Saturday, January 26, 2008

Camp Big Sal

Abby says:
I am writing to you during my last night at camp. "Camp Big Sal" that is. It's a very special destination and it's not really a camp. In one of our early posts, we told you about our workout group -- a.k.a., Sheri's Gym. I am the group fitness trainer, and along with 5 other friends (including Sheri), we workout 3X per week at Sheri's House. Thus the name Sheri's Gym. We've been working out together for many years, and we've even developed gym attire with a logo to make us official.

The best part of this group is the friendships that have developed and evolved.

Sally, who is part of our group, is nicknamed "Big Sal" -- given to her lovingly by her husband. They own a wonderful getaway in Cave Creek, AZ and each January she graciously invites us all out for a lazy week of Lifetime movies, gossip and girl talk, Nordstrom outlet shopping, reading books and sipping margaritas. We've nicknamed our little haven "Camp Big Sal". It's the absolute best vacation anyone could ever want. We awaken and fall asleep to spectacular mountain views, crisp temperatures and the fresh aroma of vegetation found only in the Wild West.

We must all be getting old. Most days we were up at the crack of dawn building a fire at 5:30 am. At night we were typically in our pajamas no later than 5:30 pm -- ready to watch TV and claim our spots on the couch with Sally's two black labs. Our latest night out consisted of driving downtown to the Nordstrom outlet store and arriving home at 9:30 pm -- exhausted from our extraordinary finds -- which ranged from $1.97 must-have designer t-shirts to Coach tennis shoes for $39.97.

This year, however, was a bit sad. Sheri delivered a eulogy today for her mother-in-law, whom they buried in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Mickey planned and attended the memorial service for her father-in-law yesterday. Needless to say, they were not able to make the trip. We talked about them a lot, missed them much and proposed a toast to their families.

When I awaken early tomorrow, it's back to reality.

Sheri says:

It is back to reality and frankly, I'm hating reality at this moment. I'm annoyed and frustrated that I had to miss Camp Big Sal. (How selfish is that?) But, I was there in spirit and as usual, the girlfriends did not let a day go by without checking on me.

At Camp Big Sal, Abby and I are the first ones up. We light the candles and build the fire. We greet each other and then snuggle in our respective chairs with a book. We've all known each other a long time. This is our quiet time. No one feels the need to fill the quiet with mindless chatter.

Camp Big Sal is my refuge. It is a salve that soothes me. But my mother-in-law (who thought girlfriend trips were a bad idea) managed to die and circumvent this one. I don't blame her; I miss her. But, as usual, she got her way.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Old Age and Death

I am blogging by myself for now as Sheri had a death in her family today.

For quite some time her in-laws have been living with them at their home -- the "oldies" as Sheri fondly refers to them. While it was not the best of living situations, I don't think Sheri was prepared for what happened.

Suddenly, the mother-in-law became ill with pneumonia and landed in the hospital. Then the father-in-law had to go into temporary assisted living as Sheri and Dan could no longer physically care for him. The mother-in-law then gradually went down hill and was placed in hospice this past weekend. Today she died. Just like that.

All of my closest friends are in the midst of varying stages of elder care. It's so very hard. It's like becoming a mother to your own mother and father. I experienced a bit of it last year but luckily just hit the tip of the iceburg. I think about it every day. My heart jumps when I see my parent's phone number on caller ID at night -- wondering if something has happened.

Our friend P. lost her mother-in-law a few weeks ago. Our friend M. lost her father-in-law this weekend. Our friend C. has a 90-something mother who will outlive us all. My friend S. has a 90-something mother who has had numerous bouts with "death" yet is still alive in a nursing home.

It's such a reality check. How do we prepare ourselves for this task and dealing with the caring of, death and dying of our parents?

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Words

Abby says:
I recently read an article in the New York Times listing new words that got their attention in 2007. I feel clueless – I have not heard of most of these. Here are my favorites:

* Pap (photo taken by paparazzi). Sorry, makes me think of Pap smear.
* Vegansexual (person who eats no meats, uses no animal-derived products and does not have sex with a non-vegan). This has gone a bit too far…
* Mom job (a mommy makeover)
* Navy shower (short shower which requires you to turn off the water). I remember my granny talking about something similar called a “PTA”. You figure it out.
* Forever stamps (stamps you purchase that will cover the price of a first-class letter, regardless of postage increases). The problem is that not all postal workers understand what these are when asked…

Sheri says:
I love new words. I have heard of all that Abby mentioned except the Navy Shower. My grandmother used to call that taking a “whore’s bath.”

In the same NYT article, I particularly liked:

*Bacn (email alerts, newsletters, etc.) You’re trapped because you have chosen to receive them. Forget Spam.
*Crowdsource (a different version of outsourcing. Gathering a group of people to work on a single problem.)
*Global weirding (Severe or unusual environmental activity, often attributed to global warming.)
*Multi-dad (Said of a woman who has children by more than one man.)

Some words stick with me because they’re fun to use. Sometimes I make up my own words and expressions but they’ve never made it to the New York Times.