Friday, October 30, 2009

the Blonde Experiment

I finally changed around some of the photos that have been posted since day one of this blog/site. So, in making some big changes with my life in the last 12 months (getting married, not working, taking off in a RV, etc), I thought I would just follow through and add a minor dash of "re-inventing myself". Just for kicks. So bring on "Project Blonde".

So by this time, if you have looked over the new photos, you will have seen the new hair color. I will try to provide more photos. I imagine it will shock my mother and sister the most. After all, I have been thinking about "blonde-ing" myself before the wedding in Chapel Hill, NC. They told me how beautiful my natural brown hair is, how lucky I am that I don't have to color it since I am not graying or anything, etc. etc. etc. Jeff stayed quiet, but I am sure he had to bite his tongue numerous times! I have always wondered what it would be like to be a blonde. Now that I don't really care about the social ramifications of it and having nothing socially to gain from this experiment, I am more curious about the "blonde treatment" I may receive.

I had my hair done on Tuesday @ a nice salon (Cut'N up) in Carolina Beach. I saw the walk-ins welcome sign and stepped inside. I asked if someone could make me blonde. The first young woman I talked to told me she could help me. Her name is Tori and she is blonde (but not really, if you know what I mean. Kind of like me). I had a lot of faith in her. I brought in some photos to help out her creative process. She promised me she would make me blonde. Two hours later, I was very blonde, two shades of blonde and not a strand of brunette. Tori delivered as promised and........HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!! I was so taken back. I.AM.BLONDE. Did you hear me?? BLONDE!! I went back to the RV. Jeff loved it! In the next 24 hours, I think I went through temporary "buyer's remorse" if such a feeling could be felt with hair color. I am getting used to it, but it's Friday now and this morning I was still somewhat stunned when I went to the bathroom vanity to brush my teeth and figure out something to do with my BLONDE! hair. I think, no, I KNOW, this will not last. I will get it back to brunette once I start showing really dreadful roots. Maybe in a few months. Maybe never since I promised Jeff I would just let this grow out naturally. Hmmm....

As far as living differently as a blonde, I don't think anything is different. I find people are generally good and helpful and want to help me out when I ask for it. I don't find people are whistling, helping, flirting in my direction anymore often than before.

We will see how this all pans out. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ha ha! It's really calamari! (that's so funny Jeff)

Chapel Hill, NC 10/23-10/25, 2009-
What a blast! Once again, we got some hotel time, thanks to my mother. I got to sleep on a king size bed, wear clothes with no dog hair and take a civilized full length shower! We all met up at the hotel Friday evening and went to the Friday evening rehearsal dinner. Jeff and I sat with the rest of my family and we ate an interesting meal prefaced by appetizers. I was innocently attempting to eat some appetizer that looked like a white pizza, when Jeff sat down with mini crab cakes and some other seafood (that I could not identify, but it was breaded or something). He asked me if I wanted some of his food. I said "no" since it was seafood and I don't care for seafood other than shrimp and some (very select) sushi. Jeff told me it was shrimp that was breaded or fried or something. I took a bite and he asked me what I thought and I said "good". Then he says "ha ha! It's calamari! You like calamari". WOW! He totally tricked me. I wasn't crazy about it, but I said good because it was okay & didn't make me sick and my taste buds didn't automatically reject it. He then tried to peddle me some mini crab cakes and I graciously took a bite and ungraciously unloaded into my napkin. I did not like this second sampling so much. "Don't push your luck, babe".

The next day was the wedding at a golf club. It was raining all morning and afternoon. They had the wedding inside which was a very nice venue. It was a great wedding. I can't believe I have known this girl since she was born, before she could walk and talk. Now, she is a beautiful young lady.....and a really funny one too! This I knew, the girl knows how to have fun. And like me, she had fun with the wedding cake! She and Thomas had fun with the whole cake on face thing....not to the extent that Jeff and I took it, but then again, I didn't have accentuated eyelashes and an expensive dress. She is a great sport.

I had several firsts at a wedding as far as entertainment-she arranged for a photo booth that customized with her wedding logo and date. We all took photos and got those picture strips that you can split in two. We put one strip in a book for M & T and kept one. I loved it; that was a great idea and she chose that over party favors (monogrammed M&M's, cameras...etc etc). Very cool. Then Mrs. Molly Gent (newly married and all) started rapping to some 8-10 minute (minimum) song that I have never heard of (which would not be unusual as I don't really listen to rap at all!). She grabbed the microphone and started rapping with the song. It was funny. I started laughing and even though my mom, Jeff and I were supposed to leave, we hung around an extra 10 minutes. She was still going on and on and rapping karaoke style when we left. That was a lot of fun; even Jeff thought so. I guess we are showing our age quicker and quicker with every wedding. I guess we don't get out enough. Or something.


