Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Bit of Crazy in the Poconos

After whining that I had “not a thing” to do after my friend Lynda’s visit in early May, life got a little crazy in my house. Rachel’s dog, Mason, had serious knee surgery (who knew dogs had knees?) that required NO STAIRS!! Since Rachel, Dave, and Riley live in a fourth-floor walk-up in Brooklyn, this became a serious problem. My house has stairs also, but only one short carpeted flight which would make carrying Mason up and down to the yard much easier than at home. So…Rachel, Riley, Dave, and Mason arrived here on May 9th after Mason’s surgery. (For those who also didn’t know about dog knees, my friend Robin looked it up and they do, indeed have knees and elbows!) We are now in week 3 of three generations of Dixon women living together and Dave driving up for the weekends. photo

The plan for Mason’s recuperation is for Rachel and Riley to stay one more week, then go home for a week and weekend, then back again. Mason is confined to a crate when we are not supervising and I have a couple of things in the city so this schedule allows me to keep up with my own things while caring for Mason (with Rachel’s help) for 8 weeks or so. My friend Lynda’s visit was cancelled as, for the first week, it was pretty chaotic. Sydney doesn’t understand why couches are off limits, rooms are blocked off, and the stairs are unusable unless we move the bench blocking them. Mason is doing nicely and wants to run and play so it will only get harder to keep her activities restricted.

The upside of all this is that I am living close enough for this to happen AND I have the absolute pleasure of spending time with Rachel and Riley during the week. We have enjoyed our time together and I have loved being grandma. But, I must admit it is exhausting and raising babies is for the young and energetic. And she’s not even walking yet. I am resolved to eat healthy, restart my daily walks, and do as much as I can to keep up! I recently visited with my 99-year-old Aunt Viola who says it’s all a state of mind and being an “almost vegetarian!” It’s been a busy few weeks and I have enjoyed every moment — maybe that’s an overstatement — just about every moment.

Holiday Memories

This holiday weekend conjurs up lots of memories. For some people, this is a well-deserved 3-day weekend that provides family time, barbecues, and time to breathe after long weeks of work. For others, it is a serious time to remember those who have served and are serving in support of our country. I do think of my father who served in the Aleutians in World War II, repairing airplane engines, and who knows what else? But…for me, this weekend is a reminder of this time 45 years ago when, on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend, I met my future husband and best friend. Playing host to two English girls, I took them to the now long gone Drake’s Drum on the upper east side of Manhattan. It was my first time there, but I had heard that it was a bar where a lot of English rugby players hung out and thought the sisters (whose names are long forgotten) would enjoy a bit of home. Of course, it was also a popular watering hole for newly arrived Aussies too. Adrian and I met there and, later in the weekend, we took the subway to his place that he shared with lots of other guys in Brooklyn. On a whim, we went to Coney Island and rode the Cyclone three times! I hate roller coasters, but tolerated this because I knew this was a special day. con-cyclone

And it was a special day. A year and a half later we were married and remained best friends. My son-in-law’s sister, Vanessa, gave me a beautiful print of the Cyclone one year for Christmas and it hangs next to the front door. Every morning I look at it and remember that day, but especially this weekend. Having just finished reading The Museum of Extraordinary Things, which is set in Coney Island, thoughts of The Cyclone were right up front in my memory library. There is another reason why this weekend is memorable for me.

Two years ago exactly, Rachel, my dog Sydney, and I left 1207 Walton Drive in Tallahassee with a loaded car headed to the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Having sold my home, retired, and deciding to move north, we set out after the movers finished packing at about 6:00 PM. In an effort to get to Lords Valley before the moving truck, we drove long and hard and arrived at my new home a day later. It is very clear in my mind, waking up the next day to find the movers at the top of the driveway sleeping in their truck. In no time at all, I had the things I chose to keep with me, Rachel and I started unpacking, Michael arrived that afternoon, and we all set to making this former vacation house a home. In retrospect, there were so many things I gave away or sold or took to Goodwill that I should have kept, but I thought that moving meant downsizing possessions. In fact, even after I arrived here, we called someone to come and get even more furniture, kitchen things, and odds and ends that were duplicates. What was I thinking?

We make decisions in an instant. Making sure I met Adrian after seeing him across the bar at Drake’s Drum was one of those. Leaving so much behind 2 years ago was another. But, the thing about reflecting on these decisions is to learn and not to regret. This is a special weekend for me and I find myself a bit more nostalgic than usual.