Nine years

Jun. 29th, 2015 12:22 pm
greatbear: (me and mom)
Yesterday marked one year of wedded bliss between Jeff and myself. Much more happiness and oh-so-cool levels of awesomeness from not only the day before with the WIN at SCOTUS, but even more so seeing quite a few couples here, not to mention countless others everywhere else getting married on our same day. We're proud to be a part of the "anniversary surge" that will inevitably occur.

As such things go in my life, with much celebration also comes much sadness. Today marks the ninth year from the day I lost my mother to cancer. I know she would be enthusiastically taking part in all this celebrating were she still with us. It was quite by accident as we were planing our big day and how it best would fit in with the plans of ourselves and our guests. It was only after we had gained some momentum that I realized these two dates fell next to each other. As it turned out, because of the slip-up, a good part of our wedding celebration was made to include a tribute to our moms, who couldn't be there with us in the seats, but who were definitely there is everyone's hearts.

I miss you so much.
greatbear: (forearms)
So much has been happening around these parts since last week, most of which has been continuing work on the house, of course. There have also been some nice diversions, some with their own surprises. Those of you following baseball would know that the Baltimore Orioles made it into the playoff series, first among their own American League division, and more recently moved into the league champion series. If they win this (hopefully), they move onto the World Series. While not a big sports guy, I always had a fondness for baseball, since Jeff is the sports guy of the family (and we are an honest-to-goodness family now), he always had the desire to go see a championship game if not a World Series game. Through some searching he came upon a reasonably priced pair of tickets, and on Friday morning, we headed into the big city to spend the day at the ballpark. We headed out about two hours before the game, since it was a sellout and they were expecting a lot of crowds, traffic and general bustle. Couple that with this all occurring during working hours, I expected pure hell. Imagine our complete surprise when we rolled into town and got parked in about five minutes! Granted, my handicapped parking plaque helped shave a couple minutes from the parking search at best, but once we got parked, I told Jeff, "I think something is wrong." But we happily trotted out of the parking garage and spent a bit of time strolling the Inner Harbor to use up some of the time before the ballpark opens. After warming a bench but the water, we headed up to the park, had our tickets scanned, and off we went to find our seats. Quite often we are anxious when we buy tickets from a third party, not knowing for certain if everything is legit. We both breathed a sign of relief when we heard the happy beeps from the barcode scanners. So far, we haven't had any trouble of this sort, but we we worry just the same. We had a bit of a issue finding the seats, and being that we passed the escalators a while back, I headed up the stairs though Jeff was unsure of my success. We climbed and climbed, and as I neared the very top, I felt an uneasy feeling of weakness in my legs and some dizziness. I sat on the steps as this passed, and upon getting up to the highest level, we still couldn't find the proper gateway. We asked a staff member, and they said we had to go back down to the green doors that we passed on the way up. To our surprise, we had scored club-level seats! Things kept getting better! It's been years since we had club seats, and in the past it was from work connections. We grabbed a nice lunch from the more upscale concessions on the level and headed to our seats.

We had a fantastic view near the left field foul post. The game started, with the O's picking up two points in the bottom of the 3rd, then the Tigers got 5 at the top of the 4th inning, and the Orioles one more in the 4th. Then... nothing. The game went on with no more points and looking bad for the home team. At the top of the 8th, the Tigers got another run, bringing the score to 6-3. Then the Detroit pitching staff began to fall apart. The fans got loud again. The bases got loaded and the Orioles get a grand slam homer that could not happen at a better time. When the Orioles took out the Tigers at the top of the ninth, the sound in that ballpark was deafening. I've never been to such a squeaker win before, and it was a sweet victory. The cheering kept on even as 50,000 peop0le were heading out of the ballpark.

While I've never put a lot of thought into sports in general over the years, and I tend not to get much excitement watching on television, there's something to be said being a part of a crowd rooting for their team. It becomes downright exciting, especially in these high-stakes games, and a win is a complete thrill. There is palpable positive energy in the air, and Baltimore takes their wins and losses in stride. Baltimore hasn't been in a playoff position in a long time, and the entire state gets a nice little bump in happiness along with everything that goes with it. It genuinely feels good.

