Saturday, September 24, 2011


Had the road trip from hell my second full day on the road from Florida...left Danville, Ky., where I stayed overnight with my sister, Cyn. Had a great visit and we went to dinner at a new Mexican restaurant in town. Besides the food serving's being delicious, inexpensive and enormous, I was able to speak Spanish which I miss terribly. Sadly, I was unable to connect in person with my friend, Sandy, with whom I worked in Tegucigalpa. Needed to be coming through on a weekend because he couldn't get off work. Talked with him on the phone English and Spanish. His being in the USA, working, and now, being engaged to an American he met in Tegus is helping his English. Must get down to try to see him soon.

The trip from hell? Well, I drove in a monsoon for over four hours in traffic that was in, I was squnching (yes, a new word!) my sphincter tightly and white knuckling the wheel as I was passed by semi-trucks going 75 mph on both sides and all around. They apparently did not understand that smaller vehicles might be inundated by spray, rain and fog, causing difficult and dangerous driving conditions. OR they may have wanted to notice the butt load of accidents all along I-75 which they passed without moving over per the law. Traffic slow downs outside of Cinci and Dayton took time, but the real nutcruncher was on I-75 just short of Saginaw, Michigan. I rounded a corner and all six lanes were stopped ahead quite a ways from where I was at the moment.....what caught my attention, in the rain, was that while the cars were lined up and stopped, they were off completely. Off meaning there were no tail lights shining except for those approaching the miles of stopped cars. These cars were sitting and waiting and obviously were not moving even at a snail's pace.

I immediately pulled over to the right shoulder and decided to back down the shoulder, (YES on I-75) because I had just passed the exit for M-81, the road that cuts through Caro, about 30 miles from our cottage. So, with flashers flashing, and with traffic rounding the corner, approaching at 70 miles an hour, I backed up about a city block's length. I was praying...outloud, I might add, that no one would hit me because I really had people to see, doggies to pet and other things on my mind other than dying. I also was very concerned that some cop might approach and I was pretty sure there must be some law about backing down the interstate. I was guessing. Actually, my key motivation for backing up was that I had to pee like a race horse and couldn't sit and wait for whatever.

So, I managed the backing up with not too many one finger salutes being thrown my way and got around the poles blocking quick egress onto the off ramp, which was being used by those who also were alert and wanted off I-75 THAT minute. I loosened up the sphincter, stopped and did my business and was promptly called by my neighbor, Kathy, who wondered if I was home and could I let out China, their dog. I told her where I was and she asked if I had gotten caught up in the I-75 semi-truck's explosion? Apparently, earlier in the morning, about 7 hours before I came through, there was a huge fire and explosion and that is why the traffic was dead stopped. NO way I could have sat there waiting that long with no porta potties! On the news, it was mentioned that people actually left their cars to go get food and drinks because of the severity of the damage and the inability to remove it all. Exciting and I missed it all but found a way to add some interesting experience to my wanderings.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My middle sister, Linda, has turned 60 today and she is not liking that at all. My 60th year, which we overlap by a month has been an interesting and full one. Praying she enjoys the start of this newest decade. We are becoming old farts!

I have been in Florida for several days...several more than I had planned because I somehow hurt my back. I ended up literally sitting on the toilet at 2 a.m. scared to death...there I was, not able to stand up and my cell phone was downstairs and there was no one else here at home with me. How long would it take before someone would come rescue me...asked I of myself? I figured a long long time, so crawled down and to the bed. Next morning, I called my neighbor, Deb, a Hospice nurse to see which hospital ER I should go to. She suggested Lee so did that. While there, they assured me I had not herniated anything and that good drugs and modern medicine would cure my would NO picking up kids or stuff. So, I suggested to the PA and the orthopedic doctor that I had consulted my neighbor, a nurse to see what I should do, where I should go etc. He told me I should consult only a "medical professional" which is what I thought I had done. When I have an issue, I either call my sister, Linda, a nurse or Deb, my neighbor the nurse to find out and diagnose what next. They ARE my medical arrogant some doctors are.

So, I came down to the Florida house to get the Christmas gifts I have bought all year long from interesting countries and to pack up clothing I can wear while substitute teaching. I had NO password to get into the sub database because my digital fingerprinting I did in July, which I paid for, now had to be manually handled. for the processing only to be told the manual process will take 6-8 weeks after they check my file...NOT 6-8 weeks after I had the fingerprinting. I hate bureaucracy!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tifton, Georgia

Many of you know that I had to make an emergency trip to our home in Florida to pick up work clothing and get the Christmas gifts I have been stowing away throughout the year. Just before entering Florida, I stopped at Tifton to get some gas...and I was filled with gas quite quickly. I stopped at station number one and the pump would not read my debit card so I went inside and was asked by a non-native English speaker, "how many?" many gallons or how many dollars? I didn't get an answer back but the woman waived me outside saying, "start." So, I assumed she meant to start pumping and I would pay when done. Unfortunately, the pump didn't work but she was waiving me to move my car to another pump. Gas forming in my belly.

I moved to gas station number two where the card reader did not work and another guy pumping gas told me to just go inside...the machinery was malfunctioning. I did...second non-native speaker told me to give him my credit card. Really? I did and went out to fill up and then came in to pay and he held up four credit cards. Guess I could choose which one I wanted to charge my gas to. I decided to be honest and use my own card...gotta wonder if everyone else chose my card over theirs? Anyway, I couldn't use their bathroom which was more disgusting than the go in the hole in the floor bathrooms I used in Baghdad so I went on to another station nearby. Did I mention I had serious back pain and all of this stopping, starting and getting out of the car was hurting me like all get out?

After using the facilities at station number three, I decided I needed a coffee. So, I poured a large one, filling it half with vanilla cap and one half with the regular coffee. The clerk asked what I had and I told her I had 1/2 of the specialty and 1/2 of the regular. She immediately told me I, "could not do that." I offered her the cup and told her to pitch it and she allowed as how I had to pay for it. OK...I can not do this or I can pay. I decided I would pay and take the coffee. The labor pool must be very limited in Tifton.

By the time I got to Ft. Myers, my back was so whacked I could only rest. Went to the emergency room early in the a.m. where I was given good meds and within a couple of hours, I could tell that I would: sleep soundly, smile readily and possibly be able to pick up my underwear off of the floor in a day or two. Am mending.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The North Star...working the cruise

This is Mike Quinn, the captain of the North Star, the boat which takes passengers to Charity Island and which I work upon, a couple of days per week. Duties? Serving drinks, cheesecake, and dinner and chatting up the clients. Love being on the water and meeting lots of interesting folks. Wishing I could spend more time improving upon the business but not my job. The owners are interesting folks and the lighthouse adjacent to their home is in need of repair but isn't their property.

We have had some incredible sunsets on the dinner cruises and one evening with very rough waters which resulted in puking customers. We had NO barf bags so I used ziplock bags which isn't the best...because when folks see puke, they also puke. We are all set for the next time, though. The cooks on the island are amazing and I have eaten the best beef tips and perch ever. Worth the trip out.
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Cheeseburger in Paradise, 2011

Cheeseburger was quite the festival with approximately 20 guests sleeping over at our home this year. Alex, viewed here with the Munger Potato queen and her court was home from Alaska for the festivities and we enjoyed him, his buddies, Heidi and Kristin's families and, for once, we were able to have Logan up here with us where he "played" with the older young men.
We took in many of the bands around town and here is Richard looking comfy in his Alaska shirt that almost looked at home with all of the Cheesy shirts the men were wearing. Loved having everyone up and were very happy to regain the quiet.