Archive forDecember, 2007

Creeping to Florida

We’re near Chattanooga, TN. We’ve been driving through a horrid rain storm. Blinding conditions, fog, and heavy traffic. It’s been scary but John always seems to keep his cool so I feel surprisingly safe even in a bad situation like that. It lets up for a while, and then hits us again.

We have about 190 miles before we get to our second night destination in Macon, GA.

Last night’s motel was very convenient but it had one negative quality: cigarette smoke. We had requested a non-smoking room and when we got there, it was fairly fresh smelling. But last night, while we were relaxing and watching TV, smoke came in. It was like a half dozen heavy smokers were in our room. It would come and go. I have a feeling there was a ventilation connection between our room and a smoking room and whenever they’d light up, it was pumped into ours. I’d give it another chance, because maybe it was just a fluke and maybe our Room 115 had the problem.

Dinner was at a better than average Cracker Barrel.

Tonight we’ll have steak at Logan’s Roadhouse. We’ll be ready for it, because we didn’t really eat lunch. We’d stopped in Knoxville for gas but decided it was a tad too early for lunch. Then we drove into that lousy rain storm — which right now is hitting us again extra hard. Our lunch consisted of cashews, some potato chips, and a peanutty brownie.

The sky is a little brighter, so maybe we’re nearly past this rain storm.

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The Road Well-Traveled

Again, we’re headed south to Florida. We got through the holidays and now it’s time to be in the sun.

Our weather this morning is gray and dismal. It’s sorta spitting snow or something, but very lightly and it’s not affecting travel.

We will over-night at a new-to-us motel in the Lexington/Richmond, KY, area. We were prepared to leave either today or tomorrow, so I booked rooms both nights and we’ll cancel what we don’t use.

Our choice of motel is decided by several factors. We keep looking for the perfect itinerary. Last time we came down John was recovering from surgery so our daily distance covered had to be carefully monitored. We stayed in Lexington which we found balanced out “Day 1” and “Day 2” better, but it was kind of a low-class place. We had a run-in in the parking lot with a resident who appeared to be doing a drug deal or something shady, so we decided to pick a new first-night stopping point a tad further south. Besides this one is close to a Cracker Barrel and John likes their food.

Christmas was very low-key. Since I’d received my big gift (a high end digital camera) a month ago and John just got small stuff, there wasn’t a lot of suspense in the gift area. Christmas day, to avoid a massive “left-over” situation, we skipped the large turkey feast in lieu of a tasty roast beef dinner. It was great but not “tradition.” Christmas night I took the tree down, while John prepared the house for our four-month absence.

This trip south is becoming “routine.” I used to feel my role was important and I needed to keep us on the right track, but now the truck knows it’s way.

Snow cover on the ground is skimpy – it melted Christmas Day. We did enjoy a few weeks when we had quite a bit, so at least I can feel that I experienced some Michigan winter. Now, hopefully, we can enjoy some southern sunshine.

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Christmas is for families

Yesterday we enjoyed a family Christmas dinner in Owosso for John, his five siblings, spouses, and one of his nieces for a total of 12 close family members. Family is important during the holidays, but John and I spend Thanksgiving and Christmas Day alone. Our children are too far away (in distance or life) to be with us. Some folks feel we’re disadvantaged, but I don’t.

Actually we have dozens members of our music family who have spent part of the holiday season with us. These people are close to us… closer than most folks feel about blood relatives.

Sadly since July, we’ve lost four of them and another isn’t doing too well.

And then their are our newer but equally special Florida friends. Our buddy, Bob, called the other day, and New Year’s Eve we’ll be with three couples that are really special to us.

Most folks would think, “these folks are just acquaintances, blood relatives are closer.” But relatives are in your life because they are born into your family. Our friends are folks we’ve met along our journey who choose to seek us out and be in our life.

I didn’t mail many Christmas cards this year, but many of those we received were from friends. Like Grace, the 90+ year old music fan who looks forward to our summer performances. And there are lots of others.

These close friends are our family too – maybe not by blood, but by choice. We are blessed.

