Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'll Pray For You....

When I first started this blog I was determined that I wouldn't talk politics or religion.  I'm about to cut that determination to the quick.  Mostly because it just pisses me off!

I'll pray for you....
I read in another blog ( a statement that pretty much sums up how I feel - "When people go out to their way to say , "I'm praying for you," to an atheist, do they realize it sounds pretty much like "F*** you," only with more syllables?"

There have been more than a few studies, some of them with an effort towards double blind, that have all been mostly inconclusive.  Inconclusive because depending on who you talk to they either prove it works or prove it doesn't work.   It's either "God knows he's being tested" or "He works in mysterious ways" or the best one "He must need them in Heaven"! To me it just proves it's all wishing on a star.

I find it neither a happy event nor a proof of prayer working that God has provided you with anything that you have asked for.  Why on earth would he provide you with a new job, a car, more money, happiness, food, etc., if he can't even alleviate the suffering of so much of the world.  This only shows me that prayer is a selfish device.  Two reasons.  The obvious, you're praying for yourself. The other not so obvious.  Even if you are praying for the poor starving children in Africa or that cute little boy that has cancer the only thing it's doing is making YOU feel better.  In actuality you are doing the same as nothing.

If you really want to help the poor starving children in Africa, then find an organization that is actually DOING something and donate.  Better yet, go there yourself and donate your time.  If you really want to help the cute little boy that has cancer, then donate to cancer research or donate your time to a children's hospital or offer to help the family.  Prayer, no matter how many people are doing it, has not curbed hunger or cured cancer or righted any of the myriad of other wrongs in the world that God has so graciously given you a "blessed" corner in.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Little Woman

I joined the Army in 1974.  I thought I wanted to get as far away from home as possible and I did.  I flew from Seattle, Washington to Fort Jackson, South Carolina!  For wanting to get away from home I sure did a lot of crying on those flights.

Anyway, lots of good things happened to me in the Army.  I learned to be self sufficient and that I was capable of things I never thought I would be.  I learned confidence and leadership.  I met Dave, got married and had my first child.  Which brings me to one of the reasons I left the Army.  I really thought I wanted to be a housewife.  I didn't.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed being a wife and a mother.  HATED taking care of the house.  It bored me to tears.  I so admire women that can make a whole career out of house and home.  But I do not envy them.

So, I worked at whatever I could find at first.  Fast food, janitorial and then went to Dental Assistant school and worked at that for a few years.  Since Dave stayed in the Army we moved about every three years.  After the 3 kids got a little older and we would hit a new duty station the job search would take 2 or 3 months.  As a working out of the home mom I did pretty well.  No, we can't have it all or do it all, but like anything else we give it our best shot.  The only problem was the kids.  They didn't LIKE having me home.  Mom, didn't you find a job yet?  Sheesh!

Anyway, the point is I worked very hard to make a place for myself as DORIS Arnold and even though I love my husband I preferred that to being known as MRS. Arnold or "The Little Woman".

The kids grow up, move out and bless us with grandchildren.  We still worked at our respective careers and did well at them.  Well then, what is this all about?  I'm back to being "The Little Woman".

We stopped working, sold the house, moved into our 5th Wheel and most of the time I AM Doris, but down here in Texas working on the ranch as hands or managers or whatever you want to call it, we have reverted to traditional roles.
Dave's out riding the fence, running the tractors, BSing with the good ol boys and here I sit cooking 2 meals a day, cleaning house, watching TV and taking care of all the little things in the house.   ARRGGHHHH!  BUT, I'm enjoying it.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Noise, Crowds, Peace and Quiet and Family

We survived the 7 days of Common Ground and moved on to Country Thunder in Twin Lakes, WI.
Some of my favorite Common Ground people!

Common Ground Office Staff

Matt, one of the East Gate Managers

Gayle and Emily, East Gate Managers
Gayle is a teacher at the local college, teaching Event Planning.  Emily and Matt are two of her students who got VERY practical experience running the east entrance gate.   They were fun to work with and did a GREAT job!

Stevie Ray Bacon, Chachi, Buster and Boris manning the EMU
The names are a story for another time!
Common Ground's last day was Sunday with Sublime With Rome as the last act. 
Monday morning, we picked up the girls at the boarding place, hooked up the trailer, said goodbye to all our new festival friends and headed west to Twin Lakes, WI to get started on Country Thunder.  We drove through Chicago on our way...always a pleasure (not).  Bad roads, high tolls, lousy traffic.  At least it was a bright sunny day.

This is one of our favorite festivals because we get to see some of our favorite festival friends from Country Stampede.  Laurie, Butch and Joanne, Johnny B and then our new festival friends who also work the Country Thunder in Arizona.  Marty and Dick, who run traffic and parking are always a hoot!  Made some new friends..Joe, Mike and Connie with the gate services company. Sorry, no pictures with them...and not many pictures at all.  Guess I took too many last year! :)
Field of Port a Potties....View out our back window before the
all the campers arrived.

