Three Years Later

It happened again. Another anniversary crept up on me before I even realized it was happening. It turns out today is the 3rd anniversary of our move to Maryland. If this is news to you, and you really want the back story, there are links at the end of this post. For the purposes of this post, however, I had to go back and revisit Two Years Later just to see how things have changed.

Three years later, our lives have seen some big changes and we’ve said some goodbyes. We said goodbye to elementary school, as Veruca “graduated” the 5th grade. We said goodbye to Neph, who decided to move back home. We said goodbye to Pi. She lived a long and happy life, but she was ready long before we would ever be. So, we now have just one dog and one cat, and no plans to add to the brood. Some extended-family dynamics changed as well, which are better left unsaid.

Three years later, Opac has returned to football after a broken collarbone acquired during practice tackling drills last year. He is starting this year as a JV defensive lineman. I heard his name and jersey number announced for the first time last night, when he ran the ball runner out of bounds. Proud momma moment! He’s still an honor student… nothing new to see here. He still likes his rap music, but he has recently discovered the WWF of the 1980s and loves replaying videos of his favorites, Randy Savage and Rick Flair. I wish I could just explain the irony of this.

Three years later, Veruca has started middle school. It was a much easier transition than I expected. I was much less emotional about it than I was when O started. This year, V has met two other girls in her grade with Type 1 diabetes, and it’s had a very interesting and positive effect on her. And, after much deliberation, she returned to cheer this year, but I think this is going to be the last year. She’s ready to try something new, and I admit I’m ready to put an end to six days a week of running kids to and from practices/sports.

Three years later, we didn’t do any major renovations around the house, but we did some minor things in preparation for my in-laws’ 50th anniversary party. Which we hosted here. It was a bit stressful in the month leading up to it, but the party itself turned out great and we had gorgeous weather. We had a tent, live music, and a neighbor hollered at one of our guests parking on the street.

Three years later, Todd is still a professor. He’s taken a step back from more intense responsibilities but if you ask me, I think he’s now climbing the walls. He is still working on that personal and potentially very lucrative project that I mentioned briefly last year. Breath held. Meanwhile – and I know this will come as a shock to those who know me – I’m still working in the restaurant business. Somehow I think I will die there, and they’ll bury me under the bar. However, I am also doing some grant research and writing – I’m really enjoying it and I’m hoping to see it develop more in the coming year.

Three years later, the apartment we said we’d never rent – is occupied. No worries – it’s a good thing. A good friend of ours was in need, and the timing was good. You know the family you get and the family you choose? He’s the family we choose. There’s a lot of trust there, and for that I’m grateful.

Three years later, and this is a big one – Todd and I finally got that vacation. It was shorter than we would’ve liked, but it was longer than a weekend and we were alone.

Three years later, I’m a Marylander. I’m not just visiting, I’m not a new resident, I LIVE HERE. I no longer feel like an outsider, I truly feel like I belong here.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Changing Places – The Prequel

Changing Places – Moving Day

Changing Places – We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

**Disclaimer: I don’t use the upgraded service; therefore, you will see ads at the bottom of my posts (ads I don’t see because I’m not you). As it has come to my attention that certain ads may not align with my world views – I am compelled to add the following statement until further notice.





A Brick, A Big Black Snake, and Some Hot Action – Adventure Camp Concludes


North Bay, on the beach. Copyright TaraKA & the Tara Chronicles, 2016.



When we arrived back at camp on day 3, already there was a humid haze hanging over camp. This morning’s breakfast selection included pancakes, and cereal. Pancakes are unkind to the blood sugars, but I decided to dismiss my worries over V’s diet this week. I drank more coffee than necessary – in fact, I was drinking coffee like water at every meal – and tried to focus on the conversation around me, which had become very difficult to do.

I forgot to mention that on day 2 a group of young men from a Washington, DC high school arrived around lunchtime. Their lessons didn’t impinge upon us in any way over the following days; however, they shared mealtimes with us, and they were anything but quiet, controlled, or courteous. This became a source of controversy and discussion by the last day.

