Thursday, July 31, 2008

7/31/08 Zilch!

Not a darn thing worth writing about. Hey, it happens.

While I have nothing to write about I do want to share this video with you if you are one of the few who haven't already seen it.

Click here: YouTube - Christian The Lion - Reunited - From "The View"

This gives me chills every time I watch it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

7/30/08 Shrimp...FINALLY!

Today proved to be another hot and humid one. It doesn't seem like we're going to get out of the 90's anytime soon.

We planned on heading back to Delaware fairly early today but our niece Ryann called to say that she, her husband, Steve and the little guys were going to come down for a little while this afternoon. It was no problem to delay the hour ride back for the chance to visit with them.

Soon they arrived and we sat on the deck for awhile and then moved inside because the heat was getting to us. The kids started getting antsy after awhile because they know the river is close and they wanted to go swimming. We'll have lots more time to visit before we head back west so they took off for the beach.

We had to make a few stops on the way home for over the counter stuff for Bob as the cold seems to have a good grasp on him.

As promised, shrimp were steamed for dinner and we ate until we were about to bust. In addition we had some very sweet corn on the cob.

That's about it for today, nothing earth shaking on our end.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7/29/08 WOW! Reality Sets In

Note: I've added pictures for the past days worth of posts if you care to go back and look.

Its sticky. Its hot and humid and we long for the dry desert...not the brown part of the desert but the dry heat part of it.

Its too hot to do anything other than sit in front of the TV, read or play cards or get some computer time in while sitting in the air conditioning. Its even too hot to eat.

We hung around the cottage today because of the reasons listed above. Besides, Bob has caught himself a summer cold, the worst kind.

The four of us did venture out to dinner tonight, quickly running from the air conditioned cottage to the air conditioned car which was started ahead of time giving it a chance to cool down.

We went to The Granary located in the same area as the Georgetown Yacht Basin. We talked on the way over that the boats don't leave the docks like they used to due to the high fuel costs and lousy gas mileage the larger boats get.

I wanted to get a picture of restaurant, with its second story walls of windows that diners look through at the marina as they eat their meals, but the sun was in the wrong place so all I got was a picture of the sign.

After a 15 minute wait we ushered to our table for four just one row in from the tables next to the windows. This afforded us a good view of the marina below.

We all enjoyed our meal very much and when finished walked down to the docks. We saw this family of ducks, a mother and nine ducklings.

We were going to arrive back at Crystal Beach just before sunset so I asked to be dropped off on Bay Boulevard so that I could catch the sun as it was going down. While waiting this 30-something and I started a conversation and it came out that I grew up and spent my teenage years here during the late 60's and early 70's. She exclaimed, "I've heard about those years! You were so lucky to have been here then." She went on to say that during neighborhood BBQ's the good ol' days are always brought up and she wished she could have lived during that time. ....EXCUSE ME! Did you say good ol' days? My PARENTS lived in the good ol' days, not US! I let its slide and sat on my hands so I didn't slug her. I assured her that she certainly did miss the good times back in the 60's... NOT the good ol' days thank you very much. Punk kid!

As I waited for the sun to turn into a big orange ball and slide down into the horizon my mind drifted back to the days of peace signs, surfer cross necklaces, Nehru jackets, 8-track tapes and spending hours on the fringe of a pair cut-offs getting it just right, not too long and not too short. Separating each thread with a straight pin and pulling slowly so that the fringe wasn't crooked in any way. I looked out over the river, still and smooth as glass, remembering the after dinner trips in the boat with Dad, waterskiing from Crystal Beach to Westview Shores and back again, practicing jumping the wake. What I wouldn't give to spend two hours doing that again. Of course if I did that today I'd probably spend two weeks in traction.
I looked at at Turkey Point and remembered the lazy days of summer when 20 or 30 of us would pile into boats and anchor over there, swimming, drinking our ill-gotten beer or bottles of Boonesfarm wine (at 99 cents a quart) listening to the music of the day, everything from AM bubble gum music to Motown to acid rock and everything in between. When Viet Nam was always on the front page and on the newscasts but it didn't really matter to us. We weren't old enough to be really affected by it until an older brother was drafted.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. July 20, 1969. The beach cleared, everyone went home. We were all going home to watch television to see the first man walk on the moon. I can remember hearing the cheers from the surrounding cottages and those from my grandparents TV room. There must have been 15 of us crowded in there, me and friends sitting on the floor, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. A day to remember for sure.

The sun has set and I made my way back to the cottage. I passed one house with a butterfly bush that was just covered with these winged beauties. There had to be a dozen or more, different colors and sizes. Truly a sight to behold.

I knocked on the door of one cottage on my way back but didn't get an answer even though I could see a TV was on. "Murph" was home but he wasn't answering. Back at the house I looked him up in the phone book. When I called, he answered and I asked him how come he didn't answer the door. He replied, "I didn't hear it". I told him I'd be right over, he asked who I was and I told him he'd find out when I got there to give me 5 minutes. When I returned he answered but it was dark by now and the porch light had burned out. Too dark to see. He asked again who I was. I told him we should go in where its light. When we did he looked at me and said, "Oh my God, Snookie!" We hadn't seen each other in over 35 years. After a big hug we settled on the front steps for a chat. We played a lot of "remember when" and he brought me up to date on his family and our mutual friends that he has seen. He hasn't changed a bit, oh yeah, there are the laugh lines around the eyes and his hair is now light brown instead of blonde but overall, he hasn't changed. It was so great to see him again.

From there I went to see the Sharrow's. Debbie was my closest friend in that family but I hung out with her brothers Steve and Jeff too. Debbie is only down on the weekends now but her mom lives there all year round as does youngest brother Jeff. Again, Jeff hasn't changed much but there is some gray in his hair now and sports a beard I've never seen before.

