Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pitter Patter

That's the sound of rain falling on my aluminum awning. It's a peaceful sound and I'm sure that I'll be sleeping well tonight. :)

Christmas was wonderful here. I went with Jack to church, first to our own, St. John on the Desert, where we were part of the play. It went swimmingly, though there were a few forgotten lines and missed cues. It was ok, though. People got the point!

Next we went to the Desert Skies Methodist Church, where Mary goes. She didn't go with us because it was too late, but we enjoyed the bell choir and all of the wonderful music, as well as seeing the people we know there.

Christmas morning, Jack came to my house and we opened presents together. Both of us got neat things! He got me pyjamas with feet, which are perfect for Tucson's cool winter nights.

Then we set about preparing for our feast, each at our own houses. I had some things to do to ready the house, since we had it here -- getting the leaf into the table, arranging furniture a bit, .. that kind of thing.

The food went in on time, we had the appetizer table all set up and all was ready when our guests arrived. Pam, Mike, Valerie, and Bruce came, and we all enjoyed a festive time.

The last few days have been full, as well, with after-holiday errands to run, as well as just some fun post-Christmas shopping. I found some cool trivets which will go on the wall at my new cottage. That's my main find. Mostly we just look around. I'm in the market for a new TV for my new cottage. I'm going to get one that's big enough to view from across the room without my glasses -- probably a 37-40".

That rain's starting to put me to sleep, so.. off I go!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Preparations Underway

Today I got wonderful cards with photos from Joel & Becca and also from Katherine and Dan! I loved Katherine's photo of a sizable herd of deer outside their window in the snow in Bloomington. I sort of miss snow. Well.. not really! :)

Preparations are underway for our Christmas dinner. Today we went shopping at Fry's and a couple of other stores. We were successful in all of our missions except that I was unable to find candied cherries. I could make them, but have decided that, for this recipe, maraschinos will work fine.

Then I set about getting some things going. I have finished the Rosemary Cheese Straws and the olive spread. Tomorrow I'll be a very busy girl, getting the house ready and fixing the desserts. Then the program at church, in which Jack and I each have roles. I'm thinking that I won't have time to blog tomorrow, so that's why I'm breaking my rule of not posting about future happenings. ;)

The air was a bit chilly today. In fact, now at 10:30 pm, it's down to 50 already. Brrr! Yeah, I know, those of you in the chilly northland are not going to sympathize with 50!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy

Today we had a bit of rain here in Tucson! The sky was roiling and gray for most of the day, and then, late this afternoon, it sprinkled a bit.

Jack and I took Mary on a few errands today, going first to Safeway, then to Sunflower Market, and finally to the mall. The mall was pretty crazy, with everyone in town off doing their shopping, it seemed, but we still had a good time. We even dined at the food court.

When we got back to Mary's place, there had been a delivery of a beautiful Christmas floral arrangement from Ken and Judy. It looks lovely on her table and she just glowed when she saw it and read the card.

And then, when we came back here, I had a package from Robert and Molly! This is the most fun time of the year. I love getting packages! :) Jack and I came back to my cottage and we watched Hitchcock's The Birds. That movie's scary everytime I see it!

And how about that song that the schoolchildren are singing, as the birds gather on the jungle gym? Michael and I used to try to figure out what they were saying. Well, thanks to Google, here we are -- the lyrics to that nonsensical song:

The butter came out a grizzle-y-grey. Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, Now, now, now!

The cheese took legs and ran away! Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, hey donny dostle-tee, knickety-knackety, retro-quo-quality, willoby-wallaby, Now, now, now!

She let the critter get away. Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, hey donny dostle-tee, knickety-knackety, retro-quo-quality, willoby-wallaby, Now, now, now!


I asked my wife to wash the floor. Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, Now, now, now!

She gave me my hat and she showed me the door! Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, hey donny dostle-tee, knickety-knackety, retro-quo-quality, Now, now, now!


I married my wife in the month of June. Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, Now, now, now!


I brought her off by the light of the moon. Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, hey donny dostle-tee, knickety-knackety, retro-quo-quality, willoby-wallaby, Now, now, now!


She combed her hair but once a year. Ristle-tee, rostle-tee, hey donny dostle-tee, knickety-knackety, retro-quo-quality, willoby-wallaby, Now, now, now!


Whew! That mystery's solved! I do hope that Michael's reading my blog. If he is, he's laughing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Non-Hiking Day for Janee

I know that even the happiest people have "down" days, and so far, at least, this is one of them. I somehow have hurt my foot. The joint where my big toe hooks onto my foot hurts as if I were standing on a thumbtack. So today I opted out of hiking, and this is supposed to be a really great hike -- one I've not been on -- to Hutch's Pool in the Catalina Mountains. I'm resting my foot today, keeping it elevated, which seems to help. I may stick it into the hot tub later.

Otherwise things are great. I've amassed a small pile of gifts under my little tree and they make me smile. The Village is all ablaze with beautiful (and some really tacky LOL) Christmas lights. In fact, the TOWN is lit up more than I remember seeing. I have my lights on a timer so that they go on and off without my having to be actually there to turn them on or off.

