Sunday, December 28, 2008


Bil Keane, American artist and creator of the comic strip, “Family Circus said: “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s call the present.” Prudent words to live by … if you will.

That said, I should disclose that more often than not—I live in the past; I’m comfortable there and I feel appreciated. In my most reverential thoughts I believe my angel ancestors value my efforts to record their lives in such a way that they will be memorialized by all generations that follow. My efforts along with several others in our family have taken us back in time along a path strewn with obstacles that sometimes seemed impossible to get around, over or beyond but after almost 40 diligent years, we reached back in time about 350 years in some of our lineage. Genealogy is an addictive hobby/avocation (call it what you will) that I may have put aside for multiple reasons over time but the song of seduction ultimately calls me back and like an old friend, my collective ancestors, from all branches of the family tree welcome me with open arms. They always knew I would return and they are in no hurry—they have lots of time. Did you know that genealogy ranks right up there with golf as the nation’s top recreational activity? This notoriety has opened doors previously blocked by bureaucracy for years. The things we have learned, the stories, (written and oral); the photos, (some identified and others that will remain unnamed to infinity) that we have unearthed inside dusty boxes and long forgotten trunks resulted in these individuals coming to life again after years of obscurity. When my time on earth comes to an end I am confident there will be someone to pick up the reins and keep our family’s genealogy research wagon on the road to the past.

To date, that person has not come forward but I am optimistic. In the future, when they make themselves known—the research will be at the ready because this Christmas, I accepted an offer from my generous and loving niece, Julie (also my namesake) to store my primary hardcopies in a safe place until one of two things happen. Either we will settle down, stop traveling full time and I will then have a place to store them myself or my life will end unexpectedly and/or prematurely and in that instance, she will assume responsibility for these records. This has taken a weight off my shoulders because living in an RV (with weight and storage limitations) has put our prized information at risk while being in public storage or riding around the country in the back of our pickup. Before the winter of 2008-09 has passed, my goal is to complete my ongoing project of digitizing all of my information and backing it up on DVDs/CDs as well as on an external hard drive. Even so, for future genealogists, the originals are precious and irreplaceable. I have been taunted and accused of being obsessed by some who do not understand the importance of what I consider my life’s work but fortunately, in most cases, I have only to consider the source in order to ignore the comments. Never fear, my efforts will continue as long as I am capable.

Phil and I are humbled by the good fortune we have had since choosing this amazing lifestyle for our retirement years. Good health and clear minds prevail after more than four years and we look forward to many more on the road as we continue to explore our beautiful and diverse country and visit significant places and family members that will contribute to our family history.

Whatever their personal choices for the future, we wish the same for our loved ones and dear friends in 2009. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Until next time ...
Our precious addition to the family: Sean-Michael born 25 October 2008. Get a look at the smile ...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

COAL OR CANDY? You decide ;-)

At the risk of finding coal in my stocking and damaging my Mrs. Nice Girl image, (ha!) I present the following holiday editorial:

The pressure is on! Four days and counting; are you ready? Are all the presents wrapped, the stockings hung and all the special holiday traditions waiting in the wings for the big day or checked off the list? So many people have rituals and customs that MUST be done or they believe the holiday will not happen in their world. There are thousands of these; some “always” watch old movies every year like “It’s a wonderful life” or “White Christmas.” Others “always” cook certain foods for Christmas Eve or Christmas morning and without that particular food … there will be no holiday! The phrase “we always do it this way” is their mantra each year and unless each entry on the list is accomplished like clockwork, they feel like they haven’t celebrated the holiday correctly. Nothing is allowed to interfere without dire consequences. Families with young children are literally forced to participate by the media, the church as well as family and friends and kids give their parents wish lists a yard long without a thought to the cost. Well, I’m here to tell you folks, speaking from personal experience the holiday season will go off as scheduled … even without going into debt or the carved in stone individual ceremonies.

