Saturday, October 25, 2008

NY Adventure: Part I (Amtrak)

We made it to NY. The trip on Amtrak was long (way too long, but then again you have to understand that I am the kind of person who detests being in travel mode for more than about 3 hours at a time. Which also means that I loathe car trips,, but other than the length it was quite pleasant. The station in Rocky Mount, NC is very old, but perfectly preserved. It was so pretty that we had to take a few pictures. I would share those right now, but the thought of unpacking the camera and transferring pictures right now makes me want to die (we are exhausted). But we found the train to be way more comfortable than flying for this distance trip.
The seats....oh my Lord, the seats are HUGE, and they have footrests, and recline fairly far back.
They are also equipped with an electrical outlet which means you could watch DVD's on the laptop, but we didn't bring any with us (we may buy some for the trip home though).

Anyway, it went smoothly, the train was on time, and we walked out of Penn Station to pouring rain (ugh), and the scariest cab ride EVER!!! Ok, it might have something to do with the fact that I am now completely paranoid that everytime I get into a car somebody is going to crash into me, but still....I just couldn't watch. I held my breath until we got to the apartment.
And so we made it one piece. We ran out to have dinner, ran by a little market right across the street for essentials (coffee!!!), and although we imagined that we would rush right out to soak up some NY nightlife, the pouring rain and our pure exhaustion has totally squelched those plans. Its not a big deal though. This front is supposed to blow over by morning, and it looks like we are going to have beautiful sunny days hovering around 60 degrees for the rest of the week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

You will NOT believe this...

I was on my way to work this morning, at a stop light less than half a mile from our house, when this woman slams into the back of my car. My car that I just bought 3 weeks ago to replace the OTHER car that got smashed back in mid-September. Do I have a target painted on my car that I am not seeing????

Anyway, I am fine. I feel a little bit sore, but that could be from nerves and tension. I am still really shaken up though. I am becoming positively phobic about driving, I swear. But the woman that hit me was really nice, and terribly apologetic. The left-turn light turned green, and she had a total brain fart, and assumed it was her time to go, so she floored it. Right into the back of me. My poor car has a completely smashed up back bumper, and the trunk is bowed up and not closing. But we have already dropped it off at a body shop. Luckily we know this man who owns a decent body shop here in town, and he has done work for us before. He is going to begin the work on it while we are out of town. After the insurance company gets the chance to check it out and ok everything. Because seriously? We ARE getting on that train bound for NY tomorrow. Thank God I wasn't injured. And if every cloud really does have a silver lining, the silver part for me is that I now have the rest of the day off to get packed and ready. I was geared up to do some speed packing tonight after work, and that always makes me feel like I am forgetting something important. How crazy. Also, I will be glad to take a break from driving in NY. We will use taxis and subways and I won't have to get behind the wheel for at least a week now. Is it possible to get disability due to a complete phobia of driving???? Cuz I feel like I might end up that way. There was no way to avoid this one. No way at all. And that is just scary.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthdays and other stuff....

We went to visit Bruce's great Aunt Grace this afternoon. She is 88 years old today, and I think that's quite an achievement. We brought her some pretty fall mums, and cupcakes. Because you just have to have cake on your birthday. Its like required or something. A quick note to Jeanne and Lori, she really loved getting cards from both of you. She was so proud of them that she had to show off the pictures of the girls that you had sent her. Aunt Grace was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, and right now she is confined to a nursing home. But she is still extremely alert, and able to carry on a serious conversation. Her hope is to be able to go home. She is very matter-of-fact about dying. She talks about it openly and easily. She knows her time is limited, but she would really prefer to do her dying at home, in her own space. I hope that happens for her. But our visit with her was surprisingly upbeat, and she is in good spirits. Both her daughters were there to share a birthday dinner with her, so we didn't stay too long.

Also....Jeanne gave me another goat today!!! It was an early Christmas present, and I am so excited. I almost have me a herd going on here. I talked to Stephen tonight, and he was thrilled to hear that the goat-giving seemed to be catching on. Well, my sister was so impressed by it that she is insisting that I give her a goat on her birthday now. Actually it also inspired us to do some research into other charitable ways to help out around the world in lieu of Christmas gifts. We have decided that we both have way too much "stuff". And instead of sending each other yet another sweater, or book, or...whatever, we are going to spend the money on some special charities that support causes that we care about.

