This has been about the least sparkly birthday I’ve had in recent memory.  I blame the poison rum (we didn’t even drink that much), but we have been draggy all week-end.  Could be the fact that there has been No Sunshine Just Rain and the associated gloom that goes with gray clouds and a pelting, pouring rain that started the opening lines of The Cat in the Hat looping through my brain…

the sun did not shine.
it was too wet to play.
so we sat in the house
all that cold, cold, wet day.

i sat there with casey.
we sat there, we two
and I said, "how i wish
we had something to do"
too wet to go out
and too cold to play ball.
so we sat in the house.
we did nothing at all.

so all we could do was to
and we did not like it.
not one little bit.  
                             (But there was no bump, that made us jump...)

All of this slo-o-o-w nothing has moved us to get moving.  We’ve changed up our travel plans and will be leaving next Sunday for various and sundry places in Florida.  We had planned on leaving by the 8th anyway, but why wait?  Did I mention it’s Dullsville around here?  I’m neck-deep in planning and we’ve been doing some re-arranging of the trailer, upgrading our shower, organizing the bathroom, preparing for a longer trip.  I’m so excited to get gone.

Yesterday we met up with the Jrs. at Gattitown to celebrate Samantha’s birthday with them and some of my daughter-in-law’s family! Rain does not stop the fun there and we had a great time…

Today the sun is out! We’re outside and loading up the camper..!

Instead of switching over to my travelblog, I’m going to make Sonnystone the Trailer Trippers, so All of my regular readers can share our trip with us. Stay tuned!



Weekly Report

I was going to post this on Thursday, but the tragic murders of students and teachers in Broward County, Florida left me speechless and grieving.  Oh, yeah, I joined in a few “debates” about what we should do about these recurring murders, but the grief I feel for these families who have lost their loved ones so senselessly is beyond words.  Hearing so many of the adults in the room defend the gun is mind-boggling, but the voices of the kids who are crying out for us to do something is clear.  We need to do something to keep our schools safe.  I just don’t know what, though.

When I was working as a school nurse, I came across some pretty fucked-up kids.  Sometimes I got a little scared that we were going to end up in a shooting situation. Would I have been a hero?  I have no idea.  I’m thankful that it was not required of me, but I had a spot picked out where I would  hide, and would have been safer than the kids in their classrooms.  We need to Do Something.   Listen to the children, hear them.  What can we do to help?  Let’s do it.

So, it seems a little trite, but this is what we did last week…

We finished up the Stairway Remodel…

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Pretty neat, huh?  I’m off to Amazonia this morning to enjoy the warmth and the Orchids.  I’d love to see some of you there!!  Even if I’m not present during your visit, I know the monkeys would be happy to see you!


Going dark…

I’ve been doing this blog thing for…oh, my gosh, it’s been nearly 14 years!!!  Over a thousand posts, hundreds of thousands of words, a plethora of pictures, and about 300+ readers followed along the way.

The original Sonnystone Acres morphed into The News, then expanded to include 3 other blogs:  Growing Every Season, Rave On,  MadWoman, and Trailer Trippin’.  (Growing is a seasonal gardening blog and the trippers only post when we are traveling —unless it’s to Disney, which goes on The News.)

Anyone who has tried to maintain a blog can tell you it’s not easy. Each post takes a couple of hours to write, even if it’s a photoblog.   It’s intimidating to hit the publish button…you are putting your Self out there…and I’ve written plenty of stuff that I decided to not share. If you want folks to come back, it has to be published consistently and it has to be at least decent, and interesting, or have pictures of darling children!..  Over the years, I’ve often sacrificed quality just to get something posted, but overall, I’m proud of what I’ve written.  It’s been rare that anyone has actually criticized me, though I can always count on my family to point out my weaknesses.  It’s almost as rare that anyone has actually “liked” my posts on wordpress!!

My faithful readers have shared my joy–births of 4 grand-daughters, 5 Camp Sonnystones, 6 Disney trips– and my pain–Eric’s 1.5 years of fighting cancer, deaths of friends, that damn hip thing.  I sincerely appreciate you.

Lately, though, I’ve felt more obligated than inspired…

So I feel like I have to tell you that I’m taking a 6-week-sabbatical from The News.  The MadWoman will likely be in touch, and I’ve got a few other writing projects going, but mostly I want to just shut up for a while.

I know I’ll be back in time to celebrate the February birthdays, so we’ll get together then!


Weekly Wrap…

Last week was catch-up time here at Sonnystone.  The garden was showing signs of powdery mildew, so we neemed and trimmed.  We officially moved to the downstairs bedroom, and turned on the a/c.  We put up the new pool, a 14×36 cheapo from Big Lots, and put in a trellis around its west perimeter.   The hot, muggy weather made it the perfect coolant after doing our chores.