When we sold everything we owned except the absolute necessities and moved into a 34 foot motorhome, one spare room in our big house, the one full of lights and holiday decorations was the first to go. Since then, for four years we have not decorated in anyway—not so much as a piece of tinsel—and guess what? The festivities came and went without our participation. This year, for the first time we have a small fiber optic lighted tree that folds up and fits in a small box and that is welcome and enjoyed. If and when we feel like getting any more of a Christmas “fix” we take a drive around town and look at all the decorated homes and businesses and in our RV Park here in Yuma, most of the snowbirds go all out! It looks like a Xmas decorator has gone mad around here.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a holiday naysayer, just the opposite is true. I would just like to see the American public that celebrates this holiday making an effort to go back to basics; to reduce and minimize rather that go bigger and better than last year. Without conscious effort, this happened to us when we retired. Our modest fixed income dictated the fact that we do not purchase gifts except for the grandchildren and great grandchildren that are not emancipated. It was amazing that the lack of stress was palpable from day one of retirement. Even though I am not a religious person, I still enjoy hearing Christmas carols and I adore seeing a beautifully decorated tree (artificial or real) but knowing I am no longer required to participate except in exactly the ways I choose has lifted a huge weight of responsibility from my shoulders. And, without fanfare, it also seems to have released our immediate family from traditional efforts as they have followed suit in only doing the things they want to do for the holidays. We continue to get a good deal of pleasure from receiving cards and holiday letters sent by our loved ones. Furthermore for four years we have been colorfully amused by all the traditionalists in the world and I thank them for that. However, I will continue my low key notice of the holiday and use my yearly newsletter as acknowledgment of the celebration and call it good.

Words of Wisdom:
"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until next time ...

Our Penny the Pace looks mighty desolate and soggy during the wet weather last week!

Actually, she was her usual warm and cozy nest for Phil and I during the stormy weather.

Gray skies and cool temperatures here in Yuma last week. The sun has come back now and it is very welcome!

Phil has pruned and cleaned and swept until our dear Auntie's place looks just the way she liked it.
We think our angel, Aunt Elaine is pleased with the cleanup around her Yuma home that Phil has done for her.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


For someone who is about to tell you that not much is going on around here … I have sure been busy. I haven’t left the house for four days, we have been eating one of our favorite linners, “Roast Stoup” for three days and there is still enough left to freeze for another meal. My mother made what she called “hash” with left over pot roast and vegetables. She always made an extra amount of her delicious gravy for the binder and it was like a Shepherd’s Pie without the mashed potatoes on top. It was very good but when I became an adult, I developed a meal with the roast leftovers that greatly expanded the potential and is no doubt a bit healthier. The roast beef is trimmed of all fat and along with the potato, carrot and onion chunks (and any other veggies you cook with your roast) are chopped into good-size pieces then put into the crock pot.

Then the fun part begins. We add canned or fresh mushrooms, canned corn, cut green beans, green peas and diced tomatoes. If you don’t like canned—use frozen (I suppose you could even use fresh if it was cut into small pieces but I have not done that) then add 2 or 3 cans of beef broth (salted or unsalted) to fill up the pot. Don’t be too quick to add salt or other seasonings because after cooking all day, the flavors will blend and you will discover it doesn’t need much. The vegetables you add are completely up to you, there are dozens of choices on the grocer’s shelves but the point is to make a pot full and let it simmer all day. You want plenty leftover as it just gets better by the day and freezes beautifully. We add a French or sourdough bread of some kind and voila’ we have dinner … dinner … and more dinner! Approximate cost for us is about $2.15 per person per day for five days. How is that for lowering your food cost?

My holiday newsletter is finished, gift shopping is done and we will take the snail mail cards to the post office tomorrow. Then next week, I can get busy with what I call my “real work.” We have carried four large plastic tubs full of genealogy research and pictures along with us in the back of The Lone Ranger that are the last of my five file cabinets full of 40 years of family history work. Once scanned, (and backed up of course) the copies can be destroyed, the originals can be stored for posterity and the pictures can be put on a CD or DVD to share with family as requested. It has been a huge job but I hope it will be a big part of my legacy in the final assessment of my life when I’m gone.

Until next time ...

Words of wisdom: We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. -- Will Rogers
Winter time view at Christmas up north ...


We watched both tapings of the Dr. Phil show that we attended. Except for one nanno second flash, we are not included in the audience shots. Boo Hoo ... our one shot for notoriety down the tube ... literally.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dr. Phil Show alert ...

