July 9, 2013
Our annual family reunion is really a family and friends reunion. The first to arrive on July 4th was Wendy and Paul Lothrop from Southern California. Long time friends of my daughter Kristanne. it was designed to be a surprise for her because she hadn’t seen them in a about two years and didn’t know they were coming.
Doug was cutting tile for one of three tables he rebuilt.
Kristanne and Austin arrived next. After having a chance to visit with Wendy and Paul, and since we were waaaay behind schedule with extremely hot weather, my inability to do very much, and a lot of things left undone for too long, Doug put Kris to work on the barbeque table he rebuilt, staining the wood trim and later two coats of Varathane.
Austin hung the flag, washed and tested all the squirt guns to make sure they worked, emptied the garbage and sorted recycling for a run to the dump before the big event on Saturday.
He only had to toss one gun.
On Friday, the young cousins arrived. Abby got sparkles in her hair and the boys sported newly painted mohawks for the occasion. Later Kristanne fixed a mohawk for Austin, too.
Sisters, Bev and Kathy. Bev is mother of the boys and Abby.
Kathy always brings something zany for the kids, this time some 4th of July sunglasses…
…and some weird teeth for herself. Boy, what Hollywood can do to make you look old.
Ted and Bev set up the first tent. The kids played on the trampoline and had squirt gun wars all day, while Wendy kept us all fed.
Doug put Ted to work patching tubes that went dead.
Virginia, Cedric, Theo and Owen arrived late on Friday, but the kids got some trampoline time in and we adults played a game called What’s Yours Like?
It is a guessing game, brings a lot of laughter, and the good thing, is you can snack and drink with the game without worrying about getting your cards or board wet or spilled on or greasy. More reunion stuff tomorrow. Have to visit the Chiropractor this morning.
June 9, 2013
The motorhome is parked at my son’s home where I’m expected to remain until July 17th.
Mary is in Las Vegas, Nevada for her grandson’s high school graduation. Yesterday it was 113 degrees! Today’s forecast is for 110 degrees! Yowee! I’m glad I’m not there!!
Tropical Storm Andrea has finally moved on. Here’s an indication of how hard it rained…
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…
The driveway to my son’s home…
My current set-up…
Enjoying visiting with family is another joy of the full-timing lifestyle!
The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Connecticut. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…
Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein
On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!
Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.
If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
April 6, 2013
High stakes yard work is kind of an exaggeration. Difficult as it seems in this cool and rainy weather, I have to think about heat coming on while I’m gone. You can lose an expensive, mature shrub in a week in withering weather without an intact sprinkling system. My housemate and I checked the system and it needed two small repairs. The sprinkling clock works, and I can rest in peace when I return to the motor home, hopefully on April 15th.
It’s killing me that Jim is having soooo much fun while I’m missing some great craft beers and the friendly folks of Vicksburg.
Brian, my computer guru is set to come tomorrow and help me out. This morning I’ll evaluate my insurance coverage before paying the bills and then attend an engagement party in the afternoon. Shoot, I haven’t been to an engagement party among friends in…?? (I’m not counting that extravagant engagement shower In Louisiana.) I’m not sure what to expect. I know chocolate and cherries spell romance so I did put together a chocolate bouquet and a cherry surprise. These kids are 25 years old so I hope to toast them with this old saw:
Here is to Karli, may you always have diamonds on your fingers and knock-em-dead-destroy-the-paycheck-dresses to wear.
And to Danny, may you have an indestructible paycheck.
Karli and Danny aren’t as materialistic as that toast suggests, but it always brings a laugh and they don’t read my blog. What I really like to impress on young people is the definition of treasure.
Before getting on-line this morning, I cruised through some old family photos and put on slideshows of my grandkids at an earlier age. What a pleasure my pictures are to me. A keen reminder that real treasure is our family and friends.
January 13, 2013
Yesterday’s blog about Brownsville, I neglected to mention that the city does not allow plastic bags. When you shop, you must bring your own bag or carry purchases as they are. What a treat it is to visit an area without plastic bags clinging to every alley, puddle, barbed- wire fence and twiggy bush along the roadsides. Residents are aware of the huge conglomeration of plastic bags that reaches the ocean and gets caught in a swirling ocean vortex often described as the size of the state of Texas. In windy country like South Texas, that ban is very meaningful. Thank you citizens of Brownsville.
