Friday, October 30, 2009

If it's not one thing, it's another.......

We have managed to avoid snow storms, tornados, torrential rain and catastrophic flooding (the Weather Channels description) and the plague so far....(.that being H1N1) but got waylaid by a mechanical issue. Anyhow, I am currently at Panera Bread , using their free internet and enjoying their salads and THE BREAD...mostly THE BREAD. We have been on the road for over 4 days and have not had decent internet. I know you have been waiting for a travel blog but folks, this ain't it. This is just to let you know that if we could have, we would have and we couldn't so we didn't. Even the Wonder Phone didn't come thru on this one altho I do know people who have blogged on it, I just haven't figured it out yet.
We left Denver early to avoid a predicted snow storm. (Jenna sent pictures of the 26 inches on the back deck and the buried dog) We headed south to New Mexico, a mostly desolate desparate looking place and then into Oklahoma which is wide open spaces of cattle and oil and cattle and oil and looks prosperous. We spent the night in a lovely RV camp that we had stayed in 3 years previously. We had planned to head to Little Rock to see the Clinton Library but wisely checked out the forecast and decided to head more southerly to avoid serious storms. We spent the night at a casino campground in Shreveport , La with an overabundant supply of large mosquitos, close proximity to the train track and its loud frequent whistle, and on the flight path to the airport. We were too tired to explore the gambling. But we listened to the ominous weather report and departed at sunrise to get as far away as possible from the pending weather. And a tornado did hit in Shreveport and the interstate was closed from flooding and it is expected to get worse. We finally made it to Biloxi and wandered thru a huge casino and drove along the Gulf coast and saw the Katrina devastation of all the beautiful southern mansions that lined the drive. It is very sad.
I managed to spend $5 and walk away with $27 profit from the glitzy casino. We were there all of 20 minutes before we got bored. No offense to those who this appeals to but after a long drive, we were more interested in reclining.
So now, we are in Destin Florida in a beautiful state park on the beach. Weather is warm, humid and the area is a beehive of shopping and dining and of course, the beautiful snow white beaches. However, Paul has spent the afternoon trying to solve a mechanical issue with the RV. One of the slides failed to go out more than a few inches. The other, put out first, had no problem. He has a call into a technical support and has discussed it with Michael and hopefully it can be fixed. If not, the slides can be manually brought in and we will take it home for repair there. Anyway, we are planning on staying here 2 nights and heading home early Sunday morning. Pictures another day....stay tuned.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What a difference a day makes

Flew into Colorado yesterday and was greeted by this. Not heavy snow but steady and cold. Quite a shock to my system. As we were descending thru the clouds and snow, I noticed that slushy snow was building up on the wings. So, being the intrepid and brave flier that I am, but also having inside knowledge, I just knew that the wing deicers weren't on and we were going to cartwheel into the Colorado landscape below. I quit looking but then just had to peek again and some had fallen off so figured that the crew was indeed awake and had turned on the deicers and we would all live.

Can you count the computers in this picture.....yes, there are 5 and on the other side of the room , Paul and I were each on our laptops........ total of 7 and yet we were all able to multi task and have quality family time.

Today we are loading up the "Moving Roadblock" and heading south to warmer climes. We hope to be home in about 6 days. Updates when we have WiFi.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ocala Art Show

Warning; A pictureless blog entry....sorry

I am still unable to put iPhone pictures on the blog. Paul sent some spectacular videos via the iPhone and I tried to get those on also but no luck. I am winging my way West tomorrow so hopefully, this problem can be rectified by Michael.

My friend Ann and I went up to the annual Ocala Art Show today. It was a little steamy but not terribly crowded. There was some very good art , some interesting art and just plain wierd art....but it's all in the eyes of the beholder I guess. I happened across this artist, to her website and enjoy her work. I bought one of her small giclee's of a snow goose. I also managed to pick up a piece of work by Don Nedobeck who does whimsical watercolors of cats, mostly. I first bought a piece from him at a show in Breckinridge, Co, and couldn't resist another. Enjoy his website

Follow us next week as we meander thru America's heartland on our way south.....trying to avoid predicted snow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stepping out on a limb......

Yes, I'm still here .....but currently blogging under very trying conditions. Who ever thought we should communicate this way when it is far too complex for the normal human brain and virtually a muddle for someone of my intellect....but anyhow.......... see those pictures up there? Well, on blogger format, before publishing, they do not appear as pictures but are a bunch of a result, I am unable to reposition them into the body of my blog. Normally, I can review them, position them or delete them when I look at this , I see no pictures. They do appear in the preview so I'm hoping they pop up when I publish. But this format is ALL wrong. The computer has been totally screwed up for over a week and Paul has tried his best to work with it. I now have a duplicate site I could work from but I'd rather stay on the familiar side and just bitch about how annoying all of this is......
But I digress. Back to the pictures. The top two are pictures I took (the scanner isn't working either !) of 2 of my recent sketches. I took Botanical Art courses at the NY Botanical Gardens a number of years ago and despite good intentions, never kept at it much. Lately, I've been dabbling again and feeling the need to explore my creative side again. I've tried a couple art classes here but without much satisfaction. I maintain contact with one of my instructors from NYBG who now is on her own. She steered me to a school in Sarasota and after months of procrastination, I signed up for a distance learning class. (See bottom picture). I placed my order for the books yesterday and this morning my phone rang. When I answered, the lovely voice on the other end said, "Hello, this is Olivia" Well, I don't know any Olivia's except for the lady who developed this program and I was stunned that she would personally call me. We talked for about 30 minutes. Because I just dipped my toe into the process, she felt that I needed some guidance and was very generous with her time in explaining the Certification process (I don't think I'm that interested in getting a Certification in Botanical Art as it is lengthy and arduous) and how the school works. And she said that Mindy, my NYBG instructor, would be teaching some workshops in the near future. So, I am all aflutter with enthusiasm and can't wait for the materials to arrive. And now that I"ve shared this with all of you, I figure I'll have to post progress reports and won't be able to slack off. And I'll expect critiques.....
Paul left this morning for Denver and the next 'jeeping adventure' with Mike and Lizzie and Alex in Moab, Utah. I'll fly out this weekend and then Paul and I will drive the motorhome back to Florida for the winter.
By the way, it FINALLY cooled off down the tune of mid 40's in the mornings. But it's back up into the 80's again but no humidity so the house is open and it is refreshing and golf is once again non-life threatening from heat stroke.

