Tuesday, November 30, 2010


We left Russellville, AR this morning around 6:30 central time and pulled into our driveway at 4:45 central time this afternoon. It's good to be home. Nathan, Kathy and family had us over for supper tonight...they had only been home a few hours more than we...but they have meals in the freezer! Woody has been unloading the car. I don't think that I will do much unpacking tonight...I will admit to being tired...Woody says that he is road weary! I didn't sleep much last night as I seemed to have had some sort of an allergy attack after getting settled into the hotel room. I never did figure out what what was bothering me...but it seemed to have something to do with the bedding...supposedly the pillows weren't feather pillows...but the way I felt was like another time when I had feather pillows. I ended up sleeping in a chair. I actually did manage to sleep some and then took several naps on our way home today. We didn't have any rain till we got to TN and the closer we got to home the more rain we got. It's supposed to get into the 20's tonight. I have started poking around in the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations. I did take a couple of things downstairs and put them in their places...but don't really feel like doing much tonight. I'm hoping that a good night's sleep will make me feel better and get me ready to really attack the decorating tomorrow. I can't believe that today is the last day of November. My...time does fly when one is having fun!

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Kissmas Time!

We started out a little before 7 (central time) this morning. We have driven 525 miles today. We stopped a little before 5 (central time) this evening in Russellville, AR. It was starting to get dark and there was rain ahead so we stopped for the night. After we got our room we went out to eat at a really good barbeque restaurant--Pudgy Pig Bar-B-Que. We both had pulled pork sandwiches. Woody had baked beans and their regular slaw and I had their Cajun slaw and homestyle potato salad. We both enjoyed the sandwiches and sides very much. We are now settled into the hotel for the night. Woody has gone to check out their exercise room and perhaps spin on an exercise bike for a while.

When we stopped at a reststop today, I spotted this tree with mistletoe in it. Mistletoe is the Oklahoma state flower...adopted as the state flower in 1893...14 years before statehood. We saw lots of mistletoe in trees as we drove along today...this was the closest that we got to some. And, when we pulled up to the hotel tonight the bottom corner picture was what greeted us...very welcoming! We stopped at the Arkansas welcome center and it was all decorated for Christmas with a fire burning in the fireplace. Oklahoma and Arkansas are putting us into a Christmas mood! (Now to get inspired almost as soon as we hit the door when we get home and for me to get our house decorated for Christmas!)

We have had a good day of travel. We had blue skies till Arkansas and then the clouds started to gather in the skies till we had total cloud cover. We stopped at Braum's for lunch...another hamburger and chocolate malt for me and a hamburger and banana shake for Woody. Can't go through OK without that yummy Braum's stop!

Well, the good Lord willin' I'll be blogging from home tomorrow night.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 28, 2010

S N O W & W I N D

We left this morning around 5:30...stars and moon shining in a clear sky. Not long after we got on the interstate you could see in the darkness that there were some clouds. About an hour and a half into our trip it started spitting snow...and it continued as we climbed the mountain to Flagstaff...soon the road started getting white and then there were just ruts to drive in. When I talked to Mother this evening, she said that they had gotten five inches in Flagstaff today. We thought that we would drive out of the snow pretty quickly after got down to lower elevations. And, for a while we were out of the snow...but then it started up again. The highway never got snow on it again...but the flurries continued with blowing snow across the road. We had snow in AZ and also a good part of the way across New Mexico. The wind was really strong, but wasn't noticeable because it was blowing into the back of the car...guess helping us along! At one of the reststops I decided not to go in because the wind was blowing so hard and it was cold and snowing. You can see Woody returning to the car in tonight's collage...he was coated with snow when he got back to the car. Part of the day Woody had to concentrate hard not to let tumble weed blow into us. As we traveled farther east it did clear up and there were beautiful billowy clouds and finally the winds calmed some. We made it to Amarillo, TX...741 miles! Long day of driving and riding!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Glendale Glitters!

1.5 million lights and 60,000 people...and I don't like crowds and Woody is "supposed" to avoid crowds! Last night Woody and I walked about 4 blocks from the house to be in the midst of the 17th annual "Glendale Glitters." We are going back tonight as a family...minus Mother and Woody. Rachel, Trent, Corbin, and Julianna are going to come spend the afternoon with us and then go to "Glendale Glitters" this evening. Last night was a trial run for my picture taking to see about settings for the camera...you are seeing some as today's blog pictures.

I have clothes in the drier and clean clothes on the bed ready to pack. We plan to start heading TN way tomorrow morning. Woody is attempting to finish up a couple of books that he has started. He has read about twelve books this trip. He will be packing the car after I get things packed and gathered together. I think that we are leaving with more than we came with and the car was pretty full when we came! Woody is a good packer. I'm sure that he will manage to get everything in.

So I will be blogging somewhere between AZ and TN tomorrow night...the good Lord willin'!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shivery Morn in AZ!

Woody said that there might have been frost this morning if it weren't for the wind. Weather Bug said that it got down to 35 degrees. Woody said that it was cold when he went on what he deemed a 10 mile walk early this morning. These doves were all huddled on the roof of a house behind my sister's house...click on the picture so you see better how they have puffed out their feathers to help keep themselves warm...I'm sure the dark roof helps too...and the tree kept them out of the wind.

