Friday, December 31, 2010

A 'Gulp!' Moment

Riding in the truck as we head south, we were trying to figure out what all of our friends did for the holidays. Some of them were lucky enough to have a home to be in for the holidays and stayed home - I must say I am envious. Others were on the roads all around the states puttering to family and friends; but while we were naming names and likely places they would go, we realized something. We now have so many international friends that naming their travels was... A 'wow' moment!

Let's see:

A few stayed home
One is in Michigan or South Carolina
LOTS in Texas
Several went to France
One went to the Malaysian Highlands
One went to Japan
Several went to Australia
One (we think) went to the Phillipines
Several stayed in Singapore
One went to Scotland
One went to Finland
One went to New Zealand
And we are wondering if one went to Puerto Rico?

How amazing is that? These are more than acquaintances - they are friends!

Our experience overseas has surely enriched our lives. I don't think we could be any more blessed. As we continue our travels south, we are still praying for a safe and happy holiday.

Happy New Year! May it be a healthy and prosperous one. Stay safe, don't drink and drive - just give a friend your keys; life is too precious for stupidity - and you matter to us!

Be back soon... We are almost 'home' again!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Country Roads, Take Me Home :-)

To the place, I belong!  OKlaHOMa... yes, I know, that is not the real words... lol....

We are on the road again - this time near Tulsa; 30 miles from where I grew up.  We decided we would like to look the area over really well and have a good idea where we want to look for a place should the opportunity present itself... you know, we are dreaming and all... lol... still have no idea if it will happen, but can still dream, right?  And we went to be prepared IF it happens.


So, remember when I said we were out in the country - way out in the sticks??  I wasn't joking.  This picture was taken outside the barn door of where our camper lived this last week.  It is next door to our step brother's/step brother-in-laws house:




And down the road a bit... 


I wasn't joking - was I?  This is where our camper lived, but where we were wasn't much better.  This is about 20 minutes from any store at all.  It is far out... in the literal sense...  lol


But it was great for hauling out the camera and shooting...


Pretty pictures of places:






Of old buildings...




Remember these old gas stations that were on the corners?



Loved taking pics of the old abandoned barns and homes...






And check out this old Cafe - too bad I had my 50mm lens on; made it where I couldn't get it all, but I still love it:


I have an idea for a 'coffee table' book someday... or maybe two...


I know these are random pictures, and maybe I am the only one enjoying them - but I love seeing things most people see as trash.  It makes me...


... happy  :-)

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Found the Word - Thanks Andrea!

Good morning!  Or good evening - depending on what side of the world you are on.  I hope the days for you are wonderful and you are celebrating with loved ones, laughing and enjoying the season.

We are still at Steve's mom's house.  We celebrated Christmas last night and got all kinds of treasures we needed or wanted.  Life is... interesting.   Good, but interesting... I thought this was a good time to sound off...

Displaced.  That is what I am feeling today and frankly, and have felt 5-ish years.  I know there are people that live like this all the time;  in a camper, with no real home, floating from place to place, but to me it is really odd.  Right now we are at mother's.  Steph and Todd left Saturday to go home - but when I am asked when we are heading home, the knot in my tummy returns and the reality of that question sends me right back to where we are.  We have no 'home' except the camper - and it moves around a lot.  Right now, 'home' is parked in a barn 20 miles away while we are visiting someone else, with someone else's rules, in someone else's bed, and Christmas dinner was certainly someone else's menu - not a bad menu, just someone else's.

Oh I am thankful we HAVE someone else to enjoy the holiday with and of course, I am glad we are back in the states, but it is still a different feeling.  Normally, when we visit family, we enjoy their traditions and go home, relax in our own corner of the world and unwind.  This time, we have to pick our home up and go on the road again...to Tulsa this time, to check out the areas we 'might' like if we *do* get transferred there.  Of course that is still up in the air...

