Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Buffalo Kind of Day

Today we hit Crazy Horse Monument first.  That was a highlight of the day.  We Americans didn't treat the native Indians fairly - or at least some of us did not.  They have one of the best introductory videos I've seen - why I even had tears in my eyes during the showing plus at least up to an hour later.  The sculptor was handpicked by the Indians and he came happily to do this project.  At one point he only had about $150 to his name, but money wasn't the object - it was the success of the project.  I want   to read up on this project when we get home since I like to know more of the background of people and situations and this one has my name written all over it. There are so many Indian artifacts in the museum - in fact, there are several buildings which are bursting and still more things need a place to be displayed properly. There is a building project underway constantly with an entire complex of buildings planned.  I was definitely impressed.  And it is done entirely from private funds - accepting no government money, even turning down huge grants to remain private.  Yep, I was highly impressed and it is definitely successful.  The sculptor died but his wife and 7 of their 10 children are continuing the work. 

We ate in the restaurant seated at a table at a window overlooking the monument.  Awesome.  There are years left of work to be done, but it's quite an impressive undertaking of a lasting tribute to the Indians.  With a donation we were able to get two of the small granite rocks which had been removed during the blasting process and will be put in a special place in our backyard when we get home.  

When we left this fantastic spot, we drove a few miles around some country roads til we arrived at Mount Rushmore.  Here is another fascinating piece of American history and creation.  It was different from the Crazy Horse complex, definitely smaller.  It is also incomplete.  This sculptor also died before completing the project.  But with Mount Rushmore, the work is by a single artist and it has been decided to keep it unfinished.  The museum houses many of the tools, initial drawings, models of ears, hands, noses, faces of the four presidents honored in this stone creation.  We bought tee shirts and baseball caps.  After all, what else are retirees supposed to wear!!

And yep, that's me standing to the right next to the first granite column.

While heading down the road to the motel where we made reservations was a sign in the Black Hills that there were buffaloes and warning people not to get close to them because they are wild animals and can be dangerous.  We saw some on the hill quite a distance away and we stopped and I took some pictures of these little dots on a faraway hill.  Then after another mile, we saw another group of them a bit closer so I snapped a few pictures of them too.  I commented that the next sighting would be even closer.  Oh my gracious!!!   Around the next curve was a buffalo walking RIGHT ALONG THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.   We slowed and drove slowly along beside him while I snapped pictures.  Yes, I could have reached out the car and petted him.  Really!  But I chose to keep my hands in the car and just snap pictures.  Never slowing, he walked along beside the car and kept an eye on me.  He didn't seem upset that I was taking pictures, but wonder what he was REALLY thinking!!  Yep, I kept talking calmly to him telling him what a beauty he was and how much I appreciated him posing like that.   

This shot was taken out my car window only a few feet from this AWESOME creature!!! 

RIP Hickok

What a neat place - Deadwood, Wyoming.  At first we weren't impressed but then we parked and walked up and down the streets and went in some of the museums that were open to the public and then checked out some of the shops.  There was a lady eating ice cream and I asked her where she bought it --- she pointed to the shop, so we made sure to stop in there.  I got a dish of cherry nut, and Sweetz chose the dark chocolate.  Mine was delicious but couldn't eat it all so he finished mine. 

There was a show in one of the saloons/gambling places so we went in there.  Not being a drinker, it was the first time I had been in one of them but it was ok.  They sent us to the poker room and we found a table.  One guy played the part of Wild Bill Hickok and he talked about his life and how he ended up at Deadwood.  Then he sat down at the table where a game of poker was being played (by volunteers from the group).  And the rest is history...I survived but Hickok was not so fortunate.  Neat show as "Hickok" was so good you forgot he was acting and got right into the storyline. 

We also drove a few miles down some country roads and found Devil's Tower since Sweetz wanted to spend some time checking out that place.  He even bought a tee and hat.  I'll save my spending money til we see Mount Rushmore, which I think is tomorrow.

It's late and we are still on MST and I have trouble knowing what time it is.  Old time, present time - my body clock is totally confused.  Gotta get some sleep now though and try to manage another day out here in the open  and wild wild west.   

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Badlands

We had a great day today.  We started out heading farther west and then stopped at a couple of museums and I took a bunch of pictures of the landscape.  The views changed from extremely flat where we  could see forever - Sweetz could only guess at 15 miles.  I don't really know, except the views just went out of our focus.  And my pictures don't do it justice. At times there were only two colors to be seen:  golden brown on the earth and pale blue in the sky.  As the day progressed, more and more fluffy white clouds filled the blue sky and it was gorgeous.  We saw some huge acreage where fires burnt the ground going right up to some homesteads, but they all seemed to have been  spared, but only by inches. 

