Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clair de Lune

I spent the weekend in Ohio getting some of my things as well as my clothes. I left Thursday morning around 6:30am and arrived at 4:30pm. The drive up there wasn't bad and actually went pretty quick. When I finally arrived I was so happy to see my cute little house and I couldn't wait to go inside and fall on my bed! Basie greeted me at the door and then I looked for Jake who seemed pretty pissed off with me since I left him for so long. Jake was stand-offish at first but warmed up quickly when he realized that it was actually me.

I'm not sure what I expected when I walked through the door. All the stress and sadness that I have been feeling for the past month and a half seemed to release and I was suddenly overcome with emotion. I crawled into my bed and just cried. I missed my former life in Ohio and the simplicity of it (minus the snow!) and I missed Justin whom I think of constantly and miss terribly. I missed my house with it's perfect leaf filled yard with fallen tree branches everywhere, I missed my Mom and I missed my semi-normal life that I knew two months ago. I wanted time to rewind and for everything to be okay again. Sadly, a wish like that can't come true, so I just laid there and mourned the loss of my Mother and my failed relationship with Justin. I also mourned the loss of what little life I had built that I was now leaving. After all, I've never had "normal" so why begin now? What the heck was I thinking about when I thought I'd help myself to some of that?!

I knew Justin would be home around 5:30 so I pulled myself together and started to get ready to head out for dinner. When he came in we said our "hello's" and I told him I would be ready in a bit. I went back into the office and I heard it...

I instantly froze after the first two notes... He was playing Clair de Lune - one of my all-time favorite classical pieces. I have asked him so many times to sing for me, since I have heard he has an amazing voice, but he never will. He once played a piece by Tori Amos in a piano store at the mall, but it wasn't exactly sentimental or romantic. I had pretty much given up hope of ever hearing the musical talent of this person who is so much a part of my heart that I didn't really expect this.

Before my trip back home Justin told me that he had acquired a piano so I told him that he had a few days to brush up on his skills because I wanted to hear Clair de Lune. Justin said that he couldn't find his sheet music and then stated that the piano was not tuned. I said I didn't care - I wanted to hear it. I really never thought I would, and there he was... playing it on that beautifully un-tuned piano and I was crying my eyes out... alone, in the office.

Very few pieces of music have the ability to shut me up completely and get me wobbly at the knees. Clair de Lune is definitely number one in the category. The fact that Justin was playing it just because he knew it was important to me and knowing how much I love and wanted to hear it, meant the world to me. I didn't know what to say so I just kept crying. When the song finished he entered the room and I couldn't even look at him. I needed a moment so I waved him away! Again, I pulled myself together and continued on with the evening.

Even now, a few days later and many miles between us, I think of that moment where Clair de Lune filled the air with it's out of tune notes at which I couldn't have cared less. To me, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard and coming from someone who took the effort to play it for me at my request, filled my heart with love and a bit of sadness for love lost.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Sleeping Bear

I love camping...
I would love camping even more if I had a bear sleeping bag!
This is the best invention EVER!
Is it my birthday yet?? I think I need to have this!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Closure and Second Chances

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea...
~Edgar Allan Poe

I went to Savannah today and spent the afternoon with my ex-boyfriend from over 15 years ago. My mind has been working on overload all evening trying to sort through the aftermath of feelings that resulted from our conversations.

Most of my friends don't keep in touch with their ex's for many reasons, mostly because their significant other does not "allow" it, which I have never understood. For the most part, my ex's have understanding partners that have the intelligence enough to know that ours was a relationship that just didn't work out. Most of my past relationships ended on friendly terms, or eventually ended up on friendly terms after the hurt feelings settled. As an adult, I have always said that I would never stop my partner from seeing or having a friendship with their ex, nor would I ever be in a relationship with someone who dictated who I can and can't have as a friend.

Since I came back to Charleston I have been going through some sort of radical reconnection with my friends. I have missed them dearly and it's time to build on what we've lost since I've been gone. Being back in town has conjured up memories of people from my past like you wouldn't believe. As I drive around town I see parks, businesses, streets, etc. that inevitably remind me of someone I once knew. I've found several of those people on Facebook but some have remained elusive, especially one... until this week.

