Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tea Break

Happy St. Andrews Day

Today, November 30th, is Scotland's official National Day.  To all my friends and family in Edinburgh:  Wish I were there to celebrate with you.  This evening I will lift a glass of Dalwhinnie in honor of the day.

********************************************************************************

I'm not doing Christmas this year.  I just can't get into it this time around.  It seems silly to go to all the effort of doing the tree and decoration thing when it's just me and the boys...and they don't get a vote.  So, on Black Friday, when Mom and I were out, I saw these beautiful Poinsettias and decided that was all I needed.  I bought two, and that was the easiest Christmas decorating job I've ever experienced..!!

This one is variegated, and just really pretty with all the different shades of red, green, white; very much like Christmas colors.


I loved the berries inside one of the leaf clusters, and look at those colors close up...really cool.


The second plant is the typical deep red Poinsettia we all know and expect at this time of year.  I would love a dress this color.


So, there's my big contribution to Christmas.  And I'm just fine with it.

*******************************************************************************

After my herculean effort on Monday to finish NaNo, I took Tuesday off to replace the fried brain cells, did some running around, walked the boys, read a book, cleaned out the Thanksgiving fridge...and there's my seque into how I wasted the better part of  my afternoon.  Crap.

I subscribe to this most excellent periodical: The Food Network Magazine, based on the television channel which I love and watch often.  This is truly the best food magazine out there...in my humble opinion.  So, I see in last month's issue this very interesting recipe for making candy out of leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.  What??  Okay, I'm intrigued.

This candy is a Back East treat, specifically from Maine.  They look really yummy in the photo, and the recipe doesn't seem difficult or time-consuming.   These damned, frigging, candies are called Needhams.  I spent more time dinking with these buggers than if I had flown to Maine and bought them at a store.  To me--after all the aggro of making them--they were so sweet I could practically feel my fillings melting.  They taste like a Mounds bar, only much, much sweeter. 





As a matter of fact..??  Give me a Pacific Northwest Nanaimo Bar any day over these candies.








*********************************************************************

Tea's gone, along with the afternoon.  Time to hoist that Dalwhinnie.  Happy St Andrews Day, Scotland...

Monday, November 28, 2011

EUREKA...!!!!

I did it.  7:00pm tonight, I stopped writing at 50,742 words.  If I wasn't eyeball tired, and cranky with my laptop, I would have kept writing.  I was on a roll and deep into this great story arc, and so hated to stop, but it's getting late, my eyes are crossing and I need to find something for dinner. 

But damn.  I did it.

And in case you're wondering..??  Yes, big dopey grin all over my face.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Way too early...

Got up before it was even light out this morning...thanks to Ozzy.  I don't know what his problem was, but all night long it was on the bed, off the bed, on, off, until I was ready to...well, never mind what I was ready to do.  Finally, I just got up, made some coffee and prepared to take him out and down the road in the pitch dark.  Hmmmm.  Where is he..??  Look all over the bloody house.  Find him asleep in bed, curled up in the warmth of where I was sleeping.  Buggers.

So, there I was, up too early.  Decided to read some blogs I follow, then perhaps--if I could wake up enough--get a head start on the NaNo writing.  As I was reading, drinking my coffee, eating my cereal, the light in the living room began to turn this muted fiery pink.  I opened the blinds.  It was beautiful, with Roseburg shrouded in fog below, the pinks and yellows aglow in the sky as the sun rose over the distant mountains...


My photos don't do the colors justice, at all.  Here's a closer shot of the same picture above.  Notice the fiery reds in the treeline, middle left.  It looks like they're burning, especially if you click on the photo to see it larger.


When I went out to the front deck to take these, the dogs (I thought sleeping dogs) seemed to think I was trying to pull a fast one and leave them behind as I snuck out behind their backs.  I came in the house, and there they sat, staring up at me, tails sweeping along the carpet, tongues lolling, ready and eager to get the day going.  Nuts.  There went writing in the predawn quiet of a Sunday morning.  Ah well. 

Got the day started, took the boys walking and now am waiting for Jan to call.  After talking to her, I'll be inspired to get back to work; she's head cheerleader of the "You Can Do It" squad.  So, it's all good, even if the day began way, way too early. 

There's the phone now...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Food and Finales

I'm still too full from Thanksgiving.  Today I've managed to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast and a yogurt for lunch, but I'm pretty sure I'll be giving up food for the immediate future.  My much anticipated Hot Turkey sandwich last night was one meal over the line, I think.  Also, Mom brought too much food, after I told her I had the menu planned and didn't need her to bring anything.  It's a Mom thing I guess.  You know, feed the masses even if there aren't any.  Her yeast rolls, though..??  Mouthwatering.

Dinner was good; my delicious, no-fail gravy was most yummy as always, and so great on that sandwich last night.  There were just too many leftovers, which meant we actually ate two complete Thanksgiving dinners two days in a row.  Groan.

Black Friday shopping was bad for those folks out in the malls and department stores yesterday.  We didn't do that.  Hit some thrift shops, and a few off the beaten track stores, pretty much avoiding the chaos and having a good day out in the process.

While I was walking the dogs this morning (gone about 45 minutes), Mom stayed behind to load her car, and get ready for her drive south.  And she did do that.  But the other thing she did--and how she pulled it off in such a short time I don't have a clue--was totally sweep out the massive drifts of birch and oak leaves that had blown into the garage, and piled up in several heaps outside, against the garage doors.  Seriously, it was a monumental feat.  I had planned on walking the boys, saying farewell to Mom, spending the rest of the morning working on the leaf piles, then later this afternoon finally getting around to the NaNo book.  Mom saved me.  I was able to send her off home, make a coffee, and sit down at the laptop.  No more work.  No leaves.  Nothing to do but write.  Amazing.

So, thanks to Mom, I boosted the word count substantially today, and feel really good about that fact as I sit here tonight.  I've edged over the 43K mark, and have just under 7k to go.  The plot is going really well and tomorrow I hope to write another 3K at least--though Jan (BFF) is calling in the late morning and we really need to catch up as we haven't had a good blather since she got home from LA early last week.  Still.  I have faith I will be blasting to the finish line within the next few days.  Without jinxing things (fingers crossed), I'm starting to get excited about the NaNo finale this year.

Need to go sit back and relax now, for the first time really in over a week.  There's a Lord of the Rings marathon playing on the telly, and that will do me just fine, thank you.  I can practically recite the lines verbatim as I've seen these movies many, many times, so I'll be able to watch my favorite scenes while I read my new Food Network magazine, and pay some attention to the dogs with cuddles and tummy rubs.  Multi-tasking...you gotta love it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Day..!!

For everyone who celebrates this holiday...have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

And for those who don't  --  give thanks anyway.  It's important to remember there's always something to be grateful for, no matter how small it might seem.