We have had a low-keyed day after yesterday's Thanksgiving festivities at my niece's family's house. This morning my sister, mother and I did go do a little shopping...but avoided the crowds of Black Friday. This afternoon Woody and I took a short walk around the block to view a historic adobe home. Woody watched a football game this afternoon. And...last but not least...what would you do the day after Thanksgiving?? Well, we are cooking a turkey...guess we didn't get enough yesterday! Tonight we plan to have hot turkey sandwiches and mashed potatoes and a couple of other sides leftover from yesterday's meal. My sister is fluffing a wreath! Tis the Season! (We are cramping her style...this is her weekend to decorate.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Albuquerque Turkey"

As I said yesterday, it has been a busy day...a "Feast" and "Pie and Poetry." This morning we went to Julianna's preschool and had a feast...we had stew, a biscuit, and apple juice. The stew was made from cans of vegetables that the children brought to school. Cheryl, Julianna, and I came home after the feast. Mother and I made the dressing for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast. After we got that finished, Cheryl, Julianna and I left for Corbin's school for pie and poetry. Then each of the three first grade classes quoted Thanksgiving poems. Then all three classes sang "Albuquerque Turkey" (sung to the tune of "Clementine"):

Albuquerque is a turkey
And he's feathered and he's fine
And he wobbles and he gobbles
and he's absolutely mine.
He's the best pet that you can get...
Better than a dog or cat.
He's my Albuquerque turkey
And I'm awfully proud of that.
He once told me, very frankly
he preferred to be my pet,
not the main course at my dinner.
And I told him not to fret.
And my Albuquerque turkey
is so happy in his bed,
'Cause for our Thanksgiving dinner
We had egg foo yong instead.

Then after the poetry came the pumpkin pie. Both were very nice school events. I introduced myself to Corbin's principal...I was his parent's flower girl at their wedding many moons ago. Woody didn't go as he still doesn't need to be around a lot of children. Woody drove to the main library and then to a coin store. Cheryl and I also went to the store to pick up a few last minute items that we needed. The turkey is in the oven. Thanksgiving is in the air!

By the way...tonight's blog is my 700th!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Feed the Birds!

Thanksgiving preparations are underway...the turkey is about thawed and I made a gelatin salad for our Thanksgiving feast...Cheryl is about to make a cheese spread and we plan to chop celery and onion for the dressing in a little while. Thanksgiving is in the air! Cheryl, Mother, and Julianna headed off this morning to get Mother's hair done. While Mother was getting her hair done, Cheryl and Julianna had fun at The Dollar Tree. When they got home, Julianna had fun with the things that her few dollars purchased.

After lunch, Woody and I went on a walk again. We walked around a few blocks in the local neighborhood and then walked on downtown. We sat on a bench in the park and I tried out different settings on my camera. Tonight's picture is one of those trial pictures.

Woody continues to read. He always enjoys the libraries here in Glendale. He is about to finish another book.

Big day tomorrow...I'll blog (or as my 98-year-old mother says "blob") about those happenings tomorrow night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Invaded by a First Grader!

Look who arrived this morning...he certainly put big smiles on our faces! He is sporting a new haircut under the do-rag. Shortly after the invasion, Cheryl took the children (minus six-shooters and do-rag) to their schools. I got the French Market Soup started. Woody read. After lunch, Woody and I went for a walk and ended up at the downtown library. Woody left me at the library and walked back to the house...oops he forgot the library card! I found a couple of digital camera books and a new book in a series (Do you think that I will find time to read? Haven't so far!). Woody returned several more books that he had finished. I made cornbread to go with our soup. After supper, Cheryl, Mother, and I went to do a little shopping at Target. It was good to be in a store other than Walmart or K-mart (about the only options in Tullahoma).

Tonight is supposed to be the coldest night of the season...down into the upper 30's...rather cool for the Valley of the Sun! More BIG weather news here!

Yesterday when telling about the rain, I should have added an AZ story or two of my childhood. When we were in grammar school, we used to have "rainy day schedules." If it started raining before 11am, we only had to go to school for a half-day. Partly due to the fact that when it rained our streets were known to flood...and also our school in particular took up four city blocks...each class was in a separate building (3 first grade classes = 3 square buildings)...no buildings connected till eighth grade...lots of mud between those buildings! We used to have high hopes for those special rainy days! Oh, one more memory of puddle filled streets. One time I "made" the paper because a reporter saw a patrol boy carry me over a puddle! So little rain...that many memories were made of the few times that it did rain!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rainy Day in AZ

Woody and I got up and got ready for church. We walked the six blocks to church. We attended the church that we were married in more than 41 years ago (and the church that I grew up attending). On our walk home we noticed that the clouds were building up and were getting grayer. I said that we needed to pick up the pace in order to beat the rain. We hadn't been back in the house much more than five minutes and it began to rain. It didn't rain long...not enough to wet the sidewalks and driveways (top left corner). About forty-five minutes after we got home from church we headed off to meet my niece and nephew and their two children at Marie Calender's (sort of a traditional place for us to go to brunch when we are here...I love their omelets made while you watch!). We hadn't gone too far down the road when it started raining again and it rained most of the rest of the way to the restaurant. By the time that we got there it was barely sprinkling. We enjoyed lots (probably too much) of good food and enjoyed the time with family. About the time we were ready to leave the bottom fell out again, but once again it didn't last too long and it was barely sprinkling when we went out to get in the car to come back to the house. By the time we got back, the clouds had started to break up and we were starting to see blue sky once again. Rain in AZ is a big topic of conversation...as can be noted by all that I had to say about it in the blog tonight!

