Thursday, January 31, 2008


We have spent more money this past week than I can ever remember spending in such a short time. It's scary! It's also been a lot of fun! We've bought a mattress and box spring, an iron bed and bed frame, a futon, 4 stools, a sofa, recliner and my Nonny chair, and three "some assembly required" pieces of cheap furniture. Last night we spent several hours building an armoire to house the yet to be purchased TV set. This is one of those "connect piece B2 to piece JJ, using the hidden connectors with the silver 7/8 in screws, which must be hidden inside the hidden connectors and turned to 210 degrees, not 180 degrees, so you can attach trim piece U to the combination of pieces B2 and JJ, using the black flat head 1 1/16th inch screws" types of assemblies. Just your simple "even a 6 year old can do it" language in the instructions. We got to the attach the doors part last night, and the hinges even allow the doors to open, and the magnetic door closure plates are even in the correct place! Hurrah for us! When we finish the two drawers that fit into the bottom of the armoire, we will move on to the next challenge, the two "buy one get one free - solid wood" sofa end tables. By then we'll be competing with Bob Villa for space on the This Old House series, only calling our segment This New House.

The reason for the rush on the TV armoire is this: The cabinet has to be finished on Thursday so we can buy the TV on Friday so the cable company can come to install cable on Saturday so Ernie can watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. Priorities, you know!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Please everyone, say a prayer for Kari this morning as she drives more than three hours north of here to give a training to 200 people! The temps are way below zero, and the wind is wicked, so I, as her mom, am obligated to freak out. Drive carefully, dear daughter, and I pray God will keep you safe and warm, and that you'll arrive back home late this afternoon full of tales about your successful talk to a standing room only crowd.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Well, did you all enjoy that little spell of springy weather? You know I'm responsible for that, don't you? When we drove back here from California, God knew we couldn't just jump from 65 out on the West coast to 20 below here in Minnesota, so He sent some milder weather so we could get used to winter again. And now that we've been here 5 days, I guess He feels we've had enough time to adjust, and real Minnesota winter can return. It's times like this when I question our sanity.

We spent yesterday, during the nice mild weather, furniture shopping again. And we did finalize on a couple of things. We bought a mattress, box spring, and bed head and foot board. We also bought a futon for the second bedroom/computer room/sewing room. The pad on it is quite substantial, so I think it will work fine for grandkid sleepovers and occasional guests. Oh, we also picked up some cheap stools to use at the counter for a little extra seating, especially for kids. We haven't ordered the Nonny chair, recliner and sofa yet, but hope to do so as soon as we can check on the carpet color, which we should be able to do today.

That is a lot of shopping! Never before have we spent that kind of money in such a short time. But that should be all we need as we have the dining room and bedroom chests and some assorted tables. Now we just wait. And that is hard when we are so excited to begin life in a new spot, and to start decorating and making it our own. Guess I'll have to do the laundry while we wait.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I am almost afraid to say anything for fear that it will break the spell. But here goes. I think we have found a place to live. In fact, we have committed to it. But I'm scared that talking about it may bring bad luck, something will happen that makes it impossible for us to have it, and I would be extremely upset. But I will take the chance and tell you about it.

We found a twin home, the lower level, in a little town five miles from our old home town. In fact, the freeway has almost made them one town. The twin home is brand new, in fact the carpet for the bedrooms and living room hasn't even been laid yet. It is being laid on Tuesday, the blinds were being hung this afternoon, and I'm sure the appliances will be in any day now. We can probably move in next week end. And I am so excited!

It's a two bedroom, and both rooms are a very decent size. The kitchen is very nice with oak cupboards, a dishwasher, and wide open to the dining room and living room. My ideal. The kitchen and dining room are vinyl flooring, and the dining room is plenty big to accommodate my huge table. The living room area is a very nice size, and even the light fixtures are to my liking. The bathroom has plenty of storage, again in nice oak cupboards. I can easily see us living there, and being very happy there. It seems our prayers have been answered. All thanks to God.

And so, we have tentatively looked at some furniture. We need a bed, a sofa, and a couple of chairs. Ernie needs his TV, and a place to put it. But that's probably all we need as we put our dining room set, a china hutch, two dressers, and some occasional tables into storage. Oh, maybe we'll get a futon for the second bedroom, just to have something for grand kids to sleep on when they have sleep overs. (You first Jaden and Madison!) The second bedroom will be just a dumping room at first, then will become a guest room/computer room/sewing room.

