Archive for October, 2016

Mail in or go to the poll?

Friday, October 28th, 2016

I have done both mail in and gone to the poll to vote on election day… and I have to say, yesterday I did a happy medium! I did early voting at a local library. I was so impressed by the speed, efficiency and good humor of the people at the polling location and this includes the voters, the sign shakers outside, and the poll workers. As the short line snaked through the children’s section of the library, I thought how fitting it is to vote in a library. Books being the symbol of democracy (the pen being mightier than the sword).. and how calm it was. Good humor from people near me meant we weren’t stressed, no guns, no violence. Peace, calm. There were several issues, primary of course is the Presidency which I capitalize because I still hold on to the belief that the President and the office is to be respected. Let us pray that continues. I had such a good experience that I came home dancing and singing my exuberance that Chuck decided to forgo the mail in ballot and I just dropped him off at the library for early voting! There are 4 guys helping with parking, and some firefighters giving directions. It’s positively positive out here! We have an addendum on the ballot to give benefits “above and beyond” to first responders disabled on the job. Go for it is our vote. Go vote!!!! God bless America!

Home sweet home!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

We arrived home safe and sound around 130 pm with an additional 4093 miles on the little Mazda! We have the windows open as it is autumn, but oh my goodness… Where is autumn??? My phone tells me it is 83 degrees in Westwood Lake, Florida!!! Yikes it’s hot! So much complaining! I’m about to hang the first load of laundry “out” on the line so thank you Mother Nature for not raining. God bless you!

in Orlando

Monday, October 24th, 2016

We had a long day of driving, but finally arrived at Renee’s in Orlando! Going to eat a magnificent dinner of rib roast, baked potatoes, asparagus. Yum Renee! All is well and we are just some old friends catching up. God bless you.

wedding at sunset…and sunset!

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Pray today that the new married couple “invited Jesus to the wedding.” Always when I see a wedding on the beach I think of myself, young, defiant, penniless, wanted to make my own short dress and marry on the beach. I might not, in my state of belligerence and young love, I might not have invited Jesus. But he came just the same. Today’s beach wedding was on Pensacola Beach. I was on a shell searching walk… And I saw sunset coming and a wedding group assembling. I walked back to get camera and then… Watched the wedding, prayed for the young couple and took photos of the cloudless red/orange sunset. Now it is evening time and all is peaceful. If only it could be this quiet and peaceful everywhere… At least so peaceful in our hearts. God bless you.

Did you hear the wind?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

I’m looking out at the Gulf of Mexico clear and quiet as a glass dish, sea oats blowing gently in the foreground. I remember in the night I thought it was blowing like a hurricane. I had made a painting and left it and the dish for paints out on a picnic table to dry and I thought they would be long gone… blown up against someone’s house a mile away, but this morning… there they are. Safe and sound. A painting of the Gulf all colors of blues and greens… safe with the paint spattered dish… No wind. I ask if anyone heard the wind? and they look at me, “nope.” Does wind blow if no one hears it? The colors here are amazing. A very pale blue sky, a sea the color of peacock blue, white white sand, butterflies flutter against the still closed porch doors. Pensacola Beach is an amazing beautiful place to walk, wide and peaceful. It’s hard to imagine this house we are visiting was destroyed twice! I sip coffee and have nothing to do but read, walk on the beach, look for shells, watch football games. Hope your Saturday is absolutely lovely and you are safe and healthy. God bless you.

College Football on Friday? or… celebrating heroes?

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Tonight we are in Pensacola Beach with friends who live on Big Pine, but spend some time on a tiny sliver of land on the Florida Panhandle in Pensacola Beach… they have been wiped out by hurricanes twice… but have rebuilt. Tonight we celebrate college football with Steve and Dorothy: we talked about Marshall which was a story of fighting back after the entire football team was wiped out in a plane crash and they rebuilt their team and fought back … Tonight Temple plays and college football begins for a long weekend. We changed the subject to WWI and WWII as we had the submariner Chuck and I have just finished reading of the amazing developments made by the Navy since the 1939 rescue of men from the sunken submarine Squalus… We also shared our cell phone systems that show the skies and we watched the space station float by. Everyone should have the space station on an app. Americans are up there in the space station with the Russians. Find out and look up at the appropriate time when they fly by. I got to walk on the beach this afternoon… white sandy beach sand soft between my toes and lots of shells to pick up! I hope others have the same pleasure. Never take for advantage what we have… pray this night that we can save our country and maybe the only way we can save her is with prayer. Pray for the safety of life and peace. God bless you.

just when i think there is nothing else…

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Note to self: get recipe for Cajun corn at Court of Two sisters. So… After a long sweaty but rewarding walk through the cemeteries… A must do when visiting New Orleans, we had a beer at an outdoor jazz memorial pub… Then I said in my usual “I wanna” fashion… “I want lunch and another beer.” Chuck just moved forward on Bourbon Street… He knew exactly where he wanted to take his whining spouse… Court of Two Sisters with outdoor tables, a Jazz trio called A Sharpe, and a great daily buffet. Hence the note to self… Get the recipe for the corn. Chuck chose a Clos du Bois and I’m melding into my seat to become one with the beautiful sisters. Come to our house and I’ll share my version of the Cajun Corn and play the A Sharpe Trio CD for you. God bless you.

