Oh Darlings,

I shouldn't feel like this after the few days I've had, but I DO!  I just can't seem to get back into my swing again.  So here's what all happened. 

I was talking to my guru, Marji, about how I was feeling regarding the death of Katrina's mother and how it all related in to our mom.  She agreed with shutting the site down for the time Katrina was gone and spending some Mom time.  She made me feel a lot better, so I went in to have dinner with Ma and settle in for some movie watching.  After dinner, the phone rang.  It was Natalie (my sister, Ginger's wife), and she told me that Ginger had called the resort that she used to work for and set up THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS of luxury treatment for me and Mom!!  We had never been to her resort before, even though she worked there for years and years as their event planner or activities director or some such thing.  All I know is she made a lot of money and got to try out all the fun stuff before serving it up to her rich guests.  The big question was how to get there because I didn't really think that Mom was up for that long of a car ride and I wasn't sure how it would go to take her oxygen on a plane and all.

As it turned out, Marji handled all that by making flight reservations for us and conferring with Mom's doc the next morning. All of that was soon hammered out and before we knew it, we were all set to go.  We left out late Friday morning, got to the resort late that afternoon, then got home on Monday.

I mean to tell you, it was heaven!  Mom and I had pedicures (I have given a million, but only had a handful in my life that I didn't do myself and they were all 20 years ago when I was in cosmo school and MY GOD!  Katrina was right!  Everyone of you...break out $20 and go do it!  Now!  Why are you still here??), facials, daily massages, lonnng morning meditations, yoga classes, bands and concerts at night, jacuzzi...there is just so much I know I'm going to miss something.  Friday night was swing dancing and some guy was keeping mom busy dancing the whole night.  She took it easy, but even in slo-mo, she can still cut a rug.  I just sat at the table and threw back Captain and Coke until she finally decided she was done for the night around 11pm, fully 2-3 hours past her usual bedtime, then I took her back, got her on her oxygen again (she can go without it for a few hours at a time now) and tucked her in.  This resort is equipped with few rooms that have call buttons by the bed and in the bathrooms, so I knew I was safe to leave for a bit, so I went down to the jacuzzi for a late night soak.

It turned out to be great.  I sat there alone for about an hour with the stars shining up above the skylight, breathing in the oxygen from all the plants in the area.  I could smell the light, aromatherapeutic smells from the other rooms in the place just wafting in a bit.  I was a little irritated when my reverie was broken by two young women and an older man coming in to join me.  They were probably in their mid 20's and he was about 35 or so.  Nice looking guy, but a bit too young for my tastes was my immediate assessment.  They all turned out to be very pleasant.  No mention was ever made of their relationship to one another, but I quickly got the impression they were not siblings or father-daughters.  The ladies made some mention between the two of them about "the new guy on General Hospital" (NuLucky) and my ears perked up.  Soon, we were talking soaps like mad.  As I was talking about the "coveted demographic group" that they fit into nicely, one of them kind of gasped and said, "OH MY GOD, You're SAGE!"  My jaw fell open because I never imagined that real people (who don't live in a box on my desk) would have a clue who I was.  I got a little antsy for a minute because of Mom's wariness (saying Mom is wary is like saying candy...mmm, candy...is sweet) that something would happen to me because of the site, but I let it go and just had some fun. 