When I was around 22 I moved back from Columbia to Charleston and got a job at Piggly Wiggly. There were several baggers that were friends from high school named Lonnie, Jody, Jimmy and Bobby. Upon meeting them I immediately had a crush on Lonnie, but sadly, he had a girlfriend and they were both headed to USC. I eventually started dating Jody, who I thought was adorable.

Last month, when I came back to Charleston from Ohio, Jody was one of the people that I thought about frequently. After we broke up many years ago I started dating Lonnie and had a relationship with him that lasted about 7 years. Being that Jody and Lonnie were friends, Jody was around for the first bit of that relationship. The last I knew of his whereabouts was that he was dating a high school crush named Kim and then he seemed to fall off the face of the Earth... this was about thirteen years ago. I have thought about him over the years and even tried to look him up to no avail. A week or so ago my curiosity got the best of me so I called his parent's house.

Jody's Mom and I always got along well and I always thought highly of his parent's. When I called her it was like we had just spoke the day before. We talked for an hour about Ohio, South Carolina, Obama, Cancer, Life, Death and even a little about Jody. She told me that he and Kim were living in Savannah and gave me an update in a nutshell. I told her that I thought of Jody every once in a while and would love to hear from him. She told me that I shouldn't hold my breath and knowing that I once hurt him, I said I definitely wouldn't do that.

Yesterday I was recovering from one of my Ambien hangover's when the phone rang. Being that I never know who is calling my Mother's house I always check the caller ID. It was Jody! I actually stared at the phone for a second in disbelief before answering it. His voice sounded exactly the same and I was so happy to hear from him. We chatted for a while and I told him that I was probably going to start work next week and this week I was planning on doing a cemetery trip to Savannah... I asked him if he wanted to get together and luckily he had today free.

Jody and I had a great afternoon catching up. We walked around Colonial Park Cemetery and then went to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant and later traveled to Bonaventure Cemetery. Over lunch he reminded me of so many things I had forgotten about, or that I had intentionally blocked. I was nervous about seeing him so I am sure I did my usual overcompensating babble. We talked about when we dated and the years following when I dated Lonnie. I knew that I wasn't the best girlfriend in the world and I told Jody that I was incredibly sorry for all the wrong that I did. I have never regretted any of my past relationships, or how they ended, except that one and I wanted to make it right.

After all of this talk, I was completely overwhelmed with all of these thoughts and feelings about the "Lonnie Years." When Lonnie and I broke up it was abrupt and I don't think I ever got closure about it. The way I handled it was basically like "Okay, that's done... file it away and don't look back!" Revisiting the past and REALLY facing how I handled my relationship and eventual breakup with Jody forced me to face the harsh reality of the person I used to be. It devastates me to know that I hurt someone the way I was hurt, or even had the capacity to.

While driving home I played our conversation over and over again in my head and all I could think was that the person Jody knew that was me, back in the day, no longer exists... I am sure he is a different person today, as well. I hope that with this opportunity we have been given we can rebuild the friendship that we once had and also realize, in each other, the adults that we have become.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Parkay and the Dog Park

A couple of weeks ago my sister Traci, her girlfriend Tanya, and I went to La Hacienda for dinner. When we sat down at the table I noticed a bottle of squeeze Parkay next to the hot sauce.

Isn't that odd?

It made me wonder if the people that sat there before us asked the server if they had any margarine. Of course that made me wonder what, in a Mexican restaurant, would you ever put margarine on? The thought actually kind of grosses me out a bit.

It's one of those questions in the universe that we will never know the answer to.

So, after my ordeal at the dog park last week... wait, I don't think I ever wrote about it!

So, my Mom's dog Maggie, who is a Lhasa apso mix, hasn't really been out of the house in years. My mom couldn't walk her so the only exercise she ever got was running around the back yard. I took Maggie for the vaccinations last week just so I could take her to the dog park. She was so excited to ride in the car and to her it didn't really matter where she was going - it was out of the house and that is fun times in dog world!

