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Saturday, January 31, 2009

January - Done!

Yes, the first month of 2009 is just about history. It was a pretty full month for us, especially with the first six days being spent on holiday travel. Now with January behind us, it's time for us to get back on the road and head west. Tomorrow's the day!

We spent today doing the odd chores that come with getting the rig ready to travel. Unfortunately, most of my part can't be done until it's time to go. I do the inside stuff - rearranging the furniture, securing the loose items so they don't become projectiles, pull the slides in (well, that's not tough - I just hold the button!), ensuring that all the cabinets are tightly closed. But, I did do the laundry first thing this morning. Then, I started organizing tax info. Randy did some outside work, getting stuff stored back in the "basement," and putting the hitch back into the bed of the truck.

This evening we went out to dinner at The Olive Garden with Dick & Pat and Ron & Ruth. We had a good dinner and even better company. These two couples are such good friends and we will miss them. But, it's nice to know we'll see them again soon. We're coming back to this site in November, but even before that, we're going to meet up with Dick & Pat in Branson, MO.

We've had a great season here in Alabama. This truly is our winter home. We have become part of the community, making lifelong friends.

The next blog posting will be from New Orleans, LA! We have about a 3.5 hour drive tomorrow to Bayou Segnette State Park.

Until the next time . . .

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day of Pampering

Today was a total "me" day. It was really nice. In the midst of the all the travel prep, I was able to get away for some pampering. Aren't I a lucky girl? :)

After I went to Curves for the last of my sessions here until late fall, I came home and got a quick shower so we could go out for breakfast with Dick & Pat. From breakfast, the guys went to fuel up the truck, drop off the old TV and converter box at a local charity and mail a package for me. Pat and I went to the hair salon so I could get a hair cut. Then, we went to the nail salon. Pat got a pedicure and I got a manicure AND pedicure! I love it!!

Randy was busy cleaning out the inside of the truck while I was out cleaning up the outside of me! He is such a great guy and works so hard at making my life easier. I am so blessed!

Back at home, I got caught on my blog reading and Facebook updates. Technology is fantastic - I have re-connected with many old friends and keep up with new ones.

Late this afternoon I made spinach quesadillas for an early dinner. We went out this evening for a hammered dulcimer concert by Maddie McNeil. She is a recording artist who sings and plays both the hammered dulcimer and the mountain dulcimer (which is what I play). I really enjoyed her playing; her singing wasn't what I expected. She has a classically trained voice and I was expecting more of a "mountain" voice - such as goes with the mountain music of the dulcimer. But, it was fun to be out among my dulcimer buddies one more time.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to those last minute details that can't be done until . . . the last minute! I also have to do laundry. So, it will be a busy day. And we'll end it with dinner out one last time (oh, another last of!) with Dick & Pat and Ron & Ruth. Gonna be hard to say "see ya down the road." :)

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beginning the “Last ofs”

This is the tough part of traveling - leaving people you love! Granted, we'll see them "down the road," but it's still one of my least favorite parts of this life.

Today we had a couple of "last ofs;" you know, the last one of something. I went to the
last of my dulcimer jam sessions for this season. That was a little hard because I don't play the dulcimer much when I'm not down here. So, I miss these folks!! Both the groups I play with always make me feel so welcome and I look forward to playing with them when we get back in November.

Our second, well my second and Randy's first,
last of the day was the campfire this evening. Several couples get together most evenings for a campfire. They gather about 3:30/4:00 for a couple of hours to chat, to eat sometimes and always to laugh together. We have totally enjoyed being included in these campfires. These couples have become very precious to Randy and me and, again, we will miss them.

Just three more days until we head west. Hard to believe . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Little Bragging

I haven't shared too many pictures lately of our grandkids. So, I thought I'd take a paragraph or two and brag a little. Tommy is almost 10 years old (AAHHH! How did that happen?) and lives in Colorado with his mom, Ginny. We've had a tough time getting pictures from Ginny - she takes more videos than she does pictures. But, my nagging has paid off! He started playing basketball this year and, apparently, is pretty good. His team has won their first two games and Tommy contributed a few points to the last one! Way to go, Tommy! Here he is in action (he's #50):

Reagan lives in Pennsylvania and has been hit by the snowstorm in that area. Lins got some good pictures of her playing in it and the requisite hot chocolate after. Isn't she too cute?

Okay, enough bragging. On to the exciting events of our day. :)

I started my day at Curves again. Three days in a row - YAY me! Then it was back home to get ready for another dulcimer gig. This one was for a seniors group at Fairhope Methodist Church. We were a bit disorganized - Pat, Ruth & I got there an HOUR early!! We thought we were supposed to be there at 10:30 ready to play at 10:45, when it was an hour later we were to arrive. Oh, well. We sat and played anyway for our own enjoyment. Finally, a few other folks showed up and we were served lunch and then played for another half hour.

While I was gone, Randy worked around the RV and wiped the truck down. I had gotten it dirty this morning when I drove to and from Curves. Aren't I horrible??? Getting the truck dirty. How dare I! :)

The rest of the afternoon was spent as usual, relaxing in front of the TV. Randy did run out and get one of our propane tanks filled. But, the afternoon turned gray and it was a good reason to veg in the recliner. Of course, we need no "good" reason to do that - we just do it!

