Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It isn't midnight yet but I know when it is I shall be tucked into bed and snoring likely so without further ado:  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  May you all have the best of 2012, enjoy each minute.

Blessed Be!

Finishing up the "un-time"

So this week, as I was doing precious little except walk the dog, I got these blocks
 out of the "To Do" box.   I made Brayden a whole rag quilt of these blocks
 and had a ton of fabric left over-I bought more than I needed as the pattern was for a lap quilt and I wanted a twin size.  I finished it in 2009 and began making up the extra strips into blocks, then life got "interesting" and I put it away.  Anyway, it was time to get it out again.  Now I've pressed a thousand ;) strips and made 6 more blocks, I hope to make two or three a day until the fabric is gone then I'll see how big a quilt it will make-Kolby might like it or maybe it will stay here who knows.

I've been watching the Harry Potter movies this week as well while I stitched, cleaned and worked on a few other projects.  Monday, I shall have to begin the January DEEP CLEAN, sigh, which will cut into my stitching time considerably!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


What we have now is "un-time", the week between Christmas and New Year's.  Not part of either, not regular time.  I am taking the time to recover from the lead up to Christmas, always hectic no matter how I plan!  I do work under the banner of "Don't sweat the small stuff--It's all small stuff" but I still get pressured to have everything right and proper!  (It's the perfectionist in me, what can I say.)

I think I hit the mark with every gift I gave-which is truly amazing!  And, of course, the children spoiled me with lovely gifts!

My biggest gift was having a house full of my family (and 3 dogs) for Christmas dinner!  Rob, Tanya and I managed to find a way to seat 14 at one huge table, after removing all the sofas from the living room to the kitchen and putting 4 tables side by side-there was no living room left but it was so worth it to all be together!

Now, I'm tidying a bit each day, Quinn and I are taking walks in the park twice a day (gotta wear that girl out), and I am working a bit on some of my many projects!  In January I'll hit the cleaning etc but for this week I'll just enjoy "Un-time."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!

Christmas Blessings to you all!  May you have heath, happiness, and love!  And may we all have Peace on Earth.

Love to you all!
Gail and Quinn

Monday, December 19, 2011

One thing off my "To Do" list!

Just finished sewing on the last of 26 buttons last night,  the black on black is murder on the eyes!  I only hope it fits and looks better on him than it does hanging on the hanger! (And that the over-robe, has a special name but I can't remember it, covers a multitude of sins.)  I'll give it a good press and it's off to be mailed so he can wear it on Christmas Eve.  The sewing was not difficult (except for the black on black thing) but there were SO many adjustments to the pattern it's hard to know if it is proper or even, most importantly, that it's long enough.  Will hope for word that he is totally delighted in it-please the gods.

It's been a long time since I updated the cross-stitch project-like August 8th-due to the kitchen thing, I'm getting back into it now. So, last update.
And now:
Hope to do more tonight.

I discovered yesterday that my greeting card list has grown quite a bit larger (I have no idea how as it has shrunk for YEARS) and I neglected to buy enough cards, sigh.  So today I'm off to buy more, pick up the photos for them and some other errands.  After the DRYER REPAIRMAN comes!  I guess I belly ached enough that they got tired of hearing from me!  Hopefully, this fixes it for a while-trips to the laundromat are real downers, especially in the rain.

The weather finally cleared out last week and it has been warm although today it is raining again.  I like cold weather but I'm grateful for the bit warmer as I have a puppy to take outside!  I may not be as grateful next summer if it doesn't get cold enough to kill off some of the bugs!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's Up?

So the past two days have been dark and dismal, dripping from the sky.  Today was so dark and so dismal I turned on all the Christmas trees this morning!  They normally don't come/go on until 4 pm but it was so dark in here I hit the "on" button on all the timers!  Made me think of "Darling Dora and her Dazzling Diamond D" (an old Sesame Street story we read to the children) there was a "dragon in a deep, dark, dank, dreary dungeon"!  It really hampers the old spirits, even with extra vitamin D.  To top the weather I had a griping session with the Extended Service plan for the dryer.  You'll remember it was broken in October when I got home from California, it took three weeks for the part to arrive (and then only because I complained to Lowe's) the tech that came to fix it (from At Your Service), left it broken in other ways-assuring me it was just fine to use it, only it wasn't just fine and began to damage clothing.  Two weeks ago, while driving to get Quinn, I called them because their tech had broken it and they came out.  Had to order more parts, last Monday I called to check on the status of the repair-waiting on parts.  Called yesterday on status of repair, waiting on parts.  I grumbled, a lot, this is taking too long.  I was told they would check on it and call me back.  They didn't so I called Lowe's today, they ordered the parts yesterday!  I belly ached long and loud-but of course that still won't get the dryer fixed until after, most likely, Christmas.  After that I had to go to the bank, and then the RV place to get a part for the trailer.  The RV place didn't have the same part (of course) so they sent me home with a different one which they thought would work, although I might have to change out the top as well.  Supposed to be easy, yeah right.  I couldn't get it on today but I was still so frustrated by the dryer I think that may have been part of it.  I hope that's all it is as it will NOT be easy to change the top!  After all that I came in and fumed at myself for my lack of tidiness and cleaned my office so I could sew.  It has not been a good few days--please, please let the sun come out tomorrow!

