Friday, September 25, 2009

Arrival in Venice, Florida

No pictures today again. Took a few but haven't download them yet. Just wanted to let family & friends know we arrived in Venice, Florida around 3pm.

We are on our way out for supper with cousins & Bill's Aunt Ethel for her 90th birthday tonight at Outback Steakhouse. Will catch up with you all later.

It is HOT & HUMID!!!

Oh counter turned again too! 2201 WOW! Happy, Happy Blogger!

Until tomorrow or later tonight..............The Traveling Cardinal's

Thursday, September 24, 2009

An Uneventful Day

We left Selma, NC this morning around 8:30AM. We had a little bit of fog & a few showers off & on, but nothing like yesterday. Otherwise it was a nice day. It got hotter & more humid as we drove south. I couldn't believe at 8:30 this morning it was 73 degrees!!!

We had a semi truck driver toot & wave to us a couple time today. I thought it might be my nephew, Ralph, but I don't think he drives a US Mail truck. MTI was the company on the truck, so I guess you can't really tell. The last time we saw him & he waved he was going into a weigh station. Then later he passed us again. We were in Georgia when we saw him last. Who knows, maybe it was just someone who thought they recognized our rig.

We arrived in Brunswick, Georgia around 4PM tonight. It is 90 degrees & humid. I can't believe we said we would go to Florida this time of year!!! Oh, I'm longing for the days in Arizona with NO humidity!!!!

We are in the middle of preparing supper & Bill is watching some TV as I write this. Last night was a TVless night. Tonight we have cable & Bill wants to catch up on his soaps so I have to figure that out on the computer later.

Ha! Ha! I surprised you all & blogged two days in a row!! No pictures though. Nothing looks interesting along an Interstate. All billboards or trees. I was ready to take a picture of several dead trees for LaVon but by the time the camera came on, we had passed them by. That's what you get when you travel 70mph!

So, until next time, hopefully from Venice, Florida................The Traveling Cardinal's

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Easy on Down the Road We Go

When I woke up on Friday morning the 18th, I thought I was back in Hidden Valley Campground, NY State!!! I looked out the little window by my bed to get my bearings & I thought "what is all that water; do we have a leak??? Then I looked out the kitchen window! Oh, Oh. Honey, we are flooded! Now how can it flood with no rain? It's called "High Tide". Was it ever. One of the guys said that is only the 2nd time he's seen the river come over into the campground like that. This is looking out my door to the public dock to the right. The water was about 8" or so above the dock.
This is out my door & my floating patio rug. Thank goodness for the trees & the picnic table. It caught the corner of it & kept it from floating farther.
The trailer at the end of the dock is completely surrounded. He's the one that said he's only ever seen this twice before! Don't think we'll build a fire tonight!
This is looking toward the bath house/restrooms. The right corner is my bedroom slide. Guess the garbage will have to wait as I'm not wading through that!
Now this is Sat., the 20th. Beautiful day!! 4 Kayaks having fun. This is on their way out.
This is on their way in!!! Low Tide & ankle deep water.
We had Hunter, Nick & Noah overnight on Sat. night. Gave Mom & Dad a chance to go out to eat & an evening by themselves. This is Noah after playing a game of catch with the Velcro Mitts. He put them on the chair & he looks like Mickey Mouse sitting there!
On Monday, Renee had a request to have her Dad make his Chicken Salad for lunch. She brought her friend Tiffany out to the trailer. We had a good time. The weather was perfect & no one wanted to leave to go home to kids & homework. We walked around part of the campground. The girls had Bill's binoculars & saw this bird sitting on a piling. The beak looked like duck, but the rest of the body looked like a penguin! Any one ever seen anything like this???
We were fascinated with watching mommy duck & her 3 little ducklings. After the girls left, I was watching how the mother would shew them all in an area apart from her & they would mimic her cleaning her feathers.
Almost each night we spent at Renee & Tom's for supper. A couple of times we begged off & told them to spend it as a family & let the boys get their homework done without Papa & Grandma there. Bill & I got some running around done at Walmart & Aldi's. I got my hair cut on Tues. & we stocked up on the stuff we can't get once we leave the area. Favorite brands of food & no Aldi Grocery Stores.

Tuesday was our last day to spend in Maryland with the kids. I helped Nick with his homework & Renee helped Noah so we got done a little faster. After supper we usually have time to play a couple of games with the kids before we leave & they have to go to bed. We played Left, Right & Center & Farkle. They do better at LR & C as it doesn't take as long. They get impatient with the other one, but they like to play. They would rather play XBox. Renee finally had to buy an egg timer so they could take turns with the XBox game on the TV. It's a favorite of the boys. Since they showed they were "big boys" at night before & after school started, Renee went to the store where they sell 2nd hand games & got them 2 & 1 free. They sure can make them work; I don't even understand them. Here's our boys, Nick & Noah playing with their trucks.
I didn't have quite as bad a time leaving them this time as last year since we are flying to their house for Christmas this year. That made it a little easier! I still miss them all though.

