Hey, September!

We returned from vacation and hit the ground running, back to the routine and busy as ever.  I rejoined my knitting group after missing all summer and finally finished a scarf to be donated. We cleared out our garden plot, getting ready to plant for fall.  I picked Jack up from school one day and he spent the night another night, requesting a trip to the thrift store. He’s my thrift store soulmate. We made another big haul and came home with lots of goodies, then I took him to meet some of his little buddies at a gym class. My friend Kathy and I went to see Alex Counts on a book tour–he was the founder of the Grameen Foundation and formerly worked for an organization called RESULTS with which I was also involved years ago in Abilene. I told him we were probably on some of the same conference calls.  🙂

Not pictured: visits with local kids and their parents, workshop with the Funky East Dallas Dems to begin work on 2020 elections, really fun dinner with friends, my usual volunteer work on Tuesdays, met with a trainer at the YMCA, working the Census, trying to keep up with chores! Happy September, everyone! What are you up to?


Road Tripping: Amarillo to Dallas TX

Rich didn’t want to get gas before we got to Bonnie’s, saying we’d get it the next morning. When we pulled into her driveway, it showed we had 10 miles left. When we left the next day, it suddenly dropped to 0. Yes, we enjoy living dangerously. LOL After paying high gas prices almost everywhere along the way, we were happy to see the cost at the Texas pump!

Driving back on Labor Day, we expected lots of traffic but were pleasantly surprised, even when we got to Dallas. I guess everyone was barbecuing right at the time we drove through. I don’t think I’ve ever seen I635 so empty! We were happy to arrive at home and see our kitties, who did fine with two different cat sitters and a neighbor checking in on them.

I wasn’t super enthused about a road trip because I feel like they get tedious after awhile and I am not that comfortable sitting in a car for hours on end.  But it really was much better than I anticipated and we had a great time everywhere we went.  In the final analysis, we drove 5,133 miles through 8 states, seeing 34 people in 21 days! We also laughingly calculated that we mooched approximately 17 meals off generous hosts.  🙂  Another fun vacation in the books! Thanks for coming along with me.

Road Tripping: Albuquerque NM to Amarillo TX

Of course we did not think about the fact that Albuquerque and Amarillo are in different time zones. We were going to get on the road around 9:30 AM to go to Bonnie and David’s for the night but as you can deduce, that made it 10:30 AM in Texas.  Even though it was a shortish drive compared to some, we were both getting road weary and a bit tired of being in the car. We took turns driving, stopped a couple of times, and got to Amarillo close to 4 PM.

Luke was with a friend for awhile but the girls ran out to greet us and wanted us to play games with them right away! My ex sister in law Lisa was in town (her daughter and family also live in Amarillo) so Bonnie invited her for dinner with us.  Unfortunately my niece and family were busy with her husband’s side so we didn’t get to see them this time.  Rich made chicken and roasted veggies and a Caesar salad and we had a great dinner and conversation with Lisa.  Hadn’t seen her in awhile so it was good to hear all of her family’s news.

While we were chatting, the kids were huddled up, talking, and Emery was writing things down on pieces of paper.  They put the slips of paper in a bowl and told us we had to pull one out and “do what it says.”  I asked, “charades?” and they said no, just read it out loud and do it. LOL  This was quite hilarious as we each took turns following directions like “drink water without using your hands,” “sing your favorite song,” “do a gymnastics move” and so on. I got one that said “act like a frog.”  Being a good sport, I got down on the floor on my hands and haunches to jump forward like a frog. Much to my surprise, I could not propel myself forward from that position. I was literally frozen in place and could not move. This was such a shock to me!  We were all laughing but I seriously couldn’t believe I couldn’t jump like that any more.  And now I am still wondering “WHEN DID I LOSE THAT SKILL??”  Getting older is not that much fun sometimes! After Lisa left, we read books with the kids and then Bonnie, David and I stayed up till 2 AM talking about life and issues. Love these two and their concern for their students and the world. I know they are making a difference in their classrooms!

Morning came too quickly after the late night but our journey was winding down and we had to get home. David made us breakfast and we “reviewed” the game Sushi Go with Emery because she’d only played it once and wanted to be refreshed. Gave hugs and kisses all around and got back in our car for one last leg.


Road Tripping: Kingman AZ to Albuquerque NM

We had a light breakfast at our cool hotel and got moving around 9 AM.  We tried listening to the Hamilton audiobook some more but it sure does make both of us sleepy, as noted before. We probably listened for an  hour and a half and then I told Rich if he’d find a place to get me some iced tea, I’d take over driving for awhile. I usually don’t do a lot of the driving, mainly because I think Rich prefers to drive unless he’s really tired, and I am a slower driver so he feels like we lose time when I’m behind the wheel. ha And I just can’t drive too long any more without feeling sleepy. But we stopped and got drinks and I ended up driving about two and a half hours, which is a lot for me. 🙂 We chatted part of the time and he took a few pix out the window and then he took a nap.

