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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rambling on a Thursday morning

Just an early morning ramble as I sit here with my pot of Starbucks (one of my addictions).  I have been very lax with my posts and picture taking lately haven't I?  I guess because we haven't really been doing much or seeing much until we got here to the Cherry Point area to spend some time with the "kids" and that's pretty much all we've done since we got here.  Heck I haven't even worked on the new blog since my first frustrating attempt and I've got to work on it while I have the free 14 day trial!

I haven't even posted any pictures of the beautiful campground we are at right now except for two of the beach/parking area the other day.  So I guess these photos can suffice for that as they do show our site and the nice woodsy (my favorite kind of sites) spacious setting.  Yesterday Rick took Sir down to the water to go swimming and this is what they do when they come back from the beach - Sir has to get dried off some and as soon as the towel comes out he is certain it is a play thing for him.  Something I started quite a while ago, and I am often reminded of what a bad thing I did.  I used to give the towel to Arlo after I was done drying him off and of course the towel would be destroyed.  If you look closely at the first picture you can see that Rick is talking to Arlo and it looks like Arlo is listening quite intently to every word but in the second picture the rascal sets in and he is going for the towel!

I think I will probably be the one to have swim time today with Sir - Rick is fighting the beginning of a cold and is quite miserable so I suspect he will be laying low today.  If I take Arlo swimming I will bring my camera because there are some beautiful sites at the beach area of this section of the Neuse River which is looking over to "downtown" New Bern I believe and it is quite pretty, although what we saw of the "historic" district had too much road construction going on for me to bother to go down there again.

Today is pumpkin carving day for Connor so we (or perhaps Grammie alone if Rick doesn't feel up to it) will be over there to witness that event.  The kids were here for supper and a campfire and s'mores.  Rick and I were so tired we went to bed and left a sink full of supper dishes - UH OH that's is a big no no in this house but we did it anyway ... so I guess I'll close for now and go wash dishes while it is still too cold out to swim - it was 37 degrees out when I got up this morning and 35 yesterday!  COOOOOOOOLD

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Batman and the Red Sox

Yes even Batman LOVES the Red Sox ...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tis the season for ...

Pumpkin shopping!  

Last year (I think it was, but it may have been two years ago) Joshua, Trisha, Connor, Rick and I went to a "pumpkin patch" somewhere in California near where the kids were living ... there are some great photos of that trip but it was before we had the Mac and iphoto so who knows where they may be!  Anyway, above is the 2008, Walfart version of pumpkin shopping (yup I liked the pumpkin patch shopping better).

When we were on our way to the store I mentioned to Connor that we needed to get some dog food for Arlo and maybe he could help us remember because Grammie and Rick don't remember things very good.  He tells us he'll keep his "eyes out for Arlo's food" ..... the boy just  cracks me up ... am I an obnoxious Grammie or what?  Can't help it .. the changes in Connor's speech and mannerisms in the six months since we last saw him are unbelievable.  It is like carrying on a conversation with a miniature adult.

So here he is below with the food for Arlo.
We thought we would be leaving tomorrow and heading south to Myrtle Beach but on the way to the kids today we stopped at a National Forest campground area (Flanners Beach at Croatan National Forest) that I had read about.  I was unable to find much information on line about this campground - other than the fact that you couldn't make reservations there and there were no water and sewer hook ups so I sort of just blew it off.  Well, this is where we are moving to tomorrow.  The sites are beautiful, yes only electric, but worth the inconvenience of lack of full hook up.  They are beautifully wooded and fairly private and we can have campfires!!!   For those of us that are campfire deprived these days that was the "clincher" in the decision.  So we will be there for a few (four or five probably) nights, which works out nicely because Trish's parents, aunt and grandmother are arriving from Michigan late Thursday so they can help Connor trick or treat on Friday and I had wanted to see them.  They are good people, whose company we very much enjoy.  

So above is a view of the beach area and below is just the moss hanging from the trees in the beach parking area!
The campsites are about 1/8 mile behind this parking area.  Yippee ~ thankfully there is a house down the road from the campground that sells firewood - we may make their November mortgage payment for them.  It is quite chilly here tonight (60 ish at the moment but 54 when I woke up this morning) and suppose to be colder tomorrow so I suspect these will be daytime campfires!

