Almost There...

Recently I wrote about finishing up my taxes.  In all that had gone on with being lost in a fog for eight months and such, I was unable to find all my information on 2011 and searched high and low. Being totally distraught in thinking I would have to compile everything again, I turned the problem over to the Lord and prayers were answered.  Praise God! 
One like this will be traveling with me

This weekend I have been plugging in information into my spreadsheets and should have everything done by the middle of this coming week and then off they go to my accountant.  

How do I liberating that will be.  THEY ARE FINISHED!!!!!!  

This has been the most difficult 8 months of my life with many more months ahead, I'm sure. The only other time that has been close to this was the death of my mother.  I will say, I seem to be recovering a bit more quickly this time.  When mom died I couldn't read anything. I could not seem to get past the third paragraph of any book or article for 3 years. I had difficulty paying the bills and keeping it together.  This time I have been able to read several books...Thanks Gaye Lynn Wood and Nick Russell. Also if I didn't get the bills paid it was solely on me. It had to be done and so it was.  

Life goes and there is no point in being left behind. One must continue so that memories may be not forgotten. I know I will have a lot of rocky moments, especially in one week and two days.  That is the day I say good bye to 16 years at the University and working with a great bunch of people who care about me. I only hope I can keep it together.

Starting out on a new adventure is a bit daunting but I know I will have lots of help to get me going.  The laundry list is long of things I have to do and it's like the never ending gobstopper, it just seem to be growing. 

I have so much to learn how to do and how to keep my rig up and running. At the moment it is dead in the water.  I went to start it up yesterday and the battery is dead. Not good!  But I'm getting some help this week and hopefully will get it up and going again and hopefully I can keep it going. I did go out briefly yesterday and wash the woodwork in the front part of the rig with Murphy Oil Soap and wipe the counter tops down and clean out the bathroom sink and kitchen sink. I want to oil all the wood and make it shine. 

Christmas is almost here and for the most part I have done all my shopping on-line. I have things I need to get for the boys and their daddy. The girls have been finished for awhile now.
Thank goodness this (snow) hasn't happen
yet, but lights are up and lit
 I have not decorated the inside of the house yet but I do have my outside Christmas lights up thanks in part to a very nice young man who helps me out a lot.  

Soon I will be writing a new blog about my travels with my three dogs.  When that time comes I will attach a link to this blog in the side bar that will take you to it. The name is "My Big Adventure with Three Dogs". 

For all the solo women out there, how scared were you to take that first big step...when you actually got in your rig or truck or car and drove away?  What was going through your mind?  I just want to know if I am normal...scared s%#!&(@s? You have to understand, I come from a time when young ladies lived at home, were under the protection of their parents until they married, then protected by their husbands. So for all 65 years of my life I have had someone there for me. 

This is the first time in my life that I have ever been on my own.  It's not a feeling I like. I don't like not having someone to talk to, that can carry on a conversation with me.  The dogs look at me like I'm crazy and their conversation skills leave much to be desired when I can't translate Woof, woof...woof-woof-woof...yap, snarl, snarl...Woof!
The three furbateers
Yes...I get when it's time to feed them, give them water and let them out and back in and such, it's the other times when out of no where the chorus begins and I am left in the dark. Anyone out there speak dog? To be certain, I howl too!  Feel like I should join in with the pack. Maybe they will begin to look at me as the Alpha. 

Wisdom begins in wonder.  Socrates

And so it begins...

Welcome...Welcome...Welcome New Blog Followers...

I am so happy...I have new blog followers!  At least I know someone is reading my blog!  
Rain storm in the Texas Panhandle 2009

A big shout out to Dragonfly!  She is an artist following her dream in her hand-painted 1972 Shasta Compact named Serenity.  Her work is beautiful to be sure. Check out her blog Chasing Flowers. She also has hand-painted blank cards for sale on her site. 

Next are Debi and Ed Hurlburt of Debi's RV Cooking. Welcome! They have been busy traveling and as you know WiFi hot-spots are hard to come by when traveling. Therefore it's difficult to get some of her blogs posted, but when she does yummy recipes await you. Her recipe today is the ultimate comfort food! Hot Ham and Cheese in a Baked Bread Bowl! Check it looks so yummy!