This is an additional stage on the grounds for something called "Electric Thunder".  VERY loud.  Our trailer was close enough that we could feel the thump thump of the music as movement.

After almost 3 weeks of noise and crowds we just wanted some peace and quiet.  We found a little, quite nice RV park in Sycamore, IL with a couple of ponds.  Monday we took the looonnnnggg drive of 53 miles to Sycamore, checked in, parked, set up and started the relaxing.  Aaaaahhhhh.....

We were pretty near Dave's sisters, Judy and Janet so they came to spend some time with us both days.  We really enjoyed their visit and have decided that this should be a post Country Thunder stop each year.

We left Sycamore on Thursday and headed for southern Illinois.  Since we have about a week before we meet the kids in Lake of the Ozarks we decided to find an RV park near Dave's sister Frankie.  We haven't seen her and her husband since her daughter Stacey got married 3 years ago.  To top it off Stacey and Eric gave Frankie and Dave their first grandchild this year and we were anxious to meet him.
Edward David Kreher
We always say that the Arnold's may not do much else well, but we sure make beautiful babies!!  Stacey and Eric are no exception.  He is one handsome guy!

Fridays for Frankie are Eddie day, so we arrived at the perfect time to spend the afternoon with him and Grandma.  Then she and Dave came out to visit us at the trailer on Saturday and we went over to Stacey and Eric's for dinner on Sunday.  We have taken the last two days to get things ship shape around here and will go over to say our goodbyes to the Yuill and Kreher clan tomorrow.  We sure have enjoyed spending time with them after so long.  We will probably have to make this an annual stop too!

Thursday morning we leave to meet ALL of our kids and grand kids for a long weekend at Lake of the Ozarks.  We are looking VERY forward to that.  Then a week at Kathy's and Tim's and then make our way north to Rockford for On the Waterfront at the end of the month.

So, now you are all caught up.  It seems that I have really gotten out of the habit of keeping my blog.  Need to change that.  Again.  I may or may not get anything blogged while we are enjoying our grand kids but will try to keep motivated to keep you informed.  Stayed tuned for pictures of our family vacation and other things.  I can see the thrill in your eyes already. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 5 at Common Ground

Here we are on day 5 of Common Ground on what promises to be the busiest night.  Eric Church is here tonight and they are expecting to be sold out.  For those of you in our festival family, sold out here means 12,000.
Here's a few pictures from the last few days.
Festival crowd Tuesday evening for Foghat and Joe Walsh

Taken from the bridge looking towards the backstage catering area.
You can see our 5er to the left in the background

Also taken from the bridge looking backstage at the artist bus and trailer area
towards the crowd

Since the venue is on the river boats congregate, for free.  

Looking across the river at downtown Lansing.  It's a beautiful area.
This is a new festival for us and we are pretty much enjoying it, but like all festivals sleep is lacking.  At least this festival doesn't start until 5:00 each evening, so we're getting just a little more than usual.

OK, fun's something I received yesterday, along with a cookie, that really bothers me.

Why in the world would this bother me?  Because of what is on the reverse.

Click to make larger
Why is it that some people (quite a few actually) believe that if you don't believe in God and the Bible you are not a "good American" or patriotic?
I'm pretty sure the Preamble to the Constitution says "We The People", not "We the Christian People".
I guess serving in the Army, my father, brother and Uncles serving in the military, paying my taxes, exercising my right to vote, supporting other Americans in their rights and living by the laws of our Constitution don't count.

OK, off the box now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And....Here we are.....

Parked on a city street in Lansing Michigan!  This is by far the least "it" campsite we have had to date.  Don't think I can even call it a campsite, really it's just a parking spot and in a bus zone at that!
But, it will still be an interesting spot. We are actually just on the other side of the backstage fence. We are in Lansing to work at the Common Ground Music Festival.  This is a long one for us, the longest being the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.  This one is 7 days.  Each night has a different genre of music so should be interesting.  Click on the festival name to link to what it's all about.

We travelled two looonnnggg days to get here from Kansas.  Well, long for us.  About 400+ miles a day and after all that time closed up in 100+ heat it took the house quite awhile to cool off....yuck!

I started this post 4 hours ago.  At that time Kevin and Josh showed up with our credentials and a note from Jennifer (our contact here) that we would need to board the dogs.  She was even nice enough to do the research for us and the girls ended up at Lake Lansing Road Animal Clinic and Pet Resort. The staff are very nice and looks like they will be well taken care of for 10 days.  Not sure they will be talking to us when we pick them up, but they should be just fine.