Thank goodness for Quinn, she is really good at raising your mood!  Poor thing though, I really messed up her ears with the glue on Sunday.  I didn't read the instructions (come on, it's glue!) and got way too much on them she got her feet into it and well suffice it to day she is a sad looking little thing (which makes me sad).  The glue remover doesn't work very fast and she hates it.  I put baby oil on it and it's working-well it's turned it into a gummy mess but that is coming out.  I wonder if I put peanut butter on that, humm.  She'd probably try to eat her ear, just to get to the peanut butter!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

First Snow!

Woke up to the first snow of the season!  Just a skiff but still the roads were white, I say were because it is mostly gone already, sigh.  It was Quinn's first snow as well, she sniffed, tasted, and dug a bit occasionally lifting a paw like it was cold-can't really tell it she liked it our not, expect that she will especially once her outer coat comes in!

I've been sewing and cross-stitching as well as some reading.  Today I went to the Historical society where I volunteer (David always makes me type! Really I've been inputing the accession records into a spread sheet for quite some time.  No one else is willing and I guess I type faster than most, and I am NOT fast. ) See a lot about the holdings this way and today they made me think of my friend Kathy Tuohey who passed away in September.  Something I saw made me think "Kathy would be able to tell us all about that" and made me miss her.

After "work" I headed for Kolby's  daycare and his Christmas program.  He's normally a little ham but froze on stage-at least he didn't cross his little arms on his chest and turn his back on the audience like he did last year.  After we all went out for BBQ--good times, such good times!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Filling in after finishing the kitchen.

Since I finished the remodel of the kitchen I have been struggling to figure out what to do with myself!  Finally, I told myself I couldn't go into the office/sewing room and sit down at my computer without doing something else in there!  (It's to easy to fritter away and afternoon playing on the laptop!)  It seems to be working so far, as a few things are being done.  I finished a stocking cap to compliment the scarf I bought in Ireland, it isn't perfect but it keeps my ears warm!  (I tried to take a photo but the batteries are dead-charging now.)

Occasionally, someone asks me to make something for them.  This is one of those projects.
A choir robe for Steven.  (The one whose is 6'10" tall)  Last spring when he was here I took measurements, there was no way the pattern would fit as it was so I cut and added both length and width.  Then I made a mock up and sent it to him.  While I was there in October I checked the fit and length and once home I reworked the pattern yet again.  Through the magic of my Iphone I finally figured out and bought the black bottomweight fabric  and today I cut out everything except the lining.  Tomorrow I will cut that out and mark everything.  Taking this one in small steps and praying it fits and looks decent when I finish!

I'm also working on Christmas gift bags (very big) that I've been pecking at for over a year-trying to machine quilt at least one each day.  I've tried my hand at some more knitting-can't say that is going well, think I've forgotten more than I ever knew!  Still working on Bri's stocking-I'll try to post an update this week.  When I finish this I'm going to sew Tanya's stocking together and get it ready to hang with all the rest.

Cute Puppy photos--required at the moment!  Shetland Sheep dogs are known for a couple of thing:  Being "helpful" and being "vocal"  the last just meaning that they bark, hello, dogs, they bark! I thought I put in some photos of Quinn being helpful:
Making sure I load the dishwasher properly-she'd be happy to pre-wash the dishes but NO.

Your tape measure will not run away!

Just looking for those pesky acorns!
Having a puppy in the house is such fun!  We all laugh several times a day!  She is so different from Charley and Kelsey, she stands up to the cats (even when Mica hisses) and just loves everyone!  I think Scott nailed it when he said Charley and Kelsey were always nervous-she is not!

Now if I could only find my desk and work tables!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Introducing Quinn!

I got home last night from a fast trip to Michigan (must go back up there in summer) where I picked up the newest member of the clan.  Everyone meet Quinn!
Checking out the floor vent blowing hot air.

