Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Mississippi, Two Mississippi

Not until I actually LOOKED at my own blog, did I realize I still had not posted about our trip to Mississippi. I know, bad blogger :/.....sigh. Somehow, I just cannot keep up!! In April, after our quick trip to Battle Mountain, we headed to Mississippi to pick up a new truck for VMP from...where else? Mississippi Tank! I was really looking forward to this, as I'd never been to MS before! Les and I flew to Jackson, MS via Houston, TX. This last leg of the flight was very smooth, even though storms were predicted for the area. After landing in Jackson and getting our rental car, we drove to Hattiesburg...a bit more than an hour away to the south. It was daylight yet and we were struck by how GREEN everything was....well, that and how many dead armadillos were beside the hwy.! Every one of them on their backs...four legs pointing straight up....guess the little fellas are top heavy ;) That night as we lay in our hotel room, we could barely hear the thunder and lightening going on outside. Not much time to watch TV, and never mind the weather channel; we got up the next morning and expected to head over to MS Tank. Several phone calls later, it's clear the truck will not be ready today. The perfect opportunity to go explore. We've never seen the Gulf of Mexico, so we head further south to Gulf Port. Once in Gulf Port, the folks at MS Tank said to take Hwy 91, and we did! White sandy beaches and brown water. What?? no Caribbean blue waters?? Nope. White sand, brown water. Bleh. Is it always like this we ask? Yep. That's it. Hmmmm. Not what we expected...but it seems the Mississippi River is responsible for the brown in this area. We travel east to Biloxi. As all good Harley riders do....we find the local Harley shop. Not much to see there either....even though it's been a few years since Katrina hit...the effects are still visible. The Harley dealer is still in "temporary" quarters. Their previous location was simply "washed away". It's nearing dinner time and well, where do the locals eat? We want some real food! Hippie Nick (from the Harley dealership)....yes, that's what he's called....directed us to Darwell's Cafe. Now, Hippie Nick says be prepared...it's sort of a "Hippie joint".....er,ok. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise? Darwell's did not disappoint!! All I can say is YUM YUM YUM! I had their combo special; shrimp creole, cray fish etouffe, and seafood gumbo. Les had blackened filet mignon with lump crab and Darwell's special sauce. I think we will talk about this meal for years to come!! The next day the truck was still not ready, so we had a chance to enjoy breakfast at one the famous "Waffle House" restaurants, which are on absolutely every corner in the south. Pecans in the waffles... Then we killed more time at a Hobby Lobby. Wow!! That was a first for me too...a Michael's/Joanne's on steroids!! Huge! Les even liked this place :) Finally around 5pm. our truck was ready. We hear storms are coming in, so it's a good time to leave. The wind is blowing.....and only several days later did we find out that Alabama had been hit by a record number of tornadoes that day...179! Finally on our way, it was smooth sailing. Unfortunately, we were nearly TWO days behind schedule and so our days were long and longer :/. Arriving home in the wee hours just before dawn 4 days later! Some of the places we saw along the way....Art Doctor's new home in Show Low, AZ. , The Evergreen Cemetary (which made us laugh each time we thought of it because it was everything BUT green!), Route 66, Colorado river(first clear water we saw coming west...all others were brown). The states we were in...MS, LA, NM, TX, AZ. The best hotel on the trip...Comfort Suites, Clovis, NM. Best meal :) Darwell's Cafe, Biloxi, MS. Most surprising find...pipe wrench found in visor of the truck..aparently forgotten by someone at MS Tank; it rode up there for over 200 mi. before we discovered it. Most annoying...high pitched whine the wind in visor made anytime we reached 60 mph.(duct tape to the rescue). Whew! We have 3 weeks till we leave again!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grandpa's Waffles

Our spring has been an incredibly busy one, with trips near and far almost every weekend. But.....when Ri called and said she was headed to Battle Mtn. and Casey and Lisa's house the weekend after our Mendocino trip.....we couldn't resist going and managed to squeeze in a quick trip to BM between the rest of our previously scheduled trips. It's not often we can be together with 3/4 of our family all in one spot!!
Immediately Les began planning....he'd bring the waffle irons and mix from home and on Sat. AM he'd make the waffles!!! His specialty :) Katie loves Grandpa's waffles and even talked him into adding some chocolate chips just for her!