As the hours passed, there were fewer and few trees until there were only a handful in the entire scene.  We saw a few deer along the side of the fields (one buck and three doe) lying down in the grass just looking at us.  There were a few horses at one farm and there were lots of cows (brown, black, and mixed colors) grazing on the driest grass on the thousands of acres along the highway.  Must have been something because harvesters had cut and rolled thousands of rolls of hay along the miles which were sitting in the fields waiting for a truck to pick them up.  Some were scattered singly along the property, others farmers had stacked them up in maybe stacks of ten.

Then the land changed and it became rolling hills, and then flat again, and then a few beautiful lakes, small towns dotted the highway many miles apart.  We crossed the Missouri River with the area dotted with lots of homes.  Then after we crossed the river, the landscape dried out again.  We checked out several of the towns and they were mostly centered around the needs and life of a farming community. 

We even saw several huge sunflower fields, with their heads drooped over drying.  There appeared to be no predators to bother them.  I did wonder how they got pollinated - guess there are bees or some such insect around.  I did notice there were no birds.  No birds!  Can't even imagine.  But we did see birds in the towns. 

We stopped at a couple of museums which was interesting learning of the nature of this area's history.  We ate lunch and dinner in two different mom & pop diners which is nice to get away from the chains - and they sure have some of the best food too. 

We toured an authentic prairie sod house and buildings that a family called home as they tried to eke out a life under extremely difficult circumstances.  They could buy these 160 acre tracts for $18 and they had to be married and stay there for five years.  Many didn't make it so packed up and left. 

On down the road a bit further we entered the Badlands National Park.  I was thrilled to have seen the beauty of God's handiwork.  I also got hundreds of photos which I really need to thin down.  There were some cows of some sort grazing in the bottom land, and also saw what seemed like some long-horned sheep.  There was a museum at one of the stops so we checked that out and saw some of the native animals and vegetation which can be seen in that area.  And there were lots of signs to watch out for poisonous snakes!!!  So I had no trouble staying on the trails.

Not sure what we're doing tomorrow - but it will be interesting and fun!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All the Way to Minnesota

We're still on our way west - Sweetz promises me that we will arrive tomorrow in South Dakota and will stay in that area to enjoy some sights.  The riding hasn't been so bad since we stop and stretch and enjoy some of the things along the way.  The land changes from very flat to a few rolling hills.  From nearly treeless with HUGE corn fields as far as the eye can see to some rock formations nearly covered in trees.  Those tractors that harvest the large corn fields aren't really like small southern farm tractors.  They are huge monsters that kick up the dust that can be seen from miles away.  There are a few cows.  Some were black and white.  While others were solid black.  Don't know the names of them.  The vast homesteads put our land to shame.  These people must be millionaires if I have a penny to  my name.  Although when I saw the farmers, they look just like regular folk right down to jeans and boots. 

When we stopped along the way, we continue to be struck by the unfriendliness of the people.  We couldn't even say much at restaurants or shops because the people are all business.  Not used to people not talking but it's ok, we just will keep moving on.

We stopped for awhile at Wisconsin Dells - a resort along the way.  It's a large place and we checked out some shops and a restaurant.  I bought a variety of authentic Wisconsin cheeses to take home.  I hope they are as good as the samples.  We tried to go on a cruise but those businesses were closed for the season. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It was really FLAT

I've never been in Indiana, Illinois, or Wisconsin.  But here we are -- seeing mostly flat land in the first two states.  Amazingly flat, amazing views as far as the eye can see. 

Saw some huge farms, huge equipment, huge granaries, huge windmills.  Big stuff in these states.  We are from a smaller state, smaller homes, smaller estates.  Whew, I was overwhelmed with these two states and their hugeness. 

Not many trees to break up the views of enormous expanses of corn fields.  Everything is flat in every direction. 

Wisconsin, on the other hand, has some slight rolling inclines with trees.  The foliage is turning colors also - and there were sections of trees in various shades of yellow and red.  Of course, there are plenty of trees which are still in their green garb, but I bet it won't be long before they turn also.

Tomorrow, we plan to drive around this area a bit before we head to South Dakota or wherever we end up.  Most of the people have been nice, even treating us southerners with a great attitude.  OK, there were a few that don't meet our gentile ways, but I just smiled and moved on whenever we could.

I couldn't stop take pictures today.  Snap, snap, snap.  Lots of them.  Yep, and did I say it was FLAT! 


Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 1 - Arrived Cincinnati

Over the rivers and via the interstates...and we're in Ohio. Yep, outside of Cincinnati, just like Sweetz' itinerary. A bit more sitting and driving than I'd like, but that's really the only way to get west - unless we fly.

One gas-up, two meals, one stretch break, and we're here. The miles seemed to really fly and the scenery was sure beautiful. I helped drive so I wasn't able to take a few pictures I really wanted. Oh well, there will be other opportunities for some great sites. There weren't any great shots today anyway, was just some things in order to assist in remembering what we saw. Beginning tomorrow the trip will consist of places I've never seen. Anything farther than Cincinnati is fresh and new for my eyes.

