Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our Last hurrah!!!

The big day is almost here. The Old Salt and I will be leaving on Friday morning for what we have dubbed our "Last Hurrah" trip. Hopefully time, age and money will prove our title wrong. But for now we expect this to be our last big effort at seeing the country.

I printed off the triptik from AAA and it has the mileage from our front door and back again at 4,927.6 miles, and that is just taking us from one address to another along the route without any exploring. So we expect to get well beyond that before we get back home.

First stop will be to visit my nephew in Denver. From there we go to San Francisco to ride a cable car and see the "Painted Ladies." Then we will go down the coast to LA and on to San Diego to visit with the Old Salt's grandchildren. After leaving San Diego we head to Phoenix where we hope to visit with a fellow blogger . Then it's north to I-40 and Albuquerque where we will visit with two nieces and take in the wondrous sight of hundreds of hot air balloons aloft at the "Balloon Fiesta."

leaving Albuquerque, we will be visiting with a high school buddy of the Old Salt in Tulsa and going on a trip down memory lane as he takes me on a tour of Nowata, Oklahoma where he went to high school. The Old Salt's mother was a very talented artist and the first recipient of Arkansas's Living Treasure Award for her stained glass windows. She left stained glass windows in every town they lived in and there is a 12 foot rose window in the Presbyterian church there along with several smaller works. We plan to take some good photos of her windows. By the time we reach Kansas City,we will decide if we have any go left. If we do, we will head up to Omaha to visit my sister and her family.

During this journey, we hope to visit Pikes Peak, the Grand canyon, Las Vegas, the golden gate bridge, see grey whales headed down the West Coast to Baha Mexico for the winter, and whatever else we can find. We may add a detour to Eugene Oregon to see a cousin and Seattle Washington to visit with a couple of my internet friends. We haven't ruled it out but it would add more than 2500 miles to our trip so the Eugene/Seattle detour is on the side burner.

A niece and nephew (with the help of their mother) will be keeping our home fires burning, the grass mowed, plants watered and the cats fed for at least a month and possibly more like five (maybe even six) weeks.

We will be taking along the Macbook to stay in touch with family and I hope to find time to make an occasional post here. I have to admit that I have gotten quite addicted to doing some type of post each day. I will miss all the memes and blogs I follow. But, I am not going to make any promises I can't keep. So, I hope you will all check in occasionally while I'm gone in case I do get the chance to post travel updates. Heck we might even be in your neighborhood so all of you living in the western states keep your eyes peeled for a gray haired retired couple driving a grey Chevy HHR with Missouri plates.

I pray that by the time I return I will not be forgotten by all my friends in the blogging world. But, just think about all the new photo's and stories I will have to share when we return.

To quote Roy and Dale "Happy trails to you until we meet again."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ruby Tuesday --- Red Rides

Welcome to Ruby Tuesday the day we show off our photos that contain some red.

This week I decided to show off some of the red vehicles around me. First we have an old fire truck that has been sitting in front of a corner house on one of the main streets near where I live for as long as I have lived in town.

This old fire truck sits down the block from one of my nieces. It was raining buckets the day I took this so the picture appears spotty.

Just outside the city limits you will find the home of Mid America Coaches. It is very rare to find this many of the buses parked in the yard at one time. They are usually all busy carrying charter groups on exciting adventures across the country.

I had scheduled a photo of our red Ford Freestyle in this next spot, as my way of letting everyone know that we were getting ready to depart on an extended trip across the country, so i would not be available to do any posting for a while. However we decided to trade it for something that gets better gas milage and our new HHR is not red. So I substituted this shot taken at the local flea market. The red toys of some past boyhood.

I will be back in about a month so have a great time everyone while I am gone. For more things red, or to join the fun visit Ruby Tuesday at WORK Of THE POET

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday -- odd shadows

Shadow Shot Sunday has arrived once again. This week I have an odd mixture of shadows captured over the last few weeks.

First we have the headless shadows of a couple of folks who where waiting in line to take a tram ride during the Senior Trail Day event held at our riverfront park this week for the elderly and disabled by the Rotary Club.

These next two shots were captured at the swimming pool during our recent family reunion. I'm not sure you will be able to identify the source of shadows though. I will enlighten you at the end.

This is the source of the first shadow. The second one is the shadow of the lifeguard tower. I failed to photograph the tower.

Have a great week everyone. For more great shadow shots click the camera badge to visit Hey Harriet and join in the fun.