I may have mentioned that I am not at all comfortable in water that is over my head, or too close to my nose for that matter.  I had a traumatic near-drowning experience when I was a teenager, swimming up at the stripper pits in Pelzer.   I never swam, or floated, in the pits after that and will have nothing to do with lakes or ponds, either.  When my children outgrew the baby pool, I started sending them off with other adults so that I didn’t have to brave the anxiety of watching their heads bobbing around in a sea of rowdy splashers, or hide my panic as I watched fretfully for them to resurface after diving.   Both of my kids are excellent swimmers and think I’m just being my usual neurotic self, like when I won’t let them near edges…   The grandkids sort of know that if they’re going to a Real Pool, JoJo will not be there, because it makes her nervous…no one likes to make me nervous…

I am, however, a World-Class air-mattress-floater, and have taught the girls how to slither into the pool without getting wet, a skill that will serve them well, long after their desire to do the breaststroke has left.  We bought some new rafts this year and I’m floating high on the water…

I’ve been doing this 15:9 intermittent fasting thing and have taken off a couple of lbs in prep for the bathing suits.  Of course, there’s 15 more to go, but I don’t think that’s going to be happening in the summertime.  I sweat like a…well, there is a small fountain at the top of my head that opens up whenever my body temperature goes above 98, pouring perspiration over my face, into my ears, funneling down the delta of my chest to saturate my clothing.  This sweating thing really is an excellent excuse to not work too hard in mid-day heat, and the chiggers are the excuse to stay on the screened porch at dusk and dawn.  With all that work-avoidance, and the holistic approach of treating sweating with cold beer, I’ll be happy to just maintain….because I’m old and confident…

I spent a welcome rainy Sunday reading for a new Book Challenge.  Willard Library’s Adult Reading Challenge invites you to read 10 books from 10 categories to be entered into a drawing for $250.  I think it’s read 3-4, you’re in for $50, going up with however many you read.  Thus far, I have read “book with a 1-word title” (Commonwealth) and “book with an animal as a character (Travels with Charley).  Currently reading “A Hillbilly Elegy”.

It looks like a lazy week up ahead and we’re going to take full advantage.  Though Casey will always find a project, he’s making good progress in sitting around with me.  Next week we are busybusy, and The Jose’ fam will be here before we know it.

We’re scheduling our Camp Sonnystone activities and trips.  Do you have a suggestion?  Have you been to the elephant ranch?  What did you think?  Emma and Eliza will be attending a week-end Feis in St. Louis at the end of the month and I hope we have time to hit the zoo and the arch, too.  Closer to home, we will visit our zoo and museum,  Ellis Park,  New Harmony and Harmonie State Park.   Am I missing anything?  Riverfronts, both Eville and Newburgh, perhaps?  There will be the usual arts, crafts, and music.  I’m thinking let the kids do some photography, too.  Soo excited.

With the Solstice in 2 days, this may be my last post for Spring at Sonnystone…  It’s a beautiful, 72-degrees and sunny, day and I’m going to get out there and do nothing…and perhaps a little nap afterwards…






Retirement, so far…

It’s been nearly 6 months since hubby’s last day at the highway, officially 12/16/16.  I was in NYC on the actual party day, but he was properly fete’d by all the young guys to whom he has been a mentor, as well as a whole quarry of old codgers who had worked with him in the past.  When I returned to Sonnystone on the 19th, our new life began.

At first, it was kind of like going away to college–we were free to stay up all night and/or to sleep all morning.  It was the holiday season, so we decked the halls and all that.  After the New Year, he dove right in and remodeled the laundry room.  It was a mild winter, so we spent part of February blazing a new path and making space for gnomes in our woods.   We spent a week on Dauphin Island in March.  By the time I solo’d to NYC again in April, he had nearly completed the new garden beds and fences.  After planting, we took a break to camp in the Smokies, and ever since we have been continuing to spruce up for the summer season.   We babysit the grandkids frequently and he has done some work over at the Jrs. house.  His usual mowing, wood-chopping, and fixing jobs have kept him busy and he claims that except for the machinery, he doesn’t miss work at all.

As for me, I am delighted to have him here to pal around with, but…  I write less, I read less, and I have given up watching what I want on TV.    My blogs are quickly-put-together pictures and commentary, not much more.  I haven’t sat down and spent a day working on Any project like I used to.  Though we’ve settled into a routine (we go to bed early and get up early), I haven’t yet been able to incorporate any Me time into it yet.  I still clean the house and cook the meals, all our traditional gender-based duties, and his constant gotta-be-doing-something has rubbed off and I am outside attracting chiggers and skeeters more than in my whole life.  The other morning, for the first time, I kinda wished he would go to work so I could just be alone.  Just one day.

By the time the pensions and annuities and social security kicked in, I had stressed over the insurance premiums (less than we paid at the state, thank-you, President Obama) and started feverishly throwing money into savings.  By May it was worked out, but the picture is not as rosy as I had hoped.   It’s doubtful we can afford to be snowbirds this year, but that’s due to the fact that we are taking 2 (yes, two) trips to WDW, one in October with the Jrs. and in January or March with the newyorkers.   Overall, though, the worry was unnecessary, as usual.  He wasn’t worried at all…

This morning I am up early to finish packing, grabbing an alone minute or two.  We are driving up to Indy and flying from there to LaGuardia.  Eliza is graduating from kindergarten at St. Joseph and they make a big deal of it.  We went for Emma’s, so we’re keeping it even, and I’m going to wear the same hat.  (I made a wonderful friend at Emma’s kindergarten party: Brownie Severine.  I doubt I’ll get so lucky this trip.)   The girls are doing their Irish dancing on Saturday, and we’ll head home Sunday morning.  Together.

