What is up with this Summer’s weather?

rainrainbowHas anyone else noticed this? This summer is not like any other summer. It’s been unusually rainy and cool up here in the Georgia Mountains. When we camped out the week of July 4th, it rained everyday. NO SUN! Except in spurts.  Needless to say it’s taken me about a week to wash all the laundry.  Everything was saturated, muddy and dirty. I think we’ve been on the lake twice.

It’s not only been the weather, but the mood. The mood has been sulky, like the tattered remanent of an old party dress that wants to come out and dance, but sits in the corner because it was last year’s fashion. I can’t shake the feeling that something large is shadowing the world and suffocating everyone in it.  I feel suffocated and I can’t explain why. My writing has taken on some somber tones too, mirroring the emotion.

I lay awake at night surfing youtube because I can’t sleep. The biggest thing now is the arrival of Comet ISON which everyone thinks is this brown drawf star called Nibiru.  There’s been speculation that a mini solar system surrounding this star is heading our way and between August and November the world is going to be turned topsy-turvy. (It’s already that way, what’s new?).

I can see why people might think that. You have to gather and analyze the weird and strange which has been happening for some time. 1. Mass killings of birds and fish in the midwest for no apparent reason, 2. Sinkholes popping up everywhere, 3. Weird weather patterns, 4. Massive coronal ejections, 5. Migration of the magnetic north pole, 6. The many comets and other asteroids passing through our solar system.  I could list out many more things, but I don’t want this post to be so long.

I had another one of those prophetic dreams. Kinda like the one I had about the Texas earthquake. Only this time I was at Clemson, getting ready to teach a class. My niece Kayla was there with me for some reason (she lives in California). All of the sudden, the whole earth began to shake. It did it three times, violently, and then water inundated the area. Kayla and I held onto a floating raft, and when I looked around, all I saw of our mountains were the peaks,  which were islands in a vast sea.  I cried in my dream because everyone I knew had perished.

The Earth is changing. As a historian I’m aware that written records show it’s a process that’s been going on since the beginning.  Our earth is on a 26,000 year wobble (means it takes 26,000 years for the axis to rotate in a complete circle) and much like the progression that our planet makes through the four seasons as it charges around the sun, I’m sure that in the 26,000 year wobble, the planet changes just like the seasons. Who knows what’s around the corner?  We should all prepare to go with the flow.  Things may get moved around, water-logged or whatever, but we can’t let this mood get us down. I think after finishing up the last few chapters of book two, I’m breaking out the paint brushes, charcoal and pastels and do something creative.  I need to take my mind off this summer’s weirdness and get back into a positive stance.

I Need a Vacation from my Vacation!

Sunset over the Island

Sunset over the Island

This past week was a wonderful and enjoyable celebration of July 4th.  Kevin took off from work for the first time in two years.  He and Kyler (Kevin’s son) decided Sunday, July 1st, that we needed to go camping on our little island at Lake Chatuge.  So they packed up everything and I met up with them after I got off work at Crane Creek Vineyards.  I had picked my son Chase up from Ft. Bragg that past Friday, so he and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, along with her mother and sister joined up with us later that evening to roast hotdogs and hamburgers, and chat.  The day had started out sunny and warm, but as the night waned, so did our nice weather.  About the time we got the fire going, nice long rolls of thunder were sounding off in the distance, along with the purple play of lightning.  Zipping forward, the night was filled with rain.  As we watched the lightning through the opening in the tent, we also developed a leak (on my side) and our sheet and blankets were soon wet.  But being die-hard campers, we stayed, even though our mattress went flat.  At 2:00 am after sleeping on the stump underneath me for a couple of hours, Kevin ventured out into the storm, got two new mattresses, the battery from the boat and the air pump, all while the lightning crackled above.  (I said numerous prayers that none would hit the trees around us or him as he went out in the storm with a metal tipped umbrella.)  After poking me in the eye by accident, he finally got us situated with aired up bedding.  I just put a towel over my head to stop the annoying drip.  I think we got about two hours of sleep that night.  The next day it was sunny, so we took Kyler out tubing.  When I was getting into the boat that morning at the dock, my toe got into the way.  I now have a nice black and blue toe.  We spent time at the swing rope, and Kyler and Kevin took turns jumping off into the lake.  I decided not to do it, because the way my luck was going, I was afraid I’d break a leg.

Chase getting our fire going.

Chase getting our fire going.

Roxy and Kevin on the boat

Roxy and Kevin on the boat

Because of space on the boat, we only took the two boys (Lucky and Thor) with us, and Roxy, our lab and our beagle, Paisley, were left back at the house, so I had to get up in the mornings and go check on them and the cats, feed them, feed the fish, gather things Kevin said to bring back to lake (which sometimes were a list of things), get more food or drink, ice and whatever else was needed.  Finally, I just brought Roxy and Paisley on Tuesday so they could spend one night at the island.  Roxy is a water lover and Kev and I felt bad that she didn’t get to come and enjoy it.  Needless to say, she is now banned from camping.  Roxy has no people etiquette or camping etiquette.  It was more work trying to keep her contained and, of course, was no fun for anyone on the Island.  She tried to jump out of the boat (as it was moving), thought I was drowning when I was floating on my mattress and in attempts of rescue, poked big holes in it and deflated it.  Kyler was the unlucky recipient of constant attention, as she has OCD about anything round, whether it be a rock or ball. (She’s eaten several rocks) She doesn’t understand that people are not playing with her 24/7, and she can’t stop harassing.  It was like dealing with an ADD dog.