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Ready, Set —

Our 2007 Christmas Tree
We’re about ready for the holiday (which will happen if we are prepared or not). Actually we have very little left to do. Most of our preparation has involved our performances which are winding to a close. We have only one club play left on Friday afternoon, and then we can put away our Christmas music until next year. (Whew!)

My cards have been mailed, and packages are on their way. We still want to do some shopping and get some “for us” gifts. But that can be done the next time we’re out and about. We really don’t make a big deal about gifts between the two of us. Instead we usually get what we want, when we want it.

Our TreeI’ve been gathering items for our return to Florida. We’ll take our tree down on the 26th, pack for our trip on the 27th, and take off on the 28th.

We have tickets for a New Year’s Eve party in Sun City Center which should be fun.

Let’s hope the weather stays decent. We had about 10 inches of show last weekend so it looks like it’s out of Mother Nature’s system.

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Hectic Holiday

We’ve been so busy that I haven’t started my Christmas shopping.

Our dear friend, Al Lietz, passed away last week and Monday we went to Tawas City for the funeral. That was in addition to about a half dozen performances, lots of practicing, the Flint Banjo Club’s Christmas party, and a holiday luncheon.

Last night we drove to Elsie, MI, to perform at a private Christmas party. When we were hired we were told about 20 folks would be in attendance but it was closer to 40. That was fine, but they were primarily old friends and relatives of John. Playing for familiar faces makes for a lot of stress unlike what you’d think. (It’s lots easier to play for those who don’t know you and who you’ll never see again.)

We did ok, but it was the trip home which was truly challenging! We ran into blinding snow and slippery roads. We crept home at under 30 mph. It was truly a white knuckle trip!

The remaining holiday performances are easy ones: Friday we’ll be in Bridgeport, MI, at a Pioneer Christmas with our club; Monday John and I play background music at an open house in Frankenmuth; Saturday we are planning to go to the Jolly Hammers club sing-a-long; and Friday the 21st we will be with our club at a nice senior independent living apartment complex for their holiday party.

Just hope I can get everything done so we can relax. My primary concerns are to shop for presents that need to be mailed and get them in the mail by Friday, get the house ready for company (the Conklins are staying over Friday night), write out our Christmas Cards this weekend, and before Christmas get a party dress for New Year’s Eve. It’s all doable. Just need to get at it.

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Toe Trouble – Take Two – Take Three

Once or twice I’ve stubbed my toe and really hurt it badly to the point that I figured it was broken.

Back on October 8th, I wrote about running into a ladder and having my toe go at a 90 degree angle to the other toes (so the middle one, which I hurt, was pointing at the little one). It has really been painful. It didn’t quit hurting after a week or two or even three. I’ve heard that if it is just bruised, it’ll be ok within two weeks. If it’s longer than that, it’s a break.

I talked to my friend, Dr. Doug Jackson, an orthopedic surgeon who plays with our dulcimer club about my injury. After looking at it he said he thinks it’s healing well. It may not have been broken, but more likely dislocated which has about the same healing time. He said I should expect discoloration, swelling, and some discomfort for the next year until it heals completely.

That was “Dr.” Doug’s diagnosis on Sunday. Sunday night I tripped over John’s banjo case. It was dark in the dining room. I didn’t turn on a light. My left little toe caught on his hard case sitting on the floor. That’s the same foot that I hurt in October. As usual, I was barefoot.

The whole top of my foot is now dark and the base of my little toe is black. I hope it’s just badly bruised. I’m having trouble wearing shoes, but it isn’t as uncomfortable as the middle one has been.

But as Doug said when he saw it last night, “Yup, you did it again.”

And then today I stripped the bed to launder the sheets. I was carrying an armful of bedding to the laundry room and I stepped on the corner of the sheet which caused me to trip and… yup, you’re right, I ran my little toe into the dresser… again it was my left foot pinkie.

This time at least I had on slippers and the sheet sorta protected the toe.

But it’s throbbing. I’m sure a glass or two of wine will help but right now it hurts.

I’m feeling like a total klutz. We perform a three or four times this next week, and we need to get our Christmas tree. It’s going to be rough doing those things barefoot but wearing a shoe is going to be tough.

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