Sooooo.....onwards and Southwards : 10/25-10/28
We left Sunday after mom and I went to Judie's. We got to Carolina Beach, NC and found a great location to park the RV for a couple of days. We realized this was our first location that was on the list of "could we live here towns". The answer is yes for Carolina Beach (on Pleasure Island). It was a nice small town with nice cottages (some available for rent). We were a very short walking distance from a meeting location. We spent a couple of days walking around the town and checking it out. While we know it would definitely be busy in the summer, it was not completely built up and ultra touristy. This place had definite potential. I even could walk to get my nails & brows done on Monday. Tuesday morning, I checked out the hair salon & they helped me out (this is a future blog posting regarding my hair experiment). My stylist had grown up in Carolina Beach since she was in elementary school and gave me lots of recommendations and helpful hints if I were to move here (pet issues, restaurants to check out on the way out of here). She even gave me a ferry schedule that may help us skip some unnecessary travel and have fun on the boat. After leaving the salon with a new hair make-over and a mental list of recommendations, I returned to the RV and we went to one of the restaurants.

Jeff and I decided to use the ferry ($10 for our size RVs, but less for a car) from Southpoint to the other side. How geographically ignorant did that sentence sound? Horribly ignorant, I am sure. Anyway, ignorant or not, the ferry was a lot of fun and I am glad we did it! We decided to go to the Myrtle Beach KOA and that's where we stayed last night. The thunder sounds and patterns were unusual, somewhat freaking out the dogs. The rain just kept coming and I wonder if it's just chasing us down the East Coast. What is with the rain? We welcome rain, compared with the snow back home. So please, Denverites, don't think we are ungrateful as I know that is the opinion I am perceiving on Facebook this last week. I am just making observations with weather patterns new to us. Of course, I remember rain for days back in the 'Berg College days, but I guess I am just not used to it. We love the peacefulness of it, but it does make it hard to accomplish our goal of actually exploring a town at length. So far Carolina Beach is really the first place we have gone that we are considering for residence.
I have no idea how long we will stay here, but we will be in Savannah in the next week or so, shortly before I leave for Denver for a visit. I DO pray that the snow is melted and takes a rest while I am back. You know, I think I will just bring the warm weather with me. How about that?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carolina on my mind

We are headed to Chapel Hill tomorrow. We have Molly's wedding festivities all weekend and some time to relax in a hotel. While it has only been less than a week that we were in Pam's guest house, I need some hotel space to get ready for the wedding without (for once) having dog hair all over my clothes. A real shower will also be nice too. It looks like a really nice hotel. Siena Hotel, I think it is. I am dreaming of a tub already! We just kicked back the last few days which gave Jeff some time off from driving and me some time to recover (sitting upright has started to hurt my back lately, not sure why). Jeff and I bought a mattress pad of foam which is really nice and helping out a lot. Live and learn, RV style. I guess I haven't road tripped this much in a really long time. A really long time. I will probably not be blogging (you guys can all catch up on the frequent commentary lately) until after this weekend. Congrats to Molly & Thomas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fredericksburg VA KOA situation resolved (finally)

Sooo...soon after writing my previous posts earlier today, the lady who works for the KOA let the owner know what happened with the disappearing coaxial cable cord (unbeknownst to Jeff and me). That is, till the owner drove by our site this afternoon. The owner followed through after hearing what happened and came by. He spoke with Jeff, apologizing for the incident (which was not really his fault at all) and was so so nice about giving us a free cord as a back-up. I think that makes up for depriving us of ESPN/MNF and a lost cable. Their attitude at this KOA was very gracious. If they want us to rate the KOA, I will give it a thumbs up.

Fredericksburg, VA meeting

Well, we did try to get to a noon meeting via Betty (have you met Betty?She's our trusty gps component). However, we could not find the Germana Church. The rest of the town has Germanna(two n's) references, but this was a singular "n" per Virginia's AA site. This was not the problem however. The problem was that we got to the destination and there was a whole lot of construction trucks and flat land and not a whole lotta church. Oh well......

