Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

I would like to first wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year. I haven't even gotten used to writing 2009 yet, and here it will be 2010 tomorrow!

I was supposed to have today off work but I was asked to come in. I readily agreed because I don't have anything else to do. It rained during the night but the sun has come out and it's warmed up considerably.

I mentioned yesterday that I was having shrimp and dirty rice for supper. I just knew I would get comments about that from our northern friends, so I want to make clear that the rice isn't dirty at all - it's the seasonings that make it turn to a reddish brown color. Rather than make it from scratch I bought a packet of Knorr's Dirty Rice to which I added water and butter, and it was ready in about 10 minutes. The package said it was Made in Canada! Doggone Canadians probably package our grits and ship them down to us as well.

Much as I love shrimp I won't go to the trouble to fix it myself any more. I'll gladly eat it in a restaurant where someone else peels and deveins it, unless of course I can talk my sons into cooking some jumbo shrimp on the grill.

I'm just on lunch break so I am about to head back to the Fort.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Trip to Tybee Island

The United States Lighthouse Society has a passport program similar to the National Parks passport, whereby you get your "passport" stamped whenever you visit a participating lighthouse. I believe there are approximately 250 lighthouses that are part of this program. When I visited the Tybee Island lighthouse a couple of weeks ago I had the passbook on order from the Society but it hadn't arrived yet. It came yesterday, so I went back to the lighthouse gift shop this morning as they had agreed I could bring the book in any time to get it stamped. Now I have my very first stamp in the book! Of course there are many more lighthouses, such as the one on Cockspur Island, which aren't part of the program, but I will find a small book that I can use for those stamps.

I got a bit disoriented trying the find the way back to the lighthouse and ended up in a maze of streets with closely packed 3 story condos. It's amazing how they can take what was probably a beautiful bit of beach and dunes, and turn it into something so ugly. The buildings themselves are nice enough, but not where they are built.

I continued driving on the island and stopped to buy some fresh shrimp which I will have with dirty rice for my dinner tonight! Yumm. I drove all the way to just about the end of the island and then turned back. I am so glad to be here in the off season as I don't do "touristy" very well. I can meander along looking at the sights, under or just at the speed limit, without a long line of impatient drivers behind me. It is really a nice place at this time of year, and surprisingly there ARE some tourists to keep things going.

Driving over that bridge to Cockspur Island and the grounds of Fort Pulaski is like entering through a portal into another world, one which I'm so happy to be in, safe and secure.

When I was putting the shrimp in the fridge I heard a knock on the door, and found Bill and Larry standing outside. Larry had heard that I didn't have a tv with which to watch the ball fall on New Year's eve, and offered me a spare tv that he has. Isn't that absolutely neighborly? I will probably be asleep by the time that ball falls at midnight, but thanked him anyway. I plan to toast 2010 with a glass of champagne. I had mentioned in the chat room that I liked champagne once in a while but once you open the bottle you have to drink it all or waste some of it. Natasha answered "that is what splits are for". Duh, I hadn't even thought of it, so I bought 4 little bottles of Cooks champagne today. For what I paid for them, I could probably purchase a large bottle of Cooks in California and possibly two! I will enjoy the champagne - I thought it was pretty ridiculous of me to bring along 2 cut glass and 2 silver plate champagne flutes, but now I have occasion to use one of them.

A note on the antenna for my air card, I think that when I get a signal the antenna enhances it and everything works better. But the signal itself seems to fade quite often, necessitating a disconnect and reconnect of the air card. Usually I get impatient and just restart the computer from scratch - very annoying. But with the antenna and a signal I think the system operates much faster than it normally does. So while it doesn't work any miracles it does make the internet much more enjoyable.

After publishing this entry I found the Lighthouse Society's website, wherein they publish a list of participating lighthouses. Cockspur Island's lighthouse is indeed on the list, and that will be the second stamp in my book. The website also states that there are 300 lighthouses that participate in the passport program, and that the list is growing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Warm, fed, and happy

I am snug here in my 5th wheel on a cold evening in Georgia, just finished with my dinner, and have the next three days off work. I'm happy with life right now!

We've had a busy two days at the Visitors Center store as well as Sutler's. I've missed being over at the Fort, but glad to see I can do fine in the VC as well. There are always more people milling around, waiting for the guided tours, musket demonstrations, and films in the small theater, but after touring the Fort they can't resist the smell of the wood fire so many do their shopping there.

I am using the antenna that I ordered for my air card. It was easy to set up, and while I think I notice a difference, there are still times when it's difficult to get a connection. Then it often helps to reboot, but that shouldn't be necessary and tells me that my computer may need to be tweaked as far as set-up goes. When the air card is working now it is usually much faster, so I think I will appreciate having it.

I think that the walk from the gate to my 5ver a few nights ago finally hit me late yesterday. I was dragging in the afternoon and then couldn't stay awake in the evening so I went to bed about 8:30 pm! I needed that.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tired, after a long day at work

Today seemed to be longer than usual, although we were busy with lots of people in the Visitors Center. I worked there all day with Mary, and I was glad she was there to answer a lot of the questions that were asked. I do pretty well with the questions I normally get at the Sutler Store, but I don't know very much about the VC or the kinds of things people ask while there. Thomas "held down the fort" at the Fort. That man has such charisma, and of course the wonderful aroma of the wood fire helps pull the people into the store after taking the guided tour and watching the musket demonstration. So while I love the work I do I was glad when closing time came and I could go home, knowing I have to go back tomorrow.

Two of the Maintenance people are leaving so a lunch was provided at the Maint. Center today. I went over with Patty (the Ranger) and enjoyed hamburgers, baked beans,fruit salad, chips, and peach cobbler. All this and I didn't even have to do any of the cooking! I ate a full meal and that is probably why I was so tired as the afternoon went on.

My air card antenna arrived today and I have it hooked up and in use. I can't tell for sure if things are working any better, but I notice it seems to be running a little faster. I can give a better review when I've used it for a while.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm learning!

Learning a lot of things...I now know what to do in the event the gate to the island is closed and locked. I now know how to drain the fresh water tank - don't laugh - I really couldn't figure out where to open the drain. The printed manual that came with the Hitchhiker is practically worthless for a lot of issues, and I'm sure it's the same for most brands and models. It does tell me though, to let the solution sit for 3 hours and then drain and flush out the tank, and I have another hour to go. I'm could have used a bit more bleach to the tank, but I'm not going to get carried away on my first try. There was also a comment about "low point drains in the storage bays", and I'm not touching that one just yet.

I drove to Kroger's this afternoon so now I know of another grocery nearby. I can't say I am completely pleased with their selection, most of which are their house brands, but it's another place to shop and they do have good sales.