And I found the most exciting chair that I think I am going to get. For me. I'm going to call it my Nonny chair. Now Nonny was my grandmother, my mother's mother. She was the dearest lady, the most fun, the best grandmother ever. She always smelled so good, she was the world's best cook, she always knew just what we wanted for Christmas, even if we didn't know we wanted it! She was talented, always making our dresses and outfits for Christmas and Easter, and she had a TV several years before we did! We loved our Nonny so much. (I named her Nonny when I was about two, either couldn't say grandma, or Nana or whatever-----she was Nonny to all grandkids forever after.)

Anyhow, there are certain fabrics that my sister and I call "Nonny fabrics" and certain smells that remind me of her, and different meals (chicken dumpling soup) that bring back wonderful memories of my dear grandma. And, when I saw this chair, I immediately said it was a Nonny chair. And I have to have it. It's a kind of easy chair, or side chair, that is kind of overstuffed, but not too much, and it has rockers on it! A definite Nonny chair! And I'm going to get it for my new living room. You are all invited to come and sit in it, and be introduced to my Nonny. But when it's time to sit and relax, it is MY Nonny chair.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


We made it. We are back in Minnesota after a week of driving and 2,252 miles. That is enough traveling for me for awhile. My shoulders, neck and chest ache something awful from sitting in one position for seven days. We got a room at the same motel we stayed in at Christmas time, except this time we are on the third floor. And we had four laundry baskets, a case of water, and a smaller basket, a change of clothes, computers and a couple more items to carry in. And up. Three floors. I'll admit that Ernie did most of the hauling.

Now begins the next chapter of our lives. We will start right away tomorrow, looking for someplace to call home. Wish us luck on finding just what we want right away........

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Just a short post to bring you up to date on our travels. We spent last night in Amarillo, Texas. It was cold, like 14 degrees, which is cold when you are living in an RV. We turned on the under the RV heaters to keep the tanks i.e. water, gray water, and black water, from freezing. We turned on the furnace and the fireplace inside to heat it up. But still, during the night when Ernie got up around two, the water faucets did not work. Frozen water pipe. So he got dressed and went outside at two something in the morning and put our little portable heater in the compartment under the RV to help heat up the water pipe, but to no avail. It was still frozen this morning. So we heated some water up in a pan on the stove to wash up the best we could and took off to the north, hoping the water pipe would thaw.

Around noon we stopped and found the water was running freely, and there didn't seem to be any damage to the pipe, which is actually a plastic tube. We decided we didn't want to take a chance on the same thing happening tonight, and after all, we were heading north, so we stopped and had the RV winterized in Oklahoma City. We also took all the canned goods and anything that would freeze out of the cupboards and pantry, emptied the space under the sinks, and gathered up all the shampoo, lotions, and any other things that would freeze, and put them in laundry baskets and loaded them in the back seat of the truck.

We stopped at a motel just outside of Wichita and carried in four baskets full of stuff so it wouldn't freeze in the truck overnight. There is a gas station right across the parking lot from the motel, so I ran over there and bought chicken salad sandwiches and a bag of potato chips. Good supper. But we are inside, we're warmer than we were last night, and we have a wireless Internet connection. Life is good in Kansas, Toto!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


If you can remember back to last June in the UP, we had finally gotten the satellite dish to work with help from a support guy down in Florida. Can you believe that was the last time we had it working? We have hauled it from Minnesota to the Maritime Provinces, down to Maine, DC, Boston, home to Minnesota, out West to Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, California, and, well, you get the idea. During that time we have tried and tried to set it up, but we never had any positive results. We even had talked to the supposed tech support, and were hung up on more than once because we were told that we couldn't move the dish around and expect it to work. We knew there were many others who did so, and we knew how to align the dish, we could get a strong signal, but for some reason we were never able to connect.

Well, when we pulled in to this campspot two nights ago, Ernie spied a dish identical to ours, so yesterday morning he talked to the guy and found out he was an installer for this company! And the very nice man offered to come down and see what was our problem! So yesterday morning we again set the dish up and started to go through the alignment process. Guess what? When we first got the dish and were shown how to set it up, that installer neglected to give us one very important step in the process, so try as hard as we could, we would never have gotten it to work. Thank you sir. We've paid a lot of money out for something that would never work, thanks to your oversight.

Anyhow, the kind man gave us this important step, and we were online within a few minutes. And he assured us that we were doing it right, just without the important first step! Well, once online, it took me quite awhile to figure out how to connect and install the new wireless router, but I finally got that done, both computers are now connected wirelessly, and we are online.

