Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Countdown

One week from today, we leave on our big adventure.  Panic has set in.

We have made a list.  We keep adding "stuff" to it.  Tonight the newest entry was the rental car in California.  Oops.  Forgot to do that!

Packing is a huge challenge, since we are going to be going into so many different climates.  New Mexico.  Hot.  California.  Hot, cool.  Colorado.  Hot, cold.  The Yukon.  Cold and rainy.  Alaska.  Cold, rainy, potentially snowy.  Yikes.  Good thing we are taking a house with us.

Babs is getting ready, too.  She just doesn't know it.  Kennel.  Bed.  Raincoat.  Warm coat.  Medicine.  Lots of medicine.  Food.  Thirteen bags of it.

It is going to be an exciting, busy week!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ta Da!

And the fence was completed on Monday.  Probably the one who enjoys it most is Bella, who has gotten her backyard back!  Don, Jarred, Rick, Susan, and I worked hard on it . . . and Don lost a little weight while doing it!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just Takes Hard Work

When Kenneth was four, he used to sing a song:

Just takes hard work;
Just takes hard work;
When you're working with a friend, and you really are tired,
Just takes hard work.

So applicable for our fence project.  Over the weekend, Don, Kenneth and Rick worked on the fence, with the help of Susan and me.  Yesterday, Don worked by himself to finish the stringers on the fence, and then today, Jarred, our neighbor's son, came over to help.  He and Don started mowing and going.  By the end of the day, our fence was finished as was Rick's and Susan's.

Without that many people involved, the fence would have taken several more days.  It is wonderful to have such good friends that we can all work together to finish a huge project.

Monday, June 17, 2013


For several years, the fences at the back of our property have needed to be repaired.  It was the first item on the "to do" list after Don retired.  It took him two months to get to it, but this last week was the one.

He managed to get some help pulled out most of the fence posts.  But there was one left for him to do.  With ingenuity and a few pulleys, he managed to get it out:

Then last weekend, when Kenneth was home, Don, Rick and Kenneth began putting up the stringers.  They managed to complete the Gaskill's side and get a good jump on ours before Kenneth had to leave.  By Sunday evening, Don had all of the stringers complete, the Gaskills were nearly done, and I had hauled all the wood to the back yard.

We hope by Tuesday night, the fence will be complete!  A lot of hands make for quicker work, but this is one project where we could have had a lot more hands . . .

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guardian Angels

It has been an interesting two weeks.  If I did not believe in guardian angels before (I did), I really do now.

First, we had a hail storm.  I recovered a two-inch piece of hail from our yard, and after the storm we began to assess the damage.  Our car had a lot of dents, and we worried about our roof.  Before we went to the cabin for Memorial Day, we were told our car is totaled, though the insurance company has not confirmed that.  On Monday, the tenth, we found out our roof is fine.  Everyone else around us had severely damaged roofs, but we got lucky.  Thank you, Guardian Angel.

Coming home from New Mexico, while Diana was dodging tornadoes in Oklahoma and Kenneth was evading them in Illinois, we were keeping track of the fire in the Pecos.  It was a tense few days, and the news was scary, but by the end, the cabin was left standing, although the fire came within about 20 feet.  The kids got home without incident, as did we.  Thank you, Guardian Angel.

On Monday, June 10th, Don began to work on the RV for our impending trip to Alaska.  He noticed a stick behind the generator.  Reaching up to extract it, he pulled out another, and another, and another . . . and then feathers and other things.  A bird's nest.  Behind the generator where, if we had run it, it could have caught on fire.  And if it had caught on fire, it would have incinerated the tube leading to the gas tank . . . which would have incinerated us!  Extra special thank you, Guardian Angel!

Hoping we do not have to call on our Guardian Angel again for a long time!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why I Love My Albuquerque Friends

As I left Bella Vista I thought back about the ladies and the various things we are all doing.  It fascinates me the paths we all took . . . Some predictable, some not.

For example, all of us except Anne were good seamstresses.  Sewing was just not Anne's cup of tea.  I could sew anything as long as I had a pattern, but the others branched out from there.  Now Kathy and Susan have become wonderful quilters.  It did not surprise me that Kathy became a quilter, as she has always done very creative work with cloth . . . You should see some of the outfits she made for Di!  But I never expected Susan to become a quilter . . . And she has made some lovely items.

Kathleen has taken her sewing a different direction.  She designs all sorts of items . . . From cloth to jewelry and makes them.  Her creativity knows no bounds!  She has also gotten very involved in Soroptomists, for which she makes many of her items.  Her group supports so many great causes, especially women's issues, that I cannot help but be impressed by her enthusiasm for the group.

Anne has gone a different directions.  In college she found ballroom dancing.  That was it.  Anne loves to dance, and she has found the competition to be challenging.  She is part of a group that has won the Senior Olympics National Championship for the past two years, and she is competing again next weekend.  Then she goes in for knee surgery . . . Now that is dedication.  To dance on such a bad joint takes grit and determination.  But that is what people do when they a passionate about something, and Anne is that!