After we got home, Cheryl called one of our friends to see if she could stop by for a visit. She came by and we had an enjoyable time of talking and catching up since the last time that we had seen each other.

Tonight I am washing clothes...they are on an electricity conserving program here...on week days they can use the washer and dryer after 9pm and any time on Saturday and Sunday. I've also got beans soaking for a pot of French Market soup that I'm planning to make tomorrow. Woody has been reading.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Superb Saturday

At least, I think that it is Saturday...remember we are on vacation so really aren't keeping up with the days...really don't know what is going on in the world either. The weather is absolutely beautiful...the reason so many snowbirders come to the Valley of the Sun. Woody is enjoying the libraries that Glendale has...he has now been to two of them...the main library and then the one in the park where I spent so much time in my growing up days (well, they have torn that one down, but the new one is in about the same place). Woody has read six books since he has been here. Cheryl and I went to the grocery store this morning getting more items needed for our Thanksgiving feast that we will have at my niece and nephew's house. Trying to be prepared...I have a couple of things that I want to make that we couldn't find the ingredients for so we will be making another trip to another store sometime before Thursday. After lunch, Woody walked to the library in the park that is just a few blocks from my sister's house. My sister and I wrapped presents that we purchased yesterday. Woody is happy...Mother made him some of her homemade applesauce...the applesauce that mine can't hold a candle too!

The blog picture today is one of the mosaics in the sidewalk in the Glendale Promenade...a new addition since I was here last...it is just catercorner from where I used to live..."things" just can't seem to stay the same.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Olive Green Friday

Woody and I went shopping today and finished up our Christmas buying for Arizona. We came home and ate lunch and then went for a walk around my old stomping grounds...downtown Glendale and then walked past my grammar school and past two houses that we used to live in. Woody called this a "picture taking walk." So I took pictures! Tonight's picture is a close-up of a branch on an olive tree that we passed on our walk...we thought it was interesting to see all the colors of olives on the branch at the same time. When I finish blogging, I am going to go cut open an olive that we picked up so Corbin can see the pit.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday in AZ

Beautiful day here in AZ. Mother, Cheryl, Julianna (great-niece) and I did a little Christmas shopping. Woody walked to the library...a total of five miles (but he said that it seemed farther)...of course he was juggling an arm load of books on the way home. Woody has read...finished one of the books that he got at the library today. He has also worked a crossword puzzle. I played with Julianna and later with Corbin (great-nephew) after he got here after school and after he got his homework done. Corbin is seven and in first grade. Julianna is 4 and goes to preschool three days a week. I sewed some the binding down on Joy's quilt this afternoon...that is till I spilled Corbin's milk for his after school snack...so clean up on aisle 13! Oops! Corbin was glad that it was his Aunt Lois' fault! The children have gone home for the night and we have had supper and are relaxing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Since the only state in the United States that saguaro cactus grow is Arizona...looks like it is official that we have arrived. At 2pm (Mountain time) after traveling 1,716.5 miles we pulled into the driveway here in Glendale, AZ. We had a very nice drive today. Oh, by the way...I once again beat Woody in seeing the first saguaro cactus...probably not fair as you first see them on a pretty sharp curve and Woody was negotiating that curve...but I won nonetheless!!! It is good to be here. Mother, Cheryl and I have been talking and laughing as we usually do. Woody has been working a crossword puzzle!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Windy, Windy Day!

We started off this morning around 6:20 and stopped this evening around 6:30 in Grants, New Mexico. These are Eastern Time...but we are now on Mountain Time. Woody really wanted to continue on due to it still being early New Mexico time...but once the sun finally got out of our eyes it really got dark quickly. We drove 651 miles today. It started out quite chilly(very glad that I brought my fleece jacket!) and as we continued on down the road it got windier and windier. There were times when it was hard for Woody to open up his car door the wind was pushing so hard against it. We saw these windmills in Weatherford, OK...and they were turning when I took the picture. There were probably a couple hundred of these across the landscape...a very pretty site. We knew that the last Braums on this leg of the trip was in Amarillo, TX so we stopped for our lunch...exactly at noon. Woody had a banana shake this time and I had another chocolate malt. We stopped at a couple of interesting places today...one was at the Texas Welcome Center...very pretty overlook (good picture taking) plus there was quite a history of windmills and the area inside the center. The other place was in Groom, Texas. We had seen on several of our previous trips a huge cross just off the interstate. I had read about it and been sent an email about it...it is said to be the largest cross in the northern hemisphere. Around the cross are sculptures of the stations of the cross. Here is a link about the old Route 66 Groom,TX area:
We saw some of the other things mentioned in this link, too. It has been a nice day, but I was ready to stop when we did. Tomorrow's goal...the good Lord willin'...Glendale, AZ. Below is proof of how windy it was today. There were often warnings about cross winds.