For those of you who might be interested I've just found out that the two show tapings we attended will be aired today and tomorrow.

In Yuma, Dr. Phil is shown on NBC at 2 pm. Where you live of course it is probably different.

Read below in my Sunday post about where we were sitting during both tapings.

We'll be watching too ;-)


Sunday, December 07, 2008


Not much going on in and around Miss Penny the Pace this past week. I will however hit the highlights for you.

Day after tomorrow, on Tuesday December 9th, one of the Dr. Phil tapings we attended will be shown. It is titled “Fighting Back” so if your are interested, check it out. We will be doing the same to see if the camera found us in the audience. Neither my Phil nor I can remember (they say memory is the first to go) if this was the first show we saw or the second but during the first show we were in the row directly behind Robin McGraw and to the right. During the second show we are in the top row and all the way to the right, the direction Dr. Phil and Robin leave the show so we might be in that shot as they exit stage right. Anywhoooooo we will be watching to see if we get our 2 seconds of fame! And, I will let you know when the next show is on.

One evening last week I walked outside and just happened to look up at the sky. I saw a sliver of the moon and two bright stars (I thought) right together in the sky. Not knowing much about astronomy, I thought to myself “that’s interesting and very beautiful in the navy blue desert sky—I should probably take a picture.” I came back inside and while we watched the news the anchor talked about the Moon, Venus and Jupiter alignment that would not happen again until 2052! Wow! I told Phil, it is right outside and we rushed out with our little inadequate camera and did the best we could to get a picture.

The remainder of the week was fairly mundane and we did the usual stuff—computing, cooking, shopping and cleaning. Phil emptied the back of the truck and stored my plastic tubs outside next to Penny the Pace. They will be safe there and I can bring them in one at a time as I work on this, the last of my genealogy files to be digitized. Phil washed months of road dirt off our pretty little Lone Ranger and the old boy (the truck not Phil ;-) looks pretty good for his age. Phil also spent several hours during the week pruning and clearing out weeds at our Aunt Elaine’s house across the street. As usual, it becomes a bit overgrown during the summer and fall so this is the fourth winter Phil has gone over and worked in her yard. This year it has been very sad because we know our dear Aunt will not be coming down anymore, but he is doing it for her anyway.

Phil drove out to the big Arizona Market Place by the Marine Corp Air Station Yuma to price four new small awnings for Penny. They certainly will not be cheap but he is hoping to install them himself in order to reduce the cost. I will let you know. We went to Cracker Barrel yesterday for dinner with cousin, Nada. After dinner, we came back to Desert Holiday RV Park and Nada stopped by her house and picked up the lovable big, hairy pup she rescued and named “Blessing Way”. “Blessing” was dumped off in her yard when he was just a few weeks old and had been badly abused. With patience and lots of love, he has become a wonderful dog. Phil and I soaked up a major doggy fix! I forgot to take his picture but I'll get one for next week.

The big health care group in California named “Kaiser Permanente” has a new commercial. It shows pictures of several very obvious old ladies and the catchy tune sing-songs over and over again: “When I grow up I want to be an old woman.” I think I will make that my new mantra … since I have happily accepted the fact recently that I am really not grown up yet because there is still so much to learn!

Until next time ...

Phil surprised me with a little fiber optic Xmas tree this year. It is so pretty sitting up in Penny's front window. I just love it but of course, the picture does not do it justice.

The man in the moon hanging out with Venus and Jupiter in the desert sky. The next time this configurations happens is in 2052. Do not think we will be around to see it!

Nice job Phil. Looks good! This is an orange tree but the fruit is not ripe yet. There are also grapefruit and lemon trees.

The last of what were three Century plants in front. Once they bloom, they die.

The first of many dumpsters filled with yard waste at Aunt Elaine's place in Yuma, AZ.

Overgrown palm devouring the mail box.

