Tuesday, June 30, 2009

T-2 Review

No, it's not Terminator 2 but Transformers 2 - Revenge of the Fallen.

We just got back from seeing the second installment of the Transformers franchise. My son begged me to wait until after his return from Europe to see it. Of course, it's always more fun with him in tow because he knows more about the Transformers characters and storyline than I do (like how they made Jetfire an SR-71 Blackbird instead of the space shuttle).

I've been hearing the panning of the movie, how it has no storyline and all action. Personally myself I saw a very clear storyline. No it isn't as good as the first one, but I liked how they utilized Major (was Captain) Lennox and his military crew in a secret alliance with the Autobots. The Nest was quite cool indeed. I've a feeling alot of the panning came from certain factors in the White House that made the current Administration appear on the negative side. Purely my own speculation.

The storyline about how Sam's mind now holds the secret originally contained in the Cube, mostly destroyed in the original movie, is really interesting, especially the part in his astronomy class when he says Einstein was wrong and showed up the professor. Really kinda funny in an almost creepy sort of way.

The thing I missed most from the first one was the personal relationship the humans had with the Autobots and vice versa. There also was no Glen for comic relief, only a wimpy and stupid kid this time who thinks he's some sort of computer god. Attempts at comic relief fell far short and devolved into crude and disgusting antics that were completely unnecessary (humping dogs and a mini-con that humps Mikaela's leg are only tips of the pyramid).

There were also a ton of Autobots and Decepticons thrown in without understanding who they were or why they were there. You must have to be a diehard Transformers fan to know who they were and what their purpose served (which, of course, my son is and knew exactly who everyone was). But don't let that stop you even if you don't have the entire franchise stored in your cerebral cortex like my son does.

Overall I enjoyed most of the movie more than I thought I might. A warning, however - this is not for kids and it bothers me that it is marketed as such. My son is sixteen, but I'd have NEVER taken him to see this one even just a few years ago simply because of the extreme nature of sensuality and the massive use of four-letter words. It wouldn't have detracted in any way shape or form to exclude most of this, and probably would have improved the overall effect of the show by exclusion of the aforementioned crudity.

But personal feelings aside, I still enjoyed this movie more than I expected. Our military is once again seen in a positive light, and I'm always supportive of that.

Now I just hope we don't have to go through the mess we did last time to get an actual SOUNDTRACK released of Steve Jablonsky's orchestration in a timely manner. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 29, 2009


Well I was wrong. My son didn't buy a sword in Germany.

He bought two.

Like I said, I know my son. Smart kid though, because instead of trying to pack the swords and carry them through customs, he arranged to have them mailed directly from the store. They should arrive in two to eight weeks.

It's so good to have him home, even though he's still messed up a bit from the time change. Waking up too early and so tired during the day. But this too shall pass.

Kinda funny - when the plane pulled up to the gate, there was a massive swarm of family and friends around the glass. I'd planned appropriately and grabbed one of only two chairs early on at the window so I could watch their approach in relative comfort.

Even though he looked tired, his eyes were bright from the experience as he made his way though the crowd.

He even reached out to hug me first. :-) Usually I'm the one having to squeeze in a hug here or there, because he IS too old now for those affectionate moments, but this time it was him initiating the affection.

What more could a mother want?

Up until about the halfway mark driving home, he chattered along incessantly about different things that happened on the trip, the antics he and the guys participated in at times, his favorite parts of the excursion, the things he didn't like - you name it.

Then suddenly the car was quiet. I looked over to see his head lolled back and his mouth wide open - fast asleep without a moment's notice.

For the next hour and twenty I had a touch of trouble staying awake but knew we'd be just fine. The Lord had answered my prayers with a resounding "yes" that he would have a great experience, he'd make some great friendships, and that this would continue the growth he's had over the past year.

Amen, and amen on all accounts.

Now if he can just get his swords as quickly as possible, he will feel complete.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

He's Back On U.S. Soil

My baby boy is back on U.S. soil!!!!!!!

Their flight from Frankfurt landed almost an hour earlier than anticipated. I've turned on the cell phone just in case he tries to call and touch base with me.

At the moment, I'm sure they're still trying to make it through customs. I've never experienced such an event before since I've never traveled outside the U.S., but from what I've heard it can be quite a lengthy and drawn out experience.

