Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I'm heading to bed very soon, without waiting up for the New Year. We were up very early this morning for our flight back to San Diego and I am beyond tired. We stood in line to check in for over an hour, the line snaking way down the hall before breaking into the actual lines to the counters. Then it was another long wait to get through security. By the time we got to our gate, we had about 10 minutes for a bathroom break before they started the boarding calls, and we were to the airport more than two hours ahead of our flight. Busy place today.

I had several events happen to me today that had me thinking I was going to be ending the year on a sour note. First of all, my computer decided to take a trip down the escalator on it's own, thumpity thump thump thump. Secondly, my new watch, one of those bracelet styles that clip around your wrist, went missing. And thirdly, I bit into a piece of cheese, yes, just plain old cheddar cheese, and a crown on my tooth popped off. The good news is: my computer is fine, no damage at all that we can find. Yay! And my watch, a $7 special from the flea market in Yuma, showed up in the side pocket of my computer bag. Weird, uh? And lastly, I just put my crown back in the opening it came out of, and it's been fine, even eating steak for dinner! Hope your year ended as lucky as mine did.

Well, the ball just dropped in New York, so I guess I can head off to bed now as the New Year has come to the USA. I'm not waiting the three more hours for San Diego's celebration.

May your New Year be filled with peace, joy, health, love, and faith.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I LOVE SNOW!

Weird me, I know. Taking pictures of the beautiful new snow through the screen from the second floor of my motel. But I love snow! It must be because it reminds me of my childhood spent in Northeastern Iowa, back in the days when we had real winters. Snowdrifts were over my head most every winter. Okay, so I was a kid then and much shorter than my current 5'8", but you have to admit that we haven't had snow like that in many, many years. And in my current parking spot in San Diego, they don't have a lot of snow either, so I was thrilled when yesterday and last night, God sent snow, just for me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

AND A COUPLE MORE

This grandson, Caleb, managed to dodge the camera most of the evening, but I did get this one of the handsome redhead. Although he isn't as red anymore, and he's a wrestler this year so I probably shouldn't call him handsome anymore. Maybe Bruiser or Crusher or something like that would be more appropriate.
This guy, Jacob, didn't dodge the camera. He and Kjirsten spent the evening posing whenever they saw someone with a camera. They both have star quality, don't you think?
Our youngest son and family were planning to join us today, but their youngest daughter was sick. So, Madison and Jaden, get well soon and we'll have another party! I haven't been able to connect with Chuck's family, nor Gail and her husband yet, but I left messages. We have to plan those get togethers, too. And another granddaughter lives in town, so we definitely want to see her too. Then next weekend we'll head to our oldest son's place up by Minneapolis. Then we'll be close to the airport when we fly out on Monday morning. It just didn't work out for a gathering of the whole family at one time this year. Tomorrow night we are getting together with my siblings, 3 sisters and a brother, and spouses, and our mom. We're going to a nice restaurant for dinner, so no one has to sweat over making another holiday meal.

MORE CHRISTMAS PICTURES

These pictures were taken at our daughter Kari's home last night. This first one is Adam as he is opening up a gift certificate, concealed in a big box, to be used at the music store for an amplifier. What were his parents thinking?
This is our beautiful Katie and her husband-to-be, Clayton. They are getting married in May, so next year at Christmas time we will have to address a card to Mr and Mrs!
This cute couple is grandson, Aaron, and his sweetie, Anna. Both nice good looking kids, don't you think?
And this is Kjirsten, modeling her new boxers on top of her jeans. She's looking fully recovered from her recent surgery.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE

We arrived in Minneapolis right on schedule, were able to pick up our rental car at HHH rather than having to go over to Lindberg, and within a couple of hours we were home. After checking into our motel, we went over to Kari's and spent the next few hours in the noise, laughter and love that is Christmas Eve gift opening. Oh, what fun! I am refreshed after having a partial grandkid fix. We saw Kari and Mike's six kids, plus Jacob and Caleb who were spending some time there, plus Katie's Clayton and Aaron's Anna were there. My mom and sister had also been invited, so it was a pretty good sized gathering.
Quote of the evening: Ben said "Oh, grandma, I'm so happy I'm shaking!" when he opened his KINEX building set that his parents gave him.
Sweet Anna loving on her new horse.
Three big kids, Kjirsten, Jacob and Katie are playing Anna's Candyland game. Only they put a different spin on it by playing with game pieces that were perfectly accessorized with
Polly Pocket clothing and purses!