The way to Krogers takes me over Johnny Mercer Blvd, which I love to drive on. It is lined on both sides of the two lane street with trees, dripping with Spanish moss. It looks like you are driving through a green tunnel or an arbor.

After my ordeal last night and having to walk from the gate back a mile and a half to my rig, I was up all night with leg cramps. No sooner would I get back to dreamland than I would have to get up and walk off the pain. Today is only marginally better so I think the only option I have is to take a nap!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Locked out!

I worked at the Visitors' Center today and decided to make a quick run to a convenience store on Tybee Island before going home to my campsite. This is a trip I have made on other occasions, and I am usually back within about 15 minutes. The gate is closed somewhere before 5:30 pm, and you have to punch a code so it will lift and allow a car to enter (or leave). I wasn't worried and punched the code - nothing happened. I waited a minute and tried it again but still nothing happened. I was getting a little nervous by this time because my truck could not go through and over the bridge to the island until the gate lifted.

I walked over to examine the gate and realized that the two halves of the gate that normally open in and out, were locked together. The arm was in the upright position but it wouldn't make any difference if the bottom sections were locked. The fishermen who are there daily know they must park along the road before the bridge so they can get into their vehicles and drive away, but I had the opposite problem in that I wanted to drive in, and not away.

I started walking, avoiding deer running across the road when they heard me coming, and by the time I got back to the campsites, approximately a mile and a half later, it was completely dark. The lights on the river and at the CG station shed the only light in the area. I stopped at the 1st camper and asked Sherri, a volunteer who works in the entrance booth, if I could get a lift back to my truck when she goes to work tomorrow morning - her husband then drove me back to the gate to check out the situation, and we came back to get Bill who volunteers in the Maintenance area. He realized that the Park key, which I have, opens a lock that would allow the gate to be freed on one side, so now I know how to get in and out when the arm isn't in operation.

Thank heaven for the friendly volunteers I work with, and all the assistance they give me. Bill and Judy are leaving the 1st of January, but he told me he will help me empty and purify my fresh water tank tomorrow. That is a truly neighborly thing for him to do, and I appreciate him and all the volunteers I work with. So tomorrow I will probably feel the walk I did this evening, in shoes and on pavement that isn't easy to walk on, but at least I have my truck back at the campsite. The big problem for me now is that I can't find my glasses anywhere, but they could have fallen on the floor or down under one of the seats in the truck, or they may be on the road somewhere. I'll worry about it tomorrow but for now I'm really tired!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa's Helpers

Santa's helpers were busy last night. (Arianna, Ara, and Autie)

My daughter (Jeannie), granddaughter (Ara); granddaughter (Autumn), son-in-law (Donald) holding granddaughter (Arianna)

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

I worked from 9-12:00 this morning and it was hardly worth going in, except that it's always fun to be with and talk to Patty and Thomas. I work again on Saturday, so tomorrow I will just take it easy and do nothing.

I am really missing my kids this evening - they make such a big deal of getting together during the holidays and exchanging gifts, and they are just energizing and fun to be with.

I understand that internet and cell phone connections are bad everywhere so I guess my rant yesterday was like preaching to the choir. Things are no better today and my Wilson antenna is due to arrive on the 28th, so I guess I will have to just put up with these conditions for a few more days. I remember when dial-up was so wonderful and new, and who would complain that it was slow--just people trying to reach you on the phone and getting a busy signal for hours. Now we just expect better connections and for what I am paying monthly for phone and internet, I think I deserve better service than I'm getting on either one. Reading about the experiences of satellite users makes me realize I couldn't deal with those problems at all, so I'm stuck!

I wish everyone happy holidays, whatever it is you celebrate, and if you don't celebrate any of them (as I normally don't) then have a happy next few days anyway! Actually the big thing to me this year was the winter solstice - just realizing that from then on the days would be getting longer, a little each day, until we get to Midsummer's Eve. I have always loved winter, cold weather, snow, and cold weather clothing, but somehow it isn't the same any longer. I want to be warm, indoors and out, but not hot. Now that's not asking for too much, is it?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Frustration is high today

With a day off work I decided not to go anywhere, because anywhere I would go might involve spending money. So it would have been a perfect day to fool around on the internet, researching smaller RV's and all sorts of things. I haven't had the greatest internet connections lately, but they haven't been as bad as today. I couldn't get my email to load. When I finally reached a website after rebooting and retrying, I would get a notice that the connection was lost - try again. This has gone on for the entire day whenever I tried getting online, in between naps!

I'm not sure I'll get to the point where I can post this, but if I do, you will understand why I'm keeping it short.

Back to work tomorrow, Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunny and mild

I left home fairly early this morning and my heart was singing, looking out over the marshes, the beautiful sky, and the land itself. (I realize if it was the middle of summer my heart would do more moaning than singing.) I found a place to get my hair cut, found the Walmart store which is pretty well hidden until you are right there, found the grocery store, and got a propane tank filled at Ace Hardware for $32.21 incl. tax! That seems pretty high for a 7 gallon tank, but it was already filled, I needed it, so I paid the price. I think I got a pretty good haircut, but shook my head when I walked in to the place - two very big screen TV's tuned to CNN with the sound muted, and music I didn't care for with the volume way too high. Why is it assumed that everyone likes catchy rock or moaning soulful music, or CNN (which is much better with the sound off come to think about it). But nothing can spoil my mood today.

It's actually warm enough for the dog to be outside in the sun and she loves it, but it doesn't seem like just three days before Christmas. I think I'll join Lady in the sun and read a book lent to me by Mary, entitled "Savannah's Ghosts". It even includes a self guided tour to the most haunted spots. Good thing they don't frighten me because I would welcome a visit from a ghost!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not much happening

I had an uneventful day today - worked alone, and opened and closed by myself. Business wasn't bad because quite a few families came in with kids who are off school, and sales were decent. I built a good fire and then kept the door open all day long so folks would come in. It's hard to walk by an open door, especially when you have kids with you.

I have the next two days off work and will take care of the little jobs tomorrow - haircut, laundry, etc. I'm not sure what, if anything, I will do on Wednesday, but it's nice to just get to stay in bed until 8:00 am for a couple of days.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Visit to Tybee Island Lighthouse

Today Mary and I drove over to Tybee Island to the lighthouse, climbed the 178 steps to the top, and of course what goes up must come down, went through the Head Keeper's House, and the gift shop where I bought yet another cookbook. It is a grits cookbook and is titled "Gone With the Grits", with a drawing of Rhett Butler holding a package of grits in one hand and Scarlett draped over his other arm. I just couldn't resist a cookbook such as this, especially since I love grits. The book is written in a humorous manner and includes a short quiz, in which one of the questions is "What is the nickname for grits"...there are three answers, and include "Stucco". (This information is provided for my friend Rick, in BC.)

