Sunday, March 30, 2008


Phil asked yesterday, “Where has March gone?” I guess the answer to that is into the archives! At least that is where March on the blog will be in a couple days. So, it isn’t actually gone … just filed away. That is another reason I blog … it is my newest form of journaling and the best, not to mention an easy way to keep memories alive.

I have been keeping a journal since 1962. My youngest child was about a year old when I decided to leave a record of my life for posterity. Then, I wrote in longhand, in a spiral notebook and I have a metal file box full of them. How many? I’m not sure and there are many gaps over the past 42 years but when I again picked up the pen (and sooner or later, I always did), I tried to play catch up for the reader. As a novice journal writer, at the time I wasn’t sure how honest I should be so sadly, there are some obvious family history gaps, however, nobody will ever know.
Not too long before we retired, I spent several days traveling back through time with my journals. It was painful (I was only 23 years old when they started); sometimes sad and always amazing to read the words of the woman I was then. How could I have been so stupid … and so smart at the same time? In many ways, I wised up over the years but unfortunately, it was embarrassing to read that in many other ways, I hadn’t. As I read, I edited them using a black, felt tip marker obliterating a few truths that were more truthful than I want to leave behind at this stage of my life, but for the most part—they are what they are.

As anyone who writes one knows, those handwritten journals were my best friends; my confidants and my sounding board. No one else has ever read them. I left them with my daughter (after editing) when we retired and became fulltime Rvers but a year later, had second thoughts and retrieved them to put in our storage unit. She had not read them … (I found that really odd) … so they will stay with me until I am put in the ground. When I have taken my last breath, whatever happens to them will not affect me!

We went to my former step-daughter’s house in the foothills of Yuma for a delicious Easter dinner. My Aunt Elaine was also invited and she drove (our little Lone Ranger only seats two). Speaking of our little truck, he was just in the shop and had some work done. They inspected and repacked his wheel bearings; replaced the seals; put on new front brakes and resurfaced the rotors. Now he's good for another 144,000 miles (we hope!).
Elaine and Roxy had met many years ago (when Roxy was a kid) so were happy to see each other again. Roxy is my youngest daughter’s half-sister (they have the same father) and she has been in my life since she was nine years old. After her father and I divorced, she and I stayed in touch and have continued to be close over the years. She is so busy, even in retirement, and continues to be a loving and lovely woman. Roxy’s husband, Marv was not feeling very well that day but I haven’t heard any news since then so we assume he has recovered.

Update on sister, Dixie: She continues to improve. The Staph infection continues to abate. She went to her daughter’s house for Easter and except for a few minor discomforts, stayed all day and had a good time.

Roxy and Joy on Easter 2008 in Yuma, AZ.

2008 Brooke and the Easter bunny.

Our beautiful granddaughter, Brooke in her princess dress.

Monday, March 24, 2008

note from sister, Robin

We drove over 600 miles yesterday (from Twin Falls,ID) to enjoy this beautiful California day--warm and sunny. Its good to be home. A message from our Realtor in Shelton says she put out the For Sale sign on our house the day we left. She is the same agent who sold us the house. Our Idaho detour was to attend the 80th birthday party of my cousin, Norma in Buhl. The party was in a Chinese restaurant (owner is a friend of Norma's) and the entertainment was wonderful. The local vet and his wife have adopted 10 kids from foreign countries and have introduced all to music. A young girl from Haiti was really impressive on the violin. Later in the evening Mark (Norma's son) and his friend, Muzzy, played and sang requests from the crowd. Lots of oldies. I got to see many cousins ranging from age 2-up. It was a grand party and Norma, who had a septuple bypass eight years ago, looks great. Robin

note from Cousin Dottie in Oregon

Hi Guys, Glad to see you are warming up down there! It's cold and wet here. I talked to Dixie last week and her spirits were good, she is making a good rally it appears. Have fun. Love ya Dottie

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter Myspace Glitter Graphics

Is it really winter?

What a beautiful day! The sun is out, it was almost 60 degrees at 7 a.m. and there was a slight breeze ruffling the flags over the RV Park office. Before the sun came up I could see a beautiful, nearly full moon out my window and I am so thankful I can be here in the desert this winter. When I think about the North Country I have such mixed emotions because I really do love the snow covered mountains and how quiet and clean everything is after a new fallen snow. The crunchy sound of tires rolling down a country road; the foot long icicles dripping off the eaves; the sparkling crust on fresh snow in the morning and kids of all ages throwing themselves down to make snow angels are all beautiful images in my mind. However, the older I get, the less I like being cold and it looks like my visits to parts of the country where ice and snow are the norm have come to an end. I will just have to be content with seeing it on television newscasts and reading about it in novels where along with a crackling fire and a cup of hot chocolate, it sounds so romantic because for Phil and me, the desert is where it’s at in winter!

