Sunday, July 27, 2008

Family, friends, food and foolhardiness ...

Shelton weather: At 7:30 am it is just 58 degrees and cloudy. They are forecasting some morning showers but so far, nothing here. This afternoon it is supposed to get up to the low 70s but no more rain. It did shower some yesterday a.m. but the wet stuff was gone by the time I got up … late … at 9:30 am. Phil was long gone, checking out the Saturday garage sales. At ten o’clock he called me and I quickly got dressed. He picked me up and we met friends, Gloria, Les, Andy and Millie at the Little Creek Casino for a great buffet breakfast. We sat around until nearly noon drinking coffee and visiting afterward. Then the fun began …

Phil and I went to a parking lot flea market out by Spencer Lake when we left, where we were promptly ripped off due to my stupidity – here is the back story.

I have been trying to bring my sister, Dixie into the modern computer world for a very long time. She has an old one (donated by sister, Robin when she upgraded years ago) but is not on the Internet and she has no idea how to do anything and is barely able to retrieve e-mail from her free account. Computers scare and frustrate her and without one on one instruction, nothing is going to change. I had hoped to resolve that this year.

Since Dixie broke her hip she has not been able to go upstairs (where the computer is located) once she did come home on weekends. Fortunately, they have a second master suite on the main floor where she and her husband, Paul have been sleeping since she was released from the nursing home. Yesterday, at the flea market I found a two/three year old Compaq for $100 that the vendor swore worked fine. I thought, “Great! We can install this one downstairs and start teaching her some basics.” Impulsively, (which is so NOT my style) I convinced Phil to buy it and the seller said with a straight face, (since we were in a parking lot without electricity) he would guarantee it and give us our money back if it didn’t work.

To make a long story short … we came home, Phil and Les put it all together and you guessed it … it didn’t work. We quickly drove back to the flea market to get our money back and again, you guessed it … that fellow was long gone. The phone number he gave me goes immediately to voice mail, and again, you guessed it … it isn’t set up, and I only have his first name … “Tony.” Do I feel stupid … well, what do you think? Phil has refrained from telling me “I could have told you as much” – bless his heart! I guess he knows I feel bad enough already without any help from him. We are thinking about what to do next and will go to the sponsor of the flea market to see if they can identify this guy and if not, maybe we will take it to a computer shop for an estimate to get it running. Stay tuned, we haven’t yelled “uncle” yet!

Last Sunday we had a wonderful family get-together (more than 30 of us) for food and catching up on all the latest news at niece, Tammy’s home in Olympia. Getting the whole bunch of us together for a picture was a real test of my patience but I will share a couple of them in spite of the obvious lack of cooperation. Why are most people so afraid of the camera?

Phil and I both had our eyes examined (I said EYES—not heads but maybe I should rethink this after my recent fiasco) last week. He has a bit of a pressure problem in one eye and my cataracts are to the point where surgery could be done but they told me I could put it off for another year if I so decided (I do) … maybe two (they weren’t so sure about that) so we will see. Phil will go back in a week or so for another pressure check and if there is no change, will get drops for his eyes.

Phil and Les got out on the lake one day for their usual catch and release marathon and I went on a shopping trip in Olympia while he was gone; got some good bargains and had a great time.

Today, we are taking nine-year-old, great granddaughter, Carly to the Mason County Fair and Rodeo. I love small town fairs and the rodeo and I hope she enjoys it too. I will tell you all about it next week.

After Phil's eye appointment, we took a day trip to Camping World and the beautiful city of Tacoma. Here is a few pictures in case you have never been there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Usually, my blog ramblings stick to the things we have done in the prior week but today I am going to wander off the usual path and do something different. Please do not think I have slipped a cog … I haven’t … but feel free to comment. I will be interested in your feedback.

