Friday, September 30, 2011

He Found the Good Life

He was a good looking  devil.   Tall, dark and handsome.  His dark eyes had a twinkle and looked merry when he was smiling.    He was one of the smartest men I have ever known.   It has been forty-four years since I've seen him.    Gone too soon, he died when he was only 51.     

Charles Benjamin Treadway

I am, of course, talking about my daddy.    He was the guy who could do almost anything he ever set out to do.    He was a self made man and learned nearly everything he knew by reading, reading some more and listening to others who had something interesting to say.    I saw him take a random book from the set of  World Book Encyclopedias to bed as reading material to pass the time until he fell asleep many nights.     His trips to the library meant bringing home whatever the limit was that the library imposed.  He could and often did clean out the shelf about the Civil War if allowed to check out that many books.   

He had numerous hobbies over the years, including photography, bowling, boat building and fishing.  I think his first boat was a small skiff he built in the 1940s which served as a warm up for his bigger project, The Claudia, that he built in our backyard in 1959.    She was a beauty, too.    It was a 20' cabin cruiser and truly was his pride and joy.    And it was a labor of love.   Love for the open water, love for the wind in his hair, love for life on the Gulf of Mexico.  

Sometimes I think about the tragedy of his death at 51 and feel great sadness that he never knew my husband, Larry, and his grandson, Brian.    He never knew the three grandchildren that are the light of my life.    He missed so much and we missed having him be a part of all that has happened since he died in 1967.     However, in thinking of him today, I am reminded of all that was good in his life, especially right before he died.   

Two years before he died, he had made a very courageous decision to leave his position with a large firm and move our family back to Mississippi.     He had moved us TO Texas to continue his work in a bigger office, larger territory and most importantly to save money for his dream.    He and mama together worked like crazy saving money the whole time we were in Texas.    Ginny, my younger sister,  and I knew little about all those plans, we just knew that we were fast becoming Texans and really loving living in a much larger city and all the things that living in a big, bad city means.   

Ginny & Marcia (back row)
Claudia & Charles Treadway

We got a big shock when Daddy and Mama announced to us near the end of school in 1965 that we were moving back to Mississippi, but not to Jackson where we had lived before.   We were going to live on the Gulf Coast in the tiny town called Gautier, near Pascagoula.      Our family owned a small house on Mary Walker Bayou and we were going to live there while Daddy opened his own pest control business.    Mama was going to enroll in the local Junior College and complete courses that would enable her to become a registered nurse.     It was a big step that took a lot of guts to pull off.    Daddy had a very respectable, well paid job and a future that was secure.     Mama had already finished her schooling to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse, so she was gainfully employed, too.     Things were looking very good for all of us.     But something different was calling Daddy and he felt he had to take the chance while he could.   

Ginny and I were stunned to learn about all of this and cried more than once thinking about leaving the big city and moving back to what we thought was "Hicksville".     But move we did.    They loaded up a U-Haul van and put all of our worldly goods inside and trucked it back to Mississippi with two teen age girls sniffling and sobbing most of the way.    

I tell you all of this as a way of introducing the idea of making courageous, although perhaps unpopular decisions when the opportunity comes your way.     Daddy had a goal for himself and for his family.   He wanted a different way of life that included lots of time for fishing and just communing with nature.     He had figured out a way to spend half of his month working and the other half fishing and doing what he called, "going down to see the bacon slicer".      That meant just hanging out with good friends down at Tucei's Fish Camp, chewing the fat and solving the world's problems.    

And he did just that.   He opened his own business and mama went back to school.    Ginny and I enrolled in the local Junior and Senior High Schools and somehow managed to make friends and adjust to our new life.     I think it usually works out that way, but try telling that to two crestfallen teen age girls.     Daddy's business grew quickly and pretty soon he was able to do exactly as he planned it.    He worked for two weeks and then it was his time for two weeks.     He had found his good life.   