Overgrown wells needed to be cleaned out around the citrus trees.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Greetings from sunny Arizona! Our marvelous coach, Penny the Pace transported us south from Oceanside CA on I-5 and then east on Highway 8 to Yuma AZ this past Tuesday without incident. We were very grateful because on Wednesday night all H--- broke loose and this area of the state experienced a spectacular thunder and lightening storm. The rain reminded me of the type of torrential downpour, usually experienced in the tropics, arriving in waves with Yuma ultimately receiving over 2 inches. (BTW-no leaks in Penny!) Fortunately, there was no wind but that also meant the storm hung over us for several hours. The cloud cover was so low and thick we lost contact with our Internet satellite and then a few minutes later, we lost the TV satellite connection. Hmmmm … no internet AND no TV … we just sat back and watched in awe as Mother Nature reminded us she is in charge! The next day it was sun as usual ... we love it!

As I mentioned last Sunday we went to Balboa Park to attend the weekly Spreckles Organ Concert. Located in the heart of the park and celebrating its 90th birthday, the gigantic organ was a gift to the people of San Diego from John and Adolph Spreckles (of the sugar family) and is the largest outdoor organ in the world. In continuous use since 1915, the concert was performed by civic organist, Dr. Carol Williams. Lasting only an hour, the concert was wonderful and I really wanted to share some of the music with you so I figured out how to take a video with my digital camera. However, trying to upload the video into my blog has been an exercise in futility. Our internet connection speed is just up a notch or two from dial up and a one minute 30 second piece would have taken over three hours to upoad! I tried it using Blogger and Viddler without any luck. If someone knows a better way please share your expertise with me! Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Balboa Park, just minutes from downtown is a priceless jewel in the heart of the city of San Diego. At 1500 acres, it is home to 15 major museums, many performing art venues, lush gardens everywhere along with cultural and recreational attractions including the San Diego Zoo that we explored last week. We walked for over an hour after the concert and soaked in the ambiance of the extraordinary architecture, ogled the diversity of people and listened to many entertainers including a didgeridoo playing duo along with a variety of other musicians. There were magicians, palm readers, face painters, caricature artists, dogs on leashes in all sizes and shapes, an enormous Koi pond leading up to a fabulous botanical garden dating back to 1915 just to name a few things we saw. It was late so we skipped the museums saving them for another trip. It is indeed a magical place and the people of San Diego are so fortunate to have it in their back yard.

The movie, "Australia" opened on Wednesday and we went to the matinee and really enjoyed it. To quote the male lead (and recently voted the sexiest man alive by People Magazine), Hugh Jackman on the Tonight Show, “It isn’t "Gone with the Wind" but it is an epic that will stand the test of time.” We agreed. Nicole Kidman did a wonderful job in her part but 11 year-old Brandon Walters who played the half-cast Nullah steals the show from both stars. We will hear more about this young man in the near future. The spectacular scenery was in itself worth the price of admission.

Phil and I celebrated our birthdays (both born on 11-27) which also fell on Thanksgiving this year and we received birthday greetings from our children and our lovely niece, Tammy. Of course, our dear friend, Gloria was the first to call and wish us both a “happy birthday!” Together with my precious cousin, Nada and her partner, Andre’ we enjoyed our holiday dinner at the Happy Greek Chef in old town Yuma. As usual, the food was very good, the company was wonderful and there were boxes of leftovers to take home. Nada is staying in Yuma for awhile to get caught up at work and hopefully, find a buyer for her house that has been on the market since late summer. Somehow, I forgot to take any pictures! I hate it when that happens.

We had another delightful get-together on Friday joining fellow fulltimers, Bill and Diane (again at the Happy Greek Chef) for lunch. We have known Bill and Diane (there is a link to their blog on the Backroad Chronicle’s sidebar) for a couple years but this is the first time we have been in the same location at the same time long enough to find time for a good visit. It was fun and we look forward to seeing them again at the Gypsy Journal Rally in February, 2009. After lunch Phil and I made a stop at the first Wal*Mart Supercenter we have seen since Oregon and picked up a few groceries and one of my prescriptions. Yesterday, Phil got out the buckets and gave our Penny a good scrubbing and she looks like her shiny self again. After that, he went over to Aunt Elaine’s place and besides having the sad task of informing her neighbors of her passing went to work cleaning up the yard. We have no idea what Elaine’s children will decide to do with her winter home here in Yuma but we will contribute what we can to keep it looking “lived in” until they make their decision.

