Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Day 6, Bar Harbor, Maine

We started the day with our "free" breakfast at the hotel, then drove to the harbor and managed to find a sailing ship leaving the dock at ten o'clock that had room for two more passengers. We climbed aboard with about two minutes to spare, and motored out of the harbor. When we cleared the buoys, the wind picked up and John helped unfurl the sails. He had to be reminded of why that big cross piece was called the "boom." He ducked in time, and never got hit, but it was a close call several times. I never had to duck. It went right over my head.

It was a beautiful morning, just cool enough to enjoy the sail without needing jackets. I brought along the cameras, and took some photos and videos of the harbor and some of the surrounding "cottages" and woods. Those cottages sure do look like estates and mansions to me. We were with some people from the Chesapeake Bay area, and had a great conversation about jellyfish, having shared the experience of neglecting to check to see if they were out there before swimming in Chesapeake Bay. None of us ever made that mistake twice.

There's something wonderful about being on a sailboat. There's the sound of the wind in the sails, and the sound of the water slapping against the hull. There were gulls overhead adding their raucous calls to the mix. There are fog horns and motors from other boats, and the conversations of other passengers, along with fishermen calling to each other from their boats about their day's catch; but it's the sounds of wind and water that make the biggest impression on me out there. We also saw porpoises, but they were very quiet.

We braved the wharf area, trying to find a parking place to get lunch. It was a mess of tourists (what do they all think they're doing here, anyway? Don't they know we don't want to deal with a bunch of people while we're on vacation?) We finally found a great spot away from the madding crowd and ate at a place called the Brown Bag. John had his predictable ham sandwich. I was a wee bit more adventurous with a chicken and apple sandwich that I think I'll start making at home. It was perfect on sourdough bread. Now that I wrote it down I won't have to trust my memory when I start wondering what it was I had that I enjoyed so thoroughly.

We capped off the night with a trip to the Lumberjack show. It was a good show, and lots of fun, but for me the best part was sitting next to a couple, Jeff and Dorine, probably a few years younger than us, also recent first time grandparents, from Prince Edward Island in Canada. (Yes, I got their license plate on my list when we went back out to the parking lot.) They were nice and funny people, and we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers. He's a fisherman - crab and lobster - and she's a secretary for her brother's international lobster export business. I think I'll have some sent out for Jeremy's visit. Let's see what he can make us with fresh lobster, eh? Something with cream, maybe? I'm certainly not counting calories while he's at my house, that's for sure!

Tomorrow's another big day in Maine, and since it took us so many years to get here, I don't want to waste any of it, so I'd better do what John did when we got back to the room and hit the sack. So, sweet dreams and wake up happy...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Day 5, York to Bar Harbor Maine

We decided to forsake the main highway and toll roads with their high speed limits for the exploratory Route 1, meandering up the Maine coast. The morning was too foggy to photograph the light house we stopped to see, but we could make out its outline through the mists, and watched some grizzled old guys don two wet suits apiece to go scuba diving. I imagined them checking lobster traps, but who knows?

We went back up to the boardwalk area along the beach and had breakfast with a rescue team and some locals, along with a foursome of tourists at picnic tables from a self-serve window in a little shed-like kitchen. The food was great. Breakfast included wraps, which looked and tasted a lot like breakfast burritos, and dough gods, which looked just like Indian Fry Bread. "A rose by any other name" and all that...

The woods in Maine make me think of a Robert Frost poem, specifically the one that goes,

"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep"

But it's not just the woods that amaze me. The meadows are ripe with wildflowers, ferns and moss. The sheer abundance of colors and greenery is a feast for the senses. Also, I notice so many contrasts. There's an ultra-modern building mere blocks from a very old church with an incredibly tall steeple, a cemetery tucked behind it with stones too old to be easily read. The architechtural styles are varied as well, from grand cathedrals, although on the small side, with flying buttresses, to miniature libraries and court houses done in federalist style; Cape Cod homes grace the lawns next door to the gingerbread of Princess Anne's. (OK, yes. I did take a 7 unit class on history and architecture. It was one of those classes where you learn things you really will want to know for a lifetime from a professor - thanks, Mr. Bettini - you wish you could keep in the back seat.)