From Brownsville, we drove North East along the coast. At one point a sign indicates -Sixty Miles To The Next Service Station. We figured we were probably driving across the King Ranch, or part of it. We saw a sign for Yburria Ranch, which is another huge ranch holder like King, Kennedy and others that acquired huge Spanish land grants at three cents an acre.
We parked at the Kingsville Elks Club #1226, then went to visit the Kings Ranch Museum. On the drive over, we noticed the King Ranch Saddle Shop. The museum doesn’t allow photos, but is beautifully done, and well worth seeing. A family history is shown in a 23 minute video of the family.
One grand-daughter climbed a tower in the 1940′s and took pictures of the cattle milling, the men working the cattle, and photos of life on the ranch. These photos blown up to one- story size are the centerpiece of the museum, viewable from below and a walkway above. Other, bigger than life photos and a ranch buggy and car collection take up most of the lower story. In the entrance, a rug depicting the King Family holdings that once covered a floor in their office buildings, is two stories high.
Richard King ran away from home at age 11 as a stowaway and ended up eventually in South Texas. A hard worker, he lived frugally. He met Robert E. Lee and Lee advised him to buy land and don’t ever sell. And, that is what he did. He bought the Santa Gertrudis land grant situated on a river. He went into Mexico just over the border from Brownsville and invited a whole village of people to move to his ranch and help him build it. They did.
I was impressed with King. He treated his help like family. They were family. They lived remotely and his children grew up side by side with his vaquero’s families. They ate the same food; he built a chapel and school for the children. And, some of the descendants of the vaqueros still work the King Ranch today. He dug wells and opened up the vast dry lands to productive pasture. He brought the first Brahma bull in to mix with his herd and began the Texas Long Horn tradition and better beef. There is much about this family you will like.
King died at age 60 of cancer and his wife and one son-in-law continued to build up the ranch. She lived to age 92, basically unchanged by wealth. Down to earth, hard-working, kind and helpful. Her daughter who succeeded her as matriarch of the family was the same. Subsequent generations have played with money, race horses, planes and politics. And, other businesses, like a dairy that produced 1000 pounds of butter a day. Saddles,a Hardware Store; they became growers with orchards of citrus and pecans. They employ a lot of people and own ranches in Australia, South America and one in Africa. They have become preservationists for wildlife on the ranch.
I especially enjoyed a beautiful saddle collection. One car in the collection had built in holsters in the metal to carry hunting rifles. There are several very original cars in this collection if you are a car collection addict.
From the King Museum, we learned we had passed by the Kennedy Ranch Museum at Sarita, in that wide expanse of “no services”.
Jim and I repaired to the Elks Club bar for a drink before dinner.
April 18, 2012
Closer to leaving Murphys and joining Jim gives me pause to realize how much and how little I got accomplished in my time at home. I didn’t catch up with everyone I wanted to see or everything I wanted to do. Yet, I finished some complicated projects. There is never enough time in our hurried lives. It makes sense to stop and smell the roses.
I took time out to have friends for dinner. We call Paul, The Famous Paul Moeller, because he is known by everyone in the county. He has videotaped every event to the tune of 3 shows a week since 1983. Unstoppable, at 84, we know he has to slow down, but doesn’t. And Pam Quyle, hard-working, involved with everything that is art. She has been in this county the longest, from childhood. She is owner of Quyle Kilns, and meets people from everywhere in the world on their way to Big Trees. She educates everyone who walks in her shop and has this unlimited memory of everyone in the county, especially connected to the old-time families. Always finding a home for someone who needs a place to stay because she has this big heart and fields a steady stream of people in need of help.
And Margo, the most popular and well-known woman in Murphys. You can’t walk down the street with her because she gets stopped too many times. Everybody knows Margo. She pours wine for Chatom Vineyards and has as many local friends as out-of-town friends, and many from other countries. She speaks German, French and English. She doesn’t have to work and keeps planning a second retirement. Chatom doesn’t want her to leave.