The dog park is located at Wannamaker Park, which is a local county park only a couple miles from my house. We arrived and I saw that there were several other dogs running around. I didn't really worry about Maggie because she is socialized and does very well around other animals. When we walked through the gates the other dogs, who I believe were boxers but am not really sure, surrounded Maggie. I walked her over to another part of the park before taking off leash. She wasn't concerned at all with the other dogs and initially, after the first smell, they left her alone also.

I followed Maggie around the park and soon the other dogs were back. The dogs owners were only a couple feet away and I stayed pretty close to Maggie since this was her first time. All of the other dogs were soon surrounding Maggie and smelling her EVERYWHERE! Maggie isn't too keen on other dogs smelling her nether regions so she growled. I think I would too if I had all those noses in my crotch!

When Maggie growled all hell broke loose and the other dogs started attacking her. It was four against one! I immediately picked Maggie up and started yelling at the other owners to control their animals. While I had Maggie in my arms the other dogs were repeatedly jumping up and down nipping at both me and Maggie. I had to kick them away. The other owners stood there and patted their laps and were saying things like "come here boy"... um, clearly they hadn't grasped the severity of the situation. I kept turning around to keep the dogs from biting us and kept yelling at the other owners to get their fucking dogs. Some guy finally stepped in. I think he had just walked into the park and saw what was happening. He helped me walk to the gate while pushing the attacking dogs away. The other owners, who were both young girls, really did nothing.

That day I ended up walking Maggie around the park pond on the path. The path is lined with signs saying "Please don't feed the wildlife" which went on to list ducks, geese, turtles and alligators. Um, alligators? I mean, yes, I'm in South Carolina and we do have gators, but I really didn't expect them to be in the county park pond. One of the signs said "A fed gator is a dead gator!" Wow! From the minute I saw the signs I was on a gator hunt. I really wanted to see one and in my mind I was strategically planning my escape because they run very fast... the key to escape is to run in a zig-zag formation because they can't! Whenever I mention this (which isn't often, really) my friend Steve always states matter-of-factly that this is what you do when someone is shooting at you with a gun. How he knows this, I am not sure!

Yes, gators and guns = zig-zag running!

During a conversation this week (not sure who with!) I found out that at that same park this past Sunday a pit bull attacked and killed a 9 month old, 5-pound Maltese puppy.


What the hell?! I think I would much rather subject my Mom's dog to a gator attack than a pit bull attack! I'll be sticking with the park pond path until they make the fenced off area for smaller dogs, which is exactly what I did today! Maggie loves running around (on a leash) like a crazy dog and after sitting around the house for a month I really need the exercise too! If I ever receive the package Justin mailed to me 2-day priority almost three weeks ago I'll have to load my gps with some cache's that we can do while walking in the park.

Ever since my tick incident I have had many conversations with people that have their own tick stories. It seems these ticks are out of control and have attacked everyone I know! Days later I am still rubbing my whole body looking for more that might be hanging out. I'm trying not to obsess about it because there is potential for me ending up as the girl in the bubble and really, that just won't be happening in the Summer heat of South Carolina! I need to investigate to see if there is such a thing as tick repellent.

My friend Becky suggested that I need to invest in some Kevlar leg warmers for potential snake attacks. I can be safe, yet fashionable, while traipsing through the woods looking for a cemetery or a geocache! Apparently she wasn't thinking about those snakes that like to hang out in trees!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

They Call It Xanadu

After my disco nap on Saturday afternoon I prepared to go to the Olivia Newton-John concert at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.

A week before my Mom passed away she called me one evening asking me to go online to Ticketmaster to purchase a single ticket to the concert for her. I said "You really want to go see Olivia Newton-John??" and she said "well, yeah... I like her and rarely go anywhere!" So, I went online and bought her the best ticket they had available.

A week or so after Mom passed away I received the ticket in the mail. I had almost forgotten about even purchasing it for her. I thought about selling it on Craigslist but what were the chances of someone buying a single ticket to ONJ? I later found out that my friend Steve bought a ticket to to the show so I decided to go and meet up with him afterward.

