All posts by bikki

Today is THE DAY.

About this time last year, I signed up, again, for WW.  Tracked for about a minute.  That was my 2nd time to do Weight Watchers.  The first time I lost 30 pounds which was back in early 2010.  It was awesome, it was easy.  But…I got bored with tracking points…I figured I knew the point value of every thing I put in my mouth so I didn’t need to actually go online and track.  This is where THAT got me:

MakingStrides

Yes,  I was eating everything…..even my butt got into the act….it started eating my pants.  It’s been down hill for the past 3 years.

Things have happened in my life that past year that have made me sit back and “take inventory” of my life.  I lost my brother, I’ve got issues with my shoulder and knee (yes, I know…my weight is the biggest cause), Cedar Point is no longer a day of rides since my ‘trunk’ will no longer fit into their cars…(omg…I can’t believe I am putting this out there).  I need to set a better example for my beautiful, wonderful daughter…who is just like me.  She will/does struggle with her weight as I have…..but I’m changing that effective today….and my son has decided to double major…no longer just Culinary, he is going into Dietary Culinary.  Can’t help but to think that that might be his way of secretly trying to help me.

I will never be a size 8…or 10…maybe not even a 12.  But I’m ok with that.  I just don’t want to be the size I am today.  Every September, Malabar Farm holds “Heritage Days”…it’s a cool working farm (will have its own post).  They have encampments….and a classmate of mine is there every year….and we make a point of finding him every year….shooting rifles at the same place.  We actually call this weekend “The Yearly Photo Op With Lou” weekend.  Looking at my weight gain in these yearly pictures troubles me.

Lou2011
Photo Op With Lou 2011
Lou2012
Photo Op With Lou 2012
Lou2013
Photo Op With Lou 2013

 

Love how the last one shows all of my “fluff”…..

Ugh…

Then there’s this picture…..where you can actually see my arm….so FAT!!!   Oh, and that’s another guy I went to school with…

JonAhles

I HATE looking at these.  In reality, I could just turn my head…put them in a drawer….not bring them up on the computer…… BUT….I still have to look in the mirror…..and try to zip my pants.  And I hate that I have to wear tennis shoes all the time because if I don’t my feat hurt and my ankles swell up…..and I dread going shopping for clothes….and fear seeing people I haven’t seen in 20+ years…..and I hate being uncomfortable in a booth at a restaurant.  And I want to set a better example for my daughter…..so in order to do that….I need to change.

My goal is to get back into these capris…NOT the fanny pack……but the rest of the outfit.  It is from 2003.  Over 10 years ago….I was no where close to being smokin’ hot…I was not a size 10…..or even close….but it was the time I felt the best about who I was.  Yes, I still have those clothes….they are my goalkeeper…and this picture reminds me that I still had lumps, but they looked better.

.Race

I will battle with the husband who has to have his chocolate bar, snack cakes, 6-pack of DIET Pepsi everyday.  And not gain weight.  I joke that I am such a good wife that I gain it for him.  I will battle with the kid at work who enjoys eating out/ordering in for lunch every day.  I will battle with what I am battling with now at home….boredom.

Jump forward a few hours…..I went to the doctor today, as you should before starting any weight loss program….and for my shoulder…that has been killing me for quite some time.  My blood pressure was through the roof…and it never has been.  Could have been from my anxiety over this dang shoulder and that fact that it sometimes feels like a heart attack.  But, they wanted to make sure, so I had an EKG (and some ultrasound therapy from the Chiro).  All is well, so I am clear to do the WW thing.  I went to the grocery store and loaded up on my fruits and other healthy snacks.  Came home and portioned out a few things….I even went and bought a new scale…so there is no denying it’s accuracy when I weigh in next week.

And there is no denying I have a great support system.  Thank you.  You know who you are.

