Life is Peachy

Peachy is actually a dear friend of mine, and she just started a blog, writing about her life. She’s seriously awesome and funny, so you all need to go follow her – she’s also nervous about the whole thing so be kind.

K, here’s the link:

Do it!

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Home is where the Bear is

A week away doesn’t seem that long when you say it. It’s just seven days, eight days, seven nights, who’s counting?

You plan and plan and make lists and agendas and then you pack and pack way too much – four books, none of which you’ll open – a diamond painting that you won’t touch – a Kalimba you won’t play – a deck of tarot cards you won’t shuffle. But you might. So you bring them. Because there might be a time when you’re all alone and you just want to read. Or play the Kalimba. Or shuffle the deck.

You won’t, but if you don’t have them, you won’t have pieces of home.

I started missing the Bear and the Little One the second day. Day One was driving, and family, and tired. Day Two was family, and visiting dead relatives, and going back to a motel room, and climbing into a huge bed all alone, and alone isn’t all that fun in reality.

Each day, I called home a few times, to check on the Little One, to tell the Bear I love him, to hear his voice. Each day, I cried a little when I said goodbye for the night. Each night it got harder.

I planned to come home on Monday. I came home on Sunday. I’m exhausted and facing a week of little time for myself and if I had stayed overnight in NY one more night, it might have been better for getting shit done, but it would not have been better for me. Or Bear. Or Maverick.

The reunion was epic. There were tears of joy, and a face licked half off, but what the hell, it could use a good wash. My eyes are held up with toothpicks and I DO NOT CARE because I will crawl into my bed, close my eyes, snore so loud that I’ll wake the dead – who know better than to come round when I’m tired and not in the mood for shenanigans – and tomorrow will be full of joy because I’m home.

And home is the bestest place in the world.

Posted in family, home, Maverick, my life, old friends | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

An old friend I’ve never met

Eighteen years ago, I was a mess. My mom had passed away on the 11th, and my life had shattered. I had always been strong, I had taken care of both of my parents in their final years, I had done what had to be done, often with no help and no sleep. Bear took care of me. He kept me on this planet when all I wanted to do was curl up on my mom’s grave and die with her.

And so my days were spent dealing with the estate, dealing with sisters who were not co-operative, dealing with grad school and with bills. I escaped by watching soap operas. I would go online at night and chat with people in soap opera message boards.

A few of those people became friends. Our lives have changed, and most of us rarely watch the soaps, but over the years we’ve watched children grow up, parents die, job changes, all of life that happens in 18 years.

Tomorrow I’m going to finally meet one of those people. We’ve been part of each others’ lives for 18 years and it’s finally going to happen. I am beyond excited!

And then I’ll be on my way home. I’ve missed my Bear, and my Maverick, so badly that it’s a physical ache. I will spend some hours with my friend, and then I will get in my car and I will be home in three hours and the reunion will be epic.

Tonight I got to see my great nephews, two boys who can do no wrong and totally own my heart. I had lunch with a friend who is the polar opposite of me politically, and we laughed and talked and reminisced and had a great time. (It can be done, we have more in common than we want to admit these days) So I head for home with a heart full of memories and more to be made tomorrow.

Blessed be

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Culture Shock

Almost 20 years ago I moved from Upstate NY to south central PA. I had spent the past 10 years in academia and moved in with my Bear, who worked for Harley Davidson. Factory life and academia are like two different planets.

I’m a professor, but I also worked in a factory for several years. It’s something I think everyone should do at least once in their life, it gives you a very different outlook on life. I wasn’t totally prepared for the difference between academia and Harley, however. These were mostly guys who threw around profanities like candy, (I told the Bear I had never heard the word “mother******” as many times in my life as I had the first hour I spent with his friends. They were tattooed, bad ass bikers who lived up to the picture everyone has of a Harley rider (although our Vice President rides a Harley and is a gentleman). And they were some of the sweetest, kindest guys I’ve ever known, any one of whom would have taken a bullet for me. (I think they thought I needed protection because the “professor is good with books but real life, no common sense in that one!” )

After the initial shock, I quickly adjusted. I think they delighted in the fact that although they thought of me as a fragile flower (HA!), I could toss insults their way that would stop them in their tracks and send them into gales of laughter. (Insults were often their way of saying “I like you.”)