It was so wonderful to these two friends of mine of years gone by. These once "stud muffins" of Crystal Beach Manor who used to be quick at braggin' about how many beers they could handle or how far they could water ski now brag about kids and grandkids. GRANDKIDS! Wow, we grew up. We're middle aged now. Awwww man,,,,this sucks! Big time! Yep, reality has set in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

7/28/08 To The Cottage!

We are heading to the place where I grew up in the summertimes of my youth.... Crystal Beach Manor in Maryland, situated on the Elk River. More about this later.

We got up this morning knowing we were going to the cottage today but we didn't seem to be moving too fast. It wasn't until almost 11 that I decided I should throw in a load of laundry before we go.

Mom and Dad drove their car and Bob and I followed a little later in our nephew's borrowed truck. Bob and I were supposed to go to the VFW dedication today. There was a fire some time ago and now the renovation is complete and the whole building is once again usable. On the way Bob changed his mind so we changed courses headed for Maryland.

Crystal Beach Manor is about an hour away from my parent's home in Delaware. We headed on down and Bob decided we had better stop and get a case of beer. I told him we could stop at the Beach House on the way and pick it up there. Since the Beach House is only a couple of miles from the entrance of the beach it made perfect sense to get it there.

On the way we passed new homes that weren't there the last time we were at the cottage. Summer of '06? '05? It was like driving to a place we had never been before, it all looked different. We made the final turn and in a half mile or so we would be at the Beach House. When we arrived there I remembered Mom telling me that it burned down. To the ground. It wasn't rebuilt. No problem I told Bob, we'll get beer at the Archway Inn, a restaurant/bar that sells takeout just outside the beach property. Yep, that's what we'll do. A few miles later we arrived. Its closed on Monday's. OK, no problem, we'll slide right into Plan C. Turn around and we'll go back to a small town called Cecilton, 5 miles in the other direction. Its a nice day for a drive anyway. Found the beer place....also closed. What's going on here???? Ok, Plan D, drive on to Warwick, another 5 miles out, the Washington House should be open and we can get beer there. We came up on it too fast and drove right by it. Took a while to find a place to turn around, Bob has something against hanging a U-ey, and we finally made it there. I ran in to get the beer and was surprised at the price! 24 cans for $19.02! Highway robbery! With beer in the back of the truck we once again headed for the cottage.

We arrived to find the "always there" archway at the entrance gone. Someone hit it with their car and the brick archway was never replaced. To someone's credit there is a nice sign in its place, but its not the same.

As we drove to my parents place we passed the the Manor House as it was always known by and saw the sign advertising 30 cans of Bud for $16.99. Sheesh!

When we arrived Mom was busy cutting the grass even though we told her not to do it that we would take care of grass cutting duties this week. She didn't want to hear it, she loves to cut the grass!

We settled in and unpacked the truck. Now Mom had told us this morning that we were going to have steamed shrimp for dinner tonight and we both thought about that meal all day as neither of us have had steamed shrimp in quite a while. When Mom came in she said dinner plans have changed as she thought she had shrimp here but it turns out there was none. We'll have it Wednesday instead at home.

After a dinner of burgers Mom and I took a walk around the beach and I was so surprised at the changes. Where once modest summer houses stood on Bay Boulevard, the street with the river view, now stood mini McMansions. Beautiful homes with stone facades and large decks and winding brick walkways. Forty years ago prices for cottages were $5,000 for a NICE place and now they go for $300,000 plus! Oh how times have changed. I could have kicked myself for not taking the camera with me because we watched a beautiful sunset over the river.

I spent my summers at this place starting when I was two weeks old. My grandparents bought a cottage back in '54 and in '69 my parents bought their's just up the street. At the time most people didn't even know this cottage existed because it was literally covered with bushes and vines. For a full year they renovated this place. When they took the cardboard "paneling" in the living room down they were surprised to find the electrical wiring was nothing but extension cords! What a firetrap! When they saw the man they bought it from a short while later they asked him why the bedroom door was cut in half. (top and bottom) He replied his wife had bought him a new saw and he wanted to try it out so he cut the door in half. One more thing, when he handed over the keys he told my mom that a family of skunks lived under the cottage and that they like white cake with chocolate frosting and they didn't care for chocolate cake and they loved hot dogs! Mom thought to herself, "Yeah right, like I'm going to feed a family skunks!" So my parents turned into this "dump" into one of the nicer cottages on the beach for that time.

This was the greatest place to spend the summers. There were a lot of kids my age and we spent our days on the beach or waterskiing on the river. It seemed all the boys had boats, or at least their dad's did for which they had the use of. At night time there was dancing down at the pavilion, bingo, a game room with pinball machines one played for FIVE CENTS!, fires on the beach and when we got a little older keg parties in the local cornfields. Oh yeah, this was a great place to grow up.

A lot of my friends from back then now have their own cottages or even live here year round.

This place brings back tons of great memories.

Birthday wishes to twins Cathy and I grew up with, both at home and here in Crystal Beach.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

7/27/08 Back to the Old Neighborhood

After morning coffee/Pepsi and reading the Sunday paper we headed back to the old neighborhood where we lived for 26 years to visit our friends.

First stop was John and Ruby's. This couple is in their mid 80's and John and Bob were just the best of friends. Nearly everyday Bob would walk two doors down and sit outside with John, and most times Ruby, and while away an afternoon or early evening. The smile on their faces when they opened their door and saw us standing there was priceless! John has missed Bob very much even though some of the other neighborhood men have taken to sitting with them under the tree. We're just glad that others are helping them with things that Bob used to do for them.

After a half hour or so I walked up to the corner to see Cherin, another "original owner" in the neighborhood. There are only three left now on our street. She brought me up to date on the goings on and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

Next stop was Bev and Ed's. Our house was across the street from them and down one. Again big smiles/hugs when we arrived and it was so good to see them again.

