Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Here I sit

I SHOULD be up and doing something. One would think there was nothing to do around this place, but that is so wrong. Name it and it needs doing. But I just feel attached to this computer. I don't want to get up at all. So I will bother you.

When I last spoke about our vacation - and I warned you that time provided blogging fodder for a long time - we had gotten to LA (and on time!!) where we boarded their metro train headed to Oxnard where we stayed for a night. We then headed to the depot to board the Coast Starlight route.

It runs from LA to Seattle. I knew it was a different. Not the outside of the train, not the steps and all the body of the train. It was when we got to the bedroom suite, there were two draw-string pouches that were filled with toiletries - like you find in hotels. Wow! Never had that before.

I knew I would not use them on the train. I have showered exactly twice on a train, and I won't do it again. I don't remember our trip to El Paso almost 20 years ago. I used the "public" rest room. I showered once in a bedroom suite. Never. Again! You are in a space that is probably 3x3. Even they suggest you sit on the toilet to shower. This is the only part of train travel I despise.

Our car steward had already gotten a lunch reservation. I was really glad because this is a big train - and only one dining car, which is standard. First class first!

This is one of the trains we have always wanted to take. It is the MOST scenic train I have been on so far. The train hugs the Pacific coast for a long time. That was so beautiful. When you look down on the beach there are people playing all along, and in most parts they are camped on the beach.

The second day aboard was the real surprise. There was a wine and cheese tasting. It was wines that were from whatever area we were in at the time. Never had that before!

While we were there, we went through such beautiful mountains. We were just climbing and climbing, Just beautiful.

Our final destination aboard that train was Portland. Or. The train went on to Dacoma and Seattle. That part we were going to be on a special train. It would be the great big steam engine that pulled the Freedom Train several years back.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rollin' rollin ', keep those doggies rollin'

Oh yeah, that's exactly the way it is around here for me. G sits and voraciously reads novel after novel. I run like a chicken with her head chopped off.

I shouldn't complain. Most of what I am doing is because I want to do it. When G was working, I spent my days alone and here at home. We are getting out so much - probably because of doctor appointments.

We went to a local bar (?) for lunch today. Now doesn't that just fit for two oldies like us - and I got another year older today - 67. As we were on our way I commented to G that I never thought we would become two oldies driving their 11 year old car that has 80,000 on it with really good paint. Never thought that at all.

I am about to finish my little cowgirl dress. After I finish that one, I need to get pictures of both and upload them.

Oh, for my birthday, I got new rings. You see, last year sometime I put my beautiful wide gold band someplace that it would be safe not heading the little voice in my head that I wouldn't remember where I stashed that ring. At least I had taken the diamonds out and replaced them with a CZ, but still - I really loved that ring.

So off we went to a jewelry store (really a diamond store)where my daughter bought her new ring set. She and the rest of her family were with us. We didn't know we were going, but it would be the practical thing to do since church is between our houses and the store.

To get a new ring, I told G that I wanted to put the old diamonds on it. Several years ago when I put that CZ on the ring and took the diamonds off, he didn't like that at all. They were from my original wedding ring set. Really what I wanted was a totally new ring. I had one picked out too, but he found a setting that would take my diamonds very well. It did and they are being put on now. It is also being sized since the devil arthritis is invading my hands now.

So the ring will be ready Friday, I hope. I am anxious. This ring will be our anniversary gift (43rd) too.

So peace be with you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm baaaaack

OK, the important part of my day has happened. I was able to watch the Friday installment of All My Children. Watched it as often as I could when teaching because I have been a fan since day 1. Oh well, we all have our little things we do.
SIL works for a national company that manufactures commercial ovens and the like for restaurants, schools, hospitals, and the like. They employ executive chefs to help sell their products. These guys may stay at the plant in Wisconsin and/or travel a bit.

One of them who have been here before was in last night. I thought he was going to cook again. The last time he was here, he made a fish dish with papaya salsa with rice. It was so heavenly. I was hoping he was going to cook again, but SIL wanted to give him the night off (and possibly brag on his own cooking, which is pretty good for a civilian).

