Thursday, May 24, 2007

11:21 a.m. Thursday, May 24, 2007

I mentioned a day or so ago that Phil and Les had their own adventure the day of our mini-family reunion. Here is the whole story:

Back in April, traveling north from Yuma, AZ we were following I-5, on our route between Mojave and Pleasanton, CA. Phil and I saw this spectacle at the same time and it was upon us almost instantaneously. A “dust devil” (mini-tornado) about 20 feet tall and ten feet across at the top appeared on our front right corner roaring up out of the shoulder along the road. It was full of debris—sticks and leaves and filled with sand but we were not afraid. It was just a dust devil … harmless, right?

When it slammed into us, the force sucked us to the right and completely off the road onto the shoulder--all 50 feet and 20,000 lbs.-plus-of us! Phil held steady and quickly got us back on the road without any mishap—we thought. We were a bit shaken but none the worse for wear and continued on down the highway to the next rest stop. When Phil went outside to do his walk-around check he found the damage. The dust devil had sucked the rear corner of our awning out of the roll and it had been hanging out for all the miles since we were hit while the wind ripped the canvas to shreds.

Keep in mind that our awning was locked down and lashed very tightly against Penny’s side wall because our locking mechanism has never worked correctly. The force from the dust devil must have been tremendous since driving at 60 MPH did not allow any problems. Also, this comparatively small whirlwind, rather than pushing us—pulled us into the twister. It gave us a much better understanding of the power in those enormous windstorms generated along tornado alley in the midwest.

Phil and Lester drove Penny the Pace back to Albany this past Sunday afternoon (hence missing Dixie’s party) for installation of her new awning on Monday morning. We had ordered it while we were at McKay’s Trucking for her yearly service. I stayed in Shelton and spent the night with Gloria. We attended Dixie's party on Sunday and then on Monday had a marathon day of girl-talk. Great fun!

Here is Penny with her new awning.

Penny the Pace and her new awning.

Phil wanted to show all of you the huge trout he caught yesterday! This big guy gave him a terrific fight and was exhausted when caught. Phil left him in the net rather than take a chance on hurting him. Mr. Trout recovered nicely when put back into the lake and quickly swam away.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

12:01 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, 2007

My family had a mini- reunion this past Sunday at my sister, Dixie’s house at Oyster Bay mid-way between Shelton and Olympia. Our buffet style dinner being potluck had enough delicious food to feed a small army with an abundance of leftovers going home with the younger crowd for lunches. I think we had 24 people show up but if I have miss-counted, I apologize … I just know we had a grand gathering with lots of hugs and kisses and much love flowing! As being with family and friends is my favorite thing to do in the whole world, I loved every minute of it!

Phil and Les missed all the fun … but they had some adventures of their own. More about that tomorrow

Three sisters, grinning and bearing it; doing what they hate doing more than anything in the world--getting their picture taken: Robin top left, Dixie top right and Joy.

My granddaughter, Sara and her brother, Joe at the playstation.

My precious aunties ... Elaine on the left and her sister, Beverly on the right.

Two beautiful girls -- my niece, Tammy on the left and my cousin, Shannon (Aunt Elaine's daughter) on the right.

Great niece, Sophie (on the left) and her mom, niece, Beth on the right. Two beautiful peas in a pod!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

9:42 a.m. Sunday May 20, 2007

It is raining in Shelton today. Most likely, it is raining everywhere in this state today but what else is new? It threatened yesterday and even sprinkled some but during the night Mother Nature got serious and we have the familiar steady drip from the low, gray clouds today. Rain without wind doesn’t bother me too much except for the muddy shoes. Unfortunately, we never established a Japanese style household in Penny the Pace so shoes come in and bring their cruddy bottoms with them. Then again, fortunately, shoe scrapers and rugs get most of the yuck before it finds its way inside.

My great niece, Sophie celebrated her tenth birthday yesterday and her parents, Beth and Arne invited the family for dinner then cake and ice cream. Her dad took the lead by preparing the entree: angel hair pasta and cheese tortellini with the choice of red sauce or Alfredo sauce and homemade bread and rolls. while Beth prepared buffalo (yes, aka bison-they were good) and turkey meat balls and tossed a green salad from their garden with all the accompaniments. Sophie’s mom also made the delicious lemon and vanilla four layer cake and her grandpa, Walt made the homemade vanilla and raspberry ice cream we all enjoyed so it truly was a family affair.