After a while, a got out of the jacuzzi to go get another drink and when I came back, the girls took off for the midnight meal that was being served and I was left with the guy (whose name was James).  We talked for a bit about different places I'd traveled and he'd traveled and I started to get the distinct idea he was going to make a move on me.  I suddenly realized I didn't know what I was going to do if he did.  He was extremely attractive and in fact, looked a lot like Stephen Nichols did when he played Patch.  I've always been a sucker for a guy with long hair nicely styled.  He was in really good shape (speedos, baby) and I would have loved to put him in a room at the Ranch and let the girls loose on him.  THAT made me realize what little contact I actually have with the outside world.  Other than the kids who bag the groceries (not an option), the only guys I ever see I'm related to (also not an option) or Kurt (definitely not an option, especially since Max is still out for my blood after the last return of the head, not to mention Kurt being the straightest guy since Asa Buchanan).  So all this flew through my head in a matter of minutes while I tried to figure out if he was coming onto me or getting ready to come onto me or I was just wanting him to come onto me and he wasn't actually coming onto me or what.  I have, despite the bravado, never been a promiscuous person, but Lord, it's been a tough year!  The guy got up to get a drink of his own and I half expected he wasn't going to come back, but he came back AND SAT DOWN ABOUT A FOOT AWAY FROM ME whereas he'd been across the jacuzzi from me before.  I was getting waaay too attentive to the cut of his jaw and the lay of his shoulder and just when he was leaning in a little closer than before to say something, one of the resort staff came to tell me that my mother was asking for me.  >:<  I mean, what kind of world is it when a 44 year old guy is summoned by his mummy when he's about to find out what's going on with Patch Redux?  I excused myself and went up to the suite.  Mom was all shaken up, talking about how something bad was going to happen.  I figured she was onto the connect I'd made with fans (She's a pit bull about that).  Fortunately, the resort had some fresh chamomile, so I got her some tea and tried to get her to calm down a bit.  She finally went back to sleep and by then, I just went to my own room and crashed until morning.

Each morning, they had a wonderful fruit and bread buffet with every kind of fruit you could possibly imagine and rolls, bagel, croissants, etc for days.  While we were eating, we heard about the space shuttle exploding and mom knew that's what she'd been feeling.  All in all, she handled this much better than she did 9/11, probably due to being on less medication and in much better health.  She was fine all through Saturday and we were even able to do some horseback riding (slooooowly) in the afternoon that day.  She did great with everything as long as we took it slowly and gave her lots of rest times. I was really surprised.

Saturday night was formal dining, so we got all dressed to the nines and had a wonderful dinner, then mom wanted to spend the night in the room. She encouraged me to go out and do something, so I went out to walk around the lake.  It was really beautiful.  There was a stone bench about half way around, so I sat for a bit and looked out at the lake in the dark, wishing it was full moon instead of new moon.  When my ass started to feel like it was frozen to the bench, I started walking back.  I thought about going for another jacuzzi soak again, thought about checking out the (not)moonlight dance in the ballroom, thought about getting another massage since I was feeling a little tensed up...sometimes it's worse when there are too many options than when there aren't enough.

I thought a lot about Katrina and all she was going through.  I called her cell phone a couple of times over the weekend and was able to touch base with her and know she was OK...a bit fragmented, which is certainly to be expected, but OK.  Talking to her was such a taste of "the real world" that it was a little hard to orient back to the getaway.  So after the lake walk, I gave her a call and we chatted for a bit, then I went for the midnight meal and on up to bed.  Mom was sleeping like a baby when I checked on her and the whole time as far as I know.

Sunday morning it was hard to believe that we were almost done!  It went by so fast.  We ate a late brunch, then had hot tea in front of the fireplace in the lounge.  Mom wanted to go to a class on color harmonics, so I was at loose ends for a couple of hours.  I know it sounds like I spent the whole weekend trying to figure out what the hell to do, but actually, it was only 2-3 times and also remember that I am usually waaay overtaxed having a hundred or so things that I'm behind on at any given time in my real life, so not having the site waiting or a few hundred e-mails to read or the garden to tend or house to clean or laundry to do kind of throws me off kilter. 