I still have moments of “what the hell?” after which I tell my husband, “I live in Redneck Heaven!” but for the most part, I take the differences in stride. I visit the relatives and get my uppitty back and then go home and get my redneck on. I am multi-cultural, I guess.

Then Covid hit. It wasn’t long before my circle of friends decided this was a bit questionable and we were not going to live in fear. We would be careful and we would be considerate of others – I wear a mask when required, even though I think it’s pointless – and we went on with our lives. There are stores that have closed, and some things are limited, but mostly, our lives are back to normal. I am not alone in feeling this way, most of my circle of acquaintances feel the same – we have simply gone on about our lives and ask not how many are infected, or exposed, but how many are sick, have symptoms, are hospitalized. (There’s a big difference)

I came to NY, knowing that things were different here. I talk to my sisters every week and have heard the stories and heard the fear in their voices. I was prepared for differences. I wasn’t prepared for people staring daggers at me because I didn’t have my mask on in the parking lot of a grocery store – I put it on before I go inside and take it off as soon as I come out the door. I wasn’t prepared for naked fear. We went to dinner last night, my sister told her friend we were going to a restaurant and the friend had a fit- how dare she be so reckless? Umm, there were like 10 people in the place. Today I commented to my sister that someone was cleaning all the tables and she replied that he was using the same cloth on all of them. Okay. I didn’t notice, and wouldn’t have been bothered.

So why the difference? I know that a lot of cases were in NYC, and my home town is close enough to the City that a lot of people came up when this hit – bringing it with them. I know that the hospitals in NYC were scrambling – something that we never experienced in PA. (To my knowledge) Are we just more rebellious in PA? Are we more questioning? I know that we’re more politically conservative outside of Philly, so is it that? I’m just baffled by what seems to me to be blind obedience to precocious rules and regulations that make no sense to me, and by the confused looks I get when I point out what seem to me to be glaring inconsistencies.

Do they want to live in fear? Do they want to live their lives hidden behind a piece of cloth that may or may not prevent a virus that has a 99% recovery rate? Am I a foolhardy idiot for just wanting to live my life?

I am confused.

Posted in Corona virus, family, home, my life, Uncategorized, vacation | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Old relatives and old stories

My cousin is 90 years old. She seriously doesn’t look a day over 89. (I know, I’m going to Hell)

She has been a part of life for all of my life and I didn’t really know her as a person until a few years ago. She moved a lot when I was a kid, so you never knew when she and her husband and two kids would suddenly pop in, broke and needing a meal or a bed for the night.

I asked some questions today, gently, about her past. I learned a few things that made me smile – she met her husband at a barn dance. But, she coyly told us, she didn’t dance with him that first night. She was dancing with another boy, so the next night, he wouldn’t let that boy near her and claimed every dance.

Picturing my cousin, who is frail and unsteady, as a young girl, dancing and flirting with the man she would marry and live with for 20 years (he died young) has made my heart feel sort of melty all day.

I wonder if her kids know this story. We left her with the promise to return next year although she said she couldn’t promise she’d be here. I told her to try!

Treasure the old ones, my friends, they have a story you should ask for.

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Grading grading grading

It’s the last day of this brutal seven week mini-mester (not my term, I think it’s stupid) and I’m so grateful to have gotten through it, I may need a few adult beverages later.

I assigned a group project to my students this semester. I hate group projects. The only way they work at all is on a campus where the students actually live in dorms and can schedule meetings and get together and work together. For a community college like mine, they are a logistical nightmare. Also, they prove my point that socialism doesn’t work – you get one student who does all the work, one who does nothing, and everyone gets the same grade – and the ones who do all the work rarely rat out the ones who do nothing.

I digress. I created 8 groups and somehow have 10 papers to grade, so this is already interesting. I’ll find out who did something strange in a bit. I settled in with a bottle of water – it’s not advisable to consume adult beverages while grading because, well, it just isn’t. I’ve had enough coffee to get my brain working so I’m ready to read.

The first paper was absolutely amazing. Way to go, Group 2, you are totally getting bonus points! They answered all the questions, spelled all the words correctly and wrote an extremely readable paper! (Any time I don’t have to go “Whuuttt?” while reading papers, I get happy) (With or without adult beverage consumption)

Here’s my problem. It’s the first one I read!