However, our day wasn't over yet. It was closing in on rush hour, on a Friday afternoon. Rather than trying to beat the traffic out of town, we toddled back down to the Inner Harbor, hoping to get a table at Bubba Gump's for dinner. With a lot of people streaming toward our destination, I worried we'd be suck waiting. After all, I can't walk very fast anymore. But we got a nice table, picked a nice dinner from the menu (they have fried shrimp, baked shrimp, shrimp sandwiches, shrimp creole, shrimp scampi, shrimp gumbo, shrimp kabob, shrimp...) and even met up with a guy that Jeff had been talking to on Growlr. We made a new friend while enjoying dinner and dessert, and we got out of town just as fast as we had got in. The day couldn't have turned out any better. Jeff had to work this past weekend, and I went to visit and have dinner with him on Sunday night. He was upset that he couldn't watch the game, but had a live game score update running on his PC. Nearing the end of the game, Jeff had to leave his desk to finish business for the night. I watched the screen for him as the numbers changed. Wouldn't you know it, it was a last minute 8th inning charge much like Friday! There I was, alone in the office, getting excited as some numbers changed on a screen. Even cheering. Jeff then came back, looked at the screen and cheered too.

I did a lot of work on Saturday and Sunday on the house, and the home team bookended a practically perfect weekend.
greatbear: (my little hercules)
I'm finding that more people from our ten year's past "heyday" of Livejournal are beginning to come back into the fold lately. It does my aging heart good. There were lots of good times. There were also lots of bad, but there was never a lack of community support during the dark moments. I credit the gang here for helping me through the worst times of my life, making it easier to cope and not feel so alone in my suffering and sadness. I can also give lots of thanks to so many who've made me smile, laugh and cry with some of the happiest and more fun times I've ever enjoyed facing a screen. I sincerely hope the momentum continues and we can make this back into that special haven we had.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Despite my working in aerospace for over 30 years, and my childhood years on being a bit of an aircraft aficionado, I never tire of seeing promotional and action photography depicting what the aircraft are capable of. Being that I worked with warplanes and military craft the closest, our promo video showed a lot of really cool planes being totally awesome. I'm no warmonger, and I didn't like what some of these bits of handiwork would be involved in, but the flip side being many were used to protect our own people and allies. A good amount were also used in science, research and civilian fields. And there were the boring, workaday commercial aircraft that many mostly ignored. What is rarely seen outside of industry people and enthusiasts are promo films and video of those big commercial beasts outside the workaday world. Many people know of the Boeing (Boo! Our competitor!) 787, aka the Dreamliner. This in the newest, most technologically advanced commercial airliner ever built to date. Advanced materials, computer systems, powerful and efficient engines, it's got it all. While it's had some growing pains (pesky fires, structural issues, etc) not unlike any new plane, it's still one of the most anticipated and talked about airplane in years. Boeing is bringing the Dreamliner to the Farnborough Air Show in the U.K.. Before this big event, pilots gave the 787-9 a few test flights. This Boeing promo shows what the big gal is a capable of, without even breaking a sweat.



Amazing how something so big and otherwise utilitarian can look like it's light as a feather and maneuverable as a Cessna. I think it's one of the sleekest metal tubes in the air these days. Nice to see this bird with a chance to play before it begins its daily grind.

As for us? Well, we're off. Not flying, unfortunately, but instead, we're dragging the Travel Trailer of Mayhem up the coast to PTown for about a week and a half. This trip, planned last year, was so close to our wedding day that we are considering it as a honeymoon of sorts, but not the only one. Not sure yet what the real deal is, but I'm happy for this one. This time, I'm heading up in the middle of the night, with the traffic being lighter and, hopefully, little or no construction. Unlike our trips departing from Pennsyltucky, this is the first time in years we are heading up straight from MD. This should, with luck, get us up to Provincetown in the fairly early morning, were we then can set up, take disco naps and enjoy the afternoon in style.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
My how time flies when you are having fun. And it flies even faster it seems when one is very busy and there seems not enough time in a day to get everything done. My apologies for not updating everyone since our big day. It's almost two weeks ago, and yet it seems like just yesterday. We've had some time for things to "soak in" and to get a feel for any "changes." Well, in so many ways the days after don't appear any different. But for the two of us, there's a new feeling of belonging, of protecting, of being closer. Hard to describe, but it's definitely something. The days just after the wedding seem to be a blur. The cleaning up, the opening of gifts, the catching up on work set aside while we were tying the knot. The following weekend was July 4th/Independence Day. To beat the holiday traffic, we headed up to PA at zero dark-thirty Friday morning for our monthly visit with family there, despite many of them coming down the week before. Jeff really wanted to visit with his mom at the nursing home. We got there early to find her in good spirits. Since we got there earlier than we usually do, we spent our time with her before lunch, and we hung around as she had her meal. With Jeff's help, she ate heartily. He and I along with Dad concluded our visit as mom began to fall asleep, looking quite contented. Some of our visits in the past were quite depressing. This one was different. We hung out longer than we usually do. Everything seemed more upbeat, especially after Jeff told her that we had gotten married. Somehow, I have a feeling she understood.