The good life for him meant lots of time to take out the boat, to fish or just to take a good book and bob and float on the water, catching the fresh breeze and the sun's golden rays.    He could take a bologna sandwich, a bag of chips and some Jax beer and he was in heaven.    And that is exactly how he spent his last two years of his life.     Working, taking care of his family and then pursuing his heart's desire.     It was a great two years and it makes me happy to know that the last two years of his life were to his liking and were of his design.  

He had no way to know when he fell ill that Saturday in November 1967, while hunting for drift wood with his brother and sister-in-law that it would be his last outing.    He had no way to know his life was coming to an end in eight short days.    And I could make the focus of this story the tragedy that befell him --- but I won't.    I will ever so slightly shift the focus back to the important message this story will convey, I hope.     

When life gives you opportunity to do things that matter to you; when you are given the chance to make profound changes in your life; when you can take a leap of faith to a newer path, sometimes you just need to go for it.    Daddy saw his chances and worked for two years to put the pieces in place to make the move and then was rewarded with two great years to enjoy the things that were most pleasing to him.    

Daddy was the smartest man I ever knew.    He had laughing eyes that crinkled when he laughed and he laughed frequently.    He took chances that I didn't understand at the time, but am beginning to comprehend now that I am all grown up myself.    A saying I often heard him repeat was to never "wish your life away".     Don't pine for the things that you hope happen some day.    Make them happen and find your peace living out your dreams.     The good life was his and all because he found the nerve, the courage to do what some would have called foolish.      I am so glad it was his to find and live.    Thanks for that lesson, Daddy.    Oh, and if you're wondering, I do still miss him and his laughing eyes.   

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning to Adapt and Make It Work

Larry and I are spending a few days in our camper doing some updates and modifications to it in anticipation of a camping trip next month with our son, Brian, and his family.   We have not taken the kids out in this camper so we are working on making things as comfortable and cozy as you can make a 32' RV with 4 bunk beds in the back and a bedroom up front.    The kids are going to love it and we're working on things that will make it fun for the grown ups! 

Life in a camper for those of you who have never experienced living in one  is, shall we say, interesting and challenging.     For one thing, it's pretty small and there is not much space to store things.   That will be one of the things we work on during this week--storage.  The small part is pretty much a done deal.  ;-)    A second characteristic of  most campers is that they are not equipped like a brick and stick home.   A primary reason for that can be answered by reviewing the first thing I mentioned.    You just can't have all the gadgets and household items that you have back at your residence.  There simply is not enough space for such luxuries like a full set of pots and pans or all the kitchen paraphernalia most of us have acquired.     The stoves in campers also tend to be on the miniature side and many only have three burners, so cooking a full meal takes planning and patience.   

See?  I wasn't kidding about the kitchen being small!

Tonight when I was preparing our evening meal I faced the usual challenges that are part and parcel of the camper experience.    I had to figure out what items to cook first, on which burner and in the proper order to get it all done at approximately the same time.    I was handling it all nicely and had not hit a snag until I realized that I had a boiler of bow tie pasta going full blast on the stove and it dawned on me that I didn't have a colander.    Without missing a beat, I remembered the pot with tiny holes in the bottom---a steamer pot---that was in the lower cabinet.    It would work perfectly to let the boiling water go down the drain while the pasta was securely held in the little pot.   Problem solved!   

How many times in our lives are we faced with this kind of problem?     Sometimes we are quick on our feet and come to a solution without too much angst.   Other times we struggle to figure it out and waste precious time fretting over the WHY OH WHY of it all.    We get so wedded to the idea that there is one way---and one way only---to get something done that we can't even imagine that there may be another solution.   