Yesterday I received an email from my dear friend, Karen. She has kept me posted on her in-laws that live in Arizona. They have both been having failing health in the past year & Doug's dad passed away & went to be with his Lord on Sunday. Doug is at pastoral counseling classes & after much prayer & having already talked with his Dad beforehand, has decided to continue with his classes. May God give him peace for the tough decision that he has had to make by not being with his family, yet continuing with the Lord's instruction & work. Doug was our pastor at my home church in N. Warren, as well as my boss when I was janitor & secretary. They visit us when they come to Arizona to visit his parents. His mom is failing fast too, & it wouldn't surprise me if she followed her husband to her heavenly home in the very near future.

We left Maryland at 8:40am this morning & got as far as Selma, NC. It was a hot & humid day today. We ran in & out of rain all day after we got out of Richmond, VA. After we stopped for lunch & fuel, Bill drove & I slept. Then I picked out a campground for about where we would be. As soon as I saw it from the I-95, I knew we had stayed her before a couple of years ago. Easy in, easy out. I love those pull thrus. Since we didn't unhitch tonight, we can get an early start in the morning. Hopefully we can make it to S. Carolina or Georgia tomorrow. We saw 3 accidents today. 2 cars & one semi jack knifed. They just don't know enough to slow down in the down pouring rain!

Well, we started out on our journey today & our son, Mark, started out on his. He left Norfolk Naval Shipyards today on the USS Cole & will be gone for a couple of months. We pray for a safe journey for him & his fleet. Keep them & all our troops in your prayers!

That about wraps up our journey as of tonight. So, until next time.............The Traveling Cardinal's

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Beautiful Weekend in Virginia Beach

Yup, you read it right! It was a spur of the moment idea. You know, one of those brain farts. Most of it worked out pretty well. We had said we weren't going to stop in Virginia Beach to see our son, Mark, & the grand kids, but since Renee hadn't seen her brother in almost 3 years, we thought it would be fun to get up early Sat. morning, drive down, stay at a hotel on the beach, see everyone & leave around noon or so on Sunday. So that is what we did. Once we found a hotel, we were set. It was Mid-Atlantic Shriner's Convention, so most all the hotels were booked solid!

Unfortunately Mark had duty on Sat. morning & then chiefs initiation Sat. afternoon, evening & Sun. morning that he couldn't get out of. That was understandable. But we did get to see him & the kids on Sunday for a little while. It was great being all together. The cousins were quite young the last time they saw each other & couldn't remember each other very well. Kind of like "long lost" cousins.

We left on Sat. morning at 6:30 to pick Renee & boys up. Got on the road around 6:50 & was in V. Beach by noon. Couldn't get into our hotel until 4pm (actually got in at 3), so we went to Redwing Park for our picnic lunch.

Renee, Nick & Noah at park after lunch
Papa just relaxing with the last swig of Diet 7Up
Finally..........the kids got to the ocean. I think the older kid was just as excited. Renee has always loved the beach. I can't say as I blame her. I could sit & read on the beach for hours; or walk along the shore line.

Nick, Renee & Noah
Either Renee thought it was cold or Nick did something funny!
Noah is a little more cautious, although he did go under once. The wave was bigger & stronger than he thought.
Renee takes her final morning walk on the beach. Oh the solitude!!
My special kids - Mark & Renee
And the special grand kids: Nick
Just the boys - Nick, Samuel & Noah
Can't get them all to be good at once, right Samuel?
Nick thought it was funny!
The Family Shot: Back: Bill & Peg; Seated: Mark, Samantha, Renee & Nick; Standing: Samuel & Noah
It was hard to say goodbye. It will be a whole year before we see Mark & the kids. He will be leaving to go back out to sea duty off & on until the first of the year, then for 6 or 7 months. God be with him & keep him safe.

We left V. Beach around 1pm & got back to Renee's around 6:30pm. Not too bad for the Sunday traffic. The kids did real good until about the last hour of the trip. Too much riding. We stopped for ice cream at McDonald's & to stretch, but even that wasn't enough of a break for 2 active young boys.

Papa needed a break, so Monday we let Renee & Tom be a family again & then I fixed supper & took it over tonight (Tues.). The kids wonder where we are when we aren't there, then ask us how come we are there when we do come. As I was walking out the door tonight with the empty bowls, Noah told me to bring something back tomorrow night for supper. I think he decided he liked squash & both boys liked the scalloped potatoes & ham.

It's hard to get in a routine for homework & supper when grand parents are there. Hopefully they will soon get the hang of having to get it done. I still think they have too much homework for Kindergarten & 1st Grade. After being in school all day, homework right when they get home is hard because they don't want to sit still any longer & they need a break. But, it will all work out. I'm just glad I'm not a student or a parent of a child in school in this day & age. Sure was different when I went!

