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

Friday, April 30, 2010

a rain delay ..

Well this post will be sort of like a rain delay in a baseball game. For some reason - heaven only knows why I'd have had this foresight- I loaded all these pictures days ago but I am certain I did a blog post since then - YES I did, about Sir's birthday but was unable to load any photos to that post .... UGH .. okay, no bitching and whining here tonight.
Like I said I'd loaded these photos about five days ago - took them along the way from Fayetteville, SC (OMG what a less than enjoyable city - WOW) to New Bern, NC (just outside Josh's base and a few miles from their gorgeous new house).
With all that said, I did a blog post in July of 2008 and referenced the roadside billboards for Wall Drug in none other than Wall, SD. Now I suspect that there are some of you out there that hate roadside billboards and are delighted to travel through states that don't allow them. I never gave it much thought until we started traveling through the states and I've come to love the billboards. I guess I interpret them as a piece (correctly or not, who the heck is to judge) of "Americana" ...
So traveling along interstate 95 through North and/or South Carolina you come across billboards for "South of the Border" very similar to those for Wall Drug ...
I just love them. Now with that said we did in fact stop one year at South of the Border - it may have been before we retired, I'm not sure (I often feel I've done this flippin' I95 about 10 times too many). Yes we did stop there and it was all either of us had expected - very very much, once again, like Wall Drug. My mother once told me, oh so many years ago, something to the effect that the anticipation of an event was far greater than the excitement of the event itself. Hmmmm Wall Drug and South of the Border are perfect examples! BUT, for some insane reason I think of them as "must sees".

Hold on .... you're almost there.....

Yup, just a few more photos .......

Unfortunately I can't come near to the whit and creativity of these billboards....

Seriously ~ nearly there

Then once you finally get to South of the Border you start with the billboards for JR Cigars!!!
So that's it for the "rain delay post". I have seven photos ready to post, but I can't remember what the blog post was to be about, as well as several from Connor's pre-school graduation today .... OMG what a hoot it was. Hopefully we'll be in an area more conducive to loading photos soon - hey maybe while I'm doing laundry somewhere tomorrow - thought I'd get it done yesterday but that didn't happen and since we have no water or sewer connections here in this gorgeous national forest campground it won't be done here!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

it was his party and he CAN cry

if he wants to 'cause the flipping pictures won't load ...

today was the natal day anniversary of .....




Maybe pictures tomorrow ... heck we only have cell service about 5% of the time (scarey for damn sure) and our internet (satellite) is obviously dicey .... but I LOVE this location in spite of it ... and we are just down the road from ..... CONNOR (check out my facebook post from about 30 minutes ago ~ the boy is just too much)

stay tuned

Sunday, April 25, 2010

firsts .... a lot of firsts

For Ms Elisha (aka Flo) ...

First trip to Florida ...

First time on a motorcycle ...

I am so glad that Rick, Chester and I were the people that shared these firsts with our girl. I am even happier that her first motorcycle ride was with her Uncle Rick. I have a solo seat on my bike so that first ride couldn't be with me - although I was beside her (sort of, but I guess in all honesty I was behind her and Rick most of the ride - which isn't our usual way of riding 'cause I am traditionally in front).

First time to Georgia ~ first trip to the Okefenokee Swamp ~ aka land of the trembling earth!

First time seeing an alligator - not to mention an alligator in its natural habitat!!!!

How neat is the photo below with the tour guide "poling" the boat out of the area? By the way, that is obviously not our tour guide or the boat we were on. It was quite windy that day (well according to our guide Frank) so I'm a bit surprised this was happening - although perhaps it was for a photo op only? What say you Elisha and Chester???
Does she look like one happy vacationer - I hope?
After we did the swamp tour boat trip we went to the Chesser homestead. Apparently the Chesser family was the last family to live in the "swamp" and were (as intimated) "forced" out of the land.

What an interesting life they must have lead. When we arrived the guide for the property had just locked up and left for the day so we, unfortunately, missed a huge chapter of the swamps existence. The stories this homestead could tell I'm sure.

With all that said, it looks like snow covered land doesn't it? Trust me please this was not snow - it was beautiful white sand ... beach sand so to speak which I found a bit odd since we were miles from any ocean beach, which I would have thought would make such lovely sand - the waves and rocks etc .... but then again, what do I know!
Above is the homestead, below the corn crib - I always thought a corn crib was a small building with wire sides so the corn could dry - what the heck do I know - DAH not so much huh!