Wish you could hear this Jazz!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Today we walked all along the Mississippi! She is wide and working down here in New Orleans. She carries container ships, ferries, cruise ships, and the inevitable steamer full of conventioneers! We stopped at a beautiful Holocaust memorial with an amazing piece of art in 9 panels by Yaacov Agam. It is beautiful. If you walk all around it and concentrate you find a large yellow star of David. The pieces show the anguish and horror of the Holocaust in a beautiful piece of art. We also ate oysters at the bar served by Pam at the Acme Oyster House. Right now we’re listening to a Jazz band in 30 degrees/ 90 degrees. Dinner arrived! Be well. God bless America.

Unplanned but typical Peabody choice!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

We stopped this morning at the Louisiana visitors center way out west in Lake Charles. “How about Cajun with shrimp on every corner?” The little southern lady asked. “Yum” said Chuck… “Shrimp”. Somehow NCIS New Orleans and beignets came up and we were on the road headed for an Inn that Chuck found 6 years ago called… Elysian Fields Inn. New Orleans called us away from a southern route that would have taken us into Cajun country… And it is history. We are sitting on an upper porch listening to the mournful sound of a train whistle, a calliope (which was the name of one of the muses and means “voice”), and looking at Orange tree tops, sipping wine. Later we will search for Rooster who played the horn downtown the last time we were here. Our party town! God bless you!

The Grand Canyon - next time…

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

We were supposed to check into the Grand Canyon today… But I asked Chuck if we could change that plan due to it being about 6 days extra “windshield time on this trip,” and I opted for a few hours less driving and the sunny beautiful east coast of Texas. Dear Chuck is willing to “turn right, turn left” and not ask too many questions. He has saved us a few times when I miss exits and entrances so I know he is paying attention. So today, after yesterday’s wonderful final tribute to the men who freed Texas for independence… at San Jacinto Sam Houston seemed to his men to be retreating and they were deserting…. but I think he just wanted to out fox Santa Anna and put the Mexicans’ backs to the water… When Sam Houston’s forces attacked, the Mexicans weren’t ready and the battle at San Jacinto was over quickly. Only 9 “Texicans” died there. In a final war with Mexico, the US gained about 7 of what are now the Western States. So with the Louisiana purchase, the war with Mexico, and the purchase of Alaska we became “big” - what we are today. Texans are proud to be Texans. I wish we could all be so proud and keep our individual states clean and well regulated.

After the visit to San Jacinto Chuck and I came back to the pool for pool play and reading. We are both reading submarine novels. Mine is the sinking of a sub in 1939 and the rescue of about half her crew. The sub was raised from the bottom and major changes were subsequently made to her systems and to future submarine design. It seems that someone left a valve open, or it opened accidentally as they dived filling her with sea water. I’m not to the rescue yet in the book, but I know she survived and was recommissioned under a new name. Chuck’s book is a 2000 incident with a nuclear sub. It’s really dangerous business. Go find and hug a submarine sailor. We are really blessed in our local submarine group to have some of the younger men who served on nuclear subs. They are successful, independent, proud men. Hug a veteran today!

Yesterday evening we met the widow of an old friend… “Jake” Charles Smiley was the son of Smiley… he and Cotton were Chuck’s dad’s best friends. Smiley drove me to our wedding. They were such good friends. Chuck visited Jake in Houston in 2010 and Jake succumbed to cancer in 2014. We had a good visit with Lorraine and shared many good old memories. God bless our friends whom we have lost. Take care of them Lord.

Off we go south today, to Galveston island, via ferry to Port Bolivar, and along the south Louisiana coast. I’ll let you know tonight where we land for we have not a plan! Just head east along the water of the Gulf of Mexico. I would like to give some business to the beleagured coast that took such a beating off the deep water Horizon. Until we land… God bless you.