Anyway, we leave for NY on Saturday. We will have internet access, and of course my laptop will be traveling with us, so I hope to blog some travel news while we are gone. Maybe post a few pictures along the way. We will also have cell phones, so we will be in touch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just VOTE already!!!

We voted today. It was surprisingly busy for an early voting place. We didn't have to really wait long, but there was a steady line going through. It makes me shudder to think what the lines will be like on November 4th. Some people that I have talked to have some qualms about whether or not the early votes will be counted properly, so they are waiting until the actual day. I never really thought of that. I guess it could potentially happen, but I seriously doubt it. Everything looked official, and there was a machine that you fed your ballot into at the end that kept a count of how many votes had been cast. My ballot made 4788. My son said it was around 4000 when he went in to vote this morning. It looks like they are averaging about 1,000 early votes a day.
And this is a relatively small town, so....?

Also, when I got home from work this afternoon my big pumpkin on our front porch had been stolen and there was a ransom note taped to my front door. HAHA!! It was Stephen and Hannia, and they want cold hard cash to bring my pumpkin back home safely. Hilarious!!! I got a HUGE kick out of that. But before you think my son and his wife are evil, I actually told Stephen this weekend to come by and get the pumpkin since I am not going to be home for Halloween. I just didn't expect a ransom note.

Other Halloween stuff: Erica is headed to Nashville with a group of friends to celebrate there.
The theme of their party is "80's videos". I really tried to get her to dress up as one of the Robert Palmer girls. You remember them? The short tight black dresses, pulled back hair, and red lipstick. It would be an easy costume to pull together. But she has opted instead to go for the Olivia Newton John look from "lets get physical" song. She has the tights, leg warmers and head band all ready to go. I know they will have a blast.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


No, really, seriously I actually got a goat!!! I have been wanting a goat for a long time, because I love animals, and the bottom line is that goats are just cool! But anyway, Stephen and Hannia bought me a goat via a donation program called IHF which can be found here:

My goat... my real live actual goat has been taken to a needy family in the East Central Pokot region of Africa where she will provide milk, cheese, and potential breeding of other goats to help feed these hungry people. This was my birthday present, but apparently it takes quite a long time to transport the goat to the family, and have a volunteer go out and get a picture of my goat. My real live actual goat. I have a picture, and no, those lovely goats at the top of this post are not her. When (if) I ever figure out how to scan something with this new-fangled printer/scanner/fax device that we just got, I will definitely post a picture of MY goat. She is beautiful. And she is standing with a member of the family that is taking care of her, too. I say that with vagueness only because the person with my goat looks kind of like a man, but is also wearing a dress, so we aren't quite sure....?

But anyway, I own a goat and that makes me happy. And she doesn't live here where we would struggle with the problems of how to get somebody to take care of her whenever we travel, and THAT makes my husband happy. And she is usefully providing a family with milk and cheese, so I can only imagine that they are happy too. Its a happy situation all the way around. You just can't beat that!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ready for it to be over...

I am so ready for this election to be over. And no, I'm not going to start in more political stuff, I promise. But its all wearing thin and it will be nice when its all done with. We have decided to go do the early voting thing again this year. Really, its so nice. You walk right up, do your thing, and walk back out in mere minutes. The last presidential election that I voted on the actual election day, I kid you not, I waited in a long line that wound around the building for an eternity. Since then our county has made it easy to vote early, so we plan to take care of that this week.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to say....My son takes this stuff really seriously. And it makes me proud of him, that he cares about the process. His political views are very similar to ours (fairly liberal). But he took the time, and made the effort to do some research to figure out the political standings of pretty much every candidate that will be on our local ballot. I'm talking about city commissioners, judges, etc...The whole bunch of them. And while I actually do make the effort to know what I'm voting for in the major elections, I generally have NO real clue as to who the rest of the people are in these small local elections. I will this time around though. He is enlightening us as to who stands for/believes in/votes for what. In fact, he is coming over tomorrow evening to give us the scoop on his picks (and the whys) before we head over to the early voting polls on Wednesday. This makes me happy.

And while I am bragging about my beloved son, I need to tell you something else: My son and his wife are going to be Power Puff girls for Halloween....HAHAHAHA! And IF I can get my hands on some pictures of them in full costume, I WILL post them here. Of course, we are going to be out of town, but I am trusting Hannia to be sure to get some good shots.

I think Stephen is planning to be the orange-haired one, named Blossom.