Thursday, June 29, 2006
1. Get a box of gallon-size zip bags.
2. Pick out a shirt, shorts, and socks that match.
3. Lay the shirt on the table.
4. Fold up the shorts.
5. Put the shorts, a pair of undies, and a pair of socks on the shirt.
6. Fold the shirt around the aforementioned garments.
7. Insert the resulting bundle in one of the zip bags.
8. Repeat, until you have a number of outfits bagged that corresponds to the number of days you plan to be gone.
9. Repeat at least twice more, to allow for extra changes of clothes.
10. Every day of your trip, hand a bag to your child, and put his/her dirty clothes in the empty bag.
11. When you get home, the dirty clothes will not have had the opportunity to odorize your remaining clean clothes (if any), or your suitcase.
12. If your husband has ever turned your suitcase inside out looking for his clothes, undies, socks, razor, etc., make a set of baggies for him too.
13. And if you, like me, have trouble coordinating an outfit in the dark (because you don't want to turn on the light and wake up the kids) after only two hours sleep (because one of your kids threw up all over you, the bed, and the floor during the night), make a set of baggies for yourself.
Enjoy your trip.
P. S. If you (like me) are too cheap to buy the baggies, Wal-mart bags work equally well, except that once you put dirty clothes in them, you need to tie a tight knot to keep the scent confined to the bag, and not all over your remaining clean clothes.
We've been camping all our lives. Sleeping on the ground, on picnic tables, in the car, in the bed of a pickup. In a home made camper. In a tent. Then we graduated to a pop-up tent trailer. Wow. Semi-real beds. A three burner stove. A Porta-potty, instead of hiking into the woods, or up to the shower house. And because my darling hates being hot, especially when he is trying to sleep, he installed a little air conditioner. We thought we were up town.
Then we got a little more ambitious, and bought an Airstream.
32 feet long, great condition for a 30 year old trailer, and we loved it. Well, that is, until our house burned and we spent 6 months living in it. Then, not so much.
But we kept it, and eventually lived in it again for about 3 months, when we moved and hadn't found a house yet.
Then we sold it.
Later on, we wished we hadn't, despite the fact that we had no place to park it, and would have paid its purchase price many times over, if we had paid to rent storage space for it.
Then we discovered full-timing.
In case you haven't heard, there are people who live in their RVs. Full time.
My sweetheart decided that would be very cool. So we gave our most treasured heirlooms (the stuff I couldn't bear to actually give to Goodwill, and probably no one else would want it except our kids, who grew up with these things, and so have a sentimental attachment) to our children, kept the things we thought we might need again someday if we ever decided to have a house again, and bought a fifth-wheel.
The first one was an Alfa Gold, which had been top of the line some twenty years before we acquired it. We loved it. It had lots of storage space, we could manage to make beds for the kids and grandbabies, and we could go anywhere we wanted to during our holidays and summers.
Then one weekend we were staying at a KOA which just happened to be right next to an RV dealer. We had nothing better to do one afternoon, so we walked over and looked at some of the new trailers.
Oh. My. Word.
Then we talked to a salesman, just to be polite, and went back to our (now) shabby Alfa (by comparison to the new ones). Later that day, the salesman came to tell us that he had a great deal, an unbelieveable deal, a deal we just couldn't turn down, on a brand-new Big Sky Montana. One something like this.
It was a great deal.
We didn't turn it down.
We lived in the Montana for about a year and a half, and it was great.
Then we started talking to people with motor homes. Those are the great huge bus-like vehicles you see going down the highway pulling a little car behind.
They have automatic steps that go out when you open the door, and retract when you close the door.
They have a sensor that knows when you have too many appliances plugged in and going at once, and it takes things off-line until the load is reduced, instead of blowing fuses.
They have humongous, ginormous (relatively speaking) refrigerators.
They have leather covered couches that electronically make into beds.
They have convection ovens.
Real showers, that my beloved can stand up straight in (saying that I can stand up straight in one is a given, since I am 5'2 1/2 " tall). (If I stand up really straight).