Later that day we had a chance to meet the newest addition to my family. There, I said it. My family. With the loss of my mother, I had no more family I could truly call my own. No longer cast adrift, I now am part of a growing family. I guess that is one of those "different" feelings I have now that me and Jeff are married. No family is perfect, and mine (I said it again! Wow...) has some fraying at the fringes, but the core is solid, and I have more relatives than I ever had in my life. Anyway, sorry for the aside, but, well, something hit me as I was putting these words down. I also needed a couple tissues. Where was I... Ah, the new addition. Jeff's oldest niece, her husband and their adorable daughter (who was to be our flower girl) had been slated to join us for the wedding, but had to bow out, as she had just given birth to a beautiful little girl. The many pictures being sent and shared through Facebook can only go so far. We finally got to set eyes on the little gal, and she stole our hearts in an instant.

Meet Brooke:



Once again, Jeff and I are grand-uncles. Only a bit off from being grandpas. I have the perfect bald head and white beard for the role too, I suppose. But here we now have another focus for our love and attention. I couldn't be happier. Brooke is a delight and full of facial expressions. She's so tiny, barely more than a handful for me. But she snuggled in my arms and fell asleep, a contented look on her face not unlike we had seen earlier in the day. Our spirits lifted high, we headed back to dad's with smiles on our faces that I don't think have worn off completely even now.

We scooted home on Saturday afternoon, traffic-free and started bringing things back to normal at La Casa Mayhem. I've been sorting through pictures, wrestling with a new VPN/firewall/router as well as the (hopefully) final work on the LAN and PC upgrades for a while. Vehicles needed tending to, as well as some of the outdoor/garden equipment and the trailer. We finally got new cell phones, and Jeff finally meets the '10s head on as the proud owner of a smartphone. The rush begins anew as we get things done and ready for vacation. Yeah, PTown again, during Bear Week, but due to work constraints with Jeff, we won't get there until Thursday. We'll be saying through the week after, and we'll be running into quite a few of the folks who were down here with us on our big day. I keep saying we do PTown "in spite of" Bear Week, instead enjoying running across our extended friends and "family" during the days. I have a feeling we'll be enjoying ourself like we usually do, but with a little something extra. I won't know it until I sense it, and I'll try my best to share. It might be a bit late, but, well, that's me I guess. ;)

Looking up

Jun. 26th, 2014 10:54 pm
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Good news! I found my wallet. Bad news, I lost my beard. Well, a good bit of it, at least.

By tomorrow evening the yard will have more tents in it than if Cirque du Soleil were performing here.

The front door here at La Casa Mayhem is a rusty, ugly disaster. I had hoped to replace it before the big day, but I had to postpone that project a multitude of times due mostly to physical health issues. When I finally decided I was in good enough shape to tackle the project, when I tried to order it up, the lead time was too long. So, I bagged that project. Instead, I did a quick and dirty paint job to the door itself, the frame and sidelight. It took about half the day, since the paint was peeling furiously and it needed a lot of sanding and other prep work, but for a door assembly I plan on ripping out in a couple months, it looks damn good, better than I expected. I had to *try* not to obsess over the details like I am prone to do, just slap the paint on and be done. Now I won't have to be ashamed, and the rest of the outside entryway which I fixed up a couple years ago doesn't look shamed by the last remaining part that was to be replaced. It was embarrassing to see that pitiful entry to the house we've been working so hard on lately.

