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Posts Tagged ‘camping’

The youngest boy here, JCountryGuitarMan, discovered today that it does not take any liquor at all for my daughter, Tes, who calls him bronephew (he is her brother and her nephew, because he is my grandson and my son for the last seven years, anyway.) But, it does not take any liquor, at all, for the two of us to laugh hysterically for hours.

Had the most wonderful day. It started with a phone call from her, “Gee, mom, I’m camping in your neighborhood.  Now, first, this seems like a strange thing to me.  The woman teaches science and math at four institutions.  She’s no dummy, but she made reservations for Monroe Reservoire three months ago and just realized that she is like less than twenty miles from my house?

Whatever the case, I’m glad she realized it, called and invited us to join them.  I have my millions of projects that have to be done so passed at first, but she continued to text me and when I found out she had walked down to the water from her campspot, I was in like sin.  I love water.  Water energizes me.  I was not passing up floating for the day.

So, off we went, husband, JCountry, and me.  We played with their dog ‘Mia,’ who has, as her vet put it “Jazz hands” (or paws.)  I mean, this is one really energetic puppy.  She treats children as if they are popsickles/suckers.  She’s one handfull of dog.

The water was wonderful but I think someone was trying to send me a message, as Turkey buzzards kept circling overhead.

Has to be one of my best days ever, and I’m sorry I forgot to post this timely, but still had to share it.

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I have now slept for two days, mostly round the clock.  I do not do well on sleep deprivation and had to catch up.  I keep hearing “I walk the Line” playing over and over in my head. 

Oh, that is JCountryRock and his guitar.  Whew!! I was beginning to think I was worse than I thought.  As much as I love to hear him sing or play guitar, I think there may be a limit to times he can pick the same song out over and over.  However, I do it too when I practice violin, so I shall keep my mouth shut or put my headphones on.

We are being treated to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince tomorrow.  JCountryRock’s girlfriends parents have purchased tickets for three of us to join their family to see Harry Potter on Sunday.   The fourth of us, EMT, is off  at some biker campout. 

Now, just so there is no confusion, this is a “BIKER” campout, not bicycling campout.  My mother was a bit confused and wrote me back and said, “I didn’t know he was into biking.  That must be fun.  I would love to do it.”  And, I had to write back that the most fun thing he mentioned was someone making soup, offering him some and him looking down and swearing there were toenails in it.  No, I did not tell my mother that, nor about the “other” really fun thing of being flashed by twentyeleven girls already.  This is his version of going on a vision quest apparently.

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That is true.  There are places that are better, but it’s still great to crawl into your own bed. 

Master’s Daughter’s house definitely has it’s perks.  She is a great cook and has the absolutely best personality in the world.  Everyone is welcome and warmly treated.  Somehow, she keeps her patience throughout it all.

bearded-dragon-smalll

I love to go camping and felt like I was sleeping by a babbling brook, as the fish tanks gurgled and the sacrificial crickets chirped in the bearded lizard’s cage.  The parrot occasionally added the sound of a cell phone ringing and other odd noises.   The immortal rabbit, apparently ten years is way beyond it’s expected life span, would ring her bell occasionally.  All the while, Christmas light stars twinkled around me.

By the way, I slept on the couch in her front room, gram had the guest bed and I learned long ago that my mother is too restless to share a room.

Irritating little Chihuahua was very well behaved, for a change.  She only irritated resident dog once, bad enough to get warned off, and she let everyone pet her.  This was quite an improvement in her behavior and perhaps she has finally realized that other people can pet her belly and head beside us.

skeeter-waiting-to-leave

Chihuahua provided the evening entertainment, as every night, at 8:00pm, she got up from her nap and sat and starred at someone: telepathically commanding them to get up and go to bed, so she could do the same.  By 8:30, she was dancing from person to person, begging them to go to bed.  By 10:00 pm she had given up and was trying to burrow behind me to get under the covers.  There was a lot of laughing as the dog has decided she should learn to talk and seriously tries to tell us to “go to bed.” 

She is happy to be home and in her own bed.

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Were you ever in a relationship where you woke up one morning and said, ‘This person is making me old.’?

 

It’s not that they are actually making you old.  Mother Nature does a fine job of that on her own and when your genes add something like heart disease or cancer to the mix, it is scary. And, it is not that I am afraid of death, because I am not. And, someday I will explain that when I am feeling very psychic and ready to open my soul to the world (plus a death experience- not my own though).

 

What the thing is, is that I want to enjoy every minute of this life while I am here.  It is way too short not to.  I used to hike, picnic in the Dunes State Park in the winter, ski (cross-country and downhill), and just explore.  I went camping every chance I got.  Daughter-of-eleven and I once went camping with the tent and a roll of aluminum foil.  Seriously, I forgot blankets, bedding and utensils.  I stopped and bought a spatula and a blanket.  You can make a very good bacon and egg breakfast on foil, over an open fire.

