Orlando BFF Week 2018

Brittany picked me up from the Orlando airport about 11:30 last Monday. When I got in the car she handed me a bottle of water and a protein bar, This was the first of the extra TLC and nurturing I would get that week. We shopped, took a selfie on a giant beach chair. Then off to her house. I fell so in love with her house! I even had my own wing! It was like staying in a five-star resort!

A couple of days before I arrived, Brit was stung on her foot by something we thought was a bee, but later decided was a scorpion. The redness was spreading, it was hurting itching and could be infected. So, since we had a big week planned, we decided she should see a doc. She was able to get an appointment that day. He set her up with meds to control infection and itching.

Later that evening, I finally got to meet their extended family. Steve’s mom, Deb, sister, Kelli, brother in law, Brian Sr., their nephew, Brian Jr., niece, Emma. I felt like I already knew them, though. We had some tasty pizza. Afterward, Steve brought out this delish Donut cake. It had “Friendship” written in icing, That was a cool surprise!

I will miss waking up to the smell of coffee, already made, being chauffeured everywhere, having my bestie hang out with me every day, chatting with Steve, and snuggling with the pugs!

Tuesday was a beach day. We decided we’d drive to Melbourne. The day was sunny and hot! We braved the hot sand and wrestled with the umbrella tent, then relaxed and enjoyed our view, We waded out into the water and let the waves beat us up. Actually, the waves only beat me. It was so much fun. We relaxed, talked, and watched clouds form into shapes.

Later that day we ate at Tijuana Flats, the most amazing Mexican Restaurant, ever! After that, we enjoyed ice cream at, Twistee Treat, a place shaped like an ice cream cone. It was so creamy and delicious!

Wednesday was Magic Kingdom Day! Brittany’s mother in law, Deb, is a cast member. She went above and beyond to assure we got in the parks. I’m forever grateful. It was nice to get to know her. She is an amazing woman! We were able to cram so much fun into that day! We enjoyed Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, Space Mountain, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Muppets Theater, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, People mover, and It’s a small world. I’m probably leaving something out, though! One of the highlights was when Brit tried out for and was chosen to be the teapot in the Beauty and the Beast attraction! We ate lunch, at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. My grilled chicken salad was super good. We ate supper at Pinocchios. They had the best flatbread pizza! We had planned on one more ride, then staying for the fireworks, but it came to storm, with lightning, so we decided to go home to relax. We wanted to get psyched up for the next day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

When I first got to Brittany and Steve’s house, she told me she wanted to get me a lanyard so we both could trade pins. When she explained it, I was thinking I would not like to do that. She bought us both a Toy Story lanyard, then set me up with some pins to trade. The next day at Hollywood Studios, we were prepared and ready to trade. I have to admit I was wrong. It was so much fun!

We were especially excited about the new Toy Story addition. Toy Story Mania was one of my favs. Sweet revenge on Brittany’s impressive win on the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, We did the Star Wars simulator, saw Beauty and the Beast on stage, and braved the Haunted Mansion. Fearless Brittany talked me into the Tower of Terror, and the super scary Aerosmith ride. The picture from that ride is epic! We had lunch at Sci-fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant. It was so much fun! You eat in old classic cars and watch old movies! It began to rain early evening so we decided to head home and relax for the next big day at Disney Springs. We ordered Chinese Food and watched the Braves with Steve.

We had a great day at Disney Springs. Shopping, then lunch at Splitsville, the Disney Bowling alley. After we ate, we bowled. It was so much fun! We were Sissy and Beatrice! After bowling, we went to the Outlet Malls. I had to buy another suitcase to carry home what I bought, and all Brittany gave me!

The last day we had planned to take their boat out but decided to have a relaxed last day. We had done so much walking, we both lost weight, even though we ate so well!

Brittany helped me pack. At one point Miles and Molly got into my suitcase! We watched the latest Jumanji movie with The Rock and Jack Black. We laughed so hard!
Ah, but we became melancholy as my flight time closed in, and they drove me to the airport. But they surprised me by walking in with me. I was glad to have help getting checked in. Then we shopped a bit.
I hope to be able to visit again soon. I had the time of my life!

That Inexplicable Disease I’ve had for 40 years

When I was seventeen, I started having insane itching spells which produced sores. I began my long search for a cause and cure. Many dermatologist were seen over the last forty years. I’ve been biopsied, scraped, given handfuls of sample creams, steroids, and sent away with no clear diagnosis. This went on year after year.

It never has been a constant problem. I have spells, then periods of time with no issues. However, this year it has been worse than ever, I’m broken out with sores on my legs, hips, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, and have them throughout my scalp. I’ve had these sores inside my ears, nose and on my lips.

