Thursday, December 31, 2009
After all the running around yesterday done by all of us -- the guys getting Auntie Violet's oil changed and Juni and I shopping -- none of us were moving very fast this morning. We had some of the gargantuan Costco muffins that we had picked up yesterday for breakfast, then Juni and I went out again to Trader Joe's and Sam's Club to get the things we didn't yesterday. I've had "Two Buck Chuck" at the neighbors and enjoyed it and we've been drinking it while we've been here in Albuquerque. I had never been to a Trader Joe's before, just heard about it from lots of folks. Now that I've been in one, it won't be the last time! I came home with a case of "Two Buck Chuck" red table wine (even if it's now $2.99 a bottle instead of $1.99...).
While we were gone, Forry introduced Tom to Sudoku puzzles. Tom's spent the evening playing it on the computer, Forry's playing it in a puzzle book, Juni is playing Party Poker on the computer and I've been dealing with my farming on Facebook. Quite a subdued New Year's Eve gathering, but we're all too stuffed to do anything more energetic. I had fixed some brie wrapped in pastry with apples and pears this afternoon while we were waiting for the ribs which hasn't helped either!
I do hope this note finds everyone ready for 2010! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It was lightly snowing most of the day and all of the luminara (paper bags on roofs and walkways with lit candles or battery driven lamps in them) on the roofs were very pretty (which is the main reason I had wanted Forry to see it during the holidays). We took a walk around the Plaza. There were quite a few Native Americans sitting in front of the Governor's Palace selling jewelry, but not nearly what there had been when we were here in the summer time.
We asked several of the artists about repairing jewelry and everyone we asked told us to "go see Bobby." Juni had a stamped silver bead necklace that needed to be re-strung as well as a concho bell that needed a new leather belt. I have an old (I bought it at least 45 years ago) petit point bracelet that had lost a silver roundel (small disk) between the parts of the turquoise and a petit point ring that Forry had given me last year that had lost one of its turquoises.
We followed directions and found Bobby's stall "Walk in Beauty" down in the rear bottom of one of the malls. He wasn't there, but his two sons were and they said all our items could be repaired, but that we needed to go see "The Fast Draw" in another mall to get a new piece of leather for the concho belt.
So by the end of the day, we managed to get everything fixed. Bobby was quite impressed by my bracelet, said they "just weren't made like that anymore." He said I could have ruined the value if I had let someone who really didn't know how to carefully and with real low intermittent heat to solder the new roundel (which he made). They would have either cracked the adjoining turquoise (0r they would have had to remove them). And if we had been able to find the roundel and glued it in, that would also have devalued it. I am so glad we were able to get it fixed properly and it looks wonderful!
We had a long wait (after six PM) to get everything finished (Juni's beads needed to be re-strung on a new chain which someone had to go after -- the original wasn't strong enough which is why it broke in the first place). We got back to Albuquerque after eight and had a late seafood dinner.
Today Tom and Forry took Auntie Violet to an RV dealer here in Albuquerque and had the oil in her engine, generator and transmission changed. They had to be at the dealers by 8 AM, so left here a bit after seven. They came back after they had delivered her and both of them went back to bed...
Juni and I took advantage of the fellows' absence to spend the day running errands. We ended up at Coldwater Creek (she had to return some items). They just happened to be having a sale. I ended up with two new pairs of jeans and Juni found a couple of outfits as well. Then we went to a place called Sephora which sells makeup so Juni could buy some eye shadow. It turned out that they sold Clinique as well, so I was able to restock my supply.
Truly a great couple of days for the ladies!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It's late, so I tell some stories about our trip tomorrow!
Monday, December 28, 2009
In the meantime, I took advantage of Junie's generosity with her washer and dryer and got all of my laundry done! I also did some work on the household books. I had finally decided -- after much fretting about it -- to go ahead and allow Quicken to do an automatic download of my accounts from the credit union. But then I couldn't make it work! I guess I'll have to give them a call and see what else I have to do...
Tonight we watched football with the Bears and the Vikings. It was a lackadaisical first half, but the second half was really exciting, ending up with an overtime win by the Bears. The guys had picked up Papa Murphy's pizza while they were out, so we had an easy supper.
