Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Rainy Day at Home

Yesterday while sitting in the Express Lube waiting room, I glanced around and saw this notice.  Nice to be reminded of the steps to take.  To get my car registration plus this inspection required me to slide out a total of $52 from my retiree wallet.  Hope I didn't leave too many cheese and cracker crumbs on the floor as I munched on my make-shift lunch.  Yep, planned ahead for this money$aving lunch.  Even brought a travel mug filled with tea.  If I hadn't been so busy eating, I might have gotten up to take pictures of the car inspection process through the long wall of windows.  But it was interesting to watch those efficient young guys in their crisp company uniforms make quick work of the inspection step. About the time I finished my snappy lunch, the inspection was finished.  The only step left was for $30 to leap from my wallet to his greasy hand.   

A sign I saw while getting my car inspected - yep I got 'er done!
Today was a rainy day with the drops beginning about 7am which started slowly and then quickly escalated to a decent rain.  Occasionally we had some serious downpours while at other times it barely fell from the clouds.  However it arrived, I was thankful.   I took some pictures from the porch.

One big wet leaf

I 'practiced' taking pictures today.  Yipes, still having trouble getting the focus I desire!  Am thinking I'm too close but that's the kind of pictures I want.  Surely I don't always want distant shots.  Might be time to pull out the Owner's Guide.  Bummer - really wanted to conquer the camera functions myself, but right now I'm ready for good pictures, whatever that requires.

Can you see the daddy long legs spider on the pillar?  He found a nifty dry spot to wait out the rain

Leaves on a wet sidewalk

Fall banner waiting to be hung. 

The summery banner which is now flapping around on the front porch needs to be replaced with this flag.  It's of a cart loaded with pumpkins.  This should definitely move us into the fall spirit.  As soon as the rain stops or there is a lull in the downpours tomorrow, one of us will exchange banners.  Well, that's the plan - and it's always good to have a plan.  I have a little fall banner too - it is covered in colorful autumn leaves but that one will fly in the backyard. 

Tonight's salad

I fixed a scrumptious supper tonight.  Sure was tasty.  It included some leftovers but they were disguised as new items and we were both fine with that.  It was soooo gooood that I nearly fooled myself.  Sweetz was smiling and enjoying the feast of chicken and shrimp over rice. 

There was a couple of moments this afternoon when I thought seriously about baking some sugar cookies, but that didn't "pan" out.  Nope, had the blahs today and wasn't in the mood.  Anyway, neither one of us needed any cookies to stick to our middles.  But doesn't it sound like a good idea?  I even have a cookie cutter in the shape of a maple leaf that I purchased last year in the mountains of Virginia.  Haven't used it yet and it's about time to bake leaf cookies I'd say.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day.  Lots of maybes. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Drip, Drip

We have a reprieve in rain for a day but our 2-day slow rain was lovely and appreciated.  Mr. Weatherman predicts one day of sun and then back to rain.  My mouth will be closed to grumbling - I've loved this rain because we needed it so much here in our area.  I saw a map of other cities this morning and we are actually doing quite well in rainfall amounts compared to other cities in our state. 

I took a little walk through our wet grass this morning to check the level in the rain gauge and to snap a few pictures of this and that.  I'm still trying to conquer my new camera but got a few good shots and a few that saw the light of day only until I could hit the delete button.  My Nikon D3000 doesn't perform quite the same as the old D50, but I'll keep snapping and trying to conquer its more sensitive settings.  Might have to dust off the book that came with it.  But I'm really a hands-on person but occasionally will consult the book on an issue or two.  Really would like a mini class again like I had with the D50.  In the meantime while striving for the elusive goal of perfection, I'll enjoy the journey. 

It seems most of my grass seed around the patio remains in place although some will need to be swept back into the dirt on the up slope side.  Surely another handful of seeds here and there will guarantee better coverage too.  Best to wait until the rain is over though or I'll be sweeping and sowing again.  

Last night I met two girlfriends from where I used to work for a leisurely dinner at Red Lobster.  Sure was nice to get together with them - plus the food and service was excellent.  We sat and chatted for over 3 hours!!  Only good friends can spend that much time together.  It was a bit hairy at times driving home after 9:30pm in the rain but thankfully few drivers were on the road.  And it was comforting to pray for safety while at the same time packing my piece.  Can't be too lax these days.  