Now, it's about time for American Idol, so I gotta run. Can't miss all that great talent just waiting to be discovered. :)

Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Gig & Dinner

Started the day with a session at Curves. Good for me! :)

The morning was taken up with a dulcimer gig at a church in Bay Minette which is about 45 minutes north of us. We had about 40 people from three different groups play together today. And we had a great audience! Even with all the folks playing, our audience still outnumbered us! That's a good thing. We had a gig earlier this season where the number of people playing were twice the number in the audience! That is NOT a good thing! :) Anyway, we played for a little more than a hour and then were treated to a wonderful lunch of homemade soups, bread, salads and great desserts. Nice payment!

While I was out playing around, Randy was toiling away again. He washed the truck and it sure is purty! All white and shiny. Good job, honey!! Thank you for your hard work. :)

Early this evening we went out to dinner yet again. :) There were six of us this time: Dick & Pat, Darrell & Judy and us. We wanted to get together with Darrell & Judy before we left. We've not spent a lot of time with them this season between our holiday trip and Judy's being sick when they first got here, our schedules just haven't meshed. But, we made this happen today.

We went to a new restaurant (for all of us), called Market by the Bay. It was supposed to have the best fried oysters around and that's what Darrell & Judy were in the mood for. Me, I'll go for seafood anytime. When we pulled up to the place, I wasn't so sure what we'd find inside. And if we were going for atmosphere, this certainly wouldn't have been the place. But, they had patio seating and it was still warm outside with a nice breeze, so we sat outside. We got our food and it was SUPERB!! I had grilled shrimp; Randy got a fried shrimp and white fish po boy which was overflowing; Darrell & Judy got their fried oysters; Dick & Pat got a combo platter. All of us were very, very pleased with our selections. And the prices were pretty good, too. Another good restaurant for our list!

We are so blessed with the friends we have made during our travels. Some are casual and we keep up via emails once in awhile and others have become family. Dick & Pat and Darrell & Judy are four of those who are family. Randy & I are fortunate to have them in our lives. We will miss them when we leave here Sunday, but we know that we'll be together again soon.

Hope your week is going well. I've got another dulcimer gig tomorrow. Randy's hoping for rain so he can take a day off. :)

Until the next time . . .

Monday, January 26, 2009

Starting the Traveling Chores

The day started with my Bible reading for the day then a session at Curves. This is going to be an "eating out" week, so I gotta go as much as possible just to maintain!

Back at home I settled in to read the blogs I follow and have my coffee. Doesn't that first cup taste so good?!?!!! :) Once I got my two cups of coffee in me and then a bowl of cereal, it was time to do some chores. We've got to get the rig ready for traveling. Today was a day to start filing those odd papers away, you know the ones; various invoices, letters you want to keep, etc.

I also printed out more friendship cards. These are like business cards, but RVers use them to share address/phone number info with each other. I had run out and a couple people had asked me about them. That was a lesson in frustration 'cause I only got one page printed within the perforations! The first page printed fine and the subsequent pages were all off for some reason. UGH! I did nothing different the other times than I did the first time. Couldn't figure it out. Oh, well, I got about fifteen cards so that should do it for a while.

The last thing I did was go through the travel magazines Randy gets to look for any articles on places I think we'd like to visit. I have two file boxes in which I have a folder for each state. When we get maps or articles on places of interest, I file them in the appropriate state's folder. Then, when we go to that state, I look through the file to see if we'll be anywhere near places in the articles. I found a couple of neat places to visit in Louisiana next week!

While I was doing my inside chores, Randy was outside and washed the entire rig today!! Took him about 6 hours to do it. He's gonna be one sore puppy tomorrow, I think.

This evening we went out to dinner with Dick & Pat to Mikee's down in Gulf Shores. We had not been to this restaurant before and Pat had a couple of coupons for this place so she wanted to try it. Oh, my. Was the food ever good! All of us thoroughly enjoyed our meals. I got jumbo shrimp alfredo; Randy had sauteed scallops; Dick and Pat both got sweet and sour shrimp. The portions were more than enough and very, very tasty. Great way to end our day.

Sorry, Amy! No pictures of us at the restaurant tonight! :)

Tomorrow I've got a dulcimer gig. Randy plans to wash the truck. And we've got another dinner date - this time with Darrell & Judy as well as Dick & Pat. There's talk of at least one more dinner out sometime later in the week, too! Aren't we the popular ones! :)

Until the next time . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A New Church

We went to a different church this morning, First Baptist of Robertsdale. While we really enjoyed the pastors' messages at Jubilee Shores, the music just didn't enhance our worship. They tended to use lots of new songs, not allowing us to get to know them before adding new ones. I, for one, need to know the songs I'm singing in order to truly worship.

FBC Robertsdale was very familiar - a mix of traditional and contemporary worship. And I knew all the songs! That was great for me, I really, really enjoyed the worship. The pastor gave a good message on keeping the Sabbath holy and why that's so important. Randy liked the service, but wasn't as taken with it as I was.

We'll continue to look for a church when we get back here in November. I'm sure God will direct us to the one He wants us in. Randy & I both feel that in a few years we'll be spending six to seven months a year here, so we definitely want to find a church home.

The rest of the day was spent quietly, watching TV. I had gotten over to the laundry very early this morning, at 6:15, and combine that with the gray day we had today, I was pretty lethargic. But we rallied and went to the ice cream social this evening. :) Can't miss that!

Looks like it's gonna be a busy week. Randy wants to wash the rig and truck, plus all the other "get-ready-to-travel" chores. I've got two dulcimer gigs and a jam session this week. We have two dinner dates set for Monday and Tuesday. Gosh, this is a rough life. I'm just not sure how we hold up under the pressure. :)

Until the next time . . .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Singing Saturday

Last year when I attended the Lagniappe Dulcimer Festival, I was introduced to a type of choral singing called Sacred Harp Singing. I had never been exposed to this and was very fascinated by it.