Oh and by the way, I started trying to create the squarespace blog today ... got overwhelmed and took a break!  Stay tuned for that one ... why oh why am I so technically challenged?  Oh yeah, it's because I put up this mental block.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday stuff

WOW after how many days, blogger seems to have "resolved" the photo issue?  Let's hope ~ but I guess I will have to either re-post the photos missing from a couple previous posts or just say screw it and let it go.  In the mean time I've been looking into going with a blog on "squarespace" that has support (what a concept that is to those of us that are technically challenged) stay tuned for that update.  I will be working to create it and if it is user friendly for me and I like it I'll post the new info here..........

Anyway, the photo above was taken at the Elks Lodge we stayed at in Fayetteville - I'm only using it as a test photo here now.

We are currently at an Elks Lodge in New Bern, NC about 20 miles from Joshua, Trisha and Connor.  We spent some time there yesterday with them and quite a bit of time there today.  Today we were brave and took Arlo with us to meet their dog Mickey, who is also not particularly friendly with other dogs.  It went incredibly well and gave me hope for Arlo's personality issues!  We will probably be going back tomorrow and taking Connor to buy a pumpkin and we want to look at a state park (or national forest, I can't remember) over in that area.  For now tho, it's off to bed for me ~ a 3 1/2 year old has worn this Grammie right out!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Friday morning quickie

So blogger still hasn't fixed the photo issue - there are many of us who are having trouble uploading photos or photos staying on our blog posts.  Blogger is a free provider, and therefore has no customer support for us to contact.  There are forums by many bloggers but you can't contact blogger itself.  I guess it's true, you get what you pay for.  I am looking into blogging with a different provider, but man, I've got some hours into this one and I am pretty familiar with it - I don't like changes, particularly technical changes ~ but what is happening now is more frustrating I guess!

So anyway, we have been in a gorgeous campground in Selma, NC for two nights.  Rather sleepless nights - we are right next to I95, which wasn't the major problem, the real problem is the train tracks 1/8 mile away and the constant whistles at 2:30 every morning that go on for 3 or 4 hours.  Last night was particularly bad!  

We are leaving today to head over to MCAS Cherry Point to see Joshua, Trisha and Connor for a few days.  I need a Connor fix, really need a Connor fix.

Stay tuned ...... hopefully I can upload some Connor pictures tonight or tomorrow morning!  We shall see, we shall see ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

testing one two three

So what the heck gives with this photo issue?   I suspect it's a blogger issue again but golly gee whiz how interesting are posts without photos?

Okay, so here's the deal ~ today we traveled all of 52 miles to arrive at Selma, NC.  This was sort of because I "nagged" (no, seriously I think I did!) for Rick to go to JR Cigars one mile down the road.  This is his mail order cigar place and he's liked to stop there in the past when we've been heading south so.......  We will likely be here a few days ~ we're paid for two nights so we shall see.  After that we are headed to Connor land - Grammie needs a dose of Connor since he won't talk to us on the phone lately - or even go on skype and chat with us or tiger hop with his pal Rick!

Catch y'all later gators ..... hopefully the photo deal will be corrected soon.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catching up on Sunday

The other day ~ Thursday I think ~ I was getting breakfast ready and there was all this bird noise outside and I commented to Rick that there was a bird convention going on in our yard.  I looked out and saw four or five of these guys and about 25 sparrows.  Well I'd never seen a bird this blue and beautiful and had no idea what it was.  I was going to put the question out to all the ornithologists who might read the blog who could identify this fella but I decided to do a wikipedia search instead.  Yup it is a bluebird - isn't he (she?) so beautiful.  They were out there at their convention for quite a while - 45 minutes or so.  At one point I went into the bedroom to get some photos of them and looked over to this smeggy pond that is behind our "site" that we've been tring to keep Arlo away from.