My friend Devin was covering the concert for the Post & Courier so the plan was that Devin (who also knows Steve) was going to get Steve in and I was going to take Steve's ticket and Steve was going to invite his current date Josh and Josh was going to take my ticket. When we finally got into the theater we realized that the press tickets that Devin got were worse seats than the tickets that Steve and I had so we each kept our original seats and Josh and Devin sat together. Sounds confusing, huh?

So, there I was sitting in the seat originally intended for my Mother. It was quite a strange crowd ranging from teenagers to the elderly. Of course there was wide representation from the gay peeps because we all know that some queens love their Xanadu!

When ONJ came out I was a bit concerned about her voice. It seemed awfully strained and she had a bit of trouble reaching those high notes she is known for. Thankfully she recovered in the first half of the show. I was kind of disappointed that she only sang "Magic" and "Xanadu" from Xanadu... Xanadu was the first vinyl album I bought with my own money! She could have done the whole soundtrack and left the stage and I would have been a happy camper!

One of the things I liked about the show was that she had this big backdrop behind her that showed photos and film footage from her life and her movies. I think it added to her performance since the stage was really lacking in design.

What I didn't like about the show was the sing-a-long she did to some of the songs from Grease. She had the words to "Summer Nights" and "We Go Together" on the screen and encouraged everyone to sing along... Men vs. Women. Ugh. The guy next to me seemed to be enjoying himself. He sang loudly and not necessarily the correct words. I'm not sure he even realized the words were on the screen. I was really happy when that part of the show was over!

ONJ sang all of her popular tunes and I couldn't help but to sit there and think that my Mom would have been in heaven. It was pretty hard trying to not think about that, because after all, it really should have been Mom sitting there and not me! I did pretty well emotionally until the next to the last number. That bitch ONJ just HAD TO play "Over The Rainbow" I could have run up to the stage and kicked her. When she sang that I pretty much just lost it and tried pretending that there was something in my eye. How would I explain this to the strangers sitting next to me? I mean, they were probably sitting there thinking "Wow! This girl next to me REALLY loves her some Olivia Newton-John!! - she's crying!"

My favorite part of the show was when ONJ walked over to the section of the stage where Steve was sitting. I could see him from my seat during the whole show. I could swear that when she walked over to shake the hands of people in his area he actually knocked down some people to get to her... he never really denied this so I'm sure that's exactly what happened!

After the show I met up with Josh and Steve and we walked to the back of the venue to see how close we could get to the tour buses. When we arrived it was just us and another couple so we started walking toward the bus. We were soon stopped by a couple of guys who told us we had to wait by the street which was pretty far away. By the time we got back to the street there were several other people with hopes of meeting her. I pretty much had the feeling that she would immediately get on the bus and roll right past us.

We did end up waiting around for an hour or so just to see what would happen. There was some asshole in the crowd that started getting belligerent with the security guard. I told him that is the last thing that you want to do... piss off the security guard and you won't get anywhere! The guy actually went on to call the city of North Charleston Police Department to lodge a complaint and find out exactly what his rights were. Obviously this was his first time trying to meet a celebrity. Any seasoned celebrity stalker knows that this would be the last thing you would ever do! What a jerk. He attempted to show his ass a bit more and loudly talk about what his rights were and that they can't stop him from going closer to the bus. Well, it seems that's exactly what they did. Luckily, he left a while later and ONJ did exactly what we predicted... she hopped on the bus and was gone in a flash.

All this time Devin was inside writing his review for the paper and later joined us with what was left of the crowd. All that celebrity stalking made us hungry so we went to Denny's for some late night food. It was really nice hanging out with Devin, Steve and Josh. It's strange how worlds collide like that because I met Steve in 1986 when he worked at the record store in the mall and I met Devin in 2004 at a Blues Traveler concert and Josh is someone I knew from hanging out in the gay bars of Charleston. Three totally separate relationships from three totally separate times of my life and they all know each other! Bizarre.