Monday, November 15, 2010

So much for organization!

I organized our things so we would have to bring in a bare minimum when we stopped at a hotel. Well...I put the extra cords to charge the camera battery, phone charger, AND the cord to connect the camera to the computer to be able to download the pictures into the suitcase that we weren't supposed to bring in (where I usually pack them)! Well, we did go back out and dug around and got to the suitcase (which was under everything) and I got the cord for the phone and the camera battery chager cord...BUT I didn't grab the cord to be able to download the pictures that I took on our trip today. And, Woody doesn't feel like going out again...as a matter of fact he is already dozing. So tonight's picture wasn't taken today...but I did see some of these from afar today. We drove around 680 miles today. Woody's goal was to go at least 600 as that would be 1/3 of the distance. So we bettered his goal...but only because places to stay have so far been far and few between here in Oklahoma...now if we had wanted to stop at a casino...that would have been no problem!

We stopped in Shawnee, OK around 5:30 to find most of the hotels/motels here full. There is a Junior Bull Riding event and also a Railroad convention here...but the third try was the charm and we finally got a room a little after 6. We started out at 5:20 this morning, so it has been a long day of driving. The weather has been very good. It sprinkled on us a little just before we stopped this evening. Woody is still bothered by his allergies...they are better, but still not gone. He has been bothered by a sinus headache today. One of the highlights of our day was finding our first Braum's...this restaurant specializes in hamburgers and many flavors of ice cream that can be made into shakes and malts. We find these mainly in OK and TX...but today we found our first in AR shortly before the OK border. We called this our "lupper" (lunch and supper). We had hamburgers, fries and Woody had a butter pecan shake and I had a chocolate malt...yummmmmmmm! We like Braum's so much that we mark our maps as to which exits Braum's are located!

It's good to be stopped for the night. I'm off to watch Dancing With the Stars! I'll blog somewhere between Shawnee, OK and Glendale, AZ tomorrow night...the good Lord willin'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just hours...

Just hours till we will be "on the road again!" And, I can actually say that things are in the suitcase, hanging bags, etc. Everything, that is, except the last minute things. While the picture for tonight's blog loaded I tucked in the cord/charger for the camera. I still have the cell phone cord and the computer and its cord that have to be packed. And, the toiletry items that can't be packed till in the morning. Now I have a bit of time to sit back and think about what we might have forgotten!

We both went to Sunday School this morning. Woody taught his class. He is still having allergy problems, but they seem to be a bit better.

Well, tomorrow night, "the good Lord willin,'" I will be blogging from some place between Tullahoma, TN and Glendale, AZ.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mild Saturday

We are still experiencing very mild weather for this time in November. I checked today on cities that we will be passing through as we head west and all were cooler than we. I think that the cooler air is approaching us...but today was beautiful and mild. The oak trees are showing their splendor at this time...when the sun shines through them...WOW!

Woody went to the library and to the grocery store today, but other than that he has stayed in (keeping away from the leaves as much as possible) trying to get over his allergies. We are pretty sure that it started due to his walk two days ago...on his walk he smelled leaves burning and we're guessing that is what got this started. We did hear from his NIH doctor. She emailed us that antihistamines are okay to take...so he took Benadryl before he went to bed and then again in the night. Then today he started taking a non-drowsy 24-hour antihistamine. He isn't doing much talking.

I picked up some prescriptions at our pharmacy and then headed to WalMart to pick up a couple of things. This afternoon I have been working on cutting and sewing binding strips to go around Joy's quilt. As soon as I blog, I plan to sew the binding on...then I will sew the binding down to the back of the quilt on our trip...and I will have a Christmas present finished when we get back (I hope)! We are gathering things together that we will take on the trip. I'm still having trouble realizing that we are really taking this trip! But if I look in the refrigerator, I am reminded. We have done a very good job of emptying it. I guess I will be packing tomorrow after we go to Sunday School. Clothes are clean and ready to pack...that is once we choose what we want to take...at least they are clean!!!

Tonight a joint high school reunion for Glendale (AZ) High School for the years of 1965, 1966, 1967 is being held. To tell my age...I graduated in 1966. Where did the years go? Before I blogged tonight I "talked" on Facebook to one of my classmates who also lives too far away to go. So we had a mini reunion on Facebook! One of my classmates has posted some pictures that she has taken. Another classmate made the comment that it "looked like they had brought their parents to the reunion!" I thought that was funny. I will say that it is hard to recognize many of us...and many of us knew each other from first grade (or earlier)on. Time does change one! Another of my classmates posted on Facebook that she was heading to our reunion and her comment was: "Let the wrinkle counting begin!" Feeling sort of old tonight...imagine...I graduated from high school 44 years ago!!!! Oh, my!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nativity Tea Party Continues!

I walked past the "Fisher Price Nativity table" today and it gave me such a smile that I had to share the latest in the Nativity tea party. I hadn't looked at it since I took the pictures yesterday...and it expanded while I wasn't looking! Many more animals and characters have been included in the party!