The foliage is just beginning to turn colors here,a little more than at home, but nothing extraordinary yet. The color is still just a bit early. There are also a few trees that are a brilliant red. A medium-height tree, but at 70mph, it was difficult to identify the tree at that distance. Just a single tree sprinkled in amongst predominately oaks, maples, and poplar. A little surprise every now and then. And the mountains are pretty, up and down and around. We went through two tunnels which broke up the mundane. Mundane? Naah, it wasn't mundane at all. Each mile was beautiful. But tomorrow........ new sights for our eyes. Looking forward to more surprises. What a treat!! And I'm so thankful to be able to have this chance to travel.

No complaints now...these photos were all taken from the front seat as we zoomed along. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Final Steps

Well, here it is about time for the sun to sink below the horizon.  That means we need to finish up gathering our things for The Heartland Express.  Most everything is together and most of that is already in the suitcases.  We each have our last minute things on the bathroom counter and hanging out in the living room all ready for the final zip right after the sun pushes over the horizon in the morning. 

I checked with another neighbor today and asked if they would do us a favor and keep an eye on the house while we're gone.  They wanted to do more, but that's really all we need.  I have a list of morning chores to do: trash out, DW run, windows checked, HW temp reduced, etc. Nothing unusual, just would be nice to see that everything is as safe as we can get it. 

We've had to postpone this trip twice already so I've tried to maintain a cool attitude so if anything presented a problem, it wouldn't knock me over.  But so far, everything is purring right along so we're thinking this third try will be a go. We had lunch with two of our favorite couples and it was such a treat to be with them.  They have both gone on several western trips so we enjoyed their suggestions and memories to put in our hats.  They are both great photographers, so they only want one souvenir - and that is a picture or two along - via emails.  And that's easy enough to do. 

Sweetz put in 50 new strawberry plants a couple of weeks ago and he's worried about the lack of rain while we are away.  To do all that he can, he has headed out to give them a good watering.  We could easily lose many of our plants and I have vowed to not worry about them. Que sera, sera.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Zip 'Er Up, Maggie

I have packed most of my things tonight.  Yep, me!  I'm usually the one that is packing at the last minute.  Perhaps I have turned over a new leaf!  Most of the things going in the suitcase are tees, jeans, and jackets.  I'm doing things the easy way on this trip.  Well, it's started that way anyway. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nearly Ready to Stuff the Suitcases

I feel pleased about how much I accomplished today.  There was the usual home duties which must be done, but there were some some extras like the ironing pile, part of the mending pile, and the hunting & gathering for our trip.  Well, SOME gathering for our trip, not all of it.  Sweetz is already packing his things into the suitcase, but not me - not ready for that step yet, but it's getting close.  Maybe tomorrow. What am I saying...I am nearly out of yes, it will probably be tomorrow.  Most everything is washed now so it shouldn't be too difficult.  I did get the camera things together and saved all the photos from various memory cards to DVDs.  Am thinking I will begin saving photos to flash drives the first of the year.  Not sure how long the ability to read CD/DVDs will be available to us.  They are cheaper than flash drives though.  Or I could check out "the cloud". 

I got my flu shot today - only took a minute to document my visit and get stuck in the deltoid.  Barely felt the needle go in - the nurse is wonderfully efficient.  I get a free shot since I volunteer at the local hospital and it is required now.  Some folk are afraid of the shot and think they get a bad case of the flu if they get the shot. Since I understand the flu vaccine consists of dead cells, not sure how that happens.  The flu they get could be one that is not covered in the antibiotics of that particular year's vaccine.  I've had the flu - I've thought I was going to die from being so sick...  I'll take the shot any day. 

Sweetz and I went on a few errands today so he could pick up this and that.  I'm trying to hold him down - don't think we need to fill up the trunk with stuff that we can buy on the trip if we need it.  He blew and raked up more acorns today.  I watered my outside potted plants today.  At this point in the season, if they don't make it, I won't cry.

I spent some time on the internet gathering info on interesting things to do along our trip route.  Lots of choices, we should have no trouble entertaining ourselves.  I washed the sheets today - and they are waiting for me to put back on the bed.  Need to get off things ta do, ya know...  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where Is It?


OK, the car is in Tim's garage.  He's going to install new brake pads, reduce the torque on the lug nuts, and check the fuse in the cigarette lighter. 