The first lesson of the day was named, ACTION, which implies exactly that. The girls’ Action was beach cleanup. Our counselor told them they could wear “water shoes” but I told Veruca that she didn’t need to go into the water for this task. After some brief instructions, the girls set out over the beach to collect garbage and debris, which they brought back to our counselor to categorize and record.

I took my post under Rogue’s Pier, in the shade. Hey, I’m over 40 and this heat wanted to kill me. It was already 92 degrees at 9 a.m. and the light breeze could only be appreciated in the shade. I released any guilt I might have had by justifying that I could be of no help to Veruca if she went low, if I passed out from heat exhaustion.

The girls wandered the beach collecting things that had washed up from the bay, and miscellaneous trash, for what felt like an hour. V got her sneakers soaked. When they took a break to change shoes in the cabin, I walked back to the car to retrieve her extra pair and damn near stepped on a black snake sunning itself on the driveway. It was one of those moments where I picked up to a jog and noticed something long and black in front of me and didn’t realize what it was until I was on top of it. Its shiny little black head with its beady little eyes looking up at me like, go ahead and step on me, bitch.


Lunchtime, again shared with DC Boys. I forget what we ate. It’s all a blur now and, quite possibly, blocked out. (Side note: I just asked V if she remembered what we ate and she said no, and that she didn’t want to remember.) I can’t believe I didn’t lose weight on this adventure, because I barely ate anything other than the salad that was served at every meal. And because – sweating. There was a napkin-eating contest on the stage. The volunteers had the corner of a paper napkin in their mouth, and had to pull the whole thing in without touching it. The first one to get the whole napkin in his mouth won. This got the attention of DC Boys, who were riveted by the action and hysterical. It was the first – and only – time it felt like we were all in the same cafeteria.

After lunch was Lesson 2: “Food D lesson.” Our group retired to the classroom inside the dining hall, where they learned about food waste and weighed the food from lunch to be composted/thrown away. There followed a nice humid hike through the woods in search of paw paw fruit, that fruit made famous by Baloo in the Jungle Book. My mind drifted to that refreshing shower I was going to sneak in between dropping Opac and driving back.

My fellow chaperone-mom recounted the fallout from news of the DC Boys sharing our camp. Apparently the girls in her side of our cabin (roughly, 8 girls on each side), when they called home last night, mentioned these boys. One of the parents demanded to speak to her and badgered her with questions about who they were, where they were, whether the girls’ cabin was locked at night, etc. She told the parent to call the administrative office, and apparently our assistant principal was now involved. I so love juicy gossip! I wish I knew how that phone call ended.

It made sense that only one school should be there at a time. But the insinuation that these boys were somehow dangerous to our kids pissed me off. The only criticism I had, was that they ate with us. I think it was very poor management to place our two very different dynamics in the dining hall at the same time. Because they were talking loudly and simultaneously with the counselor on stage who was leading our kids. And NO ONE did a damn thing about it. Not the North Bay counselors, and especially not the boys’ chaperones – who, for what it’s worth, looked like retired linebackers, walking around looking like somebody hit their momma. The whole situation just seemed so rude, and it had everybody talking about it. Actually, amend that: the only criticism I had was for the adults who didn’t manage the situation properly.

The rest of the afternoon played out mostly indoors. It was just too hot. The girls didn’t want to be outside anymore, so they hung out in the cabin. I left to pick Opac up and take him home from practice again, leaving V with the very capable people at camp.

By some miracle, I made it back in time for dinner. They were resurfacing the main road all week and traffic in Northeast was miles long. Dinner was pizza and buffalo chicken, with salad. Best meal yet. This last dinner included shout-outs – each of the kids was invited to write down a shout-out and place in the box on stage, to be read during dinner. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear any of it (see above).

As a continuation of the earlier food lesson, where they also set the tables for dinner, the girls were on cleanup duty in the dining hall. They finished in record time and were allowed to go to the gym until North Bay Live started. The gym is the only building without air conditioning, but no one seemed to care on this last night. We hung out there until called to line up outside the theater for the show.

Evening, and North Bay Live!