Except for going to the Credit Union, Woody has pretty much stayed in today. He is having allergy problems and isn't feeling the greatest...not what he needs just as we plan to hit the road for a long trip. We have a call in to NIH to find out what is okay for him to take. So far we haven't heard back from them...not the best afternoon to try to get in touch with them...just hours before their weekend starts...especially if our doctor happens to be off this weekend. I have emailed the research nurse and we put in a call to the research doctor...so maybe...

I got up really early again today. I finished the quilting on Joy's quilt. I bought fabric for the binding this morning and hope to get the binding attached by machine so I can finish attaching it to the back by hand while we are on our trip. While running errands this morning, I mailed all the library memorial letters and then stopped at the church to drop off a couple of other things. So memorial work is over...well...not really as we still have to process the books to get them ready to be checked out.

One of Woody's goals was to have Graham's K'nex area cleaned up before we leave. Graham has the far end of our living room to work with his K'nex building projects...the place where our big Christmas tree will stand...so all the K'nex get taken upstairs at Christmas time. Graham had made lots of things that needed to be taken apart, but he's been really busy with school, so he hasn't had time to come over to work on getting them taken apart and stored away (not his favorite part of K'nex, anyway...he prefers the building part!). Kathy said that they would do it while we were away...but Woody really wanted to have it done before we left. So Woody took it upon himself to take all the items apart and then put the pieces away in their proper places in the various and sundry storage boxes that Graham has them organized in. Woody found out how hard these pieces are to take apart...guess you can say that it was therapy for his hands! All the boxes are out of the living room and stored upstairs in our guest room (sorry guests...no room for you! But, we would make room, if you were to come!). One more thing crossed off Woody's "prior to vacation to-do list!" I wonder how many more things he has on that list that I don't know about!

While quilting this morning, I decided that I needed to listen to some music and went to the Christmas closet and found my Christmas CD's. I am enjoying listening to Josh Groban sing Christmas carols! Tis the season! Guess the Christmas Nativity tea party has put me in a Christmas mood!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Camel Tea Party!

Esther and Elijah (the two "E's) decided to introduce the camels to a tea party. Kathy and I tried to explain that the bale of hay was their food...Esther would have none of that...she wanted them to have a tea party. Elijah liked the idea, too. And, their older siblings weren't around to influence their imaginations so they gave the camels quite a party! A tea party wasn't something that I had imagined would take place on the table with the nativity!

Woody and I both got up early this morning. He read and I got busy on assigning books for memorials and completing the book order...a big book order...most people who love to read and love to buy books envy me this part of my librarian's job! Woody enjoys getting to have some input as to what gets chosen. Another librarian and I went through a Christian fiction catalog and made more choices. At a point I went downstairs and cooked us an omelet with the shitake mushrooms that we got at the Korean grocery store. Then I worked a little longer on the library memorials and finalized the book order. Esther, Joy, and Abigail came over for short lessons. Esther was pretty anxious to head down to the Fisher Price Nativity. I also read to Abigail, Joy and Esther. Esther decided to go back home, but Abigail and Joy stayed. They ended up having a little snack with us this morning...usually it is too close to lunch, but we got started a little earlier this morning...and then didn't work very long.

Woody sat around waiting for the mail before he went on his walk. I had been typing 11/11 for a good part of the morning...so I had realized that it was Veterans Day...but he in his "retired mind" doesn't pay as much attention to the date/day as he once did. We were sitting on the front porch and he mentioned that he was waiting for the mail to come before he headed off on his walk and that it was really late coming today...when he said that I remembered that it was Veterans Day and that there would be no mail. So Woody headed off on his walk. He walked to the Lutheran church to check on the Ginkgo tree...he reported back that it was already losing its leaves. Then he walked to the community center and spun on the exercise bike...he went 8.64 miles in a half an hour...he was doing the extreme hills setting. I got all the memorial letters ready to send out...even learned how to print envelopes on the new printer...had so many letters that I had to borrow envelopes from Nathan and Kathy. Woody folded the letters and put them in the envelopes and also put stamps on them...so that job will be complete after they are dropped off at the Post Office and after I make a stop at church to drop off a couple of things tomorrow. Glad to have that job done for the time being! We had red clam sauce on linguine tonight...mmmm...one of my favorites of the pasta sauces that I make. We watched the news this evening and now Woody is reading and I'm blogging. That about sums up our day! Now to get serious about our trip...only a few more days until we will be heading off! We've been planning menus over the phone...Thanksgiving especially...I have been given an assignment to bring one of our recipes to make!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Little Helpers!

We got the Fisher Price nativity set out today...Abigail, Joy, and Esther helped set it up. This is the only time that the coffee table can be played on...we cover it just for the Nativity set. Graham came over a little later and he started telling the Christmas story. The angel told the shepherds about Jesus' birth and then they moved the shepherds from the field to go see the baby in the manger. Esther "parked" the camels and the donkey behind the inn...and insisted much to the others dismay that they stay there. If they got moved...she moved them right back. It was cute. We usually set this up on Thanksgiving Day and we will all be away...so it is set up for the Christmas holidays.