Right before I had found my wallet the other day, we were running errands (one of which was getting a replacement driver's license). We stopped at the dry cleaners to pick up Jeff's work duds and I walked over to the suspiciously quiet area which is our favorite local restaurant. It's a little Chinese place called Hunan House, it has been there for close to 30 years. I've eaten countless meals from there, everything from a lunch grabbed to eat while building the house here to sit-down meals with friends. Never had a bad meal in all that time. The staff got to know us by name, knew our favorites, always asked about how we were doing and what was going on in our lives, etc. To my utter dismay a sheet of paper was taped to the glass saying they were regretfully closing after all these years and thanked everyone for their years of patronage. I drove home sobbing. In fact, though finding my wallet did cheer me up somewhat (it was more like a big relief), losing our favorite haunt was like a kick in the groin.

Our friends that are joining us for our wedding begin to arrive tomorrow from out of state. We still have a lot of work to do, but it is now mostly the setting up and getting ready variety. Tomorrow morning I will put the final touches on the cleanup before putting away the pressure washers. A bit if the walks up front need to be cleaned, as do the two long asphalt drives. The carport is spotless; this is where the caterer will be set up. The Garage of Mayhem is looking beauteous, and the big concrete area in front is clean enough to eat off of. The trailer is in its rightful parking spot as well. I have to cram all the big equipment into the building tomorrow when I'm done, that should be a chore just by itself.

My back has been mostly holding up, but I have been trying my best not to overdo the exertion and whatnot, and sometimes failing that I get a not-so-gentle reminder that I am still a feeble old man. All I am hoping for is it holds up for our big day and for our PTown trip next month. After all that, I can truly take it easy. We need this vacation badly, and more than ever, it seems.

I can see light at the end of the tunnel, and this time it's not a speeding freight train.

Ptwned!

Jul. 23rd, 2013 01:11 am
greatbear: (jeff and me)
My recent disappearance in these cyber parts was mainly due to me and Jeff taking a much-needed vacation. Per usual, we headed up to Provincetown for a little over a week's worth of rest, fun, sun, friends, eye candy and way too much good food. Arriving the Thursday afternoon prior to Bear Week, the two of us, along with the two pooches, set up our little campsite in the same location as last year. We immediately went out to our favorite carry-out eating spots and put together our meal after all the driving. It was an "official" start to our big vacation of the year. While not as long as last year (we took two weeks worth then), it was still plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. I always seem to say that we go to PTown "despite" Bear Week, a we don't bother signing up with any of the official goings-on put on by the Provincetown Bears, opting instead to do our own thing. We get to see our friends that normally live ten minutes or so from us but never see these days except in PTown, familiar faces from years before seem to be everywhere, and we get to meet interesting new people. No expectations, no stress (for the most part). Running into Armistead Maupin and John Waters on the streets, taking pictures with cast members of "Where the Bears Are", talking with recording and DJ folks, parties with friends, it's a different sort of world for a week. I even managed to get my increasingly creaky old ass on the dance floor. And the food, well, let's say not a day went by that we weren't smiling about having a great meal. It's all good, much needed, and always welcome.

Our good friends from Connecticut, whom we sadly only get to see this one time a year, were once again at the campground, along with not one, but two of their potbellied pigs as travel companions. They brought fresh eggs for us from their farm, which made for wonderful breakfasts. Jeff's trio of buddies were at the other end of the campground again, we kept running into them here and there. Weather on the Cape was much more sane than the heat wave to our west. We went to so many of our favorite galleries and shops, dragging home art and souvenirs as well as a couple boxes of electronic gear I picked up from the church tag sale for way too cheap. It was a challenge to get everything into the truck to bring home. We managed fine, we just had to open the rear doors slowly to catch stuff falling out as it shifted in traveling.