Our house. Big changes, flowers gardens gone, fruit trees not taken care of, stained fence now painted white, no riot of color like I had every summer with my flowers,,,its just there. Bob had to keep reminding me that its THEIR house now to do what they want with. I know that it is but at least when that corner lot was ours with my colorful flowers on the both street sides it was pretty! Its so, so, vanilla now! Oh well, with the whole USA as our backyard my scenery is much better now and its changes all the time. I thought I would have "feelings" towards the house when I saw it. I didn't. Its a building. I do miss the living parts of it though...the flower/veggie gardens and trees. And I miss the neighbors. No that isn't right, I miss the FRIENDS we have there. We will go back again a time or two before we head back west.

We had a heck of thunder/lightning/rain storm this afternoon. I don't know how much rain got dumped on us but it was quite a bit and there were lots of lightning strikes!

Depending on the weather forecast, we may be heading down to the cottage in Maryland for the next three days. If so, I won't be able to post here because there isn't even any cell phone reception there, unless you walk to the top of the hill. I'll get caught up as soon as I can if that's the case.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

7/26/08 Not One Minute Sooner Than 10:55 pm

Happy Birthday to ME!

What a great day this has been. Lots of phone calls and emails and e-cards and snail mail cards wishing me a Happy Birthday. I think I've written all my thank you's but in case I've missed one please accept my heartfelt thank you. It's so nice to be thought of.

Mom and I rushed to Walmart this morning to get pictures printed from CD's that we have from little Steven's birthday party. I say we rushed because last night we went to get this out of the way and when we arrived both machines were in use. We struck up a conversation with the fellow also waiting and we found he had already been there 35 minutes and the two who had the machines were still going at it. So we waited, and waited, and waited,,,about 40 minutes. Finally, Mom and I ran to Penney's to pick up sheets that were on sale and when we returned the same two were still at the machines. The fellow had given up and left. After waiting well over an hour now we found out that no one was processing the pictures anyway so we finally gave up too with the thought we would come back in the morning.

This morning when we turned the corner we saw both machines empty! YES! We picked out the pictures we wanted copies of only to find out the processing machine was down. We just can't seem to win on this one. We left with the promise from the young man behind the counter that he would call when we could pick up the finished pictures.

Now when we were there Friday night a stock boy came out of the back carrying a box a piece of computer equipment had come in and he was all exicted. It seems as though he was preparing to send this defective piece of equipment back to the manufacturer and when he opened the box and removed the packing paper he didn't find what was supposed to be in the box but instead found a brick! Someone had returned a brick! I guess the people behind the returns desk didn't do their job very well did they. They felt the weight of the box and just assumed it held what was pictured on the box. Wanna bet there is a meeting of returns desk personnel in the very near future?

We hung around the house this afternoon with Mom and Dad and then met my brother Billy and sister-in-law, Michelle at Michael's Restaurant for dinner.

I have been looking forward to this for so long as Michael's is one of our favorites. All day long I was thinking about what I was going to order so I didn't even need a menu!

One of my favorite things to eat is Crab Imperial and Michael's makes the best I've ever had. In addition, they have a salad bar to die for. Add in a twice baked potato and I'm in heaven. The perfect birthday dinner. Oh heck, this is a perfect dinner to celebrate the sun coming up in the morning!

Everyone ordered what they wanted and then the feast began as we filled our plates from the salad bar. Everyone talked through dinner except for me. I just sat there and savored every bite. We will definately make a return trip to Michael's before we leave. Maybe even twice!

Pictures of my birthday dinner? Yep, had the camera, it sat right there on the floor next to me the whole time. I couldn't put my fork down long enough to snap any pictures.

So at 10:55 tonight it was official, I'm now 55 years old. Thank you LaVon for pointing out that I'm now eligble for the Senior Citizen discount at IHOP! Yep, with friends like you.......

I got one answer to my question of where the readers found our blog. RVGirl answered but she didn't tell me what city she was from. So please leave another comment RVGirl. By the way, she found us on RV I didn't know we were listed there so now this is three lists we've made. Also, we've turned another thousand on the counter, we're up over 32,000 hits now. This just amazes me!

Everyone should have as good a birthday as I've had today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

7/25/08 The Fisherman Returns

This humidity is kicking my butt! By Delaware standards the humidity hasn't been really bad, well, not as bad as it can get here, but to Bob and I who have been dealing with something like 14% humidity for a long time now this feels like the hot sticky air is just closing in on us.

I can't believe it has been a week since our plane touched down in Philadelphia, the time is flying by! One week down already.

This morning I went to Accurate Office Machines to visit with my former employer and friends there. This is Marie, she and her husband own this business and she is a very nice lady to work for and with.

Bev has worked for Accurate Office Machines forever and a day. One day during lunch we found out we had much in common. Our parents have the same names, Bill and Doris, we both have one sibling, a brother named Bill, we both married men named Bob, we went to the same high school, a 10 years apart and there is one other similarity and for the life of me I can't remember what it is.

Victor, one of the long time employees also has a birthday tomorrow so there was birthday cake and we got our picture taken together. Victor will be 80 and babysits his granddaughters, 3 and 5, two days a week. He says it keeps him young!

Afterwards I met with my forever friend Cindy and we did girlfriend things like going to get our nails done together. When my nails were drying the cell phone rang and it was Bob telling me he and his fishing buddies had returned and he was waiting at the VFW for me to pick him up. I told him to order a beer as my nails were drying and he would have to wait. I think he said something like, "OK, if you insist!" Oh yeah, like I was going to have to twist his arm on that one!

I dropped Cindy off at her house and headed to the VFW where I was sure to hear the tales of the big ones that got away. I wasn't disappointed.

Bob and his buddies have been making this trip to Oswego, NY for several years now. Sometimes there were enough guys that two boats had to be chartered and then there were years, like this one, that one would do. When we decided to fly east instead of driving Bob called his best buddy Bill to let him know that we would be home in time for him to make the trip. Six are taken out on the boat and the numbers were already there so it was decided that two of the guys would sit out a day so that Bob could get two days of fishing in.

