Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ah Haaa, I'm Back In A Week!

I know, you didn't think I'd make it back on here in a week did you?  Well, I'm trying!

This week went pretty fast, just like they all do.  Why is it when you get older time seems to fly?  Maybe because we learn to let up on the stresses in our lives & learn to live a little.  I was going to say slow down a little, but I don't think that always holds true.  Seems we are always on the go doing something.

This week we did our usual activities.  Bill has been getting up every morning & going for a walk around part of the park & then walking the treadmill for about 20 minutes.  I'm so proud of him.  He is really gaining by walking longer a little at a time.  The doctor has him on two different inhalers & he seems to be doing so much better.  Keep praying he continues to do well.  I haven't been walking as regularly, as the girls changed their time of walking to earlier & I just can't get in the habit.  I did walk 2 nights, but I need to go more often!  

Friday afternoon I started with the Hopi Shuffleboard team & we played out of the park.  My first time on a league.  Well, it was NOT a good start!!  I think I had the curviest board in the place & the guy from that park beat me so bad I was embarrassed!!!  It was the worst I've ever played.  He finally got one in the "Kitchen" (-10) & let me have 15 points at the end.  It ended up 63 to 9!  The day before on our courts I lost to one of the better players by 1 point, 32 to 31.  So I know I can do it!  Oh well.  It wasn't beginners luck, so it must have been stress & nerves!  

Saturday Bill & I went to the club house for breakfast & then came home & went to the Arizona Balloon Festival down off Interstate 10 below Phoenix.  That was a wasted trip!  They set off some balloons around 5:30-6:00AM & then nothing.  We got there & paid $5.00 to park in the handicap lot ($10.00 in the other lot & you had to walk about 1/4 mile) & saw 4 sky divers.  We could have gone to Eloy, AZ & seen them for free!  There were no balloons set up on the grounds & only a few vendors in there.  I was not going to pay $10.00 per person to go in & see nothing.  They were to have a "glow" in the evening, but this was 9:30 in the morning!!!  Our little PA town of Meadville has them beat by a long shot!  I'd go to the Thurston Classic in a minute compared to this.  Here is a couple pictures of the sky divers I took (Just to prove we were there!)

 This one was pretty cool with the American Flag.  I'm sure the flag hit the ground before he did though.  Naughty, naughty!
Today, Sunday, we went to Chapel & then went out for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes.  (Our Favorite or I should say one of our favorites).  This afternoon at 4:00pm we went back to the club house ballroom for a concert by the East Valley Chorale.  They are a group of about 70 singers from 35 churches in the area.  They presented a concert of Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs.  They were great.  I really enjoyed it & so did Bill.  At the end, they stood in the aisles & surrounded the congregation & sang "Written in Red" by Gordon Jensen.

"In letters of crimson God wrote His love on a hillside so long, long ago.
For you and for me Jesus died and love's greatest story was told.
I love you, I love you; That's what Calvary said.
I love you, I love you, I love you written in red."

We got to talk to all the grand kids today, my daughter, my sister-in-law & a voice message from our son, along with talking on the phone to friends.
A great day.

If I don't get on here again before Thanksgiving - May you all have a Blessed Thanksgiving and thank you all for being part of our lives.

 Until next time.......The Traveling Cardinal's

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Think I’ll Begin Again

It has been months, literally, since I wrote a post on this blog. A few people have been bugging me about getting back to it.  The last one I wrote was when we were leaving Arizona.  We are now back here and it's been a month today already!
I haven't taken my camera out to do much photo shooting since arriving back in Arizona. 
So, I guess I'll share a few pictures beginning from the last post last Spring to some of our trip back then hopefully can get back in the groove again. I know I won't be doing it on a daily basis as I get myself too involved in other activities.

This may get long, so if you get bored reading & looking just scroll through fast.  I tried doing it in Windows Live.  The pictures seem to load faster, but I wasn't excited about doing in there.  Will keep trying different ways.  Pictures take so long to upload using Blogger.

If some of  you don't remember, we didn't leave our AZ home until May 31st as we wanted to time ourselves to get to Virginia for our son's retirement from the Navy by June 10th.  We stopped in Georgia to see friends, Frank & MaryJo, but otherwise, we didn't do much sightseeing.  We always enjoy being with friends, especially those friendly Georgia people!  What hospitality they have!  We missed Dianne & David as they were on their way to spend most of the summer traveling through Alaska.