Rainy Wednesday Afternoon...

Finally a chance to wind down, relax and get into the spirit of this wretched wonderful holiday.

Made my pumpkin pie this morning, while the rain literally poured down the windows in rivers.  And, for nearly the first time ever, I didn't take the dogs down the mountain for their walk.  It was truly just too rainy. 

So, I made the pie, and along the way made a major mistake that I totally should have known better not to make:  I tried a different pie crust recipe.  What was I thinking..??  I have a perfectly great, tried-and-true recipe, but no...let's try something new for Thanksgiving because I need more stress in my life.  I won't go into the details of how the crust stuck like glue to the rolling pin, or fell into pieces when I tried to get it into the pie pan.  **Deep sigh**   Eventually I prevailed, though it wasn't pretty; neither was my language.

Now, the pie itself came out looking good, though the new crust shrank in the dish, and in this photo doesn't even look cooked, though in reality it's a nice golden brown.  Ah well.  The Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie is done for this year, and tomorrow we'll find out if it actually tastes good.


Mom arrived safe and sound, though had a really terrible drive on the freeway to get here in such stormy weather with lots of trucks and people and rain, but now she's here, warm and toasty.  Hopefully by the time she leaves this weekend, the weather will be more accommodating for her drive home.

Will do a quick Thanksgiving post tomorrow, but have a whole dinner to prepare and a pie to nibble on, so that will probably be the extent of things for the next day or two, especially as Mom wants to go out on the dreaded Black Friday.  Still, no matter how Friday, the crowds, or shopping might play out, my reward will be that Hot Turkey sandwich at the end of the day...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Painful Monday...

Arrgghhh.  What a crappy couple of days. 

One good thing though: this doggone house is clean as a whistle.  Another thing..??  I've decided I'm going to live in a very, very small little place.  Maybe Hobbit size.  Two bedrooms, one bathroom, small yard.  Either that, or I'll have to win the Lottery and hire a housekeeper and/or gardener.  I just can't do it.  Really.  I can't.  And after three days of housework, I still have the outside to do: raking leaves, sweeping both decks, putting away garden hoses, pruning hedges, on and on.  Good grief people.  I'm just one person here..!!!!!

****************************************************************** 

Image Detail

Today was a dentist day.  I had both crowns finished this afternoon.  Agony.  One tooth is fine, the other is acting like a red-hot poker has been stuck into my jaw instead of the crown.  We can send a man to the moon, and yet there haven't been any advances in dentistry that alleviate pain and anguish..??







****************************************************************** 

This morning--and briefly this afternoon before the Novocaine wore off--I managed to get my NaNo count over the 40K mark...just.  Still, it's made me feel a bit more positive about reaching my elusive goal.  I was very upset that I had to spend most of the weekend doing housework, leaving me too wiped out to write, even if it was my choice. 

I only have 10K to go now, and that seems so minor compared to three weeks ago when I had the whole 50K to do.  I'm confident I can pull this off.  Well, okay, theoretically I can pull it off.  No, no.  I can do it.  Yeah, really.  Confident is my middle name...

*******************************************************************

The blog might take a hit while I'm squeezing in some NaNo writing, having Thanksgiving dinner, eating that Hot Turkey sandwich later, and spending time with Mom.  We'll see how it goes. 

Ah, the joys of the Holiday Season...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Domestic Goddess...Not

If there's one thing I truly can't stand to do, it's clean house.  Ugh.  I really don't do the domestic drudge goddess routine, at all.  However, with Mom coming on Wednesday...well.  She doesn't come with white gloves...she IS white gloves.

I have lots of chores--things I should have done regardless of Mom coming, but I've been doing NaNo instead--so today I portioned out the work over the next few days.  Today I changed all the bedding in the guest room, got the room sparkling, and hey, it looks really good.  Clean, cosy and comfortable...


[Aside:  Though I detest cleaning, I love having everything clean.  Go figure]

******************************************************************************* 

You'll notice the sun blazing in the windows.  I've had to shut the blinds in the Great Room because it's too bright and getting too solar hot.  It's November, people.  I'm done with the freaking sun, the heat, and what the hell happened to that huge snowstorm we were supposed to have for the weekend...????  Nuts.

Last night it did get cold, and rained like crazy after I went to bed, but this morning walking the dogs it was just misty and foggy.  By the time we got home that was lifting, and later in the morning, when the clouds cleared...

This was taken on the front deck, Roseburg in the distance. That great gnarly oak tree is directly across the road from the house.


Close up of same view. 


In the lower right, kind of framed between the branches of the tree, you can see the VA complex where I walk the dogs on the weekends.  Course, you can't see it very well, or appreciate how truly extensive the grounds are from this distance, but still, that's where we go.  Maybe clicking on the photo will bring it closer.


********************************************************************************

Notice my NaNo word count hasn't changed.  Drat and damn.  I managed about 200 words yesterday, but kept getting interrupted.  Not that I minded because I had a good long talk with my sister, then an old friend called that I haven't spoken to for ages.  After one call, dinner, and the other call, I just couldn't seem to get back to my story, so that took care of my attempt to reach the 40K mark yesterday.  I'm cranky--with myself--that I didn't manage it, but it was also good to talk to my sister and touch base with an old friend.

Unfortunately, I'm not doing too great on the writing  front today either.  It's after 4:00 in the afternoon already and I'm just getting the blog posted.  Aarrgghh.  The few chores I had allocated for today ended up being WAY more--though it's good I got both bathrooms cleaned, kitchen floor washed, two loads of laundry done, laundry room cleaned/floor washed, and guest room prepared for Mom--but I haven't written a single word on the book.  Maybe later this evening...

Time to take the dogs down the road to the mailbox before it gets dark, then I'm going to make a nice, big cup of tea and contemplate my next move.  Assuming I can still move once I sit down and put my feet up.  But worse than that..??  Tomorrow I have the rest of the chores to finish...buggers.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dog Stuff...and a bit more

Took the dogs down the mountain this morning, but before we'd even gotten to the bottom, the light rain went torrential.  As I waited at the stop light, I tried to convince the Dog Tyrants that we really shouldn't be doing this.  Of course, they disagreed.  Loudly and vehemently.  I rolled down the back windows, letting the rain splash all over them.  They ignored it, just shaking water everywhere.  I argued with them all the way to the baseball field parking lot.  Nope.  It was time for the morning walk and nothing was going to deter them.  Course, I'm the one who got soaked getting them into their coats (did I mention it was about 34*..??) while the rain pelted, ran down my neck, drenched the back of my jacket, turned my hair into something...other.