Monday, December 24, 2007

SAN DIEGO AIRPORT

I love people watching, and the airport is a perfect place to do so. I am sitting on the floor, in the hallway, across from gate 38 at the San Deigo airport. We leave in about an hour, an so far the flight is one time. We were a little worried, wondering where this flight originated, because of all the snow and wind in the midwest. The news this morning showed that the winds were much calmer today than yesterday, so hopefully we'll have a good, smooth, calm, peaceful, steady, non-turbulent flight, and will arrive on time in MSP and not have to circle the airport while they plow the runways. Have I mentioned that I don't like flying? Well, I don't.

A little girl just skipped down the hallway, hair in a spikey bouncy tail on top of her head like Pebbles on the Flintstones. She was maybe two, dressed in white pants with a velvet pink shirt that had sparklies on it to match the pink sparkly ribbon in her hair. Her brother was probably a year older, and was dressed in tan pants and an athletic shirt, both looking brand new. The mom was a skinny little thing, probably no more than 110 pounds, and dressed fashionably in tight jeans and spike heels. I'm guessing they were going to grandma's house, wherever that may be. And I'm guessing that grandma is anxiously waiting for their arrival.

The walls along the hallway are lined with people on computers, people with DVD players, and people recharging any number of types of electronic equipment. Some people are just stretched out on the hard tile floor, oblivious to the crowds passing by them as they are plugged into their iPods or MP3 players. I see a soldier carrying his Army green duffel bag and a hanging garment bag. I wonder if that hanging bag contains his dress uniform. And I wonder if he's bringing it along so he can wear it to Christmas Day services at his home church, sitting in a familiar pew, between his proud parents who are beaming from ear to ear.

I see a large family group standing right in front of me. There are three generations gathered there, chatting and laughing and seemingly trying to decide where they should go to wait for their flight. I wonder if it's a dream trip. I wonder if they're taking a Christmas trip to create memories for the kids of traveling with grandma and grandpa. I wonder if everyone is in good health and if this is their last trip together, or if this is a yearly tradition.

Here comes a dad, pushing a stroller loaded with winter jackets, and kids backpacks, while the kids are walking along next to him. Now I wonder, where is mom? Is she in the restroom? Or are she and the dad no longer living together. Does he "have" the kids just for the holidays? If so, what is mom going to do with out the kids? Or is mom out of the picture and is he a full time dad?

So many people. So many questions. And such a sore butt from sitting on the hard, cold, tile floor. I am signing off with a Happy Christmas Eve to you all, and I'll update later this evening from our motel room.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I DON'T GET IT

I stress, I worry, I stew, I fret. What should I pack, how many shirts should I bring? Maybe I should throw in a couple extra, just in case. Will I need more than this? Do I have enough of that? I started my packing yesterday for our trip to Minnesota tomorrow. I added to the piles as I thought of things. This morning I went through things and decided on one more shirt, but took out one sweater. This afternoon I actually packed things in my bag, and I have all the toiletries I'll use in the morning laid out, and ready to put in a plastic bag after I've showered and dressed. My jacket is even folded on top of my bag, and my computer bag and my purse are also ready and standing in line, waiting for me to grab them in the morning as we leave for the airport. It's 4:30 now, and I should be able to relax for most of the evening, unless I think of something else I need, or something I might need, or just something I could maybe in a month of Sundays need.