The patio door is very interesting!

She is 10 weeks old tomorrow and weighs about 5 pounds.  Her breeder expects her to be about 17 pounds full grown.  She was a trooper on the drive home yesterday, did not get car sick (a worry of mine as Charley and Kelsey did for so long), slept a lot, etc.  I had intended to take two days to come home but she was doing so well I decided that we'd both be happier if we didn't have to drive today.  She is busy showing me where I need to puppy proof!

On other fronts, I put up all the trees, except one before I left and the house is nearly decorated for Christmas-I'll put up photos on Sunday, link up to Karen's blog party.  The house needs some tidy up and the dryer is yet again awaiting a part (the last repairman broke it fixing it) so unless the part comes in soon it's back to the laundromat! In other words life is returning to normal after Thanksgiving.  I am nearly finished shopping for my immediate family, still have some extended family and friends to find or make gifts for but it isn't even December until tomorrow and I have a stack of boxes in my room ready to wrap!

I'm on a roll!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day!

Well, after all the hard work (with more to come) it is here,  Thanksgiving Day.  One of my faves-oh wait, I like them all!  A holiday that is often lost in the Christmas frenzy to follow.  I find that sad.  I also think it is too close to Christmas-perhaps we should follow Canada's lead and move it into October?  I don't really mind the work, it's just cooking-which I love-and cleaning-which I don't love although I attempt to remember this poem I have stuck to my refrigerator (author unknown):

Thank God for dirty dishes.
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry
we're eating very well.
For by this stack of evidence
I shouldn't want to fuss.
With home and health and happiness
God's been good to us.

I wish for all the joy of family and feasting.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Day with Brayden--getting ready for Turkey Day!

Brayden did not have school today due to Thanksgiving holiday, rather than spend the day at the school's day care he asked to come here.  I said sure but that he'd have to help cook.  Our day in pictures.

While I did things he couldn't help with (making rose apples, cooking giblets and cranberries, etc.) the Author/illustrator set to work on a new book.  Entitled Earth, it featured (among other things) a cruise ship fighting the people who were poisoning the ocean.  (Various forms of fighting feature large right now.)   Then after discovering "red hots" (aka Cinnamon Imperials), which he later declared to be quite "suckable" and sampling some brown sugar he had to go a little crazy on the kitchen floor.
Next he (and Tanya) tore up the bread for the stuffing.  Then he helped knead the dough for the rolls tomorrow!
He declared this to be "very sticky" and could he please wash his hands.  Then it was on to the pie crusts.
He rolled out the biggest part of the crusts for FOUR pies!  Guess it wasn't so sticky.  I told him that after a few more years I wouldn't have to make the pies, I'd just let him!

Then it was outside to help Rob with the Christmas lights.
AFter all that a game or two of Candy Land was played.  He had a very full day, me too.  I'm tired.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More cleaning!

So remember last week?  The week I spent three days cleaning my office/sewing room?  I did get it clean, I could see my desk and everything.  Unfortunately that is not the case now, sigh.

I think I should change the name of the room to "The Dump!"  As everything has just been dumped in here, again.   I have finished cleaning the rest of the house (well, if you don't count the other dump- my garage workshop) in preparation for the holidays.  Not a small task I can tell you as it hasn't been properly cleaned since I began the kitchen remodel.  So glad that's behind me.  Just wish this was!  I should learn to keep a creative space tidy--that could be an oximoron.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A little sewing!

A little back story.  Brayden loves, loves, loves the denim blankets with the Mizzou fleece on the back.  He always wants to sleep on, or under one and is very disappointed when it happens to be in the truck!  He asked me if I could make him something from the Mizzou fleece so we came up with scarves for the cold weather that is sure to be here soon.  Of course, Kolby needed one as well!  I love having a project that goes from start to finish in a short time!  I cut them out one day and put them together the next--I had to buy gold thread to sew on the initials or it would have been done in one afternoon!  They love them and my leftover fleece box is much emptier!

I've been cleaning house getting ready for the holidays.  Made pumpkin puree for pies and pumpkin bars yesterday and today-always makes a huge mess but I'm ready for that baking day.  The living room is clean (for at least today) and I made inroads on the kitchen so I accomplished something today, at least.  After dinner, cross-stitch!

Friday, November 11, 2011

To Honor and Serve.