Sunday Favorites # 21- Amazing Women

Sunday Favorites is a meme that allows us to drag one of our old posts out of mothballs and into the light of a new day. After all, only so many posts can be on the first page and once they move down the stack they are seldom ever looked at again.

You can check out this Sunday meme at Happy to Design hosted by Chari. Heck, you might find some great stuff to read.

Like last weeks post this is a reprint of one of the post I made on another blog that I have since abandoned because I could not keep up with more then one blog. I called it Amazing Women and it first ran two years ago this month.

Amazing Women.

I have posted before about how creative my mother was at finding ways to keep her children both busy and profitable. One summer mom had me making and selling pot holders door to door around our small town. One day I finally got up the nerve to knock on the door of an old lady that had the reputation among the neighborhood kids of being a descendent of the “wicked witch” that chased after Hansel and Gretel.

I will admit that I found everything about Mrs. Kelly and her home to have another world sense about it. She lived in a small three room house with a weathered picket fence. Neither the house nor the fence had seen a coat of paint in decades, and the yard was overgrown with all types of unusual plants some of which appeared to have dried up years before. Mrs. Kelly and I formed a bond that first meeting, and from then on I would drop by as often as I could manage. She must have been in her eighties at the time but I don’t recall ever asking her how old she was. Mrs. Kelly’s house was dark, and had a strange smell that I could never identify. A combination of wood smoke, coal oil, dried herbs hanging in bundles from the kitchen ceiling, furniture polish, and rheumatism medicine among other things. The front room was very formal and had large chairs that felt like they were made from some type of coarse animal hair. The drapes were dark and heavy. I later learned they were made of a brocaded velvet. Everything in the house was old and worn but it all had a well scrubbed and polished look about it.

A coal oil lamp hung from the ceiling of the kitchen and there was an old iron stove against one wall used for both heating and cooking. Beside the stove a much dented cooper pot held big chunks of coal and an old trunk missing the top was full of logs. The table was always covered with a stiff linen cloth and there was a small loom in the corner that I learned was used for making tatted lace. Mrs. Kelly was a short, thin lady who wore thread-bare cotton dresses with a knitted shawl around her shoulders. The corners of the shawl crisscrossed her chest and were tucked into an apron at her waist. The long dingy apron, securely tied at her waist, was used for everything from securing her shawl to carrying vegetables from her garden to taking hot pots off the stove. Her snow white hair was in a long braid down her back or occasionally coiled around her head.

Mrs. Kelly lived in her little ramshackle house since long before the area was incorporated into the town and before all the modern housing developments had built up around her. She continued to live on her little piece of ground the way she had since she was a new bride more than sixty years earlier. Since we were living in the middle of town in the 1950’s, she was considered to be an eccentric for choosing not to have electric service in her home . She was constantly shooing off the kids that wanted to take a short cut through her garden or pick the flowers along her fence so she developed the reputation of being a wicked old witch.

Mrs. Kelly and her house were certainly different. But, the woman that I got to know just wanted to be left alone to live life on her own terms. She seldom left her place but never seemed to need anything from anyone either. She was a warm, friendly, lonely old lady who liked to serve tea from a cracked ironstone pot covered with a quilted rooster she called a tea cozy. We had honey in our tea and little sandwiches she made from thin slices of home baked bread with the crust cut off. She told me stories about growing up poor in Ireland and what it was like to come here as a immigrant . She talked about her dead husband and the babies she lost and the children she outlived. She showed me how she made the tatted lace she sold to a bridal shop in New York city. But, mostly she just reminisced and I listened.

Mrs. Kelly was the first of many women like her to come into my life over the years. These were women who managed to live to a very old age and remain in good health. Active, quick witted, sharp tongued women who faced life without flinching. Most grew up dirt poor, worked hard and learned early how to be creative at making do.

I am proud to currently have two of these ladies in my life. Tess, at 87 still keeps a home that would make a perfect cover for Home and Gardens magazine. Her cookie jar is always full of fresh baked goodies and the freezer stocked to feed an army should the need arise. Both Tess and her guest room are so comfortable, warm and inviting that you want to move in and never leave.

The other super lady is my own mother who at 82 just finished competing in almost every event in the local senior Olympics and brought home 14 gold medals and two silver medals. Since she was the only competitor in her age group to enter the 100 meter swim and the 100 and 200 meter sprint her goal was to beat her own time from the year before. Can you imagine running 200 meters in 56 seconds when you are 82?

What an inspiration they are. I just hope I inherit their longevity and a fraction of their energy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

pink Saturday------ pink elephant

Welcome to Pink Saturday. Time for those shots what contain some pink.