Janet and Kevin Shaw of Seize The Day RV Adventure, are new on the scene. They are looking to go full-time in 2015 or 2016 in the meantime get to know them. They love to bird-watch and Janet has a mean cooking tab on her blog. Her cuisine looks yummy, especially the Dutch Oven section. They are building their site so as they travel more expect more stories, photos and great food! A good site to check out. 

This couple are avid outdoors-men. Meet Julie and Tom. Their photographs of their trips are beautiful and makes you want to go to the places they have been to. They have been blogging their trips since 2010. Check out RV and Outdoor Adventures with Julie and Tom. You won't regret it! Their photos of Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia are beautiful. Makes me want to be there enjoying the gorgeous sites next year. 

I love Travels with Emma.  Judith Bell and her dog Emma, I feel honored to have her follow me! Her adventures are amazing along with her commentary and photographs on her blog. She and Emma travel the country leaving love wherever they go. She has encouraged me when I have been at my lowest and I love her for that.  Thanks Judith! 

Of course everyone knows Al, Kelly and Pheebe of Travels with The Bayfield Bunch.  I love Al's many stories and greatly enjoy how he captures the essence of flight in his bird photography. Lately he has been having trouble with pack rats stealing his frog, froggy. Al has be gracious to help me with questions that I have had about RVing...Thanks Al!

Last but not least is Laurrie Piland of Baked Lava. This is a cooking site extraordinaire. She has great pictures of the prep of her food and the cooking of it. I can only hope to be a tenth as good as she is in my food posts. She is a blogger/columnist/photographer who travels the USA in an RV with her husband along with their pets.  

So a big Oklahoma welcome to you all.  I look forward to meeting each one of you as I get ready for My Big Adventure with Three Dogs to begin next month.  Time is ticking down and I am not ready (Will I ever be?). I have a lot on my plate between now and then.  Finishing up work, retirement party, family coming in for Christmas, cleaning and packing up the RV (First I have to learn how to drive it then learn how to dump the holding tanks), get new tires on the RV and get some things fixed before I head out.  Boy, that's enough to make this person dizzy and I'm already dizzy enough as it is! 
2005 Winnebago Voyage  My new ride!

12 working days until I'm finished.  Look out everyone the Wild One is getting ready to hit the road! 



The most dreaded word in world...besides Social Security.  I have come to find out recently that I dread getting mail from Social Security.  What more are they going to take away from me?

Back to taxes...I am finishing up my taxes and have promised myself that I will not work on my motorhome until they are done and out of my hair.  I think that will give me some incentive to get them done. I really don't lack much in finishing them.

Normally I am more organized than what I currently am, but ever since Dave passed away I find myself being dragged 20 different directions and not able to stick to any one project for long. It's frustrating to be sure. I know in time it will get better, but it's taking too long!

Once I finish these it will be time to start on the 2014 taxes. I really don't think it ever ends does it.

16 days until I retire! 


Light Bulb, Oh S#!% Moment...

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realized that you promised someone something and it totally slipped your mind.  I had one of those moments on Tuesday. 

The daughter of a very close family friend called to let me know that her mom had passed away. Betty Jain was Godmother to our now 31 year old daughter. For 22 years she had been the head Librarian for the City of Moore, OK Library. During our conversation I promised to bring dinner over to the family after the service on Tuesday.

Fast forward...On Tuesday I'm sitting in the church with the other mourners waiting for the family. The family starts to come in to be seated and at that moment it hits me between the eyes, Oh S#!% I forgot to make the dinner I promised! What do you do, what do you do?

I knew what I was going to make; Spaghetti with meat sauce, Italian Garlic Bread, Salad with dressing.  After the lovely service and paying my respects, I dashed off to Wal-Mart to make my hasty purchase.  Rushing home I briefly stopped at a Subway and got a sandwich as I had to go back to work. 

I have never fixed Spaghetti sauce in a crock-pot, but there is always room for something new.  I crumbled up the meat in the crock-pot poured the Prego sauce over it stirred it in put the lid on and fired up the crock-pot by flipping the switch.