Houston, hello and goodbye

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

The first word spoken from the moon was “Houston… Eagle has landed.” Did you know LBJ put Houston on the map by moving communications with space capsules to Houston and that is probably responsible for the spread of Houston across Interstate 10 for miles of complicated and FULL freeways. As we drove for about 50 miles on I10, I kept blinking my eyes in the rush hour traffic we just came through…. This is Sunday!!! But when we finally cleared Houston and got out on to Clear Lake that opens to Galveston Bay… I realized those were holiday travelers getting back “home” after a weekend “on the shore.” We are now on the shore at Clear Lake, Seabrook and Kemah (resort towns east of Houston and on Galveston Bay). I booked two nights here at a complimentary rate of $0 because we stayed 4 nights at Choice hotels on the trip preceeding San Antonio! Tomorrow, we will go up to San Jacinto and celebrate the last battle of the war for Texas Independence where Sam Houston “got lucky”. He defeated the forces of Santa Anna with his men yelling “Remember the Alamo.” San Antonio was beautiful and the reunion was a lot of fun. We are now on a week long journey to visit the south coast of Louisiana and Pensacola and then begin the south bound road to “home.” God bless you!

On dignity and being presidential

Friday, October 14th, 2016

I’ve been watching a little television and it really seems to me that the “news” people don’t really want to talk about how a President would effect change on the issues like the Supreme Court and what we want Congress to do, tax laws, health insurance, market prosperity, etc. Rather the talk is pretty volatile, mean spirited, and getting worse. Hope we all vote, hope our vote is counted, hope we get through this election to better times.

Today 2 busses full of submarine sailors and companions traveled north east out of San Antonio to visit the LBJ Texas White House and I got a better picture of LBJ. He was a big man 6′ 4″ over 220 pounds. Big broad shoulders and I thought I remembered that Kennedy really didn’t like the big brash Texan but his home is Texas… Big. Bold. Proud. God bless Texas. God bless the USA.

Then we drove south to Fredericksburg TX to the museum of the Pacific (home of Admiral Nimitz). The museum is full of memorabilia: photos, guns, parts of ships and planes… From 1941 the end of the war. Also a peace garden contributed by Japan in honor of Nimitz’s gentlementally treatment of Japan after WWII. Enough war stuff so Chuck and I headed for Main Street and found an art gallery/wine bar that also sold draft craft beer. Beer in hand, we strolled through the gallery. I could breathe again, “Make art… Not war.” One day ask to see my pictures taken within the gallery!! Sailors got onto the bus, and were counted. Back to hotel for more fun with sailors! Hotel full of high school students on a Year Book weekend. Out to a Riverwalk restaurant for steak. God bless you.

City of Saints 2

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Yesterday I meant to talk about the saints! We walk all around San Antonio, and the city and River walk are full of Saints and Missions. San Antonio of course is St Anthony of Padua, St Mary’s is the longest street and a beautiful big church, St Joseph is a German church with Sunday Mass in German, and I’ll be going over to the Cathedral of San Fernando today for noon daily Mass that I will attend with a Catholic friend I met in the pool. Bells ring all day long from the various churches!

The sailors are coming in today with hospitality room open at noon. I’ll miss that gathering by going out to the Cathedral. I am sure I will hear plenty of stories in the next 2 days! Last evening we walked to Paesano’s Italian restaurant on River walk. The entire walk from hotel to the big River walk restaurant area can be made below the streets on the River. The walk is punctuated by decorative murals, trees, flowering bushes, ducks, and the meandering river. Weather is beautiful. God bless the areas of our nation still flooding and help us to tone down angry political voices. One prayerful heart at a time. God bless you.

City of Saints

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

I keep saying “I love Texas!” The weather is dry and warm, the streets are maintained, albeit confusing due to one way nightmares… We call driving here an adventure! Penny and I are boot shopping for her and we found a Jerry’s artarama! Buy only 3 tubes of paint get one free and a paint brush “on sale”. We have spent the last two days walking down in River Walk. And I swam in the hotel pool in freezing water. How can the sun be SO HOT and the water SO COLD? Stayed in “moving around a lot” and will continue swimming daily if I can! We have been running into a lot of veterans on our walks and this morning talked with first Quillback veteran who was on with Chuck and Rick. Ok! Time for some Mexican or Texas barbeque! God bless you.