 

Mudhouse Mansion

One of my favorite road trips was to Mudhouse Mansion.  This road trip is the one that set the standard for all others.  I know, sounds odd, but it’s true.  To understand me, you should know a few things.  I love cemeteries.  And old things.  And abandoned buildings.  And ice cream.   This trip had all of that…and more.  This is how it all began…

I have the bad habit of getting tangled up in the web.  If I see/hear about or find something cool, I end up researching it like crazy, which means I’m sure to stumble upon something else, which makes me research the crap out of THAT….and the next thing you know the husband is asking what’s for dinner.  What?  I seriously JUST sat down to drink my morning coffee.  That’s how I found Mudhouse Mansion.  One of my employees introduced me to Grave Addiction (link is under my favorites).  I love the old headstones…the design and love that is put into them is amazing.  On the flip side, it can also be very sad to see the ones that are very simple…just names and dates.  On that website, Forgotten Ohio was mentioned.  Wow.  This was like putting me in the middle of a candy store!!!  Stories and pictures of a TON of abandoned buildings and places in Ohio.  That, of course, lead me to other states with abandoned stuff…see what happens to me?!?!?!?!?!

Anyway, there are some really cool places in Ohio that are abandoned.  Some freak me out so bad that I am fine just to read about them….some are torn down…..others….well…I.  Must.  See.  And take pictures…..tons of pictures!!!  There’s the Knox County Poorhouse (been in that one when it was a haunted house…it would creep me out without all the theatrics),  Chippewa Lake Park (old amusement park…been there), The Lima Tuberculosis Hospital (on my list), The Ridges Tuberculosis Ward (At OU…been there, they tore it down recently), Moonville Tunnel (going this Spring when we do our cabin weekend with my son).  And then there is Mudhouse.

mudhouse012714mudhousejan2

 

Every time I look at pictures of this place or even when I went back there for a second visit, I always think about what a grand and stately home this was back in it’s day.  Beautiful.  And so sad that it now sits empty and in total disrepair.  It is still owned by the same family that purchased it back in 1919.  You can go to forgottenoh.com and read about all the people who have trespassed onto the property to get a look inside, and the legal troubles that followed, or you can read about it supposedly being haunted by a slave that escaped and murdered the entire family or about the lady that owns it and keeps  a close eye on it.  I had no desire to trespass onto private property, being arrested scares me too much.  I just wanted to SEE it.  I have a couple friends (C & L) that like this stuff too…..so I set out to plan a road trip down there.  My 9 year old decided she wanted in on the fun.

The date was set….the Mapbook was marked.  It’s about 2 hours away from me.  We decided that since we were taking the scenic route, we would pack a cooler and find a park to have lunch at.  We were leaving at 8am.  My husband thought we were crazy to drive that far for an abandoned house.  Now don’t get me wrong, he likes going for drives as much as I do, but he really had no interest in an old house.  At first.  C & L arrived a little before 8.  We moved stuff from their car to the mini-van, packed the cooler, made sure we had The Mapbook..and 3-4 cameras……and could not stop talking about how excited we were to be going.  The more we talked about it, the more interested the husband became.  C & L had found an old cemetery that was on our way down there…..next to an Amish farm.  It was just a little off the beaten path…but that’s ok, that’s what road trips are made of.  We also packed big sheets of paper and charcoal…for headstone rubbings (good idea, but I got the charcoal all over me…I quit early).  So here we are, talking and carrying on about the trip….next thing you know, he wants to go.  We told him No…he didn’t want to go with us from the beginning…and even made fun of us a little bit about it.  This was a girls only road trip.  I started to back out of the driveway.  And, I kid you not, he hung his head down like a little boy, slumped his shoulders, and s  l  o  w  l  y  walked towards the front door.  C turns to me and says….”Are you kidding??  You have to let him go….he looks too sad!!”   So, we packed him into the back row of seats, and told him he couldn’t talk…couldn’t complain….couldn’t comment on my driving….couldn’t ask if we were there yet….couldn’t ask when we were going home…….and couldn’t whine.  We “shushed” him quite a bit that day.