While it might seem this was an idyllic trip free of snags, like all good things there were clouds among the silver linings. PTown had been experiencing some manner of rain practically every day since early June, this resulted in a bumper crop of mosquitoes that rivaled some tropical climates. Lounging outside at the campground was doable with repellants and sprays, but we didn't do too much to speak of. Even parts of downtown were plagued with the bloodthirsty beasts, but it was a small distraction to all the goodness abounding. All the aforementioned good food didn't take long to overwhelm the wreckage that constitutes my lower digestive tract. Some of our plans had to be shuffled or skipped as I dealt with far too many trips to the bathroom. The janky wireless internet access I was getting at the home base of Mobile Mayhem made keeping up with the outside world sketchy at best, and downright frustrating at times. The campground lies at the fringe of 3G mobile data coverage, and the reliability/availability of the connection made my early days of dialup internet seem like fiber optic broadband. As such, I lost out on meeting up with some LJers and Facebookers. Service was better downtown, of course, but I didn't bring the laptop with me, and I wasn't going to be one of the many cellphone zombies wandering around the streets not watching where they're going, or Instagramming their meals, or posting Twitter and FB updates every two minutes. I find it so much better to pry myself away from constant online access, instead enjoying the moments. Honestly, I don't have that many years left, so I am making the best of the time while I can.

I also discovered that, as time goes on, I am taking far fewer photos than I used to. Yes, I dragged four cameras with me, but the SLR stayed in the bag, the waterproof Pentax I brought along had its battery conk out at the beach where I hoped to take pics of the dogs frolicking in the sea, my little Canon compact accumulated less than two dozen shots, while my cell phone camera probably had to most use of all. Honestly, I have no idea what's going on there. My interest in photography has fallen way off in recent years. Still, I have a few good shots that will service as nice reminders of our time. I guess I need to focus (heh) on bringing my hobbies with me more often.

We ended up breaking camp and hauling our asses outta town the following Friday. Since traffic heading on and off the Cape is legendary for long lines on the weekends, we've discovered it best to leave early on weekdays instead. While there were still two good days of beary goodness to be had, we needed to get to Pennslovakia in order to rest up and unpack the trailer on Friday evening in order to take it in for repairs on Saturday morning. We couldn't get the work done on it before vacation as we hoped due to parts availability issues. Luckily the damage caused by the fire in March was not bad enough to keep us from using the trailer for vacation, it was mostly cosmetic. I hauled the trailer up to the RV shop on Saturday, not before running right into the start of a vintage tractor parade in the town of Gratz, where the shop is located. I had to shoot ahead of the parade using side alley streets, once ahead of the vintage machinery, I got back on the main town road lined with people waiting for the tractors. I guess we should've waved or something. Once that was taken care of, we visited Jeff's mom at the nursing home and headed home, We had a Sunday in Maryland to ourselves, working in the gardens and the yard plus running errands. This Monday, of course, was back to the grind. At least we had our fun and are better for it.

I didn't promise pictures, but here's one of us on the breakwater in PTown. Gadzooks, I am looking older by the day.

IMG_1424


We are already making plans for next year.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Jeff and I returned today from a much needed break from the daily grind. Our shakedown cruise camping trip to delightfully mountainous Western Maryland and the always wonderful Deep Creek Lake was a success with only a few minor issues. Some forgotten supplies, inadequate propane supplies on board (and practically a circus of trying and failing on multiple counts to find a refill), and a few other little goofs did nothing to spoil our mini vacation. Rather than try to do a whole lot of stuff in the few days we had, we just enjoyed the quiet, had our meals under a canopy of trees and sky, slept in, and unplugged. We are better for it. It's been a couple years since we've been out that way, what with time constraints, health issues and such changing our plans. We go the weekend after Memorial Day, and treat it as an extension of Jeff's bday festivities. In spite of a rainy Friday along with a tornado warning (and the two of us inside a trailer surrounded by several more!) we had an awesome time. We are home safe, rested and ready for the week. Better still, at the end of this month we ramp up the fabulousness factor and head on up to Provincetown for two whole weeks. Those minor mess-ups will be all taken care of.

We still have a lot to do around the house as we catch up on stuff, I have upgrades to the truck to install, the Stratus to tear apart and straighten out, some work on other vehihicles in the stable as well. The veggie garden is starting to produce, and I have to finish installing critter countermeasures so we can have at least some of the bounty to ourselves. It's going to be a busy summer for us, but that is not a bad thing. Among the work we are going to take needed breaks, entertain and be entertained. We are worth it. ;)

I return from the four (ish) days after being off the grid and discover LJ abuzz with activity! Sadly, a lot of it is focused on various observations of "the death of LJ" as well as people stating their intents to stay or go. To those saying they are staying out, good on yas. It's youse guys n gals that keep me here, enriching my life in ways I'm pretty certain you had no idea. Those that are heading out, well, I sure hate seeing you leave. All I ask is that you stay in touch, somehow, cause I'm going to miss you.

