Mac Davis was HALF right

So, we're in Lubbock, TX, for 2 days.  Well, 2 nights, one day.

I don't think I've spent any real time here since college.  Back in the mid 80's.  Yes, I'm old; get over it.

Anyway, as we were driving in last night, we were in the middle of the biggest dust storm I've seen in my entire life.  It was about 100 miles of solid dust.  You couldn't see anything.  Except for the tumbleweeds.

I swear, it looked like a migration.  Every tumbleweed in west Texas wanted to get to the other side of the road.  Just like the proverbial chicken.  Why, you may ask?  Because of the TORNADO FORCE winds, would be my guess.

It looked like a video game, a lot like Frogger.  We're doing 70 miles an hour (yes, maybe too fast), and the tumbleweeds were trying to cross without getting killed.  I had to stop myself from actually TRYING to hit them.  I think we nailed about 1,000,000 of them.  I swear, one of them was nearly as big as our car.  Well, my car, not Ann's Sonata.  My old one.  Not the Santa Fe.  The justy.

Yes, this is my old car.  I LOVED that car.  On demand 4 wheel drive (why would you want it ALL the time, right)?  Good gas mileage.  And I paid for it with a check.  And the check didn't even bounce.  I tried to find a picture of it that we took when I had it top of the septic mound in the snow, but couldn't find that picture.

I actually left the keys in it once, at Islip airport in NY.  For 4 days.  In the parking lot.  The keys were hanging in the ignition.  When I got back from my trip, it was still there.  In NEW YORK!  That's saying something.  Those New Yorkers are an honest group of people.

Anyway, I digress.  You would not believe the wind and dust.  I think the new Sonata needs a paint job.  And probably a new air filter.

Why anyone would live somewhere where is is a fairly normal occurrence is beyond me.  So, the first part of the song "Happiness is Lubbock TX in my rear view mirror", I still agree with.  Even after all these years, some things just don't change.


we found it!

We actually found it. Somewhere between Palm Springs, CA and Sedona, AZ, we found it.

The POT OF GOLD at the end of the rainbow.

Too bad Andy wouldn't turn around to get it... it was on the "wrong" side of the highway.


Careful! They really are UNUSAUAL waves!

We were in Morro Bay, CA, last week.  Central coast.  Look it up on Google Maps.

The picture Ann took of the rock (see her facebook page) was the Morro Rock.

Anyway, apparently, they have waves there.  Odd ones.  Strange.  Unusaual, even.

If the waves had only been of an unusual size and force, I probably would not have been as careful.

I showed this picture in class on Wednesday.  One of the guys says, "Yeah, signs like that are funny.  When we got here, we saw the curb was painted with "no stopping" marks.  S.T.O.P.P.I.N.G.  Hah!" he says.

I said, what's wrong with that? He says, "You know, they misspelled it.  It should have been S.T.O.P.I.N.G."

What could I say to that?  "Spell check is a wonderful thing."  Several people in class were watching to see if I would take it any further.  They know me, I guess.  I sort of shook my head.  "Let it go," I was thinking....

Now, we're headed to Sedona.


baby, it's cold inside!

Last weekend we went to the ICE! exhibit at the gaylord texan resort in Grapevine. Andy read about it in an airline magazine and it sounded cool (cool - yuk, yuk). They used something like 2 MILLION POUNDS of ice to make all these sculptures, and they bring in ice sculptors from China. These guys do it up right - check this out...
Harbin China, not Grapevine, TX.

Since everything in America must have a corporate sponsor, the ICE! sculptures were almost all characters from the DreamWorks™animated Merry Madagascar movie. But still pretty amazing considering that it's all made of ICE!

a token non-corporate sculpture

It's about 9°F in the exhibit, so they hand out parkas.

This is Andy's brother, Chris. There were clear instructions to not lick the ice. It must be genetic.

 Afterwards, steaming cups of hot chocolate all around! A toast to my camera unfogging.


8 weeks in, I still love Ann

It's been 8 weeks.  58 days (and nights).  And I still love (and like) Ann.

