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Little ghost, little ghost…

Do you believe in ghosts?

One side of me says that they totally aren’t real.  But another side of me totally believes in them!!  I think that side wins.

So, in the old house, we supposedly had a ghost.  A little girl ghost.  Jimmy heard her playing with Grover once in his kennel (YEARS ago…), and he swears he saw her run through his room, slam his door, things like that.  Then there were little unexplainable things that happened… things like backpack clasp getting fastened (when I never ever fastened it).  Nothing bad or even scary – I think she was a nice ghost!  I wonder if she’s lonely now that we aren’t there? 

So… new house.  When Mom & Dad came down over Labor Day weekend, we put them in Tina’s room downstairs.  Reggie was restless and nutty all night the first night they were there, but we chalked it up to him not feeling well.  The next day he was feeling fine, so we figured it would be no problem.  Nope!  He was still restless and nutty and neurotic and nervous all night, and wouldn’t sleep at all.  Something was bothering him!  Night 3, he didn’t even want to go downstairs!  So, he came in my room with me, curled up on the floor by my head (my mattress was still on the floor!), and slept like a log.  Or, more precisely, like a snoring little schnauzer.  We sort of chalked it up to him being a goofy little dog, but maybe there was something he could hear that we couldn’t!  Grover and Tillie haven’t been nervous at all about heading down the stairs, but maybe they are already used to ghosts from the old house!!  (I need to put some eerie sound effects in here…)

Since then, nothing too odd has happened.  Except the noises!  And I know that houses make noises, and I need to get used to all the new noises, but… Tina and I have each heard (when we are home alone!) some odd things.  Oddest is what I swear are footsteps in the attic.  I was trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning when Tina was out of town, and there were footsteps right above my head.  Big heavy workboot footsteps, where there shouldn’t have been any.  I didn’t think about again until Tina mentioned that she heard it too, on a different day!  Oooooohhhhh!!  I hope this one is nice too.

Dogs are the best people…

Friday I finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I LOVED it.  Loved.  Except when it made me cry.  And not just a couple of tiny tears in the corner of my eye… this was real actual crying.  But, it also made me laugh a lot too.

The whole book is told from the point of view of the dog, Enzo.  I’m always wondering what’s going on in my pups’ tiny little brains, so of course it was fun for me to read a book from a dog’s point of view.  And I’m now more convinced than ever that the dogs really do know stuff!!  I don’t know how useful any of it is, but they know stuff.

The one thing I wish Enzo had explained that he didn’t… is why a “smart” dog thinks it’s necessary to bite the vacuum cleaner.  And the carpet shampooer.  And the Little Green Clean Machine.  And the DustBuster.

Chantilly lace and a pretty face…

So… I have lots to do.  Unpacking at the new house, packing more stuff at the old house, cleaning the old house, cleaning the new house, writing a speech for Toastmasters, making some crafty stuff, reading my library books, checking out Oktoberfest, scheduling a massage,… So, what did I spend my last three hours doing? 

I looked at blogs!  And wished I were clever enough to come up with something like this myself!  Kat Knits and craftroom are watching Project Runway (LOVE!), and playing along with the challenges.  Every week, they’re taking the challenge from the show, and sewing it for DOLLS!  I think my favorite doll outfits might be the ones from the party store challenge.  These were brilliant and beautiful and so creative! 

I want to go make stuff now.  I’ve set a moratorium on making stuff, though, until the craft room is officially put together and organized and stuff.  I’m close, but not quite there yet… And… uh… not getting any closer right at the moment, especially since the next thing on my list will most likely be reading a library book… There’s always tomorrow!

What a wicked game to play…

Saturday night, we went to see Chris Isaak in concert at Union Colony Civic Center

So, I first decided to love Chris Isaak (Decided.  As if I had any choice in the matter.) back in high school.  Yea, a long time ago.  Long.  I picked up his eponymous LP (yep, long time ago!) at a community-type garage sale in the ballroom at the Masonic Temple.  Oh yes, it made an impression!  So, I feel like I was ahead of my time… it was well before his giant huge hit Wicked Game.

Anyway… the show.  What an awesome show.  He was so funny, his band was awesome, he’s still super hot… I laughed, I cried, I swooned…  I’m now considering early retirement so I can follow him around the world.

