Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Brief Commercial Break

One day last week Denny and I played golf at one of the local golf courses and at the end of our round we were chatting with one of the men who had been in the foursome ahead of us. After a few moments, the man walked to his car and when he came back to us he handed me a bottle of Italian salad dressing. He explained that his brother was a diabetic who had developed his own no-fat, no sugar salad dressings after becoming disenchanted with store-bought brands of low fat dressings. He also mentioned a blackberry/cranberry/raspberry dressing which made my eyes light up, so he brought out one of those for me also. By now he had introduced himself as Ken and I asked if Awesome had a website, which it does. At that point, Denny told Ken that I like to mention local companies on my blog and website when we use and enjoy their products, so suddenly I had all four flavors of their dressings; Italian, Oriental, Sweet & Sour Garlic and the Raspberry,Blackberry,Cranberry dressings. I was set for taste testing!

The first thing I did was go to the store to pick up ingredients listed on the Oriental dressing's label for a salad. The next day I made up a big bowl of salad and took it with us to Don and Vicki's trailer to try, taking along the Oriental, Sweet & Sour and R/B/C dressings. We tried all three and I have to say, for salad dressings that have absolutely no oil, no preservatives and artificial additives, these are pretty darn tasty! Created with diabetics in mind, these salad dressings would be great for those folks following a low fat diet but they are also nice for those of us who don't want a lot of chemical additives on our salads, just all natural ingredients (except for the sucralose for sweetener).

Those who live in the Dayton are can find them at Cubs, Dot's Market and other area stores, plus they are available online at the website.

So thanks, Ken--your brother James Baby makes some good stuff!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Busy Work, Busy Times

Much activity this week. Denny has the electric fence mostly up, which is good since one of our tomato plants has 4 small tomatoes starting. Yay! My mother has decided that we'll be doing our somehow-this-turned-into-an-annual-thing garage sale, so today Denny and I stopped by to set up a table and start arranging some items and clearing space in the garage. This was after we had gone to the annual 20 year retiree breakfast for the police department. We've missed the last nine years so it was neat catching up with a lot of old friends, some of whom we haven't seen since we started our full time travels. Most of us are in pretty good health and things are going well for everyone, which is always good to hear.

Patches Mae proved her huntress ancestry this week when we were spending the day at "Grandma's" house. As seen by the picture above, Patches discovered that if she hid in the ferns and stayed there for a long time, sooner or later the birds would forget she was there. The end result? She gifted us with a baby bird in the living room. The good news is, when I went to pick it up with a paper towel the little critter ran off and tried to fly away. So I was able to take it outside on the other side of the privacy fence and place it near the lilac bush where it flew up into the branches. All is well.

Traded up to a new Razr cell phone today--a whole new learning curve here as well as accessories to buy, of course. So much for a "free" upgrade. Let's see how long it takes me to realize it's my phone ringing since I lost my ringtones; I imagine a lot of the calls will go into voice mail until I remember what my new ringtone sounds like. Old dog and all that...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Sunny Lazy Sunday

The weather hasn't been especially cooperative since Denny and I arrived in Ohio in April. As a matter of fact, it's been better suited for ducks.

At times, we felt adrift in a sea of mud, wondering if we were ever going to see the light of day.

Day after day passed by and we started to feel very housebound.

But with the arrival of the Memorial Day weekend also came the end of the rain.

The ground has started to dry out and we were able plant all the tomatoes in Dad's garden.

And if we can keep the various reptiles...

...and mammals out of the garden...

...we might end up with a harvest like this.

Denny and I want to thank all those who have served our country so valiantly, making it possible for us to travel freely wherever we wish to go. Have a great Memorial Day (observed) weekend, everyone.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

This and That

The week has flown by here and we've finally gotten the garden planted. Last week's rains tapered off finally, so Denny was able to get the tomatoes planted before the next series of storms rolled in. The grass was so high last week that Denny had to raise the settings on the lawn tractor for me to cut the grass and we went back three days later to do it again. I know that in a few weeks we'll be wishing for the rain and cooler temperatures to return, but for now I'm ready for summer.

