Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I'm still trying to recover from road fatigue. We drove (not counting stops) about 35.5 hours. My backside is looking more like the seat of a Dodge Ram every day. And girlfriends, that ain't pretty!
I'll tell you what is pretty. Vermont--what bit of it we saw passing through--is pretty. In fact, pretty won't quite due. This description calls for the Texan vernacular. Folks, let me tell ya. Vermont is down-right purdy. REAL PURDY!
As I'm able to get out and about in New Hampshire I'll let you know what I think about it. I don't know how long we will be here. Rick doesn't have very many claims, so I only paid for two weeks here at the campground. I have reserved our space until the 29th of August because he hopes to get more claims as he gets some of these closed out. Just one day at a time we make our plans, knowing that they will probably change before the sun goes down.
One thing I hope to see while we are here is a moose. As we drove through Vermont and into New Hampshire we saw "Moose Crossing" signs along the highways. How cool would it be to see a moose crossing the road? I think it would be VERY cool! I did see a swan floating on a little lake along the roadside, but I've seen a real live swan up-close before. I've never been up-close to a live-in-the-wild moose before. I'll be sure to take my camera with me when I go to Wal-Mart, just in case a moose walks by.
Speaking of Wal-Mart--well, this really doesn't have anything to do with Wal-Mart, (or as the Yankee keeper of the campground calls it, "Waw-Mawt") it has more to do with being thankful.
I've titled this post Among the Unfamiliar. That's where I am. I remember a time when I thought I was in the middle of a spiritual growing spurt because God had taken me "outside my comfort zone." I did experience a growth spurt, and that made me glad, many times later, to have opportunities to be outside my zone. But I'm tellin' ya now, it has been so long since I've been "inside" my comfort zone, I don't even have one any more. If getting outside one's comfort zone is all it takes to grow spiritually, then I ought to be a giant by now! I'm not, so I guess there is more to it. Ya think?
Anyway, this uncomfortable feeling I always have when we go places I've never been before made me think of you, my readers. Especially those of you who are, at this moment, wishing for something like a moose to cross your path. I want you to live with a heart of thanksgiving. Here are just a few things that crossed my mind (like a moose crossing the road) that come with living inside comfort zones.
1. If you can find your local Wal-Mart Super Center without a GPS, be thankful.
2. If the word "local" puts the name of only one town or city in your mind, and if the word "community" stirs an emotion, be thankful.
3. If you know the best route to take to get to work or church or school, thank the good Lord.
4. If you can go into a store where you are accustomed to buying your groceries and find the Velveta Cheese without walking every aisle three times and asking the stock boy for assistance, then you have a lot to be thankful for.
5. If you go to the mall and see at least one person you know or have even seen somewhere before, be very thankful.
6. If you know your address without having to look it up, say "Thank you, God, for my comfort zone."
7. And if you have a place you call your "church home" and people there who are "like family" to you, who insist on knowing all your business--because they care and want to pray for you, drop to your knees and give thanks to the God who has given you all good and familiar gifts.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I'm getting a little buggy!!!!! I've tried to read, sleep, and played a few games on my Palm Pilot. Every time I dozed off today, Rick turned the radio over to NASCAR talk radio. All that loud belly-aching grates my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. So my naps were short. Maybe I should ride in the back seat with rags stuffed in my ears!
We are stopped for the night---and hopefully a few hours sleep. If all goes as planned we will get to our destination tomorrow evening. We are just under 600 miles away. Just in case you were wondering, New Hampshire is a LONG WAY from Amarillo TX!
I'll let you know when we get there! Happy trails!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I guess I had that funny feeling--something changed. Last night one of Rick's managers called him with new instructions. In the morning we will hook on and head back to New England. This time we are bound for New Hampshire. He will be working there and in Maine.
Wasn't it just a little over a week ago we left New England? Sometimes circumstances are beyond crazy. If we could have known that we would be deployed there again, Rick could have just flown home for Granny's funeral. But, since we are not able to know those kinds of things, we will spend the next four days and about $1,000.00 driving almost 2,000 miles. Sounds like fun?