I'll give you a brief overview of what Sacred Harp Singing is and you can also check out a website dedicated to it, if you're interested. The style was originated by the early settlers of our country for times when folks gathered for fellowship and worship. There are no instruments used during the singing. It is based on the traditional "do re mi" scale, but only four names are used: fa, sol, la and mi. These names were given to shapes used on the musical scale in lieu of the typical notes found. The music was written in four parts and the singers sit in a square facing a hollow middle in which the song leader stands. The leader gives the pitches and the singers sing the song using the shape names first, then the words to the song. This is all done a capella - no instrumentation.

When I took the workshop during the festival last year, I was very intrigued by it. I love to sing and this was very different from anything I had ever done. I learned three songs in just under an hour - songs I had never sung before.

So when I learned of a Sacred Harp festival that was just 45 minutes north of us here in Alabama, I was anxious to go. Pat wanted to go, too, as did another woman from our dulcimer groups, Jeanelle. Mary Anne, the leader of Jam n Folks, would be there, too. At 8am this morning, Pat, Jeanelle and I headed up the road to join in the festival.

Boy, was I ever disappointed!!!!!! I expected a little introduction to the singing, such as how it's done, what to expect of the festival, etc. Oh, no. We all got seated and next thing I knew someone called out a page number, a leader stood in the middle of the square and the singing began. No how ya doing, nothing. And then the volume of the singing was LOUD! After three songs my ears were ringing. Seriously. Ringing. In my ears.

It wasn't that the singing was bad. Actually, everyone carried a tune quite nicely. It was just that they did it at the tops of their lungs. There was no flow to the songs, no beauty. We sang "Amazing Grace" and that is a song that has a gentle fluidity to it. Not here! The group sang. the. words. and. that. was. it. I felt like jumping up and yelling, "Hey, we're singing about the Lord here, people!! Act like you love Him!!"

Anyway, that was my morning. I couldn't wait to get out of there. Luckily, Pat & Jeanelle felt the same way. I don't know if every Sacred Harp group is like that, but I sure hope not. At least the people were friendly, I can say that. :)

On the way home we met Dick & Randy at Camping World 'cause they were having a big sale. Randy & I didn't see anything we couldn't live without except for a water hose and some tank chemicals. That was nice being able to walk out of Camping World with most of our money still in our wallet! :)

We ended our day with a trip to the old fashioned drug store in Foley. They have a soda fountain and counter where you order ice cream, shakes, etc. Randy had been craving a good banana split and we were told this was the place to get one. He and Dick had splits, Pat had a sundae, and I had a milkshake and sandwich. Randy was very happy with his banana split!

Sorry this was such a long post. Hope your Saturday was a good one. Until the next time . . .

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Jump into the 21st Century!

We didn't have much planned for the day and you know what that means - a busy day happens! :) We did plan to go to the bank and WalMart and that turned into an all day event.

I started the day with a good workout at Curves. Got home and got ready to go out for the morning. We went to the Coffee Shop in Foley and had a good breakfast. It always helps to start the day fortified! :)

After breakfast we headed off to the bank. This is a trip in itself because we have to go to Pensacola, Florida to go to a branch of Bank of America. Yes, that's right - Bank of AMERICA doesn't have ONE branch in Alabama. So the closest branch for us is in Pensacola which is a good 45 minute trip one way. That's okay, we're retired - what else do we have to do?? Once we got our banking completed, we headed back to Alabama.

The trip to WalMart was for a few groceries, prescriptions, and . . . A NEW TV!! Yes, the Guilers have entered the 21st century and now are the proud owners of a 32" LCD flat screen TV. It's pretty cool. And it just fits into the entertainment center in the living room. I think Randy's happy with his new toy. ;)

We also spent sometime with neighbors over at the campfire this afternoon. One of the guys, Ron, had broken his arm earlier this winter and finally got the cast off this week. In honor of that, he held a sling-burning ceremony. He couldn't burn the cast because it was so nasty when he got it off, he just threw it away at the doc's office! :) Anyway, Ron and his wife, Connie, really did up a big deal - they had food and everything. They said it was to thank all of their friends for helping them out during the last several weeks. Isn't that nice? That's the RVing family for ya.

Of course, before I end this post, I have to share pictures of our new grandnephew, CJ. He's a cute little guy - reminds of an elf! Don't his parents look proud? We're so glad to have you in the family, CJ!

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Family Member and Putting Faces to Names

Before I share the events of our day, we have great news to share! Charles Jacob Simmons arrived this morning at 3:30am in Albany, NY!! He is our fourth grandnephew and we are so excited that he and his mom and dad, LuAnn and Eric, are doing great! When we get pictures, I'll be sure to share them with you. I just know he's gorgeous without even seeing him! :) Welcome to the family, CJ!

Today was a pretty typical Thursday - I went to Jubilee Pickers for our weekly jam session. Then, Ruth, Pat and I went out to lunch. We had a great deal - all you can eat pizza and a salad for $6.00! And actually, you can only eat one "slice" of this pizza because it's about a quarter of a whole pizza. You order it custom made with all the toppings you want. It was pretty darn good pizza, too.

Early this evening Randy & I took Blackie for a walk. We went to meet some folks who had come into the park earlier this week. Jim & Linda travel in a motorhome named, Myrddin (pronounced "Murthen") and have a blog that is written from Myrddin's point of view. You ought to check it out sometime: Myrddin's Travels.