John was fascinated by the strobe running through the diameter of the red lights on the stop lights It sure makes the red stand out. He thinks the slit that the strobe shines through might be as wide as an inch, but would really like to measure it. He doesn't think he could get a ladder up there, and was thinking it would be great to have a cherry picker to get up there. I thought maybe Ben's friend could drive over with his crane and just joist John up with his calipers. Now that would stop traffic!

Interesting things we saw that made us wonder:
  • There was a sign for Scarborough Downs. It proudly advertised "Live Harness Racing." (Now, I ask you. What's the alternative? The answer to that is rather gross.)
  • New Lobster Rolls. (Old Lobster Rolls?) (Used Lobster Rolls?)
  • Pedro O'Hara's Mexican Irish Cruisine. (What can I say?)
I finally found Washington D.C. and Delaware license plates today. They were at the L.L. Bean store. Figures. But I also found Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, two I'd never found before. One thing I've noticed is that no matter where you go, you always find license plates from California and Florida. I've figured out why, since I've been to both of those places, but I'm not going to say why I think they keep leaving their states. If you really know me, you know what my opinion is anyway. We can leave it there.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 4, Rochester, NY to York, Maine

Telling you not to laugh isn't going to help here. You're going to laugh, and eventually so are we.

I think it was 2nd grade that I found out we were going to move from Virginia to Illinois and then Idaho. I'd already lived in Michigan and Churchill, Manitoba. I made myself a promise then and there that I would see all 48 States "before I die." Of course, now there are 50, and before today I had seen 49 of them, with only Maine left to explore. So we were more than eager to get to Maine. In fact, we were so eager that we arrived a day early, and started looking for exit 7 for the hotel we were going to use for the extra night before we got out of New Hampshire. We spent an hour on Route 1, going up and down the coast of New Hampshire looking for the hotel. Finally I thought to call the hotel, and he told us to go back on the Highway 95 and continue on until we got to Maine, and then take that exit 7. Duh. It was a lot easier to find that way.

We passed through the Leatherstocking region East of Syracuse, New York earlier today, and it made me think of some of the first books I had read and loved as a pre-teen. It also made me think of one of the first contests I won as a young mom visiting Conejo Valley Days. We were passing the radio booth and the D-Jay offered a basketball for the first person to come by and answer the question, who wrote "The Deerslayer." I walked up the last ten feet and said said it was James Fenimore Cooper and handed Tighe the basketball. Boy was that kid happy.

We saw another herd of "Oreo" cows just west of Johnsville, NY, but there was nowhere to pull over to take a photo, so I'm using the one I liked from the internet.

One thing I wanted to mention was the importance of an itinerary. At one point today I hinted rather blatantly that we were approaching Cooperstown. You know, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Tighe's name IS in there as the American Legion pitcher for the year for 1992, when his team won the world series. I sure would love to get a photo of that! "Oh, look at that antenna!" he exclaimed as we sailed right on past the exit. Maybe next time I'll be smart enough to have it on the itinerary along with Niagra Falls, which we passed yesterday without seeing. John really respects the itinerary. Of course, we're still only a day ahead of schedule... and if I had fussed, he would have gone back. This way I know there will be other trips.

And finally, though not in the order it happened, we ate a late breakfast at a Cracker Barrel today, and while she was checking me out at the counter, I looked down and saw a box of pecan logs. I quickly related my Dad's Pennsylvania Turnpike strategy to the clerk. She laughed and said things haven't changed much, just gotten more technological. It seems that now the people with the EZ pass are clocked as they ride beneath the monitors with their transponders. If they pass through in less time than the speed limit allows, the owner of the transponder is mailed a speeding ticket. Now that's what I call progress.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day 3, Elkhard, Indiana to Rochester, NY

Today we realized that somewhere yesterday we missed a sign telling that us we had passed into the Eastern time zone. That sure saved us an hour today. (Please don't argue with my brand of logic. John already tried, and it didn't work for him either.)