Leather seats that recline, swivel, and tilt.
Black-out shades in the bedroom.
A washer and dryer, all in one, about the size of a dishwasher.
So we went to an RV show.
We talked some more.
We decided that we wanted a motor home. And since we were planning to retire in a few years, let's go on and get it, and pay it off before we retire. After all, this is our home. We will be able to live in it, travel in it, take it when we go to see the kids, and still sleep in our own bed.
Since this was going to be our home, we wanted good quality.
The best service record.
The industry standard. One like this.
So we bought it. Brand new. Straight from the factory, to our specifications.
In 17 months, and less than 14,000 miles, our dream machine was in the shop 38 days. What kinds of problems, you ask?
The air conditioner. More than once.
The water heater. More than once.
The engine. More than once.
The dash lights--you know, the little gadgets that tell you how fast you are going, downhill, on a mountain road in Yellowstone.
Those black-out shades I mentioned? It turns out that they had something like cotton thread holding them together, and it frays. Quickly. On every shade that you actually put up and down more than a couple of times.
Last summer, we were on our way to Oklahoma City. We almost made it to Ardmore. The engine overheated, and a number of other things that I didn't understand at the time, and can't explain to you now. This jewel is so enormous that it takes a special kind of tow truck to haul it, and they had to bring one from Ok. City to rescue us.
Oh and the "toad"--the jeep we were pulling--earped its guts about half an hour later, as we were following the tow truck to OK. City.
Instead of a fun camping trip with my dearest's brother and family, we spent 13 days hanging out at their house, and they were gracious enough to invite us back again this year. Now that is family.
Then when Freightliner finally told us it was ready, and we picked it up, we discovered that the refrigerator was out, so we went from that service center to one in Tyler, just a few miles from our lake lot where we live. There went another three days.
This year, we decided to take a shorter trip, just to Lake Texoma, only about 100 miles away. Yep, you guessed it. Three trips to the RV service center, about 20 miles from where we were camped, to try to get the refrigerator fixed. Again.
Then another three days this week. To get the refrigerator fixed. Again.
At the moment, it is working, knock on wood. But when it went bonkers, somehow the electrical system, or the inverter, or some kind of doodad, also went nuts, and smoked the brand new Dish tv box, and the Sony tv.
As in where there is smoke, there is fire.
So now we have another appointment with the Tyler RV service people for the week after July 4th.
We also have a lawsuit pending against the dealer who sold us the RV, the manufacturer of the RV, and the company who built the chassis.
The moral of my story?
Camping is fun.
Having a nice camper/trailer/fifth wheel is great.
Just don't let your reach exeed your grasp.
We plan to go back to a fifth wheel as soon as possible.
And I promise not to look at any more RVs.
Cross my heart.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Uncle Jim taught me a little bit about earning an honest dollar, hauling hay.
Uncle Hardy taught me the consequences of throwing pear cores at his old sow who had a litter of piglets and a terrible temper.
Uncle Grady taught us that jumping off the dock into a floating inner tube was not likely to be successful, but he let us try it any way.
Uncle J.P. played Grandpa's fiddle for us.
My daddy told me about his daddy, the farmer/preacher, and his twelve kids.
My grandmother told me about my granddaddy, who tied a rope to the churn handle and the other end to the porch swing so he could rock the twins to sleep while he churned.
Our sons, at play with our grandchildren, let us relive our own babies' little growin'.
My husband and our son prayed at the altar this morning during church.
I held hands with my husband, the father of our children, as we watched our grandson's baptism this morning.
Being a daddy is hard sometimes, especially when a child seems determined to take a wrong turning, and daddy has to watch his child stray.
Being a daddy is wonderful, especially when grown up children call home just to say Happy Father's Day.
So many men. So many different ways of fathering. Each an echo, a reflection, of our heavenly Father's love.