Why is that a problem? Well. Here’s the thing – all others will now be judged based on the wonderfulness of the first. Yeah, not doing that – I’m taking a break and going to the cemetery to visit the parental units and coming back to this later when my head is cleared.

I’m not complaining. Well, yes I am.

Today is dinner with my sister and my nephew and more reminiscing and talk talk talk. And then back to the motel to have an adult beverage – of which many are consumed during my trips here because, well, I love my family. 🙂

Maverick is missing me badly and I’m missing him, and my Bear, as well. The reunion will be epic so stayed tuned.

Posted in family, home, Maverick, my life, teaching, Uncategorized, vacation | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

And we’re off

After months of “I’m going to NY, no, shit, I’m not” I’m finally going. I told the Bear, “come Hell or high water, I am going to NY!”

I get to drive all day tomorrow, and then visit relatives till my head falls off, go back to the motel where I always stay, get a shower, drink a beer, go to bed and start all over the next day.

I can’t stay with family although I have a plethora of relatives there. I love them, or I wouldn’t visit, but I need to decompress after I spend a few hours with them!

They never stop talking


Also, they never stop talking over me. Apparently there’s something about me because this is a common thing in my life, people talk over me all the time. I don’t tolerate it from anyone but my family, only because I’ve given up trying to change them. There are occasions when I’ve yelled “LET ME FINISH A SENTENCE!” but that usually leads to “why are you being such a bitch?” so I rarely do it.

It’s exhausting after a while, and it makes me remember why I so rarely get homesick and never regret having moved away. I look forward to the visits, but I also look forward to the return to the privacy of a motel room every night.

And it’s a much nicer motel than the one in Schitts Creek, by the way.

Maverick will be beside himself. He already is, he’s been watching me pack and bring stuff to the car and now he’s just kind of moping. Laying on the guilt, yes he is. On top of this, his favorite treat was just not the same. Max was the first to get a Woofer every night. It’s a dried beef patty made by a company in Illinois, he would stand on his head for one of them. We continued the tradition with Maverick, who usually gets a couple at night because Dad is a pushover.

Check them out:

I opened a new box last night and thought they looked different. Much thicker and darker. I gave one to Maverick, he took it to his rug and dropped it, then looked at me like, “what the hell is this thing?” And refused to eat it. The Bear tried to break it after I was unsuccessful, He couldn’t break it either. He put it in a vise and hit it with a hammer to finally get through it and then basically tore it in half. It was strange looking inside, like paper.

Maverick got a different treat.

Today I emailed the company, not expecting much. They responded with a request for the lot number so they could further investigate. I sent it to them, and they responded by thanking me and offering to send a replacement box. What????? This kind of customer service is unheard of these days! I am very pleased, and impressed.

So if you get a chance, check them out, because a company like that deserves our business. And meanwhile, I’m going back to packing the car

Posted in dogs, family, home, Maverick, my life | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Back to the Future

Yeah, that happens to be one of the many movies my husband has ruined for me.

But I digress. My back is wrecked. My granddaughter is almost 16, and when she was 6 months old her parents separated. Don’t tell me babies don’t know what’s going on, she picked up on the stress and was affectionately known as “Sarah the screamer” for months. She could cry for hours. There were only two things that could calm her.

One of them was Josh Groban.

I adore Josh Groban and only partly because his voice could calm the screamer

The only other thing that worked was rocking her, in my arms, bouncing till she finally fell asleep It broke my back I told her that when she was about 6, she cried and cried that she didn’t mean to break my back! Oh stop, I know it was horrible, but not nearly as bad as when Bear told the kids they couldn’t watch Harry Potter again till they were 40! (One forgets how literal small children are!)

So for almost 16 years, my chiropractor and I have been fighting the good fight. Lately, we’ve been losing. I mentioned to my family doctor that the back pain was getting worse, so off he sent me for x-rays, which showed some lovely mess caused by aging and by stress and off I went to a spinal specialist SHE said it was a mild mess and sent me off to be tortured by the therapist.

One of the first questions she asked was if the pain was in my “butt-ocks.” I replied, ‘Why, yes, Forrest, it is!” And hilarity ensued. I honestly asked at one point how many people break wind doing this stuff. She replied, “only the old farts.”

this may be subject to copyright – I am clueless about that stuff!