Bob usually drove his truck to Oswego but this year he was able to be a rider, he finally got to see the scenery along the way that he missed in years past because of being behind the wheel. It couldn't have been anything spectacular because he didn't even mention it.

Here are some pictures he brought back from the trip.

His best friend Bill with his big catch of the day.

I don't know this fella's name, but he caught a nice one!

I'm still trying to figure out why the guys are so tired when they come home....

........ahhhh, must be those heavy beer cans they lift all day.

Here is Tuesday's catch.

Bob with two of the ones he caught.

Needless to say, Lake Ontario has less brown trout in it than it did a few days ago.

Back at my parent's house Bob filled the freezer with fish.

We had our first corn on the cob this summer with tonight's dinner. Oh my, how sweet! I'm always sorry that the fresh corn season is so short. We're going to have make sure we get our fill while we're here.

I'm glad the fisherman is home, now we can start on seeing family and friends that we haven't seen in much too long.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

7/22/08 - 7/24/08 Catching Up...

Spent these three days catching up with friends, neighbors and spending time with Mom and Dad.

Mom and I have settled into a routine that we had years and years ago when I lived at home. We used to play a card game called Spite and Malice everyday when I would return from work. Its been years since either of us played but as soon as a block of time presents itself we find ourselves at the dining room table cards in hand.

The three of us find ourselves on their enclosed front porch watching the world go by reminiscing about years past. At the end of the day we're still at it until late into the night, I haven't been to bed before 1 a.m. yet! We've got fifty four years to go over and that's a lot of memories to re-live.

Wednesday we had storms come through in the evening and the heavens dumped almost 3 inches of rain on us. The weatherman out of Philadelphia said this area had 20,000 lightning strikes! Who sits and counts these things?

I've got a birthday wish to send out to Gail who is turning double 5's on Thursday. I called her and told her I'm glad I'm not as old as she is. That's a joke between us because I'm only two days behind her.

Fifty five! I don't feel 55, well of course I don't cause I'm only 54 and will be 54 until the clock strikes 10:55 on Saturday night. I'm not giving up one single minute of being 54! I'm in no hurry to get older. There isn't anything I can do about it but I'm in no hurry just the same.

Bob called on Thursday morning from upstate New York. The fishing wasn't all that good on Tuesday but they caught their limit on Wednesday, lots of brown trout and a few salmon. He sounded tired so this bunch of guys must be fishing hard and partying hard and he wouldn't have it any other way.

Bob and I have decided that we are going back to Quail Run in Arizona this winter. We were going to drive east and winter in Florida this coming season but we aren't done sightseeing in the western states and haven't even been to Oregon and Washington yet. With fuel prices the way they are we thought it would just be too expensive to keep crisscrossing the country. Since we've made lots of friends in QR we decided to return for yet another season. We are so looking forward to seeing all of you again!

I was looking at the stats for visitors to this site and I'm really curious about something. I can tell what city and state our readers are in and how many pages of the blog were read in any given time period from those cities. Our top readers are from Livingston, NJ, Reston, VA, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, Huntington Beach, CA, Harbor City, CA and Riverside, CA. We don't know anybody in these places. So my question is how did you find our site? I'm just curious to know. And, why haven't you signed our buddy map? So readers from those places, and you know who you are, please leave a comment and satisfy this gnawing curiosity for me. You now know a lot about us and we don't have a clue about you!

Stay tuned friends, in the next couple of weeks my plan is to take you on a tour of Delaware!

Monday, July 21, 2008

7/21/08 A Cheesesteak At Last!

I looked forward to dinner all day! Today I had my cheesesteak!

My mom babysits either Steven or Justin one day a week for my niece, Ryann. (Her other grandmother has the other and they switch back and forth each week who has which kid) Today we had Justin, the youngest. He hasn't quite taken to me yet as I'm still a stranger to him but before the summer is over I'm sure we'll be great friends.

I did have to run some errands and I stopped in to see my friend Cindy who lives close to my parent's home. As it turned out she was going out the door with her daughter to run some errands so I tagged along with them.

My brother came to pick up Justin and he followed me to the local county airport to turn in the rental car. After dropping the boys off to his wife, Michelle, we went to his sons house because Dusty is lending us his truck for our use while we're here. It needed a new battery which Dusty had and after installing it and visiting awhile I took off because I was looking forward to dinner!

I have thought about this cheesesteak as much as I thought about my favorite sub these past months and the time was here! I did refrain from taking my camera because after all I'm in my old stomping grounds and there was a good possibility I could run into someone I know. How do you explain why you are taking pictures of someone making a cheesesteak? In front of strangers, I don't care, in my own hometown, nah, not gonna do it.

Cheesesteak in hand, I headed for home. It was just a matter of time before I was going to enjoy that first bite and I couldn't wait. Let me tell you, it was everything I imagined it would be. Felt like I died and went to heaven. Everyone should have the pleasure of a Casapulla's cheesesteak once in their life.

Mom and I sat at the kitchen table this evening and talked and talked and talked. Then we moved to the front porch and then the front steps. We talked about everything! We played a lot of "remember when" and laughed so much. We each brought up so many things the other had forgotten about. Finally at 2 a.m. we decided to call it a night. Actually, we were shocked when we looked at the clock and saw how late it was. That old saying is right....Time flies when you are having fun!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

7/20/08 Bob Takes Off....

This morning we hung around with Diane for awhile and then I took Bob to the VFW club so he could catch up his fishing buddy and get the details on their fishing trip this week. I went to Tanya's for awhile until it was time to pick him up.

We dropped off our luggage at my parents and then the four of us went out to dinner. Back "home" I repacked Bob's stuff and took him to his friend Bill's house because he is going to spend the night there since they and a bunch of others are leaving at five tomorrow morning for a fishing trip in upstate New York. We thought that best because the whole household would have been up at four while we got ready to take him to meet the others for the trip. Bob will be gone until Friday and I'll get some good one on one time with Mom and Dad.