In other news, on Monday I got a call from McKesson offering me that job (that I haven't mentioned) that I interviewed for last week. I suppose I haven't mentioned it because I'm not really looking forward to it for several reasons. I took a huge pay cut and from what I understand the position is for one of their worst clients. The positive part of it is that it's close to home and I can wear jeans. After completing the background check and drug test (which I am supposed to do tomorrow) I will start on March 23rd. We'll see how that goes!

Since today is supposed to be the last warm day of the week I decided to go to Sullivans Island and spend a couple of hours in an attempt to get a tan. It was around 86 degrees and the sun was very warm but the wind on the beach was pretty chilly. I suppose blazing hot weather is a bit much to ask for when it is still March and probably snowing where I live! I only lasted an hour and a half and unfortunately, I don't think I got any sun at all.

And lastly, still no mail and still no package from the post office :( What the hell??!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I meant to write about my weekend earlier but napping got in my way!
A couple of weeks ago my long-time friend Carol told me that she and her husband (Dave) were going to see Morrissey in Myrtle Beach and that I should come along. I was apprehensive about spending the extra money since I wasn't working but after thinking about it decided that it would be a much needed break from "Probate World" so I went to the Ticketmaster counter at Publix and bought a ticket.

Remind me to write a blog rant one day about the outrageous "convenience" fee's and service charges when you purchase a concert ticket! It's a total rip-off!


Carol called me the week before the concert and asked if I would mind staying the night in Myrtle Beach. She went on to explain that the last time they went to a concert they were so tired afterward that they didn't feel like driving home so they looked for a hotel room. Of course, being that they were in The Redneck Riviera Vacationland (aka Myrtle Beach) all the hotels were super expensive, or booked (probably by Ohioans!)

Initially I thought the idea of sleeping in a hotel with Carol and Dave might be a bit weird so I told her that I would drive separately. It wasn't just the idea of sleeping in the same room with a couple, it was also the fact that I really haven't slept well in over a month and I certainly didn't want to keep anyone up. Once I thought about it and the fact that I could just take a sleeping pill or listen to my iPod in an emergency sleep situation I decided it wouldn't be a big deal. Friday afternoon I picked Carol and Dave up at their house and we were on our way. The plan was to check into the hotel and then head over to the House of Blues for dinner.

The House of Blues has this thing where if you eat dinner there you can "pass the line" with your receipt. When we arrived we drove around the venue and I noticed the entire bus area was blocked off with tape. You couldn't get within 100 feet of the nearest bus. I knew that Morrissey was difficult to meet, but the House of Blues roping system would make it near impossible!

We parked and noticed there was a bit of a line so we went in to eat. I had never been to the House of Blues and just as I had imagined, like Planet Hollywood and The Hard Rock Cafe, the prices were outrageous for normal food. Carol and I ended up getting the chicken fingers and fries and I think that dish was around $13. I also ordered two cocktails which I learned later were $6 each. That is just crazy! The vodka probably wasn't even Absolut!

The main conversation of the day was regarding how to sneak a camera into the venue. The House of Blues is notorious for their security. I thought that I could possibly put my camera in my boot or bra but was worried about the possibility of them using the metal detector wand thingy. We asked the server about the camera policy and she said they are really strict about not allowing in cameras. She went on to say that if you are caught with one they will kick you out. That was the deal breaker for me. I definitely didn't think it was worth all of that to get a picture of Morrissey. What I don't understand is that they will allow you to bring in a cell phone camera. I am sure the iPhone's probably take better pictures than most camera's so why not just allow them?? I think I might write an email asking them to explain that.

After walking to the car to drop off purses and cameras we learned that is wasn't even necessary to eat the crappy and tasteless food at the House of Blues to obtain the "pass the line" pass because there was no line! We walked right in after being frisked and, yes, wanded!

We stood to the right of the stage and the opening band, Red Cortez, started at 8:00 on the dot. I didn't know anything about them but they wore skinny jeans, had an 80's influence to their music and and what seemed to be a put-on British accent. I was half interested because I was counting down the minutes until Morrissey came onstage! We were all concerned since he had cancelled the first week of the tour due to illness and the Myrtle Beach was to be the opening night of the tour. No one was sure if he would even perform that evening!