We went through Ohio on the turnpike, and I had memories of my Dad driving the Pennsylvania turnpike. He liked to drive fast. At that time when you got your toll pass, it would be time stamped. When you came off the turnpike and payed your toll at the other end, if you had made it through in less time than it would take if you had followed the speed limit, you were also given a speeding ticket. My dad would stop at either Howard Johnson's or Stuckeys and we'd get an ice cream while Mom got a pecan log. We'd waste just enough time to make up for him speeding. John just drives the speed limit. It's probably less stressful John's way.

At one time we were passed by an OLD Hudson automobile. It looked like it was straight out of a roaring 20's gangster movie, but my guess is that it didn't have its original engine, since it blew past us like we were standing still. Of course, we were only going 65.

Today I wrested control of the stereo from John, and we listened to the soundtrack from The Muppet Movie; Eric Clapton Unplugged; Scot Joplin; Silver City Pink, and DirtFoot. At that point (I think the Louisiana Delta Blues was too much for that Texas country boy) he pulled into a gas station and asked me to run in and get him a drink. When I came out, Alabama was playing on XM again. I had a few more tunes I wanted to hear, but I guess I was pushing it with DirtFoot.

Best Billboard so far on this trip: (Found in Cleveland, Ohio)
"Photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue;
Headline "As a Student, He was No Einstein."
Caption 'Confidence: Pass it on!'

Best Road Sign: (Found in New York)
"Seat Belts Required Next Million Miles"

Today's license plate tallies: 34 States; 4 Canadian Provinces

And finally: enough silliness about the pioneers. Today John admitted that he'd wondered every time he's seen these deep dense Eastern forests — just how did the pioneers manage to forge their trails through all those trees? I told him they just stuck to the roads...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day Two, Omaha to Elkhart, Indiana

What a beautiful country we have, with a lifetime of sights. Driving through it is much nicer than flying over it. We entered Iowa shortly after 8 A.M., and ended in Indiana around 9 P.M. We were having a lot of fun and didn't really want to stop. It was still light, believe it or not. We're not too far from Notre Dame, but we're didn't stop.

Going through Iowa I kept thinking of that old song from the Music Man about "The Iowa Way to Treat You." (Yes, everything reminds me of a song.) If you don't happen to know the one I keep singing, my favorite lines telling of them being so stubborn....

"...We can stand touching noses
for a week at a time and never see eye to eye!

But what the heck, you're welcome! Join us at the picnic.

You can have your fill of all the food you bring yourself."

Probably tired of hearing me sing that song, John got out his GPS at the next rest stop and locked on to a satellite signal. Now he can tell where we are without me and my road maps. So much for my time at AAA, except for making a friend in there, which was worth all the time involved, as far as I'm concerned. But now John has another toy in the car. Ah, technology at work. It not only told him where we were (which the road signs were actually doing at the time) but also told him how fast we were going. Now I guess we no longer need a speedometer. There's a rocket scientist inside most every man.

Some interesting insights into my license plate game... You will rarely get any good ones before 9:30 A.M. or after 5:00 p.m. Also, you can almost always find good plates in a WalMart parking lot, but we've decided that running up and down the parking lot aisles just looking for license plates should be considered cheating. Today we found 32 states, 4 Canadian provinces, 1 Federal Government vehicle, 4 military vehicles, plus the strangest license plate we've ever seen. It said "Oneida Nation" on the top and "Turtle Clan" on the bottom. I checked the internet, and apparently this is a Wisconsin Indian tribe. Do they get their own plates now? I'm not sure how I feel about that. Conflicted, I guess.

Today we saw giant windmill blades being transported across Iowa on the longest flatbeds I've ever seen, riding in convoy. If I didn't have John along, I'd still be wondering what those gigantic wings were!