I'm sure I've said this before, but this is one of the neat things about RVing. You get to meet so many people. With the technology out there, so many of us write blogs journaling our travels. We read each other's blogs and usually don't ever get to meet one another. But, every once in awhile, we get lucky and are able to put faces to the names we've read so much about. Meeting Jim & Linda gets added to those times we've been lucky. We're hoping to get together with them again before they leave next week.

After our walk, we stopped by the neighborhood campfire. Randy went on back to the rig, taking Blackie with him. I stayed for awhile to share in the laughter and conversation. We are so fortunate to be part of such a great group of folks! I have such mixed emotions about leaving next week!

Tonight finds us in our usual positions - relaxing in our respective recliners. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mid-week Music and a Meal

Mother Nature is soooooo confused - she thinks we're in the north! At least that's the way it seemed this morning when I woke up to 19 degrees at 6:30!!!!! Oh, my. I was a total wimp and blew off Curves 'cause I didn't want to go out in that cold.

Spent the morning just watching TV (all the inauguration recaps - and there were a LOT of them!), playing on the computer and cross stitching.

This afternoon I went over to the clubhouse for the mid-week acoustic group. We had a couple of new people join us, one played the mandolin and the other, guitar. We had a good couple of hours of music. This is a very laid-back time of playing, very enjoyable.

Dick & Pat came over for dinner this evening. I made spaghetti and meatballs, salad and Texas toast. Well, I heated up the Texas toast. :) The four of us had a good time over the meal as usual. It's hard to believe that we only have 10 more days before we leave. We'll miss Dick & Pat. But, we'll see them in Branson in June.

Now, it's TV watching again - American Idol. :)

Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day - Proud to be an American

I got up and out of the rig early this morning so I could get to Curves and back home again as soon as possible. I wanted to watch the inauguration events! And that's what I did - all day. :)

As I have posted previously, President Obama was not my choice for the job. However, he was elected and I will support him as my president. And I have to admit I was moved by the ceremonies today. It is truly a phenomenal sight to see leadership change hands with respect and integrity. And we saw that today.

I will admit to a few tears as I watched President and Mrs. Bush leave in the helicopter with President and Mrs. Obama watching from the stairs. I can't imagine what both couples were feeling or thinking. Were the Bushes relieved, sad, ready? Were the Obamas anxious, a little fearful and excited? I only pray that both couples will be pleased with the direction their lives have taken.

What a country we live in! Until the next time . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, Monday . . .

Another week has begun, and what a week it will be - we are privileged to be a part of a monumental historical event. Every four years we are part of history in that we can choose the person we want to lead our country. But, this year, regardless of your persuasion, we get to see an even bigger event - the first person of color to be elected President of the United States. While I did not vote for President-elect Obama, I am still thrilled to see that our country has moved passed what someone's skin color is to look at the character of that person. And Obama will be my president, I have already begun to pray for him and our congress, asking God to direct their leadership and that they will seek His direction for our country.

Okay, enough of that. Back to my reality. :)

We had a normal day today, no dining out, no running around, just hanging out at home. I went to Curves this morning, came home and caught up on my computer reading. After watching TV and seeing some of the inaugural happenings, I finally tore myself away to clean the bathroom.

The rest of the day was spent just doing whatever came to mind. I took Blackie for a walk, did some cross stitching, read, etc. Just another day in the life.

Hope your week is off to a good start. Until the next time . . .

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Celebrating

We actually woke up to some fine temps this morning - 55 degrees at 6:15!! Now THAT's what I'm talkin' about! We did have a downpour of rain for about an hour or so, but then the sun came out and it was beautiful.

It was funny 'cause while it was raining, it got to be about time for me to get ready for church. And I was feeling like I could rationalize staying home - it was raining; we had gone to a praise & worship concert last and didn't that count? But, then the sun came out brilliantly and it was as if God said to me, "I know what you were thinking!! No excuses, Terry!" :)

So, we got out the door and went to church. As usual when I've vacillated about going, God spoke to me through the message that was given. Isn't He just amazing? And, why am I always surprised by that?

This afternoon we went out for an early dinner (yes, AGAIN!) to celebrate Ron & Ruth's 45th wedding anniversary. Seventeen of us gathered at California Dreamin' to share in their celebration. Once again, the food was good and the company even better. It is wonderful to have friends to share these special times with.

Looking forward to our meal - Ron & Ruth are at the far end of the table

Group shot outside of the restaurant

I got a couple of pictures from Larry & Cindy of our outing last night. So, here they are.

At DeSoto's, a great seafood restaurant

A better shot of the group awaiting the start of the concert

Don't we have a great life? Until the next time . . .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

An Evening with Friends

Today started out pretty darn cold, but soon warmed up to a pleasant, sunny 60-something degrees. I can live with that! :)

Most of the day was spent on the computer and then cleaning out cabinets. I played with an itinerary for our fall trip, plugging in places where we want to stop on our way back to Alabama. I think we've got a great trip in the works!

After I finished with the trip plans, I got a wild hair and decided to clean out the cabinets over our recliners. The impetus for this was the books I bought at the Book Exchange yesterday. I needed to make room for them in my book bins. I had decided that many of the things in the overhead cabinets could be stored under our bed since they were things we don't often use. Once I got my cabinet cleaned up, I started on Randy's. It's amazing how much stuff we can accumulate even in our little home.

