Friday, October 31, 2008

In an effort to get S2 to post

I've decided to talk about an incident that occurred on the way to Idaho.

After dropping Henry off at doggy camp on the peninsula I decided to take the Bainbridge Island ferry to Seattle and get on I-90 from there. To go from Kingston I would go through Edmonds to I-5 South then eventually get on I-90. Bainbridge to Seattle seemed a perfect choice. It was around 9:30am or shortly thereafter, so even traffic should be at least tolerable. Unfortunately I did not get into the right lane immediately upon disembarking the vessel (snicker, you have to ride the ferries a few times to understand the wording significance) so was stuck in a lane that forced me to go straight...since NO one would let me in. GRRRRR

Anyone who has driven downtown Seattle knows that there are an abundance of rather large hills leading from the waterfront to the next available on ramp. There are also stop lights at every hill, and even the first car in line is forced to sit with it's tail at a steep downward angle. Driving a manual transmission car on aforementioned hills is pure torture mentally and physically as one tries to do the clutch brake and gas all with only two ought to see me, with ONE foot.

Anyway...I have successfully negotiated three of these hill/light combinations and am only a block, and one light from the on ramp. The light turns green and I head up the hill by the courthouse. Traffic comes to a screeching halt. The Cadillac immediately in front of me stops to pick up a passenger; in the middle of the street, about 15 feet in front of the intersection; on the hill. I stop quickly and a young woman courier on a tiny scooter pulls behind me along with two other cars that are hoping to get through the light. The scooter is literally ON my bumper. I can't see the scooter in my mirror, just the top half of the woman. There are four cars and a scooter crammed into 15 feet of road. The passenger of aforementioned Caddy drops her water bottle as she prepares to get into the car; yep, on the hill. It rolls down the street. SHE CHASES IT!! The driver sits waiting. Door open. Not moving an inch. Her friend is running to catch her bottle. All I can do is pray that my truck will not decapitate the courier. It is automatic, but on a steep hill it still goes backwards a bit before engaging. This silly courier person is practically lodged between me and the car behind her, because, of course, no one wanted to sit at the last intersection any longer than they had to and the light was green when we all went through.

Needless to say, I was sitting on both the gas and the brake, and the courier left with her body parts least that time. Who is to know how long her luck will last. I hope she gets good insurance from the company that hired her. I used to worry about the bike couriers. This tiny scooter is even more dangerous, in my opinion.

I made is safely to Idaho and back. I learned to get on the Bainbridge ferry in the right lane; just as I learned to get on the Edmond's ferry in the left lane. A tiny bit of southern courtesy would be nice, Seattle...

Thinking happy thoughts in beautiful, albeit rainy, Kingston

(and Henry no tail, and Katelan with tail)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Princess Jack?

Yes indeedy. My own daughter! No tomatoes (and no set up).

Preschool parties can make for some very interesting shots. (I am glad that I don't know how to "enhance" my one can accuse me of manipulating anything because I don't have a clue how I would do it.) The idea was that the kids throw bean bags through the jack-o-lantern, which was hanging from the ceiling. Now y'all can think of your own captions. I'm exhausted from watching the chil'uns party.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Need I say more?

Henry and Kate are doing great! The house is covered in dog toys, which they have drug out of the doggy toybox. Sleep? Sure they get a nap here and there and slept great last night. Me? I sure wish I had bought a bigger bed six years ago when I moved here...(however, there is nothing better than to wake up to corgi loves.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I can't believe it

Meet Castell's Katelan. This little Cardigan Welsh Corgi is just one month older than Henry. I went to Idaho to see her brother and fell completely in love with this gentle young girl. I am the co-owner, along with the breeder, and hope to show her to her championship then have her as a companion to dear Henry. This corgi with a tail is so gentle that S2's daughter might even be smitten.