I promised cactus to anyone who wants a piece, so Pam took my picture hacking off a hunk for Margo who loves cactus. Still more than half of it to go. Any takers?
As I look at my pictures these past couple weeks from the new camera, they seem mushy and over bright. Slightly out of focus. I’ve got to test it and see if I can discover the problem before the warranty is up. And, I ordered plane tickets for my return to New Mexico , and now the things undone loom larger. Still, can’t forget the roses.
April 11, 2012
Most of us have several families, children, siblings, cousins, or pets. I have a family of plants. I didn’t start out to name them, but each one is a story. This is Kristanne, who had me baby-sit her plants when she was moving out of her apartment. It almost created a border incident as we traveled to Southern California, picked up her houseplants, with a much smaller version of this giant, returned home by way of Arizona, and re-entered California. The border guard wanted to know what all those plants were sticking out of the windows in the back seat, and poking out of an uncloseable trunk. After a suspicious examination he said: “Do you always take your plants with you on vacation?”
Now, what to do with it? Damaged by frost while the tile floor was redone after a flood in December, it has lost some of its beauty. It is full of sharp, points. Nearly impossible to move. It needs re-potting. Its gotta go.
Uncle Charlie is a split leaf philodendron, given to my best friend, Betty, (now deceased). She named it and lovingly cared for it, split it, and shared it many times in defiance of her husband’s family who rejected and ostracized his gay brother Charlie. I need to nourish that statement for Betty.
My mother-in-law Alta, gave me many plants, and two survive, this soft begonia…
…and this very fitting mother-in-laws tongue. It is twisted and woody and old and should be tossed. But, Alta has been with me for so many years. How can I do that to her, no matter how sharp her tongue was?
My mother had a black thumb, so she often bought plants for me so she could enjoy them at my house. This lipstick plant is about three feet long, and very plain when not in bloom. Do I really need to keep it?
Then there’s moses-in -a-boat from my dear friend Anne.
And a rosary plant from Aunt Kathleen.
My Jeannie, hoya, I’ve had for 51 years.
And, a fiddle-leaf philodendron that is nine feet tall and spreads another seven feet along my dining room ceiling. It, too, struggles with a too small pot and neglect. It’s time. But…they’re family!
November 23, 2011
I ran into my friend Suki Tutthill at the bank yesterday. She is hosting 31 people for Thanksgiving dinner. I groaned. Too much work. “No”, she said. “Its a free for all. I’m not even allowed in the kitchen. The women bring stuff and cook. The men do the clean up and I provide the place. Finding the dishes after everyone leaves can be interesting,” she chuckles. Hmmm. Sounds like fun. My simplify Thanksgiving this year is going to my daughter’s house and bringing the cranberries and a salad. We are a games playing family and enjoy the day long into the evening where turkey sandwiches, snacks, cards and loud competitive family stories are as much a part of the day as the dinner.
Our holiday get-to-gethers need simplifying in the future. Welcome holidays “lite”. No more wobbling, overloaded from the table and packing on the pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.
My plan is to unsweeten the sweet potatoes, salads that don’t sog, berry and apple pies without bottom crust. No side dishes and snacks with cream and sour cream. (Rich side dishes can be the centerpiece of another dinner.)
Lighten the work load, too. Mash the potatoes with the peelings on. Make stuffing on the side ahead of time. Smoke the turkey. Smoked turkey takes one and one-half hours on a kettle barbeque with a drip dish at the bottom and the guys do it, leaving the kitchen and oven free for other things. Gravy made days ahead by roasting a chicken and two turkey thighs. On the big day, just reheat. Use paper plates and paper napkins with dinner served buffet style. Yup! Traditions can and do change.
I used to try and prepare everyone’s favorite dish for Thanksgiving. Pretzel jello for Laurie, sweet potatoes with rum, pineapple, orange juice and banana for Virginia, macaroni shells stuffed with Italian sausage for Kristanne. Ken, Doug, and Rich always concentrated on the potatoes and turkey.
