Think about this ... "be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Settling in ~ we are

Rick and I are both settling back into our "routine" of being back home and "chilling" - I think I may still be recovering from my exhausting weekend.  Although, I did ride my bicycle last night in search of half and half for morning coffee.  Sioux Falls has miles and miles of bike trails, a large portion of which are along the Big Siuox River.  I was not on the bike trail however, but still had a nice ride just loving this city.

Above is Rick playing with his new toy - which takes up a large amount of his time these days ... how the man loves gadgets, particularly electronic gadgets!  He is still shaking his head in amazement at this one.

So the big happenings around the fairgrounds these days are the arrival of the carnival people and the fair equipment ~ the place is just buzzing with activity.  Such an interesting group here now - one end of the rv part of the grounds is taken over with them.  When we came in here on the tenth we knew we were going to have to move when the fair people started arriving because they get the full hook up sites (water, sewer and electric) and everyone else moves to the water and electric only sites.  Well it happened that I had to move last Friday (while Rick was still in NH and I was trying to get ready to leave for Iowa to meet up with Kim).  I was like a crazy (HUH) woman because I had a "schedule" planned for myself and it did not include breaking down our site and moving alone.  I did, however, accomplished it all and still managed to leave for Iowa around the time I had planned.  When I got back Monday I was told we had to move again!  UGH ... I waited until Rick got home to do the second move though.  So here we are for a couple more weeks, just loving it here!

So, above and below are pictures of the stuff being set up now - I think people really do go on that big loop ride called the "Ring of Fire"!  Can you imagine?  It won't be either of us I guarantee that!  When I walked by last night they were "testing" the ride!
Here are a couple pictures I took with "Frick" in mind - purple dinosaur and if you look at the left side of the picture with that tower ride thing there is an airplane ride - Pat we think perhaps you should come here next week and direct that traffic please!

Below are just a couple pictures of the sights around here.  The house is what is called "The governor's house" ... not as in his residence, but in some sort of low income housing project.  Apparently these houses go for $35,000 and the state gives the buyer a piece of land on which to put the house!  There certainly is a lot of open land here in South Dakota, but I have no idea the specifics of the program.  Hopefully, I'll find them out next week when the house is open and I'm sure there will be info available.

Today before I go to a hairdresser school to get my hair colored (hopefully not purple or pink) Rick and I are going over the the Fair office to see if we can "work" (ha ha ha) doing something next week at the Fair - stay tuned for that one!!!  We are so excited about it - add Sioux Empire Fair employee to our resume!

And, as I close today ~ remember that big beautiful green butterfly I posted the other day?  Well my sister Candy informed me it is a lunar moth.  My research on lunar moths told me this interesting factoid ....  "Finally as a mature adult the Lunar Moth doesn't ever eat, instead it searches only for a mate so that it can breed and then it dies."  

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

be it ever so humble

There's no place like home!  Rick and I both got home yesterday ........ I love going away but man do I love coming home ....

Here are a few pictures from Kimberly and my last day (which was Sunday) in the Council Bluffs, Iowa area.  Sunday was nature day for the sisters.  We did about a 100 mile loop of a scenic byway.  At one point Kim had Arlo and I hiking (yikes - out of shape "older" sister and dog hiking) now that is scary and I thought for sure either Arlo or I was going to pass out from heat stroke ...... not only am I very out of shape but it was about 93 degrees and so stinking humid you could cut the air with a knife.  Kimberly, of course never broke a sweat!!  At the visitor center of a scenic overlook I saw this huge butterfly hiding behind a light fixture - it was pretty interesting but I have NO idea what it was!

Here is a shot of another scenic overlook - there was a trail where you could go up higher to see more of this valley - Arlo and I opted out of that jaunt tho.  Arlo should have gone with Kim because he was so interested or concerned about where she went that that was all he spent the entire 1/2 hour stressing about where she went.

After we got back from out nature day we rested and went out to dinner in Omaha - Rick's Boathouse Cafe right on the Missouri River.  Terrific view, great food and horrific service - really terrible, like the worst I've had in a long long time!  After dinner we thought we could walk along the river - Omaha has beautiful beautiful parks but it was so stinking hot and humid I just couldn't do it.  We did however find a park in Council Bluffs that Kim had wanted to see.  So we searched out and finally found Bayliss Park with it lovely fountain and play area for kids with a neat water feature.  This was like one I had seen in San Diego a couple years ago and just saw one in St. George, Utah, where water squirts up randomly from holes in the ground - it is really a fun way for kids to cool off and they seem to thoroughly enjoy it.  I was tempted!  Also, the Council Bluffs "mascot" is a black squirrel and statues of these guys are scattered throughout this lovely park.  