Woody walked to town for another meeting. On the way home, he stopped at the community center and spun on the exercise bike for a half hour. Later in the day he discovered that one of the tires on our car was going down...it had a nail in it...so Woody had to take the car to get the tire fixed before it went totally flat. So another "thing" done for the trip that we didn't know that was going to have to be done.

I have worked on a book order for the church library. I went to the church library to work for several hours. Now I have to finish the book order. Woody is going to go over to sit at Nathan and Kathy's after they put the children to bed so they can do a little Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blue Bird of Happiness!

We have had somewhat a "normal" day...such as a "normal" day might be! Woody left around 9:30 this morning on a walk to town which included dropping off a couple of prescriptions at our pharmacy, going downtown for a meeting, walking back by way of the library to drop off an overdue book, walking to the community center to spin on an exercise bike for twenty-five minutes, stopping at the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions, and then proceeding on home. While he walked I had school with Joy and Esther and checked on Abigail. Abigail seems to be doing great! Nathan changed the oil and air filter in one of our cars...another thing marked off Woody's "to-do list" prior to heading to AZ. I did a little vacuuming and found the tree skirt for the corner tree and also placed Mr. Snowman on the fireplace hearth. He is a large...5 foot tall stuffed snowman who sits on our hearth from December till it starts to warm up again. He is a very good draft blocker...blocking cold air that seeps in at the bottom of our fireplace screen. Woody thought that it would be a good idea to put him out prior to our trip to keep out some of the cold air while we are away. This afternoon I headed upstairs to work on church library memorials...something that I needed to do prior to making a book order for the church library. Once the library memorial list was complete, I started working on the book order. I need to get the book order ready so I can check on the library computer tomorrow to make sure that I don't order duplicates. Memorials and a book order are more jobs that Woody has added to my "to-do list" prior to leaving for AZ. Wondering if I am going to have time to get things ready to pack...with all his "to-do lists!" I did take time to sort clothes to wash this afternoon...just haven't gotten any of the loads downstairs to start washing yet. This afternoon Woody talked on the phone with another stage-4 melanoma patient...they encouraged each other by sharing experiences that they have had with treatments, etc. A little while ago, Woody headed off walking to the church for his weekly time in the prayer room. He has also found time to do some reading today. I guess that about sums up our day...a day of working on Woody's "to-do lists!" Guess you could say that we are a bit closer to being ready to head off to AZ next week!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Typical day at Vanderbilt...

Loooooooooooong day! Nathan, Abigail and I pulled back into our neighborhood around 7:30pm. We left this morning at 8:30...so we were gone almost 12 hours. Abigail did very well with her surgery...it was a bit more involved than we had hoped. The doctor actually had to make her a new ear drum out of cartilage from her ear.

Woody stayed and held down the fort here. He walked to the post office this afternoon. On the way home he stopped at the community center and spun for about 20 minutes on an exercise bike. This evening he went to prayer meeting at church. He pulled up to our house just a few minutes after we got home from Vandy. I have come home to find our corner Christmas tree assembled thanks to Graham and Joy. According to Woody that was a prerequisite to going to AZ...so it would be up and ready to be decorated when we get back.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


When we are on the road, different things catch our eye on each trip. On our many trips through VA on I-81, we have noticed that there are a tremendous number of colleges and universities. So this time I decided to write down each one as we passed the sign for each particular college along the interstate. There were a total of 28 colleges and universities signs that I managed to get written down (I may have missed one or two). In all our travels over the United States over the years, I have never noticed so many places of higher education along just one highway. That's just an example of one of the quirky things that I like to do to occupy my time when riding long distances in the car. This time we saw license plates from 37 states (including Alaska!) and Quebec and Ontario. We also saw many interesting license plates...some people are quite creative when it comes to what their license plate reads...some are quite hard to figure out. I may write down the unusual license plates that we see when we go on our next trip...planning ahead!

Everything seems off time-wise today. I felt that it was time to blog and realized that I was an hour early...but yesterday it was a little before 7pm...so my mind and body says that it is almost seven! This morning I woke up about an hour earlier than usual...again...really woke up at my usual time...but the time change made me wake up earlier!

Woody and I both went to Sunday School this morning. Woody taught his class. We then came home and started getting some Christmas presents wrapped. We now have a goal to get the presents ready to go to AZ...they are always the ones that we need to get ready first since they need to be mailed...but this year...they may be going to be delivered personally!!! When I mentioned what I might do to occupy my time on our next trip, I wasn't meaning our next trip to NIH! We have decided that we are going to go to AZ for Thanksgiving. We hatched this plan on our way home from NIH. I had mentioned to Woody on our way to NIH that I would like to go to AZ in March when we had a two month break from NIH trips. Well, we were given that two month break this time. So on the way home Woody mentioned that we could go to AZ for Thanksgiving and I thought that was a very good idea! Mother and Cheryl and my niece, Rachel, seemed to like the idea too. So it looks like we will be hitting the road again in a week or so! I can't believe it! I haven't been to AZ since before Woody was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma...so it has been about 2 1/2 years since I have seen my family there. Lots to do to get ready! I'm thrilled that Woody feels well enough to suggest this long trip (1800 miles...one way!). We could fly...but both of us would rather drive...that way I can spot state license plates (I-40 is a wonderful interstate to get license plates!) and various and sundry other things along the way...and, of course, take pictures! It will be good to take a trip that is a vacation for a change!