Now, Doug picks blackberries every year for pies at Thanksgiving, Christmas and our July family reunion. Cedric makes walnut and pecan pies to die for. Virginia makes a pear tart that no one will give up. At one time, I prepared no less than three vegetable side dishes such as corn pudding, creamed baby onions, burgundy carrots, spinach souffle, Harvard beets, marinated mushrooms, artichoke quiche. An embarrassment of riches.
As we give thanks for our bounty, suitably lighter, we know our table is still overladen compared to 98% of people in the world. It is appropriate that we are thankful, that we share, and that we have the means to help others at this special time of year and still enjoy our celebrated feast.
June 15, 2011
High School Graduations are at hand. For some students, high school is a breeze of wonderful friendships and activities. They’ve been in school practically all of their young lives. And now stands before me, this grandson, Alec Dane Pedersen.
We adults send them out into the world with great expectations of success, of preparation for a new and independent life. We hang a lot on them during this poignant ceremony. Hope is big here for them and us, their parents, grandparents, and friends who know them. And, there is worry, as well. Will they make it? Will they see the job that puts dollars in their pocket from the local Fish And Grill, or MacDonalds, will they see it? Will they know that down the line this is forever? Forever, unless they prepare now for a better life? It’s easy to get caught in the now instead of once again, taking up more years at the helm of teachers and books.
What I found unique about this ceremony for Alec and his peers was the reading, by the teachers, of a statement each student wrote about what they expected of themselves in the coming years. They chose a quote that from a great scientist, philosopher, artist, inventor, explorer or statesman, and related that advice to their own lives.
March 13, 2011
I jokingly refer to my separations from Mary as “Banishment”. In reality when we first got together in 2008, that was part of the deal. She still has a home and four rentals that require her attention, so we knew that 3-4 times a year she would have to return home to attend to business.
She claims I’m a distraction (Who, Me?) whenever I’m at her home and “can’t get much done when you’re around”, So, she has requested I stay away so she can get things done. Hence my joke about being banished!
If you have not seen it, here’s our “business card” that we hand to people as we meet them on the road.
So, what do I do while in banishment?
Well, first of all,I try to stay in decent weather conditions. Then I try to take maximum advantage of my Thousand Trails RV Resort membership, so that I have maximum comfort during my banishment. That means security and utility-generated electricity.
Since I’ve traveled my usual Western route of Washington in the summer and the desert southwest in the winter for 16 years, I’ve seen most of the attractions.
So…here’s what I do…
I think a lot about what an interesting life I’ve had and lucky guy I am. All my life I’ve enjoyed wonderfully good health. At 70 years of age, I have never had any major illnesses or pain or surgery. I’m not on any kind of prescribed medications. I still have all of my own teeth and most of my hair. Can you put a price on that?
I think about my wonderful family and my many great friends and acquaintances.
I think about how lucky I am to have traveled so extensively in my life. 26 countries while in the U.S. Navy. I started RVing in 1962, retired at age 55 and have lived on the road full-time for the last 16 years. I’ve got a lot miles on my body and oh, the people I have met, the places I have seen and the experiences I had.
In addition, I…
* do my daily blog, do research and play spider solitaire on my computer,,
* go for walks,
*read (I’ve been an avid reader all of my life.) Why are a good book and an RV much alike? Both can take you to many wonderful places,
* visit friends and meet new people,
* chat with family and friends on my cell phone,
* visit with my fraternal brothers at the VFW, American Legion, Eagles and Moose,
* watch an occasional movie,
* get lots of rest and relaxation,
* listen to lots of great music on our XM satellite radio and six-channel surround-sound system,
* do routine maintenance and repairs to the motorhome and Bronco,
* miss greatly Mary’s wonderful meals.
Finally, I think about how lucky I am to have met my life-partner Mary. She is a delight and brings much laughter, joy and happiness to my life.
But as she and I have discussed…moderation is the key to a good life. So, in reality banishment is a good thing. It gives us time apart to think and reflect about our relationship and really appreciate the times we spend together.
Kind of brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?
I’ll leave you with on of my favorite photos of Mary…
So, in banishment, I think and appreciate what a lucky guy I am!
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link: