Archive for December, 2014

…And Let’s Finish Out The Year

December 29, 2014

After our amazing anniversary trip, Hubby and I, (especially I), needed some down time. It took me a good week to recover from “the trip.” (In fact, it took several weeks.) But no time to waste. Lots of birthdays in addition to holidays coming up.

Even though I don’t plan parties for birthdays anymore, I still like to recognize the day when someone special in my life has one. It doesn’t take a lot of time to sit down and mail a birthday card, but it still takes a little organization to get the cards sent off in time for the special day.  But this year, we decided to deliver the cards in person. A “personal” touch, so to speak.

We didn’t get pics of most of them, but here’s one of Grandson #1,

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Three of the birthdays were in KC, and since we would be there for Christmas, we mailed the cards.

Daughter #2 is in Jeff City, so off we go on another trip.

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My Sis lives here as well, so her birthday was easy traveling.

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As I mentioned earlier, we were invited to son’s house in KC for Christmas. Hubby and I went up early so I could help with the dinner.

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It was a wonderful dinner, LOTS to eat, and I went overboard with all the goodies again.

We let the little boys begin the fun with opening their gifts first.

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Then the adults played the gag gift game,

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Next came the “other” gag gift game sponsored by Grandma,

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None of my children and grandchildren ever complain about the wacky gifts that Grandma comes up with from year to year, at least not within hearing range. They’re so tolerant of my whims,

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Gotta love ’em!

It’s exhausting opening all those gifts,

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but we had a lot of fun and fellowship.

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This one was sick and spent most of the day in bed. But the next morning, he was feeling better. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to Grandma, she’d picked up his virus.

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Hubby and I wanted to “run by” Jeff City (only an extra two and a half hours driving time, but what the heck — we’re getting pretty good at this traveling thing) before heading home. We wanted to take gifts to the members of the family who didn’t make it to the party.

We ate a little lunch with them, watched them open gifts,

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and finally headed home.

We got home at 6:30, after dark, weary but fulfilled. We’d left the bunnies to fiend for themselves, so hubby checked on them first thing. Their fence around the pen had fallen for whatever reason, which will remain a mystery to us, and we thought they were gone for sure.

But I guess they stuck around, (they knew where the food was!) and came right up to welcome us back home by brushing against Hubby’s leg. He got them back in the pen and fixed the fence. Poor Hubby, he would have been heart-sick to lose his bunnies.

The next day after spending the entire trip back home coughing my head off, I came down with a full-fledged sinus cold/body-achy flu. NOT GOOD! It’s been a week and I’m still not over it, but feeling better. Thank Goodness Hubby just had a few body aches and a low-grade fever.

I guess this was a sign that I needed to take it easy for a while. This was not a good way to do it, however. I also lost three pounds; but again, not a good way to do it.

Now the year is coming to an end and the new year will be getting started soon. Hopefully I’ll keep up with my blog and keep the happenings of our lives written down for all posterity.

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October Experience

December 15, 2014

October was a monumental month for Hubby and me. It was a busy, exciting, and memorable time for us and an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

***October 9th was our 50th wedding anniversary***

We’ve been talking about a trip to the East coast for quite a while. We wanted to visit several places where we’ve been before, in addition to visiting an old army buddy of Hubby’s. We thought that celebrating our 50th anniversary would be the perfect time for this trip.

A couple of other events took place in Oct. as well. Let me go through the month as it happened……..

The first weekend of Oct. was the Ozark craft festival where I participated as a vendor. Even though my Sis decided not to be in the show with me this year, she was so helpful to me by helping me set up the booth,

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and then spending the busiest day with me during the three days I was there. (Hubby spent one day with me as well, then I was on my own for the last day.)

In addition to planning our trip, Hubby and I had also been discussing getting a new pickup truck. Hubby has had this Ford Ranger since he bought it new in 1990! It’s a standard shift without power steering or power anything! Driving it was beginning to get to us old folks because it’s very hard to turn the steering wheel and then having to shift all the time as well, (especially in town driving).

I had to use this truck to take my craft items back and forth to Ozark. (It wears this old lady out to drive that old truck!) On the way home the last day of the sale, I smelled an odd (gassy) odor in the cab. It gradually dissipated and by the time I got home Hubby couldn’t smell it at all. We don’t know where the smell came from, but Hubby decided that we were pushing our luck and maybe it was time to get a new truck.