Trying to take control--I'm the human, right..??--I decided to just walk them around the fence line of the baseball diamond, about 1/5th the distance we usually walk.  The rain went from torrential to monsoonal (according to the dictionary that isn't a word...so sue me), before we'd gone less than halfway round.  Even with my umbrella, my pants were soaked from the knees down--like I'd been wading in the river--and Ozzy's hair around his face made him look worse than I did.  He looked so pitiful with the long wet strands dripping down his face.  After they had both done their...you know...business, I say, "Okay boys I think we've had enough.  Should we turn around now and head back to the car?"  Good thing they weren't leashed.  I would have had whiplash.

******************************************************************************

On the way back up the mountain, I couldn't believe my eyes: it was snowing..!!  The further I climbed, less rain, more snowflakes.  It was cool, though unexpected, for sure.  The real snow is supposed to be in the Cascades, the Coast Range, and as always, in the Sierras.  I didn't think my mountain was going to be part of that equation.  The snow is gone now, the sun is trying to break through some very dense, dark clouds, and hey, as they say in places where the weather is unpredictable and weird: wait five minutes and it will change. 




Still.  First snowfall of the year.  This might not bode well for Thanksgiving with my Mom, though.











*******************************************************************************

My goal for NaNo today is to hit the 40K mark.  Not sure I will actually achieve that, but if I say it, post it here, it should help in making the effort to realize the goal--either that or make me look like a loser if I don't do it.  Humiliation is a great motivator. 

I have a lunch date with the neighbor women shortly, which will dent part of my afternoon time, though when you live alone, you can pretty much do what you want.  I can write all night long if I choose.  Besides, I like the nice roundness of 40,000.  Doesn't that look cool..??  And it would mean I only have 10K to go, and 11 days left to accomplish it.

*******************************************************************************

Speaking of living alone.  I woke up this morning with Alan heavy on my mind.  It's not an anniversary-type day, a memory day, or any other kind of day; I guess it's just a "miss my man" day.

Taking the dogs down the mountain I thought of him: he would have told the boys "no way" and we'd still be in the house watching the rain pour down while we had another cup of coffee.  At the park I could picture him so clearly in his red anorak, his NYC baseball cap, his smile.  Later I wanted to talk to him about the first snowfall.  Pulling into the garage I burst into tears.  It didn't last long.  I think (fervently hope) I'm past the sobbing for hours phase, though I still had a good cry for a couple minutes.  But then, all that's left to do really is blow the nose, get the dogs out of the car, and carry on. 

Doesn't change the fact I don't want to be Just One today...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A First...

The furnace guy has already come and gone this morning.  Good thing I got up early, though he still caught me way off guard when he called at 7:30am to say he was on the way.  I've never been first on a service call.  Really.  Never.  Many a time I have verbalized this fact, mostly in a loud and cranky voice:  "Why am I never first on the call list?  Someone is, why isn't it ever me?  Who are the people that get the first call of the day?  Who are they?  Who. Are. They. ??"

And on my rants go as I waste the better part of my day trapped at home, waiting for the cable guy, or the dishwasher guy, or the Sears guy about the washing machine, or the whatever guy who is supposed to show before lunch, but actually arrives as I'm putting dinner on the table.

What an amazing thing this morning, then.  I WAS FIRST!!!  Wow.  Red letter day for sure.  The guy was in my driveway before 8:00 and went straight to work, and was gone before 9:00.  Even the dogs were shocked and hardly barked as the guy came up the stairs to check out the thermostat.  Natch--based on past history--I wasn't prepared for anyone that early and was barely out of my jammies.  Oops.  I looked like Medusa and was still working on my first cup of coffee, and the sweats I tossed on when I got up this morning are most definitely not suitable for outsiders to view.  However, in my excitement at being FIRST, I didn't care, so I slapped my newsboy cap over my spiky, wild hair, zipped up my sweatshirt to (hopefully) conceal the no bra look, and hid behind my laptop as much as possible.

Furnace Man was very efficient, and hurrah, he said my furnace is in great shape and running fine.   And it didn't cost me nearly what I expected...less than $100, great bonus.  That actually makes two this week.  The winterizing/maintenance on the car on Tuesday was also less than $100, and my baby is in perfect running order (and yes, thank you for asking, I do love and adore my Chevy).  I honestly anticipated these two service deals would be closer to the $1,000 mark, so I'm sort of floating with joy at the money I didn't have to spend.

************************************************************

Two shots of the weather outside as I sit here writing...




And for once, the weather people were right on.  It's been a monumentally crappy day of lashing rain and really black, stormy clouds rolling over the Coast Range and into the valley below the house.  And oh, how I'm enjoying it..!!  This is my kind of weather, forget all that sun and heat and sweating stuff.  Ugh.








It was a bit dicey trying to walk the dogs, though I somehow timed it just right (a fluke) and we got down the mountain, had a great walk in the park, and managed to make it back here with nary a drop of rain, though it had poured before we left, and is pouring now. 






Still no wind--which was the main concern in the weather reports--but it's early.  I've got flashlights placed strategically around the house, though with all the utilities underground losing electricity is pretty rare.  What I will lose however is the Dish.  Cripes, even in a gentle breeze sometimes the television signal craps out, so if we actually get the expected winds of 50+mph, I'll be doing lots of reading later.

*********************************************************

Did really well with the NaNo word count yesterday--managed to exceed the 35K goal--though I was writing until after 8:00 last night.  Still.  If I can keep up the pace through the weekend, I might reach 50K before Thanksgiving.  It would be cool to pull that off, then I could relax for a day or two and enjoy the holiday.  I'm determined this year to prevail; it was so disappointing last year, and though there were extenuating circumstances that kept me from finishing, it still felt like a failure.  Not this year.  I'm going to hit that 50K, one way or another, by the deadline or before.

**********************************************************

Okay, that's all.  I must get on with the day, and my writing.  And though usually I can think of a way to finish a post, today that skill (??) is eluding me, so...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday thoughts...

There's a "severe weather alert" for my neck of the woods.  Guess it's supposed to be the first real Winter Storm (yes, caps on purpose.  I'm humoring the weather folks).  Starting tomorrow, there are to be winds up to 55mph and buckets of rain, followed by lots of snow in the mountains, including nearly a foot in the four mountain passes between my house and my mother's.  The storm is to continue--in snow mode--until at least Sunday.  The worry is that there are other storms behind this one, and with my Mom coming next Wednesday to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with me, if things don't melt, and/or look like there's a window of calm before the next storm, she can't drive up here.

I don't mind the rain, the snow, even the wind, or the fact it's going to be crap weather...after all, it's that time of year.  What I don't like is my Mom having to deal with any of it as she drives over the passes by herself under possibly dangerous conditions.  This might turn out to be the Thanksgiving That Never Was. 

Still, I will carry on making the dinner--mainly because I am just drooling for a Hot Turkey Sandwich the day after Thanksgiving.  Frankly, to me, forget the whole turkey deal on the day, just let me at that sandwich.  Thick slices of white turkey, stacked on stuffing over buttered bread, then smothered in gravy.  This is the one and only time of the year I don't give a hoot about calories, cholesterol, or dropping dead after dinner from such a rich feast of carbs.  So.  Regardless of having company for the day, or celebrating alone, I'm absolutely gonna have that sandwich on Friday..!!