What’s going on?

Hi!  Been a while, huh?  So, yea, been busy. 

I’ve actually started and written about 6 different posts in the last couple of months, and then just never posted them.  So it’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you, dear blog!

Some new things…

New job – I started a new job in July.  It’s going pretty well so far… In some ways, its WAY less stressful than the old job.  In some ways… a bit more stressful.  Either way, long-term it’s a good opportunity for me. 

New house – Bought a new house at the end of August!  Thanks to all the folks who helped us move and gave us boxes – we couldn’t have done it without you!!!  We still have SO much to do.  Lots of unpacking at the new house, still some packing at the old house, major cleaning at the old house… If I didn’t have the whole “new job” thing going on, I’d take a week off just to work on house stuff.  Instead, I’ll go to work, and have some busy weekends!  Now, if all goes according to plan, Tina’s younger sister will be moving up here from Colorado Springs, and rent the old house for her daughter and herself.  If not, it’s in a great rental location, and we will be able to start building our grand real estate empire.  Ha ha.

New TV – When my folks were here to help move, we went to Sam’s club to pick up a couple of things.  We left with a LOT of things, including a shiny new ginormous HDTV.  It’s pretty!  Thanks go to Dad for his influence in that purchasing decision.  See it here with the lovely Jon Stewart on the right, and the interwebs on the left!

New grill – Again, when my folks were here to help move, we sent Dad, Tina, and her friend off to Lowe’s to pick up something.  I can’t remember what it was, but it was a small inexpensive item, I’m sure!  They came back home with a shiny new ginormous gas grill.  It’s pretty too!  And, again, thanks to Dad for the influence in that purchasing decision.  I helped hook it up (yay me!) – it hooks right into the gas line from the house.  He & Mom made dinner for us that night (Lamb!  Potatoes!  Tiny squash!  Delicious!), which was wonderful.  We had dinner that night in our new dining room on our…

New dining set – Another big purchase from another weekend with Mom & Dad!  We went to the antique/consignment store downtown so Mom & Dad could see what sort of new-old stuff they needed.  They had a wonderful walnut dining set there for a crazy low price.  It isn’t antique, but had come in from a furniture store that closed.  At that point, we didn’t know for sure if we would get the new house, so Mom put down a deposit to hold it for us (thanks Mom!), then we picked it up a couple of weeks later!  Right now, it’s stacked up with stuff waiting to be hung on walls.

So, yea, it’s been a big couple of months!  Maybe now I’ll actually be able to post more than 3 times a year…?

Aspen is a life to live…

I don’t even want to look at when I last posted anything.  Worst.  Blogger.  Ever.

So, last weekend we headed to Snowmass Village to stay at Tina’s uncle’s house on the golf course.  Tina, her nephew, and her uncle all spent loads of time on various golf courses around the area.  I hung out and “relaxed” – in theory, anyway.  At least I was doing work in a different setting, right?

On Saturday, I headed into Aspen to wander around and check things out.  I learned, among other things, that I am still not cool enough or rich enough or skinny enough to hang out in Aspen.  BUT I DID IT ANYWAY!  HA!  Too bad John Denver isn’t still there – I think we could totally hang out and sing songs around the campfire.

I wandered the Saturday Markets on the streets of Aspen… lots of fun shopping booths.  I bought some delicious local honey with bee pollen in it.  Lots of people had their dogs out with them – fun!  I was walking behind a big gorgeous yellow lab who was walking behind his person, sniffing the baked goods at one of the booths… he found one he liked, got his mouth around it, then his person noticed what he was doing and gently pulled him away.  I started laughing out loud (which was apparently not the appropriate reaction).  The bakery people?  Looked at the dog, looked at the pastry… and left it there.  Eeww!  I decided not to buy anything from there.

I also wandered through a couple of consignment shops.  I figured… consignment shop in downtown Aspen?  They have to have some FABULOUS treasures, right?  In the designer room… some interesting things, including a few cute, but well-used bags.  In the “non-designer room”… I saw a very cute knit top from Target (yes, being a Target devotee, I recognize the brands!), but not one of their cool fancy “designer” collaboration brands – just their normal everyday inexpensive (but cute) brand.  Around $20 new (I love Target – have I mentioned that?).  But it’s used… so it must be cheaper, right?  No!  Here is what else I learned in Aspen… my used Target shirt is worth $28 there!  Sold!  Ok, not really, cause I didn’t have anything to sell (figured I should keep the clothes that I was wearing), but now that I know, I’m taking my entire Target wardrobe up there next time. 

