On The Blackwater

Musing on retirement, writing, puppies, and whatever else strikes my fancy

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Spending my life in 20-year increments: DC, Calif, Maine, & now in the BlueRidge Mountains of VA, where my YoChon, Sadie Mae, has started to blog...

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 2009

We got back from a family Christmas in Birmingham to find our driveway solid ice! Thank heavens for 4WD. We were able to unpack the truck by pulling up close to the front door and walking v e r y c a r e f u l l y...

Tonight is New Year's Eve and the driveway is still frozen, so we're in our PJs and will try to stay up for the ball to drop. Couldn't the New Year come in a little earlier for those of us of a certain age?

We had a great time in Birmingham. Dick's son Shane had taken a box of old family pictures and had them made into a CD, so we were able to ID all of the relatives. What a treat that was! We'll make copies for Dick's sisters, especially the one who showed up in a fancy hat throughout. We teased her about one yellow dress with a yellow hat...lots of giggles via e-mail over that one!

Happy New Year, all!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Aunt Jimmie

Aunt Jimmie was so dear to me as I was growing up. She had married my Uncle Wallie, who worked for the Red Cross and was a lifeguard at the beach during the summer.

They would drive over and pick me up, and take me to their apartment where Jimmie would bake chocolate chip cookies and fry chicken for the next day. When we got to the beach, Wallie would climb up into the lifeguard's chair and Jimmie and I would lie on big towels and talk and talk. They had no children, so I had Jimmie's full attention. I could talk about boys, about classes I was taking or not taking, about colleges I was interested in.

Jimmie convinced me to take typing and shorthand (this was the 50's) as a backup plan after high school. She was exactly right; those skills got me excellent employment, including working for a guided missile research firm in DC. My Dad was shocked to find out my salary was higher than his as an engineer for DC government. He got over his shock and moved on to bragging about his daughter. I had a wonderful loving Dad.

When Jimmie retired to Florida after Wallie's death from a heart attack, we talked mostly by phone, but I did visit her. One visit included my husband and also one of my sons. She was excited to meet them and so welcoming. We went to a neighborhood restaurant and ate 'sky-high pie' that was their specialty.

Now, I'm trying to find Aunt Jimmie. I called her Florida nursing home but all they could tell me was that she'd been transferred to a skilled care facility. Information had no phone number, no listing at all for the scf, so today I wrote a letter to the nursing home, asking them to help me find her. If she is still living, she will be 90 this coming February. The last time I spoke with her, she was very vague and confused, so I suspect she may have passed on. She no longer had any family in Florida.

She isn't truly gone; she lives on in my heart and always will.

But she will never leave my heart.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Designing your life

I wonder how many folks realize that your retirement can be a time to design your life just the way you want to live it. OK, dire economic times can have an impact, but those of us who long ago decided to live within our means don't run into that so much.

When we were kids, the life ahead was an open book, and we thought we could do exactly what we planned to do. As teens, we learned more about the real world, and it's limits. As adults, with mortages and families, the world sometimes became brutally clear.

So, then, retirement, and the chance to write that novel or dance that dance, or join the Peace Corps and give back. So freeing!

Friday, December 11, 2009

How I Met my (current!) Husband

I may just chicken out on writing this. After all, my grown kids read my Blog. But Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl wrote beautifully about how she met her 2nd husband, so I thought I'd give it a go.

It was the 70's, in California, a time of flower-power and tie-dyes, short flirty colorful polyester dresses, lights under the dance floor. I'd divorced an abusive alcoholic and was having a grand time. My kids were old enough to thoroughly appreciate the calmness and lack of tension in our townhouse.

I had met some darling English sailors at a local pub and when a GF called me and insisted I come to town and have at least one glass of wine (she was sure I would end up as an old lady living alone with a dozen cats!) I threw on my embroidered jeans and workshirt, jumped in my car, and drove to town.

My GF introduced me to a fellow she'd just met, I danced with him, invited him to the Dixieland Jubilee dance on Sunday, drank my glass of wine and headed home.

Sunday, I met several GFs at the dance, then said to my one GF: Hey, I just saw the best-looking fellow ever...you're good at meeting people...help me out here. When I pointed him out to her, she laughed. "Hon, you've not only met him and danced with him, but you invited him here."


He joined our group and all of us had several glasses of wine, whereupon he decided he'd better sober me up before I drove back across town. He took me to his house (his male roommate was traveling) and got me to drink about a gallon of strong tea, then handed me a bathing suit that belonged to the roommate's GF so we could sit in the jacuzzi in the backyard. Well, GF's suit was too large for me, so I wrapped myself in a big beach towel, went outside and slipped into the water, convinced he wouldn't notice. Right.

It's a wonder I didn't scare this fellow from rural Maine. He said he fell in love when I stepped out of the towel into the water. I've always said he fell in lust.....

30 years later, we've had our good times and our bad times, but we both know it was meant to be. Like the saying goes: We plan and God laughs.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It's snowing!

Big wet snowflakes have been falling all day. They melted as they hit the warm grass, but what fun. I told Sadie Mae we could go build a teeny, tiny snowman but she was not interested. She does not like to get her booty wet...

Birds are at the feeder; they were really stoking up just before the snow began. With enough snow (soon?) to cover the ground, the brilliant male cardinals will be out in force.

I guess I've lost my regular readers. But I'll keep on keeping on.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Family News

My grandaughter and her mother were touring college campuses recently. Anna was smart enough to know that College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, was a private and very expensive college, but Mom said: we're down here, we might as well go look at it.

They were both thrilled that COA was right on the ocean, partnering with Jackson Labs, and offering courses in Marine Biology, Anna's choice in courses at this point.

The woman showing them around tuned in to Anna's enthusiasm (and her straight-A high school record) and told her: If you can commit to COA, we will explore available scholarships to allow you to attend here. They even interviewed her, which is amazing.

So I share this. Anna, a young girl from rural northern Maine, now may have a chance to realize her dream. Remember your dreams and go for it!