How is our visit going?  It is good; wee early mornings we go to bed, waking early for the day ahead and a do over again the next night.  When Punkin' goes to sleep at home she (and her mommy and daddy too) will sleep for days.  We are all exhausted and are not used to staying up this late - ever!  It is kicking our tails!  This house does not even begin to shut down until 2am and the living room is next to the guest bedrooms and guys voices travel even when they are talking low - but that is not a problem - these guys don't!  :-(   There is no where you can go to get away from the noise.  Mother said next year we will celebrate in her new 3,1000 square foot house.  Steve and I think not - we hope we will be celebrating in our own house for the first time in 6 years - we deserve that.

I am not whining or ungrateful; and I am truly thankful for all we do have.  I think about those so much less fortunate and am ashamed I get disgruntled over the little things.  I know we have a warm camper, and I know we are lucky to be able to travel where we want in a good vehicle and not carry our entire family on a motorcycle.  I *know* all of that and I am happy, just feeling... displaced.  

I guess I am just chatting about our lives today.  I started this blog to help me deal with feelings of the transitions we are going through.  Some of them great, lots of good, some not so good and others plain stink.  It doesn't mean we are not thankful for what we are experiencing; in fact we are very thankful and as usual we are enlightened by each experience.  This is not an exception.  Life is good no matter where we are - and we get stronger with each phase we are in.  The holidays are about being with family - and we are indeed with family; cuddled up snug and warm in a cozy house with a frosty, windy chill outside.  I love the cold.  Send snow!

Heading out tomorrow to Tulsa - we are going to see where we want to live should the opportunity to do so comes about.

In the meantime, this is a common sight we see right over the hill from where we are staying...




Be back soon.  Missin' my writing...


Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Fun During the Holidays

We are having a blast visiting all of our family.  Here is one video - and no we are not drunk  :-)

Yet.

 


Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Told Him So!

Before you get all excited, I still haven't tried out the Internet in the boondocks, but my 3G iPhone works!


Before we left Louisiana I strongly suggested to Steve that he get a couple new tires for the back of the pick up since we would be pulling our camper. 

He didn't. 

He sooo deserved this:



But I gotta tell you, he was smiling (can you see it?) when he changed the tire - he KNEW he deserved it... lol...


He had it done in no time flat though and we were back on the road again...


A bit later, I saw this sunset:


Western Oklahoma makes for some fun shaped trees and beautiful sunsets.  Yes, that is a cemetery there - but I didn't have much time to find a better setting and I kinda like cemeteries anyway.


Punkin' and I made a gingerbread house today - her mom bought it and gave the job to me.  I am so darned lucky!



Last night, Punkin' opened a gift from her other grandmother.  It was a book about Jesus' birth and her grandmother recorded her reading it to her and sent it.  Punkin' loved it:



When she heard her grandma Ruth's voice her face said it all:


We listened to it 4 times - she loves the book, Ruth - it is a hit!

I just look at her when we are around each other.  I can't believe how much she grew while we lived in Singapore.  We missed so much, but not as much as other granny's that are far away from their little ones, and surely not as much as I have missed of our boys in California.  Living half a world or half a country away - it makes no difference, you are still missing so much of their lives...  I took a picture of Punkin' today just because I could - maybe I can bribe a few pictures of our grandson's for the holiday.  Jerbear?  Cheyenne?  Can you send pictures?  I would love to have a few... 

Well, that is it for now.  Life keeps on twirling whether we have time to write or not, doesn't it  Hope everyone is enjoying your holidays - I will be back when I can.


Monday, December 20, 2010

And We Laugh :-)

I gotta say this has been the best trip ever with my family since we became adults; we talked, laughed, cut up and hugged- what a super fun trip it has been!  I thought I would share a few more pictures before heading west in a few hours.  I might not be back for a week so I wanted you to remember me  :-)


Here I am on the right - being innocent... Unlike my un-innocent sister:



Ummm... SisterS!  I could not get them to be serious for anything!
 