We have a “to do” list of our own to get to work on so our days will be filled with a variety of chores for the next couple months. Phil and I trust everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you for taking the time to check in on the blog and keeping up with our (sometimes mundane) adventures. We really appreciate you stopping in!

Until next time ...

A tiny Dr. Williams perched on the bench of this huge organ visiting with the audience.

However, there was no doubt who was in charge when she played.

After the concert, the San Diego Civic Organist, Dr. Carol Williams being interviewed by The Learning Channel that taped the entire concert.

A magnificent and very well behaved Great Dane by the Koi pond.

One of the 2000 tropical plants inside the wood lathe structure of the 1915 botanical garden.

Just beautiful!

The children were fascinated by the didgeridoo players. A haunting and primeval sound as one man chanted "Happy Thanksgiving" into the instrument.

A lovely day and a beautiful fountain.

Yahoo!! Under $2.00 a gallon in Yuma. Chevron and Arco have joined the ranks and reduced their prices as well. We hope to enjoy it while it lasts!

Diane, Bill, Joy and Phil after lunch at "The Happy Greek Chef" in Yuma, AZ.

We were seated in the renovated dining car portion of the building.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


After someone you love dies there is emptiness inside that permeates every conversation, every daily action and every thought you have for a very long time. She was so loved and so loving, her passing has left a big hole in our hearts and we will forever celebrate having her in our lives. Our Aunt Elaine will be missed more than we can say.

Helen "Elaine" Cahill
Elaine lost her battle with cancer on November 17, 2008. She was the loving mother of Shannon (Brad) Towle, Jonelle (Jim) Bauserman, John "Jody" Cahill and Casey Cahill; and wife of John Cahill who predeceased her on July 8, 1983. Born to George and Hazel Ellison in Glenns Ferry, Idaho on May 15, 1926 she was the beloved older sister to Beverly (Don) Eagan. [Joy’s note: Also the much-loved younger sister of four older siblings by her father’s first marriage: Violet Fisher, Ethel Swigart, Harry Ellison and Elma Anderson, who also predeceased her]. She adored her grandchildren, Justin (Crystal) Towle, Beau and Dane Bauserman, Lacey Cahill, Kelsey and Lindsey Cahill; great grandchildren Braden and Laken Towle; and her numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. She and John started their married life together in Alturas, California where she graduated from Modoc Union High School in 1945. Her favorite summer trips were to visit with her beloved classmates and friends who still live in the Alturas and Susanville area. Elaine lived most of her adult life in the Federal Way and Puyallup, Washington areas. In her later years, after retiring from United Airlines, she traveled to Yuma, Arizona during the winter months to enjoy the sunny weather and the friendship of her fellow "Snow Birds". Her large, extended family and loving circle of friends were dear to her and are invited to celebrate her life at a future date after the holidays.
I read a lot of different blogs—leave comments on many of them and really enjoy hearing about other bloggers daily lives and interests and learning from their experiences. Most of my favorites are written by other Rvers but I also read blogs written by happy and dedicated homemakers, foodies, crafters, authors, artists, and family members along with every other type of blog you can imagine. If you can think of it, there are people out there blogging about it! At this stage of my life, I avoid any that are controversial and prefer blogs that are upbeat, agreeable and instructive. All this reading does take time and using that valuable time for such a purely selfish activity pleases me very much but also lays a lot of guilt on me however, never fear—I will persevere.