I made a quick stop at Meier's grocery store and we headed out to lunch.  Now Dave is trying to get the Dish up and running...there's a race on tonight ya know.  I'm just hangin in the very cool house.  It's in the high 90's today but humidity is 58% and dew point is 71.  One hot mofo.  Cold front supposed to come in tonight and we will be back down in the 80's here and that will be quite a relief!

We at least have some trees here as we are on the edge of a city park.  Here's the view out our window by the door.
OK, I'm outta here for now....More later....I hope.  Sorry to be a stranger, I'll try to keep up this time!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All Right Already!

So, here it is May 30th and I just realized it's been a whole month since I blogged!  Since I had the 5th person email, call, post a note wondering what's up with us and is everything all right, I figured I'd better fill you in.


We stayed in Abilene, KS visiting with our son and his family for a week.  We were in a little bitty RV park on the outskirts of town just 4 houses down from their house.  Every day after school, the kids hurried through their chores so they could run down to Nana's and Papa's!  Honestly, I'm not sure what they find so interesting at our home.  We have no toys, the pool wasn't open, only a couple of swings at the rv park.  Hmmmm, must be Nana and Papa!  We sure enjoyed that week near them, but it was time to move over to the COE park at Tuttle Creek.

With Dave's America the Beautiful pass it was $9 a night and the name of the game this year is cheap, cheap, cheap.  It's a beautiful park right on the lake and except for the weekend we had the place to ourselves.  The dogs always enjoy that as we rarely put them on the cables unless there are other people around.

As with most COE's there was no sewer so I had to watch the water output, particularly the grey water.  Also, there was a hill behind us to the south so Dave had to use the long cable to get Dish TV.  Now, boondocking has appealed to me because you can go so many more places, but I guess I have been spoiled.  All winter long at the oilfield gate having constant electric, water AND a large exterior black tank I just took it all for granted.  But now I have to save output.  Dishes in tubs and dump it outside, short showers and oh how I love my showers, black tank not so bad.  We can go about 9 days on our black tank without being too careful.  ANYway, after a week we moved over to Tuttle Creek State Park below the dam.

We had driven over earlier in the week and picked our spot.  Number 47.  So we slowly packed up and made the long drive of 4 miles over to our new spot.  With our Kansas annual camp pass it's $9.50 a night.  As we get backed into our beautiful shady spot and Dave goes to plug in the electric cord he notices it's only 30 amps.  "Don't get mad" he says.  I just look at him and say "for a week I've had to watch the water, now I'm going to have to watch the electric too!  We're moving."

Of course we stayed.  It's a beautiful spot.  It's been pretty damn hot around here so, I do have to turn off the AC to run the oven/microwave and we run the living room AC during the day and switch over to the bedroom AC at night but, believe it or not, don't have to turn the AC off to run my hair dryer.  Whoo hoo!  It's worse on Dave though, he's had to dump the tanks about every 4 days using the grey tote we borrow from a friend of ours here.  Takes him about 4 trips.

On Sunday we are moving to a full hookup site which will cost us $15 a day, but it's only for a week as we leave for our first festival, Nebraskaland Days Rodeo on the 11th.  It will be nice to have a nice looonnnnggg hot shower!

Our EmmaRae
Since we've been in Kansas with our kids, we have enjoyed a dance recital, a piano recital, a couple of soccer games and coming up is a t-ball game and another recital!  We've enjoyed a few picnics and outings with our kids, breakfast out with friends, Doctors appointments, a clean Laundromat and shopping at big box stores.  I have pictures of the games and other kid stuff, but haven't downloaded them yet.  They'll get in the next post.

And, Bob, NO snakes!  Unfortunately, can't say the same for mosquitoes and gnats.

We've sold our couch and replaced it with a comfy chair and a padded storage bench, bought a stained glass window for the door window and Dave has replaced our white lights under the kitchen island and above the window in the bedroom with blue lights.  He added blue lights above the kitchen slide.  Looks wonderful!  We saw these blue lights on slides in a brand new Elite Suites at the RV-Dreams Rally we were at in Kerrville.

LOVE it!

OK, I'm off to bed now.  I've been working for my daughter at the Country Stampede office and need my beauty rest.  I'd promise to blog more often, but we all know how well I follow that!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Zoom Zoom

That's how I feel today.  We traveled 380 miles.  I know, doesn't seem like a lot to you, but we usually only go about 200 maybe 250 in a day, but we are anxious to get home and see the kiddos.

We went from the Hill Country of Texas to the Wichita Mountains of South Oklahoma.  Really the only difference is there are more trees in the Hill Country.

All along the way while we were still in Texas we saw all manner of entrance gates to ranches.  From the fairly simple wire fence gates to the elaborate stone and iron gates.  Most of them we could see the houses from the road and while some houses seemed to match their gates, others had gates that were a bit pretentious for the size of the mobile home.  Some quite stately homes had the simplest gates.