We crossed the Mississippi at 3:30, and talked again about John's wish to ride the length of the Mississippi River on the Delta Queen, an old refurbished steam paddle boat some day, like Mark Twain. John will take me along as trip coordinator or something. We do have fun together. At any rate, when we crossed the Mississippi, John and I looked at each other, and I said, it's bigger than the Platt. John raised one of those bushy eyebrows and said, "Yeah?" What else could I say, but, "What was wrong with those pioneers, anyway?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Road Trip, Day One, Colorado to Omaha

I'll admit I'm going to tease John again some day for always double checking everything before we leave on a trip, but he knows it really gives me a feeling of security. This time it gave us both more than that. I sat in the Tahoe and waited. And waited. Finally he arrived, looking rather smug. It seems he found a plugged drain by the air conditioning vent that had already backed up but hadn't yet reached the carpeting. It would have been a disaster to come home to find the basement under water.

As we drove off, a Mama deer and her twin fawns made a dash across the road, and we respectfully stopped to say goodbye for now. I suppose they'll have lost their spots by the time we return. Darn. Oh, well. There's always next year.

We took Route 76 through Eastern Colorado through rolling pasture lands, with cattle, dairy farms, and lakes just often enough to surprise a traveler. This route isn't as flat as further south, where I've heard you can sit on your back porch and watch your dog run away from home for three days.

I spotted Manitoba license plate at a gas sation in Nebraska earlier and stopped to talk with the gentleman while John filled up the car. He said, "You lived in Churchill, eh? That's up there, you betcha." He sounded like he was from Northern Michigan. I play the license plate game. Today we found the license plate for 31 states and 3 Canadian provices. Thats pretty good.

Despite a short and beautiful lightning show that was a real treat in the sky ahead of us, we gained about 40 degrees in temperature and 40 percent humidity as we traveled from Colorado to Omaha, Nebraska. We carted the important stuff into the room (like guitar, suitcase, computers and cooler) and I immediately took a cold shower. Neither of us was hungry enough to brave the heat to find a restaurant, so John ate his last half of a sub from lunch, and I had some cheese and crackers. Since there was juice in the cooler, too, I was happy. Also, we had some cappuccino in our Oxo travel mugs - (Thanks, Pat. Great tip!) Those things not only don't leak at all, they keep drinks really hot for about six hours. They're the greatest on the road.)

I had one strange thought on the trip today - well, maybe I had more than one, but I'll just relate one. While crossing the Platte, I flashed back to a book I read a long time back - can't remember the name - that detailed the tribulations of a group of pioneers. At one point they were mightily tested while trying to forge "the mighty Platte." I don't know. Maybe they couldn't find the bridge we used. John and I didn't have any trouble at all.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I love it when a plan comes together

It's not even 9:30 and the car is all loaded except for the cooler. That electric cooler was one of the best things we ever bought for our road trips. No more ice. No more spoiled food. And we (I use the term very loosely) can cart it into our room and plug it into the wall socket there, too. AC/DC... technology at work.

For those of you wondering - and there are at least three that I should have called and didn't, my neurology appointment went very well today. I don't have to have the brain exam again for six months. A score of 12 is passing, and I got 18-23 on all tests. The blood workup to make sure my dosage on the seizure meds are correct will be in within the week, and he took my cell phone number and will call if there's a critical change, but doesn't expect any, as there have been no further seizures and the migraines are all but gone. Great news indeed. So we'll go on our trip tomorrow with no known shadows hanging over our heads.

Just so we could see what we were leaving behind, we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm this afternoon, and it crashed and rolled while I packed. Rain slashed down, giving my yard a good soaking. I will miss those afternoon storms, especially since they usually only last about an hour or less, and they really sound so fierce, but we'll be seeing some really great stuff where we're going too, and this will be here waiting for us when we return.

More from the road.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I do the packing, but...