While out we grabbed some breakfast, picked up a few things at a couple of stores, and somewhere along the way I misplaced my library book.  I remember going in the garage with it under my SURELY it's there.  Must have put it down to do something.  Yeah, it's there...isn't it?  Do I have to pay for a replacement???   OK, phone's ringing...well I THOUGHT it might be Tim to inform me that he has my library book.  Nope.  I'm still trying to figure out where it is.  Grrrr....  The call was a telephone poll wanting to know who I was going to vote for if the election was held today.  Nope, not going to tell someone on the phone!  Anyway, she didn't have a trustworthy voice.  I made a judgment  in less than 6 seconds...and from the bottom of my gut she wasn't getting my answer. Next time maybe I should say "Donald Duck" and see what reaction I receive.   

OK, I'm off to look for the book - but I know it's not here.  Sigh. 

2:30pm:  I've been searching and thinking and calling places where we stopped this morning to locate the misplaced book.  And...  NOTHING.  I looked through the house another five times and WHAM, I remembered where I put it.  YES, yes yes   I had put it on a shelf myself.  Yes, myself.  No one else to blame for all this searching.  And it was sitting there patiently waiting for me to pick it up again and to finish the final 25 pages.  And the name of the book? 

The Waiting - sounds appropriate to me!  And I'm thankful I can finish the book and not have to replace it at the library. 

Mom called and wants me to head down to reset the answering function on her home phone - somehow she has turned the recording function off.  Who's going to look after me when I get ... old(er) and grey(er)?  OK, I'm off to get that done so I'll be ready to head out to pick up the car. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Snip Snip

I needed a haircut before we head out west.  Figured it would be best to have a shorter and easier-to-care-for style.  So, it's shorter, it's got to be easier!! 

Tomorrow we have an appointment for new brake pads and a couple of double checks under the hood thinking this will help us to relax KNOWING everything is ok while we are away.  Well, at least that's the best we can do - to prepare.  Sweetz keeps up with most things so let's hope this does the trick.  Sure don't want to find ourselves out on the side of the road in Missouri.  We need to have the car at Tim's at 8:30.  Yep, we can do that. 

Bobbie loaned me some books to take on the trip.  I would take library books but they can only be borrowed for 3 weeks and that's going to put me a mite tight getting them back and I really don't want to have to pay late fines.  So, I'm loaded up with plenty to last me.  Ummm, might be time to look into a Nook - but want to know how borrowing books works and if it's available at our local library.  If not, it's not time for me to get one yet. 

We paid off our house several years ago
and just now have remembered
that we had wanted to have a mortgage burning ceremony. 
It was rather low-key. 
No speeches,
no banners,
no marching band. 

But there WAS a fire and there was the burning of some mortgage papers.  They were some really old ones and a copy of the cancellation - so that's done now and it felt great!  Ahhhhhh.... 

And while out there I roasted some marshmallows. 
No need to waste a perfectly good fire I say!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Honor of Grandparents

Sweetz, Grandma, and I went to our grandsons' school today for the morning in honor of grandparents.  The time included breakfast, a tour of some of the rooms, a demonstration of several of the class projects, and also a joint participation pitting the children with   their grandparents using the Smartboard.  That's a touch screen white board which had the students matched with their grandparents working together in a joint question and answer project.

Nathan was thrilled to show us his hurricane demonstration made from two plastic drink bottles.  There were also turtles in a cage as well as math projects displayed next to written essays.  The room was neat and colorful.  Plus the children all behaved.  I'd say each one loved having their grandparents there and each one loved the attention and showing each and every thing in the room to their family members.  

It's pouring cats and dogs today.  We don't need anymore rain but guess I'm wrong.  We must need lots more - today and tomorrow.  We should have planted rice! 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

On The Same Pew

With today being Sunday, I decided to return to the church we had been attending.  Hubby had remained even though I left several weeks ago to revisit another church with friends.  This morning, I surprised Sweetz and we attended church together once again since I don't think it's a good idea to be divided if at all possible.  After church we had lunch with some buddies and enjoyed lingering over the meal. 

I had a difficult Saturday with some rough feelings that needed to be flushed out of my system.  It took nearly all day, but I felt much better by the end of the afternoon.  I talked with a friend of mine a couple of times during the day and since she always gives great counsel, she was perfect with her advice this time also.  She's younger than me by at least five years yet always astounds me with her maturity.  It's interesting how we usually know what to do but having a friend take half the load off our shoulders while we wrestle it through is indescribable.   

Tuesday is Grandparents Day at the little tykes school.  We're to BE THERE at 8:15am.  Oh dear, dear, dear, that's early to be ready and drive over an hour to reach the school.  Probably way earlier than I will want to be standing on two feet with both eyes open.  But what we won't do for those sweet guys.  Actually, I'm looking forward to it and hope they appreciate our extra effort for them.  Well, if they don't, that will be ok too.  I'll just stick a camera lens in their face and pretend they were happy.  Bet they will be ok since they are used to getting up and being active at those hours.  Just think, it wasn't all that long ago that I was doing the same.  One of the rewards of retirement after all those active years.  I will see if the school will let me take some pictures that day - you know, it's getting more and more imperative to protect the little ones these days from the bad guys in our society.  The school will be serving us breakfast so wonder what we'll get?  A couple of big Krispy Kreme doughnuts sound like perfection...