A huge Thank You going out to all our service members past and present.  Remembering those lost:

Msgt. Larry L Fines, Ret USAF

We still miss you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sewing room/office

It's a pretty well known fact around here that my sewing room/office is a disaster!  Mostly because I use a 10 ft by 10 ft room with two windows and 2 doors for 2 BIG purposes.  During the recently completed kitchen overhaul it got even worse!  Especially after I cleaned the playroom before the boys came for the weekend.  In an effort to tame the beast (and pay my bills--lost in the mess of my desk) I brought in yet another piece of furniture.  Crazy, I know, but it seems to be helping.  I hung a three shelf bookcase on the wall at the end of my desk.  All my notebooks for the Town of Kansas and my notebooks for bill-paying, gardening, planning, etc (you get the picture) and a few reference books are now located at my fingertips.  I usually postpone (read procrastinate) the re-shelving of books, notebooks etc until the pile is beyond  belief and then I have to spend an entire day (as I did today) sorting things out!  I'm hoping having the things I use the most really close will help there.  Plus, I'm learning new habits in the kitchen so why not in here as well?  Moving those notebooks and some other shifting set three shelves on my other bookcases free so I could put project boxes there and as soon as I trek up to Old Tyme Pottery and buy them, baskets for true fabric scraps (as opposed to leftover larger pieces which go into the fat quarter boxes.  All that means that there are fewer things whose home is the floor (not just a temporary storage space but the actual place that they belong!)  I'll post some photos when it is complete, and I can see the tops of all the flat surfaces!

Beyond that I spent two days working at cleaning the shed and storing things for winter.  Hank the Hulking snow thrower, gas for said Hank and the snow shovel are out.  Hmmm, need to fill him up and crank him up to make sure he starts.  The bench and all the planting pots are stored, the tube bags of sand are in the back end of the truck for weight, etc.  Then I raked the flower beds (have decided I need another leaf blower-I've already burned up two so I need to do research) and mowed the leaves.  This is the first year of not having as many trees, down to four from eight, and mowing is all I really need to do-the mower just mulches them right up.  I may need to pick up a few but no where near the 30 bags or so that was normal in the past.  I will have to deal with acorns, which is really why I need a leaf blower-to blow them together so I can pick them up easier.  Lots of people just leave them but they are kind of dangerous when you walk on them and I get tired of pulling up trees in the spring!

While I was in the shed I got out the dog crate.  Why? you ask.  Because I am getting a puppy!  Sometime soon after Thanksgiving I will pick up a Sheltie puppy, I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

At last! Final Kitchen photos!

In case you've forgotten here's what it looked like to begin:

And here is what it looks like now:

There are still details to attend to and a few thing to finish.  I need to finish making these:

Plus some decorator stuff, white spoon rests, etc.  But I'll just finish those things up quietly.

I don't know if you can see in the pics but the crock pot is sitting on the counter.  That's because I'm making Pumpkin Butter from the little pumpkins the boys acquired for Halloween.  Those pumpkins are the reason I'm sporting two really cool Spiderman bandaids.  I really must buy some grownup bandaids-or at least princess ones!

Ann asked for a photo of the jar lids I sprayed, on the right is an old zinc lid and on the left the one I sprayed.
Not exactly alike but not too bad either.

So my new Kindle came today, only broken thing left is the dryer and we are still waiting on a part, ;(

The beautiful weather left us today as the temperature fell 40 degrees in just 2 hours.  Now it's raining, pretty hard too, and snow is forecast for tonight and the morning!  That's Missouri for you!

Monday, October 31, 2011


I can't believe I've been home a week already!  I came home to lovely days in the 70's and chilly nights.  I had to put the flannel sheets on the bed AND another blanket!  I also came home to a dying cell phone, a dead Kindle and a sick dryer!  So I now have an Iphone (4s the newest and somewhat smarter than I am! But I'm learning), The new Kindle will be here in two days.  The dryer is waiting on a part-please let that come soon!  I'm off to the laundromat if it doesn't come soon as clothes are not drying well outside--too cool-- and I haven't a place inside to dry them, urgh.  Please, please, please let it come soon!

Another thing that isn't drying too well is paint!  It is taking two days between coats.  Not that I've been all that interested in painting but those last two doors. . . .  Tomorrow, if I get the kitchen cleaned up again I will take the photos and do the final post, even though it won't be finished--those two pesky doors, new drawer glides and missing parts from IKEA--it's close enough for you to see it but it's a disaster from the weekend.