I'd forgotten how much I really love Christmastime! In the years that I was with Michael, 26 of them, we didn't do much for Christmas, since it wasn't exactly our holiday as a family. But now I'm grooving on the whole thing. I found an interesting article about Christmas traditions and how the early Christians hijacked the Pagan holiday of Solstice and the Roman tradition of Saturnalia. After you read the article, take the quiz!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bleak Midwinter

This was one of those evenings when I could have easily snacked a bunch. We had had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes before returning to church for play/choir practice, which went till 7:45. Since I don't eat after 7:30, I didn't get dinner. But my reflux is doing much better. I'd hoped that I'd be seeing smaller numbers on the scale by now, with this significant lifestyle change, but...not happening yet. 

Our FHTV Choir concert was this morning and that went well. We did Caroling, Caroling; In the Bleak Midwinter, Christmastime is Here, and Dona Nobis Pacem. I almost laughed at the title "In the Bleak Midwinter," because it SO does not fit our weather here this year! Sunny and 70 can hardly be called "bleak," after all!  

Thursday, December 16, 2010

If you're following my blog...

... I hope that you'll also click on Ann's Adventures, over to the right under My Friends Blogs. Ann's a friend of mine who's usually in Tucson in the winter. She's living with cancer for now, going through chemo treatments and all that brings. Her spirit is just FUN through all of this, though, and I know that she'll inspire you as she does me. Have a look.

Today I had FHTV choir rehearsal, and that was even more fun than usual. I really am enjoying the songs that we're doing and having Julie as our leader adds to the fun.

I had a few errands to run, so got that done. Then it was back home to change clothes to go out again! I'm not sure why I'm so concerned with having a nice cottage here in Tucson, since I'm so rarely IN it!

This evening, Jack and I went to dinner at Little Anthony's (we need to go there more often!) and then to the Gaslight Theater for their Christmas program. It was really good and all at our table had fun! We sat with Donna and Edna.

And today we got RAIN! It's been raining steadily now since about 4:30. This is the first rain that Jack and I have seen since... Acadia, I think! It sort of felt good to be out in it a bit. It's a little chilly today, too (55 now, in the evening) but it's going to warm up again and be nicer tomorrow. That's enough winter for me! ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Working on my new lot

Today I did some work on my new lot, clearing stuff out of one of the sheds and bagging up 10 bags of stuff for the garbage. I also set aside a pile of stuff to take to Goodwill, too -- things that were in the sheds. I took the stuff to the garbage and hefted it into the hopper.

It seems sad that these things which Preston and Florence had been using, living with, probably once loved, probably remembered getting... is now just relegated to garbage.

I'm learning that, if there is too much stuff stored in these sheds, they become just a repository for things that will never be used or even seen again. It's like putting stuff into an attic or into the garage. If you're not putting it where you can easily get to it, you'll never use it again. You may as well give it away now.

Jack came over this afternoon and fixed chicken on my rotisserie. I made mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes -- some of my favorite stuff! What a fine dinner it made!

We finished just in time for him to hurry home and change clothes while I changed my clothes here, and then we hustled off together to the Tanque Verde Valley Singers Holiday Concert. It was hosted by our church, where most of the choir's members also go. Fine concert and we had a good time!

We returned here and went to the dance, but we just barely made an appearance when we decided to go. We were both tired after a big day!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Let's Sing

I've been singing! Choir practice at church is on Wednesday nights and practice for the Far Horizons choir is on Thursday mornings. Fun! I love to sing and it's going well.

The new Dance Dance Revolution is working well, with no problems. I really like the new version, with its fine new songs and the "Courses" and "Workouts" are great. I'm back to doing my Fitness Coach as well, and feel like I'm getting my muscles back to where they were. I am feeling like I'm losing some weight, but it's not showing on the scale yet or in my jeans, so it's just a mental thing at this point. LOL! Maybe I'm just feeling a bit deprived, since I'm not eating all the junk in the evenings anymore. My no-food-after-7:30 rule is working well.

Today a group of us went market prowling, beginning at the 17th Street Market downtown, and then going to Roma Imports an G&L Imports. These are all interesting places, with lots of really bizarre things available to buy. I got some herbal tea (I'm going to try to like tea, because I think that I should!) and a couple of other things.

The new cottage is ordered! I'm excited about this now and am ready to see it all come to fruition. When the dollars were figured up, I compromised on a few things, deciding, for example, that I'd hire the tiling installed locally, saving $1600, that I'd get a tile backsplash instead of Corian, saving $800, and that I'd get the standard cabinets instead of the upgrades, saving myself $3150. I ended up saving altogether enough to pay the sales tax!

I'm also ready to start getting THIS cottage ready to sell. I'm thinking that I should bite the bullet and put in new flooring. This carpet is gross. It could probably be cleaned, but it's too light in color for this town and will not hold up well for a new owner. The linoleum in the kitchen is really in need of new. There are holes in it where I took out the desk that i'd put in, more holes where the island used to be nailed down, and there are big black rings where my computer used to stand.

I think that, if I were to put in some good quality laminate flooring, perhaps a tile look-alike as I'd been considering for myself, I'd be out a couple of thousand bucks, but would likely sell the place faster. I really don't want someone looking at this one and thinking, "Well, we would have to put in a new floor..." and that's what they would be thinking if they looked at this. That and a new stain on the deck and clearing my junk out and running a dustcloth over everything, and it's ready to sell.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sunny Sunday

Last night I baked brownies for the church potluck today. Church was good. We sat at tables for 7-8 and had Communion for each table. And the choir (including me!) sang. The brownies, which I baked with raspberry jam and almonds, were good, but I should have used two mixes instead of just one. Actually, I should have made them from scratch instead of using a mix at all, but... I have not done that since I sold the bakery.