But the chef is a very amicable guy regardless. We had hoped my son would be able to come, along with his guitar, but he had other plans. One of SIL's friends,S, and his family came, and lo and behold, he also plays guitar. Chef A had his and his amp.

Originally, Chef A was going to major in music - until he realized that there is no money in it. As soon as you finish one gig, you have to be looking for the next one. So he went to culinary school instead. But he had his guitar last night, so after dinner, around the bottles of wine, he serenaded he with his jazz guitar for several hours.

Occasionally one or the other (Chef A or the friend S) would pick up Lady Bug's little child size guitar and the other on the electric to play. It was great fun.

So that was a long way to introduce my musing for today. Chef A lives in Wisconsin. We were discussing the heat there and the heat here. It got me thinking, where it is so unbearably hot now (and you know of where I speak), your heat is comparable to our cold. The area can be so miserable, either hot or cold (for us), but doesn't last long. We are accustomed to bitter cold that may last up to two or three weeks, more like just days, and the northern states that are suffering so now, it usually lasts just a few weeks. We can handle that which ever area.

Our cold can get to where it kills our vegetation and breaks our pipes, but that temperature doesn't last long. That is something I am glad about!! You have to deal with the heat longer, but it does moderate.

So the ideal thing would be to just alternate living areas with the season! Like the "snow birds" that come to Texas and Florida in the winter. Keeps a more regulated temperature! G is ready to buy a house in Seattle for the summer and return here in the winter.

I don't think that is a real option! The weather is a topic that keeps you talking regardless. We have been blessed with scattered rain. I heard thunder a bit ago, but I think it has passes. Darn it all!

Peace be with you.

A few answers

First, good morning! For once I haven't waiter until late afternoon or evening!! Of course I have 6 minutes before AMC!! Now for the answers (and I will probably be back late afternoon or early evening with my pearls for today).

Yes you can go coast to coast by rail. Before Katrina, it was easy. You took the Sunset Limited from LA to some point to Florida. Now you would have to go to New Orleans (too bad must see Bourbon Street and enjoy its ambiance). Then you would take the train to Chicago. From that train, there are several that would go on the the East Coast.

What are the "facilities" for coach. Not too bad - I guess. There is a women's and a men's bathroom. There are several stalls, and there are several showers - we think. This is all downstairs. Most of the seats are upstairs, and when you walk around the cars, you do it on the upper level. Best scenery in the upper level coach, but we found there is a downstairs seating level. We were going to use that when we had one of the coach seat reservation. Not as good scenery, but you also don't have to walk down the small nearly circular stairwell. I'm not into stairs!

So, I hope that answered questions. Seriously, go to the Amtrak website. They have diagrams of the cars (I think they are still there), and I think they will send you information. I would say to book early especially if you want those accommodations that are scarce.

AMC came on three minutes ago - peace and all that - check you later!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rushed again

I think I need to return to work. I am busier now than ever - oh, wait a minute - G needs to go back to work! Yesterday was teeth cleaning, eye exams with a lunch thrown in. Geesh!

I wanted to tell you a little more about our train trip. We left Houston about 9:30 on the Sunset Limited headed to Las Angeles. The train was actually on time. In fact we had no trains that were late. It was really something. I always tell people to not depend on getting where you are going - unless it's a short trip if you are going by train. When you go by train, it's the trip - not the destination.

Our sleeper was about ready which was good. We really didn't need it made up for sleeping - yet. The tracks between here and San Antonio must have been worked on because the trip was smooth. We had a longish lay over in San Antonio because the train from Chicago hooks up, and there is considerable switching to do. It isn't as bad as it sounds. It is like 3-4 AM. I was completely sacked out. Didn't know a thing about it.

We were on that train for a couple of days. It is a nice trip. Eating in the dining car (included in the ticket), moving around the cars - like to the club car or dome. Even just sitting in your bedroom space is nice. You can really be comfortable. REMEMBER this is not coach.

The second morning we woke to the mountains in California, and the desert on the east of the mountains. It was really pretty.