Moving on an hour south

Monday, October 10th, 2016

When we left Miami, I had done some research into what’s happening here in Texas and I originally settled on a town called Fredericksburg but later in the research game decided on Kerrville. They are small towns on the rivers of Texas.. Kerrvilled is situated on the Guadaloupe and has many beautiful parks where we have enjoyed hours of peaceful sitting. Kerrville has a small town center where they have the art festivals I’ve spoken of. Next weekend they will have chalk drawing on the street. They can block off two blocks and not cause a major artery blockage as Miami experiences. We do have a small community in Miami - it’s Pinecrest, and I intend to do more in that area. We went 6 miles away towards Ingram yesterday to the Celtic festival where Americans celebrate Scottish and Irish heritage with song, athletics, and food. The music was wonderful! We opted for music rather than story telling… and ate Scottish food (sausages and a meat pie). Today I’m going to do laundry while Chuck packs up the car and then…. off to San Antonio for the reunion. Rick Hartman and friend Penny arrive Tuesday and we will show them around. With submariners we will visit the War in the Pacific Museum in Fredericksburg, the Johnson Ranch and Library, and the Alamo among other things to do with the reunion. I’ve watched snippets of the debate last night. I like to see how they present themselves, I watch faces, and listen to words. Both candidates “looked” Presidential. I wonder about the mass quantity of white Hillary wore. I don’t know who helps her dress and I think it’s interesting to watch the “presentation” of the first woman candidate for the Presidency. I am deeply concerned about the rights of unborn children which neither candidate addresses. If we save the babies to birth, then we have to offer child care. If we are going to keep our country alive, we have to stop killing babies in the womb. Think and pray on this please. God bless you!

Kerrville, great small town!

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

When we stop in a town, I always try to research all the stuff going on so I can see everything before we go. In Santa Fe a few years ago, I had a schedule for about 4 days where I noted events, opening hours, days closed etc… and as we went… I would cross things off or move things to different days. Get a town map and just go! Same here in Kerrville. Yesterday we did everything I planned and still had time to laze on the river eating barbeque sandwiches and beer…. From the Art gallery to a crafts show which was really a big flea market…. Good thing we don’t have the big van. As it is, we are a little bit heavier now. To the river and then to the Nature Center which is a glorified wild garden with a lot of wild butterflies! Back to town to get me to Mass while Chuck visited the American Legion. Back to the hotel to watch the UM v Florida State football game. Miami Lost… boo hoo. I was so ready to win 5 in a row. It is no fun to lose, but I guess when we play sometimes we lose. Better to play. Today is the Celtic festival and a mini Stonehenge in Ingram, Texas! Weather has been hot and beautiful. God bless you. Hope our east coast neighbors are unharmed.

Art on the Street

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

In Miami, I seem to miss events like art walks as thousands go and parking is a night mare… excuses galore I know (shame on me). Yesterday we visited the Museum of Western Art and the American Legion where they gave us free beer for being from more than 100 miles away, and we took a leisurely stroll and picnic lunch on the Guadaloupe River with a bunch of fat geese as companions… Then at 4pm we picked up a friend we met at the homecoming parade the night before and then we found street parking and diagonal parked within a 1/2 block of the “art walk”. The town of Kerrville blocked off 2 blocks in front of the Cultural Arts Center and artists were setting up to paint for 1 1/2 hour in a contest… We set up our 3 folding chairs on the sidewalk, poured glasses of wine, and began to stroll and visit artists set up along two blocks of the street in front of the Arts Center. Painting started with the ringing of the town clock and the bells over Notre Dame Catholic Church at 5pm. Wine sharing was going on at one end of the street. As we walked we chatted with the artists and “judged their work”. I picked about 5 artists I liked including a friend I had made under the bridge the day before… Jesus Toro Martinez (with a gallery in San Antonio) paints giant canvases and true to his nature, he had a giant blank canvas (really just a sheet of canvas) spread out on the street. As I watched him for the next 1 1/2 hour he rolled and splotted that canvas and the end result was wonderful! Another wonderful artist gave me her card with palm trees painted on it! And I said, “I paint palm trees! I love the play of light and colors on the palm fronds.” I wish we could be fast friends, but Emely McConkey lives in Tucson which is such a long way from Miami…. (I actually cut this trip short…. the driving time to the Grand Canyon for example…. 3 days west of San Antonio… it is too much for me. So I can only dream of Western art and sky!) The goal of last night’s art in the streets was to showcase the downtown area. Artists were painting the umbrellas over tables at Francisco’s restaurant, certain store fronts, little alleyways, pots of flowers, and Hallowe’en decorations. As we strolled, several “locals” said “I never looked down that alley before,”… so the show is a good idea for a small town. This could easily be done on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables… Do it near a parking garage so people could just “walk the street” and peer down the small never seen alleyways created by the spaces between buildings. It helps that drinking on the streets of Kerrville is allowed. I met one of the “wine share” ladies and shared my idea for painting a mural on the bridge we sat under the day before…. Maybe one day, “Put a brush in every hand,” will catch on here in Kerrville and the bridge mural will be reality. We are off today to see the inside of the cultural Arts Center and the Riverside Nature Center which is a farm turned into gardens with butterflies and flowers… I will paint someplace and then go to what Chuck calls “cheater Mass” at 5pm. The University of Miami plays Florida State tonight at 8pm on ABC but we are in the heart of Texas…. might not get the game on TV… Hope so. God bless you!