Sweetz pulled out the suitcases Saturday night so this trip is becoming more like a possibility.  We've had to change our plans several times over the past few years, so hopefully we can get on the road next week to enjoy seeing some sights of our beautiful country. 

Mom asked me to come down today to get something she had ordered for me.  Sure!!!  Who doesn't love surprises!  Well, it was a beautiful LLBean corduroy jacket.  It fits perfectly and she said she wanted me to have it on our trip.  What a sweetie! 

It's getting late and my brain is wanting to turn off - and believe me it doesn't have far to go to shut down these days.  Till next time...

Friday, September 14, 2012

This Friday Was Particularly Sweet

Here it is Friday! - I only say that because after all the years I worked outside the home, Friday was the day to anticipate after all the hours slaving away during the weekdays.  Trading my time for some money.  Had to do it: money is needed to live, to eat, to have a bed at night.  But now that I'm retired, I have more flexibility with my hours and must say it's wonderful.  But we all must pay our dues over the working years - it didn't come free - it didn't come without sacrifices but I always had my goal flashing in front of my eyes. And now Fridays are even sweeter.

Today I got bored for about 15 minutes.  Since there is always something to do, it wasn't long before I decided to do a bit in my craft room and then to make a batch of cookies.  That always seems to let off my steam and enjoy the creative side of my brain. My friend, Vivian, gave me a cookie recipe book several years ago for my birthday - and I've really loved it.  From that very cookbook today I chose Soft Molasses Cookies.  ummmm uummmm are they ever good. Definitely want to make more of these sometime.  Ate my a few more. You know they are always their best right out of the oven!!  Now I need to put the remainder away in a cookie jar or freeze them for later.  Maybe I will stay out of them that way. Can't believe Sweetz hasn't sauntered into the kitchen with this unbelievable smell... You think his smeller isn't working?

Soft Molasses Cookies

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's Just The Way Things Are Sometimes

It's another day just about busted.  It was a good one though but about to end - and I'd say it was on a good note.  Might as well be because that's about all I will tolerate.  If things are down or sliding, it's time to rustle around and correct the leanings.  Life's too short to remain low. 

I fixed a nice lupper for the Prince and me.  Today's menu was ham, rice, tomatoes, and green beans.  Oh, it wasn't all plain like that - it was jazzed up so good that the Queen herself would have been impressed.  No pictures.  Why?  Well, for one thing I just didn't think about it.  That picture-taking habit needs to be jostled sometimes. And honestly I'm too eager to settle in with my fork-to-mouth activity most times. 

I received a newsy letter from my sister-in-law today.  She sent several pictures from her stay in Raleigh with her son and their two children.  They went to the Museum of Life and Science during her visit with them and seemed to have really enjoyed the 3-hour visit.  Wish she "did" the internet/email so I could keep current on their activities but we'll survive this method with a smile.   

We received a bus tour catalog in the mail today.  They offer a trip to the north central part of the country very similiar to our proposed route but we still think we'll do it our way and be able to move about on our own schedule.  We chatted a few minutes about the route and some stops, but mostly just reviewed a few sights we wanted to see and went on to other topics.  It won't be long now and soon I should pull out my suitcase and begin gathering some of the items on my list. 

We definitely need to check our list of preparations to be completed before we leave.  It's been awhile since we've been away from home for this length of time but mom and a neighbor will be checking on the house and katz so everything here should be ok while we're away.  Sure don't want any huge problems to face when we return.  We are confident that there will be a kazillion leaves on the lawn awaiting us.  We also want to get some pumpkins and a bale of hay for some outdoor decor after we return.  That way we will have travel memories plus some activities planned to help us keep  active after we return.  It will be difficult to pull myself away from looking at all the pictures I plan to take.  Yep, I have a large capacity memory card!  And I plan to fill it up if I can!    

We are having a bit of a nip in the air during the nights and it's such a treat after our long, hot, and humid summer.  I'm spending these  cooler hours wearing one of my brother's flannel shirts.  That way I stay warm and remember him at the same time.  

I walked two laps around the neighborhood again today.  Hopefully I will do this nearly every day to see if I can work up some energy plus get into Tourist Shape. 

Sweetz lit our first fire in the firepit last night and it was so much fun sitting outside enjoying the evening.  Even had some marshmallows roasted over the fire.  Yum.  He's in the den now watching TV... wonder if I should wander out to the little patio and have some private fire moments...    