I do have to admit that I'm a little concerned that he is able to get back into the country with all of his spoils. One of the shops in Rothenburg that he made his last purchases at is a decorative weaponry shop, with swords, armor, etc. Since my son collects swords and such, and his transaction was rather large, I'm wondering if the crazy kid bought himself a sword.

Only thing is he's not eighteen, and I've no idea how security and customs will respond to him bringing in a sword, decorative though it may be.

Then again, he may have purchased other things completely unrelated to swords and the like, so I may be concerned for nothing.

But I know my son.

Anyway, worse comes to worse, they'll hopefully arrange to mail the thing to me or let one of the adults claim it through customs. I've been praying that whatever he bought, he'll be able to get home with all of his plunder from the Europe travels.

Regardless, I'll just be glad to hold him in my arms again. Just a few hours remaining and he'll once again be home.

That's the main thing to be thankful for.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Time Has Come

Well this is going to be my last post on my son's Europe adventures until his return. I'm leaving this afternoon to go up to Kansas City to pick him up tomorrow night.

My old choir buddy has lived in Kansas City for almost two years, and she's invited me to spend the night tonight and hang out tomorrow until my son arrives Saturday evening. It's going to be so nice to have time to chill and talk about life in general. I've really missed her.

We used to wreak havoc together in choir, but in a good way. Sometimes church needs a little pick-me-up of energy and excitement. She and I rather bounced off of each other that way when we got to going. Always so much fun and rambunctious. There's really no one else right now that I can do that with in the soprano section, so I'm on my own except when she comes for a weekend visit.

So anyway, I'll be staying with her until time to go pick up my son at the airport. My goodness, it is so hard to believe that sixteen days have almost been wiped off the calendar already. The time has flown this week especially.

Last we left off, they just spent an absolutely fantastic and glorious day in Venice, Italy. Thursday they awakened to prepare for another departure into Germany. On their way to their respective village, they stopped off for a couple of hours at the Dachau Concentration Camp and Museum. What a sobering experience that had to be. Quite a change from the previous day's excursion in Venice.

They had a special Jewish song in their repertoire to commemorate their visit to Dachau. What a haunting moment that must have been to stand in the gallows of hell and sing the song of the Jewish peoples who were snuffed out there. Gives me goosebumps just to think about it.

That evening they arrived in the village of Rothenburg, an ancient walled city of Germany where portions of the old wall still stand today. Wow! Their hotel was in the heart of the old city near these ancient ramparts. After dinner they had time to explore the history of their final stop-off on their European voyage.

Today they've presented an early afternoon concert in historic Rothenburg Market Square, and at this very moment they are finishing their late afternoon final concert at the Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church). I wonder how it feels to be giving their absolutely last concert of the tour. Makes me feel a little sad just thinking about it, though I'm sure there are many who are ready to get it over with and come home.

Market Square is where their famous "Christkindlmarkt" or Christmas Village is located, a spectacular area that is Christmas year-round (I hope he plans to purchase a memento from here, we do love our Christmas after all). Another interesting tidbit of Rothenburg is that it was a defensive position, built high upon a plateau above the Tauber River. Therefore there are numerous ancient fountains and wells dug around town. One sounds especially interesting - St. George's Fountain. Located near where their early afternoon concert took place, this fountain has supplied water since 1446, topped with a figure of St. George complete with a dragon.

I remember that movie about St. George and the Dragon! How funny that he goes to the village where this fabled event took place. :-)

Shortly after dinner tonight, they'll be having their last Farewell to Europe party at the town hall. Will they dance the night away, or will they be so tired that they'll just go back to their hotels and crash? For tomorrow, they load up the coaches one last time to transport to the airport in Frankfurt. Then it's back home to Kansas.

I'll be anxiously waiting for that first glance of recognition.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Days are Dwindling

I received another expenditure notice on my son's Visa cash card. He spent almost $80 at the Swarovski Crystal shop in Innsbruck, Austria.

Sure hope that means he was thinking about me. :-)

So Monday they left the beauty of Switzerland and headed off toward Austria and the village of Seefeld. Another early morning and they hopped on their coaches.

First stop after crossing the Rhine River was a few hours in the tiny country of Liechtenstein for an early picnic lunch in Vaduz, a touch of exploring, and a little bit of shopping (he used the card in Vaduz too). I wonder what all he chose to see here - can hardly wait to ask and see the pictures.