Tomato pics a bit later. Things to do and places to go.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm off

(Morgan is pretty happy with his artwork.) I went to an amputee support group meeting in Bremerton last night. I figured that I might be able to lend support. There was only one fairly new gimp there. The rest of us were from ten to fifty three years peg legged. While it was interesting and I may go back again for the heck of it, I found it trying at times. I did get a chance to see the AK computerized leg. Pretty darn cool!! The person wearing it was also missing the other leg BK. He said that the computerized leg was by far the best he had ever had...and he was the fifty three year veteran having lost his legs in a crushing accident at age 16.

It is 6am and I am about packed. The laundry is done. I drop Henry between 8 and 9 and then hit the road for an 8.5 hour drive through Washington, Oregon and into Idaho. CDs will take the place of my favorite grandma, S2. Hardly compares, but perhaps better to tap my foot to, eh?

A tomato will join me in her honor. The laptop will as well, but I am not so sure I will have a signal, and it IS only two and a half days.

Off to do chores and get things into the truck. I will post as possible.


Friday, October 17, 2008

The final product

Thanks to Morgan for the artwork. You inspire me, my son, I love you!
Thanks to Dan and GTOPI for putting the work on my socket.
Next up: training for the 3 Day Walk, which will take place in September, 2009.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It makes me go "awwwww"

While going through files to burn and clear up the computer I came across a few that just make me feel all warm and "grand-motherly"

An old picture of two of the girls. Lilly now has a full head of blond curls
My number two baby and her number one baby

Schyler's first day of school

When Kira was doing the 3 Day walk I got to have Amelia. She decided she wanted to ride Windy

I finally gave up fighting with Henry for the lead rope and let him lead them back to the barn

On the ferry headed home one night...untouched by any photo enhancing software
(sometimes Mother Nature can do the job just fine)
I just felt like sharing some of the important things in my life.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Things to do with a tomato

Song of the day (inspired by photo above)(what have I done????) S2
Happiness runs in a circular motion
Thought is like a little boat upon the sea.
Everybody is a part of everything anyway,
You can have everything if you let yourself be.
by Donovan Leitch

Just for the heck of it, I decided to google the above title phrase.

In Alabama there is a tomato fest; and they even crown a Miss Tomato!

In Lemington, Ontario they celebrate the tomato each year as well.

I found this quote from the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Bay, Florida

"Here is a real truth: When we do the right thing, when we change our ways, even just a little, to live in such a way as to lift up the best in ourselves and others, the tomatoes will taste better. I guarantee it." Bill Maxwell

From Mississippi State University Extension Services: May 12, 1999. Tomato spotted Wilt: Bad things happen to good tomatoes.

Of course there were numerous recipes and things to do with tomatoes, sauces, and ketchup.

I must say, however, NONE appeared to care for this veggie/fruit as much as 2 crazy Grandmas on vacation. For us it represented much more than salad makings or spaghetti sauce. Look closely, my friends; there, by superman's left foot! It is indeed the representation of all that we stand (snicker) for:

Tomatoes: they're not just for salads any more

Rooms on trip: $70/night

Airline ticket: $384

Gas for rental car: $500

quality time with a tomato: Priceless


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Can't stop

Arose this morning to check the post counter (quick, before S2 arrives) to find it at "666." It is only appropriate to post the link to the wonderful motorcycle. After instant messaging it to S2 we had a laugh quite like the one we would've had a week ago. Enjoy, my friends.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Best of Intentions...


A comprehensive rundown. Now that my credit card bill has updated (as well as my air miles account), I have a comprehensive list, in the correct order. Go ahead, laugh.

Hey G2, was it Gastonia and Paducah that had the three pillows on the bed, turned on an angle, that we liked so much? Or was it some other place? I think I've got it right...

An aside: The raspberry liqueur that I made in the summer of 2002...smooth! Oh so smooth! I hadn't had any for the longest time, and the last time all I could taste was the vodka that is the base. Apparently all it needed was to be forgotten for a few years. Very, very nice. All I require of an alcoholic drink is first, that it not taste like it has alcohol in it and second, that it taste really yummy (never could understand the allure of beer). It tastes like summer...Just the tiniest of sips every now and again, let it spread over the tongue. Summer.