Denny and I have decided to try to clear out the garages at both his dad's house and my mother's house; how ambitious is that? We have our work cut out for us, to be sure.

I met with a periodontist this week and discovered I'll need gum surgery and bone grafts to repair bone loss from periodontal disease. Money is going to flow from our pockets while we're in Ohio this summer it seems. I seriously considered having all the teeth yanked and having dentures made, but I'm just not emotionally ready for something like that. Does anyone know of a good work at home business or have the inside track to winning lottery numbers? ;-)

My good friend Vicki's sister received the gift of a heart yesterday. Diane came through the transplant surgery okay and is doing well so far. We are grateful for that. A family in Toledo made the difficult decision to donate their loved one's organs and it helped save a life. Knowing someone who has benefited from an organ donation makes me very happy that I'm signed up to be an organ donor.

Strawberries should be ready to pick by the end of the first week of June--I better start walking more now to make up for all the strawberries with whipped cream I'll be eating for as long as the picking season lasts. Yum.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, y'all.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Late Lazy Sunday

This has not been a typical weekend for Denny and I. Normally we just veg out and leave the stores and the roadways to all those working folks who have to do their shopping on weekends. But we've been out and about with Don and Vicki, going out for pizza, hitting the local flea market and just spending the afternoons bs-ing. Thus I am way late on my Lazy Sunday pix.

Truly random, some old and some new, and not up to snuff because Desperate Housewives is on. ;-)

A family trip to the Fairfield resort in Arkansas was a treat. We played some golf, rented a pontoon boat for a day on the lake and wandered the area on foot with the boys. This natural bridge was an unexpected treat.

Fall color at Brown County State Park in Indiana. A lovely park with little Nashville close by for shopping if you get tired of all that nature.

Stone Mountain Park is a fabulous place to take your kids; there's history, a water park, a mountain to climb and the greatest laser show you'd ever want to see. Take a picnic dinner and get a spot on the lawn early for the light show.

A parasailer above the Gulf of Mexico at Gulf Shores, Alabama. I wish I had the nerve to try it, but I sure love to watch them in the meantime.

White water at Snoqualmie Falls in Washington. A truly beautiful area, an impressive waterfall and a great place to visit.

This is our "back yard" here in Wilmington. As you can see, Patches enjoys exploring our little patch of woods.

I'm still trying to figure out what these little pointed things are that are growing out of the tree stump. All sorts of evil thoughts run through my head though.

When I would look through the neighbor's trees at sunset back in our old neighborhood, this view always made me think of pictures I had seen of the African veldt. A fanciful thought, but I never tired of the sunsets seen through those trees.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Busy, busy. Yesterday was spent in Cincinnati, trying to cut the near-foot long grass at the in-law's place. We were going to plant the tomatoes, but after attempting to dig a hole for the first one and coming up with a spadeful of slop, Denny decided we'd have to wait on that. Cincinnati had had two inches of rain the day before and more is predicted over the weekend. We did get the electrified horse fence partially installed (I'm sure the neighbors are now wondering when the horse will arrive) although we need some additional pieces-parts (what WAS that commercial that said something about pieces-parts so many years ago?) before we'll be ready to fend off the deer. Denny has started some lettuce seed so things are coming together for the garden.

Why I am remiss? We had the big 97th birthday celebration for Denny's dad yesterday; Denny's sister Connie made and brought over a huge meal for eight of us which was absolutely delicious. What with the hugs and catching up with cousins and an aunt, I totally forgot the camera which was down in the truck. So no birthday pix, no family pix, nada. Dumb. Good memories, though.

A nice surprise when we arrived back at the campground was seeing Don, Vicki, Burt and Sandy next door gathered around a campfire. I grabbed the cat for a quick walk while Denny meandered over to chat. Don gave me an amaretto sour, which was very tasty, and we hung out for an hour or so until the long, long day started catching up to us (we had left at 9AM and gotten home at 9:30PM). Sleep came easily last night, for sure. It was a good day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Lazy Sunday Mother's Day

First things first; Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Of course, my mother doesn't read my blog, but it's the thought, right? This picture shows where I got my penchant for making a fool of myself--it comes naturally.