There is a story/joke that goes something like this:   A young bride is attempting to cook her first ham.    She gets out the ham, a sharp knife and proceeds to cut off the end of the ham and then puts it in the roasting pan.    She goes to her mother and says, "Mom, why do we cut the end off of the ham before we cook it."    Her mother says, "I don't know, but it's the way we've always done it.   Go ask your grandmother."    Grandmother tells her the same thing.  "It's the way we've always done it. Go ask your great grandmother.   Maybe she knows."    Great grandmother patiently tells the bride, "My child, the reason I started cutting the end off of the ham is because it was too big for the pan I had, so I cut it to make it fit."     

So for years and years all the brides in that family had dutifully cut the end off of the ham without realizing that the only reason it was done the first time was to make it fit the pan.   Nothing else.   So what are you doing in your life because it's the way you've always done it?     And what do you do when you can't do it the way you've always done it?   Do you panic, get angry or upset?     Or do you set about trying to figure out another way?   

Life is pretty good about throwing us some curves.    We all need to get into the habit of adapting to change and challenge in our life because you can be sure that changes and challenges are inevitable.    Once you know that----really know it and accept it---figuring out what to do next will be pretty easy.     You can adapt and you can make it work.   Try it some time and see how good it makes you feel to find the answer for yourself.     

Happy Trails,

Just another farm hand---figuring it out as I go!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stretching Out of Your Comfort Zone

I have a small card that I kept by my desk when I was working that said simply: " Do one thing every day that scares you."   Now I truly do not believe that that is meant to encourage one to go walk the high wire like the Flying Wallendas, unless that is your secret heart's desire.  Nor do I think it is exhorting you to do something stupid, like ride down the highway on a motorcycle, sans helmet and other safety equipment.   Granted both of those things would scare the daylights out of me; however, I think there is something a lot more fundamental in that short, direct statement.    And that is to push yourself out of your comfort zone.   

We all have a place where we are most comfortable whether we're talking about where we live, what we eat or what we do with our time.    Opportunities present themselves from time to time for us to move just a wee bit out of that zone and sometimes we opt in---other times we opt out of that opportunity to do something new and exciting.   Recently on a cruise with our son and his family, we were eating in the ship's dining room.   April (my DIL) had specifically requested that all the children (ages 7 -13) only be given the regular menu and not the children's menu.   Her rationale was that they would have healthier selections and it would give them the experience of eating from a more sophisticated menu. 

So the kids were studying the menu and Ben (age 10) announced that he would like to start his meal with some smoked duck, one of the appetizers.  I took advantage of this offering, too.  When the plates were brought to the table, the presentation was lovely and the food was very appealing.    Ben immediately began eating it and after eating every morsel on the plate proudly announced, "That was the best duck I have ever eaten!"    We all got a good laugh since we figured it most likely was the only duck he had ever eaten. 
Smoked Duck Appetizer

The important thing to take away from that little story is that Ben was willing to try something new and found out he liked it.   During the same cruise he also found out he didn't like Frog Legs, but his older brother, Gavin, discovered that he enjoyed them.     Larry took an adventure in eating by trying the Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Indian Cuisine they offered and Brian selected Escargot one night.    Every meal had something to tempt our taste buds.    And yes, some things were enjoyed and others not so much.    It really isn't about whether you like it or not, but more importantly, are you willing to try something new?  

In moving out of your comfort zone, you may be required to try something way out of that zone.   Opportunities sometimes present themselves in the most unexpected ways.     Maybe you will have the chance to lead a group or do some public speaking.    It so happens that public speaking is very high on the list of things that literally scare some people half to death.     Or maybe it's performing that is on your list of things you'd like to do but are holding back because of that old demon, Self Doubt and his twin brother, Fraidy Cat.   You just have to remember that even the Super Stars all had to start somewhere and they probably were not great when they started, but they all had potential to be great.   Now, no one is promising you that you'll be the next mega star known to one and all across the planet but how will you ever know what you have in you until you give it a go?  