Sophie enjoyed opening her gifts with the proper amounts of ooohs and aaaahs and “thank you’s” then went off to spend the night with her 1st cousin, 1R, Jessica in Olympia. This afternoon, the family will meet up again at my sister, Dixie’s house for a family potluck, get together … “just because” … no special reason except to get to see everyone and have a great meal and a good visit. Phil and I are especially looking forward to seeing our family from Seattle and Puyallup (my Aunt Elaine who winters in Yuma and her sister, my Aunt Beverly). They arrived back in WA from Yuma May 11th.

Sophie contemplates her cake ... while Beth checks out the final touches for dinner.

At last, the moment has arrived! Time to blow out the candles and open those presents!

Sophie, Jessica and Max.

Sophie's little brother, Max modeling the Mardi Gras mask that big sister, Sophie received for her birthday.

My baby sister, Dixie (she'll love me for that) and her beautiful daughter, Tammy.

Mocha, a playful and mostly indoor cat gave me a much needed "kitty fix".

Charlie the racoon stands up to say goodbye to Arne and Beth's guests. He is a regular visitor to their porch for a bite of cat food. Yes, the children have been warned to keep a good distance between them and this wild critter but he sure is cute!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


This is my mother, Violet. In this picture she was just 24 years old and although she didn't know it at the time, was pregnant with me. For bringing me into the world, I will be eternally grateful.

Born: 11-04-1914 Died: 1-18-1980

Friday, May 11, 2007

1:33 p.m. Friday May 12, 2007

Yesterday we were invited to a potluck dinner at our friends, Barb and Dave's home near the top of Dow Mountain above Lake Cushman west of the Hood Canal community of Hoodsport. They live almost completely off the grid. A rainwater catchment system provides cold clean water to the holding tank in the new pump house built by Dave. A huge generator only run every two or three days at the most, provides electricity which is stored by one very large battery and the "Russian Fireplace" built up through the center of the totally open floor plan house provides comfortable heat for the 2000 sq. ft. space and a small kerosene heater chases away the chill if the fire goes out. The house and the septic system were in place when Barb and Dave purchased the property but they have been working steady to improve and impliment all the creature comforts. There have yet to acquire satellite internet or telephone so a trip down off the mountain is necessary to access either but the peace and quiet is palpable and very much what this resourceful and adventurous couple appreciates. Barb's decorating talent is fabulous and her new home's decor leans toward an eclectic "southwest" theme. Beautiful and so comfortable.

Phil and I enjoyed sharing our possible "off the grid" lifestyle stories with another couple who have adapted to a nearly "green" way of living. As we so often say, it is not for everyone, but it is very do-able when someone decides to make it happen.

A really good time was had by all! Thank you Barb and Dave for the invitation.

Barb and Dave welcoming us to their home near the top of Dow Mountain above Lake Cushman above Hoodsport, WA.

This is the generator that provides the electricity for their home and outbuildings.

This is the battery that stores the power from the generator.

Our friends and fellow dinner guests, Millie and Andy enjoying the sunshine before dinner.

Les, Gloria and Barb giving the family pet, Mattie the airdale some very appreciated attention. Mattie loves to chew on rocks ... and on occasion she eats one so Barb is watching her closely.

Our host, Dave, sitting with his guests, enjoying the compliments about all his hard work.

Beautiful table set with dinner for eight. Barb's homemade adaptation of an "African" soup recipe printed in the local paper was delicious! Phil and I provided the crusty sourdough bread and Gloria and Les brought scrumptious pumpkin bars for dessert.

This is what Lake Kokanee looks like today. They have lowered the level of the lake by 15 feet and Phil and Les are in mourning for one of their favorite fishing lakes. You can see the dam off to the left.
A peek-a-boo look at the Olympic Mountain Range to the west of Lake Cushman.

Les waiting for the fish to wake up on a foggy morning at Lake Nahwatzel.

Phil showing off his big catch of the day!