Darby and I. Darby spent the first eleven days of his life in an incubator in intensive care; this photo was taken just a few days after his father and I were finally able to bring him home. What a joyous day that was!

Here in Ohio thunderstorms are going to rain on the parades of many family celebrations. Denny and I would have grilled burgers and brats when Darb comes by later but Mother Nature having her April showers carrying over into May will move us indoors. But that's okay since we have a whole summer here ahead of us.

Denny and I are still in the errand running mode so there are no new pictures this week--all that's new is the central vacuum system Denny installed and a portable ice maker to replace the one in the refrigerator that has started leaking for a second time. Poor insulation allows the water line to the ice maker to freeze and split (twice) and so we're not going to replace the line again. Now there's an elephant in my dining area.

Since it's been raining and it is going to continue to rain this entire upcoming week, I'll do pictures from the state of Washington, which is known for its rain. Although in none of the pictures is it raining. Go figure.

This sculpture is called "Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies" and is located on a ridge above Interstate 90 in Washington. It remains unfinished, as the Indian story behind the sculpture refers to a "great basket" which is not yet part of the sculpture, lacking the proper funding. From the highway, the horses look real.

Desert chicory blooming in Washington, because the state has a desert-like climate east of the Cascade Mountains.

Frying Pan Creek flows along the roadside within the boundaries of the Mt. Rainer National Park. Hiking trails abound in the park, with the trail head to Summerland near the creek being one of the most popular ones.

Standing on a hummock at Mt. St. Helen's National Park looking out over the vast area affected by the volcanic eruption. The park management has wisely allowed the area to renew itself naturally, without interference by man. A wise decision.

The beauty of Mt. Rainier in the sunlight is beyond words.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Playing Catch Up

It has been a busy week, a productive week and a scary week for Denny and I. While in Cincinnati to do yard work and more work on garden preparation, Denny's dad told him that "the old ticker isn't working right and I'm having some pain in my chest", so off we went to the ER. The doctors kept him overnight and did several tests which turned out negative for heart problems, so they sent Dad back home. This is the first time we've ever heard him complain of chest pain, so it's worrisome.

Denny did get some cauliflower and broccoli planted but we're going to wait until next week to plant tomatoes in the hope of avoiding any remaining chance of morning frost. May 15 has always been the date by which farmers planted in this area of the world and it works for us. We're a bit late at starting the butter crunch lettuce seed for later planting, but it'll work, at least as long as we can keep Patches out of the tender seedlings once they sprout.

I found my moss roses at a local grocery store; portulaca apparently is no longer popular as an annual so most places no longer stock them. I dug up some of the lilies of the valley that have spread too much at my mother's house, so those will get planted under the tree with the portulaca to provide a bit of fragrance to enjoy. We've had a lot of rain the past couple of days so that will make it easier to dig in the old soil here.

Speaking of rain and bad weather, the tornado sirens went off yesterday afternoon and when I dug out the weather radio the robotic voice informed us that a state trooper had spotted a funnel cloud touching down at I-71 and US 68, which is just about nine miles north of us. There are no concrete buildings here at the campground so it would be a toss up whether to stay here in our trailer nestled in the trees or run down to the wooden clubhouse with the big glass windows in the middle of an open field. Hmm.

Finally, last week we did our part in bringing the economy back; after receiving our tax rebate I ordered a central vacuum cleaner for our trailer. Yep, there is such a creature and after a whole lot of frustration and sweat Denny was able to get ours installed in the laundry closet yesterday. Now I'll be able to sweep the upholstered ceiling with ease (fabric for sound baffling purposes) as well as the carpets. That also means we'll have to keep this trailer instead of ever trading it off because it has everything we want. Denny wants to install a second vacuum outlet in the outside storage bin so he'd be able to hook up the vacuum hose there to sweep out the truck, but we'll fight with that another day since he has to figure out the mechanics for that one.

If the rain holds off today I'll get my flowers planted, finish packing up the upright vacuum and the little hand held vacuum to take over to my mother's house to sell at her next garage sale (creating more clutter here in the meantime) and give that new vacuum a good workout. It's time to give the truck (and our pockets) a break; are diesel and gas prices as ridiculous where you are? $3.79 for unleaded and $4.19 for diesel. Sheesh.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Lovely Lazy Sunday

The sun has finally come out, the high winds have died down and the temperature might just reach its predicted high of 63 degrees today. A lovely Lazy Sunday.