This new life of ours is AMAZING!  Spending every night with the person you love is the best thing ever.  Well, almost every night.  Not counting the nights I've slept on the couch due to the snoring, we've spent 2 nights apart (michigan while she was visiting her mom, and Sweeny, while I was trying to get a good night's sleep).  I slept about 10 or 12 hours each those two nights.

We have been so many places, it's hard to remember.  Which may be partly due to the lack of sleep.

San Antonio.
Los Angeles.
Cayman Islands.
San Diego.
Michigan (her, Kalamazoo, me, Auburn Hills).
Radford, VA
Raleigh, NC
Houston for Thanksgiving with Ann's family.
Oswego (and Syracuse), NY
Sweeny, TX

Today we head to Dallas, to see my big brother John play in his band at Muddy Waters. Then, I think we're going to the Ice! exhibit at the Gaylord on Sunday with Mom.

Then we work in Ft Worth for 2 days, then come back to Austin to fly to LA to get our car and drive to Morro Bay for 2 days.

Then Burbank for 4 days.

Then we spend a week in a cottage in Sedona, AZ.

Then we drive to Austin in time to fly to FL for our Christmas cruise.

Good times.


somewhere in Virginia...

pictured, left to right: Andy, Ann

me: I love you.
Andy: I love you, too. That's why I put the pillow over my head and not yours.

ear plugs. evidently NOT industrial strength


Finally, the Caymans. Ahhh!

view from our condo balcony
Writing this post has sapped all of my energy for the day.

OK. I might be exaggerating. A little.

I'm sure that if I stop writing now, I will have enough energy left to make it all the way to the swim up bar and raise a glass of rum punch...or four. But only because the glasses are made of plastic. And not very heavy.

Finally, the Caymans. Ouch!

This is my first blog post. EVER.  So cut me some slack on the formatting, picture orientation, spelling, etc.

It was a long day. It started with Karin being grumpy on her couch, it ended with me bleeding all over our kitchen floor.  In a foreign country, even.  Let me splain.

The shuttle driver (Connie), was in a pretty good mood despite the early hour.  Karin, however, seemed a little grumpy;  maybe due to the early hour?

We had set our alarm for 3:30 am.  Until yesterday, I'm not sure that Ann even knew there WAS a 3:30 am.  Connie had said that we needed to leave at 4am, so this just gave us time to shower and load up.  All three suitcases.  I had originally planned on doing a load of laundry and only taking 2, but we were tired, so we just packed all of the dirty clothes in a trash bag, scented of course, and took a load of dirty clothes to the caymans.  The trash bag is one of those nice smelling ones; the clothes weren't scented.  Well, not in a good way.  I had just run 16 miles that morning, and the clothes I ran in, even the shoes, were in that bag.  I bet the Transportation Security Administration LOVED going through that one.  They left the little note so we would know they had been there.

15 hours later, we get to the hotel.  Condo.  Timeshare.  Whatever.  We immediately go to the swim up bar, and in 1 hour consume 8 mixed drinks.  Mostly rum runners, I think.  As we were leaving, there's an umbrella stand that's supposed to be underneath a table, that's not.  And it's cleverly camouflaged in the same color as the pool deck.  So, I walked right into it.  It's only ankle high, and it was dark.  And I was drunk.  I totally blame them for the blood that was shed that night.

Ann:  Should we go get you a tetanus shot?
Me:  Nah, I've had my booster within the last 10 years, so I'm good.
Translation:  I'm not going to waste my vacation time looking for a doctor and getting a shot, even though I have NO IDEA when my last tetanus booster shot was.

And, what's the deal with all the chickens?  That'll be another post.  If I don't end up with tetanusitis, rendered unable to type.


horns and udders, part deaux

In an earlier post, I wondered about potential problems with breeding stock in Kerrville, TX.  I found out while driving through NM.

the truth is out there, and NM isn't afraid to show it


a special occasion

Huntington Dog Beach, California - 10/15/12

LEFTY, the love of my life, died in September 2010. My heart was broken over my own loss but I will always be happy because of the amazing memories from our time together.

He loved the beach, and played on many of them around the country - gulf coast, east coast, great lakes, and west coast. We thought it fitting to take him to play forever at Huntington Dog Beach.