 

I have visited every state in this union except Alaska. I have camped in Canada and spent two hours in Mexico.  That’s a whole other story.  I have whale watched and driven a large cargo van up a gravel mining road in Colorado.  That MAY just be what is wrong with daughter-of-eleven.  She was with me and never quite got over that adventure.  She did not mind going up so much, it was the backing back down the narrow, steep, drop-off, gravel mining road that did her in. 

 

The point is, and I am sure there is a point somewhere; I am not ready to sit in a rocking chair yet.  I have given up most things for years now because it seemed so unfair to my husband to do things without him.  He cannot help being disabled, but I realized a few years ago that I was getting older than I should be because of not living and it was not doing him any favors either, that I was declining.  He does what he can and I need to do what I can.  As I said, life is just too short.

 

I started out taking violin lessons.  It was something I had always wanted to do and I inherited my uncle’s violin.  So, the last year and a half I was in Wyoming I studied with Rainer Schwartzkof and, if I do say so myself, and actually, my teacher did; I’m rather an advanced case study on violin.  It may have been the years of music in school. and teaching myself to play organ.  But, by the end of the year and a half, we were doing Mazas duets and, oh, how I loved that.  I gave that up when I moved.

 

So, now that I am all better (my chest has been opened and my heart repaired) and I again have health insurance to get some rehab to help me get exercising again, I am anxious to get back to the violin.  My goal: to play Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida by Wolff; Three Pieces from Schindler’s List by John Williams and I have a book of Classical Solos to tackle.  I am also anxious to get back to painting.  

 

Until they get me settled in rehab, I walk (on our four acres), and I tend the garden (getting my pulse rate up a bit) and I take pictures, and I write. Irritating Chihuahua accompanies me and occasionally sneaks away, but when I am out of doors, it recharges my batteries.

 

Life is too short, not to live it.

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I am writing this at midnight. Why? 

I have no idea. I will get up in the morning and see what I have posted and go, WHY? I don’t believe I did that. I usually write in WORD, correct spelling, edit, post, re-read, correct spelling, edit —–

Well, you get the picture, but this is random listings of this weekend’s wedding.

The bride, grand-great niece, is an individual and, as such, wanted her own unique wedding.  Her gown was a deep red and her hair was spiked on top of her head and she walked down the absolutely fantastic staircase in their house and, I swear, it took my breath away. She looked that great. 

Her seven attendants each wore their own choice of a black party/formal dress. All of the wedding party was going to go barefoot, but a cold snap headed into Wisconsin.

This was their wedding cake. The bride picked it out and the groom’s mother baked it. She was a professional baker, as I understand it. I ate two slices and Yummm!

The bride looked and looked for a unique top ornament for it but never found the right one. Perhaps a groom and bride sliding on top would have worked, and been in keeping with this funny, great couple.

It was an outdoor wedding with a string quartet, readings on love and marriage by relatives, acknowledgement to all religions, and self-written vows.

With that in mind, the brides uncle brought up the fact that why in the world do we have to have the bridal couple with their back to the crowd during the ceremony? I think it’s a good point. I would much rather see their faces, than their backs.

Both my grand nieces, who are marrying this summer, have found the greatest husband/husband-to-be. The guys each have a good sense of humor and are kind and considerate. 

Now, as far as me- I drove eight to ten hours each way, slept little, ate too much and had a really good fantasy in my head, on the drive home. It involved camping on a hill , comets, Viggo Mortensen, a campfire, stars,  and him singing the song he did at the end of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy; which without reading the words for it sounds more like a love song than any song I have heard. Guess the weddings put me in the mood for romance. What better way to spend an eight hour drive?

All that was missing was cake.

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As my reader’s know, I love my Cloud Tags and my search criteria.  Today, I’m really wondering about the people who have been searching for “David VanVleck” lately. I personally have known two David VanVleck’s. One was a cousin and one was my brother.

My brother passed away in 1990, at age 46. He attended Calumet High School in Indiana and was in the band with Mr. Barberi, a fantastic band director. David played a clarinet in Jazz band. He was in the Air Force and, when he left the service, He worked in Illinois and Indiana as a phlebotomist. He and his wife had three children.

He was a wonderful guy, with a passion for music and books, Boy Scouts, nature and camping. He also loved computers and had a MENSA IQ.

David died of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and, if you are searching him because you knew my brother, David VanVleck and this David VanVleck, I would so love to hear how you knew him, how you remember him.  I miss him every day.

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Where would you go, if you won a trip to anywhere in the world.

 

My list is almost too long to mention. Alaska to see the Northern Lights, anywhere to watch the whales, Holland/Norway, the Basque Country, to see what really made my ancestors who they were, and Japan to find a long lost friend, Junko Kanazawa.  India to photograph the women in their vibrant sari’s and learn more about Buddhism.  Africa for the music, culture and animals and for fun: New Zealand.  Send me a ticket, and with two seconds to pack my sketch pad and camera, I’m there.

 

I grew up in Indiana, thirty miles outside of Chicago. My father’s reason for never going to Chicago was stated succinctly.  “I never lost anything in Chicago. So, I don’t have to go back to get it.” The Dunes National Park was a short drive east. Couldn’t go there, He heard from someone, who knew someone, who was mugged there once.  He also told me once that anything he wanted to see, he could see on his television.  Dad was not adventurous.