Mendocino Coast and the Little River Inn

Over a year ago, Les and I were given a gift certificate for a two night stay at The Little River Inn in Mendocino http://www.littleriverinn.com/. This is a really lovely spot, with a view from every room. We had never stayed there before, but will definately be going back! Les' cousin Merv and his wife Diane made the long drive down from Snohomish to meet us there. Our first morning we made plans to head up the road 10 miles or so to Ft. Bragg to have breakfast at a "hole in the wall" that Merv and Diane had eaten at before. This was a first time for Les and I, but once again....we will go back when we are next in the area. Breakfast was delish....! Diane ordered "wicked eggs benedict". The hollandaise sauce for this dish was made with cilantro giving it a BRIGHT green color. I couldn't help taking a picture!! I had my favorite of biscuits and gravy. The whole place is decorated in a Wizard of Oz theme and as you can see...is truely a "hole in the wall". Next we headed over to Glass Beach, where years of dumping garbage over the cliff into the ocean has resulted in a magnificent beach totally littered with ocean scrubbed bits of glass. All well rounded and smooth. Since some storms had recently passed thru, the glass was particularly plentiful. We were excited with each new color of glass we found...and I guess you could say I got distracted!! The tide was out, so I wandered closer to the shore than I should have and before you know it....out of the corner of my eye, I saw a wave coming!!! As you can see by the picture....I didn't move fast enough and went for a roll in the surf :) Amazing how sand can get into everything....I had on a turtle neck shirt, fleece vest, and ski jacket. Jeans and my Dansko's. Everything was completely soaked nearly to my neck. Needless to say, we headed back to our room and I was thankful that I hadn't been able to decide what to bring for clothes and so had opted to bring it all!! I showered and changed, and off we went again :) A meal at Capt'n Flint's that night of fish and chips, a game of Phase 10 and our trip was complete!!! Can't wait to go again :)

Dinner at Bill and Susy's

Not long ago, Bill and Susy De Kok invited us over for dinner along with a few other people. Susy had prepared veggies, beef, chicken, and sausages all cut in bite sized pieces. We were seated at the table and in front of us was a "Raclette". A sort of electric grill for the table top. Bill and Susy explained that this was a "Dutch style" dinner party and that when they visit relatives in Holland they always participate in this kind of meal. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all!! Thank you Bill and Susy!!
Raclette's can be purchased at Target online :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Les' New Project

Ah, when you have grand kiddos, life changes. It's a good change, in fact, a fantastic, phenomenal, lovely change. There are now these new little people in your life that you would do just about anything for. They make you "remember when" their parents were your little people! And.....you think about what you used to do for them and with them and now you have a chance to do it over. In a small way, I guess. No pun intended. So, it came about that when Casey and Lisa had Katie, Les and I said, "what's something special we can give them?" Since we are sort of hands on kinda people, we immediately followed with "what can we MAKE for them"?
Les had made Casey and Jerry and Ri a toy box when they were little, and it got used constantly and we still have it today. It was bench style so they could close it and sit on it....which they did many times with one of them inside! It was great fun! Practical, useful, and special, cuz Dad made it. So, it was decided......a toy box it would be! One was made for Katie a little after she was born, and now it's also for Tys and Trenton and someone special due in July.
Then came James and Lucas and now Peter......they need a toy box too!!! So, Grandpa get to work!! And so he is.....now that he no longer "shares" his shop space and can lay out his wood and keep it clean, the project has begun! I wish I would have gotten a picture of him sitting in his recliner with graph paper on clipboard....furrowed brow.....in complete concentration....but you can imagine it can't you? For now...here is the beginning of the toy box project for James, Lucas and Peter.

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday my cell phone kept sending me a message stating I was out of room! It had content overload! Yikes.....what does that mean??? I cleared my inbox of rec'd msgs. Then I cleared my sent msgs. Then I moved on to My Pictures. Oy! Could THIS be the overloaded content? Uh....maybe so. It's funny how you can lose track of all those pics you store on your phone. Every picture that's been sent to me, like the cute purse Ri was buying, or the wrecked truck Casey helped put back on it's 18 wheels, or the "new ride" Jerry just purchased. It struck me that as I went thru these pics that "my picture" folder on my phone was a sort of diary for my life over the last year or so. And then there were the little projects that I took pictures of to blog about and well......never got to. So, here are some of the things I wanted to share with you and never did :). I made these "enameled" tags http://www.cantstopmakingthings.com/2010/07/french-enameled-numbers.html, and had so much fun with it, I ,like the blog title says, couln't stop!! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snowshoeing in the Sierras