And finally, one last word about moving from your comfort zone.    Is there something in your life that you KNOW you should be doing but are procrastinating about doing?    Some of these "really must dos" are secrets, known only to you and perhaps your maker.   It is that little nagging voice in your head that is pushing you to take care of something but you are resisting it and struggling to contain it in a corner of your mind.     Or maybe it is a dream, a wish and hope that you'll do something that matters---leave your mark upon the world, but you are waiting for the right time, the right place, for the mood to strike you.    

Whatever it is that you think you're meant to be doing or longing to do, keep in mind that time is a fleeting thing.     Once it trickles down through that hourglass, it won't be going back the other way.     When opportunity presents itself to do something different, make another choice, try a new path, think about that hour glass and how stealthily and quickly those sands slip on through the glass.   If you're waiting for the perfect time, the best moment, chances are pretty good it is right now.      Stretch yourself and reach for the stars:  they really are waiting for you and want you to succeed.      

Ben cruising to Mexico

Happy Trails,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rain!! Beautiful Rain!

Who knew that rain could be such a wonderful thing??   Well, I guess the folks in Texas surely know that but for some of the rest of us, rain is pretty much taken for granted.   That is until this summer.     We have had a long summer with practically no rain.   In fact, I think the rain started diminishing in the spring.    What we normally expect is lots of rain and thundershowers in the spring and on into the summer.   Not so this year.    We have had an usually long period without regular rain and we have been in the exceptional drought classification for months.   The yard, garden and flowering plants suffered even though we watered with a hose.    The grass practically crunched under our feet
---that is until it curled up and turned brown.   :-(   

Now I know a thing or two about hot and dry weather.   I lived two summers when I was a teenager in Ft. Worth, Texas.    We moved there early in June and the first morning we stuck our heads out of our hotel room, it was 103 degrees and it was not even noon!   Quite a shock to this Mississippi girl who had never seen such hot and dry weather.  We made it through that hot, arrid weather and two years later moved back to Mississippi.   Since then I have lived  along the Gulf Coast for all of my adult life and  I don't remember having such a long spell without substantial amounts of rain in this part of the world.   

So imagine my surprise and delight to hear the distant roll of thunder and then that most soothing of sounds---rain falling softly outside the window.     It rained vigorously and continuously for 30 or 45 minutes and then switched to that muffled sound known to have soporific qualities that can lull you into the deepest and sweetest sleep known to mankind.   Resistance is futile as the saying goes, so a nap in my recliner near the back door began in earnest shortly after it was obviously going to last a while.  Ah, sweet's not just for babies any more!   

After my naperall, I took a quick stroll outside once the rain had subsided and I found heavy drops clinging to the patio chairs and along the table.     Then I noticed it was still hanging precariously on every leaf and twig in the yard.    It had actually rained long enough that it was not immediately absorbed into the ground like a dry sponge.    I know the birdies are going to be really thrilled when they discover that their bird bath is full of nice, cool water with just the right amount of algae to make them happy.     

While I was snooping around looking for evidence that the rain had really happened, I happened to notice a tiny butterfly---black and white.   It even had black and white stripped antennae.  How cool is that for creativity of design?  He was almost invisible but he happened to fly off when I was looking his way and got a glimpse at this tiny little creature.    We have so much life all around us and often overlook it in our haste to go on our way.     I urge you to take a closer look in your yard and see what kinds of things you see living right under your to speak. 

One last thing---while I was checking things out I happened to notice that the fence didn't have a lot of Virginia Creeper vines on it.   Larry had cleared many of them off several weeks ago in a yard work frenzy of activity.     Somehow he had missed a whole bunch of tiny  berries of some kind that are on the vine.    They were there today, wet and somewhat dried looking---like miniature prunes.   On closer inspection I found that they are beginning to wither on the vine and are a leathery blue color. That made me realize that September is nearly gone.  Where did it go??   So those little berries are telling us that autumn will soon be upon us.    Another season completed and a new one about to unfold before us.