After watching a Barbara Walter’s special on ABC a few weeks ago titled: “How to Live to be 150” (or something like that) I made up my mind. Since then, when I share my intent to live to be 150 years old, family and friends laugh at me. That’s okay. In my life I have experienced much scoffing for my radical and/or nonconformist ideas—so what else is new? I have outlived one child (not something I suggest to anyone) and would be extremely happy if my remaining two offspring were still of this world when I throw in the towel. However, since they do not endorse my belief in longevity to that extent that is highly unlikely. Here are just a few of my reasons for making this decision:

1. Unlike some who welcome going to their chosen afterlife; I really do appreciate and love the life I have now … thank you very much!
2. Good, bad or indifferent, curiosity about the future of the world blazes in my brain.
3. As a serious genealogist, I want to meet and hug my descendants.
4. The beauty and history of the United States is too big to embrace in one short lifetime so extending my stay just makes sense.
5. My “Life list of things to do” is not getting any shorter … every time one thing gets done, two things get added.
6. After all the bad habits I have given up (some more than once) … I want to prove it worked and gain from my pain.

Now, back to our regular programming …

This past Monday the three sisters and their spouses were invited to a special dinner at Tammy’s house. In the past, Dixie has hosted the event each year but as you know, she has endured a formidable hitch in her git-a-long and although she is home at last, hosting a dinner was not going to happen so our wonderful Tammy stepped up and filled in for her mom. Somehow, neither Phil nor I remembered to take pictures! However, it is probably just as well … you have no doubt seen enough pictures of sisters, Robin, Joy and Dixie lately. I am sure they are weary of the practice as well.

We finished up our efforts at daughter, Bobbie’s house. There is much left to do but with her house full of people (hopefully chipping in), it will get done eventually. Phil and I must now concentrate on our own list of chores in order to finish up before we head south in early September. Phil and Les managed one day of fishing last week and we spent an afternoon at the laundromat getting the hamper emptied. We also washed our bigger throw rugs and were pleased with the results (thanks for the suggestion G).

On Friday and Saturday we spent several hours going to garage sales. The weather was dreary on Friday but on Saturday, the sun came out and the day was beautiful.

Note: Double click on the slide show to enlarge the picture then click on the link called View album. Once that screen opens, click on the link called slide show for a full screen view of the pictures.

After lunch last Monday with friends, Carol and John at Little Creek Casino we looked across the road and this is what we saw ...

Aren't they beautiful?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Handyman Phil is back to work!

Weather report: at 8 am it is 68 degrees in Shelton and the sun is shining. Now this is more like it! I suppose it certainly could be considered “perfect” weather and the reason people live in the northwest … for these two or three days a year … only kidding (I think)!

You may notice a slightly different look to Backroad Chronicles this week. I have wanted to add a list of our favorite links for some time but my former template was not capable of that feature (it was an old one). So I upgraded to this new format and added three of my daily reads. Just click on them and you can check in on our friends who write almost daily and are fun to travel along with. Two are full time Rvers and one is a part time traveler but her daily life is very interesting even if she isn’t on the road. Our profile has dropped down the page a ways but the most disturbing was losing our hit counter. I will eventually put one back on but have not taken the time so far.

My daughter Bobbie bought a new (to her) house the end of December, 2007. It was the buy of the year in Mason County but as you might expect, it needed (and still needs) some serious fixing up. However, even so it is a wonderful house and in an excellent location (Remember: location, location, location!) Wanting to take advantage of our being in Shelton, Bobbie took some vacation time this past week and Phil and I have been donating a bit of sweat equity to her bottom line. Phil has concentrated on her third bedroom which will be her office. He has been painting (many coats because the former resident’s child used the walls of this room for her artistic canvas—with permanent markers) and installing upgraded trim and baseboard molding.

I have been helping her shop for miscellaneous goodies at Wal*Mart (it is hard work but someone has to do it) and doing some rearranging and organizing for her. The plan was to get her office ready to go before she returns to work tomorrow but as usual—the best laid plans, etc. etc.—so we still have lots of work to do and will continue helping her next week while she is at work. Of course, along with Bobbie working on her projects every spare hour, her fiancĂ©, Bob and son, Joe have been putting in many hours as well so a lot is getting done. With imagination, the end result is obvious and wonderful but because of all the boxes stacked up everywhere and furniture in disarray, living with the renovation is beginning to rattle this new homeowner. Hopefully, we can clear a few paths for her before we are finished.