It’s rather embarrassing, I look like a crack addict!

In desperation I went to my dermatologist again in the spring. A biopsy was taken that produced no answers. It did show staph infection. I was treated for that and was dismissed from their care. They referred me to a neurologist. I couldn’t get an appointment there before September.

I am broken out so badly and having many itching spells. These spells are so intense it is maddening. Like a thousand mosquitoe bites! I am up all night, sometimes. I decided to go to my primary care doc to see if he could treat my symptoms.

Dr. McDonald tried steroids for a week with a steroid cream. He gave me Doxipen to be taken at night.

None of that made a dent, I went back today with more sores, looking tired from so many sleepless nights. He gave me a strong antihistamine, and pain meds.

Leave it to me to have a chronic condition that has stumped all my doctors, Just know , when you see me, that I am not on Meth. Just dealing with a disease that doesn’t exist.

I Am So Much More Than My Politics

Last Saturday morning I was driving my little CRV, with three stickers on the glass of the hatchback. One has the acronym, O. A. R.. another on the far right has 311, the one in the middle just says Trump.

I was leaving the Farm, after setting up for Jan’s party. I decided to stop for a drink on my way to my son and daughter in law’s reveal luncheon.

I stopped at Family Dollar on Temple Avenue. After purchasing my drink, I left the store.

As I approached my car, I noticed a woman standing at the back of my car, just staring at my stickers! I was thinking WTH! When she noticed me, she started yelling at me!

I can’t remember everything she said, but I know most of it was extremely vile! She was in my face, almost inviting a punch in the nose! She asked, “Why do you have all these conflicting stickers on your car?”

I still don’t know what she meant by that. I said, “Beg your pardon? What are you talkin about?” She said something like, you got this KKK thing over here and I don’t even know what this is ,,,,what does that mean, O. A. R? I tried to reason with her, telling her there was nothing wrong with my stickers. The two on the outside are bands. And there’s nothing evil about their music.

Then the real rant began! She screamed “The one in the middle is f****** Trump!” Then began to curse at me in a very loud and freakish way. Calling me every name in the book, including the c word!

She was dropping f-bombs like crazy. I lost my cool, briefly, Saying “I could f****** vote for anyone I wanted!” She then told me to go s*** Trump’s c***!

This woman was white, with a tall skinny build. She had long blonde hair on one side, shaved on the other, and was wearing a long skirt and blouse. The only thing missing was her p***y hat!

I had never laid eyes on this woman before in my life! I was not going to get in a fight with her on account of her stupidity. Why should I risk going to jail over an idiot?

So as I was getting into my car, she looked at me in a very condescending way. Sarcastically, she said, “Look at you with you patriotic shirt!”

I was wearing a shirt with red white and brew! It had a picture of three beers in front of a flag background.

So at that point I got into in my car, rolled down the window and said, “God bless you!” She turned to me threw her cigarette towards my car, stepped towards me and stomped it out!

Why is a total stranger so freaking angry at me? When I see someone who supports Hillary, Obama, or any other liberal politician, even someone wearing a Malcolm X, or Bernie Sanders shirt, I would never confront them, much less, curse them. What has happened to human decency?

Everyone has a right to their beliefs, and a right to affiliate with any political party of their choice! We’re in America!

Whether I agree with someone or not, I do not despise them! I have friends who are not conservative. I love them, dearly. There are so many more things by which, I am defined.

There is an old adage about not bringing up politics or religion. But should I be free to display my political preferences without being verbally assaulted?

Seriously, did this woman think that I was going to say, “OMG, you are right! I will scrape these evil stickers off immediately! I will never vote for another Republican again! You have opened my eyes!”

She was so filled with hatred, she didn’t care what her rant would prove. I think she made an ass of herself! But I wasn’t going to change her either. So saying little was the thing to do.

As I drove away, I felt bad. I felt, maybe I should have cold cocked her! I was angry to be assaulted in this way! I was angry at the bistanders, who seemed to enjoy it. Mostly, I was worried about my grandkids being raised in a society with lunatics who are filled with hate.

Gathering my composure after that, took a minute. . I won’t let her spoil my day, I WILL enjoy the gender reveal! (and I did)

The left preaches tolerance, but it doesn’t seem to apply to Christian conservatives? I feel as if, for us, they have no tolerance at all! To surmise this opinion over this one incident would be foolish. I don’t want to make blanket observations. But this is not the first time someone has gotten in my face over my politics.

Trust me, I do not like confrontation. But on my own property, and my own vehicle, I reserve the right to support any candidate, or musical artists, I want!