I felt really good after we were done rearranging and ridding ourselves of the stuff not needed any longer. Felt like we'd accomplished something instead of just sitting around one more day.

Once all this organization was finished, it was time for me to get ready to go out. We were going out to dinner with a group of friends. There were 12 of us. We went to DeSoto's, a local seafood restaurant that has very good food. All of us were pleased with our choices.

After dinner we went to a praise/worship concert hosted by Church of the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church. The concert was by Lynn DeShazo, a songwriter/musician who has written many praise songs. I had not heard of her prior to this, but really enjoyed the evening. She lead us in singing and worship in a very mellow way. When it was over, you really felt you had been in the presence of the Lord. Great way to spend a Saturday night.

Tomorrow we are going out to eat yet again! We are going to celebrate Ron & Ruth's 45th anniversary. Isn't that marvelous? I can't wait 'til Randy and I can do that!!

Until the next time . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

Breakfast, Books, & Business

I was a wimp this morning - I didn't go to Curves because it was so very cold this morning. Yeah, I know, how tough is it to walk from the rig to a warmed-up truck into Curves? But, I wimped out anyway. I made up for it by going out to breakfast! That makes sense, doesn't it?? ;)

Actually, earlier this week we had made plans with Dick & Pat to go out to breakfast this morning. It was just supposed to be AFTER I got back from Curves. Randy really wanted to go down to Gulf Shores to Hazel's, a diner that has a great breakfast buffet with made-to-order omelettes. As usual, it was really good.

After breakfast we took a ride to find the church where a praise concert is being held tomorrow night. We found it and continued along the road looking at some of the beautiful homes built along Mobile Bay. We also drove through a couple of RV parks just to see what's available in the area. You never know if you'll need to find another site for some reason. But, these parks are at least $100 more a month. And while they are nice, we still like the Plantation best! Hopefully, we'll never have to use these other parks.

On the way home, we stopped and got a propane tank filled - our second of the week. The furnace is running like crazy in this cold weather! Our last stop was the Book Exchange in Foley. I think I mentioned this store sometime earlier. It is run by a young family who used to live in the park. I'd been wanting to take some books in there and Pat also had books she wanted to trade so it was a good time to go. The store has a wonderful assortment of genres, something for everyone. I traded seven books and came home with at least that many and not all of them for me! Randy got some, too. It's always a good day when you get new books!

When we got home, we took Blackie for a nice walk around the park. I figured that made up a little for not going to Curves this morning. As we passed by the laundry room, we saw that no one was using it, so I figured it would be a good time to get the business of laundry done. This way I wouldn't have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, in the frigid cold, and do it. So, that's what I did.

And, yes, I really stretched the use of the word, "business." :) But, I needed a "b" word for the alliterative title of this post. I figured, laundry was taking care of business, so there you go.

The rest of our day has been quiet. Hope the start to your weekend has been a good one.

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another Dulcimer Gig

Thursday is one of two days per week that I have to get up and get moving in the morning (the other day is Tuesday). These days are dulcimer days, where I go to play music with two different groups. Both of these groups also perform for various events in the area.

Today the Jubilee Pickers had the regular rehearsal, or jam session as they prefer to call it, from 9am until noon. We had a gig at 1:30 at a local assisted living home. I had played at this home last year, too. The residents are always so appreciative of our efforts. Today we had a lady get up and dance to a couple of our livelier tunes - it was great! It is such a privilege to play for these folks.

I got home about 3:30 this afternoon. It was a long day. Randy & I were supposed to go over to the clubhouse for dinner tonight, but I begged off. My belly isn't feeling too good and I figured I didn't need to eat a big dinner. The menu sounded really good, though; roast turkey, cornbread dressing, green beans, and dessert. I sent Randy on over with Dick & Pat. I'm sure he is really enjoying it!

That's it from southern Alabama. It's supposed to be frigid tonight - in the low 20s. Now, I know there are some of you who are enduring that temp as a high, so I'm sorry I'm whining. Ya just don't expect it down here!

Until the next time . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Fun Day

What is going on in southern Alabama??? This morning was colder than yesterday morning and the next couple of days are going to be even colder!! Like, in the 20s at night - what the heck? But, when I look at the weather in other areas, such as the northern midwest, I should not complain. So, that's the end of that.

Since it was so cold this morning, I decided I wasn't rushing out the door to go to Curves. I just took my time, had a couple of cups of coffee, had some computer time and watched GMA. About 8:30, the sun was shining brightly, so it was time to get out the door. If I sat around too much longer, I probably wouldn't have gone. I went, and had a much better workout than on Monday!

This afternoon I went over to the clubhouse to play music. Every week on Wednesday afternoons a bunch of acoustic players get together and jam. We had mountain dulcimers, a guitar, and hammered dulcimers today. We played for about 2 hours and had a wonderful time.

This evening we went to El Toro, a Mexican restaurant in Foley, to celebrate Ron's 66th birthday. There were 15 of us and we had a great time, as usual.

The food is very good at this restaurant and we ate too much - but that's nothing new! And since Pat had a birthday last week, we sang to her, too! Both Ron & Pat got to wear the birthday sombreros while we sang. Isn't that special???? :)

Now, I'm relaxing in my recliner, watching American Idol and posting this entry. Isn't life grand? :)

Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busy Tuesday

Today was busier than the past couple have been - and that's not a bad thing! I have found that if we sit around too many days in a row, we get stuck in such a rut - and that IS a bad thing! :)

I had a dulcimer gig this morning with Jam N Folks. We played for a rather large crowd of snowbirds from a Methodist church in Gulf Shores. The program was an hour long and it went really well. The audience was very appreciative and we had a good time.