I happened to notice some "action" in the water and called Rick in to see it - the photo below is incredibly poor but if you can enlarge it and look on the ground closest to the tree on the right you will see three or four otters that were frolicking in the smeggy green/brown water.  I've been hopiong they'll come back so I can get a better photo but it hasn't happened yet  ;-(
Just for conversations sake, below is Richard making his "famous" chicken marcella ..... when Rick and I first started "dating" (isn't that a stupid phrase for two adults???  Makes me feel like 16 years old or something, and frankly, I don't want to be 16 again - once was certainly enough ... but anyway) Rick and I were making chicken marcella on Crescent St. and somewhere (who the heck knows exactly where) there is a photo very similar to this one, but perhaps there is more hair and less grey, but cutting green peppers none the less!
We just took this photo of Sir outside the Lodge that we are staying at - the sign doesn't even show the Lodge number because it is blocked by the plants (lantana maybe??) .... guess a bit of yard maintenance is in order .. We have really enjoyed our stay here and decided a while ago to extend by a couple days (like that is anything new!!)
Below is a photo of my new purchase!  HUH a new sewing machine.  The one I had for a million years ~ well actually it was a high school graduation present so that was close to a million years ~ I donated to the Sharon Senior Citizens Center and kept a lesser used one that I had.  I swore I wasn't going to be sewing much anyway but I have a very special project to start and got out the machine and UGH it was having "issues" - this was a machine I never used except to wind bobbins.  So we decided to just replace it and here is the very basic new one ~ pretty darned exciting isn't it!  What a way to spend a Sunday waiting for the Red Sox to start in a few hours.... now it's time to go "mend" the bathrobe whose zipper has been coming "undone" for a couple years!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

No pictures

I am not sure I've mentioned that we are now in Fayetteville, NC at an Elks Lodge.  Been a long time since we've stayed at a lodge I think.  This one has eight pretty decent "sites" with water and electric (no sewer and no dump area) and a huge area for Sir to run around and act like a nut - which he desperately needed (there was a lot of pent up energy there, even with his swimming in the lake in Rock Hill several times a day!).  The lodge is also very friendly and welcoming (not all are).

Every Thursday night the Lodge does bingo at the local VA hospital/nursing home so we volunteered last night.  I think we were both a bit apprehensive, not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into.  We both were really glad we went,  but I didn't feel it was appropriate to take photos there so none for today.  The mix of ages was surprising to me ... several older men including a Sergeant Major who was telling all the women how beautiful they are and a Colonel, both older gentlemen.   There were probably four or five guys under 50 and a couple females probably under 50.  The rest of the patients (probably 10 guys) were older ~ 70+ I would guess.

Today who knows what we are doing.  I desperately need to find a produce store ~ I sure miss the one we used to go to in MA and other than when we were in Oceanside, CA I haven't been able to find a good one, and strangely enough I don't find any roadside stands in these parts either.  We had also talked about driving up to Selma to the cigar store Rick usually orders on line from ... we shall see.  It is suppose to rain today and tomorrow ~ maybe I'll just start a new book!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Northern journey

I'm really back.  I couldn't post on the blog about my travel because it was a surprise party for my older sister who had a "major" birthday on Saturday and my niece and nephew had a party for her on Sunday.  I don't know how often she visits the blog so I couldn't take a chance of mentioning my travel.

So I left Charlotte, NC on Thursday but of course there were airline issues and attitudes ~ UGH so pleasant it is to travel these days.  Kimberly, I now understand why you get so frustrated now that you are traveling so much.  Before Rick and I retired we flew probably four or five times a year.  I can not believe how downhill things have 
gone in a year or so.  This was blamed on "mechanical issues" .... thought the airlines "compensated" you for their errors ~ no more.  Well they comp you with an attitude, a wasted afternoon after carefully planning travel to make the most of your time ~ glad I'm retired and not on someones clock or vacation time while the airline (United) plays games with words.  Oh well, I did get there and had a blast.

I arrived in Burlington, VT late Thursday afternoon and went to my baby sisters condo ~ she was in Dallas for some training (this is the sister I had a weekend in Iowa and Omaha with while Rick was in New England for doctor's appointments.