John always gets tense when I start to pack. He doesn't want to do it himself, but he always has a fit thinking it won't all fit in the car. He sees the lists; he sees the folded clothing; he starts acting like Billy Goat Gruff. "Clip Clop Clip Clop. Who's that piling more stuff on my" ....you get the idea.

So how many books do I need for a month on the road? Does the guitar absolutely have to come along? (Yes...) The snack bag will certainly fit in, but that yarn bag might be too big. Now I had to make things worse by telling him we'd actually need jackets and rubber soled shoes to go sailing on the tall ships in Bar Harbor. (In August?) and sheets and towels for the cabin in Wisconsin. I think he should be locked out while I pack. Once it's in the bags, it's obviously manageable, and he just has to play Sherpa, hauling things in and out, loading and unloading. He's very cheerful about that. It's just watching me do my part that drives him nuts.

Tomorrow that part will end, and on Thursday we'll be "on the road again," singing and laughing, listening to baseball games on XM, and audio books on the iPod, taking side trips and photos, making memories and leaving footprints. We're both good at that part.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Eating Leftovers

One of those 'send it to everyone you know' email jokes struck me as very funny the other day. It told of a husband who sat down to a meal of leftovers and started to dig right in. His wife reminded him to say grace first, to which he replied that he had blessed all that food the night before. John and I thought that was pretty funny, but we still say grace before eating our leftovers. We've had some really good leftovers, too, and this week we need to eat them or freeze them before we leave. It's hard to freeze salad and strawberries. Ribs are easy to freeze, though, but I doubt there will be much of them left.

While preparing to leave, I've been thinking ahead to our return, because just over a week after we get back, our middle son will be flying in with his girlfriend for eight days. I'm already wondering what to cook for Jeremy — and what to get him to cook for me — when he's here in September for his birthday week. It will be nice to have another lesson by a pro. Maybe he can teach me to cook a couple more of the things I love, like beignets and Beef Wellington. I'm excited about having them come.

He'll be the first of our sons to make it here. I know how busy all the kids are, not that they're really kids any longer, but I also know that when they find the time to come, they will. I also know they'll all love it here, whenever they arrive. They're too in tune with nature not to appreciate what we've found.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Don't Pack Too Early

It's a sorry thing when you do the laundry for a long road trip too early. The bags are ready to be packed, but what are you going to wear during those three days before you leave? There are a few pair of pajamas you'd planned to leave behind. Those are fine around the house, but the neurologist wouldn't be too impressed. That "Save a horse, ride a cowboy" t-shirt wouldn't be great there, either - it's about five years older than the song of the same name. In fact, the song pretty much ruined the shirt for me. There are other similar shirts that are being left behind. I guess I'll pick one of those.

It was a lot easier when my mom took care of that stuff for me. All I had to do was sit on the bags and keep my mouth shut - actually that wasn't an easy thing to do, but brother Ken and I did try on occasion. In fact, Dad memorialized one of our efforts as we waited for the military air transport to fly us out of Churchill, Manitoba, heading back to the States. Nobody asked me to do the laundry or pack anything. Just sit on the bags. It looks like Kenny is praying, doesn't it? Not likely. He's probably hatching a plot. Back then we all had fun trying to get each other in trouble. I'd better not go into any details on the others, but the one I get ribbed about the most was when I got in trouble for trying to flush Kenny down the toilet. He'd just learned to walk. I was a year older then he was. I'm sure he must have deserved it. I just can't remember. Maybe it was really Ellen who did it, and she just managed to blame it on me somehow...

But I digress. What else is new? I think I'll digress right to bed now.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Travel Plans

It took two hours at AAA to get our travel plans turned into maps and a Trip Tik. By the time I was done, while John napped in the car, I had two ladies who sounded like they wanted to ride in the back seat, and one who wants to bring her guitar to our house when we return. We exchanged phone numbers. I'm really looking forward to knowing her better. (Hi, Barb. I sure did have fun meeting you.) She seemed a little hesitant about possible differences in experience levels. I explained that I have two statements that are always true about my music playing. I play good enough to have fun, and I play good enough to impress anyone who doesn't play. Believe it or not, she also collects stupid songs, and by comparing titles, it seems we know several that the other has never heard. Now that's a bonus!