Back to the lighthouse tour, here are some photos I took:

Here is a picture of the lighthouse dome from just underneath:

Looking out to sea from the walkway on top of the lighthouse:

Tybee Island Light Station is one of America's most intact Light Stations, having all of its historic support buildings still on its five acre site. The Head Keeper's house straight ahead, with the 1st Asst. Keeper's House to the Left. The 2nd Asst. Keeper's House is to the right, but I couldn't get it into the picture. (Actually I think the picture is a little off balance, but it's as good as I could aim for with not being able to see the screen on the camera due to my aging eyes and the glare of the sun.) In 1933 the Lighthouse was converted from kerosene to electricity, which eliminated the need for three Keepers--from then on there was only one Keeper until his death in 1948, when the Coast Guard took over the maintenance of the Station. In 1987 the Coast Guard relocated to Cockspur Island, and my campsite is adjacent to the CG:

We then toured Fort Screven which was built near the lighthouse as a more modern system of seacoast defenses. Lastly, we walked over a boardwalk to the beach and then returned to Fort Pulaski.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Special Saturday at the Fort

Today's schedule was a bit different and included several cannon firings, the musket firings and of course, the regular Fort tours. We had a special flag flying today but I didn't get a picture on my way in, and they lowered it earlier than they would normally because it is so large the wind was apt to wrap it around the flagpole and would be really difficult to get it untangled. Today's flag was a Union flag that is equivalent to the Stars and Bars. I'm told that in the 1860's the Union flags could be just about anything the flag makers wanted, so long as it had the proper number of stars. This one had the stars arranged in a large star pattern against the blue background. I'll have another chance to get a photo one of these days. Tomorrow they will be flying the Stars and Bars, but it's a day off for me.

I was back and forth today between working at the Sutler Store and the Visitors Center. I did get to hear the cannons, which always scare me out of my wits even when I know they are going to fire.

Just as I was nearing the campsite I saw that two big ships were passing each other, and I tried to take pictures of it. Unfortunately, I wasn't close enough so that you could distinguish between the ships - one was a huge Hanjin container ship, and the other wasn't quite as large and I'm not sure what it was for. It was quite a site though, seeing them pass. Actually the smaller of the two stopped while the Hanjin did the actual pass.

I feel so lucky to be able to observe sights that I wouldn't normally ever get to see - the ships, a Confederate fort, re-enactors, a Coast Guard station, and the like. Now if I could just spot Albert (I think that is his name), the big daddy alligator.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Can't stay dry today

It rained from the middle of the night until late afternoon today, and was the worst rain I've been in for quite some time. Add to that the really strong winds, and an umbrella was just about useless. But from cold and rainy today, it warmed up when the rain stopped, and now is a very comfortable, balmy sort of temperature.

I worked by myself for most of the day, with Patty stopping in to relieve me for lunch. I had very few customers so I restocked and straightened up what I could, and even built a fire. After a few starts that fizzles out, I collected some candle wax from the candle holders and wadded up a piece of newspaper around it, and then had no trouble keeping the fire going the rest of the day.

On the way back from the Fort this afternoon I saw many egrets near the moat, but what caught my attention was a large and beautiful blue heron. I stopped to admire him, just a few feet away from me, and he obliged by turning a complete 360 degrees so I could get a good look at him, and then took flight. He looked awkward getting into the air, but was very graceful when airborne. This was one of those magical moments to me and I couldn't break the spell by reaching for a camera, so it's one more thing I have to carry in my memory.

With all the time I had on my hands today I tried to familiarize myself with some of the books we offer. Most are so sad they break your heart and you don't have to read very far to become overwhelmed with grief.

Here is a picture of the gift shop at the modern visitors' center, and one of Mary and Sherry, two volunteers, both of whom are RVers as well. Sherry is also a talented seamstress and makes her own period costumes. She generously donated her time and talents to many of the costumes worn at the Candle-light tour.

Here is a shot of the egrets.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Busy Day

We had a bus load of kids and adults at the Fort this morning and after touring they stopped at the Sutler Store. The place was packed but the kids were all well behaved and supervised, and we had a good day's receipts. Thomas is so much fun to work with, and Patty stopped over during the day and the three of us had a nice chat. Did I mention that I love this job and I love this place. How was I so lucky to just select it from a list of Dept. of Interior locations in the southeast, apply for a position, be accepted, and then to get the plum job of working inside the Fort itself?

A younger couple stopped in this afternoon and it turned out to be that they were RV'ers. In fact, some other folks who are staying at the same campground on Tybee Island also came into the store. One of the couples is on their way to Florida, and being from the Detroit area I'd say they are running from winter!

I will be on my own tomorrow, Thomas' day off. I think I will try to light the fire myself, something he always does (and does well). The aroma is noticeable way back before you even arrive at the Fort, and the warmth draws folks inside. We have two chairs in front of the fireplace, and a small barrel between them with a checkerboard set up. I noticed a game of checkers being played several times today, and it is so good to see that there are many people who are able to take their time and enjoy the time they spend here, especially in today's rush-rush world. Now that I think of it, I don't remember ever seeing anyone in the store talking on a cell phone, so maybe there is something about the 1860's atmosphere and ambiance of the place.

From what I hear we will have rain all day tomorrow, so I may as well get my Wellington boots out tonight for when I walk Lady in the morning. Now I need to go fix my supper and count my blessings!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I have a job for the summer! (2nd post Dec. 16)

I will be working at the Visitors Center at Dinosaur National Monument, near Jensen, UT, from May 15 through Aug 15. I will work 4 days a week and have 3 days off together each week, so I can get out and explore the area. I think my campsite will be in the cottonwood trees along the Green River, and I will have full hookups - not sure about cell phone or internet access, but I'll deal with it by going into town once a week (sure hope they have coverage there).

I had been waffling about going back to Lassen, but I think it's best that I preserve my lungs from all that dust, especially being a former two-pack a day smoker for a long time. It will also force me to step outside my comfort zone yet another time, which is a good thing to do once in a while. It will give me a month less to spend in Sacramento, so I hope my eye can make it another year before needing cataract surgery. Also, I hope to be able to switch to a smaller RV while in Sacramento. I sure can't continue to deal with this big 5th wheel much longer, especially with arthritis in my hands.

I had a recall notice on the Ford so I took it to a dealer this morning, and then had the repair work done in less than an hour. I had planned to stop at Walmart on the way back but for some reason took the wrong turn and ended up back on the highway. I just drove on to Tybee Island where I looked for a place to get my hair cut, to no avail. I'll leave that for next week.

The drive to and from the Ford dealer was pleasant and it was easy to find my way. I am discovering that Savannah is not difficult to get around in, so far. I love the bridges, small and large, that cross over the numerous creeks and rivers. All the bridges I've seen here gracefully form an arch and they are so beautiful. It reminds me of a dolphin arching into the air and then coming back down to the water. It is amazing that the lines of the bridges are as superbly formed as those of the dolphins - being a coastal city there is a fluid movement and shape to just about everything. How fitting!