We were going to change trains in LA. We have been stung before, and this was a leisurely trip. So we planned to take one of the Metro trains to Oxnard. I was a little concerned. I see our "Metro train." It is a little play train. Someday it may grow up into a real train. That was a really neat commuter train. Something I have never experienced. So we were on to Oxnard.

I will pick up there since I need to go to my "drug pusher" Pain clinic on (egad) clinic day. I get the results of the EMG and whatever else.

Peace be with you

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hi there!

It is 10:30pm. I should be in the shower and/or in my bed reading getting ready to fall asleep, but here I am!

I don't understand why, but it seems that my days are fuller than when I worked. Today was a day I have been busy the entire day.

I did my usual morning routine. I did get up a little earlier than 9 or 10. Hey I am retired. That's the way it goes when you are retired. Since it was a little earlier, the second stage of that routine was to fall asleep on the couch while drinking my coffee (and yes before you ask, I have spilled it on myself before) watching the news.

I asked G if he had eaten. I mean he is a big boy now fully capable. He snarled that he had not, so I got out the boxes of cereal. I threw away the milk that was dated June 15, although I really thought it was still good. That was the extend of out breakfast.

I came in here after The View to try to finish going through all the things on the computer that had piled up while we were at the SSB. I only had a partial day with a connection.

Before I knew it, it was 12. That is my special time that is running out. My soap - All My Children -will soon be history.

We went to the bank after AMC was over. I have never tried to see a banker without having to wait. And wait we did. The only reason I was there was to make the trip count. That meant grocery store. I didn't want to make G that too (not really, I don't know WHY I went to the store).

We spent a good amount of time at the store. It was after 4 when we got home. That meant no Sonic Happy Hour either. Drats!

I decided there wasn't enough time to go up to finish the dress, so I came back in here spending more time trying to finish loose ends on the computer. I was looking for a page that I had gotten to that had some really cute things on it. Never found it. Don't know who had them on their page. Fully a waste of time there. I did send a donation to the boxer rescue here. They really needed a foster home for a poor little girl that was in the pound. She needs medical care badly. Simone would never let me bring another little one in. And there is no way we could travel with her. So I did the next best thing and donated toward the $1000 they need to save her (medical treatments and the like).

So how was your day?

Peace be with you.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What else?

Well, here I am again. Still dressed for church ( and that's another story), finally getting the spaghetti on since it seems to be an unsaid thing that dinner will be here, still no pictures that I want to post because the computer put them in at least five different folders, and G wandering through. So much I want to say, but ...

Quickly I will tell this one on myself. My bedroom is not known for its lighting. My closet definitely not. My vision - getting really poor. I decided what I wanted to wear. Black pants and if I don't like the other blouse I picked out it will be the black t with black beads on it. Got dressed. Didn't look at my pants in the light of the den. We went out for breakfast since neither of us wanted to go to the store yesterday. Whoo hoo! Breakfast out!

We get in the car. We pull away and out on the highway. I finally look down. I have on my navy pants with my black blouse. It was then I realized that these felt different in the closet. But after my month of living in a suitcase for 16 days, then turning right around to the SSB for a week - I just didn't pay attention to the slacks.

And I still have this outfit on?? Am I trying to make sure it is pressed into my memory. No, I am just very lazy today finally getting the spaghetti sauce on to cook. Finally called DIL with that fact. Poor actions today!


PS And my ridiculous stuff continues. When I was ready to look for labels - I realized that I was over there in The K Design. Sad, sad, sad.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Once again - rushed

I am here again, with a good connection, but no time. I spent the afternoon up working on the shell that I am going to use (I hope) on the blanket that is presented to the baby on its baptism at church. I put together a shell like the pastor wanted, how the initials and date would look. I will take it to church tomorrow. We will see.

Then I decided to work on the bodice of a dress for a 6 month old. I embroidered the front and will do the bloomers and skirt tomorrow. Or, sometime.

Anyway, it's dinner time and I run. And this laptop is pissing me off really good. It puts print wherever it pleases. I. AM. DONE.