Betty, I thought of you today as we were driving through Scotland, Texas.  What a great combo for you!  I tried to get a picture of the sign as Dave zoomed through, but I totally missed it.  Maybe next time.  Have you ever been there?  Scotland Texas, not Scotland or Texas.  :)

We will continue on our Zoom Zoom course tomorrow until we arrive in Abilene KS sometime in the afternoon.  Another 360 miles.

This brings me to the close of the A to Z Challenge.  I sure have enjoyed it and I hope it has encouraged me enough to keep going regularly on my own.  Thanks to all the great bloggers who organized the challenge this year.  I loved visiting all the other blogging participants enabling me to add more to my list of interesting things to read.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yippee Ky Yay

Bruce Willis.  Die Hard.  I like Bruce Willis and I liked this movie.  Just enough plot to support the action and of course things blowing up.  What more could you ask for?

That word, yippee, isn't used much anymore.  Although I don't remember using it much, even as a child.  You do see it in old movies, usually from children getting something they REALLY wanted.

I do remember using it as a teenager.  Usually in reply to something my parents were planning for ALL of us and our response was a sarcastic "yippee" most often accompanied by a twirl of the index finger into the air.

But I found myself thinking this word enthusiastically today as I felt elation at the realization that I would see my kids in 3 short days!

What more could you ask for?

Friday, April 27, 2012


OK, I had to look for this one.  It's Internet slang for happy.  You  know, like :) is a happy face X] means just happy.  See here

Since I am X] I figured I could expound on this little Internet slang symbol.

Just living this fulltime RV lifestyle makes me X].  We are more relaxed, we have much, much less stress, we travel the country seeing things we haven't seen before and we have a fun job.  This all makes us X].

I wonder if this little symbol and all the other Internet and chat slang symbols is an indication of what our written conversations will all look like in 20 years or more?  Doesn't do well for those of us that can't ever remember all those little symbols.  Especially as we get older and our memories get worse!  Oh boy!

Here's a x] picture for you.

Erica and Papa

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Way Too Long

We are in our second year of fulltiming and our 1st year of traveling fulltime and we love this lifestyle.  We wouldn't go back to a sticks and bricks home even if we had to.  There are a few things we would change this 2nd year on the road though.

Financially speaking we will be eating out a whole lot less.  We won't be traveling as far to save on fuel and we definitely WON'T be going to Vegas this year.

We'd like to explore more of our surroundings at each stop than we did this year and we'd like to make it home more often.  That's where the "Way Too Long" comes in.

Except for our youngest daughter visiting at the holidays, we haven't seen our kids or grandkids in 8 months.  That's way too long!  It seems from their pictures that the grands have grown soooo much and they have all turned a year older.  That's a long time to miss them when at their ages things change so rapidly.

Their ages you ask?  Eleven, nine, nine, six and six.  We've missed the Holiday programs and the end of year programs.  We've missed some baseball games, dance recitals, soccer games, Anniversaries and family get togethers.  And we will still miss some of those things, but maybe we'll be at more family gatherings and we have decided we will go home for the Holidays this year.  That was a tough one to miss.

So, as we make our way down the road on Monday we will be happier and happier as we get closer and closer to home.

Good night!

Kids - 4 days and a wake up!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Very Good Day

You know, we have a lot of these now that we are living fulltime in our RV. Life is slower, easier and we meet such nice people.

Day one of the RV-Dreams Rally seminars was fun and informative.  Tonight after dinner there there were quite a few people who showed us things gadgets they use in their RV's.  A PVC pole to measure the height of underpasses.  Walkie Talkies, clothes hangers, chair umbrella, torque wrench, and some other interesting things I can't remember.

At each seminar and at dinner we sit with different people each time so we meet more people each day.  I'm horrible with names and faces so it's a good thing everyone is wearing name tags!

At lunch break I had to run into town to pick up some prescriptions and took a back road rather than the highway.  It was winding and pretty.  I finally saw lots of Bluebonnets and there were several farms with lots of little goats on them.  Before I knew it I was in town and had no trouble finding the Walmart.  After I was done I hit the Mickey D's drive thru and headed back for the afternoon seminars.

We had a good dinner of pizza, salad and cinnamon rolls for dessert.  After show and tell it was time for the girls to get a walk.  Took a little more time tonight because we had to stop and talk to people we have met and the girls had to say hi to everyone too.

Well, that's the first day down and another packed day tomorrow.  I'm sending Dave to the morning seminar on weight and tire maintenance while I clean up the house, then we'll hit the afternoon seminars.  Potluck for dinner tomorrow and I'm looking forward to that!

Goodnight all!