This evening we went over to the clubhouse for a baked spaghetti dinner. While we have a cook on staff, the serving and clean up is done by volunteers. I cashiered this evening for the meal. Yeah, I'm not so good at serving or cleaning up, but I can handle the money! :) The meal was very good, as usual. And the price can't be beat! For $5/person, you get the entree, salad, dessert and drink. I can't feed Randy Guiler for $5 EVER!!

Gotta run - American Idol has started its new season!!! YAY! Until the next time . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Planning for Our Trip Out West

It got cold last night! When I got up at 6:45 this morning, it was only 33 degrees! So, I won't be gloating over our weather for awhile, I guess. :)

Had my quiet time and got out the door to go to Curves. This cold/cough/whatever-it-is-that-won't-go-away doesn't help my workout. I just didn't have the energy I usually have. I still managed to work up a sweat, but felt a little crappy afterward. Oh, well. It'll go away eventually. Or it'll get worse. Either way it'll be gone.

I spent most of the day tweaking our upcoming trip. I've been looking forward some different campgrounds in California, trying the get the best bang for our buck. I finally settled on the two I think will work best. I even made reservations at the one just outside of Los Angeles. Boy, those California campgrounds are expensive! The rest of the trip is pretty much in place. This is going to be a great trip, though. We are going to see so much; the five months will go by in a flash, I'm sure.

I also found out that my sister is going to be in LA the same time we are. Her son lives there so she's going to combine her visit with him and hang out with us, too. I am so excited!!

Tomorrow I've got a dulcimer gig and then dinner at the clubhouse. Should be a good day.

Until the next time . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Souper Evening

We were a bit more lively today. Of course, just getting up out of the recliners a couple of times would have been more lively than yesterday!

We went to church this morning. We had some good praise music this morning, really touched my heart. Pastor Bill also shared a great message on doing a reset on our finances - making sure that they are in God-order, versus good order. It never hurts to hear a reminder of where all that we have comes from. Nothing we have is ours, it all comes to us by the gracious hand of God. We are merely to be managers of it, and hopefully, we are good managers.

Tonight was the annual Soup Night at the clubhouse. This is one of the events I really look forward to each year. It's a smorgasbord of soups! Whoever wants to do so, makes a pot of soup and brings it to the clubhouse to share with the crowd. A donation of $3/person is asked and the proceeds go to a local charitable organization. Each person gets a cup and goes from soup to soup, sampling all the soups desired. It's a great deal, good food, and a good cause. Of course, it's always held on a Sunday night, so we get to have our ice cream for dessert!

Always a good time here at Rainbow Plantation! Until the next time . . .

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Boy, Were We Lazy!

What lazybones we were today! I did get up early and get the laundry done, but that has been the extent of my "doings" for the day. Oh, I also went out with Randy this afternoon when he walked Blackie.

The rest of the day has been catching up on the shows we had recorded while we were traveling during the holidays. It was great weather for just sitting in the rig and vegging. It's been horribly humid and rainy all day.

Dinner tonight was a new recipe, Chicken, Ham & Rice Casserole. It was pretty good. And since I know some of you will ask why I didn't post the recipe - here you go. I'm thinking of adding some frozen mixed veggies next time to it.
  • 2 c. cooked white or brown* rice

  • 1 c. cubed ham, cooked

  • 2 c. cubed chicken, cooked

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese

  • 1 c. bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs and cheese. Top with bread crumbs then cheese and bake at 350° for 30 min. (closer to 45 min. for brown rice).

That's it! Aren't you just wild with jealousy at our exciting life?!?!?!! ;)

Until the next time . . .

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Birthday Shout-Out and a Nice Lunch

Today is the birthday of our oldest child! Ginny is 40 years old today!! She and our grandson, Tommy, live in Colorado Springs, CO. This is a picture of Ginny & Randy dancing at Kevin's wedding.

We had a quiet day for the most part. I didn't go to Curves this morning. I know, I know!! I have been a slacker where exercise is concerned for the last three weeks. When I got up this morning, I just felt yucky. This cold, or whatever it is, just got the best of me today. I just lounged in my recliner all morning, watching TV and playing on the computer. Once I took my shower I did feel a lot better, but still not 100%. I just wish the cold would either go away or get worse so I could go to the doc and get some drugs. This in-between thing is a pain!

We did go out for a late lunch/early dinner with Dick & Pat this afternoon. Pat had 2 for 1 coupons for Ruby Tuesday's, so we got a REAL dinner! :) Randy got the sirloin steak meal and I got the Shrimp Trio. It was all very yummy.

After dinner we took ride over to another RV park where Wendyl & Tiffany are camped. They are friends of Dick & Pat from Oklahoma. We met them last year when they spent a couple of months down here. They just got in this week and will be here for a while. I'm glad we got to see them before we leave in a few weeks. We had a nice visit with them and hope to do something together before we take off.

We ended the evening with dessert at Dick & Pat's. Pat had made a scrumptious pineapple cream pie and shared it with us. Great way to end the night!

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Not Feeling So Good

We had beautiful weather today - the skies were a clear blue, with the sun shining brightly and the temps went over 70 degrees! Just gorgeous.

I went to Jubilee Pickers this morning, it was good to see everyone again. There was lots of hugging and "Happy New Year"-ing all around. This is such a great good of people. I will miss them when we leave next month.