By eleven I was yawning after the whirlwind of activity I've had the last few days.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

7/19/08 Today We See Family

After traveling yesterday and staying up talking with our friend Diane, we both slept in a little later than usual. It was just as well because the first half of the day went much too slow for me anyway.

Today, my great nephew, Steven, turns four and there is a birthday party at my brother and sister-in-law's home for him. Family members and friends will be there and they don't know we're in town. My mom had been after me to tell her when we were coming home but I kept telling her we didn't have a date yet. In fact, when we were driving from Idaho to Utah she happened to call me and just before we finished our conversation she asked me again if we had our tickets. I started saying, "Hello, hello" and I could hear her saying, "Snookie can you hear me?" I just closed the phone shut and let her think the call was dropped. Little did she know we would home the next day. Now my dad did know we were coming because just two days prior I told him. He had also asked me our arrival date and I just couldn't keep it a secret any longer. I made him promise not to tell anyone but I was sorry I told him.
I had to make a run to K-Mart to get the latest in Tonka trucks for Steven's birthday gift and decided to stop in at Walgreen's where my dear friend and neighbor, Tanya, works. One more who didn't know we were in town. I was standing behind her and when she turned around and saw me she was so surprised she screamed and the tears started. It so good to see these people who are so important in my life again.

So the party started at two and we arrived at two-thirty. Just as we were walking around the side of the house a friend of ours was asking my mom where we were in our travels. Mom told her we were in Utah and just then we came around the corner and she saw me. She sat up straighter and looked and Becky said, "What is it, what's wrong?" Mom said, "Is that my Snookie?" and others were noticing us walking through the yard. I walked into the gazebo and she just sat there with a big smile and I finally said, "Mom, can I have a hug?" It took a few seconds for everything to register I guess and then I finally got the hug I was waiting for. My dad was in the house with my brother and when I walked in there Billy was surprised to me and I think Dad was just glad. So mission accomplished, we surprised everyone.

Steven was only two when we left so we had to be re-introduced and his little brother Justin didn't remember us at all as he was just a year.

Here's our birthday boy.

He is quite the water-rat and loves jumping off the diving board, something he has been doing since he was 22 months old. Indulge me while I show off my great nephew.

He does this over and over and over. And he never gets tired! Oh to have that much energy!

Soon it was time for the birthday boy to open his gifts.

He was one excited little boy when he saw this Eagles football jersey!

Gifts opened, it was time to hit the pool again. He loves getting thrown in by his Uncle Dusty.

So many pictures of Steven, I just have to share a photo of his little brother Justin.

Ok, I'm done, my great aunt needs have been satisfied, I've shown my pictures of these two sweet little boys.

I thought my parents were going back to their cottage at the beach for the remainder of the weekend so we made arrangements to stay at Diane's one more night since they had no idea we were even going to be here. Besides, we knew the A/C at Diane's was going full force and the heat and humidity were kicking our butts!

So longs said, we headed back to Di's for a few more hours of talking and catching up before heading to bed.

Life is sooooo good!

Friday, July 18, 2008

7/18/08 WE ARE.....

H O M E ! ! !

Steve and Carol got us to the airport for our day long trip home! The best part, only a very few knew we were arriving.
We flew home on Southwest Airlines and things sure have changed since the last time we were on an airplane. Or maybe its just Southwest. They don't assign seats anymore much to our surprise and dismay. Our boarding passes, which I printed out the night before, had a big "B" on them with a number. We thought that was our seat number. Uh-uh. That said we were one of the last to board and when we did we found that all the window seats were taken as well as the aisle seats. We weren't able to sit together and Bob had a middle seat between two rather large men who were both determined that the armrests belonged to them since they sat down first. To say that Bob did not have a pleasant flight would be an understatement. Lucky for me my seatmates were friends so the aisle seat occupant moved to the center seat. Unlucky for me, I had a five year old behind me who kicked my seat from Salt Lake City to St. Louis. I tried several times to grab his foot but I couldn't reach it. You have no idea how tempted I was to kneel in my seat, facing him, and telling him that if he kicked my seat one more time I was going to tell the pilot to make him fly strapped to the wing! Now his mother was sitting right next to him, I won't go into what I would have liked to have told her! She knew he was kicking my seat because she did tell him once that he should stop that because it might make me angry. MIGHT???? Lady, you fly halfway across the country with the back of your seat constantly being kicked by some brat and see if you don't get angry! And then the little dear had a problem with his ears popping or maybe that should be they wouldn't pop. All together now.... Awwwwwww. Bob and I were both glad to see St. Louis!
The next leg of our flight went much better. The plane wasn't full so we got to sit together and there were no kids on the flight.
Since we didn't have to check baggage we didn't have to spend anytime waiting for luggage on the carousel. We went directly to the rental car agency and got our vehicle that would take us back to our home state. When we walked out of there we were hit like a ton of bricks with the heat and humidity. At 9:45pm it was still ninety degrees and the humidity had to be at ninety percent. It took our breath away. We realized in a heartbeat just how much we didn't miss humidity while we were in the western half of the U.S..
We drove as quickly as we could to our friend Diane's house where we would spend the night. We were greeted with cold beers and cold Pepsi's and an air conditioned house. Life is good. Since we haven't been "home" since November of '06 we had lots to catch up on and stayed up until almost two talking with her.
It's good to be home!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

7/17/08 A Vist in Salt Lake City

We were on the road by ten this morning, headed for Utah. We'll be staying with Steve and Carol, a couple who lived a few doors down from us in Quail Run last year. We found their place with little trouble and it was oh so good to see them again.