Promise yourself starting today that you'll notice and acknowledge the good things in your life.    You are probably far more fortunate than you know and a simple thing like having some rain can be the best thing that happens all day.    Remember, if you're looking for the good life (like we are) sometimes  you don't have to look far---it is happening right in your own back yard.   

Happy Trails,


Monday, September 19, 2011

A Sprig of Basil Magically Turns into a Plant!

I promised a photo of the sprig of basil we stuck in a jar of water so you could see the roots it can and does put on in a very short time.     Just before we left on the cruise (Sept. 10th) I put a tiny sprig of basil from our drought weakened basil plant in the yard into a small jar of water.  Note that I did not put anything in the water.  It was just plain tap water.  I sat the jar on the shelf over the kitchen sink.   When we returned in less than a week, the sprig had put on lots of tiny, threadlike roots along the stem.     I snapped a picture of it this morning----just a bit over one week later----and will be placing this into a flower pot in the next day or two.    Looks to me like if I am diligent about making these cuttings into new plants, I might not ever have to buy a basil plant or seeds again!    The plant I bought earlier this summer was about $3.00 or so and the packages of basil at the grocery store are $2.68 - 3.00 for one or two small sprigs...barely enough to make pesto or eat with mozzarella and tomatoes.   Doesn't take much thinking to figure out which is more economical.    Buy the plant and keep making cuttings to keep the whole basil production going??   Or buy basil at the store??   Hmmm, I think I can figure this out.   LOL
                                                              Basil Sprig with Roots

Happy Trails,

Getting Back to a Normal Life---Whatever that is!

After many months of planning and talking about it, we just got back from a cruise vacation with our son and his family.    So there were seven of us on board the Carnival Ship Elation, leaving out of Mobile, AL with stops in Progreso, Mexico and Cozumel.    We had been planning the trip since Christmas time last year, so we had built up plenty of anticipation about the trip.   The grandkids were super excited since they had never been on a cruise ship before.    I have to admit all of us were looking forward to a few days of being pampered and treated like royalty by the crew and staff of our ship and we were not disappointed!

We boarded the ship on a Saturday and right away got to experience the famously touted Buffet in Tiffany's on the ship.   We had some time to kill while our rooms were prepared and the luggage distributed to our staterooms.    So we ate lunch and then explored the ship from front to back---er'a---Bow to Stern.    Starboard and Port, as well.  Having grown up with a boat in our family, all those nautical terms for parts of the ship were pretty familiar to me, although I confess it has been a long time since I used them so much!   So we got to know our our ship and then before we knew it, we were under way.    They never blew the horn in Mobile so when we slipped away from the dock, it was without a lot of fanfare or hoopla.   The decks, however, were lined with passengers peering out at the water, the familiar landmarks of Mobile fading into the distance.     It wasn't quite like the QE2 leaving NYC harbor but pretty darn close!  
                                                               Embarkation Photo
So off we went,  headed south toward the Yucatan.  We had been watching the weather for days--maybe even weeks---while Nate churned down in the Bay of Campeche.   Mercifully, he meandered into Mexico as a Tropical Storm and caused us no delay or distress.     Our first night in the dining room with our wonderful wait staff (Vernon, Ronny and A Ngurah) was a real treat because we were seated at a window table with a magnificent view of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.   Later in the meal we all indulged in the first of many servings of their famous Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.  By the end of our trip when it was time to order dessert, Little Miss Luci said confidently to the server, "You don't have to bring me a menu.   I KNOW what I want!"   

And so our trip went day by day enjoying the great service and friendly atmosphere aboard the Elation.   We stopped in Progreso where we saw the Mayan Ruins of Xcampo and the little town that reminded me of the Mexico I saw as a youngster.    There is much poverty there but the people seemed cheerful and were industriously selling their wares of friendship bracelets and assorted "silver looking" jewelry.   It was a reminder to all of us how fortunate and blessed we all are and that we should help those less fortunate than us as a small token of our gratitude.   We took a double decker bus tour around the town that took only 20 minutes or so to complete.    Then we sat for a while by the beach and drank Cokes and Diet Cokes from glass bottles using straws.    That brought back some memories for sure.   When was the last time we saw Coke in a bottle?? 