When he did come out it was almost surreal. Here was this man that I have adored for almost 25 years standing right in front of me. I was trying to contain my emotions and initially did a pretty good job of it. He seemed a bit moody to me but since I had nothing to compare it to I didn't know if he was having a good show or a bad show. At one point he did walk off the stage for a few minutes only to come back to say the sound was too loud. During the show Morrissey didn't speak much and said just a few things; when he he first came on stage he said "Nothing could be finer..." and then said (of his illness and cancelled dates) "reports of my death are obviously untrue, sadly" and then later he said things like "How do you like your new President?" - after the crowd cheered he said "Good!" Before singing "Best Friend on the Payroll" he said "we all have filthy pasts!"

The set list was as follows:

Something Is Squeezing My Skull
Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed
This Charming Man
Black Cloud
Best Friend On The Payroll
First Of The Gang To Die
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
Seasick, Yet Still Docked
Sister, I'm A Poet
All You Need Is Me
I Keep Mine Hidden
The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
Life Is A Pigsty
How Soon Is Now?

After "Life is a Pigsty" they immediately went into "How Soon Is Now?" and I literally got weak in the knees. When I first heard the infamous guitar chords of the song I closed my eyes. I was standing right next to the speakers and could feel the vibration of the song all around me. For a brief moment it was 1986 and I was 16 again... back in the unfinished room over the garage that I called my bedroom. I didn't have a fancy stereo, just a simple record player that I repeatedly played "Hatful of Hollow" on. My room was decorated with posters of my favorite 80's goth bands and James Dean. The lights were usually off and candles lit the room... it was usually me, some friends, sometimes smuggled alcohol or pot and the sounds of The Cure, Siouxsie or The Smiths filling the room. It was always perfect until my Mom would come up and yell that the music was too loud!

Over the years I have been in several clubs that played "How Soon Is Now?" and always enjoyed being loudly surrounded by the perfection of what was Morrissey and Johnny Marr. "How Soon Is Now?" was the anthem of my youthful angst and I thought at one time that only Morrissey truly understood my feelings as a teenager.

That night at the House of Blues, hearing one of my idols sing one of my all-time favorite songs put me in a state of sensory overload. Hearing that song on such a loud level enveloped my entire being and I soon found that I was holding back tears in a nightclub and hoping no one would notice. I was verklempt. I have always loved them, but until that moment I never realized the impact that Morrissey and The Smiths had on me as a teenager.

They ended the show abruptly with "How Soon Is Now?" and I know that some people were ticked that there was no encore, but to me, it could not have ended more perfectly.

I did manage to find some photos that someone took that night in Myrtle Beach...

Still as beautiful as ever!

After the show Carol, Dave and I roamed around taking photos...

... and then headed to Krispy Kreme for a late night snack!

Loving my new hat!

Mmmm... donuts! We were concerned about the half-cooked donuts and their demise...

Dave doing his Morrissey backdrop pose

Only one would survive!

Late night donut fun was had by all!

After getting our "Hot Donuts Now!" sugar overload we headed back to the hotel. Just in case, I took an Ambien and was sufficiently knocked out within minutes. I probably snored the whole night through so remind me to apologize to Dave and Carol!
The next morning, after stopping for breakfast at Chick-fil-A, we headed back home. I arrived just in time to return a couple of phone calls and to take a disco nap before the Olivia Newton-John concert on Saturday night!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mail Woes & My New BFF

Why is there no other option than to use the United States Postal Service to mail everyday letters? I ask this because I'd really like to boycott them due to their huge screw up with my mail.

On February 11th I did an online mail forward of all of my mail in Ohio to South Carolina since I didn't know how long I would be here. According to the U.S.P.S. it takes 14 days to go into affect. Soon after the 14 days I received about 4 pieces of mail with the little yellow forwarding sticker. This was two weeks ago. I haven't received any forwarded mail since then. Also, over two weeks ago, Justin mailed me a package containing my social security card, DVD's, books and some computer things that was supposed to be 2-day priority. I still haven't received it. Since my mail forward request Justin has not received any mail... until today.