So, that's what we've been up to. Until next time................The Traveling Cardinal's

Monday, September 14, 2009

Finally An Hour To Blog!

Before leaving NY/PA we spent lots of time with old friends & our families. The last weekend in August brought my sister's out-of-state girls home all together since last Christmas. We all got together with them for a hot dog roast despite the early day rain. David & Dee kept the fire burning between barrels with a cover over it until we all got there. It was great to see all the kids together. The bigger the family gets, the harder it is to get them all together. Almost impossible with grandchildren & great-grandchildren.

Left to Right - Youngest to oldest: Den, David, Deb, Donna, Dee, Romayne & Bob. Did you notice all those "D" names???? The middle initials are all the same too. No marking their underwear!!!
The last Monday night of August brought us back to our old neighborhood in North Warren for a cook out at Sarah's home. Not as many neighbor's came as when we left, but it was fun anyway. We sadly missed having Sarah's husband Bill with us, but we know he is in a better place. Rest in Peace my friend.
Front: Bill & Judy; Back: Bill, Tom, Barb, Sarah & Martha Judy is my friend that we met up with in Oklahoma on our way home. Gosh, that seems like ages ago!
On Wednesday, Sept. 2, we had Bill's brothers & sister & spouses for a cook out. It was beautiful weather. A great night for setting around the fire. Of course, you have to have a jacket, if not for keeping warm, to keep the mosquitoes & gnats away!

Helen, Wayne, Friend Bucky, Carolyn & Neil. Bill, Sandy & Bobbie were on the right side & I didn't get a good picture.
Thursday noon took us to Carolyn & Neil's for lunch with the whole family again. It was delicious & we thank her for inviting us. She is our mail receiver. They have had more than their share of medical problems so keep them in your prayers. Neil is facing one, maybe two surgeries.

On Saturday evening, the 5th of Sept., we were honored to be the toasters at our great friends 50th Anniversary Party, Pete & Jean S. Their children did a fantastic job of putting on a great party. From every corner of the USA they worked together! N. Carolina, Texas, AZ, eastern PA & western PA.
Jean & Pete ready to greet their guests.
This was a unique way to have a guest book. They put their wedding picture in a frame & had a gold pen for everyone to write a note & sign their name around on the matting. Very clever!
Ready to cut that beautiful cake. It was tasty too.
The Swartz Clan: Back: Tom, Jim, Bob, Bill Front: Kris, Mom & Dad, Kathy
Pete with his boys: Bob, Tom, Jim & Bill
Jean with her girls: Kris & Kathy
Sunday morning we enjoyed the annual Labor Day Weekend Pancake Breakfast at Hidden Valley. We got there a little earlier this time. It started at 9am sharp & at a little before 11 there was still a line to the corner of the building! They didn't run out though.
Randy Q the pancake flipper! Clair is just contemplating eating those pancakes!
Now this is a pancake!! Served on a platter. A special pancake for Al. A 15 incher! His wife says he likes to brag that he only ate ONE pancake!
Becky overseeing the production. Doesn't look like we'll run out of syrup. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, juice, & coffee for $1.00! Can't beat it!
Mel just keeps beating those eggs & Tom the pancake mix.
Sunday afternoon caught us eating again at a picnic in North Warren for old friends Doug & Ann W. He was the fire chief at N. Warren V.F.D. for many years as well as the fire chief at Warren State Hospital before his retirement. They RVed full time for almost 25 years before health reasons made it no longer feasible for them to do it. They spent their winters in Arizona too. So we aren't the first N. Warren residents to do this! I'm not sure we will make it 25 years, but I'm not ready to give up yet!
This is the sign for the new park across the street from where Doug & Ann used to live. It was the sight of the old North Warren Elementary School where our kids all went to school together. Then the church purchased it & made this park & parking lot.
This is the old school bell, the bricks & dates used from the original building.
The pavilion was finished this past year by members of our church. A great place for community & church activities. The playground remains in the background, now enclosed by a new fence.
This brings everyone up to the point of our departure from NY/PA area. We left at 7:30am on Tuesday, after Labor Day to head to Maryland to our daughter, Renee's. We are spending a couple of weeks with her & her family so we can enjoy our grandchildren before we leave for the winter. We arrived here safely. It sure seems different now that both boys are in school all day long. And yes, we had as much rain here as we did in NY!!! It rained all night Thurs. night & all day Fri. We are right on the river edge, so I was a little nervous, but though the ground was wet & soggy, the river didn't overflow! Thank God!

We have been busy in the first week, so I'll bring you up to date with that in the next post. It's past my bedtime!!! Besides, my zucchini bread is done baking, it smells great & now I'm ready to hit the sack.

So until next time...............The Traveling Cardinal's