About the weekend.  When Beth moved into her new house it became harder for me to get the boys for their weekly night at Granna's.  I can get Kolby as he is still at the same day care, but Brayden is in school now--the real killer is that they now live 30 minutes away.  For a while I picked Brayden up and we tried out some new parks, had dinner out and I took him home but it will soon be dark too early (and too cold) for that so Beth and I hit on sleepovers.  This past weekend was the first!  Beth brought Brayden up (and all their stuff!) and after she left, he and I went to get Kolby.  After dinner of Brayden's favorite food, fettucini alfredo, we carved pumpkins.  Brayden did a lot of the work on his himself, even though he had to get the step stool so he could reach inside it, Kolby told me he wanted "round eyes, a smiley face and teeth" so that's what I gave him!  Saturday, Rob and Tanya took them to the pumpkin patch and then to Independence's Halloween parade.  I stayed home and did stuff, like sew on 20 patches-5 on each of their blankets and 10 on mine.  After a dinner of brats and mac n cheese-how lushous- we had movie night.  Sunday, we "raked" leaves.  They did lots of running and jumping in them and were covered up many times.  The pile moved halfway across the back yard!  Brayden said, "I'm never going to forget this day, it's so much fun."  At 5 he might forget but I never will--it was so much fun.

Last of all, on Sunday evening we had Rob's birthday dinner.  He chose  French dip, cheesy potatoes and jello mixed with cool whip for the meal and cheesecake (Jello Instant with canned cherry pie filling-not the cherries just the goop!).  Had a full house, which I love.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm Home

On Thursday, I drove over the mountains and into Denver.  First, I did some shopping at a quilt shop in Grand Junction (bought a couple of new books on sale-like I need more quilt books!), as well as a yarn shop and an antique shop.  I wasn't in any hurry as it is only a 4-5 hour drive over the pass and both my brother and sister-in-law had to work- wasn't much point in getting there too early.  Timed it just right, my brother got home 10 minutes before I got there!  We had a nice dinner out with friends of theirs in from Taos, a very enjoyable evening.

I got up early on Friday and hit the highway home.  600 miles from Denver to Independence-took a long time.  Mostly because after two weeks of driving the southwest every joint in my body hurt!  So, I had to stop every little bit, if I made it 100 miles I was very lucky!  Pulled into my driveway a little before 8pm, unloaded only what I HAD to, took a shower and crashed! It's amazing how great a shower in your own bath-the one with great hot water and great water pressure-can feel.

Slept until 9 Saturday and felt dull-witted all day!  Rob unloaded all the IKEA stuff and I finished up with the rest of the truck, then opened boxes until I found the instructions.  Decided real quick that I wasn't up to assembly and left it lie.

Slept until 8:30 this morning but am feeling up to thinking today!  So I plan to assemble, later.  First, there's a soccer game and I need to go visit my Dad.  Also going to look at new cell phone plans as my phone has all but died.  And I need to call Amazon as my Kindle met with demise, again.  I'll be busy for a couple of days then I'll post the entire Kitchen redo for the last time, I promise.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kayenta,AZ to Grand Junction, CO--Or, I have no idea what number day this is for this trip and it's too much trouble to figure it out!

Set the alarm again, only the second time I've done that but I intended to drive a long way!  The day began with Monument Valley;

Very beautiful in the morning light.  Then I drove on through bluffs, mesas, and other interesting rock formations in red mostly (iron in the ground) and through a second world nation.  All the US's First nations homes are places of grinding poverty (compared to the rest of us) the people are caught between two cultures.  The traditional culture has been fading over the years (partly because of the intense effort of the government in earlier times to integrate them into white society and partly because of higher and higher levels of influence from the outside) yet they don't quite fit into the mainstream.  In more modern times Tribal leaders have been trying to bring at least a sense of who and what they are.  It is difficult to tell if they will be able to mesh the two for they can never truly go back to traditional life.  (No one wants to live without heat, electricity and no indoor plumbing!)

I took a highway just outside of Mexican Hat, UT, which on the map looks perfectly fine, Utah State  Highway 261. Known as the Mokee Dugway  I knew I was in trouble when there were huge warning signs-No RVS, No towed vehicles, etc, etc.  Three miles of narrow, dirt, hairpin switchbacks!  The view was stupendous, again one of those a camera cannot capture!  Besides I didn't dare stop as it was two- way and few places to get out of the way!  Thankfully, I only met one car and that was close to a small (read tiny) pull over spot.  I am so glad I was going up!

Next stop, Natural Bridges National Monument.  Small and rather remote it was a treasure chest of canyons and unusual rock formations (saying that, Lucas would LOVE it!)  Here are the three natural rock bridges inside the monument:
Oh, and one of the many curious rock formations.