Lefty always had a great time at Huntington Dog Beach, as do hundreds of other dogs. If you'd like to learn more about it, please visit dogbeach.org.


fun with chupacabras and border agents

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What is going on with the saguaros in AZ?
In Arizona, we saw lots of saguaro cactuses (i know, it's really cacti). It was kind of mesmerizing, watching them, and by the time i decided i needed pictures, there just weren't anymore to be seen. Andy wouldn't turn around so I was all, "fine. i'll draw one on my super cool iPad."

And then about 20 miles later there were more. Lots more.

An awful lot of them look sickly. Or maybe they've been gnawed on by chupacabras (chupacabri?) You be the judge.

chupacabra - NOT drawn on my super cool iPad

crossing the border from AZ to CA
border agent: do you have any fruits or vegetables?
andy: i have a baggie of strawberry shells
border agent (smiling): have a nice day
strawberry "shells"

final stats for 10/14/12:
* 494 miles
* 7 hours, 56 minutes
* average ~39 mpg
* 4 bathroom breaks
* 2 gas stops
* 1 coffee stop
* 1 meal stop


a BIG day. in the car.

Today felt a little like this was the first day of the adventure because this was the day we were leaving Texas.

We made it all the way from San Antonio to Kerrville before stopping for coffee. On the way back to 10, we noticed this warning sign (Andy wouldn't let me turn around to get a picture of the actual sign, so I had to find this one on the TxDOT site). 
horns. and an udder.
Now admittedly I'm a city girl, and I don't know much about livestock, but it seems to me that if this sign is accurate, they're gonna need some new breeding stock. Soon.
About 3:40pm (MST) we crossed the border to New Mexico.
8 hours in the car. we still look pretty happy.
Dinner at La Posta in historic Mesilla, NM. Pretty decent food, beautiful decor, and some lovely birds that wolf-whistle. A lot.
shrimp ceviche, story of the building, a couple of birds.
You know that commercial where 2 guys are on a road trip and they listen to Spanish lessons in the car? At the beginning, they can't properly pronounce "gracias". They finally stop for gas, and the passenger guy gets out complaining about "trece horas en el coche sin parar e no musica," and the driver says  "compre unas papitas" while you're in there. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch it here. We think it's funny. Anyway, we thought we'd give it a shot...
drive time Spanish
el autopista es grande
We had planned to stop for the night in Las Cruces, but it was only about 4:30 when we got there, so we kept going. About 7:15pm (PST) we crossed in to Arizona. Between the last of the daylight and our headlights, we had just enough to get a picture.
still happy, but i was worried about snakes.

Have you ever heard of Willcox, AZ? Me neither. But that's where we stopped for the night. Tomorrow - San Diego!
Here are the final stats for 10/13/12:
* 785 miles
* 11.5 hours
* average ~ 32 mpg
* 6 bathroom breaks (yes, for me)
* 3 gas stops
* 1 coffee stop
* 1 meal stop


san antone

We left Galveston, and had lunch with Dad and Mom at Tookie's - one of my all-time favorite burger places. It was badly damaged by flood waters from Hurricane Ike, but was resurrected by a new owner. Check out the high water line in the pic below. And if you haven't been yet, put it on your bucket list.
Mom sitting next to high water line at Tookie's
We got to San Antonio late that afternoon, and spent the weekend hanging out with Annemarie (Andy's sister), shopping, drinking some beers, and looking all over town for a new battery for her car. Annemarie got lollipop ice cream because Megan wasn't with us to be all grossed out about it.
blue lollipop ice cream and Annemarie!
Meanwhile, somewhere in Ohio...Megan got her ear licked.
Marga Gomez (licker) and Megan (lickee)
But, the most significant event of the week is that I got offered a contract to develop training materials for a major east coast power company! I'll know more details in a few days. It doesn't pay what I made before, but for now I'm happy to fund my travel and an occasional pedicure...


striving for less

We sold our house, which had been on the market for most of the year. We sold or gave away most of our stuff. We traded in the convertible for a hybrid. And I left my job.


So I could spend some time getting over a professional disappointment. So I could travel full time with Andy.

Here we go...