I've called both the Goose Creek and Middletown post offices multiple times only to get the same answers: "I'm sorry, I can't help you" or "There was no delivery confirmation purchased for the package so we can't trace it" or "Everything in our system appears to be correct as far as the forwarding request... we don't know where your mail is!" It has been so frustrating dealing with these people! I told the clerk at the Middletown post office that when someone pays for a service then they should receive the service! She said "what have you paid for??" I then said "um, postage! People have paid postage to mail things to me and they are not arriving! Last I checked U.S.P.S. services weren't free!" I think she neglected to think about that until I brought it up.

Finally, the clerk at the Goose Creek Post Office suggested I contact the Ohio Postal Consumer Affairs office. I called them and he initially told me that same thing: "Everything looks right in our system as far as the mail forwarding request." I was so pissed at that point because I was getting the run around. I asked him if our mail wasn't in Goose Creek and our mail wasn't in Middletown, then where was it?? Of course he didn't have an answer but promised to conduct an investigation into the matter. I was told it would take a couple of days.

So much for two-day priority mail!

Speaking of Goose Creek, yesterday I emailed the Mayor Hietzler asking him about the St. James Goose Creek Church. Several years ago they erected a fence blocking anyone from driving down the gravel road to the church. I stopped last Summer and walked up the lane and was stopped by a gentleman. I was told that the church was private property and I was not allowed, which I could not believe. He gave me the name of the man that is that caretaker of the church grounds. He told me that if I would like permission to go on the land I had to call him. Of course that number is somewhere in my belongings in Ohio.

My email to the Mayor was asking if the church was really private property and could they keep people from visiting the property being that there was a cemetery on the grounds. I received an email from the Mayor saying this:

From: Michael Heitzler
To: Pamela
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 7:09 AM
Subject: RE: St. James Goose Creek Church

You have asked many questions and I prefer to speak to you on the phone. Will you send me your phone number so I may call and answer your many questions more thoroughly than E-mail?

Um, okay... I emailed him back with my phone number and he called later in the afternoon from his home. That was cool, but kind of strange.

We chatted for a while about the history of Goose Creek and I think he was surprised that I found the Goose Creek Chapel of Ease cemetery. Apparently he had the same problem finding the cemetery and unnecessarily walked through the woods as well - he was lucky enough to be tick-free upon exiting! He told me that he does a history lecture series in the fall and invited me to attend. He then went on to tell me about the Goose Creek Church that I love so much and that it is, in fact, on private property. The church has been owned by the Goose Creek Vestry since 1706. He told me that when he visits the church he parks at the gate and walks and has never had a problem. I said "Of course, not... you are the Mayor!" He told me that if I ever want to visit the church he'd be happy to meet me and I told him I might take him up on his offer.

Once a year they have service at the church and I was never sure about the date. Mayor Heitzler told me that it is the Sunday after Easter so I will be sure to attend. In 24 years I've only been in the church once and can't wait to go again!

Here are the pictures I took on that day as well as some old postcards and photos that I've scanned over the years: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skitpero/sets/72157606376097281/

Maybe I will try to "trespass" again in the next few days during business hours. If I get stopped I will just tell them that Mayor Heitzler is my new BFF!

Not So Nature Girl

I realized something tragic today... I don't think I will be able to geocache in South Carolina (at least not in the spring or summer!)

What brought me to that conclusion is a little day trip I took today to find the site of the old St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease cemetery. I discovered its existence while doing some research on one of my favorite places in the world, the St. James Goose Creek Church.

The Mayor of Goose Creek, Michael Heitzler, is an amazing local historian and has written a couple of books about the history of Goose Creek. I stumbled upon an article about the St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease and the Mayors efforts to save the cemetery and erect an historical marker. I love history, especially about places I've lived, so I couldn't wait to go find this cemetery! I didn't even know it existed!