I made a valiant – but unsuccessful – attempt to not snort. Oh what did you think? Stop! I have class!

I now have exercises that must be done at home. They involve laying on the floor – so Maverick thinks that he should join in the fun. This is gonna be a party – but hopefully it will help. I’m tired of hurting.

P.S. The Screamer is a really great kid now that she’s kinda growing up. Amazing how that happens.

Posted in home, Maverick, my life, pain | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Nervous Nellie

Yeah, that’s me. So the Bear works second shift, which means I’m home alone for the bulk of the evening. I’m actually okay with that, his choice of TV shows quite frankly sucks, so having the TV all to myself and not being subjected to smirking Hawkeye or fake dumb hick smiles of Andy Griffith and the accent of Gomer Pyle that makes my skin crawl, is not a bad deal.

I live in the country. It’s beautiful back here, quiet, isolated, home to many an axe murderer. Keeping me safe from those axe murderers, or murderers of any type, is Maverick’s mission in life. However, my choice of TV shows tends to run to the Investigation Discovery channel which is full of, you guessed it, axe murderers.

(this may be copyrighted, I don’t know, I’m clueless about that stuff)

Happily sewing away upstairs tonight, I was rudely interrupted by fierce barking, the likes of which would scare the most intrepid ANTIFA member into setting his own pants on fire.

I’m no longer upstairs. Thanks, Maverick, Mommah is now downstairs where the guns are and the doors are and the keys are close at hand in case we need to make a fast exit.

Oh, and if we do? Don’t give me this, “I’m not getting in that car!” routine or I might just leave you to face the axe murderer on your own.

Oh hell, you could probably take him on and win.

Posted in dogs, family, home, Maverick, my life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Dear Maverick

You came into my life when I was one hot mess, my heart was shattered into a million (at least) pieces, painful shards of memories stabbed me every moment, tears were constant, laughter and joy were foreign concepts. From the second you wrapped your paws around my arm, the light came back into my life.

It had been ten years since I had a puppy. Max was 7 weeks old when he came home to us, and he was an old dog in a puppy body even then. He was calm, and loving and gentle, and while he had his moments – and I had some bruises to show for them – he was not the typical Golden land shark, holy terror.

I was not expecting Tiny Terror. I was totally clueless when it came to a high energy, very smart, very active little dog who not only needs but demands my attention pretty much 24/7.

And there you are. It was a rough go for several months, and we still have our bad days when I just wish you would settle down for more than 10 seconds at a time. You don’t know that I worry that you’re living so fast, too fast, and I fear you’ll use up all your time too quickly.

I thought I knew a good bit about dogs. Max was a Certified Therapy dog and we spent many hours visiting nursing homes, schools, even going to the hospital when Bear was sick. (He was knocking on Heaven’s door and you turned him away from it and back to us. ) (He agrees with this completely)

I found out that I knew a ton about Max. I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did about other dogs. And so the teacher has become the student. It’s taken about a million dollars in books, a gazillion hours of study, countless hours of crying to a dear friend (thank you, Mattie) and more hours of talking to our trainer. I’ve taken courses online, listened to podcasts by my favorite trainer (Ian Dunbar, I could listen to him read the phone book) and I think it’s finally sinking in.

This past week, we’ve been able to go to our own private dog park every day. Okay, that sounds fancier than it is. It’s our trainer’s field, which is fenced in and she’s allowing us to use it in the morning. I throw the ball and Maverick runs and runs. He roams and sniffs and I throw the ball some more and then finally, I can get him to focus on me, and listen to me and training has become a game.

Dear Maverick, thank you for teaching Mommah to lighten up and have some fun. And thank you for making Mommah spend all that money on books (but if you tell Dad how much, your cookie allotment will be cut in half) and thank you for teaching me some stuff about myself along the way.

I know we’re not there yet, I know we have a long road of work and training ahead of us for you to be the dog I know you can be, but for today anyway, I feel a lot more confident that we’ll get there eventually.

And I love you, Little One. You healed this shattered heart and made Mommah smile again, before you stepped on my sore toe and made me swear because dear JESUS, watch where you put that big paw! 🙂

Posted in dogs, home, learning, Maverick, Max, my life, training | Tagged , | 12 Comments