As soon as Ernie gets out of the shower, we will take down the satellite, unplug the router, and will pack up to hurry down the road to Minnesota. Well, at least we got it working one time.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Today Ernie becomes a real live senior citizen. It is his 65th birthday. We are sitting at Hollman AFB in New Mexico, and I had planned to go to the Commissary to buy steaks for supper. But, seems the Commissary is closed in Monday. So we went to the small convenience store and bought a pizza. A supreme pizza in a cardboard box. Not a very exciting dinner on such an important occasion, but that's what it is tonight. Cardboard Pizza. I did pick up a pint of pralines and cream ice cream, so that can be the real celebration meal.

The Exchange was open, however, and we did stop there for a short shopping trip. I picked up two long sleeved shirts for Ernie as I think he had thrown out a bunch of his long sleeved stuff. And hearing the reports of the below zero temps, I think he may need some warmer clothes.

We will be taking off in the morning, back on the road north and east. Last I checked, the temp was 9 above zero back home. We will have to do a bit of adapting I think.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


We are continuing our trip east and north today after spending yesterday afternoon and last night in Tucson at the Air Force base there. They listed wireless but our spot was so far from the office that we could pick up nothing.

However, right now we are at a rest stop just inside the New Mexico border, and they have wireless internet access. We stopped to make a sandwich for lunch, and here I am, checking email and updating my blog. How cool is that?

We are headed to Hollman AFB tonight. It's a small base and it only has a few campspots. Hope there is one left for us. The trip is going just fine, except for the fact that Ernie can't find the football game on the radio. Shucks.

Friday, January 18, 2008


This morning we left Seal Beach California at 9:15 and headed off towards the East. We ended up this afternoon in Tonopah, Arizona, in Mountain time instead of Pacific time, about a 350 mile day, which is plenty when you are pulling a big RV and dodging traffic.

We passed an area around Palm Springs where there were thousands, yes, you heard me correctly, thousands of wind generators.

What a sight! I wonder how much electricity costs in that area? Does the electricity from the generators stay in the area and provide cheap power, or is it all sent hundreds of miles away, and therefore are the recipients charged more?
As we neared our destination, we drove through the Quartzsite Arizona area. Unbelievable is the only word I can think of for the scene. The roads were clogged with RVs heading to Quartzsite. The gas pumps were full to overflowing as the $3.09 CHEAP!!!!! price for diesel drew in the snowbirds to fill up their gas tanks before heading off into the desert. And that is exactly where they were headed. Into the desert. (Sounds like it should be the title of a book by Jon Krakauer) This tiny town of Quartzsite Arizona boasts a population of 1,900 people. During most months of the year, that is. This little town also boasts over a million visitors during the year, most of them in January and February. The sight is like nothing you've ever seen. Rigs costing well into the six figures and little homemade campers alike, descend on the area, parking wherever there is a spot out in the desert. Huge tents are set up for flee markets, where you can find every sort of gem and mineral, in addition to the regular handcrafted merchandise common at such markets. There is entertainment nightly and shows of all sorts, cook outs, state get togethers, and who knows what else going on constantly.

We wanted no part of this scene, and stayed on the highway until we found this quiet RV park in Tonopah. Tomorrow we move on to the Air Force base at Tucson where hubby wants to view all the dead airplanes lined up in formation on the runways. Doesn't that sound exciting? The next day he has another small base in mind for a destination, then on Monday we should hit Ooooooooooooooooklahoma City, where we will stop at another Air force base and will winterize the RV before heading north on 35 to Minnesota.

So far the trip has been uneventful. We pray it stays that way.


I'm thinking we may just have had a brain freeze. Forecast says 40 below zero wind chills? Maybe we should rethink our decision to return to Minnesota! Or maybe we'll just drive reeeeaaaallllly slow, arriving when the temperature returns to something more approaching normal. So much for global warming!


I have often thought about my life as being divided into sections. Section 1 is: Growing Up (20 years). Section 2 would be: Getting Kids While Hubby is in the Air force (20 years). Section three is: Growing Up Those Kids and Working at the College (20 years). And Section four: Retirement Travel or Homeless and Jobless (20 months).

And now today we are leaving California to head back to Minnesota, the beginning of section five. What will this section be called? Where will this next journey lead us? Hopefully we're grown up, so we won't have to go through that again. I know for sure that we aren't getting any more kids (at least not that I can imagine at this point!) so we can check off a repeat of that part of our lives. There is no plan to go back to work at a full time job, so I don't see repeating that part either. We'll still travel whenever possible, but we won't be homeless, we'll have a home port, so that section will be different, too. So what will this next section be? What will be the title of these days of our lives?