After a quick trip through the market where I quickly purchased a colorful straw fan (only a $1.00 US), we waited for our tour to begin out to the ruins.   It was hot, hot and hotter, even in the shade and made me doubly aware of what the tropics are like.   The mosquitoes there were quite large and only so happy to have lunch on Luci's back and our legs.   A quick spray of Off! and that seemed to disperse the natives eager for fresh meat.   After our tour at the ruins was completed our guide took us back to our ship where we happily retreated to our staterooms for some well earned rest and the most welcome hiss of the air conditioner going full blast!  

Every night after dinner we took advantage of the entertainment on board provided by young, energetic singers and dancers.     Never seeming to notice the slight rock and roll of the ship as we plowed on through the Gulf of Mexico, they danced with wild abandon and much enthusiasm, as only the young can do!   The two youngest grandkids kids went to Camp Carnvial and Gavin took advantage of the Circle C program for those between childhood and older teens.    They had a blast playing games and going on Scavenger Hunts all over the ship.   One night there was a Night Owl Party for the young ones and they got to stay up until the wee hours of the morning.    Our second night on board,  we all put on our finery for Elegant Night and had that time immortalized in a portrait made on one of the winding staircases.  

     Elegant Night on the Elation 
Our stop in Cozumel was preceded by the most gorgeous Caribbean Blue water we've ever seen.    It was hard to remember that it is NOT artificially colored it was so vivid.  It was also uncharacteristically calm in the geographic center of the Gulf.  Larry commented that he could have been out there in a row boat!   Once in port the color seemed even more eye popping blue.    Our excursion there was a Dolphin Encounter.    Luci had her heart set on doing that once she heard about it so all seven us rode to the place where we were to get in the salty water with the dolphins.    I must admit it was a bit intimidating at first to be right in the water with the gentle creatures since they are somewhat large and very strong.    But we were put at ease by the trainer right away and before we knew it we were sticking out our cheeks for a kiss and giving one back in return.    We got to pet them and found out they are soft almost like velvet.    It was a fun activity and one we'll all long remember!

And then before we knew it, like the Jimmy Buffet song says, "it was time to cruise on back home."    Our vacation was quickly winding down.    One more day at sea and overnight sailing along through the Gulf of Mexico and the port of Mobile was what we saw out our window when we woke up on Thursday.    The huge ropes (lines) tethering our ship to the dock were tied off and the gangway put in place.   After a quick breakfast in the dining room, we all gathered near the Drama Bar to wait our turn to disembark.   That's "get off the ship" to all you landlubbers.    And just as quickly as it began, it was all over and we were headed back to Pensacola.   

We were all worn to a frazzle and had suitcases full of dirty laundry.  Having a lot of fun, too many buffets, late night parties, dancing under the moon, tanning on deck and enjoying fine dining experiences in a short span of time will do that to you.    The time we spent on the ship was so much fun, many memories were made, lots of photos taken and the scenery will long be remembered.  After we got back to the house, we all wished more than once that we could have taken our dining room staff with us when we left.     They were the best at what they do and tried to give us a top notch experience every time we dined with them.    And we all agreed that we gotta find the recipe for that Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.     One more family get together goes into the memory books created with colorful strands of love and affection that adds another section to our evergrowing tapestry of life.    
                                                      Vernon, Ronny and A Ngurah
                                                    Our Waiters on board the Elation

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sprig of Basil + Jar of Water = Limitless Supply of Basil!

Well, I have been a little distracted lately as we get ready to leave on our cruise with the kids this Saturday.    So I thought I'd post something to let you know we're still alive and kicking. 

