Graduation Trip (part 2)

Weeeell, After what felt like a near death experience with the flu which I thought I’d never get over, I did and none too soon because my oldest “child” was graduating college at 51 years of age!!

Tina got married at 17,

and traveled with her hubby some. Knowing he would one day inherit the bicycle business started by his father, he learned German and Italian, since those were the primary manufacturing locations of their products. So, of course they got to go to Europe several times. Not having children yet, she was able to accompany him on these trips.  For some time, we never thought she’d ever start her family.

When she was in her late 20’s, the business was sold and they did begin their family. At age 29 her firstborn child was born, on the same date my eldest boy was  born. After that came son number two…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and sometime after that came son number three.  It appeared that once the ball started to roll, they couldn’t get it stopped.  Suddenly, she found herself pregnant once again.  I asked her if she wished for a girl, but she said, No! “B—‘s only make boys,  (her brother in law has four boys) besides if I had a girl, I don’t know what I’d do with her,  I know what to do with boys.”  Guess what? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She had a girl.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for her.  Postpartum depression set in and sadly ruined the momentous occasion.  When she confided in me how she believed she should be happy, but wasn’t, I suggested she see her doctor.  Fortunately, I wasn’t the first person to tell her that.  Her mid-wife gave her a referral and in time, she improved.

By now she was 38.

Five years ago, she decided to finish school and go to college.  I shouldn’t have been surprised that she chose nursing  given  her own previous experience, but I was.  Her whole life, she had been more into holistic healing and the organic approach to health. Yet nursing it was.

Little by little other pieces as to why have fallen into place, giving me clues as to how she came to her decision.

You see her goal is to eventually become a travel nurse.  Her kids are all but gone and she’s seen the need in her travels. She’d been to Nepal for a mission trip some years back, so yes, there is definitely a need. She just returned from Tahiti with her father (a graduation gift) and she was told there was a need there.  There’s always a need, regardless of her age anywhere in the world.

THE PINNING:

First came the pinning and everyone was there.  Little Ally was in a wheelchair and on pain meds still since her trampoline accident had just occurred a few days earlier.

With her family’s support she completed her schooling, so of course her family was thereto support and cheer her on, with the exception of one brother.  He came out earlier for his grandfather’s funeral, which took place during Spring break while his wife was on hers from teaching.  As foster parents, getting away doesn’t come easy, so it was the best they could do. He did bring his oldest son with him, so it was a good visit.

We get to meet her classmates and some “bestie’s” she made while there.  She made a point of not giving away her age at first, not that it ended up mattering. They loved her.

And finally graduation day:

tina

And more family –

And then it finished off with a party at her house, which for some reason was just us… at first.  It seems the graduates make a circuit run of all their friends and stopped in later.  For some reason, probably because it was way past my bedtime, I didn’t get pictures. Oooops!   Yea!!! She graduated with honors and much thanks to the whole family for their support.

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A Scenic Route On to Grand Junction, Colorado – Grad trip. part 1

When I drive alone, I seldom stop to smell the roses, mostly because I am alone.  Alone, I drive with purpose.  Unless I’m with Ferguson, I stop little.  Hotels and restaurants that take pets are rare, add to that the heat or how hot a car can get, it is difficult to leave him behind.

I do take a playpen with me and on a previous occasion I had to avail myself of complete strangers to dog sit. I was desperate, so I sized up the vendors of this produce place in Green River and asked if I could leave him in the shade beside them so I could run in and do my business. (Once you’ve worked at a health department, you become a fair judge of character.)  Besides he’s so dang cute, they of course had no problem saying yes. How could you say ‘No’ to this face?

I knew too,Ferg they weren’t likely to pick up the produce and produce stand before I was done to make off with him if they even wanted to, so we were both safe.  I think.