And what better time to get a new truck than for our 50th anniversary, right? A few days later, this was in our driveway….

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(The camper shell had to be ordered and we didn’t get it until we got back from our trip.)

The following weekend, I picked up my Sis and drove the new truck to Mt. Vernon to another craft show. It’s bigger than my car so it took a little getting used to, but it’s pretty easy to handle and I enjoyed driving it.

Then the plans for our big anniversary trip came into play. Hubby’s Sis was going to bunny-sit for us, we mapped out our plan, cleaned out the fridge, had our mail put on hold, packed our bags, loaded up the pickup and off we drove.

We were gone thirteen days, traveled about 3000 miles, went through nine different states and stayed in eight different motels. (We stayed two nights in one motel and stayed two nights with Hubby’s buddy.) We took almost 270 pics!What a ride!!

We didn’t organize an itinerary — just wanted to fly by the seat of our pants, stop when we wanted, see things on the way, not have any time restrictions to be at a certain place at a certain time, etc. We took a trip several years ago where we had booked motel rooms at certain places and certain days and it was a little nerve-wracking to be there on those days. So this plan worked out great!

Our first stop was to visit the mobile home community where we stayed when Hubby first got a job teaching just south of St. Louis. We were a little surprised to see how much the park had grown.

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This tree was just barely a twig in the ground when we lived here. Our lot was the one where the car is sitting.

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We were excited to get to the East coast, so we didn’t stop anywhere else except to spend the night in Indiana and Ohio. (We don’t like driving at night — just can’t see that good any more.)

A couple of days later after traveling many miles and going over a mountain, we stopped in Wheeling, W.Va.

There’s a little walking trail going down the side of the river all the way through the old part of Wheeling. It felt good to get out of the truck and walk a while.

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There was a lot of activity in the river — barges, tug boats, men working —

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and the other side of the trail were the old houses and factories of Wheeling. We felt that we’d stepped back in time.

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We headed on to Hagerstown, Maryland, (an old stomping ground from long ago), and found their huge city park. Advertised to be the most beautiful in America.

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Well, it was beautiful! And big!

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This is the main pond with little streams running from it to smaller ponds.

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One of the little streams. (We loved seeing the swan!)

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Another little pond with the shadiest little path around it. The water was sooo clear!

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We walked for quite a while and still didn’t see it all. We ate lunch under a pavilion, then hit the road again.

We traveled on south to Martinsburg, W. Va. We’d visited this little town many times when we were living here after we got married and was waiting for Hubby to finish his little stint in the Army. We didn’t find the Ben Franklin, where I bought my first skein of baby yarn to make our first baby a sweater, or the drive-in theater that we visited several times, but we found the old train station. We had never been here before but it was fun to see the remains of the old station and take a few more pics.

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The next stop was Shepherdstown. This is the little town where we started our lives together. We were only here about nine months, but I feel more attached to this little town than any other place we’ve lived.

Of course it’s changed somewhat, but the old part of town was pretty much the same as it was 50 years ago. We found the house where we lived in our first apartment. I’m standing by the windows of the front apartment. We had the back apartment.

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There’s a little white picket fence where the driveway used to be.

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We would drive our car into the driveway all the way to the end of the house and our little apartment was to the right into the basement of this house. (We didn’t feel that we should go through the fence to take a pic.)

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We walked down the main street and saw some of the stores where we bought groceries, etc., and the little store that used to be a jewelry store where I bought Hubby’s wedding band.

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However, the best part of the whole visit for me was finding the post office!

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I couldn’t believe how the same it still was! When we walked inside, it was like I was walking in 50 years ago!

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Our box was about right in the middle of this row of boxes to my left. I would stand where I am now to address or stamp letters to home. (I don’t remember all those boxes at the back. The postal clerk told us that everybody in town still has to come to the PO to get their mail!)

I have to admit I got a little teary-eyed. You have to remember that I was only 18 years old, away from home for the first time in my life, and a little home-sick. The post office was my link to home. I visited that PO every day for nine months mailing and getting letters from home. (I love nostalgia.)