Les proudly showing off his trophy size trout. This big guy was returned to the lake after getting his picture taken to give another angler a thrill!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

11:17 a.m. Thursday, May 10, 2007

Recently, I found a blog written by another full time RV couple and they are work campers. Their latest assignment is in a state park and the Ranger told the wife she would have to tuck in her uniform shirt once she was on duty. She told the perfectly built young man that if that was in fact a rule, she would have to give him two weeks notice—now. As she said, “As an older women, I do not EVER tuck in my shirt!” I sent her a comment praising her for taking a stand as I feel exactly the same way. After reading about her dilemma, I came across one of my own.
For years and years and years I have done my clothes shopping at garage sales and resale or thrift stores. I have been every size on the scale and as my weight went up and down I have needed different size clothing. Since I have never been rich, I had to find a way to have clothes that fit me in my closet. Yes, I could have lost weight and kept it off in order to remain one size … but that has not happened. What more can I say?
Yesterday, while Phil was fishing I went shopping for some badly needed NEW clothes. You have to understand that shopping for clothes is at the bottom of my priority list, right after “get a pap test” so I put it off until the last dieing minute! I will not mention any names here but there is only one place in Shelton to buy clothing and I shop there a lot for every other thing I need including medication. Anyway, I bought the size I am currently in according to the nearly worn out resale outfits I’ve been wearing. Thinking it wasn’t necessary; I passed by the fitting rooms and went straight home with my purchases.
Well, either I am a LOT BIGGER than I was a while back or there is no doubt the clothing manufacturers have cut down the patterns and are making women’s clothing smaller. I checked the tags and this is what I found: My purchases were made in: China, Nicaragua, Mexico, Hong Kong and Lesotho (where the H--- is Lesotho?)! Whew! That explains it, the scare is over … and I will be returning my purchases today for a refund. With that money I will head for the thrift shop to buy some OLD (made in USA) “like new” used clothing … in my size.
We went to dinner at Little Creek Casino with our friends, Joan and Charlie. It was wonderful as usual. Good friends, good food, LIFE IS GOOD!

I created this collection of my granddaughter, Megan's female ancestors as part of her wedding gift this past January. With her and fiance Joshua in the middle, it shows her maternal ancestry back seven generations to 1799 in Virginia.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

9:45 a.m. Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Phil has gone fishing ... and this time he remembered the camera. Both he and Les have caught a really big fish and those times neither had a camera. Hopefully, having the camera along will not jinx these determined and tireless fisherman.
Yesterday was laundry day. Since we do not have a washer and dryer inside Penny the Pace (many people do) we tend to put off the chore until an empty underwear drawer forces the issue. There are three laundromats in Shelton. The small one beside a rundown apartment building north of town is disgustingly dirty with old machines and one that we avoid. There is one that has been recently renovated downtown that sells a “credit” card in amounts of $1 to $20 from a machine on the wall for use in the new washers and dryers. We hesitate to use this one since we never know how much doing our laundry will cost and if we end up with unused credit, whether we will return. We prefer the pay as you go with real money at the newest establishment in the little strip mall across from Wal*Mart. After almost three years of practice, Phil and I work as a smooth operating team and are typically in and out in about two hours. I have about an hours worth of prep work sorting into like loads and pre-wash spraying for hard to clean soil and stains before we go and another hour after we return home putting the clean clothes away but all in all, we have the whole job finished in usually less than four hours. There is nothing as sweet smelling as the scent of clean laundry!
When the laundry was done, we went upstairs as Gloria and Les had invited us for dinner. We stuffed ourselves with huge homemade hamburgers complete with all the fixin's! Delicious!

My beautiful granddaughter, Megan Joy on her wedding day this past January, 2007.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

12:02 Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Last Saturday Phil went fishing while I spent the day with my daughter, Bobbie and her family. We started the morning with breakfast in one of the local restaurants. Now named “Blondie’s” it was “The Capital Restaurant” when I was the manager back in the mid 1970s. About the only thing that has stayed the same is the kitchen and the restrooms. The bar no longer exists and the dining room now seats half again more people since they removed the wall and are using the bar area for seating. The food and the service were pretty good.