After church, I took Jack home and I went home, we changed clothes, and then I picked him up again so that we could do errands. I had to return my DDR, bc the disk seemed to be bad. I was getting Wii error messages, which is not a good thing. Best Buy was quite amenable to satisfying me and the return was easy.

When we got back to the park, Jack wanted help with putting up more Christmas lights, and so we got that done. His little cottage looks so festive all lit up. I have lights, too, adorning my steel agaves on my little concrete patio out front.

I'm thinking about having my own bedroom put into my loft in my new cottage. I'll see how it feels when the cottage comes, but it makes sense to have my mattress put up there. Then I can use the "bedroom" for my Wii, my keyboard, and put in a Murphy bed or a futon for short-term guests. I'm not planning to have anyone stay for a LONG time. I can always rent another cottage for long-term guests. Or I could move Jack into my cottage for that time and have guests stay in his place. :) That is, if I have guests.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Busy Wednesday

This is a yellow rose from Austin, Texas.

Today was insanely busy, but in a good way. I slept in a little later than I had wanted, spent a bit less time on the Wii than I wanted, and got no breakfast.

Then I drove down to get Jack and then to his Mom's, where we took her toy poodle Jill to get groomed. While the doggy was at the groomers, we ran a few errands with Mary, did a bit of fun shopping, and then took her to the Chinese buffet, which we all loved.

Jill did great at the groomer's much to Mary's delight. The last groomer had cut the dog and then blamed her (the dog) for it. This didn't go over well with Mary. So now she has a new groomer, and Jill seemed delighted with the whole thing.

We got back to Far Horizons in time to meet with George about the cottage. I have still not ordered it, but we did discuss some options, and so I'm closer. I have decided on a floorplan, anyway. With 400 sq feet to work within, there are not just a million choices, but the one that I've picked seems to be workable and I think will be a fun place to spend my winters. It has a loft which, while you can't stand up in it, can be used for a little TV room or an extra bedroom for my peeps back east to stay in when y'all visit!

I think that I'll go with stainless steel for the appliances, though I'm still tossing around the idea of using white or black... I just think that stainless looks so good. I'm going to have Corian, but I have not chosen the color. And I'm getting Craftsman style cabinets in ... either cherry or light maple. Tile floors, except for carpet in the bedroom. And I'll probably make it a dark-colored tile. Lightness is really not a problem down here, with all the sun we get!

I think that I'm going to have the shower plumbed, but nothing installed, and then Jack and I will put in a shower that's properly done... and tiled. There is a place where I can put in a flat-screen TV, and I'll do that, but not likely a huge one, since the room is just 12' long. ;)

I am not going to have window coverings installed in the living room, because I want to put in shades of my own choosing, probably ones just like I have in this cottage, the bottom-up, top-down kind.

I want to ask about having a French door put in, instead of the sliding door. I have to decide on exterior colors. And we still have to talk about lighting. I realize that this is nothing like all the decisions that face people who build real houses from scratch, but there are still many details to ponder. Exciting!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Swallowing the Toad

Well, ok, so this is a frog, but it's close enough.
Today I decided to get done first with my least pleasant task -- business-related calls. I had to call about two retirement accounts and getting them rolled over where they belong. And I had to call my financial people to make sure that I was getting them sent to the right place.

I had to call about the AT&T acquisition of my Verizon account, something that still has me bugged, and I was not able to get good resolution on that.

And I had to call the IRS to reassure them that I am not a deadbeat, that I DID send them the check, and to ask them how to proceed. And then I called my financial place again, called my bill-paying arm of my financial place, and finally I will be getting a copy of the check to send to the IRS... whew! I do wonder if other people hate this sort of interaction as much as I do. How I would HATE having a job that meant talking to people all day about financial stuff!

Then Jack and I went to explore the cottage that I'd bought, which is going to be sold out of the park, and we went through it to see if there were anything left inside that I want to keep before it goes away. I put a few items into the shed and now, as far as I'm concerned, it's ready to go! Next I have to figure out just what sort of park-model I'm going to put in there and get it ordered.

Jack had made lentil soup and we had that for lunch. Delicious! Dinner was pizza. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beautiful Saturday

Here are some water lilies which were growing alongside the River Walk in San Antonio.

Another fine day in Tucson! I got up and worked out on the Wii, showered, and had breakfast. My new rule of "no eating after 7:30 pm" is working very well. I never thought I'd be rejoicing over 143 again, but... that's 3 lbs less than it was when I got my new scale just a couple of weeks ago! I have to think that the exercise is helping too.

Jack and I met up at the clubhouse, where they were having games for prizes and we each came out of it with some gift certificates. And then we had errands of various sorts. Jack had to get stuff to fix a leak in his shower. I had to get a pad to put under my DDR to keep it from sliding on this carpet. I needed Tide. Stuff like that.

Dinner was Jan's Beef Stroganoff, which she'd given to Jack. (He, being a single gentleman, gets all the sympathy food from the ladies in the park, and then he has me over to share it!) Delicious with a salad! and we had some of my mincemeat pie for dessert.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

A beautiful rose for you!

Black Friday could also be called "Doing Our Part for the Economy Day!" And that's what we did. Jack's been wanting a Wii of his very own, so we went out and found that, along with the Wii Fit Plus bundle to go with it. Now he has no excuse not to get fit along with me! Best Buy had the Wii system, and Target had the Wii Fit Plus, each at $30 off, but Target was out, so we ended up getting both purchases at Best Buy. We also got him "Wii Play" which looked fun.