**********************************************************

NaNo word count is looking good, though today is the "here comes the brick wall" point where I will either have to scale the thing with bleeding fingers, or bash my head against it, depending on how my afternoon goes.  I pretty much know where the next chapter is going, and hope I can get to 35K by the end of the day, but I never know how the story will play out when I actually sit down to write.  On one hand that's cool because I'm as surprised as the next person when a twist or turn comes along.  On the other hand however, it's not so cool when my brain dries up like a prune and I ramble around the house wishing I had a cigarette because I JUST KNOW I could smoke out that plot.  Seriously, back in my smoking days I used to walk outside, have a cigarette, and the plot would just unfold in my mind as I puffed away.  Now..??  I wander around and spend the time wishing I still smoked rather than thinking about what's happening next in the flaming plot.  Nuts...

**********************************************************

Now, in the unlikely event any guys are reading this post, you can drift away at this juncture.  Unless you're into shoes, because that's what I want to talk about now...or more specifically, my new boots.

Yesterday I went to my local department store where they were having a monumental once a year super sale.  I think they're trying to get a jump on the dreaded Black Friday--which I will not be bothering with as I will be eating my Hot Turkey Sandwich.  Anyway.  I wasn't specifically looking for boots, though I did need some new shoes for dog walking this winter.  My old high top tennies have seen better days, for sure. 

But look what I found.  My Christmas present to myself.  These amazingly cool, extremely comfortable, fit like they were made for my feet, I'm in love, boots:


Thank you, Santa...XOXOXOXO

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chins and Stuff...

I'm back from dropping off the car for its service.  I got a shuttle ride from the dealership, which was very nice, plus they will come back for me in a couple of hours.  Now, if I can just survive the bill when everything is said and done.

******************************************************

This morning, whilst in the shower and washing my face, I thought I felt something stuck to my chin.  After some scrubbing I realized it was the dreaded alien chin hair.  OMG, how long has it been since I last plucked..??  How can this hair be so coarse, and grow so fast..??  I should sell my chin hair gene to science.  Men would have full heads of hair in no time.

My very rude alter ego--that horrible other me--had to get her two cents in right about then.  She is very opinionated and bossy and thinks she knows it all.   I have learned over the years to just let her ramble, try not to take her criticisms too seriously, and move on.  Here's a snippet of our internal dialogue as I finished showering:

*******************************************************

Me (musing on when I last picked up those tweezers):  I'm sure it was just the other day.  Yeah, the day I went to the dentist.

Horrible Other Me:  That was two weeks ago.

Me:  No it wasn't, it was just the other...um....two weeks, huh?

HOM:  And don't get me started on the last time you used a razor on those legs.

Me:  Hey!  No one sees my legs!  I don't have a man around, so what's the point?  It's winter and the extra hair helps keep my legs warm.

HOM:  Yeti.

Me:  Go away.  I'm done listening to you.

HOM:  Do you still have that craft box, the one with all the beads?

Me:  Yes.  Why?

HOM:  I think this might be a good look for you...and those chin hairs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Mayhem

Totally busy day, and in fact the rest of the week looks fairly intense, too.  I'm not sure my word count will remain as steady, though that's part of the whole NaNo thing: pressurized madness..!!

Got a great haircut this morning, then went grocery shopping.  Bought the Thanksgiving turkey--and that seems to have been a good idea considering I had to practically elbow my way through a veritable horde of women swarming over the birds..!!

Back to the house, laundry, putting away the groceries, lunch, then I did a bit of gardening, though nothing worth noting.  The Birch trees are still in leaf and I really and truly will not go out and rake day after day.  What a total, complete, nutso thing to do..!!  One of the people further up the road from me gets out his leaf blower EVERY SINGLE AFTERNOON and drives me crazy with the burrrrr-rrrrr-rrrrrr as he chases oak leaves all over the road.  Oak leaves that promptly blow right back across the road and into his front yard every evening.  Maybe it's a guy thing.  Maybe if he looks really busy his wife won't make him do any actual work.

In this photo I took this morning, you can't tell that the front landscaping, and the deck/stairs, are covered with Birch leaves.  And I don't care.  What I did care about was getting this photo of the trees.  They're changing color, but one half is going faster than the other...very distinctly half and half.  It looks really cool in person.


Worked later today on the NaNo stuff.  I know where I'm going with the plot for maybe one more day, then I can already see that brick wall coming up fast.  Hopefully I will have a blinding revelation sometime real soon...real, real soon.

Blog might be a bit hit or miss this week.  Tomorrow I have to take the car in for its winterizing and don't quite know how I'm going to get back home while that's happening.  I'm not going to sit there all day waiting, that's for sure.  I've got two wee dogs that need to eat and go outside.  I could rent a car, I suppose, but I'd rather not.  The servicing will be costing me enough money without adding a day's car rental to go from the service garage to my house and back...6 miles, maybe.  Totally can't justify that expense.  Then I have the furnace guy coming on Wednesday...or, wait...no, Wednesday I'm going out with the neighbor women for lunch--they won't take no for an answer; I should be grateful as they are just trying to keep me busy.  As if.  So, that means the furnace man is coming Thursday.  Yikes.  Really looking forward to Friday this week.

Hey.  You hear that...??  Quiet.  Listen.  Can you hear it...??  It's the sound of...yes, I recognize it now...the sound of...ka....ka....
ka-ching...ka-ching...ka-ching  !!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pies and Pictures

Before I left for my pilgrimage to Scotland, I did two things--well, more than two, but for the purpose of this post, I'm just talking about these two.

Pumpkins

The first thing.  I took two of my pumpkins to Gail's house when I drove up to Portland for the trip.  She had planned on a pumpkin carving day with two little girls she knows, but with one thing and another, it didn't work out this year.  So instead, my sister and her resident chef--husband Scott--used one of the pumpkins on a rainy, stormy yesterday afternoon...and did this:


Yep.  They made this most excellent pie.  I have never in all my days made a pie from the actual raw material.  I always use the pumpkin pie filling you buy at the store.  In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do for Thanksgiving this year, even though I have five huge pumpkins sitting on the back steps right this minute.  Honestly, I can't be bothered, though I am totally envious that Gail/Scott did their pie from scratch.  No word yet on how it tasted...

******************************************************

Pictures

The second thing.  Alan's nephew, Miles, emailed me a few months ago asking if I could look for some family photos that Alan might have.  He had several huge boxes of photos actually, and in the course of going through them, I found other documents and papers...in fact an entire history of Alan's family, astonishingly going back 138 years..!!  It was wonderful, and I felt like a museum curator as I carefully handled one of the oldest documents from 1876.  Good grief, huh..??  