Council Bluffs was an interesting town (city?) - it seemed to have so much potential but also seemed content to be a "suburb" of Omaha .... there were many many empty storefronts in this nice historic downtown area surrounding this park!  There is lots of history and beauty in this area ... I'm not sure if it's lack of funds or lack of desire to enhance the area.   


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Energizer Tracey???

A "baby" sister keeps an "older" sister very busy and active and tired (well that and the fact that Sir Arlo just doesn't realize that he has to share the bed with me that he can't have the entire bed)!!!   Friday night we headed out in search of a meal - nothing fancy but NOT fast food. Totally by accident we ended up in Omaha ~ 3 miles away!!!  We somehow ended up at the old market district - what a beautiful area ... Rick would have LOVED it.  Hopefully we will get  there so he can enjoy it.  Above and below are examples of the very old buildings and the old streets.  It was pretty busy down there but we sure enjoyed ourselves and found good food, after which we did a bit of the "tourist" thing ... checking out shops and buying nothing!!!!!  Also, the restaurant we ate at had this waiting area that had old benches in it and signs for what I guess were train stations .... I had to have Kimmy take my picture in front of this sign for Rick and Moelicious ....... see, even in Iowa I can't get away from the Weymouth(isms)!

Then yesterday we did the Lewis and Clark historical sites in the area.  Below is Kimberly admiring the memorial and a shot of the "valley" looking out from the memorial.  It really was a gorgeous vies from up there over looking the Missouri River and Omaha, plus it was kind of cloudy so it wasn't unbearably hot yesterday - thankfully.  

From that memorial we moved to the other side of Council Bluffs (where we are staying right across the Missouri River from Omaha) to another park where they were having a reenactment of the Lewis and Clark expedition meeting up with the Mormon Battalion ~ yeah as soon as I heard we were seeing anything involving Mormonism I got a little freaked out and had visions of our three and a half year stay in Utah one month...... below is a picture of the Mormon side of the reenactment

and below is a couple pictures of the Lewis and Clark portion of the reenactment.  The L&C part had meat cooking over an open fire as well as a blacksmith shop area set up (one of the pictures below) and a few tents.  As many of you know, this history stuff just is not for me ~ I find it incredibly boring ... yes, I would like to know how an area came to be but please give me the 10 minute version.  Thankfully the weather was decent yesterday and there were enough stops that Arlo could get some exercise - at one point he got to play in a small very muddy little creek (where I got my flip flop stuck about 6 inches down in the mud when I slid off the bank into the creek! - a comical sight for sure) and at the reenactment park he got to play with his "wilson" for a bit on his long leash.  After the wilson play he got to go swimming and stick chasing in a pond so it was all good!

THEN, last night (are YOU exhausted yet) we went to the local fair!  Well I've been looking forward to the fair coming to the fairgrounds where we are staying in Sioux Falls so this was sort of a prelude to that I guess!  Below is a picture I took with you in mind Moelicious - this is how they park cars at the fairgrounds here - "pony express" riders - which is a volunteer organization that raises funds for a childrens charity in the midwest.  Anyway, Moe I thought you'd especially like this fella.

Below are a couple pictures of some examples of the livestock on exhibit here.  If you enlarge the turkey photo you will see his name is John!  Go figure that one (I thought they were suppose to be named Tom!!)


Lastly, Kimberly wanted pictures of the planting patterns here in Iowa - I guess it is an erosion protection?  A gentleman we were chatting with said between the rows of corn they plant soy beans ~ who knew soy beans in Iowa?  Surely not I!  That's all for today folks - it's taken me two days to get this post done and I am exhausted and have to try to get some shut eye.  I have lots of pictures to download but I need a couple days - I'm headed back to Sioux Falls tomorrow and my honey comes home ....... yippppppppeeeeeee ~ I need my baby back ...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

a celebration

This was the week for birthday celebrations in NH ..................

Birthday balloons today for the Frickster  ......... son of the Rickster ..............

Rick's little boy Patrick turns 30 today!!!!!

Happy Birthday Patrick ....

I wish I was there to help celebrate ......

If I hadn't been so sound asleep when you called at midnight I would have done a phone celebration but I couldn't even come out of a deep sleep to figure out how to take your call before the call ended .......

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday late late late show

Some Arlo silliness for today ............ Being that we are at the fairgrounds there are lots and lots of areas for livestock exhibits (as documented with the cattle show post(s)!!).  Well daily - several times a day actually ~ he and I go down to the corral (okay?) to hopefully burn off some of his extensive amounts of energy (HIS not mine) ... the second trip down there this afternoon I decided to take along my trusty (as long as I'm not attempting to take photos at night it is very trusty) nikon because he was so entertaining this morning ...

