Monday, April 14, 2014

Washington DC

I have had the most exciting, emotional and patriotic adventure of my life. I cannot express how much I enjoyed my visit to our nation's capital.  I was privileged to be allowed to join a group of my daughter's students from West Valley Christian school on their eight grade field trip.  It was also my first time to see the wonderful city and the experience of seeing for myself, first hand, the place where the Declaration of Independence rests or the garment that Abraham Lincoln wore when he was assassinated moved my American spirit.

Those southern California kids were very much out of their element!

One lovely bonus was that the day we arrived the cherry blossoms began to bloom almost as a gift to us from the founding fathers. They continued to bloom during our visit and were full and brilliant by the time we departed. It was truly breathtaking.

Thank you God.

All of the photos I've seen of Washington D.C. do not do justice to the majesty of the monuments, memorials and the grand buildings. How the marble of the columns and steps gleamed and the green lawns were a lush emerald.

My heart swelled at the sight of the huge "Star Spangled Banner" carefully displayed in the American History Museum. The Smithsonian Castle was magnificent and the National Cathedral held me captivated by the sunlight shining through the beautiful stained glass and the ornate spires reaching up so freely into the blue skies.

The builders of these edifices had such design inspiration. I cannot comprehend the mind that would dream these.

Chuck asked me which one I would go back to if I could only visit one and I had to say it would be the Capital Building, then I said the Jefferson Memorial, then I said Ford's Theater, but wait Mount Vernon was spectacular and so was Williamsburg. Finally I realized I could not pick one. They all held special thoughts and feeling for me. 

But I think the best part was sharing the experience with my daughter.

She is an encyclopedia of American history. The students and adults were amazed by her knowledge and I was so very proud.

Pictures to come.


Friday, April 4, 2014

The Snow and Santa Claus!

Greetings all!

Yesterday we woke to a nice snow. It was a Tioga snow so no huge drifts up against the front door, but there was about 3". It is such a refreshing, welcoming feeling to walk in the snow on such a nice day. 

Looking south.

Looking north.

We ran some errands, went out to Chuck's worksite so he could drop off some papers for his supervisor and let Cooper romp in the wheat fields covered in snow. He loves the snow but not the cold paws after. We have him mostly trained to come in and go directly to the rug by the front door and wait there while we remove his leash and wipe and dry his paws. Then goes and lays down in front of the fireplace.

He found a toy outside with fabric that actually matches his bed-only Cooper could do that.

Today, Friday is very nice and the temperature is to run into the 40's!  Chuck picked up the parts he ordered from the hardware store and will be able to put together a permanent (for an RV) sewer drainage system. We have two holding tanks so he has to tie the two together so he can drain both. I will be very glad to get the skirting put up because my little trailer will really be warm then.  It is very comfortable now and the skirting will add the extra insulation to the underside. 

We met the most wonderful and colorful man in the post office this morning. His name is Ron and he looked like Santa Claus. He was born and raided in Tioga and knew everyone who walked through the door. He said he liked to meet new folks and while we were chatting a young woman walked by and said "Hi Gabby!" He laughed and my good opinion of him just added to my attachment to Tioga.

This afternoon Chuck is working on our taxes and I am blogging and doing laundry.  We are enjoying evenings of suppers, movies and reading. I guess that shows we are old folks. Up north here there is breakfast, dinner and supper. Nobody uses the word lunch and I am trying to get it into my head.

We are doing well and feeling blessed.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tioga, North Dakota

Chuck and I have found so much to attach ourselves to in this little town. For Chuck it reminds him of Kearny, AZ where he was raised. Kearny is a mining town and I cannot count how many times he will say "this reminds me of Kearny."

I have set up my prescriptions at Tioga Drug. They were very accommodating and friendly, typically, and I am now an official Tioga Drug customer. The owner is Tim and he also the pharmacist. He took special care to explain if the tablets look a bit different they are indeed the same product but from a different company. I reassured him that I understood.  He is a very nice man.

Chuck has taken a liking to "Hardware Hanks" and they usually have everything he has looked for or ordered for him what they didn't. It is a cozy little store with a friendly home town staff. Each visit includes listening to the folks who come by just for a visit.

They gives out freshly popped popcorn!

We have rented a PO box here in Tioga so that makes us as close to residents as we can be without actually pulling up stakes in Catalina. Our mail has been on hold since March 6th so I am sure I will have a box full when the change of address is in effect.

Chuck was able to hook up the sewer at our new space and I can tell you it was a delight to flush the toilet and not worry about filling up the holding tanks. Because we have sewer we can also now turn on the water.  It really is the simple things in life that make it complete.

Cooper is having some promising moments but then, like a switch will go off he becomes clueless. It is hard to have the extra worry and we are still considering giving him up.  We are not allowed the freedom to travel much because of him. Our travel costs will increase because he would have to be boarded, and in such small quarters as the RV he is underfoot quite often. We know of no one here with the ability to keep him for us. Company apartments do no allow any pets. I don't really know anyone well enough yet to be comfortable allowing them to stay in my little trailer so thus my dilemma.

After blogging about my train here in Tioga, Chuck and I were stopped by a passing train in town yesterday afternoon. I took some photos of "my" train.

This is looking south. Over the tracks and half a mile then left and I am home. 

This is looking west. I am very curious to see what these trees look like in the spring.

The dark tankers are carrying oil from the Bakken oil fields.

There is still a lot of farming around here and the sound of farming equipment, tanker trucks and boots are all familiar to me now. 

Sunday will be a month since I left Catalina.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wind, trains and having Chuck home

This week began Chuck's two weeks off. We started the week with a list of things we need to do while he is off, things that I am not good at.

One thing I am discovering is that there is cold and then there is COLD with wind.  I have an aversion to wind no matter the climate. I trace it back to our time in the Philippines when we endured two hurricanes. One hit us head on with the eye coming directly over us, the other skirted us but was still very powerful. The wind during those two storms was relentless, loud and pounding. It was most terrifying at night and I still am frightened when the wind blows loud and long. On days like today when it is sunny and calm the temperature of 20-25degrees is quite manageable to me. I enjoy colder temperatures anyway, but this is very comfortable and I find myself getting too warm!

Several years ago I was listening to a man speak about relieving stress by going in your mind to a place that is the most peaceful and comforting to you. It can be real or imagined and as I thought about where this place could be I came to realize where this is for me.

My grandparents lived for many years in a small Texas town just north of Ft. Worth called Saginaw. It was situated adjacent to several large grain elevators and the railroad ran north out of Ft. Worth, passed through Saginaw and traveled to parts unknown. Their house was near this railway and my stress free memories are of summer nights, sleeping on the couch, the sound of my Papaw snoring and the midnight call of the train as is traveled through Saginaw. These sounds created feelings and sensations of peace and comfort, that can wash over me whenever I hear the sound of a train. The call of the horn as it passes by and lingering song as it gets father away.

Tioga has my train...

Chuck says that if I am restless in the night as soon as the train sounds its "sirens call" I sigh and settle into a calm sleep.  He said it never fails to soothe me.  I find myself smiling at the train when I hear it speaking to me. Perhaps that is why I am settling into Tioga, North Dakota so happily even with the cold temperatures and annoying travails we have been through.

But Chuck is off now and we are having a wonderful time.