After spending the night, we headed on East. We stopped for lunch at Havre de Grace which is a little town on the Chesapeake Bay. They have a sale boat dock,

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a  boardwalk-type walkway up and down the Bay with some docks you could walk out on,

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and even a lighthouse that we were able to go into.

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It had a lot of winding stairs to the top where there was a hole in the floor that we had to squeeze ourselves through to be able to look out the windows.

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Here’s a pic of a plaque that shows some of the war strikes of 1812.

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It was a beautiful sunny day and the walk along the boarded trail was refreshing. But soon it was time to move on.

Our next stop was Ocean City, NJ. Fifty years ago on the 1st of Jan., Hubby took me to Ocean City because I’d never seen the ocean. (Don’t ask why we didn’t wait until warmer weather — it was a spur of the moment thing.)

It was cold on the 1st of Jan! Our old car didn’t have a working heater, so I took my shoes off and kept my feet under Hubby’s legs as he drove. We arrived at Ocean City and it was like a ghost town. There was only one hotel open so we were able to get a room for the night. The boardwalk was empty of people. But the ocean was beautiful!

We settled into our room and then went to the beach. The wind coming off the ocean was brutal! Needless to say, we didn’t stay very long on the beach, but the hotel room we had was right on the boardwalk and we could hear the ocean waves all night. Soooo nice!

Now, fifty years later, we were in Ocean City again. My how this little town grew! It was a little warmer this time but still not many people on the beach. We were lucky to get a room at this motel lodge because the previous weekend was the last weekend for the season and all the other motels were closed.

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In fact, the people had to prepare a room for us (add towels, etc.), because the following week they would be closing as well. The only reason they were still open was that they were hosting a reunion group that was there that weekend. So we lucked out, I guess.

We had a quaint little room. We could tell that the motel had been there a while, but it was nice and clean and equipped with all the modern amenities.

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We ate our supper at a little eatery on the boardwalk. It was getting late so we just walked up and down the boardwalk and went out on the beach to watch the waves coming in.

The next morning, (Sat.), we went back to the boardwalk and was surprised to see many people walking. Some had their kids/dogs with them. We discovered later that they were doing a walk for breast cancer awareness.

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That was good for us because most of the stores were open. We bought souvenirs, salt water taffy, and these sweatshirts.

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We took another walk on the beach,

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and I put my feet in the water! (I snapped the pic too late, the water had already receded.)

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We spent another night, then headed out again. We went north along the coast until we got to Asbury park. Hubby used to visit here with his Army buddies.

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Since it was Sun. and everything was closed for the season, we pretty much had the boardwalk and beach to ourselves.

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It was definitely more fun at Ocean City. We didn’t stay here long after we walked up and down the beach picking up more sea shells and watching the waves. I was mesmerized by the sight and sound of the waves and zoned out for a time. Hubby had to poke me to wake me up. I love the ocean.

We headed to Princeton, NJ, next. Hubby’s idol, Albert Einstein, used to teach at Princeton U. and lived in a house that the college provided for him. Hubby wanted to see this house. Princeton is a crowded little town, but we finally found the house and I took of pic of Hubby in front of the house.

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We spent the night in Princeton, then headed north to MA the next morning.

Hubby’s old Army buddy lives in MA. and since we were going to be this close, he wanted to stop and visit with him.

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Sid, (an old nickname Hubby gave him when they were in the Army), has a large old family home with two complete apartments for renting. One of the apartments is rented to a nice older lady who helps him with cleaning and shopping. The other apartment is left vacant for recent visits from his brother, or guests – like us.

I love, love, love old quaint houses! Especially when they have little niches and cubby holes. This little apartment was the cutest thing. They had it cleaned and scrubbed up and all ready for us. This was the living area with lots of seating.

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The little kitchen,

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and the bedroom (you can see Hubby in the mirror relaxing on the bed). The little bathroom complete with shower is behind the mirrored door. The stove is a combination  oven and furnace for heating the rooms. The vents on the side is where the heat comes out. I’ve never seen anything like this before. (I know, I live in a cave most of the time!) It came in handy when the nor’easter come through that night.

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We stayed with Sid for two days and two nights. He took us to the Yankee Candle Co. where they make the famous candles sold all over the world.

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The place was HUGE! It had lots and lots of different rooms, with different themes for each room, where they sold everything from kitchen items to Christmas items and of course, candles! There was even a restaurant. (more…)