We found another meeting that evening in a church in old town Fredericksburg. Being that it was a Tuesday evening church meeting, we figured there would be about 10-20 people. We thought wrong. We walked to the side entrance of the church where there were about 20 people smoking before the meeting. We walked in to this big room and tons of chairs were set up. I would have not known it was for a Tuesday night meeting unless I saw the group smoking out front. We sat down in a meeting that was easily 75-80 people large. It was a really good meeting. I love to hear newcomers talk. The topic was change and change in new sobriety. I have been saying that all these meetings have been great all the way around the country, but this was probably the biggest meeting I have been to since Old Kent in Denver this summer. WOW! Anyway, we met quite a few people and talked afterward with some other Friends of Bill W. Then it was time to go home and watch the end of Hell's Kitchen and Baseball. Of course, from the previous blog I just posted, we know how this night turned out.

We may go to another VA meeting, but otherwise we will get to a meeting in NC! See you soon!

Fredericksburg VA KOA revisited

Soooo...Monday we watched baseball instead of MNF. I told you all that I would revisit the whole KOA situation when I saw the showers the next day. Tuesday, I had a very nice shower. Very clean curtains and nice hot water with good pressure make for a nice review on the shower. It's almost redeeming.

We spent an incredible Tuesday which began by missing the noon meeting in Fredericksburg (we ended up at an awesome meeting at 7pm that night which will be addressed in my next blog entry). We ended up going to the Visitor's center near one of the four battlefields and taking a short hike (0.5 miles). More like a nice leisurely walk. Jeff and I are NOT long distance hikers, by any stretch of the imagination. We then took the self guided vehicle tour of one of the battlefields (Chancellorsville) and after site number 7, we took a wrong turn. We decided not to complete it (there were only ten sites so we missed three) and headed into old town Fredericksburg. We found a great parking space in one of the public parking lots (we take up almost 2 car spaces) and walked around. For all the antique shops they have in that town, you would think there would be quite a few coffee houses or something. We had to walk a bit to find one, but when we did, Jeff was very satisfied with the espresso. We discovered the meeting that night was 4 blocks from where we parked. We decided to just stay in town till then. We walked around some more. Did I mention there are a lot of antique shops here? Yes, balanced out by a few tattoo shops, but still... I guess antiques are just not really my thing. So we had a nice dinner at J. Brian's (I think that's the name) and went back to the RV to walk the dogs at which point Jeff felt the desire to walk them on his skateboard. Hmmm. Okay. Cool. I was kind of afraid to look. So I didn't. He was glad (I didn't look but all the dogs and Jeff AND the skateboard came back in one piece so it couldn't have been that bad.

After going to the meeting and arriving at our Kozy Kampsite, we noticed our cable cord was missing. Excuse me, I had TV to watch. Jeff was WAYYYY less pleased than I was. He was PISSED! We were missing precious baseball play off time (it turned out Hell's Kitchen wasn't on because of the play offs or something, I hope, since Fox had the baseball game on). We went right to the Walmart and bought a new cord. This was sooo not cool Fredericksburg KOA! Just so you know! Not cool at all. We suspected it was the neophyte camper with the rental RV. If they had California plates, we would have found them culpable for sure. In the morning, they were already gone. I brought it to the attention of the Kamp staff who was not sure what happened either. So I have to say, this is a beautiful Kampsite with clean amenities and great customer (or is that Kustomer?) service. But this KOA needs to work on some cable issues, clearly.

One thing before I end this posting about Fredericksburg KOA, I am doing my laundry here and just put my clothes in the dryer. The first on a list of instructions: Check inside for pets, children and foreign objects before loading and starting. I just couldn't stop laughing. But then I guess it's not funny since someone must have forgotten their child in the dryer and sued the company. NOW, they need to make sure EVERYONE checks for missing children in the dryer.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leaving New Jersey

We left New Jersey after seeing some family and friends in Wertzville and Hopewell. We stayed in a wonderful guest house on St Andrew's Farm aka Jeff's cousin's Pam's place. We got a nice tour of the 110 acres on a Kubota (that's some kind of diesel 4 wheel drive thingee). Max played with the horses. And by "played", I mean instigated some annoyance and general pissed-offness from the larger farm animal. I mean Max (tiny 20 pound Max who has NEVER SEEN a farm animal under my parentage) just barked and barked at the feet of these lovely horses who did no wrong by Max. Max is the most adorable puggle, but he's just that kind of dog. I honestly don't know what he was trying to prove by barking at these horses.