Tomorrow we are hoping that the weather will cooperate so that we can take a day trip to Santa Fe!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Junie and Tom had gotten a terribly complex "Country Music" puzzle as a Christmas gift. I tried to count the number of faces of stars on it this morning, but gave up after 150 or so. What is impressive is that Junie can identify just about every one of them -- and the songs they made famous! She says it's 'cause she grew up in Tennessee.
Today this lovely woman made Green Chili Stew with beans and ham on the side. I think I've found a new favorite cold weather dish. Junie was kind enough to make the main pot pretty mild with extra green chilies and red sauce on the side. She served it with flour tortillas crisped over the gas stove. Umm, it was all so good!
We lazed around most of the day watching football and reading the Sunday papers. I think the only constructive task any of us did (other than Junie cooking!) was to get the garbage ready for tomorrow's collection...
Friday, December 25, 2009
Even with filled stockings awaiting us in Auntie Violet's living room, we had a tough time getting going this morning! 2 AM is a bit past our normal bedtime! To say nothing of the amount of holiday libations our hosts kept pouring...
After we got our gifts opened, I did go over to help Junie with Christmas dinner. She had made a great deal of it ahead of time, but there is still always quite a bit to do towards the end. Junie fixed both a turkey and a ham, cornbread dressing, a scrumptious pecan encrusted yam casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, corn, rolls, cranberries! I'm not quite sure how many people we ended up with for dinner as they sort of came and went from both Junie and Tom's families. The hit of the day though was Cyrus, their 9 month old great-grandson. He entertained everyone!
We didn't have dinner until about 3 PM, thinking we would have a light supper of leftovers tonight. But, by evening we were all still feeling too stuffed to eat any more!
It's been really unseasonably COLD here! It's already 25 degrees and predicted to drop at least another ten tonight. I think we need to begin to think seriously about heading further south! Forry does want to get Auntie Violet's engine, transmission and generator oil changed while we are here and we're going to need to replace the front tires on the toad. We also want to take a day trip to Santa Fe with Tom and Junie, so it may be the end of next week before we get headed to warmer country!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
We had planned to stay at Meteor Crater RV Park for two nights, spend a day exploring the crater and then head to our friends house in Albuquerque to spend Christmas. But how quickly plans can change! Tom called us early Monday morning wanting to know if we had looked at the weather forecast? He said there was a weather warning out for a freezing rain and then a snow storm that was supposed to come in that evening and make for treacherous driving and roads on Tuesday when we had planned to travel.
Not wanting to deal with those kind of conditions, we decided to go ahead and leave that morning. We dumped the black and grey tanks and got everything stowed, then stopped at the office to let them know we were leaving a day early. I was VERY surprised when the lady gave us a cash refund for the night we were not going to be there!
About half way to the Arizona border, there was a sign over the freeway saying that Interstate 40 was closed 100 miles ahead. We called Tom to see if there had been anything on the news about why they had closed the freeway. He checked the New Mexico DOT website which said there had been a truck accident at the Continental Divide with a chemical spill. The east bound lanes were closed and west bound had only one lane open. The map on the website showed a short four mile detour around the accident site using the frontage road.
When we got to New Mexico, we stopped at the Welcome Center to get a new map of New Mexico to replace my rather tattered one. The lady there said they were recommending that people leave I-40 at Milepost 20 and take Hwy 503 south and then rejoin I-40 on milepost 53. Well, we looked at the map and saw that it was a detour considerably out of the way and a lot further then the 4 mile detour the DOT map showed.
So we pressed on -- but not for long! At Milepost 26 the eastbound traffic was pulled off the freeway and routed down through NM 11 & 371. The first hour or so was interesting as we were in gorgeous back country that we normally would not have seen. Lots of cliff and red rock and eroded spindles to see as well as many farmsteads with hogans near the main house. But after it began to get dark, it was just long and boring. The road was rough and bounced Auntie Violet around pretty good, even only going 4-5 miles an hour.
We kept in touch with Tom whenever we could get cell phone reception (remember this is NM and cell towers are few and far between at best!) and the Department of Transportation website NEVER did change its four mile detour map! We finally got back onto the freeway about 7:20, but didn't meet any traffic coming from the west for a long while. When we got to the spot where they were being diverted, we saw two lanes of traffic backed up for three miles before they even got onto the detour!
Our 2 1/2 to 3 hour trip to Albuquerque ended up taking us over eight hours! The gorgeous lights of the city were a very welcome sight when we reached Nine Mile Hill and could see it sprawled out below us.