Possibly the last hydrangea of this year

3.3 inches of rain in two days

An autumn bud

A bee waiting to warm up and dry off before he hits the flowers

Perky bloom after a rain

A porch tomato
 Mom called and said she's having trouble with her home phone so I need to head to her house to check that out.  She's leaving in a bit to meet a lady for lunch and an afternoon of shopping.  I'm thankful she's still able to get out and about so well at 88.  There are a couple of things on my errand list so that can be my afternoon agenda.  Might as well get moving to get those done before the rain returns tomorrow.  And it's a perfect 68* outside now; that definitely needs to be experienced after our hot summer/early fall days.   

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's RAINing

We have rain!!! 

That's the wet stuff that falls from the sky.  We are ecstatic even if our umbrellas have dry rotted.  Started today about 2pm and has fallen slowly and steadily. 

Now it's time to put our rain dance costumes away till the next drought. 

It's fascinating to watch as the rain falls on the leaves and drips off while the branches dance around under the pressure.  Everything is a brilliant green.  It's hard not to like a rain after a long dry period.  Even our wet firepit patio is beautiful.

I'm chatting online on Facebook.  Neat way to connect with friends.  She wants to "do lunch".   It's wonderful to have girlfriends who like to get together for a girls day out or a leisurely lunch.  It's a good thing to keep girlfriends in our lives.  Some are good for one need, other friends for other needs.  A friend from work taught me that years ago and it has certainly been proven true time and time again. 

Saw my hair stylist yesterday checking out the clothing racks in a department store but she didn't seem very friendly.  Not like her at all.  She said she was tired so I didn't talk to her long.  Everyone deserves a down day, so I will gladly give her space.  I received an email from another friend today asking me to get together for lunch one day.  Wow, sure is nice to be available.  You know, working full time just cramped my social calendar. 

In light of the cooler weather I put out a few fall decorations this afternoon.  I have plenty more but they will come out of their storage boxes a bit at a time.  Kinda like fall leaves, they slowly color our lives. 

Speaking of decorating, while at Lowes one day I checked on artificial Christmas trees. 

We have ALWAYS been live tree people. 

You know the tradition of choosing just the perfect tree for the house: full and the highest we could get till it curled on the ceiling.  Until just a few years ago, it was a family tradition to go to a tree farm to find and cut our own perfect tree.  Talk about fresh!  But, I'm trying the slow nudge method to wear Sweetz down.  He's thawing to the idea - so wonder how many more nudges it will take.  Would it work to just just go out and buy it myself???  Umm, I better give that idea a bit more thought.  Since we've had Destination Christmas the past 3 years, we haven't even had a tree except for a small table-top artificial one.  But THIS YEAR, I'm pushing for a big tree again since we will remain home this year.  Guess we could get another live one or...or...or not or something.  

Since our retire-and-downsize to FT/PT RV lifestyle strategy doesn't seem to be viable in these uncertain economic times, guess we will have to rethink our housing and future plans.  We had our retirement plans laid out pretty clearly but the economic team in DC doesn't seem to appreciate our dreams.  Hopefully after this Hope and Change we will have some change left in our pockets. And for now...we will remain in our house and await better times.  In the meantime, we will have a tree this year - some sort of tree but we have plenty of time to determine what's best for us.  After all, our plan to head southwest during the winter might nudge me right out of the desire of a big Christmas tree.  In the meantime, there's fall to enjoy: leaves to rake, cooler weather to experience, and life to live.  

No use rushing - after all, I live in the Retiree Time Zone. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

RV Show

Sweetz and I went to an RV show today.  We've attended at least one a year for the past 5 years.  Today is was noticeably different in that (1) the number of RVs on display were down more than 50%.  (2)All were new, there wasn't a used camper on site.  (3) There was only a sprinkling of customers.  (4)The salespeople were not aggressive but just sat in a chair outside and said hello as we passed.  (5) Fewer vendors participated.  Oh well, it was interesting and worth a day's entertainment.  Sweetz found two motorhomes he liked...except for the price.   Um, looks like we'll hang onto ours or see if a private owner will give us more incentive to part with some money on an older model.

Probably just a mite over our budget!

A nice interior

Lined up outside waiting for buyers

Sweetz likes this one too!