Papaw was right. I will never be fatherless, because the dear God and Father of us all is my father too.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Imagine about 20 people spending a long weekend together, with no squabbling, no accidents, and no problems--no, no, that's not us--well, the squabbles were minor, the accidents involved skinned knees and splinters in toes, and one of the worst problems was that we were responsible for the biscuits for Sunday breakfast, and we forgot.
Other than that, what a fun time. Great food, time to rock and visit at leisure, board games, water guns, a huge round tube which did duty as a sunning spot for Mimi and the mommys, a diving platform for the little'ns, and a whirlpool/hurricane/vortex/ship rocking in a big storm.
Emma the golden retriever swam until she was puffing like a steam engine and had to be taken to the steps so she could catch her breath. Frankie the pom and Gizmo the cat had words at length. Several times. Poor Twitter cat hid in the corner of the couch, and tried to pretend he was invisible.
We ate Daddy Jack's watermelon right out of the rind, with no utensils, and washed the dripping juice off in the lake. He also brought us fresh tomatoes right off the vine. We ate barbecue, ham, turkey, sandwiches, bacon and eggs and gravy. We also consumed a chocolate cake, about 6 batches of cookies (snickerdoodles, oatmeal chocolate chip, peanut butter with kisses in the center), chips, cokes, sandwiches, and gallons of water.
We got a little sunburned, stayed up too late, took naps, and kissed and hugged the grandbabies. And each other.
We talked. We laughed. We prayed.
None of us wanted to leave.
And we can't wait to do it again.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Once you get here, if you don't like it, or just want to go elsewhere, and see who I read regularly, you can just click on the list in the sidebar, and take off somewhere else.
Yeah, I know, to those of you who have long ago mastered these skills and many others I have yet to attempt, this is old news. But for me it is a very exciting step!
And since Ron and Nikky got me my very own copy of Blogging for Dummies, there is no telling what I might learn to do--maybe even learn to insert a picture, like this one of Jeana's daddy.
If you read me regularly, and I don't have you in my list yet, let me know if you want to be added. I can do it!
Funy thing, though, the thought that keeps running through my head is, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."
Friday, June 09, 2006
-- How do find the blogs you read regularly? Through other bloggers' recommendations? Their sidebar links? Search engines? Through comments left on your blog? Something else?
Most of the blogs I read regularly are either blogs daughter Jeana tells me about, or comments left on my blog. I sometimes explore sidebar links, but I never do search engines because too much undesirable stuff turns up that way.
-- When you leave a comment, do you frequently return to that post to check for the author's response?
Not always, but frequently.
-- What types of situations might cause you to stop reading a blog that you once enjoyed?
Too much controversy, bitterness, personal attacks, or "adult" language or topics.
-- How much personal privacy do you try to maintain when posting on your own blog? Everything that might identify you to a friend or neighbor? Only demographic data? Only children's information? Something else?
I try to avoid giving too much personal information about my family or friends, or saying anything that would be too embarrassing--at least I ask first.
-- What are your thoughts about encouraging offline friends to read your blog?
I encourage family members to read my blog, even if they are not bloggers. Most of my friends are family. (We are a laaaarge family)
-- What criteria do you look for in the blogs you enjoy reading? Or perhaps I should ask, what factors do your favorite blogs all have in common?
Hmmm. Most are Christians. Most are mommies. Most are funny, at least most of the time, even though I do enjoy the serious posts too.
-- Are there any blogs you read on a regular basis in which the author frequently expresses beliefs or opinions that completely contradict your own?
-- If you disagree with a blogger do you usually voice your perspective so they can see things from a different angle, or just ignore theirs and click away? Does the size of the person's readership influence this for you?
If I think the person is open to hearing another perspective, yes, I will either leave a comment or send an e-mail. No, I don't think about who else reads the blog.
-- Do you read and/or post on Saturdays and Sundays? Or are you predominantly at M-F blogger?
Yes. Well. Actually, I blog whenever I get the chance, which is whenever my loved one is not on line. I have broached the idea of getting another lap top, but that suggestion was met with less than enthusiastic reception.
During the school year, I probably spend more time blogging on Saturdays and Sundays than weekdays, but read more blogs during the week than on weekends.