I just asked Ernie if he was packed. He said he'd do it in the morning. Dick and Bev are taking us to the airport at 7:30. I guess he won't have time to stress, worry, stew or fret about what he's taking along. He'll just throw things in his bag and go with it. And I'll have to worry about what he doesn't have or what he should have taken along, or what I wish he'd picked out. What I really wish is that I could be more like he is, but I'm not. I'm a worry wart.

FOUR GENERATIONS

This is the last picture this morning, I promise.

The four generations are: me on my great grandmother's lap, behind her my grandpa, and next to him, my beautiful Mother (in the purple outfit, shown here at my nephew's wedding in November).

MORE HISTORICAL PICTURES FROM MY MUSEUM ENVELOPE

Okay, I really need to get my packing done, but I love old pictures! Here are a couple more.....and then I'm off to the shower and then finish my packing. In 24 hours we are already on the plane (HOPEFULLY!) and on our way to Minnesota.

Quite the pose for a two year old. I sure am cute though!
Me and my daddy.......taken at the college where he later was the dean of the seminary and where he taught for many years, and the college where I later worked for 18 years. This was my first visit there. Who knew what the future held in store for me as I later went to high school and college there, met my husband there, and we both worked there!
The house I grew up in, out in the country, down in northeastern Iowa. I loved that house! On the right side you can faintly see one of the churches where my dad was pastor for over eleven years.

SIDETRACKED: FROM PACKING TO CANNED GOODS

I am easily sidetracked. This morning I was trying to find something I needed to pack and was looking in one of my bedroom drawers, and I found the envelope of old pictures that I've been looking for. And who can resist old pictures? Certainly not me. I looked through all of them, and decided I needed to scan them to my computer. So I got out the book on the printer/copier/scanner and read the directions. I followed them but nothing happened. I went to the printer web site and found that the scanner portion of the three in one machine is not compatible with Vista. Big surprise, uh? Anyhow, I downloaded what I needed to make it compatible and installed the scanner. It works, but not well. The pictures were so dark and I couldn't quite get the hang of fixing them. If all else fails, take a picture of the picture and dump it into a new picture folder called appropriately "Old pictures." So for your enjoyment this morning, here is a picture of my great grandmother and her siblings.
Back row left to right: Mina, Anna, Belva
Front row : Hulda, Martha my great grandmother, Olius, Emma, Olina

It's kind of a Sesame Street moment ~ one of these names is not like the others ~

Don't you love those names? I remember going to visit Grandma Martha in her small home in Wisconsin. There was a small parlor and dining room and kitchen. The kitchen floor had a trap door in it, and if you opened it you could go down the steps to the cellar where all the goodies were kept. Do you know the song "Canned Goods?" Every time I hear this song (words and music by Greg Brown) I think of my great grandmother and her cellar below the trap door in the kitchen.

CANNED GOODS by Greg Brown

Let the wild winter wind bellow and blow, cuz I'm as warm as a July to-ma-to.

Chorus: There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin, supper's ready everybody come on in. Taste a little of the summer, taste a little of the summer, taste a little of the summer, Grandma put it all in jars.

Well there's a root cellar fruit cellar down below, watch your head now, down you go.
Chorus:
So you say you're weary and you don't give a damn, I bet you never tasted her blackberry jam.
Chorus:
Oh she's got magic in her, you know what I mean, she puts the sun and rain in with her green beans.
Chorus:
Well with the snow and the economy and everything, I think I'll just stay down here and eat until spring.
Chorus:
When I go down to see grandma, I gain a lot of weight, with her dear hands she feeds me plate after plate. She cans the pickles sweet and dill, and the song of the whippoorwill, and the morning dew, and the evening moon, and I really got to go and see her soon, cuz the canned goods that I buy in the store ain't got the summer in 'em any more, and you betcha grandma, as sure as you're born, I'll take some more potatoes in a thunder storm.