The kids were all pumped for the last episode of Toobie. Toobie turned out to be a good friend who stopped his friend from punching someone out and getting arrested and ruining his life. Everybody cheered. There was a lot of talk from the counselors, reminding kids why bullying hurts everyone, and how important it is to be a good friend, to accept others for who they are, and to be true to yourself. Most important message of the night: We all have a purpose.

The hosts, Nicole and Dave, mentioned a little ritual they do at the conclusion of every camp session – it had something to do with touching a brick and I can’t for the life of me recall the significance of it. Probably something about North Bay and the kids’ own attitudes forming the foundation for their future. Yeah, that’s it.

They called all of the chaperones down to the stage, and they honored us for our time and generosity by having the kids applaud us. And then… they invited the kids to come down, one row at a time, and touch that brick. I was watching the girls’ side, naturally, and many of them hugged Nicole too, and several of these girls were bawling their eyes out. And suddenly, tears were forming in my eyes and goddammit I was finally finally living my dream of being on stage, staring out into a darkened theater, except this wasn’t Shakespeare, it was a middle school adventure camp and I was in danger of making a complete fool out of myself.

Time to reel myself in. I snapped a pic of Veruca as she hugged Nicole, and then gave up trying to high five the girls as they passed us since they were clearly too emotional for high-fiving….so, being strategically placed center stage, I turned toward the boys and offered my palm and they were totally down with it! I felt much better and managed to wipe the wetness under my eyes with my left hand.

The three of us drove home in silence. (My friend’s son, one of V’s friends, did not wish to be an overnighter either, so he traveled with us all week.) I imagined the deep messages from North Bay Live were sinking in, but in reality I think they were just exhausted. And me, I think I’m going to remember the experience longer than they will.

**Disclaimer: I don’t use the upgraded service; therefore, you will see ads at the bottom of my posts (ads I don’t see because I’m not you). As it has come to my attention that certain ads may not align with my world views – I am compelled to add the following statement until further notice.







Head Lice, Harnesses, and Wetlands – Adventure Camp, Day 2


The “advanced” ropes course. Copyright TaraKA & The Tara Chronicles, 2016.

Okay, not really. Nobody got head lice. And, before I get sued for slander, nobody got head lice at North Bay.

We arrived back at camp around 8 a.m. just as everyone was lining up for breakfast. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs with cheese, sausages, and home-fried potatoes. I sat with many of the same women as the day before, and sipped my coffee as the conversation turned to last night’s dinner. V and I left before dinner last night because I had to pick Opac up from football practice by 6, so we missed out on the “tacos.”

They were served a bowl of meat that resembled ground beef, but the texture was more like turkey. Or was it chicken? They didn’t know. There was a great deal of speculation over it, now that there was enough distance between the meal itself and the present time.

Somehow the conversation segued into a discussion about the helmets used for the ropes course and zip lines, and the mom leading the food debate regaled us with head lice tales that curdled my coffee. Someone wondered aloud if they sprayed the helmets before each kid used them. All it takes is one kid, and one nit….  And then another mom told an equally sordid tale of her head lice ordeal, and I began to feel waves of anxiety washing over me like hot and cold water. I’m positive my efforts to keep my eyes from popping were in vain, and I’m sure my reaction helped fuel the conversation.

I’ve never been so relieved to have a meal come to an end, though I thoroughly enjoyed my new companions. Our group then set off for our first activity of the day: the ropes course. Where the kids would don harnesses, and … helmets. As the girls lined up to put on their gear, the knot in my stomach grew tighter and tighter until I couldn’t differentiate whether it was caused by the breakfast conversation or my fears for Veruca’s safety. (A couple of weeks ago a woman fell to her death at a zip-lining place in nearby Delaware, and it was still very fresh in my mind.)

North Bay’s philosophy is to leave the challenge choices up to the kids, so there’s never any pressure. Three of the girls sat out, and then a fourth stepped out of the line and joined them. Veruca had a few moments of uncertainty, and I said nothing. I was very careful to allow her to make the choice, and she decided to go for it. My heart in my throat, I videoed her navigation right up to the end. Afterward, she wrote in her North Bay journal that she was “terrified.”

