Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where’s the Promised Book Reviews?

I promised book reviews when I started this blog and since starting it I haven’t read a single book.  So unlike me.  Why?   Well, I was three quarters the way through reading One Day at a Time’ by Danielle Steel on the day my Mama died.   Its been hard for me to pick it back up and finish.  AND my personal rule is to never start a new book until I’ve finished the one I’m reading.

So a couple days ago, I pulled the book back down from my bookshelf.  It’s still sitting here on the arm of my sofa just waiting to be finished. 

I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time finishing it.  I suppose its because the last time my Mama was here visiting (in October) she read a couple of my books (a Nicolas Sparks and a Mary Kay Andrews) and as she finished each one, we would discuss it.  She always read a book or two while she was visiting and often took a few home.  For later.  When she died she still had a dozen of my books that I had loaned her … waiting to read.  Mostly Danielle Steel … the love stories!

Growing up Mama read the newspaper (The Albany Herald) and magazines (she always had numerous magazine subscriptions: Southern Living, Guidepost, Woman’s Day, Family Circle).  BUT she didn’t really start to read novels until I got her started.  Oh she would read the occasion novel but she always said she didn’t have time for books … until I got her into reading.

So with that said, I WILL get this book finished and I WILL post a review … just not sure how long it will take me.

But how appropriate the title, huh?  One Day at a Time’

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Weekend of Firsts

December 2004, I asked Scott to buy us tickets to the Eagles Concert for my Christmas/Birthday present.  The Eagles would be in Atlanta in February 2005 and I’d always wanted to see them in concert.  Scott says “No … I’ve been to enough concerts in my life … and they’re too expensive now days”  (You’ve gotta know Scott … Mr. I-don’t-buy-anything-without-a-coupon-or-a-sale)  So I sulked … I was sad … I really really really wanted to see the Eagles.  I didn’t shut up about it for awhile …then I realized no amount of pleading was gonna get a YES outta Scott.  Yea, I could have gone by myself … but what fun would that be?  Scott and I pop in our Eagles Concert DVD all the time … I wanted the real thing … with him!!!

In 2005, Scott was travelling to Reno quite often with his job and he became good friends with a guy named Bob who worked for the same company.  Such good friends that Bob and his wife often had Scott over … grilling steaks and having a few beers, ya know, friend kinda stuff. 

During one such visit Bob told Scott he had an extra ticket …front row seats… $600 a person seats … to an Eagles Concert next week … would he like to go?  The same Eagles Concert Tour that I had begged Scott to take me to.  Well ….. Scott said he couldn’t and then proceeded to tell Bob WHY explaining that I would never let him live it down … well … duh!!!  LOL

By the following Monday, unbeknownst to me, Scott had it all worked out with Bob for ME to use the Eagles Concert ticket!!!  The plan?  I would fly out to Reno on Tuesday (yes, the NEXT day … the concert was Wednesday, Oct 19), I would be picked up by Bob and his wife at the Reno airport, stay with them (people I don’t even know mind you) and on Wednesday night, Scott would fly out (for work) and then he and I would fly back home together on Friday. 

Soooo on Tuesday, Scott drops me off at the Atlanta Airport …I don’t like flying so this was really hard for me to do by myself … oh I love how quickly flying gets you there but any bump or hiccup on a plane and I am FREAKING out!  BUT … I had my trusty airline size booze bottles with me …drank one while waiting to board, drank the next before take off and the third while sometime in the air.  I was feelin fine … still scared …  BUT I was going to a freakin EAGLES CONCERT!!!

I get off the plane in Reno … late (around 11:30 pm their time) … what’s the FIRST thing I see?   Slot machines!  Yeah, I’d never seen them before.  Well not in person, that is.  There were tons of them … all lined up against the walls!  And in an airport, no less!!!