Yes, we probably could have trimmed a good half hour off the mapping experience if we hadn't had so much fun, but then it wouldn't have been so much fun. Does that sound like a good trade? Not to me.

The outline of our trip is - Colorado to Maine, the only state I've never visited; then to Cape Cod, Massachusettes, for a wedding. From there we'll go to New Haven, Connecticut to see our youngest son, his wife and our 7-month old granddaughter. We'll spend a week there, then head to Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to visit my side of the family - aunts, uncles, and a whole herd of cousins, and back to Wisconsin before heading home. The whole trip will last a month. I'll be touring some fancy outhouses my cousin Joe builds. That's one of the highlights. I've seen them before. The photos were murdered (it's a long, sad story.)

We'll leave Thursday the 26th at the crack of dawn, the best time to hit the road, and I'll be writing in my blog whenever I have internet access and energy to keep my eyes open on the same night. You can keep track of us that way, just in case you're afraid we'll show up on your doorstep.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Worth Sharing

Someone sent me a poem today. Since I'm too tired to be clever or philosophical, and the alarm still needs to be set for 4 a.m. so I can see my family off from our week's visit, I'll just pass it along with the hope that it will touch some of the same chords in others that it touched in me. I've always had a few stated life strategies. One is that if you want someone to learn something, tell it with humor. The other is that if you're going to point fingers while you teach, point them at yourself. This poem does both so well. Thanks to Betty for sharing this one.

All Life is Poetry

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
nor the lights or its decor.

It was the folks I saw in Heaven
who made me sputter and gasp--
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics and the trash!

There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
who never said anything nice.

There was one I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
sitting pretty on cloud nine,
and looking pretty well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?
I'd love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

"And why's everyone so quiet?
Could you please give me a clue?."
"Hush, child," He said, "They're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you."

Judge NOT.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

People pay for this

We were sitting around the campfire... okay, so it was in our back yard. We'd finished our ribs, etc., told stories, laughed a lot, put the guitar to use for awhile and then started roasting marshmallows for the s'mores. It occurred to me that people actually do pay for this. In fact, we often paid to camp at places that weren't nearly as pretty, and we couldn't go inside to sleep in nice beds at the end of the night. I suppose for the real "experience" I could ask my guests to park sleeping bags on the decks, but I'd rather not risk bodily injury. This part of the camping experience is enough now.

What a great night.
I might mention here that I use the term "back yard" very loosely. Our home is built backwards on the lot so that our windows make the best use of the view. This is nice for living in, but confusing for delivery people. Our front door is in the back yard. Our top deck, which looks over our front view, is over the walkout basement. Delivery people love to leave packages by the basement door where we don't find them for a couple of days. I really want to get a sign made. I'm still not sure quite what it should say. Nothing so banal as "Deliveries." Everything I've suggested so far as clever or funny has been voted off the island. We've only been here a year. I'm thinking as fast as I can!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's a long road to the Whole Foods Market

Figuring out a title for my blog is always the hardest part. The biggest part of my day today was enjoying my visitors, but I used "Visitors" for a title a couple of days ago. Using Visitors again seems a little redundant. Visitors revisited? That doesn't work for me. So how did I come up with my title? Betty drove us to the Whole Foods Market today. I nearly fell asleep on the way home, being well beyond sleep deprived, and she doesn't know the way back to our house. It's makes for an interesting trip when the pilot has to keep talking to keep the navigator awake.

Tomorrow's ribs are already slow cooking. We don't want anyone to have to actually chew. The only difficulty with our ribs is getting them on the plate without all the bones falling out. Jeremy taught me how to make them, and now it's one of our favorite special meals. John will do the final honors on his grill tomorrow night, along with corn on the cob. Just so you can spend tomorrow wishing you had decided to visit us too, we've got wood already stacked in our fire pit so we can have s'mores for dessert once it gets dark. I even have some sparklers to hand out. (Yes, they're legal here.)