To add insult to injury, the storm is stalled to the north and still hasn't got here!
It's very late, so this will only be a short note. I'll explain tomorrow how our 3 hour trip to Albuquerque turned into an 8 hour odyssey!
But we are here safely and have had a wonderful shrimp (spicy!) soup and several glasses of wine and good company!
So to all, a good night!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
This RV park has small pea gravel at each of the sites and is landscaped with natural desert plants. It has corrals for traveling horses and fenced areas for dog runs, plus a store that carries a good selection of both food and RV necessities.
I was going to take my turn driving on some of these straight Arizona highways, but a quick "sit" in the driver's seat made it real clear that it wouldn't work well with the back brace I am still wearing for another few weeks. I guess I'll have to let Forry be the designated driver until next year!
As we drove along today, we came to the long stretches of juniper forests. They're not very tall trees, but they are a deep green with lovely shapes...
And in the drier country, sagebrush in bloom!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Forry disconnecting the electric this morning at our site on the end of the row:
Friday, December 18, 2009
And starts the drive around...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It was definitely time to be back on the road this morning! We had everything ready to go and pulled up in Auntie Violet to the office at Seven Feathers RV Resort waiting for the mail to arrive this morning. Unfortunately the package of prescriptions I had ordered from the Group Health pharmacy still hadn't arrived -- so the 7 Feathers staff said they would forward them to our friend's house in Albuquerque. It was sort of funny when the lady at the desk said that since we had stayed for six nights, we could not stay one more night for free -- but it didn't take more than a minute for us to say "Thank you, but no thanks!"
This is the view going south down Interstate 5 right after we left Seven Feathers:
We ended up this evening back at Old Orchard RV Park in Orland, California, a place we've stayed at several times before. Not wanting to unhitch the Toad, we walked a couple of blocks to a restaurant at Portuguese Plaza for dinner. We shared an entree of very nicely spiced pork cutlets along with a piece of real cherry pie (not canned pie filling!) for me and some pumpkin pie for Forry.
We've left the front slides in on Auntie Violet and have just put out the bedroom slide as we want to keep going early tomorrow now that we're finally on the road again!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
We really enjoy our adult children -- and their families. When they were little there were so many other immediate things to think about that I cannot recall ever spending much time speculating about what they might be like as grown-ups. Nor did I ever think about them as being "friends" with their parents (or each other!) when they grew up. We were fortunate enough to spend time at our older daughter Mary Mae's in Mount Vernon this summer while her husband was getting things ready for her 50th birthday party. While I was recuperating from my back surgery, we had time in Spokane with Son Sean. Then recently we were able to spend a few days in Hubbard with Dawn's crew.
Each one of the "kids" has a very different personality. Sometimes I wonder how they could be siblings! Then again, they have so many things in common. All three are very devout and have a strong faith. Each of them has an interesting sense of humor and a very strong sense of family. I marvel at the way their minds work and the way they approach life. We have indeed been blessed!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
We were going to leave this morning, but were waiting for my prescriptions to come in the mail -- and they didn't make it today. With the rain and fog, it was easier to decide to stay here for another day.
I just finished reading Bone by Bone by Carol O'Connell. Sister Roxy (who's celebrating a very special birthday today!) said she couldn't put it down when she read it. It's a page-turner! I've started reading To Ride Hell-s Chasm by Janny Wurts, another Roxy recommendation. I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy, rainy wet day.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Auntie Violet always preens a bit when she acquires her Christmas swag:
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Tonight we took the shuttle up to the casino and ate at the buffet. When you trying to watch what you eat, buffets are both easy and hard. There's a lot of temptation, but also a lot of choices...
I had a chance to chat with both Sister Sherry and Brother Pat today. It's warmed up at Sherry's, though she said it's still pretty nasty in Walla Walla. Brother Pat and his family have spent the weekend celebrating with my niece Ashley as she graduated from the nursing program at Washington State University and the Intercollegiate College of Nursing Education in Spokane, They had ceremonies both in Pullman (for WSU) and Spokane (for ICNE -- which is my alma mater as well!). Ashley will be taking her Nursing Boards in January and will most likely be working at one of the Seattle hospitals.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
We made it a bit of a lazy day today, reading and playing on the computer (me) and sudoku (Forry) and listening to Christmas CDs while I ran several loads of laundry. We had done laundry once at Daughter Dawn's when we first got there, but it's been piling up ever since. There's a lot more to wash when it's cold; there's layers and layers -- long johns, sweaters, sweat shirts, etc.