The next day Bob’s wife gives me the tour of Reno … another FIRST!  Never been to Reno or Nevada before!!!  (Before this trip, the furthest I west I had been was Colorado)  And Reno, it’s a smaller town than you might think … at least I was expecting a much larger town.  And the mountains surrounding it … huge mountains … but no trees … NOT a one on those mountains … I called them ‘dirt mountains’ cause that’s what they looked like … huge mountains of DIRT!  Another FIRST … dirt mountains!  LOL

Later that afternoon, Bob drove me and his wife into the outskirts of Sacramento, California by way of the Sierra Nevada Mountains… another FIRST and FIRST … had NEVER been to California and had NEVER ‘seen’ the Sierra Nevadas … WOW ..Unbelievably HUGE …the Appalachians are hills compared, seriously!!!  We arrive at our destination …Bob’s bosses home, in the sticks outside of Sacramento …the guy (Bob’s boss) walks around outside constantly stomping his feet … to ward off snakes … rattlesnakes!!!!  Needless to say … I followed suit!  LOL

Bosses house is absolutely gorgeous … he calls it an Italian Villa … but the style is more Mexican than Italian … nevertheless … a beautiful sprawling ranch with stucco walls and a terra cotta tiled roof … a wine room to die for …an arts and crafts room made in Heaven … beautiful old (truly old) solid wood doors … cast iron everywhere … the wine doors, the staircase railings, the door knobs ...terra cotta tiled floors and beautiful old world look hardwood floors …a dream house.  Not huge (about 4,000 sq ft) with rooms  just the right size AND with ALL the upgrades you can imagine!

Excluding me and Bob’s wife, there were six other people to go with us …to the Eagles Concert!  Oh how exciting it was … the wine and liquor flowed from the Bosses kitchen all the way out to the circular drive where we met the LIMO!  Yep a Limo to drive us all to the Eagles Concert.  Another FIRST for me … a Limo ride with liquor and finger foods flowing!!!

We arrive at Sacramento’s Arco Arena and are dropped off at the VIP entrance … woohoo did I feel special LOL …we are given our VIP Passes and then ushered into the VIP Room for dinner (a room seating about 50-60 people)… all-you-can-eat Beef Wellington, Chicken Cordon Blu, Broiled Seafood, Baked Brie w/Fresh Bread, Sautéed Veggies in fancy antsy Sauces, Fresh Fruit and Real Cream, a huge line up of extravagant desserts (the names of which I didn’t know), Wine, Beer, Liquor, Eagles Memorabilia to purchase and VIP Gift Bags for each of us containing Eagles emblazoned gifts: Leather CD Case, Leather Business Card Holder, Stainless Steel Travel Mug, Leather Luggage Tags … can’t remember what all.

Concert time and we are ushered into the arena to the VIP seating … first row …or so we thought … while waiting for the arena to fill the Eagles Concert officials were scoping the crowd … looking for beautiful busty young girls (young enough to be my daughters) to fill up the row of seating they placed in front of OUR front row seats …yep, hand picked girls that were given the opportunity to trade in their nose-bleed section seats for front row seats in front of US!!!  A little disappointing but I was determined NOT to let that ruin my ‘front row’ Eagles Concert experience… heck no!!!  My FIRST Eagles Concert!!!

Man what an awesome concert … ‘THE’ concert!  I sang, swayed, whooped and yelled … had a wonderful time … with new friends … on the second row … I could have spit on them LOL  And they all … Don Henley, Glen Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt … looked exactly like they did on our DVD at home … and were just feet away from me … wow!

The next day with Scott, he took me into my FIRST Casino … all I did was look around … wide-eyed at all the forms of gambling with flashy lights, sounds, music, noise …I’ve seen one now that’s enough for me … I’m just not a gambling person.  It was sad actually … some of the people sitting at the slot machines looked like they really couldn’t afford to be in there … really!!  Spending their last nickels and quarters … how sad!  After just a few minutes … I’d had enough!