We had dinner last night with Stacey & James. This whole time, my former college roommate lived 10 minutes away from Jeff's cousin. Who knew? I can't believe I haven't seen her in 20 years. I can believe we reconnected on Facebook. Who ISN'T on Facebook?! James made an outstanding meal. Stacey and James take entertaining and delivering great food to an art form. If you are reading this Stacey: be an event planner, start catering-you guys are great cooks, creative invitation makers, and thoughtful about your culinary choices-that is such a recipe for success! Great conversation and revisiting a few college photos. Stacey and I got to catch up and it's like (but not quite) we picked up where we left off around 1989. Thanks Stacey, and we WILL be back! I will continue to let these cooking shows inspire me!

After taking off right after dinner with S & J, we headed towards Virginia, passing Philadelphia at 11:15pm (while the game was still being played-you know that series game vs the LA Dodgers). We crashed at a visitor's center in Virginia last night/this morning at 2am. We woke up and made reservations at the KOA in Fredericksburg,VA. This place is beautiful and really close to a a lot of U.S. History. There is a gift shop with a lot of confederate flag nick-nacks, patches, shirts, teddy bears with confederate logos. There is even tee shirt with a big confederate flag that says something like "if this offends you, get acquainted with history"...hmmmm. I am still not buying the shirt. Toto, I am NOT in Kansas anymore. I am not in Colorado, or DC for that matter. I won't hold it against the KOA, it is history. I am not getting any phone coverage here, but again, that's probably being deep in a forest in a rural type area. What I am curious about, KOA of Fredericksburg, is why you DON'T HAVE ESPN?? What's the matter here? Not that I have anything against the playoff series with the Phillies (I used to be such a Phillies fan), but I would much rather be watching MNF with Broncos v. Chargers. At least I have internet access-I am grateful for small favors! That way I guess I can see the scores later tonight. That's just as much fun. NOT.
Tomorrow, I will check out your KOA showers. I wasn't so impressed with the KOA showers in Mystic, with all the moldy shower curtains and grungy floor mats. Not so inviting, right? Doesn't make you feel so squeaky clean at the end of it all. I am expecting better, cleaner showers at this HUGE KOA Kampus.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mystic Pizza

We decided on going to Mystic, CT; Jeff agreed as I was so enthralled with Mystic Pizza. I really wanted to get a "piece of heaven" from the pizzeria made famous by their secret sauce and more popular by Hollywood! Jeff thought I was making such a big deal about some pizza place where they shot a singular scene. He got the message of the movie when we got a seat in a booth. For one thing, the movie is constantly being played (on mute-I can't imagine how annoying this is for the servers, even on mute). Also, there are photos all over the restaurant of producers and actresses filming the movie. As I was the dutiful and dorky tourist, I checked out the postcards (and I bought two). The young woman behind the counter (who looked like she was born after 1988) admitted she had not seen the movie, but said that before Matt Damon was any kind of star, he was in the movie Mystic Pizza. I think I vaguely remember the character he would have played (according to the pre-Mystic Pizza girl who had never seen the movie). This gives me an excuse to check it out, just for Matt Damon's sake. Because I am sure he really is counting on the royalties from my DVD purchase.

We had a great pizza, served quickly. We then went off to a meeting in Mystic. We did go to a meeting in Newport, RI, so I am staying with my commitment to go to a meeting in every state that we stay in. To be brutally honest, it was rainy and cold and we forgot the pass we needed to go in and out of the RV park easily, so we were going to table the idea of going. Jeff would have loved to stay put in the warm RV, but he did want to go also. The RV manager knocked on our door, gave us a key, and we were off to Mystic, CT (we are staying in North Stonington, CT). I think I pushed the idea of going especially when we got the key just in time to leave for dinner and the meeting because I want to keep this commitment; I don't want to start bending the rules for weather. I played the card of "you would go out in a storm for alcohol but not a little rain?" shot I know.

We are off to New Jersey tomorrow to visit Jeff's cousin Pam and my old college room mate Stacey on Sunday. It will be like a reunion in NJ for both Jeff and me. See you soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Newport RI and headed south

We spent the day in Newport, RI today with Maggie (Jeff's cousin). I don't know if Maggie could handle both of us (at the same time and all). Jeff and I can be somewhat spastic and distracted; poor Mags spent the better part of her time trying to redirect us to points of interest, restaurants, anything really other than the dead ends we were taking her to while walking aimlessly in the middle of endless conversations. Maggie was a great tour guide and hostess for just being here a month or so herself.

