Tag Archives: Over The Backyard Fence

July in August

Warning…county music fan geeking out…

This past month, over the U.S. Fourth of July, eleven people from my family met up for what felt like the vacation of a lifetime. I think it was the first time all five of us siblings have gone on a trip together. We were celebrating a banner birthday, some resolved health issues, and each other.

We went to Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

And it was awesome.

It started last Christmas when my brother said they were going to Nashville at our annual brunch. We all fell like dominoes and within two days, hotel reservations were set. I’ll say it was a little scary that nine out of eleven of us were on the same plane, but we made it there delayed, but without issue.

On the Fourth, the downtown corridor in Nashville was cordoned off and we all filtered through metal detectors to get in. It was crazy busy, but Florida Georgia Line’s restaurant, FGL House, got us in for the most amazing dinner. Everyone there was so nice and the food was yummy, especially the No Joke Mac n Cheese (bacon, chicken, and calories, but melt in your mouth.)

Because we’re older, and because the crush of what turned out to be 348,000 people for the fourth of July was rather daunting, we bought rooftop reservations at Blake Shelton’s bar, Ole Red. That was the best choice ever! We got to sit, visit, and watch the crush of people below without being jostled. And…here’s where the fan geeking comes in…our waiter was also waiting on Blake Shelton’s manager (Kelly Clarkson’s husband.) Okay, so we didn’t meet him, but I’m still saying that us (and 300 other people) partied with him. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The fireworks were the best we’ve ever seen. Getting home wasn’t much fun that night, even though we sat and waited for another hour after the show ended. It still took us two hours to get back to the hotel seven miles away.

Totally worth it.

The next night, with a LOT less people, we went back downtown to enjoy some music. From place to place, you could hear so much variety, from country, to Hard Rock Café style, to dueling pianos, to some amazing blues.

We ended up listening to a great singer, Becki McLeod, and her rocking band. Loved her voice, her cover choices, and her fiddle player even did The Devil Went Down to Georgia, a fast, difficult piece. Okay, the whole band was involved in that, but the fiddle player, in particular, was outstanding.

Again, it was the best ever!

We all broke away for our own tours, too. Some went to the Jack Daniels distillery tour and said it was one of the best tours they’d ever done.

Hubby and I went to the Grand Ole Opry. Fan geeking again here…it was pretty amazing to stand where people whose music I love have stood. The Opry is music royalty and we loved seeing it.

We also got some pool time at the hotel, ate what the south calls Wicked Chicken (spicy), and did a lot of visiting. A LOT of visiting.

I’d have to call it one of our top five favorite trips ever, ranking up there with the cruise that took us to Iceland and Greenland, the overland tour to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (Northern Lights!), the motorcycle trip to Banff, Canada (snow in July, Brrrr!), and our road trip to Mt. Rushmore (majestic.)

I know I’ve been truly blessed with our travels and I have so many great memories. I hope you’ve been blessed with memories that make you smile when life is handing you lemons.

Have a great rest of your summer, everyone!

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Farkle, Zilch, or Ten Thousand – What’s in a name?

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Do you play cards? Board games? Dice? We do in my family. It’s become a favorite pastime when we get together. Well, that and jigsaw puzzles, but don’t get me started on how addicting those things are. Anyhow, I grew … Continue reading

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Rejuvenating Retreat

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It’s been a quiet month for me. I’m still fighting some minor health issues, so have mostly stayed close to home, though I did have the extraordinary opportunity to go away for several days and write in one of the … Continue reading

Debugging a Medical Problem

I went to the doctor Friday. A specialist in allergies and asthma. When I left, after two and a half hours, I was in tears. Happy tears. For the first time in a long while, I felt someone really tried to dig through my confusion and find the root of the problem.

You see, I have asthma. It’s been very well controlled until these past few months. I’ve had this long term cough/wheeze thing going on and those, I know, are difficult to debug. Then, as winter gave way to spring, it got much worse. To the point where I didn’t want to go out of the house, my cough/wheeze was so bad. I didn’t’ know if it was something infectious or what. Did I have allergies after all these years on Planet Earth? I honestly have felt like I had some sort of chronic lung or heart disease coming on and it scared me. A lot. (Yes, after being retired from the medical field for fifteen years, I still envision worst case scenarios, a byproduct of that line of work.)

My doctor thought my inhaler wasn’t doing its job and switched me to a stronger one. A month later, I was no better, completely disillusioned and depressed.