MD

May. 13th, 2012 10:24 am
greatbear: (me and mom)
Happy Mother's Day, everyone.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
You probably didn't take notice, but there has been an extended period of radio silence on this here bloggy-poo. The reason? Some much-needed vacation time. It was actually a two-parter, the July 4th weekend was spent up at Hillside for 4 days, a return home for us so Jeff could do some worky-worky stuff for a couple days, then a return to the road for a trip to Provincetown for Bear Week. I set the controls at the House and Garage of Mayhem on full auto, the antipersonnel laser vaporizing a trespasser (or it might have been the meter reader, I'll see what the electric company says) but apparently missing the sly groundhog that took liberties (and big bites) with some of the garden veggies.

The Hillside trip was nice. We had on board with us a couple friends, one we knew for years on and offline (former LJer Aaron/"fredneckteddy") and a buddy of Jeff's all the way from North Carolina, Tony, whom Jeff had been conversing online for a very long time and met in person for the first time upon picking him up at the train station on Wednesday. A good time was had by all, lots of good food was cooked and eaten, and, as is apparently an unwritten law for Hillside camping, at least part of the time spent there had us rained on. Tony, being a Hillside "virgin", had a lot of fun despite being at times overwhelmed by, well, the people and things going on there. Hell, he's ate it all up and had a blast. Aaron was last at Hillside maybe 8 years prior, and had no trouble adjusting (yeah, that's what I'll call it for now, "adjusting"). Once the extended weekend was over, I towed our 26 ft home back to its summer parking spot at Jeff's parent's place, leaving it connected to the truck and driving home in the car that we also brought up. This allowed us a substantial fuel savings, and the convenience of having the rig all ready to go again in three days.

We headed up to PTown at the crack of dawn on Thursday, arriving about mid-afternoon. After setting up and a bit of a break, we headed into town. Of course, our first stops are at Mojo's for a big cup of Cape Iced tea, and a stop at the Portuguese Bakery. Any familiar faces or "bears" had yet to make any sort of mass appearance since the bear week event did not officially start until Saturday. We were treated to lots of muscled Chelsea Boy types among other homosexual subspecies. Once the official start of Bear Week approached and passed, the eye candy quotient went into orbit. Jeff and I were quite content with finding outdoor seating at restaurants, shops and the town square and watching the parade of hair humans, many quite familiar from years past. Several of our well-known friends popped up in all the usual places once again, and I got to meet quite a few LJ peeps for the first time, more so than in previous years. There were apparently some missed opportunities as well as outright ignoring by a few people, a major (though not entirely unexpected) disappointment,

Our extended week had us doing our traditional whale watch boat trip, typical shopping sprees and general lolling about town, not to mention eating some of the most awesomest food around every day. We took Kodi with us into town every day, where he soaked in rockstar-like popularity heaped on him by dozens of people at a time. It didn't help that, in addition to his adorable doggy-ness, he would ride in Jeff's bicycle basket through town or carried in a over-the-shoulder sling pouch, both of these carriers designed specifically for pooch perambulating. In addition to the miles of walking, toting and riding, Kodi managed over 1200 miles of puke-free riding from Mayhem Acres all the way to PTown and back. It's like he knows it's vacation time, and relaxes immediately. If this could only be the case with every road trip! It was Kodi's first trip to the beach, where he eventually had a blast dog-paddling in the water once getting used to it.

This year, our vacation accompanies a big change in both of us, as we are officially two middle-aged men with major medical conditions. Jeff was not able to ride nearly as far on his bike as in years past, and I still fumbled my way around a bit while walking. Despite this, we both did remarkably well IMO, with Jeff taking the little rides in stride and I didn't end up falling down once. We even managed to take part in the now-standard-feature-of-Bear-Week, Blowoff. This was short lived, as the dance floor at the Boat Slip Resort resembled a sauna, with the heat and humidity oppressive to say the least. The next day Jeff was hit with a case of "kennel cough" and I still have a case of intermittent sniffles. We are either way too old for this sort of thing, or someone has to provide several thousand more cfm of ventilation to that place.