I found out some interesting things. For example, Jeff's mom thinks I am "as flaky as Jeff".What??!! I am NOT FLAKY. Jeff and I have been a bit unable to commit to our whereabouts tomorrow. I am possibly a bit pickier with food than a lot of the Cimas. I may talk faster (but not MORE) than some of the Cimas. BUT.I.AM.NOT.FLAKY! What the hell! Jeff said, "she's just being honest". So now I have to prove my NOTFLAKY case to him too? What? Jeff married me regardless of my quirky qualities. The defense rests.

Tomorrow, we have lots of choices, it would seem. Mystic, CT.Narragansett, RI, Cape May, NJ. And I even told him Cape May, NJ has a ferry. Jeff says "they have a fairy??". I'm the flake? The defense rests. Nothing further.

See you next time!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Max in Maine

Max is in love with the outdoors and smelling every possible new MAINE scent he get wrap his little puggle nose around. He just takes off, leaping over large logs, exploring forests and bushes and comes out of it all licking everything and everyone. We just went on a canoe ride; Max was a passenger...for about five or ten minutes. We dropped him off in the water by the shore across the pond from the house. He ran with Sadie and Fenway until Sadie got in the water (she is an avid swimmer, even at her age!). He then realized that he was going to go swimming, whether he liked it or not, if he wanted to keep up with Sadie. Typically, he loves the water,but this is very very very cold pond water.He belly flopped himself in the water. In the, I repeat, very very very cold pond water. He simply is a puggle in love with himself, his canine "sisters", his human parents, and the environment around him. I fall in love with him every time I see him bound in to the bushes and come out the other side full of leaves, shaking them off furiously. On land, he is more comfortable with running to catch up with Fenway, trying to pull tricks only possible for a dog his size (gloating in front of Fenway and Sadie) and it is just too adorable. I know when day he will get old and just curl up on the deck, or patio or what ever Jeff and I will have at the time. Now, he's just a little two and half year old puggle who still acts like a puppy and I love to watch him be.

I just got to talk to Jeff's sister (Becky) about the boxer Annie that she has had since Annie's infancy and it makes me wonder about Max's parents. Who was the beagle? Who was the pug? I can only imagine he was taken care of prior to finding him on . I adopted a pug with bright white intact teeth, pink paw pads and an excellent disposition. I almost feel guilty that he probably just ran away from a loving home and I simply paid for him and took him home after his surgery. Then I think back-he had no tags, no microchip, no neutering. Who ever cared for him did not spend a lot of money on looking after him or the pet population! I promptly took care of these things. There was no way this little creature full of love was going to get away from me.

Fortunately, when Max escaped from the fenced yard soon after we moved to Lookout Mountain, I had tags and someone called when a responsible dog lover (or perhaps just a responsible human being) found him. He left me a message on my cell and brought him to the veterinary clinic at the bottom of the mountain. I went immediately to pick him up and got new tags. Since then, we have gone on the road in the RV. We outfitted all three dogs that we have with new tags with their names and my current cell phone.

Maybe I just lucked out with Max, but puggles are just full of joy and happiness. I would still be interested in owning a full breed, but after researching full breed puppies, I may have a lower maintenance dog on my hands here and I love him!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Maine woman

I am feeling much better since that last posting, thanks. I went to a few meetings and talked more with Jeff. We had a fabulous time watching Max get pissed off by the shoreline, watching the moon rise over the horizon right in front of our campsite, and walking through Boothbay Harbor.

We took a cab to get into Boothbay Harbor Wednesday. After I walked all the way up to the main house to catch the cab, the lady offered to drive down and pick up Jeff. I don't know if Jeff didn't really see her or wasn't paying attention, but he called her sir about twice. I was mortified. He kept insisting he could not tell she was a woman. I kept saying "couldn't you hear her voice...she kept talking about the weather?" (but she kept talking in a very nice way, not annoying). He couldn't tell, apparently. We got out of the cab in the Harbor and again "thank you sir!"...Oh, I hope she didn't hear him. She was so nice.