When we left, we went to a seafood restaurant for a late lunch.  After some tasty munching, we decided to check out some stores to look for patio furniture.  Most stores were sold out of these seasonal items but finally found some Sweetz and I both liked.  We both surprised ourselves and each other by choosing 3 colors instead of just getting them in the same color.  Wow, we were laughing about how we seemed to have jumped right out of our conservative skin today. 

We also found two metal tables.  I decided to leave the little one as is but sprayed the bigger square table (20" glass top) a glossy black to match the frames of the bright chairs.  It didn't make the pictures since it was drying right out of view.  Sweetz thinks a few tiki lamps would be nice around the perimeter to let those pesky mosquitoes know they aren't welcome at our firepit party. 

There was no fire tonight, but we put a new cover on the firepit and hung a little windchime along the border while we sat and chatted.  Tomorrow I'll try to figure out some landscaping to spruce up the look and see if tiki poles are the right idea.  I might keep the bigger table there and move the little one to the front porch.  Decisions, decisions: life is sometimes a matter of switching things around to find the best fit.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Needed Cleaning

Wow, this title will surely scare the masses away.  Maybe even me.  But after two days' marathon working on the patio project, I needed a rest.  But that was easier planned than implemented.  Since I really don't like sitting around doing nothing, it was time to chase the broom.  So, about half of the downstairs square footage felt the wrath of my cleaning spree.  Oh, it was needed before now, believe me.  But with my quick jump as a new member into the Quittee Group, I wasn't in much of a mood to do all the required cleaning this house requires.  Even told Sweetz when I quit work that I would clean upstairs and he could clean the lower level.  That obviously didn't drift past the outer orb of his ears since he has not been bitten by the cleaning bug since May.  Well, a bit here and there, of course, cleaning especially before someone was expected, etc. But I found the hidden needs - behind each piece of furniture.  He obviously has not felt that moving items was part of the cleaning plan.  I didn't get too deep myself but feel a layering plan is the best for my nature.  You know, a layer today and then a few days later, a deeper layer.  After all, I'm "retired".  Life is definitely too short to spend it in a spotless house.

We had a humdinger of a storm last night.  It tiptoed through the radars and even the weather and local channels did not appear to give it much more than a swipe of notice.  Well, it barreled through here.  First with some rumblings which quickly got louder and then before I knew it the lightning was illuninating the night sky like fireworks on the Fourth.  Even though it was not a smart move, I couldn't keep away from looking out - sometimes with the door open.  Actually, it was to see the rain that we so desperately needed.  But there was no rain at first - just lots of wind. 

My nearly 10ft patio tomato plant blew over which snapped its lifeline so that's history.  Just as well, it's late in the season and there were only little tomatoes on the highest branches.  The last 3 tomatoes I picked were out of my reach and I had to get a ladder!  Now, I'd say that was tall. The peppers and another tomato are doing fine, so I'll not shed any tears.  The plants in the garden are doing much better anyway.  But these were planted more for entertainment than actual produce.  Who am I kidding?  Of course they were for produce. Everything else apparently survived nicely.  Eventually the rain arrived.  Fast, blustery, and a good downpour - accompanied by the still present lightning strikes.  Again I was at the door, but finally decided I was pleased with the rain - when at that very moment I saw the cage of the tall tomato fall over onto the kitchen patio.  Oh well, it was fun while it lived.  We  even got small hailstones for a few minutes.  They lasted only a few seconds and I couldn't even save any before they melted in the warm rain.

Mom and I are going out for dinner somewhere in a few minutes even though I'm not experiencing hunger pangs.  But getting out for awhile will be nice.  Perhaps I can limit my intake to tea and a serving of fruit or salad.  Ya think? 

This weekend Sweetz and I are planning to attend an RV Show.  Ummm, now that should be entertaining.  It should actually be fun to see all the beautiful campers and RVs inside.  But perhaps we should just stay outside in the open area and look at all the used ones.  Well, it might just be enough to look and know ours isn't so bad after all.  Small - or maybe that's the new cozy.  Used - or maybe that's the new tested.  Older - or maybe that's the new vintage.  Well, for sure, it will be an experience for both of us.  And in keeping with fixed income geezers, I intend to print two online admission coupons to save us a few buck$.  Who knows, there might be a geezer roadmobile just right for us. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Firepit Patio Project is Done

Sweetz and I worked on the fire pit patio again today.  We were going to only work about an hour but we didn't heed our own advice but kept on working until the project was finished.  Hubby works nonstop and I try to keep up but my bumpter ends up in a chair a lot too. 