I've decided not to do the motels after all, it's just that kinda night. And no, it's not the raspberry liqueur, I've only been tasting.

I wonder what would happen if I wrote the words 'Johnny Depp' in my blog? Will the actual number of hits threaten to explode my little hit meter? Will someone actually leave a comment? Will nothing happen at all? Don't you find it amusing that this paragraph comes after a run down of Best Westerns (in the East)(ah, good intentions) and the joy of liqueur? Maybe it does make sense, after all.

G2, you've got to put the link for those scary crochet photos in your next blog, pretty please?

My thoughts are going south

I still am having issues with the change of "temperament" between home and vacation. S2 has decided that we can integrate the southern attitude and thinking a bit in our every day dealings. By jove, I think she is on to something! Just as I enjoyed being greeted with a smile and a few kind words, I am finding that even the grumpiest people are quickly given an attitude adjustment with a cheery "howdy." However, I have found that it is difficult not to add a bit of the southern way of talkin' along with it, but what the heck, if it makes someone smile and be decent back, that's all that really matters, right? It is strange how the world stood still for a bit while I was gone. At times I feel like I was gone for months. I really am struggling getting myself into a routine. Thank goodness for the critters; I would likely live in my jammies if it weren't for chores.

Song for the day: "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude" sung by Jimmy Buffet

We have a great Jimmy Buffet history, but even without it, this just fits perfectly, wouldn't you agree, S2?

Time to lighten this up, again. Why would anyone crochet a cozy for a motorcycle? I really haven't a clue, but then why would anyone put a tomato in their ear?

Another bit of comic relief is gained by watching my two mini beasts. I am really not sure if the horse thinks she's a dog, or the dog thinks he is a horse. What I do know is that these two have become fast friends. When I got Henry back from "camp" (boarding farm), he jumped out of the truck and beelined it to the field to see Windy. She immediately began to nicker to him and groom him all over with her upper lip. He then promptly stole her carrot and high tailed it under the fence.

Tomorrow the new leg goes to the artist for airbrushing. The fix the prosthetist did yesterday took care of the problem. It will take about a week for the paint to dry and cure. Once I have it back I will begin training for the 3 Day walk, and I will be carrying my travel compadre in my heart every mile. We need to find a cure for this awful disease; it is within reach.

OK, I give up. The next time I blog I will need to do it when I am with S2; perhaps a bit sleep deprived...


Monday, October 6, 2008

29 Day Giving Challenge

I joined this absolutely amazing website late last night, and I urge anyone who reads this to join as well. Here it is:

The idea is elegantly simple. Give 29 gifts in 29 days. Bless your own life as you bless others. Thanks to Hope, in whose blog I found this wonderful campaign:

October is breast cancer awareness month, and I've chosen to send my first gift to Elysia Skye, who has been denied (bless those HMO's) funding for surgery she needs, saying it is 'experimental'. Read her story here: and then donate :)


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grandma, Teeth are not Tools

Packing, or rather UNpacking for the airport is quite the adventure these days (thanks, Mr. Shoe bomber). I know for a fact that I will be stopped at security; that is a given since my left lower extremity is mostly metal. However, carry on can be tricky, and we were planning on trying to carry on everything. (We were much wiser on the return trip!)

The first thing I do is empty the purse. I removed anything that could be considered a tool. Out go matches, which we could have used in those motels with no fans. Out goes the tire pressure gauge that I got for free when I got my tires. Out goes the little Swiss army knife. While I was at it, out went all the receipts that had lived there forever, the free movie ticket, the subway card on which I had been saving points just for then trip, sigh.

One suitcase was electronics stuff. GPS and cord, laptop and cords, camera, batteries and charger (I must admit I was a bit nervous about that one) a few books, movies, and a pair of long pants should I decide it was too cold to live in shorts the entire flight. This suitcase was the one that I wouldn't let out of my sight. The other had clothes and bathroom stuff. (Guess which one got checked coming back.)