Back to work I went. Christie our youngest daughter called to say she was about two hours away from Norman and would be home soon.  I realized that I had forgot to pick up some aluminum serving pans and asked if she would pick up a couple. After work I rushed home and started boiling up the spaghetti noodles.   After the first set of noodles had finished cooking I put them in the clean serving pan and ladled some of  the meat sauce on top and stirred it in. The second set of noodles were soon finished and after draining them I put those into the serving pan and finished topping it off with the rest of the meat sauce, stirred it up and sprinkled shredded Parmesan Cheese over the top.

Christie and I gathered up everything and headed over to the Jain's house. There were 13 people there to eat and the meal turned out wonderful. We were invited to stay and eat with them.  As the saying goes "If the cook won't eat it why should we!" We had a lovely visit and treasured our time with "Uncle" Gil.

Betty had Cerebral Palsy, but did not let it get in the way of her life. I can only have the greatest admiration for this wonderful woman who lived her life to the fullest.

Betty will be sorely missed by her family but her love will always be present and felt by many.

Rest well dear Betty, rest well and one day we shall meet again!


Figuring It Out...When You Feel Like a Mac Truck Hit You, Then Backed Over You Three More Times...

The quote goes something like this "Necessity is the Mother of Invention". Boy ain't that the truth!  My motor home was delivered Saturday and we got it hooked up so it would have some heat in it since it was to be extremely cold weather. However the cord I purchased is too heavy for for the 50 year old outlet
50 year old outlet
in the garage and kept falling to the floor.  No electricity, no heat...don't need frozen pipes. Not a good thing, nope!

What to do?  Figure it out Susan...First off, I am sicker than a dog and any attempt to do anything sends me into violent coughing spasms and a serious sweat. There is no one here to help me so I have to tackle the problem as best I can.  

I know I need to take the weight of the cord off of the outlet, so rummaging through Dave's 40 lb. junk drawer, I spied one of these little numbers.
Ah, the right item...a bicycle hook
 Think Susan...I can pound it into the underside wood platform of the water heater, just above the outlet. 

Now, trying to hit a small surface with a hammer in a contorted position is like trying to catch every drop of a melting Popsicle on a hundred and twenty degree day in an eighty mile an hour wind storm. It's just not going to happen...ah! light-bulb moment... turn the hammer on it's side and drive the nail in. Worked like a charm! Put the cable up over the hanger, plugged it in stayed put! I now have power to my rig. 

Up until this very moment I had not approached my rig, but I needed to know how Mr. Wilson had set up the heaters inside and at what temps.  I donned my winter gear and proceeded toward the beast. I have to say it is huge but I needed to make sure that my $35,000 dollar investment was okay.  I discovered it takes 2 keys to open the coach door. Once inside, the heaters were running and I was a happy camper. The rig has a convection microwave oven and Mrs. Wilson had put the cookbook inside it. I retrieved it so I could start pouring over it to learn how to use the unit.

One problem solved. Next problem...

Dave was always great about wiping the dogs wet feet off when they came in from outside. We now have had our first winter snow storm.  Since I have spinal stenosis and scoliosis in my back, bending down to do the task is always hurting me. How do I get their feet somewhat dry? Again a light-bulb moment.  I seemed to remember seeing an entry rug runner
Works perfectly!
stored out in the garage. If they could walk across that, it would take a good portion of the wet off their feet. Where was that sucker.  Ah...found it. I rolled it out from the outside back door to the inside back door. Dogs being dogs, happily ran over it thinking it was something new and had to be inspected. They gave it their approval. 

Hopefully the dog can't get to it.
I recently bought (what I thought was dog proof) a locking lid to a trash can.  Nope!  Big boy got into it and emptied every bit of trash out of the can. Figured out the lid in less than 10 seconds. I am up to here (hand over head, arm extended) with him raiding the trash. Now if he can get up on the washing machine and get into it...dear daughter is going to have to take him. The last time he got into the trash it cost me a $189.00 Vet bill.

As I have learned, getting older and being sick at the same time is not for sissy's. I have always had problems with my sinuses and since I grew up with both of my parents smoking, my lungs have not always been the best. I get sinus infections when the weather changes and that will invariably develop into pneumonia. I am winning this battle, but it is a long drawn out process.  I go back to the Dr. tomorrow to see if he wants me to take another round of meds. Send me good healing thoughts and any spare prayers you have.

Happy trails...


I do'd It...

Well...I am now the owner of a 2005 Winnebago Voyage Motorhome.  I pick it up Saturday, weather permitting and get to learn how to drive the sucker.

