Friday, May 29, 2009

A Full Week

Yes, it has been a busy week! Interspersed with our relaxing by the pool and soaking up the sun, we've been visiting with friends and family, going fishing, rounding up cattle, and polishing the Castle. Well, Jim has been the one fishing and rounding up the cattle, I've done more of the visiting with friends.

We spent some time on Memorial Day with the family at Ann and Bob's. Bob has been working in his garden and has some pretty flowers, like this iris:

And bleeding heart:
Josh, me, Jim, Jacob (yes, he is taller than me now, at 11 years), and Robin:

Jim and his friend, John, planned a fishing trip on Tuesday. Even though the weather was cold and wet, they bundled up and headed out early for the trip up Ute Pass:

To Eleven Mile Reservoir in the mountains:

They were early enough to see deer:

Got in some fishing, but didn't catch a thing:

I'll bet this pelican was wondering where the rest of the ocean went and why it was so cold:

These Western Grebes were right at home:

Laundry got done, the Castle got cleaned, dogs were walked several times a day, and the week went by.
Today, Jim headed down to the Pueblo area to Steve's ranch with John.
Steve's tractor:

Some of the cows:

This little calf was sure interested in the bulls fighting each other!

While Jim was on the ranch, I had my annual mammogram to attend to. On the way, I stopped to capture this view of Pikes Peak from a distance.

After my appointment (where I got the "all-clear" for another year), I picked up my friend, Karen, and we ran errands before meeting my sister, Ann, for lunch. I think we all had a fun day!

We know that things are busy in our friends' lives, too. Dortha has had knee surgery this week, glad you're doing real well!
Also, Joe (Speedy) has retired! Congratulations and best wishes, Joe!
And, Janna & Mike have purchased a new-to-them motorhome! Congratulations and enjoy your new home away from home!
Yes, it's been a full week.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Birthday, New Phones and Salsa Day!

Friday was my sister, Ann's, birthday. It was her last day of teaching (preschool) for the year as well. Our tradition has been to take her out to dinner on her birthday, and once again, we are so glad we're in town so we could do this. She chose Red Lobster, which is just great with us. I can always find reasonably healthy choices there.

I spent part of the day baking a cake for the after-dinner card game at our place. It's an angel food cake with a lemon filling and topping:

We had a great evening playing cribbage, canasta, and spades. We play partners in canasta and cribbage. Ann & I play Jim & Bob. She & I won canasta, but the guys took the cribbage game this time. I think Jim won spades, which isn't his favorite game, but he always seems to do pretty good at it.
Yesterday we decided to go see about getting new phones. We use Verizon, and have the "new every 2" option. We were past due, but just hadn't found the right time to pick out new phones. We've also been thinking of dropping one of our air cards and getting a router to set up a wireless network. We found out that we've passed the date to inactivate one of the cards without paying a fee, so we went ahead and upgraded that card, and have noted the date to inactivate the other one on Sept. 1. That will give us time to get the router and make sure it works out before we drop one card.
As far as new phones, Jim picked out his with no trouble. He got one similar to what he had, just a rugged model that is water resistant. I had to think about mine for awhile, trying to decide if I wanted to do something really crazy and get a Blackberry. I ended up doing just that. So, now I have a whole new challenge ahead - I got the Storm, which is a touch screen. It's definitely a learning curve for me, but hey, that's what keeps my brain active, so I think I'm up for it. However, I'm not too good at answering the phone yet, so if you call me, be prepared for it to ring a few times!
Jim has been pretty itchy to do some canning. Yesterday morning, he made a batch of habanero jelly. We had to sample it when I got home from the Weight Watchers meeting, it's got a definite bite to it, but it sure is good. This morning, he decided to make a "small" batch of salsa. In the old days when we had a house, making salsa was an annual Event. He made gallons of it every year, canned a bunch of it and we gave it to friends and family throughout the summer and fall. But, since we've been fulltiming, he had not made a batch to can, although he's made fresh salsa a few times.
Out came the jars, lids, rings, pots, pans and tools. Off he went to the store for oodles of tomatoes, peppers, and onions.
I stayed out of the way, but close by in case he needed any help. It looks to me like he's got everything under control:
Yes, this is a small batch:

Coming out of the hot water and waiting to hear the "pop" when the jar seals:

All ready!

OK, now where did we put those chips? Yummmmm.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Gathering of Cousins, and Some Very Special Bears

People sometimes ask us what we like best, and least, in this nomadic lifestyle of ours. I usually talk about all the good things, because there are far more of the good things, and besides, I tend to spend more time focusing on them than on the "less good" things. I wrote not long ago about a near-perfect rv park in Amarillo, gee, now I wish I could have that park here! Well, maybe not in this exact location, since that is one of the less good things about the park we're in now. We joke about it being a "requirement" to build rv parks adjacent to interstate highways, with railroad tracks close by, and if an airport gets tossed into the mix, so much the better. Here at the Colorado Springs KOA, which is actually in the little town of Fountain, south of Colorado Springs, we get all three of those, plus an army base - Fort Carson - right across the highway. Now, don't get me wrong, I know it's absolutely necessary to our freedom and the strength of our nation to train our troops, but right across the street, with rifle and cannon fire going on half the night, well, it takes patience to keep telling myself it's the sound of safety and strength and not get annoyed. Last night was one of those nights - training was in full force!