I thought I had run out of stuff to say about blogging, but Carol's questions got me going again. Thanks, Carol, for suggesting a week of blogging about blogging.
So......what are we writing about next week?
Thursday, June 08, 2006
1. I love to write, and blogging sort of nudges me into writing more regularly.
2. I hate it when blogspot is contrary, and I can't even get to the posting page.
3. I love reading what other people have written.
4. I hate it when I enjoy someone's post, but can't think of anything to leave in comments.
5. I love the discussions that get started.
6. I hate the anger and bitterness that is sometimes revealed.
7. I love hearing people's stories.
8. I hate sad endings.
9. I love it that so few of the blog stories end unhappily--despite great challenges and difficulties, most end with an expression of faith in God.
10. I hate it when I know what I want to say, but feel that what I said is not what I meant.
11. I love looking at the pictures, graphics, and beautiful designs on other blogs.
12. I hate it that I am having such a difficult time learning to do the things I want to do.
13. I love the people who blog; I love the ones I visit, frequently or infrequently; I love the ones who visit my blog, and especially the ones who leave comments and links to their sites; I love the sense of community I see among bloggers who take the time to get to know each other, and support each other in hard times, and share the joy.
I hope this is the end of the week of blogging, since I have pretty much said all I have to say about blogging, at least for this week.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Well, not just Tupperware. Rubbermaid, or any of those plastic, tightly sealing containers that sometimes hold smells. Stinky smells like tuna. Or onion.
That stuff is too expensive to throw it away, just because it retains an odor. But who wants to put strawberries in a bowl that still smells like cocktail shrimp?
The answer is newspaper. Yeah, that pile of paper you usually use for the bottom of the bird cage, or shred for the ferrets, or start campfires with. It also absorbs odors.
Just wad up a piece, put it in the bowl, and seal the lid. Let it set over night. Next morning, the smell will be gone.
You can also use it for damp, stinky sneakers. Stuff newspaper down into the shoes and leave overnight.
Newspapers will absorb most any kind of odor.
Hmmmm......do you reckon that is why guys read in the bathroom?
Works for me.
The article poses some interesting questions about what being a Christian means in our modern world, and how we represent our faith to others.
One of the things I have noticed since I started blogging is that very few people comment when I post about a serious subject and treat it seriously.
Most of the comments are in response to lighter, more humourous posts.
So where does my faith enter into my blogging life? I comment on other blogs. I notice when someone expresses a concern, and either leave a comment or send an e-mail. People seem to be more comfortable (in general) talking about very personal concerns in private, not on the public blog page. I offer to pray, express my sympathy or concern, ask what I can do to help.
My own response to the "in your face" style of faith presentation is usually to back away. I have a strong sense of my own "personal space" and I don't like being backed into a corner and preached at or yelled at.
So I try not to do it to others. (My own kids will tell you different--they think I am prone to preach to them at the drop of a hat. I maintain that it is a mama's right/responsibility to preach to her kids at any time, on any subject, once they get too big/too old to spank).
Yesterday I read about the Roe v. Wade lady, Miss McCorvey, and her eventual transformation and acceptance of Christ. I noticed that it did not come from her interactions with the "in your face" protesters, but in quiet, personal interactions through which she saw Christ and His love reflected in the day-to-day lives of ordinary Christians.
The opinions I have expressed here are my own, and not meant to be critical of anyone who believes or behaves differently. Each person has to find her/his own way of living personal faith, and those expressions are, I think, usually a reflection of who the believer is, and how that person came to accept Christ.
I don't consider myself the model. I am just a dim reflection of the Christ I worship, the God who created me, the Holy Spirit who seeks to inform and infuse me.
Some days, dimmer than others.
Monday, June 05, 2006
First, what is up with blogspot lately? I try to create a post, and sit here for 30 minutes waiting to get to the dashboard. Then I get to the dashboard, and click on the little plus sign thingy, and nothing happens. Nothing. My little flag doesn't wave, the little green squares don't appear, nothing. Oh, wait, there, my cursor has turned into an hour glass. And for the next hour, I sit staring at the hour glass, waiting. Finally, I press control/alt/delete, and still nothing happens. Gahhhh. I can't even close it down!