We hit the cemetery, spend about an hour there and get back on the highway.  Well, Route 13, because we were doing the scenic route.  We’re enjoying the scenery as we pass Lanning’s Market.  We make a note to stop there on the way back…..they have the best steaks.  Then we come across one of the most awesome things I have seen in a long time.  Ye Olde Mill.  Doesn’t sound too interesting…until you realize it is the home of Velvet Ice Cream.  And it is SUMMER.  All is right in the world.  As crazy as it sounds, we did not stop….BUT….we make a note to stop here on our way back as well.  The poor Mapbook is going to take a beating today.  We wanted to make sure we had enough time to spend at Mudhouse Mansion.  We still have a little way to go…about an hour maybe.  Of course we found something else to stop at.  Dawes Arboretum.  Wow.  Circle it in the Mapbook!!! We CANNOT stop here now…we will stop on our way back!!  I don’t even know what time it is, I just know we are getting closer and closer.  And we are excited.  Like going to Disney World excited.  We stop at a little convenience store not far from the house (potty break).  We all laugh because they are still so very proud that Joe Biden had stopped there at some point.  We find out it was during the campaign…so 2008.  They are so proud, they keep “Welcome Mr. Biden” on the reader board out front.  We are soooooooooo close now…and it is killing us.  We hit the road again….and turn down Mudhouse Road.  Seriously, at this point I am inching along so I “don’t miss it”.  We crest a small hill….and there she is!!  We were  a) “Disney World” excited…on a caffeine high  b) glad for the potty break  c) giddy.  Yes, we were giddy.  Giddy two year olds.  I think I clapped at the excitement of seeing it.  I had read about this place for a couple of years.  And there it was.  Right.  In.  Front.  Of.  Us.  Beautiful…and sad.  Even the husband was excited.  You would have thought we had won the lottery.   We stopped the car…piled out…and started taking pictures.  A lot of pictures.  C had a very nice camera that still took film.  The kind you have to actually take some where and get developed.  But it took The BEST pictures.  But she ran out of film.  No lie.  We had to go in to town and get more film.  Which was not an easy task.  But hey, there’s a Tim Horton’s…so that made it ok.  I cannot even guess how many pictures we took.  There were so many taken you would think there was a celebrity there.  Even the husband grabbed a camera.  After every possible camera angle was taken, and even a different view from a side road….we decided it was time to head back home.  We did not step foot on the property, just stayed on the road and admired it from afar (sounds romantic that way).  We hung out with the buzzards that were sitting in the trees…..kid you not, there was at least 8 of them.  Not sure if they were watching for food…or eyeing us.

Our first stop on the way back is Dawes.  What a gem.  I never knew this place existed.  It’s mission is to increase the love and knowledge of trees, history and the natural world.  Not a bad mission to live by.  They have Japanese gardens, a log cabin, the Daweswood House/Museum, buckeye trees, a lake, a viewing tower to see the shrub art….and a bald cypress swamp.  Google it.  Bald Cypress Roots.  Go ahead, I will wait.  Check out the pictures.  Pretty cool stuff right there.  Never knew those existed either.  See….thirst for knowledge.

It is a beautiful and peaceful place.  We are on the viewing tower overlooking the lake…and the huge shrubs that spell out DAWES ARBORETUM.  We have gone back a couple of times.  Love it there….a lot like Kingwood Center back here at home.

dawes2

Back in the mini-van we go…..we have two more stops to make…and we still haven’t had lunch….and it’s 3:30!  Destination Uttica.  I don’t even know what time we rolled into the parking lot here, but I know what my Mom taught me…no ice cream till you eat all your dinner.  So, this is where we decided to eat lunch.  At the ice cream factory.  They have a pavilion with picnic tables…this was our view:

yeoldemill

On the left is where they make the ice cream.  Velvet Ice Cream.  Yes, they really make it there.  Yes, you can walk into the white building and watch them make/package it.  Yes, you can lick the window…but you can’t taste anything.  At least that is what I’ve heard……