So, after our night of training, along with the traffic and trains, we got up early this morning to meet our friend, Gary, for breakfast. After breakfast, we started running some errands, the most pressing being checking out a new set of tires for the Saturn. We found what we need, and will have them installed on Friday morning.

I also wanted to purchase the new Wii fitness game, called Sports Active. It looks like it's going to be a good challenge, and will complement the Wii Fit without duplicating it.

This evening, we went to my cousin's house for a gathering of my cousins who live here. Another of our cousins who lives in Homer, Alaska, is visiting, so it was a good chance for us to get together. The cousin whose house we were at has a daughter who also lives in Homer. She has been making stuffed bears from fur coats for awhile now, and we had asked her to make some bears for us. I inherited a mink stole from my mother, who passed away in the late 1970's. Jim's mom left a large mouton coat (mouton is sheep or lamb skin that has been processed to resemble beaver or seal fur), so we'd given both of those to Linda to see what she could do. Wow. She made 5 bears - 2 from the mink stole and 3 from the mouton.

We gave my sister, Ann, one of the mink bears:
I took the remaining 4 to show the rest of our cousins:
And then brought them home. The dark one is from the mouton, and the lighter one is the other mink:

These are both mouton:

Each bear is signed:And dated & numbered:

These will be very special reminders of our moms, as well as family heirlooms for many, many years.

Thank you, Linda!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting Stuff Done

There hasn't been a lot of excitment in our last couple of days here. Cleaning, laundry, doctor's appointment and some visiting have been taking up most of our time.

Yesterday, I had my annual doc's visit. While I took care of that detail, Jim went to Pueblo with his friend John to see their rancher friend, Steve. I took advantage of some down time when I got back from the doctor's office and before Jim got home and went to the campground pool. I swam a few laps, soaked in the hot tub for a little while, and got some sun. But, before I played, I did get the Castle's floor swept and mopped.

We managed some relaxation time during the afternoon and then went to dinner at my sister's house. After dinner, we played cards with them. The guys won canasta, but my sister and I took the cribbage game.

Today we got the laundry done, made some plans for more visits and shopped for groceries. We also took a trip to town to pick up some knife guards, and took our knives and scissors to a local shop to be sharpened. I had time this afternoon to practice Guitar Hero and play some Wii Sports.

We have a pretty long list of things to get done and people to see in the time we have here. The car needs a new set of tires and some routine maintenance. There is a big stack of paperwork that must be handled. Just normal things that need to get done, and this month here is the time to catch up on all that fun stuff. Luckily, we'll have lots of visits with family and friends to break up the time so we won't be working the whole time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kids Visit

Saturday started off cold, foggy and damp. I was up early to attend my "home" Weight Watchers meeting which starts with weigh-in at 7:00 a.m. The meeting location is at the other end of town, about 12 miles from here, so I needed to leave pretty early. My friend, Karen, met me there with a latte, thanks, Karen! It was great to attend that meeting and see folks I had not seen for awhile. I somehow managed to lose a tiny bit, even with all the eating out we've done lately.

After the meeting, Karen and I went out to breakfast (of course!) at a local restaurant and got caught up with the news since we've seen each other. She and I used to walk every morning back in the days before we each retired. We had some wonderful discussions on those walks.

Then it was time to get home and be ready for the kids to visit. Since the weather was uncooperative, we decided to go out to lunch (yes, AGAIN!) with them. We all piled into the Saturn and headed to On The Border for some Mexican fare. I had a salad, so didn't do much damage to the diet.

After lunch, they came back home with us and we spent the afternoon visiting, playing, and getting caught up with them.

This is son Josh, grandson Jacob, and his mom - daughter, Robin:

I played Guitar Hero with Jacob. He's much better than I am, he plays on the hard level, but I'm stuck on medium:

Robin and Josh are looking at the book Dortha and Mark made for us for Christmas, while I describe where we were at the time:

The weather was much more cooperative this morning. I got out and walked early, then got to work on getting both dogs groomed. I was just finishing up with Jasmine when the kids arrived for today's cookout. Jim was the cook today. He grilled chicken, and fixed jalapeno's with cheese, hoppin'John with rice, and a dessert. We had some leftover salads and rolls, so we had a great meal.
We enjoyed being with the kids these last two days, but they needed to get their chores taken care of, tomorrow's a work and school day for them.
Tomorrow will be another busy day for us, as Jim heads out with his friends while I have my annual doctor visit first thing in the morning.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Settling In