Ever since snowshoeing in Idaho with Ri last year.....I've wanted to snowshoe with Les right here in California :) I was convinced that Les would enjoy it as much as I had. We checked into renting snowshoes from our local sporting goods here in Modesto....and after finding out it was going to cost us over $75 for a weekend, we decided we would go ahead and put that $75 toward shoes of our own instead.
I promptly began a search online and found used shoes for Les on Ebay for just slightly more than the $75 we would have spent on the rental. After a couple of failed bids on a pair for me, I finally found a pair in my price range and won the bid! Yay!! We decided these would be our Valentine's gifts to each other :)
Finally the day arrived for us to head up in the mountains and try the shoes out! A huge storm had just passed thru and we were excited to see what kind of tracks we could make :) As we headed up, there were grey skies and snow flurries.....yikes. The temp. topped out around 20 degrees, but as we drove farther, we saw blue skies.
Pinecrest Lake was our destination. After a few adjustments on the snowshoes, we were on our way for a trek around the north end of the lake. Gorgeous......just gorgeous!! I think it's one of the best Valentine dates I've ever had.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Heart's Desire

That's an appropriate title for a February 1st post...don't you think? But, I have another reason...because today is Marie's 30th birthday. Happy Birthday Ri!!
I could not let this day pass without a bit of reminiscing of the day Margaret Marie (aka Maggie Marie, Margo, or Ri :) was born, as well as the days leading up to it, because...you see, little Marie was my heart's desire. After a very difficult pregnancy with Casey and Jerry, their premature birth and health struggles when they were toddlers.....it was a risky move to get pregnant again. But we wanted....hoped for....prayed for a little girl.
Oh yes, another healthy BOY would have been wonderful too....but a girl....well, I wouldn't let myself dream of it for fear of disappointment. I would certainly LOVE another boy, but a daughter, well, that would be a 'gift' indeed.
As my pregnancy progressed, all seemed well. I felt good despite the awful morning/all day sickness I always endured for the entire pregnancy...it wasn't quite as bad the second time.....and so when Les needed foot surgery, we didn't put it off. I would manage....7 months pregnant, two toddlers, and a hubby on crutches. No sweat :)
I had a Dr's appointment so I left the boys napping in bed, Les in his recliner, and headed off to Modesto. Just the usual pregnancy check. I sat on the examining table and had my blood pressure taken. No comment from the nurse. My Dr. entered and after greeting me, said that I needed to head right on over to the hospital. What? No!! Why??? Your blood pressure is off the charts and I'm calling you an ambulance. We'll call your husband and he can meet you there. NO!! this can't be happening again! My baby...it's only 7 months....I went thru this before....no Lord please..... I sat on that exam table and cried, and cried, and cried....literally. The Dr. came in twice to see if I was ready to leave and each time I said no. My mind was whirling...I drove here, Les can't drive, who will watch the boys? I can't go in an ambulance.....no no no. Unbelieveably, I convinced the Dr. to let me drive home. I was to be back at Modesto City Hospital in an hour. It was January 31, 1981 and my actual due date was April 1st.
I was admitted, blood tests, and amniocentesis to determine baby's actual age/size and lung developement, then steroids to make the baby's lungs grow fast....24 hrs. was all we had. The amnio could have told us the sex of our baby, but we said no......I couldn't bear knowing yet. We prepared ourselves for the worst, and hoped for the best. We trusted God KNEW....we didn't understand why we had to go thru this yet again, but still we trusted.
My doctor came in and explained I would need to be transported to Sacramento and a larger hospital where they could handle "at risk" deliveries......like mine would be......my baby. Would my baby live...would I? Trust...that 's all we could do. God KNOWS...He knows....
February 1, 1981 @ 7am the petosin drip is started to induce labor. It's grueling labor...HARD...from the first contraction to the last. It shouldn't be happening this way. I'm utterly exhausted from 12 hrs. labor. My doctor decides "nothing's happening soon" and heads home for dinner. His intern takes watch over me. She is kind and tells me her parents are Drs in Ripon. Ripon? How can that be? They were missionaries before....I know them! Are you a believer? she asks. I nod, as I can't work up the energy to speak. She asks if she can pray with me then.....I'm crying again. Yes! yes please. I can't remember what she said, but it comforted me. Three contractions later, this intern, who I'm sure God placed in my room, delivered our sweet Marie. "It's a girl!!" Really? really really really? Are you sure??? And then I saw her. It was true! We have a girl..... a girl. I can't believe it.
This was our family now, and we had our girl. There wouldn't be any more babies....
We named her after one of the finest women I've ever known.....Les' grandma, Maggie Haveman. Maggie was strong, kind, and sweet, though not sickeningly so. She was practical and had a ready smile and sharp wit. She was a good cook too, and liked to knit. All but for the knitting part :) I believe Marie lives up to her namesake quite remarkably. We are proud to call her daughter, and on that day 30 years ago, I thank God that He saw fit to bless me with "my heart's desire". Love you Ri!