We got to the airport plenty early and S2 had printed our tickets so we were able to go straight to the gate and the dreaded security screening. I had two suitcases, my fanny pack and a crutch. Wearing shorts and carrying the metal stick alerted security so the woman security officer was paged while I was still in line. You who have never set off the alarms have never had the pleasure of the "pat down." First the wand. Gee, it alarms on the left lower extremity. What a surprise. Then the fancy swab. First my hands, then a check of the machine...nope, no explosives residue. Then the swab around the top of the prosthesis. Gee, all clear there too. Then the pat down. I am asked if I want a private room, chuckle. Here I am, in shorts, new fancy black leg and crutch, showing the world my gimpness. No biggy. Oh, I forgot, shoes had to come off, which meant that shoes also had to go back on. Finally put myself back together and then have to put the bags back together. I was amazed at how quickly Sea Tac airport got me through, really I was.

Fast forward a couple of days. Riding in the car; our nice rental car, that got great mileage and really did have a/c. An alarm sounds. At night. In a strange place. It has no message, just a picture of a tire. S2 is driving and says that all feels OK, but we are both being "cool" while secretly screaming like little girls on the inside. We pull into a gas station and do a look see at the tires. They seem we are driving out of the lot I spot FREE air!!! I have never been so excited. We can at least get out of the shady area we are in. I hate dash board alarms. They totally freak me out. I go out and start pumping air into the tire that looks as if it might be low. No change in the dash light. Then I pump air into the other tire on the driver's side, because it might be low too. Hallelujah!! The light went off. You see there was no pressure gauge on the air hose. I hadn't a clue how much air was needed and how much I was putting in. I am suddenly regretting leaving my free gauge behind. With the dash light out we high tailed it back to the motel. S2 quietly mentions that she is really sad that she had decided to take the pressure gauge out of her purse thinking that the airport security might not like it. Now tell me, people, how many women do you know that carry tire gauges in their purses? (I now hold everyone suspect.) The next day we bought a pressure gauge at the next gas station we found. I had waaay overfilled the front tire, and the back tire (the one that caused the alarm to sound) was still holding its own. Will I keep the pressure gauge in my purse the next trip by air? Most likely not. I take way too much time at security as it is. But perhaps I can convince S2 to leave her's in. In fact, whatever happened to the one we bought? It must have been in a checked bag...

I keep hearing my grand daughter telling me that teeth are not tools. She does this every time I open fruit snacks, cereal bars, etc, for her. Potato chips can be opened without said "tools" since there is plenty of air in the bag, but how does one open a granola bar without using teeth? I doubt that scissors can be easily accessible when one is flying, sharp knives are definitely out. Heck, even dull plastic knives would likely be frowned upon. Everyone knows that those little words "tear here" are some kind of cruel joke. So, my dear offspring of my dear offspring, Grandma's teeth are sometimes tools. If only I could figure out how they could be used as a tire pressure gauge. Hmmmmmmm

One Tomato, Two Minds

Three terrible things to waste....

Once upon a time, I stayed and cared for a trio of young ladies, standing in for my friend Maggie. Maggie has a lovely garden, and when it was time for me to head home (shortly before flying away to N Carolina), I liberated a lovely tomato for my personal use. I have no photo of this tomato, unfortunately, so you will just have to take it on faith, the original tomato did exist.

Packed safely away with a few more of my victuals (or so I thought!) the tomato and I headed off for home. Once home, I took everything inside (or so I thought, heh).

The next evening was the last one before starting our vacation. I picked up 2G at the ferry, as she was spending the night at my place before a very early ride to the airport the next day. Ramona was in the front seat, G2 (or was that 2G?) sat in back. As we were taking Ramona to my friend's house, G2 nonchalantly asked "Why is there a tomato in the middle of the back seat?". Dang. It must have rolled out of the victuals bag. "Don't let me forget to bring it in when we get back", says I.