Then it was a scenic drive through the Tyrol region of Austria and onto Seefeld where they checked into their hotels in the late afternoon. The beautiful little church that was represented on their tour brochure cover is here in Seefeld. They mentioned something about searching for the "yodeling bear", but I have no idea what this may truly pertain to. Something else to ask him about when he returns. After dinner, they ended the long day with a concert at St. Oswald's Church.

Tuesday was spent in Innsbruck, Austria (where he bought something(s) at the Swarovski shop), with planned stops enroute to Wilten Basilica and the site of the Winter Olympic Games. The morning and lunch period were spent sight-seeing around Innsbruck starting from the Old Town Square beneath the famous Golden Roof, added in the year 1500 by Austria's first emperor, Maximilian, from which he could watch in private the tournaments and other festivities in the square below. An early evening concert-in-the-park then back to Seefeld for dinner and lights out.

Oh my goodness, Wednesday was one of the biggest things my son was looking forward to the entire trip - VENICE, ITALY. When he received the itinerary, he was disappointed to learn that they were only spending the day in Venice and not at least one overnight. But hey, beggars cannot be choosers.

So Wednesday they got up REALLY early to go from Seefeld, Austria to Venice, Italy for the entire day. At their drop off at the coach park at the Isla del Tronchetto, they collected an early boxed lunch and set off in their vaporetto, or water taxi, for a thirty-minute jaunt into the heart of Venice to meet their tour guide. After an introduction of the wonders of Venice, including the Grand Canal, gondolas, the Bridge of Sighs and ending with a glass-blowing demonstration, they trumped off to St. Mark's Cathedral for their concert then the rest of the afternoon they had free-time to explore the Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, and Italian ice cream.

I can only imagine the incredible views, and I'm getting sick of only imagining at this point.

Their day ended close to midnight as they returned to Seefeld to prepare for their morning departure to Germany, the last stop in their incredible adventure.

The days are rapidly dwindling in his Europe adventure.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Jaunt Down the Road (and other fun adventures)

Busy day tomorrow. I'm heading out of town to go help my sister look at houses to consider for their big move. Gotta get up early in the morning, so I can't stay long.

The book is still going well. Had another cool idea to tie into the storyline with another minor mentioned character. I had to leave him a minor character, but he's going to have some important work to do at the end of the book.

Can't tell you what that's going to be or it'll spoil the surprise.

Needless to say, the idea took me completely by surprise. It'll be an explosive ending to the book. If I handle it right, no one will see it coming.

And that's the way I like it.

So better get to bed and get some beauty sleep. Don't know where it goes, but someone's getting it since I haven't been lately.

But I'm sure having fun with my book in the meantime. Tee-hee!

Monday, June 22, 2009

He's Alive!

My son is alive!

Okay, a little dramatic and over the top, but it's sure good to know he's still kicking it up in Europe. Throughout his travels thus far, I've yet to hear hide nor hair of him. But my philosophy in his regard is no news is good news. Before he left out for Europe, I'd told him not to worry about calling home unless he just wanted to, because I wanted him to know it was okay to just focus on where he was at the time and enjoying the experience, not worrying about back home and all.

So I sent him off with various denominations of pounds, Swiss francs, and euros and with a Visa cash card for extra reassurance so he felt comfortable spending money for food and souveniers without concern of running out of cash. The nice thing about the card is that I can track where he's spending that money and "follow" him throughout his travels.

Only problem is that he hasn't used the dadgum thing! I was beginning to wonder if it wasn't working or if he felt okay spending the money, or what. I'd previously called the bank to let them know the dates he'd be gone and where he'd be so that he wouldn't have any trouble using it when needed.

I'd had a problem like this when I went to Alaska once and the card wouldn't go through because it got flagged by security - I rarely ever used the thing, but a quick call fixed the problem - couldn't be mad or anything, but learned a valuable lesson.

So this morning there was a lovely post reflected in my email - a card transaction. Oh goodie! Of course, it was a souvenier shop in Zermatt, Switzerland, a village near the base of the Matterhorn. I just knew he'd love this portion of the trip. :-) Snow, mountains, and cooler temps are our favorite treats.

So where did we last leave off? Oh yes - they left Paris and arrived in Switzerland on Friday. That was an early morning and a long drive. They were allowed to spend the late afternoon/evening to themselves in the town of Crans-Montana.