Today, on a whim, we decided to take the camper out and do some work on it and relax a little bit the day after we get back from the cruise.   So Larry made a reservation at the KOA and we were going to get a "deal".....stay for two days and get one free.    After we got home I noticed Larry's jury summons on the table and remembered he has Jury Duty on the Monday after we get back.    So our free night camping is going to be forfeited.   Boo hoo.   I can't believe we forgot about that!   Our only hope is that when he calls the courthouse on the Friday night before he reports he will get the message that his services are not needed.   Fingers crossed.   Oh, well....even if we have to come back home on Sunday afternoon instead of  Monday a.m. we'll have fun.   

I made a neat discovery yesterday.   I was watching the Food Network one day and noticed that Ina Garten (and several other chefs) put their basil and parsley in a glass or jar filled with water to keep it fresh.    So I cut a small sprig from my rather weak basil that is nearing the end of its life.    It served me well this summer but all good things come to an end, or so they say.    Anyhow, I had the sprig in the water and it had been in there for nearly a week when I noticed "hair" growing on the stem!   Well, who knew???  The sprig had put out tiny little roots just from being in that water.    So today Larry took the small cutting and put it in a pot and pretty soon we'll have another fresh pot of basil.   I can bring it in when the weather gets cold and still have fresh basil all winter long!    I took pictures of it and when I get them uploaded to my computer, I'll post one of the little sprig that should turn into a whole new basil plant.

And by the way, do you realize how much money you can save by growing your own basil??   One small package of basil at my grocery store is $2.68 most days.  That is for one small sprig of basil---not even enough to make a decent bowl of pesto sauce!    One basil plant will give you all the basil you could possibly use, unless you have a restaurant or are making pesto to sell commercially.  ;-)   It will give you enough to make anything you want and still have enough to share with co-workers, neighbors and relatives.    So plant some basil and don't forget that little trick of making a few cuttings to start new plants when yours goes through its life cycle and starts to fade away. It could be an unending supply of basil. 

Enjoy your week and hope you got some of the nice cool weather that we got following in Tropical Storm Lee's path.    We weathered that storm just fine and hope you did , too.   

Happy Trails to you!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another Day on the Funny Farm

Today was a day to get some things done for our fast approaching cruise with Brian, April and the grand kids.    Larry and I both got haircuts---much needed, I might add!  Then it was on to Shoe Station to get  a new pair of walking shoes for Larry.   After that we went to Beall's to find a few new togs for me.   We made a stop at Carpenter's Campers for a part for the brakes for the camper and the truck.  Reynold's Hardware had the rest of the supplies for the brake project.    Then we came back home and it was time for lunch.  So much for the morning!  

We are keeping a close eye on the Gulf of Mexico since the disturbance there could bring us some much needed rain, but it might also bring some other unwelcome weather with it---like wind.    Luckily Larry has been trimming the tree branches close to our house and removing random stuff in our yard that might cause "issues" if we have a tropical storm or hurricane coming our way.   After all, we are approaching the peak of hurricane season---September 10th---which, ironically, is the day we sail away for Mexico.  So we really, really do not want a hurricane to spoil our fun.   

I started writing a book I have been thinking of writing, literally for years.   Its working title (and probably actual title) will be Journey to Oz and Back and will be the story of finding out I had breast cancer and how I dealt with it, learned from it and survived.    Believe it or not, that journey for me started over 21 years ago!   I learned so much and feel like I have things to share with others facing similar circumstances or any kind of loss, difficulty or trauma---not just cancer.   I was amazed how much I remembered of those first days and hours after I learned I had cancer.   It's all there and I just need to get to the laptop and write!   Yesterday I did nearly six pages so I felt like I got off to a great start.   I will be reporting on my progress for this project as time goes on.     If I don't mention it, please ask how it's coming along!

So that's what's happening on the Funny Farm right now.   We're looking at the process for getting a website up, selling stuff on and assorted other things to keep us from running amok.   We'd love to hear from our followers.