After crossing into Mountain Time yesterday, we changed the clocks in the motor home, but it will take a few days for our body clocks to catch up. As a result, we were awake pretty early this morning. We got on the road a little before 8:30 and climbed Raton Pass with no trouble:
At the summit, we crossed the state line into Colorado:

Then headed down the pass:

It wasn't long before we saw "our" mountain, Pikes Peak:

And pulled into the KOA at Fountain before noon.
Shortly after we got here and started setting up, our friend, Gary and his son, Loy, came by with several bags of food; chicken, salads, rolls, and a pie! We tried to convince them to stay and share it with us, but they'd just had a late breakfast. We visited for awhile, then they went on their way and we finished the setting up. Thanks so much for the great meal, guys!
Then it was time for us to get ready to go to my sister, Ann's church for a dinner. This was the annual women's group Spring Banquet. The men's group prepares and serves the meal to the women's group. It was very enjoyable, with great food and fellowship. Yes, Jim did get to go along, but in order to get his meal, he had to help serve.
We are getting all set for a busy month here, looks like it's already well underway.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blowin' Down the Road

We left Amarillo about 9:00 this morning and took the scenic route up the Texas panhandle:

Which way do we turn? I guess we'd better get on to the north:

After a while, we got to New Mexico:

The color of the flowers changed:

The scenery was typical of northeastern New Mexico, and the wind was whipping along, causing us to slow down to stay on the road.

And finally, we came around a corner and could see the snow-covered Rockies off in the distance, behind the mesas:

And got to Raton early afternoon to get settled in at the KOA for an overnight rest stop before continuing on to Colorado.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Enough of This Wind, Already!

There is no such thing as a perfect RV park. The Oasis RV Resort comes fairly close for a commercial RV park, but there are 2 things that stand in the way. First, somewhere in the area there's a stockyard or feedlot. Yes, I know, the smell of money! The problem with that is it's someone else's money we're smelling. I'd learn to love it, I'm sure, if was my money!

The second is the wind. Relentless, constant, ever-annoying. We're out here on the western plains, outside of Amarillo, and there's just nothing to stop, or even slow down, that wind. The only thing I can tell is that it changes direction now and then, but it's been blowing hard ever since we pulled in a couple of days ago, and it's still going strong tonight, our last night here.

This is the office, which is interesting because it is not located at the entrance to the park. I'm not sure why it's designed this way, but you have to drive into the park and around the perimeter to reach this destination:

Behind the office is the pool and hot tub. On the other side of the building, there's an adults-only spa:

One of the features of this park is free laundry. There are three of these buildings located throughout the park, and each one has 4 washers and 4 dryers, as well as restrooms:

This picture shows three rows. The first row is just the empty site, the second there are two rigs side by side, and the third row shows our Castle - the one in the center. You can tell that the sites are huge!

And the back of the Castle, with another rig next to us:

One other plus of this park is that rig washing is allowed. We've taken advantage of both the free laundry as well as washing the Castle while here.
Our other purpose for being here has been to visit with Shirley and Mike, cousins who live here. We've had a good visit, gotten caught up with a few "to-do" items, and now we're ready to go find someplace where the wind isn't blowing so hard!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Amarillo, Texas

Our visit to Kingston, Oklahoma passed by quickly with the visiting and of course, trying out some of the local eaterys, like Hobo Joe's in Madill:

A Texas Longhorn, spotted in an Oklahoma field:

Ruth and Wayne have a new schnauzer, her name is Gracie:

Friday night was our last evening to visit. Ruth and Wayne seem to be really glad to be away from the hustle and bustle of Arlington and have settled into their house and neighborhood very nicely.
These yellow flowers are blooming in the median along I-35 just a ways south of Oklahoma City. We passed along this way on Saturday as we made our way to Boiling Springs State Park, located just outside of Woodward Oklahoma.

We spent the weekend at Boiling Springs State Park. While there, we got in a quick visit with cousins Richard and Debbie, and Samantha. It was great to see them. Boiling Springs is about the only choice for an rv park in the area. It's an interesting mix of rv park and state park. There are a few full hookup sites with 30 amp electric service, but most of them are filled by semi-permament residents who work in the area. The sites are close together. We were not able to get a full hookup site, but since we were only staying 2 nights, it was not a problem for us.

This morning we were up and on the road by 8:30, seeing sights like this farm along the way:

We seem to have a lack of trees!

And now we're back in Texas:

We are staying at the Oasis RV Resort, on the far west side of Amarillo. Typically, when we visit here, we stay at one of the parks on the east side of town. But we'd heard that this is a really nice place, so we decided to give it a try. It's a new park with huge pull-throughs, free laundry, and wifi. There is a heated pool and hot tub. Maybe the weather will cooperate at some point during our stay, and we can get in a swim!