We landed in Florida, home of Mr. Dreamy's family, and began the last minute scramble to acquire appropriate gifts for all. It's the way of the family. It just makes me stressed and unhappy and squashes any Christmas spirit that remains after driving across the country listening to every version of every Christmas carol ever produced.
Christmas - 1988
I hope that you, and your families, enjoy the gift of the season.
"It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hand't before.
'What if Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store?'
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"
- Dr. Seuss
I hope you discover and enjoy that little bit more!
My parents didn't usually do photo Christmas cards. However, one year my dad befriended an engineer who worked for Kodak. Alex became a family friend and since he was always experimenting with new film for the company, he began using our family as photo fodder.
This was the result of one rather arduous (as I remember it) photo session with Alex. Awwww, don't we look like the typical family from the '60's?! We are our own "Leave it to Beaver" family!
In case you were wondering, I am front and center, wearing a cute, embroidered sweater my grandmother gave me... and I still remember how itchy it was!
Ahhh, the joys of being back on the road and being subjected to Tengo Internet service. Many of the campgrounds use this service - I guess there aren't many companies out there that offer secure connections with individual logins. Some campgrounds provide it for free, others charge anywhere from $1.00 to $4.95.... a day! Talk about highway campground robbery! In my mind.... it's not worth it at any cost. At least, not with this computer. For whatever reason, my computer HATES Tengo. It constantly loses the connection... then starts looking for Networks... then I'm on... then I'm looking for networks again. It drives me crazy!
The diversity in Texas always amazes me.... but then again, when one is traveling through a state that is... well... the size of Texas, it shouldn’t be a surprise! As we drove south from Amarillo we came into a region where cotton is king. There were extensive cotton fields on either side of the road, looking very much like the snowy prairie we had so recently left behind.
Most of the fields had already been picked, and some were dotted with huge bales of cotton, topped with humongous tarps.
This photo shows the bales at the top, an area of the field that has been picked in the middle, and cotton still waiting to be picked. It turns out I was wrong (again)... and learned something new (again)! What looked like 'bales' of cotton is, in actuality called a "module". A module holds 13-15 bales, each of which weighs about 500 pounds. The modules are transported to the gin yard in trucks that slide the entire module into the bed.
No! No! It's not good. You are sitting ducks... or flying ducks... or something like that!
Our stop in Dalhart, Texas was heralded by watching flockgaggle skein* after V-shaped skein of honking geese fly overhead. I have never seen so many geese in one day, let alone in just the 30 minutes we had before dark. It seems we aren't the only snowbirds flying south!
This part of the Texas Panhandle is a huge winter playground for Canada Geese, Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, other water fowl, quail and pheasant. It is estimated that 250,000 - 500,000 birds winter here. Wow! That's a lot of foul fowl!
Rita Blanco Lake and large tracts of farm land provide perfect wintering grounds for the birds with plenty of food, water and shelter. Unfortunately for them, the huge population of birds attracts an equally large number of hunters. This area is known to be the 'finest goose hunting in the Texas Panhandle.
I am not a hunter, and would not enjoy killing birds. But, a tasty goose might be interesting to try.
* OK... I learn something new every day (and I forget so much, learning seems to happen more frequently)! A group of geese, while on the ground, is called a gaggle. When they are airborne they may be called a skein... this, according to Wikipedia
I have avoided driving the motorhome. I've driven it in our driveway, and I've parked it at a few campgrounds, but I've not driven it on a highway. The thing is just so big... there is very little road left when you take up so much room. But, today I drove... and it was fun!
(I'm looking a bit tense here!)
We were heading southeast through the upper corner of New Mexico and the top end of Texas. It was a nice day, with an improved road, and almost no traffic.
My knitting was buried someplace - I'm not sure where. I had played all of my friends on "Words With Friends" and they weren't responding. There were only 5 radio stations to select from, so scrolling up and down the air waves wasn't very exciting. I purposely didn't buy potato chips, so there was nothing to snack on. So.... what's a girl to do?
Mr. Dreamy has often said that he wants me to drive so that I could take over if he wasn't feeling well. I knew that I could do it.... if I had to. But, he was right in suggesting that if I drove enough to be comfortable with it, then it wouldn't be a big deal.
and at the next wide shoulder he pulled over.
The first few miles were a bit tense.
But once I got the hang of knowing
where I was on the road,
it wasn't that bad...
At least not without traffic, and large trucks going by, and lane shifts at 65 mph, and traffic cones or worse, concrete barriers, and uneven road surfaces, and rain, or worse, snow....
I guess I stick with the empty road, nice weather and little traffic driving for a while!
My first bit of panic is around our leaving home, and heading on the road for four months. I love life on the road, but I need to pack. I need warm weather clothes. I need cold weather clothes. I need to bring some cooking utensils, and spices, and food. I need everything for the dogs. I must remember to put in those Christmas gifts I have purchased, and wrapping paper for those I have yet to get. I need my medications... and the dog's Heartgard.