There's peaches on the shelf, potatoes in the bin, supper's ready everybody come on in. Taste a little of the summer, taste a little of the summer, taste a little of the summer, Grandma put it all in jars.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

EXCUUUUUUUUSE ME!

I am sitting up at the laundry room, a cement block room with a cement floor, that sits under a bunch of trees, making it shady all day long. But when it's a cool day, and no sun is reaching the cement, it remains as cold as if it were a giant cooler. And this coming from one who is usually too warm. Anyway, as my four machines approached the almost done mark, I got up from the computer and reading my email, and went to the four dryers, putting a dryer sheet in each one and lining up my quarters on the little ledge so I could start each one right as I threw the clothes in. The first machine stopped and I carried those clothes across the room, loaded them into the dryer, and plugged in the quarters to start the dryer. As I was unloading the second washer, a gentleman, and I use that term loosely, came in and started to put his clothes, already washed I'm assuming, into one of my dryers! I said, "ah, I have that one ready to go for this load" or some such thing, and he barked "YOU NEED ALL FOUR DRYERS?" I quietly said I had used four washers, so I would be needing four dryers. He had the unmitigated gall to put his hands on his hips and stare at me! I backed down. Took my dryer sheet out of HIS dryer and gathered my quarters, mumbling that I supposed I could try to combine my loads. He said not a word to thanks, shoved his quarters into the dryer, and stormed out of the building under my watchful glare. He just came back in as I was starting to write this and said that he was finished and I could now have HIS dryer. I said "no thank you" and continued writing. He left with his few clothes, probably not dry because it's only been about 12 minutes, and went to his RV. I got up to check my loads, and apparently he had opened the wrong dryer when he went to get his things, and the dryer my load was in was stopped! Half dried! And he didn't restart it!

I hope he has a wonderful Christmas. And I hope his clothes weren't dry when he took them out and folded them, and that they will smell moldy when he wears them.

TRAFFIC: WHY I'LL NEVER LIVE HERE

I have almost recovered from our trip up to Oceanside, north of here, yesterday. The nail biting, temper flaring, blood pressure rising, nerve shattering trip has been over for almost 18 hours now, and I have just about returned to normal. There is no way (sorry Maren) that I could live out here. The weather is delightful, the scenery is also, but the traffic is more than enough to keep me away. Add to this the cost of living and the horrendous amount of people already living here, and I am a dedicated small town mid-westerner. I want to survive and keep my sanity.

And with my sanity intact, I'll be healthier, too. My breakfast this morning, lucerne's green tea and peach yogurt, has only 15 grams of the dreaded high fructose corn syrup as opposed to the 42 grams from yesterday's breakfast.

Which brings me to the songs going through my head this morning: I'll be Home for Christmas and There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays.

Oh , there's no place like home for the holidays,
For no matter how far away you roam,
If you want to be happy in a million ways,
For the holidays you can't beat home sweet home.

My sentiments exactly.



Friday, December 21, 2007

THREE MORE SLEEPS

Only three more sleeps until we will be on our way from San Diego to Minneapolis. I am getting excited. I know Ernie is spending a lot of money to give me my grandkid fix, but I guess he feels it's worth it to keep me from bawling every hour of every day, blubbering that I miss my grandkids. So, Minnesota, here we come! I can't wait.

I still haven't posted pictures of our Wednesday trip to the San Diego Zoo. I've been occupied (see last paragraph about the bawling) and just haven't had the energy or desire to post them. I have a couple of cute ones though, so I will do so, soon.

The guys decided that today we are driving up north of San Diego, to check out our next camp spot at Camp Pendleton. We will move there on January 5, after we return from Minnesota. And, yes Jacob, it's close to Hollywood, and the Hollywood sign on the hill. And if we get close enough to take a picture, yes Jacob, I will take one for you. (See you Christmas Eve, I hear!)