Oh and Peace

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So brief

We are at the SSB. I can't believe I have a sjgnal - doesn't happen very often. Going out to look at some property. Try to be back soon. Soooooo dry. All the animals are suffering. We have some of the neighbor's cows so he can try to not sell them before we might get rain again. Don't know.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ok class - next lesson on trains

Probably the least comfortable area of the train is the coach seat. We were, as I said, going to have to go by coach from Portland, Or to Chicago, Il. Even when we made out reservations way ahead, the bedrooms and roomettes were gone. I haven't ridden coach in about 15 years. It was from Houston to El Paso on the Sunset Limited. The train was really late then (a lot of retail traffic that ended us on sidings - doesn't happen so much now. I wasn't in the lap of luxury for the over night, but I wasn't miserable. After a certain hour, the lights go down, you put your chair back down, and sleep - sort of.

If you are riding coach, you can go up to an observation car. You can go to the diner. You can go to the club car where there is food. There you find sandwiches and the like, and wine too. Don't know about any thing else. I haven't gone because once I get up the stairs, I don't like to go down until we are at our destination. I send G! But he won't be traveling with you, so you are on your own!

The roomette, from what I see, is two chairs for regular traveling that make up into one bed for sleeping. They are on both sides of the sleeper car. They have doors on them so you can have privacy if you want, and I think they are like the bedrooms where that door is a pocket door enabling you to be exposed to the hallway. The other bed seems to be one that is above like the bedroom that drops from the ceiling. This area is also first class. That means your meals in the diner are included in your ticket. Also coffee and juice are available at the stair well where the bedrooms begin. You will have to use a communal bathroom however. It is used only by the folks in the sleeper cars. Folks from the coach area are not allowed in the sleeper cars.

The bedroom is my favorite. It consists of a couch that is a good six feet long and a chair facing the couch. You have a pocket door or a curtain or both to give you privacy from traffic. These rooms have a "bath roon" in the room, but don't get too excited. The sink is just as you enter the room. It is probably half the sized sink as a home bar sink, and it does have running hot and cold water. There is a mirror above. The shower and toilet and pretty much one and the same. There is a door that is water proof. Most of the shower stall is the toilet. When you want to shower, there is a hand held, I think, shower head. You make sure the door is closed well and pull the curtain over it. They recommend that when you shower, you sit on the toilet lid. Let me tell you - depending when you shower, and where the train is - that is a wonderful idea! The toilet/shower uses space very well, but it gets the job done - which ever job you need!

The diner still has the graciousness that it always had. Even though people no longer dress up for travel, the diner reminds you of time gone by. The tables are for four. They have table cloths that look so much like fabric that one meal, I had to find the edge to be sure that it was paper. There is a real flower on the table, and the knives and forks look like silver - they may be silver plate or a good substitute. They do have communal dining - that means they fill the tables. Unless you are a group of four, you will be seated with other travelers to fill that table. The food, while not needing to be prepared to order, is prepared on the train. The menu is pretty much the same for all trains. It is tasty. The flatiron steak is prepared to your taste, and just that cut is a really good steak. The prices, if you are a coach passenger, are not high. That steak is the most pricey, and it is $24. You can find a good meal that begins usually with a salad then the protein with potatoes and vegetable for no more that you would pay in a mid-cost restaurant.

The fun of the diner or club/or observation car is getting to know other people. We have met and dined with some fascinating people. It really is fun.

To get schematics of the train cars, go to


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Train Travel Primer

The fact that the passenger trains, apparently all over the US, are full or almost so makes me really happy. The fact that they aren't making money bothers me because there are so many out there that are calling for the demise of Amtrak. You have to know by now, that I think that idea STINKS. I am not going to go all crazy with some political stuff here because I don't like that kind of stuff. I will say this one thing about politics - there isn't a dime's difference in any of the politicians. Notice I didn't just hit the "big" parties - it is every one of those who choose to run for political office. "Nuff said" - period.