I am so glad I can't see down this fork in the road to the events in the future. I don't want to know what God has in store for us. It may be abundant blessings or it may be numerous trials. Either way, it will be exactly what He has planned for us and it will be exactly what He has determined is right for us. But I am excited to experience what is in store for us, joy or sorrow, feast or famine, life or death......whatever it is, it will be what He wants us to experience.

Thank you dear heavenly Father for your constant love, care and protection through all the days of our lives. We pray that You will continue to be with us through the unknown days ahead. Wrap your loving arms around us and keep us safe on our journey, and carry us to our eternal home with You in heaven. Amen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


The following are all single family homes. We went through this area today as we drove up the coast a short distance from Long Beach, and I know my mouth was hanging open in disbelief. Even our seven kids wouldn't have filled up all the rooms in these humble homes. I imagine a person would have to have several staff to help manage such an excess of space. And who would want it? Certainly not this small town Minnesota gal. Why I think our RV would probably fit in one room of these mansions. Not for me.

This is the coastline looking north from the whale information center where we stopped and went through a small museum. And we saw no whales heading up to Alaska where our son Chris greets them in the summertime.

Remember the song that goes "Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is awaiting for me. Santa Catalina, the island of romance, romance, romance, romance." Well, the land you can barely see on the horizon is the island of Santa Catalina.
And this sign threw me into a nervous frenzy. I took this picture from a moving truck, through the windshield, but I can read it loud and clear. USE EXTREME CAUTION. CONSTANT LAND MOVEMENT. NEXT 0.8 MILES. Whaaaaat? Say again? Constant land movement? And you built a highway over it and then post signs that say caution and bumpy road and danger? The road was very uneven, the water pipes were all above ground, and there were signs of recent landslides. I held my breath for the .8 miles and was so relieved to hit the smooth road again where the water pipes disappeared into the ground where they belong. We asked a woman about it when we stopped at a scenic view point, and she said there is always road work there because the ground is constantly shifting.
AND, this is right next to those multi-million dollar homes I showed you at the beginning of this blog. I don't know who is dumber, the road builders or the home owners.


Daughter Kari broke the news yesterday at the end of her post on her challenging day. Yes, we are giving up full time RVing. It's come to the point that our hearts are not in traveling full time. We miss our kids and grandkids so much. We miss our siblings, my mom, our friends and our familiar church. Time to modify our lives. All the experts say that one of the most stressful times in a person's life is when there are huge life style changes. We did a huge lifestyle change on June 1, 2006 when we retired from long held jobs, sold our home of 25 years, and took off in our RV. We adjusted well to the traveling lifestyle and have had a ball. And now I expect that we will adjust just as well to having a permanent address again. After all, there's no place like home!

We are turning the truck around and heading back to Minnesota where we plan to find an apartment or townhome or condo, someplace where we can still take off for an extended period of time with no worries about the home place. We won't need anything fancy or expensive, as we plan to continue the simple life style. But we are excited. Home, kids, grandkids.....who can ask for anything more!

So I won't consistently have our travels to write about, or the travel photos to share. However, I'm thinking of a couple of possibilities for a different focus for my blog. We'll just have to wait and see what direction this goes. Meanwhile, we will have a couple of weeks of travel yet as we have to head south before we can go east and then north to Minnesota because we have to avoid the mountains at this time of the year. We plan to take it easy and see a few sights along the way.


I just turned on the TV to watch the ten o'clock news and happened upon the last couple of contestants on American Idol, a show I never watch. I heard two of them exclaim "I'm going to Hollywood!" Big deal, guys. I was there today. Nothing to get excited over I don't think. But when I called grandson Jacob from a spot looking up to the Hollywood sign and down on Britney's star, he was excited.

So these pictures are for you, Jacob. Sorry I didn't get a picture of her in person. I did get a picture of a bad Elvis impersonator, and a Marilyn who was even worse!

Elvis and an unknown fan. If they caught you taking their picture they demanded $$$$.
This is our friend Richard posing with Marilyn......who looked nothing like Marilyn.
And I was so excited when I saw these foot, hand, gun and shoe prints. I remembered that my blogging friend has a daughter who loves Roy Rogers. So Linda , I took this picture for Melissa! Hope she gets a kick out of it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Maybe you've noticed, or maybe not, that I've not blogged for a week. There are several reasons: we moved to Seal Beach by Long Beach, I'm upset about a situation back home, and, most important, we've had no internet connection. I finally got connected yesterday afternoon, and after I mull things over a bit, I will post a blog, hopefully later this afternoon. I do have pictures of Julian, Wild Animal Park, and the Queen Mary to post.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I'm always thinking of my friends and family back in the snow country of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Wyoming, Maryland and Alaska, to name just a few of the states where family and friends reside, so I thought I'd send you on a beautiful mid-winter retreat today. Oh, you're welcome, but no thanks are necessary!
Can't you just imagine how beautiful this will be once the flowers open up?