Saturday was a morning all to themselves, if they wanted to sleep in a little or get up and around to explore Crans-Montana (I'm wondering what his decision was). At noon they boarded the coaches to tour the Chateau du Chillon (better known as the Castle of Chillon), incorporated into the Lord Byron poem, "The Prisoner of Chillon." A lovely stroll around Lake Geneva to the village of Montreux with a stop at an ice cream delicacy shop along the way completed their afternoon.

After dinner upon their return to Crans-Montana, they prepared for their two-hour sundown Concert in the Alps. Can you imagine the sound of instruments and voices floating in the mountains of Switzerland?

Then Sunday was their incredible day of sight-seeing in Zermatt at the Matterhorn. First it was a thirty-minute cog rail ride from Tasch to Zermatt, then boarding the funiculaire for an IN-mountain ride. Disney's could not possibly match such incredible adventure and breathtaking beauty as the real thing. Deep breath!

While exploring Zermatt, they might have happened upon the famous Climbers Cemetery to view the historic markers or the old log granaries where residents would pilfer "mazot" - thin circular stones, to stop rodents from illicit grain harvesting. Dinner that evening was a special treat, as the Ambassadors were honored guests at the annual Swiss Folklore Celebration, an evening planned with folklore, music, laughter, and general all-around foolishness for their Swiss send-off.

Today it was once again an early morning as they loaded the coaches to spend time in Liechtenstein on their way to Austria.

Just a little more than halfway there - I'm just glad to know he's made it this far.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stealing the Limelight

I've been a bad girl. Forgot to post anything last night.

In all honesty I was writing, just not on my blog. My new storyline is rapidly developing into alot more than I'd originally intended. I'm finding it to be a good thing too.

Take my new detective, for instance. Originally Shaun Landry was going to be a minor character - important, mind you, but minor and only showing up when I needed him.

However, over the last several days he's whispered into my ear an interesting backstory, a sad backstory that lends alot to the overall idea. Then I figured out a way to tie his backstory into the main storyline.

But I'm not going to tell him how just yet.

So what started out as a minor character has quickly developed into a main character. I find myself with not one but two protagonists. Who knows? Detective Landry may end up stealing the entire show.

He does seem to like the limelight, you know.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Continuing Stooory

Welcome to the blog of Europe, the continuing stooory of a boy who left his mother for the great beyond across the blue.

Okay, enough of the theatrics. Figure it's been awhile, so many of you would probably like an update on what's been taking place on my son's trip to Europe. Every morning when I get up, I look to see what he's been up to that day and every night I look at the next to see what is coming up for the group.

Figure you, my readers, may only want a summation instead of a daily play-by-play. So here goes!

Last we left off, the coaches were preparing for the boarding of the ferry for the channel crossing over to Calais, France then onto Paris. They should have arrived in Paris Tuesday evening (for them). Wouldn't it have been neat to see what it might have felt like for early sailors to leave the shores of England behind and yearn for the shores of France through that rough channel? I can only imagine (dadgumit).

So Wednesday morning they awoke to the beauty that is Paris, the City of Lights, the home of La Vie En Rose, sidewalk cafes, and delicious croissants from your neighborhood patisserie. Their first stop of the day was Montmartre, a village within the City of Paris. The village is so old that the coaches cannot navigate through the narrow streets, so they truly experienced this area up close and personal, including Sacre Coeur and the Artists Quarter, where budding painters continue to gather in the haunts of the Impressionists that lived there near the beginning of the 20th century.

After a light lunch in Montmartre, the group boarded their coaches for sightseeing at Notre Dame Cathedral then a walk to St. Severin Church for their late afternoon concert. The exciting part of the day was just waiting to begin, however, as they left their concert venue to board at Pont d'Alma for their evening dinner cruise down the River Seine. I can hear the accordian now!

Thursday was jam-packed. The morning consisted of two hours at the fabulous Eiffel Tower, where over 200 million visitors have walked through the turnstiles. Did you know there is a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty nearby? If you didn't know that the French were responsible for the wonderful gift we Americans hold dear, you should get out your history books (or search it on the internet). The Luxembourg Gardens were the venue for their lunchtime performance, then onto an afternoon at the Louvre Museum.

My son was especially looking forward to this part.