As you can see, there is quite a hole here .... Arlo did NOT dig that hole but .......

he sure did want to meet the gopher that did!!!

Tonight when I returned home from doing a couple errands the "bands" (read head banging ear splitting heavy metal "stuff" - man I must be getting old) were "practicing" for the Rock Fest which starts here tomorrow and goes through Saturday.  So thankful we will not be here ... 

Arlo and I will be leaving as early as we're able in the morning to head to Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet up with baby sister 

who is flying from Vermont into Kansas City for a week of "work training".  Since that is only 400 (ish) miles from Sioux Falls we are meeting half way for a 1/2 sister weekend.  When I was back in MA the sisters (my older, my younger, my sister in law and myself) would get together a couple times a year for foolishness, seriousness and FUN FUN FUN ............ 

We sure will miss these two sisters this weekend.

But sister Candy is kind of busy this weekend anyway ~ this little cutie patootie is having his first birthday party!  Happy birthday Brayden Edward

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The circus is here, the circus is here!!

The circus came to town ~ no I don't think I'm going to run away and join them when they leave though! 

When Sir and I were out for our 7:00 AM walk they started rolling in.  I went down later to watch the raising of the tent etc.  Nope, Sir didn't go with me because he is not a pleasant dog and I was afraid he'd try to take on an elephant so, much to his dismay he stayed home!

Speaking of elephants, do you know that they don't use them to raise the tents anymore?  I suspect PETA had something to do with that but they did have one lone elephant in the tent for "show" as the trainer told me, but they had two tractors doing the work.  Below is a crappy picture of inside the tent (my inability to take flash photos is quite clear here) ~  I posted this poor picture because I like the contrast of the old way and the new way ~ there really is an elephant in that picture who is raising a pole but also a tractor raising a pole.

Below is why every time I see an elephant I think of my Dad.  My dad was very involved with the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.  Every year SSTM would have the circus come there. Well my dad was the elephant rider during the set up one year - Here the elephant (being ridden by Dad) is pulling the trolley car.  One of my favorite photos of my dad for sure!
Here is the elephant today leaving the tent and going back to his "house"" for some well deserved breakfast - or mid-morning snack of hay and watermelon!

I will leave you with this lovely goat ~ I swear the old guy was posing for this photo!  Doesn't he look like an ornery, crotchety old guy!  There were a couple baby goats in the pen also and I'm sure they drove him crazy running around like crazy kids!  (yes the pun was intended)

Sir and I are off to Lowe's now to get the lumber for the closet fix and the hose connector.  And yup it's going to rain any second!  I'm truly wondering if this closet thing just isn't meant to be!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy birthdays and a great prize too!

Today is Rick's birthday.  Today is also the day of his scan and his surgeons appointment.  Today is also the day he was told he doesn't have to go back for a YEAR!!!  How's that for a birthday prize!  Careful with your celebrating tonight Budz - Pat and Beth have to work tomorrow!

Today is my daughter in laws 30th birthday.  This is what she and Connor woke up to this morning .  My oldest son has his father's sense of humor (or lack there of)!  

Happy Birthday Rick and Trisha.  

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What would YOU have done?

So, here's the deal ..... when Rick goes away - be it a day, a weekend, a week or 10 days ;-(      I clean - I have no explanation but that's just the way it is, been that way for years ..... let's just say it's a "Tracey thing".  So I have my cleaning agenda all set in my mind - today I'll do the bedroom area (including the closet that needs a bit of "carpentry" work", the dresser drawers, anything beyond the bathroom area (which would be done tomorrow) and the major task (for the third day of cleaning)  would be the living/dining/kitchen area.  I understand everyone is wondering how the hell can 38 feet be such a huge task, trust me it is, sometimes,  which I guess is why it's a major task twice a year when Rick has to go back to MA.... a lot of "stuff" accumulates in those areas over the course of six months.  

But I digress.  My plan of attack once I finally got mentally (HUH) motivated this morning, was to go to Lowes and get a quick connect for the coach washing hose, (that I was informed I didn't get enough of the other day when I was there - who knew!)  But the major purchase was the 1 X 3 (or 4) to support the closet pole that is collapsing (already did a support in the middle of the closet pole - ummmmmm do you think that perhaps I should do a major purge in the closet since very few things in there would fit either one of us these days?).  BUT, I realize that next to Lowe's is the grocery store that has a Starbucks in it (remember that addiction?).  Since my honey's away I can have 100% Starbucks (Rick only barely tolerates Starbucks so I 1/2 and 1/2 it to compromise).  