I you are paying good attention when traveling down hiway 141 in Fenton, Missouri you will see a giant pink elephant sitting on the side of the roadway. It has been there for as long as I have been traveling that stretch of road. I have heard a dozen different stories about how this elephant came to be sitting in front of the gas station there. But, a good amount of web searching failed to confirm any of them. However, I did find that there is a almost identical pink elephant wearing glasses and holding a martini glass sitting in front of a bar in Indiana.

While going to visit with a friend in that area recently we stopped for the following photos of me and the pink elephant.

To join the fun or visit the other participates visit How Sweet the Sound click here.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

window views 19 -- top of the arch

Welcome to Window Views, a thursday meme dedicated to all those architectural delights that allow us to bring the outside in while adding character to the structures they are in.

I suspect that the most talked about windows in St. Louis are those at the top of the Gateway Arch. The reason I say that is because it takes a lot of nerve and a small adventure to get up to where they are. Once there you have the entire city, part of the Mississippi River and a good size chunk of Illinois spread out below you.

On our last trip to the Arch I took these photos of the Old Salt looking our the window and his window view of the Illinois side of the river.

For my visitors from across the pond the first photo is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. If you enlarge the second photo you will be able to see the small windows at the top.

To join the fun or or check out the window views posted by others visit our host Mary t at Window Views.

Theme Thursday---Rhythm

Time for Theme Thursday. The theme this week is Rhythm. Rhythm is a subject I know nothing about. I am not the least bit musical. I have posted before about how I needed two years of chorus in high school to get the required music credits. About a month into the first semester the nun who taught the course kept me after class and explained that my voice was ruining her choir. Sister offered to give me a B as my grade if I agreed to complete all the written work, never miss class and lip sync all my vocals.

While I may sing like a old rusty hinge I do happen to have some very talented family members, This year one of my brother-in-laws arranged some entertainment for our family reunion by inviting some of his musician friends to come and join him in a jam session. I took these pictures of the musicians doing their thing.

All of the instruments on the table are antiques owned and played by the woman in the photos. She also plays piano and organ and teaches music at the local high school.

The fiddle player has played with a number of famous artists and since retiring prefers to play in pick-up sessions like this one.

We all had a great time listening to their jam session and I was amazed that one of them could name a song or start playing a tune and the others joined in as if they had been doing it together for years.

To join the fun or visit more participants from around the world visit Theme Thursday

Outdoor and Water Wednesday. Canoes

It is Wednesday and I am going to give you one great picture for two different memes. This shot is both outdoors and has some water, so I guess I should call it a two-fer.

This shot was taken at our recent family reunion. I love the refection of the canoes on the water and the texture of the sand.

For Outdoor Wednesday visit Susan and her friends at Southern Daydreamer

For Watery Wednesday visit 2Sweetnsaxy

Monday, September 07, 2009

Ruby Tuesday --- The Red Birds

Welcome to Ruby Tuesday the day we show off our photos that contain some red.

Our home team, the St. Louis Cardinals, is currently in first place. So what better way to celebrate Ruby Tuesday than by honoring the redbirds. My first photo is the new Busch Stadium, home of the Cardinals. Hard to believe this is the third stadium built for the Cardinals in my lifetime.

The following shots come from the collection of Cardinal memorabilia belonging to someone very close to my heart.

Have a great week everyone and for more things red, or to join the fun visit Ruby Tuesday at WORK Of THE POET

Marcro Monday -- What is it?

Welcome to Macro Monday. The place to post those close up shots.

While attending a family party yesterday I captured this shot of a flower in my brothers yard. I have no idea what it is called and did not get the chance to ask. Can anyone enlighten me?

To join the fun or just check out what others see up close visit Lisa and her friends at

Mellow Yellow Monday ---- last of summer yellow

MellowYellowMondayBadge As I stated last week, our area is beginning to be more harvest golds then mellow yellows but I still managed to capture a few yellows for this week's Mellow Yellow.

The Old Salt and I like to walk around the lake near our home. A couple nights ago the the sun was setting as we circled the lake and captured this shot of a family feeding the ducks with the setting sun turning the trees in the background aglow with sunshine.

The following are just a few of the yellow flowers I captured with my macro lens while attending our family reunion last weekend.

Have a good week everyone. To join in the fun or visit other Mellow Yellow shots visit Drowsey Monkey and her friends here

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sunday Favorites # 20- Rerun of an oldie-The Bakers Dozen

Sunday Favorites is a meme that allows us to drag one of our old posts out of mothballs and into the light of a new day. After all, only so many posts can be on the first page and once they move down the stack they are seldom ever looked at again.