Gaston Lake, VA;  Our last camping spot before we get to our son’s in Virginia Beach.
Mark - The last time to spit shine those shoes.  Sitting by the pool while Samuel & Grandma swim.
Samuel at the pool
Presentation of Mark's Shadow Box of 20 years of memories of US Navy by John.

Mark giving his farewell speech.  What a great speech encouraging those shipmates he was leaving behind.
Last time to leave the deck
Nice Job
Navy Retired license plate from  Mom & Dad

Bill after eating raspberry Italian ice at beach - Renee & I told him he was worse than the kids!
A day at the beach
We arrived back at Hidden Valley Campground in NY State on the 15th of June.  We had volunteered to bring several boxes of items home to friends Jerry & Sandy who sold their unit at our park in AZ.  So we had the back seat full of items that needed to be delivered to them.  We couldn't make connections, but did deliver the stuff to their daughter-in-law from Tunkhannock, PA & we met in Binghamton, NY.  That was the last weekend in June.  Since my niece lives in Candor, NY, we had a great excuse to visit them for 3-4 days.  They don't live far from Binghamton.
Randy, Dee's husband, teaches woodcarving in half of his garage to several men in their area.  He has entered several of his birds & carvings in world shows.  This is one of my favorites (among many).  So delicate & detailed!  Very nice job, Randy!  Click on the pictures of the carvings & you can see the detail much better in the picture.
Randy with his hawk
The other half of the garage is Dee's Day Care Center.  Wow!  She has the patience of Job!!  5 days a week, most days are 12 hrs.!  Here we were all dancing.
One of the days we were there we went for a ride.  All of the area around them is hilly & curvy.  We came around a bend in the road & wow!!!  Marshmallows!  Since I was driving I couldn't take a picture, so Dee went back later & took a picture for me.  Actually, they are small round bales of hay.
Next we celebrate the birth of our nation, July 4th.  At least we did.  Went with daughter, Renee, Nick, Noah & Tom to the Warren 4th of July Parade.  Back at the campground, owners, Randy & Becky, were having a different kind of celebration.  Having to dig up the sewage tank.  Right out our kitchen/dining room window.   
All in all it was a tough day!  Poor Noah loves to come camping with Papa & Grandma, but this day he was wore out.  Must have been the late night fireworks.
July 16th brought the celebration of the 50th Birthday of the Brooker Camp.  Our N. Warren friends (more like family) have always included us in their celebrations at the camp.  It goes without saying, "it's the greatest".  Not to be outdone, Cathy had "hot air balloons"!!  Not the kind you ride in, but the kind you light & send up in the air.  They were beautiful.  Of course, more than 50% of the attendees are or have been firefighters & being July was pretty dry, we were a little apprehensive about where they might land.
Summer also brought bridal showers & weddings.  Here Latashia is opening bridal shower gifts.
Next comes August with the onslaught of reunions.  I guess I didn't take any pictures at the Wiltsie Reunion on the first Sunday of August, but the 2nd Sunday was the Bullock Reunion.  It rained in the morning quite hard so it filled up the creek here at Whispering Pines Campground where we met.  The kids LOVED it!  Played in the water & built a dam.  Here Nick is busy stacking rocks.  He learned that from his Grandma at the campground at Hidden Valley!
Here Nick & Noah are both working at it.  Looks like we have a supervisor too.  You know, one of those "sit down on the job" types!
August 20th, took us to Aaron & Latashia's (my great-niece) wedding.  A beautiful day, a beautiful bride & a handsome groom!  
Beginning in September the Eastern part of NY State & PA were inundated with rain & floods.  Owego, NY & Binghamton, NY were very hard hit.  Here is a picture of the motel that my nieces & nephews stay at when they go to visit their sister, Dee & Randy.  Glad they weren't there then!  My brother, Herb, in nearby Tunkhannock, PA (about 3 hrs. away) was also flooded.  He lost the basement wall to the home he rented.  Not a pretty site!
flood 2011 - owego 14
The 27th of August the campground celebrated Easter.  Here you can see Noah & Nick and the Easter hats they created.  Silly boys, but they had fun.
While Grandma stayed home with the boys to help decorate hats, Papa went to Warren to see the Band Exhibition.  Still a Band Dad at heart.  He really enjoyed it.  I would have too, but too many things on the same day.
The campground that we live at in the summer doesn't have sewage, so every Monday or Tuesday we have a visit from the "honey-dipper" workers.  This year they had a new slogan painted on the honey wagon.  Love it!  "Yesterday's Meals on Wheels".  Thanks Leon & Harold.  You do a great job!
July 22nd also brought another wedding to our family.  My great-niece Traci married her best friend, Dan on one of the hottest days ever.  They were married in Virginia Beach so Bill & I didn't get to go.  Thankfully a lot of her aunts & uncles did.  Where else can the groom where shorts & flip-flops!  And look at his mode of transportation to the wedding!  What a hoot!  Congratulations Dan & Traci.  We love you!
Traci Belin Gregory
I spent my Wednesday nights this past summer taking line dance lessons again.  Here you can see our instructor, Connie (in the green), learning a new dance from another Arizona dancer.  Dee, I can't remember your hubby's name.  Not only did I line dance this year, but I had a partner to dance with.  Fred from our campground started coming to line dance & since he lost his wife last year, he needed a partner.  So, because I love to dance, I volunteered!  Kerry & Carol are partner instructors in the middle, Sue in the background (sorry Jeff, they cut you out) also teach partner dances.  So we dance 1 hr. of beginner line dance, 1 hr. of partner dance & then 1 hr. of intermediate dance.  Yup, my feet & I are tired by the time I get home!
Well, that was our summer pretty much in a nutshell.  I'm sure I've left out some things, but I tried to find the highlights.