Another week has gone by and actually it is easy to tell when Phil and I begin to think about moving on down the road. We start talking about our “next trip” and looking at the small atlas in my purse when we are waiting for our food in a restaurant or at home, he is cruising Streets and Trips on his computer. The “what ifs” start to flow in conversation and our many options begin to surface, tumbling out in every day banter. For us, this full time RVing way of life is THE BEST! We can go anyplace we want, whenever we want with the most important consideration being the weather. But, what about gas prices you ask? We don’t like them, that’s for sure but they are in fact—a fact of life today and since we refuse to give up our dream—our life-style per se, we will make concessions and change a few things in order to survive this obstacle. Simply put, we have just slowed down and when you think about it, what is wrong with that?

Update on sister, Dixie: The day trips have been a complete success and an Easter outing in scheduled for today. These days outside the facility have made a huge difference in Dixie’s frame of mind and when I talked to her last, she quipped, “Going back to the nursing home, I know how dogs feel when they go to the pound.” We are happy to hear the Staph infection numbers are decreasing with each test so although it is still resisting the antibiotics, it appears the medicine is winning the fight. No definite date for the hip replacement surgery except we know it will not happen until the Staph is gone.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Winter prospective from Yuma Arizona

It’s Sunday morning. R-e-e-a-a-l-l early Sunday morning and I am watching the sky lighten up as I write. Unfortunately, Penny’s picture window (aka windshield) is pointed south so the sunrise is off to my left and there is a 5th wheel next door blocking my view. The wind came up yesterday and the forecast promises more of the same for today along with some cool temperatures. So far, the air is still with just a whisper of a breeze but it is plenty cool. Only 40 degrees outside when I got up at 5:30 a.m. We will bundle up, put on long pants, make it through today and with luck, the sunshine will come back this afternoon or at the latest, tomorrow. That’s okay fine with me … we do not come to Arizona in the winter for cold weather!

Phil has been working again at cousin, Nada’s house—painting, patching, hanging a new ceiling fan and many other odd jobs. Years of renovation have gotten very old for her and she has set a date to be finished with this project and it is coming down to the wire. The final big job will be putting new sinks in the bathrooms and kitchen. Phil has been a big help to her and has been happy to assist but he will be glad when everything is done too. Maybe then, he will find the time to go fishing again!

I fill my days with research and writing my mother’s biography. For me, this continues to be a labor of love but a project that mushroomed over time. The more I discovered about her life, the bigger the task became until in order to finish her story, I knew I had to get serious about it. No longer considered “busy work”, I try to write every day and hopefully, with perseverance, I can conclude this composition before I lose my momentum.

My cousins, Jonelle and Shannon have returned to their homes in Denver and Seattle and I had a great time visiting with them while they visited with their mother, my Aunt Elaine. They enjoyed the good weather while they were here and were not looking forward to going home and experiencing two or more months of winter. Maybe next year they will stay for two weeks!

Update on Sister, Dixie: I talked to our other sister, Robin (who is in Washington State for a few weeks) yesterday and she had some good news. The physical therapy crew had Dixie out of bed, into a wheel chair, out to the parking lot and in and out of a car yesterday. Dixie will get her first day trip today--dinner at daughter, Tammy and her husband, Steve's house. I am a bit confused about it since I was under the impression they wanted her to be as immobile as possible but since I’m not there it is not for me question. Dixie is so happy to be able to go ANYWHERE beyond the nursing home walls I doubt if she is inquiring about any changes. If she does well on this day trip hopefully, there will be more. No update on the Staph infection this week. It would be wonderful if it was gone but I will delay my celebration until I hear those words. Thanks to all for keeping Dixie in your thoughts--your attention does her a lot of good!

First cousins ... Shannon, Joy and Jonelle at Yuma Arizona in March 2008.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Family news and fine cars!

I totally screwed up my Sunday routine! Going off daylight savings time threw off the CBS TV schedule on Dish TV and when I got up, my Sunday Morning show with Charles Osgood was nearly over! I was so disgusted; I turned off the TV and went back to bed. By the time I got up again, checked my e-mail, ate my breakfast, read the blogs I check every day and worked on my mother’s biography for an hour or so – it dawned on me I had forgotten to update the blog! I’m sorry about that but by then, it was time to get cleaned up, get dressed and move on with my day. So-o-o-o-o-o-o, here I am today. A day late and a dollar short! Sound familiar?

My cousins, Jonelle from Denver and Shannon from Seattle are here for a week visiting with their mother, my Aunt Elaine. We have been spending as much time with them as we can without intruding wholly on their mother-daughter time. Thanks to my mother, who encouraged family get-togethers several times a year, I feel very close to my cousins and I love them very much. I always enjoy spending time with them and am so happy that Phil has grown to care about my family and feels the same way!

Sister, Dixie update: A week after her last surgery (is that four surgeries now?!!) the X-Ray showed that the new screw was backing out AGAIN! The surgeon was totally stymied and could not decide what to do since the Staph infection is still alive and well—totally resisting the antibiotics! After consulting with his associates, he decided to keep Dixie immobile without any lower body physical therapy for 30 days. She will continue with the upper torso PT but they want the hip to stay as still as possible. After 30 days IF the Staph infection is gone they will give her a total hip replacement. IF it is NOT gone, I guess they go back to the drawing board. Incredibly, she is in fairly good spirits and please, keep those cards and calls coming!