To my kids:  5 days and a wake up!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Under the Twilight Sky

I rarely had time to sit outside at night when we lived in the sticks and bricks and worked 9 to 5 jobs and had a myriad of things to take care of, but I always loved the time of night just after the sun goes down and the stars are popping out.  Now that we live a life where we have time to smell the roses (instead of running them over) I enjoy this time even more.

We sit outside rocking and talking, or not talking, and watch the sky and the world go by.  It's relaxing and puts things in perspective for me.  We are a tiny speck in the sky.  The earth and planets revolve around our sun and our little system moves around our galaxy and the galaxy wanders around the universe.  And here we are wandering around our little piece of the world as if that's the way it should be.  As it should be.  It feels right.

Nuff said.  Goodnight.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Travel Day Today

For those of you reading my blog that are not fulltime RVers, we have a lot of travel days.  Last summer we traveled to 12 states in 7 months.  Some of those states twice!

Hmmm, I just noticed this map includes North Dakota.  That's a mistake, we haven't been there yet.  Oooops.  But the rest are correct.

Anyway, we try not to travel more than 300 miles a day and most travel days we are right between 250 and 300.  Today we went a whopping 70 miles.  We were staying at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio for the last week cleaning out all the dust from the oilfield.  Cleaned the inside and outside of the 5er, cleaned inside and outside the truck, dogs had a beauty parlor day and I finally got my much anticipated pedi/mani!  It is so nice to have a clean home that stays clean for more than an hour!

We traveled to Kerrville, TX where we are attending the RV Dreams Rally at Buckhorn Lake Resort.  I found this website and forum about 3 years ago when we were first talking about going fulltime in our RV.  GREAT bunch of people.  Be sure and check it out.

When we are on a travel day it takes us about 1 hour to get everything ready to go.  That's if we have set an early departure time.  If we haven't and we aren't going far, like today, then we take our time and take about 2 hours to get ready to go.

We get everything put away inside that is breakable, would move or is in the way of the slides being brought in.  On the outside Dave gets all our patio and yard stuff put away, empties and flushes the black tank, unhooks the water hose and makes sure the truck is ready to go.

When all is ready inside and out we bring the slides in and raise the jacks.  Dave backs the truck up to the hitch, I raise the front of the 5er and he slides the truck under the tongue and into the hitch in the bed of the truck.  He plugs in the cord for the running/brake lights and trailer brakes and then I raise the jacks on the front end and the truck now has the load.  

As he is winding up the electrical cord and putting it away I am making sure we both have drinks and my purse, nook and our phones are in the truck.  He does a final walk around locking all the storage doors and making sure the lights all work.

By this time the dogs are already in the back seat area of the truck.  They know the routine and as soon as we start it they are anxious not to be left behind!  We bring along a bowl and bottles of water for the trip for them.  We have a crew cab on the truck and with the seats folded up there is plenty of room for them.  We bought cushions at Petco that makes that whole floor area comfy for them.

We hit the road at about 1045 and had a very easy drive once we got out of San Antonio.  We arrived here about 1230, got all set up and are enjoying the evening.

See you tomorrow for "U"!



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shit Happens

I had such fun with this when I originally posted it back in February that I thought I would use it for "S".  Enjoy

Shit Happens

Good shit. Bad shit. Crazy shit. Stupid shit. Awful shit. Funny shit.  No the universe is not deciding you need bad shit anymore than it is gracing you with the good shit.  Shit just happens.

You make your plans and prepare for life's happenings as best you can and ... shit still happens.  That's life.

Bad shit is not there to teach you a lesson, although most of us do learn one.  This goes for stupid shit too.  Not having a plan B is a great way for anything but good shit to happen.

Life has cycles just like anything else.  Right now we are in a "Good Shit" cycle.  You may be in a "Bad Shit" cycle.  As they say, this too will pass.  But usually you find out who your real friends are during the bad shit.  Hell, sometimes your "friends" even cause the bad shit.  Instead of a BFF you have a BSF.  (see, stupid shit).  I think we ALL have one of those at one time or another.

I believe we all create our own kind of shit, be it good or bad.  AND, we can all turn bad shit into good.  I used to tell my daughter that her attitude was all up to her, so if she wanted to wallow she just needed to know that was her choice.

So, shit happens.  No reason.  Plan your life.  Live your life.  Roll with the punches.  Educate yourself.  Be prepared.  Shit just happens.


Being back in the real world is taking some readjustment.  There are actually other people in the world and it seems like they are all on the roads.  I'd almost forgotten what a "pleasure" it is to drive in a big city!