I could have saved this for tomorrow's blog, but I'm so keyed up right now that I needed to share it with someone. From volcanos, to the Civil War, and now to dinosaurs! I hope I can continue workamping for a long time and see many more wonderful places in this country.

Day off

Yesterday was the first of my two days off in a row, so I took care of little things that have to be done. I mailed off my Christmas packages to the grandkids, and knew there was something else to be done while I was out - I forgot to get my hair cut. Maybe today. I did laundry at the Park HQ Bldg, shown below. I think it is so nice that the older style buildings are retained and restored, rather than torn down so a concrete block building can be thrown up in its place.

The inside of this building is beautiful - lovely wood flooring, gorgeous, highly polished dark wood furniture, a huge kitchen, etc. I have been through the part that is used for conference rooms and offices but I don't know what else is there. We pick up our mail on an enclosed sunporch in the rear, and the laundry is around back at ground level. The river is to the right of the house.

Later in the afternoon I walked down to the river and took this photo of the Coast Guard building. Unfortunately you can't tell from the picture how beautiful this building is - there are upper and lower verandas wrapped around all sides that I can see, and this building sits right by the river also. Our campsites are just across the road from the CG Building.

It got so warm in the afternoon I sat outside in shorts and a t-shirt until I felt sprinklings of rain and it started to cool off. Today is windy and won't be as warm as yesterday, but the sun is shining. I need to have recall work done on my Ford truck so I think I will try to find the closest Ford dealer - about 20 miles away. I never was able to get it done while in Asheville, and I suppose I need to take care of it so I can cross that off my list.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Volunteers' Potluck Dinner

The dinner was held last night in the mess hall in the Fort. The room was decorated for Christmas, and lanterns and candles provided light. I think they cheated a bit because I'm sure the coffee urn and crockpots were plugged in, but most of the light came from the lanterns. Here is a photo taken while they were still setting up. I can't do anything about the orbs in the picture, but I like to think there were some old-time Confederates enjoying the aromas and sights of so much good food.

This is Ron, our Volunteer Coordinator, who is also Chief Ranger and has a host of other titles.

After eating so much food I could barely walk, I was delighted that Maintenance was providing transportation in the golf carts back to the parking lot. (I had already been driven from the parking lot to the Fort in a cart, but didn't realize they would be available all evening.) The way was lit by lanterns and it is possible to make your way, but I am nervous crossing the two bridges over the moat!

This morning when the dog and I went outside we saw four big deer bounding away from near the front of our site. They are everywhere, and it is necessary to drive the mile back here very slowly because they are grazing on both sides of the road and are just as likely to run across the road in front of you. Just after that, the CG sounded reveille and that woke me up for sure! It's nice to be able to stay in bed an extra hour on my days off, and Lady usually cooperates for the extra hour before yawning, shaking, and licking, right at the foot of my bed.

I made a quick trip to the post office on Tybee Island yesterday at lunch time and picked up some flat-rate mailing boxes, which I loaded with the grandkids presents last night. This morning I will get them in the mail and on their way to California and New York. I can't believe I only have two boxes for all the money I spent!!! I did all my shopping at the Sutler Store and kept size and weight in mind. I have been keeping a list of things I want to buy for myself, but will do that after Christmas since I will need January's money to pay for them.

I will include a link here that gives an idea of what Fort Pulaski is actually like:

It took me a few minutes to figure out how to maneuver in and out of the windows (little flashing circles), but you can get some wonderful 360 degree views of many areas of Ft. P.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pictures, 3rd post Dec 13

Here are two pictures of author Robert T.S. Mickles, Sr.

And here is what I got when I tried to catch the cannon fire. One of the other volunteers knew how my pictures came out on the first night of the Event, and she was excited near the end of the 2nd evening thinking she had captured the flare of the cannons. When she showed me, her picture had turned out exactly like mine.

If you think you can take any more pics of the Gypsy, here are two that show in graphic detail why it is best that women don't wear this type of clothing any more. The skirt was heavy, uncomfortable, and terribly unflattering!

Here are some pictures-2nd post Dec 13

First of all, during the morning I was surprised to see a truck towing something besides an RV TT or 5th wheel:

Here are some pictures of the store, before the Event:

Here is the group - Gypsy, Patty, Thomas, and Santa:

Another of Santa, and one of Col. Olmstead and another soldier:

I'm having troubles loading the rest of the pictures, so I will try to publish this and then do a third entry for today. Hope it works.

Resting up

The past two days and evenings have been an experience I wouldn't want to have missed. I worked mornings and then had a several-hour break before returning in costume. That made for two very long days. I am resting up today, a day off.

The tours were all reserved and sold in advance, about 40 people to a tour, and they ran about 1/2 hour each, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm. They started with an introduction in the Visitors Center, a short interlude of Christmas carols, and then they were brought to the Fort. Everything was lit by lanterns and candles, so the effect must have been a little spooky. When the tour group reached the sally port and were inside the Fort, they were taken up to the side where the cannons were set up in the field, and the cannons were fired. Talk about a deafening noise! (The visitors had all been given earplugs). Then all along the casemates came the firing of muskets, ending with the rebel yell. The folks could then come into the Sutler store and visit Santa, look at the merchandise, and even get books signed by a local author. After they were all out of the store we had a few minutes to recoup until the next group came in.

The first night was really cold and we left the door open so that people would realize we were open. Each time I heard them get ready to fire the cannon I ran outside to try to get a photo of it, but the spirits of the place wouldn't allow that. As you can see from the photos, all I got was a picture containing lots of orbs. Every other time I tried to photograph it I ended up with a picture of a brick column, but I didn't have my camera pointed anywhere near it.

When I was working at the store Saturday morning it was so strange to see men and boys walking back and forth dressed in Confederate uniforms. Many of them came into the store just as they would have come into the original Sutler store and it was nice talking to them.

We were fortunate to have local author, Robert T.S. Mickles, Sr. at our celebration both nights, signing his books and talking to folks about them. It is written on the cover of "Blood Kin, A Savannah Story, Part I", "Savannah native Robert T.S. Mickles, Sr., is the great-grandson of former slaves on one side of his family and Portuguese slave traders on the other. This double heritage makes him uniquely qualified to tell the amazing story of family division and family love that he shares in Blood Kin.

I heard several people say that they have enjoyed this book as they have no other, and reading the first chapter so far, I can see that I am going to find it true for myself. Mickles also wrote "Isaiah's Tears", which is part II of the Savannah stories. They can be ordered online at Amazon.com.