That was pretty early when we went out. In fact, we were back home by 10 I think. After we got his system all set up and tried out, we determined that one of the remotes was not working, so back into the car we went and off to exchange it. We tried out the Wii Fit and it's working great. Wii Play is very fun, too.

I had lunch on my deck, sitting in the warm sun, and it felt great. And there is a little cat which seems to have taken up residence under the cover that I use over my firepit. He was watching me eat, and then decided that he should help me eat. I kept pushing him off, but he kept coming up and trying to eat off my tray. I don't know where he belongs, but I have no intentions of having another cat. Eddie would have a fit. He really dislikes other cats.

This evening, Jack and I walked over to Sunflower Market to lay in some supplies for dinner. Jack made what I'd call "glop" -- a dish that my mother used to make -- consisting of hamburger, various vegetables, and tomato sauce all mixed with macaroni. This happens to be one of my favorite foods, and Jack did it justice! I'd intended to bring my mincemeat pie over for dessert, but I forgot it.

At 7, we saw Toy Story 3 in the Fiesta Room. Cute movie, and it made perfect sense, even though I'd not seen TS 1 or 2. So a very fun day!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


A couple of examples of Nature's Bounty for you today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the USA. This was a good day! I worked out on the Wii and then went to the grocery to lay in supplies to make my pie. I had bought one jar of mincemeat, but needed two. So the quest began. I found the first jar at Walmart, but today it was all put away, to make room for the Friday specials. Safeway on Tanque Verde came through for me again!

Jack helped me with the pie, peeling the apples and reconstituting the mincemeat, and that was a great help. I just had to do the crust.

And we were off! Gary drove us over to Nancy's new condo, which she was happy to tour us around. Pretty place with 2 bedrooms and a little private courtyard, nice living room/dining room and a great kitchen! Nancy's family (Harold & Kathy, and Steve) were there, along with Jan and Gary, Vicki and Earl, and Jack and me.

Dinner was served. Vicki had made delicious and moist turkey with yummy stuffing, and there were yams and carrots (my fave), and green bean casserole, salads, mashed potatoes and gravy, and good friends, good laughs, and just a very nice time. Oh, and the pies! Vicki had made pumpkin and I'd made my mincemeat, and both were scrumptious! The best part was being with such a great group of people.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Whirlwind

This is a sample staircase from the Texas Statehouse in Austin, TX.

I've been a busy girl for the past few days, and I've gotten a lot done. One thing that I accomplished was that I signed a deal to move to a different cottage in this park. While I have really enjoyed this one, there are things that I don't like, like the lot that it's on, and I've been coveting a larger, more private lot. So I'll be moving to a new cottage, probably in mid-January. I'm excited!

The moving-back-in stage is coming to a close, as we've just about gotten all of that stuff done. Today I did 10 loads of laundry, including all the bedding, blankets, towels, and sheets from the RV... PLUS all our clothes. This will be the last of Jack's laundry that I'll be doing, at least for now.

We took the clean stuff over to the RV, which is now in storage, and we winterized her. This involves pumping potable antifreeze into the lines, using the water pump. It's a pretty simple procedure, costs just $4 for the pink stuff, and it'll buy me peace of mind as the temperatures drop below freezing at night here over the next couple of months.

Tonight we went over to Broadway Proper and enjoyed a nice dinner with Mary, Jack's Mom. The dinner was delicious, and we like her new apartment!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In my Winter Digs

We drove on into Tucson yesterday, arriving at 11:30 am. Arriving early in the day like this allowed us time to get our work done while still keeping some sanity. We began by stopping at Jack's cottage, plugging it in, turning on the water, turning on the refrigerator and hot water heater, and then off-loading his things into his cottage.

Next, we drove the RV to my cottage, plugged it in, turned on the water, turned on the fridge and hot water heater, and then off-loaded my things.

The tanks of the RV emptied themselves into the sewer of one of the empty sites as we watched. Then we cleaned out the tanks and moved the rig into the "triangle," a place in the park where we can store it till Monday, when we'll store it for real.

Then came the real job of putting everything away, so Jack went to his house and I went to mine, and away the things went!

I'm happy to be here, in a way, because it's lovely here, I enjoy my cottage and my friends, the church here, and the action of the city. I'm looking forward to doing some more of the things that I have enjoyed in the past, and am hoping to do some new things this year. I am a little sad to be here, too, because I miss my house and my friends in Michigan, and also because I am sorry to have Jack's and my journey be over, for the time being.

We had such a great time, seeing and doing so many things. Our mileage total for the RV was 5062. We averaged just over 15 mpg in the RV towing the car. I have not tallied the miles for the Fit, but we did fill that little gas tank a few times!

Today was good -- a big day for our church, St. John on the Desert. There was a pancake breakfast to begin the morning. Then we had the service. After church was a luncheon accompanied with a presentation on exercising our minds using puzzles (fun!). THEN, we pitched in to decorate the sanctuary for Christmas.

Jack and I had some errands to run, so we got that done. Finally, I got back here and hooked up my computer! :)

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a photo from the front of a building in Austin, Texas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photos from Texas




Here are some of the photos I took at the Texas State Capitol, in Austin, Texas on Monday. The first one is the inside of the rotunda dome. The last one is the Texas State Seal on the floor of the Capitol building.