I ended up mailing two boxes of stuff to Miles, and took the last bits with me in my suitcase on the trip.  It was truly great to hand these things over to someone who is not only interested in the family history, but will take care of it and pass it along to the next generation.

So.  During the several days' worth of sorting, sifting and separating photos and papers into piles of mine, family, friends and no one will care, I came across three photos of my husband as a small boy.  These were photos lost at the bottom of a tattered little box, mixed with other items in a bigger box, since probably the dawn of his life.  Alan thought there weren't any pictures of him as a child; I had seen many from his early teens forward, but nothing as a bairn or school boy.




I am going to frame the three because they are just so...I don't know...innocent and endearing and adorable.  This one is my absolute favorite.  He's about 7 or so here, and how totally heartbreakingly cute is he..??  Even the background fits--so Scottish--and then there's his kilt and his sweet face and his long gangly legs.  Sigh...












Alan and I were about 4-1/2 years apart.  When the photo above was taken of him, obviously in his school outfit, at the same time here's one of me at about 3 years old, in the wilds of Alaska.

Who could have imagined that these two wee kids would have found each other, halfway around the world and light years after these pictures were taken. 

Fate is a strange thing, isn't it..??

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday at the movies...

Carrying on that eleven theme from yesterday.  I read this morning about a couple who not only renewed their vows on 11/11/11, but, get this: did the renewal on the corner of 11th Ave and 11th St in NYC at 11:11am.  Holy cow...if the elevens mean good luck, they'll have enough for the next millennia.  And aren't people funny with the things they do..??

This morning the weather is totally beautiful.  It's warm, sunny and spring-like, rather than edging toward winter.  Max, Oz and I had a great walk at the VA.  No one around, peaceful and quiet, fall colors in all the trees...it was really pleasant.

I'm going to be busy later this afternoon cranking out words on the book, but before that I must watch Moonstruck--for about the two hundredth time.  To me it's the most romantic, funny, brilliant love story of all time.  Number One on my list, for sure.  It comes on in just a few minutes, so must get settled on the couch with the dogs, and my lunch, then spend a perfect hour and a half with Cher and Nicholas Cage...sigh..

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

Wow.  We won't see that date again for awhile.  In fact not until the next century.  It's supposed to be a lucky day in the numerology world, which would be nice for a change, wouldn't it..??  I read there are a plethora of weddings all over the world as well, plus lots of New Age ceremonies.

Aside from numerology and New Age hoopla, this day is really about our soldiers: not just the fallen, but all of them, men and women of the past, present and future.  In the UK they had 2 minutes of silence at 11:00am.  That makes it 11/11/11 at 11:00. 

Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day. Whatever you want to call it, it's a very special day to take a moment to stop, bless our service people, and say a wee prayer that someday there will be no more war, or hate, or intolerance.

I took this photo at the VA on a sunny, hot morning on the 4th of July this past summer.  It works just as well for our Veterans Day...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time, Birds and Fog

Goodness, where has the week gone..??  I've been busy doing daily chore things like laundry, walking the dogs, groceries; plus making appointments for next week: hair cut, maintenance/winterizing the car, the furnace, lunch with my neighbor, working on NaNo...yada yada. 

Though honestly..??  There was a slight detour where I stopped everything I was doing when my favorite author's latest book came out--which I spotted as I was grocery shopping Tuesday morning.  I tried very hard NOT to touch the book until that evening,  but I made the mistake of saying to myself at lunch: "Oh what can it hurt to just read the first chapter while I'm eating my sandwich...??"  I was right.  It didn't hurt.  At all.  In fact, I got so sucked in and lost in the story it was nearly time for dinner before I raised my head again.  Ah well.  Who cares really..??  I enjoyed an amazingly good book, which I finished yesterday afternoon.

*******************************************************

This morning when I opened the drapes in the bedroom, I was stunned to find a ginormous hawk sitting on the deck railing about five feet from my nose.  I froze while I quickly thought how I could carefully back away from the window, run into the living room and grab my camera, then make it back before the bird flew off.  He stared at me for a second, cocked his head, then spread his massive wings and just lifted off the rail easy as pie, banked over the fence below, and disappeared into the fog...all in about a nanosecond.

Speaking of fog...here's a couple shots of the weather today.  First one is looking up the road in front of the house, the second is across the driveway.



Usually the house is far above the clouds, but today it's dense, visually impairing, epic fog.  It was even worse the further down the mountain I went as I took the dogs to the park.  I had to drive about two miles per hour as you could barely see off the hood of the car.  Two hours later, as I sit here writing, it hasn't thinned one iota.

Along with the fog, the temp was very cold, in the low 30s, so I put the dogs' coats on for the first time.  Ozzy wore his usual fleece-lined bomber jacket that he's had for years, but Max got to wear his brand new quilted fleece jacket.  I wasn't sure how he would react to wearing a coat, but he just carried on like it was just the most normal thing in the world.  He is such a sweet, dear little dog, honestly, I just adore him.  He rolls with everything.  Except cameras and sharp noises.  But hey, we all have our quirks, don't we..??

******************************************************

Well, I need to get on with the morning.  I have to get to 18K on the word count today, and by the way, I haven't logged in my count for a few days, so don't think I'm going to whip out 10,000 words this afternoon..!!  I only have about 3K to do.  (Yeah, only.)  I'm also talking to Jan, still in LA, at 11:00 this morning, so wish me luck on reaching my word count goal today...we do know how to talk.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday musings...

First, a quick note about NaNo:  I decided to return to my brothers and carry on with Book Two.  It feels right and it's good to be back with one of my favorite guys, Colin the happy-go-lucky, though things are most definitely NOT going to be so happy or lucky for him by the time I'm finished...mwah ha ha...

It was a very rainy Sunday, which suited me fine.  Again, I couldn't get outside to take care of the gardening and pretty much spent the day reading, talking to Jan in LA, baking, and installing a new Venetian blind over my glass front door.  That project turned out really well, and I managed to center it perfectly and it looks great.  I never liked the fact half the door is leaded/beveled glass.  In the daylight it's beautiful, at night it's just downright creepy.  So.  Took care of it and now I feel all snug and cosy, and with more darkness coming for the winter, less goldfish-bowl visible.  (What can I say..??  I'm a girl on top of a mountain by myself...the dark is not my friend these days). 

After walking the dogs this morning, and seeing no rain is sight, I did some yard work.  The pumpkin vines had gotten all gray and moldy-looking (thanks to the frosty mornings of a few days ago), and I really just needed to tidy things up a bit.  Leaves are blowing everywhere but I draw the line at raking day after endless day.  I'll wait until the leaves have all fallen, then will deal with what's left.

Here's the ugly vines...and boy, was I glad to get rid of them, though wish I could have kept growing the pumpkins.