We went to Lowes this morning and got the rest of the pavers and the sand.  After eating a sandwich we  started on the project intending to only work an hour or so since it would be hot today.  Well, it was humid but didn't seem all that hot outdoors.  Wow, I just looked at our little weather station and it recorded 90* as the high today and the humidity high as 66%.  Wow, I'm surprised.  Guess the little breeze helped it seem cooler.  We finished about 4pm after removing about half of the pavers we put in yesterday so we could level them.  Let me tell you - that's a lot of work!!  Today I wore gloves too but my hands are sore from working yesterday without gloves, but I'll live.  The pavers are about 17" sq and there are 36 of them.  All nice and level with sand below and between them.  We put dirt around all four sides to keep the sand from escaping.  Then it got a gentle sprinkle with the hose.  The backyard is sloped so the patio had to be carved out on the high side and built up on the downward slope.  I did mention it was hard work, didn't I?

Enjoying a small fire to celebrate the completed fire pit patio project

To celebrate the completion, we brought out some old metal folding chairs (we're on the prowl for a table and chairs patio set) and had a small fire.  We roasted some marshmallows, drank some tea, and watched the fire and the sun setting through the trees.  It was a tiring day but we have a cute little patio to enjoy and to keep the fire pit safe.

The roasted marshmallows were delicious

I guess we'll head out tomorrow to scour the local stores for a patio set.  Mom dropped by to see the finished project and seemed impressed.  I'm aching all over so took a couple of Tylenol in hopes of some level of comfort.  Ouch, I hurt all over.  Definitely too old for this amount of manual labor.  Not sure how Sweetz does so much without even sitting down to rest, but I'm one lucky wife to have an energetic man.  And tomorrow night do you think we'll have another fire?  I'm pretty sure we will...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cozy Things

Yesterday Sweetz and I went with the senior group from our new church for a day's outing.  Had a great time with them - they are a sweet bunch who accepted us into their group just as if they've known us all their lives.  Can't say I've had that feeling with any other church in the past.  There was a lot of teasing and chatting so we quickly felt right at home with them. That's the way church members ought to treat everyone, not exclude new members.  And it was a wake-up call to me to remember to welcome the newer members so they feel comfortable.  This seems to be a nice church and I'm feeling more like I'd ready to join.  I really meant to take pictures yesterday but it was such a great day, I just ended up enjoying the experience and didn't want to stop to take pictures. 

We went to a darling shop with a variety of items from plants to kitchenware to jewelry to fabrics to decorations to unique food items and everything in between.  We ate lunch together at one table and it was such fun to be with them.  A few other stops included an Amish market and a big discount store.  We came home with candy, books, pasta, and bagel chips.  I looked for a pair of pinking shears but the fabric store didn't have them, so will just have to keep looking.  There's always the option of buying online. The group is planning a trip in October to Mabry Mill up on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I've been there lots of times, but it sounds like a great way to enjoy another day with a wonderful bunch of people.

Today Sweetz and I worked in the backyard to make a patio large enough for a fire pit and a few chairs.  Certainly sounds like fun to be able to sit around the fire and roast marshmallows and hot dogs while watching the night creep in.  We enjoy doing this when we're camping so thought we'd enjoy that same fun in our own backyard.  It's lots of work digging up the grass, leveling the ground, leveling a layer of sand and setting those pavers level.  I doubt we're doing a job with the leveling part to warrant an A in Yard Improvement 101, but it'll be ok for us. 

Removed the grass and leveled the area

Here I am sweeping sand in the cracks - we're about half done but loved seeing how it would look when finished
During one of my rest periods today I started another library book - only to find out it was one I had already read.  Of all the thousands of novels in our hometown library, what's the chance of that?  And it was a good one too as I recall.  Oh well, I have two more left in my book tote so I'll work on one of those two later this evening. 

