When life gives you lemons….pucker up.

So it’s been awhile since I’ve been here.  (It seems I have a firm grasp on the obvious – that’s a good sign.) However, it’s the why it’s been awhile that needs some explaining. You see – life threw lemons at us.  And while it is an old, hackneyed, tired expression to say you should make lemonade – I’m going to say it.   Nothing is ever just handed to you – it’s up to you to make that happen.  So we found the sugar, added the water, and created a new lemonade recipe.

Nevin’s Loving Life-Let’s move on-Lemonade:

Lemon ingredients:

  • 2 lost jobs
  • 1 broken furnace
  • 1 roof leak
  • 0 money
  • 2 broken pipes
  • 9 wicked cold snow storms
  • 4 water damaged floors
  • 3 exposed rafters where the ceilings collapsed
  • 1 flooded basement (contains drums, buckets, cases, boxes, electronics, and other items that can be used to hold water)
  • 1 deed-in-lieu to the mortgage company

Sugar ingredients:

  • 2 parents that stand by you even though you are over the age of 45
  • 1 couple/best friends who never give up on you
  • 2 landlords willing to take a chance
  • 1 move: home to Colorado
  • 4 – 6 kids to help load the moving truck
  • 5 golden rings – I wish
  • 1 new puppy
  • 2 new jobs
  • 3 great friends to help unload the moving van
  • Unlimited amazing adventures
  • 2 people returning to their roots
  • 0 regrets

Throw in a few things just for extra flavor:

  • 56 hours of driving time PA to CO
  • 1 funeral combined with a house being moved down the street plus our moving van blocking the road
  • 1 minor car accident straight out of a Coen brothers movie
  • 1 midnight on New Year’s Eve crossing the Pennsylvania border
  • 2 missed flights back to PA
  • 1 weather exchange of 33°F and sleeting in PA for 60°F and sunny in CO – on the same day
  • Substitute 1 new and better job for the Colorado job
  • 1 missed left turn at Albuquerque (watch some Bugs Bunny if this comment doesn’t make sense)
  • 2 weeks without my anxiety meds (just to add some agitation to the final product)



Mix with excessive amounts of wonderful water from the Colorado sky.

Shake vigorously with all the friends that have loved, helped, carried, laughed, cried, and just sat with us when we needed.


Yield: Unlimited servings

Ghosts and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night.

Title: Abandoned Asylums - What Has Become Artist: Gary Heller

I have always believed in supernatural things.  Ghost stories fascinate me; Grimm’s Fairy Tales held my attention from a very early age (and not the sanitized ones, but the originals – the ones where the little kids stealing pieces of an old woman’s house actually get eaten – those are creepy); and my favorite poem was one passed down from my grandma to my mom, Little Orphant Annie by James Whitcomb Riley.  Imagine a small cabin in New Hampshire, with a fire in the hearth, sitting in the middle of a dark woods, and mom whispering “An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you ef you don’t watch out!”  Oooo! I had a great childhood! 🙂

But all this isn’t just a fascination or a flight of fancy – I really do believe in things we can’t see.  And why not?  What is there to lose by accepting that things really can go bump in the night?

I think just about everyone has come across something that can’t be rationalized away, the cold spot on the stairs that the dog won’t cross, the can goods that are suddenly alphabetized in the cupboard, the sheet floating in mid-air in the room next to me.  Okay – maybe I’m taking a little bit of literary license, but you have to admit, everyone has heard, experienced, seen, or just kinda noticed something that defies a rational explanation.

Our first townhouse in Greeley, Colorado had a ghost cat.  Really!  You would just catch a glimpse of it as it ran by.  At the time, we only had 3 cats (as opposed to the 6 we have now), but we knew it wasn’t one of ours.  One time we were standing at the door with a couple of friends and all 4 of us stepped aside to let a cat run by – except there wasn’t one – and our 3 were sleeping on the couch.  Group hallucination?  I think not!  Ghost cat – yes indeed.

This discussion could easily lend itself to a religious or scientific debate, but I don’t want to go there.  I’m not talking about whether there is a heaven or after life, or of residual energies or echoes of wavelengths traveling through an alternate universe… you can see I have given this a lot of thought.  I don’t pretend to know what a ghost is – I simply think we should accept the fact that there are some things we just can’t explain – things that should be believed because they are uniquely weird and wonderful and add a little bit of color to our lives. Kinda a theme I live by.

Here’s another example: I was once in a house with a couple other girls.  No one else was home.  (No – really we were the only ones there – I promise.)  We had left a bunch of books open on the table in the dining room and had gone upstairs.  We heard a thump (or perhaps a whump) and ran down to find all the books closed and stacked neatly.  (The accompanying sound track here is basically just screaming – you know that little-girl-shattering-glass-high-pitched-please-stop-before-my-ears-bleed scream.)  After the screaming stopped and the shattered glass swept up, we decided to try an experiment – a very scientific experiment.  We unstacked the books, opened them up, and went back upstairs.  A few minutes later a thump and a whump and immediately there was more little-girl-shattering-glass-high-pitched-please-stop-before-my-ears-bleed screaming.  The books were closed and stacked again and we did the most logical thing we could think of – we left the house through any exit we could find.

Since then, I have grown into an adult – proven by the fact that I scream at a lower pitch and I am less likely to leave the building because it gives me the creepy crawlies.  Oh no, now I run full bore for the cold spot.  I stop at all the old grave yards I can and explore the grounds.  I peek in broken windows of buildings long vacant. I download images of abandoned theme parks, insane asylums, and empty hotels.  I wonder who walked there and do they still – what were their lives like?  How did they live and how did they die?   I like the creepy crawlies – I love it when the hair stands up on the back of my neck or when the goose bumps rise on my arms.  Why?  Because for all the human need to take things apart and understand how they work, or to know the “why” behind a request, I believe we  also need some of the you-can-never-explain-it, what-the-hell-just-happened, did-you-see-that, and I-swear-something-just-touched-me-on-the-hand experiences.  These are the things that remind us that for all our pompous blustering, our belief that we live at the top of the food chain, the “I’m going to rule the world so get out of my way!” mentality – we are surrounded by things we can never explain.

And I for one, don’t want an answer.  You are welcome to join me in my creepy crawly experiences.  Feel free to share my cold spot.  Climb through the broken window with me.  You are not welcome to try to tell me that ghosts aren’t real – that they  “may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.” [1]   I believe, therefore they are real.  After all, isn’t that what makes us unique – our ability to revel in the weirdness of life?

Next time we will talk about aliens – I’ve got a whole other theory on that.

[1] Dickens, Charles (1843) A Christmas Carol

Little Orphant Annie By James Whitcomb Riley

Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,
An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,
An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,
An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;
An’ all us other childern, when the supper things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,
An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you
Ef you
Onc’t they was a little boy wouldn’t say his prayers,–
So when he went to bed at night, away up stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an’ his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he wasn’t there at all!
An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,
An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found was thist his pants an’ roundabout–
An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you
Ef you
An’ one time a little girl ‘ud allus laugh an’ grin,
An’ make fun of ever’one, an’ all her blood an’ kin;
An’ onc’t, when they was “company,” an’ ole folks was there,
She mocked ‘em an’ shocked ‘em, an’ said she didn’t care!
An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,
They was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,
An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ‘fore she knowed what she’s about!
An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you
Ef you
An’ little Orphant Annie says when the blaze is blue,
An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!
An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,
An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is all squenched away,–
You better mind yer parents, an’ yer teachers fond an’ dear,
An’ churish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,
An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns’ll git you
Ef you