We drove today to Willcox, Arizona -- a short drive, but one that leaves us an even shorter drive tomorrow. I like to arrive "home" early in the day, since there is so much to do on arrival day.

When we arrived here in Willcox, we unhooked the car and drove her into town. We went for a walk, covering many of Willcox's streets, exploring the historic downtown, and scoping restaurants! We had an early dinner at the Big Tex BBQ, which is situated in an old train car! Good food and a nice time. Tonight we're chillin' in the RV, messing with photos in Photoshop, and not paying much attention to the TV, which is playing comedy shows.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We're in Las Cruces, NM!


This is a door from Fort Pulaski, near Savannah, GA.
There is a saying that, for me, seems particularly apt:
     The sun is riz.
     The sun is set.
     And here I is...
     In Texas yet.
But today, after being in Texas for almost a week, we crossed over into New Mexico! The drive was long (for us) but easy. I drove about 3 hours, and Jack drove about 2. Over the past few days, we've seen the bayou land turn into Texas high-desert with its mesquite, creosote bushes, and yucca.

On Tuesday, we drove to Comfort, TX, near Fredricksburg. Right after we checked in, we drove to Fredericksburg and spent the next 4 hours visiting the World War II Pacific Museum. It was fantastic! Very well-laid-out, and much to read and learn, and some cool artifacts to peruse.

We returned to Comfort, and had a most enjoyable evening there. After a good brisk walk, we drove into town to see what it was like. By the time we got there, it was quite dark, but, even in the dark, we could tell that something was going on! People were everywhere, and parking spaces were at a premium. Hmm... We parked!

Ladies at a table along the street offered us free Mimosas. Other ladies offered us cookies. I like this! What it was, was Ladies Night Out -- a chance for Comfort's ladies to go out for snacks, shopping, and dinner. Jack was one of just a few estrogen-challenged people, but we tolerated him quite well.

Wednesday morning, we drove on to Fort Stockton, TX, where we met Val and Chas at the little cafe which is part of the campground. Nice people, and we quite enjoyed talking with them. They invited us back to their RV, and we shared a glass of wine.

The campground tonight is La Hacienda RV Resort, which is not quite as great as it used to be. This year, they informed us that they've discontinued the fabulous breakfast that they used to offer free. They've also stopped giving out USA Today newspapers. In their defense, they did cut the price $5, but that doesn't cover the amenities they've cut. We'll likely shop around next time we come through here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

San Antonio

We are in San Antonio, Texas tonight. We were walking down the road, on our way to the art museum, when I didn't see a curb and fell down hard. I sort of rolled right into the road, too, and landed on my right hand. Nothing broken, except the skin on the heel of my right hand, but I'd be very surprised if I didn't have some bruising tomorrow. Boy.. did I feel like an oaf or what? ;)


The art museum was really a good one -- huge! There were some interesting exhibits -- Egyptian art, Pre-Columbian artifacts, contemporary American art, and a fine display of Mexican artwork from different eras and genres.

After the museum, we walked back down via the River Walk. We were extra-careful, knowing that, if one of us were to trip on something, we'd be in the drink!

We then began our search for something to eat. The RiverWalk is teeming with cute sidewalk cafes and bistros, and we scoured several menus before deciding to eat at the Texas Cafe. I got the breaded catfish filet, which was wonderful! Jack had enchiladas and he ate every bite!

We walked to the River Center Mall for a little look-around. It was here where we found our I ♥ San Antonio pin! Tired and noticing that the bus would be at the stop in just 15 minutes, we headed in that direction. Easy ride, and now we're back here relaxing.




Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Rosebud

Today we drove down to New Iberia on Avery Island, Louisiana, to visit the McIlhenny Tabasco Plant. Although the road through Lafayette was horribly rough, we made it. The factory tour was different from the one that Michael and I had taken many years ago. It was actually far better. We got to learn more about the process of making the sauce and we were behind a protective glass panel, which kept us from the really strong fumes from the crushed powder. 

We got to see the bottles being filled, labeled, and boxed, and we were allowed to take photos. After the tour, we went to the Tabasco Country Store, which I didn't remember at all, if it had even been there. We got to shop and taste all the different sauces and concoctions made from the Tabasco sauce. This included, not just sauces, but salsa, chocolate, ice cream, soda, chili, and more! We even had lunch at the little Tabasco Kitchen parked outside. I had Chili Fritos, which was their delicious chili atop Fritos, served in a bowl. Jack had sausage on a stick with Tabasco on it!

I bought a dishtowel and a pin, and Jack got some Bloody Mary Mix and sauce. And we took our little free sample bottles and drove on.

Tonight we're in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park. We're learning gradually that Yogi Bear parks are NOT all good. This one, for example, is not. We had to do laundry, and the laundromat is stocked with very, very old machines that are rusty and not in good repair. The room was dirty and the machines, for not working well, were $1.50 each run. Besides that, the bath house is about 1/2 mile away from all the campsites. Tomorrow will be better. I know.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Roses for you!

Today we are in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We arrived yesterday, after a short drive, hit the Bass Pro Shops (within walking distance, but we drove our car), loved our lunch there, and had a little shop around.

This was museum day. We began the day visiting the Louisiana State Capitol. This building is unique in its HEIGHT! Thirty-four stories tall, this Capitol stands alone among capitols we've visited. The decoration on the outside is capitoline, with many, many beautiful limestone carvings and statues around and on the building.