We wrapped presents till Nathan, Kathy and family got home from the second service at church. Then we went over to their house for lunch. Very good! We provided dessert...Korean musk melon popsicles that we bought at the Korean grocery store. We managed to get them home in our little cooler...with only one getting soft...and that one was edible...just a little flat!

After lunch, Woody went to the deacon's meeting at church. I came back home and did a little more for Christmas. Woody has been watching football this evening. He made us salads to go with our French Market soup for supper. I have talked on the phone with my sister making plans! Mother and Woody both said that neither of us would be ready for the trip/visit if we kept talking on the phone!

Tomorrow I will be accompanying Nathan and Abigail to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Sweet little Abigail (7-year-old granddaughter) is going to have ear surgery again. We are praying that the doctor will be able to do the surgery through the ear canal rather than having to make an incision behind her ear and that the surgery be successful this time AND that Abigail be able to stay calm...last time (tube put in her other ear) she got so upset when she was taken from us that she hiccuped through the whole surgery...not a good thing for the doctor to be able to perform successful surgery! She is supposed to be given something to keep her calm prior to the surgery tomorrow...doctor's orders!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall Back!

Tonight's picture shows the sunrise in Virginia yesterday just a little after we got underway on our travels back home (a rest stop showed up just at the opportune time and we stopped so I could get a picture...but it was hard not to get a truck in the picture!)...that's about the brightest that the sun shone all day. The dark, thick bank of clouds above the horizon shows what the day had in store for us!

But, today the sky was blue with just a puffy cloud here and there...a perfect day to go gallivanting with friends. This time I did some serious Christmas shopping...feels good to have a good start on it.

Woody walked to the library, then to the community center and used their exercise bike to spin for 15 minutes and then walked on to the fruit market and then home. He has read, watched a DVD, and watched football. He got our French Market Soup bean mixture simmering for its 1 1/2 hour cooking time and when I got home, I put the rest of the ingredients in and got it simmering for its last 1/2 hour. We had it for supper and it tastes very good...first pot of the season always tastes the best!

I have changed most of the clocks in the house getting ready to "fall back." I think that I have them all set and then I find another one! This is the time change that I like...I feel like I get an extra hour's sleep AND I feel like I move an hour closer to my mother and sister in AZ...AZ doesn't change time. Mother, Cheryl and I like it much better when there is only an hour difference between TN and AZ time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

Last night Woody got online and found a Korean grocery store in Knoxville. It happened to be right off the interstate...easy off and easy on (high priority for Woody when traveling on an interstate!). And, we found the soy beans for our French Market Soup bean mix...so we managed to find all the hard-to-find items for that mix on our trip. All our extra excursions on this trip involved grocery stores! We found a couple of other interesting items at this store that we also bought to try. This was a really nice, good-sized grocery store...just like you or I would shop in...except...not many items in this store would you find at Kroger or Safeway, etc. We got our lunch at this store...a Vietnamese Barbecue Pork sandwich. It was really pretty good...our new food experience of the trip!

We left Fort Chiswell, VA this morning around 6:45 Central time and arrived home around 1:30pm Central time. We drove the 350 mile trip in rain just about the whole way. It was good to pull back into our driveway...well, we really pulled into our neighbor's (Nathan and Kathy's) driveway, as the leaf vacuum truck was in front of our driveway...but across the street. They told Woody that they would be back in the morning around 6:30am to get the rest of the leaves that had been raked to the road on our side of the street. Woody went to the grocery store after we got home to pick up the rest of the beans, etc. that we needed for the French Market Soup mix and also a few other items for the coming week. He picked up an over-the-counter med for me...but got the wrong kind. So after we got the groceries put away, he and I went back and returned the wrong one and got the right one.

Well, guess I'll go downstairs and get the French Market Soup beans soaking so we can make our first pot of the season tomorrow. This soup is one of those that has about 13 different dried beans/lentils/peas/barley in it...so that means 13 pounds of dried beans, etc...this mix lasts a long time...many pots of soup at 3 cups of the mix per pot!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Room at the Inns!

We finally found a hotel room...300 miles down the road. And, we stopped several times to be told that there were no rooms. The VA Tech vs GA Tech game is being played at Blacksburg, VA tonight. It is the Thursday night college game on ESPN. It looks like all the fans from VA and GA have taken up rooms along I-81. When I heard that there were going to be traffic problems on I-81 before and after the game, I thought, "uh-oh, probably going to be problems finding a room tonight." And, I was right. We are at Fort Chiswell, VA...300 miles away from NIH. When we stopped here about a half hour ago, the "inn keeper" told Woody that they only have two more rooms left and the other two would be gone before long! She said that from this point north most rooms are taken. We were ready to stop...so we were very glad to get the third to the last room here! This is the hotel that we try to stop at when we leave from church around 11am on our way to NIH. So tomorrow we have about 350 miles to drive.