Ye Olde Mill is on the right.  It has a little museum in there where you can see all the different ways they used to make ice cream.  There is another little building with a video of the company history playing.  Do you see the lighter brown brick?  On the other side of the brick is heaven.  Or what might appear to be heaven.  If you like ice cream (Who DOESN’T?!?!?!).  They have flavors I could never dream of…and some you can’t get in the grocery stores.  They will even let you try a little bit before you make the big decision.  They have your normal chocolate…..vanilla….butter pecan…and frozen banana?!?!  YES PLEASE!!!!  Oh, wait….what the heck is Kettle Korn Ice Cream??  Seriously Velvet…have you gone too far?  That’s gotta be gross.  Kind of like the buttered popcorn jelly beans.  Sorry…can’t stand ’em.  So the kind man in the ice cream parlor says….”Have you TRIED it?”.  Negative, ghostrider.  He says…you really need to try it….(I’ve heard that before, didn’t turn out well).  He then explains to me that it is special because it was made specifically for the Ohio State Fair.  The fair board invites Velvet to create a new flavor every year just for the fair.  This year (2009), they came up with Kettle Korn.  I think their heads have brain freeze.   But, who am I to say no to ice cream?  He hands me the little spoon….and I am hooked.  Oh sweet dairy….what is this creation?!?!?!?!  It’s got popcorn in it for sure….but there is carmel in there somewhere too!!  Everyone else got their normal, boring ice cream….I was in heaven…and wouldn’t shut up about it!!!  My husband finished his 8 scoops of chocolate ice cream, decided to have a taste of mine…and was hooked!  He ate 2 (TWO) ice cream cones that day.  Are ya kidding me???  I gained the weight for him.  This has become our favorite.  The problem was, they don’t sell it in the stores.  And they only sell it in the 3 gallon ‘drums’.  Two weeks later, me and the husband had to drive back down there for the Big One.  I got 2 bowls out of it…..my husband ate the rest.  Again, I gained the weight for him.  They did not make any this year, so we are sad.  For the 2013 State Fair, Velvet made Maple Bacon Ice Cream.  We refrained from going down there last year.  Probably a good thing.

Our bellies full, we pile into the mini-van again…it’s started to feel like the Mystery Machine.  It’s a mystery when we will get home.  And the husband is afraid to ask.  Next stop…Lanning’s Market.  Just for the steaks.  It is a quick stop compared to the other ones.  They have a really good beef ball dip, if you ever go.  The calories/weight is all on you.

We had to make one more stop.  The majority of L’s family is buried in a cemetery in this area, so we must find it.  Good thing…we found it….bad thing…we found another one too.  (The other one was REAL old…REAL COOL).

This is me.  At 8pm.  12 hours after we hit the road.  My mouth is not wide open because I am scared.

roadtrip1

 

We set off for one reason: Mudhouse Mansion.  Mission accomplished….and so much more.  The worst thing about this road trip……we ran out of day light.

 

 

The Mapbook, not to be confused with a MacBook©

My beloved Mapbook.  I’m not sure that is the proper name, but that is what we call it.  It makes us happy, it makes us laugh, it makes us close as a family.  It makes and holds memories.  It made me crazy a few years ago.

20140118_170615

THE Mapbook, there is no other…..

 I have always loved going for drives.  We drove from here to California back in ’78.  We left right before the blizzard….so when people start talking about “The Blizzard of ’78”, I just laugh and laugh and laugh…….because I was at Disney Land.    When I moved to Kent with the future husband, we stumbled upon a great place called Towner’s Woods on one of our drives.  My love for drives/roadtrips began a long, long time ago.

Now, I have a Tom Tom that I use all the time…..we have smartphones with gps and I have lived in this state all my life, (except for 1 year in Ft. Wayne …a post all on it’s own), but we live by/roadtrip by this mapbook.  It is beat up, ripped, and written on.  There is some Tim Horton’s© coffee spilled on it and I’m sure some ‘cheese’ from a Combo© or two…or it could be from gas station nacho’s ‘n cheese.   There are some pages that show no wear ‘n tear to them at all.  Uncharted territory.  For now.  Everyone in our ‘circle’ of family and friends knows about the mapbook……

We make notes if there is some place we want to come back to, we add addresses for places we didn’t have time to stop, we circle an area that might have a really old, creepy cemetery, and if I remember, I put the date that we were there.