Inside? We didn't get to see much, unfortunately. Because there was a demonstration (protesting cuts to higher education funding), we didn't get to go upstairs. But we enjoyed the rotunda and the exhibit on Huey Long, Louisiana's controversial governor from 1928 - 1932. We even saw a hole made by a bullet in the gunfire which shot both Long and the man who (allegedly) assassinated him.

We next headed down the road to the Arsenal. This 4-foot-thick-walled building is where the powder kegs were kept for protection of this area of the southeast. It was constructed in 1838.

Another museum was on our must-do list. The Louisiana State Museum, right up the road from the Statehouse, is a fabulous, contemporary building. And it's packed with so many fascinating exhibits about life in Louisiana - past and present. From the role of slavery to Mardi Gras traditions, Zydeco music to Indian Mounds, it's all here. Oh, and did I mention that it was free admission? Amazing.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Jackson, Mississippi

The palm trees are from near Savannah, Georgia. Jackson photos will come later.

We arrived in Jackson on Saturday. Sunday morning we went to church at Fondren Presbyterian, which we really enjoyed. While they didn't have a coffee hour -- the best way to really meet people, they did have friendly people in abundance.

We shot a few pictures of the church, and then changed clothes in the car. Off we were to lunch, which was a feast at Golden Corral. Next we drove into town, and visited the Mississippi Museum of Art. We enjoyed the exhibit of Oraien Catledge's photos of Cabbagetown, near downtown Atlanta. There was a fine collection of Mississippi artists' visions of the Mississippi River, and a great collection of nice watercolors.

The Old Statehouse Museum was open for visitors, so there we were! The Old Statehouse went out of use from 1837 till 1903, when the NEW Statehouse was completed. The building itself was beautiful, and we liked the historical exhibitions about the state and about the renovation of the old capitol building.

We've discovered in our travels that weekends are actually three days long, sometimes 4. Many places we like to visit are actually closed on Mondays. This commonly includes museums. But the Capitol in Jackson was open for business today - Monday! We shot photos outside and in, and looked into all the rooms. What a beautiful capitol building you Mississippi people have! Marble floors, beautiful tiles, wonderful Beaux-Arts architectural detailing, a tall and lovely rotunda, and stained glass windows make this a sight to see.

Lunch was interesting. We had not discovered any eateries in our preliminary wanderings, and we'd forgotten to ask anyone inside the Capitol. So we enlisted help from the GPS and found that Capitol Avenue had several restaurants with interesting names. So we left our car safely parked and walked the few blocks south to Capitol Avenue.

A local saw us appearing lost and directed us to one of his favorite eateries -- the Elite Restaurant. Upon advice from the server, we ordered the chicken fried veal cutlet which came with a salad and fries. Jack also ordered the gumbo. Wow! This was soooo good!

It was still just 2:30, and the weather was beautiful (71 and sunny) by the time we returned to the car, so we decided to find something else to do. Back to the GPS, we looked up Points of Interest > Attractions... and found the Zoo! The rest of our afternoon passed pleasantly as we looked at, read about, and photographed the many animals there! Another great day!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

With Fronds Like This

Here's a palm frond I shot on Cockspur Island, near Fort Pulaski, in Georgia.

We had a really good time with Ken (Jack's brother) and Judy for the past few days. Yesterday was just a lazy day, which we both needed. We ended it with a trip to The Shack, a fun restaurant at the foot of their mountain. I had the catfish, and Jack had ribs. We'll have our leftovers for supper tonight!

And tonight finds us at Byram, Mississippi, just south of Jackson. The drive was easy and we stopped just twice -- once for fuel, and another time for a short rest. We had crackers and salami for lunch as we rolled!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Trees on Cockspur Island



Here are some Cockspur Island trees! The first one I shot through one of Fort Pulaski's windows.

Today we drove to Decatur, Alabama, about 3:20, and are tonight at Point Mallard Campground. We drove up the "mountain" to Ken and Judy's, enjoyed a good dinner with them, and then visited their church. It was good to see them, and we'll see them again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Pics from Fort Pulaski

Here are a few photos from our visit to Fort Pulaski yesterday (Monday).  This is the Cockspur Island Lighthouse. We took a 1.5 mile trail out to get this shot:


Here are some photos of the fort itself. Those holes in the brickwork on the outside of the fort are from cannonballs from the North, which ultimately breached the wall, bringing forth the surrender of the fort.



And here's Jack:

Today we got going at the crack of 9:40, unhooked the utilities and hooked up the car, and set out for parts west. After about 6 hours of driving, we made it as far as Waco, Georgia, where we are camped at a Yogi Bear's RV Park.

We went to the WalMart* and got a few supplies, then returned to the RV where we cooked dinner. Tonight we shared a most delicious artichoke and chicken tortellini with artichoke and spinach pesto with plenty of shredded Parmesan.

It's getting a little bit chilly here, with a brisk breeze blowing. But we're cozy inside and getting ready for sleep. Good day!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Fort Pulaski

Today we did some laundry. Then we headed up the road a bit to Fort Pulaski. It's a beautiful fort and was important in the Civil War. Until the Battle of Fort Pulaski, the US defense was limited to brick forts like this one, but, after the beating that this fort took, thanks to the rifling cannons of the North, no more brick forts were built after this.

It was a perfectly lovely day! We really enjoyed the Ranger talk, our walking tour of the fort, the short movie, and the hike we took out to the lighthouse overlook. Photos will come!