Everyone keeps telling me that it's a piece of cake...whose cake? I will have to get pictures later after I get it all clean and spiffy and put together.

There are some things that need to be done like new tires, repair refrigerator, replace the toilet, replace the bathroom sink fixture and put in an Oxygenics shower head. Clean the carpet, wipe out all of the storage areas, get a new sewer hose, water hose, clear elbow and build a handrail.  No small task but doable.  

The first item on the list is tires, no ifs and or buts about it.  The second item is a new toilet and sink fixture.  The other items I can do without for now and can get those repaired before I head to Washington DC next spring. 

Happy trails!!!!!!  Almost...25 working days to go...


49 Days and Counting>>>

They say that each journey starts with a first step.  49 working days from now I will be retiring and starting my new adventure.  At the moment I am in the process of looking for a motor home.  I want a Class A gas, 34-36 feet long with bunk beds, but am willing to get my feet wet without bunk beds for now. 

Why bunk beds?  I love my family dearly and want them to take trips with me and with three little ones, three dogs and 4-5 adults; it could get a little crowded. Matter of fact we have some awesome trips planned already.
This is what I am looking at for now.

I like the layout

It has lots of room. 

They say you will buy at least three RV’s before you find what you want.   I just got a text from a friend about their toad and tow bar. Got wind of a motor home last weekend and am going to go look at it. RV show in OKC is this weekend.  Things are starting to come together.

I have my eye on this vehicle to tow behind the motor home. It is s 2013 Honda CR-V.  It drives well and already has the tow equipment already attached and ready to go as the previous owners bought a 5th wheel and truck.  
It has a back-up camera.
The car I am looking at.

It’s hard to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of work. I can ever so faintly see its glimmer.  Trying to get all my peas lined up for the pod is taking some time, but it is slowly coming together.  I feel I will be able to get more done at the house once I retire.  Work at the moment just drains me.  I have discovered that my best time to work is in the mornings, I seem to be more focused during the am hours.
Part of my Tastefully Simple Display

The other side of the table display
This last weekend was a busy one for me.  I did my first Craft show at a St. Michael’s Episcopal Church on Saturday at their Old Country Fair.  I had lots of people come by my booth, had some sales as well and made lots of new contacts for my Tastefully Simple business. 

Sunday was an emotional day for me.  It was the 6 month anniversary of Dave’s passing and the congregation said good-bye to our Rector. Father Alan Sutherland and his wife Judi, had been here for five years and would have been here longer but they suffered a personal tragedy in February and their lives were forever changed.  They both felt it was time to retire and move back to Kentucky to take care of Judi’s aging parents. 
Love a man in a kilt!

Fr. Alan is one of those rare people that if you ever meet him you will never forget him.  His soul is gentle and kind.  He is soft spoken but can get your attention quick if need be. His heart is overflowing with love and he genuinely cares about you. 

I was there for his first service and his last service with nothing in between, which I am now kicking myself for. He traveled through snow storms to come give me communion in the hospital in north Oklahoma City, when I had two knee replacements a year apart.  His pastoral care of our family during our time crisis (Dave’s passing) was heartfelt and was above reproach.  Here is a copy of his last sermon.

Dave came from a Welsh mother and a Scottish father.  We were married by a Scottish Priest and I only felt it fitting that a Scottish/English priest say the last words for him and commend his spirit to the Lord with the service out of the 1940 prayer book which both Dave and I grew up with.

So it’s been roller-coaster time around here and I will be glad when the roller-coaster stops so I can regain my balance.  Then I can get on another roller-coaster…WHEEEEEEE!

Stay safe…live well…


The sounds and smells of college football is in the air these days.  The days are starting to get cooler and autumn is shaping up to make a grand entrance. Wood smoke of hickory, mesquite and pecan wafts through the air.  School colors are attached to car tops and the colors Crimson and Cream can be seen flying above Motor homes, 5th wheels and travel trailers starting to  arrive on Thursday before the big game. Yes College football is in full swing along with the festivities of tailgating.
Breaking down getting ready for the game!

I have never tailgated until this year.  I've had many after game chili suppers at my house but never a tailgate tent and good company.