This trip however, we did get my brother in law to sit for us.  He loves Ferguson and Ferguson likes him well enough… or did.  Oh dear, I just thought of something.  I made the mistake of telling him the neighbor said, that our yard was so private you could sun bathe in the nude if you wanted to and I believe he might have. No wonder Ferguson was so happy to see us.  Poor Ferguson. Well, as my husband always says, I am his deity, and that’s true enough.  I found him all those years ago and he has not forgotten.

So, off we go unencumbered.  I missed the pets, true, but it was a nice change.

Unlike me, my hubby does not drive through to anywhere, he’s an explorer by heart, so first stop to Vegas was down route 66. We stop at some antique stores and a bottle park.Rt 66

We get a hotel and walk around.  Russ has not been in some time and got us a room at Circus Circus, thinking that was still cool. It was only okay.  However, we had lots of time and did a great deal of walking.  Saw some incredible sights.  You do know, you go to Vegas to people watch right?

Girl in black

The best picture was one I couldn’t get because I’d totally lost my cool and I was too close to the desired victim, um uh subject to do so gracefully.  I’m sorry, it’s not funny to laugh at other people but…  Okay here’s what happened…

I got into the elevator at Circus Circus and I should have waited for the next one, but I didn’t.  There was a woman already in it with a younger man, only I think they were lovers, but she looked like his grandmother.  She was dressed almost exactly like the young girl above with probably a tad more tattoos all over, less clothes and gaunt, like someone on meth, which could account for how she old looked.

Sad to say, it suddenly hit me as comical and if you’ve ever had to laugh with a mouthful of coke, you know how I was feeling.  It was sad, yet ridiculous.  I wondered what she may have thought she looked like?  Anyway, I was NOT cool at all!  When I finally couldn’t hold it in any longer, I turned to face Russ and burst out with, ” What do you think Becca will do?”   Then I buried my face in his chest…  Suddenly the elevator opened and they went out.  The door closed and he says, “What do you think Becca will do?”

I asked a co-worker once, when a woman came to our counter and leaned over with boobs that just about landed in our laps, if people ever look in the mirror before they go out?  Her reply was, “Of course they do.  They look in the mirror and say, ‘Yup, that’s the look I was going for’, and off they go.”

Not one of my finer moments, I will say.  Perhaps people were people watching me as well. I will say, the trip back was equally colorful.

Utah was having a gloomy day, but even so it was still beautiful as you can see.

70H70red rock

Red rock and A steep grade.hwy70 steeppottery

At one of the rest stops the Native Americans, sell their wares.  Beautiful pottery and jewelry.

Almost there and more to come.

hwy 70-2

The Grands, the Great Grands and a Son

Time to finish my belated trip account to Salt Lake in February, my daughters graduation in May and other summer travel and travails.  LOL

FEBRUARY –

I’m spending time with the grand and great grands and a son right now and what a ride it’s been. I visit them from time to time but not for as long as this trip has been.  In part it is (was) because my son who lives with my grand daughter Becca (his niece), had an unusual seizure and was ill for awhile. With all that she does, he was in no position to help her with their usual routine.  Caring for him and everything else she does was really more than the poor girl could take on alone as you will see as this story progresses.

Normally, I wouldn’t have been there at all as I was scheduled to see them in a May for my other daughter, her aunt’s graduation.  More on that in the sequel.

While I’m there I see that he is on the mend.  Still weak but better.  Apparently his new medication compounded with two jobs triggered something.

After a few days, he and my granddaughter are dancing to some MTV video.

Ian an Becca

It may seem odd, but these two are like brother and sister as their ages are fairly close.  This was their form of exercise and they had a hard time keeping up with the dancers in the video.

Each morning begins with feeding 5 dogs (the three puppies are fed by mommy) followed by putting them out to do their business, yes there’s a grand total of eight!

three labsThree labs, one long hair Chihuahua and  a Pom-chi with three puppies.  The sweet dog with the grey muzzle has since passed away.