I knew the general vicinity of where the cemetery was located and it was only a couple of miles from my house. The newspaper article said I had to turn from Old Highway 52 on to Avanti Lane and I would be able to see the gravestones through the trees. I parked my car and peered into the woods and saw nothing but trees. I had a feeling that I would be walking through the woods so I wore jeans and tennis shoes. It was a gorgeous day and about 86 degrees. Before I got out of the car all I could think about was that I had to remember to do my snake dance while walking.

The snake dance is not really something I do around other people. I just feel safer doing it when I am alone in snake territory. I'm usually with other people while walking through the woods and my friends know how terrified I am of snakes so they know to keep their eyes peeled for them. Two sets of eyes are always better than one... so snake dance it is, when alone! It's not really a dance, but more of a loud walk where you take more steps than necessary just to let the snakes know you are there. I figure that if they feel the vibration of my loud and thunderous steps they will slither away. By the way, just typing the word "slither" makes my skin crawl.

As I started walking into the woods all I kept thinking was "what the hell am I doing?" The area was full of wood piles and crunchy leaves and the sun was shining bright. I was totally in snake territory! I walked around for 30 minutes looking for the cemetery and found nothing but swampland. I decided to go back to my car, all the while doing the snake dance with the added combo of the spider removal dance. I'm telling you, it's a sight to see.

When I got back to the car I decided to drive up the little lane to see what was at the end. The lane was really small with houses on the right hand side. One of the houses had signs that read "Beware of Pig" and "Pig Crossing!" Being that I was on the outskirts of town, I assumed they were serious. When I got to the end of the lane I found the cemetery and was kind of irritated that I did all of that snake dancing for nothing. The cemetery was in plain view.

I got out of the car and walked around for an hour or so taking photos. I wished that the chapel was still standing and I tried to imagine where it was positioned. There were a lot of brick piles but nothing that looked like a foundation of a church. Also, it seems that there has been some land surveying as there were small colored flags around the area. Some of the gravestones had braces to stabilize them and keep them from falling. Amazingly, there were still many that were standing on their own. Most of the graves were from the early 1800's and although none of them were unusual, the cemetery was still very interesting.

I got home around 6pm and later ran a couple of errands. Around Midnight I was sitting on the couch watching TV and saw something on my leg on the left upper calf just below the inside of my knee. I went to brush it off and it didn't move. I thought I cut myself and assumed it was a dried piece of blood so I grabbed a tissue and tried to pull it off. Again, it stuck to my leg and didn't move. I tried twice more and finally it came off.

It was a freakin' tick!!!!

All I saw was the little legs wiggling so I screamed and threw the tissue across the living room. After doing the "Ohmygodaretheremoreticksonme???" dance I calmed down and realized that I had to retrieve the tissue and hopefully find the tick. I certainly didn't want it to get back on me and I didn't want it to get on Maggie! I went to the tissue and picked it up and shook it and immediately dropped it. Nothing. I scanned the hardwood floors for something crawling and didn't see anything. I picked up the tissue again and VERY carefully unfolded it. Ew!! There it was! I immediately folded the tissue up and sent it on it's journey in toiletville.

For the next hour I rubbed my entire body in an OCD manner feeling for the brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, friends and neighbors of the little bastard that burrowed into me. It freaked me out so bad that I'm still constantly scratching and examining my skin every two seconds.

When I lived in South Carolina before I was never much of a nature girl. I would go camping every summer but never really hiked in the woods. Camping consisted of sitting around the campfire making smores and drinking. I was never in fear of snakes and ticks. In Ohio I truly found a love of the outdoors and whenever I hiked, camped or geocached I never worried about snakes, ticks or spiders. Here in South Carolina we have six different venomous snakes as well as brown recluse spiders and I am living proof that it doesn't take much to become a tick hotel.

I did several hundred geocaches in Ohio without ever seeing a snake and last summer I did a little over 10 caches in Charleston and saw at least 4 snakes! I think it's safe to say that I need to think of a different spring and summer activity while in South Carolina.

So much for my love of nature!