Our counselors then led us through a wooded trail to a circular clearing with benches all around for a team-building lesson. The lessons were aimed at learning each other’s names, and working together to complete tasks – like lining up in order of birthdays, in complete silence, without anyone saying a single word. They finished up by having to clear a swinging jump rope, first alone, and then in groups of three – all without being touched by the rope.

Lunch followed and there was another edition of what’s in the foil that turned out to be a hamburger. I ate the salad and some fruit, and avoided the dayglo-orange jello surprise with chunks of fruit in it. The kids at a nearby table were holding up slices of it and examining it like a science project.

Lesson 2, “Wetlands,” took us to a large outdoor deck set high above the wetlands below, and overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. It was stunning. I zoned out on the view while the counselors conducted the lesson, and tried not to focus on the 90-degree temperatures. At the conclusion, we trekked to the outdoor Wetlands lab, where the girls pulled on their water shoes/rain boots/etc. and trudged into the water to collect samples. The other chaperone and I huddled on an outdoor step in the shade, and eventually we were joined by K who was low and trending low (CGM said her blood sugars were continuing to go down) and again she turned to me for advice on what to do. She sat with me for a while and snarfed down Smarties and guzzled water.


The Wetlands lab. Copyright TaraKA & the Tara Chronicles, 2016.

It was oppressively hot. I gave up trying to wipe the sweat off the back of my neck and pulled my hair up into a not-so-attractive tiny pony tail. We returned to the cabin to change shoes, and then headed to Horseshoe Point to the art classroom. The instructor there led us out to the beach to choose a piece of driftwood and shells/any other materials the girls would like to use for their project.

This was followed by the zip line activity, and this time Veruca said no way. At this point I left to pick up Opac, and left V at camp with her group. I returned just after dinner started, and checked up on her meal choices and insulin bolus. I don’t remember what was served. I didn’t eat, since I had treated Opac to McDonald’s and I kinda-sorta ate something there too. Our group was assigned to spend time at Horseshoe Point after dinner, which made V happy since she got to eat Cotton Candy ice cream again. We killed time in there until North Bay Live! started.

Each day of camp concludes with a show – North Bay Live! – with music and performances and a 3-part TV show called Toobie about young people making wrong choices, the consequences of those choices, and how they might make different choices. The kids absolutely loved this freaking show – we missed the first episode because we left before dinner – and the simple mention of it sent them into raucous cheering. The noise inside the theater was deafening, but at least we had air conditioning. And there was a rat.

Not a real rat, but a grown man in a giant rat costume who came to talk smack with the two hosts of the show, and it all boiled down to not bullying people and accepting one another for who they are, differences and all. It was great. The kids were hysterical, and the only thing that would’ve made it better for me would’ve been an extra-large margarita. And a pillow.


**Disclaimer: I don’t use the upgraded service; therefore, you will see ads at the bottom of my posts (ads I don’t see because I’m not you). As it has come to my attention that certain ads may not align with my world views – I am compelled to add the following statement until further notice.


Idyllic Adventure Camp, Giant Swing, and Frog’s Spit


North Bay Adventure Camp. Photo copyright TaraKA and Tara Chronicles, 2016.

As the mother of a Type 1 child, I’ve been on many field trips either as chaperone or just as “nurse.” I’ve been to an arts institute, a technical high school, the Amish Farm, Fair Hill Nature Center (3 years in a row), the local waste treatment plant, Longwood Gardens, a high school drama club performance, Annapolis, Conowingo Dam, and several outdoor scientific explorations in our local area. We live in a rich landscape of nature and bodies of water here in our corner of Maryland and our school system takes full advantage of outdoor classroom opportunities, often led by an organization called North Bay. It’s one of the things I love about living here. The field trips, however fun, always leave me feeling hungover and flu-like by the time we get home – so I was really not looking forward to being on a 4-day field trip.