We have a thunder storm coming in, and lightning is just starting to flash across the foothills on the other side of the lake. The radar says it should hit us in about an hour, but it looks a little closer than that. I love the way the storms look and feel. They kind of make me think of "the power and the glory." It sure gives a person a better reason to keep the windows clean than seeing the neighbor's fence ever could. At least for me it does. That goes for the deer and the pine trees as well. That's part of my mental chemistry, I guess. Or I guess I could just be nuts like my kids keep implying. That's always been a possibility.

Monday, July 16, 2007

It's so quiet

Even the best of days can be hectic. Today there was was an abundance of preparation for our family coming, the inevitable waiting and excitement, and then the fun of their arrival. A busy day followed with with lots of visiting, and a trip into Boulder to see Tina (my niece, their daughter, who is attending a conference there). Pat and Betty took us all out to dinner there, but since none of us know Boulder, which is an hour from our home, Tina asked the conference coordinator for a recommendation. We walked there from Tina's hotel. It was a medium sized Mediterranean restaurant that was simply exquisite. (Now I know where to have Jeremy's birthday dinner when he comes in September. After all, where do you take a chef for a really great meal?)

So at eleven at night the house gets silent as everyone beds down, and I sit and listen to the quiet for a few minutes. That's part of my routine up here in the hills. It's something I didn't realize I needed so badly until I found it up here. There's so much noise in suburbia that you almost stop hearing it, but the stress it causes is still there. Here, I can sit on the deck, and the very peace of the quiet night just fills me with something I've still not been able to name.

One thing I know, though. When I wake up in the morning, I'll sure be glad to see our guests troop up the stairs from our "visitor's suite."

Sunday, July 15, 2007


It's so great to have the space to have people over. I know we're not the only people who ever lived in a little house, but I was never a good housekeeper, so whatever space we had was always cluttered (now there's a euphemism). Taking so long to sell our house seemed like such a hardship at the time, but I did learn how to keep it pretty clean during the process. I also have some other benefits here. We actually have room to put stuff away, and enough room to have people spend the night. We also have places for people to actually sit down once they arrive. That's always a nice thing, I think. We have a table to eat at here. What a concept. Much better than TV trays and a bar, with HAM radios in the kitchen.

So we will have company this week - if you can call family company - and we're really looking forward to that. We've pretty much finished all the stuff that has to be done so that we can relax and enjoy them when they get here, and we've even discovered a new place to take them for a quick drive and a short hike around a beautiful diamond of a lake - maybe 20 minutes from here. It's smaller than our lake, and really different, at a higher elevation and a completely different setting with different types of trees. Maybe we'll do some geocaching if we have time. For an explanation of that, go to http://www.geocaching.com/

Morning seems to come early, and the clock is just singing eleven at me, so I'll sing the tune (to myself) from The Sound of Music and say Goodnight, Goodnight, Goodnight.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Life in the foothills

Full service realtor took on a whole new meaning today when the gentleman who sold our home to us rented out the theatre for his friends and clients to join together for the showing of the new Harry Potter film. He even provided popcorn and soda for everyone. Few things are as rousing as a really great production of a classic battle of good versus evil. This was such a movie.

John and I have had a running conversation about whether the Potter films or the Lord of the Rings films were better. He comes down on the Potter side, with me on the Hobbit side, although I've loved them all. This was probably the best Potter film to date. I love coming out of a film with a good quote - even if I don't remember it exactly. It went kind of like, "The world isn't split into just good people and evil people. We all have some of each. What matters is which part of yourself you decide to act upon." That's just how the world is. I love the way they proved the axiom. Also, I appreciated it when Harry says that their advantage over evil is that they have something worth fighting for. (Harry, Harry - never end a sentence with a preposition!)