Finally I manage to close everything down, restart the computer, reconnect to the web, get back to blogspot, find dashboard, start typing, and nothing appears in the box. I'm typing like crazy, but nothing is appearing.
So I highlight, start to hit delete, and suddenly, one letter at a time, the words start to appear. It's kind of like watching a Polaroid picture develop. Okay, so that little blip seems to have resolved itself. For the moment, at least.
The other problem is my darling husband. He has discovered Freerepublic, a group of like-minded political junkies, rock-ribbed conservatives who love to argue, and the occasional bleeding-heart liberal who really raised their hackles and gets the party started. The discussions are interminable. Endless. Perpetual. Constant. Ongoing. Forever. And all of this discussion is seriously cutting into my computer time. How can I check my e-mail, read my favorite blogs, and post to my own blog, if HE is using the computer all the time?
My goodness, Lauren and Jeana posted about a blogger gathering in DFW this fall, and I didn't even know about it until she called me on the phone. She had to call me on the telephone, because my beloved has been sitting in front of the laptop like a broody hen all day long.
Well, except for when we went to town so he could get his driver's license renewed, and he also took me to the movies, to see X-Men III.
But other than that, he was using the computer. Jeana suggested I ask for a laptop for my birthday, but the one we have takes up more than half our kitchen table already, so even if I got one, where would I put it?
Laptop is such a misnomer. It gets too bloomin' hot to hold in your lap. And too heavy to hold in my arms.
So if, by chance, a couple of days go by, and I don't blog, you know why. Dear husband is solving the problems of the world on Freerepublic.
So go by there and tell him to get off the computer, so I can get on it. Just don't tell him I sent you.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
For example, Lauren at Created for His Glory mentioned a new word she learned (which I promptly forgot), which means slick and hairless. That got me to thinking about hair.
Have you ever noticed that hair distribution changes as we age? For example, look at old men with those hedgerow eyebrows, nose whiskers, and a thicket growing out of each ear, but bald as an egg on top of their heads.
As for myself, I notice that I have much less hair on my legs to shave these days, and what little is still there is the soft blonde fuzz I used to have as a child. The hair on my arms, which was always blonde, is gradually disappearing too.
And my eyebrows. I used to have eyebrows like Alli McGraw. Now they are thin, turning sort of greyish blonde, and I actually have a sort of missing spot in the left one, where some three or four hairs have taken a permanent leave of absence, while about 3 hairs in the arch of the right brow have decided to stand straight up like Alfalfa's "personality".
The worst development is the hairs that now sprout from my chin. Long hairs. Some of them are black. So my hair is turning grey, my eyebrows are disappearing, and I am growing a beard.
So I don't have to shave my legs much, or pluck my eyebrows, which gives me more time to pluck my chin hairs.
By the time I am sixty, I am going to be a thing of beauty. Or at least an object of curiosity.
Wonder if I could get the hairs from my chin transplanted to my eyebrows?
Saturday, June 03, 2006
I love reading other people's blogs. So many different subjects, personalities, ideaas, to say nothing of the designs of their sites. Wow! So many colors, designs, pictures, graphics--it's enough to make me really depressed about my obvious lack of ideas and abilities.
Daughter Jeana at Days to Come helps me when she has time, and she is very gracious about it. But it would be such a pleasure to be able to insert links without wiping out my whole entry, or put a picture in my sidebar. Not to even mention adding a family picture to my header.
Graphics. Oh my. I love graphics. Where do people find all these cool, appropriate, funny, or symbolic graphics?
Bloglines. I have tried about 16 times to do this, and just can not seem to get it right. I really am not a dummy--I have a college degree. I'm a teacher, even. But somehow, most of the fun stuff associated with blogging, other than just writing, is beyond my capabilities.
Where do I go to find the book Blogging for Dummies?