A nice way to spend some free time

I've been looking at a photographer's website for over a year and really enjoying her growth.  Wow, she sure has a way with capturing unique angles and use of light.  Really makes me know there is certainly room for improvement in my photographs.  I've not taken the courses she has but I will continue to look at her shots and hope I can learn through observation.  Will improvement come?  Well, only time will tell.  Think I should ask her what she thinks of MY photos?  Ouch, nope, not ready for that criticism yet!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quiet Sunday

It's been a quiet day.  Started the day at church and afterward there was a lunch in the Fellowship Hall.  Lots of big round tables with sparkling white tablecloths and flowers in the middle of each one.  The Fellowship Committee sure put a lot of time and effort into making everything look nice. 

Right down the middle of the room was a long line of FOOD tables.  And piled from end to end of that looooong table was mouth-watering food which all looked fabulous.  From meats, to veggies, to salads, to breads, to desserts plus everything in between.  I did sample a tiny bit of my own makings just to ensure it tasted ok.  Everything was delicious, but I really had to work hard to not overeat. 

Being visitors at this particular church, we know few of the members, so being thoughtful we found an empty table near the back to allow families and friends to sit together.  It wasn't long before a couple sat with us and then another and then another.  It turned out to be a varied group and even included a young couple who are expecting their first baby in November.  They were extremely young looking but appeared happily married.  It was nice to have people at a table who didn't exclude others but there was chatter from everyone. 

In the parking lot was a Model A and I just happened to have my camera with me.  So, before I went into the SS class, I snapped a picture.  And wouldn't you know it, one of the couples we ate with at  lunch was the owner!

Model A

Then on our way home we saw this barn with the neatest look and I just had to pop off to the side of the road and snap a picture.

Perky Barn

The day has nearly come to a close and darkness is gaining on the light.  Tomorrow Sweetz and I plan to go with a senior group from our new church to a couple of neat places which will include lunch and a stop at an Amish market plus an interesting shop which has a little bit of everything.  Yep, I'll take my camera and I bet we have a great time.  Next month I understand the group is planning a day trip to the mountains.  Maybe the apples will be ready!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Life's a Cycle

Today has been beautiful: of those lovely days that hint of a change in the seasons.  First the humidity was low, the sky was a clear blue, and temps below simmering.  It's extremely dry here to the point that we are beginning to really need some rain.  But no rain is on the forecast for the next week.  Oh well, we will await the rain with thankful hearts when it does arrive.  The garden is nearly done. 
Only a few tomatoes and peppers are left. 

Speaking of tomatoes... 

A neighbor told us that her grandson works for the agriculture department and he said a black walnut tree is toxic to tomatoes grown under or near it. I don't take everything people tell me as gospel so I did an online search of several agricultural websites. 

Whammo, it's TRUE!  

OK, so maybe THAT'S the problem with our tomatoes.  As our black walnut at the edge of the garden grows each year, so our tomato plants exponentially wither and die.  We have experimented with exchanging soil, type of tomatoes, more water, etc. only to be met with the same result.  So, this year in addition to the changes, as an experiment, we planted a few of the same tomato plants in our flower beds scattered around the yard.  Wow, what a difference - healthy tomato plants with nice tomatoes in every other location.  So, seems we have solved the mystery. 

Next we are faced with solution options: the tree or the garden tomatoes.  Since we have black walnut trees in two other locations, my option would be to remove the one at the edge of the garden.  Sweetz is saddened by that option since those are his babies he grew from tiny seedlings given to us by an uncle years ago.  That same uncle gave us an old wooden plow he once used with a mule on his own farm. We proudly used that old wooden plow to hold our mailbox for many years.  

Our son arrived last night for supper along with an old HS buddy.  This same guy used to come to our house all during their HS years and we played many a game of spades at the kitchen table deep into the wee hours of the morning.  And this guy is super intelligent.  Needless to say, we all wanted him on our spades team!  So, it was wonderful to see him again last night.  He told us that he didn't get along well with his own parents during those years and loved spending his evenings here with us. But he had an "awakening" while driving one night a few years ago listening to the words of a song on the radio.  He immediately realized the problem he had with his parents 

--- was mostly his fault. 

So, he and his parents buried the past and are now enjoying a renewed and healthy relationship. 
Isn't it wonderful to have a happy ending to a story! 
If only all families could enjoy such strong relationships. 

After our young friend left for his home in the eastern part of our state, our son remained and we talked until 2am.  I'm sure his wife wasn't happy with him staying out so late but Brian sure seemed to enjoy himself as he reminisced his childhood years, our vacations, previous homes, friends, family, schools, etc.  Tonight is his 20th HS reunion and most of these same friends and classmates will again be together at the Marriott for a dinner.  Ahhhh, won't they have fun! 