Kimberly came home late Friday and Chad and Amy came up to visit with me (and Kim).   I finally got to meet my new "grand dog".  Chad and Amy "rescued" Indie a couple months ago.  She is a good girl and full of energy ~ aren't most year old dogs?  Chad and Amy are doing a great job with Ms Indie's training.  

We all went to my nephew's (Kim's son) cross country meet on Saturday and enjoyed being outside on a lovely Vermont fall day.  It was rather warm however as I only packed clothes for a typical New England fall day and I was 
constantly raiding Kim's closet  for clothes more suited to 80 degrees than those I brought!

Chad and Amy left Saturday evening - much too soon as far as I was concerned but it sure was great to see them.

Kim and I traveled over to Crown Point, NY Sunday for the party.  Along the way there was a "tractor parade" in East Charlotte, VT.  Well I had never been to a tractor parade and let me tell you it was worth the 54 year wait.  I had so much fun (I will do an album of the many many tractor parade photos on our picassa site shortly - I am way behind in my updating of that site - bad Tracey!)  There were some vendors at the parade, among which was a "kissing booth".  Well being in VT it was Kiss the Calf............

Is that one cute calf or what!  There is a better picture of the baby and I but there is, unfortunately, a child pretty much blocking the kiss so this is it.... Gosh it was fun.

Also, there was an alpaca breeder there - isn't this guy adorable and spiffed up and looking so handsome with his bandanna on!

Here are a couple pictures of two of the tractors.  Isn't this little boy too cute - he was so so serious driving that tractor.  There were so many tractors ~ old ones, new ones, shiny ones, not so shiny ones, big ones, little ones ........ fun all!

Then on to the party which was held here at the cabin that my brother in law and sister designed and built on their huge, quiet, peaceful piece of land in NY.  They have no electricity in the cabin.  They do have propane for lights and they do have running water and a generator.  So much fun I had.

I am not at all convinced that Candy (my older sister) was surprised or that she didn't figure I would be somewhere around the area for her big day but anyway ..... she put on her very best new hat to go to the cabin where she thought SHE was cooking dinner for ten or so people.

In reality my brother in law, niece and nephew had it all under control and it was most delicious!

Here is an inside shot of the cabin.  The loft area has a bed and some furniture up there and there is a separate bedroom on the lower level as well as the kitchen and a dining room and living room area.  Gorgeous isn't it and so so so so peaceful.

I returned back to Charlotte on Tuesday - without any airline events!  Had great, on time flights.  I'll tell ya I would have been very happy to have extended my trip north by a few days - the colors were spectacular and it just seemed too short a time I was there!

This is a photo of a really cool mobile at the Charlotte airport.  I guess I missed it when I was there on Thursday because I was too busy running like an idiot trying to catch the new flight the I was thrown onto.  The mobile had all kinds of flying machines - it was really neat!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Absence makes ....

The laundry pile grow larger, the belly go "empty" and the culinary cravings grow stronger - UGH ~

I'M BACK ............. from my travel to VT/NY for my sister's "surprise" party.  Had such a nice time, wish I had planned a longer stay.  Am overwhelmed to be back to "reality".

Just found out (at the last planning minute) the "boys from Boston" aren't heading south as we thought the plan was, so now have to "refigure" our plan (as much as we have a plan), but we have to be off this site tomorrow and I feel thrown into the next travel without warning.  We may only be eight miles down the road but we will be out of this terrific county park, sadly, tomorrow.  So once I figure that all out and go through some 350+ photos I just downloaded from my northern travel I'll be back.  Stay tuned ~ it may be a couple days, but I'll be back.................

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Saturday is Happy Happy Happy Birthday

She is one of the loves of my life, one of my heroes, one of my idols, the rock of Gibraltar of our family. She has been there for me through thick and thin, through happy times and the saddest times of my life. The easy times and the scariest times. Always there, always there, always there no matter what.

She has taught me patience and tolerance, she has been a role model to follow to try like hell to be a good mother, a good sister, a fine friend ......... my older sister ........

the queen of any one's prom

a fine and patient instructor to all

and one of the finest people I know

I am honored that I got to be one of her sisters

I love you Candy and I am so happy that it IS your birthday!