So today was another early morning as they bopped out of bed to load the coaches for their departure from France. But not all hope was lost, for the venue the next several days is nestled in the beauty of the mountains, cradled near Lac Leman (better known as Lake Geneva). Yes, it is time for the transfer to Switzerland. My son will probably like this venue best - why you ask? - it's because of the mountains, snow, and cooler tempertures.

I can just taste the Swiss chocolate right now. I warned my son to be sure and sample several varieties and explore all that chocolate has to offer here. MMmmmm!

Their visit to Switzerland coincides with the annual Swiss Folklore Celebration, of which they will be honored guests.

But that's for another day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Cows Come to Roost?

The blog is getting the last dregs of my day tonight. I hope it ends up being coherent.

The majority of my day was spent serving the needs of my middle sister. Her husband accepted a position in another town several months ago and has been driving an hour and ahalf to work every day - one way. They wanted to allow their youngest son to finish out the school year and spend some time doing a little fix-up on their current home in order to gain the best price. Plus my sister will have to quit her job, for which she already drives out of town.

So she and I have spent alot of time looking online at homes and scouting out properties as I've been down there visiting. Over spring break we spent a day there. During the week of the family reunion we took a day to look at tax properties.

Not a pretty sight, if I do say so myself. But we did manage to find one of the properties she'd seen online back in March that she'd liked. They scheduled to see the inside. I have not.

So their new town will actually be quite a bit closer to me and a nice little jaunt down the highway. Since she's getting down to brass tacks, we spent a good portion of the day on the phone and reviewing some corporate owned homes that they hope to get in to see and perhaps make a low-ball offer. I plan to drive down next week while my son is gone so she and I can spend the day looking at the homes she decides upon from the list we successfully whittled down today.


Then the remainder of my evening I spent delving into the world of my new book. Don't know about you, but when it comes to my characters I have to choose a name that really fits with their personality. Normally when I start thinking about who my character is, a name will pop into my head, I'll wallow in it then feel very comfortable as the name settles in.

For the last several days I've been having a devil of a time coming up with an appropriate name for my new detective. Instead of the name sinking into the skin of my character it seems to more bounce off the surface as if struck by rigor mortis. In all my years of writing, I've never struggled so to find a good name for a character.

So I called upon some trusted friends from my critique group.

Gary offered me names like Dallas or Smokey (gee, thanks!), but Tonya hit a home run. I ended up relishing one of the first names she came up with, however with a more exotic spelling, then pulled the last name from another offering she'd thrown against the wall. The two fit perfectly.

So Detective Shaun Landry is born. His opening scene was difficult to write because of the events, but I settled into his psyche so nicely that he already feels like a trusted friend.

Thanks again, Tonya!

Now it's off to bed before the cows come home to roost. Wait a minute...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Duty Bound

Deadliest Catch was on again tonight. My son is out of town for the next two weeks. Guess what he has me doing?

Taping the episodes he will miss. At least it is only two.

It's been so long since I've taped any shows that I didn't know if I had any blank tapes. Thank goodness I found something that wasn't necessary anymore. Don't know how good the quality is going to be, but it probably won't matter much to my son.

He's just glad Captain Phil is back at the helm of the Cornelia Marie after last year's accident.

Speaking of accidents, did you see last week's episode of that huge wave that crashed over the bow of the Wizard? After it had passed there wasn't a crew member in sight. Captain Keith was frantic trying to get someone on the horn to see if he had anyone left - particularly he was concerned about his brother, Monte.

Thankfully all hands were still on deck, but two were severely banged up while brother Monte suffered some major cracked ribs. Not a single crab on the boat and the Wizard had to run thirty-two hours back to Dutch Harbor. But thank God they still had all their crew - banged up for sure but still alive and kicking.

This week Captain Keith and the remainder of the crew brought back Lenny from retirement and headed back out to sea. But you could tell the dear old captain was really struggling with his game and confidence. That was one freaking massive wave! It is truly a miracle that no one was swept overboard.

Then tonight was the premiere of After the Catch, the show that gathers all the captains around the bar table after the season has ended to cuss and discuss the season just passed. Just for good measure I taped it too. Sometimes I find it better than the actual show.


But it is alot of fun to see them in a more relaxed state and laughing about their antics and talking about what makes the final cut onto the show.