 

Dad worked at Combustion Engineering and the family went to town once every other week, on payday.  They got groceries in Griffith, Indiana, where I would go to the library and carry out a load of books that stretched my arms down like an orangutan. Clothing was delivered by the Sears man.  In the summer, we would eat beer batter Fish and Chips at a drive-in restaurant on payday. I think it was at Broad and Main, in Griffith.

 

I however, wanted to move, since I remember being able to think.  I would look out an office window of a skyscraper and envy every one of those cars zooming by on the expressway, then I would go back to my typing.  I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states, Canada and momentarily in Mexico.  So, the world is ahead of me yet..

 

Mom was there when we got home from school and cooked dinner, until the fateful day in history when TV Dinners blighted the earth.  She was having health problems, so it was quick fix, and, like Twinkies and White Castle, I thought they tasted better then, than they do now.

 

Dad’s big travel was his yearly two week vacation. The first I remember were the trips to cabins in Wisconsin. We spent two glorious weeks swimming, hiking and swatting mosquitoes. I loved it and the woods. Then, they bought a station wagon and camping equipment and my brother and I were in heaven.  I haven’t been camping in years and I really miss it.  I’m never so happy as when I am outdoors, anywhere.

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My dad and David during WW II

It is raining in central Indiana. Since I grew up in northwestern Indiana, this does not surprise me. It is the reason that all I want to do is stay in, drink hot oolong/Jasmine tea and curl up under a blanket with a good book.

 

Actually, I love the rain. One of my favorite memories is camping with my family in the rain. Sitting in my living room, I can smell the wet canvas and hear the sound of the tent zipper. My brother and I would play Cribbage by the fire, after the rain cleared, or while sitting at the picnic table, under a tarp. He also taught me to play chess. He loved games. I don’t.  I have a compulsion to create and, the whole time I am playing a game, I feel I am wasting time when I should be painting.  But, I do make an exception for Cribbage and chess and would give a lot to have one more game by the fire.

 

My brother, David, was under two when our dad went off to war. He, mom and our sister lived with our grandmother during this time.  David loved our Uncle Donald.  He followed him around like a puppy dog until Uncle Donald DeWitt shipped out. One day, he woke up from his nap screaming. Grandma and mom went running in to comfort him. He told them that Uncle Donald was hurt, and they put him in a jeep, and they drove him into the forest, and he was never coming back. David was inconsolable. My grandmother said, she knew right then that her son was dead. David’s dream was a warning for her.

 

It was true. Uncle Donald was fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. There was a company in the U.S. that ran out of gunpowder so they decided to try TNT (excuse me if I have the names of the powders wrong). Uncle Donald’s weapon exploded.  An ambulance was not available, so they put him on the back of a jeep to take him to the field hospital; through the woods. He was DOA.  When they received the death notice, the day of his death was the same day as my brother’s nightmare.

 

My brother was born six years before I was. I understand he liked to spoil me when we were little. I don’t remember much of that but I do remember that he was always there to listen, when the world seemed to be crushing me. I also remember him reading or listening to music. He would come to dinner with his nose in a book. In fact, one day he came out of his bedroom when mom had company, and the company asked her who the boy was, who was visiting. They had been to our home several times but he was always in his bedroom reading and they had no idea she had a son.

 

David went off to the Air Force and became a phlebotomist. Mr. Nasty Nice would draw blood, take bodily fluids, and test them. In those days, I believe they just put their thumb over the end of the test tube and shook it up.  However, you would incur his wrath if you took a drink out of his water glass.

 

 

When he signed up for military service, he got the deal to pick where he would be stationed after basic training. As any sane person would do, he chose Hawaii. He actually spent the last years of his service at Ernest Harmon Air Force Base in Newfoundland. The Air Force has quite a sense of irony, doesn’t it?

 

After he left the Air Force, my brother worked at a hospital lab in Illinois. His co-worker invited him to dinner one night and introduced him to her daughter, Terri. They married and had four wonderful kids. He was head of the lab at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Hammond, Indiana, until he got involved with computers.  It was a passion for him and when he became ill, he was able to work from home as he became more ill.

 

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma took his life.  He fought it for two years.  As the disease progressed and the treatments took their tole, he developed a cough. One of the few things he could enjoy was eating lunch with friends in the hospital cafeteria. One day he was coughing in line and another hospital employee told him, “If you are that sick, you shouldn’t be here.” I kind of understand, but he wasn’t infectious and for the rest of the time he had left on earth, he ate lunch alone in his office.  Which was not right either.

 

People tend to panic on their fiftieth birthday. My brother didn’t.  He panicked when he turned forty. This was before they diagnosed his cancer. I joked that he should wait and get upset when he turned fifty. Something in him seemed to know he would never make it to fifty, and he didn’t.  He passed away in 1990. I miss him every single day; especially the rainy ones.

 

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