This brings us to the time of our trip back to Arizona.  It's always hard to say goodbyes to family at home.  I miss my daughter & family.  Those little guys get to your heart!!  It won't be long & we'll be back though.

This year we decided to leave our 5th wheel at the campground & try just traveling with the truck.  Our back seat was packed with totes & suitcases, but we got it all in.  We started out Sept. 26th to Virginia Beach to see Mark, Julie, Samantha & Samuel for a week.  Bill wanted to spend our anniversary in Virginia.  We had a nice meal at Aberdeen Steak House.  This is always the week of the Neptune Festival.  We didn't spend as much time at the beach this time as we usually do.  Harder for Bill to take in all the walking when it's so warm.  This year they had the sand sculpturing inside this huge tent.  It was nice in that the weather didn't bother the workers, but they charged to see the finished product.  Good thing I have a zoom lens!
Beautiful work.  They come from all over the world.
On Oct. 3rd we headed out of Virginia Beach toward Atlanta to visit friends in Pine Mountain, GA.   This is the typical traffic going toward Portsmouth, VA & the tunnel.  It was pretty sun behind us & gray ahead.  We knew we would hit some rain in the future with a sky like that.
But, God didn't always promise us sun without rain, but He sure gave us a beautiful rainbow to look at as we traveled along.
We arrived at MaryJo & Frank's right around 6pm on the 3rd.  We covered a lot of miles that day.  She had a delicious supper waiting for us & Dianne & David were just walking up to the driveway when we pulled it.  It was so good to see everyone again & catch up.  The next day I went to Bible Study with MaryJo & Frank & Bill spent the morning at the Historical Society where Frank volunteers his time.  We took in Calloway Gardens again while there.  We met Dianne & David at the Whistling Pig for lunch.  Being the South, BBQ is "the" thing on the menu.  Bill's favorite place is in LaGrange, GA.  Can't ever remember the name of it, but it's a buffet & all home cooking.  You can't beat it, $6.99 all you can eat & that includes your drink!!  I wonder why he didn't feel good that night when we were playing cards?  Suppose it might have had something to do with overeating???

We left MaryJo & Frank's on Thursday morning & headed to Foley, Alabama to visit my niece Amy & husband Bob & their boys, Ethan & Issac.  Always have a great time there.  Bob & Amy are so hospitable too!  Must be the South!  Poor Amy was working a lot of hours while we were there though.  People off & lots of babies being born & lots of Administrative work.  We got to watch Ethan's football game on Friday night.  Great game.  I cheered at that game as much as if I was in Warren, PA!