For some reason my first photo has been trying to upload for the past half hour and I just ran out of patience! I will post the pictures later in a separate entry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A short blog today

It will be short because there isn't much to write. My day at work was pretty slow, but I had forgotten how difficult it is to go back to work after two days off. Tomorrow and the next day I will work a split shift - with a break mid-day and back in late afternoon for the candle light tours.

I have mentioned that the skirt I will be wearing is way too big in the waste. I had intended to use safety pins, but just didn't feel like driving anywhere to get some pins, so I'm just taking it up in two places on the waist by stitching it. I was surprised I could still thread a needle! It isn't easy pushing it through all those layers of fabric with the arthritis in my right hand, but I got one finished and may do the other one tonight or just might wait until tomorrow. I always did put things off til the last minute!

After 80+ yesterday in Savannah it got very chilly today and I hear it will be cold tonight. I want some warm weather for a change. Waah, waah, waah!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some additional photos from the Wednesday post

Here are some photos I couldn't load earlier, and as always, they look better if you click on them to enlarge. The first is the entrance arch to the DAR Cemetery, and then one of the beautiful trees.

Another scene from River Walk:

And finally, my camp site at Fort Pulaski. The building to the extreme right is the Coast Guard Station, and I am going to try for a better shot of it soon (no pun intended).

A trip to Savannah

The day was warm and sunny, a little muggy since it had rained during the night. Mary and I were soon on our way to the Visitors Center in Savannah, where we parked her truck and began walking. This was a trip to sort of get a feel for the city and we will certainly go back and see places of interest. We started out on River Walk which is the touristy thing to do - lots of shops and restaurants, and interesting boats on the river.

There are plenty of restaurants and we stopped to have lunch, then set out again walking over to where some of the mansions are located. There are other streets that await our next visit and perhaps a tour through one of the old historic houses. We came upon an old cemetery, the DAR Cemetery (Daughters of the American Revolution) and walked through admiring the old stones, mausoleums and of course, the spanish moss draping from the trees.

More pictures follow tomorrow. I lost connection in the middle of loading another one, and have had problems ever since.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A little excitement around the Fort!

Yesterday evening I was told the Coast Guard station across the road would be firing machine guns today, but not to worry. I forgot all about it until I heard the rat-tat-tat a little while ago. Today is my cleaning frenzy day - the pace is frenzy because I put everything off for so long. So while waiting for the fridge to completely defrost I thought I would run across the road (in the other direction) to the Park HQ bldg and do some laundry. The gunfire had stopped until I got the laundry basket into my truck and started to leave. I just hope they are aiming at the river or someplace else. I made it safely to the HQ and no sooner had I gotten back out of my truck here at home, the firing started up again. I have set my timer to go back in about half an hour and plan to walk over this time - the machine guns are still being fired although just a little at a time. Maybe some of the CG folks are learning how to fire, or just practicing? Makes life interesting.

Seriously, when I hear of what happened to the Russells and their MH being vandalized and robbed, I am very safely tucked away at Fort Pulaski, gated at night, and with a CG station across the road, and I believe they have a couple of dogs that roam freely at night and are very protective of the area, so I feel safe as I can be.

This defrosting job is such a pain in the neck so I wait until I can't wait any more. Next time I am going to do it before the buildup gets so bad. Now there is water and ice all over the floor, so I will have a clean-up job there as well. I will reward myself tomorrow and go sightseeing with Mary - we plan to drive into Savannah and to the Visitors Center to see what looks good. The forecast is for 72F tomorrow but you never know what will actually occur.

There was no one in the laundry room and the washer & dryer were empty, so I didn't have to wait. It is free for our use, which is a real plus. This is turning out to be a very good place to volunteer.

Just a quick note: I just walked over to check on my laundry and heard the fire, looked up to see a small boat out on the river. The gun is perched on the bow of the boat and they are out on the water doing the firing. WOW! I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Slow Monday

I'm having the same old problems with connectivity this evening. After about 45 minutes of frustration and trying to keep a signal I turned everything off and unplugged the power cord I normally use to save the battery, and then turned it all back on again. Things are decent so I am not going to push my luck. I noticed that I have to wait a very long time when I try to comment on someone else's blog, so I've decided that tonight I'm not going to make any comments. Sorry, but I'm at least able to read your blogs.

The US flag was flying over the Fort today, although at half mast in honor of those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Things were very slow today but when there was a scheduled tour, the people usually came into the store so sales weren't too dismal. I was on my own a lot of the day, although Patty, my boss, helped me open and close which I appreciated. Now I'm off for two days and then the candle-light tours will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings, so I will have to play dress up. I'm not altogether excited about that but I don't want to be the only person not in 1860's dress.

Alligator information: The weather is a bit cold for the gators. The 8 ft gator is out in the marsh somewhere - I'm told they usually burrow down in the ground to stay warm and will come out when the weather is sunny and gets a bit warmer. I'm not sure where the baby is but I don't think it is in the moat right now - could be though. I don't know what I would do if I walked up on an alligator while daydreaming about something else.

When I was walking the dog yesterday afternoon I had to run back for my camera when I saw this Diamond Casino ship going up the river.

Then as I was nearly back at the rig I looked up to see a huge container ship, so ran back over to the river to try to get pictures of it.

By the time it got closer it was too long to fit into the picture, but I thought I would include this one any way.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Prison Tour

I stayed up later than usual last night, so this morning I walked the dog at 8 a.m. and then went back to bed, finally getting up at 10:00! The guided tour of the Fort prison was given at 12:30 and I was there for it - the wind blows through the Fort something fierce and it's not warm to begin with. The winter of the terrible cruelty to 600 imprisoned officers was the coldest on record, so you can get some idea of what those poor men suffered with 7" of snow on the ground. They had no shoes, coats, blankets, wore ragged clothes, and were slowly starved. Their firewood was taken away from them so they had to dismantle the wooden bunks to burn. When General Sherman, who I have never particularly admired, heard of this treatment, to his credit he relieved the commanding officer of his duties at the Fort, and ordered medicine, food, and clothing for the remaining prisoners, although it was too late for most. Oh, and the 600 officers were hand picked for transfer to Fort Pulaski prison - almost all were amputees, and all were suffering from severe illnesses to begin with. I won't even try to write the information learned from the tour guide, but it is a total mystery to me how humans can behave this way to their fellows.

I stopped in the Sutler store to warm up since Thomas had a wood fire burning in the fireplace. The store was started by a man named Sutler, who had stores at many forts in the 1800's. They carried items that the soldiers weren't supplied by the military - sort of like our modern day PX.

I am typing this from the parking lot of the Tybee Island public library - I couldn't get a decent wifi signal but ended up with an excellent air card signal. I hope I can eventually get online back at home and actually post this entry together with some pictures I have taken.