But get to know me. You might find I’m not so bad, in spite of our political differences,

Trip to Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, and Grand Teton National Park.

D and I have been together 35 years, married 30! D planned this wonderful Vacation as our Anniversary gift. We would fly to Salt Lake City, rent a car,drive to Yellowstone National Park. From there, we;d go to Jackson Hole, and Grand Teton National Park! When planning the trip, he narrowed it down to either Florida Keys, or Yellowstone,Jackson Hole, Tetons. If being honest, I was leaning toward the Keys. Spring fever had already taken hold. I was thinking it would be a bummer seeing all the snow and having to pack winter clothes. But I was so wrong!

We reminisced about our early years. We didn’t have a lot, and really had to budget wisely. When our kids were small, D worked two, or three jobs. We wanted our kids to play sports or take music lessons. We also wanted to afford a vacation every Summer. D worked so hard to make it all possible. Eventually, under the mentoring of our brother-in-law, Vernon Hutson, we were able to acquire a few rental houses. D worked so hard to pay for them. He is very handy and was able to maintain and do any repairs necessary. When I think of all the years he has worked so hard in order to build a secure future for our family, I feel so appreciative! This trip was possible because of his hard work, dedication, and excellent decisions.He is such a blessing. The rock of our family!

We arrived Sunday afternoon. Settled into our little cabin. Went to a local restaurant, then for a drive.

The unmitigated splendor and grandeur of the sights we would behold over the next week, was breathtaking! Although I took many pictures, they don’t come close to actually viewing with the naked eye! We mused on how the sheer magnitude of the beauty and natural wonders, would have a Godless man on his knees praising God! How can our God be denied! The vastness of the mountains, the panoramic beauty of it all. The rushing rivers, lakes, and streams. The snow capped mountains, the lush greenery, hot springs, boiling mud pits, geysers, hot springs, and wildlife! It’s never ending!

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon. A cute little cabin at Mammoth Hot Springs would be our home for the next three days. We settled in, then went out to explore our surroundings. We were so excited to see a herd of Elk grazing on the mountainside right outside our cabin. Buffalo roamed all around. We saw them in the yard every morning as we walked to the restaurant. We enjoyed very good food everywhere we stayed. The next day we rode a few miles down the road to Gardner, Montana. This town had a grocery store where we bought items for lunch. We ate out on our cabin porch. We were joined by a ground squirrel. He came close to my feet as I broke a piece of bread for him. He would run off the porch, then peek back over the edge of the porch to beg for more.

One thing that impressed us immensely, was the absence of litter. This was the case anywhere we went! The locals and visitors have such respect for this beautiful place, they would never want to do anything to detract. They also place a huge emphasis on being earth friendly. Recycling bins were in our cabin and also in restaurants and in many public places. There were no idling signs to encourage people to save resources while parked or waiting in construction traffic. It has inspired me to make a better effort to recycle. Having access to the recycling bins in so many places certainly made it easy. The people were so friendly, and courteous. It was like vacationing in a perfect world!

We loved coexisting with all the wildlife. No fences, just a healthy respect for one another. At the visitor center we watched a video warning people not assume Buffalo are docile and slow. They are very agile and fast. We watched a video of a man being tossed like a rag doll into a tree! The key is not getting in their space.
We hiked several trails in Yellowstone, and drove around a lot. We saw a pair of Grizzly Bears, visible with our binoculars, but not close enough for a decent picture. We drove to see the eruption of Old Faithful, a very predictable geyser. Predictions that are spot on! Now approximately every ninety minutes. After watching Old Faithful spit hot water straight up about 130 feet, we searched for a picnic spot. We found a nice shady spot, ate our yummy lunch. There was a sound of rushing water, so we Went on a hike, making our own trails. We discovered a hidden falls with wondrous views! Venturing off the beaten path paid off! When hiking I always felt safe because D brought his handgun and big sheath knife. While hiking I asked him if his gun would protect us from a bear. He said it might scare it off, but would have a hard time penetrating the thick coat and hide. So much for feeling safe. Ah, but I really was not, too, afraid. We were cautious.

D became a little worried about my obsession with animal scat. I felt if I could identify the poop, we’d know where to look for the animals. It’s not like I picked it up or anything. Well, I did once. I thought they were nuts! But don’t worry, I figured that out and quickly threw it down. This was fodder for endless teasing. When walking paths with big piles of buffalo poop, I was always amused to find big ole footprints smack dab in the middle of some of them. Whew glad that wasn’t me! How do you not see that? It’s huge!