So off Sir and I go.  I get to the store and realize that it is kind of warm out and since these stores are fairly new construction there are no shade trees available to park under.  So I decide to head back to the house and bid Sir a fond, 30 minute farewell.  Now realize both of these stores are less than two miles away from the house and I am not wasting gas frivolously here cause I have my dog's best interest in mind.  Okay, we get home and I try to explain it to Sir and leave again.  I go into the market (totally unintentionally) at the entrance next to the florist department - seriously I've only been in this location of my new favorite market once and that was NOT  a particularly pleasant experience (a story perhaps for a different day, but unlikely ... just know I have no patience for foolishness) and my goodness the florist lady is explaining to someone that long stem roses are 2/$1.00 ~ well come on, you can't beat that deal with a stick now can you?  Plus flowers are a GREAT motivator to clean (how's that for logic?).  So I'm just having a blast choosing from about 15 colors to make a simply lovely bouquet of roses, then add the "fillers" for a buck or two per "stem" and I'm good here, got a beeeeeeautiful bouquet paid for and head over to the Starbucks kiosk.  I get my pound of java ground and head out to the car.  Well DAMN it's pouring out .... yup another weird South Dakota weather day - pouring to beat the band and off in the distance (read 10 miles?) I hear you guessed it thunder (do you all know that I HATE HATE HATE, am petrified of thunder and lightening???).  And what could make it worse?  Yup the car windows are open - all four of them !  This is South Dakota you can leave your car windows open when you run into the market to get a pound of coffee for heavens sake.  OOOOOOOOOPS - guess what else???  The windows at the house are all open too.  OOOOOOOOOPs so are the three vents in the house!  You know the house where I was just returned because it was too hot to leave Arlo in the car?  

So, the question is what would YOU have done????? Go home or go next door to Lowes?????

I decided to return home, close windows and vents and say the heck with the support for the closet pole today.  There must be some reason that twice in the course of an hour this just hasn't worked out as planned! 

So I clean like a wild woman, get the bedroom sort of done (no closet or drawers) and move on to the bathroom area - remember that was for day #2.  Then I arrange the beautiful roses and fillers and decide to head to the laundromat.  Yes we have a washer/dryer at the house, but I am doing blankets, mattress cover, you name it - heavy stuff.  Well remember how much fun laundromats are?  I get through it (I am trying very hard to remember the Richard J. Whelan school of tolerance lessons I have had instilled in what is left of my brain).  I get through that pretty well  ~ nothing like a laundromat on a 97 degree day......   I get home and am "futzing" in the bedroom - putting stuff back on the headboard etc.  I go out to the front of the coach (we're talking what 35 feet at this point maybe) and come back to THIS ..... 

That, my friends, is the $300. "memory foam mattress topper" that's been on the bed since September!  Remember I had the mattress cover at the laundromat - well it's in the laundry basket waiting to go on the bed ..... His highness (Camelot's Sir Arlo) decided it was a new chew toy - we're talking 60 flippin' seconds here!  So what would you have done with THIS?

a)  laugh?
b)  yell (or worse) at Sir?
c)  vodka?
d)  gone for a walk (fast paced?) alone?
e)  none of the above?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday stuff

He's on his way to Manchester .............. Sir and I brought him over to the airport (seven minutes away) a while ago ... as we were on our way home Rick called to tell me he was already at the gate ~ there's no waiting to get through security at our Sioux Falls Regional Airport for sure today!  Rick's travel logic has always been to take a first morning flight ~ like 5:30 in the morning ~ to avoid jams at security and the gates etc ... no need for that logic here however!
Onward I blog ~ above is Sir's latest "favorite toy" a treasure he found while we were out walking the other day.  I've been trying to post the picture for a couple days.  It's a pretty well known fact that I am, to say the least, technically challenged!  That problem seems to be getting worse lately ~ I've had trouble uploading pictures for a couple days.  In fact I've been having trouble even taking pictures the last few days - night pictures are just impossible lately, as you shall see below!  