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Today is September 11 and even though it's been eleven years since that fateful day when our world was crushed, our feelings have not changed in regard to the evil done to our country. Many lost precious family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and fellow worshippers.  We grieve along with them as our thoughts and prayers are with them.  We will never forget.   

I saw this HUGE flag being flown from a large crane while we were out today.  Thought that was an honorable tribute to our fallen heroes. 

This morning Sweetz and I headed up the road to get our car inspected and a new registration.  While we were in the inspection center, we noticed two cute little boys there with their dad.  They were extremely well behaved and were entranced with the activities beyond the glass windows as their dad's car was getting some work done. 

Since there were a few items we needed, we took advantage of the time out to pick up a few things at the grocery store, one of which was a great big bag of cat food for the four-legged members that live here.  And if I'm not mistaken, I think I can see them smiling.

Before heading home, we stopped at Cook-Out for two of their fantastic burgers.  Yummy yummy lunch!  Mom stopped by this afternoon for a short visit after we returned home to share some of her latest creation - a Cola-Cola cake.  That might be worth skipping supper and going straight for the dessert!     

Monday, September 10, 2012

Planning to Plan

Wow, this evening I've been reading the blogs of numerous full-time RV travelers.  Many are making final preparations to move to a warmer climate for the upcoming fall and winter.  Makes me feel like I want to be right in the midst of the preparations and plans.  Well, we are planning to go on a trip to some states we've never visited.  It will be exciting and I'm getting anxious to begin our own preparations. 

I've looked at the average high and low temperatures for each area and that gives me a good indication of what to expect along our route.  Now, I need to turn that info into some insight into what needs to actually be packed.  I'm still leaning toward packing clothes that would allow layering.  Then the day or two before we leave, I intend to look at the 10-day planning screens to determine what Mr. Weatherman thinks the weather will actually offer us.  I still think layers would be the best solution for nearly whatever weather we experience. 

Must not forget to pack the camera!!!  There will be hundreds of pictures taken every day.  Surely.  So, that will mean some time to analyze the pictures taken each day to determine if some can be deleted.  Might as well clean out some bytes to allow at least one more photo!  Our departure is two weeks from today!  YES!  It's finally getting closer to reality.

This weekend was the pits!  Three migraines overlapping into one long continuous mire of migraines.   But I survived - although that is not an experience I ever want to go through ever again.  But we don't get our choices in some areas of this life.  I'd just as soon skip any more, but there's no guarantee to my wishes.   Things could be worse, so I plan to concentrate on the advantages. 

Since I was leery to go outside in the bright sunshine today, I remained indoors while Sweetz took down the greenhouse kit.  It's now stored safely away for another season.  I was afraid something would fall onto it and rip it apart while we were gone.  Better to be safe than sorry over something we can reconstruct at a later date. 

Mom came today to stay with me for several hours.  I'm sure she felt she wanted to remain close while Sweetz was outside.  So we sat and enjoyed some tea and chat while he cleaned the gutters and gathered a ton of acorns.  I gave mom the choice of one of my gourds from last year. They had all been washed and scrubbed of all the mold and mildew it gathers during its long drying stage. She picked out a crooked-neck one of medium size.  They are all practically the same color, although they are quite colorful while they are growing.  Sweetz has been fascinated with them and mentioned today that he plans to plants more gourds next season.  Not sure why he thinks we need more, but they grow up the fences so they don't take up any needed space, time, or effort.  Perhaps he is planning to plant a unique shape or size.  I had three types of gourds last year and I was successful at saving at least two from each variety.  The one type that's fairly round in shape with nubby bumps all over it only gave us two that survived.  Perhaps next year will be the year for all sorts of unique sizes and shapes.  I'm using them right now in my fall decor, but I don't need any more.  What will I use additional ones for?  Ladles?  Birdhouses?  Scoops? Christmas ornaments? Piggy banks?  Purses?  Key chains? Storage?!?!    The world of ideas is endless and tends to ooze into the stupid!!! Guess that's what happens when the brain is fried during these extended migraine sessions...  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Self Help

I'm home nursing my headache.  After taking two Excedrin migraine OTC pills this morning at 7am, it is actually much improved.  I'm staying in the dim light but that's preferable to a banging head.  Sweetz read the label and it says no more than two pills every 24 hours.  Good thing he read the label, because I was going to take two more.  OK, so I'm going to keep my hands off the bottle until 7am tomorrow...and then I'll decide if I need them at that point.  Wouldn't it be awesome if they aren't needed! 

Sweetz went to church this morning and said he will be home to fix lunch for us.  How sweet is that!  It's sunny and bright outside but I'm remaining behind the closed curtains...just in case.  Don't want a relapse of severe pain.  This residual pain is SO much more tolerable.