After breakfast my great granddaughter, Carly and I went shopping at Wal*Mart for a work clothes outfit and a new jacket for her. She wanted to help her Grandma Bobbie plant gladiola bulbs and her dress was not exactly proper attire for digging in the dirt. From Wal*Mart we went to Bobbie’s house where I spent several hours watching Grandma and Granddaughter happily getting very dirty digging and planting. I still can’t believe I did not take any pictures!

The next day, Phil and I went to the "Old Timer's Historical Fair" at Matlock WA. This is an event celebrating history with continuous live entertainment, a classic car and tractor show, chainsaw carving, an "Encampment of Mountain Men" with the gymnasium full of antique and craft vendors . Held yearly in this tiny community west of Shelton this fun event with a generous variety of food vendors and inventive train rides for the kids is very popular. Tractor and logging aficionados come from far and wide for the two day event held on the Mary M. Knight High School campus. My sister, Dixie is an antique dealer and she had a booth set up where we could hang out with her for a few hours. Phil did take lots of pictures however, the interior lighting of the gym was not very good and the inside shots are a bit dark.

I fell in love with this little cutie. He is a pigmy goat just 3 days old! His twin and his mama both died just after he was born and his breeder, Beverly is hand feeding him which seems to be perfectly fine with him. He is not for sale but I would guess his surrogate mom could have sold him at least fifty times while he froliced around (with close supervision) the gymnasium kicking up his heels. Absolutely adorable!

The rabbit below is a newer breed called "Lion's Head" because of his ruff or mane around the head. His coloring is called "magpie" and he is a grand fellow! The breeder, Beverly sells her floppy eared snuggly critters with or without papers and can be reached at 360-942-5536.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

8:58 a.m. Sunday May 6, 2007

Back in the old home town and busy, busy, busy! Since we arrived our days have been spilling over with fun, family, friends and fishing. The weather has been chilly and damp with sun spots here and there—typical northwest stuff and I am wearing long pants and socks for the first time in seven months. I also have to apologize because for some unknown reason, I have forgotten that I own a camera and that I want to take pictures for the blog. Not one photograph has been captured since we reached our destination. The camera is at the ready but obviously, the posterity mindset is on vacation. Go figure!

Phil has accomplished one exceedingly productive day of fishing and is planning another expedition tomorrow and in just a few days we have managed to share an occasional breakfast, lunch or dinner with our friends and our family. We also attended the Puyallup RV and Home Show this past Friday. It is always entertaining to see the new ideas and innovations coming from the RV industry. However, as usual--the designers do not live in the real world, at least the real world of fulltimers. These palaces on wheels are beautiful but not very practical. One lovely motorhome managed to get out of the factory without a closet in the bedroom! As predicted, after inspecting dozens of new coaches from 30 foot entry level gas models to 45 foot diesel pushers with prices that leave us in sticker shock, our Penny the Pace looked real good when we got home. She is wearing a little bit thin around the edges but for us her comfort level is way up at the top of the charts. She is in fact “home” and when the time comes, she will be very difficult to replace.

We took this picture at the Weyerhauser Pulp Mill in Albany because I had never seen anything like this. A complete 18 wheel semi is backed on to this elevator and stood on his end to dump the wood chips out of the trailer. Talk about an efficient way to transfer the raw product from truck to mill. Quick, clean and no fuss.

Friday, May 04, 2007

8:43 a.m. Friday May 4, 2007

We have arrived in Shelton, safe and sound. We are settled in with all systems up and running and managed in the first 24 hours to go out to eat in our two favorite places. The Little Creek Casino for dinner our first night and the Pine Tree Restaurant for breakfast the next day.

We went to the casino with our hosts and friends, Gloria and Les where Phil and Les ate until they could eat no more—heaping plates full of steamed clams, stir fry shrimp and chilled Dungeness crab legs. I made the mistake of putting food on my plate before I had taken a look at the whole buffet and consequently missed the baked salmon and fried oysters, two of my favorites. I ate my teriyaki steak and perfectly cooked asparagus along with mashed potatoes and gravy and was too full to go back so they will just have to wait until our next trip.