I walked past the conservatory and heard wonderful music coming out of it.  I am not much for classical music, but I love Rhapsody on a Theme by Pagonini by Rachmaninoff and recognized it immediately.  It sounded slightly different from the arrangement by John Barry that I'm used to, so I wondered what version it was and went in to check whatever CD they were playing.  As it turned out, it wasn't a CD at all.  It was James at a concert grand.  He smiled when he saw me come in and I told him how impressed I was with his playing.  It turns out that he is a concert pianist resting up after a year on tour.  We talked for a while (long enough to find out that he hates Richard Clayterman for some reason he wouldn't discuss - I mean, who can hate Richard Clayterman?) and he mentioned he was getting ready to go to the stables for a ride and invited me to join him and the girls there.  I told him I'd check in with mom and meet him there if I could, but for him not to wait on me.  I found mom, teaching the color harmonics class (what colors vibrate on what frequency and how they affect mood and room energy), the instructor having evidently long ago bowed to her mastery.  She was doing OK, so I headed down to the stables.  James and Kelly and...thinking...thinking...Amanda...were already gone, so I got a horse and followed out where the groom said they'd gone.  I caught up to them after about 10 minutes and we had a good ride.  They'd packed a lunch, so we stopped a few miles out and ate and chatted, then rode back again.  I was pretty uncomfortable because it was the longest I'd been away from mom (about 2 hours) without Kye or someone with her.  I had left a note in her room so she'd know where I was and when I'd be back.  When we got back to the lodge, I was pretty eager to get back upstairs to her.  James invited us to join them for dinner that night, so we made meeting arrangements and I hurried up to check on mom.  She was fine, resting, but not napping and sucking up some oxygen.  I heaved a sigh of relief.

We (Mom and I) went for a massage, then both of us went down to the jacuzzi to soak for a while.  There were a lot of people down there this time and Mom ruled the roost, making everyone laugh and holding court.  Pretty soon, it was time to go up and get dressed for dinner and I found myself getting a little tense about it.  My said I got snappy with her, but it was one of those things where I didn't think I did and she felt I did and I was too distracted to get heavily into it, so I just apologized and told her I was sad it was all ending so soon.  We got to the dining room just as Amanda, Kelly and James were arriving.  I made all the introductions and we had a great dinner.  (No clue what we ate, but it was good)  Mom was charming and the girls were all excited to meet the famous Ma Bourland.  James didn't have much to say, which worried me a little, but I'm a bit of a paranoid freak anyway. 

We had after dinner drinks and Mom said she was tired and wanted to rest up for the flight the next day.  (Yes!!!!)  We excused ourselves and thanked them for nice dinner conversation and as we were walking away, James touched my shoulder and asked if I'd be turning in as well.  My stomach was churning and I said I was likely coming back downstairs as soon as I walked her to her room.  He told me he'd be in the ballroom if I wanted to visit some more and I said I'd be back down soon.

I floated Mom up to her room and as soon as the door closed behind us, she LIT INTO ME like a wild cat about socializing with fans.  I couldn't believe all I was hearing!!  I tried to point out the obvious, that I couldn't live in a shoebox under the bed in terror of meeting someone who might have read my column at some point.  She kept at it forever (she almost NEVER does this kind of thing and is normally very easy going, but this is one really sensitive point for her and she just won't move past it), not listening to anything I said.  I could see the clock on the nightstand behind her as she was bitching at me and I swear, the numbers were flipping over about 10 times as fast as they should have been.  It was like some freaky movie.  My attention was centering in on her mouth.  Her words faded into oblivion and I could see her lipsticked mouth going at 90 miles an hour (*boom*boom*boom* I could hear the numbers on the clock ticking off like on a gas pump).  My pulse was matching the numbers, *boom*boom*boom*.  I felt myself breaking out in a sweat.  I asked if we could discuss it later.  I asked if she could please just let these few days be a little capsule where we didn't have to live by any of the usual rules and oh LORD, that set her off on another tangent.  It was a nightmare.  *boom*boom*boom*  I studied her hair so that I could make the perfect mom wig to wear to dress in when I killed her, stuck her in a rocking chair in the attic and opened the Bourland Hotel.  I wondered if I should sprinkle parmesan cheese on her hair so that when my legion of homicidal rats who were my only friends went for her under my command, they would start with her head.  I recited all 50 states in alphabetical order, then backwards, in my head to keep from replying and slowing things down more.  Finally, I said the words she hates most to hear, "Yes, Mother," and sadly, they were laced with a bit of venom. 