Next Scott takes me around Reno … you know the ‘Dirt Mountains’ I mentioned earlier that surround Reno?  Well, if you travel to their tops … on the other side its lush with greenery … some varieties of pine trees that I’ve never seen before … no Georgia Pines here, that’s for sure … redwoods (not the hugemungous ones), cedars, etc … just absolutely GREEN GREEN GREEN.  Then once you reach the tops of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and look down all you see is this beautiful sky blue water … Lake Tahoe … words cannot describes its beauty.  Its like NOTHING I’ve ever seen … around the edges where its not too deep you can actually see to the bottom … clearly!!!  Scott and I took a good part of the day walking the boardwalk paths through the woods down to the lake … stopping to read every posted educational sign (you know the signs about a certain tree/plant/animal species, etc.) walking in the sand, touching the water (it was October after all … too cold to swim), collecting pine cones, driving around admiring all the beautiful redwood cabins … almost every home surrounding the area were made of redwood and their decks didn’t have traditional railings … they were glass so as not to block the view.  We were in total awe of God’s Beautiful Creation ---the Sierra Nevadas and Lake Tahoe …no words!!!  Definitely something for your Bucket List!!!

The next morning (Friday) we left for the airport and since Scott flies so much …we qualified for FIRST CLASS … OMG another FIRST for me.  What luxurious accommodations … OMG … everything you see about it on TV or in movies … its all true!!!  Roomy leg room, real reclining cozy comfy seats, warm moist real cloths to wipe your hands and/or face (none of that prepackaged moist towelettes), a huge breakfast and then all you can drink-drinks (of your choosing) FREE … we had 3 Bloody Mary’s each before take off!  LOL  I could get spoiled!

Well that was my weekend of a lifetime … a weekend of firsts … First time in Nevada, First time in Reno, First time seeing Slot Machines in an airport, First ride over the Sierra Nevadas, First Limo ride, First time in California, First time at an Eagles Concert, First time inside a Casino, First time seeing and touching Lake Tahoe, First time flying First Class …hmmmm did I leave any FIRSTS off?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And Then There’s the ‘Pink Dish’ …

You’d think it gets easier with each phone call … it doesn’t.  You’d think you’d get used to explaining the situation … it doesn’t.  EVERY phone call is hard.  EVERY conversation is hard.  And then there’s the inconsiderate customer service reps to deal with … no ‘I’m sorry for your loss’…nothing … just attitude!  Yes,  life does go on but that doesn’t mean I’m not hurting … doesn’t mean this phone call to you isn’t hard …I just wanna reach through the phone and slap them … my Mama died … this isn’t easy ~ be a little understanding of my pain!!!  Some can even be down right ‘bitches’ …’cuse my ‘French’ but there’s no other word for it!

You try hard to take the emotions out of it but some days the emotions are just so raw … so right there on the surface.  Then there are days when you just can’t even think about it much less deal with it all.

There’s accounts to close … phones, internet, cell phones, cable, charge cards … magazine subscriptions, newspaper subscriptions …bills to pay …health insurance to deal with … address changes to make …assets to distribute …a house full of ‘things’ to go through … taxes to file … the list just goes on and on …AND it all sounds easy on paper … in real life …its all sooo hard, highly emotional and just overwhelming! 

And cancelling magazine subscriptions isn’t easy either … imagine this … they sent a reply “Mary [my Mama] we are so sorry for your loss” … yep that’s one we got!!!  I won’t disclose the name of the magazine but it’s a BIG one!!!  What is wrong with people today?

Then there’s notifying the credit bureaus (all three of them) so they can ‘flag’ the file in the event an identity theft person tries to steal her identity … oh it happens … believe me …someone stole my Daddy’s identity just shortly after his death ~ but that’s another story.

As if things aren’t difficult enough …on top of all this stuff you’ve gotta take care of … the death certificate gets the wrong Social Security Number on it … checks get auto-deposited when they shouldn’t have been … so that’s more stuff to deal with.  And then, of course, this creates more follow up phone calls.

And then tears … always more tears … always more falling apart … trying so hard to do the right thing while others …

I know there are worse things … harder things … even more difficult things … that I could be dealing with right now but right now, this is my reality …my heart hurts every day!

And then there’s the ‘pink dish’ …