Fellow Stargazer
My stargazing buddy was lamenting that he didn't have a tailgate site yet so I offered him my front yard free of charge. 

I had a wonderful time and the upside of it is, that it made me clean my house which is a blessing in disguise. I am not a bad housekeeper but with all that has been going on with will searches, going through papers, pitching unnecessary documents and junk, I let things slide.  I am getting better though. Dave did all the housework for the last 17 years so I am having to find my groove so to speak.  

For our first tailgate we had brisket, beans, potato salad, yum!  Last home game was Cane's chicken with coleslaw, macaroni salad and potato salad with a lemon pudding cake.  Yum again. I'm looking forward to the onion burgers at our next tailgate, hopefully!

But I have to wait until after the OU-TEXAS game when we play Kansas State...

Can't wait until we can shout...HOOK those HORNS...BEAT TEXAS!!! Horns turned downward!




Stars and Back to School...

It's been a busy last half of August and September is shaping up to be no different. 

Last year around March I wrote about possibly meeting a distant relative while stargazing and trying to find the Comet Panstarrs. Things are still not confirmed but the chances are looking better than good.  I friended him on Facebook at that time. The week of

Pictures that Dave Shot
of the Comet in a night sky

Another shot of the Comet Panstarrs

the 16th of August this year, he posted that he had two seats available in his car to go stargazing.  I replied that I would like to go as I needed to get out of the house. We met at a church parking lot and headed out. Unfortunately there were heavy clouds and we had to turn back as you have to have a clear view of Polaris (North star) to set up your telescope. You never know about the clouds here in Oklahoma, because by 9:00 p.m. the sky was clear. Grrrr!

                 This is a stunning piece on watching the stars
                                         in Yosemite National Park
                                 The following Saturday he texted me and said he was going again and wanted to know if I wanted to tag along. The answer of course was "yes" Off we went again with cloud cover out to western Oklahoma to Geary, OK and a little north of American Horse Lake. The reason is, you need to have a dark sky with no city light interference.  We got the telescope set up and started trying to get reference points logged into the telescopes computer. What a process. What we didn't know was the inserts to his viewing lens of the telescope were out of calibration and we weren't getting to see what was planned.  No matter
what...I loved every minute of it. To see the heavens that included the Milky Way Galaxy. WOW!!! It was truly magnificent. He kept apologizing, I told him no apology was necessary as I was in awe of the night sky, almost to the point of tears. We were out there till one in the morning.  He showed me star clusters of millions of stars that to the eye looking through the lens looks like a fuzzy cotton ball. We spied Cassiopeia and a very fuzzy Saturn on her axis. I did get to see her rings.  

We heard the coyotes singing and saw a huge owl land in front of us trying to capture the many field mice scurrying about on the road as we were leaving. He managed to get out of the way of the car, what a wing span! Even saw a cow eating on the wrong side of the fence. At first we thought it was a deer which just about gave us a heart attack as you don't want to hit a deer or have a deer run into you out in the middle of nowhere. The evening was wonderful and I look forward to going again soon. 

Another school year started and the gazillion of students flooded into Norman again with the largest freshman class ever.  Parking is still a mess.
It truly is amazing how students can't read.  It says Faculty/Staff parking only or specialty parking tow away zone in front of our building and the dummies will still park there and get towed.  One morning I was getting out of my car and students pulled into a space with the Faculty/Staff only sign right in front of them. I let them get totally out of their car and as they were starting to leave I shouted to them that they would get a ticket and pointed to the sign in front of them.  They looked at me as if they had no clue, looked at the sign and the guy went "oh."  They moved, reluctantly, but they did move. 

The campus has become a "No Smoking" campus. It's amazing as to how many foreign students smoke.
They will hide among the cars to puff on their ciggies, or go across the road into peoples yards and smoke even with the "No Smoking" signs posted in their yards. There is a fine if they get caught. They don't care as a lot of these foreign students have diplomatic immunity and one even drives Maserati, money to burn...literally!  Sad...

The mini dorm situation is going strong again. Seven and eight cars in a two car driveway for one house, lining the street to the point of difficulty for the regular neighbors getting in and out of their driveways. I just hope the house to the north of me refrains from having their 3:00 a.m. parties this year with bonfires and ear shattering music to where the kids have to shout at each other to talk. 