Luna

My hubby and I still have a dog and cat. Like us they are getting old but we hope they go before either of us does. For two reasons:  One: the thought of them having to be traumatized by new owners at their old age would be devastating to them. As it is we left them with a relative for a week and although they did well, they were clingy when we returned.  It would be akin to abandoning a child or putting them up for adoption. Two:  We want to travel and do other things once my hubby retires and you just can’t take them everywhere, period. At 16, Chloe doesn’t travel well anymore anyway.

THE ROUTINE:

Besides the dogs, we had the kids, well there are only two,  who have to be fed and dressed or made sure they are appropriately attired for school. Ally kept donning on her princess or ballerina clothes and combing her hair amid loud protestations was a fete in itself,  not to mention a significant amount of cajoling to even get them to leave the house. Most of that was my fault, as staying at home to be with “Grandma Jo” was their preferred choice. So, we compromised and Grandma Jo went to school for Grandparents day!

lunch-with-grandma.jpg

(BIG MISTAKE!!!  You do know that small children are petri dishes of bacteria, right? It hit me when I got home and lasted a TWO months!!)

I silently praise God that those days of hustling kids off to school are done, while at the same time, periodic moments of nostalgia with my kids would swoosh over me, remembering those days.  I am sure many a mom reminisces the good times, the hugs and story time.

THURSDAYS –

Then there are Thursdays, Becca calls it the trifecta schedule.

Off to ballet for Ally while Kash takes guitar lessons across the street. While they are in their classes, mommy runs to McDonald’s to grab “dinner” before H.O.C.K.E.Y!!!

A week into my visit, it snowed.  I leave the following Friday, so I was a bit anxious. Is it going to do it again?  I’m not used to driving in that white stuff anymore and visions of me sliding all over the highway haunt my sleep.

snow covered car

Yikes!

WORK

My grand daughter lost some days of work when Ian was ill but tonight she had a late shift, so before she leaves I want to clear the driveway for her. Kash helped for all of a minute pushing snow around before he finally sat on a drift and watched grandma do the work.  In all fairness, a shovel full of snow is quite heavy for a seven year old.

In the meantime, Becca wasn’t looking forward to work that day.  She works at a high end hotel Spa as a massage therapist.  Flights had been cancelled the previous day due to the “storm”, which meant they would be busy.  She didn’t mind busy, but she noticed her two last appointments were male and she groaned.  I immediately got the picture. She’s a beautiful girl so I wondered and asked if it happened often that she was propositioned and she said “it happens”. She is a lovely girl, so I wasn’t surprised.Becca

Unfortunately, there is still the stigma that goes with her job.  Massages at this hotel are pricey and she has served many luminaries during their stay. However, these guests on her schedule were not stars or anyone whose names she recognized. As it turns out, it generally went fine.  One gentleman asked her if she dated and she said, “No”, which may have been a veiled invite, but it was not obviously so. Thanks to all the “Me Too” media coverage of sexual harassment, it has been much better, she says.  The second client did not ask her anything so personal but was by nature just plain “obnoxious”. My granddaughter is her own person and quite forthright, only once has she had to turn a client in for misbehaving.  Apparently, he had overstepped his bounds with one of the other girls before and she was afraid to say anything.  Not Becca. Fortunately the hotel backs their staff  to the point of even banning some  very wealthy repeat customers that are discourteous to their staff.  Her co-workers are both male and female and all are treated with equal consideration.

Shortly after I left, besides me getting deathly ill, the kids too got sick.

Before graduation, Ally fell off the trampoline and broke her leg. The trampoline does have a surround netting, so it was unclear what happened.

For a child, whose bones are referred to as “green”, hers was a clean break (?) and such that it required surgery and pins placed.  It was, as you can well imagine, quite traumatic.

I asked her if she’d be getting on the trampoline again.  She said, ” next time, (I guessed that was a yes) I will remember to zip it up better”.  Apparently, she hadn’t zipped it all the way up and fell out the only spot open. She just turned 5.

To be continued…