But me? 
Well, I'm having a grand time just hanging out in a old pair of jeans and tee shirt sitting here with my computer nursing a pile of animal crackers and glass of freshly brewed iced tea sporting a slice of lemon. 
One day he'll be home in comfy jeans while his own sons go to their high school reunion. You see, life's just a cycle. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Relative

Mom and I went to the big city today - ok, well, it was a bigger town than ours anyway.  Both are relative.  I bought a few little things for the camper and our upcoming camping trip.  One was a pair of winter jammies.  Long pants, long sleeves.  Yipes, with my internal warming machine, I'll be hard pressed to be wearing them but one never knows what the winter will be like plus the chance to be warm sounds relative. One can always resort to shorty jams but options are good. 

Saw this bug on my car today.  He definitely looks like a leaf or a bunch of leaves.  But on the hood of my car while in the garage isn't such a great place to blend in with nature.  Sweetz came to the rescue and soon Mr. Green was in the bushes. 

Can you see me now?

Speaking of Sweetz, he tuned up the RV engine yesterday and today and it just purrs.  He needs another part...great, what did he call it?  Oh well, he explained it was nothing much more than a piece of plastic but whatever the name, he needs one.  I won't be able to go with him this time.  That is, unless he waits for me to return from getting my hair trimmed in the morning.  It is always nice to go out for errands and then have lunch with hubby.  I also need to recycle a few things.  And go to the library.  Ummm, wonder if Sweetz will wait for me?  Very doubtful.  My man isn't one to twittle his fingers waiting.  Nope, I might as well get used to the idea he will be back home with that new little plastic thingy before I roll back in the drive.  We want to buy a new RV hot water heater and have it installed before our trip.  Ours looks and acts sickly and sure don't want to be faced with cold showers this winter.  Even winter jammies won't help that situation. Perhaps we should just get a newer  RV... That's relative, isn't it?

Our pumpkins were small this year, but we had lots of them.  We've given lots away to friends and neighbors.  Thought this little pumpkin grouping in our flower bed was interesting.  After all, it's September.  Even though the thermometer isn't cooperating with fall temps.  And it's VERY dry here.  The leaves will soon all fall off at this rate, but that's ok too.  But that means raking or mowing.  That's ok too - just means our west trip is getting closer.  Yep, it's all relative.

Pumpkin nest
Our son is coming for supper tomorrow night - stopping by for a visit before he attends a football game which is part of his HS 20 yr reunion weekend.  A son...well that definitely sounds relative.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to Normal

I'm in least it is my Normal during this my Quitment Phase. 

Truthfully, I must admit this Phase is nice.  Although I've noticed I can't say much to the working folk or the young how much I AM enjoying life right now.  Not just's definitely nope.  It doesn't go over well as they ALMOST do a total eye roll.  Perhaps they are jealous of my peace and stage in life.  Maybe they hate their job and no longer want to be on the work treadmill. Well, it just takes a few years to be where I sit.  Could it be people find it difficult to comprehend anything beyond their own experience?   

You mosey on down the road a few curves and suddenly the old geezer in the mirror is someone comfortable in their own skin from the curves that old buggy's been down.  We're wiser than our gray hair indicates.  I won't have my mind for many more years if you believe what you hear and read. 

Why just yesterday I read I lost 50% of my memory by the time I turned 50. 

OK, remind me where I am.  Oh yeah, in Normalcy.  Right.  I will still smile and say hello and wave and now after only 4 months in my Quitment Phase, I DON'T talk about my peaceful life to just anyone. 

A normal evening at the campground
In preparation for our planned western trip, Sweetz spent a bit of time under the RV hood checking out plugs and wires and connections and such.  He decided he'd change the plugs and wires (actually MY idea) so off we went to Auto Zone to get some of the necessary items.  The cute girl working the counter wasn't much help with our needs so he's prodding me to look up items when I have no idea what he's wanting.  Somehow he assumes I know what size, catalog number, brand, etc.  I'm good, but heavens maybe not quite THAT GOOD.  After all, I lost 50% of my brain when I turned 50.  OK, I found what he wanted so he's happy for the moment.  It's always good to have a happy Sweetz.  Life is back to Normal again.  Next he'll be asking me when supper will be ready.  