Happy happy birthday baby .....

three days without

a new post ~ oops, sorry Chester!

We haven't been doing much post worthy ~ what you see here is mostly what we've been doing!  But check out Arlo in these pictures - resting his chinny chin chin on that huge log.  He spent about 20 minutes sleeping like that!  I can't imagine it being too comfortable but he has to be by our side at all times so I guess this is what worked for him at that moment.  Far be it for me to criticize him.  By the way, Rick has given him a new nick name - "gas bottom" .... Arlo has been drinking a lot of lake water when he goes for his daily swim and let me tell ya the after effects are brutal ~ hence "gas bottom".  So brilliant and creative that husband of mine!

Okay, so we did go for a motorcycle "adventure" yesterday.  A ride that had the potential to be rather costly but thankfully wasn't because once again Richard got us through it!

I had this nice ride planned (for some reason I am the planner ~ still am not sure why, but it is what it is!).  So we were going around the lake, which I figured would probably be in the vicinity of 50 miles or so.  What I didn't realize is that we were going to be in North Carolina for part of the ride.  So about three miles after passing the welcome to North Carolina sign Rick pulls up next to me and asks if there is a helmet law in NC - OOPS ~ OH NO - OOPS .... of course we weren't wearing helmets, nor did we have them with us ... so we quickly turned around and got the heck out of North Carolina and got back into South Carolina home of no helmet law.  We did inquire at a local (SC) establishment and yes indeed there is a helmet law over there and we could have been hit with a $250. fine each!   Isn't Rick so smart and perceptive!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's gaaaaame day

This should be a very interesting day I think.  Red Sox at 3:00 (ish) which will be on satellite TV.  Patriots at 4:00 (ish) which will be on a national network.  With that said I guess we will be running between the front TV where we get satellite and the outside, or bedroom TV where we get "regular" TV but not satellite.  Yippee I will get to run off some of these extra calories (yeah right sure I will).

Before all the sporting events I might go wash some sheets and blankets at a laundromat - don't like to do sheets etc here in the coach.  Also need to get to Petco or Petsmart for some food for Sir.  We shall see what really gets done today tho!

The photo above reminded me of a commercial that used to, or maybe still is, be on TV for Southwest Airlines - one single cloud in a beautiful blue sky.
Mostly we have been doing as shown above - relaxing.  I think this is the best place we've been at for that - well maybe the one a month or so ago on the Mississippi River outside Memphis.  This one is better tho, I think, because of the trees that surround our site, our terrific site.
What is it about a campfire that is so darned relaxing?  There is a site across from us that starts a fire first thing in the morning and it goes all day and night - actually perhaps they don't start a new one everyday ... it may be the same fire that's been going since we've been here!  An odd thing around here is there is no place to buy fire wood other than a convenience store or grocery store.  Usually there are houses near campgrounds that sell it along the side of the road but not here.  I asked Mr. Ranger last night where to  buy it and he told me to just go in the woods and see if there's anything around!  It was sort of culture shock for me.  So that may be priority one today rather than laundry or dog food (sorry Sir).
Another thing around these parts - they are so so so into Friday night high school football and Saturday college football.  Well we don't follow either but we stopped yesterday at a local place that was in the full swing of college football.  If South Carolina scored the patrons got a jell shot - that has potential for trouble do you think?  Well the "mascot" for the team is a "gamecock" or is that the name of the team?  I have no clue but above is a lovely photo of yours truly wearing the gamecock hat!!!  Charming I'm sure.

When we started out on the bikes (yes, finally got them out) we were headed to a National Battlefield area a bit north of here.  Never made it tho - we stopped in York to wash the dusty, dirty bikes at a car wash and never proceeded any further north!  What is the point of making a plan?  Oh yeah the point is so we can change it!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A day of chillaxin'

That's what we did most of the day yesterday, chillax and enjoy Wylie Lake and this great campground.  I am still amazed by this place - full (some with 50 amps) hook ups for $15./night ~ what a treasure it is.  We ended the evening with a great campfire..... aaaaahhhhhh so relaxing.