A few of the places that are ‘penned’ in are:

The G & R Tavern in Waldo – They have the best fried bologna sandwiches.  I’m told they have other things on the menu board, but you have to get the fried bologna sandwich with onion, pickle and mustard.  There is a pie case with pies that are 2 feet high, but I don’t touch ’em…the bologna does enough damage to this girly figure.  Make sure you take cash, they don’t take debit, credit or first born.  Just cold hard cash.  Take me with you if you go.  I know how to get there 🙂

The Smucker’s Store in Orrville – What can you say about it….with a name like Smucker’s…..you know the rest.

Smuckers1

The Bridge of Dreams – it is the longest covered bridge in Ohio.  It straddles the Mohican River and the trail connects the tiny tiny towns of Brinkhaven and Danville.  It used to be a rail line but has since been converted into a walking/biking/horse-riding trail.

The Christmas Story House – Yes, it’s noted on there.  We drove down the road to see it.  A drive-by was all I could handle.  But it is marked on there.  As a one time thing.  Never again.

 The Ohio & Erie Canals – Specifically, the village of Clinton.  Nice place to go for a walk along the tow path.  They’ve paved some of the trails, some of it is a boardwalk over water, and it is 84 miles long.  Amazingly enough, I have NOT walked the entire path.  It’s pretty cool to see some of the old locks too……even more cool that I learn something from it.

Mud House Mansion – This one is my favorite, and is worthy of a post all on its own.  And the hidden gem we found on our way down there.

The mapbook goes with us when ever we go anywhere.  Anywhere.  Even to pick my son up from college or down to Mohican or Amish Country or camping….it goes with us.  You seriously never know what you are going to find or want to go back and see.  One year we were camping and it was hotter then Haiti’s….a storm the night before had knocked out the power and the pool was too full to enjoy…..so we took off for a drive…with the mapbook.  We made our way to Lehman’s (again, a post of it’s own) and found an awesome museum……and Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area.

A few years ago the village of Shelby was flooding.  Again.  It dawned on me that I didn’t even know what river ran through there.  Neither did my Dad.  So, we grabbed my mapbook and educated ourselves (got my geek on) on the name and where it flowed from and to.  My daughter was spending the night with them that night, and wanted to show Gramps all the places we’ve been to on our drives.  So I let her keep it with her.  I will never let that happen again.  It went MIA.  Sure, we could use the Tom Tom….we could print out a map from Google.  We could buy another one.  But it wouldn’t be the same.  It wouldn’t have our memories written down in it.  We couldn’t just pull it out and find that one place that we didn’t have time to stop at.  There would be no new campgrounds circled for us to check out.  I called mom and dad begging them to look for it AGAIN…..for the 10th time.  Neither one could remember seeing it there after that day.  Mom got a little tired of telling me she hadn’t found it.  I was THAT annoying about it.  I cleaned my van out 20 times….looked through every inch of my house…..and every inch of the husband’s and son’s vehicles.  No where to be found.  I was sick.  I didn’t want to get rid of my 188,000 mile van in case it was hiding in there…but I had to.  Then we had to get rid of the husband’s truck…..you know, an engine fire isn’t a good thing.  Still, deep down, I really knew it was still at my parent’s….and yes, every time I went over there I would look.  Things were not looking good for the mapbook/memory keeper.  As crazy as it sounds, we were bummed.  We would take off for a drive…..and feel like something was missing.  Hitting “favorite” on the Tom Tom just wasn’t the same…….

Then my Mom called.  Take a guess what she was calling for.  Almost a year later.  My heart was happy!!!!  I KNEW it was there.  She was cleaning out her cookbook cupboard…..you know, that one stupid cupboard that is above the fridge, that you can’t reach….and you never look in.  There it was…..and the memories came flooding back of all the fun times we had on our drives…..the great ice cream we had……the cute little old man who was sitting with his dog on the porch waiving to strangers……..and the unknown museums we discovered and can go to now that we have our mapbook back.