I am in love. For breakfast I often have yogurt, the plain kind, but I haven't found a brand out here that I like. So the other day I bought some of the little containers of flavored yogurt. WOW! The lucerne brand of LOW fat (read HIGH sugar) in the pomegranate raspberry flavor is to die for! With the 42 grams of sugar in the little 8 ounce container, I guess I won't be eating that very often. It doesn't seem right that yogurt, which is really good for you, can be made so unhealthy with the addition of high fructose corn syrup, the ingredient that is making America obese.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

HOUSE PRICES

The home prices in San Diego have been dropping steadily for the last four years. The news just out this morning is that the prices have reached a new low. The median cost of a home in San Diego is now $440,000. How do people afford to live here? I guess the beautiful coastline and the lovely weather, combined with no heat bills, make it all worth while, but that seems like a lot of money to me!

Monday, December 17, 2007

SCRIPPS OCEANOGRAPHY INSTITUTE

There are so many beautiful sights at this aquarium that it is hard to pick what to share with you. I really liked the different starfish, especially the bright orange one.

And this guy reminds me of one of those gold sunbursts that were popular wall decorations in the 1960's.
I also really like the jellies......this one especially.
And this special little guy, Shane, along with his dad Kevin, accompanied us today. Then we came back to our RV, and just hung out for the afternoon. My niece, Maren, came by after she got off work, and we had an easy dinner of brats and store bought potato salad. Dick and Bev came carrying an apple pie and ice cream to round out the meal.
We sure miss our grandkids after being with Shane for the day. It's so good to have little ones around. Thanks for coming to visit, Shane!

IT WAS A QUIET WEEKEND IN SAN DIEGO

Yes, it was a quiet weekend in San Diego. On Friday we used our second day ticket at Sea World, and we enjoyed the Shamu show even more the second time. The weather was lovely, and we have now seen all the sights there are to see at this attraction. And it was a lot of fun.On Saturday we just vegged out in the morning, did the laundry in the afternoon, and then headed to the base for a few groceries and for military discount tickets for a couple more things we want to do while we're here. We got tickets for Scripps Oceanography Institute for today, and to the world famous San Diego Zoo for tomorrow. Saturday night the guys took us out to a restaurant for dinner. I guess it was supposed to be my birthday dinner....my birthday was over a week ago....and we had a delicious steak dinner.

Yesterday was another quiet day. We headed to one of the big box stores to pick up a few items, and as usual, I almost had a meltdown. The pushy, shovey, obnoxious and rude people are just too much for me to handle. And there is so much stuff in the stores! Who needs it? So after purchasing the Q-Tips, TP, moisturizer, and a couple of other things, we went back home. And it was good to get back to the RV before the football game was over. We are only about a mile from Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers. There was a home game yesterday, and thousands of cars filled the parking lot to overflowing. We missed the traffic, thank goodness.

Today we are going to be joined by my niece's husband and son on our visit to Scripps. Later we'll cook some brats for supper. It looks to be a fun day. Hope you have a good one too.

Friday, December 14, 2007

INCREDIBLE ANIMALS

video

How on earth do they make these creatures do the things they do? You can sure tell that the trainers absolutely love their jobs. They are so enthusiastic! Much fun!

FIRST TRIP TO SEA WORLD

We have tickets for two days at Sea World. We were there yesterday for about five hours, and we will spend the second half of our ticket today. It was so much fun! I felt like a kid for those few hours as I laughed at the antics of the trained seals, otters, and dolphins. The Shamu show was incredible and I may have to attend that again today. It would have been so much fun to have my grandkids with me as they would have loved it, too. Again, as is my normal, I took tons of pictures, and, again as is my normal, I will share them with you.
These seals were very vocal, constantly begging the audience for food, which you could buy, and feed to them, for $10.
Standing watch over the seal pool
Look carefully to see five flying dolphins.
Flying Shamu.
This is for my second oldest granddaughter, Katie. When Katie was little, she loved the pink flamingo plastic lawn ornaments. Except she called them "Pink Mingos." So, Katie, here's some live Pink Mingos for you!