Thank you for the voice mail John - yes that vine plant in my post the other day is kudzu.  According to wikipedia it can grow 60 feet a season - WOW.  Also according to wikipedia several parts of the plant are edible.  Thank you for identifying it for me so I could learn all these factoids.

Today we will, hopefully, get the bikes out and have an afternoon tour.  I am going for a "hair do" this morning and at some point we need to wash the back (at least) of the coach as it is gross from tranny oil over fill spewing all over it.

That's it for this post - pretty short huh!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

so many things ......

It's been a few days ...  ooooooops ... and lots of things on my mind (such as it is) so first ..

Chad .... I am there with you in spirit .. and am  a phone call away and a few hours in flight ..

Beth and Patrick ......... ah guys I can't stand the excitement and how many months do we all have to go?!?!  it is so difficult to zip my lip (do ya think) 'cause Grampa, Papa, Grampie, Granddad, ..(what will he be referred to as???)  as we all know he doesn't want to know ...

Congrats to  Donny O and Pat C  ........... hope you guys and your families enjoy it as much as we have - are we so darned lucky or what?!?!

and Markus ....... thank you so much for finding my shades for me ~ YOU were the only one to pick up on that .. I realized it about 60 seconds after I posted that but no one else caught it - well no one else pointed it out and it surely made me laugh when you did - quite perceptive there Markus!

Okie dokie here we go... the photo above is our tacky stuff that we love so much along with the "fall decor" at our site .. gotta love it the flamingos, palm trees, chrysanthemums and pumpkin.  I just love this time of year, but as much as I'm enjoying this South Carolina weather (true statement) I would like to hear the crunch of New England leaves beneath my flip flops!

Below is Sir swimming and stick retrieving on Lake Wylie.  Isn't it funny he could not care less about those geese behind him - all he cares about is that stick!  

We got here today to an amazingly wonderful county park - full (50 or 30 amp) hook up for, I kid you not, $15.00 night!  We are here for at least a few nights but did find out that the local Elks Lodge has a campground down the road on the lake.  We will check that out tomorrow but for now we are so happy we can hardly stand it!
 And below - our site etc.  Don't know if you can really see it but see that tree behind the car - what the heck is that vine climbing the tree?  There is tons of it on the ground (sure hope it isn't poison ivy!) but it climbs only that particular tree.  There are no flowers ~ guess I'll ask the "Ranger" when I meet him.

And below (hope the photo can be enlarged) ... well when we were in Whitman I had three bird feeders outside one of the kitchen windows that cost me nearly 1/2 a mortgage payment every month to keep filled but I sure enjoyed watching two pair of cardinals ~ that I referred to as of course, Mr. C and Mrs. C (yeah I'm sure Rick got tired of hearing about it but........) so when we were walking through one of the "camping" loops today and I spotted this Mr. C I had to capture the handsome guy enjoying his mid afternoon snack!

We are sitting here watching the baseball game and I gotta tell ya it is strange to see Manny without the dreadlocks hanging down beyond the cap!!!  Not to mention Cal Ripkin as an announcer.

Okay so to our travels or lack there of over the last few days.... when last I posted we had a "tranny" issue.  Well that tranny issue turned out to be a fuel filter issue!  WHEW 

We were in Gaffney, sort of on an emergency basis, for a few days.  Remember it was a detour of sorts.  Well we headed about 40 miles east of there today now that the coach issue and scheduled maintenance was done (two weeks ahead of its appointment).  We will be returning back over to Gaffney in a week for the class on the 13th but for now we are here, happily, at the lake.  

What should have been a 35 mile trip today turned into about 50 miles because the darned GPS failed us - first time in a year, but damn it had us down a dirt road that ended at a flippin' gravel pit today - oh it was a beautiful sight ... me outside guiding Rick to back up so we could turn around ... while of course the dump trucks full of gravel etc. were trying to get by us and on with their deliveries or whatever!  Yeah a Kodak moment for sure but thankfully the camera (Nikon, not Kodak) was in the coach while I was being the outside navigator.