Things we are readjusting to:
Sleeping together
Sleeping for more than 6 hours and with no interruptions
Restaurants that are not fast food
Grocery stores that have lots of choices
Grocery stores that are right around the corner.  Hell ANY store that is right around the corner
Realizing that the diesel truck driving by does not require jumping up and running outside to sign it in
Not having to have dinner at 5:00 so Dave can be in bed by 7:00
Eating ALL our meals together
Watching an entire TV program or movie without having to put it on pause
Traffic noise
Someone else's dog barking
Walking 50 ft to the trash container instead of driving a mile
Taking walks with the dogs and not having to worry about snakes
Not having to wear rubber boots when it rains
Not having to dust all the time
A clean house that stays clean
Sweet smelling dogs (they had a beauty parlor appt this week)
How much quieter it is without a generator 5 feet from the trailer
That when we turn out the lights to go to bed, it's dark inside
Blazing fast consistently working internet :)
NO kamikaze beetles!
When it storms I have someplace to hide
Riding in the passenger seat

OK, I'm sure there are more, but that's enough!

See you for S tomorrow!

Friday, April 20, 2012


Quality, Antiques, Dairy Queen.  Besides the letter Q what can these things have in common?

Before the invention of the hand held video game, before the invention of the portable DVD player there was The Alphabet game! We had to find ways for our kids to be entertained in the car on long trips.  Short of stopping more often to let them burn off energy and carrying snacks and drinks in the car in a cooler, we played games.

Everyone kept an eye out for billboards and road signs.  You started with A and whoever said the word and the letter first got that letter.  My kids were always trying to beat me at it.  Sometimes I would almost let them win and then slaughter them in the end with a Z word.  Of course as they got older they got better at it and sometimes I even lost for real.

Q was the first letter that we always got stuck on.  Not that many Q words on the highway.  You had to look for Quality Automotive or maybe Quality Inn.  Roadside antique stores and the occasional Dairy Queen.  Being stuck on Q pretty much allowed everyone to catch up and sit on the edge of their seats to be the first one to see the Q word.

Then there was V closely followed by Z as the next hard letters to find.  V's were usually found in city or county names, where Z sometimes only came in big cities with Zoos or truck Plazas.  We could play about 6 or 7 games before the kids got bored with that one.

In the sparsely populated parts of the country was the game of Cows and Horses.
Cows are worth 1 point and horses 2.  The very scarce goat was 3 points.  Each kid would take their side of the road and every time they saw one of these farm animals they had to count, out loud, how many they saw until they were out of site.  Cows were 1, 2, 3 etc. Horses were 2, 4, 6, etc and of course goats were counted by 3's.  Whoever had the most points at the end of the designated time or miles won.  Or whoever reached 500 first won.  Now, if you passed a graveyard on your side of the car you lost ALL your points.  Listening to them count as fast as their mouths could go when we passed a large herd of cattle was cause for lots of giggles.

And of course there was always the popular "I spy".  I spy....something green (or whatever color the object was, inside or outside the car) and then the guessing would begin.  Sometimes the object was guessed and sometimes there was giving up.  And of course each kid wanted to be the "I spyer".  If you guessed you got to be next.  If everyone gave up then you got to be the "I spyer" again.

So, if you remember these car games then I would imagine you are older than 25 or 30.  If you don't, then you are either too young or you didn't take very many long trips as a kid.  Either way you missed out.  Try it next time you are in the car for a long trip and want to turn off the electronics.  You might find it's fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I like taking photos.  I like taking pictures of colorful things.  Flowers.  Birds.  Sunsets.  I always seem to gravitate to the things that have bright colors.  In pictures anyway.

I try to compose the picture but sometimes things just don't cooperate.

I try to get a good picture of the puppies, but they don't cooperate either.
DON'T take my picture!
And sometimes I take pictures of things for no good reason.

I've been trying to take some night pictures, but they aren't working out so good either.

OK, still working on those.

I guess I have enough successes to keep me taking more pictures.

Texas Wildflowers

International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM

Nebraskaland Days Rodeo, North Platte NE - Just because the clouds looked cool

And sometimes they are just too cute to pass up!

See you for "Q".  Believe it or not I already have it planned!

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

Oh, what a beautiful day
I've got a wonderful feeling
Every thing's going my way!

Waking up after sleeping 8 hours uninterrupted was absolutely wonderful.  Sitting outside as the Sun makes it's way to early morning, beautiful!

After 6 months of not getting anymore than 5 or 6 hours of sleep at a time it was so nice to be able to sleep so long,  To wake up when my body says it's time instead of when the gate says it's time, priceless!

I had forgotten how much I enjoy my first waking moments.  Just to sit, drink a morning beverage, enjoy the slow awakening of my senses and to listen to the world wake up is so relaxing.

It all reminded me of that old song I quoted above.  It runs around in my head like a pleasant old memory.  It is so true that a good night's sleep and waking up well rested makes the rest of the day look like anything is possible.

That's all I have for you today.  Just to share that my mornings are enjoyable again.