Remind me what constitutes a normal supper...

Monday, September 13, 2010

At The Lake

Our site's beach at sunset
Sweetz and I had a great time at Kerr Lake campground the past week.  Very relaxing.  The only thing I missed at the state park/campground was the lack of wifi.  I do not have air card so had to make trips into the nearest town (McDonald's, library, BBQ restaurant) to get free wifi a few times.  Didn't want to go crazy during the internet withdrawal/blackout days.  Wow, it's difficult without the internet.  I must really get more serious with my research in how to rectify my situation, especially before our western trip.  I could see that others had wifi but they all had their accounts blocked and that's understandable.  But I must admit I had visions of visiting some of our neighboring campers to make friends in order to use their wifi.  Nope, I didn't.  I maintained my distance but even Sweetz could tell it really bothered me to be without my precious internet.  He even said that I should get internet access before our trip west.  Ahhhh, sweet words from Sweetz.

Our private get-away
It was a neat place and I really enjoyed our stay.  A few more days would have been even better.  We decided we needed to practice for our western trip.

There were deer that wandered the campground, not too close but close enough to enjoy their antics.  I did not take any pictures of them - but allowed them to relax and go where they wanted.  One day we saw about 10 of them standing in the road, but they moved away when we proceeded through them.  Another day they came down to the lake right at our site to get a drink of water, then wandered away down the beach.  Another day, there were several maybe 20 feet from the camper, their little white tails flicking nervously.

Two days I saw a neighboring camper in "our" piece of the lake who lathered his head with shampoo, then dunked a few times to rinse it.  Stupid I would say since there was a perfectly clean and decent bathhouse a mere walking distance from his camper.  But he was having fun so I didn't say anything.  

We were given the "senior rate".  Yahooo, for being seniors.  Think we saved about $6 a night so that was a significant amount over our 5 nights.  The weekend was the busiest, but was really quiet during the weekdays.  We arrived on a  Wednesday and left on a Mon, so we were able to enjoy the peaceful campground several weekdays.  We decided we would try to schedule our next trip for Sun - Fri.  Two biker couples arrived one day and moved in....yes, where else but...right next to us!  They did not honor the quiet hour - but stayed outside at the picnic table and enjoyed their fire while they talked and laughed until...nearly 3am!  The next night we kept the AC on all night to muffle their noise.  Oh well, every one needs some down time, so we were nice to them.  Maybe they will realize what they did one day and will strive to be better camper neighbors. 

The days were warm, the nights perfect.  A raccoon ate the containers of worms that Sweetz had bought to use fishing the next day.  Oh well, he used a black plastic worm instead of buying more, and he actually caught many more fish with it.  He threw them all back so we ate no fish while there.  That's ok, my cooking is pretty good.  Some of the campers had boats they moored at the sites and they seemed to have a great time riding and tubing and fishing.  Nope, I'm not wanting a boat at this point.  But some FT bloggers have kayaks and that might be something to explore.  Are there kayaks built for retirees / old geezers?  Maybe a canoe would be a better choice for us...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grandparents Day at School

It was nice to be invited by our son/wife to the grandsons' school today for the Grandparents Day celebration. 

We picked up some McDonald's Happy Meals and headed to the school and got there 15 min early.  While we waited, we watched one of the most organized, quietest, and functional schools I have ever seen.  Maybe I've just been away a long time, but I was certainly impressed.  All the children walked orderly and respectfully.  There was no disruption of any kind.  I peeked in some of the other classrooms and they were all quietly at work, each child behaving and doing their own work.  What a pleasure. 

We were able to enjoy lunch with Nathan where we joined him in his classroom.  

After that Nolan found us and we joined him for lunch in the cafeteria.  It was great to be with both of the boys and have some time with two of the cutest and smartest boys this side of the Mississippi River.  We were able to see their rooms and how their school days flow from one subject to another with extremely organized and efficient teachers!  There was even a treat given to the grandparents before we left for the day. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010


When I grabbed the broom to sweep up the acorns, I had a surprise when a gray/black praying mantis jumped off onto the concrete.  We chatted for awhile and NEVER saw an uglier one though.  NEVER saw a gray one, all previous ones were green. I do believe I will do a bit of research to see what this one is called.  I guess his momma would call him cute, but guess I'm not the one to pass judgment on this beauty.

