that everyone wants to go to the one in Finland. It's the most fun and shows that you've 'made it' on the wife carrying circuit. Also the one held in Finland is the most popular...because the winner gets his wife's weight in Beer.

Yes, you read that correctly. Beer. What a prize. Seems a perfect fit for a prize if you really think about it.

There are 3 different popular ways to carry your wife, with the Estonian style being the fave. That's when the wife wraps her legs around his neck and hangs backwards and upside down behind him. I suppose that would be the most popular since they've been winning this thing for so many years in a row...

I was so intrigued that I even looked up and read some of the rules. Which was such a good read that I had to post them here for you. I particularly like the "The contestants must have FUN." How cool.

The original track in the rough terrain with fences, rocks and brooks has been altered to suit modern conditions. These following rules set by the International Wife Carrying Competition Rules Committee apply:

-The length of the official track is 253.5

-The track has two dry obstacles and a water obstacle, about one meter deep
-The wife to be carried may be your own, the neighbour's or you may have found her further afield; she must, however, be over 17 years of age
-The minimum weight of the wife to be carried is 49
kilograms. If she is less than 49 kg, the wife will be burdened with a rucksack containing additional weight such that the total load to be carried is no less than 49 kg.
-All participants must have fun
-The only equipment allowed is a belt worn by the carrier, the carried must wear a helmet.
-The contestants run the race two at a time, so each heat is a contest in itself
-Each contestant takes care of his/her safety and, if deemed necessary, insurance
-The contestants have to pay attention to the instructions given by the organisers of the competition
-There is only one category in the World Championships and the winner is the couple who completes the course in the shortest time
-Also the most entertaining couple, the best costume and the strongest carrier will be awarded a special prize
Participation fee is 50

And what about rule that "the Contestants have to pay attention to the organizers"...duh. And the "wife must be your own, your neighbors or found further afield, but must be of 17 years of age." What does 'further afield' mean exactly?

As I looked at the photo and thought about this event, it brought a memory back of a guy I dated a few ions ago. He was adorable. Blond, tan, built like a brick shit house...but tall. Like, 6'6" tall. Now some may think this a turn on, but I was 5'6" and rather thin at the time. He had this really annoying habit of picking me up and tucking/carrying me under his arm. What's up with that?

I felt like I was some sort of little toy. "Hi guys! You meet my new little girlfriend, Nancy?"

He drove an extremely cool old International Harvester truck. But of course, it was big. Huge, big. So he'd pick me up to put me inside. It was cute, for a short time. But got old really, really quick.

Adorable or not. The man had to go.

I wonder about him from time to time. Maybe he's in on this whole 'wife carrying' competition. I bet he'd be good at it for getting so much practice without ever realizing he was in training.

I wonder if I still have a photo of him somewhere.

I'll tuck it under my arm...just for old times sake.


Monday, July 13, 2009

in the house alone one night...

I watched a movie the other night.

The house was quiet. No one home. The movie came via mail over a week ago and it was sitting there just waiting for me to watch it or send it back.

I had heard the reviews when I put the title into my queue. Ebert had given it a 4 star rating, although the New York Times only gave it 2 stars.
"One of the Best Films of the year!", "Hands-down, watch-it-three-times-in-a row masterpiece.", "The chemistry onscreen is..." blahblahblah.
Usually when movies get that much hype or positive critical reviews it makes me NOT want to see it. I'm not a follower, never have been. If it's been advertised to the gills, I usually wait for it to hit cable. I don't feel the need to run to the theater to see a film because of the hoop-la or buzz. I like Independent Films, the ones that only have one copy at the movie store, usually stuck somewhere on a lower shelf. I'm not a big blockbuster movie type, although that's where I get my rental movies from, Blockbuster Online.

So I thought, "Well, it's here. I rented it, I might as well give it a look-see."
Partway into the movie I got out my pad of paper. I had to. I started writing down lines from the movie that were poignant. There was some good acting and some pretty mediocre acting, but the writing was intense. After the movie was over I sat there in the silent, dark house and just....cried.