When we first moved here three years ago, Opac was in 7th grade and Veruca was in 3rd. Opac came home one day telling me about the 6th graders being gone for a week, to some place called North Bay. What do you mean, they’re gone all week?  “They go there and stay overnight for the whole week,” he said. After a nanosecond of – who in their right mind plans something like this – it occurred to me that one day I’d have to face this with V. I already knew there was no freaking way she was going there. I was prepared for battle over this, prepared to tell someone that they can’t make her go, and there was no freaking way I was going to this place for a week – overnight. I had already made up my mind, three years ago, that she wasn’t going.

And then the day finally came. The 6th grade trip to North Bay Adventure Camp. This year we were going the second week of school – the newly-minted middle-schoolers barely adapted to their new environment – and we would also be the first school to kick off North Bay’s school season. There were packets to fill out, medical forms to complete, and FBI clearance forms to turn in. Answers to questions were sparse, and it felt like we were all going in blind on a wing and a prayer.

Veruca rode the bus to school the first day, and I was scheduled to arrive independently at North Bay at 11 a.m. I checked in and received my wristband for the week. The chaperones were milling about at the main point of entry between the administrative building and the Dining Hall.

The buses pulled up around noon, and the kids disembarked to loud music and cheering counselors all in red t-shirts, and were directed to the end of the boardwalk between the two buildings. They were divided into two sides – boys and girls – and that is how they would stay until they returned home. There was some welcome-to-North-Bay fanfare, followed by instructions and expectations over the next several days, and dismissal to collect their luggage and report to their cabins. Even though V was considered a “day camper,” she was still assigned a cabin to change and rest in between lessons and activities.

We had some down-time there as I met the “overnight mom,” and the girls made up their bunk beds and unpacked. I got to meet the two young ladies I’ve been hearing about – K and M – who also have type 1 diabetes. K and M were overnighters, and this would begin the ongoing conversation with V about why can’t I stay overnight too? that I finally had to shut down after the second day.

Finally… lunch! I proactively packed myself a turkey sandwich just in case. In case of what, I wasn’t sure, but anyway. The kids lined up outside the dining hall – 3 lines each of boys on one side, girls on the other. The tables inside were tables of 8, and there were “overflow” tables for the one or two extra campers from individual cabins that didn’t fit at the original 8. This would be something that the kids determined at each mealtime – who would go to the overflow table, and the only rule established was that it was on a rotation-basis.

The grownups had their own tables, and on that first entry into the dining hall – it felt like being back in school again, being the new kid, trying to find a friendly table to sit at. I internally chastised myself for feeling like this. I’m 47 years old! Who cares anymore? It’s funny how quickly we can recall adolescence. Those situations are burned into one’s memory for all eternity.

I found a table. Meals are served “family style,” meaning that we each have a plate with some food on it, and then there are platters and bowls of other offerings we serve ourselves from. There’s a table runner, or whatever they’re called, from each table who has to go get refills if needed and more pitchers of water. I don’t know how I managed to avoid being one of those, for the whole week.

The counselor who welcomed us on arrival stood on stage with a microphone, dispensing more information that met my ears in a way that made me immediately think of the Peanuts teacher. I asked another chaperone if I was missing anything important and she said all she heard was, wanh wanh wanh wanh wanh wanh.

So, lunch. There was something wrapped in foil on the plates, alongside a banana. The foil revealed a … turkey sandwich! It was on a wheat bun with a slice of orange cheese that was not cheddar, and appeared innocuous enough so I ate it. We were also served a bowl of salad tossed with ranch, and I quickly learned that salad was going to be the mealtime saving grace. For dessert, a large plate filled with chocolate chip cookies. Now, I’ve been avoiding junk food in favor of a more healthy gut and not gaining any more weight, but I ate a cookie. And then I ate another. And then there were two left that nobody wanted, so overnight mom and I each took one.

Then, M and Veruca came over to me with K, who told me her sugar was “xx” and going down (she wears a CGM) and asked me what she should do. [!!!!!!!] Who died and made me T1 momma of North Bay?! So I asked her, what do you usually do? I do this. Great! Let’s do that and see how it goes, okay? (** I would never, ever, assume I know what to do for another type 1 child. I don’t even know this young lady’s mother.)