Now, if I don't get back to you in the next four days, I'll see ya in New Hampshire--unless something changes.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
If you want to see the school for yourself, it is in East Haddam where we stayed. Just a little way up the river from the school is the Goodspeed Opera House. It was built in the 1800s. (pictured below)Some famous Broadway shows, like Annie, got their start at this opera house.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
My sister and mother picked me up at the airport and took me straight to Hospice. My hope was to see Granny before she passed away. As one of my cousins later reminded me, Granny never waited on anything or anyone if she was ready to do something. And I guess she was ready to see Jesus face to face, for she took her last breath as we were pulling into the parking lot at Hospice. I didn't make it in time. That was tough for me, but fine with Granny.
When a beloved family member dies, it is never easy. I will miss my grandmother very much. I have only good memories of her and I know that she loved all her children and grandchildren very much. She always bragged about how good-looking all her children and grandchildren were. She would say, "There's not an ugly one in the whole bunch!" I believe she loved the Lord even more than she loved her family, and for that I am thankful. She left a wonderful legacy.
Now I have to tell you a story. I really don't want to, but my Aunt Laveta told me she expected to see it in my blog, and I love her, so---
After Granny made her escape to heaven, the sweet hospice servant straightened her stooped little body in the bed, placed a red rose in her folded hands, and then called the family back in to the room. Along with the hospice spiritual director, we all gathered in a circle around the bed to pray, remember, cry, and just honor the memory of the woman we all loved so much.
Now I need to tell you a couple of things about Granny. She wore dentures, but you'd never know it because she saw to it that no one ever saw her without her teeth. And she had a dowager's hump on her back. That hump complicated things a little because when they put her on her back, she couldn't exactly lie flat. The hump made her head tilt back more than just a little. When a person passes away, the mouth has a tendency to open and the jaw sort of locks. So here is Granny, without her teeth, head back, mouth open, and all of us gathered around her bed at this solemn yet undignified moment.
After we prayed and my dad spoke some words of comfort and reassurance, we all stood in an uncomfortable silence, so much on our hearts but without words to adequately express our feelings. My Aunt Laveta leaned over the bed, looking into the face of my grandmother's body and said, "You'd be really upset if you knew we were all standing here staring at you without your teeth, wouldn't you?"
Then I, the "Talkin' Texan," with mouth in overdrive and brain in park said, "Oh Granny would just die if she knew, wouldn't she?"
In the split second it took for my words to hit the bereaved brains of the family, Aunt Laveta replied, "Yes, I think she would!"
Instantly tears and gentle sobs were transformed--laughter filled the room. Loud, till-tears-filled-our-eyes-again laughter. Oh, I could have just died! My dad offered to help me pull my foot out of my mouth.
I felt terribly about my blunder, but everyone else said that it was just what we needed. If Granny was watching, I know she laughed harder than any of us. She was cute when she laughed.
What a wonderful thing it is to know that these bodies we inhabit are earthen clay, formed by the hands of God to serve us for a short time here on earth. And we can laugh and rejoice when we, or our loved ones, are released from this earth and imperfect bodies to a glorious eternal existence in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ!
We buried Granny's earthen vessel, teeth and all, on Friday. We all rejoiced in her 90 years here, and I look forward to seeing her again.
Monday, July 14, 2008
I've been working for two days trying to get our riverboat ride posted. Between slow connection, blogger problems and flickr foul ups I'm frustrated to the extreme.
Then my mother called me this morning and told me that my grandmother is in the hospital. It looks like she will be going home--to that glorious eternal rest in the arms of Christ--very soon.
I need to start getting things situated so I can go home. Rick is almost done here, so we can start home as early as tomorrow with at least a four day drive ahead of us, or I can fly by myself...
I hate making decisions that are necessitated out of the unknown. For now, I'll take a shower and do some more laundry...while I wait.