This fella is really camouflaged on the patio concrete
I see they only live approximately 12 months.  Umm, and this one will continue contributing to the gene pool.  Still can't find out what kind it is.  Excuse my dirty house.  Those smudges are probably where the broom handle bangs the house.   

After we chatted awhile, he walked back to the broom, crawled up to the top of it, then over to the mop, and finally up the side of the door.  Think he was stalking a bug caught in a spider web. 
This porch tomato is OVER 9 feet tall.  It is in a cage that's 9 feet and it's now several inches over that.  And tomatoes are still growing on it.  I'll need a ladder to pick them.  Or maybe the Jolly Green Giant will do the honors.  
This tomato plant on our patio is over 9 feet tall and still growing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Long Labor Day Weekend
Now that I'm not working anymore, someone will have to remind me what a long weekend is.  Ummm, but it does sound familiar. I think I'll keep my own schedule which can be best described as 6 Saturdays and 1 Sunday.  Yipppee.

A white spider up at the right end of the body of the butterfly is sucking this guy dry.  He has a huge round stomach barely visible which he is quickly filling with butterfly juice. Yuck. 

School's in session again
Country Club in a quaint southern town
Stately Southern home in upscale country club neighborhood

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I read about a bit about geese this morning.  They stick together and help each other constantly.  If an injured, ill, or elderly goose cannot keep up with the rest of the group in formation, two strong geese will drop out and find a comfortable, safe spot with water.  They will stay with that goose until it either regains health or dies.  They then join another gaggle of geese who accepts them with total acceptance as a member of the family.  The aged, very young, and infirm are kept protected in the rear of the formation.  These fulfill a vital role:  they become the honking section and cheer for the leaders.  Who do we have behind us, enouraging us?  And who am I encouraging in front of me?

The true goal of leadership is not to cross the finish line first, but to take as many others with you as you can.

But I have laundry to do this morning so I'll ponder this as I work...


Guarding the cherry tomatoes

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Midweek Meandering

Today:  Aaahhhh, what a beauty.  Ok, ok, yes it was hot.  I admit it was hot but it's September and I'm trying to convince myself that today was summer's last hoorah and milder temps will be the norm soon.  Our home weather station registered 93* as the high/65* as the low today.  I like the 65* part better. 

Chives picked this morning, washed, and now drying
I snipped another batch of fresh chives from my herb garden this morning.  When they are about half air dried, I will snip each strip into little slices, then finish the drying process.  I've really had a generous crop of herbs this summer so there will be plenty to use all winter.  Yep, little zip lock baggies won't take up much room or weigh much tucked in the RV kitchen cabinet for our western winter trip.  So, I'll have a taste of summer.

Mom and I went to a nice downtown restaurant for lunch.  It's fairly new, been there several times, and each time the experience goes downhill.  But it was her idea, so I went. You know, ya gotta obey mom. She had a burger she described as yucky - I had a sandwich of their signature chicken salad.  Gag City.  First was the scorch toasted white bread when I ordered WW, chicken was tough chunks, more mayo than other ingredients, totally tasteless.  I could go on but you get the idea - it was an experience to be forgotten.  The waitress was not willing to do her job well so when it was time for the tip, I didn't do mine well either. 

Both mom and I had a couple of errands to run, so after those were completed, we stopped for some final excitement at WallyWorld. 

Found these placemats and napkins to add a touch of fall to the table
I spent some time in the housewares aisles checking out useful items for RV storage.  Yep, I found those white vinyl coated door storage units that Gypsy Larry had on his website which he attached to the back of his closet doors.  I also scouted the aisles for some of those Walmart People I've seen on the net, but only saw one flashy attired huge woman.  Although as gaudy as she was, she didn't come close to those on the website. Not sure what I would have done if I saw a "beauty" but at least I had my camera tucked safely in my purse waiting for that rare glimpse.  Maybe next time.  Then again, maybe our tiny town is just classier.  Riiiiight. 

On the drive toward Wally's, we had to stop at one of those street repair sections where I snapped a picture of the sign holder.  Am thinking this roadwork was evidence of our tiny town coming nose to nose with a stimulus check.   All but one of the 50 states is broke so why would we be spending hard-earned tax money to repair a decent road? Possibly for votes you say?? 
$timulu$ @ Work ?