Also, a "thing" that full timers often do is create and hand out "business cards" .. I've been working on some for us for weeks, which I have enjoyed (the "creativity thing" I guess) but have only had success or a comfort level with one program I've been using on a "trial demo" basis because I really don't want to pay $40. for the usable version.  I've spent countless hours searching for a free version - spent far more than $40. worth of time in the search for sure, which frustrates the heck out of me and fuels my searching ... I've about given up and am considering "throwing in the towel" and going to Best Buy and buying a program ~ and because I am technically challenged I can't even figure out if I spend the $40. on the real version of what I've been using am I downloading the thing on line or are they sending me a disc?  Why am I such an idiot about some things?  Rick says it's because I don't want to learn about it!  HMMMMM 
So, on to other things (that I DO know something about)  The other night we went to the Wells Fargo laser light show that is held every night during the summer in Falls Park (the same place we went for the 4th of July picnic).  We had Arlo with us, didn't bring chairs so we sat on the lawn and it was very buggy!  They narrate a great history of Sioux Falls that includes the laser light show on the side of an old brick building.  While all this is going on they have the falls lit up - it really is spectacular ... but above is truly the best shot (pretty darned poor isn't it) I could come up with of the falls lit up .... We stayed about an hour or an hour and a half.  Next time we'll bring chairs, bug spray and no dog.
Last night was the start of the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Fest.  The highlight last night was Taj Mahal (no Candy he didn't ;-(  sing the Fishin' Blues song while we were there).  As you can see from the last picture on this blog entry, my camera issues continued last night for sure!  

The Festival is free and open, of course, to the public.  You do have to pay a $10. parking fee or can park off site for free and pay a $3.00 per person shuttle fee.  It is such a family event and just a great time.  The community involvement in the city is quite impressive.  I will be volunteering this afternoon from 4-8.  However, it poured, really poured and thunder and lightening, starting around 4:00 this morning and is still a bit grey out so we shall see - hopefully the rain will continue to hold off and the "show will go on".

******** P.S. Honey just called from the airport - flight delays in Chicago have put a bit of a damper on the great start to the travel day!!!  We shall see - hope you're tracking him also Frick. *********

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wednesday random "stuff"

Some Wednesday "randomness" ...

The cattle show continues so whenever we leave or return to the camping area here I make it a point to go by the exposition hall where these cuties are getting all beautified to back into the ring!  This guy was out getting a tubbie yesterday when we returned from a morning of errands.  He is the only one I've seen that isn't either solid black or solid brown - I asked the young man who was cleaning him if I could take his picture because he reminded me (sort of) a Vermont Holstein.  But when I loaded the pictures I noticed those ears - what's up with those feathery looking (pappion) ears!  Aren't they just so cute!  Not to mention the slobber/drool.  Well I really thought this guy was quite a looker and he won a prize for "prospect" - I was impressed, but I have no clue what that meant (help me out here Kimmerly).

Another thing that happened yesterday - well it happens every day twice a day, but 
really struck me - There is a sand and gravel company down the road (a piece!) and railroad tracks behind the camping area here, where a train (sometimes two engines and sometimes 12 cars) goes slooooooowly by twice a day (I am really loving this part, but I guess it's 'cause it makes me think of my Dad) ... anyway, I had a flashback yesterday of the many times I heard the story of when my parents were quite young and lived in a little house that backed up to the railroad tracks in Sudbury, MA.  My Mom would be out hanging clothes everyday when the train would go by and she'd wave to the caboose man (or the conductor or both) ... well the story goes that when she returned home from the hospital after my older sister, Candy (and first born Win and Lois offspring) was born, my Mom held the baby up for the conductor/caboose man to see and they started blowing the whistle and kept blowing and blowing the whistle/horn for "miles" on down the tracks ........  or so the story goes ...

Another randomness .... Last night we went out to a local "sports bar" type place, across from the Sioux Falls Canary stadium (appropriately called "The Birdcage") to watch the All Star game.  There were two young men (early 20's) sitting next to us and Rick notices a dill pickle in a glass and asks one of the kids what the heck was up with that - yeah it must be a South Dakota (or Sioux Falls) thing, although we hadn't seen it since we've been here - You eat a dill pickle that you keep in a glass of beer - HUH?  Well I love dill pickles, hate beer so I guess it wouldn't possibly work for me!

Today seems to be a very late start (well DAH the game didn't get over until 1:00 this morning) and we're sort of trying to figure a plan of "what to do" - it's 2:30 so probably not much will get done now.  We did get lots of errands done yesterday, some banking stuff, Rick had some lab work done for his appts next week, he has gotten his suitcase out to start packing, I've done some laundry ...... guess that's about it.  I think we're going to "Hot City Nights" tonight in the downtown area - I guess they close off the terrific main street and have a couple bands or something there - we shall see.  Oh yeah, and an awesome thing happened yesterday - There is a Jazz/Blues Fest this weekend (Taj Mahal for starters!!) and I had volunteered to do whatever they could use me for - I got a call last evening - I will be at Beer Garden #1 on Saturday!!!  YIPPEEEEEEEEEE  I love Sioux Falls!