We went shopping around in the rain and I found (not quickly enough, but fairly immediately) a raincoat more than 50% off. I had been looking for a rain coat for a while ,and after my family has been going to this part of Maine in the height of their summer season for the better part of a couple decades, I thought it only fair that I get a really good deal in October. Yay! We went to dinner at Kaler's where Jeff really really enjoyed his lobsters. I got garlic butter shrimp. Not bad. I think Jeff enjoyed his lobsters much more. To be honest and all. Because that's what I am striving for! While we were finishing up, we asked about the church we were getting to for our meeting. Someone overheard us as we were getting misinformation from the waiter. They offered to give us a ride and we did take them up on it, which was really nice because it was not (our) walking distance from the restaurant. It was rainy and cold and the ride was really nice, even when Jeff started talking about the 7pm service that we were going to. They started talking about the new minister and asked if he was Episcopalian. He said "we are Quaker and Jewish" and I said "guess who is who" and they seemed to get a kick out of that.

After they dropped us off super super early (6:10pm), we started to investigate the beautiful new church. Some other people showed up. They actually had tea to drink as well as the requisite coffee. There was a birthday cake and a really nice share by someone celebrating his 30 year birthday. After the meeting, one of the men was talking with Jeff and we shared the story about the cab ride and how Jeff did not know the cab driver was a woman. The man simply said with brutal honesty, "it's some times hard to tell the difference between a Maine woman and a man". I think that made Jeff feel a little better.

Thursday we went to a noon meeting at another church, followed by another meal at Kaler's. We then drove to Greenville. I will save Greenville for later.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are you there God, it's me Alyssa

As we headed into the Boothbay region, I spoke with my sister and told her where I was and my nephew said "no fair". I don't blame him. I love this area and have come here with my family for so long, but always in the summer. It was a new experience to come with my husband in the RV, but I pointed out some of the places and it looks like he likes it also.Phew!

We arrived at Gray's homestead campground at around 5-6pm and found the most magnificent spot. I couldn't believe we had such a beautiful lot to park on right on the ocean. Apparently someone had this special spot reserved and everything and could NOT get their truck and fifth wheel in it. Personally, I heard that he wasn't experienced enough and it could have been done...selfishly I was glad, very glad...I have to admit that we loved the spot even when we just saw it on their map, site unseen. We paid for two nights in cash (they don't accept anything other than cash and traveler's checks). We got to the site, backing in (again, the Royal We) and overhanging just a bit so that our bedroom is practically over a bit of water. It is spectacular. We built a fire and realized that this is what we have been looking for!! So really, with a really long day behind us, I should have been so very tired.

Why, oh why couldn't I sleep.I probably got an hour or so ( but it didn't seem like it). I woke up feeling horrendous. I felt that I hadn't slept. The bed was so uncomfortable. Jeff was snoring. I couldn't move comfortably, on my back, on my side, on my belly. I COULD.NOT.SLEEP. The beautiful sound of the water lapping at the rocks. The pitter patter of the rain. The dogs keeping us warm. I COULD.NOT.SLEEP. I prayed for just an hour of hard sleep. I couldn't sleep. I realized a lot of things just were upside down, not right. just not working for me. I went outside when the rain stopped...peacefully and had a cigarette. That's one of the BIG things NOT working for me. I can't stand it. I keep quitting and going back when I am stressed. I hate it. The bed is not working for me...I felt horribly homesick. I just wanted the routine of back home and the people I can call up and see them. Have lunch with my friends. Go to the Mall. Not that I could have done ANY of these things at 330 in the morning, which turned into 430 in the morning. Finally I got Jeff's attention after I have been crying, praying, repeating the serenity prayer a trillion times. I just want this to end so I can relax and go to sleep. Homesickness, adjustment, self pity, what ever you want to call it, I don't care. I just want to sleep.

Jeff woke up and talked to me in bed for a while and then we got up and we smoked.I told him that this has to end, the smoking. I can't stand it. He agreed (at least for me quitting!) and was glad I had put into effect a no smoking rule in the RV. It is SOOO much nicer now that we smoke outside the RV. I want to get the nicorette gum at the next major pharmacy we come across. I know I have promised my mom and dad and all caring family and friends to stop smoking. And I have been able to for periods at a time. Then something happens. I need more faith that if I can outlast the desire for a cigarette or that lurking notion that I think I actually need one, I will be fine. I think there is something in the second step for me in that. Even though technically the second step and the idea that there is a HP between me and alcohol can also go for cigarettes. I am sure of it. I just need to pray for the courage to get past that moment when I think I absolutely want or need one (because we all know we do NOT need cigarettes ever). But I digress, slightly.