Sunday I hung out around the condo, and spent some time outside reading.  I love to sit outside and read – such a simple pleasure!  Later in the afternoon, I rode around the Snowmass golf course with Tina and Josh while they played it – so beautiful!  There, I saw a baby fox that I truly believe would have come home with me and loved me, if only I’d had some chocolate or something to lure him with.  I was woefully unprepared.  He was SO cute.  And not timid at all.  LOVE!

Urgent! Urgent! Urgent! Urgent! Emergency!

Ha ha, not really.

Wow, I’m behind.  I meant to write this about a week and a half ago.  Slacker.

So, a couple of weekends ago, I volunteered to be a victim in a MASS CASUALTY INCIDENT!  Fortunately it was a big fake mass casualty incident.  Tina is taking an EMT course, and all the students had to bring volunteers so they could practice their skills. 

In the morning, my injuries included a gunshot wound to my arm, and an amputated leg.  Fun, huh?!  They had fake plastic injuries that we could strap on to ourselves, and that’s what I picked, at least for the first go-round.  There were somewhere between 20 and 30 people with varying degrees of “injury” and mental responsiveness, spread out on the upper and lower level of the health building at the community college.  I decided to be injured on the upper level so that all the EMT students could practice carrying a big girl down the stairs on a backboard.  During the first practice round, though, since I had “one good leg” (never mind the missing leg), that these 2 kids could just walk me down the stairs!!  (I say kids, even though their ages ranged from 21 to 60-something…)  The second round, I moved my arm injury to my “good leg”.  Ha!  No walking me down the stairs that time!  I was strapped onto a back board with about 14 people carrying me down the stairs.  Okay, maybe it was only 6 people.  But still. 

It was SCARY!  And FUN!  Like a fun scary carnival ride that is over way to quick, and accompanied by that fear that any second, the straps are going to break and you’re going to go crashing to the ground!  Especially when they’re all yelling at each other, “You’re going to drop her!” and “She’s sliding off!” and “Pick up her feet!”  All in all, I feel relatively certain that the fake mass casualty incident was way funner than a real one would be.  Plus I was able to pick up a few minutes here and there to read my book.

In the afternoon, I transitioned from traumatic injury to being a 66-year-old woman having a heart attack.  Did you know that heart attacks in women can present as back pain?  That’s just one of the good things I’ve learned while Tina’s been in this class.  I’ve also learned that you really should always wear clean underwear AND shave your legs, cause you never know what those medics are going to have to cut off of you in an emergency…

The Army goes rolling along…


Last week, I went to South Carolina for the first time.  And North Carolina, actually… And Chicago.  All for the first time.

Jimmy has been at Fort Jackson for the past few months for his Army basic training, and I went with Tina to watch him graduate!  It was quite exciting!  It was wonderful to see Jimmy again, and fascinating to see how he’s been living and what he’s been learning for the past several weeks. 

After a short ceremony on Thursday morning showing us some of what they’ve been learning, we spent the rest of the day on base with him.  We shopped for candy and treats – all those things that Jimmy’s been without – and wandered through lots of PX shops and souvenir-type shops.  It was really cool to see that stuff!  We also ate food-court food for lunch.  During their basic training phase, there aren’t many places they can go, and definitely nothing to eat other than army-issue food, so I think he enjoyed that. 