One more taping to go next week. Sure hope my son appreciates all I go through for him. :-)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Current Europe Rundown

As many of you are already aware, we drove up Thursday night last week to spend the evening in Kansas City before my son's morning scheduled flight out of KCI. After a fitful night of sleep, we were awakened by the hotel fire alarms just before four am. What a way to start the trip! My son hoped it wouldn't be indicative of how the rest of the trip would go, but I told him that trips always had hiccups and that he was lucky to get this one out of the way before the trip actually began. :-)

Day one in London started at Heathrow before spending time in the village of Windsor where they had lunch and tours while waiting for the other arrivals. After a few hours they transferred on their coaches (what we call buses) to their hotel, picked up their luggage, and had a lovely sit-down dinner and their orientation (if they could stay awake).

Day two in London they had their first performances. The day started early for the choir members who had to be up and to Wesley's Chapel for rehearsal and then their performance for services at 11:00. My son was very much looking forward to this performance. After services, everyone packed up on their coaches to Victoria Embankment Gardens for a special boxed lunch and free time before set-up for their second performance, a 90-minute Concert-in-the-Park, encompassing the choir, orchestra, and band Ambassador members. After the concert, they had the evening free to themselves to either attend Sunday evening local performances at the South Bank complex, visit Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, and Covent Gardens or a tour of the Globe Theatre.

Day three, which was today's schedule, began at the Tower of London for a special Ambassadors tour which included the Crown Jewels. Then they were off to tours including Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Chapel, Parliament, and Big Ben with lunch in St. James Park sandwiched somewhere in between. This evening they will return for dinner in their hotel before attending their chosen theatrical entertainment, of which my son chose to see (duh!) Phantom of the Opera.

Tomorrow they will be up very early to try and beat the London traffic to arrive at Dover for the channel crossing (which takes approximately three hours) on the ferry to arrive in Calais, France to begin their continent part of the journey.

So hard to believe he's almost wiped out three whole days in England so far. How I'd have loved to be there when they performed in Wesley's Chapel. I can hardly wait to see the pictures!

Friday, June 12, 2009


In just a few hours, my son will be landing in London, England. How I wish I could miraculously see his face on this trip and hear his voice singing.

This morning was a little emotional once again for me. Everything seemed fine until he got in the line to pass through the security checkpoint and onto the gate. He seemed a little nervous and out of sorts, so I tried to stay close by as long as I could. Just before he passed through, I gave him one more hug and reminded him to take full advantage of the gift he's been given.

Then he was gone.

I got one more glance at him as he passed on the other side of the pexi-glass. We smiled at each other and then did the double thumbs up. Tears sprang again into my eyes and I waved wildly.

It was time for me to leave.

The drive home was long. Last night was fitful for both of us - therefore, I felt completely drained and exhausted.

The phone has barely stopped ringing since I arrived home. His dad called again, thinking he was leaving tomorrow. I told him our son had thought of him and that he'd be gone for Father's Day and felt a little bad at the realization. The thoughts seemed to please his dad.

Thank you everyone for the prayers for his safety. It gives this old mom much needed comfort.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Emotional Bubblings

One more post before we head out this afternoon.

My worries concerning forgetting anything will dissipate tremendously once my son is on the plane. Figure if we forget any minor things here at home tonight then we can always stop by Wal-mart in Kansas City. But once he boards that plane there's nothing I can do.

The major players are good to go, tucked in his carryon. He's got his passport, driver's license, pounds, euros, and francs, the Visa cash card, and then a bit of U.S. cash stashed away in the neck pouch.

It almost cracked me up last night. Here we've been trying to get the ducks in a row concerning the foreign currency, that I completely neglected any U.S. dollars for snacks or goods while in the U.S. airports. Popped him a twenty for good measure. He's got the cash card too if anything should be needed, but I really don't want him using that while still on U.S. soil.

So many feelings and emotions are churning underneath the surface right now. They'll probably come bubbling up later, but for now the anxiety to cover all bases is what's driving me and eating away at the lining of my stomach.

One thing I'll have to carry me through the next few weeks is the memory of their send-off performance yesterday. The stringed orchestra sounded so incredibly lovely, but it was the joy on my son's face while he was singing in the middle of the front row risers that had me practically glowing.