Now, on to the NIH report. We got to NIH around 9:30am and turned in the voucher for our car mileage and hotel. Then we found a quiet spot and sat and read and rested. We went to lunch around 11am. Then we headed up to the clinic and signed in. We got called into the room around 1:20pm and left the room around 3pm. The doctors continue to be pleased. This time there are no new tumors and the old ones that they are watching haven't grown any more. They said that they may have shrunk more but only minimally...so they are saying that they are the same. Since things are pretty much status quo and Woody is feeling well, they have given him "the holidays" off and we don't have to go back for two months. It sounds nice not to have to go back till "next year!"

It rained all morning and was still raining when we left NIH. But we only had about two short periods of heavy rain while we drove this afternoon and evening...most of the time it was light and then we drove out of the rain completely. There is a chance of snow in the morning! So...the good Lord willin' I'll be blogging from home tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Latest from Bethesda

We are settling in for the night. We caught the 8:30am shuttle from the hotel to NIH this morning. Woody headed first to the lab and much to his dismay they took 11 vials of blood. Then we headed to put our jackets in the car so we didn't have to lug them around. We sat and read for a little while in one of the lobbies till it was time for him to go to the CT imaging area. We headed to the CT area about 15 min. prior to his appointed time. He signed in and almost immediately got his "banana shake." He has to drink 1/2 of it and then wait 20 minutes to drink the rest. After drinking the contrast, there is an hour wait till they can do the scans. He was finished with the scans a little before noon. We went downstairs to the cafeteria...Woody had soft tacos made to his liking and I had a favorite of mine, a roast beef sandwich, that I discovered on one of our former trips. After lunch, we got our car and left the NIH campus for a little while. We went to a speciality grocery store to try to find a couple of unusual ingredients that we need for one of our soups...along with just looking around and finding several other items that we decided that we wanted to try...sun dried tomato paste (in a tube) and a couple of unusual salad dressings and some pastas. We put our purchases in the car and then walked to look at this unique strip mall. We were disappointed to find that a cute children's shop where we had shopped in another time had closed...we were hoping to find a Christmas present or two. We then walked across the street to another shopping center. They had a grocery store and we actually found a couple other items that we were looking for there. The only thing that we came away not finding was dry soy beans...and we were told by a young lady at a health food store to try a Korean grocery store...hmmmmmm now to find one! Then we walked around to see what other stores they had there, and then we headed back to the car. We drove back to NIH and parked the car and then went to wait on the shuttle back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we will check out of the hotel and head to NIH on the shuttle. One of our tasks at NIH tomorrow is to fill out the voucher form for reimbursement for travel and part of the hotel bill. Woody's appointment to meet with the research doctors isn't until 1pm. We will get there around noon and sign in so he will be at the top of the list to be seen. As soon as we finish seeing the doctors, we will get in the car and start heading down the road towards Tennessee. We will drive for a while and then stop for the night...and where ever that happens to be...I will blog from there. Hopefully I will be able to tell you how much more Woody's tumors have shrunk! Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy. I'm praying that the rain won't make the drive too difficult. Today has been quite chilly...it never got out of the 50's. I am very glad that I brought my fleece jacket.

As you can see from the pictures, we have seen a lot of beautiful scenery on this trip and lots of different types of traffic. I hope that tonight's collage makes up for no picture last night...this is a grouping of pictures that I took yesterday. We were told when we stopped for gas, that we had missed the really pretty leaves by about a week and a half. But still lots of beautiful color! Be sure to click on the collage so you can see the pictures bigger.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pooks Hill at last!

13 hours and 45 minutes after we left at 5:30am, we got dropped off at the hotel on Pooks Hill. We had a 25 minute stop on the interstate for road construction blasting. Then we arrived in the DC area in time for rush hour...it wasn't bad at first because most were leaving the DC area...but then when we got on the beltway...well, we just crept along for miles. We got to NIH and parked our car and went to the transportation desk to find out that the NIH shuttle to our hotel had left five minutes earlier...and it was the last NIH shuttle so the transportation person called our hotel to get them to send their shuttle...well...one hour later it finally arrived...not sure if there was a communication problem or what...but finally it came. We checked into the hotel and went to our room and then came down to have a bowl of minestrone soup and blog and watch election returns.

It really wasn't a bad drive at all...especially since we now know all the roads that we need to turn on to get here. So we are here safe and sound. Woody has a CT scan and lab work in the morning. No picture tonight...stay tuned for a picture or two tomorrow night!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's November...already???

I can't believe that it is November. Where has the year gone? I also can't believe that I can say that I have the packing complete, except for the last minute items that can't be put in till in the morning. Woody really worked hard on the car today. He washed it, vacuumed it (even the trunk) and I washed the inside of the windshield (all the better to take pictures through while we head NIH way!). Since I pretty much had everything in the suitcase by noon today, I got to do what I like to do just before a trip...straighten up the house...so we can come home to a clean house. Woody also ran errands two different times today. It has been a busy day for both of us. If all goes as planned... or, as Woody says, "The good Lord willin', " I will be blogging from our hotel in Bethesda tomorrow night. We plan to leave dark and early and drive the whole way there tomorrow.

Last night I finished quilting the center of Joy's quilt...so now on to the borders. I am going to repin them tonight while I watch Dancing With the Stars. Woody left a few minutes ago to go to Monday night prayer meeting at the church.