Jeff suggested that we watch an episode of the Sopranos and gave me my medication to help me sleep (which I never did take that night). Then we both crawled back in bed and listened to the pitter patter as I serenely fell asleep. Thank you God. Thank you Jeff, my husband who I can always wake up when I feel like this (although I really don't want to).

So I am going to really work on a date where I can quit. I HATE smoking. Bye bye Marlboro..pick on someone your own size. Jeff has soothed me enough after my episode and I woke up this morning at 1100 am or so and I didn't have a smoke till after noon. Progress not perfection.

When in Rome...

...hit a meeting in a wonderful little church on a Monday evening at 8pm. Rome, NY that is. We, that's the Royal We because We is really Jeff, drove from Niagara Falls to Rome, NY on Monday to catch this meeting that I found on my Blackberry. Yay New York for having a fairly reasonable New York AA site that can be easily navigated on a BlackBerry (sorry, I can't say that same thing for you Indiana AA). We drove up the church parking lot just as the church bells struck 8. This is just perfect. We followed another anonymous alcoholic (he was try to finish smoking...clear giveaway so close to a church and all) into the side entrance of the church into the basement.

This was a meeting that started just minutes before we got there so I am not sure if they did introductions, but after the meeting when we introduced ourselves, they realized they forgot to ask about visitors, but that was quite okay. We listened to alcoholics help out a newcomer and really, isn't that what its all about? We have meetings so that we can help the newcomer and this guy seemed so scared. Jeff shared, but I just stayed quiet...yes, little ol' me...quiet... It is really nice to get to a meeting where people share with the same quirky experiences, down and dirty experiences, and mostly just how they got their first step...pretty much like any meeting I have been to. It's good to go anywhere and (for the most part) get the same clear message. I say for the most part and I will leave it at that. We were grateful to find this meeting in Rome. Thanks New York AA for posting it and thanks to Betty, our fearless Garmin GPS, for getting us there safely!

After we left the meeting, Jeff drove clear from Rome NY (our detour from Niagara Falls) to the state line in Maine and we crashed in the visitor's center at 0345 Tuesday morning! We then found a few brochures, thanks to Jeff's jaunt to the actual visitor center lobby. We picked out a brochure and went that afternoon to Gray's Homestead campground. That's for the next posting.

We are keeping true with getting at least one meeting in every state we stay in (not necessarily every stop within the same state). We are looking forward to our Maine meetings.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

On the road

Thanks for being patient...anyone out there who is actually checking in with my blog site!!Anyone?Bueller? I finally have reliable Internet service, thus the post right before this (mostly all about the birthplace of AA).

I have been in the road for about 18 days before in the RV before (in May for my first time EVER in a RV overnight). What is different now is that I know we are off for the long haul. We don't want to return till we know there will be no more snow in Colorado for the season next year. We probably will be back some time late April or early May unless we sell the house! In that case, we will be home to get things in order. But I digress...what I am really getting at is the simple fact that we will be in the RV for a REALLY LONG TIME. We have already done some amazing things and it's just been everything I was hoping for. We already got across the country for the most part passing through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York. We have only stayed in a KOA once (Gothenburg, NE) and another RV Campground in Illinois. We are trying to save any money we can on campgrounds and stay at truck stops or rest areas whenever able. Jeff has been the sole driver...I know.I know. People have told me every state along the way, every step of the way that I should learn to be comfortable driving the RV. I have not reached that comfort zone yet.

We finally reached New York when I realized how close my birth place was. For about a second, I wanted to visit the hospital where I was born in Buffalo...then all I really wanted to do is visit Niagara Falls since I have never been there. Jeff drove almost there last night. When we woke up this morning, we were 30-60 minutes from Niagara Falls. I called my mom to celebrate the return to my birthplace. She confirmed for Jeff that there probably is no really great reason to search the streets of Buffalo to search for Millard Fillmore Hospital, but there is a much better reason to seek out the Maid of the Mist.

Before I could investigate the Maid of the Mist, I had to eat. I was hungry... wanting to eat is not surprising for me, but the urgency varies..slightly. I usually range from "I'm OK...I could eat" to "if I don't eat RIGHT NOW, I will get very anxious, quite unpleasant and highly annoying" in no time flat. It will seem as though I haven't eaten for days, even if it has only been twenty minutes since my last package of gummy bears and a few hours since my last meal. Ask Jeff. Better yet, you can always ask my mom. Apparently I have been like this for a really long time. As I walked in the Hard Rock Cafe with Jeff, people followed very closely. People who resembled Elvis. Plural, I know...which means there were ELVISES walking into the Cafe. There is no where better suited for them in Niagara Falls than the HRC.