The Sutler Store

Next to the Sally Port

The Sally Port and Drawbridge, looking in from outside the Fort

The Prison

The Moat - one view

The Stars and Bars

And a clearer view of the Stars and Bars

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Night

Tomorrow is a my first day off work, and I will take care of things like grocery shopping, fueling up the truck, haircut, and maybe a little cleaning of my 5th wheel. Then I work on Monday and will do some sightseeing with one of the volunteers on Tuesday or Wednesday. I will be so glad to have someone to go into Savannah with because I doubt if I would do it on my own.

The sun may have been shining today but I was freezing on my way to and from the truck and into the Fort. Fred and Mary, the Minnesotans, are in short sleeves and I don’t see them shivering, but I wonder if they are just a little bit cold. Or are you northerners so tough you don’t realize 50F isn’t exactly tropical

I saw too many deer and egrets to count today, but still no alligator.

A word about blogs and connections: I was able to get online this morning for about 10 minutes. At that time I read some comments to my last post and tried to respond, but mostly I couldn't send anything through my email. I also was able to read a couple of blogs from other RVers, but couldn't get a comment posted. It is frustrating because this is about my only way of communicating sometimes, but I would like everyone to know that I appreciate your comments and will keep on trying to respond to them, but my connection just doesn't work most of the time. I spent two hours this evening trying to get a connection. It is one of the drawbacks of being in a setting such as this, just as being at Lassen the past summer was for me. Some days it works and other days it won't work for trying.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Getting used to the job

My second official day on the job went well, and I'm learning the cash register and all the procedures a little at a time. My previous experience was with very basic NCR's that didn't do anything except tally up the proceeds - that's a ridiculous concept these days. I am also learning a bit more each day about the Fort, its history, the stock we carry, etc. I love it, I love it, I love it!

I think I have my costume together although the skirt is so big in the waist I will have to wrap it around and pin it to fit. All those gathers do nothing to flatter hips, no matter what shape or size. I will post pictures taken at the big event, including one of myself if I don't look too outrageous!

It has been drizzling off and on all day, and is chilly. I have taken to carrying my camera with me all the time just in case I run across an alligator. Another volunteer saw the baby and got a photo - you would think a baby gator would look like a baby, but this one just looks like a medium sized one. Evidently there are lots of large fish in the moat, and they only can escape to the river and the sea when certain gates are opened. Thus the gators are a well fed bunch.

One more day to work and then I have a day off. I will drive to the IGA at Tybee Island and plan to take the tour at the Fort of the prison area where 600 Confederate officers were starved to death in a cruel manner. I walked through it on my own a couple of days ago, but the tour will give me a lot more information.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First day on the job

I'm home for lunch right now and thought I would try to get online. It worked! I will cut and paste what I wrote last night at the end of this entry. I guess from now on I will just post when I can get online, and unless it's something I don't want to forget I will forget the Word document.

I love working over at the Fort. For one thing the store is right in the Fort itself and probably served as officers' quarters or such, and the architecture is much nicer than the modern Visitor Center bldg. I'm working with Thomas who runs the Sutler's store there and we are getting it ready for the upcoming candlelight tours, moving things around, setting out displays and stock items, etc. What Christmas shopping I will do this year will be done at this store, and I will probably buy a lot of items for myself before I leave here. The books alone could occupy me for the next three months! I am going to try to get pictures, especially when it's decorated for Christmas.

I worked for 3 hours this morning and alreay I am tired. I need some pep pills or something, although I do take vitamins. It is no doubt age-related. I'm afraid I'll come home for the day and be too tired to cook supper. I think I'll take a quick power nap now, so I'll just see ya later.

December 2, 2009:
Since this connection is really unreliable for more than a few minutes, I will write my entries in Word and then cut and paste when I do get online. This is frustrating because I’m showing that I’m connected with two bars, yet I can’t get an internet connection.

This morning I heard a very loud horn, looked up toward the Savannah River, and saw a huge container ship going toward the sea. This is going to be an interesting location, although I realize I’m going to have to keep my camera with me at all times.
A little later I was walking over to the Fort and met two of the new volunteers who will start the same day I do. They are getting in their sightseeing from the git-go, and I see them around the grounds with their camera clicking. They informed me that they had seen the baby gator who lives in the moat, but I didn’t get there quick enough to see it. I didn’t think gators moved all that fast unless they were after a meal. The baby doesn’t worry me half as much as his mama or daddy!

The big storm we have been expecting hasn’t arrived yet, but it has started to rain in late afternoon. One of the other volunteers who has helped me get into my site and get set up advised me to make sure I had an adequate amount of water in the fresh tank. It seems if the electric power goes in a storm, the water doesn’t pump either. I was glad for the heads up because I’ve been trying to use up what I had and I know the water level is low. I need to find out how to drain the tank so I can start with really fresh water. I think what I have is left over from Lassen.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Poor Connection

I can see it is going to be a frustrating exercise to access the internet or even a cell phone the next three months. It took me an hour to actually get online this morning and get to my email. As far as phones go, my daughter called me last night, and the connection kept getting dropped. We finally gave up trying to re-connect.

Oh my goodness - I just thought I saw three dogs come up to the tree by my window but it is three deer! Two of them must be brothers because one keeps kicking the other one out of the way.

I moved over to the regular camp site - there are four of us here in a nice, spacious area. I can still see the river from a couple of my windows, and will try to get some pictures soon, although working with photos is just about as frustrating to me as trying to connect.

It rained heavily all night and it always makes me worry about leaks, although I was too comfortable to get up to check. The weather was chillingly cold yesterday and this morning it is balmy! The extended forecast shows it will get cold again, so I'll just have to take each day as it comes. I can deal with the temperatures but the wind makes it very uncomfortable.

I'll see ya when I see ya!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tour of the Fort

This morning I woke up about 6 am to a loud noise that sounded like a rushing train. The wind had kicked up and has blown most of the day, and of all days to be out walking around Fort Pulaski, I picked the coldest one so far! The building itself is an amazing feat of engineering and building, and until the advent of the rifle cannon, would have been nearly invincible. But there is a great sadness inside the structure - it has seen many horrors and I think the effects are held within its walls.

I brought back some pages of guidelines to study before beginning work on Thursday, and took care of a few administrative details. My lower back is aching a bit from all the standing yesterday, and I hope I get more used to it in the coming days.

Monday, November 30, 2009

At the Fort

I arrived yesterday and found my way into Cockspur Island and Fort Pulaski with a minimum of effort, due mainly to the excellent maps provided to me by Charles (Roz on chat). He was so kind to come and pick me up after I had settled into my temporary spot and take me into Tybee Island to get my bearings there, and to a really nice seafood restaurant and oyster bar right at the sea.