Later that evening, she and I tucked safely in our jammies and all packed up and ready, one of us said "hey, where is that tomato, anyhow?". Sigh. Still in the back seat of the car. As neither one of us felt like getting dressed and heading out to the parking lot (which is located over the creek and through the woods from my apartment, quite literally), we wrote a note and attached it to the front door, where we could not possible overlook it in the morning.

Morning comes. We got up and dressed, and ring! The airport shuttle calls, they are running early. G2 and I gather up our bags and run out the door, right past the note that we could not possible overlook. About halfway through the drive to the airport, I said, "Dang! That tomato is still in the car.". We make a mental note to call my neighbor Karen, when it gets a little later in the morning (it still being O dark thirty in the morning at this point") while we are waiting for our flight. Ah, intentions!

Later that day, somewhere over, possibly Arkansas, I remember that tomato again. As soon as I mention it, G2 and I break into peals of laughter, causing the first of many exercise sessions for my still recovering tummy muscles (ow! ow2!). Can't call Karen, not allowed from plane. Or, email her either, same problem. I got out my pen and wrote TOMATO upon the palm of my hand. Not being content to let that be the only reminder, after all, it was likely that I would wash my hands once or twice, I had G2 take this picture, so that we wouldn't POSSIBLY be able to forget to make the call.

One would think that the mere thought of dealing with that tomater a week and a half later if we didn't get it out of there would be enough to keep it in the forefront of our minds, but as we have already seen....

Later that night, even later, having dealt with the rental car people (successfully, even if it still was too much money if you ask me), we were getting ready for bed in the first of our epic trek through the world of Best Western. We remembered. Tomato. I sent Karen an email. Whew! Remembered!

And, having not heard back from her, called and left a message the next day. Finally did hear from her that, hooray! The tomato in the back seat had been saved from it's vinyl fate, and was, in fact, delicious.

Yeah, us! And a grand new subject was born, sending us into gales of giggles throughout our trip. Thanks, Maggie!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Home? if it is where the heart is, then I know not

where home is tonight.

What a strange feeling, to be back home. It is a bit of a let down. Part of that was realizing that it is over...for now. The other is that Henry, the dog, not Ray, the man, is not home yet. I will pick him up in the morning.

The Chicago airport was as bad as Dallas, even though we had 4 hours between flights. We got smart and checked a bag this time. It still was a major issue dragging around the carry on that we kept. I cannot imagine how we did the trip over. We carried everything on. This time we checked the biggest bags and we mailed three packages home. Yet we still we dying trying to get around the airport. Part of it may have been the let down, and part of it may be that we are just so gosh dern tyred. I think a huge part was that the people around us quickly went from sweet and friendly and "let me give y'all a hand" to grouchy and "just get out of my way." Total culture shock! I find that S2 definitely picked up a tad bit of the southern accent, so I likely did as well. If only dear Lee could speak with the sweet Southern, charming voice...I would take it over even his Aussie accent. "Turn left on 2nd avenue dar'ln" would be nice to hear as I wind down.

Huge hugs and thanks to all that helped make this trip what it was. Linda, Steve, Merlin, are what has made IA a favored place in the past. It was nice to meet up face to face. Caleb and Lucas: hang in there. I will get some cheese sent out when I get to the store in the next couple of days. Stay strong, Caleb. My prayers are with you and your school mates. It was great to see you; give Mom a big hug for me. Little Ray: what can I say? Keep on keeping on, my friend. Ben, Ashley: I can't believe how you have both grown! It was good to see you. Keep Dad out of trouble. Tammy: You are the light that kept the family going. You've done it girl! It will be easier and better each day. Neighbor Pat, Scott and Sue: I have the best neighbors in the world. Thanks for all the help. It was nice to know that the house and critters were doing fine without me.