So far, So good…


Another Week-end Wrapped Up

We arrived back at Sonnystone early afternoon Thursday.  You can read about our trip at My Travel Blog.  Wink had traveled very well, (even alerting us to bear outside the camper one night!) but was glad to get back to his old box, as were we.

Saturday was Olivia’s Dance Recital (as well as the Preakness, which did not turn out well, but I don’t wanna talk about it).  She has really improved and this year was her best.  In fact, the whole (half) of the recital that I watched was better than the last few.  It’s tough to get dancing pictures from the cheap seats without blur, but here’s my best of her best…

Didn’t I warn you about what happens when we go off-grid?  While we were in the Smokies, the news cycle was Spinning, and when I came out of the no-news-zone it took several hours of reading to catch up with the chaos.  I’m glad I missed it in real time.  Reading it all summed up was anxiety-producing enough…  Of course, those of you who watch faux news 24/7 don’t have any idea what I’m talking about…

Busy week ahead.   The garden is growing strong.  Check out the photos at My Garden Blog.  Until we meet again…



Ghosts of Birthdays Past–2005

It’s birthday week!  I turn 64 on Thursday, so let’s start the party!

I have had some stellar birthdays, and 2005 was a particularly eventful celebration.  These blog posts are from the Original Sonnystone Acres.  It was a primitive platform and I was a primitive writer.  I did not use caps. I did not use paragraphs.  Sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking.  I don’t know if I even owned the Nikon yet, but I remember I had to upload pictures to Fickr and then transfer them to the post.  I had nil choice of themes.   I loved blogging from the first, though, and you must admit, I have evolved…

Step into the Way-Back machine…


February 18, 2005

opening act

Filed under: Uncategorized — TheBug @ 7:46 pm

february needed a boost, so i was born…. it is my custom to observe Birthday Week. The Celebration kicks off tomorrow when the husband and i head south to music city tn for what is becoming a birthday tradition: the grand ole opry. during january and february the opry is broadcast at the Ryman Auditorium. as i was glancing at upcoming guests, i saw one of my all-time faves: Emmylou harris. her first album, with “one of these days”, is a well-worn treasure in my life. i had almost forgotten the first time i “met” her live and in person: i was married to a no-good (but charming) rascal and was working a lot at the steakhouse while he babysat young moon. one day in february, Marshall Tucker Band was scheduled to perform in our homeburg. while i was at work, mr. B loaded up moon and went over to the local holiday inn where he boldly proceeded to knock on the door of one of the band members and introduce himself and his daughter. the whole group fell all over her, naturally. i had to work the night they were in evansville, so he got us tickets to their performance in nashville a couple of days later—my Birthday. when we went to nashville we had backstage passes (got to drink their beer and eat their chips).  Emmylou was their opening act and we got to meet her! and charlie daniels, tommy & toy. we watched the first part of the show from backstage, so in a way i’ve never “seen” emmylou perform– but i’ll see her tomorrow night, along with vince gill, nasvhille bluegrass band, the whites, etc, etc: at the Grand Ole Opry.

February 20, 2005

saturday night at the opry

Filed under: Uncategorized — TheBug @ 3:28 pm

who-oo-o-oo-ewh!!! or however you spell it. we got lost going over to the botanical gardens, so we went downtown to eat first. driving down broadway in nashville i was attracted to a really clever neon sign featuring pigs with wings…after parking we walked down to jack’s bbq. the sign on the door said something like “the only thing smoking in jack’s had better be the meat” and upon stepping into the place i was high on the smell of the smoking pork shoulder that permeated the wood floors and ceilings.

i am sorry to report that i did not try all of the sauces, but can testify that the vinegar-based pepper-spiced sauce brought me to tears. we went to the botanical gardens after eating, but i will wait for another post with that story.

we ended up downtown around 6:pm and made our way beer-by-beer through dives such as bluegrass inn, second fiddle, the stage, and finally landed at Robert’s Western World.

Sadly, I don’t remember the name of this band, but they were inspiring. they evoked images of my daddy with their menu of 1960’s to 1980’s country music: merle haggard, ray price, buck owens, johnny paycheck songs; titles like “goin’ down the road feeling bad” “is it cold in here, or is that you?”, “rollin in my sweet baby’s arms”, “the only daddy that’ll walk the line”, and an instrumental of “ghost riders in the sky” that left me convinced that there are fourteenhundredandthirtyfour guitar pickers in nashville that can play better than any other guitar picker anywhere. after an hour and a half of them, the opry was pretty tame, but Emmylou hosted her half-hour and included “get up, john”, one of my favorite bill monroe numbers. it’s a mandolin-dominated song and she couldn’t help but dance, but my picture of her dancing was distorted. she introduced vince gill, he played one song and she came back and sang with him an old gospel song…sweet harmony.