I'm not quite sure why. For me? For them? For others?

And here I am, two days later, still slightly haunted by some of the lines and themes in the movie. Clearing the table, I'm looking at the quotes that I wrote down on several sheets of paper. Reading these quotes coupled with reading a good friends post about lamenting 'inconsequential crap' really got me thinking about how much in our lives we really take for granted. And how many of us just float through life without noticing how good it really is.

The movie that I watched was Revolutionary Road with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. In my opinion, the actor that stole the show was the son of a friend, John Givings (Michael Shannon), who had been given shock treatment (1950's) for attacking his overbearing mother (Kathy Bates). It was his character that delved out some insightful doozies...

"Nice house. Must mean you have a job you can't like..."
"If you don't try, you can't fail..."
"Plenty of people are onto the emptiness of life, but it takes guts to see the hopelessness..." Hopeless Emptiness they called it.

The main characters of the film were a couple that bought into and followed the standards and expectations of what they felt they should do... and that wasn't them. They had thought themselves to be special. But found out that they really...aren't. They had a life they had dreamed of that was unrealized and started to hate each other for where they now are in life.

She wanted to be an actress...she's now a suburban housewife. He wanted adventure, he now has a job to support his family that he hates. They decide to chuck it all and move, but fate deals a few blows that keeps them from living it out. And I won't tell the rest as to not spoil the ending...

But I sat there and cried. For quite awhile after the movie had ended.

I was sitting in the dark, there wasn't anyone else there, so I just let it all come out. Sometimes it feels good to cry. Even if you aren't sure why.

My eyes were swollen in the morning from the tears shed the night before. And I revisited my notes that I wrote in the dark. I have responsibilities in my life that keep me a bit anchored, but I'm grateful for the bubble in which I live. One of the quotes I wrote down was, " don't have the backbone to lead the life you want."

But I feel that I do. That I have. At least recently.

Yes. There are some things from my past in which I wish I would've handled a bit differently. Fought for some of the battles and left some of the battles alone. I think that my life may have been slightly different had I done these things...but it's alright. I like, for the most part, where it has led me.

I AM grateful for where I am. And for who I am...

If it weren't for the road I've traveled and the choices made, this...(gesturing around myself) wouldn't be. Too many people don't appreciate even the simplest of things. They are always lamenting about something that they don't have rather than being grateful for what they do. Too consumed with wishing for stuff they don't have that they forget about the stuff they do. It's easy to make comparisons...but why? Why would you want to? What possible good could it do?

While out driving I can always find someone in a nicer car than mine. That Mercedes-Benz CL class car I saw yesterday sure did look good, but the car that I drive is nicer than some others. There may be people looking at mine on the road thinking the same way about my car that I do about the Mercedes. But when it comes down to it, I wouldn't want to own a car that costs $108,000. I wouldn't want that kind of responsibility...or car payment. However maybe someone that drives a $100K car doesn't have to finance it. And yes, I lied. I would like to drive it for maybe a day...or an hour. But I don't want it. My appreciation for that car doesn't drive my choices.

My dad has always given out some pretty sound advice. One of the ones that always is in the back of my mind is; "As long as you learn from your mistakes, it's not really a mistake. It's when you repeat the mistake that it becomes one."

Great thought. And one I try to implement.

I have some friends who when they get together talk about how they would have changed this or done that. They wish they were in their twenties again and all the while balancing my plate, holding my glass of wine, I maintain a pleasant smile and nod. I don't argue. If that's what they want, that's fine for them. But I wouldn't want to do it over. I like the knowledge I've gained over the years. It would be nice to have it without the few extra pounds that those years of experience has put on me, but's worth the price.

So it's Monday and the new week has begun.