Leaving there I headed towards Blanding, UT.  Happily, I could see snow capped mountains to the east-meaning I was nearing Colorado! I passed by both Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, both were on my original list of places to see but,  I had driven for two days along side, buttes, bluffs, ridges, mesas, rock formations etc, etc, etc and I couldn't get up the enthusiasm for more!  Missed my turn in Moab, don't know how (guess I should have enabled Samatha, you know the GPS) and so missed a valley that is really neat.  I didn't care enough to go back.  Driving due north, knowing that I soon would intersect with I-70 (the one that goes only a mile north of my house!) about 5-10 miles away I saw the buttes that I know from past trips run along the side of the highway, excitement!  When I saw the semis headed west on it I actually cheered!  A few miles after getting on I-70 I entered Colorado!  Really cheered--am only two states away from home!  Can you tell I'm anxious to be there?  Anyway, spent the night in Grand Junction, had a dinner at Outback and feel like I've returned to civilization!  Next up, over the pass, through the tunnel to Denver and my brothers house!  (Then it's only one long day until I'm home.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kingman, AZ to Kayenta, AZ

For the first fifty miles or so I was traveling on I-40, just me and the semis.  Not even any radio stations coming in, boring!  Thank goodness Rob called.  At Williams I headed north for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.  Nice road, nice views, driving in trees etc.  I arrived at Grand Canyon in good time, parked and began the search for the canyon!  Sounds odd but you can't actually see it from the parking or the Visitor's center, you have to take a walk  over to it and when you finally come up to this:

For the first moment, it literally takes the breath out of you!  This photo and the ones to follow don't really do it justice.  The scope is just immense and the colors so subtle and so similar from point to point that it is hard to see the edges of things.  I took photos for you, bought a book of professional photos and some post cards for me.

On my way out of the Park I saw a road sign that was totally new to me:
Watch for Cougars on highway.  I've seen signs for deer, elk, cattle, horses, and even bears but this is the first time for cougars!  I did not see one though, darn it.

Heading east and west through the desert of the Navajo Nation,  I stopped at Kayenta, AZ for the night.  Only place with hotel rooms for many, many miles.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Catching up!

I've been bad.  Actually, I've been too tired at night to post anything.  I'm going to try and catch up now.

Saturday, Steve and I took Nora to the Zoo.  It was crazy!  Kids get in free in October and folks were really taking advantage of it!  Added to that Steve's foot began to really hurt so we rode the bus around and just walked around the Koalas (who were actually somewhat awake, shocker), and the Rhinos, (who were begging for food-I kid you not), and the Giraffes.
Isn't she a doll?

On Daddy's very tall shoulders puts her up there with the giraffes!

Oh no, not another Jayhawk fan!

After the zoo we headed off to Candice's parents' house for a yummy dinner of Tacos, present opening and Cake!
She really knows what to do with a package and blew out her own candles!

On Sunday, we drove up to Julian, Ca for pie!  Yummo!  A really pretty drive up and another, different one on the way back.  Even had a nice little walk at a very windy scenic overlook!

This morning I met Steve for breakfast before heading north and east.  Well, I decided to run up to Cabrillo National Monument (one of my favorite places in San Diego).  Unfortunately, while it was a lovely sunny day in San Diego proper it was VERY foggy up at Cabrillo.  I heard the fighter jets fly over, couldn't see them, heard the helicopter-again couldn't see them.  Couldn't see the ocean or the bay so on I went.  I wanted to go back to the Fat Quarters Quilt shop north off I-5.  I really thought I could find it again, but I had to resort to Samatha (the GPS) which was apparently set to stay away from freeways and that took forever.  Once I found it-I didn't buy a thing :(  Anyway, Samatha (the GPS) and I duked it out and got to the I-15.  Stayed on that one until I got to Barstow where I picked up I-40.  I don't think I've ever been on this particular stretch of I-40, I have to say I didn't miss much.  The mountains in the distance are pretty but it's barren out there.  You can see a really long way though and I saw many very long freight trains.  They always remind me of the "push me-pull me" from Doctor Doolittle with engines at both ends.  Anyway, I stopped at Kingman, AZ for the night.  I plan to crash very soon!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A rest day in San Diego

Yesterday, as Steve had to work, I did some shopping.  IKEA!  Man, how I wish we had one in Kansas City!  Bought what I needed for the kitchen and some things for playing with (toys) at home.  (It all fit in the back of the truck!  Yeah, I was worried I wouldn't be able to close the cover.  No problems though, plenty of space for other stuff still back there.) Hit the bookstore for Nora's Birthday gift-hitting another one today! Then I had an adventure in finding my way back to the hotel-sigh, I can find my way to places but I can't always get back to the hotel.  San Diego is a confusing city, good thing I have GPS or I might have ended up in LA!  Then I did the most exciting thing---laundry.  Steve came by after work and we did a little shopping together then met Candice and Nora for dinner--fun time all around!