This is a clump of sea oats that is growing near the Savannah River, very near our campsite:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Day on Tybee Island





These are my sunset photos from the river right behind our campground here on Tybee Island, near Savannah, GA. Do you like these? Which do you like best? Why? Give me your ideas in a comment to this blog. Click "Comment" at the bottom. I moderate my comments (to keep spam out), so you won't see your comment right away.

We had another good day today in Savannah. We began the day with a church service at the Wilmington Island Presbyterian Church. They were nice people, and we particularly enjoyed the children's service.

Next we went home and changed clothes. Then we drove into town and parked at a public garage. It was easy to get in and out of, and, for the 4 hours we were there, it was 8 bucks.

We went to the Telfair Academy Museum, and the Jepson Center. Both had good galleries of art and they were close to each other. At the Telfair Academy, there were several rooms which were set up like the rooms of the house that the building used to be. The rest of the house, including the magnificent Ballroom, were filled with statuary and other artwork.

By this time, of course, we were starved. Tapas by Anna was where we landed and we enjoyed a most delicious Cajun-spiced chicken pizza. We hit a candy store, which featured all sorts of things, including caramel corn and pralines. We got Jack some popcorn and me some caramel corn (with pecans!) and we muched on these as we made our way down Savannah's sidewalks to our parking garage.

We returned to our RV Park, where we sat and talked a bit with Beth and Ken, a couple we had met at church. They suggested the North Beach Grill right up the road, here on Tybee Island. We found the food to be delicious! Jack had a flounder with sauteed vegetables on top, and he loved it. I had a great piece of salmon, perfectly cooked, with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. We understand that this restaurant is under new ownership and we agree that these folks have a good thing going.

Now we're back here in our RV, goming out and watching some tube. Ahhh :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Savannah, Georgia




Today, we bought a tour on the Old Town Trolley Tour in Savannah, Georgia. And what a nice tour it was! Our tour director for the first part was a man named Jack, and he told us much about the town. We had a get-on-get-off tour, which was a good thing. We got off at stop 13 -- the City Market. We had pizza slices at VinnieVanGoGo's, pictured just above. This was a delicious slice, with a nice crispy crust and plenty of tasty toppings.

After a bit of shop prowling, we stopped for ice cream at Leopold's, also pictured above. I randomly chose the Tutti Frutti ice cream, and, as luck would have it, this is THE store for which the song "Tutti Frutti" was written by Johnny Mercer, a Savannah favorite son. And it was great! Jack enjoyed his Rum Raisin, too.

We shot a few more photos, and then found the Owen Thomas house, which we toured. It was a neat tour, and gave us some insight into how the people lived in the early 1800's. We caught our bus back to our car and then went off in search of.. dinner!

We decided to explore Tybee Island a little, but were dismayed to discover that we couldn't find anyplace to park free to eat at a restaurant that looked good. (We have a problem with having to pay to park, in order to pay to eat!) So we ended up at a sort of dirty diner, where we dined on burgers, fries, and salads. Not bad. Hey.. we can't have ALL good food, can we? ;)

We returned to our RV, and then ran right back out to capture the sunset over the river. Look for those photos in this space in days to come!

Friday, October 29, 2010

We're in Savannah!

We drove southward today, landing, after about 5 hours, on Tybee Island, south of Savannah. This seems like a beautiful part of the world, though we arrived too late to see much. Along our way, we stopped just three times: the South Carolina Welcome Station, Cracker Barrel, and BP. The drive was pretty easy, though we did come through some quite narrow streets on our way out here to this island.

I was sure that, with all this eating, I had put on a few pounds, and, having bought that new scale yesterday in Raleigh, I was able to confirm my fears this morning. 145.4 is where I am now. I'm still wearing my size 8's, but they are a bit tight. So I'm ready to see if I can bring that number down again. Gadz.. I'd really like to keep it down, too, this time.

This photo, by the way, is from Mystic Seaport. This is another one of the ship called Australia, which is being restored.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jack's Birthday

We had a good day today today in Raleigh, NC! We began with some shopping. I wanted to get a scale for the RV, so that the weight watching can continue while we travel. Makes sense to me! I found a nice one and ... you'll see the results over to the right. It's not going to be a pretty number for a few weeks!

Then we went to Best Buy so that I could upgrade my Garmin. To just get maps for my very old one would be $70, so I decided to spring for the extra $200 and get a new one. This is the 1450T which includes lifetime maps and free lifetime traffic updates. It also has junction view and lane assist. Sweetness! We started using it right away and I really like it!

We went next to the Statehouse to get some photos. The building is not in use anymore as an actual legislative building, but it's still standing, at least, and they're using it for a museum. The interesting thing was the placards on the walls, depicting and describing some of the important legal doings that have happened here. Most of it concerned the role of slavery and the secession decision for North Carolina.

We both found it interesting that, as a state, it seems that North Carolina is somewhat apologetic about their role in the secession, like they didn't *really* want to do it. At the time of the Civil War's beginning, fully 1/3 of the residents of NC were slaves. Zow.

We got a few groceries, took them back here, and then went off to get some dinner. Tonight we did Texas Steakhouse. We got the appetizer plate, Jack got a Caesar salad, and I had the chili. It was very good, but we had to beg for more water. Jack was happy with his birthday dinner, and with the free ice cream that they brought afterwards!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Near Raleigh, NC

This photo is from Mystic Seaport, in Mystic, Connecticut. I love taking photos of rage and ruin!