You can check out this Sunday meme at Happy to Design hosted by Chari. Heck, you might find some great stuff to read. Now for my re-run of an old post.

I once had another blog written under a pen name that I used to post stories relating to my life in a large family. I soon found that I could not keep up with two blogs so I stopped posting to the other one. This is a reprint of one of those post.

The Bakers Dozen

Whenever I am asked the question “how many brothers and sisters do you have?” and I respond with something like, “I am the oldest of thirteen” I get this look from people that can only be described as completely incredulous.

Growing up in a time and place where large families were more the norm I always thought the reaction was rather odd. As I got out into the world, I learned just how rare my family and my community really were, but even now that first time reaction still catches me by surprise.
Taken about 1972

When I first starting getting involved with single’s websites after I was widowed and going to single’s get-together’s, I found I was hesitant to say how many siblings I had out of fear that any prospective date would be put off. I finally reached the point where my large family was the first thing I mentioned about myself. If knowing my immediate family consisted of more than sixty people and was still growing did not have the gentleman shaking in his boots then I knew I wasn't wasting my time.

Usually, one of the first questions I am asked is, “What is it like growing up with that many people and only one bathroom?” Somehow I do not remember the bathroom situation as ever being a major problem, but then, for quite a while we used a privy sitting at the edge of the backyard.

What I do remember is going through many phases while growing up. I had my Cinderella phase, where I felt destined to be an ugly duckling of a spinster slaving away, caring for a house full of ungrateful men. I did, after all, have nine brothers and it often seemed the rule book was biased toward the males of the household.

I also went through my enlightenment phase, where I just wanted to take my parents and shake some sense into them. Didn’t they know where all those babies came from? Or how to prevent them? Didn’t they know how much it would cost to educate all of us? Didn’t they care that others thought we were poor and deprived? Hadn’t they read about the benefits of population control?

Then, of course, I had one totally embarrassing phase where every time I was out somewhere with a group of my youngest siblings, someone would mistake them for mine. At seventeen, did I really look old enough to have six kids? Once, at the grocery store, I had the task of watching the little ones while my mother shopped. I lined them all up stair step fashion on the brick ledge in front of the widow by the doorway with some candy. Folks entering the store would often stop and make some comment on how cute they all were, or just shake their heads in amazement. I lost count of how many times someone asked me if they were all mine. Finally, I reached my breaking point. The next unlucky lady that asks that question received a curt “yes they are all mine, and to be truthful I left the youngest at home with my husband.”

Well, I though the poor woman was going to swallow her teeth.

When I was pregnant with my first child my mother was pregnant with her last child. The reactions of people when one of us would introduce the other to them and say this is my “mother” or “daughter” and they would look from one swollen belly to the other their expression was sometimes priceless.

Due to the closeness in age of my daughter and my baby brother, it was not uncommon, for me to be out with both children. I was often asked if they were twins. When I would respond “NO, they are uncle and niece” the reaction would make me wish I had a camera handy. Occasionally, someone would respond with a smart remark like “Yea, and I am ( fill in the blank) or “Yeah, sure, sorry for asking.”

Truthfully, looking back from my vantage point as an old retired gal I would not want to go back and change a thing. My brothers and sisters have always been the most loving and supportive people in my life. Sure, they are sometimes the biggest pain as well. But, it’s a good kind of Pain.

With only one exception, we still all live within twenty miles of our mother. One of my brothers is just four houses down the street from me and a sister is a ten minute walk away. The first time I went on a date after my husband died I came home to find my answering machine flashing like a Christmas tree with messages from my siblings wanting to know who the man was I had been seen having dinner with.

Small towns, ya gotta love em.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Color Carnival #17 ---staying warm

Color Carnival is a Sunday meme where we celebrate all the colors in God's rainbow.

The nights here are starting to get chilly. Since my 83 year old mother is easily chilled, she always has something handy to wrap up in. At our family reunion last weekend her jacket made for a perfect color carnival addition. By the way, this lady is the mother of thirteen children (of which I am the eldest) and is now the matriarch of a family that numbers into the seventies.

Soon we will need to add that extra quilt to the bed. I found this quilt on display in our local coffee shop. The shop features the work of local artisans on a rotating schedule and the last time I visited, this quilt decorated the wall.

join the fun or to check out all the colorful entries of other players, visit Martha and her friends at Color Carnival.