Today I was scheduled to meet with the Vol. Coordinator at 9 am, a farewell party for departing volunteers at 12 Noon, and a volunteer meeting at 2 pm. I just stayed at the Visitors Center and Fort the entire time and by now I am suffering the RVers version of jet lag!

I just came back from visiting the folks who are leaving tomorrow and whose camp site I will probably move into. I like it where I am though, and am ambivalent about moving.

My job will be primarily working at the Visitor Center gift shop as well as the Sutler's gift shop over at the Fort. I am overwhelmed by the wonderful books they carry, to say nothing of all the gifts and other items for sale. Until I officially start work on Thursday, I will probably "shadow" other volunteers and learn various duties so that I can fill in where needed.

There are deer everywhere on the island, and I heard today that there is a baby alligator in the moat. Evidently, the alligators can be found on land, near the river, and just about anywhere in the vicinity of the Fort. I walked back home in the dark after my visit this evening, and kept a sharp eye out for gators! They advise keeping at least 10 feet away from them, and I will do my best to double that distance.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ft. Pulaski N.M., Savannah GA

I finally got here, and who all said I shouldn't have much traffic on a Sunday morning? I-95 surprised me with the constant traffic in both lanes, vehicles going 70+ mph with very little space in between. It is unnerving to see nothing but cars and trucks in such numbers and they are constantly hitting their brakes. Why not just leave more space? I think this area must have a lot of Baltimore-Washington, DC area transplants, because that is a feature of driving in the Capital region.

I'm here at the Fort! First of all, there won't be a permanent space for me until sometime Tuesday, so I am set up on the "river side" which is quite attractive except away from the other volunteers. One of them told me that cargo ships & boats go up and down the river all night long, and that there is a lot of noise at the spot I'm in now. But I'm quite happy to just be here and set up on a concrete pad, open the slides, doors & windows, and hook up to electric, water and sewer. I'll move over when the space is vacated on Tuesday.

I first went to the visitor center as the woman at the gate told me Ron (vol. coordinator) was working there today. We met and he gave me some info about what I'll be doing - it looks like I'll be working at the bookstore, and other jobs as needed. My training will evidently encompass a variety of jobs.

Pardon the interruption, but what looks to be a small trawler is just going soundlessly by my site. I didn't think trawling was still done, but it is definitely a fishing boat with big nets. Shrimp maybe? Trawling wastes a lot of fish, so I hope they don't do that here.

Back to the Fort, there is a bookstore in the Visitors Center as well as one at the Fort itself, and of course you know where I want to be. This is a gorgeous place to be, and as soon as I got out of the truck to go over to the VC I sensed that it is sacred ground. I can't wait to learn all the history of it and explore the area.

As you can tell, my aircard is working although slow as molasses.

I need to get back to my set-up now, and may write more later but probably tomorrow. Thanks so much for all the comments regarding my plight yesterday. I'll get over it eventually and I just hope things go smoothly for me for a while. I dislike the 5th wheel the more I have to move it, which isn't a good attitude. I'm either going to find something else or to park the 5th someplace, stay put and just live in it. That will be my last choice though.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blow Out!

I got to within 70 or 80 miles of my goal today and heard a loud explosion. I pulled onto the shoulder of I-95 South, and sure enough, my right rear tire on the 5th wheel had blown. I made a call to Good Sam Emergency Road Service right away and was told help would be there between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Two and a half hrs later I called again to find out the tire service was only a few miles away. By this time the sun was going down and I don't drive well in the dark, so I was relieved that it only took a few minutes.

According to Good Sam I could have had my spare put on or purchase a new tire, and the tire man would bring the proper tire with him in case I decided to go with a new one. While I was waiting for the service to arrive, two very kind gentlemen drove up and offered to change the tire for me if I had the tool to get the spare down from where it is bolted. I had no idea and just opted to wait. When the tire service arrived he said it looked like I had to release the tire from somewhere inside the rig. At that point, with heavy traffic whizzing by and after waiting all that time, I opted to take the easy way out and buy the new tire. I believe I will soon be buying three more tires to round out the set, and I will definitely figure out how to release the spare so it can be checked.

When I was first making the call to Good Sam a state patrolman stopped and talked to me for a few minutes - he said I would be safe sitting inside the truck, but to buckle my seat belt and keep the flashers on. I can't believe he came by just when I needed to see a friendly face. And the kindness of two strangers made me feel good as well, although I ended up having to wait quite a while. The tire man, when he got there, got the switch accomplished pretty quickly. He also told me that from how the tire looks, it hit something, although I certainly didn't feel or hear anything other than the loud explosion.

I had a blow out once with a small car and it took a lot of effort to keep it under control and coast to a stop. This time, other than the noise, I wasn't sure what had happened. I briefly took my hands off the steering wheel (really, really briefly) thinking that if it was a tire I would feel the pull. The rig pulled a bit to the right, but there was absolutely no problem with controlling it, or with bringing it to a stop. I am certainly grateful for that.

With all that time to wait I phoned Natasha (Mary) who is now in Kansas City. She had told me about an RV park that would be on the way to Savannah should I need to stop, but she spent quite some time looking for alternatives for me, and since I was about 2 miles from SC Exit 33, she discovered a KOA at Exit 33! I know some folks think KOA is too expensive, and it sometimes is a little pricey, but a KOA has always been there when I've been close to rock bottom and really needed one. This was yet another of those times, so I can't say enough good about KOA.

And I can't say enough good about Natasha! I was ready to bawl when I reached her, and she just took hold and kept talking to me while trying to get info on where I could find an RV park close by. Friends like that are a treasure.

Back pedaling to yesterday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and try to hitch up. I had problems with it which I won't enumerate, but I ended up jogging down to the office to catch Rex as he was out the door and leaving for the day. God bless that man, he came back, solved the problems with the hitch, and hitched it up for me.

I realize I have been the recipient of a lot of kindness in connection with this oddysey of mine, and I can't express how much I appreciate it. But there comes a time when one has to ask "Why is this happening, and what is the message for me, or what am I to learn from it?" I am bombarding myself with these questions and when I figure it out I will certainly let you readers know. I don't think I should quit just yet, and while I would love to exchange this 5th wheel for a different kind of RV that would be easier for me, the economics of it are such that I probably couldn't afford something in a late enough model to warrant trying to change. So I will continue to ponder this dilemma and go deep into my heart to try to figure out what is the right thing for me to do. At least I will have three months at Fort Pulaski where I will be able to just park it - that is to say, if I can get the damn thing backed in properly!

As I mentioned to Natasha on the phone today, it's like the old gambler says - "you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run..." At this point I just don't know but it seems like it's between hold 'em and walk away.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A cold wind blowing

My last day in Asheville is the most uncomfortable to me yet. At least it seems to be the coldest but that is no doubt because of the wind blowing. The heat, set at about 50, kept recycling on and off throughout the night although the outside temp this morning was a balmy 40F!