This evening we took the shuttle over to the Casino for supper. Forry had BBQ pork ribs and I had their 10 oz rib steak special ($8.99) which we've had here before. We both had enough left for lunch tomorrow! I forget from time to time how smokey casinos always are. I did remember not to wear my leather jacket -- I've had to hang it outside to air before.
Friday, December 11, 2009
A picture of 1-5 Uhlman RV in Chehalis where work the wonderful guys who took such wonderful care of Auntie Violet and have her all fixed up and ready to head south:
I am writing this at the Seven Feathers RV Resort in Canyonville, Oregon! And it is actually ABOVE freezing here! We got out of Chehalis about an hour later than we should have (also had a stop at Wilsonville to pick up a few things at Camper World and meet with Daughter Dawn who delivered our ladder) and therefore had about an hour of white knuckle driving in some freezing rain! We drove out of the storm somewhere after Eugene. The rest of the drive was just long!
We will be here at Seven Feathers until at least Tuesday which will give our mail a chance to catch up with us.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I think that the idea is that if they shut the water off at this point, everything will freeze up and break, so they're letting it run!
When we talked with Uhlman RV earlier this morning, it sounded like things were moving along pretty good. They should be finished early in the afternoon and we could be on our way. We went ahead and checked out of Room 402 that has been our home for the past couple of days and headed over there after lunch.
At that point, it didn't look as good. The part for the refrigerator had come in, but they had to completely defrost and thaw the freezer in order to install it. And that was not going very fast. Also Clayton was concerned that the sealant he had put on the roof around the new Winegard TV antenna wasn't quite cured. So reluctantly, we decided that we'd stay over another day. That way they could finish the two jobs without feeling rushed.
We are now resettled back at the Holiday Inn Express in Room 300. The bad thing about it is that we are missing GD Havela's Choir Concert tonight in Canby...
This is the view the people of Chehalis have of Mount St. Helens:
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
After we had stopped in at Uhlman's, we took a drive around the countryside. It is amazing how densely populated the area is. It's just one little "farm" after another. Most of them are just a few acres, and some are almost as close as in a subdivision. We came back through the little town of Napavine. I remember them playing Ritzville in the "B" basketball tournaments!
While we were over visiting Auntie Violet, I got the chargers for my iPhone and the Kindle, Forry's phone and my computer. We had packed clothes and toiletries, but hadn't thought about all of the electronic stuff. It is still terribly cold here, but at least we are at a warm motel and Auntie Violet is inside a warm shop!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
We got going fairly early this morning and headed north. (I know, I know, wrong direction!) We had an appointment with Uhlman RV to have a couple of Auntie Violet's problems dealt with. She's had an ERR code flashing in her refrigerator intermittently the last month as well as a leak somewhere in her front roof area. AND once again the TV Kingdome is not licking on to the satellite...!
After everything was checked out, it was decided that the refrigerator needed a new part that won't be in until Thursday. Which means we will be here in Chehalis for a couple of days.
It was bitterly cold again today!
Monday, December 7, 2009
We slept in this morning, then got organized and went into Wilsonville to the Costco store there. I had wanted to take Daughter Dawn's family out to dinner tonight as it will probably be our last night here. BUT, Dawn had other ideas! It is so cold and miserable outside, she just wanted to stay home. (She's done with her clinical and classroom schedule for this semester, but still has one more paper to write.)
GD Havela has been hungry for t-bone steaks, so Dawn suggested we get some of those for supper instead of going out. Would you believe that Costco does not carry t-bones? We checked out the neat meat store in Hubbard, but the ones they had were frozen (by now, it was after four...), Son-in-law Todd called another meat store he knew, but they were closed! We ended up going to the Safeway store in Woodburn and bought the last five they had...
It turned out to have been a wonderful idea of Dawn's. We had baked Yukon Gold potatoes, artichokes with Hollandaise sauce, and barbecued steaks -- what a feast! (And GD Havela ate an entire steak all by herself!)
After dinner the GDs and I played triple solitaire to the accompaniment of many giggles. Multiple solitaire is a tradition among the women in my family and Havela remembered watching "the aunties" play -- and remembered hands getting slapped for two handed play...
Sunday, December 6, 2009
It was an enjoyable service this morning, lots of good music and singing. Music always helps to put me into a worshipful mood!