In my reading adventures the other day, I saw a label (blog title) similar to this in a particular blog that gave me a good laugh and reminded me of myself so I decided to share it with you: “Even though she doesn’t have much to talk about, she didn’t let that stop her.” All week I make notes and contemplate what I’m going to write about but still worry that my mind will go blank on Sunday morning, the appointed time to begin my blog. However, it seems like once I start typing, the words are there … be they to the point or off the wall and I really identified with that statement and I’m sure some of my readers will concur.
To many it may seem that fulltime Rvers are bouncing across the country like the steel orb in a pinball machine on its roll to the bottom of the playing field but believe it or not, usually that is not the game plan. We may resist acknowledging its presence but most of us have a strategy of sorts, a semi-structured timetable if you will in order to be in certain places at certain times. What we all have in common is the freedom to choose our route according to our own individual wishes. Most of us have a “theme” or a fixed mission we will try and fit into that plan. Several of those might include National Parks, Memorials and Monuments, fishing in every state, and a variety of museums or major league ball parks. Here at Backroad Chronicles we have two. Whenever possible, we arrange our route to include some of the above but most importantly we try to include the capital city and administrative building of the states we pass through. If it is possible, we will tour and take pictures inside but often times we make these treks on the weekend (when the traffic in the city is minimal) and sometimes the building is closed. When that happens, we are content to photograph the exterior and call it good. Also, in order to search out the U. S. Post Offices in the cities and villages along our day trips we will wander off the highway in each little back road community and take a picture. This picture usually includes the town name, state and zip code but it always surprises us when we find one without these of which there have been several. Neither Phil nor I can remember when we started this file but as we unhurriedly pass through many small towns and settlements tucked away off the mainstream thoroughfares it usually adds sights and sounds in each town we might not otherwise experience. Some day I will share some of those photos with you, some are really a kick!
This past week although we are grieving, life did go on. We were invited to dinner and had a wonderful visit with Phil’s cousin Norm and his charming wife, Susanna in San Diego, Another day we went to two tapings in a row (they needed warm bodies to fill the seats) of the Dr. Phil Show in Hollywood. We also spent an afternoon at the San Diego Zoo and in between those accomplishments managed to get our laundry done. One day I will explain the ordeal we go through on “laundry day” which is all due to my obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to the simple act of washing our dirty clothes but I will save that dissertation for a week when nothing else has happened! Lucky you!

Until next time ...

As pretty on the outside as she was on the inside!

Our dear Aunt Elaine in happier times!

Phil's cousin and his wife in front of their family picture taken during a holiday in Hawaii. We had a wonderful dinner and a great time visiting and catching up on all the family news. Thank you Norm and Susanna!

The biggest of three backyard pools for Norm's Japanese Koi fish. He is a sought after expert and has been raising these fish for over 25 years. He has dozens and dozens of them. They are various ages and from six inches to three feet long. His collection is spectacular.

One entrance to Paramount Studios. The audience entrance was a block or so away. They would not say when the shows we watched would be aired but as soon as we find out ... we will let you know.

The famous sign up on the hill. We have arrived for the Dr. Phil Show.

Our last picture before the camera and our cell phones were confiscated. Absolutely no cameras or recording devices allowed. We sat behind Robin McGraw during the first show. She is tiny and as pretty in person as she is on TV.

Another adventure to check off of my "Life List of Things to do (before I die)" It was a beautiful day and we had a great time.

Our carriage awaits us for the Skyfari Aerial Tram ride.

Riding above the treetops to get a birds eye view of the huge San Diego Zoo.

Born in 2007, this is the newest addition to the San Diego Zoo Giant Panda exhibit. Comfy in a hammock, high in a tree, 15 month old Zhen Zhen lives with her mother and is a great climber.

My favorite exhibit in the zoo! Giant Panda, 16 year old Bai Yun has given birth to four cubs.

Is this a face only a mother could love? The grand old man of the orangutan enclosure. With all his long hair, when he walked he looked like a stubby version of WA State's infamous Sasquatch.

Beautiful Hibiscus blooming in mid-November. We love southern California!

Mounted Security (San Diego mounted police?) in Balboa Park.

The Spreckels Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park. We are going to a free concert this afternoon featuring the Spreckles Organ, one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs. I'll tell you about it next week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

WINTERTIME .. and the livin' is easy!

This is the question we hear most often: “Where are you?” For a map of our exact location click on the following link or if that doesn’t work, copy and paste this URL into the address line of your browser:
Once the map loads, we are # 1807 and if there is any other data storm (our satellite internet connection) users parked near us, they will be on the map as well. Scrolling down you will find Phil’s most recent notation about our newest venue which he updates every time we move. Clicking on the little bars underneath “Zoom” will bring you in closer or take you out to include the entire USA. Clicking anywhere on this larger map will take you to a different page where you can move the map from continent to continent by clicking on the yellow arrows. There are thousands of us, many in other countries around the world and if you look to the left side beside the name, you might see a small pink box around a tiny piece of note paper. This indicates that particular data storm user has a web link. Most of the time it denotes they have a blog but sometimes it is a link to their online store or business. Saving this page is as easy as adding it to your favorites or putting a short cut on your desktop so finding our location is just a quick click away.