This afternoon I had to call the police as two trucks were parked opposite of each other on the street. If a firetruck had to get through the space there wouldn't be much left of the trucks. They came and asked the boys to move their vehicles and to pick up the trash on their lawn and dispose of it. Oh such is life...

Not too many more days until I retire...Yippee!!!


Road Trip Part 2...

Post Race Day
Sunday morning started off with a wonderful late morning breakfast at The Big Biscuit,  The meal was delicious the coffee hot and "good to the last drop". As you can see the pancakes, big as dinner plates and the biscuits as big as your thumb and middle finger together making a circle with both hands.  So light and fluffy with a certain crunch when you first bite in.
Two Eggs, Hash-browns, sausage and a Big Biscuit
with yummy sausage gravy!

Eggs, bacon and Dinner Plate light fluffy pancakes!
Yum!  The company is locally owned in Kansas City and the surrounding areas.  They employ a lot of high school and college students and everyone of them extremely nice and attentive. It was a pleasure eating there and I will go back when I am in the area.

After breakfast we went back and fed the dogs, took them for their morning walk and once their morning constitutional was done, Christie and I drove over to the Kansas side of KC. On the way there I looked for the old barn that I had snapped a picture of 21 months before, the barn is my blog header picture, sad to say the snow from this past winter finally brought it down and it is no more. We arrived at our destination and she took me to Legend's Outlets.  The place is huge!  She then took me to the Nebraska Furniture Mart.  Oh my goodness! Not only do they have furniture, but flooring, electronics, computers, appliances, fitness equipment, home decor, a Quiznos for your dining pleasure and the best for last a Chocolate store!

Christie wanted me to help her look for a couch as her little IKEA Love Seat was just too small for company.
I liked this place right away.  You got a friendly hello as you entered the establishment and most important of all you were not mobbed by salesmen.  We wandered about the store looking at one couch after another, once or twice a salesperson stepped up to see if we needed anything..."Nope...Just looking!" We had a certain price range in mind and had narrowed it down to about 3 couches.  The one we kept coming back to, sat very much like the couch she had grown up with, firm in all the right places with a nice supportive high back, her dad would have liked that. It was a very neutral color
Christie's new sectional couch
meaning there was no limit to accessorizing it with color. We snagged a salesman and told him we wanted to purchase the couch.  Easiest sale he made all day. We paid to have it scotch-guarded and it was delivered for free as there was a free delivery special going on. Can't beat free delivery! So for just over $1000.00 she got a very nice sectional couch. Of course Mom paid for it, but she is paying me back. They delivered it the following week. They had to remove her door to her apartment to get it into the living room. She informs me that it is great to take a nap on.

In this same complex is Sporting Kansas City their professional Soccer Team, the Kansas City NASCAR Speedway, Cabelas, Great Wolf Lodge, Kansas City T-Bones Baseball Park, Blue Ox Campground and across the highway is the worlds tallest water slide. You could spend a weekend in just that small corner and not see everything.  

After all that walking at the NFM we were hungry so we went to Cheeseburger Paradise. The burgers were so big we had to cut them in half and take dinner home. Our seat location inside was great, you could be placed in any seating arrangement
My All American Cheeseburger. I could hardly get
mouth around it. 

A fun place to go but can be expensive
and you had an excellent view of any TV. We watched the Royals playing Cleveland. Our two burgers with drinks and cocktails came to $40.00 plus tip.

After eating and shopping we headed back to the grocery store near Christie's apartment. I bought groceries for her. I really like the Hy-Vee grocery store she shops at, wish we had one here in Norman, I would say the closest one to it would be Crest's, a locally owned chain. Crest's meat counter can't hold a candle to Hy-vee's meat counter.  I have never ever seen a meat counter as well displayed as Hy-Vees' 

Even though she makes good money her student loans are eating her alive. So I don't mind buying groceries for her.  We arrived home unloaded her groceries and watch Sense and Sensibility, yes we are Jane Austen fans. as well as Austenland again (second time), ate the remains of our lunch, it was great reheated and talked about the days adventure.  I was tuckered out and hit the hay as I had a long drive home the next day.  
The next morning saw me up and packing, Deflated the portable bed got everything loaded into the car. We ran over to Zona Rosa Town Center and had brunch at the 54th Street Grill.  We sat out on the patio and ate.  The weather was sublime, a nice 74 degrees with crisp dry air with an ever so gentle breeze.  It was awesome!  I had a monster chicken salad that I forgot to get a picture of.  It was a work of art. We also had fresh strawberry lemonade, with sugar coating the rim.  