My wee boy Ozzy is not afraid of the camera and posed very nicely for this shot.  The top three pumpkins are the ones I've just cut off the moldy vines above, and wow, they are just so big and cool.  The bottom two were the ones I had on the front steps for Halloween...and no, I never got around to carving them.  Just didn't feel it this year...


All five lined up, though now I don't have a clue what to do with them.  I definitely want seeds, so when they start to fall apart, I'll harvest those.  These were the best and biggest pumpkins I've grown, so I want to save some seeds for a future garden.  Gail is cooking her pumpkins, then freezing the meat for the winter to make pumpkin bread, pies, etc.  I'm not sure I can be bothered to do much more than feed the birds with the innards, and save myself some seeds.  Cool to see them on the back steps though, isn't it..??


I managed to get some work done on the NaNo book yesterday afternoon, between reading and making brownies.  I got the new word count to 2,718 which is good and gives me a positive nudge to keep going.  The brownies were an invention of sorts as I didn't have exactly the right ingredients.  They ended up like chocolate pancakes, but still...when one has a chocolate craving on a rainy Sunday and driving down a mountain for two ingredients isn't an option...you make do.  And hey, nothing wrong with chocolate pancakes..!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The End...and maybe...A Beginning

Today is a brilliantly crappy weather day.  Perfect, actually.  Pouring down rain, wind blowing all the leaves off the trees...ah...I've been waiting months for such a day.

Managed to walk the dogs before the shift from cloudy and cool, to miserable and stormy.  We walk through the grounds of the VA (Veterans Admin) on the weekends because it's beautiful, quiet and makes a change from the city and/or county parks.

This is one of the buildings we walk past.  It's very impressive, isn't it..??  And this is just one of several buildings that comprise the whole VA Healthcare system in Roseburg.  The paths meander through gardens tucked between the buildings--it's a really great place to walk, though can only do it on the weekends as the place is hopping busy during the week.


So, after walking the critters, we made a few quick stops before coming home, and just as I pulled into the garage, the rains started.  Good timing, and will make for a great afternoon for me as I was planning to work outside clearing out the pumpkin patch and throwing away some flowers in pots that have seen better days.  How nice it's now raining like crazy and I have to stay indoors...

I'm going to finish this post today with the last pages of my travel writings.  Thanks for reading along on such a painful, joyful, sad, happy journey--well, thanks to those of you who managed to keep reading even though it must have seemed endless a time or two.

Most of the following is about the bad trip back to the States, and how sick I got as the hours went by.  And really..??  I was truly sick.  It took until just this past week before I started to feel better; today I finally feel like myself again.  In any case, I want to finish this, and move forward. 

**************************************************************

Friday, Oct 21st, 3:30pm
Gail's House

What a wretched, horrible, long and arduous journey to get here.  Late planes, endless sitting on tarmacs, forever and a day in Newark.  I was so tired, fried, and sick by the time the plane landed in PDX at 10:30pm, I just couldn't believe it.  I literally stumbled off the plane and could hardly find my way to the effing baggage claim.  Called Gail and only waited about 5 minutes after getting my suitcase and there she was.

Dogs were very excited, though perhaps a bit reserved.  I think they were hoping they could live at Gail and Scott's since there's ever so much more fun to be had here than in the House of Doom in Roseburg.

Went almost immediately to bed and passed out until about 5:30am before I had to get up to blow my nose/take some throat lozenges.  Back to bed, but only made it to 7:30 and got up.

Gail and I went to this cool new store by her house called Chuck's and bought some groceries, then went to Freddie's so I could get some different cold meds.  Truly, I am not in good shape.  All I really want to do is go to bed and sleep for a week, but with dogs that can't be done.

I sent a global email to everyone, with much love and thanks for all their support and care while I was in Edinburgh.  I am terribly unclear so far about what to do next, but am still resisting any kind of deep thinking until after I get back to Roseburg--and recover from the plague.  What will  happen then..??  I wish I knew.

My quest has come full circle.  With any luck, answers will be forthcoming...

*************************************************************

And there you have it:  Nine days inside the alleys and back roads of my mind.  I'll maybe do a recap of my thoughts/feelings now that some time has passed, and I can think a bit clearer with a head free of plague germs.  I know it was a necessary journey I had to make, and was one of real discovery, on several levels, but more on that later. 

It's time to get back to work on the NaNo book before I fall too far behind.  Today with all this gloomy rain is the perfect afternoon to write...

Friday, November 4, 2011

The End in sight...

This post is not the final one of the journal, but it is the penultimate.  I feel like I've spent twice as long in Edinburgh as I actually did.  Still, it's been a really good thing to write out my thoughts again.  Helps to clarify, like talking out loud about something to a friend.

Yesterday I had a most grueling dental appointment.  Ugh, ouch and crap.  I'm having some serious work done: two crowns and two partials to replace the missing molars.  Yesterday was the crown work and damn, once I got home--an hour and a half later--and the Novocaine wore off...well, let's just say it's a good thing I buy Advil in the giant-sized container.  This morning my jaw is really sore, and I can barely drink my coffee.  My only consolation is that eventually--she says optimistically--I will have my smile back without being self-conscious of those missing teeth.

I'm rethinking the NaNo book.  I might scrap the new story--which isn't flowing or going anywhere--and go back to Book Two of the original 4-book saga I started a couple of years ago.  I meant to reread Book One to refresh my memory whilst on the trip so I could in fact start Book Two, but didn't get to it, mainly because I had so many other things happening.  It makes sense to work on something that already has a plot.  Theoretically.

So, since we're talking about writing books...

********************************************************

Thursday Oct 20th
11:05am Edinburgh Airport

This day came faster than even I thought possible.  Where did my time go?  It kills me to leave, tho' I was getting tired of hotel living, not sleeping, and being sick (still in bad shape on that front).  Wish I had my own place to go home to.  And how much do I miss Alan today as I sit here, alone at the airport, when I'm so used to being here with him.  It seems harder today traveling w/o him than it did coming.  Maybe it's just that after spending my days here, where we lived, it doesn't feel right to be leaving, or leaving on my own.

Speaking of Alan:  My dream this morning ~

I was in a parking lot, like at Sainsbury's, just ready to step off the curb.  I looked across the lot and Alan was walking towards me.  He looked  fit and tall, wearing a parka as if the weather was cold.  He had a salt & pepper scruff of whiskers on his face--like a few days w/o shaving.  As he came towards me he said, "I just got in" then lifted me up for a hug.  I wrapped my legs around his waist but before I could get my arms around him, or revel in his hug, or ask him any questions ("what should I do??") my frigging alarm clock went off!!!!!!  Shit!!!!!  I hit the snooze button and tried to recapture the dream, but it was gone.