And, we always knew the Broncos would be 6 - 0 at this point in the season....we really did.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yes, it's still HOT down here......

Paul is back from his trip to the Big Apple. Well, it wasn't like he was strolling the streets of Manhattan but more like he was sitting in a classroom at JFK for recurrent training. But at least he got a taste of fall weather and wearing of the jeans again.
Meanwhile, I was putting on a birthday celebration for Aunt Romayne's 97th. She is quite remarkable.

This was a flower "cake" that I found, complete with candles. It is really cute and will last a long time. She refrigerates it each night and so far it shows no signs of deterioration. Watching her and my mother, I've figured out the secret to longevity. One is obviously uncle is well into his 90's, my grandmother lived into her 90's. Romayne's dad lived into his 90's ( they made a pact to live to be 100 and I think she'll make it) and most of her siblings lived to the late 80's and early 90's. Both women have made exercise a big part of their lives. Neither takes any medication. They are both small. They eat very healthy, enjoying vegetables and fruits and small portions but liking ice cream. They have great personalities and are well liked. They had long marriages. Interestingly, my mother is surrounded by family and is outgoing. Romayne had no children and describes herself as a 'hermit'.
Their quality of life remains high and that is at least as important as a long life.

Meanwhile, I have been frustrated and trying to figure out why I can't get pictures from my phone to the picture gallery on the computer. I manage to capture life thru my phone vs. a camera for obvious reasons. And I often upload the pictures that I get from texting to post on the blog. (yes, with the iPHONE, we can now send pictures in a is way cool and fortunately, Jenna and Marybeth share their life instantly....because, if I can't be there, I still need to be a part of it.) So last week, when that ability to upload those pictures just quit working, I began to whine and Paul (who can fix anything), spent hours searching the innards and brain of this Sony and then sent an SOS to our sons. Mike is on the road and didn't answer, Jon tried to come to some conclusions and Jeff said, " Sorry, I'm a MAC". So, I couldn't blog. I knew I had some good stuff just waiting to be posted but not without pictures ...... I knew my audience would leave if they had another barren picture-less post.
So, I will stumble on, try to carry my camera with me and hope the problem fixes itself, just like it broke itself.

Some of the views I was going to share were from Jenna's texts....they are currently on their way home from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. They crew for a balloon team and send amazing pictures. One of them sort of looked like this with a note that said Alex was in a balloon in the middle. Yes, they get to go up in those balloons also.

It is all so spectacular, especially at night.

When we moved into this neighborhood, it was new construction and not much wildlife had come back. Slowly, we are seeing more and more geckos, birds and I suspect, more creepy things. But this morning, just at sunrise, I was greeted with such exuberance and spirit. A mockingbird (I think) was sitting in a nearby palm and just singing his heart out. I have seen and heard them on the golf course and they have mighty voices. I hope he decides to set up housekeeping out back.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A day without pictures is.........boring

Coming up for air after a busy week. And no pictures to prove that I wasn't just eating bon bons for that time.

Aunt Romayne was moved into her beautiful new apartment last Wed. Altho we didn't pack or move it ourselves, it involved too many details and tasks and just felt like one of our moves, on a smaller scale. So now we are just left with more organizing and sorting and hanging of the pictures and drapes and such. But she is happier and the long drive (45min) has been reduced to a lovely golf cart ride from our house.

On the news this morning, they said that there are about 28 gazillion bloggers (it was either millions or billions, didn't quite get it) and at least 50% of them earn money from that blog. !! Either by allowing ads or by promoting products. And now they will be required to disclose if they are endorsing a product. I really don't see why laws have to get in the way of all of this altho I do read some blogs that apparently make big bucks from their many advertisements. One such blog is written by a mother of 4 who lives on a huge cattle ranch, homeschools the kids, writes a cooking blog, a homeschooling blog, a home and garden blog, a photography blog and her daily blog. And she has very generous iPods, Kitchen Aid Mixers, gift cards to Target and Amazon and one time , 2 pair of custom made cowboy boots. She says she does not receive these items from the ads but sort of indicates she buys them with her profits from the ads. And she gets 10-15000 hits a day. (including me) . And she's an interesting read.

Speaking of consumerism.......guess who finally broke down and bought a new phone ?? His previous one was barely hanging on and I think the fear of losing all the contacts was the driving force..... So he is now the proud owner of the newest and latest iPhone. His has a compass AND a video camera. And a lot more room to store stuff. And with the new upgrade , we can all text PICTURES.....very cool. And no, we are not endorsing Apple or iPhone but we certainly would if they made it worthwhile to the writer of this 'world famous blog'.....