Life is good now….and the tank is full.

 

The Road Trip Breakfasts

We are heading to Cleveland this weekend to check out the aquarium.  I have read mixed reviews about it.  But….I am a nerd and know that I will love it simply because I will learn SOMETHING from it.  I’ve been to Newport Aquarium, which is great, but not the Shedd, and I know I can’t compare them…BUT…if I can learn something from just going down to the creek (crick?), then I can learn something from here, which  makes it a good day.  My brain is like a sponge thirsty for knowledge.  I really hope they have these tho’…they are my favorite…..

100_0495
Wonderful, Beautiful Jellyfish….that can’t sting me from behind the glass 🙂

 Back to breakfast…..

 Ever since I can remember, whenever our family went out of town, we always stopped for breakfast.  Always.  It might have started from our trips to Cedar Point.  My Uncle Dick owned the Perkins on 250, so we would stop and see him.  He could always tell us what days were the best days to go to CP based on his sales from the previous year.  Fourth of July and Labor Day used to be the s l ow e s t days for him and CP.  Now, not so much.  The waitresses there would fight over who got to wait on us for the simple fact that my uncle would never let us pay, so the money we would spend on breakfast went all to the waitress.  We got the BEST service there.  

If we went to Youngstown to see family, we had to stop and get breakfast.  Heading to Wickliffe to see Cousin Kenny & Joan?  Gotta stop for breakfast.  Amish County?  Breakfast!!  Picking someone up from Columbus airport?  Gotta stop!!  We were kids…and had no say in what we did.  We got to the point of taking bets on how long it would take for Mom to talk about stopping for breakfast when road trips were mentioned.  Sometimes it was ok, it’s always good to start your day fueled up, but, sometimes doesn’t mean E V E R Y  T I M E.  In the past 6-8 years, as adults who are now driving our parents on these trips, we have tried to avoid stopping on EVERY single trip.  We bring her donuts or her fav breakfast burrito from McD’s.  Hey….it works.  We have done well I think.  My husband had his moment of realization about 15 years ago….it took him quite a while to realize what my Mom’s little habit was, we’ve been together 24 years =O

 On our road trip to Gettysburg a few years ago, we packed a cooler and decided to stop some where along the way, because we didn’t want to spend a lot of our travel time in a restaurant.  This was our ‘dining room’.

Gburg1
We never know what we are going to stumble upon…a state park somewhere in PA…stunning views

Mom got her way on the way back home tho’….lunch in Chambersburg, PA….it used to be THE payphone capital of the world back in my phone operator days.  You will not see more semi’s anywhere else.  This is a huge crossroads/gateway to other highways/states.  It is an intersection full of truck stops.  Traffic is terrible there.  But…she got her wish for stopping to eat on a road trip.

Gburg2
A traffic jam in my town is 5 cars at the square…unless it’s race weekend. Or the Blueberry Festival.

We will be leaving for Cleveland at 8:30AM this Sunday.  The aquarium doesn’t open until noon.  3 1/2 hours to get to Cleveland.  That gives Mom plenty of time to enjoy her breakfast.  She will be giddy.  Yes, giddy.  We will drive to the Medina exit…..and head over to The Waffle House (because my sister hasn’t been there in years).  It is not fancy.  It is not big.  It is a greasy spoon.  But Mom will be happy with her road trip breakfast.  She will praise the hash browns and coffee all day, while Dad will grumble about how terrible their coffee actually was.  Dad is very critical of restaurants, or anyone else that cooks, besides him and my son.  Ten minutes down the road we will all be regretting it.   

dad1
My apologies to the head of hospital food there….who I went to school with. I’m sure the food is great, he’s is just very critical….