After lunch we walked to a specialty shop Heavenly Olive Oils that carried different types of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oils. I purchase an aged 18 year old Traditional Balsamic and a Arbosana Olive Oil.  The proprietor said these two parings should make an absolutely fantastic salad dressing. "My" salad dressing of "Boy That's Damn Good Dressing"  That's what Dave named it and it stuck. 

We got back to the apartment and hooked up the battery on the car.  I had to nurse the car back to life, load the dogs and gave Christie one last big hug and kiss and struck out for the gas station at the Hy-Vee, filled up and hit the road. 

5 1/2 hours later(a record for me) I arrived in Norman safe and sound after a mostly uneventful drive. The one event that did happen, happened at the last McDonald's on the Kansas Turnpike. I ordered 3 plain hamburgers for the dogs and 2 cheeseburgers.  I got back out on the road and all of them were plain. YUCK! Like eating cardboard! You just have to have the pickle, onion, mustard and ketchup on a cheeseburger! 

I got the car unloaded, dogs fed, me fed and hit the bed and was asleep before my head hit the pillow. Driving does that to me.  

I had a wonderful time in Kansas City and will be visiting there a lot once I retire in December. 

I calculated my working days up today and I have 90 working days left. 

The final countdown has now begun! The the games commence!


Road Trip, Part 1

Two weekends ago I took a road trip to Kansas City, MO
Lights of KC on the Missouri River
to support my daughter in her first ever Sprint Triathlon, which consists of a
750m swim (600 Yards), 20K bike ride (13 Miles) and a 5k run (3.1 miles). She set her goal at 1 hour and 30 minutes.  She did it in 1:28 and was extremely please with herself. I was very proud of her.  I also met a lot of real nice people as well. But let me back up a bit before I get carried away.


Any time I go out on the road, I always get an oil change, besides the car was due.  I also got new shocks on the front of the car as it still had the original factory shocks on it, 12 years later. I found out that the tires on the car had never been balanced so Firestone balanced them for me for free.  I got my gas card loaded from Walmart, packed my bag, got the dogs beds in the car and discovered that I didn't have a currant insurance card in the car…WHAT!!! 

I called Farmer’s help line (3 times) Got an insurance card for Christie’s car? Got hung up on once and never received the Ins. Card for the truck on the third call, it was to be sent to me via email (still waiting). I wanted to get away by 7 but had to wait until 9 when I could contact my agent and had the card in 3 minutes.  Printed it out, put water in the car, off to Mickey D’s for a sausage egg Mc Muffin, a large Hazelnut Iced Coffee, and three plain hamburgers for the dogs, popped by the bank, grabbed some cash and hit the road. FINALLY!

The Drive

By most standards the drive from Norman, OK to KC, MO is boring if you let it be.  Though I have a hard time driving it at first as I get drowsy and have to entertain myself to stay awake.  SING!!! OPERA!!! I have also discovered that if I will change the upper seat position to a more upright position and lower the steering wheel that it helps me to become a bit more alert. 

What really got me awake was when I pulled in to a rest stop and gas station on the Kansas Turnpike the car would not turn off.  The repair that I had done on it earlier, a different part had now failed.  So it was rush inside and take care of business and get back out before my battery died.  FUN! NOT! 

There is one area in Kansas that is called the FlintHills. It is rolling high prairie that stretches for miles. Big cattle ranches
To see more of the Flint Hills click on Link
claim these land. By this time in the trip I was struggling again to stay awake when I had a brilliant idea.  By the way, Dave always travels with me, I pretended that I was delivering a mono-log to him describing everything I saw and told him all about flint rock and the many things that could be done with it and that flint napping, almost a lost art, was making a comeback as surgeons were finding that it was a harder substance and gave a sharper edge than a scalpel (I read that somewhere, just one of those stupid tidbits that I keep tucked away).

I finally hit the east side of Kansas which was transform from the high rolling prairies to more flint cliffs and dense wooded areas.  Crossing over the mighty Missouri river I hadn't far to go to getting to Christie’s place.