As we walked in the front door of the casino, I heard “Grandma!!” and looked up to see my beautiful granddaughter, Sara behind the cashier/hostess counter. I knew she worked there but had forgotten until the moment we walked in. What a wonderful surprise! Later she sat down with us when she took her ten minute break so we had a quick visit. All is well in her world and we were promised a visit so we could meet the new boyfriend.

My sister, Dixie and her husband, Paul came by yesterday. She picked up her medication we purchased for her in Mexico and then with Gloria and Les, the six of us went to another local cafĂ©, Blondie’s for dinner. Afterward, Dixie and Paul left for home and G & L and Phil and I went to their house to watch “Dream Girls”. We all agreed that Jennifer Hudson deserved her Oscar!

This morning, we are on our way to Puyallup RV Show. Just love looking at all the latest and greatest new motorhomes.

Here is Joy under a trio of flowering pink dogwood trees in the historic district of Albany, OR. They were absolutely gorgeous!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

9:46 p.m. Tuesday May 1, 2007

Another day … another dollar and as yet we cannot sign off on the work being done on Penny. They have ordered a part for her hot water tank that is expected in the morning. We have been told it will only take an hour or so to install and then all the work should be finished. Consequently, after two days there is no report on the work order or total on the bill. I guess we will see that tomorrow too.

Breakfast this morning was at Jack in the Box. Knowing that it would be wise to go straight to the hospital and take a number in the coronary unit when we eat that stuff, we do not allow ourselves to indulge very often but we really LOVE those butter rich croissants! We salved our conscience with orange juice and afterward a banana from home.

It is raining pretty seriously now but we enjoyed a dry, pleasant morning and early afternoon in Albany as we took the self-guided Tour of Homes in the Monteith District. Four Albany Historic Districts are listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. Walter and Thomas Monteith, the founding fathers of Albany arrived in Oregon in 1848 from a small hamlet in New York State. These two Scotsmen bought squatters rights to a claim held by Abner Hackleman and Hiram Smead for $400 and named the new town site after the capital of their home state, Albany. Today historians and architects credit Albany with having the most varied collection of historic building in Oregon. This collection includes styles from the 1850s through the 1920s and is concentrated within an area of approximately one hundred square blocks.

When we finished the tour, we drove south to Junction City and stumbled across a brand new Camping World where I found a new stool for my feet up in the cockpit of Penny. It has a lid that lifts up with storage inside that will hopefully help to corral some of my absolute necessities up front (aka clutter). We found a few other things we needed then on the recommendation of the sales clerk as we checked out, went to the Rodeo Steakhouse & Grill for our early dinner. I had their Steak Salad (excellent and I brought half of it home for tomorrow) and Phil ordered a chiliburger (pretty good but no threat to Nalleys) and fries. I also ordered a cup of their “navy bean soup” and it was peculiarly good. Certainly nothing like my mother’s bean soup but sometimes it is good to be adventurous in the culinary department, don’t you think? Tired and ready to call it a day, we were back at McKay’s by 4:30 p.m.

Built c. 1849, the Monteith House is the first frame house built in Albany. It housed Albany's founders and has been restored to its original condition with materials and carpentry techniques typical of that time. It opens for tours mid-June so we were a bit early.

The Downtown Public Library was partially financed by Andrew Carnegie and architect, William F. Tobey complied with all of Carnegie's national standards. Finished in 1914, out of 32 Carnegie Libraries built in Oregon, it is one of only 13 still in use as a library. It is like stepping back in time when you walk through the front door.

In the process of being lovingly restored, this grand old lady is not on the tour yet but will be soon when the work is finished.

This stately 1906 Georgian Revival, locally known as the "White House" features a two story portico with square columns. It displays dentil molding, which resembles teeth, in the lower part of the cornice. Built for salesman Cecil Cathey and his wife Myrtle, it was designed by A. C. Ewart, a well-known Oregon architect who started his practice in Corvallis and later moved to Portland.

This stunning Queen Anne Style home has been beautifully restored. Phil and I call this kind of house a "Dixie house" because my sister (Dixie) lives in a new Victorian style house, complete with first and second floor turrets built for her by carpenter husband, Paul.

Now a bed and breakfast:

the Samuel S. Train house was built in 1886. Mr. Train owned this Queen Anne style home when he was Albany's first postmaster and it is believed he had Albany's first telephone installed in his residence.