Tonight we saw the biggest, fattest rainbow I think I've ever seen, and then drove up into the foothills beyond our home, on the other side of the lake. Having been to 49 of the 50 states, it still amazes me that after living here for a year, with all the beautiful places I've seen in our great country and a couple of others, I'm still overwhelmed at the beauty that surrounds us here. I've never seen anywhere I'd rather live, been anyplace I've felt more comfortable, nor been as content in my life. We are blessed.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another big day in the Rockies

Here I am, working off-line since our VoIP and wireless modem lines went down right after John went to bed. I think there's a gremlin in the wireless modem that waits for him to go to bed and then blinks out.

We did our major grocery shopping today, and two old sayings came to mind: "Thou shalt not covet" and "What goes around comes around." Let's take them in reverse order. If you know me, you've seen my strange shirt collection. I'm often stopped by people wanting to read or make comments on my shirts. John is usually patient with the process. Usually. Sometimes he just wanders off, and then it can get interesting trying to find him. Today the tables were definitely turned as he wore his Father's Day gift shirt from Ben and Ruth. It's adorned with the colorful hand and foot prints of our granddaughter Ashley, and people were constantly stopping him to make comments. (OK, I coveted. Oops.) I just figured I'd end up with it, because he NEVER wears a shirt that doesn't have a pocket. Never but never.) Oh, well. Now I'll probably never get him out of this one. He was sure smiling big.

After we got home, our mail came with a wonderful surprise of new photos of Ashley for us, though, so I'm pretty happy myself. I have a wonderful rogue's gallery growing on the wall in the den, so I'll just get a couple more little frames...

John got up for water and I made him reboot the system, so I got this pasted in quickly. Tomorrow's another big day. They're all big days. I'm really glad I noticed that.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A good day

Isn't it amazing how you feel at the end of a good day? My sister put it well when she claimed that I live under a gray cloud with a lucky star overhead. I failed a mammogram test, had ultrasound today and found there's no problem. I got a lot done around the house, and congratulated myself on not having been worried about what might conceivably been a problem. We sat outside periodically, enjoying the view and thinking about some family who will be coming for most of next week, and how grateful I am that they can take the time to come. We've also been planning our month long road trip that will follow shortly after that. We have so much to be thankful for, and days like today seem to underline that very nicely.

"Isn't life beautiful?
Isn't life gay?
Well, isn't life the perfect thing
To pass the time away?"
~ From the song of the same name by the Smothers Brothers

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On Line... Sort Of

I'm getting ready to send out an email telling people to come visit my first brave attempt at putting up a web site. I have a long way to go, but as far as I know, I don't really have a deadline. We'll be having some visitors here next week, and then we'll be preparing for a four week road trip back East.

John's venture as a DOD consultant won't begin until sometime after we return from our trip. I'm glad about that. I'll never forget when we were dating and he didn't return from one of his trips until two nights before we were to get married. I was a wreck. That was probably the first time I thought I might want to bash him over the head. It seems he didn't tell anyone he was getting married. As he said then, "It wasn't any of their business." OK.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Benjamin for all his help and advice in getting me to believe I could actually do the blog and web site. He also let me know which parts I could do free, and what I actually had no choice but to pay for. That's invaluable all by itself. Thanks, Kid. It's also important to send thanks to Sherrie and John - Sherrie for answering a multitude of questions about her own site, and being available into the wee hours of the morning; and her husband John for never saying (at least loud enough for me to hear) "Is it her again?"

Still Learing

Computers may be the ultimate in the love/hate relationship, but I still wouldn't want to live without them. I've been trying to set up our web site, organize a blog for the first time, and have been learning just how much I didn't know... like the fact that blog is short for web log. OK. That's good.

I've got a domain name. I've got a "coming soon" place holder on the site. I've got web mail. I'm designing the site. Now I've got the blog setup, and even a link to my home page that will work soon. Once I get the publish button pushed, I'll email some friends and relatives to preview the site and see if they can access it from their computers. I'd like to be able to blog while we're on our trip. That would be good.