Once home, I got some lunch and then went outside to enjoy the sunshine. I was going to read a bit, but ended up closing my eyes for a bit. Not sure if I really slept, but I did relax real good! :) The wind started kicking up, so I came back inside and laid down on the bed and slept for the next hour and a half.

I'm still fighting (and losing, I think!) that cold that I picked up while in PA. I'm thinking it's going to end up as a case of bronchitis - ugh! We'll see. Tonight I'm just not feeling good; not bad, but just "off." No comments!! :)

Not much on the agenda for tomorrow or the weekend. I'll go to Curves in the morning. And we do have a late lunch date with Dick & Pat tomorrow afternoon, but that's it as far as I know.

Hope everything's good in your world. Until the next time . . .

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Getting Back to the Routine

Spent the day getting back into a routine. I didn't set my alarm last night 'cause I was looking forward to a good night's sleep in my own bed. And I got it. I slept 'til 6:40 this morning! That's late for me. I had my quiet time. (I'm reading the Bible in chronological order this year - check out the icon on the left side of the blog for more info!) Then, I went to Curves - man, I sure can tell when I haven't been for a few days. Last time I went was a week ago in PA.

Back home after Curves, I had my coffee and computer time. Then we got ourselves together for a grocery run. I had made up a list and menu for the month last night, so off we went. A couple hours later we were home and done for the day.

That was it. I did take a nap this afternoon. I haven't felt great for the last few days, caught a cold while up in PA and I just can't shake it. Guess it'll run its course eventually.

Tomorrow's a dulcimer day. Looking forward to that, I missed playing these past couple of weeks.

Until the next time . . .

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

We're Baaaaaaaacccckk!

We pulled into our site at Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, AL around 12:30 this afternoon. Boy, it's good to be home.

We ended up spending the night at the Flying J in Commerce, GA where we had stopped just to fuel up. Randy had wanted to get past Atlanta last night because rush hour in Atlanta is not pretty. But, when we checked for truck stops along I-85 after Atlanta and there were none within 10 miles. Since Commerce is a good 60 miles east of Atlanta, that meant we were talking about driving more than 80 miles to get past Atlanta to another truck stop. That just wasn't a good idea at 11:00 at night after already driving more than 12 hours. So, we hunkered down in the truck for the night in Commerce. And what an ugly night it was - the rain poured and the wind blew. Plus it was 65 degrees and humid. Since it was raining we couldn't put the windows down in the truck which made it very warm and stuffy. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well. But, Randy did and that's what matters because he was driving.

We woke up about 4:30 this morning and, since Randy was wide awake, decided to get on the road. We hit downtown Atlanta about 6:30 and while traffic was heavy even at the time of the morning, it moved steadily at 60 to 65 MPH. We sailed right through with no problems. Nice!

About 8:30 we stopped in Opelika, GA for breakfast at . . . Cracker Barrel! What a shocker, I know!! :) Are you tired of hearing about our forays at CB? Well, we can't stop now - this was Number 64! But, you'll get a reprieve for the month of January, 'cause even if we eat at one, it won't be a new one, so it doesn't make the count.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. The day got warmer the further south we traveled. Aahhhh, it felt so good! I was even TOO warm 'cause I still had my sweatshirt on from beign up north. At 10:00 am, it was sunny and 70 degrees. Perfect.

Once home, we (meaning Randy) unloaded the truck and we (meaning both of us) got unpacked. Then I grabbed a much-needed shower, which felt soooo good, and just relaxed. Randy jumped in the shower after me. Two days of travel needed to be washed off! It was wonderful to be back in our own home, in our own recliners, surrounded by our own stuff. As much as I thoroughly enjoyed being with our kids and wouldn't trade the time for anything, it's always nice to be home.

Our good friends, Darrell & Judy, fed us tonight. There's an unwritten rule in the RVing world - no one should have to cook on a travel day. So, Darrell & Judy had us over for dinner and it was great - the food, the conversation - we just enjoyed the evening.

Now, we're back in the rig, watching TV. Life is back to normal. :)

Until the next time . . .

Monday, January 05, 2009

On Our Way

It's about 9pm and we are cruising west on I-85 in South Carolina, almost to the Georgia border.

After much hugging, we got out the door this morning about 8:30 and headed over to the doctor's office. Both of us needed a BP check and it was time for my annual exam. We got out of the doc's about 9:30 and headed for I-81 by way of Carlisle where the closest Flying J was located. That was the cheapest diesel fuel we could find in PA. We got fueled up for $2.20/gallon (with our HUGE one cent discount) and jumped on I-81 and began our journey home.

So, we really didn't get on the road until 10:30 going on 11:00. We made a CB stop in Harrisonburg, VA about 1:30 for "breakfast." :) That's our 63rd Cracker Barrel! I think I said we hit 63 once before, but I was wrong. This is our 63rd one.

Randy is hoping to get past Atlanta tonight. I don't know how he does it - I could never drive for 15 hours like he does. Of course that's only when we're not towing the rig. But, it doesn't bother him. And I'm grateful for that.

Not much else to report. Here's our sunset tonight in Virginia. Pretty cool, huh?

Until the next time, hopefully from Alabama!!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It's Time to Go Home

It's 6:30pm EST on Sunday evening. Jason, Lindsay & Reagan are playing "Hungry, Hungry Hippos," Randy is watching TV and I'm blogging. The way this would be a better family scene would be if Kevin & Sara and Ginny and Tommy were here, too. I do love my family.

