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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Revving up to 60

My 60th birthday was on Friday....the 13th....
Looking at my VW CC speedometer,  I am comforted that it isn't even at the halfway point!  I've been thinking about that all weekend. I suppose losing a dear friend on Thursday, at age 63, set the pensive thoughts in motion. I'm trying to keep things in perspective, I'm actually not very good at that when it comes to death and dying. My best friends know this and rose to the occasion for my birthday.

My mom called (from Ca.) at 8am to wish me happy birthday. I was sitting on the back porch, watching a light drizzle-my favorite weather, btw. Mom reminded me I was born during a thunderstorm at 3am. Yup, I love the rain.

Molly came over for a wonderful chat and coffee at 9.  She brought me oatmeal cookies, with cinnamon chips, my all time favorite cookie. And a copy of The Happiness Project: A one-sentence Journal ( a five- year record) and I was comforting by its length. Next, was breakfast with Ron at our favorite local joint, The Better Half. Reading the newspaper there, I quickly located my daily horoscope and even more anticipated, my birthday forecast:  "You'll master what you set out to do. An innovative approach to business and pleasure will land you in the spotlight (DID THEY KNOW I AM RETIRING ????) Being a participant in your community will add to your popularity and bring you exciting and keeping up with the latest technology will connect you to the people, places and pastimes you enjoy most, contributing to your success." (WHEW. That works!)

At noon, Janet stopped over, braving the traffic (Cedar Point in Sandusky and the Fish Festival in Vermilion) and brought me two quarts of fresh strawberries and a gift certificate to Scarlett O'Hair  Salon & Spa-sort of my Cheers destination nearby.

 By 4, we were finally packed and ready to head out to Nina. Bob and Paulie were already in residence and had installed two balloons in the rig (Happy 60th, and Hello, Kitty.) I'd show you a photo, but, they blew away in a gusty wind when I brought them out to the picnic table a few minutes after admiring them!!! My birthday dinner choice has been the same since I was six. I guess you could say I am a traditionalist, because it is what I requested at sixty, too: hot dogs (vegetarian, these days, baked beans, and champagne. )Actually, the champagne has been added in recent years.  Since was cocktail hour by now, it was also time to open some presents. Oh boy!

Paulie knows I've loved author Viorst for many years. Her children's book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good,Very Bad Day, is a classic.  I promptly opened the book at random and read aloud her poem, The New Alphabet.

A' for arthritis.
B's for bad back.
C's for chest pains. Corned beef? Cardiac?
D is for dental decay and decline.
E is for eyesight---can't read that top line.
F is for fissures and fluid retention.
G is for gas(which I'd rather not mention)
and other such gastrointestinal glitches......

I requested a serenade of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, but before that, Paulie had another surprise in store for me. In she went to her camper, Annie. At that exact moment, another camper/neighbor, popped over and said: "Is it your birthday? It's my husband's 60th birthday, too! Do you have a cake?"
 "No." I answered, truthfully. "Oh!" she said. "Come over and share ours-we haven't entertained in our RV, yet, but, you are welcome to come inside."  This is where the cake was waiting for all of us.

A few minutes later, Paulette, with her cake for me and 60 candles flaming, one in sight! Oh Oh. Being the gracious best friend forever that she is, there was no mention of my cake awaiting as she knocked on the door of the other camper in which we had tumbled. Like Alice, and the Cheshire Cat, we felt pretty strange-maybe it was the homemade maple icing. Anyway, that brought a prompt end to my birthday evening-No Ring of Fire rendition to be had.

Ron and Bob spent hours fishing the next day while Paulie and I participated  in the International Knit in Public Day. No one seemed to take notice, but, then, that might be because we knit in public every day. 

 This is one of the views we have from Nina's windows. I wore a long, flowing skirt and peasant blouse with sandals as a memorial nod to my dear friend,  June, and read the many beautiful Facebook tributes to her. I also read many birthday wishes from my FB friends and family and opened greeting cards saved all week. Thank you, one and all, for giving me a great start to my 60th decade. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

GottaGetaway proved to be a great second home!

Finally! Time to relax a bit after several weekends of work around the house. First there was getting the attic squared away for the a/c install of our second floor.

This might seem like no big deal to a minimalist. However, to a keeper of gargantuan  proportions, it was a monumental effort, requiring 3 weekends of pitching, hauling, reorganizing, and so on. I packed, and Ron hauled big bags down to either be tossed, given to charity, or stored elsewhere.

Next on the agenda was a fall and spring cleanup of the yard. Both being non-gardeners by choice, it was a sobering effort to prune, rake, rejuvenate grass, weed and mulch garden beds, clean porches, and finally place our porch furniture, front and back!

In between these two projects, I announced my retirement plans after 37 years as director of Sandusky Library. Harder than you can possibly imagine, I decided it was time to take a big risk and let my passion go. This, is, of course, where the rv camping comes into play.

Already, in just 4 short weeks, we've observed the family maturing at the campground pond, and it reminds us that time is fleeting. Time to move on, grow, explore, and take some adventures before it's too late to do so.

This week is our 26th anniversary and my 60th birthday. We're getting ready to learn how to hit the road with a tow vehicle, getting some excellent advice from campers we met this weekend, Janet Ritchey and her husband, Dave.  Currently on their second cross country, 4 month adventure, we learned as much as we could about how to hit the road for a coast to coast trip. Jane and Dave live on the Olympia peninsula outside of Seattle. Both retired, they scaled back to a 900 sq foot abode, have a sailboat and a camper and travel in their Class C SunSeeker with their 3 lb. toy poodle, Mack.

They wisely suggested we try a few mini trips before attempting a cross country trip! We also  learned it's not all sweetness and light out there on the open road. Everything from bears to modern bandits are common encounters. gulp.  Guess we'll keep enjoying our GottaGetaway home away from home for another summer before we head for the open road.

BFF, Paulette and husband Bob are game companions in our joint adventures. With 4 poodles, a golden retriever, and a Miniature Schnauzer, we will be noticed wherever we roam!