Last Saturday we went down the road to watch the parade of classic cars. Phil took 511 pictures of the 914 cars we saw but I picked just a few to show you! Here is the article out of the Yuma Sun:

“Welcome to the home page of Midnight at the Oasis, the Southwest's premier Classic Car and Nostalgia Festival. Sponsored by the Caballeros de Yuma, the event takes place in March at the Ray Kroc Complex in Yuma, AZ - the former spring training home of the San Diego Padres. Spread over four regulation baseball fields the festival features 900 of the finest classic cars - everything from Model Ts to the Muscle Cars - built before 1972. The festival includes a smorgasbord of regional food cooked by local non-profit agencies, vendors from all around the West, rides for the kids, concerts on Friday and Saturday night - and to kick off the festivities, a parade of classic cars from downtown Yuma to the baseball complex.”

Collage of views on MATO (Midnight at the Oasis)

The police are setting up the intersection for the parade. People were lined up for miles along the route.

The parade began with several antique fire trucks.

This is the cutest little T-Bird ... 55-56? Loved the color!

Lots and lots and lots of pickups ... every make and model and color.

She's a beauty!

She's an oldie but a goodie!

Remember those visors? I think they should bring them back into production, don't you?

Conglomeration of components put together to create an exotic original.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder or in this case, the builder ...

I owned one of these Fords many years ago. Unfortunately, it didn't look this good.

My grandparents owned one of these but it was bright yellow!

We thought this little bus was adorable!

V-22 Osprey in flight over the parade. This aircraft was grounded in February of 2007 after the manufacturer (Bell Helicopter) found a glitch in the on board computer. These combo airplane/helicopters cost between 70 million and 89 million dollars and obviously have been declared combat ready now because they are flying again!

Purple truck either broken down or out of gas. They pushed it out of the road but got it back in the parade quickly.

Pretty in purple ... this is number 203 of the 511 pictures that Phil took but I will end this show here!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Do you have a passion?

I almost forgot to write this morning! My mind is wrapped around my mother’s biography and the older I get; the more difficult it is for me to change lanes!

My blog might be a bit neglected when we park for any extended length of time because of the lack of activity on our part. We both kick back and relish the warm sunny days and except for the absolute necessities, do little or nothing. Phil and I worked hard our entire lives and we have earned this lifestyle and are not embarrassed to say we love it!

However, that said … I must qualify my statement by saying that after sitting in one place for too long, we begin to experience the Rver’s malady called, “Hitch Itch.” Loving to travel is a big part of choosing to live full time in a recreational vehicle, be it a 5th wheel, motorhome or trailer. When we stop traveling, the walls have a tendency to start closing in and Phil suffers a bit more from this occurrence that I do … BECAUSE … I have a passion! Phil has one too (he loves to fish) but his passion requires a large body of water, something sorely lacking in this area.

Passion! In my humble opinion, that is the key to enjoying retirement and for people who do not have one, enjoying the retired life is nearly impossible. There are millions of passions out there in the world. If you are retired and not having any fun—for Pete’s sake, choose one! For me, it is creative writing, research and genealogy. My “toys’ make that easier for me (computer and Internet) but if these two things were not available to me (like during the first 55 years of my life), my passion would continue to fill my days with pleasure—each task would just take longer and be more difficult.

Reference books are still accessible at the local library and portable typewriters are lightweight and easy to stow. I love the Internet—to say it changed my life is an understatement. I love my computer—to say it also changed my life would be another huge understatement. Cell phones, online banking and bill paying as well as fast cheap mail forwarding (and we can’t forget Wal*mart) have helped to make this time of our life the very best it has ever been—thank goodness for technology! I for one am very grateful (I’m talking to you, Bill Gates)!

Sister, Dixie update: This week I am going on the premise that, “No news is good news!”

We went to the movies in “Old Yuma” last week. “The Bucket List” was great and we highly recommend it. AARP magazine quotes Jack Nicholson as saying he is only going to do comedy from now on. I am happy about that because when he plays crazy people, he scares the bee-gee-zees out of me! (I guess that means he is good at what he does, right?) Here are some photos we took that day.

Phil says he is not chicken and stands beside this guy to prove it. Can you see any difference?

Through the doors to the left is a wonderful store and museum with a small restaurant called, Amos's Diner. We want to go back there and try it one of these days.

Remember those fins? We want that license plate!

If appearance is everything and you do not demand originals, this is the place to shop!

Need anything for your collection? There are thousands of items to choose from!

Just some of the "eye candy" for the collector.

This old fashioned looking NEW jukebox is a radio and CD player.

Like they say, "Everything old is new again!"

A real hot rod! Love that candy apple red.

What is it about Phil that attracts these giant critters? Here he says howdy to Bugs Bunny!

Panorama of the eclectic dining room ... expansive with attention grabbing ambiance.

Penny the Pace was happy to see her former owners, Tim and Sherry from Port Angeles who came to visit.

She was very proud to show them how good she still looks, four years after they sold her to Joy and Phil.