I'll keep working on getting those photos uploaded, but we may be gone from Connecticut before I get it all done! Oh how nice is high-speed Internet!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Have I mentioned that it rains here a bit more (actually a LOT more) than it rains at home? And have I mentioned that that makes the grass grow around here pretty fast? And have I mentioned that the campground staff mows the grass OFTEN? And all that mowing leaves loose grass that gets tracked in to the camper. Ughhh. So, I have to just "suck it up!"
Guess what?!? I can still multi-task! I can hang from a ladder, wash windows, and talk to my sister on the phone all at the same time! Bless her heart, she was having a mid-life moment in the clothing department of Target. (Love ya sis) She needed some consoling.
Yes, reality hits hard sometimes. Dirty dishes, smelly laundry, filthy floors, windows too dirty to see out of, or--clean enough for the whole world to see into..., and aging. I admit, it is a lot more fun to simply ride through life just looking at the pretty sights along the way, but that's not reality, and that's not what is best. I praise God for reality that keeps me going back to His word for encouragement, and keeps me humble, and keeps me looking forward to the fun days that come along ever now and then.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The train was first put into service in the early 1920s. Engine 103 was not the engine that tugged us up and down the tracks, but it looked much the same as the one that did. They are coal-burning steam engines.
I tried to get some scenery shots out my Pala Ca window, but pretty much all you could see were trees. I caught a glimpse of a swan, a small water fall, and a few other interesting things, but we were whizzing along about 20 mph and the trees here are THICK.
Hope you enjoyed the train ride. We did. It got Rick away from the computer and me out of the camper for a while. Watch for the riverboat ride coming to this blog soon!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Here are a couple of pictures of the Thames River. It is no West Texas creek! I'm talkin' big river--and a couple of islands.There's enough river to handle this cruise ship. She's the Explorer of the Seas, part of the Royal Caribbean cruise line. Some of the locals told us she was on her way to Canada. A long way from the Caribbean! In this photo she was headed back out to sea after a stop in New London.Massive boat! I've never seen a cruise ship up close before now. The people on the decks looked like, well, like little specks. And God cares for--no, He loves so much He died for--each of those little specks. Huge forts, big guns, deep wide rivers, gigantic ships, and the freedom of man. It is for freedom He sets us free. I challenge you to keep a list of all the things you see around you that reminds you of your "independence" and your freedom.
Trying to post this has taken me most of the day because of slow connections. Saturday Rick worked all day but Sunday we had a little fun. I'll tell you about it later.
Monday, July 7, 2008
I've got pictures and will be getting them organized and posted over the next few days. I'm trying to finish up my homework assignment (it was due on the first and I'm still not done) and I HAD to do a load of laundry today. I've had phone calls that have taken some of my time too. I'm not complaining mind you. I love visiting with family and friends so I don't mind the calls at all. But I can't talk and post at the same time. I find multi-tasking harder than it used to be. (Another downside of being part of the "over 40" crowd.)
Now, while you wait to read about our train ride, our boat trip, and our visit to the fort...
I can't believe someone has not commented on my "Lessons Learned the Hard Way." Am I the only dummy who has ever tried to put kiwi fruit in jell-o? And has no one else ever parked under a pecan tree? Gee whiz. I thought I'd get either some sympathy or some wise cracks, or maybe someone that would ask WHY you can't put kiwi in jell-0 or park under a pecan tree. Guess I'm in the corner wearing the pointy hat!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go. To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.' Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
From The Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1916, 1923, 1928, 1930, 1934, 1939, 1947, 1949, © 1969 by Holt Rinehart and Winston, Inc. Copyright 1936, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1953, 1954, © 1956, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962 by Robert Frost. Copyright © 1962, 1967, 1970 by Leslie Frost Ballantine.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
These pictures really don't do Newport Harbor justice. It was getting late in the day and the humidity was very high. There was a heavy haze in the air so it was hard to get good pictures. We walked through the "visitors" area of the Newport Yacht club. (Yes we were WAY out of our league.) As far as you could see, boats or yachts bobbed in the harbor. I'd love to see all these with sails unfurled!
REALLY BIG BOAT! (I zoomed in to get this shot.)