Today, after Steve takes his Ham radio operators test and I hit the Hallmark Store we are taking Nora to the Zoo.  San Diego's Zoo is world famous and I love to go there (and to the wild animal park).  We will be riding more than usual but Steve's foot is still causing him quite a bit of pain and we don't want to over do it!

Sometime in there, I'll read/record Nora's new book and she will open her presents.  She was two yesterday, seems impossible.  I'll take the camera along today and try for some photos.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Days Six and Seven

I was so tired last night I didn't even get the laptop out of my backpack! I'll try to catch up.

When I loaded up the truck in Flagstaff yesterday there was frost on the cover and the windshield!  I was chilly enough with short sleeves and a fleece jacket that I considered a sweatshirt as well as gloves-decided I'd be warm enough as soon as I was in the truck with the heater going.  After breakfast I headed south to Turzigoot National Monument, a later period than the ones I've seen before, I've started to be able to pick out the differences in construction (a history nerd here).  There is a whole line of these hilltop ruins, I think he said a mile and a tenth apart  you could see one from the top, built on hills to preserve valuable bottom land for crops and to keep above the worst of the mosquitoes.  Just a couple of photos-you'll notice that there are no doorways here, all rooms were accessed through a hole in the roof and a wooden ladder. No windows either, but they lived most of their lives outside.  All these sites were occupied for 200-300 years.

After that I traveled on to Montezuma's Castle National Monument.  Steve has often talked about this one and it is stunning.
 It's really high up the cliff and you can't get close to it.  Those who have studied it believe the inhabitants used this method of getting to it.
By this time I had long ago shed the jacket and have worked up a sweat-the air conditioning goes on in the truck!

I intended to visit one last set of ruins-Casa Grande National Monument but somewhere between Phoenix and Casa Grande I had had enough.  (Sure wish that had happened a bit sooner so I could have taken some cut offs.) I headed west on Interstate 8 through the desert-it was hot.  After a boring 3 hours-not even radio out there-I arrived in Yuma, AZ for the night.  

I crashed, and crashed hard didn't get up until 8 am this morning!  I really didn't care though as I had only a three hour drive into San Diego.  Yuma is very close to the California border and the border with Mexico so I had three checkpoints to pass.  First, going into California they stop you and ask if you have fruit, vegetables, pets etc  as they are trying to prevent hitch-hiking bugs etc from threatening their farm industry.  Then there were two Border patrol checkpoints-many illegal immigrants try that border so there is a huge border patrol presence.  Arrive in San Diego in time for lunch with Steve, Candice and Nora, tired.  I know for sure that I will not drive this again, there is just so much space between things!  I really do not like the desert so Arizona has joined Texas and Oklahoma as a "fly over" state.  (If you just love those places, sorry.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day Six --oops?

So I began the day by traveling into New Mexico to Aztec Ruins National Monument.  I really liked this site.  Very accessible and they gave us an interpretative booklet (on loan) to read.  The booklet included oral history which goes along with the site.  Maybe the best part for me, I love oral histories.  This was once at places three stories high, used mostly for ceremonies.  There is a grand Kiva there that has been reconstructed, so cool.  Photos next, when you see the doorways, I had to stoop down (sometimes a lot) and I am 5'3" and some were very narrow--reminded me of Scott's telling me about the Irish Castle they went to.
Saw a little wildlife---
That rabbit had the longest ears!  (I've seen other wildlife on this trip--mule deer, antelope, birds etc).

Headed on down the road west, had planned to do the South rim of the Grand Canyon as well as a couple of other places but somewhere around Shiprock, New Mexico I jigged when I should have jagged (or something) and by the time I figured out where I was I was 18 miles north of Gallup!  Almost due south of where I started!  Oh well, I needed an Interstate break anyway!  To far to go back so I'm flexible, I went to Painted Desert National Park and Petrified Forest National Park, which are one and the same in two parts.  The Painted desert was very pretty, look and see

The Petrified forest was really cool!  These were huge, some very long, some long but broken, some you can count the rings on, some you can see the bark-all different but all amazing!
It's greener here than I remember from the other times I've driven through, maybe they've had more rain than before?  Some people love the southwest, find it breathtakingly beautiful-I am not one of those people.  What can I say-I like the plains and the mountains but to each his own.