I took care of the remaining few chores before leaving tomorrow morning - both tanks of propane were empty, and one of them emptied out during the night with the furnace running so often. I fueled up and hopefully I can drive straight through without needing to get fuel - I'd rather do that after I unhitch. I understand that sunset is somewhere around 5:15 pm in Savannah, and since I have to back into the site I need to get there so as to give me plenty of daylight to get the job done. I backed the truck up to the hitch and it looks to be in a good position to hitch without difficulty. I had thought I would do that this evening but will wait until morning, unless I get a sudden urge this evening to go take care of it. I am waffling about it because I'm not sure if I should pull in the slides while doing the actual hitching up process, and then put them back out for tonight. I really doubt that it matters a whole lot.

When I came back to the park after getting fuel I noticed a rig going the wrong way into a pull through site, and thought to myself he was going to find the connections on the wrong side of his 5ver. Now I see that he is parked door to door with a brand new Jayco Eagle, and is undoubtedly transferring his possessions from the old Wildcat to the new Eagle. I wonder if I'll ever be able to do that, although it isn't really all that important to me in the grand scheme of things.

This program will be brought to you from sunny Savannah tomorrow, if I can get a connection. Until then - so long and stay well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

If only

I got a very thought provoking blurb in my email today, that talks about the "if onlys" in our lives - if only I had *** - I would then be content. Well I think everyone thinks this way at times and I am no exception. But I am making a list of my "if onlys" and it isn't really a long list - two items to be exact - and when I am sure I'm finished with it I am going to tear it up and forget those things I "need" for true happiness and contentment.

On the day that we give thanks for what we have, I resolve to be thankful, happy, and contented with my blessings. I give up wanting those things I think I would be so happy with and which I know would end up causing me a lot of grief.

One item not on my list but I sure wish that I had, is a good, lightning-speed internet connection! I have tried to leave comments on several blogs this morning but have given up waiting for the comment screen to load. Sorry Debbie, your flamingo is gorgeous and so "Florida"!

Finally, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gathering loose ends

I'm almost down to the wire before leaving North Carolina and I'm trying to do and cross the items off my list. I just finished laundry which didn't take all that long. Tomorrow and Friday are forecasted to be rainy, so I am thinking about emptying tanks, cleaning and putting away the hoses this afternoon rather than wait until Friday. I want to get a very early start on Saturday morning. I could probably think better if I got rid of the clutter lying around, but what fun would that be. I don't want anyone to ever be able to call me "neatnik"!

I will sure miss the Asheville area, but it's good to know I'm still going to be in the sweet sunny south where ALL words are more than one syllable, and the food is down home cooking. Actually there are more Mexican restaurants here than when I left a year ago, and I'm sure they feature good old down-home Mexican fare.

And speaking of food, I made another quick trip to buy a slice of pie - I could crumble Oreos on my ice cream, and will probably have to do that in a day or so - but for now I have very berry pie & ice cream on the dessert menu for tonight.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good to go for another 10 years! (2nd post Nov.24)

My passport arrived today. I will have to say it is the ugliest passport I've ever seen. Whereas they used to be fairly attractive and looked official, this one is a piece of junk as far as I'm concerned. All the pages have a lot of drawings and words printed so lightly as to be mushy looking, and the official page with the picture looks so washed out as to look fake. Oh well, I probably won't have much cause to use it so I might as well not complain. This is only my opinion and your take on it might be totally different, although I don't see how anyone could say it looks great.

I went from the post office, hungry since I hadn't yet eaten lunch, over to Ingle's supermarket. You know what that means! I bought tons of delectable snacking items but forgot pie. Guess I'll have to make brownies to go with all the ice cream in the freezer.

November 24th - 31 years

This day thirty-one years ago my dad suffered a massive heart attack and died four hours later. He was 68 years old, and left a void in my life that seems to grow larger rather than to diminish as the years go by. He didn't have an easy life but he celebrated everything he had, in fact, I'd say he was the ultimate celebrator--birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, anniversaries, his vacation, my promotions at work, one of his kids coming home from school with a good report card--you name it.

As I mentioned in a previous post I have never liked to celebrate my birthday, except for when I became 16 and then again at 21. But my dad wouldn't let anyone get away without a big birthday celebration, and to this day I still get melancholy on my birthday just wishing he was here to remind me of it.

He was an eternal optimist, and I think I picked up most of those genes, except for the birthday part, and the fact that I no longer celebrate any of the holidays. When I'm around my kids at Christmas I will try to pretend just for them, but my heart is no longer in it and I haven't believed in years. Maybe my dad would be disappointed in that fact, but I think he wouldn't be as judgmental as most folks are.

So today I will fondly remember my dad while missing him like crazy, and look forward to my baby's birthday tomorrow - he will be 32 years old. It's good thing he was too young to realize that his grandpa totally messed up the celebration of his 1st!

Love ya, Arthur Charles Federle, 1910-1978

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lunch with a friend

First thing on the agenda today was meeting Ruth for lunch. When I joined the Old Buncombe County Genealogy Society a few years back I volunteered my services. I was immediately suggested for a project to visit all the local cemeteries, hundreds of them from the large commercially owned and run cemeteries to the many church and private family burying grounds. We methodically recorded each stone, row by row, section by section, with all the information contained on the stone. The person in charge of this endeavor was Ruth, and we became good friends over the course of the time I worked with her. She was elected to two terms as President of the OBCGS, and still kept up with the cemeteries in addition to all the other calls upon her time. We both agreed that there is nothing more satisfying and peaceful than to walk among the remains of the departed. The result of all our work and that of others who worked on the project, is that to date three books have been published and on sale at OBGCS, listing the burials.

We climbed over and under fences and barbed wire, worked in the hot sun as well as often in a drizzle, and Ruth was forever calmly telling me that I was standing in the middle of poison ivy. We placed Confederate flags on the graves of veterans from that war, and often felt saddened by finding several baby graves from the same family. Some of the inscriptions were serious, many religious, and sometimes we came across humorous ones. And there were those that were lovingly hand carved on a field stone, barely legible over time.

I was so happy we could get together for lunch and catch up on each other's latest news.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

I took Lady to the vet this afternoon to catch her up on three overdue shots, and to get her nails trimmed. She was not happy with the nail trim but not quite as bad as she usually is. Maybe old age is kicking in, because it normally takes at least 3, and 4 is better, people to do the job. This time it was just the vet and his assistant, and she didn't really put up much of a fuss until he got to her front paws. Of course I always have her muzzled for any veterinary treatment, because you can't tell what an 85# dog might do.

No passport today, so I'll have to go back tomorrow to see if it arrived. My days here are dwindling down to a precious few.