sitting beside a river

Friday, October 7th, 2016

I always search for water and the Guadeloupe River is beautiful. Yesterday we picniced under the bridge in Tranquility Park in Kerrville. I watched an artist paint on a big at least 3 feet by 3 feet canvas… He is showing tonight in the art festival here in Kerrville. If you follow I10 out west over San Antonio you find Kerrville. They have one high school and last night we took our chairs and wine and sat and waited for the Homecoming Parade. The VFW float threw a tee shirt to Chuck who was wearing his cowboy-submarine hat! We ate great veal saltimboca last night at Bella Note restaurant and today, after a visit to the American west cowboy art museum, we visited the VFW For a few beers… … We are picnicing once again on the Guadeloupe. News of the horrible hurricane Matthew makes us sad and we turn our faces into the wind and ask God for peace. The Guadeloupe is calm, if ruffled a little by a front coming in. Thank heaven as this is lowering the Texas heat. So… We are waiting for a few more hours until we return to the town square for the art festival tonight. God bless our family on the east coast of Florida (Jacksonville) and then up the coast. Get thee gone storm. God bless you.

Don’t Mess with Texas!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

When we crossed over the state line into Texas, the scenery and road immediately changed. It is pretty obvious that Texas is a well managed state with money… and Arkansas … isn’t. We went to the information center and picked up a lot of paperwork on the hill country of Texas which is where we will spend 5 days before going to San Antonio. So we will have almost two weeks in hot weather in Texas! The pool was not open at our hotel here near Austin because they are painting it… I looked real sad and I asked if I could swim over at the Best Western (across the parking lot.) I continued to look sad so the desk girl upgraded us to a room with jaccuzi… The small jacuzzi pool calls and I must go. God protect the east coast of the US and let us pray for the Bahamas… they are taking a beating. God bless you.

Cutting through middle America

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Chuck and I are driving through middle America. Tennessee is long from east to west leading into Arkansas which leads into Oklahoma which has tornados. On I 40 (the old route 66) we discovered that Tennessee maintains the road, and Arkansas does not! You know sometimes when you go over a state line, the road changes, well this Arkansas part of I40 really is torn up. The speed limit was way under 70 and Chuck was pulled over as we bumped over the interstate… “You passed me,” said the police officer… “Do you know how fast you were going?” he asked …. Both Chuck and I kind of shrugged… I would say, but didn’t say, “Interstate speed… ” for Chuck about 80 miles per hour…. We don’t know how fast we were going… we were listening to a really exciting part of a Clive Custler novel on DVD… and I am sure police don’t want to hear that!!! The policeman took drivers license, insurance card, and registration back to his car and we sat waiting… feeling a little sad. I was thinking, “the ticket will be the cost of a few dinners on the road…” The police officer came back and said, “Drive slower, sir.” and handed Chuck the license etc back. We hung our heads in shame… and drove off slowly. We don’t know why he let us go, but it went into the “Gratitude” book…. “Thank you dear Guardian angels”… We get off I40 here in North Little Rock and get onto I30 south to head into Texarcana and south past Dallas and into the Texas hill country. Tomorrow we will go to Luckenbach, Texas where Waylon, Willie and the boys sang!!!! The weather channel is full of Hurricane Michael and we hope our friends in Bahamas and on the east coast of the US especially my sister in Jacksonville are ready for the big blow… God bless you all and take care of you. Keep your powder dry.

Cookeville, Tennessee

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Pulled in without realizing time has changed. So we get an extra hour! Will take a nap and then get some real Tennessee barbeque with a friend Al who used to work with Chuck and Dave in Miami. Looking forward to some rest after lots of full time play on the mountain! Tomorrow on to Little Rock Arkansas and then into Texas! God bless you!

Over the hills and dales

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Today we will leave Boone and head on old mountain roads to catch Route 40 which will take us all the way into Texas. But first… Stops in Tennessee to have dinner with friends Al who moved to a quieter place than Miami, and several other western places with our goal a small area of Texas called the hill country. We will visit places like Luckenbach (Let’s go to Luckenbach Texas with Willie, Waylon and the boys) and Comfort Texas on our way to the submarine reunion in San Antonio. So darlings expect to hear about hills and jack rabbits. God bless you today, Sunday. Look up and Thank God!