I was checking out my camera card with GD Havela and found these two pictures that I had wanted to post! This darling little llama was born at Sister Sherry's earlier this summer, but this is the first time I had seen her. (By the way, the brown llama is NOT her mother, her mother is white with similar speckles to the baby, but this "auntie" was babysitting every time I tried to get a picture!)
Isn't she just the cutest thing?!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Everyone pretty much got into the act. Grandson Micah's cookies and his ark have multiple layers of frosting and sugars on them. His Mom said they almost look like batik.
Havela, on the other hand, does not have a sweet tooth and is not terribly interested in baking. Her ark has a strip of chocolate colored frosting on it -- the rest of the ark and her animals are plain ginger cookies!
Friday, December 4, 2009
The kids were game, but wanted to make the ginger animal cookies that go with the Noah's Ark set I had gotten from Martha Stewart many years ago. So that's what we did. The set has a recipe for ginger cookies that is really very good -- it should be: it calls for a tablespoon of ginger, a tablespoon of cinnamon, a half tablespoon of cloves, a cup of molasses AND a teaspoon full of black pepper!
We spent most of the morning making the dough, chilling it, rolling out the dough, cutting out the animals, chilling it again, and then baking the cookies. We were going to start the royal icing, but neither Dawn, nor the neighbor, nor Auntie Violet, not the little Whiskey Hill Store next door had any powdered sugar!
While the girls and I were making cookies, Forry took GS Micah birding. Micah needed to do a project for Scouts. They had a pretty successful afternoon with Micah spotting and identifying fourteen different birds -- including eight blue herons!
Since we didn't have the powdered sugar to do the frosting, we took a break (badly needed on my part!) until Dawn came home a little after three. After she got here -- all bubbly and happy about the wonderful evaluation she got from her nursing instructor! -- we took the girls and went over to the Goodwill store to look for some new jeans for GD Kyra. She has been growing so tall, so quickly, that everything she owns is definitely "high water" pants! She lucked out and not only found several pair of jeans that fit, but a couple of skirts as well.
We met the guys at the Thai restaurant in Canby and had a quick, but very delicious dinner before we headed for the new show house. Grandpa made major brownie points by taking Micah to see Planet 21 while the rest of us went to see New Moon (the 2nd time for Dawn and Havela and the THIRD time for Kyra!). Great movie -- I can't wait until the next one comes out in June!
(And we did remember to stop at the store and buy powdered sugar on the way home...)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I've been on a kick of reading Amish books. The nice thing -- or not so nice thing about Kindle -- is that when you read one book in a genre, they have lots of suggestions about other books in the same genre...
This afternoon, I did go over to Zion Mennonite and visited with the ladies who were quilting. I got caught up with my friend Margaret who has had six new great-grand babies since I had seen her last -- five of them boys!
It's always fun when the kids get home from school. GD Havela had her weekly practice session with the Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in Portland tonight, so she and her Dad headed in that direction. Forry was going to watch the "Civil War" football game (Oregon Ducks vs Oregon Beavers) tonight with GD Kyra and GS Micah (who were rooting for opposite teams), but it was blacked out on their TV.
The Gkids don't have school tomorrow, so they have lots of plans for us -- including taking me to see New Moon...!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
We had an early morning visit from GS Micah and GD Kyra while they waited for the traffic safety guard to allow them across the street to 91 School. GD Havela's bus had already left for the high school in Canby at 7 AM!
When Daughter Dawn got back from her short day of classes today, we decided to have tacos for dinner. With everyone pitching in, it didn't take long to get the meal on the table.
Tonight we listened to GD Havela practice her violin and GD Kyra practice her flute, then watched TV with the GKids while their folks were at a meeting. Like I said, a pretty lazy day!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
We were true RVers this morning -- slept in until quite late and enjoyed VERY much not having to pile on lots of blankets. It is quite warm here compared to eastern Washington and the sun was even shining this afternoon.
I have long been a fan of the Pioneer Woman's blog. The other day she had a recipe for Turkey Pot Pie that made me want to try it. So tonight after Daughter Dawn got home from clinical (nursing school), we went over to the store for a few things (she was out of flour) and then put two varieties (one with and one without celery) together. Dawn made the pie crusts (I think I had the best job!) while I made the fillings.
Tonight the kids and I spent some time in the hot tub -- NICE!