The acorns from our oak trees are still falling.  Bing, bang, plunk, ping all over the yard and patio.  I really don't care about the yard -it's the patio that is a mess to walk on.  I have swept up a half of a large bucket.  Think it's a 10-pound bucket.  That's a lot of acorns...just on the patio.  There was a HUGE spider web out on the patio this morning and if the sun hadn't been shining on it, I would have walked right into it.  Body shudder!  A few broom flips did the trick but I'm sure the spider isn't too happy with me.  She's probably rebuilt it a few feet away - that's ok as long as it is out of my path.   


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Head Bangers

Not sure why, but as I was casually chopping some green bell peppers to freeze, I noticed I couldn't focus...and it was only a minute later I realized I was developing the "light show" that precedes one of my bad migraines.  BUMMER.  So, I stopped the chopping and hit the bed, drapes closed, sleeping mask over my eyes and waited out the migraine.  Actually, I was hoping to catch it before it developed into a full-blown one. 

I wasn't that fortunate this time, but got up after an hour and finished chopping the peppers.  Barely got the two packages into the freezer when the light show returned  WOW, it was awful.  So, back to bed with a couple of Aleves...My head's been banging for hours.  Nothing seemed to relieve the pain.  It's at the lowest point right now, but it's not good.  So, here's a farewell as I turn in to the bed and hope it doesn't bang around too long.  Would be nice if tomorrow it is gone when I wake. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thanks To My Readers

I have two readers who don't mind telling me when I goof on some spelling or grammar.  And I'm so thankful for their input.  Today one wrote to inform me I had misidentified a plant in a picture.  I read her email while waiting for two new tires to be mounted.  Since I had my smart phone, I wasn't able to figure out how to change the caption, so tried deleting the caption but it wouldn't save the had to wait until I got home.  There is still stuff to learn on that phone so about the time I'll conquer it, it will be time to update the phone!  My only excuse on the misidentified plant was that I had another picture that I was thinking of adding with that plant's name, guess I was just going too fast and wasn't thinking.  Or perhaps I could chalk the error up to senioritis.  Hey, works for me.  But, as always, I am thankful to the keen eyes of my readers and their willingness to help me.

Can't believe it is Friday!!  What in the world went with the rest of the week!  Hey, Jean - how many points do I get for alliteration??? 

Well, anyway... Sweetz and I went tire shopping today.  Went to four different places before settling on a twosome without breaking the bank.  They had the tires we wanted in stock so we sat in their waiting area while the garage boys performed their magic.  They rotated the tires, gave us one tire back to use as a spare, and before too long we were on our way.  We grabbed a quick sandwich while were were out, then ran a few quick errands before we finished our day at the grocery store.  Seems every time we head out for the day we transfer money from our hand to someone else's palm.  Easy come, easy go - as the old saying goes. 

One of my neighbors had to replace her hot water heater yesterday.  Ours is tall and thin but hers arrived in a short squatty box.  Guess that's because hers is located under the house in a crawl space.  Doubt the installers were very happy about crawling around in a dark and tight area.  Shudders... 

Then she barely gets home from a funeral after her brakes fail while she's out.  She wasn't too happy with both things happening at the same time.  But a tow truck was called and her car was taken to the shop.  She's hoping that's all the bad news she has to experience for a few months.

Sweetz and I reviewed the proposed route for a western trip. Seems we have agreed on a northwestern path with a swing toward Cincinnati, a wide berth around Chicago, a push toward Madison, WI, a tour of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kentucky before returning to home plate.  We're not sure what sights we'll see along the route, but looks like there are lots of interesting spots to enjoy in all states.  I plan to add some photos and a few tidbits about our trip on my blog while we're gone.  Just for a bit more insight into how to dress for this trip, I checked the average temps (high and low) for each area.  Looks like jeans and jackets will be the main clothes needed.  And a laundromat about half way along the route... 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Keyboard Competition

We had a nice day today - Mom and I drove into town to see her financial advisor.  I remained in the car while she completed her business which was only a few minutes.  Next door to where I was parked is a business that had some jewelry and tote bags visible through the open door.  Ummm, it was hard not to head in there to check their displays.  In the end, I remained in the car but just looked.  Don't need either, but they were somehow calling my name.  Yep, I heard the pleading calls, but determined that I would remain in the car.  There also was a sign advertising campaign materials - I definitely know who I'm voting for and don't need any help with that. 

After mom returned to the car, she wanted to go to lunch so we headed out of town to a diner.  We both ordered a beef and gravy entree with mashed potatoes and slaw as our sides.  Interesting that we didn't know what the other one was going to order, but had the same choice.  Like mother/like daughter?  Probably so.  I paid for her lunch today, since she gets mine alot.  But today I beat her to the ticket.  Saw a few people I knew (Linda L, Linda W, Kathy, Barbara, and a couple of people I knew but forgot their names over the years). 