Hopefully the photo above can be enlarged - that was the "bathing" area for the family - a bathtub on the porch! good thing there weren't neighbors huh! That'd be pretty darned scary (not to mention illegal I suspect) in an upscale suburban area in 2010!!
On another day of E's vacation we went to St. Augustine which has long been a favorite of ours. We even sent Sir to "camp" for the afternoon (he stays at Pet Paradise Resort when we fly out of Jacksonville and they have a location in St. Augustine as well so he went there to play and make new friends around the pool for a few hours while we did "tourist" stuff).

St. Augustine is one of the places in Florida where you can drive your car on the beach so we did. However, it was so windy that we really didn't play too long there, but it would have been a great take for Elisha if we'd packed a picnic etc. and left early in the morning and headed down there for the day, but as it was we didn't leave for our 60 or so mile trip until after noon! POOR planning wasn't it.

I hope that the photo above indicates that Elisha is indeed having a nice time on the windy beach and isn't all that concerned by the lack of time there! hope hope hope ...
On our way back to the coach we stopped at a 3 for $10. tee shirt joint and got miniature orange trees - I sort of pushed for that souvenir to go back to NY ... I had one many years ago and loved it. I have no recollection of what happened to that tree - I'd had it for many many years and really enjoyed it - the blossoms smelled wonderful then came the oranges - teeny tiny oranges that were bitter as heck but come on how many people do you know who have an orange tree in their living room?

Silliness in closing ~ Sir decided he should take himself for a walk with his big leash! What a clown!

All the events in this post took place while we were in Macclenny, FL (Chester's town). We left there a week or more ago and spent two nights (unfortunately) in St. George, SC at a terrific, small quiet campground we'd been at before and I just love the place. We left there last Friday and headed to Fayetteville, NC to the Elks Lodge that we'd stayed at before as well. Nice friendly warm and welcoming group here and again we have their RV area to ourselves. We thought we'd be leaving Monday morning but I am thinking that will likely not happen - I'd put my money on Tuesday instead. Headed to New Bern area - where Joshua, Trisha and Connor are. We'll be in that area for a week or so then make our way slowly over to Gaffney for the chassis maintenance. In fact I think I may be repeating myself and already mentioned our "plan" (yeah like we really have one) in a previous post!

Good night all ....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The rest of the trip north

We got to spend some GREAT time with our Paige (as well as Pat and Beth). Is she just the most precious baby girl - I had the honor of getting a bow to stay put in her hair - I think the key was to distract her while I put it there and she seemed to have no clue it existed, never mind that it adorned her beautiness. I wish I was still the "craft queen" I was in a previous life - our girl would have gorgeous hair bows by the dozens!
Seriously, just look at her all cuddled in under that incredibly awesome soft warm blanket. Bethie you just have the best taste and I am certain that every home needs a few of them - and I suspect Snoopy would second that!

Grampa got to spend some fun time with our princess as well - wasn't that nice of me to share! Look at those little Muffin toes there - I think Gramp even sang her a song about "piggy toes"

After nap time we got to have a cheese sandwich in bite sized tiny pieces ~ bow still in place! I really really had a difficult time leaving knowing that we are not planning on being back in New England for at least a year and a half and more likely two years. It was a "blessing in disguise" I think that Paige was still sleeping the morning we left. Her Uncle Tim was there to play with her for the morning while Bethie accompanied Patrick to have his wisdom teeth (plus a "bonus" wisdom tooth) pulled - UGH I can't imagine... but Pat was a trooper and it all worked out swell for him.
Our return flight was through BWI where we had a two hour layover, which can often, for Rick and I, be about 1 1/2 hours too long but that was NOT the case this trip.

Our arriving flight was three gates from our departing flight so we headed to find food. As we were headed to one of the restaurants in our terminal we heard all this clapping and yee hawing. Well of course our thoughts were it was a returning military flight. So of course we went to join in the celebration.

OMG - this is what we saw.

Come to find out this was an Honor Flight coming in from Missouri on, who else, Southwest Airlines (one more reason they are my favorite airline).

PLEASE go to the link to learn about these Honor Flights. It was such a touching, emotional moment for us. These were World War II vets headed for a day in Washington, the highlight of which will be a trip to their memorial as well as the other war memorials, and as we all know there are too damned many of them ... They will also visit the National Cemetery, have lunch and return to their own beds that night! These trips are totally paid for through our donations - these vets do not pay for any of this trip (other than souvenirs they may want to purchase).