The house needs to be clean. We will have a 'sometimes' house sitter and I will be flying back in January and will have house guests.
Mr. Dreamy injured his foot. It's one of those mysterious things that just happens... and hurts. I forbade him to clear the snow. We only had about 5 inches, with only a bit of drifting, but the weather isn't supposed to warm up too much in the next week and we need to have the drive clear. I did allow him to start the snowblower for me! Check out his choice of footwear!
So after clearing part of the drive with a shovel,
I wrestled with the snowblower.
Oh, in addition to the snowblower...
I used the leaf blower!
I had to clear the snow off the gravel drive for the motorhome,
We will be heading to the Honda dealer in just a bit to bring our new car home. One would think the Dreamers would be very excited. We are not! In fact, we are a bit angry and poor Mr. Dreamy is very tired of wrangling on the phone and dealing with minutiae with insurance folks, car salesmen, and venders for towing equipment. For Mr. Dreamy, this whole experience has been a pain in the neck....
Mr. Dreamy was on his way home just before Thanksgiving, yeah, only last week. The roads were clear. There were few cars out and it was a gorgeous day. A buck was out, enjoying the sunshine, too, and decided to stroll across the road. Mr. Dreamy slowed and stopped, waiting for the deer, when suddenly, WHAM! A young lady plowed into him, pushing him 20 feet uphill and crumpling the rear end of our car.
(Although I am sure stronger words were thought, if not uttered.)
Mr. Dreamy was shaken and his neck hurt, but otherwise he was OK. The young lady was in similar shape. Given the conditions, all we can figure is that she wasn't paying attention, looked up and saw Mr. Dreamy stopped on the road and and at the last minute tried to steer clear. Her efforts obviously didn't work.
For the next several days Mr. Dreamy had lots of conversations with the lady's insurance company.
We had lots of conversations and some hand wringing. What were we going to do? We were planning to leave in the motorhome in a week or two. This was our tow car. It didn't seem possible that the car could be fixed in that time. Our other car cannot be towed. Could the insurance company arrange for rental cars in the areas we were staying for more than a day or two? How could we get our car when the body shop completed the work? The body shop insisted that the car had to be picked up within 24 hours of completion. We'd be hard pressed to fly back to town to pick it up. There were so many unknowns putting lots of kinks in our plans.
Recently the smoke began clearing in the crystal ball. The body shop totaled our car! Really?! OMG!
Mr. Dreamy had stopped at the body shop to pick up the garage door opener... which they found in the back seat, having been thrown there by the force of the impact. The adjuster suggested he clean everything out and take the license plates... she was quite sure that the amount of the damage would be too high. Apparently there was a lot more damage than what was visible.
So, off we went to begin the process of buying another car... barely one year after we bought this one. We will have to get the hitches installed for towing it and for carrying our bicycle rack. We'll have to get the wiring installed for towing... we'll have to pay the difference between the value of our car and the new car... but then we will be ready to hit the road, only a bit delayed.
I think the stars and planets must be aligned in our favor!
I recently followed a link on Facebook to a story about a woman who participated in a 100-day video challenge to learn how to walk again. From there, I watched video clips of other people who were practicing something for 100 days. I loved the premise of this challenge, after-all, practice makes perfect. But what goal, I wondered, did I want to pursue that I could log progress over a significant period of time? My first thought was that I could finally learn how to ride a unicycle!
That was a dream of mine for many years, but sadly, Santa never brought me a unicycle. However, I began to envision road rash on my knees, bruises in places that haven't seen black and blue for a long time, and trips to the ER with sprained wrists. I am thinking that perhaps learning to ride a unicycle at my age this point in time is inadvisable.
Then, as I responded to a comment on my recent post about my art lessons, I realized I had my challenge! I will adapt the 100-Day Challenge to become a 100-painting challenge, which may take considerably longer (especially with our travel schedule) than 100 days. So as not to subject everyone with my challenge, and have that take over this blog, I will record my progress on another blog I have created: 100 Day Challenge. (Wasn't I just saying something about blogging taking up too much time... and now I have another blog?!!) Yeah, I guess I am a bit whacko!
When I was a little girl I dreamed that I would marry a wonderful man, raise Golden Retriever puppies and have my own stable. I must have done something right because I am living my dream! I married an incredible guy and we've been married for over 4 decades (it doesn't make me sound as old that way)! We raised 2 litters of adorable Golden Retriever puppies. Now, I am retired (that wasn't part of my original dream....but as a child I just didn't realize how 'dreamy' it would be!) and I live on almost 10 acres of land. I enjoyed having a team of Haflingers in the back yard but have recently traded in 2 horse power for 340 horsepower. We purchased a motorhome and spend a fair bit of our lives traveling the country. Life is good!