Steve and Carol have a mini campground on their property. It didn't start out that way but when they hooked up to the city water, rather than using the well, the requirements were to have a sewer drain every so many feet so they have several on their two acre property. Makes it nice for their RV'ing friends to come and stay. Plenty of room, sewer hookup and they run a hose for water and a cord for electricity.

After getting set up and settled in we walked over to their house and sat on the back porch. You would not believe the view they have. Bob and I would never leave the porch if we lived there! Did I have the camera with me? Yes. Did I snap some pictures? NO! Am I stupid? YES! Actually, I think I was so much in awe that it just never occured to me to get that camera working doing its job. I'll get some pics on here as soon as I can.

We went out to dinner where we all had very good meals. Of course, back at the house we sat on the porch gazing at the mountains in front of us and watching the city lights come on at dusk.

Before long we headed back to our house for a short while of TV before turning in.

Steve and Carol....thanks so much for having us!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

7/16/08 Getting Ready to Hit The Road Again

Tonight is our last night in this campground. We spent the day putting stuff away, running to the Fed ex placeto send our failed router back, a couple of trips to Walmart for Bob and the best part of all, a surprise visit from Quail Run friends, Paul and Diane E.

I was up in the bedroom putting clothes away and when I heard the knock on the door I just thought it was one of the neighbors that we had met. When I went to the door I couldn't believe my eyes! I was actually speechless.

They said they had been away without the computer and when they returned and logged on to catch up on the blog and saw that we were in town they decided to run over and surprise us. Mission accomplished guys, we were surprised! Once again, so nice to see friends we made last winter.

We're heading down to Salt Lake City, Utah to stay with Steve and Carol, once again, Quail Run friends.

We're looking forward to seeing the sights in SLC.

That's about it for today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

7/15/08 Our 19 Hour Day

When the clock struck midnite plus one today I never thought that Bob and I would be awake for nineteen hours of it.

Around 12:30 a.m. Bob woke me up and asked if I was warm. I was quite comfortable with the temps in the mid-50's and all the windows open. No, I wasn't warm. He went on further to say he was feeling dizzy and his left forearm was numb and his fingers were tingling. I was wide awake now.

When he said, "Snook, I'm scared" I knew we were headed for the hospital. Thankfully, I don't have one of those husbands who thinks the world is coming to an end because he has a cold. I knew this was serious stuff just by the look on his face. I asked him if he wanted me to call an ambulance or should we drive in. He thought for a minute and said that since he didn't have any pain that it would be ok to drive.

Within minutes we were dressed, teeth brushed and keys in hand. We got Doris, our GPS, to find the directions to the nearest hospital. She did a great job! You rock Doris!
The emergency room wasn't busy at all, maybe four or five others in the waiting room. Needless to say, they took Bob right away when they heard his symptoms.

They whisked him away while I waited in the waiting room with nothing but my thoughts and prayers.

It was quite awhile before I got to see him again. Like 2.5 to 3 hours. Let me tell you, your imagination can run away with you in that amount of time! I finally decided to go looking for him. I found in a him trauma room waiting for the room on the cardiac floor.

Poor guy was trying to cat nap but every 15 minutes the automatic blood pressure cuff woke him up when it tightened on his arm. At this point he had been nearly drained of blood anyway by the phlebotomists.

He was scheduled for or already had had a stress test, more blood tests, an x-ray, more blood tests, MRI, more blood tests and an EKG.

Finally around 5:30 a.m. a room came available and we moved to the 4th floor. We were both exhausted by now and just wanted to sleep.

The staff in this hospital, do you think I can think of the hospital name right now when I need it, was outstanding! So attentive and caring! We were both enormously impressed with the doctors and nurses. The blood suckers left a little to be desired as they had to stick him multiple times and he has good veins!

There was a recliner in his room and they took care of me too, making sure I had a pillow and blanket. I must have had a good cat nap because he went for the stress test and I never heard them come after him and leave the room or come back.

Once the hospital really came to life for the day it was too noisy to nap after that.

Bottom line, his heart his healthy, his doctor said, "You are too healthy to be in this hospital". We don't know exactly what was wrong but the amount of pollen in Yellowstone could have contributed, a really bad nasal drip could also be part of the problem and who knows what else.

He was finally discharged around 4 p.m. and we headed home. We were beyond tired at this point, we both thought we would turn in early but we knew we couldn't go to bed too early, we didn't want to be up again at three and raring to go. Of course around 9:30 or 10 when we felt it was late enough we both caught our second wind and couldn't go to sleep.

It was a long day, a scary day, one that I certainly wouldn't want to repeat, but I'm thankful that Bob is ok. Friends,,,,you know who you are, thanks for the prayers!

Monday, July 14, 2008

7/14/08 The Peacock Comes to Visit

Today we hung around the campground, doing normal things like laundry.

Bob was busy checking out car rentals for us because when we fly home to Delaware we'll be leaving our rig and truck at Don and Billie's (Quail Run) place here in Idaho and we're flying out of Salt Lake City, Utah so we'll need a car to get there. Well, this isn't going to work! It will cost us $140.00 for one day's rental because we're leaving it at a place other than where we picked it up. Uh-uh, not going to work, move on to Plan B. I called Steve and Carol from Quail Run because they also invited us to their place. Their invitation was still good and since they live only 18 miles from the airport they will take us and pick us up when we return. Gosh our plans change so quickly sometimes. Ok, so that's all set. Haven't I been telling you that we just make the nicest friends!

I called Don from Quail Run to let him know that we were in Idaho Falls and that our plans have changed, I got his answering machine. A short while later he returned my call and said that he was in Idaho Falls and would be at our place within the half hour. It was so great to see him! He visited with us for about 30 - 45 minutes and we agreed that when we returned from our visit home that we would come to his place for a few days so he and Bob could go fishing.

We had new neighbors move in today and they were at the Escapade in Gillette. We were talking about the Escapade and it was soon apparent that they were not Happy Campers! Jim told me he was so disappointed in his first Escapade that he isn't even going to renew his membership and had even written that on his critique form. It isn't just US! This experience sure isn't what a lot of us expected.