Also, there are "guardians" (who pay their own way) for these veterans - I believe one guardian for every six or eight vets (I can't remember the exact number). Keep in mind these vets are likely in their 80's - what an HONOR it was for Rick and I to have been there as this flight landed and was greeted for their day in DC. To say that it took me quite some time to emotionally regroup after this event is an understatement.

Another thing that surprised me is just how honored these vets were to be there and how humbled they were to receive the welcoming they did ....

Timing is everything as they say, and our timing could not have been better that day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TAH DAH ~ the new Mr. and Mrs. Lovett

Let's start with the rehearsal (YOU thought I was going to sing a Julie Andrews song didn't you!).

The priest that married "the kids" was just a terrific man - with an even more terrific sense of humor ~ truly just what a nervous bride and groom need. I am not sure, however, that this particular bride and groom were (or would admit to being) particularly nervous. I wish the priest had been able to attend the rehearsal dinner as I'd invited - he would have been a delightful addition to the group. Unfortunately, he had a first communion class and a christening group he had to join after the Lovett/Sullo rehearsal!

Anyway, the first photo is the priest entertaining Chad with some funny comment! The photo below - is the the practice of the flower girl (Gabrielle), the junior usher (Antonio - and I believe his title was junior usher, but I am not certain), and the ring bearer (Connor). Well that was the plan anyway ~ complete story later in this post. Isn't that just a precious photo - one of my favorites.
Below Chad is entertaining Gabrielle and Brayden. Brayden is the son of Chad's cousin Owen (who was one of the ushers) and Gabbie is the daughter of Amy's sister Jenn and her husband Kevin (confused yet with all these names?) Antonio, in the photo above is the son of Amy's sister Nicole. This photo was taken at the rehearsal dinner at Jeveli's where we had a great meal and terrific service (I thought ~ then again that is surely a biased opinion isn't it!)
Okay, end of the rehearsal chapter and on to the ceremony etc.

Below is Master Connor, the ring bearer, having a debate with himself. Now part of me wants to make a stupid joke that if anyone has a debate with themselves on their wedding day that perhaps it would be the bride or groom, but to the best of my knowledge neither of them did. With all that said, Connor felt he needed to debate - "go down the aisle with the pillow that Grammie made, don't go down the aisle with the pillow that Grammie made, go down, don't go down .... alright I guess I won't go down" .... and so it went, but he was so darned cute with that tux on Grammie's heart just melted to see him.
Meanwhile, his father waited at the side of the church for the bride to come down the aisle and be greeted mid way by her groom ....

It didn't dawn on this marble head when I loaded pictures for this post that I took (or even better loaded) the same shot at the rehearsal and the ceremony! Cool beans huh - below here they are at the beginning of the ceremony.
And after for "formal" photos ... minus Gabbie - (that just dawned on me also)
First dance as Mr. and Mrs. Lovett .....

Joshua (the best man and my older son) giving his toast. Unfortunately in the chaos of getting he and Connor dressed and the two of them as well as Trish to the event that Joshua forgot his speech and had to "ad lib" it - Great job he did .... very touching (especially from the standpoint of the Mom who raised the two of them and witnessed first hand the tales Joshua spoke of during his toast!)
Below, Rick is sharing a moment with the happy couple ~
as well as with yours truly ~
Another great shot - the cake and the cupcakes surrounding it - oh were they outstandingly yummy. Made by Ann Tracie Design - with yummy creamy raspberry or caramel centers to the cupcakes - oh I'd like six of each right now please ... (btw Amy did the web design for Ann Tracie)
Some family fun ... younger sister Kimberly and her beloved Jack below ~ unfortunately Kimberly's left hand is below the table, but she is sporting some new bling there (another wedding in the making).
Kimberly and yours truly to right in the photo below doing my favorite ~ aka the chicken dance! Seems Kim had never done the chicken dance - seriously, how is that possible? Well she has now!
Brother Jon and wife Shirley (as well as Joshua and Connor behind them)
And hopefully we all had a great time - I know I did.

We are now in St. George, SC and unfortunately leaving this beautiful small and peaceful campground in the morning to head to an Elks Lodge in NC then on to a National Forest area a couple days later. That stop will bring us down the road from Connor, Joshua and Trisha. We'll probably be in the area for four or so days then who knows what. We will be in limbo for a few days as we have Freightliner maintenance scheduled (as well as chassis school for Rick) in northern SC mid May then the plan is off to Washington state and Oregon ....