My eyes are no longer puffy from tears and I am updating my Blockbuster Online queue. As my daughter is on vacation with her dad this week, the house will be 'quiet' until Thursday. I'll have more down time to watch movies and putz around than I normally would. I'm going to make sure that Blockbuster sends some 'chick flicks' or stupid humor movies this week. No more emotional depressing films. At least for this week.

Another crying jag like that and my eyes may not recover...

Take heed my advice, if you rent Revolutionary Road be ready for a not so uplifting movie. A love story it is not. And make sure you have tissues around.

AND probably a pad of paper, just in case you need to make some mental notes for yourself while you cry in the dark...
'Cause you will.
Trust will.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

city girl ruffin' it...

We bolted from town 4th of July weekend.

My neighborhood does it up over the 4th, but we've done the same routine for many years now, and although fun, it was time for a change.

So we bolted. Packed up the car and headed for the hills. Literally.

One and a half hours later we are driving down country roads southeast of Cleveland to a sleepy little town of Loudonville. Even though they have a Pizza Hut, Dollar Store and McDonalds I am pleasantly surprised AND dismayed to find that my iPhone just looks cool. I've no cellular service. No e-mail; no phone. And that's IN TOWN, we've not even made it to our campground yet.

I chose our campground it because of the location, the availability for the holiday weekend and it's located directly on the Mohican River. It doesn't hurt that it amused me to find that their website pinged out a electronic version of "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers, circa 1974. They also have a canoe livery on site that will bus you up the river and set you up with a watercraft and you end up back at your own campground. Very convenient.

One of the big parties when visiting Mohican is on the river. There are a multitude of Canoe/Raft rental places. You choose how many miles you wish to trek and they drop you off at a point higher up river and you canoe/raft/tube back. 9, 14, and 26 seem to be the norm with a couple of "Daniel Boone lazy overnighters" you can hook up as well. You can travel the entire 200 mile length of the waterway if you want, but my shoulders ache just thinking about that endeavor. (oh and come to think of it, my ass does ever sit in a canoe for over 3 hours? Pleeeaaze.)

We've already planned out the 14 mile for the next day so we watch the mayhem happening on the river as we drive by.

Once to our campground, we check in and start the set-up. Tents aren't what they used to be. I remember growing up it would take us about half a day to properly set stakes to get our big canvas tent just right. Now you spread it out, put a few fiberglass linking poles through and wham! insta-tent! Ours is a Coleman that has a ceiling height of 6'8"; so no more having to crouch while inside. Spacious with a 14' x 12' dimensions, we've plenty of room for all our gear. AND our gear includes two blowup, double high air mattresses complete with our down comforters and pillows. Not like the old mummy bags sleeping on the ground of the past. Or the cots....remember those canvas and wood things? As kids, we would opt for the ground as opposed to the cots.

I packed two coolers. One for food, the other for beverages. I have to admit, I brought some great food and cooked most of it over the campfire that was burning at all times. Nothing like a big fat ribeye cooked over glowing coals. And while waiting for our food to cook we played bocce ball and noshed on Saga Blue. How good can it get?

Our adventure to the Mohican River had an interesting start. There was a car heading for one of the river launches that almost made it there before trouble struck. It was a small car loaded with a tube on top; held by those in the frontseat, tubes on either side of the car; held by those in the back and a guy in the trunk also holding a tube. It was quite colorful and great looking since they were all different colors, but I can't think that they were passing any Ohio Roadway safety laws. Seems they weren't since they got pulled over. The cop did not look amused.

There are campgrounds located along the banks of the river. There are areas of solitude on the river as well where you are the only person in sight. But when passing the campgrounds, people are sitting on the bank with water canons and such to ambush those on the waterway. There is quite a sense of community when out on the river, not an unfriendly face in sight. Most on the river rented canoes, kayaks or rafts from one of the many liveries; but there were quite a few that brought their own inner tubes or water floatation devices and just have a lazy float. The majority have done this before and were loaded with coolers filled with beverages and lunch. The further down the river you got, the more rambunctious some were. You aren't supposed to have alcohol on the river, but that doesn't seem to keep the multitude from bringing it anyway.