There's much more, but, sad, to say, all good things have to come to an end, after an 11-hour trip off the Cape and back to the trailer's summer parking spot, a night's sleep, then the additional 2.5 hour trip home this afternoon, our vacation for 2011 officially ended. While sad, and seemingly awfully short, we packed a lot into the time we had, and were glad to arrive home in one piece, bettered by our time spent up north. We are already making plans for next year.

More (possibly) to come...

Five years

Jun. 30th, 2011 02:05 am
greatbear: (me and mom)
Today marked five years since I lost my Mom to cancer. Five years already. It seems like it was just last week. I tried to keep a positive outlook, and that was made a bit easier by focusing on trip preparations and picking up a camping guest. But it finally started to get to me when everyone else went to sleep. It's not a bad thing, though.

I'm finally able to stand aside from my loss and the heavy mental baggage it comes with, and make solid moves with my life. I am able to do the gardening and other tasks that were so close to Mom's creative and recreational side, that I am able to have them make me feel better and enjoy those things in the way that she used to. I think she would be proud. And I am no longer feeling so much that I am "raiding her territories."

I still miss my Mom terribly, and I will do so until my last breath. I also won't say that I have "moved on", it's more like "moved along", carrying with me all the good she imparted into my life.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
Well, another natal anniversary to mark my time on this rock has come and gone.

Today I did some errands, mostly for car parts and such. Jeff was coming home early after a doctor's appointment, then we headed off to grab a nice dinner (of which I brought most of home) then to The Hippodrome (aka "The France-Merrick Theater for the Performing Arts", tell me which one rolls off the tongue easier) to see JERSEY BOYS. It was am amazing show. While our show was conveniently on my birthday night, the tickets were actually a gift given to Jeff for Xmas. So that worked out well. Both of us definitely wouldn't mind seeing the show again.

As for the whole Groundhog Day thing, when I first headed out of my burrow to head to CarQuest, no shadow. Take that as you may. I'm out of the weather prognosticating business.

It was a good day, but as has become an increasing norm for me, not one full of happiness. There is some news we received today that could turn out to be very devastating. That's all I will say at this moment.

I just so over the holidays and birthdays from now on.
greatbear: (forearms)
I've been lax in timely updates. Not all has been spent stumbling around like Pegleg the Pirate on ice, though. Late last week I braved the DMV/MVA for all of about 20 minutes to acquire a temporary handicap parking tag for the car. This will allow me some temporary rockstar/Doris Day parking while I get through my period of defective leggedness. It's a help, for sure.

On Friday, Jeff and I had a chance to make an across-the-coasts connection with a friend of mine I have known online for over ten years now. [livejournal.com profile] musklebear was in town on a teaching gig, far, far away from his Cali home. We used the fortunate time to rescue him from his boring hotel room that evening and took him out for dinner. We happened (well, I hobbled at best) upon an odd restaurant called "Ketchup" at National Harbor. Apparently they are known for their... ketchup. Make that ketchups. Maple ketchup. Chipotle ketchup. Raspberry ketchup. Ranch ketchup. Garlic ketchup. And plain, old ketchup. The food was so-so, the atmosphere very noisy, and they attempted to pile our main dishes onto our small table about a minute after receiving our entrees (we sent them back until we finished the 'apps', as has now become fashionable to call the appetizers). But our very engaging waitress and our wonderful guest more than made up for it.



This was a very welcome diversion after several weeks of work and health issues. Thanks bunches, Jim.

The weekend was fairly quiet, I managed to finish up patching the huge sinkhole and it's older, smaller cousin in the driveway on Saturday. This was a job that would have normally taken me half a day at best, but was spread over several days because I just can't do much heavy work at all being incapacitated. It's very frustrating for me. But, I manage. Slow and stead wins the race, blah blah blah and all that. This week I hope to arrange my surgery and get that taken care of. I hope to sneak in a trip to the ophthalmologist in there as well as find a dentist to take care of other minor (or not) maladies I've been putting off for a while.