We quickly unloaded the dogs (3) and headed to the nearest Chevy Dealership’s Service Department and was told they couldn't do anything for me as they were totally booked. I needed to disconnect the battery.The Service Tech rummaged through Dave’s tool box and showed me the part that I had to do the deed with, but it needed an extension (Allen wrench) in order for it to work,(I had one all along and didn't know it, thank you O’Reillys!) Eureka!

We got back to Christie’s place, finished unloading the car, disconnected the battery and went to dinner.  What a day!
Christie's meal of Fajitas
Christie and I piled into her car and went to a wonderful Mexican Restaurant called Jose Peppers.  It was delicious and hit the spot.  Afterwards we went out to Smithville lake where the race
My meal of enchiladas with creamy avocado and
jalapeno sauce!
event was going to be and sort of walked the course.  Then went over to the campgrounds area and scouted out possible sites for next year when I have my RV.  They have several very nice campgrounds there. 

Tired and tuckered out we hit the hay as we had to get up very early the next morning.

Race Day

We were up and out the door by 5 a.m. The race didn't start until 7:30 a.m.  but we needed to be there by 6:00 she could get her bike and equipment set up in the staging area, get her timing chip and
All set for the bike event!
get set for the race. 

I perched myself up on the hill overlooking the course and met some very nice folks whose one daughter was participating in the race at the age of 50 and was in training to hike the mountains of Patagonia, Chili next summer.  WOW!

The gun sounded and the first wave of swimmers entered the water. It was some time before Christie entered the water, but she was thankful that the wind hadn't picked up yet and didn't have to swim against waves.  

After about 45 minutes into the race she exited the water and ran for her bike, changed into her shoes, shed her swim cap and was off to timing pad of the bike ride. She was looking good.  Somehow I missed her coming back from her ride and while I thought I was shooting pictures of her on her bike, she walks up behind me with her medal! She had already finished her 5K run! Sheesh…what a bad mommy I am!  I told her she had to get a different bright swimsuit so I could spot it and her next year! 

She did encourage me to train to run the race with her next year…I will think about it, no promises, but will think about it.

We headed back to her apartment and took a much needed nap. After our nap, she took me to downtown KC and gave me a partial tour.  I didn't get to see 3/4th of it but what I did see…WOW!  

We were hungry and she wanted me to experience some of the best Bar-B-Q in KC so we went over to Oklahoma Joe’s. The line was out the door and down the front of the building and around the corner.  It’s the only place she says that she has been able to find Head Country BBQ Sauce, her favorite.  Oklahoma Joe’s shares space with a working gas station.  
On the way to Gates BBQ we saw this car!

We didn't want to wait so she took me to Gates BBQ.  It was awesome and very reasonable too.  Their sauce was very different but good and their fries were
Had to take a picture of this even though I had eaten
part of it.
wonderful…almost a steak fry but a hair smaller.  The brisket was melt in your mouth. You almost didn't have to chew it!

Afterwards we went to a place that made me stop in my tracks.  I have heard rumblings about how there isn't a National WWI Memorial in Washington D.C. and one needs to be built, well, let me let you in on a little secret…It’s in Kansas  City, MO, absolutely stunning and so moving you weep, except it is a museum instead, looked like a memorial  to me. It was late in the day so we didn't have time to go in, but you can be certain that when I go back I will make the effort to go see the National WWI Museum.  On the plaza of the Museum you can look down on the Union Station which is currently housing the King Tut exhibit and a stunningly beautiful dancing fountain. Kansas City is known for its fountains.

Christie asked if I wanted to go get a coffee, but of course!  She took me over to a small village that stepped back into the time of Mayberry, America.  Parkville!  So quaint and special, who wouldn't want to live there! She had been looking at houses in the area and I could see why. I loved it at first sight!

She dove me around the Waukomis Lake district not far from where she lives.  It’s one of the lakes she trains in for open water swimming at 5:30 in the mornings.  The houses are on top of each other but it is a very nice area.  Me…I would not live there.  No place to park.

We arrived back home and watched a movie called Austenland, of course another play on Pride and Prejudice. It was such a fun movie and we ended up watching twice. It was late so we called it a day and drifted into la la land.

Stay tuned for Part 2…