But when we were originally booking our tickets, on the way back we were going to be travelling in accommodations that we normally would not choose for a trip over long hours. We were going to be in coach for at least 48 hours, and in a Roomette for another long period. I know the "choice" bedrooms are few on a train, but this was the first time we have had the problem of them all being full. But it didn't matter. We wanted the trip to be all train. It just wasn't meant to be. (I began taking pictures after we had to rent the car because it was soooooo boring. I will try to post them, but it will be in two weeks - we are at the SSB next week.

So if you want to take a long trip via rail - and you want a private bedroom (larger) or roomette (smaller) you need to decide sooner or probably take the trip when it is off season. Everyone travels in summer it seems. If coach is ok, you probably can get tickets anytime. If you want the largest bedroom - the family bedroom - there is only one per car, and there is usually only one sleeper per car.

If you are in the corridors along the East coast, I don't know how they run their trains, but I do know they are really full most of the time. Those are on our bucket list. We don't know how they are.

And tomorrow children, we will study the bedroom and roomettes. Class has been long enough for today.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


Yes, we actually made it home on Thursday to get the rental car returned on the 1st. We did a fast 2300 miles from Portland, Oregon to Jersey Village, Texas. As you know there were distinct ups and downs. I wish it were a planned leisure trip. We missed some really great things to see along the way, but the planned 500 miles a day just didn't allow for it.


We could have returned by train. We could have taken the Starlight back down the Pacific Coast and met up with the Sunset Limited, or we could have taken the Empire Builder as far as it would go, transfer to some other - probably the one where the truck and passenger train hit - I can't remember that name - then on to the Texas Eagle almost home with a stop in East Texas where we would take a bus that is part of the railroad. Houston doesn't deserve a rail line for the Texas Eagle. It goes to San Antonio.

We love to vacation in the northern states and/or Canada. It get so blasted hot here we love to escape. Usually we leave when it is only mildly hot here - 90's with a few days in the 100's (not really). That makes our return even worse. We left with it fairly cool - went where is is cool - come back to the blast furnace, I don't know how much G paid the little college girl to keep things watered, but at least we didn't come home to plants that look like wilted, grilled spinach! My orange tree (Satsuma really) didn't look all that great, but I think it will be ok.


I went to the grocery store yesterday since we really didn't have much in the house. When I got home there was a little cotton tailed rabbit in the neighbor's yard. I think it may have been smelling the pool's water. That is a dangerous thing for little things. They reach over, fall in and drown. So I rummaged through the garage and found an old pet watering device. I put it out for whatever comes alone that needs a good gulp of water. There's none around here naturally unless they catch it from yard/flower bed watering.

When SIL gets back, I am going to have him set me up with a sprinkler system that is not a sprinkler system. It is all normal yard watering parts - except one sprinkler and the timer (!!). They have gone away for the 4th, and I am taking care of their old dog.

We picked up Simone yesterday morning. It was a day late, but we are such good customers ... I know they are full for this weekend, so I didn't want to put them out too much. She is so difficult to get "to the back" whether it is for a bath or boarding. When she comes back to the front, she runs at full speed. I felt so sorry for the little attendant that was trying to hold her. She was being pulled at full speed. Simone did not act like an old boxer! Except for the extreme cold - I think she could be a good sled dog!

Then I went to Son's house to get Shadow. He, of course, was in hiding. He finally recognized me. He began being so sweet. That lasted about an hour. Then came the first bite. He also slept with me. He was sweet and fairly loving until about 4 am. Then he got upset that I wanted the covers back, and he went into his panther mode. That is "kill Mom." He attacks and attacks until I throw him off the bed. So he is back to normal - well, with one exception. He has let me pick him up and hold and love him twice. Miracle. I will pay for that this evening - I am sure.

So here we are. I haven't even unpacked my big suitcase. I took everything that was necessary and put it into the smaller suitcase. The other is things that I could live without. As usual, I over packed again. I really tried to be frugal, and take only what I projected as needed. Well - there are things in that suitcase that never touched my body. I'll try again next year when we go to Iowa. And I won't make fun of my daughter (in my mind) when they arrive at the SSB for a weekend with their entourage of six suitcases for five people!

Peace be with you.