Later in the day another couple moved in and we learned that this is their very first week of full timing. Ah, I remember that well.

Not really too much else to tell you about today.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

7/13/08 Our Friends Leave Today and We're Right Behind Them!

We got up this morning and Bob told me he didn't have a good night at all. He had trouble breathing and just didn't feel "right". We're blaming it on the extremely high concentration of pollen and the high elevation we were at. At this point it was 8:30 and we had a decision to make since checkout was at ten. We decided to leave.

We put ourselves in high gear and got the rig road ready in no time. While Bob was doing some last minute things I went to fuel up the truck and to stop at the office to let them know we were leaving today. Once again, they refunded our money. I expressed my surprise at this and the lady behind the desk told me that a lot of people leave early because of breathing difficulties at this elevation. It is Xanterra's, a park concessionaire, policy to make the refunds which is very unusual.

On the way out we noticed this herd of buffalo. It seems as the week went on we saw larger and larger groups of them.


We had to stop along the way for buffalo and I noticed this natural spring that is bubbling up out of the large rock.


Again we were held up in traffic and we happen to stop next to this percolating hot spring.


We couldn't help but notice that traffic was a crawl but we couldn't see why. As we crept along we finally reached what was holding up traffic.


These three kept crisscrossing back and forth across the road so it took awhile before you could get around them.

We got behind this rig and couldn't figure out why he was traveling at a snail's pace. Soon it was apparent why he was crawling. This was walking down the middle of the road in front him. (Look on the shoulder of the road, click to enlarge)


A coyote!


Finally, the exit was in front of us and our trip to Yellowstone was over. This was one fantastic week! The beautiful scenery, the wildlife, the wonderful new friends we made, yep, a fantastic week! I am so very glad we made Yellowstone National Park one of stops in our journey.


As we drove through West Yellowstone, the town, I thought that this would be a great place to spend some time. It seemed that there was lots to do in the town including a playhouse, a bear exhibition, lots of shops and its fair share of tourist trap stores.

Even though we drove through Montana for a short while it isn't one we can add to our map because our rule is that we have to spend the night to make the map.


It wasn't long before we were out of Montana and into Idaho. Idaho, home to the Peacock and his Missus!


Some Idaho scenery.


The Grand Tetons from a distance.


We're going to be spending the next few days in the Snake River RV Park.


We have a very pretty site here and park is nicely kept.


Our view from our front door.


Now I've shown you what great sights we've seen this last week. Absolutely take your breath away scenery, things I'll probably never see again, but when we got here, at this park, and we turned on the computers and they worked I thought the most beautiful sight I've seen in a long time was this...............


Let the adventure continue.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

7/12/08 Ouch! My Butt Hurts!

Up at 5:30 this morning to get started for our morning of horseback riding. We had to give ourselves an hour to get to the place and experience told us that we would be pulling over to see wildlife along the way.

We had decided last night that we would have a BBQ this afternoon so I boiled potatoes and hard boiled eggs, cut up celery and onions in preparation for making potato salad. Since I had hit the shower and dressed first I had plenty time to put all the fixin's together before we left.

At 6:30 we all loaded up into the trucks and were on our way.

At this hour there was very little traffic on the road which made for a very nice ride. As thought, we stopped for wildlife.

Geez, ANOTHER buffalo, ho-hum.


These animals, on average, weigh 2000 pounds and can run, are you ready for this, approximately 35 miles an hour! Three times faster than your average human. Granted, they aren't long distance runners but to protect themselves or their young they will give you a run for your money,,,,,and win!

No, we aren't this close, this is thanks to our zoom lens. Over the years, hundreds of park visitors have been gored by the buffalo's horns because they got too close or teased the animal. This action by the buffalo causes serious injury and even death.


A little further up the road we were lucky enough to catch one swimming across the river. The current was extremely swift so even at two thousand pounds the buffalo ended up further down the river than where he started.


He made it across but had to rest before climbing up the bank of the river.



We saw yet another buffalo, this time with steam coming off his back. First pic is taken with regular lens and second with the zoom. Gotta love that zoom lens!


You know, you have to wonder, what did the early pioneers think when they saw these buffalo for the first time? I'm not sure, but I don't think these animals were on the east coast when the pilgrims landed.


There was lots of "steam" (?) coming off the river this early in the morning.


Further down the road we passed this small herd of elk grazing in the morning sun.


We finally arrived at the Canyon Ranch where the stables are. First thing we find out,,,NO CAMERAS! This does not make me a happy camper. Thinking back, its a good thing I didn't have the camera with me, but Bob did smuggle the little camera in his pocket so we have a few pictures from the ride.

This is Josh, one of our guides, getting his horse ready to go. I'm hoping MY horse isn't that big.


Now, as most young teenage girls do, I had my love affair with horses at 14. We lived near a stables that I could ride my bike to or mom would drop me off and pick me up in the afternoon. Back then you could "rent a horse" for $2.00 an hour. (Remember that figure) I would ride for my hour then just hang around the stables for the rest of the day in hopes that they would need one someone to be the leader on the trails and then I would get to ride for free. Unfortunately, there were several other girls the same age there and they were neighbors so they got picked more often than me. It didn't matter, I was just happy to be there. Oh yeah, I learned on an English saddle versus a Western saddle. The saddle I was used to had no saddle horn, laid much flatter on the horse and was just smaller all the way around. (Remember that too)

So we wait around for our appointed time and for the rest of the riders to show up. I snapped a few more pictures of the horses waiting for us.



The rest of the pictures were taken by Bob with our little camera.

Yellowstone 012

Yellowstone 013

A picture of our group while we are all standing upright.

Yellowstone 015

Remember the love affair with horses that I told you about, back when I was 14? Well, that was the last time I rode. Forty years ago!