Of course my twin(?) S2. Dreams really can become reality. This trip proved it. It was far and above anything I could have dreamt. No roller coasters, but they can wait for the next round. Through all the ups and downs of our lives you have been there. I hope I have done as much for you. It was nice to know that we can not only survive 11 days in tight quarters, but laugh each night until we cry. If laughter really is healing, then we both should be able to run a marathon! Peace and good health always. Ramona: thanks for sharing your Mom for a few days. Thursday has come, my dear. I love you...and Pete: thanks for following and playing along. Come on, admit it: it was funny, albeit a bit quirky, I'll admit. Are you REALLY related to S2? ;-)

Our lovely little red friend(s): first I must apologize to the rental car folks., I hope that you find the tomato before it turns to moosh. I guess it was inevitable that we could cart it around to so many places and take so many pictures, that we would forget to remove it when we turned the car in. (I really and truly forgot; it was safely tucked in under the emergency brake and was not very visible. He very well may be vying for star of someone else's travel blog; unfortunately he was due to be replaced as he was getting a bit too soft and ripe. (oooops)

To our dear readers: 419 hits and a half a dozen comments....the show will go on. Where the twists and turns will take us, and you, are yet to be determined. Unfortunately we are no longer in close quarters, and will be less sleep deprived, so there may be a bit less of the humour you have all had to put up with. I found that we really played off each other. Believe me, it was even funnier to be on the writing end of it all. I have never in my life laughed as hard. Gee that reminds me, I have to get a load of laundry going.

For now, I must say ta ta. Y'all have a fine eve'n. 'Til the next visit, keep on smilin', you heah?

I beat you to it, S2. Tag. You are it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Back at the Kentucky Horse park

At the entry to the museum: "Thou shalt fly without wings"

There were amazing murals and quotes about horses. There were rooms for different breeds and there were displays for the history of our relationship with the horse. Again, the fantastic full size statues.

There were quite a few real live horses as well. I am thinking this is what kept our little red friend securely in the car. We certainly wouldn't want him mistaken for an apple now, would we?
Seeing these big thoroughbreds was a bit of a shock. I am used to my sweet little 42" fuzzy Windy.
The park is building a new stadium as they are hosting the World Equestrian Events in 2010.
It will be the largest event ever held in the United States. I can't even imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to watch the dressage...but not being one for traffic or for crowds, I just hope it will be televised.
After a couple of hours and some wandering around and shopping in the gift shop for the grandkids, we hit the road for our last stop before the airport. Best Western, it's been, well, ah, gee, uhmmmm, for the most part it has been OK. I sure hope that S2 can at least get enough air miles to go see her grand daughter. This time we obviously have internet as we are not ranting and raving. However...a bathroom fan would be nice.
See you Monday, Naomi. You may not be as famous as a tomato, but you also didn't have us perching you on windshields, signs, statues, and in various other humiliating areas. ;)
G2, 2G...the one with the identity crisis. (Soon to be back to being Mom, Granny, Gimp....sigh)

Winding down

I got up this morning and began to load the car. Sad that the trip is winding down. Outside to the car, and what do I see?

Our little tomato lamenting the loss of his "15 minutes of fame." After snapping the picture I was going to grab the poor dejected thang, when I found the REAL reason for his sleeping outside

The Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen's Club...who would have thunk it? It makes one wonder if our lil buddy has something for Bloody Marys; surely it can't be the Spearmint Rhino, and we all know that gentlemen go to these clubs to learn proper ettiquette, right?

I am thinking that our poor little friend is thinking that a Kentucky tomato would never last in Washington state, and that he is, perhaps, looking for a new place in which to shine.

We have one more night, this one in Louisville. We are at the Hotel by the Airport, and I am starting to feel a bit blue along with S2 and the bluegrass red veggie. While I am homesick, I really don't want to get back into the daily grind.
We went to the Kentucky Horse Park.

I was amazed at the beauty of the monuments. This a life size monument to Secretariat.

Man O War's grave, which was surrounded by the graves of his famous sons as well as one of the jockeys. If I was a jockey, I could not think of a better place!!

We went to the mare/foal barn and realized that there would be no foals this time of year, as they all have their birthdays on the 1st of January! The goal is to foal as close to the first as possible, but not before as the earlier the more advantagous for showing and racing. (A two year old would be any foal born in the year 2006.)
S2 has decided we must drive, so I will report back in a bit.