"P" will be coming up later today.  Enjoy your day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

No More

No more dirt, no more dust, no more mud, no more staying up until 3 am, no more generator lullaby, no more 3 mile dirt road and 12 mile paved bumpy road just to pick up some milk or mail, no more smelly water.

But, no more friendly neighbors, no more close up wildlife, no more wonderful gate guard community, no more friendly oil patch workers and truck drivers, no more friendly and helpful small town Texas people.

Yesterday morning after we briefed our replacements on everything gate guard (they are newbies) we departed our little patch of paradise and headed for San Antonio.  It was bittersweet to leave.  Yes we were glad to be heading back to civilization, but we were also sad to leave new found friends behind and surprisingly, we were also sad to leave our little patch of paradise.

It's noisy here, but a different sort of noise.  We've traded the generator and big rigs for trains, airplanes and freeways.  We've also traded our private piece of land for an RV park full of other people.  But, we've also traded the long trip into town to one small expensive grocery store for any store we could want within a 5 to 10 minute drive.  That comment could be positive both ways. :)  AND, we have traded only one of us leaving the site at a time for going everywhere together.  Once more being a couple together and doing couple things.  Together.

We have enjoyed our work in the oil patch and plans are to come back next fall.  We plan on keeping in touch with the friends we have made and hope to see again.

If you are thinking about gate guarding consider LOMA as the company to work for.  They have been good to us and we look forward to working for them again next fall.  Ken Robison is the contact and can be reached at 817-247-3080.

As we say goodbye to South Texas and head north to our kids and grandkids, we go knowing we have done something new and we did it well.

"N" brings us to the halfway point in the A to Z Challenge.  See  you tomorrow for "O".

To our kids and friends back home - 15 days and a wake up!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Manhattan, Kansas HERE WE COME

 Manhattan, Kansas. The Little Apple. Home of the K-State Wildcats and Bill Snyder.  This is our hometown.

Our oldest daughter and her family live there.  Our Son and his family are a short drive away in Abilene, Kansas.  Our youngest daughter and the granddog, Hugo are in Kansas City, Kansas.  Except for a visit from the youngest at Christmas we haven't seen them in 8 months.  EIGHT MONTHS!  17 days and a wake up! We sure do miss them and now that we are getting close to seeing them again we are anxious to get there.  These are the 10 most important people in our lives.

EmmaRae, Jared, Adrienne and Jaxson Hayes
Caitlin Arnold

Jennifer, Sean, Destiny, Jacob and Erica Arnold

We leave here sometime tomorrow morning and will spend a week in San Antonio at Fort Sam FamCamp cleaning the 5er inside and out.  Get rid of all that south Texas red dirt.  Then on the 23rd heading out to Kerrville, Texas for an RV Rally with the RV-Dreams crew for a week.  Then on April 30th we are on the way out of Texas and on to Kansas!  Hug our kids and grandkids, see friends, medical appointments, go see my favorite beautician Holly and just some general hanging out at home.  Can't wait!

Leaving LaSalle

Man!  I didn't realize I was late for "L" day.  So this is the first of two related posts for today.

If you have been reading my blog you will already know that we are gate guarding in the Eagle Ford shale oil patch.  You may not know that we are in LaSalle County in south Texas.  11.2 miles West of Cotulla off of hwy 468.  Then another 3 miles in on dirt roads to our little spot.

This is our second gate and we have been here since late November.  Our time here at the Circle Y ranch has been very enjoyable.  We had a few slow months when we first got here, but it has since picked up quite a bit.  We're now on the leaving track as of today.  We said goodbye to all the pipeline guys, all the guys on both pads, our regulars and Mary and Jack Neal, our new good friends.

We've hitched the 5er to the truck, put most of everything away in their traveling places and just have to wait for our replacements to show up tomorrow morning.  I hear they are two young women whose parents also have been gate guarding for awhile.  We will give them an orientation - how the generator works, how to fill out the logs, who's on what pad, what the pipeline guys are doing and how nice the ranch owner is.

He in particular has made our stay here pretty damn good.  He and his friends who were usually here every weekend have become our friends.  We will be having dinner at his house with his wife and "the guys" next week.  It will be hard to say goodbye to them, but if all goes well we will be right back here next November.

So as we say goodbye to the Circle Y, Cotulla and LaSalle county we will take away good memories, new friends and a big desire to come back next fall.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


" ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN".  I don't know if that's true or not, although we did learn some very valuable lessons.  Sharing, take your turn, no fighting on the playground, be nice to your classmates, naps are good.

I was thinking more along the lines of what was different about my kindergarten, my kids kindergarten and the grandkids' kindergarten.