Even with our days spent helping out at Bobbie’s house, we found time to go garage-saling and found some bargains for her and a few bargains for ourselves. Our size and load capacity definitely control our purchases but it is sure fun to shop for someone else. Phil and Les have managed to get out to the lakes fishing a couple times this past week. Phil says the fish are getting wise to them and the last couple times out have been a bit more elusive. Les bought a new gasoline motor for his 12 ft. aluminum boat and compared to the little electric motor they had been using, they can practically ski behind the boat now. Guess what? Now the boat rides are much more fun for our big boys.

Question of the day: What is the name of the first novel written on a typewriter?

Answer: Tom Sawyer about 135 years ago. We have come a long way in a very short time!

A beautiful bouquet of flowers from my friend, Gloria. She heard I was a bit under the weather one day and thought they would cheer me up.
They certainly did and are still beautiful several days later.
Beautiful Olympic Mountains in Washington. Can you see Mt. Washington in the center?
Here are a few shots of Bobbie's new house:

Sunday, July 06, 2008


After a week of much rain and even some thunder (I heard it) and lightning (I didn’t see any but the weather prognosticators said we would have some) next week looks much better. Not real hot but sunny and pleasant for the next seven days. This forecast is better for Penny as not only has she sprung a leak that needs attention (remember I was worried that would happen) but Phil is trying to put a coating of wax on her. Rain will not help him accomplish either chore. As I begin to write the blog at 8 am it is only 58 degrees with a high but solid cloud cover. This is the kind of weather where a soft chair and a good book call my name but more often than not, the “to do” list has other plans.

We have been living full time in our Penny the Pace for three years and nine months and last Sunday I made a big bowl of potato salad and after weeks of salivating over the idea, mixed up a meat loaf. I divided the mixture putting half in the freezer and baked the other half in my convection/microwave. Both endeavors were delicious but since it had been years since I made either one, I had to rummage around in my brain for the recipes. There was a time when I was a pretty good cook but I am definitely rusty and since I only get the urge to make a meal sporadically I’m afraid it will continue to be a struggle. Of course, I made enough potato salad for a small army (Will I ever learn to cook for two?) so we shared some with Les and Gloria.

And, speaking of our dear friend, Gloria, she spent two days and one night in the hospital last week. After an abdominal cat scan and many bags of intravenous antibiotics, she still isn’t back to normal but hopefully on the mend. If the physicians fail to get a handle on this chronic condition—she is fearful that surgery is in her future and like most of us does not look forward to that prospect. Get better soon girlfriend!

Our little Lone Ranger went in the shop last Wednesday and received two new front tires. These are the first replacements since we bought the truck in 2003 and although the old ones still looked pretty good, considering our tentative plans for the next couple years, it was time.

On Saturday morning, we had a quick but wonderful visit from my granddaughter, Megan and her husband, Joshua. They are here from Longview visiting friends in Shelton for the weekend. It has been nearly a year since we’ve seen them and as I mentioned a few months back and you can see from the pictures she is five months pregnant. Our newest and second great grandbaby is a boy and he is due the 2nd of November. They have picked out a name and it is my great pleasure to announce he will be called Sean Liam. This choice made me very happy because my son who passed away in 1993 was also named Sean but back then, my immature and convoluted judgment decided it should be spelled Shawn. This was back in 1955 and I honestly believed it would be easier for him in school to have a phonetic spelling. Shortly after my Shawn was born, in 1957 Sean Connery burst upon the cinematic stage and very soon—(of course), after James Bond, Agent 007, everyone knew how to spell Sean!

Saturday, we spent the afternoon and evening visiting family and commemorating great nephew, Andy’s 19th birthday at his parent’s home in Olympia. As usual, my niece Tammy pulled out the stops and had enough food including grilled hamburgers and hot dogs so that no one went away hungry. Another party is planned in two weeks for an even bigger get together without any particular theme to celebrate some extended family time.

Meet our newest turtle, Pokey, a gift from sister, Dixie. He thinks our bed is a great place to rest.

Great grandma, Joy and granddaughter, Megan.
Megan and Joshua. Overjoyed expectant parents!
Enjoy the show ...