Thursday, December 13, 2007

FLOWERS AND FISH

Yes, these guys are swimming around outside without a layer of ice above them! The fish are huge....keepers in Minnesota fishing terminology.
Is there anything more beautiful in God's creation than a flower?
I love the greens, and the different horizontal and vertical lines of the trees, fence and shadows.
More shadows.
Doesn't the inside of this fern say spring to you?
When I think of living in heaven, I picture fields of flowers blanketing the land as far as I can see.

BALBOA PARK

Well, I suppose you don't want me to post all 125 pictures I took yesterday. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a trip to Balboa Park, and I could have spent the whole day there. I love the buildings and trees and flowers, and we were fortunate that the place wasn't too crowded.
The fountain in the entrance area.
Beautiful sights in all directions; this building framed by the arch of the colonnade on the other side of the street.
The lush green grass had it's thirst quenched by the recent rains.

Pretty flower pots in a courtyard, next to the entrance to a restaurant.
As I said, beauty in all directions.
When we left Balboa Park, we drove across the bridge to Coronado.

FOR THE KID IN ALL OF US

Yesterday we went to Balboa Park. We only visited one of all the available museums and viewed only part of the fabulous buildings, but we enjoyed it very much. We went to the train museum, and while most of the train displays were probably more correct in size and detail, I loved the Lego train display. Kind of dark photos, though. Sorry.

Hagar on a snowboard!
Even found the Starbucks!
I wonder if the guys running all the train setups actually get paid, or if they just come to play!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

THE MIDWAY

Yesterday we toured the aircraft carrier, USS Midway. We were aboard the ship for 4 hours, and still didn't see everything. The Midway is a huge ship, with a flight deck about the length of 3 football fields. It was built for $90 million in 1945, and received a $260 million overhaul in 1966-70. The Midway was decommissioned in 1992, and is harbored in San Diego as a Museum.

A few interesting facts about the Midway:
When it was commissioned in 1945, it was, and it remained, the largest ship in the world for a decade.
It was the first ship to be too large for the Panama Canal.
The Midway spanned the years from the end of WWII to the liberation of Kuwait in 1991.
In 1965 the Midway pilots shot down the first MiG of the Vietnam War.
In 1973 the Midway pilots shot down the last MiG of the Vietnam War.
In 1975 it lead the evacuation of Saigon, rescuing 3,073 refugees in two days.
In 1991 it was the flagship of the Persian Gulf air operations in Operation Desert Storm.
It carried a crew of 4,500 men of which 225 were cooks.


And it got one mile per 260 gallons of gas!


From the flight deck of the Midway, you can see, in a small park across the harbor, this statue based on the famous photograph of Alfred Eisenstaedt which captured the famous kiss on V-J Day in 1945 of a sailor and a woman. (This photograph is Time-Life's most requested and reproduced image. Another interesting fact about this photo is that a re-enactment of this kiss takes place annually in Times Square by many couples dressed in replicas of the clothing of the original couple.)

Excuse quality of this photo. The statue was qite a distance from where I was and I had to zoom as far as my camera would zoom.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

MY BORROWED GRANDKID!

My niece, Maren, and her husband, Kevin, live in San Diego and have a three year old son named Shane. My sister, the grandmother of Shane, told me I could spoil him while I was here, so that's what today was all about. Maren invited us over for waffles this morning, and we were entertained by Shane while we ate the delicious banana waffles and drank a couple of cups of Maren's excellent coffee. Thanks!
After our breakfast we went to a playground and watched Shane play on the slides and make several new friends with the other kids who were there. The most fun was going down the slide in a train of three kids, then climbing back up on the slide, not the steps.
Shane is a very bright little guy, full of fun, inquisitive and all boy.
Thanks Betsy for letting me borrow him for a day. Hope it's okay if we do it again!