Josh, the trail guide, called us altogether to sit down and listen to instructions. I would say there were probably twenty of us on this ride.

Ok, its time to be assigned our horses. We were told to stand inside of the corral fence in front of a painted number and wait for a horse to be brought to us. Ed rode Klondike, Audrey rode Dandy, Lauren had Buddy, Bob rode Skipper and I had Copper. Now, I never claimed to be a mind reader but as I gazed into Copper's eyes while the others were still being assigned their horses, I could swear this horse was plotting my death. He just stared at me. All the horses are males by the way, I think I would have been happy with a sweet little mare.

OK, time to mount up. I was looking for the portable stair steps that I would climb up and then easily swing my leg over the horse once they got him lined up with the steps. Oh no,,,that's not the way they do it here. When I put my foot in the stirrup I swear this horse stood up straighter making it all the more distance I had to pull myself up and swing my leg over. I finally got up there after two tries. Almost immediately the pain set in. The top of my legs where they bend went into immediate cramps. I was so grateful when the ranch hand came over to get my stirrups the right length and I got to hold my legs forward and the cramps were relieved. This saddle was uncomfortable! It was big, nothing like English saddles I remembered. I have to tell the truth though, I was glad that saddle horn was there because I hung on for dear life!

My thought was that is going to be a long hour!

Here's Bob, Audrey and myself already to go.

Yellowstone 017

So everyone is on their horse, stirrups have been adjusted, saddles checked for tightness and we're ready to go.

My horse, Copper, was hungry! Every chance he got he started grazing whenever we were at a standstill. I pulled as hard as I could on the reins but he was just so strong I had a hard time getting his head out of the clover. Then I had an "AHA" moment. I leaned forward as far as I could and quietly whispered in his ear........ glue factory. I didn't have anymore problems after that.

We were walking along at one point and Josh, the leader, said, "If anyone has a fear of heights keep your eyes to the right." What??? It seems as though we had to pass through this one section of the trail that had only about 4 feet of ground between the trail and a sheer 200 foot drop! I prayed my horse wouldn't stumble.

We passed a field of elk on the way and they just sat there and looked at us. Bob was able to pull out the camera for that.

Yellowstone 021

This hour went on forever! I wanted off that horse in the worst way. My left knee was giving out on me, it must have twisted somehow.

I had Audrey in front of me and I yelled to her, "Audrey, you're saddle isn't centered on the horse"...she yelled back, "I know" and with that what seemed to be slow motion the saddle just slid down the side of the horse and the next thing we know she's on the ground. Thankfully, her horse stepped away from her and she wasn't hurt. A ranch hand was there in no time to get her back in the saddle.

The ride was finally nearly over and we had to stop because the next group going out (for a 2 HOUR ride) couldn't move because a buffalo was standing on the trail and wouldn't get out of the way. So we all just stood there waiting for the ranch hands to come out and chase the buffalo, even that took awhile because the animal didn't want to move!

Back at the corral I eagerly waited my turn to get off the horse.

Yellowstone 023

When I finally got off I could hardly walk. The group I was with thought this was most amusing. Boy, did my butt hurt! Can you feel my pain?

Yellowstone 024

I remembered my $2.00 an hour rides fondly and cussed this $35.00 an hour ride the whole time.

On the way back to the campground we noticed a lot of cars on the sides of the road so we knew something had been spotted other than an elk or a buffalo. As we drove by we could see the bears. Bob found us a parking spot as quickly as he could and we walked back a little bit. Sure enough a mama grizzly and her two cubs. Here are the two cinnamon colored cubs. Mama is laying in the grass in front of the cub on the left.


I guess Mom had had enough because it wasn't too long before she walked off into the woods with her babies trailing behind her.


We headed back to camp and Audrey said she was going to do laundry to get that out of the way. While Bob and I were sitting outside talking we decided that we would leave Monday instead of Tuesday because of several reasons. No cell phone, no TV, no Internet and the pollen count is through the roof! Our white truck is yellow! So I rode up to the office to let them know we were leaving a day early. They refunded our money for the night's stay! Isn't that amazing?

Back at the house, Ed and Audrey came down to sit with us before we started our BBQ. The ladder golf game was brought out and that was played and Ed modeled his new denim shirt with Yellowstone patch that he bought for us.


Pretty soon Al showed up. He's a few sites down and he sat and talked with us and played some ladder golf.


Soon he went to get his wife, Jeannie, and we invited them to join us for our BBQ. Al and Jean were lots of fun and we shared many, many laughs. This isn't the most flattering picture of Jean but I didn't want to leave her out.


Bob fired up the charcoal grill and soon elk burgers, hamburgers, brats and hot dogs were cooking. Inside I was getting the rest of the food ready and Audrey was at her place cooking steamed shrimp.

What a feast we had! Everyone had plenty to eat and we sat around until the mosquitoes were so bad we couldn't stand it anymore.

One story I want to share with you. We were discussing how each couple met and how long we've married, etc.. On Ed and Audrey's 20th anniversary they renewed their vows. Lots of the same people there as the first one, bridesmaids, groomsmen, the whole enchilada. The priest had asked them if they wanted to use the traditional vows or make up their own. Ed had it in his mind that he wanted to make up his own and prepared for it. Audrey wanted the traditional vows. The day the vow renewal came and the priest asked beforehand what vows they wanted, Audrey said traditional but Ed protested loudly and when the time came he started with the vows he wrote. Audrey went on and on about how beautiful they were and likened them to a Hallmark card, not a dry eye in the house when Ed was done. Thinking they were repeating traditional vows, Audrey had nothing prepared. When the priest turned to her and said, "Audrey, would like to turn to Ed and give him your vows now" Audrey looked at Ed and said.......Ditto! Well, we howled when we heard this. Ed told us that the video picked up all the laughing people in the church too.

Back inside I told Bob time and time again....TODAY WAS SO MUCH FUN!