Because North Bay is all about science and environmental education, of course they compost and recycle, and there’s a method to this madness. Paper on one plate/bowl, uneaten food that cannot be composted on another, compost on yet another. Empty any unfinished liquids back into the pitchers, stack the dirty plates, pile flatware on top, stack the cups. It suddenly seemed so complicated and I was relieved that someone else at the table took the initiative.

After lunch, the various cabins dispersed to their respective lessons/activities with their counselors, and the chaperones and teachers were shuffled to Turkey Point theater where we got the schedules for each of the cabins, the expectations they have of the students, what they hope to accomplish this week, and how he/they handle misbehavior. After the kids’ lessons there followed an activity time, and our girls were scheduled for the giant swing. They get all harnessed up and jump on this 3-seater, get hauled up super high, one of them releases the clip, and off they go, screaming like lunatics. V, K, and M all went together. In fact, they went most everywhere together, and so I nicknamed them Team Type 1 on the first day. They liked it.

We were supposed to go kayaking afterward but the winds were high and the water was choppy, so the activity was cancelled. The girls were so disappointed, and we never did get rescheduled to do it. So we killed time until dinner at Horseshoe Point, which houses an indoor climbing wall, a game (billiards) room, gift shop, and the Frog Spit café. Which serves various flavors of Hershey’s ice cream – though not one kid I saw was eating anything other than the cotton candy ice cream. Bleck. Veruca harangued me into letting her buy a North Bay water bottle for $7.50 that was also used for free soda fountain refills throughout their stay. She left it at home the rest of the week. Most. Expensive. Soda. EVER.

But wait! – there’s more.


**Disclaimer: I don’t use the upgraded service; therefore, you will see ads at the bottom of my posts (ads I don’t see because I’m not you). As it has come to my attention that certain ads may not align with my world views – I am compelled to add the following statement until further notice.



It’s Not You, It’s Me

I’ve been so caught up in obligations and commitments and the busy-ness of a new school year – not to mention a perpetually sour mood – I’ve barely spoken to anyone. My dad called me this morning with a great big “well” – since we haven’t had a decent conversation in 2 weeks. I haven’t written, even in my journal. I haven’t called anyone. I’ve not responded timely to text messages. It’s nothing personal.

The final days of summer were consumed by running two kids to sports every day, at the crack of dawn and after dinner. Todd went back to work the third week of August. He left work early one day to come home and take care of Pi. We had to put her down. I had a 5-hour business meeting the next day, and the day after that was Opac’s scrimmage. There was back-to-school shopping to do, and school supplies totaling $50. I had to have a biopsy, and spent a few weeks worrying about that. Those results came back normal. My mother spent 8 days in the hospital over an hour away from me, and I worried over that.

I missed Veruca’s first game because I had tickets to see Jim Gaffigan at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Ted Alexandro opened for him, and if you aren’t familiar – I highly recommend you check them both out. It was a much needed respite from all the bullshit. And the people watching in the casino was divine.

Expecting the world to slow down after school started was the wrong expectation. Both kids had appointments on the third day – one in the morning, one in the afternoon. I had a meeting the next day, and a telephone conference the day after that. Opac’s first game was on Friday the 2nd at a school nearly 2 hours away, and I wasn’t able to attend. He sacked the quarterback, and our team lost at the one yard line when the clock ran out. I didn’t miss V’s second game, but had to leave for work immediately after.

I’ve been frustrated by the communication misfires going on around me. It’s like we’re all speaking different languages – either that, or they’re all speaking the same language and I am the only foreigner in the land of don’t-give-a-fuck. (There’s that word again. It’s not going away just yet. Sorry, not sorry.) From concession stand duty to scheduling business meetings… it’s like nobody is listening, or – in the present cases – nobody is reading.

The lack of medication is taking its toll on me. And everyone around me. I think Todd has been avoiding me for fear of being wounded by shrapnel. My fuse is relatively short, and God be with the fool who accidentally lights it. The anxiety I have is sometimes suffocating, and I find myself worrying about stupid shit I have zero control over. And the crying! After so many years of not being easily moved to those emotions, I’m a Goddamn basket case and it’s embarrassing. Who is this woman? Someone please throw some purple pills at her. Please.