I so needed to feel his arms around me, and would have loved to talk to him.  What are the odds my damned alarm would go off @ precisely that exact moment??  What did he mean by "I just got in"..???  He looked so real, so there...

More heartbreak.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Met w/Jimmy, Alice & Jack Wed. afternoon.  We walked down to the Oxford Bar and had drinks, then went back to the hotel and said our goodbyes.  Sad.  It's been so great to see them--and everyone really.  I so hate this leaving part.

Talked to Morag, fresh out of the hospital after her fall Monday afternoon.  Doesn't seem like she's injured herself any worse than she already was, which is a good thing.  Then had one last conversation with my sister; will call her from NY when I arrive.

Miles called last night about 9:00pm as I was just finishing my packing.  We had a brief, though very nice chat.  It was so thoughtful of him to call and wish me a safe trip.  He is a very sweet guy.

Packed my bags and went to bed, tho' as usual didn't sleep hardly at all.  I'm definitely not well and had to get up twice to blow my nose and/or eat a throat lozenge to try to stop the horrid tickle in the back of my throat.  So crappy that I've gotten ill this trip when I think of all the times I've gone back and forth with nary a sniffle.  I think it's  just the circumstances (grief, stress, exhaustion), plus whatever germs I picked up from somewhere along the line.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well.  Deep breath.  Shuddering sigh.  Plane's boarding.  The beginning of a most long and disagreeable day.  Don't want to leave, and can only hope that at some point (soon!!), everything will become clear about my next move(s).

Wish I could have talked to Alan this morning...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And on it goes...

Woke up in the night to the sound of pouring rain.  What a welcome event after months and months of endless dry weather.  And really, is there anything more pleasant than being warm and toasty, all snuggled down in the blankets, while the rain pounds down outside..??  I love that.

Not much NaNo writing done yesterday.  I need to cement the plot, or at least get a handle on the main characters.  Maybe I really am writing by the seat of my pants because the free form thinking seems to have stalled out.  Ah well, today I might be inspired...right..??

I didn't realize the next installment of the journal was yet another long discourse.  Is everyone totally sick of this..??  I might be getting there myself.  Still, it's been really interesting to relive my trip, gain some perspective now that I'm back in Roseburg, and review what I've learned, felt and cried over whilst on this pilgrimage.

So, without further ado...

******************************************************

Wednesday - Oct 19th
Princes St Gardens
Park bench, 10:30am

How much has happened since Sunday, my last post...??!!

Had a wonderful dinner w/Jack & Alice at the country inn in Ratho.  Good food, great company, perfect way to spend a Sunday evening.  And wow, I didn't even cry.  It was so nice to just sit and talk over dinner, about life, old times, Alan, and all things in between.  I do so love those two.

Got back to the hotel around 9:00-ish and called Gail.  Apologized for leaving my earlier call (blubbering).  She said she expected tears, so no problem.  Dogs are doing really well, in fact probably better w/her & Scott than w/me!  Course that makes me feel bad and must make some changes there--somehow.  Spend more play time with them??  Guess when I figure out what the flaming hell I'm going to do, that will help too.

Monday was a truly horrible weather day.  Torrential, non-stop deluge.  Lorna came into town at Noon for our lunch date, tho' because of the lashing rain, we decided not to go out, so stayed at the hotel and ate in the Tempus restaurant, which was just fine.  The food is great and it was easy.  We talked until 3:00pm or so, then she braved the elements and headed back to Cramond.  It was really so good to see her.

Went back to my room, and with rain streaming down the windows, decided to spend the rest of the day/night in my room.

Which was a great plan, as it turned out.  I put on my jammies, got all snuggly in my giant bed with all my pillows, made a big cup of tea, and watched the last Harry Potter movie.  As it was still bucketing down at dinner time and I just couldn't face going out into the storm, I ordered room service...and yummy it was, too: salmon cakes, garlic aioli sauce and a small salad.  So delicious, I had to call room service and send my compliments to the chef.

Harry called me later in the evening.  We had a great conversation for 20 minutes or so.  I was glad he called and sorry we ran out of time and couldn't get together in person.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tuesday I woke not feeling so hot.  I was very tired and felt a bit sore throaty, but the sun was shining and I have only a few precious days left, so out I went.  Sat in the window, 2nd floor, of Costa on Princes St, looking over the Gardens and up at the castle while I drank my mocha and ate a muffin.  Such a grand sight.  I never get tired of it.

Took a cab to Craigleith (though again I tried to wait for a bus, but in the end just couldn't be bothered).  Went to M&S, bought some treats that I have missed (all butter flapjacks for one) to take on the plane for snacks, then popped into Boots for some throat lozenges on my way to the new Sainsbury's.  Which was so different!  They were working on the changes just as we left Edinburgh last year, but I never would have imagined how much it was changed.  I was disappointed that I couldn't find a good selection of tee shirts, tho' managed to find two.  Bought a few more food things, then back to the hotel with my goodies.

By early afternoon (and half a bag of my precious flapjacks already eaten!!), with the sun blazing into my room, I had to get outside and do something, though I really wasn't feeling too good at all.  It just wouldn't do to spend my last moments in Edinburgh closed up in my hotel room!!

Walked to St James and went to John Lewis.  Spent an hour or so, bought some knitting wool (and how many times did Alan & I do just that when I was in my sock phase??), then decided to buy a small carry-on bag--which was on sale-- because I think I have too much stuff to get in my purse (food stuff!!)

Left J Lewis, hit Multrees Walk, and ended up at Valvona & Corolla for a coffee and two wee bombalinis--those delicious mouthwatering sugary donut twists.  Very good, as always.

When I got back to the hotel, Jack called and asked about meeting up, maybe at the Oxford Bar, but honestly, I was so not feeling well.  I hate the idea of flying for hours on end and being ill.  Crap.  Begged off getting together, though might connect tomorrow.  Dosed myself w/some cold & flu stuff I picked up at Boots, but I don't have much hope for a miracle overnight cure.  I was hoping to avoid just the very thing that has happened: being sick w/thousands of miles to travel ahead of me.  Dammit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Had a terrible night's sleep (or non-sleep I guess would be more accurate) and woke up this Wednesday morning sad, depressed and horribly unwilling to leave Edinburgh tomorrow, though I am getting a bit tired of living in a hotel, no matter how good the room service!!  I wish I could just go home to Cramond and get on with things as normal.

The sun is bright, it's a most glorious sunny morning.  I have now moved from the park bench to a small table @ the new improved National Gallery.  The cafe underneath the Gallery says it's "all things Scottish."  There's a piper playing somewhere in the background, Saltire waving in the breeze, my scone and coffee just delivered.  I'll keep writing as I enjoy the moment.

Talked to Jimmy last night and think the four of us (Jack, Alice, Jimmy and I) will meet up this afternoon.  I have to get on the hotel computer@ Noon and do my seat assignment & boarding pass stuff, then other than pack everything up this evening, I'm free. 