Saturday we went to visit the Caribe, where Bob works.  The boys went swimming there; Bill sat at a picnic table & watched the Gulf, & Amy & I walked & walked.  It was very windy & we were getting pelted with sand.
This is the Caribe where Bob works.  He takes care of 13 pools & hot tubs.  A lot of maintenance.
They have a lazy river up on top deck.
A golf green
A pool with water slides
This is how rough the Gulf was.
After taking Bob & Amy for breakfast at Cracker Barrel, we headed West.  Since we didn't have the trailer, we decided to stop in New Orleans, LA.  We have always driven around it & never stopped.  So we spent the afternoon there looking in shops & taking a wagon ride around the French Quarter.  It was interesting, but not a place I care to return to.  I guess I'm not a big city person or a bar hopper either.
1 New Orleans, LA 10-10-11
This is Jackson Square
Waiting for the rest of the wagon to fill up.
There were some interesting sites in the French Quarter.  I was taken with all the wrought iron railings around the upper stories of the buildings & lots of flowers.
Our guide pointed out a great place to get a good hamburger.  They cook them on the grill, steamed under a hub cap.  Got to say, it was good!
42 Cooking our hamburgers under a hub cap
Outside the hamburger place on Bourbon St.
These are the trolley lines & tracks.
The next day we went to Brenham, TX to tour the Blue Bell Ice Cream Dairy.  Bill loves their Blackberry Cobbler Ice Cream.  Here behind the parking lot you can see the tall silos that hold sugar, raw milk, condensed milk, chocolate & other ingredients.  I'm sure they don't measure by the cup full!!  Nor shake it by hand!  Seriously, it was interesting, but we were not allowed to take pictures inside.  At the end of the tour, we got a free dish of ice cream.
1 Storage tanks for milk, sugar, etc at Blue Bell Ice Cream Dairy 10-11-11
4 Condensed Milk & Raw Milk
Here on the sign you can see the cow & the little girl that's the logo for Blue Bell Ice Cream.
Here you can see the fire damage along Hwy. 21 in Texas.  A lot of area was burnt on both sides of the road.
2 Fire damage along Hwy 21 in Texas
How many more miles?  Well, it looks like a long ways, but we are getting closer.
Just traveling along with our two "best behaved" puppies & their huggy friend we got from Samantha many years ago.  These are the best dogs to travel with.  We don't have to stop to let them out, don't have to hear them bark, don't have to feed them & they don't shed!
These iron silhouettes are familiar all along our route in Texas.  Some of them depict the entrance to a ranch, or just out there in a field.  Sorry about the dirty window!
We have now arrived in Arizona.  Oh, well, I guess Alabama isn't the only place they raise cotton!  Here they were harvesting it along the back route that comes into Globe, AZ.
Okay, Alabama doesn't have the mountains!
October 13th, home at last.  The new paved & cemented entrance to our park.
4 Home - new entrance at Superstition Sunrise 10-13-11 2pm AZ time
These are just some pictures of new improvements to our Arizona room.  I had bought the  matting for this family photo back home but had to buy a frame & put the pictures in.  Still need some updated pictures of my boys.  Someone told me a secret on how to make copies of their school pictures I have.  Haven't tried it yet.  Of course, my hubby likes to buy me my favorite flowers!
I bought this arrangement at the Mesa Market Place.  A lot cheaper than Hobby Lobby!
3 Flower arrangement from Mesa Market Place 10-18-11 
My new end table I had to put together.
2 New End table 10-18-11 
Cousin Sue's sconces.
4 Sconces from Cousin Sue 
Our new railing on the deck.  Everyone was afraid someone would fall off.  Now we should be okay.  Thanks Mike, for your hard work.
Veteran's Day Armed Services Flags 
Bill took a lot of pictures, but they didn't turn out very good.  Here I'm serving stew in a big bread bowl with Fran. 
A great turn out of Veteran's.  

I know this is long!!!  But, I am caught up & hopefully I can post something on a weekly basis.  I know I have posted some of these same pictures on  Facebook, so if you have seen them there, I'm sorry it's a double take.

I can't believe this month has gone by already!  Thanksgiving is fast approaching & it won't be long & it will be Christmas.

Until next time................The Traveling Cardinal's