And I tried to get a decent picture of my nephew Chris, but he kept hiding:




But I finally got a good picture of him:


He is so handsome!  Any takers?  I will warn you my brother is raising him - so I think he will be a prankster...


Some people take crummy pictures:


Megan is NOT one of them... lol... yes, I know she is bluish, but I don't have time to edit the picture.  Don't worry, I will revive her soon.


While we were there, we played Uno several times... my brother thought we were out to get him all the time... 



We were... or my camera was.  Not sure which this look was for  ;-)
Maybe he thought I saw him cheating - because out of all these people the TWINS got the 2 lowest scores.  I think they were passing cards under the table...



You would think I dropped my diamond here...



But we all know how many diamonds my hubby gives me...
 

PS: I did ask for diamonds for Christmas - after all - they are the ONLY thing that will fit in the camper, right??


Anyway, maybe someone gives diamonds...


But it is not my hubby or my brother either...


When we were young we came to fossil point at 'our' lake all the time to look for crinoids.  We reverted to our youth and showed Christian how to search for those little treasures.  I think he was having as great of a time as we did:


He seemed to really enjoy it!  WHOOT!  He even went home and looked them up on the internet!


Finally it was time to break camp and all head our own ways...


What a great visit we had - and for a wonderful occasion:  another sibling graduated COLLEGE!

So now I am really off to the west; we have never had internet before from there but we are hoping the mifi (we call it mee fee for fun) gets us online to the outside world... here's hopin'!  If not, I will be back in a week or so.  Until then... better watch out!


Someone is watching you...



You better be good!



And we hope you have a very merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

She Did It!

My sister, Liz, graduated from college with an English degree!  Yay!  I am so darned proud of her!  Congratulations sis!



 After graduation, we went to Cheddar's for lunch.  We had TEN people, so we had to wait about an hour - but not to worry, our brother entertained us.  He is such a hoot!
 


We pulled off the final surprise.  Much to our dismay, Megan was on a plane from California to Oklahoma for as long as we would have been coming from SINGAPORE!  She flew Delta, and oh my gosh what a freaking nightmare!  She was bumped on her San Francisco flight, had to reschedule from San Jose, then put on a flight to LA and on to Salt Lake City, then bumped on her flight from Salt Lake City, put on a waiting list, caught a midnight flight and flown from Salt Lake City to Atlanta and the finally BACK to Tulsa.  It took nearly 30 hours - THEN her luggage did not make it!!!  The luggage round about had about a dozen pieces of luggage just sitting there in the unlit area waiting with no people, but Megan's luggage was not there either   :-(

While all of this was going on, she missed coming in the afternoon before Liz's graduation when she was first supposed to surprise Liz, then she missed coming in later to stay with us the night before in the camper to surprise Liz when we met to head to Tulsa for the graduation, she missed the graduation, the hoopla afterwards, but we finally got her to Cheddar's after the graduation to surprise her.  Good grief what a freaking nightmare for her!  We finally did surprise her though - and I have no idea how we kept that all away from her.  One bazillion phone calls between her and us, us and Cheyenne, and Shari and me... but we did it.  We gave her one last gift; her daughter!


When did she get her luggage?  Finally last night, 10 hours after she got in, Danny took her BACK to Tulsa to pick it up.  By that time there were several dozen pieces of luggage on the merry go round waiting on their owners who were probably scattered across the world.  Ask me why we don't fly Delta and if I ever will.  They did not give a flip about one part of this entire screw up - and the ONE guy working behind the counter had no interest in if she would EVER get her luggage...


Our aunt and uncle came from Alabama to her graduation on the way to Minnesota.  Ok, so it wasn't exactly on the way, but they MADE it on their way.  We LOVED having them!



All of us girls finally got together for a visit:


Jeanie (in red) grew up with us... long story but her and our family made one big family.  Believe me when I say you don't want the details, but we love each other like sisters because we are sisters in our heart.