In the midst of all this, Veruca’s 6th grade class went to an outdoor, overnight adventure camp for four days, the second week of school. The anxiety I had over this – even knowing that she wasn’t going to be staying over – reached new heights by Labor Day. There were so many unanswered questions and little details I needed clarified, and it seemed like no one was running this thing from our school’s side.

Opac got into an argument with his dad who said some atrocious, though not surprising, things to him. It went on for hours and Opac told me he wasn’t going to stand up for his dad at his wedding on Saturday. I took the high road in spite of ex’s best efforts (aka “The Other Shoe”) to engage me in this argument (you’d all be so proud of me – and all without alcohol OR medication!), and told Opac that his dad’s wedding was an important day and that he needs to be the bigger man in this situation. Because obviously ex never will be.

So I’ve been a little preoccupied. If one more person dared to give me shit about not being there or not doing this, or that… I would release a torrent of terseness that would leave them wishing they’d never heard of me.

And so, on a wing and a prayer, I went off to adventure camp last week – having to let go of all the other bullshit to focus on just school and Veruca and diabetes bullshit – my “unspecified” anxiety tingling on the surface like the hairs on my arms. And it turned out to be the best thing I could’ve done for myself.

**Disclaimer: I don’t use the upgraded service; therefore, you will see ads at the bottom of my posts (ads I don’t see because I’m not you). As it has come to my attention that certain ads may not align with my world views – I am compelled to add the following statement until further notice.





November 15, 1987

We’re back from our weekend getaway. We got in around 10 p.m. Friday night at Jeff’s parents’ house. I met both parents and they’re very nice. Jeff and I went out driving later – very fast, but I wasn’t afraid. We talked about very strange things, like death and the afterlife.

Saturday morning Mike and Wendy picked us up. We went to the Mall and I absolutely loved it. There were some really great stores, like the Sharper Image. A great many “catalog” stores. Afterwards, we went to see Scott in the hospital. He’s doing fine, has a pin or two or three – I don’t know – in his leg. I don’t really know him, so I stood back feeling uncomfortable while the guys visited. I felt like I was somehow invading his privacy.

Wendy and I saw the cutest little girl in one of the rooms down the hall. She was all alone and crying, and we got her to stop crying and actually fall to sleep. Afterward, the four of us got sandwiches at a deli and waited for the train into New York.

I LOVED New York. We dubbed our trip “Jeff’s 20-minute tour of New York City,” since he sort of took charge of where we went and what we saw and because we seriously ran through the city. We had taken a train in from Hoboken, and got off in Greenwich Village.

I saw lots of neat stores everywhere to shop in, if only I had the money and we weren’t on a whirlwind tour. We stumbled onto a sex shop called the Pleasure Chest, and the boys dragged us inside. It was wild! I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s way more kinky than Spencer’s. There were glass display cases full of dildos in every size, shape, and color, and other things I had never seen before. And they had these little penis erasers! Now those I would have loved to have. I can’t imagine the looks I’d get in class with them!

We raced through Washington Square Park – this beautiful park surrounded by trees and a huge fountain in the middle, and a huge arch on one side that looked like Paris. There were people everywhere, sitting on park benches and children in the smallest playground area, dogs on leashes, legions of artist-types lounging around the empty fountain, and students with backpacks.

There, and on several of the streets we walked through, I saw purple and white flags hanging all over the place. Turns out this is NYU, or, New York University. It never, ever occurred to me that people go to school in New York. This has to be the coolest place ever to go to school. How cool would that be?

Anyway, Jeff’s Whirlwind Tour came to an end and we took the train back to Hoboken. We went out to dinner at some restaurant there, and had a great time. I love going out to dinner and getting served. Wendy got trashed and so did I – we had an excellent time together. We stopped at Mike’s sister’s apartment. Mike kept dropping the keys at the door, on purpose, because he knew I had to pee.  Everyone was laughing. Except me.

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