We then went on a walk near the Falls which is in a word breathtaking. As I got closer and closer making it possible to see the Maid of the Mist, Jeff agreed that we should just go on the boat now as it was looking very easy to go. We didn't have to wait at all to get tickets or board the boat. I am sure this is 100% due to the fact we were in the off season. I am 100% okay with travelling in the off season. I was sooo happy we went on the Maid of the Mist that you may even see a photo of me uploaded on Facebook.

I promise to be better with the blogging! If you are out there and you are reading this, I hope to catch a meeting in a small town in NY and shortly thereafter arrive in Greenville, Maine to meet my sister in law and my mother in law!

See you soon!

A meeting in every state & my experience in Akron, Ohio

I have had a few blog postings I have been meaning to write on varied topics, but I will enter them separately as I can! The internet availability has proven to be a bit of an obstacle, but I intend to be able to get internet somewhere, somehow!! The first week has actually gone really quickly. I was hoping to get to a meeting in every state. To be really honest, this is not going to be possible. Our new proposal is to get to a meeting in every state that we stay at least one night in! Honesty...progress, not perfection....

We got to a meeting in Lincoln (NE), Iowa City (IA), Princeton (IL), and Akron (OH). Our meetings have been amazing and I could not have been happier to meet people all over the place. We got to Akron on Saturday. I got goose bumps just being within 30 minutes of Akron, the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous. The emotions are incredible. Just pulling into Akron and locating Ardmore was amazing. The street is still cobblestone and the home is a nice corner property. We parked the RV and walked up 12 steps (is this a coincidence? I think not) to 855 Ardmore. We walked in and a friendly volunteer (who happened to be a Friend of Bill W.’s) said, “Welcome Home”….Wow!! As I moved into one of the rooms, I can't explain how amazing it was to see an artifact from history in front of artifact used by the typist to complete the Big Book's manuscript....I got to see the actual typewriter used to type the text for our Big Book and the stories that were in the back (of course it wasn't really termed the Big Book back during the manuscript production). The foundation apparently archived enough documents to get the house next door and a lot of them are housed right next to Dr. Bob’s home. We went up stairs and saw some of Dr. Bob’s secret hiding places for his stashes of booze….very ingenious doctor (ha!). He used one of the rooms for his surrender room and a newer copy of the big book was open to the third step prayer, though the room reportedly was where he really originally decided he was done with the whole drinking business. I guess I still had to be a tourist (in awe) because we put our chips down near the book and took a picture. This was such an amazing experience. We then went and saw a reprint of the original Saturday Evening Post article by Jack Alexander (that’s mentioned in the Big Book). Very intense. I felt that I was stepping into Bill’s story….I felt I needed more of Bill’s story and really wanted to go the meeting held at the old Hotel Mayflower, but not before I had Jeff take a picture of me on the 9th step in front of Dr. Bob’s home.

With Jeff’s expert detective work, we knew the Hotel Mayflower was no longer operational in its original form-it was now housing for senior residents and those with special needs…or something. When we went into the city of Akron and found this place, it was evidently sad and depressing. This large building, this old antique hotel, apparently very special back in the day, is now more or less dilapidated and neglected, lacking much of the security for its residents that I was told it had. The economy of Akron is definitely not what it used to be (as I can imagine). When we stepped inside, we got to the lobby and saw “The Phone” and the Church Directory!! WOW! Even though the bar is no longer there, I still felt like I was back in 1935 and I felt the emotions that possibly every other AA feels when standing right in front of a piece of critical history. I try not to get into the “what if’s” that I constantly asked my sponsor(s) in the first years of my sobriety (“what if Bill just went to the bar anyway?”, “what if Dr. Bob kicked him out and wouldn’t even give him 15 minutes”). What if what if what if????Shut up shut up shut up. We aren’t really in the “why” business anymore, right?

Then we went to the meeting at 6pm on Saturday at the Mayflower. Jeff knew this was not the safest part of town. I think I was probably na├»ve, even though I saw that the dilapidated architecture closely mirrored the apparent saddened economical state of the city. The meeting, regardless of its surroundings was awesome…its always great to be in a meeting of AA anywhere in the country. Welcome home!