So I saw the allergy and asthma doctor at my primary caretaker’s request. God bless her. He was amazing. Old school. He took time with me, did an extensive workup, trying to debug this cough. Tests and treatments and fifteen minute Q&A’s. I never sat waiting for more than five minutes between things.

At the end, he believed it was either an asthma exacerbation that needed help or pneumonia (even though my chest xray was normal last month.) For the first thing, a steroid can generally kick start calming things down. For the second, he said two antibiotics would be needed. But, if we did both at the same time, we’d never know which one helped. So I’m on the steroid now, as I write the blog on Saturday. Started it 15 hours ago and already I feel better this morning. Only coughed once since I got up.

For the first time in months I feel hopeful. If things aren’t significantly better in a couple days, I’ll go on the antibiotic. And, he says once things calm down, he wants me back on the less potent asthma med. He suspects I don’t need the stronger one once we get me controlled again.

Halleluiah! There’s a light at the end of this tunnel. The main reason I wrote this blog is to remind us all, myself included, to keep trying. To keep digging. If you don’t feel right, keep asking questions until someone figures it out.

Oh, and the really good news? I don’t have allergies. Most particularly, I’m not allergic to cats. That would have made life very, very difficult, since Dude likes to lay across my neck and cuddle. Whew!

It’s been a while since I posted a Dude pic, so here he is, a much happier, not-so-little cat who’s loving that winter is GONE and sunshine is returning. 🙂IMG_8410

I hope your Spring is uplifting and sunny, with just enough rain to make things grow.

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Snow, Stories, and one very Ticked-Off Cat…

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Since everyone’s probably tired of hearing about (and seeing) snow, I’ll make this quick. We had over a foot of snow. That’s crazy for us. We usually get this shadow effect from the mountains around us and don’t get the … Continue reading

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Autumn Fun – Making Cider

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This blog is probably going to be more pictures than explanation. My husband and I made apple cider this last month, and I think I drove him a bit crazy with my requests for pictures. But it was worth it. … Continue reading

Living on the “economy” in 1976

***WARNING*** Badly preserved pictures ahead.

This month, for some people, is devoted to Oktoberfest. I drink beer, so I get it. Especially since I’ve had the privilege of going to the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. I was way too young to recognize that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was 21. And I only drank wine then. So if we hadn’t of taken a bus that day, I’d have been the designated driver. We didn’t find the one little tiny wine tent until about 7pm. Lol.

I went to Kitzingen, Germany to join my then husband. It was an experience that I learned so much from and I am so grateful for my time there. He was a Spec 4 in the Army, so not high enough in the chain to get base housing. So we lived “on the economy” as it was called. We had a small apartment above a very nice German family.

I was five months pregnant when I flew there. I scared the wits out of my husband because I got there and slept for twenty hours.

What am I grateful for?

  1. That we had no car, so I walked the two miles into base two or three times a week. There was a bus that would take us grocery shopping and to do laundry, thank goodness.
  2. That it’s okay to not trust a taxi driver on the autobahn. We never got in an accident, but boy, sometimes, it was close!
  3. That we had no running hot water. I learned to stoke a boiler under the hot water tank with paper, wood, and coal. And to plan baths because it took two hours to warm up enough water for a bath. Oh, and one night, when my husband was in the field with his platoon, the pregnant me got stuck on that floor. Stoked the fire, then couldn’t get up. Sat there for about the two hours it took to heat the water. That was the best bath ever!
  4. That we couldn’t just turn a switch and have heat. I learned how to pour oil into our heater, and how to keep track of how much oil we had left. Taught me to keep my house stocked.
  5. That I met Yolanda. In 1976. And we have been best friends ever since. I was pregnant and alone a lot of the time, with my husband out in the field. She’s my age and managed to be my friend, confidant, shoulder, and mother.
  6. That one of my daughters was born there. Definitely the best part of this whole trip.
  7. That, when I got off the plane after a year with my eight-month-old daughter, the nice Captain helping me with all my stuff, after a 9 hour flight, looked down through the customs window at all the people waiting there. There were a lot. He asked me which ones were my family. I say “see those three on the right?” “Yes,” he said. “Well, everyone but those three are my family.”

You see, I had the first grandchild born in the family and they’d only seen her in pictures for eight months. So they all showed up at the airport.

Yes, Germany will always be a special place to me. My husband and I did not stay together, and I’m happy for almost 30 years now with my soul-mate. But my first husband and I had a good life while we were together and he made sure I remembered our time in Germany with happiness. I do. I treasure the memories I have from that year, and will for the rest of my life.

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