Tomorrow is more rehab/treatments for the ankle and taking Kodi to the groomer. And whatever else I can manage to do.
greatbear: (Default)
Another Hillside camping weekend has come and gone. Somehow all the effort that goes into these weekends - the packing, driving, setting up/tearing down, cooking, etc - almost makes us wonder if they are all worth it for the relatively short time. But, meeting up and spending quality time with old friends as well as making some new ones offsets the efforts. This outing had [livejournal.com profile] churchbear and his beau "The Pork" plus Jeff's good buddy Dean staying on site 22 with us, along with Kodi the WonderPooch. Across the road from us once again was [livejournal.com profile] rockybear02 and his beau along with a mutual friend staying in their newly acquired luxury pop-up trailer. Aside from some rather intense rain on Friday afternoon, it was pretty decent weather overall. [livejournal.com profile] climatebearnj and [livejournal.com profile] churchbear both had their chances to feel up my arms. Meals were total awesomeness as the two Jeffs, Dean and "The Pork" were almost playing "Battle of the Food Network Stars". I bought three radios from Hillside's little 'treasure store' (basically a permanent yard sale) for five bucks and took a few minutes tonight to clean the pots and switches to make them work like new once again. We delivered the trailer to it's summer home in Jeff's parents' driveway but not before Kodi tossed his cookies half inside and half outside my truck along with half all over Jeff. That's three halves simply because it was that much. We drove home in light traffic with no incidents at all for the whole weekend. I give it all a B+.

I look forward to these weekends as a chance to unplug from the world's events. I did bring my hugeass laptop along, but I mostly did a lot of updating of the system and installed programs since I had not touched the thing since last August. On the radio we had heard about the deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Along with the loss of Ed McMahon, that was three big names from my younger years that are now gone. This prompted a lot of discussion among us as well as with our friends the entire weekend. Thus, the weekend was weighed down with talk of death at a time when I had hoped to not have it on my mind, being that tomorrow, the 29th, marks the the third anniversary of losing Mom to cancer. I had warned my supervisor at work that there'd be a chance I would not show up on Monday if my frame of mind was in shambles. I'm still not sure how tomorrow will turn out in that respect.

Once home and back online, Jeff found out that loudmouthed infomercial pitchman Billy Mays died too. It's ironic, in that "But wait! There's more!" respect. Unreal.

That mostly sums up what has gone on with me during my LJ absence. A lot of really good trying to stave off the specter of really bad with the memory of the absolute worst standing by. My brain is an awflly small batteground for such things.
greatbear: (vacation)
Well, another vacation has come and gone. This one definitely ranks well in the upper percentile. The weather was perfect, the food to die for, and the friends, both old and new, sealed this one as one of our best. So much to catch up on, it will take a few posts. I'll never begin to catch up on past LJ entries, so I ain't bothering. If there is something of note I should know about, let me know.

Only issues I encountered was a schizoid navigation unit that sent us on some strange routes when it was somewhat functioning, otherwise it sat stupidly, constantly searching for position. Looks like a bit of technology destined for the junk box in the basement. I also know that I can run the fuel gauge completely to 'empty' for at least 30 miles with no ill effects. We had a prime spot at the campground, with great neighbors who could always be counted on for good conversation (aside from a strange pair of silent, isolationist Quebecois with ill-mannered dogs who spent most of their time either inside their RV or outside in it's screened-in 'porch' encased in black privacy curtains). I did not take as many pictures as I had done last year (I accidentally left my memory card pouch home and I needed more space), deciding to enjoy the moments instead. Still, I have several hundred photos to pick through and upload as time permits.

I've had folks prior to and during our trip stare and give winced looks when I tell them I pulled our trailer all that distance to and from P-Town given today's prices for diesel fuel. Last year, diesel fuel prices hovered around $2.95/gal, this year a solid two bucks was added to that amount. I budgeted enough for fuel knowing that this year, diesel will hit that magical 5 dollar-per-gallon figure the oil companies have been salivating over. My prediction was spot-on.

Total miles driven: 1296
Average cost of diesel fuel: Roughly $4.95/gal
Average MPG: 11.3
Total cost of fuel: Don't remind me. :)

Worth every damn penny.

I'll be posting more as I can. As planning and luck would have it, I have only four days of work this week before my next free Friday. What are we planning to do with it? You guessed it, more camping. This time at Hillside. I'm going to need another little vacation to recover from such a rough week. ;o)

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Phil

December 2016

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