Last evening, Jack made us a wonderful dessert! It's Betty Crocker's Reeses Dessert Bars from an easily-done no-bake (microwave) mix. And how delicious they are! You do have to cut far smaller pieces than you want, though, in order to get just the 150 calories per serving. ;)

This afternoon finds us relaxing in the RV after a relatively easy driving day. We got a late start and drove just 3 hours, punctuated by lunch at a very accessible Cracker Barrel and a fuel stop at the ideal place: a Pilot which had clearly labeled an island just for diesel RV's. Easy!

The weather has warmed considerably getting up to 89° today. So we went from jackets and heaters to shorts and A/C in just a couple of days!

This is a pleasant KOA campground located south of Raleigh about 40 minutes in a community called Smithfield. It has everything we need, and soon we'll head off in search of some food.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Near Norfolk

This is a photo from the Wadsworth Athenean.


Today was another splendid day. We got started at the crack of 10:30 and drove down through Delaware, Maryland, and a little bit of Virginia before reaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. What a cool feat of engineering this was! We enjoyed the pretty drive, and went to the little island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay for lunch. I had delicious chicken salad in a hollowed out tomato with clam chowder. Jack had the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.


Then we found the Chesapeake Campground at Chesapeake, VA. While it's a nice enough campground, it has gotten sort of run-down, and is now largely used by working folks who live in their RV's full-time. But it  is the least expensive campground we've visited this trip, at $25/night.


Jack and I decided to take a little drive this evening around the Norfolk, VA area, so we unhooked the car, and off we went! We set the GPS before we left, so we'd find the campground again. Around and around we went, exploring all the nooks and crannies and finding some .. uh... interesting areas! Then, as the sun was setting, and we were set to go back, we asked the GPS to return us to the campground.


We followed its directions with no problems, till it said, "Drive 147 miles."
"What?" we both asked it in unison. What had happened is that the GPS didn't quite know yet where we WERE when we told it that this was the campground. So it still thought that we were at our LAST campground and it was directing us THERE!
Jack remembered that we'd stopped at an auto supply store just up the street from the campground to get a new headlight for the RV (finally!), I found the receipt with the address, and we put that in. Whew! So now we're tucked back into our cozy little home away from home!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

I had a great birthday today! :) We are in Lincoln, Delaware, where we've enjoyed a couple of days. We're close to Dover, so, yes, we DID get up to photograph the Statehouse! We also made it to Slaughter Beach and to Rehoboth Beach, where we took photos.


Food was the focus of the day. Breakfast was bacon and scrambled eggs, which Jack made. Lunch? Buffalo Wild Wings appetizer sampler, which we got in Dover.


Dinner was extra-special. We drove down to Rehoboth where we parked, walked around a bit, and then found the Rehoboth Ale House. They feature 140 beers and ales, many of which are on tap. We each had a glass and asked the barkeep for a dinner recommendation.


He sent us on to the Salt Air Restaurant. Click Food to see their menu. We started with a basket of their homemade crackers with special cheese spread and a glass of wine. Then we got the quail appetizer (with figs!) and it was delicious! Then Jack got the Ahi tuna and I had the scallops. Oh, my! We finished the meal with my brownie sundae topped with pumpkin creme fraiche, caramel, and malt chips.. and Jack's fruit crisp with apples and pears. This was a very special meal to end a very special day!


And here's my gift to you -- some photos! These were taken in Hartford and the swan was in Rhode Island:




Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lincoln, Delaware

What a great time we had with Aunt Dots! But today was our morning to leave. We left at the crack of 10:30 this morning, after loading up our rolls of hose and our electric cord, hooking up the car, and waving so long to Auntie Dots.

We went on 287 for most of the way, taking the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River. The trees were gorgeous in all their "peak" splendor, traffic was moderate and sane, and the miles flew by. We had lunch at Subway along the way, got fuel twice, paid lots of tolls.. hey, it was a good driving day.

We are at the Cedar Creek Landing Campground at Lincoln, Delaware, tonight. We arrived just after sundown, so, in the dark, it was hard to see the place, but we got things hooked up and leveled ok.

Here's a photo of some post-drizzle leaves on the Hartford Statehouse lawn:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hartford, CT

Yesterday, Jack and I drove up to Hartford. It was an easy drive -- less than an hour from Madison. Once we were there, we were greeted with gray cool skies, and .. the Statehouse! I shot these photos there. Notice the statues in the first one particularly:












The weather cleared up while we were inside, so that's why the last photo here has a better sky. What a beautiful monument to the people of Connecticut! We loved the statuary, the gold, the paintings... the whole place is magnificent!

After we took photos inside, we walked to the Wadsworth Atheneum, a great art museum. Here, we enjoyed paintings, sculpture, and furniture created by the greats. I loved the whole museum but I think that my favorite part was the special exhibit of the Moderns.

The Old Statehouse was next on our list. It's just what you think -- the building where the state used to perform its legislative functions before the "new" statehouse was built. The old one is now a museum with displays and exhibits showing Connecticut's history. We liked it!

Today we relaxed a bit. We'd decided that it was time to retire Auntie Dots' TV, so that we did! Replacing it is now a fine new LG TV from WalMart*. We ate at neat places all day: Hidden Kitchen for breakfast, Whitfield's for lunch, and the pizza place up north on 79 for dinner. We have been very well-fed!