It was a little freaky to see a sign on the highway warning us of escaped prisoners! I looked online when we were parked and it sounded like they were a dangerous husband/wife couple who had murdered someone and then escaped by overpowering the guards who were bringing them to prison from out of state. As we drove throughout the day, we kept seeing the same electronic sign overhead so I am assuming they have not yet been caught.

I pulled off in Gallup, NM to get gas and give the wheel back to Rich. The first two gas stations had no gas when we stopped.  We only had about 19 miles left on our tank but thankfully the next place was in working order!

Then while I was checking Facebook in the car, I saw news of a shooting in the Midland/Odessa TX area. My ex brother in law and his family live in Odessa so I texted my ex sister in law to make sure they were okay.  She said she was out of town (in Amarillo, coincidentally), her older daughter and family were also out of town elsewhere, but her husband was sheltering in place at work.  So crazy. I am fed up with all of this violence but Texas is a big gun state and I don’t see things changing any time soon,  unfortunately.

Tonight we are in Albuquerque; went out for some good Mexican food and now we are stuffed and miserable. We didn’t really have time to see any sights or do anything fun. Basically just spending the night and heading on to Amarillo to my daughter Bonnie’s tomorrow. It will be fun to see all of them again, if a quick overnight once more. We need to get home on Monday!

Road Tripping: Oxnard CA to Kingman AZ

We got up this morning and had some fruit and an English muffin with Dennis and Judy before packing up and getting back on the road. Sure did have fun with them and they are great hosts! They are leaving on a trip of their own tomorrow, off to NYC and Canada.

Rich’s nephew Jeffrey lives outside of Los Angeles so we met him for an early lunch and loved visiting with him. Rich has a very small family and only two nephews so we need to stay in better touch!  In a weird twist of fate (or something), Rich’s sister’s ex husband Bob is now living in Dallas and CEO of a hospital not far from our house. We have seen him a few times since he moved to our city a couple of months ago and now we are encouraging Jeffrey and his brother Matthew to come see their dad so we can see them too. 🙂

After our meal with Jeff, we got back into the traffic and made our way to Kingman AZ for the night. To continue our saga of bathroom problems, we stopped twice at places where the men’s rooms were out of order, and then pulled into a rest area to switch drivers only to find that the ladies’ room was being cleaned. There was a sign directing women to a one-seater unisex bathroom at the back of the building.  About ten women and two dogs were already lined up when I arrived. It sure did take a long time to go in one by one and eventually I was second in line (with even more people behind me) when the custodian came out and said the main ladies’ room was ready.  After all that waiting, at least we had a very clean and nice smelling bathroom to use. haha

We miss the cool ocean breeze of Oxnard now that we are in hot, hot, hot Arizona. It was 114 degrees when we went through Needles, CA right before crossing the state line. No more sweaters for me!

Look what 66 bucks gets you on Route 66 in Kingman!  This is a very cool retro Ramada Inn where we’re holed up for the night. There is a restaurant on site so we had some dinner and now we’re having a very quiet time, just the two of us, for a change!

Off to Albuquerque tomorrow night and then one more visit in Amarillo before home. It’s been a great trip!

Road Tripping: Kingsburg to Oxnard CA

From Vesta’s we went to Oxnard to visit our friends Judy and Dennis. We met them on our Australia cruise in 2012 and have stayed in touch, seeing them several times since then. Some other friends from the same cruise, Linda and Martin, live near San Diego and also drove up to see us for a couple of days.  Judy and Dennis are great hosts and live right across from the beach so they have a beautiful location. It’s been cool and breezy, which we have loved after all the hot temps in Texas (and even at Vesta’s).

We’ve had great fun with all of them, cooked out the first night and had a birthday cake for Martin, took a nice walk today along the beach and around their condo development, went out to dinner at the waterfront tonight and visited most of the day before saying our goodbyes to Linda and Martin. We are spending one more night and then will head out in the morning.

Road Tripping: El Dorado Hills to Kingsburg CA

After stopping at Rich’s former restaurant, we continued to his sister Vesta’s house, where we spent the next several days.  We enjoyed hanging out and I helped her sort through a bunch of boxes in her spare bedroom, plus we hung photos on the wall and generally rearranged. She and Rich cooked for us and we went to see “Rocketman,” which we all liked a lot.  We went out to dinner a couple of times and the last day she and I went for pedicures. All in all a relaxing and fun time.