Betsy could not be with us this weekend but her talents are just as amazing.  She, too, was a seamstress and she has done quilting.  She is also an artist, so she has drawn pictures of fish for a fish key as well as other things.  In high school, I was the nature, outdoor girl, but Betsy puts me to shame.  Her adventures in Alaska fill me with envy . . . She has waded with bears (well,  she was there when the bears appeared), she has seen more moose than I can imagine, and she is in better shape than any of us!

These are just some of the reasons I love my Albuquerque friends.  Such talented women who have gone in diverse directions make for interesting conversation and fun get-togethers.  I will always be grateful for their friendship.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Drama is not my thing.  I like calm, with things puttering along at a nice pace, busy but without dramatic swings.  I am pretty even-keeled, and I like my life to be that way.

The last week has definitely not been that way.  It started on May 30 . . . The whole fam was on the road, and we each were contending with our own weather issues that were discomforting, at the least.  Di and Kenneth were dodging tornadoes, and we were fighting fires.

The next day the fires were worse, and then my friends Kathy and Walt were in direct line of the widest tornado ever recorded.  Not comforting, and when she did not answer her phone, I was a little panicked.  Fairly quickly she was able to text me that she was ok, but it wasn't until later when I heard her voice that I felt better.

Then the fires got worse and worse.  By Wednesday, we were not sure the cabin was going to survive, but due to courageous efforts on the fire department's part, they kept the fire at bay.

Things have calmed down since then and we have had a lovely weekend with many friends.  This is the way I like it . . . Drama free!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Girls

I still cannot exactly figure out how our group got together.  Betsy, Kathy, and I were friends from elementary school.  Anne, Susan and Kathleen knew each other from junior high.  I knew of Anne because she lived across the street from my cousin and was the ace swimmer at the Tennis Club.  We did not belong to the tennis club, but my neighbors did, so when they would take me with them, I would hear her name called . . . Especially during games of Marco Polo.  I was not very good . . . She was.

So in tenth grade I heard she had biology down the hall.  I decided to go meet her.  We liked each other and began to do things together.  Then we got into volleyball and basketball . . . Susan did, too. Susan was good . . . I was not as good.  But we began to do things together, too.  Some of us participated in Student Council, others yearbook, others sports, but we started to eat lunch together and socialize.  Our senior year, we connected with some boys, and the ten or twelve of us would get together on Friday nights and go bowling or meet at each other's homes.  We would sing to Mike Schingle's guitar playing, eat, talk and generally have fun.  Innocent, yes.   Never considered drinking . . . It was not a part of our make up.  We were what one of our classmates called the teen queens . . . The ones who studied hard, had school spirit, and had fun within the rules.   We loved high school.

We kept up with each other from then on.  Our group yielded one doctor, one physician assistant, one nurse, one business consultant with IBM and now Toshiba, and two educators.  One of the men is a judge, one a college professor, one a helicopter pilot, and we have lost track of one.  Not bad for a group of nerds from Albuquerque, NM.

It is always fun to get back together to see what everyone else is up to.  It is as if we have never missed a beat.  These women will always be a part of my life, and I am grateful for their friendship.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Forty-two Years and Counting

It is hard to imagine that we graduated from high school forty-two years ago.  But we did. The fun part about that is that my group of friends still communicates and on occasion we get together.  A year and a half ago, we went to Alaska.  Anne hates the cold, however, so she could not go.  But the others of us went and had a fabulous time.

This time, we went to Bella Vista, Arkansas, where Susan has moved.  Unfortunately, Betsy was unable to get here from Alaska, though we thought she was going to make it.  She did get to NM, but one more stop was out of the question.  There were still five of us, however, and this time, three husbands attended, too.

We took the RVa for a shakedown prior to the Alaska trip, which was a good thing!  Don got some excellent practice driving narrow, curvy roads (worse than any we will find on our trip, or so he says), and he tested out our new braking system, that has passed with flying colors.

Pictures will be forthcoming, but let it be said, there is nothing better than getting together with "old" friends who have a lifetime of connections and experiences.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tres Lagunas

When I was a little girl, we would drive by the resort called Tres Lagunas.  It consisted of several cabins, a lodge, and three beautiful lakes.  We always dreamed of fishing in the ponds, and the peaceful setting of Tres Lagunas reminded us that we were just over a mile from the cabin.

On Sunday, May 26, we were driving back from Albuquerque.  As we rounded the hairpin turn at Tres Lagunas, this is what we saw on the lawn:

We believe this is the same fella that was at our cabin, though we are not positive.  Nevertheless, it is rare for elk to be down at Tres Lagunas, especially in May.  The drought must be driving him down where food is available.

The elk is looking upstream . . . about 1/4 mile upstream is where the fire started.  I hope this guy has found a way to escape.  I not only worry about the cabin and human life, I also worry about the animals.  They must be terrified . . . hoping they get way out of the way.