Weather in Oceanside, CA: Sunshine, sunshine and more sunshine! Cool nights (at 6 am today, it was only 40’) and it got up to over 80’ yesterday. It has been about the same since we arrived. This morning there is a pretty good breeze and I wonder if it might be the southern edge of the Santa Anna winds that are wreaking havoc on the wild fires north of San Diego. Apparently, we moved south just in time.

We have been doing a lot of ocean view driving which is fairly easy around this neck of the woods. Everyone knows that the sport of surfing is enjoyed by many in southern California but the truth is … surfers are as thick as flies on cow pies in this neck of the woods. Any surf at all is full of swimmers in wet suits tied to boards of all sizes and shapes. Most are terrible at it and end up being tumbled by the wave action but that does not seem to deter the masses. Phil and I decided we do not feel like we have missed anything by not being interested in swimming in the ocean. I can’t help but have visions of the cousins of “Jaws” lined up just off shore waiting for a black neoprene encased meal to float by! Oh to be young, not to mention 10 feet tall and bullet proof again!

Last Thursday we went to the movies in the afternoon. Oceanside has a 16 screen theater right in the middle of downtown. We saw “Changeling” a true story about crime and police corruption in the 1930s staring Angelina Jolie. The story was very interesting although sad and she was very good—but oh those lips! I know she is considered a beautiful woman but her puffy, pouty lips look painful to me and are a definite distraction. To add fuel to my diversion, they painted them bright red and no matter what she did or what time of day it was—early morning or during a good cry, the lips remained brilliant and without a smudge. Really Hollywood … what is your point?

Coming out of the theater we realized while we were inside the downtown streets of Oceanside had been transformed into an enormous Farmer’s Market which as it turns out, is a weekly event (weather permitting … ha!). Before heading home we strolled for an hour or so listening to the music, perusing the homemade crafts and wares, homegrown produce and enjoying the luscious sights and smells of all the food being prepared. I always want to buy everything in sight but Phil manages to keep my enthusiasm under control by reminding me of the small amount of storage, inside Penny not to mention in our already full refrigerator! There were throngs of attendees so people-watching was very entertaining as well.

On Friday we revisited San Diego and Coronado. Phil spent many, many months at a time over the years working TDY in this area and he always loved it. Being an expert in his field (plastics) he was regularly loaned out for various ship and submarine repair jobs by Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton where he was employed. He went on jobs to the east coast as well but he always preferred the San Diego trips as the weather was always so wonderful compared to the usual winter months in WA State!
Lastly but definitely not "leastly", I want to welcome my newest readers and thank them for all the encouraging comments. Although I am a novice at the mechanics of blogging I am learning every day from the community of bloggers that I am following with great interest. You are all so good at it and have so many great ideas--all your wonderful efforts make my day!

Great Grandson

Sean-Michael Liam

b: 5:57 am October 25, 2008

Joshua and precious Sean-Michael.

Badly lit picture of a beautifully done bus conversion parked on the street with a "Welcome! Come on in sign." We did and it was very interesting. They added the top half of another bus to make a loft for more sleeping complete with spiral staircase. All work was done by the owners inside and out. The woodwork was gorgeous and well made. However, too "hippi-ish" for us and definitely not our cup of tea.

The bus is owned by a religious community that has a booth at the Farmer's Market selling herbal tea ... uhuh ... sure.

Apparently nice people and very welcoming. I'm sure they are recruiting new blood for their organization.

Southern California coastline panorama. It is so beautiful, it takes your breath away!

Beautiful San Diego sky line.

All along the beach drives in southern CA there are older RVers parked. Apparently, the "no overnight camping" law is not enforced. The jacks are down, the TV antennas are up, the toads are unhooked and the curtains are pulled. Most are too old to have slide outs. Low income Americans surviving the best way they can.