I had to swallow so many tears as they welled up in my eyes. I can't tell you how proud I am of him right now nor the joy I feel at being able to give him this amazing opportunity. In just three short (no, make that long) days he's learned so much music and the group has come together to create a tremendous whole. Every single dime and headache has been worth it just to see that look on his face.

Now I hope all goes well. Off to Kansas City!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Feeling Frantic

Seems the closer we get to the send-off, the busier we're becoming.

Friday morning my son leaves for Europe, as if you didn't already know. Thursday we have to drive to Kansas City. Today he's finishing up his final day of rehearsals and having a big concert late this afternoon.

Last week I thought I had most everything taken care of. This week I feel like I'm running around like the proverbial chicken minus a head.

Thank God my son's Visa cash card came in yesterday! That alone was an enormous weight off my shoulders. After the concert today, we need to make ANOTHER trip to Wal-mart to pick up some last minute items.

I'm feeling quite broke at the moment, but this too shall pass.

Tonight is supposed to be church and choir rehearsal. For some reason I had the idea that we'd be able to make it. Now I'm not so sure. Instead of the "to-do" list getting shorter, it seems that for every one item I cross off, I add two new. The frantic feeling just won't go away.

I've a sense that even when my son steps on the plane, the frantics will stay with me.

Probably until his return.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Big Week

Well the big week for my son is here.

Lunchtime they had their orientation meeting at the university campus and then went straight into rehearsals until ten tonight. While standing in line to meet his tour staff member, my son got to talking with a couple of other guys and they decided to room together on the England leg of the trip. Guess he's not going to waste any time! I'm so proud of him.

There's so much to catch and remember from the orientation meeting that my head is about to spin. I can only imagine how my son is going to feel after tonight. Not only does he have a strict itinerary to follow the next few days, he's also got to memorize music, make friends, and get packed.

So I've started the packing process for him this afternoon. Luggage size is tight but I'm pretty good about getting quite a bit into small spaces. Not sure how he's going to do unpacking and then packing during the trip, but I'm sure he'll manage.

There'll be plenty of space in his carry-on for trinkets, souveniers, and mementos. He's under strict orders to save EVERYTHING, ticket stubs, programs, the works, in order to put together a memory book for him when he returns.

The next two days will be early mornings and late evenings as they prepare and memorize their music. Wednesday will be a special send-off concert. Thursday we'll head to Kansas City, then Friday morning he'll be on the plane bound for the adventure of a lifetime.

I wonder if I'll get much sleep the next couple of weeks.

I'm sure my son won't.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Big 4-0

Yo-ho-ho! It's the big 4-0 today.

I finally made it. I'm finally forty. I hit another milestone.

Originally when the new year flew around, I'd planned to have a rip-roaring birthday party to celebrate. Hey, I figure it's perfectly fine to plan ones birthday party. Can't wait around for someone else to do it. :-) I love any excuse to throw a party and invite friends and family.

However, after the layoff and unemployment continued it just didn't seem right to throw away several hundred dollars for a party. Figure that when the new job is obtained and the salary begins to perform again, I'll have a party to celebrate the milestone and the new job.

Priorities, you know. Can't set aside my practicality no matter how hard I try. It IS what has gotten me through some pretty tough spots in the past.

I've received tons of well-wishes on Facebook, phone calls, cards, and emails so I feel pretty recognized. For myself, I'm just wiling away the day reading and doing the lazy girl routine. Over the years, I've learned that having time to oneself can be just as fulfilling as spending time with loved ones.

I guess it comes down to learning to be content regardless of the circumstances or income.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Countdown Begins

In exactly one week my son will be on his flight to Europe.

I'm feeling a teeny bit anxious.

This week we got his pounds, euros, and Swiss francs (they're so pretty!) and ordered his Visa cash card. Wish I'd have known about the cash card a little sooner. We're rather cutting it close to get the card before he leaves.

Also received his flight itinerary. They'll leave out in the morning and have to be at the airport three hours before departure. Needless to say, I've made hotel reservations for Thursday night in Kansas City.

So many unexpected expenses have arisen in regard to this trip, but it still doesn't matter. To have the honor of such an experience is something that I may have been willing to go into hock for, truth be told. I'm just glad he gets to go and that I have the ability to send him.

Sometimes there are opportunities in life that are just too important to let slide by.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Battle Rages

I've been thinking about the possibility of going back to school. Only problem is that I'm not so sure what I'd take up as a major.