There was one family that had a large 9'x9' blowup raft meant for a lake, complete with blow-up palm tree that was just floating down the river with their cooler in the center. I DO believe that on my next trip, that'll be me...but for this one, we had a canoe. We even brought our dog, Sienna, on the river with us. She was a champ and reinforced my attitude that she is close to the perfect dog. 14 miles in a little under 3 hours with just 4 pileups due to low water and us dragging the bottom and getting caught up in rocks. It was a veritable blast...

We watched the fireworks in Loudonville high up in the hills. I had talked with some locals that spilled the beans on where the best fireworks watching spot was. So away we went. Curving high up on a country road with Loudonville at our feet, sunset over the fields and the sky lit with the blasts of color. It was perfect. Uncrowded, unrushed. We were there with our new camping friends from Dublin, Ohio and their kids. It turned out to be a rewarding, enjoyable, fabulous evening.

Fact is, on the entire trip I didn't run into anyone at the campground that wasn't friendly. It's a odd thing. Everyone waves, nods or says 'hello'. Something right up my alley. It doesn't matter what kind of tent or camper you have or where you come from; on a campground, we are all here for the same kick back and relax. And it shows.

I'll be planning my next trip camping soon. Now that I've got it down. I won't look to be a 'newbie'. I know what to leave behind and the things that I wish I had brought. What a wonderful way to just kick back and get away. Outside of everything that we brought ending up smelling of 'campfire,' it was perfect.

Well, almost perfect.

I didn't get to shower the entire time. There were only 3 showers stalls for women, and everytime I tried, there was a line. Long line. I didn't see the time invested value in it, so I went back to the campfire. Even if I HAD showered, I'd smell the same in a matter of minutes anyway, so why waste the soap and water? They did say in the website that it was primitive campground, the most primitive in Mohican. I thought was cool when I booked it, but maybe I guess I'm just a little more 'city' than I thought I was.

Hey, a little extra 'natural' smell hasn't killed anyone...yet.
But I have to tell shower at home never felt so good.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Love my friends award...

I was away for the holiday weekend, which was wonderful. No phone. No internet.

So when I returned you can imagine the amount of junk in my e-mail and voice mail box. It took me awhile to wade through it...but in there I found a grand little e-mail from my bloggy friend, Maureen, over at Island Roar. She deemed me worthy enough to bestow on me a "love My Friends" award!

Now doesn't that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? It did me!

I thank you, Maureen, for the prize!

The Rules:
The Love My Friends Award is given to those bloggers who aspire, inspire and share the most beautiful of human attributes: art, wisdom and friendship. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more.

The following bloggers are some that I read everyday (when I DO have internet and not traveling, mind you) and they bring me laughter, joy, good reading and stimulate my mind. Not all of them at the same time...but you get the jest of it!


These are my picks:

1. Searching for Shangri-La; he always inspires with wit and humor. Great photographer as well. (and an honorary long distance book club member)
2. Donna Gotlib; extremely creative gal who is just fabulous!
3. A Mouthy Irish Woman? Ridculous!; she's got one of those wits that makes me chuckle...
4. Funny Girl Goes Blog; a newbie on my reading list...but lives up to her title!
5. I Shoulda Been a Stripper; Chrissy is one of those rare finds in her.
6. Is this thing on...?; I can relate to her I read it I'm usually shaking my head going , "uh-huh...yeah!"
7. A Reservation for Six; a mommy blog that always makes me smile when I check in.

and last, but not least...

8. the tired one; my friend in the self-proclaimed bowels of hell (Texas) that is always my last to read. I always save the best for last!

Thanks again, Maureen! She'd be at the top of my list if I could send it back! Check out her blog...she's quite fantastic. One of those that somehow the cosmos directed me to...and I'm grateful for that.