And remain clueless as to my next moves.  I'm purposely not allowing myself to dwell, decide or otherwise take any steps until I get back to Roseburg and the quiet after such a journey as this has been.

Have to call Gail later today and arrange to be collected at the airport tomorrow night.  And how surreal is that??   Here I sit, Princes St Gardens, in the sun at a small cafe, and this time tomorrow I'll be leaving; tomorrow night I'll be in PDX.

Sadly, Morag fell and did some damage on Monday during the monsoon rains, so we haven't been able to connect at all, and now won't.  We were supposed to meet for lunch yesterday, but she was still in the hospital.  Lorna called this morning to tell me Morag would be coming home today, but I can't go to Cramond, so guess that's it for seeing her this trip.  At least we had those first few hours the day I arrived.

Must sign off and get back to the hotel and get some business taken care of.  More later...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fog, Frost and Writing...

Before we return to the saga of Terri in Edinburgh, I just want to point out that little number over there on the right...where the Word Count is.  Amazing that I managed to conjure up over 1,800 words yesterday when I don't have a clue what I'm writing..!!  And, yes, I have a big stupid grin on my face as I say that. 

I'm what is known in the writing world as a Pantser: someone who writes by the seat of their pants.  Frankly, I find that term very derogatory and prefer Free Form writing.  Still.  The bottom line is, I have no idea what my plot is, or where in the world I'm going with it.  So far though, I'm pretty intrigued, and for Day One not doing too badly.

The sunset last night was beautiful, though didn't come out in a photo nearly as great as real life.  The colors seemed to fill the sky and even tint the living room with a subtle reddish pink glow.


Then this morning when I opened the blinds, I thought at first it had snowed..!!  The frost was very thick on the ground, which should just about have finished off the last three pumpkins.  Drat.  I really wanted to see how big they would grow.  (Yes, that shiny white stuff is frost).


It's also an Islands in the Stream morning.  The whole valley is under cover of dense fog, which makes the mountain peaks look like islands in a white sea.  I love this weather spectacle, though the temperature is about 30*...brrrr.  When I took the dogs outside for their quickie, it really was for a change..!!  Might have to put them in their winter coats for the walk in the park later...


Okay, enough dawdling.  Time to get back to the last portion of the very lengthy journal entry of Oct 16th.

***************************************************

After such a late start, I managed to leave the hotel around 1:00pm, heading for Ocean Terminal and too many memories.

I used to have terrible waves of homesickness in Roseburg, imagining Alan & I in Costa at OT, drinking our coffee, eating a lemon slice.  Well, today I did it in real life and it nearly killed me.  It was one trip I knew I had to make--the other being Cramond where I just can't go right now.  There was hardly a week in years and years that we didn't end up at OT, either for coffee, or the movies, or the bookstore. 

I drank my coffee, had my lemon cake, and somehow--maybe because so many tears were shed last night--managed NOT to cry for a change, though it was close.  I could just see Alan sitting across from me at the little round table, licking his finger to gather up the last cake crumbs, not wasting a thing, while I scoffed and said, "Oh for heaven's sake, Alan, could you not do that in public?"  He would smile at me and keep right on doing it until that plate was sparkling clean.  He loved to wind me up...but he also loved that lemon cake.

I walked up to the top level so I could look out over the view.  A view I know like the back of my hand.  Killed me.  Cramond is just out of view to the left; I could clearly see the Ochils; the manor house on the hill in Fife Alan always said was mine (and remember that drive one Sunday when we searched and searched for the road that led to that house??  You were so clever, and smug, when you found it).  Today is a beautiful sunny day, and Fife looks so lovely and green; Inchcolm and the Abbey shining in the blue waters of the Forth; two big freighters heading out to sea; the blue, blue Scottish sky.

Struggled with all my being not to break down.  I can't believe how much more I miss Alan with each day that passes.  It's not getting better, or easier.

Went into Waterstones, bought some cards, then hightailed it out of Ocean Terminal without going to any more shops.  I was barely holding it together and two breakdowns in public are just about my limit--I hope.

I originally tried to take the bus to OT, but ended up finding a cab after several attempts to snare the right bus.  I did take the bus back to the hotel though, and enjoyed riding on the upper level, looking at Leith, though again, Alan is everywhere.  During the course of our ten+ years I doubt there are many places in Edinburgh we haven't been together.

I made it to my room before I totally and completely lost the plot.  Bawled like a baby and for a wee bit there wasn't sure I could/would stop.  The aching, agonizing, lost feeling just completely overshadows everything.

Called my sister, though didn't connect.  A good thing really as I broke down before I finished leaving a message.  Told her I would call later and not to worry, regardless of my tears, I was doing fine.

Jack and Alice had invited me out to dinner for tonight, but I'd sort of put them off because of my wish to spend the day alone.  Jack had called however whilst I was out and when I called back, it just seemed like the right thing to do.  Besides we three had not really spent alone time together and I could use their company after such a day.  Jack said they would come around 5:15 or so and we would go out to Ratho to a lovely country inn that he and Alice have loved going to for many a year.

So.  While I wait for my pick up, I'm sitting here in my room, having a nice cuppa, and bringing my journal up to date of the past few days...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My emotional hurricanes are just annihilating me.  I'm trying very had not make any decisions, or judgments, or do anything other than just go with the flow and take everything in.  Unfortunately, what appears to be happening--more and more as time goes by--is the tears are flowing and I'm taking in waves of loss and loneliness!  Is that the point of this journey?  God, I hope not.

Being here--being back home--has been good on the "familiarity with Edinburgh" side of things, but so brutal and devastating on the "miss my husband, where is Alan?" side of it all.  I don't know what to do, or what to think, or where to go.  All I really want is that we had never left in the first place, I was busy making dinner right now at the house in Cramond, Ozzy was outside barking at whoever dares walk past his gates, and Alan would come into the kitchen, snuggle in behind me, and give me one of his bone-melting hugs while I squirmed and giggled and told him to go away, I'm trying to cook here, silly man.

How can one wee heart keep breaking over and over and over again???????????

*****************************************************

It makes me so sad to re-read this whole episode.  It was bad enough to experience it firsthand, but that weekend was so bittersweet.  I longed for Alan, for my old life, and felt such sadness, but it was interspersed with joy at being with family and friends, being home in Edinburgh, sharing memories and stories about Alan which brought me comfort, gave me support.

If any of you are still reading, things get better and I don't crack up anymore.  Those three days--Friday through Sunday--were killer though, no question.

In the next entry, Monday was the worst monsoon weather day of all time, I had lunch with Lorna, Morag fell and ended up in the hospital and--well, I'll continue tomorrow, but if it's any consolation?  I had to go back to the States on Thursday, so things are coming to an end shortly, no matter what...