I could do the safe thing and take a one-night-a-week business management course, but in reality I could probably teach parts of it myself.

Then there's that old dream that I started waaaay back when I originally attended college - music.

Music has been my passion and soul for as long as I can remember. There's nothing that reaches me more deeply than music - well and my Lord. Even then I can feel so much closer to Him when listening to or singing glorious music. It's as if the heavens open up my soul and I can reach and see farther and greater than I could ever on my own.

Long ago I played the piano, flute, oboe for a time, and greatly desired to learn drums and guitar. Pretty much I was good at whatever I picked up.

Not trying to brag, just stating reality for me.

So I'm faced with the problem of what I'd do with such a degree. About the only thing available around here is teaching music and I definitely don't want to do that. Nothing against crumb-crunchers, but if I taught I'd want to do it at a more serious level. Plus teaching is a poorly paid industry. Hey, my son and I have to eat too.

Then a more serious level would require even more schooling or moving and I'm not in a position to do that right now.

So I'm back to the practical purposes, which bore me to tears. I might as well wait around for my industry to come back to life again if that be the case. I've done extremely well in this field, but it isn't where my heart truly lies. In the job search, I keep coming back to this time as being an opportunity to do something new. Just can't shake that monkey.

The practical side and the dreamer side are at war at the present time. I'll be sure and let you know the outcome of the battle before the war kills me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Muse is Calling

Now that I've had a little time to relax, I've happened upon another new storyline.

But first I have to finish my current novella.

Strange thing is that I keep coming up with some of the most bizarre storylines lately, sometimes feeling as if they could be ripped from the pages of today's headlines - but in a different sort of way.

Someday I might be able to explain it better.

Even though fantasy is my favorite genre, I seem to be hitting on some rather odd thriller type material and am just going to go with it. Dean Koontz talks on his website about how he wrote all sorts of genres and his publisher made him utilize a pseudonym for those published outside of his first few novels. Now he's so well versed that they have all been re-released under his own name.

One of the things most writing instructional material will tell you is to find a genre that works for you and stick with it. Others say to write what you know. Problem is that I have such an enormous variety of interests and experiences that I could write about all sorts of things.

Funny thing is I never much got into thriller material until recently. Now I find myself writing tons of it and leaving my fantasy works behind.

Someday I'll come back to those other genres, I'm sure. Right now I'm just going to go in the direction from which the muse is calling, regardless of where she leads.

All I can say to my critique group is - hang on for the ride!

Monday, June 1, 2009

We Have Returned!

Holy cow, it feels like we were gone forever.

Well, at least longer than ten days.

Last night we returned from our family gatherings and events of the past week and ahalf, exhausted but happy. My nephew's high school graduation went smoothly and he had a good showing at his after party. As usual, my sister cooked up a storm and made a wonderful cake.

I'm hoping she'll agree to make my son's in a couple of years.

Wow! Just had the realization again - my son is next in line to graduate. Hmm, sounds like next in line to the throne or something, but there it is. It's so hard to believe that he's so close to heading off into the sunrise.

After returning to my parent's post-graduation, we ended up alot busier than I'd planned. My middle sister and her husband are moving this summer for my brother-in-law's job and so my sister and I drove an hour and ahalf on Wednesday to spend the day looking around at houses and getting the lay of the land. They'll actually be closer to me upon moving, so I expect to see alot more of them once they get settled. Ended up staying the ENTIRE day, but we got alot accomplished.

Thursday and Friday were a flourish of cleaning at Mom and Dad's, while my son helped my dad paint their fence. Looked really nice once they were done for the day. Later on Friday my sister and I once again hopped in the car and drove three hours into Arkansas to pick up my niece and great-niece. We always have so much fun in the car because we'll usually sing at the top of our lungs and act silly, though we're somewhat hoarse by the time we return.

Saturday morning I got to wake up to my oldest niece, who drove in from Colorado to attend the family reunion. I hadn't seen her since her college graduation and move to Colorado, so it was such a precious time to spend with her during the family reunion catching up on her life. Saturday night the two of us stayed up until somewhere around two in the morning just talking.

Four hours of sleep does not a night make!

Sunday after lunch I got to take a motorbike ride with my cousin out into the Oklahoma countryside. Then it was time for my son and I to return home.

Our kitties were so happy to see us - and we them. Now it's back to the grindstone!