She stopped talking immediately.  I hated whipping that out on her, but something had to be done to slow her roll.  It doesn't sound like much, but mom lives in terror that we are going to be classed with the stereotypical "grown man lives at home with elderly controlling mom" profile.  I had to point out that she was doing just that.  She apologized and (finally) dressed for bed while I got her meds ready.  Things were still tense, but I pecked her on her forehead, left a glass of water and her pills on her nightstand for her to take.

I went to my room and quickly changed into some more clubbish clothes and hurried down to the ballroom.  My friend Lenore would have loved it.  It was 70's night and the DJ was really great.  Songs I'd long forgotten were churning out one after another.  A few really nice women asked me to dance and we did (I'm an excellent dancer...get it from my dad, I'm told).  It was fun...but James didn't show up.  I did that thing of constantly watching the door through most of the night.  Knowing we had a really early flight the next day, I left around 11 to go up to bed.  I have to say, I was fairly disappointed and still a little peeved at Mom.  When I took the stairs up to the area where the suites are, Kelly was coming down them at the same time (she looked lovely).  She stopped to talk for a minute, but I felt really uncomfortable asking about James.  He'd mentioned to me that he'd be in the ballroom in a way that could possibly have been considered a bit clandestine, so I didn't want to impose.  She saved me from myself by mentioning that James had waited for me for almost an hour, then had decided I wasn't coming and gone on up to bed.  She said he'd asked if she or Amanda saw me, if they'd ask me to meet him for the fruit bar (no irony there) the next morning.  I told her it would be early early since we had to leave for the airport at 8:30am.  She said he was an early riser. 

Mom slept in, so I was at the fruit buffet at 6:00am when it opened.  He was already there, so we had a wonderful breakfast.  I don't recall ever being so relaxed with someone I had only known a couple of days, but it was nice, so I didn't question.  He walked me to my room when it was time to finish packing at 8am and said good-bye and that he wished we could have had more time to get to know one another better.  He gave me his business card and told me to give him a call if he was ever in Chicago, which is where his actual home is. 

When I got into the suite, Mom was already packed, so I finished throwing things into the suitcases and Mom and I headed out.  When we got in, Kye, who'd been feeding the cats and watching Sadie (our dog) at her house, told us Sadie hadn't acted like she was feeling well.  She's a really old dog, so we were a little concerned.  Got her home and found that something had caused a breaker to throw in the house (Kate, you are so contagious, girl) and the kitchen had been without power for what looked to be a couple of days.  Fortunately, the heat in the house had been turned off before we left, so we didn't lose a lot of food.  It was just a mess to clean up from ice cream and such.  I checked into the message board, let about 200 letters download, answered the ones asking for Katrina's address to send donations and sympathy cards (she and her brother are the two folks stuck with paying for the funeral, so I wanted to be sure and get the readers the info), then tried to watch what was left of AMC (what the hell?  Jack and Erica??). 

It's been a weird comedown from the trip.  I hadn't met anyone who interested me on any level in (literally) years and it was odd to feel that quickening again.  Obviously, I've waited a bit to get this out there in the open because I've been trying to sort out a lot of things in my head.  Things are still a little tense between me and Mom, but seem to be lightening up a bit.  We both agree that it was a wonderful vacation and above all, it proved that Mom, with modifications, is up to being out in the world a bit more from time to time.  She's been on the phone to her friends and all the sisters almost nonstop since we got back, telling them about the trip.  We thanked Ginger, Natalie and Marji profusely for setting everything up.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in on the Nonsoapy side and let everyone know how things are going.  Your Sage is confused and very tired...but still plugging along.

Much love to you all!