Here is a picture with our aunt and uncle with all four of us kiddos:


I have to say I was impressed with the people that showed up for her graduation.  She had lots of friends and lots of our family that came.  I am so happy that so many people showed up to support her.  Thanks to everyone who came, made it happen or participated in the prayers for it all to pan out.  We love you all!


We have been spinning our wheels since we got here - frantically racing from doing one thing to another.  We had so many errands to tie up Liz's graduating we stayed busy doing that, cooking for a dozen people coming and going, trying to finish Christmas shopping, then the fiasco with Megan, but we did a few fun things like decorate Liz and Dad's Christmas tree:



And enjoy the country side:






So it has been a great visit and we accomplished everything we needed to.  Whoot!  So glad Liz can move on with her life now.  What a great feeling it must be for her!   I don't know how she has done with along with taking care of dad.  He DEMANDS a LOT of attention and pouts if he doesn't get it.  I have no concept for the way he acts, the things he does, the way he wants catered to, or they way he treats Liz, but I am not the one dealing with him.  All I can say is I will say lots of prayers for her and her patience.  I hope she can get him to start doing for himself now that she has time to work with him more.  She has very little support here and it has to be very tough on her AND dad.  All of this to say I am super proud of you sis!  You did it and he survived!  Lol... Love you!

Off to finish our last day of shopping and get pictures taken.  Tomorrow, we move west to the boondocks - we may have internet and we may not.  Wish us luck!  I sure do miss you!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Missing You

So I guess you are waiting for the lady bug pictures, eh?  Well I only got a couple, and it was after they had dispersed through out the camper, but here you go:
 


We are still finding them one or two at a time, but thankfully not by the hundreds anymore  :-)

I am in the little town I grew up in, hanging out with my two sisters and brother. It is great having us all back together; laughing, remembering and having a good time while joking and cutting up - believe me we can do a lot of that! It is not often we are all on the same turf, and I wish our kids could be with us to see how we get along, but being together has been good for us all.

When we were young, Steve and I both lived near our families and were close to our aunts, uncles and cousins. When good or bad things happened, they happened to the family; we were all nearby to share the tears, the laughter and the closeness only an extended family could share. I guess when you are young you don't realize that if you move half a country away leaving your family behind, you also leave those moments behind. Your kids don't get to have the extended family moments, realizing the need to support family members during a family death or wedding, or other disaster.  They don't get to see the interactions of their parents and siblings, cousins and such.

I realize this every time we come home and our children and grand children have little interest in sharing these times with us; often they would rather be at home rather than with us or with the extended family.  I understand it, but it does make me sad - and it makes me realize that a decision we made so long ago has drastically changed the way our lives could have been if we had stayed near our own families and let our kids get to know everyone that loves them and would like a moment or two with them.  I am having a blast with my family, but missing the rest of my family - I wish you were here, can you tell?

Anyway, that is not where this post was going, but sometimes the mind wanders and thoughts come about that I had no intention of writing about... today is one of those days.

We found a beautiful campsite on a lake I grew up near.  We used to go there several times a week and nearly every weekend.  We are the only camper here, well, other than the host that is here, but it is quiet, dark and relaxing when we ARE there.  

This picture is taken standing outside our camper door:



And during the day:



While driving near our campsite last night, we found these little gals grazing:


 I am not a hunter to eat the meat, but I love hunting critters so I can just enjoy watching them.  God gave us so many different critters that I can never get enough of looking...


I forgot to tell you, before we left, we took punkin' to Vermillionville, a little cajun village decorated now for Christmas:




It was beautiful! 

Sis graduates on Saturday morning.  Until then we are spinning our wheels, laughing and playing...


And of course I have taken pictures just because I could...




So now that I have caught you up to date on our visit, I will hop off.  I can't get on here as often I would like to, but I keep telling myself that before long we will have a permanent home and I will be back to my old self posting again.  Until then we will be entertaining ourselves, playing games, laughing with family and visiting...


Soooo....



I am a slacker - but I am trying!  Don't give up on me!


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