So that is how we got involved in changing our satellite service.
The first thing that happened was that our little magic box went out. So of course we went to Best Buy and got another one.
Then we got an ad from a different service, telling us about all the cool electronic stuff they would give us for changing to them, and at a lower monthly charge than we were already paying. So of course we called to cancel one, and get the other.
Only...the first company said, oh you just got a new magic box, so you automatically got your contract extended for a year, and it is going to cost you megabucks to cancel.
Wick was not happy to hear this. In fact, he was downright ticked off. He said nobody told me that. Where is the signed contract saying that I agreed to that? The co. rep. said well, it's understood. Like a verbal contract. And Wick said,yeah, worth exactlyl the paper it is not written on!
We went ahead with the installation of the new service. The first guy who came out walked into the RV, took one look at all the wiring, boxes, buttons, etc., and started saying, Now what is this?
What is this for? How does this work? He was here about 45 minutes, but accomplished exactly nothing.
I'm thinking well, maybe we are going to have to make nice with our existing service, since this co. is not exactly off to a good start.
Apparently he decided the job was over his head, but instead of saying so, he finally said y'all are going to have to put up a new pole for the new dish. He then made a hurried exit.
Yesterday, a different guy, accompanied by his two young adult sons, showed up. He said no, you don't need a new pole, we can use the same one you have been using, and we will have you in business in no time.
We spent the afternoon pouring glasses of ice water for these New York boys who were sweating profusely on a day that for us Texans seemed mild and pleasant, while they ran wires, pushed buttons, rearranged all our little electronic boxes, and sure enough, about 3 hours later, we had our new service.
This thing not only lets Wick watch Fox News, and the History channel, and the Military channel; it also makes it possible for me to watch something different on the tv in the bedroom.
Remember, we live in our RV. Our bedroom is about the size of a king size bed. Fortunately, we have a queen size bed, so there is actually room to scoot sideways down the side of the bed to get into the bed, instead of having to dive onto the mattress head first from the doorway. Since there is no room for a chair, a stool, or even a floor pillow, reclining on the bed to watch tv is pretty much the only option, unless you like to watch tv standing up. This is not a choice I make very often.
But ifI do want to watch, say, Home & Garden tv, or How to Decorate Small Spaces, I can.
AND.... we now have the equivalent of tivo, so if my darling needs to take a phone call, or go talk to our neighbor Bob about the latest egregious conduct of the far left liberals, he can pause live tv, take care of these important matters, and then take up right where he left off.
After all, we wouldn't want him to miss a single minute of the action on tv.
(He is going to read this, so I will add that he does cook, and has accomplished several little jobs around the place this week, so I am not really complaining about how much tv he watches. :) )
Now, if only he could arrange to have tv service on the boat whilel he fishes.....
Friday, June 02, 2006
MomRN2's baby girl is home, and the many many prayers that have gone up for her and mom have been answered. Praise God, our merciful and loving heavenly Father!!
Thursday, June 01, 2006
1. Getting to sleep as late as I want (only I still wake up about 5:30 or 6:00)
2. Savoring and lingering over my coffee in the morning.
3. Wearing whatever is clean and goes together reasonably (read: denim shorts and any t-shirt or sleeveless top), instead of having to look "professional".
4. Hanging the sheets on the line in the sun and wind instead of leaving the dryer running as I rush out the door to work.
5. Falling asleep in sheets that smell like sunshine.
6. Reading mind candy ;)
7. Finishing the three crochet projects I already have started, and starting another.
8. Cooking at least twice a week, instead of depending on Wick to do it.
9. Having lots of company come to visit at the lake.
10. Sitting on the dock (which son Scott and DH Wick just roofed this weekend, so now I have shade all afternoon!)
11. Not having to worry about not sleeping well if I drink coffee late at night, because I don't have to get up early to go to work.
12. Cleaning out drawers and cabinets and sort out the junk drawer
13. Watching the birds, squirrels, ducks, cranes, herons, and listening to the plop of fish in the water, the wind in the trees, and the waves on the shore.