When I returned home, MainMan asked me to show him some stuff on the computer.  In the past, he has not been interested in surfing or games or emailing.  Just wasn't his thing obviously.  But he said he had been thinking about it for about a week and decided today was the day he'd ask for some serious training. 

So, we had lesson 1 -> intermediate.  And he was ready.  He zipped through them like Phelps in a swimming pool.  Just goes to prove when the mind is ready, more is retained.  Teased him that it looked like we would have to get another laptop.  Well, I do have a I eventually began using it when I was feeling the sharp pain of withdrawal.  But he got tired of sitting before he was actually finished with the computer. He said he obviously had not developed a "computer bottom" yet.  I was pleased with his attitude and his extreme grasp in such a short period of time.  I can see competition already!  And now we just might have to invest in an iPad, or laptop, or whatever is screaming our names.  

The book stash hasn't been bothered today.  What's with that!!!  The day isn't over but my eyes are shutting so probably will be heading to bed earlier tonight.  Thought I got enough sleep...hey no Self, I went to bed after midnight last night ... THAT'S why I'm feeling Mr. Sandman piling on the sand. 

MainGuy announced this afternoon (as he was perusing the internet) that there are fires in the midwest where we are planning to visit in a few weeks.  First there were West Nile Virus, a hurricane, tornadoes, flooding...thought we were safe on an amended more northernly route but now there are fires.  Maybe we should give up and plan a staycation complete with activity sessions of fingerpainting western scenes to post on the fridge.  Or sand sculptures, or possibly cacti terrariums...    

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

After a Light Rain

Some days are tougher than others.  Some days we hurt for our friends and family.  We don't have choices for such things but have to continue living our days as well as we can.  Some days we can smile and be thankful for our successes.

A friend's husband had surgery today and it was successful as far as I know from the email updates I received.  Only half the procedure was done though, so the remainder of the procedure will be scheduled in a few weeks.  My prayers are lifted for this family during this difficult time.

I talked to another friend tonight for a long time, seems things are going well for her except for some bursitis and tendinitis in her right shoulder. She had an MRI to determine the next steps of treatment.  I figure it will be physical therapy.  That hurts for awhile but usually is the answer to increased mobility and reduced pain.  Her husband came into the room while she was talking with me and told her he had grilled some steaks and supper was ready.  Wow, what happened to my hubby???  He was in the den with his feet propped up!  Ummm, might have to have a little discussion with him.  Think it will help? 

Well, he did work on the van today - something underneath needed a new clamp, then mowed the yard.  Yeah, those count too.  

This afternoon, I got so sleepy I could hardly hold my eyes open, so to bed for a nap was deemed the solution.  And it worked!

On a recent walk through the back yard, I snapped a few pictures.  Here's a glimpse into some of what I saw:

Butterfly bush

Katydid on a gardenia bloom

Rose after a rain

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tweaking The Plans

Sweetz continues to tweak the plans for our trip west.  This third try might see the light of day.  With Isaac and the residual flooding, we are thinking we will NOT be going south to the Gulf Coast but heading to some north central states this time.  There was a definite desire to see my old stomping grounds when I was a child, but it won't happen this time.  Bet most of Pascagoula and Biloxi and NOLO are flooded.  They don't need people clogging up the roads gaulking and taking pictures of the destruction.  Hopefully we will get back to the area one day before I lose my sight and my mind. 

Sweetz and I again separated to our different churches this morning but met for lunch with our friends.  In addition to our regular lunch friends, another couple (Alma and Bill) joined us.  We've all known each other for years so we had a relaxed and fun table talk.  That Bill is quite a conversationalist and it was hard to finally give up our table. We left a hefty tip to please the waitress and allow us to stay a bit longer.  In fact it was a loooong time, but little Melissa is always gracious and kind every Sunday. 

Pat and Wil are going on a bus trip beginning the 10th to Savannah and all those sights along the way.  We've been there and seen all those places so I know they will really enjoy that.  We still want to go west to see some of the country that we've never seen.  Lots of miles, but we are adding on the years, so need to go soon before we only see life from our rocking chairs. 

I made a batch of snickerdoodles last night and they turned out good.  With an oven that doesn't always want to cooperate with maintaining a steady temperature, it was a bit of a frenzy switching the pans around to try to get the best cookies possible under the circumstances.  I ate a few while they were hot and tonight I ate a few more.  Yummy.  I plan to freeze most of the ones left so we can enjoy them for a couple of weeks.  Ummm, maybe even pack them for a treat on our trip to some north central states. 

Talked to mom tonight, she and Ruth are planning to head home tomorrow from the lake.  Mom said they were having a lightning storm there and so were we, so we decided to not talk long on the phone.  We had a bit of rain, doubt it was much from the sound of it, but it is still nice to have some as it's been on the dry side for several weeks.  I watered mom's outdoor plants this afternoon and then it rained...