Me and Kevin at Lake Weiss

Me and Kevin at Lake Weiss

Wednesday evening we made it home.  I did laundry, dishes and repacked as we were leaving again Friday for Lake Weiss in Alabama. I worked on Thursday, and then we headed out Friday.  The weekend was enjoyable with friends.  The boys were out on the lake tubing, wake boarding and skiing. (Kevin managed to do a nice stunt on one ski).  Lots of floating, eating, great wine from the vineyard and friendship.  When we got home

All of our boats docked at the house at Lake Weiss

All of our boats docked at the house at Lake Weiss

Sunday evening, I was delighted to see my bed.  I slept like a dead person.  Monday I felt like I had been hit by a huge Mac truck.  Now I need a vacation from my vacation.  I hope everyone had a great 4th of July week.  Share some of your personal experiences, I’d like to hear about your adventures.

In honor of our Military: An Essay on Memorial Day

Kevin, my daughter Calle and my son Chase after his graduation at Ft. Benning.

Kevin, my daughter Calle and my son Chase after his graduation at Ft. Benning.

A couple of years ago, I wrote this little essay about Memorial Day.  In honor of those in my family who have served and are serving, friends who have served and others I don’t know, I dedicate this blog post today to them. 

Memorial Day 2010

This weekend I was hunkered down under an umbrella watching the rain pelt the water of Lake Chatuge, waiting for the elusive sun to resurface so we could take the boat out again.  My boyfriend made the comment that it always seems to rain on Memorial Day.  I said to him, “Its a million tears for the millions of lives lost.” “Yes,” he replied, “that’s true.”  I suddenly thought of my mother’s father.  My brother recently sent a photo via cell phone of his cemetery marker in Houston, Texas.  He and my grandmother are buried together at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery there.  Grandma passed away a few months ago and my brother was showing me they had finally added her name to the marker.  It was strange but I had never known until I saw the photo that my Grandpa, Theodore Shellow, served in 3 wars: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

I always remembered Grandpa as the one who took us on vacation, made Christmas fun by stringing a zillion lights on his house, played Santa by jingling bells outside our window Christmas Eve, and always coming to our rescue for one thing or another.  Seeing that photo I realized he was something more than just my Grandpa.  He was a man who on three occasions gallantly thrust himself in conflict to preserve a way of life, freedom and American nobility. A detail I never knew about until I received that picture. 

 Grandpa told me once when I was younger that he was a first generation immigrant to America. A middle child of a Polish family who specialized in Trapeze acts (circus performers), they came to this country seeking something better, wanting a place where destinies could be made by their own hand, and lives could be changed by hard work and the American dream.  They settled in Connecticut and delved into assimilating themselves into American culture.

 Unfortunately soon after they arrived in their adopted new home, Grandpa’s mother died, and his father was forced to give his two younger brothers to an orphanage because he could not take care of them.  Because of the depression, Grandpa had to dropout of high school and work with his two older sisters to help support the family as his father slowly sank into alcoholism and soon succumbed to physical death. 

I note these misfortunes because many say perhaps what they expected in America never visualized itself, and the family only saw hardship and heartache, much more than if they had just remained in Poland.  But hearing these stories in my head, listening to the tone of his voice explaining these events, it was as if a light bulb went off, and at that moment in the rain, the million of tears falling on me, I understood with deep respect why he served this country by enlisting in three wars. 

Only in America could someone find an avenue out of dire circumstances, raise themselves like a phoenix out of the ashes to turn their situation around, making a better home for their children and grandchildren.  Enlisting was Grandpa’s proof that he had faith in the principles and ideas this country was built on, even when faced with so much adversity.  Defending his adopted America was protecting the memory of those before him who sacrificed themselves building a haven from persecution, fighting for the freedom in which to invent a different way of life, rising above bitterness and disappointment to create a unique path in this world. 

Our family has retained Grandpa’s belief in our country with both my brothers serving in the Navy and Marines, and now with my son who is graduating this Friday at Sand Hill, Fort Benning to begin his career in the Army.  Upholding the ideals our founding fathers created when they drafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights, each one  of them was, and is, proud to serve for the American dream.  So today, as the rain fell, did my tears for Grandpa and others like him, who had faith enough in our country to make our home truly the land of the free and the brave. 

Since this was written, my nephew, Christopher Krahn has successfully graduated boot camp and is now in the Air Force.  My daughter Kelsey is planning on doing the same when she graduates high school in May of 2013.