When leaving for Jackson hole, we traveled through mountains with ten percent grades up and down. It was a little scary when big rigs had to pull over to cool their brakes. Our little rental car was struggling, but it made it! We were promised a four wheel drive jeep, but when we got to the rental place, they gave us an all wheel drive Buick Encore. It was smaller than we expected. If we wreck, even in a minor fender bender, we’d need the jaws of life to cut us out! But once wedged in there, it was nice enough. At least it had all the bells and whistles. We got quite used to it while we were there.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming did not disappoint. More majestic mountains and landscapes! D was able to acquire a fishing license at the local K Mart. He bought some fishing supplies and we set out on our fishing and sight seeing journey. The day started out chilly, but the afternoon temps were quite pleasant, even in snowy areas. D caught a couple of nice trout in snake river, near the dam. The biggest trout he had ever caught! He gave them away, as we had no means to cook them. We then went to a super cool store that sold delicious food. We picnicked on Jackson lake bank. The view was serene! We hiked a total of ten miles that day, over snow, mud, and streams.Spectacular views the whole trail. We saw several marmots and squirrels, but no big game. The marmots were unafraid of us. At first I thought they looked like beavers, but then I saw their squirrel like tail.

The next morning we set out for Tetons again. Determined to spot a moose! We drove super slow for miles. Looking through woods, up mountains, and on plains. After a while D stopped and pointed to a most magnificent creature! This moose was grazing in the woods not far from the road. We pulled over, tiptoed over and took a few pics and a video. My heart was racing with excitement, adrenaline flowing! A highlight of the trip, definitely!

We ate at a pizza restaurant on the upper balcony. The weather was perfect. Food was exceptionally tasty! Afterwards, we took a ski lift ride to the top of the mountain. We could see all of Jackson Hole, and probably Yellowstone, if not so cloudy. At the top, I saw a trail even further up the mountain. It was about a quarter mile hike. But the steep grade, and altitude made it more difficult. D opted out of this hike, but was able to watch. However, when I reached the summit, I tried to find him. He was not looking my way. So, I took a selfie and headed down. As the ski lift descended,it began to rain lightly. The weather, thus far, had been ideal.
We left the next day. If I’m being honest, it was a little sad. Our trip was cut short. We were supposed to leave on the fifteenth, but some rental house issues arose. We left that remarkable place, our spirits renewed, committed even more to our marriage, and our faith in God reaffirmed.

We used a more scenic route on our ride from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake City. The scenery was sensational! It was raining some, so I didn’t get as many pictures. We saw so many beautiful sights. Sheep with their Lambs, Longhorn Cattle, dairy farms, horses, deer, and bright red barns. There was a swift stream that ran along the foot of the majestic mountains, and went on for miles!

It would be impossible to see everything in a week. Yellowstone is over two million acres. Grand Teton National Park, another 310,000 acres. We definitely want to return. Maybe for our 40th! It is definitely staying on my Bucket
List!

Channelling My Inner Soul Sister

I’m consistently on a specific music kick. For a week or more it could be classic country, or new country, which is really closer to pop. But it’s all good, like gravy on a biscuit.

When the mood hits, it’s easy listening, James Taylor, Carpenters, or Neil Diamond, I enjoy instrumental orchestra music whenever the vibe is right, Old rock and roll is a staple. Nineties alternative is often my choice. Some of the artists I love are eclectic, but have a huge cult following. Some are folksy, like Brett Dennen, Some rap is clever and catchy, and not so nasty. I can dig it.

Sometimes classical is the ticket to my kick. Oh, can’t forget the Crooner phase I went through a few months back. Seriously Sanatra was my “go to” preset on XM.

When in my car, I listen to Pop Rocks, Lithium, Willies Roadhouse, No Shoes Radio, and many other XM stations.

For the last few weeks I have binged on soul music. Mostly old soul,…Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Brook Benton, Nina Simone, etcetera.

Something many of my friends know about me is I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. They also know I am not involved, now, in any way, with that organization. It has been four decades since I was actively associated with that religion. A silver lining from my experience with that sect exists.

My recent soul joyride kindled memories of Sunday night skating in Riverdale, many years ago. Skating was such a huge outlet when I was a teenager. I looked forward to it all week! It was a chance for exercise, socialization, and listening to music we loved, maximum volumn! it was also mostly soul on Sunday night, That was Soul night!

So, one of the few advantages of growing up as a Witness, in the ’70s, was the integration of their Kingdom Halls. Racial harmony was important. Many of my friends were Black.

On Sunday night, we all piled into a car, chipped in on gas, and headed to Riverdale, My friend, Kathy, often came along. We were usually the only whites in our group. But that never was an issue.

Music takes me back to special times of my life. I feel truly blessed with an affection for a variety of music genres.