I had a wonderful experience for kindergarten.  Some of my first memories involve that year.  When I was 5 kindergarten was not something that was included in school.  Elementary school was 1st through 5th grade.  Preschool?  Not heard of.
My kindergarten was on a farm.  There were horses, cows, goats, chickens and hay rides once a week.  We went half days on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and full days on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It might have been the other way around.  Anyway it was fun.  I remember I took my little sister Catherine for show and tell once.  She even got to bring her own blankie for nap time.

Kindergarten was used as the place to get kids used to being social and to learn the rules and it was not required to enter 1st grade.  I don't remember if we learned our alphabet, but I imagine we did.

By the time my oldest daughter was 5 kindergarten was part of elementary school, but was still used as a vehicle to get children ready for "real" school and had to be completed before entering 1st grade.  When she was 4 I learned about preschool.  We were stationed in Wiesbaden Germany and the church on the small base we were on offered it.  Being the oldest child she really hadn't had a chance to learn how to play well with other children, so I signed her up.  It was free and she thrived there.

I don't really remember why but my second child, our son, didn't go to preschool. It wasn't a mandatory thing and for some reason I decided he didn't need to go.  Perhaps because he was the 2nd child.

The third child?  No preschool for her either, but she had her Grandma living with us and she loved spending time with her.  It never appeared to have hurt either one of them to go directly to Kindergarten with no preschool.

Skip to the grand kids.  I really can't tell you if preschool is mandatory, but I know of no child their age that didn't go.  A majority of the preschools are at the elementary schools.  Even if they are not mandatory, socially speaking it would seem it would be.

And kindergarten is different now.  What we as children learned in 1st grade they are now teaching in kindergarten.  It's no longer a school prep, it IS school.  Now you have preschool for the school prep.  I expect that in the next few years it will be widely accepted that preschool is mandatory and must be completed prior to entering Kindergarten.  I would even imagine there will be children deemed not ready for Kindergarten and "held back" in preschool for one more year.

I'm not against all this, just noticing the difference.  It has been a natural progression I suppose.  More parents both being in the workforce and those out of the home working parents wanting child care where their children also learned something.  I like the idea.  I probably would have jumped all over it when my kids were young if it had been more widely available.

Anyway, just one of those things that has changed over the years.  The thing I always wanted when my kids were young was year around school.  But that's another subject.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Just Another Day In the Oil Patch

It was a beautiful day today, as it has been all week.  Temps in the high 80's or low 90's, blue sky with some big white puffy clouds traveling lazily across the sky.  Look at all those wildflowers!  I didn't realize South Texas could be so beautiful in the springtime.

I realized as I was sitting down to type my J subject that I haven't written about our daily life in a while.  I know some of you are curious about it because you have asked.

In our sticks & bricks house our days were filled with 8 to 5 jobs, fixing dinner, cleaning up, yard work, fixing whatever needed it, laundry and getting ready for the next day of work.  It's not much different living full time in an RV and being gate guards.  We still have all the usual chores; dishes, cleaning up, vacuuming, dusting, fixing 3 meals a day and fixing whatever needs it.  The biggest difference is 300 sq ft takes a lot less time and NO yard work.

Instead of spending so much time on work or chores, we spend more time in each others' company, reading, chatting with neighboring RVers, blogging and computer stuff.  We do all the other leisure traps too; TV, napping, snacking, playing computer games.  We also do things more slowly.  We don't usually have to hurry to do anything.  The stress level is almost nil and the contentment level is maxed out.

We still work.  But the work is not hard or demanding.  A vehicle pulls up to the gate and you sign them in, then sign them out when they leave.  Simplified description, but doesn't get too much more complicated then that.  

The hard part is the hours.  This is a 24 hour gate, as most of them are.  Dave goes to bed at 7 or 8 pm while I work the night shift.  He gets up at 2:30 am and I hit the sack until about 9 or 10.  Or at least that's the plan.  I've been having trouble sleeping past 7 or 8.  If I get up too early, I'll go doze in the chair for awhile.  I take a shower, eat breakfast and then I am ready to take over while Dave takes a nap.  He never naps for longer than an hour and around 3 I take a nap to get me through until 3 am.

He fixes himself some breakfast before I get up.  I fix my breakfast after my shower and then he'll have some lunch.  We eat dinner together (my lunch)and then around midnight I'll fix myself some dinner.  Somewhere in there one of us will do the dishes, or dust or clean off the counters.  

We have to dust quite often.  When it's not raining the dust is everywhere.  When it is raining it's hard to keep the mud out.  These caliche roads are sticky sucky mud when it rains!

We'll be leaving the oil patch next Monday, but before we do we'll have to clean as much as we can, inside and out.  We'll need to make sure everything is secure again for traveling and make sure the mechanical and hydraulic systems for the slides and jacks work.  But, with our life being slow we get a little done each day.

Until tomorrow.