I'm in Flagstaff tonight.  It's kind of a mixed bag of emotions as the last time I was here Larry was with me.  I drove past the hotel we stayed in and the Chili's where we ate.  It was weird and kind of lonely, oh well.

Day Five, Can it be?

I spent the morning today driving inside a picture postcard!  Take a look.

I also went over the Dallas Divide at 8970 ft and Lizard Head pass (great name huh?) at 10,282 ft.  Just at lunch I stopped at Anasazi Heritage Center which is part of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.  There are several ancient settlement sites throughout the area and I walked up to the Escalante Ruins site-photos
Up on a high hill (well you can see the view) they could have seen anyone coming--early warning system?

After this I "did" Mesa Verde National Park.  I can now say I've "been there, done that" I think it might be over rated and I know the road in and out is an eyebrow!  The View is fantastic though in all directions.  I did walk down to the Spruce Tree House which was very interesting and I enjoyed it very much.  I did not do any of other other sites as all involve climbing and descending a number of ladders-that vertigo thing again.

I don't think I'll go back there but who knows.  I once heard these kind of dwellings as defensible by a small boy with a pointed stick, Humm.

On the way to Durango, Colorado I saw a really funny thing (well I thought it was funny but I was exhausted) a closed ski area, lifts and all with cows grazing under it!  Spent the evening trying to figure out where to go next!

PS:  I started this yesterday and was too tired to finish, oops

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trip update-Day 4

So, The day dawned clear!  Snow totals where I was 6-8inches-and there was about that much on my truck.  I headed west again on US 24.  First stop, not far down the road at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.  It was chilly enough that my long-sleeved shirt and fleece jacket were not warm enough!  You would never know that once this was the home of a giant redwood forest!  The fossils look like this:
Apparently there is a whole field of these stumps but the snow made them impossible for me to see and the National Parks Service is unhappy when you wander off their paths!  Also on the site is the Hornbeck Homestead.  Everyone knows that I love the places people used to live!
Heading west again I cross Wilkerson Pass (9502ft) heading down the west side I run into heavy fog.  The grass and trees are all iced by the fog and visibility is low so I'm careful-this kind of weather sends the wildlife to lower elevations and I know first hand what hitting a deer does to your car!  Soon I see whole herds of antelope, not on the road though.   Hit the second pass of the day, Trout Creek at 9487 ft. then I turn south looking for US highway 50 at Salida.  There I head west through the third (and highest) mountain pass of the day, Monarch at 1131 ft.  The snow comes and goes depending on my elevation but it's obvious they didn't get as much as further east.  On the west side of Monarch you travel through South Park.  It's a huge valley, where it gets really cold in the winter.  My brother, Jim, went to college in Gunnison and it is often the coldest place in the lower forty-eight. The great thing about driving through open country is watching the play of shadow and light from the clouds on the ground.  The bad thing is you can get really bored!

Next up : Curecanti National Recreation area there is a very big lake, Blue Mesa all along the side of the road.  Not too many people out there fishing, a few boats out, some campers, it is late in the season though.
Some pics from along the way.

From the dam here you go down, a lot- you really get the feeling of having been on a hanging valley.  My last stop of the day was Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park  (saw a fox on the way up).  This is not a place for a person (me) with vertigo!  Beautiful though

Making my way on down the road to Montrose a tired girl checked into a hotel for the night.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Last night I heard that we were to be under a winter storm advisory, up to 7 inches of the white, fluffy stuff.  I hoped they were wrong but. . .
The view here last night was of a valley with homes across the way!  Today's visibility is nil.

Good thing I brought a snow broom and scraper with me!
I have decided to remain here another day.  I am not truly prepared for this weather despite the snow broom, as I did not bring my heaviest coat or snow boots!  (I did bring gloves.)   My truck has rear wheel drive and is horrid in deep snow (Rob, Tanya and I have vivid memories of driving sideways up the hill this past winter!)  I came this route because I had never been this way, so I would like to see what's here not a curtain of white (beautiful but...) and finally my life is worth more than the cost of this hotel room.  Tomorrow should be sunny and warmer and I can continue on.  

Luckily, I packed several projects, books and have free WI-FI!  I have everything in here (remember I had to bring all the food because of the bear-who is probably holed up somewhere sleeping) except the shoes that would be best for the snow, perhaps I'll dig out after it stops snowing but until then I'm making a pot of coffee and settling in!  There will surely be college football and major league baseball on the telly if I can't find a movie-it is after all Saturday.