Unfortunately, tomorrow will be another good-bye. Randy & I will leave about 8:30 in the morning, go to a doctor's appointment for a quick BP check and then hit the road. And I think it's going to be a bit tough this time around. Often when we leave for an extended trip, it's not too rough because we've been here for several months. This time, though, we've only been here for a week and will not be back for six months.

While I am grateful for the technology that allows me to talk, email, and even see the kids (via Skype), it's still not the same as being in the same room, hearing all the nuances of family life. But, that's the trade-off of this nomadic life. I love our traveling; I just get a little sad sometimes. Once we're on the road, I'll be fine - it's the anticipation that is hard.

So, instead of whining and moping, I'll join in the fun and store it in my head and my heart. That way I can bring it out again when I need a fix. :)

I really hope that your holiday celebrations were everything you wanted them to be. As we begin this new year, I pray that your blessings outweigh your burdens and you are able to find joy in every day.

Until the next time . . .

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Our Last Christmas Celebration of 2008 (in 2009)

Several years ago we started the tradition of my extended family (parents, sister and her family) postponing our Christmas get together to the Saturday after Christmas. Because my sister and I have divorced and remarried, our kids have "extra" parents so they have additional family to celebrate with. Also, they have all married now so they have in-law celebrations to add to the mix. So, in order to alleviate the stress of the "fun" of Christmas with all of those celebrations, my family decided to do our celebration after Christmas.

And today was the day. Our niece Megan and her husband, Matt, hosted our get together this year. This is their first family function at their home since they married last summer. They did a marvelous job! The food was plentiful and very good and the house was decorated beautifully. And everyone was there except for our nephew Joe and our niece LuAnn and her husband, Eric.

My family has fun together no matter what. That's one of the things I absolutely love about my family. We laugh harder and louder than any other people I know. Yes, it can be obnoxious at times, but I LOVE IT!! And today was no exception. The gift giving and opening was a fury of paper and "who's that for??" and "thank you!!" Afterward, the kids play with whatever they were given and the adults settle in to catch up with each other.

I got a little emotional this year. I guess it's because both my folks were ill during this last year and to have them both here, in pretty good health is the best gift possible. Also playing into it is that we only got to see them and my sister and her family today; we won't see them again for six months, when we get back to the East Coast in July. That's always hard for me. I truly like my family and miss being part of their every day lives. I thank God for technology - it really helps!

I'll leave you with some pictures from the day. Enjoy. Until the next time . . .

My folks

Friday, January 02, 2009

Not Much Different

Well, so far, 2009 is not very different from 2008! :)

Today I went with Lindsay to meet a girlfriend and her two kids for lunch at a McDonald's with a play area. I am SO glad we didn't have those when my kids were little! While it's a great idea in theory - a place for the kids to play and get some of that massive energy out of their systems - there's also a lot of crying involved, and sometimes it's the kids! :) When it's time to go home, nobody ever wants to stop playing, of course.

The good part was that Lindsay and her friend, Lindsay, got to see each other and touch base for a bit. They hadn't been able to do much of that during the holidays. Also, Reagan got to play with her buddy, Mani. So, it was worth it after all.

This evening Randy & I are babysitting while Jason & Lindsay went out for some adult time with two couples from the neighborhood. We got some one-on-one time with Reagan which is always a good thing! I love to sit with Reagan during quiet time, right before bed. We cuddle while we watch one of her shows and I love it!!

Now, it's quiet except for the washing machine. We're watching SciFi Channel and just relaxing.

Tomorrow promises to be a crazy, wonderful day. We're celebrating Christmas with my side of the family and it's always nuts. I am excited to see my folks, my sister and bro-in-law, and all my nieces and nephews.

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, January 01, 2009

And So It Begins . . .

. . . another year in which to enjoy this life that we have been blessed with.

Last year was full of making new friends, reuniting with old ones, seeing new places, and spending time with family. We saw our son marry a wonderful young woman and set up a home in Ft. Riley, Kansas. There were many reasons to rejoice last year and less reasons to mourn - you can't ask for more than that!

As we begin a new year, there are no resolutions being made, no promises to "do better" at anything; just the knowledge that we need to live the life we've been given to glorify our Lord and enjoy each moment to the fullest. And that's our plan for 2009!

Today we spent the bulk of our day with the Mackin family - James, Amita, Kelly & Kate. Kelly & Kate are our "adopted" granddaughters. Amita and I worked together for several years at our church and we became very close. Their daughters are so special and mean very much to us. We have celebrated Christmas with them the last few years on January 1st.

This year Amita's sister, Sheila, and her family were there, too. Amita made a marvelous brunch for all of us and while we ate our fill, we were able to catch up. Amita and I can pick up right where we left off the last time we were together and chat the day away. It's great. Finally, the kids were tired of us chatting in the kitchen - they were ready to open presents!

Amita had given me the girls' wish lists so I was pretty sure the presents would be a hit. They were! Kelly is 10, so she is very cool about her gifts. She was excited, but not over the top, "oh my gosh!!!" excited. But I know she was happy with them. Kate is 7, so there's still very much the little girl excitement in her. Even though it didn't take long to open just a couple of presents, we loved watching their reactions.

Kelly, Amita & Kate


Virginia (Amita's mom), Amita, Kate, & Randy

After the presents were opened, and the girls were enthralled with them, the adults continued their conversations. All too soon, it was time to say good-bye. But, we'll see them again when we get back home next summer.

I hope your new year has begun with joy. I wish you every blessing this year and hope that you draw closer to the Lord as the year goes by and He shines His light on you.

Until the next time . . .