Last night we went out to dinner at Max & Erma's Restaurant to celebrate Don and Vicki's 33rd anniversary. Vicki and I were reminiscing about how the original Max & Erma's restaurants had old-fashioned candlestick telephones on each table so customers could call other tables and talk to each other as kind of a "singles" thing. We mentioned that to the waitress who was probably WAY too young to have any idea of what we were talking about. Sigh. And we are the generation who called anyone over 30 "old". All that aside, the four of us had a great time and we all managed to walk out of the restaurant without any wobbling from excessive alcohol intake, which may be some sort of record for us. We'll save that for sitting around the campfire when it warms up a bit more; appetizers and mojitos are already in the planning stage.

There's a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the photos today.

This fawn was feeding on a hillside near the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge at the Olympic National Park in Washington. He was very cautious of the humans nearby, which is a good thing.

The lighthouse at Tybee Island in Georgia may not be the prettiest lighthouse we've visited, but it is still operational to this day. You can walk to the top of the lighthouse (a mere 178 steps) and visit the museum on the grounds.

Denny and I have visited several military forts over the years and we found Fort Pulaski interesting in that the Union army used long range rifled cannons against the fort. These weapons were new to the Civil War and they were able to bombard the walls of the fort from over a mile away, which meant that the Confederate soldiers inside the fort were unable to effectively fight back against the Union soldiers. After a 30 hour battle, the fort was surrendered. You can see the damage to the brick walls of the fort, which has walls that are eight feet thick. The fort is located only 15 minutes from Savannah, Georgia and is a fascinating place to spend an afternoon.

A display of rock color near the Weeping Rock in Zion National Park in Utah.

The Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park. This is a national park you could return to spring, summer, fall and winter to see in all its glory in the various seasons. We'll get back there someday.

I've posted this picture before, but I love the juxtaposition of the destruction caused by the eruption of Mt. St. Helen with the regrowth of grass and flowers years later.

The blurriness and color change at the top of the photo is not caused by a camera malfunction, but rather by the marine layer that would lower and raise over the cliffs in the Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington. These cliffs are near the North Head lighthouse, where winds have been clocked at over 100 mph.

This is what nearly caused me to cry as Denny and I were removing all our belongings from our 38 foot Bounder motorhome into our new 1999 King of the Road fifth wheel back in December of 1999. Notice that the overhead cupboards to the rear already were half full and I had so much more to put away. A carload of our belongings went to my mother's house for a garage sale when we drove back to Ohio for Christmas that year. My poor little Sunfire convertible not only had a stuffed trunk, but we filled the back seat all the way to the roof with "stuff" that we no longer had room for. And once we were settled into the new fifth wheel, we found that we didn't miss what we no longer had. Imagine that.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Quiet Saturday

Rain and winds today means that we won't get anything accomplished outside. But then again, we rarely do much on weekends anyway so it's a moot point. Monday will be soon enough to start the grass cutting at both our parents' houses. Ford has already issued a recall notice on the new truck (a bad bracket holding the driver's seat in place) so we'll get that taken care of on Tuesday.

We're getting settled into the campground here and I'm already eyeballing the base of one tree as a place to plant a few annuals just to add some color to our site. For me, that's easier than carrying around a bunch of planters that need to be hauled in and out of the trailer every time we move. They have a tendency to fall over and dump their dirt out in transit and I'd just as soon avoid that mess. Denny has been researching the Internet (he's being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century) for the best soil nutrients for tomatoes since his dad has had his garden in the same place for close to 30 years. We figure the ground is pretty tired by now and Denny is bound and determined to get a good crop of tomatoes for his dad this year. Dad himself is looking more frail and tired so this may be our last chance to do this for him.

Posts here will be more sporadic since we'll be settled here for the summer. With diesel prices going through the roof and much our fuel being used for the trips back and forth from Cinci and Dayton we won't be wandering the countryside looking for new places, I'm afraid. But check in occasionally just to keep in touch, ya hear?
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