They look plain now, but wait until those bright pink flowers bloom!
Yes, Ernie is standing in the flower bed, which is against the rules, but he wanted to pose with the fresh oranges on the tree.
It doesn't get any better than these beautiful bougainvillea.
Or this still dewy Lily.
Or this pink with yellowish orangey tints rose.

Hi Justin! These guys were so friendly that when I held my camera right over the water they swam right up to it, thinking I was offering them food.
I love yellow with pink tinge roses.
Birds of paradise in front of an orange tree.
Appropriate flowers at a mission with bells in the towers.

There. Don't you feel better after your day at the flower filled spa? I do!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


On Saturday morning we left our home in San Diego and moved up the coast to Oceanside and Camp Pendleton. We drove in the rain the whole time, and it continued to rain the whole day and night. It also rained on and off on Sunday, and then again Sunday night and Monday morning. Today the sun is out, and the sky is blue. I think the big storms are over. There were spots in or near San Diego that had 13 inches of rain, the northern California mountains had as much as 11 feet of snow, and it's been dreary, dreary, dreary for almost 4 days. The first night we were here we were welcomed by a nice sunset, but it soon turned into rain again.

On Sunday we drove up to the historic San Juan Capistrano Mission, one of the nine Missions founded by Father Junipero Serra, and the Mission known as the Jewel of all the Missions. The weather cooperated and the rain stayed away as we toured the huge grounds of this Mission. The Great Stone Church which was begun in 1797 and took nine years to build, was hit by an earthquake in 1812 during morning Mass, and the walls crumbled and the domes caved in, killing 42 Indian worshippers. The Church was never rebuilt. The majestic ruins became known as the American Acropolis, and the Mission Preservation foundation has achieved a major preservation of the still standing walls.

Again, as with the Mission in San Diego, I found this such a peaceful, serene place, filled with lovingly preserved artifacts and bursting with the history of these great Western Missions. And I have also located on the map of this immediate area, three more missions that I would love to visit.

This is also the place that the popular WWII song "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" was speaking about. Each year, the miracle of the swallows takes place at this mission when, on March 19th, the faithful little birds wing their way from their winter home in Argentina to their summer home at San Juan Capistrano Mission. They rebuild their mud nests which cling to the ruins of the old stone church. And each fall, on October 23, the swallows take flight again, circle the mission bidding farewell to the Jewel of All Missions, and head back to their winter home.

Also on these grounds is the Serra Chapel, constructed in 1782, which is the only still standing chapel in which Father Serra is known to have celebrated the sacraments. Daily services are still held in this ornate chapel. We were fortunate to visit now, as a preservation project will involve installing scaffolding through this fall, and conservation treatments will take place on the termite infested beams.

Friday, January 04, 2008


This mission was one of my favorite sight seeing trips we've done here in San Diego. The church itself is beautiful, the courtyards and garden are filled with flowers and plants, and the whole place gives off such a sense of peace. I really, really liked this place.
I would have loved to have heard the bells ringing.
We entered the church through a small wooden side door.
The church was still decorated with red, pink and white poinsettias from the Christmas holidays.
It's a very narrow but long church with narrow wooden benches and a tile floor.
We weren't allowed up the steps, but I would have loved to have gone up closer to the bells. And it would be really fun to hear them ringing. This is the side gate into the beautiful courtyard off the church.
Father Junipero Serra looks like he was a very small man.
These two last pictures are taken inside a small chapel off the courtyard behind the church. The decorated choir stalls and the throne and altar are from Plasencia, Spain and date back to the 1300's.


The gardens and courtyards at the Mission San Diego were absolutely lovely. I love Boston ferns, and have killed more than my share. Just look at this one, outside, in January!
Beautiful colors of pink hanging overhead on the rafters.
I have also done in many jade plants......this one has a trunk the size of my arm and is also outside.
The walls and fences are perfect backgrounds for the shrubs and overhanging plants.
And I love these orange pokers (I don't know what they are really called) against the simple stark white of the mission buildings.

These window bars form a perfect frame for this fern.
Lush plants against the simple white are so striking.
I could go on for many, many more pictures, but I'll let you go. I will post pictures of the mission itself later this evening.