Friday morning was the graduation ceremony.  We got to the arena EARLY – 6:30 AM early!  It was cold, but we got front row seats!  Before the ceremony started, they brought in a bus load of WWII vets.  It was so amazing to see the show of patriotism from the spectators – all standing and applauding our country’s heroes.  It was so cool!  And since we were in the front row, the veterans all walked right by us.  They were awesome – one gentleman gave everyone high-fives, many of them thanked US for our show of gratitude, and one gentleman told me, “I don’t know what the hell I did, but thank you for clapping!”  Very cool.  The ceremony was also cool – we were hoping to see all the soldiers in their dress uniforms, but during war-time, they wear their combat uniforms even for graduation.  I’m amazed at how many young (and old – a few older than ME!) people choose to serve our country.  Many of the soldiers in Jimmy’s battalion (over 1000 soldiers!!) were fresh out of high school, but so many of them had college degrees, civilian careers, and even graduate level degrees.  These folks (and their families) are much stronger and braver than I could ever imagine being.  Thank you, soldiers!! (more…)

A wild pack of family dogs…

While Mom was in Denver, Reggie got to stay at my house with the “real dogs”.  Now, those of you who know Reggie might describe him as high-maintenance, or pampered, or spoiled rotten.  Yea, maybe.  But, he’s also awfully sweet and funny.  My house was full of comic relief while he was there.  Especially since we had TWO Mr. Barky von Schnauzers who fed off of each other.  Reggie would bark at Tillie for having the nerve to play, then Grover would bark at Reggie for barking, then the schnauzers would both start barking and yelping and howling, and then everyone ran to the front door.  After all, if schnauzers are barking, it MUST mean that someone is at the door, right?

Reggie has lots of those cozy little donut-shaped dog beds shaped like this.   Possibly not this spendy, but you get the idea.  All of his beds are Mini Schnauzer sized, i.e. small.  My cattle dog, Miss Tillie, thinks that they are the perfect size for her though!  Whenever Tillie visits her Grandma and Grandpa, she is obsessive about dropping toys on my dad’s lap, and curling up into one of Reggie’s (too-small-for-her) beds.  Reggie’s visit to our house was no different.  What was different this time?  Miss “Oh-but-blue-heelers-are-so-smart” Tillie fell out of Reggie’s bed this time.  How, you ask, when the bed is no more than 3 inches off of the floor?  No idea.  She was curled up as cute as could be, we heard a thud, and there she was upside-down next to the bed.  Smart dog, indeed.

Grover also loved Reggie’s bed, when he could get to it before one of his best friends.

After Reggie went home, and I fed just my two dogs dinner, I kept feeling as though I was forgetting something!  I only filled up two bowls, instead of three, and there was no medication or eye-drops or pills or eye-drops…

We left yesterday morning to come to Fort Jackson, in Columbia, SC, for Tina’s son’s graduation from US Army basic training.  So, my dogs, cat, and turtle are on their own this week with our lovely neighbors from down the street taking care of them.  So, until Saturday, I only have to worry about feeding people, not critters.  More to come on that later (the graduation, not the feeding).

Over the River and Through the Woods…

Another long absence.  Not for lack of things to write, but more for lack of time I suppose.  But, I’m back (again), and kicking it off with a difficult post!

My lovely and amazing and wise and beautiful Grandma Hope passed away a couple of weeks ago.  I fully expected, with no doubts whatsoever, that she would be around for years to come.  Years.  But, she surprised me, along with lots of others!  I know that she is giddily happy to be with Grandpa John again, and they are giggling about how sneaky she was about it.  But, that doesn’t make me miss her any less.  And it doesn’t stop me from selfishly wanting her back.  Now. 

Grandma’s service was lovely.  Mother Michelle (the minister) did a lovely job, as did everyone else involved.  Mark and Randy gave us some wonderful, touching, heartbreaking, and funny family remembrances.  Cliff, as always, did a lovely job with music – he’s so talented.  The clergy was all wonderful, and made the service so personal, especially given the incredible devotion that Grandma showed to the church through so many years.  The ladies from the church served us a delicious luncheon following the service, and were all so kind.  And Grandma’s friend Herschel delivered a heartfelt, stunning and haunting a capella rendition of Steal Away to Jesus.  Truly amazing.

At the cemetery, Mom and Randy surprised us with a six-pack of bubbles.  Such a perfect tribute to Grandma from her family!  I can’t ever blow bubbles without thinking of visits to Grandma’s house.  I’m glad you thought of it!!

Grandma was such an absolute treasure to this world – not just to our family, but she touched so many lives and took care of so many people during her time on earth.  Now she’s a treasure to Heaven, and her influence and memory will be a treasure to me forever.  I can only hope (Hope!) to be half the lady that she was. 

Love to all, and be good to each other.