 After the aquarium, we will let Mom and Dad pick out the restaurant for dinner (mostly because mom has no say in breakfast Monday morning…you’ll see why).  We will get checked into the hotel, grab our suits, and have an evening of pool time for the kids, hot tub and wine (…in plastic cups…) for the sisters….and TV/nap time for Mom and Dad.   

Breakfast Monday morning will be courtesy of the hotel……sorry Mom…..but there is always the drive home….even tho’ we are going to try and persuade her to grab something while we are at West Side Market.  Maybe the restaurant that’s there, or a gyro from the place that was on the Travel Channel (Man vs. Food), or the sausage sandwiches that are yummy in my tummy.  I will pick up fish for a friend who only gets it from Kate’s, Mom will get her mussels there too.  The kids will be licking all the windows that have cookies, chocolate and candy.  I will grab a few dozen pierogies and some noodles n’ cabbage.  I will find something that is overflowing with chocolate for the husband, and 5 pounds of fresh spinach for $3.  I will not, however, fall victim to the strawberry guy who will sell you one container for $3, but if you take this whole crate off his hands he will sell the whole thing to you for $5.  I love strawberries….but not that much.  I will buy a newspaper and never read it from the lady who is in need of help.  I will take pictures of stupid things.  I will make memories of spending time with my parents. 

WSM1

We have already set the plans in motion for our OBX trip.  It’s about a 12-13 hour drive….15 if you want breakfast.  My brother will be leaving a day early with them, as they can’t make that trip in one day.  Mom has already talked about ‘meeting up’ for lunch…..

 

 

Where DID it all begin….??

Here I am.  On a cold and rainy Tuesday morning…….writing my first blog.  First thought…..what the heck am I doing?!?  (we may never know) Second thought…..am I nuts ???  (you can form your own opinion…just keep it to yourself)  Let me start from the beginning and tell you where it all began…..

Last September, my oldest brother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.  A little over 3 weeks later, he was gone.  He was awesome.  I know……everyone says that about their big brother.  But he was.  You’ll agree after I tell you all about him.  He was 10 years older than me, and I took my role as the bratty little sister very serious.

David4

His death rocked our family, friends, and people we hadn’t even met.  My Mom is heartbroken, and we all need to be strong for her.  That is not an easy thing to do….but me, my other brother and my sister (all older…I am the baby), have been trying.  The thing about being strong for other people is that at some point you need your own release.  So what do you do?

A very dear friend of mine from school has a blog.  http://www.agracefull-life.com/     And I love reading it.  I seriously do…she has a way with words….and every post makes me smile….and some of them make me want to quit my job and redo every room in my house.  I think she needs to come live with me for a few months.  She is two states away, and I missed seeing her, for the first time since graduation, this past September.  In November, I asked her what made her decide to blog….and from there it was on.  She has not pushed…but has nudged me to blog (although I do like the thought of being pimped out….WooooHoooo).  Over Christmas, she mentioned how she liked getting newsletters with Christmas cards, but hadn’t gotten one in a while.   I decided to send her one, the old way.  On real paper.  Via the United States Postal Service.  It needed a big envelope.  It was more like a short essay.  And I loved doing it….probably more than she liked reading it.  But, it got me moving more towards a blog…again…because of her.  She has encouraged me and another friend from school to let our creative juices flow into the web.  That’s where this all began.

Inside this first post, there are already so many stories to be told, and I’m excited to tell the story of where they all began.  I want to write about everything.  I want to write about the first time I met my best friend in person, and the day I lost him.  I want to tell you about the road trip to see an old abandoned mansion and how it turned into the best day ever.  It included ice cream.  Kettle Korn Ice Cream.  Yes.

Mudhouse

I want to tell you how amazing my brother was, and how crappy my day at work was.  I want to tell you why I wait so long to get my highlights touched up.  Or why I even get them at all.  I want to tell you about my upcoming trip this weekend.  And the one I took back in 1985.  And 2010.  And last January.  I want to tell you my secret Lasagna ingredient.  Maybe.  I want to share what goes on in this wicked little mind of mine.

Wish me luck.